Recipe Website Roundup: Elena’s Pantry and Simply Recipes

I am in a bit of a food rut. I've made chili and wild rice meatballs as my main stays for the past two weeks. Don't get me wrong–these are great, balanced meal and snack options. Two of my favorites as a matter of fact. But I am in desperate need of some fresh food ideas, particularly for dinners.

2 Great Low-Carb Recipe Sites

I haven't tried any of the recipes on these sites, but I am looking forward to it. And a bonus: both of these sites work with my recipe manager app for iPad and iPhone, Paprika.

  • Elena's Pantry: My sister turned me on to this site, and it looks fabulous. Elena does a lot with almond flour to make paleo baked goods (careful here: still consider things like the Paleo Tag-Alongs as a treat, even though they are a better option than the real thing!). Her roast chicken recipes look simple, easy, and delicious, especially the Rosemary Apple Chicken. She has many gluten and dairy-free options. I am going to try one of her breads and serve it with my corned beef and cabbage this year!
  • Simply Recipes: Elena is often inspired by this website written by Elise Bauer. I really liked her take on vegetables (I need to eat more of these!), like the Hoison Glazed Brussel Sprouts. She also has many gluten free options. She does use flour in many of her recipes. Simply adapt the recipes with coconut or almond flour for gluten-free, low-carb eating.

Share your favorite recipe site with me in the comments.

Rosemary Apple Chicken

 

 

 


Great Article on the Blood Sugar Connection to Eye Disease

I wanted to tell you about a great article by my friend (and great nutritionist) Brenna Thompson:
The article breaks down the role that consistently high blood sugars, often brought on by eating the standard American diet of processed carbs and lots of added sugar, plays in eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. She also gives you a powerful prescription for avoiding these diseases. Enjoy!
Eye health and the blood sugar connection

Stable blood sugar is important for eye health

 


How Nutrition Can Support Addiction Recovery

Very often, people who struggle with food cravings (and their weight) also struggle with powerful cravings for drugs and alcohol–after all, the same biochemical processes are at work in both situations. Recently, I found out that someone I care about is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I have great empathy for addicted people, because I know what it's like to experience overwhelming cravings for things that damage my health and well being.

Alcohol and drugs

Helpful Podcast about Addiction

So, I wanted to tell you about a great episode of Dishing Up Nutrition that helped me understand how good brain health plays a critical role in recovery:

Women, Addiction and Treatment on Dishing Up Nutrition Podcast

I hope you listen and learn about your own cravings, or pass it along to someone struggling with chemical addiction.

 


Great website for healthy-living resources

I felt the need this week to highlight Nutritional Weight and Wellness's new website. It is such an unbelievably helpful resource if you are seeking weight loss and good health. You can access articles, podcasts, and videos on a wide range of health topics with a simple search. You get all content related to that topic in one place. I have a friend struggling with Fibromyalgia, and this will be a great resource for him.

The recipes have all been re-organized and have lovely photos with them. I have a pot of the Chicken Wild Rice Soup simmering on the stove right now! It is a complete and balanced meal that will help me lose weight.

Wild rice soup

Chicken wild rice soup made from recipe on NWW site

If you haven't already, check out this fabulous resource for health. Well done!

 

 


2 great bags for transporting all the food you need to be healthy

One of my biggest struggles I have with eating real food, in balance (aside from all the planning and prep), is transporting food to work, events, etc. I also bring a huge container of water to work every day, which adds to the problem. Most insulated bags do not have the space or strength to contend with the number meals and snacks that I have to carry around. Until now!

2 great bags from Whole Foods

I stumbled upon two of the most well-designed insulated bags at Whole Foods the other day (believe me, I've gone through many in my day): the insulated messenger bag and the square insulated bag.

Insulated bags from Whole Foods

Insulated bags from Whole Foods

They have nice wide straps that make carrying even the heaviest loads more comfortable. The square bag is smaller than the messenger bag, but it can carry a lot because it doesn't taper at the top like most bags. I use two ice blocks in the large bag and one in the smaller bag to keep stuff cold.

And what's best–I just saw that they have new colors. So you fashion-conscious people can get the bags in berry and blue or whatever color will match your outfit!

What's your favorite tip for transporting real food? Leave a comment.

 


Reader Q and A: Post cruise weight loss slump

I have wonderful readers. This week, I wanted to feature a question I got from Jane, and my response. I thought many of you could relate to her question and my response.

Feet on a scale

Question from Jane

Back in April I attended your “Get Inspired” session at Nutrional Weight and Wellness in St. Paul; I was so inspired by your story.  I follow your blog and have been following the NWW plan since December 2011.  In the last couple of months I’ve been having a much harder time staying on plan and staying focused.  I was doing really well until July when my husband and I went on a cruise since then I’ve had a terrible time getting back on track and I’ve put on weight and feel so yucky!
I’ve been meaning to email you for months to ask how you do it?  How do you stay on plan and focused?  And when you were losing your weight did you have to be perfect all the time, or could you have the occasional slip but get back on plan and continue to lose weight?  At times I still worry that I’m eating too much fat, but then remember what I’ve learned and resolve not to cut back, but when I don’t lose I worry that that may be the culprit!  Before our trip I noticed that my body felt so good and looked good, but hadn’t really lost weight or inches.
Since we’ve come home and I’m not following like I was I’ve gained both inches and weight!  I’m so frustrated and thought maybe you’d have some quick advice for me.
Thank you so much for any help you could offer.

My answer

I am so glad you wrote. It’s such a struggle sometimes, isn’t it? Believe me, over the last four years I’ve gone through it all. And I am still going through it. I am working on losing the 10 pounds I gained in 10 days in Paris! My body is getting more and more fussy when I go off plan.
I absolutely was not perfect when I was losing the 90 pounds. I think I was on plan about 90% of the time. It was when I tried to be perfect that I slipped up most often. When I gave myself permission to be flexible and try my best, I did much better than aiming and missing for perfection. I found that over time, I was able to minimize the damage from those slip ups, and they didn’t matter as much.
It sounds like you are where I was at the end of my first year. The year that I didn’t lose one pound. I also wasn’t following the plan but for 40% of the time. I was still sliding into fast food drive ups and getting M&Ms at the checkout of Menard’s. I needed that year to get used to this way of eating. I know some people change overnight. I took a year to get ready for the change–I see this now in hindsight.
My body also needed that year to heal my metabolism. After all, I had been on a one woman mission to destroy it for the previous 25 years, with diets and bad food.
The fat (butter, coconut oil, olive oil) is key to getting your cravings under control. If you don’t have the fat, you are going to crave the bad stuff (donuts, bread, grains, etc.–the stuff that makes you fat).
Lately, my cravings have been SO calm. I really do have a “take it or leave it” attitude toward carbs and sweets. Why? I think it is my pre-meal cocktail (3 times a day that is):

I also am getting all my meals and snacks in so I am not hungry. I have been doing this ever since I got back from Paris–when I went on a bread and beer binge–and my cravings have never been quieter. Now that my cravings are quiet, I can focus on getting good food, and I am SLOWLY losing those 10 pounds. I asked my nutritionist  about this and she told be that glutamine works so well for cravings because it is the only amino acid that the brain can use to make glucose. So, with your brain getting the glucose it needs from the amino acid, you don’t crave bread. It also heals your gut, which is key to metabolism and weight loss.

I hope this helps you re-ignite your efforts. I was totally hopeless after trying to do this for a year in 2008. In 2009, I really decided to eat this way most of the time. I started doing yoga and walking more, and things started happening. And they can happen for you too!
I will answer your questions, too. Just leave a comment!

Two hours of cooking made fun with recipe, music apps

I get many questions from people about how I maintain my 90-pound weight loss, and even better, lose weight. It's pretty simple and a bit boring–I plan, plan, plan, then cook, cook, cook. The key to my having healthy carbs, fats, and proteins at the ready is my weekly two-hour cooking session. Here's what I made today.

Wild rice meatballs, salmon patties, and healthy sloppy joes

Wild rice meatballs, salmon patties, healthy sloppy joes, cranberry wild rice salad, and zucchini supreme

I will use the food from these recipes to make: meals for my family, my son's lunches, my husband's snacks, and my ample snacks and meals (remember, I eat 5-6 times a day to keep my blood sugar balanced–the best way to lose weight for the long term).

How I make it fun and easy: apps, podcasts, music

Seems like a tall order–making food prep and cooking a fun activity and not a chore–since I have a long list of things I'd rather do. I use Paprika, an iPad/iPhone recipe manager app, to help me keep my recipes organized and easy to follow. I enter recipes into the app or load them from the browser, and then when I'm ready to shop I simply add the recipe to my grocery list. The app is also on my iPhone, which I use to shop and track what I buy.

I like to listen to nutrition podcasts while I cook (yes, I'm that much of a nutrition nerd). I use Downcast to download them and keep them all organized. If I'm in more of a music mood, I turn on the 70's station on Spotify.

Food planning is self care

This is what it all comes down to. When you make food that nourishes your body, you are caring for yourself and your family. I've found that unless it's fun, or at least enjoyable, I won't do it.

I hope you can use these tips and apps to inspire your self-care cooking session!

Have a favorite app that helps you plan? Share a comment now.