Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 19 - Crockpot TexMex Carnitas

Alright, so I'm a little hesitant to say this just yet, but I think the worst is behind me. To be frank, I feel really good! In fact this morning, despite the fact that I am battling a nasty cold, I woke up on my own 10 minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off, feeling rested and ready to get up. My stomach issues seem to have resolved themselves, and I have not had a headache since Monday when I started coming down with this cold, which has now gone into my throat and chest. My energy has been consistent throughout the day -- not super woman levels yet probably due to the cold, but I am not hungry or weak between meals. I have no after dinner cravings, and I'm sleeping deeply and well.

I have to share with you Trey's and my new favorite recipe. I was craving me some Mexican food. I love nothing more than ooey-gooey, slathered enchiladas with guacamole and chips and a few stiff margaritas. Unfortunately, nothing in that menu -- except for guacamole -- is compliant right now. But I did discovere this gem at -- Crockpot TexMex Carnitas -- and it completely satisfied my Mex craving. I did have to make a few adjustments to keep it completely Whole30 compliant. I didn't add any barbecue sauce or honey/agave nectar. Good news is it didn't need it. Truly, as the pork butt cooked down it produced the most flavorful sauce you can imagine and needed no extra kick or sweetness. The meat shredded easily when it was done cooking, and Trey ate his carnitas on lettuce wraps. I enjoyed mine on a plate topped with some diced avocado. Super delicious! This meal is so easy. It took me about 5 minutes the night before to dump everything into the crockpot, and I just turned it on when I left for work in the morning. Nothing better than coming home to the smell of pulled pork. I made this a couple of days ago and we got two dinners out of it with a lunch left over. Best part, even my pickiest two eaters were willing to try it and thought it was yummy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 16 - Blood Orange Beef Stew

I didn't want to leave you hanging too long without a new post, so this will be in the form of a weekly wrap-up since Trey and I are now starting week 3. Can you believe it?

The Good

  • I have lost 8.5 pounds!
  • My hunger is gone, especially that pesky after dinner hunger for junk.
  • I am sleeping deeply at night and feel pretty well rested in the morning. I think my cortisol levels must be coming back into a normal range.
  • My energy levels are evening out. I'm not experiencing the highs and lows that come with a sugar-adapted metabolism.
  • I think I'm happier and more patient with the kids. Maybe it's just my imagination, but I'm keeping an eye on this one.

The Bad

  • I had a lot of headaches this week. Not sure why. Possibly linked to not drinking enough water. When I'm at my desk at work, I drink water regularly, but at home I'm not so good at this and this week I was off work a lot.
  • Most of the week I had tummy troubles which I think were connected to the switch from a low-fat to a high-fat diet. The past couple of days have been much better, so here's to hoping those issues are in the past.
  • I want a glass of wine...a lot...a lot more than I thought I would.
  • The smell of pizza still makes me go a little crazy in the head. Talk about a Pavlovian response. Clearly I have pizza issues.
  • Grass fed beef has a strong odor.
  • I cannot find truly pastured eggs anywhere. Not even at Whole Foods. The compromise was buying Certified Humane eggs.
I want to leave you with my new favorite recipe: Blood Orange Beef Stew with Butternut Squash. I made it Sunday to last us for the next couple of days. It didn't make as much as I had hoped, but, boy, was it scrumptious. Word of warning -- it is labor intensive. Definitely a meal to make when you have an afternoon free. If, like me, you don't have a dutch oven, just use a stainless steel stockpot, put foil over the top, poke 8-10 holes in in, and then recover with the stockpot lid. The beef became so tender it just melted in your mouth. To make the recipe completely compliant just omit the flour.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 13 - Let's Get Real

I know I've missed a few days, but life has been a little too hectic and I've been a little confused in my feelings on the Whole30 this week. Ready yourselves, folks, because it's about to get real in here. I am sure this is all part of the normal process, but if you can't handle cold, hard honesty, don't read.

Some days I love the Whole30. Others I'm not so sure. Some days I think I could eat this way for the rest of my life. Others I want to drink a bottle of wine and down a bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos. Some days I think this all makes sense and that's why I'm losing weight consistently when I couldn't for several years. Other days I think it's all hocus-pocus made up by a bunch of kill-joy, granola (without the grains) weirdos who want to spread dictatorial-eating habits across the globe. Some days I have incredibly even energy and experience the normal wake-to-sleepy cycles you are supposed to feel with evenly regulated hormones. Other days I drag all day long, feel cranky, and have no energy to workout.

You get the picture.

I have also been struggling with some digestive issues, which started about Day 3 or 4 of the Whole30 and are still persisting. I won't regale you with the details here, but from my reading on the Whole30 message boards, this is fairly normal for a dramatic shift from a low-fat to a high-fat diet. This has been a bit of a bummer for me. Perhaps my expectations were too high, too fast -- something I've been known to do in the past. I need to be patient with this process and give my body time to adjust and heal from decades of bad habits, but given my super-type-A personality, I want it all to change now and not involve a process. Yeah, that's not how the world works. So for me, part of this journey is resetting my expectations.

On the positive side, I have continued to see steady weight loss, which was a major reason for doing this cleanse. I am now quite convinced that my high-carb, low-fat diet was sabotaging my efforts to get back to my normal weight, and it was contributing to a poor relationship with "food with no brakes". Never heard that phrase? It's from the book It Starts with Food and it really doesn't require a whole lot of explanation. Food with no brakes are foods that you can easily consume in massive quantities which provide no nutritional benefit and actually can cause serious long-term health problems. Think a bag of chips or a box of cookies.

In terms of new recipes over the past few days, we've been reprising a few of the ones we really liked from last week. I did make a Creamy Chicken Tomato Crockpot Soup on Tuesday, but I didn't love it (Trey did, however). I used diced tomatoes that were too salty and I felt there wasn't enough broth in the soup. It also did NOT make the 6 servings it was promising. Maybe I did something wrong. I don't know.

Tonight I'm planning to cook a steak with some sweet potatoes as a side. I think I will put it in the same marinade that was used for the Ginger Lime Shrimp.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Davis Turns 6

Well, this is seriously later than I had intended, considering Addison's birthday is tomorrow. Without further ado here is our one-of-a-kind middle child celebrating #6.

Opening presents at breakfast.

Birthday cake, which Davis proudly helped me make and decorate.

More presents.

Monday was Presidents' Day and we were all off work and school. So we spread the birthday love out and went to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

The last time I went to this museum I was in 1st grade. You can only imagine my surprise upon entering as an adult and discovering that the museum was not nearly as large as I remembered it.

It was a big hit with the kids. The museum is compact and has tons of exhibits that are geared for young kids.

In this exhibit the kids used metal scrapers to dig for fossils embedded in the rock. Complete with goggles, the kids loved it!

I know those look like real fish in a tank, but they were actually not alive.

Studying the museum map.

The panda diorama. Can I just say that dioramas are so cool.

The butterfly exhibit, which was my favorite part of the museum.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 9 - Tired

This is a picture of sweet Davis when he was just a few days old. It seemed appropriate since his 6th birthday just passed this Saturday, but also because what he's doing in the photo is what I wish I could have done all day today. I just didn't have the same high energy level early like I have for the past few days although it did improve as the day progressed.

Here's Davis opening presents on his birthday. Such a big kid now. More on the birthday in another post.

But back to being tired. Today I didn't feel great again, which was discouraging because I thought I was over the yuckies. Part of it, I think, was the fact that I worked out yesterday afternoon, which I really hadn't done much of this past week, following the recommendation of the program. And it was an intense, hour-long sweat-fest kind of workout. I don't think my body has adapted enough yet to handle that kind of workout on this new regimen.

Trey and I are reading It Starts with Food together, the book that sets out all the science behind the Whole30. We just finished the chapter on how our food impacts our hormones, and I suspect that I am the poster child for what the book is talking about. From my difficulty losing weight to my after-dinner munchies, I suspect I am leptin resistant and have elevated cortisol levels. I am eager to see how this will change over the remaining 3 weeks. And since my hormones are still out of whack, I think anything at this point -- like a super human workout -- can tip the precarious new balance.

Breakfast - 2 eggs over easy on a bed of sauteed spinach and garlic with a side of pumpkin souffle
Lunch - 1/2 a banana Lara bar, 1/2 an apple Lara bar, 1/2 a banana, taco-less salad with a chicken thigh
Dinner - Coconut crusted chicken with a side of pumpkin souffle

Trey and I have been testing out different Lara bar flavors -- the reason I only ate half of each. I have a business trip coming up before the end of this Whole30, so I'm trying to find things that are packable and will help me stay compliant on the road. So far I'm loving the Lara bars. The banana and apple ones are probably my favorite so far.

And now the coconut chicken. Wow, it was so good. The coconut provides lovely sweetness and crunch, and the chicken was moist and delicious. I ended up cooking whole breasts instead of pounding the meat out, which meant I cooked them longer, but they were perfect. Highly recommend!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One Week Recap

I'm glad to be this side of starting the Whole30 rather than where I was one week ago. I thought I'd randomly go through a few observations from the week as a way to recap.

The Good

  • I lost 5.2 pounds this week!
  • The carb flu is over.
  • I wake up feeling ready to start the day.
  • My energy levels during the day are starting to even out, feeling more consistent.
  • I feel satisfied between meals much longer than before.
  • I found some things at Whole Foods that I'd been looking for and couldn't get anywhere else, including Lara Bars, sulfite free balsamic vinegar, and compliant salsa.
  • I learned that Trey is in love with chocolate chili and this week so I made a double batch yesterday -- same amount of work, twice the number of meals.
  • My will power is strong. It is possible to take the kids to Chick-fil-A for Davis's birthday without eating a single waffle fry or nugget.

The Bad
  • The grocery bill is still high (nearly double). However, we're not eating out or buying booze, so I have a feeling that it's evening out anyway. Haven't done the math on that one, but it's a hunch.
  • The planning still feels like a lot of work, especially making sure we have enough protein for the week. We went through 5 dozen eggs last week! I'm hoping a did a more thorough job this week given what I've learned so far.
  • Yesterday I went to 5 grocery stores to get the things we needed. Some of it was just exploration, such as seeing what I could get at my local Indian/Asian grocer and discovering new things at Whole Foods. Even so, I felt like I was grocery shopping all day long.
  • Sodium metabisulfite is an additive to flaked coconut, so I couldn't buy it at my local Indian/Asian grocer. However, Whole Foods does have it additive free.
Overall it was an eye-opening and encouraging week. Yesterday's meals were a re-hash of things we'd already done this week so I won't be listing everything out, but look for new recipes in the coming days.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 6 - Changes

Two remarkable things have changed since Sunday when I first embarked on this adventure. First, I have discovered that I am now really enjoying my coffee without sugar and just coconut milk. Although you can see the oil on the top, it's really no different than if you've ever put whipped cream into coffee. You can see the fat floating then too when the whipped cream melts. The creaminess is completely satisfying and my taste buds are clearly becoming more accustomed to no sugar. I would never -- I repeat -- NEVER have thought I could drink coffee without sweetness before now. So this rather rapid adjustment is truly remarkable and peculiar for me.

Second, I woke today feeling so much better than the past 5 days. My head was clear. I felt alert and energetic. My energy did flag a little this afternoon and I was truly famished by dinner time, but I believe this is progress and gives me hope for the weeks to come.

We were completely out of meat today, so protein was eggs. I pulled together our meal plan this evening and wrote out the shopping list with plans to go first thing tomorrow. We will be reprising a few of the recipes that we really enjoyed and introducing some new ones.

Breakfast - 2 hard boiled eggs, banana, macadamia nuts, coffee with coconut milk
Lunch - spicy guacamole with crudites, 1/2 a grapefruit, sweet potato and leek soup
Dinner - egg scramble with mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes, cup of frozen raspberries, pumpkin souffle

The pumpkin souffle was a recipe I found on the Whole30 message boards on a thread about non-egg breakfast ideas. It sounded delicious to me and seemed perfect as a "breakfast for dinner" kind of side this evening.

Pumpkin Souffle

2 cans solid pumpkin
1/2 can coconut milk
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a square baking dish with coconut oil. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix well until light and fluffy. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Genevie helped me lick the spatula after I'd made the "batter" and couldn't wait to try it once it had come out of the oven. Both she and Addison enjoyed a nice helping, and I was delighted for them to have it since it was a way to feed them veggies without them even realizing it. I have a feeling if I had tried this pre-Whole30, I would have found the mixture too savory and not enough like pumpkin pie filling. However, nearly a week in and with my taste buds changing, I could really savor the natural sugars of the pumpkin.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 5 - Free Range and Organic

One of the tenets of the Whole30 is that you should be eating grass-fed, free range, sustainable, and organic meats, eggs, and seafood. In fact, they emphasize this over purchasing organic vegetables and fruits (if for budgetary reasons you can't do it all). This has been difficult for us. We are a family of 5 and definitely on a budget, but I am aware of the industrial meat practices that go on, and, yes, they do gross me out. We have been buying cage free eggs for a while because they are simply better quality and tasting than their industrial counterparts with their brittle shells and pale yellow yolks. After living the UK where dairy and egg products are unsurpassed for taste and quality, returning to the US with its surly farming practices was an adjustments.

The harsh reality is that grass fed, free range, and sustainable items are super expensive, but in my heart I want to go that route. So we've compromised a bit. Last week the chicken I bought -- boneless, skinless thighs and whole bird -- was free range and organic. Our grocery bill was already astronomical from prepping for this journey, but I've subsequently learned that I over-purchased on some items. Plus, I had to get a few of the staples that I won't need to buy again for a few weeks. I am hoping to bring the grocery bill down some as I get more comfortable with what we are actually consuming in a week, and as we do this I am willing to pay a little more for this better meat.

It is particularly noticeable with chicken. The color of the meat is completely different. It is white when raw, not yellow, and after cooked, the meat is white and pink, not gray. The smell was even different. Hard to explain how, but much more appetizing. I cooked a whole bird for two reasons. I froze the broth, a yield of almost 10 cups! I did this because I cannot find compliant chicken broth anywhere and I need it for soups. The second reason was to produce a bag of chicken meat for topping salads or just eating by itself. Today I plan to season some of the meat and recreate yesterday's taco-less salad with pulled chicken instead of ground turkey.

Breakfast - 2 fried eggs over easy on a bed of sautéed garlic spinach, 1/2 grapefruit, coffee with coconut milk
Lunch - Taco-less salad with chicken (instead of ground turkey), fresh pineapple chunks
Dinner - Leek and sweet potato soup with a side of homemade turkey breakfast sausage and homemade applesauce

The leek and sweet potato soup was AMAZING! It had the velvety, creamy texture of a bisque with lovely sweetness from the potatoes and depth of flavor from onions, garlic, and leeks. I think I may get some crab or lobster to add to it next time because it really could easily be a Whole30 compliant lobster bisque.

The breakfast sausage was just ground turkey to which I added a tablespoon of Bell's poultry seasoning and a teaspoon of salt. I mixed it well with my hands, formed little sliders, and sautéed them in some coconut oil. Honestly, it was better than breakfast sausage because the seasoning tasted the same, it was not disgustingly salty, and it had none of those nasty additives and nitrates that sausage invariably has. You should definitely try this!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 4 - Being Intentional

One of the things that the Whole30 is forcing me to do is examine everything I eat. It doesn't go into my mouth unless I've read the label first. Gone are the days of mindless snacking. Trey is starting to get interested in this whole side of things too. On Saturday I accidentally purchased non-compliant cashews. They had peanut oil in them. So yesterday I went to Trader Joe's and got organic cashews with nothing but nuts and sea salt in them. He asked me to show him exactly what is was that didn't fit the program, so I started walking him through the ingredients listed on the products on our Whole30 shelf. Canned pumpkin -- nothing but pumpkin. Coconut milk -- just coconut milk and water. Macadamia nuts, well, you get the idea. This whole experience is a lesson in self examination. Why am I eating what I am eating? Is it helping me meet my goals?

I read this fantastic blog today about doing multiple Whole30's (I know...only crazy people, right?). The blogger talked about the reason behind doing the Whole30, since after all it's the Whole30 and not the Whole365. She said: "The Whole 30 is a tool. It is a temporary exercise." A light bulb went off for me. This is all about self discipline and using the knowledge and renewed clean slate gained from the discipline to reset and start fresh. It should alter your thinking and relationship with food. I don't know if this is going to actually happen for me. I certainly have my doubts if I'm honest. But I can say this. Yesterday when I was baking cupcakes with Davis for his birthday celebration at school, I was this close to licking some icing off my finger. And I caught myself. And today after lunch Genevie left a few goldfish crackers on her plate and my immediate instinct was to scoop them up and eat them. But I didn't. So if I can derive any benefit from this exercise in self-restraint, I hope it is that I will be more intentional in what I put into my body. I hope I will think twice before mindlessly gobbling up something so delicious in the short term that has no long-term benefit.

Breakfast - 2 fried eggs over easy on a bed of sauteed garlic spinach, 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple chunks, coffe with coconut milk
Lunch - Crudite with spicy guacamole, 1/2 a grapfruit, serving of macadamias, 3 oz of chicken
Dinner - Taco-less salad with ground turkey

I saw a recipe for taco-less salad in my recent quest for Paleo and Whole30 compliant meal ideas. I liked it, but I wanted to tweak it. By all admission I am not the most creative cook. Give me a recipe and I will follow it to the letter. It will turn out exactly as it should. But give me a bunch of random ingredients and I have no idea what to do. Nevertheless, I was able to come up with this on my own and it was such a hit with Trey and me that I wanted to share it with you here. So without further ado:

Becky's Taco-less Salad

Serves 2-4 (depending on how hungry your husband is)

1 lb. ground turkey
2 Tbs. homemade taco seasoning (minus the paprika)
several handfuls of spring mix
handful of chopped grape tomatoes
sprinkling of diced red onion
chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 a lime per person

Brown the ground turkey liberally sprinkling with taco seasoning. When completely cooked, lay out a generous bed of spring mix on a plate. Top with ground turkey, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.  Juice 1/2 a lime over the salad. Bon appetit!

I added some spicy guacamole to the side of my plate for some extra kick, but this is such a versatile salad you could top with diced avocado or olives or whatever strikes your fancy.

Day 3 - The Hangover

I'm blogging about yesterday late because yesterday was one of those days where there simply wasn't a spare minute to breath, let alone blog. But I have some important things to share, so I didn't want to skip it altogether.

First, tada! Before pictures. Granted they were taken at the end of day three before I left for yoga, but close enough. I did not retouch or do anything to these photos. That's me as I am today.

Second, the hangover hit. When I woke up in the morning I had a wicked headache -- the kind that wraps your whole skull in a wad of cotton and then pushes from the inside out. I can only assume this is the carb detox or "carb flu" I've been warned about. I am happy to report, however, that once I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee and noon rolled around, the headache was mostly gone and I did feel more human.

Third, I discovered my new favorite shrimp recipe -- Ginger Lime Grilled Shrimp. Even if you're not following a Paleo diet, this is a delicious one to introduce into your repertoire  Fresh lime juice, ginger, garlic, cilantro, seasoning, and olive oil. What's not to love?

Breakfast - 2 hard-boiled eggs, a banana, my homemade applesauce, a small serving of macadamia nuts (oh my goodness, these are amazing and a poor man's version of eating white chocolate macadamia cookies), and coffee with coconut milk
Lunch - scrumptious spinach salad topped with fresh cut veggies and 2 hard-boiled eggs lightly dressed with 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 a grapefruit
Dinner - Ginger Lime Grilled Shrimp paired with sautéed garlic lemon green beans

Yesterday I definitely felt like my appetite was better during meals, which hopefully means I'm starting to adjust to eating differently.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 2 - Feeling Full

This morning I woke up feeling refreshed. Probably was those two extra hours of sleep I got since I went to bed early. I was definitely hungry and ready to eat my breakfast when I arrived at work, but I experienced the same bizarre phenomenon at both breakfast and lunch that I alluded to yesterday (dinner hasn't occurred yet). I feel full about 2/3 of the way through the meal. I'm not eating huge quantities of food, so I can only assume this is my natural response to eating healthier foods. I must be too used to all those empty carbs that can be consumed in pretty massive quantities.

Confession time: I don't love my coffee with coconut milk, but I hate black coffee even more. I am very much a light and sweet kind of girl, so drinking compliant coffee is a real sacrifice for me. The coconut milk does make the coffee creamy but it also makes it oily. Yuck. For me the morning coffee ritual is such a part of starting my day that the thought of forgoing it along with everything else right now is just not an option. If it were warmer out -- which it's not -- I'd seriously consider drinking brewed ice tea with lemon to get my caffeine fix. As it is, it's cold and damp and February. So I'm just going to grin and bear it.

I realized this morning that I didn't do a "before picture" on Day 1, so I think I'll have Trey take a picture of me in my workout clothes tonight before I go meet with my trainer. Workout clothes are more form-fitting and should reveal a bigger change by the end of the month than if I did photos in my favorite and oh-so-slimming work blazers.

Here's the meal plan for today:
Breakfast - Banana, 2 hard boiled eggs, small serving of pecans, coffee with coconut milk
Lunch - 2 seasoned boneless skinless chicken thighs, spicy guacamole with crudite, 1/2 a grapefruit, serving of my homemade applesauce
Dinner - Chocolate chili and steamed broccoli

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 1 - Chocolate Chili

Today has been interesting, and I am really tired. I think it's a combination of going non-stop this weekend with preparation for the Whole 30 and a complete sugar crash today from eating clean. I feel like I could just curl up on the couch and fall fast asleep. The meals today were delicious and filling. In fact, I couldn't finish my chili at dinner. It was phenomenal but I feel so full. This could also be the water I'm trying to drink more of. However, in between meals I definitely felt low energy and weak. Trey said he felt the same way although he's muscling through and still going to the gym. It makes me nervous since this is literally Day 1, but I've been through much harder physical trials. And with having Trey at my side I know we'll get through this. I fully expect this week to be miserable.

So what did I eat today?

Breakfast - Two eggs over easy on a bed of sauteed garlic spinach with a side of homemade cinnamon applesauce. It was one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time, and I'm regretting that I didn't take a photo for the blog. I will next time!
Lunch - Huge spinach salad with all sorts of crisp vegetables topped with seasoned chicken and lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon, and S&P.
Dinner - Chocolate chili with an armadillo sweet potato

I may have 1/2 a grapefruit later. I haven't met my calorie goal for today, but I just feel so stinkin' full that I may just let it go. One day under isn't a huge deal.

So, 1 day down. 29 to go.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Whole 30

I will be the first to admit that I am neither crunchy nor a fad diet person. So what I'm about to share is a pretty big deal. Tomorrow Trey and I are starting on a new chapter -- The Whole 30. If you're not familiar with the plan, let me share a little although I am still learning too. The Whole 30 is a program that eliminates certain food categories from your diet to determine if they might have been causing you unexplained health problems. These food categories include dairy, grains, legumes, white potatoes, added sugar (in any form), and alcohol. In addition, you should eliminate all MSG, carrageenan, and sulfites from your diet. While this does sound restrictive, the foods that are left are marvelous -- fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, healthy fats (like avocado, olive oil, and nuts). The idea is that during this 30 days period you allow your body to heal from the inflammation and irritation that these foods are known to cause, and then you slowly reintroduce them into your diet to see if you have a sensitivity or reaction. Sugar, alcohol, and the additives I mentioned are, of course, not supposed to make it back into your diet.

So why are Trey and I, who are both in excellent health, doing this? A few reasons really. But let me speak for myself first. A few colleagues at work have done this program and have helped educate me about it, and they've seen phenomenal results from higher energy levels, clearer skin, and fewer illnesses to pretty significant and rapid weight loss. I liked the idea of finally shedding those unwanted pounds from my pregnancy with Genevie. For goodness sake, she's going to be four in March. I have not seen the weight loss success the third time around that I did with the boys. Whether age or just fat memory, I'm ready to go back to the size that I still am in my head. In addition, I have pretty severe allergies -- both indoor and outdoor. In fact yesterday at my annual doctor visit, I was told that my nasal passages are very irritated right now and causing allergy drippage even though I feel fine and am not particularly stuffy or bothered. This has made me wonder if dairy in my diet is causing a histamine response. As the allergist told me last year, my body is just overflowing with histamine. Trey is joining me because I needed a buddy for accountability and encouragement. He is always up for eating healthier and has really jumped on the bandwagon with me.

This past week I did a ton of reading, research, and recipe gathering, and so we've decided to kick things off tomorrow. I did a huge shop today, getting tons of fruits and veggies, eggs, and other approved items, like coconut oil, coconut milk, and ghee (clarified butter). I have a big batch of apples in the crockpot for homemade, sugar free applesauce. I cooked up a batch of boneless, skinless chicken thighs for putting on salads this week. I boiled a dozen eggs for our breakfasts, and I chopped tons of veggies for snacks and salad toppings. These staples will provide the basis for some of our meals this week, but in addition I have several scrumptious and compliant dinners planned, including chocolate chili and homemade turkey sausage. I plan to blog about this experience and share the recipes as we go.

And for now, I'm sipping a farewell glass of wine.