Monday, January 27, 2014

I finished the detox why don't I want to eat the junk?

So yesterday I finished my 21 Day Sugar Detox.  I am proud of myself...and I really wanted wine these last few days of the challenge.

Today, I decided to try some chocolates that a dear friend got me yesterday when we were out wining.  They did a couple of truffle tastings these last few weeks and I haven't participated in them.  When she got them for me, I was sure I'd want one for breakfast!  Hehehe

But I did not have a chocolate truffle for breakfast.

Or for lunch.

Mid afternoon, before I left work I decided to try one - the salted caramel one.  It was SOOOO sweet!  I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it!  I did eat it, but I sure didn't enjoy it like I thought I would.  Whoa baby!  What is going on here!??

For dinner tonight, this same dear friend came over for an impromptu dinner party.  We talked about going out somewhere for something decadent, but I wanted to cook some of my favorites. We had mini mexi meatloaf with green bean bacon bundles.  Yum!!

I did pour some yummy red wine... but here we are 3 hours later and I still have most of it in my glass!  WHAT is happening!??  It sure tastes delicious, but I felt tipsy after just a few sips!   We visited more and I sipped a little more...but here we are with all this in my glass still!

So I think this whole 21 Day Sugar Detox did all the things for me that it should have done!  It reset my tastebuds, got me back on track with cravings and choices.  Whew! And it really wasn't too difficult to stick to for the entire 21 days!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

21 Day Sugar Detox - Week 3 Reflections and Tips for Success!

So today is it...I'm at the end of my 21 Day Sugar Detox.  I did it!  And I feel such a sense of accomplishment.   I made it through some distinct challenges (3 snow days!! Wining adventures!!) and I did this for myself.  I felt the need to take on this challenge to straighten up my eating, my cravings and my body.  I already knew how good I feel when I eat cleanly....and I just needed a structure to get back in the groove.

This week was a lot like last week - many of the same improvements continued!   I did find that I struggled on day 18 and 19.   I wanted a glass of wine and some chocolate like NOBODY'S business!  But I didn't give in, because it seemed ridiculous to have worked so hard and not make it to the end.

Finally, today, one of the ladies at a winery visit tried quite a bit to get me to have some wine today.  I explained what I was doing...and she said something like, "Oh!  But you already made it to your last day...of course have some now!" and I told her how silly that was....that I'd worked hard to finish!

Do you want to try the 21 Day Sugar Detox?   There were a few things that helped me get through this without too much struggle.

  • Buy Diane's book before you get started. . And read it.  Really read it.  Get an idea of what this will be like for you and pick out the recipes you are most likely to enjoy!
  • Plan your recipes and grocery shop wisely. 
  • Always pack a snack.   Even if you don't think you'll need it.  That way you aren't tempted to swing through a drive through or pick up a snack when you're hungry.
  • Sign up here for the free 21 Day Sugar Detox emails.  They were soo spot on to what I was feeling and very encouraging at exactly the right moment.
  • Find friends to do this with you!  Email, text, call.  Share recipes, encourage each other and know you are accountable to others.
  • Like the 21 Day Sugar Detox on Facebook - lots of encouragement and thoughtfully posed questions to help you think through the changes you are experiencing.
This week, my favorite recipe that I tried was the Shepherd's Pie from the 21 Day Sugar Detox book.  

I would be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to a nice bold glass of wine tomorrow.

But moving forward, I plan to keep dairy out for a while.  Definitely keep gluten out forever.  And I want to limit my fruit.  I think I can keep moving in this positive direction, improving how I feel! even more! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

21 Day Sugar Detox: Week 2 (days 8-14) Reflections

Wow! Talk about feeling better! My tummy issues are all gone, my sleep has leveled out and my energy is up! I'm also noticing that I'm eating better controlled portions and feeling more full.


One of the worries I've always struggled with is that even when I eat good-for-me food, I tend to overeat. It's a bad habit from when I was younger, and I worked to break it (and did!) but then over the holidays I overindulged and fell back into the habit. I also find that I have trouble with this when I have more sugar or poor choices (especially gluten) like I did with my holiday eating. This makes sense when you look at the additives and processed grains and sugars that I had over that 2 weeks. Now that I am making food that is delicious AND healthy, I'm finding I need to eat less of it and then I feel better as well.


The first week I was so freaking tired. I wanted to come home and take a nap in the middle of the day - and usually vegged on the couch right after I got home from work! This second week was the opposite. I'm running around with lots of energy, staying up to a reasonable (but not late) hour and falling asleep almost immediately. The falling asleep immediately was the biggest improvement. I used to lie awake thinking (and overthinking) about everything! Now, I'm in bed and sleeping in about 10 or 15 minutes max! I'm also (most of the time) getting up easily right before or at my first alarm. Usually I set 3 alarms, 15 minutes apart and need to snooze the first two, sometimes all three!

Tummy issues:

Over winter break, I resorted to eating more gluten than I had in a long time. This brought me back to my terrible tummy issues. We used to not be able to go out to eat because I would have tummy problems before we could get home. I knew every (clean) bathroom along the way home and we frequently had to stop. I was experiencing terrible cramping as well as the other issues. These have completely cleared up again.

Skin and Complexion:

My skin was so broken out when I started this. This is another side effect of the gluten...but now that I've gone two weeks without the gluten, sugar and processed junk, I've seen drastic improvement. I struggled with these crazy cystic acne below the skin on my chin. They have gone completely. I have a couple of residual spots that are clearing up without chemical/medicinal treatments. I also have gotten compliments on my skin (when I wasn't wearing makeup!), especially the area around my eyes. This is traditionally an area I have not liked....I have had dark circles and puffiness under my eyes as long as I can remember. They look better now!

Anxiety and Nervousness:

I wish I could say that this is completely gone - but it's not. I've always been what you would call an extreme worrier. If something could possibly happen...I worry about it. I cancelled lots of plans I had with friends because I worried about how it would go, what would happen, etc. There were times I would worry myself "sick" when I had something important coming up (I would throw up and be sick to my stomach before and after job interviews and difficult conversations!) I was so nervous and worried about going to the dentist that I needed anxiety medication to go for even a cleaning! The extreme end of that has gone away...I'm not making myself sick with worry. But I'm still a worrier - and maybe I always will be. But it is more manageable.

Enjoying cooking and eating again:

Other than the mass quantity of dishes, I'm enjoying the cooking and baking! I'm planning meals better than I have ever done and I am trying new recipes from 21 Day Sugar Detox, Beyond Bacon and blogs that I follow. Yum!! There are some really good ones that I've found this week!

Eating out at a restaurant:

During week 1 I didn't trust myself out at a restaurant. I really love corn chips! Nachos....salsa....queso! I knew if I went to a restaurant that first week I'd give in. This week I went out a couple times and felt very good about the choices I made! Basically - I ordered food as plain as I could (leave off sauces, grilled, steamed) and I still really enjoyed everything I had! Seared Ahi Tuna with asian style vegetables, Bacon wrapped shore dog with Broccolini, dinner out at Chima - a Brazilian Steakhouse, a fritata with no cheese. Delicious!

Socializing and Wining with friends:

I was most nervous about this part of the 21 days. My friends and I have been visiting our Northern Virginia Wineries and tasting lots of delicious wine. We pack snacks, hang out and enjoy the pretty wineries. I knew I would be able to say no to the drinking, but I was worried I would make my friends feel uncomfortable. I'm proud to say we have visited lots of wineries and I think only one of my friends felt badly drinking when I was saying no. Now, as for the ladies working in the tasting rooms....most have been lovely! There was one who seemed to make it her personal mission to try to get me take a drink of something or other, but thats ok. :) I feel proud of myself for not changing my mind to make someone else feel better. This is an investment in my health! And I'm happy to say that I stuck to it! :)

I'm really excited to see what incredible changes I see in Week 3!!

The Paleo Parents: 3 Phase Paleo eBook Review

So two of my favorite paleo authors and bloggers, The Paleo Parents, have just released a new eBook. 3 Phase Paleo: Transition Your Family in 3 Easy Steps is a great beginners guide to the Paleo lifestyle PLUS a collection of many favorite recipes from their previous cookbooks and website. I am beyond excited that they provided me with a copy of this eBook for my review here!

Matt and Stacy (and their 3 boys) have experienced an incredible health transformation since they adopted the Paleo lifestyle. A myriad of health problems for their family of 5 have all but disappeared, they have lost a ton of weight (200 lbs between the two parents!) and have given their oldest boys the most valuable gift: self control and healthy relationships with food.

I've always enjoyed the easy style in which Matt and Stacy write. They write as though they are talking with friends - making it easy to take advice from them and learn from their experiences. I follow these two on all sorts of social media and enjoy just about everything they post! I even stood in line at their Beyond Bacon book release party to meet them and have them sign my copy of their book!

This eBook is broken into three phases to make it easier to transition to this new way of life (not a diet, not an eating plan, but really and truly, a new way to live).

In the first phase - swap - we learn how to add more veggies into our diet and swap processed, chemically laden food for gluten-free and processed sugar free options. A shopping list, a going out guide and even a list of eat this instead of that swap list make this book different. It includes the theories of why - but focuses on the practicality of how to make it happen.

The second phase - remove - walks us through eliminating dairy, grains, legumes and processed seed oils. We learn about the Paleo Parents favorite products, what their pantry looks like and how it makes easy to prepare healthy and hearty meals.

Finally, the third phase is healing. We learn about the whole Paleo lifestyle (sleep, movement, sunlight and stress management) and the addition of nutrient dense foods.

Then over 75 easy to prepare recipes! Everything from main dishes, snacks and treats, veggies and sides and more. The recipes are not full of fancy ingredients, usually things you will find in your well-stocked Paleo pantry. And they are very approachable - ingredient list, easy directions, and even the boys make appearances in the recipe photos!

Each recipe is tagged with a small numbered circle to help readers choose recipes based on which phase of the transition to Paleo they have mastered.

The book is a full cover, 110 page fully-interactive eBook. I usually struggle with the decision to buy a cookbook in an eBook format - there is just something about marking pages and turning through when meal planning and seeing the notes and stains on pages. However, this book is so interactive - linked to many products, blog posts linked into the pages, referring to additional Paleo resources (both online and in print) plus all the ways to stay in touch with the Paleo Parents. There is no way to include all the interactive parts in a print book.

For the cost of $22.95 the book will be in a fully-printable 110 page, full color 8.5 x 11 format. If you would like to have a paper copy (say in a binder?) you will be able to easily print this. Stacy and Matt also include tips and tricks for easiest viewing on common devices (iOS, Android and Kindle).

If you are looking for a place to start in the transition to living the Paleo Lifestyle, this is it!

Download it today!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

21 Day Sugar Detox: Days 6 and 7

If there was a theme to this weekend, it would be wining without wine! 

Two groups of dear friends went wining both on Saturday and Sunday.  We visited multiple wineries and I drank nothing but water.  I packed my snacks and made my meals.  It was a great weekend, and I'm very proud of my choices.  Lots of enjoying the company, drinking lots of water and vegetable and nut snacks.

Again I eat most meals from what I had prepared earlier in the week - plus an omelette or skillet meal here and there.

The Coconut Lime Mug Cake was absolutely incredible.  Easily the best dessert I've had in a long time - with no sweetener added.  It has the best texture!  


21 Day Sugar Detox - Day 5

Day 5 was delicious - and my headaches are gone.  I am still cooking for each meal - today though, I ate three meals that were prepared on Day 4 or earlier in the week.  I had N'Oatmeal with a half banana and sliced almonds for breakfast, banola and coffee for a snack, chili, carrots and almonds for lunch.  All of these were prepared ahead of time.  :)    Dinner was a stuffed vegetable bell pepper and bacon basil cauliflower rice.

Stuffed vegetable bell peppers (makes 4)

4 bell peppers
1/2 lb of ground beef
1 small zuchinni
1/2 pint of canned tomatoes
1 small (6 oz) can of tomato paste
spices to taste (I used a bit of chili powder, oregano and chili pepper flakes)

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet.  Discard any extra grease.
  3. Cut the tops off the bell peppers.  Remove the core from the pepper "bowls" and discard the cores and seeds. Place the three pepper "bowls" into a baking dish or pan. 
  4. Remove the stems from the tops and chop up the remaining pepper flesh from the tops.  Add the chopped peppers to the ground beef pan and soften just a little.
  5. Grate the zuchinni and squeeze the grated vegetable in a paper towel to remove excess water.
  6. In a bowl, mix your spices, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, ground beef, grated zuchinni and chopped peppers.  
  7. Stuff into the peppers and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

21 Day Sugar Detox - Day 4

I felt a lot better today, compared to yesterday.  No headache, just a little fatigue.  I can't wait for the big burst of energy that comes after the sugar clears my system.  :)

Today was also the first time I ate out at a restaurant since I started the detox.  I've found it easier (when I am beginning at least) to stay on track when I am cooking and controlling my own decisions, rather than getting sucked into a bite or two of this... or that.... or a drink.  I chose to go out with one friend at a restaurant that had lots of healthy choices (and that I was SURE would accommodate my requests).  It was easier than I thought!  

Breakfast - The meatloaf I made was so delicious I had the leftover for breakfast with some green beans.  Just as good the second day!   Definitely making this again.

Lunch and snack - I had celery with almond butter and lettuce wraps with chili.  Plus some carrots and almonds.
And for dinner I had a big bowl of Pho from my favorite Pho restaurant with a dear friend.  They make it for me without noodles and instead add in steamed vegetables.  It's delicious.   This time though, I left out both of the sauces.  I just didn't know what kind of sweetener they use (They are in refilled squeeze bottles so no labels) so I just ate it with the sprouts, jalapenos and basil.  It was the perfect dinner on a cold night.

I really was craving something different - I've been soo happy with the recipes from the book that I've tried and I found a couple that looked good.  Banola (a granola substitute) and N'Oatmeal (sort of a pudding or oatmeal consistency).  There were two ingredients I didn't have for these recipes: Vanilla Beans and Chia Seeds.  I knew Target had both - so off I went.  Sold out of vanilla beans....three stores later I had my vanilla beans.  And I was headed home to cook!  So good!

Luckily a couple of great Paleo bloggers are sharing recipes from 21 Day Sugar Detox and 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook, so you can try these recipes before you buy the books!

 Banola (from the 21 Day Sugar Detox) from Passion for Paleo

Thursday, January 9, 2014

21 Day Sugar Detox: Day 3

Well, it was back to work today.  I was feeling lethargic and a bit headachey, but I honestly don't know if that's the sugar cravings leaving me or if I'm just off the couch and back to work!

The good news is I had a 2 hour delay so I had plenty of time to prepare a yummy breakfast and a delicious lunch.

Breakfast was 1.5 strips of bacon, 2 fried eggs and bell pepper, green beans and sliced brussels sprouts.

I was well prepared for lunch as well.   Chili lettuce wraps, carrots, celery and almond butter and almonds.

However, one of our colleagues who likes to go out to get lunch, offered to get lunch for my co-worker and I.  Luckily he was running out to Subway - so I ordered a Chicken Chopped Salad with lots of veggies and no dressing.   And I snacked on my celery, carrots and almond butter through the work day.

I also had an extra cup of coffee this mid-day to push me through the headache and the hump of getting over Wednesday and day 3!

Dinner was incredible.  I made a modified version of the mini-mexi meatloaves from 21 Day Sugar Detox.  I didn't have any cilantro or some of the other spices it called for, but it was delicious with cayenne pepper and chili powder and bell peppers in there.  I also used the other 1/2 lb of pork-beef mixture left over from my meatza yesterday.  I made two of them out of this 1/2 lb of meat and ate one for dinner.

Served with sauteed green beans. (blanched them for about a minute or two in boiling water, then sauteed in coconut oil).  and 2 leftover savory herb drop biscuits.

I'm not sure what is going on - but as much as I'm enjoying my food and really savoring my meals, I am not staying full.  I'm not sure if I need to add more protein or fat, but I need to figure this out.  I'm munchy.   :)

For a non-sweet treat (and to add some more fat) last night I had 2 Lemon Vanilla Meltaways, also from the 21dsd book.

All in all it was a pretty good day - aside from the headache and the fact that I only had about 4-5 waters, I feel pretty good about the choices I made!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

21 Day Sugar Detox: Day 2

Today was the coldest day on record at nearby Dulles Airport - we got down to 1 degree and high winds, so a very negative windchill (between 10-20 degrees below!) This meant school was cancelled and I was home...

I scrambled two eggs, two strips of bacon, a bell pepper and a few Brussels sprouts with black coffee. Yum! I had to head out to an appointment at 8 ....and it was a balmy 4 degrees at that point.

Lunch was amazing - since I was home in a cold house, I decided to cook a few recipes from the 21 Day Sugar Detox book. It would give me something to do, some delicious food and provide a little extra heat in the house.

I made the Meatza - seriously good! I made a half batch, and only cooked one of them. I plan to use the other half of the meat recipe to make into a meatloaf another night this week. You can see it in the oven on the top right. It's a pork and beef patty, pressed out nice and thin that serves as the crust. I topped it with bell pepper rings, zima tomatoes and olives.

I also made a half batch of the Savory Herb Drop Biscuits. I didn't have fresh herbs but instead I used dried rosemary. They are a little dry, but nice for a biscuit.

And for my third recipe - I made Chili-Cocoa Cauliflower. I don't understand how this is so good! It has chili powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper, plus coconut oil on cauliflower. SOOO good! I made a 1/4 of a head of this and enjoyed it all!

Lunch was absolutely amazing. It took quite a while to create this amazing meal, but it was so worth it! I ate around 2pm....and I wasn't really very hungry when it came to dinner time.

So for dinner, I just heated up a mug of the chili I cooked on Sunday.

For something sweet tonight I had a half a grapefruit, broiled just a bit to warm it up. Perfect!

I didn't drink enough water today - but I did control my snacking!


Almond Milk! A mess and a half...

I made my first batch of almond milk yesterday. It was a mess!! But really delicious. I will try again for sure...but not for a while. :)

First - soak 1 cup of almonds in the fridge. I put them in a glass measuring cup and covered them with water. Soak overnight. They will swell and get a little softer and the water will start to look cloudy over night.


Drain the water from your soaked almonds. Add the almonds and 2 cups of water to your blender (I tried this in the food processor first and it was a disaster. For some reason the water went everywhere. So do this in your blender). Run your blender on high for a few seconds to start to break them up, then run on medium for a minute or two. You'll see the water turn into milk right before your eyes!

Now it's time to strain it - this is where the mess came in. I didn't have cheesecloth so I decided to strain through the fine metal strainer I have. Press as much of the liquid out that you can.

And enjoy your milk! I think if I had cheesecloth I could have squeezed a bit more out of the almond mush. As it was, I got about a pint of delicious milk from the 1 cup of almonds.

And I had this dish full of almond "mush" leftover. I spread it on a cookie sheet and dried it in the oven at 175 for a couple of hours. I'll use this as almond meal in recipes (today I used it in the 21 Day Sugar Detox Meatza recipe).

I bought some cheese cloth today and I will figure out how to make this a less crazy process with (hopefully) less mess tomorrow!