Riced Cauliflower: Yay or Nay?

Riced CauliflowerI am not sure about you, but I grew up in a meat and potatoes family. My mom served meat, potatoes and a vegetable for dinner almost every night. It seemed like an unwritten rule that meals were served in three’s. Over the years, we have moved away from this, but I still often feel like something is missing when we only have two dishes instead of our traditional three. One of the things I like to do is serve Riced Cauliflower in lieu of potatoes or rice. We had it last night, but I was still in recovery mode with it only being my first day of holidays and I didn’t even think of taking a picture. This picture was borrowed from another blog with a great post on cauliflower rice that includes thorough instructions and some great cooking tips. Click on the image to visit the site.

Riced Cauliflower:

This really isn’t so much a recipe as an alternative cooking method.

  • Break the cauliflower into florets
  • Drop them in your blender or food processor and chop until the pieces are small and rice like.
  • Sauté in butter or oil. (I like coconut oil.)

What I love about this is that you can spice it up however you want or just serve it plain. We have eaten it with soy sauce just as you would rice or topped with a sauce from the meat, if applicable.  I also love to use it as a bed for a stir fry.

One of our favourites is to chop cabbage and an onion in the blender with the cauliflower. I season it with salt, pepper and lots of dill as it cooks. (I sometimes will add a drop or two of lemon juice, as well.) The finished dish is very much like Lazy Cabbage Rolls, but with cauliflower instead of the rice.

Cauliflower and The Plan:

Now, I can’t feel good about sharing this great idea for reducing the grains in your diet without also sharing that in Lyn-Genet Recitas book, The Plan, she identifies cauliflower as being highly reactive. So, if you are in the midst of trying to lose some weight and you think this is a fabulous alternative to rice, I don’t want to be the one to steer you wrong. In her book, she teaches you how to read your own body and know how your body reacts to different foods. She states how so many people who struggle with weight loss do so because they truly believe they are doing everything right. I have done several posts in which I have referenced her work and I believe it is the key. I don’t think there is any single diet or plan out there that works for everyone because we are all different and the ability to digest foods properly varies from person to person. So many of the foods that have been coined “super foods” or healthy choices do in fact provide the nutrients and benefits they claim, for certain people, but not everyone. So you may read this and say to yourself, “Riced cauliflower, what a great idea!” (like I did), without realizing that there is a good chance that you will fall into the category of those that find cauliflower “reactive” and cause weight gain. Through her practise, she has found that approximately 85% of the population react negatively to cauliflower.  According to Lyn, cauliflower is one of many goitrogenic foods. Foods containing goitrogens have been shown to interfere with thyroid function by blocking enzymes responsible for producing hormones. Although not all people with thyroid issues react to all foods with goitrogens, she does say that raw foods seem to be more problematic.

If you love cauliflower and are looking for some new ideas on how to serve it – go for it. I love riced cauliflower. However, if you are careful about what you eat and/or trying to lose weight, just be aware and watch to see how your body reacts. I know that I sometimes will find a great “healthy” alternative and begin to incorporate it into my diet on a regular basis and it used to take me months to figure out what I was doing wrong. I love how Lyn’s plan taught me how to read my body and determine what foods agree with me and as well as those that don’t, as soon as the next morning. It may seem crazy to weigh yourself everyday, but even the slightest weight gain indicates that my body is reacting to either my sodium intake, my level of water consumption, lack of sleep or a specific food I have eaten. I can look back on the previous day and often determine the culprit right away! Her system really allows you to take control. You can eat what you want, whenever you want and then get right back on track with “friendly foods”.

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Relax, Don’t Do It!

I generally pick and choose my commitments wisely because I can become totally goal focused and a bit obsessed.  The same is true for me with exercise.  Generally, I would consider myself a pretty active person. I grew-up loving sports and continue to enjoy playing volleyball most Thursday evenings. However, I have never enjoyed working out.  I have done it, but begrudgingly, because I wanted to look and feel better, not because I enjoyed it.

Years ago, a colleague told me that if I would just stick to running for 6 weeks, I would be hooked for life.  Liar, liar pants on fire!  Never happened, and I was committed.   I have had gym memberships, worked out from home with DVD’s (VHS too, I might add), tried running, and we own a Bow Flex and an elliptical machine.  To be completely honest I don’t really like working out at all.  There are some workouts I like more than others (or should I say dislike less than others), but I would be quite happy playing volleyball, going for leisurely walks/bike rides, actively engage in play with my kids, and completely avoid working-out all together.

My relationship with exercise is quiet extensive as I have tried many things over the years, but like other things in my life, I tend to be “all in” or “not at all”. I have difficulty doing something a few times a week and in the past have done better when I have a daily commitment (or at least 6 days per week). I can successfully complete a 90 day program, but that kind of pace can not be maintained long term (at least not by me). I often follow these intense programs with spans of time in which I fall into the pitfall of doing nothing at all. Unfortunately, lately I have been so busy with my blog and home projects, I fall in the latter category and am not doing much of anything.  Yes, I need to get moving, but at least there may be some good news for others like me!

What Are the Experts Saying?

I was pretty excited when I read Mark Stisson’s book and learned that he viewed exercise in a very different way than most.  In his book, The Primal Blueprint, Mark talks about the disadvantages of chronic cardio and recommends a fitness regime that is more reminiscent of our ancient ancestors.  The premise of his book is to eat and live like primitive man.  ( I am not totally on board with this and don’t follow The Primal Blueprint anymore, but he has some awesome ideas regarding health and wellness). Mark recommends sprinting once per week, HIIT (high intensity interval training) once per week and weight training twice a week for a total of 4 days/week. For Mark’s complete work-out follow this link.

I receive The Plan newsletter from Lyn-Genet and her latest issue was titled:  Do you exercise to gain weight, ruin heart health and hasten aging?  Now that’s a title that caught my attention.  Although the article is a bit of an ad for her fitness program, she does talk about the side effects of over exercising.  Here is an excerpt from her newsletter.

We have been compiling information for over 5 years and have found that:

  • Women (and men over the age of 40) who exercise 5-6 days a week may lose 25% less weight than those who exercise 3-4 times a week.
  • People who exercised every other day often had the best results for weight loss
  • Exercising for more than 30-45 min (depending on the exercise) may slow weight loss or caused weight gain.
  • The biggest culprits are bootcamp, crossfit style classes, Bikram and spinning.

There is more and more research coming out to support the idea that over exercise is not only keeping us from getting the results we want, but may also be harming our bodies.

Here are two more links to articles that have similar claims:  NY Times and WSJ

What Does All this Mean?

I know I feel better and sleep more soundly when I am exercising regularly, so I need to get myself away from my computer and get back on track.  However, it also means that I no longer have to commit to intense exercise programs like Insanity and P90X, as I have done in the past.  I think the key lies in the discovery of foods that completely agree with your body, so that you can begin to live each day without the inflammation that is resulting from specific foods in our diets.  We can then use exercise as a way to supplement our healthy eating, instead of killing ourselves trying to lose weight through exercise.  For me, I know that choosing the right foods has been essential in helping me to get my body to a place I feel comfortable.  I am not completely there yet, as I really do have to begin to get back on track with regards to regular exercise, but rest assured, there is enough research out there to convince me that killer workouts and bootcamps are not the answer I am looking for.


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Calorie Counting and Intense Exercise ~ Is it for You?

What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

First let me make something clear, I am not a calorie counter and don’t believe in it. However, this video is produced by Asap Science and is a great example of how to think about food and what your choices are doing for you.  For example, I rarely drink juice because it doesn’t fill me up and there are often many additives I don’t need.  I would rather go for a whole piece of fruit that is completely natural (minus all the junk that is added during the growing process) and will help fill me up.  Even without counting calories, this can help you make better choices.

Calorie counting is way too much work for me. I believe it is more about how certain foods react with your own body to cause weight gain, rather than just counting calories.  For example, through The Plan, I discovered that chocolate is a “friendly food” for me, but that 6 oz of sole fish will cause me to gain up to one pound, due to inflammation I experience as a result of eating it.

Cool and Fun Ways to Burn off 200 Calories

Asap just put out another video to follow-up on the first.  It has some crazy ideas about how you can creatively burn off 200 calories.  Some of the ideas are wacky and of course, you would never do, but others are quite doable.  Check it out.

Exercise and Weight Loss ~ A Battle of Perceptions

There are many that believe that hardcore workouts like CrossFit, Insanity, P90X and bootcamps are the answer to their body woes.  Within that group are those that truly love to push themselves through hard workouts and have great results with such programs, but there are also many people like me.  I have completed the P90X twice and tried the Insanity program, but quit because I thought I might have a cardiac arrest.  (Even I know my limits and when to break a commitment.)  I have to be honest.  I hate working out or at least those hardcore workouts in which my body is left feeling beaten up.  I hate intense cardio and when I am following a program or routine like the above it is has always been with one purpose.  Results.  Don’t get me wrong, at the end of such a program, my body would be leaner and I would feel great about myself and my accomplishment.  However, reality would soon set in.  There is no way that as a full-time working mom with active kids and a very demanding job that I can continue to keep up the pace of working out 1 to 2 hours every morning.  I would burn-out and be right back where I started in no time at all.  This system of chronic exercise simply does not work for me and I believe there are many others out there who are like me.  They do not love the intense exercise, but believe that it is the only path to get them to where they want to be.

Some experts are now saying that chronic exercise can actually have the opposite effect on our bodies and in fact cause weight gain.  In Lyn-Genet Recitas book, The Plan, she says:

Overexercising puts your body through stress.  If you’re exercising day after day, your body gets the message that it needs to hold on to more calories to keep up with the energetic demands.  It doesn’t know how much energy it will need, so it adapts to the energy requirements you are programming into it and holds on to more and more calories for potential future survival.  That is why chronic exercisers have trouble losing weight.

The Primal BlueprintMark Sisson also talks about the benefits of low-level aerobic activity along with some strength building and “sprinting” in his book called The Primal Blueprint.  The premise is that we were never designed to go to the gym 5 to 7 times a week.  He suggests dancing, hiking, gardening, swimming, rollerblading, ice skating, yoga, racquet sports or any other activity that keeps you active and that you really enjoy doing.  He couples this low-level aerobic activity with simple strengthening activities such as push-ups and recommends “sprinting” once  every 7 to 10 days.

What Works for Me

I have found that the key to my success has been the discovery of foods that react with my body.  Although I am still in the process of testing many foods to determine if they are “reactive” or “friendly”, it has been so empowering to know and understand my own body.  I am certain that my battle was not with the occasional sweet treat, but rather with my sacred group of “go to foods” that were part of our regular healthy menu.  In Lyn’s book, she identifies 7 specific foods as “The Devil Foods”.  It is not that these foods are evil, but rather that we are being deceived into believing that they are great healthy food choices when in reality they are reactive for many.

…the reason I get so worked up about these food is that people are making a concerted effort to include them in their daily diets, and


So what are the DEVIL FOODS?

  • oatmeal
  • salmon
  • asparagus
  • tomato sauce
  • tofu
  • black beans
  • turkey
low sodium chips

Kettle Chips available at all major supermarkets.

So, if you are like me and was on the “treadmill” of life trying to eat well and exercise like crazy to get rid of those extra few pounds.  Maybe it is just a matter of figuring out what works for you and your body.  Here are a few other foods that were part of our regular diet and that I discovered can be highly reactive for many people:  farm raised fish, corn (I already knew this one), thick crust pizza, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and grapefruit.  Would you believe I used to have a protein shake and a grapefruit for lunch everyday for 6 months?  85% to 90% of the population react to the foods I mentioned above. Who would have thought that a small of bowl of low sodium (Kettles) potato chips is better for me than a grapefruit!!


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The Plan and Prosperity

What is Prosperity?

PROS’PEROUS, a. L.prosperus. Advancing in the pursuit of any thing desirable; making gain or increase; thriving; successful; as a prosperous trade; a prosperous voyage; a prosperous expedition or undertaking; a prosperous man, family or nation; a prosperous war.

Prosperity is Not Just About Money

I believe that we are meant to be prosperous in all that we do.   That means we need to strive for abundance in all areas of our life… in health, happiness, love, relationships, family, finances, etc.  There is always room for growth and change, and we need to try to be examples of God’s goodness in all that we do.  “Blessed to be a blessing to others.”

Prosperity and The Plan

the planI am so excited to share something that could truly bless you, as it has me.  On May 16th, I embarked on a new adventure in my quest for optimal health.  People would not describe me as overweight, but I am someone who never feels great when I am carrying those extra 5 to 10 pounds.  Unfortunately, I feel like that has been most of my adult life!  I certainly have worked hard through both exercise and diet to rid myself of those few pesky pounds, but with little success.  I could lose the first 2 to 4 pounds without too much difficulty, but despite continuing to eat well, I would find the scale crawling back up.  It was usually at this point that I would throw my arms in the air and say “Really….I am working my buns off trying to eat well and exercise regularly, only to gain weight!  Forget it…pass me the cheesecake!”  I have literally tried everything….Blood Type diets, weight loss Shakes, Eating Clean, Paleo, The Primal Blueprint, Weight Watchers, etc.  Again, I achieved some success in all programs, but it was always short-lived and I really never felt great.  I was either hungry, had stomach issues or hated the food and it always ended in extreme frustration.  However, in May, I came across an article describing a book that was being endorsed by Dr. Oz.  I was really intrigued, because I have been a long-standing believer in the philosophy that there is no diet on the planet that will work effectively for everyone.  I believe that every individual reacts differently to food, but I just never had the tools or knowledge to figure it out for myself.  I immediately ordered the book from Amazon and became totally immersed in my new purchase.  Now remember what I said in a previous post, when I truly commit to something, I am ALL IN.  I don’t waiver or cheat, I stick to the program in order to get the results I seek.  So, when I say that I bought in to the concept shared in Lyn-Genet Recitas book called THE PLAN.  I mean I was/am 100% committed.  It has only been a month, but I can’t believe the results.  I am just 2 pounds over my high school graduation weight and what’s even more exciting is that I am learning how to test the foods I love and discover how my body reacts with each and every one of them.  I have already discovered that “healthy” foods like Rye (bread, crackers, etc), sole fish and chick peas cause me to gain weight and that my body is very sensitive to sleep deprivation.  When I have a bad sleep or go to bed later than usual, it shows up on the scale the next morning.  The most exciting part is, that I have also learned which foods are “friendly” and help my body to recover from the inflammation caused by those foods that I “react” to.  I have finally lost those miserable pounds and am now approximately 8 pounds lighter than I was a month ago.  I am not hungry.  The meals are easy and delicious and I love the idea that I have a “Plan” for when I do react to a food, so that I can immediately have a few “friendly days” to counteract the inflammation and get right back on track.  I have control and feel great, finally!!  Thanks Lyn!!

Be Committed to Make Positive Changes in Your Life ~ You Won’t Regret It!

Like The Plan and my health, I know that when you make any changes in life, you must be committed to make them happen.  You must focus and the choices that you make each day must line-up with that focus for your life.  My neighbor was saying that she has always had difficulty saying no to others and asked me how I do it.  I said that I often used to struggle with that as well.  That is, until I began working on my goals and purpose.  When you are clear about where you are going and what you want in life, it becomes really easy to say “no”.  I just ask myself, “Does that align with my purpose?”  If it interferes with my purpose, the answer is “no”.  If it does align with where I am headed, the answer is “yes” and I can feel great knowing that what I am taking on is helping to propel me closer to where I am going.   For example,  if I am offered a bowl of ice cream ~ it is an easy “no” for me, even though I love ice cream.  It doesn’t mean I will never partake again, it just means that right now it does not fit with my goals and aspirations.  If someone offers me an apple or another “friendly” snack, I graciously accept, because it does not lead me off my path to weight loss.  Like my journey into health and wellness, this philosophy also applies to my goals regarding prosperity.  If I am going to achieve my goals, I need to guard my time and my mind.  I need to make sure that what I am taking in aligns with my goals and beliefs and be sure that I am maximizing my time each and everyday.  My choices must line-up with my overall goals and purposes or I can easily be swayed off my path to prosperity.