Into Week 3!

So here I am, third week in to my 30 day FODMAP challenge and it’s been going great!  I have found it pretty easy to make some massive eliminations from my diet and have actually really gotten into meal planning and trying out new and exciting things, like yogurt-making!  For the most part, I think my energy levels are better and even my attitude has been up (most days). I’m able to think more clearly about what my future is going to look like in the next year, which is a personal issue I’ve been struggling with a lot lately.  My stomach is definitely better, which is really all that I’m asking for.  I have found giving up gluten really easy and probably the only thing that I’ve needed a few mini cheats has been chocolate.  Probably my next mini cheat would be a fun cocktail, kind of have missed a little alcohol here and there 🙂

The only kind of weird thing is that I have felt like my appetite has been HUGE, I’m just super hungry all the time!  And not even with specific cravings, like I am missing sugar or something, just that I’m starving and need to eat.  A friend asked if I was weighing myself through this and I said no because that wasn’t the point, but since I feel like I’ve been eating more I did want to make sure I haven’t GAINED weight lol!  That certainly wouldn’t be my intention either!!  So far I’m normal, so I guess that’s good.  Would have been nice to see a pound or two loss from removing gluten and most sugar, though!

Despite having class this weekend, I still made some time to try a few new foods, including using my homemade yogurt to make Greek yogurt!  It was easy, I just put it in the cheesecloth that came with and hung it over the sink overnight.  It was very thick, so I think next time I wouldn’t hang it for quite so long.  I used it to make these Pumpkin Oat n’ Honey muffins.  I used 1/4 cup of maple syrup and a 1/4 dextrose instead of honey and added chopped pecans and shredded coconut.  Oh and use a food processor, not a blender, my blender definitely did not work for this!

GF pumpkin oat-yogurt muffins

GF pumpkin oat-yogurt muffins

Next up, I made these yummy looking Oatmeal Pumpkin Pie bars!  I haven’t had a chance to try one yet because the recipe said they were best after sitting overnight in the fridge.  I plan to freeze some since it made a 13X9 pan.  Adjustments I made included using the GF flour mix I bought instead of spelt flour, I used more pumpkin instead of applesauce, dextrose instead of coconut sugar, and milled chia instead of flaxmeal.  Oh and I sprinkled some shredded coconut on top!

oatmeal pumpkin pie bars

oatmeal pumpkin pie bars

I also made another round of the Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal because it was so yummy!  The main change I made was that I blended fresh spinach with the coconut milk, so it’s a lovely shade of green this time lol!  I just missed knowing that I was getting some veggies in the morning since I usually add spinach to my smoothies, so I thought this would be a way to add it to my oatmeal.  Turned out good, does taste a little “greener” but not terribly.

And finally I made up burgers inspired by these Paleo Sun-dried Tomato & Spinach Burgers and homemade ketchup.  The burgers are a funny story, I kind of went overboard on the spinach, so I ended up adding a half pound of ground turkey.  They still just seemed boring, per the recipe, so I decided to spunk them up with some garlic-infused olive oil, coconut flour, grated cheddar cheese, and spices including smoked paprika, ground mustard, and tumeric.  Thankfully, despite my random additions, they turned out great, including husband approval!  For the ketchup, I followed the recipe pretty much exactly except that I warmed it on low on the stove (I didn’t think the brown sugar would blend properly otherwise) and added only a tiny bit of cayenne pepper.  Tasted great, though it makes a lot, so I hope I can use it up before it goes bad.

spinach & sun-dried tomato burgers

spinach & sun-dried tomato burgers

mm ketchup

mm ketchup

lotsa ketchup!

lotsa ketchup!

At the end of the weekend, I had to laugh at my recycling pile: FOUR cans of pumpkin and an entire container of oats!  That’s totally normal, right???  Guess all I can say is: I LOVE PUMPKIN AND OATS!  😀

pumpkin everywhere!

pumpkin everywhere!

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Week 3 Plan

I’m feeling more ahead of the game this week and already have my Week 3 plan/prep sorted out, plus a few meals already thought through for Week 4!  I need to do meal planning more often, this is nice 🙂

week 3 plan

week 3 plan

week 3 plan cont.

week 3 plan cont.

week 3 prep

week 3 prep

Homemade, lactose-free Yogurt!

Today I got to try my freshly made, lactose-free yogurt!!  It was a pretty easy process, it just takes quite a bit of time.  I first went to the store to pick out milk, I wasn’t sure if the “ultrapastuerized” kind or the already lactose-free kind would work, so I went with regular 1% milk (was going to do 2% but the 1% was on sale for 99 cents!).  I used an entire half gallon and boiled it on the stove until it reached 180 degrees.  Then I let it cool down to 110 degrees, which took maybe 20-30 mins sitting out.  I thought about putting it in the fridge, but I was busy making dinner so wasn’t in a huge rush for the next step.  Once it was 110 degrees, I mixed 6 tablespoons of the warm milk with the yogurt starter, then once that was fully mixed, whisked it in to the rest of the milk.  Then I plugged in the yogurt maker, poured the milk in to the container, and let it simmer for 24 hours.  Now normally you would only have to “cook” it for 8-12 hours, but in order to ensure that it is fully lactose-free, the SCD diet recommends cooking it for 24 hours.  From what I’ve read, that does result in a more sour yogurt.  Once it had cooked for 24 hours, it needed to be refrigerated for at least 8 hours.

yogurt making awaits!

yogurt making awaits!

So this morning was the first taste test!!  It is definitely very tart, though so is store-bought plain yogurt, so I wasn’t surprised.  It has a little bit of an after taste, but nothing like goat’s milk yogurt.  I mixed it with some maple syrup and then put some on my baked carrot cake oatmeal.

homemade yogurt!

homemade yogurt!

yogurt and oatmeal

yogurt and oatmeal

I would say it was not the greatest on the oatmeal, I think because the oatmeal was not very sweet and then adding some tart didn’t go well.  But I am hopeful that mixing the yogurt with berries and maple syrup and letting it sit for a day or so to let the flavors meld will make a world of a difference!

2 quarts of yogurt= $0.99+ $1.56 for starter!

2 quarts of yogurt= $0.99 milk + $1.56 for starter!

I have looked into if I could use coconut milk to make yogurt and I think it will be doable, though certainly more expensive.  From the tutorials I’ve seen, they recommend using the canned coconut milk since it is thicker, so at least for awhile I don’t think I’d better try my homemade coconut milk.  Now, my stomach did seem a little off today, but it wasn’t an immediate reaction after the yogurt, so I don’t know if it was related or not.  I did have a banana (eaten quickly while walking) for an afternoon snack and wonder if that was part of it.  I will continue to be cognizant of how I’m feeling after eating the yogurt and see.  I really think my issue was with the lactose because I can eat cheese and have little to no problems.  We shall see!  But I think 2 qts of yogurt should last me quite awhile, so I am definitely going to find some other uses for it!  It was an exciting adventure to do this, though, I certainly would never have thought I’d be making my own coconut milk AND yogurt!  Who needs cooking classes when you have Pinterest?? 🙂

Week 2 Plan/Prep

I’m a little behind, but have been thinking ahead for meal planning/prepping this week!  I decided to continue eliminating the same foods, including banana, but excluding chocolate since I already cheated a bit with that 🙂  I’ll just limit it to my pumpkin chocolate chip oat bars, at least!  Taking another analysis, ya know, I do think I’m feeling better!  I have had a lot more energy despite staying up later and being frazzled with homework!  And aside from some grumbling/pain from the attempt with goat’s milk yogurt, my stomach has felt great!  In fact, I feel like I’ve been SO hungry, I have to make sure I don’t eat too much.  It can be easy to think “hey this is all healthy stuff, I can eat more!”

Week 2 Meal Plan

Week 2 Meal Plan

Week 2 Meal Prepping

Week 2 Meal Prepping

 

DIY Yogurt

I just bit the bullet and bought my own yogurt maker!!!!  I’m super excited to give it a try, though it will feel really weird buying milk for myself, I haven’t bought dairy milk for myself.. well, perhaps ever!  The trick with making your own yogurt in order to ensure that it is lactose-free is to cook it for 24 hours.  The SCD diet that I formerly was looking at is a HUGE proponent of making your own yogurt this way, so I’m excited to make a go at it.  Stay tuned for the test run later this week…!!!!  Here’s what I got:

Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker— I’ve been watching it and another brand for awhile and this was one dropped down to $41 so I decided to go for it!

Yogourmet Freeze Dried Yogurt Starter— This is the one that the SCD diet recommended, so I figured I’d stick to it.

Orange, orange all around!

As I was making my latest creations today, it occurred to me that one side effect from this diet may be that I turn orange!  I’m kidding of course, but it does seem like I’ve been eating lots of orange veggies: carrots, pumpkin (as always!), sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.  At least they are all super tasty!!

Instead of making my usual breakfast smoothies for the week, I decided to try a baked oatmeal that I could eat on all week.  Since I had  5 lbs (yes FIVE) of carrots, I thought I would use some of those to make Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal.  It sure looks amazing!  I used the chia seed alternative to eggs (which BTW I just found these milled chia seeds, awesome!) and I used pecans and pumpkin seeds for the topping.

5 lbs of carrots peeled!

5 lbs of carrots peeled!

shout out to amazon prime- got these in two days!

shout out to amazon prime- got these in two days!

carrot cake oatmeal

carrot cake oatmeal

So you remember my not so successful adventure with goats milk yogurt?  Yeah, well I hunted around for something to make with it so I could use it up, and I found this Yogurt Carrot Cake recipe.  I decided to make this and if my husband enjoyed it, then keep some of it for him, otherwise I’m planning on bringing the rest to work.  He tried a sample bite and thought it was tasty, though I’m a little concerned it was overcooked, but I followed the directions, well except I just used regular flour instead of whole wheat.. maybe that was the difference?  He thought it would be even better with frosting, so I’m currently straining the remaining goats milk yogurt to attempt to use as a frosting.  And then goodbye goats milk yogurt, my excitement over you was overrated!

carrot cake

carrot cake

Since I was doing so much baking, I figured what was one more thing?  I wanted to make up another healthy dessert for myself so that I wouldn’t be tempted to reach for something off limits.  I settled on Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars, which I’ve made before and LOVED.  SO I guess I’m adding chocolate back to my diet this week..?  🙂  There really isn’t that much chocolate in this, just enough to make them nice and gooey, and they are vegan chips, so no lactose to worry about.  I wanted to try out my newly purchased dextrose, but was afraid to use it as a 100% substitution for the brown sugar, so I tried a 1/4 cup brown sugar and a heaping 1/4 cup dextrose.  Dextrose is supposed to be not as sweet as regular sugar, so that’s why I added a little extra, but after tasting one, I could probably get away with less.  I also substituted an extra 1/2 cup of pumpkin mixed with some maple syrup in place of the applesauce.  Hey, bring on the pumpkin I say!   Dextrose is supposed to be better for people with fructose-absorption issues because it is just straight glucose whereas regular sugar is one molecule glucose with one molecule fructose and therefore can cause issues.

pumpkin choc chip oat bars

pumpkin choc chip oat bars

The other night I had a hankering for some hot chocolate, I love the stuff!  I think what I really like is just to have a warm, creamy drink to finish the evening.  So I thought about just heating up coconut milk and adding some cinnamon and maple syrup, then I realized I had an open can of pumpkin in the fridge, so I added two scoops of  that with the cinnamon and maple syrup and warmed it up.  YUM and almost as satisfying as hot chocolate!!

hot pumpkin coconut milk

hot pumpkin coconut milk

Can you tell that I’m in love with pumpkin?  I just did a “find” in my massive (as in 1043 pins…) recipe board on Pinterest and found 163 pins with the world “pumpkin” in the title!!  Yeah I’m in love, what can I say?

My other recent purchase, thanks to my Amazon Prime signup, was some GF flour.  I didn’t actually use it today since the two recipes for me both just used oats, but I’m glad to have it on hand!  It seemed the most reasonably priced that I could find as well as not containing any issue ingredients.

GF flour blend

GF flour blend

Day 7

I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’ve been feeling better.  I would say that I have had a bit more energy, even despite staying up a little later and being stressed with homework.

A few more foods I’ve made/tried this week.  I made my own pumpkin spice granola!!  This will be super nice to have on hand for snacks and breakfast!  I mostly followed the recipe, but didn’t add any flax seeds or sesame seeds and instead added chia seeds and oat bran.  I think next time I do it, I’m going to omit the sunflower seeds (just not a huge fan), add more almonds and pecans, and  less dried fruit (I used raisins, dried cranberries, and dates).  Especially since I recently realized I’m not really supposed to have any dried fruit!  Argh..  too bad!  This is tasty!

pumpkin granola

pumpkin granola

I also made an olive tapenade, I thought it sounded good to have to put on burgers and rice cakes.  I followed the recipe, except for the anchovies, using a mix of kalamata and black olives.  It is tasty!!  I used it for my lunch which was inspired by this Spinach and Feta Quesadilla recipe.  I used the GF tortillas I bought and added half a can of salmon to the spinach/herb/feta mix, then put a layer of the olive tapenade on one of the tortillas.  SUPER yummy, though I would say that the GF tortillas are a bit disappointing, I really like a good crunchy flour tortilla and these were just okay.

olive tapenade

olive tapenade

spinach, feta, salmon quesadilla

spinach, feta, salmon quesadilla

I also tried out using this “coconut powder” that I picked up at the Indian supermarket, it was super cheap at just $3.99 a pound, where the shredded kind at Hy-Vee is $5.99 a pound.  Plus I thought with it being finer it might make a better milk!  I think it worked great and it definitely makes a much better, finer flour than the shredded, so I might have to go back and stock up!

coconut powder

coconut powder

I finally tried some of the goat’s milk yogurt, I wanted to go a week without any yogurt before I tried it.  So a small bit of it sat all week mixed up with maple syrup, cinnamon, and some berries, to get the flavors well-melded.  It was okay.. I don’t know, goat’s milk just has a weird flavor to it!  Plus, I’m not so sure I’m feeling that great after eating it..  I think I might try to find some recipe that I can use it up with, but I am going to continue this week without yogurt.

For dessert, I had some raspberries, but really wanted something WITH them (ahem: chocolate!), so instead I spread some almond butter on each.  Tasty!  Kind of like a de-constructed PB&J.. except.. without the peanut butter, or really jelly.. or bread.. HAH!

pseudo-PB&J

pseudo-PB&J

Day 5

Homework levels are beginning to consume me, so this will be brief so I can get back to that.  I have made time to try a few new foods, well two I guess weren’t “new” but I made some tiny adjustments and they were just as good!

For dinner last night, I used the leftover chicken breasts from the crockpot chicken on Monday to make an amazing Greek Inspired Chicken meal!  It is almost the same recipe as this one: Greek Inspired Chicken Breast Recipe except I subbed garlic infused oil instead of the garlic and instead of spinach on top, I added chopped cucumber and fresh mint.  SOOOO good!  So good in fact that I devoured it before I could take a picture of it!  Trust me, it looked as good as it tasted.

Since I made up a broth from the crockpot chicken, I wanted to throw together a quick soup with some of it and the rest of the leftover chicken.  One thing to note, I am loving the making your own broth from the chicken bones/skin, but cooking it in the crockpot overnight is a bit annoying because the WHOLE house smells like soup and I actually found it hard to sleep!  Next time I might make it in the basement and close the door haha!  The soup I made is one that I have made before, it is from Iowa Girl Eats: Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup  The only changes I made was I excluded the onions and just sauteed the veggies in the garlic infused oil.  Looks yummy and I will be glad to have it on hand for a quick meal!  I accidentally used my smaller pot, though, so it was a bit full 🙂

harvest quinoa soup

harvest chicken quinoa soup

For breakfast yesterday, I made an impromptu oatmeal/quinoa bowl, semi-inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie.  It was oats cooked in coconut milk with some already cooked quinoa added, fresh pineapple, shredded coconut, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of maple syrup.  It was yuuummy!

oatmeal/quinoa pina colada!

oatmeal/quinoa pina colada!

Last thing I gave a whirl was 3 Ingredient Paleo Naan.  She had me at 3 ingredients!  Well, and Paleo 🙂  It is just almond meal, tapioca flour, and canned coconut milk!  I would say the only thing not super “easy” about them was they take quite a while to cook all the way through and I even made them pretty thin to hopefully save time.  I think it is because the canned coconut milk has a lot of fat, so it takes awhile for that to really cook.  Very tasty though and definitely satisfied my bread/carb craving!

paleo naan

paleo naan

A quick analysis of how I’ve been feeling: I would say it’s hard to tell.  I’m super tired and stressed with school right now, so that is definitely playing a factor.  Stomach wise, I would still hesitate to say I have seen a huge improvement.  Foods I have missed this week: BANANANANANA.  Yeah I am way missing bananas, though really my smoothies have been fine without them, just not the same.  I have also wanted chocolate a few times and been bummed to not have that.  I haven’t missed yogurt as much as I thought I would, my mashed carrots+almonds+raisins has actually been a satisfying alternative.   I’m thinking next week I might try adding bananas back to my smoothies.  We’ll see, I need to remind myself not to rush things because all of this takes a lot of time to figure out!  To quote the movie UP!: Adventure is OUT THERE! 😉

Day 3

Well what can you say on Day 3?  So far so good!  Day 2 was same breakfast and lunch and then for dinner I had some leftover pork from earlier in the week.  The downside with the pork was that it was kind of dry but I couldn’t put barbecue sauce on it.  I thought about mustard that I had bought, a smooth Dijon from Trader Joe’s and one with seeds from Hy-vee (their brand too, all of the “brand name” ones had added crap), but they were both SO spicy!  Clearly I was spoiled with my Dijon+white wine/sugar kind.. So I thought about what I could add to the mustard to cut some of the bite and settled on some coconut oil and maple syrup.  This actually worked out great!  And it make the pork much better.  I had a sweet potato with almond butter for the side.

Today was a smoothie for breakfast, made without banana or yogurt… I was a little worried it wouldn’t be as filling, so I had three slices of Canadian bacon as well.  Lunch was a salad with tuna and feta with sides of mashed carrots and strawberries.  For dinner, I had a whole chicken roasting in the crock pot, so I had that with green beans and a baked potato w/ coconut oil.

who said diets had to be boring??

who said diets had to be boring??

I also made up some quinoa to freeze and for dinner and/or breakfast later in the week.  As far as how I’m feeling, I really think it is too soon to say a lot.  I did feel like this weekend I was not nearly as fatigued or foggy as I usually am, especially considering that I ran 8 miles, my longest run since October!  So on the brain front, things are tentatively looking up!  For my stomach, it has been mostly better, I wouldn’t say perfect, but for sure better than it has been in the past.  I’m hopeful that it will continue to improve!

Below are some of the products I bought to give a try:

snack for work- i liked em!

snack for work- i liked em!

haven't tried these yet, they are kept in the freezer

haven’t tried these yet, they are kept in the freezer

garlic-infused olive oil, supposed to okay since garlic is water soluable

garlic-infused olive oil, supposed to be okay since garlic is water soluble

mmm rice cakes.. always top on anyone's list

mmm rice cakes.. always top on anyone’s list

nut thins.. not as good i remember them!

nut thins.. not as good i remember them!

haven't tried yet, but sounds tasty!

haven’t tried yet, but sounds tasty!

I call these guys my 3 amigos from Trader Joe’s- absolutely favorite things to buy there because they are good quality AND a reasonable price!

the three amigos

the three amigos

Day 1 Foods & Lessons Learned

I started my morning with some oatmeal for breakfast:

yummy oatmeal!

yummy oatmeal!

Then I ran all over town to gather ingredients so I felt prepared to tackle this first week.  I read LOTS of ingredients labels and discovered many surprises, like you can’t get sun-dried tomatoes in oil without garlic.  The most pleasant surprise I found was that Trader Joe’s carries goat milk yogurt!!  And it was a reasonable price!  I decided to give it a try, since I’m eliminating yogurt for a few weeks.

goat milk- who knew?

goat milk- who knew?

I did a quick taste test of it and well, I wouldn’t recommend it plain!  I mixed it with some berries and maple syrup to bring for lunch this week and it seemed more palatable with the maple syrup.
**FOLLOW UP**  So ya know how I thought goat’s milk was lactose free??  WRONG!  Darn it, I had it in my head that this was okay on the FODMAP diet, but it’s not!  Boooo..  I will aim to give it a try at the end of the week and see how I feel.  I suppose I might not be able to stand the taste anyways! But definitely a bummer, I thought for sure I might have found a reasonable, lactose-free yogurt, but no dice.  I might end up biting the bullet and buying a yogurt maker.

For my lunch today, I had some spaghetti squash that I cooked up earlier this week with my homemade marinara, spinach, tomatoes, and feta.  Feta supposedly is lactose free, so I’m keeping it in the diet at least this week.

yuummm

yuummm

A sad lesson I learned today from my cupboard is that I do not have as much GF flour as I thought.  My homemade coconut flour went bad!!!  I should have known better, next round will definitely be kept in the freezer.  Also, I bought a big bag of GF flour mix from CostCo a few weeks ago, before I had started thinking about this diet.  Well, I looked at the ingredients closer and it unfortunately has flaxseed AND buckwheat in it!  Argh..  I haven’t opened it yet, so I might see if it is returnable.  What a bummer though, it was a pretty good deal.

I just made up one of my favorite pumpkin bar recipes, using GF flour from Trader Joe’s and Ener-G Egg Replacer and they sure are smelling good!  That will make a nice treat to have on hand when I need something sweet.  I did use brown sugar because I wasn’t sure how well replacing it with maple syrup would turn out.

Dinner is a  little tricky because we are bringing food to my friend who is in the hospital.  She requested pizza, which since she is GF, narrows down the locations to buy from.  Since we will be downtown, I knew that Fong’s Pizza has a GF crust option, so I checked to see if any of them would be something I could have.  My main concern was marinara sauce since it is a 100% guarantee that would have garlic and onions, but they have a Mediterranean pizza that just uses olive oil and all of the toppings are things that I can have except onions, so that’s an easy fix!  Yay, I thought I was going to have to get a salad or bring my own food which would have been a bummer.