Turns out, Mom was right!

Remember growing up and how your mom always had advice and opinions on EVERYTHING? Well, mine did anyway. One of the things she told me, that I pretty much discounted, was that you should cook with cast iron. I, of course being “modern”, viewed this as being “old-fashioned” BUT as it turns out…she was so right!

As I was learning about the dangers of Non-Stick coatings – the non-stick coating that keeps food from sticking contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons); a chemical linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems, and according to one study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, early menopause. Fumes are released when the pans are heated and we can also ingest the coating when it gets scratched. (From Eating Well Magazine) I also learned that Cast Iron that has been well seasoned is naturally non-stick!

Cooking with cast iron also has other health benefits. You can use less oil and it fortifies your food with iron! While it doesn’t leach chemicals into your food, it does leach iron. Cooking food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce in cast iron cookware can increase the iron content by as much as 20 times! That’s good news!! Especially since iron deficiency is fairly common worldwide and 10% of women are iron-deficient. (Also from Eating Well Magazine)

After learning all of these things about cast iron, I have to give Mom credit. She may not have known the “reasons” behind her thinking but she was absolutely right about cast iron being the best cookware to use. It also gives food a flavor and crispness that you really can’t get with non-stick cookware.

I already had an 10″ iron skillet my Mom had given me before she died, it may have belonged to my granny too, and I recently bought a Lodge 5 qt Dutch Oven. I like <a href="Lodge Cast Iron” title=”Lodge”>Lodge because they are made in the USA and a high quality product.

Here is a great YouTube video about how to season a cast iron piece.

Things to remember: only use hot water and a nylon scraper or scrub brush to clean. NO SOAP! Dry immediately and let air dry for a little bit, then re-oil the cookware with a small amount of oil and a paper towel or clean dishcloth. NOTE: the nylon brush, paper towel and/or dishcloth will be slightly black. Kinda freaked me out, but everyone says it’s ok. When you store them put paper towels between pieces and don’t store with the lids on.

I am loving the way the food tastes when it’s cooked in cast iron. I found this recipe for Sea Scallops that sounds like it would be DELICIOUS!! Enjoy! And, as always, thank you for taking the time to read this and may The Lord bless your day!

Seared Sea Scallops and Quinoa

From EatingWell: January/February 2014
Yield: 4 servings, about 3 scallops & 3/4 cup salad each
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 medium blood oranges or navel oranges
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds (see Tip), divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound dry sea scallops

PREPARATION
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add quinoa; cook, stirring until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice ends off oranges. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith; discard. Working over a large bowl, cut the orange segments from their surrounding membranes. Squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl before discarding them, if desired. Add the scallion greens, almonds, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon coriander and salt to the bowl; gently stir to combine.
Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon coriander. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (To prevent overcooking, transfer the scallops to a plate as soon as they are done.)
Add the quinoa to the bowl with the orange mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve the scallops over the warm quinoa salad.

TIPS & NOTES
Tip: For the best flavor, toast chopped nuts or seeds: Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts or seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

NUTRITION
Nutrition Per Serving: 368 calories; 13 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 27 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 6 g fiber; 597 mg sodium; 668 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (62% daily value), Magnesium (33% dv), Folate (32% dv), (B12 27% dv), Potassium (19% dv), Iron & Zinc (17% dv)

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 starch , 1/2 fruit, 2 lean meat, 2 fat

What The Heck is Clean Eating?

If you are like me, you want to be healthy and fit but don’t always know the best way to achieve that goal. To add to the confusion, there are always “new” concepts being flung about. Lately there seems to be a lot of talk about Clean Eating.

So what is Clean Eating? I found a good definition from rebeldietician.us. It says: eating clean means to adopt a sustainable lifestyle that emphasizes the consumption of whole, real and nutrient dense foods that are grown or raised organically, while limiting intake of highly-processed and refined foods in order to achieve optimal health and wellness.

What do they mean by “unprocessed foods”?
Unprocessed foods include:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Dried legumes = beans (all kinds), lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas
Nuts
Farm-fresh eggs

Minimally processed foods:
Unrefined grains = whole wheat bread and pasta, popcorn, steel cut oats, quinoa, and brown rice
Frozen fruits and vegetables

Unprocessed meats and dairy:
Choose wild over pastured
Pastured grass-fed over grain-fed
Hormone free dairy

Oils:
Canola
Olive
Coconut
Grapeseed

Pesticide-free organic food is recommended. And you still need to watch portion sizes! (Parts excerpted from Fitness Magazine)

I do most of this but it is difficult and costly sometimes to choose only organic. If you are just starting out, please don’t feel like you have to gut your kitchen and start over! That will be super expensive! Instead replace items as you need them with the healthier version. If you have a family that is resistant to change try easing them into it gradually. For instance, if you usually buy regular white flour pasta, buy a “whole grain” pasta first then move to the whole wheat pasta. The whole grain has a consistency and color closer to the white pasta. If you don’t tell them, they probably won’t notice. When we made the switch to skim milk we did it gradually going to 1%, then 1/2% then skim. It took a few weeks but no one complained and now we love skim!

Also check out the Farmers Markets in your area. Many times they offer organic produce that is cheaper than getting it from the store. Also Kroger and Target are now offering a lot of organic store brand foods. They are usually less expensive than the specialty stores like Whole Foods and Earth Fare. Also watch for sales! I recently got wild caught salmon at Earth Fare on sale for half price! If they are out of the special, many times they’ll sub in something similar. I hope this info helped you! As always, thank you for visiting and may The Lord bless you!

Does God REALLY care what I eat?

Does It really matter to God what we put in our mouths? I mean, He has an awful lot going on in the world to be concerned with our eating habits., right?

Not so much. Even though there are lots of things going on in the world that may seem so much more important, fact is that WE – you and I – are His top priority. He actually cares about every little, minute detail of our lives. Including what we eat. But WHY would what we eat matter to God?

1 Corinthians 6:12-13 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

We as saved believers are free from the Law. “I have the right to do anything…but not everything is beneficial.” God wants us to be benefitted by what we eat.

Romans 6:15-16 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?

We belong to God. He made us. He owns us. He loves us enough to die in our place. We owe it to Him to be obedient. Not out of debt but out of love and gratitude. I like this analogy. “If someone gave you a million dollars, just because they love you, what would you do? Would you turn around and spit in their face? No! You would be ecstatic! You would be grateful! You would want to be nice to them! How much MORE valuable is your salvation? Bought at a price?” Obedience should not be out of obligation but love and gratitude.

Ok, so food…
1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. We glorify God with our bodies. God wants us to be healthy. For our own sake and for His glory. Think about it. If we are unhealthy, we don’t feel good. We get diseased, overweight, tired, etc. hard to glorify God with all that going on!

We are stewards. Dictionary.com defines steward as: “a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.” EVERYTHING belongs to God, including our bodies. We are their caretakers. This really got to me. I am the CARETAKER of my body. I am taking care of it for God! Think back to the analogy. If someone gave you a million dollars and asked you to take care of it, what would you do? I would be very careful to take good care of it! How much more valuable our bodies? Our lives?

I recently bought the book <a href="http://The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life“>The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren. I haven’t read all of it but some of my thoughts in this post came from reading the first chapter. You can purchase the book by clicking on the title.

I will be sharing more from the book as I continue reading it, I’m sure!

So how good of a steward are you being? What are your thoughts on stewardship? Not just of your body, but in general?

As always, thanks for reading and may The Lord bless you!

Permission to cheat

Healthy eating. Sounds easy enough but is it really? I think the mistake most of us make is that we try to do it all at once with no permission to mess up. Things like “no more sugar”, “no more fried foods”, “I’m only going to drink water from now on” or my personal one “I’m giving up soda”! The problem with those kinds of declarations is that it sets a high standard that is probably not going to last.

What if instead we decided to make a conscious effort to make healthier choices but also gave ourselves permission to make unhealthy choices ON OCCASION? Let’s face it, we mess up and when we make hard and fast rules with no leeway we set ourselves up to fail!

This is why I love carb cycling. By alternating our high and low carb days we have a variety but as part of Chris Powell’s program we also get a GUILT FREE DAY! A day to give into that French fry or doughnut craving! One of the purposes of this blog is to enable you to make better choices and to learn to be good stewards of the body God has given you.

Join me next time as we delve into why God would care what we eat.

What do you find yourself craving? Do you tend to make bold declarations or you a little at a time person?

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Meal Plans and Recipes!

This is my second week on Turbo 10. I lost 2 lbs last week! Yay!! This week I thought I would share a Low Carb Day Meal Plan and a High Carb Day Meal Plan with you, as well as a Low Carb recipe.

On a typical LOW CARB DAY, with Turbo 10, my meal plan looks something like this:

Breakfast: Bod-e Chocolate Protein Shake
Snack: Bod-e Burn and ¼ cup of nuts (I buy unsalted, raw nuts and roast them. I then mix one small bag of salted nuts to 3 bags of the ones I roasted. It cuts way down on the salt but still has flavor)
Lunch: Bod-e Chocolate Protein Shake
Snack: Crock Pot Pizza Soup (recipe below)
Dinner: Grilled Steak, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and side salad

HIGH CARB DAY:
Breakfast: Bod-e Chocolate Protein Shake
Snack: Bod-e Burn and one Ezekiel English Muffin with 1 tsp Land O’ Lakes Butter with Olive Oil
Lunch: Bod-e Chocolate Protein Shake
Snack: Roast Beef, Cheese, Spinach and Arugula Wrap on Low Carb Tortilla
Dinner: Pulled Pork on Whole Grain Bun with Roasted baby carrots

LOW CARB CROCK POT PIZZA SOUP WITH DICED TOMATOES RECIPE:
(By Chef Dine on September 29, 2006)

Prep Time: 15 mins, Total Time: 8 hrs 15 mins, Servings: 6

About This Recipe
“This is a variation recipe from “Mercy”. More tomatoes, less sodium…”

Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (16 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (16 ounce) cans low sodium beef broth
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (I prefer green peppers so I use them instead)
1 small onion, diced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and drained*
3 ounces sliced pepperoni*
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (this is VERY stringy when melted. Next time I may try shredded Parmesan instead)

Directions
Place all ingredients in the crock pot except the cheese. Cook on low 8 hours. Sprinkle cheese on each individual serving.

Serving Size: 1 (390 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 6

*I used turkey pepperoni and turkey italian sausage
**My notes are in italics.

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Turbo 10 Explained!

Yay!  My internet is back up!  Sorry for the delay of this post.  I tried to do it on my phone but that didn’t work out, unfortunately.

Anyway, today is Day 3 of Turbo 10, the 3 week program to help you lose about 10 lbs. (The 10 lbs weight loss is based on a 200 lb. adult).  I am close to my goal weight so I am hoping to lose 5 lbs or so.  This program uses a modified version of Chris and Heidi Powell’s Turbo Carb Cycle.  This means a typical week is:  2 Low Carb Days, 1 High Carb Day, 2 Low Carb Days, then 2 High Carb days.  I do a High Carb Day on the last day of the week instead of a Guilt Free Day.  I will follow this schedule for three weeks.

A typical day is 5 meals, 3 hours apart.  This program uses the Bod-e products that Chris and Heidi Powell helped develop.  So your Low Carb Day goes like this: 

Breakfast:  Powell Perfect Bod-e Shake

Snack:  Bod-e Burn, Veggie and Fat

Lunch:  Powell Perfect Bod-e Shake

Snack:  Protein, Veggie and Fat

Dinner:  Protein, Veggie and Fat

 

High Carb Day goes like this:

Breakfast:  Powell Perfect Bod-e Shake

Snack:  Bod-e Burn, Veggie and Carb

Lunch:  Powell Perfect Bod-e Shake

Snack:  Protein, Veggie and Carb

Dinner:  Protein, Veggie and Carb

 

Weeks 1 and 3 you drink the Bod-e Cleanse once a day.

 

Truthfully I wasn’t looking forward to doing this program because I was afraid I was going to be hungry all the time.  In the past, I’ve done Weight Watchers and was always starving!  But even though I am having a shake for breakfast and one for lunch the snack in between seems to really do the trick to keep me full!  I think it’s the Bod-e Burn.  It has 20 grams of protein and 7 grams of soluble fiber to help keep me feeling fuller.  It also has green tea extract and CLA to help me burn fat!

 

Turbo 10 is not a long term plan.  It is best used as a jump start to your weight loss, to help overcome a plateau, or to get off those last few pounds!  For long term, I recommend the Chris Powell 12 Week Challenge.  I have been doing that up to this point and I’ve lost 15 lbs with it.  My husband and son have lost 25 lbs each!  After the three weeks on the Turbo 10 I will either go back to the 12 Week Challenge or follow a healthy diet to maintain my weight loss depending on where I am at weight-wise.

I hope this helps explain the program I am using.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments!! 

In my next post I’ll be sharing some Low Carb recipes my family enjoys!  Thank you for taking the time to read this!  May God bless your day!