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update – 21 day sugar detox & my VITAMIX!!

I know, I know… I am SO lagging on posts. Yes, that’s me… the bad blogger. Regardless, I’m here now, so let’s get on with things.

I completed the 21 day sugar detox a few weeks ago.

At first, I didn’t think there was much to write home about. Nothing had changed dramatically for me. Sure, things tasted a bit sweeter now, and everything was going well on the digestive front, but these things didn’t seem like deal breakers to me. I still didn’t know if the detox program was worth the $21 I shelled out for it.

I broke the fast at a fancy dinner before seeing Les Mis. My plan was to introduce one forbidden food at a time, them monitor for reactions. Ummm… not so much. My glass of wine, which was intended to be my only “off detox” splurge quickly gave way to an error in my entrée choice (the fish I chose was encrusted with a wheat/rye mix), which then gave way to dessert (an amazing peanut butter cup that we all shared). Yes, like I said… plan, meet window.

Happily buzzed (I’m a cheap date after a detox!), we were on our merry way to the show. Ah, how I love Les Mis. The music, the story… but I digress…

It wasn’t until later that night, curled up in bed, that I started to feel the effects. My stomach began to hurt – sharp pains in my abdomen woke me. Ugh. This was no. fun. What’s the deal? My body revolting against the carbs I’d consumed? Was it too much wine? The evening coffee/cocktail mixture? Too many variables were at play. My gut instinct (literally!) was that this was a reaction to wheat, but I couldn’t be certain.

A week later, after dining at a friend’s house, I had the same reaction. Sharp, stabbing stomach pains. This time, I had no wine (or alcohol of any sort), no chocolate and no coffee to blame. The weird thing was, I’d been avoiding wheat specifically, thinking that was the culprit, and I didn’t eat anything that screamed “BREAD!!”. However, I then learned that gluten can be hidden in many, many things… such as the bbq sauce adorning the delicious ribs I consumed that evening. Drat.

I’d had one other reaction to a wheat/dairy combo about a year ago. Ben & I had been eating low carb for many months at that point, and decided to splurge for our anniversary. We snacked for our dinner – cheese, crackers, veggies, humus and wine. The crackers were the splurge – it had been so long since we’d had them, and we decided to treat ourselves. Within an hour of our dinner, I felt those same, familiar stabbing pains in my stomach. Hence, the seed of suspicion against gluten was planted.

I have yet to fully prove out my theory. I plan to do a “test” at home, eliminating all other variables and trying out a piece of toast – one I’ve had before without issue. I have a suspicion that this will be a rather painful experience, so I’m planning it out carefully and saving my experiment for a lazy weekend with nothing else to do. The few last times I’ve had issues, my stomach hurt so much that it interrupted my sleep! No bueno!

On to more exciting news… I’ve broken down… and got. a. vitamix. I know, I know, I said they were too expensive. But I’ve changed my mind. It’s worth every penny. I’ve made soups, smoothies, almond butter, almond flour, almond meal, chopped onions, chopped kale… there’s nothing this blender can’t do. Vitamix recipes will be coming soon…

Alright, that’s it for now. Running out of steam and ready for bed. G’night!

mmmmmm… cinnamon banana flaxseed bread

I just came up with an awesome new recipe. It was so awesome, in fact, that I had to blog about it immediately. Seriously, this stuff just came out of the oven, and here I sit, writing to you all. Aren’t I an awesome person?

I based my recipe off this one initially, but then I made quite a few changes and made it my own.

Suzy’s Cinnamon Banana Flax Seed Bread

  • 2/3 cup flax meal
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup ground chia seed
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • a pinch salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 banana (green tipped) – mushed up with a fork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water

Cooking Steps

1. Oil baking pan. In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
2. In another bowl, beat eggs together. Cut in butter, add banana and vanilla. Mix together.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, adding water as needed to make batter pour-able (slightly dryer is better).
4. Pour batter into regular loaf pan. Top with unsweetened coconut flakes (if desired).
5. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes until baked thru-out.


Suggestions for next time:
– Add more banana, or diced apple
– Add raisins or chocolate chips
– Mix unsweetened coconut flakes or sunflower seeds in to the batter

Enjoy!

21 day detox – two week check in

I’m two weeks in to the 21 Day Sugar Detox, and I thought a check in was in order (see my comments from week 1 here).

Here’s the deal – I’m definitely feeling the detox working. My sugar cravings seriously subdued (although I do still crave healthy sugars occasionally, like berries, apples and bananas). I like that. I like feeling in control of my food choices, instead of the other way around. I’ve had no problem staying away from grains, sugars, alcohol and other carby things. The only thing I’ve really missed is fruit. It is enlightening to realize just how many foods contain sugar. Seemingly innocent snacks like wasabi almonds… sugar. Cesar salad dressing? More sugar. Ugh. This has all made me better about checking labels and asking questions before I purchase or eat something.

Here’s the disappointing thing about the sugar detox… my weight. has. not. budged. Those stubborn few pounds that crept me just above my comfort zone are clinging on with all their might. Two weeks of no indulgences, no cheating, no treats… and no results. How frustrating. I’ve had this outcome before, when I’ve found that low carb diets just don’t work for me. And that’s essentially what this detox boils down to – a very low carb diet. I find I actually do better with weight loss when I am eating a moderate amount of healthy carbs.

I don’t blame the detox program for the lack of movement on the scale. To be fair, I’m not following the program to the letter. I haven’t been exercising as much as I should and I haven’t gotten ample amounts of sleep. One of the directives of the program is to get plenty of sleep – drawing the curtains in your bedroom, going to bed when it’s dark, and waking up when your body is rested. No alarm clocks, no morning sunshine… just waking when your sleep tank is full. A great suggestion… just not so easy to execute. Especially with a toddler at home who commands the show.

Despite the lack of results, I’m planning to stick with this for the final week and see the full 21 days through. I can always get my weight back on track after this is done; right now I’m more interested to see how my body responds to a full three weeks without any kind of sweeteners – something I haven’t done… well… ever. Even when I was low carbing it before, I used artificial sweeteners. The thought of artificial sweeteners now makes my stomach turn a bit. Aside from the fact that they make me feel terrible (headaches & nausea), knowing how terrible they are for me turns me off completely.

The reality is, I’m not just doing this to lose some weight – I really believe that reducing my overall sugar intake is beneficial for my health. It’s an experiment… a “body hack” of sorts. Like I said, not craving sugary foods is awesome. I’m also not snacking as much as I used to. I’m just not as hungry as before. Which is one reason why it’s so strange that I haven’t seen any shift in my weight. I haven’t gone so far as to track calories, but my guess would be that I’m eating fewer calories and more fiber (flaxseed crackers, anyone?). I’ve been eating lots of veggies and protein (meats, cheeses, nuts & soy). Without actually logging it all, I can’t know for sure, though. Perhaps I’m eating my weight in almonds without realizing it.

I’ll check in again at the end and let you all know how it turned out. I’m headed out to SF to see a play the final day of the program, which means dinner and drinks… and I’m pretty sure I’m going to break the detox with a nice glass of wine. At least I’ll end it with a bang. :-)

favorite things friday: flaxseed crackers

Meet my new favorite low carb cracker – the flaxseed cracker. When I say crunchy, I mean crunchy. This one stands up well in dips, with brie, or just for snacking. Or, if you’re like C and prefer them to be a little softer, you can do that, too. Fortunately, when you’re making them yourself, you can easily make both!

I’ve tried several of the recipes out on the internets, but one that I made up myself is by far my favorite:

Flaxseed & Cheese Crackers

Ingredients:
1 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup water
1 cup grated cheese (whatever kind you like)
salt & pepper, to taste
garlic powder & onion powder, as desired

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 250*

2. Mix together the flaxseed and water. Let sit for about 20 minutes – it will form a congealed mix.

3. Add spices and cheese to flaxseed and mix together until combined.

4. Place parchment paper down on the counter and dump your cracker mix on top. Spread with a spatula, or place another layer of parchment paper on top and use a rolling pin to roll it flat.

  • Crunchy crackers – You want to get this as THIN as possible before you start seeing the parchment paper showing through the mix. 1/8” or less is best.
  • Softer crackers (mini-bread) – Aim for a thicker cracker. 1/8” to 1/4” works.

5. Take off the top piece of parchment paper. Place bottom piece of parchment paper with the cracker mix on the baking sheet and place in oven.

6. The bake time varies depending on how crunchy you want your cracker to be. Thin mixtures will be crunchy in about 45 minutes*; thicker mixtures will still be soft at this point. When the edges start to get brown, turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven (they will continue to crisp up).

*My baking time varies significantly every time I make these, probably because I don’t roll them out the same thickness each time. Sometimes I turn the oven back on after cooking and cooling, if they’re not crunchy enough for me. I’ll watch the times more closely the next time I make these and give an update.

the accidental kale chip recipe

Kale chips are one of my favorite snacks. Salty, crunchy, garlicy… mmmm. I have a batch in the oven right now. Here’s the trick, though… they’re not actually baking.

Here’s where the “accidental” part of my story comes in. Several weeks ago, I was all set to make a batch of kale chips. The kale was prepped and on the baking sheet, ready to go in to the oven. Oven was preheated. And then, a phone call. I had to run out… what to do with the kale? I turned off the oven and threw them in, thinking I would just fire the oven up later when I got home.

A few hours later, I came home to find… crispy, perfectly cooked kale chips!

I’ve made a few modifications to my kale recipe and technique -

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Remove stems from kale, tear leaves in to small pieces (place in baggie)
3. Drizzle oil & spices over kale, toss the bag to coat
4. Place kale on baking sheet

Here’s where you can choose your technique…
5. Bake for ~15 min (until edges start to brown)
6. Allow to cool – kale will continue to crunch up as it cools

– OR –
5. Place kale in oven, turn off oven.
6. Come back in a few hours for crunchy kale chips!

c’s artwork

I’ve started a project of digitizing C’s artwork. She has a large file of artwork that has grown since birth. Daycare & preschool are fantastic about keeping her busy with art time, but that means we have a lot of paper – and need to figure out what to keep a physical copy of and what to digitize.

In the meantime, I’m digitizing everything. I’ll go back through once this project is over and figure out what to keep. My hope is to take these images and print a large collage that we can hang on C’s wall.

Here’s a sampling of some of her recent work…

2012-07-15 10.17.16
2012-07-15 11.31.47

2012-07-15 11.08.11
“Soduku” (this is a drawing of a handheld soduku game we have in our coffee table – she even drew “numbers” on it)2012-07-15 11.35.45“Cloud & Birds”

2012-07-15 11.34.46
“Seahorses”

2012-07-15 11.34.55

2012-07-15 11.19.32

2012-07-15 11.07.43“Egg & Milk”
(view from the top)2012-07-15 11.30.14
“Turtle”

2012-07-15 11.31.18
“Monkey Bathtime”

2012-07-15 10.18.30
“Mommy & C”

2012-07-15 11.28.04
2012-07-15 11.35.10“C” (her teachers were so impressed with this one that it was displayed on the wall all day when she drew it!)

I’m probably a bit biased, but I’m pretty impressed! Not too shabby for a two and a half year old, eh?

getting back on track

About a week ago, I started the 21 Day Sugar Detox. It’s not a whole lot different from what I’ve been doing, with a few exceptions. No peanuts, no starchy veggies, no oats, no honey (or any form of sugar), and no artificial sweeteners.

I’ve seen other people’s blogs mentioning that they cut out coffee, too… which I didn’t adhere to today or yesterday. I don’t see anywhere that coffee is prohibited, but I get why you’d want to stay away from it during a “detox”. Still, I’ve left it in my diet… being back at work mandates it. :)

All in all, the information included in the 21 Day Sugar Detox (I purchased the pdf version) wasn’t mind blowing stuff. I’d come across most of the same information elsewhere from various sources. It is nice, however, to have it all in one place and spelled out clearly for you. The Yes/No foods can be printed out to post in various locations throughout your house and there are some fantastic recipes at the back. I’ll let you know after day 21 if I think it was worth the $21 I paid… I must admit, though, that paying that sum of money did motivate me a bit more to actually do the program.

Need recipes?

http://beta.primal-palate.com/category/sugar-free/

http://www.thefoodee.com/tag/21dsd/

More posts about the 21 Day Sugar Detox:

http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/reviews/21-day-sugar-detox-results/

http://www.primal-palate.com/2011/12/21-day-sugar-detox.html

http://primaltoad.com/sugar-detox-modification/

And finally, I found this interesting…

http://balancedbites.com/2012/01/why-you-want-more-stomach-acid-not-less.html

breakfast

I woke up craving eggs benedict this morning. My first thought was to seek them out at a nearby restaurant… followed shortly by the thought that we should use up some of the eggs from the farmers market yesterday and make our own.

2012-07-15 09.53.03The recipe for hollandaise was simple enough – complicated only by the fact that I decided to pasteurize the egg yolks and clarify the butter prior to blending them up. I used a microwave method for pasteurizing, which worked ok, except it made the end result far too lemony. I also found a double boiler method for yolks. And a saucepan method for the whole egg. Or maybe I’ll just use them raw.

With the egg yolks taken care of, now I had egg whites to play with. What to do… what to do. I took them and decided to create a low carb waffle concoction. It turned out pretty yummy! It was the perfect base for our eggs benedict.

Low Carb Waffles2012-07-15 09.42.11

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 Cup almond butter
  • 3 Tbsp coconut unsweetened milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 3/4 Tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. Using a blender or electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the almond butter, coconut milk and butter.
  3. Mix the salt, baking soda and coconut flour in a small bowl, then pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  4. Mix for 30 seconds until all lumps are gone and the almond butter is incorporated.
  5. Oil the griddle on your waffle iron to avoid sticking.
  6. Pour the batter on your waffle iron and cook as usual.
  7. Enjoy!

The only change I’d make for next time is perhaps adding some cinnamon and vanilla extract to give it more flavor. The waffles worked fine as a base with other toppings, but needed a bit more flavor to stand on its own or to be eaten with just butter.

C approved! Of course, hers was covered with maple syrup and whipped cream, so it would be hard not to love them. :)

2012-07-15 09.53.10

Leave a comment if you try it out! Let me know how it worked for you and if you came up with any great modifications.

favorite things friday: banana cream

2012-07-13 21.44.13Ah, yes… it’s been a while since my last "favorite things friday" post… but this one? this was worth the wait.

I’m six days in to a 21 day sugar detox. So far, so good. What it boils down to (in case you couldn’t tell from the name) is very, very little sugar for 21 days. Absolutely no forms of processed sugar, processed carbs or artificial sweeteners. I’m surprised that going cold turkey is actually easier than trying to reduce carbs or use artificial replacements. There’s a small amount of wiggle room – in the form of one green apple and one green tipped banana allowed daily. For best results, these, too, can be avoided, but in a pinch, they are a fantastic treat. Especially when you do what I’m about to describe…

1. Start with a green tipped banana, a pint of organic heavy whipping cream and a green apple.

2. Using a blender (I used my immersion blender), whip up the banana and heavy whipping cream until light and fluffy.

3. Slice up your apple.

4. Dip apple slices in to the banana cream and enjoy!

The banana adds just enough sweetness to the cream to make it a light and lovely treat! It reminds me of a banana cream pie.

2012-07-13 21.44.45

This is best enjoyed freshly made. After a day, the banana in the cream starts to oxidize and turns a bit brown, as shown above (it also kicks off a bit of excess liquid). It still tastes ok, but just doesn’t look as pretty. Really, it’s such a breeze to make, that small batches made fresh is the way to go!

 

*Note: I just re-read the rules… and you’re limited to EITHER one green apple or one green tipped banana per day. Considering mine had two fruits, but I stretched it over two nights (had half last night, half tonight), I still technically stayed within the rules… just barely, though!

half dome: in pictures


Proof of our ascent…

On the way – we stopped for a few photo ops. Mostly, though, we just trudged through. We were ready to get to camp and relax. :)

We made it to camp… yay!! The bright orange tent is Ben and my newest backpacking gear… a three person tent that weighs in less than our old two person one did. Maybe someday C will join us on a backpacking trip.

The next morning, we started out to climb up half dome.

Chris, Me & Ben at the base of the rock. Doesn’t look so daunting here, does it? The cables were pretty clear on our way up.

Annnnd, we skip to the good part… making it to the top!

I planted myself firmly at the end of the diving board. Ben clung on to me tightly… I think he was a little fearful I’d fall off!

Woohoo!! At the top!

We hung out and had some snacks before making our way back down.

The view from up top. Breathtaking.

One final group shot after a successful descent. The cables were starting to fill up as we left. It made for a harrowing descent (although I’d still argue that the ascent was more challenging).

Sunday morning, we left our home in backpackers camp and made our way down the mountain. The promise of beer and pizza kept us moving.

And let me tell you… it was the best darn pizza and beer EVER.



Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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