Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sweet Holidays

This time of year, I always get caught up in the "sugar" trap. The smell and taste of Christmas cookies always lures me in. BUT, afterwards, I always end up with a sore throat or headache. I never really connected the two until recently when, in school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we discussed the effects sugar has on our bodies!

This month, I published an article on my magazine website, For HerInformation, detailing some healthy alternatives to sugar. I've pasted it below for your review.

Enjoy the holidays and remember to savor the flavor of your relationships this season and skip the cookie jar (well, maybe enjoy one cookie, for me).

(Copied from FHI Online magazine 12/07)

Gingerbread cookies, candy canes, Bouche de Noel—we’ve all probably eaten heaps of these and other goodies during past holiday seasons, every last sugary bite! It’s no wonder that so many people talk about being healthy or losing weight around this time of year. What baffles me is when they say, “I have to cut back on fat.” This is reasonable, depending on the type of fat you’re cutting back (yes, there is “good fat”), however very few people ever mention sugar: That white, processed fiend that puts you in a spin...that powdery stuff that is never enough.
Trust me, sugar and I go way back. Remember pixie sticks? Whoever invented a 24" straw filled with colored sugar should be sat down and scolded. How dare they give “sweet” unsuspecting girls like us that much sugar at one time? You wonder why our mothers thought we were crazy! We probably were, based on what we know now.

Of the 12 definitions for “sweet” in the Webster’s dictionary, here are a few that caught my eye...“having the taste of sugar or a substance containing or resembling sugar, as honey or saccharin”; “Pleasing the senses, agreeable; having a pleasing disposition.”
I agree that girls like us are “pleasing to the senses” and “agreeable” on a daily basis, being paired with saccharin is not my idea of sweet.

You may know the difference between diet soda and its sugary cousin, but your body is not so quick to judge. When you trick your body with an artificial sweetener, you may be disrupting Mother Nature’s way of counting calories, which according to a recent study could lead to overeating. (International Journal of Obesity, 2004, vol. 28, no.7)

To cut back on calories this holiday season and avoid artificial sweeteners, try natural sweeteners for your holiday treats; they’re much better for you. Here are a few suggestions:

Agave Nectar: My personal favorite that’s used at least 57 times a day in my home.
1 Tablespoon equals 60 Calories and 16g Carbs.

The juice extracted from the agave plant (the same plant used to make tequila) works well as a sweetener for your favorite beverage. You can use it for baking by substituting 3/4 cup agave for 1 cup sugar—just reduce other liquid content in recipe by 1/4 cup.
Agave has a low glycemic index, but is made primarily of fructose and may have a negative effect on insulin metabolism (always check with your doctor when changing your diet).

Brown Rice Syrup:
1 Tablespoon has 43 Calories and 11g Carbs.
The syrup is derived from sprouted brown rice, has a honey-like consistency and a mild flavor. In baking, substitute 1 1/3 cup for 1 cup white sugar—just reduce liquid by 1/4 cup per cup syrup, and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

Brown Rice Syrup metabolizes steadily, which helps provide consistent energy. A good suggestion for marathon runners!

Date Sugar:
It’s got 36 Calories per Tablespoon and 9g Carbs.
The sugar comes from ground-up dehydrated dates (not the dud you went out with Saturday night!). You can substitute equally for brown or white sugar in most recipes; keep in mind this sweetener doesn’t dissolve well in drinks!

Date Sugar is very rich in fiber (dieters take note), and it metabolizes more slowly than sugar!

Fruit Juice Concentrates:
This sweet-tooth winner for lowest counts offers only 30 Calories per Tablespoon and 8g Carbs.

The concentrate comes from cooked-down fruits, plain and simple. You can use this alternative in the kitchen by flavoring and sweetening drinks. Your cup of tea will never be the same.
Fruit Juice Concentrates are extra sweet and made of fructose, and may negatively effect insulin metabolism (always check with your doctor when it comes to major dietary changes).

Pooh Bear agrees that honey is by far the sweetest of all, contributing 64 Calories per Tablespoon and 17g Carbs.

This sticky stuff comes from the plant nectar processed by the honeybee. If you choose to cook with honey you’ll find it’s excellent in recipes and in tea. Use 1/2 cup for 1 cup white sugar; reduce liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup.
Honey is less processed than white sugar and is readily available.

Keep in mind all of these sweeteners are fat free and all natural—no chemicals here, missy! So next time someone says your sweet, be sure to thank them; but also let them know that you are naturally sweet!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

High Gear

What a delight to be studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC. I am savoring every step of my journey to becoming a Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor! I have finally found the perfect fit in my life, helping people, guiding them towards wellness AND I'm having sooo much fun!

During my most recent class in November, we had the delight to have Dr. Oz (yes, Oprah's guru) as our guest speaker/teacher. What a firecracker! He was so informative and inspiring! I look forward to sharing all of his great info with you!

I am excited to be working with all of my new one-on-one clients, based on my 12-part program. I'm confident you will reach your health and wellness goals; I'll be with you every step of the way! In other news, I will be guest speaking at the Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago this February, March and April for the parent wellness programs and will also begin to see clients at Windy City Chiropractic and Massage.

My life is very busy right now with holiday preparations, but I really do stop, smell the chocolate chip cookies and give gratitude for my wonderful life. Make this your daily practice.

Take time today to enjoy life's little pleasures, such as this delish cinnamon apple cider recipe!

Cinnamon Apple Cider


* 8 oz. Apple cider or juice (about a coffee mug's worth)
* 1 teaspoon brown sugar
* 1/4 cup light or dark rum (optional)
* 1/4 inch slice of stick butter (optional)
* Nutmeg
* Cinnamon stick

Quick and easy microwave recipe!Quick and easy microwave recipe!

1. In a large coffee mug, combine apple cider or juice with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and, if desired, 1/4 cup light or dark rum.

2. Microwave at high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.

3. If desired add 1/4-inch slice of stick butter; sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve with cinnamon stick.

Holiday Cheer!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Family Time

This is the time of year when we really get the chance to fee ourselves with Primary Food! As you will learn with us at Restoring Essence, Primary Food feeds our soul, makes us happy and leads to a healthier you!

Take the time this holiday season to:
  • Read a book to a child
  • Sit my the fire and enjoy the warmth (better yet, with a loved one)
  • Spend time with your pet, without thinking about the time
  • When decorating for the season, think about the tradition,"history" and memories that your ornaments and other decorations hold in your heart.
  • Enjoy the aroma of freshly baked holiday cookies/meals (savor your life)
  • Share a warm cup of tea with an elder in your life
  • Give the gift of vitamin "L" (love) in every meal you make for someone
  • Give the gift of environmental health, plant a tree (or contact to purchase a tree for $1.00)
  • Watch a traditional holiday movie classic with family and friends

Whatever the reason, make this this season to love your life, your health and your family!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Beth ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Pipe Cleaner

A couple of months ago, I decided to do a month-long raw food detox with Karyn Calabrese (owner of Karyn's Fresh Corner and Inner Beauty). I did about 80% all raw and tried to schedule in my "required"weekly colonics, but to no avail. I just couldn't find a time to get an appt. Maybe I just didn't like the idea, who know? Either way, I just didn't get them done. I did, however have good success with my detox and have felt better since my summer of ice cream, s'mores and burgers!

Well, this month, I've planned ahead and have scheduled a weekly colonic for the next month. I am working with a delightful practitioner, Starr, who is really good at what she does. Needless to say, it's not the most pleasant thing you can do to cleanse the body of toxins, but once you relax and let it do it's trick, it's really a great feeling afterward. I feel so light, alive and healthy.

It's mystifying how much can come out of a person who's only been eating fruits veggies, nuts and beans for weeks!

This whole thing is quite new to me, but I hope you'll someday try it; it's well worth it weight!

Here's to Health and Healing,

Monday, October 22, 2007

Piled Pebbles Blog

Welcome to my blog spot, piled pebbles! Here, I will inform and inspire you to create health and happiness in your everyday life.

I will share useful ideas and information that will make your life easier and teach you how to Savor your Life!

Check back often, as I get inspired randomly throughout the week, you never know when I'll be posting juicy new tid bits so subscribe to my feed!

Feel free to comment and email me at Beth@RestoringEssence.como