LOW CARB CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

We cooked these yummy enchiladas tonight on our Facebook live that you can watch HERE!

The use of a rotisserie chicken is great in a time crunch, but of course you can always grill or bake or boil your own chicken breasts or thighs and use that!

INGREDIENTS

2tbsp Olive oil
1 precooked Rotisserie chicken
2 teaspoons cumin
1tablespoon garlic powder
1 red onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese
8 La Banderita carb counter tortillas (or Mission low carb )

Enchilada sauce ingredients (far less sugar than store bought)
1 8oz can Great Value tomato sauce (this brand is low sugar)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir periodically and reduce down to desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Debone the chicken and heat in a skillet on medium heat. Stir in the cumin, garlic powder, red onion, and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the chicken mixture among 8 tortillas. Sprinkle with cheddar and roll them up and place in the baking dish.
Finally cover the top of the enchiladas with sauce and add a topping of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Use the broiler for the last few minutes to brown the top!

Serve with a nice salad loaded with veggies!

 

ENJOY!

Erin and Ben!

If you REALLY love your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! There are two distinct camps when it comes to celebrating this holiday. Many, like me, love this holiday and thinks it’s adorable! And there is the anti-Valentine’s Day camp who think it’s holiday created by the greeting card companies to take our money.

Somehow over the last few decades, we have turned our Holidays into Foodidays (Yep! I just invented that word). Meaning that whether it’s Christmas, Birthdays, St. Patrick’s or Valentines it has become inextricably linked to FOOD.

Before Christmas even passed, stores start receiving boxes and boxes of pink and red candies. I’m not sure why our expression of love on Valentine’s Day has become wrapped up in giving out artificial foods!valentinecrap

Making our holidays about giving sugar heavy treats sends the opposite message than what we are trying to say. What is actually coming in a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates are processed chemicals, causing damage to our gut bacteria, and sugar which can causes more illness than smoking.

Many of you might be rolling your eyes right now and saying “It’s just once a year”, or “They’re just kids”. But is it really only one day a year your kid eats sugar heavy treats? Most likely not.

Our culture has shifted dramatically. I remember stories from my Grandmother of maybe once a month, going to the corner store to get a Coke. The unfortunate truth is that once a year has turned into once a day for many and at least once a week for most. 50 years ago the average American ate approximately 4 pounds of sugar per year. NOW, we eat approximately 156 pounds per year as of 2015.

Our bodies were not designed by God to handle and process this amount of sugar. Excess sugar is just as toxic to the liver as alcohol causing many to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease even though they abstain from alcohol. Sugar is the most inflammatory thing you can put into your body and is not just the root cause of metabolic syndrome, but now scientists are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes.

Let’s break the cycle with this generation by making wise choices. Here are some of my favorite ideas to turn Valentines Foodidays back into a Holiday expressing our love for one another!

SPOUSE:

1. Cooking a healthy meal together. Keep it fun and don’t take it too seriously. Use it as a time to discover new foods and try unique recipes.

2. Study God’s word as a couple. Going hand in hand with keeping our bodies as a temple, make a conscious effort to start the habit this valentines day. bible-hearts-18066504You could even start with Song of Songs, a great book that focuses on biblical love and intimacy.

3. Make them a gift! I will never forget the year Ben took an old mirror, which had sentimental meaning for me after Katrina, and turned it into a jewelry holder. One year I got a jar with 365 things he loved about me with instructions to open one a day for a year. The choices are endless and you might have the supplies needed already at home.

4. Give them the gift of time. Block out a few hours to intentionally spend time with your Spouse. Whether it costs money such as going to dinner, movie or a concert. You could also choose something more inexpensive like a scenic walk or look into the free days offered at your local art museum.

KIDS:

1. Cook WITH them! Having kids in the kitchen can seem like a headache but I promise it is so rewarding. My granddaughter loves to make almond flour banana bread with us. Kids love getting involved! Having them help you shop and prepare a meal is an easy way to teach them about their food choices.

2. Get crafty. Pinterest is full of ideas that are simple an easy. A great substitute for the traditional candy gift.

3. Have a family date night. Get the whole crew together for a fun dinner out or a matinee movie. Or get your family active by going to a Trampoline Park or the skating rink.

4. Sugar-Free Gift Ideas: For older kids gift cards can be a huge hit. Whether a clothing store or even a gas gift card let’s them have some ownership in choosing the most appropriate gift. For the younger kids there a ton of heart-themed gift options. Stuffed animals, valentine socks, crazy heart leggings, or earrings. You can even find some great choices in the Dollar Spot!

5. Build something together. No matter your gender, your kid will love this. Make a woodworking project. There are great kits available at most craft stores. Also many Home Improvement stores offer weekend classes to make and take an item for yourself!

I’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg with healthy ways to say “I LOVE YOU”! When my husband writes me a love note or makes me something it expresses affection deeper than an expensive gift or a heart shaped box of candies. What are some of your favorite Valentine’s alternatives?

In Health!

XOXO

Erin

Do You Eat Enough Plants?

We all grew up with parents and teachers advocating that we should be eating fruit and vegetables 5 times a day. However, in this world of processed boxed foods, we see the term fruit or vegetable more often than not slapped on an item that really shouldn’t be considered a fruit or vegetable serving. Many of us are consuming extremely boxed and processed versions of real food that they are considering to be fruits or veggies.  In adulthood, and in the midst of a crazy busy life, we often forget that which we learned as a child. Few people doubt that fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and nutrients, but does that mean that we are eating enough of them?

Consensus differs amongst academics regarding specific quantities, but the most up to date recommendations on this subject would advocate that an adult eat five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. That might sound like a lot, but when you break it down it really shouldn’t be considered all that much. In fact, it should be a basic standard. The bottom line is that we need to eat more plants. This is actually a hashtag I use a lot on Instagram on my nutritionist account.   God gave us fruits and vegetables for a reason.  Their colors are not just to look pretty- they represent different nutrients we need to keep our bodies strong. #eatmoreplants

When considering breakfast, many people will stick to that which they know. This often involves toast, cereal or even nothing more than a cup of coffee. Whether breakfast is or is not the most important meal of the day may be debatable, but there is no doubt that a good breakfast sets your body up for the day ahead. Very few people consider vegetables and low sugar fruits like berries  for their breakfast, when they should be stapes instead of the starchy and sugary choices. Switching a bowl of cereal (that turns to pure sugar once consumed) for a veggie omelette and a bowl of berries could make a huge difference in your overall health and in how you feel the rest of the day.  This type of breakfast will help keep you full and keep your blood sugar level for the rest of the day.  A breakfast of carbs and sugar sets you up for a day of tired and cranky and more hungry.

Lunch is a great time to load up on vegetables. Again, all too often people repeat the same mistake that they make at breakfast time. Deli made sandwiches and rolls may taste nice, but they are packed full of carbs and calories, which turn to sugar, and are often severely lacking in proper servings of vegetables. Swapping the sandwich for a homemade salad can be the perfect way to work on an imbalance you may have in your diet. Vegetables also make for ideal snacks. Ditch the packet of popcorn, the cookies or the fizzy drink you have to keep you going between lunch and dinner and swap it for raw veggies and hummus or apples and peanut butter. Always look for ways to take out carbs and sugar and processed items and replace with plants.

These are all small changes you can make to your diet, but these small changes can do wonders for your health, and your waistline. Vegetables should be at the core of our daily dietary intake, and yet they are all too often forgotten about for their more attractive carb-cousins. Ask yourself this; are you eating 5 servings of veg and 2 of low-sugar fruit every day? If not, make today the day all of that changes!

In Health!

XOXO

Erin

 

 

 

5 Ways A Low-Carb Lifestyle Can Help With Weight Loss

Low carb diets are common in the weight loss spectrum. Many studies have shown them to result in more weight lost as compared to the standard low-fat diet plan. Explaining why low-fat and the low fat craze has destroyed our health as a country is a complex topic for another day.  I am actually teaching a class on this very topic at my church on Wednesday nights. So yes low-carb is the way to go.

However, diets in general usually come with issues.  There are usually good parts to every diet out there.  But they all also have extreme components that can be difficult to keep up for life and often are not the healthiest choices.  I say ditch diets.  The word itself invokes a thought of death.  YUCK.  I prefer to make lifestyle changes that are not quite so extreme for my clients and they see real success.

Starting a sugar-free and low carb lifestyle has so many health benefits, including the fact that it is highly effective at eliminating visceral fat, such as that in the belly, a most dangerous type of body fat.  The reason is that as we stop putting excess sugar and starches into the body, the body begins to burn what we already have stored.   We will cover this in more detail below.

What Exactly Is A Low Carb Lifestyle?

A low carb lifestyle is a way of eating where carbohydrates- and especially sugar and refined sugars are drastically or significantly, cut from the diet. When one’s diet contains fewer carbohydrates, the body no longer gets its energy from the glucose they would produce and instead begins to burn stored fat for energy.

Starchy and sugary carbohydrates are substituted with a LOT more vegetables that are not starchy as well as healthy fats and a moderate lean protein intake. Carbohydrates in this lifestyle come from natural sources from nature that are also nutrient dense such as seeds, nuts, and beans in addition to non-starchy veggies and berries.  Sugar, pastries, pasta, bread, cereal, rice, or any other starches are no longer or very rarely consumed.

While cutting out most of the processed sugar and refined carbs is excellent for health, let’s take a look at the benefits for weight loss.

How Does It Aid Weight Loss?

  1. Triggers Ketosis: NOT THE SAME AS CLAIMS BY COMPANIES SELLING PACKAGED EXOGENOUS KETONES- Eating a low carb lifestyle triggers a process known as ketosis, which is where the body begins to burn fat for energy instead of dietary carbs, which is a very efficient way to burn fat stores and lose weight. Side note– please do not be fooled by companies trying to sell you exogenous ketones. This is the biggest rip-off going at the moment and it makes my skin crawl as a nutritionist.   These supplements actually do not do anything beneficial for the body.  When you get your body into ketosis it will make ketones on its own.  These are called endogenous ketones.  What you get in these prepackaged products is a compound that will suppress hunger temporarily and in some cases, give you energy and caffeine boosts, because of the added ingredients like caffeine (synthetic) that they contain for energy.  If your goal is weight loss and fat burning you are only hurting the long-term process.  They can also cause blood sugar spikes which are NOT a good thing.  The only benefit of these products is help with the low energy and fatigue that come with carb detox for the first week or so, and there are much cheaper and easier ways to do this.  Once the body is in a natural state of ketosis (which happens with a low carb eating style) it begins to burn stored fat.  Therefore, these ketones you bought and spent a lot of money for are  quite literally going down the toilet, or urinal.  If you want to be in a constant state of ketosis stay under 25-30 net grams of carbs per day.  I hate to bust your bubble, but that magic pill or potion or surgery you are seeking to lose weight and keep it off DOES NOT EXIST.  Any product that tells you it can get you to a healthy weight and keep you there without changes to your eating habits is a scam.   WE MUST learn to eat real food from nature and treat our bodies as the temples they were created to be. THE BIGGEST ISSUE WITH EXOGENOUS KETONES- Once you stop taking them, the damage is already done and now your body will have an even harder time burning fat and carbohydrates.  A low carb eating style is the only way to keep that weight off permanently along with having a balanced gut, and moving your body as much as possible. SKIP THE DIETS AND DO NOT fall for the latest diet fad of exogenous ketones please!  OK back to the topic:
  2. Eliminates water weight: People who have changed to a low carb lifestyle typically lose quite a bit of weight in the first two weeks, likely, this occurs when water that is tied to glycogen comes off the body and is actually a quite encouraging event that supports the continuation of a healthy lifestyle. Many of my clients who start using the probiotic and vitamin drink and magnesium from Plexus see the same thing. The body stores waste.  Getting rid of it is a great start to losing weight.  BUT do not let this fool you into thinking you are going to keep losing at this pace.  To do so would be unhealthy and unrealistic.
  3. Eliminates insulin trigger foods: Starches and sugary carbs are insulin triggers that cause blood sugar spikes that lead to hunger, overeating and ultimately weight gain. While living a low-carb lifestyle, these insulin triggers are eliminated so the body can burn fat instead of storing it.  One of the biggest things that causes blood sugar spikes, and then dangerous crashes in my bariatric friends is any kind of starchy carb.
  4. This lifestyle is higher in protein: Protein helps keep you full and satisfied so you naturally eat less and it also helps to increase lean muscle mass that promotes fat burning. I always try and start my day with a good protein source and advise my clients to do the same. This helps to keep you feeling full and also helps to regulate blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.
  5. This lifestyle regulates the appetite and naturally reduces calorie intake: A low carb lifestyle naturally regulates the appetite because all of those insulin triggering foods that wreak havoc in the blood stream and cause hunger and out of control cravings are mostly eliminated. Most people find that by week 2-3, the appetite naturally decreases quite a bit. This is another reason weight loss happens.  For my green brain research friends- check this out- I found this info in a medical journal online-

    “Additionally, Researches from St. Louis and Japan (Banks WA1, Coon AB, Robinson SM, Moinuddin A, Shultz JM, Nakaoke R, Morley JE, et all) found that the hunger regulating hormone leptin is positively affected by the low carb diet’s ability to reduce triglyceride levels in the body, which allows that hormone to work more effectively in regulating the appetite.  When people embark on a low carb lifestyle, their appetite significantly drops naturally, and they naturally feel satisfied with less food, resulting in weight loss as they naturally eat less calories and without suffering and starvation. “

 

Is A Low-Carb Lifestyle Safe?

This is a frequently asked question, which is common amongst people wanting to embark on a low carb journey.

It may have side effects for some during detox, while others may experience nothing. Usually any side effects are short lived. The same way a drug addict experiences withdrawals from heroin and cocaine, a sugar/carb addicted person will experience withdrawals during the first week or so of detox. Common withdrawal symptoms include moodiness (take your Vital Biome), headaches (add caffeine), and fatigue (take a good multi-vitamin like X-Factor Plus). In general, statics and research show a low-carb lifestyle to be highly effective for weight loss, and to also reduce risks for cardiovascular disease far better than low fat eating plans.

In conclusion, a low carb lifestyle aids weight loss by triggering ketosis, a metabolic state where the body uses stored fat as its source of energy. But it is important to EAT YOUR PLANTS!  Do not subscribe to ANY particular DIET, and instead try and eat all real food from nature, created by God and as little sugar and starches and processed packaged foods as possible.

This will result in optimal nutritional health and will also aid in gut health and weight loss!

XOXO

IN HEALTH!

Erin

Are we “once a year’ing” ourselves into metabolic destruction?

I hear so many times a week “Oh Erin you and Ben are just so fanatical about sugar and eating right and obesity and exercise and Plexus.”

Yes, we are.  We surely are.  Why?  Well it is no secret we both used to live extremely unhealthy lives.  I was always obese and then morbidly obese before my gastric bypass about 7  years ago.

Ben had high cholesterol DANGEROUSLY high- and ate the typical unhealthy southern diet of fried everything and biscuits and gravy and hit the drive thru pretty often with his line of work which included travel. He ate lots of processed boxed frozen garbage for most of his adult life as well- until he finally followed his love of cooking and turned it into a side business catering in the medical field. Even then, when he began cooking more often, it was typical unhealthy, but tasty fare.

I fed my kids frozen fish sticks and we frequented fast food joints and I cooked things like boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper when I was a single mom.  I bought the snack cakes and Little Debbies and all of the typical junk we are feeding our kids.  They were chubby.  All three of them.  Cute and chubby. And sugared up most of the time. From added sugar in boxed foods, to juices and cookies and cakes and ice cream, they had it all.  And mom looked like this:   And was totally unhealthy.  I was a heart attack or stroke just waiting to happen.  It was bad.  REALLY bad.

Then my dad who was in pretty good shape, had a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass.  It was enough for me to say NO MORE and my new healthier life was born which also brought a love for fitness and nutrition.  Life changed FOREVER.  It was little by little and not overnight.  It came from educating myself and deciding NOT to be a statistic anymore but to truly change my life for good.

So a lot changed in my house over the years.  We do not buy cookies and snack cakes and soda and junk.  For us moderation really is moderation in that I can count on one hand the times sugar, specifically added sugar, not sugar from nature in fruits and veggies and dairy- enters my house in a year.

Think about the way we fill our kids with sugar like this:  Do we give our kids alcohol or cigarettes?  Sugar kills more people through metabolic disease than both of those but we still have commercials for sugar filled food and drinks BLASTED at our kids.  Fast food restaurants give toys with meals and have playgrounds inside.  The food industry is smart although I truly do not know how they sleep at night.

To me, feeding our kids loads of sugar is child abuse.   PERIOD.  And yes I used to abuse my kids with sugar.  Morbidly obese kids who are eating garbage daily and have no other rare medical issue causing obesity are being abused.  Can kids drive themselves to the grocery store or the fast food joint?  Does a child have the ability to buy the ice cream and candy and cakes and trash we feed them?  NOPE. Why is it okay to poison or kids from birth with the most addictive and abused drug on the market?  We think it is okay and are brainwashed into thinking there is nothing wrong with “just a little bit”- or “it is just once a year.”

The bottom line is we are excusing ourselves into the destruction of our  health. You can literally walk into any grocery store at ANY time of year and find a bakery and candy aisle stocked with sugary junk for some event that we excuse away by saying it is “just once a year.”

BUT- is it REALLY?

January- the Valentine’s Day stuff is out and in certain areas you will start to see King Cakes and Mardi Gras candy and junk.

February- Valentine’s Day junk and usually Easter junk already out for the taking.

March- Easter junk everywhere.  Then comes all of the green junk for St. Patrick’s Day.

April- usually more Easter junk still there depending on when Easter falls.  Mother’s Day junk is starting to show up also.

May- Mother’s Day junk because special candy and cookies and cake are just what we need to tell mom we love her!! Oh and now we have the end of the year parties and festivals and fairs.  But its just once a year right?

June- Father’s Day junk and fun summer junk!!!  TONS of summer sweets and treats and many are frozen. And they fool us by calling these sugar bombs organic and all natural.  Yep sugar is natural, but its still refined and processed unless you are eating a whole piece of fruit or a veggie.

July- July Fourth Holiday and now comes the patriotic junk.  HOW could we possibly celebrate all we love about America without candy and cakes and pies and cookies???

August- BACK TO SCHOOL JUNK!!!  Our kids cannot return without mini bags of every type of junk known to man!  Goldfish, cheese-its, fruit roll ups, granola bars, fruit snacks, juice pouches, cookies and EVERYTHING MINI.  Just what we need for a successful year of school- SUGAR AND EMPTY CARBS!

September- Halloween junk is here!!!!  No explanation needed!!!

October- This is where it gets almost “frenzy-like” because we have Halloween junk, fall/Thanksgiving junk, and already Christmas junk all together!!!

November- Thanksgiving and Christmas junk

December- Christmas junk and usually Valentine’s Day junk and in the south Mardi Gras junk.

AND THE CYCLE REPEATS!!!

Now throw into the mix the trips for ice cream as a reward for something, the once in a while donut or candy store visit, the birthday cake, and if you have kids the endless birthday parties with said cake that they attend, the post sporting event treats from the team mom, the school parties with treats, and more.

So is the sugar frenzy REALLY “just once a year?”

And now the food industry has fooled most parents and well-meaning people again with LOW fat cookies and 100 calorie packs of cookies and BAKED chips.  Oh and please do not get me started on the organic fruit juices and juice boxes and applesauces etc.  Or the whole grain and gluten free breads which turn to pure sugar.  Most people do not know better.  Guess what?  Low fat means double sugar.  The calorie difference and sugar difference in baked/regular chips is almost NONE.

Look at my drug of choice- Doritos- yes I could have eaten a whole bag.

When the low fat and fat free craze began of course the food industry had a plan.  They just replaced the fat with sugar.  Why do you think obesity has grown and grown just as hard and strong while we have more gyms and more fitness equipment etc than we had 30 years ago? Because we as a society fell for the flawed theory- now disproven thanks to the hidden documents being uncovered, that fat was the enemy.  If you have not seen the documentary Sugar Coated- You need to watch now!!!  Here is their Facebook page.

If fat were really the issue we would not have the heart disease, diabetes and obesity we have now.  We see BAKED and think it is great for us!  The baked Doritos above are actually even worse and higher in carbs which is same as sugar than the regular.  The food industry is NOT our friend.

When we speak to groups about the dangers of sugar and how incredibly harmful it is to us and to our health, we get a wonderful reply and reaction.  When you are in person and have an hour to explain it all, people GET IT. However online, reading posts here-sometimes I swear I can see the eye-rolls through Facebook.  I used to let it bother me, but now I just keep on preaching, with Ben, because for every person we touch, the one or two who roll their eyes or who un-friend us on Facebook really do NOT matter.

Here is a FACT- WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES with sugar in this country.  And now all over the world.  This means sugar- added sugar- in ALL FORMS.  I do not care if you call it high fructose corn syrup, sugar in the raw, brown sugar, whatever, SUGAR IS SUGAR.  It is added to over 80% of the processed grocery store items we buy.

Here is another fact- empty carbohydrates like bread and rice and pasta and cereals (with the exception of a FEW high fiber ones) ALL TURN TO SUGAR in our bodies.  Newsflash- this “whole grain” craze may as well be called the “another name for sugar” craze.  We eat far too much of this stuff.  I am not talking to the elite athletes who run 30 miles a week and need extra carbs.

This is about the average American.  This is for anyone overweight and or struggling to lose weight.  Empty carbs are the same thing as sugar metabolically.  I love a line from the movie Fed Up and is you have not seen it you really need to watch it ASAP.  One doctor says “You can eat a bowl of cornflakes with no sugar or a bowl of sugar with no cornflakes and it is the exact same thing from the neck down.”

PROCESSED EMPTY CARBS MAKE US HUNGRY AND WANT TO EAT MORE AND RAISE OUR BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS JUST LIKE PLAIN SUGAR.  Those Cheerios with no added sugar you thought were a good choice?  NOT.

I AM ESPECIALLY TALKING TO PEOPLE WITH KIDS.  We start our kids on sugar almost from day one.  Many baby formulas- especially those for kids with a lactose intolerance- have added sugar.  Seriously???

We have got to start looking at sugar as the poison it is and THINK about what we are doing to ourselves and our kids.  The number of people on medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease is insane and through the roof.  NOT ONE PERSON who reads this will be able to say to me they do not know someone on a med for either high blood pressure or diabetes.

Have you seen a photo of the way sugar lights up the brain?  It is just like cocaine. And in lab tests, rats prefer sugar water to heroin.  Pretty scary huh? It is highly addictive and destructive and is the root of all of our obesity issues.

God gave us one body and we are instructed to treat the body as a temple, but many of us treat ours like a garbage dump. Today is the perfect ay to make a change!

.  1-corinthians-10-31-web

XOXO

Erin