Keto Pound Cake

Finally getting around to writing this recipe up. Been working on other projects for the Wednesday night class that I teach. We’re doing an ice cream theme this year and trying plan out and organize minute to win it age appropriate games is a lot harder than you think.

So let’s escape for a bit and talk about something yummy! Ready?!

Picture it, we’re lounging on a mild summer day, no mosquitoes exist, the humidity is low, and it’s not possible to get sunburned. Hey, you’re in my world so this is possible! 😉 And then a tall hunky man with gorgeous hair comes out with a large tray of strawberry lemonade, sugar free of course, and slices of keto pound cake ready for us to enjoy! Can ya dig it?? 😃

Oh right, the recipe…we’ll come back to the tall hunky waiter later!

What you’ll need:

(Yields 12 slices)

1 stick butter, room temp preferred

8oz cream cheese, room temp preferred

1 1/2 c keto sweetener(Swerve, Erythritol, Stevia, whichever you prefer)

8 large eggs

2 tsp lemon zest +1 tsp lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 c super fine almond flour, I use Blue Diamond brand

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

Set oven temp to 350*F. Prep a regular loaf pan with either non-stick foil, parchment paper, or coconut oil cooking spray. Set it aside.

In a large bowl add softened butter, cream cheese, and sweetener. If by chance your butter and cream cheese aren’t room temp just pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Cream the three together until it’s light and fluffy. Begin adding the eggs, two at a time and mix thoroughly. To this, add your lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. (I was half tempted to use orange extract instead of vanilla, you can if you want to for a citrus pound cake). Finally add almond flour and baking powder, mix to combine.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, scraping contents out with silicone spatula. Bake for 60 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let it cool completely before adding the whipped cream cheese topping.

Whipped Cream Cheese Topping

8oz cream cheese, softened

1 tblsp lemon zest

2 tblsp lemon juice

1/4 c keto sweetener

2 tblsp heavy cream, optional

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a small bowl and combine thoroughly. Spread on top of the cooled pound cake and enjoy! Any leftover cream cheese topping can be used with toasted keto bagels.

And there you have it! You would think with it having 8 eggs it would be super eggy and spongy in texture. Thankfully it’s not, at least to me. The lemon zest helps to brighten up the pound cake, making it the perfect summer treat! You can serve this with some fresh strawberries and blueberries. You’ll get roughly 12 slices and if you’re serving this at a cookout or get together you can slice those 12 into 24 half slices.

For storing, cover with foil or plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. You can store this in the freezer as individual slices and leave out to thaw for a couple of hours. No need to microwave.

The carbs are high because I’m still trying to use up the granulated stevia I have. If you use erythritol/Swerve that will save you on carbs. Highly recommend using something other than the Great Value brand of stevia.

Macros:

Carbs: 11.3g(net)

Fat: 36.7g

Protein: 11.4

Hope you all enjoy and have a great week!

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Keto Chocolate Pound Cake(Review)

It’s not too often that I find keto/low carb dessert recipes that meet my high standards. It’s difficult to please everyone and when it comes to desserts my family likes for the final results to resemble to real deal high carb version as much as possible. That’s not asking for too much, no not at all.

This is a home run recipe and one that I am very pleased to share with you all! The original recipe can be found here! I’m a lazy typer tonight and decided to not type up the entire name of the original recipe, so don’t go sideways on me about that, ok sugar? 😉

Most of you know I’m not a chocolate fan at all, so for me to be making this recipe and reviewing it is big stuff. So let’s dig in…

The recipe itself is easy to execute. The majority of low carb/keto folks have the following ingredients in their kitchen already:

  1. Almond flour
  2. Cocoa Powder
  3. Baker’s Chocolate
  4. Natural sweetener of choice(stevia, xylitol, swerve, erythritol, etc.)
  5. Eggs
  6. Heavy cream
  7. Leavening
  8. Cream cheese
  9. Butter

The only unusual item I had to get was a box of instant coffee. While this is an optional ingredient, I do highly recommend adding it in. It does lend a lovely layer of flavor to this rich cake and isn’t overpowering at all. I used Folgers instant crystals, simply because a) I’m cheap(a box of 7 packets was a buck) and b) I already know what Folgers coffee tastes like. My advice, stick with one you’re familiar with. I used two packets which perfectly measured out to 2 teaspoons. However, if you have never had instant coffee before and are unsure about it or you detest coffee all together(btw, we can’t be friends if you detest coffee…just kidding😜) you can easily leave it out, no big deal.

I found it a tad odd that the recipe only called for 7oz of cream cheese. I’ve used that amount before but only after using the other ounce in a different recipe. No biggie. But since I didn’t relish the idea of storing a single ounce of cream cheese in the fridge and wasn’t hungry enough to nosh on it I went ahead and added all 8oz into my batter. Might as well, the extra ounce didn’t alter the final result in a major way at all. If anything, the pound cake is light, moist, and with a faint crumb texture. For me, I will always add the full brick of cream cheese, no sense in being too particular. But hey, you do you!

I know I’ve answered a lot of questions about almond flour in keto groups and in DMs. What brand to use, substitutions, etc. this recipe specifically uses almond flour. I know it’s an expensive ingredient and I wish I could tell you to go ahead with another alternative but honestly I cannot. If you absolutely NEED to make this recipe I highly suggest Blue Diamond Almond Flour. It’s finely sifted and for 1/4c serving it has 2g net carbs. I had been a Bob’s Red Mill Super Fine Almond Flour user but I prefer the finer texture of the Blue Diamond brand. Bob’s Red Mill Super Fine Almond Flour has 4g net carbs per 1/4c serving. I’m not sure how these companies figure out the carbs when both only contain blanched almonds and nothing else. But since Blue Diamond has fewer carbs per quarter cup then that’s what I’m going to go with from now on.

Next, don’t let the amount of eggs in this recipe scare you off. I know 8 eggs is a lot and you would think the outcome would be super eggy and sound like you’re biting into a wet sponge, but it’s actually not. Just make sure to use large eggs, not extra large, jumbo, or regular. Just large eggs, I’m an Eggland’s Best Kind of gal. If you have fresh eggs then go with that. I made the mistake in buying extra large without realizing it, I probably could have gone ahead used 4 eggs and said a prayer, but I’m a stickler when it comes to my baking. Unless I know for sure that my substitution isn’t going to ruin the recipe, I rarely ever go off roading with my baking. There’s an exact science when you bake, all ingredients need to be properly measured and/or weighed(when specified) to ensure that your baked good is going to turn out right. Thankfully my dad brought home large eggs and all was right again in my little world! 💗🌏💗

I did not make two loaf pans worth as the original recipe states. To save my own sanity and dishes I went with a disposable half size aluminum steam pan from Sam’s Club. You get 36 pans usually for a little over $8. Not bad and I use them for everything! Low carb brownies, casseroles, pork rind coating for chicken, and vegetable sides. Clean up afterwards is a cinch, just pitch it or recycle…whatever floats your boat. If you don’t want to use those pans you can certainly use a 9×13. Just make sure to grease your pan well before adding the batter. I used Pompeiian Coconut Oil Spray, get mine from Walmart and I’ve had great results every time I use it! Used about 5-7 sprays and no need to coat the pan with cocoa powder or almond flour, each slice of cake has come out perfectly! You could also turn these into muffins and then drizzle the chocolate ganache over the top, just a thought.

And finally, since I didn’t bake this into loaves I decided to adjust the baking time. For the loaves you would have to bake at 325 degrees for 70-90 minutes to ensure even baking. In a 9×13 pan leave the temp at 325 degrees and set your timer for 30 minutes. I used a clean knife to check the center twice, both times the knife came out clean. Let it cool completely before you add the chocolate ganache. Store it covered and enjoy!

Honestly this is a yummy recipe, I hope my review has helped and no hindered. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Keto Eggplant Parmesan

I have been making eggplant parmesan for 18 yrs now. I discovered a recipe in a Southern Living cookbook and taught myself how to execute it. This is not a meal that that I grew up on. My mom is not an eggplant fan, let alone eggplant parmesan. Her experience with eggplant parmesan has always been watery casseroles with thick slices, so when I decided to give it a try she was not excited.

The original recipe calls for a cracker coating with flour and seasoning(which is what makes regular eggplant parmesan the bomb), egg and heavy cream, sauce either homemade or jarred, and mozzarella cheese. A handy tip in the sidebar was to salt the eggplant slices and let sit for 20 minutes to remove the bitterness.

It’s also a recipe that you absolutely have to plan for. You can prep ahead and fry up the eggplant slices, freeze them, and when you’re ready to make your casserole just thaw out the slices, get your sauce ready and assemble. Normally when I make this recipe, from start to finish, it takes me 3hrs. Sometimes longer depending on how much eggplant I have to use up.

So, for this keto version I decided to use pork rinds mixed with parmesan cheese, and a little almond flour. I’ll admit that I was concerned about the coating adhering properly. Eggplant isn’t chicken, but after adding the first few slices to the hot oil I could see that the underside was browning quite beautifully! Enough gabbing, here goes…

What you’ll need:

Yields: 10 servings

2 medium eggplant or 1 large, peeled and thinly sliced

Kosher salt

1 pound ground beef, 80/20

6 sausage patties, optional

1 onion, diced

24.5 oz Mezzetta Nappa Valley Homemade Sauce Marinara

13 oz pork rinds, finely ground

1 1/2 c Kraft Parmesan cheese

1/2 c super fine almond flour

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp granulated garlic

5 large eggs, whisked

16oz Galbani Fresh Mozzarella

Directions:

(The following directions are going to be broken down in sections. If you have any questions please feel free to ask for clarification.)

Eggplant:

Peel and thinly slice eggplant. Salt both sides and layer in a large bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Meaty Sauce:

In a large pan brown ground beef and sausage, adding onions and cooking until transparent. Pour in marinara sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pork Rind Coating:

In a food processor, mine is 7qt, add pork rinds and grind down into a fine (oily) dust. This took me about three batches to do. Pour contents into a large bowl and add parmesan cheese, almond flour, granulated garlic, and dried basil. Mix either with a fork or hand breaking up almond flour and parm cheese lumps. Set aside.

Rinse eggplant sliced thoroughly under cool water and place on layers of paper towels. A sheet pan some in handy since it offers more surface for places the rinsed sliced.

Egg and Heavy Cream Wash:

Whisk eggs together and then add the heavy cream. This way you can make sure the whites get mixed in thoroughly before adding the heavy cream.

Frying Eggplant:

In a large skillet heat up favorite frying oil. Set up dredge station for ease of process. Begin by adding eggplant slices into egg wash and then into pork rind coating. Shake off excess and add to hot oil. Fry until nicely browned on both sides. Continue this process until all the eggplant is cooked.

Assembling Casserole:

Set oven to 375F and grab a 9×13 casserole dish. No need to spray your pan if it’s nonstick. Thinly slice fresh mozzarella and set aside.

Add 1/3 of your meaty sauce in the bottom of the pan. Spread out evenly. Cover with half of the fried eggplant, 1/2 of fresh mozzarella slices, and repeat ending with fresh mozzarella on top. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes (if desired) until hot all the way through and bubbly around the edges.

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

This was a huge success tonight! Tasted as good as ever and you absolutely cannot tell that any pork rinds were used. It’s worth the time it took and leftovers are amazing the next day as the flavors have had a chance to blend. You can make this 100% vegetarian by leaving out the meat and substituting the cheese if needed.

Of course, fried eggplant slices are great alone. Serve them up with mashed cauliflower, a meatloaf, baked chicken thighs, etc. You can also use them to make a deconstructed eggplant parmesan. Plate it up with you favorite sauce, top with fresh parmesan cheese, and maybe some roasted vegetables on the side.

Hope you all enjoy!

Keto Cheesy Shrimp Cakes

My family was leery when I told them what was for dinner. “Shrimp cakes? That’s weird.” I’m trying to get them to try new things and thankfully this was a success! It’s not dairy free, but it could be made that way if you so choose. I can’t guarantee the same results as you’ll see below, but play with it till you are able to get the right consistency.

Onward!

This is one of those easy recipes that comes together fairly quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed them on lettuce leaves with my homemade lemony tartar sauce(which I will include the recipe below).

What you’ll need:

Yields: 18 patties

2 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, thawed

3 extra large eggs

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 Tblsp dried parsley

1 tsp black pepper

1 tap granulated garlic

3/4 c super fine almond flour

Directions:

Begin by mincing the shrimp. You can either do this by hand or with a food processor.

Add minced shrimp to a large bowl and mix in the other ingredients. In a large skillet over medium high heat add you favorite cooking oil. I used avocado oil and 3 tablespoons of organic butter.

Use a 1/4 cup to measure out portions, flatten slightly in the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides.

Lemony Tartar Sauce

1 1/2 c full fat mayonnaise

2 tblsp pickle relish, dill or other preference

1 tsp granulated garlic

1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

2 tsp dried parsley

2 tblsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp dried lemon zest

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!

Nutritional Info for 1 Shrimp Cake (according to MyFitnessPal):

Calories: 113

Fat: 6g

Carbs: 1.3g

Fiber: 0.6g

Net Carbs: 0.7g

The nutritional information for the Lemony Tartar Sauce will be determined by what kind of relish you use. I chose to go with Wickle’s Relish, this would have more than say dill relish. Just make sure you mayonnaise is sugar free, that’s why homemade is best! You can leave the sugar out and use your favorite sweetener. ☺️

I’m just happy the cheesy shrimp cakes were a hit! It shocked everyone and even the lemony tartar sauce became a tasty favorite as well! The dried lemon zest can pack a punch so use sparingly. Fresh can be used instead if you prefer, even fresh lemon juice can be used in lieu of bottled.

🔥Want to spice it up? Add some kick from a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Start with 1/8 tsp and add more until you reach a desired heat level. Remember: you can always add more but not take away.

Have a great weekend!

Btw, happy birthday to all the March babies🎉 May you all have a blessed month!

LC/Keto Friendly Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole

If you love jalapeño poppers and a good creamy chicken casserole, then I hope you will love this combination! It’s the result of reading through several other recipes and picking favorite parts from each one.

Y’all know I like to keep things simple, easy ingredients and simplified instructions. Whatever makes the cooking experience more enjoyable! That’s why I think this is going to be a hit with a lot of low carb families.

I think the key to this dish is the fresh mozzarella and rotisserie chicken. If all you have is shredded mozzarella or if that’s all you can find then go with it. Use what you can. I chose to use rotisserie chicken. I tend to get two meals from one chicken but this time I used the whole chicken. (TIP: Be sure to save the bones to make stock.) If you can’t find a whole rotisserie chicken at the store or don’t have time to make one yourself, you can use cubed cooked chicken instead. Just make sure the amount you use equals two pounds.

I also opted for pickled jalapeños instead of fresh. I like the ease that the pickled offer, strained half the jar and chopped them into smaller pieces. Simple. If you prefer to use fresh, I would think one to two large peppers would be more than enough.

What you’ll need:

2 pounds rotisserie chicken, deboned and chopped

2-3 small onions, chopped and sautéed in avocado oil*

2 pounds bacon, chopped and fried

1 1/2 bricks cream cheese, softened

1/2 c full fat mayonnaise, homemade stuff works too

1/4 c chopped pickled jalapenos

8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

1 c shredded cheddar

Directions:

Set oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick foil or use your favorite nonstick cooking spray.

Chop and fry bacon in a large skillet to desired doneness, remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. Remove most of the grease to a heat resistant bowl and add onions to the skillet. Cook till transparent and lightly browned.

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and chopped jalapeños. Set aside and slice up fresh mozzarella.

Add deboned chopped chicken to the cream cheese mixture, along with cooked onions and bacon. Pour into prepared baking pan and smooth out into an even layer. Top with shredded cheese and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until everything is melted.

This can be served with a side salad, roasted veggies, or alone.

*You can leave out or reduce the onions, especially if you are just starting to live a low carb lifestyle.

(The nutritional info below reflects the ingredients and amounts I used. Everything was full fat.)

Nutritional Information for 1/10 serving(according to MyFitnessPal)

Calories: 779

Fat: 58.9g

Carbs: 6.6g

Fiber: 0.4g

Net Carbs: 6.2g

This was a hit for the family, they loved the creaminess, thick chunks of bacon, and the cheesy goodness from the fresh mozzarella. I doubt I will have to freeze any leftovers, and dairy tends to not reheat well after being frozen. Any leftovers can be stores in the fridge and reheated slowly on the stove top or in the oven.

Save the Date:

Don’t forget, next month is PCOS Awareness Month. Mark your calendars, I have a lot planned for next month: low carb recipes both savory and sweet, giveaways, live FB videos showing how to make some tasty low carb treats, and more!

What to Eat When It’s THAT Time of the Month 😑

Right off the bat, let’s just get this out there…ladies that time of the month is the absolute pits and the LAST thing you want to eat is a bunch of healthy food. I’ll even admit it, I crave pizza, mac n cheese, Chinese dumplings, ice cream you name it. Over the last few months I’ve been trying to do better, choose healthier options during my “shark week” and I will admit I have noticed a difference. Minute as they are, but it’s just enough to take some of the edge off.

Life with PCOS it’s not always a guarantee that I will have a period every month. Sometimes it’s so light I wonder if I’m having one at all. Other months there is NO doubt it is present. Aside from the obvious, the bloat, acne, cramps, and constantly being cold is at times unbearable. I joke that one day I plan to kick Eve in the shins. 😏

This month I’m trying to do my best to not rely on pain reliever as much. Being dependent on those isn’t as healthy as relying on nutrition. Is it going to be instant relief? No, and the effects aren’t as lasting as pain relievers but in the long run eating the right foods(not just during your monthly cycle but every day) is better for you. No ill side effects and your body will truly thank you!

So here’s a mockup menu on how to beat Aunt Flo’s painful stay.

    Breakfast: Pineapple-Carrot-Turmeric Spritzer This is a refreshing and a surprisingly tasty drink. No funky ingredients. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a blender and strain the juice into a glass.
    Lunch: Smoked Salmon on Romaine – Skip the thick creamy dressing, those are loaded with sugar. Opt for avocado oil and vinegar. Keep it light and simple. Add some berries, or almonds with dark chocolate on the side for a sweet treat!
    Snack: Greek Yogurt with Berries and Nuts – If you are feeling peckish grab a lower carb snack. The best option is homemade yogurt. If you aren’t brave to attempt it, you can always go for store bought. Personally, I skip the yogurt and go for zesty dill pickles. At 1g net carb per serving I can splurge a little and eat about 3 whole small/medium pickles. Kills the sweet tooth and fills me up without feeling like I’ve eaten another massive meal.
    Dinner: Organic Red Meat – I will leave this up to your incredible imagination! I am not a steak fan, however I do love ground beef. During my shark week I tend to eat more ground beef in the form of meatballs, ground beef steaks, and in soups. My favorite recipe is the GAPS Diet soup I make, Roasted Pepper and Acorn Beef Soup. It’s full of good for you stock, vegetables, beef, and is the best comfort food during your period. See recipe here. You can swap out the acorn squash for other seasonally available vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, fresh or frozen okra, even turnips and parsnips are great additions as well!
    Dessert: Holy Cow, LC/GF Brownies – these are incredibly easy to make, freeze well, and can be made with peppermint extract for a yummy grasshopper version!

The above two pictures show how you can turn them into Cheesecake Swirl and the Grasshopper version, I was getting ready to add the low carb chocolate ganache on top. They are both low carb and gluten free. These will definitely fix that late night sweet tooth without compromising your waistline.

Hope these ideas will help you, inspire you to try something new, and encourage you to take your health back! Have a blessed Sunday!!

~Health Check Tuesday Celebration~

How can we not celebrate health this week?! Even if it’s just one good thing you’re doing today, be proud of that! It’s one thing that will help improve your life. Even if it’s just getting 6–8 glasses of water a day, opting for a salad instead of burger at lunch or dinner, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Be proud of yourself 🙂

Health Check Tuesday came about as something that I wanted to initially use to bring awareness about PCOS to the masses. But over the last few weeks it’s morphed into sharing some of my weight loss triumphs and set backs, while encouraging everyone to continue on in their journey, which I love! No matter where we are in our health journeys we’re all heading toward the same goal::to become a better version of ourselves. We’re all striving to make changes that work for us and here on NOK Blog it’s important to emphasize good habits over any particular lifestyle, while also sharing the benefits I have personally received from living lower carb/alkaline. One of the things that PCOS women tend to struggle with is finding what works best for them. The temptation to find an easier solution is so great, especially when you’ve tried it all! I know, I’ve done most of it! I grew up on the food pyramid and ballooned. As a young adult I went to the more obscure and dangerous things such as laxatives, weight loss patches, thermogenic drinks, pills, starving myself, and it was all for naught.

The key I was missing in unlocking that door to losing weight, in a safe and natural way, was to stop depriving myself and just eat healthy food. I absolutely cannot tolerate much carbs. If I so much as go over 30 grams a day I start to feel tired, sluggish, and the numbers on the scale go up. When I over indulge and find myself in a food coma the symptoms get worse.

One of my fears when I began writing this blog a year ago was that people would EXPECT yummy comfort food all the time and that’s what I strived for. My health certainly took a turn for the worse the more I tried sharing the things that I *thought* people wanted from me. The weight I had lost came back with a vengeance and then some. That miserable sick feeling started to come back and I knew I needed to change what I was doing, but again worried that it would hurt this blog and folks would start losing interest.

I felt that people wouldn’t be interested in reading about my lower carb alkaline lifestyle, people could care less about my need to be gluten free, and most certainly didn’t want to push a particular mindset on others. But I’ve watched how those posts about lower carb recipes have gained views and visits from people all over the world, local readers telling me how much they have enjoyed reading my Health Check Tuesday posts and how they have learned so much about PCOS. That they never knew it existed until they started reading about it here. Let me tell you what an amazing feeling that is, to know you have just empowered someone with knowledge and they are sharing it with others and are now meeting other women who are struggling with this same condition! It’s almost surreal 🙂

So, in honor of today I want to look back at a couple of my favorite Health Check posts and want to encourage you all to share these with your friends and loved ones. They are really posts that everyone can benefit from so don’t think that people you don’t know someone with PCOS that they too wouldn’t enjoy reading something on here.

  1. Healthy Check Tuesday: Positive ThinkingThis post is full of steps in thinking and living more positively. We’re all living busier and certainly more hectic lives now than our parents ever did! What’s changed? We need to examine our lives, determine what can be cut out and what should be changed in order to make our lives simpler and yes more positive. It’s amazing how I much enjoy life when the wifi isn’t so readily accessible. Technology seems to be my downfall, when I let that little ipod device rule my day with it’s constant dinging, pinging, and ringing…letting me know when someone has liked, shared, or messaged me. When the wifi is out I’m not constantly picking it up to check what’s going on. For me, a positive change has been cutting back on my ipod usage. It’s amazing just how less stressed I feel, how much drama I miss out on, and happier I feel! Could that be the same for you too?
  2. Health Check Tuesday: Memory Loss & PCOS–This piece was especially beneficial for me to write. I struggle a lot with remembering things. That was hard for me to admit since there are people who rely on me to remember certain things. When I forget I feel like I’ve just let the world down! I know that it’s impossible to actually do that, I’m just this speck on the map of the world, but still I hate that feeling that I’ve dropped the ball yet again. Sometimes it’s easy to disguise it when online, I can google or bing something real quick and go “oh yeah duh Amanda!” and go about my merry way with a conversation! But in person it’s a different story, even with a list of things I need to remember to do or ask someone I still find myself forgetting something along the way. At the end of the day I just remind myself, the world has not ended because I forgot, tomorrow is another day, and if it really mattered THAT much someone would have said something. In other words, don’t sweat it!

 

Today, I want to look at why bacon is the culprit in making so many PCOS women fat…but pasta is.

pasta photo     V.       bacon photo

18 years ago I would have argued how bacon was fattening, that pasta was healthier, and you would have found me with a plate of of my Mom’s spaghetti going to town like a mad woman. This is why I’m so thankful I learned a few years later just how wrong that mindset was for our family. The issue with carbs, specifically pasta/rice/potatoes/bread is that they raise the insulin levels dangerously and in turn that causes cells to pull in more fat which results in more weight gain.

But how is it then that bacon isn’t the culprit for weight gain?

 

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I love these pictures, but still some might wonder where’s the evidence, I need the proof…give me more input!

To further break this down here’s a transcript from the smarter science of slim show that I stumbled upon not too long ago. It helps to explain this a bit better. The hosts of the show are Jonathan Bailor and Carrie Brown. I’ve started the quote after some back and forth chatter and picked up where Jonathan begins talking about the science of how fat isn’t the culprit of weight gain.

Jonathan: There is something that is really bad. It’s called ketoacidosis. That is a different thing, but as is common with things in the health world, if two words sound alike then people are like, oh well, ketoacidosis is horrible for you. Therefore, ketosis, which sounds like that word, must also be bad; it is not. They are two very, very different things.

So, ketosis – first of all, when you wake up in the morning you are in ketosis, because ketosis, very high level, just means your body is fueling itself using fat rather than sugar. That’s really all it means.

Carrie: How could anyone think that was bad?

Jonathan: Exactly. There is this mythology that your body requires carbohydrate. This is not an episode saying that we should all go on low carb diets; it’s also not an episode saying low carb diets are bad for you. They are absolutely not. In fact, they’re one of the most scientifically valid and studied ways of eating in the world.

But it is to say that this assumption that we have been told for the past forty years that 60-plus percent of our diet – excuse me, 65 percent plus of our diet should be carbohydrate because that’s the optimal fuel for our body is patently false. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. There is such a thing as an essential amino acid, aka protein, and an essential fatty acid, aka fat. If you never ate a carbohydrate in your entire life, your body could fuel itself just fine via the process known as ketosis, aka burning fat as fuel. And it could also create all the glucose, aka sugar, it needs through a process that we talked about on the show “Gluconeogenesis” whereby protein is converted into sugar.

Carrie: So, we all want to be in ketosis then.

Jonathan: So, we want to be – it is absolutely critical that we give our body the ability to effectively fuel itself using fat. And that sounds obvious, but if our body is not good at using fat for fuel, keeping fat off our body is going to be extremely difficult. And this is why actually eating fat – we talk about it on the show a lot, how things that are intuitive aren’t always true. Right?

It’s intuitive that the earth is flat. Look outside; it looks flat. And if it wasn’t flat wouldn’t the people on the bottom fall off? We know there’s gravity; we know that’s not how the world works. And it’s intuitive that doesn’t eating fat make you fat? It is fat, you put it into your mouth and it just goes and sits on your hips, right? That is intuitive but it is wrong.

Here’s a better and a more scientifically accurate way to think about it. Okay? When you eat your body gets good at fueling itself based on what you eat. Makes sense, right?

Carrie: Right.

Jonathan: The more sugar you eat the better your body’s going to be at running off of sugar.
Because it’s like, this is the normal state for me, I better get used to this. Now think about how this works. If your body is best at burning sugar, meaning sugar is its preferred fuel source, for all intents and purposes your body does not store sugar. The only way to store energy on your body, practically – there is some level of glucose in your muscles and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah – but practically it’s in your fat. So, the way your body stores energy is through fat. But if you eat mostly sugar and your body is good at burning sugar, and prefers to burn sugar, then let’s say you eat breakfast and it’s a Pop Tart and orange juice, very common breakfast here in the States. Sugar, you basically had some sugar for breakfast. Well, in an hour your body has either burned through that sugar or more likely shuttled it off into your fat cells. So there is no sugar around, so your body needs energy. Well there’s no sugar around, so what’s it going to do? It’s going to make you hungry because the only way to get more sugar is to take some through your lips.

Carrie: Okay.

Jonathan: Now, think about if your body’s more accustomed to burning fat for fuel, and let’s say you have a delicious frittata with vegetables for breakfast.

Carrie: That was me today!

Jonathan: Exactly. Right? So you eat mostly fat. Most of your calories are coming from fat. You got some protein and you got some extremely healthy carbohydrate in the form of vegetables.

Carrie: Yum. It was delicious.

Jonathan: It’s delicious, so you get your calories, you get your nutrients, you get your energy and then when you – a few hours later, you’re sitting in the office or you’re sitting at the house, you’re sitting with your family and friends, and there’s no more energy floating around in the blood stream. Your body’s like, I need some more energy, and do you know what I like to use for energy? Fat. Oh hey. Good news; there’s some sitting right here on the hips. Or there’s some sitting right here maybe on the belly a little bit.

So the opposite of eating fat makes you fat; in fact, eating fat, helping your body to become conditioned at fueling itself off of fat, makes you better at burning fat. Because when you get into a state where you have a shortage of exogenous energy your body can just say, well, that’s okay, I don’t need to take any more fat through my lips. I can just eat it off my hips.

Carrie: The compelling reasons for not eating sugar just pile on and pile on. Don’t they?

Jonathan: Well, think about it, Carrie, it’s a, why is it?

Carrie: I can actually visualize what you just said happening in my mind, which is great, right? Because now every time I get that craving for sugar I’m going to go, nope, I don’t do that, because that’s going to help my body to think that sugar’s not the way to go and so I can visualize that; that’s super-helpful for me. Thank you, sir.

 

I absolutely loved his visuals! You condition your body to burn fat by eating fat. I know that isn’t going to sit well with most of you. Trust me, it took a lot of relearning for me to finally accept that after being told for years that bacon, olives, coconut, butter and yes eggs were all bad for me and I should eat those in extreme moderation. One of the first things I did after discovering a lower carb lifestyle was gorge myself on green stuffed olives! Oh yes, I think I ate half the jar in one sitting and I didn’t feel sick later on. In fact I felt pleasantly full for hours! Which was a new thing for me because I was having to eat every few hours and the weight was piling on like crazy! The first time I lost 50 pounds(I was 16 year old) people were beyond shocked when I told them how I was doing it. They were even floored when I told them that I was eating all these fatty foods and was losing weight hand over fist! So why didn’t I keep going? Life…I got thrown several fast curve balls and struck out one too many times. Wasn’t even allowed to walk the bases. When I finally was given the fourth chance to change my life I punted the ball and yes I’ve been running the bases ever since! (That’s the extent of my baseball knowledge, don’t go thinking I’m some fan…sorry, sports aren’t my thing lol)

I may not be dropping the weight like I did years ago when I first learned about this lifestyle, I’ve missed that golden opportunity, but at least I’m losing it. It’s going to take me longer this time to get to my goal weight(at least five years) but that’s ok too! The important thing is that I’m feeling better, I’m staying active, and there’s a little extra give in my clothes! How can anyone judge those results and say it’s all unhealthy?! That I’m doing something wrong and I need someone to take over my health for me? We’re not all cookie cutter here, therefore a cookie cutter lifestyle isn’t going to work for anyone. We have to figure out what works best for each of us and stick with it! Find new ways to spice it up, treat ourselves every once in a while(don’t call it cheating, that suggests it’s something bad, unhealthy, that should be kept a secret when it’s perfectly alright to have that special meal and stop when you’re full). Are carbs bad for everyone? No, but for the majority of Americans yes they are bad…toxic even. Should everyone jump back on the Atkins or South Beach diet wagon? Nope, in fact I don’t support either of those. They are both loaded with soy and not a healthy option for PCOS Cysters.

If you’re truly curious about what nutritional lifestyle you should be living I encourage you to take Dr. Joseph Mercola’s Nutritional Typing Test. I’ve taken it three times and get the same results. I’m a Protein Type, this is why a lower carb lifestyle works for me! All you have to do is enter your email address, he does not spam you nor will he sell your information to second or third parties. This is strictly to discover what nutritional plan you should be living. You are not obligated to buy anything, the test is free to take, all you have to provide is accurate information to get honest results.

My hearty thanks goes out to everyone who has liked and shared these Tuesday posts. I look forward to sharing more about my journey with you all and hope you continue to enjoy the lower carb/alkaline recipes along the way!

Change your mindset in order to see the results!

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BPA: A Big Concern for PCOS Women

 

Insulite Laboratories sent out an insightful newsletter about why BPA in plastics could be more harmful for PCOS women. I personally go out of my way to avoid that stuff like the plague, thankfully there are many options today of BPA free products. But it’s the WHY that so many folks don’t understand what makes BPA a hazard to ones health. Here’s what the newsletter said:

The hormone disrupter BPA (bisphenol A), which is everywhere in the environment, could present an even bigger danger for women with PCOS than previously thought.

 

BPA levels are higher in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome than other females and can be transferred from mother to fetus. But that’s not all.

 

The Federico II University in Italy has just published a study of 20 overweight women with PCOS, who were compared to 20 overweight women without PCOS. As expected, the PCOS women had higher levels of BPA. However, they also had a higher incidence of insulin resistance, fatty liver degeneration, male hormones, inflammation … and larger spleens.

 

The spleen is an organ in the upper left of the abdomen and is part of the body’s management and immune system. An enlarged spleen can be caused by many things, including some cancers, mononucleosis and liver disease. PCOS is closely linked to liver problems. So BPA may be hampering your spleen’s efforts to maintain normal liver function for overall good health.

 

You can’t smell, see or taste BPA so it’s difficult to avoid. But you can lower your exposure. Try to reduce the quantity of plastic in your life as well as the number of cans, as in canned food. If possible, keep food and water away from any plastic. Ideally, use glass or ceramic instead.

 

Help your liver to detoxify your intestines to get healthier so they can do a better job of getting rid of BPA and other environmental chemicals. A healthier diet that is high in fiber will greatly aid this process.

 

You can be tested to see if you have high levels of BPA. If your levels are elevated, consult with an “environmental medicine” doctor for a program to get rid of BPA from your system.”

Amazon has graciously listed items on their website that are BPA free(click HERE to see products). Over 1,000 products that are BPA free! I know that many have heard over the years, BPA is bad, yeah yeah yeah…but as a woman who owns her PCOS symptoms and someone who is fighting to bring awareness to all please don’t turn a deaf ear to this. If you or someone you know has PCOS please share this article with them. You don’t have to have PCOS in order to be concerned about BPA, everyone should avoid it at all cost. Since it is affecting PCOS women in this manner, can you imagine what it is doing to our children, spouses, parents, pets?!

https://i1.wp.com/runka.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bpa-3.gif

An excellent graph that shows the levels of BPA exposure found in humans. It’s scary when you can actually see it this way.

I love the following image of canned foods to avoid!

We have a responsibility for our own health and well being. If we’re not willing to take care of it ourselves, how can we expect someone to care enough to do it for us? We have to stop relying on the government to look out for us, our doctors do not know every nuance in our bodies, they only know textbook information. We have to be willing to take back our own health and use preventative measures to make sure we stay healthy. We are a sickly nation and getting worse by the second. Let’s all do what we can to be more proactive with our own health!

Has Your Immune System Turned Against You? (Please pass on to anyone you know who suffers from PCOS)

Every woman with PCOS needs to watch her weight to better manage the symptoms of her condition, whether she’s lean or overweight.And in the case of the latter, researchers in Australia have found that excess fat around the abs can actually turn the body’s defense system against an overweight person, leading to heart disease. The latter condition is also linked to PCOS.The immune system is made up of many different kinds of cells that protect the body from germs, viruses and other invaders. These cells need to co-exist in a certain balance for good health to be maintained.Many factors, including a bad diet and excess body fat, can tip this balance, creating immune cells that can harm, rather than protect, our bodies.Fortunately, damage to the immune systems of PCOS women can be reversed. What is one step you can take today that will increase your overall immunity? Can you make a small, healthy food substitution or go on a 15 minute walk this afternoon? Whatever you decide to do, write it down and put it in your planner. Do it today and feel in control of your health!

 Warmly,

 Katie Humphrey

International Health Coach

Author of Freedom from PCOS

Spokesperson for PCOS Insulite Laboratories

I received this email in May of last year. Just found it while going through some old messages that I was getting ready to delete. So glad I chose to look through them first 🙂 For a while now I have been sharing the importance of health while living with PCOS. Healthy doesn’t mean you have work yourself down to a size zero, and I’m in no way bashing any women who are thin, but simply saying you can be healthy even at a size 20W. So long as you’re eating the right foods for your nutritional type, you workout at least three days a week and strive for at least 15–30 minutes each time, staying active is key to a long and healthy life! You’re going to be healthier inside and out, sick less often, and feel better over all than if you completely ignored your body. Take control of the things that you can change…instead of donut (and y’all know I love my donuts) grab an apple or a bowl of berries. Instead of potato chips and onion dip have some gluten free veggie chips with hummus (which is so good). You can make small changes in your every day diet and lifestyle that will help put you that much closer to being a healthier you!

If by chance you are a heavier cyster, like me, you need to check out Plus Size Birth blog. You don’t have to be a woman who’s trying to conceive, I’m certainly not, but any plus size woman who is lacking confidence can certainly follow Jen’s blog and Facebook group for encouragement. I’ve met a great group of ladies who have helped me to stop looking down on myself as a person and accept the way I am. After years of being bullied, picked on about my weight and abused by my ex I spent many years replaying those words over and over in my head. Every time I looked at myself in the mirror I was disgusted, not seeing any beauty or worth. Even after having my son and gaining an enormous amount of weight that I’ve spent 7 years losing and gaining back it’s been difficult to finally reach the conclusion that I’m just as beautiful as any other woman out there! I’m me, broken body and all 🙂 So be sure to check out her amazing blog and Facebook page, you’ll be amazed at how open and honest everyone is. Nothing is taboo, you don’t have to fear about asking any questions. Sometimes we need encouraging words to get us going down the path to better choices. Mental health and how you see yourself is just as important as the physical health, you must take care of the one in order to achieve the other! Stay beautiful ❤

Health Check Tuesday: Memory Loss and PCOS

A big HELLO to everyone this Tuesday morning 🙂 Today’s post is touching on a personal subject for me, one I find embarrassing at times. I get that we all have our moments of forgetfulness, some more than others, but when you have a child who has a memory of an elephant (so it seems) and you can’t remember what your child told you and then that child gets upset because you forgot. It happens a lot for me and most of the time I’ll admit that I did forget but the pain of knowing that I forgot will cause a form of depression. But it’s more than not remembering what my child has told me, I’ll forget to several tasks within the day, forget what I’m supposed to do, walk into a room and not remember why. If I don’t do something at the time that I think about it I forget about, writing it down doesn’t always help. I love making lists but I’ll forget to look at it. It’s not a scary thing, just annoying and not something I like to talk about. 

This had me thinking last night, what if there’s a link, a connection, between my bad memory and PCOS? Remember, this affects the entire body, from head to toe. Perusing some message boards I read several posts from other PCOS women voicing the same concern. Some who were truly wondering if there was a link, others just saying they had always been that.  Last night I did some searching and looking through medical studies (honestly unable to make heads or tails of what I read), until I found an article from 2008 that broke it down for me.

As a women with polycystic ovary syndrome, you tend to have higher levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. And you tend to be more depressed.

Chronic high levels of cortisol are known to shrink a portion of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is part of the limbic system and plays a role in long term memory and spatial navigation. The limbic system is a set of brain structures that support a variety of functions including emotion, behavior and long term memory.

Recent studies using brain scans have shown that shrinkage of the hippocampus is associated with brain impairments seen in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as chronic stress and reduced self-esteem.

For example, a recent study at the Montreal Neurological Institute in Canada showed that increased cortisol production in response to stress correlated with reduced volume of the hippocampus. The smaller size of the hippocampus as associated with reduced self-esteem and feelings of being in control. Self-esteem, the value we place on ourselves, affects our health, life expectancy and life satisfaction.

Another brain scan study from Umea University in Sweden of people with early Alzheimer’s showed a correlation between reduced hippocampus volume and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Alright, sounds like information overload at first 🙂

Here’s what the hippocampus looks likes. Kind of reminds me of a horseshoe…sort of.

The article goes on to say…

So what’s the bottom line?

Cortisol is a stress hormone that you may not have heard about. But it’s known that women with PCOS often have chronically high levels of cortisol. We also know that too much cortisol over a period of time causes a portion of your brain to atrophy (shrink).

The brain atrophy is associated with cognitive dysfunction, dementia or early Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and low self-esteem. http://www.ovarian-cysts-pcos.com/news52.html

So what can be done? Here are four ways to reduce your cortisol production:

(1) reduce sources of chronic stress in your life

(2) be physically active

(3) eat a healthier diet

(4) lose weight if you are overweight

As a parent reducing my chronic stress is impossible right now, a good place to start would be number three. A healthier diet according to your Nutritional Type. We’re not all the same, therefore, we all will not respond the same to any one particular diet. So don’t jump on any bandwagon just because it seems to work for a handful of people. Do your research and get to know your body, what kinds of foods are you addicted to, which ones seem to do the most harm…those are the foods you will want to try to eliminate first. I’m addicted to gluten and yeast. I love pastas especially and my Mom’s homemade bread (heaven help me) is out of this world! Both are terrible for me because both cause me to gain weight. For me, it is best that I avoid these things as much as possible. Does that mean everybody should do that? No, only if you notice that you absolutely need to. Same goes for fruit and vegetables as well, not everyone can eat corn, bananas, snow peas, peas, oranges, mangoes, beets, pineapples, tomatoes, apples, carrots and papayas. Anything that is naturally high in fructose isn’t safe for most diabetics and people who need to lower their carbohydrates. This is why I’m not on board with this new food plate thing (in lieu of the food pyramid). It doesn’t work for everybody, so if you want to get serious about your overall health, start with what you eat.

Next, get active. Did you know that even 10 minutes of daily exercise will boost your heart health? While 30 minutes is preferred, if you’re just starting out it is recommended to get at least 10 minutes of exercise. Any kind, walking is the first thing that most people think of. If you’re unsure about walking in your neighborhood do some laps in your local mall or at the Y, or get a walking DVD for your home. Leslie Sansone has a few to choose from, comes in handy during the winter months! Water aerobics is a great choice for senior citizens as well as the morbidly obese. It’s gentle on your body, kind to the joints, and is a great way to get started on the road to a healthier you 🙂

Brain activities, now I haven’t looked too much into these for myself, but I hear they are great for improving memory health. AARP has a nice assortment of brain games to choose from: private eye, shapes and colors, countdown, etc. Mind Games dot com is a great website loaded with free brain games, the best game will have the most stars…from the looks of it that game would be a game aptly named Brain Waves 🙂 Of course you don’t have to play online games to work out your brain, reading has great benefits, it stretches the mind, and every time you learn something new you get a new wrinkle in your brain 😉 Puzzles are another fun and challenging exercise, I’m not great at them myself and perhaps that means I need to spend more time doing them. Next time you’re at your local Dollar Tree store pick up a few crossword puzzles to keep on hand. They’re small and easy to transport, keep a couple in the car, next to your favorite chair in the family room, or in your nightstand drawer.

If you want to further improve your brain health you can take daily supplements such as Ginkgo Biloba and Siberian Ginseng two of the most widely known and popular brain supplements. They can be found at your local health food store, GNC, drugstore.com, Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon.com. 

To answer my question: yes there indeed a possible link between memory loss and PCOS. Is that true for every woman? No, it will depend on your cortisol level and your overall health. If you are at all concerned about this please see your doctor and ask about getting tested. I know I will take better assessment of the stress in my life and see what I can eliminate or reduce. I’m sure it could be as easy as turning off the computer 🙂 Hope this has helped someone else out there as it has me. Have a blessed day!

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