January is a month of renewal: one year is over, another is starting. January is perfect to take a pause, to stop the crazy dance and reflect on what has been and what will be. January is also my birthday month and the older I get, the more I want to make the new year count.
ROUGH START IN 2012
Last year when January rolled around, I was at my lowest physically and mentally. For several reasons: my health was not good, I still couldn’t lose weight despite huge efforts, I had brain fog, couldn’t concentrate for more than 30 minutes in a row and I was in a constant state of intestinal discomfort. In January 2012, I declared war against my body.
I made it my priority.
I found a young doctor, Dr. Brian Davis, a chiropractor specialized in nutrition and hormones. He listened to my complaints. He didn’t suggest I get on anti-depressants, like my regular doctor. He ran an exhaustive panel of tests and he explained every line to my husband and I. He worked with me and I felt supported in my efforts. We tackled my problems one by one and he guided me along this new health path.
I changed my nutrition completely, turned it upside down. No more grains, legumes, dairy, soy, coffee, lettuces and a few select vegetables. It was not easy. Every sacrifice was worth the effort.
BETTER START IN 2013
I’m starting 2013 in a much better place.
I’m taking a few days to determine what my goals should be. Goal-making is an important task, vital to my inner well-being. If I don’t take the time it deserves, I could set myself up for failure.
I have determined two goals already. One, I will work on the next phase of my health, and two, I will create a new blog to discuss living with food allergies, and other health issues, geared for writers.
In the coming week, I will work on my writing goals. What I can accomplish and what I’ll commit myself to. I can’t wait. This is an exciting task, full of hope.
What are your goals in 2013? What will you do to keep yourself accountable?Read More
While Sandy ravaged the East Coast, my husband and I traveled to Florida. We watched the news every night, aghast at the devastation, relieved Sandy bypassed South Carolina, guilty of feeling relieved.
I loved the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. I’m not good with plants, but I’m good with dogs. I have two lemon trees I care for, but when one dies, I buy another.
I saw interesting plants at Marie Selby. Orchids, which I believe are the apple of every serious gardener’s eye. White, purple, pink, even one called The Bat, because of its two white wings and whiskers.
Bonsai is to horticulture what sculpture is to art. It takes a lot of dexterity to keep a tree from growing while pruning it to look like it’s naturally miniature. The one in the picture is 100 years old. It’s worth thousands.
But the best is this curious plant, a protein eater. I liked it because it reminded me of cartoons I watched when I was young, where a carnivore plants would just gulp the main characters, to spit them out on a cough. Flies and insects get trapped in the tubular blooms and slowly get digested. Some blooms are so big they could catch birds and mice. Cool, eh? And I saw these on Halloween day.
Have Email, Will Travel
I didn’t revise my WIP while on vacation but I checked emails on my iPhone just to make sure there wasn’t any emergency to attend to. What great and welcomed surprise appeared in my in-box? A note from the MARA contest coordinator, congratulating me on being a finalist in my category, and on having one of the highest 11 scores of the entire contest.
Thank you ma’am. Good news is good for the soul.
I admit, I indulged during our short vacation. Not indulged in the sense I ate gluten and dairy and all my other forbidden foods. I ate sugary foods and drank sugary drinks. Virgin Mojitos, sugar cane candies, vanilla coconut ice cream.
When I came back home, I realized real quick my sweet tooth was awake and alive. It wanted to be fed. So I found a coconut flour chocolate chip cookies recipe and adapted it to my needs, i.e. no dairy, gluten, soy or nuts. Each time, it’s a real challenge.
I replaced the almond extract by vanilla extract. BTW, my home-made vanilla extract had “steeped” long enough (4 months) and was ready to use. Yay! I used dairy-soy-nut free chocolate chunks (the brand is Enjoy Life), and instead of butter, I used organic refined coconut oil. The result? Good enough cookies that the kids ate many. I’ve included the recipe, hope you’ll enjoy.
My goal for this week is to find balance between exercise, revising and healthy eating. I will write my goals every day and note what I eat for each meal. My weight has stabilized but I’m determined to lose another 5 pounds. Less weight on my joints will be good.
- 1/2 Cup of coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 Cup of organic cane sugar
- 1/4 Cup of agave syrup (or honey, or maple syrup, or any kind of liquid sugar)
- 4 large organic eggs
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp of salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
- 1 Cup of organic coconut flour
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1 Cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chunks, chopped. (They're a bit too big for the cookies)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.
- Mix coconut oil, sugar, agave syrup, eggs, vanilla and salt.
- Sift coconut flour with baking soda. Add your chopped chocolate chunks to the flour.
- Add coconut flour mixture to wet ingredients. Mix well.
- Using a tablespoon size ice cream scoop, make balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Flatten cookies to desired size. The cookies won't rise much so I flattened mine to a diameter of 1.5 inch.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until they're golden.
Halloween is my favorite event of the year. Better than Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving. Or, it used to be, before I banished dairy, gluten, dairy, corn and soy from my life.
What’s your favorite candy made with?
Let’s take a popular one, Candy Corn. The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, modified soy protein and artificial color and flavor. Corn syrup and soy lecithin are part of the majority of candies, including chocolate. In fact, I’ve had a hard time finding dairy and soy free chocolate. I did find a bag of dairy and soy free chocolate chips at Whole Foods, but I haven’t used it yet.
What a shame. I love chocolate.
I satisfy my chocolate cravings with chocolate coconut milk ice cream or a chocolate smoothie in the morning. In both, unsweetened cocoa powder is used. Cocoa powder is a great antioxidant and low in calorie, and it yields that rich chocolate flavor I love. To sweeten thing up, I use honey or maple syrup or agave nectar.
Another sweet I miss is caramel. Store bought caramel contains all the usual suspects: dairy, corn syrup and additives to maintain shelf life. Not good.
Today, I was able to make gluten, dairy and corn free caramel sauce. I dipped slices of apples in my still warm sauce and it was… gooood. Who knew caramel could still be caramel without cream or butter?
I can testify, it is possible. Recipe included below.
What’s your Halloween favorite candy? Come on, admit it. Which one do you steel from your kids’ trick or treat bag once they’re asleep? Confess below.
- 1 cup of canned organic coconut milk
- 1 cup of organic sugar
- 1/3 cup of maple syrup
- 1 tbsp of water
- 1 tbsp of arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- Whisk the milk, sugar, maple syrup together.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes.
- Mix the water and the arrowroot and add to the sugar mixture.
- Continue cooking for 4-5 more minutes or until the mixture thickens.
- Store in a mason jar and refrigerate. Enjoy with apples, or ice cream, or what you feel like. ;-)