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Debra

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Updated TJ’s Shopping List

I am a loyal shopper of Trader Joe’s.

I discovered this find a couple of years ago and have never turned back. They have great, healthy selections with very reasonable prices. Although, like every supermarket, not everything they sell is “healthy”. You still have to read packages and ingredients.

I published this list quite a while ago and have since learned even more about healthier choices and selections. Plus, TJ’s has expanded it’s organic/non-GMO offerings – always a plus!

As before, I am not suggesting everything on this list is the perfect balance of nutrition, but most on the list are excellent choices. I have spent the time reading the packages and narrowing down selections.

Here ya go:Healthy-Nutrition-For-Optimal-Tennis-Fitness

Breads/Pastas/Crackers

Ezekiel Bread

Organic French Baguette

Organic Shells and White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (for the kids)

 

Organic Tri-Color Pasta

Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

Organic Brown Rice (in freezer section)

Organic Quinoa (in freezer section)

Organic Peanut Butter Crackers

Organic Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs

Multi-grain and Flaxseed Water Crackers

Cereals

McCann’s Irish Oatmeal (non-GMO)

Organic Oatmeal (or Steel Cut)

Uncle Sam’s

Organic Nature’s Flax Plus

Organic Heart to Heart

Organic Heritage Flakes

Organic Golden Flaxseed

Organic Chia Seeds

Sauces / Condiments/ Dips

Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole (my addiction – half the calories of normal guac – it’s made with Greek yogurt!) – this is NOT organic, but I just can’t resist!

Organic Hummus

Balsamic Glaze (I use on mozzarella & tomato sandwiches, as salad dressing, as a dip…)

Organic Reduced Sugar Strawberry or Raspberry Preserves

Organic Ketchup

Organic Marinara Sauce

Organic Pure Grade A Maple Syrup

Cinnamon

Proteins

Individual Goat Cheese Packets

Organic Lite Cheese Sticks

Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter (drain the oil from the top before eating!) – this only has organic peanuts & sea salt…nothin’ else

Trader Joe’s Organic Hemp Protein (choc or vanilla)

Organic 1% Milk

West Soy Organic Unsweetened Vanilla Soy Milk (I use in smoothies)

Organic Eggs

Organic chickpeas / black beans / kidney beans

Goat Cheese Cream Cheese Spread (great tasting and none of the artificial ingredients and “guar gum” of regular cream cheese)

Trader Joe’s Organic Shredded Mozzarella

Trader Joe’s Organic 1% Lowfat Greek Yogurt (large and individual containers)

Organic Mixed Nuts

Crumbled Feta

Shaved Grana Padanoi Parmesan Cheese

Organic Ground Lean Beef

Organic Chicken Breast

Snacks (suggest eating the top 2 in moderation vs. sitting down with a bag, but a serving is perfectly fine)

Organic Tortilla Chips

Organic Popcorn

Go Macro Protein Bar

Kind Bars

Produce

Organic Raw Broccoli

Organic Celery

Organic Carrots

Organic Sugar Snap Peas

Organic Broccoli Slaw (mix with yogurt, a little mayo, salt, pepper)

Organic Apples

Organic Oranges

Organic Bananas

Organic Pears

Organic Sweet Onion

Organic Tomatoes

Organic Peppers

Organic Tri-Mix Salad (in a bag)

Organic Applesauce (used in baking)

Organic Dried Turkish Apricots

Organic Dried Cranberries

Vegetables/Fruit (in the frozen aisle)

Organic Superfood

Organic Spinach

Organic Broccoli

Organic Sweet Peas

Organic String Beans

Organic Sweet Corn

Organic Frozen Fruit

Miscellaneous

Raspberry/Lime Sparking Seltzer

Electrolyte Water (mostly for my kids)

Organic Low Sodium Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Organic Dark Chocolate

Organic Coffee (Decaf and Regualar) – grind yourself

Organic Coconut Oil

Ghee Butter

Organic Ketchup

Organic Sour Cream

Flowers – to treat yourself!

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Summer Slumpin’

Ahh Summer. Slower, unstructured days, kids home, relaxing times. All good.keep-calm-and-relax-it-s-summer

Or not. Give me some structure and give it to me now.

My life is all about my kids. Literally. Despite my busy lifestyle and multiple career paths, my #1 job is to keep them fed, healthy and safe. During the school year, my days are completely structured with a schedule of maintaining my marketing business, training clients and keeping  the household afloat with quiet, focused time abound.

I have calculated that since the summer began (and we all know it began well before school ended), I have had exactly 17 minutes and 43 seconds to myself (ok, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration). Not gonna lie, I have shed a few “I’m gonna lose my mind” tears. I am a mom that truly adores her children; yet I have found myself not being able to focus with a clear mind for more than 5 seconds (I refer to it as “mom ADD”) or have any “me” time. The struggle is real.

The luxury of healthy meal planning is out the window (mostly because the kids eat me out of house and home 12 hours a day) since we are at sport practices/games 6-7 nights of the week –  so dinner is typically at 4:30 or 8:00 pm and although in the category of healthy, it’s something quick and easily digestible. No time for mama to truly feed (or eat) a proper meal.  I find myself grabbing and picking all day – just to sustain enough energy to plow through.

Although I am (somehow) able to maintain regular workouts, I feel out of sorts and exhausted trying to add some normalcy to my days.

Sound familiar?

So, you ask…”What’s the solution?”

Let it go…Let it gooooo…Summer is the exact right time to loosen up your schedule. To enjoy the moment. To realize time is precious and the future is promising. Instead of fighting it, try to embrace it.

Some tips on how to make the most out of the unstructured-ness:

  1. Continue to fuel your body with as much healthy food as possible. Even if it’s grab-n-go try to choose unprocessed, organic and non-GMO. Tried to avoid eating out more than 2x’s per week.
  2. Keep physical. Kids home and can’t get to a class? Try the free 7-Minute Workout on iTunes or load the Nike Trainer app and get it done in your home. Aim for 3 really challenging workouts/week.
  3. Carve out YOU time….away from the kids. Away from noise. Designate your evenings to reading a book in a quiet space. Get up early to have an hour of quiet time with you and your coffee.
  4. Enjoy a cocktail (or two). Preferably during a night out with friends while wearing a swanky summer outfit. Try to keep it to something lighter like wine or spritzers. Not so much on the margaritas or Jack and coke.
  5. Hide from your kids. Just for a bit. In an office, in the basement, in your attic. Whatever works. Notice how they will find a game to play or a show to watch (I have them do 30 minutes in a summer workbook every day) and get some work done or cross off some to-dos. When we check things off our list, it makes us feel accomplished and less stressed.
  6. Drink a full pint of water first thing in the morning. It flushes out your system, hydrates you from the summer heat and gives you more energy for the day ahead.
  7. Sleep in. It’s ok. Everything will be waiting for you.
  8. Eat ice cream. Sundays are for Sundaes. That once a week indulgence is so worth it.
  9. Take a day trip. When we escape from the mundane, we become refreshed.
  10. Play music. It changes everything.
  11. Look forward. Planning things to look forward to in the future keeps us happy and optimistic.

And off I go to practice what I preach…

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The Italian Experiment

italiaThis April, we spent 10 days in Italy. Best. Trip. Ever. And we ate. Everything. Cheeses, oil soaked veggies, gelato, pizza, bread, pasta…All of it. The entire week, I did not have one stomach ache (typically I average 1-2/day) and I lost weight. Truth spoken people.

Aside from moving to Italy, there is a lesson in this – and it’s two-fold.

  1. Pure, unprocessed fresh food is good for your body. Period.
  2. Fat is good.

1st point – Italians barely use a refrigerator and do not load their pantries with snacks. Most of them use the college-sized dorm room versions our kids take to school. Everything is bought and made fresh daily. They do not manufacture or consume processed foods.

Now let’s focus on the 2nd point. As I’ve written about before, we have been taught to be afraid of fat and told “fat will make you fat”. I am here, as a witness, to tell you… that is a myth.

More and more we are learning that higher fat diets help balance hormones, make vitamins (A,D,E,K) more absorbable, promote skin, hair, cardiovascular & brain health, prevent diabetes and… help you lose weight. All calories are not created equal. That is a farce. But there is more to it. Some pure logic – some scientific.

The fat you will find in a frappuccino or a milkshake (kinda the same thing), in a processed protein bar, in frozen dinners, in cookies or even in over-the-counter cheese is not the fat I am referring to. These processed fats are not pure, fresh or organic. They are simply that – processed. And your body does not know what to do with them – so the chemicals are converted to fat in your body.

Enter the scientific: The hormonal effect of food is a much bigger part of the equation and is the most important factor when it comes to fat loss. Namely, insulin (the fat-storage hormone, not fat-releasing). According to Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS – author of Smart Fat: Eat More Fat, Lose More Weight. Get Healthy Now, “the American high-carb, low-fat diet…causes a lot of insulin to be released. When insulin is high, the fat cells lock their doors and won’t release their goodies…and fat can’t be burned for fuel.”

Here’s the kicker. Carbs and protein effect insulin levels. Fat? Not-at-all. And it produces more energy per gram than any other food group. And this all works when you eat “smart fats.”

Smart fats include:

Extra virgin olive oil (hello, Italia)
Fish oil
Wild salmon
Nuts
Coconut, palm & nut oils
Dark chocolate (Italia, there you are again)
Free range, organic eggs
Fats from grass-fed organic meats

Toxic fats include:

Factory farmed meat on a grain-fed diet
Man-made processed fats and foods
Processed omega 6 veggie oils (corn, soybean, canola)
Fats damaged in cooking (see previous blog: Best Oils To Cook With)

So, the high-fat, high-fiber, high flavor, moderate protein-rich foods consumed in Italy proved to be the winners.

Try it. See how you feel and if you notice a difference. And always remember to source your fruits, veggies and proteins organically as much as possible.

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  • Sonja Gamgort

    A+ post! Should we skip the store bought packaged pasta then? Would love to look deeper at the case for eating grass fed meats versus grain fed!

    • Debra

      Organic fresh pasta is your best option. Definitely avoid grain fed meats if possible.

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