prosciutto + pears: the perfect paleo snack (or lunch!)

pears prosciuttoEven though I’ve been grain-free for almost a year now (since last May, which is WILD) I’m still figuring out good snack options. Luckily I’m not much of a snacker, but when the mood strikes I don’t always want grain-free granola, nuts, seeds, or a chia bar. Those are great, and filling, too. But I want options. So I started buying some meat to keep in the house that I could just slice and enjoy… a solid move, one I’m glad I made.

I put together this little platter when B and I sat down to binge on House of Cards: slices of prosciutto wrapped around slices of pear (way better than the usual melon suspect), slices of hard salami with spicy mustard for dipping, and some cornichons.

This snack was so good it turned into lunch.

My kind of snack.

three days of treats in tulum

tulum olivia jake beachB and I just got back from a few days in Tulum, Mexico where we were celebrating our one year anniversary (and my foot finally being out of the boot). It was just as relaxing as it was beautiful. And the food was spectacular!

tulum be tulum saladMy favorite dish was this Be Salad at Be Tulum — with avocado, cucumber, celery, green apple, mango and walnuts tossed in a mango/passion fruit dressing. Every bite was fresh and sweet and glorious. I’m determined to recreate it this weekend. Standby for results…

tulum fish tacos groupWhat’s a trip to Mexico without fish tacos? Our new friends Mike and Carrie (friends of our Infatuation friends) brought us here, to Taco La Eufemia, and it lived up to all of their hype.

tulum frozen margaritasThe frozen margaritas helped, of course. This is what we washed down our tacos with — pineapple for B, mango for me — and the mango won because when it came time for round two, he switched his order to mango.

tulum ice cream in a jarAnother frozen treat… this ice cream in a jar at Casa Jaguar. It was a little steamy during our meal so I told B I could go for some ice cream. Lucky for us, this was one of their two desserts: vanilla ice cream with layers of berries on the bottom. We raced to the bottom because it was melting so fast; the only race that everyone wins is a race to the bottom of a jar of ice cream.

tulum full fried fishThis guy was our last meal in Tulum and while I’d love to take credit for finding this spot off the beaten path, I can only take credit for following the directions provided in the New York Times’ 36 hours in Tulum. Chamico’s has no menu, no website, and they don’t speak a word of English… but it’s some of the most fresh, authentic food we’ve ever had. And the sand is white! (It’s the beach photo at the top of this post.) The perfect taste to leave in our mouths as we boarded the plane home. Til next time…

matcha tea latte

matcha tea latteI first made these for me and Brian back in October and we loved them. But since my surgery Brian’s been subsisting on his Keurig one cup wonders. But this morning he ran out! Luckily I was back in the kitchen whipping up some homemade almond milk and granola anyway (recipes to come!) so I offered to make him one of these guys again. We admittedly both forgot how good they are.

Matcha, for those who don’t know, is fine powder green tea with all kinds of health benefits. Basically it’s an antioxidant powerhouse that gives you a serious dose of caffeine without the coffee-jitters. (At least that’s how it feels for me; I very rarely drink coffee because I hate the way it makes me feel.)

I add manuka honey (expensive, but worth it for its healing, anti-inflammatory powers), coconut oil (for good, healthy fat), and collagen powder (for joint health, also great for healthy hair, skin and nails).

Jackie, one of the holistic nutrition coaches at Dr Lipman’s office, turned me onto these. Or rather, as with many things these days, she posted a photo and recipe for matcha tea lattes on Instagram and I emailed her asking for the details. So here it is! Enjoy.

Matcha Tea Latte

SERVES TWO

Ingredients

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tsp matcha powder
  • 2 TBSP manuka honey
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP collagen powder
  • splash of coconut or almond milk

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and whiz up.
  2. Pour into 2 mugs and serve.

A Recipe From Jamie Stelter | www.thetvdinner.com

recovery update, week 8: back at the grocery store

first whole foods trip since novemberThis is my happy place: the grocery store, surrounded by greens. All the goodness! All the possibilities!

Man, had I missed it.

Yesterday was my first time there since before my foot surgery in November. I’m still walking in my boot — should be my last week of it! — but it was the first day I didn’t need my crutch. I had been leaning on it for support and safety because I just didn’t have the strength or energy to walk on my own. But I do now! Progress is a beautiful thing.

And so is the grocery store. We really take so much for granted everyday and of course you don’t realize whatcha got til it’s gone. But as people whizzed by me yesterday, in a rush to grab what they needed and get the hell outta there, I took my time. I smelled each green. I read each label. I poured over all the choices and took in the beauty and wonder that is each aisle of Whole Foods. It was glorious.

Brian came with me to mark — and celebrate — my return to the grocery store. Or maybe he’s just happy he doesn’t have to try and figure out which manuka honey to buy anymore. Poor guy, taking me shopping via Facetime for eight weeks; he’s a saint.

I’m glad I could finally cook for him again last night. It felt like the first time I ever cooked for him, three years ago, on Valentine’s Day 2012. I was a little nervous, but very excited. Before we ate I thanked him for everything he’s done for me these past two months, including helping me cook the dinner. I still need some help in the kitchen — lifting heavy pots, reaching for things up high on shelves — but it is what it is. I’m doing what I can. I’m making progress! And even if I’m not 100%, it still feels damn good to be back.

y’down with açaí? yea you know me.

homemade acai bowlIf you’re not familiar with açaí, or didn’t know you could make your own at home, now’s the time to learn about it. I don’t know about you, but I can never have enough healthy, easy snacks or breakfast ideas in the house. (Especially since I’m still not able to stand long enough to cook real meals yet. Soon though!) I first learned about these frozen açaí packets in Jessica Murnane’s new e-book appropriately titled, A Year of Breakfast. (It’s $9.99 and worth every penny; homegirl knows her stuff.) But before we talk about what to do with it, let’s back up for a second.

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recovery real talk

IMG_1046This was me yesterday, doing the traffic on two feet for the first time since the middle of November.

Okay, one foot and one boot, but let’s not split hairs. It’s progress! Progress that I’ve been waiting a long time for — to stand up straight without the help of a crutch, a husband, or a scooter. I’m trying to celebrate the small steps towards recovery (no pun intended) but I’m also a bit overwhelmed thinking about the long road I still have ahead of me.

I don’t just have to re-learn how to actually walk, I also have to re-learn how not to be scared to walk. I had been walking in fear for so long — at how bad the pain would be each time I took a step — that I now need to learn that it’s not going to hurt. That I’m not going do something to hurt myself. That I can and should just… walk.

IMG_0527It’s just another test in a series of tests I’ve faced these past few months. I’ve learned a lot about myself, but I’ve also noticed something — that we only talk publicly about the good days. All you see on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the celebratory moments. Like the day I came back to work on my scooter and felt so triumphant after doing my first traffic report kneeling on the upside down trash can. IMG_0660Or when I found a comfy enough spot on my brother’s couch when we were celebrating Chanukkah to take a cute shot of me and Brian’s ugly Eagles sweaters.

But the road to recovery isn’t just shaped by the moments of progress. I want to remember and document the trying times too, because I think it’ll make me appreciate the joyous moments even more so.

When the doctor told me he could fix me and that I would once again, one day, walk again without pain: I cried. I was relieved.

When the nurses got me all prepped and ready for surgery and I sat there waiting to be called in: I cried. I was nervous.

When I woke up on my couch the morning after surgery and realized the anesthesia had worn off: I cried. I was in pain.

When Brian pushed me to the bathroom on a swivel desk chair for what felt like the hundredth time: I cried. I was helpless.

When I left the house for the first time to go for my follow-up appointment with the doctor, and I realized I didn’t have enough strength to use crutches: I cried. I was exhausted.

When I fell getting out of the shower, landed straddling the lip of the bathtub, and Brian had to help me up: I cried. I was humiliated.

When I walked around our apartment yesterday for the first time since November, I felt like a scared, clumsy baby calf learning to walk for the first time. I crashed on the couch after and curled up in a ball. Brian snuggled up behind me and gave me a speech about how far I’ve come and how much better off I’ll be after the foot heals. I cried. I was grateful; I am loved.

IMG_1047

one-pot thai chicken curry

thai chicken curry in le creusetSince Brian doesn’t cook — yet, there’s always hope! — I wanted to make as much food that I could freeze as possible before my foot surgery. That way, we wouldn’t have to rely on Seamless for every meal. I was nervous because it would be at least a month or two before I was back on my feet to cook and even when you order a salad, or something considered healthy, there is still a ton of salt and other stuff added. Thanks, but no thanks.

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my subtalar fusion: two screws, one bionic foot, and the kindness of many strangers

foot xray subtalar fusion dec 9 2014See those two screws, the ones that were inserted into my right foot through an incision in my heel? It’s called a subtalar fusion, and it’s why I haven’t posted here in almost a month.

Long story, short: my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) got between two bones in my foot and wore away all the cartilage to the point that the two bones were rubbing against each other. I had been limping on my foot for about a year, sometimes barely noticing the pain. But when the pain went from bad to worse and I lost (almost) all function in the foot, I went to see Dr. Hubbard, Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. He told me he could fix me, and two short weeks later I was on his surgical table, getting those two guys put in place so I could once again walk painlessly. (I hate to sound like surgery is no big deal, but three years ago I had a C1-C2 fusion surgery on my neck, also with titanium screws, and also because of my RA, which made me a lot more comfortable going into this one.) Once the joint has healed, the screws will keep the bones away from each other, while still allowing it to function as a “normal” foot.

It’s now been three weeks since foot surgery, and tomorrow, it’s time to go back to work. I have been so nervous about how I would get around, how I would open doors, how I would have enough energy to make it through the day. And then yesterday I went outside by myself for the first time in a month — using the life-saving knee scooter that Brian bought me — and I figured out how I would do it.

First there was the guy a block from our building who pulled his truck over, hopped out, and came over to fix the steering on my scooter. Then there was the lady at the corner of 12th and 5th who saw me stumble and asked where I was going, because she wanted to make sure I got there safe. And how about the guy at the corner of Charles and 7th Avenue who asked if he could please drive me home? (I politely declined.)

The answer is: I wouldn’t have to worry about doing any of the things I’ve been worrying about, because strangers would help me. Total strangers. And that was just three of them! Others helped simply by smiling, acknowledging that I was having a little bit of a hard time. It’s one of the many reasons I love New York. These people didn’t want anything in return; they did it out of the goodness of their hearts.

So my worrying, like most worrying, was for naught.

I’ve still got a long road to recovery — another week in the hard cast, six weeks or so in a boot — but at least now I can focus all of my energy on healing and getting back to a healthy, strong place — a healthier, stronger place than I was pre-bionic foot. I want to keep my RA at bay with good food, fresh food, real food, and lots of herbal supplements and vitamins. And when I need, like I did with the strangers yesterday, I’ll lean on western medicine for help. I’m hoping that won’t be often (or at all), but I can only do the best I can. Which is where TV Dinner comes in. As soon as I am back on my feet I plan to get back in the kitchen and cook lots of new recipes… ones that bring wellness and strength to my body. And in the meantime, in the coming weeks, I’ll share some recipes that I cooked up before surgery.

Have any questions about a subtalar fusion, my doctor, medicines, supplements, or RA in general? Ask away — either in the comments below or click here to send me an email. I respond to every single one.