Sunday, December 29, 2013

No Sunday Reflections - A Recipe for Chocolate Chickpea Protein Bites

I know its Sunday. Which means I'm supposed to be doing a "Sunday Reflection".

Frankly, this week has been totally messed up. So I'm keeping it going and posting a recipe on Sunday and I will do my "reflection" on Wednesday.

First we got sick with the stomach flu on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day so we stayed home instead of hitting the road to visit family (two cities in two days) like WE HAVE DONE FOR THE PAST 15 years. It was weird.

But actually quite wonderful. I don't think I have ever played with my kids as much as I did for those two days. They had my complete and utter undivided attention for 48 hours. And they loved it. And I loved it. It was the one (two) days of the year that I didn't feel like I needed to do anything else. We just played. I barely even cooked. We ate "breakfast" meals several times over the two days. Who feels like eating when they've got, or are getting over, the stomach flu.

We still made it special for the kids by lighting candles and eating cereal out of martini glasses.

I'm happy to report that my immune system is working pretty darn good. The stomach flu barely did any damage to me. It came and was gone within about 8 hours. Yay. All my hard work is paying off. I might seem boring to some people with my clean eating, early bedtime and supplement popping...........but it works.

So we ended up heading out to visit family on boxing day. And getting stuck there when a huge storm rolled in. But we got home safe and sound today. The storm has moved on. Now its just bloody cold. LIKE REALLY COLD.

Anyway, this week has been all messed up. But not in a bad way.

So that's why you get a new recipe..............a really good one. I think I may have promised to ease up on the chickpea recipes. I LIED.


Chocolate Chickpea Pumpkin Seed Protein Balls

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: None
Keywords: raw blender snack gluten-free low-carb vegan chia seeds chickpeas chocolate protein powder
Ingredients (12 balls)
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/2 cup organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp raw shelled Hemp Hearts
  • 2 Tbsp ground golden flax
  • 2 Tbsp ground Black Chia seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp Truvia, Xylitol or sweetener of choice
  • 4 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1 Tbsp 100% cocoa
  • 4 Deglet Noir Dates
  • 1/4 cup warm water
Soak dates in warm water for 5 - 10 minutes.
Throw all ingredients in high powered blender or food processor (I used my Ninja blender). Pulse until grainy - not fully pureed. It only took a couple of minutes.
Roll into balls. About 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp of mixture per ball.
Refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat.
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas - Hope you are having a Clean One!

Or not. If there is one day you are going to cheat this year today would be it.

Next week we will all deal with the ramifications. Depending on how many Nanaimo squares I eat I might be back to Phase One of the Candida Cleanse.

And that's okay. I know it works now. And I know it is not impossible to stick to.

Our entirely "un-clean" Gingerbread house.
Doesn't it look cute and tasty!
We aren't tasting it but it was fun for the girls to build with their baba.
And it looks awesome.

I also know that if I am going to protect my Adrenals I have to minimize my stress. Part of that is letting go a bit on the clean eating if I'm away from my own kitchen and at the mercy of Gluten-heavy, butter dripping, salt loving Ukrainian kitchens (or two). I'll do what I can to stay clean. Fill up on as many veggies and proteins as I can and cheat a bit if I must.

But its not a free pass. Just a cheat pass.

I'm giving you a cheat pass today too! Pick one or two things you love. That you normally deny yourself and enjoy it. Just be in the moment when you do it. Enjoy the experience. And then move on.

I hope you all have a great Christmas!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Reflections - What I Learned from 2013

Well its that time of year that we reflect on what we accomplished, where we failed, and what we hope to do differently next year. A time to start thinking about resolutions? Commitments we make with ourselves to change things we know aren't working so we can be more productive, healthy and ultimately happy.

That being said, I don't make resolutions. I never have. Or maybe I just don't wait for January 1st to do them.

Part of the reason I have never made resolutions is that just picking a date of January first as the basis for making a change is not enough of a reason, a strong enough motivations, for me to stick with the change. Just like, for me, weight loss wasn't enough of a reason to ever stick to a diet. And then when I "cheat" I tend to throw in the towel on the whole idea - rather than being happy about any progress I've made. But I'm an all-or-none kind of gal.

But when I think about the year that I have made some HUGE changes in my life.

I'm taking care of my body.

I clearly changed how I eat. I have given up coffee, dairy, sugar (past tense on this one - my sweet tooth has been fired right back up) and gluten/grains. I pay attention to the signals my body is telling me about the food I'm eating. After many tests/eliminations/re-introductions and many repeats I have finally learned what foods do and don't work with my body. This took me 37 years to do. Thirty seven years of stomach aches and this is the year I finally stopped thinking of them as "due to my sensitive stomach". Something out of my control. Yep - I have a sensitive stomach. But the stomach aches were "due to what I was putting into my body". They CAN be prevented. Its hard work but it can be done. And it keeps changing - what works on January 1 might not work on February 1. So I need to be flexible. And I need to listen. And I need to learn.

I have made exercise not just a part of my life, but a way of life. I have not gone a week without having at least 3 works outs. I have become more active in my everyday. I rediscovered the joy of  riding my bike and started taking the bus. I walk instead of drive when I can. I take the stairs.  I learned that I feel best when I'm regularly active. I learned that you do what you can with the time you have. 23 minutes. Fine. Just move. If you wait for the perfect opportunity to do your favorite exercise, when everything else is done and you feel really rested and is never going to happen.  And I had to learn when I had to slow down. When I was using hard core exercise as just another avenue to get a shot of adrenaline. When I was overdoing it.

I go to bed by 10 every night. Or close to it. My 17 month old is still a crappy sleeper so I don't get fabulous sleeps. But I am more rested now than I have every been in my life because I make sleep a priority. I finally learned what it takes to make me have regular, deep, good quality sleep. Again, its hard work but its worth it. It takes commitment and sacrifice.

 I take my supplements faithfully. I go to my Naturopath when I feel I am getting off track. I go for a massage or chiropractic treatment when my shoulder starts bothering me. I've learned to take the time to be preventive rather than just responsive to signals my body is sending me. 

I'm taking care of my mind

I changed jobs. Now I leave my work at work instead of carrying it around as tension in my shoulders everywhere I go. Or at least I'm trying to.

I've learned to CONSTANTLY challenge myself on why I am doing things. I used to think I had to learn to be better at saying No to other people so I wouldn't be so busy/stressed/whatever. But I've learned that I actually have to learn to say NO to myself. I have to let go of my own sometimes misguided motivations to make the right choices on how I use my time and energy. To focus on things that will bring me real lasting satisfaction.It is an ongoing battle I have going on in my mind. A war that I don't always win.

I'm also feeding my spirit. I finally started going back to church on a regular basis. Something that, for me, helps to keep me grounded. Guides me. Bring a whole new level of peace to my mind and my soul.

I've learned a lot because I've made lots of mistakes and paid attention to the consequences.

I've changed a lot about how I'm living my life. And I often have fear that these changes won't stick. That like a "resolution" one day I will just lose motivation for the staying on the path that I am on. That my journey will come to an end and I will go back to the old me.

I don't want it to end. I like the way I am living my life now. I love the natural energy I feel from properly fueling my body with food and sleep. A body that is not overridden with digestive problems, stress and adrenaline.

And I still want more. I still have much farther to go.

I have MUCH more work to do on learning to live in the moment. To still my mind. I have made lots of progress. But I know I still have room to grow.

So as I reflect on my year, I'm not looking for one or two changes I can proclaim to want to make for 2014. Some flashy resolutions.

I just want to stay on the path that I'm on. To continue my journey of wellness. Of energy.  And I guess what that really entails is keeping my mind open to learning new things. Because maybe 2013 wasn't really so much about all the CHANGES I made, but what things I was willing to learn along the way. Because its not the changes that are going to keep me on the path but what I've learned from making those changes that will hopefully keep me going.

So here's to 2013 - a year of mistakes, learning and progress.And here's to 2014 - may the learning continue and may the sugar devil leave me the alone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Another Chickpea Cookie - Ginger Snaps that are Vegan and Grain Free

If you want your baking to be really sweet then my recipes are probably not for you. Or add more sugar if you must. Just don't be peaved at me if you "waste" a can of chickpeas. I warned you.

I have a love/hate relationship with sweets. They love jumping into my mouth. I hate my addiction to them. I hate what they do to my body.

So I attempt to make "sweets", and I use the term loosely, that are very low carb, refined sugar free and low sugar.

Frankly, this recipe wasn't my favorite. Okay. But not my favorite. My favorite chickpea cookies were the Chocolate Macaroon variety - yum. But I'm a chocolate addict so no big surprise!

So then why am I sharing the recipe?

Because my hubby really liked them. Go figure. He is not normally a big fan of my low sugar baking. But he really liked these.

So I figure I better share. And make them again.

Today my 6 year old told me I 'was the best bakerer ever" and that "I should try to find a job in a restaurant so everyone could love my food". Now that is SWEET. Real sweetness without all the guilt! Love that kid!

Note: If are just here because you got my Christmas newsletter and thought you would check it out to see what the heck I am talking about.... Welcome to my little piece of the internet. And a couple of corrections to my newsletter: hubby apparently got his implants in 2012 - I was off my a year. And I also wanted to mention that Luke loves herbal tea and Talia is scared of kittens (for the record she will pet a snake?). Okay - now my newsletter is done.

Vegan and Grain Free Chickpea Ginger Snaps

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20
Keywords: bake dessert candida-diet friendly gluten-free vegan sugar-free chickpeas ginger
Ingredients (16 - 18 cookies)
  • 1 can chickpeas (~500 ml) – rinsed and drained well, organic when possible
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp ground black chia with 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp Truvia (more if you don't need to watch sugar as closely as me)
  • 1 tbsp Black strap molasses
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just use cinnamon if you don't have any)
  • 6 drops flavored Stevia (I used liquid hazelnut cream flavored)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add chia seeds to warm water and let stand for 5 minutes for Chia to gel.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all ingredients in food processor. If you don't have one you can use a blender but it will require lots of manual stopping and scraping down the sides.
Pulse until fully blended and chickpeas are fully pureed. It should have a smooth texture.
Drop onto parchment paper in about 2 Tbsp portions. I formed mine into balls and then slightly flattened the top with the back of a fork.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Reflections - Finding Perfection in Imperfection on the Path to Balance

My perfectly imperfect tree, the note for my box of cookies and some Santa's on my tree!

If you follow me, you will know a couple of things:

1) This week I was supposed to do Part 2 to my weight loss and gain saga (its on hold - keep coming back - I'll get to it eventually);

2) I'm completely and utterly Type A and feel the need to do things just so. Usually in a desperate attempt to meet "imagined" expectations I think other people have of me. Or do things to try to control things around me, to put order into chaos. And sometimes to just show off.

3) I am desperately trying to change my behaviors to find balance. To say NO to my natural inclinations (see part 2) in order to slow down. Or at least focus on the things that matter. That give me REAL satisfaction. Real joy.

So after that big lead in I have to say that OMG that is hard to do at this time of year.

I want to bake fresh everything.
I want to give everyone a personal gift that shows how utterly creative and kind I am.
I want to send the best card and newsletter.
I want a perfect tree.
I want a clean house.
I want my kids to look perfectly groomed with beautiful hair and clothes.
I want to go to every Santa ____(insert function) out there so my kids get a rich Christmas experience.
I want to look gorgeous when I go out to a Christmas party.
I want to invent amazing vegan, gluten free or sugar, grain and dairy-free recipes for my blog.
I want to write amazing posts that show how insightful and intelligent I am.

WRONG. I don't really want these things. Or maybe a part of me does but I don't really NEED these things to be happy. To enjoy the season.

Actually I won't enjoy the season if I do all these things. I will be so caught up in the logistics of it that I won't actually be in the moment. Enjoying the fleeting minutes of my kids innocence as they bask in the joy and anticipation of the season.

So although my brain is screaming out for me to do all these things. To try to do them in perfection. I am FIGHTING back with every ounce of my newfound resolve.

No - I won't bake everything fresh. On Tuesday I completely forgot I signed up to bake dainties for my daughter's Nursery Christmas Party. The old me would have used the one hour I had between 5:30 and 6:30 to desperately throw something together. All the while my kids would have been screaming (literally) for my attention. I would have been angry with them. How dare they try and get my attention when they haven't seen me all day and they are starving - I have very important baking to do.

I would have been pulling my hair out...............all in an attempt to walk in the door of a 3 and 4 year old party with a freshly baked tray of dainties. To a room full of people I don't really know with no doubt a smug look on my face. "Look at me folks. I worked all day. My kids look cute. I made clean and sugar free dainties for dessert. Aren't I just a super-Mom.".

I didn't do it. I took two boxes of Enjoy Life allergen free cookies. I threw them on a tray with a little note that explained they were allergen free (see above). Not one person saw that I was the one that brought them. I'm sure not one person cared. They all got eaten.

This week I let my kids decorate the tree. First, hubby put it up crooked. Next, the girls hung the ornaments very asymmetrically and in a very "cluster y" fashion.  I wanted to fix it. Badly.

I didn't do it. I advised them to move a few so they weren't ALL within one square foot and I put some in the spots they couldn't reach. I spent a minute fixing it WITH THEM, instead of an hour re-doing/un-doing all that they had done. They are proud of it. The Santa's are practically bumping into each other but the kids are happy. So that makes me happy.

Its embarrassing to write these things. To admit to some of my most unpleasant personality traits. I don't know how many other people out there are wired the same way that I am. But I'm trying. I'm trying to let go of that part of me. To question my own motivations. And to say NO to myself when I'm doing things for all the wrong reasons.

And that's hard. But I can't do all the things I want. There is not enough time in the day. I'm having trouble keeping up with my life right now. Its busy. My kids need so much attention.

So I will fail at things. And that's okay. There is beauty in imperfection. There is life in imperfection.

My house is a mess right now. Really messy. And I want to clean it. And I have 50 Christmas cards that still haven't been addressed. And I should probably freshen up. But I'm not going to do any of that.

I'm going to lay on the couch and have a nap before we head to our next Santa party. Because I'm tired. So my house will be a mess and I probably won't look too gorgeous at the party. And my cards aren't going to get out tomorrow. And who is going to but me! And do I really. Really? I'll have to think about that as I'm dozing off!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Roasted Chickpeas - A New Addiction - Sweet and Savory - Ginger and Sesame!

Okay. Mama has a new addiction.

Back in the day when I was doing the Paleo diet I wasn't eating any legumes. 

But then I went on the Candida diet. And on the Candida diet you can't have fruit or lots of the starchy vegetables. And I can't eat dairy. So I relied very heavily on nuts for snacks.  I could get away with that because I was breastfeeding and training a ton. So I could use the calories. 

If you caught my Sunday post you might have read about how I'm starting to put weight back on. And thus I'm starting to realize maybe I won't be able to eat an unlimited amount of nuts on a daily basis. Darn are they convenient. Darn are they good. Darn are they high calorie. Darn is it easy to overdo it.

And my options for other snacks are pretty limited. 

So I have been starting to experiment with chickpeas. If you follow me you'll know that I have been on a bit of a chocolate chickpea cookie binge. Still loving those. 

I decided to multi-task during my last (double) batch of cookies and roast some chickpeas at the same time. So in 45 minutes I had two batches of chocolate macaroon chickpea cookies (about 35) and a batch of roasted chickpeas. Gotta stock the fridge with snacks if I'm going to stick with this clean eating thing. Which I am finding hard these days - my hand keeps finding itself in the Halloween treats. I'm not impressed with myself, or my hands. 

They were super easy to make and super yummy. I think they would be pretty spectacular on my Asian Paleo Raw Salad. Next time since they are already gone.

This is a pretty versatile recipe. The flavour combinations are endless. Just pick what you like and go for it. Next time I'm going to try cinnamon sugar(Truvia)!

Sweet Sesame Roasted Chickpeas - Candida Diet Snacks

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Keywords: bake snack candida-diet friendly low-carb vegan chickpeas
Ingredients (1 1/2 cups or so)
  • 1 can organic chickpeas (abour 400 or 500 ml), rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 1 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 drops of sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut amino's (or gluten free soy in you are not doing Candida diet)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (I used Xylitol)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drain and rinse chickpeas. To make sure they were fairly dry I put them out on a tea towel to dry and patted them a bit.
Put in a shallow roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes being sure to turn/rotate every 10 minutes.
While the chickpeas are roasting combine dressing ingredients.
Remove chickpeas from the oven and toss with dressing. I took them out of the roasting pan, tossed them in a glass bowl and then put them back in the roasting pan.
Bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes until slightly browned. Be careful you don't burn them.
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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Reflections - Its HARD to Gain Weight - Part One

I think that probably got some people's attention. And fury no doubt.

What I've learned this past year is that there are a LOT of strong emotions linked into how much a person weights. Good or Bad. From ourselves and from others. And I've learned that I'm not immune to them. Which was a bit of a surprise.

When I say hard - I mean complicated and negative. I'm talking about the emotions behind gaining weight. Not about it being hard to actually eat enough food to gain the pounds. Although that can be hard for a select few.

Over my life I have always been on the smallish size. Although my husband considers me "average". He told the jeweler that when he bought my engagement ring. It fell right off my finger. It was WAY too big. So I guess its safe to say I'm a bit below average.

I'm about 5' 6 1/2" and my weight has usually hovered in the 126 - 135 range. With the exception of the year or two when I put on my "freshman fifteen" and again after I had my second child. After baby number two I was virtually sedentary, had a fierce sugar tooth and seemed to be on that slow but certain path of gaining a few extra pounds each year.

Even on those occasions when it seemed those 15 pounds were here to stay it never got me too worked up. I never tried to diet (maybe tweak). I have never owned a scale my whole life (I'm 37). I think, or thought, I had a pretty healthy self image. A healthy (if very close and fond) relationship with food. I never obsessed over each new pound. I'm human - I thought about it. It bugged me a bit. But I was kind of resigned to the fact that with children and age my new normal was going to be a bit bigger. And it was not enough to motivate me to give up my beloved sweets.

And then this year happened.

If you have followed my story you know that after baby #3 I went on a low carb diet to try and lose some baby weight. This time I was well over my 15 pound comfort zone and for the first time in my life I went on a diet. A real diet. You might also know that although it worked and the pounds started melting off I discovered something amazing in the process. A miracle. To me at least. My digestive issues cleared up, a lifetime of issues, and I felt more energy than I could ever remember.

So what started as a "diet" turned into a lifestyle overhaul. A new way of living and eating.  Weight maintenance is not a big enough motivator to keep food out of my mouth. I just love it too much. But not walking through each day in a brain fog and with constant stomach upset. Now that is some good motivation.

So as the year went on, and I stuck with my new way of eating the pounds kept melting off.

I passed the low end of my normal weight range within about 6 months of my diet and by June of this year I was about 110 pounds. I was also working out 4 - 5 days a week so I was really lean. Way under my normal weight.

Upon reflection, what I find interesting is that as I was on my way down it was SO FUN to step on the scale each week . Sure enough another pound would be gone. And even though one part of my brain was saying "that's enough already you don't need to lose any more weight, its not normal, its not healthy, its not sustainable" there was another part gently urging me on "how would you look if you lost a few more".

So even though I knew I was getting too thin (for me), I kind of liked it. And it was kind of scary to feel that way. Is that how an eating disorder starts? It didn't look good on me so how could I like it. My veins were literally bulging out all over my body. My chest looked like a 3-D road map of Canada. I was getting comments like "Are you okay? You look frail." I had crossed the line between looking fit and healthy and looking sick. I had no bum (I've always had a bum). But I also had no cellulite. And in today's society, the ideals for women are high. Air-brushed, surgically altered ideals. So my mind was silently relishing that I had achieved a cellulite free bum. And I also secretly knew that it wouldn't last (more on that next week).

And I started feeling pretty terrible. I was having severe digestive distress. I felt tired. I was ravenously HUNGRY all the bloody time. I couldn't fill up. And believe me I tried.

And all that muscle mass I had worked so hard at building was quickly disappearing. I felt weak. Or a lot weaker than I had.

And Holy S(#@ did I get flack about how I looked. Weight discrimination on the low end. I didn't realize that thin people got discriminated against but they do. Or at least they get a lot of negative attention.

People are very suspect when you lose lots of weight. They automatically think you are starving yourself. And that you necessarily have any control over it. Which let's be clear on a couple of things:

1) I was eating more than my husband and still starving (keep in mind he was double my weight and almost a foot taller than me); and
2) I was breastfeeding (still am).

Yes I could have stopped working out. Yes I could have started eating more carbs. Yes I could have stopped breastfeeding.

But working out for me is about my mental as much as my physical health so I didn't do that. I did cut back - I had too. And I have pretty severe adrenal fatigue so having any significant carbs in my diet just doesn't work for me unless I want to be in a constant state of pissiness. And I also had (I wish this was totally past tense) a severe case of intestinal Candida. So I needed to be on the Candida diet. And giving up breastfeeding - well again, not really my choice.

Needless to say, some people were worried. Some people seemed pissed off. And lots of people thought I was taking this clean eating thing too far.

Okay. That's all I've got for today. The kids want to do a Christmas craft and I have said "5 more minutes" way too many times. So stayed tuned for next week when I try reflect on:

  • why I got so thin even though I was eating like a horse (I have a couple of theories);
  • and the feelings that come with gaining weight. 

If you started reading this post and were really annoyed with me. Don't be. I've gained 14 pounds and am almost back in my normal range. And the scale is climbing by leaps and bounds each time I step on it.  I don't know where its going to land and that scares me because I am still HUNGRY all the time. Not ravenous. But enough to keep me thinking of food most of the day.

And if you think I'm bragging. I'm not trying too. I'm just reflecting. I'm learning a lot of things about society, people and myself as I go along this journey. A part of which has been how weight loss and gain affects a person. And I'm just sharing what I'm learning. Take it or leave it!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chocolate Macaroon Chick Pea Cookies

Another recipe for chickpea cookies. Sorry. I can't help it. I get on a kick, eat them like crazy and then never want to look at them again.

These little bad boys are good. And good for you as far as cookies go.

And full of the clean and good stuff. No gluten. No dairy. No refined sugar.

Try them and see for yourself.

I'm currently trying to fight my fierce sugar cravings and these are helping me put up at bit of a fight against that darn sugar devil.

Have a great day, a great week and good luck in your own battles. Whatever they may be!

Chocolate Macaroon Chickpea Cookies - Vegan and Grain Free

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb sugar-free vegan chia seeds chickpeas chocolate coconut cookie
Ingredients (16 - 18 cookies)
  • 1 can chickpeas (~500 ml) – rinsed and drained, organic when possible
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened medium coconut
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp ground black chia with 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp Truvia (more if you don't need to watch sugar as closely as me)
  • 6 drops flavored Stevia (I used liquid hazelnut cream flavored)
  • 12 mega chunk enjoy life dairy free cc (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add chia seeds to warm water and let stand for 5 minutes for Chia to gel.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chunks) in food processor. If you don't have one you can use a blender but it will require lots of manual stopping and scraping down the sides.
Pulse until fully blended and chickpeas are fully pureed. It should have a smooth texture.
Drop onto parchment paper in about 2 Tbsp portions. I formed mine into balls and then slightly flattened the top with the back of a fork. I also stuck one chocolate chunk on top of each one. A bit of a cheat and not completely Candida diet friendly. But if it keeps me out of the "real" cookies its a cheat I can live with.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes.
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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Reflections - Let the Countdown to Christmas Begin!

Couldn't decide what I should reflect on this week...........lots of things running through my head!

  • My new runners. Reebok trainers. Blog worthy? I got them for $20 at a Black Friday sale. I love a deal. I NEEDED new runners. I pounded the crap out of my last pair and I was feeling every jump in my knees. Sucks getting older. But I'm excited to work out again. New gym clothes always equals new motivation. So yeah - I had to mention it. But a full post. No. BTW - I bought two pairs - they were practically giving them away and I jump around a lot. Sue me.
  • The fact that I've gained 15 pounds in a couple of months (and got my butt back). Blog worthy? Hell yeah - I shouldn't only share when the scale is going down. This is real life and I'm a real person. But I need to let that one percolate a bit more - I don't really know how I feel about it. So watch for a post on the feelings that come with drastic weight loss and weight gain.
  • How my new job is going. I'm through the icky "what the hell am I supposed to be doing, who the hell are these people" phase and feeling like I'm getting into the groove. So no. Not much to report there. I think I can handle it.
  • How my Candida diet is going? I don't know what to say on this one. I'm in between anti-fungals. I started some new ones that made ME VIOLENTLY ILL. Seriously ILL. Like I never want to feel like that again/thought I had food poisoning ill. So I decided to take a break from them in general. And my sugar cravings are pretty fierce which means I've been doing some cheats here and there. Which means I'm a bit bloated. So I'm still in Candida land and know that I probably need to re-start the diet, find some new anti-fungals and get serious about it again. I'm following the diet 90% of the time,  but I have lost a bit of direction. So probably time to re-group. On a positive note my moods are holding so I think the Candida is not in complete control of my life. Stay tuned. 
  • And since my moods are good I am feeling pretty festive. Took the kids to a Christmas concert at church this weekend. We have been baking Christmas cookies. And yesterday we put together our Advent Calendar.................
So I think I"m just going to share our Advent Calendar with you. Like everything I do its "Go Big or Go Home". And also like everything I do its "how do I go big without spending much money". So its a dollar store/garage/creativity dealy.  It doubles as artwork in our living room and the KIDS LOVE this thing. 

How did I do it:
  • "Borrowed" a big leftover piece of drywall from the garage;
  • Wrapped it in Christmas wrapping paper;
  • Bought Christmas bags and cups at the dollar store;
  • Number the bags and cups from 1 - 24 using a black marker;
  • Made round covers for the cups out of scrapbook paper;
  • Came up with activities, gifts and treats for 24 days;
  • Write the activities on a pieces of scrapbook paper;
  • Put the activities, gifts or treats in the bags or cups;
  • Hang the bags and cups on the wrapped drywall using push pins;
  • Let the kids take turns opening one each day; and
  • WATCH their faces GLOW with excitement every day when they wake up as they anticipate opening the next bag. They LOVE doing this. Its a bit of work but worth it.
What did I put in each's some ideas!

December 1 - Let's Go Eat at a Restaurant After Church. Baba C is in town so we are taking her for Brunch. Most kids wouldn't find this very exciting but keep in mind that since we started eating clean our trips to a restaurant are few and far between. So this will be well received to say the least.
December 2 - Christmas Craft Supplies
December 3 - Let's Go to the Rusalka Open House to watch Mama try and keep up with the young Ukrainian dancers during the warm up and then watch them perform some of their repertoire. An annual highlight of our Christmas season.
December 4 - Take a Treat to School in Your Lunch
December 5 - Watch the Cartoon version of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas"
December 6 - The Kids Get to Wash Dishes After Supper. Gotta keep them real. Ha, ha. Love to keep them on their toes. They hate cleaning. But they actually found this hilarious last year.
December 7 - Set up and Decorate the Christmas Tree. Our tree stays up until January 7th so that gives us one full month of keeping "Baby L" from being a menus. 
December 8 - Let's Go Skating. 
December 9 - Christmas Hair Ties.
December 10 - Let's Sing Christmas Carols after Supper.
December 11 - Take a Treat to School in Your Lunch.
December 12 - Do Something Nice for your Sister today. Start by Sharing your New Christmas stickers.
December 13 - Drink Hot Chocolate after Swimming Lessons. 
December 14 - Bake and Decorate some Christmas Cookies with your new Crayola Cookie decorating kit.
December 15 - Let's Go See Santa - Daddy's "Kids" Christmas Party
December 16 - Let's Read Christmas Books before Bed.
December 17 - T's Christmas Concert
December 18 - Take a Treat to School in your Lunch.
December 19 - Collect one of your Toys to Take to Charity.
December 20 -  Let's make Christmas Shapes - Dollar Store "Foamie" kit included
December 21 - Let's make a Christmas craft - Pinterest ideas will be used
December 22 - Let's so for a Sleigh Ride or Tobagganing
December 23 - Let's go to a Movie at the Theatre. 
December 24 - Time to Celebrate Jesus' Birthday with Food, Church, Carols and maybe a gift or two. 

Tip - Keep a list of what you put in each day. You might have to switch things around if life or the weather decide not to co-operate.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vegan Gluten Free Ginger Bread Cookies for People with Gluten, Egg and Dairy Sensitivities

I spent Sunday making these cookies with my two daughters. Three hours. Three blissful hours in the kitchen with my girls. They really enjoyed this activity. And if the kids are happy, then Mom is happy.

I let them help me mix the dough, cut out the shapes and then decorate the cookies. Completed cookies not shown - sorry - we most definitely didn't use "clean" toppings so I was too embarrassed to show the final project.  We only decorated a few so most of them will be eating in a clean and low sugar way. Excuses, excuses - I know.

I love when my first time experiments with gluten, egg and dairy free ingredients turn out. And this one was a success. Not only were these fun to make but the kids liked eating them.

Should you be eating these if you are on the Candida diet. No. These are for the kids. But its a fun activity to start getting you into the Christmas spirit. So pull out that rolling pin, borrow some cookie cutters from your Play-dough set and get baking!

Vegan Gluten Free Ginger Bread People or Cookies

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free vegan almond flour coconut flour gluten-free flour
Ingredients (18 - 24 cookies)
  • 1 Tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp Almond flour or Almond meal (I just grind blanch slivered almonds in my coffee grinder)
  • 1/2 cup All purpose Gluten Free Flour (I used Cloud 9 brand from Costco)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp molasses (I used Blackstrap)
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine Chia seeds with water and let stand for 5 minutes to gel.
Combine all dry ingredients.
In a seperate mixing bowl combine all wet ingredients including Chia gel.
Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. It should form a ball (like dough).
Let stand for 5 minutes. If it seems sticky add some additional coconut flour.
Roll out dough until about 1/8 inch thickness on a piece of parchment paper. Cut shapes out of dough and transfer to lined baking sheet. I just kept reusing the scraps (forming into a new ball and re-rolling out) until there was no dough left. I let my kids choose and cut the shapes. They loved this job.
Bake for about 12 minutes.
Let cool and decorate.
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Reflections - Food Sensitivity Testing in Children - Round Two

If you have been here before you know that I STRONGLY believe that the food we put in our bodies plays an huge role in how we feel, how we act, how often we get sick, etc, etc, etc. I believe its the root cause of many diseases. And we often "treat" symptoms we are feeling with pharmaceuticals when really its just our body telling us that we are eating something that it doesn't like. I also believe that we incorrectly assume that just because someone doesn't have "digestive" problems that other problems they might be having (for instance headaches, moodiness, shoulder pain) are not a result of a digestive lining issue. A food sensitivity.

I believe it to the extreme because I have seen the difference a change in diet can make on a person's overall health.

I have seen it make someone transform into a different person. My first daughter ("T") went from a sickly, sad and moody baby and toddler to a thriving and healthy little girl. Read her story here.

I have seen it eliminate a lifetime of stomach aches and insomnia. I've seen it transform someone who is just getting through the day, someone completely and utterly exhausted, into someone who is energetic and happy (most of the time). Me.

My second daughter ("A") wasn't a colicky baby. She wasn't a sick, sad and moody baby and toddler. But she is getting to be a pretty moody Pre-school-er. She has more temper tantrums as a 4 year old then she ever did as a 2 year old. She is kind of on edge. Highly emotional.

And she always had a rumble in her chest as a baby. And she had a runny nose, pretty much consistently from when she was a baby, until this past spring. When it suddenly cleared up.

What happened in the Spring?

We changed T's diet. And when T's diet changed all of our diets changed. And we decided that if T was going to drink almond milk then A was too.

So all of my kids stopped drinking cow's milk. All of my baking is dairy free.

But A was still getting her dairy fix in little ways. We would let her sprinkle "SPRINKLE" cheese (code for Parmesan) all over her gluten-free noodles. We let her eat butter straight up (her favorite food). She ate pizza and cheese and yogurt. And perogies.  Not all the time but here and there. We weren't as strict with her as we were with her sister. We didn't think we needed to be.

Needless to say her dairy consumption was dramatically reduced but by no means eliminated.

But just like her sister, I started to suspect that something about her behavior was just not right. She is not acting like my little girl.

Yes, it could very well be middle child syndrome or the transition of me going back to work or several other things. Maybe its just normal 4 year old behavior and I'm looking for excuses.

But like I said at the beginning, I strongly believe that behavior can be directly linked to food. When my Candida was flaring I was so very moody. I was walking around in a constant state of severe pissed-off-ed-ness. I was mad. And then I cut sugar out of my diet. I went on the Candida diet. I took anti-fungals. And what happened? I found myself again. My happy self. My more patient self. My "I get pissed off for a reason" self........not the "I'm pissed off because I'm awake" self.

And I suspected that my little spit fire shouldn't be eating dairy. I just had a hunch.

So we paid the $300 to get her IGG food panels/food sensitivity tests run.

And they came back this week. So low and behold what did they say?


The IGG panels we had run test 9 categories of food. 90 different foods.

A's came back pretty much clean except for the entire DAIRY category. See above.

Which totally makes sense. She doesn't seem to have general leaky gut symptoms like T did. She doesn't seem to have a compromised immune system. She wasn't colicky. She didn't get sick lots. She hasn't had ear infections.

But something is throwing her off kilter.

And now maybe we know why?

Only time will tell.

But in the meantime, we are going to tighten up on her dairy consumption. No more Sprinkle cheese. No more butter (although that was so cute because it was just like my Dad and it reminded me of him every time she requested some butter off the knife). No more perogies. No more milk chocolate.

I'll let you know how it goes.................

If you have kids, if you have moods, if you have unexplained symptoms................I urge you to look at your diet(s). Could it be something lurking in your fridge that's the cause? Put down that sandwich and pay attention, maybe your body is trying to send you a message? Maybe?

BTW - Baby toddler brother "L" had yogurt on Thanksgiving weekend and had a piece of pizza (real pizza) last night. Rare and unusual occurrences. Both times he broke out in a rash.  Huh - I wonder why that happened?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Chickpea Cookies - Vegan and Grain Free - And Good for Both of us!

I love when I make recipes that my whole family can eat. The combination of my Candida diet and food sensitivities and my daughter's long list of food sensitivities makes the overlap of our diets sometimes rare. Oh yeah, plus shes a kid. She doesn't necessarily love all my "adult" cooking.

But this is one of those things that we can both eat. For breakfast if we want. Gotta love a cookies that are so packed full of super-foods you can eat them for breakfast.

Chickpea cookies.


This is one of those times the "old" me would have scoffed and said why bother? Well, for many reasons. One of which they actually taste good. And I feel good. That's why.

So. There. Old (tired, exhausted, depleted) me. 

I was actually eating a blow your mind black bean brownie yesterday topped with home-made chickpea ice cream. It is kind of ridiculous. Even to the new me. But my hubby actually said the words "this is delicious". So why not. 

Revise your expectations and then prepare to be impressed.

Oh yeah. And some big news. I'm changing my blogging days again. I'm going down to one recipe a week (Wednesday) and one Sunday reflection.

Christmas. Three kids. Severely teething baby  toddler (how did that happen?). Seventeen month old that has only slept through the night 5 times since birth. New job. History of severe adrenal fatigue. Working on mind/body connection.

Enough said. Time to pull back. Sorry if you are disappointed in me. But go here and find out why that can't change my mind. This is just something I need to do. 

Vegan Chocolate Chickpea Hazelnut Cookies - Candida Diet Friendly

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb vegan chickpeas chocolate hazelnut
Ingredients (12 - 16 cookies)
  • 1 can chickpeas (~500 ml) – rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple extract (or more vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp Truvia
  • 6 drops flavoured Stevia (I used liquid hazelnut cream flavoured)
  • 12 mega chunk enjoy life dairy free cc (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all ingredients (except nuts and chocolate chunks) in food processor. If you don't have one you can use a blender but it will require lots of manual stopping and scraping down the sides.
Pulse until fully blended and chickpeas are fully pureed. It should have a smooth texture.
Add nuts.
Drop onto parchment paper in about 2 Tbsp portions. I formed mine into balls and then slightly flattened the top with the back of a fork. I also stuck one chocolate chunk on top of each one. A bit of a cheat and not completely Candida diet friendly. I did it for the kids. Really.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes.
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Reflections - Knowing When to Take a Break

Sorry Folks but Mama is taking a bit of a break.................I've promised myself to put my health before my commitments. So this morning I am choosing me.  And a nice day with my family. Over my self imposed commitment to blogging 3 times a week.

Have a good Sunday! We'll catch up next week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Simple Slow Cooker Paleo Beef Stew

Today is the first day of my new career.................

A chance to SLOW down. 

Well, not really. Just redirect my energy to things that are important to me. A balance between work and life.

But a chance to use my SLOW cooker anyway.

This time for some beef stew. This was really good. And simple. 

The grass fed, hormone free beef (thanks Baba C) was super tender. And the "gravy" was nice and thick. 

The whole family enjoyed this. Well, almost. I'm sure yours will too!

Paleo Beef Stew - Slow Cooked to Perfection

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 - 7 hours on low
Keywords: slow-cooker entree candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb paleo beef sweet potato
Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 1 medium yellow cooking onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 3 cups chopped sweet potato or yams
  • 1 cup peas, frozen
  • 1 1/4 lb grass fed organic stewing feef
  • 1 tsp Herbamare or fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (1 large clove)
  • 2 tsp GF Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme (dried)
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley (dried)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp organic coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
In a bowl combine cubed stewing beef with salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire, paprika, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle with coconut flour and toss until flour is distributed evenly over beef.
In a frying pan, heat olive oil to medium high heat. Brown coated beef in oil. Should take about 7 minutes.
Layer vegetables in slow cooker. Top with browned beef mixture. Add 1/3 cup of water. Cook on low for about 7 hours.
About 1/2 hour before stew is cooked, add peas, stir and let it continue to cook with lid on.
Serve and enjoy!
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Reflections - Change, Discomfort, Resentment & Renewal - A Big Week for Mama

Well Folks. I had A HUGE WEEK. A big step in my quest to work on my mind/body connection.

I made a dramatic change in my life. HUGE. Its the reason I have been so stressed out over the past couple months.............and why I missed a post on Friday!

I left a job I have been doing for 14 years.

A job I was comfortable doing. A job I was good at. A job where I didn't have to prove myself. A job where I was established.

A job where I was an auditor (not the worlds favorite person). A job that was extremely challenging and deadline driven. A job where I was chronically stressed out. A job that spilled over into every aspect of my life. A job that often meant very LONG hours and feeling on-call a lot of the time (that darn Blackberry is a curse and a blessing).

A job that didn't fit with the new me. A me that is trying to find balance. A me that is trying to stay true to her values. A me that is exercising. A me that is eating clean. A me that is trying to have a calmer mind. A me that is determined to get off the adrenaline roller coaster.

A me that is trying to thrive not just survive.

So I put my name in for a job that is challenging and interesting. Where I can still grow as a professional. But in a way that will give me balance. A job that is 50%. 17.5 hours a week. No overtime.


But it was hard to make this leap. To take this big step.

I had to go through some major discomfort to get to this result.  I had to get a resume ready when I really didn't have time. I had to go to interviews which are always stressful and I was way out of practice. I had to wait. And wait. And wait to find out what was happening at each step in the process.

It was an uncomfortable process.

And then I had to leave my current job. And that was REALLY hard. I move mountains to try and not disappoint people. But there was no way to get to this point without disappointing people.

And then I had to say Goodbye to co-workers and friends. I had to say Goodbye to what I know and what I am comfortable with. To the potential for advancement and $$$$ that could have eventually come on my old career path.

A wise woman (you know who you are) shared something with me recently. This is the same person that first made me realize I needed to deal with the mind (stress) part of the mind/body connection if I was really ever going to find balance and long-term health.

She shared with me a theory that you have to go through discomfort to avoid resentment.

Certain personalities push themselves to do things that cause us to "overdo it". And over time this can lead us into the burn out zone. Whether its feeling like our houses need to be showroom clean. Or we have to say "yes" every time we are asked to do something. Or we always throw our hands up to lead projects.

We feel an overwhelming need to not disappoint others. Its our greatest fear. And a great motivator for us to do things.

The problem is that it often motivates us to do things that we don't have time for. That don't necessarily bring us joy or balance or health. That we frankly don't want to do. And probably shouldn't do. But we feel so compelled to not disappoint.

Are you one of those people?  Are you doing things that you resent. Do you feel resentment to certain tasks or people because you are doing something that you don't want to do. But you are driven to do it anyway.

You don't have to. You have a choice. You can go through some discomfort (quitting a job, finding a job, saying no to someone). Yes - you might have to disappoint someone along the way.

But you can either disappoint them and then end up being happy with what you are doing (or not doing) or keep doing things you don't want to do and end up resenting them or it.

That's where I was with my job. I resented the overtime. I resented my Blackberry.  I struggled with not letting that overshadow all my feelings towards my job but I couldn't do it anymore. There were many positives about my job - I worked with some great people, I learned something new every day, I was challenged, I had great flexibility.  But all I could see anymore was how it was taking my time, and probably just as importantly, my mental energy away from my kids.  Away from all the things I NEED to keep doing to keep myself on the right path to health.

And I was becoming a person I didn't want to be. I couldn't stand to be around my own negative thoughts anymore. I'm a positive person but it was consuming me and dragging me down.

So I went through some BIG TIME DISCOMFORT to get away from the resentment.  To make the change I needed to make.

And I'm so happy I did. I'm sorry that I had to disappoint people. I really am. But I just had to do it. And they will get over it.

So I'm proud of myself. It was hard. There were many moments where I just wanted to stay with what was comfortable to me. But I did it.

So here's to a new chapter of my career. And here's to going through discomfort to getting yourself closer to the best version of you!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Almond Protein Smoothie with Chia and Hemp - Yummy in my Tummy! And Candida diet Friendly!

Okay people. I sending out my smoothie recipe. I have received several requests that I share a recipe that is Candida diet friendly.

It gets tricky when you give up fruit to make a tasty smoothie.

But I think I have nailed it. A chocolate zucchini smoothie that tastes almost like ice cream.

I make a batch before bed each night. I put one in the freezer (in a thermos) and another one in a to-go mug in the fridge. Then I have a quick breakfast ready to go. I take the thermos out and by 3:00 (my afternoon snack time) it is perfectly frosty and ready to drink.

Since I have often mentioned that I use Vega One Sport Chocolate I thought I should let everyone know that Health Canada has recommended a recall on it (Chai and Chocolate flavours). I have attached a link to a couple sites discussing the issue. Vega One has not issued a recall or pulled the item from the shelves. They are standing by their product.

Sigh. I just bought a new container on Friday. But my supplier actually left me a phone message and said they would exchange it. I will be taking them up on the offer. Now that is customer service. You can decide for yourself if you want to risk it, wait it out or try and get a refund.

Or feel free to leave out the protein powder entirely. In that case you might want to add some extra Stevia, cocoa and maybe a shot of vanilla...................

Chocolate Almond Zucchini Protein Smoothie - Low Carb

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: None
Keywords: freeze blender breakfast snack candida-diet friendly gluten-free low-carb paleo vegan chia seeds canned coconut milk chocolate zucchini
Ingredients (Serves 2)
  • 2 cups chopped frozen zucchini (yellow or green, skin on)
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (about 25 grams of protein)
  • 1/2 Tbsp organic cacao nibs
  • 1 Tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 Tbsp ground Chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • 2 cups unsweetened milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup water (adjust to get the thickness you like)
  • 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk
  • 2 drops liquid Stevia (I use hazelnut cream)
  • 1/2 Tbsp 100% cocoa
Throw everything in a the blender. I use a Ninja.
Pulse until fully blended. Should come out icey but smooth.
I make mine in the evening. I put one in a to-go mug in the fridge for my breakfast. I put the other half in a thermos and in the freezer. I take it out in the morning and by my afternoon snack it is perfectly frosty. Yummy!
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Reflections - REASONS Why I EAT Clean

Some days I can feel frustrated that even though I'm eating SO very clean I still have my ups and downs.

I still get tummy aches. This week I had a "stomach flu". I'm actually not sure if it was an actual flu, I had a pretty severe reaction to some new anti-fungals I started or I had some pretty severe Candida die off.  For the meantime, I quit taking the herbs and will try again in a couple weeks. On a day that I can stay close to home.

Over the summer I had severe bloating and discomfort which I finally (in August) realized was due to the Chicory root I was drinking. Sigh. Way to poison yourself girl.

My system is so sensitive that even "clean" foods can throw me out of whack. And I tend to overeat. I'm always hungry. But overeating clean foods is still overeating. And its still not great on a sensitive system.

So once in a while I do feel like throwing in the towel. Why bother with all this. Its so inconvenient. I spend sooooo much time shopping and in the kitchen (which I love but even I can get tired of). Why move mountains to eat this clean if I still don't feel great?

Pity party. Yep.

Luckily that mentality doesn't usually last long. Because I have lots of reminders of why I am doing this. And lots of memories of how bad I felt when I was abusing my body with caffiene, chocolate and that good ol' Standard American diet.

So if you feel like having a pity party and stuffing some Halloween chocolates in your belly, here are some of my top reasons for eating clean. Even if it is a pain in the ass:

10) Weight Control - I've have spent a good portion of the last 6 months trying not to lose any more weight. The fact that some people shuttered when they saw me and said "Dear, is everything okay?" was a pretty good sign that I wasn't at my ideal weight. There is apparently a fine line between looking fit and healthy and looking skinny and sickly. So I have now gained 10 pounds (and climbing) and am back to looking healthy. Now I'm worrying that the scale is going up pretty quick (3 pounds in one week?) and might not stop. I'm weaning baby and that means 500 calories a day that won't be freebies. But eating clean helped me lose the baby weight in the first place (fast) so I feel like, in the long run, if I keep eating clean I will stay at a healthy weight. It might be 10 pounds (hopefully not 20) heavier than I am today. It might mean I need to buy some new (bigger) clothes. But I feel pretty confident that it will be manageable weight. And that I will feel good at that weight. And I won't have to starve myself to stay there. But I will have to keep eating clean.

9) Cancer - I've had it. Melanoma. And I don't want it again. My Dad died, three years ago yesturday, from an unexplicable cancerous brain tumor. Random. I'm not so sure. I now think that he suffered from severe Candida for YEARS. Crazy cravings for sugar (like out of this world, eating multiple chocolate bars during the middle of the night, urges). Wild mood swings. Anger. This from a guy that was so cute the majority of the time that you just wanted to squish him and give him hugs. He was a great hugger. I would like to hug him now. Although he might not be visiting much now that I don't have any sugar in the house.

Anyway, I think it is too much of a coincidence that his tumor settled in the exact part of the brain where anger resides. Hmmm, interesting.  And my Candida triggers the same mood swings he used to get. Moods I had never experienced in my life until my Candida got out of control.

So I think theres a connection. Maybe I'm coo-coo but that's what I think.

And I also think a constantly out of balance body, and specifically for me a struggling digestive system, is a breeding ground for cancer. So I want to nip this thing in the bud. Long-term. And that means eating clean. Long term.

I could be wrong. But what if I'm right?

8) Labels - Sorry, but once you start reading lables there is just no turning back. I read food lables now. And I can't just pretend they are not there. And I can't just pretend a "food-like product" that lists a bizillion ingredients, half of which are chemicals, are good for me. Even if they taste good. Even if they kinda taste like food. There is no turning back. There is just the turning of can to read the label before stuffing things in my mouth.

7) Pride - I'm not too proud to say this - ha, ha. Now that I've put it out there that I'm eating clean. Now that I've challenged others to do the same. I kind of have to stay with it. It would be kind of embarrassing at this point to go back to the Standard American Diet. And no one would feel very sorry for me when I started feeling terrible again. I know better now. I can't plead ignorance when I stuff my face full of cheesecake and then feel sick. So yeah - I'm too proud to go back! Accountability can be a great thing. I guess blogging can be a great thing.

6) Creativity and Challenge - there is actually a really great sense of satisfaction you get from creating tasty and satisfying foods from only clean foods. From making dishes that your guests or kids can't get enough of.................especially when they are packed with super foods. It challenges your ability to get creative in the kitchen. To think outside the box.  And I love cooking. I love creating. I love a challenge. And I can't wait for my next experiment to turn out amazing..........and to convert someone else into eating clean, at least some of the time.

5) Immune System Strength - I used to get sick ALL THE TIME. Like my whole life I have been sickly. Colds, flus, ear infections, strep throat, eye infections, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. You didn't need to sneeze on me to give me your cold. I just had to be in the same building as someone sick, just had to breathe the same air, and I got taken down.  No more. Nuh, uh. Knock wood. But I'm not sickly anymore. I don't catch everything that goes around. Well, maybe the occasional stomach flu.

Did you know that 70% of your immune system resides in your digestive system? So if you feed it garbage how do you think its going to work?

4) Autoimmune Disease - I am genetically predisposed to autoimmune diseases. That sucks. I don't want any part of that life. This one kind of goes with #5. But in my case, I'm not only worried about your common cold. I don't want fibromyagia, arthritis, chronic pain, chroic fatigue, diabetes, etc, etc. No thank-you. And as I get older, I can feel some of the inflamation wanting to set in. I felt it in my shoulder. I feel it in my knee when my Candida is flaring up - when I start eating sugar again.

I've watched some of my family members SUFFER. For years. Frustrated. Tired. In pain.

It can be brutal.

I believe I can prevent autoimmune disease, or at least give it a pretty darn good fight, by eating clean. By trying to once and for all heal my gut.

3) Sleep - I have suffered from insomnia my whole life. CORRECTION: I used to suffer from insomnia. I don't anymore. I am cured. Praise the lord. Halleleuia. This is a life changer. A game changer. I am a different person because of it.

But I don't sleep when I don't eat clean. I get a belly ache. And then I don't sleep well. And a tired and sleep deprived Mama is just not the person I want to be. She is dull. She is impatient. Or she runs on adrenaline until she crashes. And then she is useless.

2) Energy - Again, this goes hand in hand with the sleep thing. But for the first time in years I have lots of energy. I have a bounce in my step. And its not an artificial bounce. Its not a caffiene or adrenaline rush that is keeping me going. I just feel energetic. I wake up rested. I don't feel like napping after lunch. I'm not tired.  I crave exercise. I can keep up with my kids. Do I feel like this every hour of every day. No. Do I feel like this more now that I have for the past 10 years. Yes. And its wonderful. I have three kids and I have more energy now that I did when I had none. Woo hoo! That's cool.

1) My kids, my husband, my family, my friends, me. I want to be the best version of myself. For all of us. And I have seen glimpes of that person this year. The sparkle is coming back into my eyes. Not from doing one individual thing. But from doing many things to change my health. To change my lifestyle. To heal my adrenals and my gut. And to calm my mind. But if I could pick the ONE thing I have done from many, it is eating clean that has had the most impact. And it is the one thing that I can't take a break from. I could go off supplements for a few days. I could stay up late for a couple nights. I could get stressed out over a situation. I would bounce back.

But if I went back to my old diet, the sugar would get hold of me. It would mess up my system. And when my system gets messed up it doesn't just "bounce back" in a day. It could take weeks.  And althougth I could start over from scratch it would be hard. And I don't want to.

So those are some of the reasons I'm eating clean. A good reminder because I cheated this week (GF pancakes and some GF scones - several times). And I don't want to head down that path. So this should keep me honest. And on track. Because there are just as many REASONS to stay the course as there are EXCUSES not to.