Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I hope you've had a safe and Happy Halloween!  I love seeing my kids so excited.  Fun times- great memories! 


My almost 10-year-old, next to her beautiful creation.



My 80's chick (wearing my actual sweater from 9th grade!  It's my bow, too, but I never wore it like that.  I would pull my hair to the side with a barette.  It's hard to replicate big hair without a perm) , a scary vampire, and sweet little bunny.  My oldest was already out with friends by this point, so no pic.

As for the candy... I haven't been able to bring myself to take it from them and be the scrooge of Halloween.  We're making a lot of changes right now, and I have to pick my battles.  I'm excited that my kids are eating so much healthier.  Step by step, we'll get there.  Now next year, it should be a different story.  I'm planning to have made enough changes that we can take away some of the candy factor with out as much shock.  This year?  I think some of that candy might just disappear....

A few updates:

I've decided to add back all of my supplements that my doctor had me taking when I first started this new diet adventure (HERE).  I stopped taking them three weeks ago because I ran out and couldn't afford to buy more until payday.  And then when I started the GAPS Intro diet, I thought I would just do the supplements that were mentioned, in the Steps listed.  Now that I'm paranoid about my teeth and my hair I'm adding back all my supplements and not being as strict with the GAPS Intro diet until I talk to my doctor next week.  I'll do a mixture of intro & regular GAPS.

Detox Bath update:  I've tried it twice, and it's actually not so bad.  I think I can make a habit of it.  Now if I can just find the time...  It's harder than I thought to steal away 20 minutes at bed time.

I'm going to be cancelling my gym membership, so I've got to get more creative with my exercise.  I'll still run 3-4 times a week; 2-3 on an indoor track, and Saturday long runs outside.  I've got to pull out my Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred dvd.  It's a great 20-min workout.  I just need to figure out how to run the dvd player with my satellite remote (or get a new remote for my dvd player).  Otherwise I can't scroll up and down to the right program.  Project for this week.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pulling My Hair Out- Literally

I mentioned my concern about my teeth a few weeks ago.  I have another concern now that I'm researching:  My hair is falling out! 

I have thick, coarse hair, and always tend to comb out some after showering.  One of the questions they asked me at my naturopath doctor visit was if I was losing more hair than normal.  I said possibly, because it seemed like a little more.

But now when I'm showering, I'm taking away GOBS of hair.  It's really gross.  I should take a picture and show you how much comes out after one shower.  Not normal.

I did a bit of research online, and found that you definitely can lose hair when you have rapid weight loss, usually when it's over 20 lbs- yep, that's me.  I've now lost 25 pounds in three months.  Some things I read leaned toward a B vitamin imbalance.  Others mention magnesium.

I just read another possibility that is alarming to me (taken from this link):

1. Tooth discoloration and hair loss seem to be common trends in GAPS patients?
Tooth discoloration and hair loss are very rare in GAPS patients, and usually happen in very toxic people, particularly people with metal toxicity. Hair and teeth are those places where the body often stores toxins in. Many things happen in the body, as the GAPS programme is initiated. We don’t know what happens exactly, but it is possible that the hair, full of toxins, get dropped by the body to allow new “clean” hair to grow. With teeth: I have seen autistic children who had their permanent teeth growing with black spots embedded in them. One particular boy displayed noticeable improvements in his autism in the weeks following the removal of the black spot by the dentist. It is possible that his body has stored mercury from vaccinations or some other toxins in the growing tooth. We don’t know what happens exactly, but it is likely that the detoxification initiated by the GAPS Nutritional Protocol starts shifting the toxins around, which may be the cause of tooth discoloration in the initial stages. In the long run, however, your child is likely to grow beautiful white teeth, as I have seen in so many GAPS children.

Another link to teeth!?  Hmmmm.  I've been toying with the idea of going to a holistic dentist to remove my amalgam fillings, but it's expensive, and I don't have dental insurance.  Time for more research to see if it can wait, or if that is something I truly need to address in order to overcome my candida problems.  Things I've read from the very start mentioned getting rid of amalgam fillings.  I've got a bunch.  Bother.

I would LOVE to hear any advice or experience you've had with hair loss while losing weight, or amalgam fillings.  If you've had any removed, did you notice any differences?

*This post is linked to the Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania.  Check it out!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Intro to GAPS diet- Day 5

This afternoon I had a bit of a GAPS Intro melt down.  I got REALLY anxious, which is something I haven't felt since the first few weeks that I cut out sugar, back in early August.  I was serving Bekah an almond power bar that I made yesterday for the family, and I suddenly lost it.  I HAD to have it, and decided that it was okay since everything in the bar was still in the regular GAPS diet.  I didn't stop myself.  I wasn't sure if I'd have a reaction or anything, but it really calmed me down. 

Now to figure out why I was feeling like that.  I think it is because I ran 6 miles this morning, and then for breakfast I had onion soup, and for lunch I had carrot/cauliflower/onion soup.  Maybe not enough calories & my body suddenly freaked out?

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the author of GAPS, wrote an excellent article titled One Man's Meat is Another Man's Poison, and I strongly recommend that you read it!  Here are a few excerpts that make me think of what happened to me today:

Depending on what your body is doing at the time, depending on the season of the year, on the weather and the level of stress you are under, your body can switch between different ways of energy production: using glucose for example or using fats. Only your body knows what is appropriate at any particular moment of your existence, and it requires very different nutrients for different patterns of energy production.
***

No matter how clever we think we are, we cannot calculate how much salt or water we should consume at any given time: only your body knows that, and it has excellent ways of telling you what it needs – thirst for water, desire for salt or any particular food, which may have the right mineral composition. Make no mistake, your body knows the nutrient composition of foods on this planet.
These are just a few factors to demonstrate to you that no laboratory, no clever doctor or scientist and no clever book can calculate for you what you should be eating at 8am, or 1pm, or 6pm or in between. Only your body has the unsurpassed intelligence to figure out what it needs at any given moment of your life, as your nutritional needs change all the time: every minute, every hour and every day.
***
So rather than feeling guilty for eating outside of my GAPS Intro diet, I'm going to trust my body, and know that what I did was okay.  I love that I'm getting in tune enough with what I'm eating that I can know that what my body is craving is okay, not just an addiction to sugar or wheat and craving a bunch of garbage.  (BTW- The only reaction I had after eating the almond bar was the backs of my knees itching a bit, but it wasn't bad).
Tomorrow I enter STAGE 2!  I get to add fresh herbs, fermented vegetables (I've only been doing sauerkraut juice up to this point), fermented fish (? I'm not even sure what this is?), and egg yolks.

Intro to GAPS diet- Day 4

I wasn't going to post about Day 4, because it's all pretty standard now.  I'm eating lots of boiled meats, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and butternut squash.  But I just remembered the soup I ate last night, and it was really good, so I've got to post about it  (& I'll do another post for Day 5).

The soup from last night is  Meatball and Broccoli Soup (SOURCE).  I made a few changes to it that were really good.

On Thursday I made some fish broth by boiling a whole tilapia for 8 hours.  I could only find a farmed whole fish at the store, so I hope I'm not doing more damage than good.


 I took the fish out, salvaged what meat I could (it was a tiny amount for how big a fish it was- a few bites worth), and then strained the broth into some quart jars.  When Jimmy saw this he asked if I even felt one tiny inkling that this was a bit.... weird.  I just smiled.

For the beef/broccoli soup I used 2 quarts of beef broth, 1 quart of water, and 1 cup of fish broth.  I added about a pound of broccoli, and ten meatballs, and let it simmer for about a half hour.  I removed the meatballs, added a couple cloves of garlic, and then blended it nice & smooth.  It was a lovely green color- reminded me of split pea soup.  When dishing it up I added back the meatballs, and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. 

It was so good!  The fish broth gave it an interesting tang, but not too strong.  Jimmy didn't even guess the fish broth was in it.  I give this soup 5 stars out of 5.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Dreaded Detox Bath

In my "What Can I Eat Now- 30 Days on the Intro to GAPS Diet" e-book (sample HERE) it says that I should be doing one detox bath a day.  First of all, I had never heard of a detox bath before this program, and second of all, we have one bath tub in our home, and it's one of those small ones that I don't really find relaxing.  When I think of a relaxing bath, I think of a nice big soaking tub in a beautiful setting.  Maybe something like this:


.
I know, I know- I need to be grateful for what I have.  I have visited other countries where a bathroom is a luxury, not to mention indoor plumbing.  I need to remind myself that as I'm having a hard time finding the motivation to take this step. 

I've come this far, though, that I should be doing everything I can to get the results I want, right?  So I decided that today I'm going to read about detox baths and try and work that into my schedule at least 4-5 times a week.  Maybe up to 7- we'll see!  Maybe I'll begin to love it and wonder how I ever lived without it.

Here's a web page from wikihow.com on detox baths:  Detox Bath.  This has already made me more excited to try it.  Interesting point from the post:  Your skin is known as the third kidney, and toxins are excreted through sweating. A detox bath will assist your body in eliminating toxins, as well as absorbing the minerals and nutrients that are in the water.

In the e-book it says: 

Detox Baths Detox baths are a part of the GAPS intro (and continuing) protocol. You will alternate between seaweed, Epsom salt, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda.

Each day along with the menu it tells you which kind of detox bath to take.  Today my detox bath is supposed to have seaweed powder, something I don't have.  I think for now I'll start off basic with Epsom salt, vinegar, and baking soda.  I had never cared to know what Epsom salt is made of until a few minutes ago:  MAGNESIUM sulphate.  Hmmm.  Think that might help my possible magesium problem?


OK- wish me luck.  I'll start this tonight.  (I know- torture to have to set aside half an hour a day to soak and relax, right?)

Have any tips on detox baths?  I'd love to hear them.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Intro to GAPS diet- Day 3

Ahhhhhh.  Much better.  I know that I was experiencing some die-off symptoms yesterday, but I'm feeling much better today! 

Yesterday I felt a little nauseous and had a headache (mainly in the morning, but no, I'm not pregnant!).  Thankfully that wore off once I had lunch.  Maybe it was that yucky onion soup for breakfast.  I ended up putting the onion broth/onions in my blender and pureeing into more of a creamy soup.  It still wasn't my favorite, but a lot better than eating the onions sliced in the broth.

In the evening yesterday I suddenly started having symptoms like I was getting a cold- stuffy nose, my throat feeling itchy/funny, and sneezing.  I have felt that before over the last few months, and it was always quite sudden, but went away quickly, too. 

Here are common die-off symptoms (the ones I'm experiencing/have experienced in red):

Fatigue, brain fog, gastro-intestinal distress such as nausea (not any more), gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, low grade fever, headache, sore throat (slight), body itch (behind the knees!  I thought it was a reaction to something I was eating, but couldn't figure out what), muscle and / or joint soreness or pain, feeling as if  coming down with a flu (slight- not so bad) .

When you do a candida cleanse everything I've read says it isn't good if you have a big die-off all and once and feel horrible.  I feel like I've got a pretty good balance here, because I'm having enough symptoms to know it's working, but nothing too bad.

One of the biggest changes today is how mentally clear I feel!  There is a distinct difference!  The last few days I have been VERY spacey- answering questions wrong, saying the wrong words when I'm trying to say something- in a BRAIN FOG (another die-off symptom).  It's hard to describe unless you've had it happen before.  It's a step past "dumb blond".  

I have read that when you first start GAPS or a candida diet some of the symptoms you were having in the first place get worse before they get better.  I was hoping that because I had cut out simple sugars and most fruit for a few months that I wouldn't experience die-off symptoms as bad, but I can see that there is more work to do!

Today's Menu:
Boiled roast beef (with leftover butternut and onion soup from yesterday)
Creamy Cauliflower (with butter and lamb tallow - I'll use chicken fat instead of the tallow)
Crock pot Onions (I'll use the leftover from yesterday)
Mashed Carrots (boiled an hour, then mashed & adding garlic and chicken fat).
Sauerkraut Juice (!)  (I get to introduce sauerkraut juice- 1 tsp!  Thankfully I like it. It's supposed to be homemade, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.  It's on my to do list.  For now I'm using pricey fancy sauerkraut from the health food store).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Intro to GAPS diet- Day 2

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh.

I feel crappy right now.  Yuck.  The detox effect has kicked in, and I feel nauseous and a bit shaky.

It doesn't help that the soup I ate this morning is yucky.  It is onion and leek soup.


It smells really good, but it tastes like nothing- a huge disappointment after yesterday's amazing Intro butternut squash soup.   And it doesn't help that I made pumpkin oatmeal (with pumpkin pie spices and raisins) for my kids.  It smells SOOOOOO good. 

Recipe:

Onion Leek Soup
2 quarts stock
1 quart water
5 onions, sliced
4 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sea salt (or to taste)
Simmer everything for one hour or overnight on low in the crock pot.
(source) *

My menu for today:
Onion Leek Soup
Meat Patties (you form hamburger into patties, cook in chicken broth with carrots and cauliflower added, remove when done then blend broth & veggies into sauce to pour over burgers- this sounds good)
Squash chunks
Meat strips (boiled roast beef)
 Another challenge that I'm facing right now is the MICROWAVE.  You're not supposed to use it on GAPS.  They say it destroys the nutrients.  Grooooaaannnn.  I'm realizing now how much I depend on it (I'm using it right now to thaw my hamburger).  This diet will really test me on my planning ahead skills, which aren't the greatest right now.


*All recipes I post for the Intro to GAPS diet are taken from the e-book "What Can I Eat Now- 30 Days on the GAPS Intro Diet" from www.homehealthhappy.com.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Intro to GAPS diet- Day 1

Yes, I did it.  I took the plunge!  I'm on day 1 of my Intro to GAPS diet.  For those of you who have never heard of GAPS, it stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  I describe the Intro to GAPS diet more HERE.  The purpose of doing GAPS is to help heal the gut, which will prevent toxins and other unwanted things from entering the bloodstream and causing all sorts of problems (GAPS basic info HERE).

I ordered a 30-day meal plan for my GAPS Intro diet from http://www.healthhomehappy.com/, and I'm really glad to have found something all laid out for me to use.  The diet is a HUGE change, and this takes helps make it less overwhelming.  HERE is a sample of the meal plan I'm following.  It's great because it tells you what cooking equipment you'll need, gives you a shopping list, and even tells you what to tell friends, family, and others about your diet (because people will think you're crazy!).

I made my chicken broth yesterday, and had one huge pot taking two burners, and then two other pots on the stove the entire day.  It smelled really good, but I wasn't so sure how it would taste.  I didn't know if I diluted it too much.  Last night I put the broth into jars, and I ended up with a lot!


This should last me quite a while!  I used the plastic container of broth today for my butternut squash soup (probably not BPA free... I ran out of jars, though!).  I'm going to freeze most of it, and left extra room at the top of the jars for it to expand in the freezer.

My menu for today (any order):  Intro Butternut Squash Soup, Boiled Broccoli, Sweet Onions, Chicken Meat with Soup.

I made the butternut squash soup this morning by simmering 4 cups of butternut squash in 2 qts of chicken broth and 1 qt of water.  I also added one tablespoon of Real salt.

It didn't look very good at first, but when the squash was soft I blended the soup up in my Vitamix, and it looked creamy and smooth.



It was a bit thin, but when I took a bite..... Heavenly!  SO GOOD.  Unbelievably good.  I am surprised that something so simple could be so good.  If everything I eat the next month tastes so good I shouldn't have any trouble.  You can do anything for a month, right?

And remember, this diet has six stages.  In this first stage the diet is very basic, and then we add more & more variety at each stage change.  If all goes well I'll be on each stage for 3-4 days.

I decided to wait on the magnesium.  I read a blog post where someone was supplementing on magnesium and had a crazy reaction to it- they got so tired they had to immediately go to bed & they were groggy and incoherent.  I decided to wait until dinner, closer to bed time.  But then I read somewhere else that magnesium can mess with your sleep, so not to take it after 5 pm until you know how it will affect you.  That made me nervous, so I think I'll wait for a while.  On this GAPS intro all my foods are soft anyway, so it won't be an issue for me.

One thing I haven't found any information on is if there is anything wrong with heavy exercise while you're doing this program.  I'll have to play it by ear.  If I start feeling too wiped out I might have to ease off on the strength training for awhile.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Enough Planning Already. Tomorrow I Start the Intro to GAPS Diet.

I've gone to Costco.  I've gone to the grocery store.  I've cooked four chickens.  I'm just about ready to take the plunge & start Intro to GAPS. 

I was going to start today, but I simply wasn't ready.  I didn't want to do all the finish-up prep work on Sunday, so today's my gett'er done day. 

Things I still need to do: 

Make my chicken broth.  I'm boiling the chicken carcasses (read POST here) for 8 hours, straining the liquid, and then I should have lots of great broth, which you should have with every meal for the next 30-days.  I have no idea how much broth I'll end up with, but hopefully it's enough for a few weeks.  I'll freeze some of it so that it will last.

Buy at least 2 lbs of fish, including scales & bones.  We'll see what my local grocery has. 

Buy at least 2 lbs of meat bones.  I have NO idea if they have what I need.  I might have to purchase my meats online in the future.  My plan B until that happens?  Beef broth from the store if I can find some with out MSG, and one that has lower salt.

Make onion broth.

Buy a large strainer.  I'll probably use my colander until I can buy one.

I should be ready by tomorrow.   I went and bought some liquid magnesium, by the way.  We'll see if I notice any difference by tomorrow.

*****

A great blog, The Healthy Home Economist, is having "Monday Mania" where people from various blogs list a link for interesting blog posts.  I've found some neat things there, and put a link of my own this week (#58).  Check it out!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Uh Oh- What's Going on With My Teeth?

Something's been bothering me off & on for a few weeks now.  My teeth are hurting. 

It's not one tooth.  It's more on the top left side, but it's affecting both sides.  The pain is hard to describe.  It's kind of along the gum line, but also radiates into the teeth.  It feels like when you have something stuck between your teeth & you need to floss it out.. that kind of pressure, but kind of painful, too.  It's most noticeable when I eat a lot of raw foods, like my salad.  I also felt it a lot today after eating roast beef.  It feels like my gums are receding, like my teeth are a bit wiggly (FREAKY!).  I looked at them in the mirror, and they're a bit red, although they're not bleeding when I brush.

Tonight I decided to Google it, and I came across a raw food blog where they were discussing this.  Turns out this is common when going raw, and that it might be a MAGNESIUM deficiency!  Really?  In solving one problem I'm creating another?  They suggested drinking wheat grass juice, and another person suggested liquid magnesium drops.  Guess I know where I'm headed tomorrow!  I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

These Burgers are Alive!

Tonight I made the strangest meal that I have ever made- Sprouted Lentil Burgers.

MMMMMMmmmmm.  Sounds delish.... (at least I kept trying to convince my family!)


First of all, the lentils had sprouted A LOT.  I had no idea what to expect, but I'm not sure if I sprouted the lentils right.  I think so.  The first night I covered the lentils with water.  A few hours later before bed I checked on them and added another inch of water, because the lentils had already expanded more than I expected & I thought that overnight they might not all be covered.

Then it said to drain the lentils "up-side-down", which I'm assuming meant to put in the colander & sit throughout the day as they drained?  And I rinsed the lentils both morning & night for about 3 days.  The musty smell of the sprouts kind of made me nervous as I was preparing the burgers, because it was pretty funky.  I couldn't imagine how these would taste good at all.

The first step was to put a couple cups of the lentils into the blender along with 1/2 cup coconut oil, two inches of peeled ginger, 2 tsp of salt, and I was supposed to put in some horseradish, but all I had was Woeber's Horseradish Sauce, which COMPLETELY goes against everything pure I'm trying to eat right now.  Here are the ingredients:  Soybean Oil (!), Water, Corn Syrup (!), Vinegar, Egg Yolks, Modified Corn Starch (!), Horseradish, Salt, Artificial Flavoring (!), Potassium Sorbate (!), Xanthan Gum (!), Calcium Disodium EDTA (!).  I did put about a tsp, because I thought I better balance out all that ginger.  I'm still waiting to see if I have some sort of reaction to something in it.

I pureed the ingredients, then I was supposed to throw 6 cups of the sprouted beans in the food processor with the puree & coarsely chop them up so there was some texture for the burgers.  I don't have a food processor, so I hand chopped them.

That worked just fine.

Next step was to mix the puree and the chopped lentils together.  It was very moist, and I wasn't sure if it would even hold together while I was cooking it.



I used my hands, because I really needed to shape & mush together.  It said to use a skillet, but I just used my electric griddle at about 300 degrees.



Even at this point I wasn't so sure about these burgers.  I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to flip them with them falling apart.  Surprisingly, they were fine.



I loved that they even browned, which looked more appealing. 

So, the verdict?  They tasted about 50 times better than I thought they would.  It turns out our family dinner time was a split up, with Jimmy eating on the go.  He ate one and was really good about it.  He said "Tastes.... healthy".  Then he said it had an Asian flare to it, and on his way out he commented on the strong aftertaste.

He took Jess & Bek, and KJ and Grace are gone.  So it was Shiloh and me.  Her reaction?




I give this recipe 3 out of 5 stars, and thought it wasn't too bad.  It's definitely something that would have to grow on my family, and is a great recipe for Halloween.  My kids think it is creepy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Busy Day! Feels good.

Today has been busy & productive.  It's fall break here, so the kids are out of school today & tomorrow, & Jimmy doesn't have to work (working for the schools has its perks!).  I was actually able to SLEEP IN until 7:30am, which is almost unheard of for me.  My body has an internal clock that is set between 5-6am, and it rarely budges, so this was a nice treat.

I did a lot in the kitchen today.  I roasted/cooked four chickens for most of the day, got all of the meat off, and will make chicken broth with the carcasses tomorrow.  I bought the chickens (organic, all natural) from Costco- two for around $22.  That is a lot compared to what I normally spend on chicken, but I decided it was worth it.  I've seen all natural chickens for $22 a piece, so I decided it was the middle ground... a good compromise.

I got a lot of meat out of them, too.  If I stretch it out a bit it is enough for seven meals, plus all of the chicken stock I'm making tomorrow.

I was able to fit one chicken in my smaller crock pot, two in my larger crock pot, and then I roasted one.  The instructions for roasting said to put it in the oven at 350 for one hour.  It didn't say whether or not to cover it, so I did, thinking that it might dry out uncovered.  I took it out at one hour, and it didn't seem quite done.  I put it back in for 30 more minutes, and even then parts of the leg/thigh didn't seem done.  So I think I should have cooked it another 15 minutes at least.  The chickens in the crock pots cooked for 8 hours, and were definitely done.  Hopefully not too done- but they seemed all right. 

I decided to try making yogurt again, with a few changes from the first time.  Everything went much better, except I let it come to a boil again, dang it!  It happened a lot quicker this time.  In the instructions it said to stir it about every 10 minutes, so I had stirred it once after 10, I set the timer, and thought I had time to run down & throw in a load of laundry and make it back in time to stir again.  I made it back in less than 10 minutes, but it was already boiling.

I googled it, and found out that everything is fine if it reaches the boiling point, but the yogurt might not be as smooth.  That's a relief.  I can handle that, as long as everything else is working fine.

I had plenty of time to let it cool down (plan on hours!).  After more research I've discovered that you can cool it down by placing the pan in cool water, too. (DUH, Jan!)  Once it was about 90 degrees I poured it into the jars, added a tablespoon of Greek yogurt to each one and stirred them up.


I decided to use the cooler again, but this time I used a hot water bottle, and then covered it with a towel.


This should work a lot better than the cooler all by itself (duh, Jan! It's like I'm in the kindergarten of natural living).  I was going to use a heating pad, but we don't have one & I was going to have to buy one.  Everyone that I found had a 2-hr automatic shut-off, which wouldn't work.  The hot water bottle should be just fine.


I couldn't get the lid to stay down tight.  Like my red-neck solution?

I started my first sprouting project a few days ago.  Here's an update:





SWEET!  Kind of creepy, but sweet!  I took this picture in the morning, and now the sprouts are 2-3 times longer!  I can't even remember what's coming up in my meal plan that I'm making with this.  Can't wait to try it, whatever it is.  (Now if I can get my family to eat it!)

And last, but not least, I made Cowboy Cookies.  I was supposed to make these last week, but didn't get around to it. 


I know they're not much to look at, but they are GOOD.  I used a recipe from my October grainless meal plan that I ordered from http://www.homehealthhappy.com/

They have almond flour (I ground up my own almonds), coconut flour, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, honey, pecans (I used walnuts instead), shredded coconut (I used chipped coconut), and raisins or other dried fruit (I left this out).

My family LOVED them.  Jimmy couldn't believe that they had no processed sugar, only honey.  He still can't get over the fact that butter is okay.  Yesterday he asked if he could buy some "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" to put on his popcorn, and I said NOOOOO!  If only I could get him to read the book... :)

Recipe Review: Cinnamix Powerbar

I tried another powerbar recipe that I got from an e-book called Healthy Snacks to Go (from Kitchen Stewardship.com) .  We had it for a treat at our Monday night family night.

The Cinnamix Powerbar


I keep trying new flavors hoping to find one that Jimmy will like. 

The Cinnamix has:

2/3 c. almonds & 1/2 c. cashews, blended up.  You add 1 c. dates, and 1/2 c. raisins, then 1 tsp cinnamon, and blend all together.

This was fast & easy, and it was a nice consistency that turned into bars easily.  I'm going to start rolling them into bite size balls, though.  I don't really like how they look as bars ( a little too much like....#2).

I liked this powerbar a lot, but not as much as the first one that I made (see post HERE).  I give this bar 4 stars out of 5.  As for Jimmy?  He ate one this time and actually came back for seconds, but they were all gone.  This recipe is a keeper!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Intro to GAPS diet- here I come!

First, I need to say that my family had CHILI tonight! I was a bit nervous about it, but all went well (no, I didn't tell them what was in it.  More about that another time).

I ordered the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome:  Natural treatment for Dyspraxia, autism, A.D.D., Dyslexia, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride MD, MMedSci(neuroloty), MMedSci (nutrition), and it came last week.  I've spent every spare minute reading it! 

It's obvious to me that I need to get down to the nitty gritty and do the Intro to GAPS diet.  It is even stricter that what I've been doing so far, and Jimmy thinks I'm crazy.  But the more I study, the more convinced I am that this is what I need to do.  The Intro to GAPS diet is designed to heal and seal the gut lining quickly.  It's for those who have serious digestive symptoms:  reflux, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, severe constipation, etc.  I don't have any of those, but then the author also says that those with food allergies should do it, too.

You can move through the program as fast or slow as the symptoms will permit.  I think that I'll be able to move quickly, and if not, then that will show me that I really needed the healing!  There are six stages, and you add a little more and more at each stage.

In stage 1 you start off having homemade meat or fish stock, homemade soup with the meat stock & veggies, and probiotic foods like fermented veggies, whey, sour cream, yogurt, and kefir.

In stage 2 you have the above and add raw organic egg yolks to the broth, plus stews and casseroles made with meats and vegetables (no spices, just salt), and GHEE.  What is ghee, you might ask?  (I had never even heard of this a month ago!)  It's a type of clarified butter.  What is clarified butter, you might ask?  (nope- I hadn't heard of it!).  Clarified butter is milk fat rendered from butter to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat.  Clear as mud?  Yeah, to me, too.

Stage 3- Previous foods plus add ripe avocado, nut butter/egg/winter squash pancake, scrambled eggs, sauerkraut & fermented veggies.

Stage 4- Previous foods plus roasted and grilled meats, cold-pressed olive oil, fresh pressed juices, starting with carrot juice, and  nut flour bread.

Stage 5- Previous foods plus cooked apples, honey, raw vegetables

Stage 6 Previous foods, plus raw fruit, baked sweet things (using dried fruit as a sweetener)

Now that I've eaten the way I have for two and a half months now, the thought of doing this diet doesn't overwhelm me as much.  I'm 2/3rds of the way there, anyway.  My family IS NOT going to do it with me.  I know that from just doing this week and a half trying to do some of the regular GAPS diet with them.  I'll still cross my fingers that down the road they'll have a change of heart.  I still plan on having them eat ultra healthy, though.  Just not quite as strict as GAPS is.

Of course I'm still in the planning phase of the GAPS Intro diet, so I won't start it immediately.  But, the sooner the better to stay away from the holidays.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hits and Misses of the Week

Last week there were some big hits & misses with the new foods we're trying on the GAPS diet.  These recipes were taken from the October grain-free meal plan from http://www.healthhomehappy.com/.

The Hits:

Garlic-Spinach Artichoke Dip-  I LOVED this.  So good with veggies.

Banana Chips- My first experience with the food dehydrator, and they turned out so yummy! 

My kids LOVE them, and it is so great to see them snacking on such a healthy treat.  When I do bananas again I'm going to soak them in lemon juice.  I like the flavor better, and my kids like them either way.

Beef Jerky- I did this kind of last minute, not expecting much.  I took some beef sirloin, cut it into small strips, sprinkled on Montreal Steak Seasoning, and then dehydrated it over night.  When I looked at it in the morning I was shocked because it looked like I had dried it too long (sorry... no pic!).  But when I tasted it, it was EXCELLENT!  My family went nuts over it- especially my 14-yr old son.  My kids said it was the best jerky they had ever had, which says a lot, because they love jerky.

Green Smoothie with Coconut Milk- Soooooooo good!  My 12-yr old dd loves smoothies, and she was in heaven.  She said she would even pay for this one at a smoothie bar.  It had spinach, pineapple (I used canned crushed pineapple instead of fresh because I need to use it up.  Shhhhhhh- don't tell!), frozen bananas, and  coconut milk. 


The Misses:
Coconut Flour Crepes.  These sounded really good to me, but were a big flop.  Aren't they pretty?  They did start to look a little nicer (a bit rounder, more even colored), but they didn't taste good.  They were pretty much like eating sawdust.  I made some honey cinnamon butter for the kids to put in the middle, but I tried one and it didn't help much.

Butternut Squash Pizza.  I should have taken a picture.  They actually looked pretty good, but they didn't taste good!  I just took a small butternut squash, peeled it, cut thin discs from the neck, baked them for 15 min, flipped them, added the toppings (tomato sauce, cheese), and baked another 15 min.  Bleh.  Tied for the worst failure.

Baked Stuffed Eggplant.  Again, no pic.  I'll try & get in the habit.  I mentioned these on one of my other posts HERE.  This didn't turn out so well, but I made it on a night that I didn't realize would be so rushed and I didn't give it the time it deserved.  We'll try this again.  You're supposed to cut it 1/2, bake it for 15 min, make a slit down the middle, stuff it with chopped onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, parsley, honey, and sausage.  Now looking back, I don't think I added the honey.  And I didn't have any parsley to add, and that might have made a difference.  Parsley has surprised me in the past with how good it can make food taste.

A few Interesting Recipes in the upcoming week:

Celeriac Hash Browns-  I had never even heard of celery roots, and when I found them in the store I was quite surprised.  They look gross, and Jimmy hates celery, so we'll see how this turns out.  I won't tell them what it is before hand!


Warm Lentil Salad- with sprouted lentils.  I have never sprouted anything on purpose before, so this will be new.  This recipe calls for fennel, which I HATE.  A vegetable that tastes like black licorice!!?  How cruel.  I might try it, but only one more time!

Homemade Sauerkraut- my parents made this when I was a kid.  I like the taste of sauerkraut, so this will be interesting!

Skillet Mousska!  (What?!)  This is a Greek dish made with eggplant, LAMB, and sauce.  I have NEVER cooked lamb before.  I ate some yummy lamb when I was growing up, though.  We had some sheep ranchers in our church congregation, and we would have awesome summer parties with deep fried lamb.  We'll see if this can compare to that...

Chili- This sounds normal, right?  Don't tell my family, but it's going to have chicken liver mixed in with the ground beef!  Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stevia Review & Comparison

Before I started this diet two months ago I had heard of stevia, but had only tried in once years ago.  I didn't like the taste, and I hadn't tried it since.  I've used Splenda quite a lot, until about a year ago, when I heard somewhere that sugar was better for you than Splenda and I quit buying it.

When I changed my diet in August I started doing lots of research, and everything I read said that stevia was the way to go.  In Natalia Rose's Detox for Women, she recommends NuNaturals Pure Liquid stevia.  I went to a health food store where I lived & they didn't have NuNaturals, so I bought Sweet Leaf stevia.  I tried it on my favorite buckwheat cereal, and it was yucky, just like I remembered.

Later that week I was able to buy some NuNaturals at a different store, and it was WAY better.  It doesn't have a strange after taste to it.   I decided to save the NuNaturals for me, and then use the other for my family (who didn't know any better).  The first time I tried it on them, though, they hated it, too.  Oh well. 

So I recommend NuNaturals Alcohol Free Stevia.  I've used the liquid and the powder, and they are both good.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Sweet Leaf stevia?  I give 1 out of 5 stars.  I tried the regular flavor, but they have a variety you can choose from, i.e. vanilla, root beer, maple, chocolate, etc.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The New World of Dehydrators (to ME, anyway!)

On Monday I received a Facebook notice that bananas were on sale at one of our local groceries, for 19 cents a pound.  Finally!  A great deal on produce that would fit in my family's diet!  I arranged to borrow a couple of food dehydrators and then went & purchased a 40 lb box of bananas.

I've never owned a dehydrator, but I've had one on my wish list for a while now.  I figured this would be a good test to see if I liked it, and if it was worth buying it. 

I did a google search on-line on how to make banana chips, and the recipes were pretty straight forward.  I peeled them, sliced them pretty thin (hoping they would be end up crispy), soaked them in lemon juice (I used bottled rather than fresh because I've got a large bottle that I need to use up), and then put them on the trays.

It was nice to try two different kinds of dehydrators.  One of them was a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator.
I really like it.  It had six trays, and had a fan in the top.  The temperature was adjustable, too.  This dehydrator dried the food noticeably faster than the other one I used (which didn't have a fan).  Another thing I really like:  the price!  I looked this up on Amazon, and for $50-$60 I think this is a great deal.  I was thinking I would have to spend closer to $150-$200.   It has pretty good reviews, too.

The second dehydrator I tried is a 7-tray Ronco Food Dehydrator. 

This dehydrator doesn't have a fan, but has a heat element in the bottom part that radiates up through the trays to dry the food.  Because it doesn't have a fan, the drying takes longer.  The banana chips tasted the same from either machine, and the price was very comparable.  The model I used (pictured) is not currently available on Amazon, but a new model is, and it is about $49.  It doesn't have very good reviews, so I didn't even put a link for you.

The option that I didn't try was my oven.  I didn't want to tie up my oven for that all day, and it only goes down to 170 degrees, so I would still prefer to have a dehydrator.  Oh, and did I mention that you can make YOGURT in your dehydrator, too!?  Guess I know what I'll be hinting at for Christmas this year.

I had enough bananas to do a second round of banana chips.  The second time I didn't soak the bananas in lemon juice, because I wanted to see what the difference would be, and I wanted to see if they wouldn't stick to the trays as bad.  They actually look really good, and didn't turn darker like I thought they would.  The biggest negative, though, is that they taste more "banana-ey", which is a flavor I have a hard time with.  In fact, I've only started to even tolerate bananas in the last year. 

Next I'm going to make some homemade jerky, but then I better get these dehydrators returned!  I have nice friends :).

Remember the Yogurt?

I've had a little adventure making yogurt this week (HERE and HERE), and thought that the yogurt I made was a failure. 

All sorts of things went wrong while I was making it: 
*I brought the milk to a boil, which you're not supposed to. 
*I couldn't stay up late enough to let the yogurt cool down enough (it was taking FOREVER), so I waited until morning, and it had cooled off completely.  I turned on the burner & warmed it back up. 
*When I was done mixing everything up I put the jars of milk/yogurt into a cooler, which was supposed to keep it warm.  When I checked on them later, they felt like room temperature, which is a bit chilly lately.

So with all that happening, I thought for sure it was a failure.  Well, the day after my last post about it I got the jars out to clean up, and lo and behold, the milk had thickened up!  It looked like yogurt!

I wasn't sure if it would be safe to eat, but i put the jars in the fridge to chill.  I really wanted to try it, but decided to wait for a time that would be alright if I got sick or something.  Last night I tried it.  I put 4-5 drops of stevia in it, mixed it up, and ate it.  YUUUUMMMMY!  It was so good.  It was not quite as thick as yogurts at the store, but I've read they often add things to those anyway to thicken them up.  This was delicious, and no, I didn't get sick.  I ate some more this morning, this time adding cinnamon to it, and it was even better!  So, yea!  I'm glad I didn't throw it out.  I'll still use a heating pad next time instead of the cooler, but now I know the cooler worked & I can compare the two.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Today's Menu

First, an update on yesterday's menu.  I already mentioned how they loved the pumpkin coconut flour waffles.  I loved the garlic-spinach artichoke dip, but my hubby thought it was so-so.  I was a bit nervous about dinner- it had lots of new foods to try. 

Lesson learned today:  I need to get as much food prep done during the day that I can, so that it is ready to throw together at dinner time.  It was a bit stressful trying to get it all done.  The biggest success:  the deviled eggs.  They've always loved these, and could eat five or more a piece if I let them!  Semi-success: The roasted pepper soup.  Not-so-much:  The baked stuffed eggplant didn't go over so well, but I will definitely try it again when I have more time.  I rushed through a few of the steps, and I don't think it was as good as it could have been.

Today's Menu:

Breakfast:
Beef Sausage (It has lots of onion.  I was supposed to chop finely, but I was in a hurry & it was a big onion.  This is definitely an example of where a food processor would come in very handy.  You also add lots of spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, sage, etc., which made me a little nervous.  Everyone really like them, but Jimmy said they tasted like little hamburgers with lots of onions.  My kids were lovin' it- hamburgers for breakfast!)
Greek Yogurt (plain, sweetened w/stevia) & fruit

Lunch:
A yummy BIG salad, w/avocado & a variety of veggies

Dinner:
Chicken & Bean Tacos (I'm supposed to soak my own beans for this, but I've got lots of canned food storage beans, and I'm just going to use them.  Normally you're supposed to use LETTUCE LEAVES for the taco shells!  I'm going to do that for Jimmy and me, but I'll use up some of the corn shells I have saved up for the kids).

Snacks/Sweets
Green Smoothie with Coconut Milk (has spinach, pineapple, bananas, and coconut milk)

Homemade Larabar Recipe Review 2

Yesterday's snack was supposed to be trail mix that had banana chips in it, but my bananas were still dehydrating & needed more time.  So I decided to try another recipe in my Healthy Snacks to Go e-book. 

I loved the first recipe I tried a week or so ago (see post HERE), which was a basic larabar, but my husband thought they were way too chocolaty.  This time I decided to make one without the cocoa powder, the "Coco-shew" bars.  The recipe is so basic, and sounded really good to me because I like cashews. 

Coco-shew Bars Grind: 1/3 c. cashews
Add: ½ c. raisins, ¼ c. coconut
Stream in: ½ tsp. vanilla

The author recommends making these bars in a food processor, but I don't have one so I used my Vitamix.  It worked fine, but it was hard to get down into the bottom of the blender picture & scrape out the sticky mixture around the blades.

Verdict:

Not nearly as good as the basic bars that I made last time.  They turned out WAY too sticky, so I kept adding more & more cashews to try and make them dryer.  I couldn't even really form them into bars or balls well.  The taste was alright- nothing to shout about.  The even more frustrating part?  I couldn't even get some of my family to try them. 

Lesson learned:  I need to remember that as I try these new foods some of my family will hesitant to try them, but I need to keep trying.  Maybe sometimes they'll be pleasantly surprised.

I give these bars 2.5 stars out of 5.

** I just had to update this.  I had put some of the leftover in a bag & put it in the fridge and just ate a little, and it is LOTS better!  The fact that it's not mushy... it's more solid, and the flavors had blended more or something.  It would raise my rating to a 3.5 stars out of 5 if refrigerated.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Meal Plan with the Fam

Well, overall the new GAPS meal plan is going pretty well.  I met a little more resistance from the kids than I thought I would, but I have to remind myself that change is always difficult, especially when it comes to food.

Monday was my shopping and prep day, so we didn't officially start this until Tuesday.  But I did make a family night treat from my meal plan.  It was Sesame Seed Candy, and I think it turned out really good.  Surprising to me, the kids didn't really get into it.  Even Jimmy said he thought it tasted weird at first, but then the flavor grew on him.  We'll definitely try this again.  I think that they'll like it better next time.  It's really easy to make.

Sesame Seed Candy

1 1/2 cups hulled sesame seeds
1/2 cups honey
1/4 tsp Real salt

Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

Toast the sesame seed in a stainless steel skillet over med-high heat, until golden & fragrant.  Stir every 20-30 seconds, more at the end.

Add honey, and continue on med high heat until the mixture thickens, another 3-5 minutes.  Pour onto the greased cookie sheet and allow to cool for a minute.  Score with a knife into bit sized pieces and allow to cool another 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.  Break apart bite sized pieces and allow to harden, or roll into balls.  Store covered in the fridge.

I'm still supposed to be off of sugar, but I'll admit I did have some of these.  I figure I'll add in some healthy snacks here & there.  My next doctor's appointment is in November, they'll be testing my blood again then.  If it shows that my candida levels haven't gone down much, then that will be a kick in the pants and show me that I need to be strict with myself for the long haul.

On Tuesday our menu was:

Breakfast
Scrambled Eggs with Vegetables (vegetables means lots of onions & then chunks of avocado on top.  They weren't so sure about all the onions...)

Lunch
Large green salad, with Egg Salad on the side. (The kids are still eating school lunch.  I told them I'd make school lunch to send with them, but they haven't taken me up on that yet :)

Dinner
Meatloaf (healthy version not on the diet, but wanted to use up from my freezer.  I also had some separate for me that are gluten-free).
Green Salad, topped w/cucumbers & tomatoes.

Snack/sweets:  Crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers from Costco), or left over sesame candy

Here is today's menu:

Breakfast
Pumpkin Coconut Flour Waffles (They LOVED this!  I made the batter the night before, so this morning was smooth sailing as I got everything ready).

Lunch
Green Salad + Garlic-Spinach Artichoke Dip & veggies (This dip turned out SO good!  It's very basic: mayo, spinach, garlic, artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese.  Yum!)

Dinner
Roasted Pepper Soup, Baked Stuffed Eggplant, and Deviled Eggs (Now THIS will be the test!  I think they'll be picking around at this.  I'm excited to try it, though).

Snack
Trail Mix (Includes: "Crispy" walnuts- you soak them over night, then dehydrate them in the oven all day at the lowest temperature.  They become extra crispy- yummy!;  banana chips- I'm dehydrating some right now.  We'll see if they're ready by this afternoon... I might have to make some lara bars and save this mix for another day; coconut flakes).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Now, Here's How You REALLY Do It!

I just found a tutorial on how to make homemade yogurt, and WHOA am I off on what I did yesterday! 

Remember how I mentioned before the great menu & meal planner for the GAPS diet I found on www.healthhomehappy.com?  Well I still like it over all, but I found another flaw.  Her instructions for making yogurt are pretty vague.  It says:

Heat milk gently on medium heat, stirring approximately every 10 minutes, until milk is close to a boil
[I was very consistent at stirring it, but when it was getting hotter & hotter the boiling point took me by surprise.  Too hot!
Cover, remove from burner, and allow to cool until the yogurt is comfortable to the touch, 90-110* F. [Check.  Finished this step at about 10:30pm.  At 12:30 am my milk was still too hot, so I went to bed, and did the next step in the morning. Nope, milk wasn't hot any more.] 
Pour nearly warm milk into jars.  Using one tablespoon of commercial yogurt per quart mix yogurt into the jars of warm milk.  Cover, and shake to distribute culture.  Keep it warm in a yogurt maker, food dehydrator, or cooler [Cooler?!  This is what I did, and it didn't keep it warm at all!  When I checked the bottles in the cooler later this afternoon, they were normal room temperature- not warm at all.]

So I googled "how to make your own yogurt", and I found an awesome TUTORIAL right away.  Things I'll do differently next time I try to make my own yogurt:

* Use a thermometer from the start so it doesn't begin to boil.
* Start earlier than 10:00pm. 
* When you're done use a heating pad to set the yogurt on  the counter top instead of in a cooler.

Have any of you made your own yogurt?  I'd love to hear your tips & advice.

Lesson Learned: Don't Start Making Yogurt at 10 PM

I love my new menu & planning guide for the GAPS diet that I purchased on www.healthhomehappy.com.  I love that it helps me plan ahead & prepare things the night before.

One thing that I was supposed to start tonight is yogurt.  I've never made homemade yogurt, but decided that it is time.  I started heating up the milk at about 9:30pm.  It finally came to a boil (which in the instructions it says nearly a boil, so I hope I'm not out of luck already!), so I turned off the heat & put a lid on it.  I'm supposed to wait for it to get in between 90-110 F before I add some yogurt to the milk to start a new batch yogurt.  It's now 12:30 AM, and it is still about 120 F!!  Seriously?  I had no idea it would take so long to cool off.  Now YOU know & can avoid my mistake.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Eating Healthy BREAKS the Bank!

I've gone through a lot of phases with food the last few years.  For a while I was really into couponing- it really was amazing to spend so little & get so much, even if it was mostly garbage.  I was hoping that we could store it & use it bit by bit for school lunches.  Of course the kidos figured out where it was, and over time my stash disappeared.  That phase lasted about a year until Albertson's grocery store sold out to Fresh Market, and I couldn't find as many screamin' deals. 

I switched to a program called Deals to Meals, where they would plan out your weekly menu, and also tell where to get the foods on your shopping list for the lowest price.  I really liked this program, and the recipes were EXCELLENT.  We're talkin' make your mouth water, everyone wants seconds and thirds types of comfort food.  I loved that I had a shopping list ready to go, and that I fed my family food they enjoyed.  I felt like the best cook ever.  I just cancelled my subscription this month.  The food just wasn't healthy.

In both programs I mentioned, there was emphasis on finding the best deals.  Getting the most you can for the least amount of money.  Now that has all changed.  Now that I'm trying to buy as much organic, natural, whole foods as possible, my thriftiness has gone out the window!  Last month I just eked by, and my food budget went to pot.  This month I tweaked a few things with the budget, but it's still looking I'll be way over. 

When I get this all figured out, I'll be sure to let you know how I did it.  I've seen a few whole food blogs where they say they feed a family of four, or a family of five on $500-600/month for food.  But I think that they were blogs where they still use wheat- they just soak it first.  Wheat is cheap!  Almond flour is not!  I'm sure there are more tips out there.  I'm anxious to find them & will keep you posted.

Friday, October 7, 2011

GAPS Diet

Have you ever heard of the GAPS diet?  I hadn't a month ago, but the more I hear, the more intrigued I am.  Here is the first video of six that give background and explain it.  I recommend watching all six videos.  They talk about autistic children, but it also applies to children with ADHD, and other behavioral problems.


I have a son with ADHD, and we face challenges every day in working through it.  I have a nephew who is autistic.  If this works, then why doesn't everyone do it?  In first looking at the diet, it's overwhelming!  It is a lot different from how we normally eat, and takes a huge lifestyle change.  I asked my son if he knew that eating the way I do would help him be able to concentrate and not take his medicine anymore would he do it?  And he said no way.   That surprised me, because his ADHD causes a lot of stress.  He loves his treats, though, and it seems like torture for him to take them away. 

The more I read about GAPS, though,  the more convinced I am that we need to do this as a family.   I found a blog called Health Home Happy, and there is so much great information!  My favorite resource is the monthly GAPS diet meal plans with shopping list.  I had been using a similar service, but the food wasn't healthy, so I cancelled.  I loved the convenience of having it all planned out for me, though, so I'm really glad that I found a resource for this. 

The GAPS diet is very much like what I now eat.    There is an even more restrictive diet that is necessary for those who have severe issues, which is called the GAPS introduction diet.  You're supposed to do that for one to six or more months, depending on the severity of the problem.  It helps heal the gut, which is the basis for these mental problems.   Then you would do the regular GAPS diet that isn't as restrictive.

I've ordered the meal planning for one month, and am going to try it for my whole family.  My husband is ready to hop on board & eat healthier, too, so this will be a way that we can all eat together rather than me with my meals separately.  I think this will be a good starting point for us, and then maybe in January I can start the Introduction diet with my hubby & a few of my kids.  I'm pretty sure I'll need that more intensive program.  OKAY!  Monday we're in! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh, This Was GOOD!

Short on time, but this was my juice this morning:

Ginger Root Boost

1 inch slice ginger root
Juice from 1 fresh lemon (I used 1/2 because I was almost out & needed the other 1/2 for my lunch salad!)
6 carrots with tops (Mine didn't have tops... they were already cut off.)
1 seeded apple (I used a Granny Smith)

This was SOOOOO good!  You're right Kristen, the ginger was awesome!  I didn't add quite an inch because I was being cautious, but I'll add more next time.  Yum.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

THE BIG 2-0!

It's hard to believe. It hasn't quite sunk in-  I've now lost 20 pounds since I started this journey the beginning of August!

Woo Hoo!  Oh Yeah!  (Doing the Happy Dance!)

It feels great.  I'm get lots of comments all the time now.  It is a bit surreal, though, considering how much of my life has been spent stressing about weight, and here I do it in 2 months?  What in the world took me so long?!!!  You know what it took?  It was my blasted appendix.  Having my appendix out back in July was a blessing in disguise.  That whole experience was enough to knock me to my senses & give me the desire to do all I can to keep my body healthy, which IS NOT BY IGNORING GOOD NUTRITION!

I've always loved to exercise regularly, but was so-so with my diet.  I thought I was doing healthy things by drinking skim milk, grinding my own whole wheat flour for homemade bread, buying low-fat mayonnaise, and using butter instead of margarine.  I thought that my only problem was "snacking".  HA.  I can hardly believe how wrong I was- AND I WAS A HEALTH TEACHER/PROFESSIONAL!!!!  How embarrassing.  And I'm just scratching the surface!  Oh well.  No looking back now.  I'm going to take this new knowledge I have & take off running.  Love it!

Some people say to me "Well, I'd rather be fat and happy than do what you're doing" (meaning my diet).  That blows me away.  Sure, it's been hard at times (just go back and look at some of my previous blog entries, especially at first!)  But now it's starting to feel great!  One thing that I love the most is how good things taste.  Simple things like my creamed buckwheat cereal.  That is totally a dessert to me now!  And I LOVE it!  I'm not deprived!  The other day when I did the luncheon at my house I served apples and dip for dessert.  IT WAS AMAZING!  I'm not deprived!  Those larabars I made my family a few days ago... AWESOME!  No- not deprived!  But 20 lbs lighter, full of energy, and mentally clear.  Yep, this is the way to go!

I need to get some pictures for before/after.  I'm usually the one that hides behind the camera & taking pictures of everyone else, avoiding my own being taken.  It might take me awhile to get over that.  Maybe I'll post some when I reach my ultimate goal, in 10 more pounds.

 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recipe Review: Powerbars (Reverse engineered Larabars)

Last week I bought an ebook from Kitchen Stewardship.com called Healthy Snacks to Go.  I'd been looking for some good whole food snacks that I could have my personal chef make for my family when she comes next time, and this seemed like it would be a great book.

It was only $6.95, so I bought it.  It has 21 recipes of things that are fairly easy to make, and good to have on hand.  I've quit buying junk food, and I want to have healthy snacks on hand for my family.  If they enjoy them, even better.  I want to show them that eating healthy isn't torture, it can be great, and worth the trade off.

On Saturday I bought the ingredients for Power Bars (Reverse engineered Larabars).  [I have no idea what "reverse engineered Larabars" means in the title.  If any of you know, let me know.]   I made them that afternoon, and they were a HUGE hit with me & the kids!  Jimmy, not so much (he doesn't like that dark chocolate taste).



Here are the instructions & ingredients:

In food processor, grind & add together: (I don't have a food processor, but it's now on my wish list.  I used my Vitamix, and it worked just fine.  They don't recommend doubling the recipe if using a blender, but I did with no problem).
1/8 c. walnuts
1/4 c. almonds
Add
1/2 c. dates
1/8 c. raisins
Stream in
1 Tbs coconut (I used flakes)
4 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 Tbs coconut oil
+ pinch of instant coffee (We don't drink coffee so we left this out... It was fine!)
optional:  1/2 tsp mint extract (I didn't have any, but sounds really good!)
Form the final product.  You can form them into bars, or balls.  I made them into smaller bite-sized balls.

I give this recipe 5 out of 5 stars!  They were SO good.  I didn't tell my picky eaters that they were eating blended dates & raisins.  They tasted the chocolate, and knew that they were eating a yummy treat.  My 12-year old thought they weren't sweet enough, but she did go back for seconds (she knew they were made out of dates & was more hesitant).  Oh, and by the way- I'm not supposed to eat most of the things in these power bars, but just HAD to try them.  I'm starting to do that a little more here & there.

I've ordered some bulk nuts from Azure Standard, and when my order comes the next type of bars I'll try is Coco-shew bars.  They're made with cashews, coconut, raisins, and a little vanilla.  I think Jimmy will like something like that. 

Have you tried Larabars before?  What's your favorite flavor?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate. Really?

Well, my suspicions were confirmed today.  I decided to give dark chocolate another try as a little guilty pleasure, but I suspected that I am allergic to it.  Well, I think it's been 3-4 weeks since I last had chocolate, and tonight, after having a few small squares of 85% cocoa chocolate I have an itchy throat. 


When I first started this diet the thought of cutting out chocolate kind of freaked me out, but now I just like... Hummmph.  Too bad.  (but not too stressed about it).  What I'm finding is that I can totally find other healthy options that totally satisfy me.

So now my list of allergies are:  coconut oil, chocolate, hazelnut, gluten, pasteurized dairy (raw seems to be okay).  I have my follow-up appointment with my naturopathic doctor in about a month, and I can't wait to see how my blood work results have changed. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lesson I Learned with Soba Noodles

One of my family's favorite meals that I make is homemade chicken noodle soup.  It's not that difficult- I use Organic Better Than Bouillon (Reduced Sodium) Chicken Base, 2 1/2 quarts of water, carrots, onions, celery, chicken breast, and seasoning salt, and Country Pasta (a yummy egg noodle). 

I realize that some might think these ingredients are too processed, but one step at a time, right?  I have these in my cupboard & I'm going to use them up.  Anyway, earlier in the week I decided to make this soup for my family, with a few adjustments for my diet.  I started off with Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock, and added the vegetables & chicken as normal. 

When the veggies were tender I took enough for me out of the pot & put them in a bowl.  In a separate pan I boiled some Buckwheat Soba Noodles to add to my soup, while in the main pot I added more water and some of the OBTB Chicken Base.  When it came back to a boil I added the Country pasta to their pot, while I added the soba noodles to my bowl when they were tender.  We ate together as a family, basically eating the same meal.  It was great!

Now, fast forward to Thursday.  I had arranged a small luncheon for a few ladies in my home, and I decided to make the soup again since it worked so well before.  I thought it would be nice that I wouldn't vary that much from what they were eating, so it wouldn't draw attention to myself. 

This time I decided to save a step, and instead of boiling the soba noodles in a separate pot, I threw them in with my chicken broth & veggies, just like I do with the Country Pasta.  Well, instead of cooking up nicely, it turned into a grey, gloppy mess. 



I have no idea why the chicken stock & veggies caused such a reaction!  What a change!  And no, I didn't throw it out!  Are you kidding?  This one small pack of Soba Noodles cost a fortune!  My kids said it looks like I'm eating prison food.  Yuuuuummmm.  Lesson learned:  Cook Buckwheat Soba Noodles in water.