Monday, June 24, 2013

Drive thru disaster.....

I am looking at yesterday as a life lesson.  A day that I am paying for in full.....today.  

After a series of bad choices that began with a drive thru and ended with a baked good extravaganza (home made here in the house so I know exactly what the ingredients include) here are the results:

I went to bed feeling nauseated, slept terribly, woke up at 3am with a headache/stomach ache/runny nose.  Fell back asleep around 4am to wake again at 5 with said stomach ache and additional gastrointestinal delights.

I currently have a headache, feel jittery and irritable, and have the suspicion that more delights await.  I can tell that today I will have to be even more intentional with patience and grace.  I have not felt this way in over a month.  Can I blame this all on what I ate yesterday-ummm......absolutely.

I think this episode of bad food choices does prove that eating better obviously, truly, for real makes me feel better.  It isn't just about the weight loss, lack of bloating, and decreased muffin top-sure those are important.  But for me it really is about feeling better.  The whole mental/physical/emotional package.  Going to bed feeling appropriately tired from a day full of kids/activities/life.  Waking up feeling rested. Avoiding the mid-day slump where I am so tired that the downward spiral of fatigue/lack of patience/crabbiness crowd out the possibilities of joy.  Man do I see the slump in my future this afternoon.

Lesson learned over here!!  Today I am looking at my consequences as a learning experience.  I know exactly what I ate yesterday and instead of doing it again my goal is to remember how I am feeling right now in the future.  Now I know that I need to pack food for myself instead of getting to the point where I  have.to.eat.anything!!!  Because I know anything just won't do.  I know that I need to refocus and eliminate a few things (dairy being a huge red flag for me right now) to get myself back on track.  I do not want to feel like this again.  It was only a day of less than perfect eating choices-but I certainly do not want days of feeling like I am right now.  

If this is what a cookie bar (or three) and fast food can do to me, I can truthfully say that it isn't worth it.  

So while I am paying for my drive thru disaster today, I am re-inspired to return to what I know is best. Good, whole food that will give me energy instead of headaches/stomach aches/and the crabbies!!  




Thursday, June 20, 2013

The easy peasey go to list (or what I eat all the time)

I've had several friends ask me what I eat.  Guys, it isn't exciting.  But it is good!!  Here is a "go to" list of what I tend to eat.  Now let me remind you of a few things here-I am NOT perfect!!  If you are adhering to any type of strict diet, please do research as to whether or not these food are for you.  I am unsure as to whether some of these foods are nightshades or would trouble a person with a digestive issue.  Even in the land of whole food eating/paleo/gluten free there is conflicting information about what is "best" to eat.  Second, I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be.  I did this for myself.  If you are thinking about eating whole foods, whoot whoot to you-but I have no medical background outside of my own reading to back any of this up.  Lastly, I did NOT cheat on the whole 30 plan.  I seriously ate the same things frequently.  I don't mind doing that.  So when you look at this list you may think-that is gross!  seriously?  she really ate that?  why didn't she eat more of........insert whatever you want here.  I am learning my friends.  I am still trying to navigate the whole food world.

One last thing.  I am trying to remain grain free and really watch my dairy.  Over the past several days I have reintroduced dairy-bad idea!!  Most of the dairy has come in small doses via half in half in my coffee.  Last night I had less than 1/2 of a cup of ice cream and woke up this morning with a stomach ache.  Bad.  Obviously it has been way too much.  I love the fact that I can experiment with this for better health!!!  So I will be cutting out dairy for the next several days and see what happens.  

Kara's Go To List

eggs(I watch this because sometimes they upset my tummy)
lean ground beef
chicken, chicken, and more chicken
lean cuts of pork

sweet potatoes (I eat them for all 3 meals)
cucumbers
kale (anyone got any cause I sure love the kale chips!!!)
romaine lettuce (or whatever I can find at the Farmer's Market)
spinach
pumpkin
mushrooms (I'm trying)
tomatoes
zucchini
carrots

apples
bananas
blackberries/blueberries/red raspberries
strawberries
grapes,
kiwi
watermelon
honeydew melon
pineapple

extra-virgin olive oil (to cook with and mixed with balsamic vinegar for a wicked good salad dressing)
coconut oil

avocado (I eat at least 1/2 to a whole with lunch and/or dinner)
cashews/almonds/pecans/macadamia nuts (I limit these because I think they might hurt my tummy-still trying to figure that one out)
coconut milk canned-WATCH OUT FOR HIDDEN SUGARS!!!!!
  ****Are you a coffee drinker missing your half and half?  This isn't that bad in coffee-seriously
Black olives-watch for added nitrates and crazy stuff-I get mine at Aldi's

You can also eat nut butters like almond butter, coconut butter but I never have.

If you want a full list of ideas, there are so many resources out there.  Here are two pins that might interest you.  

Again, if you really want to get a solid start, check out this link.  Scroll to the bottom for a list of free resources that give you a shopping list, a list of sneaky sugars, a pantry list and a variety of other stuff.  If you don't want to purchase a book, this is an excellent way to get started.


Happy eating!!!!



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Breaking away from the incredible egg

So after 30+ days of eating sweet potatoes and/or eggs, a girl gets kind of bored.  I finally branched out a bit and, for health reasons only of course, visited Pinterest (insert ahhhhh here) for some paleo-ish recipes.  There are a gazillion out there!!  I also was given (thank you Gramma Choo Choo) a really amazing, and easy to read, paleo cookbook that I've used.  I will try to link that up below.  Here are two easy recipes that might just entice you to give this whole 30 thing a try.


The Pineapple Dream (the kids name) or Summer Crack (that would be my choice):
 *credit for this recipe:  I found this recipe on Pinterest.  It can be found on my "pins I've done" board


1 can of pineapple with juice

1 can of coconut milk (I do recommend organic AND watch for hidden sugar!!!!!)
1 tsp of pure vanilla
*want to make a smoothie??  add either a handful of ice cubes OR (and I prefer this) a frozen banana

Throw everything in to a blender and voila!!  Leftovers?  Freeze them in molds and have a healthy treat for later.

Now if you checked out It All Starts with Food, I realize that the promotion of a smoothie is not included.  This shouldn't replace a meal.  You could have a small glass of this with a protein, and veggies.  The coconut milk IS a good fat, so this would cover the good fat and fruit.

Side note:  the one sticking point that I have with the whole 30 is not finding paleo "sweets".  The authors of the Food book really push that you don't mask sugar cravings by finding a way to have a paleo dessert or yummy.  I totally disagree!!!!!  Why would you even do that?  The above smoothie/popcicle is a legit way to have a snack/treat when the rest of the fam is having ice cream.  While I did adhere to this strictly on my whole 30, I do not find that having a smoothie, pumpkin pancake (see recipe below), or paleo treat from the Coffee Hound messes me up.

Pumpkin pancakes:
*recipe taken from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilipopo


4 eggs                                                1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 c canned pumpkin                       1 tsp cinnamon (I used more)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract                   1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp of butter or coconut oil
1 ripe mashed ripe banana optional

mash banana.  add and whisk together eggs, pumpkin, vanilla.  sift in pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and baking soda.

melt the 2 tbsp of butter in the skillet.  when melted add to mixture.  **I used the remaining little bit of butter to grease my skillet**

I used a 1/4 measuring cup to dip my batter out of the bowl.  I got about 10 smalish pancakes out of this recipe.  I added pecans on top for a bit more good fat.

IT IS SUPER GOOD!!!!!!



Again, while I did follow each and every rule during the whole 30, I really do not see the harm (for me) in recreating foods that I love in a healthier way.  The pancakes are so good and full of good things.

If you are interested in making a change, check out pinterest.  I'm on there and thanks to good friends have found a lot of great, easy recipes that I've put on the following boards:  good for you, paleo, gluten free.

Enjoy


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Confessions of a Sugar Mama and breakfast hater

I. ate. a. cupcake.  There.  We can all be friends now.  I have been truthful.  You may also be interested to know that I have had a few squares of good quality dark chocolate.

Yesterday was our 16th anniversary.  I wanted a special treat for Daddio and I to celebrate.  I went to this lovely local bakery(http://sugarmamabakery.netand got a mini cupcake to celebrate.  Here is the beauty of my confession-I ate the one cupcake that fit in the middle of my palm and it was almost TOO MUCH.  Yes my friends, it was so delish that it was enough!!!  What I love about the Whole 30 is that you have to figure out what your life is going to be like on day 31.  More on treats later.   I've made my confession.  Now on to breakfast.  

 I have had a lot of people ask-"What do you even eat?".  There is a formula for eating on the Whole 30 that you use at every meal.  At each meal you eat a good fat, protein, veggies, and occasionally fruit.  So today we begin with breakfast.  I hate breakfast.  Well at least at breakfast time.  I never, ever wake up hungry (which by the way is an indicator of a hormonal imbalance which I have!!!).  My breakfast on a good day would consist of rice chex cereal, or some banana bread, or my personal fave:  coffee with cream.  I usually just skipped breakfast and went right for coffee.  I got hungry around 10:00 but would push it until my lunch time at 11:30 (more on my lunch later).  What happened?  By about 9:00 I would be pretty jittery from all that coffee.  By 10:00 I would start to get a headache or feel super tired.  Maybe I would choke down a lara bar or dry cereal.  Or if it was a food day at school-well that would be a free for all gluten or not!!!

I will not lie.  Breakfast is very hard for me.  I am still not hungry all of the time-though I will report that I am starting to feel hungry when I wake up.  Regardless as to how I feel, within one hour of waking up I eat.  I do NOT drink any coffee prior to eating.  Since I am a creature of habit here are the two menus that I have stuck to:

Menu A:                                                      Menu B:
*fat-nuts                                                     *fat-black olives or 1/2 avocado
*protein-eggs                                             *protein-left over meat (chicken, burger)
*veggie-mixed                                           *veggie-sweet potato
Coffee with coconut milk on both menus AFTER I eat
*as a treat I will now use half and half when getting coffee out

Now to be completely honest, I had some major bloating and digestive issues for the first two weeks that I did this.  I am sure that my body was shocked by the veggies and protein.  Remember, I am a reformed I don't eat all day and then chow on my hidden candy stash kind of girl!!  Because of the bloating I did choose to eliminate protein from a lot of my breakfast meals.  I would then alter my menu "B" and eat a very large sweet potato with pecans or macadamia nuts.  I also limited my egg intake because I was beginning to wonder if eggs weren't a culprit for my stomach pains.  I also took digestive enzymes for the duration of the 30 days to help my belly.

Did I get bored?  No, I really didn't.  You can put a lot of cool vegetables in an egg scramble.  Pepper, salt, cumin, cilantro, cinnamon and mint are also really tasty ways to change the taste up.  Yes it does take a bit of effort to make breakfast before you start the day.  But if you eat a combo of the good fat/protein/veggies guess what-you won't be hungry until lunch time.  You won't want the lara bar/donut bar/baked good from the vending machine or in the commons area.  

Remember this-it takes time.  I still love sugar.  My body still craves sugar.  The worst time for me on the Whole 30 was the last week.  It was very strange.  I didn't even care about giving up the candy or sweets UNTIL I made chocolate chip cookies for the kids.  I am serious when I share with you-those cookies were talking. to. me!!  It was like I couldn't even sleep because I knew they were out in the kitchen.  I know.  It sounds sick.  

So I look at this as a process.  I am not going to go back to my eating habits prior to my Whole 30.   I had the cupcake and I've had a few squares of chocolate and that is okay.  Those "treats" were such a small piece of what I've eaten in the past 36 days.  When I am eating so many good things, I know that I can have something special and feel good about making the choice.  Because friends, what you put in your mouth is a choice.  Your choice.  That one little statement set me free.  I am beginning to have a much better relationship with what I eat and how I feel about my body.  Good food really is good.  

Next-going to a cookout.....what's a girl to eat???






Friday, June 14, 2013

The 30 Days that Changed Everything-Seriously

I am officially brushing the dust off of my blog for the summer!!  It's been a long time since I posted.  Last summer we did an experiment that I fondly called "The Story Family Food Revolution".  I posted some recipes, our progress, and our blips along the way.  It was successful.  Then life happened.  I got my first full time job in 13 years, we crossed the great divide into a life crazy full of activities, and oh yes...I went back to school.  Whew.

I also had some health issues develop and resurface.  From September 2012 to January of 2013 I was on every antibiotic available (less levoquin which I refused) and prednisone.  The weight and bloating came, I had an unsuccessful surgery and I found myself  more miserable than ever.  Having little faith in the traditional medical community, I felt like I was out of options-I was tired of taking medication. It just wasn't helping.   I started to just accept the fatigue, stomach ache/bloating/digestive issues, and overall malaise that I had been feeling as the way I would live.

I tried to "tweak" my diet-this translates into eating semi-gluten free except for food days at school-who can turn down sweets at a food day??  I was consuming several diet cokes/cherry coke zero's and a lot of candy.  Was it the prednisone?  Man, I don't know.  But it was bad!!!

One night I was pinning on Pinterest and I found a pin-this girl had found this book about "whole" eating.  She did it for 30 days.  No cheating.  She lost some weight but what really caught my eye was the change in her health.  She was sleeping better, her stomach didn't hurt-a general energy had come back.  I went to the link she provided and found the book she used.  I immediately downloaded it on my iPad and made the decision.  I was in.

I was going to do this!!  I read the book-I seriously devoured each page.  Maybe it was desperation?  Maybe it was just the right time?  Whatever it was-I am so thankful for that one pin!!  Not to be dramatic, but it has changed my life!!

Here is the short version (I will provide a link so you can check it out).  You eliminate all grains, sugar, dairy, soda, and processed food.  Yep, it's paleo.  You eat good protein, veggies, and a good fat (avocado, black olives, coconut milk, nuts) at each meal.  You can also have fruit.  For 30 days you commit to this-there is no cheating.  There is no weighing in.  The goal is eating three healthy meals a day.

Yep my friends, I did it.  Was it hard?  Uhhh...yep.  Did I want a cookie?  My friends will attest to that-I wanted to cave at a school professional development session so bad (insert thanks to my cheerleader Peggy!!  Her "no you won't eat that" spurred me to victory those last few days)!!

And the results?  I did lose weight.  7 pounds to be exact.  And some inches around my waist and hips. Funny, that is the weight I gained while on all of the meds.  I lost a good portion of my muffin top.  But the biggest blessing is this-my stomach does not hurt when I stick to this eating plan.  More on that later.  My "adult" acne is gone. I am sleeping better.  I am not hungry in between meals.  I do not have that afternoon malaise and I honestly do not feel irritable (well most of the time-but hey, I'm a Mom so that does happen).  I cannot believe how much better I feel overall.

There is no gimmick.  No pill.  No crazy fad foods you have to buy.  It's not expensive.  You don't have to do anything but commit to changing your diet using real food.  It is simply just a decision to try something for 30 days.  Again it was hard.  I'm not trying to sell you some wonder "diet".  It is meant to be a life change with your eating.  If you are looking to feel better, if you have tried everything to improve aches/pain/fatigue give this a try.  Seriously, it's only 30 days.  You can do ANYTHING for a month.  Even walk away from the cookie.


Above is the link.  Check it out.  There are resources you can print for free.  The book is also available as a download at Amazon. com.

So why did I dust the blog off?  Because my 30 days are now over.  What will I do now?  Continue?  Cheat?  Go back to my old ways?  As I did last summer, I thought I'd share how the next 30 days goes for me. I'll be honest.  I'll  share some recipes and maybe have some shared with me too.

So join me if you are interested.  And for those of you who are interested in what happened with our food revolution-that is a blog post for next time.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A new challenge-the school lunch

I've been a bit lax with the blogging lately.  So I thought I would get up to speed with the goings on here.  Specifically, what does life post 30 day revolution look like.

As the summer has progressed, I have to admit that my will power and drive has worn down a bit.  Dude, it takes a lot of effort to make those pancakes/muffins/scrambled eggs every day!!  There are no Lucky charms in the house, but I did buy Cheerio's.  No pop tarts but I caved and got sour dough pretzels.  No microwave popcorn, but I did purchase a Stir Crazy (friends if you do not have one of these you NEED to get one!!!!).  No white bread, but I did purchase a few loaves of whole wheat from Sams.  I have become flexible in what I buy, but the kids have stopped asking for a lot of the junk which is AMAZING!!!!  I can actually walk down the cracker aisle and they go right to the triscuts instead of the cheese it's!!  Yes, I am still lamenting the gold fish crackers!!  I love them so.

Our meals are similar to what I prepared during our 30 day revolution.  I have brought back some old favorite recipe's and tweaked them.  Baked ziti with whole wheat noodles and homemade sauce, "easy" joes(which are homemade sloppy joes-delish) made with low sugar ketchup, and a lot of grilled chicken.  I did also follow through on my weekly rotation and it worked beautifully!!  The kids didn't even notice that the meals were the same.  I will be doing this for the school year on a monthly basis.  It just creates a wonderfully organized system of getting meals on the table.  It makes grocery shopping easier-and isn't that what we all really want?

I have a new challenge that I am going to gear up for now-the school lunch.  Those 3 little words that make me quiver, sigh, and wait...I feel a headache coming on!!  It is the worst part of the school year!!  Coming up with clever food items to put in that little lunch bag-man, it just drives me crazy!!!  I'll give you more insight on what it looks like to prepare a school lunch around here at a later date.  I just can't even go there right now-I haven't had enough coffee!!!  But I need some healthy choices. 

My other big news is that Mama got a job!!  After almost 13 years of being at home (well for 8 of said years I have worked various part time jobs but nothing full time) I am headed back to the land of full time work.  Am I excited-YES YES and YES again!!  Do I wonder what that is going to look like for our family?  Of course.  I have scoured pinterest for organization tips (who am I kidding....I scour pinterest for any tip!!), recipe's and other information to get myself geared up for this transition.  Can I still make healthy meals for my fam while throwing a job into the mix of all that returning to school brings (i.e. I become a glorified taxi driver to and from all after school activities)?  Why yes, I do believe that I can.  It is kind of sickening, but I operate well when busy.  The summer is my time to recharge, and by September I am ready to roll!!!

This is going to be awesome!!  So if you have any healthy lunch tips, let's start there.  And if you have any other tips about being a working mom share those too!!  I think if we all shared more about the things that make our lives easier, we would all be so much happier:)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Adventures at the Farmer's Market (Mom, can we go now?)


So what do you do at 10am when it is already like 99 degrees out??  Yep, you drag your family to the Farmer's Market.  I'm not sure why we chose to go in the heat?  I'm not sure why we decided that yesterday of all days was the perfect time to make this journey.  But, we did and it was great!!!!  It was our first adventure into shaking the hand of those who feed us and we were not disappointed!!!  Now for those of you who have not gone to the Farmer's Market here in town, let me encourage you to get your tushie's out of bed and get there EARLY!!!  While I was impressed with the selection at 10:30 am, I am certain that the selection is even better in the early morning hours.  We started at a tent full of homemade pies-not the best place to start, but oh my everything looked SO yummy!!!  Our strategy was to walk the entire circle and then make our decisions.  There was a lot to look at!!  Beautiful orange and yellow zinnia's, colorful foxgloves, and brightly colored veggies were everywhere.  It was truly appealing to the eye to see all of the colors.  It was also entertaining to listen to the music being played while we shopped around.  We were told that the market wasn't even full of the usual vendors due to the heat, but I have to say that for such a hot day it was well populated!!

Our first stop was at Troyer's sweet corn.  While I didn't get to talk to this family as much as would've liked (the kids were DYYYYYYYIIIIIINNNNGGGG it was SOOOOOO HOOOOOOT), I quickly hit it off with Lis (pictured below).  She was cheerful, even in the heat, and I really liked the conversation I heard her (yes, I was eavesdropping!!) having with another customer.  She was gracious, kind, and happy to share information about their produce.  Their prices were very competitive-I purchased 12 ears of corn (but she threw in some extras when she saw all of the kids) for $5.  When I pulled back the husks I was delighted to see the yellow and white kernels!!  DELISH!!

Lis (Troyer Sweet Corn), Emmy, Fiona, and Peris
I told Lis I would plug her fresh corn and she was delighted!!  If you stop by their tent at the Farmer's Market, let her know that you saw her picture here on my blog.  She was pretty enthusiastic about being included on a post about real food.  I wish we could've talked more-I will look for her again next week!! 
These families work hard for their dollar!!  I felt so good about buying corn from a real person-knowing that no big company had any access to modify this food means something to me. 
Thank you Lis for shaking my hand and giving me peace about what I am feeding my family!!!

As we ventured on (by this point we were all absolutely disgusting!!) we stopped at Prairie Earth Farms out of Atlanta, Illinois.  Two young men were manning this tent, and while they were eager to share their organic methods of growing their produce, I have to admit that I had checked out!!!  They were gracious and informative-I will be going back to their tent next week as well to chat them up.

These green beans looked gorgeous!!  And smelled so fresh!!  I also purchased a pound of Yukon gold potatoes and Derek bought two onions.  Everything smelled....real.  The container of beans cost $2.50, the pound of potatoes was $3 and the two onions were $1. 

I just thought this picture was beautiful.  All of the colors.  Even in the heat I had a great time!!! 

Okay, so the heat was pretty bad, but the produce, fresh baked goods, fresh flowers, and the artisan wares were amazing!!!  If you live in the area and haven't ventured Downtown-get going!!  Check out this (not so secret I'm sure) little jewel that goes on every Saturday morning.  It is well worth it!!  Save some of your food dollars and spend it here-a place where you can meet the people who are feeding you.  They love to chat (even when you are all melting) and love that you want to buy good food from them.