Stop Staring

Over the weekend, my family and I celebrated Thanksgiving. I knew that the traditional foods would be served and I had a plan of attack. Honestly, I don’t think that anyone should have to give up a holiday celebration meal. Sure, you can make alternatives, but when it isn’t your house that isn’t really an option. Plus, you can still make small good choices while attending to that delicious plate in front of you!

My Plan:

I knew there would be veggie platters, so I brought my Paleo approved ranch. People can stare…but at least I am taking out one unhealthy thing. Plus, I don’t have to worry about anyone double dipping in my own ranch!! I had pumpkin pie, but only the pumpkin; I didn’t eat the crust. I brought my own Sunbutter for dipping other snacks and all of these proved to work out well. For dinner, I opted for the smallest plate in existence and allowed myself small servings of what I enjoyed the most. I didn’t go back for seconds. I didn’t gorge myself until I couldn’t eat anymore. I was happy and satisfied. Not bad for my first Thanksgiving living a healthy lifestyle.

New Creations:

Last night I baked. I made what I have innocently named “Banana Balls”. I didn’t understand the giggles until someone explained the sexual nature of the name. I will press forward with the name. I like the giggles. I also made Sunbutter cookies (dryer than I wanted; working on that) and some homemade cinnamon apple crisps. It was a very successful night and I look forward to mastering my own recipes.

On top of that, I also made a spinach soup which was delicious. Tonight, I am going to conquer spinach ravioli. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

More About Me:

I came down with a cold over the weekend. I am blaming it on a virus that was lingering in my body from when my partner had a cold a couple weeks ago. Whether or not that is true, that is what I am saying. I had processed foods (not much, but enough) two days in a row. On the third day, I woke up sick. I immediately began to “juice” up and by the next day, I was feeling much better. It really does help to keep those vitamins in your system. When you put in ugly, the ugly will find a way to everything else.

My overall health is improving. I’m still dealing with a lot of pain, but I notice that mentally it is becoming more tolerable. I wonder if that is because my mental clarity is better or because I am just healthier in general so I don’t feel so down. I am continuing to lose weight. People are noticing; it is a nice feeling. I suppose that is the extrovert in me.

My digestive tract is back on target. The only issues I ever have is if I eat something that isn’t raw. My body essentially tries to purge it. I can almost describe it as someone who has had gastric by-pass surgery and if they eat something on the bad list they will get sick and “dumping” occurs. I know that if I eat something that is not raw that within 30 minutes I will get sick. It never fails. So, 98% of the time I eat raw and the rest of the time, I prepare myself for the aftermath for the delicious goodness that I ate.

I wish other people would walk beside me in this journey. I look at some of my friends, co-workers, family members and I know how much healthier they would be if they did this with me. Sure, it takes time to get use to. You might want to give up. You’ll get bored until you find a bunch of new recipes. You’ll get tired of going to the store, cutting, chopping and preparing.

BUT

Get past that first month and your hurdles are gone. I promise you that your creative juices will start flowing. You will begin making things you never imagined. When you feel hungry and need a snack, you will juice or make a smoothy instead of opening a bag of chips. The preparing will take minutes, the chopping will start to look like you are a professional chef. It is amazing what 4 weeks can do to your body, mind and soul.  It will be second nature to you…or in the case of our cavemen, first nature.

My secret plan (which isn’t a secret anymore) is that I have everyone try my food when I make it. Whether it is good or bad, I have them try it so they can see that just about anything can be made Paleo style. 99% of the people who try my recipes like them. They have no idea they are eating something healthy; especially when I bring in my baked goods. Each person has their own preference, so I am big on asking for opinions and modifying as needed. Spices are important. Too much and the dish is ruined; too little and the dish is ruined. I’m new at this so I need all the help, comments and feedback I can get!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I’ll be uploaded some recipes within the next couple of days! Be on the look out!

~Brandi

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Another Weekend…

Weekends in general scare me. They go too fast, I don’t get everything done and I usually spend too much money. They scare me even more now since I can’t just get up and go. I can assure you that even though the gas station might have a cup of grapes sitting there, it isn’t necessarily the safest to eat.

I didn’t cheat this weekend. I had no desire. I had a processed induced meal in the middle of the week and it made me so sick. I imagine that will continue to happen and I will continue to have a processed meal here and there. Anyway, by the time the weekend came, my stomach was not quite ready for anything that wasn’t raw.

I got a text from my partner that our friend’s son was going in for emergency brain surgery. I was at the grocery store, so I reached out to our friend, got the details and we went and stayed with her. I was hungry. I had been so busy running errands and cleaning that I didn’t eat much in general. I have to remember that eating raw (without meat) doesn’t sustain my hunger as long as processed foods, but in general my energy is more stable. Processed foods will keep me full all day, but I will crash…

So, as we are getting ready to leave, I am in the kitchen cutting up fresh veggies, spooning out some organic ranch, getting some yummy sunbutter prepared and cutting us some apples. I had myself a little spread since I didn’t know how long we were going to be at the hospital.

I think people think I am crazy. As my partner and I were walking into work this morning she tells me that I need to get rid of my purse. She laughs and tells me I have too many things to carry. Let’s see, I had my jacket and scarf on my arm (not idea why I wasn’t wearing it), my laptop backpack on my back, my purse and my giant Trader Joe’s bag with all of my daily food intake. It’s true! I look silly, but I look at it as some form of weight lifting and I am getting some muscle definition since I do it 5 days a week! Since I have issues with my right chest/shoulder/arm…I usually carry everything with my left arm so I am going to have one of those giant arms with the other arm being skinny. haha

Update on my health:

I believe that eating raw is helping me with my overall health. My weight is going down which is good. I am not trying to lose weight, but it is just happening since I am eating what the beautiful earth actually intended us to eat. My energy levels are much better and I am finding that I do not crash in the middle of the day, at night or in the morning for that matter. Even if I only get 3 hours of sleep, I find that I can wake up a lot easier in the morning and I start moving faster than normal. That is a bonus since I am and ENTJ and us intuitive types are usually always late for everything.

As far as my pain levels, I think I want to start a pain journal to see how my pain levels are fluctuating. This past weekend we had a lot of cold weather and rain. That knocked me out Friday and made me have higher pain levels throughout the weekend. Weather is always going to impact me because it flare up my lymph nodes, but I feel that this time around it wasn’t as bad as it has in the past. Still bad…but a lesser bad perhaps. The pain in my chest around my collarbone and into my shoulder has been pretty much the deminse of my “pain free” days. It has to be connected to my Chiari somehow and I really need to get into my neurosurgeon and talk to him. Since the MRI on my chest and shoulder came out normal with the exception of the mass, I can only conclude that it is related to my Chiari and neck since they are all connected. Either way, the healthier you are in general, the better off you are if you do have Chiari. Any pressure from being overweight, etc. just isn’t a good thing. Plus, a lot of the foods that eat on the Paleo diet are high in anti-imflammatory so that helps with the lymph nodes.

 

 

Apple Heaven

Last night I got hungry and decided it was time for a light snack. It had been a while since I had dinner and to be honest, I didn’t eat a lot earlier so my stomach was yelling at me for some substance.

I wanted something light and I REALLY didn’t want to cook anything since I had already made my “Last Leg Vegetable Soup”. I decided to cut up an apple and I drizzled it with some raw honey and then spread some Sunbutter on top. It was so yummy and it really hit the spot. The mixture of salty and sweet was a perfect combination and the protein from the Sunbutter was great for keeping me satisfied into the early morning. I was so delighted with my snack that I opted to bring it in to work so I could taste it again!

I’m excited to try my “Last Leg Vegetable Soup” for lunch or even for a snack. It is funny because you make things, but since you are eating so healthy, anything can end up being a snack. You truly are eating more than ever! There are no more 3x a day meals as you are consistently providing your body with the appropriate nutrients throughout the day. I have noticed that my body is telling me what it needs. I now know if I need protein or sugar or vitamins from veggies. I feel different and my brain just knows what I need to eat. I guess that is what happens when you get all of that junk out from your system.

Anyway, I have to admit that I took the plunge and actually weighed myself yesterday. I promised that I wouldn’t weigh myself, but after reading some blogs, I thought it would be a good idea. I now have a baseline so I can measure if I do begin to lose weight too fast. I have read in some other blogs that people who do the Paleo diet lose a lot of weight really fast which I do not think is healthy. I would be happy with 1-2 pounds a week, but I would also be happy with nothing, provided that I feel better about myself from the inside out. This is definitely not about weight loss, but it comes with the territory when you begin to eat raw. So, we’ll see. I don’t have a goal of how I want to look. Of course, I can say that I would be happy at a120 pounds, but now that I am 30, I am not sure that is realistic. I don’t have the same body I did in high school so I am happy with just being healthy.

I think it is important that we as humans stop putting such a huge focus on a number or a size when it comes to the way we look. I wish we could just look at ourselves and say, “wow, I look good today” or even “I like my curves today”. I know that society plays a huge role in the way we think we are supposed to look, but we ourselves need to also take personal responsibility. There is no reason why we can’t throw away society and find inner happiness and contentment.

I’m a hypocrite and I will admit that. I want that perfect body and everything society says I should be. But why? I can preach all day about finding inner happiness because I know it is the right thing to do, but at the end of the day, I am no different from anyone else. Part of my journey in this lifestyle change is to find that inner happiness. To be happy with a few curves and be okay with not being perfect. I encourage all of you to work on this journey with me and with yourselves as we change from the inside out.

Bread Help

I found a great link that had many options on bread that can be made with the paleo diet. The link doesn’t give an actual recipe so you will have to look that up, but it give you a good baseline. Since you can eat meat and veggies on Paleo; why not make a sandwich!

http://paleogrubs.com/bread-recipes

I also found a website that you can buy paleo approved almond and coconut bread.

http://www.julianbakery.com/

And then…there is this…it looks so amazing!

http://paleomg.com/chai-pumpkin-bread/

These sites have a bunch of other stuff so feel free to look around!

I Cheated

Day Five

The title says it all! I cheated last night for dinner and I don’t feel guilty at all. My journey is about changing my lifestyle not depriving myself from some simple pleasures like spending a night with my partner and son enjoying a delicious dinner. I treated myself to some Mexican food and had a bean burrito. I did get the child size so I didn’t overindulge. When you do cheat, it is important that you don’t gorge.

Setback:

After eating, I was extremely sick to my stomach. Although I enjoyed eating the food, I did not enjoy the aftermath that it caused. Once my stomach settled down, I seemed to be better; although extremely lethargic. Last night was really rough. After I went to bed, I was up multiple times with pain and at one point I had to get out of bed so I could sit up and try to relax my neck. I definitely contribute the “extra” pain to the food that I ate earlier that night. It was almost like it caused my body to just swell up. Today, I am still in a bit of “extra” pain, very tired and my intestinal system is very, very confused. TMI, I know…but this is what happens.

When I got home last night, I went ahead and packed my food for today and I was pleased with everything that I had. Today has been very successful with my food intake. I am working very hard on having a higher amount of vegetables and I notice that I am not getting the sugar spike that I was the first few days from all of the fruit. The balance seems to be working.

I am worried as this is the first weekend with my new lifestyle and my family is prone to going out to eat a lot on the weekends. I need to make sure that I always have food prepared so when we do go out, I can eat what I have in my bag instead of what is on the menu. I need to stand firm as cheating is a pleasure not a common occurrence. I’ll let you all know how that goes. Wish me luck!

I am off to heat up my lunch with is sautéed veggies in a light coconut oil mix. I am going to work on getting some recipes so I can make bread, tacos, etc. Those yummy carbs that are off limits! I am sure there is a Paleo way of doing it!

Blah and Bland

Today is day four! I can’t believe I have almost made it through a week of this lifestyle change. It is already such a journey and it seems like every one I meet; I am taking along for the ride. I have this desire to tell everyone what I am doing. The funny thing is I don’t even care if they are interested or not! I just hope that those around me see a change in my overall health and that it might get them thinking to make a change as well. I know I am not the only one has done this, but if I can help just one person, that would be worth it.

Update:

Last night after work, I was so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Of course, I had to keep them open so I could walk and drive, etc, but I really didn’t want to! I was dreading going home because I didn’t know what I was going to eat. No quick run to Taco Bell. So, a few days ago, I went to Sprouts and got food, but I noticed that mostly I was only eating fruit and not much of anything else. Knowing that isn’t the best thing as I need my veggies too, I decided to try Trader Joe’s. I was tired and weak and didn’t want to go, but I knew that I needed more food.

My concern was convenience. Between work, my partner and our 3 year old son, there is not a lot of time in the day to cook and prepare which really makes this type of lifestyle hard. There is no coming home late at night and going straight to bed or just grabbing a quick bite in a hurry. Last night alone, it took me 90 minutes to cook dinner, eat and then prepare my meals for the next day. Now, I am not saying this to scare you away, I want everything about this blog to be realistic. Your life is going to revolve around food which is ironic since most of you who are doing this with me are trying to get healthy and that normally means less food in your life!

So, along with my partner and our 3 year, we drive to Trader Joe’s and the shopping begins. I swear I lit up like a Christmas tree when I got there! There were so many veggies that were fresh and READY TO GO! I love when the food is already cut up because I just don’t have the time, and honestly it is worth the extra dollar for it. I couldn’t believe the selection and my mind just started spinning with the different foods I could eat. My “blah & bland” thoughts were completely removed. Even with my lack of creativity, I knew I was going to be able to cook without getting bored. This alone is a feat in itself. Most people stop eating healthy because they get bored with the food, the lack of convenience gets to them or they have one bad day and completely give up. Oh yes, and don’t forget that they don’t see immediate results so why even bother…

Anyway, I picked all of these colorful and delicious veggies, cut and sealed, ready to be eaten. I got some coconut oil, almond  butter and another Paleo oil that I can’t remember. We checked out and went home and that’s when the planning started. I took over an entire section of the fridge. The top shelve is no longer allowed to be used except by me! There is tupperware, stacks of foods, bags, and I couldn’t be happier. I felt accomplished and my energy came back.

I made an amazing dinner that I put in a pan and mixed it with water and coconut oil. I used water so I could limit the amount of coconut oil since it is a bit fatty, but very good for you. I added some “approved” seasoning, sprinkled it with Chia seeds and devoured that food like I had never eaten before. I even found myself making noises of pleasure when I ate. Don’t judge!

Now, day four…my energy is great today! I feel alive and well and full of promise! I am eating my vegetables that I prepared last night and overall my body seems to be adjusting. I am still having some intestional issues, but reasearch tells me this is normal. So, if you are doing this too, don’t worry! The best thing to do is bring down your fruit content a bit, increase your veggies and remove nuts for a while until your body is more adjusted. I do wish that for the first month, I could take a nap every day to restart my body, but that isn’t possible, so I am taking B vitamins which is really helping.

It is amazing how draining it can be to make your body healthy. It also amazing how quickly your body can adapt to changes whether good or bad. My choice is the good!

I’m off to eat some celery and almond butter!

Changing…Day 3

Day three is here…it is 9:39 am PST. I have been up since about 6:00 am and all I can think about it food. The idea of eating a huge family size bag of Doritos is dancing in my mind. Throw in a cheese sandwich on french bread and I would be a happy woman!

Well, at least for a short period of time until the guilt sets in and my stomach starts hurting. It is funny how the brain can trick you into wanting things that you don’t really want and especially don’t need. I’ll leave those tantilizing cravings at the door and move forward with my lifestyle.

Update on me:

Surprisingly, I woke up feeling like I had more engery than normal and got out of bed pretty much when my alarm went off. The sluggishness that I normally feel wasn’t there. I was still tired, but who isn’t when they wake up?!

My pain levels haven’t decreased, but I am not expecting any miracles. Even if my pain doesn’t ever go away, at least I will still be healthy from the inside out. I cannot let that discourage me or stop me from achieving my goals.

My mood feels more stable. I am not finding myself getting those high spikes in energy and then crashing a couple hours later. Everything seems to be level and consistent. I still feel tired…more than usual, but I have more energy if that makes any sense at all. I want to say that the food is giving me the right energy and my body trying to detox the bad fodo is draining me. I hope that after a couple weeks, that sensation will go away and it will only be the energy.

All in all, I am doing pretty well. I don’t have the brain fog as bad as I thought I would and I’m functioning at a pretty high level. Woo Hoo!!

Now…

I thought I would add anytime I made something that ended up tasting good and was an actual meal of some sort.

Last night, I cut up some Mexican Squash and tossed it around in a frying pan with some seasoning and a little EVOO until they got soft. I really wanted to toss it in coconut oil, but I didn’t have any. I cut up half an avocado and put that on top. It was so delicious. The warm squash softened the avocado which added a nice texture. I felt extremely full and statisfied after I was done eating. The rest of the family had macaroni and cheese. I wanted macaroni and cheese and secretly hoped my son would offer me a bite. He didn’t, so I stuck to my dinner. In the moment, you are thinking, “dang it, I want that yumminess”. After you suprass the moment, you are thinking, “dang, I’m good!”.

Day two was a success and I’m proud of myself. Day three is proving to be easier.

May the raw force be with you…