Thursday, July 11, 2013

Change in Diet, Change in Life

Change in Diet, Change in Life
A Guest Post by Gail Kellogg Hope of Oakhill Clothiers.

Heather & I briefly talked about "change-in-diet, change-in-life" and it got me thinking about this very long road of listening to my own body, overcoming social pressures and BEING picky about what I put into it, how I treat it & how I feel both emotionally and physically. We only get one body for this life, and while spare parts are sometimes available, they are a poor substitute for the originals!

Food allergies have been a life-long battle for me, and we'll likely have to do the same monitoring & assessing for our son. I hope he doesn't have my food issues, hopefully he'll have John's constitution, and we'll just have to be aware of the typical childhood food sensitivities that he may (hopefully) outgrow.

As adults, figuring out our own food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances is a little more difficult than for children. We've been eating these things so long it's habit. We don't even think about it.

The Food Diary

So, in order to think about it, the first thing to do is keep a food diary. This is rather difficult for many people because it seems too much like dieting. It makes you hyper-conscious about what you are eating & drinking. You forget to write things down.

Weigh daily - it's just a number. If you treat a food diary like a number, just a record & don't analyze it to begin with, it's easier. It's not there for criticism, it's just there. You do this for yourself because you love yourself, you enjoyed what you ate & drank and now you celebrate it by writing it down. See? Much easier!

Next is to write down how you feel. Physically & emotionally. No judgement. Just facts.
What physical activity did you do? How did you spend your day?
"Dear Diary, Today I played on FB, weeded the garden, worked on X, went out to eat with Dear Husband I had XY&Z and came home cranky/happy/tired/energized."
If you go to the dr. in that time, what was your BP, blood-work, etc?
Just write it down.

Analyzing the Diary

Now, after several months of this, you can go back & read through what you've done. VERY IMPORTANT!!!
Are there any patterns to moods or energy levels relating to foods or activity?
Were you consistently cranky after eating pasta/beans/other?
When did you have to take anti-acids?
Did you have unexplained jumps or drops in weight? Are they food related or attached to your body cycles? (men have cycles too, FYI).

Making it Work

After this brief analysis, it's time to remove/reduce certain foods or ingredients from your diet for 3 weeks - 2 months. Keep recording. Reanalyze.
Have things improved? If yes, put those foods on your "do not eat" list. If no, slowly reintroduce them & see if there's a change or not. If no change, go ahead & eat them... if there is a change for the worse, reduce or eliminate. If a change for the better, go ahead!

What are things are your family members allergic to? Target those first.

It's important to only do a few foods at a time. Once you've isolated certain problem ingredients, look to their close kin. I'm allergic to latex & tropical fruits - all related! Yet I can still eat bananas... go figure.

Read labels! You'll be amazed how many ingredients go into commercial foods. If there's something in it you can't eat, just move on to the next brand & read that label. Write down the brand names of foods you CAN eat, but never stop reading the labels. A change in packaging usually means a change in ingredients. If you don't know what an ingredient is, google it. Be proactive about what you put in your body. Just because something has packaging that claims it's "health food" doesn't mean its healthy for YOU (or healthy at all for that matter).

Other Methods

Other things you can do is go see an allergist & have a food test done. They screen for the most common food allergies & those tests are pretty good. Not fun, but they work. They won't help you change your eating habits, but they will show you any major red flags... of course, sensitivities & intolerances are NOT included in those tests, only allergies. But it should give you a place to start.
As a side-note, sensitivities & intolerances can be just as harmful as allergies. All 3 are reactions to substances. You aren't allergic to arsenic, but you sure are intolerant of it.

There are a multitude of medical tests you can have done, but again, they won't change habits. Only give you the information - it's up to you what you do with that.


Just because a food doesn't cause intestinal discomfort doesn't mean you should eat it. Foods are a Whole Body experience. It's your fuel. If you are putting crap in, you'll get crap out. Many foods won't hurt your body, they'll hurt your moods. Lactose intolerance is often associated with anxiety disorders... and that's just one of many examples; too many to get into here.

I can't eat commercial apples. Not because I'm allergic to apples, but because I'm horribly allergic to a chemical used on them. Which one that is is beyond me, and there's no real way to isolate it... so I buy organic. No problems.
It's complex, and it's hard work and it's habit.

And she adds:

I still struggle with weight, but once I found my weight trigger foods (barley mostly) I've been able to maintain or lose (with a lot of exercise).
I should mention that this is just how I've managed my food issues. This won't work for everyone, and it's certainly not the only way.
Food issues can be just as much psychological as physiological & every person is going to have a different combination of those factors. Do what works for you. But it's all going to take work. (I don't even care what your goals are - healthy is a good goal, but how you define that is up to you).

Thank you, Gail. That's really good advice, and it's how I know things like going without protein breakfast makes me flakey, and just never to drink ruby red grapefruit juice no matter how much I love it. Among other things. Listen to your body, and it will talk to you.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cook Organic, Not the Planet

In between my having time to post, I run across other things of interest, and this is one...

Cook Organic, Not the Planet

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm baaack.

It's hard to honestly write posts for this blog when I personally am not following my own dietary guidelines. So I have not been writing. Now I am doing work that does not require me to spend my workdays in supermarkets. This keeps it simple. When the nearest store is 7 miles away, I don't even hear the ice cream calling me.

So I've been enjoying this idyllic work situation for 2 weeks and one pant size. That's what happens when I stick to protein and vegetables and fruit. Some of it's fresh and some of it's THRIVE, but none of it is grain or sweetened.

Speaking of ice cream - I was on the reset some 10 years ago when the half-gallon containers disappeared, to be replaced with 1 1/2 quart containers. Downsizing of products annoyed me then and it still does. And then there's this -


So if you aren't making your own, read the labels carefully and be sure you are getting what you think you're getting.

'til next time, remember, you're Sweet Enough, Already!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I took my Shelf Reliance food camping...

I just went on a 10-day camping trip. Living History kind of camping. I took a selection of THRIVE foods with me this time.

I made up single serving omelets. Whole Egg powder, FD onions, red and green bell peppers, ham dices. If it was just me eating breakfast, it was add water, wait a minute or so, pop it in the pan and cook like normal. Quick, easy, yummy.

If it was a group eating breakfast, someone cooked a huge skillet of stuff and I didn't have to use my breakfast - and I didn't have to worry about it spoiling.

I contributed veggies to group meals - and everyone liked them.

I had my choice of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or peach slices in my yogurt and my cereal whenever I wanted, even on the 9th day.

This will become standard camping fare for me (and I camp a lot!) because
  • I can have natural, unadulterated food throughout a 10-day event without refrigeration. Saves cooler space, saves ice money.
  • I can have food I'm proud to share, but if it doesn't get eaten it doesn't spoil.
  • I can pack a whopping amount of it without hurting my back - it's light!
Want to know more?
go to

Friday, October 14, 2011

You know, normally I say if it has a label, don't eat it. However - that doesn't always realistically allow for having stuff on hand when you need it - because you just plain ran out, or because an unexpected expense came up and you spent your grocery money at the auto mechanic's, or because a natural disaster happened and disrupted the food supply...

Over the years I have looked into storage foods to deal with these situations. I was never able to find what I really wanted until now, though. I did not want unpalatable food I wouldn't eat except in an emergency, and would have to throw out and replace when the emergency hadn't happened. I did not want a food plan built around meals I didn't like and high-carb fillers put in because manufacturers find pasta convenient.

I wanted good, wholesome, natural FOOD with no additives, no preservatives, no added ingredients. Food that is shelf-stable and yet when opened will be GOOD to eat, GOOD tasting and GOOD nutritionally. Food that is just, well, FOOD. Basic ingredients you cook with, using your own recipes. Green Beans. Carrots. Apples. Strawberries. Chicken. Beef. (They do have a few Entrees available, but that's really not their focus.)

I discovered a company - Shelf Reliance - that produces high quality natural freeze-dried foods - THRIVE foods! I tried their green beans first - and was seriously impressed. Freeze-dried food retains the shape, texture and nutrition of the fresh food, removing only the water. When I added hot water to the beans, they became green beans. Ready to eat, right then, in my opinion, although other people might like them cooked more than I cook them. (I'm into fresh, minimally cooked. If you like them cooked to death, go ahead - I'm sure they'll come out just the way you like them.)

Not only were they delicious - the remaining beans in the package will be good to eat for a long time (like 2 years! Opened). Just store airtight, dark and dry. They will not get freezer burned. They will not thaw out when my motor home freezer decides to be less than efficient in the heat of the summer. They will not become science experiments in the back of my fridge.

So I looked into the company and decided to become an Independent Shelf Reliance Consultant so I could share this discovery with others.

My kit arrived last night, and I spent the evening checking the shipment and studying the materials and all those things a new Consultant needs to do.

But this morning, I get to play with the food! I already know that the veggies and fruits will be yummy, so I started with some things I was skeptical about. Like Whole Eggs. I'm picky about eggs. In the name of product knowledge, I fixed breakfast.

Once again, I am impressed. I reconstituted enough egg powder for 2 eggs and made scrambled eggs. I had figured they'd be good for baking - but that they are good all by themselves as scrambled eggs was a very pleasant surprise. Next time I'll make up more eggs! They were quite yummy!

Another thing about THRIVE foods is that most of them are available in 3 sizes: #10 cans (gallon), Pantry Cans (5.5" high, 4" diameter), and Mylar Pouch. (a pouch of green beans contains 7 servings). The Pantry Cans are excellent for those of us who live in RVs and have limited storage space. The pouches are great for camping. The # 10 cans, of course, are the best value per serving and truly excellent for serious food storage.

Please make sure that you see
Jane Cassidy Store
in the upper right of the website before you place an order with Shelf Reliance. (That way you'll get the best pricing and I'll get credit!) Or email me for more information at
Or come back here, where I'll be reporting on my continued adventures with these foods.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Search for the Ideal Ice Cream Maker

I like to eat healthy food and I like to eat ice cream. This is only a problem if you don't make your own. However, I have been looking for the ice cream maker of my dreams for a few years now.

You may remember my early blog post about making ice cream in plastic bags. If not, you can read it here. This works. You can make single servings of ice cream, and it's fun... Of course, it is true that sometimes a plastic bag breaks... It still is the way to go for camping, or for a fun thing to do at parties where everyone can make their own and choose their own flavor...

But I did want an ice cream maker.

I tried a bowl-in-the-freezer kind, but it made too much for one person to eat, and homemade ice cream doesn't really keep as well as if it had all the nasty conditioners and stuff in it. It's best eaten fresh.

I found a smaller bowl-in-the-freezer one, with a hand crank. That was good. But still too big for one.

I gave those away and then got the kind you put ice and salt around the ice cream tub. It's not the traditional round tub - this one's more trash can shaped. Smaller. Fits nicely in the motorhome. But I made a half-tub of ice cream and fed 2 people and still put away a quart in the freezer. I'll keep it, but it's not for regular personal use.

This week, I solved the problem.

I was in Target for something else and happened to notice an ice cream machine in a box that was way too small for any ice cream machine I've ever seen.

Hamilton Beach Half Pint Ice Cream maker box

Hamilton Beach Half Pint. It comes with 2 pretty blue freezer bowls and a motor with paddle.

Half Pint compared to cappuccino can

These bowls are small enough for even my RV freezer and hold about a cup of ice cream to be. Pop the motor on top, plug it in, turn it on, wait 10-15 minutes, and it's ready to eat as soft serve or you can ripen it which makes it harder. That's about as convenient as it gets. You can eat it in the bowl.

Half Pint mixing bowl is serving bowl

You can make a cup, or a half-cup, as you wish.

Stevia-sweetened ice cream, fruit-sweetened ice cream, sherbet...