Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bruce Lipton's The Honeymoon Effect

This book was such a great read - I zipped through it, hungry for more when I was finished. Lipton blends spirituality, biochemistry, quantum physics, and personal experience to explain the joy experienced at the honeymoon phase of a relationship and how we can achieve that bliss throughout our lives. 

Lipton explains that coupling among humans is fundamentally about bonding, not reproduction. Bonding is the powerful innate drive that propels us into relationships with others. Because we are driven to bond easily, we must become conscious (not simply hormone-ruled or blindly lustful) as we bond so that we can attract people who meet our needs into our lives. Lipton says we can use the power of good vibrations and switch our thoughts to create a happily ever after life. He reminds us that love is all about potions – our own neurochemicals cause everything from the anxiety to the euphoria and the infatuation to the post-breakup depression. He differentiates between our conscious and unconscious minds and provides a quantum physics analogy for how to achieve both amazing relationships and world peace.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. The discussion of neurochemicals was fascinating. Moreover, how Lipton relates what occurs on the cellular level, to the interpersonal level, to the macro of world peace is brilliant. On all levels, this book is fantastic!

Note: Hay House gave us a copy of this book to review. We're grateful for The Looneyspoons Collection and Hay House! And, no, getting the book for free didn't sway the opinions expressed herein. (Pardon the legalese, it's my native tongue.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Carrot Muffins (Adapted from Bob's Red Mill Bran Flax Muffins)

I kicked off October Unprocessed 2013 with a breakfast favorite. In fact, it is one of the first "healthy" recipes I learned. These muffins are packed with healthy ingredients (carrots, apple, flax, oat bran), and yet still are tasty enough for the kids to nosh. Watch out, they're addictive!

I adapted this recipe from Bob's Red Mill, substituting a few ingredients to make the recipe less processed. We hope you enjoy this recipe. It is a sneaky (and delicious!) way to get the kids to eat veggies. Plus, the mini size of the muffins is so snackable. Just watch that the adults in your household don't eat too many.

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. spelt flour
3/4 c. oat bran
3/4 c. flaxseed meal
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. finely shredded carrots
2 peeled, cored, shredded apples
2 beaten eggs
3/4 c. honey
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine wheat flour, spelt flour, oat bran, flaxseed meal, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix.
3. Add shredded carrots and apple.
4. Combine beaten eggs, honey, milk, and vanilla in a bowl.
5. Add these liquid ingredients to the large bowl and mix all ingredients together.
6. Fill mini-muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.
7. Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Unprocessed Energy Balls

We're live on the October Unprocessed website! So excited to be the first post with our Energy Ball recipe. Click HERE to check it one of our absolute favorite recipes! Also, you can even see a sample of my cheesy poetry. Yep, I went there!

We had tons of fun working on the post, and Finn even helped making the treats. Enjoy, enjoy!

Monday, September 30, 2013

October Unprocessed 2013

October Unprocessed 2013

Last year we participated in this month-long journey to better health and more conscious eating. This year, we are honored to contribute our thoughts (and a recipe!) to this project. We hope that you'll join us in taking this challenge! Head here: October Unprocessed 2013 to take the pledge. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

The 1-2-3-4 of Getting Healthier (and our plan to baby step our boys there)

In the last post we announced that we planned to take baby steps to improve our boys' nutrition. Then, we sent them for a Dunkin' Donuts fueled week with their grandfather! They are back home now, we're recovering from the sugar shock of Easter, and we're now ready to baby step towards big changes here.

To help us take those next baby steps, we've been formulating a working definition (geek alert!) of what it means to eat healthier. In her book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin says, "to be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth." After giving it ample (read: too much) thought, we think we could substitute "healthier" for "happier" and use Rubin's formula to guide us in enhancing our children's nutrition.

To eat healthier, think about feasting on the good, avoiding the bad, and consuming what's right, in an atmosphere of growth. 

This four-part definition is initially overwhelming, but breaking it down gives provides a fantastic map for us to baby step towards healthy eating.

(1) The good on which to feast includes fruits, veggies, probiotics, and so many more wonderful, nutritious ingredients.

(2) The bad to avoid includes processed and artificial foods.

(3) Consuming what's right means thinking about local foods, humanely raised animals, and the avoidance of harmful pesticides that destroy the environment.

(4) Lastly, growing our knowledge of health, wellness, food, nutrition, and cooking techniques will help us maintain our health and enhance our well-being.

There you go: our 1-2-3-4 part definition of eating healthier!

As we apply this definition to our children's nutrition, our aim is to progress towards a plant-based, unprocessed lifestyle by:

(1) ensuring that the boys feast on a good daily dose of fruits and vegetables,

(2) avoid bad ingredients and processed foods 80% of the time,

(3) consume what's right with local and small organic products,  and

(4) by growing the boys knowledge about healthy food and nutrition.

The grand effect is that we'll still indulge in occasional treats, but our daily lifestyle won't include many of the foods they currently eat and will include lots of fruits and vegetables. Our plan is to implement the dietary changes in phases:

  • Phase I: Operation Unprocessed Kiddos! We'll achieve part two of the definition of healthier (avoiding the bad) by cutting processed foods one meal at a time. 
  • Phase II: Operation Eat Your Fruits and Veggies! In this phase we'll be moving full force to get the kids to embrace, enjoy, and simply eat a plant-based diet by focusing on part one of the definition of healthier (feasting on the good). 
  • During both phases we'll be increasing our usage of local, small organic products and educating the boys about healthy food to accomplish parts three and four of the definition of healthier (eating what's right and growing our knowledge). 

In Phase I our first baby step will be tackling breakfast. No more frozen breakfasts, unless they were made at home and qualify as unprocessed. We'll also be attempting to turn their frowns upside down when it comes to eggs. Stay tuned for our initial results. We look forward to sharing our journey with you!

They love each other!
But can they love healthy food?
PS:  Send us your comments! What's worked for you in terms of getting your precious kiddos to munch on healthy food? What's been a total flop on this front? What are your favorite healthy kid breakfasts? Any tips and tricks are appreciated!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Starting with the Children, from Where We Are Now

The Roches - Where We Are Now

Jeff and I are in a mild state of shock! We can't believe we've reached a point in our health where friends and family actually seek our advice. It was only two years ago when we regularly feasted on hot dogs and processed American cheese slices wrapped in tubed crescent rolls! Now, it's spinach salad and spaghetti squash on the menu. We are astounded by our transformation and so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to help others with the wisdom of our experience. (Service rocks...and so does a fresh green smoothie!)

However, a big chunk of us feels like we've failed. While we would gladly publish all we eat in a week, we're not similarly confident about what we're feeding our children. We've lovingly detoxed our own bodies, and  yet we feed our kids food containing all kinds of additives and preservatives. There remains a sense of shame and embarrassment in terms of what the kids eat, which lets us know its the perfect time to make changes.

As for changes, we've already made a ton of them as a family. Jeff and I ditched soda over a decade ago and began the slow switch to organic starting with milk. Once we became parents, we made the shift from regular restaurant-goers to mainly home cooks. Two years ago, we set our path for a real food diet, gradually implementing more changes along the way. We never had a sudden epiphany about eating, but all the changes were baby steps towards health.

To really demonstrate how much we've grown as a family, here is a sample day from two years ago:

Breakfast: Eggo Waffle and Apple Juice 
Snack: Fruit Roll Up and Apple Juice
Lunch: PB&J (Jiff PB and Smuckers Jelly) on Honey Wheat Bread, Cheese Stick, and Apple Juice
Snack: Cheez-its and Apple Juice
Dinner: Hot Dog on a Potato Roll and Kraft Mac and Cheese with Organic Milk
Dessert: Two-Bite Brownies

Here is a current sample day:

Breakfast: Vitatop and Organic OJ
Snack: Organic Apple and Organic Mara Natha Peanut Butter with Water
Lunch: PB&J (Organic Mara Natha PB and Bonne Maman Jelly) on Organic Whole Wheat, Pirate Booty, and Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk
Snack: Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies with Water
Dinner: Organic Chicken Wrap with Seaside Cheddar on a Whole Wheat Tortilla, Organic Applesauce, and Local Organic Milk
Dessert: Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie

About where we are now, there's been progress, but there is still room to grow!

The Pros: As a family we eat largely organic including fruit, meats, and dairy. We've even started to flow away from big organic towards local, small organic. We make a lot of things at home rather than opting for store bought, like my chocolate chip cookies and Jeff's marinara. We're definitely on our way to an unprocessed lifestyle - an amazing feeling that resonates in our souls. The boys never drink soda and candy is a rare treat in our household.

The Cons: We still feed the children frozen prepackaged breakfasts that are loaded with sugar. With their PB&J lunches the kids get processed organic snack mixes. Throw in a side of organic chocolate milk box containing carrageenan, too! Noticeably absent from their diets are fruit (for Brice) and vegetables (for both). And, we mean NO vegetables. They don't even really like the sauce on pizza! As for fruit, while Finn is a regular fruitarian from before birth, my recent successes include getting Brice to eat apple slices (minus the peel) and applesauce. That's it! We have a loooong way to go in the fruit and veggie department. 

So, that's where we're starting now. Check back shortly as we reveal our plan for implementing some amazing changes in the boys' eating habits. We're ready to take our next baby steps!

PS: We welcome your feedback and guidance! How have you transformed your picky eaters into veggie lovers? What healthy and nutritious foods do your your children gobble without complaint? Where do you still struggle? Let us know what's worked and what hasn't in your house. We'd love to hear your stories!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grab Yourself a Heaping (Looney)Spoonful!

Jeff and I picked up the Looneyspoons Collection recently and haven't put it down. It's...simply...that good. It's funny, easy to read, accessible in cooking techniques, loaded with nutrition fun facts, and brimming with recipes. Yes, there are 325 recipes - almost all of which we actually want to make!

So far, in the month we've had the book we've poured through more than a dozen - all with rave reviews. Aunt Chilada's Stuffed Tortillas were a great weeknight treat as was the Bye Bye Burgie portabella burger and the Rice is Right fried rice dish. The Eggplanet Hollywood was so delish we sent a batch to a friend caring for a sick child. The Piled High Veggie Pot Pie was warmly comforting on a cold winter Sunday. The Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice muffins were a hit with the kids. And, the Batter-Be-Good-To-Me Pancakes are my favorite pancakes...ever! (And, yes, all the recipes have corny titles like these. Hands down to the women creative enough to concoct 325 unique, corny recipe names!)

If you are new to the kitchen, expanding your go-to recipes, or interested in learning more about healthy eating, this collection is fantastic. We wholeheartedly recommend it! In the nutritional nuggets, recipe tips, trivial tidbits, and other fun facts you'll learn about everything from the health benefits of ingredients and cooking tips to the evils of diet soda and factory farming. It's all here in the nearly 400 pages of yummy goodness!

With a caveat, this book is a great resource for real foodies, too. Consumers of unprocessed foods will have to make some substitutions because some of the ingredients in this "healthy" cookbook are anything but clean. For example: light dairy products, Knorr soup mix, white flour, white sugar, ranch-flavored cream cheese, and (my personal anti-favorite) reduced-fat canned crescent rolls. Use your favorite substitutions (spelt flour for white flour, honey for sugar, coconut derivatives for you paleo folks), and you'll be great!

Overall, this book is a great addition to our library and yours! In fact, with the dozens of cookbooks in our home, this is the book we've got out as we prepare for a weekend visit from my mother-in-law. Is there any better endorsement than that? Enough said!

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice Mini Muffins
LOVED these!

Batter-Be-Good-To-Me Pancakes
St. Paddy's Day Edition

Piled High Veggie Pot Pie
The picture doesn't do the deliciousness justice!

Note: Hay House gave us a copy of this book to review. We're grateful for The Looneyspoons Collection and Hay House! And, no, getting the book for free didn't sway the opinions expressed herein. (Pardon the legalese, it's my native tongue.)