Chemical insect repellents are full of stuff that you don’t want on your skin and especially not on your children’s skin. DIY a natural insect repellent that is good for you.
Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With These 4 Strategies It’s expensive to feed your family! The cost of food is a large portion of most household budgets, and the price continues to climb. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone say that the cost of food at the grocery store is just right (and […]
Keeping a pantry – who does that anymore? Well, you have a convenience store in your home that you didn’t even realize. It’s your pantry! A lesson I learned from my Grandmother who grew up during the depression was to always keep your pantry well stocked. I’m Kim and you can find me sharing at Homestead Acres. […]
The post Keeping a Pantry: 8 Reasons That Will Convince You appeared first on Just Plain Living.
You have wondered about drying food, haven’t you? Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Get ready because this 5000+ word post should answer all of your questions and get you well on your way to dehydrating like a champion. I’m not kidding – this is the ultimate guide to dehydrating your own food at home. We’re going […]
How much junk food – highly processed food that is convenient but unhealthy – do you eat each day? Probably more than you think. No, I’m not judging you. It is so easy to slip into eating the “Standard American Diet” and I completely understand.
This post contains affiliate links. Buying through them helps me keep this blog running at no extra cost to you.
If you’re like the average American, almost 60% of your calories are coming from extremely processed food loaded with excess sugar, salt, and fat, according to a recent study by Tufts University and the University of Sao Paulo.
Most experts agree that an occasional treat causes little harm in an otherwise balanced diet, but these numbers are concerning. Large amounts of processed food can lead to weight gain, as well as increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.
Confession time here – when I’m not feeling well, it is far too easy to say “You’re going in town to do banking? Pick up something for supper.” And of course anything “picked up” for supper is going to be overly processed with ingredients we just don’t want to be eating.
It is not that hard to make serious changes to your diet. Follow these guidelines for making smarter choices about what you eat and drink.
Cutting Back on Sugar
- Switch to water. Soda consumption is declining, but sugary drinks are still the single largest source of calories for the average American. Drink water with a slice of lime or brew a cup of tea. I have talked elsewhere about the importance of drinking water and ways to get more into you.
- Rethink your coffee. How much sugar are you putting in your coffee or tea? Cut the amount in half each week. After a while, you probably won’t even notice the difference. For most of my adult life, I’ve taken my coffee very sweet. One lump or two? Oh, how about three … maybe four? About six months ago, I started slowly decreasing and now I take it with one scant teaspoon of sugar in an eight ounce mug. Recently, I took a sip of the mister’s very sweet coffee (the traditional Canadian “double double”) and immediately handed it back. Too sweet!!!
- Read your cereal box. A lot of breakfast cereals don’t live up to their healthy names. Don’t start your day, or your children’s day, with a huge dose of highly processed food. Check the labels for how much added sugar they contain. You might find that the ones you like all contain terribly high levels of sugar, making them dessert more than breakfast! Making your own granola ahead of time, or cooking up oatmeal, takes very little extra work and will save you a lot of money as a nice bonus.
- Serve fruit. You can satisfy your sweet tooth without candy and cookies. Snack on apples and peanut butter. Enjoy figs and cheese for dessert. With a dehydrator, you can even make homemade fruit rollups and other dried snacks.
- Plan ahead. It’s easier to resist sweets if you’re already full. Eat balanced meals, and carry nutritious snacks around with you. Decide in advance which treats you enjoy most so you can save up your sugar calories for something you really love – like a nice piece of dark chocolate.
- Go cold turkey. Maybe you want to give up refined sugar entirely. Experts say the cravings pass in about 72 hours, so you’ll be in good shape if you can outlast the temporary discomfort. (Full disclosure here – I’ve tried and can’t do it!)
Eating Fewer Processed Foods
- Shop the perimeter. The inner aisles of most supermarkets are full of chips, frozen pizzas, and all of the other pre-packaged convenience foods that, while often tasty, are far less nutritious (and more expensive!). Fill your cart with produce and low-fat dairy and meat products instead.
- Skip diet foods. Beware of low-fat and no-fat versions of junk foods. They often add more sugar and salt to restore the flavor. And that goes for many of the gluten-free products, too!
- Learn new recipes. Get a copy of A Cabin Full of Food and learn the recipes that let Grandma put unprocessed food on the table every day. How do I know it’s great? Well, I wrote it. But if you don’t believe me, check out the Amazon reviews and let those who use the cookbook convince you.
- Experiment more. If you’ve been eating instant macaroni and cheese for years, you may not realize all the alternatives available. Sample a wholesome new food each week like quinoa or tempeh. If you’re not that adventurous, try using barley instead of white rice for a few meals. It will fill you up more and keep you full longer.
- Fill your freezer. Not just that, but make use of stackable meal-planning dishes that let you make a week’s worth of food for the fridge. I love these stackable Bento boxes. Stock your pantry with home-canned jars of soup and chili, ready for quick meals and take note of the recipes that you can make no matter how tired and sore you are. Spaghetti without meat sauce, for example, requires nothing more than pre-made spaghetti sauce and a box of pasta.
Eating More Whole Foods
- Watch portion sizes. Most of us underestimate the portion size on our pasta and other starchy or sweet foods – “another scoop of that fettucine alfredo, please” – and underestimate the portion size on our vegetables – “oh, I can’t eat that much salad!” Find out what you should be eating and measure what you really are taking in to see the difference. Did you know that a serving of Oreo cookies is … just two little cookies? Wouldn’t it be better to have a larger – and healthier – homemade cookie?
- Focus on vegetables and fruit. Most produce is high in nutrients and low in calories, so aim for at least 5 servings a day. And don’t drink your produce! Eating whole fruit rather than juice will provide more fiber and fewer calories.
- Be selective. You may be surprised by how processed or unprocessed some foods really are. Shop carefully, and stay informed. For example, if you eat soy products, realize that frozen edamame typically has far more natural ingredients than frozen soy burgers.
What you eat most of the time has a big impact on your overall health and well-being. Make whole foods that are low in processed sugar the mainstay of your diet.
These days everyone is looking for ways to reduce debt and save money, and you are likely just like the rest of us – wondering how you can make that happen in your life. It is certainly possible to wipe out your existing debt and learn how to live your life within your means.
Here are five tips that will help you on your way to debt free living
Stop using credit cards
Credit cards have their uses and I use one. It is extremely difficult to run an online business without one. But if you cannot pay your credit card off in full each month, set it aside and use cash at least until you have your finances under control.
Need to learn more about Saving, Making and Managing Money? You need Common Cents!
Buy luxury items with cash
Create a realistic budget that includes debt repayment
Need to learn more about Saving, Making and Managing Money? You need Common Cents!
Seek the help of a professional credit counselor, accountant or financial planner
Negotiate better rates with the banks or credit card companies
Have you been wondering how to gain some control over the craziness of food prices? I know – if you’re like most people, you’re often wondering how to make ends meet, and food is often one of the largest categories in your budget. Well, let me give you one of my best ways to weather […]
Did you know that 58% of North Americans eat at a restaurant at least once a week? 4% do so more than three times. That’s a lot of eating out – and our health, finances and relationships suffer for it! I hope you have been enjoying the series Living Plain in a Fancy World.
Life is great, everything is running along smoothly, and you’re on top of the world. And then, without any warning, the floor falls out from under you. We should all know how to switch to survival mode and get through it. When life throws you a curve ball, here is how to deal with it.
This is a guest post from long-time reader Exile. Before he begins, I need to make it very clear that there is no USDA approved method of canning banana. Use your own judgment. Bananas are a dense, low acid food, which opens up the risk of botulism. Certainly, there is no way to process them […]
I’m so glad you’re here! I can’t wait to tell you more about our time living without a fridge. This post may contain affiliate links. Yes, you heard that right. No fridge. With a family of six – four young children and two adults – we spent nearly three years without a fridge, and we ate well throughout […]
Hello, my friend, it’s so wonderful to have you here. Have you ever noticed the trend to idealize all of the Plain folk – that is, the Mennonites, Amish and all associated with them? Admit it, you’ve probably done it (at least a little). Am I right? You know how it goes. If a recipe […]
One of the best things about having home-preserved food storage is that I can often make a meal with almost no notice, including dishes that typically take hours. Spaghetti and meatballs? I’ve got you covered. Slow cooked chicken soup? Not a problem. Beef Stew? Under half an hour and we’re eating. And that’s with dumplings. […]
Do you know how to can meat? Many people are used to canning jellies, jams and pickles, but did you know that you can use a pressure canner to put away tasty, tender and convenient jars of meat? Canning meat with a pressure canner is a fabulous way to store large amounts of food in the […]
Have you ever heard the expression “Oh, no, someone is WRONG on the Internet”? Shocking, of course, but it does happen some times. That is why it is important to occasionally review the basics of SAFE canning, both pressure canning and boiling water bath canning. This post contains affiliate links. Before I do so, let […]
The post Canning – Get the Basics Right – High Acid vs Low Acid appeared first on Just Plain Living.
If you have been canning for any amount of time, and want to do more than jams and pickles, you’re going to need a pressure canner. (Affiliate links ahead) Here in Canada, you have two options, and both are great: a Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner an All-American Cooker Canner You might have a Mirro, but […]
Oh, my goodness, could I write an ode to cornbread! Have you ever made a new version of an old favourite recipe … and it was better than the one you had been making? This cornbread recipe is like that. It’s good. I mean, really, it GOOD. As I’m telling the mister that “NO, there’s […]
Whenever you start something new, there are tools. Canning’s the same. Let’s start with my favorite – Pressure Canning. I know that plenty of people are scared of pressure canning or feel that it’s harder than Boiling Water Bath canning. It’s not. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s practical. Practical? Yup. How often do you […]
The post Canning Basics: Tools of the Trade – Pressure Canning appeared first on Just Plain Living.
Despite what you might have heard, there are only two safe methods of canning food. Neither is better than the other, but both are used only for certain types of food. What foods do you want to can? Pickles, jams and jellies? Meat, vegetables and other low acid foods? The food you want to can […]
These days, everyone knows that we should be eating more organic produce and more unprocessed food. But is it a black and white issue? What happens when you have limited funds? Too often, I’ve heard the argument that those on a tight budget must make a choice between “a tiny amount of organic produce” and […]
The mister’s family is French Canadian, and one of the most amazing things he introduced me to was Sugar Pie. It is easy to make, or at least it was once I deciphered my father-in-law’s directions. Our first attempt was a disaster! The first attempt at making this was from a list of ingredients, in […]
There are times when you plan carefully, making sure you have a menu plan and you know exactly what you are going to do. And then, as the poet says, “the best laid plans of mice and men gang oft astray.” That’s when you find yourself looking at the clock, wondering how dinner time could […]
Cranberry Sauce. Love it or hate, you probably grew up eating it from a tin can and it really was the stuff of jokes. It started, of course, with that schluuurrrrp sound as the cylindrical blob can sliding out of the can. Homemade cranberry sauce isn’t like that. Well, it could be, but it doesn’t […]