Day 6 (whoops, a day late)!

I totally forgot to post yesterday. ¬†It doesn’t mean that I was holed up eating bacon I promise ūüėÄ ¬†Although, I did discover one minor oops when I was taking my vitamins: fish oil. ¬†I’m just gonna count this as an “oh well”, because I’m not going to go buy flaxseed oil instead and I’m taking it by doctor recommendation so I can’t stop taking it altogether.

Last night for dinner I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, and Superhusband had worked a long day so I certainly wasn’t going to make him cook. ¬†We did what we do sometimes in this situation: We ordered a pizza. ¬†We usually order a meat lovers pizza, but this time we ordered half of it with extra mozzarella and feta cheese. ¬†We scrape off and eat the toppings and toss the crust. ¬†I discovered pretty soon after starting LCHF and grieving what I thought was a totally depressing loss of pasta and bread an ultimate truth:

The good stuff isn’t the bread and the pasta, it is what’s ON the bread and the pasta!

It’s the pasta SAUCE and the meatballs that give you that happy feeling. ¬†Pasta tastes like eating soggy tree bark by itself. ¬†And i’d rather eat a library book than eat a piece of bread by itself. ¬†I want what’s ON the bread. ¬†Now, obviously this month I won’t be having meatballs, but my point is, eating the toppings off of a pizza are just as satisfying as eating the pizza itself. ¬†If you’re still looking to get that same pizza crunch and pizza holding experience, a fathead pizza is the way to go.

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Day 5: Cream of Mushroom Soup

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I used to be terrified of mushrooms. ¬†I remember staring at them on my mom’s counter, just having this total confusion about what they were and who in God’s name would want to eat such terrible-tasting brown chunks. ¬†They tasted like bland rubber to me.

Frankly, raw mushrooms still sorta give me that same reaction as they did way back in the day. ¬†I’ve been known to throw them on salads but they certainly aren’t the star attraction on that salad by any means. ¬†Cooked mushrooms on the other hand, now that’s something magical. ¬†Something really special happens when you saute a mushroom. ¬†That bland rubber turns all sultry. ¬†It’s like a mushroom version of this:

You're welcome.

You’re welcome.

When I discovered throwing mushrooms into my vegetable stock, it totally enriched the flavor. ¬†It brings a flavor profile unlike any other veggie, but it IS similar to something else: meat. ¬†Yup, both have umami going on. ¬†Today’s soup recipe is a umami bomb, bringing in another favorite umami star of mine: parmesan.

Maybe you’ve made cream of “whatever” soup in the past but couldn’t figure out how to thicken it so you figured this dish was in your past. ¬†Nope, don’t worry, there are still LCHF-safe ways to thicken without flour. ¬†Pinkie swear. ¬†Follow along below!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • One pint heavy cream
  • 16 oz mushrooms, any variety/varieties, washed (I used baby bella, crimini, and oyster)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock/broth
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 T ghee/butter
  • 2 tsp guar gum
  • salt and pepper

Take a large pot and melt ghee on medium. ¬†While that pan is heating up, slice your mushrooms. ¬†What I did was slice them about the size as the pre-sliced mushrooms you find in the store (only, don’t buy those, slice them yourself so they aren’t dry and gross) and then I chopped them in half after that. ¬†If you prefer a more rustic chop or really teeny pieces, do your thing. ¬†When the ghee is hot, throw the onions in for one minute. ¬†Then throw in the mushrooms and garlic. ¬†Stir occasionally until mushrooms are just about tender.

Hello beautiful.

Hello beautiful.

When mushrooms are almost tender, dump in the cream, stock, parmesan, and nutritional yeast. ¬†If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you’ll want to increase the parmesan by probably 1/4 cup. ¬†Let the soup reach a simmer, then let cook for an additional 10 minutes. ¬†If you’re wondering “what the heck is nutritional yeast, and why is she using it?”, well, it’s another umami thingy, and there’s seriously something about it that rounds out the dish. ¬†Just trust me, k?

After the 10 minutes is up, add the guar gum.  Stir in completely.  Turn off the burner.  Soup will thicken as it cools. Promise.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

If you’re lactose-intolerant or are looking to make a vegan version of this dish, you can kick out the parmesan, double the nutritional yeast, you’ll need another tsp of guar gum since parmesan helps thicken it, and use a can of coconut cream instead of heavy cream.

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Day 4: “This would be really good with some bacon on it”

You know, if I hear another word about how whatever I’m eating would taste better with some bacon on it, someone is gonna get punched in the face. ¬†You’ve been warned. ¬†I KNOW it would taste better with bacon. ¬†Stop being a jerkface, world. ¬†Seriously though, you poor vegans and vegetarians. ¬†I’ve had meat shoved in my face more times in the past four days than I can even explain. ¬†I EAT meat normally and it’s pissing me off.

This is the dude standing by to take care of the next person to try and feed me beef. Image courtesy of vudhikrai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is the dude standing by to take care of the next person to try and feed me beef.
Image courtesy of vudhikrai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As far as food goes, for breakfast I had a cheese omelet and some hash browns (don’t judge, I was starving). ¬†Morning snack was these little beauties, some nut butter bites to save my life. ¬†I also had some blackberries with heavy cream, some pumpkin seeds, some almonds, and some homemade yogurt. ¬†Dinner… well, that wasn’t one of my more proud moments. ¬†It was vegetarian, but it involved fried food that I’ll surely regret.

Stay tuned tomorrow… my plan (knock on wood) is to make a cheesy cream of mushroom soup!

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Day 3: I’m just bellyachin’

I tell you when I burn my oven mitts. ¬†I tell you when I screw up recipes. ¬†Today I’m gonna be honest: my belly hurts. ¬†It usually gets like this when there’s a major food switch-up. ¬†Could be the lack of gallbladder (though I doubt it, since I haven’t majorly increased or decreased fat), could be what I’ve always suspected is IBS but don’t care to get diagnosed because they can’t do anything about it anyway. ¬†This is an N=1 experiment though, and this 1 is not feeling well. ¬†This means positively nothing for the rest of the planet, just me. ¬†I’m working on doing some minor switcheroos tomorrow to just include tried and true foods to stop my bellyachin’.

I haven’t really eaten any dinner so I have nothing fancy to report. ¬†For lunch I made a vegetarian version of a new standby in our house: fathead pizza. ¬†Guess which half of the pizza is mine and which was my husband’s?

Spinach and feta on one side, pepperoni on the other.

Spinach and feta on one side, pepperoni on the other.

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Day 2: Creamy Vegetable Thai Red Coconut Curry

One of the most important things to do when you have to make a dietary switch is to not make it too complicated on yourself. ¬†If you find yourself allergic or intolerant of nuts, you don’t need to go crazy finding nut substitutes. ¬†If you are diagnosed celiac, you don’t need to go crazy finding wheat substitutes. ¬†Just because I’m not eating meat, doesn’t mean I need to eat meat substitutes. ¬†There’s a lot of veggie burgers that are loaded with junk, and I’m not willing to eat junk when I can easily eat the same delicious meals that I enjoy eating every day minus the meat.

For breakfast, I ate some delicious deviled eggs that I made a couple days ago.  I had this big mess making them and they were probably the ugliest looking deviled eggs, but the still tasted great.

Lunch was a recipe that someone posted on facebook a few days ago. ¬†It was an amazing looking coconut curry. ¬†Coconut milk (from the can, not those refrigerated cartons) is high on fat and can be the base of a great LCHF meal. ¬†I switched out the sweet potato in the recipe and put in zucchini instead. ¬†I also took out the red bell pepper because those don’t sit well in my tummy. ¬†My grocery store didn’t have snow peas so I just used sugar snap peas. ¬†I think I put about 2 tbsp of coconut oil into the recipe.

I did make one mistake when making the recipe… I added in cilantro. ¬†It IS in the recipe, but I don’t like cilantro. ¬†If you don’t like something in a recipe, don’t add it. ¬†The rest of it was delicious! ¬†I inputted my alterations into a calculator and it is 14% carbs, 81% fat, well within LCHF guidelines. ¬†And it’s vegan, so this is a great dish to serve when you have guests with dietary restrictions.

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http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/get-inspiralized-meet-blogger-ali-maffucci/

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Recipe Round-up: Slow cooker veggie stock

I’ll let you in on a secret: sometimes, I add vegetable stock to my chicken soup, because it adds a depth of flavor that meat alone can’t bring. ¬†It is also a great thing to have on hand when vegetarian friends come over. ¬†Homemade vegetable stock is so cool because you don’t need to buy vegetables especially for it. ¬†You know when you’re spiralizing a zucchini, and there’s some zucchini shreds and core left over? ¬†Throw those in a baggie in the freezer. ¬†Got half an onion left over from a recipe that you know you’re not going to use up? ¬†Throw that into that baggie. ¬†Slowly but surely, that veggie leftover baggie is gonna fill up. ¬†When I make chicken stock, there is always more carrots and celery than I end up needing, so those always go into a baggie. ¬†Sometimes they go towards the next batch of chicken stock, but sometimes they go towards a batch of veggie stock. ¬†Tonight, since it’s Vegetarian Challenge Month, I obviously went with the veggie stock. ¬†I also had half a red onion and some scallions left over from making a fathead pizza, I threw in a bay leaf, some dried shiitake mushrooms, and some peppercorns. ¬†When I wake up in the morning, there’s gonna be magic in that crock.

http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/make-your-own-vegetable-stock/

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What I learned from 6 weeks of no weigh-ins, plus my last meat meal for a month!

As previously mentioned, I just went 6 weeks without weighing in on a scale. ¬†I’ve always thought of myself as being pretty objective with the scale usage; I thought it was just a tool to give me a number, and I didn’t think it controlled my emotions or actions. Man, was I wrong!

  • Within the first week, I was having dreams about weighing in. ¬†Pretty crazy. ¬†For something to be so ingrained that when I stop doing it in my waking life that it enters my dreams, that’s intense.
  • I felt like I NEEDED to know what the scale said. ¬†Never mind that I could feel whether or not my shirt or pants were getting tight or loose. ¬†Or that I owned a tape measure. ¬†Or the other items that I’ve mentioned are ways to track progress.
  • But I also felt kind of free… but maybe too free. ¬†While it was nice to be able to eat a peanut butter ball at Christmas and a couple of clementines and not see that sugar bloat show up on the scale, I think that not seeing that reaction may have led me to take more liberties than normal because I wasn’t going to see the damage for 6 weeks.

So, I think it was an interesting thing to do. ¬†I’m at at the same weight I was 6 weeks ago, and that includes holiday gatherings and current bloat so I think I’ll still call success. ¬†I also went from dancing between two shirt sizes to being definitely in the lower shirt size during those 6 weeks. ¬†The scale isn’t going to stay in the closet anymore but I think I’ve gotten a healthier head about what the scale says.

To the topic of meat… tonight I had my last meat meal for a month! ¬†We went to a local hole-in-the-wall burger joint and I had a bacon cheeseburger and took off the bun. ¬†This place, like many burger places around here, puts butter on the burgers. Pure heaven.

Superhusband is still a little skeptical about this whole Vegetarian Challenge Month thing that I’m doing, and is definitely not participating. ¬†I’m going to be doing some research finding some local places that are both veggie and meat friendly. ¬†I was also thinking about some ground rules that I wanted to establish that some vegans and vegetarians may be wondering about:

  • I will still be eating cheese and eggs, so this is truly a vegetarian challenge, not a vegan challenge. ¬†I’m sure I’ll be having some vegan dishes as I have vegan dishes several times a month. ¬†Heck, hubby will probably be having his favorite accidentally vegan dessert some point soon.
  • I will not be eating any meat including fish or chicken during this challenge (cuuuz that wouldn’t be vegetarian). ¬†I say this because some people still think that vegetarians eat fish. ¬†I also won’t be using rendered animal fat.lamb
  • Going along with the last bullet point, there are some instances that restaurants use animal fat to make things taste yummier (like, rolling a baked potato in bacon fat). ¬†If I’ve heard that a place does that with a dish, I won’t eat it. ¬†However, I’m not going to go out of my way to find these things out. ¬†This is mostly for my sanity. ¬†I’m aware of this issue.
  • My exact ratios/carb counts may not be in total line with LCHF. ¬†I’m going to work to keep my fats as high as possible, while still creating actual meals. ¬†It’s one month. ¬†Not a big deal. ¬†The world will not end.

So there you go! ¬†Starting tomorrow, for all of February, I will be meat-free. ¬†Please feel free to comment with your favorite meat-free recipes to keep me fed! ūüėÄ

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I started washing my face. With oil. Happiness Ensued.

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s funny how oil went from this thing to be avoided at all costs to this thing that really brings function and health to my life now. ¬†When I eat it, I lose weight. ¬†When I mix it in my lotions, my arms and legs get so soft even during the harsh Wisconsin winters. ¬†Over a month ago, I started doing something new with oil: I started washing my face with it.

“But Ellie” you’re saying, “oil is what you’re trying to remove from your face, you shouldn’t be adding it to your face.” ¬†Well, sorta kinda not really (man it’s about to become really clear that I’m not a doctor). ¬†The oil on your face is kind of like your skin’s self-cleaning cycle. ¬†It releases oil to get the junk out of your pores. ¬†That “junk” can be dirt, can be dead skin, can be the chemicals left behind from your crappy cleanser. ¬†It also helps to keep your skin naturally hydrated. ¬† By washing your face with oil, instead of chemical junk, you’re giving your face’s self-cleaning cycle a helping hand.

Even if your skin is already oily, you can benefit from oil-washing. ¬†Some people see a reduction in oil production when they use the right kinds of oils on their face. ¬†By using oils to cleanse, they’re telling their face “chill out, I’ve got this covered. ¬†Go take a nap” instead of freaking it out by drying it out using regular crappy cleansers. ¬†Crappy cleansers tend to be loaded with drying ingredients like alcohol, nasty estrogen-mimicking ingredients (yeah, I’m talking about you, parabens), and other stupid junk that doesn’t work well and dries out your skin or gets you sick.

When I first started oil-washing, I used Crunchy Betty’s oil-washing guide. ¬†I still consider that to be the best guide on the internet. ¬†Let me tell you exactly what *I* do, though, since it slightly varies. ¬†(By the way, I’m including product links in case this helps beginners, but I don’t make money off these.) ¬†I’ve found that her recipes include too much castor oil. ¬†For oily skin she suggests 2/3 castor oil to 1/3 carrier oil. ¬†At least for my skin, that’s way too much castor oil, and dries out my skin big time. ¬†I found that 4 parts almond oil (my carrier oil of choice) to 1 part castor oil works great. ¬†I mix that up in a handy dropper bottle with 10 drops of lavender essential oil. ¬†Why lavender essential oil? ¬†Well, a few reasons. ¬†It smells awesome for one. ¬†It’s also antibacterial. ¬†And it helps me chill out.

Just like described in the guide, I get the water pretty warm, about as warm as I can stand. ¬†I squirt about a dime sized amount of oil into my hands, and rub it all over my face for about a minute or so. ¬†I put a washcloth into the really warm water, squeeze it out, then spread the steamy washcloth over my face. ¬†Let that sit for 30 seconds or so, until you start to feel a little silly standing there with a washcloth on your face. ¬†Then get some fresh warm water on the cloth, and wipe the oil off. ¬†If, after washing, you feel your face is a little dry (it might, might not), you can rub in some fractionated coconut oil or some almond oil. ¬†Worried about wrinkles (aren’t we all)? ¬†Dab some vitamin E oil around your eyes. ¬†You may also want to use carrot seed essential oil in your oil mix.

You may find that you only have to wash your face a couple of times a week.  And yes, this washing method works even if you have acne.

By the way, if you like buying quality essential oils, my sister sells Doterra oils.  I love their lavender oil!  They also sell the fractionated coconut oil.

Any questions?  Do you do oil washing?

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Guest post: My mom’s biometric results

My mom posted on LCHF America’s Facebook page today. ¬†I knew she was going in for her biometric screening, but I didn’t know the results before I saw her post. ¬†It put a big smile on my face to read it. ¬†She’s been a diabetic for years, and LCHF has really been helping with her daily glucose readings. ¬†Her post really speaks for itself; with her permission, I’m reposting here. ¬†Please feel free to pop on over to our Facebook page to her original post to comment!

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I’m a 50-something, overweight, diabetic woman. While I don’t follow the LCHF regimen as tightly as my daughter¬†does, I adhere to it pretty strongly. I had my labs done today, and I’m happy to share the results. Note that my LCHF or NSNG odyssey began in early June, 2013.

Per the Mayo Clinic
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol-levels/art-20048245

Total cholesterol desirable < 200 – mine 161
LDL cholesterol ideal < 100 – mine 71
HDL cholesterol best > 60 – mine 63
Triglicerides desirable < 150 – mine 136

And the best news for me…as a diabetic (from¬†http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2013/feb/meet-your-a1c.html¬†)
“An A1C of below 5.7 percent is considered normal, while A1C levels of 6.5 percent and above call for a diagnosis of diabetes.”

My HbA1c today was 5.7! 

While I will always be a diabetic, the amount of medicine I take now has to be lowered. I’ve had some weight loss (quite needed), but it is not the focus of my way of eating. NSNG or LCHF is just a sensible (and delicious) diet for this woman.

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February: Vegetarian Challenge Month (!!)

Image courtesy of KEKO64 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KEKO64 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I agreed to a challenge for next month: eat all vegetarian meals. ¬†The challenge was posed in a group I’m in and I agreed for a few reasons.

  • While I love meat and have no plans on permanently giving it up, I know that the human body is super cool and can run on lots of different fuel. ¬†Flex fuel, yo. ¬†I support those who are vegans and vegetarian wholeheartedly.
  • Some people, like those who eat halal food or people who are very particular about eating only grass-fed or pastured meat, will choose to eat vegetarian food when away from home to avoid eating something that goes against their dietary or religious beliefs. ¬†I thought that eating vegetarian for a month would make me more aware of the challenges of that.
  • I can. ¬†I don’t mean that in the same was as that crazy chick who ate only Starbucks for a year just because she could. ¬†I mean it in the way that I have the time, the patience, the knowledge, and the ability to do a well-formulated vegetarian diet for a month. ¬†I think it will make a good topic for the blog, and since I’m able to do it, I’m gonna do it.

This will obviously present some challenges:

  • I love bacon. ¬†This is just a fact.
  • My husband will still be eating meat this entire month.
  • Because I’m insulin resistant, it will still be important for me to keep my diet as high of fat as possible. ¬†I’ll likely be adding some legumes (or not, we’ll see) which is bending the LCHF rules a bit, but I’ve found from experience that I do okay with limited legumes.
  • I work in an office, which means that at least one meal a day will have some limited options for cooking. ¬†This is obviously an everyday challenge, but will be further limited by no meat. ¬†There are a lot of days where I don’t have meat while at work, though, so it’s not a huge deal.
  • Did I mention I love bacon?

So, starting February 1st, I’ll be posting about Vegetarian Challenge Month and sharing some Vegetarian friendly dishes.

There you go! ¬†Anyone wanna join? ūüėÄ

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