Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This Girl Loves Her Moonshine!

So if you are on Facebook, then I am sure you have at least seen one of the many, many, many Trim Healthy Mama (THM) pages. There are beginner pages, over fifty pages and budget friendly THM pages, just to name a few. In the last two years, the THM phenomenon has grown beyond belief. In fact, some of the items that most of us had previously never heard of before THM, are now normal local fare at our grocery stores. I mean come on...if someone had ever told me that I would get to the point that I couldn't drink a drink without apple cider vinegar(ACV) in it, I would have laughed in their face.

Pinterest is another site that has literally blossomed with THM products, idea and recipes. Bloggers too, have gotten on the band wagon. There are several amazing blogs out there where domestic goddesses with many more skills than I have, spend their days taking recipes and making them THM on plan friendly. Then they blog and put them out there so those of us less culinarily fortunate can gain from their wisdom. God bless them as they have literally expanded my weekly menus a thousand fold. My family thanks you too.

And speaking of THM Facebook pages, I'll admit that I too got on the bandwagon and started one. It was a while back when I was just beginning to scratch the surface of the benefits of a THM life. Even then with my minuscule bit of knowledge, I knew that this food style could and would change a lot of lives, so I started THM for US 2015. It was basically for those close to me personally and geographically. I felt that by keeping it small and framilial (get it...friend and familial....yeah I'm good with words like that) that those of us involved might have each other to learn from and stay on this plan with. It has stayed fairly small, growing with just a few people here and there and even a bit outside my friends and family since I started it back in Jan. of 2015. It is a cozy, comfortable place to share recipes, ideas, goals, victories and yes.....questions. It has also become a bigger part of my life in 2016 than I ever dreamed it would be. In the last few months, two of my children have developed food related health issues. It just so happens that THM is the answer to their issues with high protein, good fats and gluten free foods. You can say that in my house....THM is now a family affair.

I think the biggest and scariest (yes....scariest) thing about THM is that everything you thought you knew about weight loss, food and health are pretty much thrown out the window. You have to learn a whole new set of rules, which come to find out, aren't so new. Many of the THM precepts are things our parents, grandparents and great grandparents lived by. Unfortunately, society has taught us that fat free is healthier than butter, coconut oil or olive oil, that fake sweeteners are healthy and that prepackaged is better than home made. Trust me, I could go on for days about all of this, and at some point I probably will.

Today though, I want to get back to the Facebook page and questions. The question that people ask not only me, but I see it on other pages too, is about Good Girl Moonshine (GGMS). What a name....right?! I know the first time I heard it, I couldn't imagine what it might be and then, after I heard what was in it.....my first thought, which I may or may not have said out loud was"Oh HELL NO!"

The issue was that I was drinking way too much diet soda and I and everyone else knew it. A friend approached me and told me I really needed to stop drinking so much and then she talked about GGMS. She was lucky we were really good friends, because with anyone else, a conversation like that could have ended badly. However, I did start reading up on this apple cider vinegar (ACV) based concoction and what I was reading was that people that were making no other change than just drinking GGMS, were losing weight and feeling better.

So.....I knew I needed to cut back and actually cut out the diet soda, but I didn't want to! I continued to fight the change, until I ran across a GGMS recipe that said it tasted just like Mt. Dew. I tried it and you know what.....it did! I had a soda replacement that had no chemicals, no chemically enhanced artificial sweeteners and was healthy. Okay....maybe I would cut back after all. I found that the more I drank of this ACV laced faux-soda, the more ACV I wanted to add.

Okay, so if you are not a THM convert, possible convert or if you have been in a social media blackout, then you maybe wondering.....just what is GGMS? Well let me tell you.

GGMS starts with ACV. I suggest if you are just trying it out, only add about a tsp. Ginger is also an ingredient in most GGMS as well as your favorite on plan sweetener. My favorite is Skinny Girl Stevia. It is liquid and you can squirt to your desired taste. Here is where I suggest you go slow. Use a few squirts and test it. Not sweet enough? Then add a little more. You don't want to over power your drink and make it too sweet. After that,  you can add any flavor you like.

Now when I say "flavor" I mean extracts that you buy in the baking section of your grocery store. Add caramel and you have a more coke/pepsi like flavor, lemon and lime juice give you you a Mt. Dew flavor and ginger powder or root, gives you a ginger ale type drink. You can also add orange, strawberry, raspberry or a mixture of flavors. Pinterest is full of GGMS recipes and I eventually plan to try them all.

After you have flavored it to your liking, then you add your water. Now you can add just plain flat or tap water and ice and it tastes just fine. In fact some people prefer it that way. However......in order for me to kick soda......I had to have something that was more than just fine, so I started out adding calorie free bottled carbonated water. It had zero everything...BUT, it was also anywhere from $1-$2 for a 24 oz bottle. As much of this stuff as a I drink, I was going broke. Luckily, I found a Soda Stream at a garage sale for $5 and I never looked back. Yes, the carbonation refill is $30, but it lasts about 6 weeks. It is well worth the money. It is truly one of my favorite kitchen  devices.

So GGMS? Does it work? Well you decide. If you are a reg. soda drinker and it helps you kick that habit, then think of all the sugar and additives that you are cleansing your body of....not to mention calories. In a 12 oz can of soda you are drinking 140 empty calories and ingesting 39 g of carbs, 39 g of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and "natural flavors" which is code for more crap your body doesn't need and likely shouldn't have. Now that is just one can. Who stops at one 12 oz can per day?

If you are trading say a Diet Mt. Dew for GGMS, then no, there are no calories, but there is 50 mg of sodium along with things like: Aspartame, Potassium Benzoate, Potassium Citrate, Sucralose and Bromated Vegetable Oil. Vegetable oil? Really? Also you have more of those hidden "natural flavors" too. Diet sodas have also been proven to cause sugar cravings instead of curb them and Aspartame is known to cause headaches and other physical reactions because it is a chemically enhanced sweetener. 

Now GGMS. It has no calories, no carbs, it has natural stevia which has no chemical fillers and won't mess with blood sugar and best of all.....you know exactly what "natural flavors" are in it because you add them yourself. So....losing at least 140 empty sugary calories per day, unhealthy chemicals and sugar cravings, all while you are adding good and healthful things to your body such as  ACV and ginger? You tell me....does it work? It does. 

So I challenge you soda drinkers who just can't quite kick the habit. For one week, try adding one GGMS to your day and getting rid of one soda/diet soda. Play around with different flavors and find a flavor you can make your own. I bet that by the end of the week, you will start wanting to drink more GGMS and a whole lot less soda. What's the worst that can happen? Your jeans fit a little looser? You feel a little better? Maybe you have less headaches? Trust me, you will see a difference. 

Again....I could go on and on, but instead....I think I will leave you with my current favorite GGMS recipe. Til next time.....Happy Drinking!

GGMS Lemon Ginger Ale

2 inch piece of Ginger Root (grated)
1-2 cups water
2 T ACV (use less until you get used to it)
2 T lemon juice
Skinny Girl Stevia to your taste
Carbonated water

Take your grated ginger root and add it to the 1-2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for 3-5 min. Let it cool. Once cool use a fine mesh strainer and strain the liquid into a mason jar with a lid and keep it in the fridge. This is your "ginger juice" concentrate. When you are ready to make your GGMS: 

Pour 1/4 to 1/2 c of ginger juice into a glass 32 oz mason jar. The ginger has a spicey bite so you may want to start out with 1/4 c. Add everything but the carbonated water and stir. Then fill to the top with the carbonated water and ice! Mmmmm....Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama.....Perhaps!

So it has been awhile. Someone mentioned this blog to me the other day and asked if I were going to ever blog on it again. I said, perhaps! That is me speak for....perhaps! Then I went on with my life.

Today, I sit contemplating health. My fathers, my children and my own. We only get one body and anymore, it is becoming evident that we can't just put anything into our bodies. My father is living proof of this at 86. He hasn't taken care of his body and now his body is starting to fail him.There are just too many chemicals and food related illness and allergies out there, so we MUST treat our bodies as the temples they are, and not just a dumping ground for CRAP! (Pardon my French)

Last time I blogged here, I was talking about Trim Healthy Mama or THM. I was a fan because a friend of mine was a devoted follower and because of her devotion and hard work had lost about 60 pounds, looked about 20 years younger and was astronomically healthier. She was a poster child for how to do it right.

I actually got on board and had success, until I didn't. The success didn't end because of a faulty plan, but because of a faulty me. Yeah, that is usually why plans don't work for me. I get distracted, lazy or....and this is a huge one.....I tell myself that I am healthy enough! Healthy enough. Is that even a real thing? Can you just be healthy enough? And what happens when your body disagrees? My body in the last year was disagreeing loudly as I had developed other health issues that diet could easily help IF I would just admit that I had them. I am a stubborn old broad!

Then a couple of months ago, I learned that my youngest son who is special needs was growing severely underweight. It was preventing him from having good muscle growth and was thus impeding almost everything about his health. It wasn't that he wasn't eating, it was simply that he wasn't eating the right things. I was putting way too many processed and fast food items into our diet. He was getting the wrong kind of fats, too many chemicals and with his metabolism, he was burning what little muscle he had. It terrified me. That was when I realized that if I didn't care enough about my own body to feed it right, then I MUST care about my child. And trust me.....I do!

I began looking at the THM plan closer. I went back to THM because the foods on the plan are healthy fats, no grains, no sugar and lots of fruits, veggies and mostly lean meats. Processed and packaged foods are a big NO NO! One of my favorite things is their smoothies. All begin with a cottage cheese base (don't make that face), natural flavors or fruits, almond milk and per doctors instructions for David.....Muscle Milk protein powder. I began starting Davids days with a smoothie with added ingredients of bananas, peanut butter or avocado. I also began making sure that instead of three large daily meals, he was having 5-6 smaller daily meals. His meals had healthy proteins such a eggs, peanut butter and lean meats, healthy fats such as coconut oil, butter and avocado and lots and lots of healthy fruits and veggies. Within a month he was almost to normal weight and his activity level had tripled. He was also building and using his muscles much better. It was like night and day difference.

If all that weren't enough to make me a lifetime member of THM, my middle son was diagnosed with celiac disease. It is an intestinal/stomach disease which is brought on by an allergy to gluten. Sadly, gluten is in many processed foods and in Z's case. even small amounts of gluten were making him terribly sick.

Celiac is a nasty condition which makes it so you can never be far from a bathroom. You are constantly having stomach issues and some days you feel so horrible that you have no real quality of life. It is exhausting and truly takes a toll on a person. It also opens them up to other issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, rheynods and ulcers leading to cancers. It is under the auto-immune umbrella of diseases which run rampant in our family.

Once we had a firm diagnosis, I then began researching the disease and looking at the foods that he could and couldn't eat. Funny thing.....my research brought me right back to THM. While THM is a great plan for an all around healthier life style and awesome for those who have diabetic issues, it also happens to be right on target for those with gluten allergies and/or celiac disease.

THM works very well for those with gluten issues as there are almost no grains used on the plan. The flours used are mostly almond, coconut and flax. There are some oatmeal flour recipes but those can be replaced with the other flours or with gluten free oatmeal flour. Since there are almost no processed foods and an emphasis on fruits, veggies and lean meats....it is a dream for those suffering with gluten issues. Within a week of eating THM, Z could already see a huge difference in how he felt and how his body was reacting to food. While not a complete convert to this new way of eating, he is much more open to trying new THM foods, especially when he is finding that gluten free packaged foods are not all that tasty.

Well...now I'm back. Actually.....now I can never turn back. My kids will forever have to eat the THM way for their health and I am quickly learning what my friend tried to teach me with her success. It's not really about the weight loss, although feeling comfortable in your own skin is definitely a plus. No....it is more about feeling comfortable in your own body. There is something very gratifying about knowing that your body is taking in and processing food properly and that the foods you are putting in your body are not only nourishing it, but also making it function to its full potential in every way, from how you sleep at night to the energy you have day to day. You also learn to listen to your body. Trust me, it will tell you when things aren't right.

So yeah....THM! It is a workable plan regardless of why you work it. It is ever evolving and since my last post, the THM ladies have put out a new cookbook with easy to follow recipes that will please the palette of even the pickiest members of your family. A bonus is that there are those food bloggers out there who have made converting regular recipes to THM recipes their main goal in life. This means there are no end of delicious meals, desserts and snacks right at your fingertips.

I hope with my entire family now on the THM train, to post a few more blogs about our progress, the pros and cons (if any) to our new lifestyle change. Does this mean, that I'm back and this blog will be getting some love again? Perhaps!