Baking with Dextrose

So I went very enthusiastically into this low fructose diet, bought all the cookbooks and everything. Of course all the cookbooks are basically dessert cookbooks, as those are the main foods that would use a lot of sugar. Of course, I looked through them and was very eager to try out all the recipes, but I didn’t get a chance right away. I mean, especially I’m going on a low sugar diet, I’m not going to use it as an excuse to suddenly start eating more cakes and sweets!

So the first recipe I tried was the cinnamon tea cake. It was really lovely, one of those cakes that has sour cream in it, and the dominant flavor was the sour cream. The dextrose tastes just like regular sugar to me, so I might in the future even reduce the amount. In fact I think Gillespie is a little heavy on the dextrose. They claim it isn’t as sweet as regular sugar, so they use more.

It seems to me that if table sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, that if you are using something that is all glucose, you should actually (from a health perspective) half the amount. I know they say the fructose is the bad stuff, but it still doesn’t seem like it would be a good idea to swamp your body with extraordinary amounts of pure glucose on a regular basis.

Actually, my body doesn’t seem to react well to it. I was a bit hungry, and I didn’t find these desserts so exceptionally filling as Gillespie claims either. I ate two slices. Not two exceptionally large slices, but still two slices.  Very shortly, perhaps within 15 minutes, I started feeling extremely sleepy and then rather crappy. I looked it up online. The best answer I could find is: orexin. Orexin is apparently a hormone that controls wakefulness, and it is shut off by high amounts of glucose in the blood, which suggests that perhaps that I am a bit insulin resistant. My sister thought it suggested more that I was giving my body more pure glucose than it was expecting.

Anyway, I was reluctant at first to eat more cake even though it tasted good because I didn’t want to feel bad, but after that I stuck to eating small slivers, and I was just fine.

The next recipes I tried were the rhubarb apple pie, and the rhubarb crumble ice cream. These were an absolutely perfect dessert. I usually choose chocolate chocolate chocolate everything, but give me more pies like that and I might change my mind. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I halved the dextrose. I read the recipe and it told me to use 10 Granny Smith apples. I thought Granny Smith is very tart and you are pairing it with rhubarb? Then definitely you will have to use more dextrose. I chose to make a mixed apple rhubarb pie, which means that I just went down the bins at the local orchard and took one of each apple. In fact there were more varieties available, but I didn’t make it to all the bins. I was also skeptical about the 10 apples. That seemed like a lot for just one pie, so I only used 8, but I still had a lot of filling left. Apples must be really small in Australia. My reasoning with halving all the sugar in everything is that my family happens to like tart things like rhubarb and lemons to still taste tart. There are so many people who put so much sugar in their lemonade that it no longer tastes tart at all.

The desserts still tasted perfectly sweet to my guests and family, and I’m the only one doing this low sugar thing, so that tells you these recipes used way too much dextrose to begin with. I halved the amount of dextrose and no one could tell it wasn’t regular pie and ice cream (mind you of course you can make perfectly good sugar-free apple pie anyway).

 

Cutting Sugar and Portion Size

Well so far, we are in day four of the cutting added fructose out of our diet, and I have to say that maybe I wasn’t chemically addicted to sugar after all. It seems that most of my attachment to it is social and associations of that sort. I am not experiencing any withdrawal symptoms. When asked in the Sweet Poison Quit Plan, to list habits related to sugar (especially daily ones) I couldn’t really think of any really definite ones. I like to have a snack with my tea in the evening after Baby goes to bed, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be sweet, in fact it probably usually isn’t. I like eating tea biscuits or toast biscuits, but I think actually more for the way they dissolve in the tea than any sweet taste (my solution was to replace them with crackers). I like sugar in coffee if the coffee is very strong, but not if it is not. And I put sugar in when I made chai (but I don’t do that that often), but I tried it the last two mornings without the sugar and liked it just fine( (On a totally unrelated tangent, I am looking for a more energy efficient way to make my chai that will still taste the same. Basically, I cut off a slice of ginger, give it a few good wacks with the meat tenderizer and throw it into my pot of water. Since I’m making it just for me I measure the water by filling 3/4 of the mug I plan to use. Once the water with the ginger is boiling, I add a scoop of my looseleaf Bangladeshi tea which looks more like coffee grounds than typical American looseleaf tea. Once the water has turned to a proper tea color I add a nice amount of milk (so the color looks good, maybe even a little light) and I reduce the heat a little. Then I leave it all simmering on the stove a good while. Altogether, it probably takes about 30 to 40 minutes for the tea to properly cook. Once I pour it into my mug (through a strainer) the liquid has reduced so much that it only gives me half a cup)).

I realized basically that I don’t really eat a lot of sugar. I feel like I eat more than I should, mostly because it’s just in the food, but I’m not eating or even wanting to eat sweets constantly like is being described in the book. Even as a child, I never cared to have sweets when I was very hungry. I then wanted real food. So sweets were basically a treat. I also don’t want them if I am very full (My mom says there’s always room for ice cream, but I disagree). I was never much of a snacker until I started breastfeeding, and even so I’m not eating sweets all the time because I’m breastfeeding and I’m trying to be healthy. My sister and I did notice people when we were in college used to snack like that, constantly buying candy bars and sweets out of the  vending machines, and my sister speculated that maybe that was why they were so fat because they didn’t even seem aware of their snacking. I don’t like soda. I stopped drinking it sometime around middle school (before that I drank it because it was the only option offered to me in many situations). The book described things starting to taste too sweet to you after you are off of sugar, and they already did. I didn’t care for regular candy bars or chocolates (hadn’t eaten them in years). I likewise didn’t eat flavored yogurts because they were too sweet. There are sweets that I like, but I mostly prefer my sweets less sweet, and I prefer homemade things where my sister and I reduce the sugar by a third to a half. I want to see the recipes and cookbook, and I’m excited about trying the powdered dextrose because I think I might actually like it more than regular sugar if it is less sweet. This isn’t to say I don’t like sweets. Sometimes I get a sweet tooth. I’m just a little particular about them.

Now, on to portion sizes. The book says that dried fruit is unhealthy. The reasoning seems to be that we would eat significantly more of it than we would of the equivalent fruit. I just don’t find that to be true, but the serving sizes suggest at least that other people do. Take prunes for example. I have never when snacking on prunes been tempted to eat more than 2 or 3 at most and that is a lot less than the serving size suggests.  I also would never eat a whole pack of raisins. I don’t think I would eat any more raisins than I would grapes.
This isn’t related to dried fruit, but I bought a bar of dark chocolate a little bit ago, and when I was reading the label it suggested that there were two servings in the package. I was a little shocked, who could eat half the bar in one sitting? To me there were at least 6 servings in the bar, maybe more.

Whether I was chemically addicted to fructose or not, I still think that I’m going to stick to this no sugar thing because I want to be healthier, and I want to be starting good habits with my daughter.

The Satisfaction Factor

I don’t like to say too much about it because there are people who so strongly disapprove, but it is probably obvious to at least some people due to the ingredients in some of my recipes that we are WIC recipients. I started receiving a food package during the late stages of my pregnancy due to a lot of encouragement from a social worker that helped get us medical insurance. My mom had been a WIC recipient after unexpectedly having twins, and the general consensus is that it is a help. I received a very generous food package as a breastfeeding mother up until my baby turned one. Starting at 6 months, Baby started receiving her own package. I happen to think there are a lot of politics involved in what they give you, and many of the foods are from highly subsidized industries. Far from us ripping off the government, I happen to think that someone is benefiting economically because they tend to push foods on you that you don’t even want (and what’s with that rule that you have to take everything on your check or you can’t get any of it?).

As a pregnant and breastfeeding mother, I received a lot of milk, way more than we could ever use, and if you tell them that, they offer you tofu and cheese and yogurt, but you still get way more milk than you can use. I was only allowed to get low fat 1% or less. A while before this, our family had made the switch back to whole milk after learning about how the body uses saturated fat to regulate blood sugar, how fat slows the sugar from entering the blood stream, how most of the nutrients in milk our fat soluble. I brought this up at my first WIC appointment even though I knew it was useless to argue with the policy, and beggars can’t be choosers and all (although I don’t personally believe that, I think that we all should have at least some right to exercise choices about our health and diet). I was told that the government recommends low fat milk even to diabetics because they are at higher risk for heart disease (which also ignores the more recent  evidence that sugar, not fat is the bigger cause of heart disease). I was then (as if I hadn’t just expressed concern about the sugar in the milk) told that if I didn’t like the taste I could add chocolate syrup to it. Apparently, they are trained to tell people that. Do you know how much sugar is in chocolate syrup? I think it is more than is recommended to have in a day.

Anyway, I don’t actually dislike the taste of lowfat milk. It just doesn’t do anything for me. And that’s a big thing the “doesn’t do anything for me” because I think a lot of health ideas and recommendations are ignoring the “satisfaction factor.”  My sister and I observed the phenomenon some years back that when people eat something they find disappointing in some way or simply doesn’t satisfy them, they eat more of it, not less (For example: Gee that pastry wasn’t very good. I think I’ll have a 2nd slice. Nope still not good. What about a donut? The donuts are worse than the pastry. How about chips? I don’t even like chips. Why did I eat those?).

When Baby turned one, I lost my food package and she started getting the milk instead (and yes the people at WIC know that she is still being breastfed, so presumably they realize that she isn’t really the one drinking the milk). Babies between the age of one and two receive whole milk. Once they turn two, they also have to get low fat. When I was a child, we weren’t even allowed low fat milk in Kindergarten. My how the times have changed.  She also has to get whole milk yogurt. I wanted whole milk yogurt for years and couldn’t find it in the grocery stores. Now they have to carry it because it is a WIC item (offering yogurt is relatively new). Out of all the many many yogurts available in the grocery store, there is exactly one brand and one type of whole milk yogurt. The first time I ate this whole milk yogurt, my reaction was “Wow! This is good!” The first time I ate Cheerios with the whole milk, I had the same reaction. Now I think that’s a healthy reaction to have to food, a lot better than “that didn’t really do anything for me.”

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/09/low-fat-whole-milk-usda-dietary-guidelines

 

 

Baby Vaccinations and Lab Work, A Torture For Mom

I just got back from my baby’s “one-year” appointment, which had been postponed due to our now currently postponed travel plans. She had to have two shots and some lab work. The problem is that the last 3 times she has gone to the doctor’s she remembers getting the needle last time. The minute she sees the exam table even if they just want her on it to measure her or whatever, she starts crying hysterically and clinging to me. They did finally give her the shots, and they asked me to hold her arms down.

She was still crying about the shots when we went next door for blood work. There, the lab worker’s assistant was absent, so I was asked to bear hug Baby into an outward facing position and hold her arm absolutely still while the blood was being drawn. Very difficult, as Baby wanted to hold onto and snuggle into Mommy. Oh well, finally got her home and sleeping peacefully. Poor Baby.

A Birth Story in Honor of a Birth

We are supposed to go to my dad’s birthday party this afternoon. I’m not sure exactly how that happened given how my husband feels about celebrating birthdays. I mean we couldn’t even go to various baby’s birthday parties. Child’s birthday vs. adult birthday…hmm? It could have had something to do with the fact that the time they were planning it was around Baby’s bedtime, which I just casually mentioned and they went and contacted all the guests (not that there were many) and changed the time of the party just to accommodate Baby.

I still can’t quite understand the not celebrating birthdays thing, at least not for the reasons they give (I think I could understand other reasons). The most common answer I see online, which appears to be copied from a certain Muslim question answer site is:

The evidence in the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that celebrating birthdays is a kind of bid’ah or innovation in religion, which has no basis in the pure sharee’ah. It is not permitted to accept invitations to birthday celebrations, because this involves supporting and encouraging bid’ah.

This answer doesn’t even make sense to me, although apparently it does to a lot of people. They act like celebrating birthdays is a religious observance that people are imitating. To absolutely no one I know of is a birthday a religious observance. There are a few speakers/scholars who actually acknowledge this when they talk about celebrating birthdays/anniversaries/secular holidays. They say about the same thing that I said, which is that it wasn’t part of their culture, and the Prophet (s) not doing it doesn’t prove that it’s haram. Dr. Zakir Naik (although he disapproves of it in general) says that he cannot say it is haram because you cannot make something haram if it was not explicitly forbidden in either the Quran or sunnah. The general ruling is that things that are not religious observances are halal unless they were explicitly made haram, and in terms of religious observance everything that was not explicitly practiced is bid’ah and therefore haram. So my question is: how in the world does a child’s birthday celebration get to be a religious observance? I mean how does that even make sense to anyone? That’s kind of where you get people from foreign cultures who seem to interpret our culture in foreign ways. There are people who say that you have to get rulings from scholars familiar with your own culture for that reason, and they dislike the trend of getting information off the internet.

Anyway, here is the wonderful story of Baby’s birth in honor of her upcoming birthday:

I had false starts to my labor for about 3 days before my labor really started. I would have fairly regular contractions for 3 or 4 hours starting at 10 or 11 in the night. On the night before she was born this happened. I waited until about 3:00 in the morning to call my sister who was acting as my doula (If anyone is looking for a doula in the New York capital region they can contact me to get in touch with her. She is trained in aroma therapy, acupressure, and a variety of other comfort measures.). She arrived at my house around 4:00. We didn’t  call my husband. We let him come home from work at his usual time. My husband had not intended to be present at the birth of our child because he was very afraid of childbirth.

I dealt with contractions by vocalizing, “O, O, O” in  rhythm to my contractions. The contractions gradually increased in frequency and intensity throughout the day. I mostly lay on my side on my bed. My husband sat in the other room on the computer and just kind of did his regular thing, occasionally checking in with us. In the morning I had my sister call my midwives to tell them I would not be going to an appointment they had scheduled that day because I was in labor. They insisted to my sister that I agree to come in at 8:00 the next morning. She agreed on my behalf. This made me feel like they didn’t really believe I was in labor. I sipped mango flavored coconut water. In the afternoon, I asked for crackers and my husband came back with 5 different kinds. He also brought back an eggplant parm sub for my sister, and I sat at the kitchen table and ate part of that with her. I felt a lot of pressure in my butt the whole labor, and I felt nauseous. I also felt extremely hot during contractions.  My sister put sea bands on my wrists. I think those helped the nausea. She tells me they cut them off of me at the hospital because they were too tight, but I don’t remember.

My contractions never really got very regular. I was told to call the midwives when they were 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute.  My sister was recording the frequency of the contractions for me. She says I had some that were only lasting 30 seconds and were more than 10 minutes apart, and I had others that were less than a minute apart and lasting several minutes. She called the midwives and told them this, and, to my surprise (because I thought because my contractions were irregular that they would think I wasn’t really in labor), the midwife told my sister that I could come into the hospital any time I felt ready, and that it wasn’t urgent. I tried to hold off as long as possible because I was afraid I wouldn’t be very far along yet, but I was starting to feel restless, and also it was becoming difficult for me to even put my shoes and coat on in between contractions. I think I did not put my coat on and just held it in my arms. It was absolutely frigid outside, but I felt so hot that at first it felt good.

The only time I snapped at my husband during my labor was when I was standing near a wall, waiting to go out to the cars, and I started having a contractions. My husband, who hadn’t attended any childbirth classes, or really knew what to expect from labor, told me to sit down, and I said, “Leave me alone.”

I sat in the backseat of my sister’s car with my seat belt on surrounded by my coconut water, and my ride to the hospital was not any worse than labor at home. In my sister’s doula training and our childbirth class, they said for most women that is the worst part of labor for many women, and most refuse to sit or wear their seat belts. We live 45 minutes from the hospital. At the hospital, there is not much good parking situation. My sister parked in the emergency parking lot, and we had to walk to the door of the emergency room as that is the only entrance that is open at night. I had to pee ridiculously bad, and it was so cold, the walk from the car to the door seemed like forever.

Then we had to go up the elevator and into the birth center. They were waiting for us. A nurse was trying to explain to me how to put on some kind of band they wanted around me and the hospital gown, and she wanted a urine sample, and she was explaining to me how to do that, and I had to pee so bad I was hopping from foot to foot and having a contraction on top of that, so I was totally unable to take in any of her instructions (how come she couldn’t see that?). I complained that I was “leaking.” I meant urine because I had to pee so bad. She thought I meant amniotic fluid. It turns out it was both. I finally got into the bathroom and fumbled through the changing and urine sample, dropping several things on the floor and having difficulty retrieving them.

In the triage room the nurse had to do electronic monitoring, and she wanted to do a cervical exam. In some of my childbirth books and articles I had read that cervical exams are unnecessary and can increase your chance of infection. A skilled practitioner should know other ways of telling how far along you are. In our childbirth class, we were told that we have the right to decline them. I attempted to do so by stating that I did not want one and that I had read that they increased the chance of infection. The nurse insisted that she had to do it and that the chance of infection was only increased if your amniotic fluid was leaking (she proceeded to do a test to see if my amniotic fluid was leaking because I had said I was leaking, but she did the cervical exam anyway). I’m not sure I really actively consented. I really just didn’t feel up to arguing. That cervical exam was horrendous. I ended up having 3 of them, and they were the worst part of my labor. I was 6 cm dilated.

My mom and my step-father arrived while I was in triage, and they were there with me except during the cervical exam. I could hear them talking with my husband out in the hall.

All 7 of us (including my two assigned nurses) proceeded to my room. As soon as we entered the room, I went to check out the bathroom to see if it had a labor tub because some of the rooms only had showers. We were told on our hospital tour that if we intended to have a natural birth we should ask for a room with a labor tub. I observed that my room only had a shower, but I wasn’t inclined to do anything about it.

 

The nurse insisted on doing another cervical exam because I felt uncomfortable to lay on my back, which made her suspicious. I was 9 cm dilated. She was still asking me all those kind of check in paperwork kind of questions, things about my diet and what they could do to make my stay more comfortable. I said that strange men shouldn’t see me uncovered (meaning without my hijab). The only one who didn’t respect this was the pediatrician who came on duty the day we were discharged, a South Asian man; he just stood and stared at me while I was fumbling to get my hijab on. The midwife had asked to be called in when I reached 9 cm.

I had some misconceptions about the kind of care I would receive with my midwife. I guess I should have asked more questions and discussed things more during the prenatal care. I was under the assumption that the midwife would meet me at the hospital and stay with me the whole time I was laboring at the hospital and that she would be my only attendant.

Pretty much right after the 2nd cervical exam, the contractions got really really intense and close together. My mom and step-father and husband were still in the room. My perception is that the contractions got so intense that I was just screaming, totally out of  control. I remember really zoning into the tiles on the floor around my step-father’s feet and part of a curtain. When I said something about screaming sometime after Baby was born, my mom, my husband and my sister all informed me that I was not screaming but merely vocalizing. I felt like I was screaming. It was really intense.

The midwife told me to tell her when I felt the urge to push. I said I didn’t know. They said it would feel like I needed to poop, and I said it’s felt like that the whole time I’ve been in labor. I vomited, which is apparently a sign that you are getting near the pushing stage. They insisted on doing another cervical exam to make sure that my cervix was entirely out of the way before I could start pushing. I was a bit resentful of that.

I started pushing holding onto the top of the bed (it was a bed that could incline almost vertical) and crouching on the bed. I had read in a childbirth book about different birthing positions, and I wanted to give birth in a crouching position so that the baby could be born either on a towel or the bed and I could be the first one to touch her (but I didn’t speak to my midwife about that). The midwife decided that I was putting too much of the energy of the pushes into my arms in that position. She also decided that I was putting too much of my pushing into vocalizations. I had only had a few pushes in that position. Then she said something like,” We’ll get this baby out quicker if we put you on your back.” She proceeded to have me get on my back and the nurses hold the back of my knees. She had me push with all of my might. That was a revelation for me because I didn’t realize I was supposed to push that hard. I thought it was supposed to be more relaxed and controlled, that’s why I was channeling some of the energy into my breathing and vocalization. I was pushing so hard I couldn’t see anything during the pushing. It was like blackness. My sister said she worried that she was pushing me too hard because my face turned so red.  I felt so hot; the midwife allowed them to turn the fan on for me. Every contraction, they were yelling at me to push, push, push, push, push, just one more good push. She was coaching me to hold my breath and push so as not to waste any of the energy. My contractions would be fizzling out, and they’d still be yelling at me to push, and this bothered me in some way because I felt like they should be able to tell, but instead I had to tell them.

Anyway, they could see Baby’s head several contractions before I could. Then I could see quite a lot of wet, ratty looking black hair (she doesn’t have black hair; it was just wet, but we expected her to have black hair). The midwife was doing perineal massage with oil during the pushing, and I hated this. I told her to stop, and she told me she wasn’t doing anything, so then I realized the baby was actually coming. But my sister says she lied to me, and that the only time I acted uncomfortable or was saying stop was when she was touching me.

The midwife was at the foot of the bed. The nurses on either side of me, and my mom, husband and sister were all a little off to the left side on the foot of the bed. My stepfather had stepped behind a curtain when I took my pants off, and he stayed there the whole time. He apparently watched the clock and took note of the time of the birth.

We probably arrived at the hospital around 8:15 or so. My sister estimates that they took about 45 minutes in triage, and then Baby was born slightly before 11. It all felt very quick.

When she was born, they held her so that my husband could see her (I wouldn’t allow him to find out the sex ahead of time). Then they placed her all bloody on my chest and put a blanket over both of us. I had a strong feeling most of my pregnancy that she was a girl, but I didn’t even get to see her, and I didn’t want to refer to her by gender until I knew for sure, so I had to ask.

At some point they took her off of my chest and across the room to weigh her and prick her and do all of those things that they do, and I kept whining to my sister that I want her back. I was too weak to get out of the bed.

The placenta came out very easy and squishy. At some point, they had to give me a shot of pitocin because uterus was not contracting. The nurses came along to give me a catheter. They tried to help me to the bathroom, but they wouldn’t when I felt a little dizzy or lightheaded and too weak to stand on my own, so then they brought a bed pan, but I had no urge to go, so they had to put the catheter in. It wasn’t that bad. My grandmother had complained about them extensively, so I was afraid of it. The nurse then informed the other nurse that my uterus couldn’t shrink because my bladder was too full. You are supposed to go to the bathroom before you start the pushing stage, but the nurse told me it wouldn’t have made a difference because Baby came so quick, I wouldn’t have been able to.

They wanted to put me on an IV because they said I had lost a lot of blood. I promised to drink a lot of water and so avoided the IV. I have always had a pretty big phobia of IVs. They freak me out. I’m not really afraid of having blood drawn or getting needles, I just sometimes faint, and I feel sick and hot, and people interpret this as a fear response, but I realized that it is not fear; it is some kind of physical response.

They also kept offering me hemorrhoid medication and pain relievers, which puzzled me because I wasn’t feeling any kind of pain or discomfort at all. Everyone just seemed to assume that I was feeling bad. So far as the blood loss went, one of the nurses said to me, “You feel like someone who has lost a lot of blood,” and I thought to myself, not really. So far as feeling lightheaded when standing, I’ve felt worse in my ordinary life and been expected to carry on (or at least I thought I was), and I really didn’t feel bad at all. I did pass some rather large blood clots, and I did bleed for 10 weeks after Baby was born.

My husband mostly insisted on taking care of her in the hospital, and I was too weak to really get out of the bed the first day. She tried to breastfeed, and by the 2nd day something just clicked and she took to it, but I didn’t realize my milk had come in because a WIC peer counselor had told tried to describe what a letdown felt like, so I was expecting it to feel like something big and grand. My husband and I didn’t notice the pee pee diapers because they were mixed in with the poopy. A nurse saved us from supplemental feedings by digging through the trash to find them. My breast was engorged for the first couple of weeks, which made breastfeeding painful, but I didn’t realize at first that it was engorged because I didn’t know my milk had come in.

In the hospital, I was mostly just trying to learn how to take care of her. I really fell in love once we brought her home. I just gazed at her, and tears came into my eyes as I thought what an amazing thing Allah has created.

 

Decadent Chocolate Desserts

I know this is a misuse of the word “decadent,” but that’s the way people use this word, and I honestly couldn’t think of another word that had the same connotations as what people mean when they misuse the word decadent.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding

This is one of Baby’s favorites. Basically, you roast a cup of hazelnuts in the oven I think at like 400 degrees for 10 -12 minutes, rub the skins off of them, put them in the food processor and grind them into a paste. Then you melt 1 1/3 cups of chocolate chips, you add those to the hazelnut paste and add a package of silken tofu. You blend it all together, and it is delicious.

Vegan Chocolate “Ice Cream”

This one I just tried today. I don’t think it is really my own recipe. I kind of saw it online somewhere, but the website was being slow and not loading correctly. I didn’t write it down, so this is just what I thought I remembered, but wow is it good!

1 avocado

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

a splash of vanilla

1/4 cup water

You just put all the ingredients in your blender, liquefy, and then put it in a freezer safe bowl (I used a Pyrex bowl with a lid). You leave it in the freezer for an hour, then you start stirring it every 20 minutes for 4 or 5 hours.

You really can’t tell that’s it’s avocado, coconut milk or even maple syrup. A lot of things sweetened with maple syrup have a mapley taste, but this just taste like really good dark chocolate ice cream, and it isn’t even really ice cream. This also makes a really good pudding, as Baby and I were eating it right out of the blender.

Chocolate Greek Yogurt

I have this for a snack almost every night. I take a cup of low fat (Cabot’s low fat Greek style yogurt) a teaspoon of cocoa powder, and a teaspoon of honey and stir it up really good so that there aren’t any clumps. Baby can’t have this yet because of the honey.

 

Disconnecting

I thought I would write a short post on this topic, since in my last post I got off on such a tangent about it. By disconnecting, I mean not watching TV and not being online mainly. I used to frequently see recommendations that people take breaks from media, cell phones, etc. for say perhaps a week. They would say it was good for you spiritually or for your health or something. Other people complain that people are too involved with people and things that are not present and therefore neglect and ignore those that are. That is about being present, connecting with the world around you, being with those who are with you. I can really see how this could be a good thing. But like the example in my last post, disconnecting from technology and media is probably almost never good for your career, and people will certainly not think you are knowledgeable and with-it when you are living such an insular existence.

Mommy Fitness

I often hear mothers of babies worrying about losing the baby weight. I find it a little puzzling now that I know how many calories mothering my baby actually uses. They told me at the hospital that I needed to eat 500 extra calories while breastfeeding. I’m not sure I really did that, but I also realized recently that I must be getting a lot of exercise walking around with a 17 pound baby for so much of my day. I decided to look it up, and it is probably something like 230 calories per hour. How many hours do I spend doing that? I’m not even sure.

I see other new mothers worrying about when to do their exercise videos. That’s great if that’s how they relax, but the baby is actually pretty good exercise. I didn’t diet or do any special exercise, and I didn’t have trouble getting to my pre-baby weight. I suppose people are going to tell me I’m just lucky. I do know I see a lot of people who never seem to lose that baby weight and just add a little more with every child. I guess everyone is different.

Getting My 8-A-Day

Sometimes it can be hard to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, especially say when you are living with and dependent on someone else. But this Ramadan, it has been easy to get my recommended 8-a-day. Even though I’m eating less overall, I’m eating more fruits and veggies.

Last night for example, I broke my fast with a date, a peach, banana milk (a whole banana), 2 chunks of watermelon, and salad of cucumber, tomato, and cilantro. I then had lentils cooked with asparagus, onion, and green peas. And a little later I had chick peas cooked with onion and tomato. For suhoor, I had more of the lentils. Now that’s probably how I should eat every day.

Does Fasting Cure Dandruff?

I seem to have had an unexpected effect of my fasting this year. Most of my adult life, I’ve had issues with dandruff, and none of the remedies seem to help much. Then suddenly, I realize that I haven’t had any issue with dandruff since Ramadan started and I’ve been fasting. Now why is that? What changed in my diet, or is fasting itself just good for dandruff?