Comfort Food

I’ve been quite under the weather lately… Went from running a personal best 5K with my beautiful sister to almost being unable to hold my head up all day and passing out on the bus/in meetings… I’ve not exercised in a week and a half and it’s mentally starting to get to me… I’m hoping to go for a walk after work tonight… slow and not very far is fine by me but I need some freakin’ fresh air.

The one thing that has not suffered while I’ve been feeling unwell is my appetite, thank goodness!  While my sister and I were trying to rule possible causes of this either in or out, she was asking me if I was craving shit food, salty food etc…. thankfully no, I’m quite happy with my Whole30 choices and my standard fare…but sometimes you just want some ‘comfort food’.

The two new things that I am completely obsessed with right now are what I like to call Warm Turkey Coleslaw and Deconstructed Reuben.  One is my own invention and one is a knock off from Well Fed 2’s Reuben Rollups. Both are VERY easy to make and require very little effort, which is great for me right now…

First up, let’s talk Coleslaw… it’s one of my FAVORITE salads of all time!  When I did my first Whole30 last February, I gave up ‘sauce’ and ‘dressing’ because I wasn’t very culinarily (word?) inclined and making dressings and sauces seemed out of reach… so I ate a lot of ‘dry’ food… that meant that things that were on the menu previous, such as coleslaw were disallowed because there is no commercial coleslaw dressing that doesn’t involve at least sugar and vegetable oil…

After a year of making everything I eat and becoming significantly MORE culinarily inclined, I ventured into the world of sauces and the amazingness that is Paleo Mayo!  Home made mayo… kid you not, it’s good enough to eat right out of the jar off a spoon… forget everything you THINK mayo is and go ahead and make yourself some… you won’t regret it.

So!  Now that I had Mayo back, I could have things like coleslaw, right? 

Okay well, me being me, I like to have ‘one bowl’ meals… everything in the same bowl, all mixed together, covered in ‘sauce’ and eaten with a spoon.  Yes, it’s kind of weird but to each their own.

So enter Warm Turkey Coleslaw.  Salad, protein and warm… score!

Basically, during your weekly cookup, you’re going to cook a pound or so of ground turkey… add a ton of sage and thyme and a bit of salt and cook through.  You’ll also shred a few beets and slice up some cabbage. (I cut the cabbage in half and then slice the half rounds into long ‘noodles’.  You could also shred this like real coleslaw and it would be just as good).

When you’re ready for dinner, heat some coconut oil in a pan, toss in a few handfuls of cabbage… be generous, it cooks down.  When it’s almost cooked to your liking (shiny and a nice bright green color), add in some shredded beets and mix all together.  Then throw in your serving of the precooked ground turkey and let it all warm together.

Pile in a big bowl and then put a generous scoop of home made mayo on top.  Mix it all together and put a bit of salt and pepper on top.  Warm Turkey Coleslaw.  It’s amazing… just try it!  I’ve done this with left over cooked chicken thighs and when I ran out of meat, I made an opening in the middle of the pan and cracked a couple eggs into the middle… cook until the yolk is runny and the white is done and then squash it all together with the mayo in the bowl… also amazing!

coleslaw

The other really easy, really yummy thing I’ve been having is Deconstructed Reuben Sandwiches.  Basically just pile some pastrami or corned beef (good luck finding sugar free if you’re Whole30… I waited till I was officially done W30 to eat this because my Pastrami has a touch of added dextrose) on a plate.  Beside it pile some wine-free sauerkraut and then put a big dollop of home made mayo and a big dollop of wine free/sugar free grainy mustard.  You can be fancy and put the sauerkraut and sauce on the slice of meat and then roll it up if you’re inclined… that makes it look a bit nicer but I’m a smidge lazy lately.  The Reuben Rollup from Wellfed 2, which is where I got the idea suggests that you make a Russian Dressing (basically the home made mayo mixed with Kickass Ketchup) and use that as the sauce.  I’m sure it’s amazing but I’ve not made the ketchup yet so mayo and mustard it’s been and it’s pretty dang delicious!

reuben

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Let’s be Real

So after 2 false starts of W30, I’m now officially on my 2nd day.  I did my first day three times… the first two of those times were great, right up until the evening when I sort of fell apart and found some left over Christmas chocolate in my house.  Having done a good job of consuming all of that, and also finding the skin on my hands getting worse and worse, I buckled down yesterday and successfully put the first day in the bank.

I’ll tell you something, cleaning up your act after three weeks of silliness is not easy!  It’s incredible how quickly your body becomes dependant on those nasty little things like sugar, grains and sugar…

For almost an entire year I ate as close to W30 as possible with weekly offroading days thrown in.  There was never enough in any one off road meal per week to bounce me into a dependency… so when I went completely bananas in December and ate and drank whatever was in front of me, I naively thought that I would be fine and I could just turn off the switch and go back to my clean living with no adverse side effects.  That is certainly not how it happened and I am currently fighting the ‘are you hungry, no you’re not, you don’t need to eat’ battle.  I think that our bodies have ‘muscle memory’ as far as food goes and I don’t think I will get a very bad case of Low Carb Flu or really be in this battle for very long… the long term positives that I already know about far outweigh any short term struggle to get back on track. 

I see no reason to lie about how easy detoxing after a free for all isn’t… or hide the fact that I had to do my 1st day three times in order to be successful.  That’s real life and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying.  That said, this idea of real and honest is the driving force of a new project I am a part of. 

My sister came up with the idea that there are probably a lot of women just like us out there, struggling to maintain balance between health, fitness and real life.  She found a group of us that are all taking different journeys in order to find our balance and we will be coming to you daily to share 90 second of our Real.  90 seconds of our struggles, successes, failures, hopes and dreams.  Every weekday a new 90 second (is) vlog from one of the contributors will be posted to hopefully help motivate, inspire and encourage you.  Every day you’ll see one of us being real about life and we hope that it inspires you to be real about where you are at and where you’re going. 

Please come and visit us at www.90secondsofreal.wordpress.com.  I will be posting there on Thursdays.  We’ve got three videos up with an expected four more this week as we get into the swing of it and get back into a routine after the holidays! 

You can subscribe to us (and to this blog if you’re not already), so you get an email when a new video is posted and we hope you participate with us in the comment section!

Christmas is OVER!!!

That’s right, I said it!  Christmas is over!  It has to be!  I have a rash on the palm of my right hand from eating so much ‘junk’ over the last two weeks! I’ve always been able to tell if I’ve been a bit to free and easy with the ‘food fun’ because my skin protests a bit… Last night I found water blisters on the inside of my palm, which is the most extreme my skin has ever protested.

How did I get there?

Lets see…  Starting on Dec 13th and going until December 26th (read this list remembering that I am for the most part a strict W30er)

3 glasses of rose, 3 quiches, two macarons and a giant wedge of brie at a Christmas party.

Perogies, Caeser, creme caramel, brownies, cream puffs, some sort of egg/cheese thing wrapped in a tortilla for our Birthday Brunch

Deep fried chicken wings and caeser salad for our work Christmas lunch

Approximately half the world’s supply of Purdy’s caramels and other assorted chocolates, a VERY salty burger (no bun) with some sort of peanut butter sauce, one ceaser, one vodka soda and chocolate peanut butter ice cream for my birthday.

Japadog, Iraqi dinner, carrot cake, cheese cake, Coconut Milk London Fog (carrageenan) for 2nd Birthday Dinner.

Breakfast wrap with cheese and flour tortilla, another Coconut London Fog, two truffle things, FiveGuys Burger and the rest of the carrot cake for Snow Day.

*** I should mention here that by Friday at 10am I started to get a pretty killer headache and by 10pm, I was in a full blown migraine situation that lasted until Saturday night.  So I was pretty good Sunday and Monday…except for eating what can only be described as all the Lindt balls in the whole world***

Turkey dinner with floured gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, parsnips with cream cheese, more lindt truffles, chocolate covered almonds, some sort of cheese/dairy cocktail dip, salami, butter tarts, some sort of mint pudding and a lot of wine… that was Christmas Eve.

Bailey’s spiked coffee (2), chocolate almonds, butter tarts, turkey dinner with cheese/cream mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce (sugar), floured gravy, short bread cookies and a lot of wine.  That was Christmas Day.

Crackers, cocktail dip, a LOT of those puffy cheesies, a lot of wine, turkey dinner with floured gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, three different kinds of Christnas pudding covered in three different kinds of sugar based sauce, more of those puffy cheesies things.  That was boxing day.

Somewhere in there I also consumed fudge, ice cream and eggnog.  IT’s no damn wonder that I am MISERABLE right now and have started my January Whole30 five days ahead of time.

I will say tho that I appreciated every bit of ‘food fun’ that I participated in. It is certainly not the norm for me and aside from the disgusting list above, there were some good choices, some ground-standing and some healthy options involved,  If life is about balance, then I got my fill of the fun side for the whole rest of the year!

If anyone is joining me in feeling like they had their ‘food fun’ but now feel like it’s in everyone’s best interest to get back to basics, why wait for January 1!!  Nothing magical happens on the 1st of January.  You make your own magic every time you decide to make a good choice.

Now, bring on the herbal tea! Gotta wash some of the toxins out!

Not quite as planned

I have a very romantic and beautiful post in my head about finding the rest of me and falling in love… but since I’m at work where someone is actively trying to get me fired today… well, let’s just say I’m not in an entirely romantic mood.

I have three more hours of this crap and then I’m going to go home and run in the rain.  What I really want to do is eat a burger and a cake but I’ve learned that while it seems like a GREAT idea right now, it’s actually the opposite of a great idea so I’ll exercise instead.  Then I’ll do a load of laundry and go and get cash for my hair appointment tomorrow.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about finding the rest of me.  Or maybe I’ll write about how I actually did get fired, in which case I’ll have TONS of time to write about whatever I want!

Don’t look at me!

A long time ago, when I was unhappy… no, downright miserable, I didn’t really care what I looked like. I was standoffish and mean to say the least because my home life was a nightmare… It was hard to see the beauty in things and I certainly didn’t see any beauty in myself. Now that I’m so much happier and content and at peace, I’m a heck of a lot nicer to be around and putting makeup on and doing my hair nicely just reflects outwardly the inside that I care so greatly for. I didn’t start this lifestyle of Paleo and working out to get a nicer outside, I started it to get a nicer inside… but it’s hard to keep the ‘nice’ contained to the inside and so it’s becoming reflected in the care I take for my appearance now. It was never a lie back then that I didn’t care what I looked like… I really didn’t. I was working day by day to just get through the days without losing my mind and there was nothing left to invest in my appearance.

Now that things have changed on the inside, my outside is becoming pretty nice… some days I look in the mirror and see how far I’ve come… and sometimes I look in the mirror and I see how much work I have ahead of me and how long it will really take to wash the pain of those years away… an interesting dilemma has surfaced.

I have a huge secret that I have carried around with me, starting in 2005… and then it doubled itself in 2011… I talk the talk of not carrying shame in something you have no control over… I am an armchair advocate for women’s rights and mental health care for those that need it. I would tell someone till I’m blue in the face that rape and abuse and sex assault is not their fault and that mental health should not carry a stigma with it. Because I, from the seat of my being, believe this to be true.

I was sexually assaulted twice in the last 8 years. Once by someone I barely knew and once by my ex 22 days before we finally ended it. I am in general, not traumatized by it. I made decisions at the time to prevent myself from being harmed more than necessary and while it’s incredibly painful to think about what people with no conscience will do… and I know it will be heartbreaking for people who know me… I’m honestly fine. The thing is tho… that kind of thing… it changes you. It changes parts of you that you wouldn’t think or know it changes until something in your life comes up to show you how you’re different.

The experience has made me quite shy… I’m not usually one to be labelled as shy… in a group of people I know, where I feel safe, I’m not shy… but in any situation where I feel even a little bit vulnerable or out of my element, my personality shuts down and I become painfully shy. It’s taken a very special person in the last little while to see me through my shy protective barrier and pull me out. That same person, who I’ve mentioned here before as a dear friend of mine has also showed me that trust is not always misplaced.

The other thing that my experiences have made me is incredibly self conscious. I’m absolutely terrible at taking compliments… It borders on rude how terrible I react actually. It’s something I am trying to work on… it all goes back to trust then right? Trust the person… trust what they say… trust that there is no ulterior motive. For the last ‘can’t even count that high’ years, I didn’t care what I looked like. Truth was, that was a safe place to be for me. Not that I knew it at the time, because the reason I was wearing so much extra weight was due to other life factors and an emotionally abusive situation. But when the outside started to become affected by the dramatic changes on the inside, that’s when it hit me. People are going to look at me. And I am not comfortable with that. I’m comfortable sharing an anonymous photo of my bikini clad before and after on the internet… I’m comfortable posting pictures of myself online… that’s all anonymous… I’m not comfortable wearing a nice shirt that shows my… ahem…‘assets’ …in a complimentary light and then having people look at me. I rationally don’t think anyone is out to get me and I rationally actually don’t think that anyone would be too interested in me for looks alone. However… the damaged and irrational side of me… that voice in my head tells me to walk faster, keep my head down and go eat some ice cream to get a bit of protective fat back because it’s a dangerous, dangerous world out there. Now the rub… I’m also not comfortable wearing baggy clothes that hide all the work I’ve put into myself. I’m not comfortable wearing too many layers for how hot it is outside and I’m not comfortable pretending that I don’t care about how I look. And there is the situation at hand. I don’t want people to look at me but I’m not going to dress or care for myself in a way that prevents it. I honestly don’t know where to go with that. I wish I could say that the last paragraph of this post was going to be some enlightenment over my dilemma… that I’d made some dramatic association and solved my own problem. I haven’t. The only thing I can give myself is another day and another day loving me from the inside and allowing that to show on the outside. I can only be stronger from my experience and while it would be impossible to say it will never happen again (but God I hope it never EVER happens again), I have to know that my instincts both times were right… and be stronger in trusting them. Because what a shame to be taught a lesson like that… twice… and not to take it to heart and get every ounce of experience and knowledge out of it that I possibly can!

 

NB: It was only recently that I was able to recall all the details from the first assault in a linear fashion. I don’t know if it’s because I was mentally strong enough, because it had been buried long enough or what… (altho no amount of burying it resolved the acute pain of the ‘in the moment’ emotions). I do believe that rape, sexual assault and physical abuse should not be kept in the dark. I believe that the more that people who have experienced it talk about it, the more that we can use our own experience to help teach eachother. That my experience might pave the way for someone else to recognize the signs and help themselves. And to help heal our sisters and mothers and daughters who have experienced it. Every time you find out you’re not alone with your experience is another moment of strength. That takes the dark off the shame and pours daylight on it.

With that said, I do have my experience written down. I understand it now in a way that I didn’t understand it then. Having uncovered it and poured my own daylight on it, I now understand why in some circumstances, I am the way I am. There is nothing gory or perverse in my account. There is no content that you couldn’t read on a computer screen at work. And yet, I go back and forth on whether to post it. Not because I’m ashamed, or scared, or even care that it’s on the internet. More because I am terrified that it will hurt people I care about to the depths of my soul. Do I know that these same people are statistically likely to have had a same/similar experience? Of course. Does that make it easier? No.

I think it would be cathartic to share it. Even tho the majority of the readers here are strangers. Because that’s another ounce of daylight shed on my experience from each person who reads it. I’m still debating. Your thoughts would be so appreciated as to the route I should take. But even if I get 0 or 100 comments on it… the decision still rests with me.

Okay! I’ve learned this one!

So since it’s starting to get summer-ish here, I’ve started thinking eating fruit with my dinner is a good idea… I actually enjoy a snack of grapes with plantain chips (if you’ve never had plantain chips, you’re missing out!!).

When I undertook my first W30, I had a variety of things that were going on in my body that I didn’t like… I didn’t have great digestion, my skin wasn’t the best it could be and I was itchy all the time. I thought the itching came from dairy so I was very excited to get on the W30 and see if my restless legs at night and my itching would go away. It did about half way through the W30 so I thought I’d nailed it. And then one evening I ate dates. And that night all my old symptoms of itching and restless legs came back. So I ascertained that it was sugar that was doing it to me.

You know that old saying a lesson is taught until it’s learned? Ya, well I learned it good last night… thanks to that snack of grapes I’ve been loving. I woke up a few times last night with this searing pain in my leg but was really sleepy and thought that it was nothing… When I woke up this am, I looked down at my leg and found a 3” long and 1” wide open gash on my leg… It looks like a cross between really bad road rash and what would happen if someone held an iron to your skin. And it’s incredibly painful!

What I know is that I did that to myself in my sleep because I must have been so itchy I attacked myself. I have now learned this lesson once and for all and that lesson is that sugar has no place in my diet. Not from fruit, not from candy (obv) and not from ice cream and cakes and cookies. This gash is so painful it hurts to walk and I had to go across the street from work and buy first aid items for it because it’s a pretty big open wound I’m actually worried about it getting infected.

It’s unfortunate that it takes me mauling myself in my sleep to learn a lesson about what I can and can’t put in my body but I guess whatever gets me to that point… I’m there now…

I did look to see if there’s any research that supports sugar causing itching and the only thing I can come up with is that diabetics experience it… however I’m not diabetic or anywhere near diabetic so that wasn’t helpful.   I was also going to post a picture of my wound but it’s yucky… and no one needs yucky!

Laugh at Me

So a long time ago I was sitting in a coffee shop giggling with a girlfriend.  Well…. Giggling… not really… full out, hold my sides, don’t care who hears/sees laughing.  The owner of the coffee shop is also a friend of mine and after a while he came over and sat down with us… Did you see those people sitting across from you that just left he asked… Yep.  Well, he said, the guy that was with them came up to me and asked me if I knew you… he’s in the film industry and he said your laugh was awesome and he wished that there was a way to bottle it. 

Of course that made me laugh even more… some out of nervousness and some because when people talk about laughing it makes you laugh… well, me anyway! 

It’s a memory that pops into my head every once in a while and it came screaming back to me this morning.

It’s a beautiful… BEAUTIFUL day here in Vancouver and I was with my same girlfriend waiting in line at Whole Foods to get a coffee.  We were being ridiculous and making eachother laugh, as usual and a bubble of unfiltered laughter burst out of me and caused the guy in the line in front of us to turn around… Sorry I said… thinking that I was being a bit obnoxious so early in the morning.  No, no was his response.  I love your laugh!  (which makes me laugh…).  He smiled at me, this huge, joyful, completely open smile and said that my laugh made him laugh and that it was awesome.  About 20 seconds later a girlfriend of mine came up to me and said she had just been walking out the door but that she’d heard my laugh and had to come and say hi and give me a hug.  That made me laugh even more and I said it was funny that her comment was the 2nd one in about 30 seconds about the sound of my laughter… the guy in front of me, beaming from ear to ear said it wasn’t even 30 seconds… 

The entire encounter was brilliant and fills me to this moment with a bubbly mirth that fills my body and soul with the endorphins of joy.

It also reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend the other day. How just the act of being ourselves can be a gift we don’t even know we are giving to another.  Our trusting nature, a caring touch, a bubble of laughter… our society frowns on the mere act of interacting with a stranger so we almost never have these conversations with another, but it’s likely that while you go about your daily business, you’re touching other people… just as they are touching you… giving you a gift they may not know they’re giving.   Someone told me yesterday that the thing they liked about me was that I was true…I believe the quote was ‘You’re honest about who you are. You are not some crackerjack bullshit flavor of the month.  You are true.’ The experience today with the guy at the coffee shop and the statement from my friend last night just underlines that being true to who I am… something that is very important to me is not a wasted effort.  In this world of fake and social media and doing whatever you want with no consequences, it’s a good reminder that the power in being true is always worth the investment to learn who you are and then live that life.