Sunday, August 12, 2012

End of the diet and a new recipe

I received such love and support this past week for my elimination diet - so thank you everyone!  You all gave me some great recipe ideas, and even though the diet is over and I'm slowly re-introducing things, I'll definitely still take your suggestions, recipes, and other ideas to heart.

If nothing else, I've learned that I can give things up if I need to (never been one for dieting, I prefer the 'exercise your butt off' method).

Bottom line is I am 'mildly to moderately allergic' to chili pepper, black pepper, and garlic, in descending order.

I'll ask my doctor about scallions and grains of paradise as substitutes, and they're working on referring me to an allergist.  Hopefully he or she will say something like "Take two of these before having garlic and you'll never have a reaction again!"

 A girl can dream, right?

I do want to share a pretty kick-butt recipe I just threw together yesterday for lunch today and again tomorrow.  Quinoa salad with goat cheese and veggies!

Quinoa (cold)
Goat cheese
One whole tomato
Half a cucumber
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Sea Salt

Its delicious.  I've found that I really do like quinoa, and really want to keep eating it... just, you know, with other stuff, not just steamed broccoli!

I guess I'll need to find something else to blog about now that I can't complain that I'm not drinking coffee or I can't find enough different foods to eat!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kale Chips = Goldfish?

A very sweet college friend (thanks Colleen!) sent me a link to this blog, The Particular Kitchen.  Molly's recipes look really good, and absurdly healthy... but they all have things I can't eat.  I'm so limited right now its just sad.  I mean, when the only condiments you can put on your food are sea salt, olive oil, and brown rice syrup, you're rather limited.

I made kale chips as soon as I got home from the doctor's office on Monday, after a trip to Trader Joe's (I figured Joe would have more of the things I could eat than our local Stop and Shop, which is still very much geared to the neighborhood Irish population).

Kale chips will be my saving grace - they add texture to my day, and have a really interesting flavor.  If I can't have goldfish, I'll have kale chips.

This recipe is not at all exact - so feel free to adjust.

Kale (duh)
Olive Oil

Rip kale into bite-sized pieces
Remove the veins (I took out the bigger ones, the smaller ones were fine)
Place kale on baking sheet
Drizzle with oil (I used about 4 large spoonfuls per baking sheet)
Sprinkle salt
Toss by hand
Bake - I think I did 5-7 minutes at about 475 - they got nice and crisp, even thought the recipe I found called for a much longer time.

And enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No-No Cup of Joe

I write to you while "enjoying" a dinner of quinoa and broccoli, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.  I used the 'al dente' method of quinoa-cooking... boil water, THEN add quinoa.  The mushy method heats the water and the quinoa in tandem.  The things you learn about a no-fun diet.

The most difficult part of today was the lack of coffee.  Sure, I had green tea in the morning... afternoon... and late afternoon.  But it just wasn't coffee.  There's something about that wonderful black stuff that zings your eyes open and makes you ready for the day.  I don't feel human until my first cup of coffee, so 4:30 PM looked like me falling asleep at my work computer.

I also had my first workout on the diet this morning.  I was so hungry from not eating enough the day before that I got dizzy walking to the gym.  I had a handful of rice puffed cereal and took it easy.  Very easy.  My 27 minutes on the stairmaster were a joke at level 7 - I usually start at 9 and end at 17.  It felt like the first workout after a stomach bug... but I did it!  

I suppose it is good for me to decrease my dependence on coffee.  It was a miracle that I didn't get a caffeine headache.  I'm sure when this is all done I'll go back to coffee, but maybe my intake will go down to one cup a day, rather than several.  And green tea isn't so bad.  The only herbal teas I like involve fruit, so those are out.

So tomorrow, like today, I'll wake up, have some iced green tea, and at least be thankful that my body is de-toxing, slowly but surely.

The No-Fun Diet

I'm writing this post because I need someone to vent to and my guess is that my fiance is going to get rather tired of my whines by the time this whole 'experiment' is over.

I'm on a diet.  The first 'real' diet that is doctor-driven and being stuck to OR ELSE in my adult life.  And it is no fun.

It all started with allergic reactions - I'd have them, mildly, from time to time, after eating something.  Somethings.  Different things, and not always a reaction after getting the exact same dish at the exact same takeout place.  But the reactions began coming much more frequently over the past week and a half.  This past weekend included THREE, with the last one involving an ER visit.


Onto the doctor, where I'd started a few allergy tests last Thursday, to see what we could see.  Turns out I'm allergic to garlic.

That's right folks.  The part-Italian girl who loves ethnic food of any sort is allergic to GARLIC.  Please cue the violins so I can make my pity party more musical.

So, the doctor suggested what any good doctor would - an elimination diet.  I'll go ahead and list for you the things I CAN eat:
Rice Cakes
Rice Cereal
Almond Milk
Plain fish
Olive Oil
Pears (gross)
Green beans
Swiss Chard
Collard Greens
White beans
Sweet Potatoes
 Green and herbal teas

That's pretty much it.  Nothing additional - no herbs, spices, flavors, sugar (I'm allowed brown rice syrup as a sweetener), and no coffee.

In/conveniently, this of course happens a month before my wedding, so I'll look fabulous, but I've been losing weight just fine on my own, without any real dietary sacrifices, so that isn't as much of a bonus as one might think.

I'll use this blog to kvetch and re-live the bland food fun that I have.  How many nights in a row can I eat quinoa?  Are apples more interesting to eat off the core or in slices?  Is white bean hummus still tasty without garlic or tahini?  We'll find out!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Monty Python Day

Apparently, today, May 10, is International Monty Python Day.

Not to brag anything, but my parents' good taste included Monty Python, so I was familiar with those dudes at a young and impressionable age.  John Cleese has always been my fave.  He looks so proper, but is just so silly.
I like to say that I won my man over by quoting Monty Python on the first date.

We were at an adorbs tourist trap restaurant in the North End, Memorial Day 2007 (egads, has it really been 5 years?)  Witty banter went back and forth, and at one point I quoted, "I'm not dead yet!"

B laughed, then said, "Wait... you know that's Monty Python, right?"

"Obviously I do.  Why else would I have quoted it?"

B responded, "Well, a lot of girls don't know Monty Python."

My retort: Well, this one does!

And see folks?  We're getting married in less than 4 months!  (One day less, to be precise.)  So single ladies, be sure to quote Monty Python on the first date.  It works!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I love the 90s

Our local alternative radio station, 92.9, hosts a free concert every year.  They call it Earth Fest, although its usually held about a month after Earth Day (Boston's weather in April can be rather unpredictable).

Earth Fest pretty much kicks off summer for us.  I mean, we had St. Patrick's Day in March beginning tourist season, then Marathon Monday (excuse me... Patriot's Day) when it was a scorching beach day.  But mid to late May begins our unofficial summer, especially with Memorial Day weekend just around the corner.

This year's Earth Fest has my 15-year-old self's heart yearning and burning to go.  The featured bands include Eve 6 and Third Eye Blind.

A long, long time ago I went to see those two bands at Southern CT State University in New Haven.  I went with two girls from high school, but of course since we couldn't drive, there was a parent or two with us.  Young Clare was only able to sit and watch the crowd surfing, and check out the adorbs college men from afar.  I did manage to buy an Eve 6 tank top, which I then wore underneath my father's flannel shirts.  I was a little slow to catch onto the grunge trend.

Third Eye Blind was my very, very favorite band in the first half of high school (before they got too poppy and I switched my loyalties to DMB).  In fact, Semi-Charmed Life just came onto my iPod this morning during my circuit training at the gym.  I used to bring my old school boom box into the bathroom and take bubble baths while I listened to their first CD in its entirety.  Oh, those were the days...

Now how can I maneuver myself to the very front of the stage for this show, and tell the band members how much they shaped my musical tastes?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Flings

One of my favorite things about spring is the simple brightening up of the world.  It is lighter, and lighter for longer.  People open up their coats and show themselves off to the world (and of course there is Boston Skirt Day, which I participate in yet roll my eyes when men 'enjoy' it overtly.)  I have quite a few favorite things for spring at the moment, fashion wise AND other-wise.
1. Tom's Ballet Flats
I posted about Tom's impending ballet flats here and then received them as my birthday pressie (thanks, B!)  They're wonderful.  I did have to return my normal size 8s and get 7s.  I could have gone to 7.5, but everything I heard about Tom's told me to order them a size smaller because they'll stretch.  The size 8s were so large that I thought 7s would be perfect, and after a little more than a week of breaking them in, they totes are!
To remind y'all, here's a nice pic:
Hello, friends.
I have the dusty pink color... not great for city walking, they're already a little dirty, so later I'll google "Keeping Toms clean" and hopefully will find something of value.

2. New tote!
I'm linking to this tote as well, so y'all can buy it right away.  Seriously, don't wait.  A mere $12 for a ginormous, super cute tote.  I can carry EVERYTHING I need for the gym and work, and then some.
"That store I'm too old to shop at" (Forever 21) had loads of colors.  At first I was hesitant that the bottom was pleather rather than canvas, but now that I think about it, I can put it on the floor of the T, or on the pavement, and not worry about it getting it dirty... wipes right off!  Bonus!

3. Essie nail polish
I'm not great at polishing my fingernails, and whenever I take it off my nails feel  unhealthy for weeks.  However, toe polish is fair game.  I recently discovered Essie and can't get enough of this coral color
 Now to find some new sandals... all of mine are 100% worn out (yes, I walk through shoes.)

4. Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus Mint anything
We had the battle of the soap in our ladies room at work a few weeks ago - the management company switched soaps, which really just seemed like they were instructing the cleaners to water it down.  Not so, said the cleaners.  Added to that, they don't fill the soaps every night (or every few nights) and sometimes there will be soap in one of three dispensers.

So some wonderful soul brought in hand soap.  Then another wonderful soul did the same.  Until finally, a SUPER wonderful soul brought in Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus Mint hand soap.
Readers, it was gone in two weeks... because that's all we ladies want to use.  It smells so fresh and clean on your hands, and is a perfectly compliment to my Trader Joe's lavender hand lotion I keep at my desk.

 Use it.  Love it.