Moving from the Shred to Trim Healthy Mama

Well the 10 day shred is over and another 10 days have passed. I have to say I was suprised but the results. At first, I didn't think I noticed much of a difference. I was actually sleeping worse than I had been, even with a 5 month old baby. But what I noticed in the days to come was that I was craving less. Craving less sugar, craving less portions, and craving less at night. This has actually been a huge help! We were struggling with getting a full dinner prepared while trying to get the babe fed, bathed, and down for sleep, oh and not mention that I had language two nights a week, and we had to get our exercise in there somewhere. Now we focus on lunch as our main meal and it frees us up to have a smaller dinner. So what's for dinner? Well, I'm glad you asked. :)

I was recently introduced to Trim Healthy Mama. Any THM's out there, would love to hear from you! So basically THM is a little bit confusing, but makes sense. There is a pretty big learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it's fine. The basic idea is to loose weight don't mix your fats and carbs, and there are some limits as to what carbs we are talking about. If you want to know more google it or as I suggest, get the book! That said, we now are trying to implement the THM approach, as it's a sustainable way to eat not just to loose weight, but after as well. 

The tricky part is making this work in Africa. It takes more effort and you are more likely to make some mistakes. But it's all in stride, and as the ladies of THM will tell you, adapt it to you, make it work, give grace. So here we are trying it out. I had fads, but the science behind it makes sense, so alas I give in. 

Our first recipe is a new go-to favorite and will commonly be seen on our plates for a quick dinner. We actually first got the idea from our favorite café in town, who knew we were doing it right all along!

Laughing Cheese Omelette & Pork Sausage


1-2 cubes of laughing cow cheese (la vache qui rit in our stores)
3 whole eggs
1 Tbl. of butter (I usually just guesstimate on this)
1/4 Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped


First, sauté the onions in butter, again I just usually slice of a bit and go with it. This is a fat meal (or S as THM calls it) and so you don't have to limit your butter for cooking. Afterwards, I put them aside on a plate and add more butter to the pan. Then I whisk the 3 eggs in a bowl and add the onions and bell pepper. Before the butter starts to sizzle too much I add the mixture into the bowl, but remove it from the heat when I do. Usually I just hold it for a few seconds in the air and then set it back down. Once the egg starts to harden on the bottom side, I add the cheese to one side of the omelette. Then I fold it over and flip. Let it finish cooking then, voila, it's finished. You can also add some more laughing cow cheese on top at the end. 

To get the protein part in, we have a sausage patty with it as well. The grocery store recently started carrying ground pork, so we add spices to it and cook it in patties. Then we want one we just pop it in the microwave. (If I was in the states, I'd probably alternate with bacon) mmmm!

If I'm still hungry I'll finish off the meal with a shake: frozen strawberries, coconut milk (because we are still in "S" mode), ice, vanilla, and if I didn't already have a juice + shake earlier that day I'll also add a scoop of the vanilla juice + mix. 

So please share with me your favorite THM meals! We don't have all the baking mixes and access to vegetables here, so I have a feeling we are going to struggle with variety! 

Shred 10, Zinger Chicken, & Lemon Berry Smoothies

You can do anything for 10 days right? Well we'll see. I've decided to join others in doing a 10 day shred that involves taking my Juice + supplements and shakes as well as no gluten, dairy, processed foods, sugar (fake or real), no eating after 6pm, and no caffeine. But really? In African culture it's like impossible to not eat after 6pm, because you take a break during the day and then go back to work around 3 or 4, which means meeting with people, language classes, etc take place in the evening and then you have to exercise when it's not blazing hot outside, followed by getting a baby down to eat and bathe all before 8pm, AND THEN you can try and make dinner and enjoy it before passing out on the bed. So yeah, needless to say we don't eat until 9pm, which is not ideal, but reality. But, it's been good to help us go hungry a little bit during the night so hopefully when the 10 days is over we won't need to eat as big of portions in the evening, and even better if we can figure out how NOT to eat at 9pm. 

I'm also reading a book called "French Kids Eat Everything" by Karen Le Billon (am American who married a French man). As I dive into her stories I can totally relate to when I was a kid. I hated vegetables and really anything not from a drive-thru. But I no longer think that's because I just thought it tasted it better, but instead it was because I didn't have vegetables prepared with flavor, spices, and healthy fats for me to learn to enjoy. Growing up it was the "eat it or don't get dessert" trick or the more poputlar "eat it or you don't leave the table." No problem, I'll sit here all night before I eat 10 boiled brussel sprouts...I mean yuck! 

Our food system has so much work to be done, we can't get gourmet meals in pre-school like the French can, but we can do our best to start teaching our kids to enjoy flavors from as early as 4 months. So that's what we have been doing with Ezra. We have been introducing him to new flavors like peach compote with mint and apricot compote with vanilla bean, all homemade. I'm not trying to be granola here folks, I'm just trying to be French. :) 

So as I read this book and think about Ezra's clean start to food, it's got me realizing how much it plays into my struggles with food today. Part of our desire to overeat and eat bad things stems from what we were taught to eat as a child. I mean when I was in elementary school we didn't have a cafeteria so we got a choice of ordering McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Grandy's, etc. I kid you not people, this was our daily lunch! I like to think America has evolved a little bit since then in our choices for our kid's lunches, but who knows. So if you have kids and are on this journey to eating healthy yourself I highly recommend Le Billion's book. I also recommend for anyone with babies to check out Bebe Gourmet. It has some great recipes and explanations for recipes for your baby from 4 months and up. It's also based on a French diet, but adapted for Americans. Because I'm just not sure I'll ever get up to the level of serving foie gras to my kid (or myself)...

That said, with the #shred10 I am posting a few of my favorite recipes, and some honest truths along the way. You can follow along on insta stories. First up, is an amazing zesty brussell sprout-potato-chicken zinger and my new favorite shake combo berry lemon cake batter.


(taken and adapted from the Healthy Living Revolution Cookbook, pg 56)


1 lemon
1 orange
1½ lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 small shallots, quartered (we used onions since we can't get shallots here)
1 lb baby potatoes, quartered
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs


1) Preheat to 450°.
2) Zest the lemon and the orange. Then thinly slice the fruit.
3)In a large bowl, toss brussel sprouts, shallots (or onions), potatoes, lemon and orange slices with 1 Tbsp oil, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper.
4) Pour onto a large baking sheet.
5) In a small bowl, mix together garlic, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, paprika, thyme, zest and 2 tsp oil. Brush over the chicken.
6) Place chicken onto the baking sheet in between the brussel sprouts.
7) Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Brussel sprouts should be tender. If the chicken is done but vegetables are not tender, place the chicken on a plate and cover with foil. Continue to cook the vegetables until tender.


Berry Lemon Cake Batter Smoothie

1 - 1.5 cups of dairy alternative (I used coconut milk for this one)
1 scoop of Juice + Vanilla (or protein powder of your choice, but the vanilla flavor gives it the cake batter taste)
1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon of Flax Seeds
1 drop of essential oil lemon (I use Young Living because I know they are approved to digest)
A handful of frozen berries like blueberries, raspberries, etc.



Tying My Happy & Yummy Shrimp Dish

I'm a little behind on my blog posts for this month, but that's due to a small work crisis of loosing all my files that were on the cloud. Anyways, here I sit in the dark, on my bed, babe asleep for his morning nap, ready to pour out some struggles in hopes that one person might feel the same, and together we can grow. 

Food has always been a struggle, because let's face it, it's so darn good. And I do not want to a waste a meal on something that tastes bad, but that desire to only eat things that my tastebuds like has led to a life of empty calories. It wasn't until after college that I actually started cooking with raw meat, vegetables, and spices. I didn't really have much experience in the kitchen outside of meals that could be warmed up in the microwave or oven or couldn't be bought in the freezer section. I also didn't know that they were unhealthy. I mean the label read Healthy Choice! 

So now almost 10 years later, although my knowledge of heathy food has changed, my heart hasn't. And even though our family may eat zucchini pasta with homemade tomato sauce or stuffed sweet potatoes (though not in Africa because we can't buy sweet potatoes here), I still look to food when I should be looking to God. 

I don't think I realized that I even did this until I started read this paragraph in Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst,

"Tying my happy to the wrong things is partially what caused my weight gain in the first place. There were too many experiences I enjoyed primarily because of the food that was attached to them. The movies were tied to popcorn. A birthday party was tied to cake. A ballgame was tied to a hotdog. School parties were tied to cookies. A morning meeting was tied to gourmet coffee. Getting gas was tied to snack crackers and a soda. Watching TV was tied to chips. A summer outing was tied to ice cream. A winter outing was tied to hot chocolate." 

Even as I type the words above two things happen inside me—I want to go to one of the actives above so I can have the aforementioned food, and two, my heart hurts and my eyes well thinking about how true the statement above is for me. *sigh* Because here's the deal—"My body size is not tied to my happy. If my happy was missing when I was larger, it will still be missing when I am smaller." Thanks Lysa for tearing me apart. She goes on to say, "Tying my happy to food, skinny jeans, or anything else sets me up for failure."

So what now? Now, I am on a journey to rip apart the sin in my life tied to food. As Lysa puts it, "I want to be in the process of becoming more and more like Jesus . . . it reestablishes that God, not food, is in control of me." 

So when I crave more sweets, bread, or experiences solely for the purpose of food, I can stop, and use that as a way to check my heart and pray to God. And in the few short weeks of trying this, let's just say it's been hard, and oh so convicting. My sin nature has won a few battles, but not all of them, and my heart is growing in pursuit of the Lord. 

So that's my challenge for anyone else who may be struggling with their ties to food. It may not be a weight issues or even a health issue, but instead simply an issue that pulls your devotion away from the Lord. Lysa has some great checkpoints on how to evaluate whether or not we are succeeding in our goal, and next post I'll talk about those in my own walk with this issue. But for now, I leave you with one of our go to recipes that we use in both the U.S. and Africa (when we can find affordable shrimp):

Black Bean, Corn, & Shrimp Salad


1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided

1 1/2 cups whole-kernel corn (we use canned, but if you are in the states, try to get one with the least amount of ingredients)

3/4 cup bottled salsa (you can also make your own, but we can buy salsa here in Africa, so we usually use canned for sake of time)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (we can't always find black beans, so we substitute red beans)

1 small can of pineapple (you can also just buy pineapple salsa or even mango salsa if you are in the states, for Africa, we add our own pineapple from the can, because whole pineapples are way to expensive!)



Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp; toss to coat.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp; sauté 3 minutes or until done. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice. Remove shrimp from pan. Add corn to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in salsa, cilantro, and beans; cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice. Serve shrimp over bean mixture.

(adapted from My Recipes)

2017: The Year of Health & No Bake Oatmeal Ball Recipe

2016 was NOT the year of health and food, in fact, it was the year of baby. I spent January through September pregnant and the other three months taking care of a newborn. In other words, I had cravings, nausea, loss of appetite, out of control appetite, and to top it off an intense 8 weeks of trying to take care of a newborn and recover from a c-section, blah. That said, 2017 IS the year of health, BUT I live in Africa, so the recipes I used in 2015 are not really possible here. So what does that mean? Well, follow along as I venture through cooking from scratch without a whole foods around the corner. 

So for my first recipe I have my go-to sweet snack. I'm trying desperately to cut back on sugars, but I'm still craving a little something, so these are perfect for hitting that sweet tooth and loading up on fiber. Plus, they are super easy to make!


No Bake Oatmeal Balls

- 2 cups of oatmeal (our oatmeal is really small, so you may only need 1 cup if you are using oatmeal in the states)
- 1 cup of smooth peanut butter
- 1 tsp. of vanilla
- 100% cocoa, I just add to taste, but I'd start with 1/2 cup, I've also skipped the cocoa and just added chunks of a dark chocolate candy bar as well.
- 1/2 - 1 cup of coconut, again depends on your coconut. Some of them are super fine and others not, so I add to taste. Also, I can't get unsweetened coconut here, but if you have access to it, I'd recommend using that instead of the sugary stuff.
- 1/3 cup of honey, again taste it and see if you want more. 


Mix all ingredients in a bowl then form balls and place in fridge. If the ingredients won't stick together, try sticking them in the fridge for 30 minutes before forming the balls.

I'm still trying to find some other go-to sweet fixes, for instance, I make protein shakes. I cheated and brought a mix from the states and I just add non-dairy milk and frozen fruit. As part of this new year I really want to be held accountable for my health. As part of my 2017 goal planning my word was intentional and that fell into four categories: spirituality, community, and health, creativity. You can read more about it here. So join me as I attempt to eat health and exercise in Africa. I know it's going to be different and provide new challenges, but I want to look back in January 2018 and be able to say, "I did it." I'm tired of starting each new year over with same goal. Also, if you are like me and wanting to focus on your health but have a love-hate relationship with food, I encourage you to read "Made To Crave." I'm only a few chapters in but it's kicking my butt. 

And for exercises I'm currently walking/jogging 5-6 times a week. We reserve Saturdays so we can skype with our families, but the other days we load up the baby in the stroller around 5:00pm and head out into the neighborhood for at least 30 minutes of walking and running. Three days a week we have been doing an app called running for weight loss. It gives you an interval workout for 36 minutes. However, once the hot season sets in around March, I'll have to switch up my workouts. My current plan is to start Focus T-25 (something I've had for a few years and tried before) that way I can put the a/c on in the living room and get a workout in, I just hope my downstairs neighbors don't mind. 

So there we go, my plan to get healthy in 2017. I'd love to hear from those of you who have the same goal, what are some of the things you plan to implement to make it happen.

Allergy-Free Recipes: Part 2

No Bake Coconut Delights: Seriously, these are amazing! You can even have a sugar-free, candida-free version (the ones I tried, made with xylitol). 

Paleo Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (from Danielle Walker): Holy Cow, watch out, you'll be addicted to this after one taste. It might be my new favorite go to meal. 

Overnight Oats - These pinterest sensations have been bombarding my board for awhile now, so I finally decided to give them a try. It's a great addition to my already limited breakfast items. The hubby LOVED these and would probably eat them every morning...if we could remember to get them ready the night before.

We recently picked up a new cookbook magazine at Whole Foods called Well Fed. The hubs has loved using this cookbook as our dinner go-to. She has a genious system called hot plates, which helps make dinner easier through the week. The basic premise is you cook all your meat and veggies early in the week then when for each meal you just decide if you want Moroccan, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, etc and throw it all together...easy peasy! We tried out several recipes and here are a few of our favorites:

Sunshine Sauce - A must have for Thai food and a great alternative for those who can't have peanuts (like me).

Paleo Pad Thai - Made with spaghetti squash and sunshine sauce....soooo good! (we left out the egg on my dish)



Allergy-Free Holiday Food

So it's that time of year. First it was Thanksgiving, then the Christmas parties and now it's almost time for 3+ trips you make to all of your families while they stuff you with gluten-filled, illegal for your tummy food. So what do you do? 

I've learned that the ONLY way for me to stay on track during the holidays is to bring my own food. Nowadays most people are at least use to hearing of gluten allergies so they don't mind, but they still can't wrap their head around my yeast, dairy, egg, almond, and sugar thing. That's when the stares usually take place...

So like I said, I bring my own and I don't care what people think, for crying out loud, if I did eat their food they would feel so terrible with 30 minutes later I'd be cooped up in the bathroom for the rest of the night...that's just not cool for anyone. 

So here are a few recipes I've tried and tested that are sure to help you get through the next few days of holiday madness.

1. Stuffing from Rudi's Bakery (this stuffing is not only gluten-free, but it's free of yeast, eggs, and diary) If you have to stay away from yeast just substitute for the yeast-free bread.

  • 16 slices of  (About 8 cups) of bread
  • 2.5 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • ½  tablespoon kosher salt,
  • ½ teaspoon fresh sage
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sautéed onions 
  • ¼ cup of celery


  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F and cube the bread. 
  2. Spread the diced bread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Give the pan a shake midway through so the cubes brown evenly. Remove pan and let the bread cool.
  3. Transfer the toasted bread, chopped herbs, celery and onions to a large bowl. 
  4. Now, drizzle a bit of the stock over the bread cubes and gently mix. Repeat until all the bread is moistened but not soggy.
  5. Oil a baking dish, transfer the dressing to the dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is crispy. Serve warm.

2. Cranberry Sauce - We all know that cranberries (dried and in sauce form) are loaded with sugar. It's crazy, actually. So I usually make a small batch for myself. I grab my mini-crockpot, place a cup or so cranberries in there and a splash of orange juice or a drop of orange essential oil as well as a few teaspoons of stevia. Then you let is cook until the cranberries pop. Super easy and it goes great on the turkey or dressing.

3. Chocolate Tofu Pie - I have to admit I was skeptical about this one, but it wasn't bad. I'm sure it would be A LOT better if I could have used the non-dairy chocolate chips instead of the ones sweetened with stevia, but regardless it was satisfying.

4. Cashew Cream Sweet Potatoes - These were amazing. Enough said.

Tofu Breakfast Casserole

Tofu, I know right?! After watching Clarissa Explains it All I swore I'd never touch the stuff. Well, I consider 29 years pretty good. But I had no idea how great a substitute tofu is for eggs and other dairy items. So since my mom makes breakfast casserole every year I didn't want to be left out. The hubs and I experimented with a concoction of three recipes to get this. And, it was amazing! 

Dairy-free, egg-free, sugar-free, and yeast-free breakfast casserole:

1 firm package of tofu, drained and patted dry
6 slices of Yeast-free, Gluten-free Bread
2 cups of non-dairy milk (We used soy)
1/2 c. vegan cheese (We used Follow Your Heart Cheddar Cheese)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 lb of breakfast sausage

1. Preheat oven to 375oF
Grease an 11 × 7-inch casserole dish
3. Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned and crumbled. Remove from heat, drain excess fat, and set aside.
4. Cut bread into small pieces and cover the bottom of the casserole.
5. Cut the tofu into four cubes and crumble into a bowl
6. In the bowl add together the milk, salt, pepper, mustard, and nutmeg.
7. Stir in sausage and cheese
8. Pour mixture into prepared pan, patting down the top for a relatively even surface.
9.  Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes

Thanks to Mama's Breakfast Casserole, Paula Deen's Breakfast Casserole, and Ellen's Breakfast Casserole Pick

5 Must Have Food Items for an Allergy-Free Diet

This week I'm bringing you some AMAZING products for allergy-free diets. I've discovered a few of these and they have significantly changed my outlook on missing old favorites. 

1. So Delicious No Sugar Added Ice Cream - Let's just say, that life will never be the same. I had given up on ice cream a LONG time ago, because even if I found a dairy free alternative it was still loaded with sugar! Now there is a new player in town. This ice cream comes in several flavors and only has 1 gram of sugar!! What?! I know. I've tried the mint chip and butter pecan and so far it's SO Delicious. ;) 

2. Brown Rice Yeast-free Bread by Ener-G - While finding gluten free bread is pretty easy these days, finding yeast-free bread is nearly impossible. I did finally find one yeast-free bread only to get it home and discover it contained wheat. Can we say #fail? But I ran across this guy at Central Market and figured why not. Surprisingly I found it really good. I even had a few slices on my plate for Thanksgiving this year. I will say I had other taste it and they weren't as impressed, but I figure when you are eating yeast rolls at Thanksgiving there's probably not much that can beat that! But for a gluten-free, yeast-free, no sugar added bread this is your choice! It's even better when you slather it with the next product: dairy-free, soy-free butter.

3. Earth Smart Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Butter - I was never a butter person. In fact, I use to hate it! But as I got older I started using butter for toast and of course baking. While I can't tell a big difference from this product I wouldn't be surprised if some butter snobs out there would disagree. Regardless I've used this for my bread and in a few recipes. So far, I'm a fan!

4. Beanitos Chips - I love these guys! I use them to dip into my hummus and for putting in my chili or soup. I love having a little a crunch in there, but don't want to depend on corn. If you're paleo or whole 30 I'm sorry, these may not be for you as they are made from beans...

5. Canyon Cut Kettle Cooked Chips - Just want some salt and something to snack on? Then meet your new best friend. Only three simple ingredients: potatoes, avacoado oil, and sea salt. Just be careful not get any of the other flavors (like cracked pepper) it contains yeast and some other no-nos.

There you have it! My top 5 for an allergy-free diet. I'd love to hear of any products you all have found. Comment below and share a link to your favorite! And stay tuned for next week as I post my Thanksgiving recipes and how I managed to survive two Thanksgiving meals in one day!

Pumpkin Bar Amazingness: Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free

That's a lot of free...but you'd never know! So I've been testing out a few dessert recipes and just haven't found one that seems to work yet, until tonight. After an overwhelming amount of ingredients and a long trip to Central Market, I decided to give this recipe a shot.

I didn't have to make any substitutions. The only issue I had was for the frosting. I couldn't find any "healthy" powdered sugar, so I decided to make it anyways with some regular powdered sugar I found in the back of our pantry. I ended up only putting it on half of the pumpkin bars (ya know for the hubs) and it turns out it was even too sweet for him! Needless to say, if you can't do sugar you will be just fine skipping the frosting.

Hope you enjoy these and let me know if you make them! 

What to Eat: Week 1

Even though this is my third week on the "diet" it's my first week posting the recipes. So here you go, below you will find lots of options for dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, yeast-free, and egg-free meals. But take careful note, you will have to substitute a few things...


MONDAY: Vegetarian Quinoa Chili 
This one comes from a good friend, Marie. We've made this chili many times before and it's a classic go-to for the fall and winter months. Just be sure to leave out the honey and corn. (there's still a lot of sugar in corn so that's on the no-go list as well) Just finish off with avocado and if you like a little crunch you can use Beanitos Restaurant Style Chips. This batch makes about 6 servings so it's perfect for lunch the next day! 


TUESDAY: Green Chili Turkey Burgers
This is one of my new favorite dishes! These turkey burgers are probably the best I've ever had, hands down. And since I can't have buns I usually put this on a bed of butter lettuce, top with avocado and chow down! With the leftovers I'll also make a wrap using brown rice tortillas. 


WEDNESDAY: Grilled Avocados
This one is a Gardner favorite. We start by sautéing onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and squash in a little olive oil on the skillet. Then we take a whole avocado for each person and gently get it out of it's stubborn little shell. Next, Place the avocado face down on the skillet (make sure you put a little olive oil spray on there first). Once it starts to get a little black on the avocado it's done. Then add your grilled chicken or meat of choice and top with your veggies! You can also add brown rice and black beans as well. 


THURSDAY: Pumpkin Chili
We had a potluck called "All Things Pumpkin" at work this day, so it seemed like the perfect dish. Everything is legal, but just make sure there is no sugar in any of your beans or stock. Top with avocado, and Beanitos Chips and you're set to go!

I also made Pumpkin cookies for the occasion as well. In stead of the maple syrup use a couple drops of liquid stevia and for the chocolate chips use carob chips or these vegan, dairy-free stevia choc. chips.


FRIDAY: Chuy's (what?!) Here's how you do it...
Sit on your hands or bring your own munchies so you don't nibble on chips (because ya know, no corn). Order the Grilled Chicken Salad or the Mexi-Cobb salad (no cheese) and tell them no dressing. Avocado with some lemon surprisingly adds enough to where you don't need the dressing. I even told the waitress I have tons of allergies so she didn't just think I was that super picky person. Turns out she felt bad and since it was Halloween she threw in an extra side of avocado slices! (score) Lastly, make sure you tell them to use the Gluten Free chicken. This means they don't put the marinade on the chicken that contains wheat as well as change their gloves before cooking. Yes, it's a lot, but hey, you  might just get a free side of avocado out of it!


Now you have the lowdown on a full week's menu. Saturday and Sunday usually consist of left-overs and a Chipotle run (chicken, black beans, brown rice, veggies, mild salsa, and guac) mmmmm.

If you cook any of the recipes let me know how it goes!

For all you Coffee & PSL Lovers.

This has to be the worst season of the year to be on a strict diet. And even worse, when there's so much at stake. The temptations are higher with sugar-filled treats from Halloween to New Years along with PSL, peppermint infused everything, and your mother's famous dishes looming at every party...ugh. But it's not a diet you cheat on. This isn't so you can lose a few pounds, this is so you can be healthy again, strong, and able to live your life pain-free. In other words, no cheating! 

So what do you do when you are tempted?
Bring your own food. Find alternatives. Pray.

Every so often I hope to post about a couple great products I've found that are totally legal and will help you get through the holiday parties. 

If you know me, then you know my LOVE for all things pumpkin, especially lattes. But what do you do when you can't have caffeine or dairy or sugar? Let me introduce you to two products that will revolutionize your world! 

1. Decaf Pumpkin Spice Tea

I simply use my Keurig to make a mug of hot water. (Just run the machine with nothing in it and put your mug below) Then while the tea is steeping I use my espresso machine to steam my almond milk*, add a few drops of vanilla liquid stevia and voila! Pumpkin Spice Latte — Healthy Style.

*when buying almond milk make sure you read all the ingredients. You have to check for sugar and all the words that might mean sugar as well as carrageenan, which is an ingredient that can hurt people with digestive issues. For the best brands I use Trader Joe's refrigerated Unsweetened or 365 Whole Foods refrigerated unsweetened.


2. Teecino 

Teecino is a herbal tea that taste like coffee. What?! I know, sounds sketchy and too good to be true. But thanks to my friend Rebecca who use to work at a organic coffee shop, she was able to introduce me to this amazing new friend of mine. I order it on Amazon because I could get faster shipping and order in bulk for less money. I started to question my decision by the time the package came, but after having my first sip I knew I had found a winner. I opted for the Vanilla Nut flavor, but I'm wishing I would have also got the original as well. 

To prepare I follow the same instructions as above. However, when I'm work I don't have the luxury of steaming my milk so I just add it cold like creamer. I also use less stevia as I found the tea was a little sweet since it already had vanilla in it. 

Hopefully these items can help or at least let you know that if you crave coffee and could not imagine life without the little Holy Spirit's Helper, there are options! And in the recovery phase of the diet real coffee is allowed, so note, it's not forever!


UPDATE: Sadly, I realized that most of Teecino is NOT gluten-free because it contains barley. However, they do have a line that is barley-free.

Paelo-Vegan-Celiac-Diabetic Diet

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Why I'm eating a paleo-vegan-celiac-diabetic diet and yet I'm none of those things. 




About four months ago I went to see the 'ol doc. I have had trouble nearly all my life with what we'll call "digestive issues" but lately they've gotten out of hand. And so began my first round of tests. Determined that it was the gallbladder we did the sonogram, the blood work, the HIDA scan, the spit test, the poo test, and every other test there possibly is out there...nothing. Next we tried more blood work, nothing. Then a colonoscopy and endoscopy (let's not even go there). And of course the answer was the same...nothing. The good news is that I wont' need surgery, I don't have Chrohn's or UC, and there is no sign of cancer or anything else suspicious. Yay! But now what?

It was during my many nights of stomach pain, "digestive issues", and more that I started praying and researching. Two things that can be very dangerous. It was during this time that I ran across Dr. Mark Hyman. If you've never heard of this man or his wonderful books I highly recommend you go over to his site right now and start reading. 

Since returning from Peru in 2010 I started hearing more about how food has a lot to do with our health. Everything I read made since, not only a scientific point of view, but also a biblical perspective. So when Dr. Mark Hyman brought up this topic again, but in relation to treating all the symptoms I've been experiencing, I began to wonder. "Could this be the cure to what's happening inside my body?"

After talking to a friend she recommended her doctor in town, who not only is a Christian, but is also the only doctor who was able to find out what was wrong with her. He looks at the whole picture by treating with diet, vitamins and little meds. 

Now almost 6 months later I finally have part of a prognosis and am eating my way back to health. After taking an IgG allergy test we discovered that my body reacts poorly to certain things. (I had suspected this for awhile, but now I had the proof) And after fitting the profile for Candida and exploring what that means, we concluded that it was indeed the reason causing all the pain. With symptoms mirroring those of IBS, fatigue, weight gain, and more, it just made sense. (Not to mention the fact that my antibiotic use while I lived overseas was way above normal)

So now I am on the Candida Diet. While there are a few websites out there that will help you with recipes and tips it's still hard to find things that also include some of the allergies I have to avoid for the next 6 months, hence the Paleo (no dairy, no grains, no alcohol, no processed foods) Vegan (no eggs) Celiac (no gluten) and Diabetic (no sugar except Stevia and no fruit except some berries and a small green apple). With that said, the first question I always get is, so what CAN you eat?

Ah, glad you asked. Follow along with me for the next 6 months as I document my journey and show you what you can eat! And hopefully, for those of you who might be having similar struggles with your health as me can see that you can do this! Yes, it takes planning and a little more time to prepare meals, but let's be honest, it's worth it.