Thursday, June 9, 2011


About a year ago, I banned my family from cereal. Period. Since my husband and I both work, it has never been easy to get out the door in the mornings. Cereal was quick and easy and, in a pinch, portable. But I knew better. So one day, I just stopped buying it. I made my hubby this promise: "If you will give up cereal, I will get up 10 minutes earlier and make breakfast every day."

OK, so reality prevailed, and some mornings he ends up making the breakfast, or I'm late to work because of it. Still, we're all happier and healthier for the change, and making a healthy breakfast has just become a non-negotiable part of our morning routine.

Some of my breakfast menu mainstays are:
Pastured eggs, scrambled or fried in fresh dairy butter or coconut oil
Toast (from homemade bread or sprouted bread) with honey and dairy butter
Soaked oatmeal
Baked oatmeal (from leftover soaked oatmeal)
Spelt pancakes with fresh fruit and honey
Kefir shake
Fresh fruit

This morning, I had very little time, so the kefir shake was my breakfast of choice. It comes together in a snap, and I can drink it "on the go". Of course, it's grocery day, so I had no fruit left except bananas. My solution was a chocolate-banana shake sweetened only with stevia. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. It tasted remarkably like Slim Fast, and I couldn't help but think back to college days when Slim Fast was often our breakfast of choice. Yuck! Their version is packed with the following, which I read {here}:

"Sugar Alcohols
According to the manufacturers, a number of Slim-Fast products are formulated with sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are a type of food additive that some manufacturers use as a sweetener. Sugar alcohols are not easily absorbed by the small intestine. This can result in flatulence, bloating, diarrhea and a laxative effect in those who are susceptible or in those who consume excessive quantities.

Poor Glycemic Profile
In 2008, the American Dietetic Association published research showing that Slim-Fast and certain other meal replacement drinks do not have favorite glycemic profiles for diabetics. This means that these products release glucose rapidly into the blood stream. This can be dangerous for diabetics, but this news is also relevant for those without diabetes. Obesity plus elevated glucose levels are both risk factors for that disease. Additionally, when glucose levels are out of balance, the body stores fat tissue more readily, potentially thwarting the efforts of Slim-Fast dieters.

Too Much Sugar
Many Slim-Fast products are heavily laden with sugar. That may be an effective [way] to tempt dieters into consuming the product, but sugar has detriments beyond that of supplying extra empty calories. According to Lick the Sugar Habit by Nancy Appleton, sugar can upset the mineral balance of the body, suppress the immune system, cause copper deficiencies, and even weaken the eyesight. Constant exposure to the concentrated taste of sugar also does nothing to train the taste buds to enjoy the more subtle sweet tastes of healthy snacks like apples and berries."

My version is delicious and fresh; it is packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and complete protein. It also happens to contain the {best source of beneficial bacteria on the planet}.

Kefir "Slim-Fast"
2 whole bananas
2 raw organic or pastured eggs
1 cup raw milk kefir
1 cup raw milk
1 tbs organic cocoa powder
1 packet stevia powder
6 ice cubes
Cinnamon, to taste (optional)
Pinch of salt

Throw everything into the Vitamix and blend for about 30 seconds. Pour and enjoy!

Photo Credit:
All rights reserved by Sue90ca Oh Joy, Just 108 Aren't We Lucky!; Flickr

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crispy Pecans

I love pecans. To me, they are more than a nut. They are home in a tiny, natural brown package. When I was growing up, we raked up bags and bags of fresh pecans every fall from a single tree that grew along our fence row. Mom would set us up in front of the TV or on the back porch with a bag of pecans, a bowl and a nutcracker. It was our job to dig the sweet, meaty flesh from the difficult shell. Not terribly fun, but always worth it. Of course, now I know that pecans should be {soaked} before consumption in order to reduce harmful phytates and anti-nutrients. Sure, it's one more step. But it's a really, really easy step, and totally worth it when you consider the multiplied nutrition!

Sally Fallon's Crispy Pecans:
4 cups pecan halves
2 teaspoons salt
filtered water

Mix nuts with salt and water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container.

The instructions above are great for those without a dehydrator, but since I got mine, I use it instead of the oven. I typically dry them at 105 F for 8-12 hours. Fabulous! I eat them plain by the handful, crumble them over soaked oatmeal with bananas, or use them in streusel topping. My next adventure will be grinding them into flour and substituting it for almond flour...I'll keep you posted on that experiment!