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.

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 SkinCancer.org)! 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 SkinCancer.org) 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:
Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 5.29.38 PM
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 Amazon.com.
• 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!

WHOLE30 Day #29 – Feeling Thankful

WHOLE30 Day #29 – This is the penultimate (I just love that word!) day of our inaugural WHOLE30 journey. In plain English, it’s our second to last day. We can see the end from here. It’s exciting. I already feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and I’m grateful that Hubs and I were able to go through it together. But there’s another feeling too, almost a nervousness or apprehension, like I’m not ready for it to end. Gone are the cravings that haunted me a week or two ago. I no longer go to sleep at night counting cream-filled doughnuts. I don’t really want to go back to my previous way of eating. And there are still so many WHOLE30-esque recipes buzzing around in my head that I’ve yet to try.

The one that follows is something that came to me during the period of overwhelming food yearnings. During a rare moment of quiet in our house, I sat gleefully perusing internet food porn while fantasizing about various delicious meals I’d enjoyed in days gone by. I remembered with fondness our annual Thanksgiving feasts, complete with moist turkey, savory homemade stuffing (or dressing if you’re so inclined), gooey sweet potatoes, maybe some mashed potatoes and apple pie too. Then I thought, what if I combined all those flavors into one dish? Something small I could eat with my hands, so I could shove a whole lot in my mouth all at once, something like …. meatballs. Surely, I could find a way to make meatballs taste good using WHOLE30 ingredients. Voilà!

Thanksgiving Meatballs

 Thanksgiving Dinner in a Meatball!!!

Thanksgiving Dinner in a Meatball!!!

As an additional comment (added since the original posting of this recipe), I want to mention something I’ve discovered regarding instant potato flakes. It has come to my attention that some brands contain various preservatives including sulfites, which are not approved for consumption during WHOLE30 (and which are frankly unhealthy for us to eat at any time). I highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes. You can purchase this product online through iHerb or Amazon, and it is also available in many grocery stores. The moral of the story – it’s always important to check the ingredient lists of any products you purchase, especially when doing WHOLE30.

Back to the meatballs – I’ll warn you, this is a somewhat labor-intensive recipe but it’s SO worth the effort. This is possibly my family’s favorite WHOLE30 recipe so far. I’m betting your family will enjoy it as well. Be sure and leave me some comments to let me know what you think!

• 1 medium sweet potato peeled and cooked
• 2 apples, chopped finely (I left mine unpeeled)
• 9 oz. package frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained
• 1 pound lean (e.g. 93%) ground turkey breast (uncooked)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
• ½-3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes (dry)
• ¼ cup coconut oil

• large (preferably nonstick) heavy frying pan with lid or electric skillet
• large baking sheet
• food processor

1. Place sweet potato in microwave on HIGH for about 3-5 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 food processor along with apples, and pulse until mostly smooth.
3. Remove lid and add next 9 ingredients. Cover and process on LOW-MEDIUM speed until fully blended.
4. Pour mixture into large bowl and fold in ½ cup mashed potato flakes. Stir until well combined.
5. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight is best.
At this point, you may need to add some more potato flakes to thicken the mixture. Try adding 1 Tbsp. at a time to avoid ending up with overly dry
meatballs. If you do need to add more, be sure to stir well after each addition to fully combine.
6. Using clean hands (I wore disposable sanitary gloves), form mixture into individual meatballs about 1/8 cup each in size. Place on well-oiled baking


To cook the meatballs you have 2 options: Fry or bake. I tried both and they work equally well. I’d say that baking was a lot easier for me, but it’s your call.

7. To Fry: Place a large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and spray with nonstick spray. If using an electric skillet, preheat to 375 degrees
Fahrenheit. When pan is hot, melt 3 Tbsp. coconut oil and rotate pan to evenly distribute the oil.
Place half the meatballs into the prepared pan and cover pan. Turn heat down to MEDIUM (about 350 on electric skillet). Cover pan and allow to cook about
8 minutes.
Remove lid and carefully flip each meatball over.
Cover pan again and cook about 10 more minutes. Repeat process with remaining meatballs and coconut oil. You may do this ahead of time and reheat them in
a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes if desired.
8. To Bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit). Melt coconut oil in microwave (should take about 20 seconds on HIGH) and drizzle over meatballs. Toss meatballs gently to coat with oil.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then remove pan from oven and carefully flip each meatball.
Return to oven and cook about 8 more minutes. Remove from oven and check for doneness. As above, you may prebake meatballs and reheat them in a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes just prior to serving if desired.
Serve & Enjoy! Makes about 6 large servings

Verse of the Day:
But I will sing to You and sacrifice to You with a voice filled with thanksgiving; Whatever I promised, I will certainly pay it because deliverance is from the Eternal alone.
~Jonah 2:9 (The Voice)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Have you recently achieved a goal and feel like treating yourself to a Pretty Mommy beautification product? Check out this list of drugstore dupes for high-end makeup products. Use this list to score several products for the price of one. Win, win!

WHOLE30 Day #25 – Cheez-It!

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+NOTE: This post has been updated since I originally published it and now includes some additional info as obtained from the WHOLE30 Forums.

WHOLE30 Day #25 –The final week of April has begun, which is particularly noteworthy because it marks the last full week of our first WHOLE30 journey. You’ll notice that I’m referring to it now as our “first” adventure with WHOLE30. It’s easy to envision oneself repeating this admittedly difficult process when there are only 6 days left to endure.

It’s also easier to envision repeating WHOLE30 when you can point to several specific rewards gained from the program. Both my husband and I have noticed positive physical changes in the last few weeks. Hubs has lost inches off his waist which was his primary physical goal entering WHOLE30 and is, according to multiple studies an important health marker, especially as we age. To read more about Hubs’ experiences and results, check out “I’m at a Loss,” at Functional Dad.net.

I didn’t use measurements for my pre-WHOLE30 goal-setting. I probably should have, but I developed a significant aversion to that yellow measuring tape while I was pregnant. The trauma of seeing those ever-increasing numbers of my girth was just too much for me. My goal has, for many months now, been quite simply to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. So for me, a major accomplishment was comfortably fitting into several pair of my pre-pregnancy work pants and – drumroll please – getting into a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans. True, they don’t fit like they used to, but I got them on. And that’s a huge deal for me! Huge.

Despite these significant and tangible achievements, we’ve still got 6 days and nights worth of meals to get through. According to the handy, dandy official WHOLE30 Timeline (which if you’ve been following this blog, you’ve seen repeatedly by now), we should have been pretty tired of eggs in all iterations by about day 10 or 11. So you can imagine that by days 24 or 25, we need something to jazz up our stand-by omelets. Here’s where my years as a vegan came in handy. I remembered a recipe I’d made a long time ago using cashews and nutrient yeast to make a kind of cheese-ish sauce. Full disclosure here, I’m not 100% sure if the WHOLE30 authors would technically approve of nutrient yeast (I couldn’t find it on any approved or disapproved food list so I’m making a judgement call. +++UPDATE: I was finally able to find some additional info regarding nutrient yeast in the fabulous WHOLE30 Forums. See additional comments at bottom of post.). And as I’ve discussed before, I’ve intentionally decided to avoid my natural predilection toward perfectionism in order to increase my own likelihood of completing the “whole” WHOLE30 days (pun intended). The recipe below was just what we needed to add a little punch to our egg meals. As a bonus the “cheez-ish” sauce goes great on just about any protein dish (try it on plain baked chicken, turkey, pork or beef); adds zing to baked or roasted potatoes and livens up any salad. Hope your family enjoys it as much as we did!

Cheez-ish Sauce the Awesome Omelet Topper

Cheez-ish Sauce – Delicious Topper for Omelets, Potatoes, and All Manner of Assorted WHOLE30 Goodies!!!

WHOLE30-ish Cheez-Ish Sauce

• 1 cup “raw” cashews
• 1 whole red bell pepper
• 1/3 cup nutrient yeast
• ½ tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
• 1/8 tsp. turmeric

• distilled or filtered water
• high-powered blender (e.g. Nutribullet, Vitamixer, etc.) or food processor

1. Place cashews in canister of blender or food processor and cover with enough distilled or filtered water to completely cover cashews.
Soak cashews for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
2. While the cashews soak, wash and core the bell pepper, cutting into large chunks so it will puree more easily.
3. Strain cashews and retain some of the soaking liquid.
4. Place cashews, about 2 Tbsp. soaking liquid, chopped pepper and remaining ingredients in canister and puree until very smooth.
You may have to add more soaking liquid but do so very carefully, adding only about 1 tsp. at a time to avoid breaking the mixture.
5. Blend or process until very smooth and no pieces of original ingredients are visible. Store mixture in the refrigerator. NOTE: It’s best to allow mixture to “rest” in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Serve & Enjoy
~ Makes a whole bunch, about 12 (2 Tbsp.) servings

Verse of the Day:
You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips..
~Psalm 63:5 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Read more here.

Resources of the Day:
1. If you lack my particular aversion to having your measurements taken, you’ll find this article from Weight Watchers extremely helpful and informative!
2. Here’s a quick video tutorial on taking women’s measurements in case you prefer to gain new skills from You Tube…

If you’re like me, you’ll rely on old school measures of weight loss!
Just remember, Pretty Mommies, sometimes the jeans are just too skinny!
Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 5.36.42 PM

+++ For those of you who are interested in following this program according to the letter of the WHOLE30 law, I highly recommend you check out the Forums page on the main WHOLE30 site and specifically that bookmark the “Can I Have” page which contains a wealth of info on practically every topic you could think of. By doing a quick search, I was able to find the following discussion regarding nutrient yeast from 2012. While this is not a definitive approval, it seems the general consensus is that “nooch” (as the vegans call it) is a far better option than dairy or soy-based cheeses and therefor approved if used in moderation. Yippee!

WHOLE30 Day #24 – Cleaning Up

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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:
Click here to register & begin receiving Turning Points e-devotionals automatically delivered to your inbox!

Eyes on the Prize – Eyeliner Dollars and Sense

Fact: High quality, user-friendly eyeliner is a must-have for busy mamas or any woman who wants to fix-it-and-forget her eye makeup. Modern eyeliners come in a wide range of formulas including long-wearing gel, felt-tip pen and various types of pencils. Many are waterproof and easy to use with options for sensitive skin, beginners and experienced makeup pros alike.

Myth: Only expensive eyeliners (i.e. the ones that cost $20+ each) offer top performance.

Mommy Did You Know: … that cosmetics giant, L’Oreal owns multiple department store brands like Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, and Urban Decay as well as several drug-store lines including L’Oreal (obv), NYX and Maybelline?

What does that mean to you? That means if you already love UD’s cult fav liner 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil but don’t love paying $20 per for a liner, you should try Maybelline’s Eye Studio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil for only $8. The two products are the same in terms of size and are virtually identical in performance. The only difference is color selection. UD offers almost 40 color options; whereas, Maybelline’s version comes in just 6 classic colors including your basic black, grey, brown and a divine sapphire blue that recently earned a coveted spot on Allure Magazine’s “Best of Beauty List.”

The Eyes Have It - Eyeliner by Maybelline

The Eyes Have It –
Eyeliner by Maybelline

Do you already love Lancome’s Artliner Precision Point Eyeliner for $30.50? Consider switching to L’Oreal’s Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner. At only $8.99, the drugstore version boasts a savings of more than 70%, and the only difference is in the packaging. You’ll notice that the higher end products have fancier outsides but very similar formulations. That’s because the same cosmetic chemists created both the expensive and the inexpensive products.
Why pay more for packaging?

So Pretty Mommy, next time you’re shopping for eyeliner, try this switch for a potential savings of 60-70%. Pretty cool trick, right?

Stay tuned to Daily Beauty Wisdom for similar swaps that will save you money without sacrificing performance!

Wisdom for the Day:
I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. ~Psalm 101:2-3 (English Standard Version)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Also check out Beautypedia for unbiased, in-depth reviews of hundreds skincare and makeup products.

Hi I'm Karen.

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