Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Challenges in Creativity #6 - Breakfast Smoothie

Cutting out eggs has been a challenge, but one I really did need to tackle.  Of all the foods I've cut out, not eating eggs has made a difference.  Prior to my Alletess IgG test I knew that eating eggs too many days in a row definitely didn't sit right on my stomach.  However, after eating a 3 egg egg white omelet this past weekend for breakfast at French Meadow Bakery, it's definitely not just in my head.  Eggs  make me feel a little nauseous and burpy for about 2 hours after eating them, totally not worth it.  My guess is that small amounts in some baked items or mayonnaise in the future will be ok, but for right now, I'm still avoiding them 99%.

Over the past two months I've perfected my breakfast smoothie, and made it dense enough to keep me full for 3-4 hours.  At first I was worried having just a "liquid" for breakfast would leave me starving in  an hour, but I've been pleasantly surprised.  The key is having adequate amounts of protein (30-40g) and enough fat (15-30g).  I find that adding a solid fat such as an avocado or nut butter to be more satisfying than using a liquid such as canned coconut milk.  But others will disagree.

Smoothies for meals have never been a favorite of mine, but when time is short and I want something that doesn't require cooking, these are the best option.  Having a dairy and egg sensitivity means that whey and egg-white protein powders are not an option.  Thankfully there is a new protein powder on the market...and it's made from beef protein.  That's right, dehydrated and powdered cow meat, kind of like powdered beef jerky.  No it doesn't taste like a steak, it's vanilla flavored, and super delicious.  Now, I like a really thick smoothie, so thick in fact you have to eat it with a spoon.  It's more like a breakfast pudding or soft serve ice-cream.  If you need it thinner in order to drink with a straw, just add 1/2-1 cup water.  On days I don't want any beef in my diet I will switch it up and use a pea protein or other plant based protein, but they don't mix as well and are a little grainy.

drawing my blender for stress relief

1 cup Unsweetened carton hemp, coconut, or almond milk, or water
3/4-1 cup frozen fruit (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blackberry, cherry)
1/2 avocado
1 Tbs ground flax or chia seeds
1.5 scoops Pure Paleo Beef protein powder (30g) or equivalent of other protein powder.

21g fat
34g carb
34g protein
13g fiber

Optional Add-ins
1 tsp glutamine powder
1-2 Tbs Aloe juice-for gut healing and joint health
2 Tbs hydrolyzed collagen-for gut healing and joint health
1 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
kale / spinach

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Challenges in Creativity #5 - French Fennel Stew

I've kept a pretty up beat tone about this whole elimination diet, but let me be honest, cutting out all these foods sucks.  If you have gone paleo and think that eliminating grains and dairy is bad.... try giving up coffee, chocolate, eggs, garlic, ginger, and anything fermented.  I thought I'd be able to use some of the AutoImmune Protocol recipes but I was totally wrong.  Most of them contain coconut, garlic, ginger, and cabbage or green beans.  Of course, other recipes in the paleo world also use a lot of tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, salmon, and almonds, so those are all out too.  Thus, the last two months have left my tongue feeling very bored.  No indian or Thai curry.  One or two stir-frys turned out ok but not great, along with a few dry taco salads, and NO MAYONNAISE!!  No mayonnaise means no broccoli salad or chicken salad two of my favorite summer time dishes.  Going out to eat has been a huge challenge and I've pretty much had to "cheat" just a little, but only 2 times, so I'm ok with that.

As I think of my frustrations, I am humbled by the fact that I should just be thankful this is only temporary.  I am also thankful for the abundance of food (high quality food) that is available to me; while many people within my own community struggle to purchase cheap, low quality food such as  peanut butter, bread, and frozen pizza.

Any whooooo... Ryan has been traveling during this time and that has made these changes a little easier.  At least I don't have to subject him to these restrictions all week long, just on the weekends.  He did grill up some amazing chicken breasts one Sunday.  Just salt and pepper, for the most delicious crispy chicken skin.  You really can't go wrong with a piece of grilled meat, as long as it doesn't get overcooked.  Speaking of chicken, Whole Foods has two rotisserie chickens whose seasonings do not include garlic.  During my first or
second week on this diet I picked up their herbs de provence chicken in desperation of something that I didn't have to cook for dinner.  But I didn't necessarily feel like eating rotisserie chicken 4 days in a row, and figured I could use the leftovers to make a soup or stew.  When on an elimination diet, you're really not supposed to eat the same thing multiple days in a row; but with Ryan traveling during the week that's almost impossible for me.  Unless I want to cook everyday and shop multiple times a week to prevent over buying and having food go bad.  So...sticking with the French theme I also grabbed some herbs de provence seasoning and two fennel bulbs before checking out.  After eating a leg and thigh with a salad at home I got to work making soup.  What I ended up with is something I will definitely be making in the future.

French Fennel Stew
2 fennel bulbs thinly sliced
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 Tbs ghee or lard
the breasts of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed, diced or shredded
1 quart chicken broth/stock
1-2 Tbs Herbs de provence
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, melt the ghee and sauté the fennel and onion until just softened.
2.  Stir in the Chicken, broth, and seasonings.
3.  Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.
DONE!  Adjust salt, as needed.
Serves 3-4

I did a crock-pot version using a small pork roast this week, and it turned out just as tasty.  Just Nestle a 1-1.5# pork roast in the bottom of your slow cooker, surrounding it with the fennel and onions.  Pour in the broth and seasonings.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Remove the roast and shred, returning the meat to the veggies and stirring to combine.  DONE!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Challenges in Creativity #4 - Mojito Shrimp Salad

Since starting this elimination diet I've been trying to increase the variety of proteins I eat.  Some of this is by necessity since I'm currently not allowed salmon or tuna.  Apparently I was eating too much of those.  To replace these two fish I've been eating more shrimp, sardines, kippered herring, and will soon be trying canned mackerel.  I've also bought ground bison the past couple weeks to sub-in for ground turkey or beef.  Ryan doesn't love fish as much as I do, so canned versions of sea food work well.  I can buy it when it's on sale, and eat it when I don't feel like cooking for one.

Even though I'm focusing on healing my gut and balancing hormones, I have allowed myself about 1 alcoholic drink on the weekend.  Not that this is actually cutting back that much from what it was, but instead of 1-3 glasses of wine now it's 0-1 cocktails.  Last weekend Ryan and I invited his brother and girlfriend over to play Settlers of Catan, eat horderves, and drink a few drinks.  So that I could partake Ryan whipped up some delicious Mojitos; outrageous settlement and city building ensued.

Not knowing how much lime juice or mint we would need, we were left with about 1/3 a bottle of lime juice and 1 package of mint.  Neither of which I wanted to go bad, since I hate wasting food.  Naturally I made a salad dressing out of them.  In my last post I wrote about how it's been difficult making a really tasty dressing without vinegar or mustard.  Well this dressing is even better than my Suja juice dressing.Wild planet makes canned shrimp, like the tiny kind you find on salad bars, that is very affordable.  Living in Minnesota means that any fish/sea food not found in a lake, and even the lake fish can be astronomically expensive.  Anytime I see canned fish on sale, I stock up.  For a quick and portable lunch that used up a few leftovers, I threw together spinach, baby kale, and a yellow bell pepper.  At work I topped my salad with 1/2 an avocado, 1 can of shrimp + 4 bigger shrimp I had left in the freezer, and my mojito dressing.  The sweet, tangy, minty-ness paired perfectly with the shrimp and avocado.  I didn't really measure my ingredients when I made the dressing, but here's my best guestimate:

 It's super delicious, refreshing, and just a tad sweet; but what kind of meat to serve it with?  SHRIMP!

Mojito Dressing
1/3 cup Lime juice
2/3 cup avocado, grape-seed, MCT, or lite olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1.5 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a bottle and shake it up until the honey is dissolved.  Or combine ingredients in a blender and blend till combined.

If you are allergic to shell fish, I think tuna, salmon or just about any other fish would be delicious on this salad.  Of course, if you don't like anything that swims, chicken or pork would work too.

Now back to those shrimp.  I'm not going to get too technical or political, but please buy wild caught shrimp.  Shrimp and seafood from Asia are typically farm raised.  Meaning the little crustaceans are raised in a cesspool of their own fecal matter, they are fed food that is not actually their normal diet, most of the ponds are contaminated with other toxic materials.  Also, many of the "farmers" raising these critters are being held in forced labor camps which are basically forms of modern day slavery.