Living Grain Free

I’m on day 6 of 4 mg on the prednisone taper. And this is the best I’ve felt since I began the taper 2 months ago. I’ve been feeling really good for a few days, but was afraid to talk about it too much- didn’t want to jinx it. I’ll be dropping to 2 mg on Sunday. I’m almost there! Almost done! Almost free!

Here’s some examples of what I’ve been eating lately. Grain-free isn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be. As the Paleo Mom says, it’s only effort until it’s routine.

These are grass fed burgers on a lettuce bun with tomato, avocado, and mushrooms. With rutabaga fries. Seriously delicious.

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Breakfast for the family: sautéed sweet potato and beet greens with garlic. Applegate naturals chicken and apple breakfast sausage, and sliced fruit- pluot, banana, and Granny Smith apple. This meal would almost fit within the guidelines of the autoimmune paleo protocol. The sausage is seasoned with spices that include pepper, and nightshades are restricted on the AIP, but it’s pretty close.

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Loving my vitamix and it’s ability to turn large amounts of fruits and veggies into delicious smoothies! Here, I puréed a cucumber (not organic, so I peeled it before blending), a plum, a whole head of romaine, and a beet. I drank 2 big glasses, then blended what was leftover with a frozen banana for my 3 year old. Super sweet and she loved it.

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Super salty lunch salad: 2 cups of baby spinach topped with Applegate naturals uncured salami, raw sauerkraut, and Sicilian style olives. It was tricky to find jarred olives without nasty additives. These have lactic acid and acetic acid (which I think is basically vinegar), but are otherwise just olives, water, and salt. Most of the jarred olives had preservatives, so this was the best option I could find.

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This is now one of my all time favorite recipes. Nut-free, Coconut-free Paleo Muffins from the Paleo Mom. I doubled the batch, made 12 plain muffins, 12 blueberry muffins, and then made blueberry pancakes with what wouldn’t fit in the muffin tins. Everything came out perfect.

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Quick lunch for me while my daughter’s at school: 2 grassfed beef uncured hot dogs with organic ketchup and mustard, olives, raw sauerkraut, and jarred organic shredded red beets.

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I often send these in my daughter’s lunch. Great substitute for a ham sandwich. A grain free crepe from the Against all Grain cookbook, Applegate naturals uncured ham, and raw sauerkraut for a good dose of probiotics to help with digestion.

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And when I eat them myself, I dip it in mustard, and pair it up with a pickle spear, olives, and shredded beets.

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And, in case you missed it in previous posts, this bread recipe is part of what has made my transition to grain-free so easy. Crazy delicious.

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The Week of Rebellion

Well, I got frustrated with the fact that I got seriously sick again after 6 months of nearly perfect eating (as far as I understand nutrition) and total focus on consistent supplementation and funneling all of our resources Into my health and recovery. I was pissed. What was I doing wrong? And what’s the point of working so hard and sacrificing so much (especially financially) if nothing has changed.

In an act of rebellion, I relaxed (slightly) on my diet. I drank coffee for the first time since I left the hospital in January. I’m pretty sure I actually got high on that first cup. Had a small cup with raw goat milk or cow cream and raw organic honey for the next 4 days (except the one day I had coffee at a friends house and used flavored creamer (gasp!)). Anyway, after a few days I started noticing how jittery I felt. And there was a moment in the grocery store when I felt like my blood sugar suddenly plummeted and left me shaky and starving and panicky- leading me to scarf down a whole package of goat cheese in the car before driving home. I remember that kind of thing happening regularly in the past, but I’d forgotten about it, because it hasn’t happened in the past 6 months. Conclusion? Coffee is not right for me. At least not caffeinated. Lesson learned.

In my rebellion, I also ate whatever I wanted at play dates and parties that week. Gluten? Yum. Dairy? Yum. Sugar? Yum. GMO? Yum. Why deprive myself at social functions if I keep getting sick anyway? Yeah, well. There was a consequence for that.

For women who take a lot of prednisone, yeast infections are very common because decreased immunity creates a prime environment for the fungus to thrive. Apparently, my healthy, low sugar diet was protecting me from this terribly uncomfortable side effect, because after my week of rebellion, I have a raging one. I’ve had issues with oral thrush along the way, but haven’t had any problems “down there” until now. And lemme tell ya- this discomfort is not worth those sugary (albeit delicious) desserts. It’s just not.

I didn’t deviate much from my usual plan at home (aside from 2 bowls of sugary cereal- only in the house as a treat for my daughter), but I did try incorporating some raw dairy into my diet. Got a little congested (I’ve noticed that before in response to dairy) and got lots of cystic acne in my T-zone. All around my mouth and nose and between my eyebrows. I haven’t had acne like this since college. Not sure if it’s a reaction to the stress of everything, the dairy, or the toxins in all the cheat foods I was eating- or a combination of all of that. I hadn’t realized how good my skin had actually gotten, so that’s additional motivation to keep me on track with my nutrition efforts.

Coming off my week of rebellion kinda feels like coming home from a crazy drunken spring break or Mardi Gras. It was fun, but I’m still suffering the consequences. And I never want to do it again.

Not everything that I ate was horrible. Here’s some pics of some good things. Sorry- no evidence of the bad stuff.

Ingredients for amazing chicken salad. Including my homemade mayo- emulsified in my new vitamix! Yay!

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Chicken salad sandwich on a gluten-free bun with fermented veggies on the side.

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Ingredients for organic roasted chicken with garlic and rosemary. In the bowl: crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, and ghee.

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Once they cooled, I tore all the meat from the bones (keeping it in the fridge for more chicken salad) and then put the carcasses in the crock pot with lots of water, herbs, celery, carrots, a splash of apple cider vinegar and salt, and let it go for 24 hours. The bone broth is supposed to be very healing for the gut. I’ve been drinking it most mornings since giving up coffee (again).

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This green smoothie tastes like a vanilla milk shake. No joke. Frozen banana, ice, full fat coconut milk, tons of spinach, a few dates, vanilla extract, maca powder, and a few drops of stevia. So, so, so delicious.

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Monday

Mini quiches with sweet potato crust from nourishing meals. Used a yellow and zucchini squash and spinach for the veggies. And several herbs from my garden: sage, chives, oregano, thyme, and basil.

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They were taking too long in the oven, so I ate this while waiting. That’s earth balance spread on gf toast and a glass of iced chamomile tea. And the veggies, of course. Tongue is weirdly swollen today, so eating is a slow process, and tiring. I only ate half the veggies on this plate and saved the rest for later (see dinner).

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I decided yesterday that exercise has been a major component missing from my healing regimen lately. I’ve been so tired and weak some days, and other days I’ve been so focused on researching nutrition and figuring out what plans to follow. Exercise really took a back seat. I’m going to try to change that in the near future, starting today. Walked 3.6 miles with baby girl in the stroller. Not sure if it was my weakness, or her increased weight, but it was slow going. Kept a 20 min/mile pace. It was a gorgeous sunny day, so I put some lemon essential oil in my hair and let the sun do its work while we walked… free highlighting beauty treatment. Sweet! 😉

After that mileage, the balls of my feet were burning and my leg muscles were already a bit sore. Crazy! I can’t believe I regularly ran close to 10 miles less than a year ago, and now walking such a short distance is so hard. I put peppermint oil neat (not diluted) on the bottoms of my feet- worked just as well as biofreeze, by the way. Instant cooling relief.

And drank this smoothie to refuel. Macadamia nuts, kale, sexy chocolate mix (cacao, carob, maca), pumpkin seeds, almond milk, stevia, frozen banana, plus extra maca for more adrenal support.

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And made these raw brownie balls to snack on, but they were so filling, they ended up being lunch. I just started throwing stuff in the food processor based on ultimate nutrition and paying little attention to taste. As a result, the brownies are edible, but not super delicious. I really should stick to other people’s recipes.

Anyway, they are mostly walnuts, with chia seeds, hemp protein, prunes, cinnamon, sexy chocolate mix, and a smidge of molasses. Baby girl likes ’em. But she likes anything chocolate.

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And dinner was a twist on Kris Carr’s Buddah Bowl. Brown rice topped with leftover veggies and an avocado. And drizzled with Bragg’s liquid aminos. After I took this picture, I added kimchi on top to aid with digestion. Naturally fermented vegetables and all their probiotic benefits are going to be a staple in our diet soon, but I’ve got to figure out how to make them first. Till then, it’s store bought kimchi. I was worried that the hodge podge of flavors would be less than yummy. But it was really, really, really good.

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