Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 22: How to get less sugar in your family's favorite cereal!

I sent my husband to pick up a few groceries and he came back with a box of Oatmeal Crisp!  BOO! That, to me, is a desert because the amount of sugar in one serving of Oatmeal Crisp is almost as high as a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Oatmeal Crisp on the left, Millet Rice Flakes on the right!
So in on my way to hot yoga tonight I ran into the health food store and picked up a box of Millet Rice flakes.  They are naturally sweetened with pear concentrate and other fruit juices and what I would choose to feed the kids, if my husband wasn't such a sugar addict.  So this is my compromise!

I mixed the the two together, but the secret is that I only used 1/2 the Oatmeal Crisp pack and the whole package of Millet Rice flakes.  I think you might also find the same Millet Rice at your regular grocer!  If not just ask, every time I've asked Longo's to get something, they usually do!

PS.  Starting tomorrow Longo's Organic produce (all of it) is going to be price matched to regular produce!!!!!   I am thrilled about this!  It's like being able to go on an affordable cleanse - prefect thing to do after the winter months!  

Day 21: (part II) "Just eat the damn ice cream!!!"

I was chatting today with someone who is almost at the end of their weight loss journey, and we both agreed. IT IS SCARY!!!!  The weight maintenance is the part that is the most difficult because you can "allow" yourself more indulgences, that you can't do when you are strictly trying to lose weight.  I remember being at that point a few months ago and it seems that the natural progression for me (thanks to my friend Maxine), was to learn to eat clean.  So I've mastered eating clean, I don't buy processed foods, I only buy foods that I know what is in them (and I would have ingredients in my pantry),  our meat is from our farmer, and I eat tons of beans, legumes, veggies, fruits, raw nuts and seeds.

The next step on my journey was to balance working out.  My goal was to be super efficient at the gym (I'm still working out the kinks) but what I want is to maximize the work load in order to increase my base metabolic rate.  So for example, tonight while I was parked on the couch watching Off the Map and a pvr of Parenthood and folding 6 loads of laundry, I was burning as many calories as someone who is jogging on the treadmill (well a very fit person jogging).

That is what I want, I want my body to have the optimal fuel so that I can push it to it's absolute maximum anaerobic threshold.  The benefits are incredible, I can be with the kids in the evening longer, because I'm not at the gym 2-3 hours a day.  I am increasing my immune system so that I am more resilient to nasty bugs, which I will catch, I am a mother of 3 kids and have a husband who is a teacher... germs are everywhere here.  I am curing myself of mental issues and chronic joint pain, no more anti-depressants and NSAIDS (non-steroid anti inflamatory drugs).  And cleaning up and healing my digestive system, since being off gluten my gut issues have all dissapeared.

So what's the problem???  Well here it is, when I was in weight loss mode.  It was easy. Ice cream = bad.  See??? easy! but now.. The conversations are much lengthier, ice-cream with a berry compote (warmed up with chia seeds), it's just so yummy...and there is only a little bit left in the container, it will all be gone soon and I won't buy another one. ...well ok!  Just this once, have a bit, you earned it, you worked hard!

But the problem is when to do say, enough is enough?  How do you moderate "moderation".  I might have incredible self control, but I can talk myself into eating ice cream anytime, every time!  So this is my plan, I have a raw banana ice cream recipe, I bought banana's tonight.  I'll freeze them and give it a whirl.  That is my plan, if I can't fight it, BAKE IT!!!  It's always better if I make my own food than buying it, I will always put less sugar, therefor it has less guilt :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 21: Carpet Art

My daughter is creative.  I've told her not to draw on the walls, I've put up paper "wall paper" so she could draw "like her teacher at school".  But I'm not sure what she was thinking drawing on the carpet.  I'm sure it will come out eventually!  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 20: New Eats and New Moves

Today was a fun day.  We started out at Lil' Monkey's Indoor playground, then I put the kids to bed and had time to prepare a luxurious raw(ish) lunch for myself.  I've been reading about how the vitamins/minerals/enzymes are kept alive in raw food and am really fascinated by this concept, since I've been taking supplements anyway to boost my health and immune system.  So here is my lunch.

My raw(ish) salad included:

spinach and kale rubbed with olive oil
celery sticks
red peppers
green onions
raw walnuts
pressed cottage cheese (very low fat/no salt/tons of protein)
drizzle of roasted sesame oil mixed with Kefir

Spicy Tomato and Garbanzo Soup (not all raw)

- with pressed cottage cheese and parsley

to make the soup I added all raw ingredients to the food processor and pureed till a smooth mixture
1 can of garbanzo beans (chick pea)
2 cans of tomato paste
1 red onion
1 celery stalk
chili pepper
garlic powder (because I'm out of actual garlic)
cayenne pepper flakes

Today I did heat it up very quickly and on very low temp, but I could have also just added boiling water.

Ohhh this is soo cute!  My littlest chef is preparing yogourt a la GF craquelin :)

He was so focused, mon p'ti chef!

He is 20 months old...  chef in training :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 19: Raw Start!

So I've only done this once before but the idea of blending oats in a smoothy is kind of neato, since it adds to the texture, plus gives me some of the whole grains I need to start my day off.   I made today's up to help me get over day 3 of stupid virus.  As I write this, something must have worked because even though I skipped the gym, I am feeling like I can conquer tomorrow.  My trainer called and canceled today, which I wasn't actually very upset about because I haven't had much real food over the weekend, so I thought it wise to recover one more day and giver tomorrow at Cross Fit.

I don't even think I mentioned this, last Thursday I was doing Crossfit pull ups.  The ones where they move their body (kind of like a fish) to pull up.  Still stupid hard, but I did a few and tons with assistance.  The assistance is a giant rubber band that goes around your knee and the pull up bar.   It's so cool.  But by golly my lats were sore till Sunday night! 

Breakfast easy-does- it Smoothy

1/3 c. GF oats
handful of Kale smooched in real tight
2 tsp chia seeds
1c frozen berries
1/4 of a frozen banana
1/2 tetra pack of Vita Coco
1 pack of liquid iron
1/2 lemon (juice and rind from 1/4)
water to fill

If my stomach wasn't so fussy I would have added hemp hearts to add protein.  But so far no can do!  For lunch though I had soup with protein.  Spicy tomato and gazpacho soup.  (I tried to make it tastes like the one I got from Kindfood, it's off a bit, still good though!)  - would it be wrong to call and ask for the ingredients?  not like I'd be asking for the recipe? 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 18: Why We Don't participate in Earth Hour! (no apologies here!)

Yes I do want to I ruffle a few feathers.  Oh yes, I might say some things that will offend a few "self rightest" out there.  But at the end of the day, if some of you learn something, then my post is successful.  With the help of my wonderful husband I present to you.....

One hour that you could spend actually changing the world, one choice at a time! 

How many of you lit candles, did you ever consider the energy consumed in the making of those tea lights or candles?

 The problem with gimmick events like Earth Hour is that many people will participate publicly to appease their conscience while at the same time judging those who don't participate. What they won't consider when they go back to their regular lives (and regular energy consumption) is that some people have made changes in the way they live their lives that do so much more than one hour could do.

Consider that in our house for example, we have a device that shows us real time energy consumption so we can see how much power we are using at any one time and turn off extra lights, the TV, etc. to reduce the numbers. The kids see the number and want it to be a "little" number to save electricity and the planet. If they sit down at breakfast and the number is 0.5 kW (~500W), they remember that the TV is on and they go turn it off. They are learning young to save electricity because it is the right thing to do. We also have a device which uploads this information online (see screenshots) that lets us track exactly when we use electricity so that we can shift usage to lower usage times (province wide - to reduce the impact of our energy use on the environment as well as costs to the province for power. Its not a perfect system, unfortunately our biggest winter power user, the dryer, doesn't have a timer function, so it has to run while we are awake and sometimes not at ideal times.

Getting back to Earth Hour, based on an average evening, we use anywhere from 100 - 300 W over baseload of about 170W (the fridge, deep freezer, furnace, always "on" computer equipment like modem, routers, switches and server) during the 8:30 - 9:30 time period.  If we turned everything off during that time period, we would have saved at most 300 Wh of electricity, 3 cents worth at flat rate (or less than 2 cents on weekend low peak time of use rates).  The energy we save hanging one load of laundry to dry outside is approximately 3000 Wh or 10x one Earth Hour. Now I know for some people they would have saved more during Earth Hour because they normally use a lot more, but since we've managed to be very efficient as it is, making a couple of candles to light up our house during Earth Hour would likely take away a good chunk of our energy savings for the hour. How many Earth "Hourites" bother setting up clotheslines? I know in the area around my house, there is one "hidden" clothesline, other than ours which spans the whole backyard, in the 12 or so backyards I can see from my own. I know that the dryer is the biggest energy waster in my house and have taken steps to mitigate the impact of this device, that alone is worth a heck of a lot more than turning off the lights for an hour.

If you did participate in Earth Hour, make sure you made lasting changes. Otherwise it is just as I said, a way to appease consciences, because what good is awareness if you don't make any changes from what you learned.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 17: Sick Day!

In light of all the reading  I have been doing, I decided to attempt to cure my virus (flu/cold like) by drinking and eating only raw fruits and veggies and tons and tons of water.  I haven't taken anything for it (unlike Mark who has taken a few different pills), but in Mark's defense he is putting the kids to bed while I barely have the energy to do much but type a few words. 

If my understanding is correct, my body needs proper nutrition in order to boost my immune system.  I am at a slight disadvantage because I had a cold last weekend.  So I've had a frozen berry, spinach, lemon and vita coconut water smoothy and a big bowl of spinach salad with onions, red peppers, green onion, celery and raw walnuts.  My tea has been herbal with lots of extra lemon.

I still feel like I've been run over by a bus, but if my body is also detoxifying at the same time as fighting the virus, it does make sense for me to feel like crap because all those toxins are  released into my blood stream and must be absorbed by my liver and kidney's and processed out of my body.  Hence the need for even more water!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 16: And the Fun NEVER Stops !

I have to tell you, I'm sitting in bed with my netbook waiting for Luke to puke again.  Fun stuff.  It is so random when your kids are healthy all day, high energy and bright and then a few hours after they've fallen asleep, diner is all over the bed and carpet.  This morning we were at Little Goobers.  Then it was back home, lunch, nap, run out pick up Annaliese at school, come home make pizza, watch an episode of Veggie Tales, hair cuts in the bathtub, showers, stories then kids in bed.

The hair cuts were truly a bonus, I've been mentioning it to Luke for the last couple of weeks and tonight I asked Patrick if he wanted a hair cut.  He tried to say the words -'arr coo' and then started climbing the stairs.  Cool I can work with that, so while the other two were watching Veggie Tales (the Coolest kid show EVER!!!) I sat Patrick down in the good 'ol Bumbo chair, gave him some bathtub crayons and went to town.  When Luke saw that his baby brother had gotten a hair cut, he needed one too.  Awesome possum!!!  I didn't even have to ask!!!   So both my boys are looking pretty swanky in their new do's.  I'll have to post a before and after shot later. 

Anyway tonight Annaliese really wanted to help make the pizza, so I let her put all the ingredients in the bread machine, grate the cheese and decorate the pizza all on her own.  She is really pretty cute in the kitchen, I wish I had grabbed the camera.  When she was putting the peperoni on (yes I know it's not clean, but I think 14 slices on the whole thing isn't a bad compromise)...pause... Of course it would be that while I'm typing about food, Luke starts to puke again!  --sorry back to the peperoni, Annaliese was concentrating so hard her tongue was sticking out!  So cute.  Here are a few pictures of today's food creations.

Annaliese's Pizza for Friday night!

My GF pizza for tonight!
I also snapped a few pictures of what my kids snack would look like after nap.  They usually don't eat a very big lunch, so my secret weapon is that I tend to load up on veggies at this snack because they are starving after their nap.  They don't seem to mind :)

The dip is made from two parts greek yogourt and one part Renee's ceasar dressing.

It is a well known fact in this house that kids (mine at least) love plates with compartments.  I need to find the ceramic

My biased review and thoughts on FOOD MATTERS the documentary.

Yesterday I was browsing Netflix and came across the title Food Matter, I stopped and took a closer look because I own the book Food Matter's by Mark Bittman.  But they were not the same, so I checked out the trailer.  If you read my facebook status yesterday I was bouncing with excitement to actually sit down and check out this documentary.  Here is the link to watch the documentary for (4.95 USD).  FOOD MATTERS    (I didn't try it so let me know if this works?)  I looked through the itunes  store but didn't see it. 

 Sigh****  It's like someone finally said what needed to be said.  YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!!!!.  It's 'not like we haven't heard it before.  Your grandmother's knew this truth. Muahahahahaaaa, the power we all have to control our health lies in what we put in our mouth.  And the thing is, if you don't believe me or the video, then you aren't ready to do the WORK!  Why is that? What is so much more important than taking your health by the horns and controlling it?  You work too much already/too busy? You feel too sick? You are too tiered/not enough energy? OR... You think you feel fine? If it's not broken don't fix it! (ps, just curious how old are you with this perspective? and you think you will feel different or the same in 10-20 years?)

Because, don't kid yourself, of course it's more work than eating a cheeseburger (every night for diner)  and taking blood pressure medication. I am the poster board of being on 5 different medications for 5 different issues or symptoms.  But with a better diet and exercise, I've cut down it down to one.  Last night I set myself the goal of being off synthoid by the end of the year, it is an artificial thyroid medication because my own gland doesn't produce enough - I don't think I've ever thought to ask my Dr. "why doesn't my thyroid work properly?"  I'm not even sure if it is possible to "cure" thyroid disorder, but why not?  I believe that medicine for acute injury/ailment is and will always be super important (can't live without ambulatory care obviously) but why can't chronic disease be reversed or managed without relying so heavily on drugs.  Now don't get me wrong I am not a doctor, I have no training and I honestly can say I really don't know anything about using nutrition therapy, but I sure want too learn. It seems to be consistent with what I've read  and it makes sense. (please don't get yourself all in a huffy if you think I'm classifying ALL disorders - genetic included - I'm not, how can I, I think I know like 3 out of hundreds)

Malnourishment is rampant in an society were all we do is eat.  Obviously the food we are consuming (in mass quantities) has little to no nutrients left and so the effects of this are seen in diseases such as heart conditions, cancers, depressions, diabetes, celiac and others.  So the assumption is that if malnourishment is the cause good food to heal, or too boost your immune system!

Now we also live in a country where food management and distribution is an issue.  How can lower socio-economic status folks get access to "good food".  I don't know!, I watched Jamie Oliver's - Food Revolution.  And it seems like a re-education is in order, but how about changing crops from corn,wheat and soy to super foods?  Mark would like me to note that even though the soil square footage might be the same, energy expenditure on certain crop - aka organic or berries, require a huge energy output.  In terms of labour? Who will do it?  Of course it won't be cheaper than spraying corn fields (which don't need pruning, unlike gogi berries) with pesticides, fungicides and herbicides...  "babycides"..." polute-the-water-table cides".... (ie. toxic mater for our planet, animals and us)

This issue is huge! Who has the power in Canada, the government? Mark would tell me that if the Canadian Provincial gov't could find the cure to cancer, it would be trilled to save billions of dollars on health care.  But if ' as the documentary states' US drug companies don't want us to find a cure, wouldn't they do everything in their power to prevent an actual cure? Ok well since I don't actually like discussing or debating politics I will end this here.

But what can you do right now to improve your own health?  I bet you can think of dozens!  Sooooo what is holding you back?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 15: Some of my GF Eats

Have you ever sung or heard the "vowel" song: I like to eat, I like to eat, I like to eat eat apples and banana's.  I like to eat, I like to eat, I like to eat eat, apples and banana's.  "A" a lake ta ate, a lake ta ate, I late ta ate ate aples and banana's "O" o loke to ote, o loke to ote, o loke to ote oat, opples and bonono's.... and you go through the rest of the vowels.  That is the song I have in my head as I took pictures of my breakfast and snack this morning. 

Here is my bowl of oats this morning

1/2 c. GF rolled oats
4 tbsp hemp hearts
1/2 mashed banana
2 tbsp flax meal
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1 tbsp cocoa nibs
some cinnamon and ground nutmeg
1 c. boiling water (to steam the oats)

It  must have something to do with not drinking caffeine, but I will now try to put chocolate in anything (even my chilli) :)  Here is my mid-morning snack that I packed up while getting ready.  I know nut butter is a good source of protein, but I also wanted it chocolaty!!!!

Greek yogourt chocolate nut spread

1 heaping scoop of both tahini and peanut butter
1 full heaping tsp of cocoa powder
1 little bit agave nectar
a 1/2 tsp or less of vanilla extract
2 heaping tbsp of greek yogourt

Add caption

The final product.  It is sooo yummy.  I think next time I will work on something a little more creamy!  Mixing nut butter and greek yogourt make this really cool consistency thing happen.  Try it and watch.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 14: A Test Drive Gone Terribly Wrong!!!

I am sorry to all the mom's out there that may have read this post or to those who will not get to read this, but I have been instructed to remove it because it is too personal ("do not air your dirty laundry").  I believe in my heat of hearts that 90% of mom's need to know that they are not alone in their "hard" moments. But because of organizations like CAS, we are meant to suffer alone and in silence.  Email me personally and we can connect about how difficult it is when major changes are happening in your diet that affect your mental health. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 13: Chocolate Crunch Oatmeal

Chocolate Crunch Oatmeal Recip'ish

1/2 c. GF rolled oats
4 tbsp of hemp heart
2 tbsp flax meal
1/2 mashed ripe banana
dash of vanilla
2 heaping tsp of coco powder
a handful of pumpkin seeds
small handful of cocoa nibs (for extra chocolatey crunch)
1 c. boiling water


Boil water, add one cup to the oatmeal, let sit for 10 minutes then mix in remaining ingredients.  Adding or substituting what ever you have or don't have!  It's your 'ish too :)

I am in love with this blog I found a few years ago!!!

Paleolithic Diet

As I explore my future food option, I remembered that my crossfit coach had mentioned this thing called a paleo diet.  As I am a hard core "eat clean" kind of girl, I asked a few questions.  Came to the conclusion that it was a little crazy for me.  Basically it's a "cave man" diet.  (oh yes we are approaching fad diet territory)  The premise is that you eat only what our ancestors would have been able to hunt/catch or forage (hunter/gatherer diet). So in a nut shell, no grains, processed foods, dairy products, salt, sugar or legumes/beans.  You eat lots of meat, fish, plant based vegetables, roots and nuts and unrefined oils.

Some of the interesting points that I remember is that, because no grains are consumed their is no issue for celiac disease, but the diet does have some nutritional drawbacks.  Here is the wiki link, the article is really interesting since I studied archeaology in university.  As I do with most things, I think information like this is really cool to store in my brain database as diet options if I can getting bored or tiered or frustrated.  It is obviously clean and so meets that criteria.

Paleolithic Diet

If you have time to read this, or you already know about this diet choice, let me know what you think.  Does it have it's merits (I think so) but what I would like to do is see how I can incorporate the best of the best into my life for optimum performance, health and lifestyle efficiency.  I have a whole lot of reason's in my life to be in peak physical health.  Some of them include, mark, annaliese, luke, patrick and me!

Day 12: Some More Pieces for the Puzzle..

It's a good thing I started my day off with an amazing breakfast.  Because a couple of times throughout the day I actually wondered how is it possible to learn so much new information in such a short amount of time (have I been living under a rock?) I've also got a million questions and don't know were to start.

Here is a picture of me after the gym, reading a book, stretching my hammy, drinking tea and typing on my netbook.  This is a pretty normal occurrence around here and I got Mark to snap the shot because I thought Andre Lefort's picture was so cute and real.  This is what it looks like around here! 

  But anyway here is my super awesome breakfast and mid morning refuel.

Here's the recip'ish for my Banana bread Oatmeal

1/2 cup GF rolled oats
4 tbsp of Hemp hearts
2 tbsp of Flax meal
1/2 a ripe banana
ground nutmeg (freshly grated)
small handful of walnuts (chopped)
a dash of vanilla

Bring water to a boil in a kettle, then pour 1 cup over the rolled oats, cover up the bowl with a plate and let sit for 10 minutes.  This gives me a chance to get my snack ready, my daughter lunch and put breakfast on the table for my hungry monkey's.  Then I add the rest of the ingredients and enjoy, sometimes if I want a runnier porridge I had unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

I like to start my day off with oats and a form of protein, either it's egg whites or hemp hearts and a couple hours latter I make sure I have another small meal/snack that contains a protein and a complex carb combo.  So today I had a green protein smoothy.  Here is the recip'ish for:

Green Protein Smoothy 

a couple of handfuls of spinach
a celery stalk
1/2 a frozen banana
a couple slices of apples (the kids didn't want them anymore so I used them up)
juice from a quarter of a lemon (and some pulp if you want)
a couple giant heaping tbsp of greek yogourt
my iron supplement Spatone -100% natural liquid supplement
1/2 tsp of matcha powder (it's not really cheating is it - can't be that much caffeine in it?)
1tsp of agave nectar

I was at the Library today and sure I got a few stares because of my green goo! But ah! but who cares.  The best part of the morning was when Luke went into his little 'pre school' reading program (free drop-in... score) and I strapped the little man into the stroller, gave him his snack and went about finding a bunch of books on gluten free cooking and diet.  I also got one on modern Ayurvedic cooking (for fun) and the last two Jillian Micheals books.  I know it's weird but I think I have a crush on Jillian.  When I got home and actually started reading the book Celiac Disease, a Hidden Epidemic and it was so obvious that something is actually wrong with me, I may as well have been swatted over the head with the book.  I had no idea that celiac was an autoimmune disorder or that if you have (like I do) hypothyroidism you are 30% likely to have celiac but doctors never get around to testing for it because they are too busy managing symptoms.

So here is a bit of my medical history: 

At one point in the last couple of years (prior to starting Cymbalta) I was on massive anti-inflammatories for the extreme joint pain I was having. I couldn't grab a knife or plate or even walk up and down the stairs.  The meds were wreaking havoc on my stomach.  Interestingly when I got pregnant with Patrick all the joint pain virtually disappeared and as soon as he was born it was back literally within weeks.  This is about when I was getting alot of anxiety, some of it coming from worry that I wouldn't be able to take care of my 3 kids because I was scared or more like petrified of the pain that I knew was coming...

I had gotten an endoscopy done because of the acid reflux I was having (I ended up having a near cancer scare because of the way that my sphincter looked, but the medication prescribed helped aliviate the symptoms (I was taking Omeprozole) but they never actually fixed the reason for such eroding and the acid reflux.

I was permanently on reactine because of an ongoing unknown allergy reaction.Some of my symptoms included typical hay fever symptoms (stuffy nose, itchy watery eyes and sneezing) and I was also getting random hives.

  Because of the joint pain I was having in combination with hives and some skin rashes (plus a family history of autoimune) I was tested for Lupus and Rhmatoid.  I did have a presence of some lupus factor in my blood work, but the next time I was tested it was back to a normal range.  My mom tells me her numbers are always wakey, that she goes into remition for her autoimmune disorders.  Umm let me see, I was had visited an endocrinologist to see if Lupus was the cause of my joint pain, I had seen a thyroid specialist to help with the joint pain and guess what?? They found NOTHING! Nadda!

So here I was a few years ago, taking tons of medication, barely able to walk to lift stuff.  I had to get an occupational therapist to come to my house a few times a week back then because Mark was working full time and I couldn't take care of the kids unless I learned ways to cope with the pain.  I remember one day I had to call my neigbour to come and get one of the kids out of bed and bring him down the stairs because I couldn't actually grab him with my hands or hold on to him and the banister to get down the stairs.  So the occupational therapist had to teach me how to get him into my baby carrier while he was still in the crib so that I could use my forearms to leaver him out of the crib and then use both hands to hold the railing and sort of side shuffle down the stairs (down is so much more painful than up!).

So you get the picture, I was in pain, I was on tons of meds and then family crisis happens and I spiral into an anxiety ridden time of my life were all I can do is scream at everything and everybody.  This is when my doctor put me on cymbalta.  And it worked!!!  Like a miracle, my joint pain all went away, I started to be able to workout more at the gym and cope so much better with being a parent.  But I also became iron deficient during all this and I was starting to get terrible bloating (someone actually thought once that I was pregnant- when I bloat up I look like I've swallowed a basket ball) and stomach pain, which I was willing to put up with because the alternative was debilitating joint pain and bouts of 'baby rage' (I called my baby blues, baby rage because I was never down!!! I was always up and angry and anxious, never depressed or blue).

So that brings me to now.  I have improved my diet (thanks to Tosca Reno's Eat clean books) so much that I haven't needed to continue taking any anti-inflamatories, acid reflux meds or allergy meds.  It was time to take the plunge and see just how far diet and exercise could actually contribute to my mental sanity and managing my joint pain.  Off the Cymbalta!!!   At around the same time, Lent started so I figure I may as well give myself the best flying shot I have and be even more stupid healthy so I gave up gluten and caffeine.   I've been monitoring very closely how my joints feel because, more than anything I never want to be back at the place I was.  I currently have very stiff and sometime painful digit extremities (finger tips and toes) but I can't be convinced that that isn't from partly over training at the gym  (the wheel in yoga put tons of pressure on my finger tips, and so do lifting heavy weights - or my own body weight).  I might also be in total denial and don't want to face the truth that the pain might come back!

So now, that is why it is so important to me to get to the bottom of this.  For so many years I went along with what the specialists told me (or didn't tell me!) and just kept taking more and more pills to treat symptoms for a disease that was a mystery.  I want to know!  That's it.  Whether I'm celiac or not doesn't matter, I just need to understand why my body is and has been attacking itself for the last 6 years.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 11: How is this POSSIBLE???

I've had three day's off the gym as a recovery from last week.  I didn't eat any 'real' junk food this weekend.  I did make gluten and sugar free chocolate cake with a chocolate and greek yogourt frosting (sigh** it really is soooo good), the cake was ~so so~ but the frosting was awesome.

I am healthy!!!  I exercise, take my vitamins, eat my greens and tons of fruit... I SHOULD NOT BE SICK WITH A COLD!!!   The only thing I can think of is that I haven't been sleeping nearly enough.  All three kids are snotty so that doesn't help!  So tonight I'm going to bed early! Tomorrow I have to at least feel better because I have a session with my trainer.  Germs suck! 

Day 10: I made the choice to be happier today!!! But it took work!

I started the day off on the wrong foot.  I had an anxiety attack because I perceived the house as a pig sty and I also thought my husband was a slacker!  And yes I did tell everyone how unhappy I was with everything and what had to be done to fix it.  ha ha  Not a great way to approach a situation, I realize that now in retrospect.  However,  it is now almost 1:30 AM and I no longer think the house is a mess.  For literally the last 8 hours, with only a few breaks to nourish myself, I've been cleaning, organizing, sorting, dusting, vacuuming, storing in the garage and tediously rearranging my big food pantry (labeling and putting everything in clear glass jars).  I can pretty much be in any room of the house (except the play room in the basement) and feel like I have nothing to do, other than enjoy the moment and not worry about, dust, packing/sorting kids clothes that is too big or too small, cleaning and tidying.  It is a pretty good feeling.

So yes I did end the day very proactively, I've preped my house and myself so that I DO NOT have another anxiety attack in the morning.  Today I also took a run out the the Bulk Food Warehouse to get some of my household staples, chia seeds, hemp hearts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and oatmeal.  While Mark took the kids to the library I had a chance to make some "Chakra Bars".  This is a picture of the original one that I bought once at Goodness Me, I read the ingredients and so made up my own, because it was 4$ (expensive even in the realm of health food).  Here is my version!  I wrapped them individually in parchment paper and they will stay in the fridge! 

The ingredients For my Chakra Bars are:

Rice syrup (about 3-4 tbsp)
coconut oil (about 2 tbsp)
tahini (about 2 tbsp)
macha powder (2 tsp)
vital green (15 mls)
dried cranberries (a handful)
hemp hearts (about 1/2 cup)
sunflower and pumpkin seeds (a handful of each)
puffed millet and kamut (I just kept adding this by the handful and made sure I could get them fully covered in the green goo)

So I just melted the coconut oil in a pot on low heat, then added all the other ingredients (in the order listed).  I let it cool a bit then scooped it out of the pot and formed them in the parchment paper.  They do hold nicely together once they have had a chance to chill in the fridge.  My kids love them and call them rice crispy scares :)  But I ultimately made them as a special treat for me!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 9: Eat like a Kid Again!

How many meals do kids eat? Any clue?  If they had the choice they would never ever sit down to eat a meal.  They would graze on snacks all day long.  I think I've adopted this philosophy two fold: One because I was packing a mid morning snack, making a small lunch and then snack for after their nap anyway, I may as well eat while they are! Secondly every health and nutrition book I have ever read recommends eating many smaller meals through out the day!  So here I am, living proof that you won't actually die or get in trouble for chucking the idea of 3 square meals out the window.

Kids do things so intuitively RIGHT!! they squat properly every time to pick something off the floor, they never ever stop moving (until that is, we make them sit all day long at school or we introduce them to tv and video games,  don't get me wrong my kids watch some tv but not all day long or everyday for that matter) and think about their eating habits, sure you could say it has to do with the size of their tummy, but actually it's because their metabolism is set to "super fire burning mode", assuming they are active and healthy kids, they easily burn the calories they consume.  Our body is designed to process food every few hours, any greater length of time between consumption and our metabolism starts to go into "storage mode" thinking that a long fast is the near future and not knowing when the next meal will come from or what it would be.  We basically need to tap into the "intuitive" way of eating. This is my favorite metaphor to explain how your metabolism works. 

If you keep putting fuel (or logs) on a fire every couple of hours you've got yourself a nice hot fire, that will keep buring steadily all day long.  It is able to provide a wonderful and consistent source of heat and light.  If you stop adding logs to the fire, what happens = of course it dies!!!  Conversely what happens when you put too much wood and crap on the fire = you choke it... and dies!!!   Now try burning garbage (cans, tetra packs, aluminum or even a marshmallow) on that same fire and what do you see, a wavering in the source of heat and light, it might burn very bright for a few seconds and then just die off.  There is an imbalance between the fuel source and the fires ability to consume/metabolize it optimally.  Our bodies are no different, if you give your body crap fuel, what do you expect to happen???  If you eat too much or eat with huge time gaps between meals, what happens???  We all know this answer but for some reason we just don't make the necessary changes to improve our metabolism (or fire = internal fire that burns away calories).  I do see some positive changes happening these days.

School is getting better about splitting up the eating throughout the day, so that way kids get access to fuel in order to function properly/efficiently and effectively.  When my daughter first started school, they told parents very strictly that junk food would not be tolerated and they provided lists of sample lunches and snacks!  How great is that, once I even tried to sneak a piece of dark chocolate in her lunch and found that it had come home and my daughter gave me a stern talking too about how "no candy or junk food in lunchboxes!"  Now in the morning I just ask her what she wants for her snacks and lunch.  She gets a "lunch-serving" and two nutritional breaks!  She looks through the fridge and takes out the stuff she wants.  For example, baby carrots, cheese and crackers, grapes or clementine oranges, red pepper cut our in flowers (not sticks) and/or baby cucumbers.  Here is the lunch box we use, it's BPA free, I got it last summer and she loves it!  

Try this healthy snack next time you are starring at your fridge with a glazed look over your eyes. 

Red Aunts on a Log!

These "kids" snacks are super amazing for you, use unsweetened all natural peanut or any nut butter, and decorate with any dried fruit you have in your pantry.  I had dried apricots, so I used a pair of scissors and cut them into small pieces.  And if you can get your hands on some seed or pea butter you can send this in your childs lunch.  My 4 year old, loves it when she can make her own mini sandwiches, so I sent her with a small butter knife and a blob of sunflower seed butter/or 'pink' humus  in one of the side spaces (it doesn't leak!). Oh and speaking of sandwiches here is another great snack food that is packed with protein, good fats and complex carbs!  Pumpkin seed, Nut butter and Apple Sandwich. 

Just keep it healthy and nutritious by using all natural nut/seed butter (it only needs 1 ingredient on the list), unsalted pumpkin seeds and what ever apple you have.  And of course you know I would also add chia seeds.  My kids love to add the "dinosaur egg sprinkles" :D

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 8: Continuing my Quest for Happiness!

Cool.  I've done so much this past week.  I've given up coffee, mostly all gluten, my medication for anxiety and joint pain and I'm surviving.  I know Yogi Sam says I must find a balance and I can't just muscle and nutrition my way to mental health., it takes more!  But what?

Here's my list of stuff that makes me at peace with myself and happy. 

- stupid hot bath with jets
- reading a book on the back deck with hot tea
- playing in my kitchen (when it is clean to begin with)
- shopping for healthy whole foods
- actually sitting down to watch some pvr when the house is cleaned
- massage (who doesn't?)
- pedicure
-reading to the kids and then us all falling asleep together
- playing in my herb garden (while the kids play outside at the same time)

I know I have others, but these are the most prominent on my mind.  What do you do to balance MIND - BODY - SPIRIT?  I imagine these are so personal to the place you are in.  The more I think about it in general terms, I like it when things are neat and tidy ( so no visual clutter), I like calm and peace in the environment and I like to create.  I am such a go-go-go type of person and I think in order to offset that motion and energy I need the opposite for my balance. 

Share with me, have you ever thought about your inner peace needs? I've read that happiness also comes when the mind is at peace.  You can appreciate events and situations, without imposing your own drama on them, so they are real and true without the taint of your mood or inner turbulence.  Calmness leads to happiness.  Thanks Michelle, I think that comes from one of your Buddhas Principle.  I leave you with some food for thought!  I am a practicing Catholic but I believe in acceptance and that everyone has nuggets of wisdom to share!  

What did the Buddha Teach?

The Buddha taught many things, but the basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed up by the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
• What is the First Noble Truth?
The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

• What is the Second Noble Truth?
The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

• What is the Third Noble Truth?
The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.

• What is the Fourth Noble Truth?
The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.

• What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?
In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others.

• What are the 5 Precepts?
The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 7: Purple toes, barf posters and Toy Story on Ice

Today was everything I dreamed it would be.  I started the day off, ahhh by having stayed in bed till 9!!!!  Seriously when you have kids that's like 2pm in normal people time :D  I had my bowl of oatmeal and off I went to treat myself to a pedicure.  Now here's the thing, I never do this type of stuff but it's the March break, which means Mark is home and I'm not exactly at 100% full parenting capacity since being off Cymbalta, so why not!  So after a lovely 1 hour spent getting pampered, not to mention the massaging chair which I love, and God Bless her heart, the esthetitian spent extra time massaging my feet!, I now have super cute purple toes that match my purple handbag!  I need the weather to get warmer so I can live in my flip flops again.

Then I got home and made the kids and Mark lunch, they went for their nap and I decided that I needed to have a batch of chocolate 2 bite brownies.  So I made a gluten free, sugar free (only coconut sap and carob powder to sweeten it) hemp heart, almond brownie!  Then it was off to my 4pm Crossfit training class.

I have to tell you, I am thinking of cheating on Goodlife.  This might be the beginning of a serious love affair (Mark don't roll your eyes!!! I'm serious)  It was up my alley all the way, they actually have a poster on the wall of the gym area of a cartoon dude puking and it says "don't forget to clean up your mess!".  Awesome, the rules say that if you leave equipment out you will have to do burpeese.   Teehee, I love it!  The philosophy is very much mine, don't waste your time at the gym, work hard or go home!  The actual workout was short but it was crazy hard.  I haven't sucked air that hard, since...since... labour or the push part???  not really sure!  But it gets a thumbs up for sure and stupid stupid me am going back tomorrow to do the next session for this week.  I know I shouldn't but Friday - Saturday and Sunday we will be really doing some family activities, so I didn't want to interrupt the flow of our time together. 

Anyway, when I got back home it was 'go time'!  Toy Story on Ice was starting at 7pm and I arrived home from Breaking Point at around 5:20.  My brother was going to be watching Patrick (thank you!!!!), so that was a load off our mind.  But I still needed to pack snacks, and my own diner to eat on the way (hurray for rice and beans - with veggies- that warm up easily and just as easily can be packed in thermos).  So we did make it all the way to the Roger's center with 15 minutes to spare.  Thankfully our kids were so excited to actually see the show that they were not instantly sucked into the shameless peddling of exorbitantly priced cheaply made Toy Story paraphernalia.  The show was fantastic!  The kids loved it and sure they wanted some of the toys or junk food, but I kept repeating my mantra... We are here to watch TOY STORY!!!  wooohooo (emphasis here) and NOT to shop or eat junk food!  I did pack lots of healthy snacks, which they all goobled up and Mark and I surely saved ourselves at least 40$ and the effects of what such sugary foods would have done to the kids!  Sure some parents wouldn't have wanted to deal with the effects of saying "no", some other parents would have thought that the special occasion deserves cotton candy, sugar cones and/or salty popcorn.  We felt that the price was stupid and that we really didn't want to be moping our kids off the floor as they scream and freak out (for anything or nothing -who knows when it comes to sugar overload combined with over tiredness).  And it worked for us! I'm not saying anything about anyone else's choices but I'm explaining why we didn't indulge our kids (with the junk food experience) because seriously watch this... the show was awesome!!!   

My favorite part of the whole show was when Barbie met Ken for the first time to the Dream weaver song!  and the Ken trying on the clothes to the Tune of Freak Out.  Check this out it's short!

I'm signing off and hopefully I have a great day tomorrow.  I've book a one hour massage (covered by insurance) at 9:30 Am so I know it's going to be a good day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 7: My Truth to You

Part of being stubborn, and a Taurus, too boot, makes me also very stupid!  I push myself physically so hard, some would say stupid hard!  This morning I did a workout, one hour full body core and strengthening (with a side of cardiovascular fitness - strictly as a morning bonus)   Then went back to the gym this evening for more!  This time combat class, I don't often say owww, and part of the stubborn nature in me thinks it's wussy to admit pain, especially self inflicted pain.  However in light of my recent withdrawal symptoms, I am saying it.  Ouch!  Jeeze, I'm hurting.

I am going to give myself permission to admit a few things!  Every night I think about the day, reflect and then tell you what I've done or what the kids were up too, or even tell you some of what I eaten or cooked.  But that's not really the whole truth, remember a while ago when I first started this blog, the purpose was to be happier and I had a lot on my mind.  The inner demon monologue.  Well it has been pretty quiet lately and I can attribute it to a few things:

1- I have been eating even more clean than before, and beefing it up with extra supplements such as Vital Green, liquid iron (I am deficient), calcium and Vit D, pre-natal multivitamin as well as hemp hearts, chia seeds and flax (I just bought a container of bee pollen so I'll be adding that into the mix also)

2-I have been able to push myself even more hard when I go to the gym, and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I susceed at what ever goal I've attained (ie, doing all the pushups on my toes, increasing the weight for every exercise or decrease the "help" for pull-ups and my favorite: feeling at some point in the workout that I would like to puke!)

3-I am becoming more attuned to my spiritual needs (I'm a part of a tuesday night small group discussion at my church) and I'm really taping into yoga as a source of a spiritual multivitamin - per se. 

4- Medication that my doctor prescribed for me for anxiety and joint pain over a year ago

So yes, I have been on an antidepressant (Cymbalta) the whole time I was writing out this blog, some of you may have known already, but for many this is new information.   I'm telling you this now for a couple of reasons, sure the blog is about me being honest about finding happiness, but I've noticed that since I've introduced the massive amounts of health and fitness into my life, things have been quiet (demon monologue-wise).  Because of that quiet of mind, and other health reasons, I've decided to ween myself off the meds.  Actually I basically used my brute strength, stubbornness and stupidity to get here today.  As of this morning I am 4 days med free!  So as much as I want to blame caffeine as the sole reason for my overreactions, that isn't the truth.  I knew that Mark would be around for the March break and so I would have him to lean on when I needed the extra support (which has been nearly constant)!  This week I am almost doubling my workouts and increasing my healthy food consumption, including totally cutting out gluten as well as praying sincerely for help and guidance.

I am giving myself permission to feel!  And some feelings are a tough thing to cope with, they hurt, they are overwhelming, they are personal and intimate.  I'm not saying that I couldn't feel, but now it's like taking a cold drink of water on a hot day!  I appreciate it more now, I feel in a very big way now!

What I'm telling you is that the demon monologue has reared it's nasty head and is causing me quit a bit of grief but I'm doing everything I can think of to beat it.  Mind/Body/Spirit need to be in balance in order to achieve happiness (among other things, but this is a simple idea).  I am over taking care of my body because that's the easiest one for me, the spirit is coming in second with some extra nurturing and I am doing my best to nudge some inner piece and calm from my mind.

So I will eventually get into what the cymbalta was helping me with and why it had it's place in my life, but from now on I'm going to move forward.

Think happy + do happy = be happy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 6: Muffins My Way! and ** I need real coffee**

Yayyyy, my video is finally up.  And yes, it's kind of crappy, but it was a spur of the moment idea.  And yes if you watch it, you will notice that I do start talking about stuff and then forget what I was saying and move onto the next topic, which is very very typical of me these days, I attribute it to mommy brain. 

So let me know what you think!  If I make more, I promise to make it shorter and be slightly more organized.  The kitchen would probably be cleaner, but if you are comfortable with the idea of just watching me do what I do (choas and all) let me know also! 

So as for the rest of the day!  It was good, the morning started off on a very very bad foot!  Clearly the demon of caffeine withdrawal has reared it's ugly head and I freaked out on the kids for getting yogurt and cheerios all over the living room floor.  I literally was screaming/crying about how messy my house gets while I was on my hands and knees cleaning the whole living room floor.  Mark finally calmed me down with a big old fashioned bear hug, after prying the damp dirty rag out of my hands!

Here's the thing, when you start your day like that... It can only get better!  And it did, I took the kids to McD's (hold your comments!!!) so that they could play in the giant 3 story play structure (the one at Guelph and Upper Middle).  I got them the Happy Meals, but all they wanted was the milk and toy! So Mark got to eat leftovers.  They took a nap while I was out health food shopping with my friend Michelle who came to visit me all the way from Penetanguashine (not a clue if that is spelled correctly!).  We went to Whole Foods, Organic Garage and Hoopers.  Then came home, I made diner and then off to the gym we went.  I was supposed to have my trainer tonight but he called in sick, so I did another class instead.  Now I remember why I can only do hot yoga!  I was freezing in Flow (even after Attack) when I should have been warmed up!  Anyway I'll be bring Michelle back to the gym in the morning to do another workout.  It's so cool she is doing a Biggest Loser Challenge in Barrie and so far she is in 4th place.  Since tomorrow is Tuesday she is going to weigh in, so I'm going to kick her ass in the morning, she's going to drive back to Barrie and then do her own last chance workout before her weigh in!  Fun stuff!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 5: HELP.. Will Cook/Bake for Website!!!

The more I think about it, the more I realize I need a website.  Is there anyone out there willing to donate some of their time to help me set up a website dedicated to my life :)  I'll bake you muffins or cook you some soup in exchange???? I know that sounds stupid, but I need a place to post my recipes, my blog entries, my workouts and cool new exercises that I learn, not to mention all the information I could be posting about DIY gardening (well with Mark's professional advice) and DIY clean baking/cooking video's.  Oh and not forget a section on my cute kids and the stuff they are up too.  I am totally inspired by the website and website.

I envision my site as a funky hybrid of the two.  I wouldn't be doing it to make a career out of it, I would be doing it to keep my own information accessible and organized.  I wish I had more know how in this stuff I am not tech savvy in the least. I am also to broke to hire anyone to set a professional one for me.  Truth be told, I kind of zone out when Mark talks technical or financial, my mind retreats to a happy place.  Warm breeze, sunshine a lush greenery and a cool drink!  ahhh.  So I do realize beggar's can't be chooser's but I would love love love, if someone could magically make all my website dreams come true, without actually telling me how the magic works :)  I promise to keep you well fed (literally extremely healthily fed!)   

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 4: Gluten Free Day!

The alarm wakes me up this morning and I realize I am literally stuck to my sheets.  At some point in the wee hours of the morning my daughter snuck into my bed and attached herself to me, sort of leech-like or something.  But wow, is she ever a heat generator. Clearly I do not need to worry about how my children are fairing with the low night time temperatures.  So after tediously removing said sopping blankets, no point in a shower (sorry folks, I'm big on preserving water) I get dressed in my gym closes and sneak downstairs, hoping I don't wake up too many other sleeping children.  Sure they decide to sleep in today!!!  The morning I don't get to sleep in!  OF COURSE!  I decide I don't have enough time to wait around for my oatmeal to cook so I jam ingredients in my magic bullet (protein powder, oatmeal-raw,  frozen berries, liquid iron supplement and coconut water) and run out the door.  In case you are wondering, yes the bullet is crazy loud, so I took it to the basement to blend. 

My workout was rushed, I had 45 minutes to replicate monday's hour long session.  Since I did it on Thursday I knew it would be faster but this time I also added a 4 minute warm-up on the tread mill.

1 min at 3.5
1 min at 6.5
1 minute at 9.0
the last minute at 4.

It definitely gets the heart rate going, and moving with that momentum I powered through the workout, sure at some points with far less grace than I wished, but hey who really cares.  Hopefully my trainer can give me the names of the exercises and I'll post the workout, for a record and also to get some feedback, but a this point it would be silly for me to try to explain what I did.  Suffice to say I'm sweating (and swearing) by the end and don't look very girlie while doing it :) So now I run out of the gym, get home, tag Mark and he's off with the boys to his daddy and kid program while I take Annaliese to a birthday party. So birthday party, visit with a friend on our way home, bulk barn run (to pick up some gluten free supplies), stop at Starbucks to refuel on a decaf and free mini pastry (Annaliese picked the pink cake on a stick!  interesting idea isn't it?), then back home to clean, cook pizza and enjoy the pizza with some friends.

Since I've decided to challenge myself to try to go more gluten free I've decided to post the list of symptoms I could find for gluten intollerence.
 the specific symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease?
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorbtion e.g. low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Fat in the stools (due to poor digestion)
  • Aching joints
  • Depression
  • Eczema
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioural changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health
So I have way too many of these symptoms, that is why I'm going to try this out and see what my body tries to tell me.  The good thing is, I already make most of the food I consume so it's not that challenging to sub out whole wheat flour for other gluten free variations.  Mark wants me to get a doctor's note so that we can get a tax write off, since he says gluten free stuff is way more expensive, but at bulk barn I really didn't notice a huge price difference in the variations of flours, I've already bought brown rice pasta, and I eat so many other grains that don't contain gluten that I'm not that worried.  Of course "keeping me honest"... I'll let you know if anything changes.

I pleasantly surprised Mark when I made gluten free brownies (I bought a small bag of the powdered mix at Bulk barn) and of course I beefed up the recipe by adding, walnuts, hemp hearts and chunks of 80% dark chocolate, oats and only halved the brownie mix.   I didn't put the amount of oil (actually the recipe card asked for butter), I used way less and used egg whites instead of a whole egg.  I also used almond milk instead of water.  And wow they were soo good.  Oven was 375F and I used my muffin tin and it made 12, they were rich and crispy and so full of flavour.  I ate 3 and so did Mark!

All this to say, if you want to start experimenting with healthy baking but you don't want to flop on your face and get Frisbee-like food , start by buying the mix and add to it, substitute and just see what happens.  Eventually you will find that you don't need the pre-mix crutch and you'll spread you wings and take flight in your own kitchen.  And remember I am not endorsing pre-mixes 7 day's of the week, by my 80/20 rule of clean eating, experimenting with processed foodstuffs is ok on the weekend!  All in the name of learning to intuitively cook/bake clean eats!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 3: A Pot of Decaf

This morning promised to be a miserable one.  Luke and Annaliese woke up at some point in the night to reenact the war of 1812, first Luke climbed into bed with Annaliese, not sure at this point if he did this for warmth or just to cuddle, but Annaliese was having none of it.  Thus begins the massive middle of the night arguing between siblings.  Annaliese didn't want him up there, and he didn't want to leave, she yells louder and louder, Luke gets annoyed and starts throwing her stuff off the top bunk just to piss her off even more.  Mark starts yelling at the kids to be quiet and go back to bed, then they start to argue over who gets to sleep with Mark.  Meanwhile, I'm in some sort of daze and don't really know what is going on and I tell Luke and Annaliese to get back in their own respective beds, which then causes an avalanche of emotions from both my offspring.  So finally I give up and put in my ear plugs and I think Mark is considering the living room couches, they finally sort it out and ... wake up before 6 AM????  What in the name of all that is holy is that?  How is that even possible, can't these kids actually sleep in for once in their lives, when we don't actually have to run out of the house.  It's the first day of Annaliese's March Break, so I thought, woohoo, it should be like a saturday.  Ha ha... right!

So after finally getting the two rebels dressed, the angel slept in mind you!, and everyone fed.  I got the monkeys out the door by 9:30, armed and ready for a morning out.  I had bathing suits, towels, snacks and 6 cups of decaf coffee tucked away in a thermos and travel mug!  So maybe that's cheating, I might be getting a bit of caffeine but don't you think I deserve it?  Well I do!  We actually had a great swim, who cares if it's the coffee placebo effect.  It was hot and black and sooo good!   The pool was the warm and shallow.  The kids had a blast.  Annaliese is turning into a regular little fish, I didn't push anything on her, but by the end she could jump off the wall and swim under water a few meters!  Jeeze and how much money have we spent on swimming lessons and they couldn't even get her to put her face in the water!

Yes, all 3 kids took a nap, I woke Annaliese up though, because I wanted them to get to bed nice and early tonight.  Ha ha, it worked.  While they napped, I was able to make a batch of soup, clean up a bit, and most importantly sit down to eat and watch an episode of  Better With You!  It's a dorky show, but it makes me laugh.

Then the evening was a typical Friday.  We danced around to the song "I like to move it" by crazy frog (about 10 times) - good workout mind you! Then we settled down to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!  The kids love this movie, and I.... am evil, I love to point out the fact that the mayor eats way way too much junk food and look how giant he becomes and how the kid goes into a candy coma and needs celery to make him better... :)  I hope I don't scar them.  Ah, oh well.  All three were teeth brushed, read too, tucked in and sleeping by 7:30 PM, with no fighting!  That my friends, is success!  And the icing on the cake: having your kids say they love you when you leave the room, is worth all the civil wars..I mean sibling rivalries in the world.  And worth the struggle of decaffeinating myself!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 2: Being Proactive!

Today was a great day!  Truly awesome.  I started the day taking the boys to an indoor play ground, which they love and had tons of fun running around and playing.  Then I put them down for a nap, but instead of crawling into bed like I wanted to, I marched myself to the kitchen and started cooking.  I made a pot of vegetarian chilli, a batch of carob,chick pea and quinois flour cookies and an egg white omelet (for my lunch).  I tried out the manna bread that I bought on the weekend and LOVED it!!!   Manna bread is like raw bread, I bought cinnamon date flavour so it was a desert for me.  It is made with sprouted wheat and doesn't use any rising agents.  I put it in the toaster and fell in love.  But at 5$ a loaf, it will have to be a special treat.

So after cooking I did two loads of laundry, put away 3 more, cleaned the kitchen, and actually sat down while eating and folding laundry to watch last nights episode of Off the Map.  Then when Mark got home I had to run out to the Doctors, yes everything is fine, just a medication adjustment based on some blood work (I have a thyroid and low iron so I'm always doing blood work), the I booted it back home to change and pack a snack for my evening.  Then I headed to the gym to try to replicate the same workout the trainer had for me on Monday.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that no one was using the equipment in the women's gym so I was able to plow through the tough workout at top speeds, with little to no rest between circuits.  It was kind of bootcamp style, the exercises targeted major muscle groups but where combined with core strength to get maximum results.  Rest, if you call it that, was actually active rest, which brings me back to my swimming days, when our coach would put us through the ringer and then tell us to swim at 60-70% of our max, to flush out the lactic acid from our muscles.  So in my case, the active rest or recovery was two different variations of a squat.  I'll have to learn the names of them at some point.  So anyway I ran out of the gym, no cool down or stretch after 50 minutes of non stop work, I then ate in the car as I drove to the hot yoga studio.  I decided that I actually had a few minutes to spare so I thought I would visit Organic Garage to see what type of decaf coffee they have.  While there I decided to pick up a few of my favorite treats, the stuff you can't really find anywhere else but here.  So tomorrow I get to drink decaf coffee, that I know will taste amazing, and that I feel really good about.  Woohoo for Fair Trade!!!  I am doing my little part, next time you buy some coffee or chocolate, think fair trade!  It's the honest way to go, the farmers will thank you (as opposed to the company).  Here are my treats!

Not sure why this is sideways!  I tried to fix it!  But this larabar is my new favorite, peanut butter chocolate chip. Yum!!!

Hot Yoga was... hot and crazy!  Just the way I like it.  I put my mat as close to the heater as I could, yes I am a heat hog, most people try to get away from it!  But I find I feel stronger the warmer I am, plus I wanted to warm up fast since I had skipped my stretch at the gym.  I lost track of how many Crow poses we did, I can finally do it and actually stay for a few breaths without falling out of it, woot!  And I nearly flipped when we were jumping into hand stand, clearly I don't fear the ground (but I was a little worried about the heater), so I did a very ungraceful retreat before I swung to far over.   Now what I need to seriously practise is jumping into plank from crow pose, I feel like I'm the most ungraceful crow there ever was, I get one leg back and the other kind of flops down, hippo like!  My mind tells it to "go back with the other leg" and let me tell you we had enough practise, we must have tried this about at least a dozen times, no use.  Crow to plank is the only thing I can't do!  And that is a challenge, I hope I get stronger from all the extra weights that I'm doing so that I can finally manage this transition with a little more grace than a hippo!  (not that I'm comparing myself to a hippo, it's basically the sound that comes from the room when everyone is flopping all at once, not many yogis can do this)

So now I am looking forward to tomorrow, I will have a great steaming hot cup of decaf coffee.  By the way how much caffeine is in green tea? Is it negligible, how about white tea?  

nb:  the cookies were gluten free, I'll do my best to sort of tell you what I put in them, I was just making it up!

Gluten Free: Carob, chick pea/quinoa cookies  (excellent source of protein)

I used powdered roasted chick peas - about a cup
quinoa flour - about a cup and half
carob powder- half a cup or a bit more to taste
flax meal - about 1/3 cup
baking powder - 1 tsp
prune puree- one small baby jar
1 egg
vanilla- 1 or 2 tsp
apple sauce- about 3 tbsp
agave- 2 tbsp (or more if you want really sweet cookies)
vegetable oil- 2 tbsp
roasted pumpkin seeds - a handful
sunflower seeds - about a tbsp
dried currants- about a tbsp
80% dark chocolate chunks (I just cut up a piece of chocolate bar that I had)- 1/3 cup (ish)
 - the mixture will be sticky, if you find it isn't try adding more liquid - just a tbsp at a time

Oven at 350F, on a parchment lined baking sheet, roll 1" sized balls and flatten (I wet my hands with water it seemed to work much better).  Bake for 10 minutes.  Good Luck!!! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 1: I want to sleep - ALOT!!!

Day 1 (of 40), which very awesomely ends on my birthday this year.  I have decided to give up caffeinated coffee and tea.  If you love me and those around me, please pray for me.  It was actually a hard choice between coffee and chocolate, sugar would have been too easy since I don't eat any refined sugar (as a rule) anyway.  But I'm confident I can do this, I'm under no illusions that this is going to be easy...  Ha ha, not a chance, I covet my hot black coffee, I go to it when I'm upset, stressed, when I need a pick me up, when I want me time and the list goes on...

This morning I managed to survive on only one medium organic black decaf.  It was good!  My only challenge was that by the time I put the boys to bed, the house was quiet....  The kitchen was already clean....  and my bed wasn't made... Yawnnnn!  Oh yes I climbed under my 3 blankets, covered my head with a fleece baby blanket (I'll explain that later), curled up and dozed on and off for about an hour and half.  Tonight it's almost 3hours earlier than I normally post because I didn't go to the gym.  Mark didn't like the look of the roads and told me to stay home, I have to listened to him because my driving on snowy roads cost us 600$ already this winter.  So not only did I not get my caffeine, I didn't get my energy boost from a workout, my lovely thoughtful husband brings home a piece of ice cream cake (the only crap I really let myself indulge in).  So these 3 factors are contributing to the fact that I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this, which I'm sorry about.  The sugar from the cake really did kick my butt tonight.  I can feel my pancreas working overtime trying to get all this sugar out of my blood stream, and the result of that is...  me in a sloggy fog!  (I must remember this the next time I am indulging)... 

nb: The reason I sleep with a fleece baby blanket over my head is because Mark keeps the house's temperature stupid low at night, I think around 13 or 14 C.  I got so used to sleeping with it on that when I lie down it's part of my sleep habit.  So yes, the only thing that you might see of me would be a nostril.  Because I need the tip of my nose covered or I can't fall asleep.

Did you eat pancakes today?

Do you know why pancake Tuesday is even called that?  Well it was a way to traditionally rid the house of all fats and sugars before Lent.  Now I'm not going to get into a long discussion about Lent, but the bottom line is that I believe that by challenging myself I will appreciate what I have all the more.  Isn't that concept a good one?  How about the idea of purifying yourself?  How many of us have done spring cleaning, that idea of detoxing goes right along with it.  It's just a physical reminder (on the calendar I mean), that helps us to focus our attention to an area of our life that normally get's put on the back-burner.  I'm sure most of us clean our houses when we are going to be hosting a party, or when special company is coming for a visit.  We want to make a good impression, plus it feels good doesn't it???  To look around and know that everything is in it's place.  That is what lent is for me, it's a sweeping/cleansing of my spirit!   So whether you believe in Lent or not is not that I'm trying to get across here, it is that: the act of cleansing and detoxing is a good exercise no mater what.   

So yes I had pancakes today.  They were my oatmeal buttermilk ones but I added an extra 1/3 C. of Flax meal and I substituted some of the white flour for extra whole wheat.   I covered them in warm berries and chia seeds (my berry compote!) and very much enjoyed having pancakes for diner, and I'm pretty sure my daughter and husband also enjoyed getting two pancake meals today!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Turned the Day Around!

And so my day started off pretty darn bad, but by the end I kicked it's butt!  First off I started out with a massive kink in my neck, you know the one where you have to turn your whole body just to move your neck, makes driving fun! Then a very little, cranky and snotty boy is whining for everything but when he gets it, he throws it away and keeps whining, clearly he doesn't know what he wants * this expression actually does hold true with toddlers*.  Next I have a total meltdown because I can't find the van keys, which I think are locked in the van.  I am supposed to be going to a playdate with my amazing friends and I don't want to miss out, plus Annaliese has to be in school for 9:10.

Alright so I throw in the towel, call the school and my friends.  Then I start phase 2 of my morning by nearly giving myself, yet another, concussion!!!  Oh yes... would have been the second one this year, thankfully it was only the plaster of the roof that made contact with my head and not the metal bar on the corner of the wall like last time.  I did this because I was rushing up the top bunk stairs to get Patrick (the littlest one) off the top bunk.  I proceeded to have way too much mellow drama creep up and blow my mind to bits, is this what pms does???  Geeze....  Then after spilling a few things and knocking over other stuff  (I broke a picture frame) I actually made it to diner time with the crew,  Other than another milk spill, made it through the diner pretty much as normal.  I made it to the gym and did attack with Julie, who has such amazing energy (I need some like her), than I had a session with my trainer.

Well I'm not sure I was expecting the ass whipping I got.  Come to mention it I didn't at any point in the day even think about this training session.  I was smart enough though to eat a bit more today than cooler 1 (just in case) and bloody good I did.  And I thought bootcamp was hard.  I actually almost puked!!!  While doing jack knives on the stability ball!  So all in all I was super impressed with the content of the 1 hour session.  At the end, Jeff's comment was "wow you are sweaty".  It was 1 hour straight, no warm up (I was warm), no cool down, no pleasant conversations while hydrating... just move move move, go go go!  Cool right!  I'm so excited that I learned so many valuable exercises with him.  It kind of brought back the feeling I would get when I would go to seminars when I did martial arts.  I once did a Gracie Grappling seminar and even though the crap you do is stupid hard, at the end of it you feel amazing.  You accomplished something that not many people can. 

Anyway when I got home I made my protein smoothie (with vita water, which is pure coconut water, protein powder, Kefir and frozen berries), I decided, no tv, no cleaning.  Just a bath, a stupid hot bath with the jets.  Ahhh and while I was marinating it occurred to me that the day wasn't that bad, my kids were awesome, even Patrick snapped out of his mood, my friends are so amazing and love me for all my quirks, drama and all, and I got to snuggle with Patrick when I got home because he woke up and wanted just me.  Then I remembered that yesterday I didn't write about this but I made a mental post it of how the kids woke up yesterday and spent all morning chatting and hanging out so nicely and then fell asleep chatting together, Annaliese on the top bunk and Luke on the bottom bunk.  Even though his bed is in the next room! It brings me such joy when they get along like that, siblings loving on each other and taking care of each other.  What else is life about?  Life is about relationships and connections with people.  I'm very grateful for the people in my circle and I'm also very grateful for my family and the love we share.