Dairy Free and Fit http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com Tue, 30 Aug 2011 18:16:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Getting it Totally Together http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/08/30/getting-it-totally-together/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/08/30/getting-it-totally-together/#comments Tue, 30 Aug 2011 18:15:32 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=651 I love fall. And considering how dreadfully awful summer was weather-wise here in the Northwest (yes, I miss the desert), I’m really excited to see the leaves turn, enjoy apples and sweet potatoes, and snuggle up with a big mug of hot chocolate. I’m thinking a round of P90X may be in the fall plans too.

But first, I need to get myself not only organized, but feeling good about my days. I have this horrible habit of spinning my wheels on one thing and not feeling accomplished. So my action plan includes three things:

  1. Work on my focus, and cut my losses when a project or task is going nowhere.
  2. Give myself credit for what I do accomplish.
  3. Incorporate more “me” time and breaks.

It may not be New Year’s Resolution time, but I got this boost from a gift I received two weeks ago …

Totally Together Book by Stephanie O'Dea - getting organized!

Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life by the cutest darn crockpot lady you have ever seen. She is a wonder-mom, and while her book is geared toward moms, this kid-free lady loves it. Really, even my husband and I have “family meetings,” so 99% of this calendar / organizational book works for me. It includes daily and weekly to do’s, with reminders and tips on things you may forget about all too often. September Week 2 – time to clean the shower, and Stephanie tells you the best way to do it. February Week 4 – Time to clean out and toss those magazine piles. Oh, and don’t forget about the great haircut reminders (boy do I need those) and time tasks to remind yourself how great you are (we all need that!).

The tips and to do’s are on one side and a weekly calendar on the other. I think the calendar is for your schedule, but I’m going to use it to write down my accomplishments for the day. Something to remind myself that I did get some good things done!

Totally Together Book by Stephanie O'Dea - getting organized!

The calendar within starts in September (though it will work any year since you write in the date), so my Totally Together life is starting on Monday. And it looks like I’ll finally be getting that long-needed haircut next week …

Totally Together Book by Stephanie O'Dea - getting organized!

How do you take care of you? Do you have a strategy for staying organized and feeling good about your days?

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Take Back Your Health Conference (Ticket Giveaway!) http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/08/23/take-back-your-health-conference/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/08/23/take-back-your-health-conference/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2011 21:40:31 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=644 I wanted to share a fantastic giveaway by my friend Valerie at City Life Eats. She is offering up a free ticket to the Take Back Your Health Conference, to be held in the Washington, DC area on October 22-23, 2011. Several wellness experts will be speaking at the event, including Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Victoria Moran and Andrea Beaman. There will be two full days of informational lectures and healthy demos, plus some socializing time, naturally. You can enter the giveaway by commenting on her post.

This past year I’ve had the opportunity to go to about half a dozen conferences for food, blogging, and health, and I have to admit, my favorite, by far, was the Fitness Blogger Conference. The health-oriented events had such a good energy … they touched on good food, but weren’t obsessed with it, which I loved. It was more about balance. I’ve decided to break from conferences for a little bit, but hope to hit up some more soon. Are there any good conferences that you recommend? Bonus points from me if they are in the west!



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Getting Results: My Favorite 30 Minute Workout http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/08/02/getting-results-the-30-minute-workout/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/08/02/getting-results-the-30-minute-workout/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2011 22:41:36 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=630 I’ve done P90X … twice, and as much as I love it, I’m not only a little bored, but it’s also summer, and the last thing I feel like doing is a 60 to 90 minute workout in front of the TV. I’d been struggling for a few weeks, and unable to get into the groove of a fitness routine, but early last week, the answer emerged.

I received a fitness pack at the Fitness Blogger Conference in June. It looked like a great travel idea, a resistance band, pedometer, and jump rope all in a neat little bag.

I was putting it away, anticipating its use on my next out-of-towner, when I remembered the jump rope intervals that we used to do at some Cross-fit like classes years ago. For fun, I decided to see if I could still jump rope decently. I made it through two minutes, only tripping up a few times. Hmm, it was kind of fun. So the next day I decided to incorporate jump rope intervals into a workout. The result?

Jumping rope is a serious butt firmer! It almost immediately targeted my more “troublesome” areas. Not to mention, somewhat lengthy intervals (3 minutes – trust me, it can seem like forever!) work your arms and lungs. Here’s the workout that I’m currently doing and already seeing fantastic results from …

My 30 Minute Workout

3 Days per week (Mon, Wed, Fri)

  • 3 Minutes Jump Rope (as quick as possible, single turn per jump, alternating techniques to keep it interesting)
  • One Ab Move (20 to 50 reps or 1.5 minutes in plank)
  • One Leg “Weight” Move (wall sit, lunges, squats, calf raises, etc. – max weight (where relevant) to fatigue)
  • 3 Minutes HIT (high-intensity (w/ jog breaks as needed) – high knees (this one kills when you go as fast as you can), side to sides, jumping jacks, heisman, etc.)
  • One Ab Move
  • One Arm “Weight” Move (bicep curls, overhead presses, tricep curls, tricep dips, push-ups, etc. – max weight (where relevant) to fatigue)
  • 3 Minutes Jump Rope
  • One Ab Move
  • One Leg “Weight” Move
  • 3 Minutes HIT
  • One Ab Move
  • One Arm “Weight”

The goal is to push yourself as hard as you can in each segment. But as you can see, there is a lot of leeway to just do what you feel like. I find that this freestyle method keeps me from being bored and it also helps to mix up what muscles I’m working out. Some days I plan out the moves and HIT I will do, and some days I wing it. As long as you keep moving between each interval (30 second breaks), the workout is done in 30 minutes easy! If you have a little more time and want to hit more muscles, you can do one arm move and one leg move after each set of abs.

Additional Weekly Fitness

I’m also doing one hour of yoga (light stretch or power, depending on my mood) one day a week, and stay pretty active in general. My husband and I walk 2 to 6 miles, at least 5 days a week. I actually had to take a break from writing this to walk to the optometrist (1.25 miles each way)! Dummy me forgot to bring sunglasses and had to walk home with those big dork shade glasses.

Do you have any workouts to recommend?

Also, stay tuned, I will have an ivillage follow-up with some goodies soon!

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A Quick Dairy-Free Protein Powder Primer http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/07/27/dairy-free-protein-powder/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/07/27/dairy-free-protein-powder/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2011 23:17:59 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=601 I used to be surprised when I heard the question “Where will I get protein?” from people going dairy-free. I could definitely understand this concern from newbie vegans (not that there aren’t plenty of protein sources for vegans, they just aren’t as commonly known or as protein-dense), but getting enough protein typically isn’t a major concern if you are only cutting out milk products.

Nonetheless, some people follow a high protein diet or don’t like to eat a lot of meat and seafood for protein. They may supplement with dairy products quite a bit, both whole and processed, to get desired levels of protein. And I noticed that fitness buffs often fear the loss of their protein shakes on a dairy-free diet, since the most popular protein powder sold (both as is and in “protein-packed” products) is whey (milk protein). However, there are many other types of proteins powders that have emerged, and I have sampled several of the dairy-free (and soy-free!) varieties. Here is my take on the most readily available protein powders for milk-free consumers and a few that are just hitting the scene …

(All of the following are typically dairy-free – that is milk-free, lactose-free, casein-free, whey-free, etc. – but always check the ingredients as you never know when I company might decide to be really stupid get creative and add milk to the product too. In fact, a well-known soy protein bar uses both soy and milk! Also, these options should, for the most part, be gluten-free too, but be sure to verify the ingredients and processes.)

Soy Protein Powders – Soy protein powders are still one of the best options for substituting the taste and texture of whey protein, and they are the most inexpensive and readily available of the options. They are typically smoother and creamier than a lot of the other dairy-free protein powder options when dissolved in liquid. However, there are a few caveats with soy protein powder. First, soy is a top GMO crop in the U.S., and many of the soy protein-based products use GMO soy. I recommend looking for non-GMO or organic if considering any soy products. Second, the negative studies on soy have revolved primarily around soy protein isolates – the main and sometimes only ingredient in soy protein powder. This concentrated protein has been touted as a menopause miracle, but also shown in studies to be a potential health hazard. I like some occasional tofu, but typically avoid any soy products that are not made with “whole soy.” Whole soybean and fermented soy have not been as negatively implicated in research as concentrated soy proteins. This is the gist of my stance, but be sure to make the best decision for you on this one.

Egg White Protein Powder – To me, this is the best option, so long as you aren’t allergic to eggs or vegan. A good quality egg white protein powder is nothing more than powdered egg whites. Egg whites are a good concentrated source of protein, and when powdered, the protein works really well in almost any recipe. It improves the performance of baked goods, and makes a mean “Julius” smoothie.

Dairy-Free Strawberry "Julius"

My Version of a Strawberry “Julius”

Egg white is usually the protein powder of choice for dairy-free Paleo and Primal dieters.

Brown Rice Protein Powder – Rice protein powder seems to be a love-hate type product. My husband and I have trialed several of the most popular brands, but to me they were always a bit too powdery and cakey. In fact, my husband said they made every smoothie taste like cake batter. I’ve also had little success in baking with it. You have to use very small amounts or it can easily dry out the end product. However, I’ve read hundreds of rave reviews from fitness bloggers who can’t get enough of this stuff. Rice protein powder is typically soy-free and more like heavy flour in texture, though it doesn’t dissolve in water as nicely as soy protein powder. Therefore, I think it is best to add in small doses to smoothies or recipes.

Hemp Protein Powder – Pure hemp protein powder is either just ground hemp seeds or concentrated hemp protein. It’s green (expect anything you put it in to turn green or muddy) and a bit gritty, and traditional hemp protein powders tend to be closer to a whole food in nutrients, with a fair amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate.

Vanilla Hemp Protein Powder - Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Vegan

Tasty? Definitely! Visually Appealing? Um, Not so much.

Companies have been working on smoothing hemp protein powder out, and two have done fairly well. Manitoba Harvest has a high protein version (HempPro 70)that has more of a powdery consistency, and Living Harvest Tempt comes in a high protein version that has an anti-caking ingredients mixed in, making it more like soy protein powder in texture. This is probably the most popular option with natural food enthusiasts.

Other Dairy-Free Protein Powders – Manufacturers have been using concentrated protein from other foods for years in products, but they are only recently becoming available for consumer use. Two that you might see more of soon are Pea Protein and Cranberry Protein. Also, many natural food companies are powdering or concentrating nuts and seeds for their concentrated protein. Two that I have seen recently include Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder and Brazil Nut Protein Powder.

Personal Note: Though I have trialed various brands for most of these protein powders, I seldom utilize protein powders anymore. In an upcoming post I will discuss my personal reasons for this.

Brands: I scrounge the stores to find dairy-free brands and list them all (as we find them) in the No Dairy Product Lists. The brands noted above for hemp protein are ones that I recommend. For egg white protein powder, we usually purchased Rose Acre Farms since it had no additives, but I’ve heard that NOW is quite good too.

Recipes Using DF Protein Powder:

Other Relevant Articles:

What about you? Have you trialed any dairy-free protein powders? Are there any types or brands that you love? Also, feel free to link to any of your favorite recipes using protein powder in the comments!

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It’s Never Too Late http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/07/20/its-never-too-late/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/07/20/its-never-too-late/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2011 23:24:53 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=594 There is one TV program that I look forward to each and every week, Extreme Makeover Weight Loss. It doesn’t come on until 10pm on Monday nights, but we make an extra effort to stay awake for it. Have you seen this show?

The host of the show, Chris O’Donnell, is amazing. Each episode covers an entire year as he helps a morbidly obese client shed 200 or even 300 or more pounds. Yes, some lose over 300lbs through diet and exercise in ONE year!

Truthfully, I don’t have a goal of weight loss myself, but to me, this show is about so much more than the scale. In Chris’s world their are no regrets, no fears, no barriers, only a future of promise. He shows his clients, and the viewing audience, that any obstacle can be overcome and that it’s never too late.

Cheesy? Perhaps, but I love feel good stories, and I definitely need that kick in the pants to keep pushing forward sometimes. Doesn’t everyone?

This is the first time I have posted here on this blog in 5 months. For the past year and a half, my husband has been overcoming some health obstacles, and it is always important for me to be there for him. The focus of this blog was something that I knew I wanted to move toward, even though I haven’t had time to dedicate to it. So, I decided to put it up last year anyway … get it started, without pressure, and then just let myself get involved when ready.

I’m ready.

Go Dairy Free is my “foundation.” I’ve had the opportunity to help thousands of people find joy in dairy-free living, and that feels amazing. Dairy-Free & Fit is me taking it to the next level. I started Go Dairy Free for myself, and my own needs, but it became more influential than I ever would have imagined. We’ll see if this blog goes in the same direction. How cool would that be?

To clarify, I’m 36 years old and I’m not a turbo fitness queen who downs green smoothies all day. If you are, awesome. I’m in awe. Please stick around and share your tips! But … my personal goal is to feel strong, capable, and energetic. That is health to me, and that involves everything from exercise and diet to play time and guilty pleasures. If it has anything to do with feeling good and getting the most out of life, then I consider it fair game on this blog.

Here are some highlights from the smattering of posts I have already added, expect many more to come! …

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Herbal Goodness on My Tea Shelf http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/02/01/herbal-goodness-on-my-tea-shelf/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/02/01/herbal-goodness-on-my-tea-shelf/#comments Tue, 01 Feb 2011 17:00:37 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=574 Tea flows by the pot-full in our household, so it was quite pathetic that I didn’t even own a tea diffuser. They only cost about $3, so I had no excuse. Even so, it wasn’t until my husband accidentally broke our tea pot (now that sounds silly, who would ever break a teapot on purpose?), that I finally gained the ability to brew loose leaf tea at home. For just $10 we spotted a highly functional replacement teapot at World Market that just happened to come with a cute diffuser too. Sold!

To inaugurate our wonderful new teapot, I broke open some loose leaf tea from My Tea Shelf that I had been dying to try (yes, I had loose leaf tea before I had a diffuser – I’m a little confused that way). They sent me this cute gift package of herbal goodies ages ago …

The quality of this tea is amazing, and the story behind it is even better. I just have to share the following paragraph from the “About Us” section on My Tea Shelf:

“I’m a one-woman business with a mission – I want to give the world great tea. Based in Seattle, My Tea Shelf specializes in creating wholesome, high quality teas. That’s why I research every ingredient I put in my teas. I stamp every package I send. And I drink every tea I make. Made with real fruit and herbs, I focus on exotic teas from my Latin American background. By combining pure ingredients with medicinal herbs what you get are teas that do a body good. Almost all my herbs and teas are organic, many are fair trade and all the bags I use are compostable. You won’t find artificial flavors or packaging that could hurt the Earth anywhere near My Tea Shelf.”

Her belief is that tea is “one of life’s great treasures,” and I couldn’t agree more. Seriously, having a hot mug of tea puts a smile on my face no matter my mood.

My Tea Shelf has loads of different types of teas (seriously, where does this woman keep them all??), including various blacks, greens, whites, and my tonic of choice, herbals.

I only drink herbal tea … okay, the occasional white or green tea crosses my lips in the a.m., but I’ve never tolerated caffeine very well. Fortunately, with so many awesome flavors to choose from, there is no shortage of excitement in the herbal tea world …

I trialed six flavors, all were good, but three had the “wow” factor for me:

Tea Love #1 – The Honeypeach tea was scrumptious. I tried honeybush tea for the first time at a little organic eatery in town, and it was love at first sip. However, I was still hesitant on this flavor, since I’m not typically a fan of fruity teas. Fortunately, the peach was more like a wonderful essence than an overpowering fruit, and it complimented the honeybush flavor perfectly. It seems honeybush is similar to rooibos, and it is known for its soothing properties and ability to calm the central nervous system. I think I better order this tea by the pound.

Tea Love #2 – I’m a huge fan of ginger tea (the more potent the better!), but the Pineapple Ginger tea from My Tea Shelf was unlike any I had ever tasted. The sweet citrus lends a more delicate note to the spicy ginger, yet neither dominates the scene. It was simply harmonious and a nice change of pace.

Tea Love #3 – Wait, did I say I typically dislike fruity teas? Well here we are on favorite tea #3, and yes, all of my favorites contain some fruit! And while berry tea is usually my least favorite of all, the Cidron Berry from My Tea Shelf is positively delightful. It contains only a touch of berry goodness to brighten the overall blend. Most berry-flavored teas seem to taste just like that, flavored, and intensely so. This, my friends, is a tea, and a near perfect one at that.

Since My Tea Shelf has free shipping over $35 (for both the U.S. & Canada! Yes, free shipping is the magic term for this online shopping diva), I plan to give some more of their teas a try … the Peaceful Persimmon and Ginger Rooibos being tops on my list.

Though I have cut way back on doing reviews, I do want to let you all know when something great comes along … and this was one I felt the need to share.

Do you drink tea? If so, what types? Are you in it just for the health benefits, or are you simply a mad tea drinker like me?

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Sugar, the Devil in the Agave-Coated Dress http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/30/sugar-the-devil/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/30/sugar-the-devil/#comments Sun, 30 Jan 2011 17:56:51 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=564 So I did it! Thank you to Katie for getting me to do a 10-day Sugar-Free Challenge and to those of you who joined in! If you joined in, comment and let us know how it went for you. If you are still sugar-free, give us an update, and if you have trialed sugar-free before (or are still doing it!), I would love to hear if it benefited you.

I have to say, the results were far and above what I expected. I am excited to share them with you today …

But first, I want to address my own definition of sugar-free, because I think this is important. A lot of what I see as “sugar-free” on the Internet is more specifically “refined sugar-free.” That is, many people define sugar-free as merely not containing processed white and brown sugars … but agave nectar is okay, and many times all other unrefined sweeteners are considered okay (maple syrup, sucanat, etc.). But, I’ve never been okay with this definition. To me, sugar-free means no added sweeteners. I concurred with Katie that stevia (particularly since used in such amazingly small amounts) does not have the same impact on blood sugar, but we agreed that all of the other “natural sweeteners” still have a strong impact on insulin.

So for ten days, I cut out all added sweeteners (natural or otherwise) with the exception of using a wee bit of stevia to make these sweet treats for my afternoon cravings.

Here were my goals:

  • Cut my sweets cravings so that I’m no longer grabbing chocolate chips to snack on in the a.m. and no longer feel the need to have a sweet after every single meal.
  • Go back to my old ways, where one or two cookies was enough to satiate (my sweet tooth had grown to want four or five of those homemade cookies in a day).

Here were the results for my goals:

  • It took about three days for my chocolate cravings to vanish, which I was grateful for. I actually used to dislike chocolate, but over the past few years I acquired a taste for it, and now find I was going overboard with snacking on it. Not a single chocolate chip has crossed my lips, even two days after the challenge has ended!
  • It took about seven days (yep, a full week) for my “sweets after every meal” craving to vanish, but it did. I admit, I think that one was helped along when I made those sugar-free treats. But, I still only had a few of those (they were small, fudge-piece sized) in the afternoon each day, and if I had a sweet after dinner, it was fruit.

Here were the ADDITIONAL results:

  • Men, look away. For the past ten+ years I have had those dreaded monthly cramps – just for one day each month mind you, so I shouldn’t complain too much, but in the past few months they were getting worse and worse. They vanished. I kid you not. The day hit, the day where I expected to be in some miserable pain, and nada. Not only did the cramps stop getting worse, they completely disappeared. Never in a million years would I have thought that something as simple as sugar could be instigating them.
  • Okay men, you can join in again. Here was another big surprise, my sleep improved. I slept more soundly and woke up more refreshed. This benefit kicked in around day 5, and lasted during the rest of the challenge. But when I had to return to testing some cookbooks and product reviews on day 11 (post challenge), even though I only used natural sweeteners (and not a ton of them), my sleep immediately became less restful. Yes, sugar-free benefits were gone just by adding “natural sweeteners” to my diet (sorry!)
  • Finally, my workout performance improved. I was getting some dizzy spells when working out prior, but not during the sugar-free week.  I was strong during my workouts, lifted quite a bit more, did more pull-ups and push-ups, and recovered faster. Though I upped my weights, my muscles weren’t as sore as they normally would be. Nice.

Now here is my dilemma. I really did get over the cravings, and would actually love to continue with sugar-free living … without being too overly-strict about it of course. I had a touch of incidental sweetener in a couple of meals … no big deal. The small amounts in a savory meal seemed to balance out, not causing any cravings or side effects to return. I’m also a believer in honey … but again, in small amounts. And, my test showed that fruit is no problem. My body actually loved fruit and I never once felt an insulin jolt from it.

But, with cookbook testing, product reviews, and recipe creation, I know I can’t yet go long term with that sugar-free challenge. Okay, I can, it is my choice, but I’m not ready. However, I will continue to reduce sugar’s hold, and who knows, maybe you will see a dairy-free AND sugar-free cookbook from me in the near future! I can at least guarantee that my next book/cookbook will be lower on the sugar-spectrum.

So what are your thoughts on sugar and sweeteners?

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A Trio of Sugar-Free Sweets http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/26/a-trio-of-sugar-free-sweets/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/26/a-trio-of-sugar-free-sweets/#comments Wed, 26 Jan 2011 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=541 Here I am, heading into Day 8 of my sugar-free challenge. How am I doing? I’ve been weak, very weak. But, I’ve stuck with it, am getting a bit stronger by the day … and have even learned a bit about myself.

I’d never thought of myself as an emotional eater in any way. I just loved food (especially sweet food), period. But, this past week I found out that sweets are a crutch for my stress. Day 1 of the sugar-free challenge was hard, of course, but Day 2 was remarkably easy. Sure, a craving here or there, but I breezed by them. Day 3 started out strong … I made it through the whole morning without thinking once about chocolate or candy (yes, this is a big accomplishment for me!) … but then, the stress hit. I looked at my to do list. I was knee deep in work load and I didn’t want to do any of it. I looked at my job and wondered what it had become. Was this even what I wanted to do anymore? Next thing you know, BAMM! I was *this* close to quitting the whole sugar-free challenge. Thank goodness I had already dragged other people into it, otherwise I would have caved. Support kept me strong. I went for some fruit.

Of course, day 3 wasn’t my only hurdle … no, no, no … I seem to have alternating stress days. Day 5 was when I finally had to break down and make some sugar-free sweets. Thanks to Ricki for her Carob Coconut Sweeties (and yes, I ate the whole leaning tower batch, thank God it was a small one!) …

Recipe in Desserts without Compromise, by Ricki Heller


On Day 7, another surge of stress hit, but Katie’s sugar-free Banana Freezer Fudge helped me through the day …

Recipe on Chocolate-Covered Katie (see my notes below for changes that I made)

 This stuff is fortunately sugar-free, even with the stevia I added. I’m going to play with this recipe some more, as the flavor is awesome, but my stomach has trouble handling quite so much fat (considering I could easily eat half a batch!), and all of the coconut oil causes them to freeze very solid (they soften after a few minutes at room temp though). I added 4 (or was it 5?) drops of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia to Katie’s recipe, used just a pinch of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.

And then, there was one final creation … Sugar-Free & Grain-Free Brownies. Only mine ended up a lot more like Dark Chocolate Fudge

Recipe on The Mommy Bowl by Deanna, you can see below for my changes

 Almonds are out for my husband, and I was short on ideas for the almond flour, so I subbed ground cashews in this recipe. The result refused to set up, but I chilled the whole batch and it made a wonderful dark chocolate fudge. I will have to experiment with this one more, as getting the amount of dates right for our taste was an experiment, and I added about 15 drops of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia. I’m not typically a big fan of stevia, but in this amount, it didn’t overpower the flavor and did add some sweetness. Deanna’s recipe is a fabulous one to work with, I highly recommend it!

Wish me luck on Days 8 through 10 (and beyond)!

Have you cut back on sugar since the holidays? If you’re doing the sugar-free challenge with me, how’s it going? Also, do you have any sugar-free treat ideas to share?

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When Does Fitness Step Over Your Dignity Boundary? http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/24/when-does-fitness-step-over-your-dignity-boundary/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/24/when-does-fitness-step-over-your-dignity-boundary/#comments Mon, 24 Jan 2011 23:56:10 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=534 Up until a year and a half ago, I’d never done a workout video. But then, I discovered P90X (from BeachBody) and the amazing Tony Horton. He led me down a road of empowerment. For the first time in my life I have strong arms. I can do pull-ups and push-ups like an army recruit. And up until now, I felt invincible! But it broke my spirit when BeachBody emailed me this …

I am not judging mind you. I know for many people dance workouts are awesome and the way to go. But if you had ever seen me attempt to seriously dance then you would know that this video definitely crosses my personal line of dignity. Yes, even alone, with door closed, I would constantly be jerking to a stop, wondering if my husband might be coming in. Even the one I love to no end, who overlooks my faults, supports my endeavors, and knows more about me than even I do … I’m too embarrassed to let him see me genuinely attempting dance moves (jokingly dancing around like a dork – now that’s a daily occurence). Even in the name of fitness. Wait no, especially in the name of fitness.

Here I am, admitting to you today that actually, my boundaries put me in a tight little fitness box. You won’t find me at pole dancing classes. Nope, no on your life. In fact, I actually shut the door and make sure my husband is nowhere to be found when doing the Insanity Abs video, as the “pelvic thrusts” at the end make me a bit paranoid. Not only are they completely awkward, but I also find myself thinking, “am I doing these right? How embarrassing if not!?”

So please Tony H., for those of us who prefer to only show our “tough” side and have two left feet, encourage BeachBody to produce more strength and plyo programs. Please!

Do you have a dignity boundary when it comes to fitness, or are you pretty much willing to try anything? Can you dance, or are you like me and a bit shy with swiveling those hips?

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Are You a Walker or a Runner? http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/20/are-you-a-walker-or-a-runner/ http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/2011/01/20/are-you-a-walker-or-a-runner/#comments Thu, 20 Jan 2011 19:01:30 +0000 http://www.dairyfreeandfit.com/?p=525 Sometimes I feel a bit in the minority as I cruise healthy living blogs. Runners abound, but my running days are long past … and I definitely don’t miss them.

I gave up the pavement pounding around the ripe old age of 21, when my knees simply couldn’t take the repetitive forward motion (soft surface or not). I was still very active, playing soccer a few times a week for years and years, as the side to side motion and occasional sprints were no problem at all. Soccer too has become a memory, but walking and hiking have become my new passion.

I’m actually quite into the Paleo / Primal philosophy – lift heavy things, sprint occasionally, play, and walk a lot / be generally active. My husband and I walk at least 1.5 miles every day, but we have been known to log well over ten miles in a day just meandering around. We don’t necessarily power walk … we simply go at the pace our legs want to take us that day … often with groceries or mail in tow … my husband even walks the dolly to the post office with loads of books to ship a couple of times a week (usually over 100 lbs per trip!). Luckily, it’s a small town, so we don’t get too many funny looks. Our general rule of thumb is if it is within 1 mile of our home (often 2 miles), we walk … snowstorm or not! Okay, we wuss out if it’s really bad, but truthfully, that is rare. Walking has become not only our daily activity, but also a source of relaxation, stress release, and a good time to chat. And, amazingly enough, it seems to work wonders for our general fitness!

So I am curious, what powers your legs, running or walking? What do you get from it? Are you addicted to the runner high or the meditative powers of walking?

On a foodie note, thank you all for the great comments yesterday on my personal “sugar-free challenge” post! Day 1 went well (okay, it was very torturous at times), and amazingly enough, my cravings are already fading. Not once this morning have I thought to go for a handful of chocolate chips (yes, I probably would have done that by now on a normal day!).

Also, I am guest blogging today over at the Attune Foods … about my other healthy living goals and of course, I couldn’t resist including a recipe. Check it out and feel free to let me know about your healthy living goals on that post!

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