Ingredients for the Cake of Life

She hated when she walked into her kitchen looking for dinner and all she found there were ingredients.  How boring, she thought as she stood in front of the open refrigerator door, bathed in the glow from the GE bulb within. But, isn’t that what Life is? Life, she mused, was just a string of ingredients, components that made up a whole. Hopefully, she thought, the whole is something nice like a cake, not nasty and slimy like rotting okra. Speaking of, she reached into the fridge and pulled out a jar of pickled okra that had been there since – mmmm, I’ll check the date, just for fun, she thought – 1999. She tossed it into the trash, too afraid of the smell that would assault her if she opened the lid to eject the contents into the organic waste bin. Yeah, definitely don’t want a life resembling rotting … Continue reading…

Two Weeks in Photos

Oak tree in colour

A couple of weeks ago, I committed to a “Whole 30” with my friend, Patrice. Two weeks have passed and, while I cannot say I’m enamored with the somewhat arbitrary program rules, I can say that there’s definitely something going on here. Something good for my health. I feel more energetic, I wake up feeling rested, I have zero cravings for sugar or, well, anything, and I am losing weight (yes, I broke the rule about not weighing…and I’m not sorry!). Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I’d share my journey to date in pictures. So, we’re halfway done and the benefits are apparent.  I’m already looking forward to next month and continuing the journey, albeit not on the Whole 30 plan, which is not intended for the long-term (and not intended for non-meat eaters). I have learned in just two weeks that I feel better … Continue reading…

Extreme Measures, or Why in the World Would You Not Eat Bread?

Avocado egg salad

Bread, as everyone knows, is the “staff of life.” Honestly, if we’re talking homemade, fresh from the oven bread, piping hot cinnamon rolls, or even – OMG – still sizzling Indian fry bread (!), I’m going to agree that there’s nothing quite like it. It’s like carbohydrate Ambrosia. It is so delicious. So why would I give it up, even for a month? People have asked me, “Why in the world would you not eat bread?” Well, here’s a little history of how I got to the point where I committed to an elimination diet that excludes grains, dairy, sugar, beans/legumes, alcohol and, sigh… even Mama Sherry’s homemade dinner rolls. When I moved back to Idaho in early 2008, I was a wreck. I was overweight, unemployed, and feeling rejected at every level. People, cities, even entire countries seemed to say, “Meh, we don’t really care about you.” I know … Continue reading…

Italian Sloppy ‘Shrooms

Italian Sloppy 'Shrooms Step 4

It seems that food mashups are all the rage these days. I mean, with the invention of bacon-flavored ice cream (an actual thing!), all rules go out the window as far as what you foods you can combine. So, as I’m currently on a strict regimen of no dairy, grains, beans, sugar, booze, or other processed crap, I’m on the lookout for new flavor combinations to keep things interesting. I love stuffed mushrooms and peppers. Yum. Yum. Usually I make them with a light cream cheese concoction that throws a little party in your mouth. However, with dietary restrictions galore this month, I wanted to think outside the dairy case. Because I also like spaghetti sauce with lots of olives, onions, and sometimes turkey, I thought, why not combine those two grand things and – Eureka!- throw a little Sloppy Joe action in there?! Heck, yes, I say! Behold! Italian … Continue reading…

Almond-Fried Cauliflower

Almond Fried Cauliflower Done

Nobody can ever accuse you of being TOO healthy when you serve this. Unlike my momma’s awesome fried zucchini, this is “Whole 30-compliant.” However, I’m not saying you should eat this every day. It is, after all, fried in oil. However, with winter just around the corner, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and dinners are getting more substantial. So bring on the goods, baby. A word about my cooking style, as you’ll note below. For a simple recipe like this, I don’t prescribe measurements; I give guidelines. I know nobody makes recipes exactly as written anyway – we all gotta tweak ’em just a little, right?! – so I’m just going to let you do your thing and be adventurous. I don’t typically measure this stuff myself, so it would just be weird and fake for me to make up measurements for you to follow. … Continue reading…

From “What Have I Done?” to “Delicious Perspective” – Committing to Better Health in October

Fast Food in Canada

Be-bopping down the Queensway in Ottawa last week, chit-chatting with my friend Patrice about food and how it makes us feel, she cheerfully asked, “So, would you like to do a Whole 30 in October?” Now, Patrice has a way of making anything sound like a good idea. She exudes optimism and inspiration, so if she had said, “Hey, would you like to go kiss poisonous snakes at the zoo?” I might have agreed, because she’d somehow make it sound FUN. And that’s how I ended up committing to a Whole 30 in October. For those new to Whole 30, it’s 30 days without grains, sugar, dairy, beans/legumes, or alcohol. It’s meant to be an elimination diet of sorts, to get common food allergens out of your system and highlight any sensitivities when you reintroduce them to your diet after the 30 days. The purpose of this blog is not … Continue reading…

Irritated August and a Season for Everything

Bear in area sign.

I’ve been a little irritated lately. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been trying (and mostly succeeding with) a cutback on sugar and flours and therefore all joy in life is gone, leaving only irritation and annoyance for a hopefully brief but albeit excruciating period of withdrawal, or if it’s because I well and truly am just irritated and annoyed. But things are good! So why am I so irritated? Let us ponder… 1. I can see!! Always a good thing! However, as I put my cheater glasses on to write this, I am somewhat irked that my eyesight has tanked so markedly in the past year. When I first had Lasik done, my eyesight was remarkable. I could count the branches in the trees on the neighboring ridge. Now, wearing cheaters is more the rule than the exception and, without them, I can tell you only that “there … Continue reading…

Mindful May: Self-Awareness on the Menu

Last month, I wrote about how sometimes we get derailed from our very good intentions or we plan more for ourselves than we can handle. For me, April was one of those times. I had a list of intended goals for myself and instead of blasting on through them like a boss, I stumbled around them like a geriatric flat-coated retriever doped up on pain meds. In my post, Tactics for the Over-committed: Four Ways to Stay on Track and Stay Productive, I offered four basic tacks I planned to use in May to keep on top of my goals, which include: 1. Accountability – having someone that helps me hold myself accountable. 2. Planning – writing down or declaring specifics for how I will succeed. 3. Letting Go – shelving tasks that fall into the “bit off more than I could chew” category. 4. Rewards – giving myself a … Continue reading…

The Sketch: Stirring the Sands of Time

Sketch of a friend's grandmother

The Sketch A friend of mine recently sent me a scan of a sketch I did of his grandmother in my early twenties. It blew my mind. With only the barest of memories tickling my brain, I could almost not believe it. I did that? My friend assures me: I did that. I don’t recall doing the sketch, but I remember the shading, how I struggled with it in places. OK, I conceded; I did that. Memories swirled. I recalled that I did like to sketch back then, back before talking wires and horseless carriages. I have in fact always felt drawn to it (ha – get it?) and yet, despite encouragement from family and friends, it was never something I felt confident enough to develop fully. It always remained somewhat latent, a seed dormant in the earth just waiting to be nurtured. I keep totes full of art supplies, and … Continue reading…

It’s All Good (Even When It’s Rotten)

Moose in deep snow.

It’s February. The sun is out. Dressed in shorts and sandals, children are playing in the park under the watchful gaze of parents who sun themselves on chaise lounges or towels placed on the grass. Bicyclists ring their bells as they pass walkers on the trail. An ice cream vendor hawks his delicious confections nearby. This is how I imagine it anyway, this February so far away. It’s all about perspective, you see, for this might be the picture in Sydney, Australia, but here, in the northern hemisphere, we’re up to our eyeballs in snow and ice. Our landscape is two colors: blackish-green and white. So much white. We wake up in the morning dreading the commute to work, the new snow to plow, and the extra ten minutes it takes to suit up in fifteen layers to go outside. Ah, wouldn’t it be lovely to just slip on some … Continue reading…