beyond

“After a few weeks of varied reintroduction and claiming I’m not paleo, I’ve conceded that, well yeah, if I want to feel my best, then yeah, I am…”

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As time went on I discovered that dairy, legumes and grains (oats, barley, wheat/gluten) caused an incredible amount of inflammation, bloating, heartburn, and other discomforts that I realized,  I really need to break up with dairy, and limit my grains on a daily basis or risk feeling like this bird!

While I’m not Celiac and do not have a life-threatening allergies or a specified condition, I don’t think legumes, many grains  (specified above), or dairy are really all that good for me but then again, I don’t think all this Minnesota snow, sub-zero temps, or spending 15-20 hours in my car each week is good for me either… but I digress.

Turns out. milk definitely does NOT do my body good.  I recently worked with an Internist, (Dr. Hannah) who full-heartedly agreed milk/dairy is my main problem, and while some of my bloodwork showed some inflammation and a lower-end TSH (hyper) value, she isn’t all that concerned and stated I’m healthy as a lark.

My lower TSH value is a good sign that my metabolism is working good as it should! My Lipid panel came back absolutely perfect with a nice high HDL cholesterol, and very low Triglycerides, so she said, eat what makes you feel good, and don’t eat what makes you feel crummy, but if you go somewhere and it looks worth it… GO. FOR. IT.

Even if its a huge cup of milk at the MN State Fair – All you can drink milk stand! (Which actually sounds terrible right now, HA!)

Unfortunately, it seems that any amount of added dairy seems to really set me off, so here I am, making my own clarified butter (which is actually so easy), and scanning labels as I strive to be as dairy, legume and grain (oat, wheat, barley) free as possible. (I wonder aloud how I would fare if we actually did breed Oreo our Nigerian Dwarf Goat… I’ve heard goats milk is easier to digest.)

Now, of course, there will be parties and dinners out where the inevitable creeps in and I won’t freak out. I don’t get that ill…(I actually do experience an incredible amount of inflammation however in my shoulders, back, my bursitis flares up in my hips from my 2016 injury with Crosby, debilitating heartburn and bloating to pretty much write these food items off in normal circumstances… but I’m not gonna create a scene at a family function, or sit there and starve… ). I’ll make the best choice possible, or, if it looks worth the pain, I’ll indulge.

I recently picked up a copy of, “eat what you love” by Danielle Walker. It’s amazing and couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone following a grain, legume, and dairy free diet.  There are so many recipes that she has recreated that are reminiscent of my childhood staples. Chicken Divan anyone?

Over the next several months, I’m going to be trying out a few recipes that I can take to the backcountry that are dairy and grain (see above) free. Perhaps I’ll have to create a post with “test kitchen” results! Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, in my next few posts, I’m going to be taking a sharp turn away from my adventures in food elimination, and the paleo-way, and talking about our adventures in trying out maple syruping on our homestead!

Last fall I hiked around our 20-acre property and discovered we had over 20 maple trees on our land. Seven are ripe for the tapping this year, so we’re going to try our hand at it, and see if we have any success.

Until next time, be well my friends ❤

la

Image result for maple syruping

Source

Whole30 is over!

Happy February!

The January Whole30 is officially over, and all three of us quit at varying stages.

As you saw back in my last post, Jason quit around day 11, and we were letting Kay quit on the 18th. I ended up falling off the program on day 26.

I know what you’re thinking, “You only had four days to go… what on earth… ?”

I was determined to complete a 2019 January W30. And I was so.close.

I also made a commitment that this would be my last W30. ever no matter what the outcome was. I needed to move on from this restricted “diet”, or “reset” find out what food(s) cause my painful heartburn, and move on.

Day 26 was Jason’s work Christmas party, and every year they do a Taco Bar. I thought about cooking my own meat and bringing it in a thermos, but instead, I actually called the restaurant they always use to find out how they prepare everything and concluded I could easily do a taco salad. I figured I was set.

But, like an act of God, they switched caterers, and EVERYTHING had gluten or dairy in it… so,  I could have been that super awkward person and not eat anything all night.

or

I could say… screw it. Be. Free.

I chose freedom.

Twenty-six days is more than long enough to get all of these potentially problematic ingredients out of my system, and that day would be the day to re-introduce them. Now, having gluten and dairy at the same time, probably not the best idea, (because if I had a reaction, what was it, dairy or gluten?) but it wasn’t like I could choose this – or that it was all intermixed.

As the re-introduction period went on over the past week however I’ve realized I need to break up with a lot of dairy (milk, ice cream, dairy-based sauces).  Not sure about my tolerance for hard cheese, but I’m about to find out by gettin’ a taco!

maybe eating taco’s wasn’t cheating on my diet

maybe going on a diet was cheating on my taco’s…

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Oats are also very problematic for me, which is also a huge bummer because that is a staple of eating in the Boundary Waters, and I love overnight oats. I guess I’ll keep playing around with various foods over the next few weeks and find the perfect diet for me!

Conclusion: This experiment 2.0 was well worth it. I didn’t feel guilty, and I didn’t feel shame for quitting my w30 four days early, you know what I felt?  I finally – for the first time – felt FREE. I plan to push the envelope and eat what I can get away with.

Free to come up with exactly the foods that will make me feel the best, and no longer conform to a LABEL (certain way of eating). I’m not Mediterranean, I’m not Paleo, I’m not Whole30…

I am me.

 

WholeFamily Whole30 – Half Way

Day 15! Can you believe we made it?

I contemplated posting once-per-week, but I did that when I did a successful W30 back in 2016, and you can read all about it over here. Further, in order to achieve my 2019 goal of blogging more, I’m hoping to post twice a month on the 1st and 15th of each month going forward, instead of “all-the-sudden trying to climb a mountain that is too big” with posting weekly etc, so lets start with a realistic goal shall we? What do you think?

So, we’re I’m officially HALF WAY DONE with our “WholeFamily, Whole30”. (Spoiler Alert!)

Can I just tell you guys how lucky I am that my family is was doing this with me? When I did this on my own back in 2016, it was so hard! The fridge and cupboards were stocked with “non-compliant” food and I had to will power my way through it a few times.

The subsequential other times I tried doing a W30, back in January 2017, February 2018, and September 2018 I failed miserably despite wanting to succeed.  This time, since we only have Whole30 food in the house (upstairs anyway), there isn’t a real possibility to slip.

Jason: Ended up going off the program as of Friday the 11th, but agreed he’d stay W30 at home. I think this is a great compromise. He works construction, so his lunch choices were limited unless he wanted a salad for lunch, which he did not, and he wasn’t on Whole30 for himself, but rather in support for me. The amount of money we were spending in nuts, and compliant jerky/snacks was a pinch ridiculous for “sympathy eating”, and I could tell he was miserable, so I cut him off from feeling obligated anymore, and his mood lifted.

Kay: She is still on plan as of today. Her friends at school think she has some kind of medical condition. One kid at lunch thinks she must have diabetes if she can’t have any sugar anymore, and another kiddo commenting that “It’s just not natural to not have added sugar.”

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I think her lunches looked pretty darn good (and as you can tell by all the fruit, the girl is not lacking in the sugar department)!

Truth be told though, I think we’ll wean her off the program this Friday night, however. As a growing pre-teen, she needed more calories but just wanted fruit. The girl plowed through two pints of raspberries in one sitting. We decided her fruit addiction needed to stop, so as of the 18th – she’ll be in re-intro mode with some high-quality full fat, grass-fed dairy.  Hopefully, 18 days was long enough to get some stuff out of her system. I’m genuinely interested to know if she is dairy or gluten (or anything else) sensitive due to frequent complaints of tummy pain.

She did say, she still wanted home lunch however unless the school’s hot lunch was irresistible. Sounds 80/20 textbook Paleo to me! We shall see.

Me: I’m still going strong! (Don’t worry, I’m not bailing). This has been my best attempt yet. I feel in control, and not overly missing, “All the things”. The food choices I’ve prepared have been better, and I’m snacking a lot less which tells me my meals are balanced right. I’m also feeling – AMAZING. My painful heartburn, which plagued me nearly every day, along with bloating has completely gone away.

My ‘severe’ shoulder/back pain/inflammation that would nearly take my breath away, (that I blamed on our bed not being comfortable) all but disappeared. (Clearly, it’s not our bed, it was inflammatory foods.) Further, despite only getting an average of 6-hours of sleep I wake up in the morning completely refreshed. No more waking up in the middle of the night, tossing & turning while I process sugar from my nightcap(s) of wine and sugary snacks that went along with said wine. (Ahem pretzels/chips & salsa).

So – for the next 15 days I will continue to cook W30 dinners for my family, while also re-introducing foods for our daughter.

As for me – Cheers to the next 15 days!

Share:
– Do you have any resets that you’re doing in the month of January?
– Do you experience chronic inflammation such as upper back/shoulder pain, or acid reflux?

Have you ever tried paleo, or removing potentially inflammatory foods?

Whole30 – Week 2

I’m pretty sure week 2 was supposed to be the hardest week, and I was like screw that – I’m going to make the most delicious food in the universe so that I can fly right thru this phase!

After all – I’m looking forward to the  Tiger Blood phase which will be coming up in a few more days!

Friday April 8, 2016
Breakfast – Mini Fritatas
Lunch – Chicken Salad
Dinner – Sweet Potato Kale & Shrimp Skillet

Friday

Saturday April 9, 2016
Breakfast – Fruit, almond butter & Black Coffee
Lunch – Meatloaf
Dinner – This AMAZING Chocolate Chili!

I did miss my standard cheese on top, and saltine crackers, but made it crunchy by adding raw onions and jalapenos to it! Not bad! Not bad.

Saturday

Sunday April 10, 2016
Breakfast – AMAZING Potato & Italian Sausage skillet
Lunch – Left over Chili
Dinner – Pork Ribs with potato and italian sausage and a side salad.

Sunday

Pan seared the pork ribs in some ghee for a nice crunch, and finished in the oven. These were so good, I only wish we had more.

Monday April 11, 2016
Breakfast – Left over Potato/Sausage skillet & Black Coffee
Lunch – Chili
Dinner – Whole Chicken in Crockpot, with multi-color carrots & salad

Monday

Added just a pinch of sugar free chicken broth to the bottom of my crock-pot, sprinkled both sides of the chicken with cinnamon, and zested some lemon over the top. The chicken was out of this world! 

Tuesday April 12, 2016
Breakfast – Left over Potato/Sausage skillet & Black Coffee
Lunch – Chicken Salad
Dinner – My first meal out in the world!

Tuesday

I was really concerned how I was going to handle this. My friend and I were headed to a concert, so I didn’t have time to go home and eat, and didn’t want to just bring my dinner to work, so I called ahead to Rusty Taco after seeing the ingredients on the Picadillo Taco – I was confident I could make it Whole30 compliant. I spoke to the chef about what ingredients they use in their seasoning for the beef/potatoes, and what if any oil they cook the beef in. To my delight all I had to do was ask for it sans taco shell, and I was good to go! I did sneak in my own salsa though.

Wednesday April 13, 2016
Breakfast – Eggs, peppers, black coffee
Lunch – Left over chili
Dinner – Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday

Can you tell I love jalapenos? I threw all of this into a skillet (left over chicken from Monday) along with my favorite veggies, and stir fried them in some coconut aminos, and garlic. Topped with my favorite cilantro over cauliflower rice!

Thursday April 14, 2016
Breakfast -Eggs, peppers, black coffee
Lunch – Left over stir fry
Dinner –Sweet Potato Kale & Shrimp Skillet

Thursday

Made the Sweet Potato, Kale & Shrimp skillet again! This photo is so much better than last Friday’s photo! But I swear it was the same food, and looked the same in real life. This is a super quick and easy meal that is from fridge to plate in about 20 minutes! That’s what I call a week night meal!

All in all – week 2 went amazing. So far I’m digging this. Of course there are nights when I think a nice glass of wine would really compliment my meal, but I am also enjoying life with no alcohol. My sleep is certainly improved without the sugar peeks and crashes.

Finally on April 14th I was hungry for breakfast, which I never am… so that was pleasant. I’m thinking my cortisol levels are finally normalizing.

I tried my first two Lara Bars in life. Cashew Cookie, which was okay, and Carrot Cake which was much better and tastier. In the evening before bed while watching shows sometimes I have a little bowl of cashews, blackberries and apple slices. I think that also has been helping me too!

Excited for the Tiger Blood now!

Tiger

Whole30 – Week 1

So! I’ve been on Whole30 for an entire week!

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The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

So far so good! I didn’t want to post prior to my one week milestone, or announce to anyone besides my husband really that I was going to do Whole30 during the month of April. Firstly… I didn’t want the pressure, and I wanted to make sure that I would actually make it a whole week!

My friend Abbey lent me her book, “It Starts with Food“, by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, which is the axel of my eating style for the next month.  Eventually I’d like to get the book that is pictured above, but there are so many resources available on the internet (especially Pinterest).

The lead up I say would have to be the worst! I agonized for months about this – debating if I should or should not… after all my other co-worker eats whatever she wants and is really not much younger than I am, and is in fabulous shape! (Although she runs about 20-25 miles per week)…. but I needed a slap in the face wake up style approach to eating!

After two of my co-workers did Whole30 back in February and March I knew April would be my best shot to really give this a go and be ultimately successful!

I was worried though that I wouldn’t be able to give up my evening wine, or easy week night evening ingredients that are laced with sugar and potentially harmful chemicals. But its 30 days right? I can suck it up for THIRTY DAYS!

My co-worker Sara (a former Whole30 Survivor and champ) was headed to Trader Joes on Thursday March 31, so I told her if she see’s this awesome cauliflower rice (which is notoriously out of stock at the Shoreview, MN location) to pick me up a few bags!

I was in luck, and since it was only $1.99 I told her to get me 5 bags. Between mine and her own, she said she looked like a total addict at the checkout lane! I can imagine.

I decided to start on April 1 – which was a Friday – which seems like a weird day to start a diet/challenge, but I say – why save everything for Mondays? Any day is a good day for change – so I started on Friday April 1.

Afterwork I headed over to said Shoreview TJs and picked up some ingredients for the week, including Ghee!

Here’s what I ate:

April 1, 2016
Friday Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs & Black Coffee
Friday Lunch: Taco Salad
Friday Dinner: A spicy asian fusion – ground beef/pepper/onion/pineapple mix, over riced cauliflower.

Tonight was a little tricky! Tonight was my nieces play so I didn’t leave their city until 8:45pm and it’s a 20 minute ride home, so tonight I ate late!

When I arrived I had seen my daughter and husband had gotten Dominos pizza, and I LOVE pizza, but I forged ahead and kept on keeping on! I snapped a photo of my food because I thought it looked so yummy and posted it on Instragram… I guess the cats out of the bag!

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April 2, 2016
Saturday Breakfast: Mango Jerkey from Trader Joes, Cashews, strawberries & black coffee
Saturday Lunch:  Left over ground beef/pepper/onion etc meal
Saturday Dinner: Easy Homestyle Meatloaf

I was at the SD Convention [Politics] in my district (I sound like I live in the Hunger Games) all day so I brought with a travel snacky type breakfast, and packed a thermos of my left over dinner from the night before for lunch, since I knew my options were going to be severely limited!

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April 3, 2016
Sunday Breakfast: Chicken Sausage/Peppers & Onions & Black Coffee
Sunday Lunch: Chicken Sausage, Peppers & Onions
Sunday Dinner: Hamburgers (Mine of course with a lettuce wrap for the bun)

Ran: 4.01 Miles

Hamburger

April 4, 2016
Monday Breakfast: Hamburger, mashed sweet potatoes & Black Coffee
Monday Lunch: Finished off the rest of my Friday dinner left overs
Monday Dinner: Thai Basil Chicken

ThaiBasilChicken

April 5, 2016
Tuesday Breakfast: Mixed Fruit, cashews, sweet potato & Black Coffee
Tuesday Lunch: Chicken, Strawberry & Almond Salad
Tuesday Dinner: Since it was Taco Tuesday – I kept things mostly the same for my family, but just stocked up on Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Jalapeno, Cilantro, and homemade salsa.

Ran: 3.15 Miles

Tacos

Ran with co-workers over lunch! This was much needed. Though it was only 35 degrees and raining I went out in shorts anyways, and got some more mileage tucked under my belt!

Stayed up a little later tonight to prep a few things (Mini Fritatas and Spaghetti Squash) for the week!

April 6, 2016
Wednesday Breakfast: Mini Fritatas & Black Coffee
Wednesday Lunch: The most AMAZING spicy spagetti squash rosa
Wednesday Dinner: More Spaghetti Squash Rosa

I can’t even begin to explain how delicious my meals were today!

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April 7, 2016
Thursday Breakfast: Mini Fritatas & Black Coffee
Thursday Lunch: Meatloaf & fingerling potatoes
Thursday Dinner: Zoodle Bolognese

Ran: 3.15 Miles

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Thus far – I’m doing pretty good! I’ve only gotten hangry once, when my lunch was lacking seriously needed protien, but otherwise I am thriving so far!

So cheers [with my REI stainless steel cup full of ice water] to good health, and 24 days to go, perhaps next week I’ll make some stews for the weekend since its supposed to be chilly, and  grill during the week since the weather should be a pinch warmer!

Canning

Oh, hello there!

I have been busy blogging over at, Where Feet May Fail after the sudden passing of my father, but did want to get back to you guys and the happenings of life in Minnesota.

Our daughter has gone back to school already and is in the 1st grade and loving it! Last year she was the last class in Minnesota of 1/2 day Kindergarteners, and now all schools must provide all day kindergarten to all of their students. The transition in to a full day of learning leaves our little one tired, but also excited for learning! We can’t wait to see how she grows this next year!

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I’ve been signing up for the “Pick of the Week” program at Minnesota Fresh Farm which has proved to be an invaluable find this summer! Each week I pick up $25-30 worth of produce for just $20. I have been getting fresh cucumbers (since mine went to crap), tomatoes (since mine went to crap), green beans, peas, corn, and more! We’ve gotten so many cucumbers I decided this weekend to make pickles! I’ve never made pickles before, but thought I’d give it ago. I had two different recipes making for two different kinds of pickles.

Traditional Easy Refrigerator Pickles.

IMG_2656 My co-worker Breanne who blogs over at Borealis ~ Northern Life passed down her grandmothers recipe to me! I felt like I had won the lottery because aren’t grandmothers recipes the best, and always completely delicious!

It called for:
7 c. very thinly sliced cucumbers (into very thin coins) – Approximately 4-5 cucumbers.
1 c. sliced onion (I rough chopped mine since my husband hates onions, but doesn’t mind the flavor)
1/2 c. green pepper/cut lengthwise
2 T. Salt
1 T. Celery seed

Mix all together and place in 1 quart canning jars.

In a small saucepan heat until boiling together:
2 C. Sugar
1 C. White Vinegar

Pour sugar/vinegar mixture over the cucumbers in the canning jars to the top and refrigerate.

I have no idea how long they take to “cure” – so I need to find that out. They are so pretty however right?

Fresh Pickles
I found this baby on my favorite website – Pinterest! Of course it is complements of the blog Red Star Lone Star.
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2lbs small cucumbers ( I used regular size and just cut in half and then cut into quarters spears or more)
1 bunch fresh dill
Several cloves peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups (1 liter) unflavored club soda/carbonated water
3 tablespoons salt

Trim the ends off cucumbers. Layer cucumbers, dill and garlic in a glass container. Dissolve salt in water, pour over the cucumbers to cover them completely. Cover and brine in refrigerator at least 24 hours.

Apparently the carbonated water is supposed to make the pickles extra crunchy! I’m actually not a big fan of pickles… but my husband loves them, so I thought why not try something new. Plus homesteading is so much fun!

JAM packed Saturday!

Miss K was supposed to have a soccer tournament today, but with most of the fields still saturated the tourney was called off. So we decided to head up to Minnesota Fresh Farm, and handpick strawberries. Neither me or my daughter had ever picked berries before today, and it was on my goals to continue to fill up her memory bucket! After we take home our haul and make jam we’re headed out to the Minnesota Zoo with Jason’s brother Jeremiah and his girlfriend Amillie for a fun filled family day!

(Scroll down for all the pic’s)

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Woke up early and headed to the farm up the road! We’re going to make homemade jam today before we head out to the zoo!

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Me and my girl being strawberry pickers! We were the first ones to pick this year! (They don’t open for appointments until tomorrow, but they let us sneak in! ~ Thank You!)

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Working on getting lots of berries for homemade freezer jam!

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Look at that load! We have lots for jam and plenty to spare for a chicken strawberry salad tomorrow on Arugula and Kale!

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Destemed, slicked and now time to mash mash mash!

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Starting to look like jelly, or the beginning of strawberry wine!

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Time to stir in the sugar and pectin!

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And finally scoop all of that into jars. Let sit for 30 minutes, and then pop them into the freezer! Easy as… JAM!