Thinking Outside the FYV Box

WP_20150421_09_26_29_RichAre you sometimes sad when you finish your delicious Feed Your Vitality Paleo or SHAPE meal and have just an empty dish in front of you? Do not be down because you still have one of our awesome and versatile containers that you can use over and over again in countless ways! First, they are freezer and microwave friendly and 100% BPA free. Did you know that they are also dishwasher friendly? If you find you have more containers than you need, please feel free to return them clean and empty to FYV; we then donate them to a local organization, Meals Do Matter. Just last weekend this group was able to use some of the donated containers for soups and chili that they made and froze and now have readily available. Meals Do Matter delivers meals (in their words) “to brighten someone’s day and lighten their load during a temporary struggle, i.e. sympathy, surgery, recovery, rehab, new baby, hospice, broken bone or broken heart, new job, loss of job, new house, relocation, financial crisis, chemotherapy, college or chaos!” To find out more about this organization, check out their website http://www.mealsdomatter.org.

However, if you do choose to keep some of the containers for yourself or your friends, here are some of the ways that we use them around my house!

Reheat meals

Jewelry organizer

Office or School supplies

Snacks

Pack a lunch

Small first aid kit

Crayons

Hold nails, screws, etc. in our tool bench

Wrapping small gifts

Dog food & biscuits (also a great portable water bowl to bring with on the road!)

My daughter’s hair bows and headbands

Hobby materials

And many more!

So how about you? Do you have any ways that you like to re-use your Feed Your Vitality containers?

SHAPE ReClaimed Lessons on Artificial Sweeteners

Slide-1-treeI recently wrote a blog about natural sweeteners; it was in the context of how a paleo/anti-inflammatory diet does not include sugar BUT suggested some natural sweeteners we can use instead (honey, dates, molasses, maple syrup and Sweetleaf Stevia.)

I did not mention the flip side of these natural sweeteners that are allowed, in moderation, in a paleo/anti-inflammatory diet…that would be the artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) so common in today’s food and beverage industry. Recently I read two articles (“Sugar Sham” and “Evaluating Sweeteners”) by Linda A. Frisch, one of the founders of SHAPE ReClaimed. I can’t tell you how impactful reading these articles was to me.   Linda graciously allowed me to talk about her articles in this blog, and I am truly grateful to her.

The articles focus on three artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame and sucralose) and HFCS, and their contribution to our nation’s declining health. It was eye-opening to learn how much sweeter these manufactured sweeteners are compared to sugar (sucrose) (aspartame 200x sweeter, sucralose 600x sweeter) and the science behind these chemicals. And it was disturbing to learn that bottom line, the human body can’t process them all. HFCS is another sugar alternative used by the food industry and its inexpensive cost means that it is being used more and more (sometimes combined with artificial sweeteners) and is often linked to the growing obesity problem in this country. Another fact I hadn’t considered was that while product packaging may say “sugar free”, it may still contain artificial sweeteners – once again, a great reason for reading those nutritional labels! I strongly urge everyone to read both of these informative articles; they are a very compelling argument for avoiding these three artificial sweeteners!   Sugar Sham +

And just a reminder, you can hear the founders of the SHAPE ReClaimed program, Dr. Todd and Linda A. Frisch at the upcoming SHAPE Warriors event here at Feed Your Vitality on Saturday, May 2nd! It is an amazing opportunity to hear them speak in person and also have the opportunity to engage in questions and answers. It will be a full day packed with great information, a delicious SHAPE approved lunch prepared by Feed Your Vitality chefs, and interaction with other SHAPE Warriors. The cost is $50, and you can register by calling 636-207-6600 and ask for Natalie!

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All Wrapped Up…with Lettuce

27076940_sHere is another surprising fact that I discovered while working at Feed Your Vitality. I don’t have to have bread to enjoy a sandwich. In my previous life, the bread was non-negotiable; it wasn’t a sandwich without bread. Period, end of story. Lettuce sounded like a very sorry substitute.   The first time I tried a wrap in heavy duty crispy lettuce I felt almost guilty that afterwards I hadn’t missed my beloved bread. Now I am almost obsessed with how good everything tastes wrapped in lettuce – Burritos! Tacos! Spring rolls! And of course, sandwiches!

So now, while I am more than happy to eat lettuce wraps that other people make, I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about creating them myself. Here are a few tips I learned from the experts here at Feed Your Vitality.

  • The key to the lettuce wrap is, obviously, the lettuce – and there are quite a few differences of opinion about the “best” type to use.
  • Generally, you want a large leaf that can hold a lot of ingredients.  It should be pliable so it is easy to wrap.
  • Most commonly used are iceberg, romaine, napa cabbage, Boston or Bibb
  • Cut off the end and separate each “leaf”
  • Wash well, making sure to remove any grit, and pat dry with paper towels
  • Fillings can be warm and spicy, cold and refreshing, or basically anything that you would include in a sandwich, burrito, taco, etc.  If the filling is juicy, you may want to drain it well so there isn’t a lot of dripping from the wrap.  This also goes for any additional condiments, dressings or dips you consider adding.
  • When filling, try to keep the ingredients about an inch from the edges of the lettuce. Some people prefer to mix all the ingredients first; some prefer to layer them.
  • Fold the lettuce sides into the center, and roll – it is very similar to putting together a burrito!

All in all, lettuce wraps can be very versatile and used as appetizers or main dishes. You can have a build your own wrap station, or you can prepare them yourself. Depending on the fillings they can be Mexican, Asian or just a simple sandwich.

And that’s a wrap!