Friday, February 9, 2018

Day 12 of 30 - Elimination Diet

Hubby and and I are more than a third of the way through the Whole30 program.  I'm feeling good - not super energized - but, not bad.  I'm not as hungry as I was week one which is really good. I thought I would discuss more of the specifics - if you're not into over sharing skip over a section.

We have tried a lot of new recipes and thrown in a few old favorites.  We joke that we are eating like my Dad insisted we did growing up - meat, potato and vegetable.  I have been using the book,  The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom as a guide. All the recipes that are not mine come from this book.   I made their salmon cakes substituting pumpkin for sweet potatoes.  They have been my go to for breakfast.  They taste great and are very filling.  This week we tried Melissa's chicken hash - colorful and tasty with shredded sweet potato and diced granny smith apples - sweet, tart and walnuts give it crunch.  I made my Bloody Mary pot roast one night and last night we had their stuffed peppers and a salad.  I made a version of my thousand island dressing - I combined my failed attempt at making mayonnaise (tasted great but was very runny) with the homemade ketchup (tastes great but, is really thick), a little Worcestershire, apple cider vinegar and dill.  So far, all the food has received a "keep this in rotation" review.  And trust me, the family would say otherwise.  The kids and I decided the stuffed peppers needed a little bit more spice next time. I would add a little more herbs to most of the recipes in the book. I also made a big batch of the chicken stew - using cauliflower instead of broccoli and smashing it with a potato mashers instead of pureeing it in a food processors - less work and clean up. This is the second time I made this recipe. It's really easy and tastes great. I added a bunch more vegetables to the stew as well.  If you haven't figured it out by now, I use recipes as a guideline or inspiration and then make them my own.

I stopped taking my herbal supplements as they are alcohol tinctures.  I also stopped taking the few vitamins I was taking.  They are gel tabs and contain contraband ingredients.  I don't taking a multi vitamin just a couple key ones - one I show deficient on in blood work without it plus I have so much more energy when I take it - and the other because when I stop taking it my breasts hurt.  It took a week but, by day 8 my breasts started to hurt.  It's not noticeable all the time - you wouldn't want to wear anything tight and you definitely do not want to have your nipples touched.  Just sayin'.

I normally have a bowel movement every morning pre-coffee.  I still do.  I have noticed that though still formed they are softer.  Instead of a solid brown they are now a more yellow-brown. Hey, I warned you.

I'm not supposed to be weighing myself - it might wreck my self-esteem so says the book and its rules.  It is the only rule I'm breaking - It's an elimination diet and I've been perfect about avoiding all those things I shouldn't eat. And if you know me a scale is not going to wreck my self-esteem.  My jeans fit a little better, my wedding band comes off a little easier most mornings (it wasn't before I started) and according to the scale I'm down five pounds.

In the fall I was having stress related back spasms.  I have increased my visits to the massage therapist, eliminated a few things from my life, added exercises and herbs, delegated more to the family and spent a lot of time with the chiropractor.  My back pain is really related to tension in my neck radiating down. Once we were able to release the back I was left with the root cause - a pain in the neck. I am just about ready to break up with the chiropractor - the visits are farther in between.  I'm feeling great.  I have noticed that I am less inflamed since starting the Whole30 and I can really NOT feel it in my neck.  That's a really good thing.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Elimination Diet - Week One

People often come into the studio and ask me questions.  I often suggest an elimination diet.  Many of our dis-ease can be eliminated through what we eat.  I have cut foods out here and there to see what may work for me but, I have never fully taken my own advice.  I was looking for a plan, a guide to walk me through the process.  A friend suggest I pick up the Whole30  book at the library.  She had tried it and was very happy.  So, it took a few months and getting through the holidays before I took her advice.

I like the book.  It walks you through step by step of what you are eliminating and why, tells you what you may experience throughout the process, explains how to reintroduce foods back into your diet and gives you plenty of recipes and on-line support if you need it.   I asked my hubby to get on board and support me throughout the journey and to my surprise he decided to join me.  My young adult children were told they didn't have to follow the program but, if the were eating dinner at home they would get what I cooked.  They were OK with that.

I must state that before I started I ate pretty clean.  I love to cook, shop and try new recipes.  We buy organic vegetables and organic grass fed meats as much as possible.  I make most of my ingredients from scratch so for me this was not a difficult transition as far as cooking.   This is NOT for vegetarians! 

You eliminate all grains, sugars, dairy, beans, soy, processed foods, alcohol and tobacco.  You eat animal protein (including fish), vegetables and fruit. Plus you are not supposed to weigh yourself - some crazy idea about ruining your self esteem.  Besides, this is not a diet to lose weight.  This is a way to determine if you have any food sensitives or allergies.  OK, it doesn't say no processed foods but if you read the labels (I've been doing that for years - scary stuff) it most likely has one of the contraband ingredients in it.  We rarely eat processed foods and neither one of us use tobacco so that was easy.  We are not drinkers so for us giving up alcohol meant no herbal tinctures. You can have coffee - just no sweetener or dairy (almond milk or coconut milk is OK as long it doesn't have banned ingredients - read the label).  I eliminated the cream and started drinking my coffee black - hubby switched to coconut milk.  I couldn't find an almond milk without rice flour in it. My saving grace is that you can have potatoes. Hallelujah!   It said you could experience numerous challenges (like headaches and fatigue) the first week as your body detoxes from sugar consumption, and relearns to pull energy from fat stores rather  than sugar. 

We just finished seven days.  Other than both of us feeling hungry all the time we have not experienced any adverse affects.  I'm not a sweets person and ate very little breads and grains prior to starting - I can't stop at a serving and then I feel yucky.  My hubby is a two bagel a morning kinda a guy so I was a little surprised he didn't have any issues.  He has had to increase his food intake - going from two meals a day to three.  And he has had to step up to the plate and make food for his lunchbox. 

It takes a little thinking outside of the box and preplanning meals.  Superbowl Sunday we have appetizers for dinner.  I made the kids their nachos and I made hubby shrimp cocktail (a little homemade ketchup and horseradish), sausage stuffed mushrooms (with homemade sausage) and lettuce wraps with the veggie filled taco meat left over from the nachos.

Meals this week have included walnut crusted pork loin over a bed of greens with raspberry vinaigrette, grilled shrimp over a bed of sauteed vegetables and roasted salsa chicken. We are not deprived.

It says it will take a week or more to start feeling really good - more energy, clearer skin, etc.  I will let you know.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Apple Bread Recipe

This is my Mom's recipe fleshed out a little - her directions are pretty sparse. 

1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1 Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. buttermilk or sour milk (mix a drop of lemon juice with milk)
2 Cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Cups apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend butter and sugar together. Add eggs and blend again. Dissolve baking soda in the buttermilk and add to butter and sugar mixture.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined.  Spoon into a loaf pan.  This will make one regular size loaf or two flat loaves.  The batter does not rise much.  We usually opt for two loaves as the bread is very moist.

Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle on top of  loaf.  Bake 30 minutes to one hour until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, January 25, 2016

#books I've read recently

I am a bookaholic it seems to go hand in hand with being an herbalist.  Well, at least all the herbalists I know.  I read a lot.  I collect books; signed books.  I read multiple books at once.  Instead of a bedside stand I have a bedside coffee table - it holds more books and trust me there is no room for a cup of coffee.  I do have a jar filled with pens, highlighters and bookmarks though.  I have them arranged in three neat piles according to reading schedules.  The maybe some day, the I'm half way through but have lost interest for now and the currently reading pile.  Lately I have been on a kick of finishing books.  The piles have been getting out of control and I need to either pass some along or finish them. I'm also hesitant to buy more until I finish a few.  A self imposed challenge.
I started winter break being gifted three new books.  I sat and read two straight through and am half way through the third.  Since then I have finished three more. I am binge reading the stacks on my coffee table.  And it feels good.
I'm inspired in part by Tara Swiger.  Each month she posts what books she has read along with what she is currently reading.  She challenged herself to read 100 books last year.  I love to read but tend to be a slow reader so I'm not sure I will achieve that but a book a week sounds like a good number.  I read very little fiction, my favorite books are biographies and reference books. I read herbals, cookbooks, soap making and business books.  So, what have I read since winter break?

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, I admit I was hooked after Eat, Pray Love and have read everything she has published since.  It took me a long time to get through the Signature of All Things but, Big Magic was a quick read and had lots of great ideas and inspirations for life and work.

Cooking as Fast As I Can by Cat Cora  The autobiography of the first female Iron Chef.  I love to cook, love cooking shows and books about cooking.  I must say this left me wanting more - a story without an ending - well because she's still young and learning and in mid lesson.

Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause by Gail Faith Edwards   I took one of her workshops at the New England Women's Herbal Conference.  I have friends who studied with her at Blessed Main Herb Farm and I could see why.  As I traverse the wild terrain myself I could see correlations and the text intermingles with a great materia medica, recipes and the cycle of the year.

Deranged by Nora Jamieson   This is a book of three short stories that delve into spirit and human experience and understanding.  I know Nora and some things felt familiar and at the same time I felt the baring of her soul.  Her writing is raw and thought provoking.

Free to A Good Home by Anne Kelleher   I have been friends with Annie for years.  She is an amazing story teller.  A skill I lack - I get to the bones of a tale and can never really flesh it out.  My hubby and his family have this skill as well.  For Annie it translates into her writing.  This book is a collection of her short stories.  They make you pause and think.  And though they are not horror stories the truths they impart are frightening.  Mostly because you can envision these stories becoming reality.  Shameless plug: If you are local stop by my studio for a signed copy.

I'm currently reading my last Christmas gift My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem and The Anatomy of Arousal  by Sheri Winston. This last one I purchased at my daughter's suggestion.  When we were at the Women's Herbal Conference she took Sheri's workshop and enjoyed it so much that she dragged me to her booth to buy her book.  It is the sex book that everyone should read for fantastic orgasms.

Friday, January 1, 2016

#Happy New Year

I don't celebrate the dawning of a new year with parties and such.  I did for a brief period of time back in my twenties.  Staying up until midnight holds little appeal.  The new day will dawn if I am there to witness it or not.  I am much more a wee hours of the morning person.  I get up before the sun and enjoy those quiet moments of solitude.
My new datebook is on my desk, a new calendar is hung on the fridge to coordinate all family appointments, a new calendar is hung in my studio to help keep me on track and date my batches.  I reflect because I must - prepping taxes and such both for myself and my clients in my job as an accountant.  I reflected a month ago as we prepared to give thanks in a more formal way and I wrote my annual holiday letter.
Welcome to the possibilities 

This past year has been one wild trip.  Our family has grown by two grandchildren, my business has expanded from house to studio and my annual holiday letter could not be copied and pasted from the prior year.  It was full of new travels, struggles, growing pains and birthing in all its forms.  It was full of joys and successes and much gratitude.
Luana Rose

Charles Warren

I do not make new year resolutions.  I do set goals, steps to attain my hopes and dreams and this I do on a regular basis.  Each day I reflect on where I have been and where I want to go and adjust or stay the course.  And each day I give thanks - thanks for a new day, the new lesson, the struggle, the triumph, the love and friendship I have in my life.  I am grateful for all the relationships I have forged in cyber space and physical space.
May you celebrate each day like it is the dawning of a New Year!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#Holiday Schedule

I have so many things on my plate right now and I love it.  I always function better with almost too much to do.  No time for procrastinating and a great time to gain some focus. My ability to multi task with the best of them has diminished but..... my ability to focus on one thing at a time and do it well has increased.  And I make sure to schedule plenty of fun, enjoyable activities as well.
It's a busy time of year for many with family, feasts, parties, shopping and celebrations.  I worked retail for many years and I would do my best to avoid the crowds and rush completing many tasks and chores very early in the season.  I would then spend the rest of the year enjoying this time and feeling bad for all those around me freaking out.  It gave me the calm to be more present with my customers.
Now that I have my own business I want to bring that calm into the mix.  Comfy chairs and rockers by the giant windows with the sun streaming in, a pot of tea always at the ready and a dish of really indulgent chocolates to nibble are always waiting in my studio.  And I hope the fact that I just love - LOVE - love being there is felt by all who enter.  It is my play space.  I forget who said if you love what you do you don't work a day in your life. This is so true.  I can't wait to get there and create, experiment, share, teach and talk to folks wandering the historic building or coming to see me.
A soft place to land

I will be there every Sunday from now until Christmas.  Plus extra days and events.
Black Friday is get out in Nature Day and I'm planning to walk with the Winsted Rails to Trails Volunteers on their City Walk Tour.

Saturday, November 28 is Small Business Saturday and I will be open from 11 to 4 along with many others in the Mill including Tina's Baskets, Walk in the Woods, Air Borne Creations and RR Model and Hobby Shop.
My Whiting Mills Community

December 5 & 6 is open studios at the mill from 11:00am to 5pm. It's one of the most unique and interesting artist communities in Litchfield County.
You will enjoy over 50 artists, crafters and specialty shops featured at Whiting Mills, along with guest artists, live entertainment and free refreshments.
You will have a chance to win a t-shirt stating  "You have been through the mill."
Also Lippincot Van Lines will have a drop box for non-perishable food items, toys and clothing to benefit Fish, Inc. and Family Strides.

December 13, I will have all the ingredients to make your own milk bath.  Fill a pint size jar with your custom blend to keep or give away.  The first jar with recipes and instructions is $25.00 each additional jar is $7.00.

December 20, the studio is open from 11 to 4 for last minute shopping or a quiet spot to sit and relax.
And if you are to overwhelmed to leave the house you can find all my skin nourishing products on line.
I hope to see you at some point in the coming weeks.
Blessings, Kim

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#Peace and Love

November 4 is the blog blast for peace day.  I have participated for years.  I am usually good about writing my post ahead of time and just posting on the day.  This year I spaced prior to the day.  I am having a hard time keeping focused on more than one thing at a time.  I set down my crown as the Queen of multi tasking.  But, peace is important whether I blog on the correct day or not.

The theme this year is "Peace and the power of love."  Sounds simple at first.  But, as I dive deeper into my thoughts it occurs to me how over used the term love is.  We only have one word for love and it becomes a catch all for many types of feelings.  I love potatoes - never met one I didn't like, I love my handsome hubby, my children, my friends, plants, trees and learning among an entire array of things, but I don't love them in the same way.
Loving people is so much more complicated than being enamored with your favorite slice of pie. I don't have to think about enjoying the pie. Loving people is a choice.  Some days it comes easily, other days not so much.  I love my kids.  There is not much I wouldn't do for them but some days I don't like them very much.  When they are rebelling, mouthing off, making poor decisions (in my opinion), etc.  I love them anyway.  They can express themselves because they know no matter what I will love them.  It is their safety net.
Taking that a step further how do I love the stranger on the street, the annoying co-worker, the bully, the person who doesn't like me? And that I believe is the key to peace through the power of love.  Some days I am successful at it.  Other days I fall terribly short.  It's a choice.  Each day I wake up and say thank you.  I try to live from a place of gratitude.  I try to choose love and when I do that brings a sense of peace.  If I can bring joy to one person and that person brings joy to the next from one loving act, peace would spread like the ripple effects of a stone thrown into a calm lake.  What if we each chose love?