if not now, when?

there has been an incredible influx of folks at the gym these last couple of weeks.  recently i asked a fellow patron, "what gives?" and she offered her opinion which is probably pretty accurate, "people getting ready to eat all that turkey."  have to look your best for the big day, right?  good for them. i guess.  sometime is better than no time but it's interesting.

then there's those other folks who are waiting for "after the holidays" to make a move (or move).   i've heard it several times over the last little while and thinking about it took up a lot of mental space the other day as i tried to finish my b.o.r.i.n.g. eight mile treadmill run.  i wondered, "why?"  what after the holidays?  what changes after the holidays?  

let me tell you what i think about this (because two of you care to know what i think).  living a healthy lifestyle is something that happens before, during and after the holidays.  you can't fake it by waiting until "after."  at that point, you're basically setting yourself up.  'cause the holidays don't just happen one time.  they're pretty consistent which means that at some point, if the whole "starting after the holidays" is your plan, you're going to run into another holiday season.  what then?  do you quit what you started?  

most people do.

don't be most people. make your plan part of your life.  not something that is "in addition to" your life.  

consider yourself challenged.


6 new recipes ~ a long time coming

six new recipes.  i've been trying to get them posted for a long time now but, life happens and, what can i do besides all i can do?  there's not enough hours in the day.

but listen, these recipes are all really yummy and i've been obsessed with finding slow cooker recipes as well as meals that i can freeze.  unfortunately, i will not be the one to cook the frozen meals, i'm giving them away so i won't be able to report back about how well they worked out but, i'll try to get feedback from the recipient and post about the results in the future but i can attest to how delicious each meal was on the day it was prepared.  only a select number of recipes made the cut (i've had a few slow-cooker flops the last few weeks) so please, give them a try and tell me what you think.

don't expect much from the posts themselves, my goal was to simply get the recipes up so i could refer back to them in the future, i'm already planning on making the white chicken chili again this week for my hunk's birthday dinner.  he's also requested "better than sex" cake which really is ..............

maybe soon i'll have a chance to post something fitness related.  we'll see.

without further ado, the list (all recipes are posted below this post if you just scroll down. surprise!):

homemade spaghetti sauce (with meat) ~ awesome stuff
chicken adobo soup
white bean chicken chili
baked penne with sun-dried tomatoes and chicken
baked ziti
sweet potato chili

happy cooking!

sweet potato chili ~ slow cooker

this recipe comes from a wonderful blog, "can you stay for dinner" which is full of beautiful photography, wonderful recipes and the blog author has an incredible story about weight loss and weight maintenance that she chooses to share with the world.  i'm grateful for folks like her.

real quick, i made a couple minor changes from the original recipe such as browning the meat and cooking the onions before throwing everything into the pot.  i'm sure either way, the chili won't disappoint, i just like to cook the meat a little before to knock the flavor up a few levels.

sweet potato chili ~ slow cooker
(1) 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
(1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
(1) 15 oz can kidney beans (reduced sodium), drained and rinsed
(1) 15 oz can black beans (reduced sodium), drained and rinsed
1 lb ground beef (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil

heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  cook beef until just beginning to brown.  add onions and cook until beef is no longer pink. 

throw everything into the slow-cooker,


 and cook on low for 8 hours.

super-duper nutritious!
yields approx. 8 servings

Nutrition Facts
sweet potato chili
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat7.3g
      Saturated Fat2.3g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber12.5g
Vitamin A 415%Vitamin C 50%
Calcium    13%Iron 21%

baked ziti

okay, so not the most beautiful photo but don't let it fool you, it tastes a lot better than it looks.

baked ziti
recipe adapted from annie's eats
3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan, divided
1 lb ziti
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs sweet italian sausage (i used chicken sausage)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
(1) 28 oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
(1) 14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, divided
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp cornstarch
1 cup half and half
8 oz mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  whisk cottage cheese, eggs and 1 cup of parmesan together in a medium bowl; set aside.  

bring a large pot of water to a boil.  cook pasta al-dente, in a large pot according to package directions.  drain pasta and set aside, leaving the pot to be used for white sauce.

heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  cook sausage until nearly browned.  add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned.

stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano.   simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup of the basil and the sugar then season with salt and pepper. 

in a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and the half and half together. 

transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat.  bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.  remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato/sausage mixture and 3/4 cup of mozzarella.  stir to combine.  add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.  transfer the pasta to a large baking dish and spread the remaining tomato/sausage mixture evenly over the top.  sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top.  

cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes (until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown).   cool for 10 minutes or so and then sprinkle with the remaining basil prior to serving.

this made enough for a 9x13" baking dish as well as a smaller (two serving) reusable dish that i put in the freezer for later.

yields 10 servings

Nutrition Facts
baked ziti
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat16.9g
      Saturated Fat7.8g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber3.6g
Vitamin A 20%Vitamin C 29%
Calcium    42%Iron 13%


baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes

baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
recipe adapted from martha stewart
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
scant 1/2 cup flour
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups milk (i used 2%), heated in the microwave until warm
2 tsp red pepper flakes
10 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup oil packed italian herb sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
8 oz provolone, shredded
1 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
13 oz whole wheat penne pasta

preheat oven to 400 degree. 

poach chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper and seasoning.  

remove chicken from water (save water) and set aside.  using the same water used to poach the chicken (plus more if necessary), bring water to a boil and cook pasta al dente according to package directions.  drain and set aside.

heat milk in microwave and have ready.  in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium high heat.  saute red pepper until softened, about 5 minutes.  add garlic and cook an additional minute stirring constantly.  turn heat down to medium and slowly whisk flour into the pan. 

slowly add milk, whisking constantly.  add red pepper flakes and continue stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened.

while sauce is thickening, slice chicken into bite sized pieces.

once sauce is thickened, add mushrooms, tomatoes to the pan and mix in. let cook for a few minutes and then add the provolone and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.  stir until cheese is melted.  add the chicken and the pasta to the pan and mix everything together.

spread the mixture into a lightly sprayed large casserole dish (or two smaller dishes; freezing one for later).  top with remaining parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browning.

i put aside a serving or two (for someone else) for the freezer in a disposable container.

bon a petite!

yields approx. 10 servings (probably a little more)
Nutrition Facts
baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat19.6g
      Saturated Fat9.1g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber4.6g
Vitamin A 11%Vitamin C 23%
Calcium    28%Iron 10%

white bean chicken chili ~ slow cooker

another successful and delicious recipe from mels kitchen cafe.  my friend melissa made this for me when i went for lunch recently and it was so good, i made it for dinner the next night.  the whole family loved it. 

white bean chicken chili ~ slow cooker
recipe adapted from mels kitchen cafe and annie's eats
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3.5 cups great northern beans (cooked or from the can)
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
(2) 4oz cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

place chicken breasts in bottom of slow cooker.  add the onion, garlic, beans, chilies and all of the spices (do not add the sour cream or whipping cream yet).  pour chicken broth over top and stir mixture to incorporate dry spices. cook on low for 7 hours.  remove the chicken the last 30 minutes of cooking to shred and then put it back in the soup.  stir in the sour cream and whipping cream until smooth.  continue to cook for the remaining 30 minutes.

this recipe yields about 6 servings.  i will double it next time (husband was bummed there wasn't enough for left overs).

Nutrition Facts
white bean chicken chili
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat8.1g
      Saturated Fat4.8g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber8g
Vitamin A 10%Vitamin C 17%
Calcium    15%Iron 14%

chicken adobo soup ~ slow cooker

this is seriously good stuff.  

chicken adobo soup ~ slow cooker
recipe adapted from a full measure of happiness
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, diced
(1) 14-oz can reduced sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dry lentils
(1) 14-oz can corn (salt free), drained and rinsed
(1) 14-oz can diced tomatoes (salt free)
3 cups low sodium chicken broth + 2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 bay leaf
1 tsp red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste

combine everything in the slow cooker and turn on low for 8 hours.  remove chicken 30 minutes prior to serving and shred it.  remove bay leaves and return chicken to the soup.

yields approx. 8 servings

Nutrition Facts
chicken adobo soup
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat1.7g
      Saturated Fat0g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber5.9g
Vitamin A 5%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium    7%Iron 11%

homemade spaghetti sauce (with meat)

this year at rendezvous i volunteered to prepare most of the meals for the group so we would have something to eat besides hamburgers and hotdogs every night.  not that there's anything wrong with hamburgers and hotdogs, it's just, well, spaghetti is better.

my idea was to make things in advance that i could freeze and re-heat later while camping.  this sauce worked perfectly and it was very good.  several people said so, i tell the truth.  

now, the only problem is i didn't take a photo of the final (re-heated) sauce atop the (whole wheat) spaghetti noodles so, you'll have to click over to mels sight to see what it looks like.

homemade spaghetti sauce
recipe via melskitchencafe
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped and divided
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 lbs hamburger (at least 90% lean -i used laura's lean 92/8)
5 cloves garlic, minced
(1) 12oz can tomato paste
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
(2) 14oz cans italian-style diced tomatoes
(2) 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 carton fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

directions (verbatim):
"heat olive oil over medium high heat.  add 1/2 of the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned.  add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. 

add beef and cook until no red is showing.  drain beef slightly.  blend up the remaining onions and red pepper in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth. 

add mixture to the garlic, onions and beef and stir to combine, cooking for another minutes.  

add tomato paste and spices and cook for 1 minutes, stirring until combined. 

add tomatoes, beef broth and sugar (and mushrooms, if using).  

stir until combined and add the bay leaves.  bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  fifteen minutes before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

note: the sauce will seem watery at first but will reduce to perfection after simmering for an hour.  i've let it simmer on the stovetop for up to three hours before with no problems."

this makes a lot of spaghetti sauce.  at least a double batch for my family (one to eat and one to freeze for later).

Nutrition Facts
homemade spaghetti sauce
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat8.4g
      Saturated Fat3g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber1.6g
Vitamin A 13%Vitamin C 49%
Calcium    2%Iron 6%


chicken enchilada soup ~ slow cooker (and a bonus "recipe")

my last post about balance was so serious.  i'll try to keep it light for the next while, none of the poor-me crap.  (real quick, to you wonderful friends who commented on that post, i did reply to your comments.  one thing i can't stand about blogger is the fact that you can't reply to individual comments like with wordpress).

speaking of light, this soup is light.  and awesome. 

we have some crazy busy weeknights around here and sometimes we don't get home until 8:00 or so.  it's too late by then to whip something up for dinner that i feel good about so i've been using the slow cooker a lot.  

this recipe for chicken enchilada soup was seriously good.  the kids ate theirs gone and i enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day topped with a 1/4 cup of pepper jack cheese.  yum!

chicken enchilada soup ~ slow cooker
printable recipe
via realmomkitchen.com (link shows malware so, i'm not posting it)
1 (14 oz) can reduced sodium black beans
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with sweet onion
10 oz frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (i used 2 - 6oz breasts)
1 (10 oz) can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 oz) can mild or medium enchilada sauce (i use medium)
1.5 cups milk (i use 1% organic)
topping suggestions: pepper jack cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, avocado

combine the black beans, tomatoes, corn, onion and bell pepper in the crock pot.  place chicken breasts on top.

in a medium sized bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, enchilada sauce and milk.  pour over the top of the chicken.

cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  30 minutes or so before serving, take chicken out and shred with a knife.  put chicken back in and stir to combine.

serve with breadsticks and with your favorite toppings.

yields 6 servings
Nutrition Facts
chicken enchilada soup
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat4.2g
      Saturated Fat0.8g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber4.9g
Vitamin A 24%Vitamin C 56%
Calcium    14%Iron 9%
and a bonus "recipe" ..

have you ever tried crockery gourmet?  you just mix the pouch of poisonous chemicals with 2 cups of water and then add everything else.  teasin' ... it's just a bunch of dried herbs and spices and maybe a little bit of starch.  no big deal.

anyway, it makes a delicious meal.  i use 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a bunch of new potatoes, chopped onion, baby carrots and celery.  you're not supposed to mix it all together.  just put everything on top of the broth mixture and let it cook all day.

a complete meal!




how do you balance your life?  is it even something you think about?

it's something i think about.  actually, it's something i obsess about and lately it has consumed me.  mostly in regard to healthy living and that's only because i feel well balanced otherwise, honestly.  

what first sparked this was when i realized recently that, despite all of my intentions, efforts and focus, i have lost ground when it comes to sticking to the very principals that i preach.  i've gained weight.  not a lot, just enough to make me feel lousy.  enough to make me wonder if this could be the reason my back keeps giving me trouble.  enough that my clothes are tight and, i'm uncomfortable.  enough that i'm really grumpy about it.

this is tough to admit but necessary because i think my struggle to obtain and maintain my ideal body weight is something that other people can relate to.  when other people relate, they'll be more open for discussion and more apt to offer support.  i need your support.

last week there was a bloggers conference held in philadelphia called the healthy living summit.  many of the bloggers that i follow (read) attended this conference and so there has been a lot of re-cap type posting from these individuals.  truthfully, i find it all to to be rather boring and drab but one blogger over at the delicate place wrote yesterday about her opinions of the conference and what she said really struck me:

"you cannot magically un-do your healthy lifestyle in a span of three days."

she was referring to the obvious OCD she witnessed from fellow bloggers over food and exercise while they were there. 

obviously i wasn't there and i don't know any of these bloggers on a personal level but i'm not surprised that these kinds of behaviors/conversations transpired.  the kind of people who attend a "healthy living summit" are typically the kind of people who are interested in (obsessive over) health/wellness/fitness/etc.   it's what they do.  it's who they are.  but one commenter said something that stood out to me which was, "... life is much richer than just that topic [diet/exercise/health/fitness]."  

and i agree.  even with my tenancy to be obsessive and my obviously impressionable personality, i do believe that balance is imperative.  there is so much more than just diet and exercise but, i really struggle to find it (the balance) and maintain it.  

what is really important? i think "happiness" is the answer to that question and what makes one person happy is not the same as what makes another person happy.  knowing this is the only reason i bite my lip every time i want to spout off health advice/statistics/information to folks around me who may or may not want to hear it.  . someone said to me fairly recently, "not everyone cares like you do" which made me question if i care too much?  am i unbalanced?  

yes.  based on one fact alone and that is how my entire demeanor/mood/outlook changed horribly when i stepped on the scale the other day and then took the time to look back at my previous numbers from last year.  like that number is the only thing in the world that can make me happy.  like it's the one thing that determines my worth.  it's not healthy and i am, therefore, unbalanced by even allowing the thoughts into my mind.  

what i know to be true is that i originally lost weight for pure vanity.  i am vain.  however, at some point i realized that maintenance would not be possible if i wasn't in it for the long haul and for the right reasons.  i began to devour information about the food industry and subscribed to many fitness magazines. then i got confident and really felt like i had a handle on it.  this was our life and i could balance this way of living.  it's what i want, to raise a healthy family.  i thought that my desire to make our health a top priority would be enough to keep my weight in check.  the fact that i exercise and enjoy it.  that by eating balanced, wholesome meals i wouldn't have to be as conscious about the numbers (calories, macronutrients, etc).  then i stopped weighing myself thinking i didn't need the scale.

i was wrong.

even with all that i do, all that i care about, "too much food" is still too much.  the proof is in the pudding. balance is important.  figuring out how to live a full life by accomplishing all that is important to me is tricky.  what i strive attain i need to be able to maintain.  i cannot be told that i'm put too much importance on these things because these things truly are important to me.  (along with a slew of other things -- i don't have complete tunnel vision).  

so my goal right now is to strive for balance while i work on incorporating certain activities that will help me to get back to my goal weight.  these activities include obvious things like eating even more mindfully and continuing to exercise my body ~ things i do already, sort of. but now, i will be doing so with even more diligence and taking care to make better choices by being mindful of the consequences.  i have no interest in being skin and bones and i have no interest in being overweight.  i'm interested in being healthy.

because it's important to me.  when i'm doing what is important to me, i'm happy and "if momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy." (thanks deb!).  when i'm happy, my family gets the best version of me.  i am less distracted and more present for them which is what they deserve.  


pasta sauce with sweet italian turkey sausage

pasta sauce with sweet italian turkey sausage
recipe adapted via allrecipes
1.5 lbs sweet italian turkey sausage
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can peeled whole tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce, no salt added
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper 
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp brown sugar
cooked pasta (i use 1/2 box whole wheat spaghetti & 1/2 box barilla plus spaghetti)

heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  (if turkey sausage is in casings, remove casings) cook sausage until no longer pink.  remove from pan and drain fat.  set aside.

add olive oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat.  cook until soft and then add the garlic, continuing to cook until fragrant.  add the turkey back to the pan and then add the salt, pepper, basil and oregano.  

cook for another minute or two and then add the tomato's (breaking them up with the back of a spoon), the tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of water (if you prefer a less-thickened sauce) and the brown sugar.  stir to combine.  add the bay leaf and then simmer for uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 

mix sauce with pasta and serve topped with parmesan cheese.


yields 6 servings

Nutrition Facts
pasta sauce with sweet italian turkey sausage
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat10.7g
      Saturated Fat2.4g
      Trans Fat0g
      Dietary Fiber3.7g
Vitamin A 15%Vitamin C 33%
Calcium    9%Iron 5%


milk, it does a body good?

did you think that was me in the picture?  it's totally not me.  my boobs are bigger and i would never wear those shoes.  or that sweater.  or, use a handheld shopping basket because i'm lazy.  i'm way cooler than that lady is.  hopefully she's not you.

now that i've cleared up any confusion about the photo, let us talk milk.  it's possible that i'm at war with milk.  it started a while back, i don't know when exactly but there was a point in time when i decided i didn't want to drink milk anymore.  milk was never my favorite to begin with (unless i'm growing humans in my belly) but, i need it.  don't i?

some smart folks will tell you that milk is actually bad for us.  they say that our digestive system is not able to digest cows milk after the age of one.  now, i don't know anything about that but apparently, if we were to look at the world as a whole, only a small percentage of people drink cows milk and most of them are caucasian.  in fact, most people don't drink cows milk because it makes them very sick.  just in case you're interested in reading about this theory, this is an interesting read.

last week when i was running at the gym i was listening to another of jillian's podcasts which happened to be all about milk.  the girl knows her shit, i'm telling you.  she's one smart cookie and she practices what she preaches so when she talks, i listen.  

as i move through this never-ending journey to improve/maintain my health and the health of my family, i learn a lot.  healthy changes are easier to make when you understand why it is you're making them.  baby steps are crucial because time is needed to gather information and soak it all in.  for me, it's a lot all of the time and can be overwhelming so i celebrate all victories no matter how small.  something is, in fact, better than nothing.  this little disclaimer is necessary because it needs to be understood that i understand where i fall short as far as true, complete wellness is concerned (if there's even such a thing).

after i listened to jillian's segment on milk i jotted some notes down.  she touches on many of the varieties; dairy, soy, rice, almond, coconut, organic vs. non organic etc. and basically gives each one a grade. 

most of this is verbatim.  first of all, a large percentage of the population is lactose intolerant which means they have a very bad reaction to dairy (cows milk).  for those who are not, dairy is okay as long as it's organic but organic milk is very expensive so it is not assessable to the masses. 

[i went to costco and noted that i could get four gallons of non-organic skim milk for roughly $8.00 while the 1% organic milk was $8 for 3 half gallons.  if you're not good at math, that's more than double the price of regular milk]. 

when dairy is not organic, she says "this is a pass." basically, stay away from it. why?  because these cows are being treated with hormones that make them produce massive quantities of milk.  normally, an average cow would produce something like 14 gallons of milk per day while these cows pumped full of hormones are producing 100 gallons per day.  as a result, they end up with massive bacterial infections in/on their udders and they're treated with massive quantities of antibiotics. then there's how these cows are fed.  instead of eating grass, like cows do (or should do), they're fed genetically modified corn.  cows can't digest corn so it destroys the lining of their stomachs.  hello more antibiotics! 

grass fed cows have healthier milk with more healthy fats and they won't be full of hormones and antibiotics.  i don't know about you but, i'm a little bit suspicious over how quickly kids start going through puberty these days and i'm not interested in poisoning my children too often.

now.  if one were to say, "we've been drinking non-organic milk forever .... " as if to imply "we" are all doing just great and dandy health wise or, leave good enough alone, let's take a good look around at our ever-growing population and i'm not referring to the number of people on the planet.  clearly, milk as we've been drinking it is not doing our bodies good among many other foods we choose on a regular basis. sickness everywhere.

what we know now is that dairy milk is a go as long as it's organic and as long as it doesn't make you ill. 

she also mentions rice milk and says, "pass" it has zero nutritional value.  almond milk is okay as long as the almonds are non-GMO.  it must be noted that almonds can be GMO and they don't have to label it.  the problem with genetically modified almonds is they're untested and require high quantities of pesticides.  so if you go with almond milk, it must be organic.

then there's soy milk.  jillian hates all things soy.  she's very outspoken about this and her reasons why were enough for me to quit buying my beloved non-GMO, organic soy milk.  she says she "never wants to see it in your fridge." several reason why quickly recapped: soy, unless fermented, is actually toxic to our bodies.  isoflavones in soy attack our thyroid.  soy could potentially be related to breast and ovarian cancer because of estrogen in soy.  when genetically modified (GMO), soy is heavily drenched in pesticides. [her co-anchor asks about why it's advertised as being so good-for-you?] press and propaganda = big business only because it's cheap to produce and it's subsidized by the government.  soy and corn are in everything "trust me, you're getting plenty of soy in your diet." 

last of all is coconut milk.  coconut is all the rage right now because it's considered a "super food."  personally, i've been using coconut oil quite a bit while baking and i really like it.  the milk is only okay. good enough to be used with my cereal or over my fruit and that's all i care about.  here's what jillian has to say (yes, i'm aware that she's on the carton.  she endorses it because she personally chooses coconut milk.  she doesn't endorse anything that she doesn't believe to be worthy.  like subway for instance.  only bob harper walked into those subway's with the biggest loser contestants because jillian won't recommend subway until they remove HFCS from their bread which they have yet to do). 

coconut milk, not the canned kind. lactose intolerant?  not an issue!  non-GMO (they're not genetically modifying coconuts these days) which means it's organic. it tastes good.  less calories per one cup of milk compared to skim milk (90 calories in a cup). coconut milk is antiviral and antimicrobial which helps to support a strong immune system.  it's also loaded with medium chain fatty acids. medium chain fatty acids are actually processed by the body as energy.  the don't lend themselves to being stored as fats.  it's good for you!

[she also touches on the importance of getting enough calcium when not consuming dairy]. it's important that we get our calcium so any substitute for dairy must be fortified with calcium but the body can only process so much calcium at once so you need to get the right amount and it needs to be combined with vitamin d and magnesium for absorption.  coconut milk is fortified with calcium, vitamin-d and magnesium. one serving of coconut milk equals 30% of the recommended daily allowance for calcium.  

[one thing she's heard people say about coconut milk is that it doesn't offer much in regard to protein when compared to dairy.  she responds to this as well.] so it doesn't have a high quantity of protein in it but, that's kind of like saying raspberries or spinach don't have enough protein.  protein is not the purpose of the milk (or the raspberries or spinach). 

when jillian talks about milk, she's very passionate about it.  she's not the only one.  when i started to try and determine where to focus our money as far as organic food is concerned marion nestle says, "milk is a good starter food for organics ... since the side effects of pesticides in kids are likely to be worse than in adults, and kids drink proportionally more milk" (source)

here's the other thing (just when you thought i was off my soap box), not all organic products are created equal.  the cornucopia institute maintains and organic dairy rating scorecard.  

is this as frustrating to you as it is to me?  sheesh.

what i've decided is i'll be buying this organic dairy milk for my family from now on and coconut milk for myself.  i'm uninterested in cows milk but, they like it and i'm not going to ask them to drink coconut milk.  not yet anyway.  .

i feel good about this choice.  moving on.

what kind of milk do you drink and why?

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