A Beautiful Week in Chicago

Hey, everyone. It’s a mild, summery evening in Chicago and I am sitting by the window and breathing in my favorite scent (firewood–our neighbors are having a bonfire) while blogging. I spent the past week being outside as often as I could, and I went on a ton of walks, rode my bike, and skated, and it was such a fun change from being inside the house!

So far, I’ve completed two weeks of the elimination diet, so there are only two to go. It really hasn’t been that bad, and while I will welcome dark chocolate back with open arms, I plan to continue to stay away from gluten and dairy as much as possible. I feel as though this is definitely a sustainable lifestyle, if a little difficult at times. Last week, I made a Target drive-up run and picked up some fun elimination diet-friendly snacks. I was really excited to see the Daiya mac and cheese, Siete grain-free tortilla chips, and lemon Lara Bars. I had the Daiya mac on Friday night with onions, turkey bacon, and mushrooms, and it really does taste pretty close to the real thing! I won’t be able to have the Primal Kitchen chipotle mayo until after the diet is over because it has egg, but I can’t wait to try it. I also loved the flavor offerings of the Aha sparkling water – cucumber-strawberry and watermelon-lime!

I’ve mentioned this a few times, but while I am working on healing my thyroid, I am not drinking alcohol. It has been a little difficult in social situations (although there certainly have not been any of those lately), but I recently came across some substitutes that I’m really enjoying! I decided to try out the gin and the whiskey. They also have tequila, but no vodka yet! The whiskey alternative smells and tastes pretty similar to real whiskey, and the ingredients are natural and low-calorie. Making fun mocktails with the sparkling water I picked up and enjoying a drink with Julian has been fun and reminiscent of old times.

As far as eating goes, I have been as creative as possible. In addition to the mac and cheese, I’ve also made gluten-free pasta salad, turkey burgers and sweet potato fries, strawberry-lemonade muffins, strawberry-banana ice cream, and nachos made with shredded chicken thighs, seasoned cauliflower rice, black beans, and lime-avocado mash. It’s been fun and the meals I’ve made have really been delicious — I am definitely not feeling deprived.

I was even more active than usual throughout the week since I got to be outside so often. I think I took 1-3 walks every day! I did arms Monday, yoga Tuesday, abs Wednesday, full-body Friday, and legs Saturday. On Sunday, I rode my bike, rollerbladed, and walked my dog, so I was outside for hours. I soaked up the sun and all the sights and scents of the outdoors and it was probably the best I’ve felt in months. On Memorial Day, I went to the cemetery with my mom to visit my grandfather and then rode my bike and walked Oliver again. We didn’t do much that day, but I did make gluten-free pasta salad, turkey burgers, and crispy potatoes for dinner.

I’ve been reading a lot and I’ve also been playing cooking games on my phone. and while it’s a lot of fun, I’d like to be a little more productive, so I made a goal to myself to start writing fiction again, at least 1,000 words per night. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s a form of self-care for me and will also help me mentally, and I’m looking forward to it.

Plans for the rest of the week include more creativity with my meals, continuing to spend time outside and enjoy the sun, and write as often as possible. I got another Aldi haul over the weekend, so here is what I am working with for the next two weeks. I ate a lot of this stuff before I got on the diet, so it will be interesting coming off — not much will change, besides my need for chocolate!

Well, I’m off to make some salmon, green beans, and sweet potatoes for dinner and go for another evening walk. I hope you have a great week!

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