Food is Love

I love food, and after a year of trying to figure out how to keep my SIBO away, I have come to learn that I love recipe testing. I mean, I love food, and eating, so it just comes naturally that creating and perfecting recipes is amazing.

My little notebook of recipes is quickly filling, and people are always surprised to hear my food is gluten, dairy, soy, and usually corn free. Maybe it is because we are in the south now, and finding good gluten free food is impossible, at least compared to Washington, but making my own is saving me.

My recipe notebook

A few weeks ago I was talking to some new friends and we were talking about gluten free cooking. I have always seen food blogging to be something that almost every stay at home mom does. I don’t want to be the next “mommy blogger”, but I do want to share my recipes.

I have been typing up and editing my recipes and am going to start sharing them with you! Look for a new recipe every Friday! I think you will enjoy them, I know we do.

 

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January Whole30: Day 26

I can not believe that this January Whole30 is almost over, and I have not been writing about it. Let me give you a brief overview of the things we, as a family, learned so far this month.

Mr. Wonderful learned that changing your diet is HARD!

He was really surprised that at work he was finding himself jealous of people eating non-compliant foods. He told me he never realized how hard it has been for me to make these changes and developed a new appreciation for how hard I try.

Vegetables are CHEAP

I have been really surprised at our last few grocery bills. When I try to keep the bill under $100, I usually don’t make it. But our last 3 trips where right around $80. And this month, was the first month that we didn’t blow out the grocery budget. (I will say that we did go over, but only by $4.74!)

Workouts

Other rounds of Whole30 have just been purely about the food. This time I have been working out too. And I have motivation to go workout and I am finding that I am pushing myself. And the scale, whoa! It is moving! (Yes, I know weighing yourself is breaking a Whole30 rule, but I am doing a challenge with some friends and we have to weigh in weekly.)

Cooking Creativity

This came along as I was either lazy about preparing dinner or because I chose not to get something because of cost. Sweet Potatoes are great bases for almost anything.

Children model our behavior

I think most of us know this already, but it has really been shown to us. Mr. Z turns 3 soon and is pretty good about eating vegetables. He has even told Mr. Wonderful he needs to eat more!

 

It has been fun and an interesting experiment for our little family. I am glad I decided to do this as a family. I know it will help make the next two month easier.

January Whole30: Day 4

Four days down and 26 more to go. I really find these first two weeks to be the hardest. Last night after dinner, I wanted to eat a giant fluffy chocolate chip cookie. Instead I just ate another serving of dinner, with more gravy, and some grapes.

Grapes, why do they still sell grapes with seeds! Seriously, can we at least label them?

Otherwise this round of Whole30, which is the fourth I have started, is going great. Mr. Wonderful is doing well with it. He was a complete zombie Saturday and Sunday, he took 3 hour naps BOTH DAYS! This morning he was up and ready to start the day while I was still hitting snooze…

As for Mr. Z and his Whole30, that ended Saturday, when he couldn’t keep anything down for hours until we got him some saltines and apple juice. Also, telling a 3 year old, “No, you can’t have Cheerios for breakfast, how about eggs?” Only works until he sees the box of Cheerios… But we don’t have any milk, and so he just eats it dry. At least he is off dairy.

I have been doing daily workouts. Currently I am doing Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution. It is a 90 day program, with 30 minute daily workouts. (Sunday, is technically a rest day, but I am going to be doing Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix Yoga Fix to have a more active stretching rest day.) I started on the first, but since it was a Friday, I have officially started today which makes my projected finish date, April 2. At the end of the month, I might repeat a week or two of Phase 1, depending on how strong I am feeling.

I am obviously not following the prescribed diet plan, since I am doing Whole30. I am planning on doing Whole30 for the whole 90 day program. I do have a “cheat” meal planned though. I promised Mr. Wonderful that on the 31st we would have homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. (This is the recipe I will use–>HERE)

Budget Tips:
I told you that I would share budget tips as we progressed through this January Whole30 so here is one that requires some time, work, and freezer space, but yields delicious bone broth.

 

Save your vegetable scraps and bones!

I keep two bags in the freezer, a bone bag and vegetable bag. Each are a one gallon freezer bag. I put in the scraps throughout the month. When both bags are full, I dump them into my crockpot with some apple cider vinegar and about 10 cups of water. I let it cook for 24 hours and strain away the bones and vegetable remains. Then you can pressure can, or freeze it. It doesn’t take much active time, but you now don’t have to buy broth.

Freezing broth

If you choose to freeze it, you can freeze it in different size portions. I like to do a ¼ cup and tablespoon portions.

Broth pucks, 1/4 cup portion of broth frozen
Broth pucks, 1/4 cup portion of broth frozen.

January Whole30: Week One-Grocery Shopping

 

I was planning on going grocery shopping Friday morning, but we had done a really good job cleaning out the fridge before we left for vacation. Now that we are home, we need something more than carrots… I want to share my experience, feeding a family of 3, while also doing Whole30 on a budget. Our total food budget for the month is about $450.

Today, I went grocery shopping with the goal of spending less than $100. Here is what I got:

Grocery shopping haul
Grocery shopping haul

Frozen Mango, Frozen Broccoli Spears, Frozen Asparagus, Ground Turkey (4 pounds), Pork Tenderloin (4 pounds), Ground Beef (93/7, 2.5 pounds), Canned Chicken, Tomato Sauce, Plugra Butter (for ghee), Raisins, Zucchini, Red potatoes (5 pound bag), Carrots (2 pound bag), English Cucumbers, Oranges, Raw Cashews (1 pound), Lettuce (red and green leaf), Parsnips, Cilantro, Kale, Spinach, Garlic, Sweet Potatoes, Lime, Grapes, Mandarins, Guacamole, Eggs (Medium, 5 dozen)

For a grand total of $117.29

Now, there was a few things I didn’t get (bacon), and a couple of things that I could have not gotten, like guacamole and mandarin oranges. I did purchase everything at Winco, and nothing was specifically purchased as organic.

We are excited to start on Friday, well at least me. Mr. Wonderful, is convinced he is going to starve.

3-Month Food Storage

One thing that Mormon’s are known for is how they hoard food. I have been working on a little, yet huge project as part of an assignment for school. (Did I forget to tell you about how I went back to school, I will have to tell you all about the later.) For my project I am working on setting up a 3-month food supply of food my family will actually eat. 3-month food supply of food that fits our budget. 3-month food supply that fits our dietary needs.

For my family, I need our food storage to be gluten-free, mostly dairy-free (we can eat a bit of dairy but too much causes issues), and bean-free, no legumes here. One exception is that I can handle fermented yeast bread. So we will have some wheat flour in our storage for that. I will have to tell you more about fermented bread and how it is “gluten-free”.

With the help of Preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com, I was able to create a list of food items for us. Here is a link to PLDS Family’s plethora of knowledge. Seriously, there is no way I could even touch on all the information that site contains.

As a family of 3, having a 3 month supply hasn’t ever been this thing that I have felt I needed to get done ASAP. I also, would not consider myself a “Prepper” by any means. We have 72-hour kits, ready to go, will BASIC BASIC supplies. Ideally, I would like have a lot more for them, but funds are tight and so is space.

Monday, I was driving to do our Monday stuff, and I got to catch The Diane Rehm Show, one of my favorite shows on NPR. The part of the show that I caught was the interview with Ted Koppel. He recently wrote the book, Lights out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared Surviving The Aftermath. This interview really hit home the importance of getting our 3-month supply and getting it fast.

This is the part that really got me:

KOPPEL: …the government doesn’t have enough food to supply tens of millions of people for a period of a month or two.Even if they were to invest, let’s say, $100 billion in buying freeze-dried foods, which keeps for 25 to 30 years, it would take years before that much food could be grown, harvested, processed and accumulated. We need to start beginning. We need to start doing something. We need to talk to people about what would happen if one region of the country were blacked out and how we would accommodate those people if they needed to move to another region of the country.
REHM: What…
KOPPEL: Without plans we can’t do it.
REHM: What about investing greater resources into our own cybersecurity?
KOPPEL: I think those of us — I’m not sure that we can individually protect ourselves in the context of cybersecurity. Can we protect ourselves in terms of having adequate food and water available? Look, I’m aware of the fact there are millions of people in this country who can’t put food on the table every day. But those of us who can afford to have a supply, if we did and if we began rotating that supply — so it’s not a question of sitting on a three-months supply and never using it, rotating, eating it, consuming it and then replacing it, then at least if the government steps up to help those who can’t afford it, it would be a lot easier and there would be fewer people to take care of.

(continue to read or listen the interview here) I know it isn’t a shock the the government won’t be able to support us. But, having 3-month supply isn’t just for me and my family, it is for all of those around me.

One of my goals for my 3-month food supply, is to create rotating food storage, and a one that is affordable. Our goals is to create a weekly shopping list keeping the items to under $15 a week.

It is taking a lot of work, and it is frustrating. There are things that we go through SUPER fast, and things that take a while. So finding the balance of when to buy something so that we always have it, has be hard and I think I have finally done it. PHEW!

We are lucky that in the place we are staying, has this really nice setup in the basement perfect for storing 75 pounds x 3 people…

 

January Whole30

In early December after I noticed I was not following rules for my gut issues. I thought, I just need to do another round or 8 of Whole30. Then Mr. Z got this crazy rash all down his back side. After a visit to the doctor, she said it was eczema more than likely caused by an allergy, and sent him off to see an allergist. So I thought, I am going to put ALL 3 of us on Whole30 for the month of January and then I will be doing it mostly indefinitely.

But we are on a strict budget, and with our impending move, money is tight. So I plan to share with you all my crazy budget saving and Whole30 tips. My first is one straight from Whole30.com.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT WHOLE30.

Yup, perfection is not the goal.

All the rules are available for free off the website, here is a direct link to the PDF downloads. They are very simple and basic. To me there are only two that require any hard effort are the No sugar, added sugar, and sugar alternatives, and second the no carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites rules.

The reason these two rules are so difficult is that they require you to be educated on all the different derivatives companies use for those forbidden additives. So for me and my Whole30, I use the common additive cheat sheat. If it not listed specifically on the list, I just say no, cause looking it up, is just another thing to add to my giant to do list. But I have two foods that I have bent my rule for.

Kirkland Low Sodium Bacon from Costco, comes in a 4 pack for like 12 bucks, cheapest Whole30 “approved” bacon.

Ingredients: Pork cured with water, salt, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate.

Both sodium phosphate and erythorbate are not listed on the cheat sheet. So I looked them up, sodium phosphate is a salt, used to control the pH of food. I can let that one slide. Especially as, bacon is not something we will eat daily on Whole30, let alone anytime of the year. The other, sodium erythorbate, is a type of vitamin C. And that is approved. So for me, this is an affordable bacon choice. Bacon is expensive, and is something we do not use regularly. It is a splurge type food for us.

Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk, about $4.50

Ingredients: Almond milk (Water, Almonds). Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Vitamin/ Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2, Zinc), Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum.

They just recently changed their recipe and no longer have carrageenan in the ingredients!!! The only ingredient that isn’t on the list is Potassium Citrate, which is another form of citric acid, and approved additive. While I normally make my own almond milk, sometimes I forget to soak the nuts and ugg! While this is expensive for milk, half a gallon for almost $5, sometimes it is worth it for the convenience of having milk without making it.

Another thing people get hung the rules versus recommendations.

This is straight off the Whole30 website:

The following are not official rules of the Whole30 program. If you snack, buy non-organic eggs, or eat six servings of fruit in a day, that has no bearing on whether you are still staying true to the Whole30. We make these recommendations because we believe they will maximize your results with the program. These practices are the most likely to lead to health and body composition changes, an improved relationship with food, and overall awesomeness.

In summary, you are free to eat seven meals a day of Rx Bars and sugar-free bacon with a side of non-organic blueberry/strawberry/banana smoothie and you’d still be doing the Whole30 with 100% compliance. However, we would not recommend this.

Rules are rules, and recommendations are well just that. For us, mornings are usually a mad dash, because someone has learned to turn off the alarm clock… So having a hard boiled egg or two and a green smoothie, is usually our breakfast. Whole30 approved, but not recommended. But it works for us, and that is what I feel is more in line with Whole30.

A perfect Whole30 is impossible. And everyone’s Whole30 looks different. Remember that. I will talk later about how different Whole30 is going to look for the 3 of us. I know that was more than just one tip, but I think you’ll for give me.

Budget Whole30 Woes

If you have read the Whole30.com article on budgeting a Whole30, you might of thought, “oh that was so not helpful!” I personally felt like it was another regurgitation of what almost every budget friendly grocery shopping article has said. EVER.

Then a few days ago I saw on Instagram that they were going to do a whole month of Whole30 budget tips and highlighted someone. I looked at them and some of their “small town” budget tips and I just had to scream, “TRADER JOE’S IS NOT SMALL TOWN!!”

Seriously!

Alright, all you health food people!

I live in a small town and the closes Trader Joe’s is over an hour away! Here are my grocery shopping options:

Walmart (BOO!)
Safeway
Dissmores (IGA, a local chain that is crazy expensive)

Now we do have a couple of specialty shops, a Asian market and a Middle Eastern market.

 

But I don’t actually grocery shop in my town, I drive 15 minutes to the next town over and shop at Winco (low prices!! Better than Walmart, see) and at the local health food store for random things Winco doesn’t carry. I am lucky to have a health food store that close to me.

So how does a person actually do Whole30 on a strict budget.

I meal plan, everything. Snacks, lunch, breakfast, everything.
We eat a lot of chicken, because it is cheap.
I don’t buy grass-fed, I get 93/7 normal ground beef at Winco.
We eat a lot of potatoes, carrots, and frozen green beans.
I make a lot from scratch, like almond milk.
I save reusable bits for broth or for adding to other dishes.

Follow along as I share, real life tips for doing Whole30 with a very limited budget.