I've been on a health kick recently (Again.) It kind of comes and goes depending on how much motivation I have. It seems I am always seeking to find that balance of healthy eating for our family. I've sifted through articles and recipes to try to figure out what will work for us with our family's allergies, budget, lifestyle and food preferences. Honestly most of me enjoys it but it gives another part of me a headache! I remember seeing a funny blog post awhile back about all the conflicting and contradicting parenting advice out there. You know, I've got to say, the same could be said with all the conflicting nutrition advice out there. I'm not even going to attempt to source any of this but of the things I've read here's the conclusion that one may be left with:
Carbs are bad. Especially gluten. Nobody should eat gluten. You should eat a lot of protein from meat and vegetables. But make sure the meat is from grass fed beef and cage free chickens. Actually you shouldn't eat meat or any animal products at all because it is cruel and you realistically can get all the protein you need from plant based sources. So stick to whole grains and fruits and veggies (as long as it's not wheat, remember? Gluten = Bad) Avoid processed foods. No one has figured out yet if butter or canola oil is better for you. Not all sugars are created equal, honey and pure maple syrup are the best, unless you are vegan then you can't have honey. But even though not all sugars are created equal your body processes them all the same way. Sugar is sugar right? Eggs were bad. Now they are good. Avocados were bad. Now they are good. I think the only thing most people can agree on is that fruits and vegetables are good, at least most of them, as long as they are non-GMO and organic.
But riddle me this: a person buys organic lettuce because we don't want to be eating any of those pesticides and find little bugs in the small organic head of lettuce. Which is worse: residue of pesticides or residue of bug guts?
See what I mean? I may be being facetious because I do realize, from personal experience, that one's choice in diet can be very personal. Obviously if you have food allergies or certain medical conditions, those things will dictate your diet. But for all us regular folks? It can all be overwhelming and confusing. So much so that it's tempting to just give up all together.
I've often thought to myself "Why do I care so much?"
I care so much because I want to be healthy and avoid diseases if I can help it, BUT at the same time I don't want to be getting fanatical about it either. Everybody has to make those choices for themselves. Personally, if you must know, I have been enjoying the real food approach, BUT (here's where the balance side is going to come in) I've decided that the occasional treat-- like once a week-- deserves all the GOOD STUFF! (butter, white granulated sugar and enriched all-purpose flour!) As long as I'm trying and eating healthy most of the time, I think it's ok to have that splurge. Moderation folks, that's where it's at. That's the conclusion that I've come to anyway.
I'm sure you heard of "100 Days of Real Food". If you haven't, it's really worth a look. It really works for our family because by eliminating processed foods and cooking from scratch we don't have to worry about all the cross contamination with my boy's food allergies. One of the first recipes I tried were these healthy carrot apple sauce muffins. They were a hit! All I did to adapt them egg free was replaced the egg with water.
And congratulations if you actually made it through all that. It's not very often that I rant and blab so much. :)
Healthy Egg Free Applesauce Carrot Muffins
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup shredded carrots
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, melt butter. Add honey, vanilla, water and applesauce. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in the shredded carrots. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, about 1/4 cup of batter per muffin. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store, covered for 2-3 days. May also be frozen for up to one month.