Sunday, 24 August 2014

Here I am again over a month later.  Such a struggle with health and weight issues.  AIP (autoimmune protocol) has been a revelation.  Hard in one way - AIP is quite restrictive - but easier in another sense - clear-cut guidelines on what you can and cannot eat. 

Switching to Paleo two years ago was a similar change in mind-set, but because I felt so much better and there were so many articles, blogs and books to read to keep me motivated, I loved it.  While I can't say I "love" AIP, it has made me feel a lot better in lots of ways - all good, right?  Not necessarily, unfortunately. 

I have been working with Mickey Trescott (one of the Consultants in  The Paleo Mom's group) and sticking pretty strictly to the AIP plan (even eating beef liver jerky trying to get some liver into my diet), talked a soil-based probiotic, HCL to improve digestive enzymes, 600 mg of magnesium every day, with some reduction in the number of stomach aches, better sleep occasionally, a clearer mind but absolutely no, none, zero weight loss and not much change in energy levels. 

Mickey (and I agree) feels my biggest issue is stress.  Stress causes an increase in cortisol, which messes up your sleep, which makes your body hang onto extra weight.  My exercise for the past month has been stopping whatever I am doing three times a day to breathe mindfully.  How's that going?  Not well.

If I go one step off the AIP plan, I get a stomach ache, bloating and more weight gain.  Last weekend we helped Youngest Son do some things around his new home and the whole day was eating the wrong things (Ikea meatballs, mashed potatoes, dinner at a local pub, including ice cream) and did I pay for it.  Eating out has pretty much become a painful exercise, except when we went to the Keg and I had a whole lobster.  No stomach ache - just a big restaurant bill!

I have been told by Mickey and The Paleo Mom (who I met at the book signing last month), to focus on better health not the weight loss.  (Have you seen them - both slim and gorgeous!)  If you have read The Paleo Mom's story you know she had a major weight loss (100+ pounds) when she started eating better and still wants to lose more weight, but's easy for them and all the other (normal weight) bloggers who say the same thing because they did lose weight.

I'm not giving up, in fact I have another appointment with Mickey in a couple of weeks to see what we can try next.  I do appreciate the health benefits and I don't want to lose those, but I would also like to see fifty a few pounds disappear.

On a more positive note, I have discovered that Point Roberts, a part of the State of Washington that you can only get to by land by going through Canada, has an international market that sells Kerrygold butter (US$5.69 for half a pound) and Organic Valley butter from pastured cows (US$5.29 per pound).  It is less than half an hour from our place so we can make a run every month - better fat.

Would you like to see what I have been eating on AIP? Click here for the recipe for Citrus-Thyme Pot Roast - easy and delicious!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Autoimmune Paleo

It's been awhile (again) since I blogged, but I can't stay away from it too long.  Very cathartic.  I have been busy working on my health and weight issues and getting into Autoimmune Paleo mode.  Autoimmune Paleo is Paleo (no sugar, dairy, legumes, grains or processed foods) plus AIP = no eggs, nuts, seeds or nightshades (chili pepper, cayenne, peppers - all kinds and, most importantly for me - no tomatoes), and to increase my use of organ meats (I'm struggling with that).

I am almost finished the first month of the plan I got from working with Mickey Trescott (Autoimmune Paleo), which meant reducing my stress levels (not doing too well there), getting more sleep (a bit better) and healing my digestive system (which is going well as long as I stick to the eating plan and take my Betaine HCL every time I eat).  I have also just added a soil-based Probiotic/Prebiotic for more healing.

Depending on how bad your gut is, some people can do 30 days and then start adding back non-AIP foods slowly, but I have had these problems for so long I think I am looking at a lot longer before I will risk adding eggs or nightshades.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

One Week On

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there.  I talked to mine this morning (he's 800 miles away) and Mom had taken him out for breakfast and they are going to the Dairy Queen later for ice cream.  At 86 I think he deserves a banana split at the Dairy Queen or anything else he feels like eating today and, if I know my Dad, that will be buttered potatoes.  Do you think buttered potatoes are the secret to a long healthy life?  Wouldn't that be great.'s been a week since I have been following the Autoimmune Protocol meal plan (mostly) and I have to say that I feel better - mind clearer, sleeping better, more interest in cooking (and blogging) - all good things.  However, zero weight loss in the week.

I have my one-hour meeting (via Skype) with Mickey Trescott, and I am excited (hopeful?) that she will have some insight into my inability to lose weight.  Fingers crossed.

I love to cruise around Pinterest looking for meal ideas and saving them for inspiration.  I found a couple of recipes for stuffed baked sweet potatoes with various fillings that I saved, one of which I planned to make for Friday night dinner.  However, when I went to start dinner I discovered I was down to one largish sweet potato, so I decided to deconstruct the recipe, and use other vegetables I had on hand instead for the "stuffing".  It turned out pretty good - four bacon strips from Paleo Grandad.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

I'm back!

I'm back (I hope).  It's been too long. I got off track (love you Paleo Grandad, but no more chocolate, please) and I was prescribed some medication for stomach problems that added to a 25 lb. weight gain (in less than two months), serious bloating and swelling of my legs and feet and to feeling depressed again.  When I'm happy, I blog.  When I'm depressed, it's all I can do to get out of bed and go to work...and then there's work.

I'm off the stomach medicine now (immediately dropped 5 lbs. - like the next day) and am desperate to get back on track so I can get back the energy and the enthusiasm I had before I got derailed.  Most of all, I need to lose the 20 lbs. I just gained, plus another 30 more that I have been carrying around for years. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Crispy Lemon Herb Chicken

Several years ago in my search to solve health problems and lose weight, I bought all of Suzanne Sommer's books and one of them (forget which one) had a recipe for chicken drumsticks that we really liked.  She used fresh herbs for this recipe (she grows her own), but I didn't have fresh and I actually like it with dried.

I had bought a big package of chicken thighs (not organic unfortunately, but not many people can afford a big package or organic chicken thighs), so I used thighs instead of drumsticks. The only difference is that the thighs didn't get as crispy as the drumsticks would.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Crispy Oven Wings

Do you like chicken wings?  Crispy chicken wings?  Crispy chicken wings without deep frying?  If you said yes to everything, I've got the recipe for you - Crispy Oven Wings with Asian Sesame Sauce.  I found the recipe on Primally Inspired's site. 

The recipe comes with a technique for making the wing really crispy in the oven and a tasty Asian Sauce.  I think it would also work really well with Buffalo Sauce, though I haven't tried that yet.

It's quick and easy to put together and the rest of the time is just baking in the oven.  Roast some broccoli spears at the same time and dinner is done.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Lobster Crab Mac & Cheese

Hi - it has been awhile.  The last few weeks have not been good for my stomach, but things seemed to have settled down again, but not until I was so uncomfortable I had to go to the doctor.  He prescribed a proton pump inhibitor and another drug to get things under control.  I still don't know what caused the problem but it killed any desire I had to cook (or eat for that matter) for too long.

During that time Paleo Grandad and I each got a new toy - a Fitbit.  It's wristband that you wear 24/7 that tracks your steps and your sleep.  You can also track your food and other things, but I wanted it mainly to track my steps and my sleep.  You have probably heard that we all need to take 10,000 steps a day - that is a lot of steps - but you can set the Fitbit for any goal you want and I started with 5,000.  We went for a walk yesterday afternoon and ended up taking 6,517 steps!  When you meet/exceed your goal the wrist band buzzes (made me jump).  I also know I had 7 hours and 9 minutes sleep last night, and was restless for 14 minutes during that time.  Cool.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Butternut Squash Chicken Mash Taken Up a Notch

Here's a recipe that I would definitely make again - with a couple of minor changes.  I found the original recipe for the Butternut Squash Chicken Mash on Pinterest from Paleo at Home.  I followed the recipe almost closely, except for using shredded kale and Brussels sprouts instead of spinach because that is what I had on hand.  And except for the "magic" I added which I think took the mash over the top (Paleo Grandad gave it four bacon strips). Next time, instead of cutting up and baking fresh butternut squash, I will use the organic frozen butternut squash I get at Save-On for $3.99 a bag - it is worth it to me to save time (and work).

Monday, 17 February 2014

First night of the work week and first quick dinner of the week.  Do you watch KCTS Cooks?  I know it is a fund raiser, but they have interesting recipes and I like to find ones I can Paleo-ize.  This is one recipe I saw on that program, I am not sure if it was one of their home cooks or a chef, but it sounded good and looked easy to prepare - Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus and Shrimp with Cucumber Ginger Slaw.  They run through the measurements quickly (after all they do want you to buy the cookbook), so I usually just jot down the ingredients and go from there.

This recipe had few ingredients and while I used their ingredients, but changed the method a bit to make it quicker and use fewer pots and pans for quicker clean-up.  I used this as a main dish for dinner, but you could also make it as an appetizer.  I found this recipe for Paleo Hoisin to go with the pancetta wrapped shrimp and asparagus.  Paleo Grandad gave everything 4 bacon strips!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Thanks for Dinner, Juli Bauer!

Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo planned dinner for the other night and, tonight, it was Juli Bauer from PaleOMG's turn and it was delicious - four and a half bacon strips from Paleo Grandad.

The recipe is Bacon Wrapped Meatballs over Butternut Squash and besides being super easy, it was good.

I did a few things differently (just because I could):  I used frozen, organic butternut squash to save time; I added an egg to the pork mixture because without the egg it was not sticking together to well.  Besides, a little more protein never hurts; and, I doubled the recipe so we would have leftovers for lunch tomorrow (and a view spare for fridge grazing).  I also served it with a side of oil and vinegar broccoli slaw, which was a great complement to the sweetness of the pork and squash.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Spaghetti Squash "Mac & Cheese" Dinner

As the week goes on I need to have easy dinners planned as I get too tired to plan and do a lot of cooking. So Tuesday night's dinner is a primal Spaghetti Squash "Mac and Cheese". The original recipe comes from but I changed a few ingredients to suit our needs.

Paleo Grandad is extremely lactose intolerant so we use organic, lactose-free cheese and nutritional yeast when a recipe calls for cheese.  It is a little bit of a contradiction because true Paleo does not use dairy, but there is Primal Paleo that uses dairy if you can tolerate it.  You can find organic, lactose-free cheese at Save-On Foods in the "healthy" food aisle.  I put healthy in quotes because a lot of the healthy food in this aisle is over-processed and full of sugar and chemicals.  You need to read labels to make sure you only pick-up products that contain recognizable ingredients (minus sugar and bad fats).

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Thanks for Dinner, Michelle Tam!

We have Michelle Tam (Nom Nom Paleo) to thank for Monday night's delicious dinner.  Michelle didn't actually cook it (I wish), but she provided the tasty recipes.  The menu was Siu Yoke (Crispy Roast Pork Belly) from her new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans, and Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Asian Citrus Dressing from her blog.

If you haven't bought Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans, you should - step by step instructions and pictures so there is no guessing about technique, easy recipes with basic ingredients (for the most part), and cartoon drawings that are fun.  And, most importantly (to me!) a great index making it easy to find recipes by ingredients or recipe name.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Beef Stew with Dumplings

What's your comfort food? Unfortunately, mine is ice cream and, while there are Paleo versions of ice cream (made with coconut milk or bananas), there is nothing like the real thing.  My winter comfort foods are hearty one pot (or slow cooker) meals, and I always make large batches for lunches or another meal during the week.  I had grass-fed stew beef in the freezer and it is a cold (Vancouver cold) day, perfect for beef stew. All my mother's stews and then mine (pre-Paleo) included dumplings, so I experimented with those.  The dumplings weren't the fluffy ones I used to make, they were more solid, but they were great for sopping up the gravy.  I also used small red potatoes in the stew, which are not considered to be Paleo by the Paleo Police, but we like them once in awhile.  I thought the stew was really tasty, but Paleo Grandad only gave it three and a half pieces of bacon out of five. What do you think?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

The end of another busy week, time to plan for next week's menus.  I find it so much easier (and less expensive) to cook if I have a plan, though I was beyond tired on Thursday night and ended up with fast food - I just could not face cooking and,  by Thursday, the leftovers are pretty much gone.  However, I did do a fridge raid and use up the little bits and pieces that were left into a hash with two fried eggs on top for Friday morning breakfast.  It was good and, yes, in hindsight I could have done that on Thursday night for dinner.  Other than that slip, I stuck to the plan.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Primal Coconut Flatbread Reuben

Regular wheat flour bread is not on a gluten-free or Paleo diet and sometimes you may miss one of your old favourites, like grilled cheese or Reuben sandwiches.  Here is a tasty alternative for a Reuben sandwich that takes only a few more minutes than a "real" Reuben sandwich, using coconut flatbread instead of bread.  You can pick it up and eat it just like your old favourite.

Add a dill pickle and you've got Sunday lunch.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Bobotie, a South African meatloaf, is easy to put together, but takes about an hour and 15 minutes to bake, so you need an hour and a half all together to get this on the table - but it's worth it!  I also doubled the recipe so I would have leftovers for lunch (or breakfast - why not?).

I tend to eat lunch at my desk and my food is usually cold when I get around to eating, but this even tasted good cold.
I got the recipe from Things My Belly Likes, who in turn adapted it from Epicurious.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Next week's menu and Sunday Dinner

I have found the best way for me to stay on track for any diet is to plan my menu for the week and add the items I need to my shopping list at the same time. Otherwise I will have those nights where I am just too tired to think of anything for dinner and I start thinking about fast food instead.

I have just added a free shopping list app to my Android phone - it's called ListOn that makes it really easy to add grocery items and delete them as soon as I pick them up in the store.  That was step one.

Monday, 20 January 2014

It has been a few weeks since I posted for a few reasons. After 17 days off work (it was great), it has taken me awhile to get back into the routine and not a lot of new recipes have been tried, so not much to share there.  I am also really tired when I get home, make dinner and clean-up.  And, of course, I need to pay some attention to Paleo Grandad or else he gets cranky!

My plan to walk everyday is not going well.  It is a catch-22 - tired all the time so I don't feel like walking, but I would probably feel better if I walked more.  And then there is always the Vancouver weather excuse.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Pancakes and Ribs

It is amazing how fast a 17-day vacation from work can be finished.  It has been a great stay-cation, but over much too fast.  I got to do a lot of things I don't have much time for like reading, cooking (and blogging!), knitting and sleeping in - all good.

Of course, we had Christmas and New Year's activities - family over for dinner and dinner out on New Year's Eve.  It also meant we weren't 100% Paleo over the past two weeks - not even 80/20 on some days - and I am feeling the effects.  So, while I believe making New Year's resolutions sets you up to fail because most of them are not S.MA.R.T. (sustainable, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound), I am going to get back on track starting now by getting back to eating the way I was before the Christmas holiday began, and walking every day even if it is once around the block at lunch time.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year and Good deals at Costco.

Happy New Year!  I have had way too much chocolate this Christmas, and not the good for you dark chocolate but my favourite English milk chocolate, Galaxy - love the stuff and, unfortunately, Paleo Grandad likes to be my supplier.  I know, I could just say "No!" but, come on, it's Galaxy chocolate.

To counteract the effects of too much sugar, today is the start of the New Year and time to get back on track.  As much as I like chocolate, my digestion is out of wack again.  It takes a while to get everything straightened out and just a few days of too much sugar to feel the negative effects.  To get back on track I need to have the right food choices in the house and a re-read of It Starts with Food to remind me what I want to do. To get the right foods in the house a good place to start is Costco.  If you are ready to brave the crowds at Costco at any given time, there are quite a few Paleo items to be had that will save you some money. Apparently, US Costco's have even more Paleo items, if you are ready to take on the long lines at the border and the crowds at the store.
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