Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Homemade Ice Cream- Date sweetened

This recipe took lots of trial and error to completely eliminate refined sugar, but I love it. I most especially love it with 100% cocoa powder and hazelnuts stirred in!! Note- this is dessert and not a health food and moderation in quantity and frequency is a must! While the sugar is naturally occurring from whole dried dates and milk, it remains a simple sugar. The minimal fiber (1 g per serving) and vitamins and minerals added from the dates aren't significant. Also a fair warning that the Ice Cream Shop Variety is triple the saturated fat (a trend characteristic of going to an ice cream shop). So what are the advantages of homemade ice cream? It tastes better. You can control the quality of the ingredients. There are no thickeners, stabilizers, or food additives. Last of all it is fun. So enjoy!

Ice Cream Tub Variety (doesn't freeze quite as well for later use)

2 cups Half and Half
2 cups 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
140 g (~18 Deglet Noor dates) dates, soaked and blended into smooth paste

Optional add-ins after freezing in ice cream maker:
100% cocoa powder
chopped nuts such as hazelnuts or almonds

9 servings; serving size 1/2 cup
Key nutritional facts per serving: 4 g saturated fat; 16 g sugar (Source: milk, half and half, dates)

Ice Cream Shop Variety (freezes best for later use):

2 cups cream
2 cups 2% milk 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
140 g (~18 Deglet Noor dates) dates, soaked and blended into smooth paste

Optional add-ins after freezing in ice cream maker:
100% cocoa powder
chopped nuts such as hazelnuts or almonds

9 servings; serving size 1/2 cup
Key nutritional facts per serving: 13 g saturated fat; 14 g sugar (Source: milk, dates)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Probiotics are not a miracle drug

A recent (very small) study observed some of the perils of taking too many probiotics:

"Probiotic use can result in a significant accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine that can result in disorienting brain fogginess as well as rapid, significant belly bloating."

My takeaway: Be careful about taking dietary supplements just because they're marketed as healthy.                                                                                 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Garden Pasta Skillet

A lunch inspiration! Lunch is my hardest meal. That's because my husband makes breakfast and he's here to eat dinner opening up all sorts of possibilities since he eats everything. Lunch is another story. I often don't get home til noon and I'm so hungry by that point and the girls are much more likely to outright refuse to eat anything creative. So I decided lunch is free game. The kids can choose leftovers or a sandwich. I can choose whatever I want and today I created something yummy! I didn't measure as I went so this recipe is estimated. You could definitely go more heavy on the vegetables!

Garden Pasta Skillet

1 cup whole wheat penne
2 Tbsp light olive oil
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 cup onions, sliced
1 large cremini mushroom, minced
1 large handful Swiss chard stems, minced
1 large handful of pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful Swiss chard leaves, chopped fine

Butter
1 small handful fresh basil, chopped fine
Feta Cheese


1) Cook penne according to package directions and set aside.
2) Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute squash, onions, mushrooms and Swiss chard stems until slightly softened (3-4 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3) Add pine nuts and saute until vegetables are tender.
4) Turn off heat and add noodles and Swiss chard cooking until Swiss chard is wilted. I added butter here until the noodles were not sticky (maybe 1/2-1 Tbsp butter)
5) Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.
6) Serve topped with feta cheese, crumbled

A Wake Up Call

So I've been struggling with eating. How does one find time to plan, shop for, prepare and eat food? That question is meant to be lighthearted and exaggerated, but really it is a struggle to create time to find things to eat and to eat well. I find that my kids prefer basic, bland and predictable meals refusing the more adventurous creations full of vegetables. I also find that with kids things just take longer. It takes longer to get them out the door and back to the house, it takes them a long time to eat and messes are more frequent and take longer to clean up. I love my kids and I'm okay with this (most days), but I have let myself spiral into a dietary pattern that is less than ideal. The spacing between my meals have grown longer and snacks are less frequent. The more difficult foods to prepare including a great deal of vegetables and meats have been decreased dramatically in frequency. Freezer entrees are much more frequent and aren't always paired with balanced sides.

The consequence of these seemingly simple dietary changes in addition to decreased exercise and increased stress are finally calling me to change. I want to say goodbye to fatigue, mixed up hunger cues, nausea, decreased appetite, lower than ideal blood sugars and insomnia.

As I commence a journey of healing and health optimization I hope to be sharing some ideas for simple snacks and meals that work for me. The reason for this is that simple is what I must have to make this work. Just remember that every body is different. While I must eat every 2-4 hours others might be able to go longer. While I feel I can eat a variety of foods from all food groups, others might find themselves reacting negatively to certain foods. A key point to remember here is general nutritional recommendations are a good starting point to get back on track, but our bodies give us the final say of how to optimize our individual health.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Being outside is good for you


A large meta-study recently concluded that "Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits".

"We often reach for medication when we're unwell but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognised as both preventing and helping treat disease. "
- Study co-author Prof Andy Jones

My takeaway: Go outside!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fast food might be a contributor to allergies

A recent review of 16 studies links eating fast food (especially hamburgers) with allergic diseases such as asthma, pollen fever, eczema, and rhino-conjunctivitis.

My takeaway: Avoid fast food

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Dietary fiber helps boost immune health

You may be able to reduce flu symptoms by including more fiber in your diet, according to a recent study in mice.

My Takeaway: Eat more fiber for a healthier gut microbiome.