Category: Maker’s Diet

Phase 3/Off the Wagon

In case you were wondering how things are going on the Maker’s Diet, it really depends. If you are a stickler, things are going medium-not-too-bad. If you are a free spirit, things are going great! Because Matt and I are at peace with our cheating πŸ˜›

It started with us going on a youth retreat last weekend, which was awesome spiritually, but very out-of-our-control food-wise. So Matt and I had a chat on the bus up and decided to take the weekend off the diet. Of course, a whole month of different thinking about food can’t be undone on a whim, and neither of us had much desire to gorge on all the carbs we’ve been avoiding. I personally greatly enjoyed the French toast fingers on Saturday! But I also got a salad at McDonalds on the way up, and I skipped a lot of bread/buns in the meals that were sandwich-based just because I wasn’t interested.

At this point, I truly enjoy choosing vegetables/salad and protein over bread/potatoes/pasta. Of course, having the mentality that cheating was allowed slippery sloped into a couple cookies this week πŸ™‚ Oh, and I made a cheesecake! It was a little bit fail in that it’s undercooked, and Matt is weirded out by the cinnamon flavour in the crust (I followed the recipe, and next time I will leave it out because it is weird) sooo I will be eating it all to myself πŸ™‚

We haven’t noticed any ill effects, although I realize how much cheating leads to more cheating! I crave cookies and treats way more when I’ve had just one than during the weeks when it was simply off limits.

If I were to do it again (and we’ve talked about maybe doing it once a year), I think I would do it similarly to how things have panned out this time around: I’d follow the first and second phases, then just go back to normal (normal being lots of cooking from scratch and healthy choices). I am even considering doing a fruit-grain-dairy fast for two weeks part way through the year as a mini-detox to see if the effects are as great as they were in January.

I’m not planning to post a meal plan for phase 3 since I’m only planning a day or two ahead right now, and it’s just normal food. All in all though, I’d say this diet experiment was a success πŸ™‚

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Three Things Thursday [Vol.3]

This week’s theme is: things to enjoy on their own terms!

Being on this diet has brought Matt and I to try to replicate some of the things we love but aren’t allowed to eat right now. We have been very pleasantly surprised by the results of our experiments, but we also agree that these are not substitutions you could slip by an unsuspecting guest. However, on their own terms, we love them! And we will continue to consume them, diet or no diet πŸ™‚

1) Hot chocolate. We have a can of carnation hot chocolate mix sitting in our cupboard. It is sometimes tempting, telling us how rich and creamy it is, but we kept it out in case we have hot-chocolate-craving company, which in youth ministry is not rare at all (I don’t think I mentioned this – we put our shelf-stable forbidden foods in bags in our storage closet. Out of sight, out of mind.) However, the first three ingredients are: sugar, corn syrup solids, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Cocoa is nestled in the list right between modified milk ingredients and cellulose gum. To be honest, I don’t see myself going back.

Our substitute has only four ingredients, and here is the recipe!
1 can coconut milk
1/2 can water
2-3 tbsp cocoa (can adjust to taste)
1-2 tbsp honey (again, adjust to taste)

This is a rich drink that is not meant to be as sweet as our carnation mix – thank goodness! It is full of good fats and has a slight nutty taste from the coconut milk, and the cocoa is relatively high in iron. Healthy, filling, and delicious on its own terms!

2) Spaghetti and meat sauce. Matt says this might be his favourite meal of life, but there is no pasta in the Maker’s Diet (because God chose the Israelites, not the Italians!), so I tried to think of some alternative. I had heard of gluten-free families substituting spaghetti squash for real spaghetti, so I bought me a squash and baked it in the oven while I browned some beef to add to our Ragu.

[Here is an aside about Ragu – I was able to price match it for 99 cents a jar, and it only has one objectionable ingredient (soybean oil, listed third). I would consider making my own pasta sauce as many people on the internet love to do, but I tried it before and it was a disaster. I couldn’t eat it because it tasted SO bad. I am not saying I will never make my own pasta sauce, but I certainly don’t have the time to gamble on it right now. There are limits even to my DIY ambitions.]

When it came time to scoop the squash out of its rind (rind? husk? shell? I looked it up, it’s rind), I second guessed myself for wanting to put meat sauce on a vegetable. Totally weird. So I put it on the side. Matt and I both ended up mixing them on our forks, taking a scoop of squash and dipping it in the sauce, AND it was so tasty! The squash was so light and sweet under the rich taste of the sauce, and it was delightful. There was plenty of meat in the sauce, so it filled us up, and I plan to buy another squash for next week. This diet has reminded me how much I LOVE squash.

3. Corn chips. Okay, really what we love is all kinds of chips! But we have found a very easy and frugal alternative to buying illegal bags of Tostitos! We buy a pack of corn tortillas, cut some up with a pizza cutter, and lay them out on a baking sheet in the oven at 350-400F. They magically turn into chips in a few minutes (I stay close because of the fine line between crispy and burnt). I love this alternative because we can make only as many chips as we want to eat, and the tortillas keep forever in the fridge. A big difference between this and commercial chips is saltiness, but you could salt your tortillas before baking if that mattered a lot to you. We find that dipping these plain corn chips in salsa and/or homemade bean dip more than makes up for the flavour that’s missing, and they are just as crunchy and satisfying!

We actually tried this substitution before starting the diet, and since corn was listed as a food to avoid for phase 1, our tortillas have been abandoned at the back of the fridge. However, now that corn, beans, and cheese are allowed, I think it won’t be long before we finish this pack right off!

Whew! That was a long post for just three things! Would you consider trying any of them? Do you have any suggestions for saving a little time, money, or nutrition on your own terms? I would love to hear it πŸ™‚

Meal Plan – Phase 2

I have not been following the meal plan I wrote out nearly as consistently in phase 1, but I am taking that as a good sign that I’ve become more comfortable with the “rules” (for lack of a better term) and am therefore more flexible to mix and match the food we have on hand with the days I had planned we’d eat them. Having a meal plan definitely makes it easier to shop, so I hope I continue this habit well beyond the diet!

With that said, here are the dinners I planned for phase 2, whether we’ve eaten them in that order or not!

  • chicken breast, pan-fried sweet potato, green beans
  • goat stew (this will get pushed to next week, but the meat is in the freezer anyways)
  • sweet and sour lentils with steamed broccoli
  • rib eye roast with vegetables
  • squash soup with apples, garnished with sour cream
  • spaghetti squash, ground beef and tomato sauce, green salad
  • the seventh meal was going to be salmon fillets with green beans and corn, but I couldn’t find the salmon I wanted at the grocery store. It is looking like we may have enough of other meals for leftovers anyways.

Lunches are still mostly left overs, with tuna salad or hard boiled eggs and veggies as backup.

Our breakfast smoothies have gotten tastier in this phase with the addition of yogurt and concentrated orange juice to mix things up. I may also add avocado or spinach to my smoothie, but that is not new. I thought we’d be so excited to have fruit again, as well as some dairy products (including sour cream and cheese), but not a whole lot has actually changed from phase 1 yet. I did make up some bean dips (white and black) that we will enjoy on corn tortillas for snacking, but we haven’t been snacky so far this week, and we always have a really tasty dinner to look forward to anyways! Maybe on the weekend πŸ™‚

Our Second Week on the Maker’s Diet

This week went much easier than last week! Sunday (day 7) I had a BAD cold, so I took it easy all day and managed to recover in time for work Monday. Barely. I still had a stuffy nose for the first part of the week, but I was totally encouraged when I read the following at

You may even find that you β€œcatch a cold” a week or so after starting to treat your yeast and parasite symptoms. This is actually a mild Herxheimer reaction, and backing down supplements and drinking more water should help it pass quickly.

We aren’t taking any supplements to fight off yeast or parasites, but obviously I am starving something out of my body by avoiding fruit, dairy and grains! So that was gratifying, and other than an occasional headache I feel so well in general. I do think I have lost a bit of weight, so I will be planning for bigger portions and more snacks, trying to take in all the healthy fats I can and exercising now that I am feeling strong as normal.

Matt is also feeling great this week. He has commented that his sleep is much deeper and more refreshing than in the past, and we have both had such positive moods that it is remarkable. I have also really enjoyed spending lots of time together in the kitchen, cooking, prepping, and washing tons of dishes.

Another change that I did not expect was navigating PMS and cramping without any need for medication. Excruciating cramps was one of the reasons I started taking the Pill (which ended in disaster), and when I came off it things were better than before but still a rough couple of days. I am VERY interested to see how things go with my next cycle and curious to see how what I eat affects how I feel.

Our Phase 1 Menu Plan

Each phase in the Maker’s Diet is two weeks long, so my strategy for meal planning is to plan one week and then repeat it. We may eat meals in a different order the second week, but then we will be on to a different plan the week after that so I don’t think it will become too repetitive.

For breakfast during the week, we both have a coconut milk smoothie blended with frozen berries and ground flax seeds. Lunches are left overs from the night before, except for Thursday because omelettes make for sucky left overs. I made a tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise for lunch that day, eaten over lettuce instead of bread. (I did modify the mayonnaise recipe above just by adding vinegar, but will talk about DIY condiments in a separate post and after a couple more experiments!)

As for dinners, we ate/will eat:
Homemade salmon burgers with green beans and squash
Beef stir-fry with broccoli, onion and red pepper
Basil onion and goat cheese omelette
Garlic chicken stir fry with cabbage, onion and red pepper
Sweet and sour lentils with green salad
Green salad with chicken and avocado
Beef soup

Lunch today was a spinach, salsa and goat cheese omelette, and tomorrow we will have salad with chicken, goat cheese and toasted almonds. We could also have spaghetti squash with meat sauce and green salad as an alternative meal.

For snacks we have been enjoying avocado and salsa, hard boiled eggs, soaked and dehydrated almonds, chopped vegetables, and hot chocolate (made from coconut milk, cocoa and sweetened with a bit of honey).

We are both kind of stuffed up/sneezy and are getting headaches on and off, but we don’t feel sick so I think it is detoxing rather than actually having colds. It has been interesting over the last few days as we experience less hunger and have breakthrough times of feeling really healthy and refreshed in between detox symptoms. I’m looking forward to seeing what our second week of phase one brings!