The Health Benefits of Maple Syrup

I was invited back on KGW News Channel 8’s Portland Today show this week to discuss the health benefits of maple syrup. Real maple syrup and raw honey are the two sweeteners I often recommend to my nutritional therapy clients because they are far healthier than, say, table sugar.  But I hadn’t really looked into maple syrup’s benefits specifically until now.

Research at the University of Rhode Island finds that real maple syrup (the kind with just one ingredient – syrup made from extracting the sap from sugar maple trees), may help combat chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is the root of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and so on.  Aside from it’s deliciously sweet flavor, maple syrup also shares some of the same beneficial compounds found in berries, tomatoes, tea, and red wine.  These compounds can help protect the body’s immune system, thus fighting off inflammation.  Additionally, emerging research is showing that maple is linked to a healthy gut.  Dr. Navindra Seeram, a renowned research at URI, is presenting these findings this April at a global symposium at the American Chemical Society conference.  Dr. Seeram has been studying maple syrup in his laboratory since 2009.

That’s great news as far as I’m concerned and reason enough to pour it on!  As I was considering my presentation, I remembered that I have a friend in the maple syrup industry.  My longtime friend Mary is married to Don DeFlorio, who owns a 34 acre maple farm in Randolph, Vermont:  Macintosh Hill Maple Works.  

He’s there now, as it’s peak Sugaring Season (late February through early April) where he produces over 500 gallons of real maple syrup on site in the sugar house.

Don DeFlorio, producer/owner

Did you know that maple syrup has a new international grading system?  Gone are the “Grade A” and “Grade B” which have to do with the color and richness.  The new system categorizes maple syrup in three ways:  Golden Delicate, Amber Rich, and Dark Robust.  All three have the exact same sugar content (66 “bricks” in maply syrup lingo), but vary in color depending on how long the sap is boiled.  The darker the syrup, the longer it’s been boiled.  As the names imply, the lighter syrup has a more delicate flavor and is perfect on top of yogurt and fruit.  The darker syrups are more commonly used on pancakes and waffles.

Inside sugar house

The daily boil

As luck would have it, Mary’s here in Portland and generously supplied me with all the maple syrup for my television segment.  I wanted the viewers to be able to see the different colored syrups, and the hosts to taste the differences.  I also wanted to show that there is absolutely nothing nutritionally redeeming about “syrup” that many American households use instead of the real deal.  In fact, “pancake syrup” and real maple syrup have nothing in common.  The former is high fructose corn syrup with “maple flavoring” and caramel food color.  YUCK!  Real maple syrup has just one ingredient – maple.  Portland Today’s hosts Cathy Marshall and Rod Hill seemed to enjoy their maple syrup shots, but Rod was clearly distressed by the “non-maple syrup maple syrup.”  The look on his face spoke volumes and admittedly I felt bad for offering it.  It landed in my trash bin the moment I got home.

I also made a maple syrup sweetened chocolate pudding for the hosts to try, plus extras for some of the off camera show peeps.  It didn’t disappoint!

Here’s the link to the segment:

My display

Thanks again to Don and Mary for their delicious real maple syrup and to Portland Today for having me on again.  You can contact me if you’re interested in purchasing Macintosh Hill Maple Works syrup.  It’s also available to purchase at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie’s Island.  Check their website to find out when they open for the season.



RESTART Program Chronicles: Days 19 – 21

It’s Day 21!!!!  Yippee!  Woohoo!  We did it!

I really feel great!  I feel strong.  I have energy, don’t really crave anything sweet, brain fog has decreased, my mood is elevated, I’ve even lost 3 lbs.  I didn’t do this for weight loss, but I have noticed my clothing fitting better.

I was thinking again about what I’ll reintroduce.  The first things that come to mind are dark chocolate, red wine, and a wee bit of honey in my morning tea.  That’s where I’ll start.  I think removing grains has been really helpful, so I will keep them out, except when I’m eating Asian food, in which case I’ll only have a small serving, and I will substitute extra vegetables when able.

I started Thursday off with dessert!  Actually, it was the banana/egg pancakes with cinnamon, coconut cream, and toasted coconut, but it could have been dessert.img_0329

Mid morning I met my friend Lynne for bacon at Mehri’s Bakery in SE Portland.  You heard right – we had a bacon date!  A true friend will eat bacon with you and not think it’s weird.  In fact, she’s the one who suggested it.  I have brilliant friends.  img_0330My view from our table faced inward, toward the dessert cases filled with all sorts of pastries and what looked to be my favorite cake – German Chocolate.  Never mind…I had bacon and wasn’t even tempted by all that sugar, other than to take a couple pictures.img_0332


My next stop was meeting my Dad for lunch at Jade Tea House & Patisserie in Sellwood, one of my favorite Asian restaurants in all of Portland.   A patisserie is “a shop where French pastries and cakes are sold” and Jade has several gluten-free options that on another day I may have indulged in.  Especially their sesame balls which are truly life changing. jade01410 But, not on this day.  This day was really testing my resolve. 

I ordered a Lion Heart Ginger Fixx kombucha and the Coconut Rice Noodle Soup without the rice noodles.  It’s full of shredded chicken and shrimp and veggies like broccoli, carrots, and bok choy.  Jade allows you to order a side of veggies in place of rice which was perfect, and so delicious.  I added them right to my soup. img_0335 I could have been eating dog food and still would have enjoyed lunch because the company was this sweet man:img_0336

I made zoodles and meat sauce for dinner.  Like my new glasses?img_0345

Friday’s breakfast was a pumpkin smoothie.  I didn’t feel like eggs for the millionth day in a row and the smoothie was just right.  I had a friend over for lunch and reheated the leftover noodle-less soup from Jade, adding some more chicken broth and coconut milk and a bit of red curry paste.  That evening I had a girls’ night out (the first one in months!) and we all met at Taqueria Nueve on SE 7th Ave.  It was my first time and it was really nice.  While my friends ordered margaritas and Sangria, I stuck with water.  Sigh!  Dinner was a bit complicated, but I settled on 3 types of taco meat served without the corn tortillas with a side of guacamole and another side of black beans. img_0347 It was very tasty and on plan.  My friends ordered flan and chocolate mousse for dessert, but they told me it wasn’t that great.  I don’t believe them because they practically licked their plates clean.  Whatever!  I persevered!  After dinner we stopped to check out the Portland Night Market, which was full of hand-crafted chocolates, locally distilled liquors, and all the hipsters this sugar-avoiding, nearly 50 year old woman could take.  Cool place, but way too crowded for my taste.  From there we headed to the Laurelhurst Theatre to see “Hedi”, one of the movies featured in Portland’s International Film Festival.  It was filmed in Tunisia.  It was also complicated.

Today, our final day on this program, was great!  First off, I slept in and it felt so wonderful.  Then I made the last breakfast – scrambled eggs with lots of fresh salsa and avocado, bacon, grapefruit, and tea with coconut milk.  Andrew LOVED it!  See?img_0348

You know what I loved?  Getting all the dishes in the dishwasher and when I attempted to turn it on, it wouldn’t.  It died!  Finally, the piece of sh*t Electrolux appliance bit the dust.  From the moment we moved into our lovely home two and a half years ago, I have hated that thing and wished it would need replacing.  That day finally came!  (You know you’re old when you get super excited about replacing a dishwasher!)

Since breakfast was more like brunch, and we had to go dishwasher shopping, I only ate half an apple with almond butter for a snack.  So, by the time we’d signed on the dotted line for our new Miele dishwasher, both Andrew and I were hungry and since our kitchen is torn apart and dishes are everywhere, we decided to go out to Verde Cocina.  If you haven’t been to one of their 4 locations, you really must!  All 100% gluten-free, REAL food, deliciously prepared, seasonal, grass-fed, etc.  I had the Carne Asada.  It was excellent!  Andrew had the Paleo Verde.img_0353img_0354

After dinner we stopped at New Season’s for a few things.  Every year around Valentine’s Day, New Season’s sells all their chocolate bars at 50% off.  So…img_0355I bought 10!  Is that so wrong?  After all, my detox ends in 39 minutes and it was on sale (half off!) and it’s 85% dark!  Plus, I kid you not, it will last for 80 days!  I only eat one square a day.  Seriously!  I may have to go back tomorrow for more!

I am really proud of myself and Andrew.  We gave this our all and saw it through to the end.  Twenty one days without any added sugar, grains, or other simple carbs.  The benefits were many and we will keep many of our positive habits moving forward.  I am so fortunate to not only participate in The RESTART Program but to teach it.  I can’t imagine anything more gratifying than helping people improve their health.  Food truly is medicine!


RESTART Program Chronicles: Days 17 & 18

Here we are in the home stretch with just 3 days to go.  Today I’ve been thinking a lot about mindset and how taking on a challenge like this can be less difficult with the right mindset.  From the start, I’ve looked at this three week sugar detox as something I know I can do – I’ve done it before.  The reason I’m doing it this time is to support my husband who’s never done anything like this.  So, it hasn’t been about deprivation or obligation, but about support and choice.  I decided that for 21 days I would support Andrew by joining him in eating really healthy food.  We are both benefiting from that choice.  I feel really good, have lots of energy, feel better in my clothes, and so on.

Yesterday’s breakfast was the pancakes, but I used coconut oil instead of butter.  I topped them with toasted slivered almonds for crunch.  I had a friend over for lunch, a fellow NTP, and made the carrot ginger soup and a green salad with the usual suspects.  Ginger is settling to the stomach and she reported feeling better after eating it (she’d had a crummy tummy earlier).  I had another bowl of the soup for dinner, and a banana sprinkled with cinnamon, coconut cream, and toasted coconut for dessert.  (Yes, I had 2 green tipped bananas in one day.  It was intentional and I really enjoyed it.)

Today we had scrambled eggs, bacon, grapefruit, and avocado for breakfast.  I had a staff meeting at noon (I work in a naturopathic clinic) and had invited a guy named Ben to come talk to us about his new meal delivery service.  He brought some food samples and they were absolutely delicious.  His business is called Thrive Healthfully and he specializes in special diet meal delivery.  His business partner is a classically trained chef.  Ben suffers from Crohn’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis and created this company to help others with similar issues.  The samples he brought were:  Jicama and Apple Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette (w/turkey|celery| romaine|thyme), Dashi Poached Black Cod (w/carrot puree|wild mushroom|garlic chips|wilted spinach), and Pork and Liver Meatballs (w/ zucchini noodles and roasted cauliflower).  It was heavenly!  img_0325

I had another long auction meeting this afternoon and decided there was no way I could get dinner on the table before everyone starved to death, so I took the kids to Ploy’s Thai just up the street.  They have a dependable gluten-free menu.  Thai food is challenging on a sugar detox because nearly every dish contains sugar.  Even fish sauce, a very common ingredient, has sugar.  I did my best and ordered the Chicken Larb – a cold salad with ground chicken, green cabbage, red onions, lime juice, basil, mint, and lots of spice.  I didn’t touch the rice, or the noodles or curry dishes that my kids ordered.  It was tasty.


Just three more days.

RESTART Program Chronicles: Days 15 & 16

Yesterday was a busy day!  I went to early morning yoga, taught my Sunday morning RESTART Program, attended a 4 hour yoga teacher training, and got home just in time to see Lady Gaga perform the halftime show for Super Bowl LI.

I don’t eat more than a piece of fruit before an early yoga class because it’s hard to do a forward fold with a full belly.  I had some grapefruit and packed along some yams and bacon to eat during my break.  Between my RESTART class and training, I ran across the street to Elephant’s Deli for another bowl of that chicken lemongrass soup.  It was super salty and I couldn’t finish the broth.

Dinner was a giant salad with turkey, bacon, avocado, sunflower seeds, red bell peppers, cucumbers, and celery tossed in good olive oil and fresh lemon.  My son had three helpings and I had two.  I wouldn’t let any of it go to waste.  It was a quick, easy dinner to prepare, or would have been had my jaw not been dropping at the performance of the Patriots in the second half of the game.  I’m not even a football fan!  But, wow, what a comeback!!!img_0315

Thank goodness Portland didn’t get the projected snow storm that could have buried us for days!  I think I would have lost my mind.  I started a new RESTART Program this morning and I didn’t want it to be delayed by the weather.  And if my darling children miss another day of school, they will drive me mad have to go to school until July.  That would be a shame!

Anyway, breakfast this morning was a smoothie with almond milk, Great Lakes gelatin, blueberries, spinach, and flax seeds.  The color wasn’t desirable (purple + green = something you shouldn’t eat unless you’re sure what the ingredients are) but it was ok.

I taught my class to a great group of women.  I demonstrated how to make bulletproof coffee (coffee blended with fat, in this case, ghee.)  As I was drinking my coffee I noticed that phlegm in my throat again.  So, my hunch is that I need to remove ALL dairy from my diet, even butter and ghee, the last little bit of joy I get from dairy.  Sad face.

I had an uninspired lunch of scrambled eggs, salmon, and avocado.  I didn’t have another plan and it was easy.

img_0322Boring picture of more eggs and avocado.

Inspiration came at dinnertime.  I wanted to use the pork tenderloin I’d purchased and found a recipe called Pork Wrapped Asparagus with Bacon Infused Spaghetti Squash
from PaleOMG.  Besides having the longest title in the history of recipes, it was pretty good, maybe 3 1/2 stars out of 5.  It was missing a little “je ne sais quoi”.  It probably needed something French, like fromage, but I can’t have fromage, so it wasn’t French at all.  Can you tell I’m getting giddy with sleepiness?  I should really stop writing and just go to bed.

img_0323What a terrible photo!  I’m not going to mention what I think this looks like.  Clearly I need a food stylist.

Bonne nuit!

RESTART Program Chronicles: Days 13 & 14

It’s already day 14!  We’re 2/3 of the way through.  This time next week will be our last detox meal!  My husband asked if he can open a bottle of wine the morning of day 22.  I told him it would look bad if he showed up drunk to our last day of class.  He agreed.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what foods I will leave out and what foods I will reintroduce when this is over.  I won’t be as restrictive with fruit, though I do love blueberries, grapefruit, green apples, and green tipped bananas.  But I also like melons, grapes, and most other fruits.  I’ll definitely bring back chocolate, but not Trader Joe’s Honey Mints, just dark chocolate (85% preferred, 73% minimum).  I don’t eat a lot of chocolate – a square or two will do.  I think I’ll allow a bit of honey in my morning tea because I like it better that way, let’s be honest.  I’ll keep bread out, unless I’m dining at The Brooklyn House because they have the best gluten free garlic bread ever.  I’ll only eat rice with Asian and Indian food.  I haven’t made up my mind about oats, though I’m leaning towards leaving them out.  Grains aren’t good for autoimmune diseases and I have Hashimoto’s.  Red wine will be back in the line up, though I’m good with one glass a couple times a week.  I’m already gluten- and dairy-free and that certainly won’t change.

I have a couple of other concerns that I’m thinking are food related:  I tend to have phlegm in my throat most mornings requiring me to constantly clear my throat.  I also have excruciatingly itchy ears.  This has been a problem for decades, but it drives me crazy and keeps me awake some nights.  My ears produce almost no wax.  Is that weird?  (Andrew offered to give me some of his but I declined.  Ew!)  My hunch is that these issues are caused by one of three things:  eggs, coconut, or butter.  Butter or ghee (clarified butter) is the only dairy in my diet, but maybe I’m more intolerant that I thought?  My problem is with the casein (protein) in dairy and butter hardly has any casein so I kind of doubt it’s the problem.  I have coconut milk in my tea every morning, so could it be that?  Seems odd, but possible.  I’ve been eating tons of eggs and they are a major allergen for some people.  I gave up eggs a while back and didn’t notice a big difference in my itchy ears.  Anyway, I’ll probably give each of these up for a period of time, separately, so I can see if my symptoms go away.  If it’s still unclear I’ll go get muscle tested.

Back to food.  Breakfasts are pretty much the same couple of things.  Yesterday was bacon, scrambled eggs, and grapefruit.  Today was the egg/banana pancakes with butter, cinnamon, and toasted almonds.  Lunch yesterday was a yummy pumpkin spice smoothie which I forgot to take a picture of.  It had coconut milk, a green tipped banana, pumpkin, spices, and gelatin protein powder.  Dinner last night was more of the chicken mole from the night before, with avocado slices.  Not great, but I wasn’t going to waste it.  I had lunch today at Elephant’s deli.

img_0311Salmon and broccolini

This afternoon I had 6 oz. of GT’s Gingerade kombucha and about a tablespoon of roasted sunflower seeds, just before I took my kids to see Hidden Figures.  We all loved it!  Totally worth seeing!!

After the movie I had a hankering for a burger so we had bun-less burgers and roasted yams.  My kids wouldn’t eat the yams.  Their loss!  (I still haven’t told them that there were yams in the carrot ginger soup they loved the other night.)  It totally hit the spot.  I just placed the burger, avocado, red onion, mustard and dill relish between the lettuce and ate it like a hamburger.  Before Andrew knew there were yams roasting in the oven he was sniveling about not having potato chips with our burgers.  Somehow in the last year we’d gotten in the terrible habit of eating potato chips every time we had burgers.  Even though I only buy potato chips cooked in olive, coconut, or avocado oil, I’m keeping them out too.  That is one habit I don’t want to get back into.



RESTART Program Chronicles: Days 11 & 12

Woohoo!  Just nine more days to go!  I’ve done The RESTART Program a few times and this has been the easiest so far.  That’s not to say it’s easy, but I think doing it with my husband makes it that much more doable as we’re both totally committed to seeing it through to the end.

My sleep has improved the last couple nights, which makes everything better.  It’s hard to say if the improved sleep is a result of the detox, or just my luck, but I’ll take it either way.  I’ve had the energy to get stuff done the last two days, including scheduling two more RESTART Programs that start this month.  I even took my first Pilates class yesterday and didn’t die.  I thought for sure I’d feel it in my abs this morning, but I feel it in my thighs.  No offense to Pilates instructors, but they’re sort of into torture.  I’ll definitely go back though.  The guy next to me was in his 70’s so I really have no excuses.  Plus the things he was saying under his breath the whole class made me laugh.

I must have run a dozen errands yesterday, including Trader Joe’s and Costco.  I came home with 6 bags of groceries!  For one thing, they’re predicting another ice storm so one must be ready.  But it’s also the start of the month with a fresh grocery budget.  Yippee!  I stocked up on avocados, Granny Smith apples, grapefruit, green tipped bananas, chicken, beef, pork, veggies, butter, bacon, and kombucha, among other things.  My counter is a bounty of produce!

img_0305That orange isn’t for me,  I swear!  My daughter made me buy it for her.

The best meal of the last couple days was carrot ginger soup.  It was a new recipe to me and it was delicious.  Ingredients included leek, garlic, yams, carrots, ginger, salt, pepper and chicken stock. Oh, and coconut oil.  Because my kids “hate” yams, I blended the soup with an immersion blender and they were none the wiser.  They devoured it.  😉  Andrew had 4 bowls!  It’s gone.  I am sad.img_0303

Breakfast yesterday and today was the usual:  eggs, blah, blah, avocado, blah, blah, 1/2 grapefruit, blah, blah.  Lunch was late yesterday because of all the errands I was running.  I threw together a quick salad with greens with avocado, turkey, sunflower seeds, oil and vinegar.  And a wine glass full of kombucha.  img_0301

The other day I mentioned getting my new glasses but realizing not long after that there was a serious problem – everything slanted to the left.  Everything looked like it was going to fall off the surface it was on, faces looked asymmetrical, everything was wonky for the seven hours I wore them before deciding it was more than me just getting used to new lenses.  Duh!  (And to think I drove all over the place in them.)  Anyway, today I visited the optometrist and explained that there was something really wrong.  Turns out there was a clerical error made in my prescription (like .75 instead of .175 in some measurement in my right lens) and I’m not crazy after all!  Yay!  So, I was in SE Portland around noon with less than an hour to spare before seeing a brand new client.  I knew I couldn’t wait for lunch, so I selected Mekong Grill on SE 13th.  They have GREAT pho!  But pho has sugar, darn it!  (And rice noodles which I would have omitted in trade for veggies).  We found exactly one thing on the menu without sugar – a dressing-less salad with grilled shrimp.  I had them put some toasted sesame oil on the side and it actually wasn’t bad.  Thai and Vietnamese are probably my favorite ethnic cuisine, but nearly all of it contains sugar.img_0307

This afternoon I had a cup of herbal spice tea that hit the spot along with a “dainty handful” of almonds.  Dinner was a bit of a disappointment.  I tried a new recipe called “Chicken Mole over Sauteed Cabbage”.  It was alright, but not my favorite, and certainly not picture worthy.

Twelve down, nine to go!



RESTART Program Chronicles: Day 10

Today was a much, much better day than yesterday.  I slept quite well, took some time to write this morning, then went to yoga.  I checked a bunch of stuff off my to-do list.  I volunteered at our middle school.  I was motivated to make a good dinner which we all enjoyed.  It’s 7:00 pm and I’m writing again.  I’m tuning out of the news as much as possible.  I realized much of my poor mood yesterday can be attributed to my anger over the recent political climate.  I needed a break.

We’ve made it through day 10 and tomorrow is the midpoint.  Honestly, it hasn’t been very hard for me.  I do think about chocolate in the afternoons as it’s been my habit to enjoy a square of chocolate or a Trader Joe’s Honey Mint in the afternoons, but I’m not craving them.  If and when I do get a hankering for something sweet I’ve had a cup of licorice tea and that’s done the trick.

This morning I had scrambled eggs, salsa, avocado, and sauerkraut for breakfast.  Shocker!  Lunch was the leftover hash from Sunday.  Dinner was pistachio crusted salmon, Instant Pot artichokes w/ homemade mayo, and a simple tossed salad.  It really hit the spot.img_0300

I think I’ll top off the evening with a green-tipped banana sprinkled with cinnamon, toasted coconut, and coconut cream.  Yum!

RESTART Program Chronicles: Day 9

I was out of sorts yesterday!  It started with a less than optimal night’s sleep.  I have become a light sleeper over the years and am very sensitive to sound and light.  I’m particularly sensitive to my husband waking me up to place a bandaid on his clean-shaven head where he’d nicked himself and was certain he’d bleed out if I didn’t wake up and wrap his head in gauze.  (Hard to tell which of us is being more dramatic!)  Then there was the thirsty cat who refuses to drink water out of a bowl.  It must be in the bathtub or remnants from the shower.  At 5:14 a.m.  Grrrr!

So I was grumpy at breakfast and didn’t want the leftover hash from the night before as I had planned.  We were out of eggs, bananas, and everything else breakfast-y on this program (like eggs and bananas!).  Yes, I know I’m repeating myself.  I settled for a small bowl of frozen blueberries topped with coconut cream, cinnamon, and toasted coconut.  It was good.  It was cold.  It certainly didn’t warm my mood.  And it didn’t have protein so I was even more off balance.  I know better.  I did it anyway.img_0294

I perked up a bit when I met with a client to go over my favorite meal planning program.  She’s in one of my current RESTART classes and is a breath of fresh air.  Just what I needed.

From there I volunteered at my daughter’s school, reading with adorable 4th graders.  I love them!  One little girl was reading a book about spirit animals.  She explained that her spirit animal is a cat.  She has a special bond with cats, she told me.  She asked what my spirit animal was.  I wanted to say shark but I knew that wasn’t true, plus I didn’t want her to be scared of me.  I asked her to keep reading.

As I was signing out of the school office with no time to spare, another parent stopped to grill me about the upcoming auction, for which I am 1/3 of the planning committee.  I smiled politely while visions of daggers flew out of my brain in all directions, luckily missing every soul in sight.  This completely innocent and well meaning parent had no idea the danger she was in and I finally escaped without putting anyone in peril.  Phew!

My next stop was the vision shop to pick up my new glasses.  My prescription had changed slightly and since purple is my new favorite color, I was excited to finally get my new “dusty plum” frames.  I could tell the difference immediately and hoped I would get used to them with an hour or two of wear.

Off I went to meet a client for lunch at Cultured Caveman in my new purple frames.  Our lunch and conversation was delightful.  I had nearly the same thing I had on Sunday, chicken broccoli ranch wraps, but with a side of more broccoli instead of soup.  img_0295

I knew there was a problem as soon as the server set my plate in front of me.  It was about to slide off the table and crash to the floor.  I asked my lunch date if the table was in fact tipping strongly to the left.  She didn’t think so.  So I moved on and tried to ignore my messed up depth perception.  We treated ourselves to pints of decaf coffee mixed with coconut cream.  I started to warm up.

When I got home I crawled into bed and tried to take a nap.  I was thwarted by my Havanese, Radley, whom I love dearly EXCEPT when he goes into Cujo mode because the mail carrier brings a package to the door or a delivery truck pulls up to leave a package for the neighbors or someone walks by in the distance walking their dog.  He scares them off with his vicious barks and killer growls.  He weighs 10 lbs. but he’s sure he weighs at least ten times that.  So, no nap.

Earlier in the day I pulled some salmon fillets out of the freezer for dinner.  Pistachio crusted salmon, sauteed kale, and green salad were on the menu.  However, I wasn’t in the mood.  All I wanted to do was isolate myself from everyone around me and sleep.  When I attempted to pull dinner off as planned I realized the salmon was still practically frozen solid.  This was my out, my excuse to make the pancakes I was craving for dinner.  So I did.

[As I was standing in front of my kitchen island about to pour the batter onto the griddle, the counter was tilting strongly to the left and was no longer the shape of a rectangle.  Sigh!  So as not to completely implode, I took these new glasses off and put on my old ones.  The counter was righted.]

Yes, I had both blueberries and a green tipped banana all in one day, but I chose it consciously, enjoyed it thoroughly, let it go, then went to bed.

And I slept really, really well!


RESTART Program Chronicles: Days 7 & 8

This was one of those weekends where my family needed a spreadsheet to keep track of who needed to be where, when, doing what.  For the kids there were play dates, a school event, a birthday/slumber party, and I forget what else.  I had volunteer work at the school event, yoga teacher training on both Saturday and Sunday, a party to attend Saturday evening, my Sunday RESTART class, and a school auction committee meeting.  And through it all, many unsweetened meals!

Busy weekends can really challenge one’s ability to avoid sugar, let alone grocery shopping or meal planning, but we managed.  Saturday breakfast was, you guessed it!  Bacon, eggs, avocado, and grapefruit.  Admittedly, I’m getting a bit tired of eggs.img_0284

My yoga training went from 9:00 to 1:15 and I had to run home, change clothes, and get my daughter to a birthday party on the other side of town by 2:00, so lunch had to wait.  On the way to the party, I snacked on a few nuts I had in a baggy in my purse, but then I gave my baggie away to a homeless guy at an intersection because he clearly needed them more than I did.  After dropping her at the party, I stopped at New Season’s for a few things (turns out I should have gotten more but my starvation was causing my brain to forget staples like eggs, green tipped bananas, etc.).  I got home to a famished 12 year old boy so I took him to “lunch” (by now it was 4 pm) at Cultured Caveman in North Portland, one of my favorite places to eat REAL food.  I had the chicken tender wraps and a tomato bacon soup.  Henry had chicken tenders w/ garlic aoli and soup, and we shared a Lion Heart Kombucha.  The boy’s mind was blown as you can see!img_0290

Our next stop was a house concert and hors d’oeuvres potluck where my dear husband was tortured by everything he couldn’t eat or drink.  I was still full from my late lunch and got by on some olives, salami, and carrot sticks.  The concert was amazing and we both enjoyed the evening out.  I also slept better than I had in several days.

Breakfast was a Mexican scramble – really just scrambled eggs with homemade guacamole and salsa – and bacon.  Did I mention I’m getting tired of eggs?!!img_0291

I had a 30 minute window to grab lunch between teaching my class and the yoga training, so I went across the street to Elephant’s Deli and had a bowl of their tasty chicken and lemongrass soup.  It has carrots, celery, onions, chicken, lemongrass, broth, and a few spices.  Totally legal!img_0292

I made it home about 37 seconds ahead of the other auction committee members I was hosting for a meeting, and snacked on more bacon and guacamole plus a few almonds.

Dinner was a take on a recipe in Diane Sanfilippo’s 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook where I browned some bacon, ground pork and beef, added spices and shredded green apple, carrots, parsnips, and mushrooms to make a hash.  It was delicious and a crowd pleaser. img_0293

It’s actually meant to be a breakfast dish, which is great because leftovers mean no eggs for breakfast tomorrow!


RESTART Program Chronices: Day 6

Today was a bit discombobulated!  I had a simple breakfast (two fried eggs, 3 slices of bacon, half a grapefruit) first thing in the morning.  After the kids left for school I attended my usual 90-minute yoga class.  I came home, quickly wiped down my kitchen counters and piled all the breakfast dishes in the sink in order to host my Friday morning RESTART group.

I love teaching the RESTART Program from my home because I can do food demos.  The week’s topic was healthy fats so I made my pancakes (Recipe: 2 eggs + 1 green tipped banana, blended, per person) with plenty of butter, cinnamon, and toasted coconut on top.  They were a huge hit and SO easy!  I also made bulletproof coffee (coffee blended with fat).  I used equal parts butter, coconut oil, and also a bit of coconut cream that I had on hand.  The blender emulsifies the fat into the coffee and it comes out resembling a latte, froth and all.  I forgot to take a picture, darn it!

The demo’s were a great morning snack.  I had about 30 minutes between the time the class left and I had to be at my next appointment, so I reheated some leftover zoodles with meat sauce for lunch.  So far, so good.  I felt very satisfied and satiated, as you might expect.

I’d signed up to volunteer at an event at my daughter’s elementary school from 3:30 to 8:00.  The demand for help at these events is always far greater than the supply, thus the long time span which was actually 4 different jobs broken down into 4 back-to-back shifts.  My first shift ended earlier than expected, so I had time to run to New Season’s for some food at around 5:00.  I ordered the “French Burger” w/o the cheese, bun, or condiments.  Sounds tasty, oui?  Non!  Pas bon!   It was an overcooked grass-fed burger patty with some lettuce (the menu promised arugula but apparently they were out…stunning since they sell arugula at the other end of the store), out of season tomato, red onion, and at my request, avocado.  I ate it because I ordered it and paid for it, but I know they can do much, much better.img_0283That’s garlic aoli on the side.  Though it likely had soy in it, it’s the only thing that made this palatable.  I used just a dab.

I returned to my volunteer obligations, snacking on a few nuts that I had in my purse throughout the evening.  I was not prepared well.  If I hadn’t had the break at 5:00 I would have been “hangry” and probably would have made several young children cry at the school event.  (Kidding…but I would have been miserable.)  I got home exhausted and was in bed by 8:30.  When I turned the light out to go to sleep I was hungry.

Planning is key on this program.  When our schedules are messy it’s really important to have grab-and-go foods on hand.  I guess I’ll just celebrate that I got through it with just a wee bit of soy and a growling belly.