Say Cheese!


Good fat.

Bad fat.

Non fat.

We’ve heard these terms time and time again. Many of us know to avoid bad fats, go for good fats and realize that non-fat usually means the product is full of an alternative unhealthy ingredient. By and large, most people think as long as they are avoiding fried foods, certain cuts of meat and full fat dairy milk – they are avoiding the bad type of fat.

So then, how does cheese come into play with good vs bad fat – specifically pre-packaged vegan cheese? Well, I recently realized that some of my favorite cheeses were fat bombs. And not the good fat, but bombs of the bad fat. Let me explain …

The healthier fats we should consume in moderation are called unsaturated fats which include polyunsaturated fats (think omega-3 fatty acids) and monounsaturated fats (think avocados, almonds and pumpkin seeds e.g. good sources of Vitamin E).

The more problematic fats are saturated fat and trans fat – the stuff that leads to clogged arteries and high cholesterol. While many companies are on the “no trans fat” band wagon, saturated fats are still present in many pre-packed foods, especially in vegan cheeses.

Many of the well known vegan cheese companies use coconut oil as a prominent ingredient. Over all, coconuts are a wonderful food. But when it comes to actual coconut oil, we should be mindful of our consumption, as it is high in saturated fats. Cue my tears.

According to The American Heart Association: They “… recommend aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. For example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fat. That’s about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.”

Here are the saturated fat amounts in some of the more popular vegan cheeses:

Personally, we’d use about 2 to 3 cups about 3 times a week of the Violife brand in our household. However, at 72 grams of saturated fat per day, just for one or two meals … we cut that out – STAT.

So what’s a vegan cheese lover to do? Remember, just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. These cheeses are also highly processed. A better alternative is to skip the cheese altogether – go for a homemade sauce instead, or season the other ingredients of your meal really well. However, if you really need a cheese-like flavor for a certain dish, check out this cheese recipe using carrots and potatoes as the primary ingredients.

Tea Two Ways

I can drink almost any tea with out sweetener. Green tea. Lemon Ginger tea. Rooibos tea. You name it.

Except Chamomile tea. Every time I try drinking it without sweetener, the strong taste gives me an instant headache.

I’ve avoided the tea for so long due to that reason alone. But alas, my continuing nervousness has left me looking for alternatives to pharmaceuticals to alleviate my anxious feelings.

Continue reading “Tea Two Ways”

Remember to Not Forget!

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Well, do you?

Most of us rely on our memory for short term or long term tasks and events. Especially for things that are recurring on an annual basis. We usually do not write these things down because we innately remember these items.

At least we think we do.

If the event or task is static, for example: ‘The last day of school is on June 22nd’ then there is no need to plan.

If the event has another task or outcome attached to it, then this is where it’s helpful to plan. For instance: ‘It’s approaching the last day of school … I need to find a summer camp for the kids!’

It is also helpful to recognize there are levels to planning. For the summer camp example, it will be helpful to start planning as early as possible – especially since paying for camp can be quite expensive. To plan ahead to ease the burden, calculate the total cost of camp (tuition, additional fees, food, clothes and toiletries). Next, determine how much time you have between the start of camp, or when payment is due. In determining the timeframe, I use a bi-weekly format to match the frequency of my take home pay. At the time of my calculation, I determined I have 8 pay periods to save the required $2,000.00 for camp. That’s an additional $250.00 (per paycheck) I will have to set aside so I won’t resort to racking up debt by using credit cards or otherwise succumb to anxiety in worrying about how I will pay for this expense.

Another planning hack I’ve come to rely on is using my Google calendar to schedule recurring yearly events. Most recently, I received a notification that my vehicle’s annual inspection was coming due at intervals of one month and one week before the last of the month in which the inspection was to take place. I am usually in an out of my car so quickly between work, child pick up / drop off, groceries, errands, activities etc. – I barely have time to look at the front sticker on my car. So I will continue to rely on 21st century technology to help me out along the way.

Finally, I feel it is both helpful to use an electronic and paper planner for the planning. An electronic planner allows for reminders to be set and accessed across many platforms. You can clip recipes, articles, sources of inspiration etc. from around the web and attach to your planner. You can also instantly share an event with anyone you choose (e.g. using Google’s calendar) so they can lock in the date of the event as well. A paper planner helps with daily tasks and tracking of long term goals. Although we have access to amazing technology, the act of writing things down to bring them to fruition never goes out of style.

All in all, it is good to take some time and do a brain dump of all of the “things to do” in your head. Then sort it all out and plan to live your very best life!


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