100 Days of AIP – Days 9-16

Things are getting a little better.  I’m still not perfect, but I’m feeling good about it.

Here’s my yummy food this week:

For breakfasts, I mostly had oatmeal and sometimes some sausage and fruit.  But I did come across something cool this week, Overnight Oatmeal.  It’s so simple and I even eat it cold!

I also made some quinoa tabbouleh, chicken salad with grapes and apples.  I also tried new recipes for Eggroll Skillet (like a deconstructed egg roll – Thanks, Angie K!) and Collard Slaw this week.  (Sorry, no pics for these.  My bad!)

I also made this lovely, lovely Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad.  At first, I wasn’t too excited about making it.  But I had all the ingredients so I thought I’d give it a shot.  OMG I’m glad I did.  It. Is. AMAZING.  It’s so fresh and tasty!  I’ve actually made it twice now.  The first time I made it, I served it with herbed brown rice (SQUIRREL – I made this up.  I just added some fresh parsley, dried cilantro, garlic and salt.  SOOO GOOD!) and some leftover lamb meatballs.  I was really proud of myself for this meal!

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad, Herbed rice, and lamb meatballs

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad, herbed rice, and lamb meatballs

I also whipped up a Strawberry-Rhubarb crisp… and ate the whole thing within 24 hours.


Here are my observations this week:

  • When I eat the way I’m supposed to (and don’t cheat or mess up), I am less bloated.
  • I also lose weight (I was down 2.5 pounds at my best this week).
  • I have more energy and am in a MUCH better mood when I eat right and get enough sleep.
  • I need to exercise more.  I think it would make a major, positive difference.


OK, that’s all for now!  Have a wonderful day!  🙂


Starting My 2014 Garden

I’m a little behind, but I have pics from the beginning of my 2014 Garden!  As some of you know, my garden is my summer sanctuary.  I love planning, designing, planting, and harvesting.  It’s not only where I clear my mind, but I also get FOOD.  Score!

This year, we scaled back a bit.  No new beds (although I do have plans for a “house” structure to grow my beans on), no additional soil.  I even scaled back the number of plants.  As a result, this was the fastest year of prep we’ve ever had.

I moved my monster tarragon plant.  That thing was taking over my herb bed.  It’s now in the actual soil on the side of the garden near the fence row.  I left the oregano though.  And it’s already huge.  The “mutant” green onions (those dudes who popped up from the compost pile last year) CAME BACK.  Which means they are on year 3.  Holy crap.  And my chives came back!  I was certain they were goners after last year, but nope… Here they are again!

Returning plants:

  • Beans
  • Cukes
  • Zukes (Zucchini)
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers

Newcomers this year:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Hot Peppers
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

I’ve done the herbs before but I didn’t have either of those last year.  We also skipped hot peppers last year because we had WAAAAAAAY too many from the year before.  There are still 2 gallon bags full of dried ones in my pantry from 2012.  I’ve tried brussel sprouts before, but those damn cabbage moths killed them last time I did.  (SQUIRREL – I’m ready for you this year, you little plant-eating demons.  So don’t even think about it!)  I’ve never grown broccoli or cauliflower successfully.  But so far, so good this year.  Wish me luck on those.

And RHUBARB!  I have loved rhubarb since I was a kid.  I used to eat it right out of my grandpa’s garden.  Before I got the chance to plant him outside, that little guy took a bad turn and I thought I killed him.  There were only 2 withered, yellow leaves left when I got him in the ground and they immediately dried up and fell off.  But he came back!  HURRAY!!!!!


And last but not least, for my kiddos, FLOWERS.

And to ensure that I actually get to spend time in my garden this year, there is actually one new structure that we built…

Thank you to Eric, Brandon, Nick, Doug, Laura, Casey, Bonnie, and Ben for helping with this.  It’s worth every minute we all spent on it.  😀

100 Days of AIP – Days 2-8

Dear Team Squirrel,


It has been a very interesting first week.  First off, I didn’t do too well.  But I’m OK with that.

I’ve realized that calling the autoimmune paleo diet a “lifestyle change” isn’t entirely accurate.  It’s bigger than that.  It’s an overall life change.  I went to a graduation party last weekend.  I figured I would be able to just pick the stuff I knew I COULD eat and I’d be OK.  Well, I didn’t do so hot with that.  I ate a couple of things that I thought weren’t TOO bad for me.  Wrong.  I also ate some things I knew I shouldn’t have had at all.  BIG mistake.  I paid for it.  And not just in the annoying way like brain fog and swelling…  nope, my body straight up rejected what I did.  And let’s leave it at that.

Anywho, I think I’ve finally realized that this is a journey – an evolution of sorts – and that I can’t be mad at myself when I do something that helps me to learn how I need to make this work for me.  This is kind of a big deal that I have given myself permission to NOT be perfect at this right off the bat.  😀

Ironically the day after I had this epiphany, I received an email about a new blog post from one of my new blogger favs – Nerd Fitness.  The post is titled “Do Something You SUCK At.”   It’s all about embracing the things you DON’T do well.  Kismet!!!   OMG, I love it!  Go read it now.  GO!!!

Even though it was a rough start to my self-induced 100-day challenge, there are a couple of things I did well.  I had some AWESOME food!  First my disclaimer – I am not following a strict autoimmune paleo diet.  My insulin resistance problem requires me to eat some things that are technically not allowed on AIP.  For example, I sometimes eat oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa because of how well they can keep my insulin in check.  OK… on to the food!!!

I made this salad a few times over the course of the week.  It has spring mix from my CSA, cucumbers, shredded carrots, shredded kohlrabi (from my awesome cousins’ farm – thank you Kyle and Jessica!!!), and some nectarines.  I also sprinkled on one of my flavored balsamic vinegars and avocado oil.  Most days I added some leftover steak, but I forgot to make any meat the night before so I bought some grilled chicken from the cafeteria at work.  It’ll do in a pinch!

Salad with nectarines, cukes, spring mix. and chicken

Salad with nectarines, cukes, spring mix. and chicken


This breakfast hash was AWESOME!  I ate more than half of that bowl for breakfast.  I fried up some chopped bacon and threw the chicken in the bacon grease.  Then I tossed it with some diced apricot and an avocado.  Delish!

Breakfast hash with chicken, sweet potatoes, bacon, and avocado

Breakfast hash with chicken, apricot, bacon, and avocado


These lamb chops were a pleasant surprise.  Usually, lamb is a little tough and tastes gamey to me.  I sprinkled some salt and dried rosemary on these and broiled them on each side for a bit.   They ended up very tender and the rosemary was an excellent pairing.  The tabbouleh is made with quinoa (SQUIRREL – I use a little $15 rice cooker to make my quinoa.  Quick and painless!) and I added shredded carrots, shredded kohlrabi, diced cucumbers, fresh parsley, dried mint, and tossed it with lemon juice and avocado oil (olive oil or grapeseed oil work very well too).  Usually tabbouleh is made with tomatoes, but I can’t have those.  So I threw some tossed nectarine on there and VOILA!  This is also something I eat for a snack and often throw some diced avocado in for the good fat.

Rosemary lamb chop with quinoa tabbouleh

Dinner – Rosemary lamb chop with quinoa tabbouleh


One other thing I made that I apparently do not have a picture of is a raw salad made with kohlrabi, apple, apricots, lemon juice, and mint.  (SQUIRREL – the original idea I came across on Pinterest said to make it with cashews too.  I can’t have those, but I offered it to the fam when we ate it and none of them wanted it.  So I don’t know how it tasted, but it sure sounded good.)  This salad was also a fantastic pairing for those lamb chops.

In true squirrel fashion, let me completely switch gears before I end today…

Another realization I had this week is that I need a better way to track my progress.  I’m working on something to remedy that.  I think it will also improve my daily accountability.  I can just sense your anticipation.  Try to calm down.


Until next time, my friends!  XO



100 Days – Day 1

May 31, 2014

It’s officially Day 1, Team Squirrel!

I started my day with my disgusting gut-healing supplement.  It’s a powder that I mix with the smallest amount of water or OJ possible and choke it down in one huge gulp.  It does help.  But it is super, duper, mongo gross.  Then I whipped up some breakfast hash while I had my own version of bulletproof coffee.  Basically it’s a cup of coffee with a big a$$ dollop of coconut cream stirred in.  SQUIRREL – Dr. Neuro-chiro said that although coffee is not technically AIP (autoimmune protocol) compliant, there are major health benefits of freshly ground GOOD coffee in small doses.  Thank goodness for that.  No coffee = Grumpy Squirrel.

Check out my lovely breakfast hash!  This is sweet potato, apple, ramps (kind of like little onions), chicken maple apple sausage, and spinach with a little salt and cinnamon.  My creation was based on this.  SQUIRREL – Sweet potatoes are one of the few good complex carbs on AIP.  It also has a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes with means better for insulin control.  SCORE!


Chicken, Sweet Potato,  Apple, and Spinach Breakfast Hash

Chicken, Sweet Potato, Apple, and Spinach Breakfast Hash

As I was in line at the grocery store (around 9:30am) my stomach started to growl.  Uh oh.  By the time I got home and got the groceries put away, I was in full on blood sugar crash.  I ate a banana and half a leftover brat (Dr. Neuro-chiro said I should eat some protein with every meal to keep from spiking too high).

Lunch consisted of 2 small 50/50 bacon burgers (SQUIRREL – You *HAVE* to try these.  They are the BEST homemade burgers I have ever had.  My kids even squeal for them.), some braised greens, half an avocado, and a little glass of some pro-biotic smoothie.

Then I whipped these little beauties up for snacks!!!  Healthy orange coconut bites!!!  (I don’t know who Gigi is, but I’m already a fan.)  Total. Yum.


Gluten Free Gigi's Healthy Orange Coconut Bites

Gluten Free Gigi’s Healthy Orange Coconut Bites

Dinner was a cookout.  It’s DH’s last night home before a week-long work trip, so we wanted to eat outside.  He grilled brats (from a local farmer so they are grass-fed with no junky ingredients), asparagus, and plantains.  I added a veggie tray and we sat on the deck and ate.  It was nice.  Stupid hot at nearly 90 degrees outside, but still nice.

Then onto dessert.  Evening snacking is my absolute downfall, so I tried to be prepared today.  I made homemade paleo jell-os:  one in the form of vitamin gummies (mostly for my kids, but I’ll dig into them too) and one in the form of actual dessert.  This gelatin has mad gut-healing properties so I’ll take as much as I can get.

The orange one is the gummies.  I used an organic juice blend that is packed with vitamins (and marketed as such).  The dark one is my dessert (based on this).  It’s made from organic blueberry juice and has blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries in it.  I topped it with a whipped coconut cream.  Sorry I don’t have pics of it plated.  We pounded it.  All 4 of us.  This kids went bat crap crazy over it.  (SHHHHH!  Don’t tell them it is ridiculously healthy.  Muuuuaaaahahahaaa!)

Lastly, this 100 days really needs to include some other important things.  So I also plan to be accountable (or at least just tell you about) my sleep, exercise, and mood.  Here goes:

SLEEP:   nearly 8 hours (this is a VERY big deal)

EXERCISE:  nothing structured… but I did accomplish 2 grocery shopping trips, worked in my garden, finished putting mulch on the kids play area (which means I hauled and spread 18 bags), walked the back yard a bajillion times, and worked a little in my garden

MOOD:  pretty good… mostly happy, a few emotional moments, and massive brain fog (makes sense – it takes up to 72 hours for the effects of the bad stuff to hit you… damn you, mini oreos!)

Day 1.  Off to a pretty good start I must say.  😀



Disclaimer – I do not intend to write about this 100 times.  Don’t you worry.  But I did need the accountability for the first day.