5 reasons we don’t wear shoes in our home + Sophie Uliano’s Lemon Chia Seed Muffin Recipe

5 reasons we don't wear shoes in our home
5 reasons we don’t wear shoes in our home

 

This can be a touchy subject.  I am a Southern girl and hospitality is high on my list.  I would never want to offend or invoke feelings of discomfort to those I invite into my home.  But, when I can, I educate our house guests as to why I am politely asking them to remove their shoes at the door.  I have not always felt this way, but after many hours of research, I concluded that wearing shoes in the house is extremely bad for your health.  I have narrowed my research down to what I feel are 5 good reasons to promote dropping your shoes at the door.

1.  Bacteria on the bottoms of shoes  A large portion of the bacteria found on your shoes is from stepping on fecal matter.  It originates from public restroom floors or contact with animal fecal material from being outdoors.  The most common occurrence from this type of bacteria is  E. coli bacteria which can cause sickness including diarrhea and other illnesses according to the CDC.  This can be especially problematic for those who have young children that crawl and play along the floors.   This bacteria can be easily transmitted to tile and carpet.  Cleaning your floors and vacuuming your carpet will greatly cut down on the amount of bacteria in your home.

2.  Toxins on shoes – Shoes pick up all kinds of toxins in the course of a day.  Anywhere you walk, you are likely grabbing a toxin.  From the dry cleaners to the gas station, and everywhere in between, there are toxins.  Environmental pollution from spilled gasoline at the pump to walking through grass that has recently been sprayed.  All of it then comes right into your home.  This is probably the most important reason I initially began removing my shoes at the door.  These pollutants are extremely harmful to our systems and can potentially cause serious side effects.

3.  Dirty – I have two young boys.  Dirt is a constant.  If they wore their shoes in the house, I would be cleaning the floors all day long!  I believe this one is pretty self-explanatory.  No shoes=no dirt.

4.  General Health – I am a firm believer in the notion that not wearing shoes in the house makes for overall healthier people.  Given that we have discussed the fact that large amounts of bacteria and toxins travel on shoes, it makes sense to me that a home without shoes is healthier than a home with shoes.  I believe the instances of allergic reactions and respiratory issues as well as general sickness is much lower.

5.  Comfort – Whether you work outside the home or are a stay-home mommy, when you finish your workday, the first thing you want to do is take off your shoes and relax.  Make your home a haven of comfort.  Put a few pairs of comfy slippers by the door that you can slip into as soon as you walk inside.  You may even want to offer a pair to your guests if you feel they are uncomfortable removing their shoes.  Remember, hospitality for guests is still crucial.

 

Now for the good stuff.  One of the very first books I bought when I decided to follow a clean eating lifestyle was Sophie Uliano’s The Gorgeously Green Diet – How to Live Lean and Green.  I have prepared countless numbers of her recipes and they are all fabulous.  Her website www.SophieUliano.com is full of helpful ideas and perfect ways to eat and live a gorgeously green lifestyle.  She posted this Lemon Chia Seed muffin recipe on twitter last summer and my family fell in love with them.  I made a batch this week and she kindly gave me permission to share the recipe with you.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sophie Uliano's Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
Sophie Uliano’s Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Sophie Uliano’s Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup coconut palm sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups sprouted spelt flour (just use Spelt if you can’t find the sprouted version)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

grated zest of 1 lemon

1 TBSP vanilla extract

1/2 cup rice milk (I used almond milk)

2 TBSP chia seeds

Makes 6-8 medium muffins.  Preheat oven to 350.  Beat the sugar and oil in the food processor until creamy.  While the processor is still running, slowly add the eggs.  Finally, add the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, vanilla extract and milk.  Process well.  Finally add the chia seeds and pulse just to mix them in.  Line a muffin tin with liners and fill each liner with the batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve immediately, or gently warm again before serving.

 

 

Detoxing Healthy Beet Juice

Detoxing Healthy Beet Juice
Detoxing Healthy Beet Juice

 

This beet juice has become the summertime favorite of my entire family.  It was a total shocker as I never expected anyone to try it, let alone drink it and ask for more.  Don’t you love it when things like that happen?  I work very hard to get my kids to eat healthy and in this case, it paid off.  It doesn’t always go that way.  Just this week I prepared a wonderful whole roasted chicken and vegetables and neither one of them would touch the vegetables.  So I let them drink a green drink instead.  My 8 year old kindly reminds me when he doesn’t like something, that he “drinks his vegetables.”  I let that slide sometimes, but most often I explain to him that yes, he can drink his veggies, but he also has to eat them too.  I may have created a monster when I allowed him to choose between eating or drinking vegetables a few years ago.  I will be blending forever!!!

If you are typically not a big fan of beets, this is actually a great way to begin getting them in your diet.  They are superbly good for you and fortunately are available year round.  Beets are widely known for their detoxification ability.  And, more specifically, beets help to detox and cleanse the liver.  The liver removes toxins and other harmful substances from the body.  Because of this, it is very important to detox your liver periodically.  Beets have become one of the most common and effective natural liver detoxifiers.  By incorporating this healthy juice into your clean eating plan, you will be cleansing your body while gaining optimal health and well-being.  If you have a great beet juice recipe, I would love to hear from you.  I am always looking for new healthy juice recipes.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Detoxing Healthy Beet Juice

1 large red or green organic apple – chopped

2 medium to large organic carrots – peeled and chopped

1 medium to large golden beet – peeled and chopped (you can use a red beet if you prefer)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup filtered water

In a high powered blender, place all the ingredients in the order listed.  Blend until smooth.  Because this is a juice, I strain it through a fine-mesh strainer.  This process separates all the pulp from the juice.  You can also run all the ingredients, except the water, through a juicer, if that’s what you have on hand.

Healthy Travel Snacks

Healthy Travel Snacks

People often ask me how I stick to my clean eating lifestyle while traveling.  It’s not always easy.  So I wanted to share a few of my favorite “go-to” travel snacks that help keep my family satisfied while ensuring we continue to eat as clean as possible.  Now, at home we don’t eat very many processed foods, but while traveling that can often times be hard to accomplish. So, I assembled a great list of what I consider to be healthy snack foods that will make traveling so much easier.  I hope you have safe and happy travels this summer.  Here you go:

 

Healthy Travel Snacks

1.  electrolyte water – always stay hydrated

2.  fresh apples, carrots, peppers and grapes – cut and bagged

3.  larabars

5.  squeezable veggie and yogurt pouches – easy for children

6.  raw date and nut bars

7.  fruit leathers

8.  baked snap pea crisps

9.  justin’s travel packs of almond butter – add this to an apple or cracker

10. annie’s bunnies

11.  homemade raw nut mix – cashews, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds

12.  mary’s sticks and twigs gluten-free pretzels

13.  nut thins

14.  garden of life raw greens packet to add to juice or water

Clean Eating on a Budget

cleanfifteen2013dirtydozen2013

When someone is toying with taking the plunge into a clean eating lifestyle, they often question how to purchase fruits and vegetables.  They want to know and understand all the “ins and outs” of organic vs. conventional.  I have spent much time and energy researching and understanding this question myself.  The main drawback to purchasing organic fruits and veggies is the price differential, and I completely understand.  So here is my take on the whole thing….Every year I familiarize myself with the current list of  the most pesticide heavy fruits and vegetables (dirty dozen) and the list of fruits and vegetables that is least likely to hold pesticide residues (clean fifteen).   According to The Environmental Working Group (EWG) www.ewg.org, 99% of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.  The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food, and a single grape contained 15 pesticides.  On a happier note, avocados are the cleanest, only 1% of samples showed any detectable pesticides.  No single fruit from the clean fifteen list tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.  So…when I think of where my budgetary money for groceries should be spent, I use this list for fruits and vegetables.  In my opinion, the dirty dozen should always be purchased organically. Familiarize yourself with these two very important lists and it will help clear up confusion and concern about whether or not you are feeding your family clean nourishing foods.  I would even recommend making a small card with both lists and keep it in my bag or wallet, so you won’t have to memorize them.  Happy Shopping!