Strawberry Freezer Jam

Homemade strawberry jam, made with berries from my garden...

In my search for food items that are Candida friendly, jam, jelly or fruit preserves have not been easy to find. I have found (very rarely) some that are made with Stevia, but its a small jar and very expensive. So if you want to have jam or jelly on your yogurt, toast, or pancakes the best way is to make your own!  Strawberries are one of the few fruits that are OK on a Candida diet because they are lower in fructose than other fruits.

“Strawberries are a great choice for this diet, as they are sweet yet relatively low in sugar. According to the Fruit Pages website, which contains nutritional information on most fruits, 100 g of strawberries contain about 5 g of sugar. This is less than half the amount found in a typical apple, making them a more appropriate choice for the Candida Diet.” – Livestrong.com

One of the things I love about living in Oregon is that there are tons of u-pick farms throughout the spring, summer, and fall. So since its now peak Strawberry time here, I went with some friends and picked some amazing strawberries! The nice thing about picking them fresh is that you can get the ripe ones so you won’t have to add much sweetener to your jam. The downside to this is that you need to make your jam within 24 hrs. of picking, so be prepared to get to jam as soon as you get done picking. Another great option if you don’t have a u-pick farm or unable to get out to one is farmers markets this time of year. They are a little more expensive this way, but you can buy flats that usually have just been picked.

Below is a link to a recipe that I followed. I made a couple of changes though. I added a little bit of coconut sugar (I noticed in the comments that several people did this as well)  just to sweeten it some more. Don’t over do it, so make sure you taste as you go. Another thing to watch out for is that some of the pectin’s you buy at the store (especially the ones marketing to freezer jam) have added sugar!  Read that package carefully!  I bought mine from my local food co-op that didn’t have any added sweetener, but this means you have to heat your freezer jam as per the directions below. You can also buy in bulk, but make sure you consult with someone at your store about how to use pectin in bulk, since it might need calcium to jelly.

Also, please, do not use plastic containers to store your jam in!  Plastic leaches, especially when it comes into contact with anything acidic, and you don’t want to feed your family toast with plastiscines (we’re going for toast with jam). Use straight sided glass jars (even old peanut butter jars with their original lid work great!) so they don’t swell and burst in the freezer. In the end you’ll have heavenly jam for months to come!  Enjoy!

 

http://onceamonthmeals.com/naturally-sweetened-strawberry-jam/

 

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Re-thinking how we eat….

I had the wonderful opportunity to help a friend of mine, who is getting her degree in nutrition, by doing a mock consultation with her. It was fun to analyze what I eat and how I could improve. Not surprising is the fact I need to drink more water each day. Its was eye opening to find out that by the time you feel a little thirsty you are already dehydrated. WOW!  Here is a new look at the food pyramid she gave me from the University of Michigan. Look how water is the biggest part of your day!  Makes me really re-thinking how I plan out my day and what I eat in it.

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Sugar free running….

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My husband and I decided this year to check off one of our life “running” goals. Run our first half marathon!  My husband comes from a running family and has been a very active running since high school, but never got the opportunity to do a half marathon. I’ve only got back into running in the last 5 years, so I’ve not really done much longer then a 10k. So with this many miles (13.1 miles) ahead of us and training for it,  I knew that we would be be needing something to help us keep going. Most runners who train for a half or full marathon use running gel and it works really well. The only problem is that they are all full of sugar (corn syrup in most). Not so great when you have Candida. A friend suggested I try making it at home with Chia seeds. Perfect!  I found a recipe online, but had to alter it since they used maple syrup as the sweetener. Having the Chia seeds made it the perfect texture, and then adding coconut water and coconut sugar made it great for combating Candida.

Here is the recipe as I ended up using:

1 cup coconut water (you could do half coconut water and your favorite juice for a different flavor as well).

2 tbs. Chia seeds

4 tbs. coconut sugar

Mix all the above ingredients in a container ( I got one of those running belts with the little water bottles on them). Its combine them in a bottle so that you can shake vigorously to mix the ingredients well.

Let it sit in the fridge over night, and then shake again. Just leave in the fridge till you are ready to run. I found that taking it out and setting it on the counter for an hour before we run brings it to a temp that’s not so cold, but if you like it cold take it out right before you run!  Enjoy!

NOTE: The Chia seed consistency is a little strange to drink at first, but it tastes great and you feel refreshed as well! The nice thing I like about this recipe is that its so simple and you don’t have to have many ingredients on hand.

Sugar(less) Cookies

Excited to try this new recipe!

A Mindful Mantra

amindfulmantra.com

“Everything we do is driven by the desire to feel a certain way.”

-Danielle LaPorte, The Desire Map

When I first read this quote I wasn’t quite sure I agreed.  At first glance it makes us sound a bit superficial, but when I really sat with this thought (and read further into The Desire Map) I realized the truth in this quote.  Danielle goes on to say that everything we do – what we eat, what we buy, the people we choose to surround ourselves with, what we wear, who we invite into our home, what you end, what you begin, what you dream of – all of these things are driven by the desire to feel a certain feeling.

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Cottage Cheese. Buy or Make it?

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One great snack that is ok for most people with Candida is cottage cheese (try not to buy the non fat since it will have higher sugar levels). After finding yogurt so easy to make at home I thought about trying cottage cheese. Has anyone out there made their own at home before?  Any tips or tricks to give me?  Here is a link below to Mother Earth News article on making it:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/make-cottage-cheese-zmaz72soztak.aspx

Raw Almond-Coconut Energy Bites…

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On my quest to find a snack that is both pleasing to the palate, gives you a nutritional benefit, and is Candida friendly, I ran across this fun recipe from Kristen Brotemarkle off of mindbodygreen.com. The only issue with her recipe is that it uses agave syrup, which is a no no for Candida. I substituted the agave syrup by making my own syrup. I took 2/3 cup coconut sugar and combine it with 4 tablespoons almond milk in a sauce pan. I simmered this for several minutes till it was looking more like a syrup. I then added it like the directions indicated. I did find that I had to add more almond butter to make them stick together though, but in the end they turned out great!  Give it a try!

 

Meet your new best friends: raw energy bites! They’re filled with lots of love and nutrients to keep you going all day long, without a sugar crash or hunger for more.

They’re my on-the-go go-to because they’re packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The all-stars here are almond butter, chia seeds, oats, and coconut. Sweetened and held together with a little agave, they’re healthier than most bars you find in the grocery store. Oh-so-much-fun to make, and the best part of all is that they taste absolutely delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients (for 20-25 energy bites, depending on how small you make them):

  • 2 cups oats
  • ¾ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup shaved coconuts (if you don’t have this, you can use ¼ more slivered almonds)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tbsps unsweetened almond Milk
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup agave

Directions:

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, mix well.

Add almond milk and mix.

Add agave syrup and warmed almond butter.

Mix ingredients together with your hands.

Create balls out of mixture by packing handfuls back and forth between your hands, until molded into tight balls (about 1 ½ inches in diameter).

Place ball onto pan covered with wax paper.

Repeat until all mixture is all used up.

Move pan into fridge for 3-4 hours.

Enjoy and share the love with friends!

 

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12303/raw-almond-coconut-energy-bites-oh-my.html

 

Indian-Style Lentil & Cauliflower Biryani….

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In my effort to make food that is healthy, Candida friendly and full of flavor I’ve found several wonderful recipe’s at Clean Eating. The magazine has gone through some ownership changes, but their online website has stayed strong with tasty food that uses as many whole ingredients as possible. We just tried this wonderful lentil dish and love it!  To make it Candida friendly I left out the unsweetened currents or the raisins, and I didn’t feel we missed them at all.

Indian-Style Lentil & Cauliflower Biryani

By Alison Kent

Serves: 4
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp safflower or olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened currants or small raisins
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup BPA-free canned lentils, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/3 cup sliced unsalted almonds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large shallow saucepan, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion, carrot, garlic, garam masala, coriander, mint and turmeric; cook until onion softens, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in cauliflower, broth, rice and currants; cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Stir in peas and lentils; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir in almonds and cilantro. If desired, serve with a dollop of yogurt.

Nutrients per 1 3/4-cup serving: Calories: 393, Total Fat: 9 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 66 g, Fiber: 12 g, Sugars: 12 g, Protein: 13 g, Sodium: 174 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/under-45-minutes/indian-style-lentil-cauliflower-biryani/

Recipe by Alison Kent from Clean Eating Magazine. Picture copyright is by Edward Pond  Clean Eating Magazine.

Yogurt: good for you or evil?

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One of our favorite foods has always been yogurt. It was my first memory of food with yummy honey on it!  Yogurt was also recommended by several people we talked to who had Candida to help maintain a health gut. To me yogurt has always been healthy. Its one of those foods you really didn’t need to read the label, because…it’s healthy!  After my husband was diagnosed with Candida, I started looking at the ingredients of everything I buy. So I’m scanning the yogurt section, and one brand has on the front that it “sweetened with Stevia.” Yeah, I found a yogurt that would be ok for someone with Candida. Natural safe sweetener and yogurt cultures, how much better can it get?  I bought a whole bunch for us to eat. Several days later my husband mentioned that after eating lunch his stomach would feel worse. So I started going through his lunch to see if I had missed anything. I came to the yogurt, looked through all the ingredients and was shocked to learn that they don’t sweeten it JUST with Stevia, but cane sugar as well!  Talk about tricky advertising!  Not only was it sugar, but that little cup of yogurt had 35 grams of sugar!  WOW!  It was a very good learning lesson for me.  So, I looked at all the natural plain yogurts and found they were fine for us to add our own sweetener, but they were kinda expensive. One day I was talking to my neighbor, and they said they make their own yogurt. Its easy they told me!  So I found a really great recipe and now make my own yogurt!  Its important to remember that you actually want a little more fat in your dairy products because the non fat or low fat many times has a higher sugar content. Take a look at the labels next time you are in the store. Below is a yogurt recipe I love!  I put my yogurt in little glass jelly jars or quart jars. I also just leave mine either on a hot pad on the kitchen counter with towels over it or leave it in a warmed over over night.  Enjoy!

How to Make Your Own Yogurt:

http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/make-yogurt/what-you-need

Our journey begins….

So its always hard to know where to start the story at…..but, two years ago my husband was diagnosed with Candida. I was raised in a family that was vegetarian for most of my childhood and my mom always tried to find the healthiest options for us. I always felt I cooked fairly healthy, but with the diagnoses of Candida our life took a new twist. Now we could no longer could have any sugar in our house except Stevia or Coconut sugar and only in limited amounts. I quickly discovered that just about everything pre-made you buy from the store is full of sugar. This means that we had to learn how to cook and eat from scratch without regular sugar. This blog contains our adventure in cooking with natural raw sweeteners and making most everything from scratch. Below is a link to a website about Candida.

Enjoy!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candida_%28fungus%29