Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sugar Free, Chocolate Free Brownies

Carob Brownie
These brownies are candida detox friendly. I have been really missing chocolate and while this really isn't chocolate it does help curve those "dessert" cravings.

You will need:
4 egg whites, whipped
1/2 cup stevia
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup carob powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (if you are going gluten free try any legal flour such as almond or buckwheat)
shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat oven at 325 degrees F. Prepare a small baking pan by rubbing it with butter and then a thin layer of your flour.

In a mixing bowl, combine baking powder, carob powder, salt and flour.
In another mixing bowl, combine egg whites, stevia, and vanilla extract.
Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients, bake for 18 minutes.

While it bakes it looks a little funny. This is a picture of it fully baked.
I use a plastic knife when cutting brownies to keep it from bunching, but I don't think you will have that problem with this batch. Enjoy!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Garlic Lime Shrimp

Garlic Lime Shrimp

This is a candida friendly recipe. Serves 1-2 people. 

1/2 lb peeled uncooked shrimp
1 lime
1 clove garlic
fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp butter or olive oil (only butter if you are on your legal dairy days of the detox)

In a wok or large skillet melt butter or heat olive oil on a medium heat. Slice up your garlic clove. I like to use a mortar an pestle to mash up peppercorns and then add the garlic clove to create a seasoning mixture.  

Add your shrimp and seasoning mixture to the skillet. When the shrimp start to turn pink squeeze half a lime over them. Continue to cook until completely pink and hot. Serve with a side of veggie chips and enjoy! 

Dreamy Chocolate Rice Cakes

 Dreamy Chocolate Rice Cakes

Sounds too good to be true? It's not. This little treat was invented while on a candida detox and it turned out to be the perfect snack to curve those chocolate cravings.  

What you need:
brown rice cakes (I used the Lundburg brand)
1 scoop of M'lis chocolate instant meal 
2 teaspoons almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the instant meal, almond milk and vanilla in a small bowl until it turns into a creamy paste. Spread onto your rice cake and enjoy! 

Candida Wellness Detox Program

I just completed a 30 day candida wellness detox program. This is a big step for me being a picky eater as it caused me step out of my comfort zone of warm breads and cheesy pastas while clinging to the greenness that I have despised for so many years. I won't say that it is not challenging or that it is even easy, but after the first week and half was over I felt like it was so much easier and now I feel absolutely fantastic! 

First, what is candida? "Candida is an over-infestation of yeast in the body. It can invade the brain and every tissue of the body, and it grows and lives on what you eat. It makes your body crave what it needs to grow, and rampages until you eat it. Many medications, such as steroid drugs, birth control pills, and antibiotics can increase the likelihood of a candida yeast imbalance.
Symptoms include frequent yeast, bladder or skin infections, chronic fungus such as athletes foot or thrush, allergic reaction or increased sensitivities to foods or chemicals, bowel disorders, muscle pain or weakness, and fatigue." (M'lis website) 
To read more about what candida is click here
Why would I do something like this? I decided to go on this detox after several months of not being able to escape my sugar cravings. I felt like it was consuming me and that I would eventually turn into a big cake pop! A company of all natural products that I use in my massage therapy office offers a plan to eliminate candida from the body. The plan consists of 30-60 days (depending on how bad your candida is) of a strict meal plan. Through out the plan you eliminate red meat, dairy, fruit, refined sugars and flours while eating whole grains, veggies and lean proteins such as fish or poultry. This is the plan because yeast feeds off of all sugar. Ask yourself: When was the last meal that you ate where there was no sugar in it at all? Sugar is in everything. Every processed food. All the name brands that you love add it so that you will love their product. We are addicted. I like to think of sugar as a serious drug and that this plan is my true detox from it. 
The plan of his detox is to starve out the yeast from the body and candida is a living organism that will fight to survive. The plan consists of all natural herbal supplementation:
and 3 detoxifying liquid days on day 9 through 11. On all other days you can eat veggies, whole grains and lean protein.  You do 3 more detox liquid days to finish your program out, so if you are doing 30 days you repeat the liquid on days 28-30. On the liquid only days you drink a lemonade mixture containing fresh lemon juice, pure maple syrup and distilled water while taking the herbal supplements. This is not to be confused with the "master cleanse" This is not the same thing at all. 
During this detoxification process the body may go through what is called a "healing crisis". The consumption of caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and other substances contribute this effect. During the first 2 weeks I could actually feel my candida or what I like to call my "sugar monster" trying to survive.  During detoxification and the days following, many people experience some of the signs of a healing crisis, which may include: headaches, skin breakouts, bowel sluggishness, diarrhea, fatigue, sweating frequent urination, congestion, nasal discharge, or body aches. Some also briefly experience anxiety, irritability or mental depression.  If these temporary symptoms are experienced it is a POSITIVE thing!  I can honestly say that my worse symptom was one day of nausea and not wanting to eat anything on the allowed plan. It was really not bad at all.  This means that the candida is fighting to survive and is dying off. It is very important to drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins from the system and get plenty of rest. 
Results are absolutely astounding! As the body goes through this detox it will feel better.  Fatigue, mental sluggishness, sugar cravings and crashing will be minimal or eliminated by the end and the body's over all well- being is enhanced. Think of detoxification as a gift to your hard working, abused body. In all honesty I did not expect to see the results that I have received. Some of the differences I have seen are the following: I use to be very sensitive to toxic aroma like hairspray or strong perfume and especially cigarettes. I still do not like to be around cigarettes but I no longer get a headache when I am around these things. I lost 7lbs! I did not plan to loose much weight but 7lbs is quite a bit for me because I am a tiny person. I weigh less now then I have for the past 9 years! I do not crave sugar like I use to and when I am around junk food such as high calorie chips, processed cheese and freezer foods I now think that they sound discussing and couldn't imagine putting that in my body. Before I went on this program every time I ate I would fight a mucus build up in my throat. (I know that is gross, sorry!) Now I do not have that. On top of all of that I have so much more energy and clearer skin. Bonus!! These are just a few of the benefits I have seen. 
I think it is important for all of us to look at our diet and listen to our bodies.  What are you craving? How do you feel? We control our bodies...not our food. 

If you have any questions or would like to know more about this detox you can contact me and I would be happy to talk with you about it. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Poppo's Taqueria on Anna Maria Island

Poppo's Taqueria 212C Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL

I have a big heart for small local businesses. Perhaps that is why Anna Maria is my favorite beach as it is surrounded by artsy mom and pop shops and lacks any large and obnoxious hotels or chain restaurants. We went on a day beach trip this last weekend and found ourselves attracted to this little joint for lunch. Right down the street from the City Pier a small sign by the road caught our eye reading: Tacos, Burritos and Quesadillas. What more could you ask for?

Poppo's is very much like Chipotle in it's layout and serving style but it definitely trumps the popular chain in food quality and creative selection. All produce is organic when available and all meat is hormone & antibiotic free.  They also have gluten-free options.

To order you choose your style of preparation and follow the bar as you build your order by request. Styles include:
2 Tacos-$7
Burrito- $7.95
Cheese Quesadilla- $3
Loaded Quesadilla-$5
Plate-$8.95 (This is your choice of toppings on a bed of their Honey Lime Slaw- my husband fell in love with the slaw.)

I recommend ordering the tacos with shredded chicken and a side of Chips and Guacamole. The chips are flour tortillas chopped and fried fresh to order.  It was truly amazing!
The food is a little bit more expensive than you would expect for quick service. My husband and I spent $25 on our meal. I would gladly pay it again for the food quality that we received.

Another quirky difference that makes this taqueria stand out among the others are their beverages.
All sodas are high fructose corn syrup free! Fountain drinks are $1.65 and come with free refills. There are also bottled sodas and I opted to try Virgil's Root Beer. I believe I have found a new favorite.

The majority of the seating is outside but there is a bar that seats 7 people inside. Pappo's is open 11am-9pm daily but are closed on Tuesdays.

I highly recommend this quick service gem. My husband and I have both been craving it every day since we left the beach.  I believe we will have to make another beach trip very soon.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Picky Eating Is A Mental Illness

Picky Eating Is A Mental Illness

For the majority of my childhood and my entire adult life I have struggled with a pretty serious case of finicky eating. I have always been able to admit it, in fact on most occasions I would happily announce my preferences in fear of being forced to try something out of my comfort zone.  I write this blog now in hopes that someone like me will find encouragement. 

The truth is picky eating has now been given an official name: Selective Eating Disorder. It may not be in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders but I personally agree that picky eating steams from some type of mental trauma in a person's life. It can vary in all ages and I like how Wikipedia put it - "Selective eating should not be of a concern as long as there are no negative effects on social, physical and emotional development." 

I laughed out loud when I read that sentence. How many picky eaters are not affected socially when everyone wants to go to a restaurant and that person knows that there is nothing he or she will eat there?  (For me it is any type of sandwich shop...even to this day) What about when picky Joe is at a party and the only thing there is to eat is something he is afraid of? How many picky eaters are not affected physically because all they want are the same things over and over again causing malnutrition, weight gain and possibly health problems? What about the emotional trauma of realizing that you are not like everyone else and it takes some explaining before you even have dinner with new friends?

I want to share my background so that you might better understand my personal break through. When I was in third grade our teacher made us watch a video about choking and how to preform the heimlich maneuver. There was one part in the video in particular that really got to me. It explained what to do if you were choking and completely alone. The video then showed a man thrusting himself onto the edge of a table to dislodge a piece of hot dog. I remember thinking "What if I am not strong enough to do that?"  

This prompted a rebellion towards food. Not only did I become a picky eater for life, but initially I wouldn't eat anything at all! I slowly became hungry enough to drink the broth from ramen noodle soup, leaving behind the noodles. I remember my family being worried and saying things to me like "You know if you don't eat you will die!" I think a lot of parents might blame themselves if they found they have raised a picky eater, but I truly do not blame mine. In fact, I clearly remember my mother trying to force me to eat steak and I would feed it to my cat when she was not looking.  As time went on I began eating breads and sweet treats while despising all things green and most proteins. I found it easier to say no to certain foods, and my family was just happy I was eating.  I did find flinstones vitamins in my lunch box every day from my still-concerned mother. 

I did not grow out of it. Instead I found it easy to fall into a repetitive routine of eating the same things over and over. Pasta became my only food group and my friends (and even their parents) became accustomed to my habits and accommodated me. 

It is not until now, almost in my thirties, that I have had a desire to break the old habits and try to regain the nutrition I lacked all those years. It is a daily conscious effort I must force myself to make. I know so many of my picky comrades will read this and say: "Great! Now I have an official excuse - My pickiness is a disorder." But can I please encourage you to think about it for a minute. We rarely think about why we eat what we do and if you tried to determine what led you to finicky eating habits, you might begin to break free as well. As I type these words I am enjoying a bowl of homemade guacamole that I made and whole grain crackers. (Not many picky eaters will ever be able to say that, and I certainly never expected to!) 

I truly believe that analyzing my past and the reasons for my "Selective Eating Disorder" has helped me overcome so many fears about food. I am now DAILY trying brand new things. My cooking has become more creative and my husband has become more grateful! My life is slowly letting go of the limitations that socially, physically and mentally held me back. Every day is a brand new opportunity full of so many choices.  I fear that so many picky eaters will stay just that way forever because they were never quite brave enough to make a different choice. I read once that you have to try a food at least 7 times before you can decide if you like it or not. 

Set goals. Read labels. Cook for yourself - That last one is important.  I think if I had always had someone to cook for me all the time I would have never had the courage to add that extra spice or veggie just to see. It takes time. It takes trying. I pray for you to have the strength to want to change.