This recipe will change your life. Period.

Seriously.

It looks like pudding. It tastes better than pudding. It’s like a thick, creamy custard of amazingness.

paleopudding3

My sister and brother-in-law made this recipe up while working through the 21-day sugar detox with me. My sister made up the original recipe, which was more of a smoothie quality. Her husband Joe decided he wanted something a bit more like a pudding consistency, so he messed around with the ingredients a bit and came up with what’s posted below. When I visited last weekend, Joe whipped it up for us. Twice. In 2 days. We ate all of it. Twice. Over 2 days.

As Joe warned me: Once you make this, you will have an extremely difficult time not making it multiple times a week. This is not (much of) a problem if you adhere to a strict paleo diet and/or are living on a diet like mine, which excludes refined sugars and a whole bunch of other things. It’s full of good fats (coconut milk and nut butter) and if you’re like me, it’s an excellent way to 1.) get in some good calories before a workout 2.) eat a dessert when you’re craving something sweet and 3.) makes an awesome breakfast or snack. It’s so good that I plan on making it this weekend to bring as a dessert for a super bowl party.

paleopudding2

The recipe is super simple. Just combine everything from the ingredients list below and blend blend blend. Joe and my sister have a (dreamy) Vitamix, but I don’t, so I plan on trying to make it work in my food processor. It might not get as creamy as it would in a Vitamix, but I think I can come close.  The goal is to blend it enough that it’s thick when you take it out of the blender, almost like a super thick smoothie. Then, you have to put it in the fridge for a few hours until it settles into a perfect cool custardy treat. Joe served it up in regular glasses (pictured) but I’m going to try to make it in small ramekins. It’s a bit rich (at least, it seems rich to me, but my sweet tooth isn’t so strong anymore). I couldn’t eat an entire glass-full in one sitting: it’s one of those treats you can keep in the fridge and keep taking bites of all day.

You can mess around with the ingredients depending on whether or not you like more cinnamon flavoring or maybe want to try almond or peanut butter. I think the cashew butter gives it a really great consistency without overwhelming all the other flavors: there’s a hint of cashew, but not too much.

 

paleopudding

Change Your Life Paleo Custard

1 can coconut milk
1 cup nut butter (cashew)
2-3 bananas
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 full tbsp cocoa

1. Blend all ingredients until thickened and smooth. 2. Pour into glasses or ramekins and leave in refrigerator for a few hours until thickened. 3. Devour.


my 21 day detox taught me not to do a 21 day detox

I’d really love to start this post with I did a 21 day sugar detox and I killed it but instead I’m going to say that trying to do a detox when your diet is already incredibly limited was a lesson in what not to do when your diet is already incredibly limited.

For starters, my diet is currently already limited to the following list:
*veggies (minus hard to digest veggies like cabbage. and brussels sprouts.)
*fruit
*meat, fish
*nuts
*occasionally: grains like rice and quinoa
*coffee, tea, some liquors (I hate sweet drinks, so I drink all beverages with no sweeteners, even mixed drinks.)

The detox I attempted to do limited my diet to:
*veggies (but no potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets or other naturally sweet  and starchy veggies)
*grapefruit, granny smith apples, not yet ripe bananas, lemons and limes
*meat, fish (but not cured meat)
*nuts

Avoiding refined sugar is not hard for me. Unless I can find a dairy and soy free chocolate bar, there’s almost nothing sweet I can buy that is free of gluten, diary, soy and eggs. I also am not a baker, so making sweets is rare. Trying to cut back on my sweet tooth meant eating less fruit, not eating sweet potatoes,  and not drinking wine. Ok, no problem.

Here’s what 21 days eating this way (above) translated to: not eating until 2 p.m. (or sometimes 4 p.m.) because I didn’t take time to figure out what I could eat on the detox, so instead, I just drank coffee and didn’t eat until the evening when I’d make a massive meal and go to bed with a headache from not eating all day. Really. Dumb.

Here’s the good and bad of what I learned over the last 21 days:

1. Bad: I already have to plan ahead for every single meal I eat. Trying to limit my diet even more especially when I’m busy translates to: It’s too much work. I’ll eat half an avocado and a latte and call it breakfast/lunch.  This move over a number of days translates to massive headaches. That last for days. It basically moved me from eating Larabars and lattes all day to not eating and drinking coffee all day. Not healthy. Ridiculous.

2. Good: I don’t need to learn to eliminate sugar. I hardly eat it anyway. I used to have a major sweet tooth but I don’t as much any more, so why exactly am I trying to do this…? The detox was about limiting cravings. I already have a biologically built-in inability to digest so much that limits and cravings mean very different things to me now. Learning this about myself was really awesome.

3. Bad: Sure, giving up alcohol if a few weeks is probably healthy. When I crave something sweet, I crave a glass of wine, a bowl of coconut ice-cream, or a rice cake smothered in peanut butter and my mom’s homemade raspberry jam. (She makes a special one with less sugar for me now because she rules.) The only thing I craved on this detox was sweet potatoes and wine. These things are not inherently bad for me. I’m not sure avoiding them did me that much good.

4. Good: Avocados in smoothies are always a good idea. New favorite: 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, coconut/almond milk, 1 big spoonful of peanut or almond butter. Tasty good fats. Also, bacon and parsnips are a perfect combo. Who knew?

5. Bad: It’s day 22 and I ate 2 Larabars  and an almond milk latte and called it breakfast/lunch. Clearly, I did not kick my Larabar habit. I’m not clear if this is a bad thing or just my reality right now.

6. Good: It was awesome to do this diet with my sister, brother-in-law, and friends. I created a private Facebook group for people doing the detox with us and it was so great to share all our recipes and cheer each other on when we wanted to face-plant into a pile of Oreos. (Or, if you’re me, into a glass of wine and a baked sweet potato.) My one thought is that if you are ever going to attempt to change anything in your diet, get a buddy. It’s easier with a buddy. I know this after 5 years of having to eat drastically different from everyone else. Having two siblings who eat like me makes me  feel “normal” when it comes to eating.

7. Super Duper Bad: After 10 months, I decided to try eggs last week. It was a disaster. It deserves its own blog post. I’m currently reading up on the science of egg allergy testing to I can write an informed post on egg allergies. Needless to say, the science is not conclusive.

I think the good out-weighs the bad on the last 21 days. It made me realize that it’s okay to go gentle and remove things from my diet, but only if they really make sense for my well-being. Is a sweet potato and a glass of wine here and there really going to wreck me? No. But I think that given how little sugar (refined and natural) I actually consume, limiting myself more than I already have isn’t really all that worth it, especially if it only causes me more stress. (What the hell am I gonna eat? Answer: Nothing.) I think I’m going to stick to my sweet potatoes. And Pink Lady apples. And ripe bananas. I really really missed ripe bananas.

I committed to this detox to see what it would do for my skin and stomach aches. My skin is no better, but I know enough to realize 21 days is not going to change my skin. Eggs wrecked my stomach. I don’t consider the last 21 days a failure, though. I think of it more as a kick-starter to eating with a “restore” state of mind: gentle foods that heal and give your body some rest. I’m game to keep going with this. Only with ripe bananas.

 

 

 

 

 


winter eating & a recipe

Happy New Year!

It’s been over 4 months since i wrote here last. Time flies! I got lost in my dissertation proposal and didn’t come up for air until it went to committee Saturday, December 21st. I’m about to dive back into months of solid non-stop dissertation writing so I can graduate in 2014 (woohoo!), so I’m starting the new year with a “restore” diet for a few weeks to jump start the semester and rid myself of the massive amounts of sugar and booze I consumed over the holidays. I’m calling it a “restore” way of eating or diet rather than a detox because 1. detox diets are often very short and I intend to eat this way more generally for longer than 21 days 2. this diet is less about “detoxing” and more about feeding my body gentle, nurturing foods that restore energy and balance. Last year, I wrote a lot about sugar-free eating. Over the last 6 months, my functional wellness doctor and acupuncturist (my go-to women for both eastern and western health perspectives on my health) are strongly urging me to get rid of the sugar in order to help deal with my most persistent issues: stomach aches (post too much sugar), consistent skin issues (mainly acne like i’m 13 when i’m 34) and headaches, both caused by hormones, which sugar loves to mess with. I’ve resisted this complete elimination for 6 months because given how limited my diet already is, giving up sugar, even natural sugars, is not appealing.

I’m excited about dropping most sugar because the goal is not to loose weight or try to determine what might be a cause of chronic digestive pain (like in the past). The goal this time is to lessen my sweet tooth and sweet cravings by limiting all sugars: refined, natural, carbs, etc. and to see if it helps with headaches and my chronic skin issues.

Lucky me, I’ve enlisted my sister, brother-in-law, and some lovely friends to join me on the 21-day adventure. We are using Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox book because it has a lot of science-based info on sugar’s impact on the body, lots of recipes, and 3 different levels you can work from so you can figure out how hardcore you want to be based on your current diet. (I’m a level 3 because I’m already so restricted in my diet.)

Today we are literally getting dumped on by snow, which I spent some time shoveling. It was like shoveling endless mounds of confectioner sugar. All I could think about was sugar and how I was getting in a solid workout pushing so much of it off our super long driveway. (And regretting that we didn’t hire someone to plow this year.) Lucky us, I had roasted a chicken, so we came inside to yummy smells. I loved this dinner because it combined some of my favorite things: fennel, avocado, lime, mustard and horseradish. Looking forward to the left-overs after more shoveling tomorrow.

I adapted ideas from the book to create this dinner. I created a mustard glaze (p. 114) to use on the whole chicken (although this glaze could be used on any poultry pieces) but added in horseradish and used olive oil instead of coconut oil. The citrus salad ideas came from the grapefruit salad (p. 166) although the only similarities are the grapefruit, avocado pieces and lime juice. This recipe makes plenty for two people plus left-overs.

citruschickensalad

Roasted Chicken with Avocado Citrus Salad
 1. In a small bowl, whisk glaze ingredients together. (See ingredients list below.) Brush all of the glaze over the chicken breasts, wings, and legs. This glaze can be used one a whole chicken or breast or thigh pieces. If you have any spare veggies laying around, through them in the bottom of the roasting pan around the chicken. I used a few carrots that came out with a yummy mustardy flavor. Roast chicken until skin darkens and meat is cooked through. 

2. While chicken is roasting, prep salad. Chop parsley and scallions and place in a small bowl. Add chopped fennel, avocado wedges, and small pieces of grapefruit. Toss everything with lime juice, olive or avocado oil, salt and pepper. Place everything on top of fresh salad greens.

3. When chicken is done, carve and be sure to pour juices at the bottom of the pan on top of chicken pieces. Mix with salad and devour.

 Glaze
2 tbls olive oil
2 tbls spoons mustard (i used horseradish mustard)
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste

Salad
small handful of parsley
3 scallions (more or less if you like salads onion-y)
1 fennel bulb
1/2 avocado
1/2 grapefruit
juice from 1/2 lime (or full lime if you like a lot of citrus)
1 tbls of olive or avocado oil
salt and pepper to taste
mixed salad greens

 

 

 


venison & honey

*super relieved to say that last week’s doctor’s appointment went excellent. the test results showed that i’m low in protein and vitamin D (who isn’t?) but for the first time ever, my vitamin B levels are (almost) acceptable. the only additional thing i have to drop: eggs. turns out my body hates egg whites. so, no more eggs. i get to try to reintroduce them in september. this brings my enemy list to: gluten, dairy (except goat products), soy and eggs.

*this puts a major damper on my plans to break last year’s record (5) and eat 6 cupcakes from Ellie’s on my birthday next week. i’ve decided that in place of 6 cupcakes, i will dial down the sugar free-for-all and try only eating a little bit of coconut ice cream.

*last week, i tried 2 new things: venison & honey goat cheese.
*oddly enough, despite growing up in the country, i never ate venison; my family is not a hunting family. a friend of mine hunts and gave me venison steaks and some venison sausage that he made. they’ve been sitting in my freezer for at least 5 months. i’ll admit the only reason i wanted to eat any of it was because some one i knew actually killed the deer.
*it was surprisingly good. i overcooked it:

venison

*second try was more pink and much better:

venisonpink

*another friend of mine found honey goat cheese that is (gasp!) animal rennet-free! now i can add this lovely Canadian cheese-making company to my list of goat cheeses made with vegetable rennet. note: my list had only 1, so it wasn’t much of a list.

goatcheese

*it was my first time eating goat cheese since christmas. i remember now why everyone loves it. after my salad, i just sat there eating it out of the package with a spoon.

honeygoatcheese

*i’m still technically on the elimination/restore diet. i’m supposed to slowly add things back in every week or so. i can’t think of a single thing i miss eating right now, so that’s good news.


i think i can i think i can i think i can i think i can

i’m trying really hard to stay on the elimination diet. it’s getting easier. i’m getting used to eating the same things over and over again. i’m bored. but i’m trying to stay motivated. i’m happy it’s grilling season. and that C bought me a sodastream for my birthday last year. when i’m bored, i’m drinking a lot of soda water with lemon or adding drops of these amazing bitters i bought in seattle last year:

bitters

i’ve gotten into the habit of sautéing an entire bunch of kale and a full fennel bulb for lunch or dinner most days of the week. add spicy mustard or lemon and it’s perfect.

fennelkale

yesterday i went to the grocery store and filled my shopping basket with kale, fennel and apples. then i went and stood at the coconut milk ice cream for a solid 5 minutes. i read the back of all of the so delicious sugar-free pints of ice cream. i got scared by the ingredients i didn’t recognize and decided it wasn’t worth the risk of a stomach ache, especially because i have been pain free for exactly 29 days. this is amazing. i settled for an iced mint green tea chai coconut milk latte instead. i drank it and tried to imagine that it was as good as coconut milk ice cream.

i’m currently roasting an entire butternut squash, beets, broccoli and sweet potatoes in batches (because our oven is so tiny) because i need to stop living off of rice cakes, apples, kale and fennel.

veggies

mustard is happy that i’ve been grilling salmon a lot more lately:

kittyfish

in San Francisco, i was sad to miss out on my favorite things, like: french fries with aioli:

fries

amazing donuts, although i will admit i felt like i could taste them because they smelled so amazing:

donuts

i loved seeing the latte art other people got to enjoy:

bluebottle

twice i cheated and ate bacon. it was worth it.

bacon

once, i couldn’t find anything to eat while out walking through little italy, so i ate an entire shrimp cocktail all by myself for lunch:

shrimp

i also discovered that i love honey and cinnamon on grapefruit and i miss eating figs. i also miss eating honey.

fruit

overall, i did pretty good though. i cheated on: honey, bacon, booze, a few chips, and i ate an entire pint of coconut milk chocolate peanut butter ice cream in 24 hours. i can’t believe i didn’t get sick.

i did, however, get a massive head cold on the 5th day and am still struggling to get rid of the congestion.
i have exactly 5 and 1/2 weeks left of this diet before i get to start adding things back in for real. now that i’m home, the temptation to cheat isn’t very strong. i’m struggling to get enough protein most days. i miss peanut butter and eggs. i’m adding those back in first.

in other news, my sister has been doing the same diet (has already adding some things back in because she breast-feds her two kids) and has lost almost all of her pregnancy weight. last i checked, my brother-in-law had lost 18 pounds doing the diet with my sister and i. nutty!

also, my birthday is july 5: you better believe i will be eating at least 3 cupcakes that day.

 


San Fran gluten & dairy free!

*been in San Francisco for 7 days and have had so much good food: here are my favorites

*Bio on O’Farrell St in the financial district: a tiny little space with a large selection of gluten-free and vegan options like jalapeño tuna stuffed avocado halves and these amazing banana pudding bread muffins made with hemp milk. I loved them so much that I bought 5 so I could eat one every morning for breakfast.

photo 2

photo 3

*Bio also made these amazing strawberry purees and vegan chocolate covered fruits, like these banana fudgey things that were unbelievably amazing.
*Can’t stop using the word amazing.

photo 1-2

photo 2-1

*The Plant Cafe makes amazing fruit smoothies with coconut milk, which I forgot to take pictures of.
*Blowfish is a fun sushi bar that made me a special roll and tailored everything we ordered so that I could taste almost all of it without fear of getting gluten-ated. Our server Suzie was super helpful. She also had rad tattoos and neon pink streaked hair, which made me love her more. I had raw oysters and the most tasty dish of marinated mushrooms I have ever had in my life.

photo 5-1 photo 3-1 photo 4

*Fish, on the coast in Sausalito, blew my mind. I had trout over greens and C had some stellar salmon tacos that I wish I had ordered myself.

photo 2-2

*Finally, we are drinking the best coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee. This morning I had a New Orleans iced coffee with coconut milk.
*So pretty.

photo 5-2

*I’m here with my old bestie, Holly, who moved to Seattle a few years back and some other amazing friends!
*Finding it easy to eat gluten, dairy and soy free, although I’m cheating on the elimination diet with booze, coffee, and potato chips. Totally worth it tho! Back to the grind on Monday. Till then, we need more cocktails!

photo 4-1

 

 

 


gluten-ated: how to survive contamination

a lot of people have asked me what it feels like when i get gluten-ated (contaminated with gluten). here it is in a nut shell: 2-3 days of extremely painful stomach aches, followed by a minimum of 1-2 days with extremely sharp stabbing intestinal pain. so, when people ask me if i ever “cheat” and eat gluten, i always look at them like they are 1. slightly crazy or 2. misinformed. given how trendy it is to be “gluten-free,” i’ve been confronted multiple times in the last few months with skeptical comments about why i am gluten-free from people who haven’t known me more than a year or two. C’s response when this happens is to look at them and say “you have no idea what it was like before the diagnosis. no idea.” (thank you C for sticking with me all these years.)

today is tuesday and i’m trying to determine what i ate in the last 5 days that trigged 4 days of brutal stomach aches and 1 very long day of intense intestinal pain. after 5 years of this, i know it’s gluten because everything else that i struggle with (diary, soy, beans, etc) usually just ends with a stomach ache and throwing up (to put it bluntly), not days and days laying in bed with a heating pad pressed into my torso, waiting for it to end.

the second question i get a lot is: how do i deal with it when it happens?
in order:
1. spend 2 days going over everything that’s gone into my body, trying to isolate the source
2. lay in bed with a heat pad on high
3. drink lots of detox tea
4. eat very little (eating some times makes it worse for me.)
5. up my probiotic intake and chinese herbals
6. get acupuncture
7. repeat 2-3 over and over and over and over

herbs

i’ve been meaning to write some posts on acupuncture and chinese herbals for a while now because i was never a believer until i started using both in my life every week. i’m astonished how much i depend on them now. my intestinal pain was so intense yesterday, i was having a hard time functioning. i had acupuncture at 8 last night and this morning: no more pain. the skeptics would just argue that it finally ran it’s course, but i’m not so sure…

batter

one of the things that’s an absolute when i’m gluten-ated is eating right. i pretty much have to go into lock-down mode to keep things from getting worse, which is hard because i often feel both hungry and sick at the same time. sticking to warm, soft, easy to digest food is a must. avoiding coffee and alcohol for a few days after it’s over is also a must. nothing that causes inflammation.

pumpkinmuffin

this time around i stuck with a kale, fennel, quinoa dish and pumpkin muffins like these ones, made with honey, almond milk and almond flour (minus the walnuts). they are soft and taste like pumpkin pie but aren’t too sweet. (kale, fennel and honey are great aids for digestive tracks, as well as anti-inflammatory. pumpkin is easy to digest.) the trick is to eat warm, digestible foods without eating things that cause bloating (beans and too many veggies all at once) but also get enough protein to keep yourself going (hence, the quinoa).

detox

i’m happy to say that i’m on day 6 and on the mend.
i’ll admit that every time this happens, i cease wanting to ever eat out again or even eat at people’s houses out of fear. that part is hard. but i know it could be much worse. many people with gluten allergies have to be hospitalized when they are gluten-ated. i’m one of the lucky ones who can push through it with a few bad days and a lot of detox tea.
also, it helps to talk to someone with the same issues. my younger sister has the same digestive drama i do, so when i’m suffering and annoyed and grumpy about it, i call her and she reminds me that it won’t last forever.

i’m curious what everyone else does when they are gluten-ated. feel free to share your own ideas!


paleo fried chicken

paleofriedchicken1

*one aspect of my amazing job is that i have the privilege of working with amazing middle and high school kids from the inner city. we are currently in the process of making a documentary film about meat: where it comes from, how it impacts our health, who gets to access grass-fed meat and who only has access to conventionally-raised factory-farmed meat, and what the health benefits are  to eating one over the other. we spent a lot of time talking about what we eat, why we eat it, where it comes from. i’ve learned so much about my girls–what they love to eat, their community connections to food, why they love the food they do, why the are frustrated with what they are given in their school cafeteria (and how it’s not real food).

*they get really excited when i tell them i’m going to bring in food for them to try that they’ve never had before. over the last 4 weeks, i’ve brought in: 7 different types of oranges (i was giddy so many of them loved my favorite blood oranges); alternative milks (they loved coconut, almond and rice milks–hated soy and hemp milk); nut butters (loved peanut and almond butter–hated sun butter–cashew butter was kinda iffy); 4 different kinds of pears (they loved asian pears–one of my favs).

*when we talk about foods they love to eat, they always talk about fried chicken. these ladies love fried chicken. if i could eat their moms’ cooking, i swear i would be in for a treat because each girl swears her mom makes the best fried chicken in the city.

*i’ve had fried chicken maybe 1-2 times in my life. i had KFC once when i was in middle school. i don’t recall a single time my mother made fried chicken. my dad likes to grill chicken, but it was never breaded. i feel like i really missed out on something here.

*when i found this recipe, i was really excited: here’s my chance to try fried chicken!  i can’t wait to tell my girls about this recipe this week. i’m actually hoping i find a way to make it for them. they all know about my digestive issues and ask me a lot of questions about what i can and can’t eat and why. when we watched Soul Food Junkies last week, they were super excited when i made them air popped popcorn with olive oil. they could not get over how much they liked it more than microwave buttery popcorn. given my food journey and my commitment to food justice (more on that some time), this was an awesome moment for me: talking with teenagers about butter verses olive oil and what’s healthier and why was a highlight of my week. (one of the main reasons i love my job!)

paleofriedchicken2

*what i loved about this recipe is that even though the chicken is fried in coconut oil, there was nothing coconutty about the flavor: with all the spices (i went heavy on those) and the almond flour, i didn’t even taste any coconut, which kinda gave me some perspective–because some times i think that cooking with so much coconut oil will mean only tasting coconut in everything i make, which isn’t really what i’m aiming for. (had a summer when i cooked everything, including eggs, with coconut oil. couldn’t take it anymore.)

*i think i might be sold on fried chicken. paleo style.

 

 


refined sugar free chocolate: take one!

chocolate3

in my quest to find ways to eat brownies without succumbing to the sugar trap, i’ve decided to try making my own chocolate. here’s why:

1. a LOT of brownie recipes call for chocolate bars. most good chocolate bars contain refined sugar. i think it’s possible to make really good chocolate without refined sugar.

2. it’s really really hard to chocolate bars that are gluten, dairy and soy free. soy lecithin is a sneaky little ingredient that acts as an emulsifier in chocolate–essentially holding everything together to make it a solid. (i’ve mentioned this in other posts.) since soy is cheap in the U.S., it’s an easy to access cheap ingredient for companies to use. although soy lecithin is a derivative of soy bean oil, people with soy allergies often have sensitivity to it. technically, i do not have a soy protein allergy, but i’ve found that i’m extremely sensitive to soy and eating too much soy lecithin makes my body very grumpy.

3. making my own chocolate means i get to eat more chocolate more often and this makes me happy.

i started with this recipe. very fast, super easy. tastes amazing: like a dark chocolate peanut butter cup. just blend everything in the food processor and it’s a perfect fudgey chocolate dough.

chocolate1

make small little cups in a muffin tin and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.

chocolate2

now the only issue will be trying not to eat all of them before i try to use them in brownies…

chocolate4


sugar. honey honey.

i’m not really a candy girl. any more. mainly because: i rarely eat sugar unless i bake (which is almost never); a lot of candy has gluten and/or dairy in it; and candy that is gluten/dairy free is usually packed with soy and other ingredients i’d only eat if i google all of them first because i have no idea what they are. (this last fact scares me away from most processed foods.)

paleobrownies_take2

i’ve given up sugar more than once in my digestive journey (scope out the restore diet category and you’ll get all the gross details) and i’ll admit that giving up refined sugar isn’t all that hard once you get used to it. however, giving up natural sugars is another thing entirely. it’s hard. it’s particularly hard if you like the following things: wine, fruit, honey, wine, and more wine.

my gym is doing a new year 30 day challenge and although this might sound snobby, when i first heard it was only for 30 days i thought: amateur. i’ve given up all cheese, ice cream, milk, sugar, grains, soy, chips, beer/booze, french fries, eating out, and basically anything with a label that contains more than 2-3 ingredients. and i’ve done it for years. (heading into year 4 of no dairy and no beer. seriously people. i haven’t had a beer or a piece of cheddar in 4 years.) i realize saying this on my blog makes me sound like a total snob.

but i’m going to admit that the last 10 days have been really really hard for me. hard because we had to list publicly what we were giving up during the challenge and we were encouraged to make those things hard to give up. given my dietary limitations, i had to think hard about this. i decided on the following three things: no refined sugar, no more than 2 cups of coffee a day, and no more than 4 alcoholic beverages a week.

needless to say, i had a total meltdown yesterday and almost cried because i was stressed out and  wanted to eat a brownie. i really felt like i needed to eat a brownie. the kind they sell at my local coffee shop that’s gluten and dairy free and full of fudgy-awesomeness.

paleobrownie_take1

i managed to leave the coffee shop with only a coffee.
i didn’t mangage to not drink wine in the evening. or the evening before. or the evening before that. or the evening before that.
this 30 day challenge is making me realize a few things:
1. when i’m having a meltdown, i want to eat baked foods because it’s comfort food to me. it reminds me of my mother, who baked for me my entire life. and it feels good to eat it.
2. i drink wine at least 5 nights a week. it’s only a glass of wine. but i drink it. and i enjoy it. i don’t think there’s anything wrong with this fact. however, i do think it throws off my sleep, which i’d like to avoid.
3. turns out i rarely drink more than 2 cups of coffee a day anyway, so no biggie. maybe i should limit it to 1? eh.
4. i want to learn to cook and bake and eat entirely refined sugar-free. my sister already does this. very successfully. i want to be like her.

last night, i made paleo brownies. i was pretty skeptical about them tasting all that grand, but i was pleasantly surprised with this recipe. they were moist, solid, fudgy, not very sweet, and tasted great with a little bit of peanut butter on top of them.

i’ve decided this year that one of my goals will be to figure out the perfect gluten, dairy, soy, refined-sugar free brownie.
this is take one.
send me any recipes you find and i promise to make and share.