A Heaping TBSP of Life


~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

Tag: Posts

Goat Cheese!

Goat Cheese!

So allow me to go full on food nerd for a second. OMG GUYS I MADE GOAT CHEESE!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Ok, I feel better.  But for real – I made goat cheese, and it turned out Ahhh-mazing!  To say that I knew what I […]

7 Day Detox + Downloads

7 Day Detox + Downloads

(PDFs are linked at the bottom) The word ‘detox’ is thrown around a lot.  It can mean a juice cleanse, a fast, a whole 30 – and it can apply to all sorts of different aspects of life: exercise, nutrition, inner peace. I like to […]

This time one year ago…

This time one year ago…

I was in the hospital.  The contractions were getting closer and closer together.  We were so nervous, and so excited at the same time in fact we were getting ready to make just about the biggest change of our entire lives.  Alex and I were (relatively) newly wed, and already we were gearing up to welcome a third member into our family!

I honestly don’t think that there is a bigger change you can make to your lifestyle than going from a two to three person family. I mean, I just had no idea. I thought I did. But I didn’t. Knowing how to change a diaper, and actually DOING it, at three am on a work night, when you haven’t gotten a drop of sleep, and forgot to eat dinner – there’s a big difference! When Mr. William joined our family our laid back, easy going lifestyle got thrown for a loop!

On top of the normal life changes that happen with a newborn, we were further caught off gaurd, when, at only two and a half months, our perfect little baby had to be hospitalized.  He was having horrible gastro-intestinal issues and loosing weight, coming in at only .042 on the percentile chart.  Only a mamma who has had to hold her tiny screaming 2 month old while the doctor desperately tries to get an IV in his little foot can understand how scary that was.  Even just thinking about it now makes me tear up.  My little boy was such a fighter though, he still managed to make us smile even with that needle in him.  We had to have him on fluids for almost a week before the doctors finally made the executive decision to take him off.  They thought it was a lactose allergy.  But when we tried the dairy free formula, all his symptoms instantly flared back up, and he was back on the IV.  Finally, we discovered that it was a common protein shared by milk and soy.  He was even allergic to breast milk (which had been the original problem).  Within days after switching to a hypoallergenic formula, our baby boy started to act himself again.  He started gaining weight, moving around more, and just having more life in general.

 

It was so hard at first, especially when it came to buying food – almost everything has soy, vegetable oil, lecithin or a form of milk in it – even lotions and perfumes – it’s ridiculous.  But we started reading labels and doing research.  We’ve had a few incidents since then, but once we knew the symptoms, and the triggers for his allergy, it got easier.

One year later, and we’ve adjusted, we’ve made changes, and life is starting to normalize finally.  It will never be the same though, and I don’t think it should be. Having a kid gave us responsibilities that simply couldn’t be managed if we were to still live the way we used to. It changed our priorities. Before, I couldn’t have imagined giving up a wine and dine girls night to stay in and play with blocks, but now I do it all the time! (Sorry ladies! 🙂 )

There’s just something that changes inside when you become a mamma – or at least it did for me! Now the highlight of my day isn’t happy hour, it’s getting the munchkin from daycare and seeing his smile light up when I walk in the door. Watching him hit milestones – his first tooth, first step, first word – those are what I look forward to the most now.

Of course, that being said, I am still me, too. My love of cooking, traveling, and gardening didn’t go away the minute he was born. But I have had to adjust my lifestyle – I just simply don’t have the time anymore.

Where before I would have a home cooked meal on the table every single night, I now aim for every other, with leftovers filling in the days that I’m not cooking (or the occasional Amy’s frozen dinner when the leftover situation is not happening! :P) I used to spend MONTHS planning my garden down to the square inch – while I still did plan it this year, I didn’t start anything from seed  – instead I’m going to be buying heirloom varieties that have already been started and just need to be transplanted outside. Sure it will cost a bit more, and I won’t get the whole seed to dirt to table effect, but I’ll still have yummy organic tomatoes growing in my garden! It’s a game of compromise. Even our travel, as much as I didn’t want to change it, has had to be adjusted. We have a third member of the family now, who doesn’t do the best on long car rides! Not to mention international air travel!! So we’re adjusting, starting out small – little trips to grandma’s house, short flights to the coast. I know this is all just a phase – soon enough he’ll be independent and I’ll be able to do more of what I love again – and then I’ll be wishing that he still needed his mamma like he used to.

Even this morning, when I dropped him off at daycare, I could already see the independent streak starting to show as he happily walked through the front door (by himself!) waved good bye to me, and ran off to play with his friends – and he’s only one!!! I’m already a mess, I can’t imagine what it will be like when he takes the car out for his first solo drive!! Time goes so fast, and it seems only days ago that he was a tiny little bug and we were driving him home for the very first time. Now he’s walking and climbing, and chattering up a storm, and soon I know that chatter will turn into real words and he’s going to keep growing up, whether I want it or not. I’m doing my best to just live in the present and enjoy every stage of this for what it is. My perfect little munchkin. 🙂

Happy Birthday Mr. William, Mamma Loves You!!!! 🙂

The Working Momma Struggle

The Working Momma Struggle

It’s finally the weekend! I feel like I say that a lot.  Like I’m always anticipating Friday night, and then when it finally happens I blink and it’s Monday.  How does it go so fast?  I remember not even that many years ago, being a […]

Naan, Roti, and Poori, Oh My!

Naan, Roti, and Poori, Oh My!

It’s probably a given that I love to bake.  And cook.  And just about anything else that involves fresh ingredients, gorgeous presentations, and dropping flavor bombs from different cultures and cuisines into expectant palates. Even above and beyond my love of food though, I love […]

Final Thoughts on a (Mostly) Successful Whole 30

Final Thoughts on a (Mostly) Successful Whole 30

Happy Tuesday!

I can’t believe that we’re already a solid two months into 2018.  It really is true that the older you get, the faster time goes.  I feel like I blinked and it’s nearly the end of February!  My little man turned 10 months earlier this month.  I can’t believe how fast he is growing up – he’s even walking around on those little legs already!  It’s so exciting to see him learning and comprehending more every day, I’m constantly reminded how lucky to have such a perfect little critter in my life! 🙂  Sometimes I wish I could just stop time and hang out here with him for awhile, but I guess the best I can do is try to enjoy every moment for what it is – a precious gift that we will never have again!

Reflections aside, I am on day 30 of my Whole 30 today.  It wasn’t easy.  I had two old fashioneds on my anniversary (no regrets!) and ate a few cauliflower and plantain crust pizzas – so some might argue that it ‘didn’t count’, but I’m not going through 30 days of denial and not counting it!  I used the book, Whole 30 Day by Day to help me chronicle the journey.  If anyone is looking to do the Whole 30, I do strongly recommend either that, or another form of chronicling your experience.  It was very eye opening for me to look back through the journey and see how my progress changed.  I followed a bell curve, meaning started out rough, had about a week and a half where I felt ok, and then steadily got worse – to the point where I just wanted to throw in the towel but couldn’t because I hate quitting something once I’ve started it!

Before delving deeper into that experience though, perhaps pointing out a few details is in order.  I started this program, not because I have any health issues, intolerance, or food reactions, but because I was curious.  I had just finished Blogilates 28 Day Reset at the end of December, and was itching to start another similar program.  Cassey’s reset really helped me keep my relationship with food healthy over the 2017 holiday craziness.  It’s a simple program that doesn’t cut out much, instead it’s more focused on managing your relationship with food and incorporating daily exersize.  Also, never once does it say, “If you chew a piece of gum, you’re out, start over.”  I liked the ‘real-ness’ of the program and the honesty.  You got what you put into it, but if you mess up, it’s ok!  Don’t beat yourself up, just admit it and move on.  It was also created with a nutritionist’s help, and has an excellent vegan option.

I guess when I started the Whole 30, I was expecting something like the reset from Blogilates.  Instead I got a strict mantra of don’t do this, think this, or eat this, and if you mess up you have to start over!  Perhaps it’s just me, but that doesn’t exactly seem like a healthy mindset.  Before I started I spoke with a friend of mine who is a personal trainer and he strongly recommended against doing the program saying that it would kill my energy and strongly hinder my ability to work out.  Of course I did it anyways, and as much as I hate to admit it he was right.  I didn’t work out once the ENTIRE 30 DAYS!!  Especially considering that I had just come off another reset where I was working out 6 days a week and feeling great, this was insane – how was it even possible that my energy was killed so fast?!

I think the answer is two fold – by cutting out soy legumes and grains I lost my main sources of nutrients and energy.  When I lost my energy and stopped working out, I lost my motivation.  I still finished, because I’m not a quitter dammit, but I almost wish I hadn’t.  Instead of doing an energizing 30 days to ‘reset’ I slogged through 30 days of feeling horrible just yearning for it to be over.  The worst part was, the more I thought about why I was doing this, the more I became confused.

 

Was it for nutrition?  No, I eat incredibly healthy, and rarely ever get sick.  In fact the whole 30 requirements aren’t necessarily ‘nutritious’ at all – I mean they’re telling me to eat bacon and mayo instead of quinoa and black beans…I have a degree in culinary science and had to take several nutrition classes along the way to get it – I guess I missed the class that told me mayo and bacon (and any red meat in general!) were health foods!

Was it for increased energy?  Well, I thought so at first – but I actually had far less energy the entire time I was on the program!  Taking out my main food groups did a number on my energy!

How about controlling cravings?  Well the holidays had just passed, so this was definitely on my mind.  And I will give the program credit for this in a small aspect – but only because my cravings were SO bad the first week!  When I cut out bread and other carbs it was all I could think about, slowly that craving went away – but is that a good thing?  I became lethargic to the point I just wanted to go home and go to bed!  Perhaps my body stopped craving carbs, but the reason it was craving them in the first place was because it needed them!  Now I have to slowly introduce them back in, and I’m kind of scared of how that is going to go!  I almost never had cravings before, I’m scared that my body is going to be all kinds of confused now that it’s gone without for so long.

So I guess it all boils down to the fact that I got on a Whole 30 because I was curious.  I wanted to know what was so great about it, why I keep seeing the hashtag everywhere.  I mean if everyone’s talking about it, it must be great – right?  Well, as I found out, no, not necessarily.  As a healthy, fit, and happy adult, I can now admit that going on the Whole 30 was not my best idea.  I don’t have any strange reactions to food, sometimes I bloat a little after eating a sandwhich – but I already know that.  I don’t have any weird ‘sugar dragon’ – I eat my dark chocolate when I want it and that’s about it.  I don’t know what ‘Tiger Blood’ is, but unless it means lethargy and crankiness, I certainly didn’t experience it.  In fact, I had no good reason to do this other than curiosity.

One other thing that I have to point out (I NEED to point out) – and this is the vegetarian coming out in me so I apologize in advance, I promise I have nothing against meat eaters even if it sounds that way for a few sentances here – but on the Whole 30 website, under the vegetarian/vegan section (we get our own page! yay us!) the ENTIRE first half of the page is spent trying to convince someone to give up being a vegatarian.  I find that a bit offensive to be honest.  This is who I am – don’t try telling me that it’s healthier to eat meat!  I respect the opinions of the article authors, and don’t care that they eat meat, but to push those opinions onto a perfectly healthy individual, and then back them up with easily refuted claims is just plain annoying.  There are just as many arguments (if not more) for why excluding meat from a diet is healthier – and as for ethics, I’m glad they think there is an ‘ethical’ way to kill animals – but they should know that not everyone would agree!  Would they tell a muslim, ‘Just try christianity for a bit, it’s waaay better for you.’  Whether you eat meat or not, just like what you believe is a personal choice.  Saying that one is better than the other is forcing an opinion, and I found that a bit frustrating.  As you can probably tell from this longer-than-anticipated rant.  Okay.  I promise I’m done now.

After all this, you might be thinking I’m totally anti-Whole 30.  But I’m not!  I just don’t think it’s for everyone – and I didn’t like the mindset  that it pushed (if it looks like a pancake it’s bad!  Seriously, what was with those poor pancakes, they got bashed in every chapter!)  If you struggle with overeating, craving sugar all the time, or loading up on fast food/junk food, then something like a Whole 30 might be a great choice (personally I’d recommend Blogilates 28 day reset though!  Much more fun, accepting, comes with tailored workouts, and the community is great!).  If you have weird reactions to food and you have been struggling to determine where they are coming from – then the Whole 30 might be a good choice.  But if you’re a healthy, fit, active, energetic gal (or guy!) and are just trying to take it one step further – I’d skip this one.  Add in some more reps – make a resolution to read a chapter every night, or pick up yoga.  But please, don’t do a Whole 30!

Beverages Back Up + AM Eating

Beverages Back Up + AM Eating

Good Morning! I have (finally) finished converting the few beverage recipes that I have into a usable format and am happy to announce that they are now back up on the site! While I was working on this I was reminded of what a lifesaver […]

More Cooking, Football & Whole 30 Thoughts

More Cooking, Football & Whole 30 Thoughts

Happy Monday! Did anyone see that coming last night!? (If you don’t watch football, let me suffice with saying that the underdogs destroyed the other guys.  That’s about my level of football understanding most days anyways haha!)  We had a great night, even though our […]

Whole 30 Thoughts – Day 12

Whole 30 Thoughts – Day 12

Happy Friday!  I’m currently sitting on my couch, in my slippers and yoga pants, watching a baby tear apart my house.  In almost all respects, t’s a typical Friday evening.  There is one thing that is NOT typical though.  I’m hungry.  I’ve been hungry in the evenings now for almost exactly 12 days.  I don’t want to tell you how many of those days I’ve just skipped dinner.  The reason? –  I’m doing a Whole 30.

Now before anyone gets up in arms about how there is plenty of good food out there to eat on the Whole 30, and there’s no reason that I should be skipping dinner and sitting around hungry, please just stop.  I know there is.  I’m a vegetarian, I live off of veggies and pretty much every other healthy food group you can imagine.  The problem isn’t that there’s nothing to eat, I am starting to think it’s more of a mental battle.  I’m not hungry for carrot sticks.  What I’m craving is a massive bowl of creamy spinach and mushroom and black bean pasta.  With Gluten.  And Beans.

When I decided that I wanted to give the Whole 30 a go I was fresh off of a 28 day reset that I did with Blogilates PIIT 28 day Challenge.  It was an awesome experience.  Even though I didn’t loose much weight, I saw a huge difference in my skin and mood and just felt good all over.  The challenge focused on being healthy.  Not just with what you eat and how you workout, but mental health as well.  There was a very short list of foods to avoid (dairy, added sugar, gluten) and they were all foods that I already either completely avoid (dairy) or eat in moderation already.  It worked great, sure I started to crave a slice of bread about halfway through, but I stuck it out, and am happy I did.  I was itching to try another reset as soon as I got done with that one, thinking, if one is good, two is better – right?

I’m not so sure now.  The way I see it, the Whole 30 is an exclusion diet at it’s core.  It’s not about focusing on mental and physical health, but it’s all about focusing on what you can’t have.  And for me, I’m not so sure that is healthy.  As part of a healthy meat-free lifestyle I eat a LOT of legumes, grains, and occasionally soy products.  You could actually say, in addition to vegetables and fruits, those are my other three food groups.  Taking out over half of the HEALTHY foods that I am used to eating has really thrown my body for a loop.  More and more I find myself craving something good and filling, and instead have to satisfy myself with 20 sticks of celery dipped in almond butter.  More calories, and much less of a diverse nutritional profile than a big bowl of quinoa, beans and veggies would have supplied!

Even worse, I have actually started craving sweets, something I almost never even thought about before.  My body is so used to getting the filling, dense carbs and sugars that it needs from whole grains and legumes, that now that it’s not getting them it’s like it’s going into shock.  It doesn’t care where the sugars come from now – just fill me up!  It’s a strange feeling to have to be honest, and it was one of my first warning signs that maybe this ‘cleanse’ wasn’t for me.

One of my life motto’s is, all things in moderation.  I don’t eat sweets every day – or even every week, but if I want to, I do.  I don’t make myself feel guilty for eating something unhealthy.  I just accept it and move on.  I know what my goal in life is: to be healthy and happy, so I don’t consider eating a dark chocolate truffle here and there wrong – it’s just part of a balanced lifestyle.  🙂 I apply this principal to all aspects of my life: I’m not going to go out and drink every night, but if I want an occasional drink, I have one.  I don’t drink milk, and try to stay away from cheese and butter because I don’t support most of those industries – but if I eat something with butter in it, or have a slice of pizza with some cheese – I’m not going to beat myself up over it!  There’s too much else going on in life to hyper-focus on these minor events.  I love to eat, and I love to cook, but at the end of the day, my life isn’t about eating and cooking, it’s about my husband and kids and job.  Anything that takes my focus and attention away from them, or causes strife, s something that I don’t need in my life.

I’m not trying to say that the Whole 30 isn’t a great program for lots of people.  Please don’t take it that way!  I’ve read the success stories – heck, that’s why I decided to do it!  But it’s not a healthy, or sustainable lifestyle for me – whether that be for 30 days, or the foreseeable future.  Perhaps, if I had been accustomed to eating tons of empty carbs and sugary treats, this would have functioned as a much-needed ‘reset’ to bring my body back to a state where I could start to retrain it.  Seeing as I already started from a spot of healthy-eating and confidence in my food choices though, there were no ‘unhealthy’ habits that needed to be kicked (at least not food related lol).

So to sum up.  Do I regret this journey?  Not at all.  I learned a lot, and I’ve come to be more in-tune with my body, I’ve learned that I do depend very strongly on legumes, and probably more than I’d like to on soy.  It’s given me a lot to think about.  Am I going to finish it?  Well yes, I am.  I’ve gotten through 12 days already, I’m just about halfway done.  I am still going to finish the job, and who knows, maybe there’s still more to this that I haven’t seen yet.  I’ll never know unless I finish, right?  But at this rate, I probably won’t be doing one of these again!!  I miss my black beans, my quinoa, and my pasta!! <3

 

Leah

Happy February + More Recipes!

Happy February + More Recipes!

Last night I got my nails done.  Now, if you don’t work nine hours days, have a 9 month old, and have a husband that gets cranky when dinner isn’t served before nine, you probably don’t understand the weight of that statement. I got my […]


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