Archive for July 2014

“Fed up” movie review




Click here to watch the trailer: “Fed up” movie trailer


“Fed Up” is a documentary that examines the role of sugar in the obesity epidemic. Any documentary should be watched with an open mind to challenge us to think of things in a new light. “Fed Up” was very eye opening in revealing the hidden sugars that are added to items to make them more “palatable”.

There were important references to some dietary goals which were presented in 1977 that concluded low fat diets were “the way to go” The evidence was not particularly strong, yet dietary recommendations were made accordingly. Removing fat from a product removes the flavor, which typically is replaced with added sugars. Fourty-fifty years later we have obesity and diabetes that have skyrocketed. Certainly there are many factors that contribute to the rise in the obesity and diabetes epidemic but, the added sugars are likely a big factor.

One of the BIG things that I wish the film had mentioned was CARBOHYDRATES. When we consume carbohydrates, they convert to sugar and then causes insulin to be released from the pancreas. Insulin then stores the excess sugar in various places in the body including the liver (as triglycerides) and the abdomen (as fat). So it would be a big fail if I didn’t mention the importance that excess carbohydrates play in contributing to obesity and diabetes (as well as many other unwanted medical conditions).

I gathered that there is a strong push for political overhaul and changes in funding, advertisement and availability of products. There were multiple clips of children in schools who kept choosing burgers and fries over fruits and vegetables. In fact, local schools in east TN are suggesting that the recent legislation which provided schools with funding for healthier options is actually money being wasted because students aren’t choosing healthier options. How about we think of this issue differently and remember that healthy eating habits…..well…..they start at home.

It is important to remember the basic concepts of supply and demand. Because of consumers demand in recent years we have seen options such as: low carb menus (yes, even at Cracker Barrel!), grass fed beef in grocery stores and even in restaurants, more organic options and less preservatives in foods. Likewise, if the demand for a product decreases, its likely as a result of the consumers who aren’t buying it as much. I suppose this is the very fear of the BIG companies who the film suggested that we should “demonize”.

The documentary made brief mention of a family that had cut out all added sugar and starting cooking meals at home for several weeks. As a result, the mother, father and son lost a lot of weight and felt better. This was such an encouragement to see, I only wish more of the film focused on ideas, stories, and suggestions to encourage families to make these changes at a personal level….within the four walls of their own home. With that said….I’ve got some work to do in my own kitchen. Happy healthy eating to all!

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” -Hippocrates




 A few facts from Fed Up website:

-One soda a day increases a child’s chance of obesity by 60%.

-There is overwhelming evidence of the link between obesity and the consumption of sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks

-In 2012, Americans consumed an average of 765 grams of sugar every 5 days, or 130 pounds each year.










Strawberry Salad

Ok folks for all of you out there who don’t like to cook, here is a super simple, super yummy idea for lunch or dinner! Each person can kinda build their own depending on what their favorite add-ons are! So, confession time……my family has been in the process of selling a house and moving over the pat 3 months and this girl hasn’t been doing near as much cooking, yikes! I love to cook and I miss it so much, but trying to work out of a kitchen with a bunch of boxes has been CRAZY to say the least. So, here is one of my family’s favorite go-to’s that takes very little prep and can be whipped up in no time!


chicken (either chicken pulled off rotisserie or boneless-skinless chicken breasts (4-6)

strawberries (splenda, stevia, or truvia if desired- small amount; see below)

blue cheese and or feta cheese crumbles

slivered almonds and/or walnuts/ pecans

spinach leaves and romaine (or spinach only is great too)

other possible add ons: sunflower seeds, blueberries, chia seeds, (flaxseed for those needing extra fiber)

Dressings: Maple Grove Farms of Vermont (MGFOV) Sugar Free Raspberry(1 carb)  OR MGFOV Fat Free balsamic (I don’t get it bc its fat free but bc its only 2 carbs!) OR Annie’s Honey Mustard (4 carbs) OR you could use a bleu cheese dressing if you prefer, approx. 2 tbsp


For a night when you don’t feel like cooking at all; I use the Simple Truth rotisserie chicken at Kroger! NO HORMONES and there is plenty for a family of 4! IF you are on a budget you can get a rotisserie for $4.99 at Costco. If cooking your own chicken breasts, I typically cook chicken at 375 for desired time depending on how thick and how many breasts (for 4-6 breasts cut up; roughly 25-30 minutes depending on how thick they are; cutting them up makes them cook faster, be sure to check chicken as each oven is different and you never want to have undercooked chicken!) . I would recommend cooking extra breasts to have left overs for the week.

Pile spinach leaves (and romaine if desired- avoid iceberg lettuce it is devout of most nutrients)

layer chicken, bleu cheese or feta (or both) sliced strawberries, (and blueberries if desired), and slivered walnuts, almonds, or pecans (pecans have a few more carbs but are ok in portion control). Be sure to avoid the candied almonds, pecans, or walnuts as those will have additional carbohydrates (sugar). may add additional toppings mentioned above if desired.

2 tbsp. of desired low carb dressing.

If preparing in advance, best not to toss dressing in until the end. If each family member has specific likes/ dislikes let everyone build their own. If making for a crowd can toss the lettuce, cheese, berries, nuts and chicken and leave the dressing until right before serving. If you toss the dressing it typically helps you to use less, versus pouring it over it at the end. Or you can use the fork method and get a little on your fork before preparing each bite!

WATCHOUT for restaurant strawberry salads. They are marketed as healthy but will often be covered in candied almonds/ pecans with craisins/ raisins and a sugary vinaigrette dressing. I LOVE Aubrey’s strawberry salad but I order it withOUT the candied pecans and craisins. I have them add extra spinach and I typically bring my own low carb vinegarette dressing :) or I do take out and use it from home! and I always add chicken for additional protein!

For a little additional sweetness, prepare strawberries in advance and sprinkle a small amount of truvia, stevia, or splenda over your berries. Place in refrigerator until time to serve. This will create some extra juice over the berries and also give moisture to your salad without additional dressing.

It is a family favorite!!!! IF you are extra hungry add a little more chicken and feta and pile up those spinach leaves. It is VERY filling. This can be done with steak as well!



VitalSigns Baby- Car Seats

You are not allowed to leave the hospital with your new little love bug without a car seat and he/ she will frequent some type of special car seat until their 9th birthday!! (According to TN law as of 6/2014) So what are the rules now anyway?!

Child Restraint Law

Source: TN Dept. of State and Homeland Security


Age/ Weight/ Height Seat Instructions
Birth up to Age 1 OR any child weighing 20 lbs or less  Rear facing car seat For the best possible protection, infants and children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat if available, until age 1 or when they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
Age 1 up to Age 3 AND > 20 lbs Forward facing car seat When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age 3 AND >20 lbs. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
Age 4 up to age 8 AND < 4’9″ Booster seat If the child is > 8yo but is < 4’9”, they must still use a booster seat.
Age 9 up to age 12 AND > 4’9″  Seat belt in the rear seat if available Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).Buckle all children aged 12 and under in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag.


  • Provision is made for the transportation of children in medically prescribed modified child restraints. A copy of Doctor’s prescription is to be carried in the vehicle utilizing the modified child restraint at all times.
  • The driver of the car is responsible for making sure that children under age sixteen are properly restrained and may be charged and fined $50.00 for violation of the law. If the child’s parent or legal guardian is present in the car but not driving, the parent or legal guardian is responsible for making sure that the child is properly transported and may be fined for non-compliance.
  • Police officers observing violations of this law are permitted to stop drivers and take enforcement action.
  • Install and use car seats and booster seats according to the seat’s owner’s manual or get help installing them from a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.  
  • Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
  • Buckle children in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts on every trip, no matter how short. Set a good example by wearing your own belt!



Cheesy meatloaf minis

Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis
meatloaf minis


1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (about 1 ounce) (I used 1 slice of low carb bread-my favorite is Sara Lee Healthy Multi-grain= 6 net carbs/slice)
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup, divided (Heinz makes a reduced sugar ketchup)
3 ounces white cheddar cheese, diced (I used 4 oz. of colby jack cheese cubes and cut the cubes in half).
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 large egg, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 425°. Toast bread crumbs in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with with cooking spray. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes.

Combine onion mixture, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup ketchup, and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Shape mixture into 6 (4 x 2-inch) loaves on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Spread 2 teaspoons ketchup over each.

Bake for 25 minutes or until done.

You can bake these as small 4×2 loaves or just cook as 1 full loaf in a 6×9 greased loaf dish. If you prepare as 1 full loaf instead of minis-then bake at 425 for 45 minutes.

This goes great with “mock” garlic mashed potatoes ( and a side of green beans.


Recipe credit: Cooking Light