Hitting a Wall Hard and Ending Up Wall Shaped

Yesterday, I did something that I should have done earlier: I tried a new physician.

You know how some sexy, gorgeous people have a string of broken hearts behind them (or a jar of hearts, if you are under 30)? I leave in my wake a staggering number of medical professionals who can’t or won’t help me. Some have actually harmed me. This is why I have taken charge of my own health. Someone has to be responsible for this and honestly, it is MY JOB. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

In the last few months my energy has tanked. I have had days where I feel encased in chain mail. My sleep is disrupted. The pain is always circling, ready to pounce. My diet became sloppy, but what really triggered it was STRESS. We moved a relative in with us and his health immediately plummeted, causing him months of mental, emotional and physical trauma. A month ago he was facing hospice. Due to our efforts to get him care against his will, and forcing him to participate in medications and therapies, he is now almost fully restored. But it took its toll on my health and required that I get help.

So today I took a chance and met with a PA new to my previous doctor’s office. She is younger than me which doesn’t make me feel INADEQUATE AT ALL. But I knew from observing her with other patients that she at least listens.

Me: “I read on the [practice’s] web site that you are interested in healing through nutrition.”

She: “Yes! I am very interested.”

Me: “Are you familiar with Dr. Terry Wahls?”

She: “Very much so.”

Me: [Getting excited] “And Paleomom?”

She: “I have her book in my office.”

Thud. I have a new Valentine.

Me: “Would you be interested in helping me to heal myself through nutrition? To order tests to track my progress, and tweak treatment as I go?”

She: “Yes.”

So…today I had a 2 Liter bottle of Diet Pepsi sized portion of my blood removed for evaluation. Seriously, they had to tap two veins. The first started closing up and shouting profanities at the tech. The second was cool with it because he doesn’t want to get a reputation.

We are testing for thyroid, Lyme, scleroderma, MTHFR gene variant Vitamin B tests, Vitamin D, and stuff I can’t remember because I have a disease that makes me dense.

She suggested that I may want to consider the Autoimmune Protocol instead of Paleo because I need to turn up the healing. My body is literally tender to the touch. It’s swollen, creaky, feels like I have molasses in my veins, and it is still significantly better than it was two years ago.

So I am now looking at the AIP cookbooks in my collection. As long as I have the energy to do both, I will note my progress and favorite meals in this blahg.

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Fruits are, occasionally, big fat liars.

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More about that in a minute.

I live in AZ. I grew up in South Philadelphia, so I have a history of dreary days, rain, and snow. This is a huge factor in why we moved to a warmer climate. But since arriving in AZ in 1997, I have grown soft.

It’s crap out there today. An awesome storm last night that made my bedroom window into a big screen TV left its trash behind. Getting out of bed is MANDATORY. We cannot retreat. But today will need modifications. And chocolate. But for now, pancakes will have to do.

My love for cakes of the pan is pretty legendary. I have made as many good ones as bad ones, and as long as they aren’t completely charred (a little is okay) I WILL EAT THEM. But now I am trying to eat clean and heal myself through nutrition. Regular pancakes are verboten.

I have tried a few variations of paleo pancakes and they are feats of culinary expertise. I got tired just looking at the recipes. So when I stumbled upon this one, it looked simple enough. All of the ingredients are found in a normal grocery store. There’s only a handful of things needed. It promises pancakes. I AM THERE.

But then I meet my new nemesis. It is not illness. It is not taxes. It is a plantain. Why?

Because plantains are bastards.

Plantains are the less sweet, more difficult cousin of the beautiful, easily disrobed banana. Think of your closest female cousin. So which are you? Keep that to yourself.

Here’s the recipe:

 

2 large green plantains (about 2 cups pureed)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1/8 tsp salt (a generous pinch)
½ tsp baking soda
Extra coconut oil for frying

PP Ingredients - Copy

Plantains are tricky. They like to dress up like bananas but they hide buttons and zippers in their peels. I have thrown out my share of bastard plantains because the peel can take the fruit with it, leaving you having to really work at scraping out. I don’t like to work that hard when I am cooking.

So I cut off both ends with an unnecessarily huge knife. I want to intimidate the plantain. Then slice through the peel on both sides.

 

PP Cutting - Copy

And gently pull the fibrous skin from the fruit.

PP Peel

Now chunk it up and add all the ingredients to the blender. Plantains are very difficult to pulverize so I am using my Ninja.

PP Mixer

And it should look like this:

PP Mixer Done - Copy

Pour the batter in your pan.

PP Pan

This batter is quite dense. It doesn’t spread. It’s half bastard. What do you expect?

As much as I love pancakes, I always flip them awkwardly. It’s like I am always new to this.

PP Cooking

I was able to make six pancakes from this batter. Three, I bagged and put in the fridge for tomorrow.

PP Cooked

So I added some 100% maple syrup and leftover roasted veggies from last night. REMEMBER, flavor is secondary to getting those nutrients into your body.

PP final veggies

I also made myself a Chai Latte by brewing chai tea and adding honey and coconut milk.

These pancakes are pretty tough. Plantains are quite fibrous. Like sponges. They aren’t sweet and mushy like bananas (or your cousin). But we really aren’t foolish enough to expect all the experiences of unhealthy food without the cost, right?

The taste has a slight banana-ish flavor. Otherwise they are very mild. I am intent on experimenting by adding apples and cinnamon in the future.

So I feel pretty satisfied with this new version of pancakes and will add it to my favorites collection. If you aren’t already familiar with Paleomom, I encourage you to check out her websites and books. I have three of her books.

The recipe from her website: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/09/perfect-paleo-pancakes.html

 

 

 

Breakfast Three Times a Day!

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I’m a breakfast person. I love breakfast. Pancakes for dinner, amirite? I am going to share my goto breakfast that is nutritious, EASY, and comforting.

Using cauliflower for EVERYTHING that we lost can get old. Cauli-rice. Cauli-pizza. Cauli-taters. But cauliflower is actually a wonderful vegetable:

I try to eat 9 cups of vegetables per day. This tasty breakfast takes two cups of cauliflower. It’s a win all around.

porridge ingredients

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked cauliflower (frozen or fresh)

splash of non-dairy milk (I used cashew here, but generally use coconut)

1 tsp. butter or ghee (for taste)

1 tsp. coconut butter/manna (optional, for added healthy fat)

coconut flakes to taste

nuts (I used pecans), separated

dried fruit (Craisins have sugar, so a sugar free option is preferable)

cinnamon to taste

porridge blender

 

Combine all but the dried fruit and a portion of the nuts in a blender. You will likely WANT to keep some texture so be careful about how long you process it. Pour in a bowl. Add nuts and fruit. Heat if necessary. That’s all.

 

porrige

Now, we’re tired, right? So since we have all of the ingredients out, let’s combine all but the fruit and nuts in a bag and pop in the freezer for another day. Where it took about 10 minutes today, it will take five the next time.

frozen porrige

This is a great base to experiment with. I have,at different times, added apples, avocado, bananas, and honey. I have made it without an ingredient here and there. It’s forgiving. I love to fill it with nutrients just so I can get them in me. And of course, you will need protein. I usually set aside some from the night before to have with breakfast. Last night was chicken so I’ll have that in an hour or so.

Remember, nutrient density is KEY.

 

 

Making Paleo Realistic

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I am a hoarder. Of cook books. Of PALEO cookbooks. I have them on top of the fridge. There’s one on my nightstand. Four in the bookcase. I have them hiding in my Kindle. I even buy books ABOUT Paleo, and moon over the recipes tossed in at the end. I’m kind of sad. Why? Because I CAN’T COOK PALEO.

Oh, I can cook. I cook Lasagna, Stuffed Shells, and Baked Ziti, all with my own home made gravy (sauce). I make a killer Chicken Parmesan. Taste my Bread Pudding if you want to ruin all other Bread Puddings you will ever meet. But, this stuff is why I am overweight, inflamed, and barely getting through the day.

So I decided to combine my complete lack of cooking expertise with my lack of education about this new lifestyle. The baby they make will be this extremely honest blog about how realistic it is to convert to a Paleo lifestyle when you are tired, weak, and unskilled.

Because isn’t that the reality of it all? We turn to this lifestyle to reduce inflammation so that we can heal. But when we start, we are STILL SICK. It’s overwhelming. It’s expensive. Preparing inconveniently fresh and nutrient dense food takes more than popping it in the microwave and resting your head against the glass until it beeps.

Here’s the skinny: I am disabled. I have Neuromuscular Atrophy (Charcot Marie Tooth). It causes a great deal of pain in my arms and legs. I fall a lot. I am weak. I cannot grip things with any certainty that it will not hit the floor. I have Metabolic Syndrome and Hypothyroidism. I have Spinal Stenosis, causing back pain, to the touch. I have a Right Hip Replacement that is 20 years old and needs revision. And the other hip is acting up, too. Last year I was diagnosed with Scleroderma.

I am 46. What the hell?

After my Scleroderma diagnosis, I went on a loose Paleo Diet. Loose because I was too tired to cook all the time and honestly, could barely think, my brain was so foggy. But I lost 50 pounds in six months and have kept it off for a year. Now I am focusing on the other weight I want to lose. But this will be secondary to nourishing myself.

So I am going to try out recipes from my multiple books and post them, and the wretched aftermaths, for all to see. I will choose EASY recipes because that is all I can do right now. I may even find recipes on websites.

And you are invited to follow this journey with me. Maybe we can heal together.

LW