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Meal time

I have been asked by some family members and friends a lot – what do you eat?! I think the misconception is that I barely eat or eat “weird” food. One person asked when I was going to go back to eating real food. I thought that’s what I had been eating! 🤷🏽‍♀️

So I’m including today’s meals. Breakfast was a homemade smoothie. I’m dealing with a flare up with my joints so I try to really focus on nutrients more at this time. I don’t have a picture but I just included –

  • Vitamins (I just open them up and dump into the blender)
  • Collagen powder
  • Flax seeds
  • Turmeric powder (have to get this inflammation down)
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Parsley
  • Dollop of walnut butter
  • Frozen berries and cherries
  • Coconut milk
  • Ginger root
  • Splash of honey and vanilla extract

Breakfast is super easy and I tend to have smoothies when it’s warmer or when I’m managing a flare up. Lunch was just a protein bar. I run errands on Saturdays and need something that I can have on the run. Not the best nutrient wise but it’s so much better than crying over fast food! True story!!

This was Saturday dinner. Weekend dinners tend to be different than what I eat during the week as I try to find something I wouldn’t get during the week. I happened to go to a particular grocery store and snow crab clusters were on sale 🤩🤩 the pic is 👇🏽

Trying to focus on nutrients and reduce this inflammatory response, I decided to have blueberries for antioxidants, black beans for fiber to get toxins out, roasted collard greens chips to capitalize on nutrients and crab legs for protein. I eat seafood wayyyyyyy more than any other protein so sale prices are always welcome 🤗 And I try to get at least 6 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Again, focusing on nutrient density.

If I’m feeling up to it later, I may have a square of dark chocolate. Your thoughts on the food choices? What would you recommend? Until next time…

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Eating across America – Wellness Wednesdays

One of the hardest parts of changing my eating habits was finding an acceptable place to eat when I travelled, especially for work or vacation as I may go to an area that I’m not as familiar with. So today I’m doing something different than my other posts. Let’s chat about great places to eat that may meet dietary restrictions.

As I mentioned before, I follow a cross between the paleo diet and the AIP protocol, focusing on nutrients like iron, my continued problem child 😃. So I can’t just say- oh let me grab a breakfast sandwich from this chicken place that has wonderful biscuits and chicken! And that can create a problem. I have quite literally sat and started crying because I’m hungry but have no idea of what food is in an area that I won’t have a reaction to later. whew!

So…let’s share recommendations of where we can eat. I’ll start with what have been go to places for me.

  • Whole Foods market. Prior to the pandemic, this was by far the best place for me to go. The hot bar lists what is in the food so it was an easy choice. I went to Whole Foods in: Manchester, NH; Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham, NC; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Long Island, NY; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Huntsville, AL; Nashville, TN; San Antonio, TX; Santa Cruz, CA; Sacramento, CA. Yes, it’s that’s serious!
  • Restoration Cafe in Manchester, NH has great smoothies. I cannot do almond butter and almond milk but this place carried other nut butters and coconut milk.
  • Founding Farmers in the Washington DC area. I love love love this place. The menu is seasonal and always super fresh.
  • Zoe’s kitchen is one of the only chain restaurants that I frequent but the quality isn’t consistent. Some are always great but others aren’t so good.
  • First Watch is probably the only other chain restaurant that I go to and only for very specific items. Quality is always consistent so when I get a quinoa bowl in Franklin, Tennessee, it tastes the same in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  • Green District Salads in Louisville, KY. A relatively newer place with a few locations around the area. You can customize salads or wraps and they’re always tasty and fast.
  • Zameen at the Point in Capitola, CA. This is a small Mediterranean spot that I came across while in the area. It was soooo good and very fresh.

What places do you recommend? If you live outside of the United States, I invite you to share your recommendations as well – have passport, will travel! And if you have enjoyed the wellness Wednesday series, let me know and I’ll keep posting. The series was to be limited to summer so this may be the last post; let me know!

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Cooking at Home – Wellness Wednesday

Cooking and meal prepping have been HUGE game changers for me. I did quite a bit of health testing to see what works or does not work well for me. This helped tremendously and thankfully I have no food allergies, but it does limit some of my food choice options. And when I eat out, I don’t know the exact details of what is going in the food.

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

I found that many nightshades bother me. These include potatoes, paprika and all peppers. Paprika is probably the worst offender but is used in so many recipes! So to better monitor the ingredients and the quality of products, I started cooking more. And unless restaurants become more slanted toward AIP or paleo, then choosing to cook at home is a must.

At first, I made the same recipes all of the time, but my nutritionist pointed out that I had appropriate cookbooks and why not actually try those recipes lol. My fear is always – what if the recipe is gross? 😧 the horror! So I decided to try only one new recipe at a time for any given meal (as I eat basically the same thing throughout weekdays). That way, I could try different options without feeling like I’m constantly throwing money away on meals that I don’t like.

And what is even more important to me is that I control the quality of what I’m eating. So I control sodium content which is crucial when trying to be healthier. Have you actually looked at the sodium levels at some places?? There’s one restaurant which I won’t name in which none of the meals has a sodium level less than 1000 mg with some ranging up to 3000 mg. That’s INSANE! Managing carbs is high priority for me so I can better monitor this as well by cooking at home.

I highly recommend taking the time to meal prep and cook more at home. It’s better for everyone in the long run. See you next week!

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A Pizza Find

I have been wanting really good pizza for awhile! But with so many dietary restrictions, it’s a challenge to find something to purchase that won’t cause pain or bother my allergies; in other words, cause more inflammation. So I decided to start paying attention to ingredients that I might be able to try and give it a whirl.

And I made on today! AND IT WAS TASTY! When experimenting, I don’t really use measurements lol; it’s more of a play it by ear method. The crust is cauliflower based by Caulipower. I then minced 4 cloves of garlic and poured extra virgin olive oil in a bowl with the garlic so that the oil covered the garlic. I whisked for a bit and then whisked in dried oregano.

With the garlic oil base

Next I poured these onto the crust. Tomatoes are nightshades and tend to cause joint pain so I’m trying different bases. I cut up pre-cooked chicken sausage and added to the crust. Lastly I used a mix of goat cheese and vegan cheese (that’s not cashew based because cashews are a no for me) to top. I baked for about 15 minutes on 400 degrees.

What would I do different? Probably just use goat cheese. I liked that more than the vegan cheese but that’s matter of preference. I would also have added onions, olives and more oregano. Next time, I’ll also try a pesto base instead. To keep from getting bored, I have to keep trying different options. This will definitely go into the rotation!

Finished pizza

Any suggested toppings? List them below and I’ll try them too. 🥂 to your good health. Until next time!

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MILESTONE: 2 Years!

In the latter half of August 2018, I decided to really work on my health and find more natural approaches to do so. This was after an expert in PCOS basically told me that I could just stay on birth control pills to manage it for the rest of my life! 😱

I came across the keto diet and did that for 3 months. However, since I have slow digestion, the program has WAYYYYY too much meat for me and I never felt hungry. But the keto diet was a great kick start to transition to paleo, which is basically what I still follow. Keto helped me stop a lot of junk cravings but I still wanted to feel better.

I started working with a nutritionist who specializes in PCOS in January 2019. And while working with the nutritionist involved revamping everything I had known in terms of food, what would work for me, motivation and habits, it was sooooo worth it.

When I started mid-August 2018 to make a total change and find something that was a permanent solution, I weighed about 245 pounds. Fairly accurate as I went to a gym and used the scale there. I’ve included a couple of before pics from earlier in 2018.

Summer 2018
April 2018 at a gala

Since that time, I’ve lost 81.8 pounds to date. This is the first time that I’ve ever released weight and actually been able to keep it off!! Ever! And no, I’ve had no surgeries or used any gimmicks. I just had to make real, sustainable changes with the guidance of my nutritionist.

I have improved health in so many ways – better sleep, more energy, less brain fog, better walking ability with osteoarthritis, less PMS, clearer skin, less hirtuism, better digestion, very few junk food cravings, and more confidence because I feel much better! I’m still a work in progress and have more goals that I want to reach but I’ve included recent pics from this month.

Summer 2020
August 2020 birthday celebration

I hope this inspires you to reach your goals! You can do this. And if you veer off track, the next day is a new one; the next meal is another chance to do better. Until next time, 🥂 to your good health!