All things food: health and nutrition, books and blogs, recipes and results all set to the backdrop of my own journey feeding and loving this body I'm in!

Paleo Experiment Day 8 April 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — bridgesfoodventures @ 6:23 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Yesterday I waxed on about how amazingly energized I feel with a little meat in my system after years of (mostly) abstaining.  I rec’d loads of responses, comments, and questions via email, Facebook, etc.  First of all, I’d like to ask my readers to please subscribe if you’re not already, as it will ensure that you stay caught up, and also, that you consider posting your comments here so we can get a real discussion going.  Okay, enough housekeeping!

Today, I want to reflect and remind myself about balance.  I generally avoid any and all eating plans that have a name, which is why it took me so long to give in to Paleo despite how much its concepts coincided with my food choices and my body’s needs.  There is danger in prescribing to eating plans with names because they can represent a host of “supposed to’s” and a move away from listening to our body’s needs but towards listening to an other as expert.  The core of my coaching philosophy is about helping us tune in to ourselves, not how to follow the latest prescriptive diet.  I feel great on Paleo and I still insist that DIETS DON’T WORK.

This meat feels awesome to me because I am deficient.  Raw vegan feels amazing when we first take it on as an experiment because we are toxic and really needed the clean out.  The truth is, I may eat like I am now indefinitely, or I may find in a few months that I am eating meat a couple of times a month or week.  I may be experimenting with adding in certain gluten-free grains again and discover, from the inside, how they make me feel.  The 30 day experiment, however, is valuable to me because it takes some time to see how a new way feels.  Certain immune responses can take up to a couple of weeks to show up after eating said allergen, and it takes the body time to learn to reboot its fueling system from primarily plant sources to animal sources.

While I am eating “Paleo” I am holding steady to the process of listening.

On to the nuts and bolts, I thought some of you might be interested in what a “day in the life” might look like:

Morning smoothie:  Frozen blueberries, almond milk, whey protein, broccoli sprouts.

Mid morning:  Dandy Brew liver cleansing coffee substitute with a couple of tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk and a few drops of chocolate liquid stevia.  (don’t forget to visit to look for specialty products on my store).

Lunch:  A salad of romaine, celery, shredded clean chicken breast, olive oil, and Frank’s Red Hot.  A few bites of a raw, vegan, nut-based cannoli (I know, it was amazing, thanks Raw’r Laboratories).

Afternoon snack:  about a TBSP of cashew cacao butter (homemade)

Dinner:  Hungarian Mushroom Soup from Andrea Livingston at Phytofoods. With Paleo Bread.

On this plan I am finding myself less hungry and eating less frequently than I was before.  When I DO get hungry, I don’t experience my typical feelings of shakiness, panic, irritability, and cloudy thinking, but simply feel hungry.  It’s a pleasant change.

Thanks for reading! subscribe to follow the saga!



My Paleo Experiment–Day 7 April 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — bridgesfoodventures @ 8:57 am
Tags: , , , ,

Today is day 7 of my 30 day experiment of eating “Paleo“.  I generally distance myself from any diet prescriptions, because as an Intuitive Eater (IE) I prefer to take my queues about what best nourishes me from my body than from books or experts.  I also am in the business of helping others learn to listen to their own bodies’ internal messages and to do away with the diet paradigm altogether in favor of a more organic approach to nourishing themselves.  So what’s a lady like me doing going Paleo??

On my IE journey, I am continuously learning more and more about what foods make my body feel its best and thrive.  Approaching this work form an IE perspective, grounded in self-love rather than the body hatred that tends to drive the diet industry, changes I make really stick.  The first thing that happened was that I stopped eating dairy for real (disclaimer, I’m a 90:10 girl, so when I say stop, I mean 90% of the time) after years and years of going on and off of the stuff.  Once I really understood that it made me feel like crap, that was it.  Sugar and it’s buddy alcohol came next, followed by gluten.  Through these changes, I fell back in love with cooking and with food.  I never let myself feel deprived.  My sleep improved, my energy and libido improved, my ears stopped itching, my poops became regular, and I had fewer stomach aches.  Any revisits into these foods, and I quickly was reminded of the connection between what I ate and how I felt.  A few things were stubbornly not changing, I was still experiencing hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, and weight-loss resistance, and very high fasting blood sugar (95 at last check).  In other words, I still wasn’t maintaining stable blood sugar.  Frequent, evenly spaced, sugar-free meals high in fat/fiber/protein would work for most to reverse this circumstance, but in my case, it wasn’t enough.
When searching the web for great new gluten, dairy, and sugar-free recipes I have often been led to Paleo sites, because Paleo fits the bill.  In my perusing, I learned more and more about the Paleo lifestyle.  I still sort of hated it.  I kept equating it with Atkins in my mind, and with the diet industry in general, and with bloggers obsessed with getting tight asses and six packs.  At a major nutrition conference I had the pleasure of listening to sessions fromMark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint, and Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat.  Both of these really got me making some more connections between what I was learning and the condition in my own body.  As a pescatarian, I was getting a tad of my protein from fish, but the majority from high quality grains and legumes (again, these are great for many of you).  This was leaving many of my meals still apparently too high in carbohydrates for MY BODY to minimize insulin production.  So I decided to ride the paleo train and take them up on the notion of a 30 day experiment and see how I’d feel.
There are no before pictures, or before measurements.  For me it is critical to maintain my focus on wellness, and to keep my measures of a food’s impact on me INTERNAL.  Anyone who has dabbled in disordered eating or IE knows that scales and tape measures can send us spiralling into the depths of unconscious eating and external measures of what is good enough. 
So, if there is to be any real assessment, it will come in the form of the qualitative narrative.  Now that I am on day 5, I see that this is quite the potent experiment and worth sharing, so I’ll be updating regularly.
PALEO Day 5:  This week I bought and prepared clean chicken, grass-fed beef and bison, all for the first time, after 20 years of being mostly veg.  Each time I prepared meat I was HILARIOUS!  plastic gloves, permanent disgusted scowl, discarding more chicken parts than I was willing to eat to end up with NO WEIRD COLORS OR TEXTURES!  Every time I was cooking I was thinking “this was a horrible idea.  this is disgusting, I am handling chopped up muscles, I can’t do this!”  Then I tried my first meatball in 20+years and I was sold.  I devoured six of them.  On theNight of the Red Meat I had a level of energy I had only previously experienced either in my 20’s or immediately after leaving a Micheal Franti and Spearhead show.  I was PUMPED!  My husband and I both experienced some cloudy-headedness the first couple of days.  Mine cleared up fast, his continued…so he’s getting more fruit and startchy veggies, while I’m keeping pretty low there.  One of the most notable differences:  I am so much less hungry. I am experiencing no cravings, no yearnings (granted I baked Paleo Bread, and Coconut Bars to be proactive).  I used to always always always get starving at 10 am.  I am not anymore (and my breakfast hasn’t changed!).  I used to snack in the evenings, I don’t anymore.  Last night, I only had a snack instead of dinner because I just wasn’t very hungry.  And the interesting thing is, I have already been eating a diet rich in nuts and oils, with plenty of protein.  The only difference is the switch to more animal proteins (although eggs never made me feel so, so…satiated.  All I can say is, so far so good.  Stay Tuned for regular updates!

Transformations… August 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — bridgesfoodventures @ 8:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s been a loooong time since my last post.  So long that I almost decided to quit altogether.  But then tonight, for the first time in months, I feel ready to share.  On May 1, 2011 My nephew Matthew died unexpectedly at 25.  It felt like a bomb went off in the middle of my life.  And that’s nothing compared to what it has done to my sister, his sisters, my parents.  What could this have to do with my foodventures, you ask?? Well, from about the second I heard this news, I began to put things in my mouth (shame be damned!). I felt that I couldn’t possibly have something useful to share about health, wellness, and food, when I myself was completely out of control!  I have begun to realize just how untrue that is.  There is much to learn in our struggles.

From the day that Matthew died, the house began to fill up with delivered treats, some homemade, some storebought, cold cuts and white fluffy rolls, pizzas streamed in, cookies and brownies galore.  Not to mention all those bottles of wine.  While several of my family members could barely force down enough to sustain them,  I couldn’t be stopped.  Every pass through the kitchen found me popping something else into my mouth.  It seemed, well, petty to try to resist, to try to pay attention, to care at all.  It seemed pointless.  As the weeks passed, and a few more pounds crept in, junk food became routine, wine became a daily habit, I even picked up a martini habit.  I let myself be okay with this.  It’s important to let ourselves just be, without judgement, sometimes. What I have come to understand is that our bodies don’t really make mistakes.  When our bodies send us cravings, they are clamoring to help us.  My body wanted only to bring me into balance.  My body knew that what I was going through was intolerable.  It knew I needed the efficient delivery of some beta-endorphins, some serotonin, and some dopamine, STAT!  So that’s what I gave it.

In the throes of this, beginning to worry about how I was ever going to get to the other end of this, I scheduled an appointment with the amazing nutritionist, Andrea Nakayama of Replenishpdx.  Andrea is very popular, and I had to wait for my appointment.  I decided I ought to just stay on the crazy train the several weeks until my appoinment and sort it out then.  During this time, Andrea advertised her newest group detox experience:  Sweet Victory!  This was an online course with a two-week guided and supported detox geared specifically toward breaking sugar addiction.  Something clicked into place, and I joined.  This was the best decision I’d ever made.  I learned how to pay meet my body’s needs in less destructive ways.  I was validated in my knowing that jumping off the sugar train is not about will-power.  I began to listen to my body as the wise friend that she is rather than the enemy I have so often treated her as during these times.  I learned how to go get my endorphins at the gym, and from the sweet flavors of high protein stevia sweetened treats, for example.

Today marks one full month for me living cleaner than I ever have before.  Even in my grief.  I have been gluten free, dairy free, mostly processed food free, low grains, alcohol-free, free of all sweeteners except coconut sugar, a few dates,  and stevia.  The only time I have ever gone this long between drinks was when I was pregnant with my now nineteen year old daughter!  And I have literally NEVER gone this long without eating sugar (not even in infancy, the docs were having bottle feeding moms feed us a corn syrup concoction every day!).  I can not  express emphatically enough how fantastic I feel.  All the worry about what I might miss out on by not drinking or having cake is easily trumped by what I have gained.  I have energy right through the day (as in, I can actually DO things after work)!  I wake up refreshed, and fall asleep easily.  and I’m ‘regular’!  My thoughts are clearer, my memory is improving.  it’s kind of amazing. All of this is a big part of the transformation.  But there’s something more core than this.  The biggest piece is that this doesn’t feel like a constant giving something up.  I’m not yearning for my day off, or wishing for flex points, or negotiating loopholes with myself.  I feel just really changed.  reprioritized.

I have decided to run this experiment at least through November 3.  Nov. 3 is Matthew’s birthday, and some part of this I owe to him.  Sometimes we have to find our lowest lows in order to begin to find our way back out again.  I guess Matt and I are transforming together….


Delicious Green Lemonade pick me up March 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — bridgesfoodventures @ 9:20 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been cutting back on my after work glass(es) of wine (beer) habit for a bunch of different health reasons.  This is no easy task.  Coming home exhausted at the end of a long day and digging into starting dinner can feel really overwhelming, but put on a little good music and crack a beer or pour a nice glass of red, and the task ahead takes on a whole new feel.  As a proponent of the Intuitive Eating philosophy (with some caveats that I’m sure we’ll get to one of these days), I am not a huge proponent of flat-out self denial, b/c it tends to lead to binges, especially for those with a history of dieting.  So, last night when I had that wilted feeling, I thought, before pouring one glass of wine, I am going to try something energizing that might perk me up, feel like a treat, and keep in line with my anti-cancer health goals.  This is what came of it.  Loaded with electrolytes and vitamin C, as well as powerhouse phytochemicals, every member of my family loved this one.   In fact Josephine (9), said I should put it on my blog!

Pick-Me-Up Green Lemonade

One fresh lemon, peeled

One 12 oz can coconut water

about 8 drops of liquid SteviaClear (or to taste)

one handful fresh clean spinach

Place everything in the blender and blend it for a good 2 minutes or so (I might be that last remaining food blogging smoothie fan without a vitamix).  Let it get really smooth

truth is, it perked me up, and I had what it took to whip up Gluten Free Goddess’s Garden Loaf with some roasted fingerlings with ghee and sea salt and a delicious green salad (with green olive, red onion, pecans, a little cuke (diced, not sliced), carrot cut small, and Annie’s Italian dressing. We didn’t eat till 8 o’clock due to a host of technical difficulties–and my ambitious weeknight menu, but it was one of the nicer family dinners we’ve had in a while.

The veggie loaf didn’t hold together well.  I followed the recipe to a T, a rarity for me (well actually I tinkered with the glaze), so I am not sure what happened.  Adding an egg might have made a world of difference, which I may try.  While not vegan (I tend to follow the 90% rule, limit the absolutes), I try to keep all animal products to a minimum-so I’m torn on this and would love any tips anyone has…has anyone used chia as a binder, or even some egg replacer?  thoughts?