The Homemade Ranch That Changed My Life

I am thoroughly convinced that the only reason I love and eat vegetables as an adult is because I drenched them with salad dressing when I was a kid (that, and my dad would melt Velveeta cheese on broccoli for Sunday dinner causing it to be my favorite vegetable).

One of the healthy habits that I have stuck with this year (besides drinking a crap-ton of water) is making my own salad dressing.  Back in March when I did The Whole30 it was impossible to find a bottle dressing that met the guidelines of this program.  There was always soy ingredients.  In everything.  So frustrating!

I went online and found a ton of different dressing recipes and found that I had most of the ingredients on hand already.  It became fun finding different tastes to go with different vegetables.  It was also one more way to live an unprocessed life (homemade is better on so many levels).

There are three things that are never store-bought at our house anymore:
1. Bread (I can post my recipe for this as well if anyone wants it)

2. Soup

3. Salad dressing

The discovery of this Ranch recipe was a happy accident.  We were having the missionaries over for Sunday dinner and I was going to make Ranch from a packet, and realized I forgot to buy a packet at the store.  So I turned to my pantry and my fridge to see what I had to work with.

I didn’t really know what went into a packet, but I knew that there was lots of green stuff, salt, garlic and mayo.  What I had come up with changed me and my children’s life (dramatic much?).  Disclaimer:  This is not defined as a “healthy dressing”.  I do use this delicious dip to get my 3 year old to eat vegetables (which she wouldn’t touch until I added a little of this dressing).  Lastly, I am all about using full fat options (foods that are fat free are WAY MORE PROCESSED, and have way more junk in them.  I would rather eat a little with some fat than be able to eat a lot with no fat.

Homemade Ranch Dressing (yields 2 cups)

1 cup Mayo
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (I prefer Fage or Chobani)
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley (I use litehouse freeze dried herbs)
2 Tablespoons Chives
1 Teaspoon Dill
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Milk for desired consistency

Put all of the ingredients in a bowl (besides the milk) and mix.  Add milk until you have the desired consistency.  Refrigerate.

When you go to test this dressing put it on a vegetable to taste!  It makes a difference rather than just using your finger ;)

IMG_0937Let me know if you try it out!



Getting to the Root

I know its been forever since I’ve really sat down and wrote a blog post.  I’m out of the habit.  I’m not sure what I want to write about.  Nothing noteworthy is going on. 

But I think that is about to change. 

I don’t know how to segway into it so I’m just going to BLURT it out…

I started counseling this week.  I know this is going to be new information to some readers and there will be people who are wondering why I didn’t give them a phone call for the heads up, but it feels weird to call people and say “I know I called you, but let me talk about me for a minute”.  Anybody else feel this way?  I also feel like people get hurt because it is almost like saying “I don’t want to talk to you about my issues even though you love me and want to help me”

I’m not going to say exactly what happened because it would lead me to tell other people’s stories, and that’s not what I’m here to do.  I’m here to tell my own story.  But my husband had a conversation with a loved one a few months ago and he immediately came home and told me that I needed to go to counseling. 

Dustin says he has been encouraging me to do this for years, but I can matter-of-factually say that I never felt the OK until that day. 

I had my first session yesterday.  I bawled the entire time.  I was all over the place.  But I left with a sense of accomplishment.  I had taken the first step to getting healthy (both mentally and physically). 

I obviously am not going to share every detail about therapy, but I do want to share some of it.  Especially if it helps.  I would love nothing more than to help someone else to know there is help out there. 


My First Session

This is the time where we are playing the getting to know you game.

She asked me why I was there and I told her that I have a complusive eating addiction that I can’t seem to grasp a hold of.  I also told her that I am all over the place, emotionally speaking.  One day I feel and react one way, and the next day I act totally different to the same situation. 

We talked for an hour and I cried from the very second we first started talking.  I think I may have been shaking her hand exchanging names with tears in my eyes. 

She did nothing but listen and ask a few questions, but the rest was all me. 

By the end she had me write down a book she wanted me to read “Women, Food, and God” by Ganeen Roth, and asked me the three things I wanted to accomplish which I would like to share with you guys:

1.  To connect with my feelings.  As in, know how I am  feeling about certain things so that I can properly deal with my emotions. 

2.  To lose weight, and gain control of my eating habits. 

3.  To increase my self esteem.  I put on such a good front.  When I tell people that I don’t have a very good self esteem they look shocked. 

I’m about half way through the book (it definitely reads like a psychology text book), but there are some interesting views from it (I will do a book review). 

The last thing that the Therapist said is that she would like to give me some easy homework for the next week.  She wants me to slow down and go easier on myself.  Breathe.  Quit beating myself up for all the things that I am not, and start recognizing the things that I am. 

Here’s to getting healthy. 


Starting Over, and Over, and Over…..

Weight loss seems to be a never-ending battle.  Even when you’ve lost the weight they say that maintenance is harder than the initial losing.

Guess what?

I’m starting over….. again.

I’ve done a lot of research these past couple of months and have come to some overwhelming conclusions.  My diet needs to be widdled down to very little foods for the healing of my Autoimmune Disease.

Let me back up a little.

Last month I had a miscarriage.  The hub’s and I are trying to eek out one last child before I turn 36 next year.  I am so overwhelmingly happy with my two little girls, but I can’t help but think there is one more out there for me to love and care for.

I’m no spring chicken and so we decided to not wait very long after Lucy and got pregnant on the first try (the same as with Lucy).

The pregnancy felt weird from the beginning and when I woke up two weeks ago I was bleeding pretty heavily (sorry for the TMI).  I was told to go to the ER.  I was there for 5 1/2 hours and it was awful.  My hub’s was in Denver and so I was trying to communicate to him what was going on by phone and when I wasn’t talking to him I felt so alone.

These last couple of weeks have left me with a lot of deep thought.  The truth is that I have not felt like myself since I had Lucy over a year ago.  I go through peaks and valleys with emotion and it is just recently that I have started to put the pieces together.

My thyroid disease is affecting me.  Big time.  I need to just go all in and take care of it.

One thing that I did find is this informative book:

I’ve read A LOT of health books.  This book has been the most comprehensive book I have read to date.  I also believe that there is no one way to eat for everyone.  I have tried just about every diet out there and it makes sense now why none of them worked.

I have a disease and it takes a special way to eat to put  my disease into remission.

If you have heard, or read this book you know that it is quite restrictive.  But it is also not a forever way to eat either.  To ensure that I have success with it I am doing baby steps.

Step 1:  Remove gluten from my diet. GLUTEN IS EVERYWHERE.  I may as well say stop eating process foods (which is good anyway and SHOULD be done).

Step 2: Remove Soy Products from my diet.  This goes with gluten, it is everywhere!  Soy Lecithin is a major ingredient in pretty much everything!  Try to find a cooking spray that doesn’t have soy in it.  I dare you.

Step 3: Remove all dairy.  I actually don’t eat that much dairy (a habit I picked up from my tries at going Vegan).  It gives me horrible heart burn, and I feel awful after I eat it.

Step 4: Remove all processed foods.  I don’t have too much of a problem with processed foods, but I do have a problem with going out to eat a couple of times a week which would have to stop.

Step 5:  Keep life in perspective and don’t be too hard on myself if I slip up.  Breaking 35 years of bad eating habits is hard, but starting somewhere will help the process.

For right now I am working on the Gluten.   That’s actually a really big thing.  One of the number one things I read about with Autoimmune disease is that Gluten should be cut out for life.  It is a huge contributor to many autoimmune symptoms.

I have been trying to keep track of how I feel after eating certain foods and I have noticed that I feel lethargic and even sometimes nauseated about an hour after I ingest gluten (and even grains in general).

So that’s where I am right now.  It feels good to start somewhere.  I feel like my life has been not my own for the past few months and I want it back.

Thanks for reading!


PS.  I also rejoined the gym and can start going next week, yay!













Weekly Update 3.21.14

I really wish I had more time to write during the week, but life gets in the way (and I’m ok with that:).

This week I had a cold that hit me pretty suddenly and has had a pretty intense cough (like coughing until I’m dry heaving, yuck).  I did a lot of resting and drank two Kombucha’s a day to get my immune system to push the cold bugs out.

I still have some lingering mucus, but the cough is almost gone and I should be 100% by the end of the weekend.

This did have a bit of an effect on my weight, but I’m happy to say I still had a great loss!

I was actually lower in the beginning week, but I made a stuffed chicken on Wednesday that had bacon in it and the sodium has helped me to retain a lot of water and mother nature visited me this week so it looks like I have a couple of things working against me.  Although, the chicken and bacon was worth it:)

1379553_10201597603203178_260057413_nThis is a “stuffed” chicken, although I can’t butterfly chicken worth beans so I just put the stuffing on top.  I may have eaten a few pieces of bacon on the side as well.  Anyone else feel like bacon has a crack-like addiction to it?  Note to self:  Don’t buy bacon again.

I also got 2 dozen fresh eggs straight from the chicken this week.  The egg yolks are almost orange!  Love me some country living!

I may have eaten a little too much of the fresh ground almond butter that Sprouts sells.  It tastes amazing if you spread it on bananas or apples.

But all-in-all in a was a good week!

Starting Weight (3.1.14): 287.7
Last week’s weight: 275.4
This week’s weight: 273.7
Total weeks loss: -1.7
Total overall loss: -14

I need to tighten it up a little this next week (as in, only one serving of almond butter a day).

Non-scale victory: I went to a birthday party last weekend and I stuck to my new way of eating.  I passed up lots of sweets and birthday cake!  It wasn’t even a challenge.  I just kept telling myself that I would feel like crap if I ate it, and that seemed to work!

Upcoming fun: I bought a yogurt maker on Amazon and I am excited to play around with it!  But I probably won’t until the end of the month.  I’m interested in trying to make yogurt with different kinds of milks (like almond, coconut), since dairy doesn’t agree with me.  And my kids are yogurt fiends and so it will be nice to save a little money by making it myself.

Have a great weekend!


A Quick Weigh In!

One of my goals this week is to stay off the computer while the kids are awake, so I’m breaking it by doing this quick weigh in post.

I had a stellar week!  The only thing that didn’t happen is exercise, but that will come with time.

Here is how this week shook out:

Starting Weight (March 1st): 287.7
Last week’s weight: 281.3
This week’s weight: 275.4
Total weeks loss: -5.9
Total overall loss: -12.3

What I am loving:  NO FOOD TRACKING.  I HATE food tracking (it’s one of the main reasons I always fail), but this way of eating seems to be agreeing with my body.  LISTENING TO MY BODY’S HUNGER CUES.  Now that I have gotten past the craving stage that comes with eating carbs I can tell when I am really hungry, and it has helped with mindless snacking!

The two-week mark is usually where I start to fall off the wagon, and get lazy with my diet.  This next week will be a true test for me, but I seem to be up to the challenge!

I will also do a post next week with some recipe links for those that have asked.   We’ve been eating some really yummy dinners lately.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Getting Back To It

One of the things I haven’t done in a LONG time is a weigh in.  I’ve been putting it off because I haven’t want to look at the number or let everyone else see the number, but I know that in order for me to succeed that has to change.

But first things first.

How has this first week of eliminating dairy, grains, gluten, and sugar gone?

Very well.

I’m not going to say that it hasn’t been hard, but I have definitely had a change in mind-set.

Since finding out about my diagnoses with Hashimoto’s Thyroid I have been looking at losing weight differently.  I can’t lose weight a conventional way.  It won’t work.  I have to say goodbye to certain foods (and food groups) in order to get my thyroid working properly again.  I have only been eating like this for 7 days and I feel an amazing difference!  I know it can only get better by taking it long-term.

What have I been doing/feeling these past 7 days?

1. Juicing.  I have a juice every morning with my breakfast.  Right now I stick to the same juice.  It has: cucumber, green apple, lemon, spinach, and carrots.  It makes about 25 ounces and I split it between me and the hubs (did I mention that hubs is doing this with me for the first 30 days?  He’s pretty awesome, and he’s doing great).

2.  Less Hunger.  I feel more satisfied at each meal and find that I eat less and can go longer in between meals.  It’s amazing that an egg and an apple with a little almond butter can keep me satisfied for almost 4 hours.  This is an amazing feeling!

3.  Better sleep.  When I am tired I am actually tired and I go to bed.  There is no afternoon lull, and I have felt more energy throughout the day.

4.  No Headaches!!!!!  I can’t remember the last time I went 7 days with no headaches.

Before I started my 30 days of this special diet I looked up plenty of recipe’s (I knew if hubs had to eat chicken and salad every night he would go insane) and a couple of them were amazing!

Beef and Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry from PaleOMG

IMG_0674Really awful picture, but it was amazing.

Side Note:  This year we decided to try buying a quarter cow (I say trying because we don’t eat a lot of red meat).  We bought it from a private farmer that raises grass-fed cows and I have to say that I have been impressed.  I don’t think I will ever go back to buying beef from the store.  It melts in your mouth.

Another recipe was Asian Meatballs from Nom Nom Paleo

1656059_10201519343966746_862067146_nThis pic is before they went into the oven.

The sweet potato made these meatballs have a sweet taste to them, and they were a huge hit with the hubs.

There were a few other meal that were delish, but I will write a separate post for those.

So how did this weeks eating impact my weight?

First off I just want to say that I have erased all of my weigh ins from the “weigh in” page.  I’m starting over because looking at some of my lower weighs from a couple of years ago were getting depressing and in my opinion I am on a new weight loss adventure since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.  So here is the new beginning!

Starting Weight (March 1st): 287.7
This week’s weight: 281.3
Total weeks loss: -6.4
Total overall loss: -6.4

I can tell a difference in water retention for sure (water retention and all over puffiness is a huge symptom of Hashimoto’s, this explains why I feel like my face is HUGE right now).

I can’t wait to see what week 2 brings!

Thanks for reading!

I Make My Own Rules

When it comes to dieting and me I will say that we have walked around the block an enormous amount of times together.  I know a thing or two (whether I have applied them to my life is a different story, sigh).

The past couple of days I have been doing the Whole30.  It hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.  Giving up sugar, dairy, and grains haven’t had the effect I thought it would.  I’ve had a slight headache (which went away with some Ibuprofen), and I’ve been pretty hungry (even though I’ve been eating a lot).  And I know that two days isn’t enough to tell, but I can say this:

Some of this diet is unnecessary.

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time you probably got the idea that I like plant-based eating.  When my body is not going crazy with health issues that help my carb and sugar cravings go CRAZY, I like to eat a lot of plant-based foods.

One of the things I researched when I found out I had Hashimoto’s Thyroid was that it was slowed down by eating grains and sugar.  So I decided to try the Whole30 to help this along, but I have found there are things in this diet that I just plain don’t want to eat.

What I’ve done is compiled a list of rules that I will live by for the next 28 days (since I’ve already done 2 days of the Whole30).  Most comply with Whole30 and some are exceptions that I have found work for my body in the past.

1. Eat as much produce as I want whether it be fruit or vegetable.  Whole30 has you do mainly veggies and a little fruit.  I personally feel like you can’t eat too many of these.

IMG_06672. No Gluten, No Grains.  If I do have Leaky Gut then grains are only exacerbating it.  I will also see if this will help clear up my skin.  Gluten also effects the thyroid in a person who is having a problem with it.

3. No Dairy.  I think dairy is horrible.  I feel awful almost instantly after I eat it.  It’s not worth the small amount of calcium that is in it for me to eat it.  It makes me feel sluggish and stuffy.

4. No processed food or sugar additives.  The only exception I have to this rule is honey or agave nectar, and even then I only put a little in salad dressing.

5. Juicing.  I love to have a morning juice with my breakfast, and I find that I have more energy throughout my day, and it’s good for the body and digestive track.


6. Only homemade condiments/salad dressings.  They’re better anyway.

7. As little oil as possible. I know that the Whole30 basically tells you what oils are good for you and says that its ok for you to use them (and generously).  I’m not an oil advocate so I am nixing it as much as possible from my diet.  Not even in salad dressing.

8. No Soy.  I have been using soy milk for the past couple of years and I have now researched that it could be damaging to my thyroid.  But it is in EVERYTHING.  Even the Pam I use to coat my skillet so I can cook vegetables.  In this case I will need to use a little oil and water.  As long as I stay away from processed food I should be good.

9. Weigh my meat portions.  Again, the Whole30 tells you not to weigh, measure, or count calories.  I am not going to count my calories, but am going to weigh out my portions of meat.  I could eat an entire chicken in one sitting if I let myself, therefore I will weigh out my meat to 4 oz. per meal.

10. Weigh in once a week.  The Whole30 wants you to weigh in before and after you complete the program and not for the 30 days you are doing the program, but weighing helps me to stay on track and so I have chosen once a week to be a good amount of time for me.

So what I’m saying is that the Whole30 program is too strict for me in some areas and is too liberal in others.  But I have a feeling that with a few of these modifications it can work for me, maybe even long-term (but I’ll try it for 30 days and see what happens).

I guess I won’t be calling it Whole30 anymore:)

Ever tried the Whole30 program before?

What do you think of my modifications?