Tag Archives: real food

Save Money and Eat Well While Traveling

fort barrancas flag and cannon with titlesI’ve been working hard trying to restore my health – building my adrenals, healing my digestion, trying new exercises – and I didn’t want to wreck everything when we went on vacation. So I started planning ’cause that’s just what you have to do when you eat real food.  I mean really, I make a menu plan every week anyhow, so why not make one for traveling too? It keeps me on budget and keeps the family eating healthier food instead of last minute junk.

The plan was to be able to eat our own breakfast and lunch each day and eat out only for dinner.  I organized the meals, purchased the groceries and prepared some of the food ahead of time. I also had a special piece of equipment – a portable electric stove burner! This gadget is way cool, and I only just learned such a thing existed just a year or two ago. We bought one to electric stove burneruse for our Sunday School classroom kitchen, and then a friend of mine told me she bought one recently and used it to cook dinner in her hotel room for her daughter who is on a ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Brilliant! So we added the stove burner to the packing list along with our smallest cast iron skillet that just exactly fit the burner eye.  That meant we could have a hot breakfast every morning!

The days leading up to our trip made me feel like Ma Ingalls getting ready to go cross-country in her covered wagon.  The Ingalls family didn’t travel by interstate with exits leading to chain restaurants and fast-food drive thrus. But this also made me realize how crazy it is that if we wanted to be sure we were eating real food, even in this 21st century time of amazing technology, we still couldn’t count on finding it while on the road; and so we had to pack it with us just like the pioneers over a century ago. So I cooked and baked and planned and looked forward to a week of family fun without worrying about getting stomach aches, mood swings and depressed immune systems.

Breakfasts every day were pretty much the same – bacon, eggs and muffins, although I did use some Paleo vegetable pancakes to make myself a kind of breakfast sandwich that was super good – I heated up two of the pancakes in some of the bacon grease and filled them with a slice of bacon, a fried egg and some cheese slices – so delicious and way healthier than the fast food version!

Lunches were sandwiches for the kids, but hubby and I often split an avocado and topped it avocadoswith chicken salad or tuna. Everyone enjoyed fruit on the side and no one even asked me about dessert. (I think we are finally getting rid of the sweet tooth cravings, at least with the kids) In times past I would have made a couple dozen cookies or some other homemade sweet treat, but it wasn’t on the radar for this trip and I never got them made. Nobody seemed to care. In the evenings after our restaurant dinner, we occasionally stopped at a Publix and picked up a container of Talenti Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup gelato to take back to the hotel where we split it four ways, so we did get a little something special every now and then. 🙂

We spent our vacation in Florida’s panhandle so we were fortunate to get some terrific seafood for dinner! I tweeted two of the restaurants we liked the best – partly because the food was good, but also partly because they were able to cater to my need to be gluten free right now. (btw I’ve done a blog article for GNOWFGLINS about why I’m gluten free that is coming out in mid-September, I will try to link to it from here when it is published.)

Anymore we always travel with a cooler of some kind. I keep one like this in my car all the time just in case I need it. For the trip we took a larger hard-side cooler. We knew we would have access to ice every night at the hotel, but you can also get coolers that plug into your car and have their own refrigeration system.  I also packed a plastic storage bin with pantry items and the cooking equipment.

Foods I prepared ahead:

Chicken salad from a whole chicken, sandwich bread, two dozen GF muffins, and some Paleo-style pancakes/breads for myself (zucchini pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, coconut flatbread, sweet potato flatbread)

In the cooler:

A half-gallon of raw milk, kombucha, bacon, eggs, butter, mayonnaise, organic peanut butter, apples, raspberries, peaches, grapes broth, sliced nitrite-free ham, cheese, cut up carrots and celery, lemons, beet kvass, fermented pickles, lettuce, and yogurt.

In the storage bin:

The stove burner, skillet, knives, can opener, cheese slicer, kitchen shears, canned tuna, canned salmon, bananas, olive oil, non-GMO chips, muffins, avocadoes, sandwich bread, paper goods, and cutting board.

We managed to eat up nearly everything, I planned it out well enough that we only came home with a few eggs, some cheese and one muffin.  No one got sick and no one went hungry!  No one at any of the hotels said anything about cooking in the room. So I’m glad to have one more tool to use when we travel to keep our family well fed!

What are your best travel tips? Leave us a comment or share with us on Facebook!

Some links may be monetized. This blog is for informational purposes only.




3 Reasons to Rethink Trust

Everyday we put our trust in things. We trust the coffeemaker to come on when we add coffee and flip the switch.  We trust the stoplights to function properly so some people have to stop while others can go. We trust our car to get us where we need to go. But sometimes we trust in the wrong things. We trust in the front of the cereal box to tell us the truth. We trust in government regulatory agencies to make decisions that are in our best interest. We trust in pharmaceutical and biotech companies to adequately test their products.

Proverbs 3:5-10 Struck a chord with me last year and I began mulling all of this over. The scriptures say this:    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

We are trusting in the wrong things. When we spend our money on something as essential to the life and health of our family as our food we cannot blindly trust companies who are “wise in their own ways”.

There is no government regulation on the words “all natural” and anyone can use them.  Farmers can spray pesticides, herbicides and use crops genetically modified to produce their own pesticide within the whole plant including the part we eat. Food processors can spray fumigants, solvents and other toxins on the ingredients. They can add a dozen different kinds of highly processed sugar and rancid oils, but as long as they originally came from something natural, even though it’s GMO, then it can be called natural on the label.

The government makes laws that appear to protect us such as the one requiring trans fats to be labeled, but then they allow the food processing companies to exploit the loopholes. So we can have a label that says “0g of trans fat” when a quick look at the ingredients reveals partially and fully hydrogenated oils, mono- and di-glycerides which are all trans fats. According to Fooducate “if the amount of trans-fat in a product is less than half a gram per serving, manufacturers can round it down to 0. But even 0.49g or trans-fat is bad for you. And don’t even get us started on the actual consumption versus the tiny serving size.”

Our current Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA, Michael Taylor, held the job as public policy adviser for GMO biotech giant Monsanto before taking the office with the FDA. Now he is in charge of approving drugs and foods that come from his former employer. This happens a lot.  Researchers for biotech companies submit scientific reports for review by the FDA and then, before the review happens, they get hired by the FDA and end up reviewing their own research for approval.


a view inside my freezer

I want to have “health for my body and nourishment for my bones” like the verses in Proverbs proclaim. One way I am doing this is by trusting God’s real food over the packaged and altered foods lining many grocery store shelves. When you look in my pantry, my deep freeze, my refrigerator you won’t see many processed foods at all. Most everything is just a single ingredient such as frozen blueberries, sprouted organic cornmeal, grassfed ground beef, or raw almonds ready to be processed into something to eat by my own hands. When I do buy processed foods I am careful to read the ingredient list not trusting the manufacturer’s claims. I use smartphone apps like Find Real Food and Fooducate.   These help me identify if something has hidden GMOs or MSG or anything else that’s not real.

It is my prayer that many more people can become aware of the dangers of misplaced trust as it relates to the food our families eat. I have only scratched the surface with what I’ve written here today. I hope to explore more on this topic in future blogs. I’d also love to hear what you are doing to trust in the Lord with all your heart as you go about your daily life! Please leave me a comment below!


A farmer trusting the honesty of his customers “please put money in box”

sunday social small banner

Visit Sunday Social Blog Hop

This post is part of Sunday Social Blog Hop

Smartphone Apps for Foodies

shopping guide appThere are thousands of apps out there for smartphone users. Games, social media, tools, light sabers – but I really like the apps that help me be a smarter shopper, be a better steward of my resources, or make healthier choices for my family. I’ve compiled a list of food and health-related apps to get the discussion rolling. To download one just type the app name into your phone’s app store search box.  If you have one you particularly like please add it to the comments section below!

“Cooking” by Portable Knowledge – available for iPhone and Android FREE:  no recipes here, just lots of useful information for cooking. This app gives you measurement conversions like how many teaspoons are in a Tablespoon or how many cups in a pint. It also gives amounts such as how many banana slices in one cup, and ingredient substitutions in case you find you’re out of buttermilk but still want to make those muffins. It also gives definitions for common cooking terms and ingredients.

“Meal Planning & Grocery List” by Food on the Table                                                                              – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app helps you make a weekly menu and build your grocery list using recipes from websites or your favorites. It is linked to major grocery chains and allows you to shop based on sales in your area.

“Healthy Out” by HealthyOut – available for iPhone. FREE:  this app helps you find local dining out choices according to your nutrition and dietary needs. You can search low-carb, gluten-free and vegetarian as well as Paleo-friendly restaurants. Of course there’s the usual searches for Italian or other cuisines, and also a nutrition information section for popular restaurant dishes.

“Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide” by Non-GMO Project – available for iPhone and android. FREE: this app is a searchable database of all products receiving Non-GMO verified certification. There is also a listing of common crops and common food ingredients containing GMO contamination, and some history and background information on the non-GMO movement.

“ShopNoGMO” by Jeffrey Smith – available for iPhone. FREE: this app is more than just a database; it allows you to personalize with lists of your favorite non-GMO brands. There’s an FAQ section plus tips for avoiding GMOs while dining out. Find hidden sources of GMO in the ingredient database and learn ways to talk to friends and family about the dangers of GMO.

“Find Real Food” by Real Food Mobile, LLC – available for iPhone (android coming later this year) FREE: this app is the electronic version of the annual Shopping Guide for the Weston A Price Foundation. The paper version has grown so large over the years that an electronic version was needed to keep it portable. Using a “good-better-best” scale, this shopping guide lists recommended items in 30 searchable categories including eggs, dairy, seafood, meats, vegetables, nuts, fats and oils, cultured foods and breads. Use this app to make good choices at the grocery store and to find online or mail-order sources of nutrient dense real food. There’s a place to add your own suggestions. The database will be updated frequently. It also allows you to share favorite brands on Facebook and add your own comments and ratings to products you buy and enjoy.

“Fooducate” by Fooducate, Ltd. – available for iPhone and Android. FREE for the basic version but $14.99/year for the “pro” and “gluten & allergies” versions:  this app allows you to scan the barcode on a product and receive an analysis of the nutrition information and ingredients. It also give you a rating from A+ to D-.  The FREE basic version alerts you to things like high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fats, artificial sweeteners and additives & preservatives. The premium versions also include GMO information.  (I’m disappointed with Fooducate because the GMO info used to be part of the basic, now they are charging extra for it rather than helping the non-GMO movement by keeping that info more easily available to everyone.) Other premium versions can also alert you to specific allergens such as gluten, soy or lactose.

“Seafood Watch” by Monterey Bay Aquarium – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app allows you to make educated seafood choices at the grocery store and dining out. Sort by “best choice”, “good alternative” and “avoid” categories, you can use the GPS function to find regional guides for your location. Use this app to purchase sustainably caught seafood of all kinds. Add your own discoveries to the database when you find shops or restaurants selling sustainable seafood.

“Skin Deep” by Environmental Working Group – available for iPhone and Android. FREE: this app isn’t about food, but it is about keeping you healthy.  Use Skin Deep at the store to scan barcodes on your personal care products and receive green/yellow/red hazard ratings as well as ingredient lists.  Using this app can help you avoid toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and make safer choices for yourself and your family. Everything from shampoo and toothpaste to make-up and deodorant can be found in this often-updated app.

Use the comment section below to add your favorite food or health-related app. I’d love to hear from you and how you use your smartphone to make shopping easier. I’m not receiving anything from any of these app producers – I’m just interested in learning more!                             seafood watch app