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Tag Archives: back to school


Back to School Part Three – Cleaner Junk Food and Quick Snack Food Ideas

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has No Comments on Back to School Part Three – Cleaner Junk Food and Quick Snack Food Ideas

If we look at your pantry right now, would it be laden with the traditional snack items like Doritos, OREOS and General Mills Cereals that we all grew up with?

A toxic storm of chemicals and science lab ingredients. But let’s be realistic. You have to have some junk food in your house. We can’t be perfect all the time. And, quite frankly, do you really want to be??

You don’t, however, have to eat those processed, chemical-laden, GMO riddled snacks! There are so many new alternative brands and organic versions out there.

Fruit Loops, Lunchables, and Cheetos ARE NOT OPTIONS.

I don’t recommend packaged junk food all the time, but we live in the real world. It’s gonna happen. PLUS, if you want your teens to gather at your house, you gotta have some ready to grab snacks!

Give these organic and non-GMO snacks a try.

 

These snack brands do not contain MSG, an ingredient that keeps you going back for more and more. MSG is why many of the GMO snack brands like Doritos are so addictive!!

The key is to BE PREPARED. Make regular trips to the grocery store, with a list of things that will sustain your teens (and their friends) for the week. Or check out these AMAZING delivery apps:

INSTACART – Get deliveries within an hour from Whole Foods, Costco and Central Market.  Awesome!

THRIVE MARKET – Get organic pantry products at great prices!

Don’t wait for them to start rummaging through the kitchen. They will snack on what is in front of them. So have it out on the counter.

Other awesome snack ideas:

  1. Organic popcorn made on the stove top with coconut oil and sea salt. So easy. Tiny But Mighty brand non-GMO popcorn kernels are fantastic.
  2. Sliced cucumbers/carrot rounds marinated in lime juice and sea salt. Don’t underestimate this one!
  3. Tex-Mex rules! Keep grass-fed taco meat ready to go. Always have these in your fridge:
    • Fresh pico, salsa, guac or bean dip. Nachos with pinto beans and organic cheese knock Cheetos out of the park! Make sure your tortillas are without chemical ingredients (say goodbye to Mission brand).
  4. Amy’s Nacho Snacks, Pizza Rolls or Burritos
  5. The GEM hummus with jalapeno pesto. Grab one of our snack packs for on the go!
  6. Keep sunflower seed and pistachios in a bowl on the counter.
  7. Make watermelon slushes in the afternoon. They will love you! How? Tons of watermelon on the bottom of the blender, frozen strawberries, a cup of ice, a peeled lemon or lime. Shazam!!
  8. Mini pizzas made with whole grain English muffins, fresh marinara and organic mozzarella. Whole Foods has great pre-made ones.
  9. Sami’s Cinnamon Chips will disappear at carpool time. Everyone LOVES these high fiber, low sugar (but don’t tell them that) chips. Available at The GEM.
  10. Keep whole wheat pasta ready in the fridge with marinara.
  11. Steam frozen ORGANIC edamame and add sea salt. Costco sells this!!
  12. Popsicles? Try these Austin-based GoodPop® All-Natural Frozen Pops. I love the Watermelon Agave and Coconut Lime Bars!!

 

These are not all super-food healthy snacks – because we don’t always obey the rules. They are, however, CLEAN, free of harmful chemicals and dyes. This is really important to remember when feeding your families. Good luck and … Happy End of Summer!

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Back to School Part Two – Quick Pantry and Fridge Makeover

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 1 Comment on Back to School Part Two – Quick Pantry and Fridge Makeover

If you keep healthy food in your pantry and fridge, you will eat healthy food.

Without question this statement is true … for overall health, daily energy levels, our ability to focus. A well-stocked pantry and easy to grab snacks help us boost metabolism and reduce cravings later in the day. You’ve got stuff in your pantry that shouldn’t be there, but do you know what should be there? This post gives you a quick run-down of what a healthy pantry should contain.

You don’t have to go toss everything and start from scratch in one day. Switching to 100 percent clean foods can be challenging and even costly at first. Give it time, and take it easy on yourself. Try replacing one food item at a time. Sub in brown rice pasta for plain white pasta, or skip the Reese’s and do dark chocolate and organic peanut butter instead. As you add in the good, your taste buds will change, and you will naturally want clean, whole foods. The “fake” foods will seem less appealing.

Remember this important detail: Always read the label! If you don’t know what the ingredients are or how to spell them, toss it.

Start by personally saying goodbye to a few main evils. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every now and then … you decide what works for you.

TOSS

  • Vegetable oils like Corn, Canola, Wesson
  • Sugary, food-colored cereals. Even the organic/clean ones are for fun snacks NOT breakfast
  • Canned soups
  • Sugar-sweetened soda
  • ANYTHING with artificial sweeteners: “Lite, Diet, Lo-Cal”
  • ANYTHING with artificial food coloring – it’s made from petroleum and causes all kinds of issues
  • Frozen entrees that have more chemicals than you can begin to spell
  • Conventional chemical and GMO laden chips like Cheetos, Fritos (there are simple alternatives)

 

Your Revitalized Pantry

 

GRAINS/PANTRY

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa (also a protein source)
  • Soba noodles (also a protein source)
  • Organic wheat and/or gluten-free pasta (Tinkyada in my fave)
  • Beans! Black beans, cannellini, pinto, lentils, chickpeas
  • Sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts – great on your salads, oatmeal
  • Raw almond butter, organic peanut butter
  • Killer Dave’s Breads (multigrain or ‘white done right’)
  • Siete Almond Flour Tortillas
  • Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats
  • 365 Brand Organic Taco Shells

 

PROTEINS

  • Vital Farms pastured eggs
  • Grass fed ground beef
  • Organic chicken and chicken legs
  • Bell & Evans Organic Gluten Free Nuggets/Strips

When purchasing animal protein/eggs, organic, free-range and pastured are non-negotiable factors, and avoid pre-packaged meats.

 

VEGGIES

  • Boxed lettuces—they are fresh and ready to eat. Spinach/Romaine/Super Greens
  • Onions and garlic always!
  • Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower – all are great for quick sautéing or roasting
  • Organic sweet and regular potatoes
  • Artichokes are a really fun and simple appetizer
  • Carrots, cucumber, organic celery sticks – perfect for snacking
  • Frozen organic peas, corn, artichokes, shelled edamame to use for quick dinner preps

 

CONDIMENTS/FLAVORINGS

  • Extra-virgin olive oil for salad dressings
  • Bearitos Taco Seasoning packets
  • Hot sauce—Tabasco, Crystal and Cholula
  • Burger House Seasoning Salt – Amazing on homemade oven fries, grilled chicken or anything!
  • Maple syrup
  • Organic Tamari (instead of soy sauce)
  • Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
  • Bubbie’s pickles
  • Joe T’s or Royitos Salsa
  • Gorji’s Pomodoro Sauce

 

FRUITS

  • Lemons, limes
  • Avocado
  • Organic apples
  • Cutie oranges
  • Bananas – frozen for smoothies
  • Frozen berries for smoothies
  • Varied fruits (berries, melon, cherries)

 

BEVERAGES

  • Topo Chico Sparkling Waters
  • Healthy Sports Drinks like our Perform Hydration Drink
  • Keep Passion Tea and homemade lemonade in the fridge

 

SNACKS/OTHER JUNK FOOD

While we don’t suggest eating processed junk food all the time, we know it’s a fact of life … we love it. Stay tuned for our next post on CLEAN JUNK FOOD! We will share our favorite brands that are free from chemicals, food coloring, toxic MSG and GMO’s.

Need a little more hand holding? We can help! Our Diamonds on Your Inside Counseling Program brings us to your home AND on a shopping trip to Whole Foods/Costco to get you on the right track. Just ask!

Want easy and yummy recipes?

Cookbook Signing: Monday, August 21

Come meet our dear friend Pamela Salzman, author of the new Kitchen Matters Cookbook, at our Forest location August 21st, 10 a.m. – noon, for a book signing AND demo at 11 a.m.!


Back to School – Tried and True Breakfast Ideas for Everyone!

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 1 Comment on Back to School – Tried and True Breakfast Ideas for Everyone!

Summer break is soon coming to an end, and I’m already anxious about how to keep my kids nourished (thinking of breakfast ideas) and my sanity intact as schedules start to ramp up. Staying ahead of crazy hunger is the name of the game, whether it be for breakfast, snacks or dinner.

In this three part series, we will share quick and easy ways to feed your kids and yourself.

First up, breakfast ideas!

Without question breakfast is the most important meal of the day … for brain development, daily energy levels, and our ability to focus. So make it a priority! Discover our top tried and true breakfast ideas below.

Keys to a successful morning:

  • Be prepared.
  • Shop for the week.
  • Buy in bulk – Organic lovers, meet Costco!
  • Get a jump start – Set the table and put ingredients together in the fridge the night before. Place vitamins in little ramekins at their place setting. Plan to get up at least 10 minutes earlier. It makes all the difference.
  • Think protein, fiber and good fat.

Our Super 7 Breakfast Ideas

  1. Self Serve Oatmeal Bar. So cute! Just add hot water rolled oats and wait two minutes. Arrange toppings in small bowls:
    • Maple syrup, organic brown sugar, cinnamon
    • Blueberries and Bananas
    • Hemp or Chia Seeds
    • Coconut Butter, Organic Peanut butter or Almond butter
    • Coconut flakes & Cacao nibs
    • Toasted Pecans
    • Tip: Cook steel-cut oatmeal overnight in your crock pot the night before so it will be ready in the a.m. This will keep for a week in the fridge!
  2. Breakfast burrito/wrap – Fresh, whole wheat tortillas – not “MISSION” – or try my favorite, Siete Almond Flour tortillas!!, mixed with pastured eggs and pico de gallo. Drain a can of black beans the night before and add those in the mix too. Protein and healthy fats are crucial for brain function and keeping blood sugar levels even. Try your eggs scrambled in coconut oil.
  3. Fresh smoothies made with frozen berries, bananas, raw almonds/water, Epic Vegan Protein. Stock up on your ingredients from our GEM at Home Collection. Keep cacao and dates on hand too. Try this Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie. My family so loves this with additional chocolate protein added.
  4. Healthy Smoothie Bowl. Here’s a secret: Bowls are just smoothies with less liquid! Top yours with berries, hemp seeds, Marge’s granola. Another secret: Our FOYO Parfait is a smoothie bowl … in a travel ready cup! Need instruction? Check out this video on how to make the prefect bowl. YOU WILL BE A MORNING ROCK STAR!
  5. King Arthur GF Pancake Mix with blueberries. This gluten-free brand is amazing!!!! They really are fantastic when cooked with coconut oil. They need almost no syrup! Combine with scrambled eggs to balance with protein or wrap up a Applegate Farms Chicken Sausage Link.
  6. PB&J: Ezekial Bread toasted with almond butter and your favorite jam (not the kind with food coloring and lots of chemicals. Read your labels! I adore Avocado Toast!!
  7. Get ahead of the game and make a Breakfast Casserole!! This Hashbrown and Spinach Egg Casserole is amazing. Even better, pour the mixture into muffin tins for quick on the go breakfast bites or protein snacks! Another recipe here.

 

And hey, remember: The time in the morning is precious and can be a great way to take a moment to set your intention for the day, spend a moment with your kids and practice your own self-care.

Want more great cooking instruction?

Check out our dear friend Pamela Salzman’s new Kitchen Matters Cookbook. In Kitchen Matters, she shares the recipes that have won the praise of Nicole Richie, Rashida Jones, Audrina Patridge and other mega-fans. Both practical and elegant, Kitchen Matters offers a road map for new and busy home cooks to begin including more wholesome foods every day, for meals as nourishing as they are unforgettable.

Want more?

Book Signing Monday, August 21

Join us at our Forest location August 21st, 10 a.m. – noon, for a book signing AND demo at 11 a.m.!!


5 Ways to Manage Back-to-School Stress

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 3 Comments on 5 Ways to Manage Back-to-School Stress

School is almost back in session which meansThe GEM Juice Bar major organization needed, major scheduling, major traffic, AND obviously, major stress. Stress is an unpleasant fact of life. We all experience it, and for some of us, we allow it to take over our minds and eventually our bodies.

The key is to find ways to manage it—squash it—and don’t let it rule us. Stress does terrible things to your mood, your energy and your overall physiology. Common symptoms of stress we know all too well: insomnia, headaches, jaw pain, back and neck pain, heartburn and nausea, nervousness and anxiety, nail-biting, and trouble focusing. Even high blood pressure, stroke and obesity! But stress does some other crazy sh*t …

  • Stress changes the expression of your genes. Your genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger. Your stressed our body produces chemicals, activating genes that change everything — how much fat you store, your immune function, ageing and even the development of CANCER.
  • Stress affects memory function. High levels of stress hormones damage critical parts of the brain, especially the area responsible for memory. People experience adrenal burnout after chronic stress because the brain actually turns off the adrenals. So relax, silly.
  • Stress jacks with your immune system and increases inflammation. Stress is the ultimate immune-modulator. It slows wound healing and increases your susceptibility to infections.
  • Stress slows your ability to metabolize and detoxify. Genes responsible for enzymes that break down fats and detoxify prescription drugs are negatively impacted by stress. Stress also adds to your toxin burden by increasing your cravings for high fat, high sugar foods. We all know that one, right?  The stress hormones actually make you hang on to your fat cells.

 

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) has a list of 50 common signs and symptoms of stress.  Check it out! So in addition to making us cranky and fat, it can also make us chronically ill? Tell me how to fix this!

What we think and feel, and how long we think or feel it, determines our health. The science is strong, and yet so often since stress is considered something we can’t really quantify, it gets dismissed as not being “real.”

Here are a few ways to quell stress in your life:

  1. Meditate. Come on … Don’t quit reading. Meditation can mean different things to different people. Mindfulness, intention setting, gratitude lists all are part of a mediation practice. Simple deep breathing exercises and morning quiet time (even 15 minutes a day will make an enormous difference). Gabby Bernstein rocks. Wayne Dyer too. This does not take the place of your daily prayer. Try deep breathing exercises in the carpool line or at a traffic light. I swear it will change your life.
  2. Laugh. Call a friend, watch a movie, fake it if you have to!
  3. Magnesium. Deficiencies in this mineral have been linked to anxiety as well as a litany of sleep disorders. Go get you some CALM tea today. P.S. It will also keep you regular. There is also a Calm Bath Soak that is amazing as a bedtime ritual along with some lavender oil that will knock your socks off.
  4. Exercise. Do something everyday—preferably something that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. Walk with a friend, jump on the trampoline with your kids, or turn up Donna Summer and disco dance off of the chandeliers for all I care. Just do it!
  5. Plan your food. At the very least, have healthy food options in your fridge. You can’t manage stress on Cheetos and drive-thrus. Plus eating like that can add MORE depression and anxiety to your life. (Insider scoop, we will be blogging about this in September: simple, healthy fridge options). Start your day with a Green Glow or a superfood-packed Crown Jewel smoothie.  What stressor can possibly bring you down now??

 

We can help you with all this at The GEM, whether with your nutritional needs, a much-needed laugh or schedule a Diamonds Counseling Stress Session – Just ask!

Next up:  Stress and Yoga!!