Why I won’t share a coke with you this summer, but you can have a sip of my water…

I used to drink coke like it was going out of style. In fact, before I stopped drinking coke, I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t drink it. I grew up on it – coke went well with everything, pizza, burgers, tacos. Then one day, about 3 years ago, I quit.

I want to start by saying that I am in no way judging your decision to drink it. It’s legal, sold in stores, your children can buy it, and the FDA approves of it.  I used to drink it everyday day, several times a day. And on that note, I hope I never come across as “judge-y.” My beef with junk food is rooted deep in the fear of the inevitable disease that will occur in my life if I don’t get a handle on my nutrition and fitness. I share my stories because if there is one other soul on this planet that can relate, I’ve done my job. If this doesn’t relate to you, you may feel free to stop reading.

Now back to cola…

I loved the way a really cold can of coke sounded when it opened and felt when it hit my lips. I totally get why people drink it. It tastes good, it feels good, it makes people happy, the advertising of it is sexy and clever. I. GET. IT!

What I don’t get is what it does to our bodies when we drink it, and why I continued to drink it for over 20 years.

It’s true that you don’t know what you don’t know.

So here we go, a nice list of facts about a few of the pit falls of drinking soft drinks (I’m sorry, I just feel like I need to include it. It won’t be long. Don’t stop reading, feel free to scan if you must):

  • One 12 ounce can of coke contains almost 10 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup (aka: sugar). According to the American Heart Association, this is 200% of your daily intake. We all know that ingesting sugar increases your blood sugar. Well ingesting 10 teaspoons of sugar, REALLY increases your blood sugar. What happens when your blood sugar spikes? What goes up must come down, right… You’re left in a post-high, crashed state, desperately craving another coke or something else sweet. When our bodies get more sugar than they need, they begin to store that sugar as fat. I think we can all agree that 10 teaspoons, is more than we need.
  • Phosphoric Acid: Phosphoric acid has a wide variety of uses, including food additive,  fertilizer feedstock, and a component of some home cleaning products. Studies link it to lower bone density and chronic kidney issues. I know lots of people drink coke and don’t have kidney issues or osteoporosis. I feel like this is a “use at your own risk” ingredient. The truth of the matter is that there aren’t enough studies of large groups of people over a long range of time to determine the effects of phosphoric acid when used specifically in cola.
  • Caramel Color: This begs the question… why must coke be brown? Brown is an awful color. Anyway, at a very basic level, it’s a food additive that has been show to cause cancer in rat studies. By the way, lots and lots of the processed foods we eat contain some kind of food dye.

I’m not going to address diet coke, but just know that if you drink it, it is not really a good substitute for fully leaded, real deal cola. Artificial sweeteners are used in diet drinks, and who wants to ingest anything “artificial.” As the saying goes, “Life is too short for fake food.” The jury is out on extended use of artificial sweeteners, and I feel as though it’s another “use at your own risk” ingredient.

Back to quitting coke. About 3-4 years ago, I kept noticing that I was always tired and I had those 5-10 extra pounds that would not go away. I thought it was the “love pudge” because I was recently married. Then I started cutting out soft drinks. I began to notice that what I thought was giving me energy (cola) was actually bringing me down. When I cut out soft drinks, I developed a new energy level I had never really experienced before because for the last 20 years I’d basically been addicted to soft drinks. I’m now 3 years cola free, and I hydrate mainly with water, a morning coffee and an occasional glass of red wine.

Here are a few things that worked for me when I quit soda:

  • Keep a refillable water bottle. I really love the Bobble. They are refillable, and have filter, so you can essentially fill it anywhere you go.
  • If you don’t like straight water, add flavoring to it. There are so many options for flavored water. You can buy a water bottle with an infuser (these are great) or just squeeze some fresh lemon and add a few drops of Stevia leaf extract. Try to stay away from flavored water with artificial sweeteners.
  • Do it gradually. If you drink 8 glasses of soda per day, going cold turkey may set you up for failure. Start small, maybe eliminate one glass per week until you’re down to zero.
  • Remember your “why?” Do you want to stop drinking soda because it’s expensive? Do you want the health benefits? Do you want to lose a few pounds? Write down your “why” and remind yourself of it daily.

I know Coca-Cola has a really clever marketing campaign this summer titled “share a coke.” I’m sorry, but because I care about you, I’m not going to share a coke with you, but you’re welcome to some of my water.

Send questions, comments or hate mail to JadaDanos@gmail.com

Looking for an all natural way to lose weight, control your blood sugar, develop healthy habits and supplement your nutrition, or kick the cola habit click here.

Sources:

If you don’t have time to read all of the articles, please at least read the Mercola article. There are so many resources about cola on the internet, just be smart about what you read. Use caution and do your best.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphoric_acid

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/01/caramel-color-the-health-risk-that-may-be-in-your-soda/index.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/12/what-happens-to-your-body-within-an-hour-of-drinking-a-coke.aspx

 

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Getting the Family On Board

I’m a cold turkey kind of girl, and I’m all or nothing. For me to succeed at something, I need laser focus – even when it comes to my nutrition and fitness. To some it may be obsessive, but in my world, it works.

For instance, a few weeks ago we made cookies for my husband to bring to work, he forgot the cookies, so I threw them away – drama ensued (I’ll spare you the details).  I knew if the cookies remained in my house, I would eat every last one of them, and probably top it with a glass of milk. Like I said, I’m all in, sold out, or not interested at all.  If I’m going to indulge, I indulge all the way. Some people, like my husband, tend to have a bit more self control. He can successfully just eat one cookie, step away from the kitchen, be satisfied and move on – lucky for him.

I came up with the idea for this post while grocery shopping with my husband today. We are two different animals, polar opposites, and at total odds when it comes to grocery shopping. When I grocery shop, I generally stick to my list, rarely impulse buy (we’re on a budget!) and don’t buy junky snack foods; however, when shopping with my main man, Oreos and Captain Crunch cereal tend to make their way into the shopping cart.

Which leads me to my point, getting your family on board to your new eating habits can be tough. I’ve noticed that getting spouses or significant others on board can be the most difficult as these people probably have the most power to derail your new lifestyle changes, and having a significant other that isn’t totally on board can present some challenges.

If you’re struggling between trying to eat healthier, but finding those Oreos in the shopping cart, here are a few things that worked for me  to make it a little easier in getting  the family on board with healthy eating:

– I started small. First I started by buying fresh, local produce, then a few weeks later I stopped buying processed snack food, then a few weeks after that I stopped buying processed grains. Like I said, I’m cold turkey, but my husband functions better on a gradual plan.

– I tried to get creative with meals. Instead of making spaghetti and meatballs, I would make spaghetti squash and meatballs. Instead of having fried chicken, mashed potatoes and bread for dinner, we transitioned to grilled chicken, cauliflower mash and salad. I never wanted my family to feel as though I was depriving or starving them, and I still wanted to serve those comfort food favorites, but in a healthier way. Pinterest and Allrecipes.com are great inspirations for healthy versions of your favorite meals. Check out “paleo pizza” – the kids will love it!

– I started keeping fresh produce on the counter. If an apple, peach or banana is in sight, we’ll grab that as a snack before anything else.

– I talked about my “why” a lot.  My “why” is my reason for wanting to live healthier. For instance, I don’t want diabetes. I don’t want heart disease. I don’t want to be on cholesterol or blood pressure medications. I want to see my child(ren) grow up. I want to be able to play with my child(ren)… Your “why” can be anything you want it to be. Let you family know that this isn’t a fad diet, but you are making a lifestyle change, and you want their support.

The best thing to remember is, don’t nag. If you are trying to make a healthy lifestyle change, focus on you. Your family and friends will see it, and although it may take some time, eventually they will come around. Lead by example!

 

 

What’s the beef with dairy?

Let me start off by stating that I LOVE cheese, I also LOVE Greek yogurt, I take my coffee with a splash of cream, and when I “cheat” I often “cheat” with ice cream. I grew  up drinking several glasses of milk per day – milk does a body good, right? Or wrong? Isn’t everything we were taught in the 1980s coming back to bite us in the butt?

The USDA recommends 3 cups (24 ounces) of dairy per day for people over 9 years old.  That’s a lot of dairy. An entire “block” of cheese is 8 oz. Most single serving yogurt containers are 5-8 oz (depending on the kind you buy). A traditional scoop of ice cream is about 2-3 ounces. My point in listing this is to show that we’d have to consume a lot of dairy throughout the day to reach the USDA recommended serving.

So why does the USDA make this recommendation? According to the USDA, their claim is that consuming the recommended amounts of dairy will give us the calcium, potassium and vitamin D we need to maintain a healthy diet.

Here’s a list of information refuting the USDA recommendations. The following list is directly from Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D, the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health:

1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factors — a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

Because of reason 6, I am slowing cutting dairy out of my diet. For me personally, while nursing my daughter, I noticed she was extremely fussy after I consumed dairy products. I now try to limit my consumption to less than 4 ounces per day – which is substantially less than the USDA recommendation of 24 ounces per day. Also, please remember to check your labels, many of dairy products contain added sugar, especially ice cream, yogurt and some milks. Additionally, all dairy (unless you find a local farmer who sells raw dairy) is processed in some way. Finally, people who are lactose intolerant may experience IBS, allergy, sinus, and anemia directly related to dairy consumption.

For now I’ll take my coffee with a splash of cream and top my eggplant with cheese (everything in moderation) unless I can find a raw milk farmer!

If you’re considering cutting out dairy, I recommend reading the following articles:

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/06/24/dairy-6-reasons-you-should-avoid-it-at-all-costs-2/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/dairy-truths?page=2

While you’re researching, check out the USDA guidelines: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy-why.html

Do you struggle with insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, pain? Email me at JadaDanos@gmail.com for a wellness products consultation or visit http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce

I want to be Julie! {Italian style stuffed peppers}

Remember the 2009 movie, Julie and Julia? It was the story of Julia Child’s cooking profession intertwined with the story of a blogger named Julie who cooked through all the recipes on one of  Child’s cook books. Man, I love that movie. It was quite disappointing that Julie and Julia never actually met. I digress.

I feel a little like Julie in the sense that I like to cook and write about food. I have a slight obsession with the cookbook Practical Paleo and Diane Sanfilippo, the author. I own a ton of cookbooks, more than I have room for, and this is by far my favorite. The book contains educational, practical, Paleo recipes as well as grocery lists, food plans, menus for certain diseases and much, much more. As an added bonus, the food pictures are so amazing!

Also, like Julie, I’m going to try to cook through the book, and post my favorite recipes ( I do have a very hard time following a recipe, so there will probably be some deviations from the original). I’ll start with a family favorite, Italian Style Stuffed Peppers. It’s so easy and quick. In less than 40 minutes you’ll have a full meal, it’s self contained (veggie, protein and fat in one dish), and it’s healthy!

Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

What do you need…

2 bell peppers, cut, ribs removed – I like red, orange or yellow

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 onion, diced

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

4 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped

1/2 cup diced tomatoes (fresh is best, can is okay)

2 cups of finely chopped spinach

1 lb ground beef, bison, turkey, deer or chicken

6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish

Fresh shredded mozzarella cheese (my opinion – if you’re going to eat cheese, buy the good stuff!)

Let’s cook…

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the cut bell peppers in a roasting dish for 10-15 minutes. While the bell peppers are cooking, heat your oil in a skillet. Cook the onions, adding salt and pepper to taste, until they are translucent. Add the tomatoes, spinach and garlic to the onions and simmer for approximately 2 -5 minutes.

Add the ground meat and cook until fully done. Remove any extra grease from the meat by spooning it out. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning to your liking. Mix in the chopped basil.

Remove the peppers from the oven (if you haven’t already done so), and flip them over. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the pepper, and put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. If you’re feeling naughty, sprinkle a small palm full of cheese on top before placing back in the oven.

The great thing about stuffed peppers is that they freeze and reheat really well. This would be a great meal to batch cook.


Food theatrics:

Food prep

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Finished product

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Diabetes, High blood pressure, Chronic pain, Obesity? Click Here.

What is Eating Clean??

What exactly is “eating clean?” I’ve been posting about eating clean on Facebook for a few weeks when I came to the realization that not everyone may know what it means. In trying to come up with a quick definition, I did what everyone else does – asked Google. 4,340,000 results returned.

I’m starting to think there are a lot of views about what eating clean means or that no one really knows what it means!

So here’s my list of what eating clean means to me.

Eating clean is NOT:

Counting calories. not all calories are created equal. The calories in McDonald’s french fries are not equivalent to the calories in an apple. When looking at calories, our thought should be quality vs. quantity. For instance, ask yourself – how is this going to refuel me?

Oh, and you can toss the idea of calories in vs. calories out while you’re at it, and if you have time (or don’t trust me) read the book Why We Get Fat? by Gary Taubes, PhD

FoodFuel

baddiet

Point Conversions: Who has time to decide what they’re cooking, check the fat content, convert the fat to a point, write down all the points, then calculate all the points at the end of the day, oh, and don’t forget, if you blow you’re points by 3:00 p.m. – you’re screwed!

A diet: Atkins, Sugar Busters, Hunter/Gatherer, Raw Food, Vegan, The Cookie Diet, the whole food diet, DASH, the list could go on into eternity.

because-everyone-knows-diets-can-only-start-on-monday-17743

A starvation diet: You actually get to eat. Actually, even better, when you eat clean, you eat until you’re full, and you eat when you’re hungry – how fun!

A guilt fest: When you eat the foods God intended our bodies to digest, there’s no guilt in the amount, time or quantity you eat.

So what IS eating clean:

According to WebMD, CNN, Prevention and Eating Well (I had to consult several sources to come up with a concise definition) – it means eating whole, fresh, as close to nature food as possible. Pretty simple, right?

If you go to the grocery store, put something in your cart, look at the ingredients, and can’t determine where each ingredient came from, it’s not clean. In fact, the fewer ingredients, the better. For instance, instead of eating a banana nut muffin, eat a banana and some nuts.

Here are a few ways I eat clean (and explain it to others):

– avoid processed foods
– shop the perimeter of the grocery store
– eat veggies at every meal, even breakfast (corn is not a vegetable)
– limit sugar, refined sugar, added sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. If I’m going to eat sugar, it better be the best darn sweet treat I can get my hands on!
– eat protein, healthy fats, and fiber
– drink half my weight in pounds converted to ounces in water per day (ex. a person weighing 100 pounds would drink 50 oz of water)

And most importantly, don’t stress about it and allow yourself to cheat on occasion. We’re human!

This sums it up:

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Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/eat-clean-diet
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/23/health/clean-eating/
http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/10_ways_to_eat_clean?page=6

No Farms, No Food – God Made a Farmer {Part 1 of 3}

Let me start off by saying, I am not expert. I don’t have an alphabet soup of letters behind my name (nor do I want it.) I’m not even sure why people read this, but they do.

I’m just a mom – hell bent on making things better for my daughter, or at the very least not making things worse. I feel a strong desire to share with whoever will listen. As long as people are willing to read, I will share.

So here we go… This will be part one of three (genetic modification and processed food will be discussed soon.)

150-200 years ago, 90% of the world’s population worked on farms and produced their own food. Today only 2% of the world’s population produces food for the entire planet (7 billion people).

By making things easier (thank you agricultural and industrial revolution) we’ve essentially put a very important job our of business.

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It’s our job to keep the farmer in business. Between raising kids, jobs, family matters, social groups, church, etc., we’ve turned our backs on our food providers and turned to prepacked, convenience, junk.

Someone recently told me, “I don’t accept junk in my marriage, I don’t accept junk from my kids, so why do I accept junk from my food.” This made me think “Why do we settle for less when it comes to food”? Our literal life giving source, has been degraded to a 100 calorie snack pack of Oreos.

Small changes will make a ripple effect. Here’s how you start:

Visit your local farmer’s market. Most cities and town have markets on the weekend (and some larger cities have markets during the week). If you’re in a really small town, visit the produce stand on the side of the road. Just show your support for the local farmer, talk to them, shake their hand, thank them, give them business when you can.

I feel like the dial is gradually turning back to simpler, better quality food. Our health depends on our ability to eat the foods God intended for us to eat – whole, natural, home grown goodness. Let’s put sick care out of business.

“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.”

For more information visit this website, and fill out the petition. It will only take 30 seconds. While you’re there, you can also learn more about current agricultural issues. – http://action.farmland.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Action_NoFarmsNoFoodPetition&s_src=NoFarmsNoFood&s_subsrc=farm-bill.asp

Overweight, insulin resistant, tired, in pain? Click here.

The Dog Days are Over

Ahh, after 12 long years or preparation (5 of which I’ve actively been involved), it’s finally here.

He’s moved 5 times, taken 5 “make or break it” tests (MCAT, USMLE Steps 1,2 3, and Internal Medicine Boards), gone on countless interviews (med school interviews, residency interviews, job interviews), studied an obscene amount of hours, stayed awake for longer periods than should be humanly possible, fell asleep in strange locations when he was post-call, missed family events, showed up at events exhausted, juggled being a dad, fur dad, and husband, put up with my complaining when he missed events due to work obligations, still rocked at being a husband, passed his board exam with flying colors, was inducted into the AOA honor society, took care of some pretty interesting patients, still found a way to laugh about even the most dire situations, wondered how he’d make ends meet, dreamt about life without student loans, complained a little, learned a lot, wished he’d picked a different career at times, and found a way to fall in love with it all over again.

And now he’s here – the commencement of a career he’s wanted since he was a little boy.

As he finished up the last 2 weeks of his life as a resident, I couldn’t help but reflect back on everything’s he’s sacrificed (time, relationships, money, etc.), and look forward to all the blessings ahead!

Kudos to my amazingly smart, kind, gentle spirited, handsome husband. I love doing life with you, #winning!

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38 weeks in, 38 weeks out

One of the most interesting times for me was the the time leading up to and after the birth of my baby. After about 30 weeks of pregnancy, I began to avoid mirrors. The drastic changes ocuring in my body were just too much for me to handle. I watched my body stretch week after week, my clothes became tighter, I became hungrier, I was hot all the time (summer pregnancies are a really bad idea by the way), I was swollen, my shoes didn’t fit, I had gas (both ends), I didn’t want my husband to touch me (unless it was to massage my aching back or feet), I was over and underwhelmed, and I won’t even begin to talk about the hormones.

I had neither an easy or difficult pregnancy. It was somewhat typical with the exception of a few hiccups, Gestational Diabetes and twice weekly visits to my OB/Gyn and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists. Aubrey graced us with her presence on August 12, exactly 14 minutes after I was cut open in the operating room. She cried, I cried, we all cried. It was beautiful.

The last thing I felt was beautiful. Between a c-section recovery, learning to nurse, a nocturnal baby, well meaning visitors, and everything in between the last thing on my mind was my postpartum body. I continued to avoid mirrors. In fact, there were days where I’m not even sure I brushed my teeth, got out my pajamas, or did anything “productive.” The first 6 weeks were amazing, hard, lonely, exhausting. Then reality set in. I knew I needed to put on my big girl panties and figure out how to be a mom while still being “me.”

Kudos to the women who get their bodies back in 6 weeks. I love you; however, this is not me. In reality, my body is still not the same, and I’m not sure it will ever be. It’s been stretched, pulled on, cut open and sewn back up. It looks different, feels different, fits different.

I’ve had some moms ask me what I’ve done over the past 9 1/2 month, so I’ll share my advice – I’m still a novice, so take it with a grain of salt.

Weeks 1-6:
-Sleep as much as you can.
-Wear a belly binder – this helps with the “jiggle.” My belly looked like a bowl full of jelly for a while, and I needed something to keep it tight.
-Drink lots of water.
-Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.

Week 6-12:
-Start light exercise if you’re up to it. I started walking Aubrey in the stroller around the neighborhood. This helped with my mental health more than anything. A little fresh air goes a long way when you’re cooped up in a house with a newborn. I also was not realeased for exercise, so a walk around the neighborhood was actually a leisurely stroll.
-Drink lots of water.
-If you’re starting to fall into a routine, begin to plan balanced meals (5 small meals per day).
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.

3 months-6 months:
– Drink lots of water.
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.
– If you’re ready, up your exercise routine. For me, this meant working out at home and going back to the gym. I absolutely love the Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy DVD. She focuses on rebuilding your core better than anyone I’ve seen so far. She also has a lot of unique exercises that can be done in your home with no equipment required. On the days when I was able to leave the house, I visited the YMCA for group classes. This was good for me mentally and physically.
-Focused on eating clean. Eliminate processed foods, soft drinks, grains and added sugar.

6 months – 9 months:
– Drink lots of water.
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.
– Continue building your exercise program. If you’re ready, take it up a notch! At the end of Aubrey’s 5th month, I enrolled in a mommy boot camp. This really helped me mentally and physically. I also incorporated interval training (walk/jog/run) when I had time.
– Focus on eating clean. During this time I kicked my nutrition up a notch as well, and did a detox (see older posts for my detox experience).
– Incorporate a daily protein shake to help build lean muscle mass.

Now going forward:
My plans are to continue drinking lots of water, eating clean, drinking protein shakes, working out and interval training. I’m still not where I want to be physically (I’d like to continue rebuilding my core), but I’m making progress!

I never thought I’d share this picture, but I promised myself I’d share my journey. I hope I can help one mom realize that postpartum weight loss takes time for some women (not all us of can walk the Victoria’s Secret runway 4 weeks after our babies are born.) The beauty of motherhood is after all is said and done, you get an awesome reward.

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I hated taking pictures when I was pregnant. The picture on the left is actually 1 week before I delivered Aubrey. The picture on the right was taken 6/16.

Visit my website for supplements and tools for weight loss, pain management, breast health, detox and protein or email me at JadaDanos@gmail.com.

Fool Proof Chicken Skillet Bake

20140614-121319-43999072.jpgI love a self contained food dish. Nothing makes me happier than a crock pot meal or a one skillet dish that requires minimal prep. One of our family favorites is the Chicken Skillet Bake. It’s a great any time of the year, super easy to prepare, and contains fat, protein and carbs (veggie) in one dish. My husband loves it, and I make it with chicken thighs (his favorite!).

The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my favorite cooking books – Practical Paleo.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter or olive oil (divided)
1/4 of a white onion diced
1 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts
1/4 cup of capers
Juice of 2 lemons
4-6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs

Let’s cook…

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

I like to use a cast iron skillet. It gives the chicken a great flavor, and it’s just an overall great piece of cookware to own. If you don’t have cast iron, you can use a regular, oven-safe skillet (nothing anodized).

In your oven-safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter or oil over medium heat, add onions and cook until translucent, stirring frequently.

Stir in the artichoke hearts, capers and lemon juice.

Place the chicken pieces in the skillet, and top them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil.

Here comes my favorite part – place the entire skillet in the oven, and cook for 45 minutes or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

While your dinner is baking, take some time to spend with your kids, catch up on clothes, read a book, surf the internet, or just relax!

Until next time, happy and healthy living to you!

Don’t forget to visit my Plexus Slim page at http://www.plexusslim.com/jadabruce for detox products, probiotics, weight loss, vitamins, pain management and breast health or you can email me at JadaDanos@gmail.com.

What Got Me Started

Let me back up. I began my health crusade when I was 27 weeks pregnant with Aubrey. I went in for my first glucose tolerance test, and the only thing I had on my side was my pride. I gulped down the nasty drink, all the while thinking I was going to pass with flying colors.

gtt

Why should I think any differently, I ran during my pregnancy until the 16th week, I worked out several times a week and I ate healthy (or so I thought). A week passed, then I received a somewhat frantic call from the nurse saying I had failed my glucose tolerance test – I actually failed it with flying colors! I was so angry and upset, but more than anything I was determined to clean up my diet.

I started out by making an appointment a dear friend of mine and Clinical Dietitian. Up until then, I believed a healthy breakfast was JIF peanut butter with whole wheat toast, a healthy lunch was a turkey sandwich on wheat from Subway, and a healthy supper was whole wheat pasta with canned spaghetti sauce. I had a lot to learn!

Which brings me to where I am in this moment. Because I had gestational diabetes, my risk for developing Type 2 diabetes in the future has increase exponentially. I also worry for the people I love, and even the people I just like.

The rate of diabetes in the country and world is increasing, and it can directly be related to our diets. Fast food, food that comes prepackaged, highly preserved and highly sugared foods are literally killing us. By trying to make things “easier” for ourselves, we’ve set ourselves up for nutritional failure.

Here’s a few facts for you from the American Diabetes Association:
Nearly 1 in 10 people have diabetes
79 million American have pre-diabetes (about 35% of the population)
$245 billion is attributed to the cost of diabetes (some which is your tax dollars)

So what do we do. Eating healthy is hard, and I’ll be the first to admit it. Yesterday, I was at a pool party, there was pizza, and I indulged. It was easy, it was there, and I wanted it. If I’m honest with myself, I think most people think that way about food. Unlike a drug addiction, if you want your fix, you have to have a dealer, spend lots of money, and there’s a risk you might go to jail if caught. With food, the addiction can be fed (literally) with a $1 box of mac and cheese from Wal-Mart. Every week I find myself shocked during my grocery trip when I realize the literal junk that FDA approves to be sold.

I’ll admit I’m a work in progress, but I’m making forward progress.

If you’re in this same boat, I’d like to share some resources with you:

This is an awesome article from National Geographic about sugar. It’s interesting that the crop that grew on the back of generations of slavery continues to enslave many today.
This is a great article about the food processing industry.

Know anyone with pre-diabetes or diabetes? They may want to give plexus slim a try. It’s not just for weight loss! Based on a clinical trial and anecdotal evidence plexus slim has been shown to decrease insulin levels.