I 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.
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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This viral video contains some great little weight loss tips…. some of them new and some that you have probably heard before. I am not sure that I would call the tips “amazing”, but I am guessing that if you were to do some or all of them, you would see some results. I know that we switched to smalller plates a few years ago and rarely use our full-sized dinner plates anymore (except to take snap shots of meals for the blog). So, for all of you who are trying to establish better eating habits in 2014, check-out the video and see if you can pick-up a few ideas to aid in your quest. Most of the tips are psychological and involve playing tricks on yourself. I do believe that it many cases, it is the little changes that make the most difference.
I have found that drinking adequate amounts of water each day has made a huge difference in managing my weight. Lyn-Genet Recitas (The Plan) recommends dividing your weight (in pounds) by 2 and drinking an equal number of ounces of water. For example, a 140 pound person would drink 70 ounces of water per day. I stick to this and have been very impressed with the results. I notice a difference on the scale the following morning, if my water intake was either too low or high on the previous day.
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With the New Year in sight and a few extra pounds to drop after enjoying too many dainties over the holidays, it is time to get back on track. As you know, I am a big fan of Lyn-Genet Recitas book called The Plan. I have posted about The Plan often, but as I sat on the couch this evening enjoying my little bowl of potato chips, I thought I should share what Lyn has to say about potato chips.
We’ve all been so programmed to believe that we can’t have potato chips and lose weight, but on The Plan, it’s not only allowed – it’s encouraged!
Potassium helps to negate sodium which is an important element of weight loss. Of course, potatoes provide an excellent source of potassium (1081 milligrams)and actually provide more potassium than bananas (460 milligrams) which are also high in both starch and sugar and thus not a great choice when trying to lose weight. Lyn suggests eating 1 ounce of salt-free potato chips for women and 1 to 2 ounces for men, as a healthy snack option. (For more information on Potassium, follow this link.)
Choosing the Right Chips
The key to making potato chips work in your diet, is choosing a salt-free chip. If you choose a salt-free chip, many people can eat a small amount for a snack without any reactivity (weight gain). One ounce would be similar to a small plastic children’s bowl full of chips or about 13 chips. I have tried a few different brands, but find that I like the Kettle brand the best. These are available at Superstore, Wal-Mart and some Safeway stores and are comparable in price to most other chips. They are sometimes found in the snack food aisle, but you can also check the “natural food” section of the store. There is no question that they lack some of the flavour of an “all dressed” or otherwise seasoned chip, but I don’t find much of a difference between a traditional “plain” potato chip and the salt-free. Of course, there is a difference, but for me, knowing that I can eat a few chips on a fairly regular basis without feeling guilty about it, totally makes up for the difference in taste. I quite enjoy them. I like to pack a small ziplock bowl full and leave them in my car for a snack on the drive home from work. This is a satisfying little snack and without the bag there, I am not tempted to have more!
Here is a copy of the Nutrition Facts. You will see there is 1% sodium in a serving of these chips.
Just for comparison sake, I thought I would include the nutritional information from another name brand potato chip manufacturer. You will notice the staggering amounts of sodium, even in the lightly salted option.
So, next time you go shopping and are craving potato chips, try out this healthier option and let me know how you like them. Lyn says that her favourite brand is the Trader Joe’s version. I’ll have to try those out next time we are south of the border. Happy snacking!
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I am not sure about you, but by the time Boxing Day rolls around, I seem to be suffering from the post-Christmas blahs! The crazy weeks of preparation, late nights and poor eating habits all come crashing down and I wake up feeling like I’ve been hit by a semi-truck.
If there is one thing that I can be certain of it is that I absolutely need my sleep and my body functions best with 8 to 9 hours per night. For many, if not most, going to bed at 11 or midnight is the norm, but for me it is very rare that I stay up that late. A great game of Settlers or Canasta can definitely lure me into the wee hours of the morning, but other that I am usually off to bed before 10 with 9 being my favourite time to hit the sack. I do find with the kids getting older and staying up later, my 9 o’clock bedtime is becoming much less frequent and more of an occasional luxury. This month has been crazy busy and I found myself collapsing into bed after 11 most nights. All of those late nights and lack of sleep have certainly taken their toll. My eyes are super puffy with big bags under them and my stomach has been uncomfortable for days.
Fighting the Blahs with the Plan
The great news is, that I know just what to do to get back on track. The thing I love the most about The Plan is that I have already determined many of the foods that are “friendly” for my body. Throughout the holidays it is difficult to be in complete control of what you are eating as you are often out and about. I have previously done several posts regarding The Plan and how impressed I am with Lyn-Genet Recitas’s book. I know this is the time of the year when so many are making New Year’s resolutions and planning to shed the Christmas pounds or get back to the gym. Lyn’s book is “hands-down” the best source I have come across. I love that The Plan does not tell you what you can and can not eat, but rather teaches you how to discover what foods work for you and which foods don’t. It is completely different for every individual and allows you to have the control over your own body and how you feel.
Here are some of my previous posts in which I have referenced The Plan:
Here are a few simple tips for getting back on track quickly:
Get a good night’s sleep, 8 hours if possible
Adequate water intake ~ drink the number of ounces equal to half your body weight (compensate with additional water if you have coffee or exercise as both cause dehydration)
Get back to foods that you know to be friendly for you (Note: I don’t say healthy foods)
The Devil Foods According to Lyn
One of the biggest pitfalls that we fall into is assuming we are eating well because the media has told us what “super foods” we need in our diets to be healthy. One of the most fascinating parts of Lyn’s book is learning that your “go-to” healthy foods might be causing the most havoc on your body. Lyn refers to the following 7 foods as the “Devil Foods” because so many people are “reactive” to these foods. Basically, this means that the foods cause your body to react and set it into an inflammatory state which often results in weight gain as well as other symptoms.
The list of Devil Foods is quite surprising to most. Most of the items on her list were regular items in my diet. I believed that salmon was a super foods and we had it once a week faithfully. We often chose ground turkey over beef, believing it to be a superior choice for healthy eating. Asparagus is one of our families favourite vegetables. Not really the foods you would expect to see on such a list. The point is not that these are bad foods, but more so that people are consciously choosing these foods believing that they are making a healthier choice when in fact some or all of these foods can be highly reactive for many people. So, the result is that roller coaster of weight gain and loss. Have you ever been eating super “healthy” and still gained weight or would lose a few, gain a few. That happened to me all the time, but as soon as I read this book I knew why. Although I have discovered other foods as well, I have discovered that I am highly reactive to many types of fish. We ate fish one to two times per week and for me, a small fillet of fish can cause me to gain up to 2 pounds within 8 hours of consuming it. So you can see how you could be eating really well, but every time you consume that reactive food, you jump back up a few more pounds.
Is The Plan for You?
If you struggle with your weight or even just want to get off those last few pounds, I swear, this is what you have been looking for. I am not going to lie. The first 20 days take quite a bit of commitment because you need to get your body into a “friendly” state, so that you can test foods and get accurate results. However, once you begin to discover the keys to success, you will always have that knowledge to go back to. The Plan doesn’t prevent me from eating anything at all, but it just helps me to read my own body better, make better choices that work for me and most importantly, have the tools to get back on track when I derail and know I am in a reactive state.
My Staple Salad Courtesy of the Plan
This is my absolute favourite everyday salad. I never tire of it and it is really delicious and super easy to make. The dressing is courtesy of the The Plan. I make a batch of dressing every Sunday and it lasts all week.
Lime Agave Vinaigrette
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup water
1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 Tablespoon agave nectar (you could probably use honey as a substitute, but I always have agave on hand)
Optional: 1 clove garlic, crushed (I am sure fresh would be better, but we buy the big jar from Costco and I use that in it)
Mix and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
a bed of greens (either baby Romaine or Spring Mix)
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
1/2 of a Granny Smith apple, chopped
few thin slices of purple onion
a handful of raw pumpkin seeds
This salad tastes like “summer” to me, but is great for any time of the year. It is light, yummy and looks incredible. We will be having this salad for dinner tonight with some left over Borscht. Mmmm good!
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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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Well, summer camp week has come to an end and I am off to pick-up the kids today. Can’t wait to see them. The weather has not been great here, so I hope they had a good time and didn’t get too much rain at camp. As usual, my “to do” list is far from done, but I did manage to get through many things on my list. This year I was bound and determined to take some time away from giant list of projects and spend a nice evening out with my husband.
We contemplated trying something new as there are so many great restaurants in town, but we decided to go back to a place we know and love. The regular menu at Fude offers a great selection, but they also offer a feature menu that is always incredible. The food they serve is very unique and often a mixture of unexpected flavours and combinations. Much of the menu consists of “Manitoba grown ” food and they offer a “Love at First Bite” guarantee. The service is always excellent and if the owner is there, he will often come out and give you a personal welcome. We are never disappointed when we go there, but we decided to go the website to check out the current features just to confirm our decision. I immediately made a reservation when I saw that they were serving lamb burgers. Here is a screen shot of the feature menu and a description of the lamb burgers.
What’s The Big Deal With Lamb?
Well, as all of my readers know, I have been following Lyn-Genet Recitas book The Plan as a guide to healthy eating for about 2 1/2 months now. I have been extremely pleased with the results and for the first time ever, I feel completely in charge of my own body. I am still learning what foods are reactive and which are friendly through continued controlled exposure to new foods which expand my menu of friendly items. What I love is that I already have an extensive list of “go to foods” which have tested “friendly” and are easily digested by my body. Whenever I do indulge (eat a proven reactive food, try something new as a test or when eating out), I can immediately follow with a friendly day and get right back on track. So, how do lamb burgers fit into all of this? Well, the premise of The Plan is to discover what works well for you specifically. It is not about good or bad foods, but about how you react to specific foods in your diet. Which foods cause an inflammatory response in your body and thus cause weight gain? (A reactive food can cause weight gain ranging from half a pound (for a moderate response) to few pounds for a food that you are wildly reactive to.) Basically, everything is a test. I tend to test the foods that I love the most, so that I can discover how my body reacts with them. I have eaten very little lamb in my life, but many years ago I did the “Eat Right For Your Blood Type” plan and it suggested lamb was highly beneficial for my type AB blood type. At that time, the internet was not used as tool for finding great recipes and although I did eat some lamb during that time, I really never had a great recipe to work with. In Lyn’s book, she talks about what a great dense protein lamb is and how easily digested it is by most people. In her list of reactive foods, she has found that 10% or less of her clients have reacted to lamb. She even suggests that you should be able to tolerate lamb up to three times per week. (Most people who test “friendly” to beef, are still only able to tolerate it once a week or it sets off an inflammatory response in their body). She also says that ground lamb is less “gamy” tasting that other cuts of the meat. I had not yet had a chance to test lamb and although I knew that dinner out would not be a valid test (because of exposure to so many other foods at the same time), I was excited to try a lamb burger. The burger was juicy and delicious with the perfect amount of seasoning. I can’t wait to make my own!
Of course, I did not limit myself to the lamb-burg-ini. Tim and I shared an appetizer ~ baked brie with rhubarb chutney ….mmmm! I had the burger and Tim enjoyed elk tenderloin for his main entrée. For dessert, we didn’t share. Not a chance. I had a hot rhubarb crumble with vanilla bean ice cream and Tim had their signature Die By Chai Cheesecake. The meal was incredible and we enjoyed a great evening out together!
Nutritional Value of Lamb
Like beef, it is ideal if you can get grass-fed lamb. There is in excellent article put out by whfoods.com which outlines the nutritional components of grass-fed lamb in detail, but here are a few highlights from it:
great source of Omega-3
good source of Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins as well as niacin
contains selenium and zinc
conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which reduces inflammation
great source of protein (60% of daily requirement)
rich in iron
What Health Benefits Might Grass-Fed Lamb Provide?
beneficial in general heart health and cardiovascular disease
helps in blood sugar regulation
niacin (aids in protection against Alzheimer’s and osteoarthritis and helps promote healthy skin)
B12 is important for brain functioning and supports the nervous system
zinc is important for general growth, cell development, healing and the immune system
easily digested by most people
Homemade Lamb Burgers
I must confess that I have not yet tried this recipe, but it is from “The Plan” and Lyn says that many of her clients claim it as one of their favourites. Here it is:
1 lb. ground lamb
1 zucchini, grated
4 to 5 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
Herbs and spices of choice (Italian, Herbes de Provence, cumin, turmeric, fresh ground pepper, Sriricha, etc)
Combine all ingredients, form into 4 patties, and pan sear to medium rare for 6 to 8 minutes.
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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.
Mark 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?
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!!
I am so excited about my new blog and hope you are enjoying it. If you like this post leave a comment below.
Originally I published this post on another blog, but this recipe is so delicious, I copied the post!
Company for Dinner, but Sticking to The Plan
Last night was the first time we entertained since I started The Plan. We had friends over for dinner and served a plan friendly menu consisting of:
Roasted Vegetables (baby potatoes, beets, carrots, broccoli, zucchini and onions)
Mixed greens with avocado, apple and red onion served with a Lime Vinaigrette
Chicken breasts in a lime marinade served with Mango Cucumber Salsa
I must say the meal turned out well as all of the recipes in the book are very good.
Dessert: Chocolate of Course
The dessert was not from The Plan, but I tried to pick something that I thought would have low reactivity and be yummy too. In the end, I went with one of our family’s favourite recipes and as always, it was delicious. This chocolate cake is super moist and light. An absolute must try. It may look complicated and hard to make, but it is actually super easy and never fails, so its well worth the effort.
Chocolate Mousse Cake Recipe
7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
7 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 325. Melt chocolate and butter over very low heat. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar until light an fluffy. Gradually beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. In another bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep beating until stiff. Fold whites into the other mixture. Pour 3/4 of the batter into an ungreased spring form pan and bake for 35 minutes (until top begins to crack and sides begin to peel from edges of pan). Cover and refrigerate the remaining chocolate batter. Let the baked cake cool in the pan. It will shrink, so don’t be alarmed. When cool, remove the sides of the pan. Stir the remaining batter to soften slightly and spread over the top of the cooled cake. I usually pop it in the freezer or fridge to set for a bit before icing.
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or Kahlua
In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff. Spread frosting over the top (you may want to double if you wish to cover the sides as well). Garnish with shaved chocolate. Refrigerate. This keeps really well in fridge for several hours or even overnight. It also freezes well for a great make ahead dessert.
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
I 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.
This was originally posted on another blog site on July 8th, but I brought it over because I think there is some good info on strep. Thankfully, we have now been taking medication for several days and are finally feeling much better.
We are generally a pretty healthy family. My kids have only been on antibiotics twice each, my husband has not been to the doctor in about 15 years (not that he should not be going for a check-up) and I manage to escape most illness as well. Not this time, Strep Throat hit our house in a nasty way.
Strep Throat Comes Knockin’
In May, I started an eating program called The Plan and the first 3 days began with a cleanse. I absolutely love the program and am still following it to date. However, during the initial 20 days, I decided to give my body a break from my regular daily supplements and this included my daily dose of Immunocal. Dumb. This product is my major defender when it comes to warding off illness and staying healthy. I am sure that the 20 days reprieve, had an impact on my Glutathione levels and my bodies ability to fight off infections. I have always been more prone to catching something during high stress times and typically for me as a teacher, that is September and June. I always seem to make it through the stress and as soon as things are settling and I am no longer running on adrenaline, my body relaxes and illness comes crashing down. In the past, I have been smart enough to double-up on my Immunocal and can often sail through without incident, but with no Immuncal intake for almost a month and high stress at work, the inevitable happened. On June 20th, I became very sick with a bad chest cold that never really seemed to go away. In the midst of this, my son Shay was complaining that he wasn’t feeling well and had a sore throat. He had white little spots in the back of his throat and it was quite red. It looked similar to the photo below.
I thought it might be strep, so I took him to a Walk-In Clinic, but the doctor said it was just a sore throat and didn’t swob it. So here we are, about 17 days later with a huge mixture of good and bad days. Shay’s sore throat seemed to go away on its own, but he has had a high fever, no appetite, little energy, cough, runny nose, numerous nosebleeds and he’s needed lots of extra sleep and even extended naps. He just has not been himself for the last few weeks. I can see him dropping weight and just generally not well. My own symptoms have been persistent as well. Although my horrible cough and congestion have mostly cleared, I have continued to feel a heaviness in my chest and low energy level. So, when I could feel the brutally sore throat starting on Saturday, I knew I had had enough and that we would both be heading back to a Walk-In on Sunday.
Strep Throat…Is it Worth The Wait?
Oh Ya! Many people would be worried about a strep diagnosis and hope that it is not what it is, but let me tell you when I woke up on Sunday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck and looked forward to the diagnosis, so I could get me some antibiotics asap. Unfortunately, we arrived at the clinic at 8:57 am (3 minutes before opening), but proceeded to wait in an air conditioned waiting room until 11:30, when our names were finally called. By this time, I was literally ready to lie on the floor. Although I didn’t do anything as drastic, I did have to spend much of the time folded in half with my head between my legs to try to nurse the pounding headache and horrific sore throat I had. I was virtually unable to swallow or speak (a treat for my family). Even breathing seemed to be difficult. The pain was excruciating. Once in, we were assessed and swobbed (there was no way we were leaving with out a swob, but luckily I didn’t have to cause a scene to get my wish). Within 15 minutes, the doctor came back with little indicator sticks and told Shay what to look for. Doctor Shay delivered the diagnosis – we both have Strep Throat. Yay! That means proper medicine, proper treatment and finally getting well. Yes, as awful as the wait was, it was well worth it.
Waiting for Two Strep Throat Prescriptions Can’t Be That Bad, Can It?
Wrong. I dropped off Shay and went straight to the pharmacy. Being a very practical person, I always like to make good use of my time, so I thought I would pick up the 4 items that had already made it onto my next grocery list even though we just shopped (I hate that). The trouble is, Superstore is very big and I was very sick and very weak. By this time, it was almost 1:30 and I felt like I was close to death. As I leaned on the bar of my cart for support, I shivered with fever and was wracked in pain. I was imagining that I looked somewhat like one of the plague victims from some Hollywood blockbuster like Outbreak. I had VERY SICK PERSON written all over me. Of course, to make matters worse, the organic apples I bought had a faulty scan code and they had to do a price check. When the clerk said, “I am sorry, we just have to check the price”, she was so lucky I was unable to speak. Little did she know that the faint smile and nod that I sent her way really meant, “that’s fine if you don’t mind scraping me off the floor when I collapse.” I picked-up the prescriptions and some Strepsils (to help sooth my sore throat until the antibiotics began to work) and hurried to the car. I took my first dose of both before I left the parking lot and collapsed in bed with a temperature 102.2, as soon as I got home. Other than rolling from side to side to try and find a more comfortable position, I didn’t move for 18 hours. Luckily my husband brought me what I needed and I barely had to get up to go to the bathroom either. I guess when you are unable to eat or drink, there really is nothing to eliminate from your system. By bedtime last night I was still in excruciating pain – my throat, neck and head were so sore that I couldn’t even open my eyes to watch a bit of television. It was at this point that I added something else to my arsenal. Thank the good Lord for “Aleve”. I took one before bed last night and was finallly able to get some sleep. At 11:15 p.m. I woke up to soaked sheets, jammies, etc. I was sweating profusely, but the fever had broken and I felt a little better. Although my throat is still very sore and my headache lingers, I am feeling better than yesterday (obviously or there would be no post). Hopefully, all symptoms will be gone within a day or two. Shay is still not eating much, but never did have symptoms as severe as mine.
Strep Throat and I Have Quite a History
As an early years teacher, I am exposed to many viruses and illnesses throughout the course of a year. Early in my career, I would get Strep Throat frequently, at least once a year. It seemed that I was particularly susceptible to it. My battle with regular strep throat infections continued through most of the 90’s and I became quite good at self-diagnosing and always knew when I need to get to the doctor for medication. In the winter of 1998, it was no exception. I woke up early in the morning to a very sore throat (strep I thought), but proceeded to go to work. I thought that if I could make it through the morning, I would be able to write a proper sub plan. By 10 my condition was extreme. I was unable to drive and had to call my husband to come and pick me up from work. We drove straight to my doctor. I stayed in the car while my husband waited in the waiting room. My throat was unbearable and the headache I had was debilitating. I was literally laying down in the car writhing in pain. When my name was called, Tim came out and got me. After the doctor did his assessment, I was directed to go straight downtown to a neurologist that would be waiting for me to arrive. The neurologist saw me right away and worried that the symptoms were more consistent with meningitis than strep. I was sent to the hospital for a spinal tap. If you want to know exactly what a spinal tap or lumbar puncture is, you can follow the above link and check out the youtube video. Personally I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds, as it brought back too much trauma. My personal definition of a spinal tap is “a trip to hell”. When all was said and done, I was diagnosed with a severe strain of strep throat (obviously long before they invented the quick 10 minute test or we would have avoided the whole fiasco). Anyways, between my brutal case of strep throat and the side effects of the spinal tap. I was completely bed ridden for seven days and was not even able to get up to go to the bathroom. Thank goodness we had hardwood floors. My big bathrobe that allowed me to slide on my back from my bed to the bathroom and back when necessary. It took me 2 weeks to fully recover and I missed 10 days of work. The headache following the procedure was indescribable and the whole episode will never be forgotten, but the interesting thing is that I never got strep throat again…until now that is. Strep and I do not mix well and it seems that when I do get it, I get hit hard. The good news is, I am on the mend and was diagnosed quickly. Thank goodness for the invention of the quick test!
The Importance of Treating Strep
Strep throat ,if left untreated, can sometimes cause complications. According to the Mayo Clinic:
It’s important to identify strep throat for a number of reasons. If untreated, strep throat can sometimes cause complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a rash and even damage to heart valves.
Well, I am feeling a bit better as the day goes on and can’t wait for my body to respond fully to the medication. Needless to say I have been back on my Immunocal supplements and have every confidence that I will dodge the next bullet that comes our way. Have a great day and stay well!