Sunday, 22 April 2012

Zantac, my Friend, my Foe

So a few days ago I finally decided to give up my Zantac habit. Well, really, I decided to give it up and try to go without it a few times over the past couple of months, but I failed. Horribly. Every time.  The stuff is like crack to me, and they are such cute little tiny pills, aren’t they?

So, what’s the big deal with Zantac? Surely, there are far bigger issues out there, you wonder!?

This is an issue that's been bugging me for some time now. Removing grains from my diet should have fixed this... It seems to have fixed everyone else’s.   I know, waaah, I’m not so-and-so and if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would I?  Maybe.  Are we all wearing parachutes or holding hang gliders?!   

So, what was I doing differently that was preventing me from dropping this silly little drug habit? (Maybe you should just lay off the hot sauce collection, Cindi—but no, don’t say THAT is the problem.  I’d have to throw myself off a cliff if that was the problem.  Without the parachute or glider.  Because a world without hot sauce means the apocalypse has arrived). 

It was finally time to do something about this.  Again.  Only with success this time.  Hopefully.

So I've been reading up about acid reflux--reading articles written by paleo advocates who are also considered to be "in the know" about these kinds of things. (It is pretty dry reading, so I’ll only share the Coles Notes version that applies here).  The suggestion that kept coming up was that while we have been led to believe that reflux and heartburn were being caused by excess acid splashing up the esophagus, the newest studies were actually suggesting something like the opposite of it. Low acid levels cause the sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus to malfunction. Lazy sphincter.  (Did I just say sphincter?  Yes, yes I did.  My smarty-pants son has informed me that we have many sphincters through our body, not just the one that I’m imagining right now).

Stomach acid is supposed to put pressure on the sphincter, and as soon as there's pressure, the sphincter closes. You take antacids to block the acid and suddenly there’s too little pressure and the muscle relaxes because it has nothing to do. This feels good to you, because the pressure has gone away.  So every time you feel that pressure, you take another antacid.  And another.  They come in tasty fruit flavours, you know??  If and when the acid levels are allowed to return, the lazy sphincter can't keep it contained anymore because you haven’t been using the muscle or letting it do its job.  So then you have to keep taking acid reducing drugs because without them, you cannot lay down at night.  The acid reflux is immediate.  At some point you’ve visited the doctor and they’ve said, “Here, take this prescription drug instead.  It doesn’t just block acid temporarily, it reduces stomach acid altogether.”  And you think, ok, great, that sounds about right.  So you take it.  For 20+ years, religiously.  Because who would question their doctor? 

Do NOT do this with reflux, folks...
So, what did 20+ years of taking Zantac do to my stomach? How much stomach acid can my body possibly produce when I've lowered it every single night for these 20+ years? And really, what's the problem with taking this drug, anyways? The FDA approved it. I was told it was so safe that I could take it through both my pregnancies. And I did. (Hey, don’t judge, I didn’t know any better—they said I could!)  But new studies are suggesting that a stomach with lower-than-average stomach acid has a higher risk of developing stomach cancer. Yep, c-word.  They also say uncontrolled reflux causes an increase in your risk of esophageal cancer. Oh, another c-word.  Hmmm. Which do I need more--my esophagus or my stomach?? Far as I know, they can’t transplant either, yet.  My daughter wants to be the first in line when they start to do stomach transplants.  She says hers is broken.

So, apparently I had a problem.  15 years ago, after extensive and invasive testing, a doctor flatly told me that I would need to take drugs for the rest of my life for reflux. How stupid is that?  They couldn’t tell me what was causing it, so he wrote a prescription for another drug, also believed safe, to increase motility (I cannot recall what it's called now). And after taking it through my second pregnancy with their insistence that it was safe, they found this drug was causing cardiac arrest in some patients as young as teens. They pulled the drug off the market. Meantime, they called me looking for updates on my daughter's state of health since I took it through my pregnancy. Well, she was born with a very noisy heart murmur that caused them to put her through a flurry of tests at birth and again at about 4 years of age.  To this day, we don’t really know if it’s hereditary or caused by the drug. But my point is, we are told these things are safe, we are comforted by our trust in the FDA. And then they admit they were wrong. There are new studies out there suggesting Tylenol isn't so safe, either. So you need to question every single drug you take, weigh the risks between drugs that are life-saving (like diabetes meds) vs. drugs that are just intended to reduce our discomfort (painkillers and antacids).

The first few times that I tried unsuccessfully to stop taking the Zantac, I just basically got into bed and as soon as the tingling, fluttering sensation started, I panicked and took the pill. The next couple of times, I refused to take the pill so soon after laying down, hoping the feeling would go away in an hour or so, only to be woken up shortly thereafter with a raging burning sensation in my throat that felt as if I'd been screaming at a rock concert. And then took the pill. 

I just so happened to read about taking bitters to restore acid to its proper level, to “heal” the stomach, and fresh ginger was on the list of things to try (along with taking extra doses of friendly bacteria “acidophilus”, which I took religiously).  So I bought a whole bunch of fresh ginger, and had ginger tea before heading off to bed, only to still get the reflux AND have to get up to go to the bathroom repeatedly through the night. Ugh.

Each time, the persistence of the problem scared me away and I would stop trying to break the habit and a week would go by before I'd try again. This habit ran neurotic-deep. I couldn't tell whether the fluttering was actual reflux or just anxiety about getting reflux. So I'd try to wait it out until I had a raging fire in my throat and then I would toss and turn all night because once it starts, it cannot easily be stopped. And the whole time, in my head, I was hearing "stomach cancer or esophagus cancer?" Tick, tick, tick. Stupid neuroses.

So I read some more. I consumed more yogurt with active bacteria. I consumed extra acidophilus tablets. I consumed fermented foods. Did it help? No. In fact, the extra acidophilus and yogurt was causing me to get "food baby" belly. Severe bloating.  The vinegar and acid in the fermented foods was causing heartburn not just at night, but during the daytime as well, something I rarely had any issues with until now.

So maybe I just had a lazy sphincter. (Sorry, makes me giggle every time)   

How in the heck do you exercise the esophageal sphincter?  Mega burps?  Jumping up and down alot?  Good thing we’re talking this sphincter and not THAT sphincter—only a boy can fart the alphabet...).  And don’t say extra hot sauce for exercising this one, either, I did not go around looking for new and inventive ways to create heartburn to give my lazy sphincter a workout...  Actually, I didn’t think of that at the time, so really, I didn’t do that because it didn’t occur to me.)

I did try again. This time without vinegar and fermented foods, without ridiculous amounts of beneficial bacteria.  Maybe I was trying too hard, making it too complicated.  I tend to do that.  I finally just went to bed propped up on a couple of pillows. That's all, I’m not kidding. I’m not old enough to have a Craftmatic bed yet (though I dream of owning one when I’m 90—I have strange aspirations sometimes...)  By around 2 am, my stomach is empty enough that I can remove the pillow and sleep flat out.  Its’ been working, I kid you not.  In a couple of weeks, I might try sleeping without the extra pillows.  I need to give my stomach time to adjust.  Lately, I’ve been getting “food baby” belly every single day, building up over the process of the day.  I look like a piƱata.  It’s quite uncomfortable and ugly, but it doesn’t seem to result in reflux, so I’m waiting this one out.  (Que Anger Management Jack Nicholson singing, “I’m so pretty, oh so pretty...”)

...So, yea, nothing like the ramblings of a crazy neurotic person, right?  That was ten minutes you’ll never get back?  I don’t know why my reflux stopped.  That’s the simple truth.  Maybe it’ll return as soon as I try to lay out flat on my back.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I’m really happy to stop popping that drug.  Geez, I’m running out of drug habits to give up.  This darn paleo thing is making me too healthy to have anything to complain about.  I guess I’ll have to learn to fart the alphabet so I can give that up, too.  Or not.  My family may enjoy that one.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Shut Up and Run

Harsh words, but true.  Ok I came upon a blog by this title ( --she’s very sarcastic and inappropriate and she says whatever pops into her mind; she’s hysterical ), and even though she is not paleo (gasp!), she has a real point with that title.  We spend much too much time thinking about doing, planning on doing, wishing we could do, and not nearly enough time just getting out there and doing it. 

When I’m stressed, I like to run.  I really missed running when I started this paleo thing, you know, chronic cardio and all, but the more I read, the more I see other people are still running.  The more time I spend on this paleo path, the more I realize that this paleo thing is different for everyone and my paleo has room for some running.  The heck with what the pros say.  I think it’s prevailed partly because even the sainted Mark Sisson shows pictures of himself running-nay-jogging on the beach, and because it just really feels like we should be doing it.  Don’t you remember being a kid and just wanting to go?  Haven’t you ever watched National Geographic and seen those African tribes that send runners who have to run all day, to pass messages from tribe to tribe or whatever reason, but they RUN ALL DAY LONG?  And don’t you think –jeez—I should be able to do that if the apocalypse comes?!  This is an important skill!

I do.  Maybe it’s just me.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, flirts with running at some point in their life.  It’s so cheap, it’s simple, its a natural movement that we can all master.  We don’t need a coach.  I’d say all we need is good running shoes, but lately with the whole barefoot running movement and Vibrams and all, maybe even shoes are over-rated.

For me, running long, slow and far is hard.  Particularly right now it is because I stopped running back in the fall-ok, late summer and did a few half-assed trail runs leading into the fall that hardly count for anything...  Its’ true when you see paleo advocates saying “I don’t run anymore, but I still can, when I want to”.  You can still run.  It’s a lot harder now, it’s terribly uncomfortable, but your body will take it.

When I run I push myself hard because I know I CAN, and the running is as uncomfortable as all hell.  But when I’m out there, I’m so focused on just running that I can’t focus on my other issues.  The little voices that taunt me all day long “money’s tight, son’s heading off to University, husband lost his job, business is slow at work, they’re letting people go, I feel underappreciated at work, when do I get my next raise-its overdue, I’m tired of being so-and-so’s whipping boy at work”—you know those voices; they have to shut up when I’m running.  I’m not listening when I’m running.

My body likes to play a little game when I run.  It tries to convince me to stop running.  After the warm-up, when I’m still running slow, the burning in my calves begins.  From heel all the way to knee, the fire radiates upwards and demands that I stop.  But I ignore it.  Then the shins start burning.  Because apparently I wasn’t listening to my calves.  With every heel strike there’s a shot of fire.  But I ignore that, too.  Then my lungs start to burn.  My chest, my throat, my heart is racing, and I have to tell myself over and over to keep my head up high because I want to bow my head and just plod on but I know I need to keep my head up to keep the air passage wide open.  And keeping your head up keeps the snot from dripping down my face and keeps me from running into parked cars.  I ignore all the little cues my body is giving me.  I’m not in agony.  It’s not true pain.  It is more like extreme discomfort.  My body just wants me to stop because life is easier when I just walk.  The body prefers to be comfortable.  So I ignore the roaming burning sensations, the creak in my hips that comes and goes, the cramp in my stomach that begins to form, because if I ignore it for a kilometer or more, it all just kind-of fades into the background.  Oh, running doesn’t just turn easy after a couple of kilometers, no, but at some point the burning fades away and all you have left is actual muscle fatigue and the fight with your lungs.  And the voices in my head turn from money woes and stresses to “shut-up body, I just started and I’m NOT stopping here, holy crap this is hard, now I’ve gone really far from home, too far to walk back—I’ll be out here for hours if I walk, just keep running, holy crap this is hard, damn-it body, you can do this so shut up and just keep going, shut up and keep going, holy crap I have a long way to go, hey, I’m past the halfway mark, that wasn’t so terrible – I didn’t die yet- at least it can’t get worse/more uncomfortable than it is now, hey I’m almost home so just keep going.” 

For me, running is meditative.  One voice drowns out the other.  For the duration of the run, I’m 100% living in the present moment.  I’m burning off steam.  I’m 100% focused.

Once home, I’m exhausted.  I’m so spent that my limbs are shaky for hours afterwards.  But at that point, I’m too tired to think about stressful things.  I’m too tired to be up all night worrying about money and teenagers and my job.  The only struggle left that day is the struggle to not fall asleep on the couch before bedtime.  The only voice in my head is saying “who the f___ cares?  Go to bed.  Now!”  So I do.

Funny thing about hard exercise—it causes your body to release feel-good endorphins.  The next day you’re pretty proud of yourself.   Maybe you can’t run like that every time you feel a slight bit of stress coming on, but sometimes you can.  Sometimes, blowing off a little steam is a good thing.

Now, a note on running here—I run only 5-6 km at a time.  I’m not talking marathon running.  That’s just crazy-talk.  And running every single day is definitely hard on your body so don’t do that.  I never run two days in a row.  Always take a day of recovery.  Sometimes, run sprints instead.  Flat-out zombies-are-chasing-me sprints.  At any time, if it hurts, and the hurt does not go away within a day or two, you may be injuring yourself so stop it.  Figure out what it is and how to avoid that.  Whenever you can, run on soft surfaces like trails.  Much better on the hips and knees.  And at the end of a run, eat something.  I usually eat a half banana.  If I run after dinner, I should have some protein with that banana but often I don’t because I’m lazy that way, and the next day I tend to be overtly hungry but I deal with it.  I don’t believe that 2-3 runs a week, for less than an hour each time, counts as chronic cardio.  I think marathons do, I think training daily does, but I’m not going there.  I’m just blowing off some steam.

Because sometimes life is stressful and this is how I cope with it.  I can’t avoid stress.  It happens.  So I’ll be running for the next while.  What’s the worst that can happen?  I’ll get overtly  fit?  I may lose some weight?  There are worse things.....  At least there’ll be a little less stress in my household.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Enchilada Pie

I owe a HUGE thank you and debt to Mrs PaleO for creating a tortilla recipe that is perfect for this.  The tapioca starch adds a certain elasticity that no paleo bread substitute has had to date.  She makes some really great recipes.  If you haven't seen her stuff, you HAVE to go to her blog and check it out.  Until then, the recipe for the tortilla bread can be found here

As soon as I saw her recipe blog with the flexible tortilla bread, I had a million ideas for it.  But first and foremost--a stacked tortilla!!  Don't you just really crave neolithic food from the old days sometimes?  Not the real thing--who misses bloated belly?!  But some of the flavours...  I checked out Chowstalker and Foodee and FastPaleo and I could not find a stacked enchilada anywhere.  I knew it had to be done.  Reading through the tortilla bread ingredients, I knew Orleatha had really hit the nail on the head with this one--she uses lard in this recipe, and in my pre-paleo days, the best home made tortillas were always made with lard.  The recipe is so easy, any husband can make it (my husband made the tortillas, and he's never made or rolled pastry before or anything like this.  He did just fine.)

So this is what I did.

First, go here and make the tortilla bread per Orleatha's instructions, except you need to make 3 large tortillas (instead of 4 small), as large as you can and still be able to get them to the fry pan.  Cook them lightly in a non-stick pan without any added oil.  Set aside, in layers of waxed paper.

Alright, now onto the stack!

Makes 6 servings.

Enchilada Sauce:
Ready to go into the oven
1 5-oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup medium salsa
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mexican oregano (optional)
1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1 green pepper
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 cup cheddar, grated (optional)


First, in a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for your enchilada sauce.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In skillet on medium-high heat, brown beef and onions until meat is no longer pink.  Add green pepper and enchilada sauce and reduce heat to medium-low, allowing it to simmer for 5 minutes so the flavours can develop.

Divide your meat into 3 equal parts in the skillet.

In a pie dish, lay one tortilla.  Spoon 1/3 of the meat mixture over the tortilla.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp lime juice.  Sprinkle with 1 tbs chopped cilantro.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheddar.  Repeat 2 more times.  Sprinkle entire dish with green onions.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and whole pie is heated through.  Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.  We cut this into 6 equal portions, but it was so good, I really wanted to go back for more.  You've been warned.  there was not one scrap of food left on either teen's plate tonight.

Serve with shredded lettuce, yogurt, and guacamole or sliced avocado.  My homemade guacamole is just 2 avocados, 1 tbs lime juice, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp onion powder.  That's it.

You could totally omit the cheese in this.  I used a small amount, very sparingly, but the flavour was so full, you wouldn't notice if it wasn't there at all.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Dear Matt, an Open Letter...

Matt, why are people so mean?

Where is this hate coming from?

I was reading your blog over at The Paleo Parents, and you have written a very heartfelt letter about the hate mail you receive, about hurtful comments aimed at Stacy's weight and how she could possibly be the face of the paleo movement at her size and in her poor state of health?  Your blog almost made me cry.  I wanted to hug you both.

Now, I LOVE the Paleo Parents.

Matt, I love how heartfelt your words are, I love how articulate you are in choosing those words. I love that Stacy and you are both so human, that you are honest, that you are trying, and occasionally, that you stumble because it reminds me that we are all human and we are just trying to do our best.

I LOVE that the Paleo Parents bake paleo "treats" for their kids even if the sweet content is high, because kids love sweet and if anyone tried to tell me their kids didn't love all things sweet, I'd call them a liar. It is TRUTH. We live in a messed up food universe these days, and it is impossible to be the "weird" parents who don't let their kids have any treats at all. We are competing against this kind of messed-up food image every single day, and we have to bake neolithic immitations for the kids, or risk having them rebel and eat the real deal and suffer the consequences. So I for one devour every single blog the Paleo Parents write. I love that they tell the truth. I love that they aren't perfect "poster" images of this diet because I am not perfect, either, and deep down, until all this talk started after PaleoFX, I was wondering where I screwed up because I have not lost weight, I do not have a perfect body, and my health, while it has improved immensely, is not textbook perfect. 

It’s a herculean feat to keep kids on this path.  People should applaud anyone who tries.  The Paleo Parents sure are trying with their little ones.  And they are honest about the trials of that, too.  You try telling a 6-year-old he can’t have cake at his friends’ party!  (And for that matter, try telling my teen why she shouldn’t have cake, either).  It isn't honest to say there is not one grain or sweet or flake of oats in your house without also mentioning how it got to be that way, and how much work it is keeping it that way. It isn't honest to only talk about how much weight has been lost, without also mentioning the plateaus and weight gains and Easter dinners where we fall off our high horses and eat crap.   My teens are not paleo.  Some of them flirt with it, but none of them have jumped in with both feet. 

Matt, can you tell me why we are all being so mean to each other? Does anyone know?  Are there rogue vegans out there, posing as paleo advocates, just looking for the chinks in our armour? What is it that draws such vitriole? Is it because the very sciency nature of this lifestyle attracts type-A persons? I know one of those. Everytime she slips up she calls herself a faileo. Every time she calls herself a faileo she recedes into her kitchen for a while, eating her whole grains in privacy as if she should be ashamed of herself.  No one is criticizing her.  No one should.  She criticises herself plenty and she’s harder on herself than anyone else ever would be.  She is hyper-critical—of herself, and of everyone around her.  She means well when she corrects me for not buying organic, for not buying grass-fed beef, and the criticism doesn’t hurt--much.  I’m not looking for elitism.   I’m pretty laid-back about how I choose to interpret paleo and my primal lifestyle.  I do what works for me and what I can afford to do.  What I’m saying is that this type of food-control-nutritionism does attract a certain type of person.  Those dang type-A’s.  (BTW, I am a type-A) 

You know, today I was eating my lunch in the lunchroom at work.  My co-worker ran out of bread so she just brought lunch meat to eat on its own.  I made a joke likening her meal to the paleo diet and the discussion turned to food since another co-worker had never heard of paleo.  So my breadless co-worker gave him the Coles Notes version, and she did a pretty justifiable job of it without making me seem crazy.  He listened, nodded, and stated that he tried to “avoid crap ingredients” in his own food--suggesting he ate a relatively clean diet and that was what HE believed to be healthy.  He was pretty content with that.  He’s pretty thin and young.  We nodded to each other, understanding our differences were ok.  Now, that first co-worker, she’s been thin all of her life.  She eats more prepared food and junk food than anyone else that I eat my lunch with.  But she’s still thin, and content with herself and her diet, too.  The final co-worker sitting at the lunch table is an Indian woman.  Most Indians I’ve known eat a mostly-vegetarian diet, high in legumes and starches, and hers is no different.  She works a physical job all day long, then goes home to cook everything from scratch for her family, often only getting 5 hours of sleep because she has so much work to do for everyone around her.  Maybe she’s not so thin, but she’s strong, and she’s content.  So we all believe in eating differently, but no one is attempting to criticize or convert anyone else.  In fact, we have some pretty interesting round-table discussions on food and nutrition.   

I haven’t encountered the paleo haters yet.  Maybe I will one day.  I love my paleo community and all of the people who have “liked” my FB page, who read some of my posts.  And I love to read other paleo/primal posts.  I like to hear people struggle, not so I can jump up and down and yell failure.  I like to hear that they struggle just like me.  All of my favorite paleo advocates and bloggers are the truthful ones.  The unrepentant, the struggling, the unconventional.   Perfect is boring.  Let’s hear a dose of human reality. 

Matt, I wish I could hug you both.  Your recipes pull my non-paleo teens over to the dark side, at least for a little while.  Your wedding story was beautiful.  Your honesty rings true in everything you write, and your voice speaks louder than many in this community.  Instead of calling anyone fat, or ugly, or a failure, lets all cheer Stacy on for what she HAS done, what she’s TRYING to do, and what she WILL do.  Because that woman is a firecracker.  She WILL do what she sets out to do.  Whatever it is.  Everyone's just gotta give her a bit more time.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Grain-Free Pancakes

Alright, I cannot take any credit for these.  I found this awesome cookbook last time I was in Chapters called "Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet", by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass.  The pictures were spectacular, so I had to take a really good look at some of the recipes.  Though the book does not tout itself as being paleo, the fact that it is not just gluten-free but instead is grain-free pretty much sold me on it.

This is their recipe for waffles and pancakes.  The recipe warns to cook these at a bit lower of a heat setting than you would cook typical batter pancakes-so I cooked mine over medium heat.  And it also warns to make the pancakes small because they are hard to flip.  I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter, and they were perfect.  I did put the lid on the pan to help them cook through.  These were a total hit--everyone loved them!  The batter was quite yellow at first, but as soon as they hit the heat of the pan, they solidified and cooked up looking exactly like traditional pancakes.  We will definately be eating these ones again.  Sure, I love my Big-Ass pancake recipe, too, and when you want the protein hit, stick with the Big-Ass pancake recipe.  But if you really crave a treat to remind you of those old days...  This is the way to go.  In fact, once you add some kind of syrup, you wouldn't know they weren't the real deal.  Perfect for sneaking grain-free food into your non-grain-free family!!

If you try these and love them, I highly recommend buying the cookbook.  The cookbook also has a recipe for crepes, for pound cake and a sturdy base for a tuna melt that I want to try soon.  Everything I saw in the cookbook was either already paleo-approved, or easy to tweak to make it primal/paleo.  No weird ingredients to be seen.

So here it is...


  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs


Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl.  Cook over medium heat with lid on pan, turning once.

Serve these immediately.  Serve with berries and a drop of honey, maple syrup, or sugar-free syrup.

These re-heat well in the microwave, but will burn if you try to toast them.

Baked Breakfast Eggs with Ham

Oooh, yea.  It was delicious.

Alright, truth is I've tried a half dozen "baked egg muffin" types of recipes from many paleo blogs--basically portable baked eggs of all shapes for take-along breakfasts.  But I haven't been liking the recipes out there very much.  So then I took matters into my own hands and I made my own quiche recipe--delicious, BTW, but a lot of effort because first you have to make the nut-pastry and bake the pie shell.  I'm a lazy cook.  Sometimes I feel like cooking fancy, fabulous things, sometimes I just want food.  This past week, I just wanted food.  Portable food, because I pack both my breakfast and lunch and take it into work with me.  I tend to eat a lot of hard-boiled eggs because they're so easy.  But this week, I got banned from eating at my desk because my food was "so stinky" all the time.  Lesson learned.  Do not pack hard-boiled eggs with homemade cabbage in sesame oil and vinegar.  Way too potent smelling for most people at that time of day.  I saw several co-workers gag before I was banned.   Sure, it entertained me, but then I had to think up something less stinky to tote to work.

So the Baked Breakfast Eggs recipe was born.  And I could cook it on Sunday and eat all week!  Ok, part of the week.  Because I have to feed Steve, too, and six slices only gets us Mon-Wed.  Ah, well, close enough.  Maybe next time I'll throw in 8 eggs and get us fed to Thursday.  Maybe there'll have to be an IF day, because I can't wrap my head around having to cook more breakfasts mid-week. 

Anyhow, this went over much better at the office.  And I liked it both cold and slightly re-heated.  Win-win!  And it was pretty simple.  Sure, I roasted my own peppers, but you could buy them already roasted, if you're not trying to be cheap like me.

Baked Breakfast Eggs with Ham

First, roast your red pepper.  You can roast several and save the others for later.
Raise the rack in your oven, heat your broiler to high.  Place whole (clean and dry) peppers on a cookie sheet and set under the broiler.  Keep an eye on them and turn frequently to blacken on all sides.  once blackened on all sides, remove from oven and place in a ziplock bag to cool (this will allow moisture to form which helps the skins slide off easier).  Once cold enough to handle, slide skins off and discard.  You can store the roasted peppers in a tupperware container in the fridge for about a week.

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1 small to medium zucchini
  • 1 small onion or 1/3 spanish onion
  • 1 lb cooked ham
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbs heavy cream or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coconut oil to grease pan


Heat oven to 350 degrees (make sure you've moved your rack back down to a normal position).

Grease an 8x8 casserole dish with the coconut oil.  Chop your ham, zucchini and onions, cut the roasted red pepper into thin strips. 

Layer into the casserole dish; first roasted red pepper strips, then onion, then zucchini, then ham.  Wisk eggs with spices and cream/coconut milk.  Pour evenly over other ingredients.  The eggs will cover most, but not all, of the layers.  Don't worry, the egg will expand and glue it all together.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until egg is set all the way through.


Try this with breakfast sausage in place of the ham, and mushrooms in place of the zucchini.  I really liked this combo, too.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Cabbage Roll Stir-Fry

This recipe was one I used to cook my family over and over.  Of course, that was pre-paleo, so in order to keep  the recipe, some changes had to be made.  But the recipe had great potential; it cooked up in a half hour or less - and I'm a lazy cook, it wasn't fussy, it was stick-to-the-ribs hearty, everyone liked it and since the cabbage was shredded, it cooked up much easier on my teeth which meant I could still eat it with my braces.  The original recipe came from Chatelaine Magazine ( if you read these blogs regularly, you know I have a recipe-hoarding habit).  Before Pinterest (which I still haven't joined), I would tear out recipes from magazines, then glue them onto good paper and keep them in page-protector sleeves in a binder.  Then email became the more popular choice, so I have 2 email accounts--one is my regular email, and the other is for emailing myself recipes that I then move into email files under Breakfast, Dinner, Snack,  etc.  My email file storage is HUGE.

You can omit the honey if you're doing a Whole30, but if you're not, you'll find the tiny bit of honey really brings out the flavour nicely.

This recipe makes about 6 hearty servings
Takes about 1/2 hour
This recipe re-heats even better next day


  • 2 lbs ground pork or beef
  • 1 cooking onion, or 1/3 spanish onion
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 5-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbs apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Using a food  processor, shred your cabbage really fine.  Set aside.  Slice up your onions and green peppers.

In a very large skillet on med-high heat, cook your meat with your onions (about 5 minutes).  When meat is almost cooked through, add your tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, honey and spices, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes to allow flavour to develop.

 Now, add your pepper and cabbage to the pan.  Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender (aboout 10 minutes--I like my cabbage soft).  You may need to add a splash of water now and then to keep things moist until cabbage beginns to soften.

Taste, and add red pepper flakes as needed.

It really was that fast and easy.

For variety, you could add mexican spices in place of the thyme and basil, making it into Beef Enchilada Stir-Fry.

PepperMint Patties

Yes, this is what I made.  It was Easter, and I wanted chocolate MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD.  Ok, maybe the time of the month had something to do with it too...  Don't you love chocolate and mint together?  Ok, peanut butter and chocolate is even better, but I'd just devoured a batch of Balanced Bites Almond-Butter-Cups.  I was boldened after that little experiment, but wanted it to be alot simpler.  So I thought--if I use unsweetened chocolate, and just add a dab of slightly sweet chocolate, wouldn't I get dark chocolate??  Like REALLY dark chocolate?  Because actual Bakers dark chocolate is alot more expensive than doing it this way and I'm all about keeping it affordable.  And this is sooooo simple to make.  A quick note--I use a double-boiler for a lot of things like this--it allows you to keep the melted chocolate warm and pliable while you're still working with it.  But if you don't have one, a stainless bowl placed over a pot will do the same thing.  And if you have neither of those, you can always melt the chocolate in the microwave, just be careful not to burn it and you may have to re-heat it a few times.

These are alright to keep on your countertop when they're done, but I really recommend keeping them in the fridge.  I found the chocolate "bloomed" on my countertop, and the mint is stronger and sweeter from the fridge.  But do try to make them as thin as possible.  I made 12 with this recipe, and they were as thick as a peanut-butter cup, and very hard to bite down on (so I chopped mine up into  small bite-sized pieces and just let it melt on the tongue....)

You will need:

baking sheet
cupcake liners


8 squares Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate
3 squares Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/4 c coconut creme
2 tsp mint extract
2 tsp honey


First, prepare thy self!!  Measure out coconut creme in a small microwave-safe dish.  On a baking sheet, lay out at least 12 paper cupcake liners.In a double-boiler, melt chocolate. 

Once the chocolate is melted, measure out half of it into the paper cupcake liners.  I just used a metal spoon and poured a spoonfull into each liner.  make sure it fills the bottom of the liner; you may have to smear it/spread it around a little.  Leave the rest of the chocolate on the double-boiler.  It should stay warm enough.

Place your cookie sheet with the paper muffin liners on it into the freezer for five minutes.  While this is freezing, melt your coconut creme and then mix in the mint extract and honey.  Remove the frozen chocolate from the freezer, and measure out a small teaspoon of mint into the middle of each chocolate bottom.  Use it all up.  Do press it somewhat flat, but do not spread it all the way to the edges.  Put it back in the freezer for another 5 minutes.

Now use up the rest of the chocolate on the frozen mint and chocolate base.  Remember to keep it as thin as you can or they become very hard to bite down on.

Slide your cookie sheet back in the freezer to set everything firm.  Once set, you can move it all into a tupperware container and into the fridge.

Voila.  It really was that simple.

Now, if you'd rather have an almond-butter-cup, just switch the filling to almond butter with a splash of vanilla and honey.  But you won't be able to stop eating them if you do this.  Sure, there's barely any sweetener in this, but its still a treat, not a meal....

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter is......Lost.

Easter is supposed to be a big holiday, isn't it?  I mean, holiest of holy.  But for us, it has always been about chocolates and family.

We aren't terribly religious.  In fact, I can count on my hands the amount of times in my whole life that I have set foot in a church.  I have never attended Sunday school.  I have never read the bible.  And ironically, this is the "typical" Canadian citizen living in Toronto.  I represent the demographic.  Huh.  So, tell me why there are so many cars parked around every church this weekend, with overflowing parking lots? 

This is Hanukkah??  Not!
 Funny fact; we weren't ALLOWED to teach religion in a public school system, so we only learnt the non-religious aspects of the holidays, which really skewed our views  of all holidays...  We learnt about the holiday FOOD.  I learnt that Hanukkah means latkas and gold-wrapped chocolate coins.  And Passover means a good brisket.  How messed up is that?!  Continuing with this craziness, I raised my kids in a Toronto neighbourhood that had a very high Muslim and Hindu population.  Same problem.  My kids probably couldn't tell you the story of Jesus, or Mohamed, but they can tell you what's in a samosa and what halal means.  They know good channah.  The breadth of their multicultural knowledge is both astounding and humerous; it is like Swiss cheese--it has huge holes in it because no one is allowed to teach them anything religious except their own parents, and well, I don't KNOW anything religious, so I'm not a good candidate for that.

So our Easters have always been a weird attempt, and frequently a failure, to create some kind of tradition for this holiday, but nothing has really stuck.

When the kids were little, I'd do up little gift baskets for them on Easter Sunday.  There was ALWAYS a Mr Munchy Bunny--he's solid, good-quality chocolate with rice crisps in him.  I'd go to Laura Secord and get the "good" foil-wrapped chocolate eggs for the kids (and leave out the crappy little foil-covered chocolate eggs from Walmart for my now-ex-husband who had an insane sweet tooth.)  Part of the tradition of Easter meant buying everything twice, because my ex-husband would find the chocolate and eat it before I'd given it to the kids, and part of the tradition was me finding better hiding spots each year to keep it safe until I could give it to them.... 

I'd always stick a stuffed bunny in their baskets, too.  They loved the stuffed bunnies.  But by the time they were almost teens, the amount of stuffed toys in each of their rooms was ridiculous.

We used to colour eggs--when they were really small it was basic hard-boiled eggs and old-fashioned white crayon and food colouring (we never ate them afterwards, I just threw them out after a few days had gone by).  But the kids thought it was a bit too much work.  So then we went through the fancy egg-colouring kits and egg-wrapping kits, but the kids lost interest in that, too.  Then I learnt how to blow eggs so we could do all kinds of fancy patterning and crackling; but I was the only one at that point that wanted anything to do with the eggs.  Then I decided I'd had enough of doing it alone and just stopped.  I don't think we've coloured an egg in five or more years and the kids haven't even noticed. 

We used to do Easter egg hunts--because of the dogs, we'd stick the little chocolates into those big hollow plastic eggs, and we'd have to leave them in spots that were a bit obvious because I didn't want to find them full of ants mid-summer or next Christmas.  My kids were a bit lazy, though, and didn't really enjoy having to search when they had perfectly good chocolate in their baskets already.  They did distract my ex-husband, though, so the kids could eat their chocolates in peace for a little while.

We haven't had an Easter egg hunt in many, many years.  I found a couple of plastic eggs with old chocolate in them on moving day several years ago when I decided to leave the city for good and move on out to the suburbs of Ajax.  I was in the middle of my divorce.  The found chocolates were a little bittersweet, and a lot gross.

The only thing that has remained a constant every year is that Easter means going to visit family.  Over the weekend, we'd make time to visit both my family and my husband's family.  The kids would get chocolate, eat breakfast, go visit, get more chocolate, eat a dinner of turkey and ham, then do it all over again the next day--get breakfast, go visit, get chocolate, eat turkey and ham.  That's it.  Now that I am re-married, it is the same thing still.  We visit both sides of the family, everyone eats a lot of chocolate, ham, turkey.  Of course, the kids are teens now, so they drag their heels, don't want to visit family, would rather hang out with friends.  They don't want stuffed animals anymore.  And I've seriously cut down the amount of chocolate I give to them (though other family members still give them lots). 

So I struggle with this holiday.  If its not about religion, and I don't want it to be about the chocolate, and the teens don't want it to be about family anymore, what is it?  What tradition can I create, can I revive, and hold on to? 

I'm really struggling to hold onto the few traditions we have.  This year, I am truly struggling to give the holiday any meaning whatsoever and this is making me very, very sad.

What does Easter mean in your house?  Do you have teens?  What traditions do you keep?

Friday, 6 April 2012

In Neverland, Exercise is Fun

Exercise sucks.
It just does.

He is just WAAAY to happy

Do you see people in the gym grinning from ear to ear as they deadlift and benchpress?  Do you walk by joggers on the street who are so happy they’re literally bouncing down the street?  (Ok, with the exception of a viral Youtube marathon runner this week “Exceptionally Photogenic Guy”), me neither.  I wasted years of my life in the gym, staring at the same four walls, sweating my ass off in a climate-controlled environment.  I dropped my kids in the free daycare and spent endless hours wiling away the time like a rat on an exercise wheel.  Sure, I got great results.  I was young and thin and firm.  But the cost was dear—I had to be there EVERY DAY, I had to pay for it, I had to show up and sweat my heart out even on the days when I felt like dirt, when it was so tedious I wanted to scream.  Surely there must be a better way?  Were we really designed for THIS?  This tedium?  Was running in circles on an indoor track really making me HEALTHY?  There weren’t even any windows!

They say that diet is 90% of how you look, and exercise is only 10%--so if I look alight living life as a sloth, where's the incentive to exercise?  I know, I know.  We NEED to exercise, blah, blah.  Skinny isn't fit, nor is it firm, after a certain age.....  But why can't it be FUN?

Do you remember when we were all kids, how fun it was to play British Bulldog with our friends, or hopscotch, or skipping rope, or how games of soccer or baseball or street hockey would just spontaneously form and start up?   When we were young, we didn’t say “I need to go outside and get some exercise into my day.”  We didn’t beat ourselves up for “only running 4 kilometers instead of 5”.  We just got out there and found something to do.  We went from sun-up to sun-down and our parents had to call us in to remind us to eat!  Why isn’t it fun like that anymore?   What happened?  How did growing up suck all the fun out of being outside with friends?
Maybe we just shouldn’t have grown up.  I miss those days.  I miss being surrounded by laughter and silliness and chaos.  I want to go back to being a kid when life was fun and thoughtless.


I want to go to Neverland.  Do you remember Neverland?  That’s where the Lost Boys lived, where they never grew up and just went on forever doing fun boy things.  Peter Pan left Neverland and he forgot how to have fun.  He grew up and had to be brought back to Neverland to remember how to have fun again.  In Neverland, I will never have to grow up.  I will play all day long, I will exhaust myself having fun, and at the end of the day I will collapse in my warm bed and sleep like the dead until morning arrives.  Then, with childlike innocence, I will greet the new dawn with excitement and joy, while gobbling down breakfast I will dream up a million adventures that I want to have that day.  I will not think about macronutrients, or calories or whether or not I’ve eaten enough protein to fuel my day.  I will not worry about cottage cheese thighs or if my pants make me look fat.  I will just wolf down whatever is available and GET OUT THERE.  I will return when I am hungry.  I will run like the wind and hang like a monkey and I will stop only to notice the colour of the bird in the tree or the caterpillar on the sidewalk. 
What happened to us all?
Why did we think that exercise had to be hard and had to suck?  Why is it that some of us hate being outside so much that we continue to drive our cars to a rustic-looking box where we sweat every day while telling ourselves that this is good for us, that this is the way it’s supposed to be?
For all of you Crossfitters out there, I envy you.  I envy that you can go there, day after day, and sweat your hearts out, how buff you become, how strong.

Hiking back in November 2011

I can’t be one of you.  I cannot sweat within four walls, no matter how fabulous a community it is in there.  Life is short and the sun shines outside, calling my name.  Now that the spring season has arrived, the warm weather calls me outside and I drop my cloak of winter sloth.  A level of energy awakens inside of me that drives Steve crazy because he cannot keep up with me.  I do not sit still well.  At least, in the warm months I do not.  I want to be outside, from sun-up to sun-down.  I want to run and hike and bike and blade, I want to dig in the garden and move rocks around.  I want to GO.  Anywhere!  As long as it’s outside.
Unfortunately, life gets in the way.  I sit at a desk for 8 hours a day.  I have a family to come home to, meals to cook, food to shop for, errands to run and a house to maintain.  Grown up life keeps bringing me back from Neverland. 
I wish I could stay in Neverland.
If I lived in Neverland, I would never need to exercise because I’d always be in motion.  I wouldn’t have to clean the house because I wouldn’t have a house—I’d have a tree-fort.  The dogs would run along with me all day, so they wouldn’t need walking.  I’d hunt for my food, so I wouldn’t need to go shopping.  Ah, only in Neverland.....

Sunrise on Lake Ontario

But maybe with the warm weather and the sunshine calling my name, maybe I can steal a little bit of that fantasy.  I can make time every day for play.  I can let the house get a little bit more messy, I can let the food storage run a little bit low, let other people fend for themselves a little bit more.  I can run, on the days that I FEEL like running, as if I am being chased by wild dogs (or zombies, whatever the fantasy may be—I personally think that Neverland and Post-Apocalyptic America are one and the same, and we are always one heartbeat away from the zombies taking over the world).  I will make time to improve my tennis game, and my soccer game.  As long as it’s a GAME and therefore FUN and not an exercise.  I will find the time to cycle a 30 km tour of my town and head to the waterfront, ride along the beach.  I will make time for LIFE this year.  I will.  I will spend more time in Neverland.  We should all spend more time in Neverland.
I hope to see you there, too.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Story of Us

Today is a special day for me—it’s the 2-year anniversary of my marriage to my best friend.
So, today I’m not talking about food or exercise at all.  I’m telling the story of US.  It’s not about being Paleo or primal, it’s not about being skinny or fit.  There’s more to life than just what you put in your mouth. This is a story about living life to its fullest, about love, about laughing and having fun.  This is OUR story.
Steve and I met back in high school.  Steve knew who I was in grade nine, and friends of mine kept pointing him out to me, as in “that’s the guy with the huge crush on you” and I’d walk on by him, pretending I didn’t notice him, like I didn’t have a clue who he was because we hadn’t actually been introduced and what do you say to the “guy with the huge crush??” 
But in grade 10, we actually ended up in a few classes together.  I eventually spoke to him, and we became best friends that year.  We started hanging out together so frequently that all of our friends began to push us to get together as more than just friends.  I wasn’t so sure.  I was a party girl, in way over my head and hanging out with all the wrong people.  I thought I was all grown up and tough and into the whole drinking and smoking scene, and Steve was a good guy, never in any trouble, just wanted to be wherever the fun was, just wanting to be part of something.  He saw a side of me that I didn’t see at all.
Steve & I on the left, and by the way, the one in the middle was our wedding witness...

We tried dating—for, like 2 days—and I remember finally kissing him wasn’t right.  We were too close, too familiar, too much friends.  It was like....kissing your best friend.  It was just wrong.  So it ended there, but we remained best friends.  We were glued at the hip through grade 11 (hence the infamous canoe trip I mentioned in my migraine post).  The only time we stopped talking was when someone told Steve that him & I would never be an item.  And six months went by before I could corner him and make him shut up and listen, and by that very next day we were kicking ourselves for letting six months go by without talking, wasted time when we could have been having fun together.  We tried one last date in my senior year, to a very expensive restaurant, and we had a fabulous time together (I dared him to eat the seafood dish they presented us with—with octopus tentacles in it.  He ate it as I laughed so loudly that it actually got us in trouble with our waiter).  But I couldn’t bring myself to kiss him again.  We were just....too good of friends.  I never, ever wanted to lose that.  We resigned ourselves to “friends dates”—chaperoning our friends on their dates as they had romantic evenings and we just had a heck of a lot of fun.
We had one last huge party together where, in a drunken farce, our friends decided to marry us with me in a borrowed bikini and wearing the “drink float” from the hot tub as my hat, Steve unable to stand straight and talking the whole time, though in the videotape (yes, our friends taped the event) you can’t make out a single word he’s saying because he’s so drunk.  We gave up the thought of there ever being an “us”.  There never had been and never would be, I thought.
I graduated and went off to college.  He graduated and joined the army.  We grew up, moved away, met our spouses-to-be, got married, had kids, bought homes and life went on.  We stayed in touch, just the occasional email, maybe a visit once every couple of years.  His wife and I were pregnant at the same time, her with her first and only child, me with my second, and we ended up having our daughters only 2 days apart.  I can remember bringing them together when they were about 2 for a play date.
Our spouses weren’t terribly happy with our friendship.  Maybe they saw something we didn’t.  There were a few quiet years when I didn’t hear from Steve much at all, first because my husband opposed the friendship, but then secondly because his wife got cancer and she didn’t survive it.  Those were quiet and hard years.
Steve became a single parent when their daughter was 3.  He raised her on his own.  The army transferred him onto a “compassionate” placement that meant he would no longer go overseas as the sole surviving parent. 
My marriage was frequently rocky.  We just weren’t a good match.  I got pregnant with my first child when my first husband and I were just dating, and we thought we had it good enough to give it a try, so try we did.  I was married to my first husband for 13 years.  We had nothing in common.  We couldn’t even stand to be in the same room together.  When it was time to finally call it quits and I was an emotional wreck heading into my divorce, I missed my best friend more than anything.  Funny, I had many, many friends to talk to about everything, but when the divorce began, the only person I really wanted to talk to was Steve.  So I called him up.
A lot of years had passed since we’d last spoken.  It turned out he was living just a couple of towns away from me and despite me not being there when his wife died, he dropped everything and came and saw me.  He listened as I went on and on and on, as I bashed men and marriage and vented every frustration I had.  He was my rock.  He asked for nothing.  He always had time.
Months went by as I raged about the divorce.  Then one day, in yet another angry fit, I heard myself say it out loud, “I should have married my best friend!”  No truer words could be said.  My first husband and I were many things, but we were never friends.  Romance comes and goes, people age and people change.  But when all else fades away, a best friend is still a best friend.  And even though Steve and I had grown up and changed, and we were not the people we once were in high school, we now found we liked the new people that we had become—and we could still make anything fun.  Heck, he helped me renovate my post-divorce house before ever living in it, and one day, exhausted, I cut us up a couple of apples and stuffed some peanut butter into them, and standing in the bedroom beside the bathroom where we’d been working all day, the peanut butter fell out of his apple and onto the bedroom carpet.  Embarrassed at his mistake, he tried to clean it up, madly wiping at it before I really noticed what was happening and I stopped him and asked in my deadpan monotone “Are you smearing peanut butter into my bedroom carpet?”  We laughed about it so hard that I was seeing stars.  He’d somehow made crawling around all day in a tiny, dirty bathroom fun.  We’ve survived renovating 2 houses together now.  And the weirdest part is that when we paint together, we have better, more intimate conversations than any other time we’ve ever tried to talk about anything.
I don’t even remember what it was or why I decided to try to kiss him once again.  I can’t remember where we were.  I just remember thinking that I wanted to keep having this kind of fun forever, that I didn’t want to lose it again.   And this time....yes, it felt strangely familiar, but this time.... it felt more like coming home.  Do you know that feeling?  When you’ve been away for years and you finally return to the place where you grew up, to old neighborhoods and old friends?  There’s a mix of memories and exhilaration and comfort all wrapped up together?
We had decided to get married very spur-of-the-moment.  We gave ourselves 5 days to plan it, bought the kids sundresses, and had a minister meet us at a hydrodam in the middle of nowhere,  where we were married wearing jeans and sandals in the middle of spring-run off (the water was raging so hard and fast that you can’t hear a thing from the wedding video tape...)  We wrote our own vows and had only our kids and a very dear friend to witness it.  Then we all drank champagne and tossed everything into the river that the forest had to offer that day, just to see it go raging down through the dam and disappear down river.  I had so much fun that day.  It was totally casual and playful and as spontaneous as you can get with a wedding.
Apparently Alec missed that joke....
The past few years, we’ve had a lot of fun.  There were the big things—a trip west where we went zip-lining, sea-kayaking, hiking in the rainforest out there, rented bikes and rode all over Stanley Park, we even took a sea plane tour. And there was the honeymoon trip west, where we went white water rafting, horseback riding, caving, climbing and more hiking.   
There has also been the daily fun; I finally had someone at my side who loved hiking and rollerblading, cycling and skiing, camping and canoeing as much as I did.  Steve still wanted nothing more than to be a part of the action, to get out and have fun.
It doesn't matter what we're doing, as long as its together.
There has been a lot of quiet fun, too, these past few years.  There are nights when, almost dead asleep, Steve says something totally off-the-wall and we start laughing so hard that we can’t get to sleep after it.  Every single night, without fail, it’s Steve’s job to come up with some tidbit of science that he has to explain to me as I lay in bed with my eyes closed, drifting off to sleep.  He’s talked about tectonic plates, about ice ages, about Saturn’s moons.   Sometimes, it’s those little things that matter the most.  The quiet moments and the routines.
Last week, cranky, tired, stressed, I accused Steve of not doing enough to get us outside, to exercise more.  I suggested that he was getting lazy.  I was complaining about money, too.  I was not being a nice person.  Steve was quiet when I said it.  He stayed quiet for the rest of the drive to work.  He called me later that day and all he said was “I bought you something to play with.”  Hmm.  I wasn’t sure where he was going with that.  Later that night, he showed me what he’d bought.  I’d already told him that we could not afford to do anything elaborate for our anniversary, that we shouldn’t exchange gifts.  So what did he pull out of the bag?  A soccer ball.  “I thought we needed to have a bit more fun.  We’ve been way too busy lately.” 
I paused, and spit out “I don’t like soccer.  I don’t play soccer!” 
But he just smiled.  “NO, you just haven’t played soccer with me.”  He totally understood and always understands me. 
We played soccer for the first time last night.  He’s right.  It’s a lot more fun with him. 
Life is just more fun with him.