Trust me, you don't want to see a picture of Day 4. Although, I'm very proud of it.
This morning I woke up at 5:15am and lazed in bed until almost six. At which time I changed into my workout clothes and did 20 minutes of interval training. It wasn't pretty, but I feel GREAT!
Two weeks ago I was so fatigued and depressed I all I wanted to do was sleep. All the time.
Well, I had a few good conversations with a counselor who reminded me that I needed to guard myself against being defined by my circumstances. Our lives can begin to take over our 'me', if you know what I mean. Mine certainly was.
So I started praying. 'God, please help me.'
I didn't have the energy to pray anything deeper.
Words the therapist had spoken to me echoed in my head. 'Most people's problems can be solved with three things: sleep, nutrition, and exercise. The medical industry has gotten us so used to magic pills and quick fixes. But all we really need are those three things.'
I resolved for one week to get more sleep. No more staying up until midnight. The next week I realized that I was calmer, more patient, had a sense of humor and didn't feel so drained.
Then I ran across an article that talked about cleanses, and creating a fresh start for our bodies. I read about how our livers get so overworked with all the sugars and flours we eat. I began to make a list of 'cleansing' foods. I smiled when I noticed that my garden was LOADED with the foods most suggested - dark greens.
An article that I read caught my eye. It stated that if you knew you'd lose weight, feel great and have your energy back, would you follow a program for 2 weeks? My mind flashed back to the 9 months of life-rest I'd chosen in order to have a successful pregnancy with Trey (after two back-to-back miscarriages).
So I resolved to try, for 2 weeks, to cut out sugars, flours, grains, dairy, eggs, meat, animal fats - anything that would make my liver 'work' so hard. I decided it was time to give my liver a rest and my body a boost.
And then I thought - if I don't tell anyone I'm doing this, I'll just quit after day one.
So here we are. It's the beginning of Day 4 (actually, it's day 5, but day 1 was only half a day) of my self-designed liver rest, life boost. Some folks have been asking me - 'What exactly are you doing?', to which I say - let your liver rest. Add energy via live foods. Get your protein via fish, beans and soy-free tempeh (a fermented grain product).
Are you ready? Just getting started? Check in and join us on facebook, or here in the comments.
So here's a good question - When you're attempting to change food habits, and you visit a friend, how do you respond to offers of food and drink that don't fit into your fledgling food fresh start?
I had the opportunity to answer that for myself today. And it was eye-opening. I decided not to make a big deal out of it, and accepted the quiche and iced chai tea, although in very very small portions.
With forethought, I had eaten a breakfast loaded with healthy fats and fiber and protein (strawberries, blueberries, pecans and coconut milk), so I wasn't hungry.
What I learned is worth its weight in gold.
After about 20 minutes of eating and drinking, my sugar soared and I could barely think straight. Then, about 30 minutes after that, I became to tired I just wanted to fall asleep. It was crazy! What a wonderful encouragement to continue on with my 'fresh start' eating.
The past few days I haven't felt tired or hyper. Last night I was naturally tired by 9pm and slept until 6am. I really enjoy this feeling of well-being.
So, for lunch, I needed to get back on track.
Today's recipe: Vegan BLT Salad
4 strips smoked tempeh strips, fried in coconut oil
1 large tomato, cubed
2 cups shredded mixed dark greens (kale, spinach)
8 large basil leaves, shredded
1/4 cup hummus (homemade)
squeeze of lemon
fresh cracked black pepper
Toss it all together. A bit on the ugly side, but loaded with fiber, protein and anti-oxidants.
How is your day going?
After a few years of declining (and fit & start) food choices, I know this is going to be a challenge to get past my comfort foods and back to foods that make my body feel great.
While I'm not doing a 'raw' for two weeks, I am trying to make choices of foods that fit a few categories:
No added sugar
No flour or grain
No dairy, eggs or meat
More green foods - cooked and fresh
To be frank, it's been a little tough today. I was thinking fondly of a bagel, or slice of toast. I had to leave the room when Larry-Boy was swimming in chocolate. My blueberries with coconut milk and pecans was good, but I found myself wishing I could sprinkle some sugar on it.
I tried to talk myself into millet for dinner, but again, the goal is to give my body a REST from lots of digesting.
I find myself wanting, out of boredom, to eat. Especially something crunchy.
Protein is my biggest challenge. I need, and have always needed, lots of it. Fish and beans are my main stay for the next 13 days, and frankly, I'm looking at my husband's pork chop and drooling a little.
But it's only for 13 more days. And did that food make me feel good? No. Did those foods I'm craving fill an emotional hole? Not really. Did those foods give me energy? No.
Today I am feeling MUCH less tired than I have been in a long time. Feels good.
Breakfast - Banana, fish w/green curry sauce, broccoli and zuchinni
Snack - Banana
Lunch - mixed dark green salad w/ carrots, pine nuts, green onions and cauliflower topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a can of sardines, apple
Snack - Blueberries w/ coconut milk and pecans
Dinner - Beets, Asparagus, Fish and Baked Sweet Potato
How about you? How are you doing?
Today I ate a half of an Italian sub and realized yet again how horrible my food choices have become.
It's been a downward spiral for a long time, exacerbated by the challenges of a new baby, marriage struggles, and my own metamorphis of rediscovering myself in my new role as mom and wife.
Today I felt empowered to really start doing something about it. And honestly, I'm a bit leery of even sharing this struggle with anyone - I have a difficult time sticking to a food resolve. Any resolve. Especially a resolve that has me kicking my sugar and flour to the curb.
So I've given myself a time limit. Can I revamp my food, for two weeks, and run a bit of an experiment to see how I feel? So, we're going to start some solid daily journaling, you and me. You can respond, or just lurk, it's up to you.
I'll post my foods, my recipes, and my struggles. Starting with... a food list. This list is something I put together after deciding what type of change I want to see in myself. And right now, I just need to feel good again. This isn't a 'Forever and Ever' change. It's just for two weeks. I want to give my body a rest and replenish what I've lost.
That would be energy. And my figure.
I chose these foods loosely based on their cleansing properties. You'll notice I've basically gone meat and dairy and grain free. It's just for two weeks. Don't freak me out by suggesting I do that forever.
Nuts & Seeds (raw)
Chicken Stock (homemade)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tsp in water or iced herb tea 4 times a day, between meals)
Herbal, caffeine free tea
Any good ones I missed that you want to add?...
Last week I started working on getting more sleep. This week I will be doing yoga and eating these foods.
Who wants to chime in?
After spending 3 weeks in New England, eating 'out there' (not from my pantry of home raised and preserved foods) I am home again. I tip my hat at those of you who endeavor to feed your family wholesome, real foods in the confines of suburbia.
So, after all that time of trying to find whole, real foods, I arrived home ready to get to work on restocking the pantry. Home canning is cost effective, but of equal importance, home canning is a way to keep control of what is going into the jars. With home canning, you don't have to be concerned with added chemicals, BPA lining on metal jars, or overly processed salt.
Today I decided to get my bean supply restocked. Yes, I could soak and cook my beans each time I need them, but frankly, I am all about convenience. Taking out a jar of canned red beans ready to mix into chili sauce (also canned on the pantry shelf) saves me lots of time and planning.
I'm not sure that I couldn't do just as well if I bought my jars of kidney beans on sale or in the scratch and dent aisle, but then again, I'm not buying a full 50# bag, so I'm losing out on the bulk bargain.
Here's the breakdown:
Red Kidney Beans (2.07lbs) - $2.59 @ $1.25 lb = 9 pints of beans = .27 per pint
Canning Lids - .07 each
.34 per jar of beans
I soaked my beans overnight and then filled each pint jar about 3/4 full (about a cup and a quarter of a cup) of beans. Then I added 1/2 tsp of RealSalt, and poured almost boiling water to within one inch of the top. Lids and rings, then processed at 10lbs of pressure for 75 minutes.
In all, it cost me about 20 minutes of actual 'hands on' time, including the few times I had to adjust the heat on the stove to keep my pressure regulated.
To me, the value of knowing what is in each jar is worth the work. And I suppose that going with organic beans would be a value-added bonus, if I could find them at a competitive price.
What about you? What are you canning this year?
Looking for a fun read/resource for whole foods cooking? Try this new book I've been working through: Healthy Choices: No sugar. No white flour. No artificial anything.
This book can be quite entertaining - recipes from Plain and Mennonite women, as well as non-plain living cooks, this cookbook is full of recipes that use the 'basics', sometimes with humorous results. My favorite 'eew' moment was the recipe for 'Rice and Bean Pizza'. Just can't bring myself to make it. But there are LOTS (1,000+) of recipes to read through, including recipes for homemade cleaners, home remedies, gardening solutions and canning recipes.
If you are working towards healthy, homemade, whole food cooking, this is a great resource.
In a horrible twist of fate, simultaneous to my push to drop the baby weight, my husband is attempting to gain weight.
Yup. You heard me right.
And no. There is no justice.
To whit, one weekly task is to create a homemade goody that is yummy, healthy and loaded with calories. (It's just so wrong!)
And I want to make a little addendum here: My husband is genetically predisposed to heart issues. They're recommending a low fat diet. It's a bunch of hooey. BUT, the fat choices are key.
Grass fed saturated butter is a completely different product than the butter from the grocery store. Please read more about the importance of grass fed fats here: The Skinny on Fats I'm going to warn you now. That article is dry. But the information is invaluable. Please, read it.
On to the cookies.
So here I am, trying to load my husband with healthy, fattening foods. (shaking my head)
For people like you and me, it's about moderation, so enjoy, but remember - unless you're trying to gain weight, don't blame me...
Recipe: Honey Nut Cookies
(adapted from a recipe I found in the Rodale's Basic Natural Foods
1/2 cup pastured butter (raw or lightly pasteurized), softened
1/2 cup organic peanut butter
2/3 cup local honey, warmed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 pastured egg
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
Combine butter, peanut butter, honey, vanilla and egg until well incorporated.
Add flour, then baking soda, on top of the batter. Give the flour/soda a gentle stir to mix together, then incorporate into peanut butter mixture.
Chill the dough for an hour or so, until firm enough to scoop.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Use parchment paper on your cookie sheet.
Drop dough onto paper, then using a fork dipped in warm water, make that peanut butter criss-cross thingy on top of the cookies.
Bake for about 12 minutes.
I like using parchment paper, because I can cut three sheets and be preparing cookies for the subsequent batch while the oven is going. Also, I slide the paper right onto the cooling rack - this gives the cookies a few minutes to harden so they don't crumble...
I hope you like these - Tom and the boy just loved them. Me,
Coleslaw for Sandwich
I don't normally eat a lot of 'fake' food. But one vegetarian food that I love is a product called Fakin' Bacon.
A tempeh product made from fermented soy and other organic grains, tempeh is high in digestible protein and fiber as well as loaded with iron.
Soy isn't normally on our menu - it's a devil in disguise - but in the form of tempeh (re:fermented) it's actually a good protein source. Plus, the price was right on these, about 80% off retail, and I love them in a wrap!
Please read more about soy, and why we only eat organic AND fermented soy, at this website: Natural News. (Sometimes the NN website is a bit inflammatory, but the information in this article is an excellent primer on why soy is not good for you. Want more information? Try this Weston A. Price Foundation article: Soy Alert!)
So, enjoy this recipe, it's a perfect antidote to all the heavy comfort foods we generally eat this time of year...
Recipe: Fresh 'BLT' Flavored Wrap
6 strips Fakin' Bacon, cooked crispy in pastured lard or olive oil
2 tbsp homemade Mayo
1 cup shredded Purple Cabbage
1/2 cup grated Carrot
1/3 cup thinly sliced Red Onion (or to taste)
1/3 cup Sprouted Lentils
3 large Lettuce leaves, washed (I like the red or green leaf lettuce, it rolls nicely!)
In a mixing bowl, mix together the mayo, cabbage, carrots, onion and lentils. Add some crushed red pepper if you like spicy!
Hold the lettuce leaf the long way, like a boat, and spoon in about 2/3 cup of the coleslaw mixture. Add 2 strips of Fakin' Bacon, and then wrap the lettuce around the mixture. Make 3 of these, then sit down with a glass of lemon water.
The fats in the mayo will give you energy, the protein will fuel your brain and muscles, and the fiber in the veggies will fill you up. Enjoy!
This morning I was enjoying a recipe from the Crockin' Girls, their Triple C.
In reviewing what I had on hand, factoring in husband's likes and such, I came up with recipe that I'm super excited about! I am loving this dish. I'm going to try it with rabbit, venison and duck too! Chicken of course, would be great as well. Husband liked it, I loved it.
Note: Save the sauce and use it to make a sweet and hot sauce for some other dish! Mine's going into the freezer until I need another amazing meal...
I called this winter sunshine because the orange notes tasted 'sunny' to me, and mixture of cranberry, savory and onion have a distinctly winter flavor.
Winter Sunshine Pork
4 large boneless pork chops, whole
2 1/2 stalks fresh celery, sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 tsp dried savory
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp orange juice
1 cup canned pears with 2 tbsp syrup from jar
2 tbsp olive oil
Saute onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes, just enough to become fragrant.
In a large slow cooker, preheating on high, add celery, onion/oil mixture, savory, cranberries, orange zest and juice and pear juice and mix well.
Place pear halves over mixture.
Place pork on top of pears.
Cook on high for 3 hours. Check pot, mine finished in 3 hours and I turned it to low until I was ready for it.
About 10 minutes before serving, turn the pork chops and cover them with the tasty sauce on the bottom. Let them sit, smothered, until ready to serve.
We enjoyed this dish with organic brown rice cooked with caramelized onions and apple. I also drizzled the sauce from the slow cooker onto the rice.
I would serve this dish to company, it's so beautiful and incredibly tasty!
With all of the holiday stress on my plate, the recent 'In the Kitchen w/Roz' luncheon had to be cancelled.
This made me sad. One, because I love hosting you all; and two, because I love to eat, and this recipe was on the menu...
With a nod towards our upcoming Thanksgiving feasts, here are two recipes that will have your guests (especially the women who are trying to watch carbs!) raving.
If you do use these recipes, please, take a picture of your masterpiece and share it on the facebook page!
So these recipes accomplish a few goals: eat healthy, eat cheap, eat local.
1 cup cooked Butternut Squash contains:
6 grams of Fiber (22%!)
460% Vitamin A
50% Vitamin C
8% of the Calcium and Iron you need in a day.
My local farmer's produce stand is selling winter squash for .75 each. That's a LOT of food super cheap.
The real test of course is - Will they eat it?
Sure, we can cook just about anything, but if they won't eat it...
Left: Cheesy Squash with Noodles & Ham | Right: Cheesy Squash Cauliflower
Never fear. I've got your back.
The following recipes are toddler AND husband approved. Notice the super-sneaky addition of the squash...
Cheesy Squash Sauce will have a natural sweetness to it, so if you are unsure how your family will react, only add one cup, then taste.
Don't be afraid to be creative with this sauce. I'm thinking it would make a very tasty dip if you added chopped spinach and served with pita chips. I used it with cooked rotini and cubed ham to make a meal for the men.
They loved it.
It would also be super tasty served as a dipping sauce with homemade bread; or slathered on a hot ham sandwich.
Really, this stuff is amazing. I hope you enjoy it!
Cheesy Squash Sauce w/ Rotini & Ham
Cheesy Squash Sauce
2 cups Pureed Roasted Winter Squash
3 cups Milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese (we use raw cheddar or white cooper - just use a smooth-melting cheese)
2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp Butter
1 tsp Realsalt
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg (optional)
In a medium-sized sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and spices.
Add milk gradually, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
When milk is hot and the roux is completely incorporated, add the cheese, again stirring until completely incorporated. Turn heat down if you need to, don't boil or simmer this sauce.
Lastly, add the squash, whisking in until sauce is thick and orange in color.
Remove from the heat.
Proceed with Cheesy Cauliflower (below) or any recipe calling for cheese sauce.
Cauliflower encased in cheesy goodness
1 large head of Cauliflower, cut into bite size florets (enough for a single layer in a 9x13 casserole)
1 recipe Cheesy Squash Sauce
1 cup Panko crumbs, Bread Crumbs or crumbled, cooked, bacon (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blanch cauliflower by boiling for three minutes in either broth or water. Cool off immediately under cold running water. Drain.
Butter (or use olive oil spray) a 9x13 casserole dish. Spread out cauliflower in single layer.
Pour cheese sauce over top. Sprinkle crumbs or bacon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to make sure it doesn't get too brown.
You can turn this into a meal by adding cooked cubed chicken, ham or sausage to the cauliflower.
Serve with organic brown rice. Yum!
As a kid, my mom made huge pans of granola. With four children in the house it never lasted long enough. I have the basic recipe memorized, but today, I wanted something a bit more sophisticated for my almost-40 palate.
Following the saying that I need burned onto my counter-top: 'Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.', I searched my cupboards for likely ingredients.
At the conclusion of my hunt I realized two things. One, I am a bargain shopping goddess; and two, I need to dig through my freezer a bit more, there are some neat ingredients in there!
You can use ANY nuts for this recipe. Add more, about another cup if you want to and if you have them. I used the pine nuts, not because I'm a snob, but because they were a super good deal (Oh! Did I leave that price tag on the lid? Why YES, I did get them for .29 per jar... and YES, they were originally $8.49...)
After much searching, I realized two things. One, I am a bargain shopping goddess; and two, I need to dig through my freezer a bit more, there's some neat ingredients in there!
You can use ANY nuts for this recipe. Add more, about another cup if you want to and if you have them. I used the pine nuts, not because I'm a snob, but because they were a super good deal (Oh! Did I leave that price tag on the lid? Why YES, I did get them for .29 per jar... and YES, they were $8.49...)
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I hope that you have access to fresh, raw, unadulterated milk. Phooey on the FDA. They have never enjoyed homemade granola with fresh raw cream. Maybe I should bring them some.
I could be a Raw-Milk Mary Poppins.
Scratch that. Terrible idea. Who would feed the chickens?
Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
Recipe: Tropical Autumn Granola
5 cups Rolled Oats
4 oz Pine Nuts
1/4 cup Flax Seeds
1 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Raw, Local Honey
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp maple flavoring
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins (you can use any dried fruit - apples, craisins, etc)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a cast iron skillet, I toasted the pine nuts and flax seeds in 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil. Then I mixed them together with the oats and coconut. In the same warm (heat off) skillet, I warmed my coconut oil, honey, vanilla, spice, flavoring and salt. I mixed it all together well, then poured it over my dry ingredients.
That was mixed until everything was coated well. Then I transferred it all into a large casserole pan - easier to mix that way - and began the baking process. I set the timer for 7 minutes. At 7 minutes I took it out of the oven, stirred it well, and back in the oven it went. I did two more 7 minute cycles, then took it out, gave it a final stir, and added the raisins.
Let cool completely before putting into an airtight container.
Like your stomach.