Caffeine: From Friend to Foe

Hi Everyone!  I have a special treat for you today: a guest post from my mom!  For those of you who have been around the blog a while, you probably have seen a few of my mom's comments, or heard tales of her amazing Nutritarian cooking.  Unfortunately, she isn't dropping in to share a recipe.  It's even better... she is writing today about how she went from a chronic dieter with an IV of diet cola, to a happy Nutritarian, free of caffeine addiction.  Hope you enjoy!

Caffeine Friend or Foe?

Greetings dear readers of Amy’s Blog!  First of all, I would like to thank each and every one of you for following along on my incredible daughter’s journey through the blogging world.  She is amazing, but I think you already know that.

Amy has asked me to tell my story about caffeine addiction and how I have now come to be caffeine-free.

My story starts with a can.  Yes, a can.  For you see, as a young person I thought coffee was the most revolting thing on the face of the earth.  Of course, in my mind, that was where caffeine came from, coffee – not a can where diet coke or pepsi lived. 

During my young adult life, I was always dieting, or I was pregnant, that was about the gist of it.  Gosh, that makes it sound like I have a million children, but truthfully, there are only three.  My husband and I got married at 19, and I was a mother by 22, so between and after kids this dieting thing has really been my whole life.  I was never hugely overweight, but I was never where I wanted to be, so Weight Watchers became my place of belonging once a week for years and years.  Sometimes I wonder if I just went to meetings to have a break, as I was a stay at home mom.
Me in 2005, on a Caribbean cruise with a bottomless soda package.  The packages cost around $30 back then for a week, and I always got my money's worth.  I have a kitchen drawer full of these cups from the multiple cruises and soda packages I had over the years.  Now, on cruises, I enjoy the free unsweetened iced tea and lemon water, as well as a few fun alcoholic drinks.
During these years, because I was dieting, my best friend became that can of diet pepsi or coke.  I really wasn't a brand snob; it could be whatever was on sale that week at the grocery store.  I put away so many cans and bottles of diet, that I wish I would have bought stock in the companies, as I am sure I single-handedly raised profits by a large margin.
Me again on the same cruise in 2005, soaking up the sun on deck with my best friend, Cindy.  
We are both notoriously clinging tight to our diet cokes!
My best friend, Cindy, and I were equally addicted to this substance, so much so that when all the information came out about its link to cancer, we were so hooked that we would joke that we would just someday be side-by-side having chemo.  It is truly sad what a powerful addiction this caffeine is. While it is not necessarily the caffeine in the diet soda’s that is the cancer causing agent, it is the caffeine that is the addiction element.

As I got older, I learned of all the wonderful things we now had to add to coffee that made it an extremely luscious concoction.  Cream, sugar, flavorings, and chocolate!  It was not revolting as I had remember.  I thought it was wonderful!  I started having flavored coffees along with all of the diet colas I was drinking daily.  It is a wonder I managed to sleep at all!

Then, three years ago, I watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on a whim.  Something about it moved me.  I knew there was a reason I came upon it that day.  I showed it to my husband, who had been suffering with an autoimmune kidney disease for ten years prior to that.  He had been put on all sorts of drugs, naturopathic remedies, and even reflexology, but we never looked that closely into nutrition.  We decided he needed to try juicing.  I knew it would be impossible for him to do this alone, so we were off on this journey together.
Don't we clean up well?  Although a little sun-baked, we are as happy as can be and excited for a formal dinner on our cruise in the Caribbean.  This was just 2 1/2 years after juicing and switching to Eat to Live without any caffeine.  At this point we had both lost a bit of weight and were earning our energy and health back through proper nutrition!
For me, the first day of juicing went okay.... UNTIL the lack of caffeine made me so sick I thought the world had come to an end.  I had a migraine that beat all others I have had in the past (I was a frequent sufferer of migraines).  I felt so ill that I threw up, taking refuge in my bed for the rest of the day.  It was as if I had the flu.  In the end, I was very lucky it seems, as some people have more than a day of this horrible detoxing stage.  The next day I was shaky, but the other symptoms started to subside.  

It was all my withdrawal from caffeine.  I had survived, and after realizing that it is crazy to be drinking something that would cause the body to react in this way when denied it, I gave it all up and never looked back.  At first, I missed the habit of it, but after a while, knowing that I was really taking care of my body for the first time, it has become a distant memory.  I don't want it at all.

After a few days of juicing, my husband and I started to follow Dr. Fuhrman’s eating plan and it wasn't long before my husband’s kidney disease was also a distant memory.  Ten years of his existing on many kinds of horrible medicines was gone just by putting wonderful nutritious whole plant foods into our bodies.
My husband and I visiting Antigua this year (2014).  Without caffeine, I find that I have more energy to go on adventurous cruise excursions and still have energy at the end of the day for the onboard formal dinners and nightly entertainment.  Can you tell we LOVE cruising?!
During these last three years, we learn and grow every day regarding this way of eating.  No more dieting for me; our time is now spent enjoying the health that eating whole foods gives us.  Caffeine, which used to be my best friend, is now the foe, and I celebrate the fact that I did it!  I got off a socially-acceptable addictive drug that held tight to me most of my adult life.  Was it easy?  No!  Was it worth it?  YES!

To anyone wishing to get this addiction out of their life, I wish you luck and love.



Pinterest - September Favorites

I can't believe the weekend went by so quickly!  I started a post about Pinterest on Friday, and was so busy going to community events for my husband's work, going to Seattle for the Mariner's second to last game of the year, and watching football and prepping my food for the week on Sunday, that I never ended up posting it.

I thought instead, I would do a wrap up of my favorite Pins this last month.  If you would like to follow me on Pinterest, find me here.

Check out this delicious summer vegetable harvest soup from my sister-in-law's blog, Rouge Rustique.  This recipe can be converted to Nutritiarian-friendly by water sauteing instead of using oil, and adding whole wheat pasta or beans instead of regular pasta.  I love that her recipe uses green beans.  I have been on a green bean kick lately, since I have been finding green beans for $1.50 per pound at the farmer's market. (source)

espresso holiday glow. Oh my God
I love this color of nail polish.  It is just perfect for fall.  I can picture wearing this while prepping a delicious Nutritarian Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house this year.  I can't wait for some home cooking! (source unknown)

Baked Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Pecan and Cranberry Stuffing | Serious Eats : Recipes
Speaking of Thanksgiving... don't these wild rice stuffed acorn squashes look divine!?  Maybe I can talk my mom into making a few of these for dinner this year. (source)

I love this fall saying.  Too bad I'm not a fan of needlepoint. (source unknown)
Make drawer dividers with covered cereal boxes (",)
I love this drawer organizing hack from I Heart Organizing. (source)

DIY:: Repurpose old candle jars to cute toiletry containers!
I love this repurposing of glass candle jars.  I have kept one so far and have been using it for the cotton rounds I use to put my eye makeup remover.  (source)
 Have a great rest of your Monday!

Health and Happiness,



Savory Smokey Oats - Recipe from "The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook"

Generally, our Sundays during football season are always spent in sweatpants, watching football and our Fantasy Football scores, while Kevin anxiously waits for his homemade pizza, and I spend time prepping meals for myself for the week.  This generally consists of cooking a large pot of grains like brown rice, wheat berries, barley, millet, quinoa, etc.  I also make sure I have enough beans to eat throughout the week, whether this be planning to eat quick-cooking legumes like lentils or black eyed peas, having stocks of canned beans, or cooking a crockpot full of a certain bean.

This Sunday, I made quinoa and cooked a crockpot of garbanzo beans for the week.  The nice thing about these two staples is that I know Kevin will happily eat both of them, with different add-ins than me of course!

I also decided to pre-make a breakfast/any-meal-of-the-day dish from Ann and Jane Esselstyn's new cookbook The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook called Savory Smokey Oats.  I recently got this book on my Kindle after listening to Chef AJ's telecast with the two Esselstyn ladies discussing the recipes featured in the cookbook.

Now, I don't have heart disease, nor do I plan on getting heart disease in the future, but after hearing them discuss some of the delicious recipes, I just couldn't resist!  Plus, my work graciously just sent me a $25 gift card to thank me for my efforts in organizing our office Health Fair last month, so in a way I was able to get the cookbook for free!
So far, I have made it through reading the introduction, breakfasts, lunches, soups, and spreads/toppings.  I still need to make my way through the appetizers/sides, salads, salad dressings, dinners and desserts (I can't wait!).

I have really enjoyed all of the personality and family-feel they have put into the cookbook.  You can really tell that these are the recipes these ladies have in their arsenal of regular meals for their families.  I just hate cookbooks that don't have that practicality and familiarity in them.

I also really like the versatility of all of their recipes, especially the hummus.  They encourage you to use their no-oil, no-tahini hummus in and on anything and everything.  I plan on making some of this hummus this week with my cooked garbanzo beans for the week.

Now on to the Savory Smokey Oats!  This recipe caught my eye because I LOVE oats, but have always associated them with sweeter tastes and breakfast time.  This recipe breaks the oat mold for sure!  This Sunday, I was in the mood for a savory breakfast, but didn't want to spend the time chopping and cooking potatoes and veggies, so I went with the savory oats.

Due to copyright issues, I obviously won't be posting the recipe, but I will provide a link to the recipe and let you know how I tweaked it a bit.

Savory Smokey Oats
Time: 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking
Servings: 4 servings (double recipe)
Authors: Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn
Recipe Link: Google Books

Amy's Notes:
I followed the recipe exactly as directed, but doubled the recipe.  I steamed chopped kale on the side to add at the end of the recipe.  Near the end of cooking, I thought the steel-cut oats seamed a bit soupy, so I added 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (1/4 cup for single batch), and cooked for an additional 5 minutes.  This allowed it to thicken up perfectly and come together like I imagined from the picture.
I served my oats with a bit of black pepper and my favorite Louisiana hot sauce.  With the hot sauce, it became the perfect savory breakfast dish.  The flavors blend together nicely, and I can just imagine that this is going to taste great reheated the next day!
So far, I would give this cookbook a thumbs up, especially when it comes to recipes with no-oil and VERY minimal to no added sodium and sweeteners.  All of the recipes are very approachable and seem to be adaptable to different family tastes.  Even if you don't have heart disease, this cookbook should be on your shelf to help you prevent heart disease in the most delicious way!

If you would like to purchase this cookbook AND support Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen, by clicking this link you will be directed to Amazon and a little bit of the book sale will go to me for advertising.

Health and Happiness,