All In – Making a Lasting Commitment to the WHOLE30 Lifestyle

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!

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.”

Incidentally, for a couple of real food recipes that deliciously replace those sad soy substitutes, click these links and thank me later:
Paleo Leap’s Coconut Crusted Chicken Strips
WHOLE30 Thanksgiving in a Meatball

Wishing you peace, wisdom and delicious whole food meals in the coming weeks!

Wisdom of the Day:
They will turn their backs on the truth and turn to myths.
II Timothy 4:4 (Common English Bible)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
From Immunity Foods 20 Easy & Tasty WHOLE30 Lunch Recipes
(PS: Recipe #16 will blow your mind!)

The (Coconut) Oil of Gladness + WHOLE30 Bulletproof Coffee

I have written previously about my love for cooking with all iterations of coconut oil. Vegetables, in particular, seem to respond deliciously to a hearty helping my fav oil and hefty doses of heat and salt. The result is almost always crispy green yumminess that rivals any bagged potato chip I’ve ever tasted. But coconut oil’s uses are not limited to cooking. A fact of which you are no doubt aware, if you frequent online beauty sites (for example: Pop Sugar, Total Beauty, etc.); follow any health or beauty-related YouTube Vloggers (e.g. FitLifeTV, JenerationDIY, and MANY more);  or really have spent any amount of time online recently. Coconut oil is trending as the magical multi-purpose oil touted as everything from shaving cream (messy but reasonably effective in my experience) to leave-in hair conditioner (works well but I’d suggest only applying from mid-shaft to ends and not roots to avoid limp, greasy hair) to cure-all for eczema and lice (thankfully, can’t speak to its efficacy for those particular afflictions…yet). Instagram alone offers a dizzying array of coconut oil-based DIY facial scrubs promising to eliminate old acne scars, age spots, fine lines and cellulite; guaranteed to leave you with smoother, brighter, younger looking skin. Wow! All that, and crispy delicious brussels sprouts, too. Truly amazing!

Well, I’m here to tell you about 2 uses for coconut oil not previously mentioned in Internet Land.
#1. Caring for sensitized baby skin – From an aesthetic perspective, there’s not a lot to “correct” about baby skin. But infant skin can be very fragile and reactive, especially during transitional periods or bouts of illness. My daughter is now 7 months old. She inherited her father’s fair, sensitive skin and allergies (see pic below). She’s also teething, i.e. drooling a lot. When she developed her first ever cold a few days ago (and the runny nose, congestion and sinus drainage that goes along with it, cue sad Mommy face), the combination of factors resulted in an itchy irritated rash on her face, neck and chest. Fortunately, we keep a bottle of fractionated coconut oil spray on the changing table (as I’ll explain below). We just spray a little on a clean facial tissue, then wipe her face, neck and chest twice per day. Following this regimen, the rash resolved within 72 hours. Obviously I’m thrilled that the rash healed so quickly, but I’m especially pleased that she no longer seems so uncomfortable. Also, it’s reassuring to know that if she gets any of the oil in her mouth (and she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth right now), it is nontoxic, chemical and preservative-free unlike any other facial/baby wipe we may have used and unlike any cosmetic or medicated cream or ointment.

Daddy & Baby - both use coconut oil to soothe their sensitive skins! <3

Daddy & Baby – both use coconut oil to soothe their sensitive skins. Swoon!

#2. Coconut oil is a phenomenally effective baby poop cleaner-upper (yep I’m going there) – As I said my daughter is teething. She’s also beginning to eat some solid foods, and she’s had this mucus-y cold. All these things combine to produce some very sticky, icky, tough-to-clean-up poopy diapers. Enter the magic fractionated coconut oil spray. A few simple spritzes of the miraculous spray oil before “going in for the wipe,” and cleanup time is easily cut in half, maybe cut down by ¾. It cuts right through the “mess,” allowing Mommy or Daddy to tidy up the area quickly and with far fewer wet wipes, saving time and money, and parental exposure to toxic ickiness.

Various coconut oil treatment options from darling daughter's changing table.

Various coconut oil treatment options from darling daughter’s changing table.

So now that I’ve offered you a whole new (terrifying?) perspective on the varied uses for and amazing powers of this extraordinary oil that brings happiness to so many, allow me to bring the subject back full circle to food – to a deliciously warm, chocolately and satisfying blender drink. Too soon for that image? I hope not, because I’m talking about COFFEE! As every mother knows, it’s always okay to talk about baby poop – to talk about almost anything – as long as there’s coffee.

Coconut Oil Coffee – The Saga Continues:

From chemical-laden to coconut goodness - coffee bliss at last!

From chemical-laden to coconut goodness – coffee bliss at last!

Back story – I wrote about my struggle to let go of artificial (powdered) coffee creamer at the beginning of our WHOLE30 journey and again mid-way through the program when I realized the powdered chemical-laden gunk was delaying my progress. Though Hubs’ iced option kept me caffeinated and headache-free, I never found a truly satisfying alternative. Then, a few days after completing the program, I discovered the fabulous Coconut Mama.

The Internet has long been a-buzz with the promise of multiple benefits from what has been termed “Bulletproof Coffee” see also slide #2 in this Total Beauty slide show. Now, I haven’t touched dairy in any form for years, so the idea of adding (even) grass-fed butter to my all-important coffee seemed downright sacrilegious to me (and though WHOLE30 allows for the use of clarified butter, I’ve been – quite frankly – too darned lazy, and still too dairy-averse to even go there). Plus, I’ve always wondered – if the active ingredient is the MCT oil, why not forgo the butter and just use an oil that’s high in MCT fats to begin with, i.e. coconut oil? So several years ago I tried adding coconut oil to my coffee but was left with a very unappetizing puddle of oil sitting atop my cup, leaving me with no choice but to pour out my otherwise pristine caffeinated cup o’ goodness. So when I stumbled upon Coconut Mama’s recipe for coconut oil coffee, it rocked my world (or at least my AM routine)! What follows is my own adapted version of Tiffany’s (AKA “The Coconut Mama’s”) recipe. Hubs and I now choose this option regularly for our coffee (hey we’re trying to keep up with a teething 7 month-old after all), and it’s been a wonderful switch! I hope you will enjoy it as well!

WHOLE Bullet-Proof Coffee (with Coconut Oil)

• 10oz. Freshly Brewed Coffee
• 1/2 Tbsp. (that’s 1.5 tsp. BTW) extra virgin coconut oil (I used Carrington Farms brand)
• 1/2 Tbsp. gelatin (optional, I used Great Lakes brand)
• 1 tsp. pure, unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2-3 drops liquid stevia (optional, omit during WHOLE30. I used SweetLeaf Chocolate)
• Additional toppings like cinnamon, nutmeg or unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Carefully pour hot coffee into your blender cup.
2. Add coconut oil and any other flavorings or sweeteners you’re using. Stir briefly to combine.
3. Place the lid on your blender then blend up your coffee.
The result will have a nice frothy “head” like a fancy coffee shop drink (see pic below).
Once blended, pour it into your cup. I like to sprinkle mine with unsweetened shredded coconut (because, can you ever have too much?).
To Make WHOLE30 Compliant:
• Omit stevia
• Again double-check the cocoa powder you’re using to ensure it contains no sweeteners or unapproved additives
• Feel free to use any approved spices you enjoy!

Wisdom of the Day:
(For the Lord has sent me) …to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vindication for our God, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for Zion’s mourners, to give them a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
~Isaiah 61:2-3 (Common English Bible)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
The fabulous Coconut Mama offers free e-book with recipes using coconut flour that are sure to please any coconut aficionado (or fanatic such as myself).

Easy Cheezy Chicken & Broccoli Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons (Paleo & WHOLE30 Friendly)

Mmmmmmm soup!

+++This post has been updated including a modification to one of the original ingredients and an added comment below.

Ever since I wrote about the recent Healthgrove study identifying the top 30 foods for beauty, I have been a little annoyed with myself. Here I am writing a blog about beauty, with the goal of helping women feel more beautiful every day through diet, and wise choices for health and home. And, because of the amazing WHOLE30 experience, I’ve been able to share some great recipes (at least I hope they’re great). But I realized that only a few of the recipes I’ve posted thus far included ingredients listed among those top 30 foods for beauty. So I’m challenging myself to create at least 1 new Paleo (and WHOLE30-friendly) recipe for each of the 27 foods in that list (not including the 3 legumes).

I chose to start this challenge with a difficult ingredient right out of the gate – BROCCOLI. If you’ve read any of my recipes previously, you’ve probably noticed my references to Hubs’ utter abhorrence for 3 specific vegetables – namely, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and (you guessed it) broccoli. He calls them “the 3 deadly veggies.” Prior to WHOLE30, he’d positively refused to even taste any of them, claiming even one bite would cause him to “hurl” (his word not mine). That’s why I considered my Oven Fried Sprouts and Paleo Chop Suey such victories – because he not only ate but actually enjoyed Brussels sprouts and cauliflower (respectively). But broccoli still eluded me, until now.

Hubs "deadly" trio of vegetables - cauliflower, brussels sprouts & broccoli

Hubs “deadly” trio of vegetables – cauliflower, brussels sprouts & broccoli

The secret to this recipe is the cheese-like flavor imparted by the combination of nutrient yeast, pumpkin and mustard. The coconut milk contributes extra creaminess and that certain satisfying something that saturated fat always provides. When Hubs pronounced it: “super delicious” and suggested the recipe be posted under the title “heavenly chicken yum fest,” I knew we had a winner! If your family members are also broccoli-phobic, may I humbly suggest this recipe as a means of sneaking this beautifying veggie into their meals without the usual complaints and dramatics. May you enjoy in good health and peaceful dinner times!


• 1-40 oz. (2.5 lb.) bag frozen chicken breast tenderloins, no need to defrost
• ½ sweet onion chopped
• 1 14oz. can coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen Organic)+++
• 16 oz. homemade or organic chicken broth (be sure to use broth without unapproved additives)
• ½ cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix, be sure no added sweeteners)
• ½ cup instant potato flakes (see note below)+++
• 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
• ½ cup nutrient yeast
• 1 Tbsp. spicy mustard+++ (not dijon, be sure that the mustard you use does NOT contain white wine, other unapproved additives if doing #WHOLE30)
• ½ tsp. white pepper
• ½ tsp. garlic powder
• 1 tsp. turmeric
• 1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
• 12oz. bag frozen broccoli spears or florets, no need to defrost
• 1 Tbsp. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos Sauce

+++The original version of this recipe listed “dijon mustard” instead of spicy mustard among the ingredients. Upon further review, I discovered that most dijon mustards contain white wine which is off limits during #WHOLE30. Oops! So I’ve updated this recipe to more accurately reflect the #WHOLE30 program rules. This is an example of why it’s so important to read the book It Starts with Food and familiarize yourself with the #WHOLE30 website before beginning your own #WHOLE30 journey, to avoid mistakes like I made. It’s also important to always check the ingredient lists of any products you plan to consume when doing #WHOLE30. Some instant potato flakes contain sulfite preservatives or other additives not approved for consumption during WHOLE30 (and which aren’t healthy for us to consume anyway). I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes. Also, be sure to check your coconut milk to be sure it contains no sulfites (a type of preservative commonly used in canned coconut milk which is listed among those additives off limits during the WHOLE30 program). For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program do’s and don’ts as well as answers to just about any #WHOLE30 questions you may have, I highly recommend you check out the program rules here. Don’t miss the other resources available at WHOLE30’s website to educate yourself prior to beginning your own WHOLE30 journey or whenever you have questions or need some support (the Facebook and Twitter feeds are tremendous sources of encouragement and support). And again I encourage you to read the book It Starts with Food. It’s chalked full of useful information and helpful tips to make surviving the whole 30 days a whole lot more tolerable (pun intended).

• Crockpot
• Crockpot Liner Bag (optional)

1. Place liner in crockpot (if using) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Next add chicken tenderloins, chopped onions, broth, coconut milk, pumpkin and seasoning to pot. Stir to combine and place lid on mixture.
2. Cook on HIGH setting for 2 hours. Then stir in instant mashed potato flakes. Stir well to combine.
3. Cover pot again and continue cooking on HIGH crockpot setting for 1 more hour.
4. Remove lid and add broccoli. Again stir well to combine. Turn heat to LOW.
5. Cover pot and allow mixture to cook 30 minutes more. Then turn heat to WARM. Soup will keep like this for up to 90 minutes but continue stirring occasionally.
6. Just before serving, stir in Coconut Aminos sauce and test for seasoning. Add salt, pepper etc. as desired.
7. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and serve with crispy potatoes sprinkled on top as croutons (recipe follows).
Makes about 5 servings.
N.B. This soup is fairly thick. You may “thin it out” by adding additional broth, water or coconut milk. Be sure to taste and adjust the seasonings if you choose to add more liquid.

Crispy Potato Croutons

• 1.5 lb. Baby Red Potatoes, washed (unpeeled)
• 2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted
• 1 tsp. Salt plus additional salt
• 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
• Dash Oregano Flakes

1. Wash and dry potatoes but do not peel. Cut the spuds into more or less uniform size pieces (halves or thirds depending on size of each potato).
2. Place potato pieces along with all remaining ingredients in a bowl. No need to stir just yet. Microwave on HIGH for 5-6 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave.
3. While the potatoes cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit), and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray (I used Pam nonstick coconut oil).
4. Remove potatoes from microwave, add all remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Be sure potatoes are evenly covered with oil and seasonings. Then turn mixture onto prepared cookie sheet, being sure to distribute evenly on sheet. Sprinkle mixture lightly with additional salt.
5. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until desired crispiness.

Creamy, yummy, tasty goodness!

Creamy, yummy, tasty goodness!

Resource of the Day:
Do you have sensitive eyes that get red, itchy and irritated? My mother suffers with this problem and has avoided wearing mascara as result. Sad because mascara is probably the single most impactful eye makeup product. Check out this list of the best mascaras for sensitive, allergy-prone eyes. Mom and I like Clinique’s High Impact Mascara. For my money, it’s one of the top 3 best mascaras on the market, and I don’t have sensitive eyes!

Wisdom of the Day:
The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
~Psalm 145:15-16 (New American Standard Bible)
Read more here.

WHOLE30 Motivation – The 30 Best Foods for Beautiful Hair & Skin

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 5.17.46 PM

Researchers at Healthgrove just released their comprehensive study identifying the top 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair. Not coincidentally (at least not to me), all but 3 of the foods on the list are WHOLE30-approved. And those 3 foods not approved for consumption during WHOLE30 (numbers 18, 22 and 25 noted with * on the list below) are legumes. There are NO grains, pseudo grains or dairy foods on the list. So if you’re struggling to find the motivation to start WHOLE30 or you’re having a hard time sticking to your WHOLE30, take some time and read this study, then have a good long look in the mirror. Ask yourself, “do I want thicker, shinier hair? Would I look better with clearer, brighter, younger-looking skin?” I’ll bet you’ll find renewed motivation to get with the WHOLE30 Program!

You can read the entire article, including how the study authors created the list, as well as complete nutritional information for each food, here.

I have provided the complete list of the top 30 foods below along with links to a few WHOLE30 recipes from Daily Beauty Wisdom and other sites. Enjoy!

1. Sweet Potatoes
2. Red Bell Pepper
3. Kale
4. Collard Greens
5. Papaya
6. Beat Greens
7. Butternut Squash
8. Spinach
9. Wild Rainbow Trout
10. Pacific Oysters
11. Swordfish
12. Bitter Melon
13. Pumpkin
14. Sockeye Salmon
15. Oranges
16. Carrots
17. Strawberries
18. Lima Beans*
19. Brussels Sprouts
20. Broccoli Spears
21. Red Grapefruit
22. Pea pods*
23. Lemons
24. Sunflower Seeds
25. Green Peas*
26. Almonds
27. Cranberry Juice
28. Steamed Clams
29. Zucchini
30. Pacific Halibut

Resource of the Day:
Speaking of beautiful skin, with the days getting warmer and the sun hotter and brighter, it’s time to re-evaluate your daily sunscreen. Check out this list of the 12 best sunscreens according to Total

Wisdom of the Day
O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him.
~Psalm 34:8 (Amplified Bible)
Read more here.

Paleo Chop Suey Stir-fry (with WHOLE30 option*)

Another day, another evening and I found myself standing in the kitchen wondering “what the heck are we gonna have for dinner?” As I scrounged through the refrigerator, it noticed that we had a bunch of leftovers that desperately needed to be used before I have to throw them out. This is exactly the type of occasion that calls for a big ol’ stir-fry!

Since I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to try out that fabulous cauliflower ricing technique, I decided this was exactly that moment, especially since I just so happened to have a couple of bags of washed and ready to use florets in the fridge.
Now, I’d seen several comments from other bloggers indicating they’d be willing to pay extra to purchase pre-riced cauliflower and had thought smugly to myself “not me. I’m a thrifty little housewife. Surely I can whip out my handy-dandy food processor and make short work of those crunchy white florets.” But not so fast my presumptuous little home chef! I now understand why so many people choose to pay a little more to avoid the hassle of ricing cauliflower. I’ll tell you what to do and some pitfalls to avoid, should you decide to make your own Paleo rice using what Hubs not-so-affectionately calls “the white broccoli.” You may as well learn from my pain!

The end result was incredibly tasty and praised by all. Hubs (who counts cauliflower among his “3 deadly veggies” along with broccoli and Brussels sprouts) even had 2 helpings. Score one for the thrifty little housewife! I think your family will enjoy this recipe as well.

The end result - a big pan of stir-fried yumminess!

The end result – a big pan of stir-fried yumminess!

PS: Don’t be intimidated by the lengthy ingredient list. You’ll find that you probably have most of the seasonings on hand. You can easily swap out any of the veggies for whatever you have available (e.g. broccoli for green beans, onions for celery, cabbage for carrots and so on). And with the exception of eggs, any of the proteins can exchanged for other meats you happen to have available.

• 1 medium head cauliflower or 2 (10oz.) bags ready-to-use florets
• 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
• ½ tsp. turmeric+++
• 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
• 2 Tbsp. no sugar added orange juice
• 1-2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and diced fine (or 1 tsp. dried ginger)
• ½ tsp. garlic powder
• 3 large carrots, peeled cut into thick slices
• 3 stalks celery, cut into large slices
• ½ red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
• 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed well
• 1 cup steamed green beans
• 2 Tbsp. dark (toasted) sesame oil, divided
• 6 oz. pre-cooked (leftover) chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 2 leftover cooked sausages, sliced*
• 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
• ½ cup liquid egg whites
• 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
• 1 Tbsp. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
• ¼ cup chopped cashews
• 1 packet stevia* (optional, skip if doing WHOLE30)
• nonstick cooking spray (I used nonstick coconut oil spray)

• Food processor
• Large non-stick pan or wok (preferably with lid)

1. If starting with whole cauliflower, wash and chop. Then place half the cauliflower into canister of your food processor. If using bagged (pre-washed and cut) cauliflower, simply dump 1 bag into canister of food processor. Process half the mixture by pulsing on LOW until desired consistency.
2. Transfer riced cauliflower to a large bowl and repeat with remaining (unprocessed) cauliflower.
3. N.B. Do NOT try to rice all the cauliflower at once. Trust me. I tried to do this and it didn’t work. I had to stop and take out half the cauliflower by hand (NOT fun) in order to remove the portion of cauliflower that was fully riced before it turned to paste.

Here’s what you do not want your food processor to look like:

Do NOT do this! Notice how I overfilled the canister beyond the max capacity line? Do not make this mistake.

Do NOT do this! Notice how I overfilled the canister beyond the max capacity line? Do not make this mistake. Save yourself the time and annoyance by ricing the cauliflower in 2 batches.

4. After all cauliflower is riced, add turmeric and sea salt to cauliflower and stir well to combine. Then microwave mixture on HIGH for 3-5 minutes (depending on microwave size/strength). Set aside.
5. Assemble all remaining ingredients. I put all the vegetables in one bowl (separate from cauliflower); all the meat in another bowl; the eggs in measuring cup; and had seasonings nearby.
6. Spray pan with coconut oil cooking spray. Then add coconut oil, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and orange juice to pan. Place pan over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Allow pan to heat for about 3 minutes.
7. Add ginger, garlic powder and heat for 2 minutes over MEDIUM-HIGH heat, stirring continuously.
8. Next stir in celery, carrots, pepper and water chestnuts. Stir well. Allow to cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Then add green beans, chicken and sausage. Stir well to combine. Cook about 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
10. Combine beaten eggs with egg whites. Stir to thoroughly mix, then pour over mixture in pan. Stir to combine. Continue to stir as mixture cooks to scramble the eggs. Should take about 3 minutes.
11. Turn off the heat and if possible cover pan with a lid. Allow mixture to rest about 5 minutes.
12. Just before serving sprinkle mixture with remaining Tbsp. of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Coconut Aminos sauce and stevia (if using). Then stir to combine. Then sprinkle with cashews. Serve & Enjoy. Makes about 8 servings!

My mother (who also dislikes cauliflower) helped herself to 3 servings!!!

My mother (who also dislikes cauliflower) helped herself to 3 servings!!!

* To make this recipe WHOLE30 approved take the following steps – Do not add stevia; Make sure the juice you use is pure unsweetened OJ with no sugar added; and be sure that the sausages have no sugar added. As I’ve mentioned, we like Aidell’s brand organic chicken and apples which have no added sugars or nasty stuff. Check out the WHOLE30 Approved list for other approved protein brands.


Enjoy this whole food stir-fry is good health! #WHOLE30 #Paleo #JERF #grainfree #dairyfree #primal

Resources of the Day:+++
Turmeric is a spice with powerful anti-inflammatory properties that imparts a mild, warm flavor. I find it goes well with mustard, ginger, cinnamon and other warm spices. It also imparts a lovely golden color to this dish, making the cauliflower look even more like fried rice. To read more about turmeric’s proven health benefits and to discover a new recipe to help you increase your turmeric consumption, check out these links:
10 Evidence-based Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric among the World’s Healthiest Foods
Dr. Weil’s 3 Reasons to Eat & Drink Turmeric

Wisdom for the Day:
“(The excellent woman of virtue) She is like the merchant ships abounding with treasure; She brings her household’s food from far away.”
~Proverbs 31:14 (Amplified)
Read more here.

The Best Tinted Moisturizer/BB Cream You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

I’ll bet you think you already know everything there is to know about BB Creams, CC creams and the whole alphabet of tinted moisturizers. You’ve probably heard that Beauty or Blemish Balms, like many of today’s makeup and skincare trends, originated in South Korea. BBs were designed as all-purpose balms to offer several benefits in a single product thereby eliminating the need for several skincare steps (something for which Korean beauty regimens are renown). Generally speaking, authentic BB Creams provide broad spectrum (both UVA and UVB) sun protection along with other skin beneficial goodies like antioxidants, hydrators, brightening agents, etc. as well some novel additives of dubious benefit (snail secretion anyone?).

True BB creams are an ideal match for busy moms in need of a single product that provides multiple benefits – coverage, sun protection and some healthful skin treats. But unless you have a friend or relative who travels to Korea and can hook you up with a continuous supply of authentic Korean BBs minus the expensive and time-consuming shipping, you’ve probably been using the ones readily available locally.

Lost in Translation
The problem with BB and CC creams widely available in the USA and Europe is most are little more than glorified tinted moisturizers. The added benefits are just an afterthought, amounting to no more than a smattering, way down on the ingredient list after such nasties as fragrance, volatile plant oils and even alcohol. Incredibly, several of the most expensive BB products out there do NOT provide broad spectrum protection against both UVA (the main factor in wrinkle development and aging of skin (yes, I’m looking at you, Lancome) and UVB rays. Blows my mind when there’s so much research proving how damaging UVA rays are for all types of skin tones (Source! Even among products offering broad spectrum protection, many have SPF ratings no higher than 30. However, in order to reach that level of sun protection, you’d have to apply a full tablespoon of product, and I don’t know anyone using that much, certainly not when some brands have the nerve to charge more than $50 for their products (yep, still you, Lancome)! But I’m happy to report there is a product out there that is every bit as good as true Korean BB creams, and I’ll bet you’ve never heard of it.

Revision Intellishade SPF45 ($45) is a truly great tinted moisturizer and (despite the name) Intellishade qualifies as an honest-to-goodness beauty balm with a many benefits.
Here’s why I love it: First, it has an SPF of 45 with broad-spectrum sunscreen. This means that you’re totally protected from both UVA (the main factor in wrinkle development and aging of skin. Again reference and UVB rays. The higher SPF means that even if you don’t use a full tablespoon and even if you don’t use a daytime moisturizer with sunscreen underneath this product (I get it, you’re too busy to be bothered with multiple sunscreen steps in the morning), you’re still getting a good amount of protection. Intellishade also contains 3 different types of peptides specially formulated to target multiple layers of skin cells (reference: Beautypedia Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary); a stabilized form of Vitamin C for antioxidant protection and to brighten skin as well as Green Tea Leaf extract and Vitamin E (tocopheryl) for even more antioxidant support; along with several other ingredients (listed below) which have been proven to provide hydration, decrease irritation and inflammatory response of the skin and combat wrinkles and aging. It’s also available in two formulations – regular (for normal to very dry skin types) and matte (for oily skin). The sole shade is very neutral will work for most light to tan skin tones. Very dark skin shades may find it a tad light, but I’ve never tested that theory. According to Revision, the product magically blends with all skin shades and tones (hence the name).

I can testify to how gentle this product is on even the most sensitive skin. It’s so gentle, in fact, that I actually used it immediately following a fractional laser treatment. Now if you’ve ever had that particular treatment you know that 1.) it hurts (like a lot) and 2.) you should never expose your freshly lasered skin to sunlight. Usually you wouldn’t want to apply anything to your face immediately after this treatment either, but I’d made the mistake of scheduling my treatment at noon in the middle of summer in Florida (by the way, do NOT make this mistake), so I needed some SPF before walking out of the doctor’s office. I slapped on some Intellishade and (to my surprise) suffered no consequences in the days that followed – no bumps or irritations developed despite having applied it directly on raw, exposed skin. It’s that soothing, and it’s that gentle!

Ingredient Highlights:
• Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide. Physical sunscreens providing broad-spectrum (UVA+UVB) protection.
• Blend of 3 peptides – reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Vitamin C (THD Ascorbate). Brightens and provides antioxidant benefits.
• Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Beeswax & Aloe Leaf Extract – offer skin-soothing hydration & anti-inflammatory benefits.
• White Birch Extract, Yeast Extract, Plankton Extract and CoQ10 – help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Octinoxate & Octisalate. Provide UVB protection.
• Vitamin E & Green Tea Leaf Extract – provide additional antioxidant protection.
• Lecithin – reduces the appearance of pore size.

So Why Haven’t You Heard of This Amazing Product?
Well first of all, you can’t just walk into CVS or Walgreens and find Revision’s products. You won’t find them at ULTA or Sephora either, not even in department stores. Revision products are available exclusively through dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons offices. And not all these docs sell Revision. Believe me. I’ve checked. To locate a doctor’s office near you that sells Revision, you’ll need to use the “Where to Buy” locator feature on the Revision website found here. (FYI – Docs that sell Revision almost always have free sample sizes they’re happy to give if you want to try before you buy. And most offices are happy to ship it to you if you order by phone.)

Another reason you may not have heard of this product is related to their market focus. Because Revision sells exclusively through physicians and med-spas, their products are not featured in Allure or Cosmo. I’ve never heard of a Kardashian using Intellishade (they totally should, given the amount of $ they spend on cosmetic procedures, but I digress). You may see an occasional ad in More or New Beauty Magazines (check out this review from New Beauty’s blog). But if you’re like me, you probably haven’t been reading too many magazines lately. You’re probably too busy chasing your kids around to sit around, leisurely leafing through periodicals.

But trust me. This product is well worth the time it takes to locate it and purchase it. We are talking about your face here. And this is going to save you time and money in the long run. Remember it combines several steps into one and will get you pretty faster and out the door quicker. And just think about the money you’ll save not needing laser treatments for sunspots. With all that SPF, you’ll need fewer Botox treatments (if you’re so inclined). I hope I’ve convinced you to try it. Samples are available for purchase via eBay in both original and matte formulations if you’re curious but not yet ready to commit to a full-size product.

However, if you’re still not convinced and/or you just prefer a product you can pick up at your local Sephora, I present you with a second best option, a reasonable facsimile if you will.

Revision Original Intellishade and Dr. Jart's Premium Beauty Balm in Light/Medium

Revision Original Intellishade and Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm in Light/Medium

          The (Reasonable) Facsimile (and why it’s a 2nd best option):

Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm SPF45 ($39) is available in 2 shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. The former is more ivory/pink (warm) while the latter is more yellow, olive in tone. I would add that the Medium/Deep option is often sold out on Sephora’s website. So if that’s your color range, either grab it when it’s available or be prepared for a wait. Here’s a swatch of Intellishade (left) and Dr. Jart’s in Light/Medium (right).

As you can see the Intellishade is more of a neutral tone while Dr. Jart's is more pinky/ivory in tone.

As you can see the Intellishade is more of a neutral tone while Dr. Jart’s is more pinky/ivory in tone.

It features broad-spectrum sun protection provided by mineral sunscreens titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (same as Intellishade). Dr. Jart also toutes the inclusion of 2 key ingredients Arbutin (proven to lighten or brighten skin because it is a derivative of hydroquinone; reference) and Adenosine (a yeast-derived ingredient with proven anti-inflammatory properties; reference). However, if you are sensitive to hydroquinone, you may be sensitive to Arbutin as well, so keep that in mind. And the Adenosine is way down the ingredient list, just above (of all things to include in an anti-aging product) alcohol so it’s doubtful the adenosine will have a tremendous impact. Speaking of alcohol, the amount here is relatively low, but it’s worth noting. The primary antioxidant sources (Tocopheryl Acetate and Soybean Oil) are also in relatively low amounts (soybean oil is listed after Adenosine). The peptide complex (also highly touted in the marketing of this product) are even further down the list (all after the alcohol), meaning the amounts are very small and not comparable to the amounts in the Revision product. I’ve provided the full ingredient list below for reference. Finally, the singular formulation available will probably not work for all skin types. Oily skins types will likely not be satisfied with the emollient, almost shiny finish of this product.

Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm SPF45 Ingredients (per Sephora online):
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Arbutin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Calcium Stearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Talc, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Alcohol, Lecithin, rh-Oligopeptide-1, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, PVP, Platinum Powder, Steareth-20, Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide.

Check out one of these great products to save time and improve your face value!

Check out one of these great products to save time and improve your face value!

Verse of the Day:
Wisdom is worth much more than precious jewels or anything else you desire.
~Proverbs 8:11 (Common English Version)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Beautypedia Cosmetics Ingredients Dictionary

WHOLE30 Post Script Part II – Recommended Resources

What do YOU need to successfully complete your own WHOLE30?

What do YOU need to successfully complete your own WHOLE30?

WHOLE30 Follow-up Part II – Today’s entry is a continuation of my WHOLE30 follow-up series. In case you missed my first WHOLE30 Post Script, be sure to check it out here. In that post, I discussed the positives and negatives of the program. As I mentioned, for both Hubs and me, the pros far outweighed the cons. I continue to eat a primarily WHOLE30 diet, and we plan on doing another round at some point in the relatively near future. So today I will discuss the foods, tools and resources I recommend to help you successfully complete and enjoy your very own WHOLE30.

The Foods:
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1. Tessemae’s All Natural Dressings – As I wrote about in my Mayo Fiasco post, making your own salad dressings is admirable but not always a successful venture (at least not in my experience). Tessemae’s offers a number of WHOLE30-approved flavors and is available at several major market chains and online. Don’t fight it. Just buy it!
2. Wholly Guacamole – life-saving! You’ll use it as a salad dressing, snack, and go-to condiment.
(Save $1 on any WG product with this coupon)
3. Gwaltney’s No Sugar Added Bacon – bacon should really be viewed as a condiment rather than as a protein source. But should you decide to consume bacon during the WHOLE30 (I didn’t, but Hubs did), make sure you select a brand that contains no added sugars. This product not only has no added sugar, it’s also reduced fat (which is great because the bad stuff is usually stored in the fat of the meat) and cooks up nicely. The brand is readily available at Wal-Mart Supercenters.
4. Aidell’s Fully Cooked Chicken Sausages. The Organic Chicken & Apple sausages quickly became a fav at our house! And they’re indispensable for those nights when you’re in desperate need of a dinner entree (see my Day #15 post).
5. Carrington’s Coconut Oils (solid and liquid varieties)
6. Butterball Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast – As the Hartwig’s discuss in It Starts with Food, organic, grass-fed meats are always preferable. But we weren’t always able to afford those. So, the next best option is to select the leanest cuts of meat available (in order to avoid contaminants stored in the fat). Enter extra lean ground turkey, turkey tenderloins without marinades, etc. I used Butterball ground turkey breast in several WHOLE30 recipes including Turkey Cabbage Skillet and Paleo Thanksgiving Meatballs.
N.B. – Jennie-O makes a great line of fresh lean turkey products we recommend as well. But the Jennie-O turkey bacon contains added sugar so be sure to check labels before purchasing!
7. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos Sauce
8. Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Tenderloins (e.g. Tyson)
9. Nonstick Coconut Oil Spray (I used Pam)
10. Sweet potatoes – Keep a steady supply on hand. I used these in various ways as a side dish whenever we needed a bit more carbs. They’re indispensable!
11. Baby red potatoes and frozen, ready-to-use shredded potatoes – similar to above, they little guys saved me on more than one occasion when I had no idea what to serve with dinner. They’re ready quickly and amenable to a multitude of different preparations.
12. Frozen Steam-in-the-Bag Vegetables – Green Giant and PictSweet brands worked well for us because they’re readily available in our area. Check your local grocers’ frozen food sections for options available near you. Just remember corn is not a vegetable (it’s a grain), and peas (sweat peas, baby peas, black-eyed peas etc.) are legumes and not approved during the WHOLE30. Stick with green veggies like broccoli, spinach, green beans, brussels sprouts, cauliflower (not green but you catch my drift), and you’ll be fine. Oh and skip the bags that say “sauced” or “in sauce.” Those are guaranteed to have unapproved ingredients in them!
13. As many fresh fruits & veggies as you have room to store
14. A variety of nuts and seeds – you don’t want to go overboard with nuts, but they make a great salad topper and are a handy snack in a pinch. Just remember to keep it to 1 handful, not 6!
15. Eggs, lots and lots, and LOTS of eggs. As per the all-important oft-referenced official WHOLE30 timeline, you will eat so many eggs, so frequently and in so many iterations that you’ll likely be tired of them by day 10 or 11. But, trust me, you’ll keep on eating eggs throughout all 30 days so keep your supplies up.

The Hardware:
Nutribullet or Vitamix – having a sturdy and powerful blender on-hand proved invaluable for us!
• Large, nonstick frying pan – I used one nearly every night during dinner prep
• Parchment paper and/or aluminum foil

Helpful but Nonessential:
• Digestive Enzymes – I mentioned using digestive enzymes in my first WHOLE30 Postscript. For me, these were essential due to my compromised digestive capacity and in order to transition to a meat-based diet with higher protein and fat content than I’d previously consumed. Also, as I mentioned, I was hit with several hefty doses of antibiotics during labor which totally disrupted the balance of my intestinal flora. That’s a fancy/polite way of saying – I got gassy after every meal. My stomach seemed to be always distended, and I could relieve the bloat no matter what I tried. Some of the tummy swelling was related to diastase recti (which I discuss at length in this post and which is dramatically improved as I continue with my MUTU exercises). But a lot of the bloat was due to poor digestion, and enzymes have really helped. I’ve tried several brands and have found the best results (for me) with Enzymedica Digest Gold Capsules. In the USA, these may be purchased at Vitamin Shoppe stores (and Vitamin Shoppe online). And they are available from iHerb as well as
• Food Processor – for most things, a high-powered blender worked just as well if not better
• Nonstick electric skillet
• Hand mixer or emersion blender (AKA “boat motor”)
• Popsicle molds for making healthy no-sugar-added juice pops as posted here
• Toaster oven
• Outdoor gas or charcoal grill, though a large Foreman (tabletop) grill could also work

*** A partner – This may be the most important “thing” to have in your corner in order to improve your chances of successfully completing a WHOLE30. I would never have made it through all 30 days without the support and accountability my husband provided. Need proof, check out how quickly he caught me cheating. Likewise, we both needed the support of my mother (who lives with us but did not participate in WHOLE30 with us). My mother agreed not to bring cookies, candy and fast food into the house for the entirety of the 30 days. This was really helpful because there were days when I’m not completely certain I could have withstood the temptation. So, it’s important that you have the support of your family, spouse or roommate(s) even if he/she/they are not actively doing WHOLE30 with you.

Stay tuned for my third and final WHOLE30 postscript entry discussing reintroduction; how we are adapting to the post-WHOLE30 eating – the challenges that you may encounter re-entering the world of cakes, cookies and fast food as well as how to deal with the dangerous “now I can eat anything I want” mentality. Until then, I wish you health, joy and peace!

Verse of the Day:
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 4:19 (HCSB)
Read more here.

Resources of the Day:
1. Handy Dandy (Printable) WHOLE30 Shopping List
2. Non-scale Victory Checklist – find out all the positive results you could achieve during your WHOLE30 program
3. The Official WHOLE30 Timeline – Frequently referenced by me throughout this process. You may as well find out what you’re in for, right?

The Marvelous Magnificence of MUTU

My Results in Only 12 Weeks with MUTU

I’m a control freak. I admit it. Big changes and major life events tend to make me anxious. I generally try to cope by doing lots of research, making plans and taking steps to feel prepared, safe, like I have a sense of control over what’s happening. So when I got pregnant, I spent a lot of time researching various health issues that may affect pregnant women. Early in my first trimester, I stumbled upon a condition called Diastasis Recti (DR) and was fascinated. It was like I finally had an answer for why so many women in my family had what they affectionately referred to as “mummy tummys” despite being relatively thin after childbirth. My own mother always carried a bubble of bloat just below her waist despite dropping to only 97 pounds after I was born. She always said it was because she never did any ab exercises. I assumed she was correct and swore it would never happen to me.

I became obsessed with avoiding DR. When I read that doing crunches later into pregnancy could cause my abdominal muscles to separate and create the very condition I desperately wanted to avoid, I stopped crunching cold turkey. I insisted on getting out of bed sideways each and every time (even in the middle of the night). I fanatically avoided any movement that would strain my abdominals. I used supportive belly bands while exercising. I counted calories throughout my pregnancy so as not to gain too much weight (because I’d read that contributed to post-pregnancy belly bulge). I drank at least a gallon of pure, filtered water every day and gave up anything that might lead to bloat like dairy or diet sodas. I took tons of supplements. By my third trimester, I had a daily workout routine of at least 300 squats (guaranteed to make labor a breeze according to multiple websites) and walking at least 5 miles. I scoured the internet for “the best” postpartum compression girdle and had that bad boy delivered and packed in my hospital bag weeks before my due date. Yep, I had it all under control…that is until I went into labor.

When the Labor & Delivery began monitoring our daughter, they estimated her size as between 8.5 and 10 pounds. I knew at that point that I was not going to have the easy breezy labor I’d planned for (I’m a small person with narrow hips not designed to push out a large baby). I’ll spare you the details of my labor. In summary I was in labor for about 20 hours after my water broke. I pushed for about 2 hours. And though I dilated fully, my daughter just never “arrived.” Her head was stuck, and I needed an emergency C-Section. There were several moments during that 20 hours where I remember saying to the doctor, “just go get her (e.g. do the C Section now)” because I was concerned about my daughter’s safety and all my planning and vanity ceased to matter. When they wheeled me in for the surgery, I remember thinking, “I’m so glad we are doing this!” Ironically, when the doctor cut me open he also pulled my abdominal muscles apart just like you’d pull open a pair of curtains. He did exactly what I’d tried to avoid all those months, and I ended up with a great big split in my abdominals. And I’m happy he did it because I have a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Of course, I was left with not only bulging abdominals but a big surgical incision so I wasn’t even able to use the expensive compression girdles I’d purchased. Isn’t it funny how we think we are planning our steps, but God determines the ways we truly will go (Proverbs 16:9)?

Anyway, after about 2 months of recovery from major surgery and the even bigger life adjustment of having a newborn, I got the go-ahead from my doc to begin some physical activity. So I began searching for a program to rehab from DR and a C Section, and I found several articles recommending the MUTU system. After more research, I decided MUTU would be the best program for me, and Hubs generously offered to purchase for me as a Christmas gift. I started the program at 3 months postpartum and have posted my BEFORE and AFTER pics below. The results are really incredible. I am sharing my story because DR affects more that 65% of all mamas, and it is incredibly frustrating and may include some very problematic other symptoms. But recovery is possible even if your children are 5, 10 even 15 years old. Also, I think it’s important for us all to remember that as humans we can only control so much in life but there is comfort and peace in knowing the God who is in control of everything and in trusting that He has a good and perfect plan for each one of us (Jeremiah 29:11).

I hope my story and pictures provide you with encouragement. I have also included the direct link to the MUTU online store below a couple more of my before & after pictures so you can directly access this awesome resource, my fellow Pretty Mommies. I pray for peace, health and joy for each of you all!

Thought for the Day:
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. 
~James 4:13-16 (NLT)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:

WHOLE30 Post Script Part I

WHOLE30 Follow-up Part I – Hooray for us! Hubs and I have completed our first WHOLE30! I’ve had a few days now to reflect on the experience and wanted to write a couple of posts discussing our experiences for anyone contemplating WHOLE30. Both Hubs and I had some great results. There were some rough times, most of which I was prepared for (reference the trusty official WHOLE30 timeline); though some of the painful stuff caught me by surprise. I’m going share it all with you now. I want you to be fully aware of our experiences in order to make an educated decision if you’re contemplating a WHOLE30 for yourself or your family.

So without further adieu here’s my list of the good, the bad and the painful from our first WHOLE30:

The Good:
• I lost inches. As I mentioned in the WHOLE30 Day #25 post, I didn’t take measurements prior to starting WHOLE30 so I can’t give you exact stats on this. But I can tell you this (which is by far more important to me): By the last week of WHOLE30, I was able to comfortably fit into 2 pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans that I’d previously not been able to get past my hips. I was also able to fit into several other pairs of pants and a couple of skirts I could not fit into previously despite pretty brutal dieting and exercise. N.B. My “dieting” prior to WHOLE30 was entirely dairy-free vegetarian and consisted primarily of low-fat salads, vegetable omelets, rice cakes and the like.

Woohoo! Back in my fav jeans!!! (excuse the messy bedroom)

Woohoo! Back in my fav jeans!!!  (excuse the messy bedroom)

• I lost excess water weight. I was able to wear all my rings and shoes that had previously been either uncomfortable or completely unwearable prior to doing the WHOLE30.
• I gained muscle (arms, back, thighs) and lost cellulite in places that are notoriously hard for me to get lean (e.g. my thighs). This is a big deal in light of pregnancy because I seemed to gain extra lumpies and bumpies in my legs during pregnancy (can I get a witness from other Mommies out there?) that – to my horror and constant frustration – did not go away even after months of strict postpartum dieting and exercise.
• I didn’t really have to exercise. I continued my daily MUTU Core routines and practiced yoga every day except one. But I didn’t do anything strenuous and really didn’t do any type of cardiovascular exercise, except of course the up and down, constant movement of taking care of a 6-month old.
• I suffered far less bloating and gas. As I’ll explain further below, I’ve struggled with GI “issues” all my life and have been diagnosed with IBD and GERD. At various points during labor, I was given no fewer than 3 different IV antibiotics prior to my emergency Cesarean. Following that surgery, my digestive issues were worse than ever! I blame the antibiotics, but I digress. Despite some pretty heroic measures (including twice daily probiotics and careful consumption of fermented foods like authentic sauerkraut, coconut yogurt, etc.), both my daughter and I battled fungal infections in the early postpartum days, and I really struggled with bloating and gas after eating. That almost totally resolved with WHOLE30 foods. I have to say this was probably the most amazing part to me. I did not expect such drastic results but attribute the improvement to significant reduction of artificial sweeteners from my diet.
• I broke my addiction to chewing gum. I didn’t think this one was even possible. I was always the girl with gum. I chewed gum all day, everyday, and I chewed a ton of it often 3 pieces at a time. It was a nervous habit, like I had to have it in my mouth. Because gum is loaded with sweeteners and artificial crap, I knew I’d have to give it up during the WHOLE30. It wasn’t as difficult as I’d feared. Drinking more fluids helped and I allowed myself a few Altoid Minis per day which provide a comparatively smaller hit of artificial sweeteners than all that gum I was chewing (as I discussed here, I intentionally chose to break protocol in a select few instances in order to improve my chances of completing the “whole” WHOLE30).
• I should also briefly mention some of the great results Hubs had. He lost an inch off his waist and saw dramatic improvements in his skin (specifically almost complete elimination of dandruff and athlete’s foot issues that have plagued him for years. I’m sure he’s thrilled I’m mentioning that). Read more about his experience and WHOLE30 successes here.
• I became more creative. I enjoyed the challenge of creating new and enjoyable meals for our family using only approved ingredients. As a result, we found some new favorite recipes like the Turkey Cabbage Skillet and Thanksgiving Meatballs and rediscovered an old favorite in the Paleo Cheez-ish Sauce.
• I was rarely hungry. All the protein and fat kept me pretty satisfied. So even when I experienced cravings for unhealthy foods (see below), the fact that I wasn’t physically hungry made it easier to resist the temptation to cheat.

The Bad:
I was tired, like a lot. The fatigue continued to wax and wane for me through the 30 days. I never did experience a sustained surge in energy. Instead, for me at least, I had periods throughout the day when my energy was good but those periods seemed short-lived and I fatigued fairly quickly.
• I often had an unpleasant taste in my mouth. This may be attributable to quitting gum or due to dramatic decrease in carbs, increase in protein, etc.; though I doubt I ever entered ketosis because I continued to eat things like my Paleo Popsicles, potatoes and dried fruit treats throughout. As I mentioned, I was often thirsty too. I’m not sure what caused this side effect, but it’s worth mentioning.
The cravings are no joke, at least for a couple of days. I literally did lie in bed at night and fantasize about pizza, doughnuts, biscuits and gravy, Thanksgiving dinner, and on and on. It helped that I was prepared for them, and they do pass after a few days. And as above, the meals were so satisfying that I was always able to resist any fantasies I conjured up.

The Painful:
• I had headaches and some hypoglycemic reactions (nausea, lightheadedness, feeling faint, etc.) – full disclosure I have a tendency toward hypoglycemia but the symptoms were severe enough to warrant mentioning
• My heartburn was worse, especially in the beginning. Again full disclosure here – I have GERD. I’ve had it all my life and was diagnosed as a young child, and I’ve been on heartburn medication since that diagnosis. As a result of the meds, I have a harder time digesting meat and fats. I take digestive enzymes (which I’ll discuss further in the 2nd WHOLE30 follow-up post) which are helpful. But there were several nights when I had to take additional medication to sleep, and that’s not good.

As you can see, the good things definitely outnumber the bad and the painful. We’re 5 days removed from the WHOLE30, and I haven’t really gone back to our previous way of eating. We definitely plan on repeating the program again in the future but haven’t set a specific date yet. On balance it was a tremendous experience. With respect to the painful side effects I describe, I want to add the following. I have long believed there is no one diet that fits everyone (if there were we would not be overwhelmed with an obesity epidemic). Different people need different proportions of macronutrients (ratios of carbs/fats/proteins). I suspect that during the times when I had the worst heartburn and hypoglycemic reactions, I was overeating protein and fats and not eating enough carbohydrates for my daily activity level. On days when my diet was more balanced, I felt better and suffered fewer of those symptoms. As with almost everything diet-related, it pays to listen to your own body and make adjustments accordingly.

I encourage anyone considering WHOLE30 to check out their website (see Resources of the Day below) where you’ll find a wealth of free info and also consider reading the book It Starts with Food prior to starting. And be sure to stay tuned to Daily Beauty Wisdom for my list of recommended products for “doing the WHOLE30.” These will be various foods (primarily) and some other items we found along the way that made the experience easier, tastier and generally more tolerable.

Verse of the Day:
I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
~Philippians 4:11-13 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Read more here.

Resources of the Day:
1. WHOLE30 Meal Planning Template
2. WHOLE30 Program Rules

WHOLE30 Day #30 – So This Is It….(Paleo) Pie for Everyone!!!

WHOLE30 Day #30 –This is it, the final day of our inaugural WHOLE30 journey. As I discussed in the WHOLE30 Day #25 post, both Hubs and I have achieved some positive results from this 30-day cycle. Over the next few days, I will be writing a couple more posts to summarize our first experience with WHOLE30 – the good, the bad, and the painful. I will also be posting my own list of recommended products for “doing the WHOLE30.” These will be various foods (primarily) and some other items we found along the way that made the experience easier, tastier and generally more tolerable.

This was a challenging final day for us, in part because we had company this weekend. When you have company, of course, you generally have to serve food that is WHOLE30 approved. In this case, our visitors were a family of 5 – including my beautiful cousin, a strict vegetarian, her husband and their 3 boys – all under the age of 7. So at various points this weekend our kitchen was filled with fresh-from-the-bakery cookies (chocolate chip AND peanut butter), tortilla chips, pizza and chicken nuggets. Tempting goodies to be sure. But the joy of hosting family and the pleasure of using one’s home to show hospitality makes it so worthwhile.

To avoid diving face-first into the delicious-looking and even better smelling piping hot cheesy pizza (which was coincidentally the very subject of my food fantasies just a couple weeks ago), I prepared for myself the following go-to recipe. I’ve used this at several points during our WHOLE30 when I’ve felt particularly deprived. I haven’t posted this recipe previously because it comes perilously close to what the WHOLE30 authors refer to as a “paleo pancake,” and which they specifically state is off-limits during the program. However, the primary component here is protein – in this case egg whites – not some flour substitute like tapioca etc. Therefore I believe it deserves the title omelet, even if it does satisfy my sweet cravings!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Paleo Pumpkin Pie Omelet (AKA “The P3 Omelet”)

• 1/3 medium sweet potato, peeled
• 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
• 2 cups liquid egg whites
• ¼ tsp. iodized sea salt
• ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. ground ginger
• pinch each: ground cloves, allspice and nutmeg
NOTE: if you happen to have Pumpkin Pie Spice on-hand you can just use 1/2 tsp. of that in place of the cinnamon, ginger etc.
• nonstick spray (I used nonstick coconut oil spray)
• stevia, if desired (other options include cacao nibs, pure maple syrup and melted ghee)

• electric skillet or large (preferably nonstick) heavy frying pan
• high-powered blender (e.g. Nutribullet, Vitamixer, etc.)

1. Place sweet potato in microwave on HIGH for about 2-3 minutes (depending on strength/size of your microwave) until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly.
2. When sweet potato is cool enough to handle, place in canister of blender, then add next 6 ingredients.

Hmm, not so very appetizing at this stage. But stick with me!

3. Cover and blend on LOW-MEDIUM speed until fully blended and no chunks of sweet potato remain.
4. Place a large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and spray with nonstick spray. If using an electric skillet, preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan and cover pan. Turn heat down to MEDIUM (about 350 on electric skillet). Allow omelet to cook until surface appears dry (about 5 minutes). Then carefully flip.
6. Cook about 5 more minutes on the other side. Repeat process with remaining omelet mixture.
7. Serve & Enjoy. NOTE: I like to sprinkle the omelet with a little stevia before serving. It’s also great with a few cacao nibs sprinkled on top and some melted ghee. Heck if you’ve completed WHOLE30 (or are just trying to eat Paleo), you may as well top it with some pure maple syrup. Go crazy!
Makes about 4 servings

Verse of the Day:
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
~I Peter 4:9 (NKJV)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Looking to improve your hosting skills? Here’s a magnificent list of 10 totally do-able steps to increase your hospitality IQ.
NOTE: The Art of Simple is also a lovely all-around blog about house, home and family!

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