Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Bad Apple

     Veganism or vegetarianism has never been a temptation to me. I love....LOVE meat! But there are many people who see these lifestyles as superior to other diets including meat and animal byproducts. My goal for this blog isn't to share my opinion on everything under the sun, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to share some shocking articles that have been published recently about this subject.

     Steve Jobs was a famous vegan. Some, including Dr. John McDougall, believe that is vegan diet is to credit for Jobs living as long as he did with pancreatic cancer. There are others, like Dr. Kaayla Daniel, who believe that vegan diet (particularly Job's excessive consumption of fruit), may have worsened or even caused the cancer.

     Both of these positions are quite intriguing, but then this story pops up in the news...

Steve Jobs’ Fruitarian Diet Lands Ashton Kutcher in the Hospital

Read more:

     According to Kutcher, his steady diet of apples resulted in him being "...doubled over in pain...", being rushed to the hospital and learning that his "...pancreas levels were completely out of whack...". 


     Yes, you read correctly. Apples were wreaking havoc on Kutcher's pancreas as he worked to become the man who died from pancreatic cancer not two years ago.

     So this is where I must give my opinion:

     Do I believe eating fruit will lead to cancer? No. 

     Do I believe eating meat will lead to cancer? No.

     Do I believe eating wheat will lead to cancer? No.

     What I believe is the human was created to live on a variety of whole foods.  No one food will harm you...unless it's poisonous. The real problem isn't the food, it's the volume and variety of those foods that are, or aren't, being consumed on a regular basis. The unfortunate thing is that Conventional Wisdom does not teach variety very well. It tells us that the majority of our plate should be grains, with some vegetables OR fruits (because they're all the same, right?), and a bit of LEAN meat protein thrown in for satisfaction sake. They don't take into account what state any of those parts of the plate are in (they could be covered in cheese, or a sugary sweet glaze, or plain...that doesn't matter). It doesn't matter where those components come from (they could come from a can, a garden, or pieced together molecule-by-molecule by some food chemist). All that matters is the "pyramid". 

     That's right. The USDA and the FDA are just a big pyramid scheme.

     I wanted to share this because I want people to have research at their disposal, not just my opinion. Yes, I will choose research that usually supports the choices I have made. But if I find a really thought-provoking article that tells of the dangers of cutting out grains and refined sugars from my diet, I will share that as well. But I wouldn't hold your breath :)

What did you think about the Ashton Kutcher story?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whole30 Update: Day #26 and it's THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!

I cannot believe I'm 4 days away from CHEESE!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!! I CAN BARELY CONTAIN MYSELF!!!

Okay, my freakout is over :)

Seriously, though. This has been such a great experience! I would love to say that I am feeling on top of the world right now and my body is coursing with Tiger Blood, but I can't. Aunt Flo is here and in full effect, and I basically slept all weekend. I didn't really experience major cramps, and I guess the pain never got to the point that I needed to take any pain reliever (which, now that I think about it, is a pretty big deal for me), but the fatigue, bloating, and back pain were all still there. I'm not complaining, necessarily. I know I'm in better health now than I was before I started the Whole30 program. I just wish Aunt Flo came during the first week  when I felt like crap already, lol!

Anyhoo, life is just grand around here. Friday the temperature never got over 32, and now it's about 70 out! Gotta love North Carolina weather!

I didn't take any food pics this weekend because I was basically out of it, but I did have some neat food breakthroughs! I made my own sunflower seed butter in our Nutribullet! It was delicious and way too easy! I also made a yummy Pork and Sweet Potato Stew for dinner on Sunday. It was sweet and savory and...Mmmm!

So that's basically it. My weekend was uneventful, but extremely restful which is exactly what I needed. 

How was your weekend?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Well the Weather Outside is Frightful...


     We are finally getting winter weather here in my hometown, and it is quite a sight! Allie and I worked a half day (why? I don't know), and my Hubby is off tonight!

     So what have I done since 1PM? 

     Uh...ate blogs...took at nap. Yay for Snow Days!!

     It's gonna be a great, cozy, snuggly, weekend at my house :)

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Whole30 Update: Delicious Day #22 + Whole30 Approved Shepherd's Pie

(This post signifies my very first link up! I will be linking up with The Nourishing Gourmet's Pennywise Thursdays from now on. Check her out! She's amazing!)

One of the greatest perks from my Whole30 experience is the new arsenal of scrumptious, healthy recipes! I'm very proud of myself because most of the recipes I have cooked are original (thank you, thank you!)  According to my Hubby, they have all been delicious...but he's a pretty partial judge :)

One of those recipes is what I made us for dinner tonight: Paleo Shepherd's Pie!

Since I have gone through this entire experience and haven't posted a single recipe, I will use the last few days of the program to do so, starting with this awesome make-ahead supper! I literally made this yesterday while watching the premiere of The Taste on Hulu. My new work schedule has me at the office on the same days that my Hubby and I get to have dinner together at home (which is only 3 times a week). That means I get home after Hubby and he's usually starving while I'm just starting dinner. So this week I've cooked meals that are either prepared in the Crock Pot or are make-ahead dinners. Tuesday night was Butternut Squash Chili (I'll DEFINITELY be sharing that recipe soon, it was so easy and delicious!). Tonight we're having the Shepherd's Pie I assembled yesterday on my day off. When I get home, I'll just pop it in the oven for about 45 minutes, and we'll be good to go!

Whole30 Approved Shepherd's Pie


1 lb of ground beef (the best you can get your hands on)
1 head of cauliflower (trimmed and cut into small florets)
4 cups of broth or water (I used turkey, cause that's what I had. I personally wouldn't use seafood)
1 1/2 cups of carrots, diced (or baby carrots cut into rounds)
1 1/2 cups of green beans, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of roasted garlic
1 tsp coconut flour
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Bring broth or water to boil with a good amount of salt in a stock pot and add cauliflower florets. Cook for about 10 minutes or until very tender. Drain cauliflower and, if necessary, let cool.

2. Put roasted garlic in blender with cooked cauliflower and blend until its thick and smooth. Set aside.

3. Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Remove cooked meat with a slotted spoon into a bowl. Add onion, carrots, and green beans into the remaining fat and saute until the onions are translucent and the carrots and green beans are tender.  Add ground beef back to the pan along with the poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, tomato paste, and coconut flour. Cook for about 3 more minutes, then take the pan off the burner and allow the filling to cool.

4. After the filling as cooled, pour it into your favorite casserole dish (my 8x8 glass dish seemed to be the right fit for this one. Then spread the cauliflower puree over top and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula or spoon.

5. From here you can either put in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes until the top of the casserole is caramelized, or you can put it in the friidge/freezer and cook when ready. If you are choosing the make-ahead preparation, let the casserole sit on your counter for a couple hours to thaw/take the chill off, then put in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes until the casserole is heated through and the top is caramelized.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Whole30 Update: Day #20 + Aunt Flo

What's up, friends! Today is Day #20 of my Whole30 experience and I'm pretty much loving life right now! I'm feeling pretty good and I've been eating really good!

Here's breakfast from Sunday morning:

"Purple Rain" Banana Crepes, as dubbed by my Hubby :) The topping is coconut cream, banana, and mixed berries. Then we had sausage and eggs on the side. YUM! That morning we watched "Aristocats" and I was LOLing like I was 5 years old!! I don't know what it is about Disney movies, but I'm instantly a kid again when we they come on.

Dinner that night was Pineapple Chipotle Wings with Tomato and Avocado Salad an Avocado Mayo dipping sauce. DELICIOUS!! I pretty much laid the smackdown on those wings. You could say that we cheated a little bit, because I "shallow" fried them in bacon fat and a bit of olive oil. But all the ingredients were Whole30 approved. Oh, and Hubby came up with the refreshing mineral water in the background. I could have had a gallon of that stuff!

So what's up with Aunt Flo? Well I've definitely been PMSing a bit this week because I start next week. (I know, that's a lot of info, but you're blog family now.)  I haven't had the bloating or the mood swings (WOOHOO!!), but I have had the urge to eat every scrap of food in the house. Honestly, I'm not snacking nearly as hard as I did in months past, sans Whole30. And, though I'm not munching on Mac and Cheese and Oreos, my choices have been very satisfying and I haven't really binged out on anything. I guess the Whole30 program has calmed my hormones to the point that a time like this wrecks much less havoc on my body than before.

With 10 days left (I don't know what I was smoking last time I was talking about having 10 days left...), I'm really pleased with the results I have experiences. I may even get brave enough to share my before and after pics with you guys on day 30!

Have a great week, and we'll keep in touch :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Whole30 Update: Day #17 and Feeling GRRRRREAT!

Yep, that's me, feeling the tiger blood!  I definitely had some gloomy moments this week, but they have all led up to this! I feel AWESOME!  I'm starting to actually crave Whole30 approved foods. I think my clothes are starting to fit a little better. I have been getting great sleep, which is huge for me! (I have never been a great sleeper...EVER!)

Speaking of cravings, I still can't wait to have cheese in my scrambled eggs or maple syrup on my paleo pancakes again, but as far as things I want to have everyday that's kind of the extent of it. I know there will be bread, cocktails, and maybe even some McDonald's Mystery McNuggets in my future at some point (hmmm...maybe not the McNuggets), but now that I understand what it does to my body I'm just not chomping at the bit to have these things on a regular basis. I like who I am right now! I like waking up and continuing to feel awake throughout! I like feeling sleepy and actually falling to sleep...and STAYING asleep! It's a glorious thing that I just don't want to throw away just because I can't say "No" to a Bojangles biscuit.

*Shutter* I know I'm really letting some fellow North Carolinians down with that last statement. Those were my jam back in the day, but I just can't put my stomach through that anymore. But we're still friends...right?

This is what I made for dinner Thursday night:

Oh yeah, Coconut Curry Stew with Shrimp and Peppers. It was delicious, but I think it needs lemongrass. Unfortunately, I've never used lemongrass before! So I'll definitely be experimenting with that idea before I post the recipe.

All in all I'm a happy girl! My body feels good because it's not competing with all the junk to keep me alive and alert. My heart and mind are happy because I'm treating myself well, FINALLY!  Yeah, that whole "love others as you love yourself" idea has taken on a whole new meaning over the last 17 days. So many people, especially women, pour limitless love out on others every day while hating themselves through their choices, speech, and thoughts. We come by this behavior honestly, the generations before us have taught us to care for everyone else before we care for ourselves. There are times when that is necessary, but that shouldn't one's every waking moment. We are not to love and care for others INSTEAD of ourselves, but LIKE ourselves. It's a simple thought, but accomplishing it has proven more complicated than I thought it would be. I'm so happy to have finally started walking this concept out for me.

I can't believe there are only 10 days left of my Whole30 experience. I'm excited because I'm REALLY craving a baked sweet potato with an entire log of goat cheese in the middle, bacon over the top, and finished with a liberal drizzle of honey. YUUUMMM!!! But I'm a little sad, too. What a time of discovery! What a 19-Day journey to cracking my food-code! It's been real, and it's been fun. Thanks for sitting in the passenger seat :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Update and A Confession

So it's day #14 on the Whole30, and I'm okay. I'm regular. My energy is even. I'm never stuffed feeling after I eat, and today I honestly never even got hungry.

None of this sounds like a bad thing, but I'm a little bit depressed by it. I mean, I believe I had gotten so used to going from the feeling of starvation to being so full I want to vomit that I...well...miss it! And I miss the sugar highs and crashes. And I miss the pain I get from eating a giant bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce.

Do I sound like a masochist?

I'm not quite sure where I'm at with this whole thing. I mean I feel fine, though the weather here isn't helping (in short, it sucks). Maybe I'm hormonal. Maybe this is the next stage of breaking my food addiction. That sounds right. I've gone from physically missing the highs, to mentally missing the highs.

The fact is I have expended myself quite a bit emotionally over the past week or so and I've had nothing to numb the exhaustion that it has brought about. This is a good thing, I need to face my stress and deal with it. Essentially, food (especially grains and sugar) has been a security blanket for me for a long time and its been ripped away by my own hand. I'm doing myself a favor in the long run, but that doesn't make it feel any better right now.

I guess I'm just having a James 1 moment. I'm in a funk, but I'm allowing myself to be taught in and by it. That's the only way I'll mature and grow. And that's ultimately what I want, to be better.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Food and Fun in the Sun

This weekend in my hometown was beautiful! It was a heavenly 72 degrees and partly sunny, which meant everyone and their Mom was outside getting some fresh air! Dave and I, of course did the same and it was wonderful!

But not before we had our traditional Sunday brunch:

This Sunday, I made Banana Crepes with Banana and Mango filling and some Beef Breakfast Patties on the side. This is probably the best Whole30 meal I have made to date. I will definitely double the amount of crepes next time, because my husband inhaled them! That meant he loved them, of course :)

After brunch, we headed for the park. Our go-to spot was as crowded as the mall on Black Friday, so we decided to go to a new park. Their trail ended up leading us into a great neighborhood that we ended up walking around for probably an hour. The weather was perfect, the people were friendly, and the terrain was greatly and hilly! We had a wonderful time.

Then we headed out to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to pick up a Nutribullet. The backstory is we wanted a juicer but I didn't feel good about not consuming the pulp which has the bulk of the healthy fiber and nutrients. My suspicions were confirmed after reading the section on fruits in The Primal Blueprint, so we landed on buying the Nutribullet. Its essentially a more powerful Magic Bullet and it purées fruits and veggies into delicious smoothie-like drinks. Added bonus: it has a milling blade to pulverize nuts and seeds (homemade nut butter, anyone?) At $80 bucks, you can't beat it.

We also stumbled upon this beautiful set of pots and pans in the clearance section. It was a 10-pc set of Bialetti Aeternum cookware marked down to $99 because the set was missing the stock pot top. Being that the original price was $160, I thought this was a pretty good deal! To buy it, I would have to use money I was setting aside for something else but, after talking it over, this was just a deal I couldn't pass up. So we take it to the cash register and, well, this is what we ended up paying for it:

Hallelujah is all I can say about that!! God is truly good! I was cheesing so hard after we left my face was starting to hurt!

We finally got home with our spoils and, after cleaning my new toys, I cooked dinner. We had our favorite - Kale Stuff with Spaghetti Squash - and it cooked beautifully in my new covered sauté pan!

Sunday was a blessed, full day and I'm excited to see what the week holds :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Whole30 Update: Days #7 and #8

Wow, I can't believe I've been doing the Whole30 for over a week!!

HAHA! Yes I freakin' CAN believe it!!! I've gone through just about every craving I could possibly through, and my tummy has had quite the time trying to acclimate to my drastic diet change.

However, the pros have totally outweighed the cons this week. I've had more energy (except for the last couple days, but I don't think that's the food's fault). I'm not starving! I eat about twice a day, with a couple of snacks (I'll probably cut out the evening snack, though). What makes me the most excited, however, is that IM ONLY ON DAY 8!! I can hardly believe that I've only Whole30-ing it for 8 days and am already experiencing these results!

Now for some pics!!

The first is a picture of this great brand of local, wild-caught shrimp that I bought on sale from Food Lion for $7.99!! If you know anything about wild-caught shrimp, you know that's a steal!

The next is a pic of my lunch a couple days ago - Okra and Sausage Sauté. It's something my Dad used to eat while he was doing the Adkins Diet, and I would always gobble up his leftovers :) This simple dish is only sausage ( I used some INSANELY good pork kielbasa from my CSA), frozen okra and some celery for a bit of crunch!

For dinner last night, I made a huge Chicken Cobb Salad (sans bleu cheese, of course). In preparation for the salad's dressing, the Hubby and I made our first Mayonnaise!! We, like everyone else, we needing up with something the consistency of salad dressing, i.e a soupy, but tasty, mess. Then I had the idea of making a sort of avocado ranch dressing from not-quite-mayo. I simply put half of the mayo mixture, some lemon juice, and 1/4 an avocado into the blender. Then, BOOM!! I had actual, thick, spreadable, scrumptious MAYO!!! It was perfect!! So for all of you who are about to give up on making your own mayo, just add avocado!

The last pic is of my dinner tonight! It was a dreary day here in my hometown, which means the perfect night for soup! I made a quick Chicken and Veal Curry Soup! Why chicken AND veal? Because I had a little veal meat that came off of my broth bones in the freezer :) One of my new favorite things is Trader Joe's canned coconut cream. It's perfect for making any soup creamy and delicious if you are lactose intolerant or refraining from dairy.

So that's all I got for today! This weekend I'll post some recipes that have served me well during my first week of the Whole30 program.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Hinge

"The Biggest Loser" always gets me choked up, always. I'm sitting here eating my first meal of the day (an apple first thing this morning, now some sausage with sautéed okra and celery), watching the premier of the show and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because these people aren't obscure, these people represent America. They represent an epidemic has gone passed affecting adults and is now affecting our nation's children! Bob Harper (one of the trainer's on the show) said that there is a statistic stating that many in the current generation of children won't meet the lifespan of their parents. WHAT??? You mean to tell me that with all the technological, scientific, and medical advances we have made cumulatively as a country, our children still won't make it to the current average lifespan??? It's mind boggling.

But this is also the first time I'm watching "The Biggest Loser" while I'm actually doing something about my own weight!! I'm excited that I am finally taking ownership of my life. It's mine! While I am able to choose, I'm choosing to live my life in the fullness that God intended. He built me a beautiful body, and I'm going to celebrate it! And my mind and spirit will finally be showcased as it was meant to be.

Yes, yesterday was rough... My God, it was surreal and really frustrating. But my husband and I made it through WHILE making good choices. No slipping or caving, we just leaned on God and each other an and pressed forward. And now it's today, and today has been good!

Will post food pictures later, and some recipes! I mean it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Whole30 Update: Days #5 & #6

Wow, I really don't know where to start with this day. I feel like Monday and Tuesday conspired to switch places. Monday was actually good! No tummy issues. I was really alert and focused at work. I skipped breakfast, but made a yummy salmon salad with a simple vinegarette. Then for dinner, I went to Dos Perros - THE BEST Mexican restaurant - for Taco and had their pork tenderloin, beef barbacoa, and veggie... the fillings only, of course! Finally, I got to watch Downton Abbey!!! YEEESSSSS!!!! It was a good day!

Today, however, was dumb. It was just dumb! I hate days like this. And it would have been the PERFECT cheat day!! OH MY GOSH!! I was in the car after my husband picked me up from work just dreaming of Mac and Cheese and French Fries!

And wine...Mmmm...

But this is the point, right? We are making a lifestyle change. We are learning how to eat for nutrition and for enjoyment, not comfort. I kept trying to remind myself of this as I was also dreaming of ice cream and a Mike's Hard Lemonade. Since I'm not having any of those things, dinner was pretty satisfying. Tonight I made...

(drumroll please)... Jambalaya!! I'm so sorry there are no pictures, I was still in a pretty rough mood until my second bowl :) But it was totally delicious! It was comforting because was tasty, but it was also a good choice! No matter how stressful my day was, I chose well. That was very comforting.

Goodnight :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Days #3 and #4

Yay, life is slowly getting better on this Whole30 diet! I made something for dinner tonight that would have been perfect if I didn't add so much freaking lime... *sigh*. I made Meatball Curry Stew - and it was truly almost perfect. Last night I made my famous Kale Stuff, but with spaghetti squash instead, and it turned out great! As for the rest of the week? No clue. I am totally stumped for dinner ideas. I think I'll end up doing a cabbage and kielbasa thing for Tuesday night, and Thursday night ill maybe do a seafood stew...? Who knows. This Whole30 thing is really stretching my kitchen creativity!

My stomach issues are slowly getting better. It's still so sensitive, and I can't figure out why. Maybe getting rid of all the refined carbs and sugar and processed foods is suppose to be a bit painful. And I've only been doing this for 4 days, so I'm sure my body's just, we'll, detoxing.

I'm so glad I never had a drug problem. Detox sucks.

By the way, I totally agreed to Taco Night with my bestie and forgot I'm not doing grains, or beans, or alcohol, or dairy. This will be fun :) I will get to give her her birthday gift, though. I can't wait!!

I'm still happy to be doing this, though. I KNOW I'll lose weight because I'm probably eating less than half as much as I used to. I simply less hungry, and I'm not using food to comfort or entertain me anymore. I had one serving of dinner the past two nights! That is ground breaking for me. It helped that dinner smelled like vomit to me... Darn limes. But I will be posting that recipe, sans limes, and it will be delicious.

Anyway, if I keep talking, ill just keep complaining about ruining dinner.

Goodnight :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day #2

Today's score: 6 out of 10. It started with a pretty terrible night's sleep. The bloating plus my whacked out vacation schedule lent itself to me being wide awake from midnight to about 4. But, according to my husband, I did finally get some sleep and I woke up around 8:15 to make his breakfast and lunch and kiss him before he left for work. Today I was determined not to take a 4 hour nap again, so made myself a cup of tea and finally caught up on "Parenthood". Yeah, that's right, a couple of plain ol' tea. My stomach was still giving me trouble, so I didn't really eat anything until about 1pm.

That was too soon.

I finally had had enough, and began to google remedies for my digestion woes, when I ran across something called digestive enzymes. It turns out that I am not the first person to deal with bloating and constipation from the Whole30 program and people had experienced relief after taking these supplements. So tonight, before our baked chicken and veggies dinner, I took one as directed and...I'm beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel! I'm certainly not free of discomfort, but some relief as occurred and I'm truly grateful!

As for the headaches, they are still present and reminding me of my past addiction to carbs and sugar.

There is one thing that is changing, though. I feel like I am doing my body a huge favor! I feel like I am correcting some serious food relationship issues. I'm beating cravings. I'm learning new ways to entertain myself besides parking in front of the tv and snacking on the entire contents of my fridge. I'm reading and writing and studying. This is a good thing.

By the way, sorry for being a liar about taking food pics. Those will come, especially when the food gets a little more interesting.

There's so much more I want to say, but I fear being long winded.

Goodnight :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day #1 of the Whole30

If I had to score how I feel after Day 1 of the Whole30 Experience, I'm think I'm at a 5.

The food has been great - delicious and filling. I, however, feel like s***.

I'm super bloated, tired, and I have a headache. Granted, I have been pigging out on all my favorite crappy food in preparation for my new lifestyle (I know. That sounds oxymoronic to me, too.), but really?? I didn't think I would feel this gross.

Accordingly to the experts, it'll get better.

I'll take pictures of my food tomorrow. Today, I was just trying to make it.

Goodnight :)