Remember that commercial?  I loved that little old lady who shouted, “Where’s the beef?”  It was a hit during it’s time.

If someone were to really ask me, “Where’s the beef?”.  I would probably respond, “Who cares?”.  I admit I am not a huge meat eater by any means.  Meat actually grosses me out a little.  I hate preparing it.  The feel and smell of raw meat turns my stomach.  I don’t even like to patty up hamburgers.  Disgusting! 

However, that doesn’t mean I am totally against meat.  I do love a good cheeseburger now and again.  I just don’t ever really crave a steak, or a juicy chicken and you can just forget about eating pork.  Don’t even get me started on pork.  Pork is repulsive.  You know the whole pig/toxin thing don’t you?  Now if you are talking overly processed bacon, that’s another story for me.  I love crispy bacon.  I am a total mixed bag on meat.  However, I recognize that protein is vital for a healthy diet.  Protein gives our bodie’s cells structure, assists in making hormones and enzymes, and also is needed for growth/tissue repair.

Due to my transient and totally emotionally tied repsulsion for most meats, I try to look for more sources for protein than just meat.  I stumbled upon this great list a while back, and while I already use many of these food items in my own diet, I found a couple more great ideas.  I am a firm believer that the lower you eat on the food chain, the healthier the food. Meaning, meats are higher up on the food chain and usually have more toxins.  Plants, minus human applied ferilizers, tend to have few to no toxins. These protein sources fit that criteria as well.

Go to fullsize image1. Quinoa (pronounced KEE-nwah)  Known as the mother grain of the Andes this delicious nutty flavored grain has amino acids, a high iron content, and is quick to cook.  Look for this also in breads, pastas and other grain products.  I learned to love this grain when I was going “wheat free” for a while due to an elimination diet.  I still crave the yummy bread made with this I found at the health food store.

Go to fullsize image2.  Veggie Burgers  That’s right!  It’s a burger but absolutely no beef can be found in these.  Usually made with protein rich soy and organic vegetables, these no meat alternatives come in a bunch of tasty varieties.  Don’t be afraid of veggie burgers, they don’t taste like the cardboard veggie patties from days past.  I admit we don’t eat too many of these at my house.  Tomas thinks the only burger is one made out of beef.  I have yet to find a veggie burger that fits “his beefy manly needs”.

Go to fullsize image3.  Almonds  You all know about the delicious almond, right?  It’s the perfect snack!  High in protein and calcium while low in carbs, this little nut provides a tasty and easy meat alternative.  For best results, eat them raw.  But, don’t just eat the nut itself!  Try almond milk too!  I try to pretend that almond paste is equally as healthy when I am eating danishes or pastries, but I don’t think that counts.

Go to fullsize image4.  Yogurt  Packed with protein, calcium and good bacteria, yogurt is another healthy staple.  Stick to the organic varieties to avoid the processed extras that many brands contain.  Plain, organic, full-fat yogurt is best for you.

Go to fullsize image5.  Tempeh  I haven’t tried this yet, so I will assume that this really would be tasty.  Made from fermented soy beans and rice, tempeh is high in protein and fiber.  I have heard it has a nutty flavor and tastes great in stir frys.  Let me know what you think.  I am usually not an adventurous chef.

Go to fullsize image6.  Legumes  My favorite category!!!  Love these!!  Lentils (yum), chick peas (yum yum) and black beans (yum, yum, yum) are full of protein and fiber.  Find a healthy recipe to combine all three for a protein power pack.  We use all three in combo to make an awesome burrito.  No beef in those babies!  Just legume goodness!  Oh, and don’t even get me started on how great hummus is!

Go to fullsize image7.  Cheese  Oh, my beloved cheese!  I love cheese!  Buy all natural cheese for an awesome addition of protein to your diet.  All natural cheddar and mozzarella are the best choices for protein content. 

Eat up my friends!  As a bonus, you will save a TON of money at the grocery by switching out some of your meat for these protein choices.  Have you seen the price of meat lately??  Who needs it?

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Go to fullsize imageI previously wrote about KIND Fruit and Nut Bars.  They were so delicious.  I still think about those little beauties and wish I had more right now.  In the meantime, I have tried the Boomi bar.

Here’s what the Boomi Bar has to offer:  All natural ingredients.  Most have a good amount of fiber.  Gluten free.  GMO free.  No preservatives, sulfur or hydrogenated oils.  No added sugar.  Dairy and soy free.  Totally wheat free.

I have been looking for all of those things in a good snack bar.  So, I picked one up from the health food store and to give it a shot.  I brought it home and that poor lonely bar just sat for ages in the cupboard.  Finally, I decided to give it a shot.  I was afraid that the ever so yummy KIND bar had shot my chances of liking any other bars.

I tried the Cranberry Apple Boomi Bar.  Right away, you can see the large amount of dried fruit in the bar.  It has 4grams of fiber.  Watch out however, other Boomi Bars only had 1 gram.  The ingredients in this bar are almonds, honey, apple, cranberries, dates, crisp rice and amaranth.  That’s it!  I do think I could make this bar myself (If I took the time or had the time, that is).  The first couple bites were great.  It was a little crunchy, really sweet and tasty.  About 1/2 way through the bar though, I started to get sweetened out.  I needed a little more nut to balance out the fruit.  By the end of the bar, I felt like I had just eaten a bunch of dried fruit and a couple almonds.  Plus, 20 minutes later.  I was still hungry for another snack. One day later, I saw no effects from the fiber like I had with the KIND bar.

I am trying not to be to biased but I had spent $1.90 on this bar and wanted something more satisfying.  It might be my personal taste of course.  I like more crunch than squish in my food.  This Boomi Bar tasted fine it was just too sweet for my salt addicted taste buds (since pregnancy, I just crave salty foods). 

 My one major thought was this, for the price and what you tasted/got in the bar, why not go to the grocery, get a bunch of dried fruit and some nuts and make a trail mix?  You would save money per serving (I am sure) and you could control the balance of crunch vs. squish.  In other words, save your $2 for some other healthy treat that gives you a little more satisfaction.

Next up in my quest for the perfect healthy snack bar:  The Larabar.  The Larabar shares many of the same offerings as the past 2 bars and was voted best snack bar by “Men’s Health”.  We’ll see if those men know what they are talking about.  I hope so, because hubby picked up a whole box of them from Sam’s Club.

I have been watching a lot of television the past couple days.  More than I care to admit.  I have come to the conclusion that it’s basically all trash.  Especially, this one particular set of commercials.  The one’s that talk about how high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made of corn, so it’s okay.  It makes my blood boil everytime I see one of them.  Then I go on a tirade informing anyone who’s near me, that the commercials are all lying liars.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s one of them:

My favorite part is the part that says, “It’s just like sugar and okay in moderation.”  Well, that’s the frickin’ problem!  HFCS pushers are making us think we have easy control to keep our intake in moderation.  Have you looked at all your food labels?  HFCS is in many of our “healthy” foods (yogurt, cereals, whole grain breads & crackers, etc.).  It’s in almost any of your sauces and condiments.  Of course, you will find it listed in any type of “snacky type” of junk food.  It is so pervasive. How can we eat this lovely highly processed corn product in moderation if we buy anything that comes in a package?

Nice try, you health destructors!  I will not be fooled by your propaganda!  Sadly, I fear that many Americans may be swayed slightly by their commercial hoopla.  Keep up your guard, people and continue to read those labels to save yourself from the highly unnutritious, severely processed HFCS.  There are options, you just have to be vigilant.

Fruit of pomegranateOh, pomegranate! Oh, pomegranate!
“You are so lovely with your orb like shape and 600 seeds.
Your juice is ripe with flavor and tart.
Your fruit is edible but I am a juice girl at heart.

Served in a cocktail, a cordial or martini.
All are delicious but what I like most is you in green tea.”

Alright folks! Wasn’t that a lovely little diddy? I wrote it myself. I just thought I would mention that because you probably thought it was Yeats or Dickens and were just going to grab your “Poetry 101” book to find this beautiful piece of art. So stop what your book shelf searching, just go to your higher end local grocer or health food store and find yourself some of this tea I speak of.

I have posted before about tea here. I really try to drink a couple large mugs of green tea everyday.  And now that it’s summer, there’s no better drink than some iced green tea while sitting on the back deck.  Now, for the past year I have been hooked on one certain tea.  Pomegranate Green Tea by Yogi Teas.  So yummy!

Here’s why I like it:  Green Tea is light tasting and mixed with the tart pom, it’s so refreshing warm or cold.  Both green tea and pom are packed with antioxidants.  Pomegranate is a “superfruit” which means it’s been recognized “for it’s nutrient richness and antioxidant qualities with appealing taste”. It’s known for it’s positive effects on cardiovascular and skin health.  

Green Tea itself has been studied for some time for it’s amazing health benefits.  Some claim that green tea will slow down neurological diseases such as alzheimers and parkinsons.  More possible healthful benefits include:  improving multiple sclerosis symptoms, neutralizing free radicals in your body which will damage cell membranes, lowering triglycerides and increasing HDL cholesterol thus improving cardiovascular health, and increasing metabolism (many claims have been made that green tea assists in weight loss).  Plus as an added bonus, the L-Theanine that is present in green teas is a great natural mood enhancer and anxiety reducer.  Drink up and feel the relaxation flow through your body…Ommm…

Pair these two together and you have a health super power.  Having done an internship researching the effects of antioxidants on precancerous cells and free radicals in the body, I am always up for adding more of these powerhouses into my diet.  I have had numerous family members, both immediate and extended, suffer from different forms of cancer and heart disease.  So, I pay particular attention to foods that have these characteristics.  I am tempted to hook it up in an IV and receive large doses at once, but then I couldn’t taste it’s deliciousness. 

Now, I will tell you that I am sure that many tea manufacturers sell this combo.  However, you must buy Yogi Tea.  Not only do they have one of the best tasting green tea (have you ever had green tea that tasted “fishy”?  That is disgusting.), but on every individual tea bag is a little quote of wisdom or inspiration.  That is the best part of it all.  It’s a little warm fuzzy along with some of the best tasting tea EVER!

Go to fullsize imageI love things with sugar.  I am a sugar addict.  Literally.  I crave it.  I love baked goods and will load up on them if they are around and then drift off into a happy shaky sugar coma.  It’s amazing that I am not 400 lbs of sweet love.  There are a lot of people out there who avoid sugar due to dieting, health purposes etc.  Sugar is often substituted with artificial sweetners.  I personally avoid artificial sweetners as much as I can. 

For one if you are going to eat/drink something high in sugar, such as a soda, just have the real thing or none at all.  I feel the same thing about low fat foods.  If you are going to indulge, go big or go home.  Secondly, I avoid artificial sweetners because they make my stomach hurt really bad.  Sharp pains will plague me for hours if I have any.  Logically, if my body (stomach) is telling me it doesn’t like it, it must be bad for my body.  Thirdly, I personally think (for some reason I chose this in my life to be stubborn about) that artificial sweetners are so obviously manufactured and unnatural that they should not be willing poured into your natural body systems. 

To support my stubborness on artificial sweetners, check out these stats on aspartame.  75% of all complaints that the FDA receives are from the ingestion of aspartame for 15 years after it arrived on the market.  It has brough more complaints than any other food additive ever.  Aspartame is also marketed under the names of “Equal”, “Nutrasweet” and “Candarel”.  It is found in approximately 6,000 food and beverages served worldwide.  You would most likely ingest it from softdrinks or in packets on restaurant tables.  However, some other common everyday food items where it is found is in gum and some chewable vitamins.  

What happens when you metabolize aspartame is that aspartame is changed into methanol in your intestines which is then absorbed and changed into formaldehyde.  All of this within your body.  Some experts feel it’s not enough to make a difference.  Others say that adding these chemicals into your body will cause a chronic toxicity over time causing symptoms similar to other chronic diseases.  Then there are others who laugh in the face of all of this and say “NONSENSE!”.  Studies have linked this controversial additive to cancers, neurological diseases, etc but the scientists say that the amount that most people drink shouldn’t really affect them.  And since the experts are still undecided on if it’s really bad for people, we should just wait and see if other symptoms show up.  At least that’s appears to be the overall plan

Hmmm….Since these experts don’t really agree.  I am going to maintain my stubborn stance on this and just use good old regular sugar.  I really don’t like to be a walking science experiment.  Plus, if I gamble on the fact that it won’t cause something weird, I will probably lose.  I also lose when I gamble, so why gamble with my health.  Oh and if you use Splenda….don’t be so sure that’s great either.  It also has a similar back story.  So pour some sugar on me (or rather my Rice Krispies)…in the name of love.  In moderation, of course.