Day 13!

Time is going really fast for our Whole30! I can’t believe we are almost halfway.

I’m going to be honest, this has been pretty easy for me.  I’ve had to give up some of my sugary snacks, like dark chocolate bars, but I”ve done enough partial sugar detoxes so even this was easy for me.

Now on to coffee, I thought this would be really hard for me, I love coffee, but no, it actually was pretty easy to substitute tea for coffee in the morning. I think the hardest thing for me to give up was wine, and I only drank that occasionally so it wasn’t like it was something I missed daily. But I missed the culture of wine. I love having a glass when I’m cooking or reading certain books. Kombucha is an okay substitute but it is still lacking.

So really the only additional things I gave up were coffee, added sugar and wine.

On to Lucas. He is doing wonderful! I can tell he’s a little frustrated with his limited food choices and a complaint I heard lately is the lack of convenience to the diet. But it’s day 13 and he has had no slip ups, more than I could have done at 23. He’s reading labels and hanging out with his friends without drinking, again something I could have never done at 23. He is feeling great and enjoying most of the food I’m preparing. We’ve had a few disappointment like the balsamic brussel sprouts and sweet potato recipe and the very expensive halibut (I’m good at reading labels but I didn’t think to check the price, 18.99 for 10 oz–OUCH). I know he is looking forward to the end so that he doesn’t have to think about his food quite so much and to enjoy some of the convenience foods he misses. He said he will not be so strict after the 30 days but does like how he feels.

I was hoping this would be a little harder so I’d have more to write about but I”m sorry to say it’s been easy for me and pretty easy for Lucas. I did really want a cup of coffee this morning, I like tea but there is nothing as good and a strong cup of coffee in the morning,  but after I ate breakfast and started on my day I sort of forgot about it.

The biggest challenge for me is the meal planning. Lucas and I have always done our own thing for breakfast and without bacon I’ve reverted back to my breakfast soup, ground liver, beef and pork with bone broth and greens, Lucas does eggs and veggies but is interested in trying my soup. I was making tuna salad from Mickey Trescott’s cook book and that lasted about 3 days and her big market salad that would last 3-4 days. One day it would be left overs  and one day every person for themselves. But dinners, dinners are hard. I wanted to cook things that Lucas would really like even if it wasn’t AIP, to keep him motivated. I have the Whole30 cookbook and Well Fed 1 and 2. I picked big meals the first week like Lemon Chicken with Capers and Chives (Sugar Detox) so we ate chicken for 2 days and shepard’s pie ( I just played around with meat, carrots, onion and celery with a white sweet potato and parsnip crust). Even with the lunches it seemed like we were eating the same thing every day.

Now Jacob is home for the next two weeks, he still eats dairy and grains. Way to challenge my  planning skills!

This week I have turnip soup,I tweaked it so i could eat it,  grilled burgers with plantain buns and coleslaw (Memorial day), Fish sticks with sweet potato tater tots, chicken stir fry and cauliflower rice and AIP meat loaf with some veggie. So as far as dinners go not much will change but I did have to buy milk and cereal.

 

You can also see I’ve given my site a new look. It will continue to change over the next few weeks as I get ready to launch my Transformational Coaching business Tracy’s Lifestyle Coaching (TLC). Watch for more information soon and let me know what you think of the new site design in the comments below.
This post does contain affiliate links. Purchasing through a link doesn’t change the cost of the item for you but I receive a small commission from the sale of certain items.

Whole30

Lucas, my oldest, turns 23 tomorrow and one of his goals for his next year of life is to become healthier. Not that he is an unhealthy person but he sees some room for improvement. Over the last year we have talked “diet” many times. We have skimmed the BulletProof Diet, done variations of sugar detoxes and he understands why I eat the way I do but none of those “diets” seem to appeal to him in a sustainable way. Enter Whole30,  I don’t know what is different about Whole30 but something clicked and he’s ready dive in. I have decided to do it with him for support and easier meal preparation.

I do feel bad for Lucas, because I currently follow AIP the transition into whole30 will be minimal for me.I have done some reintroductions, like drinking wine and eating some chocolates but I won’t have to give up large chunks of food like grains or processed foods. Lucas is fortunate that he eats very little dairy and no legumes.. Though he does eat a lot of sugar and he still heads over the the gas station across the street and gets a frozen pizza and cider. I’m afraid his transition will be much rockier than mine.

Even though you can have coffee on Whole30 we have both decided to give it up for these 30 days, Lucas because he feels he drinks too much and me because I want to know if it makes a difference in how I feel.

Meal planning will be a little bit of a challenge. I will continue to eat AIP but Lucas will have a larger variety of foods to choose from. Breakfast and lunch will be easy,  Lucas can eat eggs so breakfast for him will be pretty much the same. The only difference is we won’t be eating bacon, the bacon we buy contains sugar and I’m not going to splurge for the sugar free bacon. I’ll be eating my liver patties or salmon salad. I’m also making up a big green salad and a tuna salad for our lunches. It’s our dinners that  are going to be our tough spot. One of the things I think appealed to Lucas is this is not as restrictive as some menus. He will be picking out some meals that are not AIP compliant and I’ll be trying my best to cook so we can both eat within our parameters.  I will admit I’m feeling under prepared this first week.

 

Have you ever done Whole30 or Whole30 AIP?

 

Summer Summary

 

It’s hard to believe that summer break is over, if  it could be called aSunflower summer break. Since being diagnosed with a corn sensitivity,  I feel like it’s taken most of the summer to turn back 180° and recover some normal back in my life, if there is such a thing as normal. Along with trying to find products I can use sans corn, I also had a full plate of activities and projects I needed to accomplish. The most important being planning and holding my youngest son’s graduation party. I also spent my time subbing for summer school and working my part time job at the organic grocery store in town, I haven’t had much down time. I have to admit, part of me is looking forward to a more rigid schedule the school year brings, but a bigger part is mourning the loss of light, warmth and having a day off once and a while.  

My son’s graduation party was in the middle of July so the first part of the summer I was very focused on getting the yard presentable. One of my bigger projects was getting a makeshift rabbit fence around my now fairly large garden. I got a late start on my garden but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Had I been able to plant all of the things I wanted I’m not sure I would have been able to maintain my garden as well as I did. This focus on the yard and successful graduation party was to my advantage. Working two part-time jobs required me to schedules all my projects like appointments. Previous summers, I’d do a few weeks of teaching summer school and then procrastinate the rest of the summer, panicking in August because I hadn’t gotten my projects done; having a goal of a party mid-July kept me motivated.

I also started running again. Not real consistent but consistent enough (Thanks Mr K for motivating me). I feel some improvement in my cardio and I actually enjoy running again. It’s still easy for me to find excuses not to run but I’m more consistent that I have been. I’m hoping that just because school starts I don’t let it slide, though I feel it slipping away already.

I’ve been taking the supplements that were suggested to me by Dr. Anderson and I do feel better. I still  have the bags under my eyes and the inflammation throughout my body. Earlier in the summer I felt like my inflammation was calming down despite being a little lax on my eating but now everything has caught up to me and I feel like I took some steps backwards. I know my sugar intake is up and because of my varied work schedule I have not been able to consistently plan menus and shop for food. When there is little to eat in the house it’s easy to make poor choices or eat something you shouldn’t. Yes, I work at the store I shop at but after six hours of “Paper or plastic?” the last thing I want to do is spend another half hour shopping.

Where my food sensitivity testing helped to identify the corn sensitivity and a few other sensitivities it also gave me a good excuse to eat some things that I wasn’t, like nightshades. I don’t know if reintroducing night shades has slowed my progress or not, like I mentioned early, I have upped my sugar intake. I have quit eating tomatoes and peppers again and I may have to do another 21 Day Sugar Detox once I’m settled in my fall routine. I do feel good about myself, despite the self-inflicted setback of eating sugar and nightshades, and to me that is the best progress.

Despite my busy summer schedule, my stress level has gone down and my adherence to routines has gone up (thus being able to carve out time to blog again). I also attribute this to doing yoga and meditating at least 4 times a week. I can really feel the difference; mornings I fit this in result in a more calm and productive day. I’m going to give a shout out to Hal Elrod here, after I read his book The Miracle Morning I really started to embrace the practice of yoga and meditation. I remind myself that, to me, these two activities are as important as sleeping. Think of how less productive I’d be if I only slept an average of 4 days a week!

I’m curious to see what happens when I go back to work full time, work part time, blog, and maintain the house. I’ve created some great time management spreadsheet, now I just have to put them into use.

I feel like this summer I’ve been able to put myself in second gear and hoping that this fall I get to shift into third gear and hopefully soon set the cruise.

So I Thought I Was Grain Free…

As you know I went grain free August of 2013 after reading Wellness Mama’s article Are Grains Slowly Killing You and as a result some of  my auto-immune conditions improved. I no longer needed to use medication to control my asthma (if I really even had asthma) I no longer suffer from seasonal allergies and my eczema seemed to go away. I felt amazing. Then, in the Fall of 2013, I had a new condition pop up, Blepharitis. After some research I found out that one of the causes of Blepharitis is Roscia, another autoimmune condition.  The eye doctor I saw wanted to put me on antibiotics but by that time my research into nutrition made me ask if there were some more holistic ways I could control it; fish oil and hot packing. After a few months I saw very little improvement and I started researching for more answers. That’s when, in February of 2014  I found the Autoimmune Protocol diet and eliminated (in my opinion) everything else from my diet but meat and veggies.

On the autoimmune diet I lost weight and for about the first 6 months felt great! People I didn’t even know would comment on how healthy I looked and I seemed to have hope and energy to spare. But then about just after Thanksgiving things started to slide. I look at myself in the family pictures from Thanksgiving and I look vibrant. I look at pictures now and think not so much. This is when, on the suggestion of a good friend, I tried accupunture. It felt amazing but the woman I saw did not speak very good English and I had a hard time communicating with her. She looked at my age and instantly blamed everything on menopause and just couldn’t seem to get past that. Her treatment plan was to come to her for 10 years to get me through it. I didn’t believe that was what was causing my issues so I moved on.

I continued to spiral down, having eczema breakouts, mainly on my neck so a lot of my shirts were really bothering me. I became more anxious and depressed. A lot of the plans and ideas I had for my job, house and life just seemed too overwhelming and my stress increased to a point where even one of my students told me I should “ Do some breathing exercises and drink some of my de-stress tea”.

Around that time I found a local Functional Medical Doctor. Despite the fact that my insurance doesn’t cover it I knew I had to keep searching for answers. I was approaching 50 and if you remember this blog was originally going to chronicle my journey to be “Fit by 50”. After the first appointment we decided to do some actual testing, not just relying on what I said or how I felt. We did a nutrition test and a gut biome test. Wow! my body is not a healthy place! Just to name a few things I’m deficient in many nutrients, like magnesium (which I was taking daily) and the vitamin B family (which again I was taking daily). So this indicates that my body is not absorbing nutrients. My gut biome wasn’t the best and needs more diversity. I also have high levels of lead and gasoline in my system… Not sure where that is coming from.

This led to food and mold allergy testing. I really wanted to know what I could eat so that I could bring back in some foods may help me. I walked out of her office with the allergy testing kit, a  list of supplement to take and a little hope.

In order to test for antibodies in you blood for allergens you have to eat foods that you react to so for the next two weeks I ate pizza, nachos, eggs, nuts, seeds, spices I’d been avoiding, cheese, oh and drank some nummy nut brown ale. It all tasted so good and I felt so awful. I was going to eat this way for 3 weeks but just couldn’t do it! I was even having panic attacks again! It sucked! I was counting the days to my blood draw. After my test was sent off I started following AIP again and taking the suggested supplements, I wasn’t feeling any better. I was still anxious and though I had gained weight by eating everything I thought the weight would just drop off, it wasn’t. What was going on?

Finally my  test results came back and the email from my doctor said “ The only thing I would tell you to avoid before seeing me is corn and turkey. “  My first thought was “That’s it?” Oh, I was so naive!

I started looking into turkey because I wanted to know if that meant I couldn’t eat any poultry and it looks like all poultry have different proteins so just because you are allergic to one doesn’t mean you are allergic to all. And I don’t particularly like turkey so … no big deal.

Then after a few days I started looking into corn-my mind was blown-CORN IS IN EVERYTHING! I REPEAT, EVERYTHING!  Now, I panicked! Here I thought I was grain free but all my supplement(that I just bought) were corn based, my sea salt had an anti caking agent that is corn based along with vanilla extract, just pick up any processed food and you will see an ingredient derived from corn. After a few emailed questions to my doctor she also suggested I avoid corn topically too– Well here we go again, it’s in hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, toothpaste, and on and on and on.

I don’t have a face to face with my doctor for another week but thanks to the help of my sister’s friend, who has a corn allergy, a facebook group and the Corn Allergen web site I’m starting to navigate the corn free world. I allowed myself to  mope and whine for a few days but now I’m trying to replace “This Sucks” with “I’m up for the challenge!”

And this is what my cat Yum has to say:weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmzxo9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999iio

Yum

Yum is always getting into trouble

I walked away and came back to that added to my page so I thought I’d share =^..^=

Magnesium

This month I have covered 4 of the supplements I regularly take: fermented cod liver oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, and the last one I was going to cover was a vitamin B complex that I take, but after rereading the label I decided to skip my B-100 complex and go with magnesium instead. I pride myself with being a label reader but this last month I have discovered I trust the claims on the the front of the box or jar more than I read the labels. I have bought at least two different boxes of tea only to get home, have a cup, feel like crap and then read the label. I am not a fan of stevia, I feel off when I consume it, both of these teas had stevia and one had “natural flavors” . Natural flavors can be anything but natural or can be natural things that we really don’t want to eat. So as I was grabbing my bottle of B-100 to start the research I saw it contained folic acid – good right? Well, it turns out there is controversy about folic acid which is synthesized and folate, which is what you get from food. I’m in no position to take this controversy on at this point and don’t want to promote something that I’m not sold on, so magnesium it is!

When I first started to getting informed about my health and how food and lifestyle were affecting me, I knew sleep was important but just not how important. I also knew that stress could take a toll on me but again, not to the extent I understand now. As I became more informed I knew I had to do some things to get better sleep and and reduce my stress. After reading Wellness Mama’s article about magnesium I started taking Natural Calm Magnesium supplements. I bought my first bottle and  followed the directions on the package that suggest that you start with ½ teaspoon. One of the benefits of magnesium is it helps to move your stools through your system. When you are not used to having stools move through your system daily and believe that is just how your body works, and then you start having multiple stools move through your body multiple times a day, it sort of freaks you out and after a week I quit taking it. Several months later I was following a discussion on a Facebook page about magnesium and shared my experience and said I was no longer taking it. The response was overwhelming that I should try again starting ⅛ of a teaspoon. I did and within 2 months I was up to the 2 teaspoons recommended. By going slowly I was able to work up to an amount that was healthy and not get all my daily steps from going back and forth to the bathroom. What are my end results? Do I sleep better and am I less stressed? Yes and maybe. I definitely sleep better. Part of my nighttime routine is to drink a cup of what I call magnesium “tea”. It’s really not tea, of course, but I drink my magnesium hot. I put my 2 teaspoons in a cup and fill it up with hot water. The powder smokes and bubbles up and makes me feel like a mad scientist every night. I crawl into bed and read a novel until it is gone. I shut off my light and according to my sleep app on my phone I’m asleep with in the first 10 minutes almost every night. I drink the plain flavor and the warm water with that slight citrus flavor has become very comforting for me. I can’t make the same correlation between the magnesium and stress. I can’t make that correlation because I try and do so many things to reduce my stress that it’s hard to know which ones are working and which are not. I do know that getting a great night sleep helps reduce my stress so I guess if you look at the magnesium from that angle it reduces my stress.

 Besides magnesium helping with sleep and stress it is responsible for over 300 chemical reactions in the body and most of us are magnesium deficient. We are deficient thanks to over farming and pesticides and insecticides used on our food. We need magnesium for proper bone growth and development. It is required for proper nerve function and is required for muscle relaxation. Like I mentioned  earlier, it helps stools move through the system and helps neutralize stomach acid.

 I love the magnesium “tea’ that I drink every night but if you are looking for getting your magnesium from food, try a banana for breakfast and a spinach, avocado, pumpkins seed salad for lunch with some dark chocolate for dessert and you’ve just supplied yourself with 234 mg of magnesium, which is a little over half of the suggested RDA. If you are following the autoimmune diet skip the pumpkin seeds and maybe add a little extra chocolate.

 Challem, J. (2003). The inflammation syndrome the complete                              nutritional program to prevent and reverse heart disease, arthritis,             diabetes, allergies and asthma. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley.

 Junger, A. (2012). Clean for life.: A doctor’s guide to taking back your             health and vitality in a toxic world. HarperCollins Limited.

 http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-deficiency/need-more/

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-998-magnesium.aspx?activeingredientid=998&activeingredientname=magnesium

 

 

Who doesn’t love Vitamin C?

I think I’ve taking vitamin C for my whole life, or at least ever since I could chew a chewable vitamin. I remember my brother would always tell me it was a sweet tart, like I didn’t know the difference.

 I think vitamin C is the most familiar vitamin. You mention that you don’t feel well and the first thing everyone says to you is “Take a vitamin C.” I’m sure most families in the U.S. have a bottle of it some where in their house. So many people take vitamin C, do they really know what all it does for them? I didn’t!

 I’ll be honest, I’ve always taken vitamin C to prevent colds and never really thought about what else it does. As I started my research into the vitamin I was pleasantly surprised learn all this wonderful little vitamin does for me.

  • C is an extremely important antioxidant; as an antioxidant the reduces the damage caused by free radicals
  • reduces inflammation by getting rid of free radicals
  • helps controlling infection
  • reduces asthma reactions, or a least makes asthmatic reaction milder
  • reduces fatigue
  • maintains homeostasis
  • eases gingival inflammation and bleeding
  • reduces periodontal pockets (yeah, because I hate when they poke around in my gums)

 In my research I also learned that we are one of the few mammals that doesn’t’ produce our own vitamin C. When an animal is stressed it produces more vitamin C. Stress can cause vitamin C deficiency in humans. No where did I read that taking vitamin C reduces stress but after reading the last two statements I don’t think taking a little extra when there is extra stress in my life is going to hurt. So how much vitamin C should a person take? Everything I read suggested 500-1000 mg a day but those with medical condition could benefit from 2000-5000 a day! So go dig out that bottle of vitamin C buried in the back of your medicine cabinet, throw it away, and go get new bottle and start taking it today!

Ballantyne, S. (2014). The Paleo Approach cookbook: A detailed guide to       heal your body and nourish your soul. Las Vegas, NV: Victory Belt             Publishing.

Challem, J. (2003). The inflammation syndrome the complete nutritional      program to prevent and reverse heart disease, arthritis, diabetes,                  allergies and asthma. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley.

Kresser, C. (2013). The paleo cure: Eat right for your genes, body type,          and personal health needs — prevent and reverse disease, lose weight         effortlessly, and look and feel better than ever. New York: Little,                 Brown and Company.

Why I take vitamin D

I started taking vitamin D, off and on, in my 30’s. I started taking vitamin D because I didn’t drink milk and had read somewhere that vitamin D would help my body absorb the calcium and help prevent osteoporosis. Then as time went on, I learned that living in a northern part of the world and using sun screen in the summer caused vitamin D deficiency so I started being a little more consistent with my dosage.


In 2010 I was diagnosed with eczema. It was around February and my skin itched terribly. I would scratch until I bled. Scratching became such a normal activity I didn’t even know I was scratching myself until I felt the blood drip down my leg or arm. After seeing a dermatologist I was put on methotrexate, steroid cream, and zoloft. The methotrexate was for the inflammation, and so was the steroid cream that came in 1 lb containers.The zoloft was for the anxiety I felt from itching all the time and rash all over my body. My first indication that vitamin D could help with my eczema happened that spring. As the weather warmed up and I was outside more my skin began to clear up a little. I wasn’t sure why but I was sure happy about it and took that as a sign I could get off the methotrexate. At this time I didn’t know that eczema was an autoimmune condition, I just knew that if you had allergies and asthma, which I had, you typically developed eczema.


About 2 years ago I learned that vitamin D can help with seasonal depression and when you live in Wisconsin that can almost be a given. At that time I was taking about 1000 IUs a day but not every day. About that same time I was visiting a friend who suffered from depression. My friend’s doctor had him taking 10,000 IUs of vitamin D to help with some of the depression symptoms.. It was after that visit that I started taking one pill in the morning and one at night equalling 2000 IUs. When I started taking 2000 IU a day my eczema symptoms improved so much that I could quit using the steroid cream. Again, I didn’t make the connection of the vitamin d to the eczema.


Finally, in February of 2014, when I started doing all my research on autoimmune diseases, I started coming across articles about vitamin D being beneficial for the immune system. That’s when I started taking 5000 IUs every morning and I get about 1000 IUs more from the fermented cod liver oil I take every day. After increasing my dose I also was able to eliminate the zoloft. Though this is also the time I went AIP so there is not a direct correlation between increasing my vitamin D and being able to eliminate the zoloft. I’m sure the other changes I was making contributed to helping with my anxiety as well.


Benefits of taking vitamin D:


  • Strong bones
  • regulates your immune system
  • fights depression
  • help fight infections including influenza
  • reduces hypertension
  • increases heart health
  • inhibits cancer cell growth
  • increases insulin production
  • may help with fibromyalgia pain


It’s been over a year now that I have been taking 5000+ IUs of vitamin D daily. Since then I have not had a cold, or the flu and I work in a school where students seem to be sick from October to May. It has been 3 years since I have gotten a flu shot. I have a family history of high blood pressure and at my last check up my blood pressure was 110/68.

 

 

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

For the next couple of weeks I’m going to share with you what supplements I take and why. I’m not in the medical profession so these are not recommendations, I’m just sharing information with you about what I take and I’m doing this for a pretty selfish reason. People sometimes ask me what supplements I take and why, I can always answer the what but not the why.That’s because typically when I read a book or article about nutrition if there is information that I can use and it makes sense to me I will implement it, but then as I go on and read information on different things I often forget why I started taking the supplement. I believe that my lifestyle is making a big difference in my health but don’t feel that I am doing a good job of advocating for it if i can’t explain a little bit of the why. So I’m explaining the why to myself and sharing with you; similar to the wheat incident.

 Over the past year I’ve settled on five supplements that I regularly take: fermented cod liver oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, B Complex 100, and magnesium. I have landed on these five because they are either recommended by every book I read or I notice a difference if I don’t take them. I’m going to start with fermented cod liver oil.

 I’m not sure where I first heard about fermented cod liver oil: it was either in Chris Kresser book, Your Personal Paleo Code
or on the Balance Bits podcast. In November of 2013 I was diagnosed with blepharitis, a condition where the oil glands in my eyelids become clogged so no oil gets on my eyelids and that causes chronic dry eye. I would wake up every morning with my eyes crusted shut. The opthamologist I see suggested I take fish oil capsules. So I took them for about 3 months and had no change in my eyes. During that time is when I started hearing about fermented cod liver oil. I read Diane Sanfilippo’s article, Wellness Mama’s article and Weston A. Price Foundation’s article. My take away from these article was that fermented cod liver oil was going to be better for my body than fish oil capsules. Better because the company that Dianne and Wellness Mama suggested, Green Pastures, doesn’t heat the fish liver so none of the nutrients are damaged. Better because it is a whole food and not something that is processed so my body knows what to do with it. Better because it can contains more EPA and DHA than fish oil capsules which contributes to brain and nervous system health.

 I’ve been taking FCLO for almost a year, off and on, and I do notice a difference. When I am faithfully taking about 1 teaspoon of FCLO daily I don’t wake up with crust on my eyes and my eyes don’t water. (I think it’s crazy that when you have dry eyes your eyes actually water more) I’m sure that this is the FCLO because I ran out for about a month and within days my eyes started crusting over. I didn’t connect the crust with the FCLO until I purchased another bottle and started taking it again. Within three to four days I was waking up without eye crust again. I was still hit or miss with taking it, I averaged five times a week. When I fully realized that it was the FCLO that was contributing to my eyes feeling better I became very faithful with taking it. As a matter of fact I’ve left for work, remembered I didn’t take it, and turned around to go home so I could quickly grab a spoonful. As I did the research for this blog I read that I can actually take more, up to a tablespoon,  so I’ll be upping my dose, slowly. I find with this supplement if I up the dose too fast I end up hanging out in the bathroom all day.

FCLO Green Pastures I don’t mind the smell of FCLO and the taste is very mild. I buy the Arctic Mint flavor. If you don’t want to taste it taking FCLO is an art. You put the spoonful in your mouth and then before you swallow you drink from a glass of water, so you swallow them both to once.I add a little apple cider vinegar to my water. Not because I have to but because I like to take a tablespoon of ACV every day too.

 Next week I’ll talk about vitamin D.

 

 

Coconut Oil

The benefits of coconut oil seem unending. Just Google uses of coconut oil and you’ll get over 4,000,000 hits. You get titles like 101 Uses of Coconut Oil, 107 Everyday Uses of Coconut Oil or if you want to read a list that is not so overwhelming, 50 Ways to Use Coconut Oil. At that point you may be too overwhelmed to start using coconut oil. So if you are new to the wonders of coconut oil let me share with you my very manageable list of ways I use coconut oil.

The 5 ways I use coconut oil

  1. Cooking! I mainly use two fats for cooking, bacon grease and coconut oil. I use coconut oil because it has a high heat point so it is highly resistant to oxidation. Coconut oil is a medium chain fat so it’s easier on my body to digest and has been shown to help with weight loss.  I just like the flavor of  coconut oil! I’m known to lick my fingers when they have coconut oil on them. I use coconut oil in place of butter in my mashed cauliflower or I put it in my soup to give it a more stratifying feel. And lastly I put it in my coffee with a little cinnamon, blend it up and it’s like having a dairy free latte.
  2. Lotion! I came across Wellness Mama’s lotion recipe about a year ago and one of the main ingredient is coconut oil. I love how it how it feels and how it smells. I use it every day after my shower. My skin has never felt and looked so healthy. It is helping keep my eczema at bay and when I do have a flair up if feels so soothing on my skin.I keep a little at my desk at work because my workplace is so dry  and my hair gets so staticy. I rub a small amount of lotion on my hands and smooth it on my hair–no static! I use just a little bit.
  3. Teeth! I use coconut oil to make my tooth paste. I’m not sure where I found the recipe and after making it once I just estimated the amounts the next time I made it. I take about half and half coconut oil and baking soda, throw a little sea salt,because I read that helps remineralize your teeth, and some peppermint essential oil and that’s it. My teeth are whiter and you don’t get that “I can’t eat anything because I just brushed my teeth” feel.
  4. Mouth! The other way I use coconut oil is I oil pull. Oil pulling is where you take about a teaspoon of coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. It takes a little getting use to it but it helps freshen breath, whiten teeth and my experience has been the reversal of the formation of a cavity. My dentist is very impressed at how healthy my month is.
  5. Pets!  I also brush my pets teeth with coconut oil, and over half of them love it! I pull out the toothbrushes and one cat and both my dogs come running. Of course that cat thinks she’s a dog. My other two cats don’t mind it but they would prefer I didn’t brush their teeth at all. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties that help keep their mouth healthy.

Well there you go 5 easy ways to start using coconut oil.

Liver, Yum!

“I eat liver every day” I love to see people’s reaction to that statement and it’s never pretty. Six months ago I would have reacted the same way. It took some time and some experimentation to find a way that I could stomach liver daily. I choose to eat liver daily because it is so nutrient dense. According to Chris Kresser “liver is the most nutrient dense food on the planet, rich in vitamin A, iron and all the essential amino acids.” Sarah Ballantyne, PhD writes “eating organ meat is one of the most expedient ways to address micronutrient deficiencies, which go hand and hand with autoimmune disease.” With every book or  article I read I became more convinced I had to add liver to my diet.

 The first few times I tried eating liver it did not go well. The first thing I had to get use to was the smell and texture. Not that the smell was a bad smell, just different. I recently tried to recreate that first smell experience so I could describe it but happily I’m so used to the smell of  liver that it just smells like meat. The texture on the other hand, I still have an issue with that! The texture is cold and slippery, like it just wants to slip out of my hands and onto the floor, which would make my dogs happy.Bessie and Stella

 My first attempt at incorporating liver was with chicken livers. They are cheap, so if I hated them I would not feel too bad throwing them away. I made Crispy Chicken Livers from  the Well Fed 2 cookbook. The livers  were edible but I did not enjoy eating them. I tried eating them cold the next day and that did nothing to help me develop a liking for liver; I did throw the rest of the leftovers away. A few weeks later I was listening to Liz Wolfe, one of the hosts of The Balanced Bites Podcast, talking about raw liver smoothies, gross, but again I felt compelled to add liver to my diet. So I tried again with beef liver.This time I made it a more traditional way, fried liver and onions. Again, it was edible but nothing I could see eating more than once a year and it would not be something I could look forward too.

Meat grinder Then I started coming across recipes that talked about grinding and combining your liver with other ground meat and that was the ticket for me. I remembered I had inherited my grandma’s old meat grinder and was excited to pull it out and try liver again. I started out with about 1 part of liver to 4 parts of ground hamburger or turkey and eventually worked up to a 1:1 ratio. After I make my pan of ground liver and meat I store it in serving size baggies in the freezer so I can grab one out daily and add it something I’m cooking or thaw it and sprinkle it on a salad. If things mix together in a perfect 50/50 ratio that means I eat about 8oz of liver a week.

The most typical way I eat my liver is at breakfast. I start with some cut up bacon ends in a pan, for the grease, and when they are done I add my baggie of ground liver and meat, kale or spinach or whatever greens I have in the freezer, a jar of bone broth, grass fed gelatin and some spices like ginger or turmeric. Then cover my pan and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. I still don’t enjoy the taste of  just liver but now I have a nice hot breakfast that keeps me going all day and I enjoy all the health benefits of liver without the taste.

Ground Liver and Turkey

Ground Liver and Turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of beef or chicken liver,ground
  • 1 lb of ground turkey or beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2-3 tsps thyme or sage (or a combination of both)
  • 1 Tbsp of bacon grease or coconut oil

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add liver, ground meat, onion, garlic and spices, brown until done and meat is no longer pink.
http://www.almostpaleowi.com/liver-yum/

Ballantyne, S. (2013). The Paleo Approach: Reverse autoimmune        disease and heal your body (p. 196). Las Vegas: Victory Belt     Publishing.

Kresser, C. (2013). Your personal paleo code: The 3-step plan to lose weight, reverse disease, and stay fit and healthy for life (p. 43). New York: Little, Brown and Company.