Gluten Free in the Florida Keys

Uggh… that’s so close to rhyming… ‘gluten frees in the Florida Keys’?  Nope…. it’s kinda making me crazy. Maybe I should just change it to ‘What I Ate on Vacation.’ Boring, but the almost rhyme wouldn’t bother me then. *sigh*

Anyway… so Gluten Free Stuff That I Ate on Vacation in the Florida Keys. 

The first day as we drove down the A1A (between St Augustine and the first Keys) we stopped for a picnic lunch along the beach. (Because there are sandy beaches along that stretch, but not IN the Keys.) We’re back on track with our much healither GF lunches… lunch meat, nuts, fruit and water. It’s easy to pack, way healthier, lower carb and travels nicely in the small cooler. 

The Florida Keys are filled with Gluten Free Friendly resturants. You could walk around and eat forever…. which I strongly considered… and tried to argue for, but Brian wanted to be ‘healthy’ and sight see and stuff.  ūüė©

Thank heavens for the Find Me Gluten Free App. I don’t know how any GF person can survive without it!  FMGF was filled with recommendations all throughout the Keys. 

For lunch we stopped at Marker 88 in Key Largo. They had good reviews on FMGF  and the sales guy from the Visitor Center gave us a card for 10% off. 

The food was really good and the staff was polite and helpful with ordering GF safely. They had a separate GF menu and I appreciated that the GF menu was posted on their website. It’s nice to see what’s available before you get to the restaurant. 

Brian and I were even able to stay on our Arbonne Detox plan (a little longer). Except for the Coconut Crusted Deep Fried Ice Cream that we shared for dessert…. umm… but I had to order that for you guys, right?!  I have a responsibility to my readers! 

Brian got the Shrimp Zoodles. My mom has been telling me to make zoodles for forever, but I kept resisting… they just didn’t sound yummy…. Mom was right (As usual) the zoodles were delicious! 

I ordered the Alligator Reef Salad. There’s no alligator in the salad…. but the crab, shrimp and hearts of palm were super yummy. It was served with a Mango Citrus dressing that really complimented the shrimp and crab. 

The Coconut Fried Key Lime Ice Cream sounded better than it actually was.  The coconut crust was good, but the ice cream was super frozen. Obviously it had to be really cold so it could be fried, but it made it really difficult to eat.

Marker 88
88000 Overseas Hwy
Islamorda, FL 33036

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By dinnertime I didn’t care about keeping to the detox…. I wanted pizza!  Off the Hook Grill was well recommended on the GFMF app…. for a good reason! ūü§§

Brian got the Duck BLT… made with duck bacon. OMG! Sooo good. 


I got the Lobster Pie.  It was good… but also kind of odd, but good…. I liked it, but it wasn’t my favorite pizza ever.  The bits of fig and balsamic vinegar gave it a slightly sweet flavor. Not bad, but I prefer more savory pizzas. The crust was fabulous though! 

Our waitress brought me a sample of the blueberry cider from Slim Pickens Cider and Mead. (A local brewer!) I’m not normally a big cider drinker, but I couldn’t pass up blueberry. It had a nice berry flavor, but not overly sweet…. crisp.   Perfect with pizza. 

We liked the restaurant so much that Brian and I went back the following morning for breakfast. 

Brian ordered the GF pancakes. He liked them, but they weren’t my favorite. They were thick and a bit ‘biscuit’ like. 

Since we were going out on the Sailboat / Snorkel / Kayacking tour that day I didn’t want to eat anything that might upset my tummy. 

I ordered scrambled eggs and duck bacon with a side of potatoes and gf toast. The waiter was great and told us that the potatoes themselves were gf, but since they’re fried there could be cross contamination… but since we were the first customers that morning and they change their oil every day the potatoes would be safe.  I appreciate that he took the extra step to warn me that they were safe this time, but might not be next time. 

The toast seemed to just be Udi’s… I should have told them to skip the toast, but every once in a while I come across something new and yummy. 

Word of warning: the restaurant is tiny.  Seriously tiny… 18 seats at tables and about 8 at the bar. Make reservations! 

Off The Hook Grill
728 Simonton St
Key West, FL 33040
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After a fun / tiring day on the sailboat, snorkeling and kayacking we were starved. (They fed us a good lunch on the sailboat, but I tried to stay out of the after lunch snacks… and a day in the water will wear you out!) 

Brian had been craving BBQ. I argued for Mexican, but I caved when I heard that the BBQ place was closer. I was just ready to eat and then go back to the room and get cleaned up. 


The waitress gave us a separate GF menu (single sheet of paper). She didn’t seem very knowledgeable about what was GF or not. I asked if the potato salad was safe and she said she thought it should be safe because potatoes are gluten free. Ugh. We ordered the BBQ Plate for Two. All of the sauces were Gluten Free and we decided to stick with green beans for our sides since they were listed on the gf menu. 

Despite asking for a Gluten Free menu, talking about Gluten Free choices and SAYING that we were Gluten Free they still brought us a basket of cornbread. What?!? (Strangely, the only mention that I can find on their online menu about gf is that the cornbread isn’t Gluten Free… but no other mention of what is or isn’t gf. So why bother?) 

The food was good and we didn’t get sick…. I’m not confident that they had the best understanding of GF…. it seems more like the meats and sauces are gf and if you stick to those you’ll be okay. 

Charlie Mac’s 404
404 Southard St
Key West, FL 33040

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I read some delicious sounding reviews for Le Petit Paris and had insisted that we weren’t leaving Key West until I got to go there for breakfast. 


Cinnamon Rasin French Toast with cinnamon butter and walnuts. *gasp* It was syrup coated heaven! I should have asked what brand of bread they used, but I was so busy stuffing every last bite into my mouth I never managed to ask. It was absolutely delish!  


Brian ordered the GF pancakes. They were…. cute?  Four very small, strawberry decorated pancakes made up Brian’s breakfast. It was almost comical compared to my heaping plate of French Toast. Fortunately for me, Brian doesn’t like raisins, so I didn’t have to share! 

Breakfast was not inexpensive. There was a $4 up-charge for all GF orders… which seems a bit steep to me…. but, the food was delicious. So just go in knowing that you’re going to pay an arm and a leg. (It’s worth it though!) The pancakes were $12 and the French Toast was $11 before the extra $4. Strangely, my French Toast got the upcharge, but Brian’s pancakes didn’t…. I took a bite of his pancakes and didn’t have any issues, so…. 

Le Petit Paris
825 Duval St
Key West, FL 33040

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I also made an extensive search of Gluten Free Key Lime treats, but that’s a whole other post. It was challenging, but I love my readers…. Diet be damned!  I ate every gf Key Lime treat I could find…. ’cause I love you guys! ūüėĀ  Post coming soon 

The Florida Keys

I’m just going to start his post by saying that I’m a terrible, spoiled snob about my vacation spots. I’ve visited Hawaii several times with my family and Brian and I went to Koh Samui, Thailand for our honeymoon. I warned him that starting off with a five star, tropical island resort was a terrible idea…. I’d expect everything to be that level from then on, but he insisted…. *sigh*  He really has no one to blame but himself. 

So that’s my basis of comparison for everything now. 

Me: It’s not Thailand

Brian: Not everything can be Thailand

Me: ūüėĒ

—–

We had some time to sneak off by ourselves for a few days. Since we live in Florida now I thought going to the Keys would be fun… and close…. but it’s not really ‘close.’  From Jacksonville it’s still a five hour drive just to the first Keys and another three to Key West.

I’m perfectally content to sit in the car, listen to music, Snapchat and nap. Brian could probabaly drive forever. We stop at pretty places and I take a few photos and then we drive again…. we’re good Road Trippers. 

We took the A1A or Hwy 1 most of the way down. I’d expected there to be more places to stop along the way… beaches, parks, cute little shops…. but not so much. 

(Brian told me to edit this and point out that there are cute shops, resturants and sandy beaches between Jacksonville and the Keys. Once you get into the Keys things change.) 

We finally stopped at Long Key State Park and learned that the Keys don’t have sandy beaches…. unless you’re at a resort that had sand trucked in. Huh, okay…. We paid our $6 and wandered off into the park. The Ranger told us that we could get to a rocky beach, so we figured we’d give it a try. Or, at least I thought we were going to the beach…. Mr Let’s See Where This Trail Goes led us off on a one mile hike through spider infested woods instead. 


With raccoons. 
When we’d passed the front gate I saw something fuzzy cross the road and I asked the Ranger what it was and he said it was a raccoon. In Missouri when we saw a raccoon durning the day we worried about rabies and distemper because raccoons are usually nocturnal… so Day Racoons = Bad, but the Ranger didn’t seem concerned. 

There were more racoons in the woods along the path… the narrow…. very quite…. spider infested path. 


These suckers were HUGE! (I couldn’t get my phone to focus of them, but I got some good pics on the big camera. I’ll post those when I get back to my computer.) 

The trail was long and hot and kinda creepy. 

We finally found the ‘beach’ which was actually just a strip of road and rocks with ocean on the sides. They had BBQ grills and picnic tables, but not what I was thinking when I heard ‘beach.’ It was fairly crowded already so we decided just to keep heading south through the Keys. 

We hadn’t booked any hotels… I just wanted to wander and see where we landed. Aside from the pictures I’ve seen online I didn’t really know anything about the Keys and I just wanted to take our time. It’s just a bunch of little islands… how lost could we get?  But the lack of planning/destination was just killing Brian. 

We stopped at a Visitor Information Center as we entered Key Largo. I was thinking it was the usual State Travel/Welcome Center that you come across on the highways as you enter a new state…. noooope. This was a commercial travel center. They’re selling shit. 


Now, I’m not entirely opposed to the commercial travel center… they’ve gotta pay the bills too, so if they make a commission for booking my reservations and I get a bit of a deal and good recommendations for going through them then that’s fine. Win-Win. What I am oppose to is the ‘used car salesman’ joking, badgering and juggling. We kept getting tossed between sales people. One did hotels, the other tours. Neither one could focus on the task in front of them or figure out how to use their own damn computer and they were both trying to work multiple groups of people. (Form a line, help each group in order. Duh!)  I’d have left, but Brian was having heart palpitations from the lack of trip planning and reservations. 

This is one of our big differences as a couple: When I’m with a group I plan everything down to the last second. I make itineraries. I have binders. I set alarms on my phone. I am ORGANIZED. I once earned the title ‘Evil Tour Guide Barbie.’  I’ve never lost a vacationer and the pictures always look great. The truth is though…. I HATE traveling like that. It’s no fun for the tour guide to lead 10 whiny people through a trip and answer ‘where are we going’ and ‘what’s for lunch’ ninetyeight times an hour. I like to just wander off and see where we end up. No schedule, no real destination. Brian hasn’t had to play tour guide as long as I have, so he doesn’t quite understand my aversion to ‘planning.’  Usually we compromise by choosing hotels in advance and leaving the days relatively open for wandering…. but this time I tried to skip reserving hotels and it was just killing him apparently. 

So we suffered through the sales pitches and finally got it down to a tour, a restaurant and a hotel. Brian was relieved but I wasn’t even entirely sure what we’d booked or IF it had even been booked at all. The whole thing felt sketchy to me.  (Since we survived the tour and the hotel I can tell you that it had all been booked and it did work out, but this still isn’t my preferred way of making reservations… it felt way too used car salesman-y.  Just know that when you go in and be prepared.)


We got reservations at the Pegasus International Hotel in Key West. The sales lady said it was right in the center of things and they had a special price in it. (We ended up paying $159 a night vs the $200 a night that I saw on Booking.com) The hotel was right in the middle of things…. read ‘noisy,’ but most everything was in a reasonable walking distance. It’s an older hotel, recently remodeled… ‘cheaply.’ (Cheap laminate floors, makeshift upgrades in the bathrooms.). Not high end, but clean and functional. I liked the location because we could walk to most of the stores and resturants, but it was quite noisy at night when all the other people were still out drinking or the trash and delivery trucks were out preparing for the next day. If we visited again I might check out The Garden Hotel of the Southernmost Hotels. They were set a few blocks back and looked pretty.  

I wanted to get some sunset photos so we killed time visiting the shops and taking photos. 

I wanted to get a photo at the Southernmost Point Marker…. but the line was crazy long. (I’d read that it would be.)  Brian and I ditched the line and stood in front of the wall. I caught a few photos in between the groups taking their photos. (We weren’t in anyone’s way, so I figure this is totally fair… I angled Brian’s head to block the couple standing next to the marker and I think we actually got a better photo by being a little further away from it.). 


We also got a photo at the “0” mile marker. 

The shopping wasn’t quite what I’d expected either. I was expecting something more along the lines of (again) Hawaii or Hot Springs, AR with an even mix of art galleries, tourist crap and nicer shopping. There were art galleries, but much more expensive ones, mixed in with ‘tourist crap.’ (Offensive t-shirts, lots of smoking/hookah stuff… I’m not complaing about the cigars,  those make sense here…. and tacky souvenirs.) I was hoping for the local artist galleries… but I didn’t see much of that. Maybe we didn’t make it to the right area?  

There were tons of food options. You could just roam around and eat all day. Even looking for Gluten Free food was easy.  That’s a whole other post! 


On our second day we took a sailboat tour with Danger Charters. It was a bit overcast that day so we didn’t get roasted on the boat, but I think that effected the snorkeling visibility and the kayacking location. 

I’m having trouble rating this tour… to compair it to the snorkeling/catamaran tour in Hawaii or the snorkeling/power boat tour in Thailand isn’t entirely fair….  Partially I think the weather kept us from potentially better snorkeling/ kayacking areas. I loved the sailboat, but I’m pretty happy anytime I’m in a boat.  The water was a murky green as we snorkeled and a darker blue as we sailed…. not the beautiful turquoise that I’d been expecting. 


The crew was great. They fed us constantly (with plenty of gluten free options like fruit, hummas, salsa & chips and a ‘make your own sandwich’ spread of chips, deli meats and cheeses.) and offered wine, beer, sodas and water every time we turned around. 

It was a smallish sailboat with room for twenty passengers and three crew. The crew, food and sailing were great, but I wasn’t impressed by the snorkeling and kayaking… again… consider my basis of comparison. If you’ve never been to Hawaii or Thailand, you’d probably love this tour. 

The Florida Keys aren’t what I expected…. I like em…. It’s not Thailand…. or Hawaii… or New Orleans for that matter (though Key West has some similarities).  If you can swing the air fare, go to Hawaii. Always choose Hawaii. The little islands of Thailand are also phenomenal, but depending of your starting destination the flight time (17 hours from LAX to Bangkok) is a killer. If you’re looking for fancy resorts and beaches I’d suggest Mexico. The all inclusive resorts and air fare are much more reasonable than Hawaii….. but it’s NOT Hawaii either. 

I was plenty happy with a three day trip, but we certainly could have spent more time taking other charter tours. There are jet ski, glass bottom boat, sail boat, kayack, SUP, parasailing and diving tours. There are also the historic walking and tram tours too. If we’d have stayed longer I would have liked to see the Earnest Hemingway house. You can rent bicycles, motor scooter and golf carts to get around since parking is limited and there are a lot of one way streets. Of course that makes things more interesting if you’re trying to walk and not be run over. ūüôĄ

I enjoyed Key West. I’d recommend it…. and I’d be happy to go back sometime…. but I’m not in any big rush. 

Tijuana Flats

Our new house is in a new community… so there is construction going on constantly. Which is actually not as awful as I had expected it to be. ¬†Even when the house next door to our was under construction it wasn’t really noisy. ¬†There seem to be small teams of trades that come, do their part and then move on to the next house. ¬†My only problem comes from the teams that play the spunky music like you hear in the Mexican restaurants. ¬†Apparently I’ve got some Pavlovian response going on and the second I hear Mexican music I start craving nachos and salsa. ¬†I can’t help it… I can’t shut up about it either. ¬†I may be making Mom and Brian slightly crazy with my constant talk about nachos. ¬†We’ve had taco bowls for dinner twice this week! ¬†I really hope that team moves out of earshot soon. ¬†I don’t seem to have any uncontrollable cravings from country or rock music, so I should be fine soon.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on if we’re considering my detox or my crazed cravings…. Tijuana Flats just opened in Town Center. ¬†Even though I’m on this 30-day Arbonne Detox I couldn’t miss the grand opening. ¬†I checked the menu online first to make sure I wouldn’t be faced with salsa and chips as my only options… because I wouldn’t be able to resist. ¬†They actually had a really easy to read/understand Allergy Information page. ¬†(Why can’t they all be like this?!) It’s a nice chart that clearly list gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, nuts and fish…. and best of all… says sensible things like “dairy free if ordered without cheese.” ¬†So often these charts leave you to wonder…. is there dairy/gluten in there somewhere that I’m not imagining? ¬†Would it be safe if I just didn’t get cheese on it? ¬†Is it worth the risk???

I figured I’d be safe with one of the Bowls and could even stay within most of the Detox restrictions. ¬†I’d have to forgo the chips this time… but 20 more days and everybody better stand aside!

Mom and I tried to go at lunchtime, but that was just silly. ¬†The parking lot was packed and cars and golf carts were circling the lot like…. well…. hungry sharks. ¬†To celebrate their Grand Opening, Tijuana Flats was offering free burritos…. there was no way I was going to get a parking spot at noon. ¬†Duh!

We replotted the schedule and did our grocery shopping first… on empty tummies…. Can you even imagine what I threw in the cart?!

Fortunately I was finally able to sneak into a parking space around 1:00. ¬†Mom and I darted across the parking lot, dodging golf carts all the way and were promptly blasted back by the music and chatter from inside. I feel old just for saying this…. but damn, turn the music down! The greeter at the door supplied us with menus and when I asked about a gluten free menu she said they didn’t have a ‘menu’ but they did have the allergy info and offered to grab it from the counter for me. ¬†I already had it on my phone, so I passed, but she did add that the people at the order counter could help me too.

After glancing at the menu, Mom and I decided to stick to our game plan… Burrito Bowls. I told the ladies at the counter that we were gluten free and they all nodded confidently, and started rattling off a long list of things that would be safe. ¬†They even mentioned items that are gluten free, but would be at risk for cross contamination from the fryers. (Bonus Points!) ¬†We ordered our Bowls to-go since we still had the groceries in the car and I sent Mom out to turn the A/C back on while I waited.

It was crowded and noisy (just turn the music down a little?) but all the staff was just so darn nice. ¬†They must have been feeding them pixi-sticks and Mt Dew in the back room or something, because after that crowd I don’t know how everyone was still being friendly. ¬†The restaurant had a giant mermaid picture on one wall and I thought about snapping a picture, but it was crowded and I didn’t think I could crop out all the people… so I guess I’ll just have to go back again soon…. for the blog. ¬†There is a nice patio area outside where I’d probably choose to sit next time… just to avoid the noise. ¬†When your order is ready a server comes out and YELLS your name…. repeatedly, because apparently no one pays attention, or maybe they just can’t hear either.

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The Burrito Bowls were huge and absolutely delicious. ¬†We both ordered chicken, and had them hold the cheese and sour cream (this time). ¬†Everything was bright and fresh. ¬†I can’t wait until I’m done with this detox and I can try the tacos! The burritos were HUGE and look fantastic, but they’re made with a flour tortilla, so those won’t be safe for me even after the Detox Program is through. ¬†I’m just happy to have a safe and yummy Mexican place so close to home now!

I just noticed when I went to get the link…. I can order online… OMG!!!! Just think of the snacking possibilities!

 

Tijuana Flats – Nocatee

41 Settlement Drive

Ponte Vedra, FL 32081

Present Moment Cafe

Vegans are tricky.

Last week I had the chance to visit the Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine. ¬†Someone had recommended it to me… with the warning that I shouldn’t let the “vegan-y” stuff scare me away. ¬†We’d been discussing gluten free restaurants and she told me that I just had to try the Present Moment. ¬†Almost everything on the menu is gluten free. Everything is dairy free… and meat free too….. It sounded like something I’d like to try eventually, but… but no meat? ¬†Ummm….

I’ve had Mom and Brian on this Arbonne Thirty Day Detox… forever…. a week. ¬†The Protein Shakes are good and dinners are easy enough, but dining out is a challenge. ¬†No gluten, dairy, soy or corn is really hard at a regular restaurant…. but not at a vegan restaurant!

The Present Moment Cafe is really cute with colorful, eclectic decorations. ¬†It’s not a very big place, but there are lots of little tables, perfect for visiting with friends and enjoying a Detox Smoothie.

The three of us chose a low table near the window, surrounded by two cushy couches. The menu is clearly labeled if the food contains wheat or soy.  Everything is obviously egg and dairy free since the food is vegan.

We ordered drinks while we decided what to eat.

Purple Haze Acai, blueberry, banana, cashew milk.

Detox Cooler Pineapple, cucumber, mint

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After a bit of arguing over who was getting what… we all have to try something different and share… we finally placed our order.

Tacos of Life Pine nut and walnut pate, with fresh
salsa, Mexican “cheese” and guacamole in two romaine
shells topped with cashew sour cream and jalapeno
vinaigrette. Served with two dehydrated corn chips…10

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Mom enjoyed the tacos. ¬†I tried a bite of the Pine Nut & Walnut Pate that was the “meat” of the dish. ¬†It was good. ¬†I’m not giving up meat anytime in the near future, but if I had to… this was a pretty tasty alternative.

Pad Thai Sweet and spicy Asian vegetables, served
over kelp noodles with a sesame garlic sauce, and topped
with curried cashews… 16

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The Pad Thai was delicious. ¬†The kelp noodles weren’t what I was expecting… I was thinking of something green and… sea-weed-ish… The kelp noodles were a bit chewy, but in an enjoyable way. ¬†They had a definite “bite” and “crunch” to them. ¬†We liked the noodles enough that we bought a bag to take home and experiment with.

Okay…. so what would you think if the day’s special was a carrot hot dog? I mean, they had “burgers” that were made out of beans and stuff… and an “Un-Tuna” sandwich. ¬†It’s not crazy to think that the carrot “hot dog” ¬†was made from carrots and other stuff smooshed together to resemble a hot dog, right?

WRONG.  Vegans are tricky!

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It was a damned carrot on a hot dog bun! ¬†I kid you not.. a carrot… smothered in sauerkraut… on a hot dog bun.

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Here’s the really crazy part…. it was actually pretty tasty. ¬†Yes, of course I ate it! ¬†I’d ordered it, I was going to try it. I’m pretty sure those Vegans were laughing at me for paying $10 for a carrot on a bun, but I’d show them…. I’d eat that damn carrot and like it!

It actually was pretty good though.

I only took a few bites of the bun because I am trying to avoid all the fake-y gluten free stuff while I do this detox, so I tried a few bites… (Yummy GF bun!) and then ate the rest of my sauerkraut covered “hot dog” with a fork.

The sweet potato salad was delicious and I’m planning to take a shot at duplicating the recipe soon. ¬†They had a cookbook of restaurant recipes for sale, but of course, that recipe wasn’t in it!

We’d made it this far and not broken many of the detox rules, so we decided to treat ourselves to desert. ¬†(The sugar was a no-no, but I¬†think everything else was okay..) We ordered one Banana Split to share.

Classic Banana Split¬†Homemade vanilla cashew ice cream, fresh berries, bananas, raw vegan vanilla and cacao creme topped with candied pecans… 9.5

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The cashew ice cream was delicious! ¬†I’d rather not have to give up dairy, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having cashew ice cream if it turns out that dairy is one of my food¬†nemeses.

I don’t think I’d like to become vegan, but the food at the Present Moment Cafe is certainly delicious enough that I don’t mind being vegan-ish for a meal or three. ¬†The staff was sweet and great about answering any food allergy/ingredient questions. ¬†The cafe itself is cozy and comfortable; perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch with friends.

 

The Present Moment Cafe

224 West King Street
St. Augustine, Florida 32089

Arbonne 30-Day Detox ‚Äď Day Three

Still alive!

Most of us anyway….. more or less.

Brian’s having a bit more trouble with the whole ‘detox’ thing today. ¬†I think partly he’s just being a bit pig-headed and letting himself get hungry. ¬†I also think he’s having a bigger letdown from the sugar than I am. ¬†I’ve been trying to limit my sugar for a while now, so I don’t think I’m having such an issue with detoxing from sugar.

We tried to mix it up a bit at breakfast this morning with unpleasant results. ¬†Brian is of course blaming Pinterest. ¬†I saw a recipe for Pancakes using the Arbonne Vanilla Protein powder and thought they looked… interesting. ¬†The only thing in the recipe that was different from the shakes was the addition of one egg. One egg doesn’t add many calories and then you’ve got all the good things in eggs, so it seemed like a reasonable substitution. ¬†Too bad it didn’t taste so good.

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Yep, that’s a side of bacon. ¬†You just hush!¬†

Arbonne Blueberry Vanilla Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 scoops Arbonne Essentials Vanilla Protein
1 scoop Arbonne Fiber Boost
1 large Egg
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Swerve Sweetener ¬†(I’D SKIP THIS)
1/2 cup Blueberries
2 TBS Almond Milk

Directions:

  1. Combine protein powder, fiber boost, egg, and stevia, stir to combine. Add almond milk and whisk until smooth. Gently fold in blueberries.
  2. Grease griddle with coconut oil or spray with cooking spray. Heat griddle to medium.
  3. Pour batter onto heated griddle and let cook for 2 minutes or so until bubbles start to form. Flip over and let cook for another 2 minutes.

I think it was the sweetener that made them taste so… funky? ¬†The texture was perfect and they cooked just like regular pancakes, but there was this bitter aftertaste. ¬†I think I’m super sensitive to stevia and¬†erythritol. ¬†I’ve added it to other baking in the past and Mom and Brian say they can’t taste it, but I think it’s overwhelming. ¬†So maybe it’s just me. ¬†I’d like to try the pancakes again, but leave out the sweetener next time. ¬†I’ve also seen a recipe for muffins using a similar recipe that I’d like to try with the chocolate protein mix.

The tea is dull, but my Arbonne rep said no to honey, so it’s just going to have to stay dull for the time being. ¬†I may try to find some mint leaves to add to it… I’d just like a bit more flavor. ¬†I think it would be good iced though.

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I like the Citrus Fizz Sticks with the Digestion Plus. ¬†It turns an ugly color, but it tastes pretty good over ice. ¬†I’ve been using the Fizz drink for an afternoon snack. ¬†Today I had some cashews and a bit of sausage too. ¬†Since Brian and I split a serving of the pancakes we were both hungry earlier today.

Dinner was awesome, if I do say so myself. ¬†I found a recipe on (where else?) Pinterest that was similar to a recipe I already make… so I tweaked it just little to come up with something in the middle.

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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Ingredients
  • 2.5¬†lbs¬†Chicken, shredded*
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth
  • 2¬†cans¬†Great¬†Northern Beans
  • 1¬†8 oz Cans¬†Diced Green Chilies
  • 1¬†Onion,¬†diced
  • 1¬†Tbl¬†Garlic,¬†minced
  • 2¬†tsp¬†Cumin
  • 1/4¬†tsp¬†Pepper
  • 1¬†Tbl¬†Salt
  • 2¬†Cups¬†Chicken Broth
  • 1¬†Cup¬†Coconut Milk
  • 1/3¬†Cup¬†Cilantro,¬†chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken, beans, chilies, onion, garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, chicken broth, and coconut milk in a crock pot. Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or until chicken is very tender.
  2. Add the cilantro to the soup just before serving.

*You can use frozen chicken breasts and just shred them in the pot with a pair of forks once they’re cooked though.

———-

I wasn’t real sure about the whole coconut milk thing. ¬†My original recipe didn’t call for coconut milk, but I have seen other similar recipes use coconut milk…. so… maybe? ¬†I didn’t want to ruin a whole batch if it was gross, so I made the chili without the coconut milk and then added a little to one bowl. ¬†It was actually really good. ¬†Even Mom and Brian liked it. The coconut milk has a light flavor… almost more of a smell than a taste… like Thai food. It works really well with the green chilies, surprisingly. ¬†The coconut milk also adds a slight creaminess to the chili. ¬†Don’t worry that this is going to make the chili sweet… it doesn’t, but it does add another interesting note of flavor.

So three days down… I’m doing okay with this whole detox thing. ¬†I like the Vanilla Protein Shake Mix and the Fizz Sticks. ¬†The tea isn’t exciting, but it certainly isn’t bad. The Fiber Boost and the Digestion Plus can be added to either the shake or the Fizz drink and they are hardly noticeable. ¬†There are enough components to the detox that I feel like I’m¬†doing¬†something, but not so much that it’s overwhelming or confusing like some of the other programs that I’ve tried.

I’ve tried Weight Watchers and it felt like such a chore… I did it before the app came along, so everything had to be looked up and logged by hand. ¬†I found it ¬†time consuming and frustrating. ¬†I liked that it gave me a better understanding of the amount of calories that I’d been consuming, but it still seemed tedious to calculate every Point. ¬†It was also easy to get into the habit of ‘banking’ Points (ie starving) and then blowing all your point on ice cream later. ¬†Not the healthiest meal plan… but technically, I was keeping within my Points.

I’ve also tried Slim Fast…. “Drink these shakes, don’t eat food!” Easy to follow, but boring as hell. ¬†Not a life change… just something to survive until you drop a few pounds, but then gain them back instantly when you eat food again. ¬†(Great business model though.)

I did pretty well on Atkins… it was basically a Gluten Free diet and the High Fat/Low Carb lifestyle mixed. ¬†I wish I’d understood the effect that wheat had on me back then and I’d probably have saved myself years of health issues.

I’m enjoying this detox because it’s giving me some structure and a routine to help get me back on track. ¬†I know I need to lay off the sugar and the carbs… I don’t think my alcohol consumption is so frequent that it’s an issue, but sure… while we’re at it, lets knock that out too. ¬†The dairy… I miss cheese… cheese makes the world better… but maybe that’s just the allergy cravings talking. ¬†Once the 30 days is up I can see keeping up with the shakes for breakfast and occasional lunches. ¬†Hopefully, too, I’ve gotten back in the swing of making healthier meals again. ¬†Living in that RV and traveling really let me go off the rails.

So…. so far so good. ¬†Follow on Facebook and Instagram to see weird and interesting updates throughout the day!

 

Arbonne 30-Day Detox – Day One

Technically, we’re not supposed to start until Monday if I’m playing along with the Facebook group…. but I’ve never been good about waiting for the group. ¬†Besides, my Arbonne box arrived yesterday and I’m motivated today.¬† So we’re starting today.

Wanna see the unboxing video?  Click HERE  I posted it on Facebook.

I’ve convinced my hubby to actually do the full 30 day detox with me. ¬†Mom has been a harder sell… she says she’ll just follow along, but skip the shakes and… well, most everything except the Digestion Plus powder (Prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes help support optimal digestive health.) I guess she figures as long as I’m not obsessively baking for a month, she should be fine.

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I started today with a Vanilla Shake… okay, fine…. I had a cup of coffee first. ¬†I never said I was giving up coffee! ¬†I’ll cut back to a cup in the morning, but I’m not giving up the morning cup…. nope, nope nope. ¬†But after the cup of coffee…. which made it safe for people to be near me and for me to operate the blender….. I had a vanilla shake with frozen strawberries and a few pineapple chunks. ¬†It was actually really good. ¬†No… I swear… it enjoyed it.

The chocolate shake that Brian had….. well…. it wasn’t the yummiest thing on the planet. ¬†He tried it plain first – 2 scoops of powder, 8 oz of water and some ice then I zipped it around in the Ninja Blender until the ice was smooth. ¬†It wasn’t gritty, but there was just an aftertaste. ¬†I added some frozen blueberries and that helped, but I still wouldn’t have called it yummy. ¬†My Arbonne Rep mentioned that she had some ‘recipe’ recommendations for the shakes. ¬†I just need to message her and ask for some ideas.

By lunchtime I was hungry, but not starving. ¬†I ate a couple of steak & avocado lettuce roll ups and had a Citrus Energy Fizz Stick with a Digestion Plus pack mixed in to drink. ¬†I liked the Citrus Energy Fizz Stick and I don’t think the Digestion Plus pack changed the flavor noticeably.

What a kickstarter. When you start to feel the afternoon sleepies, stir in a fizz stick to create a refreshing bubbly drink when you start to feel tired to temporarily help promote alertness and enhance cognitive performance◊, help promote endurance and enhance motor performance◊, and help reduce fatigue.◊ Contains antioxidants and a botanical blend of green tea, guarana and ginseng, combined with B vitamins and chromium, to help support energy.

Lunchtime was a bit more of a challenge for Brian. ¬†He’s missing his potato chips and the cheese that he normally has with rolled up deli sliced ham.

We had roast for dinner with a side of baked squashes. ¬†Squashes? ¬†Um… you know… those yellow squash that are¬†everywhere¬†all summer and people keep giving them to you and it’s fun at first and then you have to start yelling ‘NO’ when people even mention their garden and then you find they’ve hidden a bag of the damn things in your car when you weren’t looking and now you have to figure out something to do with them before they go bad and God forbid you throw the damn things in the compost pile ’cause before you know it you’re a squash farmer too…. you know… those squash. ¬†Except apparently I’m not in the right crowd now that I’ve moved to Florida. ¬†I’ve actually had to¬†buy¬†yellow squash at the¬†store. ¬†That really makes my brain twitch to have to pay money for the damn squashes that I used to have to hide from.

I tried the Arbonne Detox Tea later in the evening with an Avocado Brownie¬†. ¬†It was fine… tasted like… tea. ¬†Nothing special, nothing awful. ¬†I’m going to have more trouble remembering to bother to drink it… it tastes like plain ‘ol tea. ¬†Maybe with a bit of honey…. can I have honey? ¬†Another question to ask my rep.

Well, for the answers to this and other exciting questions, tune in to Facebook, Instagram and be sure to follow along on the blog!

 

Detoxing (again)

If you have been following this blog for a while you know that I went gluten free after a variety of health issues combined to make life miserable. ¬†(If you haven’t read my Gluten Free Living Story you can see my 1.5 year review here.)

I’ve been Gluten Free for…. five years?¬†(Did I do the math right? ¬†December 2012 – June 2017 = 4.5 years… WOW!)

Okay, so four and a half years… and yes, life is absolutely better without the wheat and the awfulness that come with eating it. ¬†The food world has changed quite a bit in the last 4.5 years. ¬†Gluten Free food is available nearly everywhere and many restaurants have gluten free menus, or at least have a vague understanding when you tell them that you can’t eat gluten. ¬†Grocery stores have dedicated Gluten Free isles and more and more products are clearly labeled. It makes finding food so much easier…. and I think that may be part of my problem. ¬†I’ve found a lot of gluten free replacement foods… high in carbs and sugar and low in real nutrition.

You see…. I’ve been feeling ‘off’ for a while now. ¬†I’m so tired. ¬†Even though I think I’m sleeping through the night I have zero energy during the day. ¬†I’ve been having more headaches and my tummy has been making random comments about food again. ¬†It’s not the gluten, I know I’m not getting into that…. but there’s something that’s messing with me. ¬†I’m just not sure what….

I know what I need to do… eliminate the ‘big uglies’ and detox. ¬†Then reintroduce foods and see what is causing the problem. ¬†I know I need to do it…… but….

Apparently the Universe has had enough of my whining and not working on a solution. ¬†I was roaming through CostCo when I saw a giant box of energy drink fizzies… you know, the kind you add to a bottle of water… ¬†and I was reading the label to see if it was GF and if there was possibly enough caffeine to get me through an afternoon. ¬†A lady stood across from me reading the back of another box of fizzies… “I just wanted to see what they use for the caffeine,” she said, leaning past me to stick it back on the pile, “Arbonne sells something similar.” ¬†Before long we were exchanging business cards, chatting about Yoga and Gluten Free Living and discovering that we live in the same neighborhood. ¬†(I knew that CostCo has everything, but I didn’t know that you could go there to find new friends!)

I left our first Starbucks date with a bag of Arbonne goodies, a scheduled Jamberry play date and an order of the Arbonne Detox Kit.

Did you know that Arbonne has a Detox Program? ¬†I didn’t… I thought Arbonne was just skin care. ¬†So the Universe has sent me a friendly neighbor to tell me to shut up a figure out what is the problem. ¬†(The Universe told me to shut up, not my neighbor.)

I liked that the Arbonne products are all Gluten Free. ¬†(Yay, one concern already covered.) I also liked that everything came together in one kit/program. ¬†Yes, I could find a protein drink and a tea and vitamins and fizzies and whatever else on my own and possibly save a bit of money (Arbonne isn’t cheap), but I’m tired… so so tired. ¬†I also like that it also comes with a person. ¬†Someone I can text and talk to… someone who knows I’m supposed to be doing this detox and will probably ask me how I’m doing… and could quite possible catch me stuffing a cheeseburger and fries in my face….. They call it “accountability,” but we all know they mean “guilt.” There’s also a private Facebook group to chat with other people who are starting the program at the same time….. ¬†that could be good… of course, we all could be really bitchy at the same time since we’re eliminating a bunch of foods…. which is why its better that its an online group and not a face to face meeting.

STEP 1 – Eliminate common allergens and non-healthy ingredients. ‚ÄĘ Wheat/gluten ‚ÄĘ Dairy ‚ÄĘ Refined sugar ‚ÄĘ Alcohol ‚ÄĘ Soy ‚ÄĘ Corn

I’m really not excited about eliminating Dairy…. I like cheese… no, I LOVE cheese. ¬†Cheese goes in everything. ¬†(Which is probably a sign that dairy is a problem for me.) ¬†I’ve already eliminated Gluten, so I’m ahead of the game. ¬†Alcohol is a bummer, but really I just drink an occasional glass of wine, so its not a huge deal. ¬†Sugar is gonna suck. ¬†If we’re eliminating Soy and Corn too, that pretty much means anything that comes in a box. ¬†Which I know is a good thing….. did I mention that I’m just so damn tired? Fortunately Brian and Mom are going to give the program a try too, so I won’t need to make different meals for them. ¬†Its only 30 days and hopefully I start to perk up quickly like I did when I quit gluten. ¬†After the initial 30 days I can start to reintroduce foods and see if there was a specific food (I really, really hope it’s not cheese) that was bothering me.

Have you tried the Arbonne Detox Program?  Got any tips for me?

Okay, here we go…. cross your fingers for me and follow along on Instagram and/or Facebook for photos and updates.