Tuesday, January 28, 2014

KidsEatClean - Crunchy Chocolate Chip GF Quinoa Granola Bars

You might be noticing that a lot of my recipes lately have been for my Kids. Yep. I have three of them. I tend to cook/bake for them more than I do for myself.

Plus I have been too tired lately to want to experiment as much as I used to. So I have been just making myself my favorite Mama's Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf and Chocolate Macaroon ChickPea Cookies. I love those recipes and they are Candida diet friendly.

This recipe is not Candida diet friendly. It has grains and way more sugar than I should eat.

But damn were these good. Like. Really. Really. Good.

The toasted quinoa has such a nice nutty crunch. LOVED IT.

These are dangerous to have in the house. I cheated more than once. Can't decide if it was the sugar or the texture that was so addictive.

So I'm sharing this recipe. But I'm not making them again for a while..............I just can't resist!

Crunchy Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake snack gluten-free vegan chocolate oats quinoa
Ingredients (9 x 13 pan (large))
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cups unsweetened medium shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped mini marshmallows
  • ¼ Enjoy Life Choc chips plus a handful for on top
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fine see salt
  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter or sunflower butter (for nut-safe)
  • 1/4 cup agave or sweetener of choice
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 4 TBSP Organic Cane Coconut Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a glass 9X13 inch baking dish with coconut oil. Spread oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 10 minutes, mixing at the 5 minute mark. Return mixture to a large bowl and add coconut, seeds, chocolate chips and marshmallows. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, nut butter, vanilla, agave, coconut oil, and sugar. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish. Press mixture down (I used a piece of parchment paper so it didn’t stick to my hands) into pan. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for up to 2 hours and then cut and serve.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Reflections - Peering over the edge...................

I'm on the edge. The threshold. The precipice.

Walking the fine line.

The fine line between my healthy, energetic, happy self (love her). And the sick, tired and moody self (don't want to be her). The self that needs to rely on adrenaline to get through her day. The self that feels anxious.

And I'm determined not to fall over that edge. I've been there before and its a sharp and steep downward fall. A scary place to be. And a slow, tough and expensive climb to get back out.

If you've been following along you know that I battle with food sensitivities, adrenal fatigue, shoulder pain, digestive problems, nutrient deficiencies and Candida overgrowth. Which, for me, translate into stomach aches, pain, fatigue, insomnia, anemia/low B12/vitamin D and moodiness. Sounds fun doesn't it.

You have to go back a couple of posts to find out how I got back to this state after changing my lifestyle so dramatically and feeling so great.

Basically, I made a huge life change (for the better) this fall which put a lot of stress on my body. It taxed my formerly broken and delicate adrenals past their comfort zone. Which fired up my anxiety, insomnia and sugar/carb cravings. Which got me eating more sugar and grains than my system can handle. Which fired my Candida back up.

But how bad is it?

Adrenals: They are desperately clinging for control. I wouldn't say I'm in a full adrenal crisis but like I said, I'm on the verge.

My anxiety was starting to latch onto my brain. I was getting fearful of everything. And I'm not talking horror movies. I'm talking the News. Howling wind. Loud bangs. Global warming. And it was starting to latch onto my body. Racing heart. Insomnia.

So I've gone back to my adrenal diet. I've cut back on the sugar dramatically. I've stopped eating grains. And I'm making sure I get regular protein. Oh yeah, and I'm popping adrenal support pills like candy.

Its working on the anxiety (the mental and physical manifestations). Just gotta get my sleep back under control.

Candida: When I started eating sugar and carbs in Nov/Dec I was pretty excited. It didn't seem to be affecting my Candida. Woo hoo - maybe I beat it for good. My moods were still good. Other than the anxiety I actually felt pretty good.

Until I didn't. BAM. It hit me hard.

Lesson learned. Back to the Candida diet. But this time I'm easing back into it. I'm not going back to the strict phase with no fruit - I'm doing a modified version. And its helping.  My hunger levels and cravings are a ghost of what they were a month again. I'm getting it back under control. I'm might have to go back to the strict phase and anti-fungals eventually. Only time (and moods) will tell.

Digestion: This is the weird part. My stomach is doing weird (and absolutely NOT wonderful) things. I've had three "colitis" type flares in the past month. They last for a few days and they kick the crap out of me (no pun intended - lol). They leave me feeling really sick and exhausted. This has not been a pattern for me in the past. My digestive problems were of a different nature.

So I'm not sure what is going on. The remnants of a stomach flu? Maybe. But I think my gut was finally healed. And maybe that healed gut is a lot less tolerant of invaders than my formerly damaged and desensitized stomach. The big downside of going clean and healing your gut. Apparently it won't let you cheat. Its going to tell you loud and clear.

So that's the status.

I'm sorry if you come here for hope and inspiration. That's what I want to give you. I want to be the poster child for healing your gut and adrenals the all natural way.  But above all else I'm an honest person. And honestly, its not always easy. My body is all over the place right now. I'm having some hard days and some long nights. And for those of you that are going through and/or have been through this, I know that above all else sometimes it just helps to know that you are not alone. And you are most definitely not alone.

I don't have a full fledged plan just yet. I'm taking this one day at a time. But I do have hope that I'll work my way through this. Wish me luck, send me positive thoughts.

And if you see me, probably best not to offer me a piece of cake.

DISCLAIMER/CORRECTION NOTICE: Please NOTE that my HUSBAND DOES NOT SMOKE. He's been raking me over the coals about my previous post on Sugar. He feels I suggested that he was a smoker. I didn't intend to. He does not smoke and has never smoked. There. Now that I cleared the air (another pun joke - I"m on fire - OMG - I can't stop) I can continue on with my day. Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

KidsEatClean - Vegan Gluten Free Chickpea Blender Blondies

Well, I guess these are actually blondies.

Well, here I go with the chickpea recipes again. But these were so good that I just had to share the recipe. And document it. Because I have already made three batches so obviously this is going to be a family favorite.

My food processor is broken so I am having to improvise and use my blender for everything. I have a high powered Ninja. And it works just fine. Some starting/stopping/scraping down the sides had to take place but still a quick and easy recipe.

Everyone in the family can eat these. Well, I try to stay away from them myself but not the worse thing I could eat. So I snuck a few.

And remember, our family is on a super low sugar diet. If you want more sweetness, add more sweetness. Adding more sweetener or chocolate chips isn't going to hurt the recipe. Its just a matter of whether its going to hurt YOU?


Vegan & Grain Free Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blender Blondies

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake blender dessert gluten-free low-carb vegan chickpeas chocolate coconut flour cake
Ingredients (12 pieces)
  •  1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  •  3/4 tsp baking powder
  •  1/8 tsp baking soda
  •  level 1/4 tsp salt
  •  2 Tbsp Xylitol and 2 Tbsp Agave (or ¼ cup sweetener of choice)
  •  ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
  •  1/4 cup ground golden flax
  •  1/4 cup sunflower butter (or nut butter if not worried about nut-safe)
  •  ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  •  1 Tbsp coconut Flour
  •  optional: 1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips plus some extra for on top
Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients (except chips and coconut flour) until very smooth in a blender or food processor. If you use a blender you will have to stop several times to scrape down the sides. Mix in chips and coconut flour. Transfer batter into the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. They should still be slightly moist. Enjoy!
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sunday Reflections....................If you gave up one thing what should it be????

Smoking? Drinking? Chocolate? Chips? MSG? Bacon? Fast Food? Food additives? GMO's? Processed food?

That's the question my husband asked a medical examiner when he had a chance. What's the one thing he should give up if he wants to improve his chances of living a long healthy life.(This was a hypothetical question - he doesn't actually smoke and does the rest in moderation).

The answer.......................SUGAR

He came back home with this little tidbit of information in the days when I still hadn't "cleaned up" my diet. I ate sugar like crazy back then. My coffee was laced with french vanilla creamer (and sometime a bit of extra sugar). I ate a chocolate bar almost everyday. I ate cookies, cake, ice-cream and other treats whenever the mood would strike - which was often. I preferred my "entrees" to be sweet. Sweet sauces on most everything - salad dressings, sauces for meats like bbq sauce, sweet and sour, peanut sauce. You get the idea. I liked sugar.

Unfortunately I still do.

So when he told me this piece of news I was a bit shocked. Slightly annoyed. And a little scared.

WTF. Trans fats and fast food were supposed to be the devil. And those weren't my vices. Why was he messing with my world. My sweet and delicious world.

Fast forward 3 or 4 years and I don't need anyone to tell me that sugar is not good for me.  I don't need anyone to tell me that it is causing damage in places I can't see.  I have now experimented (several times) with going on a sugar free diet and I know that I feel leaps and bounds better without it in my life. I have more energy. I sleep better. I think clearer. My moods are stable. I'm happy. Patient. I'm a better Mom. I'm a better person.  I have anecdotal evidence that sugar is poison to my body.

And evidence is finally coming out, real scientific evidence, that sugar may be the culprit in a vast number of diseases: Alzheimers, cancer, heart disease, diabetes.................the list goes on.

That scares me because my battle with sugar cravings never seems to end. It starts from the moment I wake up and never really goes away. It gets better the closer I stick to a sugar free diet but it never seems to go away. It will never be easy for me.

But what scares me even more is how I am going to teach my kids to eat a diet that has a reasonable amount of sugar.  And I'm not talking about never having a treat. I love treats. I love giving my kids treats. I take joy in food and I want them to as well. Having one or two cookies for a snack is not the problem.

The real problem is that the food industry is putting sugar in everything. Even you lucky people that think "this isn't my issue I don't like sweets" are at risk. All our processed foods are filled with sugar - soups, bread, cereals, dressings, condiments, spices...........its everywhere. Trust me.

Try going on the Candida diet and then start reading labels. Its EVERYWHERE. Its almost impossible to get away from it unless you eat at home.

And only 4 grams of sugar is 1 tsp. Go to your pantry. Read your cereal boxes. Read your soup cans. Go to your fridge. Read your yogurt label. Read your BBQ sauce label.

You are probably eating a lot more sugar than you think. And its probably not just coming from treats.

Why am I talking about this?

Because I think we all need to. We need to educate ourselves about what we are putting into our mouths. And we need to pay attention to how much sugar we are feeding our children. Because there are no real guidelines on how much sugar we should be eating and at what point it becomes an issue.

Tomorrow when you make breakfast for your kids do a little test. Read the labels. How many teaspoons of sugar are they getting for breakfast?

I bet its more than you think.

NOTE: BTW, since I know some of you were concerned about me last week since I was so completely overwhelmed, my moods turned around dramatically and I had a much better week. No yelling. I am slowly weaning myself back off sugar and carbohydrates and its helping.............now to just stick with it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

KIDSEATCLEAN - Baba Chanty's Clean Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Perogy Casserole

I've always said that I was a "BABA Before my Time".

I was very young when I started making perogies with my grandma, cheese rolls with my mom.............the list goes on. But the days of us eating dairy infused potatoes wrapped in a wheat dough shell are over. Frankly, we can't eat much of our traditional Ukrainian dishes. Sigh.

But this Baba was planning to feed 20 people for Ukrainian Christmas dinner.

So I needed a Ukrainian inspired dish that was gluten, dairy and egg free. That could be made in advance so I could actually try and visit with my guests. And that could feed a crowd.

A casserole. When all else fails make a casserole.

Perogy casserole is not a new concept. But making it dairy free was a bit of a challenge. We actually still eat butter so our version wasn't technically dairy free but it easily could  be.

This was a complete experiment and I was pretty happy how it turned out. Beginners' luck. It didn't taste exactly like a perogy but it did its job. I will make it again. And my kids liked it.

By the way, I've started a new page "KidsEatClean". A spot to save all the recipes I make for my kids. I don't actually eat most of this stuff. I do it for the kids. And my guests.

Remember, I'm a Baba at heart. We like to feed people........................and we like tradition.

vegan cheese sauce, nutritional yeast, Ukrainian

This recipe takes some time to prep. So its great to make all the "layers" the day before and then just assemble and cook when you need it. Its a HUGE casserole so great for a large dinner party or pot luck. 

Baba Chanty's Clean Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Perogy Casserole

by MamaChanty
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: bake side gluten-free
Ingredients (9 x 13 pan (large))
  • 10 gluten free lasagna noodles (I used brown rice noodles)
  • 3 lbs potatoes
  • 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, coconut oil or dairy-free butter replacement
  • 2 tsp Herbamare
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • dash white pepper
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
Dairy-Free Cheese sauce
  • 2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp organic coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp Herbamare of fine sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 4 Tbsp pure pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets, small (fully cooked until soft)
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional yeast flakes
I made the mashed potatoes, cheese sauce, bacon and lasagna noodles the day before.  I refrigerated them seperately overnight and then cooked the next day. You could do it all in one day and then just reduce the cooking time if everything is still hot when you assemble.
Step 1:
Make the mashed potatoes. Boil the peeled and cubed potatoes in salted (fine sea salt) water until soft. Drain water. Add coconut milk, butter or oil, Herbamare, garlic powder and white pepper. Mash until potatoes are creamy and whipped.
Step 2:
Slice bacon into small pieces. Fry over medium heat until fully cooked but still tender. Remove from heat. Drain on a paper towel.
Cook the GF lasagna noodles according to package directions. Coat with olive oil and place on parchment paper so they don't stick together if you are preparing in advance of assembling.
Step 3:
Make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter/oil over medium heat. Add garlic and fry until softened. Add coconut flour and arrowroot powder. Stirring constantly. Add spices and yeast flakes. Let simmer for a couple of minutes before adding milk. Add milk slowly as you continue to stir. Let cook for about 2 minutes until the mixture thickens. Add pumpkin puree and cooked cauliflower. Continue cooking for a few minutes until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool. Using a hand mixer, blender or food processor puree the sauce until smooth.
Step 4:
Assemble the casserole in a well greased 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
1st layer - 5 lasagna noodles
2nd layer - mashed potatoes
3rd layer - half the cooked bacon and fresh chopped green onion
4th layer - 3/4 of the cheese sauce mixture
5th layer - 5 lasagna noodles
6th layer - 1/4 of the remaining cheese sauce mixture - spread it evenly so the noodles are fully covered otherwise they will dry out.
7th layer - top with remaining bacon and onion
Step 5:
Bake the casserole at 350 for 50 - 60 minutes. Slice, serve and enjoy.
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Reflections - Am I a Complainer?

I don't know what to talk about today.

Problem is two-fold:

1) I have been reflecting on two totally different matters this week and can't decide which one needs to be dissected and discussed more; and
2)  I saw a pin this week that said something about "trying to go 24 hours without complaining even once". Which triggered the thought "Am I a chronic complainer?". I don't want to be.

So now I don't know what to do. Should I talk about me? Discuss the status of my adrenal fatigue ("AF"). Damn AF is back. My Candida. Damn Candida might be back. Or talk about my kids health? The results from my second daughters allergy testing. Damn dairy and sugar. Or her blood work. Damn low iron and Vitamin D.

But both of those topics sound "complainy".

I think I'm in a complainy state of mind because that's what happens when you have adrenal fatigue. You get tired. Day to day activities that are hard, sometimes stressful - but normally manageable - become completely overwhelming.

I found this week tough. A struggle. Many overwhelming moments. Some tears. And some yelling. Loud yelling. We have ALL been having temper tantrums.........and not one of us is two so can't blame the terrible twos. More like the "irritable adrenals" or "annoyed anemic's".

The deep freeze we have been under in Winnipeg (Halleluia it finally lifted) and poor conditions of the roads has made my commuting times to work completely unreasonable and frustrating. Our household has had at least one person sick pretty much for a month straight with no break. My kids have been very emotional (transitioning back to school/daycare combined with sickness and low iron......you get the picture) and they NEED so much from me. And they seem to decide to be difficult when I'm trying to get them somewhere. Which requires me to go outside (I HATE being cold which is worse when you have AF) and drive them places on our miserable roads and I'm always late (I hate being late).

Am I complaining? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just admitting that sometimes I find life hard.

I hate even saying that because I know so many people have it worse. Have "real" problems. My life is pretty perfect. I am blessed. I love my life.

Which gets me thinking................Even in my tough weeks things are really not bad, or hard, or a struggle, ALL OF THE TIME. Its just that the INTENSE moments are SO VERY INTENSE even if they only happen 3% of the time. Its hard not to fixate on them. To carry them around with you even when they are over.

I envy how my kids can bounce back so quick - they can be completely devastated one minute, having a complete and utter meltdown, and then they are giggling the next. Its like they forget they were even upset. Meanwhile, I am emotionally exhausted from the  "episode" for hours.

That's the roller coaster of having kids. When things are good, they are so good. The kids are so sweet. They are so fun.  Your heart swells just looking at them.

But when things turn................it gets UGLY. An unhappy/moody/disagreable 18month/4/6/_ (insert age) year old can be really difficult to deal with. Especially if you have AF. Patience is at an all-time low. And when you don't handle things well you get left with the guilt of not being the best parent. With disappointment in yourself for not being more patient and kind. More creative in dealing with conflict. A Rockstar mom.

Well I was no Rockstar Mom this week. And I didn't go 24 hours without complaining. No sirree.

But at least I recognize what is causing my moods, my inability to handle the regular ups and downs of having three young, anemic, food sensitive and flu ridden kids.

The first step in fixing a problem is identifying the root cause. The root cause is not the 3% (or maybe  20% this week) of the time my kids are out of control, Winnipeg's traffic is horrendous or that I almost froze my fingers. The root cause is that my body has fallen out of balance, my adrenals are tired. And so I need to fix that. And I'm working on it, I've gone back to my key steps to fixing Adrenal Fatigue. But it will take time.

So maybe I am a complainer some of the time. But generally, I am grateful. I am happy. And I am hopeful. Because I know that I can cure my Adrenal Fatigue. And I know that I do have it good. And I love my life. I just need to get off this cortisol Roller coaster and I will be back to handling the peaks and valleys with a little more patience. And hopefully a lot less yelling.

And for the record. This is my journal. So I tend to focus on the more difficult aspects of my life. The things that don't come easy. Things that need some of my time, energy and focus to work through. So don't feel sorry for me if it seems that I have it bad. I don't. You just probably hear more about the tough stuff as I work it through.

Okay. Good.  Now take care or YOUR ADRENALS. And have a good week................

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Ukrainian Christmas Menu - Different but still the same!

Times have changed for me, for our family.

We no longer gather around my Grandparents table (and makeshift table that extended us into the living room) on January 6th and 7th. Our arms and elbows bumping each time we tried to lift fork, after fork, after fork of delicious Ukrainian dishes to our mouths. It was a small house where a big family joined together faithfully. To honor the birth of Jesus, the traditions of our roots and the love of family.

And to eat. And eat some more. And then eat again.

I cherish the memories and traditions of those days. The feelings, the smells, the tastes are burned on my soul. The anticipation of missing school (we never went to school on January 7th - not once), opening gifts (again), eating delicious treats and waiting for the carolers to arrive.

And so I will never forget my Grandparents. Especially my Grandma.

My Grandma was a infamous cook in the Keld area of Dauphin Manitoba. Everything she made tasted amazing. Seriously, a chip sandwich tasted gourmet. She had a knack.

No. What she had was a LOVE. She got great joy from feeding people. She put her heart and soul into it.

So I often wonder what she would think of my new "diet". My Ukrainian Christmas Day Menu. A menu devoid of wheat, dairy and eggs. That's huge. Wheat has a starring role in the traditional meal.

Not at my house. That is not to be. Not for me. Not for my daughter with food sensitivities to everything. And not for my other two kids that can't handle dairy.

It's just not meant to be.

But my Grandma instilled in me the strong pull of tradition and the unwavering love of cooking for others. So we aren't cancelling Christmas. Oh no.

We are just changing Christmas.

The faces around my table have changed. The "family" sitting around the table are my friends. Our families don't live in the same city as us. But friends are the family we choose so I am honored to have them grace my table.

And the dishes have changed. They are clean. Here is what I'm serving tonight:
  • Roasted Poppyseed and Honey Glazed Chickpeas (recipe to come if they turn out). Yep. That's my Kutya.
  • Dairy and Gluten Free Beet Borscht - I chose to keep it a clear broth but I would have made it creamy by adding full fat coconut milk if I wanted. Too lazy this year.
  • Gluten and Egg Free Meatballs in Sweet and Tangy Sauce - I used arrowroot, ground golden flax and coconut flour instead of "breadcrumbs" and Chia seeds instead of eggs. 
  • Gluten Free Sausage
  • Baked Spiral Ham
  • Gluten, Cheese and Egg Free Perogy Casserole (recipe to come if its edible) - My husband thinks it a bit risky to experiment with this on a crowd of guests but as he said "either way it will be a conversation piece".  
  • Gluten Free Lazy Cabbage Rolls
  • Steamed Veggies
  • Fruit Tray
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Baked Gluten Free Peach and Apple Cobbler 
What would Grandma think? 

Its not traditional. Some may say its Unorthodox (no pun intended - Ha, ha, ha - that's so funny....to me anyway). 

But I think she would be happy. She would be happy to see that I still pause for a day to remember my roots. That I still fill my kitchen and my pots with love. That I still find people I love to fill the chairs around my table. That my kids are learning about tradition and are filled with anticipation. And that the carolers will be well fed and watered. 

My food might not taste as good. But at least I didn't break the "THREE MEAT RULE". I'm trying my hardest with the restrictions that have been thrown on our family. And we're making the best of it.

Miss you Grandma. Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you. 

Merry Christmas to everyone!! Keep it CLEAN! And remember.........it doesn't have to mean giving up on your favorites, on your traditions. It just means thinking outside the box! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Reflections - Frustration When You Expect Inspiration - You are Not Welcome Back Adrenal Fatigue

Sorry. I wish I could make my first (ish) post of the New Year insightful and inspiring. Recharged, positive and ready to take on the new year.

Instead you are getting a bit of an update. And unfortunately I am feeling a bit frustrated.

Frustrated with my own body. Its rebelling against me. Even though I treat it pretty darn good.

I gave up caffeine. Completely. I go to sleep by 10 each night. I don't drink. At all. Not a sip. I changed jobs to reduce my stress. I take probiotics, iron, adrenal pills, Vit C, Vit D and digestive enzymes. Faithfully. I eat clean. I gave up gluten, dairy, sugar (trying anyway), banana's, most legumes..........the list goes on. I eat way less carbs than the Canada Food Guide recommends - or I was for the better part of a year. I gave up pork, vinegar, yeast, mushrooms, starchy vegetables and EVEN FRUIT for a while. I got rid of my Candida.

I exercise 4 times a week.

I'm being a really good girl. I'm committed. I'm focused. I'm kind of boring.

But my ADRENAL FATIGUE is trying very hard to settle back into my body.

Its trying to slowly and subtly sneak back in. To get a full grip on me before I realize what is happening. You don't just wake up one day with adrenal fatigue. The symptoms start slowly and build until you forget what you used to feel like. It becomes your new normal and you can mistakenly think this is just "you".

Sorry Adrenal Fatigue. I've been through this before. I KNOW THE SIGNS. And I am not letting this happen. Again.

If you have been following along you might know that my sugar cravings, cheats and carb consumption started firing back up sometime in November. Not that I haven't struggled with it all along. I have. But since I started the Candida diet in early May, I was winning the battle. My willpower was strong enough to keep me on track for the most part.

Then all the sudden in November I started cheating. Cheat, cheat, cheat. It started with milk chocolate Halloween candies left over from my kids. I took them to work to share (i.e. get rid of them). I hadn't eaten milk chocolate for the best part of a year so they didn't actually tempt me. Before.

Then something changed. All of the sudden I couldn't resist them. At about 1:00. Right after lunch. Everyday. I could not stop myself from having one. Okay two. I was possessed. And its a slippery slope with sugar addiction. Once you start it is hard to stop.

I felt so disappointed in myself. Why was I so weak? I just got rid of my Candida after months of deprivation how could I throw that all away? How can I have a clean eating blog when I eat all this chocolate and sugar? Should I hide the wrappers?

And then my sleep started to be inconsistent. I was having trouble falling asleep at night. I wasn't sleeping as deeply as I had been. I started having some insomnia and not waking up rested. I still am. Maybe its the caffeine in chocolate keeping me up?

My shoulder started aching again. That deep ache on my right side. I thought maybe it was either from my restless nights or from the yoga handstands I have been working on?

And then suddenly I started feeling ANXIETY, FEAR. Mild compared to what I've experienced in the past. My first thought - damn - the sugar and lack of sleep must be causing me to have some kind of reaction?

So you see. Its easy to keep coming up with reasons/excuses for why you start feeling off. That's how it sneaks up on you.

I thought that I was weak, stupid and had no willpower which caused me to start eating chocolate again. Or my Candida was back. I thought the chocolate and carbs were causing me to not sleep. I thought the not sleeping was flaring up my shoulder and I was further aggravating it at the gym. I thought all of this combined to cause me to have anxiety.


I've been reflecting. And reflecting. And trying to figure out what happened. What went wrong. And the answer is there..........................

STRESS. My old friend. STRESS.

I had a terribly stressful fall. I changed jobs. Leaving my last job was brutal for me. I had a really hard time. And starting a new job puts a lot of pressure on a person. Its exciting. I'm loving it. It was the right thing to do for all the right reasons. But it requires you to "be on" at a different level than you normally have to be.

I thought I was handling it okay. I took the time to keep exercising and eating clean. I felt happy. I felt settled with my decision even if I had to disappoint people to make the move.

But like I have said before, I broke my adrenals. And they might never be the same again. So they are susceptible to stress.

And adrenal fatigue often seems to set in after, or be felt the most, when the stress is over.

So I guess having a super relaxing Christmas holiday and time off work was a blessing and a curse. I loved spending time with my family. But the adrenaline stopped flowing. And I started to really feel the effects of the stress my body has been under.

So my adrenal story continues. Its frustrating to be in this spot again. But don't feel sorry for me. This is a mild case compared to what I've been through before. And I have hope this time. I KNOW I can get this back under control.

It will take work. I will go back to my original rules for Curing Adrenal Fatigue the All Natural Way. And I will get better.  It will just take some time.

And I have learned that its not ONE THING that causes adrenal fatigue. It can be stress. It can be food sensitives and nutrient deficiencies. It can be lack of sleep. It can be personality. If you are susceptible to it you must be vigilant. Pay attention. My sudden overwhelming sugar cravings were the first sign that my adrenals were screaming for help. I should have upped my supplements at that point. I should have slowed down. I should have..........

I should give myself a break is what I should do. Its over. Time to move forward. Nip this thing in the bud. So Goodnight. I'm going to try 9:30 tonight and see if that helps..................................

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Reflections - Best of the Year - Top 5

During 2013, we learned a ton about the digestive health of this family. And with it came a long line of diet restrictions and changes. So our diets have evolved. They have been refined and tweaked and then re-tweaked as we figured out what worked, and didn't work, with our bodies. 2013 has been a year of experimentation and learning.  Of listening. Of feeling. And of taking action.

So my recipes were a bit inconsistent as I figured out what diet would work best for me. For instance, I kept trying to keep dairy in my diet. I finally resigned my self to the fact that it DOES NOT AGREE WITH ME. Or my kids. Yes, its is delicious and its hard to give up. Yes, life goes on.

I have done the Wheat Belly Diet, Paleo, Clean Gut and Candida diet. I got my food sensitivity panels re-run and confirmed I have a sensitivity to banana's, whey, yogurt and yeast.

Basically, I generally follow a Low Carb diet - one that is gluten, dairy, caffeine and sugar free as much as possible. And I avoid grains, for myself, when I can. Sugar is without a double my biggest weakness. What I struggle with every day. Sometimes it feels like every minute.

My daughter has different sensitivities. Plus - she's a kid. She can handle more carbs. But she has a nasty case of leaky gut and food sensitivities to everything (gluten, sugar, eggs, dairy, peanuts, soy............etc). So I make some higher carb recipes for her that are generally gluten-free and vegan.

I know it has been a bit confusing if you are trying to follow my recipes and prefer to stick to a single type of diet. My RECIPE INDEX or RECIPAGE is the best place to browse all of my recipes.  Or if you are a visual person (like me) you might want to just check out my PINTEREST recipe board.

At the end of the day you need to adjust any "diet" to what WORKS FOR YOUR OWN BODY. We are all different. So at the very least I hope I have given you some ideas. And I will keep giving you ideas in 2014. Because I get bored with eating the same things all the time.

Anyway, here is a little snapshot of the best of 2013. Its hard to pick..................

1. Most "LIKED" and "SHARED" recipe on the Internet:

This one has dairy in the recipe and mushrooms. So I make it Candida and Mama-diet friendly by omitting the cheese (on my half) and leaving out the mushrooms. But a great base recipe!

2. QUICKEST & EASIEST recipe for a Weeknight Meal:

Great topped on a salad.
Even my hubby can do this. Enough said. 

I love these cookies. They save me from devouring other "illegal" sweets.
Or they did before I went off the rails. 

4. Best LOAF
I ate so much of this. Sometimes I use pumpkin instead of zucchini.
Just as good.  I make a double batch and then freeze in individual servings so I always have a grab and go snack ready to take with me.

5. Most FREQUENTLY EATEN (drank) Recipe
I probably averaged one of these (or some variation thereof) about 5 or 6 times a week. Almost everyday. They are super tasty, portable and satisfying. Sometimes I make them the night before, freeze and then just take it to work with me for an afternoon snack. 
That's just a quick snapshop. Only 5 of the over 100 recipes I developed this year. Yikes. 

So here's to 2013. A year that was full of experimentation and lessons. Now I KNOW what my body likes and what it doesn't. No more excuses. 2014 should be easier if I just stick to what I know - no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine and no grains. 

Some would say no fun. Not me. I get to keep experimenting with recipes. And I get to be the best, most energetic version of myself. Or keep trying to be.

What are you going to do in 2014? Do you feel your best?