Monday, May 28, 2012

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

 A great explanation of how sugar affects the body. This one hour-twenty nine minute video is worth your time.

Shopping List 5/28

spinach (B1)
bananas (B1, D1)
limes (B1, Din2, Din3)
apples (S1)
carrots (S2, Din2, Din4)
green pepper (Din3, Din4, Din5)
red pepper (S2, Din3, Din4, Din5)
celery (Din4, Din5)
cucumber (S2, Din4)
green onions (Din5)
iceberg lettuce (Din1, Din5)
sugar snap peas (S2)
tomatoes (Din1, Din4)
onions (Din2, Din3)
cilantro (Din2, Din3, Din4)
jalapeno (Din3)
lemon Juice (Din4)
garlic (Din3, Din4, Din5)

hummus (S2)
eggs (D1)

corn tortillas (Din3)

frozen fruit (B1)

Bulk food
tortilla chips (Din1)
brown rice (Din2)
walnuts (Din4, D1)
roasted peanuts (Din5)

black beans (Din1)
curry paste (Din2)

chicken (Din1, Din2, Din3, Din5)
Steak (Din3)

canola oil (Din5)
olive oil (Din2, Din3, Din4)
ginger (Din4, Din5)
cumin (Din3)
oregano (Din3)
salt (Din3, Din4, D1)
pepper (Din3)
baking soda (D1)
vanilla (D1)
cinnamon (D1)
coconut oil (D1)

salsa (Din1, Din3)
gluten free soy sauce (Din5)
rice or distilled vinegar (Din5)
red pepper flakes (Din5)

Health Food Store
flax seed (S1)
coconut milk (Din2)
quinoa (Din4)
almond meal (D1)
peanut butter (S1)

Monday Menu 5/28

1 breakfast, 2 snacks, 5 dinners and 1 dessert

(B1) Green Smoothie: Green smoothies are quick and full of nutrients. You can follow this recipe or have fun with it and add your own fruits and veggies. No fancy blender required. I have a regular old Walmart brand blender and it works just fine.

(S1) Apples and Peanut Butter: Slice up an apple and dip in some natural peanut butter and you've got one tasty snack. I like to get the freshly ground peanut butter at my local health food store. It's a bit more expensive but the taste is worth it. I've also heard almond butter is good too.

(S2) fresh veggies and hummus: I love me some hummus. I use it on everything. Cut up your favorite veggies and dip in hummus. I especially love carrot sticks, red bell peppers, sugar snap peas and cucumbers with hummus.

(D1) Chicken n' black bean taco salad:


2 lg. chicken breasts (Costco sized) thawed
or 4 sm. chicken breasts
3 cans black beans
8-12 oz. salsa

shredded lettuce
cubed tomatoes
1 pkg. tortilla chips


Thaw chicken, place in crock pot.
Poor in salsa.
Drain  and rinse one can black beans and add to crock pot, add remaining 2 cans of black beans with juice.
Turn crock pot to low and cook for 6-8 hrs. High for 5-6 hrs.

During last hr. of cook time, remove chicken and shred. Place shredded chicken back into crock pot for remaining time.

Serve with shredded lettuce and cubed tomatoes over tortilla chips.

*This is one of my all-time favorite meals to make when I'm short on time. I also love that it gives us left-overs.

(D2) Coconut-Chicken Curry
from Better Homes and Gardens Annual Recipes 2006

Prep: 30 min. Stand: 30 min. Cook: 16 min.


1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces
1/2 C red curry paste
1 T olive oil
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
1 13.5 oz can unsweetened or reduced-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 C matchstick sized carrots
1 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
Hot cooked brown rice
Snipped fresh cilantro


1. In a bowl combine chicken and curry paste; let stand at room temp. for 30 min.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil, onion, and chicken. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 min., stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and no longer pink.
3. Remove chicken from skillet. Carefully add coconut milk to skillet, scraping up crusty bits. Add carrots and lime peel. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 min. or until carrots are crisp-tender. Return chicken mixture to skillet. Simmer, uncovered, for 3-5 min. or until liquid thickens slightly. Serve with rice and snipped cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

*If you like to eat Thai curry, you will love this. It is not spicy-hot like you might imagine most Thai food to be. It is absolutely amazing.


MmMm. I love me some fajitas.
For gluten free, use corn tortillas.
I also use chicken for my fajitas instead of steak because that's what I've got on hand.

(D4)- Quinoa Salad

I just tried this for the first time at a BBQ a few weeks ago and I'm totally hooked on Quinoa now. This is perfect for the summer.

(D5)  Szechwan Chicken Lettuce Wrap

1 Tbsp canola or peanut oil
8 oz, chicken
1/2 medium sweet green or red pepper, diced
1 cup celery cut into slices
2 tsp/ minced fresh ginger or dash of ginger spice
2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice or distilled vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp dry roasted peanuts
2 green onions, sliced short
2 large Iceberg lettuce leaves

Heat skillet over medium heat 3 minutes. Add oil and coat pan evenly. Add chicken, red or green peppers, celery, and ginger. Cook and stir for 3 min. or until chicken is opaque. Stir in garlic. Add soy sauce, vinegar and pepper flakes. Continue to cook and stir mixture for 1 minute. Stir in peanuts and green onion. Remove pan from heat. Put mixture in lettuce leaves. Roll and eat like a burrito. 2 servings.
* hint: this is spicy. If you don't like spicy don't add the red pepper flakes

(D1) Banana Bread

I use 4 VERY ripe bananas instead of the 2 that is called for. It turns out much better. Also, make sure to line your bread pan with wax paper or tin foil, this will allow you to remove your banana bread with ease.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Natural Deodorant

I have been on a quest to remove personal care and beauty products that contain harmful chemicals from my routine. I've been doing a little research and have found that most beauty products contain fragrances and chemicals that can cause cancer and that are endocrine disruptors. Now- it seems like EVERYTHING causes cancer now-a-days. I don't want cancer, but I also don't want to stay locked up in a bubble.

The thing that got me as I was reading about this stuff, was that beauty products contain a lot of chemicals that can disrupt the balance and function of your endocrine system. For me, this is a big issue. My endocrine system is already incredibly disrupted. I have several endocrine disorders. They made it difficult for me to produce my adorable, perfect, chubbsters baby. As in 5 years difficult. I really DON'T need my endocrine system disrupted further.

So in the quest of mine, I have a couple of requirements from the products I switch to:

1. I don't want to smell like the health food store.
2. It has to be reasonably priced.
3. I don't want to smell like the health food store.
4. It's got to work effectively.
5. I don't want to put dirt on my face and call it makeup. 
6. I don't want to smell like the health food store.

Amazingly, there are a lot of products that fit these requirements! But I want to tell you about one of them.

This is a toothpaste. But I don't use it as a toothpaste. It has become my official deodorant.... Hear me out....

Most deodorants, if you look at the warning label (you may need to open the little label accordion folder thing on the back) you will find two warnings. One says to not use on broken skin. What that means is that you can't put it on after shaving. When you shave, it breaks the skin open. Ladies, I don't know about you, but I'd like to be able to wear deodorant on days that I shave.

The second thing the label may say is that you should not use if you have kidney disease. I've never met anyone whose kidneys were by their armpits. The chemicals in deodorant travel to your kidneys through your blood stream. So that means that the nasty aluminum (some deodorants contain 60% aluminum!) is getting into your bloodstream and may be disrupting your endocrine system- or worse.    

So I switched to a natural deodorant. Its performance stunk. And so did I. I tried another one. Same verdict. I was about ready to bag it and go back regular deodorant- I mean, cummon- beauty must come first! But then I heard about this stuff. The recommendation came from Nature's Knockout  who got it from a man who uses heavy machinery and sweats buckets. Thieves Dentarome Plus is a completely natural toothpaste which has the consistency of lotion. It's not gummy or sticky like Crest is. It dries quickly and smells like cinnamon. I'm game for trying weird stuff.

Love it! It lasts all day. It completely keeps me dry and I don't smell. (Can I get a woot, woot for not being stinky!?) I'm not one who sweats much, but from what I hear and from others who have tried it, it really works for even the most abundant perspirer. And the husband agrees too! He and I are both converted.

I can't help but feel pretty clever using it.

I thought I'd pass it on.

On a side note, Nature's Knockout is a really fun site to check out. Fun hair and make up tutorials using all natural products, as well as information on beauty products and their safety.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shopping List 5/21

Here is the shopping list for this week's menu:

1 sweet potato (Din3)
2 garlic cloves (Din3)
1 red onion (Din3)
Granny Smith apples (S2)
Salad ingredients (Din1)
1 head cauliflower (Din2)
Veggies for pizza (Din2)
1/4 c fresh cilantro (Din4)
3 scallions (Din4)
Avocado (Din5)
Lettuce (Din5)
Tomatoes (Din5)
Sprouts (Din5)

Coconut milk (B1)
1/2 c chevre goat cheese (S1, Din2)
Mozzarella goat cheese
1 egg (Din2)

10-12 corn tortillas (Din3)

8 oz frozen corn (Din4)

Bulk Food
Mixed nuts/seeds/almonds (B1,S2,D1)
Oats (D1)
Rice (Din4)

Pasta sauce (Din1)
Pizza sauce (Din2)
2 cans black beans (Din3, Din4)
1 can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies (Din4)
1 can chicken broth (Din4)

Hamburger (Din1)
Chicken (Din4)
Deli meat (Din5)

Oregano (Din2)
Unsweetened shredded coconut (B1)
Dried raisins or cranberries (B1, D1)
Coconut oil (B1, D1)
Vanilla (B1)
Cumin (Din3, Din4)
chili powder (Din3)
oregano (Din3)
coriander (Din3)
paprika (Din3)
chipotle chile pepper (Din3)
 lime juice (Din3)
garlic powder (din4)
onion powder (Din4)
cayenne pepper (Din4)

Honey/Maple syrup (B1, D1)
Peanut butter (D1)
extra virgin olive oil (Din3)

Health Food Store
Gluten-free crackers (S1)
Gluten-free noodles (Din1)

Monday Menu 5/21

Excited to present our first Monday Menu. >insert cheering here< Below you will find 1 breakfast, 5 dinners, 2 snacks, and 1 dessert. All recipes are gluten, dairy, and sugar free AND easy!

So here's how it will work. All you have to do is read through the post to get the recipes for this week's menu. Then click on "This Week's Shopping List" in the toolbar above to print out what you will need. Menu planning- DONE. Isn't it always the hardest part?

(B1) Grain-free Granola: I love this recipe, but have made some changes for my tastes. I combine all kinds of different nuts and seeds. I've used almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds- whatever I can get my hands on. I just make sure I use roughly the same amount of nuts/seeds as the recipe requires. I also use unsweetened dried cranberries instead of raisins, and I use pure maple syrup instead of honey. I like to quadruple the recipe and bake four 9x13 pans of granola at a time. Then I freeze what I won't use within a week or two. Add a little coconut milk (vanilla flavored is my favorite) and I am full all morning!

(S1) Goat cheese and crackers: I haven't always been a fan of goat cheese, but I found a kind I really like- chevre. It's has a tangy taste but no "barnyard" flavor. I spread it on gluten-free crackers. Yummy snack. Make it grain-free- spread cheese on celery sticks

(S2) Granny Smith apples and almonds: Granny Smith apples are great because they have the least amount of natural sugar compared to other kinds of apples.

(D1) No Bake Cookies: Careful! These are addicting! I only use about half of the peanut butter suggested and I love to add slivered almonds. I also leave out the chocolate chips. You can also decrease the sweetener and add agave (lower glycemic index) instead of honey.

(Din1) Spaghetti with Salad: You can find gluten-free noodles at health food stores and many grocery stores. I like quinoa pasta as it doesn't turn out as mushy as pasta made from brown rice. I recently learned from Julian Michael's podcast that if you cook your pasta al dente, it lowers the glycemic index. Be careful with the dressing you choose for your salad and the pasta sauce you choose. Many brands have sugar added to them. If spaghetti doesn't sound as good without cheese, try adding goat cheese. Make it grain-free- use quinoa instead of pasta

(Din2) Cauliflower Pizza: This recipe takes a little time to make, but worth it. So good for you and so tasty!

(Din3) Black Bean Sweet Potato Taquitos: I haven't tried this recipe, but I love the combination of black beans and sweet potatoes. Make it grain-free- Serve over quinoa or wrap in lettuce leaves

(Din4) Crock pot Santa Fe Chicken: Another new recipe. This blog looks like it's got a lot of great crock pot recipes. Make it grain-free- serve over quinoa

(Din5) Avocado Roll-ups: Simply wrap up deli meat (check label- sugar often lurks there!), avocado, tomatoes, sprouts, and/or other veggies in a lettuce leaf.

And there you have it! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Cherry Pie
Sometimes it's a Larabar day. You just need to indulge. And when this goodness-in-a-wrapper contain under 9 pronounceable ingredients, I feel pretty good about doing just that. Take Cherry Pie, for example. Its ingredient list is short- dates, almonds, and cherries. That's all. No sweetener. And that means no sweetener added to the fruit either. Made from whole food. And there are 20 different flavors which are all gluten, dairy, and soy free. I also like that each bar contains a lot of protein and fiber. It evens out the sugar that is naturally found in the dried fruit, balancing out your blood sugar instead of  it spiking.

Am I being asked to write this review? (Are you kidding!? This blog is 2 posts old!) Yeah, that would be a no. I just love me some Larabar!

Want to make a variation of your own? Check out Amy Layne's post full of recipes!

Monday, May 14, 2012

52 Uses for Coconut Oil

Got Coconut Oil?
Here are 52 ways you can use it.
  1. Eat a spoonful when you need an energy boost.
  2. Use it as the base for a homemade body scrub.
  3. Use to condition your wooden cutting boards.
  4. Use as a super conditioner on your hair (apply to dry hair, leave in as long as possible and then shampoo as normal).
  5. Use as a styling agent if you have really dry hair. Just rub a tiny bit on your palms and apply to your hair and style as normal.
  6. Keep a little container in your purse for lip moisturizer.
  7. Add a spoonful to your dog or cat’s food. CO is great for our furry friends!
  8. Replace nasty, unhealthy vegetable oils in your cooking and baking with CO.
  9. Make healthy Magic Shell ice cream topping.
  10. Use it for oil pulling (learn about oil pulling here).
  11. Use a tiny dab on your underarms for a natural deodorant.
  12. Use coconut oil instead of shaving cream.
  13. Add to your bath tub for a moisturizing soak (a drop of peppermint oil is wonderful!).
  14. Use as a makeup remover.
  15. Use it to help sooth chicken pox, shingles, or other rashes or skin irritations.
  16. Use it to treat athlete’s food, ringworm, or other fungal or yeast infections.
  17. Take a spoonful with your vitamins to help improve absorption.
  18. Spread a thin layer on cuts or burns to speed up healing.
  19. Take up to 5 spoonfuls per day for improved thyroid function.
  20. Add a spoonful to your smoothies for extra nutrition and flavor (here, here, and here).
  21. Use on the delicate tissue around your eyes to help prevent wrinkles and sagging.
  22. Use as the base for homemade toothpaste or lotion.
  23. Use in place of massage oil.
  24. Use on your baby’s diaper rash or cradle cap.
  25. Use to help reduce visibility of stretch marks or to prevent stretch marks.
  26. For nursing mothers, use coconut oil on your nipples to prevent cracking and irritation.
  27. For nursing mothers, consuming coconut oil will help increase your milk flow.
  28. Apply to bee stings or bug bites to soothe and heal the wound.
  29. Women can use in the nether regions to relieve yeast infections, dryness, and/or discomfort.
  30. Eat a spoonful with each meal to improve digestion.
  31. If you’re prone to nosebleeds, coat the inside of your nostrils with coconut oil regularly.
  32. Helps soothe and heal hemorrhoids.
  33. Take to helps reduce or eliminate migraines.
  34. Use as the base for homemade vapor rub.
  35. Mixed with peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, or tea tree oil makes an excellent insect repellent.
  36. Mix with baking soda for a non-toxic “Goo Gone”.
  37. Use to help detox the body during a cleanse or fast.
  38. Use as a metal polish, but always test a small area first.
  39. Use as a leather moisturizer.
  40. Season your cast iron pans.
  41. Use to oil your pans and baking dishes instead of pan spray.
  42. Got gum stuck in your hair? Try using coconut oil to remove without cutting your hair.
  43. Use instead of WD-40.
  44. Use as a personal lubricant (not safe with latex).
  45. Take a spoonful to help with heartburn, acid reflux, or indigestion.
  46. Use as a natural sunscreen.
  47. Mix with a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice and use as a furniture polish (always test a small area first!).
  48. Mix with butter and toss your popcorn in it.
  49. Use on cracked or rough heals to help smooth them out.
  50. Massage into your nails and cuticles to help strengthen them.
  51. Use as the base for homemade chocolate candy (like peanut butter cups).
  52. Take a couple spoonfuls every day to help overall immune function.
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