One Year Blog-iversary!!

This time last year I embarked on a new life style with keto.¬† There’s been lots of ups and downs and lessons learned along the way.¬† It has definitely been worth it though.¬† I still believe, at least for me, that keto is the best way to eat.

After a lot of Holiday indulgences, I have been really getting strict.¬† I’ve had a good week where I’ve hit 25-50 grams of carbs a day.¬† I feel like my extra holiday “wiggle” is melting away.

I know I’ve said it before (I’m a glutton for learning the hard way!) but being strict keto is so much easier than a more lackadaisical approach.¬† If I am eating a little sugar, it quickly escalates to “more” sugar.¬† If I eat it, I want more.¬† If I cut it out, the cravings go away.¬† I feel much more content.

I’ve been aiming for more protein this time around.¬† I listen to the ketogenic girl podcast and she has had good results with incorporating more protein.¬† I’m not a huge meat eater so it’s been an effort to eat more chicken and beef.

Another big thing I have been doing is drinking pour over coffee.¬† Why?¬† Well, it tastes better for starters… but more importantly; it’s a much¬†cleaner¬†cup of coffee.¬† I was recently slightly horrified to learn that virtually¬†all¬†coffee makers have aluminum heating elements.¬† The water is being boiled by the hot aluminum.¬† This is a big deal because, especially over time, more and more aluminum is being deposited into your coffee.¬† Here’s a video on the topic from Dr. Dennis Crouse… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmt9keoVz08

You can hunt down a coffee maker without aluminum but is isn’t easy.¬† I packed away my coffee maker and bought an inexpensive ceramic pour over. 20181202_0850206085283468224575690.jpg

It takes about the same time to make, or maybe even less.  I boil some water in a glass tea pot then slowly pour the hot water over fresh coffee grinds.  The resulting coffee is aluminum free and well worth a little bit more effort!

I’m not a big tea drinker but I’ve been trying to branch out and try new things.¬† One thing I have discovered that I love is cold matcha lattes.¬† I work at a Starbucks so I first tried them there.¬† Nom!¬† But sadly, the Starbucks matcha powder is half sugar by weight.¬† It tastes good, but is definitely¬†not¬†keto friendly.¬† I picked up this unsweetened matcha at Wal-Mart today. 20190109_160049-15035507395074814450.jpg

I blended a tablespoon of matcha with slightly less than a cup of half and half (or breve, if you’re used to Starbucks jargon!) and a tsp. of pyure sweetener.¬† It was just as good as the starbucks version but much healthier.¬† Clocking in at about 10 grams of carbs instead of the 30 you’d get from the Starbucks version.¬† I’m not a tea person but this drink really hits the spot.¬† It’s great for a sweet afternoon “pick me up”.¬† You’ll get energy without jitters along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Anyways, thank you for all of you who have read the blog through this past year.  I hope your new year is off to a wonderful and healthy start!

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Back on Keto

Today was an emotional day for me.¬† My son, Gabe; who had been doing school at home was finally well enough to go back to his elementary school.¬† I brought him in and helped him carry all of his supplies to his new classroom.¬† It’s a little school so everyone knew he was coming back.¬† Teachers stopped to hug him and his class was buzzing with excitement.¬† Tears threatened to gush out of my eyes.¬† It is just such a big step.¬† He’s come so far from the days where he couldn’t even walk because he was in so much pain.

I’ll have much more time to myself now though.¬† Even though I’m going to miss my little buddy while he’s at school.¬† I love him like crazy but he is so much like me that we can grate on each other.¬† Plus, just caregiving in itself can be very tiring.

But anyhoos, I wanted to talk about where I am; diet wise.¬† In my last blog on diet (a couple blogs ago, I believe) I decided to take a good long break.¬† I think that is important, for both mental and physical health.¬† It’s called a “re-feed” or just, uh, “pushing the ‘f-it’ button” for awhile.¬† Whatever works.¬† It was great.¬† I ate a lot of whatever I wanted.¬† Then the carby-luster wore off and I found myself struggling to squeeze into my pants.¬† More than that, I missed the brain boost I get from ketones.¬† When I was burning sugar instead of fat, I noticed a nose dive in my desire to write.¬† My brain wasn’t firing.¬† I also found myself (again *sigh*) eating too much freaking sugar and falling into depression.

That’s just how life goes, right?¬† We are always striving to find balance and that is ok.¬† I am back on keto and doing pretty good.¬† I have a much more casual approach this time around.¬† I think if I decide I can never have a snickers or reeses again I will despair.¬† I just do one day at a time.¬† Some times I cheat.¬† I just reset the next day.¬† I’m getting back to where I am more comfortable with my weight and feeling more mentally clear.

I hope you all are well and finding joy and balance this Holiday season!

Goji Berries for Chronic Illness

I’ve written a bit before about my son, Gabe, and his health issues.¬† One aspect we deal with is the ups and downs that occur with his health.¬† He has allergies and a very sensitive immune system.¬† Allergens seem to have a massive systemic affect on him and of course, his skin problems.¬† He had been doing really, really well this summer but I was¬†dreading¬†this time of year because it has always been very hard on him.¬† Here, in Minnesota, the ragweed gets really bad through late August and September.¬† The ragweed affects him terribly.¬† So much that we have to shut up the house and run two big air purifiers 24/7.

As August stretched on and Gabe continued to go downhill, it dawned on us that he was in no shape to go to school.¬† The allergens triggered a big flare with his skin.¬† Areas that had been healed for a long time became red and flakey and painful again.¬† He deals with a lot of pain every day to the point that we have little bottles of children’s ibuprofen stashed around the house. ¬†Image may contain: 1 person

I signed him up for an online school, because I was not about the make him suffer through another school year.¬† Last year was pretty bad.¬† He spent so many days quietly suffering while trying to be a “normal kid”.¬† He had something crazy like 47 absences.¬† This year we are going to give him the break that he needs.¬† I’m his learning coach and his caregiver so I won’t have as much time to blog.

But I absolutely will continue to research all things health and natural wellness.  In an attempt to help my son (and myself!) and whoever happens across my blog.

What has been helping Gabe the most lately has been…*drumroll*‚Ķ goji berry powder!¬† I got mine¬†here.¬†¬†I actually bought it back in February but didn’t do much with it.¬† I was keto with a vengeance and once I realized it had carbs, it got¬†shelved. ¬†I was organizing my kitchen cupboards awhile back and rediscovered it and figured I should give it another shot.¬† I started making “recovery drinks” or post workout drinks with coffee, ice, collagen powder, a heaping tablespoon goji powder, a tablespoon of raw cocoa, pyure sweetener and a bit of milk.¬†20180913_1401202792594796765434391.jpg The shake is¬†so good.¬† Not only does it taste amazing but it’s jam-packed with antioxidants. and a bit of protein from the collagen.¬† I noticed I felt really amazing after drinking it and was experiencing less soreness after workouts.

So yesterday, when Gabe was just dragging and too tired to even do school work, I decided to whip up a fruit smoothie with a secret scoop of goji powder included.¬† He sucked down his smoothie (goji, while not super tasty on it’s own, blends really well with other flavors) and was¬†bouncing off the walls for hours. ¬†It was really wonderful to see him happy and full of energy again.¬† He’s had a really rough month.¬† He got all his work done and even some extra stuff.

It’s definitely something I’ll incorporate into his regular routine.¬† I’m also going to look into Indian Gooseberry, or “Amla” because it is like Goji berry on¬†steroids. ¬†

Here is some more¬†more info on the amazing health promoting effects of goji berries.¬† You can add it to coffee, yogurt, smoothies.¬† I even used it as the “flour” in some dark chocolate brownies.¬† They were¬†amazing and had a flavor like the brookside acai chocolates but richer and more complex.¬† Maybe I’ll post a recipe in the future ūüėČ

End of Summer (Hallelujah!)

“Stop growling at me!”

“Put those scissors down now, you are not giving the dog a haircut!”

“Well just hit him back…”

These are all things I have said to my children in the recent timeline in the adventure of my life.¬† To say I’ve been stressed is an understatement.¬† To make issues worse; my middle child (Gabe) gets¬†really¬†severe seasonal allergies this time of year.¬† It’s been tough to venture out at all.¬† He gets purple circles around his eyes and his eczema flares up terribly.

Whatever constitutes as my “self-care” has totally been back-burnered. Er, just pushed off the stove all together.¬† The pan is cold, dusty and the contents are congealed.

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My Self-Care Jello Salad

I’ve been on and off the keto wagon.¬† I even did a memorable 3 day “zero-carb” stint.¬† It’s been major struggle bus all summer.¬† I need alone time.¬† I need quiet.¬† I need to be able to vacuum without worrying about my daughter expressing herself artistically on our van with a sharpie.¬† True story.¬† It happened.

When I am stressed it is just so hard to stay away from the snickers and other feel-good carbs.¬† I know eating sugar really exacerbates my stress and anxiety but still… the struggle is real!¬† I’ve also noticed that when I fall off the wagon I tend to balloon up immediately.¬† At first I thought it was fat, but then I realized that it’s extra water and glycogen.¬† And…some fat too.

I just keep trying to keep a good perspective.  The number on the scale is not that important in the grand scheme of things.  I know soon my stress levels are going to go way down.  It might coincide with the arrival of a giant yellow vehicle.

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If you’re a mom and you don’t get excited for back to school….we can’t be friends.

Back to the zero carb, or “carnivore”.¬† I know, it’s crazy.¬† I decided (crazy person that I am) that I should at least try it.¬† The good; I had almost no cravings.¬† I felt very calm and focused.¬† I like cheeseburgers.¬† The bad; I felt tired and definitely got hit with some keto flu or die-off or¬†something. ¬†Digestion was¬†not great. ¬†Not to say I wouldn’t try it again, maybe as a “reboot” before going back to regular keto but I wouldn’t want to do it long term.¬† It’s crazy restrictive.¬† It’s plain crazy.¬† People who end up on zero carb long term usually have to because they have severe auto-immune issues and react to¬†salicylates in vegetables.¬† It makes sense because plants technically can’t run to avoid predators.¬† They produce compounds to avoid being eaten or digested.¬† Think beans.¬† Cows notoriously have 4 stomachs to break down grass.¬† We do not.¬† I also know that when I do eat a meal of veggies (like a huge salad) I usually end up feeling gross, full but somehow not satisfied.¬† If I ate a big, juice (bunless!!) burger I feel really good.

I’ve learned quite a bit about the zero carb movement and it does make sense to me.¬† It also doesn’t seem as crazy as it did at first.¬† It’s something I’ll keep on my radar for sure.¬† If you curious about zero-carb, check out Kelly Hogan’s amazing¬†story.

Hopefully I’ll be back at regular blogging with more adventures and self-experiments.¬† I’d also like to have more of an emphasis on intuitive eating and health over weight loss.¬† I’ve definitely realized that if you are approaching your diet with a single-minded focus on your weight and size, you are probably going to end up feeling miserable and deprived.¬† Especially if you don’t lose weight as quickly as you hoped.¬† If you approach your diet as a holistic plan to be healthier and to feel good, those inevitable weight fluctuations won’t bother you so much. ¬†

Coconut Oil and Candida

Yesterday I did end up eating some keto cheese, egg and asparagus muffins and then more steamed asparagus and cauliflower.  I had taken my afternoon pills from the cleanse pack and oops!  It was a digestive enzyme and was giving me a tummy ache.  So I ate some food, but all super clean and low carb.

Today I am aiming for¬†just¬†bulletproof coffees and teas.¬† I’m focusing on coconut oil because it is amazing for getting ketone production ramped up- which practically means energy.¬† I don’t think I could do any kind of zero calorie fast because I just have too many responsibilities.¬† It’s not like I can sit around and meditate all day.¬† Though that’d be¬†great. ¬†

Another great thing about coconut oil is that it acts like kryptonite against candida.  See the source image

Coconut oil is amazing at¬†killing candida and fungus without doing any harm to your body.¬† Many people may feel awful when they first start using coconut oil because they are having die-off symptoms and toxins are being released.¬† I’ve been using coconut oil for years so I have a high tolerance.¬† When you first start out, you definitely want to take it slow and see how your body reacts.¬† Maybe a teaspoon on an empty stomach to start.

Since a cup of coconut oil has¬†almost 2,000 calories¬†it’s a great addition to a cleanse to make it more doable.¬† I can get that easily blended up in coffee and tea throughout the day.¬† I don’t recommend taking it straight (though you certainly can!) it is incredibly hard to swallow it.¬† I have to go to my happy place mentally to get it down.¬† It’s¬†much¬†better blended into a frothy coconutty latte. 20180803_1156428093723573880223056.jpg

I’m doing pretty good so far.¬† I feel hungry for sure but I am enjoying the clear thinking, calmer nerves, and steady energy that come with having high ketone levels.¬† My allergies are still much better.¬† Yesterday I visited a friend with two very fluffy cats and nary a sneeze out of me.

I’ll adjust the fast to suit me as needed.¬† I think it’s probably pretty harmless to add in some cleans foods- eggs, veggies, butter; as needed.

Day One, Get’er Done

My detox kit came yesterday and I am well on my way, ya’ll.¬† It’s a 14 day plan and during that time I am consuming¬†no¬†alcohol, sugar or carbs.¬†See the source image I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin for myself right now.

No, not really.  The hardest part is determining to start.  

I kid you not, 95% of the allergies that were ruining my life yesterday have cleared up already.  

I can tell my ketone levels are very high because my thinking is much sharper and I have that “quiet hum” feeling to my thoughts.

At this point I am doing coffee and tea with ample amounts of organic, virgin coconut oil and some grass-fed butter.¬† The point is not to lose weight.¬† I just want to trigger some major¬†autophagy¬†and clear out my digestive system.¬† I’m hoping to see some Alien-style stuff.¬† Just google mucoid plaque and you’ll see what I mean.¬† Or don’t, if you are eating.¬† It’s basically just a disgusting buildup of a rubbery substance that can line the insides of our intestines.¬† It obviously gunks up our system and prevents proper nutrient absorption.¬† Lots of people have decided to post theirs online.¬† I won’t.¬† But it’s out there if you’re curious.¬† It typically only comes out with extended fasting and a cleansing protocol.¬† It brings shock and horror but I’d imagine if you have gunk that needs to come out, you’ll feel like a million bucks when it does. ¬†See the source image

There’s is no way I am living off of bulletproof coffee for 14 days so I’ll incorporate some raw veggies too.¬† I’ll try to post everyday with *fun and interesting* tidbits from my experience.

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.