Author: Brenda Sue

How to Be Thankful


Sometimes we can wonder what we have to be thankful for when hardship has come our way. If you consider the glass half full or half empty question, David’s teaching on that is the answer. “It doesn’t matter whether the glass is half full or half empty, refill the glass.”

Today take small steps to refill your glass. Eat well, get in some exercise, walk away from people and situations that increase your stress, avoid alcohol and get to bed a little earlier tonight.

When we practice good health habits our cortisol levels are more stable and we are happier, have fewer cravings and see improvements in all aspects of our lives, including our weight.

Have a wonderful day and remember to take care of YOU. It’s a choice. Thank you for following us. May God bless you today and always. 

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie

 

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1 large egg

2 large egg whites

1 can solid pack pumpkin 15 oz.

3/4 cup Original Granulated Splenda

1/2 cup low fat Bisquick

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring/extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 (12 oz.) can fat free evaporated milk

1 cup reduced-fat whipped topping

1. In a large bowl mix everything until smooth, except evaporated milk and whipped topping. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

2. Pour into 9 inch pie plate which is coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dollop with whipped cream before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutritional Info

Cut into 6 pieces.

Calories 124, 2 grams fat, (1 saturated), 28 mg. Cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates (0 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber), 6 grams protein and 1 1/2 diabetic starch exchange

Enjoy! 🍁🍃🍂🍃🎃🍃

Changing “The Change”

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As if going pretty much brain dead for a season, isn’t enough. As if waking up and not even recognizing the person in your head isn’t enough. As if experiencing an intensity of emotions, or complete lack thereof, that could land us in jail or the psyche ward isn’t enough… We tend to gain weight during and after menopause. Damn!

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On Being a Woman

There are a few factors that contribute to this travesty of justice. You’d think that we’d already suffered enough, right?!? However… the changing hormone levels in our bodies actually cause a decrease in muscle mass, (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058) which automatically decreases our caloric need and guess what? Eating LESS during the most miserable times of our lives is NOT what we want to do! We usually eat more and the pounds begin to pile on. As time passes, our bodies can change into something that we don’t even recognize.

According to the Mayo Clinic source cited above, to merely maintain our current weight we may need about 200 calories/day less during this time of our lives. Oh, great. “Comfort food” suddenly becomes our staunch enemy because there’s no comfort in watching that scale go up week after week.

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The Equation

The “formula” that worked/works for me is pretty simple. It’s a combination of eating less and moving more. Any activity will burn excess calories but weight training will aggressively rebuild some of that precious lost muscle so it has the advantage over all other forms of exercise for me. It burns approximately 90-266 calories/hour on average, depending on the individual’s weight and effort involved in the lifting, according to the Harvard Medical School (https://www.livestrong.com/article/256854-calories-burned-through-strength-training/). It has served me well. I eat 1600-1800 calories/day, non-lifting and lifting days respectively. Before this time of my life I daresay I ate 2,000-3,000 every single day. I could eat 2,000 easily without gaining weight. Reducing caloric intake after menopause is necessary to avoid weight gain but instead of drastically cutting calories, I found it much more pleasant to increase my activity and cut fewer calories. The added benefit of the endorphins and other neurotransmitters produced by strenuous exercise was a win-win when I realized that I could still eat enough to be satisfied. Since beginning David’s Way I find it difficult to eat all of the calories that I need because the foods that David encourages, whole food sources of protein and complex carbohydrates, are so filling. Sometimes I feel guilty because I didn’t eat all of my allotted calories!

You Are What You Eat

I also discovered plain, full-fat, Greek yogurt during this time. I read somewhere that it decreased belly fat better than other sources of calcium and I jumped on that bandwagon. It definitely made a difference for me.

Simple carbohydrates and sugar cause insulin spikes and and insulin spikes cause an increase in cortisol levels in the body. Over time, increased cortisol levels may cause excess belly fat. I avoid simple carbs and treat sugar like a poison. If I have sandwich bread in the house, I will see an increase in belly fat. I just don’t eat it except on rare occasions. My burger doesn’t have a bun. I keep my Net Carbs at 100 grams/day to control tummy pudge. I constantly pursue a lean body and I have discovered that David’s Way of high protein and low carb eating is exactly how I need to eat now. The truth is , I’m certain that I should have been eating this way all along.

Photo by Miguel Arcanjo Saddi from Pexels

Considering the cortisol link, stress causes terrible cortisol spikes. David’s advice to “Keep your world small.” can help with that. If people or activities stress you out, avoid them. Keep your world full of positive people who encourage your efforts to be healthy and leave the negative ones behind. This time of your life that can be so frustrating will instantly get a little easier and your overall health and waistline will reflect that wise decision.

Knowledge is power. Don’t let this time of life catch you off guard. It’s a real thing, Girls. Be ready. If you’re in it, and you’re not eating this way and you’re not exercising, then decide if this sounds like something that would be good for you. I’ll never go back. I say that I’m middle-aged at 64 because I plan on living a very long life in good health, completely independent. It looks like I have a pretty good start on it.

Don’t be miserable another day. A quality diet and physical fitness are always beneficial. Use the energy that you have to make important changes in your life. The same methods work for both naturally occurring and surgically induced menopause. I have no intention of growing old gracefully. I haven’t even hit my peak. Your best years really are ahead of you. The choices are yours. ;-*

Cranberry-Turkey Salad

 

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Nutritional  Info

Serves 6

Calories 521

Net Carbs 10.8

Protein 23.1 grams

Ingredients

3 cups diced cooked Turkey

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Mix turkey, celery, cranberries and pecans together.

To make dressing, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper together and pour over turkey mixture and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour and serve cold.

 

Low Carb Chicken Garam Masala

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Servings 6

Nutritional  Info

Calories 393

Protein 33.4 grams

Carbs 2.5 grams

Fat 26.8 grams

Ingredients

25 oz. Chicken Breasts

3 T. Butter

Salt

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 1/4 c. Coconut Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream

1 T. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped

Garam Masala Ingredients

1 t. Ground  Cumin

1-2 t. Coriander Seed

1 t. Turmeric

1 t. Ground Ginger

1 t. Paprika

1 t. Chili Powder

1 pinch Ground Nutmeg

Or buy ready made Garam Masala in the grocery store (about 2 1/2 T.). Just make sure that the spice mix is sugar and additive free.

1. Preheat the oven to 400

2. Mix spices for garam masala

3. Cut chicken breasts lengthwise. Fry in butter til golden brown.

4. Add half garam masala mix to the pan and stir thoroughly.

5. Season with salt, and place the chicken, including the juices, in a baking dish.

6. Finely chop the bell pepper and add that to a small bowl along with the coconut cream and remaining garam masala mix.

7. Pour over the chicken. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes.

8.Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

Bacon Low Carb Stuffing

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Serves 8

Calories 309

Protein 15 grams

Carbs 11 grams

Fat 22 grams

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2 Tablespoons butter

2 yellow onions

5 oz. bacon, diced

3-4 stalks of celery, diced

1 apple, grated

2 oz. pecans, chopped

2 buns or slices of low-carb bread

1 cup heavy whipping cream

30 oz. 93% lean ground beef

fresh sage 2-3 sprigs, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon butter to grease dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brown onions, bacon and celery in butter til golden

Stir in 2/3 of the sage and grated apple and pecans

Tear bread apart in a bowl and pour heavy cream on top, allowing the bread to absorb some of the cream

Add meat, spices, browned onion and spice mixture gently

Bake  25-30 minutes or until meat is cooked thoroughly

Garnish with fresh sage

ENJOY! ;-*

 

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Serves 12

Calories 230

Net Carbs 4 grams

Protein 5 grams

Ingredients

1/2 cup Swerve Brown

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 box Swerve Vanilla Cake Mix

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 large eggs

1/3 cup oil or melted butter

1/3 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F and grease 9 inch round cake pan well.

In the bottom of the pan, stir together the Swerve Brown and the melted butter until well combined. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with cranberries and pecans.

Whisk together the cake mix and cinnamon. Whisk in eggs, oil, water and vanilla until well combined.

Pour over the topping in the pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is ggolden brown and firm to the touch. Remove and let cool 10 minutes in the pan then run a knife around the edges and flip out onto a cake plate.

Shrimp Scampi Spinich Salad

Nutrition

Serves 1

Calories 201

Net Carbs 4 grams

Fat 10 grams

Protein 21 grams

Ingredients

Tablespoons butter

1 pound uncooked shrimp (31-40 per pound) peeled and deceived

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley, fresh

6 ounces fresh baby spinich

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Lemon wedges

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon coarse

black pepper

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

Heat butter and saute shrimp and garlic til the shrimp turns pink. Stir in parsley and remove from heat.

Place spinich and tomatoes in a serving dish and top with shrimp mixture and squeeze lemon over salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with almonds and add cheese if desired.

How to Make Positive Changes

 

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Stasis

If we never change, we will die, and yet most people resist change like it is the certain death. This resistance to change is at the root of many health problems. We grew up eating sugar-laden desserts as a reward and as an adult, we want to continue doing just that. Never mind that this single habit can keep us from our health goals. In the case of diabetes, that habit can be more quickly debilitating. I have personally witnessed a person with his hand in a bag of candy wondering why his blood sugar was so high. I have had people ask me why they are suffering the long term effects of elevated, uncontrolled blood sugar when they have been diabetic for fifty years and never adhered to the diabetic diet. Resistance to change is an instrument of death.

 

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Causes

We tend to do the things that make us feel secure. Old habits that may be detrimental to our health have been our source of comfort for so long that we want to keep repeating those behaviors even if we know that they are not in our best interest. When life gets as tough as it gets, we tend to run for shelter in the places that we know will shield us from the storm. If a carton of ice cream or a case of beer has been our go-to in the past, a stressful event just might send us running back into the coziness of the familiarity of that toxic behavior.

While we tend to think of inertia, which is merely a resistance to change, as affecting the physical world of nature, we are very susceptible to this law of physics. Inertia helps us to maintain a homeostatic environment in our bodies so that our temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respirations will be regular and healthy. When we try to introduce change, we resist it to our core, even if it’s good for us. When I heft a loaded barbell onto my shoulders to squat, there is something in my brain that tells me that I have lost my mind. Nothing will bring about physiological changes in our bodies as quickly as a heavy weight. Sometimes, no, every time, that I put that bar on my shoulders, for several reps I think that I am going to surely die. My body is screaming for me to stop. It’s craving homeostasis, or to remain the same. That heavy weight will not ever allow me to remain the same and that’s why I feel that way. My brain is resisting change. I can never let it win.

There are various mental and emotional states that can also make change very difficult for many people. I am not addressing those issues. Medications and therapy can help with many behavioral issues. My son is autistic and change for him is one of the worst things in life. I am speaking to the average individual’s difficulty when you are attempting to improve eating habits or incorporate exercise into your life.

 

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

 

What Do I Do?

When I first began weight training, David told me to do my workouts like I do my job, make them non-negotiable, part of my life. In doing this, I have developed cues to work out. When we first start driving, we learn that the first thing that we do when we get into our vehicle is fasten our seatbelt. It is non-negotiable. We don’t question it. It very quickly becomes a part of our lives. When we get behind that driver’s wheel, we automatically buckle up. Avoiding sugar, counting our calories and working out has to be cued. If we repeat these good habits through sheer will for a period of time, they will become second nature. Now, I know that until I get my mandatory workouts in every week, I will not have peace. In the beginning, doing the workouts was a stress inducing behavior. Now, although I may procrastinate, or dread the weight, I know that skipping a workout is not an option. I have seven days to get in four hard workouts and some extra, easier accessory work. My cue to begin is the fulfillment of my days “off”, my rest days. As soon as those days are done, I am cued to work out. When I first stopped eating sugar, it was a hard habit to break. Now, after withdrawing from sugar a few years ago, avoiding sugar is my normal. The behavior is cued by the very presence of sugar. I automatically recoil. It is my new normal.

 

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Nike Says It Best

The way to develop cues is to consciously perform an action until it becomes routine. When we forcibly learn something new such as better eating habits or exercising, we are using a different part of our brain from the part that cues us. After repeating these good habits through will and perseverance for a while, the controlling mechanism will move to another part of our brain. In the beginning, new habits are much like forging iron. It takes strength, will and force. After a while, the habit, like the iron, is forged and you can use it to hammer out good health. So when Nike says, “Just Do It.” they summed it up. Sometimes people ask us how to quit eating sugar. David always says, “Quit eating it.” It’s really that simple. Yes, at first it’s very hard, just like that iron in the forge. There’s great pressure and difficulty but before you know it, a useable tool will emerge.

 

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Reinforcement

As you practice your good habits willfully and then with cues, you will begin to reap the rewards. You may notice increased energy and better skin. Your clothes will fit differently and people will begin to notice and pay you compliments. Shopping and trying on clothes in the dreaded dressing room mirror will become your friend instead of your nemesis. These positive reinforcements can keep you moving in the right direction because they will activate the reward center of your brain just like those bad habits of yesterday once did. You will have changed your habits and even your personality to some degree. Instead of being the one who always wants to avoid anything active, you will be the leader in active, leisurely activities for your friends and families. Instead of being the one who always burdens the digestive systems of loved ones with sugar and excess calories, you will be helping them achieve their health goals.

I want you to understand that nowhere have I said that the process would be easy. In the beginning, it’s incredibly hard and even after you have developed new habits, you will still have free will to do either good or bad for yourself. Most of the time when I face the Squat or Deadlift, I feel like I’m going to my execution, but I go. It is not easy, but it is worth it. Why barely survive when you can thrive?

The choice, as always, is yours.