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Chia Seed Ice-Cream (Sugar Free and Vegan)

My favorite commercial right now is the Geico one where ex-NFL player Ickey Woods is waiting in line to buy cold cuts, and gets ridiculou...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dark Chocolate Protein Pancakes - with Whipped Coconut Cream

January is usually my month where I catch up on ordering family photos.  The other day I spent 8 hours on Shutterfly - I was starting to lose the will to live!  But now I'm up to date, and only have a few photos left to stuff in the family albums.  As I was going through old pics, I came across one of the boys eating the chocolate spinach pancakes I used to make for them.  Sounds horrible, I know, but they really did love them!  I had all but forgotten about them for some reason, I guess when my third baby was born I didn't have the time to puree spinach in the morning anymore!  But I remembered how much my boys enjoyed them, and how well the chocolate hid the taste of the spinach.  Of course then I craved some chocolate pancakes. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Silky Bok Choy Soup

Confession:  I don't like Bok Choy.  It's not horrible, after all it really doesn't even have that much flavor.  But still.  I don't even like it in noodle dishes like Pad Thai.  All I can think of when I bite down on a piece is how much better the noodles taste!  But that is how I feel about all bland, watery fruits and vegetables.  Bell peppers, cucumbers, watermelons (any melons, really) all belong next to Bok Choy in my least favorite vegetable category.  Thankfully I am able to hide all of those in my green smoothies. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sugar-Free Coconut Oil Chocolates

After a few weeks of this Candida cleanse, I can safely say that I easily gave up dairy.  And wine.  And most carbs.  And fruit.  And root vegetables.  But take away my chocolate, and at some point I'm going to get cranky.  Chocolate and cocoa powder are to be strictly avoided during the first few weeks of the cleanse, where you mostly exist on non-starchy vegetables and protein.  But after that period, you can slowly start to add a few foods back in.  My holistic doctor told me that unsweetened chocolate was ok at this point - music to my ears!

I quickly found out that good sugar free chocolate is hard to find.  And the fact that the only sweeteners I will eat are xylitol and stevia, makes it even more difficult.  I do like Lily's chocolate bars, but they aren't sold close to my house, and they are pricey.

I decided to make my own using unsweetened chocolate bars, xylitol, stevia, and coconut oil.  If you are on a Candida diet, you know that "fat bombs" - little treats usually made with coconut oil, stevia, and lemon juice, are something that can hold you over when you are hungry and craving something sweet.  The caprylic acid in coconut oil is a powerful anti-fungal.  That combined with the healthy fat content makes them a must-have during this diet. 

This is my take on the fat bomb, turning them into little chocolates.  I also added hemp seeds because I like the crunch.  I love really dark chocolate, if you prefer a sweeter taste, feel free to increase the xylitol. 

  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (good quality - I like Guittard)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tsp xylitol
  • 1 stevia packet
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds (can substitute shredded coconut, chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, or leave out)
1.  Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring often.  Add the coconut oil, and melt for an additional 30 seconds. 

2.  Add the xylitol and stevia and stir well until dissolved.  Stir in the hemp seeds. 

3.  Pour into silicone molds and refrigerate until firm.  Remove from molds, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Makes 4 ounces.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Grain Free, Sugar Free Granola (Safe for Candida Diets)

Granola was one of the first things I missed when I started my Candida diet.  I love something sweet before bed, and a bowl of cereal or granola with almond milk is usually what I crave.  When you are on this cleanse however, you are to limit your intake of starchy carbs like oats, and sugar of any kind is of course off limits. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers - with walnut taco "meat" and cilantro cauliflower "rice"

One of the most challenging parts of being on a Candida cleanse, is feeding the rest of your family.  Making special recipes that you can eat takes up a lot of time, and often times there is little time leftover to make a "normal" dinner that your spouse and kids will eat.  This is the perfect recipe for that problem.  You can make 1 or 2 of the peppers Candida safe, and in the same dish, the other peppers can be filled with beans and cheese.  Everyone is happy! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Do you have Candida?

A few years ago, I decided I was done with gluten.  Last year, eating mostly vegan recipes became the norm.  This year, sugar is on my list. 

Most of you have heard about Candida, the yeast that is present inside all of us.  But do you know what happens when it grows out of control in your body?  I'm not talking about the more common infections, such as yeast infections, bladder infections, and skin irritations and rashes.  I'm talking about intestinal overgrowth.  I was shocked when I recently discovered that this could be the cause of some of my recent health problems. 

First, a little background about Candida.  Everyone has a population of Candida albicans in their intestines.  It's completely normal, and usually kept in check by your body.  Problems arise, when it begins to grow out of control.  "Well that wouldn't happen to me," I thought, "I'm super healthy!"  Wrong.  When my doctor went over my lifetime health history, she looked up at me and said she could tell I had a severe case before we even began the testing.  Why?  Antibiotics since childhood were the biggest culprit.  Chronic sinus infections, 1 in particular that I recall when I first started working as a flight attendant and my sinuses went haywire, forcing me to be on antibiotics for 2 months straight.  I cringe now to think that I took those without supplementing with a probiotic to help repopulate the good bacteria, but I hadn't even heard of them in those days.  But there were plenty other times that I was on antibiotics, as are most people.  Taken before dental work preventatively since I have a heart valve deformity.  During and after childbirth, and every illness in childhood that I was given them.  Oh, and that nasty infection I contracted while on a layover in India,  from either the food or water. 

All of those instances wiped out the good bacteria in my gut.  I didn't start taking probiotics regularly until 5 years ago.  That, combined with sweet cravings, bread, pasta, even healthy foods like fruit and root vegetables allowed the Candida to feed and grow out of control.  Through high school and college I was a vegetarian who hated vegetables.  Which means, lots of bread and cheese.  Oh yeah, I also used to love a glass of red wine a couple nights a week with dinner, one of the best things to drink if you want Candida to thrive!

After seeking a second opinion from my holistic doc, who agreed that I had an overgrowth, I began my Candida cleanse.  I will warn you, it is not fun!  No fruit, sugar of any kind - (not even honey), dairy, starchy vegetables, vinegars, most grains, etc.  I really didn't think I could do it, and I'm supposed to be on it for months.  This diet starves the Candida of it's food source....it feeds on sugar.  This combined with various anti-fungals and measures taken to heal your gut, are what is needed to overcome it.  But a funny thing happened after the first week of hunger and headaches.  I started to feel better!  I even tried a small amount of sugar, just to quiet any doubts I had about needing to be on such a strict diet.  Bad idea!  My chest instantly tightened and I became nauseous. 

There are so many symptoms of Candida overgrowth that it's almost mind boggling.  But if you have unexplained health complaints, it's worth checking into.  I'll spare you any detail of mine, except to say they caused muscle weakness, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and an overall sick feeling.  Very frustrating when you believe you are leading a healthy lifestyle.  Here are just a few of the more common symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Bloating gas
  • Brain fog
  • Constipation
  • Skin sensitivities
  • Sugar, bread, and alcohol cravings
  • Sensitivities to foods
  • Recurring vaginal yeast infections
  • Shortness of breath
  • Eczema or psoriasis
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Athlete's foot or nail infections (fungal)
If you suspect you might have Candida, it's worth a trip to the doctor.  I will warn you, holistic doctors are usually more helpful in this situation. 

When I started this journey a few months ago and began researching the cleanse required for treating Candida, I was overwhelmed by what I couldn't eat.  I have been tweaking recipes to fit the cleanse requirements, so I will be gradually posting those recipes.  I would have loved to find an eating plan to just follow when I started this, so look for that too!