A Burger That Works For Me

Hi!  Yes.  I’m still here. Life is keeping me busy.  While my heart tells me that my blog is neglected, my mind tells me that grad is more important.

Anyways, look what I found!!

veggie burger

Why didn’t someone tell me about these??  I know all about the “other” Bubba burger, but I stumbled on these in Shoprite.

Now, y’all know that I am not big on processed foods, howeeeeeevvvvvver; in a pinch, the tasty burger works.  It has real identifiable vegetables! I mean, like, you can actually identify some of the contents!!  Imagine that!!

actual burger

The label reads like this:

ingredients

I will admit, that it has way more ingredients than I’d like in a box, but it still beats a big mac.  Eew!

As for the nutritional part…

burger nutrition

Will I eat this every day?  No.  But it’s not bad. I’m not thrilled about the 300 mg of sodium, but the most I would eat in a sitting is two burgers and this gives me 600 mg of sodium. The product is made in the USA.  Halleluja!! It’s gluten-free and the carton is made from 100% recycled paperboard.  They care about the environment, so maybe they care about the rest of us too.  Lol!

For lunch, I placed two “burgers” to a frying pan, added olive oil, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and slowly browned them on each side. Instead of placing them between two buns, I ate them solo with a sliced apple.

lunch

Two thumbs up for the Veggie Bubba Burger!!  Of course eventually, I will mess around with some of their ingredients and some of my ingredients to create my own.

I hope that you’re enjoying your summer and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Smooches!

 

 

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Y’all Don’t See This!

I share pictures and recipes of healthy meals here, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and a few other sites.

What y’all don’t see is the daily mental tug-of-war and the inner turmoil that I grapple with. Ugh!  Oh Lord, the guilt of feeding my family unhealthy and processed foods. I hate it!

The other day I brought a package of Jennie-O Hardwood Smoked Turkey Kielbasa.  My family likes them and I was struggling with what to cook for dinner, without repeating the same ole same meals.

I feel like I’m chickening them to death!  I also needed to cook something that would last for a couple of days… Umm.. leftovers!  I don’t have time to cook everyday nor do I want to.

I usually prepare the Kielbasa with garlic, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce served over some sort of whole wheat pasta… just the way they like it.  😦

While hubby zoned out on the laptop at the kitchen counter, I read aloud the ingredients. He was not moved, surprised or even batted an eye.  I don’t think– no, I know he was not listening, so I read the ingredients again, but this time a little louder…  Lol!!

“Turkey, manufactured, turkey, water…

Me:        “Hon!!  Did you hear that?”

Him:       “Huh?”  “What?” (looking and sounding a little annoyed)

Me:        “I just read the disgusting ingredients in this turkey I’m cooking for you guys!”

Him:       “Well what else are we supposed to eat?!?”

Me:        (Thinking) “Is he freakin serious?!?!?”

Me:        “Well we could eat more vegan based meals.”

Him:       (seemingly more annoyed) “What’s that?”

Me:        “Ugh!  Really?  Plant based meals.”

OMG!! The look on his face. Like I just called him a pervert or something. LMAO!!

Welcome to my world!

The process entails pureeing or grinding the carcass left after the manual removal of meat from the bones and then forcing the slurry through a sieve under pressure. This puree includes bone, bone marrow, skin, nerves, blood vessels in addition to the scraps of meat remaining on the bones. The resulting product is a blend of muscle (meat) and other tissues not generally considered meat.

HOLD UP!

That’s foul! I’m not buying them anymore.

Manufactured turkey is pretty much the same as “mechanically separated meat.”

Barfing yet?

I just can’t!!

If you care about your health, you should read labels on everything you eat. While I continue to educate myself, I try to share my knowledge with my family. Actually, I will share with anyone, who expresses the slightest of interest.  🙂

Some days my family are not interested in my chatter, but I refuse to stop because I care.  Caring is the frustrating part. As I continue to educate myself about food and nutrition, the need to share is only natural for me. I share with my family, my friends, my followers, and anyone else who cares to listen.  Other than my household, I try not to give unsolicited info, but I have been busted for making faces.  I’m working on this!  Lol!

I don’t want to be the pain in the ass wife and mom; however, I do my best to paint the ugliest, nastiest, and graphic images (in their minds and mine) to drive the message home.  Hahaha!!

Anything that’s good is not going to be easy and will demand more time and diligence from us.

Grocery shopping takes longer.  Why?  Because I am:

  • Scrutinizing food labels
  • Looking for healthier food options
  • Checking prices
  • Buying for two, sometimes three different meal plans
  • Buying from several different stores

I cook two sets of meals, so cooking takes longer, but I’m cool with that.

The troublesome  part for me is, even though I am pretty creative at introducing new food, subbing and swapping out bad ingredients for healthier options, my peeps still want processed foods like those nasty smoked turkey kielbasas.  What am I supposed to do?

For now, I will continue to plug away at it and incorporating healthier meals for them. I do realize I am still helping them, but I just feel like it’s not enough.  This past Sunday, I made baked ziti. I used whole wheat pasta, added zucchini and mushrooms but it still had three cheeses!  They loved it!

 I sucked on one noddle and was perfectly fine with that. 🙂

I’m dead serious.

Anyways, I would have never thought that  in 2015,  hubby would be eating avocados, flax seeds, chia seeds, and zucchini spaghetti, so I guess I am making a little progress. Hallelujah!!

Whatever you do, do not give up on your goals of living a healthier lifestyle; the benefits are endless and worthwhile.

Thanks for stopping by… and please… keep it movin!  🙂

 

 

 


Is This What FLOTUS Had In Mind?

Equal to my passion for fitness is encouraging, uplifting, educating, and empowering teens.

Teenagers are cool beings, often misunderstood, and just want to be heard. No different from when we were adolescents.  How soon we forget. I don’t know of anyone who miraculously jumped from age 13 right into “wisdom” and “maturity.”  Heck many adults are still trying to find themselves.

Anyway, I was preparing to talk to a group of teens. While I spoke, they ate their breakfast, which included this stuff.

delicious essentials

“Delicious Essentials!”  Seriously, what’s essential about this?  Read the label.

muffin labelPeep the sugar!!  16 grahams!

Graham Cracker’s for breakfast?

graham crackersGot milk?

low fat milklow fat milk labelLet’s add more sugar! 12 grams.

It was early morning and my curiosity got the best of me. I always read food and product labels. I already suspected the food had little nutritional value and was high in sugar, but wanted confirmation.

I picked up the packages squinting and straining to gain focus to read the small printed labels (reading specs were not on hand).

Aloud I say Nooo!!  Seriously?!! The “food pusha” that I am, the name given to me by a colleague, was appalled by the nutritional value of the package.

In just one meal, the breakfast almost exceeds the American Heart Association’s new daily sugar guidelines for pre-teen and teens.

One prepackaged breakfast included cereal, juice and animal crackers. Yes, animal crackers!  Smh!

Food Sugar Sodium Calories
Golden Grahams Cereal 5 grams 220 110
100% Apple Juice 12 grams 10 60
Whole grain animal crackers 7 90 110
Total 24 grams 320 grams 280

While this “meal” is low in calories, the sugar content is high.

“A recent AHA (American Heart Association) study found 14-18 year old children intake the most sugar on a daily basis, averaging about 34.3 teaspoons a day.”

A large number of sugar consumed by these kids come from sodas and juices. This number can be drastically decreased by replacing juice and soda with water. To add natural flavor to water, add lemon wedges, strawberries, or cucumber.

So back to the package… The “great breakfast” is produced by E.S.Foods. “Nourishing our future” is the tag line under the logo.   Umm… aaahhh…. (Twisting my lips to find the right words)… animal crackers, juice and Golden Grahams are not my idea of feeding my son a nutritious breakfast in the morning.

Here’s another breakfast favorite that was included in the stash.

fruit loops

Who believes that there is actually fruit in this bowl?  Want to to talk about food coloring?  Ugh!!

froot loop label

Red 40, Blue 2, Yellow 6, Blue 1 – Here’s more about blue dye.

Before anyone gets upset here, I get it!

“A” breakfast is better than “no” breakfast at all. True.

But seriously, I really wanna know does the company genuinely want to help nourish kids or is it the same old bullshit that revolves around profit and a network of business minded folk and or politicians exchanging favors.

With the kids in mind, my thoughts are,

“How can the quality of the package contents be improved?”

“How can real fruit be incorporated into this process?”

I’m not naïve and understand the shelf-life of fruit is limited. The complexities of getting fresh produce out to kids will mostly likely be more complicated and cumbersome. I also know, due to shrinking family budgets, that not all kids eat or have even been exposed to fresh fruit.

Why not offer more fruit in schools and places like the Police Athletic Leagues, YMCA’s,  and The Boys & Girls Club of America?

There has to be a better way. I’m not here to judge any business, organization or institution who chooses to buy the product, I am simply pointing out facts and asking questions.

What if the manufacturer removed the cookies and substituted the cookies with a fruit coded voucher (similar to coupons redeemed from smart phones)  for fruit redemption in the food line in school?

Certainly they (manufacturers & suppliers) know the value and cost of each bag of cookies.

What if the manufacturer partnered with a local produce vendor or grocery store?

What if those grocery stores and markets provided fresh fruits to the vendors who buy the pre-packaged breakfasts and reimbursed them based on consumption up to an agreed upon amount? What if the local vendors partnered with agencies and institutions that serviced children?

Childhood obesity continues to rise. The Center for Disease Prevention (CDC) reports that, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

High blood pressure, diabetes, and hypertension—are diagnosed at much earlier ages than in previous decades.

I am a football mom. At the start of each season, I sit and repulsively observe over-weight and out of shape players struggle to complete one lap around the football field. The boys are literally wheezing, gasping for air, and crying! These boys are pre-teens and too young to be unfit and unhealthy.  It’s insane!

Years ago kids spent endless hours playing outside.  Electronics (TV, computers, games, smart phones, iPads, and other fun gadgets) replace the outdoor physical activity.

Throughout the school day only God knows what the kids eat. Furthermore, many of them do not eat dinner before soccer, football, cheer, baseball, lacrosse, or whatever their chose activity is.  By 8 O’Clock at night, the kids are hungry and will wolf down anything resembling food.

Cheese fries, hot dogs, or chicken fingers from the concession stand or a slice or two of pizza from the local pizzeria is not my idea of dinner.  Most often parents think they do not have the time to prepare balanced home cooked meals. But the key is meal planning and meal prep (just like in body building).

Consuming less processed foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables is essential.  I know that it is expensive to eat healthier. But don’t forget healthcare costs are rising too and American’s are also paying more for healthcare.  So, why not try to make small changes that will have better long-term affects on the health of our children?

So between these “healthy” breakfast offerings, school lunches, and on-the-road dinner, its no wonder childhood obesity and chronic illnesses are rising.

The solution? Education. Education. Education.

For whom?

Everyone!

Start by reading food labels. If you don’t know how to read labels, resources are available online. Here too.  If you don’t know what an ingredient is, google it online and keep reading until you understand what the ingredient.  Further research the ingredient. When you find something that isn’t healthy (or repulsive to you), make note of it (put it in notes on your phone) and avoid buying food with the product or buy foods that have lower amounts of the ingredient.

Policy makers. They can’t just campaign for healthier foods, sign off on legal documents, slap their hands together and call their job done. “Healthy foods” needs to be defined so that everyone is on the same page. Healthy to me certainly differs from someone else.

Banning candy and soda in school is fine, but not when the food is replaced by packaged food that say “healthy,” “low fat,” “low calorie,” and “low sodium” but is laced with sugar (as much or more as the candy) and other artificial and genetically modified organisms. Oh my Gawd!! My head is spinning.

Parents Wake up! Learn better habits so that you can do better. Read and educate yourself about the food you buy and serve your children.

I am not saying they can’t eat candy, chips, etc… What I am saying is that this “junk” that is often masked, as nutritious food should not be a child’s primary source of food.

While speaking to a group of teens I used my favorite car analogy. I asked about their dream cars. Maserati! Lamborghini! Mercedes! Range Rover! I further inquired about the type of gasoline they’d fuel their car. “The best!” “High octane!”   What about tires, I continued to probe… They named outlandishly expensive tires and rims that I’ve never heard of. Lastly I asked if how they cared for their dream care would affect the car’s performance. They agreed it would.

BINGO!!

So why would you take better care of your car than your body??   I could see the light bulbs going off! Lol!   Will it change the way they eat? Maybe. Maybe not. I tried to help them make a connection between diet and performance (mental & physical). If nothing else, they left the discussion with a little more insight with respect to what they eat.

All I can think about is Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. What would FLOTUS say about these meals? Remember, I am not judging and know the process is not easy. I am however, asking important questions, looking for better solutions and challenging parents to do the same.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a fabulous day! 🙂

Additional Resources

Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2010

MyPyramid.gov

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 

Nutrition.gov 

healthfinder.gov 

Health.gov

Eatingwell.com

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

Food and Nutrition Service 

Food and Nutrition Information Center

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institutes of Health

Let’s Move!

Healthy People

U.S. National Physical Activity Plan Note: The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan is not a product of the Federal Government. However, a number of Federal offices were involved in the development of the Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 


Confused About What To Eat?

Confused Bear

Image courtesy of Graphic Leftovers https://www.facebook.com/glstockimages

Enter any grocery store, Walmart, Target or any place that sells food and we are reminded to eat healthier foods and to take better care of us.

For many people, that’s a tall order because they don’t know how to or what to eat because they are confused.

Inviting and colorful food labels frequently mislead consumers about their food content and nutritional value.

“Fat Free…Low Calorie… Reduced calorie…Whole Wheat…Wheat…Gluten Free…Sugar Free and more”

On top of that, food manufacturers deceive us even more with pictures of fruit like plump, ripe blueberries supposedly added to chemically processed waffles. Ugh! I just can’t!!

No wonder folks are confused!

So if you’re trying to make smarter food choices, what the heck are you supposed to do?   Read and educate yourself and….. Drum roll…

Eat fresh fruit and produce, drink water, and reduce the amount of processed foods that you eat.

Take advantage of every opportunity to read up on the subject; information is everywhere! In addition to reading articles in your local newspaper. Follow blogs, fitness and health magazines online. The information is there, you just have to read it.

The Vitamin store offers free magazines to their customers such as Life Extension, Muscle & Performance and Amazing Wellness.  All provide resourceful information that will change the way you think about food and fitness.

magazines

Check out this great article I found from a board I follow on Pinterest.  It clears up a few misconceptions about so-called healthy foods.

Healthy Foods That Can Actually Hurt Your Health

Oh and by the way, I am still participating in the 100 Happy Days Challenge. Last week was my first week back to school and I haven’t had the chance to post them here.  You can also find my happy day photos on Instagram at Lexa_82 Twitter at Lexa82.  The hashtag for my 100happydays post is #100happydays4lexa

I will update this blog with the pictures soon.

Happy Sunday and make it a fabulous day!  Smile!!!