meals, feb 15-21

Our reset has gone well so far. I have been going to yoga with regularity and really have been focusing on finding balance in all areas of my life. This week, we are trying to find more balance with dinners by incorporating some simple carbs into the mix but still staying mostly whole-food oriented. I want to stick with more vegetables than meat because I think it’s what works best for my body. This week’s meals are still gluten and dairy free, which are the irritants that we have the most trouble with.

My three year old requested noodles with no sauce, so we are going to make Chrissy Teigan’s Cacio e Pepe to appease him! We are also going to make hearty brunches over the weekend, as we are going to catch our babysitter’s brother’s hockey game on Saturday and just take it easy on Sunday.

Friday: We didn’t end up making chicken piccata last week, so we will have it on Friday with the lemon potatoes and some sautéed spinach.

Saturday: Brunch — Chorizo and potatoes with eggs. Dinner — slow-cooker sauce with meatballs, sausage, and zucchini noodles.

Sunday: Brunch — Zucchini Muffins (True Roots, P 16); we plan to freeze the remaining muffins and the loaf of bread to use later. Dinner — Roasted chicken from True Roots (P 54) with roasted carrots and beets.

Monday: Brunch — brussels sprouts and bacon with an egg. I plan to make dinner early and have it as a late lunch — Eat What You Love’s Italian Chopped Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette (P148) and hemp hearts before yoga and EWYL’s shrimp fried rice (P193) for dinner when I return.

Breakfasts: For the rest of the week, we are going to keep things simple with smoothies for breakfast.

Lunches: I found a marinade for chicken in EWYL (P 243). We are going to make a batch of this and keep out two pieces of chicken for my lunches along with some roasted broccoli. My husband is going to take crockpot carne asada and typical kid-fare is on the menu as well.

Tuesday: I am going to have roasted asparagus (EWYL, P117) and prosciutto with maybe an egg for a late lunch on Tuesday and stop at Dig Inn after class for dinner.

Wednesday: Kraut, kielbasa, and mashed potatoes.

Thursday: Cacio e Pepe with spinach instead of arugula (Cravings, P79).




sahm & infertility sagas, pt2

The funny thing about unexplained infertility is that everyone is so optimistic something positive will happen and then when it doesn’t, there’s not a single answer to any of the million questions you have. I deal well with logic and statistics, so basically getting a shoulder shrug as an explanation doesn’t really much work for me. More tests were ordered and a uterine scratch, which was an non-sedated procedure that was one of the more physically painful experiences of my life.

The best part of the scratch was when the RE performing the outpatient procedure said, “Well, you want to have a baby and childbirth is more painful than this.” It was true, I did want to have a baby; I never wanted this procedure. Comparing these two things and using such casual, condescending language, I assure you, is not something anyone dealing with years of fertility struggles wants to hear. My husband was there for the procedure; he took over responding to all questions at that point and told her I just needed to focus on my breathing.

I don’t remember much after that — just a lot of discomfort. We had to wait a month for results of the biopsy from the scratch and for proper healing before we could do our next round. As you likely gleaned from from the previous post, the scratch didn’t make much of a difference aside from the mental, emotional, and physical tolls.

Alas, the struggle with unexplained infertility continues, despite the perfect little addition to our family.

meals, feb 8-14

As you may have seen in my last post, we are trying to get our gut health resorted and are planning to shift back to how we used to eat when we both felt better. For the longest time, I’d relied heavily on Pinterest for recipes (there are some great ones) but lately, I’ve been using cookbooks far more frequently. I have really enjoyed trying recipes and we’ve found that we’ve had some really great luck with the cookbooks, so we are hitting them hard this week.

Typically, I go grocery shopping on Thursdays, but my husband and son are going tonight while I’m at yoga. Tonight, after class, I’m going to head to Dig Inn for my last bowl of chili oil brussels sprouts, beets, and mac & cheese.

Tomorrow, we are starting our reset.

My husband has 12 miles to run tomorrow morning, so I will probably just whip up some eggs before yoga. We will need to refuel after such a busy day, so I am thinking that Shrimp & Grits with Bacon Collards is just what fits the bill. It should be a really decadent meal and can be found in Eat What You Love (EWYL P30).

Sunday, we are going to have a lazy day and enjoy a nice brunch with fruit and Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Zucchini Frittata (P28, True Roots). I love her suggestion of mixing the ingredients the night before so that we just have to pop it in the oven; this is a food prep strategy I never thought to do with breakfast foods. Dinner will be EWYL’s Chicken & Dumpling Soup recipe (P173).

The rest of the week will be egg nests (P27, TR) for my husband and eggs or cinnamon smoothies (P170, TR) for me because we can prep these ahead of time; leftovers for lunch. If we don’t have leftovers, then egg salad or tuna salad in Siete wraps. I want to make things easy so that we don’t have to spend too much time prepping or thinking about them.

Friday — Dig Inn

Saturday — Eggs & fruit / smoothies / shrimp, collards & grits (P30, EWYL)

Sunday — Asparagus, prosciutto, and zucchini frittata (P28, TR) & fruit / chicken & dumpling soup.

Monday — I plan to use the leftover asparagus for Roasted Lemon-Chile Asparagus (P117, EWYL) for breakfast with an egg before heading in for yoga and class. I’ll probably take some dumpling soup to have after yoga/lunch and then at night when I return, I’ll probably load up with a minty green smoothie (P20, Balancing in Heels).

Tuesday — a simple crockpot meal of beef stew before I head into yoga. When I get home from yoga, I’ll probably have a cinnamon smoothie for a cool-down treat (less the honey).

Wednesday — sauerkraut and Applegate Farms hot dogs with mashed potatoes. This is one of my favorite meals (and my husband’s). We have a deep love of kraut and there are so many health benefits to it!

Thursday — Happy Valentine’s Day! We are going to make walnut-crusted lemon chicken piccata, lemon potatoes, and roasted broccoli.



health and meals

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately and have been thinking about what seems to work for my body and what does not. My health is important to me and I have been spending way too much time eating foods that I really have no business (or, best case scenario, minimal business) eating.

I am allergic to yeast and have a gluten intolerance as well as one to whey and casein. This typically has gluten, yeast, and dairy out of my diet but for the last while. I’ve been indulging far more often than I should be. I am not feeling great as a result and I think that my body needs some space and time to reset and heal my gut.

In the fall, when our kitchen reno was wrapping up, I ordered a few cookbooks. I am using these cookbooks for motivation for meal planning this week. My husband and I decided that we are going to live by the Whole30 rules for a little and give ourselves the reset we need. When we did W30 cycles before, we’ve felt great during and after. My husband noticed his running was easier (and faster) and my anxiety had basically disappeared. It’s really wild how diet can influence everything within your body.

For this reason, we are taking inspiration to cut sugar, grains, and legumes for the next couple weeks and hope that we can heal the damage we’ve been doing. We are likely to not avoid “sex with your pants on” from W30 because our goal is to shift our eating habits just a hair to something more sustainable.

The timing pretty much works out for us in that our babysitter is taking next week off to celebrate Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend and the following week, I have a meeting, so it’s easy to commit to these few weeks without temptation. That being said, I’m going to take some time to plan my meals around W30 ideals and figure out a game plan that starts tomorrow.

We had originally planned an after-yoga brunch but we are in the throws of potty training and are worried that we are over-planning our day, so we will meet at home (after my yoga class and the boys’ trip to the Museum of Science) and have a late lunch / early dinner with some tasty features to really kick off our weekend.

We have a couple shoe bins that need built for the garage/mudroom space and I’m hoping my husband can get around to doing that this weekend so that we can organize that and get things back to looking less cluttered.

Any tips or tricks for those of you who’ve done Whole30 and transitioned to a more balanced 80-20 lifestyle?

sahm & infertility sagas, pt 1

I used to work full-time as a classroom teacher and then I worked in international education where I developed curriculum and teacher training for a program that brought American K-12 education to China. I traveled extensively for this position, both to our private partner schools stateside and to various cities and communities across China. I loved the work I did and really thrived in this position.

Then, we decided we were going to try to get pregnant and it didn’t happen quite as planned. After a year with no luck, my doctor put me on Clomid, which basically turned me into a raging psychopath. (My husband can vouch for this.) I had such an out of body experience with this drug, that after the first round, I asked to never use it again. I was persuaded to give it another try the following month and when that didn’t work, I promptly made an appointment with a local reproductive endocrinologist (RE).

Both my testing and my husband’s came back with glowing review — we were perfect and primed to easily get pregnant, except for that part where we’d been trying for 18 months and not a single positive pregnancy test in sight. I had apps, we tried trips to relax — nothing worked. After months of working with our new RE, we had a long conversation about IUI and IVF.

IUI was given an 11% chance of working and IVF for us was given significantly higher numbers (38%), so we went that route. My husband watched videos on how to give shots and I made early morning appointments with my clinic for all kinds of invasive testing. I also joined a support group with a local therapist; there, I met A who was on the same cycle as me at the same clinic. We’d see each other at each early morning appointment, which was equal parts comforting and uncomfortable.

After many shots, it was time for retrieval — all of my emotions came to a head there. The anesthesiologist hooked the IV to me and I went ballistic. My husband had already been taken downstairs to leave a sample, and this poor woman whom I’d just met, was faced  with a hysterical woman. Every single emotion from the shots, the Clomid, the failed attempts came pouring out of me and there was simply no stopping it.

Eventually, I passed out and they extracted six healthy eggs; all six fertilized; we implanted one; and froze four. Two weeks later, we found out that our IVF didn’t take and I’d have the pleasure of fully miscarrying on our family vacation to Disney World.

Once we returned, we did a round of Whole30 and then waited another month to discuss next steps with our RE who suggested that I should take a step back from so much work travel, so I quit my job and focused on working part-time doing some consulting and teaching at a local community college.

We took a trip to celebrate my newfound freedom but it was hardly worth celebrating. We did a frozen round of IVF and ended with the same fate as our first cycle. It was devastating: During this round, I’d visited my best friend who also had the pleasure of giving me shots, just further humiliating me and my poorly-functioning body. (She was great, as was my husband through it all but it just was something I’d wanted to keep so private which is tough to do when you’re too chicken to give yourself shots.)

After another Whole30 blitz and the healing of my bruise belly and backside, I’d mentioned to my husband that I didn’t think I could go through another cycle. It had broken me more than I’d ever realized possible: I felt like I was in a constant haze and was one comment or look from exploding.

I’ve never seen such a look of relief on someone’s face when I uttered those words to him that night. So, we decided that we’d take a break from it all and then figure out what we’d do after talking to our RE at the next round of follow-up appointments and tests…

jan reflections & feb goals

I have been really enjoying my new schedule of yoga and time in Boston. I cannot truly describe how it makes me feel – I am less stressed and more free and it is positively affecting my life far beyond the mat. My husband and I have talked about the small changes we’ve been making so far in 2019 (largely, being deliberate about working out and making time for ourselves to feel like ourselves).

I have scale goals and non-scale goals, so I’m not going to delve too into those but I wore a shirt this past week that fit looser than it ever has. It was noticeable. Out of curiosity, I weighed myself and took some measurements this morning. I’d like to do it again at the beginning of March and see what, if anything, has changed.

In addition to weekly yoga classes, I’d like to get the dog for a nice, long walk on Sundays when I don’t practice yoga. Today, we knocked out 1.5 miles and he is snoring to my right as I type. This is good for the both of us, but the New England weather plays a role in this goal.

Of course, I have non-movement goals, too. I made time to read a few quick reads in January and now that my semester has started, I have less time to read recreationally. I bought the book, The Grace of Enough, and it’s my goal to read that in my spare time. (NOTE: On Monday, I took a mid-day yoga class before I headed to work. I noticed that half a dozen attendees of my class had books; the English professor in me was giddy! I took note of this and plan to toss my book in my bag for the T/before class to maximize reading time.)

Lastly, activities with my toddler. I want to be more deliberate in getting to activities that allow/encourage him to socialize more. We tend to do a lot of museum or zoo visits, so my goal for February is to take him to move open-gym type activities.

Do you set monthly intentions/goals?

meals, feb 1-7

I am really excited that I’m feeling better. Last week, I tried a new yoga studio for a hip hop yoga class. I’m hoping to attend yoga 2-4x per week at the studio.  I kept that in mind when planning meals this week; I don’t want anything that’s going to bog me down or make me feel queasy the next day.

Breakfasts: To keep things simple, we will go the sprouted bagel route with cream cheese, jalapeños, and tomatoes Saturday. My husband and the kids are going to try homemade bagels from SkinnyTaste on Sunday — I’m hoping we can make egg sandwiches but if not, we will just have them on the side.

For the work & school week, I made pumpkin-walnut muffins this morning with spiced pumpkin seeds; otherwise, I’m going to make the egg sandwiches with Ezekiel bread. We will also have sprouted bagels, oatmeal, or eggs to choose from.

Lunches: I’m meeting my brother for lunch after yoga on Saturday. My husband and kids will probably have some leftovers or go out for a special treat. We will do leftovers on Sunday.

During the week, we are going to keep it simple with some roasted turkey breast wraps — I grabbed some sprouted grain wraps for these that I’m excited to try. I’m going to try a turkey recipe from True Roots for this. The kids are still taking kid things for lunch: Trader Joe’s orange chicken and their dumplings are big hits at our house and the kids can help make them!

Dinners: I am heading to yoga a few nights during the week and on Monday afternoons before class, so it’s important to plan for leftovers and easy meals!

Friday: We had A LOT of leftover chicken and vegetables last week, so we are going to have the shrimp quesadillas tomorrow.

Saturday: Unstuffed cabbage in the crockpot with mashed potatoes.

Super Bowl Sunday: We are going to do our dips lineup: buffalo chicken, spinach-artichoke, bean dip, and a pizza dip. We will also have a vegetable tray.

Monday: Leftovers & dips. Easy, peasy!

Tuesday: I’m taking a 7:30 hot yoga class, so I need to eat my dinner by 3:30. I am planning baked penne pasta with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and vegetables (sautéed spinach, peppers, and zucchini). This is nice because I can eat before I leave and can keep the oven on the WARM setting for my husband and the kids to enjoy after work/school.

Wednesday: Crockpot chicken tacos with Spanish rice, toppings bar, and beets on the side!

Thursday: Date night, date night! Tuna noodles and peas for the kids and a night out as adults for the two of us! We’ve been on a big pho kick with the cold weather lately, so we are going to try to mix things up next week with someplace different.