How About Pop, Soda, Coke and Tea or Coffe for Healthy ?

Pop, Soda, Coke

Whatever you name them, we call them the death of a trim waistline. Thankfully, more and
more companies are coming out with stevia-sweetened sodas. Kroger supermarkets carry three
such brands in their health food section. One brand, called Zevia even has a cola flavor that
contains caffeine. We know some of you may drink coke or diet coke for the caffeine hit. We’re
not going to bury our heads in the sand and pretend you don’t exist. If you’re a soda addict,
switching to a brand like Zevia can be one way to drink your soda without growing an insulin
belly from all the sugar in coke, or consuming the harmful artificial sweeteners in diet sodas.
This might not be a purist approach but it offers a practical solution.
There has been quite a buzz lately about Pepsi bringing out a stevia-sweetened version of
coke. So far, it’s not on the market, but will probably happen before too long.

Pearl chats: My children love to drink Virgil’s Zero Root Beer. They like it so much
that they save their own money to buy it since it’s not on my grocery list. It is stevia-
sweetened, zero calorie, zero harmful ingredients, yet absolutely delicious. We find it
at our local Kroger store. 

No More Coffee?

Coffee and tea. They’ve been around for centuries. Our official stance is, go ahead! Shouts and
cheers! Fist pumps and high fives all around. We join you in a resounding, Yay!
We know there is much controversy over whether or not coffee and tea are healthy. We
have kept a close eye on the studies. Latest research has exonerated coffee and tea from their
bad reputation. Studies show that coffee does not leach minerals from the body. It is not a great
idea to take your vitamins with a cup of coffee, but it will not deplete your entire system.
You cannot count coffee as part of your water intake for the day, but it is a myth that coffee
will cause dehydration. Tea may be counted as water intake. Both tea and coffee have wonder-
ful benefits, but we still caution moderation since overdoing caffeine can raise cortisol levels
and tax the adrenal glands. In moderate amounts, coffee and tea are beneficial because of their
extraordinarily high antioxidant levels and mood lifting abilities. In fact, tea, and green tea,
can be consumed more liberally than coffee since they have less caffeine and both offer benefits
to the brain and body. Green and black tea can aid in weight loss, calm nerves due to their
theanine content and are anti-aging tools. The caffeine in green tea is neutralized because of
theanine, a natural de-stresser.
Coffee elevates dopamine levels, which contributes to a feeling of happiness and lessens the
chance of getting Parkinson’s. Numerous studies indicate that coffee consumption is associated
with a sharply reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including an 18 year follow up study
on Swedish women released in J Intern Med in 2004. A 2009 study published in the Archives
of Internal Medicine reported that each cup of coffee consumed daily dropped the risk of this
disease by seven percent. Another very recent study carried out in China at the Huazhong Uni-
versity of Science and Technology suggests the likely reason why coffee has this preventive effect
against Type 2 diabetes. The researchers discovered that coffee is able to inhibit toxic amyloid
proteins that are normally found in the pancreas of people with Type 2 diabetes.
One has to weigh up these findings with the rise of Type 2 diabetes. Most Americans drink
coffee, yet Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. However, consider what they put in their coffee.
Sugar, or some other sweet Starbucks concoction? We doubt even high amounts (4-6 cups) of
plain black coffee daily can completely combat a diet that is too high in carbs and sugars. Yet,
these beneficial compounds in coffee cannot be discounted. Logically, it seems best to eat low
glycemic foods and also include some wonderful daily cups of Joe.
Coffee is now also considered by researchers to be an anti-cancer beverage. Laboratory
studies show that it has an anti-tumor effect against ovarian, colon, liver, and other cancers. A
recent 2011 study released in a May edition of Breast Cancer Research showed that post meno-
pausal women who drink moderate to large doses of coffee are also at significantly less risk for
an aggressive type of breast cancer known as “estrogen receptor (ER) negative.”

Pearl chats:
I look forward to my one cup of coffee each day, two on Saturdays. I jok-
ingly call coffee my “paci,” nicknamed for pacifier. It soothes, comforts, and lifts my
spirits. I am thankful for this “paci” when my boys are extra loud and crazy and I finally
shoo them out the door to play backyard football. What better way to de-stress than
with a comforting mug of coffee? My coffee with cream helps me get through the rest
of the day. Sure, it’s a vice, but God knows we need that little extra help sometimes
or He wouldn’t have made the coffee bean! Having only one cup a day is not a rule, but
I find I can become overly stimulated with more and push my body to do too much. I’m
not particularly interested in becoming a super woman.
I find it helps to have a nice hot drink in the afternoon with a snack. Eating on
the run, or while multi-tasking, often causes you to be unaware of what and how much
you are eating. Devoting a little time to unwind with a cup of coffee or tea, and some
yummy plan approved cheesecake, makes you stop and realize life is pretty great. You
receive more pleasure through food by relaxing and are more able to stop eating when
satisfied. Somehow, sipping on a hot beverage makes that more likely to happen. O
Serene chats: When I first started researching on the benefits of coffee and how it
is one of our highest dietary sources of antioxidants, I really wanted to be a believer,
but I had been indoctrinated by dietary gurus who looked down their noses at coffee.
It was difficult, with my purist approach to eating, to even put coffee in my shop-
ping cart at first. I felt like I was starting to smoke cigarettes or something equally
unhealthy (crazy me, huh?). Since finally allowing myself this wonderfully healthy indul-
gence, I have taken a step closer to comfort and the ability to nurture myself.
I have always enjoyed the deep aroma of coffee and tried to savor its flavor by
using coffee substitutes made by roasted chicory and grains. They didn’t have the
depth and fullness I knew came from real coffee and I was always left unsatisfied.
Living with a low glycemic approach, I didn’t like the extra carbs in the grains (even
though they weren’t over the top) as I prefer to save my carbs for food.
At first, I didn’t do regular caffeinated coffee as I was still trying to heal my
adrenals after some lifestyle stressors. Regular decaf is unhealthy because of the
chemical processes used. Here’s the good news. There is a healthy way to decaffein-
ate. It is called the “Swiss water method.” This removes the caffeine, but keeps the
bold flavor and antioxidants. You can find this at any natural food store. I still love my
Swiss water decaf coffee, but also enjoy the “real thing” now without any ill effects.
Now, along with my eggs in the morning, you can picture me enjoying real organic
coffee with cream. Care to join me? What a yummy way to stay young, slim, sane, and
I like to research the best and healthiest approach to everything. Coffee and its
different preparations has been my latest hot subject. Pearl laughs at my obsessive personality in this area. You could serve her Joe “any old how,” as long as it’s real
coffee. She could probably even drink it lukewarm! Horror! When it comes to coffee she
simply enjoys it without all the fuss. Me? I like to fuss. I am a complete coffee snob . . .
well, perhaps a “wannabe snob.” All my coffee gadgets come from the Goodwill thrift
store. If I can’t have a nice, potent, organic, freshly roasted “cuppa,” then I’d rather
go without.
I don’t mind a cup of French press or filtered organic coffee, but I prefer to dive in
deep and drink my coffee closer to the core essence of this antioxidant loaded bean.
Behold, the espresso—the most potent way of receiving the antioxidant properties
and bold flavor from the coffee bean. Surprisingly, it is also the best way of avoiding
too much caffeine.
Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of hot water through the coffee very
quickly. It is this rapid and pressurized contact with the water that extracts con-
centrated amounts of coffee’s benefits without over extracting caffeine and breaking
down the oils. In all coffee preparations, the best part of the coffee is extracted in
the first cup of water that flushes through the grounds. This is like the first pressing
of a good quality olive oil or wine and contains most of the incredible benefits we hear
about coffee. When you brew a pot of coffee, you run multiple cups of water over these
same grounds. More bitterness and acidic content of the coffee bean is extracted and
you get a boatload more caffeine and diluted benefits.
The longer the contact time with water, the more caffeine is extracted. It is a
misunderstanding that espresso is the stuff that gets you totally wired. Yes, it has
a stronger and deeper flavor, but a 2 oz. double espresso has only 50 mg of caffeine,
whereas an 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee has 2.5 times that much caffeine, sitting
around 135 mg. I don’t want to come across as fearful of a moderate amount of caffeine. In fact,
most of the studies show the benefits of coffee are associated with the real thing,
not decaf. But, keep in mind we are not encouraging you to be a “caffeine junkie.” Over-
stimulating yourself is not beneficial.
I don’t like to take my espresso in a quick shot as I love to savor a full mug of Joe.
Therefore, I dilute my morning double espresso with the same amount of hot water
and a dash of organic cream, if budget allows. Superb! This is called an Americano.
It rocks with a quiet moment— the baby napping or nursing and my Bible or another
meditational book in hand.
I found my espresso maker at Goodwill for five bucks. It does the job, but would
probably make an espresso connoisseur completely dissatisfied. I am hinting to my
husband about a Vev Vigano for Christmas. It runs around $40-50 for a small one.
It is purported to make the best espresso unless you want to spend up to $1000. It
carries an old world charm of being a stove top original Italian design. What makes it
better than most stove top espresso makers is that it is made from stainless steel
and not aluminum like other Italian models.

Pearl chats: Thanks for the loooooong coffee 101 class Serene. I still “like me some
Dunkin’ Donuts” brewed coffee. And yes, I can drink it any temperature. O

You can drink your coffee with full cream or half and half for S, and either black, or with
a dash of milk or almond milk for E. Please stay away from non dairy creamers. They are filled
with trans fats and do not work for our plan or your health. If you are completely lactose intol-
erant, health food stores have coconut coffee creamers which work for our plan. Do not use
pre-sweetened ones. They will counteract the wonderful health benefits coffee gives.
Also, please stop using flavored coffee liquid creamers like vanilla, caramel, or Irish Cream.
They are full of sugar and cause your middle to expand. You can buy flavor infused coffee beans
or ground coffee instead. Starbucks has a line of naturally flavored coffees. Watch out though,
because most other brands of vanilla, caramel, or other flavored coffee beans are artificially
flavored and add needless toxins to the body. If you love flavored coffee, purchase naturally
flavored beans or grounds then add your own cream and on plan sweetener. You’ll have the
same end product, but a much healthier and trimming version.

Waistline Killer or Healthy Snack?

It would be cruel to take popcorn from your diet. Popcorn fits into the E category as it is a
starch and contains more carbs than S allows. Corn is used to fatten up animals and we don’t
promote it enthusiastically in this book. In too high amounts it won’t do you any favors. But,
we don’t want to lose you by being popcorn Nazis. It is a natural, all American snack, full of
fiber and gives a great crunch fix. There are two main glitches with it—overconsumption (easy
to do) and fats and carbs collision. We’ll tackle one problem at a time and offer solutions.
Popcorn is one of those foods we all love to sit and eat mindlessly. It doesn’t fill the belly
well so you can too easily eat oodles of it and generate high surges of insulin.


Usually, most of us eat it without protein and with a lot of butter. Lack of protein makes for higher glucose surges
without the mediating effect of glucagon and lots of butter equals fats plus carbs weight gain.
But, let’s be honest, popcorn is fantastic with lots of butter and that’s okay for a real indulgent
Crossover meal or snack now and then. “Now and then” means rarely—had to say it!
For your odd snack of popcorn, we’re not going to harp on to you about protein. If you
follow our plan correctly you will receive ample amounts of protein with virtually every S and
E meal and snack you eat. We’re going to bend our own rules just for popcorn’s sake and say,
“Okay, don’t worry about eating protein with popcorn.” There, that was hard for us, but we
managed to type it in! If the amount of popcorn we suggest leaves you still feeling hungry, it
might be a good idea to pair it with one of our whey protein smoothies. This will give you a
greater fullness level and even more fiber to help combat any possible glucose spikes from the
more starchy popcorn.

Sorry, but we must set up a few boundaries for popcorn if you want to eat it regularly with
our blessing.
O O Popcorn should not make a full meal, on plan it is always a snack.
O O Keep a three hour distance between popcorn and an S meal. That will make sure a fats
and carbs collision does not occur. (If you don’t have weight to lose, you can bend that
O O Don’t eat it as a snack every single day as you will miss out on more protein filled
O O Limit portion size to four (or at the most five) cups of popped kernels, eating slowly.
Over that amount and you’ll jump right out of weight loss mode into opposite territory.
You can go the purist route and pop the seeds yourself in an air popper, or put two table-
spoons of seeds in a brown paper bag, double fold and pop it for one and a half to two minutes
in your microwave (Serene prefers you air pop). Popping in a saucepan with butter will not
work for an E snack of popcorn because the butter required will need to be over our recom-
mended one teaspoon allowance.

Pearl chats:
If you care not a whit about food purism, you can buy microwavable, 100
calorie mini popcorn bags and eat one of those as an E snack. They’re handy for por-
tion control since they conveniently come in four to five cup servings. Be sure to stick
to one bag. There is some concern that the lining of popcorn bags releases PFC’s (per-
flourinated compounds) that are harmful to immune health but I’ll admit we still use
them in our house. Serene hates that I’m even mentioning these mini bags, but some of
our Drive Thru Sue mamas might think the ease of these bags are worth the small risk.
Some brands are now coming out with PFC free bags, so keep an eye out for those.

If you’re popping your own seeds, they will taste dry and unappetizing without sprinklings
and seasonings, so what do you do if you can’t pour on heaps of butter? A good solution is to
spray with a healthy cooking spray like olive oil. Non-purist types could use a butter flavored
spray. This spray is only to allow your seasonings to stick. Don’t spray 50 times, that will
defeat the purpose. Once you have coated the kernels with a small amount of oil, season with
sea salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, spices of your choice, or even a little hot
sauce. You can also look at health food and online stores for a brand of popcorn called, Half
Naked Popcorn. It is in bags already popped if you want to skip that step. It does not contain
harmful ingredients and has appropriate fat amounts. Just be careful to remember our portion

Popcorn is a great and very inexpensive snack for children if you home-pop the seeds. All
of our children love to pop their own bowls and get very creative with flavorings. We don’t
worry about how much fat get poured on with the children in our homes that are still growing.
They melt heaps of butter or coconut oil to pour over, but they are all lean and shooting up like
weeds, so the fat and carbs collision doesn’t hurt them a bit. If your children have weight issues,
it may be a good idea to show them how to make E approved popcorn.
There is growing concern about GMO’s, the genetically modified form of modern corn.
We don’t get too caught up with this fear as we try to feed such nutritious fare overall to our
families and we cannot afford organic everything. But, if your budget allows more wiggle room
and you have concerns about GMO’s, purchase organic popcorn seeds and you will have noth-
ing to worry about.
Here is a list for all appropriate foods for E (Energizing) meals:

all vegetables, except potatoes (save potatoes for Crossovers or complete cheat meals)
sweet potatoes, keep to one medium sweet potato per E meal
carrots, both raw and cooked are acceptable

all fruits in small quantities e.g.,1 apple, 1 orange, 1 slice of cantaloupe (very high gly-
cemic fruits like bananas and watermelon should be kept to minimum)
all berries in liberal quantities
all fruit jelly, we approve Polaner All-Fruit Jam with Fiber (for use with Greek yogurt
and skim ricotta)

Eat freely from the following forms of low-fat or non-fat dairy.

low or non-fat plain regular yogurt
low or non-fat plain Greek yogurt
low or non-fat plain kefir
low or non-fat cottage cheese
part skim ricotta cheese
skim mozzarella cheese (very small amounts only)
reduced fat (2%) hard cheeses (very small amounts only)
Light Laughing Cow or Weight Watchers cheese wedges
low-fat sour cream (it is healthier to use low-fat yogurt, but is okay)

Eat freely from all lean meats, avoid all fatty meats

chicken breast
tuna packed in water
salmon (both fillets and canned forms are fine)
all other fish (not fried)
leaner cuts of bison, venison and grass fed beef
turkey breast
lean ground turkey or chicken (96%-99% lean)
lean deli meats (natural brands that don’t use hormones or antibiotics are best)


egg whites only—no yolks (carton egg whites and Egg Beaters are also acceptable)


brown rice—3⁄4 cup cooked serving
quinoa—3⁄4 cup cooked serving
oatmeal—up to 11⁄4 cooked cup serving
Trim Health Pancakes and Trim Healthy Pan Bread—up to 1⁄3 full recipe batch serving
whole grain bread, sprouted, sour dough, dark rye—2 piece servings
Popcorn—4-5 cups of popped kernels


all beans and legumes including lentils and split peas—up to 11⁄2 cooked cup cooked


nut butters (1 tsp. servings)
nuts (very small handful servings, basically a sprinkle size)
defatted peanut flour (we recommend Protein Plus Peanut Flour and Byrd Mill Peanut
Flour Dark 12%—1 Tbs. serving for use in desserts, sauces, and to stuff celery)


reduced fat mayonnaise
horseradish sauce
all vinegars
hot sauce
reduced fat dressings (keep fat grams to 4 or less and sugar low)
soy sauce/Bragg Liquid Aminos/Tamari
chicken or beef broth or stock (free range is best)
spices and seasonings (without fillers and sugars)
unsweetened cocoa powder
cold pressed oils (one teaspoon servings—maximum 2 teaspoons)
Fat Free Reddi Whip (for use with desserts)


stevia—NuStevia Pure White Stevia Extract Powder, Truvia, or KAL and Swanson
stevia drops.
xylitol and erythritol

Specialty Items

plan approved whey protein powder, e.g., Jay Robb and Swanson Premium Brand
Whey Protein
unsweetened almond or flax milk
glucomannan powder
Joseph’s pita bread or lavish bread
Dreamfields pasta
konjac noodles

Your New Friendly Recipes and about The Beans

Our Trim Healthy Pancakes (Morning Meals, Chapter 18) and Trim Healthy Pan bread (Muffins,
Breads and Pizza Crusts, Chapter 19) are your perfect E meal companions. These two recipes
are quick and easy to make, delicious, and filling. You can eat the pancakes with fruit or berries  and 0% Greek yogurt for breakfast. At lunch, you can make a sandwich or two out of the pan
bread using a little light mayo, mustard, dijonaise or horseradish sauce, lean deli meats, or
leftover grilled chicken breast and lettuce.
Foods, like pancakes, are usually incredibly high in carbs, have little protein, and quite
simply, they make people fat. Our recipe may resemble IHOP pancakes, but they will help
slim you down since they have just enough whole grains to aid in energy, heaps of protein to
cause your body to burn more calories, and only a small amount of fat. They are perfect E style
foods, and their carb count still leaves room for you to add a little fruit without going over the
45 gram carb threshold. Woohoo!


Pass The Beans

Beans are the cheapest carbohydrate to use in an E meal. If you have a tight budget, you’ll love
beans for their price alone. You can feed a houseful with a bag or two of beans or lentils for less
than a couple of dollars. But beans have more than just bang for your buck going for them.
They contain what is known as resistant starch, which has a much more gentle impact on your
blood sugar than other starches. As a result, you can eat larger servings of beans than grains in
your E meals, if you desire.
They are also very high in antioxidants, especially beans with vivid or dark colors like red
kidney beans or black beans. While beans do have some protein, it is important to remember
that they are predominately a carbohydrate. Adding a little bit of lean animal protein to your
bean meal in the form of some diced chicken breast, a dollop of Greek yogurt, or a sprinkle of
low-fat cheese will boost the protein content of your meal and keep you more satisfied.

Soak beans well as this resistant starch is known to cause a lot of gas for some of us. If you
are not the “from scratch,” type cook and prefer ease and speed, then canned beans are accept-
able too, only avoid canned beans with sugars or starchy sauces. Also, endeavor to use cans
without BPA—a chemical we’ll talk about later in the book.
Be sure to check out the information we provide in our Foundation Foods, Chapter 17 on
a legume/bean called chana dahl. It is a very low glycemic bean and is perfect for you if you
are pre-diabetic or full diabetic and your response to most starches is poor. It is a great food for
everybody else too.