Sep 20, 2012

A Healthy Perspective on Weight Loss

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like everywhere I look in health-related magazines and books, weight loss is the theme. Since recently having my second son, losing weight has definitely been on my mind; how much to lose, when to start, what plan to follow, etc? 

Unfortunately, much of the popular press is no help. There seems to be no consistency in what nutrition plan or "diet" works for the long term. Between cleanses, fasts, very low calorie diets, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, etc, it can be very confusing. Naturally, this hodgepodge of diet advice is usually accompanied by images of underweight models and other body types that aren't realistic - or healthy - for most people. Frustrating, right?

Is this what every woman's supposed to look like?? 
I don't think so.

The reality is that we all come in different shapes and sizes and health cannot be defined exclusively by numbers on a scale. Striving for a "perfect" weight can not only lead to disordered eating, but it can take the focus away from the real purpose of being healthy - to enjoy your life!

According to an article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is no "ideal body weight". Living a healthy life can be achieved by following a few simple principles:
  1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  2. Get regular physical activity
  3. Look at your health habits and find ways to change those that are unhealthy
  4. Make time for regular physical check-ups
  5. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides checked regularly
Interestingly, following these principles often leads to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, that is, a weight that allows you to enjoy life and be active. I keep all this in mind as I embark on post-baby weight loss round two! My goal is not to get wrapped up in the numbers-game, but to eat well, exercise regularly and enjoy my life. Here I go...

Sep 12, 2012

Balsamic Marinara Sauce and Life with Two Kids

If your garden is like my garden, you have a ton of tomatoes. Our tomato harvest came just in time for the delivery of our second son, James. In the midst of cuddling and loving on my new little guy, I realized my tomatoes were desperate to be picked and eaten.
With family in town to greet James and help out, I had a few extra hands to help me make marinara sauce with the tomatoes from the garden. Boy, did it turn out good. Plus, you can basically throw all the ingredients into a pot and let them simmer away. I got the recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Budget Bytes. I love it because all of the recipes are affordable to make and delicious. Score! So, here we go.
Credits to mother-in-law, Bev for helping me out with the prep-work.
I followed the basic recipe, but also added zucchini, ground cooked turkey and fresh tomatoes instead of canned. And for time sake, I didn't peel the tomatoes beforehand. I just cut em up and threw em in the pot. Easy. The recipe is for a slow-cooker, but since I was home and tending to the kids anyway, I just simmered it on the stove for about 2 hours and it turned out fabulous.
We started by shredding the zucchini.
Chop chop the tomatoes.
In with the basil.
Balsamic Marinara Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 28 oz Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Med Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 lb Extra Lean Ground Turkey
Chop onions and mince garlic. Add olive oil to simmer pot on medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic a bit, then add tomatoes. Stir to combine, then add spices. Mix well, cover and set to low heat so that the mixture simmers. Cook for approximately 1-2 hours, or until desired consistency is reached. In a separate pan, cook ground turkey until done and add to sauce.
This was a great meal to enjoy with family. With two kids, I now appreciate more than ever healthy food that is easily prepared. My family enjoyed the taste and I felt good knowing that my ingredients were fresh and nutritous. That said, not everyone has a garden, so it's nice to know that even conventional produce at the grocery store offers health benefits. Simply feeding your family more fruits and vegetables is a great way to improve overall health.

Sep 4, 2012

Baby Boy

On August 13th, we welcomed a new member into our family - a beautiful baby boy named James. I'll be back to blogging soon, but right now am enjoying all the cuddle time I can get. Here are a few pictures of James and our new family. Looking forward to sharing more healthy recipes and nutrition topics soon!