Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Review of the Hello Fresh Vegetarian Box and GIVEAWAY!

First off, I want to make it known that I paid for this box, so this review is not biased from receiving free product.  I did find a $40 off coupon which brought my total for 3 meals for a family of 4 to $69.  Not a bad price to pay to try out the service!

These meal services seem to be all the rage and there are several companies out there besides Hello Fresh.  There is also Blue Apron, Green Chef and Home Chef...and probably several more. But the question is, are they worth it?  The meals, when broken down with shipping, cost about the same as it would to dine at a restaurant, but not as inexpensive as say Thai or Mexican takeout.  Does it save time?  Maybe. I'd have to try it out for a month to tell you that. Does it inspire creativity and the interest of trying new foods.  It depends.  It may be just as easy to surf the internet for new recipes.  Is it exciting to get a box of super fresh food with recipes at your door every week?  I think so!

I placed the order on a Monday morning and was able to receive the box by Saturday morning.  I think I ordered after the time window where you can select exactly what meals you want in the box, so we ended up with the the following meals: One Pan Ravioli Gratin, Crispy Chickpea and Roasted Cauliflower Salad, and Black Bean and Farro Salad.

While the produce was not organic, it was super fresh and free of preservatives.  The packaging we received the meals in was all recyclable except for the gel ice packs and the padding inside the box.  The gel ice packs were not even reusable because they started to leak after they sat out overnight.  But I was happy with the overall quality and the way the meals were separated out into individual boxes so that I didn't need to spend time hunting through the box to match the ingredients up with each recipe.

Just a heads up to anyone who is thinking about ordering the Vegetarian Box, with foods like Farro and Quinoa, it's definitely not the right "intro to vegetarian eating" for newcomers.  Especially kids.  So if your family is not already eating "clean" or "health nut" style, or if you normally include animal products in your diets, you might want to instead order the "Standard Plan".

The first meal we decided to cook was the Ravioli Gratin.  This meal is not one for the kids to prepare themselves.  Lots of time spent at the stove and putting the food in a hot oven.  And the final result for us was that I dropped the entire pan onto the oven door because my hand slipped and touched the pan handle as I was pulling it out from under the 450 degree broiler.  Holy ouch!  And what a freaking mess. Luckily I had recently cleaned my oven so I had no shame in scooping the food off the oven door and serving it.  I should have taken a picture of the mess but I immediately went into clean up mode.  Food was also on the floor and the cabinets...it was one of those prize messes.  Kind of like the time I turned the blender on high without the lid on.  That happened a long time ago but I still remember the mess.  Oh yeah. 

This is how the Gratin looked after I scooped it off the oven door.... it was good.  Just not very "pretty".

The second meal was the Black Bean Farro Salad.  It was not a main course sort of meal.  It was more of what I would serve at a picnic as a side salad.  Just not very filling at all.  But it was easy for the kids to prepare!

A half eaten messy looking plate of Farro...I'm such an awesome food photographer. 

The third meal was the Quinoa.  The kids and I enjoyed this dish, my husband who doesn't really like quinoa did not like it.  He ate a bowl but no seconds.  That's how I know when he doesn't like what I cook.

Also not a very appealing photo.   Sorry, I just didn't want to put in the effort to make it look good.  It did taste good though.

And that's it!  Now for the giveaway.  Who wants a FREE Box of Hello Fresh meals?!  I'm giving away two of them.  Comment under this post if you want to be entered.  Two entries given to those who also comment on the FaceBook page.  I'll do the drawing on Friday, 10/21/2016.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Vitamin C and other therapies for Pneumonia

In May of this year, my 10 year old daughter came down with a really bad virus...right before her birthday.  It started with vomiting and coughing and led to a high fever of 103.  It went away within 3 days but then came back again exactly 7 days later.  But the second time around, I feared pneumonia was coming on. (She had pneumonia when she was a toddler, so the symptoms were all looking familiar). Her cough was heavy and full of mucus, and she was very lethargic and listless from the high fever.  She started to feel sick on a Saturday afternoon, so I had to make it through two days until I could get her in to see her doctor.  I did not want to make a trip to the Urgent Care clinic unless it was absolutely necessary.

These are the things we did to help her body recover completely:

1. Intensive doses of Vitamin C.  I only had access to oral vitamin C, and I could only get my daughter to take 2,000mg at a time, 3 times a day.   I used the Trader Joe's Brand Vitamin C Gummies and Chewables. It's best to use non-GMO or Organic brands. The gummies are probably better for smaller kids to handle in their mouth. If you are not familiar with why our bodies need Vitamin C, you can listen to this lecture by Suzanne Humphreys.

You can also read this article from Green Med Info titled "Research Proving Vitamin C's Therapuetic Value in 200+ Diseases". 

Within 48 hours of my daughter taking increased doses of Vitamin C, the fever had broken and her temperature came down to 99.  The very next day at the doctor's office, her oxygen levels tested normal and her lungs sounded completely clear through the stethoscope.

2. Steam breathing treatments with a MyPurMist handheld steam inhaler.  These really are so much better than a nebulizer.  For one, it is almost silent.  The nebulizer we had was extremely loud.  You can adjust the temperature on the MyPurMist to make the mist warmer.  We had my daughter use it every 4 hours during the day and it helped to make her cough more productive.  It has an automatic cleaning cycle, so after it is used it is completely sanitary for another family member to use.

3. "Back Tapping".  Directly after using the steam inhaler, we did "Back Tapping" to loosen up the mucus in her lungs. I would have her lay on a reclining chair with her arms crossed over her chest and her head and chest at an angle lower than the rest of her body.  As I tapped her back with my hands cupped she would cough mucus up into a bowl. I know...that sounds yummy!

4. Lots of fluids with electrolytes.  Coconut water is the best fluid for hydration!  Make sure you check the label that you are getting 100% pure coconut water and not "flavored" water.  Some brands add flavoring, and then you have to wonder what is hidden in the flavoring.

5. Sea salt inhaler.  You can buy a sea salt inhaler or make your own.  Basically you want to have large crystals of pink Himalayan sea salt, so that when you breathe in the air above the salt, you don't inhale salt granules.  You can put the salt in a small jar and put your mouth over the opening of the jar and take a deep inhale, then exhale from your nose.  The salt is cleansing for the lungs.  It helps to speed up recovery of congestion and improve breathing.

We continue to give my daughter 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C per day for preventative purposes along with Juice Plus. Of course, we also make sure she is consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables.  I now feel more confident that if she gets sick again, we have an established plan in place to get her to recover quickly. I hope this helps anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they cannot get in to see a doctor right away.  You cannot give too much Vitamin C to a child or adult.  It is a water soluble Vitamin and their body will excrete whatever they can't use.  It's better to give too much than not enough, especially during an acute illness.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Become a Veggiecator Educator!

About a month ago I ran across some videos on YouTube by Veggiecation.  I found it interesting that the classes being taught in the videos were similar to what I used to teach when I was teaching nutrition classes for kids.  Anyway, they are trying to build their network of teachers and are offering a training workshop every month to certify new teachers.  You get a kit of supplies, posters, recipes, basically every thing you need to run a class on healthy eating for kids.

You can get 10% off this month by using this code: TastyLife2015 and going to the website at veggiecation.com.  The workshop is actually tomorrow starting at 7:30pm, but if you are reading this after the start of the workshop you can email them and let them know you saw the discount on my blog and see if they will give it to you for the next training!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Naked Cafe in Solana Beach offers cute kids breakfast

Since moving here almost 2 years ago I haven't done much with restaurant reviews.  We've been to the The Naked Cafe in Solana Beach a couple of times.  It sits directly across from Fletcher's Cove Park on the beach, so you can see the ocean from every seat in the restaurant.  It's also very affordable and the wait has never been more than 15 minutes, making it the ideal place for a family of 4 to have brunch on the weekend :-)

My kids first response when they heard the words "Naked Cafe" was "do we have to be naked to eat there"?   Ummm, no!  Naked in this case means they are using fresh, mostly organic ingredients, no preservatives, and cooking most things from scratch.

Besides these cute little bear face pancakes, they offer a wide variety of healthy breakfast options with eggs and veggies, salads, a rice bowl, fresh baked bread, and a variety of herbal teas and coffees.  I shared a large fruit plate with a friend and my husband had a breakfast burrito.  This is my kind of restaurant.  It's not too far to the super health nut side.  It's in that comfortable place where we can all find something to eat and not be hungry afterwards.

If you ever find yourself in San Diego, I highly recommend it!