I’m back!

Wow! Three months on whole, natural foods. Yay me!

Sorry for the delay since my last post. We have been, thankfully, quite busy at Organic Mattress Haven. I thought it would be nice to share some of the differences in my life and health I have noticed since going down this new dietary lane. Here is what I have found.

Energy-more absolutely. There is also an ease of movement I haven’t felt in years. I feel this is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the diet (no sugar, low glycemic, higher anti-oxidant foods). This brings me to…

Decreased joint pain, decreased fibromyalgia symptoms, and better sleep patterns. I just generally feel better than I have in a very long time.

Craving free-that’s right, I really don’t have strong cravings for any type of foods anymore. Oh, wait, chocolate, sweet love of my life, chocolate. I do have an occasional whole food raw chocolate tart from Hail Merry, to appease my chocolate cravings. I purchase them at The Fresh Market for a much better price than that listed on their website, but they are worth every penny the website asks for. Totally indulgent and delicious. One about every two weeks satisfies my chocolate heart.

Guilt-free– as anyone who has been on a million diets will tell you, there is always a feeling of guilt after you eat anything off the diet, and oftentimes even when you do eat what is on the diet, but just too much of it. All of that is disappearing from my life. To eat guilt-free is an experience I don’t think I have felt since I was a child.

Less Stress– There is so much stress associated with dieting. The stress of sticking to it, even when you don’t want to, the stress of worrying every time you leave your home that you will fall off the wagon, the stress of unrealistic goals of weight loss, trying to overcome plateau’s that seem to last forever; the list goes on and on. All of the stress related to eating issues are G.O.N.E. gone.

Kitchen Skills– The Paleo way of eating requires whole, fresh-cooked meals as the norm. Yes, I do still eat out once a week while I run around like a crazy person doing errands on my day off (usually a bunless burger with sweet potato fries); however, generally I am cooking dinner and brown bagging my lunch. The new skills come in the baking department. I never was overly fond of baking, and I wasn’t very good at it. Need creates a powerful determination in people. I am determined to have my treats, and that means making your own most of the time. I now make breads, cookies, and other glorious delicacies with alternative flours that are Paleo friendly; almond, coconut, cashew, and tapioca flours all take up space in the cupboard these days. I use maple syrup and honey for sweeteners, and sometimes dried fruit paste in place of sugar or fat. I am starting to experiment with substitutions and my own recipes. Some are good, some are disasters. I am discovering the joys of baking, who’d of thunk!

I am sure there are many smaller every day little things that I have forgotten to write, but honestly, the best part of this diet is I feel great. Isn’t that what it is all about?

Wheat. Bread. Wheat.

In the last few blogs I’ve written, I may have mentioned that I am over my craving for wheat. While I may not actually crave wheat anymore, it is not true that if it is stuck in front of my maw, I won’t oblige whoever put it there by scarfing it up. This was the case yesterday when I went out for lunch; always a danger for me because of my low resistance to just saying no. Not a problem for me; I said when I started the Paleo journey I was not going to be so strict with it that I didn’t occasionally have something not on the accepted list of Paleo foods.
Here’s what happened: I ordered a soup and salad and asked that there be no bread on the plate. Can you guess what’s coming next? You got it, it was served with bread, and as the good nun’s in grammar school taught us, eat everything on your plate or it is a sin. So being the good girl that I am, I ate the bread. This happened 4 night’s ago too. Told the server no gravy, she brought it with gravy. As a matter of fact, it (pot roast) was cooked in gravy. I told her this and she walked away and never returned. It was late, I was hungry, and I ate it. Another night this week, my partner made garlic bread, so of course I indulged.
I am beginning to see a pattern here. That is what this blog is about, journaling my experience so I catch what I need to work on, and if I share it and it helps others became healthier through their diet; I am doubly blessed.
Here is what I had for lunch today. My own recipe chicken thighs, and an organic salad. Delicious! Oh, and desert was some crunchy Kale chips.
In making this, I was trying to imitate my mom’s Italian Fried Chicken. She would egg chicken pieces, then dredge them in Italian bread crumbs, brown them in olive oil, and then bake them.
My version was to mix some coconut flour and almond flour, add Italian spices to the flour, and brown in coconut oil instead of olive oil. Recipe came out great, except I forgot to add the spices. Give a girl a break; I was tired from sitting on my bum all day at work. Here is a pic.
Lunch

Chilly days call for comfort food.

Today in Vero Beach, FL, the winds are blowing and the temperature is down to 53 degrees. When I look at what my family and friends are going through up north with Juno, I am glad to be here and quit complaining immediately about the chilly weather. This kind of weather also is the best time for some good old comfort food.
A few weeks ago I had some thigh bones left from the “Crackling Chicken” recipe I made from http://Nom Nom Paleo – Nom Nom Paleo, Nom Nom Paleo. I figured I could make some bone broth out of the bones for future use. Now I have a little bit of a head cold going; so I figured it was the perfect time to make some Jewish Penicillin; good old fashioned chicken soup. I can’t wait to get home tonight to inhale the broth, and heal myself.
o-CHICKEN-SOUP-facebook (stock photo)
Tonight when I get home I also plan on making more chicken thighs ( and more broth), but this time I am going to use my own recipe. Since starting Paleo, I usually pull out the recipe books I purchased night after night. I have made some delicious meals, but sometimes you just want to cook, eat, and veg out after a long day. So I am going to make a relatively simple dish, and I will let you all know on my next post how it came out.

Busy Work Week

This has been a really busy week at the store. In case I haven’t mentioned this, I own and operate Organic Mattress Haven in Vero Beach, FL. Eating Paleo takes up some time too. I don’t eat my meals out three to four times a week like I used to; make ahead meals are becoming part of my life. I usually spend my day off cooking some of these make ahead meals, so when I get home I have something nutritious ready to go. Because if I don’t and I feel too tired or unmotivated to cook, I will cave in to take-out, something I do not want to do. I have to plan, shop, and cook. Also, no grains, so if I want a goodie, which I always do in the evening, it entails baking it myself. Although I consider myself a pretty good cook, baking hasn’t always been my strong point. But I am putting in the effort, and it shows. There is nothing like eating a piece of cake or a cookie and not feeling guilty about it. No berating myself for giving in to my craving. Because on Paleo, it isn’t about what you can’t have, it is all about being creative and joyful with your diet. The following is what I made for breakfast to last most of the week.


Breakfast: Homemade sausage casserole. Started by layering in a casserole dish, (in my family we call it a Lasagna pan) Michelle Tam’s of Nom Nom Paleo Sweet Potato Hash (bottom layer), next made my own sausage with ground beef and pork (about ½ lb. each), fennel seed, and sage, put it on top of the hash, sliced up some goat cheese Gruyere, layering it over the sausage, then whipped six eggs and poured them over the whole kit and caboodle. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until I saw the edges start to pull away from the pan. This made enough for two to last four days. And it was so so good. And ready. And did I mention how good it was. Hmm, I think I will do a repeat of it this week.

Bye Bye Cravings

nom nom paleo sandwich bread sandwich

Somewhere in the last few days, which is about two weeks into the grain-free segment of my millionth diet, I have stopped craving bread. I also have noticed my energy level rise a little bit. Most of all, the brain fog from the fibromyalgia is starting to lift. I am surprising myself all day when I remember a person’s name (five minutes after they told me), and also I can better recall if I temporarily forget my place in a conversation.
Another reason I am not missing the bread so much, is the fact that I have discovered creative ways to make what I like to call fake bread, which is actually as real and as nutritional as you can get. ThanksMichelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo iPad app, I can actually make a phenomenal sandwich when I am in the mood to have some stick-to-your-gut comfort food. Here is a sandwich I brought to work with me last week. Let me tell you, my mouth just waters looking at this picture. I made the bread, then added some Applegate Farms Roasted Turkey Breast and Genoa Salami. I smeared both sides of the bread with some Tomato and Basil Chevre, and topped it all off with marinated mushrooms. With choices like this, you should never feel deprived.

A Sunday Off

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Sunday was a beautifully warm day in central Florida. I felt an urge to shop coming over me, so I enlisted Rosemary as a shopping buddy, and off we went. First we stopped for lunch. We decided on Olive Garden; I knew they offer gluten-free pasta as a substitute, so I figured I was safe. Wrong, for the millionth time, wrong. I had Chicken Marsala, which probably had some flour in the gravy; and was loaded with dairy. Side was mashed potatoes, which I consider alright to eat in moderation. I ordered the salad with no croutons, however, next time I will order with oil and vinegar on the side. I forgot that they use low-fat dressing, which is probably loaded with sugar and bad for you oils. Rosemary wanted breadsticks, and I vowed I wouldn’t eat one. Wrong again; do you remember I have not been graced with willpower? I had one; oddly enough, I felt it was bland and blah. Won’t be a problem saying no to them in the future.

Next, we went to White Rabbit Organic Farm. I love this place. It is approximately a mile off the main drag, and boom, there you are in the country with the cow pastures and farms. I was thrilled to find a large variety of freshly grown produce there.

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My plan was to return home and cook a few meals for the week, I had to do something all this beautiful, fresh organic produce.

I went to town when I got home, I made Stuffed Zucchini, Kale Chips, Brussels Sprouts with Ghee and flavored Himalayan Salt, Chicken Tenders from Tammy Creditcott’s book, Make Ahead Paleo, and a small Meatloaf before I threw in the towel.

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Ah, you think with all that good food prepared, I would have eaten one of the dishes I’d prepared; not so, because now I had a full-fledged wheat-crave going on. I reheated leftovers from my lunch, along with Rosemary’s pasta thrown in for good measure.

I didn’t think it a coincidence that I woke up late, groggy, and with stiff and achy joints this morning. The last few days prior, I’d had a looseness in my joints, I haven’t felt that in a long time. So I think it will be a long, long while before I give in to having any wheat products. Besides, I have some awesome dinners ready to heat and eat this week.

Happy New Year!

This year I am determined to attain my New Year’s resolution. Although only 8% of Americans reach their New Year’s goals, I do not think I will have a big problem sticking to it.

My goal, or resolution, doesn’t seem that hard to achieve at first. Get healthy. Yep, that’s it. Not to lose weight, not to give up chocolate (will never happen), just to get healthy. The way I have decided to do it is with a mostly Paleo diet. I say mostly because the Paleo way of eating has as many different facets to it as you can imagine, like maybe a million. Some people go all out, no type of sugar, no grain whatsoever, only eating meats and vegetables the unprocessed, natural way; all the way to people who follow it as closely as possible without becoming obsessed. That would be me. I will have gluten-free pasta when I cook for my parents on Sundays, but I want to emphasize that there are many substitutes for pasta that are available, such as spiral zucchini, that I also enjoy.Spiralizer. spiralizer

As I have said previously, I am also tackling this in stages. I feel I will take about a month on each phase; exploring new ways of food preparation, new recipes, and generally developing new habits. Here is my plan.

Phase 1. Cut the wheat out of my diet. Dr. William Davis, the cardiologist whose book Wheat Belly brought this way of eating into the mainstream. He speaks about how autoimmune disorders can be achieved by cutting out grains, and there are thousands of testimonials on the internet backing his findings.

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Phase 2. Cut out dairy. Dairy is another main ingredient for inflammation. Adults were never meant to drink milk; that is for babies. If you worry about calcium, it is available in so many vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, fruits like oranges and apricots; the list goes on and on.

Phase 3. Sugar. Nouf said.

Here are some pics of some of the food I have had both out and at home. One thing I can say, there is no lack of flavor on this diet. Yum-yum. This is what I had for lunch at Toojay’s in Vero Beach on Thursday. A no-bread Rueben, with sweet potato fries, and coleslaw. No grains, there was sugar and dairy in this meal though. As I said, slowly but surely.

toojays rueban