Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Alternative: Liquid Amino Acids

Whether you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, you may be surprised to find out soy sauce is no longer on your menu. Thickeners made from wheat and barley often taint the Chinese condiment. Since I'm a lover of whole grain brown rice and fresh sauteed veggies, I was thrilled to learn about liquid aminos. The savory sauce with a salty kick is gluten-free and a close cousin in flavor to soy sauce.

Add liquid aminos to a fresh, whole foods stir fry.
                  Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Made from soybeans, liquid aminos also pack a powerful healthy punch. The brand that I have been using, Bragg Liquid Aminos, contains 16 essential amino acids needed for organ and tissue growth.

The list includes Alanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tyrosine, Valine and Lysine.

Plus, the Bragg brand is free of preservatives, artificial dyes, alcohol, chemicals and genetically modified ingredients. Basically, it's soybeans and water.

According to the Bragg website, 1/2 tsp of liquid aminos contains 310mg of protein, zero calories and 160mg of sodium. So, use the liquid sparingly if you're on a low-sodium diet. I enjoy drizzling the liquid over a stir fry, adding it to soups in place of salt and using it as a base in homemade salad dressing.

Have you used liquid aminos? Let me know!

Until next time,
Choose Healthy!

Whole Foods Living


$1 Off Organic Eggs

Organic food can be pricey -- unless you have a coupon!

If you shop in the HealthMarket at HyVee on Hamilton Blvd. in Sioux City, Iowa, stop by the end caps and grab the current sale ad. Tucked inside is a coupon for $1 off one dozen (any brand) organic eggs.
Photo courtesy

Or, head to the HyVee website to download and print the coupon. This whole foods offer is good February 22-29, 2012.

Until next time,
Choose Healthy!

Whole Foods Living

Oatmeal Makeover! 5 Oatmeal Combinations

I really do enjoy oatmeal. If you're envisioning a bowl of mushy gray overcooked oats covered in sugary additives, you haven't ventured past the world of microwave quick oats packets. With whole grain steel cut oats and stove top cooked oatmeal readily available, give this heart-healthy whole food a second chance.

Enjoy oatmeal with fruits, nuts and seeds.
                       Photo courtesy

Plain oatmeal is boring. I agree. That's why I treat this breakfast-regular like a blank slate each morning. I enjoy experimenting with various oatmeal toppings and mix-ins to create new flavors. From fruits and nuts, to seeds and sweeteners, here are five of my favorite oatmeal combinations.

1. Blueberry Pie Oatmeal
Mix fresh washed blueberries, milled flax seed and almond slivers into the oatmeal a minute before it's done. The blueberries will get warm, and the almonds will not get mushy.

2. Sweet and Salty Oatmeal
Sprinkle salted sunflower seed hearts and a drizzle of honey over a fresh hot bowl of oatmeal.

3. Apple Cobbler Oatmeal
Add a fresh apple cut into cubes to the oats while they cook. Then a minute before the oatmeal is done, stir in ground cinnamon, milled flax seed and chopped walnuts.

4. Mixed Berry Oatmeal
Try folding raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and a sprinkle of powdered stevia into a hot bowl of oatmeal.

5. Strawberry Oatmeal
This simple oatmeal mix-in is 100 times better than the dried strawberries found oatmeal packets. Simply add sliced strawberries and a packet of stevia to the oatmeal while it bubbles and cooks.

So, what's your favorite way to eat oatmeal?
Please share in the comments below!

Until next time,
Choose Healthy!

Whole Foods Living


Salt of the Earth: Whole Foods Bath Products on Sale

If you're looking for bath goodies made without synthetic chemicals, check out Salt of the Earth products. I just stumbled upon them this morning on Health Deals from Everyday Health. After a quick scan of the company's website, the ingredients sound intriguing!

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
  • Sugar used as an exfoliant, less drying or abrasive than salt
  • Grapeseed oil as a moisturizer, nourishes the skin with vitamins A and E
  • Sea Salt as an exfoliant, softens the skin
  • Seasonal herbs, to enhance mood

As a quick disclaimer, I have not tried Salt of the Earth products and am not paid by them to write this post. If you have tried these products, please share with my readers. We're all here to learn about new healthy products together!

Until next time,
Choose Healthy!


Whole Foods Living

Organic Carrots, Cheap!

Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive! Last night (Feb. 17) I stumbled on a great deal for organic carrots. Hy-Vee on Hamilton Blvd. in Sioux City has Bunny-Luv Organic Carrots on sale for $.99 for the 1 lb. bag. The sign did not indicate an end date for this low price. These are full-size carrots (see picture). Head to the last row of produce, near the bakery, and stock up!
Organic Bunny-Luv carrots.
Photo by Angela Tague

Sale Alert: Organic Oranges $.89/pound!

Good morning whole foods friends!

I just stumbled upon a great deal on organic, California navel oranges. If you live in the Sioux City, Iowa area, head over to Select Food Market at 1730 Pierce St. in Sioux City to stock up on organic oranges for $.89 per pound! I noticed this price on February 17, and I don't think it will last long. That's a hot deal for fresh oranges on a winter day! Now go get your fill of vitamin C! Enjoy!

The fresh, organic oranges I just bought at Select Food Market!
Photo by Angela Tague

Healthy Eating: 4 Ways to Overhaul a Sandwich

I love making a quick sandwich for lunch. But, sometimes it's hard to stick to a whole foods diet with so many processed sandwich toppings available. So, ditch the bologna and processed cheese food slices. Here are four ways to make your next sandwich healthier.

Layer your sandwich with fresh veggies.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
1. Bread Overhaul
The base of any great sandwich is the bread. Whether you choose a roll, tortilla, bread slices or a flat bun, opt for bread made from whole grains instead of enriched-bleached flour.

"It's really important to make sure that when you are choosing a bread, you're getting a whole grain option. The word "wheat" or "multigrain" does not mean that the food items is whole grain," explains registered dietitian and certified health coach Sarah Nelson, RD, LD, from Hy-Vee Foods in Sioux City, Iowa. "To make sure you are getting a whole grain product, look at the ingredients lists for the word "whole." When you eat whole grains, you get more nutrition for your dollar because you get more vitamins, minerals and fiber."

Breads made from whole wheat, brown rice or quinoa contain more selenium, potassium and magnesium than refined flours, according to the Mayo Clinic. Choosing healthier breads also reduces your chances for heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Or, go carb-free. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests wrapping a cheese stick with lunch meat for a kid-friendly sandwich substitute.

2. PB&J Reinvented
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple in many households. You don't have to give up this family favorite. Instead, swap out peanut butter made with refined sugar for a healthier nut butter. With so many options on the market -- from soy, cashew and almond -- you have choices. Just make sure to peek at the label first.

Choose a nut butter sweetened with honey, agave syrup or other natural sweeteners with a lower glycemic index than sugar, suggests Dr. Asquel Getaneh, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University, New York, in a Q&A column on Everyday Health. Your blood sugar levels will thank you.

Making jelly or jam healthier is also easy.

"Boost the nutrition in a pb&j by adding flax seed or chia seed to the jam or jelly before spreading on the bread," Nelson suggested. "Chia seeds are nice because they don't have any flavor and mix extremely well with a berry jam."

Add fresh sliced avocado to a sandwich.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
3. Pile on Toppings
If your favorite part of making a sandwich is piling on the toppings, good for you. Next time, challenge yourself to create a rainbow. Add red tomato slices, orange cheese, yellow mustard, green romaine lettuce and purple slices of onion. Or pile on uncommon toppings suggests registered dieticians Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky from the Mayo Clinic. Try cranberry sauce on a turkey sandwich or roasted red pepper hummus on a chicken wrap.

Avoid toppings that don't fit into the rainbow. This includes white mayonnaise, brown bacon or tan-colored fried onion rings.

"I replace mayo with a healthy spread like hummus or avocado for heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber," said Nelson. "You won't even miss the mayo. Mayo has almost 200 calories per 2 tablespoon serving. Pesto and salad dressing are also high fat and calorie sandwich spread options racking in over 125 calories per 2 tablespoon serving."

She also recommends using low-calorie mustard or salsa to add a burst of flavor to a sandwich.

4. Choose Lean Proteins
Are you tired of ham and cheese, or bologna sandwiches? Next time you create a sandwich, try using lean and uncommon protein sources. Sliced lentil loaf adds fiber and almost no fat to your lunch. An egg and cheese omelet on whole wheat adds protein without the high-levels of saturated fat found in some lunch meats. When in doubt, skip red meats and choose turkey, chicken, nut butters or legume spreads, such as hummus.

"Make sure to avoid processed deli meats as much as possible (pepperoni, bologna, salami, bacon) because they contain more fat, calories, sodium and nitrates. Go for oven-roasted chicken or turkey deli meats instead of smoked (less sodium and nitrates)," Nelson advises.

So, tell me faithful readers: How do you make your favorite sandwich? My personal indulgence is provolone cheese topped with fresh sliced avocado, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, red onion, romaine lettuce and a dab of mayonnaise (Hey, I'm not perfect!) on brown rice bread!

Share your favorite sandwich concoctions in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!