My Food Rules

Kylie's List

My Food Rules

(Yes, I do live by these rules in our home, but special occasions are always fun cheat days!)

  1. Whole Foods: try to eat things in their original, whole state = not processed (eg an apple, not applesauce with added sugars and chemicals)
  2. Keep the Ingredients List Short (5 items or less): sometimes pre-made items are easier to use for our hectic lifestyles, but make sure it isn't an item with 20 different ingredients (these items will be full of additives that you don't want or need)
  3. Stay Away From Added Sugars: you don't need it!  Use raw honey or add fresh fruits with sweet flavor to sweeten a dish.  The average allowed amount of added sugar daily is about 25 to 30 grams for an adult female (check out a cereal box or soda can...YIKES!).  Any ingredient ending in 'ose' is a form of sugar, and a no-no.
  4. Don't Drink your Sugar: wean yourself off of sugar in your coffee, no juices unless you have squeezed or blended them yourself (no sugar added, cut them with water), and don't fall for the 'healthy' beverage options: water and fresh squeezed lemon is just dandy!  The exception to this rule is the lactose found in milk, which is a sugar (you don't have to count this toward your daily intake).
  5. Keep Whole Grains/Legumes On-Hand: my favorites are wild rice (which isn't actually rice), farro, brown rice, quinoa, black and kidney beans, and lentils.  Try to buy in-bulk to save money, and avoid added salts in canned goods.  You never need to buy white rice, or white bread ever again (and shouldn't); they are void of nutrition and can carry extra sugars and additives in the bread.  Whole grain bread, with 4-5 ingredients is what you need.
  6. No Butter, Margarine, Mayo, Canola Oil, Vegetable Oil, or 'Like-Butter' Items: include healthy oils in your meal preparation like avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, and my favorite, coconut oil.  You will get healthy fats (yes, fat can be healthy, if it's the right kind, and it's necessary for our health), and loads of flavor.  My favorite for high-heat cooking is coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil for cool dishes (eg salads, drizzled on my toasted sandwich bread, etc).  Some oils, like olive oil, loose their health benefits when heated, so make sure you use specific oils for their specific jobs.
  7. Add Veggies Everywhere and Anywhere: have them as a side, or incorporated into every meal.  I add a layer of fresh spinach to my half-slice of toast, tomato, avocado oil and egg in the morning, or you can make fruit smoothies with a handful of spinach or kale in them (you won't even know it's there!).  Frozen or fresh are great, but try to stay away from canned.  Have fun preparing different seasonal items like turnips, parsnips, beets, so that you don't get bored.  When in-doubt: roast them!  Veggies are so great roasted (a bit of your favorite oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, 375 degrees for 25 - 35 minutes on a cookie sheet and Voila!).
  8. Always Keep Fresh Fruits, a Quality Cheese, and Hummus on-hand: these are awesome go-to snacks, that take little to no preparation.  A slice of cheese in a pinch, or with a piece of fruit will help to satisfy you until your next meal.  Cheese should be eaten sparingly due to the high sodium content in most cheeses, so don't overdo it.
  9. Fresh Popped Popcorn: always keep a container of un-popped kernels around, and NEVER buy/eat microwave popcorn again (not healthy).  Make your own in an air-popper, or on the stove with a small saucepan and lid, a little coconut oil and sea salt.  This snack is a savior when all you want to do is eat a bag of chips (I'm a salt lover!).  Try my Coconut Oil Popcorn
  10. Never, Ever, Sacrifice Flavor!: this is an unbreakable one for me.  You don't have to loose flavor or the enjoyment of eating when you eat healthy.  Open yourself to a new way of grocery shopping, planning and preparing your meals, and be adventurous with new recipes - you will find plenty to love!  We also like to allow ourselves one cheat day per week: a big pasta dish with a rich sauce, pizza, you get the idea.

Staples in My Kitchen*

Sea Salt (fine grain)
Peppercorns and Cracker (for fresh cracked pepper)
Turmeric (seasoning)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Avocado Oil
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Fresh Garlic Cloves
Hot Sauces (Cholula and Tobasco - green and red)
Mustard (never Ketchup)
Tomato Paste
Chopped Tomatoes (I use Pomi brand, it's in a BPA free box)
Raw Honey (the processed kind you find in the store has lost all health benefits)
Green Tea (brew your own)
Cheese (get a good quality cheese - be adventurous!)
Fresh Fruit
Frozen Fruit (great for smoothies)
Fresh Veggies
Whole Grains
Nutritional Yeast (great on popcorn)
Red Wine Vinegar
Champagne Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar (only from Modena - this is the real stuff!)
Guacamole or Avocados (if you buy guac premade, make sure it is a good ingredients list - it's great in place of mayo for a sandwich spread in a light layer)
Salsa (homemade, or a pre-made that only has whole ingredients, no added sugars or preservatives)
Popcorn Kernels
Peanut Butter (only one ingredient: roasted peanuts)
Chicken Bouillon (love to season my soups and grains with this)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Dark Chocolate (individually wrapped, at least 70% cacao)

*Whenever I purchase items, I always try to buy organic, but it is more costly.  If it's organic from China, don't bother paying extra for it (the Chinese organics are not regulated by us, so my trust level is very low there).  If at all possible, buy locally grown produce: it supports your community, and gives you fresher, and most-likely healthier goods.  I live in the Northeast, so year-round local produce is out of the question, but I do my best.  To keep yourself from being discouraged from eating better and changing what you buy, try to purchase organic where you are able, but it should not be the thing that stops you from making changes.  Do what you can!

Canned Goods/Plastics
BPA=Bisphenol A

There has been a lot of research and controversy surrounding canned goods and plastics with BPA.  This compound is bisphenol A, which has been found to be an endocrine disruptor, and can cause infertility.  So many groups/people are trying to have the FDA force companies to remove it from their packaging, or find different packaging that does not contain it.  I err on the side of caution (read up on it, it will scare the hell out of you, too), and purchase non-canned items, (eg Pomi chopped tomatoes in a BPA free box, or Eden Organics canned beans - look for the cans labeled 'BPA Free', or just buy dry in-bulk).  Try to use stainless steel and glass containers when you can in your home, or make sure that the plastics that you are using are BPA Free (I find that the stainless steel and glass containers that are BPA Free are a better investment of my money, but I keep a few BPA Free plastic containers on-hand, too). 

Again, do the best you can, and make gradual changes in order to save your wallet; Rome wasn't built in a day!

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