New Year, New Resolutions

I started this blog 1 year ago, as a way to keep track of my digestive issues, what I was eating, and my moods. I wanted to see if there was any connection between what I ate, and how I felt. I thought being on the brink of 2015 would be a good time to reflect on the blog. Below, my absolute goal for 2014:

I’m hopeful that by limiting starch and refined sugar, I’ll feel better, both physically and mentally. I am tired of feeling stressed and angry. Even if things in my life aren’t going well, I’d like to be able to take pride in the way I care for myself, and eating more healthfully will hopefully uplift my spirits and give me something to feel good about

NAILED IT. No seriously, I did! I feel so much better about myself. I changed my diet, and I changed my mood. The food didn’t necessarily change anything, it was the idea that I prioritized myself, put my health first, and stayed the course, no matter what life threw at me. I continued to try to eat well, exercise, and I saw my confidence soar. When I eat healthier, I feel happier. The FODMAP diet has reduced many dietary symptoms that I found upsetting or painful, which has improved my mood on a consistent basis. I feel much happier living without the daily issues of stomach pain and bloating. I may still get depressed or anxious, but I don’t let it derail my efforts to take care of ME!

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image courtesy of Happy New Year Whats App

I started thinking about resolutions, about how this all started as a resolution of sorts; attempting to keep weekly notes on my health. I had never done that before, and it thrills me that I was able to mostly keep that going. After doing this, I realize that resolutions should be just beyond what you’re already doing; go too far, and you’re likely to quit. Don’t push yourself enough, and nothing changes.

In therapy, I frequently help people make changes in their lives, and the clients who often have the most success are those who make realistic goals for where they are at in their life at that time. When you experience success, you’re more likely to stay motivated to maintain the change and build on it. Experience failure, and it becomes demotivating; why change if it won’t work? The idea is to set the bar slightly higher than your present, and keep reaching from there. I applied the ideas that I use with clients to myself. It worked for me to attempt to keep track of this blog weekly/consistently, as opposed to daily. I also resolved last year that I would read more, and instead of keeping it vague, I joined a virtual book club with my friends, where we read 1 book every 8 weeks, which was much more achievable than 1 book each month. Resolutions should also be specific. Vowing “I will exercise more” may not be enough to keep you motivated, where was resolving to “exercise 3 days each week” gives expectations.

What will my resolutions be for 2015? Take a peek….

1. Eat 3 servings of vegetables daily

I presently eat at least 1-2 servings of vegetables each day, depending on how much spinach goes in my morning smoothie. Beyond that, all bets are off. I could eat 5 servings each day, or just 1. As a person with IBS and who eats low FODMAP, it’s really important to gain fiber from other sources outside of grains. I slip on this a lot; most of my snacks consist of FODMAP-friendly fare but that doesn’t always mean it’s that healthy!

2. Use planner daily

Organizing is not a strong trait of mine. At work, I find organizing to be easy and necessary. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is organize, and yet it is necessary. I’m hoping that by using a planner, I can keep track of projects, deadlines, and my “to do” list, which is often just floating around in my head or jotted down on scraps of paper.

3. Cook meals 3x per week

Cooking is a passion of mine, and yet I’ve neglected it A LOT this year. When I started the FODMAP diet, I felt frustrated by all the limitations and my passion for cooking dwindled. Cooking is my stress reliever; it’s incredibly rewarding to create a delicious, soul-filling meal from my own kitchen. It’s also like a big chemistry experiment to me, which is fun!

I also plan to keep reading and keep up this blog. I’m going to continue to exercise using TONE IT UP, a plan that has different daily workouts, contests, and schedules to keep things interesting! I have been participating in their program since September and I love it.

I’d love to hear what some of your resolutions are! Wishing all of you an amazing and healthy 2015; I hope it’s your best year yet!

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Happy Holidaze!

The holidays are here! This is my first holiday season as a FODMAP free person. Over Thanksgiving, I decided I would eat whatever I wanted without consideration for my IBS. I had the works: sausage stuffing, oatmeal bread, cranberry/apple/celery relish, and chocolate cream pie. Immediately after consuming my dessert, I got an intense migraine and my husband and I had to leave the family party. For five days after Thanksgiving, I got migraines regularly. I was achy, tired, and had stomach problems. The biggest issue was brain fog, which I got after eating every meal. At times, it would get so intense that I’d have to lay down and take a nap for an hour. I rarely nap and it’s usually a sign that there’s something wrong with me, health-wise!

Needless to say, I think I learned a valuable lesson: everything in moderation, especially if you’re on a restrictive diet! This Christmas/Hanukkah, I wanted to indulge, but be mindful of my health. I decided to try to find as many food items as I could that would be easily modified for low FODMAP needs. Without further ado, here are two great low FODMAP items to bring to your next holiday party!

Nim Nam
serves 6-8
adapted from Bojon Gourmet

nimnam

Ingredients:
750 ml vodka
1/3 c. grated fresh ginger
4 oz of ginger juice, or juice from several large ginger roots
zest and juice from one lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/3-1/2 c sugar/sweetener of choice
1/2 c. boiling water
fine mesh sieve
funnel
empty 750 ml bottle

a few notes: I live by a raw juice shop that sells 4 oz ginger shots, so I was able to add that into the drink as opposed to juicing ginger root. For the sweetener, I used plain white sugar. The original recipe calls for honey, but in order to keep this low FODMAP, I omitted it. You could use coconut sugar or maple syrup, but keep in mind maple syrup may change the overall taste to something gingery-mapley.

Instructions:
1. Combine vodka, grated ginger, ginger juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla scrapings, and vanilla pod in a large mason jar. Screw on lid, and give several good shakes.
2. Put in refrigerator, and let steep for 24 hours. Give the jar several strong shakes every few hours.
3. After it has fully steeped, strain vodka mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl, and discard solids.
4. Put sweetener of choice in a large glass measuring cup. Add boiled water, and stir until sweetener is fully dissolved.
5. Using a funnel, pour the vodka mixture into an empty 750 ml bottle. Tightly cap the bottle and refrigerate for a few hours or until completely chilled.

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Nim nam in process!

Mix with fizzy water, like club soda or sparkling water, and enjoy its subtly sweet, spiciness. Be sure to add only a shot into your glass! Don’t make the mistake I did: I poured it like a real drink and topped with a little bit of fizzy water. It was really strong and intense!! Next drink I have will be the other way around!

Next recipe: this GLUTEN FREE, decadent, PECAN PIE!

Coconut Chocolate Pecan Pie
serves 8-10
adapted from My Humble Kitchen

pie

Ingredients:

CRUST
2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
5 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons solid coconut oil

PIE FILLING
3.5 oz dark chocolate chips
5 tablespoons of butter or solid coconut oil
2 large eggs
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. coconut sugar
7 oz. pecans

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Add unsweetened coconut, coconut milk, and coconut oil to a food processor outfitted with a “S” blade. Blend for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is sticky.
2. Place coconut mixture in a 10″ pie plate or tart dish. Spread the coconut mixture to cover the pie dish.
3. Press the coconut down into the dish and up the sides, until it’s all well covered.
4. Using parchment paper or foil, cover the edges of pie crust while showing the middle.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly.

Next, turn oven up to 375F.
6. Add chocolate chips to the bottom of the pie crust.
7. In a medium bowl, whisk the two eggs, set aside.
8. Add butter to a large saucepan, and melt over medium-low heat. Once completely melted, add coconut sugar and maple syrup. Whisk for 2-3 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.
9. Once cooled, whisk the butter mixture with the eggs in the medium bowl. Stir in pecan pieces.
10. Pour pecan mixture over chocolate in pie crust. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Place a large cookie sheet on the rack directly under your pie pan to catch any spills that may occur.
11. Once set, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving.

I just served this pie at my family Christmas party and it was a huge hit! Plus, no one missed the classic pie crust; everyone kept talking about how amazing the coconut crust was. I had two pieces myself! When I find gluten free dessert that tastes amazing, there’s no stopping my need to pig out!

I also had to throw in a picture of this antipasto salad that I made to share with my family…it just looks so festive!

salad

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy holiday season! I hope you all enjoy these recipes and can bring them to your gatherings. I’d love to hear about any holiday food adaptations you’ve had to make!