Monday, March 26, 2012

What I've Been Up To...

among other things.

Since February 1, 2011, I have been on a strict gluten-free/dairy-free, low glycemic index diet. I was AMAZED to see in July 2011, my labs revealed that my FSH:LH ratio FLIPPED TO NORMAL. What that essentially means is, the diet reversed my PCOS (the hormonal component). This was nothing short of a miracle.

But after July, I became more lax with the low G.I. part of my diet. I LOVED me some Udi's muffins and cookies. I enjoyed GF/DF pasta meals. And once I started eating them, I couldn't stop. I knew something had to give.

My nutritionist had given me a bunch of recipes and meal plans last year for what she called The Caveman Diet. I didn't realize this was essentially the Paleolithic Diet (Paleo for short). And for the past few weeks, I have been getting signs that I needed to look into going full-blown Paleo.

Most obviously, my NaPro Dr (with whom I work) recently shared with me a daily log that one of her patients had kept. She is a middle-aged single woman, whose blood sugar last month was through the roof in the 400s. She took the Dr's advice and ran with it: cut out wheat and sugar, and cut WAY back on carbs. She kept a daily log of how many calories, how many carbs, and her at-home blood sugar reading.

The results were unreal. When her carbs decreased, her blood sugar steadily and QUICKLY decreased! One day she had about 4-8 extra carbs than normal- her blood sugar climbed by 30 that very day!! At the end of the month, her blood sugar was in the 120s.

I believe it was the next day I started Paleo :)
Yes. I am on the bandwagon. But you all know me by now... when I do something, I do it right, and I do it ALL THE WAY.

And so, I decided to drop my delivery organic meat/fish company like a bad habit (long story short: they suck), and find a local farm for my meat. This Saturday, we took a trip down to pick up our first order and meet the woman and her animals - it was awesome! Not to mention, there was a giant statue of Our Lady in the driveway ;)

Here's a little sampling of what I've been up to.

Apple-Cinnamon Omelet (made with pastured eggs... they cooked fluffier than anything I've ever seen) and Farm Bacon on the side

Our Paleo St Patty's Day: Beanless Texas-style Chili with Braised Cabbage and Bacon (braised with duck fat... OH. MY. GOD.)

I'm realizing now that this picture probably doesn't look very appetizing... It's Paleo Chocolate Pudding (made with Avocados). It is SINFULLY rich and creamy. I know I've seen people write about it and post about it for months, now, but honestly, Avocado Chocolate pudding kinda made me wanna barf at the sound of it. That's why I'm calling it Paleo Chocolate Pudding ;)

Bacon-Wrapped Sausage (all from the Farm) brushed with Dijon mustard, with homemade Garlic Mayo for dipping (seriously, THE BEST MEAL YET!!!) and Homemade Coleslaw

And tonight... (still cooking in the crockpot)...

Paleo London Broil: Butterflied (I butterflied my first cut of beef!!!) London Broil, stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, green olives, red onion, and garlic - Surrounded by Acorn Squash chunks.

And yes it appears from these pictures that I eat bacon all day long. I do not. But any meal with farm-fresh organic bacon is picture-worthy in this house.

Other meals not featured in today's pictures have been:

Shrimp, Mango, Avocado Salad

Olive Garlic Lemon Chicken

Banana Almond Pancakes

Borscht (no sour cream needed)

Eggs with Avocado and Salsa and Slivered Almonds

These meals have consistently lead to this scene, every. single. night. :

Everything has pretty much gone over without a hitch, with the exception of my first try at homemade mayo (yesterday). It was waaaaaay too liquidy at first. Thank goodness I have a handy C.I.A. (Culinary Institute of America) chef in the house, who knew just what to do to bring it back to life! We started with another egg yolk and slowly brought it back in the blender.
Other than that, I am absolutely amazed at how well everything has been turning out!

I have always liked cooking, but I didn't think I had any time to do it. With a little bit of re-arranging of my schedule (I now have most afternoons free and only go in to my 2nd job as needed), and some meal planning in advance... I have become quite the little homemaker!
I'm sharing this with you because you can do it, too!! (SAHMs don't have the monopoly on meal planning and good cooking!!) The crockpot is our friends, working ladies! As are days off (weekends, afternoons, etc.)

Also, in TCIE becoming Martha-Friggin'-Stewart news, I threw a bridal shower for a co-worker earlier this month and these are the favors I put together:

Picture them all over the table, with yellow daisies inside :)
There were also 3 shorter fluted vases with candles inside. All of them had yellow ribbon with a St Gianna medal tied around the neck. (Those marble-looking things inside are from the Dollar Store!! I was going to get real marbles, but these are even better, they're gel and you can add water for floral arrangements!)

I don't even know who I am?!?!?!?! ME?? Crafty???!!!

There's a lot of other things going on around here, but these are just some highlights of the "good" things. We could still use prayers, for God to lead us where we need to be.

I have an actual Infertility post in my head, ready to write, too... will do that soon, I promise. Sorry for the Off Topic post today.


prayerfuljourney said...

Crafty is good. You sound more positive. Keep it up.

I need to get back to cooking again myself. My daily schedule is long...not alot of time to cook but I do try to get one good meal in on the weekends. Thanks for sharing what you have been cooking lately!

[email protected] said...

OMGosh! I want to be you when I grow up!! Ack!

Sew said...

I've only been telling you how easy it is for a year now..>Whatever! LOL

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

To be fair... when I was pulling 50+ hrs a week, there was no way I could have done it the way I'm doing it now.
Now at a normal 30-40, it's doable :)

Karey said...

Low GI flipped my LH/FSH ratio too. It really is amazing that can be done just by eating a little differently.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Wow, K! I don't think I ever knew that!

Amazing, isn't it? That old addage "You are what you eat" - I wonder if whoever originally said that realized just how true it is!

JellyBelly said...

I totally need to focus on low GI. I've been so bad!!!

Could I come back and stay at your house so you can feed me????

J said...

This is very timely. I was just researching the Paleo diet this weekend thinking I really needed to go on this. Thanks for posting your recipes.

Casey said...

Hi there. I'm a long time reader who rarely comments, but I found your diet change and it's effects to be very interesting.

I'm not planning on trying the Paleo diet, but I am looking into the Blood Type Diet. I don't know if you've ever heard of it, but you tailor your diet based on your blood type because your blood type effects the way you metabolize/if you can metabolize different foods. The way you describe the Paleo diet makes me think of the blood type diet for type O blood (Lots of meat, some veggies, limited/special carbs). Anyway, I hope your dietary plan helps you stay feeling healthy! :)

Julie said...

I "KNOW" I should eat like this. I did it before Isabella came home, but now I am too lazy and weak (NOTE: I don't want to take the time to cook like this and I don't want to give up my sweets)

I hope you feel great on this new diet!

Donna said...

We've been doing a somewhat modified version of this diet and are amazed at how we feel. I finally feel like I'm coming out of a fog and can think more clearly. Isn't crazy what your diet can do to your body!?

Your recipes sound yummy! Maybe you can pass some on???

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Casey, yes I did look into the Blood Type Diet a couple years ago, right after my first food allergen testing. It was kinda crazy, actually - because many of the foods I was supposed to "avoid" were listed as bad foods for my Blood Type (which is, as you guessed, O). And the ones that were suggested were all in my "green" zone.
Very interesting!
Donna, yes I will post recipes :)

Hebrews 11:1 said...

I second Leila's comment! I am a terrible cook, I just don't know how to do anything. I will pay you handsomely to come to my house and teach me how to do all this. :)

Little JoAnn said...

Oh my goodness...I can't take it, I can't take it.

I want to sit on the floor of your kitchen and just stare, smell, eat any droppings of the food you are makin'

You are cooking amazing food.

And, inspiring me to go PALEO which I use to do (almost) by eating in steak restaurants all the time...but, we no longer live by affordable steak restaurants.

When you go all the really do.

I am in awe.

When/IF you start a cooking school, I want a spot in the first class.

Angela said...

Oh my gosh, get me some o' your food!

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

YUM! We're pretty close to paleo too-dairy free by force and (mostly) grain free by choice. Love me some meat and veggies!

CS said...

This is GREAT! I am all for experimenting with diet until you find one that works for you - I think everyone should. I am trying the 'endo diet' now, I am planning on keeping a list of meal ideas on my blog, stop by if you want some ideas (although it is not a large list yet). One thing though - when you pasteurize eggs you lose some of the valuable nutrients in the yolk - I'd look for free run eggs with nice deep yellow yolks if you can. :) (They also taste better)

Casey said...


I thought it sounded like you might be type O! My dad is blood type O as well, and he has cut out wheat entirely. He eats some of the more ancient grains, such as spelt, when he does have grains. He had suffered from gastric troubles for 70 years that cleared up almost completely with the Blood Type Diet.

I'm a type B, which means no wheat or tomatoes for me. :( Being of Italian descent, that diet change has really thrown me. But I'm hoping it can help me be healthier.

That is kind of crazy that your allergen testing matched so closely to your blood type diet suggestions!

LifeHopes said...

Wow! Amazing food!!! Looks so yummy!

Good for you! I am so excited to read all this good news over here!! Still praying for you like crazy!

Lianna said...

My "paleo chocolate pudding" is chilling in the refrigerator! Can't wait to try it! Prayers for you and your husband.

Chasing said...

It's all over now that you have joined pint.erest. You may need a second blog called "This Craft I Embrace." ;-)

Ania said...

My mouth is watering! I really want to take the paleo plunge, but I run outta ideas fast. I need an in home tutorial, lol.

Beth said...

K. I'm starving now at 10:45 pm.

Anonymous said...

Hey! your recipes/food ideas/pictures look awesome.
I was wondering what exactly does this diet change mean to you? like what are you doing exactly?
and.....could I pretty please have that avocado choc pudding recipe?
~a college student~

Unknown said...

As a local producer, thank you thank you thank you for buying from a local producer.

E said...

Move here. So we can cook together!! glad you are accessing that inner Martha and chef. Also, the best of all, you are working less!! Whooo hooo!!!!

Lucky as Sunshine said...

What/where do you recommend to get started on PALEO? Thanks for your continued advice.. I'm not a fan of avocado's but willing to try Paleo Choc Pudding.. sounds much better.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Depends, Lucky. If you're anal-retentive like me, then you'll want to get all your questions answered and everyone else's questions answered in advance at this site:

If you're more normal, you can jump right in here:
(some great recipes on this site, too)

More free recipes here:

And I went ahead and bought the online Adobe 385pg recipe book, which has been worth every penny ($27) because it's (to avoid sounding cliche) "so much more" than just recipes.

Hope that helps!!

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

College student:


3 medium avocados;
¼ cup raw honey;
¼ cup and 2 tbsp cocoa powder;
3 tbsp almond butter;
1 tsp lemon juice;
1 tsp ground cinnamon;
1 tsp ground nutmeg;
½ tsp flavored extract (mint, coffee, almond, hazelnut), optional

Blend all ingredients together.

I recommend a food processor for this one. A hand blender worked fine the first time around, but there were some almond butter "chunks" in it, and tiny pieces of avocado that weren't fully mashed.

Seriously, you don't even have to tell people this has avocados in it if they don't like avocados. It provides the creamy texture, but since they have such a mild flavor, the other flavors dominate this dish. My DH was BLOWN AWAY when I told him the base was avocados ;)

Isaiah 55:8-9 said...

Awesome!!! We started with Paleo in January! DH still eats cheese occasionally, but I'm off it.

And seriously, always post pictures with bacon. :) YUMM!!!

Isaiah 55:8-9 said...

Oops - forgot to ask if you've checked out the everyday paleo blog - it's great!

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Yes, that's where I got the London Broil recipe ;)

the misfit said...

I always feel better about my life if I'm cooking regularly, too :). But I don't have a trained chef on call! That would be extremely handy!

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

He's available for hire :)

Lucky as Sunshine said...

Thanks for the links !!

Alive in HOPE! said...

I LOVE this post! Your enthusiasm is absolutely contagious! =)

Being Refined said...

Wow! Now, I think I should look into the Paleo diet, not just the anti-inflammatory diet.

Love the pics of the food!! Can you link to some recipes or share them? I will have to check out the links and books you recommend. :)

Hafsa said...

This stuff sounds so good and I wanna see a menu plan up on this blog weekly now! Lol I am so in need of the paleo diet, do I have to give up my alcoholic beverages too? Haha

Now how do I convince you to be my live in chef?

Hafsa said...

P.S. SAHM's most certainly are not the only ones who can have meal plans! Darn right. Now I know what to do with my frozen avocado cubes :)

Anonymous said...

i don't get why people on the paleo diet consume so much fat... lard, coconut oil? i'm confused what am i missing?

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

The websites describe it well, Anon. Especially the first one I posted,

I'm not personally using much lard. I generally only use the fats to cook in, in lieu of olive oil. The key idea of Paleo is to think of the way our ancestors ate, and they had a lot of good fats in their diet, in particular animal fats.

To be clear, this isn't an idea or lifestyle I'm trying to push on anyone. (Well, except my husband, haha!) It's something that has been working for me, and I much prefer it to my "This Cross Can't Eat Shit" Diet of years passed :)

Anonymous said...

Is Paleo helpful for non-insulin resistant PCOS?

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Not sure. But personally for me, low GI WAS helpful for non-insulin resistant PCOS. I assume since Paleo is naturally low GI, it will be equally as effective.