Monday, November 29, 2010

The wheels fell off my Paleo Wagon when I got hit by the Gluten Bus.

I knew that if I went off the Paleo wagon for Thanksgiving I wasn't going to feel well at all. I had no idea that I was going to feel this bad. Planning ahead for how I was going to handle the holiday, I wasn't too worried. For me, Thanksgiving is one of the easiest holidays to accommodate a wide variety of food needs. (With the exception of v*gan, since butter seems to creep in to everything!) I was a vegetarian for years and never panicked about Thanksgiving, since there's such a variety of foods to chose from.
So, with that being said, the wide variety of food choices is only good if you have the sense to not eat the stuff that's going to make you feel like doodie. The food we ate was all super high quality, fresh, gourmet and delicious. It was also full of grains in a multitude of ways. From the cheese biscuits and gravy that I made, to the hot clam dip & crackers, to the desserts.... Oy. There was plenty for me to chose from that was "safe" but I chose not to do that.
I felt ok after I ate, no indigestion. I had a happy stomach. I didn't eat too much. I was satisfied. So far, so good.
Friday morning, the sharp hip pain that has been my enemy for many years was back with a roaring vengeance. My hands felt hot and swollen, hard to make a fist, shoulders sore, pretty intense back pain. General feeling of aching in my whole body.

I have learned my lesson. The take away from this experience is that I didn't realize how much better I felt eating Paleo. I knew it was good, but you kind of forget what the discomfort level was when it goes away gradually. I'm horrified that I used to feel like this all of the time. The big guy and I got right back on track on Friday. Lots of good healthy foods and good healthy fats. A big veggie & chicken stir fry for dinner. When we went out to the Roller Derby on Saturday, I packed a dinner of roast pork, sweet potatoes and asparagus with lemon. Sunday was our annual household "Thanksgiving, Part II, the Slaughter of the Lambs". (It's our private feast of Pommes Anna, rack of baby lamb, roasted duck, butternut squash & apples)

I can't wait to start feeling better!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Here's one of my favorite soups. It's got sort of a Thai feeling to it. It's warming from the spices and if you make up a good sized batch, you can have a few meals out of it. Varying the add-ins will keep it interesting and keep food boredom at bay. Start with the basic ingredients (coconut milk, canned pumpkin, chicken stock) and add your own favorites as you see fit. I'm not one of those people who ever makes the same thing the same way twice. But that's what keeps life interesting, isn't it?

Start with:
1 can coconut milk (the real, full fat kind)
1 can pumpkin puree (do I need to say get the kind that it JUST pumpkin, not sweetened?)
2 to 4 cups of chicken stock, depending on how thick you like your soup. (Home made is best. Just save all your chicken bones in a bag in the freezer and make a batch of stock once a month. Your stomach and taste buds will thank you.)

Bring all that to a simmer and add some or all of the following:
Fish sauce, to taste
Diced red pepper

Fresh Ginger, diced finely
Tamarind Paste (unsweetened, adds a nice tart flavour. Optional, you can use lime juice instead. Or use them both.)
Lime Juice
Curry Leaves (if you can get these, they are divine! Located in the produce section of any good Indian grocer.)
Turmeric (adds an amazing yellow colour to the soup and is an anti-inflammatory in conjunction with the ginger!)

Simmer a bit longer. Adjust seasonings. Take off of the heat and add in some:
Scallions/green onions

If I'm making a big batch to eat later, I like to leave out the cilantro, scallions and lime. After I reheat whatever portion I am eating, I'll add those in to the individual serving. This keeps the soup from tasting flat and boring. Nothing like the pop from some freshly chopped herbs to make a meal sing!

You can add some shredded, cooked chicken or other meats to make a nice quick, vegetable filled meal. Makes a great breakfast on a chilly morning. Enjoy!

My Endocrinologist is a weinie....

I just got back from a visit to my endo. He's so fracking useless.
Past conversations have gone as such: "how are you feeling?" Doc, i feel like crap, I'm exhausted, I can't lose weight, my skin is dry, my periods are crazy, I have palpitations at night, my hair is falling out, as are my eye brows. What can we do about this? "nothing, you have Hashimoto's so it's normal for you to feel like this." End of conversation.

Today's visit was pathetic. He examined my thyroid by feeling my neck like a scared little boy copping his first feel of a nipple. Barely skimming the skin. Um, Doc, my thyroid is INSIDE OF MY NECK, not on the surface. I think you need a bit more pressure to feel anything.

As useless as he is as a doctor, he is a good relay for my lab results. My numbers are great right now. I had to twist his arm to get him to write a scrip for a thyroid antibody test. He told me it was useless - "You have Hashimoto's, it's not going away. Although, your numbers were very high the last time they were tested."

He would not, or could not, answer me when I asked if I was feeling better AND the antibody numbers were lower then there might be a connection between the two things. I suppose he really doesn't know. Which is sad. As my Aunt says "well, honey, not every doctor graduated at the head of the class. Someone had to be the worst student."

He was not interested in the changes I've made, the weight that I've lost, the fish oil, the vitamin D3, the selenium, the manganese, the magnesium, eliminating gluten, paleo or anything. All he said was "your numbers are good", in a non-committal, non-enthusiastic voice. He did not say "wow, your numbers are vastly better" (TSH, 3rd generation has gone from 15.22 / in 2008 down to 6.47 in 2009 after starting the selenium/manganese down to 3.65 at this most recent blood work.)

AND, AND AND... this blood work is actually from a couple of months ago, before I went fairly strict paleo in early September 2010. (I've been putting off going to see him since he's so useless. I just get depressed when I see him) Since he wrote out a scrip for all new blood work, I'm going to go soon and see if there's an even bigger improvement.

Signing off and headed to do some work in the studio. (I took the whole day off to recoup mentally after the visit to Dr. Useless.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grocery shopping

Tonight we head off to Wegmans for our bi-monthly grocery shopping. When I started changing my diet (mainly Nourishing Traditions in 2009, mainly Paleo/Primal in mid 2010) I was worried that I couldn't do it shopping at a "traditional" grocery store. I figured I'd have to mail order all of my food, and who could afford this, so why even bother? I just had to out my thinking cap on and figure it out. It all boils down to the standard advice of shopping the "perimeter" of the store to avoid all the junk. (Although, our Wegmans has toilet paper and the bakery on the perimeter....don't worry, I'm a smart girl, I can adjust!)

Here's what I usually pick up at Wegmans. In the "nature's marketplace" section I grab coconut oil, coconut milk (regular, not 'lite') coconut cream and coconut shreds and sunbutter. In international foods, I get my olive oil, fish sauce, PG Tips tea, sardines (Goya brand, packed in olive oil) and occasionally kippers (yum!). Also, there's a good selection of bulk Indian spices, like the anti-inflammatory Turmeric and ginger, and garam masala. Somewhere in the middle aisles is the tuna and canned Alaskan salmon.
The baking aisle has all the regular spices: black pepper, sea salt, Italian seasonings, paprika, etc. Also, dried fruit like dates to make my Ayla Bars.
In frozen foods, I usually get a couple of bags of greens - turnip greens, kale, collards, okra, etc. In dairy, I pick up a couple of dozen eggs (either organic free range or omega-3). Heavy cream, though I am thinking that is bothering me also, so I'm going to try knocking that off for a while to see if I feel less congested.
The meat department...hmmm, Wegs is a bit spendy on the meat. I'll usually grab a couple of whole chickens and chicken livers there but the majority of the beef I get is picked up on sale at Pathmark. We've been stocking up on $1.99 lb London broils since the Big Guy and i both eat them. Plus I make a ton of jerky using the London broil.
Near the meat department, with the fancy cheeses is my beloved grass fed butter. It's pricey but so, so worth it. Kerrygold, I love you!
The Veggies.... Again, Wegs is expensive on the veggies. With the sheer volume of vegetables I am eating, I just can't afford to buy all my produce there. (their produce is beautiful.) There's a local Korean veggie market near our house that opened back in the summer. I usually spend anywhere from 25 to 40 bucks there every week to 10 days. Their prices are great and since I buy so much they throw me the occasional discount or if they see me buying something that's a bit sketchy, they go in the back and get me a better/fresher/bigger one! Nice! They are my source for sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, peppers, greens of all kinds, onions, fresh ginger, avocados, and amazing mangoes (which I have to really limit myself on until I lean out a bit. Wah! I could eat a couple of those babies each day.)

So, that's what's in my grocery bag. Now for my life updates. The Big Guy has been looking in horror (my perception, probably not really true) at the amount of fat that I've been eating. I kid you not, If I am feeling snacky I will go and eat some coconut oil or a slice of Kerrygold butter. I am so happy to report that with all this good fat eating and all the other changes I've made in my life, I've lost 7 lbs since early September. This is huge for me. I am so happy. Butter snacks rule!

a cool give away!

A very cool website, www.nourishingdays, is doing a very cool giveaway.

L’Equip 524 Dehydrator

Courtesy of

I could get a lot of use out of this product, now that I'm making jerky at least 2 times a month. There's some other great stuff on the pleasant hill website. Like some spiffy meat grinders. Oh, how I wish I ha one of those to make my own sausage and ground beef.
Go check out the dehydrator and good luck!

Monday, November 1, 2010

weights, meats and canine insanity

The dogs had an exhausting day barking at the trick or treaters. (there's a long rant about how out of shape we Americans are when your mom and dad have to DRIVE you from house to house...but that's another blog entry) In the middle of the night, the girlio had a nightmare or something and attacked the boy-o in her sleep. Insanity! She did no damage, in fact, I don't even think she made contact with him but the barking action was loud and fierce. After pulling her away from him, she settled down and went right to sleep. So, I really think she was dreaming.... so strange.

Beef was on a huge sale this week so I stocked up on 7 london broils, of which 6 are now in the freezer. Some will be cooked for lunches and some will be made in to jerky. It's so easy to make jerky in the oven. It's healthy, primal and delicious. I marinate it in Thai fish sauce (to avoid soy) and Sriracha hot sauce and lime juice. Yummy. Ayla likes it.
I also cooked for the week: 1 london broil, 2 meatloafs (1 is in the freezer for next week) and while not really cooking at all, I put up about 10 lbs of cabbage in my crock to make sauerkraut for the winter.

I misread my weight training log and accidentally leg pressed 948 lbs. I couldn't figure out why the lift was so hard. I still churned out a set of 15 but I was absolutely ruined for the rest of the training session. :-)
Let that be a multifaceted lesson to you -
1: be careful how you log your weights in your training log.
2: just because you wrote down the weight that you did...well, sometimes you are stronger than you think you are.

**edited to add: November 1st, 2004 I had my spleen taken out to try to put an end to the ITP. My scar still bothers me sometimes but the ITP is under control. I had to support of my friends and family and my Big Guy throughout it all. I am a lucky girl.