Monthly Archives: March 2011

Day 4 + Decision

It’s day four of the juice cleanse/fast and I see a little difference.  Do you?

The redness and bumps have subsided a bit – not by much.

Now, the concern is what to do after.  I received a lot of helpful advice from so many of you about eating styles to follow after the fast.  Almost every suggestion said gluten-free, dairy-free and slow on the meat.  After extensive research (I mean it’s all I had when I don’t have food), I have decided to do the specific carbohydrate diet.

Have you heard of it?

It’s not really a diet as it requires a lifestyle change.  I think the “diet” that I can compare it to the most is the Paleo diet.

A dermatologist told me that a probable cause of my face being this way is an overgrowth of bacteria in my stomach – hence the numerous prescriptions of antibiotics I was given to kill that bacteria.  Bacteria feed on sugars.  The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) eliminates refined sugars, starches, and grains from the diet (and pretty much all processed foods).

The theory is that because the bacteria feed off of the sugars from the above, the bacteria multiply.  In essence the SCD is supposed to starve out the bacteria.

There is an extensive illegal/legal eating list.  The SCD does allow  meats (unprocessed), eggs, cheese and butter.  But, I think I’m going to hold off on incorporating those back and in and start slowly.

The diet seems appropriate because my face over the last 6 months has taken a turn for the absolute worse.  And about 6 months ago was when I substantially increased the grains.  I don’t know – just a hypothesis at this point.  But, it’s worth a try.

What this means to me?

–  No breads (no sandwiches).

–  No oats, no buckwheat, no rice.

–  No chickpeas/garbanzo beans (no hummus).

–  No candy/cookies/cake/etc.

–  No quick meals (i.e. fast food, Boca burgers, etc.)

–  More salads.

–  More soups.

–  More whole foods (fruits, veggies, over-time lean meats).

–  More opportunities to experiment with different recipes.

I think it’s worth an effort and I’ll track my process and eating habits along the way.

Have you heard of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?  Ever tried it?  Did it help?  Have you tried the Paleo diet?  Have you given up bread?  How did it go?

There is still time to enter my Love Grown Foods giveaway!  Do it to it.

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Filed under Health, Life, Uncategorized

Oh, It Is LOVE! {Giveaway}

Can I just say that I have some of the nicest and most caring readers anyone could ever ask for?!  So many of you e-mailed and commented with really great advice and personal stories regarding yesterday’s (very personal) post.  I was feeling much better by the end of the day.  LOVE was truly in the (blog) air!

It’s quite amazing how people you never met could show you so much LOVE when you need it the most.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  And I truly do LOVE you all.

And I want to show you some LOVE in return.

About a month ago, LOVE came to Dallas.  LOVE by the name of Maddie and Alex.  This power couple is the brains and LOVE behind Love Grown Foods.  Love Grown Foods is really a granola movement – granola for everyone.  Love Grown Foods granola is gluten-free, refined sugar-free, trans fat-free, preservative free, and free of artificial flavors.  In addition to all this, Love Grown granola is DELICIOUS – it actually tastes like LOVE has been put into every oat cluster.  Ask Dorry and Lindsay – they know!

Despite our plans to meet up, scheduling issues kept us from meeting.  Despite this, Maddie still sent some LOVE my way.  (P.S. If you ever meet/talk to her, you’ll see – she’s quite LOVEly.)

So, in an effort to pass along the LOVE, Maddie has agreed to give some LOVE to a very lucky reader.  One lucky reader will receive the bag of their choice, along with mini bags of the remaining flavors so you can sample them all!

And, because you have been so good to me, I will send another reader TWO bags of your choice.  Now, keep in mind, I have already tore into the Cocoa Goodness so that’s out.  (Whoops!)

There are four other delicious flavors for you to choose from.

–  Apple Walnut Delight

–  Simply Oats

–  Sweet Cranberry Pecan

–  Raisin Almond Crunch

Take a look at the Love Grown Foods website and blog, the adventures of Maddie and Alex as they tour and promote their granola full of LOVE!

The following are many ways to enter for a chance to receive some LOVE yourself:

1.  Leave me a comment telling me what flavor of the Love Grown Food granola you would like to try.

2.  Leave me a comment telling me a blog post or recipe that you liked on my blog.

3.  Follow me on Twitter (@oliepants) and leave a separate comment letting me know.

4.  Tweet the following (@oliepants is giving away some @LoveGrownFoods LOVE!  http://wp.me/p16dO9-bJ ), and leave a separate comment letting me know.

5.  Mention this giveaway in a blog post and leave a separate comment letting me know.

6.  Follow @LoveGrownFoods on Twitter and leave a separate comment letting me know.

7.  “Like” LoveGrownFoods on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know.

Whew!  Is that a list or is that a list?!

You can comment until Friday, April 1, 2011 at 11:59 p.m.  I will announce the winner on Monday, April 7, 2011!

**This giveaway only ships to those in the U.S.!**

So, what are you waiting for?  Spread some LOVE!!

83 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Giveaway, Health, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

What’s Up.

So, I’ve been M.I.A. for a while.

What up, you ask.

Part busy business. Part preparation.

First, the business: Sorta the same as usual. Just deadlines and cases galore, which is a blessing for your own business but bad for blog business! 🙂 The good news is that we are finally getting internet at home so I can do more blogging without taking any time from work!!!

Second, the preparation:  And, I’m going to cry as I write this.

I have been holding this news back for a while for whatever reason. I have rosacea. I have had it since 2009. Prior to 2009, I had beautiful skin. The type of skin people would walk up to and compliment me on. I was proud of my skin. It had blemishes here and there but nothing that couldn’t be cured with some O-T-C pimple cream.  My skin was magnificent – glowing, soft and mark-free.

The start of it all. I developed it while I was going through my engagement party. I was planning this fiasco while living away from home and dealing with the stresses of a full-time-big-firm-many-hours-of-the-night job, family obligations, requirements, etc.  The night was a MESS!

Anyways, a few days before the formal day – while handling EVERYTHING – I developed debilitating stomach cramps, severe tooth pain (wherein I was taking 10 Advil/day to deal with the pain – approved by my Dentist), a skin rash and fatigue. My skin felt like paper.

Since that day, my skin never got better. It was peeling and I was told to put hydrocortisone on it.  I had all the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.  It worked until I realized my face became red.  I have all the symptoms of steroid induced rosacea.

My skin looks horrible.

I have tried almost everything.  Antibiotics from the dermatologist and topical creams.  I know that it will take approximately 6 months for things like this to work but I cannot fathom taking antibiotics for 6 months.  I took it for three and felt really unlike myself.  I was tired and moody.  I just did not like how I was reacting to it.

So, I took a natural approach.  I researched the vitamins that usually help with symptoms and underlying causes of rosacea.  I took the following pills everyday:

–  Flax Oil (if not flax oil, fish oil)
–  Prenatal Vitamins
–  Primrose Oil
–  Pycnogenol
beta-Carotene
–  B-12
–  Betaine HCL

And, nothing.

I started a rosacea log.  I documented everything I ate and then for morning, afternoon and night documented the condition of my face.  The one thing I realized was that when I stopped taking all my vitamins, my face improved.

I have spent countless nights crying about it, and hours explaining to people (family and friends) who ask what’s wrong with my face.

I’m absolutely fed up with having this issue and wish more than anything to be rid of it.  I have to say that I have more of an issue with this than my weight.  My weight is within my control.  Rosacea is not.

I really do not want to go back to the dermatologist again because most dermatologists have the same procedure of prescribing medication.   I do notice that I have developed some stomach issues (excess gas after every meal, intolerance to dairy which started in 2009, etc.)  since the start of this and want to explore how that may relate or cause flare-ups with regards to my face.

So, after considerable research, in an attempt to give my stomach a break and to start anew, I’m doing a cleanse.  A juice cleanse.  For the next seven days, I will be juicing my way to health.  I have done this before and I usually get a good reduction in my face.  But, the difference now from every other time is that I will really scrutinize what I put into my body upon breaking the fast.

Why did I go into this long story to tell you I’m going on a cleanse?

1.  Because I didn’t want you think this was at all about losing weight.  I’m not fasting (nor recommend it) for losing weight.  I know at the end, I will gain it all back and that’s okay so long as I can see how my face/stomach reacts.

2.  I’m not the only one suffering from this problem.  In fact, about 13 million people in the world do.  If the fast and my future eating efforts help slow down the progress of this for me, maybe it will help someone else.

During the upcoming days, I will explain how I plan to break the fast and how I will change my eating habits to help me realize what my triggers are.

If nothing seems to be helping, I plan to go to a GI doctor to see if I have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).

I must say that the one person that has helped me through it all is my Binks.  I would be slumped away in serious depression if it wasn’t for him.  To be loved and desired when the word “attractive” isn’t even if you vocabulary anymore is a testament to the wonderfulness and strength of Binks.  He has helped and consoled every step of the way. I couldn’t be where I am without him.

So, that my friend is what’s up.

Do you suffer from rosacea?  Have you done a cleanse before?  A juice cleanse?  Have skin issues? Who is someone in your life that offers you strength when you feel weak – other than God, of course?  Any suggestions on how I should break the fast?  Raw foods? Gluten-free?

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Filed under Health, Life

Spring Forward

Spring is truly here.  Warmer winds are sneaking up on us, and the flowers are in bloom.  If you live in Texas, you probably notice the abundance of Bradford Pear Trees in full glory – and what a sight to see.

Usually by this time, I realize that my body and mind are ready for a rejuvenation.  I usually put aside my winter hibernating actions (i.e. eating heavier foods, not exercising as much, keeping indoors, etc.) and start a new healthy regimen.  There is no official regimen.  But, as the coats, scarves and turtlenecks are exchanged for breezy blouses, tank tops and shorts (gah!), I naturally start changing things around.

What does this mean?

–  More walking – I have no excuse to sit my butt at home hiding from the cold.  So, I get out there and walk and the pups loves it!  The walks eventually include little bursts of jogging.

–  More juicing –  When the winter comes, I put aside my juicer for warmer fare.  But, when the climate is warm, the juicer is brought back to life.  The combinations and nutrients are endless.

Source (Spabettie)

–  More water –  It should come as no surprise that springs quickly turn into summers in Texas and the heat jumps along with it.  My body naturally requires more water and I make sure to drink up.

–  More whole foods – When the spring bounty arrives (hopefully from my very own garden), I love using every vegetable possible in every cooking method possible.  Kale is a favorite!

Source: (Purple Bird Blog)

–  More raw foods – I make the switch from soups to salads.  And talk about versatility!  Salads are the best example, but there are ton of other ways to include raw foods into your diet.

Source: (The Lean Green Bean)

Source: (Living With Healthy Hunger)

–  More Whole Foods:  It doesn’t help/hurt (depending on the day and my wallet) that I work right across from a Whole Foods – meaning it takes me 5 minutes to walk to it (pending I don’t injure myself crossing the street).  And, we do.  We get our office water from there so while Binks fills up, I explore.  Recently, I bought this:

Mind you, I have the Berry flavor and I throw it into smoothies and Whole Foods apple juice (per their sampling).  I think the Berry flavor works perfectly with smoothies as it gives the whole smoothie a much-enjoyed pop!

Now, while I bought the Chocolate flavor, I have no idea what to do with it.  Any suggestions/links?

And, I received a very special surprise in the mail recently!

Thanks Tiffany!

What do you do to gear up for spring?  Do you make any changes to your lifestyle for the new season?

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Filed under Health, Life, Uncategorized

A Woman’s Worth

I have experienced life for 28 years.

While I would like to discount the first 13 (who am I kidding, the first 18  21 25), I have come to realize that all 28 years have been crucial for me to just be me.  I would not be every iota of who I am (physically, emotionally, and otherwise) if it had not been for all experiences during those 28 years.  These experiences range from good to great to mediocre to bad to worse, and all over again.

Despite my tomboy childhood or my awkward teenage years or however much I wanted to avoid being girly, I have come to truly and wholly embrace being a woman.

And, every aspect of a woman – the vulnerabilities, the innumerable strengths, the ability to multi-task, the ability to plan 5 steps ahead for all different possibilities, the power of the self, and the power of the collective group of women.

As a woman, I have come to realize certain truths/beliefs that have sustained me and kept me sane.

1.  Realize. Sometimes I think that I have been living so much for the future (school preparation, job preparation, marriage preparation, etc.), that I have lost sight of the present.  I get moments to myself but I fill it with TV, internet, iPhone and anything that will get me plugged into someone else’s life or another story apart from my own.  Recently, I committed myself to an imaginary bubble for 10 minutes a day to think about nothing.  I lay in bed or I sit on my couch with nothing around.  No TV, no Binks, no Wall-E, no iPhone.  Just me.  It’s not easy – believe me.  To be alone with myself and my thoughts is an anxiety-ridden activity that I’m working on.  I have so much pent up thoughts/emotions/feelings/memories that I have put aside f0r so long, that going back is a hard and worthwhile journey.

2.  Your Body is a Wonderland.   I think John Mayer is a douche, but he makes a point.  Aside from the mental/emotional, just physically, I had to really make decisions to take care of my physical self.  When I was younger, I ate and drank without any concern for its effects on my body – short or long term.  Nowadays, I strive to be informed of what goes in and how it will effect what’s on the outside.  Food is nutrition and our bodies are temples.  Fill it with the best on a regular basis, and allow yourself to sin once in a while.  Just know the difference between the two.

3.  Beautiful/I’m Not Your Average Girl. Throughout the 28 years, I have been bombarded by what the media has told me is pretty.  And over the years, pretty has gotten to be less womanly and more stickly.  The ideas of what is beautiful, as punched in our faces by different sources, has caused a serious body-image problem amongst women.  To this day, when I look in the mirror, I will always point out faults before I can find the things I like – if I even get to that part.  How sad is it that we, as women, have to force ourselves to say something nice because the world is always ready to point out “what needs fixing” before pointing to what’s “perfect, just the way you are.”  My daily battle is to not judge myself to a made-up standard of pounds of makeup and airbrushing.  Imma do me.

4.  Stronger Than Yesterday/Fighter/Survivor/I Will Survive.       Shit happens.  All the time.  And, then it happens more.  And, we have to roll with the dirty punches.  To be a victim to my past is an easier road to take than to make a conscious decision to rise above the shit.  It’s easy to wallow in pity or self-hate for things that have happened to you and/or things that you have done that you wish you had not.  I dare you to let it go.  Just for one day at the least.  And, then the next.  Because tomorrow is a different day.  Embrace it.  Embrace forgiveness (for yourself and others), and push forward.  One day – after many tomorrows, you will have put away the resentment, guilt, anxiety and pain, and be stronger for it.

5.  You’ve Got A Friend In Me/No More Drama.      It took me 28 years (a full 28 year) to realize that I do not need to be friends with everyone.  I have only recently realized that knowing someone for the majority of your life does not allow someone a tenured relationship with you.  I have confused quantity of years with quality of  friendship so much that I had filled my life with people who I have held onto just for holding on sake.  I was surrounding myself with individuals who I may have had a long history with, but who were only there for the good times and the same old same old – not for the bad times and changing times.  You change.  They change.  Sometimes, you don’t change together.  And, that’s okay.

6.  Girls Just Wanna Have Fun/You Gotta Be/Just A Girl/Express Yourself.            As an attorney/business owner, it’s not easy to be a woman.  I have to be more aggressive and hardworking as the average male just to be offered a seat at the table.  And, I know it’s not just my profession.  The problem really comes in when I find myself carrying these traits outside the office – unemotive, impatient, harsh, judgmental, and cynical.  Somewhere along the line, it seems to inbred in me that I should be that way.  As if being a woman is not good enough to succeed.  I don’t agree.  And, I do not allow myself to fall into the mumbo jumbo.  To counterbalance my work-time, in my personal time, I allow myself to be free to go hog wild with the girl-ness.  I spend countless hours grooming, researching the beauty & fashion trends, cooking, talking about cooking, writing about food, watching whatever I want regardless of the fact that I build a nest in the living room for hours on end, surrounded by cookies and magazines.  Do I think that the above-listed items are the only things that make up a woman?  No.  But, if I do not relish and nourish the person I am through things I miss and love, then I won’t be whole and happy.  So, do whatever you need to do to embrace the woman in you – whether it’s sports, shopping, cooking, photography, TV watching, building something, etc – do it often.  And, apologize to no one.

7.  Independent Woman/Miss Independent.       I love being married and I love my Binks.  But, unlike many people I run across, I do not think marriage is the answer to everything.  I know many friends that got married felt relief because they “finally did it,” or that they were in a situation where they “didn’t have to worry about things” anymore.  It’s easy to rely on the other person for everything.  But, that’s  not the role of a partner.  A partner is just that – a teammate, a complement to you – an equally giving/contributing partner.  When I got into a relationship with Binks and eventually married him, I didn’t think he was the cure to all my problems or the motivation for any change in my life.  I do that for me.  I am the motivation for myself, and am the problem and the cure for myself.  No matter how long you are in a relationship with someone, the longest relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself.

8. I See God In You.        The biggest reason for the problems and divide amongst us is the notion of “Us vs. Them.”  There is no such thing.   We are all members of this Earth, and we are all connected.  We were all once babies, we will all leave this world, and the cycle continues and centuries pass.  During that time period, you will run into less-than-a-drop- in-the-bucket of all the people and inhabitants of this world.  Be good to them.  Be kind to your neighbors (without borders).  Be kind to your land.  Be kind to animals.  Be kind to natures.  Be kind to those that others have turned their back on.  Be kind to those who do not have anyone.  Regardless of your religion, background, culture and beliefs, we are all the same and are worthy to be loved.

In the end, I offer you this: respect yourself, and the rest will fall into place.  Pent up frustrations/anger/self-hate is destructive.  A happy person will exude happiness.   A loved person will love others.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Find out what it means to you.

What are your favorite songs about women?  Written by women?  Give me some motivating and uplifting song suggestions!

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Cake Walk

Now that I’ve proclaimed myself a baker (I can do that right?), I insist that we do not buy cakes for special events.  Why have a beautifully decorated cake, when I can provide an amateur-ly decorated cake for all special occasions?!

Somehow or another, I have convinced my family that it’s a great idea.  Either that or they will do anything to shut me up.

So, when my mom’s birthday comes around, I jumped at the chance to host a pizza party at my house.  A pizza party for my mom?  Her heart wants what it wants.

You know the pizza.  Meet the cake – The Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake (another Kitchen List-er).

I’m still working on the decorating.  Hmmm-kay?!

I’ve had my eye on this cake for a while and was waiting for the best opportunity to bake it.  What better occasion than my mom’s birthday?

The process was easy.  The cakes were cooperative.

And I used what I had to create something fun and festive for my mommy.

Because a party cannot live by cake alone – that is when there is pizza involved!

By golly.

I think she liked it.

The cake was delicious.  I have never made yellow cake before and this will forever be my go-to recipe.  The sour cream frosting was not necessarily my favorite but it was delicious.  I think I prefer a chocolate butter cream above all when it comes to yellow cake.

So, to my mom – who will let me be me, put up with me being me, forgive me for when me-being-me is not very nice, and eat whatever concoction I make (in lieu of a nice restaurant with a fancy cake) just to support me on her day – Happy Happy Happy Birthday to the best Mom ever!

Do you bake your own cakes?  Does someone in your family?  How do you celebrate birthdays?  Have you tried the Smitten Kitchen Best Birthday Cake?

46 Comments

Filed under baking, Cake, Desserts

Bake The Buck

Ashley has never steered me wrong.  Exhibit A.

After making my most recent pancakes and finding that I had extra buckwheat to spare, it was time to attack Ashley’s contribution to my Kitchen List.

Exhibit B:

Exhibit B.1:


That would be my trusty go-to (or to-go) bottle of dulce de leche.  I have been somewhat obsessed.  And, a little goes a long way.

Exhibit B.2:

Topped off with a spoon full of coconut butter.

I was pleasantly surprised with this creation.  The texture and taste of the bake is a mix of a dense and moist chocolate cake.  The bake is light on the sweet and packing heavy with the nutrients, including but not limited to buckwheat, chia seeds, flax, and banana.

I only made the following alterations/modifications: (1) added 1 whole banana instead of a half and (2) split her one cake into 2 baking dishes for 2 servings.  I was not hungry until lunch.

The above-referenced facts and exhibits clearly establish that Ashley has got it going on with this bake and her recipes.

I rest my case.

Have you tried any of Ashley’s buckwheat bakes? Have you tried any recipes from bloggers lately that you want to share?  I’m looking for additions to my Kitchen List! 🙂

15 Comments

Filed under baking, Breakfast, Health, Vegan, Vegetarian