moving right along

I meant to post last week with a few recipes for the self-designed cleanse I am still doing that I wrote about before.  But I forgot, and of course, now I can’t remember what I ate.  I can hardly remember what I did five minutes ago – which is one reason I love this blog.  Writing things down is pretty much the only way I know they happened lately.  Ha.

The summation is this: I added gluten back in last week but continued to avoid dairy and sugar.  I tried to stick with my own home-milled wheat, but I went for a store-bought sandwich twice for the sake of busy scheduling, so I got a little of “normal” bread as well.  I noticed absolutely no ill effects at all.  So I know a lot of people say gluten is the devil and that we shouldn’t eat it.  And I’m sure eating less of it and more fruits and veggies is a good thing.  But I’ll say that humans have been eating grain for thousands of years, and I don’t feel anything negative from the occasional slice of bread.  Not at all.

I did falter with two oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies last weekend and felt a little icky afterwards.  (It’s a long story, but I needed chocolate consolation after my freezer killed almost A HUNDRED OUNCES of breastmilk.  My entire stash.  Waaahhhhh.)  And I cheated with a coke last week and felt SO SO GROSS.  I can’t even explain how not well I felt after drinking it.  So I’m pretty sure sugar is the culprit, as one would assume.

I am slowly reintroducing dairy as of yesterday, and man, I’ve missed my yogurt. This whole exercise has certainly opened my eyes as to how much dairy I consume.  Which is to say a lot.  While it’s alright in small quantities, I’m guessing cheese in one form or another four times a day is not ideal.  Ha.

So for now, I am still sugar striking and trying to stay on the straight and somewhat narrow.

Breakfast Quinoa

I’m plugging right along on the health challenge, and it’s getting both easier and harder in ways.  Adding gluten-free grains and lean meats solved my problem with consuming enough calories for breastfeeding, and it’s helping a little with the monotony as well.

In my quest to break up the repetition, I discovered quite a few breakfast quinoa recipes, and there are varieties all over the internet.  The version I ended up trying was a welcome break from my smoothies.  Filling and warm and tasty.


Breakfast Quinoa

  • Boil one cup of almond milk
  • Add 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • Return to boil and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add teaspoon of sucanat (could use brown sugar), dash of cinnamon,  and a handful of raisins
  • Cook for 10 minutes longer
  • DONE

I did add a splash (maybe 1/4 cup?) of water in the last 5 minutes to make it a bit looser and less gritty, and I decided to throw some coconut on top.  This is a flexible idea that you can adapt to anything.  I’m thinking maple syrup and pecans would be great, too.  Endless possibilities!  Quinoa serves up a lot of protein and makes a filling breakfast.  I never would have thought to serve it as anything other than a savory side dish if it weren’t for my whole detox plan.  If nothing else, I love that this is showing me a few new ideas to add to my usual rotation.

For the most part, I have stuck to my pledge.  I think the teaspoon of sucanat is against the rules technically.  And of course, I am still hanging on to my morning coffee.  But I’ve been truly dairy-free for five whole days, and that’s miraculous for this cheese fiend.  Ha!

Days 4-5

Breakfasts: oat flour banana pancakes, breakfast quinoa

Lunches: leftover broccoli soup (That recipe made a ton!), my favorite tuna salad over lettuce

Dinners: Grilled chicken with roasted cauliflower and asparagus, chicken with rice

Snacks: smoothies, apples with cashew butter

Cashew butter has been another blessed discovery with this plan.  Where has it been all my life!?

Dietary Cleanse, days 1-3

So I started Sunday, March 10 with a plan to follow the Whole Living Action Plan 2013, and I did all my grocery shopping accordingly.

It’s not suggested, by the way, that nursing mothers do intense “detoxification” plans that limit you to juice only or have you take supplements or promise to rid you of heavy metals, etc.  While most doctors agree that the liver, kidneys, and bowels take care of detox, some worry about the possibility that breast milk could hold toxins that are delivered to the baby.

This plan is far simpler, however, and it’s really only a detox in the sense that I’m detoxing my palette and ridding my belly of a few aggravators.  I knew it was safe, so I decided to go for it.  I think I didn’t account for calorie allotment with nursing though because the first day didn’t go so well.  Here’s my food log for that day:

  • breakfast: one cup of coffee with almond milk.  smoothie made of mango, kiwi, and spinach
  • snack: one banana
  • lunch: french lentil salad (I wasn’t so crazy about this recipe and threw the leftovers out.)
  • snack: green salad and banana

Then I was driving home from a volunteer committment at about 5:30 and was feeling AWFUL.  Shaky and headache and blah.  When I got home, I couldn’t even stomach the roasted brussels sprouts I made for dinner (a usual favorite), so I used a calorie-counting app to see that I was 900 short for the day with breastfeeding to consider.  No wonder I felt terrible!  The simple input-output didn’t add up considering nursing a baby burns about 500 calories a day.  So I headed to bed early and woke up with a new plan to tweak things a bit.

I decided to jump in on week two of the plan which allows me to eat lean proteins like chicken or fish and gluten-free grains like oats or millet, still ridding myself of sugar, gluten, and dairy for a while.  Day two went a lot better.

  • breakfast: one cup of coffee with almond milk. smoothie made of blueberry, avocado, mango, and mint.
  • snack: banana
  • lunch: leftover roasted brussels sprouts
  • snack: Trader Joe’s trail mix
  • dinner: creamy broccoli soup, salad with dijon vinaigrette
  • late night snack: banana with cashew butter

Day Three:

  • breakfast: one cup of coffee with almond milk.  smoothie made of pineapple, banana, kale, romaine lettuce.
  • snack: apple with cashew butter
  • lunch: leftover broccoli soup with an avocado (It’s really good!)
  • snack: green salad
  • dinner: roasted portabello and kale.  I added toasted millet to this one since I’m doing gluten-free whole grains.
  • snack: my homemade granola with almond milk

So as you can see, I can’t really claim that I’m following the Whole Living plan anymore.  I’m sort of making this my own thing – which is one reason I want to record it all here so I can look back and use some of these recipes again.  They advocate no caffeine, yet I’m allowing myself a cup of coffee a day.  And I’m thinking I’ll only go two weeks gluten-free since I really don’t think gluten is the evil character a lot of people do.  (More on that later.) But I need a major purge from the overabundance of sugar and dairy I’ve been consuming and just a general reboot on the way I shape my menu each week and the way I think of food.  More soon, friends.  I’m hoping for oat flour banana pancakes in the morning if I can flip them with a baby on my hip!

the beginning of 32

I turned 32 years old on Saturday.  It was a fun day with family and a fun weekend.  Spring weather is peeking out a bit here in Georgia, and I’m so ready for it.

As I look back at the past year, much of it is a blur really.  Adding another to the family has been perfect and wonderful, but the amount of busy in my life multiplied more than two times over.  (How is that possible, by the way?  It seems like the work should just double, but it feels like more.)  We’ve had so many changes with Jude growing up a bit and beginning preschool.  And our decision to sell the house.  And Norah’s constant changes as a baby of her age when every moment seems so different from the day before as she grows so fast.

I think the major lesson I have learned in my last year is that of self-care.  You know it’s important and you think you understand it, but it’s only when you ignore it that you really feel its weight.  An hour of knitting after kids are in bed, a night out with Scott or with friends, a long bath, a good book, a new pair of shoes.  There are so many little things that add up to help me stay sane and healthy and productive.

In relation to all of this, I decided to kick off my 32nd year with a dietary detox, and even as I type that, I can hardly believe I am going to try it.  I have no will power when it come to food. NONE.  I feel lucky that, genetically speaking, I might have an area or two I’d like to work on with body image of course, but on the whole I can eat what I want without too much showing up on my figure.  I’m not at all doing this for weight-loss, but for overall health.

I’ve complained here about the kids being sick a lot, and most of 2013 has been nursing their illnesses.  Now we are on a well streak, and spring is coming, so I feel like we are nearing the end of this preschool sick season.

But I don’t feel like myself, physically speaking.  Not at all.  I am sluggish and tired and lacking a predictable appetite and just plain blah.  I had to have an antibiotic for a sinus infection last month, and I guess that was the final straw with my tummy because despite taking probiotics and eating yogurt, I am more yuck than ever.  Bloated, sluggish, not healthy.  This is not at all how I want to begin my 32nd year.  The kitchen being such a mess with renovations lead to our eating fast food and frozen pizzas and such far too much recently.  To say I need a detox is an understatement!

So I’ve read a lot about the Whole Living Detox Program, and I decided to jump in.  I can do anything for 21 days, right!?  Week one is super strict – only lentils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, and I started it on Sunday.  I quickly realized that my caloric intake was not at all compliant with breastfeeding a baby.  So I’ve sort of tailored it to my own thing, and I’ve more or less just jumped in on week two of the cleanse rather than week one.

The main idea is no added sugar (fruit is okay), no gluten, and no dairy for 21 days. Very limited lean animal proteins.  This is not a Paleo diet where you can pig out on bacon but not eat rice.  Not at all.   I’m working on 80% of what I eat being fruits or vegetables for the next 21  19 days.

And I know this is only day three, but I am feeling results already, you guys.  Meaning I am not craving junk food as much, not falling asleep on the couch at 8pm, and not feeling like I need a gallon of coffee to get me going in the mornings.  So I intend to keep plowing right ahead with it, and logging my food and recipes here.  It might be totally boring to anyone reading (sorry!) but it could be of interest to some of you, and I want it as a resource for me as well when I do this again.  And I say “when” because I know I will.  We service our cars, we reboot our computers, we spring clean our houses, but we tend to let the bad habits in our own bodies just build-up over time.  It feels good to have a reboot every now and then.  More later.