Delicious Slow Cooker Okra and Tomato Sugar Free Recipe!

Slow Cooker Sugar Free Tomato & Okra Recipe

I absolutely love okra.  I grew up eating it in gumbo, my dad always had a jar of pickled okra in the fridge, fried okra always went with the fried chicken and a can of okra and tomatoes was a common side dish.

So I thought I’d try my hand at an okra and tomatoes recipe and was so happy with how it turned out.  I used fresh okra but if you can only find frozen, that should work also just don’t get the breaded kind.  Also beware of over-cooking, my first batch was allowed to simmer overnight and was almost completely liquid.  Also beware of the tomato sauce because sometimes they like to add a little sugar to the recipe.  Just check the recipes and make sure it’s just tomatoes and possibly salt.

Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A super easy and delicious Okra and Tomatoes recipe that you can throw in the slow cooker and go!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Okra, sliced in ¾" pieces (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1 can of Tomato Sauce (Be sure there is no sugar in the sauce)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves diced garlic (or a spoonful of jarred diced garlic)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in Slow Cooker
  2. Cook at Medium setting for 4-6 hours until okra is soft, stirring occasionally

 

5 Steps to Break Your Sugar Addiction!

How To Break Your Sugar Addiction

So last week we looked how to tell if you have a sugar addiction and if you were being honest, you probably saw you have a problem.  So now you know that sugar is dangerous and you are addicted to it, now what?

I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty tough to break the habit.  The first few days after I cut myself off, I was pretty much fantasizing about cinnamon rolls and Hershey’s bars every night.  The good news is that it can be done!  You can get those cravings out of your system and break through to a more healthy diet with just a few easy steps.

1.  Have the right attitude.

Attitude is SOOOOOO important.  If you see this as an exercise in deprivation, it will not go well.  You are not depriving yourself of something awesome, you are getting rid of a dangerous toxin that is slowly killing you.  Keep your eye on the future you that feels better, has lower BP, lower BMI, has lost weight and looks great.

2. Eliminate Habits Associated with Eating Sugar

This was HUGE for me.  I had to look at where I was most prone to eat sugar and either get rid of them or at least be aware of what was going on.  If I went to the movie, I had a Coke, popcorn, and maybe sneak a Snickers bar in as well.  When I went to a church fellowship event, I sampled a few of the awesome desserts the ladies would bring.  3PM Energy crash?  That’s when a Reese’s peanut butter cup and a Coke come out.  I had to look at each of these and figure out what I was going to do in each situation.  Mentally go through your day, figure out when you are most prone to eat sugar and come up with a plan to either avoid the situation or avoid the sugar.

3.  Eliminate Sugar from Your Fridge and Pantry

As long as you’ve got a package of cookies in your pantry, this is never going to work.  Start reading ingredients on the back of packages looking for these sugars and starting chucking them in the trash.  I know, I’m a frugal guy so the idea of wasting anything is anathema to me but you gotta do what you gotta do.

4.  Withdraw from Sugar

This is the big moment.  Intentionally eat the last bit of sugar you will ever eat and begin your new lifestyle.  It’s not going to be the easiest thing in the world.  Sugar causes a chemical addiction so there will be a chemical withdrawal.  You are going to have cravings and want to cheat a little   Don’t!  Once a sugarholic, always a sugarholic and eating a little, especially in the withdrawal phase, could cause you to relapse.  All I can tell you is that after a week or so, everything changes.  I have no desire for sugar and am able to see it for what it is, a dangerous substance that can only hurt me.

5.  Restock and get on with your life.

Don’t just through your food away, get new healthy food.  I am convinced that part of the reason I’m feeling better is not just the absence of sugar from my diet, it’s also the fact that I am eating so many more whole foods and fresh produce.  (If you are worried about price, there are ways to save on meat and produce)  In fact, we went so far as to join a co-op that keeps us stocked on fresh food.  Life is good, we eat better, we feel better, I’m losing weight, there are no cravings for sugar and my doctor likes what she is seeing.

If you are interested in cutting the sugar out of your diet, let me know either in one of these ways or in the comments.  I’d love to keep in touch and encourage you through this process.

A special thanks to David Gillespie for these helpful steps.

8/20 Weightloss Wednesday: I’m 20 Lbs Down!

Weightloss Wednesday

It’s been a while since I’ve made one of these Weightloss Wednesday Videos because I haven’t really been losing any weight.  I finally came to grips with the fact that my snacking and dessert-eating was sabotaging my weight-loss efforts and once I stopped snacking, the weight started coming back off.

I can’t even tell you how exciting it is to see this progress and to FINALLY be under 290 lbs.  I special shout out to my lovely wife and Vinnie Tortorich for putting their finger on what my problem was and helping me break through.

Easy Sugar Free Sauteed Cabbage Recipe!

Sugar Free Sauteed Cabbage

As part of our commitment to eating healthy, Dian and I joined a produce co-op.  This has opened me up to several veggies that are outside of my “normal vegetable rotation”.  For instance, the only time I have ever bought cabbage in my life was when Dian wanted Cole Slaw for her hot dogs.  As a true Texan, I know that Cole Slaw on hot dogs is a Yankee abomination and only gets in the way of the chili and cheese. Smile

So now I had a head of cabbage that I really didn’t know what to do with.  (I know, I’m stumped by the stupidest things.  I also got a package of figs that will probably rot before I get to them.)  After a little experimentation, I found a way to use my cabbage that was absolutely delicious and complemented the grilled chicken I paired it with.

This recipe is made for 2 people people but it is very easy to double or quadruple for more people.  I hope you enjoy it!

Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A quick and easy sauteed cabbage recipe
Ingredients
  • ¼ head of cabbage sliced (any color)
  • ½ an onion, sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Remove core and outer leaves from cabbage
  2. Place all ingredients in frying pan
  3. Cook over medium-high heat until cabbage is soft (about 15-20 minutes)

 

4 Easy Questions You Can Ask to Tell If You Are Addicted to Sugar

4 Ways To Tell If You're Addicted To Sugar

If you had asked me if I was addicted to sugar before I started my sugar free journey, I would have laughed at the idea.  Addiction was for the weak and sugar wasn’t addictive, or so I thought.

Little did I realize that under an MRI machine, eating a sugary treat causes the brain to light up like a Christmas tree in exactly the same way it lights up when you give a cocaine addict a bump of coke.  In fact it really wasn’t until I decided to cut sugar out that I realized how deep my addiction went.  For the first few days, it was literally all I thought about.  I kept coming up with rationalizations and round-about ways I could get a little “hit” of sugar.  It was eye-opening to say the least.  Even now, 4 months into a no sugar lifestyle, I still have the occasional urge to grab a quick dessert.

Here are 4 Questions You Can Ask to See if You Are Addicted to Sugar

Just like with any addiction, the first step to conquering it is admitting you have a problem but how are you supposed to know if you are addicted?  Fortunately there are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if you have a problem.

1.  Do you struggle to pass by a sugary food without grabbing one?

This was definitely me.  It was as if saying “just one” to myself was some kind of magic spell that would make what I was eating not be fattening.  And it was never “just one”.

2.  Have you built routines around your sugar consumption?

I remember when my youngest son was growing up, he got it in his head that you were supposed to eat dessert after every meal.  (Can’t imagine where he picked that up.)  It wasn’t until we let him spend the night at his grandmother’s and she called us the next day to tell us that he asked for dessert after a breakfast of pancakes and syrup(!) that we realized we weren’t doing a good job of modeling good eating habits to him.  Do you have to have dessert every night?  Do you eat a candy bar in the middle of every day?  Do you have to have a sugary drink or snack after a workout?

3.  Are there times when you feel like you can’t go on without a sugar hit?

For me it was that 3PM lull between lunch and dinner.  I was pretty much powerless against the siren call of a Reese’s peanut butter cup.  (Plus, peanut butter is full of protein so it was practically healthfood, right?)

4.  If you are forced to go without sugar for a day, do you develop headaches or mood swings?

I would have had no way to answer this because I can assure you that I NEVER went a full day without sugar!  Now I know that mood swings and intense cravings happen when I cut sugar out but I sure am glad I did it.

Here’s the horrible truth, if you answered yes to ANY of these questions, you are probably addicted to sugar.  It’s time to get that sugar out of your life!  If you need more convincing, here are a few ways fructose (sugar) is making you fat and sick and here is my story about how I broke free of my sugar addiction.

Thanks to David Gillespie for this list