January Whole30 – Week 3

whole30

This week is by far the hardest week. Staying motivated is SO much harder. The best thing I can recommend for this week is to try to make the meals EASY because at this point you’ll be sick of eggs, and sick of cooking. Lots of easily accessible burgers, tuna salad, chicken salad, salad-salad, etc.

Thursday, Jan 16
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries
Lunch: Mini Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes
Dinner: Instant Pot Creamy Gnocchi Soup

Friday, Jan 17
Breakfast: Bacon and eggs for Steph/Fruit for Sam
Lunch: Leftover Soup/ Leftover mini meat loafs
Dinner: We went through the leftovers and had a random picnic basically.

Saturday, Jan 18
Breakfast: Fruit and a Chomp for Sam/ Smoothie for Steph
Lunch: Chipotle Whole30 bowl (we both get barbacoa)
Dinner: Hamburgers and Fries (Pro tip, get the sleeve of burgers from Sam’s club!)

Sunday, Jan 19
Breakfast: Smoothies
Lunch: Tuna Salad
Dinner:
Actual salad with apple, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and Balsamic Dressing

Monday, Jan 20
Breakfast: Fruit (cantaloupe!) & chomps
Lunch: Mini meat loaf (We made a double batch and froze some for us to take to work!)
Dinner: Burgers and Fries with Bacon

Tuesday, Jan 21
Breakfast: Chomps and hard boiled eggs
Lunch: Leftover Burgers and fries
Dinner: Baked Chicken (rubbed with bbq seasoning from Sam’s) with green beans

Wednesday, Jan 22
Breakfast: Chomps and hard boiled eggs
Lunch: Leftover Chicken
Dinner: Chicken and Veggies (We get the Broccoli Normandy from Sam’s Club)

January Whole30 – Week 2

whole30

We survived another week down on Whole30! This week was filled with some amazing food. I’ve been taking full advantage of snack packs of nuts since I have class super early in the mornings, then eating my eggs once I get to work. Chomps have also saved me a few times. I had planned on taking some photos of our meals, but I always accidentally eat them first. LOL. Oops. We found some almond coconut milk that I’m excited to try in my coffee too so hopefully I remember to add that next week!

Thursday, Jan 9
Breakfast: leftover Sloppy Jane + eggs (wouldn’t recommend mixing..)
Lunch: Leftover Chicken Sausage and green beans/Buffalo Chicken
Dinner: (banana, almond butter, blueberry, protein powder) Smoothies
Neither of us was super hungry for dinner this day, so we decided to make smoothies!

Friday, Jan 10
Breakfast: Smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers for Sam, Eggs and Guac for Steph
Dinner: Egg Roll Bowls

Saturday, Jan 11
Breakfast: We slept through breakfast…
Lunch: Leftover Egg Roll Bowls
Dinner: Chipotle (Now serving Whole30 Bowls!)

Sunday, Jan 12
Breakfast: Eggs and Oven-Baked no-sugar Bacon
Lunch: We skipped lunch since we had such a huge breakfast/brunch
Dinner:
Beef Tips and Cauliflower Mash <<< we used immersion blender for texture

Monday, Jan 13
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries (ras, straw, blu, black)
Lunch: Leftover Beef Tips and Cauli mash
Dinner: Chicken Salad Wraps (wrapped in lettuce) – SEE BELOW

Tuesday, Jan 14
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries
Lunch: Leftover Chicken Salad
Dinner: [compliant] Turkey BLT Lettuce Wraps w/ bacon from ALDI

Wednesday, Jan 15
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries
Lunch: Turkey BLT Lettuce Wraps
Dinner: Mini Meat Loafs and Mashed Potatoes

For the Chicken Salad, we started with a whole chicken (We got it from Sams. They sell whole chickens in packs of 2 for ~ $10) and actually used a recipe for this because when dealing with the instant pot, we still get a little nervous with times, etc. It turns out THIS WAS THE BEST RECIPE EVER (Click here). It only took 28 minutes to cook and the meat FELL off the bones. If you don’t have an instant pot, I’m sure you can do it in the oven, it may just take a bit longer!

Pro-tip: we used avocado oil instead of canola and also added half an onion to the inside of the chicken. Once cooled, we shredded the chicken and put it in the fridge overnight. With our chicken salad, we add in homemade mayo, 1 green apple, chopped almonds, Trader Joe’s onion salt, tarragon, red pepper flakes, pepper, garlic, and a few squirts of dijon mustard. The overall rule is to add a fruit and a nut. We usually add cranberries but we didn’t have any. I prefer walnuts but the almonds (from trader joes!) were AMAZING. We’ve also used red apples, but we really like the tartness of the green ones. Feel free to add some peppers too! Sam usually scoops her chicken salad with the mini sweet peppers for extra flavor.

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Our Favorites:

Samantha’s favorite is always the egg roll bowls.
When eating leftovers, add fresh cabbage to make it crunchy again!

My favorite was tied between he mini meat loafs and the turkey BLT! One is super heavy and the other is lighter, so I suppose it depends on if you’re in the mood for comfort food.

Tonight we’re having creamy Gnocchi soup and I am SO excited for that. See you next week! Let us know how you’re doing or if you’re trying any of the meals we’ve made!

January Whole30 – Week 1

whole30

It’s January 2020 and we’ve decided to start our new year with doing our second official Whole30. If you don’t know what whole30 is, check out the website HERE. Basically, you can eat meat, seafood, veggies, fruit, but no processed foods, sugar, dairy, grains, or legumes (not even hummus). AND you can’t step on a scale for the whole 30 days. It takes complete dedication, there are no “cheat days” or “cheat meals”, for an entire 30 days.

My favorite line from her website is:

This is not hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You have done harder things than this. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime. Hear me now: The Whole30 is exactly as hard as you decide it’s going to be, so repeat after me: “This is not hard.”

Whole30 has been known to assist with all sorts of health problems and issues like: high blood pressure • high cholesterol • type 1 diabetes • type 2 diabetes • asthma • allergies • sinus infections • hives • skin conditions • endometriosis • PCOS • infertility • migraines • depression • bipolar disorder • heartburn • GERD • arthritis • joint pain • ADD • thyroid dysfunction • Lyme disease • fibromyalgia • chronic fatigue • lupus • leaky gut syndrome • Crohn’s • IBS • Celiac disease • diverticulitis • ulcerative colitis. If you’ve seen this before, you’ve been reading our fertility blog!

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Okay, Let’s get down to business (comment if you started singing Mulan).

Samantha has come up with an entire month of meal plans and shopping lists so that we can eat the right foods on a budget. We’ve also been going to the gym and yoga on a regular basis and the weather is so nice we take a few of our dogs out for long (2 mile) walks once the sun starts to go down.

I think it’d be easier to share our meal plans each week with you guys and then follow it up with our favorites! (We started on January 2nd because we are rebellious). See some shopping hints below!

Thursday, Jan 2
Breakfast: Fruit + Scrambled Eggs (cooked in green chile oil with jalapenos!)
Lunch: Sheet pan chicken sausage (NO sugar), broccoli, and potatoes.
Dinner: Teriyaki (Primal Kitchen) Chicken and zucchini

Friday, Jan 3
Breakfast: Fruit + Scrambled Eggs
Lunch: Leftover Teriyaki chicken and zucchini
Dinner: Hamburgers (no bun) and Air Fryer Crispy Garlic Potatoes

Saturday, Jan 4
Breakfast: Fruit + Scrambled Eggs
Lunch: Leftover Burgers and Potatoes
Dinner: Chili Lime Crispy Chicken Tenders with Avocado Ranch and a honey crisp apple
**We cooked the chicken tenders in the air fryer!

Sunday, Jan 5
Brunch: Hard Boiled Egg + Chomp
Snack:
We went on a long bike ride and stopped at Starbucks. We got Peter Rabbit fruit pouches and the Evolution pressed juices (‘super fruit greens’ and ‘defense up’ flavors).
Dinner:
Sloppy Jane’s

Monday, Jan 6 (Steph Starts School Today – 730am class)
Breakfast: Egg Salad on Sweet Potato Toast
Lunch: Leftover Sloppy Jane’s
Dinner: Skinny Shredded Buffalo Chicken (good for wraps too!)

Tuesday, Jan 7
Breakfast: Egg Salad on Sweet Potato Toast
Lunch: Leftover Skinny Shredded Buffalo Chicken
Dinner: Philly Not-So-Cheese-Steak Stuffed Peppers

Wednesday, Jan 8
Breakfast: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
Lunch: Leftover Philly Peppers
Dinner: Chicken Sausage and Green Beans

*** Our favorite was the Sloppy Janes ***

Side note: We went to trader joe’s and found these AMAZING date and coconut bites that have been helping between Steph’s morning classes. There’s a cashew apricot flavor and a blueberry almond flavor and they are Whole30. Click HERE.

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Just the TIPS:

We get most of our meats from Costco/Sams in bulk. We got a Food Saver for Christmas so we separate the meats into the portions we need which has been super helpful! For the sauces and seasonings, we spend most of our time at our local Trader Joe’s. We also really like Aldi for fruits and veggies and they sometimes have surprises like fruit pouches that are whole30. They’re really good to curb your sweet tooth – also Apple Sauce with Cinnamon.

We recommend getting a handful of Chomps (the Country Archer beef sticks are also Whole30) to snack on from Trader Joe’s. It’s not encouraged to have snacks on Whole30 since one of the purposes of Whole30 is to eat enough food to sustain you for the next meal and to stop you from reaching for the “snacks”. We also have boiled eggs ready to go in the fridge because sometimes that’s what we have time for and it’s super quick as a snack or a meal. Also, a HUGE help is to have a bunch of shredded chicken ready to go. You can shred a compliant rotisserie chicken or make your own in the crockpot or instant pot.

There’s a ton of Whole30 mayo recipes online and the sauces make everything amazing (Healthy Little Peach is our go-to for the healthiest, yummiest sauces). If you don’t have one yet, GET AN IMMERSION BLENDER. It will make your life SO much easier with sauces and mayo and homemade avocado ranch. Also, an instant pot would make your life easier and makes cook time WAY shorter. Most blogs will have an option for Instant Pot recipes and crockpot versions.

One of the most helpful tips we read before starting Whole30 was to clean and organize your kitchen. That way you have an inventory of what you have in the house plus you have a nice clean kitchen!

Sam writes EVERYTHING in her planner. She has our meal plans in there, the shopping list for the week, when to pull things out of the freezer, AND she has the printed recipes that are numbered for each day. She has a Happy Planner with Weekly Menu Plan inserts in it.

Sam’s favorite people to follow on Instagram (and their blogs) are @littlebitsofrealfood (Little Bits Of), @maryswholelife (Mary’s Whole Life), @thebetteredblondie (The Bettered Blondie), @tasteslovely (Tastes Lovely), @thedefineddish (The Defined Dish), @healthylittlepeach (Healthy Little Peach), @40aprons (40 Aprons), and…

BONUS BLOG: Nom Nom Paleo We know she’s not specifically Whole30 but most of the recipes can be altered and who doesn’t crave Asian food literally all the time (see her Pho recipe).

**Because this is our fourth round of Whole30 AND we are Gluten Free, we already have a lot of the flours and various ingredients that are needed for a lot of Whole30 recipes. Whole30 doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t have to make a special Pinterest recipe every night. Whole30 is just about making healthier choices and eating enough vegetables to curb your appetite.

Infertility and Celiac Disease

Making Baby Mettler

Im about to get real science-y so buckle up!

Apparently, roughly 1 in 17 women are experiencing infertility due to Celiac Disease. Yep, that’s the “fad” diet where you don’t eat bread, pasta, or anything else with gluten. Only it’s not a fad, it’s a VERY real thing.

While there are numerous reasons for fertility problems, one that is almost always overlooked by conventional fertility specialists, and that is easy to take into your own hands, is gluten intolerance.A recent study found that undiagnosed celiac disease may be the reason for “all cause” infertility in 3.5% of women, and unexplained infertility in 5.9% of women. It is possible that the rates are quite a bit higher, because celiac is so often under-diagnosed. Another study found that women undergoing fertility treatments had an increased success when they removed gluten from their diets.

Source

In 1986 when my mom was struggling to get pregnant, she was 90 pounds and doctors told her she needed to eat fatty foods in order to gain weight. They prescribed her mac and cheese, grilled cheese and pancakes. This only made it worse. She eventually got pregnant with me, with the assistance of a fertility drug Clomid. I was full term (plus a few days) and born weighing 4lbs 12oz (severely malnourished).

Mom and I, 1989 (I think)

My mom was finally diagnosed with Celiac disease in December of 1988. I was 4 months old and she had reached a low of 78lbs. After months of doctors telling her that she was anorexic and being sent to shrinks, she finally had an answer. (PS Celiac can be somewhat dormant until you have kids, then it comes out full force – it also shows in different forms from skin rash to digestion to headaches, etc.).

Celiac disease is genetic, though I’ve never been tested for it. We had our follow up with the fertility doctor at Brown today and Sam brought it up to him as a possibility. Celiac has a bunch of symptoms, but some people don’t show any. Weight loss or weight gain are the main factors. However, Celiac can also cause problems with fertility. There’s a good chance I have CD, so we’ve been doing a bunch of research about how the two are linked. There are significantly more studies from the UK than the US. The new fertility Dr at CRM basically told me I needed to stay Gluten-Free for 90 days and take a bunch of supplements. Celiac can cause Iron, Zinc, and selenium deficiencies, so we went ahead and ordered all of those to take before trying IUI again.

There’s also several foods that can be considered “cross-reactive“, meaning they can affect you as well. These are dairy, milk chocolate, instant coffee, oats, corn, millet, rice, and yeast_. So if you’re avoiding gluten, I’d avoid all of those as well. This post isn’t sponsored at all and once again, I’m not a doctor. I’ve posted the articles I’ve cited below including medical journals mostly from the UK since they’ve been doing much more research on the topic of how celiac relates to infertility. I would highly recommend reading through the articles and doing your own research as well.

Sam and I have done three Whole30 ‘s before and will be starting it again tomorrow. To read about Whole30, click HERE. It’s meant to be a lifestyle change but the first 30 days are no alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, and a few others. Just read about it and decide for yourself. It’s HARD to stick to, but it’s only 30 days.

Testimonials from thousands of Whole30 participants document the improvement of any number of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions.

high blood pressure • high cholesterol • type 1 diabetes • type 2 diabetes • asthma • allergies • sinus infections • hives • skin conditions • endometriosis • PCOS • infertility • migraines • depression • bipolar disorder • heartburn • GERD • arthritis • joint pain • ADD • thyroid dysfunction • Lyme disease • fibromyalgia • chronic fatigue • lupus • leaky gut syndrome • Crohn’s • IBS • Celiac disease • diverticulitis • ulcerative colitis

-From the Whole30 website

If you’re struggling with infertility and think it may be Celiac related I’d LOVE to hear your stories.

Links to Articles:

Links to Peer Reviewed Academic Journals:


Cost:

Follow up appointment: $65 (co-pay)

Total baby-making cost to date: $5298.71

Welcome to the Monthly Brew

Monthly Brew

Back in June, I won a contest with Swiss Water and the Specialty Coffee Association. The prize included 12 months of decaf coffee hand picked by Swiss Water. You can actually subscribe to weekly or monthly coffee deliveries HERE. Some of you may be wondering why on earth anyone would want to drink decaf when they could have a regular cup of caffeinated bliss. Samantha and I have been prepping for our baby adventure, so I’ve been drinking strictly decaf for 3 months. It may be time to switch if you find yourself getting anxious due to too much caffeine or if you just enjoy a good coffee but don’t want the buzz.

I received my FIRST coffee delivery mid July and thought I’d blog about each coffee of the month starting with my birthday month of August! Full disclosure – they have several coffees that they send out each month so they’ll most likely differ from the ones I have on the blog.

Generally, decaf is not too much different from caffeinated aside from the obvious lack of caffeine. However the process of decaffeinating coffee can be different depending on the company. Some companies use chemicals or use processes that alter the overall flavor of the coffee. This brings me to this amazing company called Swiss Water.

Let’s get this party started!

Let’s talk about Swiss Water. This is an awesome company that uses a 100% chemical free process to remove the caffeine from coffee without hindering the taste. They’re very much into creating a sustainable product that serves the environment in a positive way and they really care about every aspect of their coffee from the trees and the farm workers all the way down to your coffee cup.

This month

I got a full pound of whole bean decaf espresso from Cafe Virtuoso in San Diego, CA. I was nervous at first because it said dark roast, but I really like the full body flavor of espresso. My first cup of coffee was so incredible I actually said “woah” out loud. I’ve worked at 3 different coffee shops and cafe’s and I’ve used top of the line espresso machines and have tasted way more coffee flavors than the average person. I am in no way a coffee expert, but I have some experience.

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The first thing I noticed was the rich smell of the beans. It was like inhaling freshly roasted beans. Once I brewed it I noticed just how smooth the coffee was. Typically the reason I add any sort of (non-dairy) creamer to my coffee is to cut down on the acidity, but this brew really didn’t need it at all. It’s actually rather light/crisp and dry for a dark roast coffee. I recognized hints of chocolate and toasted caramel that didn’t leave any odd aftertaste at all. I drank every last drop of coffee before it got even the slightest bit cold. That’s saying a lot – I’m the person who leaves the last 2 sips in the bottom of the cup.

I’ve brewed via french press, pour over, and Keurig’s fill your own k-cup and all three have tasted amazing. My favorite is always french press because of the extra flavor. This coffee is also great as a cold brew. I think the fact that it’s a dark roast helps keep the flavor which is still very bold in an iced coffee.

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My rating: 5 beans!

 

First week of school

Aspiring Rocket Scientist, Married Life

My first week of school has begun!

I’m officially enrolled in Calculus I, Intro to Computer Programming, and Space Weather at UCF and Chemistry I at Valencia as a transient student. I had to do that in order to receive financial aid and also be able to take classes off campus (campus is 30 min from home, 50 min from work). The majority of my classes are online, which is great since I work full time as well. Next up on my Aerospace Engineering program would be to finish the math and physics tracks (calc 2, 3 and Physics, 1, 2, differential equations, probability and statistics) and then I get into the more fun classes like thermodynamics and statics and dynamics.

There was only a 4 week break between Summer and Fall semesters, but I turned into a big heaping ball of anxiety before classes started. I think I’m good now. I’m super grateful that my job allows me to work on some homework during my free time, too.

Side note: If anyone has any questions regarding financial aid and returning to school, let me know! I’m pretty much a professional now. 

The wife and I have been trying out DuoLingo,

which is an app that teaches you another language at a slow and steady pace (10+ minutes per day). We’ve been learning Danish since her family is originally from Denmark! I can say “Kvinden og Manden har en tallerkin” which means “The woman and the man have a plate” (we think it’s funny, but it’s one of the prompts, lol). You get rewarded for daily streaks and so far we are both 13 days strong! My favorite work so far is “skildepadde” which is “turtle” – but the hardest for both of us is brød, which somehow has an L sound also a G sound.. Haven’t quite mastered that “ø”, but we have her mom on speed dial which helps!

I’m finding it so enriching to be learning so many different things. While it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming – last week in Calc, we learned that a number over zero doesn’t equal zero – but the learning process on the whole has been so incredibly fulfilling. I think at this point in my life I’ve learned to cherish the hard work that goes into learning something new so hopefully that passes along to my kids.

Speaking of our future children:

Sam did a bunch of research on fertility and set me up with a handful of pills and herby things that are said to help prepare your body for babies. Other than having some strange dreams about actually being pregnant, I have been feeling pretty much the same. That being said, I’ve always been super predicable with all the monthly tracking, until I started taking all the pills, but it turns out that’s super normal and it didn’t change too much, but I’m still tracking ovulation and all that since it’s more of a science experiment for us and also costs about $2000 each time we try (no pressure).

We have a bunch of concerts, travel plans, and adventures coming up toward the end of this year, which will be fun! We are also starting Whole30 again for September, which totally clashes with Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.. I’ll try to post a few recipes and of course keep everyone updated on our travels and adventures.