Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Some changes in the works !

Just some updates to share.  I have increased my cardio to incorporate 1/2 hr of rebounding each and every day.  Still sticking with clean-eating and keeping my starchy carbs at a minimum though I do enjoy 1/2 cup of brown rice every now and then.  I am faithfully on gluten-free.  I slipped up recently and wowza, the stomach pain and bloat was unbearable.  I have to say, the pain is a welcome reminder that gluten doesn't jive with me at all. Listen to your body everyone because it is talking to you all the time!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Gluten-Free Banana Muffins

I stumbled upon this gorgeous muffin recipe while surfing foodgawker the other day.  The photo lured me in and once I saw the ingredients list I was hooked.  Clean eating at its best!

Now, as is the norm for me, I switched things up a bit - adding some extra spices and going with my all-time fave Agave Nectar as sweetener but feel free to use raw honey if you prefer.

These muffins are light, moist and taste just like banana bread.  Consider tossing in some mini dark chocolate chips or chopped walnuts too. They would make great additions to this yummy baked treat.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Adios Wheat

I have MANY updates to share with you all including my questioning the name of this blog!

Where to begin... well to start off,  my professional life has been very crazy. The 9-5 day job is keeping me hopping. I am in the midst of a learning curve right now after taking on some new responsibilities and though interesting and challenging, it can tire out one's little brain! I have also been working to set up a new website dedicated to the parents, caregivers, siblings of Autistic children.   A brand-spanking new logo has now been created but the site itself won't launch til fall.  My intention was a spring 2012 launch but I truly need to find more time in life to sit down and give it the design attention it deserves. Lastly, Lemon Drop has been motoring along. I am hosting a great Easter Giveaway too and all followers worldwide can participate so head over there and check it out!

Now on to my personal life. I have been really tightening up on both diet and exercise. So why the question of changing the blog name? Because low carb (as in the Atkins or Dukan Diet variety) really isn't cutting it anymore.  Let me explain...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Roasted Chicken Breasts

If you are like me you are always on the lookout for high quality, tasty and clean protein that is easy to prepare.  There are many days I simply don't have time or energy to stand over a grill flipping chicken breasts or steaks. Yes, the slow cooker is my best friend most days of the week but I am not a big fan of how it cooks chicken. I like my chicken roasted or grilled not poached or cooked in the slow cooker. I want richer flavor and crispy edges.

I have always avoided the oven when it comes to meats. I have a tendency, or did in the past, to roast things into charred oblivion.  Well those days are over.   A simple roasting recipe, 2 chicken breasts, some oil and seasoning.   That's it - foolproof.  Even I can't screw this up!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Low Carb Almond Milk

Low carb, sugar, gluten and dairy free - how perfect is that?  Sure you can buy store bought almond milk but if you are like me and use it to make protein shakes or smoothies at least once a day the cost can add up quickly.

Why not make your own at home?

This recipe makes 4 cups of almond milk and it is rather simple and straight forward.

Parmesan Crisps

Craving chips? Opt for Parmesan Chips instead.  Simple to make, ultra low carb,  salty, crispy and absolutely delicious.

This recipe makes 4 servings and uses 3 cups of shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  That's it. No other ingredients needed!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble

In a rush but need a low carb breaky recipe that takes no time to prepare? Then this one is for you!

I love this recipe for its simplicity and time saving features but most of all for its near zero carb count.

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein. I eat 2 eggs a day usually in the form of 1 whole egg and 1 egg white. So many ways to prepare them: scrambled, boiled, poached...but in the microwave? and better yet, in a coffee mug? Yes, it can be done and it tastes great too!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Crustless Pumpkin Pies

These little individual pumpkin pies ROCK! They are sweet, spiced to perfection and are such an incredible treat for people who tend to shy away from sugary desserts. Is there sugar in them? Yes, COCONUT SUGAR.

If you haven't tried coconut sugar then you need to get on that! It is a phenomenal, natural low glycemic-index sweetener that can be used at 1:1 ratio replacement with regular sugar. Now it isn't super low in carbs at around 5g per 1 tsp. but it is still a nice sugar alternative.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Oh my aching gums !

I started off last Friday with a trip to the dental office.  Supposedly it was for a simple filling and some gum restoration work.  I love how they use the word "restoration" rather than slicing and dicing!  I left with a filling and several nasty stitches plus 3 different bottles of pain meds.

Fast forward to Saturday where I began the process of looking like a chipmunk.  Sunday was worse that Saturday and today things are slowly, and I mean slowly, starting to get better.

No exercise for the next week and only soft foods.  I have been having smoothies upon smoothies, scrambled eggs, greek yogurt - I even drank a bowl of cream of wheat through a straw.  I will admit, I indulged in some cottage pie my man made for me as I rested on the couch with my new best friend - the ice pack.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Surprise: There is NOTHING wrong with you!

The past 2 wks I have been running on adrenalin.  My schedule has been out of whack but each day I am striving to get back into my rhythm.  I managed to step back into the flow and reclaim my mojo yesterday.

Thought I didn't manage to squeeze in all my rebounding yesterday as planned and succumbed to a piece of toast, I did have a good sleep and woke up today feeling energized.  Considering sleep and energy has been fleeting of late this is wonderful news!

What did I do differently yesterday?  I really tried to focus on mindfulness regarding simple tasks. Taking the time to truly engage versus rushing through my to-do list with my mind elsewhere did in fact pay off. I think that may be reason #1 why I slept so well.

I was also inspired by an article in a past issue of Oprah's magazine which I stumbled upon in an attempt to clean up my office. In a What I Know for Sure article, Oprah talks about Sheri Salata. Sheri is/was Oprah's producer and truly a fascinating character. She is also a regular blog contributor on the O website. What resonated with me was the topic of grief...a topic I am all too familiar with but can happily say no longer weighs me down. Sheri's brother, John, passed away shortly before the article was written at the young age of 42.  The article highlighted how Sheri handled his death and it caused me to rethink my yesterdays, my todays and my tomorrows.   I quote:  " I know the reason Sheri was able to give so much in the midst of her own sorrow was that she'd been working seriously on giving love to herself. We can see through the eyes of love only when there's love in our eyes. And to be able to see that way while yet we live is the biggest gift of all."

Today, tomorrow, and always - LOVE YOURSELF.  Don't berate yourself, don't speak harshly to yourself and criticize your downfalls.  As corny as this may sound it is still true:  You are PERFECT exactly as you are.  If you are following this blog because you don't like your body then take some time today to love your body.  Look at eating, exercise and self-care not as a way to change bad into good but rather as a way to honor your body, to give it what it needs to thrive.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Water is your friend, not your foe

Water... is it my arch nemesis ?  I have this love/hate relationship with it.  I camouflage it in tea, coffee, ice in my smoothies but rarely do I sit down and enjoy a tall, cold glass of it.

As most of us know, we are made up of a significant portion of water - some say 90%, some say 70%... whatever the percentage it is up there.  And most of us also know that the drink of choice should be water.  Hydration is essential to survival.  It is also essential to weight loss.

How does it help us lose weight?  Well first of all, it fills you up.  Drink a glass of water before each meal and then check your hunger levels.  You simply won't be able to consume the same amount of food as you would have without the H2O.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Carb Attack !

Confession time: this week I have made fairly lame attempts at exercising and I fell off the low-carb eating plan wagon.  What happened? LIFE.

Work became super busy,  I had nausea (thanks, hormones),  daughter got sick, I was running on adrenalin and my willpower flew out the window.  If I can pinpoint the exact time the bottom fell out of my plans to stay on track I can, with confidence, say that it all began with crackers.  The evil cracker:

Yes, I know crackers are not low carb but they were my last resort against nausea.  I tried ginger tea,  natural supplements, the works...nothing put a dent in it.  So what did mom teach us when we were little?  Eat crackers if your tummy is upset.   I did just that and then all hell broke loose. One cracker turned into 2, into 3, and finally into half a sleeve!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts

These are truly incredible. Gluten-free, low carb and delicious! Little did I know that today was also National Peanut Butter Day in the USA so this recipe also has perfect timing.

My daughter is a chocolate and peanut butter fanatic. My son is on a gluten-free diet and as you all know,  I follow a low carb eating plan so these are truly a miracle for all of us wrapped up in one sweet and tasty treat.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Hello Dukan Diet !

First off, I detest the word diet.  I just do.  I am more easily swayed to eat properly when I hear "lifestyle change".  The word diet to me brings to mind hunger, struggle and disappointment.  Old, long held beliefs created by past experiences still effect my emotions; emotions that are triggered violently when I see the word DIET.  Clever little psychological word games.

The bottom line is that regardless of how I want to label it, food plays a huge role in my life and conscious choices of what I eat are high on my priority list.  Each day I continue to strive for a healthier lifestyle  -  this includes loads of self-care, be it meditation, exercise, bubble baths, massages and yup,  a food "diet" that works for ME.

Therefore the word diet did not deter me from buying my latest book The Dukan Diet.  I managed to look past it see the rewards within this book.   It is more of a protein based eating plan rather than a low carb one.  It focuses on eating high quality protein, drinking plenty of water and exercising daily.  It reminds me a lot of the Atkins plan in terms of the phases but without all the high fat content and it allows for more low fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt (both no's no's on Atkins).  Fruits, starchy carbs and  grains are not permitted in the weight loss phases - along with a few other thing such as nuts, cream, butter, etc.  And that, my friends, is why I purchased the book - because of how it focuses on low fat, high quality proteins vs just low carb eating.  Though I enjoy whipped cream, full fat butter and steaks fried in grease there is just no way I want to keep eating that way.  I simply cannot wrap my mind around the idea that eating that much saturated fat can support a healthy body.

I do love low carb though and didn't want to deviate from that way of eating.  I know that South Beach is a similar diet that focuses on low carb and low fat too but for me, The Dukan Diet drew me in.

The diet is broken down into 4 phases:
  • Attack
  • Cruise
  • Consolidation
  • Stabilization
In the first phase, you eat only proteins for up to 10 days depending on how much weight you want to lose.  I am just ending this phase now after being on it for 6 days.  You also are to exercise daily and drink plenty of water.

Then you move into phase 2 which you will stay on until you reach your target weight.  It involves a rotating diet of days consisting only of proteins and days consisting of proteins and veggies.  Again, exercise daily and drink water. 

The last 2 phases are all about slowly adding back various foods to your meal plan while stabilizing your weight so you don't gain anything back.  The last phase is the phase you will stay on for the rest of your life and it is pretty simple.  Eat a balanced diet and ensure you eat only protein one day per week.

For each phase you do eat oat bran daily - not a lot but enough to fill you up and keep things "regular" if you know what I mean.

I will not be following the exercise portion as laid out in the book because to me it just isn't enough nor something I feel I need to even add to my routine. The recommended 20-30 minutes of walking daily is no match for my 4 x week weight and rebounding routines and daily yoga sessions.  I prefer to stick to my routine where I continue to achieve great results.

But the diet I will follow.  I love the rotating one day pure protein, one day protein veg.  It just makes sense to me and I can easily handle that.  Plus the push for lower fat cuts of meat, no oils, butters, heavy creams, etc, makes me feel better.  I don't feel laden down with grease! Now I can eat yogurt, low fat milk, etc, without worrying about the carb count which brings me to another highlight of this eating plan  -  NO COUNTING.  That's right, no counting carbs, calories, points, fat grams!  Just eat as much as you want and as often as you want from the list of approved foods depending on which phase you are in at that time.

So there you have it - the Dukan Diet.  You can find a slew of info on the official website , even an online calculator that will provide you, free of charge, with your own high level diet plan showing how long you will need to stay on each phase to reach and maintain your desired weight. 

After 6 days on the Attack phase I feel great.  No cravings, no headaches, no desire to eat everything in site and best of all I am very happy that I have reduced my intake of saturated fats. Tomorrow I start the Cruise phase and looking forward to having veggies!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Low Carb Blueberry Muffins

Craving a breakfast treat that is cakey, sweet but low on carbs?  Voila.  These gorgeous little gems are low carb blueberry muffins made with coconut flour and fresh blueberries.  They are to die for and store well in the refrigerator for easy grab-and-go snacks.

I had one today with a bit of cream cheese along with my steaming cup of coffee and I was in heaven.  They come together in snap and in under 20 minutes you will have a fresh fruit muffin waiting for you.

Now you may look at the quantity of flour and go, WHAT?  Only 1/3 cup for 6 muffins ?  Yes, just 1/3 cup is all you need. Coconut flour acts like a moisture sponge so a little goes a long way.  The key is to get the right liquid to flour ratio so you don't have sopping wet muffins or bone dry ones.  I found that 2 tablespoons of coconut milk (though almond milk will work too) is enough.  The 3 eggs really carry the weight of adding moisture to the recipe.

So if you are ready, let's get started.

*adapted source recipe:  Sugar-Free Coconut Raspberry Muffins


3 eggs  at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 tablespoons coconut or almond milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar substitute; I used Erythritol
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup fresh blueberries


HEAT oven to 375° F. P
LINE 6 muffin cups with paper liners
IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together eggs, butter, milk and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined
IN MEDIUM BOWL, whisk together flour, salt, sweetener and baking powder
ADD blueberries to dry ingredients and toss until coated
FOLD dry ingredients into wet ingredients
LET batter rest for 5 minutes
WITH ICE CREAM SCOOP,  fill each muffin cup evenly with batter
BAKE 18-20 minutes until tops spring back when touched
LET COOL in pan 10 minutes then transfer muffins to cooling rack
STORE cooled muffins in a ziploc bag or sealed container in the fridge and eat within a wk


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Welcome 2012

I know. I have been bad.  Nearly a month has gone by without a post.  I do apologize. I guess all I can say is life took over, especially the holiday period.   Did I indulge food-wise?  You betcha; but it was all planned.  I intended to take 2 wks off my eating plan and I did just that.  I enjoyed the relaxed foodie atmosphere and the sweets but get this, I got sick of it all and fast.  I felt bloated, lethargic and had major headaches.  So it is safe to say I am back on the low carb band wagon and have been since Xmas.

During the holidays I did maintain my exercising though and last week I added a new workout routine. Check out the December issue of Oxygen magazine for their weight and jump rope combo. It is amazing. In just 2 wks I already see new definition and can feel the strength in my muscles. I love it !

Food-wise, I am moving back and forth each day between slightly higher carbs to lower carbs. I find the cycling affect really kick starts any plateaus and I have noticed it works better for me that just sticking to low carb day in and day out.  Now I don't go crazy.  On my higher carb days I swap the eggs and ham or protein shake for breaky for steel cut oats topped with some slivered almonds, blueberries, coconut milk and sugar free syrup.  It is an especially great breaky prior to a taxing workout and gives me the energy I need to push through to the end.

Now on to New Year's Resolutions.  Have you made any? I have not.  Reason being is that I don't do New Year's Resolutions.  I just keep moving forward each and every day regardless of what year it is.  So this year is no different.  I will continue exercising, eating the right way for me and ensuring I remain at the top of my priority list.

I have added a few new things to my day to day life though because I was simply ready for more; for more of the GOOD STUFF.  Meditation has increased greatly and I meditate twice daily.  Visualization techniques, deep breathing exercise and yin yoga now all play a very significant self-care role in my day.  I also journal more and each day before rising I go through a mental gratitude list. It is a wonderful way to kick start any day.

I also bought a wonderful book and cannot get enough of it. It ignited my new yin yoga practice and has helped me in cultivating more mindful awareness each and every day.  It is titled The Way of the Happy Woman by Sarah Avant.

Lastly, I have changed the way I exercise.  I have managed to stop the chatter in my mind while doing reps or rebounding.  Prior to this change, I would quickly drift off into endless mind-yammering: "what is for dinner, did I get the right groceries, did I sign the kids school agendas today,  am I ready for this afternoon's meeting...."  Well no more.  Reading a recent article in Oxygen magazine really resonated with me.  I believe it was Tosca Reno herself who said if you aren't showing up mentally for your workouts then don't show up at all. What she meant was that for a truly effective workout, you need to FOCUS on your muscles as you lift those weights, or jump rope, or whatever you choose to do.  She is right.  When I pay attention to the movements of the muscles my workouts are 100% better and more effective.   I highly advise you give this a try too if you also catch yourself in the "mind is racing" game during exercise.  If thoughts creep in just recognize that it is happening and redirect your attention back to your muscles.  It takes some perseverance but it is worth it.

In closing,  I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and are ready for a great year ahead. 2012 will be your best year yet !  Let's enjoy it together  :)