After the Whole30

So Whole30 is done, both officially and unofficially. DH came back on June 16 and I finished the diet that Friday.

Overall I think I’m slightly disappointed. I did not feel that much better nor did I sleep better. I did lose anywhere from 5 to 8 lbs (my scale is sensitive). Otherwise I did not see any noticeable difference.

On the other hand, I think I finally conquered my sweet tooth. I’m still drinking my coffee without sweetener (though with local cream instead of ghee or coconut milk). I have put 1/2 tsp of honey in my green tea and sometimes I drink it unsweetened. I no longer keep chocolate in my drawer at work and I don’t have a piece at home every day. I have not had sweet beyond fruit and my first waffle since starting the Whole30 (waffle was only sweetened with 1 apple and 1 banana – recipe here). I have been eating more vegetables and they have all been local. I am going to continue minizing sweeteners and sweets overall from now on. It is so easy to fall back into a routine of eating them that I think it will pay off to continue to minimize them.

I have been exercising 3-5 times a week. I use a tape (about 20 min usually) for an abdominal/hips/thighs workout. I also do some stretching and weightlifting for my arms. Even though I did not lose much weight, my tummy is flatter and I can fit better into a lot of pants I could not fit into before…

I have enjoyed adding dairy back in – so far it’s not that much. I use butter alongside my beloved ghee. I eat some cheese (including a local goat cheese that is delicious) and use heavy cream (also local) in my coffee. I have used some milk in my espresso and that does not seem to bother me. I will continue to be discriminating in my use of dairy, especially when eaten at home.

As a long-term goal, I will continue cooking and eating whole foods at home and stearing away sweets. That might be tough when my kids gets back from their vacation but it’s something I will be doing. I’m trying to cook up a storm for the next 2 weeks (before I leave to pick them up) to stash my freezer. On the list are waffles (recipe above), pancakes, cooked taco meat, muffins, prepped fruit for smoothies and the like. I’m planning to put my 10 year old on a gluten-free diet for 30 days so I’ve made up some GF flatbread and will be making rolls and tortillas in the weeks to come… Busy summer!

On the Whole30

I can’t believe it’s been a month already!! Things got so crazy… With both the kids and DH leaving right after school ended and my hectic days at work, it’s no wonder I had no time to write.

I’ve been enjoying almost 2 weeks of being by my lonesome and doing stuff around the house. And I get to cook WHATEVER I want. Of course, only if it’s allowed on the Whole30. I actually started on 5/23, vs the original 5/17 start date. I have since cleaned out the pantry and refrigerator and gotten back to simple lunches and dinners. Lately I’ve been enjoying my Italian hodge-podge: combo of cooked meat (roasted pork but any meat will do), boiled wax beans, sauteed squash and zucchini, marinara sauce and some sliced olives on top. I’ve even incorporated some anchovies and capers into this concoction – delish!!

I can’t believe I’ve had no honey, sugar or chocolate for almost 2 weeks!! It hasn’t been easy but I’ve adapted. I’ve even avoided snacking on sweet things or putting dates in my coffee creamer. I’ve done coffee (though not every day) – originally with coconut milk creamer, then bulletproof (with ghee and CO) and I finally settled on almond milk creamer. This is definitely the best – I use this recipe.

I have not experienced any surge in energy or better sleep, sad to say. I’m still hoping it will happen… I’m also going to start incorporating some supplements (astaxanthin, K2 and magnesium). We’ll see if this helps…

See you soon…

Prepping for the Whole 30

The countdown has begun. I begin the Whole 30 one week from this Saturday.

In a way, I find the Whole 30 harder than GAPS. You can have no sweeteners at all – not even honey. No dairy is also going to be a bit hard. I will be doing a Primal coffee creamer or the ultimate Paleo coffee. I have done the former, not the latter. I also have cinnamon and vanilla powder ready (no regular vanilla extract since it’s in alcohol). If I get really adventurous, I may even add some peppermint extract (I have the Frontier organic brand which is in oil – I’d love to use the orange extract but alas, it’s in alcohol too).

Here are some ideas I’m toying around with for each meal. I’m going to try very hard not to snack at all:

Breakfast: similar fare to what I’m already eating like eggs, sausage, bacon (the sugar free kind from US Wellness Meats), veggies like tomato or cucumber and avocado. I usually do a green tea in the morning but I may skip that as I really don’t care for it without any sweetener. I’m considering doing a cup of broth or Paleo coffee instead.

Lunch:  I’m currently doing salads 4-5 times a week so I may stick with that (I found a great local source of amazing lettuce). Leftovers are always an option. I also have several cans of sardines and tuna that I need to use up…

Dinner: simple affair of protein, fat and veg. I’m hoping to use up the tons of ground beef I have in the freezer as well as odds and ends I already have cooked up and frozen.

Some other staples I have on hand:

fats: local lard, ghee (I will try making my own this summer), coconut oil (both virgin and expeller-pressed). No butter for a while…

condiments: fish sauce, mustard (with no wine or sugar), ketchup (I’ll be making this version), salsa (I found a great tasting one at Costco – my local one has some sugar in it, unfortunately), dressings (I’ve been making my own ranch, blue cheese and Caesar – the blue is out but the others will do nicely; I’m also going to experiment with a citrus vinaigrette).

This is exciting! And a little scary but since I’ve already done the GAPS intro, twice, this should not be that much harder….

Whole 30

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the summer and the opportunity to be kid-free for 7 weeks (that includes 3 weeks without a husband as well!). I already have a list of what I plan to accomplish, including cooking up some foods for the freezer. I was also planning on redoing intro while DH was away. I’ve decided it’s too much for me to tackle right now and honestly I don’t feel I need it. Instead, I’ll be doing something called the Whole 30 (http://www.whole30.com/). I feel like this is really a better fit for me. Other than 1 lunch a week plus 1-2 dinners a week, all my food is home-prepared. I eat mostly organic produce, pastured eggs, grassfed and pastured meats, etc. I’m mostly grain free and completely gluten free. I simply want to refocus on eating more whole foods, especially vegetables, and utilize more seasonal produce in my meals. I’m excited!!

I’m taking inspiration from Michelle over at NomNomPaleo and her beautiful photography (http://nomnompaleo.com/post/42057515329/the-round-up-30-days-of-whole30-recipes). Her recipes are awesome.

I don’t think I’m going to plan a whole lot this time around. I will try to get rid of temptation foods before I begin (umm… tortilla chips, anyone?) and make sure I have the building blocks and essentials on hand. I plan to shop at the farmer’s market weekly to have plenty of seasonal produce and fruit around. That is all for now!

Back to GAPS?

Welcome to 2014!! I know, I know… it’s the middle of March. I’ve been busy, you know?

Overall my health has been good, but not great. I miss the ‘great’, I do… I promised myself I would do better in 2014, but life keeps getting in the way. It’s not an excuse, it’s just…. life. When it comes down to it, I really am doing better. My 4 YO is eating well (his current favorite is bacon-roasted broccoli – BROCCOLI – did you get that? the recipe is here). My 9 YO is not doing that great (and is starting to get white spots on teeth and indigestion). The quality of food I’ve been cooking at home has improved. Up until a few weeks ago we were eating pastured eggs exclusively! I’ve been trying to clean up the snacks mostly and move away from gluten but it’s been hard.

So I just finalized my plans for the summer. The kids will be spending it in Europe (again), DH will stay there with them for 3 weeks and I will spend 2.5 weeks with them before bringing them back in time for school to start in the fall. Since I’ll be by my lonesome for 3 weeks, I’m going to redo the GAPS intro and be full GAPS by the time DH gets back. I’m really hoping the reset will put me back on track to feeling better and having more energy. I can’t really sustain GAPS 100% of the time but I’d like to at least be Paleo and not cheat so much. Tortilla chips are the bane of my existence and my family’s love of Mexican is NOT helping!!

All in all, the food I’ve been eating hasn’t been bad. My breakfasts are usually eggs with meat (bacon, ham, sausage) or pancakes (almond flour) or waffles (almond flour or plaintain) or Applegate hot dogs. I’ve been doing jerky and a Larabar for a quick lunch, sometimes leftovers, sometimes soup. I have been allowing myself some potatoes or rice or rice pasta, but not always and only in small portions. I’m going to save it for very special occasions or as a rare treat. I have been doing kefired milk or cream Mon – Fri with my lunches but have not been taking my Custom Probiotics. I think I’m going to order some Bio-Kult this summer…

I’m going to wrap this up for now. In the next few weeks (time permitting), I’m going to come up with a more detailed plan on what I’ll be cooking while on intro. See you soon!

Review: Cuisinart Green Gourmet skillet

I’ve been using this skillet for almost a year now. Mine doesn’t come with a cover but I’m pretty sure it’s the same one.

The good: it is almost like a nonstick. Some things like eggs will stick if you don’t add enough fat or cook over a high heat. Hasn’t been a problem with me! I drown my eggs in ghee and like them soft so I usually cook them over a low to medium heat. Most foods do not stick and I don’t have to use a ton of fat (not an issue for me, anyway!). It cooks evenly and browns nicely. Handle stays cool most of the time, but if you use high heat on a large burner, it will get pretty warm.

The bad: there are some nicks on the surface already. The surface is supposed to be ceramic and you can theoretically use metal (I usually use a wooden spoon) so I’m not sure about it now…

The bottom line: I’ll use it until more nicks appear and I may try another product then. I’m going to order the 8″ pan and see how it goes. If I see nicks on that one, I’m returning it (I’m pretty sure it’s too late for this pan). I’ve been pretty happy so far with the performance and I use the pan every day. I have substituted cast iron with this pan so I may go back to cast iron and use it half the time and this pan half the time. Even if I have to toss the pan after another year, it’s not a bad value for $40.

Fall (or winter.. or anytime!) hash

This might be my first recipe to post on my blog!! Or not… my memory is very bad these days. I’ve been wanting to share this idea for months but things have been hectic and I haven’t been able to blog much. So after much ado, here we go!!

I’ve been using this recipe (more of an idea, really) for months and I love it!! I always cook enough for 2 days of eating and my family doesn’t mind. Most of the time I just reheat the stuff from previous day (on the stove or in the toaster oven) but sometimes I like to do it just a bit differently. With always having leftovers on had, I usually have some form of cooked meat and veggies in the fridge. So I came up with this very simply idea for a hash.

Ingredients
Leftover cooked meat (boiled, roasted, poached, etc.)
Leftover cooked veggies, but into bite size pieces
Leftover sauce or cooking juices (optional)

That’s it!! So easy but soooo good. My favorite so far has been roasted butternut squash (I roast it in cubes with coconut oil and cinnamon), sausage (bratwurst or Italian) and brussel sprouts (roasted or grilled). I put about an equal amount of each of these in a pan with some ghee and heat up with hot. I also love my Italian beef: roasted or boiled beef, green beans and tomato sauce. Chinese also works: chicken (you could saute raw chicken first), then add some fresh garlic and ginger and cut up bok choy. Delicious! More than the ingredients, I love cutting up the food in bite size pieces and sauteeing them till golden brown in pan.

Speaking of pans, I’m going to review this one in my next post.