I can’t believe my little man is 8 weeks old! WOW! It just doesn’t seem right! I am so glad he is here and we are slowly but surely adjusting to having 2 under two in the house. It ain’t easy but we are surviving! My heart is overflowing with love for both of them. Before Connor was born, thoughts ran through my mind like “how can I love another as much as I love Hunter?” Well as I heard another mama say, God makes your heart bigger the moment your second child is born and they were so right!
I am just amazed how different their little personalities and physical characteristics are. My Connor (2nd born) is a stubby little guy with dark hair and has been very active and “talkative” since the moment we brought him home. He weighed over 8.5 lbs at birth and you can almost watch him grow everyday (13.5 lbs now)! My Hunter (first born) came into this word a tall boy and he still flaunts his long and lean body with his beautiful blond hair and blue eyes.
My pregnancies (and deliveries) were just as different as my son’s physiques. My first pregnancy was over shadowed with migraines and a 60 pound weight gain. I also packed on the pounds after his birth eating tons of convenience foods (fast food), “healthy” cereal, sprouted breads and a lack of self control. When he was around 3 or 4 months old I discovered the book “Wheat Belly,” and cut out all of the grains, sugars and high carb foods out of my diet. I did it over night. I am an all or nothing person and that is how I approached giving up grains and embracing this new lifestyle. I begin to feel better, I had less headaches from low blood sugar, I dropped my “baby” weight in a few months, getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight by the time Hunter was 7 months old. I embraced this way of eating and I have never looked back.
I loved this way of eating so much that I started a blog to share my recipes and later started working on a cookbook which has been my lifelong dream! I became pregnant with Connor while working on recipes for the cookbook (not at the same time, ha!) While testing recipes, I was eating lots of food and lots of desserts….grain-free & low-carb of course! I allowed myself to eat as many grain-free “goodies” as I wanted. In my mind it was better than eating their wheat & sugar counterparts! Towards the very end of my pregnancy, I did find myself eating a few corn chips at the Mexican restaurant or some rice at the Japanese restaurant. Overall, I was very happy that I stuck to the grain-free lifestyle while pregnant and only gained 45 pounds verses 60 pounds that I did with my first (even though I was praying to only gain 20)!
Finally on April 11th, 2013 at 2:02 in the morning after a pretty traumatic labor and delivery, Connor was born. To say I was relieved is an understatement!! He weighing 8 lbs and 10 oz and was 21 inches long. He was beautiful and healthy!
I was hoping to walk out of the birthing center having lost at least 20 pounds… yeah, I only lost 10 pounds. What!? I am so envious of those women that fit back into their pre-baby jeans in a week! Even though I went home in my maternity jeans, I was actually excited about getting the last 35 pounds off. I knew how to do it!
Don’t get me wrong, this way of eating is more than just about weight loss! I believe eating this way is imperative to good health.
I lost 10 pounds the first month after Connor was born and then I got back to cooking and creating recipes, specifically desserts! One Copy Cat Fudge Brownie is ok but the whole batch in 3 days, not so good! My husband doesn’t eat chocolate so I could blame eating the entire batch on him but that would be dishonest. I had picked up the habit of eating 3 or 4 sandwiches/treats a day, grain-free and sugar free of course. I now realize I was over consuming my wonderful treats and not getting enough variety in my life! Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that I have my grain-free bread and treats. I used the bread to make a quick sandwich between feeding the baby and chasing around an active toddler. And the treats helped me keep my sanity and not splurge on processed junk from the grocery store!!
Although I have continued avoiding grains, sugars and high carb foods I feel that I have ignored the fact that I am over eating other foods. Cheese has been an easy snack that I munch on quite often. I also was eating lots of nuts! I confess, I am addicted to Peanut Butter Sandwiches! When I felt the “munchies,” I would eat a big spoon full of natural peanut butter or slather it on my toasted bread. I could honestly go through a jar of peanut butter in less than a week if I allowed myself and I usually did. Reflecting on how much nuts I was eating, I now realize that I am a full fledged addict!
At 7 weeks postpartum I have lost a total of 22 pounds (including an 8.5 lb baby, lol) out of the 45 that I gained. I have eaten any and everything I wanted within the parameters of grain-free, sugar-free and low-carb. For the past few weeks, I have maintained but not lost any weight.
For many reasons, I feel I need to shake my eating habits up a bit. #1 to give my body a break from eating the same foods over and over and #2, hoping it would get me past this little bump in losing my baby weight. NOTE: I am nursing my son so I know my body is going to do everything that it can to take care of my baby and I am grateful for that. This sometimes means holding on to extra weight. I know that and always take that into consideration. My son’s health is way more important than my weight loss.
I also feel that to broaden my taste buds, break my addiction to nuts and dairy and to create more diverse recipes, I need to give up some foods for a while. So for the past 11 days I have cut out all nuts and dairy from my “diet” along with the usual grains and sugar. This will be my 2 week challenge (maybe longer).
This means for 2 weeks: no more peanut butter (this makes me the saddest), no more almond milk, no more almond flour and no more heavy cream in my coffee or cheese for a snack. The hardest thing has been completely giving up my evening peanut butter sandwiches but the positive thing about cutting out all nuts and dairy is that I have created over 10 nut-free and dairy-free recipes just this week and I have lost a few pounds as well.
I am actually excited about these new “rules.” My mind is on OVERLOAD thinking about all the recipe possibilities!! The reason that I was able to develop so many grain-free, sugar-free and low-carb recipes in the beginning was because I cut these foods out of my diet cold turkey and I was forced to find other food ideas, thus the blog and cookbook recipes were created! What some people would see as a limitation, I took as a challenge and got busy recreating my favorite dishes. Now, not only will I still be creating grain & sugar free recipes but I will be coming up with more dairy-free and nut-free recipes too. Don’t worry, I will still be making recipes that contain dairy and nut flours like the Banana Pudding recipe coming up in the cookbook! I will also be incorporating more coconut milk into my recipes as well as coconut oil!
I will introduce dairy and nuts back into by diet but for now, they are out and it’s not so bad! Pure coconut milk in my coffee is beginning to taste pretty good! My system needed this shock and I needed to break my peanut butter habit! I have also limited my “bread” and treats to 1 a day even though they have been made out of coconut flour. Again, just breaking bad habits of eating bread and “treats” whenever I want and giving my body more variety. I have also been eating a better assortment of veggies rather than the same ‘ol cauliflower routine! I have enjoyed eggplant for breakfast and Brussels sprouts for dinner and they were delicious. So more veggie recipes coming out my kitchen too!
Will I reintroduce dairy and nuts into my diet? YES. Will I eat less dairy and nuts after my 2 week experiment, YES! Do I think dairy is bad for you? Not necessarily. Especially if consuming high quality dairy and in limited quantities and that amount can only be determined by you and your body’s reaction to dairy. Are nuts bad for you? If you have a diagnosed nut allergy of course they are but for me I feel I can eat nuts as long as I don’t over consume them and I don’t use them in the place of real food ALL the time.
This mini- challenge has been eye opening for me as well. I have never given up dairy or nuts and especially at the same time. I am realizing how much dairy and nuts I was consuming and I am now more sympathetic for those who have to completely avoid nuts and dairy forever. It really limits your convenience food choices.
I also know that eating the same foods can possibly lead an allergy or intolerance to a food and I definitely don’t want that to happen!
The reason I developed my first cookbook was to help people transition from eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) to eating grain-free without the feeling of deprivation. I didn’t want people to eat un-satisfying and sometimes disgusting “diet” food just because it was healthy. I wanted to eat tasty food and create satisfying meals that anyone can prepare with just a few special ingredients. I think I did it! And now during this mini “No nut, No dairy” challenge I am creating more recipes for those with a more limited diet. My new cookbook will be ready this summer and I can’t wait for you to try the recipes!!
So what can you learn from my experience??
No one can make you give up gluten, grains, sugar, dairy, nuts or even eggs which are common allergens to the body. The question is that if giving up any of these foods makes you feel better will you do it? Do you believe that the foods you eat (or don’t eat) can either bring healing to your body or do harm? It’s that simple. When we get emotional attached to certain foods and say I’ll never give up my peanut butter or whatever food you hold close, that food you are unwilling to give up could be the difference in restoring your health. Something to ponder. I have heard many people tell me that they will never give up bread. Unfortunately these are the people that I am 100% certain will feel better and see a drastic improvement in their health if they do give up breads or grains but they must come to this decision alone. All I can do is encourage them and re-create great recipe substitutes (which is the whole purpose of my blog and cookbooks), hoping and PRAYING that they will at least give it a try.
I hope you are enjoying my recipes and will hang on for the ride as we both expand our culinary pallets!
As promised, a new recipe and I think you are going to like it!
Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies and yes, they are grain-free, sugar-free, low-cab, nut-free and dairy-free and they taste delicious!! I started to name them Breakfast Cookies because you could so eat on of these for breakfast (along with some eggs)!
I am amazed how delicious they taste without any dairy or nut products! Even though coconut has “nut” in the name, it is not considered a nut thus safe to eat for those with a nut allergy.
I know most people are down right scared of coconut flour and oil! If you have been following me long enough, please trust me on this one. They really don’t taste like coconut. From my experience, the coconut flavor comes from the virgin coconut oil, not the coconut milk or the flour. I actually omitted any type of fat and used unsweetened apple sauce instead so that they wouldn’t have the coconut flavor. I have found that I prefer virgin coconut oil over butter in recipes like my Grain-Free & Low-Carb Birthday Cake!
Also, the texture of the Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies is not wet or gummy at all like some coconut flour recipes are.
Eat these for breakfast, pack them in your child’s lunch box or eat them as a treat! You don’t have to tell anyone they are “healthy!”
**If you don’t mind a little coconut flavor, substitute 1 tbsp of the unsweetened apple sauce for 1 tbsp virgin coconut to help get those good fats in!
**If you can handle dairy or butter, you can also substitute 1 tbsp of the unsweetened apple sauce for 1 tbsp butter for a little richer flavor.
Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies
Makes 12; 5 Net Carbs each
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8th tsp Pure Kal Stevia (to taste), or other sweetener
2 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 tbsp pure coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (you could also use mashed banana)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp chocolate chips (I used a combo of Enjoy Life or you could use THESE from the blog)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (not wax paper). In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients with whisk. Add remaining ingredients to bowl. Using whisk, mix ingredient until blended. Let sit 1 minute. Carefully fold in chocolate chips. Do not over mix!
Use medium scoop and portion out cookies 2 inches apart onto prepared pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes**. Do not over bake! Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
**I used a dark pan which tends to bake foods faster so adjust the cooking time if needed.