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Recipe: Bone Broth

One of the ways that I am trying to boost my immune system and heal my gut is by drinking a cup of bone broth every day.  According to Dr. Axe’s website, bone broth’s “simmering causes the bones and ligaments to release healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine that have the power to transform your health.  Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain that bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others” (http://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/).  There are so many health benefits that bone broth offers that I couldn’t afford not to drink it daily.

I do have to share a humorous albeit idiotic article I read from Today’s website.  I was searching Google for benefits of bone broth when I stumbled onto this article.  This woman decided to try bone broth for one week to see what magical properties it had.  Even though she was able to purchase it from a restaurant fresh, she complained that it smelled and was inconvenient.  After one week, she didn’t see any noticeable changes and concluded it was just a trend!  I laughed so hard!  Out of curiosity I read some of the comments, they all ripped her to shreds!  (http://www.today.com/food/i-tried-bone-broth-week-heres-what-happened-2D80450660).  I’m pretty sure it will take more than one week, if not more than one month, to see what changes it will make to my body.

And now what you have been waiting for, the actual recipe:

Ingredients:
1 Chicken Carcass
1 Onion
2 Leeks
2 Carrots
2 Sticks of Celery
2 Tbsp  Chopped, fresh parsley

Directions:
Place the carcass or bones in the pot.  I’ve read some people ask their local butcher for leftover bones.  I use the leftover bones from an oven-roasted chicken.  I save the meat for salads for during the week.
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Next add the onion, leeks, carrots, celery sticks and parsley.  I did use dried parsley flakes in the past, but I didn’t have a fine enough strainer to remove them all from the broth and it was hard to swallow with all the bits near the bottom of the container.  So I highly recommend chopping fresh parsley.
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Fill up the pot with water.  I fill it as much as I’m comfortable with boiling because I want to make as much broth as possible.  The fluid will evaporate over time so I add more water throughout the course of the day.  If you want a stronger broth, just let it condense down.
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Bring the broth to a boil, then let it simmer.  I’ve read from most recipes that it is recommended to let the broth simmer from between 48 to 72 hours.  I am not comfortable leaving my stove on all night and I can’t afford to lose that much sleep so I’ll only let it cook for as long as I can which tends to be closer to 8 hours.  The longer you let it cook, the stronger and richer tasting it will be.
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This is what my finished product looks like.  Strain out the remaining bones and veggies.
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And I get a whole pitcher of this!  Not only do I drink it throughout the week but I also use it in meals that I cook.  It does take some getting used to, to drink this every day.  But like I said, the longer you let it simmer the better it tastes.  I’ve noticed that I’m beginning to look forward to drinking it every day.  I’m so used to constantly snacking and being hungry from being pregnant, that now that I’m not, a cup of broth usually can hold me off another hour or two in the evening until I can get dinner fixed.  So my snacking has significantly decreased.

This is a big time investment (an entire day), but I feel like it is worth it.  Bottoms up!

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Day 14 Week 3

I hate to say it, but there was quite a bit of cheating this week!  Me and my husband had a rare opportunity to go to the movies for a date and we shared a large bucket of popcorn . . . yeah, we both really regretted it afterwards.  But it was sooo good!  (Note to self: corn products may need to be temporarily avoided).  I also hosted a girls’ night with some friends and had some alcohol and pie (without the crust of course).  That didn’t seem to bother me nearly as much as the popcorn.  I could tell from the popcorn that it made me queasy, foggy-minded and achey.

So here I am for this week:

Week 3
Week 3

Progress seems really slow, but it is happening: Weight 148.0 lbs, Waist 40″, Bust 35.5″.  Other than the cheating, stress management seems to be my biggest challenge this week.  At the beginning of the week, I couldn’t understand why I was so bloated again.  Now I can tell that it is stress that is taking a huge toll on my body (I know from the past that my body doesn’t handle stress well) but this is the first time that I can feel myself bloating up when I start focusing on stressful situations.  I’ll have to work on that.

One big improvement for me, I trimmed my fingernails this past week and they weren’t nearly as soft or brittle as they had been for the past couple of months.  There was a nice “click” sound to almost each nail.  Until this past week I was also beginning to notice that my hands weren’t as dry but I think with the stress and forgetting to take some supplements at night have probably hindered that improvement.  And I also only missed one day of exercise due to staying up late as opposed to two last week.  Maybe I won’t miss any this week 😉

Until next time!

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Recipe: Pulled Pork and BBQ Sauce

This was the first time that I made Pulled Pork and BBQ Sauce from scratch.  And it turned out very good!  I’m a sucker when it comes to pulled pork, it’s one of my favorite foods.  And this BBQ sauce smells so good!  It has a nice heat to it at the end.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of broth
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can tomato paste (5.5 fl oz)
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne

Directions:
Bring the broth and garlic to a simmer on medium for 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer on low for 25 minutes, remove from heat and let temperature come down.

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Pulled Pork Ingredients:
4 lb pork roast
2 onions, sliced, divided
1 onion chopped
5 or 6 whole cloves
2 cups of water
16 oz of BBQ sauce
salt and pepper

Directions:
Place one sliced onion at bottom of crock pot.
Stud pork roast with cloves and season with salt and pepper.
Place roast in slow cooker on top of onions.
Cover with second sliced onion and add enough water to fill the crock pot to 2/3’s full.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours (or on high for 4 to 6 hours).
Remove roast.  Remove and discard cloves, bone and fat as well as any water, onions and grease in pot.
When pork roast is cool, shred with fork.
Return pulled pork to crock pot.

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Mix in chopped onion and BBQ sauce.  Cover and heat on high for 1 to 3 hours, or until onions soften.

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Most people usually eat pulled pork on a bun, but since I’m gluten free and am avoiding processed foods, I like to put my pulled pork on a baked potato or a baked sweet potato.  I also enjoy the pulled pork sundaes they sell at festivals which is pulled pork in a cup on top of cole slaw and baked beans.  But that wouldn’t be free of the chemicals and preservatives that I’m avoiding right now.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Day 7 Week 2

So here I am at Week 2:

Week 2
Week 2

Slowly but surely you can tell that my body is returning back to normal.  It seems like it will take a long time, but seeing the progression in the pictures does bring me some hope.  My measurements for this week are: Weight 148.4 lbs, Waist 40″ and Bust 36.5″.  I could tell that I was extremely bloated today which accounts for the lack of change in my waist size even though I had noticed myself with a smaller belly just a day or two ago.  And apparently my boobs are shrinking faster than anything else!  And thankfully I’ve lost about 3 lbs so far.  But I still have to wear my maternity pants.  Sad day. I’m noticing that I am extremely sensitive to certain foods right now.  I bloated up really fast and really big for a day or two at the beginning of the week.  And through process of elimination I figured out that it was nuts that was setting me off.  I have developed allergies in the past, but I think this is just because my gut is so messed up it makes me sensitive to more foods than usual.  I will have to find something else to snack on now *sigh*. A couple other things of note, to be able to sleep the amount of hours I wanted during the week, I had to skip exercising for two days.  Sometimes I’ve had to stay up late to finish cleaning or cooking which means that I have to skip exercising to get the sleep I need.  I decided that sleep had to be a priority.  Hopefully I won’t have to compromise like this too often.  And I also wanted to note the type of exercise.  Since the antibiotics that I just finished had a warning that it could weaken and possibly cause muscles and tendons to tear, I decided to start with very low impact exercising.  So for now I alternate with ballet stretches and walking on the treadmill.  I’ll continue this for another week or two so I don’t hurt myself.  I’m not too bothered by this because I’m so out of shape from being sick for so long that it will take me a while to build back up my strength anyway. I think that’s all for this week!

Gluten Free, Paleo, Recipes

Recipe: Crustless Quiche

One of my meals for this week was new for me: the crustless quiche.  It turned out really good and even my husband liked it!  My husband is the ultimate test if a meal is delicious.  He can be very picky.  If my husband will eat it, and even go back for seconds, then I know that this is a meal to keep!

I decided to tweak the original recipe to my liking.  You can add whatever you want to the egg mixture, but this time I used sausage crumbles, mushrooms, onions, spinach, swiss cheese and parmesan cheese.  It had a very nice savory flavor to it.  I hoped it would last two nights but there was only one piece left once we all had our fill!  This recipe feeds three people.

Crustless Quiche

Ingredients:
6 eggs
3/4 cup yogurt
1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 cup sausage crumbles
1/2 cup mushrooms
1 onion
1/2 cup spinach
Dash of salt, pepper, oregano and parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray 9″ pie pan with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, cheese and spices.  In a skillet saute onions and mushrooms, after a couple minutes add sausage crumbles.  Once the onions are translucent add spinach.  (I always add the spinach last because it wilts so quickly).  Stir in the sauteed meat and veggies with the egg mixture.  Transfer mixture into pie dish.  I topped the mixture with extra swiss cheese and parmesan cheese.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes.

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I’ve also seen where a crust can be made out of shredded sweet potatoes (I’m sure regular potatoes would do just fine too).  I haven’t tried it yet but would like to sometime.  As you can tell it looks really good and was a big success in my house.  Next time I plan to double the recipe and use a larger dish so that we can have more leftovers.

ACV, Bone Broth, Coconut Oil, Kefir, Molasses

Day 1 Week 1

I apologize in advance, this post is going to be long.  Because this is the first documentary post of changing my lifestyle and diet I need to give some background as to why I’m doing it, where I’m at in the beginning of this journey, and the steps that I am taking to change it.  The following posts will be updates based on what I lay out here.

Why Am I Doing This?
I have given a brief summary regarding the reasons why I’m taking this journey on my “About” page and in my first post, but I wanted to detail exactly what has been happening so you can know the reasons why I am adjusting my diet and taking certain supplements.  A lot has happened in a relatively short time regarding my health.  In the Fall of 2013 I had an ovarian cyst that was 9cm and was surgically removed in January 2014.  I got pregnant the next month in February.  After having my son in November, I got another cyst that following March in 2015.  Thankfully it went away on it’s own.  But, at this point I knew that my hormones were out of whack.  My OBGYN suggested that I take chemical birth control to “help regulate my hormones.”  I had been against taking chemical birth control in the past because I knew that it could seriously mess up my body if I took it long term.  But I figured, since this was (from what I understood) supposed to be a short term medical treatment to correct my hormonal problem that it would be okay (according to the doctor it would possibly only take three months for my hormones to adjust and hopefully I would be okay after that).  What a joke!  Other than the ovarian cysts that I had developed in the past, I have never had the hormonal problems that I did while I was on this birth control!  Just to name a few symptoms that I experienced while taking it: Mood swings, depression, nausea, frequent urination, distended abdomen, darkening and enlargening of nipples, breasts feeling fuller and heavier (despite the fact that I quit breastfeeding my son in April), fatigue, acne, skin changes, brittle and/or soft nails, dry hair, lower back pain, gassiness, pressure right under my ribs like something was poking me, fullness in the abdomen, acid reflux and my personal favorite was that out of the 10 weeks that I was on the pill, I bled for 8 weeks.  Even after I quit taking the pill, I continued to have most of these symptoms to the point that I was convinced that I was either pregnant or had another cyst.

This is the biggest I got after I quit taking the pill
This was about four weeks after I quit taking the pill

About one month after I quit taking the pill, I went to see my OBGYN who did an ultrasound.  She said that everything looked textbook perfect–no sign of a pregnancy, cysts or even cancer.  So what is going on?!?  I also went to my PCP who took several blood tests and stool samples.  She found that I had a bacterial infection in my intestines which was causing the nausea, bloating and distended abdomen.  I was prescribed really strong antibiotics.  My thyroid was also checked to see if that was causing my hormonal issues but everything came back normal.  So now my immune system is shot, my hormones are a wreck and I can guarantee you that I no longer have any good bacteria left in my gut after taking these antibiotics.  (I have developed a pretty bad yeast infection since).  Long story short, I will NEVER take chemical birth control EVER again!  I guarantee you, that if I hadn’t been taking it, we would have caught this infection much sooner.

So Where Am I Today?
This is six weeks after I quit the chemical birth control, one week after taking the antibiotics and Day 1 of my new diet and lifestyle.

Day 1
Day 1

As you can see, the antibiotics have already made a difference in my size and reduced the bloating and distension.  Today I weigh 151.8 lbs, my waist is 40″ and my bust is 38.5.”  Every week I will update my measurements and any reactions or changes I’ve noticed during the week.

What Steps I’m Taking to Change My Lifestyle and Diet
I’ve decided that my health needs a drastic boost.  I could try to turn to my doctors and pay for more tests and loads of medicine.  Or I could try to naturally heal my body through a change in lifestyle and diet.  As you can guess, I chose the latter.  So what am I doing?  First off, I’m going to completely cut out sugar and processed foods–this means no pasta, no flour and no pizza.  However, to help with sticking with this diet, I want to allow a cheat day about once a month cuz let’s face it, I’m really going to miss pizza!  Next I’m going to add several natural supplements.  I’m already taking vitamins and minerals, but my body needs a little extra help.  So I’m going to start taking Apple Cider Vinegar, Bone Broth, Molasses, Kefir, Coconut oil and a probiotic capsule every day.  I would like to go into detail for each one why I chose it and what benefits it offers, but that will have to be for later posts.  Just know that they help improve the immune system, correct hormones, provide extra vitamins and/or minerals and heal the gut.  In addition, I’m going to try my best to get 6-7 hours of sleep a night and exercise 15-30 minutes a day for five days a week.

So that’s pretty much everything in a nutshell, I hope.  Now that you understand the reasons why I’m taking this new journey, I hope you will join me and see what happens.  I can’t wait to see what next week will bring!

ACV, Coconut Oil, gluten free diet, Kefir, Molasses, paleo diet, Recipes

My Goal is to Change My Health

My goal is to change my health.

I have told people many times that I’m gluten free and eat a gluten free diet.  Almost every person responds by saying that they have thought about doing it themselves, but just didn’t think that they could go through with it.  And I always answer, “You have to have the right motivation.”  If you don’t, you will not keep the diet.  My motivation has been an allergic reaction to gluten, not life-threatening, mind you.  But enough to make me feel like crap for a week or two.

That was in the past.  I now have a new motivation.  Yes, I can hear you now, “What can be worse than a gluten free lifestyle?”  Hahaha.  You would ask that wouldn’t you?  That is what this blog is all about.  My health (or lack thereof) and my journey to naturally heal my body.  I want to take you with me as I experiment with a lifestyle and diet change.  I have already seen huge results by changing to a gluten free diet.  Now I want to venture even closer to the paleo diet–meaning strictly meats, veggies and fruits, no sugar, no processed foods–and I want to limit my dairy intake as well.  I also want to try some natural supplements, like ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar), Molasses, Coconut Oil and Kefir.  Every week I will document my health for you and also share a new recipe.  I have found it very hard to find a collection of recipes that are gluten free/paleo that are easy and contain simple ingredients (who has the money to buy every single gluten free flour anyway?).  Please feel free to comment and share your experiences as well.  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Me and my son
Me and my son