Monday, August 25, 2014

Mousse au Chocolat Dex+, in progress

This is my third attempt at a Dex+ version of my mom's Mousse au Chocolat recipe. It came out very rich, thick, and tasty. The chocolate and egg yolk mixture was a bit too thick though; I had to stopped folding to prevent deflating the egg whites before the mixture was smooth. That left soft chocolate pockets that were actually enjoyable, but that's not how it's meant to be.

I topped it with whipped cream, flavored with a little dextrose, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. They looked elegant in the Margarita glasses. After a steak dinner, the portion size was actually a bit large. Next time I'll reduce the size, and adjust the thickness to get a smoother mousse. But, we sure did enjoy it.



Mousse au Chocolat Dex+
Serves 6

Ingredients:

92 g dextrose
1 Tbsp (15 g) butter
6 whole eggs, separated
4 pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolates, cocoa butter, and butter, then remove from the heat.
  2. Whisk egg yolks with dextrose.
  3. Mix the melted chocolate into the egg yolks.
  4. Add the pinch of salt to the egg whites, and beat until very firm.
  5. Carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the whites.
  6. Pour into serving dishes, and cool for 2-3 hours.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Trifecta: Fiber is a beautiful thing!

What is beautiful about fiber? With Benefiber or similar, I can add a spoonful of powder to anything liquid. It becomes invisible, doesn't thicken, and has only the barest hint of taste in straight water. It disappears in my food.

Fiber in a blue glass jar.
Fiber, hiding in a jar of syrup.
The benefits are also beautiful. Dietary fiber includes soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber's listed benefits are just what I am after: blood sugar regulation, reducing cholesterol, and losing weight. I've tried it out, and it held true for me. My health trifecta: 1) Cutting the fructose is the vital, primary step; 2) Eating plenty of fiber multiplies the benefits; 3) Making your body burn calories to keep warm is the cherry on top. 

Ok, so how much fiber? Ideally, all foods should have at least:


To achieve 3 grams per 200 calories, I've also started looking into how much fiber is in other foods, so we can supplement less. This site has a nice listing of the soluble and insoluble fiber in a lot of foods. The USDA database is searchable and extensive, but lists only dietary fiber. Unfortunately it's not simple to go pull out the set of information that I really want, but I'm working on it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lemon Lime Soda Dex+

Sweetened drinks. They are everywhere. We all love them. When I talk about Dex+, I see the pained look on faces after I mention not drinking sweet drinks, whether sugared, natural juices, or artificially sweetened. The kids struggle with it too. 

We have a Soda Stream, and Simple Syrup Dex+. I've tried to re-create Dr Pepper, and so far failed. Colas are mysterious. Then it struck me: lemon lime soda. We usually have both. How hard can it be? Turns out, not very! So simple, crisp and tasty. We tried adding vanilla, but that actually muted the flavor. There is just enough syrup to sweeten the fruit. A typical soda from the store is much sweeter.

Pro tip: cut the pithy tips off and discard, before slicing lemons or limes into eight wedges.
These small and large containers work great for lemons and limes.
Add a lemon and a lime wedge to each glass. Crush the fruit; a muddler works well. Add syrup.
Add a little carbonated water, and stir well.
Add more water and ice. One pink glass has cherry Kool-Aid added, the other has Grenadine Dex+.
 To add a little extra flavor, mix a pack of Kool-Aid with two tablespoons water, and add a few drops to the drinks. My son prefers to crush the fruit before adding the syrup, to keep the muddler cleaner. I found that crushing with the syrup keeps the lemon from spraying out of the glass if the muddler slips.

Lemon-Lime Soda Dex+

Ingredients, per glass:

  • 1 lemon wedge (1/8th of a lemon)
  • 1 lime wedge (1/8th of a lime)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (60 g) Simple Syrup Dex+
  • 12 oz carbonated water
  • ice

Directions:

  1. Crush the lemon and lime wedges in a glass. 
  2. Add the syrup and a small amount of carbonated water, and stir well.
  3. Add the remaining water, stir gently, and add ice.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Thermogenex: it's bonafide!

I love this photo! I feel this way for a moment every shower, when the first cold cycle hits. Ray, your Thermogenex / Hypothermics is indeed the perfect complement for my Dex+ food hack!


I've said it before; I love steamy showers. I don't like being cold. But I lost over twice as much weight last month because I tried Ray's crazy cyclic showers. Seriously. 

Each day I face the shower, I consider this: I tried the gym once. For two years; two hours a day of boring drudgery, followed by the drive home while tired, hungry, and sweaty. Guess what came next? A shower! Am I really going to complain about the cold water, and adding a whopping seven minutes to my usual routine? I come out clean and refreshed. All I've got to do is make it through that first shock of cold water! Um, well, I do cheat just a little, and don't hit the cold full-blast right at first. Guess what? It still works! Thanks again Ray, for all your research. I've got a few more weeks before sending in my data. 

Really, give it a try. It's sure working for me. Thermogenex / Hypothermics

Friday, July 4, 2014

Of cabbages and kings... Cashews, BP, maple syrup, et all

I've been pretty busy lately, dabbling with multiple things. I've made a Dex+ ketchup, which my daughter says tastes too much like tomatoes (?!); it does need a bit more zing. Not ready for prime-time yet, but it's promising. It tasted better warm than it did after chilling down. I'm close on some other new recipes too; wish there was more time in the day!

Hypothermics and the Beach

I started trying to do Hypothermics (get colder to burn more energy). It has been a slow adjustment. No more steamy showers. :( Coming off the steam wasn't too bad though. The first few doses of cold water were a different story. Took about four days to go beyond just getting my back cold. However, it's definitely easier now; well, physically it is. Mentally, I still strongly object to the cold water. Physically, it's much less of a shock now. I also have been wearing lighter clothes, and when driving, I run the AC full-blast the whole time. Brrr!

Then after the first week of cold showers, I promptly went to Florida for a week. Direct sunlight is in direct conflict with this plan, but I didn't want to wait until after vacation to start! We ate Dex+ style on the trip, although I ate more than usual anyway. My DH loves to cook; even the sandwiches were killer, especially when I made the bread. My dog now loves the Frisbee like never before, and will leap into the air, plunge her whole face into the salt water, and endure a mouth full of sand to catch it! :) We had great fun! It was a great place for star gazing; we saw the Milky Way very clearly. I was up a couple pounds when we got home, then lost that plus more within two days. To be fair, my feet had swollen unexpectedly on the last day because of deer fly bites while packing the van to go home. Wish I'd had bug spray! There have been too many changes in routine lately to have any real read on Hypothermics yet.

Maple; how the mighty have fallen...

A bit of disappointing news, and my apologies for some misinformation: I found out that I misunderstood my maple syrup reference, making maple not such a great thing. The document lists the glucose:fructose ratio as 5.6:1, which sounds great! The thing I missed was that this number did not include the glucose and fructose that was combined as sucrose. The syrup contains 99% sucrose, making the amount of free fructose and glucose so small that it doesn't even matter. :( So in reality, maple syrup is pretty much as unhealthy as plain white sugar. What an important study, not. Again, sorry for that; I should have read closer before using that data.


Cashews and BP: a beautiful friendship

Roasted Cashews: I like salted and unsalted mixed together.
In the last few weeks, my blood pressure readings started bouncing around. What? I've been doing so well! Low fructose, good cholesterol, loosing weight, eating fiber. The only thing I could think of that was really different is that I'd run out of cashews. Out of convenience, I've been keeping a stash of cashews at work, and eating them for lunch most days. Probably 1/2 cup or so, sometimes adding an apple. I ran out, and had been eating some mixed nuts, sometimes a Dex+ item, etc. Could it really be the cashews? Google says yes, it could. There are studies. Also, I started eating them again, and my bp smoothed out and went down. Very interesting. I'm much happier eating cashews regularly that I was taking medicine. Now I have a real excuse for eating tasty nuts, or whatever they are. :)

Good times!

My family is embracing Dex+. They are eating less at meals, and commenting that they are too full to eat more, even when it's something that is usually tempting. Fiber really seems to be a key too. We had Benefiber in our water or milk last night with our pizza. I'm looking into what foods have the most fiber per calorie, and plan to start serving those more too.

This concludes my musings this Independence Day morning. I need to go start some dough for rolls, play a little Guild Wars, buy some fireworks, shuck some corn, and start making another batch of Greek yogurt to make frozen yogurt with. I have fresh cherries to put on top. :) Happy 4th of July; remember those who helped make your nation a place to be proud of, and enjoy some fireworks!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thermogenex: another thing to try

A friend recently started trying Dex+, and also mentioned adding exercise. Next thing I know, I'm telling her cold showers are probably better. That sounded kind of crazy, even to me. My husband had been telling me about this crazy self-experimentation guy has been loosing weight by taking cold showers. A crazy guy that worked for NASA, seems to have a spread-sheet and data collecting fetish, and worked on ECLSS for Space Station. Then I thought, wait, do I know him? Why have I been ignoring that guy? Just because I like hot showers? Ummm, yes, I think that's it.


Now I've been reading his Hypothermics blog, trying to catch up. It makes a lot of sense to me. Wouldn't sacrificing steamy showers be worth loosing weight a lot faster? Today the answer is yes, it's certainly worth a try! So, I've downloaded the spread sheet. I've taken measurements, and recorded all my starting data. And, I took my first Thermogenex contrast shower. Not so terribly bad... if the payoff is high, it just might be worth it. It should complement Dex+ nicely. It's free, and if it works, I'll give him a donation. And maybe once the weight is gone, I can have my hot showers back...

Trust but verify. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Controlling Fructose: Yep, I got it! Dex+

Took me a while to notice there was a second "Bitter Truth" video: 
Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0


I watched it to see if I'd missed anything, or gotten anything wrong. There is new info, and it tracks with what I've been experiencing (happy!). TL;DR: Here's my take on it:

  • Metabolic Syndrome is the name of the problem here, and it is caused by fructose and/or alcohol; obesity and low energy are symptoms.
  • This is worth stating again: people become fat and lazy BECAUSE OF what fructose does to them, not because they decide to be that way.
  • Fat inside the abdomen is the dangerous stuff, not what's on the surface. Metabolic syndrome causes these fat deposits.
  • More than half the people with metabolic syndrome are not obese; they are unhealthy though. Not all obese people have metabolic syndrome.
  • Fructose leads to insulin resistance, which leads to increased insulin output, which leads to the body thinking it is starving, which leads to over-eating and feeling weak and tired, which promotes energy conservation.
  • Reverse: When fructose is removed from the diet, the body adjusts back to normal insulin levels, leading the body to an "awareness" of fat reserves rather than starvation, which leads to lowered appetite, and feeling energetic, which leads to burning off excess energy and loosing weight.
This is what I've been experiencing. I get full and satisfied on much less food. I have more energy, and need less sleep. I'm more active. Last year, I could barely keep up with my afternoon-walk buddies at work; today they (accidentally) left without me (oops), and I was able to catch up with them, without even being short of breath or feeling near death. ;) Now that's a truly significant change! Some days I do wish I could eat more without feeling so horribly full, but that's something I can live with!

I mentioned in my European hot chocolate post that my daughter found regular hot chocolate and Dr Pepper to be sickly sweet. Today my son mentioned having a regular Coke when at a friend's birthday party, and he thought it tasted like a glass of syrup; as in: totally disgusting. Check out the "Sugar and Fiber" tab above for a few more thoughts along these lines. This summer is starting out awesome! :) 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

European-Style Hot Chocolate Dex+

I'm so pleased! My daughter went to Hamacon last night, and got hot chocolate. Now, here's the awesome part: she said it tasted so weak and sickly sweet that she had to give it away! She also couldn't drink the Dr Pepper! My scheme is working; my children don't like fructose-laden foods any more. Of course this also means that her friends think our "sweets" aren't sweet enough... I may need to add extra sweeteners when they visit.

In her honor, I wanted to make some real hot chocolate. I've had Jacques Torres' hot chocolate on Valantine's before (hugs to my DH); it's delicious, rich and thick. If I could Dex+ that, wow! But he doesn't share his recipe; hmmm.

I came across this European hot chocolate recipe by Recchiuti, and was very disappointed to find that it is made primarily of his chocolate; not really a recipe at all. However, I like the idea of frothing it, and he's got an interesting list of flavorings, spirits, and garnishes. It would be fun to set up a hot chocolate party like he does, and offer the selection for friends to customize their chocolate with. Home-made marshmallows may be in my future too...

Ok, the next thing I found was this one by Helen McLean. Her recipe is so simple; but it relies upon sucrose-sweetened chocolate. A visit to the spread sheet, the pantry, and some nutrition websites, and two tries in the kitchen, and I've got something pretty special now. :) Next time I'll add vanilla. I didn't realize it was missing until later, but vanilla makes everything just a little better, right?


 
Simmering the water, syrup, cocoa, dextrose, and salt will take this mixture from gritty to luxuriously creamy.


















 
Adding the milk, cream and cornstarch, and bringing to a boil, will thicken everything nicely. Increase or decrease the cornstarch by 1/4 tsp to make it thicker or thinner.









 
Off the heat, add the chocolates, then go to town on it with a whisk or a stick blender with an air whipping attachment, like the one above.
A larger pot would have made it easier to whip without splashing the precious chocolate over the sides. The bubbles are really nice though. Maybe I'll use a bigger pot next time. 
I can't wait to spring this on my daughter! She's at the con again today though. The three of us that are home have split two "single" servings in tea cups. I'm thinking next time we each need our own serving in a jumbo mug. Mmmm.

European-Style Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (per person):

¾ cup milk
¼ cup cream
¾ tsp cornstarch (+/- ¼ tsp as desired)
10 g unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp (14 g) simple syrup Dex+
5 g (1 Tbsp) dutch process cocoa (Guittard's Cocoa Rouge or Hershey's Special Dark)
16 g dextrose
1 pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Whisk together milk, cream, and cornstarch; set aside.
  2. Measure out unsweet and semi-sweet chocolates; set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine water, syrup, cocoa, dextrose, and salt until smooth. Bring to a simmer over low to medium heat, while stirring. Continue to simmer for a minute or two.
  4. Stir the milk/cream/cornstarch mixture again, and pour into the saucepan while still stirring. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Stirring constantly, allow to boil for a minute or two to allow cornstarch to thicken. Remove from heat.
  5. Add chocolates and optional flavoring and spirits. Mix and froth with a stick blender, add optional garnish, and serve.