Author: Brenda Sue

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Nutrition

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Symptoms

PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce too much of the male sex hormones. While women do have these same hormones in very small amounts, too much can cause misery. The symptoms may include:

  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
  • Ovaries that are large or have many cysts
  • Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)
  • Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Infertility
  • Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)
  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts (1)

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Contributing Factors

While the specific cause is unclear, PCOS often accompanies insulin resistance. As the inability to use insulin efficiently increases, even higher androgen levels occur. Obesity and poor nutrition can add to the problem and the patient’s condition continues to get worse. This tendency seems to run in families but like other disorders of the body, these tendencies can be affected negatively or positively by our habits. Nutrition is a key influence in PCOS. Insulin resistance and obesity increase your risk of developing this painful syndrome. By being pro-active to fight PCOS, you may avoid diabetes.

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Your Part

One of the key components of treatment is a change in diet and activity. By following a healthy diet and increasing your level of activity, you can lose weight and that will reduce your symptoms. You will use insulin more efficiently and lower your blood sugar levels which will help to restore a more normal ovulation cycle, which is missing in PCOS. There are medications which your doctor can prescribe that can help but he can’t make the lifestyle changes needed to improve this condition. Only you can do that. A good doctor is a Blessing from Heaven but he can only do so much. Unless we are willing to take personal responsibility for our health, most of the time, his hands are tied. So far, I have not found a doctor with a magic wand that he could wave over me and fix my problems. I have to do my part.

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Choices

I have known women who thought that living with PCOS was easier than taking personal responsibility to try to change it. I don’t agree with that. There are life-threatening complications associated with PCOS including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and uterine cancer. PCOS can also make it very hard to get pregnant. If you are at all concerned about having a baby, you need to get this under control. I once knew a 13 year old girl with this condition who was morbidly obese. Unfortunately, her mother who was also morbidly obese, refused to accept the cold hard truth that obesity was contributing to the girl’s problem and she never addressed the weight. As an adult now, her daughter has been unable to have children, which was really all that this young woman ever wanted in life. She also has the excess facial and body hair and acne that is so often a part of this crippling malady. The medications have helped some but her doctors continue to try to steer her to lose weight to no avail.

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A healthy eating plan for women with PCOS includes:

  • Four to five meals or snacks every day, including breakfast. Don’t skip meals.
  • A variety of foods from all the MyPlate food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Moderate portions of healthy fats, such as olive and canola oils, walnuts, almonds and avocados.
  • Protein in all meals and snacks. Try nut butters, lean meats, fish, tofu, beans, lentils and low-fat dairy products with all meals and snacks.
  • Healthy beverages such as water, low-fat or fat-free milk or soy beverage or 100 percent fruit juice (2)

Fill Up On The Good Stuff!

Notice the abundance of food that you need to eat to help combat PCOS. I promise you, if you concentrate on eating all of the nutritious, whole foods listed here, you won’t have room for very many empty calories. We strongly advise you to avoid added sugars and processed foods while you are fighting PCOS. They will only make weight management harder and cause additional inflammation in your body. If you have cravings for sweet foods, go to our Menu and select Recipes and Cakes and Brownies, Sugar-Free Pies and Misc. or Sugar-Free Cookies. You can find a healthy recipe for almost any food that you may desire. Here’s a link to a wonderful Low-Carb Breakfast Lemon-Blueberry Bread that’s made from almond flour. If you have a specific recipe that you would like to have, you can leave it in the comments or at our Contact Button and we will either create or find one for you.

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Get active!

Regular exercise can help you shed the pounds and feel better while doing it. Always get your doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise program. The general guideline for PCOS is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. David discusses the different levels of exercise in this article Out Exercise a Bad Diet? You’re Funny! Strength training at whatever level that your doctor approves will build lean muscle mass and give you faster and better results.

So much of our health is based on our decisions. Make good ones and have a rich, long, healthy life.

(1) https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos#:~:text=Polycystic%20ovary%20syndrome%20(PCOS)%20is,that%20form%20in%20the%20ovaries.

(2) https://www.eatright.org/health/pregnancy/fertility-and-reproduction/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome#:~:text=Diet%20and%20PCOS,insulin%20and%20normalize%20hormone%20levels.

Whisps Cheese Crisps Review

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Flavor Plus!

If you like cheese, chips or crackers then you will most likely like these 100% cheese crisps. They come in Cheddar, Ranch, Parmesan and Barbecue. I have only tried the cheddar and was impressed with the pungent, cheddar flavor and the crunchy texture.  There’s two servings per 2.12 ounce bag so the servings are kind of small but you get a lot of crunch and salty cheese flavor in that 1 ounce of crisps. Be aware that the Cheddar flavor is VERY cheddar. If cheddar is not your favorite cheese, you might want to try another flavor.

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Texture

These crisps remind me of the packaged cheese and peanut butter crackers that come 6 to a pack. They are thicker than you can tell by the picture and the bite is very similar to those two-layer crackers. They are crunchy but not hard and each crisp gives you a significant amount of crunchy, cheese flavor to satisfy your snack craving.

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Nutrition

If you look at the top, right corner of the bag, you will notice that cheese is the only ingredient. There’s 170 calories, 1 gram of carbs, 14 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein per serving. These crisps are a good change from carbohydrate rich potato chips (14 grams) or tortilla chips (19 grams). While we don’t advocate processed, convenience foods, there are times that a healthier option for chips might come in handy. These crisps would make a tasty addition to a lunchbox to accompany a high-protein sandwich and a piece of fruit or carrot or celery sticks with milk. They would be handy to have on hand in your car for a quick bite to avoid the temptation of stopping at the drive-thru. The only caveat that I can see in the nutrition is they are somewhat high in sodium, one serving having 330 mg. or 14% of the DV for sodium. If you scarf down the entire bag, you’re looking at 720 mg. or a whopping 31% of your DV. If you are sodium sensitive, you might want to avoid them. 

Price and Availability

I found these crisps at Walmart in the deli section above one of those coolers with ready-made sandwiches and salads in it. The Cheddar flavor was the lowest in inventory so it must be the most popular. At $3.79 per bag, two servings, they are a bit pricey, but since we don’t need these processed, salty foods in our diet very often anyway, they may be worth the price. If they will help you avoid binge-eating bags of tortilla chips in front of the T.V., they are definitely worth the price. Sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils. Personally, I won’t be buying them because I don’t normally have these types of foods in my house but if you normally buy chips, these just might be an upgrade.

 

Eating for a Healthy Brain

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Living Longer!

In the United States in 2020, the life expectancy is 78.93 years, which is a 0.08% increase from 2019. (1) I am an advocate for aging well. Advancing age is not a reason for poor health or cognitive decline. At 64, I am a full-time Charge Nurse, mother of an adult autistic son, a writer here at David’s Way and an avid, passionate heavy weight trainer. I do not have time for either physical or mental malady and actively pursue excellence in health in every area. I have heard the expression, “Divine Health” and I am in hot pursuit of just that. Nutrition is the foundation for a high functioning life in all areas. Although I work out with ardor, unless my nutrition is on spot, I will not accomplish my goals. Not only are abs made in the kitchen, for the most part, so is your brain.

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Fuel Up!

While you should not eat more than your calorie allowance as recommended by your doctor, or the Calorie Counter Pro we need to eat enough whole foods to support our neurological system. I remember when my grandfather was living, throughout my life he severely restricted his nutrition. He would only eat a few foods. They were good choices but they were not adequate. He developed dementia in his 80’s and became mentally unstable. It was not Alzheimer’s Disease. There is good evidence that poor nutrition can negatively impact your brain health. (2) Think about how your car runs on good fuel and how it runs on bad fuel. In order to have a smooth running brain that can take us where we want to go, we must fuel accordingly. We must eat enough of the right foods to have optimum brain health into our old age.

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The best dietary approach to fuel your brain is multi-faceted. Choose whole, healthy foods from different food groups. Avoid sugar and processed foods.

  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collards and broccoli are rich in vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene and may help slow cognitive decline.
  • Fatty fish are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids that are believed to decrease beta-amyloid plaques that form damaging clumps in Alzheimer’s Disease. Try to eat fish at least twice per week. Salmon is an excellent choice. If you don’t like fish you might ask your doctor for an omega-3 supplement or choose flaxseeds, avocado and walnuts for your healthy fat.
  • Berries help improve memory and have been observed to delay memory decline by as much as 2 1/2 years.
  • Tea and coffee are credited with the ability to solidify new memories because of their caffeine content. The caffeine gives a quick burst of energy but also plays a larger part in memory retention.
  • Walnuts are a good source of protein and healthy fats. They contain a specific healthy fat known as alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which can lower the blood pressure and protect arteries which is good for the heart and the brain.
  • Turmeric contains curcumin which has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. It is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and may benefit memory in Alzheimer’s patients. It may also help to clear the amyloid plaques that are present in this disease. It boosts serotonin and dopamine and improves mood and has been shown to alleviate depression in about six weeks. Curcumin also helps new brain cells grow and may delay age-related mental decline.
  • Broccoli is rich in vitamin K that is necessary to form sphingolipids, the fat that’s densely packed into brain cells. It may help with memory and inflammation and reduce the destructive free radicals in the body and help protect the brain.
  • Pumpkin Seeds are rich in zinc that is critical in nerve signaling. Zinc deficiency has been linked to many neurological conditions. They contain significant amounts of magnesium which is essential to learning.
  • Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C which helps to defend the brain against free radical damage. You can get your daily allowance of vitamin C in one orange.
  • Eggs are a wonderful source of choline which is very important in proper brain functioning and also positively  impacts mood. Choline is necessary for acetylcholine in the brain which is deficient in Alzheimer’s Disease.

While these foods are great for memory and helping to protect the brain against cognitive decline, they also help to improve mood. Begin to be pro-active where your brain health is concerned and reap the rewards. Move into your senior years with excitement and anticipation of great things to come and always do your part to be the very best that you can be. With good brain health, you can truly live your entire life to your maximum potential. Clear your cabinets of junk foods, full of empty calories and sugars that cause brain inflammation and get sharper today.

 

 

 

(1) https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/life-expectancy

(2) https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

(3) https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/foods-linked-to-better-brainpower

Sugar Free Maple Pecan Granola

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Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1/4 cup

Servings 16

Calories 230

Net Carbs 2 grams

Fat 22 grams

Protein 6 grams

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans, divided

1 3/4 cups other nuts and seeds (almonds and sunflower seeds)

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup Swerve, Granular

2 teaspoons maple extract

1 egg white

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine 1 1/4 cup of the pecans with the other nuts, seeds and chia seeds. Process on high til mixture resembles coarse crumbs (some larger pieces are okay) Put in a bowl and add salt. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Combine butter and Swerve in a saucepan over medium heat til dissolved. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat and stir in maple extract.

Stir butter mixture into ground nut mixture. Stir in egg white until fully incorporated.

Spread mixture out onto the prepared baking pan in an even layer. Bake 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove and let cool.

Fit at 64

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I have been lifting heavy weights for 2 and 1/2 years now and I have worked incredibly hard to build as much muscle as possible. As you can see, my progress has not made me look like a man. During this time of intense work, I have been bombarded with comments about “bulking up”, as if it’s something that would sneak up on me when I least expected. I couldn’t have worked any harder to build muscle unless I quit my job. My workouts are intense and long in duration and I am continually increasing them to make progress. Trust me. Women don’t get to “looking like a man” easily or by accident. When we lift heavy it requires a total commitment of time, energy and resources. Muscles are not going to sneak up on us in our sleep. I should be so lucky.

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Just yesterday I was asked, “How can I lose weight QUICK?!?” I replied, “That’s the worst thing that you can do, for a lot of reasons.” When I first began David’s Way, I was at the goal weight that was required for me to attend weekly meetings free with the weight loss company where I worked. I was traveling a lot and was skipping workouts and losing muscle. When I began heavy lifting, I was weak. I asked David how long “It” would take and he answered me “The rest of your life.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Fitness does not creep up on you in your sleep. Although, I would have much preferred to get ripped fast, it’s just not possible. You may find a way to make the scale drop quickly but you won’t drop fat and build muscle quickly. If you make the scale drop too quickly, you will lose muscle mass and that’s the worst thing that you can do. You need as much muscle as you can build naturally for strength and mobility. I promise you, you won’t look like a man unless you do some deliberate, crazy stuff intentionally to do just that. I am a natural athlete so since I am female, I will never look masculine. The only women who get that look are using substances that I will not use and do not condone and even then, it’s deliberate, hard work. They don’t just wake up like that.

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While I love lifting weights, it’s not for everyone. Unless you truly love it, don’t bother. It’s dangerous and isolating. Most people don’t want to associate with a lifter unless they lift, so it has to be your priority. If you are a social butterfly, always wanting to flit from one friend to another, it’s probably not for you. To progress, you must be completely dedicated in your nutrition and your workouts and get as much rest as possible in between. There is no time for bar hopping and eating in restaurants every day. You rough up your muscles when you’re lifting and repair them in your sleep. Heavy lifting is truly a lifestyle. You must work out with ambition and intention. Please don’t worry about some 5 pound dumbbells making you look like a boy. If you use them religiously, you may get some “toned arms” and that’s about all. Any resistance training at all will increase your muscle mass and metabolism so any at all is good as long as your doctor approves.

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Whatever exercise that you choose to do, keep a written record of your workouts and your progress. Make progress pictures all along the way. These pictures here are some that I made for myself to gauge my progress. Whenever you are having a bad day, finding it difficult to begin your program, you can look at your photos and see how far you’ve come. While your pictures may not look like the professional photos that you are accustomed to seeing on Instagram, they will show your progress and that’s what you need to see. We, especially women tend to confuse attractiveness with perfection. They are not the same thing. We are so bombarded with professional photographs in the media that it’s easy to look at those images and say, “Um, I could never look like that. What’s the use in trying?” Remember, those are professional pictures that were created to help professionals gain endorsements because that’s their livelihood. You are right in thinking that your selfies probably won’t look like those. You can still see your progress in your pictures, and be very proud, as you lose body fat and build sexy muscle in body recomposition. Don’t be discouraged by marketing ploys.

I am appalled at how quickly people accept their demise just because another year rolls around. There is no expiration date on fitness. Without a concerted effort, we will all fall prey to the ravages of time, but with focus and dedication most of us can maintain our health, mobility and attractiveness if we are willing to work hard. We often remind you that nothing is as hard or as expensive as allowing yourself to deteriorate to the point of ill health and obesity. Age is not an excuse to throw in the towel and accept your slow demise. As life begins to seem harder, you should dig in and dedicate yourself to maintaining and improving your body and mind. As you become more fit, your self-confidence will increase and that’s a natural anti-depressant. It’s hard to be depressed when you have a good sense of self-esteem.

Never accept the idea that physical deterioration is inevitable. As soon as you do that, you are on your way to becoming a stereotypical “old person”. It is realistic to be aware that with age, it becomes necessary to have razor focus on your goals. State your goals clearly and pursue them with your whole heart. We offer you a free, healthy method to manage your weight. Read about it here and get started with your doctor’s permission. We have the Calorie Counter Pro to help you discover the number of calories that you should eat each day. We strongly encourage you to go for 1 pound per week loss instead of 2. It’s easier to do and easier on your body. Remember, this is for the rest of your life. It’s not a diet. It’s a healthy way to live. You can contact us through the Contact button or in the comments at no charge. Get started today. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Lost In “The Spectrum”: The Joy of an Autistic Child

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Again, I must remind you, this is MY EXPERIENCE ONLY. Autism is different for everyone. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m just being real.

Everyone knows that autism can be daunting. We all know that it tries our nerves and patience at times. It’s so frustrating to put everything that you’ve got into a child only to feel like it didn’t help them at all. It’s mind-numbing to try to comprehend that regardless of all of your efforts, your child is still autistic. While you may say that autism is not something to be corrected, I always wanted my son to have what we think of as a “normal” life. I wanted him to have friends and a girlfriend. I wanted him to get married. I wanted him to drive willingly and get a great job and be financially secure. It scares the Hell outta me to think about dying and leaving him at the mercy of the World. I have to stay real healthy.

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Having said that, I must also say that there are unique joys in raising an autistic child. Parents of average children have many of the same frustrations that we do but while they have the typical milestones that we long for, they don’t have the unique perspective of autism in their view of life. I absolutely love the fact that my son has never bent to peer pressure and can’t imagine caring what anyone thinks about anything he is, does, thinks or says. I love that independent, “So what?” attitude. Other parents spend endless hours putting emotional band-aids on their kids when they begin to grow up and venture into the World. We don’t. Our kids reject the notion that anyone’s opinion other than theirs is even remotely important. If someone rejects them or laughs at them, it’s usually meaningless. While they are targets for bullying, bullying is not particularly effective on them. They will usually either just walk away or end it quickly. By the time we find out what’s going on, it’s over. I love having a child that can’t be successfully bullied. You have to give a damn about what someone thinks for them to effectively bully you. My son couldn’t care less.

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I believe that all parents go through a stage when their child is young where we think to ourselves that we wish that they would stay little for a long time. I remember one night when I was putting Lucas to bed, I was praying for him as I did every night. In my prayers, I  remember asking God to “keep him little for a long time.” I know, it’s selfish and stupid, but I so loved my little one. I dreaded the time when he would be at the mercy of the World that had dealt harshly with me. Everything in me longed to protect him. I knew that as long as he was little, I could. I already knew that he was unusual, that he would have difficulties that were greater than mine. This article is not about me, so I will just say that even though I should have had a very sheltered, easy life, there were circumstances that had made it more difficult. I simply could not imagine life more difficult. Later, when I realized that Lucas certainly would be “little for a long time”, I realized that in many ways, God had given me exactly what I asked for that night. Those of us who enjoy nurturing others, have someone who needs that nurturing. Even though this is something that no one talks about, it is real. While there is NO WAY to make someone autistic, like people infer because we hover and dote on our children, it does seem that quite often, we are paired with these children who need natural nurturers. The task is daunting, but we always feel needed. This is in no way intended to fuel the lie that mothers are responsible for autism. That is a lie out of Hell. Anyone with any knowledge of autism knows that no one is that powerful. Autism is an all-encompassing disorder that affects every aspect of a human being. An autistic individual is different from the ground up. Many of these differences are wonderful but they are all difficult for them to navigate and they need our unique gift of care giving. They give us purpose in a World where that can be difficult to find.

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When our children are happy, their joy is pure. It transports us back to our childhood. Non-autistic adults derive happiness from sources different from our kids. Our kids can be joyful in the moment with no thought of the past or tomorrow. They don’t need recreational drugs or alcohol to arrive at this moment of joy. A funny memory or anticipated new purchase can bring about smiles for miles. Their laughter is spontaneous and intense. Sometimes when Lucas laughs, I remember moments from my childhood where I almost got in trouble for laughing. You know, those times when everyone was silent except you and your best friend but you just couldn’t stop laughing. I even remember getting my Mother in trouble when I was 11 years old because my arm was stuck in the back of a dining room chair at the home of the  Chairman of The Board of Deacons in my Daddy’s church. Our laughter was uncontrollable and inappropriate and Lucas transports me back to that time. Location or appropriateness has no bearing on the laughter of my autistic son. In a World where almost no one laughs or smiles, he is a source of spontaneous joy.

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Our children really do have unusual gifts and talents sometime. While Lucas is not a savant, he knows things that broaden my horizons and teach me things that I might have otherwise forgotten or never known. When he was only 6 or 7 years old, he referred to “that purple sound” in the theme song for “Barney the Dinosaur”. I stopped in my tracks. I looked at him incredulously and began to question him. He assumed that everyone knew the color of various sounds. Most people are unaware that sound and color both have Frequency. Frequency is the link between the two. Lucas informed me that “All C’s are green.” I have discovered that this is different for different people. Lucas sees green for C’s, someone else may perceive a different color, depending on the source of the sound. The name for this gift is Chromesthesia, sound-to-color synesthesia where sound automatically evokes an experience of color, shape and movement. It’s real. It’s hard science. They are NOT crazy. If I had not known Lucas, I would not know chromesthesia. I had heard of it but had never been around anyone with it. When Lucas went to  college, he had a teacher with this gift. As far as I know, she is not autistic but it’s entirely possible that she falls somewhere on the spectrum. These children open our minds to so much!

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Have you ever been on vacation with other adults who somehow manage to make a great trip merely another day? I can promise you that you won’t have that experience with an autistic individual along. While some of our kids are difficult to take anywhere, when we do muster up the courage and resources to travel with them, the trip will be anything but boring. It’s unbelievable how the average adult can look at a glorious display of nature, or even man’s talent, and see nothing. An autistic individual sees the wonder in it all. While they may not be able to communicate what they are experiencing, when and if they do, in any fashion, your eyes and your heart will be opened. I remember staying in the aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for EIGHT (8) HOURS because Lucas simply would not leave. This aquarium is massive and has sharks and all kinds of marine life. The building is very user friendly so that you can move around from one exhibit to another in more than one way. There are inter-active displays and souvenirs. Lucas could not get enough of that place. So often, people spend money for their families to go to an attraction during vacation and they walk through in 30 minutes at the cost of hundreds of dollars. We got a full day and a complete education on marine life that day. The real kicker came on the way home when Lucas talked about, or mimicked, the narrative that we heard over and over.  I can answer about anything you want to know about the ocean now. Fifteen years later, I remember that day with delight. Had my son not been autistic, I would possibly not even remember going to that aquarium. It would have been a non-event. The same is true of many other museums and art galleries. We always got our money’s worth. If you have an autistic child that you can take out, you might want to try museums and aquariums with them. They seem to love the order and detail that goes into the displays. They also seem to enjoy the orderly system of the walk-through. Be prepared to be there a while and have money for the souvenir shop because I promise you, they will want the biggest, most expensive offering that the shop sells. Just buy it, you will never regret those days.

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Last but far from least is something that I refer to on more than one occasion. While Lucas has cousins that have lived a large part of their lives in jail or rehab, he has not. The young people who are highly social can do some stupid stuff to impress their friends. Autistic people don’t see the need to impress anyone. The boys don’t normally drink and drive and father children at 15 and the girls are not quick to chase after boys and have a baby while they are still a baby themselves. As a matter of fact, many autistic individuals are asexual, with little to no sexual behaviors whatsoever. While you would not choose for your child to grow up without a family of their own, this trait can certainly keep many of them out of a lot of trouble. Lucas has never understood why anyone would ingest drugs or alcohol. He understands the use of prescription medications but is highly intelligent and immediately sees the dangers of illegal drug use. He understands the legality of the issues around marijauna. One time when he was abandoned by a professor that he rode with to a music event, he had to ride home with other college students. A girl fired up a pipe and starting acting crazy while she drove down a dangerous mountain. When I picked him up at the college, he was furious, stating that he would NEVER go to anything like that again. From then on, I always drove him, sometimes hundreds of miles. I would do it all again. He has a drivers license and is an excellent driver but simply hates to drive. I consider it an honor to chauffeur a young man of such high standards, especially since he’s my son. If you have an autistic child, they may never be in the trouble that so many others accept as a normal part of becoming an adult. Jail, unplanned pregnancy, drug abuse and alcoholism are not a good part of the adult experience and you will most likely never have these heartbreaking experiences with your child. I have relatives who tried to infer that Lucas’s problems are my fault. I have asked them to explain what happened to their kids.

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While the difficulty level of raising our children is higher than that of some children, they are worth it. They have high standards, high intellect and tremendous capacity for joy. Absorb that energy. It will give you life.

Sugar-Free Fudge Pie

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Nutritional  Info

Serves 8

Calories 193

Net Carbs 3.8 grams

Fat 11 grams

Protein 7.8 grams

*Preheat oven to 350F*

Ingredients

1 stick butter, softened (1/2 cup) (NOT MELTED)

3/4 cup Swerve Granular

1 teaspoon sugar-free syrup

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

5 Tablespoons cocoa

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons almond flour

1 Tablespoon coconut flour

1 1/2 Tablespoons Whey Protein Isolate

Instructions

Soften butter and  add Swerve and syrup.

Add eggs and vanilla and mix til creamy. DO NOT OVER MIX.

Stir in cocoa, salt, flours and whey til well combined.

Grease an 8 inch glass pie plate and pour into plate. (NOT A 9 INCH)

Bake 18 minutes til center is set but check at 17 minutes. It should still jiggle in the middle.

 

Sugar-Free Pecan Pie Biscotti

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Nutritional Info

Servings 14

Calories 160

Net Carbs 2 grams

Fat 15 grams

Protein 3 grams

Ingredients

Biscotti

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

1 1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup Swerve, Granular

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 large egg

1 Tablespoon Brown Swerve

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

1 Tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon sugar-free syrup

3 Tablespoons Swerve, Confectioner’s

1 Tablespoon whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon vanilla or caramel extract

2 Tablespoons finely chopped pecans

Instructions

Biscotti

Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon liner.

In a food processor, grind 3/4 cup of pecans til they resemble coarse crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and add flour, Swerve, baking powder and salt. Stir in remaining pecans and add butter, egg, Brown Swerve and vanilla. Mix until dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto a prepared baking sheet and form into a long, low log about 4 by 10 inches. Bake 22-25 minutes, until golden brown and just firm to the touch. Remove and cool for at least 20 minutes.

Using a sharp, straight edge knife, slice into 14 pieces by pressing straight up and down without sawing back and forth.

Space a few inches apart and bake another 10 minutes or so and turn off the oven and let the biscotti cool in the oven. They will crisp up as they cool.

Glaze

Melt butter with syrup in microwave and stir in Swerve til well combined and then stir in the  whipping cream and the extract til smooth.

Drizzle over cooled biscotti and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans and refrigerate until set.

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How to Do Hard Things

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The Most Common Statement

Sometimes when people ask us questions about controlling their weight, regardless of what we tell them, they will inevitably say, “But, it’s SO HARD!” No matter how hard you perceive it to be, it’s easier than staying obese when you consider the consequences. While no one wants to do hard things, there are things that you can do to make it more likely that you will be successful in a difficult taskwp-15982276175617220010816211388207.png

1-Focus on the outcome rather than the difficulty of the moment.

When I feel the weight of a heavy bar of iron pressing on my shoulders, everything in me says to ditch that bar and run. However, failure is not an option for me until I know that I have exhausted every effort to successfully stand back up with that bar. I focus on my goal of having a fit, healthy body. Nothing will increase my lean muscle or shape my body like that heavy iron. As hard as life can get, nothing is any harder than standing up under that load. Focusing on my goal, makes me much more likely to successfully complete a set under the iron. That same strategy works for other things. When my job is so stressful that it seems almost impossible, I employ the same strategy. I just do what I know to do. The hard part will pass and I will accomplish what I set out to do. When I first quit eating sugar, the struggle with walking away from the dessert buffet was nothing compared to the victory of watching the scale plummet and my body being reshaped. The hard factor is relative. It begins to dwindle in the presence of victory.

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2-Choose your mood.

When we are confronted with difficult tasks, we are inclined to go with our initial feelings and be miserable throughout the task. That will short circuit our efforts and cause us to quit before we reach our goal. Instead of dwelling on the misery of the task, choose your thoughts. If you cannot change the discourse in your mind, you might need professional help. When faced with a hard thing, instead of hating every moment of your existence during your execution of the task, think about something that makes you feel good. It could be an old memory, or new plans for something special. If you’re using your mind, use it to your betterment, not your demise. When I’m under the iron, I focus on my goal, the body that I want. I think about the benefits of continuing to earn a good income rather than the mediocre finances of retirement. I think about good times with friends and plan my healthy menus. When I struggle the hardest, I remind myself that I have chosen to do this. I have chosen my path. If you genuinely don’t like the path that you’re on, go a different way. Make your world small and there’s less junk to distract you. The difficult task may not be the cause of your agony. It may be your life. Fix it.

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3-KEEP RECORDS!!!

Oh, my goodness! When we’re engaged in a hard thing that’s going to take a long time to accomplish, it’s easy to get discouraged and think that we’re not making progress. Sometimes we lose ground, especially if you’re a heavy weight trainer. I do believe that Satan created the Overhead Press just to give me bad days. Too bad, it didn’t work. I make progress and lose a little progress, one pound up and 3/4 of a pound back. It would be so easy to think that I’m not getting anywhere with that damn lift except for my written records. I can go back and see where I’ve come from since I pushed that standard bar over my head the first time. I use an Olympic bar now with more weight. David taught me to keep records before I did my first lift and it makes all the difference in the World when the going gets tough. In some endeavors, the going is always tough.

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4-Be aware of your position in the task.

When I first begin a difficult lifting session or any other hard thing, I go into it just because I have chosen to do it. If the “hard factor” persists well into the task, at some point, I will begin to look forward. I remind myself that I have already done the hardest part, I started. I made the initial commitment to begin. Once you begin, you will walk through a lot of your task by rote memory. Everything is more effective if you focus on the activity, especially lifting, but if you are having trouble with your focus, just do it anyway. At some point, the focus will kick in and time will pass. Then you can tell yourself that you’re almost finished! If looking forward to completion is not applicable, such as in long-term goals like weight management, you can still look forward to finishing THIS workout or navigating THIS meal or this day. Break your long-term goals up into short term goals and when you reach those milestones, it will give you the boost you need to keep going.

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5-Add something positive to the task.

Adding something that you enjoy to any task makes it easier. That’s why so many people listen to music when they’re cleaning the house or digging a ditch. Weight trainers do the same thing but loud, aggressive music actually increases dopamine production which is conducive to picking up heavy stuff with better focus. The dopamine also helps us to remember all of the prompts that we need to recall to perform at our best. I recently bought new workout clothes so that I feel like a Diva when I lift. Don’t judge me. It helps. Whatever will give you a positive re-enforcement during the performance of your task is what will work for you. It may be music, conversation, clothing or even pictures of what you’re trying to accomplish. Just make it something that gives you a mental boost.

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6-Remember where you started.

Unless you make a constant effort to keep your momentum going in the right direction, gravity will slow you down and then, without fail, you will lose ground until you are right back where you started. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fitness program or cleaning your house. This is a fact. If the thought of going back to where you started is terrifying, that should give you a little boost. For me, I was working for a major weight loss company, riding around to meetings and missing workouts. I was also losing muscle and strength. My muscle loss had become so profound that, although I was at the goal weight that they prescribed, I was beginning to lose mobility. There was more than one time that I almost fell going out my back door as I rushed to my car to drive 300 miles in one day to tell people how to lose weight. There was something missing, it was commitment to health. I had forgotten why I began that journey and did not have the proper tools to get myself back on track until I came to David’s Way. Remember your beginning and don’t ever go back. There’s nothing back there for you. Health is almost always yours for the taking. Push ahead and put as much distance between yourself and the beginning of a hard task as possible. Before you know it, the hard thing will be your new normal.

 

 

Commit To Lose the Weight This Time

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The See-Saw

I can remember being four years old and being on a diet. My Mother decided that I was fat, took me to the doctor and asked him what she should do about “this problem”. I still remember the incredulous look on his face. I was not overweight. At the age of four, I weighed forty pounds. That’s the average weight of a four year old. Since I was put on a diet so young, from that time until I came to David’s Way at 61, my life was a constant see-saw up and down the scale. I felt guilt and shame for eating and developed habits that caused me to gain weight until I was fat more than once. At one time I was a size 22. I developed binge and deprivation cycles of weight gain and loss and my whole world centered around food. Nothing worked to keep me at a healthy weight until I made up my mind that a strong, healthy body was the one thing that I wanted. If that’s true, then I have to do everything in my power to create that body. I was developing high blood pressure, depression and anxiety and nothing helped me until I broke the addiction of eating added sugars. David’s Way saved my life and gave me the drive to create the life that I want in a body that serves me well.

 

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That’s Easy for You to Say

No, it’s not. I hear comments all the time like “Oh, Brenda, you don’t understand, you’re skinny!” Well, I’m not skinny. I work out very hard to make sure of that. However, neither am I fat. I have fought the scale my entire life but did not win until I committed for the long-term. That’s the key to weight management, the long-term commitment. We all have weight fluctuations and periods of more or less focus on our goals. The day to day fluctuations don’t matter. It’s the long-term achievement that is important. When you are committed to a goal, you expect good days and bad days. Your commitment is not based on ease of execution. It’s based on the goal. You  have a clear image of your outcome and every decision that you make is made to move you closer to that goal. “Easy” or “Hard” are nonsensical in this context. Every action is merely essential to success regardless of level of difficulty.

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Set Realistic Goals

I can well remember setting myself up for failure by waiting until 2-3 weeks before going to the beach and thinking that I could drop a quick 20 pounds. That’s not going to happen. When we set ourselves up for failure by setting unrealistic goals, we will usually gain weight instead of losing because the stressful situation that we have placed ourselves in causes us to dump cortisol into our bloodstream and stress eat. Not only would I miss my weight goal, I would usually go on vacation bloated, fat and miserable. If you have a goal, go to the Calorie Counter Pro and enter your information for a realistic rate of weight loss. We advise setting your goal at 1 pound per week to be realistic and enable yourself to eat enough to maintain lean muscle mass.

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Clarify Your Motivation

Know why you want to lose weight. Looking great in a bikini is a good reason but vanity may not be a strong enough motivator. Being healthy, decreasing your blood pressure, controlling your blood sugar levels, energy and stamina to sustain you through a long work day and being able to work when others are struggling to live on Social Security are real life goals that will remind you of why you began this journey towards optimum health in the first place.

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If You Buy It, You’ll Bite It!

DON’T BUY FOOD THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO EAT. Don’t even try that line, “It’s for the kids.” The kids don’t need it either and if you take it home, YOU will eat it. Leave the sugar-laden garbage in the grocery store. Load up on lean meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, yogurt, fish (particularly salmon), other seafood, veggies and a little fruit if you like. Complex carbs in beans and oats will fuel your brain well. Look for wholesome snacks that will keep you satisfied and fuel your workouts. Sugar based foods are sources of empty calories that are devoid of nutrition and filled with excess calories that will only add fat to your frame. If you consider yourself even remotely serious about getting healthy, avoid refined sugars.

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Small Changes=Big Results

Remember, good things take time. Make small changes to improve your health and before you know it, you will see results. Stay focused on your goals and take one step at a time. Take pride in every small victory that you achieve. There will be setbacks. You will have days when it’s easy and days when you want to quit, but stay focused on why you started and keep going. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Negative self-talk will raise your cortisol levels which will make you crave simple carbohydrates including added sugars which will pack on the pounds. Just keep doing your best and “Trust the Process.” (David Yochim)

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“Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan.” (Emmett Roper-Dad)

My Dad always told me to plan ahead. There’s no better time to employ that strategy than when you know that you are going to eat out or travel. Get online and research menus and activity options. You can choose between an unhealthy restaurant and a restaurant where you have some healthy options. When you’re planning your vacation PLEASE don’t do like a woman I once knew and plan it around free food. She was morbidly obese and pre-diabetic and was thrilled at the prospect of being able to binge and gorge for two weeks for free. Use some common sense. Plan an active vacation centered around physical activity like hiking or swimming. Eat in restaurants that serve lean broiled meats and seafood and vegetables. Avoid buffets. They are a recipe for destruction.

Be Accountable

David says that “What gets counted, gets done.” We have a Calorie/Macronutrient Chart that lists the calorie count for hundreds of common foods. Keep track of your calories. You can go to the Calorie Counter Pro to determine how many calories you should eat in a day to lose 1-2 pounds per week, or to maintain your current weight. We strongly suggest losing no more than 1 pound per week. It will be easier and the changes you make are more likely to stick when you lose slowly. You also have more time to adjust your body image. You can read about body image in David’s recent article, Shattered Body Image. Unless you give yourself time to adjust your mind along with your body, your changes are less likely to be permanent.

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EAT BREAKFAST!

If you eat a high protein breakfast you will feel better all day and be less likely to over eat. If you skip breakfast you will get weak and very hungry and be prone to binge on simple carbs. You will feel justified to eat anything that you crave because you feel deprived. Nip that in the bud with good breakfast choices that satisfy and keep you going strong into mid-morning. You will be able to think more clearly and navigate your life to a more healthy advantage. If you don’t like what others have for breakfast, find something that you do like. We have countless recipes here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness that can get your day off on the right foot. Try Low Carb Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Bread  for a true healthy treat that’s sure to please.

It’s been said that the only difference in a winner and a loser is that the winner gets up one more time. I believe that to be true. Go ahead. Get up. I dare you.