Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The last day of 2013, the eve of 2014, and our 12th Anniversary! Here's a favorite wedding photo of mine, the moment when Rob was putting on my wedding band. 

A dear friend of mine made a Facebook comment on this photo of how we make it look easy. I know that we all tend to make our Facebook life look like it's all wine and roses. Honestly, Rob and I have had our share of vinegar and thorns but we truly enjoy each other's company and that makes for a lovely life!  So here's to you, Bunny, may we have many more years of making it look easy.

2013 had its ups and downs but I'm back in good health and so thankful for that. I start jury duty on Monday and will happily return to work when my service is completed. 

As for 2014, no lofty goals. Just doing more of what I love, like dancing with Tally in the kitchen, taking care of my  health, and making the effort to spend more time with friends and family and less of what I don't, like worrying about things I can't control.

I've started simmering the good luck soup that we'll have on New Year's Day. A favorite of ours, Split Pea and Ham.

It's loaded with good things like onions, rainbow carrots, celery and bay leaves along with the Christmas ham bone and the turkey broth made from the Thanksgiving turkey bones.  I cook it until the split peas are completely soft and the soup is thick and creamy.  

Enjoy the last day of 2013 and may 2014 be healthy and peaceful for you and  your family.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Closer to Myself

How did it get to be December 5th? Walt Disney's 112th birthday, by the way. I just can't wait to see Saving Mr. Banks later this month!!!

 *image courtesy of dan-dare.org

It was a slow and relaxing Thanksgiving. Didn't do too much as I was fighting off the head cold. We did a small indoor-fried turkey, which truly is the best method of doing a turkey. It's fast (only 4 minutes per pound), easy and the results can't be compared with any other turkey recipe. And I've tried them all! Oh, the skin. It's like crispy bacon. Even Rob, who never eats poultry skin and likes to trim every bit of visible fat off of any meat he eats was crunching on the golden brown deliciousness.

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I feel like I'm getting my mojo back, a teaspoon at a time. I had the vestibular testing earlier this week and have one more MD appointment, where he'll review the results with me. 

I feel confident enough to do some close, daylight driving and it's been about a week since my last dizzy spell. I've been getting lots of rest, 10-12 hours a night but now I'm feeling better on a little less. This is progress and I'll take it.

I've splurged on hiring cleaners to come and do a deep clean on the house tomorrow. I normally do a deep clean before decking the halls of Shady Dame, but I'm just not up to it at the moment. Although I've been de-cluttering each room to make it easier for the cleaners to get on with it. 

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Tally is not going to be happy when she's getting her bath tomorrow while the cleaners are here.

That's all for now. Have a lovely week!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Still Here!

I made it to Boston and back (just barely) in one piece. To avoid a long "woe is me" post, I'll make the bad stuff quick and then share some of the fun stuff.

Bad stuff...Vestibular Neuritis managed but not cured, air travel to Boston and car travel exacerbated the vertigo so I had to rely on my meds to stabilize. Me and the kids got stricken with a vile stomach bug and spent a good portion of the second week of my trip with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Caring for a child with Type I Diabetes during a stomach bug is scary. But I kept him hydrated and out of the ER. I consider this a Nursing Victory! Air travel home, caught a nasty head cold with a secondary ear infection so more dizzy spells.  So here I sit, full of cold hopped up on Chinese herbs, fermented fish liver oil, anti-virals and the prednisone that I was trying to avoid. But desperate times and all that. I have follow up tests and appointments after the Thanksgiving holiday. SO OVER BEING ILL!

Good stuff... My sister and her hubby got to go on their 20th anniversary trip and they had as good a time as possible while trying not to worry about the kids and me sick back home, they brought me back the PERFECT mug. My sister and I managed to cook up a fantastic family feast including a deep fried turkey. My sister and I got gussied up and made it to an old friend's wedding reception, which was almost 20 years to the day on which my sister got married. I got the full Star Wars cosplay show from nephew #1 and got nephew #2 hooked on Doctor Who. Saw an amazing sunset, got to the beach for a few precious moments of fresh sea air and on my last night, dinner with the girls.

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Pink Pirate Princess Mug. Perfect!

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"It's Joey!" That's what we named the turkey fryer. 

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It was a safe and simple process but we still needed a tall, strong person to lower and lift.
Thanks to my bro-in-law!
That turkey was a 20-pounder.

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Declared the best turkey ever by all of us. 
I went ahead and bought the smaller version of the fryer.
 Masterbuilt 23011014 Butterball Indoor Gen III Electric Fryer Cooker Large Capacity, 2013 Model  If you are interested it's on lightening deal for $79 right now!!! 
Rob and I are going to fry a smaller bird on Thanksgiving Day. 

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Full bellies! Love the picture in picture feature on my new phone so we could all be in the photo.

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Ready to leave for the wedding reception!

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  A very special "Then and Now" photo of the four of us. 
Love the huge 90's hair!

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Does the band leader look familiar? That's American Idol season 3 contestant John Stevens. 

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My Little Sith Lord!

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Drawing his very first TARDIS while watching his very first Doctor Who episode.

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The new phone captured this color so perfectly. It really was that color, no filters needed.

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Good old Revere Beach.

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One last get together. My appetite finally came back after the stomach bug, 
I had the coconut shrimp and they were so good!

So there you have it. I'm going to spend the next week resting up and enjoying some fried turkey. It's been a rough month but I'm looking forward to a fun and healthy December.  Thanks for all the good thoughts and  I want to wish you all a very safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving week.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Vestibular Neuritis

It's been quite a week, but there is light at the end of the (ear) tunnel. After a consultation with an Otolaryngologist (a doctor who specializes in disorders of the head and neck,) I have been diagnosed with Vestibular Neuritis.

"Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis are disorders resulting from an infection that inflames the inner ear or the nerves connecting the inner ear to the brain. This inflammation disrupts the transmission of sensory information from the ear to the brain. Vertigo, dizziness, and difficulties with balance, vision, or hearing may result." Courtesy of Vestibular.Org

Dr. Kauffman put me on a course of anti-viral medication and also prescribed a course of Prednisone, which I declined, and gave me some crazy head exercises that are supposed to help the inner ear and brain to start working together again to bring equilibrium.  They are working!  I'm not there yet, but I'm miles from where I was when I was curled up in a vomiting heap in the emergency room on Wednesday. I can even walk around unassisted and stopped taking the anti-nausea and anti-vertigo medications.  

Interesting to note, other than the virus, I am in perfect health. All my vital signs and blood work are textbook and my hearing is perfect. They did an audiology test to rule out other diseases. Not exactly the best way to go about getting an otherwise clean bill of health, but I'm looking at it as a good thing.

I want to thank all of you for your well wishes, it means so much. I also want to thank my husband for looking after me and walking me to the bathroom in the middle of the night and of course, Nurse Tally. She never left my side during the worst of it. This little experience with debility is nothing compared to what so many people go through in a daily basis. It gives me new perspective and a renewed gratitude for my health and the health of my nearest and dearest.

I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to make my flight on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I wish you all the happiest and healthiest of weekends and will see you when I return.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I'm currently incapacitated with sudden onset vertigo. I spent most of the day in the emergency department yesterday. I had a brain scan which ruled out stroke or a tumor, which is very good news. But they still don't know the cause. I'm seeing a specialist tomorrow. Until then, I have to stay medicated with anti-nausea medication, anti-vertigo medication and Valium and rest. I'm not safe on my feet nor can I look at a computer/tablet/television screen for any length of time. The best relief is when I'm laying still with my eyes closed.

This is threatening to thwart my semi-annual trip to Boston, which was going to include a very dear friend's wedding. I'm hoping the specialist will have something positive to tell me because I'm scared shitless, and I can barely walk across the room unassisted.

In order to keep a positive outlook on things, here's a little giggle. I will keep you posted and all good thoughts are much appreciated.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food Planner App and Ting Review

After three years with an entry level smart phone, I have upgraded! Months of reading reviews, trips to Best Buy to play with all the phones and picking people's brains, I chose the Samsung Galaxy S4. I've been happy with Virgin Mobile since I was only paying $25/month. So when Virgin got in the new iPhones but not the Galaxy S4, I had to look into other options, especially since I refuse to contract and pay upwards of $100/month. 

That's when I found Ting Mobile. They had the phone I wanted along with a fantastic, no contract pricing structure. With Ting, you only pay for what you use. Most months, I may end up paying less than I did with Virgin! Like Virgin, Ting runs off of the Sprint 3G/4G network, so I get plenty of coverage in my area and the customer service is like no other mobile company. You call them, a person answers right away, every time.

I used a referral to get $25 off my phone, and I'm offering the same referral. Click here if you're interested in saving money on your mobile phone. You'll get $25 towards service or a new phone (current Sprint customers can bring their own phone) and I'll get a referral bonus.  Win-win!  Add another win because I freaking love my pretty purple phone!

And now for even more review spam, let me tell you about the Food Planner app. If you like to search for meal ideas and recipes on the Internet, then this app is a must for you. I can look for a recipe online and it will pull the ingredient list plus the link back to the original recipe and add it to my meal plan. Then it will add all the ingredients to the shopping list. I have been using this app like crazy. It's so convenient for food shopping. No more forgetting my list.

What's your favorite food related app?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vegetable Challenge Update

I challenged myself to a week of eating vegetables with every meal. How did I do? Well, seven days, three meals per day that was 21 opportunities to get veggies in. I worked four days and those four days, I didn't get vegetables in at breakfast but the other 17 meals were a success.

Some of the vegetables that were eaten included three heads of cauliflower, two large beets, a head of lettuce, a yellow squash, a giant cabbage, one large yellow pepper, a bunch of scallions, a couple of red onions, a bag of baby bell peppers and several packages of mushrooms. 

The key to making sure I ate all my vegetables was having them prepared. I just finished a couple of hours of batch cooking for the rest of the week. I made Mushroom and Brie soup, roasted and mashed sweet potato squash, sauteed Brussels sprouts with bacon and balsamic, sauteed rainbow chard with lemon and garlic, honey ginger rainbow carrots and put a batch of chicken bone broth on to simmer.  I'm sure I ate at least a serving or two while prepping and tasting!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not So Dirty Hippie~Homemade Toothpaste

I love the feeling of a clean mouth and the look of white teeth, doesn't everyone? But I hated the harshness of my regular toothpaste. Sometimes the inside of my mouth would shred after brushing. Have you ever had that happen to you? It was like the top layers of my cheeks would pill up and exfoliate. It was so gross. I also started getting some dental sensitivity from the whitening toothpaste I had been using for years. So when I started transitioning to chemical free products, toothpaste was the one of the first things I tackled.

I did some research on homemade toothpaste and read lots of recipes. Here's a good article about homemade toothpaste and three simple recipes. I decided to go with a mixture of 100% Pure Bentonite Fine Powder (for the mineral content and detoxifying qualities) and baking soda, coconut oil, a few packets of stevia and a dilution of filtered water, hydrogen peroxide, salt, and peppermint essential oil.  I mix equal parts clay and baking soda and then stir in the coconut oil to make a paste. Then I slowly stir in a small amount the minted salt peroxide water, a little at a time until it's just the right texture to spread on my toothbrush.  

I used it for a couple of months and then had my scheduled dental cleaning. After the cleaning my hygienist and my dentist stated that my mouth was in good health, then I told them that I had been using homemade toothpaste. I got the green light on ingredients and the go ahead to keep doing what I'm doing!   

I just made up a fresh batch, it's easy and I love that my mouth feels clean and my teeth look shiny and white with no sensitivity or shredding.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Thoughts on Pumpkin Spice and a Vegetable Challenge

Is Starbucks the reason everyone is so crazy for all things "pumpkin spice?" Since they introduced the now famous Pumpkin Spice Latte a decade ago, pumpkin spice has taken on a life of its own and people go nuts for it starting as early as August. Not just in coffee but everything. 

I'm a big fan of all all things autumn, but junk food jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon just doesn't sit right with me. Especially since Pumpkin Spice Pringles and pumpkin spice candy (and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, for that matter,) do not contain any pumpkin. And as this fantastic article posted on the Kitchn so aptly put it "Pumpkin Spice Is Not Actually What Pumpkin Tastes Like."  

Now how about making your coffee taste like real spiced pumpkin instead of a cocktail of lab created flavors and high fructose corn syrup? Try this real food coffee creamer recipe...

Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

The key to this creamer is cooking the pumpkin and spices together so the pumpkin is infused with all the flavor of the spices and then passing it through a fine mesh strainer to make sure it's very smooth.  It's worth the extra step! 

In a small saucepan, mix 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade) with 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and a good grating of fresh nutmeg, about half a teaspoon. Whisk mixture over medium high heat until it begins to bubble and the spices are warm and fragrant. Turn off heat and whisk in 8 tablespoons of heavy cream (or full fat coconut milk) and 4 teaspoons grade B maple syrup. Pass through a strainer and store in a mason jar in the fridge up to five days.

I mix about two tablespoons of creamer to 6 ounces of freshly brewed espresso and then top it with a thick head of milk foam. Slurp!

Now about those vegetables...
I got a great variety of veggies in my farm box late last week and spent a bit of time batch cooking them this weekend. I've set myself a challenge for this week to eat at least one serving of vegetables with every meal and/or snack. Including breakfast! I've started with some delicious broccolini with eggs and avocado as my first meal of the day. I'm going to track my meals and share my progress next week. I'm also going to be posting photos of my meals on Instagram when I can, so check them out in the left side bar or follow me on IG.  How many vegetables will you choose to eat in the coming week?

Thursday, October 3, 2013


No grains! What do you eat for breakfast?  This is perhaps the most common question I have encountered in my grain-free/Paleo/Primal reading and during interactions with people. Most folks just can't comprehend going without cereal and milk or sugary sweetened yogurt and granola or some other sweetened grain product in the morning. But processed breakfast cereal has a fairly recent history, with the origins dating back about 150 years and the highly commercialized cereals that we know today, about 60 years. What did people in America do before that? What do other cultures eat for breakfast?

Bacon and eggs was a very popular breakfast option before the advent of the commercial cereal. Porridge traditionally prepared with unprocessed grains and served with butter and full fat dairy was also common. Many other cultures do eat some type of grain product with the morning meal, but it's often unprocessed, traditionally prepared and almost always with protein, good fats and vegetables. The Japanese eat grilled fish at breakfast, or miso soup with white rice, raw egg and pickled vegetables. In Croatia they eat pastry but it's served alongside fermented dairy, cold cuts of meat and cheese or fried eggs served with sausage and mayonnaise. In Latvia, salty and sour are the flavors preferred at the morning meal. Traditional Turkish breakfast would include bread with cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, honey and a dairy product similar to clotted cream from the milk of the water buffalo. I think I'd like to go to Turkey for breakfast tomorrow!

That being said, breakfast can be a challenge during the transition to a primarily grain-free lifestyle. I started out with a green breakfast smoothie every day for the first couple of months. My green smoothie was quite tasty and filling containing homemade coconut milk, a couple of soft boiled eggs, a chunk of raw ginger, a few handfuls of Organic Girl Super Greens, a frozen green tipped banana and my collagen gelatin supplement. It was easily transportable to work, too. But as time wore on, my palate changed and so did my morning appetite. Now I eat bacon and eggs with fermented vegetables, dinner leftovers, sardines and leftover vegetables, sometimes full fat plain yogurt with mashed banana or a chopped apple with soaked, dehydrated nuts. I recently made a delicious pork and apple breakfast loaf that I've been enjoying for breakfast.  I wanted something nutrient dense but also flavorful and not too savory for those mornings when I'm just not feeling pickled vegetables.

Slow Cooker Pork and Apple Breakfast Loaf

2 pounds pastured pork bulk breafast sausage or plain ground pastured pork (if you're using plain, add a bit of salt and pepper to the mix.)
1/4 pound chicken livers, ground in food processor
3 medium organic apples, chopped (I left the skin on but be sure to peel them if they are conventional apples.)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Mix ingredients well, being careful not to over mix or compress the mixture. Form into a loaf and place in the slow cooker and cook for 3 1/2 hours on low.  Devour!

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Note~you can't taste or smell the chicken livers. It's not that pretty but it's good! The warm spices and the apples gives this filling and nutritious breakfast a sweet, appealing flavor. You could use spiced apple or pumpkin butter as a topping before cooking, like you'd put ketchup or tomato sauce on regular meat loaf, which I'm going to try next time.

Since it's Pit Bull Awareness month, here is your bonus picture of my beautiful girl...

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

DIY Paleo Packs

My annual birthday beach pilgrimage is upon us! This year's trip is going to be different, it's not going to be the eating free-for-all like birthdays past. I'm going to make my best effort to stay as close to my Paleo template as possible while traveling, and at the very least gluten/wheat-free. I became quite ill from eating homemade pizza with a wheat-based crust during Labor Day weekend and it just wasn't worth the days of discomfort and time spent doubled over on the toilet bowl.

While I'm not planning on avoiding restaurants or packing a hot plate and stopping at the nearest Whole Foods on our way to Amelia Island, I thought it might be a good idea to pack some high-quality food that could act as a snack or a fast food meal. Enter Paleo packs; grass-fed beef jerky, dried fruits and soaked, dehydrated nuts all measured and vacuum sealed in a portable pouch. There are a couple of companies that sell these types of pre-made packs but I wanted to try doing it myself.

I made a batch of soy and sugar free beef jerky from a grass-fed London broil.  It's the perfect cut of beef because it is lean. It's not that I want to avoid the fat, I sure don't, but fat isn't great for jerky due to the spoilage factor.

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Then  I stocked up on raw nuts and unsulphured dried fruit from Trader Joe's. I soaked the nuts overnight before dehydrating them. Why soak nuts? Nuts, like grains, seeds and legumes, contain anti-nutrients that make it difficult for your body to assimilate the nutrients contained in the nuts and also make the nuts difficult to digest.  I have a very hard time digesting cashews and almonds unless I soak and dehydrate them, now I know why. I just pour a little whey off the yogurt, mix it with filtered water and pour over the nuts.

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Then I got out my trusty food scale, my Rival Vacuum Sealer and got to assembling my packs.  I made three-ounce packs using once ounce of jerky, one ounce of nuts and once ounce of dried fruit.  Two pounds of London broil gave me enough jerky for about a dozen packs with some left over for plain snacking.

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Tip~ be sure to nick the side of the pack with a scissors (without cutting into the bag thus breaking the seal) otherwise you'll never get them open.

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I've found that the full pack is perfectly filling for a light meal and half the pack is perfect for satisfying snack. They turned out really well and will be joining us on our upcoming trip!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not So Dirty Hippie~ Chemical Free Personal Care

Ever since I was a kid, I have been obsessed with beauty-care products. Some of my favorite childhood memories are when Nana would take us to Freedom Drug in Seabrook, NH and let us loose in the beauty department. Maybelline Kissing Potion, Rose Milk body lotion and Camay soap were my favorites when I was 10 going on 25. Do you remember these goodies?

photo courtesy of Camay VonFurstenberg

photo courtesy of Kooky Kitch

photo courtesy of Vintage Fanatic

I still LOVE beauty products and I had great fun making the switch from regular, factory-chemical laden products to personal care products that would assist in my quest to decrease my toxic load. 

Our skin is our largest organ, anything we apply to our skin is absorbed into our bodies.  For example, medication can be administered via different routes; oral/subligual (via the mouth/under the tongue,) subcutaneous(via an injection into the skin,) intramuscular (via an injection into the muscle,) and trans dermal (via the skin.) Medication applied to the skin is absorbed and metabolized by the body, the same as any other route, so it is a medical certainty that whatever is in those pots and tubes you apply to your skin is also absorbed into the body.

I didn't make the transition overnight. It took about three months to transition the following areas...
Hair color
Hair care
Facial skin care
Body skin care
tooth paste

To avoid information overload, I'll address each of these areas in separate posts.  In the meantime, take a look at the Skin Deep database and let me know what you find out about your products.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

CrossFit, Strike Two

Last year I had an unpleasant experience the first time I tried to see what CrossFit is all about. The other week I received a mailer alerting me that the gym I previously attended was now offering CrossFit. I got a little a excited because it's a really nice gym with pleasant clients and trainers. There was also a coupon for a free introductory class. I thought, great!  I'm feeling stronger, it's probably time for me to get moving and lifting again so I called to check it out. The person I spoke with gave me the trainer's number so I could set up the intro class. 

Shortly after, I was at the customer appreciation/grand reopening day at my local health food store, which happens to be right near the gym. It was buzzing and full of people. I recognized a few of the gym people there, who were passing out information at the event. I approached one of the women and said hello. She said she recognized me, too. We chatted for a few moments and I asked her about the classes. It turns out she's Cathy, the trainer who is running the CrossFit classes. She was very encouraging and said the intro class is a fitness assessment to see where the new clients are at so she can set up appropriate workouts that would fit their needs and help them reach their goals. I asked a few questions about modifying for recovered injuries and she said all the right things. I told her I would call her asap to set up my intro.

I called as soon as I got home, left a message on her voicemail. And guess what? No call back. And that was like three weeks ago. So do I scrap the idea of wanting to try CrossFit, or do I try again? It's discouraging because it's something I want to try but I'm not sure I'm willing to put myself out there just to be shot down again. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vermont Maple Fizz

My sister and her family were glamping in Vermont last month. They visited the farmer's market in Stowe one afternoon and a vendor there was offering up a very unique beverage that my sister could not resist. Freshly carbonated water from a local spring served over ice with a shot of pure Vermont maple syrup drizzled in. Alyssa said it was the most delicious and refreshing drink she had ever tried.

Of course I couldn't wait to reproduce it.

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Fill a glass with ice
Pour fizzy water over ice
Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup

This drink is a sensation and a revelation.  I never tasted anything like it.  It's thirst quenching, deeply satisfying and perfectly sweet for when you want a little something something.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Menu Planning and Food Porn

It's been such an enjoyable day off. I'm still in my pajamas and I've had cassia on my hair since 9am. I've cleaned, organized, did laundry, batch cooked a few things and got my bone broth going. I was hoping to get several articles and recipes ready to post, too, but I'm not sure I'll get to that before it's time to shower and start supper.

Since meal planning is a priority around here, let's do that first.

This evening I'm making my grain-free version of Chick-Fil-A nuggets served with sliced pickles wrapped in lettuce leaves with carrot sticks and baby peppers with homemade mayo mixed with sriracha for dipping.

Back to work tomorrow, so it's leftovers for supper. Primal Shepherd's Pie leftovers.

Rob requested fish in parsley sauce with broccoli, carrots and peas.  

Grilled lamb steak with caulicous pilaf flavored with nuts, sultanas, scallions, orange zest and warm spices!

This Paleo take on PF Chang's Mongolian Beef, served over a big pile of baby broccoli and broccoli rabe.

And to make use of the homemade bone broth that is simmering away downstairs, curried squash soup with turkey crumbles garnished with rosemary almonds.

Here are a few pics of what's been cooking here at Shady Dame.

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Primal Shepherd's Pie with balsamic baby San Marzano tomatoes

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Cider Braised then Grilled Brats with apple onion jam over sauteed cabbage and apples

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My Paleo take on the Classic British Fry-Up

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One of my new favorite things, SARDINES and mustard!  Atop herb flavored Mary's Gone Crackers,

I read an article mocking the blogger trick of ending the post with a question to get some discussion going. I also made the mistake of reading the comments.  I wonder why it bothered these people so much.  I think I'll poke them with a stick.  What have you been cooking good?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dot Com

After over 800 posts (!!!) and three days of phone calls to tech support my domain LovetoEatHatetoExercise.com is up and running! I want to send a special thank you to Ruben at Google/Go Daddy support who would not get off the phone with me until everything was just so.

I want to thank all of you who continued visiting my blog even when I was on hiatus and want to say "Thanks for stopping by," to all the new readers.

I'm going to keep cooking and posting recipes and tasty food porn. Like this...

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I'm going to keep sharing my experiences with my Paleo lifestyle and how I benefit from it and hopefully inspire you to see what tweaks you can make to your life to make it happier and healthier.  And most of all, I would love to hear from you!  What are you cooking, how are you staying active, what changes have you made toward a healthier, more vibrant life?

Have a fantastic Sunday!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Three Months Later (Update Post)

The following update is the follow up to this post. If you hadn't read it yet, check it out so the update makes sense.

That post really *was* tough to write, but it was even tougher to go through. It always amazes me how well my body does off sugar/booze/wheat/grains. Processed sugar and excess booze feeds depression and anxiety in me, and gluten messes with my digestive system. Case in point; I've had debilitating cramps and diarrhea since the Labor Day weekend pizza splurge.

It's been three months since I started the Balanced Bites 21 Day Sugar Detox at level 2. It wasn't instantaneous relief, but after the first week to ten days I noticed decreased digestive issues (no gas, no belching, no symptoms of IBS.) I was sleeping better, managing stress better, just happier overall. I started to experience less joint pain and have much more energy naturally, not from relying on that giant espresso every day. Imagine my excitement to have had made these improvements in my health by just making some dietary adjustments.

The 21 Day Sugar Detox is a short term program to get you off completely off sugar and at level two off grains, both which are highly inflammatory to my system, and to increase your intake of fresh whole foods.  Is it a cure-all?  No. But it's the very best first step for anyone who wants off the diet/junk food roller coaster and get on a path to increased health and vitality. Unlike a Whole 30, it's much more user friendly. Although I had a mostly positive Whole 30 experience when I did it last year,  that whole approach come across extremely antagonistic toward food. Food is the enemy and somehow you're weak and foolish if you occasionally make and eat a "Paleo" pancake or cookie. I mean, seriously, I LOVE FOOD. There is such pleasure to be had in deliciously prepared food shared with people you love. I wanted a program that embraced that, while nourishing my body and helping me with the health issues I've been suffering. This is the very best thing about Dianne Sanfillipo's approach to food.  It should be enjoyable, it should be delicious and it should be deeply nourishing.

After the initial three week detox, I started working within a Paleo template that I feel works best for me.  I made much use of the handy guides at the back of Practical Paleo. They are such a wealth of knowledge as to what foods to include and what to avoid. They are available free for download at Balanced Bites. Take a look and see just what wonderful, nutrient dense foods await you!

Getting back into corrective Chiropractic care was also a big help. I started with twice weekly visits and now I'm down to twice a month. My hip feels as good as it did back in 2010 and my right knee keeps improving.  I'm out walking more often. Tally's training camp with the dog wizard was amazing, she's such a great walking partner now. No more pulling, no more tripping me up.  I recently won a blog giveaway for a T-Tapp workout DVD, so I'm looking forward to seeing what that is all about when my prize package arrives.  Watch this space for more information on that.  

Supplement update. Since adding gelatin and increasing my bone broth consumption (I use Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin and it's non-gelling counterpart, Great Lakes Gelatin, Gelatin Collagen) my skin and nails are much improved. My skin looks smooth and glowing.  I also think the gelatin consumption was instrumental in my joint healing. Gelatin also heals the gut, which is perfect when trying to improve digestive issues. I make these fun sweet and sour gelatin bites to snack on and add the collagen (non-gelling type of gelatin) to my morning hot drink.

Next I added Ox Bile, one capsule with every meal. My stool quality is much improved, digestion much easier. I wish the gastroenterologist had told me I'd need to replace bile to help assimilate nutrition once my gallbladder was removed. It is nice to know that my body is absorbing the nutrition I'm feeding it.  My nails are no longer peeling, they are growing nice and strong, this is a good sign!

Finally, Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Ponying up the dough for these beauties proved to be a revelation. No other supplement on the market can touch FCLO. It's a superfood multi, a mega-omega, an anti-depressant, an anti-anxiety and probiotic all in one. I take two caps three times a day but will play with the amounts as I gain more health. 

I highly encourage you to read these two articles about FCLO. 

Cod Liver Oil Basics at Weston A. Price

I've made the shift from toxic personal care products to chemical free/non-toxic or homemade versions.  I've swapped out deodorant, toothpaste, body wash, facial care, hair care, hair color, counter spray and I'm still making and using this homemade laundry soap. 

Why go non-toxic?  The skin is the largest organ in the body and it absorbs whatever you put on it.  I read an article that states women can wear over 500 chemicals a day. Many of these chemicals disrupt hormones and may potentially cause, at best, skin irritation and at worst, cancer and organ damage. 

It was an interesting transition but overall I'm very happy with the changes I made. I'll talk more about it in a future post.

So all this time I'm talking about ZOMGPALEO and supplements but I bet you all want to know if I lost any weight. My main focus is gaining health and deeply nourishing my body, but if fat loss is a side effect of that I'm not going to complain. I lost 10 pounds by the end of the first 21 days and another 8 as of the end of last week.  So 18 pounds total.