Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Fall Hat...

...For a little boy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

You Never Know

I'm realizing that giving up simple sugar really was a good decision. After staying away from it for about 5 weeks I decided to have a couple of sweet things. It's amazing that I never realized how sugar affected me until I stopped eating it. This weekend, I found out.

Awhile back I thought I was having allergic reactions to wine. You know, wine can give you headaches, right? So that must be my problem. I never even considered all the other junk I was eating. Except for coffee: "I wonder if the huge amounts of coffee I'm guzzling might be affecting my head space?" But sugar? Didn't even cross my mind.

After strolling around our awesome local farmer's market we stopped at the local bakery. We ordered 2 small things to share. A Lion Bar that was advertised as "healthy." And it probably was, somewhat. The other was a triple berry-sugary-delight bar. We split the two items in half and really enjoyed them. Until about 20 minutes later (less for the dude) when we were both in the throws of a classic sugar "high." Loopiness, lightheadedness, dizziness and general malaise are all words that could describe my feelings throughout the rest of the day. And to top it all off I made cookies for our church coffee hour and ate two of them. I modified and made a pretty healthy version but they certainly contributed to the sugar rush-high-crash-cycle of the next 24 hours.

Was I really doing this to myself, everyday? I guess I was. The worst part was the splitting headache I got the next day. The one that says, "Give me sugar and I'll go away." Yeah, that.

Well, lesson learned. I was able to heal myself with a little Green Juice, a mental reset, a good night's sleep, some kind words, and watching a little boy dancing under the shade of a walnut tree.

Now, to remember what I've learned...

Monday, June 27, 2011

The New Shopping Trip and THE END...

It makes me very happy to have a counter full of produce after shopping. We ate fairly well or maybe I should say I shopped fairly well before we made the change. But I have to admit, I ate hardly any of the fresh things we purchased. Maybe a banana or two a week, a handful of grapes here and there, or some tomatoes with dinner. My go to was always processed and pre-packaged foods especially chocolate and crackers. What a meal!

In the last 21 days I've expanded my culinary skills and added many recipes to my repertoire. I feel like I was a decent cook before but now things have really opened up for me. Salads have been at the center of our meals and they didn't get boring. We actually wanted them at most of our meals...weird! Or maybe not.

I know that before the last three weeks I would crave sugary foods...I mean yearn for them, cake, chocolate, cookies, white chocolate mochas. It really hit home for me that simple sugars are addictive, as in a drug, when a giant chocolate cake showed it's delicious face at a reception over the weekend and I didn't have that old craving. At all. I'm not going to say that I wouldn't have enjoyed eating it. I'm sure I would have. But that gnawing "you have to eat that cake now!" feeling was not there. And that felt great. (Hello, my name is Erika. I'm a sugar addict :)....) Once I finally gave myself the opportunity, my body has started wanting what it needs...

For example:

Mostly SALAD loaded with veggies and a bit of spice, olive oil, salt and nuts. Fresh farmer's market asparagus (lightly sauteed) and quinoa mixed with garbanzo beans, carrots and peas as a side.
GREEN JUICE! Served in wine glasses, of course.

The little guy likes his veggie-apple-smoothies too...This is a great way to get him to eat his veggies...and a lot of them!

So, at the "end" of this challenge what will I take away?

1. This isn't the end...but the beginning.
2. I've learned SO much about nutrition and I want to tell everyone!
3. I feel REALLY good, pretty much EVERYday.
4. I don't think I can justify eating dairy products ever again (more on that later)
5. I wish I had prayed/meditated/journaled more during the challenge (that was one part of the "cleanse") but I can get on that now.
6. I am more in tune with my husband and child...more patient, understanding, compassionate with them or at least I'm trying to be and succeeding most of the time.
7. I can hear my body talking and know how to kindly respond
8. My teeth are whiter!
9. No more simple sugar for me.
10. Lemons are amazing
11. I haven't decided if I'll eat meat again...and that's okay. I know I'll drink wine again!
12. Trips to the grocery store involve about 3 aisles.
13. On that note, I wish my town had Whole Foods...wait that's not very positive...here, I joined Azure Standard so I can purchase some of the expensive things in bulk and save a bit.
14. I'm excited to see my body changing without much effort :)
15. I have a pile of books about PH, wellness, nutrition and veganism that I get to read all summer long.
16. I'm hungry and not craving crackers or chocolate...
17. I love our farmer's market. It starts in 1 hour and 20 minutes!
18. The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (yes, that one :)) is great!
19. I love playing in the sprinkler with my 16 month old...
20. Honey is a simple sugar...never knew that before.
21. I'm thankful that my husband and I were able to do this together and reap all the benefits together...

There. 21 things I learned/am thankful for in the last 21 days. More to come!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The "Cleanse"

Nine days ago we embarked on an adventure. The Adventure Cleanse, to be exact. This is a PH focused, anti-inflammatory cleanse/diet/lifestyle found in The Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. I'm not a big fan of the title (too chick-lit sounding for me) but the content in this book is sound, from what I've researched so far. It has been a wonderful journey of learning, eating, discovering, feeling, loving and strengthening. I used all positive words there but there have been many "down" moments and I expect there to be more.

Overall, however, the "downs" just seem to be a normal part of getting healthy and won't last forever. Dan and I are doing this together (go Team!) and have completely changed our diet and, more importantly, our minds about food. We have become closer and more aware of each other which, I believe, is what we all want out of our relationships.

Now, all that being said, let's get to the food. It has been so much fun experimenting with GOOD food and making great meals for the family. I think when most people hear about a cleanse or detox or even a diet they think of deprivation and eating/drinking large amounts of unpleasant, weird food. Well, this is not that.

So the "no's" for this diet are: gluten (which means wheat and wheat derivatives), dairy, meat, caffeine from coffee and black tea, processed/simple sugar (in all it's forms), alcohol, and processed foods (pretty much anything that comes in a box or package with more than 6 (i just picked a number :)) ingredients). I'm not going to get into the why's for eliminating these things because some are obvious and the rest you can read about by looking at the website I link at the top or by simply googling this question: why get rid of ____?

On to what we DO GET TO EAT and DRINK!

A typical day so far:
Wake up to a glass of warm lemon water w/optional dash of cayenne pepper. This drink promotes circulation and general wakeupedness! And doesn't suck your cells dry like my (favorite!) usual cup of coffee, cream and sugar did.

Turn on the tea pot! Drink green or white tea, yerba mate, or just plain herbal tea goodness. Sometimes with almond milk and agave nectar. I have to admit that I haven't gone completely caffeine free and this isn't a must for the cleanse but it would be optimal. I do drink green tea pretty much everyday and I love it!

Turn on the juicer or the blender, whichever and make GREEN juice or smoothie...today's recipe:
1 avocado
1 cup coconut/aloe water
1 cup sprouts
2 giant lettuce leaves
1/4 bed of wheat grass (the grass doesn't have gluten, just the grain and things made from it)
1/2 kiwi
1/2 fugi apple
1 cucumber
BLEND till smoothied

Now, that may not sound all that appealing...and my first green smoothie, very similar to this recipe, did not make me that excited about the cleanse, it tasted pretty gross to me, actually. But now, 9 days in, my tastes have really changed. I am craving the GREEN. We try to stick to the 3:1 ratio. Meaning 3 veggies to 1 fruit...to keep the sugar content low because even too much natural sugar can do bad things to your body.

Snack: Dan just ate a piece of gluten-free bread with almond butter (where have you been all my life??) and a cup of green tea..yum!
I've been sticking to juices and smoothies all morning along with as much tea and water as I can handle...

Giant Salad: Romaine, Spinach, Lettuce, Kale (its been fun to experiment with all those greens i saw in the produce section but usually passed by!) Avocado, Carrots, Olives, Tomato, Onion, Flax Seeds, Olive oil, vinegar or a lovely home made dressing.
MISO! soup usually with lightly sauteed veggies and soy sauce.

Snack Options: GREEN JUICE or smoothie, apple, pear, berries, larabar, hummus and veg...whatever you feel like.

One option that Dan loves is:
The Banana Protein Pick Me-Up Smoothie...I just made that up.
1 Banana
1 cup almond milk
1 tbs. Cocoa Powder
1-2 tbs. almond butter

Dinner: Tonight will be the Black Bean and Sweet Potato Patties in Lettuce wraps along with a GIANT Salad.

That made me hungry! I better go get lunch. And our computer is coming down with a virus so the pictures of this delicious food are not posting but, believe me, every recipe we've made or made up has been really GOOD!

Friday, March 4, 2011

This Moment

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Knitting Bug

Just when I thought my knitting slump had over taken me...BAM! I get bit by the bug and finish two sweaters (and start a third!). Both were started over (a collective) three years ago. Both are Norah Gaughan designs. Both were knit with great yarn. Both make me very happy!

The first: Loppem

Not the best pictures but it was getting dark and I wanted to get my ravelry page updated :) This sweater REALLY makes me excited for REAL spring weather!

The Second: Surface

I used a different and much easier lace pattern for the collar and cuffs but the effect is similar to the original pattern. This was knit with some great discontinued yarn that my sister and brother-in-law gave me for a Christmas present about 4 years ago. It worked beautifully for this pattern.

Now, on to the next...