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A New Year and A New Plan

4 Jan

Well, it’s now 2015 and 2014 was pretty awesome.  It certainly had its challenges, but my son Gabriel was born and he truly is our miracle baby.  He is now 9 months old.  He is an absolute joy-even the rough days like when he’s teething or feverish or has been up every 2 hours throughout the night, I still find joy in his sweet little face. In Korea were were successful in being able to have a bris (traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony) which was an extremely big deal. We took a 6 week trip to the US so that he could meet his family. We traveled to 6 states in 6 weeks, Gabriel got to meet grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and lifelong family friends. We were blessed to reconnect with our synagogue in NC and our mishpocha there. James performed 3 Mussica Missio concerts and we ended our trip with him marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Madison Scouts, the drum corps he marched with 20 years ago.

Even though I was mostly eating healthy during my pregnancy, I gained 40lbs.  Not bad considering I had lost 45lbs right before getting pregnant as a result of my juice fast. I heard that many women loose their weight quickly when they are breastfeeding.  How nice for them.  That was certainly not me :/  I lost about 15lbs in my first couple of weeks after having my son (who ended up being a c-section but that is a story for another time-I’m thankful he was born healthy even if it wasn’t the natural birth I had hoped I would have). However, then, my wonderful mother-in-law who came to Korea for his birth had to fly home and my husband had to return to work.  Which meant that I had to fend for myself when it came to making sure I ate-and I needed to eat quite a bit as the baby was nursing all the time those first few months.  Well, he wouldn’t let me put him down to sleep which meant he was in my arms the majority of the time.  The few moments I had without him in my arms I had to choose whether to sleep, eat, shower or cook.  Cooking did not win.  So I started eating things that could be prepared quickly or were pre-prepared and could be eaten with one hand-those things couldn’t be hot since that meant I was eating over the (most likely nursing) baby. Fast forward to 9 months postpartum and I am as heavy as I was at 9 months pregnant with no energy and a terrible addiction to milk chocolate.

Now that Gabriel is older and I am able to spend a bit more time in the kitchen preparing food, it’s time to do something to make my body healthy again.  Because I am breastfeeding, I can’t do a true detox like a juice fast because those toxins would be able to pass through to the breastmilk.  I have a couple of friends who have had great success with breaking their sugar addictions and transitioning to healthier eating habits by doing the Whole30 program. I am starting mine tomorrow. I have a friend in the US starting the same day (although my day starts 16 hours before hers with the time difference) and one friend in Korea doing it with me too. I am looking forward to having energy again, hopefully shedding some of this baby-weight and the biggest hope is to get my blood sugar back under control. And I plan to do all this while taking care of a teething baby who is starting to crawl. Prayers and positive thoughts are much appreciated.

Here is a family picture from about 3 months ago10710446_10203735780208228_7924688867220927609_o

4th of July weekend Part 2

9 Jul

I apologize for taking so long to post this-it’s been non stop with family in town over the 4th and then non stop prep for a month long road trip, complete with my car breaking down in the middle of the insanity. Back to info on the food from the busy holiday weekend.

Saturday was crazy and we were going all day…synagogue in the morning plus food shopping for the BBQ we were hosting the next day plus a BBQ that night. I’m glad that our guests who are in their 60’s, were able to keep up-and be the life of the party 🙂 We brought the coleslaw and a pesto dip with gluten free crackers and there were also sliced cucumbers there. The pesto dip ended up being a bit thick but still tasted great. ( I mixed this pesto with some of the cashew cheese from this recipe ) Two days later I thinned it out a bit with a touch of water and put it on yellow zucchini noodles and the moisture from the noodles helped thin it out to the perfect consistency.

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Up until this point it was crazy busy but I found as long as I made sure to bring something I could eat, I did fine. I also relied heavily on left overs. I added some leftover cole slaw to a salad made of dinosaur kale and fresh from the garden cherry tomatoes and diced cucumber and that was a quick and easy meal when a smoothie or juice just wouldn’t do. I tossed the kale in a quick dressing of A couple of tablespoons of ACV, some stone ground mustard & some honey…I didn’t really measure but it hot the spot.

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After the 2 BBQ’s that we went to, we prepared to host one at our house on Sunday, July 7th. We had dear friends in town, it was a holiday weekend plus it was my birthday-what a great excuse to have a BBQ 🙂 plus we’re leaving in Sept for 2 years so we had to do this while we could. I was super surprised that we had over 50 people come! What a blessing! We got to celebrate with people from all of the different communities of our life. And Hot Lips was a fabulous Grill Master! He took care of the drum sticks, chicken tenders & all beef, nitrate free hot dogs. I made a BBQ shredded beef roast in the crock pot that also went over well. I didn’t get to make everything I wanted to because I just ran out of time. However, I did make my raw, vegan, deviled egg salad But called it a “garden dip” and Baba Ghanoush and served them in a 2 dip serving tray with sliced cucumbers and gluten free crackers. I also made the kale salad with the creamy curry dressing but my only salad ingredients were kale (massaged in lemon juice) and tomatoes from my garden. We cut up a cantaloupe and put that out along with Deborah’s cole slaw. Thankfully, our guests all brought sides so there was plenty of food. Also I couldn’t have gotten the food done that I did if it wasn’t for Deborah’s help plus some of my guests who stepped in and helped to take care if things in the kitchen. I’m so thankful door the dear friends & Mishpocha (family) I have been blessed with!

I also made my own birthday cake and Holy Freaking Moly was it AMAZING! (If I don’t say so myself;) I made a raw, vegan Chocolate Hazelnut “cheese” cake.Totally out of this world! It calls for hazelnut butter but instead of regular, I used a healthier version of Nutella which is a chocolate hazelnut butter. It was a hit with all who stayed late enough to try it. I liked it so well, I made some in little 4oz jelly jars to satisfy my chocolate cravings while on our road trip (which has worked quite well, I should add) And so has everyone else who has tried it;) Here is a picture of me with my super delicious birthday cake:

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I’m so glad I got to have cake on my birthday 🙂 I keep thinking I miss certain foods but then I find recipes for things I can eat that satisfy those cravings plus don’t poison my body. Also when I try some of those foods I think I miss, I don’t enjoy them. To me, this has been an interesting learning experience. As a matter of fact, we are traveling and I have brought a whole host of foods with me which has been a really good thing. We found ourselves at a Culvers last night and Hot Lips ordered their fried cheese curds which used to be a favorite of mine….I was having a difficult time with self control and popped one into my mouth…and proceeded to spit it out into a napkin. It did not taste good to me at all! As a matter of fact, it tasted pretty gross! I’m actually thankful for that. I’m still amazed at how drastically my taste buds have changed.

One of the benefits of my 60 day juice fast that I didn’t even realize has been a complete change in my food cravings…even when I want something salty and crunchy or chocolatey and sweet, I’m not turning to Ben & Jerry’s fish food ice cream or Trader Joe’s white cheddar popcorn. My frozen banana chocolate “ice cream” (or chocolate hazelnut “cheese” cake) and dehydrator crackers satisfy me-although I have found a new crunchy & salty snack that I am absolutely enjoying while on the road. They are called Plentils by the Enjoy Life food company and they are corn free, soy free and gluten free and they are super delicious…I may be a bit addicted 😉 It could be way worse!

2 weeks after my juice fast

27 Jun

So the last day of my juice fast was 2 weeks ago and I’m feeling a bit bummed because I’ve gained 7lbs…and I haven’t had any gluten or processed sugar! It is a bit discouraging…although my new clothes don’t feel tighter so that is a good thing. I know it’s normal to gain this amount of weight post-juice fast but it kind of scares me and almost makes me feel like I’m back to where I started…even though i know that is not true.

Regular exercise never really became part of my routine and I know that would help. I haven’t added a whole lot of fats like coconut oil or olive oil to my diet, but maybe what I have added is not working in my favor. I have had some nuts but not a whole lot. I like to have some nuts when I have fruit to avoid spikes in my blood sugar. The combo worked well in my pre-fast 21 day raw reset and I was losing weight then.

I am still starting each day with about a quart of lemon water and I am having a juice and a smoothie. Last night I oven roasted some eggplant, onions and green beans (all from my local farmers market) with fresh pressed garlic, fresh grated turmeric and ginger, a touch of olive oil and powdered curry, cardamom and cumin with a dash of cinnamon. I also cut a cabbage into wedges and roasted it with a honey-mustard dill sauce…it was a delicious dinner! The unfortunate thing that happened is that I broke my glass tea pitcher when I pulled my stone pan out of the oven and the corner touched the glass. It was a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and I loved it. And because of all of the commotion and clean up I totally forgot to take pictures!

My next food adventure will be making kale chips in the dehydrator (another item I got I expensively off of Craig’s List). Kale chips are super expensive when you buy them but they look pretty easy to make. I also want to try making “hummus” out of zucchini using this recipe.

I had lunch with a new friend this week. I was introduced to a new restaurant and had a fabulous Greek salad sans the feta, topped with roasted veggies and hummus. It was delicious. And I’m so glad for the opportunity to get to know Danielle…I’m only sorry we are meeting so close to my departure from NC. She grew up in a holistic household with parents who grew much of their own organic food and bartered with other farmers and ranchers in their community for organic & pasture raised foods that they didn’t grow themselves. She did not grow up eating processed food regularly at all. She has an educational background in holistic health as well as more holistic life experience then anyone I’ve met. Because I followed a “paleo” diet for 2 years before doing my juice fast (also sometimes referred to as the caveman diet), the subject came up during our conversation. Danielle brought up a really interesting point. Back in the days when we were hunter/gatherers, we didn’t eat meat 3 times a day, every single day of the year. Plus there weren’t any pesticides for the animal or their food to come in contact with. There were also seasons that meat wasn’t eaten much at all as both animals and people were in a “hibernation” mode. With the access we have to these foods now, there is no hibernation mode. And “gatherers” referred to people who were gathering plant based foods…which were much easier to obtain then an animal that had to be hunted and slaughtered. So when we examine it, the actual lifestyle of the “cavemen”, while it included healthy meats, included way more fruits and vegetables too-most likely more plant based foods then meat.

I can definitely see how following a paleo diet has been a step in better health for me as it did teach me how to eliminate processed foods, eat more local, grass fed, pasture raised and whole foods and it made me change the contents of my pantry completely. I’m glad for the various stages of transition from my old fast food and SAD (Standard American Diet) ways of eating to my juice fast. Before I started my paleo journey I eliminated soda and MSG from my diet as my sister in law made me aware of the dangers of MSG and all of the other hidden names it has. It is hidden in many different ingredients in processed foods. As a diabetic, this ingredient is particularly dangerous as it really messes with insulin production and proper insulin utilization.

I’m thankful for all of my stages of transition in this journey. I am so glad for learning about eating a plant based diet. Many of the things I am now loving like vegetable soup and raw collard green wraps would never have made their way onto my plate, even if offered…I would have been convinced they wouldn’t be enough to sustain me. The roasted veggies I am so enjoying would have been considered a side dish. I do expect to add some animal products back into my diet at some point but not nearly to the extent as they were before my juice fast.

I am on quite a journey to reverse my diabetes and I am so glad that my journey is helping others along the way!

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Day 3 post juice fast smoothie deliciousness & Juicers

16 Jun

Day 3 and I’m still feeling fabulous! Today hubby and I went for a hike with the pups. We had a blast! My day started with a delicious juice and continued with a pint and a half of one of the best smoothies I’ve ever had!

First the juice:

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Smooth Pear Detox Juice
1 bulb of fennel
3 pears
1 cucumber
10 leaves kale
Makes 1 quart

Next, a modification of a smoothie called Healthy Girl’s Chai Green Smoothie. This is something else I completely expect to be drinking in heaven when I get there! I was feeling like I wasn’t ready for almond milk and I was making enough for both hubby and myself so here is what I did:
Green Chai Goodness:
2-3 cups of water
2 teaspoons of chai spice blend (from Healthy Girl’s website)
2T hemp hearts (blend these 3 ingredients together first)
A hand full or 2 of ice cubes
2 frozen bananas
3 medjool dates (pits removed)
3 handfuls of spinach
3 leaves of lacinato (dinosaur) kale stems removed
Makes 3 pints

I’m getting a number of questions about juicers. I am no expert but am happy to pass along some of the info that I have benefited from. Below is some info from Young and Raw‘s Facebook page

How To Select A Juicer

Many of you have asked us about which juicers we recommend, and why. There are a few things to consider when looking at juicers, and we are here to clear up any confusion!

There are two basic types of juicers: the masticating juicer and the
centrifugal juicer.

The centrifugal juicer uses a spinning blade of some sort, which spins at a very high speed. This will basically grate whatever produce you are feeding through it into tiny pieces. The machine will then strain the finely grated pieces through a strainer, which will be separating the pulp from the juice. Juicers of this type do better with heartier fruits and veggies. Some can do greens moderately well, and some not well at all. The juice that comes from these machines will start to break down and oxidize within 15-60 minutes, so they are best consumed in a timely fashion.

Our favourite Centrifugal juicers are:

The champion or the Green Star – these juicers use “gears” to grate the produce,
and can do a pretty good job with leafy greens. You can also use these
juicers to create frozen fruit ice creams! You can look at the Champion Juicer and the Green Star Juicer

The Breville Juice Fountain – This juicer uses a spinning grater, and does well
with heartier veggies. If you want to use this juicer to juice greens,
the best technique is to bunch your greens up into tight balls before you pass
them through. This juicer is one of the best if you are new to juicing
and are not ready to spend a large amount of money. You can look at the Breville Juice Fountain

The Masticating juicer presses the produce, rather than grating it finely with a spinning blade. This means that the process is generally called ”cold juicing” or “slow juicing” because it is much slower! This way of juicing introduces far less oxygen into your juice than a centrifugal juicer, thus allowing much less heat and oxidative damage. The juice made using these juicers will last much longer before it starts to degrade. These are also the juicers you need if you want to get the most juice out of your leafy green veggies.

Our Favorite Masticating Juicers:

We really like the Hurom Slow Juicer, and the Omega Slow Juicer. Both are excellent
quality. – You can look up the Hurom And the Omega Juicer
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The only juicer they don’t mention is the “Rolls Royce ” of juicers which is the Norwalk juicer. This juicer grinds the produce and then uses a hydraulic press to press out the juice. This is by far the best method that keeps the nutrients in your juice alive the longest. However it is $2,500. I guess when talking about a Porsche, BMW or a Toyota, Rolls Royce doesn’t necessarily make it into the conversation. Hopefully this info helps!