Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gimme some sugar

A new look for the blog, and time for the first Wednesday update. First, sweet things.

1. Blueberry-cream cheese tart

I made this for Valentine's Day. I've been trying my best to limit my sugar intake and the tart only has about 1/3 cup sugar in the whole thing. The recipe is from the Greens cookbook by Deborah Madison. Her recipes come out great, but boy, are they complicated. She has meticulous notes about technique, many of which I disregard. The base of this tart was a mixture of cream cheese and sour cream with lemon and a dash of sugar. I think you could use tofu cream cheese, maybe thinned with a little soy milk, as a good substitute.

2. Rice krispie treats

By the time I remembered to take a picture of these, only two were left. As I said before, they use no refined sugar, yet the texture is exactly like traditional RK treats. The flavor is also the same, with a hint of nut butter. Here is the recipe, via my awesome nutritionist:

1 box rice krispie cereal (brown rice krispies if you can find them)
1 1/3 cups brown rice syrup, or a mixture of rice syrup and barley malt syrup
½ Cup almond, peanut, or cashew butter
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
1/2 Cup chopped dried fruit

Pour cereal into large bowl, add fruit and nuts. Bring rice syrup (or barley malt syrup) and nut butter to a boil. Cook for a few minutes. Pour over cereal mixture, mix, pour into a 9x13 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Moisten hands with cold water and pat to compact.

3. My dietary journey
I started going to a nutritionist a few months ago. My goal was to take a fresh look at my dietary habits, and hopefully drop a few pounds along the way. We discovered the problems I experience are probably due to fluctuating blood sugar. I had to face the fact that my system is very sensitive to caffeine and sugar. Along the way, I:
--read The Low GI Diet by Patrick Holford. It's a great eating plan that's easy enough to do over the long term. It's also quite vegetarian-friendly.
--gave up all sugar and caffeine for two weeks. This was hard but got easier after the first few days.
--started paying more attention to signs of fluctuating blood sugar, and planned five small meals a day.
--decided to eat sweets only on Saturday.

4. Candida
My nutritionist thinks I probably have a problem with high levels of candida albicans. I have many symptoms that point to this, such as lethargy, "brain fog," recurring fungal skin infections, a nose like a bloodhound (seriously, an acute sense of smell is one of the symptoms), and mood swings. Strangely, though, I don't have the problem you'd most associate with women and yeast.

I probably got my candida levels out of whack when I lived in Africa and took an antibiotic every day for two years as an anti-malarial. Broad-spectrum antibiotic use is the most common cause of candida problems. But the other medicine available made me feel like I was going crazy and has a few class action lawsuits against it, so there you go.

If you're interested in taking a candida diagnostic questionnaire, there's one here.

The treatment for candida is a very restrictive diet. As you might guess, it does not involve a lot of desserts. I'll write up my experience with that in the next post.

Also, I'll try to get the other recipes people requested up next week. But between now and then I'm going on a mini-vacation!


ceri said...

amy, you must do a good job of hiding your lethargy and mood swings.
like the new look.

My Year Without said...

thanks for posting your rice krispie recipe! it looks so good and easy....and i love that there are no marshmallows!

i hope that things go smoothly with your nutritionist. good for you for going that route.

Zandria said...

That blueberry cream-cheese dessert sounds SO GOOD. I really need to stop being inspired by all these wonderful dishes and actually make something myself! :)

Vegetation said...

LOVE the new look! And mmmm rice crispy squares. I HAVE to give them a try! I've been using rice malt syrup lately to try and replace some refined sugar in my diet (sadly I cannot eat agave so it's out :( )

And I want some of that blueberry cream cheese tart! YUM!