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May 28, 2015

Whole30 - Day 28 and counting down

I am still moving toward the end of May nicely.  I am not struggling with my food at all.  I am not craving sugar or bread or feeling hungry most of the time.  I am also NOT experiencing Tiger Blood and still have arthritis and fatigue symptoms and some digestive issues but they are all a bit better each week.  I am contemplating adding a few things in during the month of June and then heading back into a modified 30 days for July if I am able to coordinate that with any possible travel we might be doing.

Can I just say out loud that I am kind of tired of eating meat every meal?  I want a night where I can just have a lentil soup or something vegetarian.  I am going to test the waters on that and see how it goes soon.  I was eating vegetarian at least 2 full days a week before I started this and would like to move back to some options to do that again.

I am also suspicious of the Nightshade vegetables again, too.  I would like to do an AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) version of the Whole30 and be very strict with it to see how that affects my body, too.

I am not done with this Whole30 thing by any stretch of the imagination.

I know I don't want to start putting sugar back in regularly.  I might need to make some rules for me to keep me on track.  I would allow for desserts for very special occasions like birthdays and a holiday celebration but keep it in check the rest of the time.  I still need to think through that.

I also want to find some more Paleo versions of things for me to eat to keep gluten at arm's length.  I want to stay more with veggies and fruits and not bread and pasta dishes for my meals.  I know already that the pasta for lunch would make me super draggy the rest of the day so I want to put better things in throughout the day.

Saturday is my last full day.

I will measure and weigh in on Sunday morning and report back on progress with photos.  I don't anticipate a huge weight loss but I know I am not puffy and swollen like before.  I know my clothes are fitting more loosely and Dan says he notices a difference in my shape.  We will see...

I am hoping to write more regularly through the weekend and into June but this week has been a bear. We have had so many thing we are trying to finish for the end of another school year and we should start slowing down drastically come Monday June 1st.

I will be grateful for some lazier days of summer.

Thanks for following my journey this month and know that I am not done and that I will still be reporting on health and home and family.

Thank you for all of your support!

Blessings,

~Leann

May 22, 2015

Whole30 - Day 22 and counting down

After thinking that I had totally missed the weird dreams about food phase I had one last night.  It was crazy... I inhaled a loaf of bread in the dream but the funniest thing is that I don't even think about bread anymore.  I think it was more about the panic I felt after I ate it and the feeling of not ever wanting to be in that stage of eating desperation ever again.  I have decided that when I do put whole wheat back in to test the old system it will be homemade bread and not store bought ever again.  I say never again because I want only whole food going in from now on... that may not be possible but I can sure try.  I need to institute a weekly baking day again like I used to have before this Lupus mess took over.  I think I can pull it off.  

I have been repeating a lot of my meals and eating simple things for breakfast like the granola, fruit and a breakfast meat and the sweet potato hash with an egg on top.  They are becoming favorites and I know I will continue to enjoy them long after this is over.  

I have had some leg and foot cramping this week some.  I am adding a multivitamin back into my routine and am upping my water and a bit more salt to see if that is helpful.  I know I am getting enough potassium because I get a lot of potatoes and bananas weekly.  I also still enjoy a variety of nuts and dried fruits.  I think the issue is more a lack of magnesium and potassium.  I dropped a lot of mag heavy foods out when I started this 30 day process.  I think my body is rebelling due to that deficiency.  

Here are a few newer foods I have eaten lately...



In other news we are closing in on the end of school.

The band concert is over and we are biding our time until the choir concert is over next Wednesday night.  The kids have finished up all their major state and college prep testing and they are moving into "dead week" and then class semester finals.  I think they are exempt from most of them so that will be a very light week.  They run school here until the second week of June... which I have always thought was absolutely insane!  That is too long.

Em starts driver's education and then we start packing and prepping kids for their various summer camps and trips.  There might actually be one week all summer where we are all home together.  It will be a little crazy but the kids have really been looking forward to scout camps, youth camps and mission trip adventures so I am not sweating it.  I will take them when I can get them and pray for them non-stop along the way.

We will have a new senior in a little more than two weeks and that has enough crazy of it's own.  I am letting my girl enjoy the summer she has with friends and trips before that consumes our world.  They grow up so quickly!

I am ending this post with a few pics for Mamaw...  

The middles at their band banquet

Mother, please stop taking pictures!

Emily trying to get David to do something and he is refusing....
 I have no idea!  
LOL  It was just a funny photo.

The boys prepped food for Mother's Day... 
Josh is quite the grill master when Dad is supervising

David tossing salad at Grandma's house

Em playing her solo at the school class piano recital.

Now, you have been photo blasted!  LOL

Have an amazing Memorial Day Weekend.  

I will check in if I get a chance tomorrow and probably Monday.  

Blessings to you and yours!


May 21, 2015

A Summer Reading Plan...

I am currently reading four books.  

Crazy Love by Francis Chan
It Starts with Food by the Hartwigs
In conjunction with that I am reading Whole30 - the new one they just released

For review I am working on:

The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy
&
Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

You know me.... I read more than one all the time.  

I am reading two for review and two for me.  All of them are proving to be great books so far.  

I had a stack of books I was collecting on my desk that just got moved to underneath the table by my bed and that is my go to list for summer reading so far.  It might change but I needed to narrow it down to save my sanity. 

These are the ones I am allowing myself to choose from and I am cutting off all purchasing of new books for the entire summer.  I mean, if I am in a used bookstore and find a treasure I will allow it but if it can wait I won't buy it.  I am good at holding myself back on such things...  LOL  This list may change but this is where I am beginning.  I have plenty of books within my four walls to keep me busy for years.  I think this is a good variety of different genres to keep my mind going with no boredom (as if I could ever be bored with books?!?!)


I will break this list down more as I move through the summer and share each one with you.  I won't finish this whole stack and I already know that but this is my limited selections... again... so I don't become so crazy overwhelmed trying to pick the next one in line.  That is not to say I won't wander off the list and grab another one from another shelf that catches my eye but I am trying... really.... I am!  LOL

 I have some books on my NOOK that are possibilities, too.  


These are all books I have had on the NOOK for some time with the intention of reading them but have just put them off.  I will admit that reading on my NOOK or Kindle is not my favorite but the prices on these books is fabulous so I have copies of books I want that I could not afford otherwise.   I have not even looked at the selections from my Kindle I could read, yet.  I want to start on the NOOK first.  I am trying to take an e-reader instead of a stack of hardbound books for traveling this summer.  It sure saves space in a travel bag but I cannot promise I won't grab one or two of the "real books" just because I love them so!

I will post books as I finish and there will certainly be some review books added along the way I will want to share with you.

So, what does your summer reading plan look like?  

Have you even begun to contemplate that, yet?

If you post books I would love to see your list.  Leave me a comment with your link or share your list there if you don't blog.  

Happy Summer Reading!



May 20, 2015

Whole30 - Day 20


I must confess, at this point, that I have been off my Lupus medication (not a bad thing folks.... I am not going to die).  It is not like going off blood pressure or heart meds where I would have a stroke if I don't take them.  People go off them all the time if they find they have vision issues.  I merely got off temporarily to see how the diet plan would affect my inflammation.  It has helped drastically but I am having skin issues still and my energy level is not where I would like it to be.  As a matter of fact it is nowhere close to where I would like it to be.  I am not sure why no tiger blood has happened but my clothes are getting more and more loose by the day so something is happening.  I am not craving any sugar or fast food.  I am enjoying my food and my taste buds are awake again so things are much more flavorful.  I am going to go ahead and restart my lupus medication today to see what happens next.  I am hoping it will boost the process a bit to bring on more energy and more clarity from my ongoing Lupus fog.  

I am hoping to try some new recipes over the coming 10 days because I am feeling I am in a bit of a food rut the last few days.  I am just resorting to easy and I want to challenge myself a bit more.  I am also finding that I am filling up on smaller amounts of food and there are times I am not even hungry when mealtime rolls around but I eat anyway because I am not suppose to skip meals.

 A grocery run is in order.

I will do a food post by Friday with more yummy photos!  

I just posted a bell pepper recipe I made Monday.

Stuffed Bell Peppers.... Paleo Style



Just so you know up front... I do not measure anything on this recipe.


I have made these for many years with rice added to them but needed a Paleo version for this Whole30.  I added far more veggies to this version and find that I like it better than the meat and rice version.  So, here is what I did...

I chopped a rainbow of bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green) and then I chopped an onion and some zucchini into medium dice as well and then I sauteed it all and then put it aside in a bowl.

The green one will become the vessel to fill shortly...


I added olive oil to a hot pan (medium hot or you will have smoking oil)

This is my favorite sauteing pan

I just saute until the onions are shiny and starting to become opaque and the other veg is slightly softened

I use ground turkey but you could use ground anything... pork, beef, chicken, etc...
If you are not using the lean version then you may need to drain off some liquid before adding veggies into the pan with them.

I saute until thoroughly cooked and crumbly

While I am cooking the turkey I hollow out the green peppers... you can use whatever color you wish but I happened to have green this day.


Once the turkey or other meat is browned and crumbly you can add the veggies back into the pan and saute together for a few minutes to blend flavors.  I salt and pepper to taste at this point.

Once everything is mixed I add a can of tomato sauce to pull it all together and add extra flavor.

Once this is thoroughly blended you are ready to stuff the peppers.

Once they are stuffed you put them into a deep dish with water at least halfway up the sides and I have started adding a lid to them to steam the peppers a little more when I bake them.  Pop them into a 350 degree oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until peppers are softened.  If I have any Marinara sauce in the refrigerator (which I often do because I make it a lot) I would add some on top of the filling toward the end of the baking period.

Sometimes I have a little leftover filling when I am not accurate so I just serve a little extra spilling out the top for my men folk.  They don't complain.  My husband has been known to pack this with extra rice for lunches.


Here they are... ready to serve!  I don't even miss the rice but if you want you could serve this with rice and a salad and it is a fine and filling meal.


May 15, 2015

Whole30.... The Halfway Mark

So, I have reached the hump, so to speak.  I will start the downside of this beast tomorrow.  It has been great so far.  I have followed along with the timeline pretty much but my energy level is still waning.  I am hoping this next week will prove to change that.  I am staying strong with my eating but I am still not diving into an exercise plan yet.  Maybe I can add some walking three days next week or some light weights or Pilates.  I am finding that water plays a huge role in my energy level, too.  My afternoons are better when I have been hydrating early and often each day.  I am trying to tank a 32 ounce water before I start with coffee in the mornings and my coffee intake is down to 1-2 cups a day now instead of 4-5.  If I crave a hot beverage in the evenings I will have a chamomile or mint tea to wind down with.  

Here is a glimpse of a few more things I have eaten this week.  



I am getting a little more creative with it and making things with shrimp some this week and adding some squash noodles for lunches instead of the typical pasta I used to eat.  My clothes are fitting looser and I feel better overall but still have the aches and arthritis in the mornings and evenings after being sedentary for a bit.  I am moving enough throughout the day that I am not so stiff during daylight hours.  Another crazy thing is that my nails are growing like CRAZY!!!  I have always had stubby short nails with the thyroid issue but they are getting stronger and growing faster than ever.  My hair seems to be growing faster, too.  Em and I are going to get haircuts tomorrow.  

So, Day 15 comes to a close with a yummy meal I have not photographed yet...

Grilled Chicken/Pineapple Kabobs with Asparagus

and the family will add rice to their meal.

Hopefully, I can do some photo organizing to share a catered event I did yesterday for my MIL's piano recital.  It was just cookies and punch but everything was lovely!

Tomorrow is our last Korean Language Class for the summer and I am putting a plan together for me to continue studying through the summer on my own.

I am also working on a Summer Reading Post...

Stay tuned!



May 14, 2015

Whole30 - Day 14.... a chatty post

Some mornings you wake up early and check your messages to find that your employer has cancelled you for the day because she is sick.  So, you grab a cup of coffee, your Bible and computer and head back to bed.  At least that is what I have done this morning.  After being on my feet baking and cleaning a kitchen all day yesterday I am grateful for the slower morning today.  I am sad my friend is sick but I am taking advantage of the down time.

It has been overcast and muggy here lately.  That is typically not the kind of weather we have in May.  It has been a cooler May this year and I am hoping that trend continues a bit longer before we head into the 100+ days.

If you are following along at home you will know that I am currently in the middle of the "Boundless Energy - Now Give Me a Damn Twinkie" phase (Days 12-15) of the Whole30 right now.  I am neither bounding nor craving at this point.  I am just plugging along.  I have not had any crazy dreams but on days 11-12 I did experience the "tighter clothing" to a small degree (a few days late)... just a bit of the bloat for a day or two.  Everything seems to have gone back to normal now, though.

I suspect I have not moved through some of the phases as others have because of several factors.  One, I had pretty much eliminated soy, MSG and nitrites/sulfites from my diet before I ever started this process.  I am allergic to soy and have some pretty serious reactions to the other chemicals... like massive headaches and hives.  So, I ditched those some time ago.  Secondly, I have Lupus and Fibromyalgia junk going on that other people don't deal with.  I think it slows the process of recovery a bit because I still have arthritis, pain and stiffness, and fatigue.  Those won't disappear quickly I am afraid.

I also began eating a more whole food diet several years ago.  This round, for me, was more about ditching sugar and other possible allergens.  I am finding that some things are getting better but I feel I still have a long way to go in relieving the arthritis, body aches and stiffness.  I find that overdoing it activity wise is playing a greater role in the aches and pains than diet right now.

The only thing I am still hanging on to is the coffee.... I do love my coffee but I drink mine black so the only issue is the caffeine.  If I go on to do a second Whole30 at some point I might ditch the coffee and see what happens.  I am limiting my coffee intake to mornings only at this point and am certainly sleeping better because of it and the food choices I am making now.

I don't miss dairy except for my occasional yogurt.  I find that healthy fats and avocado are a great way to curb the cheese I thought I could not give up.  I had stopped drinking milk a long time ago and drink the Cashew and Almond milks with 25 and 30 calories per serving (no sugar) and they suffice very nicely for me.

The only grains I miss are the occasional bowl of oat porridge at breakfast because I just like it. I miss a good bowl of rice to put stuff on top of at dinnertime.  I did eat a lot of rice before I started this process.  I don't know about wheat.... I don't seem to be craving a sandwich or dinner roll and such.  I think over a longer period of time I would miss the treat of biscuits with gravy or a scone or cookie with coffee but it is not something that is torturing me.  I baked cookies yesterday for that event and had no trouble, whatsoever, resisting the urge to taste anything.  My 10 year old was a fine taster of all things sweet yesterday.  My husband came in and devoured a plate of samples I left for him and approved, too.  He is still a sugar addict.  LOL  If it is in the house he will eat it.  His day is coming.

I have been eating some repeat items this week.  I made up a batch of the Sweet Potato/Brussel Sprout Hash and have had that several mornings this week.  I also finished off my Paleo Chili and have had another round of the Zoodle Spaghetti with Paleo Meatballs.  I made a few chicken breasts up to cut up on top of salads for lunches and a homemade vinaigrette to go with it.  We had a Curried Chicken Broccoli Coconut Soup last night that the family ate over rice and I just had plain.  I have also had my Paleo Shrimp Fried Rice (grated cauliflower) a few times.  I will post a collage of food from the week tomorrow.

I think Dan is getting hamburgers for the kids tonight because it will be a rushed evening and the recital falls at dinnertime.  We have to leave the house very early to set up a reception table for a recital with those cookies I baked and a bowl of punch for my MIL.  She is playing a piano recital tonight that she has been preparing for over a year.  I will eat something here before I go and pack a Larabar and a bottle of water just in case.

Well, I am off and running now.... getting breakfast and another cuppa coffee and then gathering supplies for tonight while my youngest is plugging away with his school stuff.

I will have some links, books, and a recipe or two to share with you tomorrow.  I will have more time to work on a collage and putting that together in the morning.  Have I mentioned how much I love www.picmonkey.com ?  It is FANTASTIC!  See you soon!

May 12, 2015

Whole30... The Hard Days

I have zero pictures for today because I am just too exhausted to bother.  LOL  

Well, it is not that I have no pictures because I do and I will share them.  But today... no.

This week is hectic.

Days 10-11 were suppose to be hard days.  

Well, they were not any harder than any of the other days and I am doing fine.  I am staying the course and hanging in there.  I have had a bit of a headache today but I have a crick in my neck from sleeping wrong on it last night.

Tomorrow and Thursday might be harder days than any other because I got an order for cookies for a reception in the midst of this whole thing.  I love baking and I love customers and filling orders but I am going to have to be diligent with not tasting stuff.  Since I cannot eat or taste any of what I bake I am going to have to rely on my husband and kids to do that for me.  

The hard part will be watching myself to keep from habitually tasting stuff.  It is so ingrained in me as a chef to taste my food as I work to make sure it is worthy of the customer's event.  I won't be able to this time.  I will have to keep my eye on the prize and trust my family to tell me the truth.  They usually do a good job as taste testers.

I am going to try and knock out all the cookies in the morning so I can put them away and store them out of sight and mind.  Then I have to be at the event where it will all be out on the table.  I am also serving one of my favorite punch recipes and I can have NONE OF IT!  

Now, that is what I call the Hard Days.... the rest has been a piece of cake (without actually eating cake).  

I am also not experiencing the boundless energy promised for Day 12 (today).  I am hoping that by Friday I will have some recovery time from working two days with my friend Sherrie, evening events and then baking cookies.  

With Lupus I try not to do more than one night out a week because it really wears me out to be out after dinner.  This week I have to break that rule and I might need a week off to recover.  

Ha!  I have teens... that will never happen.

Oh, and today I picked up my new glasses... I look like an old lady with big kids but I love that they are purple and that I can see again.  Hurrah for seeing and for PURPLE!!!

Note the little photo bomber!  Silly boy!!!

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