What’s for breakfast? – A New Farm

 

Ancient OatsBreakfast was one of the hardest meals for me to wrap my brain around no longer being able to eat sugar, dairy, or gluten. Endless searches down the cereal aisle in multiple markets came up empty. Omelets were no longer an option, the gooey cheese I used to love to singe as it oozed out of my omelet onto the skillet seemed only a distant memory. In the beginning I soft boiled eggs and mashed them up on gluten free toast with no butter. I quickly fell in love with grapefruit forcing myself to forget that I used to sprinkle sugar on top of it once I had halved it. No more maple syrup (for now) or powdered sugar on homemade waffles or pancakes and bagels weren’t even an option. Slowly friends would recommend gluten free products, I no longer craved the sweet syrupy flavor of sugar, and I began to fall in love with fresh fruit and coconut milk. My latest and greatest find is Ancient Grains. A hot cereal that when heated up with coconut milk and topped with fresh raspberries is both filling and delicious. It is gluten, dairy, and sugar free. It’s perfect with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Why such an extreme way of eating? If anyone had suggested that I would be eating this way even a couple of years ago I would have shrugged them off and laughed at the notion. I’m imagining most of you would now, until one day you found out what sugar, gluten, and dairy can and have done to our diet and those who over consume it on a daily basis. This just happens to be my story and why I can no longer choose to keep them in my diet.

The knowledge that you have to change your entire way of thinking in an instant seemed overwhelming and daunting. If it was just me, I’m not sure that I would have attacked the idea that I could and would do it with such ferocity. As I sat and continued to listen, my body grew heavier and my mind tired from its endless questioning of why I wasn’t feeling like I knew that I should for the last six years. It hadn’t been a constant in my life. The symptoms would rear their head two or three times a year and then subside within a few months. If they became too much to ignore, I would make an appointment or go to the walk in clinic thinking I had a cold I couldn’t shake or even the flu. My bloodwork always came back the same, incredibly anemic. My blood cell count was low and my cells were misshaped. Inevitably I would be asked to do more blood work and go back on iron supplements. Just two years ago the symptoms became so extreme after having appendicitis I was ordered to have a colonoscopy with the thought that it might be cancer. Still everything came back normal. They had tested for celiac, lyme, and everything I had ever heard of. I felt as though I was creating my symptoms in my mind, somehow manifesting them at the most inopportune times in my life.

As I sat listening to the results of my colonoscopy, bits and pieces of me came together and decided that I wasn’t imagining my low blood levels and all the symptoms that seemed to come with them. I looked up across the front of the Doctor’s desk and asked him if being anemic was a disease or a symptom. He smiled at me and said “you know I have med students who can’t correctly grasp that anemia is a symptom.” It was in that moment that I knew there was a reason that I was feeling the way I was, something was causing it. For me, in that office, I finally felt validation. I just wasn’t any closer to finding out what was causing the anemia and my host of daunting symptoms.

Being sugar, gluten, and dairy free hasn’t just impacted me, it has the people around me thinking about their relationship with sugar. I’ve been holding myself back, trying hard not to make my journey everyone’s journey. The FDA just recently came out with the new recommended daily intake of sugar is 10-12 grams a day. It seems doable and realistic until you start to read labels and wake up to the choices you are making each and every day. The other night my husband shared that my step daughter had ordered a rootbeer at dinner. She picked up the can and began reading the nutritional label. “Dad did you know that this rootbeer has 50 grams of sugar?” Sophie is eleven and just by living with my journey and watching as my life transforms in a physical, mental, and emotional way she has already began to wonder what role sugar is playing in her life. Take a minute today and read a few labels. I used to love putting Sigis yogurt in the kid’s lunch or any kind of yogurt. Go ahead and take a look…remember the FDA recommends 10-12 grams a day.



  • I am what I eat – A Little Lift

    Apparently there are no good or bad foods, just ones that are better for each of us depending on how we are feeling.  Right now in my life that means no sugar, dairy, or gluten. I should eat all of my food warm and avoid raw and high in fiber vegetables. Honoring where I am today in my life, here is a little something I cooked up on this cold, raw, wet day in January.

    Beef Stew - the new improved me way of cooking!

    Beef Stew – the new improved me way of cooking!

    Beef Stew – Easy and is great to heat up for lunch or dinner during the week.

    Ingredients you may need to grab: Coconut oil, Almond or Sunflower butter, Gluten free flour, and Turnips.

    I use lean beef cuts and sauté them in a hot pan with coconut oil. I sprinkle gluten free flour on them with sea salt and pepper till they are cooked on both sides. I sprinkle mustard powder and cinnamon on the browned beef for a rich flavoring and then  I transfer them to a pot that has Beef stock slowly simmering in it.

    I dice up onions, celery, chives, carrots, potatoes, and turnips up and add to the pot. I stir in about four tablespoons of almond butter for a thickening and flavoring agent and then top off with a bit of tabasco sauce for a bit of kick. This is one of my new favorite fall back meals since I have begun my life of being gluten, dairy and sugar free. It’s quick simple and delicious.

    As I sat listening to what was going to be my new way of eating, shopping, cooking, and most importantly living, I felt overwhelmed and fell victim to getting stuck in my own head before I even left his office. It was Monday, November 30, 2015. I will never forget the day. In one hour, the way I looked at food would be turned inside out, upside down, and be changed from that point on. Imagine yourself being told that if you want to live a healthy normal life you would need to give up gluten, dairy, and worst of all sugar. I stumbled to reply at first. I finally found the clarity to form the question, how long. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “as long as you want to live a healthy strong life.” It’s funny how I immediately began playing any and every pharmaceutical commercial in my mind. There had to be some sort of magic pill that could erase the last six years as if they never existed, regardless of any fatal side effects that might be disclaimed at the very end.  I found myself nodding silently in response not knowing what else to do. Everything he said to me made perfectly logical sense.

    It’s been 41 days since I have revamped the way I look at food, cook it, eat it, and obsess about it. I went cold turkey with a lot of help from some very special individuals as I took out all gluten, dairy, and processed sugar from my diet. It didn’t stop there for me,  my new way of eating came with some very strict boundaries. My fruit is limited to blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and grapefruit. I am only supposed to eat food that is warm and hot and stay away from all raw vegetables and those high in fiber which make them harder to digest. For now natural sugar from raw organic honey and maple syrup is on the same do not ingest list as white processed sugar.  It hasn’t been easy but for the first time I have experienced some incredible turnarounds with the way I feel, act, look, and live. The most noticeable change for me is that for the last two weeks I have begun feeling like a normal person again.

    I’ve spent years chasing my tail trying to discover why I become dangerously anemic, chronically fatigued, plagued with muscle fatigue, fevers and chills, brain fog, dizziness, and dark urine and unpredictable movements. The longer I stay within the boundaries my doctor has given me for eating, the more each of these symptoms lesson and actually dissipate.  I peed clearly for the first time yesterday in as long as I can remember. I actually questioned myself if it was normal. I question myself everyday as I move forward wondering how simply deleting three items from my diet can make me feel better than I have in over ten years. It came without pharmaceuticals, vitamins & minerals, extensive testing, and numerous blood samples. It can’t be any worse for me than the crazy amounts of sugar I used to consume each and every day, but I guess only time will tell.

    As I struggle through the grocery stores searching for items that are sugar, dairy, and gluten free I couldn’t help but feel like there must be others doing the same thing as me and somehow if were able to connect and share discoveries, recipes, and successes than it would all seem so much more normal and less isolating. My husband has been incredible and dedicated to reading labels sourcing breads and recipes. A co worker who used to be a nutritionist has been a wealth of information and inspiration in letting me know that not only is this doable but it comes with incredible health rewards. My family has supported me in ways I never expected and some are joining me in changing the way we eat and consider food as something that enables our living not something we live for.  As I make my way forward I hope to share recipes, products, ways to order out when eating at restaurants that help others on this same path as me feel a little bit more normal.