Thursday, February 21, 2013

Paleo Chia and Hemp Seed Pumpkin Spice Pudding - Breakfast of Champions

I was pretty pumped about my Naturopath appointment this week - it was both exciting and humbling. I'm excited because it got me thinking about where I'm at with my health and where I can still go - if I can figure a few things out first. And it was also humbling because although I have learned a ton about nutrition in the last 6 months I realized there is so much more to learn. A Naturopath can be an awesome resource to help with coming up with a diet and lifestyle that can optimize your health that is tailored just to you.

 A Hemp filled alternative to my  Pumpkin Chia Protein Pudding if you don't want to use protein powder.
I feel awesome energy wise. I can't even believe how tired I used to be all the time. Because it was my "normal" I didn't know I could be any different. But I am still struggling a bit with my adrenal glands. Although my symptoms are pretty mild compared to where I was 2 years ago I am still wrestling with some anxiety if I don't take adrenal support pills and I still have days where I get Hangry - hungry and angry - about mid-day. My Naturopath is working with me on tweaking my diet a bit to see if that can help. What I'm eating is obviously pretty good but the timing is still off a bit as I struggle with eating my protein within an hour of waking up and I don't always eat protein within a hour of a work-out. So we will see if that helps but given I have virtually no stress in my life, I'm eating better than ever and exercising regularly I suspect there is still something else going on - but what is the catalyst and what is the symptom? And why is my adrenal gland still pissed off at me?

Stress - Did it start with prolonged stress that I'm still not fully recovered from? Or is the lack of sleep from three terrible sleepers within 5 years that is taxing my adrenals?

Candida - Do I have a Candida overgrowth - which by the way affects 25% of people? I got tested for this 2 years ago and my levels were really high. I never did anything about it until now, inadvertently, by cutting sugar and going low-carb. That could explain why my sugar cravings are so unbelievably strong all the time - some days I feel like I'm possessed or some kind of addict - its disturbing. It could also be why my body has responded (with bounds of energy) to this low carbohydrate diet when lots of other people feel tired when they make the switch? Maybe its a candida problem that is abusing my adrenals.

Food sensitivities - Could I still be eating something that is triggering a food sensitivity? I had food panels/allergy tests done two years ago and I had crazy results - I was reacting to numerous foods - they really didn't know what to make of it. My clean diet has significantly helped with my leaky gut problems given I no longer have stomach aches but maybe there is still something I shouldn't be eating - maybe its even something clean like a vegetable or fruit.

So I'm on a mission now to figure out where the problem is starting so I can fix it. I have a month before my next appointment to stew on this, do some research and tinker with a few things. And to decide if I want to spend the money for some candida tests and a new food panel. Its not cheap. But now that I know what it is like to feel good I don't want to go back to the way I was, even for part of a day. I also don't want to be on adrenal support for the rest of my life. So I guess I have more figuring out to do and luckily a Naturopath to help me with it. If you don't feel like you are operating at your best but you have no idea how to sort through all the information out there I highly recommend you give it a try. Just be clear to them on what you expect. I told them I want to reduce the amount of supplements I'm taking and get as much nutrients and support from real food. I'm not looking for a medicine cabinet full of pills and although I take a couple of supplements (adrenal support, Vit D, Vit C and sometimes Omega's 3's) we have kept it pretty basic.

And because I have committed to this eating within one hour of waking up thing (which means I sometimes need to eat by 6:30 without making any noise and waking up the rest of the house) I came up with a new Chia pudding. You can make the night before. This time I added hemp seed as a protein source instead of protein powder. This is a great option for someone not keen on protein powders. If you want to make it with protein powder instead of hemp  go to my Pumpkin Chia Protein Pudding recipe. I also topped with some plain/unsweetened high protein Greek yogurt that I sweetened up with some liquid Stevia and vanilla extract to give it an extra protein boost.

Chia and Hemp Seed Pudding with Pumpkin Spice - topped with pecans, raisins and coconut and plain /unsweetened high protein Greek yogurt doctored up with some Stevia and Vanilla!

Chia and Hemp Seed Pumpkin Spice Pudding (about 1 serving - but I couldn't finish it)

2 Tbsps Chia Seeds
2 Tbsps Hemp Seeds
1/4 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 drops liquid Stevia (or to taste)
1 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 cup of milk (I used soy - use what you've got)

Mix it all together in a bowl. Stir thoroughly and then stir once every few minutes until the Chia has gelled (about 10 minutes). Put in fridge to chill. Serve with toppings of choice.

Toppings of choice - I topped with high protein Greek yogurt, pecans, coconut and raisins. Just enough for a bit of crunch from the pecans and some natural sweetness from the raisins.

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