Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs Review

It is, or should be, no secret that hot dogs are typically a damn poor choice for good nutrition. They are made up of the parts of the animal that are left over once the choice cuts are used up. This meat is then mixed with water, corn syrup or sorbitol, salt, food starch, and liquid smoke and a variety of different spices. To boost the color of the hot dogs, and improve their shelf life, sodium nitrate is added as a preservative. Sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, and any number of other chemicals may also be added. However, to many people, hot dogs are as American as apple pie and baseball. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans eat 818 hot dogs per second between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which adds up to about 7 billion hot dogs.

I have to admit, I do love the taste of a good hot dog, but being as they are an unhealthy choice of low nutrition processed meat,I never eat them. There is almost nothing better than a hot dog cooked on a stick over an open wood fire, but even this does not taste as good as being healthy, fit and trim feels.  However, my dear wife still does eat hot dogs and with her being a picky eater, I was quite surprised when she said she wanted to try a vegetarian hot dog. Loraine never eats vegetarian meat substitutes!

To my surprise, despite her finicky tastes when it comes to hot dogs, she really likes the Lightlife Smart Dogs!

Looking at the ingredient list, I was skeptical about how good these dogs would be. I tried the MorningStar brand of corn dogs a while back and would just as soon take a good swift kick to the shin rather eat them again. The MorningStar hot dog was awful, and left me cynical in that anyone could actually make a decent vegetarian hot dog.

Lightlife managed to make a good dog!

I prepared one of these Smart Dogs by boiling it in water for a few minutes until thoroughly heated. I then put it on a Ole Extreme Wellness tortilla with a little bit of sugar free ketchup and yellow mustard. My first thought when removing the dog from it’s package was it did look and feel like a meat hot dog, unlike some of the others I have seen in the past. Once I had it wrapped in my tortilla, I bit into it and had to go back and look into my refrigerator to ensure I had not mistakenly cooked a meat hot dog. I do not know how they pulled this off, but the Lightlife Smart Dog actually tastes like a beef or pork based hot dog. The smell and texture were even the same as their meat counterparts. Now, I really need to see how they do by cooking them over an open wood fire or charcoal. These dogs are good.

As with any other hot dog, you have to consider these are still too high in sodium, so I could not recommend anyone having these on a daily basis. Especially if you are one who needs to watch your sodium intake. That being said, the calories are not too bad, they have healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats at 3 grams total, 2 grams of fiber making only 2 net grams of carbs, and 13 grams of protein. Another downside for me is there is a trace of sugar in the ingredients, but this is actually quite miniscule at less than 1 gram per serving.

Bear in mind, that while these hot dogs are a healthier choice than their meat counterparts, this does not mean they are a healthy food. In reality, they are still a highly processed food product and their consumption should be kept at a minimum.

Low Carb Crack Slaw

 

Nutritional Info

Servings 4

Calories 272

Net Carbs 4.1 grams

Fat 17 grams

Protein 24 grams

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef

4 cloves garlic minced

2 Tablespoons sesame seed  oil

6 cups coleslaw mix

1-2 Tablespoons sriracha

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 pack Splenda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

2-3 Tablespoons green onion chopped

Instructions

Brown the beef and drain.

Push beef to side and add sesame oil and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes and mix into beef.

Add coleslaw mix and drizzle with sriracha,vinegar, soy sauce and sprinkle with Splenda, salt and pepper and fry another 5 minutes til cabbage is to your liking.

PTSD, Depression, and Good Nutrition

Like many veterans following our military careers, I had a difficult time integrating back into civilian life. I never felt like I fit in with people who had not lived the same life as I had been living. For many of us, the transition from being a high speed, low drag member of the armed forces to being just another dull cog in the wheel of life is an overwhelming anti-climatic end to the the lives we had truly excelled in. Going from a life fueled by adrenaline to one fueled by morning coffee, donuts and alcohol causes you to feel as if a heavy anchor has been connected to your ass, and you begin to not even care anymore. The more you quit caring, the more isolated you begin to feel, and this can be despite the fact you still have your family and friends surrounding you. Still, in your mind, they cannot relate to who and what you are now days compared to who you were when you were still in uniform. You see people professing to care about veterans and veterans issues, yet do not feel as if they give a damn about connecting with you as a veteran, and still you think you just don’t give a damn.

Chronic insomnia set in for me a few decades ago, and I suffered in silence.

Nightmares came in the middle of most nights, yet I suffered in silence.

The only one who knew about them was my dear wife Loraine who had to deal with my terrified screams during the night until my trucking co-driver began hearing me scream out too after I had retired to our trucks sleeper berth.

The details of my story are somewhat irrelevant as everyone can have different triggers for PTSD and Depression. Any time you get into details, people will tell you to just shrug that shit off, because they have been through worse than you. These statements may be true, or they may not be. The one saying this to you might be quietly suffering too, and like I was, just too damn ashamed to ever admit it to anyone, including those we have served with.

I finally let go of my pride and sought out help from my local VA where I underwent group therapy and individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I also allowed myself to begin a couple of prescription medications, one to help settle my constantly racing mind and to lower my state of constant hyper-vigilance.  I was diagnosed as having severe PTSD coupled with a major depressive disorder, you cannot just shake this shit off your shoe as some would like to think. Too many with this mentality become the part of the national tragedy and statistic of being one of the 22 Veterans per day on average who take their own lives.

Healthy Nutrition for a Healthy Mind!

Let’s be real now, if you are sincere about doing something beneficial for yourself, then you have to be all in.

If you believe that therapy alone should be enough to fix your mind, you are wrong.

If you believe that medications alone are going to be your cure, you are wrong.

If you believe that you can continue an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle of eating like shit, living a sedentary lifestyle of drinking and possibly doing dope too, you are wrong!

 If you go to therapy and follow that with a trip to your tavern to wash down your psychotropics, you are wasting your time and that of those trying to help you. If you want to fix your mental status then by God, you have to be proactive in your overall health and not just depend on others to be the ones who fix you. And you can do this by beginning with adopting healthy nutritional habits which will bring you great benefit overall.

Too few among us ever consider nutrition for a healthier and fitter brain despite the fact that the brain is the most important organ in the human body. If you fuel your car with bad fuel it runs like crap, the same is true of your brain.  And, the most critical nutrient you can fuel  yourself with for a healthy mind is glucose. Our brains use glucose as its primary source of fuel, more so than other tissues in the body. Glucose is the preferred source of fuel for the brain in any state except for starvation, when it is forced to burn fat for fuel.

And what is the healthiest source of glucose?

Your healthiest choice for complex carbohydrates are found in unprocessed foods that come from plants. When you eat these types of foods, your body breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose.  Bear in mind, the closer a carbohydrate is to its natural form, the better. So that means a wide variety of veggies and fruit and beans and nuts and seeds and whole grain products and skip the damn added sugars.

For optimal brain function, appetite and mood regulation the brain doesn’t just need a good supply of glucose, it requires a steady and balanced supply. Without enough glucose, the brain’s ability to produce neurotransmitters is hampered and that can lead to mood swings, which is why people often get very irritable when they are hungry. Conversely, rapid spikes of glucose to the brain also lead to mood swings. When we suffer from PTSD and or depression, the last thing we want or need in our lives is irritability and moods swings. Eating healthy is a major component to my mental health and wellness as my blood sugar and hormones are always in balance. This is because I am proactive in maintaining my wellness!

Foods that contain fiber, or complex carbohydrates,  stabilize blood sugar which helps to balance your mood. When your blood sugar spikes and drops, your mood is going to do the same. However, if keep your blood sugar balanced by having meals spaced fairly evenly, and eating every three to four hours, choosing unrefined carbs and balancing those meals with protein and fat which help delay the absorption of the glucose into the bloodstream, then you can more efficiently keep your blood sugar on an even keel for both mood stability and appetite control.

Bleached grains and refined sugar contribute to blood sugar spikes and drops because for all practical purposes much of the digestion has already occurred during their manufacturing.  When you eat this garbage, all that is left for your body to do is the final breakdown where the glucose is too rapidly absorbed and your blood sugar spikes quickly. When this occurs in your body, you will find  yourself once off on that roller coaster pattern with the blood sugar, your mood will soon follow into the dark abyss.

As we have written quite extensively about here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, healthy nutrition also helps to balance inflammation, which is also linked to depression. Our wondrous brains are such active organs, there is glucose and a lot of oxygen flowing within. Our brains are a hard working tissue and just like any other tissue in the body, the brain can be potentially inflamed. Inflammation in the body in itself is actually a good thing as it is what helps our body to defend itself from injury and illness, but we also need to keep this inflammation in a healthy  balance . This becomes almost impossible when you factor in western diets lean heavily towards foods that are pro-inflammatory. To create a balance, you can shift towards more anti-inflammatory foods, such as omega 3-rich fish three times a week, flax seed, sour cherries and berries, apples, pear, pomegranate, use extra-virgin olive oil for salads and cooking and anti-inflammatory spices such as ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, curry, cinnamon,  and eat probiotics, which are found in yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut, as well as supplements.

Again, this requires you to be proactive about your health and mental wellbeing!

You are the one who puts the foods you consume into your body, no one else is feeding you.

Healthy nutrition is that which is rich in wholesome, natural and varied foods combined with regular exercise and good rest that leads to a fitter body and mind. It’s all about enjoying life more fully with a clear and energized mind.

A Parting Thought

 Often, well intentioned family and friends will try and coax a loved one in having a slice of birthday cake, or other sweet treat on special occasions. 

If this would be you, please stop it.

It is not that your loved one or friend is being anti-social, it could be that momentary enjoyment that comes from that sugary concoction might be all it takes to ruin the rest of their day.

Lose Weight During the Winter

Worldwide Phenomenon

You know how it goes, you put your summer clothes away and pull out your sweats and eat your way through the Winter. The holidays come and go, filled with rich food that you only eat during this time. You go to special events and gatherings, all of which are centered around that festive, fattening food. The excuses to overeat are as rampant as the buttercream frosting. Well, summer is over, I don’t have to worry about that damn swimsuit, this holiday only comes once a year, she made this just for me, I don’t want to hurt her feelings and it’s my FAVORITE thing! There’s always an excuse for bad behavior but that’s what they are, excuses. There is not a good reason to pile on the pounds. The average person gains about 5-7 pounds during this season but that’s only an average. A lot of people gain a lot more.

Year of Debauchery

Because I was always on a “diet” before I came to David’s Way, I conducted experiments on myself through the years trying to figure out how to navigate the landmines of gluttony. I lived through one year of making no changes to offset the seasonal weight gain. I ate whatever I wanted during all of the holidays and other special occasions throughout a year. I gained about 40 pounds that year. What I discovered is that when I let my guard down for special occasions, my habits got progressively worse all year long. As a result, by the end of that year, I was in a terrible mess! Not only was I 40 pounds heavier, my habits were horrendous. I had become accustomed to instant gratification and giving that up was very similar to drug withdrawal. I thought that when I began that experiment that I would just switch over to “good habits” for the next year of the experiment. I did switch over to good habits but with intense agony. I was so depressed that I went to the doctor for medication. Then the medication caused more weight gain. That year of re-establishing good habits was possibly the most difficult year of my life. I finally restructured my life but it was unpleasant to say the least. One of the most important things that I discovered as a result of that year was actually rather obvious. Don’t develop bad habits. If you already have them, do everything in your power to change them. Otherwise, they will destroy you. I was already fighting weight gain before I threw caution to the wind and after a year of indulgence, the fight was a struggle to survive because during that year I had developed high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and back problems. The road back to health was a hard one but I learned a few things. The next year during the Winter holidays, I got to the weight goal that I had set for myself at that time. Here’s how I managed to do that.

  • As previously stated, don’t let your habits deteriorate during the Winter. Spring is coming and you won’t lose that Winter fat quickly. Your habits will insure that it’s still there on the 4th of July!
  • Don’t buy those seasonal treats in the grocery store. They start showing up in August and they’re abundant til January. In that period of time you can gain a lot of weight and become profoundly sugar-addicted.
  • Don’t resign yourself to sweatpants all season. They are too slouchy and allow for huge weight gains. They make you feel that the fat is hidden, but it’s not. When you work out, wear form-fitting work-out clothes. Get rid of those sweats!
  • Don’t let the shorter, darker days make you less active. Sometimes when the light levels are low, we tend to be lethargic. We may sleep more and skip workouts. Actively fight against that. If you have Seasonal Affective Disorder you might want to get a special light that’s made to keep your circadian rhythms more normal.
  • Be pro-active at special meals. Carry healthy food that you can eat without packing on the pounds. We have a healthy recipe for almost anything that you might like. If you want something that you don’t find, just tell us what recipe that you would like to have and we’ll either create a healthy version or find one. You might want to try https://davidsway.blog/2019/10/16/sugar-free-red-velvet-cake/ for a healthy version of the seasonal favorite, Red Velvet Cake.
  • Wear snug-fitting clothes to dinners and other events involving food. You won’t eat nearly as  much.
  • Stay well-hydrated. When you’re full of water, you will eat less and have fewer cravings. You won’t bloat as much from fluid retention or constipation. The only exception to this is if you are fluid-restricted by your medical doctor.
  • Eat breakfast. Your blood sugar will be more stable all day long and that means less binge eating. Pack in some protein and a good dose of complex carbs like eggs and oats and you will be less likely to overeat later in the day. 
  • Have a small healthy snack just before the event. Include protein and fiber from complex carbs. An apple with a couple of Tablespoons of peanut butter or an apple with cheese sticks are good to curb cravings and stabilize your blood sugar to avoid being overly hungry.
  • When you get to the meal, avoid the heavy appetizers. Hydrate with a 0-calorie drink and get involved in socializing.
  • If you are in a room where you can walk away from the food, do so. I know you have seen the people who hover right next to the dessert table. Don’t be one of them. Stay away from the food if you can until it’s time to eat and then move in and fix a healthy plate and move to the other side of the room.
  • Avoid alcohol. It will pack in the calories and lower your inhibitions and cause you to overeat.
  • Avoid the sugary concoctions that people are calling coffee. If it has a boatload of sugar in it, it’s dessert.
  • Go outside if at all possible. A walk in the fresh air will clear your head and allow you to refocus on your goals.
  • Avoid sugar. Again, carry a healthy alternative. If you are determined to have a particular dessert, have one serving and be done. We strongly encourage you to avoid sugar. It is hard to stop that habit and it fills your body with empty calories. Nothing good can come of it. 
  • BUY GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD. You may say that you can’t afford it. While you might be able to find cheap, processed, unhealthy ‘food” that will stave off hunger for a little while, it won’t satisfy you for very long. Your body will make you hungry over and over until you have eaten way too many calories when you try to live on low-quality food. As your health deteriorates, the doctor’s visits and medications will get more expensive than any food that you might buy.
  • Whenever possible, eat at home. You might be able to eat at home and then join the group for an outing. We will almost always eat better if we eat at home. 
  • Make sure to keep up a good workout schedule all Winter. Try upping your effort and if you keep your nutrition good, you may drop a few pounds! Visit the https://davidsway.blog/calorie-counter-pro-free-calorie-calculator/ to get a free individualized calorie count just for you. Always consult your physician before beginning any weight loss program. We advise you to try to lose only 1 pound per week. The Calorie Counter Pro will also give you the calorie count to gain or maintain.

With mindfulness and minimal effort, you can avoid weight gain this Winter and drop a few pounds to greet the Spring.

 

 

 

Lean Body Protein Review

Yesterday, my normal 13 hour work day of delivering construction and industrial supplies turned into a 24 hour shift because of a breakdown with my truck. I always carry enough premeasured, healthy foods with me on my route, but when on the rare occasion my shift gets extended like this, I have to stop and pick something up for nourishment.

I never let being busy or overwhelmed be an excuse to eat unhealthy. If I need to pick something up to eat or drink while I am out on the road, I will always find something that suits my personal nutritional needs, or requirements if you will. This means, I do not settle for sugar laden junk foods. I will not, under any circumstance, sacrifice my nutritional needs over something that does not bring a benefit to my body. If you adapt this type of thinking into your lifestyle, it becomes easy to find healthy choices mixed among all the calorie dense, low nutrition choices found in most convenience stores and truck stops.

Last night, before departing Omaha Nebraska for my three hour trip back to my terminal in Kansas City, I stopped at a Quick Trip and picked up a little something to hold me over until I got home. I got a package of boiled eggs and this Lean Body protein drink. Glancing over the label, I thought this one looked like the perfect premade protein shake. It comes in at 40 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and only 4 net grams of carbs. Best of all, this shake is SUGAR FREE! Looking over the nutritional label, I was excited about trying this protein drink for the first time as it actually fulfills everything I look for in these drinks. How can this not be good?

As for the flavor of this shake, on the plus side, it was not too sweet for my personal taste. Now for the negative side regarding the flavor. Even though Dutch Cocoa is an ingredient, I could barely taste anything remotely chocolate in this drink. What I thought it tasted like was akin to how fireworks smell when you are lighting them off on Independence Day. Something like smelling spent firecrackers while you are holding a burning firecracker punk in your mouth after handling it with a little bit of chocolate and gunpowder on the end of it. For everything I thought this drink had going for it, the taste was quite awful. I cannot think of anything I have ever tasted that reminded of the smell of fireworks being lit off, this was quite unusual to me, but I drank it anyhow for the nutrition. Sometimes you just have to consume nutritious foods like medicine to keep you feeling good. When your relationship with food and drink changes, once you look at foods as good fuel rather than something that tastes good in the moment, it becomes easier to consume some things that do not taste all that great, although I still cannot choke down broccoli whether raw or cooked.

On the plus side, even though the flavor kind of made me want to stop my semi and lick my truck tires until I got the taste out of my mouth, this product did satisfy my hunger and nutritional needs. It kept me well satiated until I got home off the road, satiated to where I did not feel a need to eat anything else after being on the road for 24 hours. While I personally did not enjoy the flavor of this drink, that does not mean you will not like it. It also comes in other flavors that might be quite satisfying to the palate. At the end of day, I would still choose this Lean Body Protein drink to nourish my body before filling up on soda pop and cookies. I will buy this before I would anything that contains sugar if I have no other choices to choose from.  There are worse things in life than a bad tasting drink.

Lost in “The Spectrum”: Autism and Mental Health

Our Experience

This is the hardest article yet to write about the story of raising an autistic child. Again, this is ONLY my experience. I’m sure that some autistic individuals may read this and I particularly want you to know, if this does not apply to you, then it doesn’t. This information is about mine and my son’s journey. I never mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. I write to hopefully help others navigate the sometimes daunting world of autism by reading about our triumphs and trials. You know, hind sight is better than foresight.

“Doctors”

As early as the age of 3 years, “well-meaning” church folks were following me outside the church to give me medical advice about how to raise my son. Although they did not work in the medical field, I was “strongly advised” to take Lucas to the doctor and “get him on Ritalin”. He had outbursts that were disruptive in Sunday School and other church activities. I simply was not going to drug my child to make other people more comfortable. When I was not trying to make him conform to the rituals of church activities, he was not nearly as difficult. I decided that I was going to give him time to grow up before making the decision about medication, so as best as I could, I tried to provide him with a safe space to grow into who he was going to be without drugs.

And Other “Professionals”

When the nurse brought Lucas to me in the hospital, after I had held him in the delivery room, I began reading to him. I think that I would have started reading to him in the delivery room but he was born by Cesarean section and I had to just lay there and wait for my incision to be mended, so I couldn’t sit up and hold him. We read to him every day and night and before long, he was reading to us. I am not talking about memorization. By the age of two, he was reading books and newspapers that he had never seen. This is called “hyperlexia” and many autistic individuals have it. As he approached the age for kindergarten, although it was against my better judgement, I put him in a day care facility where he was SOON discriminated against. That didn’t last long. I took him home. Again, I was advised to drug him by non-medical people. I always found it interesting that if I had advised people to medicate their child, as a nurse, I would be in trouble, but non-medical daycare workers could do just that. It made no sense. Although I believe that there is a place for almost all medications, there was no way that I would allow my child to be put on psychotropics at that young of an age. A lot of those drugs have negative side-effects after being on them for a while. If he had to be medicated at some point in his life, I wanted to wait until it was a quality-of-life issue, HIS quality-of-life, not mine or anybody else’s.

As Lucas grew up he began piano lessons at the age of six years. Although he is not a savant, he does have a very special gift in music. He has chromesthesia and perfect pitch. He took to the piano easily but he never really loved it. We had a family member, who is no longer a part of his life, that was adamant about him practicing and drilled him daily to measure his progress. If Lucas ever had any affection for the piano, being pressured to perform changed that. Now, with a beautiful, bright toned, black lacquered Yamaha U3 piano sitting in the living room, and a degree in music, he does not play. Music comes easily, but holds no charm, for him.

Apathy

While he was growing up we went everywhere. We bowled and swam, a lot. He was home-schooled and had to have some physical education so we joined the Y.M.C.A. He had swimming lessons and a bowling tutor. Life was good when we were active. Later I found out that he didn’t actually enjoy any of these things. He just did them because he thought that he had to. He found no joy in the things that most children enjoy.

He did like zoos and as I mentioned before, museums, so we frequented those. In the museums, he pretty much just ran through them over and over, for what seemed endlessly, for hours. He would stop to look at the displays but he was more interested in the pathway through the buildings. Only the animals at the zoos really gave him cause to pause. He has always loved animals. Day trips to these places were the best because then it was just the two of us going. If anyone else went, the day was sure to dissolve into mayhem. I always knew that he had to have space to just be. Other family members always wanted him to conform and I always knew that was not possible. You can’t change an apple into an orange. They’re different. Lucas was noticeably different and I supported him. Although I so wished that he could enjoy some things that other kids loved, I did not expect him to be like anyone else. When I was growing up, I was pressured to conform and it was horrible. Although I am not autistic, I never could just do, or not do, anything just because other people reacted that way. I didn’t expect him to either.

Alone In A Room Full Of People

Something that was noticeable about Lucas was the obvious detachment that he had with his surroundings. He seemed to move through them but never be in them. It had a dissociated appearance. He seemed to be absent from his own body at times. The truth is, I believe, based on things that he has told me, everything in the environment bothered him so much that he just went inside his own mind. He has always been sound and light sensitive and when he looks up, especially at the sky, it scares him. The fear of looking up is called anablephobia. I suppose he has that to deal with also. It infuriates me to think that when he was suffering with all of these issues, all anyone wanted was a pill to make him easier to tolerate. Some might say that maybe those magic pills would “cure” all these unusual tendencies, gifts and phobias. No, they won’t. So much of this is his version of autism and so far, that’s not something that can be changed. He doesn’t want to be autistic, so if I could fix it for him, I would. He completely understands what autism is and he hates it. His place on “The Spectrum” is filled with anxiety.

Progression

After Lucas graduated from college with his Bachelor’s Degree, he went on to the graduate program. In March before he was to finish in May, our house was hit by a flurry of violent tornadoes within about 30 minutes. We had three direct hits and a fourth was coming straight at us but bounced to a nearby town instead of hitting us that night. Our home was destroyed with us in it and Lucas and I separated from his dad that night. There was a lot of tension between them. I went on to be a full-time nurse and Lucas was happier than he had ever been. The constant tension in the household of a couple who could not get along was turning into something that he could no longer bear. I have since found out that those years took a terrible  toll on his mental health. You know, again, hindsight is better than foresight but if I had those years to live over, I would have made that change at birth. I home schooled Lucas because he would have been bullied mercilessly in the local school by students and teachers alike, so I couldn’t have changed that unless I had moved to a major city where better schools were available, but looking back, that might be what I should have done. The point here is this, I did what I thought that I should do at the time. I did my best. That’s all that anyone can ever do. I thought that staying in that relationship where I could stay with him and school him and protect him was the best thing for him. Now, I’m not so sure, because when he was diagnosed recently, the therapist told me that all those years in a difficult living arrangement followed by the destruction of the tornadoes had devastated his mind. Now, at the age of 26, he has a therapist and a psychiatrist. I had tried to get him into therapy for years but he refused. Finally, one day, he looked at me and said, “Mom, I need help.” and he got it. Lucas does take some medicine now, by choice, HIS choice. A decision that he made as a mature adult with autism, a decision that he made to feel better. Slowly, but surely, my sweet boy of long ago is making an occasional appearance. Although I know that we have a long road ahead, it does lead to a better place. He has some peace. When he was little and  people would ask, “What do you want him to be when he grows up?” I would answer one word, “Happy.”

I think we just might be getting there.

 

 

MaraNatha Peanut Butter Review

I love natural peanut butters and picked this jar up at Walmart yesterday to give it a try. Two lines on the label intrigued me – “only two ingredients” along with “no sugar or salt added”. Another aspect that caught my attention was, unlike most natural peanut butters there was no visible oil separation at the top of the jar, therefore no trying to stir a full jar while hoping to not slop any of the oil out of the jar.

I opened this jar last night and had some of it. As you can see, there is still no oil separation and you can also see just how creamy this peanut butter is. The creaminess reminds me of the powdered peanut butters you mix with a little water, but for the fact you do know the oil is there as you are eating it. Though the presence of oil is not unfavorable in any type of way, I actually add MCT oil to my powdered peanut butter on occasion.

Being as I very rarely eat breads, I like my peanut butter spread out, and then rolled up in a high fiber Ole brand Extreme Wellness tortilla. I skip breads simply because most of them contain added sugars and I actually just prefer these tortilla’s.

Biting into this peanut butter roll up, the first thing I noticed about the flavor is that it is not even remotely similar to any peanut butter I have ever tasted. It tastes good, but since there is no sugar or salt, this peanut butter tastes blander than most. Yet, the flavor of the peanuts is still quite enjoyable in my opinion. I will say, that with this product truly only having two ingredients, you might be a little put off by how different it tastes than regular peanut butters including the other natural brands. Being as I do not consume anything with added sugars, and have never cared for the taste of salt, I think I might come to prefer this over other natural peanut butters I have bought in the past.

As you can see in the ingredients label, the only two ingredients are peanuts and palm oil. What more needs to be said, this is about as basic as it gets!

At 200 calories per serving, this product is about 10 to 20 calories higher than most other peanut butters on the market, but this difference is negligible when you consider it packs in  8 grams of  protein, 2 grams of fiber and only 2 net grams of carbs (net carb grams equal total carbs minus grams of fiber).

As for the content of palm oil and its health benefits, or lack thereof, the jury is out. Advocates of Keto are likely to tell you it is good for you, while other nutritionists might say it is bad.

Palm oil appears to have some health benefits. Some studies have shown that palm oil [can help reduce] the risk factors for heart disease and aid in brain functioning. Palm oil is high in tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E that act like antioxidants. Some research suggests that tocotrienols can slow the progression of dementia and lower stroke risk. However, palm oil isn’t the healthiest oil you can use for cooking. This oil is about half good (unsaturated) and half bad (saturated) fats, but it’s in so many varying foods that it’s difficult for researchers to determine if it’s actually good or bad for you. As with the caloric content of this peanut butter, you will want to use moderation if you are trying to consume this while also attempting to win the battle of the bulge.

To our good friend Dolly at koolkosherkitchen, this peanut butter is certified Kosher!

Low Carb Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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Nutritional Info

Serves 12

Calories 318

Net Carbs 7 grams

Fat 28 grams

Protein 9 grams

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons butter

1/4  cup Swerve Granular

2 teaspoons sugar-free syrup

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup diced pineapple

Cake

3 cups almond flour

1/3 cup unsweetened whey protein powder

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup Swerve Granular

2 large eggs at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pineapple extract

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 9-inch springform pan well.

Bring butter, Swerve and syrup to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cream and vanilla. Pour this topping into pan and sprinkle with diced pineapple.

For the cake, mix flour, whey, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and mix butter and sweetener until well combined.

Beat eggs and pineapple extract into butter mixture and add half the dry mixture and beat and add half the almond milk and beat and repeat.

Spread batter over the topping and bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and just set to the touch. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen and remove pan sides. Top cake with a serving platter and flip. Run a sharp knife between the bottom of the springform pan and the cake topping to loosen and gently lift pan bottom.

 

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.

The Skinny on Skinny Up Weight Loss Drops

Have you seen this product and considered buying it in order to lose that stubborn weight that just will not go away no matter how hard you have tried in the past?

If you did buy this bogus product, did you feel a little less intelligent once you figured out that you had been scammed? I sure hope so, because these types of products

DO NOT WORK!

There are no shortcuts or easy paths to take in losing weight and then maintaining the loss for the rest of your life!

From the Skinny Up website:

During the Skinny Up!® protocol, there are 3 phases. Each phase has a specific eating plan. When you purchase your Skinny Up!® package, it will arrive with a detailed Skinny Up!® protocol guide booklet, leading you through the entire protocol with all the details you need in order to be successful. You will find that the protocol isn’t tricky, but your success will directly correspond to you how closely you comply with the information.

Always pay close attention to the details!

During the Reduce Phase, you will be following a restrictive eating plan. This plan is restrictive both in the specific foods you eat, and also in their preparation. Because of this, it will be challenging to get the correctly “clean-prepared” foods in restaurant situations or at big celebratory feasts.  If you have lots of big parties coming up, you might want to consider starting the Skinny Up!® protocol once those are complete.

There is never a need to pay big money in order to follow a restrictive eating plan. In fact, a restrictive eating plan is really not that necessary in order to lose weight. You can simply follow our plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness for totally free.  With the exception of cutting out added sugars and processed foods, my plan allows you to eat an abundance of foods.

Beginning their protocol:

Loading Phase: Days 1 & 2 of every new protocol.

Utilizes two products: Skinny Up!® Reduce and Skinny Up!® Yeast Redux. 

  • Fat-loading foods are enjoyed. These, combined with Skinny Up!® Reduce and Skinny Up!® Yeast Redux, will quickly transition your body into a state of ketosis.

NO, YOU WILL NOT ENTER KETOSIS WHILE EATING CARBS AND DRINKING ALCOHOL!

  • Alcohol is allowed during the Loading Phase.

PLEASE, I KNOW YOU ARE NOT THIS GULLIBLE!

  • This Phase is crucial to help you easily transition the source of fat you are consuming as you move from this phase into the Reduce Phase.

While there is nothing inherently bad about the ingredients listed in the products they are going to have you use, there is nothing special about them that will get your weight down and then keep it off. You are getting a few vitamins, including B vitamins which will give you a little energy, amino acids and a few minerals and micronutrients in small quantities.

Reduce Phase: Duration varies, depending on the package you purchased.  Will be either 10 days, 21 days, or 38 days.

Utilizes two products:  Skinny Up!® Reduce and Skinny Up!® Yeast Redux.

  • Incorporates intermittent fasting and specific, clean eating.  No sugars, sugar substitutes, or starches allowed.
  • This is how you lose the weight. Their product has nothing to do with it!

  • You’ll enjoy two meals per day.  Each meal will have four categories:  protein source, vegetable, fruit and carb.  The list of allowed foods to choose from for each category is made up of commonly used foods you’ll find at every grocery store.  For optimal results, it is essential that you don’t stray from the lists.  These food lists and portions are detailed in your Skinny Up!® protocol guide.
  • No alcohol is allowed during the Reduce Phase.
  • Life-changing Weight Loss and Detox will happen during this phase.

Intermittent fasting, eating clean foods that contain no sugar or starches and not consuming alcohol. That is all you need to do in order to lose weight in a healthy manner. You do not need their expensive, overpriced products!

Retrain Phase: Duration is 21 days.

Utilizes one product:  Skinny Up!® Maintain. 

  • No starches or sugars allowed yet, however! A plethora of Food Joy is opened back up to you!!
  • Nuts and Dairy brought back into daily eating.
  • All Veggies allowed, except starchy, All Fruits and All Meats
  • Occasional glass of white wine is ok during Retrain Phase.

Your hypothalamus is the little piece of your brain that controls what your set weight is, your normal metabolic rate, and your hunger level. It is being calibrated to recognize your end-of-diet weight as your new set-weight. The intention of the Retrain Phase is not weight loss, though most people will lose another pound or two during this phase.

In addition, many folks experience a continued drop in size as the body continues to reshape and resize, adjusting to the dramatic weight loss that just occurred. The body is watching you to see if you are directing it to stay at this weight. This phase is not one to ignore, if you’d like to not have to lose the weight again.

If you have bought into their sleazy sales hype, I guarantee you are going to regain your lost weight, The question is, are you going to be dumb enough to fall for this again?

*individual results may vary **results not guaranteed

You have to read the small print at the bottom of their web page. Results not guaranteed!

The Skinny Up!® Product Line

At Skinny Up!® we want to assist you by providing the most natural weight loss supplements available on the market. No more chemicals, no more drugs. Originally sold only through licensed health care providers, and now available to you without a prescription!

The bottom line is, losing weight and then maintaining that loss for life takes a commitment to good nutrition and exercise. There are no other methods that are going to work for any type of duration in which you can simply buy a product without a prescription. Please, do not let me think you are that gullible to buy into this garbage. Skinny Up is essentially going to sell you some vitamins, minerals and amino acids that will do little for you other than maybe provide a placebo effect while it appears they are temporarily putting you on a Keto diet. Once you fall off of this program, you can bet the farm that you will once again put your weight back on, and maybe even more so than you lost in the first place.

Save your hard earned money and follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. We will never charge you a single dime, and we are always open. Subscribe today and our new articles will appear in your email as we publish them.

Again, we are entirely free of charge, you have nothing to lose but your weight!