Knit Wit Living

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Water

Did you ever notice that people rely on sources of information that match what they want to believe?  I am not good at drinking water and was delighted when Mark Sisson, the author of The Primal Blueprint, published a blog post on how much water one should drink each day.  An excerpt:

there is no evidence that drinking eight or more glasses prevents constipation, kidney stones, bladder cancer, urinary tract infections or that it guarantees you’ll have clear skin and a toxic-free liver. Yet these are often cited as the main reasons to drink so much.

I have been attending a training for work this week at a hotel / conference center, with provided breakfast, lunch and snacks.  As a matter of fact, one of the facilitators monitors the offerings and lets us know the treats: “they’re serving smoothies now, we’ll take a break!” “They’re making crepes today!” It’s really amazing.  I typically bring my own food to work, so to have such treats, including clearly marked gluten free desserts is such a pleasure.

The biggest surprise though has been the flavored waters. They have pitchers with small holes in the pouring spout so that only the fluid pours out. The pitchers have been filled alternatively with water and:

  • sliced lemons
  • honeydew pieces
  • honey and ginger
  • watermelon and mint
  • pineapple
  • orange slices and rosemary
  • mango pieces
  • hulled and sliced strawberries and mint

I have been drinking a lot of water during this training!

Yes, I have had some of these combinations before, but somehow having it in a pitcher really infuses the water.  It’s very good.

One of my homemade recipes is water, honey, ginger, lime and some drinking vinegar:

  1. Throw some honey into a little hot water and stir till it dissolves.  Let cool.
  2. Using a funnel at the top of your vessel (I use a glass bottle with a flip cap lid), grate ginger into the funnel and then squeeze one or two limes into it.
  3. Add around 2 tsp drinking vinegar, your honey water, and then enough cool water to fill the container.
  4. Put in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. When you serve it, pour through a fine sieve into your glass.

Delicious! and very refreshing.

What are some of your favorite ways to drink water?

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Chocolate Babka Debacle – NOT Whole30 Approved

Chocolate Babka is NOT on the Whole30

Chocolate Babka is a wonderful, heavenly, delicious dessert made from chocolate, sugar, butter and flour.  Here’s a great recipe from the Smitten Kitchen.  Trader Joe’s describes theirs as:

Chocolate Babka is crafted from scratch, in small batches, using a sweet yeast dough that’s covered with a rich chocolate filling, and twisted by hand before being placed in a high loaf pan to be proofed and baked. The generous application of chocolate reveals itself as swirls in the finished product when the Babka is sliced.

chocolate babka debacle

DDSO’s son and girlfriend came over and brought a Chocolate Babka gift.  Oh, my!  Toward the end of their visit, I made tea and we cracked open the Babka.

Swoon!

chocolate babka debacle chocolate babka debacle

I cannot resist the heavenly concoction of chocolate, butter and sugar rolled in flaky layers of dough, and then baked and melded into a sweet luscious delicious mouth watering gooey dessert.

Devouring more of the babka after my guests left was shameful, but oh so delicious!  I finally threw the leftovers out after the 5th “this is the last bite” (yes, only 5!).  And I took the garbage out to the curb.  Yes, I know myself.  And did consider having a 6-10th final bite in the evening before repeatedly remembering it was already in the trash bag, in the garbage can, on the curb waiting for tomorrow’s trash pick up.

Did I mention Chocolate Babka (or any Babka) is not Whole 30?

And boy, did I feel it.  The rest of the day was L E T H A R G Y personified.  I could not do a thing. I was tired, unmotivated. My body must have been in shock.  All plans…out the window!  I barely moved, binge watching The Last Alaskans (a great show!), and finally late in the evening managed to get myself up and into bed.

I forgot the next day about my fall from grace, or my fall into delicious heavenly but oh so dangerous chocolate delight. I went to work and found myself highly emotional. I got tears in my eyes when I received a very unprofessional email from a colleague who was trying to throw me under the bus.  Luckily I had enough sense, professionalism and experience not to respond in kind, and instead set up a meeting with my manager to let her handle it. I also got tears in my eyes during a staff meeting in which the Director of our department came in and thanked us for our work.  He wanted to acknowledge us and started with me, telling everyone else on the team what I do and what a “value add” I contribute.  Oh my!

A roller coaster of a day.  I forgot about the fall into the gluten chocolate-sugar buttery heavenliness and went to the Whole30 site to see if others had reported a high emotional state while being on the Whole30.  The light bulb went off while I was perusing the site.  DUH!  It’s not the Whole30 that’s making me crazy. It’s the “Not Whole30” that’s making me crazy!

Well, sometimes I need to fall off the wagon to remember why I’m on it.

Thank goodness that’s over.

Though, yes, very delicious.

Yum.

Mustard

Or an ode to Mustard

Or I’m on the Whole30 again

A new appreciation for mustard. Listed as one of the six things I would not like to live without as “not that I can’t live without it, but it does add a bright flavor,” on a previous online dating profile.  (Did not bring any new admirers.)

This is actually a new way for me to report that I’m back on the Whole30.  You know when you’re just not feeling that great, and you know that your diet is to blame? That’s when I knew that the Whole30 needs to be more than a sporadic plunge every now and again.  3 weeks into the first month now. I’ve decided that I can step off it for no more than a week each month.  Since I have mini vacations this month and next, I can plan to eat “whatever” (more likely drink “whatever”) while I am away, but then come back and do what’s really right for me.

mustard

I now have a new appreciation for different flavors, and a somewhat limited condiment selection as many of them contain sugar, so mustard has moved rapidly up the list. It’s tart, vinegary, fresh, and has no bad ingredients.

Mustard

Now you know I usually go for the organic, but Heinz had better graphics!  Also interesting to note that the mustard brand is part of the ketchup line. Go figure!

The truth:

mustard

The Results

After two days of being back on the Whole30, I checked a previous post to see if I was on track:

  • Sleeping better – check
  • I feel the need to move around – check
  • Clear thinking. Focused. Get things done quickly.  – check
  • Thirsty. – check
  • Cravings. None. – check
  • My skin is brighter.  – check
  • Energy Level. Up.  – check
  • More decisive. – check – and more self-assured.
  • My fingernails are stronger.  – check
  • My stomach is not bloated. – check
  • BOREDOM. – NO!!!!!! My mind is running amuck with energy.  This did not happen before. Now, I am coming up with ideas right and left, waking up in the middle of the night to write them down, moving forward on them the next day, and beyond. This is craziness.  Is this how it’s supposed to be?  I am actually getting tired from all this excitement! and waking up from thinking too much.

Okay, okay, one should not complain about being too alert.  It’s just so odd for me.

New Habits

Water. Lots of water.  Also kicking the plastic food container habit.

Mustard

Very bare refrigerator.  Some items are waiting for a non Whole 30 day, like the Maple Syrup and the wine!

Mustard

Alertness = Lots of reading!  Reading report to follow…

mustard

And for now,  I unplugged the coffee machine!

mustard

Not to worry, I ordered some Whole30 approved “creamer” and will be back in business soon!

More Reading

I had this nagging feeling that I had done more reading in the past two months and that I was forgetting some books when I wrote my February/March recap.  It only took an afternoon of diverted thinking to remember where I put the receipts so that I would remember to include them in the post!

more reading

  • The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester was published in 2001 but seems like it is much older. I really thought I would like this book of a man’s autobiography through his experiences with food – it sounded somewhat similar to Muriel Barbery’s Gourmet Rhapsody (which I did not finish – it was not as good as The Elegance of the Hedgehog) and I had high hopes.  Alas, I could not make it very far.  I never got to the part about “murder and art” that was supposed to make it even more intriguing than food.
  • Beaded Chains & Ropes by Karin Van Voorhees looks rather simplistic from its cover, but it has a lot of interesting patterns and ideas.
  • Bead Play Every Day by Beth Stone, on the other hand, has a very compelling cover, but I like the ideas in Beaded Chains & Ropes better!  (You really can’t tell a book by its cover!)

My 4 Day Whole 30

My 4 day Whole 30 is ongoing! The premise of the Whole 30 is to reset your nutritional balance by cutting out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days.  When the 30 days are complete, slowly add the omitted foods to observe how each one affects you.

I am a huge proponent of the Whole 30!  During my first trial, I discovered that I have a slight allergy to strawberries in that they make my skin itch.  So now every time I am confronted with the choice to have strawberries, or a food with strawberries in it (my local sushi restaurant has a roll with miso-strawberry sauce) I can make an intelligent decision if it’s worth the discomfort.

4 day whole 30

My first attempt at the Whole30 regiment was super successful! The second attempt, not so much.  I lasted about 4 days, and not fully committed.

However…

That is only half the story.

When you finish the Whole30, you are reminded to try to live by eating cleanly, but allow yourself to enjoy life and foods with no regrets.  Just hop back on the Whole30 bandwagon as much as you can.

I learned during this go-round that I need to stop trying to do the Whole 30 completely.  I need to focus on doing it as much as I can, constantly noticing how different foods affect my body and my state of being.

I noticed that Sugar is Not My Friend.  Eating sugar makes me very unbalanced. I chew my fingernails, play with my hair, am very unfocused, and lethargic. So I cut out sugar as a general rule.  I still do not eat a lot of gluten either.  It makes me bloated, and tired.  And I eat very little cheese.  These are my guidelines now.  Not just for 30 days.  For life.  The picture below is a little extreme, but I think I do need to avoid sugar very assiduously.

4 day whole 30

Of course, I should be drinking more water.  Yeah, I may get there one day.  Not a priority!

I did not weigh or measure myself before starting the Whole30.  People keep asking me what I’ve done differently – what’s changed?  I have been losing weight!  My skin is healthier, brighter.  The Ex even noticed that my hair looks healthier.  ??? (Meaning isn’t that odd that 1- I was with the Ex and 2- that he commented on my hair???!) Bear in mind that I did not look extremely malnourished or unhealthy before.  But there are noticeable differences now.

Most importantly, I feel better.  I have more energy, better focus, a longer attention span.  I get super excited about mundane things, like getting a lot of small tasks completed in a short period of time, or leading a very efficient meeting.

Yay.

October 2015 Reading

After I Am Pilgrim, it was hard to focus on other books. My October 2015 Reading list is bare, well maybe not as bare as last month!  I only bought one book, though I did try two samples from Amazon. How fortunate to have samples first because I did not like either.

Books Bought October 2015

TitleAuthor
A Man Called OveFredrik Backman

October 2015 Reading

TitleAuthorRating
Good Manners for People Who Sometimes Say F*ckAmy AlkonCould not get through it.
The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontes, and the Importance of HandbagsDaphne MerkinCould not get through it.
A Man Called OveFredrik BackmanI liked it, and I have not finished it yet.
One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-The-World Journey with Our ChildrenDavid Elliot CohenSeemed promising, but my check-out expired before I could dig my teeth into it.
At the Water's EdgeSara GruenGood
First FrostSarah Addison AllenSimplistic but enjoyable
The Trouble with Poetry - and other poemsBilly CollinsGood
The Boston GirlAnita DiamantUnable to make headway
Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers EverywhereLauren LetoThis was a sample. Thank goodness.
The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My LifeAndy MillerDitto to the above rating.
We Never Asked for WingsVanessa DiffenbaughReally liked it.

A Man Called Ove is a well-written book about a man described as a curmudgeon…and how he deals with life, or how he doesn’t deal with life and how he deals with death. We had a great book club discussion, and I am determined to finish it!

I had seen Amy Alkon’s book, Good Manners for People Who Sometimes Say F*ck, at the library and decided to buy it to read while away. What a mistake. I did not like the writing style nor the content for that matter. Apparently, Amy Alkon is an advice columnist, so maybe she is better read one paragraph per day.

I have only liked one Anita Diamant book (no, not The Red Tent!) – Day After Night – but I thought I’d give The Boston Girl a chance. The first chapter was enough (too much?) for me. I did not care enough about the character to continue.  The audio book of The Boston Girl is read by Linda Lavin.  That may make the character more enticing…but straight off the page…it did not draw me in.

I did read At the Water’s Edge and First Frost, which were fine.  At the Water’s Edge would probably create a good book club discussion because it covers different topics about society – different classes, WWII recruitment, relationships, and more.  I did finish it, and would recommend it, but I actually forgot I had read it until I reviewed my list for this post!

First Frost is a fairy tale. It is not realistic at all, as is true of Allen’s book Garden Spells.  The book reminded me a LOT of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  I loved those books by Betty MacDonald as a kid!  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle had medicine to make children be nicer, stop having tantrums, etc.  This book is VERY reminiscent of dear Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

October 2015 Reading

I really loved The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh so her new book We Never Asked for Wings was on my list.  For some unknown reason, I was reluctant to get started. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t be interested and might not like it. I’d rather not read it than be disappointed.  Also, the book cover illustration made me believe that I would be disappointed.   But I opened it…and really enjoyed it.  It’s a story about a woman who had her first child when she was in high school, and let her mother raise her children until her parents move back to Mexico.  Her son is in high school and her daughter in first grade.   She has to step up to the plate and become the mother.  The book is also about the son, and how he is able to spread his wings.  I recommend it.

October 2015 Reading

 

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