Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's All Happening! (Including Elk Goulash)

Hooray!  I'm 30!!  My birthday was wonderful this year.  I was able to spend it surrounded by friends, family and Aerosmith.  What more could a girl ask for?

I've been off of my thyroid medication (Synthroid) for 29 days now.  The descent into hypo hell has been an interesting one.  I felt almost normal until about day 12 when the chills and fatigue started creeping in very slowly.  On day 14 I felt like I got hit by a truck that was conveniently filled with mattresses.  Most likely discounted mattresses because, when are they not?  All I wanted that day, and all I have wanted since then is to sleep.  I need to nap in the afternoon every day.  If I don't listen to my body, my sleep at night is fitful at best.  I've been sleeping 12-18 hours per day for approximately 2 weeks.

I'll list the rest of my symptoms, in order of appearance, just for fun.  Remember, if you're going to be off of your meds at some point, don't freak out about this list.  This process is highly variable and everyone reacts differently to being without thyroid hormone.  Here we go! :)

Feeling cold when I shouldn't, fatigue, muscle cramps (legs at night), headaches (most likely due to water retention/edema), heartburn, nausea, super itchy eyes, worsening of seasonal allergies, puffy face (due to edema), slow pulse, extremely vivid dreams (especially during my naps), clumsiness, hormonal irregularities (at this rate it will be my time of the month 3 times this month...), and brain fog.

Luckily, the brain fog held off until very recently.  Those of you who have seen me recently can tell me if you agree with that assessment or not, lol.  I can say that I got several very complicated experiments done at work last week without messing them up :)  I can also say that I have no idea if I washed my hair twice with shampoo, twice with conditioner, or once with each this morning.

Many people who are off meds for this long (or longer) also report weight gain as a side effect.  We're talking 15 pounds or more in a month.  I'm happy to report that I have not gained any weight since stopping my meds.  In fact, I may have lost some.  I don't use a scale, so I'm only gauging this by the fact that my clothes fit just fine, and I'm wearing a pair of jeans that I haven't fit into in awhile.  I can only attribute this to eating primally before I started my low-iodine diet, and continuing that during the LID, even though it is a pain in my butt.

The LID is a 2 week (or longer) diet leading up to the treatment dose of I-131 that is meant to deplete your body of any extra iodine so that it is really craving the radioactive iodine when the ablative dose is finally administered.  The largest sources of iodine in our diets are iodized salt, sea salt, seaweed (and all of its derivatives such as carageenan and agar agar) and fish.  The ocean is a rich source of iodine.  Other things to avoid include egg yolks, dairy (including chocolate), rhubarb, strawberries, potatoes, breads, rice, red dye #3, soy products and molasses.  If you remember back to other posts, I already avoid most of those things anyway.  However, cutting out eggs, dairy and all sea-based products doesn't leave much for consumption.  There is more info here on the ThyCa website.

I was left with fresh meats, veggies and fruits.  I purchased all of my meats from the butcher and as many veggies and fruits as I could organically.  I did not shop in any meat sections because almost everything there has some sort of sodium solution injected into it for "tenderness" or some other B.S.  Guess what sodium solutions contain?  Probably iodized salt or sea salt.  I did not eat at any restaurants during this time and I prepared all of my own meals using Kosher non-iodized salt.  The food was delicious every single day!  And there is no way I could have done any of this without the help of my amazing sous chef/sister.  Or was I her sous chef?

For example, tonight I made Elk Goulash.  I chopped one onion, two carrots and a head of cauliflower and put them in the bottom of my crock pot.  I seasoned them very liberally with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder and dried minced garlic.  I topped that with one pound of frozen ground elk and a 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes with basil (salt free!).  I turned my crock pot on high and relaxed.  After about 2 hours I started breaking up the meat and stirring everything together.  I added 1 cup of water at this point because it looked a little dry to me.  Then I took a nap.  A few hours later I continued breaking up the meat and stirring.  Everything looked and smelled awesome.  I tasted the broth at this point and added more onion powder and salt, then cooked it about an hour longer.  Voila!  Dinner.  It was fantastic!

I'll be continuing my LID just through Thursday.  After that eggs, seafood, sushi, bacon!, dairy and other things will be re-introduced slowly.  Still no grains, red dye #3, soy or sodium solutions in meats, of course.  If any of you have any easy recipes to share, I would love to have them!  Leave links in the comments section if possible, or email them to me:

I went in last Wednesday to have blood drawn to see if my TSH was high enough to commence treatment.  We were looking for a number above 30.  Mine was above 130.  Thundercats are go!  I received my tracer dose of radioactive iodine (2mCi) on Monday and I will have my pre-treatment scan Wednesday at 9am.  Then I get to wait around at the hospital for awhile so the doctors can talk to each other, decide on my treatment/ablative dose of I-131 (between 100-150mCi) and get that ordered from the pharmacy.  Once it arrives at the hospital, I can take it (it's a pill) and then head off to seclusion at my parents' house for a week.  Next Wednesday I will have another scan to see if we can find any other micro-metastases in my body.  The high dose of radioactive iodine will allow us to see smaller mets than the small doses do.  Hopefully we don't find any, but if they are there, this treatment should wipe them out.

So, as I said in the title, it's all happening (can you name the movie?)!  I'll be starting my meds again on Sunday, 1/2 pill per day for 10 days, then back up to the full dose.  I'm hoping to be back to my old self energy-wise about 6 weeks after that :)  Enjoy your summer, people.  And send me recipes!

Until next time,
Check Your Neck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Post I Hoped I Would Never Have To Write...

I have received some disheartening news.  The whole body scan results are in, and there was faint uptake in my left neck.

Translation:  The cancer is back.

I was still at work when I got the news and I cried, right there at my desk because there really was no other option.  My heart started racing and my hands were shaking.  "Shit, shit, shit," was all that was going through my head.  Eloquent, I know.  It has been an interesting two weeks since I first got the news.  I still vacillate between anger and acceptance, and I think that is going to last awhile.  

I wanted to wait until my doctor and I had a firm plan in place before posting about this.  So, here it is:  I will go off my Synthroid on June 27th in preparation for a large dose of radioactive iodine (I-131).  I need to be off my meds because my TSH needs to be elevated in order for the I-131 ablation treatment to be successful.  I will start weekly blood tests on July 19th to monitor my TSH levels, and once it is high enough, we will schedule the high-dose I-131 pill.  I'm guessing it will be early to mid-August.  Then, I will be able to start my meds again a few days after the I-131.

I-131 is a great treatment because only thyroid cells uptake iodine, which makes it very specific.  We also have the opportunity to destroy any other micrometastases that we can't yet see on the scans.  There are no huge side effects from I-131 apart from needing to be isolated for a few days because of the radiation.  I also may experience some pain/swelling in my salivary glands because of how much of the I-131 is excreted from the body.  Last time I had a large dose of I-131 I lost my sense of taste for about a month.  I'm also going to go on a low iodine diet for 2-4 weeks prior to the treatment.  It's basically a paleo diet, but I need to eliminate Iodized salt, dairy, egg yolks, seafood, seaweed and associated byproducts, and apparently rhubarb--in addition to the continued elimination of grains, legumes, sugars and refined foods.  Meat, veggies and fruits, here I come.

The bigger issue is being off my meds and hypothyroid.  They call it "hypo hell" for a reason.  It will probably start about 4 weeks after I stop taking my Synthroid and will continue until about 8 weeks after I start taking it again.  I'll be sleeping 16-20 hours a day, feeling cold all the time, lose my appetite, gain some weight, and lose the ability to think in any sort of useful fashion.  Good times.  The only good thing is that I know there will be an end to it, and I know approximately when that will happen.  That makes it easier.

It's a solid plan, and it will be easier to get through it all this time because I have done it before and I know what to expect.  And of course, all of my friends and family have been wonderful.  I know I can reach out to them at any time, for any reason.  Anyone feel like sending low-iodine freezer meals my way?  :)

Mark Sisson of Mark's Daily Apple wrote a post entitled "Akrasia, or Why You Act Against Your Own Better Judgement."  The last paragraph really spoke to me, but I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

"Part of self-control is self understading.  Knowing the circumstances that test your confidence.  Preempting the script that tends to play in your head when life gets tough or you have time on your hands.  Only then can you divert the narrative, anticipate your needs, and genuinely tend to your weaknesses before they get the better of you.  It's about understanding within a circumstance that this, too, shall pass.  The power to choose in full consciousness today determines who and what ultimately directs your overall life story."

I'm still trying to process it all.  Sometimes my brain reverts to expletives.  Suddenly I have gone from cancer survivor back to cancer patient.  All I know for now, is that I WILL get through this. 

Let's kick cancer's ass again.

Until next time,
Check Your Neck

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I just had another one of my biannual endocrinology appointments.  For about 5 and a half months I get to go about my life however I please, thinking about work, food, the kitties...whatever I need to or want to, really. Then, about a week before my appointment, I start to worry about what's coming.  This particular week I was just coming off of an illness, which helped keep my mind off of all of the "what if's" that usually eat at me.

Prior to my appointment, I had the requisite labs drawn and I also was able to have my ultrasound in advance.  I've been pushing for this for awhile because it streamlines the entire process to be able to discuss the ultrasound results at the appointment instead of trying to do it via email after the fact.  I was able to see my blood work results via MyChart before the appointment and the results were great.  I went into the appointment thinking that everything was going to be fine because the blood work was so encouraging, and that was a mistake.  The radiologist found an "abnormal lymph node."  All we can say about it at this point is that it is not the largest node identified on the scan, but it does have a lower fat content than the other nodes.

The next step is to do another Whole Body Scan (WBS).  I will have two Thyrogen injections next Monday and Tuesday.  Then, on Wednesday, I will take a low-dose radioactive iodine pill.  The Thyrogen will artificially elevate my TSH, which is important for efficient uptake of the radioactive iodine by any thyroid cancer that might be in my body.  On Friday, I will have my WBS and repeat my tumor marker blood work.

If the scan is negative, I get to go on my merry way for another six months until my next endocrinology appointment.  If it is positive, we will do another PET/CT to confirm the WBS results.  The PET/CT measures metabolic activity and will "light up" in any regions where cancer is present because cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal cells.  If the PET/CT is positive too, then I will need to prepare for another ablative (i.e. very high) dose of radioactive iodine, and that involves going off my medicine and spending some time in isolation while the radioactivity decays.  We'll cross that bridge if/when we come to it.  It's a solid plan, and that helps me cope.

When I received this news, I immediately reached out to my amazing support system.  I really could not ask for a better group of friends and family.  Most people I told reacted in a stunningly supportive fashion.  I am so very grateful to have all of you in my life.  It does make me wonder if my overwhelming desire to gather my friends and family close to me during this difficult time is a selfish act.

Is it fair of me to share this burden with others when it is not theirs to bear???

I often think about what my future will be like.  A year ago I would have had a hard time doing this because I didn't have a very positive outlook.  Now, since discovering Mark's Daily Apple and making a big lifestyle change, it's fun to think about what things will be like in 5 or 10 years.  I get excited about what is to come instead of constantly worrying about how I feel now or how I will feel in the future.  I have influenced my day to day life in a positive way and that gives me hope.

It is difficult for me to maintain my sunny outlook when these test results smack me across the face and force me to acknowledge all of the other possible ways my future could look.  What if my cancer has come back?  How many surgeries will I have in my lifetime?  How many RAI treatments?  How many months out of every year will I have to be off my Synthroid and therefore non-functional?  It's during these times that I reach out to my friends and family--and holy crap do they reach back.  I realize just how much I need them and it is completely overwhelming to me.  I don't know how I would get through this without the support system I have--and does that make me selfish or sane?  I'm really hoping for sane.

Until next time, check your neck.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Release Day: The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation

If you're on the fence about whether or not the primal lifestyle is right for you, today might just change your mind.  I know this post is long, but it's worth the read.  It's a special post from Mark Sisson, of Mark's Daily Apple.  His new book comes out today, and I think it has the possibility to affect real change, not only in your life, but in the lives of people around the world.  Hopefully this book with get the exposure it needs to go mainstream and expose more people to the positive changes the Primal Blueprint can make in their lives.  So, give it a read, and please, consider ordering this week.  Let's get this book to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list!!

I’ve got a special announcement today. Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, has a brand new book out called The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body TransformationClick here to order on!! It’s a practical, action-oriented guide for how to eat, exercise and live Primally – a step-by-step, “cut to the chase” resource to make a smooth and quick transition into a Primal lifestyle. In it he tells you exactly what to do every day for 21 days to take control of your health for the rest of your life. Mark explains what this new book is all about, what’s in it and who it’s for here. Click here to order on!!
Mark is looking to score this book on the New York Times best-seller list to gain exposure for the Primal Blueprint message, so he’s put together a loaded special offer. Basically, you order 1 or more copies between October 18 and 24, email your receipt to a special email address and Mark kicks you back a bunch of freebies. It’s a win-win. You get a great book for less than 15 bucks, and a bunch of free gifts, and you and Mark both get to help take the Primal movement mainstream. Check out the details of Mark’s special offer below and pick up a copy of the book today. Click here to order on!!

What Do I Win for Helping Put This Book on the NYT Best-Seller List?

Order 1 Copy and You Get:

MDA Advice 3D cover
1. Access to the exclusive, password-protected ebook – “Primal Living in the REAL World”: In this 130-page eBook, hundreds of Primal enthusiasts share their challenges, solutions and practical tips for how they get – and stay – Primal. It’s like having the advice of 300 coaches. In it you’ll read hundreds of answers to these and numerous other questions: What is the first thing a person should do to kick start their Primal life? What do you think is the most important thing one should understand as they attempt to go Primal? What was the biggest hurdle you experienced when going Primal and how did you overcome it? And of course, the most important one, What do you usually eat for breakfast?
podcast grok 2
2. Access to the exclusive, password-protected audio interview – “21-Day Total Body Transformation”: Download a 60 minute, free-wheeling Q&A podcast in which Mark discusses the 8 Key Concepts that everyone needs to know to go Primal. Among many other topics covered, Mark discusses why your body prefers burning fat over carbohydrates and how you can use this knowledge to become a fat-burning beast instead of a sugar burner. Also, listen to Mark riff on why grains are totally unnecessary and why 80 percent of your body composition is determined by how you eat.
Grok 10 dollar bill
3. $10 Gift Certificate to Spend it like cash and order whatever you want, perhaps a cookbook to go with the 21-Day Transformation book? This means for a net 5 bucks you can grab a copy of Mark’s new book today. (The coupon code is good for any single product at and expires on 11/30/11.)

Order 3 (Or More) Copies and You Get:

1. All the aforementioned benefits – the $10 Gift Certificate, the exclusive eBook and podcast, plus…
final audiobook web left mp3 2
2. Audio recording of the original Primal Blueprint (released in 2009) - Listen to The Primal Blueprint on your phone or MP3 player with this abridged, digital (MP3) audio book voiced by Mark Sisson. The audio book is four hours long, and covers all 10 of the Primal Blueprint Laws and then some. This is the book that started it all and retails for $26.99. Grab 3 or more copies of the the 21-Day Total Body Transformation and you’ll get it for free.
3. Plus an additional $10 Gift Certificate to, bringing the total to $20. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to try a PEK, Primal Fuel or Master Formula on for size!(The coupon code is good for any single product at and expires on 11/30/11.)

Order 8 (Or More) Copies and Help Change The World!

Buy 8 or more books through mainstream channels and Mark will send you one book for every two books you buy! Buy eight and he’ll send you four more. Buy 80 and he’ll send you 40 for free – seriously…and he’ll autograph each one of these promo books! And, of course, you’ll get all the aforementioned freebies.
Do your holiday shopping early. One common frustration from Primal enthusiasts is how to get friends and loved ones on board. This book is the perfect calling card to introduce someone to the Primal Blueprint. Why not reduce the hassle of holiday shopping and give each of your deserving friends and loved ones the gift of life transformation?
100 copies – Personal Touch: A 30-minute private phone consultation wherein you and Mark discuss anything you want. (Well, almost anything.) Mark doesn’t one-on-one coaching anymore so this is a rare opportunity. Yes, you also get the 50 free signed books and all the aforementioned freebies!
1,000 copies – Executive Decision: Could you co-workers use some guidance and motivation to get in shape? Mark will fly out to your location, present his Primal Transformation seminar and spend the day helping get your co-workers/employees Primal!

How Do I Win?

1. Order your book(s) online or at your local bookstore before midnight Monday, Oct 24. Here are some online ordering options:
Click here to order on!!
Click here and order on Barnes and!!
2. Email your receipt to the appropriate email address:
  • If you purchase 1-2 copies email your receipt to
  • If you purchase 3-7 copies email your receipt to
  • If you purchase 8 or more copies email the confirmation that your order has shipped to
To reiterate, for 8 or more books, please email Mark the confirmation that your order has shipped (not your initial email receipt) to the appropriate email address above. Also, please include your shipping address so Mark knows where to ship your free books. Please allow 30 days for processing and shipping of your free books. Mark’s going to have a lot of books to sign!
Low-techies can fax receipt copy to 310-317-4424.
3. You will receive your e-gift certificate, eBook download instructions, podcast download instructions, and all other freebies by reply email. (Please be patient. The Worker Bees will be reviewing receipts and sending you instructions on how to access all of your freebies within 24 hours.)
If you have any questions about ordering, or this promotion, please call 888-774-6259 (or 310-317-4414).
Fine Print:
  • Unfortunately, Kindle and other digital books don’t count toward the NY Times best-seller list, nor this promotion.
  • Books purchased in physical locations (e.g. a brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble) count, too. Just scan and email your receipt to the appropriate email address above, or fax it to 310-317-4424.
  • The 8 book offer only applies to book orders placed in the United States. While international orders won’t impact the New York Times best-seller list Mark will extend the 1-2 and 3-7 book offers to anyone around the world.
Order Your Copy of The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation Today! Click here to order on!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me :)

You know those commercials on TV where a celebrity sings happy birthday and says something like, "Here's to less cancer, and more birthdays."...they make me cry every time they come on.  Thanks, American Cancer Society.

I turned 29 on July 8th, and I can honestly say that every birthday I have had since my Thyca diagnosis is more special than the last.  I absolutely LOVE birthdays now.  It's not about the presents--although the new Cuisinart 9-cup food processor, mandolin slicer, stovetop-to-oven cooking vessel, and silicone grippy mitts and pads (so I don't lose a hand moving said vessel) are all fantastic! What I love most is being able to spend time with my friends and family, and somehow trying to express to them how important they have been over the past year.  Without the support system I have, I would not make it.  End of story.  I love you all more than you can possibly imagine.

This birthday was special for a number of reasons.  First, I tried to take some time for myself by having a mini-vacation at my parents' house.  I was off of work for almost an entire week and it was  nice to shut my brain off for a few days :)  Second, my birthday happens to coincide with Summerfest this year, and I just happen to love music.  More importantly, my favorite band, The Gufs, played on my birthday!  It was a fantastic show, and I got to share it with my sister and cousin.  Third, I got to relax and eat tons of primal food, most of which was cooked by my wonderful Mother (who is also going primal after seeing the success I am having).  In between concerts, I spent a ton of time in the pool or relaxing around the house.  I also had an absolutely brilliant afternoon at a fabulous bridal shower/picnic at a small park that overlooks a stream and rolling hills.  Did I mention it was catered by the Underground Food Collective?  Fantastic.  Add to that meeting fun new friends, and it was a perfect day.  I even got in my "Lift Heavy Things" (see number 3 in the link) workout by hauling a ridiculously heavy picnic table across the park with 3 other amazing women :)

I somehow managed to find a balance between doing the things I wanted to do and regaining the energy/spoons that I need during this week off.  I feel more grounded than I have in a long time.  I really enjoyed my time outside, whether it was in the pool (suits optional!  this is primal living after all...), at the park, or on the Summerfest grounds overlooking Lake Michigan.  There is something I find very peaceful about adding other primal aspects of life to my daily routine.  I've been so terrified of my allergies and asthma my whole life, that I kind of forgot to enjoy nature.  That needs to stop.  I'll be visiting that park again soon.  And probably many others.  Madison is a gorgeous city, and I need to see more of it!  Who wants to come with me?  :)

Here are a few more killer recipes I've tried recently:

Lemon Basil Squash and Kale Ribbons with Chicken from Eat the Cookie!

I want to eat this recipe all day every day.  The sauce is to die for.  I didn't think steaming the ribbons in cream added anything.  Also the chicken was a little salty using the amount of salt in the recipe.  I might cut back in the future.

Rutabaga "Faux-Tato" Salad from Stuff I Make My Husband

Really great potato salad substitute.  I actually like it better than potato salad.  I'm not a huge fan of dill, though, so I left that out.

Gyros from Stuff I Make My Husband

These are delicious.  We ate ours with cucumber yogurt sauce in romaine lettuce leaves.  Yum!

Pork Chops with Grilled Beets and Apples in a Balsamic Reduction from PaleOMG

The marinated grilled beets were really outstanding (I used golden beets).  Everything tasted great together--no side dishes needed.

Maple Bacon Ice Cream from Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations

The title says it all.  Just make it. :)

Peppermint Patties from Elana's Pantry

These have always been one of my favorite treats.  I'm so excited to have found a recipe that makes them primal :)  In moderation, of course.  Read the comments after the recipe for helpful tips on how to make these properly!

I just have to say that I love eating this way.  All of the recipes are so good!  The combinations are endless, and I'm so happy that there are so many wonderful bloggers out there who are making such fantastic food.  Hopefully I will have some recipes of my own to contribute in the near future!

Until next time,
Check Your Neck!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Quest for Energy: Achievement Unlocked!! (and more recipes!)

Awake Early?  On a Saturday??  Yes, I am as puzzled as anyone about this.  I can't remember the last time I woke up, on my own, before 6am.  I figured this would be a fantastic time to give a short update on my progress thus far, and to include some links to more fantastic recipes. 

As my quest for more energy continues, I find myself going to the doctor more frequently.  It turns out, I have a severe vitamin B12 deficiency on top of everything else going on with my body.  If you were to look up the symptoms of B12 deficiency they would go something like this: "Fatigue, inability to feel rested upon waking, insomnia, easy bruising, etc."  I wonder why this was never brought up during any of my myriad appointments to discuss possible causes/treatments for fatigue...

I've been supplementing with Methyl-B12 for a few weeks now, and I really do notice a difference.  I hope it continues improving over time.  I also went in for an upper endoscopy to rule out pernicious anemia (a nasty autoimmune disorder that causes low B12) and celiac--I don't have either :) 

I guess the big picture here is that things are improving.  Slowly.  I have more energy than when I started this primal journey, I'm sleeping better, and I've lost almost 20lbs.  I can't envision a time in my future when I go back to the way I used to eat.  On that note, here are some more great recipes!

Primal Toad's Pumpkin Banana Bread Smoothie

I added a little extra pumpkin and cinnamon.  Yum!!

Moroccan Orange Salad and Moroccan Grilled Salmon from The Clothes Make the Girl

These are 2 of my new favorite recipes.  I get to grill, which is awesome, and the flavors here are outstanding.  I added an avocado to the salad, as per Mel's suggestion on the recipe page.  So good.

Rutabaga Fries from The Functional Foodie

Nom nom nom.  Rutabaga is slightly sweet, and while these don't crisp up the same way french fries do, I find them even more satisfying.

Lemon Kale Chips from Elana's Pantry

Eat these.  Love them.  They will completely remove your need for potato chips.  With or without the lemon, they are fantastic. 

Portabella Mushroom Caps with Spinach and Goat Cheese from The Food Lover's Primal Palate

I substituted feta for the goat cheese, but I will be making these with a million types of cheese over time, I'm sure.

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream from This Is So Good...

I used raspberries because I had them on hand.  This is delicious, and kind of tastes like a smoothie, but warning:  this stuff freezes up harder than you can imagine.  I did a little research and next time I plan on adding about a tablespoon of alcohol to help with keep it a little more scoop-able.  Vodka is most often recommended. This picture is what it looked like right out of the ice cream maker.

And, because I miss baked goods a little bit...
Elana's Chocolate Chip Scones

I used honey instead of agave, and added orange zest to mine.  The batter was a little sticky, but the scones turned out great!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Doughnuts Are STILL Evil--More Delicious Recipes

They're back.  Doughnuts are a pervasive office breakfast/lunch/snack, and, as I may have mentioned before, they are evil.  I did some "research" by eating a piece of cake with frosting last night as a comparison.  I can only conclude that it is equally as evil as the doughnut.  Don't do it.  I feel terrible today.  All of that refined sugar in the frosting really did me in, and on top of that, I was starving this morning--a sensation I have not experienced in months.  No more frosting for me.

That being said, I did go out for a lovely dinner on my sister's birthday a few days ago.  I ate a few things I shouldn't have (wheatberries, homemade pasta, a bit of a crepe), had a few beers, and overall I felt okay the next day.  Not fantastic, mind you, but okay.  No carb crash, no grumpiness.

What I can recommend to you are the following delicious recipes.  Make them!  Love them :)  I do.

Shepherd's Pie from Mark's Daily Apple

I have made this at least 3 times in the past few months.  I keep going back to it because I love the mashed cauliflower on top so much.  I may or may not dream about it...  Chef's note:  cauliflower doesn't exactly mash.  The best method is to use a food processor.  The second best is to chop it, throw it in a bowl and then smash it first with a pastry cutter and then a potato masher.  Don't bother trying a hand mixer--it just throws florets all over the kitchen.

Zucchini Pizza Boats from Budget Bytes

These are very simple and surprisingly delicious.  You can adjust the filling to suit your taste.  I have made them once with veggies and once with ground beef.  I replace the bread crumbs with almond meal/flour, but I think you could leave it out altogether and be fine.  I topped mine once with green olive havarti and once with aged white cheddar.  Use a small spoon to hollow out your zucchini.  I owe my sister a huge debt of gratitude for figuring that out and saving me from mangling the first batch of zucchini any worse than I already had.

Radicchio Salad With Lemon and Olives from In Erika's Kitchen

Don't be afraid of radicchio.  Its slight bitterness is balanced by the bright lemon juice and salty parmesan and green olives. 

Clean Eating Tomato Soup from The Gracious Pantry

For one of my lower energy nights I needed a quick meal.  This was perfect.  I used pasta sauce (with no sugar) because it was what I had in my pantry.  I also replaced the chicken stock with water, and the soy milk with heavy cream (since soy, rice and lowfat milk are no-no's).  It was creamy and delicious comfort food.

Healthy All-Natural Ice Cream from A New Bloom

Make this now.  It is seriously amazing.  Pure alchemical kitchen magic!

Scotch Eggs from The Clothes Make The Girl

She isn't lying when she calls them protein pellets.  I used some grass-fed ground beef seasoned with salt, pepper and italian seasoning to wrap my hard boiled eggs.  Yum!

Coconut Almond Pancakes from Eat Love and Train

I've been trying pancake recipes on the weekends since I started eating primal.  This one finally works!  I needed patience to let the pancakes set enough to flip, but other than that they are very simple to make.  I will be adding some additional seasonings next time I make them, sweet or savory.  Cinnamon and nutmeg, garlic and rosemary, the possibilities are endless.  They will make a quick bread substitute as well.

Enjoy these recipes, and please tell me what you liked and if you made any delicious alterations! 

Until next time,
Check Your Neck