Spaghetti Squash with Baked Meatballs – Gluten & Dairy Free!

I knew that I wanted to try a new recipe today for a marinara sauce and put it on top of spaghetti squash, but I also knew that if I did not give my husband and son some meatballs I would not have myself some happy campers.   I did not anticipate how delicious these BAKED meatballs were going to end up tasting!  I have been trying to avoid meat for the most part because of the added hormones.  Even if I get grass-fed and organic, it is still an animal that produced hormones naturally and for me with endometriosis it is something I need to be careful with – but that’s for another write up.

The recipe for the marinara sauce is from the cook book “One Part Plant” by Jessica Murnane and is seriously so easy.  I am actually still in shock at how easy it was to make.  The only thing I added was some oregano because I personally love me some oregano in my sauce!

 

So I then looked on my “boards” in Pinterest and I find that I have a recipe for baked meatballs that CLAIMS to be EASY and DELICIOUS.  I am normally skeptical of anything that says easy, but will always give it a shot.  I tweaked the recipe (as I normally do – people hate that!) to make it gluten and dairy free which was super easy to do!  Just changed the regular bread crumbs to gluten-free breadcrumbs and instead of using parmesan cheese I used nutritional yeast (if you have never heard of that before I will write up something on that another time but it is a FANTASTIC substitute for a cheesy flavor (non-dairy) and has a ton of nutrients – don’t get grossed out by the name!).  I had to taste one to see what they tasted like.  I think I then ended up eating like 4 – they were too good!!

Now, I’m not the best photographer and I am learning very slowly but I figure you won’t be too harsh on me.  I know this picture doesn’t look like the food would be absolutely amazing, but I can tell you this – my husband ate a huge portion and my son LOVED the meatballs and they are my toughest critics!

 

Back from the sick!

I’m back up again!  It has been 2 weeks of being sick on top of having endo and a slew of other autoimmune issues, but I finally feel enough energy to get my butt writing again.  I posted this picture of me on Instagram with a mask on when I knew I had strep throat (didn’t want my family getting it) and someone said to me “ya know you are Endo Mom Strong.  You really shouldn’t put pictures like that up.  It doesn’t show people you are strong”.  I understand this person’s point, but I also feel that what sets me apart from others is that I keep it real.  I’m going to be honest with anyone who asks about what it is like going through endometriosis and how life is not always rainbows and unicorns.  I will, of course,  be positive and uplifting for the most part because I do feel that there is a lot of hope for you suffering but I think it is very important that you know that the strong can get knocked down as well and that’s OK as long as you get back up again!

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I’ve been focused on Instagram working on getting followers and posting pictures and that is a lot more time consuming than I would have thought!  I have a new appreciation for Social Media Experts.  It takes all day to constantly be posting pictures, commenting on other’s pictures and gaining appropriate followers – good for you all!

Having the chance to look through Instagram and see who was out there- endo related -was very hopeful in that there seem to be many people trying to do what I am doing which is raising awareness about endometriosis and helping women to understand they are not alone and that they do not need to live in pain.  Not only was it very hopeful, but it was also very sad to see how much suffering women are going through with endometriosis and how they are still not given enough information on how to help themselves feel better.

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We have a large community out there ladies.  We are all working toward the same goal, so we just need to continue to do what we are doing and coming together to help you and help our future generation of women so that you can enjoy your life and not continue to live a painful life each day.  We are with you and here to support you – just believe you do not need to live like this anymore.

Endo Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday to me!  Today I am 34 years old and to be honest with you – I am feeling it!  I am not feeling young and energetic, but rather tired and trying to smile through the pain I’ve been feeling a lot more lately because of my endometriosis.  This is exactly why I am so committed to sticking with what we call the endo diet.  People say “you can’t deprive yourself” or “It’s your birthday! Live a little!  No alcohol?  No cake?”, but they don’t live with pain everyday they believe can be changed with food and I do.

It isn’t like I wouldn’t love myself a nice espresso martini with baileys in a chocolate rimmed glass, and a box of Entenmann’s raspberry cheese danish.  I didn’t always eat this current way.  I completely understand that life gets in the way and sometimes you just want to do certain things, but on a daily basis if you want to feel better it is important to remember you have control over your choices when it comes to food.  I just want to be out of pain, and really – even if you don’t have endometriosis this kind of diet is what everyone should be at least trying to incorporate into their lives at some level.

So let’s talk about the cake! My daughter is a total sugar freak (she and my son are 18 months apart so I gave into so much more regarding the sugar – I will get a handle on it at some point soon but man is she feisty).  She and my son decided to bake a cake literally first thing this morning with my husband and then somehow they were diving into this mess at 10am.   I need to get my son in some pictures, but he is a little on the shy side which clearly my daughter is not.  How cute is this:


I did not partake in that cake, although it really did look delicious especially after those grubby little hands were all up in it don’t you think?  I did, however, explain to them that I loved the cake but it really was not good for my body.  Then of course my son, who is 4 and very analytic, wanted to know what was not good and that opened up the whole discussion about food dyes and flour, etc.  He may not understand everything but it is important to me to teach my children as much as possible as food because I’m not confident that is going to be happening in school.  I say “you can have that cake but you should know what is in it and why it is not good to eat it all the time and why you should definitely not eat a ton”.

Anyway!  My husband has been extremely supportive of the way that I am eating and he called all over the place where we live to try and find a gluten and dairy free cake.  Now, we live in a small town in CT so this is not really that common for places to carry but he never gives up and found this little beauty:

It may not have been the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, but when a girl is trying to do what I am when it comes to diet it tastes pretty delicious.

Remember to celebrate you especially on your birthday!

 

Stop picking!

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You will hear me time and time again stress the importance of planning, but remember – I am human and I sometimes don’t plan well either.  Today was sort of one of those days.  It is cold, dreary and just plain depressing to look out the window here in CT so it would have been totally easy for me to pick at my kids’ leftover chicken nuggets. Yes they are organic, but they are not gluten-free and really Julie? Chicken Nuggets for lunch and that’s it?  You’re just going to go down that road of picking then for the rest of the day!  This is the conversation I have with myself more often than I’d like to admit.

I hadn’t thought about lunch for myself and was starving.  I’m sure many of you reading this are in the same or boat or have been before.  I remembered that I had some lettuce in the fridge and looked to see what else. I didn’t really feel like just lettuce and some veggies so what kind of protein could I throw on top since I didn’t have anything … or so I thought!  Why not quickly boil up some hard boiled eggs? And figure out what else I could throw in that would be appetizing to me.

So I came up with the following:  a mix of kale and spinach, raw broccoli, carrots and a tomato with the hard boiled eggs.  Look how beautiful it came out if I do say so myself,  although I am clearly not a great photographer:

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If you can’t whip something up in the middle of the day like I did for whatever reason then this is ESPECIALLY important when planning.  If you were to plan a salad like this for a few days for work then my suggestion would be to hard boil your eggs before your work week starts (make your life easier and peel them when you do this) and then put tomatoes and/or cucumbers in a separate bag so your lettuce doesn’t get soggy.  And of course put your salad dressing in a separate container.

Please feel free to post what you had for lunch today.  I’m more than happy to provide some feedback if you want!

Endo What? Still?!

I would have thought that after all these years, women in particular would be more familiar with endometriosis.  I remember when I had my deep excision surgery back in 2007, there were only a handful of U.S. doctors performing this type of surgery and most women were misdiagnosed and having multiple surgeries and even hysterectomy before age 30.   I, for some really stupid reason, just thought that somehow others would catch on but it appears we are in almost the same boat as we were 10 years ago!

  • Endometriosis STILL affects 1 in 10 women in the U.S. and that is only the number of women recorded
  • It STILL takes an average of 10 years in the U.S. from the onset of symptoms to for a woman to receive a diagnoses of endometriosis
  • Women are STILL having to see 7-10 doctors in order to get a diagnosis
  • Women are STILL being told the pain they are experiencing is normal, in their head, part of being a woman
  • The way we practice medicine STILL is not conducive to what a woman with endometriosis needs

Women in particular tend to take care of others before themselves and end up suffering in silence.  Endometriosis becomes an invisible illness which is the most difficult part about this disease if you ask me.  People always tell you how great you look, but little do they know the pain you suffer with almost daily.

A new documentary came out that I highly recommend you watch:  Endo What Official Trailer   . It is just the trailer and then you can go to their website and buy the movie, but I think the trailer is enough to make you want to watch the full thing.

It is time for us to create a movement and change these statistics one person at a time.

#endometriosis #endowhat #endoawareness #endomomstrong

Feeling crappy? 

Feeling like you may be coming down with something? The best thing to do is try and support your immune system as soon as possible so that it can fight whatever it is you’re fighting.  I have quite the mix of natural remedies in my cabinets, but something that really seems to help is to drink a couple cups of hot water with fresh ginger cut up, honey and lemon.  


The lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C and helps to flush out toxins.  The ginger helps strengthen your immune system and the honey balances out the ginger flavor as well as can help when fatigue sets in. 

I should actually try and start drinking this on a daily basis because of how beneficial it is to our bodies to help keep my immune system strong. It can be very tough to stay healthy when you have sick kids in your house, but as mothers we just don’t have time to be sick so we have to try whatever we can think of to stay healthy! 

Coffee for breakfast? Please! 

At this point in your life I’m asssuming you have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but throw real life at you with invisible pain from endometriosis and maybe a kid or two, and breakfast can seem absolutely impossible.  

I tried doing the whole just coffee thing for breakfast (snack and lunch) and at first it was great. I felt awake, I didn’t feel hungry and I felt like I could make it through the day and maybe even lose weight!  This sounds insane coming from a Health Coach (which I am), but it’s just being honest.   I wasn’t making time for myself. I was making sure everyone else was taken care of and knew it was going to catch up with me, but I chose to wait. Hey – I was functioning.

I went to see my endometriosis specialist (who I had put off seeing for my follow up for months) and don’t know why it surprised me to hear, but the pain I was experiencing was in fact caused by my endometriosis which was pushing my uterus toward my left ovary hence why I had left lower pelvic pain like I had years ago prior to my deep excision surgery. 

It was overwhelming to hear what I knew had to be true – the endo was back. Not only because the endo was back because I knew I hadn’t been helping myself by the way I was eating and drinking especially all the coffee I was drinking.  There was a direct effect of the coffee to my pain and I chose to ignore it just to get through my day. 

I’ve made a lot of changes and we will talk more specially about coffee and coffee alternatives, but here is an example of what I am currently forcing myself (it won’t be forced once it becomes habit) to eat for breakfast: Apple Cider Vinegar drink with water and ice with eggs and veggies. This morning it was mushrooms and broccoli sautéed up in coconut oil. Add a little Himalayan Sea Salt and it’s delish!  


Yes, first thing this morning I would have much rather had a Starbucks Americana coffee, but this evening am very happy with myself that I didn’t.