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Archive for the ‘In the Kitchen’ Category

For real. I wasn’t so stoked about this new life change. I wasn’t at first. Oh, lawd no. In fact, I was overwhelmed, frustrated and just plain cynical. Sure, I had done some light reading to brush up on the basic philosophies and I was slightly encouraged by friends and relatives who had embraced this way of life with great results, but me? Low carb? Aw, naw. My diet consist of potatoes, pasta, bread and rice. How can I ever give those things up? Plus, you know, I’m not in need of losing any significant weight.

 

It was hippie husband who brought up the idea of starting a low carb diet, just over a week ago. We had toyed with the idea in the past, but again, it just felt overwhelming. This time though, he was adamant. We were doing this and being the supportive and encouraging wife I am, dove in head first with him. We officially began our low carb journey just four days ago on November 13, 2012. Our first meals consisted mainly of our normal meat dishes with a side salad, completely omitting the typical sides of pasta, potatoes or rice. For four days we have done it this way, but we both know we can’t sustain a diet when the options are so limited. And I can only eat so much salad.

 

This drew my attention to blogs, forums, groups and the advice of a dear friend who offered support, ideas and encouragement. Sure, we are less than a week in, but I am an eternal planner. I’m in this for the long haul. I need options. I need alternatives. I have found those and much, much more.

 

For me, I’ve never had to diet. I actually recoil at the sound of the word. Diet. As if it is mocking me. Telling me I’m not good enough the way I am. Low carb, I’m learning, isn’t all about limitations it’s about making smarter decisions and awareness. I need to be more aware of what I put into my body. I’ve had a high metabolism my entire life, but my luck could run out as I reach thirty. Making informed decisions now will help me maintain the weight I am at and the added bonus of feeling happy and healthy is a peace of mind I can’t get at the bottom of a chip bag or, in my case, a heaping plate full of potato skins.

 

Shopping has become an adventure as well. Like a scavenger hunt, I check labels for carbohydrate counts and dream up creative solutions for snacking. There are so many tasty things I can still indulge in without knocking my carb intake into deep space. Some things, like oven baked almonds (for me it’s mint dark chocolate) are very low in carbs but high in nutrition and flavor. Once a splurge, honey roasted peanuts have become a staple for snacking. When I subtract the amount of money I would have once spent on chips and other munchies, they aren’t that splurgetastic as they once were, either.

 

Nothing like homemade low carb munchies 🙂

 

One of my all time favorite snacks, pita chips, are ridiculously easy to make at home. I picked up some low carb pitas today, cut them up, sprayed them with olive oil and seasoned with course sea salt and baked them in the oven at 275 degrees for a delightful, healthy snack.

 

The added bonus to finding low carb pita bread was learning that spinach dip has no carbs!! SCORE.

 

Tonight’s dinner is based on a suggestion by my husband. Chicken, bacon, ranch wraps. Mmmmm. He’s promised to help in the kitchen too, which makes me hugely excited! This experience is making for some great kitchen whitchery with my partner in low carb crime 🙂

 

So, what is the moral to this story? There are a few, actually.

1) Don’t be afraid to try something new, especially if it is healthy.

2) Find a great support system. Whether it is a forum or a friend, support and encouragement will eliminate the overwhelming feeling of a substantial life change.

3) Low Carb isn’t all about limitations or sacrifices, it’s about awareness and substitutions. Find options and get creative.

4) Have fun!! Laugh at your trials (like our first night when we had meatball subs sans the sub buns).

 

 

If you are curious about some resources here are some great ones:

My low carb muse, Leeann, has an awesome blog all about baking! You can check her out here:

http://lowcarbsugarfreelife.blogspot.com/

Some of her suggestions for great resources can be found below.

Livin’ la Vida Low Carb

http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/

Healthy Indulgences

http://healthyindulgences.net/

Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal

http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/

 

 

Wishing you all happy and  healthy holidays!!

Lauryn

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Add some ground cayenne pepper to soups and stews. It helps the body release toxins.

Sniffles, coughing, sneezing and general sickliness is par for the course this time of the year in Ohio. Between kids going back to school, the weather changing from warm to brisk, and the shortening amounts of daylight, it’s no wonder Fall is rampant with sinus issues, allergies, and colds. It seems like everyone has something and if you don’t yet you soon will fall prey to this season’s avalanche of health concerns.

But, what is there to be done? Certainly you can load yourself up with over the counter pharmaceuticals at the first itch in your throat. But what if you pursue a more natural approach to healing? What if you, like thousands of others, believe in holistic prevention? Our bodies were designed to combat dis-ease. They were meant to come into contact with dis-ease and fight off the infection naturally, thus boosting the immune system and providing the body with a lifetime of antibodies; something that vaccination and medication cannot ever do.

With the threat of H1N1 (erroneously termed ‘swine flu) people are in full panic mode. But the simple truth is that there are some very simple and natural steps a person can take to prevent the onset of any dis-ease, from the common cold, to yes, even the dreaded Swine Flu. These easy steps boost your immune system, giving it a jump start on prevention, without the side effects of medications or vaccines.

What are the measures that can be taken to counter becoming ill?

1. Eat a balanced diet

2. Stay hydrated

3. Be active

4. Practice good hygiene

5. Get a good night’s sleep

6. Don’t stress

7. Be positive

I know the steps read like a common sense guide to being happy and healthy, but really, that’s exactly what they are. Not only are you treating your health, holistically (all encompassing) but you are doing from the inside out. Our bodies are awesome machines, but when we neglect certain gears in our machines, it affects the whole thing.

By eating a well balanced diet we make certain our bodies get the nutrients they need to function at their very best. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins sugars and lipids are all necessary beginning at a cellular level. If we ignore these needs or if we over indulge we risk off setting the delicate balance and doing more harm than good.

Our bodies are more than 80% water. Having said that, it is critical the body stay hydrated. In a day we lose more fluids than we may think. Thus it makes sense that we have to refuel with that liquid gold, water, every now and then. The general consensus is eight glasses of water per day however, we can supplement by eating fruits and drinking other fluids that have a water base.

It’s no secret that activity is better than a sedentary lifestyle. It gets us moving, gets the blood flowing and just plain feels better than being parked on our derrières for hours on end. Get up and move every 30 minutes. Even with a desk job just get up and walk for a minute or two, it will do you good. Get active with a group, learn to dance, chase the kids or play fetch with the dog!! There is no excuse for obesity (aside from a medical condition) in this world, it compromises the immune system and makes you feel terrible, inside and out.

I can’t say enough about practicing good hygiene. The number one cause for the eradication of dis-eases is the better living conditions we have today. Keeping yourself and your home clean and fresh is a great way to stave off infection and dis-ease. Hand washing is imperative, but too much can actually be counter-intuitive. We do have a plethora of good bacteria on our bodies that help with protecting it from illness as well.

We all need it and most of us, sadly, do not get enough of it. No, not sex: sleep. 24 hours in a day is barely enough to get everything done and when the days become shorter it seems like we get less done. Busy minds, babies crying, dogs barking, neighbors mowing the lawn at what seems like the crack of dawn, are all things that hinder our restfulness. To combat such interruptions, a person needs to get on a schedule and stick with it. We are, after all, creatures of habit. So go to bed at the same time every night and awaken at the same time every day. Eight hours of sleep is recommended for adults, but anything from six to nine hours is sufficient.

The last two things that will help keep a person healthy and happy are often over looked. People feel overwhelmed and stressed more than not. But this does nothing to help the immune system, in fact, when frustrated, depressed, anxious and upset our physical bodies actually begin to mirror our emotional health. Joy, laughter, love and compassion make us feel healthier and feeling good is the first step to BEING healthier.

Healers often talk about the power of a positive attitude. A person who is ill and very cynical takes almost twice as long to heal than one who is optimistic!! So smile!! Laugh!! Get some hugs from loved ones. It’s medicine for the soul.

These are simple steps to implement into your daily life, steps that will help you to feel better and BE healthier too. In addition to being as easy as a smile, they are also inexpensive which is a bonus if finances cause you some stress. Dis-eases are everywhere, but they are avoidable because prevention is key. And if by chance you do fall ill, eat some soup, stay hydrated and ride it out, because in the end you have built up a lifetime supply of antibodies for that particular dis-ease and that is what holistic health is all about.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy autumn,

Lauryn

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Do I have an entry for you today? Oh yes, hippie family, I certainly do. It’s a doozy too, especially if you like to simplify your life and not compromise your more natural lifestyle. Are you all a- tingle yet? You should be.

When I was little my mom used to make scrambled eggs in the microwave (WHAT? Oh yes.) It wasn’t until I went on to a sleepover at the age of seven that I even knew you could make them on the stove! My child’s mind was blown. Anyway, to this day, I still prefer scrambled eggs in the microwave. And I know, microwaves aren’t super healthy, blah, blah, blah. I know, I’m a work in progress and I haven’t yet achieved Mystical Pioneer Level 10 yet. Now, back to the eggs. Clean up is a bitch. Well, it used to be. Somehow no matter what I do the eggs get baked on to the dish I use. I even tried cooking spray (blehh). I would soak the dish, throw it in the dishwasher asap (which usually meant scheduling dishwasher time around cooking, which seems silly) and STILL the egg residue would be there taunting me! UGH.

Then, out of nowhere the other day inspiration struck me as I stared at the yellow caked on cement. I reached up to my cupboard and

You see that? That mess of yellow cement that used to plague my existence? Not any more, tee-hee 🙂

grabbed some salt. SALT! Why did I never think of this before? Nine years of cooking for a family and it hit me just like that. I poured some salt in the dish, and started scrubbing away with a wet scrubby. No elbow grease. No profanity yelled at the dish. The egg residue was GONE in the blink of an eye. I could have scrubbed with just my fingers and some salt too. That’s how easy it was. HALLELUIAH! I was sure I saw the clouds part and heard a choir of angels sing praises.

The first time I did this was right after I had cooked and eaten. The picture above shows a bowl that was sitting in my sink overnight after a late night craving for a homemade McGriddle that I was too lazy to wash at that exact moment. I didn’t even soak it. Today took a little more work to get the egg off, but compared to not using the salt it was still pretty easy. So if this little trick works for cementified eggs, it probably works pretty well for anything else baked on that has, until this moment, been the bane of cooking.

All clean after a nice salt scrub!

And what is that green thing sitting there in the picture? That, my friends, is my reusable kitchen scrubby that took me 10 minutes to crochet. I love it. Why? It’s freakin’ reusable, that’s why! I just toss that bad boy in the laundry every night when I switch out my dish cloth from the day, too. No sitting over night to marinate in bacteria waiting to be used the next day to *ahem*, “clean,” with. Oh no, not in this house. I have a special laundry basket just for towels, dish cloths, wash rags and scrubbies! Every night I replace the icky rags and towels with clean ones and I haven’t used a sponge since I don’t know when.

If you are the crafty sort (and even if you aren’t this is super easy), the pattern for my kitchen scrubby is at the bottom of the page. Try to be patient with me, this is the first pattern I have ever written!

As an added bonus, you can use these to exfoliate your face/body (hooray for not having to buy those uber expensive things anymore, amIrite?). They also make great gifts 🙂

All in all this is a pretty informative entry here. We all deserve gold stars for striving to make our lives a little less complicated!

Happy Thursday,

Lauryn

Easy Crochet Kitchen Scrubby

Skill- easy-peasy

Puff stitch (Tutorial found here)

Chain

slst (slip stitch)

Crochet in the Round

Items needed:

Extra yarn laying around- worsted weight, any color.

Size J crochet hook.

Pattern:

Chain 3

Slst in first chain to make a circle

Round 1

8 puff stitches in center of the circle

slst to join

Round 2

2 puff stitches in st space (between your puff stitches)

Repeat all the way around (16 stitches)

Tie off.

You’re done!! Do a happy dance 🙂

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