Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Weary, but Grateful

Well, it's been quite a while since my last post on this blog, but alas - I'm back. And though I wish it were to announce a cure for Ulcerative Colitis, sadly it is not.
It is to vent.
(I think I may have taken to venting too much on Facebook recently, so thought I'd better bring it back over here, so as not to get unfriended in mass amounts and so the general public doesn't have to suffer along with me - you know, unless they want to.)  :)


First week of Januray of this year, after some mild cheating, I succumbed to yet another flare. 
And this, the first week of May - I am still battling the same stupid flare.

And I am so over it.

Over fighting a losing battle.
Over sleepless nights, because any time I lay down and roll over, it feels like a sucker punch to the gut and leads to a trip to the bathroom.
Over passing on social activities, either because I simply don't feel well or because there will be food involved (which is pretty well any American activity, right?).
Over feeling run-down and weary.
SO over plain hamburger meat, plain chicken, broth and cooked zucchini.
Over being cranky and resenting anyone who can eat what they freely wish and don't have to worry about consequences.
Over counting down to the weekends every work week, just so I can be home and do as little as possible, recoup as much as possible before the next week and cook without being rushed or exhausted.
Over sacrificing SO much and still seeing such little progress.
Over believing and trying to convince myself (and others) that Paleo is the key to life and that I don't want 'junk food' as much as the next girl.
And over feeling guilty about that.
Over absolutely no comfort food whatsoever. When I could really use it the most.

Over all of it.

Even in the midst of the battle, I recognize that I have been abundantly blessed as well. So, in an effort to give credit where it's due...

I am grateful.
Grateful for my job.
Grateful for a desk job.
Grateful for insurance.
Grateful for a job that's close to home.
Grateful that my co-workers don't take scowls too personally.
Grateful for the concern, encouragement and prayers of co-workers, friends and family.
Grateful for a sister who offers to board me so she can take care of me.
Grateful for a mom who's willing to hem pants for me because they're the only pants in all of Kohl's that actually fit my waist now.
Grateful for a week off from work to get some solid R&R.
Grateful for beautiful Spring weather to enjoy; cool breezes on sunny days.
Grateful for a supportive UC community.
Grateful for access to healthy food items and the resources to fund them.
Grateful for vitamins and supplements that help keep me afloat.
Grateful for countless resources to refer to to know what the body needs.
Grateful for cousins who support and encourage from a place of complete understanding.
Grateful that diet does help, at least to some degree.
Grateful that even though I'm not out of this relentless flare, some 4 months later, I'm not as bad as I was a couple months ago, in some regards.

Grateful that I have more to be grateful for than not.

So, take that, UC.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Leftovers - Giving Them the Chance that They Deserve

I hate waste. 
I generally rip my Kleenex tissues in half, because I rarely need a whole one at one time, but know I will need the other half sometime soon.
If the printer prints off an extra blank sheet of paper, I put it back in the tray to be used next time. Or if I print something I didn't intend to, I rip that sheet into quarters to use the back as scratch paper.
I use reusable bags when I shop to fit as much in as possible and not have to use those horrible plastic bags.

People think I'm extreme. I act like I was born in the Depression or something, in relation to today's society. But, I just really abhor waste. Just because you've got it to waste, doesn't mean you should. 

{If only I were as passionate about wasting time.
But, that's a post for another blog.}

Which leads me to leftovers.

I can't tell you how many people I've heard say "I just don't do leftovers. I hate leftovers. I can't eat the same thing twice in one week."

Wow. What an abudantly blessed, lavish, intolerant breed we've become.

And I will admit that there a few things just don't reheat well. But, I believe that most things are wonderful as leftovers, if only given the chance. And in my opinion, all you need to do is Open your mind and Ditch the microwave.

Now, mind you, I'm not one who thinks microwaves are evil (though I don't believe it can be 100% safe - I mean, it's 'nuking' your food). I just think they're over-rated as far as the quality of food that you get out of one, as opposed to using your oven or stovetop. 
I haven't had a microwave in 13 years. And I do not miss it one bit.

If you tend to poopoo the idea of leftovers, I would challenge you to give the microwave a break and see if you don't begin to see your leftovers in a new light. Reheat your spaghetti and chili and soup in a pot on the stove. Stick your steak, chicken, pork under the broiler. It takes about the same time as a microwave and no more rubbery meat! Roasted potatoes will still be nice and crunchy or crispy and not soggy. And spaghetti squash, reheated in a little sauce pan with some really hot oil (preferably avocado or olive), is SOOO much better than even fresh out of oven and gets a nice brown to it that you would NEVER get from a microwave!

So much better!

Case in point from this weekend... I had cooked a delicious pork roast early in the week - glazed with a mixture of maple syrup and cocunut aminos (similar to soy sauce) and wrapped in bacon. I've been eating on that off and on all week, with different sides and it has been so good every time. 

Today, I pan fried a couple of slices of the pork roast and threw my leftover broccoli under the broiler for a couple minutes. I had reserved all that yummy glaze, so had a good bit of that in my pan, which caramelized nicely with the little bit of bacon that was left on it and the pork got a nice deep brown finish to it. Then, since I was out of my grassfed butter, I just squirted a little fresh lemon juice on my broccoli and topped with a little salt and pepper. ~ YUM!
The pork was still just as juicy and tender as Day One and with the glaze having thickened was even sweeter and richer. And the broccoli was just as light and fresh as ever.

So, I challenge you! 
If you have a bad attitude about leftovers or eating something more than once in one week, try giving your microwave a little rest and giving them a chance! And see if you don't like the results better. 
And, don't be afraid to 'mix things up' and change them up a bit! It makes ALL the difference in the world!  :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Breakfast of Champions

Fifteen years ago, I joined my Grandmother for a bus trip to Branson, MO. Not something a lot of 26 year olds would do, but I knew I'd have regretted it had I not gone with her and it did leave me with lots of fond memories.

It was about 4 days spent eating and taking in shows - 3 of each a day. Quite a grueling schedule. I could hardly keep up all those old folks!

The shows were great, but I enjoyed the food the most.

One place, in particular, was my favorite. It was called McFarlain's and they lived (and served) in keeping with the philosophy - 'Life is short! Eat dessert first!' When you ordered, they would bring out your dessert first and then once finished with that, would bring your soup/sandwich. I loved it! ... My  elder travel companions - notsomuch. Threw. Them. For. A. Loop!  However, my Traffic Jam Pie was so amazing, that could've been my only meal for the day and I would've been a happy camper.
(Oh my gosh - so, it's like cherries, strawberries, rhubarb and cranberries all together in a light sugary crust. SO delicious!! Sighhhhhh...)

Anyway. I thought of that yesterday, as I was eating leftover Spaghetti for breakfast. 

I knew I needed a hearty meal before setting out for the day and really didn't want my ol' stand-by - Eggs and Bacon. So, I warmed up a bowl of spaghetti. And it was delicious. And held me over well until dinnertime.

Sometimes, eating Paleo, you just have to be willing to step out of the box and go against the norm. 

And sometimes, it's just better that way.  :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Game Changer

While at my sister's house last month, she introduced me to a new way of fixing sweet potatoes. Using a dash of cinnamon. It was really good. I just hadn't thought of the cinnamon with them before.

After we got home, I knew that she had mentioned using a couple different things on her sweet potatoes (she's since reminded me that it was honey and cinnamon - in addition to the usual olive oil, salt and pepper) but I couldn't remember what all she had used that she liked.

So, I improvised.

And you know, it worked!

I drizzled with the usual olive oil and sprinkled with some sea salt. I think I still used a dash of cinnamon, too but then saw the chili powder up in the spice cabinet and thought ~ Hmmm... That could be good. So, threw a few dashes of that on, too.

And it was really good!

Dad even commented how well he liked them! (Not that he's a picky eater.)

And... for some reason... I have discovered that I like my sweet potatoes chopped up smaller; more diced. I think it just allows for more surface area to get good and browned. Mmmmm...

So glad I seem to do well with sweet potatoes. I love them so.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I had eaten soooo much squash and zucchini a year ago, when that was about all I could eat, that I took quite a hiatus from them and just recently began to add them to the grocery list once again. 

And they really are good. Especially made in a ratatouille fashion.

Ratatouille sounds fancy, and I'm sure there are some out there more award-winning than mine, but all you need is: Zucchini, Tomato, Onion, Garlic, Basil (and I use Yellow Squash in place of the more traditional Eggplant).

This is a batch I made a couple weeks ago. First time I had used fresh Basil in with it. WOW! Makes all the difference in the world. So fresh and yummy!
For this batch, I just chopped the veggies up, tossed in some olive oil in a hot pan and tossed in some Basil at the end. (I also throw into the pan each according to how long it takes to cook - Start with the onions, then squash and zucchini, saving the tomatoes for the end, since you're really just trying to heat them up, not cook them down.)

And here's the batch I made this last time. I've been wanting to make a pretty dish like this for awhile, but have been too motivationally challenged to do so. But, I finally took the time to do it and I think it turned out rather lovely!  :)  
For this batch, I sliced all veggies as uniformly as possible, 'stacked' on their sides in a baking dish, drizzled with my favorite homemade Italian dressing, then baked at about 350 for about 45 min's to an hour, tossing on some fresh Basil at the end.
Being as it's all kinda tight in there together - though I'm sure you could do them more loosely stacked - they did take longer to soften up than usual. But, I think it was worth it! And it would make a lovely impressive dish to pass.  ;)

And... Oh my gosh... I had plenty left over from the last batch, so I threw some together with some boneless, skinless chicken breast that I had generally seasoned with a 'chicken blend' of seasonings and cooked in some olive oil in a non-nonstick pan and a little bit of Swiss cheese melted over at the end... Match made in heaven! SO good!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I've never been much of a conspiracy theorist, but I've got to believe that there is a whole lot of truth to this.

* TMI Warning *

I warned you.
This post may be a bit more than you care to know. But, in an effort to encourage others in the benefits of eating healthy...

For the past 20+ years, I have suffered greatly every 25 days or so, thanks to our homegirl, Eve. Debilitating cramping... to the point where I was taking 2 Ibuprofens every 3 hours for 2-3 days straight each month... and then some. (That would be somewhere between 12 and  14 - A DAY - and then a little lesser amount the days before and after.) I would easily go through a bottle of pills every couple months. If I didn't use this much, I couldn't function. 

Well... since last Summer or Fall?... I can't BELIEVE the difference! I MIGHT take about 6 or 8 TOTAL now, during one cycle. AMAZING!! 

And I have to attribute it to my dietary changes. 

I can't tell you how happy I am not to be in so much pain and misery on a regular basis! But, even more than that, I am so glad to know that I am not pumping my body full of all that 'stuff'. I mean, boy I've been grateful to have it... but I know the relief that it offers comes at a greater price. And it's so good to know that I'm not paying as high a price as I had been! Yay!

Amazing how much better your body treats you when you treat it as it was intended! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Rules of Thumb

People still don't seem to fully grasp the whole 'whole food' concept. It's funny. Someone actually asked me "But, I mean you can eat Pringles, right?" 
We have been so engrained (forgive the pun) in this culture to not even recognize the difference between whole and processed... healthy and not-so healthy.

I've narrowed it down to three basic overall rules of thumb when trying to eat your healthiest:

1.  If you don't recognize the ingredients... chances are good that your body won't either.

2.  If it has ingredients listed anywhere on it... chances are good that it's not a whole food item.

3.  If it doesn't go bad... chances are good that it isn't good to start with.

Hope this helps.
And that you keep these guidelines in mind next time you go to the market.
... Which actually brings to mind a fourth rule of thumb:

4.  If it's found in an aisle at the grocery store... chances are good that it's not a healthy item.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Resource Guide

One of the reasons I started this blog was to be able to track... and share... any resources I've come across that I have found to be useful in my journey in fighting back my UC with diet.

So, without further adieu... My top 5 picks, in no particular order:

I Have UC - Adam Scheuer

This one was one of the first sites I found and I am so thankful for that.
Adam's is one of the success stories that I have held onto (especially through those rough months I had last year). His website is very community-driven, which promotes both a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. He also invites you to order his free ebook "Feeling Crappy to Feeling Happy" - a GREAT read! And offers an accompanying cookbook "Cooking for Ulcerative Colitis". Both are wonderful resources! But, more than anything, with Adam, I just appreciate the encouragement. He and his followers remind you that you're not in this battle alone. 

Against All Grain - Danielle Walker

Danielle Walker is another one whose success story I have grabbed a hold of during difficult times.
She started with the blog and now has 2 best-selling cookbooks in print as well as, at least one that I know of, Kindle cookbook. "Against All Grain" was quickly followed by "Meals Made Simple" and both have seen great success, being well-received nationwide as a guide to eating Paleo. She's also great about sharing details about which ingredients (and brands) she has the most success in using and offers menu planning ideas and such. But, again, what I treasure most about Danielle is her story. A story of rallying from such sickness back into the land of living - thanks to the Paleo lifestyle.

Oh my word! Such a great resource for recipes!!! I LOVE the Just Eat Real Food page on Facebook!
They post day in and day out and share such amazing recipe ideas (and articles) all day long! So many to choose from! They take a lot of the work out of looking for great food. Not only do you get a steady stream of recipes, you also discover a bunch of new resources! (Against All Grain is also featured on this page from time to time.) Awesome resource!

Renee is great. I mean, first of all, she's from Boston. That's a pretty solid start, in my eyes.  ;)
She posts throughout the day - recipe ideas, links to articles, encouragement by taking us through her Whole 30 challenges and well... daily chuckles, which are good for the soul.  :)  She's also great about responding if you have any questions.

Paleo Newbie

Okay. So, I have to admit... This is actually one that I keep intending on getting more familiar with. She has a blog and a Facebook page, but where I see her most is on Pinterest. And she's always got Ah-mazing looking food on there! 

I am SOOOOOOO grateful to have SOO many great resources to tap into! Like I say, not only for the information, but for the encouragement! I look forward to discovering and sharing even more in the future!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Easy Chili Garlic Shrimp

Okay... So, a while back, I posted about a Cilantro Lime Shrimp and this one is very similar, but I think this one was actually even easier and tastier.

First, start by heating up EVOO (I used some of the Paleo Italian Dressing I posted about last) in a non-nonstick pan. Once heated, throw some chopped fresh garlic in the pan and brown. Once it begins to brown, toss peeled shrimp in with garlic. Sauté for several minutes, tossing to cook and coat evenly. Once the dressing really begins to thicken and brown, throw a splash of white wine into the pan to loosen up from the pan. Sprinkle desired amount of chili powder over shrimp.... plate up... and Enjoy!