My journey. Takayasu's Arteritis. Feeding my Family. Health. The Paleo Choice.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Roast Beef & Butternut Squash Stew

Roast Beef & Butternut Squash Stew:
2 lbs Stew Beef
2+ cups of Butternut Squash cubed
1/2 onion chopped
1 1/2 cups Carrots chopped or baby
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery stalk chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
2-4 cups beef stock

In a large pot, saute the beef until browned with a small amount of oil/fat.  Remove the beef from the pan,  Saute the onion, carrots, celery, squash and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add in the dried seasonings, saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add beef back to the pot, and the stock.  Add 2 cups stock and cover. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
Or add 4 cups stock and reduce by half. 
Or Crockpot for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 on low.

This was our first taste of butternut squash, the whole family loved it. We do enjoy all other squashes... we have had most of them. Hehehe. So, it was not a stretch to welcome this one in. You really do not miss the potatoes with the squash in there.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend Update!

I made it through the weekend! We did not eat out once! It was nice.
It has been 5 days, and I am doing just fine. I must say in all honesty, I am not experiencing the horrible withdrawal symptoms, in fact, I feel better than usual!!!!
My neck is still feeling pretty good.
The truth is, I did not consume caffeine daily nor did I have a sweet tooth. So, I did not have to come down from those.
I have had a few people ask me, why I am on a DIET? Well, it is not obvious that I have an illness. And truthfully, I do not let it impede my life to the best of my ability. I keep active and I am 5"2', about 112 lbs usually. I am about 5 lbs. heavier that than right now, from my steroids. mmmm steroids.
I am not on a weight loss DIET, I am changing my current Daily Diet for health reasons. Being 'skinny' does not mean you are healthy by the way!! I encourage ALL people to seek out the healthiest lifestyle possible, and live the longest life possible!
I do not have my weekly eating plan ready yet... truth is... I have so much food leftover from this week, we can eat for a few days!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Taco Night?

One of our only hang ups about dropping breads/carbs out of our daily line up is that being Mexican in background... I have a tendency to make rice and of course a lot of Tortillas. 
We LOVE Tortillas around here. We make our own, we buy them local... we will eat them anywhere, anytime, with anything (or alone)!!!!!!!!

So, How do I make my favorite meats that we usually fill up our Tortillas with???
My solution is... Mexican Lettuce Tacos! 
Using Lettuce Wrap Technology... we made pork filling and my famous Chicken Burrito filling (coming later). Ha.

Here is my Pork Recipe:

5-7 lbs Pork Loin
1/4 - 1/2 cup Fat oil
3 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Cumin
1 Tbs Granulated Garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Start by covering your pork loin in water, and I like to add some homemade salsa or something I enjoy for a little flavor to the water, not sure if it makes a difference.
Simmer on Low for 7-8 hours, you can crockpot this as well.
When the loin is ready to shred easily, remove from water and shred.
In a separate sauce pan, warm your fat/oil with your 1/2 to all of your seasonings, just to a warm, not a boil.
Add this to your meat, and mix well.
Serve in Lettuce Wraps, if you are eating cheese - I recommend  Muenster!
Sauteed peppers and Onions are also a great condiment!

(I am not eating this, being on the Autoimmune guidelines... but my family is eating it happily!)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paleo Mayo?

Paleo Mayo
I tried my hand at my own Mayo. I will not be eating it, because I am doing the Autoimmune thing. But my family will. And I put in my upcoming broccoli salad.
It may not be perfectly Paleo, but here is what I did.

2 whole Large Eggs
2 Tbs Vinegar
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of any combo Fat/Oil you like.

Pulse the first 4 ingredients in the food processor. Then poke a whole in a plastic cup with a toothpick (or larger depending on the thickness of your fat/oil), put the cup into the spout of your food processor, and fill with your oil. It will drizzle in slowly and eventually form a Mayo.

It worked nicely in the Broccoli Salad, and it may not be perfect, but it is better than store bought.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The First Day is Over!

Well, the first day was not a real big deal. But something BIG did happen.
I was not hungry for most of the day. Which is fine, I always listen to my body.
I ate some carrots, and a simple salad with turkey and bacon for some protein. I did a decent job on drinking water. I drank it slowly and sipped. It only made me sick if I had too much at once or only water in  my stomach. I did have to take my pills with juice still. They just will not go down. 
I tried to eat a Sweet Potato Fry, just one, and it made my stomach hurt. 
So I was happy, I had a lot of energy. I would call it successful.
The BIG thing. My neck.
My carotid artery, has been a real issue for me recently.

Sooo, strangely enough... on the very first day of the Paleo, My neck was killing me in the morning as usual. I took my Daughter to her Song & Dance at the Library and we checked out books, it was throbbing.
But, by mid afternoon................ no pain!!!!!!!!!!! And I went to sleep with no pain. It was still tender.
But, it had really been horrible. keeping me up at night, waking me up at night. horrible. 
The relief was welcome. I do not know what to attribute it to. But it motivated me to keep going today. 
I am still achy, so we will see if there is more improvement or if returns.
Not gonna lie, I cried this morning. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Roasted Veggie & Tomato Soup

Roasted Veggie & Tomato Soup
14-15 Roma Tomatoes cut into 1/8 chunks
2 Celery Stalks, rough chopped
3 Large Carrots, rough chopped
1/2 Onion, rough chopped
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, rough chopped
1/2 Red or Orange Bell Pepper, rough chopped
6 Garlic Cloves
1 tsp dried each: Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Sage & Pepper
Drizzle of fat/oil.
4 cups Chicken Stock

Toss Veggies with Seasonings and Oil. You can really use anything you like. It turns out yum anyway you make it.
Roast at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Hand Blender, Blender or Food process after roasting. At this point I put it through a food mill. But you can eat all the chunks. We have gone both ways.
After milling the veggies, add 4 cups chicken stock and cook down until reduced by half. 
At this point we add bacon, sometimes. And cook til warmed through.
It is good with or without 'cream', it is good with or without cheese... but mine love some shredded Parmesan.
I portioned out some for freezing, some for lunches, etc. Easy warm up.
I forgot the Onion in this one, still good.

Day One. Here we Go. Paleo

Here we go. The whole truth and nothing but da trufh rufh.
Yesterday, I was not feeling up to picking up said Paleo Groceries. Ha.
So I skipped Breakfast and went this morning. No biggie. I skip meals all the time, I was not hungry either. Mostly because, last night, my 'last' meal... was... wait for it... Pizza from Pizza Hut. *Gasp*

My Husband and kids will be eating a little different than I will be. I am going to try to follow the Autoimmune Protocol. So many of these recipes will be the family meals I prepare for them. I am also not limiting my kids on any foods yet. If you are a super paleo buff... you may have lots of good ideas about this. thanks. In my own time.

I then ate a handful of Carrots. I love them, couldn't help myself. While I prepared the Roasted Veggie Tomato Soup for tonight. I will be at my Mommy Book Club. This happens every Month or two. I am nervous about it since it is at a Pub tonight. I do not drink at all, but I adore bar food.
I am also planning to make Mochi. A Japanese treat. We are reading 1Q84. No worries there. I am not a sweet eater. I bake and bake and bake and never bite!

My plan is now to go make a Salad with all my faves and a basic dressing.
I have some recipes from today that I will post in a few!

Funny thought for today: My 8 year old Son and my 3 year old Daughter, are at the Doctor with me on Monday. School was out for my boy. And I take my kids everywhere with me. They are good. Yo.
My Son says to my Daughter..."'Can you say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?"
She replies to him... "Chaaaa, SuperDuperPeanutButterAndChocolateGoldfish!"
No Lie. We were laughing so hard.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Plan: Week 1

It would be convenient to wait until Monday to start a Meal plan. But guess what, if you wait until Monday... it may never come.

These are meals that myself, my husband, and my 3 year old will all likely eat. My 8 year old, it extremely picky and eats white meat only and a large variety of vegetables. He will not eat tomatoes, onions, mushrooms or anything Mexican. who is this kid?!? He loves Asian flavors. So many of my recipes will include these flavors as well. He prefers to only eat hot food, and often eats the school lunch. Which is starting to drive me crazy... have you been to lunch lately. Not at all what I picture when I read the menu.

Wednesday Meals:
Waldorf Salad
Roasted Veggie Tomato Soup with Zucchini fritters

Thursday Meals:
Spinach Quiche or Chorizo Scramble (I will have both made)
Roasted Veggie Tomato Soup
Mexican Pulled Pork

Friday Meals:
Spinach Quiche
Turkey, Bacon, Tomato Salad
Beef Stew

Saturday Meals:
Eggs & Bacon
Chicken Soup

Sunday Meals:
Chorizo Scramble
Asian Lettuce Wraps

On the weekends we occasionally go out, or eat leftovers at home! We have a few Paleo friendly restaurants we enjoy. If you were wondering, my kids are not tolerant of heavy dairy or milk. And they are not going to be on a strict Paleo diet. I am not at that point yet. Maybe in time. As usual, they will eat healthfully and continue to be healthy, active and happy kids.


Everybody has one!

A vice, a hang up, something that you just do not want to give up. Soda. Alcohol. Cheese. Pasta. Sugar!
You name it, it is hard to give up. 
Sometimes you may even have withdrawal!
Well, my problem... is not really any of those things. I will probably miss breads, pasta and those yummy things.
But my real problem is WATER.
I have a significant amount of damage to my throat and stomach. This has made it very difficult to drink water. I generally throw up from water, and my own saliva. Anything tasteless. I can drink it fine, swallow it down. But it burns, and it comes back up shortly!
I take a pill for this... but what do I swallow the pill with? ha.
I do not drink Caffeine. No coffee, No tea. A rare root beer, when eating out, but I never finish it.
I mostly drink Gatorade or lemonade. I have to switch these up every few months or they make me sick as well.
It seems mad crazy right? But totally true. I can not take any liquid medication either. It goes down happily, but comes up angry.
So there is mine, Every body has one. 
I am going to conquer mine. What are you doing with yours?

Starting From the Beginning.

My Story. From the beginning. Literally.

I was born in Pontiac, Michigan. You may have seen it on your nightly news. A dying city.
My Mother was a Teen Mom, but not the whiny MTV Teen Mom you are thinking of. She was the work 3 jobs, never on welfare, kind of Mom. We started out in a Trailer park, next to the railroad tracks. I mean FEET from it. And she moved us on up to a town house, with a basement! I was a child of the 80's and I guess she was too. We ate a LOT of fast food. My Mom took us out to restaurants and gave my brother and I, money to eat all week. 
We mostly ate from the convenience store. By that I mean 7-11. 
When my Mom had time to cook, rarely, we had box meals. 
I have two amazing Grandmother's who can throw down in the kitchen.
My Southern Granny who makes the meanest dessert around, and my Mexican Abuelita that tears it up every Sunday still. This is relevant because, I can cook and cook well... Dessert and Mexican food! Ha.
At 13, my Mom married and her new husband sent me to his Alma Mater... a private high school. Pretty big deal for me. I met my husband there. So we have known each other since we were 13, and started dating at 16.
At 23, my husband and I, had moved to South Carolina and were expecting our first child. A son. I was horribly, horribly ill through the whole thing. My doctors were baffled. If it was possible to go wrong, it did. I still have visible broken blood vessels in my face from being physically ill. 
And delivery was impossible. My doctors were not sure why, when it came to the point where my child and I, were both in danger... I had an emergency C-section. 
We were fine afterward, but it was a scary event. Afterward, I was still vomiting daily. My doctor diagnosed me with Acid Reflux and gave me pills. yuck. It helped. I had damage so badly, you could see it from the back of my throat. 
Three years later, I started to get migraines. I had never experienced anything so painful in my life. My left eye was in severe distress. I could not see out of it. I did not go to the doctor for it, I did not want to be on any medication. I tried a few things and it seemed to help a little. Did I mention I am not a fan of medicine??? ha. 
Then one day, My Dad died. Suddenly. Leaving us all devastated. As his oldest child, I had to fly home and bury my Dad, instead of burying myself under the biggest cover possible. Heartbreaking in the worst way. But I am a warrior, right???
My Migraines became worse during this time, and I was vomiting uncontrollably. I had my wheel chair bound Granny with MS staying with me, and she had broken her hip! Requiring a hospital stay and physical therapy and a Husband who was off to Spain for work. But after a short time things settled a little. I decided, life is so short and my family need to grow. I was soon pregnant again with my beautiful Daughter. If it was possible to have a worse pregnancy than the first. . . it was, it was possible. Iron shots 3 times a week. Trips to the hematologist. GERD. Gestational Diabetes. PrEclampsia. And the list goes on and on. My poor Doctor was so worried, the 6"2' linebacker hugged me every time I came to the office, which was often. After I unsuccessfully went into labor again, early, after my water breaking while violently vomiting... we turned out alright after an emergency C-section.
My Doctor says to me, "I have never said this before, but I am not sure what is wrong with you, but you should not have any more children. please. I am not sure you would make it."
At this point, I had planned on not having any more natural children anyway, but it was crazy to hear.
Afterward, I quickly dropped down to 90 something pounds. And I was consistently ill, kidney, liver and other problems. My doctor still baffled, and having tested me for all the usual, decided it could just be the ole stand by... Gallbladder.
My Gallbladder was not functioning... at all really. So, out it came. Ahhh, relief. 
For a minute. 
Later, I started to have some pretty serious pain in my right side. Now, at this point pain is no thing for me really. I can hang with pain. But not this time. It was bad news. I wanted to leave my body behind and float away. No relief. 
My doctor gave me serious pain pills, and scheduled some tests. But as a Stay at home Mommy with two small kids... and a husband who was away on business at the time, I had to wait a week or so to get in there. 
So the pills took the edge off, and I never in my life needed a pain pill so badly.
My husband got home, and I went in the next day. Alone to my CT, leaving him with the kids.
I have had a few CT scans, but nothing ever turned up. This time, the technician had a strange hunch. 
And he did more than his job required that day. He moved the machine up and took a look at a few things no one had before.
He came out and told me to go straight back to my Doctor's office, and do not stop anywhere.
My diagnosis. Takayasu's Arteritis. 
The main Artery to my intestines was fully occluded, my liver and kidney were trying to shut down on me. Pain. 
I had to check straight into the hospital. Having never left my kids alone for the night.
A 29 year old Mother, with 2 small children. And a crappy diagnosis. Not one that could be cured, a life long crapfest. poop. 
My family and I, moved to Texas to be near more advanced Medical care. It has been 2 years, with daily prednisone, immune suppressants, heart medication and many many many more pills. Did I mention I hate medication? ha. At some points, I have been on 21 pills. 
I have never in 2 years gone a day without medication. After my diagnosis, My doctor said, if I had waited one more week... I would not have made it. Did I mention I have 2 kids???
I have aneurism, intestinal issues, the artery to my eye - you guessed it... cutting off my left eye from the blood supply! And kidney disease, liver disease and heart disease in my arteries. I have some serious inflammation. 
And last week, my most recent test showed what I have been feeling after my last major flare up... my common carotid artery (in my neck, right side) is what I will refer to as NOT HAPPY. 
I am very blessed, and have not had to have any heart valve or other surgeries as of yet. It is my goal to keep it that way.
Now, What does this have to do with the Paleo Diet? 
My husband, is a natural frenemy of the carbohydrate. He loves them, they hate him, he hates them. 
He discovered the Paleo diet, and has been on it for 2 months. First it helped him drop those pesky 10 lbs that everyone wants to get rid of, and then it helped him feel overall healthier and happier. He has tried the Atkins before, and it was hell on his body. The Paleo has been more in tune with his needs.
So I try to help out and cook tasty things to keep him on track and motivated to live the lifestyle he wants. 
This means that I am cooking meals solely for him, and then meals for the kids and I. Silly right?

I have been very intrigued about the health benefits that the Paleo Lifestyle boasts. 
I will do anything, I mean anything to improve my health and well being. 
This is my journey. It will not be perfect.
Do not come for expert anything. 
I will share my adventure with you.
All of it.Unedited.