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Something for the after-dinner

“Desert” was not a word in my house.  I never thought about it and never defined a particular food choice following dinner.  I also never got into “eat this first and then you can have that”.  My daughter needed to eat her dinner as it was given, and she wasn’t going to not eat in order to get to something later….in my view that spelled disaster.  Then a trip to the great-grandparents house later she came home asking what was for “desert”.  I didn’t mind she knew the word, but had to come up with an impromptu definition of what desert was going to be mean in our lives. So, I decided to explain to her that desert can be ANYTHING….a bowl of yogurt (which she LOVES), or an orange, or more appropriate now a small serving of raw cashews.  She accepted it just fine, and also understood desert wasn’t guaranteed, perhaps we’d only have it once a week.  She rolled with it…..phew!

I appreciate my cooking.  Others appreciate my cooking.  I will not, however, claim to have any talent what so ever in the “desert” department.  I’ve never been good at pastries, cakes, etc.  If I baked from a package I could pass, but once we get into things from scratch there was just no use.  Since I lack the talent then I also lack the ability to think creatively the way I do with spices and seasonings.  Therefore, I will heavily rely on recipes when it comes to baking a treat (although typically I leave it to my baking friends and purchase from them).  I wanted to find something, however, to give to my daughter for “fun”, and I had a ladies cookie swap to attend last night: perfect time to try some muffins, I made two batches the same evening (just in case).  The first was  Banana Muffins A huge fan of my grandmother’s banana bread I was very excited my friend (who’s link it is with the recipe) posted this on her blog. The second was Pumpkin

Both turned out great.  Texture wise they were moist, which is so much better to me than dry.  I have a baker friend who makes a lot of gluten free stuff and she prefers to make mini muffins so it doesn’t seem too noticeable since you pretty much pop the whole thing in your mouth.  I did find I probably used the wrong kind of Almond butter b/c the Pumpkin ones tended to taste a bit too Almondy to me, a problem the recipe poster did not experience.  The banana nut were just simply amazing….I don’t think I would have hardly noticed I wasn’t eating traditional banana bread.  I will probably play around with muffins more now that I have been successful.  I’m a big ginger fan and would love to try my hand at some ginger muffins.

I’m obviously really bad at this

I used to have a blog…..I actually had two. Both I updated quite regularly.  I had this notion people really wanted to hear what I had to say on one (not so much) and people wanted to see photos of my kid on another (so much).  They both fizzled, mainly with the sign-up to facebook.  Posting all the boring (and cute) stuff in my life was streamlined into one convenient envelope.

To explain the name “duakhana”.  It’s two Urdu words: dua and khana.  It essentially translates to our bodies being a temple.  1 Cor 6:19-20″Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor G-d with your body,”.  For my daughter this has been the key for how I approach everything from food to the way she will be dressed.  It’s something I want her to be conscious of as she grows up and to know that we want to honor G-d, not ourselves or others.  Obviously in this case we are discussing honoring our bodies by what we put into it.  However, I will most likely write on this topic regarding non-food issues as well.

So, Paleo.  I intended to blog everyday during the First30.  Shockingly I didn’t have a lot to say daily.  What I did have to say remained short enough it chirped out of my phone into the world of twitter.  I now have strange people following me thanks to tag words.  One person was interested in my first 30 and it worked out.

The First30 is over.  Failures were fairly consistent, but never life altering.  Mainly they were within my own diet, a little milk in my tea or not noticing a particular ingredient in the Worcester sauce.  On the smaller incidents I made corrections and removed such items from our regime.  I won’t deny having milk in more than one tea though.

Feeding my daughter was a challenge to say the least.  Well, not feeding so much as keeping full.  The girl ate…and ate…and ate….and ate.  I’ve never seen her eat the way she has since this started.  Never fond of meat she has become this wild carnivore who will devour a good-size steak and ask for more (and more).  Given the opportunity of what she wants for dinner she’ll say “steak and chicken”…..crazy I tell you.  Veggies were a little different.  She’s always been a fan of veggies, but with the removal of beans and peas (her favorites) and her changing taste buds this was challenge numbero uno.  The list of approved foods contained raw spinach (with sauce), broccoli, carrots (raw or cooked), green beans and sometimes a blend of acorn squash and spinach.  I think the eggplant will work when cooked with something of a desired flavor.  Other than that, I blend.  Sometimes it works, other times I get the shriveled up nose and the request I do not make that EVER again. (which I usually do in an attempt to get her to acquire a taste, I believe whole heartily in that concept).  Turkey bacon was a hit….and then we found chicken bacon.  Granted, more sodium than ideal and a few other ingredients essentially nasty, but it was a trade off b/c girl was constantly crying the first couple of days of hunger.

Logically my almost 5 year old accepted everything.  Perhaps because we’ve always eaten differently than those around us it was just another thing we were doing.  I’ve always explained the way we eat is an attempt to eat the way G-d wants us to.  Certain foods I believe to avoid because I believe in the laws of clean and unclean (although I understand good arguments against Gentiles feeling required to follow this…..still, there’s perfect reason for avoiding certain animals).  I think, too, it helps that as always I am sure to have what she does love around to make the saying “no” a bit of a softer blow.  When a classmate brought in cupcakes for her birthday recently (something rare enough I’d let her partake in) she politely refused the cupcake.  I inquired later as to how that felt and with perfect honesty she said “oh, I was fine, I had my orange and pumpkin seeds!”.  If she were older I’d assumed that was sarcasm.  I was happy for her.

Foods the kiddo now loves:

Steak, Chicken, Talapia, Cod

Cashews, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds (in that order)

“nut meal”

Chicken/Turkey Bacon

Homemade mayo (which she uses for the veggies she’s not particularly fond of)

Tuna Salad

Vanilla coconut milk (a rare treat for her which she calls her “milk shake”)

Now that we’ve gotten past the First30 we are trying out new things.  We had a surprise test on day 28, which included bread….which resulted in a stomach ache.  Figuring we’ve found our culprit (which was assumed) I’m now going to start allowing other things back in, but slowly…..and not everything.  We will still mostly stay away from the rice (not easy) and beans (also not easy).  I’m guessing maybe a once a month thing, if at all.  We will also avoid white potatoes and not go crazy with the dairy.  Mainly we will use some cheese and be okay with dairy ingredients, but she will stay on coconut milk.  These are all, essentially, because regardless of stomach issues we want to be healthy.  While I don’t follow ALL of the philosophies behind Paleo, the general idea is logical and I don’t see unhealthy.

Unfortunately for my friend who steered me in the Paleo direction, I didn’t have much to report for myself.  While I did complain of being lethargic regularly, it is still there to a degree.  I believe a change in my profession has also brought some of the change.  Weight loss was noticed by people around me, but I have chosen to not yet get back on the scale and can not confirm an amount.  My intentions of becoming healthier in my middle age are still quite pure and although I lack the determination I had when I was younger I have not yet given in.

The kiddo is my core inspiration for maintaining this diet strictly.  her health and well-being have always been at my forefront.  Whatever needs to be added or taken away from her life will be so.

It’s been one of those weeks

I endeavored on Paleo mainly because of my daughter’s complaints of stomach problems. I tracked them and although could not find consistencies I believed it was more likely to be something to do with food. I have a great friend who has bee Paleo for some time and she had shared with me many of the articles and research in the past. While I never believed it was a wrong choice, it just wasn’t something I chose to do until recently. More research later and I decided even if it doesn’t solve the specific stomach problems of my daughter, it is going to be much healthier than even the “healthy” diet I thought I was feeding her. Okay, I realized only 97% of the time it was healthy, but even the unhealthy was not soda’s and candy bars, and I’m okay with that.

For the last week we’ve been hungry, to say the least. Since I had already been dealing with issues of being tired there has been no ability to notice if I’ve had any affects in that way (and I’ve ready people have). My daughter is pretty much ready to sleep at 7 every night anyway so again, no way for me to know if she’s had any issues resulting from the first 30 (which is what I’m calling the first 30 days….which I’m sure was pretty obvious)

Her staple breakfast in the past was warm cereal. Occasionally a muffin or breakfast bar, but never cold cereal (except at grandma’s). She’d never wanted to eat eggs and has never been crazy about meat. She did enjoy the rare biscuit and gravy. Now, pretty much, every morning its’ been eggs. Eggs and turkey bacon, and praise G-d she’s LOVING it. I’m actually getting concerned about how much she’s now loving eggs. I think the other day between the scrambled for breakfast and the hard boiled for “snack” she ate about 7. That was one day, but we were out and I had taken hard boiled with me for breakfast and had them. She wanted eggs for lunch, but I managed to “forget” between grilling the turkey breast and making her a smoothie. I also made “nut-meal” for the first time, big hit and although I don’t know how long it kept her full, she loved it and it will be repeated for certain”

Menu at home hasn’t been so difficult. We’ve just removed the beans and other veggies from the menu, rice, etc. We ate a lot of Pakistani/Indian style food, and while I’m still using the spices, it’s on things which I normally wouldn’t have thought to. I’m missing the flavor for sure. It’s the stuff for her to take to lunch which proves more difficult. There’s only so many options when there’s no refrigeration available and fruit is kept limited. She’s also decided she’s Ghandi, even foods she’s taken to school many times she’s suddenly decided she’s not interested in. Additionally, she’s more hungry than before, so what sufficed in the past is not lasting her until her final snack at the end of the day (or, actually it WOULD if she’d not be on strike) The key is trying to find foods she will eat through the day and enough of it. I heard the story of her tears during snack time on Friday because she just didn’t want her carrot sticks. Sad for her, although she used to take carrot sticks all the time, she was just tired of eating them.

We have made errors. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes because I just didn’t even think before dumping marinade on my steak. Eating Kosher has become a lot easier than trying to avoid soy!!! Crazy. My daughter is also obsessed with “sauce”, so I’ll have to get better at making them up in a snap too.

I’m not going to complain it’s time consuming, but I will mention it sure is. Strict organization is key. Not only that, but just the knowledge that hunger will not seem to end so to keep plenty of what CAN be eaten around. My husband has not taken interest in Paleo, even called it my “experiment” on my child (which did lead to fierce anger), so there’s all the wonderful things I miss sitting in all of my cupboards. Not easy for sure. Also, traveling for work has not made it any easier. Again, carrying the veggies isn’t the issue…..but having them eaten and still having 5 hours on the road can make the day seem long. Thankfully I have not given in so far. I travel a minimum of two days a week, so here’s to keeping the record.

Possibly not making any sense…so here’s the boil down. Hungry. Adjusting. Hungry child. Adjusting. Keeping it up w/ no excuses. We’ll do our best, and I don’t mean “oops, I just gave her a breakfast bar, but I’m doing my best” “best” will be staying away from the “no-no” foods, but at this point I’ll still cook up the turkey bacon for the kiddo, and recognize we may end up eating a little more fruit than we should (but not a lot).

P.S. Toddler admits to being a big liar for two months. Says there were not stomach aches. Says she said the did it to “see what you would do, and then you did THIS”. Consequences can be hard to swallow. But I’ll not be moved.

Something’s about to change

Due to a visit out of town to see a family member I was ill-prepared for starting out on Paleo and the first 30 days.  Things I hadn’t fully thought through:


Breakfast would not be a pint of cherry tomatoes

Coffee would not include 1/3 milk (never any sugar so that was no big deal)

Lunch, since not prepared ahead of time at home, was a quick grab was pretty much nothing.

Ezzah (my 4 year old) stayed at home for other reasons and therefore she ended up eating very little today since her stand-by oatmeal, granola bar, yogurt and other “healthy” staple items of her diet were not an option.


Dinner was easy since we’re pretty simple eaters anyway. Already had broccoli and cauliflower ready and grilled some chicken.


I will share more about the philosophy of why I chose Paleo in the future…..once I make sure we actually look like we’re going to pull it off 🙂