Tuesday, June 17, 2008

PayDay Bar

I made a really tasty PayDay candy bar using wholesome ingredients. A touch of honey is included to add some extra flavor and better cohesion, however, it can easily be omitted for a lower-carb version.

1/2 stick butter
2 c. salted peanuts
1/2 jar peanut butter (all natural)
3 T. honey
1/4 t. stevia
1/4 heavy cream
1 T vanilla

In a double boiler, melt butter. Stir in peanut butter allowing it to melt slightly to combine well with the butter. Slowly add heavy cream. Mixture will be thick and creamy. Remove from heat and add vanilla, stevia and honey. Fold in peanuts. Spread mixture in pyrex pan and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares and serve.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Meat and Eggs

So, this week I've been following the meat & eggs (m&e) plan. Yes, that's right, just eating meat and eggs for an entire week. No veggie, no cheese, no wine, noshin' else. I've been irritated with the rate of weight loss these past couple months. Only netting a 2-3 pound loss per month. I wanted to jump-start things a bit. And jump-start it did! I've lost an amazing 7 pounds!!!! I know!
"But how can that be healthy?" you might ask? Well, let's think about what paleolithic man did. He was primarily a carnivore. Hunting as needed for fresh meat and substituting his remaining diet with berries, nuts, seeds, and tubers....and if he was really lucky, some honey. Meat was abundant. Although, he might have gone a few days, in between kills, without eating at all, meat was usually plentiful as opposed to berries, nuts, seeds, tubers and honey which were often seasonal and/or hard to find. I can easily imagine paleo man, in the dead of winter, going weeks on meat alone. So, do I think a meat & eggs only diet is healthy? Well, I don't think it's unhealthy to do temporarily. Of course, we still need our veggies (tubers) to supply extra nutrition. And adding veggies (as well as low-carb dairy, nuts and some honey) make this diet easy to stick to forever. It adds variety. (Note: Yes, I know that paleo man generally did not consume dairy but that's why my diet principles are an Atkins/paleo combo.)
The m&e experiment tended to be monotonous. Consequently, I ate less than I usually do. It essentially killed my appetite. And I have to admit, I did daydream about chocolate and key lime pie but after I ate a hamburger patty and felt fine.
Here was my typical day on m&e:
2 eggs
3 bacon
4 sausage
1 chai tea with 1 T heavy cream (o.k., you caught me, not m&e, but it was only a little bit)
2 nitrate-free hot dogs
1 beef hamburger patty
2 T mayo & mustard (I dunno if condiments are allowed on m&e but I ate them anyway)
1 steak or 1 pork chop or 1 chicken breast

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cholesterol - the villian that it's not

A few months ago, I had my regular eye exam. During the exam the doctor was peering into my pupils and said, "Huh, do you have a family history of high cholesterol?" Uh, no. Last time I checked, my cholesterol numbers were normal...however, that was a few years ago. Apparently, the doctor could see cholesterol "deposits" in my eyeballs which is frequently due to high cholesterol levels in the blood. I was shocked! I've been doing this low-carb diet for several months which is supposed to decrease your total cholesterol levels (if elevated to begin with), raise the "good" cholesterol, as well as reduce triglycerides (which is more indicative of heart disease than cholesterol). For a split second, I questioned the healthfulness of this diet. But then I decided to do some detective work with my trusty assistant: Google. As it turns out the act of breastfeeding itself raises one's cholesterol levels. Sometimes to very high levels like 300 or above! (~200 is "normal") Huh, who knew? Doctors will often discourage lactating moms from getting cholesterol levels checked during this time. The "good" cholesterol (HDL) is especially elevated making this phenomenon beneficial to both momma and baby.
Some people are just TERRIFIED of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a nutrient, not an anti-nutrient like white sugar. Babies need cholesterol for proper brain development, just to name one. So, why would something so essential for a baby be villianized in the same way as man-made artificial trans-fats? How can something so critical for growing children suddenly become the anti-christ once you are an adult?
As I've said above, cholesterol is not an indicator of heart disease. Your triglyceride/HDL ratio are much more important. And a low-carb diet favorably influences this ratio.

Carrot Cake Muffins

Yes, I said muffins. These are really great when you need something warm and smothered in butter. These muffins use coconut flour. While I can't take credit for these (I found them here), I will take credit for the additions. These muffins can be made any flavor: apple, blueberry, pumpkin, or even use any pureed baby food, just substitute out the additions for your own.

3 eggs
3 T. honey or maple syrup (or 1/4 t. stevia)
1 T. vanilla
2 T. butter (melted)
1/4 c. coconut flour (sifted)
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. shredded carrots
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice

Using a mixer, combine eggs, honey, butter, salt, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla. Slowly add coconut flour and baking soda. Fold in carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Pour into muffin tin.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Makes 6 muffins.
Note: I recommend using muffin liners since these are notorious for sticking to the bottom no matter how much you oil and flour them.

Top these puppies with my recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting for a true decedent dessert.

For youngsters, do not use this recipe. Babies should not eat honey and the raisins and nuts are choking hazards. Make Spiced Apple Muffins instead. Simply omit carrots, raisins, walnuts and honey. Use stevia or maple syrup to replace the honey (see substitution above). Add 1 jar apple puree baby food and one medium apple finely chopped. This recipe tastes good for adults too.

Coconut Orange Balls

I have yet to introduce nuts or wheat to DS. While this recipe does not include wheat (you won't see ANY wheat recipes here) it does include chopped nuts. Both raisins and chopped nuts are a choking hazard for young children. So, leave this snack for the adults and older children. They're perfect for road trips, just remember to keep them cool.

1/2 c. raisins
3/4 c. chopped nuts (your choice)
1 T. orange zest
1-2 T. juice of one orange
1-2 T. honey
1 - 8oz package of cream cheese
2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes

Using your hands, combine raisins, nuts, orange zest, orange juice, honey, cream cheese until well incorporated. Add more orange juice and/or honey if necessary to form a nice sticky balls. Roll balls in coconut flakes. Refrigerate until firm.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Low sugar flan recipe

So, while this is not low-carb, it is low-sugar (depending on how much maple syrup you use). It's made from whole foods. None of that nasty sweetened condensed milk here. My DS loves it. And I have to admit it's mighty tasty.

2 c. whole milk
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1/4 t. stevia extra powder (I use NOW brand)
6 T. maple syrup

Bring milk just to a boil. Whisk eggs and slowly add 1/2 hot milk to eggs to temper. Add milk/egg mixture back to milk to heat until small bubbles form. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla and stevia. Pour into 6 ramekins placed in a hot water bath. Bake for 350 for 1 hour. Top with maple syrup and serve.

low SUGAR MOMMA is here!

Welcome to Low Sugar Momma. I am a mom to a one-year who is eating up a storm. I didn't want him to eat the same processed, carby, sugary junk like most other one-year olds eat. It was time to make a permanent change in our family's diet. In addition, to making our food healthier, it was important to me to lose some unwanted pounds that crept on before and during pregnancy. For the sake of my son, I wanted to feel better and be more active. I want to run around with him and play ball. I want to go to a water park and not feel like a heifer. I want him to be proud of who is mom is and not be embarrassed that she was obese.
So, this is my journey.
I began to eat better August 2007, about 2 months after my son was born. To date, I have lost 35 pounds. I want to lose another 50. It has taken me 10 months to lose these stubborn 35 pounds....that's a mere 3.5 lbs per month! But, I'm still doing it and hanging in there. After all this is a lifestyle change...permanent! Not a fad diet.
I've chosen a combination of Atkins and a paleolithic diet . This means whole, natural foods. Generally low sugar and low-carb. It consists of plenty of meat, eggs, low-carb dairy, a good amount of veggies and some fruit. This diet is nutrient dense! Not unhealthy at all. These are whole unprocessed foods. Anything made or altered by man is not on my diet. I've tweaked the Atkins and paleo ideas to suit my needs and lifestyle. I wanted it to be as wholesome as possible. The diet sodas that Atkins allows are not on my diet (except for the occasional treat). The paleolithic diet allows for honey, which is not allowed on Atkins. But I've chosen to use it sparingly (along with maple syrup and stevia), especially for the recipes that my son will eat, knowing very well that if I eat it, it will not help me lose weight. The paleo diet also excludes milk products. I LOVE my dairy so I have included the low-carb dairy (and some milk for DS) according to the Atkins diet.
Throughout this journey, I will post my weigh-ins, recipes, and blog about my feelings and thoughts about food, feeding young ones and husbands, and the up and down process of losing weight. I hope you enjoy!