A dash of spice

When it comes to food I am not overly worried about complex flavours and experimenting with different herbs and spices. I usually just buy pre made mixes. When my journey started and I begun reading labels I realized how much crap is in some of the pre made spice mixes.

I remember seeing barley as the last ingredient on one of my usual blends. I don’t know the exact purpose is but I am guessing it’s a filler. I begun reading all the labels of my parents spice blend, more stuff listed I can’t pronounce.

This set me off on a google hunt looking for homemade spice mixes that mimic the mixes you’d find on the store shelf. It was a great surprise to find lots of various blogs with some pretty great recipes.

Off to the bulk barn I went to pick up the spices.

All of the spice mixes were actually really easy to make. I used a food processor to blend up a couple of the mixes to make a powder but other then that it was consisted of combine, stir and put into jars.

I personally made the following:
Cajun Spice Mix (I used garlic and onion powder instead of dehydrated)
Taco and Chilli Mix
Montreal Steak Spice
Ranch Dressing  <– I have yet to try this, I haven’t bought goat yogurt yet.

I love love love the cajun mix, I think I have put it on everything. I am excited to see how it’ll taste on beef jerky!

I have found all the recipes on Simple Bites and Wellness Mama, such great resources. So many to choose from!!!

I have found it helpful to go to a bulk store to get some of the spices and herbs I don’t have on hand plus you can buy the amount you need rather then a huge bag. Plus it’s actually cheaper this way, $0.10 for smoked paprika is perfect.

Hope you enjoy and try making your own. It really is easy and fun ๐Ÿ™‚

XO Nicole

 P.S. This is another resource (Imgur spice mixes)

Lessons Learned #5

Well its been over a month since I last posted a Lessons Learned. Now I wasn’t very happy during that one with all the issues with the Doctor.

I feel like I am in a better place now ๐Ÿ™‚

Lessons Learned #5

1) Sometimes you make slip ups when ordering food and thats OK. I did learn that dairy still bothers my stomach.

2) It all becomes normal. I can’t even remember what it was like prior to starting this and that makes me happy.

3) Creating a support system is vital. Not just people who are helping you along your journey but others who are going through similar experiences. I have turned to social media (blogs and Instagram) for the virtual support.

4) Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to people going through similar things. You can learn more from them and who knows maybe make some new friends.

5) Be proud of your journey and don’t be afraid of telling your story when people are interested. You may just inspire someone to change their outlook on nutrition.

6) Experimenting with food becomes exciting. I have tried new recipes and found ways to recreate past favourites.

At my appointment with my Naturopath she was excited for me and the changes that have already happened. She believes that the change in my nutrition has resulted in my thyroid antibody being normal. With my medication being reduced with the hopes of still coming off of it, I am more determined then before.

I am beginning to believe that this will be a life long change with regards to my nutrition and eating. If it’ll nourish my body and keep me healthy and allow me to fight disease then why turn back.

XO Nicole

Road trippin’

There is something about getting into my car and driving away which is ever so satisfying. I am happy to say this summer I will be doing just that with my friend.

We’re headed west to British Columbia to pay a visit to the west coast and Vancouver Island. Everyone has talked about Tofino and how amazing it is and I will get to see for myself. We don’t have every detailed ironed out except where we will be sleeping and the ferry.

Now I plan on doing a break down of the trip once it has happened and give more input into the places we stay and the things we do. But here is the outline…

Day 1: Drive to Vancouver
Day 2: Ferry to Victoria
Day 3 to 5: Tofino Camping
Day 6: Vancouver
Day 7-8: Nelson
Day 9: Home ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

This road trip will be more of a challenge because I will be away longer and will have to really think and plan where I can eat. My friend is celiac and I am gluten sensitive (plus so much more), so if she can eat somewhere I should be able to find something. A couple months ago I sent probably 50 emails to different restaurants covering all the cities I will and have visited and locally to find out more information. Most of them already have options or are willing to accommodate me and my friend.

I have also spent some time looking into snacks I can buy here and bring or even make myself. Beef jerky, bars and energy bites will probably be staples for me. The beauty of going to British Columbia is all the fruit, cherries, peaches, apples, etc. I am not too worried because if else fails steamed veggies and plain meat are easy to request.

If you have been to any of the above places and have advise or recommendations please send them my way. Just under a month until I will be on the road ๐Ÿ™‚

XO Nicole

Canmore Day #2

The Bike Ride

The goal of the day was to survive yet another Legacy Trail Bike ride. A little background, last year I convinced Steph to do this bike ride with me thinking it would be cool to do. For one I haven’t ridden a bicycle since I was a kid so I thought it would be moderately challenging. Last year it was challenging and this year was just tiring yet a little more fun. This is beginning to be the one time of year that I do ride a bike.

Now there is no set distance for the trail as people begin and end in different spots. Either way you either begin in Canmore (which we did) and end in Banff or vice versa and then do it all over again.

Our Stats
To Banff: 23.04 km
To Canmore: 24.02 km (I biked back to the rental place)
Total: 47.06 km

To Banff: 22.87 km
To Canmore: 23.08 km
Total: 45.95km

The beauty of going Canmore to Banff is that the journey home is mostly down hill and super quick. How long it takes depends on fitness level, experience with biking and if you like to stop and enjoy the scenery. Last year and this it took us around 3 hrs in total. I have no idea if this is good or bad but I am OK with it.

Once in Banff we walk around. So much to see and do like hiding from tourists ๐Ÿ™‚ or Cave and Basin (which was this year), Banff Springs Hotel and Bow Falls (last year).

The Food

Now this was a bit of a challenge for me this year with my restrictions especially eating out. For breakfast I brought oatmeal with cinnamon, almonds, sugar and flax seeds, using the kettle in our room for hot water. We went to Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. for a coffee and a bagel for Steph. Now from my memory last year, it was pretty darn good.

Lunch time was a different ball game. We found a cute little place called Tooloulous which had a gluten free menu. Now my brain was tired from biking and walking and I messed up my order. I got most of it right, except the infamous sauce. Normally I would hold the sauce and didn’t even think to ask if it was dairy based. Now for certain it had good ole dairy in it because my stomach was pissed off at me. I was truly considered about ride back to Canmore however my stomach calmed down eventually.

By the time dinner rolled around we decided to walk (yes more exercise) to a fancier restaurant close by called CrazyWeed. We looked at the menu the night before and they had a dairy and gluten free plate. I took a risk and ordered without telling the server my restrictions because I forgot and was tired. It was well worth the risk, it was A-MAZ-ING! Cod, mussels and bunch of other amazing goodness.


After all of this we went back and chilled on the deck right in front of our door and stared at the beauty of the mountains.


The next day we went to Sage Bistro for breakfast and then headed back to Calgary so Steph could continue her journey home. Now at the time we would talk of another bike ride but maybe in a couple months we will think its a good idea again.

Please comment, ask questions or give feedback. I’d love to hear from you!

XO Nicole

And we’re normal…

Now I am trying not to get too excited…

I got my blood work results for my TSH and the thyroid antibody yesterday. I am happy to say I am finally normal, well, my blood work is normal.

I don’t want to be overly happy or point fingers at what may have caused it but I think its a combination. We increased my medication a little over 3 months ago and 3 months ago I changed my diet completely and begun working on treating candida overgrowth. Not sure which to give props too but in 3 more months we can possibly rule one out.

The last blood work I have record of was Jan 14 and most recent is Jun 11. My TSH has dropped 3.29 to be at the lower end of the range and my Antibody dropped 23.9 to be just above middle of the range. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Now the thing that makes me happiest, is my Doctor suggested decreasing my Synthroid to see how I will respond. So now I am the happy owner of one notch less of Synthroid going into my body.

Like I said I don’t want to get my hopes up and think it is the natural treatments but I am optimistic. I have an appointment with my Naturopath next week, so we shall what she thinks and see how the course of my treatment may change.

I have been under a lot of stress lately so this is some of the best news I have heard.

XO Nicole

Canmore- Day 1

Better late then never…

My cousin and I survived our 2nd Annual girls weekend and biking trip!

This year we decided to add a hike on the first day since we both had the day off. Before checking into the lodge we headed just outside Canmore to Grassi Lakes.

Now I will admit I told Steph this is an easy hike, kids do it. There are two different trails, ‘easy’ and ‘more difficult’, naturally I chose the ‘more difficult’. The last time I did this hike was around 3 years ago, gloomy rainy day and I guess my memory isn’t that good. After about 10 min you come to a waterfall which is beautiful. This is where things got a little challenging… switch backs and step stairs made out of rocks which required my short legged self to use the rail to up get myself up them. Oops. Now I don’t think this is the type of hike Steph had in mind and in my defence we passed kids who were doing the same trail. However after the difficult part we made it to the top where weย were greeted with the lakes and were they ever beautiful.

The water was so clear you could see to the bottom. The pictures really don’t do it justice.

We continued past the lakes and spent some time watching the rock climbers. I suggested we go all the way up to a pond which we drove to last year to get a good view of Canmore. I think this was the worst part, more stairs, wind and elevation to get to the top. Once we were at the top, we rested briefly because the wind was so bad it was hard to keep upright.

On the way day we stopped at the second lake and had a snack and took in the views. We came to the trail sign ‘easy’ and ‘more difficult’, not wanting to go down those same steps we opted for the ‘easy’ route which was essentially a gravel road and made it back down in no time.

The trip from the car and back was 5.40km with multiple photo ops and took 2hrs and 7min. It was a little intense at time but is well worth it.


XO Nicole



For several years I have know that I have had issues with food. It started with barley and walnuts. I didn’t feel good right after I ate them. With the reaction seeming to get worse I asked my Family Doctor for allergy testing and with great reluctance he sent me. I believe the only reason he sent me was because it involved a nut, walnuts.

2 1/2 years ago, I met a very old Allergist. My skin did show signs of a reaction to a huge list of things they tested but not enough to be considered an allergy. So I went on my merry way.

Since then I have done my best to avoid walnuts and barley. After I had my food sensitivity testing done I was shocked to see that walnut weren’t on the list, but happy to see barley was. My Naturopath explained different foods can affect one part of the immune system and not the other. Allergy testing is testing IgE part of the immune system and food sensitivity testing is the IgG. Now I haven’t finished my research on the immune system so I don’t fully understand this, yet.

Part of me wanted to try a walnut to see what would happen. I’ve heard of people out growing minor reactions to food, so I was hopeful. So I was out for dinner, having a lettuce bun burger and the side salad happened to have walnuts on it. I probably had the equivalent to one walnuts. Within twenty minutes I felt sick, my tongue felt bigger, troubles talking and mentally out of it. Once I got home I looked in the mirror and my tongue was visibly swollen. Positive result.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was at my Doctors office which happened to be a couple days after my walnut experience. I told him I did a experiment and what my results were. After he finished shaking his head at me, he handed me a prescription for two epipens.

Now I know it isn’t good to experiment if you think you have food allergies, however, I am happy I did. After at least 2 years of not having walnuts my reaction went from a itchy tongue to a swollen tongue. Now I don’t want to imagine what it would be if it was 5 years.

I am happy it is confirmed and I know to say its a anaphylaxis reaction.

Now I don’t have the results for the allergy testing anymore, but I wonder if some of the stuff my skin did react to is what my food sensitivities are. It’d be interesting to see if there is a correlation.

XO Nicole