Gluten Free Scottish Oatcakes

19 May

A healthy way to stay full

Most people struggle with making the switch to healthy food because their bodies have become so used to eating so much of the bad things, they start to experience things like headaches, light-headedness, and fatigue when they finally start eating healthy. This is all natural, because the body has to get used to processing different kinds of food to what it had gotten used to in the past, and to processing less food than it used to. But let’s face it: making the switch is tough, and even though you understand why you’re feeling so hungry after switching to a paleo or gluten-free diet, you still can’t help but wish you could fill up on food and snacks that could actually fill you up. But what can you eat that will keep you satiated, without causing harm to your gut? It turns out, the answer might be fiber. Dr. Alexandra Johnstone from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health in Aberdeen University says that, “We believe these fibres, when broken down in the colon, are used by the colon’s bacteria as an energy source which in turn produce short chain fatty acids which influence our appetite by making us feel fuller.”

The Rowett Institute, already having helped develop healthy gluten-free food and desserts for M&S, is now seeking to determine if fiber is the key to eating less, and still feeling full. Preliminary studies are showing great results. Gary Frost of the Imperial College London and his team are also looking into the possible effects of fiber on the body. “In stone-age times we ate about 100 grams per day (of fiber) but now we favor low-fiber ready-made meals over vegetables, pulses (beans) and other sources of fiber. Unfortunately our digestive system has not yet evolved to deal with this modern diet and this mismatch contributes to the current obesity epidemic,” Frost said.

Of course, fiber is essential to any diet, but it’s not always easy to find great sources of fiber. This recipe for Scottish oatcakes, however, should prove to be a great go-to fiber-rich snack.

Gluten- and Wheat-Free Scottish Oatcakes

oatcakes Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups of quick cooking oats
  •  ½ cup of milled flaxseed
  •  ½ cup of hot water
  •  3 tbsp of melted butter or oil
  •  A pinch of salt
  •  ¼ tsp of baking soda
Buzz the dry ingredients in a food processor, and then add in the melted butter. Add in a drizzle of the hot water gently until the paste becomes doughy. Roll out the dough to 1/2cm thick, and use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Put these circles on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 180C for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and get snacking!
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*Disclaimer: this is a guest post. Stay tuned for more Sweetly Fit posts soon!
-Kristi 

Whole30 Challenge

2 Feb

Yesterday marked February 1st and I have an announcement for the month! Recently Swanson Vitamins has been rounding up individuals to do different health challenges. Previously, it was the 21 Day Sugar Detox (which I personally want to do at some point). This month however, Swanson is holding a Whole30 Challenge….and I was picked to take part! I knew that whole 30 was right up my alley and had heard great things about it. So right then and there, I agreed to do my very first Whole 30 challenge during the month of February!

Thankfully I won’t be all alone in my adventure. I’ve got Jenna from Swansons and Morganne right by my side..even my wonderful friend Meg decided to join us! Check out our stories and progress on the Swanson blog, HERE. It will be updated frequently.

 

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Whole30 Is based off the bestseller book, It Starts with Food. Thanks to Swanson Vitamins, I have my copy and am happily making a dent in it. It’s a great read; one whose concepts I completely agree with. I keep talking about REAL FOOD, the importance of where your food comes from, eating as close to nature as possible, etc. That is what Whole30 is all about. As most of you know, I have been paleo for nearly a year now, so this isn’t too big of change from what I normally do. But I want to do this challenge to keep myself accountable and continue my healing journey.

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If you read my blog or follow my instagram, you know I like to do paleo treats. Brownies, banana bread, pancakes…yep, I had all of those last week. :) I think these things can be great to a point, but there also comes a point when you can rely a bit too much on those sweets. I am hoping that by the end of the 30 days, I won’t be so reliant on those fun foods. Sugar is a real addiction folks. So I’m curious to see if I can break a habbit. I’m also even curious to see how my digestion will improve during this process. Digestion and gut health is the possibly the most important aspect of health so I’m all for taking on a challenge to amp up my own personal healing.

Again, check out our progress HERE on the Swansons blog! We will be doing a weekly check-in and I will of course be posting daily to my Instagram. :D

Happy February!!!

Kristi

 

Healing ‘Raw’ Cookie Dough Treat

15 Jan

I recently shared my recipe for Healing Brownie Batter, which is made with ingredients that promote healing of the digestive tract, and are just all-around nourishing foods in general. I have been playing with a few different variations of this recipe lately and struck gold when I decided to go for a cookie dough version! The taste of these little single-serve treats is spot-on and I love that they are providing the nourishment that my body needs to thrive and heal, while at the same time satisfying my cravings for a naughty desert! It is a beautiful thing when you don’t have to sacrifice good health for good food.

Full of healthy fats from coconut oil…protein, amino acids, and minerals from gelatin…enzymes and easy to digest carbs from raw honey. It’s just a win. Try it; you won’t be sorry!

Healing ‘Raw’ Cookie Dough

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Ingredients

  • 1 heaping tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp gelatin (green can)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour, room temp
  • 1 tbsp raw local honey
  • 1/2 tbsp l-glutamine powder (further aids in healing digestive tract, could also just use more gelatin or coconut flour)
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of vanilla
  • chocolate chips, as desired

Directions

Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl or mug and mash together well. It may seem like there is not enough liquid but keep smashing and it will come together after a minute or so. Eat ‘raw’ with a spoon! Or just use your fingers…I won’t judge.

*this recipe serving size can easily be adjusted to make a larger portion if desired. I will sometimes double up on the ingredients depending on how hungry I am!

Kristi

My Favorite Grain Free Banana Bread

10 Jan
I have been working on perfecting banana bread for a long time. I’ve made some decent ones before, but they weren’t quite like the real deal. You know, the kind you had when you were a kid. Rich, buttery, full-on banana flavor. Then I went Paleo on doctor’s orders and I thought for sure I would be kissing goodbye my chances of ever making that perfect banana bread, or any kind of bread for that matter. Turns out I was wrong, wrong, wrong. THANK GOODNESS!
Definitely the biggest misconception about eating Paleo or Primal is that it is restrictive; it actually means delicious nourishing food, all day every day. Sign me up! It just takes some time to get familiar with a new way of eating, that’s all. In my experience, eating this way has opened up a whole new door of delicious foods that I wasn’t eating before! And along with that…better health.
So go ahead and try out this recipe, my favorite banana bread yet, and feel good about eating it! In my case, I should feel really, really good seeing as I ate the entire loaf myself. :)
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My Favorite Grain Free Banana Bread
 
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A perfect side to eggs
 
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Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas, spotted
  • 1 cup sifted coconut flour*
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter (or coconut oil), melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

*I buy my coconut flour from Wilderness Family Naturals and theirs seems to be already sifted; light and fluffy. If you use a different brand, you will want to sift it well, otherwise your bread will come out more dense.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Grease a loaf pan with butter or coconut oil and set aside
  3. Mash bananas in a mixing bowl and add in the rest of the wet ingredients
  4. Combine dry ingredients in another
  5. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Make sure the coconut flour is mixed in well; I use an immersion blender with the whisk attachment on low speed for this
  6. Pour into greased loaf pan and set in oven
  7. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until top is a nice golden brown color
  8. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack
  9. Slice and spread with butter for ultimate deliciousness :)

-Kristi

Lamb Meatballs with a Cheezy Tomato Pasta

7 Jan
Since going mostly paleo, my variety of meat has greatly increased. For example, I have found that ground lamb is absolutely delicious and a nice change from ground beef. It is a a quite fatty meat, which yields a very smooth and flavorful product. Also on the fat note, I used to buy only lean meats, as lean I could get. Nowadays, I have the complete opposite mindset and love, love, love my full-fat meats. As long as you are buying quality meats (grass-fed, organic, and preferably from a local source), you can really benefit from eating more meat! Unfortunately conventional meat isn’t the same story, as those animals were most likely raised in a poor living environment on a low-quality diet and have been pumped full of antibiotics and other drugs because of it. When it comes to meat, quality matters! Back to fat, the FAT is where the NUTRIENTS are at! You know those important fat-soluble vitamins that are essential to good health, A, D, E, and K? A regular intake of high quality, full-fat meat will help you attain those. Don’t miss out!
This recipe is simple to make, thanks to my trusty ole crock pot. Just whip up the meatballs in the morning and then throw together the pasta right before you’re ready to eat. The cheezy-ness in this recipe comes from Brewers Yeast. Similar to nutritional yeast, brewers yeast is full of valuable vitamins and minerals, including chromium, B vitamins, potassium, and more. It also packs 8 grams of protein per heaping tablespoon. The ‘pasta’ is from broccoli slaw and kelp noodles, two of my favorite subs for grain-based pasta. I thought, why not combine the two? It turned out really well to me, and hopefully it shows that grain-free does not have to be boring or plain. Even as a paleo eater, there is a way to make anything you want, if you’re willing to get a little creative.
Lamb Meatballs with Cheezy Tomato Pasta
 
For The Meatballs:
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  • 1 pound ground lamb (or ground meat of choice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup green salsa
  • 1 small package mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of cilantro, chopped
  • several green onions, chopped
  • 1 heaping tsp salt
  • several cracks of black pepper

After veggies have been chopped, combine all ingredients and form your meatballs. Place in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours.

For the Cheezy Pasta:

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  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1 package kelp noodles, rinsed and cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 package broccoli slaw
  • 1 small package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (15 oz) can organic tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup brewers yeast (for the cheezy flavor; can sub nutritional yeast, but brewers yeast makes it thicker/creamier)
  • 1 tbsp capers, optional but adds a nice salty flavor
  • hefty pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil or butter in a large skillet and saute kelp noodles, broccoli slaw, and mushrooms, until veggies are softened. Add tomato sauce, brewers yeast, capers, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and let simmer for a few minutes before serving up.

-Kristi

Exercise Smarter, Not Longer

31 Dec

As we head into the new year, many will be making resolutions in regards to fitness and exercise. This is great to see, but I also wanted to point out that just like one can be too lazy, one can be too active as well. The truth is, spending tons of time on a cardio machine is going to do nothing but put unwanted stress on your body. Furthermore, it actually isn’t that hard to make positive changes in your body by doing very little! You just have to know what you’re doing.  If it were up to me, one’s fitness regimen would include three main components:

1) strength training with challenging weights

2) high intensity interval training (HIIT)

3) REST!

If you like another type of fitness, it can have it’s place, too. I like to do other things to stay active, like an occasional kickboxing or dance class, but I try to put my focus on these things the most. I really hate to see people spending too much time workout out. My “cardio days” are HIIT and last around 10-20 minutes max. My strength days may or may not take a little longer, but they include plenty of rest between sets, and still I’m usually done in 45 minutes or less. The point is to maximize the time you have and then be done. Don’t let it take up your whole day, because 1) ain’t nobody got time for that! and 2) all you’re really doing is putting your body in a state of stress. You are hurting your adrenals…[pause for a little anatomy and physiology lesson]

Adrenal glands produce hormones in the body that regulate blood sugar and provide us with energy. But being constantly under stress (i.e. through too much exercise for example) can take a toll on your adrenal glands and they will stop producing the necessary hormones that keep your body running with optimal energy.

“When the adrenal glands are not functionining optimally, you can have a condition that is known as adrenal fatigue, or adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal fatigue often develops after periods of intense or lengthy physical or emotional stress, when overstimulation of the glands leave them unable to meet your body’s needs.” (source)

symptoms that your body is under too much stress and your adrenal glands are suffering include:

  • excessive fatigue and exhaustion
  • feeling rundown or overwhelmed
  • difficulty sleeping
  • feeling of not being restored after a full night’s sleep
  • food allergies/struggle with digestion
  • extreme sensitivity to cold

If you think your body needs some rest, then by all means GIVE IT REST! The other day I read a status saying something along the lines of, “My first rest day in two weeks!”  Sorry, but I’m just not envious of that, nor do I think it is healthy. I’ll stick with my short-but-intense workouts a few times a week and feel refreshed, energized, and happy because I’m taking care of my body and not adding unnecessary stress in an already stressful world; I’ve got plenty of that coming from other things, am I right?!

To those looking to say, gain or lose weight, I believe the most success will come to those who focus firstly on the diet and nutrition aspects of things. After all, how you look (and feel!) is determined by 80% nutrition, 10% fitness and 10% genetics. Ever heard the phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” ? Someone had it right! This doesn’t mean restrict calories as low as possible, but instead to make healthful choices and put real, whole foods into your body.

My goal is not to scare people away from exercising, but rather to provide a bit of a warning to make sure you are doing it in a healthy way that will BENEFIT you instead of HARM you.

In case anyone wants to start their New Years off with one of my favorite forms of interval training, Tabatas, then here is a tabata workout filmed by my beautiful friend Gina, better known as The Fitnessista! This was my workout yesterday! Tabatas only take 4 (intense) minutes to complete and I did the routine twice, making my total workout time 8 minutes for the day. Perfect!

Fitnessista’s 4 Minute Tabata Video:

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

P.S. follow my daily happenings over on Instagram!

Kristi

A New Take on Protein Powder

27 Dec

I used to be a big protein powder junky but ever since my battle with internal infections and the need for some proper gut healing, I needed to make a change and part ways with my old friend. There are a few problems I have with most protein powders on the market today.

1) many protein powders are very heavily processed, to the point where it is nowhere near it’s natural form. The body will see something like this as a foreign substance–not a real food–and likely have difficulty digesting it.

2) many protein powders are based off of low quality whey, i.e. DAIRY, which a large part of the population has a difficult time digesting.

3) many protein powders contain soy, which is linked to countless negative health effects and hormonal disruption.

4) many protein powders are filled with “extras” like artificial colors, dyes, and sweeteners. Again, these are foreign objects that the body will not recognize as real food.

I do not think that ALL proteins are bad. I do not think all dairy is bad either; in fact, I think raw grass fed dairy from a local farm can be a source of great nutrition. The problem with dairy is that many people, whether they know it or not, have damaged guts and dairy (ESPECIALLY regular, commercially bought) can just cause further distress. Our guts can be damaged from a number of things, including stress, infections, parasites, low-quality food and drink, alcohol, and even normal daily wear.  I personally am still undergoing healing of my digestive track and unfortunately can not have dairy without feeling ill. This could change over time, as I let my body continue to heal without the presence of any irritants.

I will admit it; I like the laziness of protein powder. However, I like to always point out that one should really focus on getting most of their intake from real food that involves biting, chewing, and swallowing, which cues your body to start the chemical digestion of your food. But sometimes you need something just a little bit easier, I get it. There are of some vegan protein powders that I do like, but my current favorite way to get a dairy-free boost of protein, along with many other positive health effects, is one you may not have heard of before…

GREAT LAKES GELATIN

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What is gelatin? Gelatin is a natural protein collagen derived from the skin, bones, and joints of animals. Don’t worry though, it is flavorless. Remember Jello as a kid? Exact same thing, except I recommend buying from a high quality source, such as Great Lakes Gelatin, which only uses gelatin from grass fed animals. I buy mine from Amazon.

Gelatin has no shortage of health benefits, but here are some of my favorites:

  • strengthened bones and joints
  • reduced inflammation in body
  • balancing effect of hormones
  • heals the lining of the digestive track, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients from food
  • supports/boosts metabolism
  • reduces wrinkles and cellulite (collagen in gelatin keeps skin tight and firm)
  • helps with general hair, skin, and nail health
  • its amino acids aide in muscle growth

How to use gelatin?

They are a few different kinds of gelatin you can get. The red bottle (beef gelatin) will gel when mixed with liquid, so it is great have for making fun treats, like gummies or marshmallows. They are tons of fun recipes and variations on the web.

The green bottle (called collagen hydrolysate) is what I use for more simpler applications, like adding to a protein shake. It is water-soluble, meaning you don’t have to worry about it gelling. I typically add 2 tbsp to a shake, which provides about 12 grams of quality protein. Here is my current favorite shake:

Gut Healing Shake

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  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp gelatin, green bottle
  • 1-2 tbsp of melted coconut oil, coconut butter, or coconut cream (cream from the top of full-fat canned coconut milk)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen diced mango (or other frozen fruit)
  • 1 scoop barleans chocolate silk greens powder (or a tbsp cacao/cocoa powder plus some stevia or honey)
  • 1/2 tbsp l-glutamine powder
  • dash of salt (getting enough salt in conjunction with fluids is very important)
  • 3-4 ice cubes

As any of you who follow me on instagram may know, I have a fun desert treat involving gelatin that I make frequently. I actually use the red bottle for this, though either one would work.

Healing Brownie Batter

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  • 1 heaping tbsp room temp coconut oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 heaping tbsp great lakes gelatin
  • 1 heaping tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tbsp l-glutamine powder (optional, but also great for healing of the digestive track)
  • pinch of salt
  • optional extracts such as vanilla or peppermint

Mash everything together well and savor. It’s rich, chocolatey, and full of beneficial health foods. My kind of desert!

It’s safe to say I LOVE gelatin and it has become one of  my favorite supplements. An even better source of gelatin is homemade bone broth, which my instagram readers may have already seen, too. :) I will give my easy directions on that soon!

Aside from gelatin, I will occasionally use a vegan protein powder and there are a few that I like:

1) Shakeology Chocolate Vegan (delicious, though I think it is extremely overpriced)

2) Perfect Fit Brown Rice Protein

3) Sun Warrior Brown Rice Protein

4) Garden of Life Raw Protein

For someone who does well with whey protein, my absolute favorite protein powder is:

Raw Organic Whey. It is made from grass-fed animals and has zero fillers or added ingredients. It makes the BEST shake. So creamy and clean tasting.

So that is my take on protein supplementation for now! Thoughts? Comment below!

Kristi

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