Milk Matters

Almonds and Almond Milk

No doubt you’ve noticed the growing number of milk-like products that have appeared in the dairy case (or in close proximity to it). The colorful containers and variety of flavors available make for an attractive, yet somewhat confusing display. Whether the source of these beverages is a nut (cashew, almond, macadamia, hazelnut), a grain (oat, rice, hemp), a seed (flax), a fruit (coconut, banana), a tuber (tigernut) or a legume (soybean, pea), plant-based beverages offer a variety of nutrients. Sales of these beverages are increasing each year, but they aren’t really milks, are they?

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On the Road with Wellness

Oat and Dried Fruit Bars

I love a good road trip, don’t you? There’s something about the freedom of driving oneself around in the comfort of your own vehicle, going where you want to go, and doing it all at your own pace that just makes road trips special. And one of the nice things about a road trip is that you are in control of most aspects of the journey. That means that you can work in opportunities for wellness that you might not otherwise be able to if you were traveling by air. Not sure what I’m taking about? Here are a few of my favorite tips for taking your wellness routine on the road.

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The Important Parts of the Mediterranean Diet That Most People Ignore

Woman walking on a beach

When you ask someone about the Mediterranean Diet, typically the first thing they’ll mention is “Oh, yeah, lots of olive oil!” So that message has gotten through (though don’t forget the other basics of the diet: loads of veggies, seafood, whole grains, little meat, and very few sweets). Most folks also know that doctors, dietitians, and other health professionals sing the eating plan’s praises for its potential to bring important health benefits such as better blood cholesterol levels, help prevent chronic diseases, decreased likelihood of obesity, and others.

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Exercise is great for health—but it isn’t the key to weight loss.

Hands rolling up a yoga mat.

I’ve written about various aspects of exercise for this blog over the past several years, including what to eat after exercise, getting back into an exercise habit after a break, and how to just get started moving around more. One of the exercise topics that I find the most interesting, however, revolves around the tendency that we have to consider our workouts to be more strenuous (and therefore more intensely calorie-burning) than they truly are—and how that impacts our food intake. I have written about how not to out-eat your workout previously (what might be called compensatory eating), but this time I’m going to focus on the science behind why we shouldn’t rely on exercise for weight loss.

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Use It Up

Broccoli Frittata

Several of my sisters and I like to share photos of our “used it up” culinary creations on social media. I’m not sure if it’s because we were raised in a big family by two parents who were children during the Depression, but I think that likely has something to do with it. Our mother managed to feed lots of mouths by making wise and creative use of inexpensive, yet healthful, food. Seeing her refashion leftovers or aging ingredients into something new taught us how to stretch our food dollar and avoid wasting food. She wasn’t heavy-handed about teaching it; we just sort of “soaked it up.” We now all pride ourselves on being able to “make something out of nothing.”

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Cooking with Veggie Purees

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

Of course, most of us could stand to get more vegetables into our diets. Using purees is just one additional way to benefit from all the nutritional goodness in vegetables, such as vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting phytonutrients, but also fiber! Even though you’re making a puree out of the veggies and the texture may be smooth, the fiber is retained (unlike with juicing, for example).

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Portion Pointers for Eating Out

Woman eating in a restaurant

Although here at Guiding Stars we usually focus our blog posts on topics that relate to selecting and cooking food at home, we realize that most everyone dines out sometimes. But eating out each week—even just once a week—is known to add up to increased weight over time. So, here is a post to help with one of the most common issues that consumers have when eating at restaurants: eating too much! I know—it’s all so tasty and you want to get your money’s worth—I don’t blame you. However, there are a few techniques you can use when eating out that will allow you to enjoy the experience, stretch your dollar, and keep portions in control for good health, too.

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Surprising Stars

Quinoa Granola

Once in a while we like to do a little “expose”-style post where we reveal some foods that have Guiding Star ratings that surprise you—and then explain why these foods warranted that rating. Our hope is that you might realize that a food you’ve been avoiding for fear that it isn’t that healthful is actually something that merits a place in your eating plan. Of course, that could work in the opposite way, too—something you routinely purchase because you think it’s nutritious or good for you turns out not to be “all that.”

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