Shortcut to Goddess

You can tell we’ve made the official transition into fall–even if it doesn’t exactly feel like it outside–when you see apple cider and bags of apples in the market everywhere.  It is so much fun to dive into a crisp delicious apple; my personal favorite is to eat them sliced with a smear of almond butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Another perennial favorite is the apple pie.  In the past, when I have baked an apple pie from scratch, my status in the household can only be described as goddess.  Seriously.  But apple pies take sooooo long to make.  All the cutting of that butter wears on my wrists.  And the pie (and all that work) is gone in just minutes.  Oh and did I mention I can’t eat all that gluten?

But now, I want to present to you what I call “short cut to goddess,” or raw apple cake.  I pulled out the recipe that was given to me by my mother-in-law and paleo-ized it a bit, so it is gluten and dairy free.  I served it up for breakfast this week, and let’s just say the goddess crown is firmly on this head 🙂

The best thing about this recipe is that it is a total snap, and you only need three apples!  It is baked in an 8 X 8 inch pan, and best served in small bowls because it isn’t firm, you can eat it with a spoon.

Enjoy!

Raw Apple Cake, aka Shortcut to Goddess
(Gluten-free & Dairy-free
)

photo(1)

Mix together in a medium bowl:
3 medium apples, peeled and chopped up
1 egg

Add to it:
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
3/4 cup coconut sugar (you can use regular sugar if you like)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Stir it all together and put in a greased (I use sprayable coconut oil for my greasing) 8 X 8 inch pan.  Bake about 40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until knife comes out clean.  It’s pretty amazing right out of the oven!

 

 

Hey, Are You Listening?

This summer I was struggling to think of something to write, and I posed the question at dinner to my husband and teenage boys.  To my surprise, our son piped up, “Your teenage son who refused to believe that there was a connection between dairy and his acne, and how when he eliminated dairy, his acne cleared up.”  Well I was stunned, and felt like I could just retire as a foodie-mom in that very moment; goals achieved, proud mamma.

Once I got over my elation, I reflected on the moment.  What I found most surprising was that he actually noticed.  It is that making of the connection, the listening to the signals that are being sent, that is critical to your path to wellness.  It is important to notice how different foods affect you, even if it isn’t as obvious as a pimple.

It is hard to make the connection between diet and various symptoms, but there is usually a message.  Maybe it is congestion, brain fog, aches and pains, headaches, maybe it is something else altogether.  The point is NOT to take it as a given that you have these symptom(s) just because you are alive, the point is to connect some dots for yourself.

So what is the message you are getting from your body?  Achy joints? Exhaustion? It may be something you’ve seen a doctor for, but perhaps not.  You are a living experiment, a true “n = 1,” so it is up to you to create a hypothesis and gather the data.  There is usually enough of it.  Like my son’s acne, it usually shows up shortly after the irritant.

So start connecting the dots and get on your path to wellness.  Sometimes all it takes is listening to your body, seeing cause and effect.  As my grandmother used to say to her son-in-law (my dad), “get the banana out of your ear” and listen up, because there is a story being told beneath the surface that needs to be heard.

How to know (if it is time to go gluten free)

When I was little and asked my parents how I would know when I found the right person to spend my life with, and I recall hearing the response, “you just know.”  Huh?  How do you just know? It was so mysterious to me, as if everyone had this light switch that would go on…but what if I didn’t have that light switch?  In my case it took some intuition for sure, but it also took the ability to listen to that intuition, what my gut was telling me (and thankfully the universe conspired to support me 🙂

But this post isn’t about figuring out how to choose your life partner.  However, deciding whether or not to go gluten free is a bit like that because you just have to listen, listen, listen to your gut–and by that I mean both your belly and your intuition–and see signs along the way, especially if the decision is one that you are making simply to improve your health, not because you have a certain diagnosis.

When I ask people how they feel when they eat gluten they often don’t know.  Some people haven’t seen the signs along the way that gluten is hurting them.  So, for those of you wondering, here is a list of things you might consider after consuming gluten:  do you feel bloated? gassy?  have brain fog? skin rashes? inflammation in the joints? neuropathy? ADD? the list is quite long and this is only a sampling.   The point is, sometimes we just don’t hear the body’s loud chorus of issues as being related to anything in particular–we think each symptom is unique and hope it is fleeting.  As in dating, sometimes you just know, but other times you don’t.

I often tell my clients to write down what they are eating and then how they feel after each meal.  It’s a way to make a connection, if there isn’t already one, between what we are feeding ourselves and what how it makes us feel.  This type of food diary can be illuminating.

If you suspect that gluten is indeed a foe, it is time to do a gluten elimination diet.  Yep, take it out, all of it.  Don’t worry, there are so many substitutes, you are going to be fine!  It may be uncomfortable in the beginning, but you’ll fall into a groove of knowing what you can and cannot eat, and maybe find delicious new choices and go-tos.   For example, swap out your big muffin for breakfast with a hard boiled egg or two and a fruit smoothie.  You can substitute your bread and pasta very easily, and explore new grains like quinoa.  Try it for a few weeks.  Then try putting gluten back in your diet and see what happens.  Did it wreak havoc?

Arguably there is enough evidence to support a gluten free lifestyle.   If your body can tolerate gluten you may still consider keeping it out of your diet in order to better support your immune system.

Should you be interested in the accountability and support of my health coaching for your gluten free transition, or to schedule a talk about the how-to’s of gluten free living, email me at fran.karoff@gmail.com.

 

No Girdle Required

Growing up, my grandparents used to visit us pretty regularly, and my grandmother was always quite concerned about my mother’s waistline.  “You should wear a girdle, Diane,” she used to say (seriously were people still wearing girdles then?).  My mom was drawn to Entenmanns’s boxes, which were frequently found on our counter..  Looking good into her 70s and 80s, as a teen I was intrigued.  Nana, as we called her, shared her secret with me:  whenever she felt pounds creeping on, she just laid off the bread and cake.  That was it.  Who knew she was right!

It was with much excitement that I turned to page six of The Boston Globe yesterday to read the article entitled, “Low-carbohydrate diet leads to reduced body fat, study says.”  I had to read the headline twice.  Is “low carb” finally making it into the mainstream?!  This is a big breakthrough in many ways.

Frankly, the science has to catch up with my grandmother.  This is one study that will hopefully lay the groundwork for many more studies that support what has much traction today:  that eating a low carb, high fat diet is actually GOOD FOR YOU. Yes, I know it probably makes you shudder to read that.  So much of the way we feed and nourish ourselves is based on old thinking and bad dietary recommendations that successfully steered us in the wrong direction. 

The study, which compared two groups (one that ate low carb and one that ate low fat–both groups ate many vegetables), revealed that the low carb group’s inflammatory markers (like triglycerides) decreased, they lost weight while keeping muscle mass.  They even lowered their risk of having a heart attack.  Conversely, the people following the low fat diet, the one that many of us have ingrained in our heads from years of believing the myth that saturated fat is bad for us, did poorly.  Their inflammatory markers increased, they lost some weight but not as much as the low carb group, and importantly, they lost muscle mass.

It’s a hard shift to make, and it doesn’t have to happen all at once.  Look hard at your diet, which may mean writing down what you are eating, and try to trim the carbs from it.  Start small, or if you are like me, go cold turkey.  Make sure there is ample saturated fat in your diet (like coconut oil) and make sure your plate is two-thirds vegetables.  Nana was right, it is pretty simple.  You can trim your waistline with that simple trick and never need a girdle at all!