Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dark Chocolate Nut Bark

I wrote this post awhile ago, but some family and friends have been asking for it, so I'm reposting.

Here's what you need:

9 x 13 baking dish - lined with parchment and
                            sprayed with cooking spray
 
4 bars of dark chocolate - 85% ( I love Green & Black Organics) 

1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped pistachios, walnuts and almonds - any that you like
 
coarse sea salt such as fleur-de-sel ( I used a lavender sea salt)
 




  • Melt chocolate slowly in microwave. 
  • It's very important to melt and stir. If you cook too long the chocolate will seize up, and once that happens, it's done. Start with about 1 1/2 minutes and then stir and most of the chunks will melt. Microwave a few seconds more if necessary.



Pour into prepared pan.


Sprinkle the nuts on top. Gentle press into chocolate. Sprinkle the sea salt over top.



Put the pan in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, lift sides of parchment and remove chocolate from dish. Break into pieces.
.

Change your thinking, Change your life.

If you have followed my blog along the way, you know I am an early adopter, have a fear of missing out, and I'm always looking for the perfect path. 

Since January, 2014 my husband and I became grain and wheat free. Sure, I dabbled it in here and there, since I bought Dr. Davis' book Wheat belly quite awhile ago. But with the start of the new year, I made a decision that this was the way of eating for me. Then I found Dr. Perlmutter's book, Grain Brain and that sealed the deal. Getting rid of the genetically modified, addictive wheat in my diet was going to become my new way of life and way of eating.

It's really not hard. I hear over and over, 'what would I eat?',  or 'I could never give up pasta, bagels, bread'. The simplest advice I can give you, is that you can do this if you change the way you think. Change the way you have always thought things to be. Challenge the information you have been fed by the big food companies, pharmaceutical companies, and even our FDA, and read, research and explore for yourself. There are a myriad of reasons why you should do this. Both of these books convinced me that this lifestyle is a change for the better.

Who says you have to have cereal for breakfast or sandwiches for lunch? Where did that even come from? Possibly from the Kellogs or General Mills marketing department? What did your great, great grandparents eat? Probably bacon and eggs, seasonal fruit and healthy butter. Our ancestors weren't eating some conjured up laboratory margarine goop that has to be colored yellow to make it remotely palatable looking. Lunches were often dinner type meals or leftovers from the night before.  Change your thinking. Don't eat foods thought up by food scientists in a lab, genetically changed, sprayed with chemicals or modified to be fast growing, pest and weed resistant. Ask yourself the question, why do I think and believe what I do?

I have lots of inquiries about some of the recipes I make for myself and my husband ( who by the way since giving up wheat is off all acid blockers and has significantly less joint pain.) He's a believer just by the results he has seen in his life. If you give it a try, and really commit to this as a way of eating, not a diet, but a lifestyle change, I think you will see some great changes to your health, and overall well being, physically and mentally.

This blog started out in a very different direction when I first started it. I followed the Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise. It was with that book that I learned to limit carbs, sugar and processed foods. It's a great plan and there's nothing wrong with it. I went one step more and gave up grains and wheat. 

I've had so many questions and inquiries about my recent changes from family and friends, that I thought it was time to put some of the things I am doing, and changes I am making up on this blog. I'll let you know some of the things I love to make, healthy foods and supplements I buy and also where to buy them. I love to share what I learn. 

I back in big batches. Here are some wheat free muffin tops, granola and two loaves of the Walnut Raisin Bread

Here is one of my favorite recipes from the Wheat Belly Cook Book,  Walnut Raisin Bread.


Walnut Raisin Bread
makes 10 slices

1 1/3 cups almond meal/flour
1/3 cup ground golden flaxseeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cp chopped walnuts
2 eggs
1 egg white
1/4 cup butter, coconut oil, or extra light olive oil, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan
  • In large bowl, sift together first six ingredients. I use a whisk.
  • Add the raisins and walnuts and stir to combine.
  • In another bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, butter or oil and buttermilk. Beat lightly to break up egg yolks
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix thoroughly, just until moistened.
  • Spoon the batter into loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes our clean and bread is firm, yet springy to touch.

Per slice 169 calories, 5g protein, 11 g carbs, 13 g fat, 3 g fiber, 220 mg sodium

 My Tips: 

1.make sure your loaf pan is the size listed. Your standard loaf pan is too big. Invest in a few smaller ones. Order online or buy at kitchen store. 

2. Make 2 batches. When cool, I cut into 10 slices with serrated knife. I freeze in batches of 5 slices and take out a pack when you need it.

3. This bread is not a sweet bread. If you find you need it sweeter, you can add some Stevia drops to batter. I think the raisins give it just the right amount of sweetness.It is great with butter or cream cheese and I like it cold out of the fridge, but it can be toasted.

4. I have always made it with butter, so can't speak of the results with olive or coconut oil

I'll continue to post some of my favorite recipes in the weeks to come. Let me know what you think.



Thought for the day: "Don't be afraid to change. You may lose something good, but you may gain something better."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

When life gives you lemons.....drink them!

I realize recently even though my blogging has become almost non existent, that I still feel the need to share and talk. It's a great place to store all my thoughts and ideas, and I like looking back on things I wrote in the past.

I am at the beach this weekend. It's sunny, but probably too cool to sit out in a bathing suit. I love just hanging out, reading and relaxing. If I was at home, I would continually be looking at chores and tasks that needed to be done. Here not so much.

If there is anyone out there still checking in to this blog, hope all is well with everyone. I have adopted some good habits over the years and love to share my thoughts and things I'm doing. I think I will still do that, and maybe keep my posts shorter and sweeter.

One of the things I have been doing first thing in the morning is drinking a glass of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon juice. This helps balance your body ph and many other good things. When we eat too  many processed food items, refined sugar and carbs, our body becomes acidic. This is not good, and our body will try to get back to it's normal slightly alkaline state of around 7.4. Even though we think of the lemon as acidic, it has an alkalizing effect on the body.  

 The info below is from http://www.naturalhealthschool.com/acid-alkaline.html
and http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/382-quick-tip-using-lemon-and-pineapple-to-quickly-shift-body-ph-in-your-favor.html

"There here is a link between body pH and many diseases. Health conscious people often attempt to maintain a higher than normal body pH (alkaline). Those eating a healthy diet will naturally become alkaline from their diets, but it is very easy to become acidic from a relapse of processed foods. Soft drinks have a pH of around 2.5, and the effects upon pH are dramatic. It is always much easier to become acidic than to become alkaline. However, there are methods to dramatically speed up the process of becoming alkaline.
Acidic fruits often have an alkalizing effect upon the body. It is important to remember that the initial acidity of a food is not important in regard to its alkalizing effect. It is actually the minerals that matter, not the food's initial acidity. Ironically, the most acidic fruits tend to have a mineral composition that causes the human body to become more alkaline when they are metabolized."


pH (potential of hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14—the lower the pH the more acidic the solution, the higher the pH the more alkaline (or base) the solution. When a solution is neither acid nor alkaline it has a pH of 7 which is neutral.
Water is the most abundant compound in the human body, comprising 70% of the body. The body has an acid-alkaline (or acid-base) ratio called the pH which is a balance between positively charges ions (acid-forming) and negatively charged ions (alkaline-forming.) The body continually strives to balance pH. When this balance is compromised many problems can occur.


So here is what lemon juice can do for you according  to http://www.lahealthyliving.com/1/post/2013/10/20-unbelievable-reasons-to-start-your-day-with-water-and-lemon.html .

20 Unbelievable Reasons to Start Your Day With Water and Lemon

  1. Water with lemon provides the body with electrolytes which hydrate your body. As lemons contain good amount of electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
  2. Water with lemon is good for the joints, reducing pain in the joints and muscles.
  3. Warm water with lemon helps digestion as lemon contains citric acid. It interacts with other enzymes and acids which easily stimulate the secretion of gastric juice and digestion.
  4. The liver produces more enzymes from water with lemon than from any other food.
  5. Water with lemon cleanses the liver. Lemon juice stimulates the liver to release toxins.
  6. Water with Lemon helps fight infections of the respiratory tract, sore throats and inflammation of the tonsils. This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of lemon.
  7. Warm water with lemon helps regulate natural bowel movement.
  8. Water with lemon is indispensable for the normal work of metabolism. Since lemon is a powerful antioxidant, it protects the body from free radicals and strengthens the immune system.
  9. Water with lemon aids in proper functioning of the nervous system (as lemon  has a high content of potassium). Depression and anxiety are often the result of low levels of potassium in the blood. The nervous system needs a sufficient amount of potassium to ensure sustainable signals to the heart.
  10. Water with lemon cleanses blood, blood vessels and arteries.
  11. Water with lemon can help lower blood pressure.  A daily intake of one lemon can reduce high blood pressure by 10%.
  12. Water with lemon creates an alkalizing effect in the body. Even if you drink it immediately before a meal,  it can help your body maintain a higher level of pH. The higher the pH, the more your body is able to fight diseases.
  13. Water with lemon is good for the skin. Vitamin C in lemon, improves our skin by rejuvenating the body.  Drinking water with lemon regularly (every morning) will improve the condition of your skin.
  14. Water with lemon  helps to dilute uric acid, the built up of which leads to pain in the joints and gout.
  15. Water with lemon is beneficial for pregnant women. Since lemons are loaded with Vitamin C, it acts as an adaptogen helping the body cope with viruses such as colds.  Furthermore, vitamin C helps the formation of bone tissue of the unborn baby. At the same time, due to the high content of potassium, a mixture of water with lemon helps forming cells of the brain and nervous system of the baby.
  16. Water with lemon relieves heartburn. For this, mix a teaspoon of lemon juice in half a glass of water.
  17. Water with lemon helps dissolve gallstones,  kidney stones, pancreatic stones, and calcium deposits.
  18. Water with lemon helps with weight loss.  Lemons contain pectin fiber, which helps suppress hunger cravings. Studies have proven  people with a better alkaline diet have lost weight faster.
  19. Water with lemon helps with tooth pain and gingivitis.
  20. Water with lemon prevents cancer. This is due to the fact that lemons are a highly alkaline food. Multiple studies have found that cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment.

So try this wonderful way to start your day. It can't hurt right?  Love and hugs to you from me!

Thought for the day: " The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you've lost it." - Unknown

Monday, March 24, 2014

Weighing in!

If you are like me, you can be a little obsessed with the scale. It can drive you crazy, because fluctuations vary widely. Different hour, different day, different weight.

 It shouldn't alter our moods or our eating plans, but oh, it does!  If the scale shows a loss, well sometimes that's enough to give us some wiggle room to overeat. We feel happy, and  why shouldn't we reward ourself with ______(fill in the blank here).

If the scale is showing a gain, well then watch out world, because our moodiness is going to show. We will lose our confidence, question if what we are doing is right for us, and often cause more damage because we feel angry and depressed.

Yes, the scale is only one way to measure our success or lack of regarding weight loss. Looking better in photos, clothes loosening up, fitting in those skinny jeans again, and a whole variety of other variables are excellent ways to track our progress. But for me, I still like to see what the scale has to say. 

If you have ever seen a stock market graph of a stock that's performing well, you know you want to see it trend upward. Just the opposite of weight loss. 

But if you look closely at the graph below, you see there are minor ups and downs on the way up. What's important is not the day to day variations, but the way it's trending, and the ultimate place it gets to.

That's how it is with our weight too. There will be variations and little dips up and down on a daily basis. But you have to stand back and look at the bigger picture to see which way you are trending.



I feel better when I weigh myself each day. I've tried to put the scale away, go by how my clothes feel, weigh myself once a week, once a month, etc., etc.. That just doesn't work for me. I know there will be daily fluctuations, but for my peace of mind, I want to check in each day. Or at the very least every few days.

 I recently found this great app called Happy Scale and I just started using it. You put your weight in each morning and it will graph it for you. I really think I'm going to like it because it smooths out the little blips of up and down weight loss and shows your graph and how you are trending. Hopefully it's down.

Here is what the app creator wrote about it:

Creator of the app here. I made it because all my life, those fluctuations ruined my diet. I would obsess over seeing a new low number every morning, and every time I didn't, the whole day was a failure. So I'd go at diet and exercise with all my energy, trying to get lower every day. But it was never sustainable, and I burned out a few weeks in more times than I can remember. 

I later read a book called "The Hacker's Diet" that described averaging out the fluctuations, and I found a free website called "Physics Diet" where they did this averaging. I used Physics Diet for a long time, but I really wanted to have it as an app on my phone. Hence, Happy Scale. 

I hope you are finding the app helpful! I have plans to add more features, and it's been an incredible journey to work on it and hear from people who are using it to realize their goals!

I'll let you know more after I try it for a few weeks. I have it on my phone and so far it seems very easy to use and understand.

Check it out here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/happy-scale-weight-loss-tracker/id532430574?mt=8

I am still adhering to a grain free, and wheat free eating plan. I slip every now and then and have some potatoes, but not often. I am really learning that for some people like myself, probably from years of yo-yo dieting, I have damaged my metabolism to the point that even a little too many carbs can make me gain. Finding that magic number of carbs you can eat and still continue to lose is difficult. 

Right now I am tracking EVERYTHING in Myfitness pal. This is another great app and I have it on my laptop, iPad and iPhone. It can scan bar codes, calculate recipes, set goals and if you have a fitness tracker ( I just bought the Fit bit one) it will sync your activity to it. I'm only concerning myself with net carbs (total carbs minus the fiber in a food item) and trying to stay as low as I can in that area. It's usually about 30- 40 gms of carbs a day, and higher on the weekends.

Losing weigh is hard, but there are definitely some advantages these days with the many apps to help us meet our goals. How is everybody out there doing?

As always sending love and hugs from me to you!

Thought for the day:  Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another - Walter Elliot

Friday, March 7, 2014

Springing into action!



Good morning everyone. I have been an absent blogger lately. I wasn't feeling inspired, and didn't feel like I had anything worthwhile to talk about. If you know me, you probably find that hard to believe. Truth is I have been involved in some very good Facebook groups and that has taken up some of my time.
 
 
 
 But I feel I still have so much to share on this continual journey to good health, so I'm going to have a go at it. It's been a long rough winter here in the northeast consisting of snowstorms and dreary days. With the promise of some temperatures in the 50’s this weekend, and the changing of the clocks (oh, how I hate that we do this twice a year), the promise of spring is visible on the horizon. I swear I can smell it in the air too.

I have too much to say in one post, but I’ll start with this. I realize that we all arrive at our own conclusions over time,  as to what we think is the right way to eat, the most healthy way to eat, and the way to eat and live that is least harmful to our environment and our bodies. We are fed a lot of information through all of our media sources. It’s your own choice what to believe and practice in your own life, and I admit it can be overwhelming.

A few years ago, I started a serious journey into getting healthy. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and the things I changed in my own life. Did it lead me to my weight loss goal? Not yet, but I’m getting there.

I credit Jorge Cruise and the original Belly Fat Cure book for changing my thinking on many things. He taught me to severely limit foods with sugar (natural and processed), to count the carb content in the food I eat, and to rid myself of artificial sweeteners.  Through that process I met many of my dear blogger friends, and although our paths have gone in different eating directions, we still cheer each other on and offer support.

Those original Belly Fat Cure principles I still adhere to and whole heartedly belief in. I limit carbs, limit sugars, and haven’t had a diet soda or product with the bad stuff  (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin) in years.

Further research led me to some of Jorge’s’ other plans like the Fast Track where you really limit the carbs, and The 100 plan where you count the “sugar calories” which is really a way of counting carbs. I continued to learn, and along the way I found the wonderful Maria Emmerich, some great blogger food sites (I’ll list them in an upcoming post), Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly) and Dr. DavidPerlmutter  ( Grain Brain).

With a few exceptions, all the basic premises that these wise people preach are similar. To be healthy you have to abstain from inflammatory foods, too many carbs, too much sugar, and processed foods. You have to be low carb and low sugar to keep your insulin levels down and prevent the wild fluctuations that lead to eating the wrong foods in the wrong quantities. All of these people believe this includes elimination  of wheat except Jorge Cruise.

I confess I bought the Wheat Belly book a year ago. I couldn’t wrap my head around life without wheat. I tried it a few times, but fell off the wagon here and there. January , 2014 I gave it a real solid effort, and I am making it work. It’s not always easy, but it’s always possible.

For me I buy into the whole scientific premise that Dr. Davis presents in his book, which is  wheat is addicting, harmful, causes inflammation throughout the body, and causes a domino effect of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders, stomach problems etc. that we are seeing in increasing numbers throughout our population .

Dr. David Perlmutter expands on the wheat problem but focuses more on what it does to our brain. Isn’t it true we see and hear of more cases of Alzheimer ’s disease and dementia than ever before? He presents some eye opening information.

So that’s where my new journey begins, as a wheat free individual. I am learning so much and I believe this is the right path for me. I love not having cravings and binges over pasta and bagels anymore. I love the recipes that I am trying and I will share a lot of the good ones in the weeks to come.

It’s amazing how much I have learned and how badly I treated my body back in my twenties and thirties. I wish I knew what I know now, and would have fed my boys better. I allowed too much processed foods, trips to McDonalds, junk and candy. I wouldn’t dream of buying a sugary cereal now, but I allowed it then. Live and learn right?

If you are reading this post, I know you are on a journey of your own. Let’s continue the road together.

Sending love and hugs to you all!!

Thought for the day: I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
― 
Maya Angelou



 

 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New You!

Happy New You and New Year!

I 'm hoping that this is the best year for everyone, that all your dreams come true and you reach any goals you set for yourself.

I am snuggled in warm and toasty, while it is blustery and cold outside. Mother nature dropped about 6 inches of snow on us last night. Nothing beats a good snow day.

I'm sitting here contemplating taking down some Christmas decorations. It's a very long process and I need to do it in stages. Maybe another day. I think I'll make another cup of bulletproof coffee and continue to surf the web. What's bulletproof coffee you ask? Why I'd be happy to tell you about my latest obsession. Just take a moment to let go of everything you thought was true about fat and keep an open mind. Maybe it will change your life like it did mine.

To give credit to the founder, click on the link for bulletproof coffee. I can't take the credit, but it is blazing up the Wheat Belly Facebook groups as everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

Basically you brew some coffee. Add up to a tablespoon of really good coconut oil, a tablespoon of grass fed organic butter and some organic cream or 1/2 and 1/2.  Some people start out with a tsp of each and work up to more. I add cinnamon ( very good for regulating blood sugar and many other health benefits) and drops of Stevia. Some people use a regular blender, but I use a stick blender to whip it up in a large mug. It gets frothy and creamy and is so filling and delicious.

You are giving your body large amounts of good fats, and lauric acid from the coconut oil. Coconut oil has a lot of lauric acid. Besides breast milk, it is one of the highest sources of lauric acid. Your brain needs good quality fat to function and we are limiting it based on what we've always been told. What if everything you thought to be true, that was fed to you by agribusiness and pharmaceutical companies was wrong? Keep an open mind!

Dr. William Davis, a preventative cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly and Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and author of Grain Brain feel very differently about these fats. They say to stay away from unhealthy trans fats, but  saturated fats need not be limited.

Dr. Perlmutter writes on page 90 of his book " few people understand that saturated fat plays a pivotal role in a lot of biochemical equations that keep us healthy. If you were breast fed as a baby then saturated fats were you staple, as they make up 54% of the fat in breast milk."

So here's what you need to make bulletproof coffee. It will feed your brain, make you feel alert (not just from caffeine as I make mine decaffeinated) and give you amazing energy to start your day. You may not need breakfast and that's okay, as you are getting fat for energy.

Pretend that this photo is turned around!
Good coconut oil and organic cream are a must!


Handy, dandy stick blender.


Whip, whip, whip!



Thought for the day: "Your brain.....
                                    weighs three pounds and has one hundred thousand miles of blood vessels.
                                    contains more connections that there are stars in the Milky way.
                                     is the fattest organ in your body.
                                    could be suffering this very minute without your having a clue."

                             Quote from inside cover of Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter, M.D.




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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Today is one week and one day away from Thanksgiving. I got out of the habit of blogging because I get right into the Holiday mode the day after Halloween. To me Thanksgiving is the real kick off to the Holiday season. Call me crazy, but that' s how I roll.

We are enjoying a beautiful fall here in the Northeast. It was almost 70 last weekend. But all good things must come to an end and today it's windy, chilly, and the nip of winter is in the air. It's starting to feel like winter....and Christmas.

Lately,  I have been nesting, and decorating and cooking more than usual. I've made some great meals lately and I'll post some of the recipes here in the future. I'm mainly eating very low carb and low sugar and no wheat these days.

 I promise not to be gone so long next time. I just haven't felt that I had anything worthwhile to say. But I miss blogging and I miss keeping in touch with everyone. So if you still want to listen....I still want to talk.

Thought for the day: An appreciative listener is always stimulating.”  Agatha Christie


Tip of the day:  When decorating your Christmas tree, it's easier to place the garland and ornaments with the lights off. This way you can see the bare spots and what areas need more attention and more decorations. If all looks good with the lights off, it will look fabulous when the lights go on!
 
 
 
 
 The photos below might not show the difference since it's so sunny in my kitchen today.