Mr. Grinch Smoothie

This has been my go-to snack lately. I am constantly looking for easy-to-make, high quality snacks as I’m usually juggling kids, lunch, toys, nursing, whatever. The key is to have all the ingredients on hand, close by each other and ready to go. 

Oh and the best part…Trey loves it too!
There are many variations of a “green” smoothie but here’s what I do…
Mr. Grinch Smoothie
1 scoop NNW Healthy Whey Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder (found in HyVee Health Market)
large handful of organic spinach
1 frozen banana
spoonful of natural peanut butter (about 1-2 T)
scoop of chia seeds or ground flaxseed
about 8-10 oz skim milk
Blend and enjoy!

Until next time…
look good, feel good, do good
Sara B.

If you have to buy something processed part 3

Last part!  Article from
Now for the “Nutrition Facts” on the Label

Cholesterol. Your body (liver) makes more cholesterol in an hour than you ever eat in a day. As you have learned, more of the cholesterol comes from eating sugar than eating fat. There is little correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol, and little reason to worry about this number on food labels.

Protein. If you eat a variety of whole foods you won’t have to worry about protein because whole foods such as beans, soy foods, nuts, seeds, whole grains and lean animal foods contain plenty of protein.

Sodium. If you are sodium sensitive, use this simple guideline: Double the calories to get an accurate estimate of how much sodium should be in the serving (for example 150 calories per serving, maximum sodium per serving 300 mg). There’s an exception: very low calorie foods, such as some vegetables without added salt. Many processed foods have far more sodium than this. You will need to prepare fresh foods at home to recondition your palate to whole foods naturally low in sodium. The recommended daily intake for the average person is 1500 mg, or less than the amount in 1 teaspoon of salt (2400 mg). That includes salt added at the table, in cooking at the factory or in a fast food kitchen (which is where most of our salt intake comes from – hidden in the processed and fast foods we consume such as packaged meats, canned soup, and even cottage cheese!) We should consume about 10 times the amount of potassium (in foods such as bananas, potatoes, spinach, and almonds) as sodium in our diet (mostly from plant foods), and we do just the inverse – eat 10 times as much salt or sodium as potassium.

Calcium. Add a zero to the calcium % on the label and this equals milligrams calcium per serving because the % Daily Value for calcium is based on 1000 mg. For example: 2% = 20 mg. calcium or 30% = 300 mg. Remember that calcium is the only nutrient to which this rule pertains.

Other nutrients: B-12, iron, zinc and other nutrients may have been added to the food product to enhance nutrient levels and will be listed on the label if the product was “fortified.”

Until next time…
Look good, feel good, do good
Sara B.

Paleo Porridge

While I don’t consider myself “Paleo” many of the concepts of the diet are naturally part of my families eating lifestyle.  When I came across this recipe for a warm oatmeal like breakfast I was intrigue and gave it a try.  It got three thumbs up from J, Trey, and myself!
I like to make a big batch so it’s ready for a high protein breakfast or pick-me-up snack in a jiffy. 

Paleo Porridge
Recipe from

1.    Process coconut, walnuts, almonds, pepitas and flaxseed together in a blender or food processor until finely ground and blade starts to seize.
2.    Boil water in a kettle or in the microwave.  Pour into a microwave-safe container and mix in honey if using. 
3.    Stir ground nuts into hot water.  Add protein or other fixins.
4.    Heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir once more.  Let sit for 3-5 minutes to thicken.  Enjoy!

Variations:  Just like traditional porridge, you can stir in some extra ingredients at the end to change the flavor.  Here are some ideas, but feel free to experiment!


If you really have to buy something processed part 2

Have you checked out yet!?  1 Corinthians 6:12-13

“What you think you own is really on loan and that includes your body…..God is the owner and you’re just the manager. God expects you to take care of your body.”  -Pastor Rick Warren 

Understand the Nutrition Label: Think Low GL (glycemic load) and High PI (phytonutrient index)

Glycemic Load or GL is a measure of how quickly a food enters your blood stream and low GL means better health

Phytonutrient index or PI means the amount of colorful plant pigments and compounds in food that help prevent disease and promote health

Look at the serving size and determine if this is your “typical” portion as labels can be deceiving. For example, a cereal may state 3/4 cup serving when your typical portion is 1 1/2 cups. Or worse, it may say 2 servings, when typically people consume the whole amount in the container or bottle. Have you ever known 4 people to share one pint of Hagen Daaz ice cream?

Are the calories high GL or low GL? Remember, the total amount of carbohydrates is less important than where they come from. If they are found in foods with a low GL and high PI they will have a very different affect on your appetite and weight than foods that are quickly absorbed and have few nutrients and fiber.

Start with fiber. It is one of the main factors that determine the all-important glycemic load; fiber can give you a clue about the PI. Many packaged foods have no fiber. If convenience items such as soups, entrees, or snacks are missing this key fiber factor, leave them on the shelf.

Total carbohydrates. Remember that it’s the type of carbohydrates that matters most. If they are from whole, plant foods containing plenty of fiber or have a low GL, their effect is very different from fiberless foods. The same amount of carbohydrates from a can of beans or from a can of Coke affects the body in very different ways.

Where are the good fats? Monounsaturated and omega 3 polyunsaturated fats should dominate this category, with minimal amounts of saturated fat and zero trans fats (present on foods labels from 2006 on). Beware that small amounts of trans fat are STILL permitted in the food as long as it is less then 0.5 grams per serving. But if you eat that food frequently or more than one serving (which is usually the case), you may get a load of trans fats. Therefore look carefully at the label even if it says “zero trans fats” and look for the word hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. If you see those words put it back on the shelf. Unfortunately the omega 3 fats are rarely listed on the label. They are part of the polyunsaturated fat family. But they come from the good side of the family. Other processed and refined oils that are less than healthful also show up in this section of the label including corn oil and safflower oil.

 Until next time…
Look good, feel good, do good
Sara B.

If You Really Have to Buy Something Processed part 1

I am currently taking part in a trial run of The Daniel Plan at Hope Lutheran Church in West Des Moines.  Myself, staff, and a few other health professionals are embarking on a 6 week trial to see if it is something we can be rolled out to the church in 2013.  This would be the start of the new Health and Wellness Ministry!  I am super excited about this.  God wants us to treat out bodies like temples for the healthier we are the better we can serve!  To learn more about The Daniel Plan…check it out at
I found this three part article on the site and had to share! 

If You Really Have to Buy Something Processed part 1

By Dr. Mark Hyman

“If it has a label don’t eat it,” is what I preach. However, there are some exceptions. But think about this: If there is a health food section in the grocery store, what does that make the rest of the food sold there? The general rule: If it has any ingredients you don’t recognize or pronounce, put the item down. Be a smart label reader. Labels contain both the ingredients and specific (but not all) nutrition information. Here are keys to know about contents listed on labels included on packaged foods.

Beware of marketing. Remember, the front of the label is food marketing at its cleverest. It is designed to seduce you into an emotional purchase and may contain exaggerated claims. Look for quality ingredients. Organic whole foods are now available in packages, cans and boxes.

Where is the ingredient on the list? If the real food is at the end of the list and the sugars or salt is at the beginning of the list, beware. The most abundant ingredient is listed first and then the others are listed in descending order by weight.

Beware of ingredients not on the list. Foods that are exempt from labels include foods in very small packages, foods prepared in the store, and foods made by small manufacturers.

Look for additives or problem ingredients. If it has high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated oils, put it back on the shelf. Search for any “suspect” additives.

Look for ingredients that don’t agree with you. Identify food ingredients you are sensitive or react to, such as gluten, eggs, dairy, tree nuts, or peanuts. Be vigilant about reading labels, as these ingredients are often “hidden” in foods you least suspect. The labeling of common allergens is not always clear or helpful and there have been recent recommendations to improve this for consumers as in the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act 2004. (See for lists of gluten containing foods.)

Investigate unfamiliar ingredients. Investigate or use an Internet search engine to find a credible source for any unfamiliar ingredients on the label before you buy such as carmine, quorn, diacylglycerol, etc. Credible internet sources tend to be on government or educational sites ending in “.gov” or “.edu” rather than “com.”

Discover if any “functional food ingredients” are being added to the food product, such as live active cultures, beta-glucan (a viscous fiber), or plant sterols. Though they may be helpful, more often than not, they are “window dressing” present in small amounts, and with minimal value, except to the marketing department of the manufacturer. Examples of this include live active cultures added to high sugar, high fat yogurts or vitamins and minerals added to gum balls. In other words, it’s best to get healthful, functional food ingredients from their whole food sources, rather than as additives to otherwise nutritionally depraved foods.

Would your great-grandmother have served this food? Finally, before you analyze the numbers, ask yourself if this food could have been served at your great-grandmother’s table. She only served real food.

Thoughts about the article or the Daniel Plan?  Please share!

Until next time…
Look good, feel good, do good
Sara B.

Pan Fried Tilapia

I’m back!  Thanks for being patient as I enjoyed time with our new baby girl Charlee.  Everyone is adjusting well.  Trey likes to give her kisses in the morning and thinks it is necessary to give her a pacifier at every waking moment.  J and I cherish our growing family…even if things are a little bit crazier, the house is a bit messier, and meals aren’t quite as fancy. 
A few weeks ago J fixed up this beautiful and nutritious meal.  He has been helping with the “house” duties even more now that we are on “man-to-man” defense. 

Pan Fried Tilapia
2 eggs
1/4 cup crushed crackers or whole wheat bread crumbs
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

In a shallow dish crack two eggs and beat. Coat tilapia in eggs. In a plastic bag combine crackers, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Place tilapia in plastic bag and lightly coat each side. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place coated fish in oiled pan. Brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until fish flakes apart with fork.  Garnish with parsley.

Easy tartar sauce: few tablespoons olive oil mayo, dash of lemon juice and pickle juice, and diced up pickles.  Stir to combine and serve overtop fish.

I appreciate you all sticking with me during my leave!  I plan to keep bringing you healthy, nutritious meals but not as often.  However, searching past recipes will always give you new ideas.  Each month go back to the previous years and try a new meal! 

Until next time…
look good, do good, feel good
Sara B.