So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog – Review

While grocery shopping last week, I made my way up and down each aisle scouting out the sales like usual. When I came to the dairy section, I noticed they had lactose-free yogurt, which I’d never seen there before. Unfortunately it was the So Delicious brand, which I’m not too fond of (you can read my review on it here). Disappointed with the yogurt situation, my eyes drifted upwards and noticed this Coconut Milk Nog by So Delicious. 

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With the holidays rapidly approaching, I thought I would treat myself so I picked up a carton. Last year I blogged about So Nice’s soynog and I almost grabbed it instead just because I knew it was good. However, after comparing the ingredients I stuck with my original decision to try the So Delicious brand. It had much more natural ingredients and far less ingredients in total, compared to the essay of chemical ingredients So Nice’s nog had.

Well, let me tell you that I could not be happier with my decision. So Nice has NOTHING on So Delicious and their coconut milk nog. Wowza! It took everything I had not to drink the whole carton at once!

Unbelievably creamy and flavourful, it tastes even better than normal eggnog in my opinion! I am definitely going to have to go back for more, especially considering they have two other flavours! I got the regular one, but they also had mint chocolate and pumpkin spice. Mmm mmm mmm!

What’s your favourite holiday beverage?

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UPDATE:

I tried the mint chocolate one and wasn’t totally overwhelmed by it. I think I’ll just stick to the ‘Nog!

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

I love all this “food for thought”!

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Jimmy Kimmel Asks Pedestrians “What Is Gluten?”

Has anyone seen this video from Jimmy Kimmel?

Me oh my.

As funny as this video is, it is also a little embarrassing. It also serves as a great example of the “fad” side of eating gluten-free. These people are followers – they are eating gluten-free because everyone else is but have no idea what gluten even is or the real logic behind avoiding it! If someone told you eating only seaweed would make you live to be 100, would you jump on board without questioning it? I think not. Don’t be a follower! Make decisions for yourself, not based on everyone else’s experience. It’s okay to ask questions! Become informed!

Now, let’s clear some things up.

1) What is gluten?

Gluten is a glue-like (GLU-ten) protein compound that gives bread products and other baked goods their elasticity.

2) What products contain gluten?

As the one gentleman noted, gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. However, gluten is also found in things like processed meats, salad dressing, gravy, soups, potato chips, and even beer! So if you are going gluten-free for health reasons, there are a lot of other foods you need to consider for elimination. (You can read more about eating gluten-free here!) 

3) Is there need for everyone to eat gluten-free?

No. There are people who have no choice but to eat gluten-free due to a serious illness called celiac disease. There are others who have a less severe reaction to gluten, similar to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and generally feel better eating gluten-free. Finally, there are others who have a true allergy to wheat products, similar to a peanut allergy. Outside of these actual health concerns, eating gluten-free may make you feel better, but it also might not.

4) Does gluten make you fat?

Not necessarily. Consuming gluten might contribute to weight gain BUT there are other food and lifestyle choices that should be considered first. (Gosh, if we followed all the gossip out there about foods that “make us fat,” we’d be left eating rocks!) Read some more misconceptions about gluten here

Now…all that being said, there are some discrepancies with the above information, particularly concerning the book The Wheat Belly. Dr. William Davis feels that “modern wheat is no more real wheat than a chimpanzee is an approximation of a human” and has concluded that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic. How can he make such conclusions? Well, when he asked his patients to give up wheat in order to improve their heart health, he found other unexpected health benefits associated with the elimination of wheat. (You can read about these benefits, as well as my thoughts on the book here!)

So, to gluten or not to gluten? Well, that’s up to you! You have to decide for yourself what food choices are important to you and what you feel is best for your body. Just please don’t base your decisions on what everyone else is doing or rumours you may have heard. Do some research and ask questions!

What are your thoughts on this video? Did you know what gluten was before reading this post? Do you think gluten is harmful to our health, even for those people without true health concerns? Why do you eat gluten-free?

5-Minute Paleo Breakfast Muffin

There are two girls that sit behind me in my one class and I’m really not sure how much they pay attention to the class because they’re always commenting on the food I bring for lunch.

Okay okay, I’m just kidding, I know they pay attention. They do comment on my lunch a lot though, which I find it a bit unusual because to me, I feel like I’m just eating normal food! I guess I’m more creative with my lunches than the average university student? In any case, last week we had a morning meeting for a group project, and their interest in my food never crossed my mind when I packed this muffin to bring with me. Well, as soon as I pulled it out it was all “oohs” and “aahs” and “what is that!?” I quickly explained what it was and the one girl frantically took notes so she could make it as soon as she got home that night. The following day she practically ran into our class waving a container at me and said “Look! I made the muffin last night and I made another one this morning! It’s SO good!” It was the cutest thing ever. I think it’s safe to say she liked it ;)

Quick and delicious, you will not be able to get enough of this simple recipe!

IMG_8660 I usually just slice the muffin and spread a little coconut oil on the two halves. It makes the muffin so moist and adds some extra yummy flavour! (I put a dollop of yogurt on top here, just for show.)

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Depending on the size of mug, measuring cup or bowl you use to cook it in, you can end up with a variety of different shaped muffins!

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This one looks seedy because the sunflower butter I used also had sesame seeds in it. Still delicious! 

5-Minute Paleo Microwave Muffin

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter/almond butter/sunflower seed butter
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger/your desired spice (optional, however I generally always add some spice because sometimes the baking soda doesn’t mix that well and the muffin comes out with a bitter baking soda taste.)

Simply mix all ingredients in a mug, glass measuring cup or small glass/ceramic bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes! (*Depending on the quality of your microwave, you may need less than or more than 5 minutes.)

*Don’t be alarmed if your muffin comes out a different colour than these pictures. The colour of the muffin depends on the kind of nut butter you use. Peanut butter gives a very light muffin, while almond butter and sunflower butter give a darker muffin.

The only thing I don’t like about this recipe, is that it requires the use of a microwave. I never used to care about the whole microwave/radiowave business, but the more I get into the health and wellness field, the more I feel that it’s probably not the best thing to be using. They’re just so darn convenient! Especially for this recipe! I MUST find a way to make it without a microwave!

Do you ever make muffins or cakes in-a-mug? How do you feel about microwaves?

New to Paleo? Read about the Paleo approach to eating here and read a Paleo testimony here!

Parsley

I think sometimes we focus so much on the bigger food ingredients like butter, sugar, meat, etc. and their health effects that we forget about the smaller members of the food kingdom like herbs and spices. They may be small and seem insignificant, but they can be very very mighty!

A few years ago, one of my sweet fur-babies was diagnosed with kidney disease. One day, my family woke up and he was not doing well. We really thought he wasn’t going to make it. In conversation with my then roommate about pets, she mentioned to me that her little dog was also having kidney problems and that they’d been giving it “parsley tea”, which was really helping. Needless to say I shared this info with my family ASAP! My little kitty was so sick my mom had to syringe-feed it to him the first couple times. She told me that just over 24 hours after first giving it to him, he was a completely different cat. Literally from death’s doorstep to a 6-month old kitten (he was actually 12 years old) Amazing! We continued to give him parsley water daily, mixing it into his food and drinking water. He never seemed to mind it or the kidney issues anymore, and we were lucky enough to be able to snuggle him for a few more years before he went to kitty heaven (due to another issue).

Amazing right?! Food can be so powerful! Even though my other cat doesn’t have any kidney issues, we continue to give her parsley tea because we feel it is still really beneficial!

So what makes parsley so amazing?

  • Acts as a wonderful diuretic, which flushes toxins through the kidneys and out of the body
  • It contains an abundance of volatile oils that can help neutralize carcinogens (i.e. is a cancer fighting food)
  • Is a rich source of antioxidants, which prevent oxygen-based damage to cells and decreases inflammation
  • Good source of Vitamin A and C, which among other things are good for the immune system
  • Chlorophyll, the green compound in parsley, is a natural deodorizer and helps to eliminate bad breath
  • High source of folate/folic acid, which helps protect blood vessels and reduce risk of heart attack

What an incredible herb! I am definitely making an effort to include parsley into my diet more regularly!

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Don’t brush that parsley garnish off your plate anymore – eat it! Add some fresh parsley to your juice! Season your pasta, meat and salad with parsley!

How do you like to eat parsley?

*IMPORTANT – Be sure to talk to your veterinarian before giving your pet parsley tea. 

Parsley Tea

Cut the leaves off of the stem of parsley (do NOT use the stems. This will make the tea extremely bitter). Cut enough until you have a big handful of leaves. Put into a medium sized pot with a quart of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Strain, pour into a pitcher or glass jar and refrigerate. Serving size will depend on the size of your animal, but we put 1 tsp. into my cat’s food every time we fed him, and we mixed 3 tsp. into his water dish every time we refilled it. 

References:

Eat Real Food!

Yesterday I found myself lost in the vortex of YouTube watching a video of someone explaining their new lifestyle choices. No idea how I got there, but I’m so glad I did! The person went on to explain how they had cut out junk food, fast food, soda, candy, etc. from their diet and started exercising more and eating more vegetables, fresh lean meats and overall more fresh and healthy food. They then went on to note the weight loss they’d experienced, the complete lack of cravings for sugary/junky food anymore, as well as an increase in energy, skin quality and just general feeling of well-being.

I couldn’t help but be impressed that they (1) recognized the negative effects their previous behaviours were having, (2) took personal initiative to make a change, (3) have now realized the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle and (4) chose to share their experience with the world. It is such a simple, yet important message to share!

I think that all too often people have a tendency to overthink the concept of moving towards a healthier lifestyle. There is no calorie counting algorithm that you need to follow, no need to eat only salad for the rest of your life and no need to work out eight hours a day, seven days a week. Slowly ease back on the junk food, increase your intake of “real” food, be a little more active and the rest will follow!

I love finding things like this video because I think they are a great and often needed reminder of the importance of making healthier lifestyle choices!

Here are a few more “eat real food” thoughts I am loving right now!

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And my all-time favourite:

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Have you started a journey to healthier living?

What Happens When I Eat Gluten

I was scrolling through my Facebook page the other day and saw this link Jillian Michaels posted: “Science Proves Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t Real; People Are Just Whiners.” Whether she actually believes this or was just giving her followers some “food for thought” I don’t know, but the article really hit a nerve with me, and I have news for those scientists.

First and foremost, I am NOT a whiner.

Second, it is most certainly NOT “all in my head.”

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I have been eating gluten-free for approximately four years now. (*Read about why I first went gluten-free here!) Throughout the past four years, I have found that the longer I avoid gluten, the more negative the effects I experience when I do consume it. Well of course you say, that happens when you avoid anything for a period of time. Ah, but these things also happened to me for as long as I can remember before I went gluten-free or even knew what gluten was! This leads me to truly believe that there IS such a thing as gluten sensitivity/intolerance.

If you still don’t believe me, let me share with you the happy happy things that happen to my body when I consume gluten.

(*It should be noted that none of these things are “normal” for anyone’s body!)

Bloating

Nobody likes it when your clothes suddenly don’t fit for a few days. Or looking pregnant when you’re not.

Intestinal Pain

The pain can range from mild cramping to stabbing knives (more commonly at this end the spectrum). And we’re not talking just a few minutes of pain, we’re talking a solid day or two. It’s more intermittent than constant, but it definitely lingers for awhile. 

Constipation

Even the smallest amount of gluten can do it in for me with this point. Not fun.

Fatigue

I recently had a piece of pizza (bad me, I know. I regretted it after I spent two days “recovering”.) Anyways, the day after I ate it I was a complete zombie. I felt like I hadn’t slept in a week. From one piece of pizza!!

Head Fog

This sort of goes hand in hand with fatigue I guess. Besides being exhausted, I couldn’t concentrate worth beans. It felt like there was a cloud in my brain.

Zits/Pimples

I’m generally not one to get many zits, small ones here and there, but not huge outbreaks. However, I’ve recently found that eating gluten gives me zits on other parts of my body – back, shoulders, neck, arms, even on my thigh once. Not that zits on your face are any better, but gross!

Keratosis Pilaris (aka “chicken skin”)

I have had KP for as long as I can remember but until recently, never knew what it was called. It’s always worse in the winter so I’ve just assumed it’s some sort of chronic rash related to sunshine. It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t itch, it’s just there looking weird on the backs of my arms. Turns out that keratosis pilaris is a buildup of keratin in your skin that causes small red and/or white bumps. Nobody really seems to know what causes the buildup of keratin; theories range from hereditary to vitamin deficiency. All I know is that since going gluten-free, the backs of my arms look considerably better. This leads me to believe that somehow, somewhere, gluten is related to my KP.

Nausea

Before I found out about my gluten sensitivity, I felt sick more often than not, especially in the evenings. Looking back now I think, well duh a full day of consuming all-things gluten will do that too you! 

Weight Gain

Now, I don’t mean instant weight gain (wouldn’t that be awful??! Yikes!) I mean weight gain over time from regular consumption of gluten. Even just a week or two of eating gluten can add on a few pounds. Scary! (*Read more about gluten and weight gain here.)

Basically:

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If you had doubts about gluten intolerance/sensitivity, I hope this post has at least given you a bit of insight into why someone might choose to avoid gluten for health reasons. There are definitely people out there who are doing it just because the Jones and the Smiths are doing it, others who are doing it because they think “it’s healthier” (It’s not necessarily healthier. Read some common misconceptions about eating gluten-free here!) but there are also some people out there, like me, who eat gluten-free because their body simply functions better without it, and happy body = happy me!

How do you feel about us gluten-free eaters being called “whiners”?