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.
Pacific Crest Trail training hiking Oregon section

Training (We don’t use the “E” word here)

I’m looking out the window at the trees that are almost full of leaves, but not quite to their summer glory, whipping back and forth in an excited dance the wind swipes way the rain that falls around them. (by the time I finish this–there is just a calm breeze…)

It’s a tad muggy out, 76 degrees and 58% humidity but not too bad–still I wonder about what I will do for training today. Thunderstorms are predicted shortly–here in the Midwest, they can be a big deal–do I brave them anyway? After all, I can’t hide inside away from a storm when I am out on the trails.

Let’s back up a bit. If this is the first post of mine you’ve read, you don’t know my history or my goals. You can go back and get more detail, but I am 42 (almost 43!!!) and suffer from a variety of autoimmune disorders as well as struggling with weight and low energy. I have been working on doing better–staring with eating healthy followed by doing what ever I can do each day.

As I began to feel better, I decided hiking was going to be my go to activity. (Thank you Alee for planting that bug in my ear!) In fact, next summer I will hike 100-150 miles on the Pacific Crest Trial in my home state of Oregon with my 16 year old daughter (she will be 17 then). My older daughter might go as well–but I don’t know yet. Remember–I am severely out of shape, suffer from severe pain and weakness and this is HUGE deal for me. So I started small. Daily training for the next 13-14 months with local weekend hikes to prepare.

I started with just walking as far as I could, but staying close to home and in very little time have graduated to 2-3 mile walks on our railroad tracks going up and over the hump to imitate climbing (I am a flatlander out here after all).

Backpacking training, pacific crest trail, getting healthy
Walking the tracks. Some places the climb is 5 or 6 feet on each side, some are lower like here, but it gives Alee and me the opportunity to work climbing muscles in our legs ad on uneven ground. The rocks are really loose in some places adding to the challenge.

Fast forward to today–it’s stormy and I don’t have rain gear yet–it s on my list but so is pretty much everything a hiker needs because I have nothing. I also don’t have good shoes yet (this is higher on my priority list than rain gear). Is it worth going out in the weather and training? What if I get injured due to lack of proper gear? That will set me back and I don’t want that.

Stop making excuses. I know that is what is going through your mind right now, but honestly, I’m not. I actually am looking forward to training each day and these are honest, legitimate concerns I have that I am not sure how to answer. I know I need to train in bad weather because when I get to the point I can do a 5 day or 10 day hikes, or God willing, perhaps do a full hike-thru, weather won’t care if I am prepared or not. It will just come. Still, I do worry about being prepared to handle it in the safest manner possible.

That being said, my plan for tonight is to play it by ear–my iPhone is already showing that the thunder storms are coming later than originally projected. Get out there and if it seems too wet for my walking shoes to handle safely, I will stick to flat ground. If it does get bad before I get out there, I have a stairs I can climb and weights I can lift.

Everyday is a training day. No excuses–I can always do something, even on those bad days (rare now) when every movement is excruciating. Train to be healthier, train to be happier, train to meet a goal. No exercises, that word is banned from home–train, because when you are fighting autoimmune issues, every single movement you choose to make trains you to be a little bit better, a little bit stronger.

On days I can’t, I will lean on God and know that He can.

Life is good.

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!

Training Hiking Pacific Crest Trail Appalachian Trail

Training for our Next Adventure! (Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail)

Last week, Aleesha asked me if I would consider doing the Appalachian Trail (AT), or at least a section of it with her. To be honest, I had never thought about it, I mean I am a west coast girl at heart transplanted to the Midwest, so Appalachia has never really been a place I thought to visit, let a long hike.

It was a couple of days later when I saw a video on Facebook–I had seen it floating around before, but for some reason, this time I watched it (watch video here). I was watching glimpses of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and when I recognized parts of Oregon near my home town, I thought–“I can do this”! After all, I grew up in those woods, it is not unfamiliar to me, I have family close by so what a great first goal!

Aleesha still wants to the AT, and I that is now in our list of goals.

If you have read pasts posts, you know that I have health issues that make me weak, but I am working on it. I am fat (no shame here, just stating the facts) and if I tried today, the PCT would kill me!

So, last night (Sunday May 7th) it began. Alee and Me are officially in training to become backcountry backpacking warriors!

We will do some small local hikes in preparation, but our goal is to hit the PCT in late July or August of next year. I know, it sounds like a long time, but we have a lot of preparing to do, and this summer would be difficult, and I would rather wait until most of the snow is melted, so next spring is out.

So the next 14-15 months, we will work to get ready for a 5-7 day section of the trail. Keep in mind, this does not only mean that we will be training our bodies and minds, but we will also be getting gear because we have to completely outfit two people! If you backpack, you know the cost of gear–and the budget in my house doesn’t have much wiggle room.

During these next months I am also going to practice dehydrating my own pack food because I don’t want the additives in the commercially packaged stuff, and I want to be able to enjoy it at least a little. After several hours on the trail, I want to be able to refuel quickly and relax while enjoying something “home-cooked”.

So there you have it, our next adventure! Watch out world, here we come!

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 Better than sweet fire chicken stir fry

Better Than Sweet-Fire Chicken (Whole30 Compliant)

This recipe is really good, and Alee and I both love it. It is now one of our go to meals. Like most things I make, this is flexible, so make it your own! I also included a .doxc file if want to print it, Better than Sweet (Should you need and .rtf or a .pdf. let me know).

Better than Sweet-Fire Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 2 TBS Tapioca Flower
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 4 Stalks Celery
  • 1 Yellow Pepper
  • ½ Cup Diced Fresh Pinapple
  • Splash of Chicken Bone Broth
  • 2 TBS Coconut Aminos
  • Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Hot peppers of your choice (and add according to your taste—I like spicy so 2-3 chopped jalapenos is good for me, but if we have company I tone it down).
  • Snow Peas (I did not measure them, I just tossed in a package I got from Aldi).

*This recipe cooks really fast so have all your veggies cut up and ready to go or you will end up with some things over-cooked and some under-cooked!

Brown chicken in olive oil with onion, garlic, season with salt pepper and red pepper flakes (I won’t put a measurement for the seasoning, you know what you like—remember your red pepper flakes are spicy and you also are adding other hot peppers so take that into account when seasoning. Also, they tend to get spicier as they cook).

Once onion starts to look transparent, add peppers, pineapple, and celery and a splash of Bone Broth (if you don’t have bone broth an clean regular broth will do—this will give you a bit of a sauce when you are done).

(If you want to add broccoli or cauliflower, add them before the celery, peppers and pineapple because they take longer to cook).

Add in your coconut aminos. I would not recommend skipping the coconut aminos because they really add the flavor needed in my opinion.

Add in tapioca flour (arrowroot starch would probably work too). This is optional, but it will thicken the juices to leave a nice sauce coating.

You can adjust seasoning if needed, or if you want it sweeter, add some more pineapple.

Add the snow peas last! They cook really fast, and I know I like them to still be a little crisp. I stir them in then turn off the heat and cover for about 2-3 minutes. Cook longer if you like them softer.

Whole30 Day 5

Today has been better. We had bad storms last night, and I didn’t sleep, so I napped during the day. It felt good. 😊

Besides that energy is up and pain and cravings are down (today anyway).  

We are not going anywhere for Easter. We will be staying home and enjoying roast chicken. The temptation of all the “no” foods is just not worth it. 

I apologize for the short update. If I get on my computer I will end up working and I want to sleep at a decent hour for once. 

Goodnight for now! 

Why do I Love Amazon?

I read an article today about how shopping at Amazon is more expensive than many other sites. Yes, it can be. My family has a tight budget, and I love a good deal, but even with Amazon having a higher price, I still go through their site for a lot of what I buy. Why is that?

I love shopping online. I live in The Middle of Nowhere, USA and shopping severely limited. Oh, and I suppose I should tell you, I hate shopping in stores! The smells, the people, and well THE PEOPLE! Anyway, the gene that my sister and mother have that allows them to spend hours in stores just looking never was passed to me. When I want or need something, I want to get it and get out!

Needless to say, a large part of my shopping is done online. I get haircare, beauty products, household items and even some food items. I’ve purchased beds and mattresses, televisions and when I get a new lawn mower in a couple weeks, it will be bought online too. The convenience of having these items brought to me makes me so grateful to be alive in the 21st century!

So, why would I pay more on Amazon when another site has it cheaper? Why would I pay a yearly subscription for Amazon Prime? Why not be an online bargain hunter?

Well, in some cases, I don’t buy on Amazon. For instance, I bought my washing machine online from Sears. There was a $10 delivery fee to my location and some wonderful man not only brought the new machine to my house, carried it down to my basement and set it up–he removed my old broken one! All without my having to leave the house! If Sears had told me I had to wait three weeks for it to be delivered though, I would have said forget it and gotten it elsewhere.

So when I am getting my hair care products, I can see that other retailers might carry my product for a couple of dollars less, and they offer free shipping. What they don’t offer me is two-day shipping and proven customer service I can rely on. Usually, other sites free shipping means I wait a week or more. I guess, for me, value means more than just price.

Dennis got an iPhone 7 plus a few months ago. We ordered straight from Apple and they said guaranteed next day delivery. The next day, we got hit with a snow storm, and somehow–one snow storm caused a weeks delay in getting the “next day” phone. It was shipped from Tennessee and never left the facility there until six days after purchase, so I don’t really know how the storm was at fault for the shipping delay since there was no storm there–but that’s their story.

I have never had that problem with Amazon. If weather stops a shipment from being there in the two-day window, I wait one extra day, not six. If I have any issue with a product, Amazon has always replaced it quickly and without hassle. I can trust that I will get my product and they will stand behind it.

That being said, I don’t buy everything through Amazon. I am much more likely to buy makeup from Ulta, Sophora or another source than I am on Amazon. These stores have pretty decent shipping times, and between better price and rewards programs, this is the best option. But for most of the items I order from Amazon, I need them in a timely manner. If my coffee pot breaks, NO ONE wants me waiting more than two days before a new one is on the counter!

So, while this blog/article I read, didn’t allow comments and I couldn’t tell them this–I feel better now that I’ve ranted here. I often joke that Amazon will one day rule the world (it could happen), but I am glad I live in a world where the convenience of a such an online marketplace exists.

Mom’s response to Alee’s Review: Crack Leave in Hair Treatment

Aleesha reviewed Crack Leave in Hair Treatment on March 31, 2017. This my response.

I got introduced to Crack about four years ago. Fearing damage to Aleesha’s over processed hair, a stylist recommended it. At that time, they only made the leave in cream. It functions as a deep conditioner, styling aid, and heat protectant while fixing and protecting hair.

The tagline for Crack is “A habit forming hair fix“, and it really is downright addicting, adding credit to the unusual name.

Being in my 40’s with hashimoto’s thyroiditis and in full on menopause, my hair needs all the help it can get. Though I don’t process as much as Aleesha, I will add highlights from time to time. I even tried to “tame” my natural waves by getting a perm last May. (It didn’t work how I wanted it to).

Crack adds hydration to my hair. The cream is thick with a wonderful scent and helps keep my hair soft and manageable. It also helps keep the static away in the winter months.

Even with long hair, a little goes a long way, so it is easy to overuse until you get used to it.

I would recommend Crack to everyone.  It is not gender or age specific. As Alee posted, we purchase Crack on Amazon because it is cheaper than our local salons. (If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can try it here for 30 days, free!”

*Amazon links are affiliate links, please see our disclaimer if you have any questions*