Author: Brenda Sue

Protein Made Easy

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Frequent Question

One of the most common questions that we are asked is, “How can I get more protein?” and sometimes when we look at their protein intake, we are shocked. Many people are simply not getting enough protein. Read David’s article, “Protein Supplements” to discover how much protein you need every day. Regardless of the type of diet that you eat, you must get a full profile of amino acids. If you prefer to get your protein from plant sources, some of the commonly available sources for plant based, complete protein are soy, buckwheat and quinoa.

Deficiency

Without enough protein you may develop skin, hair and nail problems. You are at an increased risk for broken bones and infections and the infections may be more severe. You may have trouble controlling your appetite and overeat trying to get the nutrients that you need. Low protein intake is also associated with fatty liver disease and may slow growth in children. If you are interested in building more fat-burning muscle, you must eat enough protein to build it and without enough protein you may be more prone to fluid retention. (1) For serious health enthusiasts, especially strength trainers and body builders, less muscle and more fluid retention are not what we want. Get your protein.

Convenience

A significant hindrance to adequate protein intake is convenience. Unfortunately, as David wrote in his recent article, Quit Shunning the Fat! , beginning in 1976, Americans have shied away from fats and erroneously added way too many simple carbs into our diet. As a result, there are thousands of quick, convenient, carbohydrate based convenience foods and Americans are quite likely to reach for those in a time crunch. With a little thought, you can break that habit and add protein to your day, a little at a time.

Nuts are an excellent source of quick protein. If portion control is a problem, buy pre-packaged, individual servings of your favorites. One ounce of almonds provides 6 grams of protein for 164 calories, 14 grams of healthy fat and only 2.6 grams of Net Carbs (6.1-3.5 grams of fiber). You can carry them with you anywhere. Just be careful to avoid those with added sugars. There are some that sound wonderful but if you read the label, you will find sugar. I stick with the ones that are roasted with sea salt alone.

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Eggs are often overlooked for being the rich protein source that they are. People shunned eggs for years, believing that they were unhealthy. Modern science has debunked that myth. You can boil them the night before and store them in the fridge or even whisk up a couple in the morning. Nothing is any faster than a scrambled egg. They contain 6 grams of protein each for a paltry 78 calories. They are quite the nutrition bargain.

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String cheese is everywhere these days. Apparently people are eating a lot of it if you look at the abundant supply in the grocery stores. One piece of Frigo Cheeseheads String Cheese has 6 grams of protein and 80 calories. I like to pair this with an apple so that the fiber in the apple binds with the protein in the cheese and it keeps me from being hungry a long time.

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Tuna is so convenient these days! The portable foil packs are the ultimate solution to “What’s for lunch?” I carry those packs in my backpack all the time, “Just In Case”. Add mayo, an apple and some dill relish if you like, for a nutritionally dense lunch that will satisfy you for hours. If you like sweet pickle relish, just add a little Splenda or whatever 0 sugar sweetener you like to the relish. It works. One of these packs has 70 calories and a whopping 17 grams of protein. I usually eat two for a protein punch!

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Full Fat PLAIN Greek Yogurt is a wonderful source of protein and fat-burning calcium. One cup of Cabot Greek Yogurt contains 310 calories and 16 grams of protein. I usually add to that protein with nuts. I like to add 0 sugar sweetener, nuts and Saigon cinnamon. It tastes like a Maple Nut Sundae. You can add whatever you like to this yogurt. The full-fat yogurt does not have that sour milk taste that is associated with yogurt. It’s neutral, so you can make it taste like whatever you like. I have been known to add Lemonade Flavor Crystal Light for a “Lemon Pie”.  Experiment with whatever flavor combinations that appeal to you. Sometimes I add peanut butter powder and sweetener for a peanut butter pie. Explore!

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Jerky is a great source of protein. Just be careful to avoid the ones with added sugars. It’s very high in protein, coming in at 9 grams per ounce. If you have trouble finding a 0 sugar variety, it’s pretty easy to make your own. David has published an excellent recipe for homemade jerky right here.

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Pumpkin Seeds are one of my favorite foods. I like the kernels, no husks or shells for me please. One ounce has 180 calories and 11 grams of protein. Sometimes I add these to my yogurt instead of nuts.

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I make protein shakes with unsweetened protein and 0 sugar sweetener and other add-ins. That is an option that you might like to explore. Choose whatever protein that appeals to you. I don’t like whey but you very well may like it a lot. It’s a rich source of good protein. I like pea or soy protein. Men, and some women with special health concerns, should avoid soy. Since it boosts estrogen, ask your doctor before using soy protein.

As you can see, there are many tasty options to sneak a little extra protein into your day. Meat, poultry, fish and seafood will always be your richest sources, but when those may not be readily available or convenient, reach for one of these or get creative! Read labels and seek out foods that you like that are rich in protein. You will be stronger for it.

(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-deficiency-symptoms

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Festive Sugar-Free Mason Jar Cakes

Nutritional Info

Serving Size 1 Mason jar

Servings 6

Calories 300

Net Carbs 5 grams

Fat 26 grams

Protein 7 grams

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup unsweetened whey protein powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup+ 2 Tablespoons Swerve, Granular

3 eggs

1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract (use clear to keep cake white)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or any other milk

Red food coloring

Mason jar size round cookie or biscuit cutter

6 pint size Mason jars

Toppings

6 ounces blueberries

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons Swerve, Confectioner’s

6 medium strawberries

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325F and butter and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper

Mix almond flour, protein powder, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Blend softened butter and Swerve til creamy and add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice.

Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Add red food coloring and mix until fully colored. 1 ounce will provide a bright red.

Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes.

Whipped Cream

Mix heavy cream, Swerve and vanilla and beat on low for a few seconds to combine and then mix on high for 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks form. Do not over mix.

Assembly

Cut 12 circles that will fit the mason jars and place in bottom of the jars.

Top with whipped cream and then blueberries and layer it all again and top with blueberries and strawberries.

Place in fridge or serve immediately.

Lost In “The Spectrum”: Educating My Autistic Son

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“Baby Mickey’s Red Ball”

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I was overjoyed. I had a miscarriage the previous year and being pregnant was an answer to prayer. I made all kinds of plans and had high aspirations about how I would educate my baby. I had always made good grades in school and loved to learn and my ex-husband had also. It was the one thing that we had in common, we were both geeks. We decided that we would read to the baby as soon as he was put into our arms and we did, not in the delivery room, but when we got to our regular hospital room. I had chosen the Disney book, “Baby Mickey’s Red Ball” to read first and as soon as they brought Lucas to me, I read. He seemed enthralled, a little too much for a newborn baby.

As he grew, we both read to him a lot. By the time that he was two years old, he was reading to us. I am not talking about memorization. I am talking about presenting him with reading material that he had never seen before and he read it to us, at the age of two. I had a Great-Uncle who was both fascinated and terrified at this amazing feat. At the age of four, we were visiting with my Great-Uncle and Aunt and Lucas read a newspaper that was laying on the dining room table. I’ll never forget the shock on my Great-Uncle’s face. He was a highly intelligent man who worked for the Agricultural Department and he was astonished.

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The Basics

I was working with Lucas at home because I wanted him to be advanced academically. I was teaching him his numbers and ABC’s. Once he grasped the pattern of our number system, he could count indefinitely. I remember him counting to 200 sitting on his potty for training. He began counting to 300 and I realized that he “got it” and never had to address that issue again. He was two.

Teaching his ABC’s seemed almost ridiculous. He was reading, but he did need to know how to spell, so it seemed to be a reasonable pursuit. Little did I know that he could already spell anything that he wanted to spell. It was very unusual.

This fascination with letters and numbers and advanced reading ability at such a young age is called hyperlexia and many autistic children have it. At the time I thought he was just brilliant, and he is. He is also autistic.

Pre-School

I mentioned his pre-school in my previous article. I had to go right back to the facility within hours of dropping him off at school. He was laying in the floor in the fetal position screaming to the top of his lungs. A few days later, a boy advanced towards him on the top of the slide in the little covered playhouse at the top. The boy was imitating the children’s show, “Power Rangers” and Lucas did not understand what he was doing and pushed him off the slide to the soft sawdust underneath. The boy was not hurt but Lucas was suspended. A few days later they were to convene in a meeting of “The Board” to determine if they would allow him to stay in school. I took him home and told them to forget it. I did not want him in a place where he was not wanted.

Kindergarten

About this time, a friend looked at me and said, “You’re going to home school this one aren’t you?” I desperately wanted to do just that, but had no idea about how to go about it. I knew that he was academically advanced and emotionally behind and that public school would not support his advanced intellect and that he would be bullied relentlessly. The school that he would go to was notorious for bullying by children and staff alike, and there was NO WAY that I would allow that to happen to him. I began to investigate home schooling.

After choosing the curriculum and informing family members about our decision to home school Lucas, I began using the workbooks provided. “Friends” and family alike were in a rage about Lucas being home schooled, as if it was some of their business. They had never watched as he was treated like an outcast by “a good Christian woman” in a room full of “normal” children. They had never seen people laugh when he read the words to a song from the church hymnal, thinking that it was just a memorization. They had never seen a 18 year old boy scream at him in the church parking lot until he ran to the car crying. They only knew that they wanted him to be like other kids. You know what they say, “Opinions are like (body part), everybody has one.” I have also heard that you can wish in one hand and urinate in the other and see which one gets full the fastest.” and “You can’t always get what you want.” as spoken by the great Mick Jagger. People who supposedly readily accepted the will of God in their lives were simply unwilling to accept the fact that the same path is not necessarily the best path for everyone. I home schooled him anyway.

The truth is, we pretty much just jumped right over kindergarten because Lucas already knew all of that. We went right to the first grade studies and the work was incredibly easy for him. By law, you only have to spend a few hours per day in actual studies and even that was not necessary. After he saw the material one time, he had it. The worksheets and tests were a breeze. I had been right, he would have been held back in the public system. Book knowledge came easy for him.

The Grammer School Years

We were able to join the YMCA and swim most days. Lucas is a great swimmer. He took lessons there. We bowled and hiked and took vacations and all the while, his curriculum was with us. We might study in the park one day and at home the next. Those days were the easiest days, not easy, but the easiest. We were not under pressure. Lucas still cannot handle stress well. Home schooling was great for him.

High School

As he neared the end of his mandatory years of study, the work got harder but he still excelled. He took his ACT and aced it with a 27. As a result of that test he was awarded a full Faculty Scholar scholarship to Jacksonville State University where he chose to major in General Music and Minor in Communication, (NOT Communications). Communication studies are mass communication and Communications is more technology oriented.

University

Lucas is a gifted pianist. He had lessons from the time he was 6 years old throughout his life and he excelled in his music. The Communication studies were just as easy for him. He could easily present a paper to an audience of 2 or 200 with no qualms. He was creative and resourceful and used Apple T.V. and Power Point and all kinds of technology to present to his class. He gave personal recitals and played in “Concerts and Recitals” for the staff and students and always got good grades. He graduated with Honors at the top of his class and went on to pursue his Master’s Degree. All of this was on the time table recommended by the University. He got his Bachelor’s Degree in four years and finished the Master’s program in two. It was pretty amazing to see. What no one saw was the endless shopping that I did, buying him everything that his heart desired, just to keep him sane. Those six years cost a fortune. The stress of a State University was too much for this autistic young man and he began to deteriorate mentally. By the time that he finished the Master’s program, he could not even pass the Comprehensive Exams. He walked in graduation but that was all. He never earned his Master’s even after successfully completing the course of study with mostly A’s and a few B’s.

While it is amazing for an autistic child as affected as Lucas is to earn a Bachelor’s Degree and finish the Master’s program, if I had it to do over, he would have never gone to University. His degree seems to be worthless. No one will hire him. He had been a church pianist before going to college at age 16. He did that again for a few months after graduation but he didn’t need a degree for that. The stress of college changed him in an undesirable way. The pressure of keeping his scholarship with high grades, along with the stress of performance and social pressures that he just could not understand, was too much for him. His behavior became erratic. He never thought about his actions before performing them. He became depressed and sullen and the social structure that was foreign to him due to his autism made him feel like a stranger in a strange land. An autistic girl struck up a friendship with him only to end it abruptly when her Mom disapproved. The loss of what he thought was the only friend he’d ever had was too much to bear on top of the rest of college life. He changed from a light-hearted gamer to a sad and lonely young man. He got his degree but lost so much more. He would have benefited so much more from a good trade school where he could have learned to do something useful. As it is, he is unemployable.

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Lessons Learned

As the old adage goes, “Hind sight is better than foresight.” I truly believed that Lucas would “fly” in University. I knew that he was intelligent and gifted. I figured that he would wind up being a geeky college professor like the character in the Disney movie, “The Absent- Minded Professor”. Instead, he had a breakdown. From what I understand, students do occasionally suffer mental breakdowns in college. I know of others who have had that experience who are not autistic. With his limited reasoning ability, he just could not make sense of the whole experience and with academic pressure and pressure at home, which has since been eliminated, he collapsed. Now, I advocate for him to have insurance, some income and a secure future. All that we can do is the best that we know. Nobody is perfect. The thing that I want you to remember is this, “Do your best. That’s all you can do. Your best is not the same as my best or anyone else’s best. It’s YOUR best. We are all imperfect and work with limited resources, both financial and otherwise. Once you’ve done your best, rest. That’s all that you can do.”

Love to all,

Brenda Sue

Lenny & Larry’s Peanut Butter KETO COOKIE Review

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Score!

When I found this cookie, I almost left it in the store because I’m not too impressed with most cookies and bars because they usually contain whey. I don’t like the taste of whey and it doesn’t set well with me, so I avoid it. This cookie is made with pea protein and I like it.

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Taste/Texture

I love peanut butter and this peanut butter cookie is right down my alley. It is reminiscent of the old fashioned peanut butter cookies with the fork imprint on the top. It contains organic erythritol and a small amount of stevia extract as sweeteners and the erythritol gives it a slightly cool sensation on the tongue. Coconut oil gives it a silky texture that only coconut oil can impart. Since it is made from a grain free flour blend that contains peanut flour and also has peanuts, it has a real peanut butter taste. It crumbles a little so be prepared to catch every delicious crumb.

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Nutrition

This cookie has 190 calories, 3 net grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein. I can always afford 190 calories because on David’s Way program, I struggle to eat all of my calories because I don’t eat sugar. The 8 grams of protein is enough to make this a worthwhile treat. Again, I really like the fact that it is made with pea protein and absolutely NO WHEY. There is NO DAIRY whatsoever and NO GLUTEN ingredients if that is of interest to you. They are manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat, so if you are a sensitive celiac, they might not be for you.

 

Price and Availability

I bought these cookies in a 4-count box for $5.97 at Walmart. You can buy one for $2.29. They are available online, but be careful where you order them. Unscrupulous people have bought a lot of these and they are selling them at ridiculous prices. You can order them from the manufacturer or Walmart at a reasonable price. At lennylarry.com you can order Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Coconut in a 12-count box for $21.95. I suggest you purchase a single cookie and give them a try before making a large purchase, but if you want cookies, definitely give them a try!

 

Lost in “The Spectrum”: Autism and the Angry Baby

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The Beginning

First of all, I want to say that everything that I say in this series of articles about raising an autistic son is my experience alone. I am not suggesting anything for you or anyone else. I am speaking about my experience only. It has been interesting.

I had an easy pregnancy that culminated in a scheduled C-section. It was also easy, no labor, no pain, nothing remarkable. I was terrified at the responsibility that I had brought on myself, by choice. I dearly wanted and loved this precious soul that had been entrusted to my care. I was a nurse but I couldn’t bear to leave my son, and my then husband wanted me to stay at home with the baby, so I did. We moved into the house with my parents shortly after his birth for about 8-9 months and one day I was in my Mother’s upstairs bedroom talking to her, holding Lucas, as usual. I almost never laid him down because when I did, he cried a lot. He didn’t cry himself to sleep. He just cried like he was furious. Since I was thrilled to have him with me, carrying him around seemed completely normal. He had my undivided attention. During this conversation with my Mother, he hit me hard. It was a deliberate blow. It seemed that he did it to get my attention, and he did. My Mother said, “Did that baby hit you?” and I said “Yes, he did.” She said “Brenda, something’s wrong.” I knew in my heart that she was right. It was a strange thing and I had never seen another baby do anything like that.

Expressions of Anger

We were living way out in the country in rural Alabama and I had grown up there, so lonely, so I was determined to take Lucas to town at every opportunity and find something fun for him to do. I took him to “The Imagination Place”, an educational, interactive museum in downtown Gadsden when he was less than a year old. It had displays for every age group and he grew up going there for years. We frequented parks and playgrounds of all sorts. We joined the YMCA and he took swimming lessons. We were always on the go. When he was still just a baby in the car seat in the buggy in Walmart, he would scream so loudly that people would come from all over the store to see what was happening. I always said that there were two kinds of people that did that in those days, the ones (who usually had NO kids…) who said, “If he was mine, I’d wear him out!” and then there were those with DHR on speed dial on their flip phone, waiting to see if I was going to do just that. None of them had any idea of what they were seeing. They just knew that their shopping trip had been disrupted by a screaming baby. In Walmart, he was always screaming. We went anyway. No way was I going to stay at home. Quite often autistic children, and their parents, are lonely and isolated because of the behavior of these kids.

His dad noticed a behavior that had escaped my observation because they interacted differently from Lucas and me. His dad was more physical with him, like men often are with babies. He would lift him up in the air and “fly” him around. He would play with his toys with him and make funny faces. I noticed one night that his dad was making a grunting sound and laughing. When he saw me looking at him he said, “He sounds like he’s mad! If I touch his toys or make a face or fly him around or anything he says “Uh!” like he’s mad!” His dad was making that sound back at him. Again, it was odd. I had never seen a baby get that mad about things like that. His dad’s behavior was appropriate. He was merely playing with Lucas, but it angered him and he was quite verbal about it. I told his dad that he probably shouldn’t make him mad. I didn’t know what to think of the whole thing.

Exclusion and Expulsion

As Lucas grew, so did the anger. We catered to him, spoiling him with everything that we could think of that might give him a diversion. Most of the time, he was content but when we went out, he got angry. Lucas and I accompanied his paternal Grandmother to a doctor’s appointment in Birmingham, Alabama at The Kirklin Clinic one time. The drive was not pleasant and neither was the company. My Sister-In-Law had brought her son who was two years older than Lucas and they didn’t get along. By the time we got to the Clinic, Lucas was fit to be tied. As we sat in the waiting room, he became hyperactive and when I tried to keep him from bothering the other people in the room, he screamed, loudly and for a long time. We were thrown out of The Kirklin Clinic.

About that same time, I took my 14 year old step-daughter to a teen line-dancing party one night at a teen club. Lucas would not stay off of the floor and screamed like a banshee when I tried to keep him off of it. There was a rule about the age at which children were allowed on the floor and two was underage. It was to keep them from getting trampled. As he screamed and screamed, he upset the whole building and again, we were asked to leave.

At the age of 3, I reluctantly enrolled him in daycare. I had a bad feeling about it. I left the church in tears and went home. In about an hour, the head of the daycare called me to come back. Lucas was lying on the floor in the fetal position, screaming. I took him home and day after day, took him back and sat in the hallway waiting until the inevitable meltdown. It always came. Then one day another boy aggressively approached him on the top of the slide with moves from The Power Rangers children’s show. Lucas didn’t know what he was doing, and as the boy swung wildly at him, Lucas pushed him and the boy fell to the ground, unharmed. It was a short fall onto sawdust, but it got Lucas into trouble. At the age of 3, he was suspended from daycare until the Board could meet and discuss whether or not to allow him into their facility. I said “Never mind.” and took him home. I did not want him to be in a place where he was not wanted.

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Pardon the condition of my picture. It survived a tornado.

The Chosen Path

There were many instances of exclusion and expulsion. He was seldom included in other children’s plans, never invited to a party and never, not one time, ever asked to come over to another child’s house. The behavior of the adults in our lives was horrendous. Only cookie-cutter children were given those privileges and Lucas was not a cookie-cutter kid. He was autistic and he was ostracized. My heart broke for him. Although he was autistic and did not understand social norms, he still had the heart of a child and wanted to be with other children. I must say that the love for my child kept me in church for years, because church was the only place that had to accept and include him. I did every job that you can think of in churches while he was growing up. It gave him a circle of friends that were taught to love others. Some of the time, the children were kind but Lucas was actually psychologically bullied by a couple of adults, church leaders who thought that his anger was funny. I told them specifically what I would do for them if they ever provoked him again. It stopped. I home-schooled him to protect him and to encourage his natural gifts, which are profound. He scored 27 on his ACT and went to college.

I had to advocate for my son in ways that I never thought should be necessary because a lot of people in the general public are either idiots or simply uninformed about autism. Autistic children are not brats, they have a developmental disorder and I frequently had to “educate” others to this simple fact. If you are raising an autistic child, know this, your child is not a brat, is not demon-possessed and can’t help most of his behavior. Social moors are nonsensical to him. Imagine what the world would be like if you really thought that nobody noticed if you didn’t wash your face or brushed your teeth or you thought that nobody could see you if you picked your nose. What if you thought that nobody heard you talking to yourself? What if you walked with one foot turned out so far that you tripped other people around you? What if you really thought that the sky was falling if you looked up at it so you just never did? Did you know that all musical C’s are green? Knowing the color of sound is called chromesthesia. My son told me these things and much, much more and still does. His world is not like mine. He graduated college, with his Bachelor’s Degree, on a wing and a prayer but could never pass the Comprehensive Exam for his Master’s Degree. That’s way down the road in this story. There’s much more. I am still caregiving and he is 26 now. I do it alone, by choice. It’s part of advocating for him and the journey is ongoing. It’s necessary to be as healthy as I can possibly be so that I live for a very long time, in good health. I work full-time and arrange therapy and other necessities for my son. If you live this life, take care of yourself. Your child is depending on you.

How to Navigate Summer Parties

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The Dilemma

Wow! We can finally get out of the house and socialize in the summer sun! We can visit friends and family, go to birthday parties, enjoy the water and party til we just can’t party no more! It’s wonderful, right? Everyone has joked and made memes about their weight gain during quarantine, but the true challenge is here now, getting through a “normal” summer without gaining weight.

“Well-Meaning” Friends and Family

You know the ones, Aunt Mabel with the Lemon Supreme Pound Cake, Uncle Bob with the special barbecue sauce and the aged bourbon that he saved just for this occasion, your Mom, your sister, your dog and your best friend. They ALL have something “just for you”! You just HAVE to have a “little bit”. The problem is, if you do, you will ingest about 5,000 calories, 500 grams of sugar and revive your sugar addiction and be off track all summer. There are ways to avoid this pitfall.

Pre-Load

If you show up ravenous at an event where there is a lot of food, and food-pushers, you will cave and eat everything that they are offering you plus a full menu of your own. Before you leave home, have a serving of high-quality protein and fiber. A couple of cheese sticks and an apple will fill the empty space in your stomach and stick with you for a couple of hours. Two boiled eggs and some berries will work. The idea is to have some fiber with your protein so that the fiber binds with the protein and stays iin your stomach for a while. A protein bar and an ounce of your favorite nuts will work great. You know what you like, so decide on your protein first and then pair some fiber with it. When the food pushers come around, it will be much easier to stand your ground and stick to your healthy program.

Hydrate!

Make sure that you drink water all day, not in excess, but regularly. You might want to read David’s article How Much Water Do I Need? to learn about hydration. Beng hydrated will fill you up and just make you feel better. If you have less space in your stomach to over eat, you are less likely to give in to the party mentality and over-indulge. While I don’t necessarily agree with the statement that sometimes we think that we’re hungry and we’re only thirsty, a lot of people do believe that to be true. Either way, being well hydrated will keep you from feeling empty and dull your hunger a bit, so drink up.

Get Active!

I remember hovering around the food at parties. You know, you get a seat at the end of the dessert table and just hang out talking to whomever comes to get dessert. The problem is, you can all too easily reload your plate, and you do. If you’re at a pool party, swim. If you’re at a picnic, play with the kids. If you’re just hanging around in someone’s house, leave the food behind and mingle with the crowd. Other people may not notice your uncontrolled, nonstop munching at the buffet but believe me, you and everyone else will notice when you can’t fit into your jeans. Do what a party was meant to do and socialize. Free food is not free when it raises your medical bills due to the complications of obesity. If it’s your party, or you have any input into planning the event, focus on keeping the party active. A barbecue at a trailhead with hiking on the schedule is much better than a lone grill master outside and everyone else inside mixing margaritas. If you say that you’re trying to get healthy, live it. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. So much of our lives is up to us to decide. Make healthy decisions and reap the benefits.

But, What Do I Eat?!?

Whenever I go to any event with food, the first thing that I do is find my protein. I look for the richest source of protein on the menu. This will usually be meat, fish or chicken, without breading, grilled, baked, boiled or broiled. Steamed or grilled shrimp is a wonderful summer treat! If someone is grilling hamburgers, I eat the ground beef with everything except the bun. If you really want that bun, go ahead. Limit it to one and avoid any other refined or simple carbs like desserts or sugar-laden drinks. Baked beans are a fine food if they’re made with sugar free ketchup and a 0 calorie sugar substitute and they’re just as good or better than the ones that are full of sugar. You might also add some ground beef to those beans to up their protein. Cole slaw without added sugar is fine. If you like it sweet, make it with that same 0 calorie sugar substitute.  It works good, I’ve made it many times and I live in the Deep South where cole slaw is a staple. I don’t eat hot dogs because they are a processed food that does not stave off hunger for very long. Steak is wonderful, full of muscle-building protein. Once you have nailed down your protein, decide what you would like to have with it. Sometimes I just eat the protein but if you’re going to be at the event for very long, you might need to add some complex carbs like beans, potatoes or whole grain bread. A piece of fresh fruit will satisfy a sweet tooth and give you a bit of fiber. These same tactics work for eating in a restaurant. Always focus on protein first. It is going to satisfy you more than any other food group. Avoid desserts unless there is a “no sugar added” option. You can search on the Home Page in the search box for a recipe for almost any dessert that you would like to make and carry to the event. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact us through comments or the “Contact” button, and we’ll help you find a recipe that will work. You can also buy “No Sugar Added” ice cream in practically every Walmart on Earth and many varieties are good. If you like ice cream, try a few until you find one that you like. You can look in our “Product Reviews” and find more than one review on various “No Sugar Added” ice cream. Don’t drink alcohol. It’s sugar-based garbage.

STAND YOUR GROUND

The old saying, “Misery loves company.” is all too true. Even if the people who are trying to sway you to abandon your healthy initiatives are loved ones, they very well may be miserable, unhealthy people who really don’t want you to prove that being healthy is usually based on the decisions that you make every day. If you prove that, then they are accountable and most people don’t want to be accountable. They want to drift along, making bad decisions every day and blame genetics on their plight. While bad things do happen to very good people and health freaks do sometimes get sick, a lifetime of good decisions usually results in optimum health, just as bad decisions do the opposite. Regardless of their status in your life, don’t let other people sway you. You are the one who has to live, or die, with your decisions. Make good ones.

 

 

 

LigHTLIFE PLANT-BASED BURGER Review

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Pleasant Surprise!

Everyone who knows me knows that I love my protein and I usually get it from beef, pork, chicken or fish. I am not a huge fan of plant-based protein sources. I bought a few products weeks ago to review for David’s Way and they have been setting in my freezer. I was not really looking forward to trying them. Boy, was I surprised when I bit into this burger! Since I browned it nicely in olive oil, it had a firm, slightly crunchy bite. The inside of the patty did have the texture that is usually associated with plant-based burgers, but the firmness of the surface gave me something to chew so the soft inside was still quite palatable. I added “No Sugar Added” Heinz ketchup and French’s yellow mustard, and it was very good.

 

Easy Prep!

 I poured a bit of olive oil into a cast iron skillet and browned them for about 15-20 minutes. They smell good cooking and they brown easily, so cook them on low-medium heat until they are nice and brown. I cooked them from frozen and they cooked up just fine.

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You can see the texture here. It’s not like a ground beef patty, but it’s good. The color is reminescent of an undercooked beef patty and you have to get past the feeling of eating an undercooked burger, but you can measure the internal temperature and be sure that it’s done. It’s made from pea protein and tastes quite hearty.

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Nutrition

This good-sized burger, that shrinks very little during cooking, is 1/4 pound before cooking, 270 calories, 17 grams of fat, Net Carbs 8 grams and and a whopping 20 grams of protein! There is no added sugar. With this nutrition profile and robust flavor, I will buy these burgers again. I must say, this is a first for plant-based meat substitutes. I have never liked one enough to buy it again.

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$Price$ and Availability

I bought these at Walmart for $5.94 for two patties. I shop at one of the smallest Walmart’s that I have ever seen so I believe that you can fiind them in your home town. The price is lower than what some people pay for one burger in a restaurant. I consider them a bargain. Even my 26 year old son really liked these burgers. That’s a deal, when you can get a $3.00 meal that the whole family likes! Lightlife, you have a winner.

 

G. Hughes Barbecue Sauce Review

 

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Oh, Yeah…

In my journey towards health and wellness that has spanned many years and many methods, before finding David’s Way, there have been a few things that I missed giving up. Good barbecue sauce was always one of them. I tried to make it without sugar many times but could never come up with a recipe that I liked. I don’t know what kind of magic G. Hughes has stumbled upon, but it’s powerful! They have managed to produce more than one variety of SUGAR FREE BBQ SAUCE that is wonderful.

Perfect Balance

I have enjoyed every variety of G. Hughes BBQ SAUCE that I have tried, but when I found the Sweet & Spicy flavor, I knew that I had found “The One”. All of them are thick and rich, but this one seemed a little thicker with just enough of a heat bite to notice. It’s obviously sweet, but it has equal tangy, spicy notes to perfectly balance the sweetness. The result is a decadent sauce that builds nicely as you cook, especially if you know how to cook it on in layers of sticky, finger-lickin’ good sauciness. It made both pork chops and chicken rock. Barbecue is back on the menu!

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Nutrition

With only 10 calories per 2 Tablespoon serving, you can have all you want. There is no added sugar or fat. There is 200 mg. of sodium in a serving, which is 9% of all that you should have in a day, so if sodium is a concern for you that might be a limitation, but that is true for most barbecue sauces. I eat very little sodium otherwise, so the sodium is not a problem for me.

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$Price$ and Availability

I buy this amazing, sugar free sauce at my local Walmart for a mere $3.26 per bottle. The only snafu is that occasionally, they don’t have my favorite, the Sweet and Spicy. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s so good. Sometimes every variety is sold out, so if you like this sauce and want to be sure that you don’t have to order it from Amazon and pay too much for it, you might want to keep more than one on hand. It also comes in Mesquite, Maple Brown, Hickory and Carolina Style Sweet Heat and Original. Even if they’re sold out of your favorite, you can’t go wrong with G.Hughes!

Eat!

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Deadly Lie

There is a dangerous misconception that you have to go hungry to manage your weight and be in good health. Nothing is farther from the truth, and since so many people believe this fallacy, they never even attempt to be healthy. Listen up! I eat more than anyone that I know, except David, and we are both at a good, healthy weight.

Change Your Mind

One reason that so many people are overweight and obese is that they eat so many empty calories, foods devoid of good nutrition, but full of added sugars or other simple carbohydrates. Junk foods like this are calorie-laden. Even if it’s home cooked and delicious, if it’s high in simple carbs, it’s a nutrition bomb. So often we think that we just can’t do without our favorite foods and there is a measure of truth in that. There are ways to eat most of your favorite foods and avoid simple carbs. We have low-carb recipes for amost anyting that you might like right here on this website. Red Velvet Cake? We’ve got it. Brownies? Got you covered. If there’s something that you want a low-carb recipe for, go to the search box on the Home Page and look. If you want a recipe that you don’t find, contact us through the “Contact” tab on that same Home Page. Just today, David posted a review for Vanilla and Chocolate Almond Milk  that will satisfy cravings for sweet drinks. Sometimes we just need to rethink our regular meals. There’s almost always a way to make them healthier. Let’s look at a few of them.

Breakfast

Are you addicted to sugar filled coffee drinks in the morning? A 16 ounce coffee frappe has 560 calories, 24 grams of fat and 70 grams of sugar. Yes, that’s correct, 70 grams of sugar! Not only are these drinks practically worthless nutritionally, (there is a bit of calcium in all that milk)… for that same 560 calories you can have 4 protein pancakes, 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon and 0 calorie, no sugar added pancake syrup. Now, you tell me, which will do you more good and which had you rather have? That “coffee” won’t last you very long and then there’s the matter of what you will eat with the “coffee”. It’s usually more sugar. There’s only about 6 grams of sugar in the entire preferred breakfast. All that sugar in the coffee will cause a huge insulin dump and then the corresponding ravenous hunger. The coffee drink sets your day up for failure.

Lunch

Of course, it has to be burgers and fries, right? Well, that’s fine. A whole grain bun, or bunless burger is best but if you like the traditional white bun, then go ahead. The problem comes when you order the milkshake. One chocolate milkshake has about 520 calories, 83 grams of carbs including 71 grams of added sugars. Just think about that. There only about 417 calories in a quarter pound burger. Pair that with oven fries and score the whole meal for about the same calories as the shake alone. Load that burger with veggies, mustard and sugar-free catsup and feast! There are approximately 4 grams of sugar in the bun.

Dinner

One of my pet peeves is what I call “Double Starching”, eating more than one serving of a starchy dish at a meal, not including bread. This is a common practice nowadays and for the life of me, I don’t know how this got started! Why would anyone think that it’s okay to eat macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes at the same meal? Not okay. There’s 310 calories and 44 grams of simple carbs in 1 cup of macaroni and cheese. Pair that with a cup full of mashed potatoes for 214 calories and 32 net grams of carbs and you have a carb fest of 76 grams with almost no fiber to slow the absorption of all those carbs into your bloodstream. For about 560 calories you can have about 6 ounces of grilled sirloin steak, a baked potato and a green salad. Choose wisely. There’s only about 20 grams of carbs in that entire meal.

Snacks

 

Those 5 cookies have about 500 calories and 125 grams of carbs including 70 grams of sugars. They will not satisfy you and they will perpetuate your sugar addiction and make you eat more of everything because of the insulin dump you will get when you eat them. The apple, pistachios and string cheese snack has about 360 calories and only about 25 grams of carbohydrates. That second snack also has about 20 grams of protein that will hold you without hunger for hours.

Focus!

As you can see, you don’t have to go hungry to control your weight and be healthy. If you avoid added sugars and just rethink your regular meals, you will lose weight if you need to drop some pounds.

Hormel Natural Choice Uncured Bacon Review

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Yes, We Eat Bacon!

Good nutrition does not mean going without food that you love. Bacon can change a meal from hum-drum to divine. Since we advocate eating healthy, I choose to avoid added nitrates and nitrites. Hormel has an extensive Natural Choice line and I had eaten their Smoked Ham for years but had never tried this bacon. I was missing something!

So Fragrant!

One of the best features about good bacon is the wonderful aroma that fills the house when you cook it. You can almost know what the bacon will taste like as you begin to smell the first smoky wafts drifting from the pan. This bacon smelled so good, and the flavor matched the smell exactly, spicy-sweet and smoky. It has the taste that gets you hooked on bacon and it’s worth every calorie.

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Preparation

One of the worst things that you can do to good bacon is to rush it. I fried this in a cast iron skillet on medium low for about 15 minutes the first time I prepared it. The second time, I browned it on a temperature controlled griddle. I liked it best on the griddle because it cooked more uniformly, but either way will produce good bacon if you take your time. With time, you get a sweet-salty, crunchy-chewy delight instead of a hard, salty chunk of burnt fat. If you’re spending the calories, do it right. It’s average thickness, not too thin or too thick, and it will cook up pretty quickly even if you are taking your time.

Nutrition

At only 80 calories, 7 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein for two crunchy slices, this is a nutrition deal. While I wouldn’t advise eating the whole package, a couple of slices will jazz up any meal in a flash for less than 100 calories. It does have turbinado sugar listed in the ingredients, but since the FDA allows a claim of 0 grams of carbs as long as there is less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving, this is insignificant for a single serving of two slices. There are 5 grams in a teaspoon, so 1/2 gram is less than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar. It’s insignificant unless you eat a whole lot of bacon!

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$Price$ and Availability

I bought this at Walmart for $5.56. I love that it’s so easy to find and the price is a real deal if you actually eat only one serving at a time, only about $0.79/serving. That is cheap happiness! The bacon is from pigs raised without antibiotics, it’s minimally processed and has no artificial ingredients. There are no nitrates or nitrites added except for those naturally occuring in sea salt and celery.

This bacon will be a staple in my kitchen. If you are a bacon lover, you might want to try this soon!