Category: Health and Nutrition

How To Eat For $4 Per Day

How To Eat For $4 Per Day

Raise your hand if you are on a tight food budget?

Yea, that is a LOT of hands.

Keep your hands raised if you are on Foodstamps?

Yea, still a lot of hands.

Have you tried to eat healthy on a tight budget and find yourself continually going back to cheap carbs / fillers?

I sure do and I am so frustrated with myself.

Then a friend posts a link and voila, this great, FREE, cookbook emerges!




About The Free Cook Book

It is called “Good and Cheap: Eat Well On $4 Per Day,” By Leanne Brown. And best of all, it is free! Click here for the link: Good and Cheap Free Cookbook.

Leann moved to America from Canada to study nutrition. She was shocked at how many people were on Food Stamps and how few resources there were available to teach folks to eat healthy and well within a Food Stamp budget. So she decided to create a great cookbook full of healthy recipes, nutritious food, meals that aren’t too complicated to make, and most of all, stick to the $4 per day budget.

Leann’s philosophy: “The best health advice is simple: eat fruits and vegetables. Many American cookbooks rely on meat as the central feature of a meal. My recipes celebrate the vegetables rather than the meat. My intent was to create satisfying food that doesn’t require you to supplement your meals with cheap carbohydrates to stave off hunger. I strove to create recipes that use money carefully, without being purely slavish to the bottom line. For example, many recipes use butter rather than oil. Butter is not cheap, but it creates flavor, crunch, and richness in a way that cheap oils never can. ”

She really created this out of a desire to help.

Follow Up

I will be testing out these recipes over the next few months and I hope to share some of my successes and failures on my blog. I also will be revamping my current recipe series, Simple, Healthy, Cheap, to have better photos, include more recipes using Leann’s philosophy and budget, and to include more variety.

 

Super Simple Menu Plan: One Week Of Meals For Less Than $100

Menu

Our goal for a family food budget is $450 per month. This means that we have $100 or less to shop on each week (since there is 4 ½ weeks to almost every month). We eat fresh, healthy, whole, homemade food, which means very few coupons are useful to us. So how do we do this?

The following is our menu for a week, which I plan Thursday to Wednesday, since Thursday is my usual shopping day:

Thursday –

Breakfast: homemade whole grain waffles with maple flavored agave syrup.

Snack: ½ orange

Lunch: tuna-fish sandwiches on homemade bread (with pickles)

Dinner: Black beans with shredded cheese and tortilla chips

Friday –

Breakfast: ½ banana, oatmeal with non-dairy milk and honey

Snack: store-bought cheesy crackers (with whole grains and real cheese)

Lunch: tuna-fish sandwiches on homemade bread (with pickles)

Dinner: top-sirloin steak, mashed potatoes and carrots, homemade bread, ice cream

Saturday –

Breakfast: grape juice, ½ banana, cold cereal (whole grain, low sugar), non-dairy milk

Snack: store-bought ginger snap cookies (natural, no artificial ingredients)

Lunch: top-sirloin steak, mashed potatoes and carrots, homemade bread

Dinner: mixed veggies and pirogies

Sunday –

Breakfast: oatmeal with berry mix, honey, non-dairy milk

Snack: ½ orange, ¼ protein bar

Lunch: mixed veggies and pirogies

Dinner: Black beans with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, salsa, Panda black licorice

Monday –

Breakfast: grape juice, ½ banana, cornmeal mush with honey and non-dairy milk

Snack: cheesy crackers and peanut butter (no salt or sugar added)

Lunch: veggie salad and tortilla chips

Dinner: whole grain pasta, marinara sauce with ground turkey sausage

Tuesday –

Breakfast: oatmeal with honey and non-dairy milk

Snack: ¼ orange, whole wheat crackers

Lunch: homemade artisan bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip, mixed veggies

Dinner: whole grain pasta, marinara sauce with ground turkey sausage

Wednesday –

Breakfast: cornmeal mush with honey and non-dairy milk

Snack:  gingersnap cookies and ice cream

Lunch: homemade artisan bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip, mixed veggies

Dinner: veggie stir-fry with rice noodles

If you would like to see any of the recipes, please post a request. I would love to hear your healthy, simple menus – post a link if you have one!

Blessings and healthy eating.

 
YWAM

Three Real Secrets of Weight Loss

Three_Real_Secrets_of_Weight_Loss.jpg

I confess that I am one of millions who struggle with my weight. I have played around with radical diets and have clicked on more than a few “Lose Weight Now” links on the internet.

But, these are mostly from mans’ wisdom and they may work for a few, but they don’t work for most. Here are three things that God has shown me about my weight loss, and when I practice them faithfully, my weight goes down.

1 – Serve Others Instead of Self

God recently showed me that my weekly menu planning was completely self-serving. I was picking meals that I loved, was craving, and that I would want to eat a lot of. I was putting my pleasure before the desires of the rest of the family, before our nutritional needs, and before what was best for all.

Having tried an experiment before, then stopped (and gained weight), I am going to try it again: I will only put a couple of my favorite meals on the menu. The rest are going to be nutritional staples (i.e. salad night, smoothie lunch, etc….), other family favorites and frugal, simple living meals.

The truth is, I simply won’t eat as much when I make rice and beans for 3 meals for the week, but a couple of my children and my husband really like it. Same with chili. Husband loves it! I don’t. I won’t each much that meal either, just what I need to keep going.

One other variation of serving others – I find that when I really take care in serving the family first, I will eat less. When I try to eat while serving, I find myself feeding my entitlement spirit and eating more than I need.

2 – Portion Control

I simply need to stop eating so much! Yes, it is so simple and we all make it so complicated.

The truth is, we (and I) lack self-control and make 1000’s of excuses for not controlling self. When I pray for help to control myself, I receive more grace to do so. When I confess why I am not controlling myself and repent, I also do better.

When I am not asking for God’s help and I try to hide the reasons I am overeating, or think I am entitled to eat – I only hurt myself. I have to pray before every meal, while I am cooking, and sometimes during the meal. But, when I control my portions, I lose weight and I feel better.

Yes, I have a dilapidated past and there are underlying reasons why I struggle with food. It is good to work out these things. However, one of the biggest things a godly women taught me this past year – that I can’t keep using that as an excuse to do things like overeat.

3 – Get Moving Doing Real Things

I most likely will never be seen at a gym. I have many reasons to avoid them, one being that the whole thing is very boring to me.

But I do have children.. and sidewalks… and music.

So, we take walks, we dance, we play, and we keep active. When I don’t get up and do things like this with the children, they get crazy and I start gaining (or at least stop loosing) weight.

When I get moving, even for 15 to 20 minutes a day, I can feel the difference – the first day. Sedentary living is not what we are created to do.

I hope something in this inspires you, helps you, encourages you and that you can overcome overeating. If you found it useful (or not) let me know. If you have a secret that has really worked for you, please share.

There Is A Limited Place For Weight Loss Supplements

Understanding that weight loss supplements are only a temporary help, I do want to share with you April’s Sunshine Weight Loss Products and their Holistic Weight Loss Plan (click links for more information). If you do decide to use their products, please support this blog by using my Rep ID: 3383365 when you purchase. You are also welcome to contact me for more information.

How Some Families Are Successfully Going Outside The Health Insurance System

Read the post from Money Saving Mom about the Samaritan Health Care Ministry:

http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/10/how-we-save-money-on-health-care-costs.html

I believe the Samaritan’s Health Cost Sharing ministry is a great idea and is working. However, the following is my response to the post:

We would like to join Samaritan, but we can’t afford $370 per month.

Currently, my husband and I go without health insurance and God has been faithful to take care of us. My husband currently has a cellulitis infection and we are treating it naturally as we have done in the past.

We treat colds and flues all naturally and ask for God’s will and intercession before we see the doctor.

My children have Medicaid for their once a year visit.

If we were to be in an accident, there are many ways it could be covered, including by charity from the hospital because of our low-income.

God knows how hard my husband works to support our family (over 80 hours per week), and where we are at financially, and meets us there. Until the fines for not getting insurance exceed $4000 per year (what it would cost for us to join Samaritan or get “regular” insurance), this is where we will live.

Simple, Healthy, Cheap! A Healthy, Delicious Dessert for $.40 per Serving!

English: Coconut oil in solid state
English: Coconut oil in solid state (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leave it to the Mennonites and Amish to have a repertoire of tasty, fairly healthy and very simple and inexpensive foods. Many of their cultural dishes are worth learning to make and then improving upon by substituting healthier ingredients.

This classic dessert is called: Shoo-fly Pie. It is especially good to make if you are wanting a sweet treat and are needing an iron boost. Using organic molasses in the dish provides 20 – 30% of your daily iron value, depending on how large of a piece you eat (1 Tbs of organic molasses contains approx. 15% of your daily iron value plus 730mg potassium).

Cost Per:

Family of 5 – $2.05

Serving – $.40

*prices are approximate and will vary by where one lives and other factors.

Shopping List:

Pie Shell

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour – Fresh ground flour from white wheat berries is best.

½ tsp salt – Sea salt.

¼ cup butter or coconut oil – Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils available and if kept at less than 77 degrees, will be solid and act similar to butter in making the pie crust. Coconut oil can sometimes be found with other oils or in specialty and health food markets.

1/8 cup water

½ Tbs rice or apple cider vinegar – White vinegar is good for cleaning, but not so good for cooking. Find rice or apple cider vinegar near the white vinegar.

Filling

¾ cup organic molasses – Organic molasses can be found in specialty and health food markets or ordered online (try Vitacost ). Using regular molasses greatly reduces the nutritional content of the desert.

½ cup hot water

½ tsp baking soda – Baking soda is usually found with other baking products.

1 egg – Brown, free range eggs if you can.

¾ cup whole wheat flour – Fresh ground flour from white wheat berries is best.

½ cup cane sugar – Look for sugar in the raw, demerara, sucanat, or cane sugar. They can usually be found near white sugar. White, refined sugar is one of the least healthiest foods on the market and there are so many better options. You could also try making this pie with honey, but would need to cut back on the molasses and water by ¼ cup each.

¼ cup butter or coconut oil – Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils available and if kept at less than 76 degrees, will be solid and act similar to butter in making the pie crust. Coconut oil can sometimes be found with other oils or in specialty and health food markets.

¼ tsp salt – Sea salt.

Instructions:

  1. Make the pie crust 1 hour before making the filling and baking the pie.
  2. Mix 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour with the ½ tsp of salt.
  3. Measure the ¼ cup butter or coconut oil into a bowl and mix it together with your hands. It should seem like crumbs when you are done, although the coconut oil variation may be a little smoother, depending on how warm the room and your hands are.
  4. Fill a liquid measuring cup with 1/8 cup water, add the ½ Tbs vinegar to it and stir. Then add this liquid combination to the flour and butter / oil mixture. Mix with a spoon or your hands and form into a ball.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. After 1 hour, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  7. Make the bottom layer of the pie: measure ¾ cup molasses and pour into a large bowl, measure ½ cup hot water into the bowl, and then stir in ½ tsp baking soda. Be sure you have a large bowl, as the baking soda will cause the whole bowl of molasses and water to foam up quite a bit. Fun to watch, not fun to clean up if using too small a bowl.
  8. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then beat or whisk it into the molasses mixture.
  9. For the top layer of the pie: measure ¾ cup flour and pour into a medium bowl, measure ½ cup cane sugar and pour into the bowl, then mix in the butter or coconut oil with hands. It should seem like crumbs when mixed.
  10. Bring out the pie crust dough ball from the refrigerator.
  11. Press or roll it out flat between two sheets of wax or parchment paper and put it into a 9 inch pie pan.
  12. Pour the molasses mixture into the pie pan on top of the crust.
  13. Gently crumble the topping layer over the molasses mixture in the pie pan. Don’t press it down / don’t press on it.
  14. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then drop to 350 degrees and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes. Knife test the pie at 30 minutes to see if set (knife should come out clean, not wet).

Do you like what you see here? Did you try the recipe? Would you like more healthy, simple and cheap recipes for your family?

My eBook: Simple, Healthy, Cheap! A Simple Life’s Guide To Home Economics: Beginning Cooking, will be available in a few weeks. This recipe is from the Intermediate Cooking book, which will follow it up a few months later.

Want a healthy cookbook now? I have found a great eBook, Eat Good For Life that is worth a try for only $4.95!

Super Simple Recipes: A Healthy, Delicious Snack for Less Than a Candy Bar

Super Simple Recipes - Peanut Butter Balls


I know that sometimes a candy bar can sound and taste so good. But what about after eating it? How do you feel? I honestly don’t remember this as a child, but as an adult, a candy bar now makes me feel ill afterwards and there is nothing of value actually in it.

That is one reason our family loves this recipe – it has a taste a bit like a candy bar – but actually has nutritional value and will not leave you feeling ill afterwards.

Once you have the ingredients, this snack can be made almost as quick as unwrapping a pack of candy (well, maybe just a tad more work) and costs less than most single servings of candy bars. 

I am referring to a classic recipe: Peanut Butter Balls. Below is our family’s favorite, easiest version of this recipe.

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. 

Cost Per:

Family of 5 – $2.50

Serving – $.50

*prices are approximate and will vary by where one lives and other factors.

½ cup PB – $1.00

½ cup honey – $.60

½ cup carob (price per lb) – $.62

¼ cup coconut – $.25

Shopping List:

½ Cup Peanut Butter – You may substitute Almond, Cashew, or other Nut Butter for Peanut Butter, however they are usually more expensive. Purchase nut butter from a bulk section of a store or purchase a no-sugar added kind like Adams Peanut Butter, where you find peanut butter.

½ Cup Honey – Find local Honey if possible as it can help with local pollen and flower allergies, and usually has more flavor options than the standard clover honey.

½ Cup Carob Powder – You may use Coco Powder if you are tentative about using Carob. Carob Powder is usually found in a bulk section of a store, but may also be in the baking isle of a health food store.

¼ Cup Shredded Coconut – Purchase unsweetened shredded coconut. This can usually be found in a bulk section of a store, but may be found in the baking isle.

Supplies:

1 medium mixing bowl

1 large spoon / wooden spoon

½ cup measure

¼ cup measure

wax paper (optional)

1 plate

Instructions:

  1. Measure the ½ cup Peanut (or other Nut) Butter, the ½ cup Honey, and the ½ cup Carob (or Coco) Powder into the bowl.
  2. Stir together until smooth and creamy looking. It will start to form a big ball.
  3. Place a piece of wax paper onto plate about the size of the plate.
  4. Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball, place onto wax paper on plate.
  5. Roll out the rest of the mixture into balls.
  6. Put the Shredded Coconut into a pile in an empty spot on the plate.
  7. Roll the balls through the Coconut.
  8. Place finished balls in the fridge for 1 hour or longer.

Have fun, be healthy, and learn to make good food choices!

Do you like what you see here? This is a peek into my beginning home economics curriculum for children, titled: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way .

 

Where Does My Stuff Come From: GMO Food

What are you feeding your children?
What are you feeding your children?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that we were educating our family about where our stuff comes from, starting with our food.

We were learning that there are “strange” ingredients in many processed foods. Some of these ingredients you can learn about just by reading the labels and Googling what they are on the internet. Others you would not know about unless you ask someone.

So I started an endeavor to ask manufacturers what is in my food. Here are my results so far.

 

 

 

GMO Cut Corn

Hy-Top:

I had a package of Hy-Top corn in my freezer. Hy-Top and the Federated Group provide generic store-brand foods for WinCo, Lowes, and other stores.

Find stores here: http://www.hy-top.com/pages/where_to_buy/99.php

My request to them was a simple note:

“I was wondering if any of the Hy-Top Frozen Corn products were GMO Corn?

Their response was also simple:

Dear April, The Hy Top Frozen Cut Corn is not GMO free. Sincerely, Name Withheld, Federated Group, Consumer Concerns

After taking the photo, the corn went into the garbage. Although I will still shop at WinCo as they are my primary store for many reasons, I will not be purchasing their generic Hy-Top products anymore.

Tastes good, but not worth the risk.

General Mills:

We had a coupon for $1.00 off of General Mills cereals, and our little ones really like the Os. But, since I am committed to learning more about our food, I sent a note to GM that was similar to the one to Hy-Top.

Their response was a lengthy one:

Thank you for recent inquiry regarding General Mills′ position on the use of ingredients that have been modified through biotechnology.

 First and foremost, all food must be safe. It is not only the law, but also an issue of ultimate importance to all food manufacturers. Second, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have all concluded that food using ingredients from biotechnologically-improved crops is completely safe and no different in any meaningful way from other food. For that reason, the FDA does not require special labeling for it. However, if food has been significantly altered in composition or nutrient content, or if biotechnology introduces allergens into food, special labeling is required. None of our products requires special labeling. Accordingly, we do not test them for the presence of this material.

Because of the growing use of biotechnology by farmers and the way that grain gets commingled in storage and shipment, it′s certainly possible that some of our products may contain ingredients that have been improved through biotechnology. We can assure you, though, that every major regulatory agency, as well as independent scientific groups like the American Medical Association, has concluded that these ingredients are safe. For more information, you may wish to visit The Alliance for Better Foods website at www.betterfoods.org.

 General Mills also believes in providing consumers with a variety of food options. Toward that end, we do offer organic products that, by definition, do not use ingredients that have been improved through biotechnology. Please look for organic Gold Medal flour and a wide range of products from our Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen brands. To get more information about our organic products, please visit us at www.smallplanetfoods.com.

 Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. Sincerely, Name Withheld, Consumer Services

They obviously believe what they are saying.

I do not.

Understand that I don’t think that a few bits of GMO food will kill us, but I do believe that there could be issues with GMO food with long-term use. So, the Cheerios did not go into the garbage and we will eat them up, but we won’t be purchasing any GM products in the future.

So what are you thoughts on GMO foods? Have you been eating something you like, only to discover that an ingredient could be bad for your health with long-term exposure (or even short-term)?

Want to know what foods don’t have GMO without a lengthy email campaign? Here is a GMO shopping guide from Dr. Mercola: http://gmo.mercola.com/sites/gmo/shopping-guide.aspx

I plan on continuing this series with other foods that make their way into our home, but the goal is to avoid as many foods with unnatural ingredients as possible. I mostly make that happen by cooking 90% of our foods from scratch. Come back soon for a Super Simple Recipe made from all natural ingredients.

What Is In My Apothecary: Gallbladder Issues – Or – How I Can’t Eat Chinese Buffet Anymore:-(

Citrus fruit

I haven’t been feeling well lately.

I am nauseous, run down and out of sorts.

I wish the issue was that I was pregnant again, but it is not.

Instead, most likely my gallbladder is not handling fats that well and is very unhappy with me.

I was really, really sick a couple of nights ago, the day after eating a lovely dinner at a Chinese Buffet place. OK, I realize that Chinese Buffet is probably not part of the Simple Living lifestyle, but it is my favorite and it is something we do just a couple of times a year.

But I can’t go anymore… or at least not for a while. I have to cut out bad fats – and Chinese Buffet does have a lot of fat. Yes, I can eat the sushi and hibachi and soups and fruit, but I love some of the fried dishes too. But they are probably just wrong, so I commit to passing them by for now.

The good news is that I appear to be getting to the issue early enough to do something about it naturally. I thought I would take the opportunity to share my process with others. The point of the “What Is In My Apothecary” series is to cut through the hype of natural remedies and see what real people use to stay healthy, treat illnesses, and handle physical issues.

 The Plan:

  • Drink more water and water with lemon in it

  • Cut out bad fats – at least reduce them by 90% – no dairy, no fatty meats like beef, no bad oils

  • Sparingly use good fats

  • Eat four or more servings of fruit per day, especially citrus fruit

  • Actually eat three to four servings of veggies per day

  • Use camomile and peppermint tea when my tummy is nauseous

I still have some test results to get back and a follow-up with the doctor before I know for sure the state of my gallbladder. Until then, I am keeping a food diary and will research more about what can help me. I will report back in a few weeks the best course of treatment and how I am doing in following it.

April Schroader is a freelance writer and blogger. Even though she is experiencing some illness right now, she is still available to guest post on your blog, write a quality article for your magazine, help with a non-fiction book project, or write quality content for your website. To contact her, visit her portfolio and click on the Hire Me link.

 

Super Simple Recipes: Fish & Potatoes

Super Simple Recipes

Our family makes about 90% of our food from scratch. However, we don’t have a lot of time for cooking fancy meals, so I have been learning to make very simple recipes lately.

The recipes in the Super Simple Recipe series should only include a handful or so of ingredients and take 10 minutes or less of prep time. However, they make take an hour or more to cook, but with little or no further work required.

 This week, I made a simple fish and potato recipe:

  • 5 – 7 medium size, local potatoes
  • 1 lb of local caught fish – if possible – otherwise store-bought will do
  • Your favorite seasoning – I used one called Israeli spice
  • Olive Oil – other oils like coconut can work too

Chop up potatoes into chunks and put in 9X13 dish. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle seasoning to your taste. Cook for 50 – 60 minutes @ 400 degrees, give or take a few minutes for the kind of potato. We used Idaho (where we live) Yukon Gold and they take longer to cook than some other varieties.

Take dish out of oven, add fish on top, drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with more seasoning. Cook another 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the type and thickness of the fish. We used store-bought salmon here. Haven’t had time for fishing this year:-o

Serve with a mixed green salad and favorite healthy dressing.

Here are some great cookbooks for simple, healthy, and cheap eating.

Where Does My Stuff Come From: Food

So you have signed up for a simpler life.

You have your chickens, your garden, your canning equipment and you are ready to go!

And then you realize that this is a LOT of work and you can’t possibly feed yourself and your family on just the food you are growing and raising, at least not yet.

Or maybe your idea of a simple life is purchasing all of your food pre-made and prepackaged.

Either way, you have to go to the market.

You Want Real Food

As you are standing in the market, you know that you want real, fresh food. Maybe you want some convenience foods too, but you want them to be natural, right?

So you start to read the labels of containers of things that say they are natural, and you realize that there are things in here that you weren’t aware grew in nature.

Or maybe you aren’t aware of what is in the food because it is cleverly labeled? I know that I fell for it…

The Article You Don’t Want To Read

My husband shared this link with me the other day. It is just a small list of “Natural Cereals That Aren’t.”

http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/9-natural-cereals-arent#sharetagsfocus

I read this and wished I hadn’t. I don’t always have time to make homeade granola (seriously) and have opted to purchased some of these cereals on this list in the past.

And then the idea came to me – why don’t I start a multi-part series on my blog about where our stuff comes from. Not just food, but everything – our clothing, our furniture, our electronics. What is in them, who made them, and are they good for us?

My next blog post on this topic will be the results of asking a couple of companies (for which I currently have a container of a food item that they produce) if their food contains any GMO ingredients or other additives that aren’t made from truly natural food.

V8CYEBMDUTTJ
April Schroader is a freelance writer and blogger. She is available to guest post on your blog, write a quality article for your magazine, help with a non-fiction book project, or write quality content for your website. To contact her, visit her portfolio and click on the Hire Me link.