Goji Berries for Chronic Illness

I’ve written a bit before about my son, Gabe, and his health issues.¬† One aspect we deal with is the ups and downs that occur with his health.¬† He has allergies and a very sensitive immune system.¬† Allergens seem to have a massive systemic affect on him and of course, his skin problems.¬† He had been doing really, really well this summer but I was¬†dreading¬†this time of year because it has always been very hard on him.¬† Here, in Minnesota, the ragweed gets really bad through late August and September.¬† The ragweed affects him terribly.¬† So much that we have to shut up the house and run two big air purifiers 24/7.

As August stretched on and Gabe continued to go downhill, it dawned on us that he was in no shape to go to school.¬† The allergens triggered a big flare with his skin.¬† Areas that had been healed for a long time became red and flakey and painful again.¬† He deals with a lot of pain every day to the point that we have little bottles of children’s ibuprofen stashed around the house. ¬†Image may contain: 1 person

I signed him up for an online school, because I was not about the make him suffer through another school year.¬† Last year was pretty bad.¬† He spent so many days quietly suffering while trying to be a “normal kid”.¬† He had something crazy like 47 absences.¬† This year we are going to give him the break that he needs.¬† I’m his learning coach and his caregiver so I won’t have as much time to blog.

But I absolutely will continue to research all things health and natural wellness.  In an attempt to help my son (and myself!) and whoever happens across my blog.

What has been helping Gabe the most lately has been…*drumroll*‚Ķ goji berry powder!¬† I got mine¬†here.¬†¬†I actually bought it back in February but didn’t do much with it.¬† I was keto with a vengeance and once I realized it had carbs, it got¬†shelved. ¬†I was organizing my kitchen cupboards awhile back and rediscovered it and figured I should give it another shot.¬† I started making “recovery drinks” or post workout drinks with coffee, ice, collagen powder, a heaping tablespoon goji powder, a tablespoon of raw cocoa, pyure sweetener and a bit of milk.¬†20180913_1401202792594796765434391.jpg The shake is¬†so good.¬† Not only does it taste amazing but it’s jam-packed with antioxidants. and a bit of protein from the collagen.¬† I noticed I felt really amazing after drinking it and was experiencing less soreness after workouts.

So yesterday, when Gabe was just dragging and too tired to even do school work, I decided to whip up a fruit smoothie with a secret scoop of goji powder included.¬† He sucked down his smoothie (goji, while not super tasty on it’s own, blends really well with other flavors) and was¬†bouncing off the walls for hours. ¬†It was really wonderful to see him happy and full of energy again.¬† He’s had a really rough month.¬† He got all his work done and even some extra stuff.

It’s definitely something I’ll incorporate into his regular routine.¬† I’m also going to look into Indian Gooseberry, or “Amla” because it is like Goji berry on¬†steroids. ¬†

Here is some more¬†more info on the amazing health promoting effects of goji berries.¬† You can add it to coffee, yogurt, smoothies.¬† I even used it as the “flour” in some dark chocolate brownies.¬† They were¬†amazing and had a flavor like the brookside acai chocolates but richer and more complex.¬† Maybe I’ll post a recipe in the future ūüėČ

Cheesy Keto Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

First; the recipe and then an update on how my kids are doing so far on keto. 20180714_1859348371197084850478944.jpg

This is a recipe I found at allrecipes and adapted to keto with a couple tweaks.¬† It’s supposed to be done on a grill but I cooked it in the oven instead.¬† It is pretty good, as you can imagine!

Cheesy Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf (keto!)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 diced yellow onion
  • 3 tbs. low sugar ketchup
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. parsley (I used dried spices)
  • 2 pounds grass fed ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 7 slices uncured bacon

First you want to take a long piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (long enough that it would be about the length of a cookie sheet¬†after¬†folded in half).¬† Line up the bacon horizontally in the middle of the aluminum.¬† (You’ll want to be able to shape your loaf on top of the bacon and fold it up over the sides.)¬† Using aluminum isn’t 100% necessary but it¬†really¬†cuts down on cleaning time.¬† Preset your oven for 375 degrees F.¬† Add the first 11 ingredients to a large mixing bowl.¬† I mix by hand (I find it easier) but do whatever works for you to get all the ingredients well combined.¬† At that point you can dump the mix on top of the bacon slices and form it into a loaf shape.¬† Wrap the bacon up over the sides.¬† Fold the edges of the aluminum up to form a makeshift loaf pan and transfer onto a cookie sheet.¬† Put that pile o’ meat on the bottom rack.¬† I baked mine for about 65 minutes.¬† You’ll definitely want to check it with a meat thermometer and make sure the middle is at least 160 degrees F.¬† When you take it out, let it “rest” for 5-10 minutes.¬† You can brush on extra ketchup, but that’s extra carbs and honestly, the meatloaf really doesn’t need it.¬†20180714_1907237275425801692758309.jpg

The bacon flavor really permeates the entire loaf without overpowering the other flavors.¬† It’s so good you almost feel guilty eating it!!¬† It was a big hit at my house.¬† I’ll definitely make it again.¬† It’s not the¬†prettiest¬†or most elegant meal to photograph but it is insanely delicious and filling and satisfying.¬† No midnight munching after eating this!

Sorry guys, I don’t have nutritional info as I kind of threw this together today.¬† It does have 7-8 good size servings with a very small amount of carbs.¬† Serve next to a low-carb veggie (with butter, of course!) for a perfect keto dinner.

So…. we’ve been doing keto as a family now for two days.¬† I feel like it is going really well so far.¬† The second morning my oldest woke up and was hungry and shaky.¬† My youngest actually vomited.¬† I think it is because with their fast metabolisms they were going through the keto flu period at an¬†accelerated rate.¬† I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, making nummy food for them.¬† I made a keto cheesecake and two batches of my chocolate keto muffins so far.¬† They (inspite of some complaining) mostly like the food so far.¬† They seem like they are doing pretty well, aside from that first morning when their bodies were obviously still struggling to adapt.

There isn’t much information about how to do this diet for kids online.¬† I’m just going to have to discover as I go.¬† That’s one reason I feel like it’s important to blog about our journey.

 

 

Chilly Keto ColdBrew Mocha

Guys, I was doing a flex-keto approach and doing high and low carb days along with some intermittent fasting.  Which worked well for awhile until I found myself eating TWO big ole gluten free smores last weekend and then realizing I had gained, or was well on my way, to gaining back all the weight I had initially lost.  *sad face*

So I did what I usually do to atone for too many dietary sins.¬† I started tracking¬†every single gram of carb¬†with my fitness pal.¬† It’s still amazing to me that calories don’t really matter.¬† 1,500 calories with over 100 grams of carbs will have me gaining weight while 1,800 with less than 30 grams of carbs will have my body fat quickly dwindling away.¬† This may not hold true for all but I know it certainly is for me.

20180603_0941431091780791.jpgI’ve said it before but I’ll say it again- one of the best things about keto is the fact that you can still have creamy, delicious treats.¬† Like this cold brew based coffee drink I am sipping right now.¬†If you’ve read the blog for awhile you’ve probably figured out that I am a bit obsessed with both coffee and chocolate.¬† So I love finding new, low-carb ways to combine them.

I picked up some starbucks brand cold brew at target.¬† If you get some, make sure it is unsweetened.¬† Most kinds come pre-sweetened.¬† Definitely don’t want that!

I blended about a cup of cold brew with half and half (food of the gods!), cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener to get this delicious, frosty treat.¬† You can also add ice to make it more frappuccino-esque.¬† I think for future versions, I’ll have some coffee ice cubes on hand to add in.¬†¬†20180603_093440940081504.jpg

Keto ColdBrew Mocha

  • 1 Cup Cold Brew Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half ( you can sub in filtered milk, almond milk, or heavy cream)
  • 1 tbs. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbs. Natural Sweetener (such as stevia, monk fruit, or¬†erythritol)

Combine ingredients in magic bullet style blender and enjoy!  This refreshing treat is sure to put some pep in your step at 182 calories, 8.7 grams of carb (about 6 net carbs), 14.5 grams of fat and 4.6 grams of protein.

 

Flourless Chocolate Muffins

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These muffins are so good that even my kids love them!¬† They are keto-friendly and gluten free.¬† I found the original recipe here¬†https://peaceloveandlowcarb.com/keto-chocolate-muffins/ on a sidenote: I will always share my original recipe sources unless it is completely original.¬† I think it’s common for bloggers to plagiarize other bloggers but I don’t roll that way.

I just changed the recipe a bit to suit our needs but the basic recipe rocks.  The muffins are flour free and packed with protein, nutrients and fiber but have a taste and texture almost identical to chocolate cake!

You’ll need-

  • 1 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup natural low-cal sweetener (like monk fruit or erythritol)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Melt the peanut butter and butter together till soft in a microwavable bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend till well mixed.  Spoon into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.  Be careful not to overbake!!  It will dry them out.

You can add in low carb chocolate chips but they don’t need them.

These muffins are delicious dipped into coffee or fairlife filtered milk!!  And they are so good even your kids will eat them up! 20180508_07134956793713.jpg

Easy Keto Hot Chocolate

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.¬† I did.¬† From a diet standpoint I decided it would definitely be a cheat day.¬† I enjoyed a cheesy ham and potato casserole, fruit, and gluten free double chocolate chip muffins.¬† It was delicious and wonderful but I’m definitely ready to get back on track!

One of my favorite (quick and easy!) treats lately has been my keto coco, or hot chocolate.¬† You can get the flavor (and comfort!) of hot chocolate without cheating….20180402_085253.jpg

and get a potent serving of antioxidants and a decent source of protein, but more importantly- a chocolate fix!  And only three ingredients!

I tolerate milk so I heat up about 1 cup of fairlife filtered whole milk and then whisk in 2 heaping tablespoons of cacao powder and about 1 1/2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener.  You could easily adjust up or down depending on the sweetness desired.  You could also add in some concentrated coffee or espresso for an energizing, polyphenol-packed mocha!

This cocoa tastes like the real deal but only clocks in at 10 net carbs and 290 calories.

Great for days when it’s “spring” but you live in Minnesota and it’s still freezing out!¬†¬†e223bc53a9eb36de358f18f3995b1dbd

Cheesecake Plus Positive Thinking

I love, love listening to podcasts.¬† I do so many menial chores around the house every day that are made so much more¬†enriching¬†with a good podcast.¬† When I vaccuum, I put on my hot pink beats and totally zone out.¬† One of my favorites is Dave Asprey’s bulletproof podcast.¬† The guy is a mad genius.¬† I love it.¬† One thing he really emphasizes on the show, and it’s 100% backed by research findings, is the sheer power of positive thinking.

I thought about that today as I had to go in to work with hair that still makes me sad ūüė¶¬† The ladies I saw at the¬†second¬†salon were able to help, but still…my hair is canary YELLOW.¬† It’s not cute.¬† I tried lots of tricks at home to tone it down.¬† De nada.¬† I even slept with my hair soaked in coconut oil and cocoa powder.¬† All it did was make my hair crunchy.¬† I washed it out and voila!¬† Bright yellow.

I pulled it back and decided that I was just going to have to rock it with confidence.¬† There was nothing to be done and I’m not about to call out of work on account of embarrassing hair.

So I did, and I survived.¬† I decided I’m just going to scrap the whole thing and dye my hair an auburn color to cover up this horrific misdeed.¬† Especially after being told, multiple times, that it didn’t look¬†that¬†bad.¬† Not exactly a look I want!

I did comfort myself with a¬†delicious¬†piece of keto cheesecake for breakfast and that made it all ok for about five minutes! This was so good, guys.¬† This cheesecake, in itself, is worth converting to keto…if you haven’t already! ūüėȬ†20180307_081333.jpg

I found the original recipe at¬†fat for weight loss.¬† Not only was it delicious, but a small (ok, generous, I had another “sliver” after this piece!) kept me full for hours.

The only things I changed was the crust and the cook time.¬† I don’t have shredded coconut so I added much more almond flour.¬† Like 1 1/2 cups.¬† He recommended a cook time of 45 minutes but at that point it was more hot, oozing custard than cake.¬† It needed another 15 minutes at a higher temp. of 345 degrees F.

I’ve never made cheesecake before and I had the impression that it would be hard, but this was really pretty simple.¬† The hardest part is waiting for it to cool before digging in!

 

Keto Flourless Chocolate Cake

I love chocolate…. Like it’s a food group to me.¬† The most important one.¬†¬†11062757_10156302585070074_8547220417261379568_n

If I couldn’t have chocolate, I wouldn’t stick with keto for long!

Luckily for me, there are many great chocolicious keto recipes out there as well as recipes that are easily adaptable.

Flourless chocolate cake is one such recipe.¬† It’s high fat, low carb.¬† It’s rich, dense, sinfully delicious.¬† It’s easily made sugar free with the use of a low-carb sweetener.¬† My favorite at the moment is monk sweet– a blend of stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit extract.

I adapted a combo of recipes to make this delicious and keto-friendly!

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Everything’s Better with Butter, Ya’ll!

You’ll need~

  • a stick of butter (preferably grass fed!)
  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your sweetener
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (or raw cacao powder)
  • 1 tsp. pink salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs

I started with melting my butter and the broken up chocolate on medium-low in a medium saucepan.¬† I added the sweetener as well, so that the cake wouldn’t be gritty.¬† As that melted down I turned the burner to low and added the rest of the ingredients, mixing after each addition.

I removed the pan from the heat before whisking in the eggs.¬† I poured the brownie-like batter into a greased, round 8″ glass pan and baked at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

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The result was Ah-MAZ-ing.  I ate a piece with some whipped cream on top.  It hits the spot for sure.  Not only is it keto-friendly but you are also getting loads of antioxidants from all the chocolate.  Believe it or not but chocolate is pretty much the richest source of health-boosting antioxidants that you can eat.

“One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested, which included¬†blueberries¬†and Acai berries.” –¬†health benefits of chocolate¬†

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Chocolate is a superfood in every capacity; high in fiber, iron, minerals… and this is a great way to get the full benefits without the health-degrading effects of sugar.

So treat yourself to this recipe with zero guilt!