Category Archives: Good Living

Whole 30: Day 27

How I made it to day 27, I’ll never know. I literally thought about doing a whole 30 for MONTHS and could not bear the thought of a week without cheese, chocolate, lattes, and chips. Truly. But I was driven to do it for reasons that I could not ignore. And here I am almost done! And Imma be real with you – it’s not that hard! I mean, it is but it isn’t. I honestly haven’t even thought much about being on it in the past two weeks. We buy the food we can eat, and we prepare that food. We don’t eat out much anyway, and the times we have gone out, it’s been fine. I may have occasionally bent the rules by not being a stickler for hidden sugar in a few things (particularly at a restaurant), but other than that – golden.

How do I feel? Great. I mean, once I got over the nasty cold, things improved tremendously. I am not craving grains. I am not craving dairy. I don’t really get hungry between meals. I haven’t gotten sick of eggs & sweet potatoes. I’ve made some delicious meals that are twists on grainy/dairy-filled classics. It’s challenged me a bit in the realm of meal planning, but as long as we have enough food on hand, things go well.

Now typically when I tell people what I’m doing, their response is “so do you just not eat?” NOOOOOO! Everyone wants an explanation of what exactly I can eat (expecting it to be a list of 2 things). So what has filled my fridge & pantry this month?

Meats & Protein

  • Pastured, grass-fed beef
  • Organic, free-range chicken (of all types)
  • Wild caught fish (salmon, cod, tilapia, shrimp)
  • Canned tuna fish (in water)
  • Organic, free-range eggs (so many eggs!)

Produce

  • ALL THE SWEET POTATOES
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Avocadoes
  • Organic kale
  • Organic arugula
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Organic apples (honey crisp!)
  • Plantains (a newfound love!)
  • Oranges & clementines
  • Kiwi!
  • Bananananas

Extras

  • Organic coconut (milk and oil)
  • Dijon mustard (yummmmm!)
  • Almonds & pecans
  • Lara bars (because I can’t help myself)
  • Beef & chicken broth (organic, no added sugar)
  • Canned tomatoes & tomato paste (crucial!!)
  • Jars of roasted bell peppers
  • My unbelievable, homemade almond butter! (will share soon!)

There you have it. It’s a lot of foods. Not gonna lie, though…it’s pricey. I’ve gone all in and worked on buying more organic too. Why? If the goal of this is to seriously improve my health, and I continue eating meats with loaded hormones and produce with pesticides…then I won’t accomplish what I wanted. So while it’s more expensive in some ways, it’s worth it if I’m clearing out my system of anything harmful. There are still ways to save money and be smart about it, though. To be fair as well – I’m not buying junk like chips and salsa, I’m not buying expensive cheeses, I don’t really pick up any “treats” – and once I’ve eliminated all of that stuff, there’s more wiggle room than you’d think.

Would I recommend this? YES. SO MUCH YES. And I’d recommend it to anyone. Even if you’re the vision of health, you don’t have any obvious issues, and love your body. Why? It requires discipline, which I think is a virtue most of us could always strive to have more of. Think of all the times we indulge without realizing it – that mocha latte, cupcakes for a co-worker’s birthday, out to dinner with friends and family, an evening sweet on a snowy day, a treat for Sunday…I am the queen at finding all sorts of “reasons” to give in. And I don’t foresee myself giving up all tasty treats here on out, but just knowing that I can say no as much as I have…that’s a good feeling.

The Whole 30 has also changed the way I look at food and nutrition. Well, it’s actually been a long road and this cleanse is more so just confirming things I’ve already been thinking. But I am truly so much more aware at what goes into my body – the meats that most grocery stores sell, the 50,000 extra ingredients in so many products, the amount of sugar one could consume in a day without realizing it at all. Being aware and understanding that quality matters. And whether we have a food allergy/sensitivity or not, the government and food industries have certainly steered us wrong as to what we should be putting in our bodies.

So I plan on continuing a more paleo diet, with some added organic or raw dairy in certain forms (and maybe a bit of natural sugar here and there). I’m sure I’ll have slip-ups (April does bring with it Easter and my birthday, sooooo), but I’m so grateful I had the push to do this. Just a few more days!

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Kombucha what?!

My new favorite beverage…



I’ve been wanting to add more probiotics into my life without yogurt or additional supplements. And I’d heard of Kombucha and its benefits extensively, but the name really deterred me into thinking it was some ancient pagan herb. I’ve read so many people, though, of a similar school of thought when it comes to nutrition and health, who swear by this stuff. 

So I bought it…for $3.49 a bottle! At Whole Foods, of course. Which is just outrageous. But I did it. Because I was curious. 

I’m pretty sure it’s not whole 30 compliant, though, because there’s a bit of alcohol and its made with a bunch of sugar at the start of the brewing process. Eh. Can’t win ’em all. 

I brought it home to Kevin, who loved it as well (mind you we had the ginger flavor and I LOVE ginger). I think we’d like to brew our own! So we’ll add it to our list of DIY to-do’s, but if I can get all those benefits for the fraction of the cost – I’m all in!

Also, does anyone know of a cheaper brand in the meantime? :)

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Super Foods on a Small Budget

The world of food and nutrition is such an expansive one. I’ve been learning so much over the past couple of years, and it still seems like I’m only just scratching the surface. After Kevin and I had been dating for a bit, I decided to start cooking without grains, in an effort to accommodate him. That first step opened up an entirely new arena for me. Removing grains from meals initially gave me this great void – how was I supposed to fill it? Bread, pasta, rice, chips, oats, flour, cereal – everything! I’ve come a very long way since then, and while it’s not always easy, I find it much more rewarding.

So aside from the fact that I’m doing a Whole 30 right now and have eliminated much more than just grains, there are certain foods that we almost always stock up on. In order for a food to make itself into my regular routine, it must be nutrient dense, somewhat palatable, and cost effective. I will also only be mentioning products that are year round, for convenience sake. I do encourage everyone to eat seasonally, though! It’s healthier and cheaper!

Spaghetti Squash // this delightful piece of produce is one of my absolute favorite foods. Kevin and I have no need or desire to ever eat pasta after eating this. It’s relatively inexpensive and is a food that you can base an entire meal around. Examples of how I’ve cooked it up: a universal pasta replacement, as a large casserole, as a pizza crust replacement. It’s versatile, filling, and has good forms of carbohydrates and fiber (which many people do not get enough of!).

Avocadoes // this all year round treat has served me well. With only eating a few food groups, I need to make sure I’m filling myself with healthy fats. This is sort of my go to. To be honest, I can avoid a dairy craving (like cheese or sour cream) if I have an avocado with my eggs, chili, burger, etc. It’s nutrition stats are off the charts too – Vitamin K, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin C. The benefits of this “fruit” are just incomparable.

Grass-fed Beef // this is a relatively new one for me, but I am all on board. While sometimes a bit more pricey than I’d like, the benefits over regular beef are too many to ignore. Instead of filling us with loads of bad fats, this beef provides those special Omega-3’s. Grass-fed meat is naturally much leaner than other cuts as well. I’m still learning to incorporate this into my budget, so we probably consume 1-2 pounds of this a week, spread out over multiple meals.

Pastured & Organic Eggs // First things first: eggs are so much a part of my diet. Protein, Omega-3’s, Vitamins A-B-D-E-K. I include eggs in as many meals as possible. I switch it up in the mornings: poached, baked, scrambled, over easy. I add them to soups for extra protein. I cook them with spaghetti squash as a type of “sauce.” They are and have been for years one of my primary staples for a good day.

Sweet Potatoes // I have to have at least five sweet potatoes on hand at a time or else I feel like our kitchen is empty. Every week I peel and cut up several of these vegetables to have ready to go for various meals. Not only is this perhaps my favorite tasting health food that goes with everything, but it’s just got so much good stuff packed in it that a lot of our diets seem to lack. Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, fiber, and so much more.

This is just a very short list of what I consider to be essential. There are a number of other great fruits and vegetables, some that are season-dependent. But the further along in my Whole 30 I get, the more of a firm believer I become that nutrient dense is the way to go. While there are so many foods I love and crave often, I really only need a handful of powerful proteins, carbs, and fats to get me through the day feeling great.

What are your staples for staying full and keeping healthy? 🙂

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Whole 30: Day 9

Here I am. Day 9 of my Whole 30. The first week had it’s ups and it’s downs. The meals I’ve been making haven’t been radically different from how I normally eat, but I’ve missed the cheese, the occasional afternoon sweet treat, and of course my greatest guilty pleasure: chips in any and all forms.

Also, my parents were in town this weekend and we ate out a few times and THAT was a challenge. When I’m out, I throw all nutrition guidelines to the wind and eat whatever I’m interested in having…but alas, I could not do that. It actually turned out okay and I had some delicious meals thanks to some very accommodating restaurants. But I still so badly wanted the bread that was at the table.

A big flop in my first week included getting sick. I still don’t know if it was my body reacting to the no sugar-grains-dairy mixture, but it came. I lost my voice completely to a painful soar throat followed by a miserable head cold. BUT. BUT BUT BUT…I still kept to the whole 30. Minus some honey for my throat (it was painful).

I’m still a bit sick, but pushing through. Still no real benefits that I’m seeing, and I’m bummed that I’m still so tired (fatigue is one of those things I’m trying to cure in my life), but it could also just be that I’m still sick and recovering. And it’s early on. I have no plans of quitting, though. And I figure I’ll just keep going until Easter…so a whole 34ish.

One notable fact from today: I am not craving grains or dairy. Which is pretty crazy. I mean, if you were to put a slice of pizza in front of me…I’d want it. Badly. But just don’t do that, and I’ll be fine. So that’s exciting!

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The documentary that opened up a whole new world.

I just watched Ricki Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born…and WOAH.  I, for most of my life, had no clue how many options women have. I am one of five, and just assumed my own mother had five normal hospital births (one was a c-section). Well, a couple nights before my older brother’s wedding last March, all seven of us were in the car and just so happened to be talking about our birth stories (totally normal car convo). It turns out the first one she used a midwife in a hospital and preferred the midwife. I can’t recall how the second child was born, but I know for sure  that for me, the midwives were no longer allowed in the hospitals. Crazy!

Since getting married and being open to life and having pregnant friends, I’ve felt compelled to research this more in depth. I’m no wealth of knowledge, just a person astounded by what she has learned. I would hear random things about hospitals administering drugs to speed up and then slow down the natural birthing process. All the “interventions” that are utilized out of convenience, not necessity. Doctors are always talking about all the things that might happen, but seem to forget that women have been giving birth since the beginning of time! It’s as natural as it gets!

Are there women that need cesarean sections? Of course. There are emergencies. But FAR less than what the medical world represents it to be. And would I judge a woman for choosing an epidural? Absolutely not! But it’s the fact that women don’t even know what options they might have. Home birthing and midwifery are made out to be these ancient practices that are so dangerous and stupid of a choice. And that’s primarily here in the US. Why? Well, I don’t want to throw a blogging rant so if you’re interested you can watch The Business of Being Born and find out. It’s super informative and really shed light on a lot of things I was questioning.

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Entering the World of Essential Oils

I’ve recently gotten into essential oils, and I have to tell you…I think they’re great. I bought tea tree oil for the first time in April for a skin issue, and it worked WONDERS. I soon after purchased Eucalyptus and Peppermint. I use them for a variety of things, such as wiping down corners in the apartment to keep insects from coming in (as far as I can tell, it works great). AND I had a terrible headache recently and was feeling a head cold coming on with difficulty breathing. I rubbed a bit of coconut oil and peppermint on my forehead and I woke up feeling awesome. No joke. 

I am officially a fan. And as much as I’d love to get a wholesale account from a reputable company and buy all the essential oils ever, girl don’t got the funds for that. So I’ve purchased two DoTerra products on amazon for a bit cheaper than their retail price.

ClaryCalm

ClaryCalm for PMS, menstrual cramps, general hormonal balance. Boy do I need this.

PastTense

PastTense for headache relief. Staring at a computer all day (plus my iphone probably) has given me a perpetual headache right up front. So I’m working on easing that.

If they work well, I may get another. And if that works well, I’ll try some more. And if life seems to improve, maybe…just maybe…I’ll invest in a wholesale account. I shall let you know how it goes!

 

 

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