A Week of Reflection

Hello, everyone. Last week, I participated in a week of silence, or muting my content to allow Black voices to be heard, stories to be told, artists and influencers to be spotlighted, etc., and I also spent time reflecting, educating myself, and committing myself to doing whatever I can to contribute to making the world a better place.

Things still aren’t back to normal from the pandemic, and I am hoping that all of these powerful messages will help the nation understand some of the many ways it needs to change. I’m going to do a basic recap post today. Oh, and tomorrow is the last day of my elimination diet!

I can’t believe that I have been so diligent and strict with this diet. I read every label, and I didn’t even use baking powder or soda since they could have cornstarch in them. I did not ingest any refined sugar, eggs, wheat, gluten, dairy, red meat or pork (I don’t eat those anyway, so it wasn’t hard) or grains for 30 days! I wish I could say the results were amazing, but I honestly don’t feel any different, so I am guessing I am not sensitive to those foods, although I guess we will see when we reintroduce them. I did notice my acne seems to be very slowly clearing up, but it got pretty bad after getting off birth control.

So, on to recap the last week — last Monday, I worked from home all day. Lately, I have been starting my mornings with Go Ultima electrolyte drink mixes and L-glutamine (which is supposed to help with gut health). I generally eat my first meal at noon and stop eating between 8 and 9. I had a pretty average workday (it’s been very busy and filled with meetings, but that’s typical), but the highlight of my day was when Julian and I went to ride our bikes through the forest preserves near our house. We had so much fun and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. I love getting my exercise in outside and especially in such a beautiful area.

I fasted all day Monday into Tuesday, so I was looking forward to breaking my fast at 36 hours. I broke it with two of my homemade elimination diet-friendly muffins. After playing around with a few different varieties, I finally found the perfect texture! For these, I used two mashed ripe bananas, two tablespoons of cashew butter, 2 tablespoons of almond milk, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1 cup of almond flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (I really love cinnamon), and 1/3 cup walnuts. You can make it keto by using banana extract and a sweetener substitute or vegan by using maple syrup. Plus, you can flavor it however you’d like (depending on what diet goals you’re meeting) — you can use chocolate chips, lemon zest and juice, berries, etc.

I was actually super-busy with work on Tuesday and Wednesday. For the first time in months, I missed my yoga Tuesday. I was writing a really important communication that took up nearly all of my time, so when Wednesday evening rolled around, I was relieved. To make dinner really easy, I decided to have the Daiya gluten-free and dairy-free mac and cheese, and I added sauteed onions, mushrooms, turkey bacon, and broccoli to jazz it up.

Thursday was another busy day at work. I had several meetings back-to-back and was working well past the end of the workday. Things are starting to open back up in Chicago, and Julian wanted to sit at an outdoor bar with some of his friends. I hadn’t even stepped foot in a store since March 14 and I’m not drinking right now, but it was a beautiful night so I tagged along and enjoyed the weather. I kept my mask on the whole time, didn’t go inside, and used copious soap and sanitizer after.

Since I faced my fear of being in a public setting, I decided to finally shop myself the next day instead of using Instacart. I like the service, but I honestly enjoy grocery shopping and I don’t want to stay in fear forever. So, I went to Aldi as soon as they opened, and it was a little crowded, but not too bad. They have a set of rules and seem diligent in their cleanliness and customer safety actions. I picked up my last elimination haul and included a few extras that I can’t eat until after tomorrow (like the gluten-free donuts!). I plan to stick to a mostly gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle even if I am not sensitive to those things.

My hard work paid off, because I got a pretty big compliment about my writing at work! Friday went by pretty quickly. I barely got to be outside because of all the work I had to do, so after making my homemade black bean burgers (so easy and so delicious), I stopped by my parents to sit in the yard with my mom and the dogs and enjoy the weather for a bit.

Saturday, I was up early to work out and get things done around the house. I did a leg workout consisting of squats, lunges, jumps, kicks, and deadlifts, and then I had gluten-free granola with coconut milk for breakfast. I spent most of the day deep-cleaning our apartment, and I had Wendy’s for dinner — I ordered the apple pecan salad with no blue cheese. The pecans came in a packet and I gave them to Julian and made my own dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. We stayed up and hung out for a bit, but I was pretty tired and went to bed with the intention of spending Sunday outside.

It was another beautiful day, but the forest preserves we like to go to were insanely crowded. We had a nice drive through the woods, but I ultimately decided to avoid the crowds and ride my bike and walk Oliver instead. I made soup when I got home, using chicken thighs, bone broth, celery, carrots, garlic, onion, zucchini, white beans, and kale.

I did an arm workout Monday and made cod, green beans, and sweet potatoes for dinner. I was glad to get back to my yoga Tuesdays and made roasted crockpot chicken, broccoli, and yellow potatoes for dinner. Each night, I have my “ice cream” for dessert, which is just frozen strawberries, banana, coconut milk, and honey blended.

Now, I am winding down and about to make dinner. I went on two walks today, and the gorgeous weather from this afternoon turned chilly and rainy. It almost feels like fall, but I like it. I am supposed to be starting a 5-day vacation for work, but I have a feeling I’ll be popping on email anyway. Well, I’m off to make shrimp and zoodles. Hope you have a great night!

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