My Food Journey

Tea and Peaches

I thought I’d write a bit about food and my evolving philosophy and relationship with it.

I love food.  Always have. Always will.

I grew up in a meat and potatoes household.  Being the daughter of a farmer and a nurse I always had good food on the table.  We never had many treats in the house, and always had our fill of fresh food.  As I got older and when I graduated and was responsible for feeding myself it was clear I still had a lot to learn.  At my heaviest I was around 220 lbs and I knew that I needed to change something so I began tracking everything I was eating and making sure that I wasn’t exceeding my calorie goal but that was the extent of it. I didn’t focus on nutrition, just on calories.  It was a few years of trying and failing, and then right before I got pregnant I got serious about it, I lost about 40 lbs.

Then I got pregnant and gained that 40 lbs back.  After having Ezekiel I dropped 30 lbs in the first 6 weeks, and then Ezekiel was having some digestive issues and in a desperate attempt to fix it, I began the elimination diet.  Basically I eliminated anything that could possibly be causing him problems, which left me with very, very few options for food.  For 2 weeks I basically ate vegetables, fruit, and chicken.  Slowly I reintroduced each item I had eliminated to see if I could figure out what was bothering Ezekiel.  It ended up being gluten, so I went gluten free and at this point I was still tracking calories.  Ironically I was tracking the calories to make sure that I was eating enough to sustain myself and Ezekiel.  At this point I also became very interested in nutrition and how best to fuel my body and provide good nutrition for Ezekiel.  From January to June the weight just melted off, I wasn’t actively trying to lose weight, but I was actively pursuing the best way to fuel my body.  My goal was to feel good, and eating well was helping me to feel good.  I hit my all time goal weight in June and I’ve held that weight since.

I’ve dabbled a bit in every corner of the nutrition world.  Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, vegan before six, protein powders, raw food – you name it I’ve probably tried it for a couple days or more.  Today I’m more interested in fueling my body with real, unprocessed food than I am with the calories I am consuming.  About 6 weeks ago, right around the time I started this blog, I stopped tracking calories and deleted my calorie counting app to simplify my life a bit more, also to unchain me from my phone.  I began a journey of letting go of the control of counting calories and freeing myself to eat how I wanted.  I also wanted to make sure I was still fueling my body with food that was going to make me feel good.  Once you stop tracking each morsel it can be a dangerous spiral downwards if you are not careful.  It’s easy to stop paying attention to the food you are putting in your mouth if you aren’t writing it all down.

There’s been ups and downs and a lot of learning but I’m still enjoying this process.  I’m learning a lot about what my body needs and wants.  I guess this way of eating is called Intuitive Eating but I didn’t know that was an actual thing until a few days ago.  You can learn more about it here.  For me it’s not only about feeding myself, but feeding my family and it’s definitely a journey that isn’t even close to being done.  We are always tweaking our diets here and there but I’m thankful my husband is pretty open minded.  He takes a while to arrive at a conclusion about certain foods (white sugar is his latest – he’s switched entirely to organic coconut sugar) but once there he believes wholeheartedly and changes his diet.

When it comes down to it we are both passionate about nurturing Ezekiel.  We want our diets to reflect how we want Ezekiel to eat.  We want to teach him how to eat well, and why he should eat well.  We want him to understand why he should choose the banana over the chocolate bar.  We want him to love fruits and vegetables and understand that a treat is a treat and not a daily part of his life.  We want him to eat good wholesome food and so we also want to eat good wholesome food.

Since starting this intuitive eating process I have learned that gluten definitely does not agree with my body, that white sugar wreaks havoc on my body and that one cup of coffee is my limit (but I still drink more).  I’m learning that stress and exhaustion go hand in hand with terrible eating and I’m learning strategies to combat that.  I’m filling my freezer with baking that is gluten free and refine sugar free so that when I’m wanting that bit of comfort I can have it without feeling terrible afterwards.

I’m learning that eating enough fruits and vegetables in a day will make the next day much better.  I’m learning that if I don’t drink water I will have a huge headache the next day.  I’m learning that if I eat brown instead of white (rice/bread/pasta) I won’t feel as sluggish.  I’m learning that I don’t need huge helpings or seconds or thirds.  I’m learning that just because it tastes fantastic does not mean I need to over indulge, I just need to enjoy that moment fully.

This life is a journey, and we are all life long learners.  This is just a small excerpt in my journey but I’m fully enjoying it.

Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I’m slowly obtaining recipes to freeze to make my transition back to work smooth, stress free, and organized.  I’m fairly certain this is an ideal I have and that it’s actually going to be very difficult, but anything I can do to make it a little less difficult I’m going to try out.  I had a large ziploc bag full of frozen bananas, and quite a few strays in the freezer to use up so I figured it was a perfect time to test out some Banana Bread recipes, I tried two and settled on this one as the winner. Overall we got 5 loaves of banana bread out of my stash!  I had a really yummy recipe that I always made for Carlos but it’s laden with oil and sugar and I’m really trying to cut back on the sugar intake in this house.  Not to mention I’m on a mission to limit Ezekiel to no refined sugar at all (there’s another ideal).  So my mission for this recipe was to make a bread that would please my husband (I’ll eat healthy anything but he’s a little harder to convince) and that I would be able to give to Ezekiel without compromising my ideal.  Enter this gluten free banana bread.  The recipe is adapted from one I found on The Minimalist Baker.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt **
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (you may need to add xantham gum depending on which blend you use.)
  • 1 1/4 cup oats

** I made one loaf with coconut oil and the rest with yogurt, the loaves with yogurt were A LOT heavier than with the oil but still really good.  If you don’t mind oil you could substitute this for 3 tbsp melted coconut oil.

Here’s what you do:

Gluten Free Banana Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper.
  3. Dump all ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, when it’s done it will be firm in the center, be golden brown and have cracks on the top.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting so that it holds it’s form.

Gluten Free Banana Bread Gluten Free Banana Bread

Let me know if you make this and how it turned out!

 

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

I wasn’t planning on having so many recipes up on the blog this week, but I have been in the kitchen creating non-stop.

Pumpkin season is in full swing since Starbucks released their coveted PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) early this year.  I’ll admit, I’m a big sucker for a Starbucks PSL but I’m finding this year that it’s just not as great as I thought it was.  I still love pumpkin spice anything, but I’m finding the PSL to be way too sweet.  Also, a friend of mine recently mentioned how terrible the ingredients in Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Syrup were.  At the time I brushed it off, because no one was going to get in the way of me and my PSL.  Now I’m seeing the wisdom in her words.

The last few weeks have been rough around the edges in our house with teething in full swing and sleep a distant memory.  It’s been hard for me to resist grabbing a PSL anytime I’m out of the house, and let me just say that Starbucks drive-thrus make it way to convenient to spend an obscene amount of money.  In a way to save money and make life that much more simple I first deleted my beloved Starbucks App and then set out to create a better Pumpkin Spice Syrup at home.  I’m so happy to say I’ve succeeded! It’s super easy and quick to whip up and will keep in the fridge for at least a couple weeks! I think it would be a great gift for a friend as well.

If you want to save some money, and treat your body just a little bit better then you should make this!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

What you do:

  • Place all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and whisk to combine.
  • Bring it all to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool for 30-40 minutes.
  • Place cheesecloth folded several times in a fine mesh sieve over top of a bowl.  Pour mixture into sieve and let the liquid strain through. Towards the end you’ll need to squeeze the cheesecloth to get all the liquid out.
  • Pour it into a container and store in the fridge.

I used 2 Tbsp for my latte but you might like more or less, try it out!