Sunday, December 30, 2018

Gluten Free & Keto Candied Pecans and a final Elimination Diet Journey Video

This video blog is a year old.  I look back on it and think how I've done so well with this program but now a year later, I feel I've completely abandoned most of what I've learned.  That's terrible.

I have not really abandoned most of what I've learned, it's just amazing how easy it is to stray from what you know is good for you and give into what is bad for you.   It's a constant reset.  I do my best to tell myself, you don't fail, you make choices.  And as long as you continue to make good choices, even among the bad choices, in the end you'll be better.

I am a firm believer that community is key.  I'm not surrounded by like minded people so I fail, and fail often.  When I am around like minded people who are supportive, I succeed.  It's just life as it is, until it isn't.

The year 2019 is the year to move past the crutch of blaming others. (you know those not like minded people)

Follow my journey as it enters a new chapter. The elimination diet and functional medicine has helped me get this point, now it's up to me to take it to the next level and then maintain it for optimum health as I get older.

Let's start with a recipe for Candied Pecans.  Because who doesn't love Candied anything?
Heres the site:



  1. Lightly toast sesame seeds over medium/low heat for 4 to 6 minutes. Watch out they do not burn, or they'll taste bitter! You know they're ready when they're lightly golden, and you press one between your fingertips and it turns to powder. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Preheat oven to 250°F/120°C. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. 
  3. Add sesame seeds, sweetener and molasses (optional) to a food processor and pulse a couple times until roughly powdered and mixed thoroughly. 
  4. Mix sesame sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. 
  5. Beat egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. 
  6. Toss pecans onto the sesame and cinnamon sugar and fold in the egg white. 
  7. Spread pecans onto prepared baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle generously with flakey sea salt. Bake for 35-45 minutes, checking every 15 minutes or so and tossing them about a bit. Allow to cool completely, as they'll continue to crisp up while cooling. Please note that erythritol can take a few hours to crisp up and xylitol up to a day (yup, for real!)
  8. Store in an airtight container for a couple weeks. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Elimination Diet - at the 6 week mark! Feeling Great

Elimination Diet Journey - End of October 2017   
I did these video blogs to track my progress, hold myself accountable and have the ability to reflect back on my journey.  Now that I'm almost at the year mark of doing this I feel it's important to share my journey with others. It has been such a pivotal point of my health journey, I encourage you to consider it.

This diet is only one piece of the giant puzzle of my health.   There are many areas you must consider and here is the list of my pillars for health ( in no specific order)
I started Crossfit which started the snowball effect.  Movement is the first step along side of nutrition. If you follow me you know my movement is strongman and lifting now.  Find yours.
Having and keeping your eating lifestyle under control is a daunting and never ending task.  I found it gets so much easier as time goes by.  Its just my way of life now and I love it.
We did sleep tests and I worked on setting up my bedroom to be a place for sleep and rest.  Darker color, comfortable bed, oils diffusing, face mask for darkness, ear plugs to block out sounds.  I also use self guided meditations for sleep and often do a relaxing yoga flow before crawling into bed.  I don't settle for less then 6 hrs of sleep and my goal is 7-8.  
I use to take a ton of vitamins and just throw whatever the latest trends were in my mouth. My hormones were not even a thought until I ran out of them.  Now I'm on task with Thrive Supplements for my vitamins along with being monitored by a Doctor for proper balance of my Hormones.  People, this is huge. Affinity Health Care can hook you up.  Send me an email for a referral.  Men and Women need all the hormones.
Gut Health
Yes that's right.  Poop, shit, stool, crap. Call it what  you want. It's important stuff.  We did tests of my waste to determine if my gut flora was in balance.  It was not.  So a few months of supplements and a few adjustments to the diet and I know understand what it means to take a perfect Shit that don't stink! Seriously.  Most people have no clue. Oh and use a squatting potty. It's life changing. 
Stress and your Mind
The final piece and focus of this coming year. Stay tuned but let me tell you, you don't need to have a stressful life to have stress.  It's a hormone your body produces naturally and I have too much of it even after eliminating most exterior stresses in my life! 
You must surround yourself with like minded people  You must find relationships that will not hinder your energy but encourage it and let it flow.  This is one of the hardest but also one of the most important.  If you surround yourself with negativity and put yourself in environments that prevent you from achieving what you want and enjoy, it will be an endless uphill battle.  You will need to make tough decisions.   You will need to make hard changes. You will need to be okay with others who want to blame you for their hurt from the broken relationships.   I joined an amazing gym of strongmen and women, I discarded friendship that were not really good for me (some of which were family), I quit my job and found one that allows for greater work/life balance, I found a magical barn with magical people that is my happy place.  I continue to seek out and surround myself with people who are positive, who have the same priorities in life.  I can't stress this enough.

This was only a brief list but I hope you find it helpful for  your own journey.  If you ever want to discuss your journey and how I can help please message me.  I don't charge.  I just know support is important.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Elimination Diet Progress Video Three Weeks into it now!

Finally a video during this process that starts to show the results.  It's a bit longer of a video then the others but very interesting to hear the differences I was feeling.

  This was done back in October 2017, three and half weeks into a strict elimination protocol. The results are positive and they only get better.

This video was just what I needed today.  I have fallen completely off the wagon and am sliding down the slippery slope out of control.  The weight is coming back, depression is coming back, allergy medication had to be started back, I'm just basically in a slump.  But like any addiction, we're going to relapse.  We're going to slip.  We're going to fail.  It's all part of it.  
We're human.  

The most obvious difference between being addicted to sugar and being addicted to alcohol or drugs is the simple fact that not everyone in the world is drinking alcohol or doing drugs. But everyone is eating. The american standard for everything is centered around food.  And not the kind that is good for us.  Going on a date?  Where do you go?  Dinner.  Get married?  What do you do to celebrate?  Have a dinner.  Having a birthday party?  What do you serve?  Cake.  The list of things goes on......
I try to surround myself with like minded people but it's near impossible. And I try to limit my outside exposure to foods, but that also is impossible unless you become a hermit and never socialize or you become "that friend" who needs "special" dietary choices.

Today, this video is helping me get back on track.  You see the elimination diet is not a diet for life and you don't follow it like I did during this video.  It's a tool to educate.  It helps you to learn about how your body reacts with certain foods and gives you the knowledge to make choices in your life. The choices are what makes your future self  awesome, or not awesome; sick or healthy; active or limited.   Struggling with choices is a daily battle, some days you win, some days you lose. More importantly is the awareness of it all and to be sure at the very next meal you make the right choice.

That's where the work is at.  Sustaining the knowledge and applying it everyday.
  This is where support is important.  If you have similar struggles and want to be part of my online FB group #waragainstsugar, comment below, friend me on FB and I'll add you to the community. Follow me on instagram @svwz1323

Monday, May 21, 2018

Garlic Lemon Shrimp with Zoodles!

Once again Google saves the day!  The decision on what to make for dinner?  What's in the fridge?     Shrimp.

So with a bag of raw shrimp, one zucchini, one lemon, three tablespoons of minced garlic, leftover vegetable broth, salt/pepper, red pepper flakes and butter I created this!  And man was it good.

My inspiration came from EZPZmeals on you tube.  Random find. No I'm not endorsing her. I'm just sharing what my idea came from.  If you can stand her voice, give it a watch.  Other wise follow my directions below as this dish is super easy to make.

1-1 1/2 lbs raw shrimp, any size but I used Medium which became small in the dish
1 lemon, medium in size
1 large zucchini, cut into noodles. (you probably could use two if  you like more zoodles)
3 tablespoons of minced garlic (I used the stuff in the jar but fresh would have been better flavor)
2 -3 tablespoons of butter. I guessed how much I used because it was all I had left.
red pepper flakes to your liking but for sure put at least a dash or two in.  More if  you like it hot.
A few dashes of Italian seasoning (since I didn't have any fresh herbs)

I didn't have the fresh herbs and Parmasean Cheese but I wish I did.  It would have set the dish off perfectly with flavor.  And of course who wouldn't love some crusty bread to sop up the juice!  (I used a GF bagel I had, LOL)

I heated up a saute pan and started melting the butter.  Added the Garlic, red pepper flakes and italian seasoning right away.  About a minute until the butter is melted almost, add the shrimp and let it start to cook.  

Almost immediately I zested the lemon over the pan.  Then I squeezed all the juice of the lemon  and stirred.  The shrimp started turning pink so I adjusted the heat slightly. 

Next I added the vegetable broth.  You could  use seafood or chicken even.  But Veggie is what I had.  Only needed about 1/4 cup.  I think I used too much, which was more like 1/2 cup.  

By this time a few minutes had passed and the shrimp was almost done so I added the Zoodles, mixed well and covered it to steam the noodles.

A few minutes later I added a bit of salt and pepper, opened a bottle of wine and we enjoyed dinner!! Super easy.  Took about 20 minutes not counting the time to make the zoodles, which I did with a Julianne peeler from pampered chef.  


If you like my posts please let me know with a comment.  I will be posting another elimination diet video update soon. This journey has been so great and I am happy to share so others can benefit also!  I may even start of group for support.  Follow me on Instagram  @svwz1323

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Chicken Thighs with Artichokes, Lemon and Potoatos

After a day that start at 4:30 am the last thing I want to do is come home and cook.  I'm sure this is the case for most of us.

I am always amazed at the internet and how easy it is to search the names of two ingredients and find a recipe to make.

I had some fresh chicken thighs and a jar of artichoke hearts and this is what I made.   And let me just tell you the flavor is Amazing!!

Of course I altered it slightly and didn't really follow the measurements, but it came out perfect.  Super easy, only about an hour total time from prep to eating.  And the best part, only a handful of dirty dishes.

I added the potatoes for the husband, but I could also see this dish served over pasta.  I made sure to include all the juice from the jar of artichokes so it made a nice sauce.

I went liberal on the red pepper flakes for a zing and left out the feta cheese.


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 1⁄ lb total)
  • 1 large lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 8-oz box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/4 lb baby red, white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (about 12)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Pinch fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray. Using paper towels, pat chicken dry. Zest half of lemon and cut remaining half into wedges. Using tongs, in a large bowl, toss chicken with lemon zest, lemon wedges, garlic, artichokes, potatoes, oregano, oil, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper until well coated. Spread chicken and vegetables onto a large baking sheet or baking dish.
  2. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning chicken and vegetables halfway, until potatoes are tender and an internal thermometer inserted into center of chicken thigh reaches 165°F. Remove and discard lemon wedges. Divide chicken and vegetables between serving plates and sprinkle with cheese.

  • Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh and 3/4 cup vegetables
  • Calories: 396
  • Carbohydrate Content: 31 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 149 mg
  • Fat Content: 15 g
  • Fiber Content: 4 g
  • Protein Content: 33 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 5 g
  • Sodium Content: 500 mg
  • Sugar Content: 1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content: 2 g

  • Monday, May 14, 2018

    Elimination Diet Journey - The first big test

    September 30th, 2017

    After starting the Elimination Diet I was faced with my first public affair.  A baby shower none the less with all its goodies and sweet things. (Hosted my my baker niece Sweet Kristina Van Wagnen)

     The first video is before the shower started.  I needed something to hold me accountable.

    The second video is how I did.

    Keep coming back to watch this journey unfold and to get more information on recipes, meals, functional medicine and more.  Follow me on Instagram! @svwz1323

    Saturday, March 31, 2018

    Elimination Diet - Day 6 - Body Detox that you have to push through

    Looking back at these videos helps me reflect on where I was. It also keeps me centered on where I'm going.  Being centered in your purpose is a constant battle.  Some days I find myself winning. Other days it feels like a never ending loss. 

    This current day I've hit a plateau.   I keep trying to realign with the elimination protocol but to no avail.  What I found is support at home is essential. Without it, you are fighting against a external world that may as well be in the comfort of your own home also.  You have no safe haven, no escape, no place where you feel comfortable. Over time the lack of support chips away at the very core of your being and makes your daily battle nearly impossible one to win.

    But you have to keep fighting.

    I come back to these videos to help. And I hope by sharing them, someone will find them helpful in their own battle.

    The lesson of Day 6 is even when it gets bad, keep pushing through.  Toxins are all around us. They are in the air we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink.  The medications we take, the relationships we keep.  This was a low point of my journey, I'll be honest.  But I stuck with it and it didn't last long.  So keep pushing, don't give up.   

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018

    Elimination Diet Day 3

    So after a couple days of my program, failure at it's finest.  But also how I dealt with it.

    Sugar addiction is a real thing.  Addiction to our standard American diet is a real thing.  Addiction period is real.  It's not a will power thing, it's not that I'm weak or lazy, or that I just need to exercise more and eat less.  It's a real chemical reaction in my body, backed by science evidence that shows what happens to our systems when we eat sugar, refined carbohydrate loaded foods that spike our insulin and other compounds in our body that make it near impossible to just quit.

    I approached this journey with an attitude that I'm battling an addiction.  I'm no different then an alcoholic.  I need professional help as well as surrounding myself with like minded people who will support me.  I needed to remove myself from places of temptation, similar to an alcoholic not going to a bar, I stopped going out to eat.  I asked my family to not bring trigger foods into the home during this time, such as bread or pasta.  Like an alcoholic's home, you don't bring over a six pack for dinner, don't bring me bread, cake or cookies.

    I enlisted health care professionals like the Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine Department and utilized kinesiology and acupuncture/pressure to help curb my cravings and keep my body in balance.

    I committed to 8 weeks, not a lifetime.

    What I'm finding out after the 8 weeks is life changing.  Keep watching to see my progress.  My goal on a grander scale is to start the sugar addicts anonymous (SAA) group in this area and maybe develop it into a real program that can help others.  Through social media, blogs like this, online support and other ways maybe I can  help others with my journey.

    First, I have to overcome my own addiction.

    Avocado Bagel with Grilled Chicken

    Whoever thinks eating well is hard has never really applied the Principles. 
    A little impromptu breakfast today.  Millet Bagel toasted and topped with my avocado spread, topped with grilled chicken.   This was so filling I didn't really want to eat lunch!! (which was amazing bone broth veggie soup with mung bean noodles)

    My avocado spread is one avocado, a squirt of hot sauce (I like to use Siracha), pepper and garlic salt.  No garlic salt? I use regular salt. (sea salt or Himalaya)   If I have it I'll mix in my cashew spread which mimics sour cream.  I put it in a mug and mix it up until its smooth with a few avocado chunks. I didn't have an egg to top it off with protein so I used my left over grilled chicken breast.  Super yummy, super filling, super sustained nutrition.  A nice balance of fat, carbs and protein.

    Millet bagel ingredients are Organic Millet Flour, Baking Powder, Filtered Water, Sea Salt. 
    I get them frozen at the Oberlin Market, this amazing little organic shop downtown Oberlin, OH.  If you've not been go check it out.

    Thursday, February 22, 2018

    Chia Seed Pudding

    I would love to take credit for some of this but I can't.  I can only take credit on trying things, fine tuning it to my liking and then re-sharing it with all of you.

    This treat was inspired by BRIGID TITGEMEIER, MS, RDN, LD.  You can learn more about her at

    I participated in a free 4 week reset she hosted called the Healthyselfreset and during the 4 weeks she provided meal plans that were in compliance with the elimination program for the most part.   Although I couldn't participate in the program as strict as I would have liked to, I did participate in many of the meals she provided. 

    This was one of my favorites for breakfast or a refreshing snack, packed with fat!  32grams per serving.


    for the pudding
    1 can full fat coconut cream/milk
    2 Tbsp collagen protein powder
    2 cups unsweetened nut milk (I used almond milk)
    1/2 cup chia seeds
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    for the topping
    1 cup frozen berries (I used blackberries I had frozen fresh from the summer)
    little splash of water
    1/4 teas orange zest
    1/4 teas vanilla extract
    arrow root if needed

    (Brigid's recipe has for topping, 1 cup frozen berries, 1/2 cup unsweentened nut milk and 1/2 water. Blend in blender until smooth)

    In a medium size bowl, add the chia seeds, coconut cream/milk, collagen, nut milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk together well and place bowl in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  For best results let it sit overnight.  Also be sure to whisk well. The collagen tends to get clumpy when first wet.

    For the topping, place berries in small sauce pan and begin to heat on med/low  until berries are thawed and bubbling, add water if needed and a splash of vanilla extract, let simmer to thicken.  If needed add a teas of arrow root to thicken.  Add orange zest and mix well.  Let cool completely.

    Put equal amounts of pudding into mason jars and top with berries.  Enjoy immediately or over the next couple days.

    Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    The Elimination Diet Day 1

    Back in September I started a new and different journey of health and nutrition.  After two years of being on a waiting list, I finally had an appointment with Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine Department.  If you are not familiar with Functional Medicine, look it up and find a doctor in your area that practices this way.  It's a life changer.

    I wanted to do video blogs to track my progress.  It pretty much tells the story.  In the beginning I did them more often to tell hold me accountable.  But then habits became part of my lifestyle so the blogs are few and far between now.  Everyday is a struggle and I find the slope a slippery one that you can easily slide out of control if you are not careful.  Some days I win, some days the world wins.  But overall I'm on the right path, feeling better, looking better and ultimately preventing history from repeating itself.  (my mother)

    If you want to follow my journey, this is the place.  This is the beginning.  In between the video blogs I'll post recipes and ideas I've learned along the way that have helped me.  I hope my story helps in whatever path you are on in life.  If it inspires you or just gives you a place of reference for a good recipe then I'm doing what I set out to do.

    Monday, January 15, 2018

    Almond Yogurt, where have you been my whole life

    During my most recent health journey, I've met some pretty awesome people. One of them is Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LN
    If you want to learn ore about Brigid you can check her out on the website

    You can also listen to Brigid on the Refined Savage Podcast where she talks about Funtional Medicine, the food we eat and  her role as a nutritionist.  It's a good one!

    One of the things Brigid is doing is the Healthy Self Reset challenge.  She teamed up with Julie Foucher and Julies husband to put together a challenge they offer free to everyone.  It includes weekly meal plans, workouts and lifestyle habits to those participating.  And it FREE for 28 days.  So of course...I'm doing it.  It started today!! I'm doing it mostly to gain the knowledge and what is offered is well within compliance of the elimination program I've been following with the clinic.  (Blogs will be coming soon about this). 

    Go check out the challenge!!

    This blog is about is YOGURT.  I've been without it for a long time because dairy is one of those foods that does not agree with me.  And not just a lactose, gas, bloating thing.  It's a source and cause of internal inflammation.  I've eliminated all sources of dairy from my diet and with this challenge I've been introduced to Almond Milk Yogurt.  I've heard of it, but avoided it simply because of price and convenience.  It's not easy to find and it's expensive.  

    One of the meals on the Healthy Self Reset Challenge is a yogurt parfait so I accepted the cost and ventured out to rocky river to find it at Whole Foods.  Lucky me it was on sale!!

    What I can tell you is what I bought is all they had, the vanilla flavor.  Ideally we want the unsweetened plan yogurt.  This one has cane sugar in it and about 14g.  For me this is way more sugar then I should have.  

    I forgot how good yogurt is.

    Healthy Self Reset 

     ½ cup almond yogurt, unsweetened
     1 tbsp almond butter, unsweetened 
    1 tbsp cacao nibs
     1 tbsp shredded coconut, unsweetened 
    ½ cup pomegranate seeds

     INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Pour almond yogurt into a small bowl or mason jar. 2. Top with almond butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut and pomegranate seeds.

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    Taco Tuesday with the Elimination Diet! Ground Turkey and Cauliflower Rice Bowl

    Well I'm at it again, this time with so much exciting stuff to share.  Watch for post in the near future of my journey with the Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine Department, the Elimination Diet, being 50 and beating chronic pain, inflammation and overall bad health.  I'm just in the beginning of my journey so I don't want to tell you too much yet.  What I can tell you is I feel the best I've felt in years, the pain in my neck, back and knee is the least it's ever been, I've dropped 12 pounds, I sleep better, think better and have the most energy I've ever had in my life.

    But enough with that, here's today's recipe and blog about my Taco Tuesday and getting back to being compliant after the holidays.

    Ground Turkey and Cauliflower Rice Bowl. 

    Here are the two websites that were inspiration for my own creation.

    What I like about this meal is you can make it, stay compliant and feed your family.  Or in my case my husband.  Just use cheese, taco shells and other taco toppings they like.  Add some corn chips and you've got a taco meal.

    I took a head of cauliflower and cut the tops off into small pieces.  They don't have to be real small.  I leave most the the pieces the size they are when I cut them off.  Placed them in glass casserole, covered with plastic wrap and microwave it about 4 minutes.  This gets them steamed, but not so soft they mush.  Once cooled a bit, rice it in a food processor or mash with fork the best you can into rice like pieces.

    Start your ground turkey.  I used one pound.  Heat pan, add 1 Tbs EV olive oil to hot pan.  Add turkey and chop up.   Cook in skillet until halfway cooked, add one chopped onion.  (any yellow sweet onion will do)  Continue cooking until all liquid is absorbed and turkey is cooked and onion is translucent. (clear and soft)

    Add the riced cauliflower and mix everything up.

    Add about 2-3 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning The website above has what I made, or you can use a packet of taco seasoning.  Just watch the salt content of most pre-made seasonings.  I've learned making my own is super easy and I control the sodium that way.   Add salt and pepper to taste and if needed about 1/4 cup water to allow for the spice to blend into everything. Let it cook just a couple minutes until the liquid is gone.

    It should resemble taco meat.  With the cauliflower it reminds me of ground beef with beans mixed in.  Regardless of the look, it taste just like tacos with a rice/bean texture.  I topped it off with fresh salsa.  If I wasn't so lazy I would have made some fresh guacamole.

    Be creative with the add on's.  This was a super easy, super quick delicious meal. 

    You'll need:

    1 head of cauliflower
    1 lb of ground turkey
    1 medium yellow onion
    olive oil
    Taco Seasoning (homemade or packaged)
    Salt & Pepper to taste
    Toppings of your choice, cheese, guac, lettuce, chips, black olives, what ever you fancy! Dress it up and enjoy!