Why honeybees are so important

Why honeybees are so important

By: Leanne Ely

 

I can’t remember the last time I bought a jar of honey. I’ve had no need to since I started raising my own backyard bees!

My honeybees amaze me every single day and every July, they provide me with all of the honey I could possibly need for the year (and some nice gifts for family too!).

This is way more than a hobby for me. It’s a statement. I feel a great connection to the food chain and the planet in general knowing my little guys in the hive are helping pollinate the world.

Honey-Bees

The US Department of Agriculture suggests that 1/3 of everything we eat is pollenated by honeybees.

A Cornell University study estimates that roughly $14 billion worth of crops and seeds in this country are pollinated by honeybees.

Without honeybees, 80% of our flowering crops in the country would be at risk. Everything from asparagus to nuts to blueberries and apples. A threatened honeybee population would also risk our livestock since they eat plants to survive.

Talk about an under-appreciated workforce!

Beekeepers across the world—Canada, the UK, France, Greece, Spain, and the list goes on—are reporting Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is also known as bee decline disease. The problem is not getting any better.

Many bee experts implicate Monsanto for their Roundup product and many other insecticides used in modern agriculture as one of the reasons for CCD.

The fact is if we lose the honeybees, our food supply is quite seriously in jeopardy.

The absolute best thing we can do as stewards of the planet, is to raise our own backyard bees. That being said, I am fully aware that this is not an option for a lot of people!

However, all of us with yards can feed the bees by planting a bee garden to help provide the honeybees with good healthy nectar so they can do their part continuing to pollinate our food.

Bee love nectar rich perennial plants in your yard like hellebores, sedums and campanulas. When you plant different types of perennials, you have different plants flowering through the seasons, so the bees have a steady diet. And perennials show up year after year, more glorious than the year before giving you a continual show.

Bees also love shrubs like Japanese quince and winter-flowering honeysuckle.

Try to plant your bee garden in full sun and in a place sheltered from wind. A birdbath with a rock for resting will provide visiting bees with a place to stop and grab a little water. Believe it or not, they prefer dirty water over clean!

Oh, and bees love lavender! My bees have 4 bushes of lavender to choose from and last year’s honey was lovely and fragranted by that lavender.

This should go without saying, but Crayola green lawns obtained by herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides will kill off bees. I had someone admiring my grass awhile back and asked me how I did it without the aforementioned chemicals. My answer? When the grass is mowed, grass and weeds look the same. We don’t have to golf course lawns y’all! 🙂

 

 

How to lose weight on a Paleo diet

How to lose weight on a Paleo diet

By: Leanne Ely

If you’ve been following a Paleo diet, you might be frustrated at why your weight loss results aren’t as great as you thought they would be.

I stand firm in my belief that Paleo is the ultimate way to meet nutritional requirements and to maintain good health. And this way of eating naturally comes a svelte figure…if you go Paleo the right way!

It’s very easy to adopt poor habits when eating Paleo, or to completely neglect the basic premise of the diet in the first place—consuming organic plants, healthy fats, and locally sourced protein. That’s basically it.

Eat a ton of veggies and some lean protein with some healthy fat for each meal. That’s Paleo in a nutshell.

If you’re calling yourself Paleo but that isn’t how your diet looks, you might not be doing it the right way!

Many people do Paleo by eating bacon with every meal, eating the odd salad, and filling up on fruit and nuts. That is not the way to do it if you want to slim down.

Keep the following tips in mind if you want to get lean while eating Paleo.

  • Drink water. You need to drink about 2 liters of water per day. Water is essential for the body’s metabolic processes and is a major ingredient in weight loss.
  • Eat vegetables. Fill your plate with a variety of colorful vegetables. Add some healthy fat (either sliced avocado, or a nice drizzle of olive oil), and lean protein like chicken, fish, or beef. Our Perfect Paleo Protein is ideal if you can’t imagine eating a plate of meat and veggies for breakfast! Just scoop it into a smoothie and off you go!
  • Go easy on the fruit and nuts. It is very easy to overindulge in healthy foods, because, well, they’re healthy! But you still have to watch your portions. You can easily eat 1000 calories worth of nuts in a sitting without realizing it. And then you wonder why your pants feel tight!
  • Don’t go overboard with the Paleo treats. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You do not need another muffin! Paleo treats are just that…treats. Just because you see a great recipe for a date/almond/banana brownie doesn’t mean it’s okay to cook it up and eat the whole thing! Paleo muffins and cookies are great to toss in the lunchbox as an alternative to a packaged processed food, but remember they are to be eaten in strict moderation, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. (Note: Just because a flour is gluten-free does not mean it’s calorie-free!)
  • Eat fewer calories. If you eat too much of anything, you’re going to gain weight. Well, maybe except for celery. Just be conscious of how much you’re eating. Try plugging your daily food intake into one of those online calorie trackers and see what sort of damage you might be doing. You might surprise yourself!
  • Eat more calories. Yes it can go the other way! Look up your healthy calorie range and try to be sure to eat at least your minimum daily requirement of calories. Too few calories and your body goes into starvation mode. That means it holds onto the fat you’re trying to lose.
  • Adjust carb intake. If you’re not working out and you’re eating a lot of carbs, try eating fewer and see what happens. Too many sweet potatoes and Paleo treats will put weight on you.
  • Eat more protein in the am. Most of us don’t eat enough protein in the morning. Again, our Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein powder is ideal for this, but if that’s not an option for you, have some leftover chicken or fish or something in the morning. It will really help to fuel you and set you on the right path.
  • Sleep more. You need 8 hours of sleep a night. Period. I know it sounds a little bit impossible, but if you’re doing everything right and the scale isn’t budging, sleep on it! In a nice dark room. For eight hours. 🙂

If you’re interested in trying the paleo diet, I recommend you give our 21 Day Knockout a shot!  The Knockout includes 21 days of new paleo recipes, and is designed to help you lose fat and rejuvenate your health!  Click here to learn more

21dayknockout (1)

 

Keep Celery Fresh for a Month!

Keep Celery Fresh for a Month!

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a trick, a tip and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?

Today’s focus is on: CELERY

I’ve done my time with celery. Those “diets” that make you eat a lot of celery because the calorie count is so low? Yeah, you did it too, admit it!

And while I don’t eat celery that way anymore (it kind of makes me cranky!), celery is a fabulous veggie. Celery is one of the 3 magical ingredients used in soups with carrots and onions. The carrot is for sweet, the onion for savory and celery is for salt. And since I try to eat soup a lot, especially when the weather cools down, celery is always a resident in my crisper.

Besides being a key soup ingredient, celery is also plenty healthy. It acts as a natural diuretic, it calms your blood pressure, and it helps your immune system too.

celery-1

Now, it’s time for your Trick!

When you buy celery, only buy organic. Celery is on the Dirty Dozen list because it’s so heavily sprayed. And since most people don’t consume a whole bunch of celery at a time, here’s a bonus trick for you to avoid waste! Cut the end off the celery, wrap the celery in aluminum foil and store it in your crisper drawer. It will last for almost a month this way!

Your Tip:

Remember I told you to cut the bottom off your celery? Don’t throw it out! Save it and place it in a glass of water on a sunny window sill. It will regrow new bright green leaves!

And your Recipe:

Chicken Kale Soup
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups low sodium chicken broth, or use homemade
3 teaspoons coco-aminos
1 tablespoon grass fed butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 overflowing cups chopped kale
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

INSTRUCTIONS:
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker; stir well to blend thoroughly. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours, stirring every 2 hours.

 

7 Fun and Fast Gluten Free Breakfasts

7 Fun and Fast Gluten Free Breakfasts

By: Leanne Ely

 

Over and over again, I hear people say, “But what will I eat for breakfast if I’m going gluten free?” OR “Gluten free fill-in-the-blank is so expensive!”

My answer to both of these questions is, “Hold on, just wait a minute!” There are answers for you that won’t break the bank or cause you to hyperventilate, LOL

I think we tend to overthink these things a little bit, and tell ourselves that if we can’t have toast, then breakfast isn’t going to happen. So I want to show you just how easy it is to eat fast in the morning, even if you don’t eat toast or breakfast cereal.

Here are seven healthy, low-carb ideas for grab and go breakfasts:

Yogurt and Freshness Fruit

Fruit and yogurt. It doesn’t get a lot easier than this. Plain Greek yogurt is fabulous. Full of probiotics and protein, this is a great start for your day. Pair it with fresh fruit and you’re good to go. If you’re not used to eating plain yogurt, you might need to sweeten it with a bit of local honey or pure maple syrup. But go easy—you don’t need your blood sugar going to the moon first thing in the morning!

Smoothie. This is my favorite, go-to breakfast every single morning. Our Perfect Paleo Protein is 100% dairy and gluten free, has 27 grams of protein and will keep you full all morning long. This is how you get a perfectly balanced breakfast each and every morning! The secret to a perfect smoothie is having a good amount of protein (at least 20 grams) remember to add some good fat (an avocado or coconut milk) and fiber (flax or FiberMender 2.0) to your smoothie along with some greens (Just Juiced Greens is my favorite and sometimes I’ll add spinach as well), a bit of berries, and a liquid like almond milk.

Slow cooker porridge. Gluten free oats in the slow cooker in the evening can get you a pot of steaming hot porridge in the morning! Use the ratio of 4:1, liquid to oats. Cook on low over night and in the morning, top your piping hot cereal however you like! Bananas, berries, walnuts, cinnamon—delicious!

Apple and almond butter. If you have to be somewhere in a hurry in the morning, but you need a quick bite to eat, have an apple dipped in almond butter. You can take that apple to go all cut up, sprinkle a little cinnamon on it to hide the browning, add the almond butter and you’re good!

Chia pudding with berries and nuts. If you add a bit of milk to a couple spoonfuls of chia seeds and let it sit for a few minutes, you get almost a pudding-like consistency. It’s sort of pearl-like, like tapioca. This makes a very filling little pudding, especially if you have some berries and nuts with it.

Boiled eggs. If you’re going to boil one egg, you might as well boil the whole dozen. I almost always have boiled eggs in the fridge to grab and go if I need a quick bite of protein. If you have some leftover sausages or any sort of meat or veggies, they’ll make a great breakfast with a boiled egg.

Leftovers. Speaking of leftovers in the fridge, I would like to know who made the rule that we need “breakfast” foods in the morning. For most species, food is food! Eat whatever the heck you want in the morning even if it’s meatloaf from the night before (and I happen to love it cold!).

See? Breakfast can be nutritious, delicious AND fast!

 

Better than store bought: 7 simple sauces

Better than store bought: 7 simple sauces

By: Leanne Ely

 

There are very few bottled items in my refrigerator that I have not made myself. I enjoy making my own condiments because I can tell exactly where each ingredient came from!

I also like to make condiments that use up the bounty of my garden. Currently that would be tomatoes!

The following are seven common kitchen items that I make myself and that you can too!

Indian condiments consisting of yoghurt and lime, chutney and tomato and onion.

Applesauce. Core and slice some organic apples, simmer them down and sprinkle with cinnamon. Ta da . . . applesauce!

Tomato paste. Peel and seed your tomatoes, and then dice them into little pieces. Put tomatoes in a single layer in a medium-large sauce pan. Toss some salt over the tomatoes and cook at medium heat, uncovered, stirring once in a while, until you have tomato paste! Be patient because it can take a couple of hours for this to happen. Keep the heat low enough that the tomatoes aren’t boiling, but high enough that there’s steam coming from them.

Ketchup. Take a good scoop or two of organic tomato paste (or homemade!) and add a dollop of organic molasses or local honey, some organic apple cider vinegar, a pinch of onion powder and garlic powder, a pinch of allspice and some salt and pepper. Add a little bit of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until it looks like ketchup!

Salsa. Your basic ingredients will be roma tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, jalapenos, lime juice, salt and cilantro. Taste test until you get it just right. Once you have the basic formula down, have fun with it! Separate your salsa into separate little batches where you can add all kinds of things. Add in some avocado, mango, strawberries, pineapple, black beans . . . you’re limited only by your imagination!

Barbecue Sauce. Here’s a great recipe for you to try (it’s also Paleo!)

1/2 cup organic tomato sauce
1 cup organic apple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup local honey or organic molasses
4 tablespoons organic Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce (can adjust to taste or omit)
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter

Cook onion in melted butter until clear, slowly stir in liquid ingredients, adding dry at the end. Bring to a boil for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously. Use in place of any BBQ sauce.

Mayonnaise. All mayonnaise really is, is a mixture of oil, egg, lemon juice and seasonings. Here’s a fantastic recipe for paleo mayo for you to try:

1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup avocado oil, grape seed, or olive oil
Mix together all ingredients, except oil. Once all previous ingredients are fully combined, whisk in oil. You’re done!

Salad dressing. My Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette is the only salad dressing recipe you will ever need!

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

It’s not all that much work to make your own condiments. In fact, I find that making these items as I need them is quite convenient and spares a lot of space in my refrigerator. It also saves on the grocery bill!

Mindless Meals (when you’re too tired for anything!)

Mindless Meals (when you’re too tired for anything!)

By: Leanne Ely

 

The kiddies are all back to school, and after a summer where the routine was willy nilly at best, here you are facing the rush of homework, piano lessons, laundry and everything else that goes along with the onset of the new school year.

It’s going to happen plenty of times where you’ll be faced with one of “those nights,” where you just feel like you can’t seem to get it together.

But let me tell you a little secret:

Dinner does not have to be an event, every single day.

I want to do everything in my power to keep you from turning to food that isn’t food. I want to keep you out of the drive-thru. So I’m going to give you five ideas for meals that do not require any sort of recipe when you just can’t turn it on, know what I mean? 😉

Beef fajita in the pan with tortilla bread.

Mindless meals for harried school nights

Burgers. You can’t get much more basic than a burger. Bonus points if you prep your burger patties when you get the meat home from the market! Then, you can keep a supply of frozen patties on hand to pull out on busy nights. Keep it simple with your burgers so you can taste the beef. All you really need to add is some salt and pepper, some people like to add in an egg but sometimes I’ll shake things up with some garlic, mustard and chopped raw bacon.

Fajitas. A bit of thinly sliced chicken or steak, cooked with onions and peppers in a Mexican-spice blend (try cumin, chili powder and paprika!) is all you need to make a meal of fajitas. Add lime juice and oil olive if you want. Top with sautéed onions and peppers and pop them in a tortilla or use a lettuce cup to lower the carb count.

Eggs. The lifesaver of the food world. If you have eggs, you won’t go hungry. Poached eggs and bacon or sausage will make a fine supper. So will an omelet, or a frittata . . . the list goes on.

Chef Salad. I love making salads as meals because they are so healthy, beautiful and filling! I like to use boiled eggs, crisp bacon, creamy avocado, grilled chicken, tomatoes and red onions in my chef salad. Serve it all on a big bowl of greens and some homemade vinaigrette. How easy is that?

Meatloaf. Remember how I said earlier that you can’t get much more basic than a burger? Well, you can: meatloaf is more basic than a burger. You don’t even have to make patties. Just mix your meat with whatever seasonings you like and put it in a pan. I like to put slices of raw bacon on top because, well, yum.