Paleo | Gluten Free | Strong Mind

I haven’t been blogging a ton lately. I’ve really been focusing on Me. Nearly eight weeks ago I began what I called a detox cleanse. I reset. I was dying inside for something new. I was sluggish, in a very bad state of mind. I’m constantly wanting a change, a big change. I’ve been obsessing about our family relocating to a new city and searching for jobs and houses. I’ve just been all over the place emotionally. And I was feeling fat. I was fat. I never really lost all of my “baby weight” and there I was two years after having Jack. It’s hard to look in the mirror every day and think “so I guess this is just what I look like now;” and almost surrender to that. I hated that feeling.

I started that cleanse with determination. I needed something new. I followed the guidelines, I shopped the pre-set grocery lists and ate the meals, falling in love with every bite. I did keep snacking because I had that bad habit as part of my daily ritual. I barely lost a pound in the first week. But then the second week we weren’t supposed to snack. We could eat big meals, until we felt satisfied, but no grazing! I took that rule seriously and stopped. Then, the pounds started coming off. Seeing results only made me feel more determined. I would eat a large meal yes. And then in between for the longest time my brain would say “feed me” but I wasn’t actually hungry. It took many many weeks to re-train my brain to not want to snack. But it really worked! Now, I eat three meals a day, and that is it. Occasionally if one of the meals is small, I’ll make myself a smoothie to tie myself over (usually almond milk, banana, peanut butter, flax seeds  and ice cubes — so yummy, it’s like a milkshake.) So now, almost eight weeks in, I’ve lost nine pounds which is thrilling! I feel fantastic. I feel happy inside! I have more energy and I’m sleeping better at night. I’ve retrained myself to eat less and to eat earlier (I used to eat at 10pm!!!). I’d love to lose more weight which I think would be better attained through more exercise. I’ve just never worshiped running or going to the gym. I never found the “zone” that other people talk about. I do attend yoga classes in a studio near my house or use the website YogaGlo when I can’t get away. My goal is to develop a better routine and with exercise, I’m quite certain I’ll be on top of the world. One thing at a time though.

The diet I’m loosely following is the Paleo diet. Don’t worry, I am not going to preach the Paleo mindset, because I haven’t really read about the whole hunters and gathers thing. Essentially I don’t eat dairy, gluten or sugar. The only oils I consume are Olive, flaxseed, avocado, and coconut. I do still eat the occasional potato and corn however, neither of which are allowed on Paleo. At this stage, I can’t argue the theories for or against it. All I can say is, I feel really good. I am happy, I have energy and I am nine pounds lighter!

Eating anywhere outside the house is hard at first. There is sugar in everything. There is soy in everything. There is canola oil, soybean oil, and corn oil in everything! These are cheap cheap cheap ingredients that are fillers. Even my beloved Trader Joe’s has tons of those ingredients in most of their packaged food. The hardest part of this diet is that you will be in the kitchen a lot more. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but I generally didn’t feel like I had the time to cook. Well, I’ve had to make cooking a priority because I’m so invested in this lifestyle change. For me, the only way to be successful is to have a menu planned in advance. You have to have food on hand. I’ve re-used my Reinvent-21 recipes tons of times. I also bought the Winning at the Kitchen cookbook by the same nutritionist I did the initial cleanse from. I still love Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook. And now I scour Paleo blogs for recipe ideas. Nom Nom Paleo and Paleo Grubs are my new favorites.

Going forward, I feel like I’ve come so far that I imagine introducing any of those items back in to my life. I do still crave sweets. But there are a ton of crazy-delicious desserts you can make with coconut or almond flour and honey or maple syrup. As a double chocolate-chocoholic, believe me, I was skeptical at first too. Have you seen my lemon blueberry cake with icing on top? Another good one is this Paleo brownie recipe. Gahh, they’re so good I’ve made ’em twice! The other day I was craving some thick and creamy Greek yogurt, so I allowed myself to have a small bowl. Other than that, I don’t want to eat slices of cheese or sandwich bread. Those habits have gone away. And the alternative is clean, nutrient rich, whole foods that fill me up, give me energy and a happy outlook on life!


Gluten-free, vegan, chocolate chip cookies

I’ve been eating so well these past two weeks, staying away from gluten, dairy, caffeine and sugar for the most part. Over the weekend I cheated a little because I had three different get-togethers with friends and was afraid to come across as rude if I said no to everything (excuses, excuses). And while I was cheating a little, I had friends over to watch the Golden Globes. I cooked up a big pot of vegetarian curry lentil stew. For dessert I made the most scrumptious vegan, organic, gluten-free cookies which I found from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop newsletter about a year ago. Believe me, these cookies are delicious. Goop featured Erin McKenna, who I have a major girl crush on. She’s the owner of the little bakery shop in NYC called Babycakes which sells only gluten-free, dairy-free and mostly sugar-free goods. I love more than anything this recipe. You probably will not have the ingredients in your kitchen. I had to make a trip specifically to Whole Foods for Bob’s Red Mill products, coconut oil, and vegan chocolate chips.

Here’s a quick rundown of everything. But for more indepth instructions, visit the site here.

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and bake for 14 minutes, rotating once after nine minutes.

The cookies will be crisp on the edges and soft in the middle. Don’t overdo it or they will be tooth-cracking hard.

Let me know if you do decide to make the cookies or any other delicious gluten free meals. I would love to hear about it.

Note: Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into a cooking blog. I hardly consider myself an expert on any of this. I’m just someone who really enjoys food and trying to make healthy things as mouth-watering as possible. :)

A detox diet that isn’t totally extreme

Oh hello, please pardon the delay, last week I had one heck of a work week and it doesn’t look like it will be any less busy this week. It makes me forget that I even had a little holiday vacation. Anyway, back to the life. I haven’t exactly kept up (or even started) most of my new years resolutions. For instance, I have not “hit the gym” once. Over the weekend, I got Verizon Fios which is very exciting because I essentially went from watching Hulu and Netflix via a 12” laptop to buying a big ass television and getting cable including HBO + Skinamax (for a limited time). On Sunday, I was exploring On Demand, a heavenly feature, and discovered the FREE exercise videos. I choose to check out the kickboxing video and lazily realized that I was literally laying on the couch watching the guy do his kicks and punches. What’s wrong with this picture?

One mini triumph however is a detox I’ve been doing for the past 10 days. I read about it in a really great magazine called Whole Living (it’s a Martha Stewart publication) which is an inspirational read if you’re into nutrition, yoga, mediation, and general healthy way of life. The detox isn’t anything terribly extreme like the Master Cleanse of a juice diet, but instead it focuses on eating whole foods, limiting caffeine, sugar, dairy, and gluten. What can you eat? There’s actually quite a lot, but it isn’t as easy as coming home and popping seven slices of cheddar cheese in your mouth while cooking dinner (hmm, I’m not talking about myself…).

The past week and a half I’ve traded my coffee for green tea, and my nightly red wine for chamomile tea (haha, it actually has the same effect on me—I pass out). I’ve been eating less meat (not no meat), in exchange for lentils, beans, millet, lots and lots of veggies: spinach, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and collard greens. I’m trying to use less olive oil (again, not no olive oil) and making fish and chicken in the oven. I’ve been using a ton of fresh herbs in everything, sage, parsley, cilantro, basil and using honey and lemon to sweeten things up. Overall, I feel really good. These are healthy changes that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I pretty much bought everything on Whole Living‘s grocery list and whip up a new creation every night. If you are interested in reading about it, check it out here.

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