Tag Archives: Health Food

Good Girl Moonshine

So, a few days ago, I revealed a few big lifestyle changes to you. If you didn’t read that post, no, I am not joining the circus, dying my hair purple or taking a year-long sabbatical from my life to backpack through Europe to find myself.

Please.

This is far more shocking.

I have gone gluten and sugar-free.

Gasp. I know, shocking.

But surprisingly, not as hard as you might think.

And before you traditionalists go running for the hills, stick with me. I promise there will still be regular stuff too and you might find a few strange new things you’d like to give a try.

Strange new things.

Boy have I got something for you today!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research and much of the inspiration for the change (the change – that sounds so ominous) comes from the book Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett. If you are interested in making … “the change” … or just some changes in your diet or learning more about some incredible super foods and healthy additions to your eating habits, I HIGHLY encourage you to invest some time in this book – it is 600+ pages but it is filled with some eye-opening and thought-provoking stuff!

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I hate and hesitate to call it a diet because it really is a lifestyle change (I know, cliché’ – but true) and should be a focus on health and wellbeing rather than just on losing weight. That being said, a healthy weight is foundational to a healthy life and I must tell you that in two weeks of following this plan and making these changes, I am down a full size and am starting to see the healthy athletic shape I know and love emerging from the layer of over-indulgence that has been hiding it for too long.

I can’t tell you how much actual weight I have lost because I HATE scales and won’t step foot on one unless dragged onto it completely against my will. I close my eyes and plug my ears at the doctor’s office just in case the nurse can’t help but let out a gasp or tsk! tsk! when the dreaded number flashes red across the tiny display window that somehow feels more like the Times Square JumboTron.

I believe that sort of behavior is often referred to as denial.

Making “the change” is enough for me. I don’t need to know the numbers. At least not until they are in a range that won’t put me in bed with the covers over my head. For the time being, I’ll continue to cling to my quirks and idiosyncrasies, thank you.

Denial.

I can’t wait to tell you a bit more about what I’m learning about a GF/SF lifestyle and some of the incredible super foods I had no idea were out there; but today, it is all about moonshine.

Yup. MOONSHINE.

But this moonshine is for good girls. And guys. No backwoods distillery required. Baptist approved. I read that somewhere and couldn’t resist.

This drink has quickly become a favorite for me. And I must say, it was an unlikely favorite because, well, when you read the ingredients, it really just sounds kind of gross.

But that was before I tried it and got hooked. Now I can’t get enough of it. Truly, it is tasty, tart, refreshing, has a bit of a bite and as far as I’m concerned gives the best lemonade a run for its money. Even my beloved lemonade and Prosecco. I can’t believe I just said that. But it’s true.

Intrigued?

Here goes …

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Good Girl Moon Shine

This is a recipe developed and posted by Serene Allison, co-author of Trim Healthy Mama. I have added my own “tweaks” too. Play around with it and see how it tastes best to you.

Ingredients

Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger (fresh or powdered), Stevia Sweetener, Water, Ice.

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Directions

Fill a quart sized jar with water and ice.

Add  a generous drizzle of raw apple cider vinegar. The original recipe suggests 1-2 Tbsp. but I add 3-4 Tbsp. Yes, it has a bite. I like that. Just ask anyone who has ever had my coffee.

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Sorry, in the picture I did the ginger first.

Now, add 1 tsp. of  ginger powder (found in the bulk food section at Whole Foods  Market). This is from the original recipe. I like to put in fresh ginger, grated on a microplane so that it has a stronger ginger flavor. I grate in about a 1 inch knob.

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Sweeten by adding a few shakes of Nustevia Pure Extract Powder to taste. I only use 3-4 shakes because I don’t like things too sweet but you can play with  sweetness and try more. If you use Truvia – try 3-5 tsp. Again this is from the original recipe. I like to put in 10 drops of Stevia liquid.

Put the lid on and give it a good shake and then enjoy.

But not with a straw unless you like sucking up little bits of grated ginger. I just swig it straight from the mason jar. Moonshine style.

I know you guys are thinking I’m crazy, probably for many reasons at this point, but this stuff really is good. And just listen to what Serene has to say about the healthful properties and benefits of ginger and apple cider vinegar …

“Since I have been enjoying such copious amounts of my new favorite drink, I decided to do some studies about ginger. What do you know? I read that ginger actually dulls the appetite. But, I noticed this first hand before I even read this merit of ginger. Ginger heats up the thermogenic temperature of the body the metabolism which gives a double punch alongside apple cider vinegar’s own weight loss talents.

Ginger is a potent digestive aid and fires up the digestive juices. It reduces flatulence and eases tummy cramps. It improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body. Ginger clears the micro-circulatory channels of the body including the easily clogged sinuses. It clears throat and nose congestion and is a wonderful immune stimulant along with apple cider vinegar. Ginger is up at the top of the list with the most potent anti-inflammatory supplements on God’s green earth and can relieve common aches and pains and even help with more serious arthritic conditions.

Here are just some of the goodies Apple Cider Vinegar offers you:

It is abundant in potassium which is imperative for growth and building muscles, the transmission of nerve impulses, heart activity and preventing brittle teeth and hair loss. It encourages weight loss by breaking down fats to be used instead of stored in your adipose tissue. It is loaded with acetic acid which slows the digestion of starch and lowers the rise in glucose levels that occur post mealtime. It is anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial due to its high levels of malic acid. It is super alkalinizing though being rich in ash. It lowers bad cholesterol and helps to regulate blood pressure. It is a powerful detox tool and improves bowel function. It clarifies the skin. New research reveals it shows strength in killing cancer cells or slowing their growth.” Read more here.

I don’t know about you but … sign me up! In addition to the weight I’ve lost, I also no longer have any joint pain or inflammation. Not any. And I was having a lot.

More moonshine please.

I know it also has a lot to do with dumping the gluten and sugar but I’ll have some more moonshine anyhow.

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I spend a lot of time poolside in the summer because it’s hot and my kids are fish. This has become my poolside drink of choice – it is that refreshing.

And I like drinking “moonshine” from a mason jar.

Just a couple of disclaimers before I go …

One. As you know, I am not a doctor, nutritionist, dietician or expert in any way. I just read a lot (which is something like “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV”) and know that this tastes really good and I feel better. Do some reading and research and decide for yourself.

Two. My husband absolutely hates this stuff and refuses to drink it. He likes to call it snake oil. But that is only because he is picky and because he thinks he’s hilarious.

Jokes on him. He’ll see when I’m running a marathon like a 20-year-old. Okay, well that’s never going to happen – I’ve done a marathon before. Never again. Never. I’ll have to come up with something else to convince him to try the moonshine again. He’s gotten used to my coffee after all.

Be brave. Give it a try and run a marathon or hangout by the pool. Your choice.

Either way, enjoy!

And let me know what you think. I just have to know!

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Muffin in a Mug

It is confession time, my friends. Seven months of baking and blogging have taken their toll. Well it really isn’t the baking or the blogging, it is the over-consumption of the baking that has led me to today’s post.

I have pretty much always lived a healthy and balanced life. Exercising, sleeping well and eating right kept me on track. I have never had the luxury of being able to eat whatever I want in whatever quantity. I have always had to be mindful of maintaining a healthy body and weight. And for the most part, I always have – with a few slips here and there like when I spent the majority of my twenties living low-fat/high-carb and obsessively exercising. I was skinny but very unhealthy inside and out. Thankfully, my body (and my husband and my mom) forced me to come to my senses and I found balance again.

Taking good care of yourself isn’t hard when you only have you to think about. Add a husband to the equation and it doesn’t change things too much as they are usually fairly self-sufficient and the nurturing required in their care leaves a decent amount of time to maintain some personal focus. My husband is rolling his eyes.

Enter motherhood. Ahhhhh, motherhood, the game changer. And for me, not just motherhood but children with special needs and the deep wounds and challenging behaviors of severe trauma and loss. Every bit of my time and energy was focused on their healing and needs. My life was no longer my own and changed dramatically.

So did my habits.

I have always loved to cook, bake and eat but my kitchen became my therapy and my escape. Food became my comfort. It also became an important way for me to nurture and comfort the little people in my life.

Fast forward a few years, over 40, well over my ideal weight, not sleeping enough, out of balance again.

I have no regrets.

I love being a mom, even on the hard days.

Every sacrifice is worth it and leaving “all about me” behind is a journey we all have to take as we mature and gain perspective.

Especially if we become parents.

Unfortunately, what we tend to do is completely forget about ourselves. We accept the expanding waistlines, dark circles, wet ponytails and stretchy black yoga pants as part of motherhood. An outward sign of our personal sacrifice. After all, it isn’t about us anymore.

Or is it just me?

Still no regrets but it is time for me to find balance again. My children are healthy and happy, healing and thriving and growing up. I don’t have babies anymore. My youngest will start kindergarten in August and I will just be with me again a lot of the time. Well, Ethel’s youngest starts kindergarten too so I’ll be with her at Zinc Bistro lunching on French food. And I’ll probably be in Nathan’s classroom a lot just so I can be near him helping out. But you get where I’m going with this.

It is time to find and focus on me again.

This blog has been a huge step in that direction and I love it so much. I love sharing family recipes and stories with you and that will continue but I do have to make some changes. My body is demanding change and balance.

At the risk of giving you way more information than you could possibly ever want to know, I will tell you that I have a pretty significant wheat sensitivity that I like to ignore. I tested negative for Celiac but it is still an issue for me. It isn’t too big of a problem for me if I am careful but I can be reckless … my high-carb/low-fat 20’s and now the somewhat obsessive amount of baking I’ve been doing since I got my hands on my grandmother’s recipes.

Reckless.

I also have to tell you, crazy things happen to you over the age of 40 and your body doesn’t bounce back and recover like it once did. At least mine doesn’t. I needed to start listening and being more mindful of my health and longevity. It is amazing what we take for granted and can get away with when we are younger.

A friend recommended an incredible book to me that I can honestly say has opened my eyes to health and nutrition in new and inspired ways. It has also spurred me on to do further reading and research into a low glycemic and gluten-free lifestyle.

Many of the principles in this book are not new to me as over the years I have read just about everything published on diets, health and nutrition. But this is different. This is not a diet or a fad. This is biblically based and just makes sense to me; a “where have you been all my life” kind of sense.

It is how I truly like to eat and how my body feels and functions best and I am adjusting to the loss of flour and sugar. Counting and tracking calories, fat grams, carbs, points, etc. and logging every morsel I put in my mouth throughout the day; I hate that and I won’t do it. That is about weight loss – this is about a strong, well-nourished, healthy body and a healthy weight is a happy side effect.

Listening to my body and making a few small changes to nourish and care for it. That I can do. That I have to do.

So, I have made a few small changes and I have been gluten-free/sugar-free for almost two weeks now and I feel like a new woman. And I have to tell you, almond and coconut flours are incredible. I am still working out the “sweetener” to my liking but have a few recommended Stevia products on order that should be better for baking.

I promise, I will still post traditional recipes but will be working on healthy tweaks and modifications as options. And I and will soon have pages atop my blog with indexes for traditional recipes and low-glycemic recipes (as I test and post more and more of them).

For now, I would love to share with you one of my favorite discoveries from Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett – you didn’t think I was going to forget to give you the name of the book did you? – Muffin in a Mug.

The best thing about these muffins is that my kids LOVE them and are eating them just about every morning. They are so simple to make and are loaded with flax meal. It makes me feel great knowing that with every bite, they are filling their bodies with healthy life-giving foods that taste like a treat. I have taken the basic recipe in the book and tweaked it into two versions that we absolutely love, pumpkin and chocolate.

Sugar-Free/Gluten-Free Muffin in a Mug

Pumpkin

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Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. golden flax meal
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. almond flour
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 packets Truvia or other Stevia based sweetener (adjust to your sweet-tooth)*
  • pinch of kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened pure pumpkin puree

*Note on Stevia – the small amount of Truvia used here does not leave the bitter aftertaste that it does when baking in larger quantities. I’m still working on that.

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Crack the egg into the bottom of a coffee cup and whisk with a fork.

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Add your dry ingredients.

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Add then the pumpkin puree and mix ingredients together vigorously until well combined.

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Here’s the crazy part. Put it in the microwave for one minute.

I know.

I’m still trying to get my head around it.

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Turn it out onto a plate and you have a pumpkin muffin. An ugly pumpkin muffin, yes but a healthy and delicious one. Add a little whipped cream and berries and it gets prettier.

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My husband and my kids LOVE the pumpkin muffin and I think it is delicious but the chocolate – it tastes like cake. Truly, like rich chocolate cake.

Chocolate

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This muffin is made the same way but with a slight tweak to the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. golden flax meal
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. almond flour
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I added this as I love what a hit of cinnamon does for chocolate)
  • 3 packets Truvia or other stevia based sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 1 level Tbsp. coconut oil

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Add the ingredients in the same way you did for the pumpkin muffin and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute.

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It is so good, I promise. The coconut oil adds a little more fat and calories than the pumpkin puree but it is a good healthy fat. Coconut oil is something I have been reading up on and I am impressed. Take a look at The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife if you want to learn more about this incredible super food.

Flax and almond flour can be found at most grocery stores now and they are just the beginning of the incredible possibilities available in gluten-free cooking and baking. I can hardly wait to experiment and share more with you!

Enjoy!

And be sure to let me know what you think!!