Theirs, Mine, and Ours

Before I even jump into today’s post, I want to express my sincerest thanks for all of your comments on the vlog that I posted Friday. I cannot even tell you how hesitant I was to share it, and then how much I dreaded my decision in the few hours after. Where you all called me “cute” I saw myself as “flighty.” Where you said that I seemed so “relaxed” and “real” I thought rather that I was “rambling” (as I appropriately indicated in my post title for the day). I still think that most of you were just being nice, but all the same I appreciate you taking the time to watch it. I have no idea when I will make another or IF I can even gather up the courage to make another, but I’m glad I bit the bullet and did a second one (my first was all the way back in October 2012, more than a year ago!).

Also, another note before sharing some delicious food pictures with you all, I’m going to be blunt and admit that I have no idea how much time I will be able to spend blogging this semester. Right now in fact I should be reading for one of my classes but that will come in due time and staying up just a little bit later is definitely worth it.

At the start of 2014 I had all of these big plans for Eating 4 Balance including finally getting a self-hosted site, upgrading to a new theme, working on more professional pictures/recipes. Yada yada yada. Oh, and being more faithful with comments too. I know that January is not even half way over yet, but can I just say MAJOR FAIL? Sorry everyone. I’m going to do my best. It’s not really an option for me to quit entirely or take a break because blogging IS MY BREAK. Really, reading blogs and blogging is my relief from college life and classes. Take that away and you have a Madison ten times more strung out and scattered than you saw in my video (I think beginning to refer to myself in third person may be a sign that the craziness has already begun? Is there no hope of turning back?!!! 😉 ).

With those hundreds of words put out there, this WIAW will be probably less wordy and more picture-heavy than normal.

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I called this post “Yours, Mine and Ours” to represent the variety of food that I made over the holidays and am about to unload on you. There are some pictures of food that I made for my parents and/or brother (theirs), some food that I made for myself (mine*), and the food that I made for both (ours).

*Although as noted on Friday, I have basically backed off of trying to add anything new. Simple is the name of the game once more as I try to go back to how I felt before the holidays. Meat and veggies here I come… Already feeling much better though thankfully!

THEIRS

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Gluten-free buckwheat pancakes inspired by Gluten-Free Goddess

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Homemade macaroni and cheese

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Whole wheat pasta, organic cheese and milk

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Pumpkin oatmeal with granola and almond butter

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Oatmeal with pears, almond butter and maple cinnamon pecans

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Quiche inspired by Meghan

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Made with an almond flour crust, eggs, milk, cheese, seasonings, onions, squash and broccoli

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Puppy chow for my brother’s New Year’s Eve party

MINE

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Gluten-free and vegan biscuits

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Oh so moist, flavorful and crumbly!

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Homemade ice cream with goat’s milk and stevia

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Gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free pancakes

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Sweet gluten-free and vegan pancakes made with potatoes

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Potato pancakes topped with New York maple syrup

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Whole Foods salad bar: red quinoa, grilled chicken and cucumber slices

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Chocolate pudding: cocoa powder, pumpkin puree, tapioca starch, water, stevia and frozen blueberries… yum!

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Goat’s milk yogurt with stevia and frozen blueberries

OURS

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Alright, so we didn’t actually share THAT much food-wise over vacation

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Paleo pumpkin chocolate chip cake with a chocolate frosting (I just ate some of the frosting. It was amazing and tasted like a rich chocolate pudding.)

I do have plans to share some of these recipes eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later! 🙂

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Questions for you:

  • Can you guess what inspired the title of this post?
  • Do you make food that is just for someone else, yourself, or even both?
  • What is your favorite food to make? Obviously mine is pancakes!

Marvelous/Not So Marvelous… And an Oatmeal Recipe

Marvelous is… the fact that I found an old bag of black licorice cough drops in our medicine cabinet.

Not so marvelous is… the fact that I even NEED cough drops due to “the plague.” 😉

Marvelous is… watching the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with my mom.

Not so marvelous is… now I’m craving pizza.

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Marvelous is… celebrating one of my friend’s birthdays tomorrow.

Not so marvelous is… if I don’t get over this cold/virus/whatever-it-is I won’t be able to go.

Marvelous is… making breakfast on an actual stove every morning for my parents.

Not so marvelous is… Okay, I can’t really find anything wrong with this oatmeal. Ha.

Banana and Maple Pecan Oatmeal

Banana and Maple Pecan Oatmeal

Gluten/Wheat-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free Option (in Notes below)

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup liquid (1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup milk)
  • 1/2 cup quick oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (ground chia would work too)
  • 1 tbsp sweetener
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • “Maple pecans”: 3 tbsp pecans, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, dash of salt
  • optional toppings (I used melted almond butter)

Banana and Maple Pecan Oatmeal

Directions:

  1. Heat liquid on high until boiling. Add oatmeal and flaxseed. Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Slice the 1/2 banana on top of the oatmeal. Stir and let sit for a minute until the banana gets soft. Using a fork whip the oatmeal incorporating the banana until smooth. Mix in the cinnamon and salt then pour into a bowl.
  3. In the now empty pan put the pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Heat on medium until the syrup begins to boil and thicken. Pour onto the oatmeal and top with optional toppings.

Notes: To make this vegan/dairy-free use a dairy-free milk like almond milk or coconut milk. You could also just use all water for the liquid to make it nut-free but it won’t be as creamy. For the nuts, feel free to omit or replace with a nut-free version like sunflower seeds, pepitas, a diced banana or apple.

Marvelous is… doubling the recipe to make it for two.

Not so marvelous is… not having the right-sized pan and the liquid spilling over causing your stove to smoke. My bad.

Banana and Maple Pecan Oatmeal

Marvelous is… the truckload of Christmas pictures that I have to share with you.

Not so marvelous is… having to upload and edit them all.

So while I get on that, make this oatmeal, pop in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and get to reading some of the other posts that are linking up to Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday.

Hopefully I will be feeling better and able to comment on some of your posts that I’ve missed in the past week or so. Time to return to the land of the living! 😉

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Questions for you:

Which Ninja Turtle is your favorite? I’m partial to the one in red, Raphael. 

According to Nickelodeon’s survey though, I’m DONATELLO!

Like Donatello, you are a brilliant inventor. You may not make all of the Turtles’ gadgets, weapons, and vehicles, like he does, but you’ve got the brains for it! But sometimes you and Donnie are too smart for your own good, like when you’re too busy admiring an enemy’s futuristic laser cannon to run for your lives. But when it comes down to it, it’s other people’s lives that really keep your head in a mission. You fight with your heart, and that makes you a very powerful warrior.

What’s your favorite cough drop flavor? Black licorice obviously.

Have you gotten all of your Christmas photos/recaps up yet? I’m pretty sure I’m the last one…

Gastric Emptying Test Results (WIAW Edition)

First of all… Happy Wednesday! We are (almost) half way through the week! 🙂

Second of all, yesterday I wrote a guest post for the lovely Olivia at Liv Lives Life while she was on vacation. In my post I share 5 Surprising Foods That Contain Eggs. It’s a must-read for vegans, those with egg allergies/intolerances, or just for people looking for some interesting tid bits.

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Next up I need to share a health update because I realized yesterday I have been promising that for a week or two now and have failed to deliver. I’m just going to throw it all out there and then move on because I’m still kind of frustrated with this whole thing… ready? 😉

(This is obviously not your usual WIAW, but as always thanks to Jenn for hosting this weekly party!)

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Okay. So two and a half weeks ago approximately I went in to have a gastric emptying study performed at my local hospital. A gastric emptying study is basically where you eat food that has been injected with radioactive markers and then for 1-4 hours depending on that particular hospital’s protocol they x-ray your stomach to track how fast it is digesting the food. They usually will feed you a few eggs but in my case I had to bring in my own gluten-free oatmeal because of my egg and wheat allergies.

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(Source)

At 7:00AM that morning I went the hospital with my mom and checked in. 30 minutes later the nurse took me back to a preparation room where she made my oatmeal in a styrofoam cup and I ate it while answering some basic health questions about my symptoms. The nurse asked if I wanted any sugar or splenda which I politely declined. She was quite impressed by my ability to eat all of the oatmeal. At one point she actually said “Try your hardest to get it down.” I was slightly confused. I’ve always preferred plain oatmeal and since I hadn’t had it in forever (on account of hit hurting my stomach) I was glad for an excuse to have some.

After I ate the oatmeal I asked if she wanted me to just throw it away. She quickly said no and pulled out a brand new trash bag to put it in. I didn’t quite understand until she tied up the bag and put it in a radioactive waste bin and secured the lid. I laughed and told her that I almost forgot that it was full of harmful chemicals.

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When the prep was done she took me back to a dark room where a kind of futuristic machine was located. I had to lay down on a skinny, padded slab and she put in elbow props and a pillow beneath my knee so I was more comfortable. Then she raised the platform so I was high off the ground, and moved me forward so that my stomach was beneath the white x-ray contraption. She told me that it would last 1 1/2 hours and that it would go by quickly if I tried to fall asleep.

Well, I wish I had known that before or I wouldn’t have worn my contacts. I did manage to fall asleep a few times, but each time I did I had pretty crazy dreams about pizza, my stomach being a monster and trying to eat me… and probably even more but I forget now.

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The 1 1/2 hours passed by quite slowly but eventually I was done and she lowered the slab so that I could get off. After that she walked me back out to my mom in the waiting room and we left.

Then I just waited to hear back my results from the hospital.

That next week I called in and after a wild goose chase of me calling them, them calling me, my mom calling them, them calling me… I finally got through to hear my results. The nurse told me that my gastric emptying study showed delayed (or slow) gastric emptying.

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Gastroparesis is the technical term for delayed gastric emptying.

*I put an asterisk by the symptoms that I frequently have below.

The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are:

  • Chronic nausea (sometimes)
  • Chronic diarrhea (or constipation)*
  • Vomiting (especially of undigested food)

Other symptoms include:

  • Palpitations (sometimes)
  • Heartburn*
  • Abdominal pain*
  • Abdominal bloating*
  • Erratic blood glucose levels (I have been able to control this with lower sugar meals)
  • Lack of appetite*
  • Gastroesophageal reflux*
  • Spasms of the stomach wall*

Morning nausea may also indicate gastroparesis. Vomiting may not occur in all cases, as sufferers may adjust their diets to include only small amounts of food (this would be me, but thankfully while I have severely limited my diet to prevent nausea most of the time, I am getting enough calories in to maintain my weight and energy for the most part)*

Source: wikipedia

Here are some common complications due to gastroparesis:

  • Fluctuations in blood glucose due to unpredictable digestion times (in diabetic patients)
  • General malnutrition due to the symptoms of the disease (which frequently include vomiting and reduced appetite) as well as the dietary changes necessary to manage it
  • Severe fatigue and weight loss due to calorie deficit
  • Intestinal obstruction due to the formation of bezoars (solid masses of undigested food)
  • Bacterial infection due to overgrowth in undigested food

Source: Again, wikipedia. They are just too helpful sometimes 🙂

There are a variety of treatment options, including:

  • Medication
  • Low fiber, low fat diet
  • Smaller meals
  • Liquid diet
  • FODMAPS diet
  • Surgery

Source: just general research on the subject matter

When the nurse told me that I had slow gastric emptying, she also said that I would need to schedule an appointment to speak with my doctor about medication options. Reglan and Domperidone were the two that she mentioned if I remember correctly.

I still haven’t been in to see the doctor since I live a few hours away and she is only available during the week with regular business hours. The other reason is that I kind of don’t have any plans to take the medicine that she is wanting to prescribe me.

That may sound crazy to some of you because of how much I complain about my stomach but just hear me out.

While gastroparesis may sound like a diagnosis, it’s really not. Much like IBS slow/rapid gastric emptying is just an umbrella diagnosis. There is no known cause for idipathic gastroparesis (slow gastric emptying without diabetes or surgery being the probably root problem) although there is much speculation.

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Gastroparesis just like my food allergies is most likely the result of some bigger cause like leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, autoimmune disease, diabetes, etc. Medication will not heal me. It would just mask the symptoms somewhat if it actually was effective.

And that’s another portion of why I don’t really want to take the medicine. Reglan in particular is meant to be a short term medication used for only a few weeks.

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Reglan can also have some terrible side effects:

  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Parkinson-like symptoms
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches

Source: Health Central

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So you can see why I’m not too keen on taking it, right? Plus, it wouldn’t cure the underlying cause of all of my problems which is my ultimate goal.

I have been looking into some gastroparesis blogs for tips though on managing the symptoms. Most are ones that I already try to follow but I will let you guys know if I find anything particularly useful.

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There are many who say that they are amazed that I deal with the daily stomach pain, but I feel like this picture from Pinterest explains my thoughts on the matter perfectly:

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(Source)

 

Just share your thoughts for today!

Whatever you want. Inspirational quotes. What you ate for WIAW. Your plans for the rest of the week. I’m all ears 🙂

The One Where I Eat Radioactive Food and Turn Into a Superhero (WIR)

Happy Fourth of July to you all!

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(Source)

First, I want to start this post off by thanking everyone for the super sweet comments on my past few posts, especially on those from this week with my brother’s birthday cookie dough cake.

I actually forgot to include a picture on my WIAW to prove that it was actually I who made cake so here is that… 😉

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So proud!

Random factoid: Another thing that I forgot to mention was that my mom also helped out with making some pieces of the cake. In particular, this is her hand helping me put on the chocolate chips. One by one. As I freaked out because the frosting was melting. The original recipe poster mentioned that she had to throw the chocolate chips on the cake to get them to stick. I thought she was kidding at first but then when I reached that step I realized there is no easy way to attach mini chocolate chips to a vertical surface…

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Now with that out of the way I can get on to the bulk of today’s post: a short Week in Review via Meghan!

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My weekend officially started when I made some waffles for my parents.

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I found the recipe on Paleo Parents, and they were extremely simple to make. I made a total of three Belgian waffles in all.

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The recipe is much different than the usual grain-free recipe in that it doesn’t involve any almond flour, but a combination of an apple, banana, nut butter, eggs and coconut flour (I used coconut flour, but the original recipe called for arrowroot powder).

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I realize that these waffles look like they are chocolate-flavored; however, I guarantee that they are cocoa-free! It’s just the nut butter combined with fruit/eggs that caused the darker, golden color.

While waiting for the waffles to cook I hung out on the floor with Lilly. I miss her so much during the week so it’s nice when I get to come home and just relax with her on my lap. Or in this case convince her to look at the camera.

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Aren’t her expressions hilarious? I swear she only looks like that when she notices that I have my camera out and am taking pictures of her…

Later on that weekend after my brother’s party was over I experimented in making some “chocolate” chip cookies with homemade carob chips and grain-free flours. I also tried out a vegan version, which my mom said had a better taste, but unfortunately with the lack of egg didn’t stay together well enough.

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The dough on the left contains ghee and eggs, and the dough on the left is vegan with coconut oil and banana.

Here is a picture of the finished cookies with eggs:

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I still want to work on the recipe a little more before actually posting. Only the best for you guys!

And I visited my other dog Riley while I was outside taking cookie pictures. He started barking when he saw me and I couldn’t stay away. He is such a good boy!

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He even gave me a “handshake” when he starting pawing my arm as I was petting him… 😉

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Skip forward a bit to the middle of this week, I went shopping at Big Lots again. Last time I bought some birthday presents and scoped out the foreign foods aisle. This time I bought up 9 packages of Fourre biscuits in chocolate and strawberry (for some reason the product’s website only lists the lemon version…?) for my mom’s Reading Program snack on the first day.

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Random factoid #2: I just woke up after falling asleep around 10:00PM (It is now 12:41PM) and am working quickly to finish up this post so I can shut my eyes for real this time. It’s especially important because I have to get up at 5:30AM tomorrow to go the hospital for a gastric emptying study.

Yep. Another test. I’ll share more about the procedure once it’s done and I have the results, but basically I have to eat a bowl of instant oatmeal that they’ve injected with radioactive markers (not dangerous). During the study then they use an x-ray machine to trace the meal as I digest the food and measure how quickly my stomach is working on it. You can either have slow, normal or rapid emptying. I really am not looking forward to the test because my stomach does not like oatmeal. I haven’t had oatmeal in over a year because I always get bloated after eating it… Yay! 😛

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Today being a holiday my family gathered together to celebrate at Pizza Hut. We used to always go to my grandma and grandpa’s house and have big, fancy meals, but since they are getting older we try to make it easy on them.

Random factoid #3: I forgot to mention this, but a few weeks ago my grandma fell and broke her hip, so I slowed down a lot on commenting for a few days as I was just overwhelmed with that as she had to go in for a hip replacement surgery. She’s doing pretty well now though. I’d be really grateful if you kept her in your prayers for a speedy recovery!

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After getting back from lunch the four of us (my dad, mom, brother and I) all settle in and watched two movies: Warm Bodies from Redbox and Charlie Bartlett from Netflix.

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I really recommend watching both as they were quite good. Both were quirky, hilarious, and had really great casts.

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That’s basically all I have for today. Just know that while you are all still sleeping tomorrow morning, I will be eating radioactive food and possibly turn into a superhero. Or perhaps a zombie, which I realize is more likely, but I’m all about the positive today.

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What is your random factoid for the day?

How did you celebrate July 4th (or Canada on Monday for some of you)?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you pick?