Thursday, November 27, 2014

My 21DSD recap

Hi! Happy Thanksgiving! (currently flying to Fargo so wanted to update before I unplug for the long weekend)

I finished the 21 day sugar detox over the weekend. Hurray!

Here are my thoughts about how it went.

It was hard, but not as bad as I thought it might be. I did the Level 2 plan so was still allowed to have full-fat dairy, but no grains, no sugar, no added sweeteners, etc.
I did go out to eat a few times, and probably was exposed to things I wasn't supposed to eat. And yes, I had a few sips of wine here and there. So I definitely was not perfect, but I still think it was a great experience.

Week 1: I had no trouble the first 3 days or so. After that I had some headache issues, crankiness, and fatigue but that cleared quickly. Had fun trying new recipes and I thought that I could do this no problem! Things I was loving: egg frittatas, salads with oil and vinegar and tons of veggies, green smoothies, kombucha.

Week 2: Tons of energy! I had less and less of that 'must eat now' type of feeling during the middle of the day or at the end of work. I felt my appetite was much more controlled throughout the day. I found so many great recipes that we incorporated into our nightly meals. I must admit I was surprised at how sweet a green-tipped banana tasted towards the end of the week. Things I was loving: acorn squash, eggs with spinach, butter coffee.

Week 3: Still felt great, but somewhat overwhelmed at the amount of preparation it was taking to stay compliant. I usually meal plan and grocery shop on the weekends and then try to prepare some food as well. But we had some family stuff going on and the weekend was busy and it didn't happen. So towards the end of the week I was eating a lot of hard-boiled eggs, nuts, grass-fed cheese, and almond butter. Definitely did not have as many veggies as I would have liked, but still able to stay on track. Towards the end was definitely sick of eating green apples and green-tipped bananas, as these are the only fruits besides citrus that are allowed. Things I was loving: coconut smoothies, butter coffee with pumpkin pie spice.

favorite meals over the 3 weeks:
tacos with lettuce wraps
egg muffins (check pinterest, tons of easy options)
pumpkin pancakes
chicken pot pie --even the hubby raved about this one (from the 21DSD book)
zucchini crust pizza
vanilla bean n'oatmeal

Looking back, I can find several things that have changed. I really think it altered my taste buds. I had a piece of pumpkin pie at a family pre-thanksgiving and it was so sweet I couldn't finish it. Also I have had this hip pain off an on for awhile and that disappeared. Sugar is inflammatory so I wonder if it was contributing to my joint pain. And, my energy was stable throughout the day. No more 'hangry' and 3 pm brain fog for me!

I plan to incorporate some things back into my diet, like occasional honey, maple syrup and other natural sweeteners. I also plan to add more fruit as I think berries are so vital to health as they contain such high doses of phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. I will also add some gluten free grains like quinoa and gluten-free oats from time to time. This whole experience has made me much more aware of how food can make you feel like a million bucks, or like crap. I choose to feel great!

have you ever thought of doing a sugar detox? I may do another one after January 1st. Maybe I can convince some of you to join me?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Favorites

Hi Friends!

TGIF! What are your plans for the weekend? I will be celebrating the end of my sugar detox with some dark chocolate and raspberries. And maybe a hefty dose of resveratrol (aka the antioxidant found in red wine). Here are some of my favorite links from around the interwebs this week. Enjoy!

Favorite Small Bite:
Pumpkin Pie Tarts via Tasty Yummies
Yummy is right! A healthier alternative to pumpkin rolls or pumping pie that would be delicious at Thanksgiving. Sign me up!

Favorite Sip:
Apple Cider Moscow Mules via Sugar and Charm
Such a perfect holiday drink! Love the copper mugs as well.

Favorite Furball: 21 adorable vines via Buzzfeed

Gah these are too cute!  #8 is my favorite. I wish my cats would do that!

Favorite DIY---recycled wine bottle decor via Etsy

How cute are these? I think this is something I could definitely attempt...maybe.

Favorite knock-off: Paleo Bang Bang Shrimp via Paleo Fondue

I have never actually eaten at Bonefish Grill, but everyone who has raves about this dish. I found this #21DSD compliant recipe and made it Monday night for dinner. Crispy fried shrimp coated in a gluten-free batter lightly tossed with a spicy 'peanut' sauce. So good and so easy! We ate it with broccoli slaw but I bet it would be great in shrimp tacos.

What things have you been loving lately? Share in the comments below!



Friday, November 14, 2014

All about the 21DSD

Hi friends!

I'm almost 2 weeks into this sugar detox, and by far the biggest question I get is, um why????

For starters, I think a good reset is important to overall health. In addition, getting more in tune with cravings and why they occur is important. There is a reason the whole concept of mindful eating is gaining more steam.

In addition, this time of year is so full of sugar! Holiday parties, family dinners, goodies at the office. There are sweet treats everywhere you turn. For me, I feel like I don't always crave a lot of sweets and I've been eating a more 'real food' diet for quite a while and do my best to avoid refined sugars. But it can be hard to say no when they are always right under your nose. The problem with the standard American diet is that sugar is found in so many packaged foods, diet/low-fat foods and things you probably never even realized! Take a look at some labels in your pantry, and you will be shocked! The other issue is that the names of hidden sugars are staggering. Cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, evaporated cane juice, etc to name a few. No wonder it can be so hard to stay away!

So the 21 day sugar detox, or 21DSD for short is a plan developed by nutritionist Diane Sanfilippo.
There are 3 levels of the program to choose from. It is very easy to follow, as she has a guidebook and also a cookbook with meal plans, in addition to loads of content on her website, and also you can sign up for even more support via an online program as well.

I have the guidebook, which has been a great resource. There is a whole section at the beginning that talks about reason behind sugar cravings and why people become so reliant on it for energy.

There are a lot of other resources to look at if you are interested in reading about all the bad things sugar can do, but here are a few highlights.

1. The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That is insane! Most of this sugar is found in processed, prepackaged foods and sweetened beverages. Most of these have very little nutritional value.

2. Sugar really is addicting! There are very complex hormonal cues that cause cravings and make you overeat. Sugar lights up the same part of the brain as things like cocaine and morphine. yikes!

3. When you eat sugar, your body produces insulin, which signals your body to store the  sugar or glucose in your liver and muscles. when you eat more and more bad carbohydrates, you need more and more insulin to keep your blood sugar levels under control. When you run out of space in your liver and muscles to store sugar, guess what happens? That resulting sugar is turned into fat and stored either as triglycerides in your blood, or adipose, aka body fat.

4. Fake sugar or sugar substitutes are no good either. The body gets confused because the hormone signals are disrupted. You get a sweet taste but no signal that you are getting fed. So the body turns up its hunger cues, causing you to actually eat and crave more!

If you want to learn more, definitely check out the links below for more information. I'll be back soon with my first full week recap of the detox.

Dr. Mark Hyman's Blood Sugar Solution
The 21 Day Sugar Detox
5 foods to help wean yourself off sugar

What is your relationship with sugar?


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Post-Halloween Health Tune Up

Hi everyone,

Hope your halloween was great and you did not fall into a huge sugar coma! Our trick-or-treat is tonight. I love seeing all the cute costumes! The weather is going to be terrible so I have a feeling I will be bring a lot of candy to work on Monday. Next year I want to really try to do non-candy treats, like tattoos, vampire teeth, and other halloween goodies. I'm sure we will do some candy, but it would be nice to be able to offer another option for families who are interested.

Speaking of candy...I am doing a 21 day sugar detox starting Monday. I plan to write about the process throughout, so stay tuned.
If you are interested in joining me, check out the link below!

Also, I promised some easy ways to incorporate more ya go!

1. Green Smoothies.

If you have ever googled how to get more veggies or browsed pinterest I'm sure you have seen something about a green smoothie. I know this is not a new idea, and I know I am not the only person to blog about them.
However, for busy mornings it is my go-to breakfast. I wish I had time every morning to have spinach and eggs but it ain't gonna happen :)

You can save money buy buying frozen chopped greens in bulk. I like using frozen because it keeps my smoothies cold and I don't have to add ice. I promise you cannot taste the spinach. So pick your favorite smoothie recipe, add a big handful and drink up!

2. Sneak 'em in to baked goods.

Add them to your muffins, bread, etc! Carrots or zucchini are easy choices and you can't taste them in the finished product. Just make sure when you add them you really soak up all the extra water, otherwise your muffins may end up too soggy.

Check out this recipe for easy zucchini bread. You could easily make muffins with this instead, just adjust the cooking time.

 Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3. Spice up your life! (ha)
Yes broccoli is going to be boring if all you add is salt and pepper. There are so many ways to incorporate more flavor to your veggies.

Try adding turmeric, as it is a potent anti-inflammatory aid! Mixing it with black pepper ups the absorption. Not sure you would like turmeric? here is an easy recipe that has other flavors to balance it out.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Ginger

4. Experiment with new ways to cook your veggies

Since it is fall, squash and other root veggies are EVERYWHERE. I really love roasting butternut squash with some olive oil and salt and pepper (400 for about 45 min depending on your oven, and make sure to flip/toss halfway through). If you are short on time, you can buy it already cubed and ready to go!

Here's a link that shows you how to easily cut and cube a squash. I will admit I am terrible at this, but I am determined to learn

How to cube a butternut squash

5. Be Prepared! (Lion King, anyone? no, just me? sigh)

Anyway...I definitely eat more veggies if they are ready to go in snack size containers. If I have it at work, I will eat it! So spend some time Sunday before the work week starts prepping and chopping veggies. My favorites to eat on the go are celery, peppers, and carrots. I have also started using jicama as well, which is so good with some freshly made guac! You can even buy a lot of these things already chopped. It is a little more pricey, but if you think you won't have time to prep, then go for it. Spending a little more up front is better in the long run than paying for all your healthcare costs from diseases related to obesity, etc.

6. Don't be afraid to try something new.

I read an article once that suggested people only rotated the same 10 or fewer vegetables. No wonder people think healthy eating can be so monotonous! Go to the store and pick up something you have never tried. Google can be your friend if you have no idea what to do with it. Try a CSA or local co-op if it is available in your area. Many times a recipe card is included with the veggies, especially if it is something unusual. Being adventurous in the kitchen goes a long way. Who knows, you may find your new favorite side dish!

What is your favorite way to incorporate veggies? Interested in some green smoothie recipes? I would be happy to do a whole post about them. Share in the comments below!



Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Hi all!

Yay for Friday! I shouldn't be so excited, since we were on a stay-cation for the first 3 days this week.  Lots of time at home with the hubby and the fur-babies, which was great!

Finn loves fall :)

Green thumb from Town Hall Cafe. Delicious! Garret hated it, it was pretty funny to watch him try it.

Also I got a chance to catch up on my studies for fellowship. Lots of interesting stuff that I can wait to share. Soon, I promise!!

But until then, check out some of my favorite healthy recipes from around the internet.

Favorite Main Dish:  Vegan Butternut Quinoa Sliders
These just look amazing! Makes eating with the season much easier!

I made these for breakfast for Garret and I this week and they were a huge hit! Not too sweet, and I like the idea of customizing by adding different toppings.

Favorite Mini-Meal: Vegan Pot Pies so dang cute!

Favorite Sweet Treat:  Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake OMG. Cannot wait to make this. I will have to bring it to work so I don't eat it all!

Hope you have a healthy and fun weekend. Be back soon with a veggie-laden post :)

What is your favorite fall activity? We are hoping to carve our pumpkins this weekend!



Friday, October 10, 2014

The Art of Integrative Medicine

Greetings from Tucson, AZ! I just wrapped up my first Integrative Medicine fellowship conference thru the University of Arizona.

This week COMPLETELY reinforced my decision that integrative medicine is the wave of the future. We do not have a healthcare system in the US. We have a disease management system. There has to be a radical shift from our current perspective on healthcare. The obesity epidemic has no end in sight. There has to be a change, and I think the first step is for Western medicine to recognize that food can be the answer. Food is medicine, and how we fuel our bodies has a major impact on disease states.

Being surrounded by physicians that share this viewpoint was so inspiring. Although I've only been in practice a few short years, I already feel a little bit jaded about the current state of affairs. This week reminded me why I went into medicine. Not to hand out prescriptions and know that the side effects might outweigh the therapeutic benefit. To truly help patients, not just manage their disease and put a band-aid on their symptoms.

It was amazing! And I get to keep learning and working with these awesome classmates for 2 more years!

Some highlights from the conference:

We started out with a ceremony to learn each others' stories. While everyone gave a short intro of why they chose to do the fellowship, we were all tied together with yarn around our wrists. At the end of the ceremony one of the directors cut the yarn but left us all with bracelets. We were to wear them all week to symbolize togetherness and teamwork. She even told a story about how one of the previous fellows still wears part of his in a locket so many years later!

Dr Andy Weil, who is one of the founders of Integrative Medicine, and also the director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, spoke to us two times over the course of the week.  He is the creator of the anti-inflammatory diet, which is a huge component of the fellowship. He spent a lot of time discussing the diet with us, his thoughts on some current debates in the nutrition world (saturated fat for one), and also gave an introduction to botanicals and supplements. The botanicals lecture was fascinating, and I am excited to learn more about it over the course of the tow years.

Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid
This link will take you to Dr Weil's website, where the pyramid is interactive and will give you more information about the diet.

Dr. Shauna Shapiro is a clinical psychologist and researcher who has devoted her career to the concept of mindfulness. It is a type of medication that allows us to be more connected and present in each and every moment. Now, before this conference I knew the importance of meditation, but can honestly say I did not practice it myself. However, after listening to Dr. Shapiro speak, I can see why it is such an integral part of wellness.


By far, my favorite session was entitled 'The Kitchen Table Farmacy' (how clever!) Dr Siri Chand Khalsa is one of the most amazing teachers that I've had the pleasure of interacting with. She is a physician and also an aruyvedic practitioner. Her approach to integrative nutrition is so in tune with what I believe and try to incorporate in my practice (she is completely plant-based, I am not). It truly was an honor to learn from her.  She brought us samples of her own recipes and creations based on her practice and everything was delicious! Her blog below has more information and tons of yummy recipes.

Dr. Chand Khalsa's blog

We also had several sessions on mind-body practices, like clinical hypnosis, movement therapy, and spirituality in medicine. In addition, we had a great session on motivational interviewing. All were very interesting and sparked great conversation among the fellows. I think we all left feeling inspired and excited to put into practice what we learned over the course of the week.

Sorry this was so lengthy, and if you are still reading, thanks! I will definitely write up something more in-depth about nutrition. I learned some great ways to make healthy eating a way of life and will be happy to share them with you!



Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Happenings

Hi all!

Hope everyone had a relaxing and fun-filled 3 day weekend! I can't believe it is already September. this summer has flown by.

We are still doing some fun summer activities, like heading to the baseball game today to see the Indians take on the Tigers!

Update--they lost. Badly :( 

This weekend we had Garret's aunt Marilyn stay with us from Florida. It was great to see her and catch up.  We had the entire family over for a labor day cookout, and of course way too much food!

We made 2 different kinds of pasta salad which were a big hit.

The first was made with feta, artichokes, tomatoes, and called for store-bought balsamic vinaigrette. I made my own as it is cheaper and doesn't contain any added hidden ingredients or sugar. It's easy to do, just whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, some fresh lemon juice, and a little dijon mustard.

The second one was a ranch pasta salad, made with yogurt and a little mayo as the dressing base. I used greek goddess seasoning from Penzey's instead of a ranch packet, because we didn't have any!

I love finding new recipes that everyone enjoys, hope you try them out too at your next cook-out!

Time to paint our laundry room...we took advantage of a great Labor Day sale at Best Buy and got a new set that will be delivered tomorrow! I will post pictures soon.