What Does Healthy Even Mean?

What Does Healthy Mean

What does “healthy” mean? I see that word all the time with regard to food, exercise, body size. It’s been around for decades. Healthy has morphed as the government has grafted definitions of what it does and does not mean with regard to food packaging. Healthy is bantered around regardless of the size of the woman on the magazine cover. But what does it really mean?

Everyone seems to have a different idea of what “healthy” means. And many people feel that they should tell other people that their choices are or are not healthy. So much so that we’ve come to have words like “fat-shaming” and “pooh-sizing” and “big-boned” as part of frequent conversations.

Everywhere I turn I hear “advocates” yelling at brands that a brand’s attempt at “healthifying” are wrong. It’s gotten to the point that healthy means nothing and everything. Eat this, it’s healthy. No, it’s not, it has … sugar, fat, dairy, corn, soy, wheat, gluten, nuts, eggs, meat. Whatever it is that you don’t like seems to be the basis for “unhealthy”.

There’s talk about schools not allowing parents to pack lunch for their kids because they think parents aren’t sending in a “healthy” lunch. Healthy to whom? My daughter gets to buy lunch at school 2 times a month, if she wants. Usually she buys on chicken nugget day, even though she’s seen the Jamie Oliver chicken nugget video. But she also takes lunch because sometimes they run out of food and this way she has lunch.

But what’s “healthy”. Is it non-GMO mac & cheese? Or is mac & cheese not allowed? What if it’s non-GMO and gluten free? Is that better? What if it’s organic truffle mac & cheese made with cheese from a local boutique farm? That has to be healthy, after all it’s organic and the cheese is local. Perhaps, in this case, the level of deliciousness defines healthy?

I know what “healthy” and “healthier” mean for me, but I don’t know what it means for you. I want GMO foods labeled, not so we can kick all GMO food to the curb but because then I know what I’m eating. I make the choice. For me.

I know healthier means moving more and eating less “junk”. But how I define junk may be different than how someone else does. But that doesn’t give me the right to judge you or your choices. I have friends who are vegetarian who eat more cookies and candy than I do. Are they healthier because they’re vegetarian? Maybe. Then again, I have Paleo friends who won’t touch sugar or grains but think nothing of eating a 12-ounce grass-fed steak with a size of duck-fat fried sweet potato fries. Mmmmm, sweet potato fries! I’m so confused!

The USDA’s guidelines for foods served under the National School Lunch or Breakfast programs are over 50 pages long! Few people actually read them, unless it pertains to their job. It’s quite fascinating, though. Kids can have low-fat white milk but flavored milk must be non-fat. Canned fruit packed in light syrup is permitted. Reduced-fat cheese is exempt from the fat-content standards. What? This would explain why fruit cocktail is an acceptable fruit. Ugh! I guess it’s “healthy” by their standards, but not by mine.

Almost every discussion of healthy eating is about what we can’t eat. Get enough people in a room and pretty soon all that’s left is water (and I’m not even sure about that because I wouldn’t know if it should be bottled or from the tap). Is there really such thing, then, as a “healthy” snack or lunch or dinner or meal? Search “healthy snack” and you get everything from home-garden raised fruits and veggies to non-gmo/organic brand frozen yogurt. How can the healthy spectrum be so broad? But it’s proof that we don’t really know what healthy means yet we’re going to judge people by their choices because they’re different from ours.

Yes, I eat dark chocolate. I don’t need scientific studies to give me permission. I also don’t need studies to tell me or my friends that having a glass of red wine is good for me. Why? Because if I’m having a glass of wine it’s because I am with people I care about, who make me happy, who make me laugh and feel good. All those things together make my life better.

And you know what’s more? No amount of non-gmo, organic, dark chocolate, fat-free frozen yogurt will ever be “healthy”. Will it be a better alternative than the vat of full-fat organic 5-ingredient ice cream I made and feel the need to devour before it has a chance to take on any freezer smell? Maybe, but I’m not so sure. And I don’t need a Ph.D. to know that fat-free candy isn’t “healthier” than a full-fat candy.

I consider myself pretty smart. And you’re probably pretty smart too. If WE can’t come up with a definition of “healthy” why are we letting other people tell us that our choices are or aren’t “healthy”? As smart people we don’t need anyone to tell us we need to give up certain foods so we can be “healthy”. I guess what it comes down to is choice. Our own personal choice. And not looking at this idea of “healthy” eating in a vacuum. And not judging other people by their choice.

There are a lot of things I don’t think people should eat or do. And I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people judging me and my choice of what I eat and how I need to do certain things to be “healthy”. So what does healthy even mean? Your guess is as good as mine!

 

 

Sara

Nutiva Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil 15oz (2 pack) Only $14.38

 

It’s been over a month since we’ve seen this great product when it was at a great price. Now, Amazon has the 15oz 2-pack of the Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil for a fantastic deal. If you bought the last time, you know this is a ‘buy now’ price. Sure, many stores are carrying EVCO (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) but they’re not often organic or you’re not sure of the origin. This is top of the line! And I’ve seen the super-jumbo mega size at my local Costco but it’s more expensive and not packaged in a pantry-friendly container. These are (1) as cheap as I’ve seen them in awhile and (2) pantry-friendly size.

So how do you get 2 15-ounce containers delivered to your door for just over $7 each (a savings of 25% or more depending on where you buy it)?

Buy Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil from Amazon using the Subscribe & Save program. You will automatically save 15% on your purchase and receive FREE shipping! You can sign up for delivery at whatever frequency you choose – I selected 3 months because that’s about how long it took me to go through my prior 2 jars. Remember, you can always cancel your subscription any time too.

Use the clickable eCoupon on the order page to save 15% off during the term of the promotion*!

The 2-pack of Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is $17.98
Less 5% savings with Subscribe and Save – $0.90
Less 15% using the clickable eCoupon on the main product page – $2.70
Shipping – FREE
TOTAL – $14.38 and shipped right to your door

Enjoy your great deal!

To cancel the Subscribe and Save program, you’ll need to go to Amazon and click on “Your Account” Then look under the “Orders” category for “Manage Subscribe & Save Items”.  Click there, then click on “Cancel this subscription.”

*Amazon promotions and prices can change without prior notice. The information provide was current when this post was published.

 

Sara

Does Your Ground Beef Contain Pink Slime?

Cows - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=587

It’s been a topic of discussion for awhile but recently gained steam when reports came out that many major grocery stores do, indeed, sell ground beef that does contain ‘pink slime’. So what exactly is this ‘pink slime’. Seriously, don’t google it you’ll be totally grossed out.

According to ABC News, “The “pink slime” is made by gathering waste trimmings, simmering them at low heat so the fat separates easily from the muscle, and spinning the trimmings using a centrifuge to complete the separation. Next, the mixture is sent through pipes where it is sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. The process is completed by packaging the meat into bricks. Then, it is frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers, where it is added to most ground beef.”

Not delicious sounding by any stretch of the imagination. I won’t get into a debate about whether this is or isn’t good for our food supply, but I will say that I’m glad I have only purchased grass-fed organic ground beef for the past year or so.

Now, you likely want to know the answer to this question: “Does my store sell pink slime ground beef?” and I have a resource to help you. My friend Ann, you may know her as Coupons, Deals and More, put together a run-down of stores that sell pink slime ground beef.

Image Credit: Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sara

Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil 15oz (2 pack) Only $12.15

 

Back in September I shared with you this great product when it was at a great price. Now, Amazon has the 15oz 2-pack of the Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil for a fantastic deal. If you bought the last time, you know this is a ‘buy now’ price. If you haven’t tried it, you should give it a try. Use it in place of butter or oil in cooking and baking for less cholesterol. It imparts a slightly nutty taste but it’s not overpowering or too coconut-y. I used it to make latkes for Hanukkah and they were so good there were no leftovers!

CycleGuy uses it in place of butter or oil when making pancakes or waffles. And we’ve substituted it in cakes and cookies as well. I also used it as a hand moisturizer when I my hands were getting dry and cracked from washing up all the Hanukkah dishes.

So how do you get 2 15-ounce containers delivered to your door for about $6 each (a savings of 25% or more depending on where you buy it)?

Buy Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil from Amazon using the Subscribe & Save program. You will automatically save 15% on your purchase and receive FREE shipping! You can sign up for delivery at whatever frequency you choose – I selected 3 months because that’s about how long it took me to go through my prior 2 jars. Remember, you can always cancel your subscription any time too.

Use NUTIVJAN in the promotion code box to save an additional 10% off through January 31st!

The 2-pack of Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is $16.20
Less 15% savings with Subscribe and Save – $2.43
Less 10% using NUTIVJAN code – $1.62
Shipping – FREE
TOTAL – $12.15 and shipped right to your door

Enjoy your great deal!

To cancel the Subscribe and Save program, you’ll need to go to Amazon and click on “Your Account” Then look under the “Orders” category for “Manage Subscribe & Save Items”.  Click there, then click on “Cancel this subscription.”

Sara

Mamavation Monday: Bring in ‘da Food, Bring in ‘da Funk

For may of us who struggle with our weight, this week is very stressful. For me, cooking a huge meal for the people I love is awesome. I enjoy showing those I love and care about how much they mean to me, and creating a special meal of Thanks Giving is one way to do that. At the same time, though, there is anxiety about seeing all. that. food!

It starts in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Food shopping, food prep, baking, chopping, organizing, and making sure there are plenty of hor d’oeuvres in addition to the plethora of main dishes, sides, salads and desserts for the big meal. Oh, and let’s not forget that we actually need to eat on those days leading up to Thanksgiving, lest we pass out long before the turkey-coma sets in on Thursday.

Making Thanksgiving dinner is one way many of us actually exert our control over the day. We use all the knowledge we have to plan a menu that incorporates skim milk instead of heavy cream or full-fat milk, we sauté in heart-healthy olive oil instead of butter, we make sure there are plenty of veggies and that the desert options include something we can partake in even after a full meal. But the realty is that sometimes we throw our hands up and convince ourselves that one meal with butter, extra helpings of sweet potato casserole (never mind that the nutritional value went out the window when we added the 5 eggs, 1/2 cup of white sugar and brown sugar and the pecan streusel topping) and bread and dressing and that cheesy-broccoli-rice bake that everyone loves (in which there really wasn’t much broccoli hurt in the making of it) won’t really hurt.

But it does. We think about this week and what it will mean for us, constantly. We ‘eat right’ on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and don’t lick the bowl on the cheesecake and brownies and fudge and cookies – until about 9pm Wednesday evening when panic sets in. How are we going to get it all done? Maybe no one will like our sugar-free casserole or our fat-free mashed potatoes. Maybe we should taste them ‘just to be sure’. And darn it, they do kinda suck. Ugh! It’s just one done. One day won’t hurt! So off to make more food, to make sure everyone knows how much we love them. And the butter. Need more butter!

So let’s step back a moment. We cook for our families almost every day. They know we love them. And yes, Thanksgiving Day is special. It’s a day set aside to make sure that those around us, and even ourselves, know how grateful we are that they are part of our lives. And that, my friends, is our motivation. Being healthy ensures we are around. Active. Involved. Part of their lives. Enjoying ours.

Thanksgiving began as a feast, as was customary when welcoming guests. Just as today, we create special meals when we welcome guests. But unlike then, we didn’t trudge miles nor did we hunt and gather our own food (although, grocery stores this time of year can be treacherous). Our Thanksgiving day consists of doing nothing but eating, hanging out and watching TV. Sure, there may a walk, a hike or a workout in there. But, in general, it’s food, food and more food.

Just writing this stresses me out. I want to be here for my friends and family for years to come. Overflowing table of food or not, remembering the importance of this Thanksgiving Day is key to maintaining focus an truly enjoying the reason for the day. It’s not about the food. Never has been. Never will be. It’s about the people in our lives who love us, who care about us and who want us here for years to come.

This year, I’m still not sure what I’d going to do for Thanksgiving. I have a huge Turkey already defrosting that no one wants to eat. I just came back from a terrific vacation and don’t feel like going to the store. I am grateful that I have the choice not to make a feast if I so choose. And I’m grateful that I have the willpower (even if it is weak some times) to say not to foods I really don’t want or know I really shouldn’t have.

We all look forward to Thanksgiving to be around people we love and care about, to be thankful for the many gifts we have been given so far this year. If the day was more about the people and less about the food, would it stress you out as much?

Photo Credit: Public Domain

This post was written for the cash giveaway by Successful Blogging and RocketFuel who connect brands with bloggers.

Sara

Mamavation Monday: Lunch at Epcot

As I mentioned last week, meal planning for Disney World can take a lot of the worry out of what to eat. When you’re looking for something quick so you can get back to the rides and attractions, often it’s easy to find a place that serves burgers. One advantage of planning ahead is knowing what park I was going to be at so I can figure out where we’d eat lunch. BabyGirl had a chemistry class at Epcot so I knew we’d get lunch when she was done.

One of my favorite places in Future World at Epcot is Sunshine Seasons because the focus is on using local ingredients. It’s not all local and natural but one of the new offerings for lunch is this beautiful beet salad. As a lover of beets, I was so excited! The field greens are lightly dressed with a light orange vinaigrette. It was so light that there was no sign of dressing on the plate. And the goat cheese was just the right amount to add something creamy and tangy to the sweet beets and crispy greens.

So it is possible to have a tasty lunch that won’t break your calorie bank! It does take some planning, but like going anywhere new it’s just a little extra time. I had to think outside the box a bit for my lunch and be willing to look at all the options. And because the online menus are not updated since Disney changes things up periodically, I had to take time to check out everything at this restaurant before settling on my lunch. But, just like trying something new at home a little investment of time can pay off big dividends.

Don’t fear vacation dining! Know your limits and be willing to be flexible and you’ll find success too!

 

Sara

Mamavation Monday: Planning Ahead for Disney World

I’m in the final stages of vacation planning. The suitcases are out and the packing list actually has things checked off and there are piles of clothes, toiletries and extras waiting to be organized so there are no over-weight baggage fees. See, even my luggage needs some mamavation!

I’ve spent the past several months planning out this vacation. We’re making our annual trek to Walt Disney World and with that comes making sure many of our meals are arranged in advance. Unlike most vacations where you can almost always find something to eat within a few minutes, Disney World requires planning. Restaurants are often full at peak dining times and unless you are lucky, it is a real possibility that you’ll be eating fast food (or Counter Service or Quick Serve meals, as it is known at the House of Mouse). I don’t eat burgers, chicken nugget and hot dogs too frequently when I’m at home so I’m definitely not going to eat them for multiple meal when I’m on vacation. Besides, I think vegetable should be involved – and no, iceberg lettuce and hot house tomatoes on a cheeseburger don’t count.

Since it’s not our first trip to Disney I’m pretty familiar with most of the restaurants where we’ll eat. And, again, this year we’re not on the dining plan because I have a really hard time with most of the kid’s menus having high fat and fried foods. Also, we’ve found that we either eat too much or waste food. Neither of which are good.

One of the biggest concerns I hear about people vacationing at Disney is they worry about what they eat. It’s very easy to be tempted. I know where every churro, Dole Whip, Chocolate Covered Mickey ice cream and frozen coke stand is located. And let’s not even mention that I’ll be there for the final weekend of the Food & Wine Festival and will be surrounded by such deliciousness that just typing this makes my mouth water.

Family vacations can often be stressful, and a full day at the Disney Parks is right up there. Eating a healthy meal should not add to the stress. With a little planning ahead, I know where I can get quick snacks to tide me over without breaking my calorie bank. I also know that Disney is supportive of my healthy eating so I can ask for modifications to my meal to help me stay within my allotted points budget.

I look forward to the favorites such as Le Cellier, Crystal Palace and Citricos as well as all the new booths at the Food & Wine festival at Epcot as well as Saana at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Even more exciting is knowing that I have a plan that will work not only for me, but also my family. And one that does include Dole Whip, Mickey Waffles and Pretzel Bread.

When you’re on vacation do you make sure you stay on plan or do you give yourself permission to throw caution to the wind?


Sara

Mamavation Monday: Everything In Moderation

The saying goes, Everything in Moderation. Even Julia Child believed that any food could be enjoyed regardless of what your dietary needs were in terms of calories. Fifty years ago no one was really all that concerned with fat grams, calories, trans fats, fiber content, or carbohydrates. Really, these are concerns of the excesses left over from the 1980s and 90s. I’m not sure what the impetus was that got us focused on these things, but I’m not sure it was a good thing.

So here we are now, turning over packages and reading labels very closely. This, I’m all for. I think it’s made us more aware of the stuff in our food that isn’t real and has gotten many of us to return to fresh foods. At the same time, we have more dining out options than 20 years ago and are faced with the uncertainties of that experience. In addition, we socialize more with friends and family, thus requiring us to eat food prepared by others who may not be as focused on their daily food intake as we are.

This is where the idea of everything in moderation comes in. Sure, when we’re at a restaurant we can ask for our veggies steamed with no butter and push the bread basket aside. We can ask for no sauce or gravy and pass on the dessert menu. We can go to our friend’s house and no have wine or a cocktail, instead opting for club soda or sparkling water. We can restrain ourselves from the ooey-gooey, cheesy side dishes by loading up more crudité or fruit.

The reality though is it’s not alway easy. We don’t want to offend a friend who has made a delicious meal. We may want to share an entree with a family member. And, really, we want to enjoy our food and not feel like our only option is some rabbit food and a glass of water.

This is where everything in moderation comes in. No one said we had to eat a man-size meal, have 3 cocktails, or take one of everything from the buffet. If we’re not sure what’s in something and we need to manage calories, fat, points, grams or whatever we’re allowed to take a very small amount. And if it appears to be swimming in butter, oil or something we’re not willing to try then pass it up. But we can’t feel paralyzed by the choice in front of us. We’re strong! We can make good choices! And it’s not the end of the world if we do have 2 pieces of cake or fried chicken or mashed potatoes with butter and cream.

Every day we make hundreds of choice. For 90% of them we don’t think twice, we just decide and move on. It’s those 10% of the choices that we spend 90% of our day beating ourselves up for. We second, third and fourth guess ourselves about choices, especially food choice, that we can’t take back. Can we offset some of the food choices where we’ve strayed? Absolutely!

Being mindful is an important part of every day. Besides remembering that we’re not in this alone, if we remember the little phrase everything in moderation success is just a decision away.

I’ll leave you with this little gem my first Weight Watchers leader said (frequently): Nothing tastes as good as the first bite.

How will you feel if you remind yourself that nothing is off limits, everything in moderation.


Image: public domain

Sara

Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil 30oz Only $12.97

 

Earlier this year I discovered the wonders of coconut oil. I use it in place of butter or oil when making pancakes or waffles. I’ve substituted it in cakes and cookies as well. While I’ve not sauteed or fried using it I know people who have. And many swear by it as a skin moisturizer.

I was so excited to see there was a deal on it at Amazon! So how do you get 2 15-ounce containers delivered to your door for under $7 each (a savings of 25% or more depending on where you buy it)?

Buy Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil from Amazon using the Subscribe & Save program. You will automatically save 15% on your purchase and receive FREE shipping! You can sign up for delivery at whatever frequency you choose – I selected 3 months because that’s about how long it took me to go through my prior 2 jars. Remember, you can always cancel your subscription too.

Use NUTIVSEP in the promotion code box to save an additional 10% off through the month of September!

The 2-pack of Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is $17.30
Less 15% savings with Subscribe and Save – $2.60
Less 10% using NUTIVSEP code – $1.73
Shipping – FREE
TOTAL – $12.97 and shipped right to your door

Enjoy your great deal!

To cancel the Subscribe and Save program, you’ll need to go to Amazon and click on “Your Account” Then look under the “Orders” category for “Manage Subscribe & Save Items”.  Click there, then click on “Cancel this subscription.”

Sara