Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Little Things Add Up—Healthy Habits Tuesday

Sport a Healthier Smile!

The terrible munchies hit me this past weekend, but I survived. I made homemade (baked) pizza for the guys and I fashioned a small cheese-less one for myself, topped with fresh pineapple chunks, red bell pepper slices and onion. Boy was that good! I had been staying clear of wheat but I used Spelt (ancient wheat) and brown rice flour in the crust. Still, I ate too much, and I was two pounds heavier the next day (how does that work?). 

Here's an update on my progress with those small habits-in-the-making for the month of January:
  • I feel good most every day
  • A persistent backache's still around so I make time to rest
  • I didn't have a headache for 2 weeks!  
  • I gave up wheat and chocolate 
  • I'm eating a lot of raw veggies and fruits, and juicing more (within an anti-inflammatory diet)
  • With everything I eat, I ask first: "Is it healthy for me—or destructive to me?"
  • I'm experimenting with raw food recipes and a couple of new foods
  • I have energy to exercise 20-45 min. at least five times/week
  • I'm smiling more and sleeping a bit better (less stress over-all)
  • I've lost six pounds (could have been eight!)
  • I'm keeping track of my daily food intake 
  • I'm encouraged to continue

Not eating chocolate is a bit of a struggle  but something I've needed to try, so here I am. I'd simply had it! Headaches and migraines have menaced me since I was 16—I couldn't take it anymore so about a year ago I got my doctor to write me an Rx for migraines. Thank God it works, but I don't like feeling medicated and I don't want to be hooked on meds with potential side effects. 

My doctor told me that she suffered many years also and that chocolate was the one thing that made a big difference for her. So, isn't it worth a try? Do I like feeling sick? Do I want to be well? Good-bye chocolate. (Wheat is another suspect.)

Honey, get on board!   

This past week my Honey and I watched Forks Over Knives and since he responded so positively I got him to watch Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead also, which I had already seen and loved. I recommend them both! 

Hubby needs the motivation frequently (just like me) and has vowed to make some changes alongside me. {big smile} I don't think we're quite ready for a juice fast but who knows? He's agreeing to do the following . . . 
  • Eat much less meat
  • Cut the cheese consumption
  • Enjoy juicing more and think about a juice fast
  • Eat organic when we can

I had a good laugh at my part-time job. The gal I work with hung a photo on the wall in my office that she had clipped from a magazine of two fabulous looking ladies who had worked out together and had lost weight and gained their health. One was tall and blond (like me) and the other shorter and brunette (like her) and she printed our names on their bodies and wrote 2014 across the top. 

When I saw it, I couldn't stop laughing. The thing is, though she's 60+ in age, she's already gorgeous with the body of someone much younger and who looks too cute in her jeans, sweaters and boots. Guess what? She eats very healthy and she finds time to exercise even while working a full-time desk job
Keeping Track
Healthy Habits—Week 5
A sedentary lifestyle and a lack of exercise are triggers for inflammation. Maybe that's a big reason why I've been feeling much better lately! I choose to make exercise a life-long habit. Exercising outdoors adds an additional benefit by increasing your endorphins (feel-good hormones), and sunlight provides Vitamin D. Are you looking forward to spring?

Eat avocados and do more with them! (They were 19 cents at Aldi's recently!) I see that they are on the lowest in pesticides list—good, mine weren't organic! I made this awesome dessert this past week . . .

The Lime Mousse recipe has an avocado base (along with frozen bananas, and of course, fresh lime juice). I wasn't introduced to this super food until a few years ago. I now love guacamole and I'll not shy away from those many raw recipes that include avocado!

I've given up most dairy for health reasons and I'm working toward eating a diet of 50% raw foods, so this was a perfect tasty treat for me.  

Luscious Lime Mousse

Are you worried about the fat content in avocados? The Truth about Healthy Fats will dispel any "fat myth" you may believe. After what I read about the health benefits, I know I should be adding avocados to my meals to help meet a number of my personal health needs . . .
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Heart healthy (omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Rich in carotenoids (Vitamin A)
  • Protein content (all 18 essential amino acids present) 
  • High in oleic acid (breast cancer protection)
  • Vitamin E powerhouse
  • Nearly 20 essential nutrients as well as a "nutrient booster"
Once you start seeing those results of healthier living, regardless of how small, it's motivating to keep with the program. Get inspired by your own small successes and the outstanding results of those around you like in those success stories witnessed in the films I've mentioned. If possible, make it a family (and or friend) affair and motivate each other.

Do you want health—or sickness? It's a choice. Getting healthy and overcoming many diseases is doable and you can do it too!

Liking up with Healthy Habits Tuesday 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Luscious Lime Mousse (Raw, Non-Dairy)

Luscious Lime Mousse
(Raw, Non-Dairy)

If I hadn't given up chocolate recently, you'd most certainly see a Dark Chocolatey Mousse in that Lime Mousse's place. This Lime Mousse recipe has an avocado base along with frozen bananas and of course, fresh lime juice. But I do love the flavor of lime and this creamy treat tastes even better than it looks, and it's no doubt a healthy dessert for your family and mine.

I've given up most dairy for health reasons and I'm working toward eating a diet of 50% raw foods so this is a perfect treat for me. If you like gluten-free and vegan recipes, this may be perfect for you too. 

The health benefits of the avocado (including it's good fat nature) are reasons why I want to eat them as part of my anti-inflammatory diet that meets my personal health criteria. You can find avocado nutrition information listed at Avocado Nutrients. Want some "R-rated" history of the avocado? You'll find more than you want to know here.

FYI: The portion of the avocado closest to the skin is the most dense in nutrients, so be sure to scrape the skin clean before tossing.
It's thick and creamy.
Luscious Lime Mousse
(Raw, Non-Dairy)

1/3 cup almond milk
4 Medjool dates (pitted and cut)
2 medium avocados (chunked)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp coconut butter 
2 frozen bananas sliced

Add the first six ingredients to a high-powered blender (like a Vita-Mix) and blend. Then add frozen bananas last and blend well. Eat right away or refrigerate 'til later. You could probably freeze this in Popsicle molds and eat it like a frozen dessert, but I have not tried that yet.

Top it off with some frozen berries and treat yourself right!

For more information on avocados and why I need to eat them scroll down this page and take a peek.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hit the Brake and Reset Your Destiny

Healthy Habits—Week 4

What I Hate—Loss of Control

I'm referring to all the junk (aka food choices) we cram down our esophaguses. 

What comes over us? 
Are we on cruise control? 
Kind of. 
We've set ourselves up to drive according to the habits we've made. 

It's time to hit the brake and reset your destiny. 
Get serious about this healthy journey.

 Where's that left-over Christmas candy?

While I had a serious Candida (yeast) infection, I constantly craved carbs and sweets. It's very hard to control. Eating healthier and avoiding carbs and sugary sweets, my cravings are disappearing. Even though they still entice me, I can say "no" more easily. 

A week ago I was at home alone; my husband and son were elsewhere and eating out. I was tempted to swing by the closest food joint to where I live—the Sonic Drive-Thru. The voice in my head told me I deserved it. I remembered that dreamy Mocha Caramel Java Chiller I had there once, so first I peeked online at their menu . . . and then . . . low and behold . . . I glanced at the Sonic Nutrition Guide

A 14 oz Mocha Caramel Java Chiller is 850 calories! 

A Sonic cheeseburger (w/mayo) is 800 calories. I gave up burgers a few years ago, but decided right then, that I needed to keep some kind of food record to really see what I'm actually consuming and be accountable to myself first and foremost. 

You can't lie to yourself. If I don't record that forbidden fare, I still know that my calories for the day are botched. 

Is Eating Raw the Answer?

Since I'm desiring a 50% raw foods diet at this stage of my plan, I know there are some concerns since weight loss is one of my health goals.  

In looking through my blog here at Kathy's Kitchen you'll see some awesome raw desserts and dishes that may be high calorie, and filled with healthy fats, nuts, etc. Yes, there are living enzymes which are important and the better choice IMO is going raw, but many of these foods should be eaten sparingly.

 ". . . raw foods can help you lose weight, but also how you, no matter what you eat (yes, even raw), can also keep weight on."

Karen Knowler is a raw food coach who at first experienced improved health and weight loss while following a raw food diet, but then a few things changed and she packed on the pounds. A raw food diet alone doesn't guarantee weight loss—read her story here: Raw Food and Weight Loss.

So, how did I do last week?
  • I have more control! Those baked goods didn't get me last week—I did great with staying wheat-free, and that included eating out twice (not Sonic)! 
  • I've continued to Jazzercise including a touch of yoga and shashaying to music around the house. 
  • I'm drinking my greens. 
  • The scale is going down. 
  • I stayed chipper and close to stress-free last week (remember, I chose rejoice for my 2013 word). 
  • I started a weight loss food journal a few days ago.

Keeping Track
Healthy Habits—Week 4

It's crucial for me to continue the daily exercise and I want to seriously think about setting some specific goals for walking when the weather warms up. I found this as a helpful tool: Calorie Counter for Conditioning Exercise

Eat more of the above mentioned foods that kill Candida. Keep track of everything I'm eating in my journal. Calories, fiber and protein, and more are included. I can also see at a glance how varied my food choices are and the percentage of raw foods consumed. I need to be cautious and not gorge on some raw foods, especially when I need to lose weight for health reasons.

If you missed it, here is a new tasty recipe I made last week which includes several of those foods listed above: (Raw) Mock Salmon Salad on Baby Bok Choy with Not-Peanut Sauce

Continue to utilize the Lose Weight the Healthy Way - 13 Week Journal, an excellent tool to push me forward and help me meet my daily/weekly goals. 

Have a growth mindset:  

You can do, what you put effort into learning and doing. Abilities are developed through dedication and hard work. Set new habits and enjoy the drive!

Linking up with Healthy Habits Tuesday

and Wellness Wednesdays

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Raw Mock Salmon on Baby Bok Choy with Not-Peanut Sauce

(Raw) Mock Salmon Salad on Baby Bok Choy 
with Not-Peanut Sauce

To me, it's lunch, but this would make a lovely apetizer!
I had something similar at a raw foods potluck once and I've never forgotten it. Often, these potlucks showcased raw food gourmet delights at their best and besides all the amazing new tastes, I learned much from going to them. This week I noticed Baby Bok Choy giving me the eye from the produce at our local Prairie Market, and you know what I had on my mind! Takin' you home baby . . .

I don't think it really tastes like salmon, but I love it just the same. I've made mock tuna a number of times before (very similar) so I looked around and found a recipe that I doctored up and I created a WINNER! I encourage you to give it a try.

 Mock Salmon:
Whole Baby Bok Choy leaves

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked 2 hours)

1/4 cup raw almonds (soaked 2-4 hours)

2 Tbs water

1/4 of a lg. red bell pepper 

1 Tbs lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

2 Tbs minced parsley

½ grated carrot

¼ tsp onion powder

1 garlic clove

1 stalk celery finely cut

1 Tbs onion finely cut

Process the first eight ingredients until mixed well, but not too smooth. 

 Scrape down sides of bowl periodically.

Place in bowl and add in celery and onion. Mix well. 

Place heaping teaspoon of mixture in non-leafy end of Bok Choy.

Not-Peanut Sauce:
½ cup raw almond butter (any nut butter might do)

¼ cup water

1 Tbs. lemon juice

2 tsp. maple syrup

1 garlic clove

2 tsp Tamari (or soy sauce)

1/8 tsp ginger powder

Few crushed pepper flakes (or scant amt. cayenne)

Pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

 Pour Not-Peanut Sauce over the top. Yummy!

To print these recipes go here for a PDF
These recipes are similar to ones found in Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet

Linking up with Wheat-Free Wednesday and Foodie Friends Friday
Foodie Friends Friday

Friday, January 18, 2013

Healthier, No-bake Chocolate-topped Munchies!

Healthier Version:

No-bake Chocolate-topped Munchies

When you want to eat healthier—no white sugar with a heaping helping of enzymes in your ingredients, what do you make for special occasion treats or for when company comes? More and more folks are tuned-in to eating specific to their family's needs, whether it's gluten-free or anti-inflammatory or vegan or other. This is a versatile recipe that you can use to fashion for your individual specifications.

For many years I used to make a No-Bake Munchie recipe that had a base of butter, honey and peanut butter that was heated on the stove, then you added in oats, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, and carob or chocolate powder or whatever you wanted. Well, now I limit the butter, and peanut butter, but I do miss those munchies! So I made a new-fangled, little healthier version today that I can eat . . .

No-Bake Chocolate-Topped Munchies!

Mixing the Munchie batter

For the basic recipe I added the following to 2 - 2 1/2 cups of steel-cut (or rolled) oats and mixed all together:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup 
  • 4 tsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa or carob powder)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil 
  • 2-3 Tbs coconut butter 
  • 1 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • dark chocolate (to melt for topping)
 Then I added in: a few tablespoons of chia seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, raisins, and sesame seeds. You have the option to use what you desire or have on hand: nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc. (The add-ins should amount to less than 1 cup.) If it's not wanting to stick together, add a bit more sweetener or coconut oil till it does.

Smooth mixture into a glass dish that has been coated with a little olive oil. Chill, cut, and eat plain or top with chocolate like I did.

Melting dark cacoa chocolate on the stove-top

Pour over the top and refrigerate

Cut and enjoy! 

To print this recipe go here for a PDF

Foodie Friends Friday
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"To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life." -William London

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Commitment: Habits in the Making

 I started reading an E-book I got for free "... then just stay fat."
(That got my attention!) The author, Shannon Sorrels, has a different style of writing about weight loss, calories, health, and sticking with a program—she entertains and motivates. She's heard all kinds of excuses for not getting-with-it including:
My tree fell over.
My fridge died; I had to eat it all.
I had to go out to dinner a lot this week.
They made me a cake.
My metabolism thinks I'm starving.
The soft serve ice cream with Oreo toppings was for calcium. 
You get it . . . "OK then, just stay fat."
OK, I can relate to these. Shannon tells it like it is and I have no more excuses! Either I do or I don't!

Commitment: Habits in the Making

Improved Habits: 
Exercise  6 times/week.
Drinking my greens everyday.
Losing pounds (as opposed to gaining)

Last week I concentrated on my posture and I did some Yoga (along with exercise). 
I focused more on what I was eating and if I really wanted to eat it—before I ate it. 
I continued with an anti-inflammation diet concentrating on raw foods plus eating wheat-free. I still had cravings and I didn't do as good as I could have . . . not habits yet.

Week 3

Continue to concentrate on posture and doing yoga for physical stress relief. Also, make sure to play my favorite music and dance when I feel like dancing

Continue with the wheat-free choices. It's hard because my husband and son aren't on the same restrictions I am. My husband does most of the shopping (a great bargain shopper which I appreciate) and comes home with breads and crackers and things that I really want but shouldn't have! My friend Lynn, a Hallelujah Health Minister, told me that if she had to look at all those no-nos in her kitchen she'd have a hard time too. So, I have to convince hubby—duh, like he doesn't already know. 

I tried a German sunflower seed bread that took a little getting used to, and a pecan bread I bought that I don't really like. I'm sure these are not low calorie but I thought to find a bread substitute I can eat and enjoy. I do like sprouted grain tortillas. I know there are gluten free recipes but I don't want a potato flour replacement.  I'll keep looking and experimenting. If you have a good recipe you like, please share!

Eating Raw : 
I eat a lot of green salads and have been juicing more, enjoying green smoothies, and I made zucchini pasta last night with a new sunflower seed dressing that was not so tasty. Sometimes that happens when you experiment. But here's a fabulous zucchini spaghetti recipe! I've made friends with pomegranates over the last several months and if you missed my previous post about my experience go here: Pink PomeGranny Juice.

"A glass of pomegranate juice packs in more antioxidants 
than almost an entire day of healthy eating."


Have you heard of Mind Mapping? When I went to Vicki Arnold's blog and saw her mind map I decided to do one for myself. This is based on my desire for healthy habit changes for 2013. The center is the red heart: Improved Health, and it has three divisions—Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual. From there it branches out and touches on many areas of my life that are important to acknowledge and commit to. If you are a visual kind of person this is a great way to make a plan and aid you on your healthy journey. I liked how they all interconnected.

Many of you have picked one word to represent what you want to accomplish in 2013. I have chosenREJOICE!  That's my main focus for a year. If you'd like to take a deeper look at why I chose Rejoice for my word please visit Living & Learning @ Home

I will say this: you know how you feel when your favorite song is played and you dance with no inhibitions? Or . . .  those sensations that grip you when you're doing something you absolutely love? That's how I want to rejoice about living—as close to all the time as I can—even through the adversity of illness and getting healthier. 

I'm not sure how this relates to the topic of commitment. Except, that I commit to rejoicing more! Isn't it all good? All that we are learning and doing and feeling and sharing? I am happy just to be me right now (with all my snags and snarls)—however far along on the healthy pendulum I am at—and I have much to rejoice about today! That's what I'm focusing on along with my healthy habits journey.

I'd love to hear about your healthy commitments. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Purely Pomegranates

Pink PomeGranny Juice

Are you a friend of the pomegranate? Oh what a lovely fruit this is! 

Native to southwestern Asia, the pomegranate is widely cultivated for its amazing edible fruit. It's actually one of the superfoods that I've recently become acquainted with.

Following my one day hospitalization in October for a cardiac malady, my husband brought me home a dozen pomegranates. He read on the Web that they were good for thinning the blood and stabilizing blood pressure, which at that time were new concerns. 

These pretty pink fruits were 79 cents each but since then we've bought them as low as 50 cents and stocked up. I found them in several grocery stores in our area and the price varied from $1 to close to $2 each, in season. What a wonderful fruit we've been missing these many years!

Bottled pomegranate juice tastes wonderful, but only once before had I seen a fresh one broken apart and tasted the seeds. They are marvelous all on their own—by the spoonful, but I had never used them in a recipe before October when I started juicing them. 

If you're a little intimidated or unfamiliar with pomegranates, you'll like this amusing and informative video on how to break these beautiful fruit apart and eat them: 
 How to Eat a Pomegranate, and that's pretty much what I did. (I made much less mess.)

"A glass of pomegranate juice packs in more antioxidants 
than almost an entire day of healthy eating." 
I quartered each and placed them under water in a large pot or bowl, then I separated the seeds which naturally fell to the bottom, and most of the rest along with the outer shell floated to the top for easy straining and removal. This process is a little time consuming, but hey, it's worth it!

The seeds contain B vitamins, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid and iron. Their anti-inflammatory nature may help protect you from cancer and heart disease. 

Fresh Pomegranate nutritional make-up:
  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup seeds
  • Calories 80
  • Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 5mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 18g
  • Fiber 5g
  • Sugars 12g
  • Protein 1g

Once I got those juicy tasty seeds ready-to-go, I used them in the following recipe:

Pink PomeGranny Juice
Seeds from 3 large pomegranates
3 large Granny Smith apples
3 large celery stalks with leaves
1/8 - 1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice

Put all ingredients through a juicer, then treat your tastebuds to this extraordinary drink.

 Super Delicious and Great for You!

The seeds taste good on their own, but I tried using the pomegranate seeds whole in a smoothie this past week and this is what I came up with: 

Pomegranate Smoothie

1/2 cup almond milk (or your choice milk)
Seeds from 1 large pomegranate
1 sliced banana (fresh or frozen)
3-4  large-leaf beet-top greens (or your choice of greens)
1 Tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Handful of ice
Stevia - sprinkle to taste 

Combine all of the above in a Vita-Mix or high-powered blender and mix until smooth. Pour and enjoy!
Go here for a pdf to print these recipes

I'd love to hear of your experience with using and eating pomegranates. 
Have any recipes to share?

Check out this interesting Pomegranate 101 at the Daily Dish plus some awesome recipes. This Pomegranate Salad (From Calculus to Cupcakes) sounds delish, and here are more raw recipes using pomegranates that you may want to peruse. 

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