Just When You Think You Have Things Under Control…

It’s taken me much longer to get into the groove of the new school year than normal and I’m still  working on it. Unfortunately it has not been a smooth transition when it comes to my eating habits. I have been mostly AIP since Feb of 2014 and have seen many great changes from no more allergies to clearer skin to a much more positive attitude about things, most of the time; all good things. This fall I was starting to feel so good that as my job became more demanding I started feeling like I could take some shortcuts with my food and maybe not be so meticulous about what I eat. I was painfully wrong.

 What I think is so funny is that a year ago if I had been writing about not doing so well with my health I would have talked about having pizza and  ice cream, maybe some beer, I do miss a good beer,  but now when I say I strayed from AIP I still did not stray from Paleo. What I did was start to reintroducing all sorts of food without any rhyme or reason. It started out with making an egg dish for my boys. It was some egg muffins and they looked so good that I had to eat one, or two or four… then I bought sunflower seed butter and started eating it on celery,not just a teaspoon but multiple tablespoons. I would have 2 or 3  glasses a wine instead of one and I made a chicken recipe that called for red pepper flakes, my boys love spicy food so, yup, I added them to the whole recipe not just the part my boys would eat. and this is a dish I make a lot. So now I’m having all sorts of reactions; swollen fingers, itchy patches on my skin and red blotches on my face.I have major  patches of eczema on my neck, my sleep has been off and daily I’m having gut issues. I feel awful! I also have been eating out more and I know no matter how clean, or AIP compliant I try and eat, if I eat in a restaurant there is going to be exposure to things I’m sensitive too. The places I’ve been eating don’t even offer gluten free options.

 Today I hit my low point, I’ve been dealing with a candida overgrowth, or so I think, for about 4 weeks now. It has left me feeling  anxious, tired and unproductive. I’m wondering if it has irritated my eczema? I’m sure it is the result of introducing foods too quickly and being lax on foods I know I can only eat once and a while, my maybe foods.I have been stressed at work and at home and I have been sleeping less as I try to cram more things into my day. I have tried many natural remedies to take care of the candida that I’ve found on the internet; either I’m not patient enough or they are just not working for me. Today I felt so terrible I had to take the day off of work and I made an appointment with my regular doctor. This makes me feel terrible and sort of like a fraud on one hand and like “I’m smart enough to know when I can’t fix it myself” on the other hand. This is a tough place to be in emotionally. But it has given me the motivation to get back to where I was 2 months ago. I felt great, I looked great, I slept great and was getting stuff done!

It’s been a tough 2 months as I felt myself sliding down and let the old “I”ll get serious about this tomorrow” self resurface. But as I reflect on things I know I have learned a lot and feel so “shitty” (sorry there is just no other word for it!) that if I start to feel the slid again someday I know I need to not put off fixing it until tomorrow, I need to fix it today. Putting the extra effort in to feeling great is worth not feeling like this!

Paleo To Go

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My youngest son is a senior in high school; last year around April I made the decision that I was no longer going to purchase school lunches for him. My paleo journey was still new but I had read enough to know that if I was going to spend money on his lunches I was going to make sure it was on food that was healthy for him. He made a list of food he’d be willing to take to school and we got into a rut. Every week I would buy the same things; hot dogs, cheese sticks (he won’t give up dairy so I buy organic cheese), apples, and larabars. Sometimes I would buy chicken brats instead of beef hotdogs but everyday his lunches were pretty much the same. He’s a good kid and has not complained, maybe it doesn’t even bother him but I just feel like it’s time to shake things up for him, enter: Paleo To Go, the latest e-cookbook by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry.
Like their last book, 3 Phase Paleo, this book is geared toward younger families than mine but that doesn’t mean it’s was not a good addition to my e-cookbook collection. Where I won’t have Jacob fill out the worksheet My Favorite Things or lay out the Lunch Box Map for him, I will make sure that I have the ingredients on hand for some of the great quick and easy recipes included in the book.
One of my favorite pages is the page titled In the Box-ideas for packing a perfect lunch. It is a wonderful list of paleo foods that are quick and easy to pack. It is divided into four lists that correspond to the Lunch Box Map, protein, fats, veggies, and fruits and treats. You can just look at the list, pick a food from each category and voila, a healthy, satisfying lunch.

Stacy and Matt also include a great list of convenience foods that you can buy to have on hand for those mornings where you didn’t pack your lunch the night before and woke up too late to pack it in the morning. Epic bars and Hail Merry Macaroons are two of my favorite!

Paleo is not just food but a lifestyle. One of the lifestyle changes we’ve made is removing things from our life that can contain toxins like plastics can leach chemicals into your food, especially if you heat it up in the microwave. The book does a nice review of products to carry your lunch to work or school in. My kids lean toward Paleo but this is my journey, not theirs, so Jacob throws his food in aluminum foil and old plastic containers, then he grabs a plastic shopping bag and throws it all in his backpack. I know there is no way he would ever let me send his lunch in one of the wonderfuls lunch boxes that are reviewed. Me on the other hand, I think I’m going to have to look into the LunchBots Thermal containers for when I start making more soups this fall. I don’t like to use the microwave and am not always sure the Family and Consumer Sciences teacher appreciates me messing up her kitchen to reheat my food.

Jacob loves salt and vinegar chips so I’m excited to try their salt and vinegar Kale chips. Also on my list of recipes to try is Ginger Tamari Beef Jerky, Energy Bars, Bacon Wrapped Dates and Protein Muffin. It’s going to be a tasty week.

“How can you do that?” and “How do you find the time?”

These are the two questions I get asked the most when someone finds out I follow the autoimmune paleo lifestyle. I guess for me both answers are pretty easy. I can do it because I’ve done the research and I can’t imagine eating like I did a year ago. The thought of putting GMO, processed food into my body just makes me cringe. Do I miss it? No! I really don’t. I have found other favorite foods to replace all my old ones. Maybe because I’m full right now ( just had one of my favorite snacks of plantain chips and guacamole) but I can’t think of anything I truly miss, maybe chocolate but not that much. I have had so much fun trying all these other dishes that have such rich flavors that I feel satisfied. I think that because I know exactly what I’m putting in my body and am learning how it works with my body that I’m more satisfied than eating a bag of corn chips with fake cheese in a jar. ( I use to eat a whole jar and most of a bag of chips in one sitting)

How do I find the time? I lucked out, cooking and living this way has become a passion for me. So what if I have to make my toothpaste before I can brush my teeth. Dinner takes longer and I dirty more dishes but I find it relaxing and fun. Part of this life style is to have more fun. And a lot of things don’t take as long as they sound. Bone broth? 10 minutes to get it in the crock pot and maybe 30 minutes when it’s done to get into jars. Sauerkraut 20 minutes tops, kombucha, again 20 minutes.

The hardest thing for me is the amount of money I spend on groceries. I’m slowly learning to cook less expensive meats like ground turkey and canned tuna. I only buy the dirty dozen organic and I try not to snack so much. (I don’t snack because I’m hungry but because it is an old habit.) It’s also hard to have food around that my boys will snack on. Kids love to be able to just grab something and eat it. They are getting use to grabbing carrots or apples but I know they wish there were chips and pop around.

The biggest reason I can do this and find the time to do it is because I am healing. My eyes are getting better, though slightly, they are getting better. I am not always perfect, like today when I had a bar that did have nuts in it or there are days I just eat too much. I don’t get outside enough and I need to reduce my stress, a lot!! Every week I do feel stronger, more organized and like I’m getting closer to the finish line. Not that when I get there I will eat non paleo but when I get there I won’t have to think so much about what is and what is not; Paleo will be normal.

The Changes I’ve Made

I was thinking today about how different my life is from just 6 months ago. 6 months ago I decided to give up grain. I started doing research to back my decision and it lead me down a road I never thought I could follow. I went from a bread loving, beer drinking, cheese eating Wisconsin gal to a broccoli eating, herb tea drinking, coconut oil pulling Paleo gal.

I have learned about supplements and am developing a better understanding of why I’m taking them and which ones are quality and which ones are not. My latest is Green Pasture Blue Ice Cod Liver Oil .

I focus on eating nutrient dense foods rather than calories. I eat fat! and lots of it. My favorite is bacon and avocados, not at the same time but… hmm that might be good. I eat liver once a week (yuck, yuck, yuck-still looking for a way to eat and enjoy it)

I make all my own toothpaste, deodorant, dish soap, dishwasher soap and cleaning products. I was making my own lotion but this winter has been so harsh, over 50 days with below 0* temperatures that I had to resort back toVanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream .

I drink one cup of coffee a day verses 1 pot, I haven’t had a beer in 4 months, wine in 3 weeks and these were weekly staples.  I drink more herbal tea than I can ever remember and started to drink more water, not a fan.

What has all this done for me? I’ll be honest, not as much as I had hoped. I do feel better but I’m more sensitive to some foods that didn’t bother me before, chocolate 🙁 and eggs. I have lost about 5 pounds but I still feel swollen and bloated. I do sleep better, especially since I don’t let the dogs sleep on my bed any more.

I know too much to ever go back to how I use to eat but this healing process is taking a long time.

I am now researching life style, like meditation, exercise, and fun but this winter, with the cold weather, is starting to take a toll on me. The last thing I want to do when I get home and am freezing is change into work out clothes, so I don’t.

Sugar Detox Revisited

One of my new favorite ways to eat salmon, by the way I did not like salmon until I did the detox.
One of my new favorite ways to eat salmon, by the way I did not like salmon until I did the detox.

I should have ended my sugar detox on the 21st of January, I chose to end it early. If you recall I was starting to complain about being bored Sugar Detox Day 11, Day 16 Sugar Detox. Maybe bored wasn’t the right word or changing up what I was eating and trying new recipes would have taken care of that. I think the better explanation for why I stopped my sugar detox 5 days early was that I was no longer seeing new benefits, meaning I felt as good as I thought I could feel on this detox. I felt great! I didn’t stop because I felt it wasn’t working I stopped because it worked so well!

I stopped on a Friday and celebrated with a glass of wine, the only thing I missed on the detox. After a glass or 2 my son convinced me to get a pizza, I should have known better. Before I started moving toward Paleo I had no known sensitivity to wheat. So we ate our pizza, drank some more wine and were having a nice evening. About 30 minutes after my first piece of pizza I started to feel my gut move around, I thought “I’m just not use to it anymore.” About an hour and a half after the pizza I started having stomach cramps, so I thought “I’ll not finish this glass of wine, drink a big glass of water and head to bed.” Cramps woke me up a couple of time and then at 1:00 AM my body said “NO WAY!!” and I was in the bathroom eliminating my pizza and wine, I’ll spare you the details. I woke up the next morning feeling ok and with a lesson well learned!

My lunch, both left over favorites, from the book. Spinach and garlic soup, quiche.
My lunch, both left over favorites, from the book. Spinach and garlic soup, quiche.

Even thought I am not on a sugar detox I did learn in these last 10 days that sugar really does have a strong effect on me. I have had some sub par chocolate, you know the ones that melt in your mouth not in your hand, and even those, my favorite candy, just didn’t do anything for me. So the sugar I am eating is in the form of fruit. I haven’t even had honey or maple syrup. It also took until last night for me to want a glass of wine, and that was all I wanted and I will never want pizza (the delivered kind) again!

My over all review of The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo is  I highly recommend it! I can’t wait for a payday or two so that I can buy the cook book that complements it. I had bought the book as a kindle addition because I wasn’t sure it would be for me; I will buy the cookbook in print.

3 Phase Paleo

I wanted to read 3 Phase Paleo by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry, the Paleo Parents, a couple of times before I did my review. The first time I read it I thought “Wow, where was this book when my family was young? We could have really benefitted from it!” After reading the book through that lens I had to read it again looking for the benefits for me. See I really questioned buying this book because it seems marketed toward families with young kids, that’s not me. Again I thought “Wow.” only this time I was excited for the section on the 3rd phase, which is where I am at in my journey–Introduce Healing Foods. So then I had to read that section again, just to make sure I was still impressed, and I was.

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Click here to visit Paleo Parents and buy the book.(this picture provided by the Paleo Parents website)

What I liked about this book, compared to many other great books I have read on nutrition and Paleo, is how practical it is. I felt like after reading 3 Phase Paleo I have the skills to really rock this life style. I love the lists of what to buy at the different stores and the section on how to stock your pantry. I’ve been eating Paleo for longer than I knew I was eating Paloe but if I was new I’d have printed and posted the Food Swap List on my fridge, on my desk at work and in my car! Like I said I have been eating Paleo for a while but after reading this book I feel like I was eating Beginner Paleo. Phase 3 has given me the tools and wonderful ideas on how to move to the next level. Ideas on how incorporate stock, or bone broth, into my diet daily ( I do my version of Stacy’s Soup) and my next venture is getting organ meat into my diet. This will take some metal preparation and the Spaghetti Squash with Meat and Offal Sauce recipe but I will do it.

eggs in broth, so yummy!
eggs in broth, so yummy!

For me the greatest benefit of this book is the recipes. 75 new ways to be creative and try something new, my favorite part of being Paleo 🙂

Now that I have read the book 3 times and have loved it more every time I can’t wait to share how much it has helped me, even without a family to work with, in my journey to better health and real food.

Moving On

It has been awhile since I have done a blog post, not because I didn’t have great ideas but because I really didn’t want to take the time to sit down at my computer and write. I recently was nominated for the Kohls Fellowship which required me to write 6 small essays and then I had to write a small article for a local newspaper so both this blog and my library blog were neglected.

Despite the neglect I have been reading and trying new things. A quick recap: no poo I did it for a while, successfully, until I went to get my hair cut. I was shocked at the amount of grey I had! I had been using Avadea clove shampoo and it helped cover my grey so after seeing my grey I went back to using shampoo. I’m on break from work so I went no poo again, even more successfully. To combat  the grey issues I found some articles on adding clove to oil or making a black tea, clove rinse that I’m going to try before I go back to school. I love being no poo, I just don’t love the grey.

My Paleo-ness; it’s going ok. the big problem for me is sugar. It’s like when I lost the grain carbs my body replaced it with sugar. I was doing really well on feeling great but as sugar became more predominate in my diet I started gaining weight and feeling like crap. So I bought  Diane Sanfilippo book The 21-Day Sugar Detox. I had read mixed reviews on her book and am glad I bought the 9.99 kindle version and not the print for 20.97. The information is very good and it is well written but I knew most of what she was talking about. The main reason I purchased the book was for the support. She has some recipes I can’t wait to try and I like the different levels of detox she lets you  pick from and the day-to-day what you might be feeling. In preparation I’ve been really paying attention to how much sugar I eat. Even when I try not to eat sugar I give in. My official start date is January 1st so I’ve been pulling out excuses. I will report on my progress, maybe not everyday but frequently.

I have been cooking a lot! I wish I had a bigger kitchen. I’ve made 2 batches of bone broth the last couple of days, beef and chicken. I also have been making my own stuff. I’ve read enough recipes in my life to have an idea of what goes together and it’s fun. No major flops, yet. My chicken soup was eh, a little watery but the chicken pot pie, or maybe it was a Shepard’s pie, I made today was wonderful. I haven’t made things enough times to post my own recipes but that will be coming eventually. I will start putting some pictures of finished products on instagram, trynde.

Well that’s my update, I will be writing more often this coming year.