Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

An appropriate birthday gift from my Mom!



Happy Labor Day Everyone!
 
 
The summer has flown by, but there are still many warm and wonderful days left to enjoy. I love August. Maybe because I was born in August, married in August, and while it is still a summer month, we begin to feel that hint of Autumn which is just around he corner. Shorter days, cooler nights, fireflies (or lightening bugs depending on where you live!!) and the warm summer weather, make it  the perfect month in my opinion. Yet we know another great season, Autumn, is just around the corner.
 
 
I hope your summer was wonderful, and if you are using the start of fall as a time to get healthy for whatever reason, I hope you find a plan you can live with for the rest of your life. It has to be a lifestyle change, plain and simple. You have to be able to do it forever. You may slip and fall, you may lose your way, but you have to have something that you believe in to fall back on. If you don't you will never change permanently, only temporary. If you fail to plan, then you should plan to fail.
 
As many of you know I started my journey to health with the original Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise. This taught me to count my sugar, limit carbs, avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners and junk foods. It's a great place to start and I have many fellow bloggers that lost weight and have kept it off following this plan. My friend Rosalie has a great blog that gives you all the information you need to know as well as great motivation and recipes. Check it out. http://purplerosy.blogspot.com

If you don't know where to start, and you want to get healthy and also lose weight, the Belly Fat Cure is a great book. You will see and be shocked at the amount of sugar, natural and processed, you are eating in the foods that you thought were healthy for you. You will understand how many carbs you should have in a day and why too much insulin is such a bad thing for our bodies. Even as a nurse, I was shocked at what learned
 
I have taken it a step further and now I follow a wheat free and grain free way of eating. I bought and read the Wheat Belly and Grain Brain books and my husband and I have made a life change. Now this didn't happen over night. I bought Wheat Belly a year or so ago. I was following a wheat free way of eating about 80% of the time. But as the author Dr. Davis states, 'if you follow it 80% of the time, you will only get 20% of the results.'
 
So January 1, 2014, my husband and I decided to give Wheat up for good. We have never felt better. In fact just yesterday, he said 'you've saved my life but getting me to follow this way of eating.' Dramatic statement? Yes. But he has had dramatic results. His  chronic acid reflux is gone, his chronic joint pain is gone, his chronic foot tendonitis is gone.  We both have experienced positive health results. My thyroid medication has decreased, my knee pain is greatly diminished, my perimenapausal hot flashes and  mood swings are decreased, and my skin looks so much better. I can really see the difference and others have commented on it as well. And there are many other positive changes, some subtle, but changes for the better any way you look at it.
 
Many people may be skeptical, but I say, what have you got to lose? Try it for a few weeks. See for yourself. It's really not that hard at all once you get the hang of it. I read many, many posts and testimonies on facebook groups and blogs, and the dramatic positive health changes people are reporting cannot be casually dismissed. If you suffer from any debilitating health problem, (migraines, joint pain, asthma, GERD, cardiac or respiratory issues) I really think you should open your mind to the possibility that you could be helped by following a wheat free way of eating. What if this one simple change could have a huge impact on your health? People are quick to take a pill to correct something, but changing ones diet seems impossible for many. It's really not that hard.
 
Next time I post, I'll give you some tips to get started. You can also go to Dr. Davis blog, http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/. It's easy to get started even if you don't want to buy the book.
 
Enjoy the last days of summer!
 
Thought for the day: If you do what you've always done...you'll get what you've always gotten!




Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer days.....drifting away.....

Well here we are in the waning days of summer. I can't believe it's the middle of August already. I hope you found some time to refresh, recharge, and rejuvenate this summer. If not, there are still a few weeks left, so make time for yourself. Grab that book you've been wanting to read and hit the lounge chair by the pool, lake, beach or backyard deck. Pencil it in your schedule and make it a priority. Grab a cold beverage to sip while you are at it.

Water is one of the best beverages for your health. One of the challenges I have is getting enough of it. Did you ever notice that people always say they drink a lot of water. But how much do they really consume in a day? It's probably not enough.

Water is filling, hydrating, and needed for all the metabolic functions to work properly in the body. I'm not going to get too scientific here, and you will always find reports, studies, & opinions that contradict the amounts of water needed daily. Let me just tell you that I follow a lot of Facebook groups and blogs, and a common comment I hear, especially among those trying to lose weight, is that the weight loss is accelerated during the weeks where they really made a conscious effort to consume at least 8 - 10 glasses a day.

To encourage myself to drink water through out the day, I have tried many tricks. My latest one is filling a beautiful dispenser with a whole pitcher of filtered Brita water. I add some fresh cut lemons, mint, or sliced cucumbers. You can make it the way you want. Some frozen or fresh berries will give you a hint of flavor. The goal is to drink it, and it just seems more palatable and fun when you jazz it up.


So grab a cold glass of water and take some time to enjoy these last lazy, hazy days of summer.


They will be gone before you know it!

Thought for the day: Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~Sam Keen


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What's for breakfast.... Blueberry Almond Flaxseed Pancakes

Many times I get asked what you can eat for breakfast if you are eating wheat and grain free. Just because you don't use white flour doesn't mean you have to give up pancakes. In fact, there are so many great pancake recipes floating around out there which are made with almond flour and various other ingredients. It just might be hard to come up with your favorite one.

I have been making these as my go to pancake. I make up a huge batch, and freeze in packages. I keep a package in the fridge for the week. It's easy to grab one and heat in the microwave. See my tips at the bottom, as well as some great variations. Don't be afraid to experiment and change things up a bit. I don't think you can mess these up!

Blueberry Almond Flaxseed Pancakes

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients together and combine with dry. Mix until blended.

Drop approx 1/2 cup until well oiled griddle. Dip your hand in water to flatten out. Flip after a few minutes.

My Tips:
  • I buy golden flaxseed meal. It's finer and tastes better. 
  • Honeyville almond flour is the best for baking. It's fine texture makes baked goods better. You can find it here. I have also found it at Costco at a low price. It really makes a difference in texture.
  • Trader Joes sells bags of organic frozen blueberries. It's also easy to freeze your own in ziploc bags during the summer, and then you'll have them all winter long.
  • For more even distribution of blueberries, add them to the pancakes on the griddle
  • These pancakes have a heavier texture. Don't make them too big or they will be hard to flip. After flipping, press down on them to help cook evenly.
  • You can add some walnuts, a few tbs of pure pumpkin puree or some sour cream for variations.
  • I don't use Splenda, Nutrasweet or Sweet n Low. They are harmful and full of chemicals. I use products that have sugar alcohols in them. Natures Hollow has great sugar free syrups. I buy from Netrition.Lots of great products and one low  flat rate shipping price.
    These are the products I use.

    Dipping hand in water before pressing down, keeps the pancake from sticking when pressing down.
    Adding the blueberries after you drop the pancakes onto the griddle, allows for even distribution.

    Delicious topped with butter and Sugar free syrup.





    Thought for the day: 

Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it's done right. Even a pancake. Julia Child

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