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Day 42 Week 7

This week has had some struggles of its own, but overall I’ve been feeling much better.  My cousin and I had decided to make some fruit muffins to satisfy our sweet toothes.  I used a recipe with almond flour.  Even though I knew that almonds had bothered me, but I thought that it was because they were roasted or whole.  Well, apparently any type of almond causes me to bloat up like a balloon.  *sigh*  I have to admit, I gorged myself on those muffins the following day when I was also testing to see if I would react to almond milk as well (which I did).  Here’s a picture of what happens when I eat almonds:

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I also managed to eat some flavored rice that I later figured out had corn products in it and that did not feel good!  But now that I’ve figured out some of my big offenders, I have been able to avoid them and seem to be doing just fine.

I’ve noticed that overall my mood has been greatly improving.  I had just been thinking about it this week, how just a couple of months ago I really struggled with depression and mood swings.  I’m so grateful my emotions have been able to stabilize since then.  I’m waiting to see if I’ll have another bout of mood swings with this next period, but I’m hoping that the mood swings will continue to lessen and completely go away with each upcoming period.  This last week, I’ve really begun to notice that I’m beginning to enjoy life again.  My health has improved so much (and the weather has been behaving) that I’ve been able to get outside and work on my garden again.  That has been extremely satisfying.

And for my stats for this week:

Day 42 Week 7
Day 42 Week 7

Weight 144.6 lbs, waist 39.5″ and bust 34.5″.  I’m pretty sure that this is the lowest my weight has been since my first cyst appeared almost two years ago.  How exciting is that?  I have been so pleased with how my body looks and feels so far.  I will definitely be keeping this up for at least a little while longer.  My initial goal is three months, to see how much my body improves.  If I’m still reacting to the foods I used to be able to eat, like almonds and corn, I may continue this for six months to a year.  My coworker said that it took her daughter a year to heal her pancreas naturally through diet.  That is certainly a long time, but it will be well worth it!

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Recipe: Italian Sausage Meatballs

This was a new recipe that I tried this week.  I’m very hesitant to blog about new recipes because if we don’t like it or something doesn’t taste right I don’t feel confident enough to share it.  But this was such a big hit that I think it is worth sharing!  My husband liked them so much that he went back for thirds!  Now I made these with a side of squash casserole, but you can use just about anything.  (Don’t worry, I’ll share that recipe soon!  We like that one a lot too!)

I found this recipe on a readers’ compilation created by Mark Sisson.  He is a great resource that I have used many times that gave me a good foundation for the paleo (he calls it “Primal”) diet.  His website is http://www.marksdailyapple.com.  He researches a lot about different supplements, foods, answers readers’ questions, shares recipes and readers’ success stories.  I have read his book, “The Primal Blueprint”, and like to read his blog quite often.

Mark’s work is honestly the foundation and spring board for when I started my gluten free diet over three years ago.  He explains down to the chemicals and biological reasons why gluten is so bad for us.  Mark believes that with a healthy diet and lifestyle change your body can naturally heal itself and be healthier and happier than ever before.  Himself and many of his readers even come from “healthy” backgrounds such as marathon runners, vegetarians, vegans and calorie counters.  It is very encouraging and motivating to read about their transformations.  I can tell you that I have noticed a big change already not only from my gluten free diet, but now with this new diet and lifestyle change.  I hope you will have a moment to browse his site sometime.

Italian Sausage Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 small yellow onion
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup bacon fat
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp. parsley

Directions:
1. Remove sausage from casing.  ( The sausage I found wasn’t cased so I was able to skip this step.)
2. Mix all ingredients except bacon fat.
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3. With lightly oiled hands, roll meatballs into desired size.  As you can see below, I made mine fairly large this time.
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4. Heat bacon fat in a sauté pan, once hot add meatballs.
5. Fry 5-7 minutes, until bottom is browned. (Mine took a lot longer, closer to 10-15 minutes).
6. Turn meatballs and fry for another 5-7 minutes.
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7. Repeat till all batches are fried.
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The original recipe called for almond flour, but seeing as I’m having some issues with anything nut related at this time I tried coconut flour.  I know coconut can be considered a tree nut, but it doesn’t seem to bother me like almonds at this point.  The spices were meant to be fresh sprigs, but I usually don’t keep those unless I get them specially for a recipe, and in which case I didn’t for this one.  So I just kind of eyeballed the dried spice amounts myself.  Feel free to tweak the amounts for what you and your family like.  As I said before, this was a huge hit at my home.  I hope your family will enjoy it as much as mine did!

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Day 35 Week 6

It was nice to be able to get back to my normal routine, but this week had been a little bit more challenging for me.  After my vacation, I didn’t have time to prep for the next week like I usually did so I didn’t have any broth this week which I could have seriously used!  I think I have finally overcome my yeast infection.  FINALLY!  It kept coming back despite all the over-the-counter treatments and probiotics I was taking.  So I gave in and called my doctor who ordered me a one-pill anti-fungal.  I didn’t want to do that, but this had gone on long enough (almost four weeks).  And I guess that finally did it, along with rest and less stress during my vacation.  I also started getting an earache this week.  Unfortunately, because of where I live, this happens a lot more frequently than I care to admit.  I usually get at least one or two ear infections a year.  Not fun at all.  So I was really worried that I was starting to get another infection which would mean more antibiotics which would mean another yeast infection…and I just got over this one!!!  So I made a serious effort to just rest and get to bed early (or at least on time) all week long, take some more vitamin C to help boost my immune system, and skip exercising and let myself sleep in to get as much rest as possible.  I felt like I was not contributing at all the entire week.  But it was worth it.  By the end of the week most of the pain and pressure had gone.  It only returns when I’m changing altitudes (which happens everyday when I go to work–I live in a very mountainous region) or eating a lot of dairy.  Just so you know, this is the first time EVER since I have moved here that an earache did not turn into an ear infection.  So excited about that!

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So here is Day 35 Week 6!  My weight is back to where it was before vacation: 146.6 lbs, Waist 39″ and Bust 34″.  I am still so amazed at how much bloating and weight processed foods cause for me, and how much of a difference it makes when I don’t eat them.  I’m still hoping that in a couple more months my digestion tract will be able to heal itself and I can go back to eating things like gluten free flour and pasta again.  But I’m not sure if that will ever happen or if I will always have to avoid them to keep the bloating down.  Potatoes seem to be safe for me, I’ve been able to eat potato chips with very little to no issues at all.  I think only potato chips and fries are the only things I’ve really cheated on this week.  That’s about all I can think of to share with you this time.  Until next week!

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Recipe: Baked Potato Chicken Casserole

The Baked Potato Chicken Casserole was one of the first “gluten free” meals that I tried to make with my husband and has since become a favorite in my household.  My husband absolutely loves this dish!  It’s quick and easy to make and feeds everyone.  I have seen several different versions of this meal, but our favorite is this one, which includes the heavy cream that keeps everything moist.

Ingredients:
3 – 4 medium russet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small piece
bacon crumbles
4 green onions, sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  Chop the chicken and potatoes into small pieces.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle bacon crumbles and cheese.  Pour heavy cream over top of casserole and then dot with the butter.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for an hour and a half.  Sprinkle green onions to garnish.  (We don’t always use the green onions, as you can see below, but it does add a nice flavor to the meal when we do).

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I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Day 28 Week 5

It has been 4 weeks since I started my new health journey!  I have been feeling so much better and am able to wear regular zip-up pants!  This has been such a huge accomplishment for me!

This past week my son and I had a long weekend vacation with some of my friends from college.  We had a blast!  I cheated a lot over the weekend (surprise, surprise).  And I wanted to share with you some of the things that I have learned from my experiences.

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Day 28 Week 5: Weight – 148.6 lbs, Waist 39.5″ and Bust 35.5″.  I put back on some weight, but I’m actually surprised that the bloating wasn’t worse.  I apologize for not having a self-portrait for this week, with so much going on I had forgotten to take one.  But here is a great picture with me and my friends and my son on our vacation!

So what did I eat?  Gluten free pancakes, gluten free cinnamon rolls, tacos with corn tortilla shells, starbucks and Pirate’s Booty (a corn-based cheese puff snack).  All very good, all technically gluten free.  So what happened?  For the most part, I experienced a lot of bloating and discomfort.  But one night, after eating the corn tortilla shells and the Pirate’s Booty, I felt very sick.  I was very nauseous and had really bad acid reflux.  I think that I can safely say that anything corn based is not safe for me at this point.  Just a couple weeks ago I had a large bucket of popcorn and felt really sick the rest of the evening and into the next morning.  I hope that this sensitivity will only be temporary but I’m not holding my breath.  I do not consider this a failure whatsoever.  This is a great learning opportunity.  I have learned I need to stay away from corn-based products.  Gluten gives me a completely different reaction, but I think the corn is worse at this point.  I also learned that the other processed foods I ate only caused bloating–uncomfortable but not completely necessary to avoid.

Before I leave, I did want to mention that after talking with so many of you about my new diet and lifestyle, I would like to add to my blog site a page for all the natural supplements that I am taking.  I have been so excited about all the interest you all have shown in my health journey!  Many of you have asked me for me details about my recipes and the supplements that I take.  I would like to provide exactly what I’m taking and why in an easily accessible place.  So please look forward to this new addition within the next week or two!

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Day 21 Week 4

This week seems to have been a big breakthrough for me!  I’m not sure why but it seems like all of a sudden my bloating has subsided.  For the first time in a couple of months I can now fit into regular, zip-up pants!  Woohoo!  It feels so good when you can quit wearing maternity pants (especially when you’re not pregnant) and fit back into jeans again!  For it to have been only 4 weeks, this has been a very quick turn around for my body.  I definitely want to keep an eye on it and make sure I’m not going to lose too much too quickly.  I have already lost 8lbs from my heaviest weight this last episode from 154lbs.  Wow!

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Measurements for this week: Weight 146.2lbs, Waist 39.5″ and Bust 35″.  I just can’t get over how quickly this is happening, I wasn’t expecting that!  This week I have done better to manage my stress.  I’ve taken time to just relax and journal.  I also want to buy a cross-stitching project because that always seems to help me de-stress.  I noticed this week that I’m still experiencing some hormonal imbalances.  I dealt with some pretty bad mood swings when I started my period this week.  That is not normal for me.  So, I guess I still have some more work cut out for me with that.  I was able to exercise 4 out of 5 days this week.  I know that will only be my maximum again for next week because I will be going on vacation for the long weekend.  I did finally start to run.  I’m also surprised at how easy it has been for me to start running.  Usually I feel like I’m hitting a brick wall for a couple of weeks until I get back in the groove.  But not so much the case this time.  If what they say is true, that bone broth and maybe some of the other things I’m taking helps out with joints and inflammation, I’m beginning to believe it.  I hope this has been encouraging for you!  It certainly has been for me!