Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oatmeal and Lasagna

I learned this cool thing this morning: Instant Oatmeal is a scam.
Not only is instant oatmeal overpackaged, overprocessed, and oversweetened, it's not necessary. You do not have to cook oatmeal. I'm not talking about instant oatmeal. Not even Quick oatmeal. Regular Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal.
I had breakfast this morning with my friend Sue and she made oatmeal like this:
  • Boil water.
  • Mix in serving bowls 3 parts boiling water to 2 parts oatmeal. (2/3 of a cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of water)
  • Let it sit until the water is all absorbed, and it's ready to eat.

Being back on track and off the nefarous sugar, I top mine with unsweetened applesauce.

As we talked about unnecessary products, I remembered how I had laughed when I first saw packages of "no-boil lasagna noodles" in the early '80's. The joke is: no lasagna noodles need to be boiled. You build your lasagna, make sure the sauce completely covers the top, cook it for the normal 50 minutes and poof: lasagna. Yeah, I know, when I first read it (in Mother Earth News, circa 1980) I had to try it to be sure - but I haven't boiled a lasagna noodle since.

Human for the Holidays

Hello everyone and a Merry Midwinter to you all.

This time of year presents special challenges - obstacles - traps - for those of us who are trying to avoid sweeteners and eat Real Food. We show our love of friends and family by giving them stuff that's bad for them and sharing it with them. Go figure. Last year I survived just fine. This year I *gasp!* ate some of the sweets. Enough to remind me why I don't do that. Armed with a brand new bottle of Tums as I pay the consequences, my food is back on track. Yay.

I could have gone on posting like that didn't happen, but I like to sleep well at night. I am not The Queen of Eating Right, just an ordinary woman who knows her body works better when fed properly and tries real hard to accomodate it. Sometimes I do better than others.

What I learned: Nothing's changed. Sugar and it's brethren STILL turn off the "that's satisfying, that's enough" switch and invite their friends. Eating it STILL makes for foggy thinking, lower energy levels, leg cramps and heartburn. It hasn't gotten any better out there.

Next post (in a couple of minutes) I'll post a couple of other, more pleasant, things I've learned about food.

Wishing you all a Prosperous, Happy and Healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream and Mint Chocolate Shakes

Sometimes you want a taste that's not commercially available unsweetened. Chocolate plus mint comes to mind, and Three Musketeers now comes mint-flavored. Sometimes it's really hard to leave it alone, and it's not the sugar doing it.

But: I win. What I did:

Standard Shake recipe
plus 3 T cocoa powder
plus 1 T peppermint oil.

Voila! Chocolate Mint craving satisfied, no sugar added.

I promised I'd report on the results of the pumpkin ice cream experiment. I finally got around to making it - and broke my dasher.

What I'd done was freeze the contents of a small can of pumpkin, thin and flat, so little chunks could go in the ice cream mix and have a good head start on frozen-ness. Well, oops, I didn't make the chunks small enough. I added the cream and pumpkin pie spices and turned it on and the whole thing instantly froze together and the dasher - plastic, of course - broke.
So I took a heavy mixing spoon, broke everything up small, and ran the ice cream maker using the mixing spoon as a dasher. That worked ok and before long I had pumpkin pie ice cream.
It was good.

Now here's the thing about not adding sugar. Sugar shuts off the "I'm satisfied" switch and turns on the "I want more" switch. A normal serving of ice cream without sugar turns on my "I'm satisfied" switch about half-way through. Not that it's not yummy, it is. But I don't eat as much because I get satisfied when I'm supposed to.

So I had been looking forward to pumpkin pie ice cream for a while and finally made it and dished myself a good sized bowl of it. Hah. Half that much would have been plenty.

The only thing about these ice creams I'm making that I'm not happy with is the texture - I guess I'm not putting in carrageenan or something? or maybe it's the kind of ice cream churn I'm using. I'm working on it. Next time I do pumpkin, I'll mix it in the blender first, and add bits of pecan and apple at the end. That should be outstanding.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The oven's pre-heated and I'm putting the rolls in. 20 minutes of baking, 20 minutes of blogging.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Two things come to mind: Gratitude and Fatty food. Counting blessings and Counting calories. Life is neat so let's all eat. Yeah, ok.

So let it be said: I'm grateful I got off sugar. I don't miss TUMS or those extra pounds. I'm grateful my off-sugar mentor got off sugar: she's still alive and healthy.

The rolls baking in the oven are the store-brand frozen enriched white dinner rolls my honey has taken to his family's Thanksgiving gathering forever. They thaw, they rise, they get baked, some of them get eaten. Tradition.

For this gathering, though, I made my Cranberry Sauce , which I mentioned in a previous post.

Dissolve 1 packet of unflavored (Knox) gelatin in 1/2 Cup pure cranberry juice. (NOT cranberry juice cocktail or juice blend.)
Heat 1 1/2 Cup pure cranberry juice to simmering, and stir it into the dissolved juice/gelatin.
I also add a packet of Stevia - cranberries are pretty tart.
Whizz half a bag of fresh cranberries in the food processor and stir them into the juice.
Let it gel in the fridge.

No sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.

I also made Deviled Eggs . I turned the jar of dill relish backwards so my honey wouldn't notice it's not SWEET pickle relish.

Hard boil eggs.
Peel, cut in half, pop the yolks into the food processor and the whites on a plate.
Add a spoonful (don't make it watery) of DUKE'S regular mayonnaise (the only commercial mayo I know of without sugar), a good healthy squirt or so of jalapeƱo mustard, and some dill pickle relish. Whizz. Stuff the eggs.

No sugar, taste great.

Incidentally, I like to use cake decorating tips and frosting bags for this, or a zipper food bag works fine too: no mess and pretty eggs.

Now, you may remember from an earlier post that stuffing mix is sweetened. I can only hope that the ones in charge of the turkey make their own.

Oh yes - I have the ingredients chilling for Pumpkin Ice Cream . Cold Stone Creamery has pumpkin ice cream and I confess I did taste some and it was delicious - except for the obvious fact that there's sugar in it. I will be making a batch my way very soon, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Artificial Sweeteners

Now, THAT'S a lot of sweet!

While searching the net for the list of artificial sweeteners at the bottom of this page, I ran across this information from the USDA.

In 2006 the average PER CAPITA DAILY consumption of HFCS was 197 calories, according to The USDA.

And 211 calories of cane and beet sugar.
Per person.
Per day.

Not to mention all those other sweeteners.

Wanna lose weight?

No wonder 20 pounds dropped off me when I quit eating sweeteners.


List of artificial sweeteners

Natural sugar substitutes:

* Brazzein
* Curculin
* Erythritol
* Fructose
* Glycyrrhizin
* Glycerol
* Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
* Lactitol
* Mabinlin
* Maltitol
* Maltooligosaccharide
* Mannitol
* Miraculin
* Monellin
* Pentadin
* Sorbitol
* Stevia
* Tagatose
* Thaumatin
* Xylitol

Artificial sugar substitutes:

* Acesulfame potassium
* Alitame
* Aspartame-Acesulfame-Salt
* Cyclamate
* Dulcin
* Neohesperidin dihydrochalcone
* Neotame
* P-4000
* Saccharin
* Sucralose
* Isomalt

With thanks to
even if they do think these things are food.

Mint Jelly is History.

I grilled a lamb steak last weekend, for the first time in a loooong time.

I've always liked
mint jelly

with lamb- but I find it's all full of high fructose corn syrup. what to do?

I found this delicious mint sauce imported from England at Fresh Market. Lots of real mint and vinegar, no sweetener at all, and way better on the lamb. Good Stuff!

Monday, October 29, 2007

They put sweeteners in EVERYTHING! The easy part of being sugar-free is the cake, candy, cookies thing. The hard part is that the stuff is in nearly everything.

I decided to check the labels at my friend's house to show how sneaky sugar is. She eats fairly healthy, as food goes these days - lots of home cooked food, meat and veggies...

Note: these foods just happened to be in her cabinet. They represent absolutely no bias for or against any particular brand. I pulled them out at random.

The first can I picked up was kidney beans.

"There's sugar in kidney beans?" she exclaimed, surprised. Yep, sure is.

Hmmm - green tea. Should be good for you... - Oops - SUGAR.

Shake-n-Bake? Yep, sugar, dextrose, and maltodextrin. For chicken coating?

Stove Top dressing - another item you wouldn't necessarily give up if you were giving up sweets, right? Wrong. High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, sugar, corn syrup. Stuff I surely never put in my homemade stuffing back when I ate sugar.

We all know ketchup is sweetened. Did we know it took three different kinds of sweetener? High Fructose Corn Syrup, regular corn syrup, and sugar.

Mexican rice: sugar and maltodextrin.

What's sugar doing in the peanut butter??? And, although I didn't get a picture of any, it's also in most mayonnaise.

The Rasberry Vinaigrette dressing is Organic, which is a good thing. But I really don't care that the sugar is organic - it's still THERE - and I still don't want to eat it.

The pretzels had only one sweetener - dextrose. Still too much. BTW, another name for dextrose is glucose. I don't want it in MY pretzels.

Pet Peeve - although I can find sugar-free pretzels, I can't find Whole Wheat Sugar Free Pretzels. Why the heck not???

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Camping with The Shakes.

I just got back from a 10-day camping trip. Yes, I had a cooler, and I started out with my usual shake recipe. Later in the week, though, when the fresh food's been eaten up, it gets silly to buy ice. Also, washing dishes at camp is a bit more iffy than doing it at home. So, I present to you now, the Camper's Shake:

Take 1 good quality ziplock sandwich bag containing pre-measured MLO protein powder and oat flour.
Pour in 1 12-oz can V8. (I prefer Spicy Hot, but the regular is good too.)
Zip it up, shake it up - massage the corners gently - open a bit and sip through a straw.
Throw out the remains. No dirty dishes. No refrigeration required.
(assuming you use vitamin tablets instead of liquid vitamins when you go camping.)

Breakfast just doesn't GET any more convenient than that.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce - REAL Cranberry Sauce.

I was going to post this closer to Thanksgiving, but maybe this will give search engines time to find it.

Last Thanksgiving I wanted Cranberry Sauce. Guess what - they're all High Fructose Corn Syrup. In the organic section, it's organic High Fructose Corn Syrup. I still don't want it.

I took plain Knox gelatin and made it up with pure cranberry sauce and added crushed fresh cranberries, sweetened only with a half-packet of Stevia. Nothing bad for ya there, and it tasted great. Give it a try.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


The price of Nexium can be $.50 to $1 each online.

The price of Prilosec, likewise.

Ultra maximum strength TUMS, $9.00.

The cost of quitting sugar is of course a negative number - I don't spend money on candy bars, cakes, sodas, cookies, etc.

And I don't spend money on Nexium, Prilosec, or Tums.

When I ate sugar, I was NEVER without TUMS within arms reach. I had constant heartburn.

Since I quit sugar, I have not bought any TUMS. I may have taken a handful of them in the past year and several months, when I was dumb enough to eat and go to bed too soon.

When I tell people this, they have a tendancy to go buy cookies. I don't understand.

Well, maybe I do - addiction is addiction.

Friday, July 27, 2007

When I was a kid, my stepfather was the only person I ever heard of with diabetes. Nowadays, it seems like nearly everyone has it. I decided I'd check if it was just my perception, and it's not. There's an epidemic of type 2 diabetes out there, and I don't want it.

Is it related to how we eat? All the non-food in our food? You bet.

This study, among many others, discusses the causes. It's pretty technical, but basically today's food has more calories and less nutrition and more sweeteners and less fiber.

To quote: "In this ecologic analysis, in which national data from 1909 to 1997 were used, we found a strong association between an increased consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of corn syrup, a decreased consumption of dietary fiber, and an increasing trend in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the United States during the 20th century. Furthermore, our data are consistent in that obesity and the prevalence of diabetes increased proportionately to the increase in consumption of refined carbohydrates in the United States."

In a nutshell, our national diet is making us fat and sick.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

More Ice Cream

I hope you tried and enjoyed the Strawberry Ice Cream. Here are two more cold and creamy treats for these hot summer days.

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream:

Mix directly in ice cream maker:

1 pint half-and-half
1/2 bag frozen cherries
2 T. vanilla extract
1/2 packet Stevia if you want.

And, for the ultimate in simplicity,

Mango Ice Cream
1 pint half-and-half
1/2 bag frozen mango

blend in blender, pour - ok, scoop - into ice cream maker.

This one, if you don't happen to have an ice cream maker, will make soft ice cream in your blender if you use very cold cream and frozen mango.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Waking Up With The Shakes :)

I was asked to post the shake recipe with which I start the day. So, OK, I will. Let me tell you about shakes.
Several years ago I was lucky enough to stumble onto a website - Radiant Recovery - the link is in my links on the sidebar. This is a wonderful resource for those of us who would like to eat real food and quit eating poison. I basically got the shake recipe from Radiant Recovery.
Here's why I have this shake for breakfast:
1. It's quick and easy and I can write my journal while I'm eating it and get off to work on time.
2. I don't get ravenously hungry before I even get to work. In fact, a small healthy snack at break time and I'm just getting ready for lunch at lunchtime. Heck, if I got to choose my own lunchtime (yeah,
that'll happen!) I could skip the snack. This from someone who used to walk around work with a pocket full of pretzels just to drag myself through the day.
3. I'm much saner. Since I've been doing breakfast for so long, I've had a few (very few, thank goodness) opportunities to observe what happens when I skip it. Any time in the last several years that I've sunk into poor poor pitiful me kinds of thoughts - yep, you guessed it - I found I'd skipped breakfast. Now, I don't like to feel that way. So I eat breakfast. (If you go to Radiant Recovery, you'll discover that breakfast means with adequate protein and within an hour of getting up.)

OK, so here's the shake. This is the one I use. Adequate protein for you may be more or less.

1/2 C orange juice
1 1/2 C milk
1/4 C oat flour
1/3 C MLO protein powder with no sugar, no flavoring. The milk and egg is good, so is the protein power formula.
2 Tbsp liquid multiple vitamins

I vary this sometimes. Like last week: fresh strawberries went into the blender with it.
Sometimes I put instant coffee granules, or plain unsweetened cocoa powder - lots of anti-oxidants they say, and the OJ makes it all
sweet enough already. Frozen berries are good, blackberries, blueberries, rasberries. I've done fresh pineapple and unsweetened coconut. That took some searching! Why do they think coconut requires sweetening???

So that's the breakfast shake.
Bon Appetit!

Friday, May 4, 2007


1 pint half-and-half,
roughly a cup of FRESH YUMMY STRAWBERRIES, cut up,
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract.
Put it in ice cream maker and follow its directions.

When I made the decision to cut out sugar, the thought of giving up ice cream horrified me. I looked at the sugar-free ice creams, and they all replaced sugar with other sweeteners. Oh, no - at least we KNOW in what ways sugar is bad for us. I can no longer find the wonderful frozen pureed banana pops with no other ingredients. So I bought an ice cream maker and started experimenting.

The above is one of several delicious totally-food recipes I've come up with. I will post more later.

An interesting thing about Real Food ice cream: It's delicious, but not addictive. I used to eat HUGE bowls of commercial ice cream. When I make ice cream, I package it in 4 oz. containers, and find them quite satisfying. Sometimes I eat half of one and put the rest back in the refrigerator for another day. No wonder the Food Manufacturers (oxymoron!) don't sell this stuff. Without the addictive sugars, no cravings, no pigging out, no profit margin.

The reason I started this off with Strawberry Ice Cream is - I'm visiting my daughter in SC and strawberries are in season. There's a strawberry farm nearby and we came back with 3 gallons - some for her, some for me, some to freeze for later.

Bon Appetit!