Another week has been completed of our Whole30 during this Lenten Season.  I'm so grateful that we are using Lent as a huge motivator for this one as well as my recent discovery of adrenal fatigue to further keep me motivated, as those chocolate and sugar cravings were tough this week!

I stuck with it though, with a lot of prayer and focusing on my bible  and other spiritual readings.

To know that I really need to extend this whole30 for myself, at least for the most part, seems daunting at this point, but I am grateful to know what the reasons are for my symptoms and to know that this Paleo lifestyle has helped this issue from growing worse and will keep me on track for recovery sooner!  So while it seems daunting at times, I know also it's the standard way of today's living - high amounts of sugar and processed foods, constantly being on the go, not learning how to say no or take care of myself - is a good part of what's gotten me here, and those are the things that I have control over and the Whole30 is a big part in getting me back on track.  It won't teach me to say no or take care of myself in a LOT of ways, but it does teach me to be more aware of what foods have an effect on my body.

This past week was another set of delicious meals!

Again breakfasts were mostly scrambled eggs with either hash browns, sautéed veggies or a small bit of fruit such as blueberries and strawberries. For myself, I preferred heating up a mix of leftovers in the morning. Here is one of y mixtures! It’s a combination of brussels sprouts (my personal favorite) and the roast from last week and a side of fruit.

Lunches were leftovers, salad, or what we call a lunch plate. It’s simply a few slices of organic lunchmeat (ham, turkey, or roast beef), raw veggies, cashews or another nut, and a little fruit and occasionally a Lara Bar. Lunch plates are nice for when we are in a hurry. It tends to be my 6 year old’s favorite. He’s going through a somewhat picky stage right now though and will even complain about the lunchmeat on occasion as well as the raw veggies. It’s a phase.

This was our dinner menu for the week:

Monday: Paleo Sloppy Joes over Sweet Potatoes/Baked Potatoes, Salad

Tuesday: Beef and Gravy over Cauliflower Rice, Salad

Wednesday: Hamburgers on a bed of bib lettuce, tomatoes, and fried mushrooms and onions, fries (not technically a whole30 food but we use organic fries and bake them rather than fry)

Thursday: Spaghetti Squash with tomato sauce and meatballs, Salad

Friday: Tuna Salad over lettuce greens with tomato, cucumber and dried cherries, Baked Whole30 Week 2 Tuna SaladPotatoes/Sweet Potatoes ( my husband likes the sweets, the kids prefer the whites. I like both!)

Saturday: Leftovers (the guys were away part of this week so there were more leftovers in the fridge than usual, so Saturday became a planned leftover day as well as our usual Sunday)

Sunday:   Leftovers (Sunday is often a leftover day so nothing new here!)

So next week's menu is made and the grocery list is in progress for my Monday shopping trip. Once again I've used a recipe or two from  Well Fed Weeknights, my current favorite paleo book.  The recipes are mostly all Whole30 approved or easily adaptable.

I'll be sticking the Whole30 it despite the desire for chocolate that burns inside of me as I write this.  My health is important and needs to come first.  I'm learning more each day about the adrenals and adrenal fatigue and know that I need to change some habits and make new ones.  The Whole30 is the beginning to my adrenal health and a wonderful way to stay on my Lenten journey!  If you haven't ever done a Whole30, I encourage you to try it out!  Your body will thank you!

Have you done a Whole30?  What was the hardest part for you?

 

Well, we have gotten through the first week of our Whole30 during this Lenten season.  It hasn't been terribly bad since I am motivated by the Lenten Season in addition to really wanting to alleviate my adrenal fatigue.

My cravings for sugar and chocolate are ever present, but I am focusing on selecting healthy snacks as my alternative.  Technically, you are not supposed to snack during a Whole30, but those with adrenal fatigue SHOULD snack, so I am focusing on snacking on healthy options rather than my usual ( you know , chocolate or sugared processed something) and not doing the no snacking option.  I'm also being quite diligent in getting my 5 glasses of water in daily and this seems to be alleviating me from needing as many snacks as usual as my body feels more 'filled' with the water intake.

Most of our breakfasts this week have been eggs.  Scrambled eggs as that's the easiest to get my 6 year old to eat.  But each day I try to serve something with them that varies so that it doesn't seem to be the same meal each day. I do this, though my son and I are really learning just how spoiled we are as we near the end of The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, our most recent bedtime story selection.  Laura and her family had only white potatoes and wheat to make bread for the longest time, and then only seed wheat which they had to hand grind in their coffee mill for a couple of months!  Yeah, somehow I feel less inclined to worry about whether our meals feel so varied.

Lunches have been primarily leftovers with some greens or a few slices of organic luncheon meats with some raw veggies and a clementine and a Lara Bar or a handful of nuts.

Dinners have the most variation and I do believe that variation is important in regards to nutrition.  It does our bodies well to have a variety of vegetables and such to be sure we are getting an assortment of vitamins and minerals.  I want to share my dinner mealtime with you here:

Monday:  Paleo Chocolate Chili over mashed potatoes made with ghee, coconut milk and garlic   &Salad

Tuesday: Crockpot Potatoes (baked potatoes & Sweet Potatoes in the crockpot), Sausage & Peppers, Salad

Wednesday:  Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon,  Salad

Thursday:  Turkey Burgers on a bed of lettuce (no bun of course) , Brussels Sprouts, Baked Sweet Potatoes

Friday:  Clam Chowder  & Salad with greens, blueberries, green bell pepper, scallions and cucumber

Saturday:  Roast,  Asparagus and Roasted Carrots

Sunday:  Leftovers-

One of my biggest dilemmas over the years is figuring out what sides to make with my meals to make sure the meal stays easy and, yes, I'll admit it, to add variety (both nutrition and pleasure reasons).  Maybe I'm the only one that stresses over this.  But I like to have something besides the easy frozen broccoli steamed in the pan...  so here's a few of our favorite sides from the week.  I hope you try them and enjoy them!

Print

Easy Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

2 bunches asparagus

ghee or grassfed butter

lemon-pepper seasoning


For this recipe, simply break off the ends of the asparagus.  Fresh asparagus should easily snap about an inch or so from the bottom.  Spread asparagus out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Simply dot the amount of ghee/butter that you wish to use.  I use approximately 3 Tablespoons.  Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning to taste.  Bake in oven at 350 for 12-15 minutes until asparagus are crisp-tender.  You don't want to overcook asparagus-  that's when it gets stringy.  Enjoy this simple side dish!

Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 4
Print

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

4-5 large carrots

Coconut OIl

Cinnamon or Cumin


Simply remove ends from carrots and peel.  Cut carrots into 3-4 inch pieces and slice the pieces down the middle into 2-4 sticks.  Spread sticks on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and dot with coconut oil.  For this many I use about 2 Tablespoons but this can vary according to your taste.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or cumin to taste.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until carrots are tender.

Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Print

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

2 Lbs Brussels sprouts (shaved in a food processor or quartered by hand)

4 Tablespoons ghee or grass fed butter

3 teaspoons sea salt

3 teaspoons ground turmeric

Spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Dot with ghee/butter.  Sprinkle salt and turmeric over the sprouts.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes until tender (20-30 minutes at 350) until tender.

You can certainly half this recipe, but I always use 2 lbs to assure that I have plenty of my favorite vegetable for my breakfasts!  These are great with bacon or another breakfast meat!


Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

 

On February 27, the first full day of Lent,  my family will be starting our next Whole30.  What is the Whole30 you ask?  And why during Lent?

What is the Whole 30?

The Whole30 is a food program that allows you to take charge of your health and change your relationship with food.  It is 30 days (or longer and, in this case, with Lent upon us, our Whole30 is 40 days plus another 7 days of fasting during Holy Week- so 47 days) of eating nothing but truly nourishing    foods.  It means foods that are not damaging to our bodies in any way which, incidentally,  goes against that traditional food pyramid we grew up with and certainly goes against the Standard American Diet and will not include McDonald's or Taco Bell. Doing a Whole30 gives you an opportunity to connect the dots between what you put into your body and the energy you feel, the aches and pains that can't be explained , the weight you can't lose, the mood swings that take charge of your days and the chance to change your life.  Because let's face it.  What you eat does affect your health.  And your health affects EVERYTHING!

Recent findings have led me to believe though some may already consider my eating  healthy,   I really do need to take charge of my health and change my relationship with food. While we eat a primarily Paleo like diet, I am known to cheat a bit.  Okay, a lot.  (yeah, my husband is shaking his head as he reads this and I see the little bubble over his head that says 'she eats WAY to much sugar and dairy'....I know dear, I know).  Yes, I'm known to eat my share of raw dairy, cashew ice-cream fudge from Trader Joe's, Gluten Free Brownies (pretty much my answer to everything), chocolate (milk chocolate if it's my choice), and pretty much any sugary thing that is minus the artificial ingredients. , So no, I'm not a saint when it comes to food (or anything else for that matter) .

Anyway, I've struggled on and off for years of unexplained fatigue, sleep issues, digestive issues, etc. that just haven't gone away entirely though they improve and, yes, of course the more I stick to the healthy Paleo diet, the better the improvement.  I've started seeing a health coach and, little by little, have been piecing things together.  I've learned a lot more about what devastating effects NOT having a gall bladder can have on a body and I haven't had one for about 24 years now.  And I've learned a lot about Adrenal Fatigue (yes, it's real and yes, I have it.... probably have had it for quite a long time.  QUITE a long time.) and I've learned about genetic testing that may pinpoint a few other things about my body and how it absorbs nutrients..  But while the testing is still out, I do know about the adrenals, the low iron, and the missing gall bladder.   And that all needs addressed. And what better way to do it then knock out all the foods I have a bad relationship with.  Yep.  It's time for another Whole30.  Extended Whole30.

Is This Just Another Fad Diet?

In a word? No.  In more words?  It's not about giving up calories (I never count calories), or eating less like fad diets are. The Whole30 is about discovering good food standards and eliminating an unhealthy relationship with your food and an overactive immune system and a disrupted digestive system.  It's about eating  (a lot of) foods that feed and nurture your body - giving you better digestion, more energy , eliminating food cravings, resetting your metabolism,  and yes, maybe even shed some pounds if you have them to shed. Fad diets do not do this.  The Whole30 will.

Our First Whole30

Our first Whole30 was back in 2014 and I blogged about it here.  I posted weekly updates that included what we ate and how we felt.  That experience was quite an awakening to how much certain foods were dominating our lives, how emotionally connected we were to food, and how much better we felt (after a week or two) of being away from those so-called foods. We definitely learned about what foods/food groups cause inflammation, congestion, joint pain and other pains, digestive issues, and more.  (I already knew foods and ingredients affected my mood)

Why Lent?

2014 was our first year of being Paleo.  And we were struggling with adapting to the lifestyle and seeing the dramatic effects it was having on our health.  My husband was losing an incredible amount of weight and Lent was coming fast.  We had no idea what to do.  A typical Orthodox Christian fast involves complete abstinence from all animal products.  And while that wasn't a problem as far as the dairy was concerned, it was a problem for meat and oils (tradition has it that oils were once stored in pouches made from animals skins/intestines and therefore was also given up along with the animal products). We had been toying with the idea of doing a whole30 but kept putting it off because, well frankly, it left me quaking how to truly stick to this paleo thing 100% with no cheating whatsoever.

What to do?  We approached our priest for discussion and advice and well, a blessing.  We had ( and continue to have) amazing support.   So instead of the typical Orthodox fast, we follow a Whole30 for the duration of Lent.

What does this mean we give up instead of meat, dairy, eggs and oils?  It means no grains (none- not a one including wheat, rice, corn, quinoa, oats, etc), no alcohol, no legumes (legumes include beans, peanuts and soybeans and anything containing soy) with the only exceptions as green beans snow peas and sugar snap peas), no dairy (not even my raw cheese), no artificial ingredients including carrageenan, msg, or added sulfites, no baked goods, 'treats', or junk foods made with approved ingredients (in other words, no treats even if they are paleo), and absolutely no sugar of ANY KIND. Yep, that last one is a killer for me- making this truly harder than any Orthodox Fast I have followed.

And why , again during Lent?  Because we know we'll stick to it.  We are a family of faith and we have always taken the Lenten season very very seriously.  If we say we are doing this for God, we WILL DO IT.

In Conclusion

In the upcoming weeks I hope to keep you updated on our progress like I did week by week back in 2014.  It may not happen weekly this year, but I will post at least a few times and perhaps share some new favorite recipes. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the Whole30, check out the books I have pictured on the right of the post or any of the websites below!  And of course, feel free to ask questions!

Food Freedom Forever - (click on the image above) I haven't read this yet- just stumbled on it while looking for links to sources.  I just may put it on my wishlist soon!

Whole30 Program Rules

Whole30.com

For The Facebook Fans

Help With Home Alone Meltdowns on the Whole30

 

2

Wrapping it Up:  November

The year is just flying by!  I can hardly believe that December is upon us bringing with it the end of 2015!  My oldest son will be turning 17 and I will be....um....well, older than I was last year!

My Writing World

It's PiBoIdMo 2015- have you signed up??

This was the month of PiBoIdMo - the month where aspiring picture book writers check in with Tara Lazar's posts on her blog to see the day's guest writer's post to find inspiration on our craft and attempt to come up with at least 30 ideas for a picture book.  You can check out my posts about the month starting with this one and ending with this one with a few in-between.  Other than reaching most of my much smaller goals for PiBoIdMo this month (I didn't actually get to work on a manuscript), I did get a few other blog posts out and thus have done better than the last few months.  But I really need to figure out a way to work on some manuscripts.  Sigh.  In time, I guess.  If you want to check out some of the other blog posts, here they are:

My Commonplace Book - this is something that I hope will also improve my writing skills; it will certainly lead to more writing topics!

Peaceful Reflections

Book Review Wednesday: Ishtar's Odyssey - finally- the first book review I've done in ages! Hopefully I will get back to at least doing one a month....fingers crossed!

Year One Homeschooling & Orthodoxy

Foster The Good (actually posted at the end of October)

My Book World

Photo by Kregel Publications
Photo by Kregel Publications

It's been a slow month for reading.  I really haven't been doing much of it at all.  I didmanage to complete For The Children's Sake and worked here and there on The Living Page.  And, if you've followed, I read all of Ishtar's Odyssey in time to do the blog post for Kregal Publications.  It wasn't my favorite book by Arnold Ytreede, but still a quality book for family reading during the advent season.

 

 

 

Our Parenting/Homeschool World

This has also been a slow month for completion of homeschooling.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I have determined that it's okay to stretch out a week of schooling (according to the Ambleside Online 'curriculum' that I'm using) into two or more weeks...but I'm not okay with days going by in which we don't do much of anything for school.  Unfortunately there were a few stretches like that this month.  I don't necessarily think that was a bad thing, but I don't want it to turn into habit.  SO - I just need to juggle this around in my head and figure out how to still get a half hour or hour of school into most of our days, even when really busy.

I've also been thinking over twaddle vs. living books as I mentioned in some of my PiBoIdMo posts (yes, even my Writing World intersects with our Homeschooling World).  I'm thinking more and more these days while there can be a huge difference between twaddle and living books, there can also be some overlap.  What's more- perhaps rather than focusing on eliminating 'twaddle' completely, it's just more important to make sure that better quality Living Books make up the majority of your child's reading time.

Homeschooling aside, I've struggled with parenting in general. Nothing surprising. We ALL struggle when it comes to a method of how to get our children to be obedient without killing their spirit or doing it in a non-loving manner.  My son is struggling with following directions without doing his 'growling' thing or actually attempting to push me or protesting by putting his face right in mine with the dirtiest face a five year old can give.  We read recently, my husband and I, Peaceful Parents Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham.  We believe entirely in her theory but putting it into practice isn't always easy.  His behaviors definitely push my buttons whether I recognize his need for guidance in how to display feelings or not and , well, it's a challenge.  So we are working on that. This afternoon was a difficult task - telling him no, he can not go to the neighbor's house as his behavior after church was not of the quality to earn privileges such as that.  While it was difficult, it was manageable, but only because I was able to prepare myself for it.  I knew , getting into the car at church, exactly what was going to happen when we got home and I had 20 minutes to prepare my own set of mind for carrying through.  It's not so easy when a situation presents itself necessitating an immediate response when we are needing to go somewhere or get a list of things done in a short amount of time.  Those cases don't always go the way  I'd like. But I'm sure I'm not the only one in that boat, am I?

Our Food and Health World

My husband continues his health goals in losing weight and becoming more conditioned. doing-the-w30-fb-cover-660x244Have I mentioned since doing the Whole30 during Lent this past year and sticking to a paleo eating style (at least 95% of the time) he has lost over 100 pounds?  The man is amazing as far as I'm concerned!  While I used to be the one doing the attempts at motivation, he is the one trying to motivate me to start exercising now....sigh... the vision is there....finding the time to do it and everything else needs some work!  I'm at least starting to walk a bit more again...if only I can figure out how to keep it up during the winter!  I have a HUGE aversion to cold weather!

This month we started the Nativity fast that is practiced by Orthodox Christians. I'll admit, we've never been ones to follow the nativity fast as well as we do the Great Lent fast.  But this year, my husband decided he wanted to do another Whole30 for the fast.  While my love for sugar was reluctant, I assented to his wish....well, for the most part.  He's doing a whole30 which I help with by keeping completely compliant for the meals (with a few minor exceptions on Thanksgiving) and I'm doing my own modified whole30- while not whole30 approved, is certainly a step up for me as I remain about 95% paleo,  I'm not adding sugar to my teas, keeping my meals whole30 compliant, sticking to non-processed snacks for the most part (at least at home) and attempting to increase my water intake.  And I'm doing my best to keep Wednesdays and Thursdays as days we not only observe the Whole30 rules, but stick to abstinence of meat products as well in accordance to the Orthodox fasting rules.

Our Faith World

Again, the nativity season is upon us.  I'm trying hard to keep up with my morning bible time, adding an Orthodox Advent Study to my materials. I purchased this last year through Sylvia Leontaritis at Orthodoxmom.com.  Unfortunately, I never got past the first week last year.  This year is still a struggle to keep up but I am sticking with it thus far.  I have actually learned a few extra things about the Theotokos I hadn't known before and I always like reading passages from the Old Testament that were prophecies of the birth of Christ.

We were disappointed to know that my husband has been scheduled to work both the nights of Christmas Even AND the night of Christmas Day.  He will be forced into missing both church services.  It's a struggle to not want to pout and think ill thoughts of those in charge of his schedule....  but we are trying to stay positive and be grateful he has a job and, really, other than church - which is of course the most important part of celebrating the holy day- we can do the other celebrations any time...and have planned to do just that.  Yes, Santa is such a NICE man, that he's decided to wait a few days to visit- so we can all open presents together....  cool dude, isn't he?

Other Parts of My World

Hmmm....what haven't I covered?  My son's girlfriend came up from Florida for a few days and visited.  She was able to watch him in one of his last football games of the season.  It was really nice to have her here.  Of course, it was really sad to watch his sadness in the days following her trip back home.  But they are able to at least count the days to the next visit which isn't terribly far off...though I'm sure it seems a terribly long time to them.

Thanksgiving was spent here at home as it usually is.  We had a quiet day- my husband  worked the night before so he slept for a number of hours during the day after he came home and prepped the turkey and chicken (long story that one).  The kids and I lounged in the living room watching the parade and dog show.  It was nice that I didn't have much cooking to do since I was inspired to do the majority of it the day before.  THIS is something that I plan on doing again!  I was sooooo thankful for a low stress day on Thanksgiving!

The days continue to get shorter and a bit colder though I can't complain about temperature just yet, especially for October.  And we've found an excellent 'handy man' to help us with cleaning gutters and other household/outside tasks that makes prepping for season changes all the  more easier.  We also installed a new pellet furnace in the basement and a pellet stove insert into our fireplace.  Between the two, we expect our electric bill and the hassles of last year's woodstove to be a thing of the past.  Time will tell but we are hopeful and feeling warmer already.

It's now 4:08 in the afternoon as I write this and I can see the color changes of the sky in the west already. This indicates to me as the day is nearing an end that I really should be thinking about ending this post and starting the evening meal.  So, until next time- take care and drop in and say hi sometime!

What did you do during November?

wpid-img_20140705_115250_165.jpg

I don't think it's a secret that added sugar is bad for you.  But I do wonder if people realize HOW bad it is for them. It's not just about tooth decay.

The sugar you buy in the bag at the grocery store is made up of two simple sugars: Fructose and Glucose.  Sugar is found in plants, including fruit BUT there IS a BIG difference between naturally occurring sucrose and the sucrose found in your bag of granulated sugar.

Fruit offers us nutrition - much NEEDED nutrition and should not be avoided, though it should be eaten in reasonable amounts and always as part of a well balanced diet with other nutrients. Granulated sugar goes through a refining process which refines the 'food substance' for 'food products' but gives us empty calories, offering us no nutritional value whatsoever.  In the meantime, this form of sugar becomes addictive and robs us of our energy and our health.

However, the biggest reason sugar is so dangerous is that it is actually considered 'food' by many and ingested in such ridiculous massive quantities.  Secondly, it is truly addictive and habit forming.

Did you know??

  • Sugar suppresses the immune system.
  • Sugar takes energy away from the body.
  • Sugar raises your blood sugar level.
  • Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
  • Sugar contributes to obesity.
  • Sugar contributes to diabetes.
  • Sugar can be a contributing cause to cancer.
  • Sugar increases signs of aging and does so prematurely.
  • Sugar can contribute to weakness in eyesight.
  • Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
  • Sugar alters the balance of 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in our intestinal system.
  • Sugar can affect learning and concentration in children and adults.
  • Sugar upsets mineral relationships in the body and can interfere with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  • Sugar causes heart disease. (What? Never heard of this one?  Check out the talk by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology titled "Sugar:  The Bitter Truth)
  • Sugar promotes inflammation.
  • I could go on and on and on and on......

...but my point isn't to list all of the horrible things sugar can do.  (You can certainly check out a much more extensive list created by Nancy Appleton Ph.D. here.) My point is that it does do horrible things, more than what we were told when we  were little and pouring extra sugar on our Rice Krispies (four grams of extra sugar in each teaspoon I heaped on...and I heaped quite a few teaspoons) and that we really should avoid it and no, we should NOT substitute it with neurotoxic substitutes (more on this next month).

Besides not necessarily knowing how bad sugar really is, I think a lot of people really don't realize how much sugar they are consuming.

How much sugar is in that??

  • There are 4 grams in a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
  • There's about 39 grams in a 12 oz. can of cola and 65 grams in a 20 oz. bottle.
  • There's 17 grams in a 16 oz. Café Latte.
  • There are 13 grams in a cup of milk.
  • There's 12 grams in just two Fig Newton cookies.
  • There's 18 grams in just ONE Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie.
  • There's 19 grams in a 1/2 cup of jello.
  • There's about 21 grams in a 1/2 cup serving of Ben and Jerry's icecream....and really, who only eats a half cup?
  • There's 27 grams in a container of strawberry Yoplait yogurt.
  • There are 4 grams in a bowl of Rice Krispies...unless of course, you add more....
  • There's about 6 grams in an average piece of pizza.

Okay...so there is sugar in a lot of things.  From small amounts to very large amounts.

How do you get the sugar out??

Well obviously not by adding more to your Rice Krispies like I did as a child.

If I have been or am addicted to anything, it's sugar.  I understand the desire...the want...the 'oh my I've got to have that'...

but seriously - it's NOT GOOD.

It NEEDS stopped.

The only way to stop it....is to ...well..stop.

You need to eradicate it from your diet.  You need to stop adding sweeteners (and PLEASE do NOT substitute it with evil substitutes).

My recommendation?  The Whole 30.  You can see my many posts on our adventures with a Whole 30 here, and here, and others....  or you can just jump over to the Whole30 website to see what it's all about.  Honestly, I don't think I could have cut sugar to such a low amount in my diet without the whole30.  I have not completely eliminated it - that's a choice I've made.  But I no longer CRAVE it like I once did.  I no longer think I NEED it.  I can enjoy foods and beverages without the added sugar that I once would have turned up my nose in disgust without it.  I actually enjoy some foods even more than I use to because I appreciate their natural sweetness.

*You might also want to check out this book:  Get The Sugar Out - 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet

However you decide to do it, you need to do whatever you can to greatly reduce the amount of sugar you and your family are ingesting each and every day.  Best wishes nd let me know how you're doing!

Get the sugar out.  Your body will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

I realized it's been about 5-6 weeks since my recap on our Whole30 experience so I thought maybe I should touch base on it.  For the most part, we are still paleo.  🙂  Again, it's not something we follow strictly 100% , but we do find that the further we stray from it, the more physical symptoms (weight gain, swelling, digestive, etc.) we experience.  Therefor, other than a taste of something here and there, a bit of chocolate now and again (okay...sometimes more than now and again with the chocolate) we try to stick to the Paleo foods.

Here I am speaking mostly for my husband and I.   Not so much my children though the youngest really does not have much say at all, if any.  I have let him have an occasional whole milk yogurt and a few gluten-free snacks here and there.  He's allowed oatmeal.  I usually make Gluten Free oats but sometimes on Sunday morning I give him a packet of organic instant oats for the ease of getting ready for Liturgy in the  morning (he's 4 so he doesn't fast yet other than I try to keep it simple and no eggs or meat). Of course he eats the prosphora bread after liturgy on Sundays and had a bit of spaghetti the other day.  My other kids have a bit more leeway.  We're not exactly pushing Paleo onto our daughter who is home from college during the summer break, but she is eating Paleo meals when she is home.  I'm also limiting the amount of non-paleo snacks that I'm willing to buy her and her brother.  I buy them two yogurts per week and probably an average of 1-2 processed snacks that are not paleo - it's up to them whether they last all week or not.

I still feel I have kicked the sugar habit.  I'm sure some Whole30 Paleo fanatics would disagree with me since I have sugar and chocolate in the house.  But my sugar habit is sooooooo much less than it ever used to be that I pretty much consider it kicked.  I KNOW I still have to be careful.  I know if it's there and I'm stressed I'm GOING to eat it.  So I try really hard not to buy it at all or keep very low quantities of it around.  Chocolate is definitely my weakness.... especially after my husband and I found these wonderful delights!  They are available on Amazon but are much cheaper at Wegman's Grocery Store!!!

 

I have allowed and experimented a little with white potatoes and rice as well.  As long as we keep these items in moderation (rice only once a month or so), we seem to be able to handle it and keeping it so limited doesn't, in my opinion, allow it to build up and cause any unobservable issues.  My husband read a book which allows more starches such as white rice... obviously not a paleo book - and I haven't read it myself but he was convinced that white rice, on rare occasions would not be a big deal.  Thus far it isn't.  I'm skeptical....but willing to go with it.

So there you have it....  a brief summary of where we are right now with the whole paleo thing.  I'd say we do about 90% paleo.... and I think that's okay.  I think as long as we have in our minds a set limit (I won't do more than this much 'treating' with non-paleo foods) and stick to it, we'll be fine and be able to attain the health we want.  We'll need to keep ourselves in check, honestly, and rediscuss our observations and goals once in awhile...but for now, other than a few chocolate indulgences, I'd say we are doing really well and still loving PALEO!!  🙂

 

4

This is not representative of my religion.

I was sitting recently, amongst some friends who were talking about parenting, food, and other topics, when one casually said, “I just don’t get how some people make their food choices like a religion.” Some nodded along and the conversation drifted to other topics while I sat there… taking that in, wondering…. “Who and what did she mean by that?” She had followed up this statement with a quick add-on about time and other things, but I wondered if there was more behind her words? My paranoid self said (to me only of course), “Hey…are you talking about me?? Is that what you think?” While my defensive self (again, only to me) said, “Hey…do you know why I do what I do?? And by the way, Orthodoxy does mean more to me than my food…” So I’ve thought about this for a while. And I want to answer it….though I may be way off base by what this friend meant, but it’s something I wonder about. Are people judging me because what they see is this obsessed woman who spends an awful lot of her time in the kitchen, reading labels, and worrying about what her family will eat when they go away for the day, let alone for several days in an unfamiliar environment?

Food is not my religion. But it does play a really large part in my life as it is a (but not the only) top priority.

You see, without the food choices I make for our family, our family would be entirely different from what it is today. My cupboards would be overloaded with pharmaceutical drugs instead of organic nuts and other foods. I’d be lucky if I had enough stamina to make a pre-made laden with chemicals frozen dinner let alone make a well-balanced meal from scratch. My daughter would probably not be in college and may have had to spend time in a psychiatric unit by now.  I may not still be married. My son would probably be driving his high school teacher and principal crazy as we would probably not be homeschooling. And my youngest…well who knows, he may not even be here.

It is the food that some may think is my ‘religion’ that has saved us from what could only have otherwise been lives full of anxiety, depression, chaos, upheaval and nightmares of every sort. I will not go into the details here…I am not ready. You can certainly read  my earlier post that hints at the ordeals of our past life without Real Food and what we learned and how it changed us:

Our Food Story

In short, Real Food has brought us health. We no longer carry labels of mood orders not otherwise specified, bipolar-disorder, anxiety, depression, ADHD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome, and the countless other labels added on and taken away here and there throughout several years of dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean we are perfect people. We still have stressful days, weeks, etc. but we can deal with them with clear heads and make rational decisions and think through the problems that arise and feel healthy while doing so. We can rise to the challenge of life without always feeling we will succumb to each one leading to great consequences. Occasionally we get colds and viruses too but they do occur much less frequently and we suffer by far less than we use to. And after doing the Whole30, I don’t even have the inclination to hide away with a bar of chocolate anymore! 🙂

This is closer...

But the food is not my religion. ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY  is. Worshipping God as taught by the Church as taught by the apostles…. That is my religion. But the very food that is one of my biggest priorities, right after God, my husband and children, the food that has saved my family from sure destruction comes from the Eternal, Unchanging, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, all-good, all-righteous, all-sufficient God that I pray fervently to and worship with all my being. It is He that makes our health possible through His creation.

I only ask that you try to see there is a difference and not judge me because it may APPEAR to you that I take it more seriously than God Himself.  I don't.  I spend time in prayer as well as time in the kitchen.  And I also know that eating the food we do will not extend our life beyond what God intends.  But I do believe that God gives us choices.  We have a choice to eat the food He has provided - giving us all the nourishment we need - or the food products and chemicals man has tampered with - giving us disease and poor health.  While food is not my religion, I am choosing the side of God in my choices. That is a determination I have made for myself and my family and want to share.

I will not judge you  -  so please don't judge me.  (I judge the food industry…it’s true…but not you) I hope (and pray) that you find the truth about the food industry and that you find the time and ability to cook from scratch for the betterment of the health of your own family…but do I judge you? No.. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. I know it’s not easy.   I will not judge you. But I WILL encourage you. I WILL share what I know when I think it might help. I WILL give pointers when I think it might be possible that you’ll listen. That’s not judging…it’s sharing… its me feeling awful that I might know something that could help you and others and  feeling HORRIBLY guilty if I kept it to myself. But it’s up to you to do something about it…up to you whether you want to look more deeply into what I share with you and here, on this blog. You are my friend…I will not judge… but I will try to educate…it’s what I feel led to do. But it’s not a religion. Okay?

Other Relevant Posts: (in case you haven't read these yet 🙂 )

The Truth About MSG

Children And A Restricted Diet

Epigenetics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

So we are on the other side now.... of Lent and our Whole30.  I can say that I'm glad.... and maybe not so glad(easier to resist temptation DURING it!!)

It was a wonderful (though sometimes excruciating) experience.  And I think we've learned a lot.  Since this topic today is really the Whole30 I'll try to stick to the food part of it... (though spiritually, it was the best Lent I've had in a while as well--- challenging but uplifting and the makings of much progress!)

We celebrated Pascha in our usual fashion after the Paschal services at 2:00 in the morning.... with white bread (Traditional Russian Sweet Bread - Pascha), ham (even baked with a little pineapple, cloves and a bit of brown sugar), pickled eggs and beets (yep, sugar there too), horseradish (for the ham), hrutka (egg cheese my husband makes - I skip on this tradition), salt, cheese (I at least stuck to only raw cheese this year and only had a small piece), Wilbur buds (super wonderful chocolate chunks), and a small glass of wine.  My older kids had a little extra candy and sparkling apple cider.

In the morning we feasted on Easter Basket contents....though I must say, I did not have as much as usual!  I did have a couple Wilbur buds, jelly beans and the ears of a chocolate bunny (hollow....I was so sad I couldn't find solid bunnies this year that we could eat 🙁  )

I also had some ham, Pascha, and fruit. AND  a delightfully hot cup of black tea with 2 teaspoons of sugar. (I added the sugar a half teaspoon at a time...trying to use as little as possible...yes, I still went to 2 teaspoons for black tea...BUT...I still consider this a HUGE success as I use to literally put 2-3 heaping spoonfuls in every cup...even herbal teas which I now drink without any sugar at all.)  Not necessarily a Paleo breakfast by any means...

For dinner we had a semi-traditional meal....though certainly not the "Easter" meal I grew up with.  We had Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables, and corn.  I meant to serve the pickled eggs and beets but totally forgot them as they were in our refrigerator out in the garage.... 🙁   Oh well.... more for me today!  I also had a half glass of wine.  Later we had cake....it was my daughter's birthday last week and she came home for the weekend.  I actually made two cakes.... a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for her and a gluten-free cake with a semi- paleo chocolate glaze for us.  Our cake was dry 🙁  but the glaze, though it did not whip up frosting like as I wanted it to was still yummy.

The results of this feast?

Well, I believe I experienced a few sugar spikes/highs through the day....  a bit strange...  it was like every once in a while feeling this sort of woozy fuzzy feeling in my head... almost like having a full glass of wine which I hadn't...  They occurred here and there for a few minutes at a time.  Then they would go away and come back an hour or two later.  Really strange.  And of course, I've visited the bathroom a bit more often....  enough said.  No one else seemed to experience the 'fuzziness' that I did....but there have been some extra bathroom experiences (again, enough said) and my son didn't want the cake that evening as he felt too full and not altogether right....  he said he didn't feel sick but sort of felt like he might be....

The results of the Whole30?

I feel transformed.  Yesterday, though both cakes were still on the counter, I had no desire for more.  I had no desire for chocolate through the day but felt soothed that it was there if I wanted it 😉   I did have one cup of black tea (with 2 teaspoons of sugar) and I have one this morning as I write this.   But as I look around my kitchen with "Easter" baskets sitting about and items that haven't been in the house for the past 48 days, I do not feel the pull to consume them that I once had.  I really feel being away from them that long, ESPECIALLY the sugar, has positively influenced my taste buds and assisted in curing a sugar addiction.    I also lost about 7 pounds and have more energy than I have had in some time.  I am getting better sleep.  My digestive system is working better (whew! I will really have to learn to stay away from the dairy). I've had less severe PMS symptoms.  Furthermore, I appreciate real food even more than I did before and find the delights in the natural sweetness of the foods God has provided to nourish our bodies!

My husband lost over 22 pounds and is feeling really positive and motivated.  You can really see the difference as he goes around in clothes he hasn't worn in a while and they don't even look tight on him.  He smiles more 🙂  And he's noticing the ill effects of the foods he once loved thus giving him all the more motivation to stay away from them.

My son, though he doesn't want to admit it, improved in his mood/temper.  He seemed to have a more even temper through the month, more patient and wasn't as quick to over react to emotional upsets.  He also seemed to be appreciating  the natural foods more than he had.  And he did seem to be better focused on his school work during the day. I'm not that positive that he will resist certain foods on his own accord at this time in his life, but I do think he has learned a lot and it may benefit him in his future when he has to make healthy choices on his own.  He's a teen.  He wants to fit in right now...  I can't blame him for still wanting his processed snacks and sugar.  He will not be consuming as much of those things as his peers, but I will allow him to indulge a bit.

My littlest guy is... well... going with the flow.  He doesn't ask for the processed snacks we used to have around with the exception of occasionally asking for yogurt.  (I just may have to experiment with coconut milk yogurt...)  He enjoys his candy treats from his basket but easily accepts when I say, "No, that's enough candy for today".

And we are all healthy.  🙂   That's the bottom line.  With our health we can focus on the other IMPORTANT things in life.... God, love, family..... without the hassle of medications, doctor appointments, etc.  We'll be sticking to a more PALEO menu overall....still having a few things that are 'non-paleo' here and there - for several reasons - but allowing Paleo to be more our lifestyle than not.

So I think the Whole30 was worth it.  I think it has set us on the right course for better health and better lives. I think it has broken some really nasty unhealthy habits.  I hope that we will stay on this path...  it's what I foresee.  And I hope that it will lead others to a better path for good health as well.

Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Let Medicine be Thy Food         ~Hippocrates

 

 

 

So here we are in the midst of Holy Week and taking on the final week, week 7 of the Whole30 we vowed to keep all of Lent.

Review of Week 6: Last week we started testing dairy. Just one day - three portions of dairy consumed at three different times through the day with meals.  No big surprise there...it didn't go well for me.  It wasn't quite as BAD as I expected, but it wasn't good either.  It definitely caused digestive issues.  Dairy and  didn't seem to cause any obvious signs in my older son or my husband but dairy did possibly cause some digestive issues with my younger son - but not to the degree it caused me.

Unfortunately, my digestive issues with dairy lasted long enough that on our Wheat/Gluten Test Day, I wasn't 100% sure if it was the gluten or just the dairy still in my system.  I'll have to retry it to be sure, but I feel fairly confident that it was much more the dairy than the gluten for me.    Gluten also didn't seem to cause any obvious signs in my husband or sons.... nevertheless, my husband and I have read enough about this culprit to know that excessive consumption can lead to problems- and - strangely enough- though he didn't notice any overt signs, he didn't gain but he also didn't lose any weight during this week that we tried dairy and wheat/gluten.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We also noted feeling a bit sluggish the day of gluten.  Again.... coincidence?  We'll have to try it again another time, away from the dairy and compare results.

So What's Happening For Week 7?  Yesterday was Legumes.  This one we were hoping would not cause problems so that we could still rely on them for a good protein source next year during Lent when we typically fast from animal products. Besides the obvious 'gas' issues most people associate with legumes that I and my youngest certainly experienced, my husband got severe swelling in legs...something he hasn't experienced during all of the Whole30.  🙁   He loves peanut butter.  I think almond butter has found a permanent residency in our home.

This Thursday we will test non-gluten grains (rice, corn, etc.).

Sunday (EARRRRLY on Sunday - our service starts very late Saturday night and into the wee small early hours of Sunday morning) will be the celebration of Pascha (referred to as Easter in the West).  Traditionally, we make a Pascha Basket filled with ham, numerous cheeses, butter, Eggs, Horseradish, Salt, and of course, Pascha Bread - a large round loaf of bread made of white flour, eggs, milk and honey....hmmmm....   We will consume foods in the basket in the Church social hall with our church family admist many Orthodox greeting of "Christ is Risen!" Usually my husband makes a TON of Pascha bread.  He's at least limiting it this year.  We'll just have a small batch but it's a tradition that, at this point in our lives, just has to be had!  I will also be buying less cheese. I only have one package of raw cheddar for the basket.  There will also be chocolate, wine, and a few extra sweet goodies.  It will definitely be a 'feast of feasts' after the fast but not to the degree it has been for us in past years.

Week 7 Menu:

Monday:

Breakfast:  Fried Eggs served over a bed of sweet potatoes and kale mixed with sausage and onions.  Also, as this was Legume Testing day, we had an apple with peanut butter on the side.

Lunch:  We went grocery shopping during lunch hours...I know, but it was the only way to make the rest of the day work...so lunch was RX bars and cucumbers and carrots with humus.  The rest of the week will be leftovers as usual aside from Thursday (see below)

Dinner:  Mexican (Taco Salad) - I wasn't sure it would be all that good without the chips, cheese and sour cream...but it was great!  See recipe below!

Tuesday:

Breakfast:  Fried Eggs over sautéed kale mixed with green beans and onions

Dinner:  Chicken Legs, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli

Wednesday:

Breakfast:  Tomato Spinach Frittata

Dinner:  Crab Cakes over a bed of greens served with sliced tomatoes,  berries

Thursday:

Breakfast:  We'll be fasting this day as we have a liturgy service in the morning - but I will have rice balls with a side of mango prepared to eat after the service.

Lunch:  When we get home we will have corn with whatever leftovers we have for this day.

Dinner:  Gluten Free Pancakes with Sage Sausage and Cinnamon Apples

Friday:

Breakfast:  Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Potatoes or Kale

Dinner:  Ratatouille

Saturday:  Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Potatoes or Kale

Lunch:  Leftover Ratatouille

Dinner - No dinner today.... we will be fasting for the service tonight so lunch will be eaten just a little later.

Sunday:  We will be exhausted.  We typically do not get home until at least 4 in the morning.  I've tried for years to still have the traditional sit down Ham and Mashed Potatoes dinner but it just doesn't work.  This year we may have to take our daughter back to school on this day too so breakfast, lunch and dinner will be a 'whatever you can gather from the fridge and Pascha Basket on your own kind of day"...except for the little guy... I'll get him his food too!

 

Recipe:

Paleo Taco Salad

This is a really simple dish that whips up in no time.

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs ground meat
  • Taco Seasoning  (I use the same one I used back in our NON-Paleo days)
  • Romaine Lettuce, cut fine
  • 2-4 beefsteak tomatoes, diced
  • black olives, sliced or whole (pitted)
  • avocados
  • Awesome Sauce* (or some other Paleo Taco Style Sauce)

Directions:  Simply fry the meat mixed with some onion and taco seasoning.  Serve over a bed of the other ingredients.  Top with Melissa Joulwan's Awesome Sauce (Found in Well Fed 2) or another Paleo Taco Style Sauce of your choice.

Do you have any other suggestions for toppings for a Paleo Taco Salad??

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Week 5:  There's a lot of muscle showing off around here!  My husband and son are very pleased with results of their exercise this past month. LOL  It's made me a bit jealous...so I finally started back into my exercise regime last week....not a lot...  a few push ups, arm weights and a little time on the stationary bike (which I loathe) but it's a start!

We already have made these and other physical observations of changes taking place over the last month with our Whole30 dietary changes and other things we have done to improve our overall health (exercise, forming healthier habits instead of giving into food cravings, more prayer time and increasing spiritual (Orthodox) readings, etc.) and yesterday was our actual weigh in day before adding in any of the food groups we have given up over the last  35 days....  the results were phenomenal!!!! (in my humble opinion)  My husband had the biggest number results!!!  🙂   Congratulations honey on 20 pounds shed away!  I lost about 6 though I wasn't really trying....and my son.....  WHEW.... he gained 1.8 pounds! THANK GOODNESS!  I think the kid would have been rather irritated with me had he lost anything....  he's always been a small kid so GAINING is much more important to him.... and with him, I think it was all muscle.  😉

Other physical symptoms that have improved among us include less acne, better sleep, less digestive issues (almost none!), less PMS symptoms, less congestion, and even by far less cravings near the end of the month...

So What's Happening For Week 6?  We will continue eating the same way we have been with the exceptions of the single food items we are adding in on our test days:  Test Day 1 - Dairy,    Day 2 -  Gluten (wheat products),   Day 3-  Legumes,   Day  4  -  Non-gluten grains.    You can add in these items in whatever order you like.  My husband was wise enough to discern we shouldn't add in the two we most highly suspect will cause us issues next week, during Holy Week, when we plan on attending church services each day.  Thus we are starting with dairy and gluten this week.

Today is the day for dairy.  We will follow all rules for the Whole30 with the exception of having a dairy product with each meal today.  Yogurt with breakfast,fresh mozzarella cheese with lunch and we will have a single serving of chocolate ice-cream following dinner tonight.

On Friday we will introduce gluten. Reintroduction follows an every three-day schedule to allow full observation of possible side effects that could occur up to 48 hours later.  Some will tell you that side effects could occur for up to several days passed that...  but for this we will stick to the every three-day schedule as prescribed by the Whole30 website.  The gluten products we have selected are English muffins with breakfast, a wheat roll with lunch and spaghetti for dinner.

My son is thrilled.... My husband? Not sure but he is looking forward to ice-cream after dinner... Me? Almost terrified...  I have a feeling dairy and gluten are not going to go well for me.  SOMETHING has caused the digestive and congestion issues to go away.... I'm thinking it HAS to be one of those two if not both...  I've always known dairy has been an issue for me but have not ever given it up entirely.   I have a feeling after this Whole 30  'experiment' I may be forced into realization and using it by far less than I even was before....    🙁    I love my dairy.... but alas, if it's really not good for me...then....

So here is the menu for the week!

Week 6 Menu

Monday:

Breakfast:  Leftover egg dishes from last week, sliced ham, sautéed kale, chicken broth

Lunch:  Leftovers as usual!  Had some really good ones still left from last week!

Dinner:  Chicken Roast in the Crockpot with turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onions and I stuffed the chicken with half an orange with left this very pleasant delicate flavor of citrus in the chicken and broth...mmmmm! DELICIOUS!  and a salad of course!

Tuesday:

Breakfast:  Egg Frittata with tomatoes and spinach,  Sweet Potato Hash mixed with leftover sautéed kale, Chicken Broth, Yogurt (one full serving each)

Dinner:  Meatloaf, Sweet Potato Fries, Mixed Vegetables, Salad

Dessert:  Small servings of chocolate ice cream

Wednesday:

Breakfast:  Scrambled Eggs, Ham slices, Sweet Potato Hash, Guacamole, Chicken Broth

Dinner:  Cauliflower Chowder with/broccoli, carrots and shrimp,   Salad

Thursday:

Breakfast:  Sweet Potato Sausage Quiche (double recipe for easy heat up tomorrow), Sautéed Kale, Guacamole, Chicken Broth

Dinner:  Chicken Ranch Salad (chicken and strawberries served atop Spinach or Mixed Greens along with slivered almonds and Paleo Ranch Dressing)

Friday:

Breakfast:  Sweet Potato Sausage Quiche, Sautéed Kale, Guacamole, Chicken Broth & and English Muffin with ghee

Dinner:  Spaghetti with Homemade Sauce, broccoli, salad

Saturday:

Breakfast:  Fast Day (We will be attending the Liturgy for Lazarus Saturday) I have found that I am able to get by well with just an RX bar....  I eat the coconut cacao ones on these days as they are my least favorite.  My younger son gets a lara bar along with some applesauce and olives.

Lunch: (Coffee Hour)  meat and lettuce wraps, guacamole, nuts, salads, RX bars  (this is all generally packed so that we have a choice after services depending on what we are feeling a need for)

Dinner:  Venison Crockpot Supper, Salad

Sunday:  Fast Day (Palm Sunday)

Dinner:  Leftovers!

Now I will leave you with a recipe for Ranch Salad Dressing that I whipped up on my own.  After attempting several paleo ranch salad dressings from a variety of sources, none of us were satisfied that they even closely resembled ranch so I made a brave attempt (it was - I am rarely one to just whip up something without a guide), I came up with my own paleo version which totally satisfied my son...and if it satisfies him...well... that's all it takes! 😉

Paleo Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Paleo Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (more or less to desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder

Directions:   Mix all ingredients well.  Store in mason jar or other container of choice in refrigerator.  Enjoy!!