Tag Archives: Whole30

Tell Me What to Eat, Please

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Got the in-laws visiting.  We were sitting around the breakfast table, and of course we had to talk about nutrition.  I didn’t bring it up, I’m sure.  My mother-in-law is doing great on what I’d call a Primal diet.  Grandma is clueless that she’s eating Primally.  I was finishing off my “Best Ever Liver” to the grimaces of both of my in-laws, when it was suddenly recalled that my father-in-law used to always request liver and onions for his birthday.  Until my mother-in-law started cutting cholesterol out of their diet back in the ripping eighties.  Man those were fun times.  Even without liver and onions.

Her (mother-in-law):  “They said cholesterol was BAD for us.  Now I guess they’re telling us it’s GOOD for us.”

I, true to my “can’t-keep-the-lid-on-my-emotions-self”, rocketed out of my chair, blew steam out my ears, and konked my head on the 8 foot ceiling.  Ouch.

I cannot stand splitting.  Black and white thinking.  Cannot stand it.

Me:  “Cholesterol is not good for you.  It is not bad for you.  We need, need, need cholesterol to make our hormones, and so it certainly is not BAD for us.  But neither do I want it isolated in the Nabisco lab, forced into a plastic bag, stuffed into a cardboard box, and sold for me at Wal-Mart to buy and eat up by the spoonful.   Really, it depends on what else you’re eating in your life, like sugar, for example.  It depends on your body type.  It depends on the battles your body has been through.  It depends on a thousand and one variables we don’t understand yet.”

Her:  “Well, I just want one of you guys [implying medical doctors] to tell me how to eat!  I don’t want to have to think about it.”

Oh.  Heavens.  If that’s what I’m up against in this world, and in my own mother-in-law, I really should just shut up.  Yeah.  I should shut up.

Me:  “Nobody can tell you how to eat.  The  absolute best way to eat is to eat a whole foods diet.  REALLY a whole foods diet.  Then, analyze yourself.  Are you left with nagging symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps, headache, dry eyes, dry mouth, sinus problems, skin rashes, excess weight, underweight, abnormal labs your doctor is concerned about, and so on?  If you are, then you need to regroup with that diet you’re eating and take some things out; common troublemakers are things like dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, and nightshades.  Or in some instances, add something in, like whole grains or animal fats.  That’s the best anyone can tell you how to eat.”

“Eating for you” is a class in the school-of-life that won’t stop.  It’s a constant regrouping.  Reassessment of YOUR machinery.  Not mine.  Not your mom’s.  Not the prototype patient used for the medical guidelines.  YOURS.  Food intolerances will pass, and you will be able to add eggs back in.  Weight will increase and it will be time to limit avocados and nuts.  I am so angry that my profession has lumped all of us into one group and said, “Eat this way.  It is right.”

No matter what, the closest you keep your diet to the way things were produced by that great, magnificent, simple, and complex thing called nature, the closer you will be to health.  (No splitting in that last sentence.)  If you’re lucky, you will be there.  Some of the rest of us will have to tweak here and there and perhaps look a bit beyond food to get there.  But food matters.

So, are you waiting for somebody to tell YOU how to do it?  Would you believe them over listening to symptoms screaming from your own darn body?

Live Studio Audience, thank you for reading.


Posts in the draft bin:  Same as yesterday–short chain fatty acids and pigeon-holed physicians

Keep That Wagon Rolling: My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks


USPosterFoodIsAWeapon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The humble, perhaps slightly insane, tips that allow me to stay on the diet that keeps me feeling the best:

Rank absolutes:  Absolutely not.  Should not.  It’s okay but not great.  Yes, I will!  As in, I absolutely won’t eat that.  I shouldn’t eat that.  It’s okay that I eat that, but not ideal.  And, yes, I will eat that, pass it my way–give it here–yeah–the whole plate–it’s on my diet…

Define when to break the “absolutes” and “should-nots.”  It could be never.  Or maybe it’s Christmas Day.  Or maybe it’s holidays and birthdays.  Or the first Thursday of any month after a full moon.  Maybe it’s 30 days after you start the Whole30 or 1 year after GAPS.  Just name breaks ahead of time and be resolute to make it to those times.  And don’t sneak in other times as “just this once.”

Decline people’s offers of food.  And don’t feel guilty about it.

Don’t eat at parties.  And don’t feel guilty about it.  Usually, it’s just easiest for me to say I ate right before I came and eat nothing at all.  Choosing ahead of time to just not eat at the party is simpler for me.  As I always used to eat at parties, I never really noticed that some people don’t.  There are other people who don’t.

Find a friend or two who eats similarly to you and doesn’t think you’re crazy.  Gluten-free, dairy-free eaters have learned to navigate the waters.  They’ve learned how to say, “No, thank you.”  They’ve learned to socialize and skip the food.  They know their “absolutely nots” and stick to them.  They’re reassuring to stand next to at a party with a glass of water, although they may wonder why you keep saying, “I looove you.”  (Actually I have a couple of friends, and we meet for coffee and talk honestly about how we are doing with our eating.)

Get out of the kitchen.  If you feel the “crazy, grazy” feeling, get out.  GET OUT, I SAY!  Just get out!  Clean kitchen or not.  And run fast and far.  Don’t look back until in the morning.

Focus on bodily symptoms that plague you when you eat certain foods and make it a goal to keep these symptoms GONE.  Weight shifts too slowly.  Try to find something like a stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, sinus congestion, headache, migraine, dry/itchy eyes, bloating, constipation, etc.

Read the book or internet site of your chosen regime again.  “Yes, Robb Wolfe.” (Paleo)  “No, you’re right Dr. Wahls.”  (Terry Wahl’s MS diet)  “Oh, Melissa and Dallas, I meant to do it that way.”  (Whole30)  “I should know better than that Dr. Atkins.”  (Surely you know him.)  “Dr. Cambpell-McBride, I so missed that point the first time around.”  (GAPS)  And so on.  Just get motivated by reading the experts and the science again.

Know how YOU best handle treat (cheat) foods.  Are you a “just-a-teensy-smooch-here” kind of person–just a little treat with every meal?  Or are you a “you’d-best-be-prepared-to-bring-me-two-more-baskets-of-corn-chips-if-I-even-get-my-hands-on-one” kind of person?  I’m the latter.  A little treat here for me turns into treats all day, all night, tomorrow, the next day, and the next day, too.

That’s okay; I’ve learned to accept that tidbit of knowledge about myself.  I just know that, and so I don’t treat myself very often, and when I do, if the floodgate opens, I don’t beat myself up too badly.  It’s a little sad that I can’t be that “Don’t deprive yourself or you’ll ruin your diet” kind of person.  Let’s just choose to say that when I do something, I give it gusto.  Gusto…gustar…to eat.

Every person is different, and only YOU know which process suits you best.  Be honest and move forward.

Finish it, let it go, and start with vim and vigor in the morning.  Sometimes you fail.  You don’t leave the kitchen.  You take the first bite that you know will avalanche, and it does.  You don’t put the cookie down, the butter away, or the peanut butter back on the shelf.  You don’t leave the kitchen as mentally directed.  You don’t get the faucet shut off that night.  I unfortunately cannot leave a job unfinished either, and so I usually find it reassuring, for some reason, to just finish that food off there and then.  Because if I don’t, I’ll finish it off in the morning.  Why ruin two days?  And then I stand there, screaming insanely at my diet, “Look.  I am in charge here.  And I did it because I CAN.”

Failure can only occur if you’re not willing to try again.  I always try again in the morning and point out the bodily damage–but let the psychology of it go.

Loosen up on my family’s eating while I focus on myself.  This keeps me out of the kitchen until I get back on track.  I can’ t be all things to all people, and when I’m trying to get my eating on track, it takes all of my focus.  “Yeah!  Hot dogs again, mom?  We love hot dogs!”

Screw the breakfast rule and wait until I’m actually hungry.  “Experts” say to always eat breakfast.  Sometimes, I’m just not really hungry!  So I skip it.  Then make sure I have good, wholesome food around so I eat as I should when I am actually hungry around 11 am or so.  I’ve never read much on intermittent fasting, but I like to call this my version of it…

Admit when something about your nutritional program isn’t sitting well.  Maybe you have to add in a potato to feel good or keep the program together.  Maybe you can’t eat the sauerkraut or seaweed.  Whatever it is, always step back and ask yourself if “the rules” may need to be changed to suit your case.  Just as medicine is an “art”–I think nutrition is, too.  But make sure you’re being honest and have researched your change, and that you’re not just doing it out of a discomfort that will pass.

Remember when you felt the best.  And that’s your goal way of eating every day.  When you FELT your best.  Not your skinniest.  Not your most miles jogged.  Not your most strict.  Just when you felt good physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Make sure you really are getting nutrients.  Maybe you’re having cravings because you’re eating too many nuts and neglecting vegetables and fruits.  Maybe you’re really not getting enough calories.  Examine what you’re eating on the basis of nutrients.  A nutritionist can help immensely here!

Urge surf.  From another site:   “While reflecting on an urge, such as smoking a cigarette or eating junk food…we should first make note of all the physical and mental sensations that create that craving experience – these craving experiences will often vary depending on the person and the object of desire.  For example, you may identify a twisting sensation in your stomach whenever you crave another piece of cake. Learn how to tune into that feeling – step back and observe it – but don’t act on the impulse. Just watch your desires almost as if you are passively watching a movie.”  Very interesting and helpful, I think.

You are great, special, unique, wonderful, and have lots to give to this world.  Eat to make your system (your body) the best it can be at giving what only you have to give.


Snack Policy Changed

“It sounds so harsh when it’s in writing like that,” I said to my husband.

“Well, sometimes you get what you ask for, don’t you?”


Sometimes you get what you ask for.  Several months ago, I wrote a letter to our church requesting a change in our children’s snack policy.  There are a lot of issues facing our children, but here is one you can take control of.  Don’t bury your head in the sand thinking you can’t make a difference.  Food colorings, sugar, preservatives, and refined flour products are not good for us and our children.

They may whine and fuss, but we bring home the groceries.  I’m sorry, if you were a parent who washed (maybe you sterilized) the pacifier off when it fell on the floor, you are so accountable now.  (Mine just got the dirt popped back in, especially the first one.  She was so noisy.)


The church’s reply to my letter:

Terri, first of all, thanks for bringing this concern to our attention.
We want to do whatever we can to make sure that our kids are safe.
Here is what has been approved for Sunday School & Children’s Church. 
The nursery will have its own policy.
Sunday AM Food Policy:
Due to an increase of many food allergies among young people, we are requiring that no food/snacks be served during Sunday morning children’s ministries for children age 3 through the 6th Grade. (effective September 1, 2013) .
Thanks again for sharing this concern with us.


As a fun-loving mom, I feel horrible about being the movement behind this decision.  As a doctor who is aware of our skyrocketing childhood obesity, food allergy, and inflammatory problems, I feel at peace.  As a God-fearing woman, I know we are to take care of this fragile, yet hardy (or is it hardy, yet fragile), vessel of ours.

Thank you church, for responding.

It’s not about low-fat.  Low-calorie.  Vitamin C.  Fiber.  It’s about whole foods.  Real foods. And watching for food intolerances.

I would be happy if you took my letter and made it your own to implement change for your child.

Sincerely with my whole heart,



Related posts:

Don’t Make Me Sick:  Raising Food Allergy Awareness
Poisoned at Church (Frustration with all the candy at church)
Poisoned at Church, Sequel (A letter requesting change)
The Sunday Scoop, Asking for Change in Church’s Snack Policy (6/30/13) (First response to letter)

Posts in the Draft Bin:  How I try to stay on the wagon and a great zucchini recipe.

I Fell Off of the Wagon

wpid-IMAG0263-1.jpgSo you fell off of the wagon?  So?  We all do, and then we let the experience fester like a pimple on our face.  We see it and feel it and pick at it.  We think our whole face is one big pimple.  We just can’t stop touching it and picking it.  How did that pimple get so big and crazy?  It started as just a tiny little red thing…

You fell off of the wagon.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Why?

Because you had old cronies around for a visit?  Uh-huh.  That’s the way it works.  Because you got tired and everybody at work is doing it?  Yep.  Because you ran out of time and it was faster?  You betcha’.  Because you allowed yourself one bite of your problem food?  (If you don’t have a problem food or substance– or two or three, you don’t understand.  Some of us just have to swear some things “off limits” or be okay with knowing we will eat/use them to excess with just one bite/use.  For some of us, moderation is not an option.)

If you try to change your diet, you WILL fall off of the wagon sometime.  All those experts, Paleo Mom, Robb Wolfe, Mark Sisson, Dr. Mercola, Steve and Jordan, Dr. Terry Wahls, Elaine Gottschall, and Dallas and Melissa.  Oh, heck, Dr. Oz.  You’ve heard of him.  They all fell off of the wagon.

I’ve read of a couple of people who say they didn’t fall off of the wagon, and I think that’s absolutely great.  They have expressed extreme success with their health and eating.  I give them a standing ovation.

But to you and I, I give my heartfelt encouragement.  I give my camaraderie.  My affection and empathy.  To you I give my hand.  My e-mail.  My comments section.  (But not a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.)  This path is hard.  Your challenger faces you at every street corner, every social function, every family member’s house, every children’s event, and every store.  Your failure is only a bite away.

I feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry that you can’t eat the way other people eat.  (But you know most of them shouldn’t be eating it either. Geesh.  Why can’t they help you out a little?  You’re just asking them to give up bread, pizza, and tortilla chips in show of support.)  I am sorry your body said, “I can’t do this.  This food you’re feeding me…it is not working out.  You keep going this way, I will fall apart on you.  I will try not to, but I will not be able to stop it.  You keep feeding me the same empty food and keep asking me to come up with brilliant ideas, energy for a jog, libido for the spouse, patience for the kids…”

I ask you.  I beg you.  I implore you.  Keep your focus.  Every day.  All day.  Ever diligent.  You will fall off the wagon, but you WILL hold onto the reins.  That is NOT the same as failing.  Ever.  As you keep holding onto the reins, remember to pull back on them and slow the horses.  Slow those horses and get back on your wagon.  It’s your darn wagon, and with trial and error, you CAN learn to control it.  But not if you quit.

So what.  You had a bad day.  It turned it to two or maybe even 7-10 days.  Perhaps it has been the last five years bad.  It’s okay.  Promise me you’ll start in the morning.  I’ll even let you finish that jar of almond butter that you added some honey, vanilla, and salt to.  But start.  You have to keep starting, learning from your mistakes, and keep trying.

You may think it’s just extra weight, but really, it is function.  Weight is a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Headaches are a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Chronic allergic rhinitis is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Being underweight is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Bloating is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Aside from your doctor’s check-ups, you MUST look at food as a culprit for dysfunction.

And if you’re a mom endeavoring to change not only your own eating, but those habits of your children, I am cheering for you even more.  If I can do it, you can do it.  You can do it.  I won’t ask you to more than I can do.  (But I used to–my poor diabetics and cardiac patients…)


Followup post:  Keep That Wagon Rolling:  My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks

Related Posts:   Grain-Free DietsGAPS, SCD, Paleo, Whole30, and Primal Diets, Choosing to Move Forward With the Plan, Eating out, Ditch the Word “Healthy”, How to Choose Honest Food, Tip Number 1 to Help Restore Health

“Honest” Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

One of my little sisters turned 34 last week.  Celebration!  Yay!  Birthday!

Wait.  Stop.  Celebration on the Whole30, a nutritional intervention which removes grains, dairy, and sugar for 30 days?  BAD planning!  Didn’t I ever mention you need to plan these dietary interventions around holidays, vacations, and birthdays?  Crisis averted by making coconut milk ice cream with sweet fruit, no sweetener.  However, it does taste much better with honey, maple syrup, or even some Stevia drops.

I call it “Honest” ice cream because you can say all of the ingredients, and you know what they are.  Simple and honest.  That’s how we like our ingredient labels and lists.  And it is ice cream, even if it isn’t dairy cream.  The coconut milk is full of “coconut cream.”

I use Natural Value coconut milk that I buy in bulk from Amazon.  (We have Amazon Prime and so there is no shipping and handling.)  Natural Value has only coconut milk and water as ingredients, no BPA and no guar gum.  The BPA is a potential hormone disruptor and the guar gum can cause GI issues in people.  Natural Value also has an organic version, but it’s not on Amazon Prime.  By the way, I have NO connections with any of the products I use or mention.  I just like them.

Coconut milk ice cream is VERY forgiving to make, just as long as you keep the ice packed around it while it’s in the ice cream freezer processing.

Throw in a little of this and that and you cannot go too far wrong.  Only got 1 and 1/2 cans coconut milk?  Forgot the vanilla?  Mis-measured the honey?  Want to try cocoa powder?  Throw in an extra ripe avocado?  Try your mom’s recipe with the eggs, just using coconut milk instead?  Cut the recipe in half?  No worries.  The recipe can take it.

Recipes for fruit and plain versions follow.

Fruit-Flavored Ice Cream

2 cans FULL fat coconut milk
2 cups of very ripe, sweet fruit (We’ve used peach, mango, strawberry, blueberries, and banana as mixtures.)
1-2  Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup of honey (but it will tolerate more or less!)

Blend fruit, vanilla, and honey until smooth in a blender. Add in coconut milk and blend again.wpid-IMAG1010.jpg
Freeze in an ice cream maker.

Ours freezes nicely, usually harder than soft serve (if I’ve been diligent keeping the ice and salt in the ice cream maker), but not as hard as hard serve.
Serve topped with bananas, strawberry sauce, or make up a chocolate sauce if you’re allowed to splurge.
When frozen in the deep freeze, the ice cream becomes VERY hard.  It must be thawed before dipping, and it still won’t have quite the original creaminess as when first made.  But a sliced banana covers a multitude of sins.

Plain Ice Cream

2 cans FULL fat coconut milk
1-2 Tbsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 cup honey

Blend and freeze in ice cream maker.

It does taste a little of coconut.  Again, a banana takes care of this nicely!

Need chocolate cake to go with this ice cream?  The Best Almond Flour Chocolate Cake.  MMMMM.

Enjoy what’s left of summer!


Give Us Your Zucchini! We Actually Want It!

Don’t turn down those zucchini and summer squashes you’re offered anymore!  Here are six zucchini ideas to use those logs all up.  And I haven’t even touched on salads yet!  Psssst.  Pick them small, please.

Pile chicken salad on top of fresh-cut zucchini slice into coins.


Dip coin-sized slices into your favorite dip.  Much crisper than cucumber!


Zucchini bread never fails.  The recipe I use is from “Against All Grain”:  Almond Flour Zucchini Bread.


Grilled zucchini.  Mix  your favorite olive oil and your favorite vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.  Add a couple pinches of salt and a teaspoonful of thyme.  Toss diagonal sliced zucchini and the marinade together in a plastic bag.  Allow to sit as long as possible, overnight is best.


Zucchini pizza boats.  I show some squash a neighbor gave me, but it works the same!

wpid-IMAG1006.jpgZucchini chips.  Slice a zucchini very thin, as thin as you can, using a mandolin slicer.  Fry over medium-high in a single layer until golden brown.  Transfer when done to a paper-towel lined plate.


And I still have lots more zucchini!  So I’ll be coming up with more ideas!  Do you have any ideas to share?

Related Post:  The Best Ever Zucchini

A Real Food Story


Inappropriate weight is a SIGN from the body that it is struggling with our food choices.

Our bodies function best on whole foods.

Thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing her whole-foods conversion story.  Yesterday’s post contains the introduction to her story.  Choosing nutrient-dense foods is allowing her body to start functioning like it should, and she deserves that.  We all do.  You do:

Terri, here it is.  For better or worse.

My name is Mary and I’m overweight.  My cholesterol number is 11 points above the desirable number and I have an irregular heartbeat (supraventricular tachycardia).  [Allow me, Terri, to mention the time we were walking and her irregular heart beat acted up and her blood pressure dropped.  I had to leave her supine on a park bench while I sprinted 1 and 1/2 miles home to get the car.]  I walk 2 miles a day, 4-5 days a week and spend summers in Indiana and winters in South Carolina.

I never meant for it to happen, but over the years I’d added a pound here and a pound there until I was 20 pounds overweight on my 71st birthday.  [At some point in life, we get to forget about weight!  I don’t care about my mother-in-law’s “weight”, but I do care about her “function.”]  It was then that I decided to do something about it.  Doctors on TV had said that one way to reduce cholesterol was to lose weight.  And I remember back in the 60s my husband attended a science convention in Atlantic City where the keynote speaker presented information about his topic:  “Man is getting too big for his heart.”  I reasoned that maybe I could improve my cholesterol number and improve my heart condition by losing a little weight.

So I began my daily diet regime:  a bowl of cereal with skim milk for breakfast and then a little meat, chicken, or fish, a serving of fruit, and 3 servings of vegetables divided between the other two meals.  I did allow myself a little grain (bread or pasta).  By November I had lost 5 pounds.  But then came Thanksgiving and my weight spiked up again.  Before I could lose the weight again, along came Christmas and a repeat of Thanksgiving.  Then there was New Year’s Eve.  I just could not seem to move ahead with my weight-loss goals.

Then in late February, my daughter-in-law told me about the success her family was having with whole foods and eliminating grains and dairy from their diets.  [Our success came in “function”:  Energy levels, coughs, headaches, stomach aches, constipation, inability to concentrate, sleep, runny noses, stuffy noses, etc.  Weight did follow.]  I decided to give “no grains” a try.  I wasn’t ready to give up ice cream altogether, but I would try to give up grains.  That in itself seemed a daunting task – goodbye pie, cake, pasta, yeast rolls, corn, even cereal.  Was there anything left to eat??!!  What I was expected to live on was a little meat or fish, a little fruit, and lots of vegetables.  I took it a step further and eliminated white potatoes; and although I did not eliminate dairy altogether, I did significantly decrease my intake of milk, cheese, and butter (choosing olive oil instead).  And, yes, I decreased the frequency of ice cream treats.  To be sure I didn’t fudge the results, I kept a daily log of my weight.

The Results

Although I kept a daily log, I will present only the weight on the first day of the new diet and each month after, as close to the anniversary date as possible.

Date                                                      Weight

March 3                                                114.0

April 2                                                   111.6

May 3                                                    108.6

June 10                                                 106.0

July 3                                                     104.8

Health Benefits

I have noticed a number of health benefits as a result of losing 10 pounds, some of them hoped for, some expected, and some a complete surprise.

  • My waist size has decreased 2-3 inches
  • I can bend more easily to tie my shoes
  • I can walk all the way up the hill without stopping to rest midway
  • My heartbeat is more regular during exercise
  • My blood pressure has decreased about 10 points
  • I have more energy and really notice I have sluggishness with increased grain and/or sugar intake

You May Wonder:

1.  What do you eat for breakfast?  Normally I have a smoothie for breakfast made with ½ c. coconut water, a banana, ¼ apple, some cinnamon and/or nutmeg and then another fruit (blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and mangos are favorites).  Ice is optional.  If I am traveling, I will opt for egg, sausage, and fruit.

[I, Terri, have a whole list of breakfast ideas if you click here.  Although I like smoothies, they don’t stick to my ribs.  Protein and fat last me longer and don’t give me a post-breakfast sugar drop, which may be what she’s experiencing.  Real fats, if we remove processed sugars, excessive sweet consumption, and carbohydrates from grains should not scare us anymore.  However, convincing somebody who has been trained to be afraid of animal fats for 40 years is very tough.]

2.  Do you ever get hungry between meals?  Yes, especially after the breakfast smoothie.  Usually I walk 2 miles after breakfast, and after that walk I am very hungry.  The trick is to get very busy and stay that way until lunchtime.  If hunger is too overwhelming, a handful of nuts helps.

[Here I, Terri, would again point out “the smoothie crash” I mentioned above.  I would also add that any whole foods snack will work:  a banana, an avocado, olives, apple slices with almond butter, a leftover hamburger patty, a boiled egg, a can of tuna in olive oil.  Something with protein and fat will curb true hunger.]

3.  When is it hardest for you to resist grains?  When the person across the table from me is eating a warm, fluffy, yeasty-smelling, buttery-topped pan roll, or a piece of warm rhubarb custard pie topped with ice cream, or a stack of pancakes with maple syrup dripping, or a piece of hot pizza.  You name it.  It’s a struggle. 

[She mentioned to me once that she knew exactly what an alcoholic must go through.]

4.  Do you ever fall off the wagon?  Oh, yes!  But I just climb back on again.  And to compensate, I may adjust by eating only vegetables for the next meal, or a small piece of fruit and a handful of nuts.  Or I may exercise a little more.

[For myself, I focus on how poor my energy level is,  how irritable I feel, how bloated I am, how my constipation flares up, or my headache.  Reminding myself that I like to feel good helps me start renewed the next morning.]


This life style change for me seems to be working, although I seem to have reached a plateau at around 105 pounds.  Maybe there have been simply too many graduation parties, holidays, and family picnics.  But when I fall off the wagon, I get right back on.  I’ve come too far to turn back now.  The prize is just around the bend – 5 pounds to my optimum weight and whatever health perks come with it. 

[Here I would encourage people to focus on the “health perks” and not the weight.  IT IS NOT YOUR WEIGHT THAT DETERMINES HOW GOOD YOU FEEL.  IT IS THE REMOVAL OF EXCESS FOOD/EXCESS CARBOHYDRATE-FOODS AND THE INSULIN EXTREMES THAT ACCOMPANIES THOSE FOODS.  THE REMOVAL OF CHEMICALS.  THE ADDITION OF MICRONUTRIENTS ABSENT FROM GRAINS.  The feeling better is the key that something good is happening.  The weight will come.  Focusing on weight will bring failure.  Focusing on that horrible sluggish feeling grains often gives some people is a much better incentive.  Or the supraventricular tachycardia symptoms that are so uncomfortable and now going away.]

Thank You For Reading

My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman!  She deserves to feel good, have great energy, desirable cholesterol, and be able to walk without a racing heart.  For me to hear that her irregular heart beat (which is under the great management of her cardiologists) and stamina seem to be improving is joy to my ears.  She is losing about an average of 2 pounds per month, a perfectly sustainable weight-loss.

wpid-IMAG0924.jpgI didn’t hand her a book to read on any particular diet.  Although I am self-experimenting by following GAPS diet, the word “diet” sets my teeth on edge. We would all function (and therefore feel) much better if we could simply choose foods in a more whole state.  (After achieving that wonderful feat, discerning individual food intolerances and adding in a few tweaks will complete “The I Feel Good Conversion.”)

Free to do what she chooses, I laid down these ideas (I’m sorry if you follow along that you have to see these again.):

  • No processed foods or drinks.
  • Nothing with artificial colors and preservatives (including drinks).
  • Nothing with added sugar, corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners.
  • No grains except for special occasions, hopefully not more than a couple of times a month.
  • No dairy with anything added to it (sugar, colors, carrageenan).  Read labels.
  • Added fats in the form of olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and animal-sources are fine and do not need regulated.
  • Eggs are not bad.
  • Most calories need to come in the form of fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meats.

I hope you feel good today.  I hope, if you don’t, you can find what it is that will help you.  Whole food is the perfect start.  (And a check-up with a doctor will help define any serious problems!)




Awesome side dishes for the grill, and they just about couldn’t be easier!  Happy Fourth of July!  The pineapple, if you like pineapple, is an absolute MUST TRY!  Try it!  Try it!

Great Grilled Veggies

2 zucchini, sliced in long, diagonal slices that won’t fall through your grill grid
2 yellow squash, sliced in long, diagonal slices that won’t fall through your grill grid
1 bunch of asparagus with the woody ends cut, off, leaving the crisp, tender tops.

4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2-3 pinches of salt
2 twists of cracked pepper from the grinder
2 large pinches of dried thyme
2 large clove of garlic, minced

1.  Slice vegetables.wpid-IMAG0909-1.jpg
2.  Mix together marinade ingredients in a small bowl and place in a Ziplock baggie or any vessel you use to marinade food in.  Reserve 2 tablespoonsful of marinade and set aside.
3.  Add vegetables to marinade and store in refrigerator; overnight gives superb flavor.
4.  Grill vegetables directly on the grill until browned.  Remove prior to burning and let the ones that fall into the flames–let them go!
5.  Place surviving grilled veggies on a serving dish and splash with reserved marinade.
6.  Enjoy!

wpid-IMAG0921-1.jpgGrilled Pineapple

Pineapple that has been peeled and cored in one whole piece wpid-IMAG0934.jpg
Honey if desired

1.  If desired, use your hands and spread about 1 tablespoonful of honey on exterior of pineapple.
2.  Dust with ground cinnamon on all sides.
3.  Place directly on grill, turning every few minutes, until grilled on all sides.
4.  Slice as desired and serve.
5.  Absolutely fabulous.  We fight over the last piece.


GAPS, SCD, Paleo, Primal, and Whole 30

If you gain nothing else from this post, please gain this– eliminate processed grain products.

“Fad.  It’s all just a fad.”

You calling my diet a fad?

You call relying on fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, eggs,  nuts, and minimally processed oils/fats a fad?  Very interesting.  Very discouraging, actually.

Gluten-free, dairy-free processed food products?  Yes.  Fads.  They’ll pass the same way as all the low-fat products we used to buy.

The “diets” I’m about to discuss today bring REAL food to the forefront:  Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Paleolithic (Paleo), Primal and Whole30 (not presented in that order).  There may be other “diets” out there with these same underlying principles, but I, as of yet, have only tackled reading about these.

Please don’t confuse these diets with low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diets; these diets are not meant to be the Atkin’s diet.  Beets, butternut squash, carrots, nuts, and fruits provide plenty of carbohydrates.

Sadly, but necessarily for some of us, grains aren’t invited to the party.  Neither are things like food dyes, food preservatives, MSG, carrageenan, agar, sugar, artificial sweeteners, legumes, potatoes, and highly processed oils/fats.  Substances like coffee, tea, and alcohol are asked to be eliminated or highly scrutinized.  Dairy is just a lovable troublemaker for all concerned:  do you or don’t you?

Explaining each diet thoroughly in one post is not possible.  All I hope to do is lay out some of the big grain-free movements out there with some of their slants.

Whole30/Whole9 (It Starts with Food :  Discover the Whole 30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways):  I find this book and program the most approachable.  Very common sense.  Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s writing is upbeat, very informative, humorous, and honest. They want you to give this a try because they KNOW you’ll feel better.  There’s enough science to prove their points, but it’s provided in an understandable manner.

“Whole 30” refers to the 30 day challenge the Hartwigs ask you to undertake after reading their book (or website).  Whole9 refers to the holistic 9 factors Dallas and Melissa believe promote optimal health–not just food.  Hopefully after trying the plan for 30 days, you’ll choose it for a lifetime.

For the person who wants to lose weight, get “healthier”, and see food in a whole new way, this book can’t be beat.  For people with deeper health issues or significant food intolerances, the book only touches briefly on an autoimmune protocol.  If you are sensitive to eggs, nuts, or even clarified butter, you may not find the relief you need.

On the dairy issue:  Everything dairy is removed for the initial 30 days except clarified butter (ghee—the stuff they serve you with your seafood).  After that, they ask you to honestly assess whether your body processes dairy well and benefits your body.

Paleolithic/Paleo (several versions exist): A Paleo diet arrives at the door saying that its included foods have been consumed by humans since, well, the dawn of humans–before the advent of agriculturally induced chronic health issues like osteoporosis, cavities, diabetes, and heart disease.  Since we “grew up” on these foods, we are adapted really well to eat them.  Paleo’s strict definition is going to vary from expert to expert, but the underlying food groundwork remains the same, including the foods I’ve already outlined above.  Opinions differ on salt intake, fat intake, protein intake, and even dairy, but a wise, discerning individual won’t get hung up on the details.

Dairy is usually not considered “Paleo”, but sometimes butter, ghee, and cream are encouraged.  Sometimes not.  Depends on who you ask.

Paleo seems to be a good all-around program for many, those seeking weight reduction, a cure, or just to be “healthier.”  There is a protocol, called Autoimmune Paleo, which removes even more foods with known allergenic/inflammatory-producing properties (eggs, nuts/seed, nightshades—obviously grains and dairy have already been removed by going “Paleo.”).  If a person is tackling a health issue that doesn’t respond to Paleo, they may step it up to Autoimmune Paleo.

Here is Robb Wolf’s Paleo website.

Primal (The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson):  Although all of these “interventions” I describe here encourage complete lifestyle evaluation, The Primal Blueprint really explores incorporating “Paleolithic” type ideas into everyday life (sleep, exercise, etc.), not just food.  It’s a lifestyle, not a “diet.”

As a lifestyle, keeping things “do-able” is condoned, so Sisson comes up with an 80%/20% philosophy, allowing some deviation from the recommendations, including the diet.  This is great for someone looking for weight loss, health guidance, and taking life to the next level, but if you have a refractory health problem, strict dietary adherence to diet will be mandatory.  Primal Blueprint has a nicely done website:  Mark’s Daily Apple.

SCD (Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall):  Although mostly designed to “heal”/treat gastrointestinal issues, the SCD is beginning to appeal to people with other issues as well (autism, chronic fatigue, and more).  It doesn’t take an evolutionary approach, but SCD still comes up with basically the same foods to include and exclude as Paleo does, by evaluating the carbohydrate composition and removing processed food substances.  There is a detailed list of foods which are legal and illegal on the diet.

SCD has an introduction diet, but it was not in my book.  I don’ t know if it’s in later editions or not!  The introduction diet can be found on-line.  If I remember right, it introduces eggs right away–so if you’re like me and have issues with eggs–you may say, “Hey!  This diet doesn’t work for me!”  Really, it would have worked had the egg intolerance been known.

Dairy is allowed, but only in certain forms.  Particularly encouraged is homemade yogurt.  Other unique features off the top of my head include exclusion of sweet potatoes.  And exclusion of chocolate.  Wonder why I remember that.

SCD is not meant to be a “forever diet.”  It is meant to “heal the gut” by putting in nutrient-dense stuff the body needs and taking out detrimental stuff it suffers from. Maybe a couple of years, more or less.

GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride):  GAPS was built on the SCD.  Except it includes chocolate.

Campbell-McBride feels lots and lots and lots of health issues can be treated with her approach (from inflammatory bowel disease to depression).  I do GAPS for my constipation issues, but I fixed a whole lot of other stuff.  In addition to most of the Paleo foods, GAPS mandates homemade broths and some source of probiotic, whether it be from a supplement or from homemade sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles, etc.  Organ meats are stressed, and certain supplements are recommended to be phased in, if needed, as you progress along.

There is a very strict introduction diet which conveniently functions as an elimination diet (to uncover food intolerances) if you follow it as stated.  It is difficult to follow as stated, although one can always do the introduction later after getting familiar with the full diet.

GAPS also intends to “heal and seal the gut” so a person may introduce food categories that had been excluded while on the diet.  A person may need 6 months to 2-3 years supposedly.

Dairy is excluded initially and then allowed in the form of ghee, progressing from there, if the person tolerates it.


Aside from keeping it whole, I don’t believe there is a “best diet” for anybody.  However, lots and lots of people are experiencing myriad symptom relief from the grain-free diets listed above, but there may need to be tweaks.  Remove eggs.  Remove dairy.  Eliminate FODMAP or oxalate foods.  Add in a potato.  Add in quinoa.  Nip and tuck.

Personally, I’d like to be able to have a piece of refined flour birthday cake every now and then, kind of Primal like–so I’m bettin’ on the GAPS/SCD right now!

Heal and seal, I say!

If that doesn’t work out, I may just have to call it Paleo.

Whole foods equal whole health.  Have a good day.