Healthy Living ~ Update

I had someone ask me how it was going with the “healthy living” thing…so I thought I should do an update! Hopefully this will encourage someone else, because I have seen huge differences in my own life.

You may remember a few months ago I checked out the book Real Food from the library. This reeeeeally got me thinking. The book is very eye opening about the things we put into our bodies and call “food.” I highly recommend this book! We began making a lot of changes at that point. Well, I have gone in long spurts over the years making my own bread…but with the purchase of a Bosch (yay!) bread making has been taken to a whole new level!

Real Food: What to Eat and Why

We also began buying coconut oil and using it regularly. Remember all the benefits of coconut oil? We only use coconut oil and olive oil now.

We are cutting out as many processed foods as possible. NO more articificial food coloring either. No more high fructose corn syrup, MSG, etc.

Then, I guess about a month later I came across this book, called Potatoes Not Prozac which describes sugar sensitivities and addictions. BINGO. The descriptions of a sugar addict sounded all too familiar to me…and I began looking for ways to cut our sugar.

This has been hard, I won’t lie. I miss having something to drink other than water. (LOL) I have gone over 3 months WITHOUT a coke, which I never even thought was possible 4 months ago!! I miss having desserts. I was a full fledged CARB and SUGAR addict, not doubt about it. And, I am one of those people, that I found after reading the book, whose moods and body is negatively affected by sugar intake.

While I miss my cokes and cakes, I do not miss my horrible mood swings. I mean, I was becoming more and more irritable by the DAY with my children. I was telling David that I thought I would need to go on an anti-depressant (seriously) because I was feeling so low and down. It wasn’t looking good…I was scared and nervous. That is when I found this book…and thankfully found out that eliminating sugar really did help me!!

We have also noticed sugar has a negative affect on Hannah, but not the other 2 children. So, we are eliminating as much as possible from our household.

I will say that the pounds have NOT dropped off like I thought they would, with eliminating sodas, desserts (I maybe still have something 1x per week at the most) and processed foods, etc. While it has been good for me in so many other ways, I was hoping it would help me lose weight. No such luck.

I have been exercising somewhat regularly…though I have good weeks and bad weeks.

Overall, I feel much better. I can tell when I “cheat” and have sugar, because the next 2 days I’m feeling irritable and cranky. I can tell when I’ve had a good week of exercise because I have more energy and just feel better about life.

So, what about you? Have you made any drastic changes in your health lately? Care to share? I’d love to hear some more stories!! πŸ™‚ Anyone care to share their favorite resources for going “real” with their food and having a healthier lifestyle?

2 of my favorite blogs are Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Passionate Homemaking. I listed 2 books that have changed my life above; Real Food and Potatoes Not Prozac. Oh, and one other article I across through Kelly’s blog is this one, which is completely in line with the Potatoes Not Prozac book menioned above, concerning how our moods are affected by the foods we eat. Very informative read!

I love sugar!

Did you know that *some* people have a sensitivity to sugar?

Did you know that if you have this sugar sensitivity it affects your body like an addiction?

Did you know that a sugar sensitivity can make you moody? It can even lead to depression.

Did you know that kids can be addicted to sugar too?

 

I am learning all of these things with GREAT interest in the book, Potatoes Not Prozac, by Kathleen DesMaisons. Dr. DesMaisons has a website called Radiant Recovery in which she describes alot of her ideas, too! (including the 7 steps she suggests towards eliminating the sugar AND the 7 steps for children!) Side note: I have found that we are already doing some of these steps in our recent journeys to eating healthier, so I’m not exactly doing things *exactly* as she has written, but at this point I am trying to increase protein intake AND make sure I’m eating protein at every meal!

Over on the Homeschool Share boards a mom has mentioned going sugar free and what that has looked like in their household. (By the way, she does have alot of great info on her blog, too! Check it out, recipes too!) When Kendra mentioned some of the attitudes and behaviors in her household that were caused by a sugar sensitivity, my ears (or eyes rather) perked up. Her grumpiness, moodiness not to mention whiny, crying children sounded an awful lot like our household!!

So, I began a bit of research on my own. Kendra suggests a book called Little Sugar Addicts by the same author, Kathleen DesMaisons. Unfortunately, our library did not have that book. But it DID have the book I mentioned above…which is more directed towards adults. I got the book from the library yesterday and today I have read half of it. The book describes me to a T. I have read this book with great enthusiasm thinking that maybe, just maybe this could really help and improve our own household.

So, of course, with all this excitement I wanted to share this book with my readers. I really, REALLY think that after reading the chapters in this book that there are MORE people that have these issues with sugar than realize it! Sugar is addicting just like alcohol! That should scare us and really make us take notice of what we are putting into our bodies!

Along with the book I am reading, I have been doing a lot of googling. πŸ™‚ I’ve bought 2 natural sweeteners called Agave Nectar and Stevia. These are natural sweeteners that you can use to replace your sugar. I am in the process of trying them out right now. As I find recipes that taste good and are healthy, I will share them here too. Last night I made our first batch of banana bread/muffins and they turned out great! (recipe to come…)

I admit, I am pretty hopeful that this is going to help me. I am so tired of the negativity, bad moods, irritability and days of being down. I know that if I’m eating healthier, it will help me feel better overall. And, just reading the descriptions in the book of those with sugar sensitivities really leads me to believe this could be me.

A very recent example that comes to mind is from last week when we went to Gatlinburg. We had Krispy Kreme donuts the first night we went up there after supper for a treat. Well, that next day, I felt worse than I have felt in a long time. Really bad. I am thinking it was all that sugar!!

For now, I am not eliminating sugar in every single thing we eat – for instance, our peanut butter is natural and does NOT have high fructose corn syrup in it, but it DOES have sugar. For now, we are sticking with our peanut butter. I will be trying to bake a little bit more – with healthy whole wheat (freshly ground for that matter!) flour – muffins, bread, pancakes, waffles. I will be replacing that sugar with either agave nectar, stevia or maple syrup, depending on the recipe. I still have not figured out honey yet…I think I will still end up using that some, too.

I am going to be writing down what I’m eating to make sure I’m getting enough protein.

The hardest part for me will be NO SWEETS. These banana muffins I made are actually pretty good…I’m hoping that as I replace our sugar, I will also find foods that taste “sweet” to me (and satisfy that craving) while are healthier at the same time. Ultimately I’d love to stop craving the foods all together! (a girl can dream, right?)

So, is anyone else on this journey? Any tips? Any recipes? Any books to suggest? I’d love to hear from you!!

SUPER easy AND healthy AND yummy!

It is very rare that I find a meal that fits all 3 of these categories…but I just made one that did! So, of course, I had to share with you!

I’m going to call my recipe…

French Toast Bites

4 pieces of bread (best would be whole wheat with NO high fructose corn syrup OR homemade!)
4 eggs (free-range, hormone-free)
a splash of milk
coconut oil

*I melted about 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut oil into my frying pan

*I put the eggs and milk into a bowl (with a spout, makes it easy!) — whisk together

*Tear pieces of bread into pieces (I tore one piece of bread into 6 bites, you don’t want them TOO small or they will fall apart!)

*Put bread pieces into eggs

*Pour into frying pan

*Let cook, flip around some so they cook on both sides

*now, for this healthy meal, PLEASE don’t put that nasty syrup full of HFCS on these!! Use your 100% maple syrup or something of the like. πŸ™‚

VOILA!! YUMMY!! HEALTHY!! SUPER EASY!!

Bonus: these are even better than traditional french toast b/c the egg to bread ratio should be higher on the small pieces of bread. So you are getting MORE of the good eggs! AND, it is easier for kids to eat, it’s already cut up!

Monthly Menu

The ladies over on the Homeschool Share board were talking about monthly menus last week. They inspired me. πŸ™‚ Since we have been working towards a more healthy eating style in our home, I thought now would be a good time to implement a monthly menu! Let’s see if I can stick to it! (Oh, and my friend, Kendra, made up some CUTE monthly menu sheets to fill out and stick on your fridge!)

Some of these recipes are new to us, I’m trying some recipes that the ladies on the board posted. Some are also from my new favorite healthy cooking blog, and some are old favorites. You will notice that Mondays are generally crockpot meals or from the freezer, that is the day my mom comes over to keep the kids in the afternoon, so I’m not here to cook. On Tuesdays you’ll notice I did “easy” breakfast for supper…those are the days we have Bible study and are gone most of the day.

Week 1
S – Steak (on the grill) with sweet potatoes and salad
M – Roast, potatoes, carrots (crockpot)
T – French Toast, bacon
W – Spaghetti, salad
Th – Chicken Enchiladas, rice
F – Mac & Cheese, steamed veggies

Week 2
M – Italian Chicken, baked potatoes (crockpot – chicken and Italian Dressing)
T – Eggs, bacon, toast
W – Chimi-Changas and rice
Th – Grilled Ham & Cheese, Oven fries, steamed veggies
F – Ultimate Chicken Sandwiches, baked sweet potatoes

Week 3
M – Taco Soup
T – Pancakes, bacon
W – Chicken Casserole
Th – Sloppy Joes, oven fries, broccoli/carrots and dip
F – Shepherd’s Pie, salad

Week 4
M – BBQ Chicken (crockpot) and baked potatoes
T – French Toast
W – Salmon Patties, steamed veggies
Th – Hamburgers, oven fries, veggie sticks & dip
F – Apricot Chicken with rice, salads

Week 5
M – Lasagna, salad
T – Eggs, bacon, toast
W – Tacos
Th – Grilled chicken, steamed veggies
F – Vegetable Beef Soup and salad

If anyone wants any of the recipes that aren’t linked, I will try and post some of them soon on the blog…but you can ask for one as well!

So, do you make a menu plan? I’d love to read what your plans are for the coming weeks, leave me a comment with your links!

Happy planning!

Yummy & Healthy Granola

Granola is one of my FAVORITE things to eat!! Especially now that I know the ingredients are good and healthy for you…
The recipe that I use came from Elizabeth originally…and I tweaked it a bit. (Speaking of healthy, this recipe includes coconut oil, have you read about all the benefits to coconut oil? WOW, I’m using this stuff more and more! Granola is one of the easiest ways to use it!)

Here are the ingredients that I use:
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup real maple syrup (I would think honey would work, too!)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
Up to 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup raisins

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325ΒΊF.
First, I mix the “wet” ingredients together: coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and also the cinnamon.
Separately, I mix all the “dry” ingredients: oats, almonds, coconut, salt. (Save the raisins and brown sugar for after it is baked.)
Next, mix the wet and dry ingredients together and spread onto a large cookie sheet.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes.
Once you are finished baking it, sprinkle on the brown sugar and add raisins!
Yum!