And so it Begins

I can’t believe it but I’m four days in. Well maybe I can but it’s going by much faster than I expected. Hopefully that’s a little encouraging to anyone who is considering this path. Its really is fast! Here are some thoughts about life up to this point. Well maybe not life but you know… : )

Prepare

Its really true what they say. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Find your sources of organic and free range food, learn how to make broth, learn to make lots of fermented veggies etc… before you actually dive in.

I think my saving grace in all of this has been purchasing an inexpensive GAPS Into meal plan. This saves me from eating the same things every day. It’s tough enough trying to stick with it let alone not get sick of the same foods you eat almost every day. It has made life so much easier!

Good Things!

I have come to love the simplicity of each meal.  They don’t take long to make and are not in any way hard.  This was a surprise to me but a good surprise.

I’ve come to realize how much I take food choice for granted.   For most of my adult life I could buy and eat whatever I wanted and even though this diet is my choice it’s been a real eye opener.  I’ve also come to realize that choice is the reason I’m here to begin with.  So…. yea… It’s led me to a place where I get excited about each new food I get to add back into my diet and appreciate the simple and little things.  Who knows maybe it’ll make me a better cook ; )

Challenging

The tough part for me is not being able to eat my normal ‘comfort foods’.  I do miss cheese a whole lot.  And regular bacon.  And milk. And Chocolate.  Oh how I miss Chocolate.  I do not, however, have a desire to cheat because I know the great benefits and the end goals I’m trying to reach (which I’ll share in another post). I’m eating combinations of foods that I never have before and that first day of not being able to eat whatever I wanted was rough.  It’s getting better though.

The other challenge I have is a feeling of being satiated.  I just can’t eat enough to feel satisfied or completely full.  I know this will change and I think its just a part of the adjustment process.  But I’m learning what I can do differently like eating more fat or adjusting portions of certain things.  I think my sanity in all of this is knowing this is not forever.  Someday will be able to eat homemade mac and cheese.  And large glasses of  milk, and smoothies, and Chocolate.  Oh Chocolate how I love thee.

The third day was the hardest and I wanted to badly to quite.  But I didn’t.  So, I will keep pressing on looking to what lies ahead and praying for perseverance.

Advertisements

Taking the Plunge. The Story of my Health Journey. Part 2

So, I was plugging along and in my pursuit of my degree began to discover a new thinking about health.  In my discovery of real food I realized that I didn’t agree with the things that were being taught so I quit to find the right path for me.  I didn’t know exactly what that was going to look like but I knew in my heart I had to find it.

About three years ago the bomb dropped. Thyroid Cancer. I couldn’t believe it! How could this have happened! I was excising and doing exactly what ‘they’ were telling me to do to be healthy. What was going on?! I made the decision to follow the standard protocol for cancer. So it was surgery (including antibiotics), and Iodine Radiation (I won’t explain what this is but you can Google it). As of Jan 2011 I became a cancer survivor. Never in a million years would I have ever thought this would happen. Wasn’t I doing everything right? I knew in my heart this wasn’t supposed to happen and that this wasn’t normal.  After treatment I never really have felt like I’ve gotten back to my old self.  Good health has not been something that I have enjoyed since then.  For anyone who knows me I don’t really complain too much about it.  However, there are lots of small hidden struggles that I deal with every day.

I started researching what really was health. This led me to many blogs, articles and ways of thinking about nutrition. A couple of years ago I found a book by Weston A Price called, “Physical and Nutrition Degeneration”. Let me tell you this has changed everything I was taught and believed about nutrition. It was the very opposite of what I had learned in my nutrition classes! I kept on digging and the more I found that more a traditional diet made so much more sense. I was this amazing discovery!!  Over the course of the last few years my view of health has changed drastically.  I now make my own body products, I make my own cleaning products,  eating things like liver does not gross me out and so on.  I have lots of fermented veggies in my fridge and regular sugar does not really exist in my house.  I thought for sure this was it.  This was what was going to make me feel more normal both physically and mentally.

2013 has been a whirl wind of a year which involved a minor car accident, buying a house, and a diagnostic radiation test ( a routine test to see if I still had any cancer from two years ago) that came back negative (phew!).    So I’ve come to the end of the year and I can honestly say that as far as ‘clean’ living I’m am so very far from 19.  However, in the last few months I’ve realized that things are still not improving and my health is still not where I would like it to be.

In discovering Weston Price and his work I also have discovered Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride and her work in creating the GAPS Diet.  Basically she did tons of research and wrote a book about how the health of our ‘gut’ effects our brains and so many other things.  I won’t go into too much detail about the diet but basically I’ve decided to follow this way of healing my body.  I would recommend Googling ‘GAPS Diet’ or going to http://www.gapsdiet.com if you would like to learn morning information.  The very basic premise of the diet is eliminating foods that are hard to digest so that your body can heal itself.  These foods include things such as grains, unfermented dairy, starchy veggies etc…

It’s not going to be easy but I know that I am in a good place to be able to accomplish the healing that I am looking for.  I’ll be posting as much as I can about my journey in hopes to encourage others who are already doing it or or thinking about doing or even those who are struggling with their health and are trying to find a solution.  So, with that said… Wish me luck?  or pray for me?  It will take a lot of dedication but I believe the reward will be so great!

Next up I hope to do a post on the things that I have done from when I first heard about the diet to the things I’ve done in the last couple weeks to get myself ready. I may even share a little about what are the issues that I have personally struggled with along the way.  Stay tuned!

Taking the Plunge! The story of my health journey. Part 1

I remember when I was my younger college age self that I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with it. I never had aches and pains and it was easy to learn new things. Flash forward a significant amount of time and the picture looks completely different. Slowly but surely I have watched my physical and mental self take a downward turn. I am not as sharp as I used to be. I have funny symptoms that I can’t explain and don’t make sense. I just generally don’t feel like myself any more.

The answer I get from most health practitioners when I tell them this information is that it’s just my age. In my heart I just know this isn’t the case. Certainly I don’t expect to be able to do ‘all nighters’ any more or to be able to still eat what I want. It’s hard to explain but I just know that something isn’t right. Here’s a little about what I think started my downward path into my struggle to be ‘normal’.

I grew up with parents that really delved deeply into health when I was young. For the first half of my childhood we ate liver. My mom shopped at the co-op before it was a cool thing to do. Fast food, sugar and soda were very rare treats and being a vegetarian was nothing new to me (though this was only something we tried for a short time as a family ; ). I was no stranger to veggies and salads and there were many a dinners I finished the next morning because I didn’t like what was being served : ).

When I was 19 an opportunity came to live on my own. Finally I had the freedom to eat and drink whatever it is that I wanted. Out when the salads, veggies, fruits and whole grains and exercise. In came the boxed meals, frozen pizzas, soda, fast food and basically anything I wasn’t allowed to have when I lived at my parents. Everything seemed to be going along fine until I hit 22. Over the course of just a couple years I gained 20 lbs. I remember I went to the store one day to by new jeans and realized I had gone up two sizes! You know what it scared the crap out of me! I new if I kept going it was not going to end well. So I decided to go on a diet. Out went the fat, salt, cholesterol and anything the government and nutritionists told me I was not supposed to eat. I cut my calories and lost almost the entire weight I had gained.

I was feeling great. I went back to college to major in nutrition and I was so sure I wanted that degree. The next five years I managed to only gain 10lbs back. It didn’t really concern me because I knew I was getting older and I figured it was just a part of what happens. Something really odd happened when I was pursuing my degree and I realized that it wasn’t for me. Honestly, I’m so glad I didn’t go down that road which I’ll explain later.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Butter makes Everything Better

Or is that bacon? Or is it both.  Such a tough choice.  Here is a tutorial on how to make your own homemade cultured butter and buttermilk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

In order for your butter to turn out cultured you have to start with fresh raw cream.  However, if you don’t have that then it’s ok to use pasturized butter.  Just don’t use ultrapasturized.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 c. fresh raw cream
  • That’s it there is no other ingredients ; )
  1. If using raw cream you’ll need to let it sit out on the counter for 1 or more days.  You want it to curdle a bit and become sour.  Don’t worry about it going bad.  If it’s raw it won’t.  There are tons of good enzymes and bacteria that protect the cream from going bad.
  2. If using pastured cream start with this step.  Once the cream it thick (this is sour cream by the way) place in a food processor and turn on high.  You’ll blend past the whip cream stage until it separates from the liquid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

3. The cream will become butter and buttermilk.  Once this happens you’ll need to strain into a bowl.  Then wash the butter with filtered water and place back into the food processor.  Process a few more minutes and strain again.  Now you will have your own homemade butter!

4. Enjoy!

 

Elderberry Syrup

I make this syrup every fall when the sickness season starts.  This is a part of what I consider my ‘flu shot’.  Part of my morning routine consists of a tbsp of elderberry syrup, some butter oil, 1 1/2 tsp fermented cod liver oil.  I also add Spirulina when I make a smoothie.

 

Elderberry Syrup

  • 1/2 c. dried Elderberries
  • 1 tbsp Rose hips (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 2 c. filtered water
  • 1/4 c. honey (more or less to taste)
  1. In a small saucepan combine the elderberries, rose hips, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, vanilla bean and water.
  2. Simmer on low until reduced by half about 20-30 minutes.  Pour the honey into a small bowl.  Once reduced filter through a strainer into  the bowl and mix with honey.
  3. Allow to cool to room temp and then store in a glass container in the fridge.  Will keep for about a month in the fridge.
  4. Enjoy!

Bananaaaaa!

Here is recipe for Chocolate and Banana. Seriously, I don’t think you could go wrong with this combination. These are so great for when I need just a little treat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chocolate Covered Bananas

Ingredients:

  1. About 4-5 bananas
  2. Large 100% cocoa chocolate bar
  3. 2 tbsp Honey
  4. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  5. Flaked Coconut

Directions:

  1. Cut the banana into 1/4 inch think slices.  Places on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. In a double boiler (I typically use a smaller pot inside of a larger one with about 1 inch of water) melt the chocolate bar.  Once that is melted add the honey and coconut oil until it’s melted.  Whisk until all ingredients are mixed together.
  3. Using a fork dip each slice in the chocolate and make sure all surfaces are covered.  Place on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle flaked coconut on top if each slice.
  4. Place in the freezer for 2 hours. Once they are hard they are ready.
  5. I like to store them in the freezer.  When I want to enjoy a few I them out and let them warm up. Enjoy!

And Then There were 20

I’ve gotten so many cucumbers from my CSA box this year that I’ve had to get creative.  Here are two recipes that you might enjoy.  One is frugal and one is fun and seems fancy but is really easy.

Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/2 c. cubed cucumbers
  2. 1 tsp dried dill
  3. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  4. 1-2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions

  1. Mix Dill, Salt and Vinegar together in a bowl
  2. Mix in Cucumbers until well coated.
  3. Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites

  1. Cucumbers sliced abou 1/4 inch thin
  2. Thinly sliced smoked salmon
  3. Kefir Chive Dip (recipe on previous post)

Directions

  1. Top Cucumber slices with dollop of chive spread.
  2. Place a small slice of salmon on top.
  3. Enjoy!