Archive for October, 2013

Good News and Bad News

Okay, bad news first. I ate a Luna bar. I had some intense sugar cravings and I was about to get a teaspoon of maple syrup but that seemed crazy to me so I ate a Luna bar out of my freezer instead. They have evaporated cane juice which is not allowed. Sigh. It hit the spot though, not going to lie.

Good news though is I went to the gym! I have a trial membership til the end of the month. I was hoping there would be a class but unfortunately there was not so I just hopped on the treadmill. It was dreadfully boring (need to bring my iPod next time to plug into the TV) but I stayed until I did 2 miles. It took me 35 minutes but I brought up my heart rate and broke a small sweat. Hey, it was something! I came home and ate some cabbage I had prepared earlier and a glass of red wine and finished it off with the aforementioned Luna bar and then slept for nine hours!
This is the recipe I used for the cabbage. It was delish! I got it from but modified it. First I sautéed three onions, thinly sliced, in some coconut oil and butter. Then I added about 1cup of baby carrots which I cut in half lengthwise. When they started getting soft I added 3 packages of shredded cabbage and threw in about a teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric, minced garlic and Berbere powder, and then threw in some salt, fresh shredded ginger and cayenne pepper to taste. I cooked the whole dish about 20 minutes and then tried it. It was waaaaay too spicy, probably because I didn’t add the potatoes it called for (didn’t have any but also didn’t want any) but I think potatoes soak up spices. I was trying to get my kitchen to smell like an Ethiopian restaurant. Do you know that distinct smell I am talking about? I thought using authentic Berbere powder straight from Addis Ababa would do the trick but it didn’t work; all I had was super spicy food that we couldn’t eat so I cut up another 2 cups of baby carrots lengthwise, sautéed them in a separate pot with butter, coconut oil and honey and then stirred them in. Much better! I’m looking forward to eating it today for lunch once the favors have all melded. Tasty and healthy– well I thought so, but even when served with injera my daughter hated it. Oh well, more for me!

Feeling Discouraged

I have been pretty good about not eating any wheat or sugar. Really good in my opinion, but I’m feeling discouraged because I haven’t seen any dramatic changes and it’s been three weeks into eating this way. I have been really hungry so that certainly factors in (large intake of calories) and I haven’t exercised at all–so okay, it shouldn’t be that surprising I suppose, but since I haven’t eaten a single cookie, not one sip of soda, no pizza, etc., well I just thought I would have lost some weight or noticed some amazing changes. Certainly part of the problem is I have been eating maple syrup and lots of chips. Those are fattening! Duh! So, okay no weight loss for that reason (and no exercise). And although I have been avoiding breads, pastries and pastas I haven’t been 100% gluten-free so that explains why I haven’t noticed any  earth shattering changes (if wheat is the cause). So what then has been the point? I am asking myself that. I weighed myself this morning and the scale read 152.8. I started October at 153. Woo hoo!! Almost one pound in three weeks! Yay. (Yeah, that sucked). So have there been any positive outcomes at all??? Yes, in fact there have! Here are five:

1.  I am rarely bloated after a meal and have rarely gotten a stomach ache from food. When we moved back to the States this summer (after living overseas for two years) I noticed that my stomach often hurt after eating in a restaurant. Well, now that I am preparing most of what I am eating I am not having stomach aches. I still don’t know what was causing the stomach aches but it’s nice to not be suffering.

2. I have made some amazing dishes! I have absolutely fallen in love with acorn squash (baked and then broiled with butter)and I have made some delicious wheat-free pancakes that my daughter also loves.

3. I feel good about knowing what is in my food and feeding homemade dishes to my child.

4. I realize how much sugar, baked goods and processed crap I used to eat and am astounded. I honestly didn’t realize how much I used to consume before this challenge (knowingly and unknowingly). Reading labels has been an excellent exercise.

5. This one is good!! The rash under my chin is almost gone! Here is the before picture from three weeks  ago:

image and here it is right now:imageI wish I knew what caused it in the first place but I am glad to see it has almost completely cleared up. This challenge has a week left. This week I am going to drink more water and start exercising. I visited a gym yesterday and they gave me a guest pass to use for the rest of the month. At the end of the month they are running a special and I can decide at that time if I want to join. Though I prefer hiking and playing tennis, I have done that zero times since being home. Zero. Makes me sad. What makes me sadder though is the weather is starting to get colder and if I don’t join a gym I likely won’t work out much for the next six months. Ain’t no way I’m going to be fierce by fifty without exercising! So, yeah, three weeks into October Unprocessed (also known as my sugar and wheat free challenge) and progress is slower than I had hoped and that’s discouraging. But I do see small glimmers of progress and it’s just enough to keep me motivated.

Tricky Situations

Here are two:

1. Communion. My church uses bread instead of wafers. Is it gluten-free?

2. My awesome babysitter brought over sugar cookies to bake and decorate with my daughter. Such a fun activity for her and she was so excited for me to eat the one she made especially for me. It was so hard to see her crying when I reminded her I wasn’t eating wheat or sugar.

Though I am feeling better, this way of eating can be anti social and difficult to sustain. 😦


Last night I doctored up some spaghetti sauce with kale, onions and grass-fed beef and ate it with rice noodles and grated cheddar.image

I just prepared a delicious dinner for tonight:  beef sliders with cinnamon and cumin sautéed with onions and mushrooms; romaine with balsamic dressing; homemade applesauce and red wine. imageWhat’s on your plate?

Menu Planning

Do you plan menus for the week? I have never done it but I am going to start this week! I hate forgetting about food and having to throw it away because it got spoiled or freezer burned. So wasteful!

Here’s what I’m thinking about right now:

– beef sliders with kale and sweet potato fries

– cinnamon rolls

– pumpkin oatmeal or granola

– Ethiopian cabbage and carrot dish

– BBQ chicken in the crockpot and cheese biscuits

It should be a tasty week of homemade foods! What’s on your menu this week?

Gluten Free


In an effort to try and start my gluten-free lifestyle I bought some rice pasta. It was delicious! Ingredients? Organic brown rice and water! I am SO excited! I topped it with a creamy vodka tomato sauce I bought at the farmers market last Sunday. Great dinner! (Like my boots? It’s been raining cats and dogs here!)

It’s Confirmed

…in my mind at least. Wheat does not agree with me. I have been wheat-free for over a week but last night I went out for Ethiopian food. In Ethiopia the injera (flat, spongy bread) is made from teff, not wheat and is gluten-free but here the injera is usually mixed with wheat flour. I knew this but I ate it anyway (the only wheat I’ve eaten since the challenge began). So what happened? Well, I was bloated all night and this morning when I looked in the mirror my eyes had dark rings under them and were swollen! It was crazy! I looked like I had been punched. I ended up googling it and it turns out that a sensitivity to gluten can cause dark under eye circles! Who knew? Well now I do!