So here we are more than a week into our second #Whole30. I won’t presume to speak for Hubs, but I am struggling! When I say struggling, I’m talking about something that goes well beyond the simple “I just want a nap” kind of thing predicted for days 6-7 by the (suddenly difficult to locate) official Whole30 Timeline 2.0. I’m talking about a level of fatigue that I feel down into my bones; that requires giving myself a pep talk just to get out of bed; dragging myself through the day; drinking extra coffee in order to formulate a coherent sentence. I don’t remember being this tired last time, but Hubs assures me I was. I’m taking his word for it, mostly because I’m just too tired to argue the point.
Before I go into all that, some positives. There are a few things actually making this round easier than our first Whole30 in April.
Next, I’m so happy that we invested in a couple of cases (seriously) of different flavors of these yummy La Croix flavored sparkling waters. Yum. O. Now that it’s football season, I can park it in front of the TV with a nice cold glass of fruity, bubbly La Croix and not feel the least bit deprived. We’ll definitely continue drinking these post Whole30!
Lastly, I am still really excited about this Daily Beauty Wisdom green tea + collagen recipe. It’s the only green tea drink I have ever consistently drank in my life. For more on green tea’s health and beauty benefits click here and here. This drink is delicious and has some great beauty benefits that others are starting to notice. Here’s what happened:
I had a long, busy day yesterday, with several errands to run, including a much-needed hair appointment. Of course, I also had to make sure our daughter was fed, changed and happy, and all her needs met. So, I needed 3 cups of coffee (thank you again Nut Pods!) and 2 cups of green tea just to get through the day.
I know, that’s a lot of caffeine. But, like I said. I had a lot to do, and I’ve had like NO energy. Still, I did have one briefly exhilarating moment yesterday when my hair stylist commented on the growth and thickness of my hair. She said she could really see a difference in the overall condition of my hair and that my supplements were starting to make a difference. Wow! Score a big win for the collagen drinks!
Green Tea + Collagen + Vitamin C – Delicious and beautifying with a hint of caffeine to boot!
Genetically, I have extremely fine hair, which has been made fragile by years of frequent coloring (read bleaching). Then in the last 15 months or so, I’ve been pregnant twice (I had a miscarriage just prior to getting pregnant with our almost 11 month-old daughter), so I shed a ton of hair postpartum, leaving me with even thinner hair. For my stylist to say that my hair stronger and longer, was a big deal! But alas, my exhilaration was short-lived.
I soon found myself dragging again and questioning my commitment to this “whole” Whole30 thing. Then last night, after having (finally) gotten baby girl to sleep, Hubs and I collapsed next to one another on the sofa. We debated whether to eat dinner or just go straight to bed as we were both equal parts tired and hungry. Though we agreed “we should probably eat” in order to avoid waking up hangry in the middle of the night, neither of us moved immediately, so I turned to him and whined, “I’m so uncomfortable. Remind me again why we’re doing this.”
Hubs – in his (frustratingly) infinite wisdom and patience asked, “If you need some motivation, why don’t you go back and look at your #NSV Checklist from last time? Or read over those things you said you want to accomplish this time? It’s only 22 more days. We can do it.”
I hate it that he’s always right! But I followed his advice and took a look at my #NSV Checklist from Round 1 and reviewed my goals for #SeptemberWhole30 as listed in my Kickoff Post. Here’s a list of the goals I said I hoped to achieve and a status report as of day 9:
• More energy to play with our daughter – No increases on this front
• Improved attention span – About the same
• Fewer ADHD symptoms – Same
• Fall asleep more easily – YES, I fall right asleep and I sleep deeply. Waking up on the other hand…not so easy, hence the coffee!
• More energy to exercise – Exercise is a struggle, a big one!
• Be outside more – No change
• Create and try new recipes – I have one new recipe for a delicious Whole30-compliant Sausage + Apple Soup, but I’ve been too tired to post it!
• No more under-eye circles – I haven’t noticed a change
• Brighter eyes – I don’t notice any difference
• Clothes fit better – I still can’t fit into some of my pre-pregnancy jeans BUT today I easily fit into a new pair of pants that I ordered in a smaller size so I’d say that’s progress, right?
• Looking younger – No real change there
• Fewer seasonal allergies – Maybe a slight improvement
• Less fatigue – Yeah you know the answer to that one
• Practice mindful eating – Honestly, I think there’s been some improvement here
So in total, for 7 of 14 (50%) of my goals, I’ve seen no change.
For 5 of my 14 goals (roughly 36%) there’s been at least some improvement or progress toward my stated goal.
And in 2 of my pre-Whole30 goals (about 14%) both of which relate to energy, there’s been movement in the opposite direction.
So it looks like we’re in this for the long run, or at least for the whole 30 days. And, I’ll close this post by quoting a verse I shared a few days ago: “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” ~Ecclesiastes 7:8 (New Living Translation) So I guess that will be the Wisdom for the Day. And I’ll just go reread it a few more times just to remind myself that finishing is indeed better than starting. Read more here.
….Kill ALL the Things? No, But I Might Trade Our Shiba Inu for a Pepsi Maxx!
Are You Talking about Me? You MUST Be Talking about Me. I’m the Only Shiba Inu Here!
During our first Whole30, I relied heavily on the official #Whole30 Timeline 2.0 available on the Whole30 website. The timeline served as a sort of roadmap, reassuring me that I was more or less staying on course and that my struggles were normal, especially during the difficult days. This time is no different. The following is an excerpt from the official #Whole30 Timeline 2.0 for days 4-5.
“Days 4-5: Kill ALL the things! Day 4 dawns and you tentatively step out of bed, expecting to feel like you took a strike from Thor’s hammer in the temple. Instead, your head is surprisingly clear. Your limbs all feel functional. This could be a good day! You walk into the kitchen and as you’re greeted by the smiling face of your significant other you are suddenly overcome…with the desire to punch them in the face for smiling this early in the morning. Congratulations! You’ve made it to day 4…It’s probably because your brain is never very happy when you tell it that it CAN’T have something, and take it out of it’s habitual and accustomed comfort zone. An unhappy brain is a stressed brain, an anxious brain, a fearful brain. No to mention your hormones are desperately trying to keep up with your new food choices, your gut is trying to heal, you’ve had a headache for the last three days, and you REALLY MISS YOUR DIET COKE. So yeah, maybe we do know why this is happening now…”
In all honesty, I probably entered this second go-round a tad over-confident, and my recent pre-Whole30 diet hasn’t been as clean as I’ve been telling myself. As I’ve written previously, we’re prepping for our daughter’s first birthday party. And I’ve been using the upcoming celebration as an excuse to test out several new cookie recipes including my pretty Pink Paleo Macaroons and not-yet-published Paleo/Vegan Magic Cookie Bars recipe. Truth is, I probably ate cookies (plural, as in more than one) every single day in August. I’d also resumed the nasty habit of consuming 1-2 diet sodas daily, and boy am I paying for it now! My body is seriously craving sweets and caffeine. I’m suffering from major headaches, brain fog and irritability. Mercifully, this round is MUCH easier thanks to the recent Whole30 approval of Nut Pods Unsweetened Coffee Creamers!
Even Whole30 Mamas Need Caffeine!!!
I’m not homicidal. Thank goodness! But I am seriously lacking (my normal) patience for dealing with our dogs, especially our poor Shiba Inu, CJ. Poor CJ. He such a sweet boy…most of the time. He adores our baby girl. But sometimes that’s the problem. He’s constantly circling around her, especially now that she’s attempting to eat solid foods. He’s always underfoot as he forages around her highchair for her droppings.
Doggies circling like vultures
The little terrier, Brewster, is stealthy, and is the first to pounce on any baby food that hits the first. CJ moves slower and more deliberately, determined to pick up ay small pieces Brewster missed. But CJ gets himself stuck in the most unfortunate positions – like this one (which happened when he was nosing around after crumbs), leaving me to have to help him get “un-stuck.”
And CJ tends to bark repeatedly every time I get the baby down for her afternoon nap. So frustrating! I then find myself barking (shouting) back at him to “shut up, you’ll wake the baby,” which of course wakes her up immediately making me even more frustrated, mostly with myself for having an argument with a dog.
Luckily (for CJ’s sake), the Whole30 folks state that this phase doesn’t last. And, I’m doing my best to remind myself that I made it through these rough patches last time and the rewards are more than worth the discomfort. So, I’ll have another cup of Nut Pods-spiked coffee and look forward to some yummy (leftover) rotisserie chicken stir fry for dinner, one of my favorite recipe discoveries from our first Whole30.
Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Stir Fry with Riced Cauliflower
Beauty Resource for the Day:
Anyone who’s read my posts knows by now I love Tati Westbrook, AKA “GlamLifeGuru.” Love. Her. Her most recent video is the perfect example of why. Unlike many YouTube gurus who tout the most expensive department store makeup products, Tati has created a new video tag titled “Nothing over $10,” the challenge being to create a beautiful full face of makeup look using only products under $10. Watch as she executes the challenge flawlessly and jot down the excellent and inexpensive products she uses:
Wisdom for the Day:
“Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” ~Ecclesiastes 7:8 (New Living Translation)
Read more here.
Immediately following completion of our first #Whole30 (May 1, 2016), Hubs and I agreed that we definitely wanted to do another round sometime this year. Not yet confident in our ability to adhere to the program rules over the food-centric Thanksgiving holiday, we decided September was our best bet for a successful Round 2. So off we go on our second Whole30 adventure!
During our first round, I relied heavily on the resources and downloads available at the Whole30 website. One resource I failed to mention during our first go-round was the #Whole30 Non-Scale Victory (#NSV) Checklist – available for download here. The NSV Checklist is a 2-page list of positive results (separate from actual pounds or kg. lost) achieved by Whole30 completers. I encourage you to check it out if you’ve never seen the NSV Checklist. Folks have reported some amazing achievements like “Whiter Teeth;” “Looking Younger;” “Longer, Stronger Nails;” and “Increased Libido.”
As a motivator, I reviewed my NSV Checklist results from our first round. Then, I made list of the #NSV items I hope to achieve this round. Here’s my list of benefits achieved during our April (2016) Whole30:
1. Less dimpled skin
2. Flatter stomach
3. Leaner overall appearance
4. Clothes fit better – this was huge!
As pictured below, I was (finally) able to fit into 2 pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans for the first time in a year!
Woohoo! Back in my fav jeans!!! (excuse the messy bedroom and my unattractive socks)
5. Less bloating
5. Feeling more confident in my appearance
6. Fewer PMS symptoms
7. A more regular monthly cycle
8. Less stomach pain
9. Less gas
10. Reduction in food allergies (symptoms)
11. Improved blood sugar regulation
12. Less stressed
13. Fewer carb cravings
14. Improved body image
15. Improved self-confidence
16. Friends and family came to me seeking food and healthy lifestyle advice or healthy recipes
17. Eating to satiety
18. Listening to my body
19. No longer afraid of dietary fat (this was a BIG paradigm shift for me!)
20. No longer using food as a reward
21. More nutrition in my diet
22. Food no longer had unwanted “side effects” (similar to #11)
23. Energy levels more even
24. I no longer got cranky when I needed to eat
25. I needed less caffeine
26. I became more consistent with exercise
27. I discovered lots of new recipes (see list at bottom of post)
28. Our meal prep was more organized and efficient
29. Our healthy eating habits brought us closer as a family
30. People asked what I was doing differently (esp. how I lost the baby weight)
31. Feeling in control of food (not the other way around)
Wow! That’s a whole lotta benefits. Just typing them out makes me really excited to see what successes we’ll achieve this time. In keeping with Hubs’ recommendation‘ to set goals before undertaking any lifestyle changes, I’ve identified a few more potential results from the NSV Checklist I’d like to see happen this time. Here they are:
• More energy to play with our daughter (this is always my #1 goal as she’s always our #1 priority)
• Improved attention span
• Fewer ADHD symptoms
• Fall asleep more easily
• More energy to exercise – I’m hoping to add a walking regimen to my existing routine of MUTU + 45-60 min yoga/daily
• Be outside more
• Create and try new recipes
• No more under-eye circles
• Brighter eyes
• Clothes fit better – I still can’t fit into several pair of pre-pregnancy jeans.
• Looking younger
• Fewer seasonal allergies
• Less fatigue
• Practice mindful eating
Speaking of mindfulness and improved mental focus, I’m adding a goal not listed on the NSV Checklist. By then end of September, I want to be practicing EmWave for at least 15 minutes each day.
EmWave is a mental training product of the HeartMath company – available as an iPhone app, a stand-alone handheld device, or computer program teaches you to use “Balanced Breathing” to normalize your and balance out your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, thereby improving your focus and attention. If you’re unfamiliar with Emwave, check out their website for more information on the science and research behind this training, the benefits available from just a few minutes of practice each day.
Wisdom for the Day:
“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” ~Job 13:11 (New International Version)
Read more here.
Beauty Resource for the Day:
Ever wonder why all the beauty bloggers and social media makeup gurus have such huge beautiful eyes? Are they all just genetically gifted? Nope! They use special eye-tricking techniques to make their eyes appear larger. In this video the absolutely stunning Stephanie Lange shares her 8 best tricks for making eyes look bigger. It’s worth the less than 4 minutes of your time just to hear her adorable accent!
I recently posted a lengthy article on the evidence supporting supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen + hyaluronic acid (HA) + Vitamin C – a combo of supplements that when taken together have been proven to reduce skin wrinkling, improve skin elasticity and increase skin’s overall hydration (think plumping) levels. You can check out that post here. The basic idea is that several studies have proven that consumption of a hydrolyzed collagen powder in conjunction with daily hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C supplementation can significantly increase your skin’s hydration levels, improve its elasticity and decrease wrinkles. Pretty exciting stuff! Check that post for full research detail and product recommendations.
A Bevy of Beautifying Collagens + Great Lakes Pure Unflavored Gelatin
The following recipes combine hydrolyzed collagen and other superfood ingredients into enjoyable, yummy-tasting beverages. I try to drink 2-3 collagen beverages per day. Experiment with these recipes and let me know (in the comments) if you have other collagen recipes you love!
This recipe is really tasty and helps ensure I meet my daily green tea quota. The secret is the cranberry juice and added super fruit powder (in this case Navitas Naturals Organic Pomegranate Powder) which provide both a sweet-tart flavor and added Vitamin C which, along with supplemental hyaluronic acid, are key to helping your body assimilate the collagen. Think of them as a power booster for the collagen protein, and they happen to taste great.
• Microwave or tea pot
• Measuring cups + spoons
Makes 1 yummy serving.
1. Brew tea using 6 oz. filtered or distilled water per sachet. Allow tea to steep at least 5 minutes before removing sachet.
2. At this point, I like to reheat the tea for a few seconds on HIGH in my microwave because I dislike lukewarm tea, but that’s totally optional. Remove and discard green tea sachet.
3. Stir 1 scoop (Tbsp.) hydrolyzed collagen into hot tea. Continue stirring gently until collagen is completely dissolved.
4. Add desired amount (I recommend 1/2 cup) of pure unsweetened cranberry juice, powdered fruit supplement and garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired. You can add sweetener to this tea, but I find it doesn’t need it with the fruit juice and pomegranate powder. You could add a pinch of stevia if you want it a bit sweeter. But stevia is not permitted during #whole30.*** (See comment below.)
***Stevia and all other natural or artificial sweeteners (with the exception of pure, no-sugar-added juice) are not permitted during #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program do’s and don’ts as well as answers to just about any and all #WHOLE30 questions you may have, I highly recommend you check out the program rules here and other resources available at WHOLE30’s website to educate yourself prior to beginning your own WHOLE30 journey or anytime you have questions or need some support (the Facebook and Twitter feeds are tremendous sources of encouragement and support).
1. Brew coffee using 6-8 oz. filtered or distilled water.
2. While coffee is still very hot, carefully pour into blender canister along with all other ingredients and stir briefly until collagen is dissolved. Place canister on blender base and cover with lid. 3. Blend mixture for a few seconds on HIGH until frothy.
4. Pour into a large mug. Adjust seasoning/sweeteners to taste if desired. But remember, sweeteners of all kinds (including naturally-derived ones like Stevia, maple syrup and honey) are not permitted during #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30program rules, check out the program rules here and resource links listed in comment above.*** N.B. This recipe can be made without use of blender if using Nut Pods Creamer instead of coconut oil. But even when using Nut Pods creamer, I still like to give my collagen coffee beverages a quick whir in the blender to ensure everything is well-combined and frothy. Makes 1 Serving.
3. Skin-Loving Bone Broth Beverage
This warm, savory drink is incredibly soothing and satisfying. It’s a terrific afternoon pick-me-up for tired mommies (like me)! The protein helps tide me over until dinner and the vegetable juice provides some extra Vitamin C + Potassium. You could use store-bought broth, provided it doesn’t contain any sulfites, MSG or other nasty additives. If you’re new to making bone broth, you can read up on the process and find some easy+delicious recipes from Paleo Leap here and The Wellness Mama here. Ingredients:
• 1 cup homemade bone broth
• 2 scoops (about 2 Tbsp.) hydrolyzed collagen + Hyaluronic acid + Vitamin C (e.g. (e.g. California Gold Nutrition CollagenUp or your preferred hydrolyzed collagen powder + Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid supplements) or 2 scoops (2 Tbsp.) of Great Lakes Gelatin brand Collagen Hydrolysate (be sure to take your daily hyaluronic acid supplement and at least 100mg. Vitamin C along with this broth)
• ½ cup unsweetened, low sodium tomato juice cocktail (e.g. V8 Original Low Sodium Vegetable Juice)
• 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice (optional)
• 1 tsp. hydrolyzed gelatin (optional)
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Measuring cups
• Large Mug
1. Gently heat bone broth in microwave or on stovetop until a little hotter than desired temperature.
2. Remove from heat, and gently stir in 1 scoop hydrolyzed collagen and 1 tsp. gelatin (if using), continuing to stir until collagen + gelatin are completely dissolved.
3. Next carefully pour broth mixture into large mug. Then add the vegetable juice and (if desired) lemon juice.
4. Taste for seasonings, adjusting as needed. Makes 1 Serving.
4. Make Me Younger Choco-Almond Smoothie
Thick, creamy and full of chocolatey, nutty deliciousness – this smoothie is my favorite way to enjoy collagen and satisfy my sweet tooth (ok my sweet teeth)
This is my current favorite lunch. I can make it quickly and drink it while chasing after my 9-month old daughter who is now constantly in motion. Containing several super star foods from the HealthGrove list of top 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair, this shake is thick, creamy and delicious! The spinach provides a hefty dose of nutrition including Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Vitamins A, C, E, B2 & K. Read more about spinach here. The almond butter imparts a yummy nutty flavor that goes so well with the cocoa. Almonds also provide more Vitamin E antioxidants, some extra protein and healthy fat (thereby boosting the satiety factor of this shake). Read more about almonds’ nutrient values here.
• 3 soaked dates (Soak in filtered water about 1 hour. Be sure the dates you use are free of sulfites if doing #WHOLE30)
• 8 oz. homemade almond or coconut milk
• 2 scoops (about 2 Tbsp.) powdered hydrolyzed collagen + Hyaluronic acid + Vitamin C (e.g. California Gold Nutrition CollagenUp ) or preferred hydrolyzed collagen powder + hyaluronic acid supplements + Vitamin C
• 2 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves
• 2 Tbsp. pure (unsweetened) cocoa/cacao powder (I like this one from Nativas Naturals )
• pinch salt
• 2 Tbsp. #whole30-compliant or paleo-correct almond butter (i.e. without any added sugars or sweeteners)
• 1 tsp. hydrolyzed gelatin, e.g. Great Lakes Gelatin Unflavored dissolved in 2 Tbsp. warm filtered water (optional but helps make shake thicker and more creamy)
• 1 cup ice cubes (optional, I add ice to thicken the shake and make it more like ice cream)
• pinch pure Stevia extract (optional and can be substituted for soaked dates if you’re watching your carbs but, do not use if actively doing #WHOLE30, see comment above)***
1. If using gelatin, stir into 2 Tbsp. filtered water and allow to sit for a few (3-4) minutes. Combine milk and collagen in blender canister and whisk briefly with a fork until collagen mostly dissolves (there will still be a few collagen “lumps” but that’s okay).
Spinach is a superfood too, providing Magnesium, Potassium, Folate & Vitamins A, C, E & K
2. Put spinach into blender canister then pour in milk+collagen mixture into blender along with all other ingredients.
3. Place canister on blender base. Cover with lid and blend mixture for a few seconds on HIGH until frothy.
4. Pour into 2 freezer-safe mug or jars with lid. Freeze for about 1 hour or enjoy immediately. Makes 2 Servings or 1 Large Meal-sized Shake
Remember, sweeteners of all kinds (including natural ones like Stevia) are not permitted during #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program rules, check out the program rules here and resource links listed in comment above.*** N.B. If you don’t have access to homemade nut milk, you can substitute ½ cup Nut Pods Original (or flavored) Unsweetened Coffee Creamer + ½ cup filtered water. Stir briefly to combine creamer and water. Then add collagen and proceed as above.
Makes 1-2 servings.
BTW: Don’t be dissuaded by the slightly greenish color of this shakes. It’s delicious and Hubs swears “it’s as good any ice cream!” I like to save half this recipe and keep in the freezer until after dinner. It’s the perfect dessert.
Beauty Resource of the Day:
This video from Emily Noel of Beauty Broadcast is fantastic in content and simplicity.
I LOVE tip #3! It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of tips. I’m hoping this tip “changes my makeup world” too! Thanks as always Emily 🙂
Wisdom for the Day:
Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest. ~Proverbs 19:22 (NLT)
Read more here.
If you’re interested in checking out the scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of hydrolyzed collagen ingestion for wrinkle reduction and increased skin hydration, check out this DBW post detailing research & evidence supporting Hydrolyzed Collagen Combo Supplements for Younger-Looking Skin. And if you wanna delve deeper into the research, check out these scientific articles and helpful collagen info sites:
1. Borumand & Sibilla S. Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles, 2015. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals; 4(1), 47-53. Online full text article link.
2. Ohara H, Ito K, Iida H, Matsumoto H. Improvement in the moisture content of the stratum corneum following 4 weeks of collagen hydrolysate ingestion. Nippon Shokuhin Kogaku Kaishi 2009; 56: 137-45. Online link to abstract here.
3. Matsumoto H, Ohara H, Ito K, Nakamura Y, Takahashi S. Clinical effect of fish type I collagen hydrolysate on
skin properties. ITE Lett Batteries New Technol Med 2006; 7:386-390. Full text unavailable. See other cited article links (above and below) for summary of this study.
4. Sibilla S, Godfrey M, Brewer S, Budh-Raja A, Genovese L. An Overview of the Beneficial Effects of Hydrolysed Collagen as a Nutraceutical on Skin Properties: Scientific Background and Clinical Studies. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal 2015; 8: 29-42. Online full text article available here.
5. Dr. Tim O’Shea of The Doctor Within on Hydrolyzed Collagen Supplementation. Link here.
6. All About Gelatin & Collagen from Paleo Leap.
7. And you’ll want to check out this list of Studies on Collagen Supplementation from Collagen Complete.
A few days ago, Hubs and I went grocery shopping. Nothing out of the ordinary. But as we were unloading our haul, which was especially heavy on the frozen meats and veggies, we realized there was no room in our freezers to accommodate our purchases. How could that be when I’d made the list myself based on items I knew we were out of? And, we’re blessed to have an extra refrigerator/freezer combo in our garage. So we should have tons of storage space, right? Hubs soon diagnosed the problem. Loads of assorted veggie burgers, patties and meat substitutes of all kinds were hiding at the back of each freezer, taking up valuable space.
For the next several minutes, we stood there holding bags of rapidly defrosting chicken, broccoli and green beans while I debated the pros and cons of tossing all my old vegan favorites. “But they taste so good,” I whined. “Remember I how loved the ‘crispy chick’n’ ones! Oh and here’s the 7-grain crispy tenders’ (by now, any current or former vegetarians out there know exactly which brand I’m referencing)! Those are my favorite! Remember how I loved them? They’re so expensive. I don’t wanna just throw away money,” I pleaded.
Hubs tried reasoning with me. “But Karen, remember how those things made you feel, how your stomach hurt all the time. You haven’t touched any soy in so long, and those breaded ones have grains all over them.”
Still I resisted. “But I used to love them,” I protested. “And you know how I hate throwing away food. It’s such a waste of money.” Then I came clean. “And, they taste so good. What if I wanna eat them again someday?” The crux of the matter – I was holding onto these foods knowing full well they were full of crazy chemicals; that they were loaded with artificial, processed ingredients; created in a lab somewhere by scientists to simulate real foods. But I hadn’t let them go because in the back of my mind I thought someday I might want to eat them again despite knowing how unhealthy they are. I wanted to keep my options open.
On hearing this, Hubs’ patience ran out. He grabbed a bag of faux meat and started reading the ingredients aloud. I think it was about when he reached “methylcellulose” or “cane sugar,” that he looked at me and asked “really? Is this really what you want to put into your body? Can’t you make something just as good with real foods?” He knows me so well. That was exactly the right button to push with me. Issue a challenge to my competitive nature, and I’m hooked. At that I promptly tossed all faux meat into the garbage and only looked back to take this pic.
Tossing out the artificial and making room for whole food freedom!
Plus Hubs made a valid point – why settle for less than the best? It reminded me of a story from the Bible (Numbers 11). The Children of Israel had been rescued by God from slavery in Egypt and were being led by Moses through the desert to the Promised Land. During their time in the desert of testing, some of the people started complaining about the food they “had” to eat (literally Manna from heaven). The complainers decided they would have been better off returning to enslavement in order to have the foods they previously ate in Egypt. The upshot of this affair is that the complainers were allowed to eat some of the foods they were craving but with disastrous consequences. Click here to read more.
Be clear. I’m not suggesting I would drop dead if I took one bite of my old “chick’n” tenders. But it is important that we make wise choices each day and with each meal, choices that bring life and health to our minds and bodies. Wise choices are those foods created by God (the kind of foods with only 1 single pronounceable ingredient on the ingredient list), not scientifically engineered products filled with chemicals created by man. Wise food choices are exactly the kinds of foods that comprise the WHOLE30 and Paleo plans. Incidentally, those same whole foods are the ones identified as best for beauty in this recent study. It is important to remember why we started on the WHOLE30 program – to feel better, more energetic, maybe lose some weight and reduce/eliminate other nagging health problems (in my case to lose baby weight and decrease life-long GI troubles). In the face of this truth and the freedom the program has offered, it hardly makes sense to go running back to enslavement to former foods.
N.B. I’m all for allowing yourself the occasional splurge. But I believe in those rare instances, the indulgence should be something truly exceptional and comprised of all whole foods, not pseudo foods created by chemists. And it probably shouldn’t come from a freezer bag. For more on this approach to healthy splurging, check out this fantastic article by Melissa Hartwig where she describes her “One Bite Rule.”
Much of our family’s focus this weekend has been on cleaning our home in preparation for visitors this coming week. With a baby in the house, we tend to clean more reactively than proactively. “Oh there’s a mess over here. Let me pick that up before the baby gets into it…The baby spilled her bottle over there. I need to mop that up before get into it and turn it into an even bigger mess.” We vacuum before our daughter does tummy time but not on a regular schedule (sad but true). I dust when we’re expecting company not because that’s just what I do every Tuesday.
So as I cleaned, I began thinking about WHOLE30 and how it’s been kind of a metaphor for spring cleaning, a reset if you will. I discussed it with Hubs. We talked about our individual experiences; how our initial WHOLE30 journeys are coming to an end; what we’ve learned; etc. We also talked about how we want to move forward, the aspects of WHOLE30 we definitely want to maintain, pitfalls we want to avoid during the transition from such a strict eating plan (binging on pizza anyone?) and such. More on this topic in the days ahead…
Shortly after this conversation I checked my email. I had received my daily e-devotional from Dr. David Jeremiah’s Turning Points. In case you’re unfamiliar with Turning Points – it’s a wonderful program that sends you 6 emails a week (1 per weekday and 1 for the weekend). Each email contains a short devotional with a foundational scripture, a brief discussion often based on the life story of some historical individual and an additional suggested Bible reading for follow-up. During my days in the full-time, traditional work force, Turning Points emails were invaluable for helping me establish a daily devotional routine. These days, with an erratic full-time mommy schedule, Turning Points serves to ground me and remind me every day of the peace and love God provides. I’ve pasted a portion of this weekend’s devotion below because it speaks so clearly to this issue of spring cleaning, and how we should remain continually in a process of resetting and reassessing our progress toward our goals.
…Why should we live without having our affairs in order? Why shouldn’t “getting our affairs in order” be a continual process of assessing and resetting instead of an end-of-life challenge? We know the reasons: procrastination, busyness, resistance to change, unwillingness to make hard choices, fear of the future, and more. And yet we eventually get to that place: We clean out the garage and basement, we go on a diet, we start exercising, we begin investing resources in healthy relationships, we start spending daily time with God, we fine-tune our financial matters . . . we do those things that we know will allow important priorities to rise to the top and less important ones to fall by the wayside. Is it time for you to get your spiritual and practical affairs in order? Make it a continual process as you press toward the goal of knowing Christ Jesus.
Verse of the Day:
But one thing I do . . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 3:13b-14 (NKJV)
Read more here.
Resource of the Day:
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Well, we’ve completed a full week of our WHOLE30 journey. Seven days down and 23 more to go. As I pause to take stock and savor this accomplishment, I am struck by one overwhelming realization – I am completely and totally exhausted. I mean I’m tired like down into my bones. I’m so tired sometimes it feels like extra work to sit in the chair and breathe.
My primary job every day is taking care of our nearly 6-month old baby, cook and take care of the home, etc. I’m also blessed to have the help of my mother who lives with us. Her assistance is especially wonderful these days with my energy waning. I find myself craving a nap every day and trying to power through with alternate nostril breathing and coffee. It takes all the strength I’ve got to complete my daily yoga sessions, and I seem be more sore afterwards. Luckily, I’m still able to do my MUTU Core Exercises every day which is extremely important to me because I’ve seen such amazing results in reversing my diastase recti (AKA the “mummy tummy”) I developed during my pregnancy.
I can’t imagine how Hubs is managing his work load. I am grateful for his attitude. He continues to encourage me through the process and reminds me that according to the WHOLE30 authors, this fatigue has arrived right on scheduled and is expected part of the 30-day timeline.
Wisdom for the Day:
Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. ~Psalm 54:4 (NASB)
Read more here.
So our WHOLE30 adventure continues. I’m embarrassed to admit that it only took 2 days to reveal some rather ugly aspects of my character. I woke up to the baby crying and fantasies of chemical-laced coffee creamer and artificial sweetener. So I “generously” offered to let Hubs sleep in while I got up to take care of our baby. Even as I prepped her bottle, I knew what I was going to do and planned to very quietly retrieve the sweeteners out of the corner of the pantry where I’d hidden them just days before.
A few minutes later, Baby Girl changed, fed, burped and happy, I sprung into action. I brewed up my coffee and stirred in that delicious white “creamer” powder full of mystery and unpronounceable chemicals. Yum! I paused. “Hmm, better at least try to use fewer packets of sweetener. I’ll go with half.” I then experienced momentary guilt for cheating on our commitment, but I tell myself Hubs will understand. Didn’t he describe black coffee with no creamer and no sweetener as “like drinking a cup of fresh brewed hatred”? Yeah, he’d understand. Besides, he won’t know.
I’d just sat and taken my first sip when Hubs came out of the bedroom. He took one look at my cup and launched into a lecture about all the reasons we chose to do the WHOLE30; how we want to be healthier for our daughter; how the current discomfort is only temporary and will result in long term benefits. He reminded me of all the things we had discussed before we decided to take this journey. And I felt guilty. But I also felt uncertain. Perhaps I was never really committed to this process; otherwise I would not have kept those items so readily accessible. This reminded me of the scripture below. As a result of this lesson, I’ve had to rethink my commitment. I’ve also realized that we need to be willing to totally dispense with those items or habits we wish to get rid of. It’s not enough to kind of commit to stopping while still permitting easy access to those things, while still keeping them around. Too bad for me it took a little shaming to learn that lesson.
“…and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
~Romans 13:14 (NASB)
Read more here.
WHOLE30 Meal of the Day (dinner)
Simple Roasted Chicken with Caribbean Roasted Root Veggies & Salad
It’s 7:30 on a Friday, and I’m not happy. I have a splitting headache, a pretty wicked case of PMS (or whatever it’s called when your period has actually started) as well as a really weird taste in my mouth, and I’m not all that interested in dinner.
Ordinarily, this is my favorite day of the week. Hubs comes home early from work and helps with baby care. We have “breakfast for dinner,” and we watch a movie. The weekend stretches out before us with the promise of extra sleep and free time as a family. But tonight it’s different because Hubs and I have undertaken the WHOLE30 challenge for the month of April 2016. Neither one of us is in a very good mood, and neither one of us is terribly excited about breakfast for dinner without buttery toast with jelly or pancakes. We’re both having cravings. Hubs is seriously craving sugar. I’m seriously craving artificial sweeteners which I’ll admit to having consumed in ever-increasing quantities over the years – sprinkling those little packets over everything from coffee to fruit to salad (Don’t judge! A little Stevia mixed with dijon makes a mighty fine low-cal honey mustard dressing, but I digress). I’m also yearning for my beloved sugar-free “tropical” flavored popsicles with their neon (artificial) colors and bizarrely satisfying chemically concocted tartness.
As I sit here, pondering my suffering and feeling terribly sorry for myself I happen to glance at my daughter happily playing beside me in her little infant chair. She giggles spontaneously as she tosses her beloved butterfly toy and it makes a noise that delights her. Suddenly, I am reminded by my daughter’s laughter as to why we committed to the WHOLE30, what we were thinking in the first place. We wanted to invest 30 days of effort and discomfort in order to feel better in the long run, in order to build ourselves up and equip ourselves for the long haul of parents. That’s my motivation. That is my intention. I want to be a healthier, more energetic mother. I am willing to do without some things for 30 days. I am willing to do the work to prune away the bad habits and unhealthy junk that I’ve accumulated in order to become a better mom in the long term.
The wise woman builds her house. But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
~ Proverbs 14:1 (NASB)
Read more here.
For more information on the WHOLE30 plan, check out this link: The WHOLE30
When it comes to aging healthfully and beautiful, it’s all about controlling the controllables. Review this quick list of the most aging habits. I’ll bet you find at least one habit that hits close to home. For me, that’s habits #6, 8 listed below. In fairness, it’s pretty easy to convince yourself that you are or would classified as “an active person” when you work out a few times per week. But working out 4 or 5 times per week and spend the remainder of your time sitting or reclining, you do NOT qualify as an active person. I was not active. Even now, I usually vacillate somewhere between sedentary and lightly active. I don’t have an active job or do heavy labor like a construction worker or an environmental services worker.
1. You’re a Couch Potato – Sure, sometimes you can’t make it to the gym. But if you find excuses to avoid exercise on a regular basis, you’re sure to add years to your RealAge. “Burning less than 500 calories a day through some sort of exercise makes your risk for death from any cause extraordinarily high,” says Keith Roach, MD, Sharecare’s chief medical officer. Getting little to no exercise directly increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health problems. The good news: You’re never too old or out of shape to start exercising. One way to get started: Walk 10 minutes a day and gradually build up to 10,000 steps.
2. You Overdo Happy Hour – According to Dr. Roach, there is an association between moderate alcohol consumption and decreased risk of heart disease. But downing more than two drinks daily (for men; more than one drink for women) puts pressure on your vital organs and can cause health problems like liver disease, high blood pressure and weight gain. Binge drinking (more than four or five drinks at a time) is even worse. If you don’t drink, there’s no need to start. “You’re not giving things up by not being a drinker,” says Roach. “And you’re avoiding problems of excess alcohol, which are much greater than the potential benefits.”
3. You Eat Like You’re Still in College – If burgers, pizza and ice cream are a regular part of your diet, you’re headed for major agers like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. That’s because saturated and trans fats raise LDL cholesterol – the “bad” kind that builds up in arteries, blocking blood flow, damaging blood vessels and causing inflammation. Do your heart a favor by chowing down on more lean protein (like chicken or fish), fruits and veggies. MyPlate recommends that most people get four to five cups of fruits and veggies a day. And don’t forget the whole grains. A diet rich in whole grains can help you avoid diabetes, heart disease and gum disease – not to mention belly fat.
4. You Light Up – We probably don’t have to tell you that smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your health. “Smoking has a detrimental effect on almost every cell in the body,” says Mehmet Oz, MD. Smoking increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, as well as lung, blood, bladder, esophageal, kidney, mouth, throat, stomach and uterine cancer. The good news: The health benefits of quitting smoking are almost immediate. Within just 20 minutes after quitting the American Cancer Society says your heart rate and blood pressure drop. As more time goes by you also lower your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
5. You Stress Over Everything – We all get stressed out from time to time. But if your stress level is through the roof on a regular basis, — whether from work, family problems or financial troubles — you can bet your health will take a serious hit. Memory loss, high blood pressure, weight gain and a weakened immune system are just some of the ways your body responds to high, chronic stress. Your skin suffers, too. Stress causes free radicals to run wild, breaking down collagen and creating wrinkles. The solution: Find ways to stress less. Regular exercise and relaxing with yoga or meditation can help. But if you find it’s not enough, you may want to consult with a professional counselor.
6. You Sit More than You Stand – Long hours with your butt planted on a chair at work and later on the couch at home can add up to big health problems. Research has linked prolonged sitting to cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Spending time on your bum also negatively affects your blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and appetite hormone leptin, all of which are biomarkers for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, moderate exercise to counteract the effects of sitting all day long doesn’t work. Even if you spend an hour a day exercising, spending just five to six hours a day sitting with few to no breaks may be as bad as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.
7. You’re UN-happily Married – Wedded bliss can keep you happy and healthy, including lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. “It likely has to do with less stress, from the emotional support of a partner to sharing affection and intimacy,” says Roach. But a marriage on the rocks can send stress levels sky high. Who suffers most? A study reported in the journal Health Psychology found that women in unsatisfying marriages have higher blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI. Plus, they suffer more from depression, anxiety and anger.
8. You Mainly See Your Friends Online – You may have a lot of Facebook friends, but if you don’t have close friends or family to connect with in real life, your RealAge will suffer. Not having people to turn to in times of trouble has been associated with poor health. “The worst thing is to feel alone with no one to talk to,” says Roach. On the other hand, a strong social network nurtured by face time with family and friends has been shown to boost your mood, improve your ability to cope with adversity and can strengthen your immune system. If your circle of friends is lacking, consider ways to forge new connections, whether it’s volunteering in your community, joining a book club or teaming up with a group of walkers.
9. You Skimp on Sleep – Are you a chronic sleep skipper? If you get less than six to nine hours a night, your body will let you know it’s not a happy camper. For starters, it throws off your appetite-regulating hormones in ways that make you eat more and gain weight. It’s also been linked to heart disease and stroke. Too little sleep doesn’t do your noggin any favors, either. General brain fog means you’re more forgetful, less alert and apt to make poor decisions.
10. You Neglect Your Smile – Brushing and flossing may not be your favorite activities, but showing your teeth regular love is a RealAge must! Neglecting your pearly whites can lead to gum disease and tooth loss, factors that can lead to inflammation. “Chemicals, bacteria and inflammation in your mouth can predispose you to developing heart disease,” says Roach. Good oral care (brushing and flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups) can boost health – and keep your smile bright.
Hi I'm Karen.
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