The 21-Day Sugar Detox is Done, Celebrating With a Raw Liver Smoothie!

Hoorah! It’s the end of the 21-Day Sugar Detox! What am I going to do now? GORGE MYSELF ON SWEETS?! No way! I’m trying my damnedest to get my A1C (average blood glucose reading over the last few months) down. Right now I’m at 7.7 and my doctor wants me below 5.

The detox went well. I didn’t post as many pictures as I could have, I suppose, but I’m glad I took on the challenge and stuck through to the end.

Here are some things I learned while on the detox:

  • I really enjoy eating food that nourishes my body
  • I didn’t eat enough sweet things to warrant doing the detox, but I’m glad I did it all the same
  • Exercise definitely helps me sleep better at night, especially when it’s coupled with a great diet
  • I miss eggs but they don’t miss me, I’m starting to react more severely every time I ingest them
  • I enjoy a good challenge
  • My portion sizes need improvement, I always serve too much food
  • I really want to focus on my health in 2013, and the detox helped me fine-tune my diet

I really need to stick to the autoimmune protocol from now on. I’m pretty sure my egg ‘intolerance’ is becoming an egg allergy, this makes me so sad. However, it also makes me want to start a whole new experimentation of egg free mayo’s! I’m going to work on that bacon mayo one until it’s perfected.

What’s that about a raw liver smoothie?

Well, I saw this video, from Peggy over at Primal Parent, and it both horrified and intrigued me. I gagged when I watched it.

One time when I was in high school, my mom served my brother, sister, and I steak. I have always loved steak and so I ate with gusto. After a few bites, I noticed something wrong with the steak. It tasted almost rotten.

“Mom, I think this steak is bad,” I told her. It was too gristly and had a very strong smell to it. I ate a few more pieces and it just tasted ‘off’. I kept telling my mother that there was something wrong with it until she relented and admitted it was liver. Ew.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, liver contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. It also provides:

  • An excellent source of high-quality protein
  • Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
  • All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
  • One of our best sources of folic acid
  • A highly usable form of iron
  • Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
  • An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
  • CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardiovascular function
  • A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.

Wow! Liver really does sound like a super food. Too bad it tastes like butt. I decided to try and source a grass-fed beef liver. When I went to the butcher today to pick up my weekly supply of meat, I was pleasantly surprised to find out they actually had a grass-fed beef liver. It was $15 for a whole liver, which is huge! I brought it home and put it in the freezer for almost an hour so that it would get frozen-gritty so I could cut it more easily. I chopped it up into 30 or so small plastic baggies and put most of them in the freezer. I saved myself one nice piece to make my own smoothie.

This is what I’ve learned about liver:

  • I don’t like the taste of liver
  • However, I much prefer the taste of raw liver to cooked liver
  • When making the smoothies, use a whole lemon
  • Keep your nose plugged while you drink it, it has a very pungent aroma and helps prevent gagging
  • By the end of the smoothie I wasn’t gagging, and I could actually get it down more easily
  • All that gagging was well worth the health benefits I know I’ll get from consuming the liver
  • I could potentially eat this once, maybe twice a week to garner the health benefits

 

Interested in the recipe? It’s very simple. Just raw, grass-fed beef liver, juice from a whole lemon, and a bit of water to smooth out the texture. I put mine in the food processor, but I think a blender would work better. Start with smaller pieces of liver, you don’t want to be drinking cups full of this stuff! This made enough for almost a full mug of smoothie. Also, the smell is terrible. When you’re done grinding it, you’re going to wonder why the hell you decided to do this in the first place. Always remember: THIS IS FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Bottoms up!

 

My Secret

I have a deep, dark secret that I feel compelled to share.

I’m terrified of exercising.

There, I said it.

If it weren’t for the diabetes, I would probably have no problem tackling vigorous workouts. In fact, I wish I could tackle vigorous workouts. Unfortunately, those kinds of workouts end up with my blood sugar getting much too high.

My father spent years telling me I need to be careful when it comes to exercise because I need watch out that my blood sugars don’t drop too low. My instinctual reaction, of course, was to ignore that fear and proceed without caution. I was an incredibly active kid, I used to swim, bike, run around and eat a typical SAD diet. Eventually I started to go through puberty, stopped exercising as much, and put on a bunch of weight. In fact, I put on so much weight one year that I went to see my doctor about it. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I pretty much gave up hope of ever losing weight again.

Anyway, now that I’ve learned all about paleo, and how food and exercise affects the body, I know it’s time to tackle my exercising fear.

“When you exercise muscles need energy and the quickest form of energy is glucose. Muscles will increase their sensitivity temporarily during exercise so that the same amount of insulin can bring more glucose into muscle cells so that they can work. However, if there is insufficient insulin the muscles will not be able to receive enough glucose from the blood, even if there is more than enough glucose in the blood. As a result, the muscles send a signal that they need more energy, which the body responds to by releasing more glucose. However, since there is still not enough insulin, blood glucose rises and the muscles continue to send the signal for more energy. This is why if your blood glucose is high before exercising, exercise can drive your blood glucose up rather than down, the reason is that there is not enough insulin.” Read more here.

In her book Practical Paleo,  Diane Sanfilippo recommends that  type 1 diabetics restrict hard workouts (I’m paraphrasing) and focus on slow gentle movements, like yoga and walking, and she’s completely right.

Here’s the thing, when I take an hour-long walk, my blood glucose levels get low, and I end up needing to eat something, and I have a hard time figuring out what it is that I should eat. I need something that will bring my blood sugars up, but not something that will push and keep them up (any form of refined, sugar-laden carbohydrate messes me up for the rest of the day and into the next morning).

Half a banana with some protein usually works, but not always. Also, it makes me feel really strange dosing myself with insulin (for the food I’m eating) when my blood sugars are already low.

The exercise makes me more responsive to my insulin, which affects the amount I give myself for all my other meals. But I have a hard time figuring it out! I can never be sure how much insulin I need to balance out my meals on days when I exercise. I already keep a tight watch on my blood sugars as it is, it gets even more difficult when I throw exercise into the mix.

A couple of years ago I went winter camping, and we snow shoed for over an hour to get into the camp. It was slow and steady exercise, and then the people I was with spent another couple of hours building a quinze. It was the perfect type of exercise for me, but then I spent the rest of the night with blood sugars in the 2’s. I ate so many packets of sugar (this was obviously pre-paleo!) that I thought I would gag on them. I thought for sure by morning my blood sugars would be sky high. Not even close. I woke up in the 2’s again! I gorged on food at breakfast and was finally able to get them up to a 4 and eventually 5. (The normal I strive for is around 4 or 5.)

All that to say, most exercise for me is coupled with intense blood glucose monitoring and a really hard balance between my food and insulin intake.

But I need exercise. I really want to lose weight.

As for The 21-Day Sugar Detox, I was really hoping to have lost some weight on it, even though they specifically say this is not a weight loss plan. I haven’t been able to lose much weight lately (as in, over a couple of months) and I’m starting to feel really discouraged. I know I need to start exercising to make this happen. I’m just not sure where to start from here…

That’s not even true. I know I need to start walking regularly. I would love to take yoga, but classes are expensive. Also an excuse, but a true excuse.

It’s all a balancing act that I still haven’t entirely figured out. I’ve been doing a LOT of self-experimentation though, and now I know I need to get my body moving, fear or not.

 

 

 

Day 15 of The 21-Day Sugar Detox

Doing this detox has taught me a number of things. One, I probably didn’t need to do this detox. I really don’t eat all that much sugar (due to the diabetes) but I’m going to finish it, because this is a year that I want to finish what I start. I’m glad I tried the detox though, because I do like to snack and this has definitely made me rethink what I’m eating.

I’ve always been an avid ingredient-reader, especially when I was a vegetarian, so that’s a habit I’ve always had.

I busted out my real camera so I can start taking real pictures of my food. I love food. I love whole, real, nourishing foods and I want to show that from now on here at my blog.

This detox has forced me to become more creative in the kitchen! I just love a challenge, and this detox has challenged me to come up with good food, not just for myself, but for my family. They didn’t do the detox with me, but I’m in charge of meals in this house, so they get what I serve. And it had better be good or I have 4 people letting me know!

I’m always on the lookout for good snacks that the kids can take to school that are nut and gluten free. Well I created an amazing recipe that I think fits the bill. I’ll be posting it later this week.

Lunch today was atlantic salmon, baked on a cedar plank. I served it over a bed of spinach and accompanied it with roasted brussel sprouts, and sauteed mushrooms and onions. It was so filling and delicious. The veggies were all cooked with copious amounts of coconut oil.

Salmon

I’m still full, and it raised my blood sugars a little more than I anticipated, which always disappoints me. However, with diligent monitoring, the sugars never get too high. Not to mention, since starting the detox, my average high has dropped by several points, which is always a good thing.

I have an endocrinologist appointment tomorrow and I’m excited to see what he says about my blood work. Last time I saw him, he put me on statins, that I chose not to take. I went strict paleo, then I started the detox not too long after, so we’ll see!

Dinner tonight is a baked pork chop and butternut squash soup. I served the kids some applesauce on their pork chops, with a side of scrambled eggs and a bowl of soup. Nothing terribly interesting, simple but delicious.

How are you doing with your detox?

 

21DSD Day 5 – Lunch

I made the most delicious lunch today. In my previous post, I mentioned how much I missed slathering mayo all over everything. Well, that definitely includes tuna! I found some already-cooked lobsters at the grocery store yesterday, so I shucked all the meat out of it, and mixed that with some canned tuna and the bacon mayo that I made this morning. I added some more dijon mustard, cucumbers, cilantro, green onions, and kalamata olives. I also sprinkled it with garlic powder and pepper.

I served it on romaine lettuce leaves as a wrap and it was so crunchy and satisfying!


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As for the detox, I’m feeling really good so far. I haven’t experienced any headaches. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well in the morning, but I think that’s because I had a severe case of hypoglycemia in the middle of the night. Anyway, it resolved itself by the evening and today I’m feeling great, lots of energy.

 

I’m still having a pretty severe eczema outbreak on my hands. It seems to be focused only on the back of my hands and, ironically, my nipples. Strange, but true. I’m really hoping it’s going to start clearing up soon, especially since I haven’t eaten any of my trigger foods. Other than that, I’m enjoying the food on the detox, I don’t find it all that different from my normal paleo eating. I guess the diabetes comes in handy for limiting the amount of sugar I eat. Woot!

Here are some pictures of my hands to help you get a better idea of what I’m dealing with. I’ve been slathering (I love that word) coconut oil on them to relieve the itching. I’m avoiding my steroid creams for the detox but if it gets any worse, I’ll consider using it.

eczema1

This is my right pinky and ring finger. It’s suffering the worst of it because that’s where my original eczema break out started when I ate eggs over the holidays.

 

eczema2

This is the back of my hand. It’s just red and itchy. I didn’t put any filters on these pictures so you could see it as ‘naturally’ as possible.

eczema3

This is also an original eczema break out spot from the holidays. Eggs and me aren’t friends anymore. This makes me sad because I could eat eggs all day. This is also a spot that’s become itchy and red since starting the detox. It was healing, as was my pinky finger, until I ate eggs New Year’s day. Everything else hasn’t stopped itching since the start of the detox. It’s still itching now. I wish it would stop and go away.

Enjoy your lunch!

AIP (Egg-Free) Bacon Mayo

Before going paleo, I used to slather mayo on everything. I love mayo. White, creamy, tangy, delicious! Since going paleo, I’ve found a few home made mayo recipes, and they were alright, but in the end I couldn’t eat them because they contained eggs. I’m on a mission to create a tasty mayo substitute that doesn’t contain eggs. I may have found it today.

In a food processor combine:

  • 1/2 cup bacon fat
  • All the cream from the top of can of coconut milk that has separated from the water. (Tip: Leave the can in the fridge overnight so it separates.)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of dijon mustard (I’m sure regular mustard would work well.)
  • The juice from half a lime
  • A little coconut water (left over from the can, in case the mixture is too thick.)
  • Salt to taste, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon

 

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This yields a tangy, delicious whipped mayo that I have yet to beat. It could easily be used as a dressing or even a sauce. I didn’t have lemons, but next time I’ll try it with half a lemon instead of the lime. You could also add equal parts garlic and onion powder with fresh (or dried) parsley to create a bacon ranch dressing! The possibilites are endless!
The best part? A creamy, full fat mayo with no eggs!

Yesterday, for lunch I made Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs! I got the recipe from Practical Paleo, which if you don’t own, you should. The recipes in there are incredible, and most of them can be used with the 21-Day Sugar Detox. This is the recipe that I followed, but I omitted the honey. I swapped out the paprika for garlic powder instead and I used dijon mustard.

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I also made myself a little tomato-free, green ‘salsa’ to go with it. I used half an avocado, half an english cucumber, chopped fresh cilantro, and a chopped green onion. I drizzled it with fresh squeezed lime and a little bit of salt. It was a really great complement to the mustard chicken.

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If you make the mayo, let me know what kind of different flavours you experiment with! Enjoy!

21DSD – Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

I had to go for blood work this morning, and it I wasn’t allowed eating anything for the previous 12 hours. Ugh. I also didn’t prepare myself anything to eat for when I got home, so I had to do it when I got home, double ugh. Anyway, now I’m starving and my butternut squash is almost done cooking. I’m hungry and I want to eat.

I’ve made myself some bacon. While it was cooking, I decided I needed more than just bacon, so I chopped some onions and started them cooking in the bacon fat. Then I decided I needed more than just onions and bacon and remembered that I have a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge and an idea was born!

I grabbed the butternut squash (a LIMITED food for the level 3 sugar detox, 1 cup/day) and tossed it in the pressure cooker.

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When it was ready, I took the 1 cup daily allotment and tossed it in with the onions and cooked until it was warm. Then I added a whole can of coconut milk and stirred it well until the squash was well incorporated. I also had some leftover chicken from a few nights ago, so I added some shredded chicken. I grabbed the bacon and crumbled it on top. I also added 2 ladle-fulls of beef  bone broth that I had simmering in my crock pot that needed to get used up. I was just working with what I had, so if you don’t have bone broth, you don’t have to use it. However, I would add salt in that case. The bone broth I used was almost cooked down to the bottom of the pot, so I knew it would be extra salty.

Also, if you want this to be have a more sauce-like texture, use half a can of coconut milk instead of the whole thing. This would also be good served as a sauce over spaghetti squash!

I topped it with fresh cilantro and a nice spritz of lemon. You could easily sub in dill or even poultry seasoning if you don’t have the fresh cilantro.

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This could easily be 2-3 meals. Because I skipped breakfast, though, and it’s getting later into the afternoon, I had a huge serving of it and only have enough for one more serving. Perfect for breakfast tomorrow, and it all has just one cup of butternut squash, so if it’s divided, even better.

As for the actual detox, I’ve been surprised so far at the amount of people talking about their headaches on the Facebook group. I’m not judging, I just find it surprising that so many people eat enough to sugar to warrant getting a headache when they stop. Then, today, I woke up with a really bad rash on the back of my hands and side of my face. It’s itchy and annoying but it feels like an eczema flare up – even though I haven’t eaten any of my trigger foods. I’m told this is normal, and that whenever we change the way we eat, our body will usually get worse before it gets better. I suppose it’s comforting to know that it will go away in a couple of days, but I’m afraid I might scratch my face off before that happens.

How are you doing with the detox?

The 21-Day Sugar Detox

Happy Healthy New Year!

I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions and I never have been. This year feels different, though. This year I’m making a commitment  to my health. I have the knowledge, and the desire to make the changes that I need to get myself fit.

Paleo has been keeping my blood sugars in fantastic shape (comparatively speaking to my pre-paleo days) but over Christmas I threw myself off the wagon while I was still wearing my seat belt. As in, I ate way too much junk, I drank way too much, and overall felt terrible. What better time to recommit, though, than for the New Year?

I decided to jump on board with my gang of favourite bloggers and try out the 21-Day Sugar Detox. I don’t really feel like it’s any different than what I normally eat as my ‘paleo’ template. Except I can’t give in to chocolate. Which is fine, because I’ve noticed lately that my favourite chocolate, Reese peanut butter cups, makes my eczema flare up anyway, so I’ll have to stop eating them regardless.

Diabetes is a tricky disease to work with, and I’m always trying my best to maintain normal blood sugar levels. I avoid most sugar anyway, so I don’t feel like this detox is going to hit me as hard as someone who drinks a lot of pop or is coming from a non-paleo eating template.

Over Christmas I drank regular pop, ate pizza, chocolate, candy, cookies, eggs, and tomatoes. My eczema on my fingers and arm flared up to the worst it’s been since starting paleo. My hand was cracked and weeping in multiple places, my arm broke out from above my elbow to just before my wrist. Obviously my blood sugars were out of control too. I’m terrified to think what was going on in my insides.

Anyway, all that to say that I think it’s time to get back to the basics.

No sugar. No packaged foods. No eggs. No nightshades. No goitrogens.

I have bad eczema reactions to eggs and tomatoes and paprika. I’m also trying to help my thyroid by avoiding broccoli, cabbage, pears and strawberries.

It may seem like there’s nothing out there that I can eat, but I’m choosing to look at what I can eat instead of what I can’t. I love that the 21-Day Sugar Detox give a very extensive list of all the things I can eat and some wonderful recipes.

With that, I will leave you with a delicious recipe for bone broth that I’ve been drinking almost since winter started.

You will need:

A couple bones (I get mine from the butcher, just ask for soup bones), or the leftover bones from a chicken carcass

2 TBLS apple cider vinegar

1 TBLS sea salt

Toss all ingredients in a crock pot and fill to the top with water. Cook on low heat over night. I like to cook mine for a couple of days before I dig in and enjoy. I will also sometimes add onions and garlic for more flavour, not that it needs any, but I love all the different things you can add! If you’re going to keep it cooking for a couple of days, like I do, take the veggies out after 8-12 hours so they don’t turn bitter. Sometimes I add cold meat, like left over turkey, or chicken when I’m eating it. You could even use left over ground meat. Nutritious and delicious!

I plan on keeping up with regular posts because I feel like this information is important to people, and a lot of people have been asking about my recipes lately.

I hope you all have a Healthy, Delicious New Year!