Moving to Clean Eating

I wrote earlier that my husband and I were trying to eat healthier and one of the things we were looking at was clean eating. When I began searching for healthy recipes, I would read about how many of the foods we eat today are the causes behind many of the medical issues that people have been experiencing. For example, some people get red, itchy rashes after eating, but have no idea what food may have caused the rash. It can take days for your body to show a rash or another symptom because your immune system may be able to fight it off for a few days before the symptoms finally appear. So how do you know what actually caused the rash? I also read that some foods can cause inflammation and pain in your joints or cause your arthritis to become more painful. The more I read, the more I wanted to learn what I could do to find out if a food or seasoning was causing the problems I was having. Did you know that some seasonings that we cook with can actually make inflammation of your joints worse? I didn’t know that. I thought that a seasoning sprinkled on food while cooking would be harmless. This is because when we think of food we tend to think of calories and most seasonings are zero calorie, so it would be harmless.

When searching for recipes I kept coming across articles about Paleo and Whole30, which are based on the idea of clean eating. Now I am going to simplify things here. For a Paleo eating plan, the idea is to eat foods that are in season and eliminate processed food. Paleo ideology is that we should eat a diet that represents what our ancestors ate thousands of years ago. Basically this would be meat and whatever vegetables and fruits are in season. So, no chips or candy or anything processed.

Whole30 takes the idea of Paleo and expands on it. With Whole30, you are asked to eliminate foods that are known to cause issues for 30 days to see if they are foods that should be taken out of your diet forever. During the 30 days you may see that some of your symptoms have eased or gone away. Once you complete your Whole30, you will be able to reintroduce foods one at a time in order to see if your body reacts to it. If it does, that food needs to be gone for good. If you don’t have a reaction, you can choose to keep that food in your diet. Some foods, such as sugar and sugar substitutes, known to cause Leaky Gut, should be eliminated for good. Many people describe the Whole30 process as hard at first, but they say they feel better and sleep better as their body gets used to eating healthier.

During my research, I came across several websites where the person describes the severe medical issues that they were experiencing, how they saw numerous doctors, had multiple tests done and were not diagnosed correctly or the treatment plan just didn’t help at all. Two blogs that discussed how food helped them heal are The Castaway Kitchen and Whole Daily Life. Both of the bloggers discuss how they tried for years to figure out what was wrong with them, tried all types of treatment and it wasn’t until they began researching on their own to learn about healing themselves through food that they were able to manage their medical symptoms.

While I may not have the serious health issues that those women have, I can’t help but wonder if food is causing some of the issues that I do have. Is the arthritis that I have being made worse because I eat food that causes more inflammation? Is that why some days I can barely walk when I first wake up? Is that why my fingers or knees are swollen? I usually think that I must have taken in too much salt or walked too far the day before, but the reality is that food could be part of the issue.

So, I have started making changes to what I cook, usually meat, vegetables and a salad. We are trying not to purchase processed food and I am reading the labels more to look for hidden sugars and other unhealthy ingredients. Am I ready to do a Whole30? Not yet. I am not sure that I want to go for total elimination yet. I am more aware of what I eat and if I have a reaction. So far, I have discovered that chocolate may be an issue for me and I may have problems with more nuts than I first thought. Right now, I am having fun searching out recipes that I think my husband and I might like. This Egg Roll in a Bowl recipe by The Real Food Dietitians was a winner. I promise to update you as we go.

To learn more, click on the links below or do a search on your own.

Paleo

Whole30

The Castaway Kitchen

Whole Daily Life

The Real Food Dietitians

 

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How Does the Garden Grow

It grows slowly…very slowly. Much slower than I originally thought it would. We have had a lot of rain since we first planted. As a matter of fact, it seemed as if it rained the whole month of May. We thought that the rain may have caused the plants to start to die off as they were beginning to turn yellow and weren’t really growing much. My husband decided to go to the home improvement store and get a different type of soil to see if that might be the problem. He also purchased a few new plants (tomato, zucchini and a raspberry bush) to plant in the new soil. While at the store, one of the workers commented that the rain might not be the problem and it could be the soil. He said when plants yellow it usually means that there is too much acid in the soil. So, the organic soil that we used might be too acidic for the plants.

We have continued to have more rain than normal for this time of year. Of the original plants the tomato plants have a couple small tomatoes, most are still green, but there is one cherry tomato that is starting to go from yellow to red. The onions are doing well and the spinach doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all. It actually seems to be shrinking. We thought the lettuce might be lost for good, but they have slowly bounced back and are starting to grow. The plants in the new soil aren’t yellow and also seem to be growing. The raspberry bush has produced about 10 raspberries, so that is good. This was to be a learning experience, so we might learn that we shouldn’t use the type of soil again. The weather is going to be heating up next week, so we will see if that helps the plants. It should help the tomatoes as they usually like it warm and steamy outside.

The one thing that does seem to be thriving in all of the rain are the flowers. They seem much brighter than usual. Here is one of the Lily that we have growing.

Photo © lenalee

 

Wishes For a Happy Father’s Day

 

Happy Father’s Day to my husband!!!

And to everyone that takes on the role in someone’s life.

Memorial Day

Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Back From An Unexpected Hiatus

I didn’t plan on taking a break. So what have I been up to during my break? Hmmm, lets see, I left my job, decided to go back to school and hope to eventually find another job. Sounds like a lot right? And it was.

So lets start with the job. It hasn’t been a secret that I have not been happy with my job. I love the patients, and they will be what I miss the most, but what I won’t miss is the stress and lack of advancement opportunities. For me, the decision to leave my job was not one that was made easily or quickly. In fact, I realize that I stayed much longer than I should have, but that is on me. It is hard to walk away from a job that I helped to create and develop for my department. But when your husband tells you in a very frank and honest conversation that your job is making you a B@t&h, well you have to really take notice. And I did. And he was right.

What my husband saw was that I would begin withdrawing on Sunday evening. He said that it was like I was putting on my gear to go into battle and from Monday to Friday, I was withdrawn, sad and would come home and just curl up on the couch. He said the only time I would smile was on the weekends. But most of all, he said that he wanted his wife back. So when that conversation happens, you have to take notice and believe me I did.

The question then became what did I want to do? Did I want to stay in my job and hope things will change? Well, honestly, I have been hoping for that for more than two years and it still hasn’t happened. Or did I leave? And what did I want to do when I leave? More conversations with my husband and more conversations with myself led me to the decision to go back to school. And that is rather scary, but now is the time to make it happen. I resigned. Worked my final two weeks and left for career progression. And it felt absolutely wonderful!!!

Now if only I can decide what I want to be when I grow up.

Planning a Vegetable Garden

For years my husband and I have talked about planting a garden. We often talked about what we would plant, but we never got around to planting a garden for a lot of reasons. In the beginning, we lived in either an apartment, rented a house or lived in military housing. None of those made it easy to have a garden. When we bought our house in Kansas, we talked about clearing a section of the yard for a garden, but we never seemed to get around to it. Our current neighbors have an extensive garden that runs along the side of our fence. In the past they have shared some of their veggies with us, which were mainly the ones that happened to come over the fence onto our side. This year we have decided that we will have a garden of our own.

We are going to try our hand at container gardening. We have researched the types of vegetables that grow in our zone and when we can start planting them. Since winter has lingered way to long, we are waiting for the last frost of the season, which in this area is usually around May 1st. My husband is the one that has designed the garden and knows where everything will go and how things should be planted. My role has been helping decide what vegetables we want to plant. They currently run to those that I will actually eat. My husband is the one with the green thumb, so if he tells me when to water the plants and how much, I don’t think I will mess them up too much.

Trips to the home improvement store now include stops to see what seeds have come in and look at the gloves and pretty tools needed for gardening. Of course my husband steers me away from those, assuring me that he already has gloves for me and I really don’t need purple clippers. This past weekend we headed out early and picked up organic soil for the containers. Each one is now filled and waiting for when we can get started with the actual planting. Once we see how things go this year, we might look at expanding the garden next year and possibly clearing a space in the yard. Or, we might continue with the containers. So, wish us luck and I’ll be sure to keep you posted as to what we find in our garden.

 

Photo © Lenalee

Spring Might Really Be Coming

Although it is a beautiful day, it is rather cold and the weather people still have a chance of snow in the forecast for this week. The temperatures are slowly moving upwards and it is supposed to actually reach the 60’s later this week and into next weekend. Around the house, my husband has a long list of things that needs to be done to ready the house and yard for spring.

Last weekend we made the first trek to the home improvement store for mulch and organic soil. The mulch is to spruce up the flower beds around the house and the soil is to start the prep for our garden that we will be planting. This weekend was the second trip for the rest of the mulch and to also start looking at brick landscape pavers. We would like to take out the stones that are in the front, which sort of blend into the scenery and replace them with something that goes more with house. That will be on the list for next spring. As for this year, the mulch is now finished so that is one item that my husband can mark off of his spring list. Our pug is happy because he has fresh mulch to frolic in and kick out of the flower beds, so tidying up the mulch will be on the list all summer long.

This morning, even though the temperature is only 38 degrees, my husband is currently prepping the lawn mower, as all of the weed and feed that he put on the lawn to help it grow is doing its job.  The weeds are growing very nicely and the grass is too. It will need to be cut soon, so that will be on the list for next weekend.

So has spring finally arrived where you are?

 

Photo © Lenalee

What A Difference A Week Makes

1st full day of Spring-March 21, 2018

1 Week Later-March 28, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photos were taken one week apart. The first photo is the willow tree covered in snow from our last snowfall. It also happened to be on the first full day of spring. A week later, I took the second photo, which shows the willow tree’s buds starting to come out. The flowers and the trees seemed to have survived the snow without any issues. Of course, we have more snow in the forecast this week.

All photos © lenalee

Happy Easter!!!

 

Blowing in the Wind

We moved into our house during the summer of 2013. The trees the run behind the house were in full bloom and the housing area behind us couldn’t be seen. Once the leaves began to fall, we noticed something that appeared to be caught in one of the trees. It is too high up to reach with a ladder so it has remained there. On windy days, the object flaps about, and I often think it will finally break free, but it doesn’t and it hasn’t in all of the time that has passed. Not even when Hurricane Sandy went through our area or the many nor’easters that we’ve had since then.

I have no idea what the item is. At first, I thought it was a plastic shopping bag someone carelessly discarded that was caught by the wind and deposited in the tree, becoming tangled among the branches. It catches our attention only to be forgotten until the next windy day when it is spotted again. I would think a plastic bag would have degraded by now. Or maybe I hope that it would have.

Each year as winter turns to spring, the leaves on the trees come out to block our view and we can no longer see it. When fall arrives, and the leaves are gone, we are almost surprised to see that it is still there. This year it looks different. It appears more tattered and looks like it might actually be a fabric of some sort. Fabric is heavier than a plastic bag, so I wonder how it might have gotten so high up in the tree. I wonder if it will still be there next fall when the leaves have gone again or will it finally break free. And if it does, where might it go next?

Is there anything outside your window that makes you pause and wonder?

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