Monday, August 1, 2016

Yes But You Love to Cook

That's what people say to me in reference to my "health kick."  My 5 year long health kick is my life style.  I eat healthy and I exercise.  It's not a kick, a fad, a gimmick it's the way I live.  As for loving to cook I don't mind it.  If I had the choice of having someone cook for me I'd love it.  I cook, because I love to eat what I want to eat.  No package and few restaurants provide me with the fresh healthy food I want to put into my body.  So I cook.

This weekend I made Ratatouille with veggies from my garden.  Not only does it taste fabulous, but its full of all the things I want my body to have.  I like to cook a lot of food, so it can be eaten for lunches and maybe even another dinner.  Sometimes if I'm not feeling like eating it again right away I'll freeze it for future eating.  I love those evenings when all I have to do is warm up some healthy food.

Am I considered a food snob?  Maybe, but don't I get to choose what I want to eat?  I use to tell the hubs I can't eat that.  Now I say I won't eat that.  He loves to eat out and he does.  Am I preparing nuts and twigs at home.  Absolutely not.  I make things that even a restaurant loving hubby thinks it's good.  Only thing he does sometimes is warm up a piece or two of his frozen naan.  I also keep tortillas stocked so if he wants to make a burrito he can. I'll also start the rice cooker or boil him some pasta.  I would love for him to eat healthier and he does for the most part.  Like me though he gets to choose what he likes to eat.  I think we do a great job of combining our eating styles and each of us being happy with what we're eating.

So do I love to cook? Not really.  It's a means to getting what I want.  Do I love getting what I want?  Absolutely!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I Am Whole30!

That's what the t-shirt says and that's what I have been doing.  My trainer brought Whole30 back to the front of my thinking last fall.  I had seen it in the past and thought "No way am I ready for that."  She had bought the Whole30 book and started experimenting with the recipes.  I decided to get the book myself and saw there were two books.  I bought them both.  I read "It Starts With Food" first and thought I might be ready to give this a try now.

Exercise doesn't stop not even for the Whole30.
Why?  I had 4 years of eating healthy and exercising under my belt.  I had lost and kept off 86 pounds.  I had been slowly making changes to my way of thinking about food and how it effects my body for 4 solid years.  I never could have done this program at the beginning of my "health kick."  My psyche was too damaged from years of not eating properly.  From years of giving into my every food whim.  I refer to that way of thinking as my inner toddler.  She still raises her head every now and then.  As a good parent I put her in timeout.  What are we up to now... a 55 minute time out?!  That's according to the rules of timeouts.

Whole30 recipes
I had been slowly over the course of those 4 years working with Tosca Reno's plan of Clean Eating.  That plan was perfect for me when I started.  It really brought me back to my roots so to speak.  Made me eat real food again.  Not just part of the time, but all of the time.

I like to make my own ghee.
I finally felt like I could do a restrictive plan, because I was almost there. I especially wanted to do it since the Whole30 said it could provide me with so many incredible health benefits.  Here's where the  practical side of me came in.  I really didn't think anything incredible was going to happen to me as a lot of what was offered by the Whole30 had already happened to me.  I did want to see what else could be accomplished.  If it was just a few more pounds lost that was fine, but what if?  What if something I was eating was causing me problems and I didn't know.  So, in October I began my first Whole30.
Grocery list looking just right for the Whole30.
The one problem I have that controls me day in and day out is my digestion issues.  I'm never sure what it is exactly.  Doctor hasn't really said much more than "take this."  I often refer to it as "old lady stomach."  I don't seem to digest certain foods well.  Lots of acid splashing around.  Acid reflux occasionally at night.  It really is something that I didn't know was such a problem and really controlling my life until I did the Whole30.  It was so controlling that I wasn't sure I could do the Whole30 properly.  I lived on Tums and papaya enzymes daily.  Both of which have sugar, so not Whole30 approved.  I was a bit panicky when I thought I'd need to go a whole month without them.  I quite frankly didn't think I could, but I was going to try.

About 3 days into my Whole30 my stomach was doing better than it had in years.  I had gotten some Kombucha to drink every day in hopes that it could also help replace my Tums.  On went the Whole30 and then I was in the reintroduction phase.  I did well with the first few add ins and then I hit dairy.  I was doing the 3 day reintroduction and when I hit dairy I never really recovered when I began gluten.  Plus a lot of my gluten items have dairy in them.  My stomach was back to exactly the way it was before the Whole30.  It was now Thanksgiving and Christmas and the food started flying at me faster than Santa on Christmas Eve.  I was miserable with stomach issues again.   I knew as soon as January hit I was going right back on Whole30.  I wanted to calm my stomach down and redo the introduction of dairy and gluten.

What I got out of my first Whole30 was better digestion.  Going a month without a stomach ache of some kind was huge in my world.  I also had dramatically lower craving for sweets.  I kicked artifical sweeteners out of my life 4 years ago and it lower my sugar craving.  Who knew kicking actual sugar out of my life would also lower those cravings.  Again a huge life change not pacing around the kitchen, because I need something sweet.  I also lost 6 pounds, which is also nice.
nomnompaleos Braised Mexican beef
My goal at the end of this Whole30 is to reintroduce gluten with a careful eye to anything that ALSO contains dairy.  I need to avoid dairy to get a true reading on whether gluten is a problem for me.  Then I may back my way into dairy.  My first thought is do I really need to reintroduce it a 2nd time and test myself?  Then I think about a life without cheese and ice cream and the answer is yes.  If dairy is truly a problem I'll commit to a life with no cheese and almond milk ice cream on occasion.  My stomach will thank me.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Biscotti, A Christmas Tradition

My dad loved my Hazelnut Biscotti.  I've hit on a recipe with a couple tweaks that makes a delightful biscotti.  Why hazelnut?  My dad loves hazelnuts.  As a young girl I decided I would crack open a bag of hazelnuts for my dad to eat every Christmas.  You couldn't buy them shelled back then.  I thought a fresh bag of shelled hazelnuts would be a nice treat for him.  45 years later I still do it, well, I can buy them shelled now.  We also encountered a problem about 15 years ago.  My dad ate the whole bag of shelled hazelnuts and got a stomachache from the beyond world.  A 3 day stomachache.  I had that same stomachache when I ate too many homemade macaroons.  3 to be exact.  So coconutty that they sand papered my stomach lining for 3 days and I've never been so miserable.  I didn't want my dad to ever have another stomachache at my expense.

I had nearly a year to decide what to do.  Keep the tradition the same.  He's a big boy and hopefully learned his lesson.  Or try something different, but keep it along the same lines.  I decided I'd make Hazelnut biscotti.  I spread his hazelnuts out over a gallon sized bag of biscotti.  If he ate all the biscotti in one sitting then there's just no help for that gluttony.

I've tried several recipes over the years.  All good, but all not quite right till I found this one.  It takes me about 2 hours to make a double batch.  Fills 2 gallon sized ziploc bags.  I put one bag in his freezer and wrap the other for Christmas day.  Its never put under the tree as we all have dogs and you can guess what would happen.  So, it sits up high on the mantel teasing my dad.  He's a patient man.

When Christmas comes everyone wants a cup of coffee and a biscotti.  My dad is pretty generous, but he keeps control of the bag and doles out one piece per person.  My daughter joked today that he'd use the ole "toddler trick" if any one asked for 2.  You are offered one biscotti and when you ask for two he'll turn his back snap it in two and turn around and give you "2."

This year we decided no gifts as my parents are pushing 80 and I really don't want them out shopping during cold and flu season.  They really don't want to be out doing that either.  I did however still make biscotti.  My dad did say, "Hey, I thought no gifts?"  I replied it's not a gift it's a Christmas tradition.