Saturday, March 01, 2014

Extending "From Scratch" Personal Challenge.

I have decided to extend the challenge through the end of April - same rules as before.  Let's see how this goes!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fermented Cod Liver Oil - and Sciatica relief - who knew?

So, I have been doing this from scratch thing for the past month and a half, starting last week - I added taking Fermented Cod Liver oil every morning with my coffee.  (I will get back to the coffee later...).

Now, some back story (get it - "back story"? ah... never mind - I don't like puns much either), I have been suffering off and on with Sciatica and lower back pain for the past 18 or so years.  In the last two years it has gotten worse - to the point where I can't actually sleep on my back due to the pain (must sleep on my side or tummy).  Anyway, in the last couple of days I noticed that my back didn't hurt.  Not even a little bit.  I used to need to slowly kneel on the floor to get the cat food dishes and fill them in the morning, but all of a sudden I can just stoop down.  It's a miracle.

First I thought - "hey this healthy eating is working wonders - maybe it's the weight loss..." but honestly I have only lost about 14 lbs so far (which is amazing and wonderful - but still...).  Then I thought... "humm what else have I changed???".  And it came to me - I have started taking fermented cod liver oil.  Huhh... could that be it?

So off to google I go - and I google "fermented cod liver oil back pain" - and guess what I find?  Cod liver oil is anti-inflammatory, and is known to help relief some types of back pain.

Why is this the first I have heard of this?  The Chiropractor never mentioned that this might help, nor did my doctor.  Unreal.

Oh, on the coffee - I have been trying out taking 1tbs of virgin coconut oil with a small amount of grass fed butter in my morning cup of coffee every day.  I have 3 cups like this, the amount of calories added is substantial - but the side affect is that I am not hungry at work, no never need to nibble...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

More positive affect from this "from scratch" eating.  Looks like I have lost about 2 inches at my waist.  I am now in the "normal risk" group for heart disease - using waist measurement as an indicator.  So - yeah me!

On Friday I had the urge for nacho chips and salsa.  This then required that I make salsa (chunked tomatoes, dehydrated (deseeded) hot peppers, various spices, and dehydrated garlic - (lots of this), I pretty much used the recipe as inspiration and did not follow it.  Put this in a mason jar to sit overnight.

Then make the chips.

I used a simple whole wheat tortilla recipe from Bread Beckers, cut the tortilla's into 6 pieces each.  I then did an experiment - fried 1/2 of them in Red Palm Oil, and baked the rest at 450 deg for about 10 (ish) mins.  I found that the baked ones were more "cracker like", and tasted similar to the fried ones. Since it is much simpler to bake the chips than bother with frying them - from now on - baked it is.

My next experiment will be corn tortilla chips - but in researching it - I find that you have to process the corn first by cooking/soaking in "pickling lime", then you can use the corn for the chips.  I don't have organic field (dent) corn, but will try this with the organic popcorn and will see if that works OK.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Well January has passed and we are rushing into February.  The "from scratch" tryout was a little difficult as I was traveling for two weeks during January (first to Vegas, then to Iceland).  Even with that bit of diversion, an interesting side affect of this eating method is that I am losing weight at a good clip, originally it was about 0.5 lbs a day, but it has slowed to about 2 lbs a week.  Not bad for no real effort (over making all my food from scratch).  Total loss (to date) is approx. 12 lbs.

Things I have done when eating out:

  1. Don't stress about eating out.
  2. If you want a hamburger, just don't eat the bun (usually white bread with no nutritional advantage). 
  3. Have a beer with your food, if you want.  Some splurging does not affect overall health.
  4. Desert is fine, but you will discover that since you don't eat very much sweet food - you can't actually finish desert.
Changes to my daily routine:
  1. I make a huge pot of stew on Sunday - this will cover lunches for *at least* two weeks.
  2. Dehydrated apples make great snack food.
  3. Same with raw almonds (soak first in salted water, then dehydrate)
  4. Breakfast is Bob's Red Mill Muesli, a little cream, and soaked in hot water.
  5. Coffee - home roasted coffee, some cream and coconut oil (1 TBS per cup) - blend together.  I have two cups like this, and one with just cream.
  6. Supper is a glass of home-made kefir.
The other thing I have been doing (as time permits) is using my rowing machine 30 min at a time.  I get the Concept2 Workout of the Day delivered via email each day, and if I have time after work I do that before bed.  Lately I have been getting in about 2-3 workouts a week - as it's been crazy busy at work.


Monday, January 13, 2014

13 days down....

It’s been 13 days since I started this resolution to only have food from scratch for January and February. In that time I have reaffirmed what I already knew:
  1. It takes just about the same amount of effort to cook from scratch as to use processed foods.
  2. You do need some staples, and some extra equipment to make it easier.
  1. Since I grind my own flour - a grain mill is essential. This will let you keep all the nutrients in the wheat berry, and the flour is very fresh.
  2. A good stand mixer - may I recommend the Ankarsrum Stand Mixer. This can handle anything I throw at it.
  3. A food processor OR blender.
  4. On the want to have list - a Dehydrator, and Vacuum sealer.
  1. I have a variety of bulk grain - Hard Red Wheat, Soft White Wheat, Spelt, Kamut, Buckwheat, Barley etc. Since i also process my own flour - I can use this grain in a variety of ways - as flour, as a whole grain, etc.
  2. Raw Honey.
  3. Olive Oil.
  4. Sea Salt
  5. Dehydrated Cane Sugar
  6. Add extras as needed for the food you like.
One good thing about me is that I don’t mind eating the same meal every day for lunch. This means that on Saturday (or Sunday) I can make up a large batch of Stew, put it in containers for the week and I am done. I also make up about 2 loafs of bread for the week.

The dehydrator has been useful to make dehydrated apple slices - a really nice sweet and tasty snack. I have also been using it to dry out pumpkin puree and sweet potato puree for future use in bread.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rules for my New Years resolution

I thought I should put the rules out there for the “From Scratch” challenge - I am currently planing on two months, but with the option of going the entire year:
  1. All food must be made from scratch.
  2. Milk, must be organic, local and Whole.
  3. Eggs, must be from a local source.
  4. When possible - veggies and fruit should be local. It’s winter so that will be a bit tough right now, so non-local is OK.
  5. Meat (not counting the existing chicken breasts in the freezer) has to also be from a local source.
  6. Scratch is defined as the ingredients used are closest to “real” food. Should be things that your great grandmother would recognize as ingredients.
  7. Examples: no commercial flour, no peanut butter etc, absolutely no hydrogenated oils.
  8. There are some exceptions: it is preferred to make pasta from scratch, but, using what is currently in the house is allowed, this also goes for pasta sauce. I have one pot of Dijon mustard, that is allowed (will make it from scratch when i run out), as well as the Marmite (can’t make from scratch, will continue to get it from the UK). Anything that is home preserved is allowed as well.
  9. One meal is allowed to be eaten out (per week).
Yesterday I spend a bit of time going through the pantry, fridge and spice cabinet - either throwing out, or putting in the donation bin, preprocessed food. I did miss the pasta sauce - so that’s now allowed, when it’s gone, i need to make it from scratch.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's been awhile...

One thing I have been experimenting with is cooking. I have discovered a few of things:

1) making pancakes is simple - why there is a mix you can purchase in the store is a mystery to me.

2) I just made my own powdered ginger. Simplest thing ever, dehydrate a ginger root and blend it.

3) It takes just as much work to make something from scratch as it does from a mix. With that in mind - why spend the $$ on the mix?

For 2014 New Years - my resolution is to eat (from scratch) everything, for the entire month of January and February. This will not include meals out of the house though, but everything at work and at home.