For today: spring, barefoot running update, sugar detox, and a recipe!
Hello everyone! The weather has been lovely, and if I can manage it, I’m going to make the rounds of all the gorgeous flowers soon to take pictures before all the blossoms are gone. For now, I can satisfy you with a few azalea blooms, used to decorate my favorite mermaids Monday during our monthly trip to the park (haha – I am such a bad parent who almost never takes my kids to the park!)
Possibly Daniel’s first or second time in a swing…
Today’s “recipe” will be more of a “recipe review” – and a reprinting of it for me to have in case I want easy access in the future. I’m trying out Chocolate Covered Katie’s Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Lace Cookies because I’m trying to go a week without any added sugars, and I need a sweet treat. The “Sugar Detox Challenge” from MommyRunFast‘s blog started Monday, April 1, and means eliminating any added honey, sugar, maple syrup, and agave from your diet for a week. I took the additional challenge of going without processed foods as well because of the unhealthy sugars lurking within. She’s doing a random drawing at the end of the week for a few prizes, but I am thinking of telling her that I should not be eligible for the prizes since I am not following a few of the stipulations. When I asked whether we were allowed to use stevia and if eating homemade bread made with honey would be okay since it isn’t a “processed” bread product, she replied (and put it on her blog) that we shouldn’t use stevia during this challenge (other sugar substitutes had already been banned) or any breads. I think this is a bit misguided for a few reasons – first, because understanding the true nature of unprocessed stevia leads me to the conclusion that adding it to my food is the same as adding cinnamon or flavoring things with horseradish. It has no calories and tastes sweet rather than spicy or fragrant. It is not a chemical manufactured to trick our tastebuds, and it does not affect blood sugar or do weird things in making us desire more sweets or any of the other things I’ve read about other sugar “substitutes.” In its unaltered form which I buy at Whole Foods, it can only be called a food additive because it isn’t approved as a sweetener except in its chemically modified brands in the grocery store (the ones with fillers or other things. Not that I am calling those unacceptable, but I wouldn’t use any of them during this challenge.) Second, with reference to my bread, it is a completely unprocessed food, and the honey baked into it is raw (until it’s cooked with my bread.) You can’t get any more “whole grain” than grinding a wheat berry and turning it into a loaf of bread. So if she thinks quinoa or brown rice are fine for the challenge, then the only “questionable” thing would be the honey. If I ground up dates or used apple juice as the sweetener it might “fit” into the challenge (since fruits are allowed in the challenge), so I really think a completely whole grain slice of bread should be okay. Either way, I’m not doing this to win a prize but just thought it would be a fun challenge since my friend is Leah is doing it as well. SO…..with all that being said, it’s the Armstrong Detox Challenge going on, with whole grain homemade bread and stevia allowed. Which leads me to this recipe today, using ground up dates as the “sweetener.” More on that at the bottom….
A quick update of things so far, though: here’s how my day went on Monday, including what I ate and why. I started off with my regular protein shake, trying to cut back on the stevia. Normally I use a tablespoon or more of agave in it as well, and without that, it just didn’t keep me going as long as usual. I also don’t put in any frozen fruit normally but used the berries to help “sweeten” it.
Protein Shake – frozen berries, ice, unsweetened almond milk, protein powder (I’m going to include information about the protein I use at the end of the post, in case you care – because many protein powders are full of ingredients which would not meet the mark for this challenge.), vanilla stevia drops, raw cacao powder
Quick barefooting update – Saturday went well while we were at the rock climbing park (James Island County Park.) I tried to run barefoot on their paved trails, but it was too rough, so I stuck to the road. After a mile barefoot I put on shoes for 2 1/2 miles and then finished up with another 1 1/2 miles barefoot. Unfortunately, I probably overdid it by finishing up near the rock climbing area which is covered in tiny sharp rocks (I’ll take a picture of that for you next week.) My GOODNESS did that hurt. I had left my shoes back at the van, so the next half hour walking around with the kids was tough. John went for his run then, and afterwards we had a quick family trip to WalMart and Chick-fil-a.
Monday after the protein shake I did some barefoot running with a little time on the stationary bike in the middle. I was really struggling on the sidewalk outside the gym (really tender feet for some reason!), so I took it inside to the treadmill. After a mile barefoot on the treadmill, I biked for 7 miles then rushed back home for John to leave for work again. I ran a bit more on my “front door track” – just the sidewalk this time and no street work – one more 12 minute mile. When I returned, a friend had swooped down to take my kids over to the park, so I stuffed some food in my face first to keep from passing out and assembled snacks and water bottles for the park. The intense hunger I felt after the run was a good sign that I need more calories more in my shake because of the running and the nursing, so I’m going to start using a bit of coconut milk in the shakes this week or almond butter since I won’t have the normal calories from my agave.
My quick “I’m going to pass out now” snack: homemade whole grain bread, almond butter, banana slices
At the park, I shared the kid’s snacks.
Snacks: cheese sticks, grapes
Late lunch/early dinner: Shepherd’s pie
Around this time I really wanted something sweet for no reason. So I took a nap on the couch instead. When I woke up I had:
Sweet treat after the late lunch: pear, 1/2 apple with almond butter
Protein shake for drinking on the way to band practice: decaf coffee, protein powder, cocoa powder, hazlenut stevia, almond extract, unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut milk, almond milk, ice
Late dinner at the pub after band practice: salad with corn salsa and blackened mahi (hard to tell if there was any added sugar, but I did the best I could), unsweetened iced tea
Late night sweet treat while blogging: 1-2 cups of grapes
Daily juice supplement drink (sweetened with stevia and cherry juice – it is a vegetable blend we drink every day for vitamins and nutrients.)
Okay! Made it through that first day of the challenge well enough I believe, and now, while writing most of this post on Tuesday, I made myself this yummy recipe. I can’t say that I’d really recommend it as a go-to dessert in the future, but for being sugar-free and gluten-free (I didn’t want to use any refined all-purpose flour, and she had this alternative recipe using ground almonds instead) I guess it wasn’t bad. I broke some of the leftovers into smaller chunks and froze them in order to stir them into sugar-free coffee ice cream I plan on making tomorrow. Here it is:
The link to her original recipe is above, but I made substitutions due to needing to stay completely “sugar-free” for the challenge. They probably would have tasted better without the changes. Oh well – it was better than nothing!
- 1 cup raw almonds (I only had 3/4 cup so I also used 1/4 cup coconut flour)
- 2 T cocoa powder (I used 2 T raw cacao)
- scant 1/4 tsp salt
- level 1/2 tsp baking soda
- packed 1/4 cup pitted dates (45g)
- 6 T cocoa powder
- 28 drops vanilla stevia
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 5 T unrefined coconut oil
Blend first five ingredients until almonds and dates are finely pulverized. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, oil, and cocoa powder, and stevia. Pour the dry ingredientss into the wet. Stir until evenly mixed, making sure to break up any big clumps. It’ll seem dry at first, but keep stirring until it all looks dark and shiny.
Bake at 355 F for 7-8 minutes. (Take out when still a bit undercooked, as these continue to cook as they cool.)
MY COOKIES DIDN’T FLATTEN OUT AT ALL BUT, INSTEAD, STAYED AS LITTLE BALLS OF RATHER DRY COOKIE DOUGH. I believe I overbaked them by about a minute in the hopes that they would flatten, but then they still didn’t, and then they tasted a bit burned.
DISCLAIMER: Her recipe calls for chocolate chips which you melt together with some coconut oil and vanilla. Instead, I “made” melted chocolate chips using other recipes in order to find out the correct ratio of coconut oil to sweetener to cocoa powder. Then she has you stir in an additional bit of chocolate chips which surely would have improved the taste of my chocolate balls. Some time this week I plan to make her “three ingredient chocolate bars” using stevia as the sweetener. Then I can break them up into pieces to use as chocolate chips in a fwe more of her “sugar-free” recipes. As you can see, they aren’t truly “sugar-free” because of the date sugar, but they have “no added sugar.”
Here’s my powder’s label:
INGREDIENTS: Whey Protein Concentrate, Digestive Resistant Maltodextrin, Organic Sweet Whey**, Organic Nonfat Dry Milk**, Chia Seed, Cocoa Powder, Guar Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Luo Han Juice Concentrate, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Fructooligosaccharides, Probiotic Blend, (L.Acidophilus, L. Rhamnosus, L. Plantarum, B. Lactis, B. Longum), Turmeric, Arabinogalactan.
- All-natural, pasture-fed cows’ whey, NOT pesticide-treated, grain-fed cows’ whey – Compared to grain-fed cows, pasture-fed cows produce whey that…
- Contains an impressive amino acid and immuno-supportive nutrient profile
- Is rich in healthy fats – lipolic acid and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
- GMO-free –
- Always look for and choose whey that is GMO-free
- Cold processed to protect the nutrients in their natural state, NOTheat processed – The majority of whey is heat processed which…
- Makes the whey acidic and nutritionally deficient
- Damages the immuno-supportive micronutrients and amino acids
- Makes whey inadequate for consumption
- Acid-free processing, NOT Acid / Ion Exchange Processing – The bottom line is that Acid/Ion Exchange processing…
- Is a less healthful, cheaper process than acid-free processing
- Denatures amino acid profiles by using acids and chemicals to separate the whey from the fats
- Whey protein concentrate, NOT protein isolates – Protein isolates are proteins stripped away from their nutritional cofactors. I have issues with isolates because…
- Most isolates are exposed to acid processing
- Your body cannot assimilate proteins in isolated form
- Due to over-processing, isolates are deficient in key amino acids and nutritional cofactors
- Sweetened naturally, NOT artificially, and low carb – Many whey powders…
- Are artificially sweetened making them undesirable if you have sugar sensitivities, or you want to avoid putting synthetic sweeteners or flavors in your body
- Tend not to be low glycemic and low carb
- Contain sugar alcohols, glycerin, or gluten, and some even use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener
- Maximum biological value, NOT compromised or damaged – Most whey proteins provide some benefit. But, due to the ingredients, the source of the whey, the concentration of beneficial nutrients, or the type of processing, many whey products simply don’t deliver what they promise.
You want whey that…
- Retains its maximum biological value
- Contains all the key amino acids, cofactors, and beneficial micronutrients present and intact rather than compromised or damaged
- Is not lacking any amino acids or other essential nutrients
You want a whey protein powder that…
- Contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)
- Is easily absorbed, digested quickly, and is utilized as energy without causing digestive stress
- Ideally, contains coconut oil – one of the best sources of MCT
In fact, a Consumer Reports‘ evaluation showed how some leading brands of protein powders exceeded United States Pharmacopoeia’s (USP) recommended safety limits for certain heavy metals.
So, these are the basic ‘9 Essentials’ my team and I have used to date to filter out any whey protein powders not up to our highest natural nourishment standards.”