Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today I made some progress on the scale...FINALLY! 4 pounds to be specific. Ken and I decided about 3 weeks ago that we need to get strict again. Why or why is it so easy to slip into old habits? Damn you sugar!!!...creeps back in so slowly that you don't even realize it until your pants are tight. It has been almost 2 years that we went gluten free, dairy free...and "clean eating"...now the popular 'paleo' would be somewhat fitting. My first 4 months with this eating lifestyle I lost 30 pounds. So did Ken C. Soukup..although he has been a much more diligent exerciser than me. I have kept the majority of this off but right now I am thicker in the middle than normal...so is Ken...boo hiss :) lol. Anyways, we're back in business! Cleaning up our diet, we have been very consistent in our exercising for 3 weeks now, and we're using amazing essential oil supplements from DoTerra that has helped us so much with energy and overall mood, just to name a few. I must say that I feel amazing...we both can see some results already...and this time...I think I can...I think I can...the rest is sure to come off! ;) More to come...I have some great things to share on using essential oils!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

More than Gluten-Free Living...My Story...

I had a friend ask me the other day why I am gluten-free...which quite frankly is not an unusual question since most people are seeing "gluten-free" plastered throughout the grocery stores and not really sure why it has become so "popular". So I figured, for those that are curious, I would document some of my story here...as you'll see it is not a one sentence answer :).

Back in 2008 after I had my fourth child I started to experience IBS symptoms. Needless to say, this was my first experience with these type of extreme symptoms so I didn't really recognize it for what it was. In addition to my symptoms, my breastfeeding daughter was experiencing extreme colic. When she was around 4 months old I started to seek medical assistance for her but not getting any answers from my pediatrician I decided to take her to a chiropractor thinking that quite possibly she needed an adjustment...lol :)...I was desperate! Well, this particular doctor asked me lots and lots of questions, including lots of questions about ME, and eventually narrowed the problem down to ME and MY gut. I was a little shocked but I was having stomach issues, I was desperate to fix her, and alternative medicine was not new to me so I was open and I agreed to his conclusions and suggestions. He put me on what he called an "anti-inflammatory" diet which was very strict. It was gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, plus more "free" than I can really remember all these years later. I was also on a lot of probiotics and enzymes. Well, in a couple weeks my symptoms started dissipating and within about 5 months all symptoms had disappeared. Unfortunately I was under the impression that it was just a temporary issue and slowly but surely stair stepped my way out of the diet.

Several years went by and as time went on my health deteriorated in a slow progression that didn't just smack me in the face...in fact by the usual standards I ate healthy...however, I put on 40 pounds, I had extreme changes in the texture and health of my hair...including loss of hair, my hormones were a mess, I experienced chronic fatigue, bouts of depression and anxiety, adhd symptoms, my IBS symptoms returned but not as extreme as the first time, I experienced bouts of sleep disturbances, my abdomen was bloated, I craved sugar...there's more but that gives you an accurate picture of just how unhealthy I was.

Frustrated with how I was feeling and wanting to lose the pounds I decided to go back on the diet that the doctor had suggested 3 years prior. It was easy and something I knew I could start right away. In addition, I went to the library and the internet and researched and read everything I could get my hands on. Interestingly, I started to lose weight right away...and my energy started returning...and I started to feel better. In 4 months, I lost 30 pounds following a gluten-free, dairy-free, low sugar, nothing artificial diet with probiotics, digestive enzymes, and cod fish oil. I found my body likes that! I became a strong believer that your body will lose weight by following the principles of building a healthy gut...as most overweight individuals do NOT have healthy gut flora or a balanced immune system...therefore neither is there a balanced hormonal system. So another essential piece to the puzzle for me was finding the resources that discussed healing the gut and immune system. This plays a huge role in the development of today's auto-immune diseases both in the child and adult.

SO many people decide for some reason or another, some by choice and some through diagnosis, to go gluten-free...so they don't eat wheat, barley, or rye. They successfully cut out wheat bread or breaded chicken nuggets but they don't want to give up their bread or chicken nuggets so they just exchange the bad in for the bad...they get gluten-free bread, gluten-free chicken nuggets, and snack on gluten-free pastries instead. All of which continues to feed the yuck that is brewing in your gut...therefore, continuing to feed the source and feed the growing disease state of your body...you maybe just slowed it down. The bottom line is not really the gluten. Yes, you've successfully eliminated the gluten but NOOO you are not really changing the health index of your food choices! You are not really fixing the problem just skating around it.

That is not what I did! I completely changed our lifestyle. All of us...me, my husband, and four young children. NO it wasn't easy...it took discipline and persistence!  So our diet consisted of primarily whole foods...low to no sugar and nothing artificial. Our calories came from veggies, protein, yogurt, some fruit, some high quality starches. I also learned to read labels and understand the verbiage on them. This took time...to get used to and to transform our kitchen, recipe logs, fluency at the grocery store, taste buds!! Yes, your taste buds are trained to favor whatever you feed them...they had to change too! Also cravings had to subside and our blood sugar needed regulated and balanced. It was a process.



My inspiration came from websites like:
http://gapsdiet.com/
http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/

And books like:
Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies
The Amen Solution
Healing ADD

**links will take you to Amazon but they are not affiliate links. I checked them out at the library! Then I bought them!! :))

It has been over a year now since we started on this journey. I have learned SO much. We are all SO much healthier. Do I have Crohn's or IBS? I don't really know....quite possibly. If so, I am in remission...through diet and supplements alone! I never went and got officially tested. From what I have read the tests are painful and not always very accurate. I wouldn't go on medication anyways so why bother. I just know that following a diet plan that includes the elimination of gluten works for me. I also know that my body can't handle carbs or sugar very well...it gets very addicted. I also know that while following the basis of our lifestyle...high protein, low carbs, simple carbs, alkalizing, digestive enzymes, probiotics, whole food supplementation...I lose weight and feel great!

I still have another 30-35 pounds to lose. I didn't give up but I did stagnate and then I did gain 10 pounds back over the holidays...probably one of the most gluten, sugar induced times of year. Excitedly, I found a company that follows these principles in a weight loss system. I already understand the principles and eat the recommended food for the diet so that wasn't a need for me...but I do benefit from the structure of a plan that is laid out and getting the assistance from some needed, high-quality supplementation is helping me boost the process to complete what I started. So far on this plan, I have lost 10 pounds and my clothing went from super tight to very lose and on the brink of the next size. My blood pressure is also down.

I will continue to add resources, my experiences, recipes, etc. I know that I don't have IT ALL documented in this ONE post! Just a quick synopsis...lol...quick, right? :))) I can also answer any questions that you may have so please feel free to discuss your experiences or ask your questions below.

May you be blessed with good health and the motivation and resources to be your best!

xoxo

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Adobo Recipe (low carb-high protein)

I am on the hunt for low carb, protein rich crockpot recipes to make life easier on the days I work and don't get home until 5:30-6:00. This sounds so good to me...but I do like tangy dishes! Also, if you like to try foods outside of traditional American culture, which I do...this one is Filipino.



Chicken Adobo
  • 5-6 chicken breasts
  • worshershire sauce
  • red wine vinegar
  • soy sauce (I use organic, low sodium, gluten-free)
Pour equal parts of liquids over chicken. Cook on Low approximately 8 hrs.
**fyi: another recipe I saw adds garlic, onion, and water and omited the woshershire sauce which sounds like a good variation. You can also use white vinegar.
**I have also read that you can add some sugar if the taste is too pungent for you. I will not be doing this but it is an option.

I will serve the rest the family a side of brown rice and a steamed veggie.

FANTASTIC!

If you have a favorite you can share with me, please post it in the comment section...vegetarian recipes welcome...and we are gluten-free!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rose Elliot: Vegetarian High Protein-Low Carb Resource


I found this author, Rose Elliot, to have, what appears to be, some great low carb diet vegetarian cookbooks and other resources that support the high protein...low carb VEGETARIAN lifestyle. We are learning...right Yoli Veggie Girl?...that you CAN be a vegetarian without a diet that is centered around carbs. Interestingly, I am not a vegetarian but I am enjoying so much researching this topic that I very much could just become one! :D I am definitely going to be buying some of these books asap!

BTW--It's been awhile since I blogged :( but I am back. I have a lot to keep track of these days as I am pursuing hard my mission to lose weight. Figured what better place to keep notes, track progress, and discuss ideas and tips but here on my blog. Beats Facebook...kinda...

So stay tuned!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Home-Made Yogurt Recipe/Directions

Making home-made yogurt...










Supplies needed:
  • Milk (1/2-1 Gallon)
  • 2-4 Tbsp. yogurt starter such as Dannon Plain, Stoneyfield Plain, Fage Plain
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Spoon
  • Stock pot w/lid
  • Heating Pad
  • Towel
  • Stove
  • Empty Sink

Step One is to heat your milk in the stock pot to 180-185F. Heat slowly on medium heat and stir often. You will notice the milk becoming a little frothy on top when it is getting close (you can see it in the picture). It takes about 15 minutes. However, check often with your thermometer until you get more comfortable with the process.




Step Two is to cool your milk in the stock pot to 110F. I put water with some ice cubes in my kitchen sink to roughly the same level of the milk in the pot. You can release some of the water if you notice your pot floating. Stir frequently and check often with your thermometer. Once you hit 110F, remove from ice bath and move to step 3.



Step Three is to culture your milk and tuck it away to ferment. I use ~2 Tbsp. of yogurt starter for 1/2 gallon and ~4 Tbsp. of yogurt starter for 1 gallon of milk and I let my starter sit out while I am cooking the milk to allow it to get to room temperature. I gently whisk/stir the starter into the pot to ensure an even distribution of the starter. Then I cover the pot with it's lid and I place the pot onto a heating pad set to medium. To keep it nice and warm I tuck the edges of the heating pad up against the side of the pot, like it's hugging the pot and fold over a towel and tuck it under the pad's edges.

Step Four is leave it to ferment for 12-24 hours. I will typically make my yogurt late afternoon/early evening and I will disturb it late morning the next day. Keep warm and do not stir or disturb. It must sit quietly for the helpful bacteria to culture and do what it needs to do to turn your milk into yogurt. The helpful bacteria consume the sugar found in milk, called lactose, and in result you get lactic acid. Lactic acid is the by-product that is responsable for the tangy flavor and for preserving the milk from spoiling during the process.

Step Five is to break the seal :). Take off the lid and stir. Stiring the yogurt at this point disrupts the chemistry that is taking place in the pot.







I then strain my yogurt to get a thicker consistency. If you don't strain it, it will be a drinkable yogurt consistency. I use another pot and I place a strainer lined with cheese cloth on top, I then dump my yogurt into the strainer. Very quickly the liquid will start to strain through. This liquid contains the whey. Removing the whey not only thickens your yogurt but removes a great deal of the sugar carbs that come from the whey. Most of the sugar that comes from the lactose should  be eaten up during the fermentation process. The longer (up to 24 hours and no longer though) you ferment, the more lactose you remove from the final product. The longer you strain, the more whey you remove from the final product. I usually strain my yogurt for about 1/2 hour, scraping the bottom of the cheese cloth to keep it circulating. You can strain for up to 24 hrs. depending on what consistency you are looking for. Think no strain: drinkable yogurt; 30-60 min.strain: regular yogurt to Greek yogurt consistency; 6-8 hr. strain: thick sour cream; 12-24 hrs. strain: cream cheese consistency.


Step Six is to jar it up and store it. I use glass storage with snap seal lids but use what you have on hand until you can get a better system for storage. Then place the containers in the back of fridge and let it sit for 12-24 hrs. to chill and thicken to final stage of eating.





Step Seven is to EAT and ENJOY! I love mine plain. We also enjoy it mixed with honey, unsweetened applesauce, fresh fruit, all-natural jam. I have also added herbs to make a veggie dip. The list is endless on how you can enjoy home-made yogurt.

Step Eight is to start over and make some more! Reserve the amount you need for a starter and make a new batch once you're ready for more.

Just a note: I used 2% the first round but since then have used Whole so I can get a thicker consistency. I do not add solid milk products...some people do to thicken (commercial yogurt definitely adds solids and pectins)...solid milk products add too much lactose and changes the pH of the yogurt which can impact the quality of your probiotics.

1/2 gallon with 30 minute strain yields about 48 oz. of yogurt.

You can also use soy milk, coconut milk, sheep's milk, goat's milk. You will need to purchase yogurt starter packets if using cow's milk alternatives.

Lastly, my yogurt has always come out quite tasty but don't forget that sometimes things can just happen and not come out as planned. Don't give up...just try again!



Look of yogurt after 7 hours of fermentation. Thick gelatin like layer on top, a little bubbly, and a yummy, tangy cheesy odor! :D
Enjoy!!! You can safely consume up to 3 cups of home-made yogurt a day. A great natural probiotic which helps keep your immunity strong and healthy AND a great protein source. Let me know if you have any questions and keep me posted on how your yogurt comes out!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Moment Captured


Quietly talking amongst themselves, little Lu gently slips her hand into her big sisters. Melted my heart.

"A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life". ~Isadora James 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Healthy Home-Made Veggie Wash (Recipe)


How many of you use FIT or some other sort of pre-mixed veggie wash? Well we just recently ran out so while I was at the market my jaw almost dropped when I revisted the price, I held off on purchasing so I could research a coupon deal and well lucky me, I came across something better! My friend Karen, who may I add is super creative and makes tons of home-made things, shared this recipe for home-made veggie wash on her blog Sippy Cup Central. Score!...an awesome frugal find and she agreed to let me share it with y'all, hope you can use it too!

Homemade Veggie Wash Recipe:
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 TBS baking soda
2 TBS lemon juice

Directions:
-Mix ingredients then pour in clean spray bottle. Spray vegetables and fruit generously. Sit for 5 minutes then rinse off well.
-Make sure to first mix ingredients in deep container since there will be some fizzing from the baking soda and vinegar.

(Thanks Karen!)

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