Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cheese and Vegetable Chowder

This soup is so lovely.  The vegetables are the star, but the nutrition is boosted by all the homemade stock, cream and cheese in the background.  This is perfect for our family, since we are fighting off the sniffles.  My E and M slurped their bowls up with gusto tonight before going to bed a little earlier than usual.  I hope they heal a little as they sleep.  

Read about how the healing properties of homemade bone broth here.  I had a lot of stock on hand from Thanksgiving when I made turkey stock.  After making a double recipe of this soup, I still have two large containers of stock left in my fridge!  

(I will probably make tomato cream soup later this week, and I will post the recipe when I do.  Plus, I have another turkey I need to roast soon, so I'll have even more stock to make nourishing soups with.  This is very important at this time of year when our immune systems can take a beating, and we don't get as many vitamins from the sun.) 

Cheese and Vegetable Chowder
4-6 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, split lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 T. sprouted whole grain flour
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 turnip, peeled and finely diced
several large broccoli florets, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1½ cups raw cream or half-and-half
10½ oz. mature raw Cheddar cheese, grated
fresh chopped parsley, to sprinkle on top
salt and pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or stockpot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and leek. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes, taking care it doesn't burn.
  2. Stir the flour into the vegetables and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add a little of the stock and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix in the flour. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and slowly stir in the rest of the stock.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, turnip, broccoli, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme branches.
  4. Add the cheese a few handfuls at a time, stirring constantly for about a minute after each addition, to make sure it is completely melted. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, adding salt if needed, and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream until warmed through.  Ladle immediately into warm bowls, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Things M Says (Part 36)

M: "I'm not going to spend my money from now alllllll the way until I am a grown-up."
me: "Oh yeah?  What are you saving it for?"
M: "I want to go to outer space."
me: "Well, going to outer space is very expensive."
M: "So they don't have coupons for that?"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Candy-Making and Cookie-Baking Extravaganza 2010

So I've been making quite a bit of progress on my Candy-Making and Cookie-Baking Extravaganza 2010!  I've also taken a lot of my favorite recipes and morphed them into my favorite versions.  Now they can truly be called k's.  So far I have made these items:
Peanut Butter Cups
Almond Joy cups
Coconut Citrus Fudge
Homemade Eggnog (in a blender)
Maple Shortbread and Classic Shortbread

And I've made these:
Cinnamon and Vanilla Nuts (I used pecans and cashews, gonna try walnuts and almonds later today or tomorrow)
Lemon Curd Bars (we have SO MANY lemons from Ryan's parents' house)

And of course we will be having some lovely breakfasts, like:
Baked Oatmeal with Dried Fruit, Yogurt and Maple Syrup
Crepes with Berries and Cream
Blueberry Buckle (recipe coming soon!)

And back to the treats again.  There are so many other recipes I want to try this week, like:
Almond Roca
Traditional Fudge
Caramel Corn
Bûche de Noël
Sugar Plums
Buckwheat Sourdoughnuts
Molasses & Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls
Sprouted Grain Doughnuts with Coconut Vanilla Glaze
Maple Sugar Candied Nuts

Homemade Eggnog

As a child, I never liked eggnog.  We would buy eggnog in a carton from the grocery store, but it was too thick and sweet for my liking.  Now I know, from reading eggnog labels the last couple of years, that I probably didn't like the flavors of high fructose corn syrup and thickeners in store-bought eggnog.  

A few years ago I tried Silknog, an eggnog-flavored soy milk.  It's thinner but still has that nice holiday flavor.  We drank it for a couple of years during the holidays, but in the last year I have learned about many problems surrounding soy.  Soy has a very high phytic acid content, and should only be consumed in moderation and properly fermented.  Good sources of fermented soy include natto, naturally fermented soy sauce, and fermented miso.

This year I have been missing my thinner, eggnog drink.  So I started looking around for a real food version of eggnog using raw milk and cream, raw egg yolks (but no raw egg whites, they have enzyme inhibitors!), wholesome sweeteners like maple syrup and raw honey, and as my friend likes to call them "Christmas spices".  Using this recipe as inspiration, I upped the cream and yolks and made delicious eggnog in my blender!  How easy was it? VERY.

You place all the ingredients in a blender, blend them up, and then pour and serve.  If you have seen the way classic eggnog is made, then you'll be impressed with this method.  In the original recipes you are supposed to separate eggs, whip the whites, whip the cream, fold them in at different times, and so on.  I don't have time to mess with that!  And I don't want to eat the raw white anyway.

So enjoy this quick recipe.  It makes delicious, healthy, homemade eggnog that has that not-too-thick texture.  Even R liked it!  And as R would say: "You can really taste the nog."

Homemade Eggnog
1 cup whole milk (preferably raw and grass-fed)
3/4 cup cream (preferably raw and grass-fed)
4 egg yolks (preferably pastured)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of allspice
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey (I used syrup)
dash sea salt
Bourbon, rum, cognac, to taste (optional)

1. Place everything in a blender and blend for a minute or so.  Pour into glasses and garnish with another grating of nutmeg, or a stirring stick of cinnamon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coconut Citrus Fudge

Coconut Citrus Fudge
1 cup coconut butter
2-3 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil, gently melted
1 tablespoon orange, lemon, grapefruit or other citrus zest
1 teaspoon orange, lemon, grapefruit or other citrus extract (if using oil, use a few drops)

1. In a food processor pulse coconut butter and honey until combined.  Then with the processor running, add the coconut oil in a steady stream.  Add zest and extract or oil, and mix until combined.

2. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper, spoon mixture and form into a rectangle.  Press with your hands to make the thickness even, about 1/4 inch thick.  Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
3. Remove from the fridge, and lift parchment or wax paper off the cookie sheet and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into little squares or whatever bites you like.  

4. You can store these in the fridge, or even on the counter in an airtight container.  The coconut butter keeps it shape well, even at room temperature.  And this time of year our houses are on the cooler side.  Enjoy!

(Inspired by a review of Cooking to Heal by Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet, I have made this "fudge" a few times.  It is very light, very nourishing, and kid-friendly.  My kids love it.  I have changed it a little, mostly to incorporate more coconut oil and achieve a smoother feel.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Joyous Almond Cups

Whenever I make these peanut butter cups I always end up making these Almond Joy-esque cups as well.  I use the same mini cupcake pan, the same spot in the freezer to freeze the two layers, and we end up with two flavors of cups to choose from for a sweet, but nourishing treat.  This recipe is my version after being inspired, as usual, by a recipe from Kimi over at The Nourishing Gourmet.

Even more so than the peanut butter cups, these joyous almond cups have a lot of coconut oil incorporated into the recipe.  Coconut oil has many benefits.  Coconut oil has a lot saturated fat.  But don't fear.  This saturated fat is good for you.  Yes you read that right.  The saturated fat in coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids, 50% of which are the fatty acid lauric acid.  Medium chain fatty acids are more easily digested, reducing strain on the liver, pancreas, and digestive system.  Coconut oil benefits a sluggish thyroid by this same logic: it takes less energy to digest coconut oil, freeing up your thyroid to heal and function better.  Coconut oil helps with energy levels and weight loss.  Coconut oil heals you from the inside out.

So when you wonder why I go through all the trouble of researching coconut oil, finding different kinds of coconut oil, and then incorporating it into my diet despite my lack of love for it's flavor, this is why.  I feel better when I have it in my daily diet.  I know the science behind it and am more than happy to have it's help healing my body.

Now let's get back to the treat part.  I make these either with or without chopped almonds.  Sort in the vein of sometimes feeling like a nut...But when I do add the nuts I make sure they are from my soaked and dehydrated stash.  Soaking nuts overnight in salt water helps neutralize the naturally-occuring enzyme inhibitors present in most nuts.  Then dehydrating them returns them back to their crispy state.  The almonds I used in this recipe were soaked, dehydrated, and then toasted for 20 minutes at 300 degrees just to bring out their flavor a little before I chopped them and added them in.

Joyous Almond Cups
coconut base:
1/2 cup gently melted coconut oil
1/4 cup gently melted raw honey
1 1/4 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup chopped almonds, preferably soaked and dehydrated, then toasted for 20 min. at 300 degrees

chocolate topping:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons raw honey
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur

1. Make coconut base: Combine melted coconut oil and raw honey.  Whisk well to combine.  Add shredded coconut and almond extract.  

2. Using a small ice cream scoop, divide among 24 mini cupcake molds.  Sprinkle each one with a little of the chopped almonds, dividing evenly.  Place in the freezer on a level surface for 30 minutes to harden.  

3. In the meantime, make chocolate topping: combine cocoa powder, honey, and coconut oil in a glass bowl set over simmering water.  Whisk until coconut oil is almost completely smooth.  Remove from heat and continue whisking, adding vanilla and coffee liqueur.

4. Remove frozen coconut bases, and spoon a little of the chocolate topping on each cup.  Place back in the freezer for another 30 minutes until frozen and set.  

5. To remove, pop out with a spoon or butter knife immediately after removing from the freezer.  Store in the freezer, or else they will melt.  To eat, I like to remove from the freezer and let sit for a few minutes to soften.  Enjoy with cold, whole raw milk, yum!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Cups

I love these peanut butter cups.  I made them last February for R for Valentine's Day.  I wrote the other day about looking for candy for Christmas at the store, but coming up empty.  Even in my compromising mindset I couldn't find anything that would work.  So I am making a few different candies and confections to help satisfy M's and E's sweet teeth on that magical morning.

But back to the peanut butter cups.  I have tweaked the recipe just a bit.  I watch Ina Garten on the Food Network quite a bit, and on her show Barefoot Contessa she occasionally shows how she tests recipes.  Ever since she explained how chocolate is enhanced by a little bit of coffee I have been paying attention to how she pairs them in different recipes.  She says that you do not end up tasting the coffee, but the chocolate tastes better.

Sometimes she uses leftover brewed coffee, sometimes it's instant coffee or espresso granules, and sometimes it's coffee liqueur.  I have Kahlua, so I have used that recently in any chocolate recipe I make.  I just eyeball between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.  I don't know enough about how they make instant coffee crystals to use them confidently, and I don't brew coffee at home.  (The caffeine affects my adrenals and such.)

Oh, and one last thing: after I use up the natural peanut butter in the jars in my fridge I want to make my own peanut butter.  It's very handy to have peanut butter around, so I think it's worth the trouble to soak peanuts in salt water, dehydrate them and then put them through the food processor.  The point of doing all of that is to avoid the enzyme inhibitors present in peanuts and nuts in general.  The soaking process neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors, helping you to not only digest them better but absorb more nutrients from the nuts.

Peanut Butter Cups
peanut butter base:
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, preferably from soaked and dehydrated peanuts
1/4 cup gently melted coconut oil*
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped nuts, preferably soaked/dehydrated/roasted at a low temperature (300), optional**

chocolate topping:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur

1. Mix peanut butter and coconut oil together until smooth, using a rubber spatula.  Add honey and vanilla and stir until smooth.  Using a small ice cream scoop, divide among the 24 mini cupcake molds in a mini cupcake pan.  Put into the freezer for 20 minutes or so while you make the chocolate topping.

2. In a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stir chocolate, honey, vanilla and coffee liqueur with a wooden spoon until almost smooth.  Remove from the pot and set onto a hot pot holder while you continue to stir until completely smooth.

3. Remove mini cupcake pan from freezer and spoon chocolate mixture onto each peanut butter cup, smoothing a little with the back of a spoon.  Place back into the freezer until solid, about 20 minutes or more.

4. Remove with a spoon or butter knife.  They should pop out with a little elbow grease, as long as they are completely solid.  If they mush together at all, put them back into the freezer for a few minutes and try again.  Store in the freezer until you want to eat them.

5. To eat, I like to take a few out and let them rest on a plate for a few minutes to soften.  And, of course, my favorite way to eat them is with a cold glass of whole, raw milk.  Enjoy.

*You can use virgin coconut oil (which will taste like coconut), or expeller-pressed coconut oil (which will have neutral taste).  I prefer the expeller-pressed, but I have tried it both ways and the coconut flavor does work in this recipe.

**(I didn't add these, E can't chew them very well; he choked on a swiped cashew yesterday when I wasn't looking, scary!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My New Quest: Make My Own Candy for Christmas

I was at Trader Joe's today, one of my favorite places to go.  I had grand plans to buy some candies there to use for stocking stuffers.  I remembered from last year that there was a lot of variety.  So I was excited.  However, that did not pan out the way I wanted it to.

First of all, I could not find a single piece of chocolate without soy lecithin in it.  The reason I am avoiding soy is due to it's effect on hormone levels, not to mention it is usually genetically modified.  Then I looked at some jelly beans and cookies.  They contained soy flours, corn syrup, and soybean/sunflower/canola oils.  Is it so much to ask for foods made with recognizable ingredients?  I just want whole grain flour, butter, whole sugar, natural flavors.  Sheesh.

But then I remembered these chocolate macadamias sprinkled with sea salt from last year, which I have still not attempted.  But I did make peanut butter cups and coconut-chocolate mounds this year for Valentine's Day and they were wonderful.  I also have loved this coconut-orange fudge recipe.  At least I know I can make those from experience and try some new recipes too.  I can make a few kinds of candies and then put them in a cute package for each of our stockings.

I also have an excellent pair of shortbread recipes that I need to whip up.  It's a good thing I started sprouting some white wheat berries tonight.  I even found recipes for basic chocolate fudge, caramel corn, and these almond cookies!  Maybe something that looks similar to this Nature's Candy Box idea.  It really is worth it to me.  I'm going to do it, dammit!

I may even try to convert some of my old favorites into nourishing versions and see how it goes.  I really love these cookies, and these sugar cookies, and these peanut butter cup cookies, and these checkerboard cookies, and these mexican wedding cookies.  I want to have all of them again.  Wish me luck, I will be blogging my success!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Banishing Ceremony

(We are thrilled to announce that kmillecam has agreed to join Exponent as a new perma. Welcome! She is a feminist, dancer, reader, wife, liberal, real foodie, abuse survivor, activist, yogi, green, pilates-loving, EWG-reading mama.  Her two little boys keep her days busy, along with her quest for living life fully awake. In addition to guest posting at Doves & Serpents, and sharing here at The Exponent, she blogs about real food and abuse survivorship at her personal blog k-land.)
The day after the full moon, or the first day of the waning moon, is the day reserved for banishing rituals. It's a time to remove obstacles and release those patterns in our lives that no longer serve us.
I have been thinking about motherhood and the full moon. I feel the brokenness of my maternal line back to my ancestors, how my own mother is a void in my life. My grandmother died earlier this year. I sat on her grave a few weeks ago, under a tree, on the edge of the cemetery. I spoke to her and kissed the stone that covered her. I did sun salutations, felt the grass and the sun warming my face and torso. I cried, felt connected to her, all without any answers about the next life.
At Phoenix Youth at Risk we set soul-shaking goals.  My first goal was to do the Forgiveness Process with my father who sexually and physically abused me when I was a child.  After I completed that goal via several weeks preparation and a lot of outside support, I got to thinking about my mom.
My mom most likely suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.  I had been so distracted by the obvious abuse in my life from my father, that I had not been able to understand why my own mother never knew how to love me.  Until now.  Why did she require my emotional sacrifice as she treated me like an appendage to her broken life?  Why couldn't I make her realize what she was doing to me, and what she continues to do?
On a weekend this past October, I decided it was time to have my banishing ceremony.  I did not banish my mother, I banished my toxic beliefs and patterns that I got from her.  The mother I have always wanted doesn’t exist. I released the fantasy of finding her. I let go of hoping she would change. I wanted no more expectations. I released and let go.
The night before my ceremony, I stood in the moonlight of my front yard for a solitary full moon ceremony.  I cried under the moon, my constant comfort in the sky.  I directed the energy from the moon to my heart center. I pressed my hands to my heart, and talked to the moon about how I wanted to feel right and focused during my banishing ceremony the following night. I realized then that even though my mom-link is missing in my life, the moon is always there. The Goddess is my source of strength. I am a goddess. The moon is my mother. I am a mother. I am a good mother.
My banishing ceremony the next day was beautiful.  I met with friends and family, most importantly my husband and children, to light candles to the four directions under the bright, misty moon.  We held hands and stood together in a circle.  I read my thoughts about my mother, and I offered up the papers of journaling I had been saving.  Everyone took a slip of paper to write a personal issue to release into the flame of the center candle.
We burned our conflicts, our negativity, our unhealthy attachments.  We healed together.  Since that night I have felt catharsis and emotional upheaval.  I feel so much better and yet I feel the exhaustion of healing from deep, emotional work.  I still think of the brick circle in my front yard I stood in alone under the full moon.  I still think of the circle we created under the waning moon at the park, as we held hands and listened to each other.
The circle is never-ending, reminding us of the cycle of life. My ceremony is over and the circle is undone, but never broken.

On Fat Acceptance

It remains a radical act to be a fat and happy woman in America. If you're fat, you're not only meant to be unhappy, but deeply ashamed of yourself, projecting at all times an apologetic nature, indicative of your everlasting remorse for having wrought your monstrous self upon the world. You are certainly not meant to be bold, or assertive, or confident—and should you manage to overcome the constant drumbeat of messages that you are ugly and unsexy and have earned equally society's disdain and your own self-hatred, should you forget your place and walk into the world one day with your head held high, you are to be reminded by the cow-calls and contemptuous looks of perfect strangers that you are not supposed to have self-esteem; you don't deserve it. Being publicly fat and happy is hard; being publicly, shamelessly, unshakably fat and happy is an act of both will and bravery.
--Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, on Fat Hatred
I am fat.  This is not my way of fishing for a compliment.  It is just the truth.  I have had two babies in five years and the second baby was nearly more than my body could handle.  Having my baby E caused my hormones to get imbalanced, which caused my adrenals and thyroid to work overtime, which caused my weight gain and subsequent inability to shed the pounds.  I did not know the cause at the time of my pregnancy.  I was very mystified when I would eat normal portions of food and still balloon out as if eating twice as much as usual.
I am very lucky to have found out the cause of my weight gain.  With increased awareness of my body, and by taking care to rebuild my adrenal and thyroid function, I have been able to drop a few pounds in the last month.  I have found that weight loss has to do with reducing my stress, eating healthy fats, mindfulness while eating a meal, and accepting who I am.
As I stayed fat for the last 2 years or so, I started to notice that I was being treated differently.  People seemed sorry for me that I was just so fat.  People seemed angry with me that I just could not lose that weight. People seemed to think that it was such a shame that I had so severe a personal failing that I couldn't starve myself enough to lose the baby weight within the acceptable time frame after giving birth to E.  I started to believe that something was wrong with me, that I really lacked self-control or I would be thin again.
But the bottom line is that I am still ME, fat or thin.  Realizing that I still had worth even though I am fat, has been a huge victory for me.  We are constantly bombarded with images of what is acceptable for women.  Fat men can be jolly, even sexy and desirable if they are funny and endearing.  But fat women are just gross.  They need to get their act together and start looking good again.  Fat women have no business being sexy, or wanting full relationships, or being happy.  Fat women are expected to hang their heads in shame that they dare to be fat without apologizing for it.
Being fat in society is not easy.  Thin privilege is all around us.  If you are thin, you enjoy the privilege of eating whatever you like without anyone commenting on your portions.  You can feel happy without anyone shaming you.  You can go to the doctor without being belittled for your mass.  You don't have to brace yourself for any dirty looks or comments when you eat food in public.  You don't have to defend your very existence in the face of outright hatred, simply because of how you look.
I hate how I am treated now that I am fat.  Remember, I have been thin before.  I know how differently I am treated now.  In my fat body is the same brain, the same personality, the same wit, the same capability that I have always had.  In fact, it is that brain and capability that has aided me in tenaciously figuring out my body in the face of so much disdain from the society around me.
In spite of being considered subhuman, I have learned to love myself now in all my fat gloryI will love myself when I am thin again too, albeit with a wiser understanding of the privilege it will bring.

(cross-posted at The Exponent)

Blogging at The Exponent

 I was recently added as a permablogger at The Exponent.  I am very happy with my monthly contribution on the schedule.  Go ahead, click the link and see my cute little kmillecam picture over there.  I'm so excited!

My first post was last month about My Banishing Ceremony.  And today was my second official blog post: On Fat Acceptance.  I was feeling particularly open and candid today when I wrote my essay.  So there I am, laying my (very tender) thoughts out.  So far so good.  I have been happy to read a lot of comments over there that are happy to be having a conversation about such an oft-overlooked subject.  Which is funny, because we all struggle in some way with body image.

My decision to permablog there has been a stretch for me.  I question my writing abilities, and it is hard for me to meet deadlines without feeling like I am incapable.  But after I made a goal to write more and commit myself to writing deadlines, the fear has gotten better.  Making a goal isn't something that I just think of either.  I'm talking sit-down-and-make-a-goal-by-writing-specifics-on-a-goal-sheet-in-a-Phoenix-Youth-At-Risk-way kind of a goal.  This kind of goal starts with a personal declaration, details daily and weekly steps, and outlines clear outcomes.  This kind of a goal should scare you a little, make you stretch, make you grow.  These goals, and the support of my PYAR community, have allowed me to approach some intense issues over the last several months.

One previous goal was to get a measure of catharsis with my mom.  I did that with my banishing ceremony, the same ceremony I blogged about here and on The Exponent for my perma debut.  Another previous goal was to do the forgiveness process with my dad.  I called him and forgave him for abusing me.  It was very powerful.  That was the first time this year that I thought about consciously facing fears. When I told her about this, a friend of mine said something I will never forget: "every time I notice that I am afraid to do something, I have to do it".

So that brings me to writing and blogging.  I fear rejection.  I don't want to be an out-of-practice stay-at-home mom trying to write, but failing.  But then I realized that in order to write well...I have to write!  Now I have embraced writing.  I will blog at The Exponent once a month.  I will continue to blog here and work on clarity and quality.  I will even write for the Exponent publication and have my name in print.  This is all part of my grand plan to return to school and my career path when E gets a bit older.

So, go and read my feminist thoughts at The Exponent.  Maybe you can comment and let me know what you think. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things M Says (Part 35)

earlier today, for the millionth time:

M: "Mom, we're going to make popsicles, right?"
me: "No, and if you say 'popsicles' again you will go to time out.  Don't ask me again."

just now:

M (very concerned and upset): "Mom.  I feel like saying 'popsicles' again."
me, bursting out laughing: "It's okay buddy, I know you really really want to make them!  But we can't, we don't have frozen berries."
M (feeling much better after seeing me laugh): "Okay, we will make them another day." (and then, overcome with love and relief after realizing, again, that I'm not mad) "Mom, I love you SO MUCH!"

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I've lost...

...8 pounds since starting my Eat Fat, Lose Fat goal.  When I started this goal in September, I think I was eating too much food for my body to shed extra pounds.  So I have shaved each meal down a little, paying closer attention to when I am full.  The reduced calories allow me to feel hungry between meals, something I am learning to even enjoy.  By the time I am hungry, boil water to melt my 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, take the coconut oil "tea", and then wait 20 minutes to eat my meal, I am already slowing down more than I used to to really think about what I am going to eat, and how much.

This mindfulness has come hand in hand with increased meditation and self-awareness.  Savoring the textures and flavors of my meal is more pleasant now that I am not rushing through it.  When you have little boys you are watching over at home, it's easy to get caught in the hurry hurry hurry of keeping them on time to school, fed, dressed, and happy.  I am finding more quiet moments with them, where I am not off to the next thing, but simply being with them.

I don't finish my food if I am not hungry.  I save it for the next meal, which helps me feel good about myself, frugal, and not wasteful.  I am more in touch with how my body is feeling, what I really need.  I have to believe that this will also affect my adrenals and thyroid.

My body has gotten to a point after three pregnancies, two births, 2 full years of breastfeeding, reaching 30, dealing with PTSD from my abusive childhood, and stress where my adrenals and thyroid are barely hanging on.  My hormone levels are all wacky, I am tired all the time, I cannot lose weight with normal eating, and I do not feel like myself.  However, after nearly one year of real food, I think I am finally starting to heal.

It was last December that I was going to wean E, because the thought of pumping my breastmilk and feeding him bottles beyond his first birthday was simply more than I could emotionally handle.  I had read Nourishing Traditions, and I knew what our food should be like; but it's difficult to change all your habits at once.  Knowing that real food commitment would help the health of the whole family (but especially E with his health problems) was the push I needed.

Fortunately, I was one year ago when I was ready to fully embrace real food-dom.  We started buying raw milk, switched to only grass-fed and pastured meats, dairy, cheese, butter and eggs, took cod liver oil every day, soaked our grains, and even started eating organ meats (liver, yum!).  We kept eating our local, organic produce, remaining supportive of our AZ farmers and sustainably-minded.  It hasn't been that hard, I promise :)

So now I am looking at this December, knowing so much more about what is going on inside my body than I ever have before.  I hope to continue slowly dropping pounds as my adrenals and thyroid heal.  I am reading a book about how to heal adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems called The Mood Cure.  I was already doing a lot of things right, but with the help of the book I have been able to pinpoint what specific symptoms I have.  For example, by taking 5-HTP this week my mood has improved and my energy levels are up.

As I read it seems that a lot of my questions are finding answers.  More on that to come as I blog more this week about adrenal fatigue and thyroid function.  For today simply celebrate my 8-pound-loss victory with me!