Derailed

I don’t know about you all but this daylight savings nonsense has me all mixed up. Waking up each morning has felt like a medieval torture practice that even modern day torturers would say, “woah, too much!” Getting out of bed when there isn’t a trace of daylight goes against my bodies natural cycles I’m sure of it. Not only has the past week been a struggle to wake up but I’ve had three consecutive horrible nightmares each morning. I’m falling apart sleep wise!

Unfortunately sleep isn’t the only part of me that has derailed. My cycle has now decided to go off and embark on its own adventure with no return date note left behind. Despite the inositols and all of the “rules” (no drinking, eating correctly, chiropractor, meditation, etc.) I’ve followed at the beginning of this cycle (which started Jan. 25th) here I am on day 50 with no ovulation. I don’t know what happened! The inositols are supposed to shorten your cycles but mine have gotten longer! My body has had three ovulation attempts this cycle but never quite released the egg. I was frustrated, then I was mad, then I was sad, now I’m just completely over it. F###k it. I’ve had some period popcorn this week and I got a little tipsy on Monday. I’m out of chiropractic appointments. I’m about 10 days away from not having a baby in 2018 (got the huge [i.e. expensive] health insurance plan in case we got pregnant and delivered a baby in 2018). I’m just, ugh! Sad. And so frustrated. This is the longest cycle I’ve had since before the weight loss.

I’m trying to let it go and be at peace with whatever the F my reproductive system is doing and on that note I’d like to tell you about an upcoming guest post! Remember Krystyna’s Story from October of 2016? A good friend of mine who is a fitness advocate and now mom to a toddler? Well I’ve asked her to give us and update and advice because I find her truly inspiring and I wanted to celebrate another woman in honor of Women’s Day (it was recently International Women’s Day on March 8th). Her post will be coming soon!

I know I haven’t posted much lately as I have been on back to back vacations for a couple of weeks and then busy getting back into a more regular routine. The KKA (Kristina’s Kraft Adventure) blog now has a new Instagram account! You can find me on Instagram at: TheInstaKKA (sorry I can’t link it for you until I get a premium WordPress account).

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Our Plant-iversary

Wow! We made it a year! A whole year animal product free. A whole year coffee free. A whole year pop (soda to you weirdos) free. A whole year without ranch dressing or bacon. This is amazing to me. I never thought it was possible. I for sure thought we’d lose steam a month or two in. But we did it! We made it through the first year. This is a huge moment for us.

I surely couldn’t have done it without M. He’s been my support and willing participant in my crazy “new age” eating lifestyle. As a man I think it was even harder with all that “real men eat meat (and lots of it!)” bullshit. I am so grateful he is my life partner.

It’s hard for me to focus on this milestone though because even as I write this post I think about all the things I could have done better. The oil I should have thrown out sooner, the meals out we’ve had, the prepping I didn’t do to help stay on plan… but I need to really adjust my thinking right this minute. I have found that after a year of doing this that I can do it! I did it! So that means each year I will get better and better at it. Slow progress is still progress. And for right now I think it’s important to celebrate what we did accomplish instead of focusing on what we didn’t.

I’d like to start environmentally because that is what first started me down this path. I was in the middle of our paleo Wild Diet days (eating lots of meat, fats, and veggies) when I randomly found a documentary to watch one boring Saturday called Cowspiracy. It challenged me to think about food sources differently and sat in the back of my mind for weeks before I even brought it up to M. Netflix then recommended Forks Over Knives which decidedly changed my future. I saw the science that backed up these claims of health and it just resonated with me and my PCOS. The lifetime of being a self purported milk advocate and current ketosis state looked a hell of a lot different viewed through the lens of this new information. Which led me to trusty old Google which led me to Dr. John McDougall’s website and the rest they say is history. Our plant based lifestyle was born.

These are my highlights from the past year:

-No more heartburn at all

-I’ve dropped two dress sizes

-Dramatically helped save the planet and reduce my carbon footprint

-Increased the number periods I have a year by almost double

-Ate a heck of a lot more nutrients than before

-Gotten rid of long, heavy, large clotted periods

-Have light, short, thin periods

-Lost 25lbs

-Gotten rid of my plantar fasciitis

-Balanced my hormones more

-Became more compassionate towards animals

-Wore clothes again from my closet that were 6 years old (haha don’t know if that’s a good things as they are 6 years old but you get the point)

So congratulations to us. We did do it, we can do it, we will do it. I’m not going to stop now. Moving forward it’s all about refining our techniques and replacing bad habits with better ones.

Cold Weather Batch Cookin’

I spent all day in the kitchen trying to get ahead on some meals and try out a few new recipes.

I made two batches of spaghetti sauce, 2 batches of wheatballs, a pot of chili, quinoa cornbread, and banana bread.

I added my leftover wild rice to the chili once it was done and I think it turned out great. I can’t get enough of that Brand New Vegan Chili.

The spaghetti sauce and the wheatballs are another staple at our house. When we heat the sauce we often add kale or spinach and sliced mushrooms to it.

The quinoa cornbread and banana bread were new recipes I tried today. The little nibbles I’ve had so far of the cornbread were very good. The banana bread seems like a flop. After baking it for an hour it’s still very mushy and gummy. The recipe did call for whole wheat flour but I was out so I used my unbleached all purpose flour. I’m not sure if that was the problem or not. M made pancakes yesterday that also called for whole wheat flour and we subbed the all purpose flour as well and we had a similar issue. They browned nice and were the right thickness but gummy on the inside as well. I’m hoping that’s what caused the issues but I’ve never been a natural baker and I rarely accomplish any kind of baking feat successfully. Now I have to decide if I should try both these recipes again using the right type of flour or if it would make a difference. Anyone know about such things? Tell me in the comments!

This weekend we had soy curl bulgogi again. I used a different marinade recipe which was epically good! This meal is in both of our top 5 meals.

Another cooking first for me was my first Indian style dish. I made a vegetable potato curry style dish. It called for curry powder but I only had garam masala on hand. Again I’m not sure how different this would make the dish. I’ll have to make it again using the curry powder. The version I made I had a lot of heat but also felt bland to me. M on the other hand totally loved it and had enough for two lunches worth which he loved just as much as the first time. Next time I also want to try lite coconut milk instead of the full fat.

Took a break from all the cooking lately to snap this lovely sunrise across the street.

Left over rice and spinach with Maggi’s chili sauce is a quick easy meal for me.

Fridays In The Great North

I thought that was a fun title for a stressful topic! It’s the middle of winter here in the upper Midwest which means actual air temperatures and wind chills are often heavy into the negative side. For school aged children that means indoor recess and many schools aren’t lucky enough for that to mean indoor gym recess. For most it means indoor classroom recess cooped up with the same kids in the same room that would normally be spent running full tilt outdoors with some mild screaming. That’s a lot of pent up energy especially in the younger grades. Now multiply that pent up energy by five days inside in a row and you have my day in a nutshell. Twenty 6 year olds that are grouchy, fidgety, loud, and sick of each other. I’m in the same classroom all next week so I am looking forward to milder weather or I’m going to call in sick on Valentines Day!

I was much too stressed and tired to cook in my messy kitchen tonight. M brought home burrito bowls which we had instead. Tomorrow will be back to a fully compliant McDougall day and getting the house straightened up. I’m trying to figure out another use for the wild rice I cooked up for burgers this week. Hmmm I’ll have to keep thinking on that tonight.

On a positive note all the compliant McDougall days and the inositols have been paying off. My cycle looks amazing so far this month!

And on a personal note we said goodbye to Bear last week. He is now off at Patriot Assistance Dogs becoming a service dog for veterans. We miss him like crazy but are comforted by the fact that he is going to help someone in need. And our cats have gone back to being themselves. After Anna and Bear this fall/winter I didn’t realize how much they had changed until I came home yesterday to Snickers cuddled up with Jackson for the first time in months. They deserve a fostering break for a while.

Jackson and I were stranded at my sisters house in Minneapolis this past weekend for four days because the truck wouldn’t start. I tell you we’ve had a bad run of car trouble lately. I crashed the Malibu in a deer accident, then the replacement car brakes went out, then we go to Minneapolis to buy the new car, and when we get there the other car breaks down! I’m over it! The silver lining in missing school and being stuck down there was all the extra snuggles I got in with the girls. Especially the littlest darling whose birthday we celebrated early just the two of us at Toys R Us.

And lastly here are some snaps of the food we’ve been having. Random shout out of the day, “I love green beans!”

Why I Don’t Cheat

I recently read an article online (which you can access here) all about the “100 percent rule.” It really resonated with me and is exactly how I feel when people ask why don’t I just cheat a little? The article talks about how giving 99% is really hard to do but 100% is a breeze. If I were to consider cheating (eating meat or dairy) “just a bit” my life would be hell for me. I would constantly have to think when is it appropriate to cheat? Super bowl Sunday? Valentine’s Day? Family birthdays? Christmas? Thanksgiving? Easter? Vacation? Girls night out? My thoughts would always be swirling around when to cheat and how much or how little to cheat. Then I’m sure there would be guilt over it afterwards too. There is so much brain power and energy going into 99 percent. But with 100 percent commitment all of that burden is lifted. There is no blurred line. I don’t have to spend my time thinking about when or how much to bed the rule. I just don’t. Sure, maybe it was hard at first getting used to what I could and couldn’t eat. There was a learning curve as with most things.

Now of course the article did mention the fact that not everything in your life needs a 100 percent commitment. But there has got to be that one or two somethings that do. Imagine how much easier it would be to accomplish something with true, total, commitment.

I am not fully committed to the McDougall way of eating yet. I would like to be at some point soon. I know I’d see much better weight loss results if I did. I’m just not there yet. I’m still learning recipes that are delicious and still learning how to make life revolve less around food as celebrations and comfort. Then I think committing 100 percent will possible for me. But I think once I’m ready I’ll be able to do it especially with this new idea of 99% vs. 100%. Food for thought on this lovely February morning.

Treat Yo’ Self

Thank God the two week wait is over!! For some women seeing that BFN (big fat negative pregnancy test) or getting their period is a very disheartening moment. Their balloon has popped so to speak and they feel let down in so many ways. For me it’s relief but not in the way that you might think. I am not a person who likes limbo and unknowns. I can be flexible and I can go with the flow (even though my husband says I’m a control freak or as I call it passionately detailed) in many areas in life. But when it comes to big moments I can’t hang. There have been a handful of times in my life where the fear of the unknown was so much worse than the truth. For example when my parents decided to get divorced they didn’t tell anyone else including me their 22 year old daughter who lived at home with them at the time. I could tell something had happened one morning and for the next few days my parents were alternately angry, sad, and upset. I was left trying to guess what had happened. “Was someone really really sick? Why are they mad at me, I didn’t do anything wrong? Did I? Were we bankrupt? Were they divorcing? Why can’t they tell me?” It was torturous for me. Finally when I forced my mom to come clean and I found out it was a divorce I wasn’t even upset at that time. I was just so relieved to finally have an answer, any answer even if it wasn’t an answer I was happy about.

And that’s how I feel about a two week wait. Especially this two week wait in particular since I had two very different ovulation dates given between OvuSense and Fertility Friend. Both had good reasons for their predicted dates. So was I 10dpo or 3dpo?? Was the temperature dip an implantation dip or AF dip? Was the pressure and cramps I’d been having ovulation, pregnancy, period, or cyst related? And of course Google both confirms and rejects each theory. My concentration and focus have been horrible if it didn’t have something to do with reproduction. But today, thankfully, I can move on. I got my period and while I’m of course wishing I was pregnant I’m also so relieved to know the answers. I’m sticking with OvuSense’s ovulation day which means I just made the cut off for a long enough luteal phase. It’s crazy that was my third complete cycle with OvuSense and not one of them is like the other! Come on body!

Now that period day has come around again I give myself a treat day. I have some “period popcorn” which means I order an oily popped popcorn either from the Target deli or from the movie theater and munch gleefully on the stuff I’m not supposed to have anymore. I will have a glass or two of wine or a La Croix vodka drink. I will also do an at home spa day to feel good on the outside. The next day is back to the grind with inositol supplements, spearmint teas, leafy greens, and the other health promoting foods. But I think it’s ok to have a relax day. A day to be sad if I want to be, a day to do things that make me happy, a day to treat myself.

All in all though I am still very hopeful. I kind of figured that I wasn’t pregnant because our timing was off with our trip out of town. Lesson learned until OvuSense confirms ovulation we stay at home every night haha. Also I know that we’ve been trying to conceive for over three years but to me it feels like this was the first time we’ve been trying. It was the first time we had an actual educated chance of conception. To me it felt like cycle one of trying to conceive. I still feel really confident that good things are to come soon. So for today I will enjoy my treats and relax and enjoy the positives of a period. This period tells me I ovulated once again, it tells me that my food choices are paying off, it tells me that a fresh start is right around the corner, it tells me I don’t have to baby dance or wear OvuSense for the next few days, and it tells me I can eat popcorn! Silver linings people!

In the mean time I have been cooking up some more deliciousness in the kitchen. I tried a Korean spin off of bulgogi lettuce wraps with soy curls and my Korean loving husband loved them. I did too even though they lost their way from the authentic “right” way; to us we loved them and that’s what matters. Find foods you love!

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The shadow from my camera didn’t help but I was hungry lol. These were simple but we honestly can’t wait to have them again. M called it kitchen food since you stand there, eat your lettuce wrap, and immediately make another one. There really isn’t a need for plates in this case.
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White mac and cheeze one with steamed veggies one without.

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From Kristina’s Kitchen

I have enjoyed making some of my favorite omni dishes veganized. I feel I have successfully made pecan pie, jello pretzel salad, wild rice soup and many more other favorites. Some of these were my own vegan or McDougall witch craft and many were recipes found online.

One of my newest attempts was the Forks Over Knives Tuno Salad Sandwiches! I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to try it out, it’s so easy and delicious.

I topped mine with tomatoes, romaine, and avocado. It is wonderful to have a sandwich that is McDougall compliant.

I also tried soy curls for the first time. I made them in place of the beef on my beef and broccoli recipe. I also added some mixed greens to the dish at the end. I really liked the extra crispness and freshness it brought to the meal.

We both enjoyed the soy curls especially M who liked the extra oomph which gave him a more full and satisfied feeling and also like he wasn’t missing out on anything.

For our Christmas Eve Asian inspired meal I made some homemade green beans pan fried up in a lot of peanut oil. They were excellent and I happen to love green beans. But I knew I need to try to make something a little bit more McDougall friendly. I skipped the oil and water sautéed them but used the same recipe for the glaze.

I added some sliced almonds to them just to use them up. The beans had a great flavor and I didn’t miss the oil like I thought I would. The only issue I ran into was making 2 bags (24oz. total) of beans at once. This was too many for the water sauté method as some were quite crisp and some were slightly over done. I ate them all over two days anyways because like I said I’m a big green bean fan but next time will batch cook them first before adding the sauce.

It has been a while since I’ve made the quinoa and kale taco mix. For a while I loved the mushroom walnut taco mixture from Brand New Vegan and partly because it isn’t M’s favorite. However I decided to make a batch this weekend and forgot how good they are! Even without a shell I gobbled them up in bowl form.

This time I drizzled it with some sour cream and it elevated the dish even more!

I’ve tried some new cheese sauce recipes just to see if something new can be used for potatoes or pasta.

I made this one with some jarred roasted red peppers and oats and was pretty pleased. However I’m starting to regret not buying the Ninja blender when it was on sale at Costco. My current blender is a good blender fo regular blender items but to really pulverize and purée perfectly I need something with a taller faster blade. As you can see in the picture it’s not as smooth as I think it should be. Hopefully another sale will come around the corner.

I’m still trying hard to remember to eat my leafy greens as much as possible. I admit shamefully that I rarely complete a bag or container before it goes bad. That is why I am now trying to add them not just as a salad (because I don’t always want a salad everyday especially in winter) but to the main dish itself like the soy curls and broccoli bowls from above. I’m hoping this new method will cut down on my food waste and increase my intake of those power packed greens.