Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fun with Food! Condiments

I have a TON of baby food jars, freecycled and left over from a former project. I use them to make small batches of all sorts of things, like my little tub of coconut oil that lives with my cosmetics or the overflow pain cream from a batch that was made too big for the squeeze bottle it lives in. 

One of the things I want to play with is condiments. Right now we can't eat mustard, of all things, because the vinegar in it us usually white vinegar, and only Apple Cider Vinegar is approved. Lucky for us, Trader Joe's mayo is both sugar free (why I started buying it) and made with ACV, as well as other approved ingredients. Whole Foods sells some mayos that don't have sugar, but TJ's was the only SF one that didn't taste like rotten fish to me. And I can't speak to their vinegars. By the time places like Safeway jumped on the fancy mayo bandwagon, I was already a convert and not looking to change. 

So now I'm looking for tiny-batch recipes of condiments, so that I don't have to make like 2 cups at a time when fridge space is at such a premium and we eat maybe an ounce of ketchup between us in a meal. Half that of mustard!

I'm a smart cookie and saved some old bottles of hot sauce too, so we have some slightly larger bottles with shaker lids. I use those for cooking-sized bottles of things which we buy in bulk so they don't come in convenient shaker bottles, like vinegars and amino acids.

So far, I'm really liking these recipes made for the Paleo diet. 

Don't you worry, I am sure I will post recipes when I get them worked out! 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Candida Cleanse: Week one in review

For starters, I can't get my printer to work, so I can't print off the motivational sheet I made, nor the food list & cleanse plan. Frustrating.

We did not, by sheer happenstance, do the CandidaGo! pills or detox tea or ACV baths for the first three days. We just plum forgot, but I imagine the die-off associated with those extra steps would have made it even harder to deal with. 

In accordance with the prophecy, the first three days were the worst. We started Monday morning bright and early, and spent until Wednesday afternoon with what seemed a constant, gnawing, hungry ache in our bellies. Despite plenty of food along the way. By Wednesday dinnertime, however, it started to ease up and the rest of the week has been, if not a breeze, easier to handle. 

Mr. Moon managed not to absently eat an oatmeal cookie that was sitting right in front of him for the duration of a conversation at work, and I successfully navigated a surprise party for our neighbor's birthday full of people I didn't know with a growing sense of hunger and one of my favorite foods sitting right in front of me. Admittedly, I only stayed for an hour before I went home to cook dinner and eat a huge bowl of broccoli. But still. I did it. And I'm SO stinking proud of us both. 

Thursday night I was craving pizza so badly I buried my face in Mr. Moon's work shirt to smell the lingering aroma of an entire shift in an Italian restaurant. While he was still wearing it. One of my silliest, if not shining, moments. 

This week we're trying something a little different than we've been. Saturdays are his double-shift day, a full 7 hours at the retail job and then a full 6-ish at the restaurant. The last couple shifts he's worked, we accidentally skipped breakfast. And I'm pretty bad at remembering to eat when I'm alone that long. So aside from remembering breakfast today, when he packed his lunch, he portioned one out for me as well. It's not in a cute lunch bag or anything, tempting though that would be, but it's ready for me at least. The fact that he's not taking sandwiches right now helps immensely. 

Still working on food prep, avoiding the hangries, and having a variety of foods on hand for both snacking and meal plans. 

We got a squishy kitchen mat, to help with the additional hours of food prep, cooking, and dishes that this cleanse involves. I'm glad for the opportunity for a mindful break from the last couple months of way more takeout than I'd like. It started with Boy Scout camp in late July, then 5 weeks of brutal 6- and 7-day work weeks including multiple double shifts, during which we were actively trying to whittle down our fridge contents, eating up cleanse-banned foods, and not doing much grocery shopping. Then two weeks on vacation in my home state, visiting my old haunts and favorite restaurants. After all that, being basically forced into full-time home-cooked food again is actually a relief. I KNOW that relief makes this cleanse easier to deal with. 

Though I'm admittedly worried about December. Usually Thanksgiving through New Year's is a mad dash, and the only predictability to the scheduling is that it will be longer days and more of them. No promises of starting at 3:30 at the earliest, due to daytime holiday parties. I'm hoping by then we're well enough to be reintroducing some more foods and sufficiently in the groove of menu planning & food prepping to manage without the excessive levels of takeout we've relied upon the last couple years. Of course, if I'm not seeing any great improvement by then, we may have scrapped this project altogether. 

I was so excited to get the menu plan up this week and it SO never happened. Sorry about that folks. I'll try to do better tomorrow!
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Edited to add: I'll spare you the details of the non-hunger-related physical symptoms, except to say: My dandruff is going absolutely bonkers right now, and I hope that's a good sign!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back to reality

It's been... a minute or two since I last posted. As I was telling my family on vacation, there's a lot going on, but none of it is terribly exciting to talk about and even less exciting to hear about.

I got into coloring in like actual legit adult coloring books. It's a lot of fun, and definitely some nice stress relief.

After June's failed attempt at the candida cleanse, we left it until after our vacation. And then I decided I needed a few days to recuperate before risking too much shock to my body. So, we're getting back at it tomorrow.

In reviewing the rules, I discovered that it's a little less restrictive than I'd previously understood it to be. As in, it's not NO NUTS, it's no peanuts, cashews or pistachios but almonds, pecans, and walnuts are fine. It's not quite NO GRAINS, buckwheat and quinoa are still okay in moderation. That makes it quite a bit easier to manage, all things considered.

Though what I did discover is that the respiratory I had before may well have been candida die-off symptoms. I'd understood die-off to be an expected and even desired response, not one to go slowly and avoid as The Candida Diet website indicates. On the one hand, I'd like to go fast, suffer a little more short-term and be done with the cleanse portion of things sooner; on the other hand, if I'm risking serious medical complications like pneumonia that make the cleanse physically impossible to continue, then obviously that's not an appropriate way of managing this.

Starting back at square one, we have the opportunity for taking things a little slower, and giving ourselves the time and space to succeed. The holidays will probably be especially problematic this year, but we can do our best. Even if the end result is discovering that candida is not a problem, it's one more thing to cross off the list and that's progress in itself.

In other news, I've been keeping up on my physical therapy this summer! Not quite hitting my 5 days per week goal every week, but not doing too badly either. Vacation was the big test; I walked quite a bit in general, but we made it to the first lookout point past the main one for the lower Tahquamenon Falls, which if I'm looking at the right trail map means one mile--each way. And I got bit by a horse fly, which elicited many swear words, but kept walking the few hundred feet to the riverside access point we'd been looking for when it happened. Cool water really helped. As did slobbering all over the bite, which is apparently an appropriate response according to the results I got goggling how to treat a horsefly bite. Anyway there was a lot of walking; not a small amount of inhaler use, resting mid-walk and definite over-doing it; unsustainable levels of pain killers; and dangerous levels of water retention in the first week. But I'm proud that I managed to walk as much as I did at all.

I seem to be recovering from the trip well enough. I'm five days home, and already down to one nap a day. I didn't do too great on quitting caffeine entirely upon returning home, if my two lattes this morning are any indication. But, all in good time.

What are you proud of yourself for accomplishing this summer?
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