suggestions, recipes, and ideas for staying low-carb

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crock-Pot Pork Ribs

This is the recipe for the simple, yet delicious, crock-pot pork ribs. This is one of the easiest recipes that I have found, so far. You throw all of the ingredients into the crock-pot, set it, and "forget about it."(imagine that in my thick, yet unimpressive, Italian accent)

You will need the following ingredients:
3 lb. Pork country-style ribs cut into serving pieces
1/3 c Flour
2 tb Oil
1 1/2 c Apple vinegar
1 c Water
1 tb Salt
1/2 ts Pepper
2 lb. Small zucchinis, cubed
16 oz Carrots; cut into 2" pieces
1 lg Onion; coarsely chopped
1 sm Cabbage; shredded
1 ts Caraway seeds

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on LOW for 5 hours. Pretty simple, huh? Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Short Message From Me...

I have to say that no matter how well you are doing on your diet, or how much success you are seeing in yourself, nothing compares to having someone else notice. It's so easy to be discouraged when you are trying to get healthy and on track, but it's not anywhere near as easy to be encouraged. However, I have had two days straight of encouragement from both family, and friends. And, to those who have been so generous as to say they notice some weight loss, I genuinely say "Thank You." Your compliments have been appreciated, and have made all the difference in the world.

Shrimp In Tomato And Feta Sauce

Everybody loves seafood, or at least I do. I could live the rest of my life on seafood alone, and be ecstatic. Unfortunately, in order for seafood to be low-carb, you usually have to prepare it in the most boring way: baked with a little lemon juice. In my quest for more crock-pot recipes, I came across a great one that has shrimp and feta cheese. It has a few steps, and you do need an extra 15 minutes, but I think it's worth the work.

You will need the following ingredients:
2 T Olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove garlic, minced
28 Oz Canned Tomatoes1 Can Tomato puree
6 Oz Tomato paste
1/4 C Dry wine or vermouth
2 T Parsley, chopped
1 t Dried oregano
1/4 t Fresh ground pepper
2 Lbs Jumbo shrimp -- peel, devein
3 Ozs Feta cheese, 1/4" cubes

Heat oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.Add the tomatoes, the puree, the tomato paste, wine, parsley, oregano and pepper.Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on LOW. Increase the heat to HIGH and add the shrimp. Cook just until the shrimp are firm and have turned pink, about 15 minutes.Stir in the feta cheese and serve immediately.

Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Enjoy!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Crock-Pot Cajun Chicken

This is the first crock-pot recipe I tried. It's simple enough, and had great flavor. It was flavored well, but not too spicy. Enjoy!

You will need the following ingredients:
1 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1" pieces
1/8 tsp garlic powder
5 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 to 2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried whole basil
1 tsp dried whole marjoram
1 tsp dried whole oregano
1 head of cauliflower

Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder. Combine tomatoes and remaining ingredients except cauliflower in a crock-pot, chicken on top and sauces and herbs poured over chicken and vegetables. Cook on high for 5-7 hours. Serve over steamed cauliflower.

What A Crock!

The wonderful women that I work with are always talking about the great meals that they make in their crock-pots. It seems pretty convenient when I hear them talking about these meals. They also sound like fantastic meals. It seems like every meal they make in the crock-pot has meat that falls off the bone. They talk about the great flavor, and how easy it is to just fill the crock-pot, and then come home to the meal. I decided to look into recipes for the crock-pot, and then decide if it was a purchase I wanted to make. Let's face it, with teaching for eight hours, and then heading to my personal business for another five hours, I need something that is ready to eat when I get home, or I am eating at 10:00 at night. That is just not healthy, and I realize it. Unfortunately, almost all of the recipes that I came across were loaded with carbs, mainly because they all contained potatoes. So, what's a girl to do? I want the convenience, but certainly not the carbs. Then, it happened. I found some recipes that are designed for the slow-cooker (that's the machine, not the person), and are lower in carbs. I am going to be posting these recipes for the next few days, maybe weeks, if I can find enough. Hopefully, they will all taste as great as the few that I have made so far. Thanks to my great friends at work for pointing me in the direction of the crock-pot.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Do It For Real

An important thing to remember when being on the low-carb eating plan is that each time you eat something high in carbs, it's like sabotaging your weight loss. When you are on a low fat diet, and you eat a greasy cheeseburger, all it does is make your fat grams for that day higher than they should be. On the other hand, when you are on the low-carb way of eating, and you eat a hot fudge Sunday, it not only makes your carb count for that day high, but it also starts your eating plan over at day 1. If you recall, days 1-3 on the low-carb lifestyle are induction days, which means very low-carb, and very high protein. It takes up to 3 days for remaining carbs to completely leave your system, and because of that, you start over anytime that you eat something you shouldn't. You have to do the low-carb plan for real. Don't do it half-a**ed.

It may sound like it's not worth doing the low-carb thing, because you can't have something sweet, even if you really need it. This is not the case. It's completely worth working to stay low-carb. The pros of this way of life far outweigh the cons. You feel better, you look better, and it's healthier.

What you need to do is always have a low-carb treat on hand. That way, when you feel like you just have to have something that is not generally on the low-carb lifestyle, like Breyer's Carb Smart ice cream, or Atkins pasta, there is something in the cabinet or freezer for you.

The low-carb lifestyle does take some getting used to. You do have to adjust your life a little, but it is totally worth it. Cheating on the low-carb lifestyle is something that is not worth it, however. Stick to the guidelines of this way of eating, and you will see the changes that you are hoping for.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Had a Bad Day Again...

Bad days are contagious, but hopefully, everyone around me has had the vaccine. It seems as though I have had more than my fair share of bad days in the last week. I do realize, though, and take responsibility for the fact, that I have let them turn into bad days because of my own negative attitude. There have been some unfortunate events that contributed to these days, but, ultimately, it was me who chose to let them alter my outlook.

I am not bringing this up so that people can pity or feel sorry for me. I am simply segwaying into the suggestion that, even though it might be tough, you should not let the "bad day" ruin your healthy eating. It is so easy to just go home after a tough day, and get out the 1/2 gallon of Breyer's Chocolate ice cream. However, there are other ways that you should deal with your problems.

The two main ways I like to relieve my stress are both therapeutic, as well as healthy and contribute to getting in shape. First, I like to journal. This is therapeutic, because I can get a lot of feelings out on paper. It's contributes to getting in shape, also. The way that it does this, is I journal what I have eaten each day. If I notice that I am higher in carbs than I should be, I do tuna for dinner. If I notice that I haven't had enough water, I try to remedy the situation. Journaling is a fantastic way to relieve stress. I also like to take a walk, long or short. If I have the time, long is great. I don't always have the time for a long walk, but even a short one will relieve stress, and burn calories along the way. I also, when I have the time, like to get in a little yoga. The slow, intense stretching, and deep breathing are very relaxing. It's a great way to get, or stay, fit. Journaling and exercising are helpful in keeping my stress level in tact.

Everyone has a bad day, but the important thing to remember is not to let it ruin what you are working towards. I have been struggling lately, and maybe you have, too. We can make it through this, though, and be better people because of it. (I probably sounded a little like a motivational speaker just then, but I sure could use some inspiration, and it seems to be coming out in my writing.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Heart Fuze

There is a fantastic product on the market. It isn't new, but there are still some people who don't know about it. It's called Fuze. It's a great fruit drink with only 10 calories per serving. Sounds great, huh? But, here's the kicker. They make a Fuze Slenderize, which is even better. It's got only 10 calories, and it's low-carb. There are only 2 carbs per serving. The best part is, they have 6 Slenderize flavors, each with 4 vitamins and minerals that help you slim down.

Fuze Slenderize contains Chromium, which is a micro nutrient known to improve the amount of energy you get from food.

Fuze Slenderize contains Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant essential for vision, growth and healthy skin.

Fuze Slenderize contains SuperCitrimax, which helps users maintain a normal appetite and increase energy in healthy individuals, which in turn helps support a healthy metabolism.

Fuze Slenderize contains L-Carnitine, an amino-acid which boosts energy.

Fuze Slenderize is a fantastic product that you can buy at Sam's. The cost is less than $1.00 per bottle, making it less than $.50 per serving. I absolutely love it, and so do the kids that I teach. They bring it in to school with them, and love the fact that we have the taste for Fuze in common. If you want to know more about Fuze Slenderize, go to their website. You can even sign up for the newsletter and coupons.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Great Greek Chicken Recipe

I, for one, love Greek cuisine. Greek cuisine is just the best food around. I could eat it all day, every day. The main problem with this is that Greek cuisine is not very low-carb friendly. For example, the first encounter I had with Greek cuisine was at my sister-in-law's brother's engagement party.(a little confusing) We were in the midst of a huge celebration, and the waiters started bringing out the food. Can I just say, it was fantastic! The part that I remember the most, however, was the first thing they brought out. It was a side salad with this awesome greek vinagrette. The best part, though, was when you got to the bottom of the salad. It took me a few minutes to realize what I was tasting. It was a wonderful layer of potato salad beneath the salad. At that point, I was sold. Since then, I have enjoyed Greek cuisine every chance I get. If there is a Greek festival within 200 miles of my home, I convince someone to go with me. I absolutely love Greek food. The problem is that they are usually full of carbs.

There are, however, some lower-carb foods that can be found at a Greek table. They often use a lot of feta cheese, which I also happen to love. I recently found this recipe for Greek Chicken at a diabetic recipe website, and it was very easy to make. It was also delicous.

You will need the following ingredients:

2 Lemon, fresh

1 cooking spray

6 Chicken, broiler/fryer, leg, with no skin or bones

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp ground oregano

The recipe is simple.

1 Cut 1 lemon in half. Slice the other lemon thinly and set aside.

2 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat a shallow baking pan with olive oil-flavored cooking spray.

3 Place chicken in pan and brush with extra-virgin olive oil and juice from halved lemon. Drizzle with oregano and lemon slices.

4 Bake chicken for 50 to 60 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center when cut with a small knife.

5 Remove from the oven and serve hot.

I like to serve mine with a sliced tomato and feta cheese salad. I loved this recipe when I made it. Hopefully, you will, too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Advanced

If you have been exercising for a while, and know what you are doing, you might find this to be a helpful tool on your journey. It's a good website that contains tips for the advanced workout. Enjoy.

Beginner

Here is a great website that I came across. It's a good tool if you're just beginning to get into exercising. I hope it helps point you in the right direction.

Adding Exercise to Your Daily Routine

A great way to increase your success in weight loss is to add exercise to your daily life. So often, people change their eating habits, but don't think to change anything else. It's important to have healthy eating habits. However, if you want to see faster results, it's important to burn calories, and break a sweat. Thirty minutes per day of exercise can help you to see results.

There are many ways in which to add thirty minutes of exercise to your day. You don't have to go out and join a gym. You don't have to sign up for an aerobics boot camp. You can get plenty of exercise without making a huge life change. Taking a stroll around your neighborhood is a great way to add some exercise to your day, and also relieve a little stress at the same time. Playing tag in the yard with your kids in the evening is also a way to incorporate some exercise, and add a little family time to your day.

Think about some ways that you can add a half hour of cardio to your routine, and jot those ideas down. Try to complete one idea each day, and you'll be in the exercising habit in no time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why it's Important to Menu Plan

I am someone who never thought about meal planning. After all, it's just my husband and myself every night for dinner. What did we need to plan in advance for? I would just sort of fly by the seat of my pants, as they say. Each day, on the way home from work, I would think of what would be the easiest thing for the night. There were so many problems with this way of thinking, and I didn't realize it until a few weeks ago. There are three main reasons for me to stay on a menu plan.

Reason # 1:
When you menu plan, you pay more attention to the nutrition facts of your meal. It's so much easier to see what you are putting in your body when you know a few days in advance what you are having. It's also easy to adjust for lower carb content.

Reason # 2:
When you menu plan, you save time. You make one shopping trip for the week, and buy what you need to make the meals that are on your menu plan. This means that there will be no stopping on the way home from work at the grocery store to pick up cucumbers for the salad that you just decided to make for dinner.

Reason # 3:
Probably the most important reason during a time of financial crisis: When you menu plan, you save money. When you make your menu for the week, it's usually before you do your grocery shopping. By doing it in this order, you can plan the different places that you should go to do your shopping. For example, if you know that breakfast sausage is on sale at Publix this week, and it is part of your menu plan, you make sure that is one of the places you stop. If you haven't menu planned, and you decide on your way home that the meal you want to make needs breakfast sausage, you stop at the most convenient place that you pass, and end up spending maybe twice as much. Also, like I said yesterday, you can buy things in bulk and save money, if you know you will need them this week.

Menu planning really has helped my household to save time, money, and be healthier. I think it can help your household, too. Give it a try for a few weeks, and you'll be hooked. Hope this helps lower your stress level.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Low-Carb on a Budget

With the constant talk of recession on nearly everyone's lips, it's tough to not worry about your finances. When you have worries such as this one, it's not uncommon to notice a little weight gain. Stress often causes you to put on some unwanted pounds. Unfortunately, when you are worried about finances, you really don't want to committ to an eating plan, because many times, you worry about how much it costs to eat healthy.

Eating foods that are unhealthy costs very little. For example, the cheapest food that I can think of is Ramen Noodles. On average, a package of Ramen Noodles costs somewhere between $.50 and $1.00. With that one package, you can either feed two people, or make two meals for yourself. Now, when money is tight, that might sound like the best thing for you. However, if you look at the nutrition facts for Ramen Noodles, you will see that no matter how great of a deal you get on these, they are not worth what you pay. First of all, the amount of sodium is grotesque. But, of course, you know what nutrition fact I am most interested in...carbs. The amount of carbs in one serving of Ramen Noodles is almost twice the amount of carbs people on low-carb plans should consume in one day. It's important to realize that eating healthy is definitely worth spending a little extra money each week at the grocery store.

There are ways, however, to save money, and still stay on the low-carb eating plan. For example, one thing to remember is that it is okay to buy store-brand, as opposed to name brand. A peanut is a peanut, whether it's a Planters or not. Another way to save is to buy your veggies at local markets instead of grocery stores. The local market in my area has a great selection, wonderful prices, and they often let you sample what they offer. What better way is there to know what you're getting, and get a good deal? My final tip for low-carb on a budget is to shop at places like Sam's, BJ's, and Costco. You can get great deals there on all of the items that should be on your grocery list. I can get great deals on things like cheeses, olives, and of course meat, which is a staple on the low-carb lifestyle. Olives last a long time, so buying them in bulk is fine. Cheeses and meats are both foods that you should consume regularly on this meal plan. If you're worried about buying too much at a time, it's good to know that meats, and most cheeses, can be frozen and last a good while. For tips on how to freeze cheese, go to Angie's blog. She can help you out.

We are all feeling the financial crunch right now, but we must make sure that it doesn't affect our eating habits. It's important to keep your health in mind, even in times of what is being referred to as a recession. Hopefully, some of these tips can help you to stay low-carb, even when on a tight budget.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Suit Up

When you decide to go into the battle taking place between you and carbs, it is important to get out your armor. The armor that you need for this battle is knowledge. You need to research low-carb living, and make sure that you understand what it's all about. There are many different books out there that are dedicated to low-carb dieting.

Research around, and find the version of the low-carb diet that will be the most successful for you. You want to choose the one that will help you to lose weight in a timely manor, but at the same time, you want to choose one that you and your willpower have a chance of sticking to.

Find certain foods that are low in carbs and appeal to you most. You may find that there are foods that if you keep them on hand as often as possible, you have more success. Pepperoni slices are a good example of this. They, along with a few slices of cheese, are convenient and low-carb/high protein. Snacks like this can keep you on track throughout the day.

Another helpful tool for this battle is a menu plan for the week. The hardest thing about being low-carb is trying to find a spur of the moment meal to eat. If you plan in advance, your chance of succeeding is much higher.

Just remember, never go into battle without your armor. Make sure you understand what low-carb is, and why you can benefit from it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Little Honesty

I'm going to be honest, and put it all on the line. I have dropped the ball, so to speak, when it came to my low-carb lifestyle. I have been in what I call "Survival Mode," basically just doing what I needed to do to keep sane in this crazy world. Life has been going on around me, but from my perspective, it has stood still. Things that are beyond my control have been occurring, and I hate that more than anything. I have had a little me time this weekend, though, and during this time, I came to a realization. I realized that I am in a "funk." I'm not me. I don't know who I am, but I don't like it, and I want to be me again.

Step number one...Back on my journey to being healthy again. There are so many things in my life that I cannot control. My eating habits are one of the few things that I can control. That being said, it's on. I am taking back control of my eating habits and my body. Hopefully, I can inspire others to do the same thing. Join me, if you will, and let's get healthy together.

To make a long story short, I'M BACK.