It Has Not Been Easy To Remove Artificial Sweeteners From Our Diet

This Is A Readers Request Update:

It’s been almost two full months since my husband has removed all artificial sweeteners from his diet in hope to find relief from his apparent IBS symptoms. To see the initial start of this process read here. Today I would like to discuss the progress and how much our life has changed. As with any big change it is often easier to do as a couple than just one person. For the most part this is what we have done….completely removed artificial sweetener from our diets.

The biggest thing we needed to do was go through the items we already had in the house that contained something besides real sugar. Gosh, this was not easy and I feel we are pretty healthy eaters. However, my husband did find he was consuming much more than he thought in the form of artificial sweeteners. From something as straight forward(or though we thought) as cottage cheese to his love for candy…they all contained something besides sugar.

We needed to address his love for candy pronto. He loves his candy…..mints, chocolate, sour or sweet candy…he loves it all. And every single candy he loved was tainted with something on the no no list….and believe me the list is long….very long. So we searched hard, did some fast researching, and actually drove two hours to a store to purchase some candy made with real sugar. Yes, crazy maybe….but everyone deserves a treat here and there. We did find some great alternatives and actually now he prefers these over the old.

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Next, I needed to examine our sauces and spices. Oh my goodness, sauces are almost all artificial sweetener and it literally made me ill to know over half of what we used for condiments was tainted with this stuff. So we tossed, dumped, and went back to some of my own mixtures as a permanent fix in our diets now. From BBQ sauce to sloppy joe sauce, everything we commonly used needed to be homemade.

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Salad dressings are all made from scratch now.

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We have been experimenting with spice mixes both store bought and homemade and have found a few favorites.

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Eating out is simply a challenge. Without being able to read every ingredient in every menu item it is often not worth the risk.

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Pizza is now made all homemade with crust that is free of artificial sweetener and we have been very careful about choices at restaurants when we need to eat out. Like the week he traveled for work for instance. Only one evening did he feel bloated and sick which is actually great considering I imagined worse.

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When we are out and about I do my best to pack a picnic type lunch so we do not have to chance a mistake at a restaurant and struggle to make healthy choices on the road.

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Dessert bought from a store is completely out of the question. And since I do not enjoy baking, much less have the time to bake on a regular basis, this will be a very special treat to see dessert at our house. However, once in a great while it rains which means we can’t go outside and I get the urge to create a sweet treat for my family like this strawberry rhubarb crisp I recently made.

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He is learning to read every label on every item he consumes. I am learning to find new favorite products at the grocery store and thankfully shopping is getting a bit faster than it first was when this all began.

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He is also eating much more fresh, clean food items than ever before and is feeling better than ever. Fresh is best. And believe me, just because the product says all natural or organic does not mean it is artificial sweetener free….this was shocking to us both!!!!

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As a result he is feeling better than he has in two years. His bloating only occurs when he eats something he shouldn’t and does not catch the sweetener used. He is again enjoying vegetables and as a bonus we have both lost weight from this big change in our diets. If you find yourself bloated, miserable, and just plain tired of dealing with abdominal pain and discomfort and have found no relief, try removing artificial sweeteners from your diet. The improvement was almost immediate(48 hours) and you may be surprised to feel the same results.

 

 

Time For A Good Ole’ Brain Dump

Where did May go? I seriously feel as if it just began and we are almost to the end, ready to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, and begin summer. I would never say I am not ready for summer but this year I have an assortment of things I want to get on the calendar but have not quite pinned any certain dates down quite yet.

A lot has been happening around here which could be adding to my craziness…..new jobs mean new schedules, new eating restrictions mean careful menu planning, a new grocery store mean a girls date night needs to be set to check this out, camping plans, kayaking/SUP plans, gym visits have been pushed aside for exercise outdoors, new summer recipes being run through in my head but rarely make it to the dinner table, and so on. Yeh, I am a bit overwhelmed….add work, sleep, and yard work to the mix and well, you could say I am a bit stressed. However, I know summer only last a few short months and when winter comes along I have all the time in the world to catch up so I have to say…..bring it on….I am so ready!

First, lets talk new job. Our son started his new job and is really enjoying it so far. You all know he is working on becoming a professional photographer and this new job is right up his alley. Yes, I am sure there will be some hiccups along the way but all in good time things will work out. And, as a bonus, we may be able to get back to river kayaking easier since he should have one day off every weekend. Without three people and two vehicles it is next to impossible to kayak a river and have a chase vehicle for the end.

New diet restrictions have come into play here when after so long and no results you start to become your own medical advocate. Two years ago after receiving a diagnosis of IBS regarding stomach issues that my husband was having and seeing no results as far as improvement, I finally did some researching myself. (Especially since you all know how I feel about the medical profession in regards to taking 3 years to find my issue when I saw numerous specialists….I no longer have a whole lot of trust in doctors.) I read numerous articles, research documents, and testimonies from patients regarding the issues artificial sweeteners added to our foods can cause a body. After some thought and label reading of some of the food my husband loves to eat…..I was mortified to say the least. I then approached him, we discussed it, and he said he would try anything, so we kicked this plan into action immediately. And now I am here to tell you that in some cases IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) may be a definite diagnosis but in other cases it is simply a case of BS(Bull Shit)!!!! He has been on this no artificial sweetener diet for three weeks and is a completely different person!!!!! He has lost so much belly bloat it is amazing…..I wish we would have measured his stomach before this all took place since it’s simply unbelievable. We are trying to figure out how his work travel will allow this type of diet since eating out is sometimes a challenge but I am confident we nailed this one and he is on his way to feeling better once again. If you have been diagnoses with IBS and are not seeing your symptoms improve with diet and/or medication….give this a try….you may be happily surprised. He sure was and he has even started enjoying some of the foods that use to almost kill him like sprouts again.

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Now, this has me so completely excited it is really quite funny when you think about it…..we are getting a new grocery store here in my hometown. Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market is a natural and organic grocery store and apparently it is coming here and is almost ready to open. I know….how did I not know this??? Well, for #1. I do not travel on Oneida St. unless I have to which is where this is opening and #2. I do not follow events that happen here in Green Bay since I rarely stay in Green Bay to do anything I consider fun. Which will then make you ask…then how did I hear about it? I actually had to travel Oneida Street one evening and my goodness, there are like three new restaurants, this new grocery store, and a few new clothing/shoe venues I had no idea where even being built much less already opened. It’s very touristy(which I tend to avoid) in this area but I will be one of the first to brave the crowds in July to check this grocery store out. We have even already tossed out a girls night suggestion to check it out all together….I will let you all know what I think when it opens. Until then….have you ever been to one yourself…..tell me what you think?

Outdoor exercise has completely taken over our lives and I have not been to the gym on a regular basis in weeks. Here and there is the best I can do since it’s time to start making paddling weekend plans, SUP plans, and I am hiking every chance I get. I am always ok with this since the membership is super cheap and I spend all of winter in the gym. Which means, come summer I have no guilt what so ever about missing gym workouts. Besides the outdoors has so much more to offer.

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I have so many summer time recipes floating around in my head its ridiculous. However, getting them to the dinner table is somewhat of a challenge since I spend most of my days outside with my daycare children and most of my weekends away from home having some fun of my own. Although, once in a while it rains and this gives me time to actually prepare some of these recipes floating up there in my head. Recently, I made an orzo pasta salad with wild picked asparagus(thank you honey), kalamata olives, feta cheese, garlic, and smoked salmon. Then I whipped up a quick lemon-dill vinaigrette to drizzle over this. Oh yum, it was a keeper for sure.

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That should do it for now. Anything you are excited about you wish to share? Leave a comment as I would love to hear it.

 

A Great Ending To Finish Off The Week….Minus One Snake

Strange week for me for sure. All the stars aligned and left me with Friday off….super cool in every way possible. So what did I do, well, I do what I always do, I went and had the best sweat session ever in the wee morning hours at the gym Friday morning. You all know I LOVE to work out in the morning and it leaves me with SO MUCH ENERGY the rest of the day it’s crazy. After this I came home, showered, and surprised my husband by freeing up Friday night by going grocery shopping during the day instead of the evening as we always do. I even made a trip to Aldi’s here in Green Bay. Someplace I really need to visit more often but just never do and it’s a shame. I could save so much money I know, but I dislike their hours and I can’t get everything I need there either.  So to normally shop two grocery stores would be a huge hassle for me.

My knee is back to almost 100% so it was back to full workouts all week. It was a bit of a crazy week with my husbands birthday one day which meant we were gone out one evening.  One day we had gorgeous spring like weather which we spent all day outside enjoying, doing yard work and taking walks. Which then left me completely exhausted come evening time. Just how I love feeling after a great day outdoors.So my workouts were all over the place but I still fit it what I could.

Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and legs

Monday: home:1 mile walk with my kiddos, 30 minute recumbent bike, total body weights, 3 mile evening walk with my hubby

Tuesday: 2 mile walk and a lot of yard work

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike, arms and shoulder weights, stretching

Friday: gym: 45 minute elliptical, TRX suspension trainer, and stretching

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical and stretching

outdoors: 3.1 mile hike

Ending the week with an nice spring mud hike through an area waterfowl preserve near us. I love this place, they have so many gorgeous hiking trails and its minutes from our home.

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The true sign for me that spring has arrived is these slithery creatures start making a comeback. Going into the hike I figured it was still way to early to see any….apparently I was wrong. We came across this one just off the trail….and he was not moving all that quickly since it was still cold so I actually calmed myself(and used my zoom) to capture my first ever living snake picture.

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Braised Cauliflower

I love my vegetables and could never have imagined preparing cauliflower so easily and then also getting my husband to eat it with me. This in itself is a small miracle which makes this recipe a winner. So I thought I would share it with all of you.

Ingredients Needed

1 head of cauliflower

1 pint of tomatoes….grape, cheery, heirloom, whatever you prefer or is available

1 tsp of salt

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2  large sweet onion, chunked

dash red pepper flakes

1/4 cup water

pint of fresh sliced mushrooms

4 whole, peeled garlic cloves

Directions:

Wash and peel the leaves from the bottom of the cauliflower head leaving the core in tact but trimmed close to the head itself. Set aside.

Chunk up your onion and slice your mushrooms if they are whole.

Peel your garlic cloves.

Wash and slice your tomatoes in half or if they are large chunk them into large pieces.

Heat your dutch oven and pour in the olive oil. Place your cauliflower head into the pot and spread the onions, tomatoes, garlic cloves and mushrooms around the sides. Pour in the water, and add the red pepper flakes and salt.

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Cover and let this cook on low/medium for 15 minutes. Return and give it a quick stir and baste the cauliflower head with some of the juices you will now find in the bottom of the pot.

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Recover and cook for another 15 minutes or until a butter knife can be easily inserted into the middle of the cauliflower head.

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When its tender, use a spoon to break apart the head and serve over rice, pasta, soba noddles or just as a side dish. We had ours over soba noodles topped with a little shredded parmesan cheese and crushed croutons and it was fabulous.

Enjoy!!!!

Ugga Mugga…..Another Long Week On My Own

This week was much like last week in that I was again, on my own all week. Hubby and I said goodbye to each other again Monday afternoon so he could catch his flight and I could face the week ahead on my own. Thankfully this does not happen too often with his job, but when it does it really rocks our world here at home. We rarely do anything apart, he is usually always home at the same time everyday and all my daycare children know when this time is, and honestly, it just makes life a bit crazy trying to work around when we can find the time to chat in between busy schedules. Add in a time difference (if any) depending on where he is compared to me here at home and it can get a little difficult…. I always pray I am the earlier time so I can go to bed at a normal hour.

Anyhow, like last week, I did what I wanted when I wanted to do it. Here is the outcome of my workouts this week:

Sunday: 1.5 mile walk

Monday: 3 mile walk together before dropping him at the airport, 30 minutes elliptical at the gym

Tuesday: gym:30 minutes elliptical and stretching

Wednesday:home: floor weight routine and 30 minute recumbent bike

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Thursday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, upper body weights, and stretching

Friday: rest

Saturday: rest…but a ton of big household chores…..scrub carpets, do loads and loads of laundry, and just hang out with my hubby who arrived home finally.

Meals were easy peasy since, for the most part, it was just me.  It sure makes grocery shopping much easier when its less mouths to feed. Here’s a peak at the meals from the week.

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Sunday: baked ham, roasted brussel sprouts, scalloped potatoes(family dinner)

Monday: philly cheese steak brat, sauteed perogies with spinach and bacon.

Tuesday: chicken and cheese quesadilla with stuffed poblano peppers(dinner with our son home)

Wednesday: sushi

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Thursday: bruschetta personal pizza

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Friday: out

Saturday: mom’s day off….fend for yourself

The week as a whole….I would say was pretty good. I love being back at the gym. Renovations there are almost complete and I am pretty excited to hear we will be getting kettle bells soon. I love kettle bells and wish I had more at home, so this is something I am really looking forward to having access to at the gym.

Life lately has been many unanswered questions…however, the one thing I am sure of is that winter is getting closer to making an arrival and I am preparing myself the best way I know how….I have a whole tub of hot chocolate, my Christmas list has an electric heated blanket on it, and I have stocked up on lip moisturizer….I literally have tubes of this stuff everywhere! The joys of frigid temperatures makes me want to cringe!!!!!

 

 

 

A Taste Testing Disaster….Among Other Things

A week ago we purchased some highly recommended products that apparently are great on the trail for backpacking (according to fellow backpackers). We got a nice assortment of cheese, meats and snacks.

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This past weekend we decided to have a taste testing lunch to make sure we liked everything before buying more for our upcoming Superior Hiking Trail trip. And let me just say, thank goodness we did. The only items we bought that were edible, in my opinion, were the hummus, coffee beans, and I am sure the salted caramels. Although, we did not try these yet and technically, did not buy these for the trail…..because in all honesty they wont last that long anyhow:)

I made sure not to refrigerate these items since we will not be able to do so on the trail either. I plated the meats, different cheese flavors, and added some olives and peppers to the mix. While cutting the cheese I was a bit leary already since it really felt like Velveeta(which I despise). Although, I had to keep an open mind and try it.

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Well, needless to say, I made something else for lunch and my husband was able to eat a bit more of this test plate but also gave into to making something different for lunch. The ending result was our son tried nothing and the entire plate went in the trash can.

So much for trying what others suggest. I think we have done just fine with our choices of trail food in the past while hiking some very long and difficult trails. This makes me believe we will be sticking to our normal trail menu. I am a true believer that you don’t change what works. For more on what our normal trail menu consists of click here.

Moving on…..did you hike any trails for National Trails Day? We did. Originally, we thought we would be picking up our son’s new kayak for him but since the delivery has been delayed we were home. The weather was not the greatest but not as bad as predicted either, so we headed to a local trail for a few miles. Add this to our 52 Hike trail log and we have almost accomplished our goal. Here is a few pics from our hike.

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There is just something about the serenity of a trail lined with wildflowers or even colorful weeds that can put your mind at peace. Add in some sights of wildlife and a rainbow and the world just looks a bit brighter.

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As for the rest of my weekend, it was a revamping of sorts. I said goodbye to two of my daycare kiddos on Friday after a 4.5 year relationship with them. They are relocating and moving on to another state. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do in this profession but it eventually always has to be done. Which means today I start a new child and this is always exciting and a bit overwhelming for all involved. This little guy is only a few months old, so I needed to dig out some baby supplies that have been packed away for awhile and have my husband take down a toddler bed, to then put up an infant pack and play. And since I know this week will ultimately be an adjusting period for everyone, I did some meal preparations so meal time after a long day goes a bit smoother. I am a firm believer in healthy meals for the week and meal prep on the weekends makes this so much easier to accomplish during the week.

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With my veggies and fruit cleaned and cut, hard boiled eggs made, and menu posted on the frig, I feel ready to face the week head on.

 

Do you meal prep on the weekends?

What is your favorite backpacking trail food?

 

 

What I Am Loving Lately

I find myself starting to enjoy each day a little more as the weather starts to heat up little by little here in Green Bay. From finally seeing leaves on trees to gorgeous colors starting to be planted in planters around homes and businesses. There is something about color that just adds happiness to life. With that being said, here are a few things I am loving lately.

Dinners outside again: My husband and I will often share dinner together outside on the porch in the warm months of the year. We have begun doing this again on the days that are nice and I am so grateful for this time.

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Coffee Nut M&M’s: OMG….they are my favorite all time M&M.

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Our Bugaboo Camp Cooking Pot set: I could not believe this when I found it at a garage sale one morning walking the neighborhood with my kiddos. I almost had a stroke when I saw the $3 price tag (normally $70 brand new retail) and opened it up to find it new, not scratched, and never used for that matter. It will no doubt be the best thing I find at a garage sale this season.

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Palmer’s Coconut Oil Lotion: As I mentioned in the past, my hair and skin have drastically changed since surgery back in January. And since I found my new favorite hair moisturizer, I was on a mission to find a lotion that would offer my skin some relief. I gave this coconut oil lotion a try after talking with a friend and have been very happy with the results so far. It not in any way greasy which is a BIG thing for me. It smells wonderful….like the tropics and really seems to moisturize well.

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Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut Bar: After a long walk one day I stopped at a local drug store for a quick errand and noticed these by the checkout. I grabbed one since I was hungry and this sounded yummy. I don’t typically do bar type snacks unless on a trail or paddling a river but this just sounded perfect. After opening it and giving it a try, I think I may have a new favorite bar because it was soooo good.

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Sriracha Aioli: With grilling season upon us I am always experimenting with ways to liven up burgers, chicken and other meats. I picked this up in Door County, WI on a day trip with some friends and cannot wait to return for another bottle. We have tried it on chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, and its fabulous in black bean burger wraps. It really adds a kick of flavor and spice.

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This inspirational saying:  I recently saw this while shopping and thought of how much our life has changed in the last few months. It’s exactly how I feel and I am working very hard to feel like I am living right side up again. All in good time….right

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That shall do it for now.

If you want to share something you are enjoying lately, feel free and do so.

Since tomorrow is going to be one of those crazy busy days I will end by wishing everyone a safe and very happy Memorial Day weekend………….