Flax Seed Pancakes

1 cup Flax seed meal (golden will look better–I had brown)

3 TBS Tapioca Flour

2 eggs

2-4 TBS Almond or Coconut Milk

1 TBS Backing soda (aluminum free like bobs red mill)

1/2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

Pinch of Salt

(Sweetener like honey, maple syrup, stevia are optional if complaint with your plan)

(1 Tsp Vanilla optional and if compliant with your plan)

Fruit or berries if wanted

Coconut oil or Ghee for cooking

Mix together adding vinegar last–the vinegar will react with the baking soda making the pancakes fluffy. Use less milk at first then add as needed–mixture will be sticky not runny.

*If adding fruit it seems to cook better if you add it once it is in the griddle than if you add it to the mix

Fry in a griddle or pan with oil or ghee 3-5 minutes on each side by dropping batter and then pressing into shape.

Paleo Flaxseed panckakes
Blueberry “pancakes” are gluten and grain free no sugar and really good. They taste more similar to french toast than pancakes, but a good breakfast option.

My Whole30 Experience

As I have said in my previous posts, I was not a fan of Whole30 because I hated the sugar withdrawals and I really don’t like being told “I can’t”.

I can’t:

  • have any sugar unless it is in a fruit or veggie
  • have any grains
  • have any alcohol (not that I drink–I’m 16!)
  • have honey (part of the sugar thing)
  • anything processed
  • have any dairy
  • have certain oils
  • and so forth….

The restrictions on Whole30 are hard because I accepted a challenge and yet I felt like I was put in a cage. Just the idea of “I can’t” almost becomes claustrophobic, wanting everything listed on the “I can’t”.

The funny part is, I like almost everything we ate over the 30 days. Actually, I liked everything, but some things not as much. For instance, curry I like the day it is made, but not left overs, while my mom really loves curry. Tuna steaks, I like but I don’t love. I will eat them, but probably wouldn’t crave them.

Now I am 4 days past the 30 and I am still doing it. I will actually continue on through to the 22nd for sure (I might cheat for prom) but I lost 17 pounds and I got into a pair of jeans I haven’t fit in since the 6th grade (not sure why I even still had them, but found them when cleaning my closet). For the first time in a long time I am under 200 pounds (190 on day 30) and it isn’t hard any more.

What sucks, is that I have to check everything. Food manufacturers sneak sugar in everywhere and choices I thought were healthy are packed with sugar.

Oh, I did try a sip of a Monster on Thursday, an energy drink I used to love and I had to spit it out. My taste buds can’t take the sugar anymore. I don’t know if I am happy about that or not.

Anyway, here is a bit of a summary:

First two weeks, I felt like crap. I hurt everywhere and had no energy. Headaches and mood swings all the time. Drank a lot of water to combat some of withdrawals. I don’t know if it helped, but it made me feel like I was doing something.

Week 3 was better. I still didn’t have the energy I saw my mom getting but I don’t think my energy levels were that bad to start so a boost in energy would not be as easy to see. Cravings were gone by this point and I started making meals myself and learning more on how to cook from scratch myself.

Week 4 I was pretty much the same as week 3 other than it felt like the longest week. That final countdown the last 7-10 days and I just wanted to no longer be in this “I can’t” challenge.

Even though I decided to continue the lifestyle longer, it no longer under the “challenge” and I won’t feel like I failed at all if I decide to have a cheat day. After I do have a cheat, I will go back to a paleo/keto type lifestyle because it works for me, and I NEVER want to have to go through sugar withdrawals again.

Would I do the Whole30 again? I don’t know. I hated everyday of feeling like I couldn’t even though it was still my choice. I didn’t feel like I had a choice because I made a commitment and I was going to stick it out no matter what. At this point, I want to tell Whole30 to shove it, but I like the results so I can’t.

Would I recommend it to someone else? Yes. I would tell them to understand everything about the challenge before they start though.

I guess that is all I have to say right now. 🙂

Whole30 Results

We made it. Wednesday was day 30 and three days later, we are more or less continuing the same eating style (I did have sushi Thursday night).

By the halfway point, the side effects of sugar withdrawals were gone and I started feeling better, and I have been able to become MUCH more active as a result of doing The Whole30.

If you recall, I did not do Whole30 for purposes of weight loss, but to feel better and battle autoimmune issues. I do however, want to share with you the side effect of weight-loss I experienced with Whole30. I did not do body measurements because I couldn’t find a tape.

Day One–Sharlene: 256 pounds
Day Thirty–Sharlene: 231 pounds
Total weight loss over 30 days for Sharlene was 25 pounds.

Day One–Alee: 207 pounds
Day Thirty Alee: 190 pounds
Total weight loss over 30 days for Alee was 17 pounds.

Not great pictures, but–as you can see, I’m still fat and I don’t care. I feel better and I can not emphasis enough that weight loss is not my goal here, but it is a happy side effect.

And Aleesha’s before and after. The day we took the before it was really stormy and the lights were out so the lighting was terrible, but you still get the picture.

As I was say, I feel really good! A month ago, it was a struggle to climb the basement stairs with laundry, and now I am doing 2+ mile hikes on uneven terrain daily, with a goal of making it to 4 miles by the end of the month. I am doing core workouts and strength training daily as well.

I sleep better, my concentration is so much better, I haven’t had a fibromyalgia flare since week one, fewer headaches/migraines, I notice my skin is less dry, and my gut does not hurt.

Would I do Whole30 again? Absolutely! Would I recommend it to others? Most definitely. What will I do now? Continue with pretty much the same lifestyle, only adding honey occasionally (I like honey mustard from time to time, and I like some honey in Zen iced tea) and allowing for the occasional cheat (I might have a glass of wine for my birthday, etc…) but limit them so I don’t get complacent. Alee plans to continue until the end of May with no changes at all.

To be honest, I like healthy food. I don’t feel cheated and when I am faced with “what do I want?” I will pick healthy food over junk. I never want to sugar detox again, but I do think doing the Whole30 from time to time with the stricter limits of zero cheats and zero added sweeteners help keep me in check.

Well, I’m off to hike! Have a great weekend!

Whole30 Day 28

As day 28 gets closer to an end, I have compliant chili simmering on the stove and know there are only 2 days left of this challenge where I “have” to be compliant.

I am actually going to continue on with Whole30 probably through the 29th of May (It’s my birthday and I well, who knows, I might want wine).

I feel great other than my allergies which have kept me from posting. I live in a very small town stuck right in the middle of corn country and with farmers in the fields and what they spray on the fields, spring is has my eyes swollen, nose runny and lungs wheezy and looking at a computer screen outside of what I have to for work has been impossible.

So far the journey has done what I wanted, and I it is my goal to have a lifetime of healthy eating.

We have set a new goal, and I will post about that separately, but it is huge, exciting, and scary! I can’t wait!

I will post on Wednesday night with a more in depth over view of the last 30 days, what worked, what didn’t and Alee will have a post up by the end of the week. We will also have a reveal with out pictures!

 

Whole30 What do you mean no candy?

Whole30 Day 19–Shar’s Perspective

(Feature image: Aleesha’s best friend brought over Milk Duds–really nice when we are on Whole30–and she forgot them. Aleesha’s dog patches found them and her face when I snapped the picture! “What do you mean no candy!” She looks like she is growling, but she wasn’t. I took the picture to send to the friend saying “Patches says ‘Thanks'” and this is what I got)

Day 19 is coming to an end, and that means the end is almost in sight, but I don’t think that is always a good thing, and I’ll tell you why in a bit.

I feel great, Aleesha is still not seeing the benefits aside from extra weight loss. I think one of the big things is that we had already cut out so much stuff in the months leading to Whole30, her body was already doing a lot of healing. Another thing is that I have severe autoimmune responses to things like legumes, while she doesn’t, so some eliminated items that are really helping me are not necessarily making a big difference for her.

For years she has had unexplained stomach pain, and I was hoping that this would help, it hasn’t. I fear there another, yet to be diagnosed food allergy that is causing the problem. She looks great though. I see changes from my perspective that she doesn’t see.

As for me, as I have said before, this is about feeling better, but I do have clothes that are getting too big. To be honest, when you are as fat as I have been for years, it is very hard to visually see any changes though. Get up, look in the mirror–yup, still fat–carry on with day. I am no looking to be a size 5 again, or even a size 10. If it happens it does, but not dealing with the brain fog–that is worth turning down all the “bad” food I’m offered.

So here I am–the sun setting on day 19. My tummy and my coffee cup are full, dogs sleeping peacefully at my side, and I wonder–what’s next? Aleesha plans to actually go six weeks because she is getting school credit logging and discussing everything, but she can’t wait for that cheat day. The day that, despite her allergies, she can have the sweets she so desperately wants.

I fear that day. This is not my first time kicking sugar, and I don’t want to ever have to do it again. I don’t want to become complacent to the hidden sugars in so many things, and I don’t want the brain fog to come back.

Aleesha is 16. Whether she hops back on the sugar bus or not, she has learned a lot so far, and will continue to learn about how to live a healthier lifestyle. The last think I will do to her is place restrictions on her (yes, even if it something she has an allergy to since her allergy response is not life threatening), she is old enough to make those choices on her own.

For me, I look forward to very little… honey mustard (paleo compliant) and good quality cheese from time to time. I don’t plan on being totally Paleo, for a few reasons, but my after-plan will be similar. Ultimately, I want to eat clean, with no processed sugars and not a lot of added sugars regardless. There are some things that I will have though, like butter and cheese, although not often.

So, I don’t know if the end of the 30 days is always a good thing, because what comes next? After suffering through the months (and anyone who has had sugar withdrawals knows–you suffer), do you go back to what you were doing before? How many of things that you eliminated do you dare let back in? Will one binge day undo all 30 days? Answering these questions for both me and for Aleesha will be a big part of the next 10 days.

If any one has any suggestions, I would love the input!

Whole30 day 19

Whole30 Day 19–cravings are back

It is day 19 of Whole30 and I just had my supper of Whole30 Buffalo chicken and fries with some raw vegetables. I haven’t been feeling good today, like maybe I am catching a cold. Chicken wings sounded really good, so mom breaded some chicken breast chunks with flax, tapioca starch, and spices then baked it to get it crispy. After it was done, she tossed it in an olive oil and Frank’s Red Hot mixture (usually, it would be butter and Frank’s for buffalo wings, but Whole30 is no dairy, and I am allergic, so that wasn’t an option). It was good except the chicken we got wasn’t the greatest. We got it from a store we almost never buy meat from, and I can see why mom goes to specific stores not.

I don’t know if is the cold or what, but I want waffles and pastries, and just about anything sweet today. It is a hard day, and I am not a happy camper. On the plus side, I went down another size. My prom is May 22 and I don’t think I will know what dress to wear until a week before. Last year I wore a size 22, the dress I fit in now is a 16, so between my changes before and the boost of the Whole30, I am making progress.

My mom keep talking about how good she feels. I don’t think I notice much other than I am sleeping better most days.

I am learning how to cook more things on my own. I have made meals without help several times. I already knew how to cook, but always used recipes. This is teaching me to experiment and just go with it. The featured image is a pepper steak, topped with some avocado (for mom not me, yuck!) and Primal Kitchens Chipotle Mayo.

I guess that’s all for now. I need to go for a walk before I climb in bed.

 

 

Whole30 Day 16

It is hard to believe it is already day 16! WOW! It doesn’t seem like that long since I was getting my meal plan ready.

One of the rules of Whole30 is not step on a scale for 30 days, but I broke that for blogging purposes. At the beginning, I was 256 lbs, and this morning I am 242 lbs. Alee started at 207 lbs and this morning she was 199 lbs.

To be honest, I don’t feel like I have lost 14 pounds, though my clothes have gotten much looser. I just don’t feel like I look any different. I think since I am so heavy, it will take a lot more before I can personally see anything.

Again–the purpose behind doing the Whole30 is not for us to loose weight but to get healthy. Sure, a side effect of getting healthy is weight loss, but we have no goal or expectations other than a healthy lifestyle. The real benefits we are seeing is more energy, healthier skin, better sleep, and less autoimmune responses.

I will post pictures of us tomorrow. My internet is being difficult and a technician is supposed to be out tomorrow to try and fix it, but uploading a photo is just not going to happen tonight.

 

Dead Sea Sole Water

Sole Water

I drink a lot of water. Long before I started my “healthier me” journey, I drank water. Friends and family will tell you the one thing I will never say no to is a glass of water. On a slow day, I drink a gallon (not counting coffee or tea).

I know, that’s great right? Yes, and no. One issue with drinking so much water is that it can flush too much out of my system. This means that I have been known to test for low sodium. This is where I learned about Sole Water (pronounced Sol-ay in case you wondering).

Sole Water is pretty simple–Take filtered water and add real salt (not the table salt junk). I use Himalayan Pink Salt. When I say add salt, I don’t mean a few tea spoons–I mean, fill a jar about 1/3 full of salt then add water to it and shake it all up. Wait a day, and add a little more salt and let it dissolve. Then, keep adding salt a little salt until it won’t dissolve anymore and you have reached supersaturation–where the water can dissolve absolutely not more salt.

Sounds tasty, right??? Well, drinking a tsp of Sole Water with 8-32 oz of water in the morning on an empty stomach helps to replace my lost salt–bonus, I found that it also helps to kill off the candida over growth I have! I was told to mix a tsp of sole water in a MINIMUM of 8 oz of water, but I can’t do it. I can not drink the salt flavored water, so what I do (and it works for me) is I take the Sole Water like medicine then immediately follow it with a water bottle full of fresh water. DO NOT WAIT TO DRINK THE WATER if you do it this way though! Within 30 seconds, my stomach will be on fire if I don’t gulp water right away–but if you are not a baby like me, mix it–it is probably better that way.

Side effects:

Within a week of this, I noticed improved skin (a healthier diet has helped my skin even more).

I used to get yeast rashes under my breasts but I don’t anymore.

My sodium levels are where they should be.

I feel more hydrated.

I have not had thrush since I started.

My bowel movements are more productive.

If you Google about it, you will find a lot of articles with tons of information. I just wanted to share my experience because it has been positive for me. I am not a health professional, and it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying any of this stuff!

Let me know if you have tried Sole Water and what you think!

 

Whole30 Healthy Eating Feeling Great

Healthy Shopping on a Budget (Whole30, Paleo, Raw)

One of the hardest parts of eating healthy for me and my family is budget. Some people don’t really know what is like to be low income, but my family does. We spent the last 6 months living on a take home pay of under $1000 a month. I don’t say this for any other reason than to say–I understand how hard eating healthy can be when you are poor.

I am happy to say that other streams of income are coming in the last couple of months, and I pray that continues, but health issues, job losses, etc… can really make a grocery budget non-existent.

I do want to point out that we are more blessed than some, as we have very little debt, including a house that is paid for, so I know there are many out there who have it much harder.

When I know I need to eat healthy in order to control my autoimmune responses, but I have a hard time affording the food I need. If I eat food that is bad for me, my autoimmune response will keep me from being able to work and increase our families income–well you get the point. It is a vicious cycle that I believe many deal with everyday. I’ve had those weeks where I barely had enough to buy ramen noodles, let alone something healthy.

For me, the answer to healthy eating is more of a formula.

  1. Planning
  2. Preparation
  3. Where to shop
  4. Accepting that I won’t always get what I want

I started bullet journaling for my shopping lists and menus. I plan out meals for 30 days–3 meals a day. This includes planning for left-overs. It is so nice to have something ready to reheat for breakfast or lunch anyway, so DO plan to make an extra serving or two for left overs, and when you shop STICK TO THE LIST!

When I plan, I start by thinking if there is something new I want to try or something I don’t have all that often and add those in first. Then I figure how many other meals I need to make and fill that in with my “go-to” meals. For us, we will always eat: tacos on lettuce wraps or on salad with homemade taco seasoning; a variety of chicken stir fry; curry; pepper steak; Spanish style cauliflower rice; clean bacon (Alee likes it for breakfast–not so much my thing); homemade tomato soup; salmon or tuna; and whatever hot-dish (whatever veggies or meat on hand tossed together).

Plan around what is on sale and if that means you need to plan bi-weekly rather than monthly, do that. For instance, if chicken is really cheap, I will make more stir-fry. Tuna Steaks (frozen wild caught) were cheap this month so I got a couple packages–I would pass if it was not on sale.

YOU MUST PREP! Preparation helps to ensure you don’t waste food (and you aren’t stuck with nothing to eat when you are really hungry). When you are on a super tight budget, food waste simply is not an option. One example is that if I have roasted chicken one night, I will be making a chicken and veggie soup with the left over chicken in the next day or two (you can make your own bone broth too! YUM). Veggie cuttings work great to flavor broths–or if you garden you can compost any cuttings to help your crop! One big prep I do is cook up 5 or 6 pounds of hamburger at a time, make taco meat and freeze it in small batches. This makes for a quick meal on days we are in a hurry. Heat it up and toss in on some salad, or other veggies. It also means that I don’t waste any leftover meat because it is frozen in small, easy to manage batches. No matter what works for you, just be sure to prep so you don’t waste time or groceries!

Where to shop–this is big for me. Locally, groceries are so expensive! I actually travel over an hour to Aldi to get affordable groceries each month. If you have a discount food store that carries quality groceries, GO THERE! Even having to travel once a month, the money I save there is massive. For things that are hard to find, I shop at Thrive Market online (this is a referral link*, whether you use it or not, I would recommend that you check them out). Thrive Market has a lot of things I use to cook healthily at a much lower cost than I can get them anywhere else. For instance, I use a LOT of coconut aminos since we do a lot of stir fry. I save about $3.00 a bottle from Thrive over anywhere else, plus they offer percent off discounts pretty regularly.

There is a membership required with Thrive, but if you shop there regularly, you will save more than that rather quickly. Your membership with Thrive Market will also pay for a free membership for a low income family to help them save money on healthy items. (If you need a free membership–google Thrive Gives and fill out an application). I am currently reaping the benefits of a free membership, but I will gladly become a paying member as our situation improves.

Lastly, accept that your healthy eating may not always mean you get to eat what you want. You might have to eat a lot of eggs, hamburger, and turkey burger if you are not vegan (and I honestly am not familiar enough with vegan diets to say give an example here)–but you can get creative (also, if you watch–grocery stores often mark roasts and steaks down for quick sale at cheaper prices than hamburger). You won’t starve, and after those pesky cravings are gone, you will find that simple tastes better and you eat more for sustenance than for “what sounds good”. Also, you won’t be able to eat all organic, grass-fed, cage-free everything. Simply make an effort to eat as healthy as you can within your budget.

I wish you luck in your quest to eat healthy. I hope that it does for you what it is doing for me. I feel better, have more energy and my autoimmune responses that have kept me unable to function several days a month are fewer and fewer. I am able to get back to living, and it feels so good.

*This post contains a referral link to Thrive Market. I would not recommend them if I did not love them. If you chose to become a Thrive Market member and use my link, I get a store credit and you get a coupon for a percentage off. If you want to check the out and don’t feel comfortable using a referral, I understand. Simply Google Thrive Market. They offer a 30 day free trial so you can see if you can save money on some healthy staple options. Affiliate links on this site go to Alee’s college fund, but referrals like this one will simply be applied to our families grocery shopping budget.

Whole30 Better than sweet fire chicken stir fry

Whole30 Day 14

Alee and Me has made it through day 14! The tiredness is gone and so are the cravings. We both have more energy and our sleep patterns seem to be improving some.

Alee says she is not sure she has noticed enough of a change to make it worth it. I have noticed less pain, better skin, weight loss (I think), more energy and generally just feeling better.

A have several friends who are starting Whole30 on May 1st and we are starting a Facebook support group. while I will be on day 21 then, I am hopeful I can be of help to them. I would suggest a support group if you want to try this.

Tonight we had a chicken stir fry I called “Better Than Sweet Fire Chicken” (because that is our favorite entree and Panda Express). Watch for the recipe, I will post it soon!

I will write a post about physical activity this week, and I will post some midway pictures.

Sorry for the sort update, I will try to do better!