Category Archives: Food

I’m starting the AIP on Jan. 1 AKA I will not be fun to go out to eat with

According to the fantastic online resource Autoimmune Wellness, the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP, is an elimination diet that has been specifically designed to help those suffering from autoimmunity determine their food allergies and sensitivities, reverse nutrient deficiencies, balance gut flora, and heal their bodies over the long-term. In a nutshell, the Autoimmune Protocol calls for removing foods that are most likely to be problematic for people with autoimmune disease—grains, beans, legumes, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades, as well as food chemicals and additives. In addition, nutrient-dense foods are added to restore nutrient status, such as bone broth, high-quality meat and wild-caught fish, as well as organ meats, fermented foods and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Over the course of the elimination phase (which can last from a month to a year), you take note of the changes you experience in your health. When it comes time to slowly and systematically reintroduce foods, you will be able to tell exactly which foods are holding you back, and able to use this information to construct a diet that will best support your healing needs.

Most of you know I’ve removed gluten and dairy from my diet already, while doing my best to remove soy and I also avoid caffeine and alcohol (for the most part). The reason I started with removing gluten is for a couple reasons. The first being because, according to Dr. Datis Kharrazian (the author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working? and Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal?):

Gluten sensitivity is basically defined as any immune response to gluten and an immune response is never good for a person with Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune disease.  The immune system is already imbalanced and overactive during an active autoimmune condition. A consistent immune reaction to a regular food in the diet only makes the immune system more volatile, further exacerbating the autoimmune condition.

This overall activation of the immune system creates inflammation and explains why symptoms of gluten sensitivity vary. For some the inflammation may target the joints, creating pain and swelling. For others skin rashes and skin disorders ensue. Many others suffer inflammation in the brain, resulting in brain fog, mood and anxiety disorders, or memory loss.

The list of inflammation-induced symptoms brought on by a gluten sensitivity goes on and depends upon the person’s genetic makeup. Needless to say such systemic inflammation also flares up an autoimmune condition.”

When it comes to my decision to cut out dairy, Dr. Izabella Wentz says it best: “There are certain studies that had been published that show that gluten can also cross-react because of the protein similarity to dairy protein. So that’s why many people don’t really feel better until they get gluten-free as well as dairy-free.

While I’ve noticed remarkable changes in how I feel over the past months, it’s become apparent that I have a long way to go. And what’s scarier, I’m noticing signs that point to what Dr. Kharrazian mentions above around brain inflammation. Since I’m still eating foods that are likely cross-reacting with gluten or that I may have a sensitivity to, it’s time to get rid of them. Cross-reactive foods like rice, corn, gluten-free oats (all things I eat a lot of these days since giving up gluten) have proteins similar in structure to gluten and can trigger the same immune response, so it’s kind of like I’m still eating gluten.

So, fair warning: if you choose to go out to eat with me in the New Year, be prepared (you might be embarrassed) as I’ll be the person asking the waitstaff allthequestions.

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Weekly Workouts: 8/28 – 9/3

I came off of two weekends of more running than my body was probably ready for (Ragnar and Bird Camp), so I took the past week easy. I’m feeling re-energized about my running, getting strong again and getting my symptoms under control and my Hashis into remission. Here’s the first of many shout outs to Coach Becki for all of the support!

Monday – 2.39 mile walk

This walk took way longer than it should have, which was the direct result of bringing C along and him refusing to ride in the stroller. Oh, hey, toddlers walk really slow. Regardless, Andrea and I had a nice walk and chat and refueled with Sonora Grill tacos afterwards ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tuesday 3 miles, 9:34 pace

Oh, happy day! NEW SHOES! I made a trip to Mill City Running to see the lovely Sara and then promptly took my new shoes for an easy three-miler.

Just like at camp, they felt great. I just might be a Hoka convert.

Wednesday – Busy day, didn’t end up working out. Did have a fun evening with some friends and their kids at a nearby park though!

Thursday – Took the day as a rest day and spent four hours in the car, but a trip to the Minnesota State Fair helped me still end up with more than 13,000 steps.

Random side note: OK so this is going to sound dramatic, but I had been preparing myself for weeks for how my fair (eating) experience was going to be different from year’s past, given that I’m avoiding certain foods (mainly gluten and dairy). But it was WAY easier and more enjoyable that I was anticipating. I printed out a gluten-free foods list from the fair website, and was surprised by all of the options. I ended up getting the french fries which I’d never gotten before (!!!!), a hard cider, the mini sconuts from French Meadow, kettle corn and a Chicago-style hot dog on a gluten free bun.

C loved the food and the animals. He didn’t love being in the stroller or having to hold our hands. Sounds about right for a two year old!

We all ended up taking naps in the afternoon and then left for the cabin that evening. Long day, for sure!

Friday 3.01 miles, 9:04 pace

I worked from the cabin in the morning and then we had errands to run, but it was still nice and cool out by the time I got out for this three mile easy run. Besides getting cat-called by some construction workers (WTF), the run was uneventful and felt pretty good. And running on the country roads totally reminded me of Ragnar!

Saturday – 8 miles, 9:23 pace

J and I headed to the Mesabi trail head near the cabin. I ran towards Grand Rapids and he ran towards Coleraine. We figured we’d finish running right around the same time since I was running 8 miles (figured around a 10 min/mi pace) and he was going to run 10 (and was trying for a slower 8 min pace).

tbh I felt pretty awful from the moment I woke up Saturday morning – I ended the night before with a couple too many gluten-free beers, hard ciders, handfuls of kettle corn, etc. I was feeling the imflammation and my stomach wasn’t too happy, either.

But even though it took a bit longer than usual to feel warmed up, I was pleasantly surprised to eventually settle into a nice groove. Miles 4-6 felt pretty effortless (minus a moment of panic where I thought I had to use the bathroom and the porta potties I came across were padlocked). The hills started to take their toll during mile 7 and I think I actually tweaked my hamstring at one point. I picked the pace back up for the last mile, but I was pretty tired.

Saturday afternoon we decided (on a whim) to hit up Bovey Farmer Days and specifically, the cribbage tournament that was taking place in the basement of city hall. To say we were out of place would be an understatement. I’m pretty used to getting stared at (hello, growing up in rural Wisconsin with white parents), but this definitely was an experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone. J and I were among the second youngest people there (by a lot) and the youngest person was our thirteen-year-old nephew!

We didn’t really know what to expect, but when we got there, it wasn’t exactly the warmest welcome. And I could feel myself getting nervous when the person who was running the tournament started reading the rules.

I’ll save you the details of what took place over the next three hours, but the TL;DR version: We didn’t win, most people were very friendly, some were not and were quite impatient with us, but we still had a good time. Ask me about it the next time you see me. Trust me – it’s quite the story.

Sunday – 11.7 mile bike

Legs felt tired, but it was a nice day on the Iron Range, so I was happy just to enjoy the ride and took it nice and easy.

Looking forward to the cool, fall-like weather we’re expecting in MN this coming week!

Stillwater Babymoon

Even though we didn’t even travel an hour away and only stayed one night, it was great to get away and do a mini babymoon this past weekend.

We left after work on Friday, getting to Stillwater just before 6 and went to check into our hotel. Per a suggestion from a friend, we stayed at the Lowell Inn, a classic hotel that was built in 1927 — what a cool building!

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We got settled in and then walked the half mile to The Green Room for dinner. It was a gorgeous night out and lots of people were out and about.

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We’ve been meaning to try this place for a few years now — J’s friend’s brother is one of the co-owners. It was the perfect opportunity to give it a try! The menu is super interesting — a blend of American and globally-influenced cuisine. We started with the (unpictured) lamb tacos. They were incredible. For my entree, I decided on the mushroom gnocchi. Because, well…gnocchi.

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I certainly didn’t hate it, but it was a bit too salty for me. Next time, I definitely want to give one of their curry dishes a try. The table’s food next to us smelled amazing.

After dinner, we took a walk along the river. I had to take an obligatory picture of the lift bridge.

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The next morning, we got up and walked to The Oasis Cafe for some breakfast. It recently reopened after having some renovations done, and it sure was busy! We got the last two seats at the counter.

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I branched out from my usual scrambled eggs and wheat toast and got french toast and bacon. YUM. French toast is so good. I ordered water so we could stop at Tin Bins, a cute coffee shop that was on our walk back to the hotel.

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Since it was another gorgeous day, so I got my first iced (decaf) of the year. We also stumbled upon the Stillwater Feed Store on our walk back and they had some cute farm animals outside of the store. They also had fresh eggs, so we picked up a dozen! It was almost 11 a.m., so we headed back to our room, packed up the car and checked out.

 

While this was a lovely getaway, I’d be lying if I said it was totally carefree and relaxing. It was too easy to draw parallels between this babymoon and our getaway that was supposed to be a babymoon while I was pregnant with Charlie. But, overall, it was a great time and we’re lucky to have been able to getaway for a night.

Favorite things to do in Stillwater?

Pregnancy eats, featuring Almond Breeze

*This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. I received a free 32 oz. carton of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk. All opinions are my own.

Overall, I’d say I’m eating a lot healthier during this pregnancy than during my last. The first trimester was rough since the only things I felt like I could eat consisted mostly of carbs, but since then, I’ve gotten back on track. And just like when I’m not pregnant, I find that eating a good breakfast is critical to me staying on track the rest of the day. My new favorite breakfast these days is overnight oats.

I’m super late to the game on the whole overnight oats thing. Before this pregnancy, I wasn’t a huge oat fan, but then recently, I started eating instant oatmeal and mixing in my own toppings, etc. Eventually, I decided that I wanted more control over the ingredients in my oats, but didn’t want to give up the convenience of the instant oatmeal. AND then Lee featured an Overnight Oat Week on her blog. I’ve been hooked ever since.

My two go-to recipes right now have been alternating between:

PB&J Overnight Oats

Maple French Toast Overnight Oats

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the Blue Diamond folks reached out to see if I’d be interested in reviewing their Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk.

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Since I don’t drink dairy milk, try to limit my soy consumption and already drink Almond Breeze Almondmilk primarily, I was super excited to give it a try! First, I used the Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk in my overnight oats and they turned out superb!

Not pretty, but SOOO yummy.

Not pretty, but SOOO yummy.

I didn’t notice a big difference between this batch and the ones I make with regular Almond Breeze almondmilk. They were just a delicious as usual.

I also used a splash of it in my coffee! I loved the taste, even more than when I add a bit of the full fat coconut milk that comes in a can. I usually drink my coffee black, but could get used to changing it up from time to time.

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Smoothies have also made a reappearance in my diet, especially now that J is also hooked on them 🙂 This is important mostly because it means he’ll make them for me most of the time! We used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk in our latest batch of smoothies and not surprisingly, they were delicious! The Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk will definitely be added to our milk rotation from now on.

Do you drink non-dairy milk? What’s your favorite kind?

Roommate Reunion #BritneyInVegas

Last Thursday night, I went to the first out of 11 shows that Garth Brooks is playing here in Minneapolis and it was hands down one of the best arena shows (and one of my favorite shows, EVER) I’ve ever been to. Then, bright and early Friday morning, two of my BFFs/college roommates and I headed to Vegas for a quick girls’ weekend.

With the time change, we arrived in Vegas at 9:30 a.m. and by the time we dropped our bags at the hotel and found a bar with a patio, it was about 11:30 a.m. We promptly ordered this when the waitress suggested it:

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While we knew the 100 ounces of margarita wasn’t a good idea, it did seem like a very Vegas way to start our trip. But yeah, bad idea. After the bar, we headed back to the hotel where our fourth roommate, who drove from LA, met us. We got ready, went out for dinner and then it was time for BRITNEY!

She. was. terrible. And I loved every minute of it.

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Post-Britney, we did a little gambling, had a few more beverages and found some cheese fries. But then, all of a sudden, I hit a wall and was EXHAUSTED. It was then that I remembered it was almost 4 a.m. Minnesota-time. We headed back up to the room where I promptly passed out.

On Saturday, I woke up earlier than I would’ve liked, but really couldn’t sleep anymore. We found some breakfast and Starbucks and then made our way down to the pool where we stayed for the next four hours. I think those four hours were among my top moments of 2014. It was so amazingly relaxing. The weather was a perfect 75+ degrees and oh so sunny. Perfection.

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Eventually it was time to leave the pool and get ready for dinner. We headed to the Cromwell where we had reservations to try Giada’s new-ish restaurant. The entire menu looked pretty delicious, but we opted for the tasting menu experience which ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It was four courses with the highlights being the bacon-wrapped dates, the Sicilian roasted lamb and the amaretto chocolate cake complete with edible 24 karat gold. We got sent home with a cool “souvenir” that included recipes for the dishes that were a part of the tasting menu, and to my husband’s delight — a signed Giada headshot. lmao.

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We had an early flight Sunday morning and came back to 30 degree weather and snow. Lame.

Post-running fall update: Walking around Vegas wasn’t good for my ankle/knee and definitely slowed my recovery. I now haven’t run in over a week which is a major bummer.

What’s your favorite Britney song?

Workouts + Whole30 Prep

Just a couple of quick workout recaps since my last one:

Wednesday: 2.29 miles (12:14 min/mi pace)

Felt great! Started a new week of Couch to 5K workouts. Today’s looked like this:

Brisk warm up walk for five minutes

Run one minute, 30 seconds

Walk one minute, 30 seconds

Run three minutes

Walk three minutes

Repeat

Five minute cool down

Thursday: REST DAY

Friday: 2.18 miles (12:51 min/mi pace)

As they say in Minnesota, “oofta!” My legs were heavy, I felt sluggish and it definitely showed in my pace.

This past weekend, I started prepping to embark on my third Whole30 journey. I’ll be honest right up front that I’m treating this as a Whole30 but I won’t be reading every label, etc like I did with my past Whole30s, so maybe I shouldn’t really call it a Whole30, but it’s just easier to. My first two Whole30s were about determining my food sensitivities and slaying my “sugar demon(s).” This time around it’s really more about eating healthier overall and getting back into a routine of cooking meals again. Ever since we got Charlie’s diagnosis, just over three months ago, I’ve probably cooked five times. We need to stop going out to eat so often.

So on Saturday I went to the grocery store and spent a couple of hours on Pinterest and flipping through Well Fed and Well Fed 2, flagging recipes. On Sunday, I went to Mandy’s house to drink wine and do some cooking, because food prepping is more fun with a friend and wine. #truth

We made some good progress! Here’s what our food prep looked like:

-Roasted sweet potatoes

-Made a batch of Whole30 tuna salad for work lunches (Canned tuna packed in olive oil, onion, parsley, cayenne, chives, homemade olive oil mayo, salt and pepper. Eaten with cucumber slices.)

-Roasted spaghetti squash (will be serving this for dinner this week with the shrimp scampi recipe from Well Fed 2)

-Hard boiled eggs (for snacks)

-Made breakfast hash (sweet potatoes, ground turkey and chicken, apple, onion and spinach — in the mornings all I have to do is fry up an egg in some coconut oil and throw it on top!)

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-Made a batch of olive oil mayo (extra light olive oil, one egg, ground mustard, lemon juice and salt)

-Slow cooked a pork roast for Monday’s dinner (rub consisted of chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, onion powder, parsley and cayenne)

Then on Sunday evening, the hubs and I took advantage of the perfect weather to have a lovely dinner on the W.A. Frost patio. The cheese plate was to die for. And in typical day-before-Whole30 fashion, I went ahead and had bread, dairy, alcohol (sangria) and dessert.

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How was your weekend?

What would be the hardest thing to “give up” if you did a Whole30?

Congratulations to Erin who had an amazing race at Ironman Wisconsin this past weekend!

FAB Fitness: Week of 8/11 Workouts

Monday: 4.14 mile walk (17 min/mi pace)

I tried really hard to get my average pace to be sub-17:00 and was thrilled when I pressed “stop” on Runkeeper, because it said 16:57. However, once it recalculated, it adjusted my pace to an even 17:00. Bummer.

Tuesday: 5.24 mile walk (18:48 min/mi pace)

Met up with a friend for a couple of laps around Lake Nokomis. It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon — sunny with a nice breeze.

Wednesday: REST DAY

Thursday: 2.19 mile run (13:42 min/mi pace)

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I had a doctor appointment in the afternoon where I was cleared to run again! I couldn’t get home fast enough to change my clothes and slip on my running shoes. Since I know myself all too well, I’ve decided to use the Couch to 5K app for the next couple of weeks to make sure I really ease back into running. Day one of the program had me do a 5 minute warm up walk and then alternate between one minute of running and one minute, 30 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, before cooling down with a 5 minute walk. I felt great!

At my appointment, I also found out that I’ve lost two more pounds, although we’ll see how that holds up with my birthday weekend plans!

Friday: REST DAY

Even though the day started out with the bummer news that it was going to cost $900 to fix the air conditioning in my car and I had to say goodbye to the hubs and the rest of his van that was leaving for Ragnar, the day did eventually get better. It started by meeting my friend Katrina for gel manicures!

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Then, that evening, Andrea and I headed to Open Arms of Minneapolis for the North Coast Nosh. Check out my recap here. After the Nosh, we had a fun sleepover, complete with beer and Friends!

Saturday: 2.22 mile BIRTHDAY run (13:31 min/mi pace)

With the dew point steadily creeping up and a full day of birthday fun planned, I headed out for day two of the Couch to 5K program around 8 a.m. I improved my pace slightly from Thursday’s run.

After I returned home from my run, I got ready and met up with friends to get my birthday kicked off with a fabulous brunch at Heyday!

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After brunch, me, Andrea and some other friends met up with J’s van at one of the exchanges. It was good to see them and although I wasn’t necessarily jealous that I wasn’t running Ragnar this year, it looked like they were having a lot of fun.

I picked up my free birthday drink at Starbucks and then got ready to go out for the night! Since J was going to be recovering from Ragnar, I had planned a girls’ night out at the Rabbit Hole. I had the best time and now want to go back to The Rabbit Hole for future girls’ nights out! The service was awesome, the drinks are super fun (and yummy) and at the end of the night, they brought out an amazing dessert platter!

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(more photos on Instagram)

Sunday: REST DAY

I wrapped up my birthday weekend by sleeping in, being lazy all day and dinner at my favorite restaurant!

Have you run Ragnar before? Did you run this year?

What’s your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?