Don’t Jump In!

I made the big mistake of stopping my 30 day detox abruptly this weekend.   I jumped into eating regularly, and my stomach was NOT happy with me!

Let me begin from the start.   On Saturday, I was on day 27 of my detox, but I had decided that I had enough and that I would allow myself a cheat – I had 1/2 of a tamale and a gluten free coconut muffin.   I felt ok at first.   On Sunday, i was up by 2 lbs from my “cheat” and that totally bummed me out.   Despite my well-meaning plans to do only smoothies that day, my self-pity got my husband to agree that I could end early and then figure out a new plan to continue with my weight-loss goals.   So…I had oatmeal for breakfast, and then I had some buffalo wings and chicken nachos during the super bowl game.   Oh, and a latte.   I had bombarded my body with salt, spices, and caffeine!

An hour after eating the nachos and chicken, my stomach felt like I had swallowed a rock.   I started getting heartburn and felt nauseous.   I was feeling pretty crappy all evening, even though I had not eaten anything after 5pm.

Lo and behold – I am up another 3.5 lbs this morning!  Now I KNOW that I did not eat 5.5 lbs of food in the past two days, so most of this has to be water retention. But, I’m still terribly upset about it.

Guess what?  I’m back on smoothies only today.  My stomach feels terrible and I’m still nauseous.   I will have to figure out a better plan to transition to eating a balanced diet.   In the meantime, I plan on sticking to smoothies and maybe allow myself a healthy meal or snack once in a while.

I’ve started reading the “Reboot with Joe” juicing book this weekend, and I hope that it will help me figure out how to continue to lose weight and how to transition to clean eating.

Answering green smoothie questions

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I decided to write this post because a lot of you are asking me questions on Facebook, and it’s just easier for me to answer all the questions in one area for others to reference later.   Please feel free to send me more questions and I will try to answer them all.

Today is day 26 of my Green Smoothie challenge.  I am down a total of 25.5 lbs as of this morning and I can’t wait for the next four days to be over!  J  So, here it goes with the questions I’ve received:

What do I put in my Green Smoothies?

I alternate the ingredients.  Here is the basic structure of all my smoothies:   ½ Greens & ½ Fruit + water.    I’ve started adding flax seeds and chia seeds to my smoothies after the first two weeks – for extra calories and nutrients.

A note on Greens:

You want to make sure to alternate your greens.  Don’t do only spinach, or only kale.  I mainly buy the Organic power blend bag of greens from Costco and use that.  Some days I also add parsley, dill, mustard greens, and whatever other greens I find on sale at Sprouts.  Try to always use organic greens.

A note on the Fruit:

Always add a soluble fiber to your smoothie to make it smooth and easier to drink.  Examples are: banana, mango, avocado.   I try to use mainly organic fruit.   On most days I add a banana, apple, and then I alternate between berries, mangos, pineapple and citrus fruit.

What size in liters or ounces and how much of all the ingredients listed above do I put in the blender?

I have not actually measured how many ounces I get in one pitcher – but it’s close to 52oz I believe.   There were days when my smoothie did not have enough calories (no avocado or flax seeds) and I had to make a little extra to get me through the day.   I tried not to drink anything after 7pm (there were maybe a couple of days that I drank after 7pm).

These are the approximate amounts I put in my smoothie: 

Greens – Four big handfuls (I stuff my blender to the top)
Water – I pour 3 cups of water over the greens and blend them up first.  Then I add the fruit.
Apple – 1
Banana – 1
Berries – 1 cup
Avocado – 1 (I started adding this later, as I noticed I was not getting enough calories)
Chia seeds – 1 tbsp.
Flax seeds (ground) – 1 tbsp.
Everything else I just add without measuring.

How many times a day do I drink the smoothies?

I make a big (full) Vitamix pitcher in the morning, and I drink it throughout the day.   Try to drink at least every two hours so that your metabolism doesn’t slow down and drink herbal tea and water in between.  You should have at least 64oz of liquids in the day.

Is this the only thing I am eating for the next 30 days?

Yes.  I made a goal to get healthy and to detox.  I planned to do it for 30 days.  You do not have to go to this extreme – you can just replace one or two meals per day with a green smoothie – and you will still have good results.

One final note, try to make your smoothies around 800 calories for the day.   Don’t go over 1200, but try not to go under 800.  I made that mistake early on and I’m a bit worried that it could have slowed down my metabolism.   

Here we go! Day one of what could be a long 30 days.

Today is the day.  The day that I have officially started my green smoothie challenge.   I am struggling with health issues and with my weight, and I feel so desperate that I actually started considering bariatric surgery again.   When I realized that I was considering the bariatric surgery again – I knew I had to do something drastic.   I’ve considered doing a 30 day green smoothie cleanse ever since I watched the “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” documentary. For the past few months my family has been gluten-free and that has gone great, but I’ve noticed that I’m not loosing any weight because of the carb heavy diet we are doing (potatoes, rice, corn…).   We try not to buy any processed gluten-free food except for a slice of GF bread once in a while, but I am still not seeing any change besides the fact that I no longer get bloated or have sharp stomach pains. I don’t think I’ve given you all an update on how I did with the gluten-free way of life.  So, why don’t I start there and then (in a future blog) go into why I decided I need to do a green smoothie cleanse. After day three on being gluten-free, I noticed that my stomach was doing much better.  No more bloating, no more sharp pains when I ate – I felt great.  I even dropped five lbs in the first week.   However, the weight loss did not continue as I had hoped.   It was actually quite easy for me to avoid eating the pastries that were brought in at work, and the sandwiches served at lunch during a meeting.   I felt like I just couldn’t even consider those foods because my body did not tolerate them. A few weeks ago, we attended my grandmother’s 80th birthday party.  I started to feed my starving 14-month-old son a few “kotletki” – they are like mini chicken meatloaf that is fried in oil.   I had a few bites also, and then I realized that the recipe always calls for bread to be put into the ground meat mixture.   Since I had reintroduced gluten to my body that night…I decided to go all out and enjoy some of the dessert as well.   I figured I might as well see if gluten does have any true side effects on my body.   I felt ok at first, but I noticed that my stomach was quite bloated the next day and I was having sharp pains again.   I tested the theory again a week later, and had the same result.   Therefore, I came to the conclusion that I do, in fact, have a gluten sensitivity and will be keeping our family on the gluten-free lifestyle for the time being. Coming up…my 30 day Detox challenge – Can I really do it?!

Easier than I thought it would be…

It has been two weeks since we started our gluten free journey.  
I must say it was easier than I had expected it to be.

What I’ve realized most recently, is that it’s important to talk to positive people about this journey.   I’ve talked to people who were very negative about being gluten free – and it made me feel almost as if I have a big disability and my life is “sad.”

The fact is, we are choosing to eat healthier.   We can still eat a huge variety of different foods and feel completely satisfied.   In the past two weeks, I have went to lunch and attended events where fresh baked bread and pastries were served – and I didn’t feel the urge to have “just a bite.”   I’m positive that this is because I know that it will hurt me and that I’m choosing to eat better for my family and for me.

Given that I’m very new to this journey, I figured it would be good to chronicle the lessons learned and the tips I have to share.   I found benefits so far and a few downsides.

The benefits that I have noticed:
– My stomach has not been feeling bloated.   I’ve had a problem with a bloated stomach and sharp pains for as long as I can remember, and on a daily basis for the past few months.   But after day two of being gluten free – my bloating has disappeared.
– We are eating healthier, mainly because we have gotten rid of all sweets and processed food.   We are eating veggies and fruit and lean meats mainly.
– I have dropped 5 lbs in the first week and kept it off in the second week.   Although I’m not doing this with the sole purpose of losing weight, I do hope that this lifestyle will come with the benefit of weight loss.

The issues we have faced so far:
– We are getting bored with our menu on some days, so I need to look up more easy meals that have variety.
– You cannot just grab a bite to eat from any fast food place if you didn’t have time to prepare a meal.   This can be a positive outcome though, because we won’t be eating just and are forced to really think about what we eat.
– Gluten free foods like bread and pasta cost more.   For a family that is on a strict budget – that has presented a bit of a challenge.  However, I am confident that I can make this work with our budget – especially if we focus more on eating fresh veggies and making light meals such as soups.

Do you have any amazing recipes to share?   Do you have any tips for a newbie?  Please comment on this blog and share your thoughts.   Also, if you’d like to be notified of my new posts, please make sure to subscribe to this blog.

By the way, my brother and his wife are writing an interesting and educational blog about gluten free living.   They also posted a link to an upcoming seminar on gluten: http://glutenlite.wordpress.com

It’s Been A Long Time Coming – what finally pushed us to switch to a gluten free lifestyle.

I’ve been contemplating the switch for almost a year.   I was scared.   Scared that I would have absolutely no idea what to cook.  Scared that I would fail because my family won’t be on the same page.   Scared that it would take an unbelievable amount of time to do the research and prepare.

What am I talking about, you ask?   I’m talking about going gluten-free.  My friend Anya D has been educating me on the benefits of going gluten free for about a year now, but I’ve just been too intimidated by the whole thing.   I was also afraid of going “off-the-wagon” because my family would likely not eat gluten free.  

The reason I was even considering the switch to gluten free, is because of all my medical issues.   I have been suffering from: Insulin resistance, severe scalp dermatitis, GERD, upset stomach, weight issues and so much more, for years now.   In fact the past month my stomach has been hurting me so much, that I have been considering going to see a specialist.

This weekend, I called my brother and his lovely wife (Mr. & Mrs. Engel) for a long-overdue video-call.   We caught up, and as we were discussing Thanksgiving plans, they broke the news that they went gluten free!   I was amazed and shocked at the same time.   They must be so brave to make the switch so quickly, I though.   We discussed why they made the switch, and they gave me a link to an easy to understand video to educate myself more on going gluten-free.  

My husband surprised me even more that night – he said that we should all go gluten-free as a family!   This was huge!   I was stoked and immediately started cleaning out all of our cabinets of gluten-containing foods and pantry items.

So, this is how we finally made the jump to gluten free living.   I must admit, I’m still scared.   But you can’t have reward without risk.

Join me, as I plan on sharing my family’s journey through this new lifestyle.   I plan to share lessons learned, educational links, recipes, and struggles and successes.  

Here is the video that I watched and recommend:

Easy Slow Cooker Chili

Hubby and I love a bowl of hot chili, especially on a chilly day.   Here is our favorite recipe that tastes amazing and is super easy to make!   Enjoy!

Spicy Chili
Cook Time: 6 Hours
Modified from the Taste of Home Slow Cooker Classics Cook Book

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 can (28 oz) Crushed tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
2 cans (14 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped onion
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chillies
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp each salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Brown the ground been in a skillet.   Transfer the beef and drippings to a 5 quart slow cooker.  
Add the remaining ingredients (except the cilantro and cheese) into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.    Stir in cilantro.   Serve with cheese, chopped onion, cilantro and sour cream (tortilla chips optional).

I’m Back (and ready to POP)!

Ok, so it’s been an extremely long time since I posted anything on my blog.   I know, I know – what a terrible writer that makes me!  I’m hoping that I will be able to write a bit more, now that I’m on maternity leave.

Well, to catch you up – I am now pregnant with our second child.  In fact, I’m officially at week 37 of my pregnancy.   Our baby boy is considered full-term now, so technically he can make his appearance any day now.   However, I think I would prefer if he would wait at least another week or maybe two.   I’m not exactly ready for him just yet…and I would like him to be a nice healthy size.   Although, doctors have been telling me all along that he is measuring two weeks bigger.

I would like to finish the list below before going into labor:

1) Pack the hospital bag for me, baby and hubby
2) Finish thoroughly cleaning the house (wash all bathrooms, floors, clean out office).
3) Do one more family nature outing (for a whole day)
4) Cook at least two weeks worth of freezer meals (Already made two batches of stuffed cheese crepes – thanks to my wonderful hubby!)

I think that’s it…at least for the big items.

I pray that God blesses this delivery and that I’m given the chance to have a natural birth.   I know that everything is in God’s hands, but I do hope that He would bless me with a safe and natural delivery.   My first delivery was an unplanned C-Section, and it made things very hard for me and I did not succeed with breastfeeding for more than three months.   I hope and pray that this time our baby boy will nurse well and I would produce plenty of milk.   If you remember me when you pray, please mention this in your prayers.

One other item has been worrying me lately – my spiritual health has been on the back-burner lately.  I’ve been neglecting my time alone with God, reading scripture and regular prayer.   I can feel that I’m so weak spiritually, and I thirst for a closeness to God – but for some reason I just can’t seem to find the time in my day to set aside and just be alone with God.    I always find other things to occupy me.

God, please bring me closer to you by your Grace.   Please be merciful to me and don’t let it take a painful lesson to have me come running to you (as is usually the case with me and I’m sure many others).

Well, that’s it for now.   I do hope that I can get this putting my life on paper a more regular occurrence.