A Bit of an Update

It’s Fall. How did that happen? The days eek by ever so slowly when – BAM! – you realize three months have gone by. I love Fall, it’s my favorite season. It’s hard to put away the flip flops, but I do so love the chill in the air, the lack of stifling heat and humidity, being able to put on cozy layers but not worrying about freezing temperatures just yet.  Breakfast on chilly mornings seems even better – making a warm bowl of something yummy, cradling a mug of tea or cider or hot chocolate. And of course #apples and #pumpkins, amiright?

In any case, I thought I would give a brief update about how I’m doing healthwise. I will admit that the colder weather makes it more challenging to eat healthily because garden produce is winding down (although we’ll try to make some cold frames for greens), smoothies aren’t as enjoyable when it’s cold outside, and comfort-food casseroles seem to dominate the dinner menu. But I’m hopeful I can continue (or at least maintain) the progress I’ve made.

After the elimination diet a few months ago, I continued keeping wheat and sugar out of my diet and a few other food items at a minimum (e.g. dairy, corn, etc.). I still have a ways to go, but since starting this journey, I’ve lost twenty+ pounds. My clothes fit better, I feel better about myself, and I have the desire to continue taking care of my body. The occasional more-sugary treat has made it into my diet, but I try to make healthier choices. Just about the only exception was Gabriel’s birthday, which we celebrated during our North Carolina camping trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a Publix birthday cake and vanilla ice cream. I justified leftovers over the next few days since they were all connected to his birthday. Since we were so active during the trip, hiking to see waterfalls and such, I think I may have even dropped a pound. Cake without the guilt!

When the lettuce was done in the garden I stopped having salads all. the. time. My go-to breakfast these days are oat bran or rice farina made with almond milk and usually topped with natural peanut butter and dark chocolate chips, plain whole-milk yogurt with granola, a smoothie, or gluten-free pancakes with very little sweetener. If I don’t have a smoothie for breakfast it becomes lunch. Another favorite is chard, bacon, eggs, and tomatoes topped with cheese or dairy-free pesto. Sometimes I’ll have a “picky lunch” with the kids, which is basically picking from things here and there and throwing them on a plate – meat, cheese, crackers, veggies, fruit. If I have any sort of crackers, they’re Nut Thins or Veggie Straws (when I discovered the Sriracha, they became my favorite). I like to try different things for dinner and love using my crock pot (especially since my oven is crap these days). There are so many recipes I like to make and it’s easy to capitalize on protein (usually chicken, beef, and/or beans) and veggies, sometimes adding rice. We only have pasta once or twice a week and when we do, it’s Tinkyada brown rice pasta.

I’ve continued seeing a chiropractor each week and have daily stretches and exercises to do. I’m thinking about adding yoga, but when I tried a workout yesterday, the hard floors weren’t friendly to my knees and the moves hurt my wrists. So… we’ll see! Maybe just getting a mat will solve that problem – this one is on my wish list. The stretching and strength needed to hold the poses would probably do me a world of good… but I felt like such a wimp! Any advice for a beginner?

Since it’s almost October, I want to give a little plug for National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day on October 15th. The fifteenth happens to be my birthday and I when I discovered this connection after my miscarriage a couple years ago, it was like adding insult to injury. Hope Mommies recently had an awareness campaign and I bought a onesie for Gabriel, which will probably make it into his Christmas stocking. I also hope we can take part in the balloon release to honor Shiloh, my niece Astrid, and other precious babies in Heaven. Feel free to spread the word.

photo credit: egizu Woman practicing yoga on the beach via photopin (license)


The Third Week – wrapping it up

Day 21. Or, I made it! Three weeks wasn’t that bad, though I will admit the extra work and preparation has been a bit of a nuissance. I already make many things from scratch, so to add on top of that, it’s been a bit discouraging and has made me want to make something easier and more convenient at times. A nice ol’ PB&J would be just the ticket. *sigh*

I’ve lost some weight (although I thought and hoped the weight loss would be a bit more dramatic) and I’m feeling good, so I’m gonna stick with this for another week then think about adding some things back in – eggs, some dairy, etc.

This wraps up my elimination diet for this round – hope you got some ideas and inspiration – and perhaps a bit of reality? – for your own journey.

Breakfast: Smoothie

Lunch: Mean Green Detox Salad with salmon
This has to be my favorite salad – but all the steps! Also, I don’t like it the next day even though it holds up; it’s best freshly made. I added oranges with the grapefruit and salmon on top, which is one of my favorite additions to salad.

Snack: Veggie Stix; seltzer water
Since the kids have been so helpful in the garden, we took them out for Del’s frozen lemonade today. Phil suggested ice cream, but I said I couldn’t have any. Since Del’s makes a sugar-free version, I figured I would have that instead. Well… they didn’t have the sugar-free! I was pretty bummed, but I walked next door to a pharmacy and got some seltzer. I wanted green tea but there was nothing sugar-free. 

Dinner: Pasta with bacon, cannellini beans, & chard with vegan parm topping; gluten-free flatbread with vegan pesto
I didn’t want to have more salmon today and there was no chicken defrosted… so what to add to the brown rice pasta for protein? Well, bacon makes everything taste better, and beans in bacon grease? Yum! I cut up some chard and threw that in at the end. The fam used parmesan cheese but I used my vegan blend. I had some leftover gluten-free flatbread and topped it with an awesome pesto (I was inspired by a few pesto recipes – basil, parsley, walnuts, almonds, garlic scapes, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt, and pepper). Oh, and those garlic scapes? Fresh from our garden! They are the curly greens that grow on top of garlic, and many people don’t know you can use them – in salads, sauteed with meat, etc. They have a mild, garlic-y onion flavor.

See other elimination diet days:
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07
08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 |

photo credit: grongar Garlic scape via photopin (license)

Eating Chocolate & Losing Weight

Day 20. Or, I’ve lost at least five pounds! I have an older scale and I’m really not sure how accurate it is, so I’m going to round down just to be realistic.

Breakfast: Smoothie

Snack: Dark chocolate
I had a couple bites of my Berkshire Bark dark chocolate bar before heading out with the kids on an errand. So good!

Lunch: Green Protein Salad; dark chocolate
Only hours later did I realize I totally forgot the quinoa! Still good and filling! The avocado I used was the perfect ripeness, something which hardly even happens to me. I finished off the last couple bites of my chocolate bar. Note to self: add dark chocolate to the grocery list.

Snack: Veggie Stix; water; iced peppermint tea
We spent the whole afternoon doing yard work to help out Daddy while he’s on a 24-hour shift. I’m feeling all four+ hours of being out in the sun, yikes! Nice sunburn blooming on me, sore and aching from shoveling mulch, but it felt good to be productive. We took breaks every now and then to run through the sprinkler, which helped cool us off. I also guzzled water and iced tea since it was so hot. I’m glad no one stopped by because I was a hot mess!

Dinner: Pizza; quinoa with Chicken Tikka Masala
I finished off the last couple pieces of my gluten-free pizza. They’re pretty small, so I warmed up some quinoa that was in the fridge in added some of the chicken leftovers – so good!

No energy… must go to bed even though it’s still early… should I eat something? I think I spent too much time out in the sun today. I’ve felt tired and a bit dizzy since coming inside. After the kids went to bed I flopped down on my own bed but Gabe started crying. #CantSleepWithoutHisMama

See other elimination diet days:
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07
08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 |

photo credit: patrizia_ferri blackblock via photopin (license)

The Answer Is Spinach

Day 19. Or, sometimes it just seems easier to buy spinach at the store rather than sit in the hot sun and pick through it all! But it’s so nice having fresh greens so handy.

Breakfast: Smoothie

Lunch: Green Protein Salad with salmon; water
Just as good as yesterday! I made salads for the whole family and it took quite a while chopping all the different ingredients, putting them all together, but they really liked it. We worked quite a bit in the garden this morning, weeding and picking greens, and I was hot and hungry by the time lunch rolled around!

Snack: Chocolate (I know!)
We went to Mystic Aquarium (and Village) after lunch, a favorite place of ours. After walking around the aquarium, we walked across the street to the shops. We looked in a couple places and I decided we should get some fudge for Phil’s parents, since they were coming over this evening. While we were in the general store, I saw a display of Berkshire Bark, and couple varieties were dark chocolate. The one I had was For the Birds, but it’s not on their website so perhaps they’ve stopped making it. I had about one third of the bar and it was really good, and only 3g of sugar per serving. It contains Belgian dark chocolate, sunflower, chia, flax seeds, puffed quinoa, fruit juice sweetened cranberries and blueberries, and sea salt. Pretty good, huh? I hope I can find it somewhere else.

Dinner: Pizza (Seriously?); water
Yes, seriously. Our local pizza joint makes good pizza which, sadly, I can’t have right now. Buuut… I recently got a 40% off coupon and remembered they have a gluten-free option. So, while everyone else had pepperoni and Hawaiian slices, I had a gluten-free pizza with sauce, chicken, spinach, garlic, and my own “cheese” sauce. Afterwards we passed around watermelon (I had a couple bites while cutting it up but nothing substantial) and fudge but I stuck with my water. They even had popcorn while watching BFG! Just writing this I’m about to go to bed and getting hungry… but it’s too late to eat anything.

See other elimination diet days:
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07
08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
15 | 16 | 17 | 18 |

Eat Your Greens

Day 18. Or, I’ve been feeling pretty good lately and hope I can keep this up! I’m sure my weekly chiropractic appointments have been helping but you have to keep your body healthy on a number of levels. Just eating well won’t fix your problems if your spine is out of alignment, knowwhatImean? If anyone locally is looking for a chiropractor, Dr. Enos in Warwick is da bomb.

Breakfast: Smoothie
Sometimes I just use coconut almond milk (which, by the way, is an Almond Breeze blend – I get the original, unsweetened kind), but every once in a while I add full fat coconut milk and it makes my smoothie so creamy! *sigh* I could add coconut milk to everything.

Lunch: Green Protein Salad; iced coffee with coconut almond milk and stevia
I’ve been trying to find a few salads to keep in rotation so I don’t get bored and so I get a variety of nutrients. My favorite so far is probably the Mean Green Detox Salad but it has quite a few steps, so if I don’t already have some of the elements prepared, it’s a bit of work. I also really like the kale and beet salad that I’ve had a few times, but last time I didn’t add salmon and didn’t like it quite as much. Green salads sometimes seem… boring… to me, perhaps because they’re monochromatic? But I really enjoyed this one, and I didn’t even add chicken or salmon! I did add sprouts and avocado to keep the green thing going, though, and made a few substitutions (like chia seed for hemp, sunbutter for tahini).

Snack: Veggie Stix; iced peppermint tea

Dinner: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala with rice and flatbread
This was a yummy, flavorful dish – even Addy, my picky four-year-old, gobbled it up! When I first tasted it I was surprised that it seemed a bit bland, due to the array of spices involved, but I punched it up a bit with garlic powder, more chipotle chili powder (instead of the cayenne), and a bit of ghee (a la Butter Chicken). I wasn’t crazy about the flatbread, but I also didn’t follow the recipe 100% so I’ll try it again some other time. 

Bedtime: Golden Milk

See other elimination diet days:
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07
08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
15 | 16 | 17 |