Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Problem with Labels- MamaEatsChips

I'm baaaaaack. After almost two years, I finally had an overwhelming urge to write again. Like most things I do, all or none baby! Kind of like my approach to clean eating. I went ALL IN for a few years, obsessively trying various diets and protocols, all in the name of clean and then........BAM - full on GLUTEN, SUGAR and CHIPS this school year.

I would have, or really should have, changed the name of this blog to MamaEatsChips...........if only I could. I've learned quite a lesson over the past couple years (and most severely over the last couple of months) as I've fallen off the clean eating bandwagon. 1) My body does not like a Standard American diet and oh boy, is it going to let me know that in a series of unpleasant and unusual symptoms and 2) Labelling yourself as something like MamaEatsClean is going to set yourself up for some pretty unrealistic expectations from others............and more importantly yourself. Hard to not feel like a failure when your Insta handle, Facebook name, email address and personal blog all boldly claim to the world that your body is a temple of clean eating purity when in reality you dive into a bag of chips like you've found the key to heaven.

What the heck happened to get me to this point. Firstly, as my kids are getting older and more involved in after school activities. Which means we're running all the time. And keeping my fridge stocked with "clean" and ready to eat food just became overwhelming. I tried. I did. But I gave up  after a while. I just couldn't do it and still get us to the (insert hockey rink, soccer practice, music lesssons............). And it was okay for a while. My body didn't seem to object too loudly when I ate a piece of pizza or scarfed down some mac and cheese. I'm very clearly an abstainer not a moderator. Its a lot easier for me to completely give something up than try to "eat it in moderation". F@#$ I hate that term. God didn't wire my brain for moderation. Go big or go home!

Unfortunately, my body had enough by March of this year. I got a very severe case of anxiety (which I've always been able to link, at least partially, to my increased grain consumption), my digestive system basically stopped moving and my joints started screaming at me.

I gave up desserts for lent (for the record it took 5 weeks for my cravings to go down to a reasonable level.............I thought it should take 5 days but clearly I was a severe case). Giving up desserts was actually not super difficult for me. Hello - Abstainer.

I'm now trying to get back to eating less processed foods again and cutting WAY back on grains. I'm just struggling to figure out how to eat grains in moderation. I don't think I can realistically go fully grain free with our schedule and the fact that my body feels perpetually hungry (ravenous really) anytime I have been on a fully grain free diet. I know - eat more fat - blah, blah, blah. Whatever, doesn't really work for me. So for now, I'm trying a "once a day" rule and I'm sticking with certain grains/breads that are generally gluten free and don't seem to bother me. I'm feeling a lot better already - anxiety dropped way off, stomach feeling better and my joints aren't much better. Unfortunately my neck is really messed up and doesn't want to cooperate but that's an issue for another day.

I'm working with my Naturopath, that for the record, doesn't think she needs to school me in nutrition because she says "you know all this already mamaeatsclean so we'll just skip this part". Argh. Well actually I could use a reminder and I'm paying for it so.............

So the lesson here........don't believe most of what you read on the internet/social media and definitely don't compare yourself or beat yourself up for not being as disciplined as you think they (we) all are. And don't give yourself a name like mamaeatsclean. The very lovely and normally kind school secretary at my kids school even burst out laughing when I told her my email address (mamaeatslcean@...). She said "I didn't think anyone has a worse email than me". Apparently her kids set hers up as princessmarilyn and she's been stuck with it for 10 years. I kind of like it actually.

Love and best wishes,

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Dutch Baby - A Paleo blast from the Past!

Hello Everyone! Hope all is well with you.

Sunday mornings I usually spend some time doing food prep for the week. Which I usually have to do again on Wednesdays...............5 people go through a lot of food. This morning one of the things I made was my Paleo Dutch baby. I made a full batch and I'll eat it for breakfast for a few days!!!

I started making this last spring. My mom used to make a similar "breakfast" when we were growing up and I had an overwhelming craving for this comfort food. Honestly, I didn't think it would work without the dairy and flour BUT I WAS WRONG. I was gladly wrong this time.

I've made this several times now and it works without fail.

It puffs up like crazy in the oven (its doesn't stay like that for long once you remove it except around the edges). Everyone enjoys watching it "grow". Not going to lie, its pretty cool.

Starting September 1st I have gone back to a full Paleo diet. Not an 80/20 Paleo diet. Full Paleo. No diary, no grains, no lentils. I've had very few cheats and only by accident or because I was stuck. I'll do an update post one of these days but I was getting frustrated with my mood issues, sluggish digestion, general energy and skin. It wasn't rock bottom but I knew I should be feeling much better than I was.

So far I can report that I am definitely feeling a lot better. My stomach is very happy with me (an almost immediate and remarkable change in my digestion - those damn grains do not agree with me) and my skin has started improving. I will have to go through a few cycles before I can conclude on my mood and energy but after one month I definitely have more bounce in my step.

I let myself slip into some bad habits. Taking bites of my kids food, having a piece of cake for special occasions (there are a lot of special occasions during summer), drinking decaf coffee (I actually started having some pretty severe bladder issues with that slip) and just generally being pretty loose with the food rules I know work for me. I know it will annoy some people - they will say.......just live a little, enjoy life, enjoy food. Use moderation.

But I really just don't feel good when I eat certain foods - mainly grains and dairy. My system can't handle it. I have moments when I feel frustrated and sad that I'm "weak".  But when I take care of myself I actually feel pretty darn fantastic. I'm fitter at 40 than I was at 20. I sleep better. I rarely have stomach aches. So I just have to accept it and keep working to stay on track.

Which means food prep on Sundays and lots of good food in the week ahead....................

PS - for the record, I haven't given up paleo sweets (mainly dark chocolate) which I know would probably really help my cause but I decided to ease back into things. But my cravings have improved even without trying.......................improved, not eliminated. Its a start.

Dutch Dutch Baby - Paleo

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast arrowroot powder canned coconut milk coconut flour egg
Ingredients (serves 4 (large portion))
  • 2 - 3 Tbs coconut oil (I actually think 2 is plenty but added a bit extra for kicks)
  • 8 eggs (I use large, organic)
  • 1 cup milk (I used 50% full fat coconut and 50% unsweetened cashew)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp Truvia or sweetener of choice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Once oven is preheated I put the coconut oil in a 9 x 13 glass pan and let it melt in the oven. Whiles its melting, I blend ALL the other ingredients together. Pour the batter into the glass pan.
Be sure to watch your dutch baby cook. Its fascinating to see how it PUFFS up like crazy. I cook for about 25 minutes.
I take it out and let it cool a bit before I cut into about 8 pieces.
I like it drizzled with a little bit of maple syrup. Yum. Yum. Yum.
Reheats very nicely for left-overs.
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Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Fitness Journey - PX903 - A New Adventure

Well Folks. I've been on a new fitness adventure for the past 4 weeks............P90X3. Its a 90 day workout system that you do at home via either BeachBody on Demand (online streaming) or via the DVD's. I started with the BeachBody on Demand free 30 day trial but ended up buying the DVD's off Kijiji for a steal of a deal.

Image result for p90x3 images
I've even given up my gym membership..........which was actually quite traumatic for me. I have residual feelings of guilt and sadness every time I see that YMCA logo:( It has been such a big part of my life these past 3 1/2 years.

Image result for ymca logo
I'm such a traitor.............I'm sorry YMCA.
I was quite happy with my level of fitness and my gym rat routine so why the change? Well I had a few reasons:

Time - I don't have it. I had been working out at the YMCA 4 times a week, usually for 45 minutes. I would either go:

  • on a day off to a 9:15 class which meant I wasn't done my workout until 10:00. By the time I took a shower, "put on my face" and drove home it would be 11 or later. I tended to chat in the locker room - hence the later, or 
  • during my lunch hour at work which took about 1 1/2 hours by the time I walked there and back, showered, etc, or 
  • before work. That was the best option in terms of limiting the time investment since I would just roll out of bed and go. But I would have to remember to pack SO MUCH STUFF the night before or risk showing up at work with no mascara (scary), no bra (that happened) or mismatched shoes. 
I chose P90X3 because the workouts are only 30 minutes (plus a little cool down) and include a blend of cardio, strength and flexibility training. I get up at 5:45 or 6:00 (depending on whether its a work day), do my workout, have my shower and "put on my face" by 7:15. Done. Its incredible. The time savings in my day are incredible. So simple. 

The downside is that I miss my YMCA friendships - those retired ladies are super nice and super inspirational. And I haven't taken many proper lunch breaks for weeks. Going for a class forced me to take a lunch break which was a great mental break. But the savings in time, increase in productivity and reduction in stress have been worth it. 

Strategy - I didn't have one. I went to a variety of classes. I did yoga, HIIT, strength training, dance, Zumba, lifted weights. You name it, I did it. The plus side was that my workouts never got boring and my general level of fitness was pretty high from the constant muscle confusion. But I have to admit that I had hit a plateau. And the little layer of blubber around my middle was evidence. Don't get me wrong, lots of that problem is diet related (okay - sugar related - damn you sugar) but I also started to suspect that as much as I like the unpredictability of my workout I had absolutely no strategy. No targets for when/how much cardio strength or flexibility training I was getting in any given week/month. Hence the plateau. I needed a trainer (for which I'm way too cheap) and some structure in my workouts. 

Variety - I need it. As mentioned above I like variety in my workouts. And I also tend to get a little obsessed with one thing for a while and then get sick of it. I've been through various phases where I go hard on one type of exercise, and then I'm over it and move on to the next thing. I went through a pretty hard-core yoga phase in 2014/15 so now everyone thinks I'm a YOGI - except I haven't really practiced for the past year. Shhhh - let's pretend I'm still super zen. Namaste. 

So maybe this is just my next thing. Which is fine. I'll do it for 90 days and then see what comes next. It keeps things fun and interesting. Its got me pretty excited about working out again.

So that's why I've given up my gym membership (gasp) and am doing P90X3 in the confines of my basement. I've just finished up week 4 so stay tuned on how I'm finding it- another blog post is imminent.

Lots to report. No - I don't have a six pack...........but maybe a two pack. And I have time. I definitely have more time. Notice I've actually started blogging again..................

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mama's Chocolate Hemp No-Bake Macaroons

Hey Folks, super excited to share this recipe with you.

My kids love them and I took them on my girls weekend to get a second opinion. They got unanimous approval from 11 other mama's. So you know they must be good.  Plus it is so easy. Hello - no bake. Its summertime - who wants to turn on the oven. 

Being full of super foods doesn't hurt their standing either. Hemp. Check. Coconut oil. Check.

I was on a fully grain free diet for a LONG time. But, I have recently re-introduced some grains and am coping okay with them. I generally avoid them early in the day (or my blood sugar gets right out of whack) and their role in my diet is pretty limited. But I'm always trying new (or old) things. I'm not a slave to one particular diet - I just try to figure out what my body is, or is not, responding to at any given time. And trust me, it changes with the seasons, stress, weight, etc. A constant guessing game. 

In the past, when my adrenals where in bad shape, and my blood sugar was crazy low, I couldn't have handled this little snack. But these days, I can indulge in a few oats now and again. As long as I've had a good dose of protein for breakfast and my blood sugar is stable. 
And, oh lordy, am I enjoying these!  Hope you do too! These girls sure did.........

Mama's Chocolate Hemp No-Bake Macaroons

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: raw dessert dairy free gluten-free vegan hemp seeds oats
Ingredients (3 dozen)
    Dry Ingredients
    • 2 cups quick rolled oats (GF if necessary)
    • 1 cup hulled hemp hearts
    • 1 cup shredded coconut (I used fine)
    • dash of salt
    Wet Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup butter or vegan buttery spread (if dairy free)
    • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • 6 Tbsp cocoa powder
    • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
    • 3 Tbsp Stevia (or adjust sweetener)
    In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate saucepan, add almond milk, coconut oil, butter, cocoa powder and sugar. Stir over medium heat until it comes to a low rolling boil. Let boil, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla (it will bubble up). Pour cooked mixture over dry mixture and mix thoroughly. Scoop packed 1 Tbsp spoonfuls onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. It may stick a bit so you have to work slowly/patiently.
    Let stand until cooled completely. Enjoy!
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    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    A Honey Oak Kitchen with White Appliances - A 4 Day $1,000 Transformation

    Hey Folks,
    I have been doing a Facebook/Blogging fast for lent. It ended up getting extended since I was enjoying it so much. I had so much time on my hands I was actually bored at goal in life;) Boredom, sweet boredom.

    The boredom was short lived. After burning through about 15  - 20 library books in the first month, I turned my attention to watching/scouring/obsessing over the MLS listings. I have a huge fascination with real estate and have watched way too many episodes of "Income Property". So naturally, thank you Scott McGillivray, I was overwhelmed with the urge to fulfill one of my bucket list items and buy a rental property. Having time on your hands can be dangerous.

    So without a real estate agent and after looking at a total of two properties we put an offer in on a condo (we got an amazing deal) and got it!!! Yippee. So freaking stressful but so exciting.
    Our 4 day kitchen transformation. These pictures were taken with different camera's -
    but the cabinets really do look like a completely different colour now. Its pretty amazing!

    They had done a lot of upgrades to get the unit ready to sell. Fortunately for us, they misfired on the kitchen with the avocado green paint and sticking with the original pulls, hood fan and counter top (circa 1983). Yuck. And they kindly replaced the fridge and stove...........with white! Ugh.  Even with all my design training (i.e. HGTV marathons), even I was having trouble figuring out how to deal with this kitchen.

    But I never back down from a challenge so with just over 2 weeks between the offer going in and getting possession I frantically studied "how to downplay Honey Oak cabinets", "best upgrades for a rental property", "best paint colours with honey oak", "honey oak cabinets + white appliances". My google search and Pinterest were on fire.

    Almost everyone seems to decide to paint their honey oak cabinets so I didn't have a lot to go on. Given this is going to be a rental and the cabinets are in really good shape, I felt it was better to leave them as is. So we decided to work with what we had in terms of cabinets and do what we could to minimize their brassiness with the counter-top, back-splash and paint. Plus - I do really like wood.

    A few things I did learn through my google research in regards to making the most of honey oak cabinets were:

    • Make sure none of your finishes - especially paint - have any pink undertones;
    • Oil Rubbed Bronze works well with oak compared to most other finishes - I have to say that I agree - not something I would pick for my own home as I'm more of a mid-century modern girl but they really do work (plus the hinges were dark so that was a perfect choice for us);
    • If you've got white appliances you need to make them blend in. That's why we chose light colors for all the other finishes. 

    We were also dealing with a space that has NO EXTERIOR WINDOWS. Yikes. So again, we were trying to do what ever we could to keep the space light and airy.

    I can't tell you how excited I am about how this turned out. We were able to turn this project around in 4 days and just over $1,000 (see breakdown of costs below after the pictures). Which includes the purchase of a dishwasher. We did everything ourselves and we have some bumps and bruises to prove it but it was worth it and so rewarding! My hubby is amazing at DIY and I'm quite proud that I was able to keep my "investor" hat on most of the time. Its tempting to want to decorate the space for yourself rather than for a tenant but I stuck to my guns. I almost got sidetracked and ended up with quartz counters that were 4 x the price - but common sense persevered.

    Okay - gotta run - now I've actually got to find someone to live in this unit. If you know someone they can email Available immediately!!!

    Luckily there was wiring/plumbing roughed in for the dishwasher - it had just never been used??? I'm pretty sure our renters will appreciate this new feature.
    Oh those old pulls.........they left behind some damage but I cleaned them up as best I could.

    Typhoon Bordeaux Laminate - I had 16 colours to chose from since we needed it cut in one business day. There are two places in town that do this and they each have 8 in-stock colours.  Its actually quite lovely. 

    How much did we spend (in Canadian dollars, excluding taxes):
    • Dishwasher - $349 - awesome sale at Sears - Kenmore
    • Counter-top - $459 - Winnipeg Custom Counter-tops - Typhoon Bordeaux Laminate
    • Pulls - $59.98 - Home Depot - Oil Rubbed Bronze - 2 x 10 packs
    • Back splash - $108.19 - Home Depot - Special Buy Event
    • Paint & Primer- $60 - Premier Brand - Canadian Tire - Benjamin Moore Buckwheat color match
    • Hood Fan - $59 - Rona
    So for a total of $1,095.17 (plus some incidentals like grout and other supplies) I think we did a pretty great transformation.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Top Five MamaEatsClean Blog Posts

    Hey Folks, I'm about to reach a huge milestone on my blog. My little blog that could. My blog is just a fun project I started when I was on maternity leave to document recipes for my new clean way of eating. It kind of turned into a recipe book/journal. There were times when it was really fun and therapeutic and then sometimes it felt like a burden and was embarrassed about all the personal information I had posted. I've actually considered shutting it down at times just to take "something off my plate" pun intended. But a bigger lesson for me has been to just leave it alone if it doesn't fit in with my life at the moment. If I have no time, if I have nothing important to say, if I haven't experimented with a new recipe for a while. Because one of the biggest lessons I've learned in the past 3 years as I've tried to regain my health is to let go of my self-imposed expectations, try not to worry about what other people think of me, and just "keep my head where my feet are". 

    Plus, ultimately people still love lots of the recipes, and I do use them regularly myself. Its kind of confusing as I've changed the list of ingredients I include/exclude in my diet over the last 3 years several times. As I've figured out what works/doesn't work for my body some of my most popular recipes aren't even ones I can enjoy anymore. But that doesn't mean others can't enjoy them.

    So to mark a big upcoming milestone (I'll keep ya posted), I've decided to re-share my top 5 blog posts. Maybe you can enjoy some of the recipes, even if we can't:

    #1 - Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie, we still LOVE this recipe but I am now dairy-free and try to avoid mushrooms so I make a few adjustments. This recipe has had almost 300K hits.......................crazy!

    #2 - Twiced Baked Mashed Cauliflower - I now try to eat a low fod-map diet so I limit the amount of cauliflower that I eat, plus I don't eat dairy anymore. But from what I remember this was a darn good recipe..............

    #3 Blow you Mind Black Bean Brownies - I haven't made these for quite a while, forgot about them plus I try and limit my bean intake now (I found legumes/beans were flaring up my IBS)

    #4 My Cedar Fence, Kind of funny that this is one of my top posts since it has nothing to do with anything I usually write about. But a good reminder of the power of the images. Who doesn't love a good before and after photo.
    #5 Coconut Flour Chocolate Zucchini Cake This is actually something I could still eat. Might need to go make this later..............

    Friday, January 15, 2016

    Mama's Buckwheat Pancakes.......Yes Please!

    Hey Folks, 
    Its a new year and I'm actually feeling pretty good. Not going to 2015 kinda sucked. But I worked my arse off for the second half of the year and my efforts have been worth it. I almost hate to put it in writing as it's a constant roller coaster and I never know if it's going to stick...........but I'm feeling pretty darn good this week. Not perfect. But good. Yay!  

    And I'm pretty determined to keep it that way. So I have been doing a fair amount of cooking, baking and creating to try and keep my belly satisfied with clean foods so I don't start eating things I know that make me sick. I know that sounds simple for the average person but the list of foods I don't tolerate is very long so time constraints, availability and frankly hunger can make it hard to do.

    I'm not going to lie, I have been eating a lot of sweets. I find it very hard to stay away from them (mainly chocolate and home-made Nanaimo bars) during the holidays and once I fire up that sweet tooth it takes a lot of work to get back on track. Instead of going cold turkey I'm trying to wean myself off............its really difficult. But I'm working on it. And by Lent I will be really to go cold turkey.

    I have also been working on incorporating some buckwheat into my diet. Its actually not a grain and not related to wheat. They call it a pseudo-grain. And so far I seem to be tolerating it. Quinoa is also a pseudo-grain but I DO NOT tolerate it. No sir. Its all a matter of experimenting and paying attention.

    I need some variety in my breakfasts. I love eggs..............but you can only eat so many. And I drink a ton of smoothies.........but they don't keep me full like "real food" does.

    So I played with making some buckwheat pancakes and I was pretty happy with the result. Something to throw in the rotation to keep things interesting. I've been topping them with fruit and a tiny, tiny bit of maple syrup. Yum.

    Here's to a very healthy and happy 2016! Happy New Year (I'm not that late - Ukrainian New Year was just yesterday).......................

    Buckwheat Pancakes

    by MamaChanty
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Keywords: fry breakfast dairy free grain free almond flour buckwheat flour coconut flour egg
    Ingredients (16 pancakes)
      Dry Ingredients
      • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
      • 1/4 cup coconut flour
      • 1/4 cup almond flour
      • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch
      • 1/2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/4 tsp baking soda
      Wet Ingredients
      • 2 eggs, beaten
      • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
      • 2 Tbsp grape seed oil or melted coconut oil
      • 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and then mix together. I fry them over medium heat in grape seed oil. Ensure they are bubbling through before turning over.
      I cool and then freeze my extra's. I reheat them in the toaster and they taste almost as good as fresh.
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