Paleo Diet for Allergy Relief

As soon as we got home from our anniversary trip to Blowing Rock, B-money and I started the Paleo diet. If you haven’t heard of it, the Paleo diet is gluten, dairy, and processed foods-free. It’s based on the paleolithic diet — meats, eggs, and veggies that don’t require much work (i.e. no legumes that have to be soaked).

I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, so I got Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo ($9.99 on iBooks and Kindle, but I ended up buying the hard copy, too.) It is THE BEST book on this whole subject, in my opinion. The first half is incredibly informational and educational. The second half is filled with multiple 30-day meal plans and all of the coordinating recipes with notes on food exceptions for those avoiding FODMAPS, nightshades, nuts, etc. You can even find a grocery shopping list for each meal plan on their blog, Balanced Bites. (She has a chapter devoted to your digestion, including a pretty awesome Guide to Your Poop chart. Did you know you can test your “transit” time? Swallow 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds after a meal — watch your eliminations, you should see the bulk of them appear together. A healthy transit time is 18-24 hours. Sorry, is that gross?)

We had already been eating this way 2-3 meals per week, but I wanted to give it a try full time to see if it helps B-mucous and his allergies. (Sorry, is that gross?) Since moving back to NC, his seasonal and environmental allergies have been significantly worse, so much so that he had to get an inhaler.

The idea is that if gluten is attacking your small intestine and allowing food and other particles to leak into your blood stream and other innards (check out this article on Leaky Gut for a better explanation), it will trigger an autoimmune reaction, using 60-80% of your immune system. Essentially, most of your body’s autoimmune attackers are going to work in your gut because of your latest meal, leaving a small percentage of your immune system to fight the actual invaders like germs and allergens.

So. No gluten and no dairy for 30 days for us. No pasta, rice, quinoa, or oats of any sort. No milk chocolate, chocolate ice cream, Chickfila, tacos, granola bars, yogurt, oatmeal, or egg in a hole.

We’re on day 8. So far so good.

The hardest part for me has been figuring out what to eat for a snack. But to be honest, with this plan, I’m eating so much protein at every meal that I don’t usually need a snack. I could set my clock by my stomach rumbling every day at 3:55, signaling that if I didn’t get a snack soon, Grumpy Becca would be here in full force.

"Who's gonna be the grumpus?"

“Who’s gonna be the grumpus?”

I also didn’t realize two people could run the dishwasher so often. Since we’re cooking and eating every single meal at home, we’re using lots of pots, pans, dishes, and utensils. So if you hate cooking, this might not be the best plan for you. And yes, our grocery bill is higher, but we’re saving money by not eating out. Like, at all.

I know for some people, being gluten-free isn’t a choice like it has been for us. I’m sorry and I’ll pray for you. (I’m being sarcastic, it’s not that terrible, you just have to change how you think.) I think for others, it’s another diet to try to help you lose weight. I may have lost 2-3 pounds so far, but my weight fluctuates that much in a day. B-muscle thinks his cookie pooch is getting smaller. Of course he never had a cookie pooch (aka gut) to begin with, but he’s been working hard with Tony doing P90X again, so I’ll let him think that. (I said no thank you, I’ll stick to my slow jogs.)

But I don’t think this diet is sustainable for me. I think a bowl of oatmeal is healthy, especially when you make it yourself and add lots of goodies to it like berries and nut butters. I also think yogurt is incredibly good for me. My intestines need it.

Everything in moderation.

I must say, though, I never paid attention to how much gluten I was eating before. And really, it’s all just fillers. Bread, pasta, cereal, oats, crackers, chips, breading on your chicken. Imagine going just one week without any of that. You’d be forcing yourself to eat foods that are whole, straight from the earth or the animal, and not processed in a factory. (If it has to go through a factory to be made into food, it’s not food.)

I am looking forward to seeing my husband go for a hard run outside in the cold and not need an inhaler. I’m looking forward to not feeling those grumpies every afternoon. (As is my husband.) I’m also looking forward to trying new foods and adding new recipes to my list of go-to’s.

If you have any gluten-free and dairy free recipes that you love, please send them my way!

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it’s friday

(Now that song is in your head. You’re welcome.)

I kept meaning to blog this week but ran out of steam/time everyday. My apologies. We’ve had a full week. I’m going to work my way backwards, if that’s okay with you.

Today I had an awesome run.

It was a 45 mi run: 5 blue, 35 green, 5 blue; plus some extra because I decided to run a loop rather than double back. I’m so unpredictable. I don’t even know what the heck I’m going to do until I get to a corner and have to turn left or right.

But anyway, I had a great run. I feel like running in the morning has been challenging for me, feeling empty if it was a fasting run or feeling heavy/tasting breakfast if I ate something first. Today all I had were 3 Clif Bar shot bloks and a few chugs of water. I didn’t realize it until now, but they have caffeine from green tea (I probably wouldn’t have chosen to use them had I realized it… thought it was just a bunch of sugar). They tasted good and I felt great on my run, probably due in part to them.

I did the 4.8ish mile loop in just under an hour and mostly in the green zone (i.e. slower pace). I’m wondering how tomorrow’s run will compare since it will be half green, half yellow.

I also learned some new things about the miCoach app today! If you love seeing a graph and breaking down your run, I think you should definitely give this app a try. Check out the additional notes (shown for my red zone, available for the others as well):

I ran all the way back up the steep hill, trying to maintain <12:00 mile, which naturally put me in the red zone for over 5 min. But I conquered that beast and still felt good.

Compared to last Friday’s run (slightly longer loop):

I also learned that miCoach keeps track of any songs you play (through your music player, not Pandora)! Brilliant! Not brilliant: Britney Spears feat. the Ying Yang Twins somehow always cycles through. Must remove from playlist.

I also added my new shoes to my list so they’re ready for me when I decide to take them out for a spin.

See that middle box? I made that up, I haven’t run 200 miles on a pair of shoes nicknamed BOOM. Just wanted to show you what your shoe boxes look like if you choose an Adidas brand (vs New Balance and Reebok that I have). Neat.

This week’s runs were pretty good. I think I got sprinkled on by various sprinklers at least thrice. It was nice. We leave one week from today for Panama and Guatemala for 16 days and I highly doubt I’ll be able to run there. So I’m kind of bummed and don’t want to loose any stamina I’ve built up. Just crossing my fingers that our hotel in Guatemala has a decent gym with a treadmill since, being the blonde chick that I am, I will not be running on the street alone in either country.

Yesterday I met my seester at some outlets and enjoyed a hot afternoon walking around shopping.

Wednesday was the Fourth and it was fun! We hung out with some friends, had too many watermelon cookies, ate delicious pasta for dinner, and watched some fireworks in our neighborhood. It was quite good!

Nothing happened Tuesday.

But on Monday I got to meet our new nephew, Mordecai!!!

He’s just a bundle of cuteness. So sweet and content.

Uncle Bribri is a natural.

Seriously. Does it get any cuter? He didn’t cry once.

We also hung out with Mordie’s older brother Malachi.

This little punkin head snuggled up to me while we were watching some educational cartoon that I can’t remember the name of and you probably wouldn’t know. He’s a keeper. 🙂

Since we’re leaving in a week, it’s time for me to start the annual gathering of all things mini or trial-size. New to this year’s lineup (thanks to various germaphobic friends and news segments): a small bottle of mattress cleaner.

Perhaps I’ll do an entire post on how to pack for an international soccer tour for those who don’t play soccer but have to go. No one’s blogged about that before, right?

Thanksgiving

Today was a great Thanksgiving day! While I didn’t get to watch the parade, I did get to eat lots of food and enjoy lots of family time. 🙂 The Fowlers left NoVa this morning at 6:30 in order to join us for lunch in the Boro with the Churches.

We had some amazing food. I made some not-so-amazing place cards.

It was seriously good. I filled my plate! I love ham and turkey… and stuffing and green beans and rolls and deviled eggs and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and slaw.
After dinner we ate our fill of desserts including a pumpkin roll (which my dad kept calling a log… not the self esteem booster you would think it would be), apple pie, pumpkin chiffon pie, pumpkin cookies, and a chocolate cake. Oooooo boy! Then we took the party outside and put the rest of the grapes to good use. I.e. threw them across the yard to see who could catch them in their mouths.

And my sister snapped a few pictures for us. 🙂

We Fowlers left once the sun set and made it back to the Rah-town around 7:00. Debbie and I went over to Michael’s to hit up the 30% off sale (yay! LOTS of yarn!) and then Brian and his bro, Jer, braved the crowds to try and find some sweet deals at WalMart. About 15 minutes after they left I got a phone call (I was expecting some sort of call like, “do we want 2 video games or 10?” but this was no such call) and it was announced that they were leaving because there were literally a zillion people there. I don’t blame them. Fingers crossed that sales will still be good tomorrow at a decent hour… and Cyber Monday.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Turkey day and ate themselves silly!

thankful

It appears the name of the game is ‘post what you’re thankful for.’ And actually I meant to do this much earlier; I’m feeling thankful for so many things. We have an amazing apartment on the top floor (read: no noisy elephants above us) with lots of sunlight. I can walk to Target. Or Earthfare. Or Yopop. We are healthy. The weather has been sunny and pleasant. I know weather talk can sometimes be trivial, but it really does affect me and I’m thankful for lots of sunshine and the occasional gray day. I’m thankful that I love to cook and my family loves to eat. I spent all day in the kitchen and felt refreshed and energized at the end of it. You could call me Becca Crocker.

[Sad/Funny Side Note: At my grandpa’s funeral last year, we met Betty Crocker. Not the Betty Crocker, but still.]

Though, I think the top of my list this year is eating Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I haven’t been able to do that since college. It’s pretty special. And a close second, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I also haven’t been able to do that since college… although without cable (nothing from the tv is plugged into the wall except the power cord) I’m not exactly sure how I’ll make that happen.

I’m also thankful for my husband and my bunny. 🙂 We are a wee family and it feels good to finally be able to sit on the couch and watch “tv” together (i.e. catch up on hulu). In fact, Lola was feeling left out tonight and decided to jump on my head/in Brian’s face earlier… and then decided she’d rather clean herself and so jumped back down into her spot under the coffee table. Psh. Women.

She turned around just as I was taking the picture. Obviously she wasn’t ready for her close up. And obviously I was. (sarcasm) Like my beehive? It took an hour of teasing and a can of Big Sexy Hair to achieve this look. (sarcasm again) JK. I don’t actually know what was going on there.

P.S. Google Reader users or other subscribers, I updated the blog layout again. Just FYInformation.

stank

You guys, my house smelled so bad last night. I made shrimp and salmon and they decided to hang around for a while.

{Side note, I got some big fat NC shrimp, coated them in Newman’s Own ranch dressing, and cooked them in a non-stick pan. It was amazing.}

As I was peeling and de-veining and fileting and other such slimy stuff, the noxious fish fumes were filling my kitchen, living room, bedroom… I think I must’ve become immune to the scent. At one point B-money came into the kitchen and declared that it most definitely smelt like the fish market at Pike’s Place.

Well, at one point, when I walked over to the sink to wash my hands, I smelled a-whole-nother kind of stank. Over the fish smell. I sniffed around (I should’ve wafted like Mrs. Loggins taught us to in chemistry class. Would’ve saved me a few more olfactory receptors.) and finally found the source. …turns out we hadn’t washed our dish rag in a few months.

So today I decided to do an experiment. Rather than throwing it away, I soaked it in some of my laundry detergent for a few hours and then washed it like normal.

Here’s a before shot:

I added 10 cups of water and <1 teaspoon of detergent into a Pyrex dish with the cloth. One hour later this is how it looked.

The grease had released and floated to the surface. And I could put my face close to it without feeling the urge to vomit. In fact, I couldn’t smell anything.

After letting it soak for about 4 hours, I threw it in the wash with some other clothes and a tiny bit of Odor Eliminator for good measure. Here’s an after shot:

I’d say it worked pretty well. I pressed it up against my nose and just smelled cleanness. It’s not bright white anymore, but what is, really? Oh right.

Well, all this stinking got me thinking. I enjoyed leaving the windows open and having candles lit, but there’s something I’ve had in the back of my mind… something I pinned a while ago… And tonight I’m going to make it! 🙂

Canadian Thanksgiving

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday with some fabulous friends. 🙂

I made a wreath. 🙂

Autumn decorations.

Apple cider!

Cooking!

Workin hard or hardly workin?

Dinner time!

cooks’ helpers

As we’re packing, I keep finding things hidden away. I keep telling myself we don’t have that much stuff… but we do, it’s all just tucked away out of sight. One of those things were these cute little conversion charts that I cut out of a Martha Stewart magazine many years ago.

They have been moving around with me and I think it’s time for a new set. So I found the downloadable PDF of these charts and thought I’d share it with you. You can download them here. I should probably laminate them this time…