It’s finally happened. I’ve come full circle. Kind of. Those pesky doctors keep telling me I have a cholesterol problem. I hate to admit it, but perhaps the Paleo diet does not sufficiently address this. Hello, bacon? As I bask in my luxurious spring break (read: I’m lying in bed while my 8 year old watches cartoons), I’m reflecting on how the school year went compared to last year. My stress level is much lower, and I’ve added Mixxed Fit twice a week to my routine. Still, I have a cholesterol problem. Last week, my sister had a heart attack. Thankfully, she is fine now. It was the final wake up call for me. The doctors now have my full attention. My new plan is healthy eating (and I’m talking oatmeal here, which is not paleo), cardio and stretching, lots of water, and whatever the doctor recommends as far as meds. Yesterday I kicked off spring break with a family friendly breakfast of biscuits and gravy. I also had plans to meet a couple of girlfriends for a Mexican dinner. So maybe not the best day to start tracking food, exercise, and water intake on Livestrong. My dinner plans got cancelled. That breakfast was high fat, but I had the rest of the day to do damage control. I also love how exercise frees up bonus calories. I came in only about 250 over my daily recommendation. Paleo devotees, don’t hate. Just another chapter in the journey here. Ideally, I don’t want to obsess about food or my weight. I just want to be healthy and enjoy life with my loved ones. Cheers to your journey as well!
I’m a big chile relleno fan. It is my go to order at Mexican restaurants. I didn’t have high hopes when I attempted my first gringo version breakfast casserole, but I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out to be my favorite casserole, hands down. The only problem is that that casserole contains some Bisquick, lots of cheese, and lots of butter. I decided to strip it down a little but keep the key favors for a more paleo friendly version. Purest alert: there is cottage cheese involved. Proceed with caution.
I searched the Internet for inspiration, but there was very little guidance for my flavors of choice. I decided to wing it. Here’s what I did.
1 dozen eggs
1 pint cottage cheese
7 oz can green chilis
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 1 dozen muffin tins.
Combine all ingredients.
Pour into muffin pan and bake until set, about 40 minutes.
That was quick! Back again. Who says Paleo is all sadness and self martyrdom? Enter my new hobby – coffee roasting. That might look like an old air popcorn popper, because it is. Lucky for me I got this baby as a wedding gift nearly 23 years ago, and it is still going strong. The word on the street is that they don’t make things like they used to. So I lucked out. This is literally the easiest thing (cooking related) in the world to do.
You might notice I am outside. It was really hot, but necessary. The beans get very hot and smoke. The fire alarm went off last time I did it in the house. It is also quite messy. The chaff flies out. So outside is perfect. A final note – don’t use the plastic cover on the popcorn popper. After a few roasts, it began to show some melt damage. I would like to preserve it for popcorn use. So now it is definitely messy, but oh so worth it. This stuff is delicious. I drink mine with maple syrup and coconut milk.
Official directions using old air popper (Goodwill might be your friend here).
- Purchase green coffee beans. Amazon is a good place to start.
- Fill the popper half full.
- Plug it in outside.
- Watch it for less than 5 minutes, and turn off when color is to your liking. Play with different roasts. The flavor varies widely. I like a medium roast.
- Let cool in glass container.
- Cover and store in airtight container overnight before grinding and brewing.
Notes: Green beans should be stored in the pantry in burlap, preferably. They keep a very long time. Roasted beens should be kept in the pantry in an airtight container and used within a week for best results.
I made it through the gum surgery ordeal. All the stitches came out, and the doctor was impressed with how well everything went. Over the last two weeks, technically weeks 2 and 3 of my Whole30, I have been dealing with a sore mouth and unable to eat anything crunchy. Needless to say, I did not stick to a strict Whole30 during this time. I needed some soft foods, so dairy was consumed in small amounts. I only had one bowl of ice cream. After finally getting a green light, I gloriously ate guacamole with nut chips. I am back in the saddle now.
Interestingly, and a bit alarmingly, I had a followup appointment for my beginning of summer annual physical. This was pre-Whole30. The good news was that I had lost 3 pounds. The bad news was that my cholesterol is high and my Vitamin D is low. Prescription Vitamin D therapy low. Wow. Kind of makes me feel like a rock star for accomplishing everything I did this year.
This wasn’t the first time cholesterol and Vitamin D have come up for me. In the past, however, I had been told to watch it, maybe take an over the counter supplement, etc. This time was different. How did it get to this point? One year of stress and lax eating. That’s all it took. Kind of scary. Since I had a thyroidectomy, I am always on a thyroid hormone. My doctor proposed a few things for me. She increased my thyroid medication dose, she put me on prescription Vitamin D, and she recommended a Paleo Diet. On it! So I guess you’re going to be hearing from me more often. I’m here to stay. My goal is to avoid cholesterol meds, however I will heed my doctor’s recommendation. I think we will both be pleasantly surprised when I get my next bloodwork done.
I’ve discovered something mind-blowing. The Paleo diet works wonders for post operation recovery. It was a happy coincidence that I decided to do a Whole30 a week before my oral surgery. I was sent home with strict instructions to avoid alcohol, crunchy food, and hot food, which could melt the putty-like dressing. Since I had already adjusted to no alcohol, that was not a problem. I had already worked through the physical adjustments to a low carb diet. Headaches and general luckiness only lasts a couple days, but it is worth it. I thought the hot food and drink issue would be bigger, but it is not too hard to wait until my drinks and food downgrade to warm. The hardest part is avoiding crunchy food. I may have mentioned I have a guacamole problem. It is like mana from heaven, but I have to have something crunchy to go with it. That has been the saddest part of my surgical recovery.
The first few days were a sleepy stupor. Surprisingly, there was almost no pain involved from start to finish. Hello laughing gas! My little 7 year old buddy was a very helpful ice runner for my first couple of days. I took the prescription dose of ibuprofen as directed for pain and inflammation. As for the narcotic painkiller, I only took about three doses. That stuff is dangerous, has side effects, and I really didn’t need it. I had almost no swelling.
I can’t help but make the connection that the Whole30 anti-inflammatory diet was my best friend in the recovery process. I did reserve the right to go a little off-diet during my recovery. I haven’t done much of that, though. My lack of crunch was eating at me, so I indulged in some rice and golden potatoes instead. (I know. I’m such a rebel.) I am not very hungry. Eating and especially cleaning my teeth is such a chore that it is barely worth it. But I am not going to be a martyr. My diet results continue to motivate me on. The great thing about the Whole30 is that results are almost immediate. By belly has slimmed down a lot. I like what I’m seeing in the mirror.
Week 1 is almost a wrap, and I’m still here doing the thing. This is my first successful attempt since my original Whole30. It’s all about time. Cooking and food prep is what it’s about. Here are a few highlights.
The first time I did this, I was worried about dippers for my guacamole. Duh, celery. It’s a lot of green, but it works. Probably the thing I miss most is chips. Nut chips help. The veggie stir fry was part of a beef with mushroom gravy dish over mashed sweet potatoes. It turns out, organic sweet potatoes look and taste more like regular potatoes. My family approved. My favorite dish this week was the blueberry cobbler. I put a handful of blueberries in a little bowl. For the topping, I combined almond flour with coconut oil. Then I drizzled honey and cinnamon on top and baked until set. Next time I’ll add an egg and some baking soda, but it was still good. Breakfasts have always been the hardest, but cobblers and chia pudding are getting me excited. I drink lots of tea, which makes the no alcohol thing ok.
Tomorrow I’m having oral surgery. My husband suggested taking a break and then picking up with a Whole23. I feel like I’m good, though. I do reserve the right. I did a ton of food prep today. I made chili, creamy vegetable soup, meatballs, mashed potatoes, and turkey sausage. I bought unsweetened applesauce. I’m still planning to make juice jello and coconut ice cream.
As far as side effects, I did have my share of yucky feelings, mostly in my head and brain around days 3 and 4. Sleep is deep and wild. It was definitely time for a detox. I don’t own a scale. I’ve been eating a lot to counter what I can’t eat. Since the first two days, I’m not as hungry or worried about cravings. I am shedding the puffy look. My stomach is shrinking. I like the results. My mood is back to normal. Until next time…
I know that has pretty much been my greeting for the last 2 + years. Confession: I fell off the wagon. I had two years of general stress and another year of just busyness and stress. I didn’t have time to cook, plan, etc. I attempted a Whole 30 during our annual staff “Biggest Loser” competition this past holiday season, but it didn’t take. It took me about one day to decide I needed that glass of wine at the end of the day. I couldn’t do it. Another common theme and concern for me has been healthy body image. Is being a size 4 worth the social limitations (Hello make your own pizza party!), and am I setting a good example to my teenaged daughters and friends who struggle? These have been my hang ups.
I love all the bread and dessert and wine and cheese. I realized a week ago that I wasn’t loving the fact that I was about to need a whole new wardrobe to replace the one I grew out of and tossed 3 years ago. I had almost gained it all back. So there was a financial motivation. I also had a doctor tell me my blood sugar was getting a little high and my thyroid meds need to be significantly increased. Probably the biggest concern of all was that I was a little too attached to that daily glass(es) of wine. It was time.
Last Friday I started easing into Whole 30 mode. Saturday, it was full steam ahead. I ate chia pudding with blueberries for breakfast (delicious!), guacamole with celery sticks and nut crackers for lunch, and a chicken salad for dinner. On Sunday, Father’s Day, I cheated a little. I had some potato salad, a tiny sliver of chocolate cake, and one small piece of pizza. The rest my eating for the day was good, though. Today, day 3, I’m back on track. I had an egg with some blueberries, a salad with bacon, and paleo chocolate zucchini bread. Beef with mushroom gravy over mashed sweet potatoes is on the menu for dinner.
In the last year, I have become a credentialed elementary school teacher. I now have some great built in breaks to get myself on track.I love being back in the kitchen. I have missed cooking this year. I’m not going to get cocky or anything, but I think it is going to take this time. I’m not going to freak out if a meal doesn’t work out because of a social engagement. I’m not going to stress about pre-made salad dressing or boxed nut crackers. I’m going to focus on a realistic, healthy reset. I’m raising my mason jar of peach green tea with honey to toast a fresh start. Cheers!