Atypical Presentation
I’ve Moved!!!
I don’t like the functionality of tumblr at all!  So I am packing up and moving.  It is pretty bare over at my new place, but given time, I will look nicer.
As I get healthier, I want to start turning my focus on helping others more.  I still have lots of bad days, but I am having more and more good ones!  I am hoping to post more fitness tips, as well as keeping up new recipes that are good for your body AND your taste buds.
Thanks for following along!  Add me to you feed!  
See ya at the other place!
Great Start Shake

Take a challenge: make a green shake every day for a week!

In your blender, put:

1-2 cups almond milk 

1 entire carrot

1-2 Tbsp milled flax seeds

1/2 -3/4 cups frozen kale or collard greens

1/2 - 1 cup frozen fruit (mixed berries are good, but I do all of frozen fruits)

(start with less of the greens and more of the fruits then wean yourself onto more veg)

Your insides will love you.  I have posted this before, but wanted to again as the new year is here.

I am very frustrated with my blog. I want a blog where I can catalog my recipes.  Hang in there with me as I try and change things up.  In the meantime, make this!!!!!

The “right” decision!

I went to the doc this week for a follow up.  All in all, I am improving very SLOWLY.  He was very pleased that nothing new had popped up.  He said that my white blood cell count is still below normal, which is a typical disease marker.  Also, I still have a positive ANA.  Again, just another marker that yes, I have a disease.

BUT…and here is the awesome news…nothing else in my bloodwork has taken a hit since going med free!  No organ involvement!  HUGE thing!  If the diet was not controlling the health of my organs, I would have had to consider some meds.  

He looked at me square in the eyes and said, “Do you hear what I am telling you?  Brittany, you made the right decision!  You did it!  Keep going.  As much as I enjoy seeing you, I don’t need to see you back here for 6 months!”

He REALLY emphasized that I need to find rest in life.  He wants me to keep at the exercise because he feels it will help me with peace. But he paused and just looked at me and told me that stress of any sort will set me back.  

Our family is already home a lot.  It is by far our favorite place to be.  Because of our diets, we don’t eat out all that much.  I am not in any mom groups or Bible studies.  Since we homeschool 3 days, you can often find us in pjs more days out the week than not.    Because of the way we school, we do not have homework.  So while our evening are full because of me teaching or the kids having activities, all in all, we are not rushing around.

We like it this way. I believe this has contributed to my healing, as well.  

Sleep.  Lots of it.  

Good food.  Lots of it.

Exercise.  Lots of it.  

And avoiding stress.  It can’t always be helped.  But for that reason, we often say no to extra things.  We stay home from things a lot more often than we ever did. Please don’t be offended if we say no.  :)

I felt led by God to do this.  I do not take any credit.  He has put the people in my life (Dr. Wickersham, Elisa Rodriguez, my FAMILY and friends) who have supported me and fed me and carried me through.  We have not arrived at health, yet.  But it is coming.

God is REAL.  And oh how He loves us!

Turkey Day, with a vegan twist.

For Thanksgiving this year, our family will be eating the following.  It will be all of us cooking, my parents, sister and fam, and us. 

  • Turkey (prob fried by my dad) for the omnivores
  • Shitake mushroom and vegetable stuffing (gluten free) (
  • Vegan mashed potatoes (using Earth Balance and almond milk)
  • Sweet potato, fresh cranberry and apple bake
  • Pomegranate, apple, and walnut with mixed greens salad
  • Pumpkin ice cream (vegan) and Gabi is making mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • Decadent chocolate pie (vegan).  I posted this pie a long time ago.  This tumblr blog doesn’t let me link back to that post, so I will copy and paste below.
  • Michelle will prob do a pumpkin or pecan pie or both? 

And whatever else we throw in.  I am blessed with a family who likes to eat healthfully.  Though it is not your traditional meal, it is our way of pressing on toward health.  And for some members of the family, it is simply kindness and sacrificing for me.  :)

Here is the pie!  Make it!!!

This, my friends, is a chocolate pie!  And it is delicious.  And check out the ingredient list…absolutely everything in it nourishes you! 

Coconut Pie Crust

3/4 cups blanched almond flour

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 cups UNSWEETENED, shredded coconut, toasted (just put in toaster until slightly browned)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted over very low heat

1 Tbl. agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, and coconut.  In a med bowl, whisk coconut oil, agave, and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to the almond flour mixture and mix thoroughly.  Press into a deep dish pie pan.  Bake for 7-9 minutes and then let it cool completely before filling.

Chocolate Cream Filling
2 cans coconut milk

pinch sea salt

¼ cup arrowroot powder

½ cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 cups dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Bring coconut milk and salt to a boil in a medium pot.  Sift arrowroot powder into the pot, whisk vigorously by hand or with a hand blender for 2 minutes.  Whisk in agave and vanilla.  Remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute.  Add chocolate, stirring vigorously until completely melted.  Chill in refrigerator for ½ hour until cool.

Fill the crust with the chocolate filling and cover and chill for at least an hour.

A time to fast.

Watching my family drive away to church without me led to tears.  Tears of sadness that I am not with them having those conversations in the car. Tears of sadness for Lucky having to go places without his partner.  Tears of guilt for not being with Daniella and Reid and spending so much time in bed.

I have been having constant stomach aches, total fatigue, headaches, face broken out, joint pain, etc…  It is time I do something about it.  So starting today, I am going on a juice/blending fast again.  I honestly don’t know how long I will do it.  It is not an ideal time for me.  Mostly because I teach Body Pump and Boot Camp tomorrow.  And oh, that big holiday THANKSGIVING is just 4 days away!

Yesterday I was angry.  Angry that I am still sick all of the time. But I am not angry at God.  I actually prefer times like this.  Simply because I am more aware of my need for Him.  When I am feeling okay, well, I don’t always feel I need Him for each breath. Right now, however, I am acutely aware of how I can’t do this alone.  I rely on Him for so much more.  This is how I should always be.  I guess that is why Paul said that, …when he is weak, then he is strong. I wholeheartedly agree.

So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the good things Lupus brings to my life.  And I am hopeful that I will feel better soon.

I can’t ever decide when and what to post. I am getting better little by little.

However, Lupus still sucks a lot of the life out of me.  I maintain some normalcy through the week while I homeschool and teach classes.  And I am able to attend more functions than I used to. But I spend most weeknights and weekends in bed. And this week I had a day where tears took over and I couldn’t get out of bed to homeschool. The kids are troopers. Luck is amazing.

Along with other symptoms, I am having an upset stomach every day.  Really not sure why on that one, as I am eating such a limited diet.  I think that it could be inflammation inside of me. I’ve been considering getting a more in depth food intolerance test. But frankly, I don’t want to!  I don’t want any other foods taken away from me right now.  We need to have it done for Daniella and Reid, as well.  It isn’t covered by insurance.  And that fact, along with a lack of desire to take anything else out, has my head stuck in the sand.  At least I am admitting it, right?  The first step is acknowledgement….

So besides a few things here and there, this weekend I was busy putting a giant dent in our bed.  I am once again sad to constantly miss sweet time with the family, but so appreciative that I can take the time to let my body heal. 

Christians and vegans.

My observations:

Christians don’t always respond well to vegans.  There is an instant defense mechanism that seems to kick in whenever I tell one that we (Sometimes I, but for the most part, we) are eating vegan in the home.  I tend to get the vibe that Christians feel that God intended for us to eat meat and therefore, this is NOT something they want to be a part of.  Biblical references are always tossed out there.

Here is my personal place of reconciliation.  Yes, God did provide quail for the Israelites in the wilderness.  Yes, rabbinical law speaks clearly of how to handle animal foods.  And yes, the New Testament speaks of slaughtering the fattened calf when the prodigal son returned home.  And so many, many more examples.  The Bible also clearly states that all foods are permissable.

So eating meat is not a spiritual problem.  What my research has found is that the meat we eat now, the milk we drink, the eggs we cook with, etc…. have all been raised and fed very differently than what God intended. And THAT is the problem.

Cows used to eat grass and wander in fields.  Now they are fed corn, which is toxic to them. But it fattens them.  And they get stuck with hormones to further fatten them up. The same is true for all other animal products.  From the fish we eat from “fish farms” to the cheese we buy at HEB.  It has all been made “better” by our American way.  Our gov’t so heavily supports the corn industry, there is no question why corn syrup is in everything.  (And no, it is not just corn sugar.  The process it goes through to make it in to high fructose corn sugar is so chemically laden, it is sad)  There is also no question why our cows are fed corn.  They were not meant to eat it.  Go ahead, watch some of the food documentaries floating around out there.  You will see!  I am not making this stuff up!  And if you want a list, start with Forks Over Knives.  Then watch King Corn, Food, Inc, and SO many others!!

Well, there is my explanation.  I DO believe God gave us animals to sustain us.  But we were not meant to eat the portions we eat here in the US.  We don’t consider it a meal unless something had a mama on the plate.  And our animals were not meant to be fed and housed the way they are.  I think that eating healthy animals in moderation is perfectly healthy! For our family, that means a few times a week.  For me, none.

And THAT is how I, as a Christian, can swallow the fact that being vegan is contributing to the improvement of my disease, as well as many others. 

And before you ask…yes, we still buy some animal products.  The kids still love grilled cheese and egg in the holes.  They like cheese on their pizza.  When we are out to eat or at people’s houses, all 3 of the other Smiths eat whatever is served.  But we don’t buy meat or cook it.  And we don’t drink cow’s milk.  We have completely switched to almond milk. The kids prob go for days eating vegan and don’t even know it.  They are getting plenty of calories, plenty of protein, and LOTS of veggies, fruits, and nuts. 

Please don’t judge us.  I don’t judge you.  Promise.  And I never forget that no matter what I do or don’t do…I know who is in control.  It is not my diet alone making me better.  ;)

Thai soup success!

I looooooooove the tangy, coconutty soups filled with veggies that I have found at good Thai places.  I think about them and long for those flavors. (most of them have chicken, but you can order them with veg stock and no chicken)

Don’t get me wrong.  The first time I took a sip/bite, I was horrified by the clashing of flavors on my tongue.  Heat, lime, sweet, OVERLOAD.  And then I wanted another and another and another bite.  I was hooked!

Today, I decided to not follow any recipes, to not even look any up.  Instead, I went with my gut.  If you are from Thailand or know authentic Thai cooking methods, please don’t judge!  Just try it!  I made the pot today and between my mom, hubs and myself, we ate the whole thing.  So sad!

Thai Soup

1 Container organic (or not) veggie broth

1 onion, sliced into rings and cut into half

1 head cabbage, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

2 cans coconut milk

Gluten free soy sauce

4 limes

Cilantro, handful, chopped

Red pepper flakes, to taste (I like mine spicy)

Shitake mushrooms, sliced in to quarters

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Heat a soup pot on high with a small amount of the veg broth.  Add the onions and “water saute” them  for a few minutes.  Then add the remaining broth and all of the cabbage and red pepper slices.  Bring it all to a simmer, then turn the heat down just to maintain the simmer. Add the coconut milk, several shakes of soy sauce, the juice of 4 limes, the cilantro, red pepper flakes and mushrooms.  Taste for seasoning and adjust.  Then put the lid on that simmering pot of yummy and let it cook until the mushrooms look cooked. 

You can literally add any vegetable you want here.  I have had this soup with fresh tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots.  I would have used Bok Choy, but just used a regular head of cabbage b/c it is what I had on hand. 

Holy cow, I love this soup!

Italian style yum.

My sweet friend, Melanie, sent me this book a while back along with another Vegan must have: The Veganomicon.  I have loved having these books!

Here is the best pasta sauce!  (I may even like it as much as my homemade marinara!)

Italian Style Pasta (Adapted from The Gluten Free Vegan)

1 tsp olive oil

1 large onion

¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers

¼ cup sundried tomatoes

5-6 cloves garlic

½ cup drained and chopped artichoke hearts

1 diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup washed spinach and chopped spinach (sub kale if you are eating high cruciferous)

¼ cup white wine

3 T chopped fresh basil

½ cup pine nuts

20 kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

Brown rice pasta, cooked (if gluten free)

Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute’ until soft.  (when cooking with less oil, like this recipe, if the veggies start to stick, keep a cup of water nearby and splash a bit in every so often).  Add the red peppers, sundried tomatoes and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes.  Then add the spinach or kale and cook a bit longer.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through.  Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. 

The beauty of this recipe is that I keep most of these ingredients in my fridge/freezer/pantry.  I buy kalamatas, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and pine nuts in bulk from Costco.  And there is no real cooking involved.  Except for the onions, the rest is just heating.  So cook your pasta while you throw this together and you have a healthy, vegan meal!

I served this to a friend who kept some sauce to top her vegan pizza and said it was fabulous.  So heck, use it as a pizza sauce or whatever you want!

Meal Planning Monday!

Each week, Melanie Flinn from Nutritious Eats has a Meal Planning Monday.  She posts her meals for the week and invites you to do the same.  Here is her blog:

Nutritious Eats

What is has done for me:

1) I ALWAYS meal plan on the weekends and am much more organized throughout the week.

2) I have drastically cut down on my trips to HEB.  If I get all of my evenings planned, I am ready for them and am not doing last minute shopping.

3) I am MUCH less likely to make unhealthy choices for the family when I have planned ahead and stick with it.

As Melanie says, you don’t need to impress on the site. Just simply lay out what you will be eating. It keeps you accountable and at the same time helps you to get new and great ideas!  So come join us!  You won’t regret it!

Here is mine for the week:

Sunday: we made eggrolls found here: SO good! Vegan and yummy. I didn’t use any oil.
Monday: Gretchen cooks…yippee!!
Tuesday: Have a meeting where dinner is provided
Wednesday: Crock pot black beans, brown rice, guacamole
Thursday: Good ‘ole tostadas from leftover beans (on Romaine, no cheese for me)
Friday: Lucky still traveling…so may go out?

Have a healthy week!