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A Cheat Sheet for Reducing Sugar

Hey All! Welcome back! As promised, it's recipe week! I've been figuring things as out I go and doing a ton of Pinterest searching to learn new recipes that help eliminate sugar. Lucky for you, this post will list some of my fav's all in one place! Let's stick to some basics- breakfast, snack, and dinner. (If you didn't read my previous posts, check out Fed Up and Swap and Go first.)



Breakfast Recipes:

Egg and Veggie Casserole

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

10 eggs
1 Cup broccoli, zucchini, or a favorite veggie (or mix a couple!)
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 C milk
1 C ground and cooked sausage
S/P to taste

Mix eggs in a bowl with fork. Add the rest of ingredients. Pour all into a greased 9x13 dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Once cooled, can last for several days in the fridge.

Baked Oatmeal

Check out http://cookieandkate.com/ for lots of great, healthy recipes! This is one of my favorite breakfast recipes by Kate:

http://cookieandkate.com/2016/baked-oatmeal-recipe/

Zucchini Scrambled Eggs

Crack 2 eggs in a bowl and mix with a fork.
Add 1/4 Cup of diced zucchini to a hot, greased, frying pan.
Add S/P to taste.
When zucchini is soft, add eggs and scramble in the pan.
Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top.

***I like to dice up a whole zucchini at the beginning of the week & store in the fridge so I can just toss them into my eggs easy peesy in the morning.

Snack Recipes:

Ab's Favorite Smoothie (found several versions on Pinterest, tweaked to my own liking.)

In a blender, combine:

1 Cup UNsweet almond milk
1 1/2 FROZEN bananas
2 TBS Peanut butter
1/4 C oats

Chuck & Ab's Favorite Popcorn

2 TBS coconut oil
1/4 C + a little more popcorn seeds
Salt to taste

Heat coconut oil on medium in a large pot on the stove. Sprinkle salt into the oil. Add popcorn seeds and immediately put the lid on the pot. Wait for the seeds to pop! Make sure you take the pot off once the seeds stop popping.

Dinner Recipes:

EASY Baked Potato Bar 

Rinse and scrub however many potatoes you'd like.  While still wet, place them in a crock pot on low for about 6 hours. Stab potatoes with a fork & check for softness a couple hours before dinner time- you made need to switch to high heat.

Toppings:

Cooked Broccoli
Canned Turkey chili
Cheese
Butter
S/P

AMAZING Crock Pot Roast Beef 

http://livinglikethekings.com/2010/12/most-amazing-and-super-easy-pot-roast-in-a-slow-cooker/

Taco Salad

1 lb. ground beef, cooked + add taco seasoning and simmer with water until water is cooked down
Diced tomatoes
Chopped lettuce
Black beans, cooked
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced Avocado

Mix all ingredients and enjoy!

Please comment with any of YOUR personal favorite sugarless recipes- I'm always looking for new ideas!








Swap and Go!

(If you didn’t read the post “FED UP”check that out first!)

I’m a cold turkey kind of girl. I never see the need to ween myself off of something. If I’m not supposed to have it, then I quit. In October I quit caffeine. I was drinking an iced tea when I decided to quit, so I dumped it out and that was that. When it was time for my babies to quit their binkies, I took them all away- never to be seen again. Years ago when I realized my stomach was not prone to tolerating dairy, I switched to soy and gave up cheese.

After watching Fed Up, I was immediately ready for my family to eliminate sugar, but I’m also frugal. The cold turkey approach didn't work. My advice to anyone wanting to majorly cut back their sugar intake:
  1. Wait until you use up the food currently hanging out in your pantry. I am not a waster, so it took me a couple weeks until the yucky stuff was weeded out.
  2. In the meantime, during your next grocery store visit only purchase the good stuff. Eventually, you’ll weed out all the yucky stuff.
There is no official yucky stuff vs. good stuff list. For me, I try to base my eating habits off what the good Lord has created for us. Keep in mind: I STILL EAT SUGAR! This past weekend we had friends over, I attended a bridal shower, and went to a teen event. Each of these occasions offered sugary treats, so of course I enjoyed some of them! The key for me is to drastically eliminate my sugar intake. Here are some of the tricks I use to do this. We’ll call this Swap and Go!

Instead of drinking sweet tea, soda, juice, or any other sugary drink, swap it with sparkling water. Add a lemon or lime wedge for an extra kick! La Croix is also a great swap. My favorite is the coconut flavor with a lime- a tropical treat! Also, brew your own UNsweet iced tea- it’s super cheap and super easy. Don’t use sugar substitutes. I can’t say this enough: no diet soda, no Splenda, no Sweet and Low, etc. It all turns to sugar, and is bad for the body.




Instead of a granola bars, crackers, cookies, muffins or whatever your normal go-to snack is, swap with nuts! Cashews, almonds, pistachio’s, and sunflower seeds make a great mix. Put them in a zip lock bag, throw them in your purse and they’ll be accessible wherever you go.  Or swap for plain or whole grain rice cakes with some nut butter.



Instead of the insanely-sugary cereals (which is almost ALL cereals- check those sugar labels), swap with PLAIN oatmeal, plus raisins or fresh fruit. It’s really hard to find a sugarless cereal, but plain Cheerios or Cornflakes do have a much lower amount of sugar. I buy a whole grain “Puff Cereal” at our local health food store, and it has zero sugar in it. At first our kids didn’t want to go near these cereals with a 10-foot pole, but now they’re totally fine with it. It took many weeks for them to adjust, but it’s so worth it.

Ditch those yogurt squeezies for kids- they are chocked full of sugar. Swap it with plain yogurt and fresh fruit, or an UNsweet apple sauce squeezie.

Swap out flavored coffee creamer with a small amount of half and half. Add a little almond extract for a yummy aroma!

Instead of baking with white flour and sugar, swap it with Spelt flour and UNsweet applesauce. Chuck makes the most divine homemade, spelt flour and apple sauce fresh bread!

Instead of store-bought, sugary red sauces and salsa’s, swap by making your own sugar-free versions. I promise it’s very easy to do! I do not like cooking or baking, and even I can make these swaps.

The last swap, and one of my favorites, is to give up those nighttime desserts. Instead, use coconut oil and fix some popcorn on the stove top! It takes care of the munchies and tastes really yummy! I am not a popcorn person, but I really enjoy this swap.





So there you have it, some basic Swap and Go’s! Please share any of your own personal Swap and Go’s. I would love to expand my horizons! In the next post, I’ll share some meals ideas for anyone interested. 

FED UP

Hey All! I have to admit, my brain feels a bit dusty and my fingers a bit stiff as I haven't written in awhile, but glory be BOTH KIDS ARE NAPPING TODAY!! I have a story to tell! In keeping with the purpose of my blog, which is to share real life stories of the real life Jesus in my life, this latest scenario is too incredible not to write about.



Right around the time the holidays were hitting last year, I began to feel incredibly discouraged about my body. I knew my weight was at an all-time high, my pants were getting tight (TWO pairs of jeans even ripped at the zipper!! Ugh, just shoot me.), I was exhausted most of the time and never got through a day without a nap. This had nothing to do with "I had two babies in way less than 2 years", but everything to do with something needing to change. I just didn’t know what. Or how.

So I did the ONLY thing I knew would help me. I cried out to God. Oh how He cares about every single detail in my vast heart. I shared with Him how discouraged I was, and how I needed help. I told Him I was not going to be about any kind of diet or crash-eating situation.

 I continued through the holiday season feeling insecure about my weight as I prepared to see family I hadn’t seen in a while. Right before Christmas an idea began to form, which I can only explain as wisdom given to me straight from my Abba Father. I even shared the idea with my Mom and SIL over Christmas break. It was simply this: If I stuck to eating the foods our good Lord created, how could they be bad for me?  I mean God created our fruits, vegetables, meats, milk, eggs, and nuts for our pleasure. Though I didn’t feel like I had an official plan, something was stirring in me.



Later in January, I was checking Netflix to see what new shows or movies were being offered. I “stumbled upon” (i.e. God laid it out for me on a silver platter!) a documentary called, “FED UP”. According to Netflix, “This eye-opening documentary examines the underlying causes of childhood obesity, which has become an increasingly serious medical issue in America.” I was riveted from the start. I watched a little bit right away, and then finished later that night with Chuck by my side. We were both moved by what we saw. So moved, in fact, we started making changes in our kitchen right away.

In the documentary, Katie Couric highlights the addiction Americans have to sugar. As viewed by an MRI scan, when a person eats sugar their brain lights up the same way it does when a person takes cocaine. Even Congress claims pizza is a vegetable! So much of our food is processed with an enormous amount of added sugar. Grab a box of any type of food in your pantry, and check out the label. You will NOT see the percentage of sugar a person is supposed to have in one day, but you will see a percentage for the other categories. For instance, you will see, “Total Carbohydrates, 24g, 8%”. When looking at sugar, you will see, “Sugars, 15g” then a blank space. Companies are not required, and do not provide that information. 

The morning after Chuck and I watched the FED UP documentary, he looked at our coffee creamer label to see how much sugar we were drinking, and then looked up the American Heart Association’s guide for daily sugar intake. We were drinking an ENTIRE day’s worth of sugar in our morning coffee alone. In just one cup! I mean it when we say we were horrified! That was the first thing to go.
After that, we decided to boycott processed sugar for 10 days and we never turned back. In 7 weeks, I have taken very few naps- a border line miracle, I have healthy energy, and have lost 9 pounds. Trust me when I say I am not on a diet. I am not deprived! Every single time I’m hungry- I eat (which is quite often), but we have drastically decreased our sugar intake. Believe me, I still eat dessert here and there, and still drink the occasional sugary coffee drink.


So why am I sharing this? I feel compelled. I was in a desperate place several months ago. I needed help, I cried out to God and He gave me answers! Not only has He been helping me, but He’s been helping me help my family. I am learning how to better feed my kids, and how to provide food for them that nourishes their bodies not just fills them up. (When they actually eat, of course!) 

I have been hesitant to share about this journey because people talking about their eating habits is usually annoying. Even still, as I’ve chatted with a few friends about this they’ve been really curious and have asked me to share the insight God has given me. So here I am laying it all out there. Over the next couple of posts I will share tips, tidbits, and even recipes I’ve gained along the way. Please feel free to ask any questions. For anyone interested, I’m happy to serve you! 

Quiet Season

Chuck and I are entering a new season. Just as we got into the groove of our 3 and (almost) 2 year old, the routines are changing. Jase has dropped his nap, which has put a huge wrench in the system. Going from about 21 hours of napping a week to NONE has left me feeling slightly crazy. It has even made me angry at times. I used to live for naps. I'd survive until naps. I'd hang on until naps. I never realized I had about 21 hours of "free" time a week, and now that it's gone I feel like I'm always falling and don't get to land until bedtime. Oh alone time! How I long for you!

God has been speaking to me through a number of conversations lately. It has become obvious He is leading me into a quiet season. An unplugged season. A season where I get to journal my thoughts and experiences before God alone. This is a season where my intentionality as a mother is kicking into a higher gear. God has gently made me aware of where I've been disengaged with my family, and how I need to shift my focus. 

I’ve been striving hard to find my gifting, my calling, my purpose, etc. It’s been a heavy thought on my heart as I’ve tried to figure it out- whether writing, speaking, both, or something altogether different. What God has made clear is my calling to Mother my son and daughter with complete focus and tenacity. It’s time to let go of a few things I’ve been able to regularly accomplish during nap time, one of them being this blog.

I am not shutting down the blog, just stepping back from the grind of writing every week. I hope to still pop up a post here and there like I used to, but without that weekly pressure. Wherever God wants to lead me is where I’ll go! For now, this road right here is looking pretty lovely...