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Favorite Things

Favorite Things

Anybody who’s looked at my Instagram feed knows three things: I have two kids, I’m currently doing a ton of handstands (#100handstandsin100days2017), and I love to cook.

I haven’t always liked being in the kitchen- before I had Reid, Kirk was the primary chef in our relationship. He was (and still is) pretty good, too, and credits his “restaurant experience” (aka a 6-week internship in a restaurant) for this. I will say though- he can spin and toss pizza dough pretty high in the air, and I don’t know if that does anything but it looks impressive.

Anyway- after Reid was born and I started my new life as a stay at home mom, I felt like it was a bit unfair for me to be at home and expect Kirk to continue to make dinner after being at work all day. It’s not that it was something I felt like I “had” to do, but I felt like I had the time for it so I should. At first, it was pretty stressful for me. I’m a rule-follower, so I love recipes and I follow them exactly. It makes me a great baker but cooking needs a bit more flexibility. I panicked when I read instructions like “simmer sauce for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.” Umm, which one? And how can I tell if it’s exactly half? But slowly (VERY SLOWLY, poor Kirk) I became more and more comfortable cooking. Now, 4.5 years later, I’m really comfortable in the kitchen and have even created some recipes on my own, or blended a few together to create something new-ish. A lot of people ask me for recipes for stuff that I post, and while some of it is my own, I get a lot through other bloggers I follow on Instagram. So, here are a few of my favorites!

Minimalist Baker: this lady rocks. I didn’t even realize until several weeks into following her that everything she makes is plant-based. Seriously, everything is so good. Plus all her recipes are either just a few ingredients, only require one bowl, or take 30 minutes or less. Try: peanut butter overnight oats

Against All Grain: Danielle Walker has saved my mostly-gluten-and-dairy-free life. Her recipes are so amazing that you don’t even notice the lack of processed ingredients! Her backstory is pretty incredible too- some serious health struggles that led her down a scary path, until she found a way through it via food and nutrition. She is inspiring on so many levels! I own every single cookbook she wrote, and I think she’s coming out with a new one soon. You better believe I’m getting that one too! (also, because I’m a cookbook addict) Try: margarita and real deal chocolate chip cookies

Paleomg: Julie Bauer is the shit. She’s not only an amazing and creative cook, but is gorgeous and has a killer sense of style. I went to her gym once while visiting Denver (Crossfit Broadway) but she wasn’t there. Kirk went last year and saw her, and was so rude that he didn’t call me and let me speak to her. I love her. Anyway- she’s pretty realistic about what she eats and drinks and sometimes even (gasp) uses cheese in her recipes, despite being “paleo.” I think that’s why I like her so much- she just kind of does her own thing but it works. Try: crockpot fig apple butter

Nom Nom Paleo: Michelle Tam writes with such a fun tone and style. Her newest cookbook, Ready or Not, has quickly become one of my favorites simply due to the way it’s organized. Instead of the typical appetizers-sides-mains-desserts fashion, she divides her book into sections based on how much time you have to cook. It’s amazing! She adds an Asian influence to a lot of her recipes, and most of them are Whole30 compliant as well. And they are all damn good. Get the new cookbook just for the duck confit recipe alone, I swear! Plus, Michelle has the motherload of Instant Pot recipes. She’s amazing. Try: cracklin’ chicken

Simply Taylor: Not only is Taylor Riggs a registered dietician, but she’s from Columbus, Ohio! I feel like that should make her worth checking out in itself. But, she also has a cookbook called “Real Food, Real Simple” that is 100% awesome. Seriously- I’ve made about 10 recipes from there and they have all been wonderful. Listen to me: YOU MUST TRY THE ALMOND BUTTER BRUSSEL SPROUTS. It is only in her book, which is well worth the $20. It will change your life, and that is not an exaggeration. Try: absolutely everything in her cookbook, and the chopped salad

The Toasted Pine Nut: I’ve only been following this one on Instagram for a short time, but she makes some really cool stuff. The photos of her dishes are a beautiful addition to my feed, and always catch my eye as I’m scrolling through. Her stuff is lower carb, gluten free, and always looks delicious! Try: BLT chickpea pasta salad with creamy avocado sauce

Stupid Easy Paleo: I love this blog just on its name alone. Eating well doesn’t have to be complicated! I love her site in general- she’s an advocate for women’s fitness, nutrition and overall health. She has a challenge that you can sign up for named “Harder to Kill” and that’s definitely something I can get behind. Try: amaze balls and paleo chick-fil-a nuggets

Paleo Running Mama: Michelle is a mom of 3, so I felt like I immediately knew her struggle. She posts a lot of stuff that is kid-friendly (yes I know, ALL food is “kid friendly” but have you ever tried to give something new to a 4-year-old?) so I love searching her site for stuff that Reid and I can make together. I do find that helps- cooking with kids gives them a stake in the game, and they are so much more likely to try something new if it’s a result of their own work! It’s the only time I’ve gotten Reid to try hummus. Anyway, this is a great resource for kids and grown ups alike! Try: berry crumble breakfast bake

There are a few more that I like, but these are the ones that really stick out to me, and the ones I go to most often. Finding new recipes and cooking methods makes eating really fun, and I can only hope I pass this love of the kitchen on to my children. I try to teach Reid some skills whenever he’s willing to pay attention, which is a little hit or miss, but he is pretty decent with a butter knife now.

Next step: teaching him how to pour a cup of coffee and carry it up the stairs, set it on my nightstand, and return to his room so I can drink it in peace. #dreamon

Two Weeks

Two Weeks

I seriously hate hot weather. I’m not one of those people who can lay out on the beach for hours- first, because I instantly become a hot/sweaty mess, and second, because I have a horrible tendency to get sunburned. Once, Kirk and I were driving in a convertible during the summer to a friend’s wedding, which was about an hour away. I totally forgot that I could get sunburned in the car, and ended up with a seatbelt outline across my chest, which was only accented by my strapless dress that I wore. It was terrible.

That said, one nice part about the summer is that my family is relatively healthy. It’s not a continuous stream of runny noses, coughs, ear infections, and visits to the doctor, with the occasional serious ailment thrown in. That is the season we’re currently in- and I am over it. I would love 24 hours free of coughing and nose wiping. Spring can’t come soon enough.

So as of yesterday, I’m officially 1/3 of the way through the elimination diet. Yes, I am keeping a countdown on my bathroom mirror like I’m in prison. Honestly though, I *think* it’s getting easier. Some of the habits, like a nightly glass (or two, or three) of wine are slowly fading. That’s not to say I don’t still want a little cabernet stress-reliever, but the habitual part of that is fading away. Some habits are still very much there, like having a snack after dinner. Still can’t break that one, although the food has changed from cookies/brownies/ice cream/garbage to a rice cake with cashew or almond butter. So, I suppose that’s an improvement! The hardest part of this is still giving up eggs. My breakfast options are pretty limited without eggs- I think this will be the first food I’ll reintroduce when the diet is over.

I’ve noticed an improvement in my energy, especially that afternoon 2pm-3pm slump. I do think the lack of sugar and booze is helping me sleep better. I think the 5 month old baby is helping me sleep worse, sadly. But, usually after I get up with her (for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time) I fall back asleep quickly which didn’t happen before this diet. I’m also down about 3-ish pounds, which is a nice perk. Weight loss wasn’t my main goal here (although with the absence of wine and sugar, I figured I’d shed at least a couple lb’s) but I’m happy to see some of it go.

One improvement I’d still like to make is getting more veggies in my diet. Usually, if I’m looking for veggies in the morning, I’ll make a veggie frittata or veggie hash with some over-easy eggs. Not an option here. So this is something I’d really like to focus on in the next few weeks!

Off to go shove some carrots down my throat, although they are really just a vehicle for baba ganoush.


Putting the “fun” in Functional Medicine

Putting the “fun” in Functional Medicine

So. I had heard of the Functional Medicine Center at the Cleveland Clinic, like, 18 months ago. I was on the wait list for a full YEAR before getting an appointment in early January! I had forgotten I even made the damn appointment until I got a call after Christmas saying my name was up on the wait list. Well, ok then! The woman in the phone then said “you know this is a 4 hour appointment, right?”

Umm, no. I did not. 😳

So, I arranged for childcare (thanks to my husband and mother-in-law) and looked at exactly what this thing entails. Functional medicine aims to treat the root problem in disease rather than the symptoms. Someone described it as having a rock in your shoe- usually docs prescribe a medication for the pain. Functional medicine says “let’s take the rock out.” It involves a lot of dietary stuff, supplements, and some lifestyle changes. The health questionnaire that I filled out before my appointment took me about 90 minutes (probably more, between pleas for more snacks from Reid and incessant rocking for Sydney). I had to call my mom a couple times to ask how long I was breastfed, when did I first have dairy, etc.

This thing was intense.

So, I went to my appointment. The center is really new- everything is super modern and clean. There seems to be a mandate that no color enters this space. I met with a doctor for an hour, got TWELVE vials of blood drawn, managed to not pass out, met with a nutritionist for an hour, and a health coach for about 30 minutes. It was… a lot of information.

I walked out of there not know what I was going to do. I really didn’t want to spend 6-8 weeks without all the foods I had grown pretty accustomed to shoving in my face during my pregnancy, postpartum period, and holiday season. Things like desserts, wine, pasta, and more-than-just-occasional fast food.

Plus, the timing just wasn’t right. I had a cooking class in a couple weeks that was basically all dairy, then my birthday was a few weeks after that, then our anniversary, then Kirk’s and Reid’s birthdays. And then it would be summer, and who wants to give up all that stuff during summer? That’s when I realized- the timing will never be right. I’ll never have 6 weeks with no plans, no celebrations, no real life. If I wanted real change, I had to work it in somehow.

So I decided. Mid-February to early April, I would do the elimination diet. I have no idea how this is going to go, and giving up booze while dealing with a 3.5 year old and a baby seems exceptionally cruel.

Happy thoughts and prayers are appreciated!😳