Should You Shop at Trader Joe's? And My Current Favorite Picks.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been teaching on nutrition. I’ve been working with my group on food basics and dietary myth-busting. Basically I’m helping people make realistic, delicious, and wellness-giving diet makeovers.

All of the people I’m working with right now lead busy lives — they have ambitious jobs, full family lives, and the stresses of daily living. So helping them live happier and healthier lives needs to flow seamlessly into what they are already doing.

For most of them, this means planning healthy meals that are fast. And one serious way to do this is to grocery shop smartly.

This is what brings me to Trader Joe’s. It’s one of my favorite places to recommend people shop.

Why Do I Recommend Trader Joe’s?

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It’s no secret - I personally have a love affair with Trader Joe’s. I love to shop there and I go every week.

First of all, Trader Joe’s has pre-washed, pre-cut, and pre-cooked options that make eating well easier. They have pre-washed organic spinach and mixed greens, pre-cut organic butternut squash, and pre-cooked and frozen organic brown rice. Who doesn’t want that? In my decade of working in health and wellness, I have NEVER had anyone say they didn’t need time-saving in the healthy eating area.

Second, Trader Joe’s has high quality organic produce. I LOVE that. And while I always try to eat local, where I live right now doesn’t grow much in the winter. So I don’t feel bad getting non-local produce. (If you live somewhere with warm winters and lots of fresh local produce, the Trader Joe’s selection probably won’t impress you. But I live in the mountains in a dessert with lots of cold and snow. From where I’m sitting, the produce at TJ’s is strong.)

Third, the prices are fantastic. Especially when you compare them to other high-quality natural grocers. Even national chain ones. Healthy and affordable? What more could you want?

Fourth, Trade Joe’s is unique. They have rare seasonal offerings that can spice up your food repertoire. I love that. Who wants to eat the same old things all the time?

Fifth, the employees seem to genuinely enjoy working there. They smile, joke, and give off good vibes. It makes me feel good knowing I spend my money somewhere that creates and promotes a positive environment for the workers and the shoppers.

Also, did I mention the flowers? Just this week I showed my daughter all the different floral varieties. There were potted hydrangeas, lilies, orchids, succulents, and tulips. Not to mention the wide variety of fresh cut florals.

I should probably pause right now and let you know I have NO financial interest in Trader Joe’s. I don’t hold stock in them or make any money promoting them. I just truly love them.  

What Makes Me Nervous About TJ’s

For complete transparency, there are things I don’t love about Trader Joe’s.

For all the fantastic options, there are an equal number of non-fantastic options. To put it bluntly, there are lots of UNHEALTHY options at Trader Joe’s. In fact, sometimes it's trickier at Trader Joe’s because the unhealthy choices can be cloaked as “healthy.”

For example, I’m not wild about most of their frozen pre-made meals. They are often full of sodium, preservatives, and other wellness sabotagers.

There is TONS of sugar in many of their packaged offerings.

And the meat and seafood sections gross me out.

Why I’m Outlining My Current Picks

Because there are such great and not-so-great options, I made this list for you.

I want you to know the healthy go-to’s — the items you can buy knowing you are doing your health a favor.

So here we go!

Unsulphured Dried Apples

If you find yourself coming home from work famished and rifling though the cupboard for the first snack you can get your paws on, dried apples will be your new best friend. They are a fantastic snack option and superior to chips, crackers, and cookies.

These ones have a good texture (not too mushy, not too dry) and come in a clear package. I love the packaging because you can see them and reach for them right away (before you find the chips). The also obtain no sulfites, which is another bonus in my mind.

Organic Hearts of Romaine Lettuce

Now that the E.coli outbreak with mixed greens is over, I’m a HUGE fan of the organic hearts of romaine at Trader Joe’s. They last much longer than the mixed greens this time of year, taste great, and are a money saving value.

The bags come with three hearts and I typically cut them all at once, regardless of how much I need at the time. Next, I wash and dry them in my trusty salad spinner. Then I store what I don’t use in a glass container in the fridge with a lid. I find when I do this, the cut romaine lasts for a good week (though I eat so much it doesn’t normally stay in the fridge more than a few days).

Organic hearts of romaine are ALWAYS on my weekly shopping list.

Raw Almond Butter and Peanut Butter

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Nut butters can be EXPENSIVE. Especially when you venture into the organic and raw domaine (which I highly recommend).

Trader Joe’s has a great raw almond butter option without salt. It’s ingredients are top notch, it has a great taste, and the oil doesn’t separate out too much.

Ditto for the peanut butter.

These are typically on my weekly grocery list.

Organic Raw Cashews

Cashews are used weekly in my household. Most commonly, I add them to soups and blend them in the Vitamix for a creamy and rich taste and consistency sans dairy. Or I throw a few in with my smoothies.

Organic and raw nuts can be $$$. It’s nuts, really (sorry, but I can never resist a pun).

That’s why I love to buy them at Trader Joe’s. They tend to be fresh (even fresher than the ones I recently bought at Whole Foods) and at a fair price.

Organic Frozen Brown Rice

With a baby in the house, cooking time is at a premium. That’s why I LOVE these frozen brown rice packets for when I’m in a pinch. They are organic and pre-cooked. You just zap them in the microwave for 3 minutes and voila! You have brown rice ready to go.

I’m usually not thrilled with microwaving, but if time is a true issue I say go for it.


Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

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If you like oatmeal for breakfast, this is a real treat.

If you’re a longtime reader, you know my thoughts on oatmeal and the breakfast mistake most people make. Hint: it involves microwavable oats from packets with added sugar.

Trader Joe’s helps take the time out of cooking steel cut oats. This option takes 8-minutes (instead of the typical 30 to 45) to make on the stove, as well as offering a microwave option.

Are you looking for a delicious oatmeal recipe? Try my Morning Glory oats (pictured above).

10 Minute Barley

This is another time saving savior from Trader Joe’s. Mushroom barley soup is a regular in my household this time of year. And having barley that cooks in 10-minutes is a life saver for me.

The Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Barley is partially pre-cooked. This means the barley still remains a whole grain, but just cooks faster. It cuts 40 minutes off cooking time and still tastes great.

Organic Pomegranate Vinegar

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If you want a quick salad dressing, this is it for you. Pomegranate vinegar has a delightful flavor, but is free of oil and added salt. It’s great splashed on a bed of greens or used instead of vinegar in recipes.

What Will You Try?

Now you have a list of Skye-approved Trader Joe’s food choices that can save you time and money.

What will you try next time you’re there?

Or did I forget one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Happy grocery shopping,
Skye

Thank YOU! And 2017’s Best Of List.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you for being part of A Better Way Wellness. Thank you for helping me share real, truthful, and action-oriented health information. Thank you for making living a happier and healthier life a priority.

It’s been a year for the books and I wouldn’t be doing what I  am truly passionate about without you.

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So THANK YOU!

And as a small token of my appreciation, I am giving you a list of my most popular posts this last year.

It’s A Better Way Wellness’ Best Of 2017 List. It’s short, sweet, and full of health boosting tidbits. So have at it!

1. How to Use Supplements to Boost Happiness

If you want to be happier and want supplements to give you a boost, this is the post of you.

2. Healthy Happy Hour Part I and Healthy Happy Hour Part II

Do you love happy hour? And love feeling great? If so, click the links above to find out how.

3. How to Burn Fat in 15 Minutes

Who doesn’t want to burn fat fast? I know I do . . . if you do, too, check out this one.

4. How to be Happier at Work

Do you want to feel better and happier in the workplace? If this is you, I have actionable tips to help.

5. The Smoothie that Tastes Like Dessert, But Feels Like Medicine

Yes, please! Recipes that taste rich and luxe, but make you “feel like a million bucks” are my favorite. This one is easy-peasy. Give it a try!

6. My Fall Beverage Secret: The Sunshine Latte (Recipe Included)

I know it’s not technically fall anymore, but the Sunshine Latte will still please your mouth, mind, and body.

7. The Truth About Chocolate (& the Best Way to Eat It)

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Chocolate is GOOD for you and I show you the best ways to have it in this post.

8. 5 Products to Change Immediately to Decrease Exposure to Carcinogens and EDCs

Consider a New Year's resolution around this one. Swap out one (or all!) of these products to protect yourself from carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

Not Your Average Gift Guide . . .

Okay. I know you’ve received a half dozen holiday gift guides in your inbox in the last few weeks.

And for various reasons you probably haven’t liked them. My guess is it’s the same reasons I don’t like them. The gift guides may have heavy commercial bias, the gifts are WAY over budget, or you think the author is getting kick backs from what they recommend.

These are EXACTLY the reasons I knew I needed to create a gift guide for you.

This guide includes 10 healthy and inspiring gifts perfect for your loved ones (or for yourself). Each gift is under $30. I can personally vouch for everything on the guide. And I have NO financial interest in anything I recommend. These are just gifts I plan to give or would love to receive.

So if you want gifts to help your loved ones live a healthier and happier life (without breaking your budget), read on!

A Hydro Flask ($29.95)
 

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These stainless steel bpa-free water bottles have a cult following - and for good reason. I was gifted one last year and immediately fell in love. It’s double walled vacuum design keeps cold drinks cool and hot drinks warm. Bonus: the slim design of this model fits in most car cup holders.

This is a gift that encourages hydration and helps the planet. Win win!


The Oh She Glows Cookbook ($18)
 

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This is an oldie but a goodie. I’ve been obsessed with this cook book for years. Every single recipe is healthy, plant-based, and delicious. This book is truly a delight and I highly recommend it for yourself or a loved one.

The Oh She Glows App ($1.99)
 

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If you love Oh She Glows then this app is a perfect gift. It contains a vast collection of recipes with beautiful photos and interactive instructions. The app is constantly updated with new recipes so it will be a gift that keeps giving throughout the year. At under $2, it’s a steal of a deal.


The Calm App (free with varying amounts of in-app purchases)

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This bestselling app will provide the gift of guided meditation, improved sleep, and increased happiness. Better yet, it even claims to reduce anxiety. A special holiday perk is buy one get one free on the premium package. So you can give and receive the gift of calmness.

Weleda Skin Food ($15.99)
 

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This natural and rich cream is a godsend for dry and rough skin. It’s the perfect ultra rich hand cream for cold and dry weather. Plus, it’s unisex natural herbal scent is almost universally loved. I always keep my a tube of this on my bed stand, in my handbag, and a spare in my medicine cabinet. Weleda Skin Food is also free of parabens, phthalates, and other endocrine disruptors so you can give this gift with a clean conscience.

Trisha Watson Organics Lavender Vanilla Body Oil ($18)
 

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Locally sourced lavender and rich vanilla combine delightfully in this hydrating body oil. Sometimes my nose is offended by lavender and vanilla combos, but this product hits the nail on the head. It’s produced in small batches by my friend and aesthetician and would be the perfect gift for the women you love. Keep in mind all of Trisha's products are organic and free of harmful chemicals.

A Trader Joe’s Gift Card (you choose the amount!)

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Of all the gift cards purchased, grocery ones are used the most frequently. Trader Joe’s is a place high end and bargain shoppers agree is great. Plus you can feel good knowing your gift recipient is getting the gift of healthy nourishment.

Theo Chocolate Holiday Edition Bars ($4)
 

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If you’re a regular around here, you know I have a love affair with Theo chocolate. It’s organic, fair trade, and free of weird additives. And last week, I told you all about chocolate’s surprising health benefits. Read more about it here.

Each year, Theo comes out with holiday edition chocolate bars. At $4 a bar, you can buy a few a make a lovely (and healthy) holiday gift.

Sound of Om Tea ($12)

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This loose leaf herbal tea is the perfect winter treat. It’s caffeine free and naturally sweet thanks to licorice, making it the perfect after dinner dessert. It looks and smells beautiful thanks to the rosebuds and saffron. It’s a serious treat! Sound of Om is one of my favorite teas during the colder months.

Forlife Asian Style Tea Cup with Infuser and Lid ($27.75)
 

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I am a loose leaf tea gal. Why? To me, it tastes better and reduces the waste of disposable tea bags. I find this cup with built in infuser and lid is perfect for brewing loose leaf tea. The infuser is extra-fine so you won’t find stray tea leaves in your cup and I adore the Asian design. I have a turquoise one and will be adding another to my collection soon.

Enjoy the Holiday Season

I hope this guide gave you healthy holiday gifting inspiration. Am I missing something you love? Let me know in the comments section below.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season,
Skye

 

What Foods are BAD for Your Health?

Last week, we talked about the BEST foods for your health.

The natural follow up is which foods are the WORST for your health.

The truth is there are foods that significantly contribute to illness and disease. It’s the cold and hard truth.

We know certain foods increase your risk of early death. The bad news is Americans often eat way too much of these foods.

Where does this information come from? It comes from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

So which four foods should you avoid to decrease your risk of early death? Read on for the details!

Sugar Sweetened Beverages

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Sugar sweetened beverages are drinks that have sugar added to them. Examples include sodas and soft drinks, flavored juice drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks, energy drinks, and electrolyte replacement drinks.

While sugar sweetened beverages may seem innocuous, they are anything but. They are associated with 15% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

If you’re a die hard soda or sweet coffee drinker, it may take time to wean yourself. However, I know you can do it. And to help, here are some healthy swaps.

  • Instead of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, try La Croix La Cola.
  • Instead of sodas, try sparkling water (Trader Joe’s sells a variety of flavors - lemon, lime, berry, and pina colada to name a few).
  • Instead of Gatorade or Powerade, try water with fruit infused (think oranges, limes, or stawberries).
  • Instead of sweet tea, try iced tea with lemon. Or make iced tea with naturally sweet tea leaves (basically anything with licorice).
  • Instead of a caramel macchiato, try an Americano with milk.
  • Instead of energy drinks, try black coffee.


Processed Meats

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Processed meats are meats that have been preserved (by canning, curing, salting, smoking, or drying). Commonly consumed processed meats include sausages, hot dogs, salami, bacon, ham, corned beef, salted and cured meat, smoked meat, dried meat (think beef jerky), and canned meat.

Processed meats are associated with 8% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Patients often cite convenience and cost as a reason for turning to processed meats, which I completely understand.

The good news is there are healthy, affordable, and convenient alternatives to processed meats.  

Instead of making a ham sandwich or hot dog, try a nut butter and fruit sandwich on whole grain bread. Instead of beef jerky as a snack, try nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds are great this time of year). Or some veggies and hummus. Your heart and health will thank you.

Unprocessed Red Meats

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I know this one may surprise you.

Especially because some popular diets sing the praises of red meat.

The reality is red meat consumption is associated with 15% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

You may be thinking red meat was eaten by our ancestors. Which in some cultures is true. However, the quality of meat consumed by our ancestors was much different from what most people today consumed. The animals roamed free and ate grass, insects, and whatever else was available in the environment. Today most red meat is raised in factory farms and the nutrient profile of the meat is very different from the meat of our ancestors.

Instead of red meat, try to increase your intake of legumes. Beans and lentils have a rich and sturdy texture and can fill you up. Or try mushrooms. Mushrooms have a meat like texture and pick up the flavor of marinades well.

High Sodium

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Sodium. Salt. Table salt. Whatever you call it, too much is associated with 10% of deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Most salt in American diets come from processed foods (think processed meats, packaged foods) and fast food. If you avoid these, you should be in good shape.

Now What?

I love recommending foods to ADD to people’s diet instead of focusing on what to ELIMINATE.

But there are cases where you should eliminate or decrease your consumption of for your wellness.

Things you should eliminate entirely? Trans fats and sugar sweetened beverages.

Foods you should eliminate or decrease? Processed meats and red meat.

And salt is something you need to be mindful of.


So take an assessment of what you eat and determine where you can make tweaks to boost your wellness.

Until next week,
Skye

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Are You Making THESE Smoothie Mistakes?

The Case for Smoothies

Are you looking for something that tastes delicious, is easy to digest, and packed full of nutrients? If so, smoothies may be just what you are looking for.

Last week we uncovered the truth about juice. Read more about it here.  

Smoothies are an excellent alternative to juice. This is because they have the pros of juice (easy to drink and digest) with few of the cons.

When you juice, you remove much of the fiber from the fruit and vegetable ingredients. Remember, fiber helps keep your digestive system moving and stabilizes blood sugar.

When you make a smoothie, you retain the beneficial fiber. You also keep your portions in check.

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Not All Smoothies are Created Equally

Smoothies, like most food, can vary dramatically based on how they are prepared.

I commonly work with people who think they are making wonderfully nutritious smoothies. But when we get down to the details, we discover their smoothies are full of sugar and keeping them from their health goals.

I don’t want this to happen to you! So I compiled the top 5 smoothie mistakes I see people making.

Keep reading to make sure you aren’t making one of these very common mistakes.

Smoothie Mistake #1: Using dodgy protein powders.

This is the MOST common smoothie mistake my client’s make.

Most protein powders do NOT do you any favors.

Basically, the vast majority of protein powders are over priced and ultimately underperform. They are filled with strange protein sources and even stranger additives. Plus, most taste gross. Or the gross taste is masked with tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners (both wellness sabotagers).

There are a few exceptions, but you have to really be purposeful in your purchase.

Still looking to add protein to your smoothies? No problem. Try these whole food protein options:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Nuts
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Silken tofu

Smoothie Mistake #2: Adding fruit juice instead of whole fruit.

It’s tempting to add sweet fruit juice to your smoothies. However, fruit juice adds a whole lot of sugar to your smoothies without the help of blood sugar stabilizing fiber.

Instead of adding fruit juice, add whole fruit! That way you get the great taste and the beneficial qualities of eating the whole food.

Smoothie Mistake #3: Forgetting the green vegetables.

Does the idea of adding spinach or kale to your smoothie gross you out?

It shouldn’t.

A handful or two of green leafy vegetables adds serious nutrition without taking away from the taste.

Does the idea of drinking a green colored smoothie make you cringe? If so, add some dark colored fruit (like blueberries) to mask the color. This is also a great trick for sneaking vegetables into children smoothies.

Smoothie Mistake #4: Using yogurt as the base.

Many smoothie recipes use yogurt as its base.

Why’s this a mistake? There’s so many reasons I could devote an entire post to answering this. Bottomline: most yogurts are full of sugar and odd preservatives that don’t do you any health favors.

If you crave a creamy smoothies, use alternatives to yogurt to get the consistency you desire. Nut milks (like almond or cashew), hemp milk, or flaxseed milk are all great options. Also adding a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter can up the creamy factor.

Smoothie Mistake #5: Buying expensive premade smoothies.

Store or restaurant smoothies, while tasty, can cost $7 or more per serving. If you’re drinking one day, that’s $49 a week or nearly $2500 a year.

You can easily make homemade and nutritious smoothies for a fraction of the price. And to save time, you can blend up a few at a time and drink them over the next few days.

Good for You Smoothie Recipes?

Looking for mistake-free smoothie recipes? Check out my smoothie recipes.

Glow Getter Smoothie

Skye’s Detox Smoothie

A Better Way Breakfast Smoothie (from The ABC’s of Wellness)

Sending you health, light, and love,

Skye

To Juice or Not to Juice - Is Juice Really Healthy?

Have you noticed advertisements for juice fasts? Or seen a juice bar pop up in your neighborhood? If so, you’re not alone.

Juice fasts and juice bars are more popular than ever. Juice fasts promise detoxification, weight loss, and even beautifying. And juice bars have morphed from granola establishments to hip and modern hang outs.

So is the hype true? Is juice really healthy for you?

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Like most things, the answer isn’t so simple.

First, we have to break down the two most popular types of juice - fruit juice and vegetable juice.  When you juice fruit or vegetables, you remove the solid portions and are left with liquid.

In the case of fruit, this is typically a bad thing.

One reason is because the juicing process removes fiber (a vital part) from fruit. Fiber helps keep your digestive system moving AND helps stabilize the natural sugar found in fruit. When you remove the fiber, you ingest the natural sugar in fruit without the blood sugar stabilizing effects of fiber.

Another reason is when you juice, you often consume much more than you would if you were eating the whole fruit. A glass of orange juice can contain as much as FIVE orange’s worth of liquid and sugar. It is pretty easy to swig a glass of OJ (and five orange’s worth of calories and sugar) and barely notice feeling full from it. If you stuck with solid fruit, you would definitely notice feeling full after eating five oranges.

Bottom line: Steer clear of fruit juices.

If you want to juice, vegetable juice is the safer bet.

While you still miss out on the fiber, vegetable juice is lower in sugar compared to its fruit counterpart while allowing you to ingest important nutrients in a concentrated form.

But I suggest sticking to pure and fresh vegetable juice. Many premade vegetable juice cocktails contain added salt or hidden fruit juice.

To juice or not to juice? Fruit is a nay, but vegetables are a yay.

Do you have a burning health question? Send it my way!

In health,
Skye

 

You Need to Know THIS If You’re Trying to Avoid the Worst Fat for Your Health

I know you want to live a healthy and happy life. And I’m here to help.

That’s why I completely changed my post for this week to meet your needs.

Since last week’s post, I’ve received TONS of questions about the worst fat for your health (aka trans fat). For the record, I’m so glad you asked. Because this is SUCH an important topic.


Trans fats are so incredibly TOXIC to the body that I knew I needed to answer my most frequently asked questions.


As a recap, last week you learned ALL about trans fats. Why they are the WORST fat for your health,  common food sources, and how they hide in food. If you need a refresher, click here.


So today, I am answering YOUR questions and questions I commonly receive about trans fats in quick fire.


Q: Should I really care about trans fats?

Yes!!!!!!!!

Absolutely.

Please care!

Are you catching my urgency here?

There is a large amount of high quality evidence showing trans fats lead to serious health problems.

This is not rumor or myth. If you want more information and studies, check out this post.


Q: Skye, if trans fats are so bad for you, why do companies use them?

This is an excellent question. Trans fats are used for several reasons.

One, they are cheap for food manufacturers.

Two, trans fats extend the shelf life of foods. Natural oils (such as olive or safflower) go rancid much faster. Using hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats) extends shelf life dramatically.

Three, trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. They allow liquid oils to be solid or semi-solid at room temperature (think margarine). They give nondairy creamers a creamy texture.

Four, trans fats used to deep-fry food can be reused multiple times before replacing. This means convenience and cost savings for manufacturers.

You can see, there are many reasons why a food manufacturer would want to use trans fats (but no good reasons for your health).

Q: Trans fats scare me! How can I make sure I avoid trans fats?

I hear you. Trans fats are scary.

The good news is you don’t need them AT ALL in your diet.

Some tips to avoid trans fats:

  • Shop the periphery of the store
  • Make your own food from scratch
  • Shop at retailers that are trans fats free (such as Whole Foods or PCC)

Q: Skye, I love non-dairy creamer in my coffee. Now I know my favorite one has partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil [a trans fat]. What can I use instead?

This is a tough one because I know people LOVE their French Vanilla, Hazelnut, or Irish Cream nondairy creamer.

Here are some ideas:

  • Use real half-and-half or cream. If you miss the flavoring, add some natural vanilla or almond extract.
  • Use coconut milk. Coconut milk is creamy, rich, and has a nice natural flavor.
  • Try the 365 brand of coffee creamers (sold at Whole Foods). They definitely have sugar and oil, but are trans fat free.
  • Drink your coffee black.
  • Ditch the coffee and opt for a healthier beverage. Try my matcha tea latte or turmeric latte recipes.

Note: It may take time to acclimate to your new coffee and creamer routine. Don’t give up! Give yourself a solid week or two to adjust.

Q: Dr. McKennon, I loved the trans fat information. But . . . crackers are my favorite snack food. Does this mean I can never have crackers again?

No!

You can absolutely have crackers. Just avoid the ones that have trans fats.

Because I feel for you (and want you to still enjoy your favorite snack), I’m giving you a table of cracker substitutes.

Another great option is Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers. These crackers are absolutely delicious and fine for gluten-free folks. You won’t miss the trans fat at all!

Q: I’m addicted to peanut butter. Do I have to give it up? Are there any brands of peanut butter that are free of trans fats?

You do NOT have to give up your peanut butter.

MANY commercial brands contain partially hydrogenated oils. The good news is manufactures are hearing the message: consumers don’t want trans fats! Therefore, many conventional brands are replacing the partially hydrogenated oils with fully hydrogenated oils.

My personal preference with food is to enjoy it in its most natural state. For peanut butter, this means I only want peanuts and maybe salt on my ingredient list.

As of today, the following options contain just peanuts and salt:

  • Adam’s Natural peanut butter (found at most grocers)
  • Trader Joe’s Organic peanut butter (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 365 Organic peanut butter (found at Whole Foods)
  • Santa Cruz Organic peanut butter (found at health food stores and natural grocers)
  • Once Again peanut butter (found at health food stores and natural grocers)

Q: How can I avoid trans fats when eating out?

This is another good one. Eating out can be tricky — you don’t have access to ingredient lists and labels.

Here are some tips to minimize your chances of having trans fats:

  • Eat at trans fat free establishments
  • Ask your waiter or the chef if trans fats (or partially hydrogenated oils) are used
  • Avoid deep-fried foods (since many restaurants use partially hydrogenated oils in their fryers)
  • Stick to freshly prepared vegetables, legumes, and fruits

Q: Are there trans fats in animal products?

Yes.

Animal products may contain naturally occurring trans fats. Items such as beef, lamb, and butterfat may contain trans fat.

There are not sufficient studies to determine if naturally occurring trans fat is as detrimental to health as man made (such as partially hydrogenated oils).

The safe bet would be to avoid all trans fat until more information is available.

Q: What kind of diet should I follow to avoid trans fats?

Have a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, and legumes.

  • If you cook with oil, use naturally occurring oils that are unhydrogenated. Examples include olive oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil.
  • Check labels for trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils. Avoid ALL products that contain either.
  • Stay away from commercially prepared cookies, crackers, pies, and cakes.

That wraps up the Q and A session on trans fats.

If you still have questions, please reach out! I’m always here for you.

Until next time,
Skye

 

3 Recipes to Get Your Detox On

Now that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed your (well deserved) Thanksgiving holiday, it’s time to get back to business! If you feel like your belly could use a little detox to get back on track, you are not alone. Feeling a little bloated? Or like your clothes are a smidgen tighter than they ought to be? If so, I’ve got you! I’m giving you three recipes that will leave you feeling healthy, happy, and detoxed. Did I mention they taste great, too? I call this a win-win-win!


1. Skye’s Detox Smoothie

This smoothie is packed full of nutrients, protein, antioxidants, and omega-3s! And the best part is it tastes naturally sweet and can be a breakfast, snack, or dessert.

Also, I’m loving my new Glass Dharma reusable glass straws (a gift from my husband). These beauties can be used for hot or cold beverages and are dishwasher safe (a necessity in my household).


2. The Oh She Glows Eat Your Greens Detox Soup

I LOVE this soup recipe! It takes 20 minutes to make, tastes amazing, and is full of vitamins, greens, and anti-inflammatory spices. It’s included in the original Oh She Glows cook book. If you don’t have it, head over to Vegan Miam’s blog for the full recipe.



3. Quinoa Collard Wraps from The Sprouted Kitchen

This is the perfect recipe for lunch or dinner. Fresh collards filled with quinoa, tahini, carrots, and more deliciousness. They transport well and are a snap to make. The recipe is from The Sprouted Kitchen (an amazing cook book). However, Golubka Kitchen’s blog has the recipe posted here. You can thank me later for this one!


This week I encourage you to try one (or all three!) of these quick, delicious, nourishing, and detoxing recipes. Your body will thank you.

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Try This, Not That: Healthy Swaps for Your Favorite Drinks

As detailed in last week’s Wellness Blast (Not signed up? Use this link to join), this month I am making a conscious effort to simplify.

Life. Food. Wellness. Movement.

And it got me thinking — what are simple switches you can make that will make you feel better and be healthier?

Ideas started FLOODING and so begins a multiple-week series devoted to healthy, simple, and delicious swaps for your favorite foods. This week is all about beverages! Be advised snacks, breakfasts, and desserts will be coming soon.

Instead of a Vanilla Latte . . . Try a Matcha Latte

If you indulge in a vanilla latte, my guess is you are jonesing for an energy boost and sweet sensation. Coffee, while delicious, can actually leave you feeling more tired later in the day. And the energy you get from coffee is often frenetic and not the type you truly want.

The swap? A matcha tea latte. This antioxidant-packed treat is a Japanese staple. It gives you controlled energy, without the late in the day low.

Three ingredients added to a blender (or stirred vigorously) is all you need. My easy matcha tea latte includes:
8 ounces of nut milk (almond is my favorite for the recipe), steamed
1/2 tsp matcha powder
10 drops of liquid chocolate stevia

Instead of a Caramel Macchiato . . . Try Organic Coffee + Natural Creamer + Maple Syrup or Honey

See above re: caffeine and sugar.

Instead, try organic coffee with a natural creamer. For sweetness, try Grade B maple syrup or honey.


Instead of 7-Up . . . Try Lime La Croix

If you are a sucker for 7-Up and love the combination of carbonation and citrus, I have excellent news for you. Lime La Croix! This flavored carbonated water is free of sugar, preservatives, calories, and artificial sweeteners.

Whole Foods sells these by the can so you can test one out before committing to a whole case.


Instead of a Chai Tea Latte . . . Try a Turmeric Latte

In college, my go-to drink was a chai tea latte (served steaming hot in the winter and over ice in the summer). It wasn’t until much, much, much later I realized everything IN those chai tea lattes. A grande chai tea latte from your favorite coffee shop contains MORE sugar than a Snicker’s bar. Eek!

Now I have found an amazing, spicy, wellness-enhancing substitute for my beloved chai. Say hello to the turmeric latte.

This super simple latte can be made at home in minutes. Imagine warmed almond milk, mood-boosting spices, and raw honey blended together with a little froth on top. Perfection.

I love these so much, I can’t stand the thought of not sharing these with you. If you are a chai-lover, you won’t be disappointed.


Instead of Premade Margarita Mix . . . Try My Margarita Cocktail

Store-bought drink mixes are notorious for three things: 1) being full of calories,  2) being more unnatural than Joan Rivers’ face, and 3) tasting gross. If you’re going to enjoy a drink, I say make the best drink you can.

Make your own margaritas! Really, it is quite simple. Want some inspiration? Check out my margarita cocktail recipe.


Instead of Drinking Water from a Plastic Water Bottle . . . Try a Glass or Stainless Steel Water Bottle

We could really talk about this for hours. Bottom line: plastics contain harmful endocrine disruptors that you should avoid. This is not hippie voodoo. There is strong scientific evidence to support this.

Do yourself a favor and invest in a reusable water bottle made from glass or stainless steel. My favorite glass bottles are from bkr. And I was recently gifted a Hydroflask I adore.


Instead of Diet Coke . . . Try La Cola La Croix

A simple switch for Diet Coke also comes from our friends at La Croix (no, I am not paid by them). Try their La Croix La Cola. Free of calories, sweeteners, and sodium. It has natural cola flavoring, sans sugar and carcinogens.


Take the Simple Switch Challenge

Pick one of these switches and trial it this week. Give it three tries before you make a final decision. If your palate is used to a regular Coke, it may take a time or two to get used to the natural flavor of La Croix La Cola. And if your tastebuds are expecting a chai tea latte, you may need to try the turmeric latte recipe a handful of times until it pleases your palate. That is perfectly normal, and actually a good thing. We are resetting your palate to enjoy healthier options that leave you feeling (and looking) great.

Loved this post? Stay tuned for next week!

 

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xoxo,

Skye

 

Banishing Post-Lunch Bloat & Regret (+ 6 Tips for a Better Lunch)

Lunch Regret

Have you ever eaten lunch and immediately regretted it? Maybe you felt bloated, lethargic, or just plain bad afterward. Or your pants felt too tight or your skin a little greasy? If so, you are not alone. I call sufferers of this phenomenon victims of Lunch Regret Syndrome (LRS).

Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on how you want tofeel after lunch. In a perfect world, you would feel nourished, invigorated, and refreshed. Ready for action and mentally clear.

And it’s possible. There are filling lunches that also leave you flourishing.

You can have your lunch and eat it too.

To help you, I’m sharing tricks to help you have a better lunch. If this is right up your alley, you have one of my oldest friends to thank. This post was her special request. And because she has two adorable kiddos, a special bonus section on lunches for little ones follows.

A Word to the Wise

Do yourself a favor and just pack lunch the night before. It’s tempting to think you’ll have time in the morning, but if you are like me, it won’t happen. Trust me on this one. And use those extra minutes in the morning to meditate.

Adult Lunch Tricks

1. Pack leftovers from the night before.

Obvi, but this is what I do 90% of the time. I cook something delicious and nutritious for dinner (tonight is mushroom fajitas) and immediately pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Add a side salad and a piece of fruit, and you’re set!

2. Make a smoothie.

If I know I’ll be on the go during lunch hours or seeing patients without a break, smoothies are my go to. Fill them with spinach, fruit, flaxseed, and nuts and you’ll be satisfied for hours.

3. Wrap it.

With collard greens, that is. Instead of a sandwich on white bread, fix a sandwich in a raw collard green. Collards (the new kale) are mild in flavor and high in nutrients. My current fave is hummus, spinach, Greek olives, and red peppers wrapped in collards.

4. Be a salad chef.

I’m not talking about wilted iceberg lettuce and some weird dressing from a bottle. Picture colorful greens, black beans, ripe avocado slices, diced fresh tomatoes and cucumber, homemade tortilla chip crumbles, cilantro garnish, all topped with a creamy and delicious dressing. This salad should be satisfying, filling, and packed with flavor. Add a side of fruit and a sparkling water, and you’re set up for lunchtime success. TRICK: bring your dressing in a separate container (a small mason jar works great) or place on the bottom on your container to prevent the dreaded mushy salad.

5. Add dark chocolate.

Okay, this should not be your entire lunch so hear me out. If you like to finish off with something sweet (and I know many people do), consider a square of natural dark chocolate. The less sugar, the better. My personal pick is Theo dark chocolate, which is made in Seattle, but can be found at retailers across the country. Whole Foods and REI carry Theo chocolate from coast to coast. You can always order online from Theo direct or from third-parties such as Vitacost (on sale right now and save an extra $10 off your purchase using this link).

6. Finish with a tisane or tea.

Mint is a natural stomach soother and has other wonderful health benefits. This is why many restaurants offer after dinner mints. Finish your lunch with a refreshing warm drink. When I can, I infuse hot water with fresh mint leaves from my garden. In a pinch or when I’m on the go, I use herbal mint tea (Tazo Refresh is my usual).

BONUS: IDEAS FOR KIDDOS

Personally, I’m excited to dive into leftovers for lunch. But as a child (and really until I started cooking for myself), I detested leftovers. The good ol’ packing leftovers trick may not work for the kiddos so I’m giving you a few ideas to help make their lunches better.

Drinks

Water, water, water. If your kids beg for juice, please make sure it is 100% fruit juice. I shudder remembering the Sunny D I used to drink during soccer game half-time (corn syrup is the second ingredient and I’m still not sure why canola oil would need to be added to “juice”).

Fruits and Veggies

Make fruit and vegetables approachable. Would you ever send your kiddo to school with a raw chicken breast in their lunchbox? Probably not. So why would you send them with unprepped fruits and veggies?

Cut and core apples and add a side (nut butter with a little honey is a good option or make it dessert with a chocolate dip). Try kale chips. Serve chopped veggies with hummus or another tasty dip. Use a vegetable peeler and make carrot peels. Dust your spiralizer off and make veggie curls. Have fun and be creative here.

Sandwich Hacks

If your little eaters are sandwich lovers, there are still ways to improve the quality of their lunches.

  • Try bread alternatives (see collard idea above).
  • Use whole grain bread exclusively. This is an area where food marketing really tries to trick you. Look at the ingredient list and make sure the word “whole” precedes the grain in each ingredient. Remember, multi-grain does not necessarily mean whole grain.
  • Switch up the type of bread you use. It can be easy to buy the same bread each week, but there are a plethora of options out there. Experiment with brown rice bread, pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, and raisin bread.
  • Try a nut butter and fresh fruit sandwich. Think peanut butter and banana, almond butter and strawberry, or cashew butter and blueberry. If your little ones really want sweet, drizzle a little sweetener (like Grade B maple syrup or honey) on top.
  • Sneak veggies into other sandwiches. Lettuce, tomato, raw spinach, sprouts, avocado, and red peppers can often complement sandwich ingredients.

Sweet Tooth

If something sweet is desired, think outside the (store bought cookie) box. Most kids love a good smoothie — try packing one full of fruit or try a chocolate smoothie. Be a cookie chef and try an uber healthy recipe. I’m a bonafide cookie lover and have a cadre of wellness supporting recipes in rotation.

Get Ready to Feel Better in the Afternoon

Now that you have a few tricks up your sleeve, pick one or two and give it a try tomorrow. Or the next time you need to pack a lunch. Don’t stress if every trick doesn’t work for you. See what works and stick with it, and discard what doesn’t.

Here’s to a better way to lunch. Do you have a great lunch hack that I missed? I’d love to hear about it.

 

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