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Greensboro, North, Carolina, United States

Friday, April 26, 2013

Not-Your-Grandma's Sausage Gravy...

As a girl who grew up in Florida (it IS the South whether you like it or not. There are parts of Florida as rooted in Southern culture as Tennessee or Mississippi), I love my grits, biscuits and gravy.

Now that I'm 100% paleo all of the time (and sometimes I am doing Whole30), it's hard to see other people eating good ol' southern cooking and know I can't join in! There just isn't anything like the smell of southern cuisine!   

I still can't have my comfort grits, but I *am* happy that I can smell my gravy and eat it too, even when I am doing a Whole30 (and occasionally served over an almond or coconut flour biscuit when I'm just basic Paleo). 

I really hope you like my Sausage gravy alternative!  

*Dairy/Grain free Southern Sausage Gravy* 
1 lb homemade turkey or pork sausage (I use THIS recipe) 
1 can full fat coconut milk (stirred well) 
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I would start with this amount and then add more as desired) 
Salt to taste 
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Arrowroot powder  

1. Saute sausage, crumble well, and drain (do NOT rinse). Set aside.   

2. Bring coconut milk and pepper to a medium boil (not a full boil). Add sausage and stir well.

3. Whisk in arrowroot powder (start with a 1/4 tsp and use more if it doesn't thicken). Stir well until thickened to your liking, add salt to taste (be careful because the sausage is already salty) and serve over eggs, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, or Paleo biscuits! Enjoy your downhome experience and don't forget to let me know how you liked it! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Confession Time...

Today should be day 8 of my whole30.

It's actually not day anything anymore. I went off my Whole30 Saturday night. I think anyone who had their in-law's watching their munchkins, and being presented with a romantic date with their spouse, would then probably set some stuff aside. I really did try to be good though. We went to a Creole & Caribbean restaurant in Grand Rapids and I thought the menu looked workable for Whole30. He asked me what heat level I wanted (0-10) and I optimistically said a 2. Let me just say, smoke had to have been visibly pouring out of my ears! I couldn't believe how hot it was! I had to wash it down with the rice. And then to add fuel to the fire, I had a few bites of a homemade creole Cheesecake. *sigh* I was good and didn't cheat at all on Sunday. But then I went to a breakfast this morning and even after trying so hard to pick and choose what would be the most Whole30, I still managed to get scrambled eggs with cheese and a fruit salad with added sweetener.

I've learned so many lessons from my previous Whole30's and I would like to share them with my encouraging readers:
1.) Learning self-control- I used to lack a stop button. That is not to say I would eat a whole box of donuts or a big bag of chips in one sitting, but I definitely went overboard in how I ate food and how much I consumed. I can't even fathom the thought of it anymore!
2.) Accepting my body with all of its curves, imperfections, and not being critical of myself. I know that both God and my husband think I am beautiful and that is all that matters! 
3.) Viewing a whole foods diet as a means of healing my body, not just stuff we eat to keep alive.
4.) Learning to respectfully share my life change without pushing my views on other people. Different things work for different people and I can respect that. :-)
5.) Finding what foods trigger hyperactivity and health issues in my children. Since we have changed our 4 year old son's diet, his behavior has been night and day. It's 100% worth it for that reason alone! 

It has been SOOOO worth every extra penny spent, every hour spent in the kitchen, and every minute researching recipes and methods of saving time.

Food is healing and much cheaper and long lasting than medication.

My conclusion is this: I'm just too busy right now for a strict Whole30. I've got two healthy and energetic children, numerous church activities, playdates, etc. and it's just not compatible to eating so strictly. I'm not going to beat myself up because I've started and not completed two different Whole30's. I'm going to look on the bright side and be encouraged by the two Whole30's I DID complete in October and January. Just because I failed doesn't mean I should quit. And did I really fail? I've learned valuable lessons, I feel about 85% better, I've lost almost 70 pounds and close to 50 inches, and I have a new outlook at life. I also still eat 100% paleo, so in reality, that's still very healthy. :-D I hope to do another Whole30 in May. :-)

Failure smailure. I feel pretty good right about now. :-)


(for anyone seeking more information about the Whole30 and Paleo ways of eating, check out this site. It has been truly life changing!: http://www.whole9life.com )

Monday, April 15, 2013

Restoring my health...

I was a sickly child, and as I grew into a sickly teen and adult, I knew something had to be done. I had always been thin, at times underweight, so when I had a drastic weight gain (65 pounds) during my 1st pregnancy in 2009, I was shocked and didn't really know how to handle it. Due to some stressful life circumstances  I gained even more. In January of 2011, I decided I had had enough and did the Atkins diet until I became pregnant again in May of that year. By that time I had managed to lose 30 pounds but I still felt sluggish and unwell.

After a very rough pregnancy in 2011, I delivered a healthy baby girl in February of 2012 and decided that I needed to do something. I gradually lost the 30 pounds I had gained back, and then my weight loss stalled. Not only was I technically obese, but my health was horrible. I wheezed all the time from asthma, was exhausted from morning until night, had severe intestinal issues, brain fog, and pain in my back, knees, and feet. I was also puffy and my skin hurt when touched. I knew that something drastic had to be done. However, because of an extremely busy summer, it was pushed to the back burner. I *tried* to eat well, but still made a lot of poor food choices, especially with all the traveling we did.

Here are some before pictures from 2012:

It wasn't until September of 2012, that I read about some friends who had done a 30 day diet of only whole foods. I was intrigued. It sounded difficult for sure, but it sounded like the benefits far outweighed the cons. I ravenously studied the website for information and then eventually bought the book "It Starts with Food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.

I started my whole30 on October 8, 2012 weighing in at 199 pounds. Phew, it is hard to admit that number but there you have it! The first week was HARD. The cravings were terrible, and I had full blown flu symptoms (also known as the "carb flu"), and I felt really irritable. When the second week finally came, symptoms were clearing up and I noticed my clothes were becoming loose, my stomach was flatter, and pain was lessening everywhere. By the end of my whole30, I had lost 14 pounds and 28 inches!

It was a wonderful experience, and I knew I wasn't finished after those 30 days. I went on to do another Whole30 in January and lost another 11 pounds. I'm currently at 170 and still have more to lose and more health issues to conquer, but tomorrow is another day. ;-)

Here are some current photos:

Whole30 has changed my life because it works. It has made me think clearly about what I choose to put in my mouth (and also about what I feed my children). I'm not just losing weight, I'm regaining my health!



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