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October 11, 2015 / ember69

Dodged a bullet

Yea. It’s been awhile. No one reads this really, so it only matters to me. The good news is it still, most definitely, matters to me.

When did I do the Whole 30, Juneish? Now, here it is already October, and for the last 2 weeks or so, I’ve been saying, “time for another Whole 30.” That’s because I’ve been eating whatever, alternating feeling like crap with sugar-induced highs, and wondering where the hell my focus went.

The subject line is a gift. I stepped on the scale and discovered something very lucky. I haven’t gained any weight. I haven’t lost any either; I’ve been plateaued for months now. But between last weekend’s wedding celebration and the Panthers winning streak, I was concerned. The wedding was a family affair, so I drank hard and stress-ate all weekend. The Panthers thing is pure lack of self-control – every time they win, Krispy Kreme offers their dozen glazed for $3.99 the Monday after (here in NC and SC). We’ve partaken a coupla times. The good news is they’ve been winning enough where I think we’re burned out on the damn things and can refrain for the foreseeable future. Then again, they’re on a bye this week…talk to me next Sunday….

The thing about Whole 30 though, is that it really is a reboot, not a lifestyle. Sure, there’s plenty of nutters out there swearing by the Paleo lifestyle, but I’m an Irish girl…if i don’t get white potatoes, white bread, and dairy occasionally, I’m liable to cut a bitch. And that’s not me being lazy; it’s me recognizing that my body can handle those foods, but it definitely doesn’t have to be a daily experience. Maybe it would be easier to make food decisions if my allergies were digestive in nature, but unfortunately they’re mainly upper respiratory and not food-based, so I have to use my brain to make food decisions. That’s where the laziness comes in.

I’m not really allergic to milk anymore. It probably increases my mucus, sure, but it’s not the culprit for my eye allergy. That’s an outside factor, literally outside; when we started opening the windows again, my eye responded angrily for the first week there. I should probably see an allergist, but my symptoms are pretty minor. I’m learning that my sinuses will nail me in the teeth (literally…it hurts to chew with my back teeth, because my sinuses are so close to my jawline) in the spring, and that my eye is more susceptible to irritation in both spring and fall. I’ve been testing the waters by drinking raw milk, but the cost and seasonal nature of that is going to send me back to the grocery store for a half gallon of Organic Valley grass-fed, I think, to alternate with my almond milk. That’s where self-control will play; having whole milk in the fridge for bread baking and recipes, not my morning coffee. Because for me, coffee with real milk needs a little sugar and then we’re in slippery slope territory.

So. Winter goals: I acquired Nourishing Traditions and the Nourished Kitchen for my birthday, and I’m combining their suggestions with rereading Joshua Rosenthal’s IIN primer. I’ve gotta stop reaching for the bread when we’re short on ideas for dinner, and instead reach for the rice and beans. I’ve gotta get my sugar consumption back under control. And I have to get exercising again; my knees aren’t pleased with the latest food choices and inactivity.

August 11, 2015 / ember69

Grain brain

When i ate poorly pre-Whole 30, I’d kick myself because “I knew better.” Now that I REALLY know better, I don’t even get the chance to kick myself…my body does it for me.

Laziness with dinner last night. Took pizza dough out of freezer the night before, and just turned it into breadsticks…slathered ’em with butter and garlic salt and baked ’em for 15 minutes, with pizza sauce for dunking. Took care of my hunger, but my brain literally shut down within like 10 minutes of inhaling them. I couldn’t work anymore, couldn’t string together the necessary synapses to click the damn mouse. I was done for the night.

I’m starting sourdough this week. I tried Danielle’s paleo bread recipe and while it was successful, it’s just weird enough to keep me figuring out alternatives.

I recently pulled out a pile of health/diet books from my shelves with the intention of sending them off to a local used bookstore or the Goodwill. Realize now that that’s the last thing I want to do, because those books will be reference points for me in creating the material for my book about figuring out Paleo, and how the American health/insurance industry is broken. Those books aren’t going anywhere; I’ll pile ’em up someplace else for now. I’m looking forward to rereading every single damn one of them with a highlighter and laptop nearby, to glean notes for my work.

Back on track this morning. Need to catch up on work a bit, but should walk later.

August 8, 2015 / ember69

Finding my way

This journey is fascinating. It’s also annoying.

I’ve figured out that sugar gives me a headache. Natural sugars are OK, but “bad” sugars are out. I get that this is actually a fantastic development, but figuring it out has been annoying. I got these stabbing headaches for 2 days straight after indulging in gum drops, and it probably didn’t help that I was chasing them with wheat and dairy.

It dawned on me as I was hiking today, that my head wasn’t hurting. When you’re an emotional eater, there’s no rhyme or reason to your cravings, so the first thing I thought was cool, I could have gum drops again…..I won’t, of course, but it’s interesting to me how the brain still tries to do things to hurt me.


I’ve plateau-ed, of course, in the 3 weeks post-Whole 30, as I dip my toes in the wheat and dairy pools again, finding my groove. I’m understanding that if I want to continue to lose weight, I need to live a fairly Paleo lifestyle. I’m OK with that, because I’m finding that when I don’t do that, I graze more and the calories I’m eating aren’t the good kind.


That 15 pounds I dropped thanks to Whole 30 is still giving me lessons. I haven’t been hiking since Whole 30, and have barely walked in the last week and a half…we’ve been in real trouble financially around here, and my focus was elsewhere. I’m up to 2 miles at the track, but it’s a flat walk. Today, when I ran out of sites, I knew I wanted to do “the loop”. It’s 2.25 miles in my neighborhood with some gradual climbs and quite a bit of traffic-dodging. About 2/3rds of the way through that hike is a church with a bench under a tree, where I normally rest and grab a snack. Normally when I hit the bench, I’m spent, but I shore up that Irish stubbornness and it propels me the rest of the way home.

I got onto Eller Cove Road and started climbing, talking to the occasional dog who barked at me and breathing in the beauty of people’s gardens. That stretch is residential rural, people with their little patches of land. Guys mowing their lawns, a rooster crowing. We need rain, and it gets me thinking about how if I owned “that” garden, I’d have to carry water to it because hoses wouldn’t go far enough….that walk was just what I needed after this week, to remind me why we need to get the financial sitch under control so that we can own our own patch of land.

But the kicker was the fact that I was not gasping for breath, my legs weren’t screaming, and my head wasn’t pounding. Normally, 15 pounds ago, I’d get done with that walk and drag myself home feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. That didn’t happen this time, and my god, how fantastic that felt!


This will definitely become a Paleo pulpit of sorts. I need to figure out how to get the word out…and I just realized how my essays on the abomination that is the American medical/insurance industry can tie into this lifestyle. The reason for this thinking today, comes from a FB friend’s post that she is scheduled for gastric sleeve surgery in 2 weeks. It took all my restraint not to comment. I understand her decision; I do. This is a woman who is an ovarian cancer survivor, not even in remission for 2 years yet, I don’t think. She’s always struggled with her weight, and chemo certainly didn’t help that, and now that she’s past chemo a bit, she can’t get weight loss started again, has tried all she’s willing to try, and managed to jump through the hysterical amount of red tape required to get approval from insurance and her doctors/oncologist to take this step. So I’m not about to crap on her parade; she’s relieved and looking forward to this change of life. I just wish she’d tried eating her vegetables first.

I know that’s too simplistic, but there’s so much bad information out there still; and she works in an office all day and probably relies on convenience foods to get her through the week, and can’t understand why Diet Coke and 100-calorie snack bags don’t help with weight loss. I’m putting words in her mouth, but the point is that weight loss surgeries should be the absolute last resort, unless the person’s health is at grave risk. I’m able to say this, because I have a feeling another FB friend had one of those surgeries, but this was a woman who was morbidly obese as long as I’ve known her (since 7th grade), and her health finally dictated that step, and thank the gods, she’s healthier now. But the women who aren’t even 250, who fail at weight loss while watching The Biggest Loser, so they take advantage of this not-so-wonderful scientific advancement, aren’t doing themselves any favors.

I hate how self-righteous I sound. I have at least 70 more pounds to lose before I can even think about relaxing. But that’s what my next book idea is going to entail…this journey and how America needs to change. Small potatoes, right? ;)

August 4, 2015 / ember69

The Learning and the Accepting

I’ve been post-Whole 30 for what, 2 weeks now? It’s been good, not great…I haven’t been diligent enough in some areas, but my weight isn’t creeping back. The ability to listen to your body is so damn mind-blowing after…..just reconciling myself to that is opening doors and windows to my behaviors and moods that I wasn’t expecting.

Fact: Dairy has had multiple effects on me, ranging from eye allergy flare-ups, to headaches, to congestion of one kind or another. I feel safe recognizing that I never outgrew that allergy, but that in the face of the multiple sensitivities I was ignoring with my eating habits, those symptoms just all blended into one another. When you basically feel like crap everyday, you don’t really care about the why…you just wish it wasn’t so. Now that I’m able to pinpoint the why, I care very much.

Fact: I’m recognizing more mood swings and depressive episodes after I eat wheat. I feel safe recognizing that I have a sensitivity to wheat. If I delve further, I’m sure the gluten in wheat could be suspect, but since it’s not celiac or a true allergy, I’m just calling it wheat.


These realizations are jarring. Actually I’m freaking the fuck out a little. I’ve eaten dairy since age 12. I’ve always eaten bread and wheat products, and up until about 2 years ago, we’re talking store-bought crap (I started making our bread when we moved up here). I live for a good pizza and a beer to wash it down; Christ, we have a pizza joint 5 minutes from the house that gets our business at least once a month! Seriously, if you’re ever in Weaverville, NC, there’s a hole in the wall called Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub….totally worth the wait, delicious pizza, micro-brews, very friendly staff…sigh….But I digress…..

I’ve tried Daiya. That crap has no business calling itself a cheese substitute, not the “mozzarella” anyway. I tried goat’s milk today; still gave me a headache, and the flavor changes when you put it in coffee (started out OK, but turned to ass as it sat). Maybe I’ll have better luck with raw milk in the future, but right now the cost and availability are hard to navigate (it’s not legal to sell raw milk for human consumption here in NC). So in spite of the articles that have come out lately about how almond milk is barely made of almonds, I’m sticking with 365 almond milk for my coffee for now.

I admit I’m going to be a hard sell on substitutions. Those Paleo folks who swear by cauliflower pizza crust must’ve been vegans in a past life or something, but I don’t see it darkening my oven door any time soon. But I’m also seeing that I’m going to need to examine the GF (gluten-free) lifestyle a bit more than I had originally intended. I learn things hard, and don’t go down without a fight though, so I’ll be trying out GF recipes (hellooo, Danielle Walker!) while simultaneously taking cues from Nourishing Traditions. Haven’t bought the book yet, but I’m reading Nourished Kitchen, getting my sourdough starter back in business, and seeing if einkorn and spelt are any better for my moods than unbleached white flour. Also wanting to try some fermentation, such as sauerkraut or kim chi, and try my hand at some sodas with water kefir grains or a ginger bug. Hopefully those will be autumn projects, along with continuing to can whatever we can afford to stock up on for winter. I can already tell that after a lifetime of sweet-eating, that the flavors of some fermented foods may be off-putting at first, but I’m determined to keep my digestive system happy now.


The freaking the fuck out part comes when I start to really think about how long I’ve struggled with depression. In high school, I always chalked it up to adolescent angst…show me a happy high school kid and I’ll ask you what they’re taking to be that way (prescribed or off the street). The hormonal surges alone….never mind that you’re growing from child to adult and learning all that comes with that….you get used to thinking that all kids go through some form of depression at that stage of life. And that’s a tragic freakin’ assumption.

I just figured, after the fact, that I was predisposed to a bit of melancholy (and if there’s any truth to the fact that depression can exist in the ole gene pool, then that’s a viable argument…pretty sure my low lithium came from my Dad). In college, I sought out counseling; as an adult in my 20s into 30s, I continued to seek out counseling and medications to adjust my behaviors and moods. I was diagnosed with moderate depression and cyclothymia, and given everything from SSRIs to anti-psychotics to treat it. I gained the weight, probably a result of both my eating habits and the medications. My primary doctor in Florida pondered the weight gain and suggested different diets, but didn’t give me enough guidance to want to try anything. Then after a decade, she suggested surgery. I switched doctors.

We moved up here and I got in with an Integrative Family Medicine outfit, terrific staff, so even when my Obamacare kicked in, I kept them as my primary. When I had appointments with my doc there, he gave me very specific instructions about what would help me and suggested resource materials. It still took 2.5 years for me to try anything (and I’m over casting blame on myself on that…you can tell someone to change until you’re blue in the face, but until they want to change, it’s wasted air). But I point it out as a difference between the two methods, because when you have standard insurance with a regular doctor here in America, it’s a revolving door; you’re in and out with not enough time to address all your concerns. I’d make a list of all the things I wanted to cover with the doc and have 3 things left before they were pushing me out the door. And then cha-ching, they bill the insurance for a $300 visit on top of your $25 co-pay and you leave feeling less healthy than when you came in.

I’m digressing again…actually I have a whole book of essays in my head about how fucked the American medical/insurance industry is (Michael Moore, eat your heart out). But my point here (and I do have one) is that in all those doctors visits, 2 decades worth from Tampa to Fort Myers to Jacksonville, Florida, NO ONE ever suggested changing diet as a means of altering mood. And that’s infuriating. I needed to travel this road, I get that; but when I think of the years wasted eating “food-like substances” and not understanding why I felt like shit, my head explodes.

I became a patient at IFM, and really did my homework about the Paleo lifestyle. I participated in the Whole 30, and the difference in my mood and energy was life-changing. I’ve seesawed post-Whole 30 a bit, and I know why; and getting back to that mood and energy level is my top priority now. My knowledge overwhelms me, and so I spew it out here. Hopefully it’ll help convince someone who’s on the fence about the Paleo lifestyle. You don’t have to eat chicken livers and bone broth if you don’t want to. Do a 30-day detox though, and figure out what works for you; because your body will thank you every. day. afterward. as you navigate a new relationship with food.

July 26, 2015 / ember69

Dairy Allergy Confirmed

This past week has been the reintegration week. I didn’t go about it with any particular plan…I just let certain items back into my diet and listened to my body. After inhaling all those cheddar rice crackers the other day, my stomach hurt all night; but I wasn’t able to pinpoint which one of the ingredients caused it (besides the plain gluttony of the act, which helped me see that I still have some food work to do emotionally).

But last night, I finished Les’ Chipotle from the other night for dinner. He’s an extra cheese and sour cream guy….and then he comes home and throws more of both on there. It was delicious, and it gave me a sore throat that I went to sleep with. This morning, I woke up with no sore throat, and a firm belief that my dairy allergy never left my body.

So. I’ll stick with 365 almond milk for now, making ghee for cooking, and if I really need cheese, like on tonight’s homemade pizza, I’m trying out Daiya’s brand “cheese” for now.


This week will be spent working to get back to Paleo. Really, I’ll be getting back to Whole 30, but since this is a lifestyle now, not a reboot, I should just call it Paleo…..the main difference between the two appears to be white potatoes. I could give a crap about looking like an authentic Paleo person; I’m just an Irish girl trying to get healthy and for me, that’s going to include potatoes.

July 25, 2015 / ember69


Whole 30 reintroduction is one of the more fascinating processes I’ve ever undertaken.

I’m trying “bad” foods here and there this week, while keeping an eagle eye on the scale. Today I indulged in an egg and sausage sandwich on a store-bought roll. Experienced tummy twinges, the lightest of phantom headaches, and my left eye went itchy. My left eye is prone to allergic reactions (it goes absolutely insane in the Spring now, so there’s something in the air here). Noticing that now, when it’s been in remission, so to speak, was telling.

I’m researching einkorn and sprouted flours, and I’ll be investigating sourdough and Weston A Price dietary guidelines in the coming weeks, as well as playing around with some GF recipes. I’d love to keep wheat in my diet, but it’s going to be the right kind of wheat. I’m staying off dairy for now.

I LOVE that I’m not craving sweets as much. I’ve been indulging in a Green & Black’s Dark 70% that’s suiting my needs just fine, and I still haven’t added sugar back into my coffee. I actually prefer it black-light (almond milk) now. That alone is a little mind-blowing.

These are all such small, simple changes that may not seem like much to the layperson. But as I navigate these uncertain post-Whole30 waters, the AHA moments are making me giddy, so I’ll record them here.

July 24, 2015 / ember69

Recognition and Illumination

attachment.ashxDay 31! Relief, satisfaction, serious pride. Rewarded self with Farmburger. Regular bun, just onions and cheese, but they went light on the cheese, so no reaction. Next time I’ll spring for a GF bun, because they appear to use a good brand.

Day 32! Chipotle day! Got my usual, because I’ve always been kinda go-big-or-go-home where Chipotle is concerned. That means a burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, chicken, medium salsa, sour cream, and cheese, with chips for utensils. If that sounds like a lot, believe me, it is. I got halfway through it and knew I’d be saving the rest. Went to bed satisfied, a little bloaty.

Day 33: Finish the Chipotle, snack more than I need to that day, eat corn at dinner. Plow thru a box (yes, a box, because the emotional end of things still needs a helluva lot of work apparently) of Back to Nature White Cheddar Rice Thins. Go to bed with a sore tummy that sticks around all night. Sleep like crap, wake up early knowing I don’t have the patience to go back to sleep with my tummy still hurting. Down a quart of bone broth for breakfast on Day 34, which helps, and some half-black, half-detox tea. Assess.

Two things about me:

1) I don’t learn lessons easily. I slam my head into a wall repeatedly first.

2) I’ve lived my whole life thinking I have the stomach of a goat.

This is where I realize that my “New Normal” truly needs to become a New Normal. That I’m sensitive to dairy and some grains. That the protein in legumes isn’t worth the hormonal fluctuations and bloat. That I like the way I was eating on Whole 30 SO MUCH BETTER, because of how it makes me feel.

The sad thing is the dairy should be a no-brainer. I was allergic as a kid. What changed? I recognize now that NOTHING DID. I’ve likely still had varied symptoms, thanks to dairy, my whole life; but my tolerance for those symptoms changed. I convinced myself that it was fine, because I love me some cheese, ice cream, and a tall glass of cow’s milk. And I blamed any stuffyheadedness, coughs, or intestinal distress on other factors: sick office, city living, fast food…..

So. I’m back on track. I’m letting some sugars back in, mainly for an occasional mug of chai. Otherwise, I’m back to teaching myself to make my own salad dressings, getting serious about making my own ketchup and worchestershire, and adjusting the Whole 30 regimen to suit my New Normal. I may not ever be a full-blown Paleo goddess, grabbing some liver before a workout with cauliflower rice on the side. But I know what makes me feel good, and it’s not the old way of eating. Stay tuned!

July 19, 2015 / ember69

The New Normal

Today’s Day 27. Three days from free.

Some things of note…..

We got up early today (Saturday), which is normal on a payday weekend. The North Asheville Tailgate Market showcases dozens of vendors, mostly local farmers. It’s utopia. The best lettuce and blueberries I’ve ever tasted in my life have come from that market. We loaded up on fresh eggs, sausage, and veggies, and headed home for a decent breakfast. I made coffee, we worked together in the kitchen rustling up brunch, and I kept exclaiming how it wasn’t normal to feel as good as I do. To wake up clear-headed and not moody. To be so energized. It’s positively foreign.

When you’ve been heavy as long as I have (15ish years, but who’s counting…), you get terribly used to not feeling great. Your joints rage, you’re headachy constantly, tired all the time, brain foggy, overfull….there’s an embarrassing host of symptoms that you get used to ignoring, while wishing things could be different. I’d go to sleep full, looking forward to the morning when things would be different “this time.” Only of course, I’d start the cycle all over again the next day. Ad infinitum.

Except it isn’t. After about the third time of me exclaiming how it wasn’t normal for me to feel this great, Les said, “don’t think of it that way. It’s not abnormal…’s your new normal.”

He’s kind of smart sometimes :)


I spent an hour in Walmart today, buying basics. We hate Walmart, but can’t help shopping there still for some stuff; the prices are too good. Being surrounded by large people addicted to the American food industry’s idea of food helps keep the cravings at bay, that’s for sure. But let’s be honest…I’ve been eating crap since I was 14 years old, and those feelings aren’t going to go away overnight.

I sighed quite a few times as I passed displays of Krispy Kremes and the cookie and candy aisles. I miss pizza and bread. It’s really fascinating actually, to walk down all those aisles and recognize how little actual food is present. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to do the easy thing: grab a bag of pizza rolls and chase it with a pint of Haagen Daz.

Instead I went down the road to Ingles, where they actually offer some real food. I grabbed a package of organic chiicken breasts to put on top of a large salad tonight. The Whole 30 cookbook has a foolproof and fast recipe for seared breasts, which I cooked in bacon grease for added flavor. It was delicious and satisfying, and I found I was patting myself on the back yet again. This lifestyle isn’t hard. It’s just more work. There’s a difference.


I did break protocol on Friday for a very good reason that I’m not sorry for, and I’m damn sure not starting over because of it. Living up here has been amazing for both of us. The culture up here is quite hippie-esque; people live more holistically, homeopathic remedies for all manner of maladies abound, and our attendance at the Mother Earth News Fairs has given us a wealth of knowledge about herbalism. Les, so far, makes his own tincture (a triple E formula of Echinacea, Elderberry, and Elderflower steeped in quality vodka), liniment for aches and pains, and a Neosporin™ substitute that we affectionately call Boo Boo Goop.

You’re not supposed to drink alcohol on Whole 30, but I woke up Friday with a sore tonsil. I spent my 30s getting tonsilitis quite a bit, so I was well-aware of what was going on. The soreness was localized to my left tonsil, but my sinuses sit right on my jawlines, so the pain was starting to radiate up to my left ear too. I wasn’t about to let that nonsense flourish just because I’m on Whole 30. I shot Les’ tincture about 6 times (eye dropper doses), and followed it up with chicken bone broth for dinner and a pot of echinacea tea. Woke up Saturday symptom-free. Booyah!

July 15, 2015 / ember69


Well, it’s taken 3 whole weeks for the emotional end of things to start up. I really thought I’d detox harder from the sugar, but being able to tolerate, even enjoy, my coffee black-light (with almond milk) has been a godsend. I miss chocolate and bread like the dickens sometimes, but for the most part, I’m feeling so much better and looking forward to some weight loss, that it makes my eating decisions pretty easy.

That said, yesterday was interesting. I spend the day chatting with my Lil Sis via IM; for the both of us, it’s a boredom alleviator and means to boost sanity. She’s been under the weather and was dipping her toes back into real food with lunch at Panera. We lived, and I worked, 5 minutes from Paneras in Jacksonville, and even though the selection can be uninspiring at times, it was great for fast, light meals (their chicken and wild rice soup is scrumptious!) or a bagel fix. (Yes, Yankees, I know those aren’t real bagels…..hey, you take ’em where you can get ’em!)

So I start thinking about their bagels….asiago with cream cheese, cinnamon crunch, chocolate chip, that damn honey walnut cream cheese…..their bear claws…….

We have a Panera in Asheville, but thankfully it is far enough away from Weaverville (and as I’ve implied, we were never too knocked out over their menu), that we haven’t darkened the doorstep of the place since moving. So I haven’t hit up a Panera in going-on 3 years, and suddenly the lack of bagels and cream cheese from that establishment in my life was a sore spot. From sinking your teeth into the bagel, to the rich flavor of the cream cheese……I’ve always been a lover of bread, and I could seriously wax romantic or nostalgic or something over the damn things. I was raised by Yankees, whose idea of a nice side at breakfast on the weekends was a New York hard roll with butter. Really haven’t found its equal since crossing the Mason-Dixon line.

So dinnertime rolls around and I make a bunch of roasted potatoes to go with the salmon and inhale too many of them. I wasn’t uncomfortable, but I could tell I’d eaten til I was full, something that I barely experience anymore. I woke up still feeling it a bit, and I’m thinking of sticking to bone broth til dinner, to reset my system a bit. I grabbed my morning banana with my coffee, and it’s doing the trick for now.

I’m recognizing that not much is going to change when I get to Day 31. I shouldn’t have to eliminate items like that from my diet forever, but until I’ve lost the weight and gotten myself to a point of health that I and my doctors are happy with, there really shouldn’t be any “special occasions” either. Sure, I won’t torture myself with deprivation, but I’m recognizing that that reintegration process that Dallas and Melissa talk about in Whole 30, where you reintroduce a particular food after 30 days and see how your body reacts, doesn’t even need to really happen in the near future, because I’m well-aware already of how these foods affect me. That dairy will make me phlegmy, sneak into my sinuses, cause me to clear my throat more, and perk up the inflammation. That sweets or too many carbs make my joints and pancreas angry. I do NOT want to go back there, and I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

July 13, 2015 / ember69

Day 20-freakin’-2!

I’m a little blown away by the fact that I’m still at it, and how good I feel.

I go in for fasting glucose labs tomorrow, can’t wait to see that number.

I need to start getting creative with the Paleo recipes though. Last week was hard and devoid of variety. I rely too heavily on potatoes. I’m tired of eggs, and then I’m not. I don’t eat enough veggies still, but my fruit intake is good.

The good news is how even though I’m in the home stretch, my mind isn’t drifting to the giant slice of chocolate cake I’ll have on day 31. I want to lose weight. That’s always been the ultimate goal, to drop a chunk of this excess weight and have better health follow. So I won’t be indulging much beyond Chipotle when I’m past day 30, and I know now that I can make a burrito bowl easily last for 2 meals (heck, maybe even 3, given the amount of grains, beans, and dairy in my average bowl). I’ve been off all three for 3 weeks now, and I can tell the weight is falling off. It’s delicious.

What I will do after day 30 is experiment a bit more with some of the GF recipes, like Danielle’s Walker’s bread. I have a feeling I’ll decide it’s not worth the effort when a small salad makes a better side, but I want to check them out. My experiments with almond and coconut flour so far have been less than stellar. Bob’s Red Mill doesn’t grind the almond flour fine enough, and the coconut flour is just bland…I see now why Danielle just uses shredded coconut instead sometimes; the flavor’s better. But I won’t let those recipes become a crutch; I’ve come too far.

The sad side effect of all this health is some serious self-righteousness about food. The MIL was recently diagnosed diabetic, and is trying to get a handle on her numbers. But she still eats way too much processed food, dumps hazelnut creamer in her coffee, and is now a slave to diet drinks. She came up 4th of July weekend, and I spent that time wanting desperately to school her on everything she’s doing wrong, but she was also in serious self-pity mode about her life, so I knew nothing would have sunk in. I know full-well you can’t shove anyone into health; I spent the better part of 45 years making excuses. But now that I’m on the other side (and I really am!!!), when I hear someone else make excuses, I hear them for the bullshit they are and want to sit that person down and show them what they’re doing wrong and why. Either that or shake them really hard. My bullshit tolerance has always been pretty low.

I get that I live in frickin’ utopia where fresh, local food is concerned. I cooked a pot roast yesterday, a gorgeous eye of round roast that I know was from beef that was grass-fed AND finished about 30 miles from where I live. That’s some serious goodness. Tailgate market season keeps me in fresh veggies (when I can afford it), and we have 2 Whole Foods in Asheville (plus 2 Earth Fare’s and a Co-Op). Yes, I know Whole Foods has been getting dinged lately for high prices, but I’m a discerning shopper…if I know Ingles will have it cheaper, I go there. They manage a nice selection of organics, enough to keep me from begrudging that the new Publix is too far away to be a viable grocery source for us.

But now that I know it’s possible to find these things, I wonder why more people don’t. The MIL lives in a small town without access to Whole Foods, but I bet they have one in Columbia, about 45 minutes away. She lives smack in farm country, where farmer’s markets and stands must be prevalent if you know where to look. The problem is she also lives 5 minutes from a Walmart. So I get that it’s about choice. When you realize you can no longer suck at the tit of the American Food Industry, you make different choices. It’s more expensive, yes; but the benefits make it the easiest money you’ll spend.

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