Hope's Healthy Kitchen

Where To Get Electrolytes

If you are like me, I had to look up “why” I need electrolytes.  I remember when Belinda or I was sick, we were told to drink things like Gatorade to replenish them.  If you are dehydrated, due to vomiting, diarrhea, extreme exercise, or heat exposure, it’s important to replenish your body with electrolytes to maintain optimal health.  So, why are they important?

Here is reason: “When your body becomes low on electrolytes, it can impair your body’s functions, such as blood clotting, muscle contractions, acid balance, and fluid regulation. Your heart is a muscle, so electrolytes help regulate your heartbeat.”

I’m not a huge fan of energy drinks, many electrolyte beverages may contain added sugar and may not be the best option.  So I was excited to learn there are some great every day foods filled with electrolytes.  Chances are, if you regularly consume veggies, fruits, and legumes, you’ve got your electrolyte balance covered.

There are a variety of plant foods which are wonderful for providing electrolytes. Again, unless you’re an athlete or experiencing dehydration due to illness, eating whole foods rich in these minerals is a great way to replenish. Eating a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods supports health in a number of ways including providing antioxidants, polyphenols, an array of vitamins and minerals, and fiber.

Potassium-rich foods include:

  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • bananas
  • avocado
  • beans
  • lentils
  • cashews
  • almonds

Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
  • seeds
  • nuts
  • beans

Calcium-rich foods include:

  • dairy foods
  • tofu
  • leafy green vegetables

Try to get your sodium from high-quality salts, such as:

  • Himalayan pink salt
  • sea salt

Electrolyte-rich foods include

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Sea Salt

Note: Avoid processed foods which can be extremely high in sodium and other inflammation-causing ingredients. Most of us consume enough sodium throughout the day.  Many people consume more than the daily recommended amount (less than 2,300 mg). The only time it really makes sense to supplement with sodium is if you are trying to replenish electrolytes following intense exercise or a dehydrating illness.

This summer, how will you replenish your electrolytes – with a quick gatorade or daily with some yummy FRESH fruits and veggies?  As we head to the community farm every week to pick up our order this summer, I will definitely be doing the “fresh” thing.

Which will be your pick this summer?

Have an Epic Day!

Hope Wissel

How to Save on Your Grocery Bill

You many not save a BUCKET of money but you will save some.  As the cost of groceries continues to rise, I’m sure you are like us and feeling the pinch.  Meal planning is already stressful for some NOW factor in the soaring cost of food and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Despite the state of the economy (no political comments please), stocking your kitchen pantry to feed yourself and your family is a weekly necessity. So, today, we’re making things easy for you by providing everything you need to know about shopping wisely, getting a good deal, and keeping your expenses low.

5 EASY WAYS TO SAVE BIG ON YOUR GROCERY BILL

1. PLAN YOUR MEALS AND CREATE A GROCERY LIST

Start by taking an inventory of your kitchen before going to the supermarket.   Make note of the things running low or you want to be sure you have a back up for.  You know those things that could cause you to make an extra stop or run to the store because not having them would cause havoc in your household. Take the time to write out a grocery list.  It will help you stick to a budget and avoid overspending by reducing unnecessary purchases.   I keep mine on my phone and as I think of things, I add them to the list.  My meal planning journal is on the fridge.  I usually plan on Saturdays, and shop on Mondays.

2. BROWSE THROUGH FLYERS AND GROCERY STORE WEBSITES

This is a simple but effective way to check for sales, lowest price options, and discounts.  It doesn’t mean you have to always go to multiple stores to get what you need.  I mean with the price of gas, this would be CRAZY, right?  I tend to compare prices, see who has most of the things I want on sale and start there.  Honestly, my two stores are usually Aldi’s and Acme.  So I hit Aldi’s first then stop to Acme on my way home.  Be sure you are part fo your store’s rewards program.  Try using apps like Ibotta or Fetch where you earn money or rewards for the shopping you do every day.  I also use Shopkick to earn discounts. For more rewards tips, see #6.

3. CONSIDER BUYING IN BULK

Not only does this save you more trips to the grocery store, but it’s often more cost- effective too.  If you are shopping at the BULK stores be sure you know what your per item cost usually is.  WHY? If you are not careful, you may end up paying more than you would if you bought multiple items in the grocery store.  Since there are only 2 of us, we don’t do bulk stores BUT I do keep a stocked pantry.  We are prepared for any and all emergencies.

4. EAT MORE PLANT-BASED

Meat now costs nearly 24% more than it did two years ago, and the prices continue to rise. The good news is there are tons of budget-friendly options out there to meet your protein needs. Plant-based proteins like chickpeas, edamame, beans, and tofu are great alternatives. We don’t do tofu since I have never been able to cook it so it tastes good BUT we do do other plant based options.  For more ideas and recipes, be sure to check out this blog post all about plant-based eating!

5. BUY SEASONAL

Out-of-season produce is typically more expensive.  If you have a local community farm, join it. Yes, there is an initial cost BUT in the long run for approximately 12 weeks plus, you will have awesome healthy fresh produce.  Don’t know what is in season?  Doing a fast search before you start planning and/or preparing your meals.  Also, remember to store your produce in air-tight containers, like our Stay With Me Produce Savers, to limit food waste while stretching your dollar!

6. MAKE USE OF LOYALTY PROGRAMS & PRICE-MATCHING APPS

Find a grocery store with a loyalty program so you can get a rebate with every spend. Make a game out of it.. wouldn’t you love to see the savings line at the end of the grocery receipt? Most grocery stores will honor a price match – bring your circular with you from the other store.

7. SHOP YOUR GROCERY STORE BRAND PRODUCTS

They are just as good and often a lot less expensive than name-brand products! Did you know many store brands are made by your favorite “name” brand company?

8. CARVE OUT TIME FOR MEAL PREP AFTER GROCERY SHOPPING

It may take some extra time, but it makes your week so much smoother. Tuna, pasta, quinoa, rice, canned tomatoes, rolled oats, beans, and peanut butter are some of my favorite low-cost pantry staples. When the kitchen is stocked with healthy options, there’s no need to eat out.

9. USE THE FREEZER TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE

Yes, there are only 2 of us in the house.  Yes, I do buy family packs of chicken breasts, then divide and freeze into smaller batches. I buy bulk meat and re-package them into smaller amounts based on our average dinner recipe. Frozen vegetables and fruit are also great when not in season.

What money-saving tips have helped you when grocery shopping? Which new recipes or tips are you most likely to try? Let us know – share them with us.

Have an Epic Day!

Cleaning Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Easy Tips for Cleaning Your Grill

Grilling season here, and if your grill is still buried in the ashes of last summer’s Buffalo wings, steaks, and burgers, NOW is the time to give it some much-needed attention. Whether you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, these simple clean-up and grill guide is sure to equip you with all the right steps to becoming the ultimate grill-master this season!

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO CLEAN YOUR GRILL

I vaguely remember growing up with the theory of “burning off the old” and not really cleaning the grates.  Yup, I’m old and our grill was well used all year long.  Did you know when you leave remnants of your last meal on the grates, it will char and burn the next time you fire up the BBQ. It seems like a no-brainer, right?  This not only changes the taste but also the quality of your barbecue.  The burnt pieces are also harmful to your health. When you burn those charred bits at high temperatures, a harmful chemical compound is produced which can potentially increase your risk of cancer. So you definitely don’t want to keep the old stuff around!

STEPS TO CLEANING YOUR GRILL

1. GRILL GATE REMOVAL AND CLEANING

Grates must be maintained clean because they are in direct contact with food. Remove the cool grates first, then use a brush to remove any large debris. Next you’ll want to  immerse the grates in hot water and dish soap. Let them soak in a sink or large bucket to make it easier to scrub later. Lastly, clean the grill with a firm grill brush,  rinse and dry!

2. INTERNAL CLEANING OF THE GRILL 

Brush the grates’ interior to remove any gunk gathering at the bottom and around the sides.  If you have a charcoal barbecue, you’ll want to scrape away any large peeling flakes of carbon/grease from the ash catcher and empty it.  To make cleaning easier the next time, wash the drip pan and grease cup in warm soapy water and line with aluminium foil.

3. EXTERNAL CLEANING OF THE GRILL 

Using a sponge or towel soaked in warm soapy water, wipe off the exterior, handles, side trays, and any bottom doors. Thoroughly rinse and dry before firing up the grill.

Brush Safety

If you opt to use a brush with bristles to clean your grill, follow these safety steps:

  • Grill brushes are like toothbrushes. When you see the bristles beginning to flatten or lose their efficacy, it’s time to replace.
  • Apply the “tweezer test”: take a pair of tweezers, randomly select five to 10 bristles and gently pull – if any bristles come off, it’s time to replace.
  • It is not recommend to leave grill brushes exposed to the elements when not in use. The rain, sunlight, humidity, snow, etc., can age them prematurely.
  • Above all, treat your grill brush just as you would any part of your grill and grilling environment: Follow manufacturers’ instructions and continuously inspect before and after using.

GRILL RECIPE TO KICKSTART THE BBQ SEASON

Now you’ve given your grill a total-body-scrubdown, it’s time to get grilling! So, pull out all your favorite gear and get ready to try out a new recipe idea!

Share some of your favorite tips and tricks that help you get through your cleaning routine? Which grill-worthy recipes are you most excited to try this season?
Looking for more recipes and hacks, check out my VIP group – Hope’s Healthy Kitchen. 
Hope Wissel

Marinating 101

Grilling season is upon us – does it excite you or intimate you?

Don’t just toss the meat on the grill and hope for the best…..Are you ready to add an amazing layer of flavor to your meal by simply letting food rest in the fridge?  YUP.. it is that simple.  Marinating is a versatile and fun cooking method even you can pull off if you are clueless.  I was there once too!  I actually marinate chicken and beef the most and cook in my air fryer all year long.

Why marinate?

Hey is the “technical explanation”:  Marination uses acid to break down proteins in meat, naturally tenderizing it and allowing it to better absorb the spices and other flavors. The oil seals in moisture and adds a level of protection against heat. If you eat organic grass fed like we do, this is HUGE because the meat becomes tender and juicy. 🛑WARNING: if meat is left in citrus for more than 24 hours, it will begin to “cook,” and we definitely don’t want that to happen!  It will not be good!

Experiment 

The sky is the limit with marinades!  You can let your creativity flow.  It all starts with the 3️⃣: The basic ratio is three parts oil to one part acid. The acid can be vinegar, wine, citrus or yogurt, while the oil could be sesame, canola, olive or even fish sauce. Beef, chicken, veggies and tofu can generally take the same marinades, with the variety stemming more from the flavor profile. In addition to oil and acid, you also need to consider a third component: the flavor! This is the herbs, spices, aromatics and salt.  Here is where you can really get creative!

Two reasons to marinate meat is tenderizing and to add flavor. As for beef, more affordable meats like flank or sirloin will really benefit, especially from tenderization.  No need to spend a fortune on premium cuts of meat to get a better taste, try your hand at marinating.

The key is timing

Marinating might not be ideal when you’re in a time crunch, but it doesn’t take as long as you might think. For beef and chicken, it is recommended two hours can do the job. You don’t want to go over 24 hours or so, as the marinade can toughen the meat. For fish, the general rule is 30 minutes, otherwise the fish can begin to cook. Veggies only need about 30 minutes, as they don’t need to be tenderized.

 

Put TLC into the prep

How can you help the marinade soak into the food. Start by chopping and removing skin when possible. As an added benefit, smaller pieces allow for faster cooking. As you prepare your marinade, calculate portions properly so you’ll have enough: Think a half cup of marinade per pound of meat. Be sure to reserve some sauce before you submerge the meat. Once you’re ready to start, one of the easiest ways to distribute the marinade and help with cleanup is to use a zipper-locked plastic bag (my favorite), but nonmetal covered bowls work, too. Don’t use foil, because a chemical reaction could botch your entire recipe. NEVER marinate at room temperature. Slip your food in the fridge, set a timer and enjoy the anticipation!

Share your favorite marinade with us… Looking for some more ideas, check out the recipes on my website by clicking the link.

Happy grilling and have an epic day!

Hope Wissel

What is Your Recipe for Life?

The month of May was busy with celebrations and A LOT of reflecting on the past.  Hitting the milestone of 65 and celebrating 4 years was HUGE for me.  I am amazed at how much my mindset has changed over the last 3 years…
On the days I least expect it, I am reminded of the importance of changing your mindset in all areas of your life especially during those woe is me days.  You know, the days we sit on the “pity pot” focusing on the negative instead of counting our blessings.  These kind of days are fewer and far between since I have been working on the steps and me.  They still come but today I have tools to keep them from lasting too long.

It is usually someone around me who notices the negative mindset or the “attitude” long before I do.  Today, I very seldom wait for the third duck before I start looking at whether or not I need to change my mindset.  Let me explain…When I was in rehab back in 1991 (yup this is one thing that has always stuck with me), I remember a saying something like this: If one person calls you a duck – you can toss it aside, if two people call you a duck – it deserves some consideration but if three people call you a duck – you MUST be a duck!”  Have you ever heard this?

Do you need to change your mindset? Do you need to train your brain  to think positively?  Here are a few tips to help you:
  • Believe in yourself – remind yourself daily how awesome you are.
  • Empower yourself – remind yourself you always have choices.
  • Believe in the impossible – remind yourself anything is possible.
  • Look for the good – remind yourself to reframe situations using the tools above.
I will admit, this is a struggle for me some days when new situations trigger old memories, the old behaviors want to come out.  I am learning to STOP 🛑 for a moment, usually saying the Serenity Prayer and then move forward.  I look at how far I have come and remember, feelings pass unless I want to hold on to them and dwell in the muck.

Focusing on the good things in my life and practicing gratitude is a big help.  Surrounding myself with positive people instead of the Negative Nellies is key too.  Maybe this will help you in changing your mindset or counting your blessings:

Begin with a case of Joy
Add a heaping spoonful of Gratitude
Fold in a large dollop of Kindness
Stir in a handful of Forgiveness
Sprinkle liberally with Love and cover with Peace
Always serve with a large side of Faith
(Author unknown)
 
What is your recipe for life?  Have an Epic day!