Slow Your Roll, Lady!

An alternate blog title could easily have been “Scale back before you make yourself insane; half of what you’re scheduling yourself to do is because other people want it done for them and those other people happen to have more time and more money than you do”.

So ya.  I know I haven’t been around the blog lately, to be honest I don’t have much to say but I felt like writing a quick post outlining how I have revised Christmas this year to suite myself…since I am the one doing all the work.

First, I decided on a menu that works for me.  For instance, I hate trying to figure out when to roast the brussel sprouts so that they are hot while everything else is getting cold and since we eat the little green balls at least once a week all fall and winter, they aren’t anything special for us….therefore I am not making them.  Perhaps some of our dinner guests may be disappointed in lack of teeny cabbages…but I suspect that they will not be permanently scarred.

Along those lines, I am not making an appetizer outside of opening up the traditional oysters with toothpicks and a jar of premium garlic stuffed olives.  We are all adults (and an infant) capable of sustaining our bodies for around 1-2 hours of socializing without having to be constantly stuffing our gaping maws with my effort, time and money.  So.  No appetizer. (note that I have put out the message that anyone who wants to bring an appetizer should let me know and as yet, of 10 people descending on our house, no one has stepped up….which means that they don’t want an appetizer badly enough to prepare and bring it, they want one that I have prepared.) Again, probably no permanent scarring.

The final comment about the dinner is that as festive and wonderful Christmas is (and it definitely IS, I love this time of year), I am making dinner.  Not a feast, not a banquet, not a never-before-been-served-cornucopia-of-delight.  I am making dinner.  Meat and veggies.  I make dinner every day of my life.  This one just happens to be with extra dinner guests.  Thinking about it like that makes it so much less stressful.  Anyone who is not pleased to get a free and delicious meal that they don’t have to make or clean up can suck it.

Oh, and I rented dishes, silverware, table linens and glassware this year.  Pick up, use, rinse, put back in the totes and they come and get it the next day. Score! AND for less than $35!

Oh!  And I didn’t make a centrepiece this year.  I’m not kidding, I create a centrepiece every year, stress the shit out about it and then it gets moved off the table at dinner time into the spare room never to be seen again.  This year I opted out and saved myself the time, stress and money of it.  No one will care.  Or notice.

Let’s move to the decorating aspect of this insane time of year.  We are only half done.  The other half….well….we never got around to it and we’re not going it. We were tired or busy or, more likely,) felt like sitting on the couch snuggled up watching Lifetime Christmas movies rather than standing out in the rain hooking teeny little fairy lights into our Japanese maple which no one besides myself would even notice. Therefore, what is currently up is our decorating and everything else is put away and no one would be the wiser was I not broadcasting it here).

And then there’s gift giving and charity hampers and donations and gifts for your butcher, hair dresser, waxist, charity box and every other person who decides that the 2 paycheques in December are the exact and only time that they need as much time and money as you can possibly not even realistically spare.  This year I begged off, I decided what was important and realistic in my environment and I’ve done that.  I gave my butcher a nice bottle of wine because he is my hook-up for quality meat and bones for 12 months of the year and that is extremely important to me.  I gave my waxist a similar bottle of wine because she’s the one who pours hot wax on my nether regions every 6 weeks and I will do whatever it takes to keep her happy!  As far as the rest of the “pitch in”, “kick in”, “collection”, “donation” nickel and diming that gets requested, I said no thank you.  I give a lot of time and money throughout the year to charities that are important to me (yes, important to ME….which may not be important to you, but that does not make it any less valid) or which have athletic events linked to them or which have motorcycle events linked to them.  That’s it. I feel perfectly fine about that.

So, do I feel less stressed out?  Surprisingly, yes! In addition to all the things I changed up this year to allow myself to enjoy the season (rather than try to kill myself to make things absolutely perfect for people who probably won’t notice anyway), I also shared around the duties.  I’m only making one Christmas dinner this year instead of two.  My sister, hubby and I grouped our gift giving funds and time to gift some unique and awesome gifts instead of going off separately and therefore requiring more time, more wrapping, more searching.  I  also shopped online as much as I could and wrapped the items as they were delivered to my home.

My gift purchasing and wrapping cut off was last Saturday (for shipping and event reasons), the cut off for buying Christmas groceries is tonight due to event and timing issues, my birthday is tomorrow, my staff Christmas party is Friday, my birthday celebration day is Saturday, there is a brunch on Sunday, Monday night I have dinner prep duties for the turkey, Tuesday I cook the turkey and Wedensday is Christmas Eve.  And as hairy as it could be, I’m feeling alright about it.

I should mention that Christmas comes but once a year (thank heavens) and for that reason I also released the reins on alcohol and reasonable treat consumption. Januauary 1st will come and the holidays will be over and there is plenty of long, dull, gray winter left when all the Christmas lights have been extinguished, to Whole30 and dust off the gym and put the corkscrew away.  This mindset has also helped me de-stress for these couple of weeks.

So cheers, to you and yours and Happy Birthday to me and mine Sister!

The End ~ And not 100.

Morning, today is Day….uh…..shit.  Lemme check. 57.  Today is Day 57 and I’m officially stepping down off my Whole100 platform.

I didn’t fail in a blaze of cookie dough and croissants, nothing so exciting or non-compliant.  I had a lovely small (around 4 oz, I think) glass of an Okanagan chardonnay on Saturday afternoon.  And then I felt exhausted and weird and stuffed up and sluggish.  I wished I would have just had my standard glass of kombucha for happy hour. It made me realize that I want to be choosing non-alcoholic beverages more often than not because I don’t like feeling like garbage.

And remember last week when I accidentally got soy’d and felt absolutely butt-awful? It made me very, VERY cognizant of my need to avoid soy like the plague going forward.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’ve driven my Whole30 as far as I feel is beneficial for me to go at this time.  But it’s not all chocolate bars and Bailey’s starting now.  I’m sticking with three meals a day, no snacking, absolutely No Sugar and absolutely No Grains.  How is this going to be different than Whole30? To look at it, it’s probably not different at all.  But instead of making decisions based on someone else’s rules I’m going to make them based on mine.  I won’t eat sugar because I know for me that it’s an addictive drug that I can’t handle.  I won’t eat grains or soy or dairy because I know for me that it hurts my stomach and that they don’t make me healthier.

So starting today I’m on Day One of WholeMe. I have goals for myself similar to my Whole30.

  • Daily exercise of at least 30 minutes….this can be done indoors now though as the weather has turned and the time has changed so it’s both cold, dark and wet.  Not an awesome trifecta.
  • No sugar, grains, dairy, soy, very limited nuts (so hard on my stomach)
  • No snacking, three meals/day
  • Measurements once/month

That’s it.  The unceremonious end to my Whole100.

Whole100 – Week Seven Recap

Today is DAY FIFTY!  The halfway mark! 

Overall feeling: well….before Friday afternoon I was feeling pretty good. Around 2pm, shit went down and I basically felt like crap all weekend, run down, stressed, exhausted. I also can now empirically say that I have a stress stomach….as in, stress comes and bloat/upset is right on its heels.

Change in plans: going forward into the second half of the Whole100, I’m going to stop daily logging a few things. Skin/Hair/Nails for starters, followed by Energy and Mood. I was logging those items because they were in a poor status when I started and I wanted to watch how that changed in relation to how my Whole30 progressed. But they are mostly in a good state now and suffer just normal fluctuations that can be attributed to weather, hormones, work etc. They aren’t food related anymore so tracking them is too microscopic for me. When I eventually get around to adding certain things back in, I will once again pay very close attention to all the markers so I can see how my body and mind both react.

Hardest aspect: I’m really, REALLY not feeling it and want to end it. However……..there is no end. Unfortunately. Ever. It might as well be called my WholeForever. You see, I want to end it and sit on my sofa under my electric blanket and binge eat halloween candy until I fall into a blissful sugar coma. I don’t want to end it so that I can have a nice glass of wine (although that would be lovely) or so that I can use ketchup again. I want to end it so I can comfort my emotions in a drunken coma of sugar. So ya….great.

CARBS!: my digestion and general wellness have brought to my attention that, while it is winter squash season which is GREAT, there is too much of a good thing. You see, I learned how to gently roast & caramalize delicata squash into something that is SO delicious, it is a major problem for me. Major. http://summertomato.com/better-than-butternut-roasted-delicata-squash-recipe/

They are chewy and caramelly and a bit crispy around the edges and you can eat them like french fries…dipped into Well Fed Mayo. As I said, huge problem. I ate two entire delicata squashes between Friday evening and Sunday morning….by myself. Not that they are huge squashes…but it was a bit much. So much in fact that after breakfast on Sunday morning I didn’t eat until dinner at 6pm and was not hungry in the slightest. So, while squash and beets and carrots and turnips and sweet potatoes are all healthy and delicious and nutritious foods, I need to claw them back about 300%. Might be contributing to my sleepiness/more lethargic-ness, too.

Skin, Hair, Nails: all good.

Energy: has been good, actually. Even on Sunday when I was stressing and bitchy and wishing to lay in bed napping, I didn’t. I did all our weekly food prep, walked to the farmer’s market, helped Ray close up the motorhome for the winter (which I never did get to go camping in this year), washed and then covered up Captain Jack and then I used all my excess cranky energy to blitz the house and tidy and chuck and vaccum and wipe and dust. So I’m kind of looking forward to going home this evening and battening down our hatches for the major storm that is being predicted for our area. They are predicting wide spread power outages and heavy wind and rain. Could be exciting!

Green Time: definitely didn’t win this week. Missed three days due to an unexpected appointment, wicked weather and my regular grocery day. Sleep/Sleep Habits: sleep has been alright. Definitely noticed a preference for staying in bed, not sure if that’s weather related or stress or just a normal fluctuation. I didn’t actually sleep in this weekend though and I didn’t nap.

Digestion/Headaches: all good on both fronts. Thought I was getting a headache on Sunday night but I think it was just tension.

Cycle Hormones: still some fluctuations there….which is irritating

Happy Eating!

100 days is a long frigging time….if you count it in meals it’s….. 300! THREE HUNDRED MEALS.  From scratch.  So I thought I would post some of the winners that keep me out of hot water.  Obviously I use the Well Fed cookbooks a LOT.  Well Fed mayo, all the Well Fed spice mixes (jerk, ras el hanout, sausage seasoning, sunrise spice).  I didn’t link to all of them because they are in the books and not all available online. Buy the books, you won’t be sad!  When I want something different than the Well Fed recipes I turn to the internet.  And Ye Olde Internet has been darned good to me!!  I’ve listed out some of my winners….things I’ve found that are in The Permanent Rotation.

http://robbwolf.com/2013/01/06/ultimate-paleo-chili/  in my ongoing quest to find a decent bean-free chili, this one comes close. Still not QUITE the same….but it’s close.

http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2010/11/11/crazy-good-barbecued-pulled-pork/ we fought each other for the leftovers of this one. Ridic! Next time I will buy an even larger pork shoulder.

http://everydaypaleo/smokey-roast/ this is a perfect one for the crockpot on a dreary Sunday. Put in at breakfast time, eat amaaaaazing meat at dinner. VERY good flavour

http://tarable.blogspot.ca/2013/03/paleo-shake-n-bake-chicken.html  excellent spice mix. I did with pre-ground cashews so I just mixed all together in a bowl, dredged chicken in egg and then in the mix. I’ve done this using pecans before (as is stated in the recipe) and I preferred the pecans to the cashews.  Although the cashews were more convenient being pre-ground…but they didn’t crisp in the oven.

http://againstallgrain.com/2012/05/03/paleo-fish-tacos/  just the fish, not the tortillas and can’t speak for the toppings

http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2009/07/21/sunshine-sauce/ I fry ground pork and when it’s done, drown it in a whole batch of this sauce and then put it over whatever veggies you have (peppers, cabbages, green beans/snow peas is a good combo) that have been sautéed w/ ginger, garlic, sesame oil & sesame seeds. Instant creamy, comfort stirfry

http://paleomg.com/leftovers-curry-meatballs/ next time I would bake the meatballs in advance and then just rewarm them in the sauce. It was delicious but the basically raw meatballs disintegrated when the sauce came. Serve over shredded & sautéed cabbage or cauli rice/mash

http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2013/05/diy-homemade-taco-seasoning.html I add about 1-2 tbsp arrowroot powder when I make the spice mix for the thickening effect. Taco meat over a regular baked potato and then topped with avocado (bonus points for making avocado CREAM) is insane!

http://stupideasypaleo.com/2013/03/08/indian-pineapple-cauliflower-rice/ this is my hands down, high five, no contest winner in cauli rice recipes. ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE.

The recipes written out below are ones that I found some variation of online in my travels but which I have edited to suite our tastes and which are SO regular in The Permanent Rotation that I have them memorized.

 

Pork Burgers (8 good sized patties)

2# ground pork
2 tsp Franks Red Hot
2 tsp (or more) fresh minced ginger (get a micro plane, your life will never be the same!)
2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh, whatever)
4 green onions, sliced
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
2 eggs
S&P

 

Chicken Burgers (6-8 patties)

2# ground chicken
2 tsp garlic powder
Handful cilantro
Handful garden chives
½ small can waterchestnuts chopped up
Drizzle sesame oil
As much ginger as you want (I use a LOT)
S&P

 

Avocado Cream Sauce (that you probably have all the ingredients for in your kitchen!)
1 ripe avocado
2-3 tbsp lime juice (or the juice fm a fresh lime)
2+ tbsp coconut milk
Handful fresh cilantro
½ – 1 tbsp garlic powder
Salt

Buzz all ingredients in a magic bullet or similar. If it’s too thick to adequately buzz, thin with extra coconut milk.  Should taste limey, garlicky, cilantroey and salty all at the same time.  Spoon over foods with reckless abandon!

If you are going to buy or are thinking about getting the Well Fed cookbooks, our favourites are: salmon burgers, Pina Colada Chicken, Coconut Almond Green Beans, Eggplant Strata, Scotch Eggs, mayo, sunshine sauce, best ever stir fry sauce, best ever chicken (although the brining I can take or leave, doesn’t seem to matter).

Whole 100 – Week 6 Recap

My daily logging is still going on along the top.  Or click here.

Overall feeling: this week felt long and the commitment that I bit off seems huge and kind of silly. Nearing the halfway mark and I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. I am torn between whether I’ll feel amazingly wonderful by 100…or if the magic happened in the first 30 and the rest was an exercise in redundancy. I’ll do it because I committed to it and I’ll do it because I think it’s the right way to live and I’ll do it because the sugar dragon isn’t dead yet. But I’m curious if where I find myself now is where I’ll find myself on Day 100.

Hardest aspect: turns out the sugar dragon made a comeback…and with such little prompting! The emergency ration (crunchy fruit/coconut bar….basically a delicious cookie) that I had on the Saturday when we were in the bush woke the beast, eating a bowl full of defrosted strawberries got his motor churning and then munching on creamed coconut after dinner a couple nights in a row opened the floodgates. Especially since I wasn’t feeling tops for a couple days there, I think I was extra suseptible to an invasion. Nothing non-compliant…but the emotional aspect of eating when not hungry and eating sweet things to feel better actually made me feel awful. So now the creamed coconut is off limits for awhile and I am once again reminded of my issues surrounding sugar.

Change in Prep: I made one extra protein on the weekend (by accident) that was a Godsend for me in Week Six. Normally I make exactly what we are going to eat but having this extra buffer was an ass-saver in a couple situations. Going forward I’ll be doing that each weekend….cooking an extra protein that is not assigned to anything yet.

Favourite Finds: First, sugar pie pumpkins! OK…so all winter squash…but the roasted sugar pumpkin was awesome! Second, we figured out that we have the ability to smoke meat on our BBQ and boy-oh-boy is it ever GOOD!

Skin, Hair, Nails: hair and nails couldn’t be better, skin needs some work.

Energy: didn’t have a tonne all week, was totally in “rest” and “survival” mode. I did notice, rather resentfully, that although I was feeling like absolute garbage, there has not been one single day where I didn’t get a decent amount accomplished. Not one single day where I didn’t make meals, didn’t either walk the dog or go get groceries or do the laundry. Not one single day that I missed of work. So while I was a bit resentful of it when I noticed it, I think I have to say that even when I’m feeling awful, I still have enough energy to get things done. I have not needed to surrender. I’ve WANTED to…..desperately. But at no point have I felt like I simply couldn’t do what needed to be done. And now I know…if I ever experience a day where I simply have to surrender? It’ll be full on legit.

Mood: mood and energy are so intertwined that I sometimes have a hard time defining how my mood was. If you look it up online, many times a mood is actually an “energy” word (energetic, lethargic, lazy) which is not helpful at all, LOL! Overall in Week 6 I would say my moods were probably trending toward quiet, a bit mellow and basically just tired. I’m looking forward to an uptick next week.

Green Time: my original goal was to try for 30 minutes of outdoor time per day as a minimum. In 42 days I have a 79% success rate. I am very pleased with that!

Sleep/Sleep Habits: keeping with my sleep schedule and overall feeling pretty good. This week the overnight sleeping has not been great because I haven’t been feeling well…but I am confident that it will go back to being very good.

Digestion/Headaches: Not such wonderful news this week about the headaches. Got one on Day 37 that didn’t quit until Day 40. After a little research I fall into the category of Menstrual Migraine which is characterized by a one sided throbbing/pressure, sore skin, light & sound sensitivity and which comes normally 2 days before your period and lasts for the first 3 days. Yep. Menstrual migraines do not respond to migraine meds because they are hormonally triggered and they tend to last longer than other types of migraines. I am going to try epsom salt baths as magnesium deficiency can definitely contribute to increasing the severity of the pain. I think my previous almond butter addiction was unknowingly supplementing my body with magnesium and in the last 6-8 months since cutting out nuts altogether (food w/o brakes and stomach upset), the headaches have come back and been worse.

Cycle Hormones: Cramps/flow and PMS has been significantly less severe this round.

Whole 100 ~ Week Five Recap

Don’t forget, you can follow my daily log for my Whole 100 at the “Whole30 Logging” tab across the top…or just click here.

Overall feeling: I definitely had some sugar monster issues over the weekend and while I definitely did not venture into non-compliance territory, I felt a bit like the sugar monster was in more control than I was. Once I realized it and reined in my thoughts and feelings and drowned the little bastard in tea and water, things improved well. Other than that, this update will be short, not too much to report. Working early for the rest of the month of October which means getting off early also….so I’m dearly hoping to be able to do my dog-walking and then spend some time in the new gym before Ray gets home. Ah, the best laid plans…………………….

Hardest aspect: nothing is overly difficult anymore, I mostly feel awesome and sane and it’s not any more work cooking this way than I was used to. What I am finding is that 100 days seems really long….like as I was approaching “30”, the numbers were getting really big (28 is REALLY close to 30) but as I have passed 30 and the next milestone is 100, the numbers still seem small and far away.

Easiest aspect: really glad with how Ray is starting to understand some of the “why” behind what I’ve chosen to do. And loving how he is thinking critically about ingredients and effects. We’ve settled nicely into the routine and while he doesn’t deny himself something he wants, he doesn’t offer to me anymore which is so much nicer! He gets it now.

Skin, Hair, Nails: had to finally break down and trim my claws. Usually they top out and don’t get any longer. Such is no longer the case.
Energy: consistent and edging into consistently high. Even in Alien Pre-week…I’m tired but not sacked.
Mood: overall, quite nice. Optimistic and happy. No big swings of highs and lows.
Green Time: 337 minutes! The wood-gathering on Saturday definitely boosted my total!
Sleep/Sleep Habits: have been sleeping very consistently and feeling rested and good to go.
Digestion/Headaches: I’m in Alien Week by 2 days now and have not had a single headache since Day 10 of Whole30. Historically I would have had a horrible headache for the entire week leading up to it. I’ve been extremely diligent about staying hydrated in case that makes a difference. I’m extremly overjoyed to not have had a headache in 26 days. TWENTY SIX DAYS! If sugar is what triggered hormonal headaches in me, we are officially broken up.
Cycle Hormones: so far so good, will know more next week.

Whole30 Summary

My first 30 days ended yesterday and I know I said I wasn’t going to post a summary but I couldn’t help it.   ;)

Over the Last 30 Days
Eggs = 86
Bone Broth = 81 Litres
Water = 44 Litres
Kombucha = 23.5 Litres
Cups of Coffee (w/ coconut milk & gelatin) = 36
Decaf EG Tea Lattes (made w/ coconut milk) = 11
Mayo = 4 Cups
Sleep = 251.5 Hours
Green Time = 867 minutes (14.5 hours)

As far as what I gained while I was eating all that food and spending so much time sleeping? I gained clearing skin (FINALLY), revitalizing sleep, stronger hair and nails, a stable mood & happier disposition (even in the face of stress or upset), consistent energy, consistent outdoor time, interesting information about my relationship with food and a huge sense of accomplishment!

Me, on Day 30!

Me, on Day 30!

So what did I lose? Bloat, stomach upset, mild depression and hopelessness, anxiety, brain fog, eczema and a short temper.  I also lost a total of 4.5″ across my entire body which is not overly significant and which temporarily suspended my delight at completing my first 30 days.  Fortunately I then took my head out of my ass and celebrated the 4.5″ and all the other amazing markers that remind me that I am happier and healthier!

W30 Measurements

BA Front BA Side

So, the next 30 days? So exciting! Daunting, a bit.  But exciting and challenging and I’m open to whatever might come, whatever I might learn about myself and whatever path this experiment takes me down.  I’m ready!