Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the category “Food”

2016 Blizzard

2016 Blizzard….or how I spent my time during the storm.

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March 2015 Reading

My March 2015 Reading report looks like I went a little crazy with the book buying, but Amazon had another one of their Sale Days when a multitude of Paleo e-books were not only on sale, but free! What a deal!

Books Bought March 2015

TitleAuthor
Death in Sicily: The First Three Stories of the Inspector Montalbano SeriesDamon Runyon
The ItaliansJohn Hooper
Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker RecipesBeth Gabriel
The Flavor Bible: Paleo Sauce and Dip RecipJ.S. West
10 MInute Paleo Slow Cooker CookbookDerek Doepker
Paleo BreakfastAngelina Dylon
Paleo CookiesAngelina Dylon
The Art of Frugal SimplicityJessica Jacobs
The Paleo Comfort Foods CookbookMartha Drummond
Death at La Fenice: A Commissioner Brunetti MysteryDonna Leon
The Storied Life of A.J. FikryGabrielle Zevin
The Hundred-Year HouseRebecca Makkai
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian StoriesHenry Whittlesey

The sale was also good timing with Passover right around the corner. I find that many Paleo recipes are perfect for Passover since they avoid flour all together. Paleo Cookies has many good recipes, but I haven’t made any yet. (I ended up making Paleo Fudge Bites for Passover, which were delicious!)

I looked through the Paleo Comfort Food book because I made the worst meatloaf ever the other night!  I used almond meal instead of bread crumbs and while I did eat it that night, I could not bring myself to eat the leftovers.  It usually tastes better the next day…not this time! Too bad, how disappointing! I am hoping for a better bread crumb replacement from this book.

Books Read March 2015

TitleAuthorRating
The ItaliansJohn HooperDid not like; Did not finish
Paleo CookiesAngelina DylonWill come back to make the recipes!
The Paleo Comfort Foods CookbookMartha DrummondGood selection.
Death at La FeniceDonna LeonFair to Good
The Hundred-Year HouseRebecca MakkaiStill Reading
What Alice ForgotLiane MoriarityTrite. Could not get into it.
The Girl in the Flammable SkirtAimee BenderDisappointing
Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian LifeFrances MayesOkay, did not finish.
All my old knitting magazinesVogue, Interweave, KnitSimple, etc.Great!

My friends and I are planning a trip to Tuscany in the Fall so that led to a renewed interest in Italy-related books.  The Italians was disappointing. The description “John Hooper’s entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Digging deep into their history, culture, and religion, Hooper offers keys to understanding everything from their bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Looking at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, he sheds new light on many aspects of Italian life: football and Freemasonry, sex, symbolism, and the reason why Italian has twelve words for a coat hanger, yet none for a hangover,” sounded so engaging, but so far I haven’t made it past the 40th page!  I will try again later.

March 2015 Reading

Death at La Fenice was good even though I guessed the answer around the middle.  This is the first in a series, so I think I will read more and hope they will get harder to solve.

Every Day in Tuscany is the sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I couldn’t get through the first but decided to try the second book anyway. Same result.  They’re just not that engaging.  A friend and I are going to have wine and watch the movie before we go to Italy. I think the wine will definitely help!

Another friend has asked me to knit her a poncho/ruana so I have been looking through  my magazine and book (and of course online) materials to come up with ideas. This has given me the opportunity to also bookmark other exciting patterns.  Even patterns from magazines that are ten years old (or more) would be so pretty with the luscious yarns available today!

March 2015 Reading

I am two-thirds of the way through The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai, the author of The Borrowers.  I loved The Borrowers when I was young! I would say that even though I haven’t finished it yet, I liked The Hundred-Year House best of my March selection.  It’s about the inhabitants of a house, and how their stories evolve over the years. It’s told backwards which is kind of annoying, but also makes me think about the story when I’m doing something else. When I get to the end, I wonder if then I’ll have to re-read the beginning?

Whole 30 Results

Well, I made it through the Whole 30!  It was easy in the beginning and then the middle dragged on, and then it was over!  I know you’re wondering about the whole 30 results. I have to tell you that I am feeling way better than the  numbers reflect.  I’m actually a little disappointed with the numbers even though I keep telling myself that this was only 30 days!

The Numbers

  • Lost 7.6 pounds
  • Lost 2 inches in the bust (& in a bra hook)
  • Lost 1.5 inches in the waist
  • Lost 1.5 inches in the hips
  • I did not measure my thighs but my pant legs are looser too.

The Health Aspects

  • Sleeping better – what does this mean? I fall asleep pretty quickly but that is nothing new. I sleep through the night.  That’s not really new.  I sleep down and out, a good solid sleep.  That’s new.
  • I feel the need to move around.  This is very new. I have always been very happy being sedentary. Now I feel restless if I have a more stationary day. These Work From Home Snow Days have proven this, unfortunately (because of the multiple snow days) again and again.
  • BOREDOM. Well, this is a negative way of reflecting upon the lack of indecision or distraction.  When I used to have spare time, I would get so excited and overwhelmed with the choices.  Now, or in the last 30 days, I am very calm and focused.  One thing at a time, all in order and still time to spare.  So much time!  To spare!
  • FOCUS. This is a partner to the above paragraph.  Clear thinking. Focused. Get things done quickly.  BORED.  But calm.
  • Thirsty.  I think giving up any in-between meal noshing has made me realize that I might have had a snack before instead of a drink.  I am not a big water drinker, but now I actually drink seltzer or water instead of eating.
  • Cravings. None.
  • My skin is brighter.  It’s hard to describe because I didn’t take notes on this facet beforehand, but I can tell you that my skin looks healthier than I think it looked before.
  • Energy Level. Up.  (Repeat of 3rd bullet point?)
  • More decisive. (Repeat of 4th bullet point?)  I’ve cut the cord of a certain online dating site that has not been successful, speak more of my mind (hard for some of my friends to imagine!), and don’t put up with as much BS as before.
  • My fingernails are stronger. (I still bite my nails, but noticed that I do it after I eat too much fruit! I always knew that I bit my nails after eating unbalanced or unhealthy food.)
  • My stomach is not bloated. I knew before that gluten products made me bloated, but now it appears that other foods have the same effect…foods that I cut out during this whole 30 day period.

Other

  • Food is boring now. Sure, there was the exciting lemon curry cauliflower recipe (pictured below) in the beginning, and I know there are other good recipes out there, but I am bored.  When I was writing this I could hardly remember what I had for dinner (grilled shrimp with mild kimchi and red peppers, with an orange and sunflower seeds for dessert, and water).  Not very memorable and I like being excited about food.

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  • I also found that I enjoyed being super picky and having food the way I wanted it in a restaurant. I’m usually resigned to having outside food served a way I don’t like or with ingredients that I avoid at home. Doing the Whole 30 allowed me to be really specific without apology.  Even choosing to not have the gravy because it has flour in it made me feel good.
  • I hosted my Book Club and served cookies, cheesy popcorn and chocolates (Hershey’s miniatures and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) and dried apricots.  I was not tempted and threw out the cookie and popcorn leftovers right away. Believe it or not, the chocolates are still sitting on my coffee table and are not even vaguely interesting.
  • I seem to have a reaction to too much ghee or maybe it’s just rich foods? I ended up with a stomachache after adding too much ghee to the pan to cook my eggs, or on top of some veggies.  I always knew that I was somewhat lactose-intolerant, but this really surprised me because ghee doesn’t have lactose.  Luckily the next step of this diet allows me to pinpoint how different foods affect me.

 What’s Next?

Now is the Reintroduction period where one slowly incorporates previously restricted foods. It’s recommended that one food group is done at a time, over a period of 3-4 days, so that any reactions can be detected and traced to the particular food.

I thought I’d start with sweets, but don’t have a plan yet.  I’m going to stick to most of the Whole 30 for a little while longer.  The best advice about finishing is this –

So what should you do?

  1. Continue eating Whole30-ish every meal, every day, as long as that feels good to you. (We say “Whole30-ish” because added sugar may creep back in, like ketchup with your burger. That seems reasonable to us. If ketchup is the worst thing in your diet, you’re doing okay.)
  2. When something comes around that is too good to pass up—too special, too sentimental, to important culturally, or simply too darn delicious—make a conscious, deliberate choice as to whether or not you are going to indulge.
  3. If you choose to indulge, take your time. Savor it. Eat consciously. And eat only as little as you need to satisfy the situation, your experience, or your taste buds. Maybe that’s a bite, maybe it’s the whole cookie, maybe it’s 6 cookies—just make sure you don’t fall into automatic consumption.
  4. When you’re done, move the heck on. No guilt, no shame, no remorse. You made a conscious decision to eat something you deemed worth it. Good for you. Now let’s move on back to our normally scheduled healthy meals.

You may find that you indulge once every few weeks, because nothing really amazing comes up in between. Or you may find that you indulge every day for 12 days, like on a vacation in Europe. Both are okay, as long as you are following this protocol. Conscious, deliberate decisions. Honest evaluations of “worth it.” And then a return to your normal healthy habits, no beating yourself up.

Doin’ the Whole30

I started the whole30 food regiment a week ago.

Established by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.

During the holiday season I introduced myself to a guy at work because he runs this very active MeetUp group for singles aged 45 and beyond.  In order to avoid the “don’t I know you from somewhere” conversation, I decided to talk to him first.

Well, he found a friend in me.  He set up time for us to walk together and he shared with me his varying diet plans, potions and pills.  I shared the links to The Weston A. Price Foundation and Mark’s Daily Apple and lent him my Primal Blueprint book.  I casually! mentioned that he might want to try the whole30 food plan AND that I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to give up the cream for my coffee.  (I know, Flimsy Excuse, right?!)

He talked me into doing it with him.  He feels like he has a partner in this mission. I don’t.  We are on two separate planets.  He told me that someone told him to drink tea with lemon. He reached to show me the lemon at his desk and it was the plastic ReaLemon.  I do hope I didn’t roll my eyes.  Forgive me, but I was expecting a lemon.

I didn’t even attempt the processed food conversation.

But..enough about him.

The Whole30 Rules

For 30 days, DO Eat Real Food – Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.

DO NOT Eat

  • Added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
  • Alcohol in any form, not even for cooking.
  • Tobacco products
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • All forms of soy
  • Dairy with the exception of clarified butter or ghee.
  • Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
  • Do not try to re-create baked goods,  junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients.
One last and final rule: You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program.
Your only job? Eat. Good. Food.

How’s It Going?

Very well! I have received compliments that I look good.  I don’t press for details. I just say Thank you!
Meals are actually pretty easy.  I’m drinking tea (Double Bergamot Earl Grey) instead of coffee. Whole30
Even though I do like cream and sugar in my tea, it’s just as easy and tasty to drink it on its own.
I did have some black coffee the other day…interesting!  It definitely needed at least some sugar, but I didn’t partake.
Here are some photos from my first bulk preparation. I find that it works better for me if I cook a large variety or batch of food at once, so I have it for subsequent meals and different combinations thereof.  My whole30 meals are not much different from others  that I’ve posted…except no honey or maple syrup, no butter, no cream, no quinoa, no gluten-free treats. LOL, well, maybe a little different!

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I came up with a wonderful dessert – sliced peeled apples and chopped dates sauteed in a little ghee with a sprinkle of sea salt and a pinch of baking spice.  A very filling  and delicious way to end the meal!

Whole30

It truly has been 8 days since I started.
  • My clothes are looser.
  • My skin is clearer.
  • I am sleeping really well.
  • My nails are stronger.
  • I have more energy.
  • I am more focused, less distracted.
  • I am getting up earlier.
  • I am having some crazy dreams, or maybe it’s just that I’m remembering more of them.
  • I am better physically balanced.
  • My hair is not coming out as much.
  • I am satiated throughout the day without a need to nosh (most of the time.)
  • I am thirsty!  (A good thing as I never felt the need to drink water before.)

More to come…

Fermented Cucumbers

The longest and most time consuming step in making fermented cucumbers is procrastination! It is so easy to ferment vegetables that it is almost a crime to buy them.  I do love the mild kimchi made and distributed by the Sanjas brand, but kick myself every time I buy it because I just know how easy it is make on my own.

Fermented vegetables and other fermented foods, like ginger ale, kombucha, etc. aid in digestion and are probiotic. I was thinking about how my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ diets often included pickles and sauerkraut. Undoubtedly for the same reason that I appreciate my fermented salads. They taste good, and help with digestion. Who could ask for more?!

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The primary ingredients to make fermented cucumbers are really simple:

  • cucumbers
  • salt
  • water

Then I also add:

  • garlic
  • dill
  • pickling spices (I buy pre-mixed from Penzey’s)
  • horseradish leaf – this is supposed to keep the cucumbers more crunchy.  I’ve also seen recipes that use oak leaf for this purpose.

Mix the salt, about 2 tbsp depending upon how many cucumbers you have, with hot water and let it dissolve.

Put the horseradish leaf, dill, garlic and pickling spice at the bottom of the jar.

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It is my experience both with utilizing the jar most effectively and creating the right pickle serving size that it is better to cut the cucumbers.  I usually try to slice them on the diagonal lengthwise, unless they have a wider circumference – then I get a little more creative in splitting them.

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For lack of a better word, I then cram the sliced cucumbers in my mason jars, packing them in as tightly as I can, leaving a little bit of space below the part of the jar with the screw threads.

I did add some coconut vinegar into each jar this time. I’ve never done that before, but thought it might add some additional tangy taste. Vinegar is also helpful during the fermenting process, but is not necessary. For the large jar I put about a tablespoonful and for the quart jar I used about a teaspoon.

Fill the jar 3/4s of the way with the salt water.  Add warm water to finish.  Make sure the pickles (to be) are completely immersed in water.  Screw on the lid and put away for a week.

And here’s the best tip that I can share.

Fermented cucumbers

Write on the calendar when to check them.  I need the reminder one week later!  I will not remember otherwise! (Note: it’s okay if you leave them longer, they just get more sour.) Place in refrigerator when they reach the taste you like.

Back to Clean Living!

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The reward to clean living is feeling good. It’s as simple as that.  My trip to Italy lasted beyond the time there and I spent much of the summer continuing to eat gelato and grains and other things that make me feel bloated, depressed and unsatisfied.

There are three things that help me follow the lifestyle I really want:

  1. The (Right) Mindset
  2. The (Right) Resources
  3. Acknowledgement of how I’m feeling (and why)

I stopped my 3x weekly visits to Crossfit in May due to a combination of excuses. First, I sprained my wrist and was medically advised to not use it, especially for working out. Then, we went to my son’s college graduation. My original goal for Crossfit was to look good in the photos for his graduation. (Check!)

Proud Mom!

Proud Mom!

Then I went to Italy. Then it was too hot. Now I’m too out of shape to go back! LOL. It’s like straightening your house before the cleaning people come. I want “it” (the house, my body, etc.) to be somewhat presentable before the experts take a look.

Of course, I have to get my mind back in focus. I am getting there. I finally acknowledged that a lot of my physical complaints – upset stomach, gas, poor sleep, always hungry for one more taste – were due to my increased consumption of wheat and sugar (more specifically, chocolate). I knew I had to stop eating those items to feel better.

I was able to get back on track just by reading a new ebook for grain-free snack recipes, Ditch The Wheat. I have not made any of the recipes yet. But I have all (or most) of the ingredients already.  It made me realize “I can do this,” and it’s not that hard. The snack book is similar to one of my favorite books, Primal Cravings, icon
icon and has recipes for all types of snacks – sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy.  There’s also an e-book with 70 grain-free desserts. The recipes do not overlap between the two Ditch the Wheat e-books. I would recommend buying both!

I bet you’re wondering what about the “living” part of this post? This post seems to be about clean eating. Well, I finally dusted off my 10-minute kettle bell workout DVD this morning, and did 2 of the sets. YAY ME! Of course, I am so out of shape that I was wobbly picking up the morning paper off the lawn after that “little” workout. I am not belittling myself. I am getting back to the land of clean living, and taking proper care of myself once again.

Now I’m off to make some of those Ditch the Wheat recipes…that must be why I recently purchased the organic gelatin!!  Clean (living) gummy worms, anyone?

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