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Ash Wednesday Fasting With Leeks is Like Drinking Boiled Shoelaces

Woman Eating With Soup Ladle - Buy at Art.comI survived a day of Leek soup and no coffee.

I am nuts.

I tell myself that I like the idea of being able to fast each Ash Wednesday and make a commitment to a particular change for the following 40 days . . .

. . . except that after 7:00pm on this Ash Wednesday I most definitely want a chocolate eclair . . .

. . . and that’s the moment when I think I am quite possibly the most stupid person on the planet as I roll into some long diatribe argument in my head about how fasting really isn’t that hard and I can’t remember the last time I had an eclair . . .

. . . so why do I need one today just because I am having Leek soup. . .

. . .  I can now taste the eclair in my head . . .


It’s probably because I’ve only had 500 (or less) calories today and I went for a three mile walk along the Laguna De Russian River in Sebastopol, California.

My body thinks an eclair will save me from dying of starvation if I continue along this line of behavior.

Interesting that I am thinking of an eclair.  You’d think I’d dream of a big, juicy steak… and wine.

I’m sorry.

I just lost myself for 5 minutes in that train of thought.

Okay, why am I doing this?

Because I always do a liquid fast on Ash Wednesday.  It reminds me that I do have resolve, that I can control what I think and my subsequent actions — if I pay attention.  I am not my thoughts.

This is important for my thyroid sisters to remember: YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS.

Succeeding at fasting for 24 hours burns this into my nagging brain:  I have the power to change my life.

Often, we thyroid sisters tell ourselves some pretty harsh stuff when we are fighting to get better.  We can be the queens of stinking thinking — we do this silently, and to ourselves.   I call it “stinking thyroid thinking.”  I know in my heart that  we are more than those agitated thyroid thoughts.

I am offering up my observations about Mireille Guiliano’s book, French Women Don’t Get Fat because I think she has some great advice for treating ourselves better.

The Leek soup fast is really a metaphor for looking at what (and how) we eat and the kind of signals our bodies send us masked as hunger. When you fast for 24 hours, you get to feel real hunger pangs and gain a unique understanding that often our daily signals from our minds that we interpret as hunger … are actually stress.

That eclair would be more than happy to relieve the stress I am putting my mind and body under right now.  The only problem is that within a half hour of vacuuming it down my throat, a new form of stress over eating something so rich will begin and what will cure that?


Chocolate milk?

Ah, the viscous cycle begins . . .

We think we are allowing ourselves a treat, then we berate ourselves for having the treat, so we have a different treat. And I know some of you out there are just so fed up with having hypothyroidism that you’ve thrown in the towel and given up on fighting for your healthy life.

So maybe I can show you another way.

Maybe I can help.

I’m a mom, a redhead, a daughter, a friend and a choppy writer (wink) but if I can show you that this can be done, then I know you will believe that you can do it too. I know it.

We’ll figure all this out together … without the eclairs.

But you should know that boiled Leeks taste like salty shoelaces.


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French Women Don’t Get Fat Because They Are Really Hyperthyroid

French Women Dont Get Fat
In case the title of this post doesn’t give it away, I am currently reading Mireille Guiliano’s best-selling book, French Women Don’t get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure.

The reason I finally picked this book up to read after all these years is because I want a reason to hate French women.




I have been curious if there is really anything hypothyroid patients can do about the thyroid weight gain that doesn’t involve a liquid diet and slowly going mad.

I believe there has to be a lifestyle that matches how slow our metabolisms run. There are some concepts in her book that I find fascinating that I think may hold the answer for some good habits for hypothyroid patients.

Even though I am a recovering Catholic, I still do something each year for Lent. Lent is that period of time (about forty days long) before Easter Sunday. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day after Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, which falls on Tuesday February 21 this year.

I know. I am crazy.

But there is something about the ritual of the 40 days of Lent that I like to use to experiment with something new to see how it goes. I usually start with fasting (liquids only) on Ash Wednesday as a prep day for whatever I am thinking of trying for the following 40 days.

This year I thought I would follow the French Women Don’t Get Fat book and see how I am on Easter Sunday. If transformation is a possibility, 40 days is a good test and when it’s said and done, we are facing Spring.

Even nature is starting over.

One year I gave up sugar for the 40 days and managed not to kill anyone. I will say that once you survive the first 4 days of sugar-free life, sleep is pure bliss – heaven – and the energy you have is through the roof. Sugar is something for thyroid sufferers to think about along with that ole’ gluten argument. It’s not an easy thing to weed out of your diet either. It’s shocking the amount of foods loaded with sugar and its evil cousin corn syrup.

I wish I could lie and say that I felt like crap the whole time without sugar, but I didn’t.

Sorry thyroid sisters.  But if you need to pretend that I said that giving up sugar doesn’t do any good, I’m okay with it. I understand.  Just call me a giver.

Part of this French Women Don’t Get Fat process requires that you track what you eat, so starting on Wednesday my weekly Fitbit stats will include what I am eating. You are probably terribly excited by that news. But I am sharing all of this in case you want to do this French women eat paper thing with me too.

But I should warn you that this journey does begin with Leek soup. 48 hours of Leeks.


No. I am not making that up.

If it helps, you can have water too. WOW.

On Ash Wednesday I will be boiling then drinking Leek soup and consuming all the water I want for 48 hours. It’s what Mireille Guiliano calls, “recasting” followed with a food inventory, (or “tracking what we eat” in English) looking for our “trigger” foods.

I am betting that my trigger foods are those that easily give me  a quick energy boost since we thyroid girls are the species always searching for a way to create quick energy during the day followed by relaxing, restorative sleep at night. Certain foods make that very easy to accomplish … except that you feel like crap the following day.

Oh! And certain trigger foods are a way to manage stress when it is out of control  — like a slice of toast to relax.

So here I go …. let’s enjoy Fat Tuesday tomorrow shall we?

Leeks anyone?


Fitbit stats – 20 miles for 7 days.


Recipe for Magical Leek Soup

Serves one for 48 hours

2 lbs. leeks
Water to cover in a large pot

1. Clean leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut end of green parts leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of green. (Reserve the extra greens for soup stock.)
2. Put leeks in large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer with no lid for 20-30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl.


The juice is to be drunk (reheated or room temperature to taste) every 2-3 hours, a cup at a time.

For meals or whenever hungry, have some of the leeks themselves, ½ cup at a time. Drizzle with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season sparingly with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley if you wish.

This will be your nourishment for both days, until Sunday dinner (or dinner at the end of the 2nd day), when you can have a small piece of meat or fish (4 – 6oz.–don’t lose that scale yet!), with two vegetables, steamed with a bit of butter or oil, and a piece of fruit.

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