Sugar-Booger

Ok, so my title makes sense in that I am theorizing that my recent sugar consumption may have triggered my allergies to basically explode.¬† I wish it was just boogers.¬† No, it’s been itchy ears, sneezing, watery snot (sorry, TMI), itchy skin, and even a full-on sore throat.¬† I’ve always struggled with allergies but in recent years it has seemed to improve as my health improved.¬† Even to the point that we got a cat this summer.¬† Which never would have been possible in my not so distant past. ¬†See the source image

I’ve been ok with the cat but allergies are cumulative.¬† Meaning the cat fur, dust kicked up by vacuuming, pollen floating in through open windows- all conspire together to drive you into a state of histamine overload and sheer misery.

So how does sugar play into all of this?¬† Basically the cradle of life lies within our guts, apparently.¬† Healthy gut=happy life.¬† Sad gut=jiggly butt.¬† Lol¬† But seriously a poor microbiome can actually¬†cause obesity.¬† Our insides are host to billions of bacteria.¬† Some are highly beneficial and aid us in digesting and properly absorbing nutrients.¬† Others are parasitic little buggers that actually¬†make us eat sugar¬† Candida is kind of a buzz word right now it is basically just an overgrowth of yeast.¬† You know you have candida if you’ve struggled with yeast and fungal infections.¬† Candida is also implicated in allergies, eczema, obviously sugar cravings and even depression.

Candida wants to survive in your body at your expense.  See the source image

What causes a candida overgrowth in the first place?¬† A history of weakened immunity, antibiotic usage, poor diet, stress.¬† Basically everyone has some level of candida but a healthy immune system keeps it in check.¬† If you’re like me, and took a million rounds of antibiotics in childhood and grew up on a high sugar diet- chances are you are a candida hotel, baby.

Your poor gut health could be causing your lethargy.¬† Maybe the best thing for your hay fever is a good probiotic?¬† Maybe you’re depressed because your body is overrun with these tiny little parasites that release toxins into your system continually?

I’ve had periods where I have cut out sugar and I feel so much better.¬† But like many addicts, there have been many relapses.¬† Like yesterday when I made chocolate chip cookies “for my kids”.¬†See the source image I used almond flour, sweetened with monk fruit, but there was still sugar in the form of insanely delicious 63% dark guittard chocolate chips.¬† Omg they were so good.¬† I ate, well, a lot.

This morning I woke up with awful allergies.  Just awful.  Itchy, achy, miserable.

I was able to feel better using a recipe I found online.¬† It’s 2 parts sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to one part potassium carbonate.¬† You mix 1/2 tsp. of the mix into 8 ounces warm water and drink.¬† It’s gross but it does help.

I am excited to start my cleanse soon.¬† It should be arriving this afternoon.¬† Doing a cleanse, and combining it with proven candida obliterator- coconut oil, should make a profound difference on how I handle the onslaught of fall allergies in Minnesota.¬† I’m also hoping for less cravings and more energy. ¬†Renew Life - Flush & Be Fit - Woman's Care - supports detoxification and cleanse supplement for women - 14 day program

This is the cleanse I’m doing but you could get results just through “starving” off the bad bacteria and yeast with a very low carb (zero sugar!) approach and making sure that you are getting enough sleep.

Cleansing and Toxins

One topic that has always interested me is¬†cleansing. ¬†If I had an irrational fear (if…haha)¬†it would be of toxins.¬† Many years ago when I started learning about how ubiquitous toxins are to our modern world it literally made me nearly sick with anxiety. I’m a person of faith so I don’t really fear death, per se, but living a subpar life.¬† My lifeforce (or whatever you want to call it) dulled and blunted by toxins.

There is many benefits to living in modern society.  But with that comes a price.  Sitting behind a big diesel truck in traffic.  Flame retardants on our mattresses.  Cancer causing chemicals sprayed onto our foods.  We can do a lot to minimize our exposure to toxins, but what about the toxins that have built up in our systems over the years?

Here in the Midwest, I have always lived within a stones throw of a field.¬† Seems innocuous until you realize that the only fields around here are GMO corn and soy that is drenched in chemical fertilizers and ultra-toxic roundup.¬† That of course works it’s way into the drinking water.¬† It’s in the air we breathe.

I also grew up eating a lot of canned foods (hello aluminum!).  We thought canned soup was healthy.   We had no idea of the dangers of microwaving food in plastic.  Diet coke was the healthy option.

See the source imageYeah, yeah, so we are all ridden with toxins.¬† Now what?¬† That’s where the cleanse comes in.¬† I know the word “cleanse” comes with some baggage.¬† In my research I’ve found that a lot of people doing youtube videos and writing articles on the subject tend to range from kooky to snake oil-y.¬† Or maybe you think of cleansing as a violent, run to the bathroom process….

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I couldn’t not include this GIF, you’re welcome

It definitely shouldn’t be that.¬† It shouldn’t be expensive.¬† It can be as easy as fasting for a day and drinking bergamot tea.¬† I also have used¬†this¬†simple 3 day cleanse a couple times and really liked it.¬† I found it at Wal-Mart for around $6.¬† I’ve also taking¬†red clover¬†supplement, and sorry, TMI; but it gave my a weird rash across my abdomen.¬† I wasn’t sure if it was a reaction or what.¬† The next day I just happened to hear about rashes being a common byproduct as your body is detoxing.¬† Everything gets stirred up and you can get some weird symptoms.¬† A couple days later I had taken it again and had done a workout.¬† The rash came back with little white dots of which I can only describe as crystalline.¬† It scrapped away.¬† Of course I have no proof, but I believe I was literally sweating out toxins.

I am going to embark on a more in depth cleanse, using¬†this renew life cleanse¬†(it’s a lot cheaper on amazon).¬† I plan to combine it with a form of water fasting.¬† At least maybe as much as I feel I can handle.¬† I like to do my fasting with tea as well because it accelerates¬†autophagy¬†which is huge in detoxing out junk down to the cellular level.¬† You don’t have to buy any fancy, expensive teas.¬† Any bergamot tea will do.¬† I also like spicy chai tea because the cinnamon and other spices are very anti-inflammatory and healing.¬† Plus it tastes amazing!¬† I feel like fasting is so much easier when you can combine it with hot teas.

The idea behind a cleanse is that you want to feel better when it’s done.¬† Lighter, more energetic.¬† Your brain may be sharper.¬† Your skin clearer.¬† You always want to listen to your body.¬† If you start feeling really terrible you may be stirring up more toxins then you can safely process.¬† You may want to back off a bit or opt for a more gentle “Daniel Fast” approach- incorporating fresh (preferably organic!) fruits and vegetables.

You can also greatly aid in the process by supporting your lymph system through rebounding (jumping) and dry brushing.¬† If you’re doing any sort of cleanse/fast you want to stay away from vigorous exercise.¬† This is about healing so you want to avoid eternal stresses.¬† Even good ones like exercise.

Don’t be like me and stress out about it.¬† The far better option is to find ways to naturally support your bodies ability to detoxify and heal itself.¬† You can mini-cleanses once a month and a more in depth cleanse once or twice a year.

Birthday Cakes and Icy Lakes

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. I went on a roadtrip to visit my mom’s side of the family for a reunion in Wisconsin.

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*Pretending to do lakeside Yoga*

My husband gifted me some pretty sweet bowflex select tech dumbells.  He knows the way to my heart!!

It was fun and included an iced dark chocolate mocha, french fries and an ice cream sundae. #noregrets

But today is going to be a fasting day.¬† I just got done watching most of the “Skinny on Fat” series and¬†Supercharged¬†the movie.¬† The series really should have been more condensed.¬† Each episode was over 2 hours long and there was a lot of repetition.¬† The Supercharged movie was pretty cheesy (low carb!) but had some good info.¬† But again, mostly just more of what I already know I¬†should be doing. ¬†

I say “should be” because the two things that stick out to me are two things that most human beings are pretty resistant towards- fasting and purposeful cold exposure.¬† #notfun¬† But if you want to get the best results, as far as being healthy, lean, and staying young- you have to embrace some discomfort.

One thing that sticks out to me is that now science is backing up practices that people have been embracing for health reasons for eons.¬† Fasting as a religious practice has basically always been practiced.¬† When I read about other people’s struggles to get into ketosis, it taking days and being very uncomfortable, I was surprised.¬† I got into ketosis the first day and it really wasn’t a difficult process.¬† Now I chalk that up to the fasting I’ve done over the years for spiritual purposes.¬† If you go extended lengths abstaining from food you¬†will¬†go into ketosis even if you don’t mean to or have any idea what that means.¬† At that point you have more fat-burning flexibility.¬† Your body is much more adept at transitioning.¬† Fasting has been embraced as a powerful spiritual tool throughout human history but now we can appreciate the truly amazing¬†benefits .¬† Fasting is probably the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we currently understand.

Up here in Minnesota we have what’s known as the “Polar Plunge”; where people will cut a hole in the ice (on a lake, of course) and jump into the freezing cold water.¬† I used to live by a dentist who swore by this and would jump into our icy lake often.¬† I thought these people were nuts.¬† Nuts, maybe, but now we know the amazing health-promoting¬† properties of exposing your body to intense cold for brief periods.¬† It’s even better if you can alternate hot and cold.¬† Like they do in Scandinavian countries- go from the sauna to the ice.¬† If you don’t have access to a frozen lake you can always mimic this in the much less cool (but still effective) basic ice bath.¬† Or even just cold water bath.¬† I think there’s one in my future that I am currently psyching myself up for.

Why go through all of this?¬† Well, I am 32 and I want to get better and feel better with age.¬† I spent a lot of my 20’s feeling horrible and I have a lot of life I want to live.¬† Oh, and I also want to look great while doing it. ūüėČ

So here is to living life.  Enjoying sundaes and fundays but also getting out of your comfort zone to tap into powerful, ancient health-rejuvenating powerhouses!!

Growing Kids and Lectins

Having your kids on a keto plan means that you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.¬† A lot.¬† Cooking, baking, cleaning, oh my!

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Michael, with his 2nd keto brownie 

My plight is perhaps even worse because of the fact that my oldest child is growing like an inch a week and always hungry.¬† He’s only 13 and he is almost 5’9″!

They’ve been getting sick of eggs in all their different forms. so I’ve been making a lot of chocolate shakes for breakfast.¬† I just blend up half and half with peanut butter, raw cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener blend.¬† They really like the shakes and get a gazillion calories to fuel their weed-like growth.

We agreed that Friday would be a “cheat” day were they could eat whatever.¬† I figure it’s a good bribe to keep everyone happy and they are still getting the benefits of ketosis while getting a good dose of carbs once a week.

My daughter spent the weekend with my mom.¬† I wasn’t about to try to make her follow the keto plan at grandma’s house so Shiloh had a weekend full of fun and gluten.¬† I just got her back this evening and…wow.¬† What a difference.¬† She’s burst into tears no less than 10 times.¬† I had to take her to the grocery store and it was like trying to herd a stray cat through a maze of frenzied shoppers.¬† I guess it really serves as confirmation that at the¬†very least¬†she is benefiting greatly from a gluten free diet.¬† On the keto plan I have seen her become¬†way¬†more calm and focused.

I’ve been watching Naomi Whittel’s¬†documentary series on the ketogenic diet.¬† One really interesting thing that I’ve learned is that mankind actually shrunk a foot when they transitioned from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle (think paleo) to and agricultural one.¬† One reason is, many of the grains we consume today are high in lectins– effectively an anti-nutrient produced by plants as a defense against getting eaten.¬† It’s the reason that if you eat beans that aren’t fully cooked you can get very ill.¬† The lectins are tearing up your gut.¬† They cause the gas, bloating, lethargy and poor absorption of nutrients that many people just live with.¬† The two main ingredients that make up the bulk of processed foods- wheat and soy (which are also mostly GMO) also happen to be the highest in lectins.¬† I’ve noticed going keto has really improved my digestion.¬† So when I occasionally eat a treat that is¬†definitely¬†not keto or healthy, it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as it used to.¬† I suppose my gut is healing on this much less inflammatory diet.¬† Since gut and brain are intimately¬†connected; it makes sense that a flexible keto approach to eating would be a wise choice for growing kids.

 

Keto Kids

We started Keto as a family last Thursday so today would be day 6 of our “keto adventure”.¬† Well for everyone except my husband who is still sneaking foods like triscuits and heavily sweetened “coffee”. *eyeroll*

So, what have I noticed, other than a lot of complaining?

It’s hard to tell for sure but two instances stand out.¬† My daughter and I were shopping at Target yesterday.¬† Not a get in an out kind of trip, more like “I need to get of the d@mn house before I lose my mind” kind of trip.¬† Lots of meandering.¬† Midway through I glanced down at my daughter, Shiloh, with the sudden realization that she was being good.¬† Very good.¬† She quietly and calmly walked right next to my side¬†through the entire store.¬†¬†

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My Little Capuchin!

Then I remembered how eerily well behaved she was yesterday when we took my MIL to a huge antique store.¬† We were nervous bringing her into a cramped place jam packed with breakable items.¬† But she was borderline angelic the entire time.¬† Which, yes, is a huge improvement from her norm.¬† Running off, grabbing stuff, tantrums… oh my.¬†¬†In my opinion, it’s still to early to tell.¬† The real test will come when they go back to school.¬†¬†20180718_0809016013263692184364662.jpg

I did pick up some keto test strips yesterday for the first time.  I tested my daughter this morning and she is definitely in ketosis.  The reading was very high, which I attribute to the fact that she was in a fasting state after having just woke up.

I don’t know if I’ve noticed an improvement in either of my two sons though.¬† My middle child, Gabe, is my little sugar baby and has been¬†very¬†vocal and cranky about the diet.¬† He’s always loved his carbs though.¬† That kid could live off of bread alone.

 

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He’s SO dramatic, I have no clue where he gets it from…

If I don’t see any benefits for my two boys, of course I won’t make them stick with the diet.¬† It is, however, a great way to reboot and kick sugar addiction.¬† Even if I ease up I think it will be much easier to limit sugar and junk because they will have so completely changed their eating habits.

 

 

 

 

Cheesy Keto Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

First; the recipe and then an update on how my kids are doing so far on keto. 20180714_1859348371197084850478944.jpg

This is a recipe I found at allrecipes and adapted to keto with a couple tweaks.¬† It’s supposed to be done on a grill but I cooked it in the oven instead.¬† It is pretty good, as you can imagine!

Cheesy Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf (keto!)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 diced yellow onion
  • 3 tbs. low sugar ketchup
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. parsley (I used dried spices)
  • 2 pounds grass fed ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 7 slices uncured bacon

First you want to take a long piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (long enough that it would be about the length of a cookie sheet¬†after¬†folded in half).¬† Line up the bacon horizontally in the middle of the aluminum.¬† (You’ll want to be able to shape your loaf on top of the bacon and fold it up over the sides.)¬† Using aluminum isn’t 100% necessary but it¬†really¬†cuts down on cleaning time.¬† Preset your oven for 375 degrees F.¬† Add the first 11 ingredients to a large mixing bowl.¬† I mix by hand (I find it easier) but do whatever works for you to get all the ingredients well combined.¬† At that point you can dump the mix on top of the bacon slices and form it into a loaf shape.¬† Wrap the bacon up over the sides.¬† Fold the edges of the aluminum up to form a makeshift loaf pan and transfer onto a cookie sheet.¬† Put that pile o’ meat on the bottom rack.¬† I baked mine for about 65 minutes.¬† You’ll definitely want to check it with a meat thermometer and make sure the middle is at least 160 degrees F.¬† When you take it out, let it “rest” for 5-10 minutes.¬† You can brush on extra ketchup, but that’s extra carbs and honestly, the meatloaf really doesn’t need it.¬†20180714_1907237275425801692758309.jpg

The bacon flavor really permeates the entire loaf without overpowering the other flavors.¬† It’s so good you almost feel guilty eating it!!¬† It was a big hit at my house.¬† I’ll definitely make it again.¬† It’s not the¬†prettiest¬†or most elegant meal to photograph but it is insanely delicious and filling and satisfying.¬† No midnight munching after eating this!

Sorry guys, I don’t have nutritional info as I kind of threw this together today.¬† It does have 7-8 good size servings with a very small amount of carbs.¬† Serve next to a low-carb veggie (with butter, of course!) for a perfect keto dinner.

So…. we’ve been doing keto as a family now for two days.¬† I feel like it is going really well so far.¬† The second morning my oldest woke up and was hungry and shaky.¬† My youngest actually vomited.¬† I think it is because with their fast metabolisms they were going through the keto flu period at an¬†accelerated rate.¬† I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, making nummy food for them.¬† I made a keto cheesecake and two batches of my chocolate keto muffins so far.¬† They (inspite of some complaining) mostly like the food so far.¬† They seem like they are doing pretty well, aside from that first morning when their bodies were obviously still struggling to adapt.

There isn’t much information about how to do this diet for kids online.¬† I’m just going to have to discover as I go.¬† That’s one reason I feel like it’s important to blog about our journey.

 

 

Lurching into Keto

I know I blogged that we were going to go keto as a family probably well over a month ago…but life.

I’ve really been wanting to start but hemmin’ and hawing over the whole thing.¬† I decided to just bite the bullet and start.¬† The start of any new diet needs some sort of a grocery haul.¬† Of course, I went to costco.¬†20180711_1559527856548830844102775.jpg

Today was day one.  After my oldest had cereal for breakfast (dope!) I decided all contraband needed to be boxed up and hidden away in the basement.  The thing about keto is that it really eliminates 95% of processed, junky foods.  We boxed up a lot.

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our super bare pantry!

There was a LOT of kid whininess going on.¬† A lot of resistance.¬† “What do you mean I can’t have fruit or candy?!?!”

I just feel like we owe it to them to at least try.

I really hope that the therapeutic effects of ketones can reverse the autism/ADHD symptoms present in my oldest and youngest child.

I think my middle child could greatly benefit in his anxiety and hopefully with his skin condition.

Thankfully I feel like I am pretty comfortable with the diet, since I’ve been doing this for 7 months.

This is officially the start of our trial to see how the ketogenic diet might help us as a family.

I am a bit overwhelmed but much more excited.¬† I would really love to get my 6 year old daughter’s autism diagnosis removed.¬† I would love just more calm in our home.

I know it won’t be perfect but that’s ok.¬† My daughter managed to get ahold of a triscuit and cram it into her mouth before I could stop her.¬† All three of them were showing signs of sugar withdrawal and the start of the fat-adapting process (crankiness, excessive thirst).¬† We’ll just take it one day at a time and see if the benefits prove to be worth it.