Also, I have a lot of friends who are very conscious of the foods that they prepare for their families. I have always paid attention to not buying lots of junk food etc, but I have learned soooo much from these women! I have learned things that are so simple, but you just don't realize it ... you know what I mean? Well, anyway, I will share those things with you as I learn them.
Some of the things that I recently learned are: 1/2 of your plate is supposed to be fruits and veggies (this is a duh type thing that I never realized); if a food has less that 1 gram per serving of things like trans fat, the manufacturer can legally say that there is NONE; light and fat free versions of foods are just chemical packed foods that your body doesn't know how to process ... if it comes from God, your body knows what to do with it. There are many more things that I have learned, but I think it would be much easier to share what I learn as I implement changes. The changes need to be gradual and become part of your lifestyle in order for them to "take hold."
How do you use it? I bought milled flaxseed because I do not have a contraption that I can grind it with. I mix it into things like yogurt, sauces, smoothies, ground meats, casseroles and bread mixes. You could add it to so many things! Note: I have read that your best bet for storage of ground flaxseed is to keep it stored in the freezer to prevent it from oxidizing and losing it's nutritional potential. I have actually read that about a lot of foods.
We all know that fruits and veggies are important for your health, right? Fruits and vegetables are natural, God-given sources of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to fight diseases and to function in a healthy manner. They fight the free radicals that are wreaking havoc in our bodies and protect our cells from being damaged by those villains! Free radicals are unstable molecules that try to steal from our healthy cells. When it steals from a healthy cell, it creates another free radical and so on in a chain effect. Does that make sense? It is so hard to explain it well with out going into a science lecture! Antioxidants provided by fruits and veggies "neutralize" the free radicals. Are you beginning to see how it works? If you want more info on this check out www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov. It is explained in detail there.
It is important to vary your selection because fruits and veggies all have different minerals and vitamins! Also, eat BOTH cooked and raw! The cooking process changes your food! It's not a bad thing, it just means that the raw version and the cooked version have different benefits.
Did you hear that the food pyramid has been replaced with a plate?
Half of the plate is fruits and veggies! I have been using this as a mental aid when I am preparing plates at meal time. I really like this illustration! So much easier that a pyramid and counting cups of this and that etc.! Please, check out the USDA's resources at Choose My Plate! So much good info and resources to help you create balanced, healthy meals! It has games, graphics, tips, articles and more!
So those are the two changes/improvements that I have made for the month of January! So far, it is going over very well! My kids LOVE fresh fruit, so that was easy. I have been making smoothies with flaxseed and spinach hidden in them. I finely chop spinach and hide it in stuff so that it looks like parsley, don't ask don't tell. I have mixed flaxseed into lots of stuff. Lastly, I have been mixing pureed veggies into various foods. I mixed carrot into taco meat and cauliflower into mashed potatoes and macaroni. Just a few tablespoons, it is not detectable to the taste buds! TIP: When you puree your cooked veggies you will need some liquid to get a nice constancy. I used the cooking liquid so that I could get back some of the nutrients that were lost during the cooking process.
Ok, so please pray for me to be disciplined in this and truly make a lifestyle change! Oh, and if you have additional info on the things that I learn please post a comment for me! Don't jump ahead on me though! Small changes add up! One or two things at a time!
I have been asked about using flaxseed in breads. I got great info from the Hodgson Mill website on how to use it as a substitute! They recommend replacing 1/5 of the flour with flaxseed.