Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happenings and a gluten free update

Lately things have been a whirlwind of happenings.  So much has been going on every minute it feels like there has been zero downtime.   It has felt like July is just whooshing by at a frantic pace.  I cannot believe the month is half over!  

For the past couple of months, my hubby and I have taken up hiking almost everyday after work.  We have an amazing place that is literally a five minute drive from our house.  It has endless trails, and is so beautiful.  It has become such a great stress reliever for me at the end of the day.  Working 10.5 hours everyday with 6-7 kids (two who are autistic) running around our house takes its toll.  Hiking has not only forced me to get my butt in better shape, but I can literally feel myself breathe easier after we are done.  We usually end up doing about 2-5 miles a night depending on how much time we have and what trails we pick.  With views like these, it isn't hard to get motivated.

We are always meeting new friends along the way too, like this cute little snake.  We have also come across coyotes, hawks, tortoises, giant bullfrogs, and tons of rabbits. 

As much as I have tried to be a girl who loves the gym, I just don't.  I cannot sit there and stare at the walls, while climbing or running nowhere.  I need fresh air and nature, it is just who I am.  I need to sweat it out with the sun shining down.   

Our local fair was also in town for about a month.  The San Diego County Fair comes to town every summer and runs through most of June until the 4th of July.  It has been a tradition to go every year since I was a little girl.  Usually it is all about the gross (but delicious) fair food for us.  We like to try weird stuff, and there is plenty of it.  Deep fried Kool-Aid anyone?  This year it was a pretty big challenge for me to go for a full day and have such limited options to eat with having a GF diet.  I have to say my willpower was in full effect, and I made it out with just eating salad and a grilled chicken kabob.  I felt pretty damn proud of myself, especially when my family was sitting around me eating lobster rolls, battered potatoes, and kettle corn.  The best part of the fair though for me is the ferris wheel.  I have gone on it every year for as long as I can remember.  It is my favorite at sunset, and this year we got on at the perfect time.  Our fair takes place pretty much right near the ocean and the ferris wheel has an amazing view of mama ocean from the top.

The view from the top

I mean seriously?  Doesn't get much better than that.

We have also been busy bees in the garden this summer.  Loads of squash, green beans, and zucchini on a daily basis.  I love the feeling of walking outside and bringing nourishment into your body that you grew yourself.  It is almost magical.  We also have corn that is almost ready and we are starting to plant our pumpkins this weekend.  Last year we had about 10 sunflowers that we grew and they did amazing, so this year I went a little crazy and planted them all over our yard.  I mean everywhere.  Last week they started to pop up and I am so excited to watch them grow.

Here are a few by our front yard fence, if all goes according to plan it is going to be an epic sunflower fest around these parts!  

Summertime also means broody hens here.  One of our girls Bess has been broody for the last couple weeks.  She confines herself in one of the nesting boxes all day to sit on a clutch of eggs,  except for about a half hour where she leaves to eat and drink.   It makes me a little sad, because I know all she wants to be is a mama but there are just way to many predators around here to hatch baby chicks.  Our favorite local feed store has fake eggs, so we bought a few and she is content sitting on them.  This can last anywhere from 2-8 weeks.  She also doesn't lay any eggs during this time, and she is grouchy as all heck.  I am hoping it doesn't last much longer. 

We have been trying to visit the beach as much as we can this year too.  I am a lifelong San Diego girl and the beach has always been a big part of my life.  The past couple summers we have only gone a few times each year, and it is just so weird to not take advantage of something that is almost right in your own backyard.  I have been determined to not take it for granted anymore.  

Today marks 6 weeks of going gluten free, and to be honest it has been much easier than I thought it would be.  The first two weeks were the most challenging, with me craving all my old comforts at each turn.  I also got a pretty crazy detox rash.   It has gotten so much easier, and now that I have completely changed the way I am eating I feel SO GOOD.  The best results have been that my eczema has disappeared, I've dropped 9 pounds so far, and I have been sleeping so much better.  I have always been a pretty healthy eater, and I am a veggie/greens lover to my core.  But removing gluten has just made me so much more aware of what I am putting into my body and where that food is not only coming from but what every ingredient in it is.    There are three items that have become staples for me.  The first one is Pamela's Baking Mix.  This stuff is so yummy and makes perfect pancakes, breads, and muffins. My husband even said he prefers pancakes from this mix over our homemade buttermilk ones we have made forever. They even sell it in a 4 lb. bag which is awesome for me since we are not only cooking for ourselves but a house full of kiddos during the day. 

It is definitely more expensive than traditional baking mixes, but to know I have a yummy alternative to flour it makes it worth it to me. 

The second item is LARABARs.  These little guys are so good, and so easy to grab when I don't have time to sit down and make myself something.  I even keep one in my purse when we are out.  They are all natural and most bars only have 2-3 ingredients in them.  My favorite flavor so far is Cherry Pie, so good.  

The third item is Almond Nut Thins crackers.  I am such a cracker girl, and I know crackers are not the healthiest thing out there, but I have to have them around.  Even if I just want to grab a few to snack on. These are delicious.

We have been eating a ton of salads, as it has been to hot to cook most nights.  My husband has come up with two in particular that are becoming my favorites.   My love has been so supportive of this GF journey of mine, and to be honest I could not have gotten this far without him being 100% in.  He now calls our dinners epic salad nights, and he is right they are epic!

The boy can cook.  I love the combos he comes up with.  Let's be real, I just love him period.  He is a good one. 

Well, holy moly that was a long post.  I hope all you beauties are having a wonderful summer so far.  Big love to you all.


  1. <3 Such a beautiful view from that Ferris wheel. I have NEVER been on one! I haven't even visited a carnival or fair since I was like... eight. Despite loving them dearly. I love me a good LARABAR and I want to try those almond nut crackers, they sound so good!

    I hope your little Hen will feel better soon!!!

    Also, hiking is bliss... pure and simple. ♥

    1. Oh my Angie, you HAVE to go one on! It is so fun and feels so free way up there.

      LARABARS are so good, I always have one with me. I love how simple they are and how they fill you up.

      Oh hiking is bliss, that is truth right there sister. xo

  2. Hollie! We need to hang out for real, girl! Seriously, where do I even begin?!

    First, serious kudos are in order for kicking so much gluten free butt! And dropping 9 pounds! That is all kinds of awesome! Also, I'm kind of enamored with the fact that you and your husband are salad lovers. That strawberry one looks especially delish.

    The gym: ohmigawd, me too. Even when I was doing kettlebells last winter, being in a stuffy basement just didn't click with me. I was glad to partake in some ultra-intense working out, which is way out of my comfort zone, but after my months ran out, I didn't feel motivated to condemn myself back to the basement studio, particularly during these glorious and sunny summer months. I'm a trazillion times happier with my feet planted on the earth, inhaling Nature's spendour, you know?

    Almond crackers! Yes! I need to try these once I can start reintroducing foods - I am majorly intrigued.

    Also, your poor hens! And their pretend eggs! That is just the most heartbreaking thing ever, poor ladies. <3


    1. We totally do, like someday we have to meet.

      Thank you for the props lady, you are kicking some serious butt of your own over there. That elimination diet looks so hard. I can't imagine the willpower you must have. It was hard enough for me to just eliminate gluten. That strawberry salad is so good, like for reals. My hubs does come up with some awesome combos.

      I tried earlier this year to hit up the gym again. I do good for about two weeks and then I feel like I am going to lose my mind. I almost feel claustrophobic in there. I can't even focus on working out, all I can think about it getting out of there and breathing fresh air.

      Those almond crackers are so good, they also make them in pecan. YUMMY!

  3. Fair food can be so tempting, but I'm proud of you for sticking it out! Although deep fried kool-aid sounds terrifying and confusing.

    I'm really happy your new gluten-free lifestyle is working out for you. It takes a lot of will power and strength to cut so much out of your diet. I hope that at some point I am strong enough (and have enough money) to make similar changes. Cutting out meat and most dairy has already been so beneficial for me, I can only imagine what a gluten free, or at least havily reduced gluten intake would do for me.

    Also, I am sooo jealous of that hiking area you have so close by.

    1. It was so tempting, like crazy. The smells alone almost did me in. Your comment about the fried kool-aid is still making me laugh. Terrifying and confusing for sure. You should see some of the stuff they had there, just wow so much weirdness.

      It has been a journey, but it really is working out so well. I hate that everything GF is so expensive. I feel like as soon as they label something with that GF, the price triples. Ridiculous. Eating healthy should be the cheaper option, and I will never understand why it is not. xo

  4. All this sounds so lovely. I am craving the beach so much right now! I love the peanut butter Larabars. Is is okay to ask if you've heard about gluten and its role in infertility? I don't know a ton about it, but just thought I'd mention it; you never know.

    Beautiful pictures.

    1. Thank you Falan! Of course it is okay to ask, I am 100% open and willing to talk about our struggles with infertility. I think most people are afraid to ask, but it actually helps me to talk about it. It has been said that eating gluten can be a factor in infertility. My naturopath has said there are studies that link celiac disease to infertility. My celiac test came back normal, so I do not have it. But, you know I thought why not give it a go, it can't hurt. The main reason I did a GF diet was to deal with my eczema that has progressively gotten worse through the years. I am hoping the benefits will be vast over time. xo