Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Secrets to Saving Time and Money at Trader Joe’s

Good morning!

You guys know how much I love Trader Joe’s, right? Of course, you do. I’m also a big fan of scoring deals and doing things efficiently, so when Remy from Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes reached out about sharing her “secrets” for saving time and money at Trader Joe’s, I was ALLLLL about it. I love stuff like this! 🙂 So, without further ado, here’s Remy!

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I’ll be upfront with you: Trader Joe’s is a bit of an obsession of mine. The prices can’t be beat and it’s my go-to spot for a ton of kitchen (and bathroom) essentials. There are countless great deals and the store is always introducing new products to keep things fresh. Every Trader Joe’s is independently owned/operated and they treat their workers extremely well, which I love to support. However, most people, even the ones that have been shopping there for years, overlook some of the best things about this unique and refreshing supermarket. Today, I set out to shed some light on the best TJ’s tips and tricks!

Trader Joes Coupon Matches

While TJ’s doesn’t offer any of their own coupons, most people don’t know that they will match coupons from competitors for any brand name products that they sell. This blog also compiles some of the best weekly deals and where to score the coupons online.

The Frozen Meals are one of the Best Deals in the Store

Dollar for dollar, the ready-made frozen meals found in the freezer section are consistently one of the best deals in the store. Not only are the extremely convenient to have on hand for a quick dinner, but even non-Trader Joe’s brands can be significantly cheaper. For example, in my experience, the Amy’s brand of frozen food is usually about $2 cheaper than anywhere else.

Bring Your Own Bag and Enter the Secret Raffle

Another little known fact that most people are surprised to learn is that there is a raffle held weekly for those that opt to bring their own re-usable bag into the store. All you have to do is spend $25 to be eligible to fill out one of the raffle tickets at check out. If you win, you score a $25 TJ’s gift card!

Extreme Gift-Carding

If you are truly trying to save every last penny, consider buying pre-paid TJ gift cards online ahead of time online. They aren’t always in stock, but when they are these can save you a few bucks.

Know When to Shop

As far as the low pricing goes, it doesn’t change from day to day, so going during the low times is going to save you the headache of standing in line (and trying to get a parking spot in the notoriously congested lots). Steer clear of early evening in Sunday and any weekday when everyone is getting off or work and you should be fine.

Trader Joe’s might not be the Best Place For Produce

As much as I love the store, it’s not the best for everything. One of the problems with much of the produce you find there is that it comes pre-packaged, which means it’s not as fresh as you can find it. It also limits you to just picking up one of something when that’s all you need.

Be Sure to Snag Some Wine

Most people know that “2 Buck Chuck” is a great deal, but any list about Trader Joe’s simply wouldn’t be complete without it. It’s made by an offshoot of the famous Franzia family and available only at TJ’s.

Keep Your Eyes Open for AT LEAST One New Product a Week

The specialty products change with the seasons and the current culinary trends. This keeps every trip new and exciting and you’re always able to discover something novel and delicious. However, this also means that from time to time you have to say goodbye to some of your favorites. If non-seasonal specialty items don’t gain enough traction, TJ’s will pull them from the shelf. If you are looking to stay up to date on what’s new, this blog reviews new Trader Joe’s products in hilarious details.

Anything is Fair Game for Free Samples

Everyone loves the free samples station back by the coffee, but you might not know that anything in the entire store is free game for some sample action. So, if you’re not sure about your next purchase, just ask a team member to open something up for you and they will happily oblige.

You Can Return Anything at Any Time, No Questions Asked

I’ve taken advantage of this more times than I can count and it really is no questions asked. If you’re not happy with one of your purchases for any reason, even if you’ve eaten most of it, they will take it back with zero hassle.

Hopefully you leaned a thing or two and can go forward and save some dollars down the road. While this is far from a complete list about what makes the almighty TJ’s shine in a crowded marketplace, I hope it serves as a good place to start!

The post Secrets to Saving Time and Money at Trader Joe’s appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.



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Some Primal Answers for Kids’ Problem Behaviors

kid shouting and crying during a temper tantrumLast week, Chris Kresser wrote a great article discussing the emerging—and likely causative—link between poor gut health and childhood misbehavior. He explained potential mechanisms for the association, as well as solutions to counter it.

But as any parent knows, getting a picky child to adopt your arsenal of perfect gut-supporting foods and supplements isn’t always easy. Not every kid immersed in the righteous anger of the terrible twos will stop what he’s doing to drink sauerkraut juice, nibble on kimchi, take resistant starch, drink kefir and bone broth.. It’s certainly a major part of the problem and the solution, but are there any other dietary causes? What else can a parent try to stem the flood of tantrums?

Ditch artificial food coloring.

Artificial food coloring hijacks the visual system designed to spot ripe fruit. It’s partly why kids gravitate toward bright green, red, yellow, and orange junk food. These colors are attractive to us, in part, because for most of human history they indicated the presence of ripe fruit.

Remember: our color vision also evolved so we could spot venomous snakes lurking in the foliage. Tens of thousands of parents consider these food dyes predators in their own right, swearing their kid goes berserk after a few handfuls of neon candy.

The FDA has even looked into it, admitting that dyes might affect kids with preexisting ADHD. Others think the feds were too cautious (or just plain dishonest), and more recent research has shown that food coloring can affect kids without ADHD, too. 

That said, a 2013 study of 8- and 9-year olds in Hong Kong failed to find an effect on behavior, even on high doses of artificial food colors, so it’s not an absolute, universal relationship.

Researchers have proposed a genetic explanation, finding that kids with genetic propensities toward impaired histamine degradation are more likely to have behavioral problems after consuming artificial food coloring. I find this likely, as artificial food coloring causes histamine release.

You could look for “natural” food dyes on nutrition labels. These usually use things like turmeric and paprika to make colors. Or you could just avoid “dyed” foods altogether. Just because your organic gojiberry lollipop uses saffron as a colorant doesn’t make a lollipop a good idea.

Limit sugar.

Is there a sugar crash? Experts say it doesn’t exist. But they also say adult reactive hypoglycemia—where eating refined carbs causes a big spike in blood glucose followed by a sharp decline and extreme fatigue, hunger, and irritability—doesn’t exist, either.

We do know that when blood glucose falls below a certain level, adrenaline is released to liberate body fat and provide energy. A 1995 study found that this effect occurs at a higher blood glucose level in kids compared to adults. The response is also stronger in children. When their bodies sense low energy availability, the adrenaline response is twice as high. That’s why your average child shouldn’t practice IF, and it’s why coming off of a candy bar, Slurpee, or slice of birthday cake hits them harder than it does us.

Not all sugar is the same though. The source matters. One study found that kids who ate more sugar from fruit snacks had a lower risk of ADHD. Total sugar intake had no relation overall.

Sugar-sweetened beverages seem to be the real baddies. They are consistently related to ADHD risk. They’re loaded with sugar in an easily digestible medium; a 40-pound toddler with a bottle of soda can easily ingest 40-50 grams of sugar without even thinking. These often come with the aforementioned artificial food dyes. To boot, they also usually contain caffeine, which is a bad idea for children.

Provide red meat.

I remember being on vacation with the family one year. My daughter was about 3 or 4 and adamant that she go vegetarian “just like Mommy.” Previous to this she was a fairly big meat eater. So for the first week of the trip she avoided meat entirely, instead opting for noodles, rice, and veggies. The tantrums were unbelievable by about the fourth day. Exploding over nothing. Tantrums, in other words. She was eating plenty of calories, so it wasn’t that.

I’d had enough. I went down to the butcher around the corner, bought a steak, brought it back to the condo, and grilled it. She ate it and almost immediately went back to her sweet self. Ever since then I’ve been a big believer in the magical properties of a well-cooked (not well-done) steak.

What about the research?

Meat as an early complementary food boosts head circumference. Unless those infantile carnivores are laying down extra skull for no reason, it’s safe to assume they’re building bigger brains better able to deal with the world rationally. Okay, maybe not rationally. These are kids we’re talking about.

Red meat provides zinc, a crucial nutrient for behavior regulation. Zinc deficiency is involved in the pathogenesis of ADHD. In the above study, meat-borne zinc levels predicted head circumference.

Red meat provides iron, another behavior regulator. One study found that correcting iron deficiency with iron supplements improved behavior in picky eaters.

Red meat provides B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins are associated with behavior problems in teens, and perhaps younger children, too.

Red meat provides protein, and protein provides good blood sugar regulation. Every bite of red meat a toddler eats is something other than a bite of sugary refined carbs.

Provide pastured chicken liver.

Pastured chicken liver is extremely high in iron, folate, choline, B12, and protein, with a decent amount of zinc. And although it is higher in vitamin A than most other foods, it’s lower in vitamin A than other livers, so you can feed it a bit more often—maybe once or twice a week. The real beauty of chicken liver is the taste: it’s far milder than ruminant livers. Your mileage may vary.

Try a dairy-free, gluten-free diet.

Maybe the kid’s already eating this way (since the parents are card-carrying Primal Blueprinters). And there’s a good chance that ditching dairy and grains will have no effect on behavior. The scientific literature is certainly underwhelming. It’s worth a shot though. The anecdotal literature is rife with parents who report behavior problems disappearing once they addressed and resolved food intolerances—and dairy and gluten are fairly common ones.

Give your kid a chance.

Kids can eat well. They will eat well. They don’t have to subsist on hot dogs (grass-fed or not), chicken tenders (gluten-free or not), french fries (fried in tallow or not), and pizza (or meatza). If you give the kid a chance and offer some “adult” options, you’ll probably be surprised at what they try—and like.

Also, let them in the kitchen. Pull up a chair for them to stand on and reach the counter. Let them stir, mash, and even chop. Getting kids involved in food prep won’t just pay off six years down the line when they’re making dinner for the family. It forces them to have skin in the game. They’ll be more likely to want to eat something they had a hand in.

Offer psilocybin.

The emergence of the ego—the toddler’s realization that he or she is a separate being with desires and the executive agency necessary to achieve them—lies at the heart of the terrible twos. A moderate to large dose of psilocybin (or any of the related psychedelics) will destroy the ego, shatter the self, and return the child to an edenic state in congruence with the rest of nature.

Note: I’m kidding about that last one, of course.

But all the rest are legitimate interventions to try. If you have any others that worked for you and your family, let me know below!

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

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5 Nordic Food Trends to Eat Now

Nordic food is hot. It’s healthy too. A recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that a Nordic diet — rich in foods like whole grain rye, unsweetened yogurt, wild berries, root vegetables, herbs and fatty fish — can lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, and even lead to weight loss. While you may not make it to restauranteur Claus Meyer’s new Great Northern Food Hall in New York, the popular Minneapolis’ Fika Café or Broder Söder at the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation in Portland, OR, you can certainly discover these delicious ways to enjoy the new Nordic diet.

Canned or jarred fish

Pickled herring anyone? While not typical lunch fare, a Swedish smorgasbord would be incomplete without it. In the Nordic Diet study, people ate two to three servings weekly of fish. And eating fish more often is as easy as opening a jar of pickled herring from IKEA stores or most supermarket deli sections. Herring are mild tasting fish that are often pickled in a vinegary onion and black pepper brine, and are addictive on dark rye crackers topped with red onions, fresh dill and a bit of sour cream. And don’t forget canned sardines, which are harvested in the frigid waters of the Norwegian fjords; these trendy tins are packed with immunity boosters. Norwegian salmon is also an appealing choice; add it to potatoes and greens in our hearty-and-healthy Salmon Hash.

Pickled vegetables

The old technique of pickling vegetables is new again. This is evidenced by the whopping $14 price tag found on a jar of pickled seasonal veggies – and by their appearance on restaurant charcuterie platters. Participants in the Nordic diet study ate a lot of cukes and cabbage. Both would be perfect in this quick pickle recipe.

Icelandic yogurt

If you’ve never tasted the Icelandic yogurt known as skyr, get ready to really taste yogurt. With minimal sugar, the true tangy taste of cultured dairy comes through. Skyr is made by culturing non-fat milk and then straining the liquid, which leads to extra creamy cups. Probiotics in yogurt may play a role in heart health. Skyr can be substituted for cream cheese in most recipes, like this one, or try it in savory yogurt bowls.

Dark rye or barley breads

The open-faced sandwich, or Danish smorrebroad is usually anchored by dark rye or barley bread. These whole grains contain healthy fats. In the Nordic diet study, researchers noted that diets high in whole grains like rye, barley and oats can increase a person’s blood level of good fatty acids, like plasmalogen, which helps decrease their risk for inflammation-based diseases, like type-2 diabetes.

Wild berries

Cloud berries are tiny, native Scandinavian berries that grow wild and have become known for their powerful antioxidant profiles – and the outrageous prices they command on the world market. Closer to home, you’ll be lucky to find antioxidant-rich domestic wild berries at summer farmers markets: huckleberries in the West, tiny wild blackberries in the Midwest and the South, and in the East, wild blueberries. Fortunately, many supermarkets now carry frozen wild blueberries from Maine. Generally, the more a wild berry has to struggle to survive, the higher the berry’s antioxidant content. Frozen red raspberries are thought to contain the highest antioxidant amounts among domesticated berries – as they grow in the short, intense growing season of the Northwest. Snack on the whole berries, or blend them up in a quick morning smoothie.

Serena Ball, MS, RD is a food writer and registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing tips and tricks to help families find healthy living shortcuts. Follow her @TspCurry on Twitter and Snapchat.



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Super Weekend – Part II

I feel like I packed a whole weekend into our Sunday! ^^Wild child.

I woke up with this sting ray on me. I never know what’s coming next!

Sunday morning I made pancakes. I’ve been out of flour and pancake mix for a while and keep forgetting to buy more, so I’ve just been making Anne’s banana egg pancakes, which are so easy to whip together (it’s also the best way for me to get eggs into Mazen).

Question for Anne: why didn’t you name these Annecakes?! I think I’m going to do that for you 😉

“Mommy can I help you put the dishes in the dishwasher?” I THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK!! 🙂

Soccer is starting up next week, so since the weather was so great on Sunday, I got together with a few players on my team for some pick-up.

Mazen put on his shin guards and cleats to get some “training” in himself (his word, not mine!). His season starts up in about a month or so.

We played around for about an hour and then I headed to Beer Run for lunch with Wendy and Jess.

This was the winter salad with squash, olives, goat cheese, and blood orange. So good! Plus some shared bacon and a little taste of pimento cheese.

Mazen and I played in the yard all afternoon

My friend Gina was getting rid of a hammock stand, and I happily took it off her hands. We played games in the hammock for a while. Boat, tent, Big Bad Wolf, etc. M has such a great imagination!

Sunday night we grilled hamburgers on the charcoal grill.

Before:

After:

We only had two buns because this was a Blue Apron dinner, so I gave mine to Mazen and went bunless. If there’s a meal where I go lower in carbs, it’s dinner, so I didn’t mind. My burger was darn good!

I know I put in a teaser for a weekend getaway, but that trip fell through, so we just did a President’s Day day trip on Monday. I’ll be back to share that recap tomorrow!

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Episode 356 – Dr Daniel Plews and Prof. Paul Larsen – Heart Rate Variability, and Fueling for Athletes

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This episode we have guests Dr Daniel Plews and Professor Paul Larson. They have doctorates in exercise physiology, more than 150 peer-reviewed research articles in sport performance and health, coach and support numerous elite and professional athletes across multiple endurance-based sports, and are well accomplished and fast triathlon competitors themselves. Listen in as we talk about Heart Rate Variability (HRV), carb intake, ketosis, fueling for athletes, and more!


Download Episode Here (MP3)

Guests: Dr Daniel Plews (Plews) and Professor Paul Larsen (Prof)

Study Link: Athletes: Fit but Unhealthy?

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30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

Buy the book

 

Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is available for pre-order now!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks



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Clean Eating Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Rosemary Salmon Recipe

Clean Eating Pressure Cooker Mediterranean Rosemary Salmon Recipe

Many of you know that I recently joined the throngs of humans who have purchased an Instant Pot (IP) pressure cooker. This IP and I have slowly been getting to know each other. I’ve done one recipe… Read more →



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