Thursday, January 21, 2010


Yep, we quit--like over the weekend, on Eric's birthday on Saturday. Threw the whole thing out the window.

It was a huge relief--but now I kinda miss it. Go figure!

Going into this diet cleanse, we knew we would run into Eric's birthday. We had made plans to adjust a little for the day. But when we got there, I was still sick enough, that neither of us really wanted to deal with it anymore.

And while I am glad that we are not functioning until severe restrictions anymore and that does give quite a bit more breathing (and eating) room, we miss it. Does this make sense? We miss how healthy and clean we felt, we miss meals full of vegetables and fruits, I actually miss gluten free bread (The good stuff is really yummy!).

In many ways, I learned a great deal about my body and how it reacts to food. I learned that dairy and I, while I still can eat it without great discomfort, are not going to be best buds anymore. I will miss you, cheese! I learned that good food takes a lot of work and thought, but at the same time, it is enjoyed so much more for that extra work. I also learned that we eat way too much of the bad stuff without even realizing its the bad stuff, how we sabotage ourselves from good health by making seemingly "healthy" choices.

Some of the changes we made are going to stick around in some form for our family. We are going to eat a more heavily plant based diet. Don't get me wrong, I still like meat, but I think we will try to stick with meat that we know where it is processed. For this time that means, using up the rest of the cow that is processed and packaged in my freezer. I am going to cut down on gluten in our home by using low gluten & other kind of flours, relying more heavily on other grains and trying to cut a dependence on bread. Also, I am going to try to further reduce the amount of dairy we use, although not cut it out completely.

If someone were to ask if they should try this--I would tell them to go for it, but be prepared to work, to recognize the value of your food, and to be frustrated by how much stuff is in the "easy" food that we buy and consume every day. We felt great (until I got sick) and I think I would be willing to try this again--in the height of harvest season, where fresh everything is abundant. Mmmm, now that would be yummy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Okay, so we are more than a week into this and I am also almost a full week into being sick. Hmmm, unfortunate coincidence or connected somehow? It has been suggested to me that possibly this sick stuff has a direct connection to this diet cleanse. But honestly, i am not sure. One thing I can say about this sick stuff is that I do not recall being this sick and for this long since I had pneumonia when I was in college. Is this related to my food? I don't know. I have people who are incredibly knowledgeable in the realm of health-eating telling me that this is a normal reaction that my body is having and when I come out of it, I will feel wonderful. Apparently, my body is pushing out years of toxins that have built up in my fat and this sickness is a result of that. So, as the toxins leave my body, i will feel better than I have in a long, long time.

Is it true? Again, I don't know. But I do have these two questions to accompany this line of thinking. First, why in the world am I this sick and Eric is less sick? I maintain a pretty healthy diet. Meat is not my mainstay (dairy and bread may be). I don't eat a ton of drive through. Beans, vegetables, and whole grains are a normal part of my everyday diet. Why would my body react this way when others around me eat the same or worse and they aren't? Is this a combination of a flu bug and a cleansing body? This to me seems most likely.

But that leads me to my second question: If my body is really rejecting something in my system, how in the world am i going to know what it is when I have rid myself of so much to begin with? How do I choose if it is the meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, or caffeine? (Okay, to be honest, I can probably rule out sugar and caffeine as the culprits, but the point still remains.)

And finally, I cannot find a single reputable site that lends any credibility or gives me any answers. Sure, I can find info on sites that are selling colon cleanse products, but I am not sure that they are 100% trustworthy. Maybe someone, somewhere can shed some light on this for me.

Oh well, until the time when I gain complete clarity or I become well enough not to need the answers any more, I am going to bed--after I take some meds to keep this cough from keeping me up all night! Good night.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


If this journey is teaching us anything, it is that people who have genuine food issues/preferences have a difficult time of it. To buy the specialized foods requires a specialized store; to order out requires restaurants that are cognizant of eating issues. So far, we have purchased prepared food from two establishments: a pizza place that offered vegan toppings and gluten free crusts. The kids had a fantastic veggie pizza (with real cheese) on a tasty gluten-free crust. Eric and and I had an 'interesting' pizza topped with bright green and fresh salad (which in all honesty, I did not enjoy that much!). And then the other night, we went out for a date dinner (with a buy one/get one coupon) and had fresh Tex-Mex with no issues at all. So to those of you who have real issues with food, you have earned our respect as you navigate a world that doesn't always accommodate a serious need. (But on the other hand, I am almost positive that you are healthier because of it and you have more money!)

But what we are finding is that this seriously restrictive plan is almost impossible with the kids. The thing we have run into most is eggs. Meaning, if you want any sort of baked product, it probably has eggs in it. Now I know there are egg substitutes, but in my mind they aren't worth it. So instead we add eggs to our gluten-free bread and pizza crust (and to tonight's bread pudding). That is our one family-friendly accommodation to this diet.

On one final note, Eric has been feeling much better, in fact we both are in better moods and have noticed each other laughing more. Also, I am noticing that I have a clearer thought process. Before I was always foggy and scattered. This week I have been able to focus more, have more energy, and consequently get more done. Many things have fallen into line this week.

The downside: I am now officially sick. And a gluten-free, vegan, caffeine free, and sugar free diet (although tasty) is not comforting to me. A mug of hot chocolate, toast with cinnamon and sugar: those are comfort foods to me. I have done my best. I have not caved in and opened that can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup (although the salty broth sounds wonderful!) But I have had some hot chocolate. And this morning I was given a coffee drink as a treat (and honestly, it made me feel more sick. . .hmmm). I have had a hard time staying motivated because this cooking is not easy or familiar to me--and hard is hard when you don't feel well.

1 week down, 2 to go.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 3--Hmmmm?

Could this be working? Could this change in eating really be changing me already? I think the answer is yes, but I am also hesitant to give too much credit yet--there are still 2 1/2 weeks left on this journey. But at this point, I can say I feel good. It is 9:30 p.m. and while I am tired and ready for bed, I am not dog tired--I can still think. This is an improvement.

But I didn't feel good this morning. Again, I just wanted a cup of coffee and to sit and read for a little bit. So yep, I cheated a bit this morning and with my cup of decaf hazelnut coffee I had a half-spoon of sugar and some milk. It was heavenly. I think I drank the whole thing. Soy milk and agave nectar just don't cut it in a cup of coffee. But if that is my "cheat", so be it.

Yet, the proof is in the pudding and it is still too early to give a whole-hearted thumbs up or down.

Let me share what I love about this plan. I have great meals planned--I have loved the pizza for lunch and the black bean tacos with spanish rice, guacamole, corn-mango salsa, and fajita veggies for dinner. Yum!

What I haven't loved: the fact that I have to prepare everything--breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, and do the dishes for all that preparation. I feel like my dishwasher has been running non-stop. I know that I could go and buy appropriate snacks, but the $ value is way too much, especially for the number of servings I would get for it. It is stressful to think about this too much. But hopefully tomorrow, I will find time to prep a few different snack items (and some granola) so they are ready to snack and go. (I am also looking for some snack ideas, so if you have any, please shoot them my way!)

This is not an easy way to live. Eric has experienced this most when he is on the road for his cases, he hasn't been able to find many things on menus that he can eat. This has been frustrating for both of us. We are still hopeful it becomes a positive experience for our whole family.

Still, the proof is in the pudding. And I am anxiously looking forward to some promised sugar-free, gluten-free treats! (honestly, I never thought that I would ever utter those words in my entire life)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 1--This Sucks!

No really, it was a bad day.

Not only could I not put any sugar in my tea (which needed just a hint of sweet), but I struggled with what to feed the kids at lunch, because I don't have a suitable bread for them yet (i have found a recipe and will make it tomorrow--hope it passes!) And now, Eric's off for a case and we just don't have the right kind of snack foods for him in the house.

We are edgy and I am tired. I really just wanted some coffee today--really, just a bit. I had a headache and at one point, while I had 6 kids at my house, wanted to lay down on the floor and take a nap.

I would hazard a guess that I am suffering from withdrawal--from the sugar, from caffeine, from flour. And I really miss cheese. (I didn't know I ate so much of it) I know today and the next two won't be pretty, but I'm sure I'll make it. I just know that this would be easier if I could hide away all day and not face any stressful situations--you know kids, deadlines, conflict, food preparation.

I also know I sound so whiny right now--but it will get better. I expect that by the end of the week, I feel good. Maybe with more energy, I get the hang of how to cook and feed all of us. I am hopeful.

On a positive note--the kids did not bat an eye at any of the food today--not the oatmeal without brown sugar, or the weird tostadas I made for lunch or the Gluten free veggie pizza (with cheese, for them) for dinner. In fact, they asked for more.

On the menu for tomorrow--peanut butter and banana, a mango dal with sweet rice, baked fruit medly, and something yummy for breakfast.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Here we go. . .

Tomorrow our family starts a new (but brief journey) into the world of food. Not that we haven't gone to interesting places before, but we are going to do a bit of an experiment. And although you are probably going to laugh at this, we decided to share it with you.

So after weeks of planning, we are taking three weeks to cut out major portions of our diets. Although there are many fantastic things that we can eat, it is notable for what we cannot, so I might as well just list them here. Ready. ..
  • No Gluten (which is found in wheat, rye, and barley)
  • No Sugar
  • No Caffeine
  • No Alcohol
  • No Animal products (for the grown ups, not meat or dairy, yes dairy for the kids)

I have menus planned and alternatives purchased. This is going to be very experimental. We hope it works.

But I am sure you wonder what we hope it does. . .Well, Eric just wants to drop a couple pounds. Me, on the other hand, I have a few more specific things I would like to see. I need to drop a dependence I have on C*ke--especially between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. Also, i am beginning to wonder if I am slightly intolerant of gluten. So I would like to see if after cutting it for three weeks that some problem skin areas I have clear up, my stomach flattens down and I have more energy.

I know it seems crazy--and it kinda is, but it is a nutritionally complete and responsible way to eat. We already like most of the foods already, so it's just eating more of them. Honestly, both Eric and I are a bit nervous. How will we feel those first few days? Crabby, probably. Will it really work? Will I be able to prepare enough of the right kind of food to satisfy our family--including great snacks and treats? Will this journey be so stressful that the positive health feeling just won't be worth it?

I don't know those answers. But Eric thought it would be a good idea to chronicle this--just so we have a record--of what we have done and how we have benefited (or not).

But for now, it's 10:30, only 1 1/2 more hours to eat any forbidden bread . . .