Friday, January 31, 2014

Clean Eating: The Benefits

Last week I started a series on eating clean.
Did you miss it?
You can find the first post here.



Today I want to share a little bit more of my story.
When I was in second grade, I started getting headaches.
I had my eyes checked and they were fine.
In fact, I didn't get glasses until I was 21.
Happy Birthday to me...

The headaches just became part of my life.
In 6th grade, I was taking so much ib profen for these dang headaches, I remember my mom telling me that I couldn't have anymore.
She was afraid that I had become addicted or immune to it.
Those next couple of weeks were painful.

I got my first migraine in 6th grade...I started seeing fuzzy stuff and then I could only see half of things.

I remember being at Walmart and asking my mom why I could only see half of her face.
She immediately knew that I was going to have a migraine.

A large part for changing my eating habits were to see if I could rid the headaches.
I was so tired of getting them...and there was never any point of taking painkillers.
They didn't really work.
I did lots of research and read lots of testimonials about getting rid of the headaches, and how having a cleaner diet helped tremendously. 
So, I thought I'd try this "clean eating" lifestyle for a bit.
Like I said before, I cut processed foods out of my diet, including gluten and dairy.

After four weeks of this lifestyle, here are my benefits to eating this way:

1.  No more headaches!  I'm not kidding.  I really got rid of them this time.  I used to carry Excedrin in my purse because I never knew when I'd get a migraine, but I no longer carry any kinds of pain killers with me.  This was the BIGGEST improvement for me!  Life has been so much better since I didn't have that "nagging headache" to carry around with me.  Even if I didn't feel any other benefits from eating this way, living without headaches has been totally worth it.

2.  I lost weight and most importantly, inches!!  In just the 4 weeks, I lost 10 lbs and 11 total inches.  I felt SO much better in my clothes because my body was shrinking.  It's really not about what that number on the scales says, but rather how you feel in your own skin.  And I feel fabulous!  I got through my plateau that I had been on for 6 weeks, which was a great feeling!

3.  No more naps!  I don't feel like I need a mid-day nap in the afternoon.  I have a lot more energy, and I'm not prone to getting that "mid-afternoon slump" each day.  I can come home from work each day and feel like I have enough energy to do the chores, make supper, and workout.  That was huge for me.

4.  No more bloating.  A lot of times, after eating, I just felt really full.  I may not have even eaten that much.  I really noticed this after eating ice cream a lot.  My tummy would hurt and I'd feel like I needed to go put sweats on.  After cutting gluten and diary out of my diet, I really realized how crummy I was feeling and how much better I felt without it.

5.  I know exactly what I am putting into my body.  Before, I never really cared about what went into my body.  But after doing my research, I found that the foods with the least amount of ingredients, the better.  

6.  My brain fog has been lifted.  Do you ever feel like you are just in a daze?  I felt like that all the time before the switch.  Eating real, unprocessed foods helped lift that daze.  I am more alert and can think clearer now. 

I love the way my body feels.  I have learned to feed my body to nourish it, rather than to just eat because I want to or am bored.  It's a different way of eating, since not many talk about eating to nourish.  I haven't felt this good in a long time, and all of those benefits that I listed above are completely worth giving up processed foods. 

Questions?
Leave them in the comments and I'd be happy to answer them!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Super Bowl Party Tips


The Super Bowl is coming up on Sunday and I've been thinking about it all week.
Not because I care about football, but because I know that there will be many parties.
Parties where there happens to be a ton of junk food and lots of other unhealthy options to consume.

Via


I've come up with just a few tips on how to have a successful Super Bowl Party and stay on track towards your goals!

1.  Eat before you go.  If you eat something before you head out the door, you won't be as hungry at the party.  You get to still eat what's on your meal plan, and have fun at the party.

2.  Take something that you know you can eat.  If you make something to take to the party that you know you will eat, then you won't look like a fool for not eating.  It's a win-win. You can eat what you brought, and you won't have to face others asking why you're not eating.

3.  Don't stand, sit, or converse near the food.  The closer you are to the food, the more tempted you'll be to eat it.  If you truly want to stay on track, sit on the opposite side of the room.

4.  Keep a glass of water with you.  The more that you sip on your water, the fuller you become.  You won't feel the need to eat much.

5.  Scan all of the options before putting something on your plate.  If you choose to indulge, take a look at the different options and choose something that is most appealing to you.  Be mindful of what you're putting into your mouth.

6.  Just because you put it on your plate doesn't mean you have to finish it.  Don't feel tempted to finish everything on your plate just because the voice of your momma in your head is telling you to.  Eat until you feel satisfied, not stuffed.

Don't let one night of overeating ruin all of the hard work that you've put in working towards your goals.  It is one night.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Clean Eating Series: What Is It?



Last April, I knew that our little family needed to make a change in our food choices.
Since making that change, I've seen significant amounts of benefits to eating healthier.
I've had a lot of thoughts floating around in my head that I've been wanting to share when it comes to eating "clean."

When the term "eating clean" came out over a year ago, I rolled my eyes every time that I heard it.
I still had a "weight watchers mentality."
That mentality was that I could eat anything that I wanted within moderation.
I'm not saying that it is a bad mentality at all...because many people have found that it works.
I just had a change of heart in the end.
I started modifying our recipes to include more fruits and veggies.
I knew that as long as I was working out that I would lose weight.

I started working out and I lost a few pounds...but nothing like I had before.
I was stuck at a plateau for 6 weeks, so I finally did some research and decided to try eating clean.

Many people have very many views of what eating clean means.
I had to figure out what worked for our family and our lifestyle.
First and foremost, it's NOT a diet.
*I really hate the word diet.*
"Diet," as defined by dictionary.com is "such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight."
I am not limiting the amount of food that I eat.
I am simply learning what foods that I should consume to be healthy.
I am changing the way that I eat...it is now my lifestyle.

**You can't get healthy without eating healthy.**

Some people feel very opinionated to be only eating fruits and veggies that are organic.
Others feel that they should be eating minimal processed foods while others won't eat anything that is processed.
Some say they only eat gluten free while others think that you shouldn't eat gluten free if you don't have a reason to (celiac/gluten intolerance).
There are SO many opinions about what it means to eat clean.

For us, it was starting out slow...
I stopped buying some processed foods, but others I thought were fine.
I figured as long as I was eating "healthy" processed foods that I would be okay.

Then I read an article and found that I had 5 of 10 symptoms that I could possibly be gluten intolerant.  Whoa.
I did a bit more research to make sure that it wasn't just that article that said those things...and it wasn't.
So I purchased this food plan to help me out with a gluten sensitivity test.
I completed 4 weeks of being gluten free, and added some foods with gluten back into my diet.
I found that it made me sick. Blech.
I also found that I felt WAY better and could think clearly when I was eating real, whole foods.
Oh and I also got off that dang plateau.


I really love this quote from Chalene Johnson (creator of TurboFire) regarding whole foods:
"Whole foods are foods in their natural state, foods that are unadulterated.  If you can pick it from a tree or vine, if you can pull up or pinch off a vegetable from a plant in the ground, you are looking at a whole food.  Food in this state is food that hasn't been altered.
Whole food has its enzymes available for health because it is a whole food.  Whole foods contain all the enzymes and nutrients in the proportion nature intended for our health.  If you consume whole foods your body feels whole and nourished.  Whole foods diminish cravings, swelling, chronic pain, arthritic symptoms, digestive issues, and make weight loss and weight management easier."

So for me, eating clean means eating real food.
I have eliminated {almost completely} all processed foods from my pantry.
I avoid gluten, specifically wheat, at all cost.
And what I really love is a juicy steak and some yummy grilled veggies. :)

The best thing I could have done for myself is to really research all the different components to eating healthy (gluten, clean eating, whole foods, etc) before I made a decision on what I was going to do.  I like to be informed before I make a decision, so I feel like I have made the best decision for myself.

Questions?
Leave them in the comments!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Applesauce

To some of you, this post may seem silly.
But 15 years is a long time.
If you've never had a dog for a pet, then you might not understand.
But they're nicknamed "Man's Best Friend" for a reason.


Last week, my momma had to make a very difficult decision.
And on Friday, we had to put our very loving, gentle, precious Applesauce down.
He came into our lives, along with his brother, 15 years ago as a super hyper puppy.
We tried creating a big pen for them to live in, but they always dug under it and wandered off.
We gave them a dog house to live in, but they didn't want to live there.
A little over a year after we got them, Ebony (the black lab) was hit by a tractor and killed.
He was a daredevil and it was no wonder than he got hit.

Applesauce grieved the loss of his brother.
Afterall, they'd take a walk to our neighbors house (about a quarter mile up the road) everyday together at 3:00, but they'd be back by 3:30 to get us off the school bus.

Applesauce was ornery.
My mom LOVES to plant flowers.
But as soon as she planted them, he would have them dug up and be laying in the cool dirt.
She would be totally irate at him, and several times it was quite hysterical.
How could a dog make a person that mad?

Later, my dad bought an invisible fence and shock collar for him to wear.  
He'd stay far, far away...until he figured out the batteries were dead. Ha!


We occasionally let him inside.
Now, my dad always said that no palace was big enough for him and a pet.
But...somehow, he got away with it.
Occasionally, we'd forget to put him back outside and we'd find him in my room...
usually like the picture below. 


I remember one morning, Mom even had him come wake me up!  
What a silly dog!


He was very camera shy for some reason.
So getting pictures with him or even of him looking at the camera was pretty amazing.

Maybe he thought we were going to hurt him?
He hated his flea and tick medicine.  
Mom always had to have him come in, and go back to her bedroom with the door shut so he couldn't flee.
It was a nightmare trying to put that stuff on him.
Even if he saw the stuff in her hands, he'd run far, far away. 


We always did funny things to him.
One time, he came in and laid down by me, so I put a pillow under his head. :)


When we got the puppies, we got them fixed.
My dad took them to a vet in the back of a corn truck.
When they got home, they had to heal.
Well, since then, they hated vehicles.
They wouldn't ride anywhere with us because they probably associated cars and trucks to pain.

Later on, we finally got Apple to ride in a car.
Just a couple years ago, we loaded him up in my car and took a little drive.
He would pace in my backseat going from one side to the other.
Then I rolled my window down for him, and he just sat in the back seat with his head on my shoulder because he liked the wind in his face.


He would go irrigating with us.
Because he didn't like vehicles, he would run beside the pipe trailer.
We were always so amazed at how he could just keep running.
We we would get the water turned on in the field, he would lay in one row and just enjoy the cold well water that was coming out of the pipe.
And he was a complete MESS after that!!
It was always so fun to take him with us, because he liked to chase random things:  squirrels, bunnies, flies.


Applesauce was really my only pet.
He and Ebony were the dogs that made me no longer scared of other dogs.
He would jump up and down anytime we came home because he was so excited to see us.
He would jump on the van door when we would pull up to get the mail.
He got mad when we would go on vacation for a long period of time.


Two years ago, he got in a fight with the neighbor's dog (who's two times bigger than him).
Tyler and I couldn't break up the fight...and it was really scary.
I seriously thought that dog was going to kill him.
And I actually wanted to kill that other dog.
He always thought he was bigger and meaner than he was...
because in reality, he was a tender, sweet, caring, 'fraidy-cat, dog.



 When I went home for Christmas, I knew that it would be the last time I saw him.
He wasn't doing very well at all...he had hip dysplasia.
It hurt my heart to see him walk and sit and lay like he was.
I couldn't even just talk to him normally, because I welled up with tears every time I saw him.

It really sucks to lose a pet...one that holds so many memories.
Dogs have such personalities, they become family.
And that is exactly what Applesauce is...family.

I'll leave you with one of the funniest things I ever did see.
Applesauce LOVED to sing. :)
*Sorry for the picture quality on the 2nd video.*










Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Word for 2014

Happy New Year!
I really can't believe that 2014 is here already.
2013 was a great year for us, and I have high hopes for 2014.

As I was thinking about what my word for the new year would be, I prayed that God would just lead me to it...just as He did last year.
And He did.

Growing up, I always counted down for such exciting and monumental things in my life.
I counted down to age 13...the year I could get my ears pierced.
I counted down to 15...the year that I could get my driver's permit.
I counted down to 16...the year that I could get my driver's license.
I counted down until 18...the year I would graduate high school.
I counted down until college graduation.
I counted down until my wedding day.
Yada, yada, yada.

This year, I recently realized that I didn't really have anything to count down to anymore.
Sure, we counted down a little bit to our closing day on our house, but I wasn't near as vocal about it.

I think it was at that moment that I realized that maybe I don't need to be counting down anymore.  Not that life isn't exciting...because it definitely is.  But more because God wants me to just soak life in.  Right now, Tyler and I are enjoying life, but what is the point in living if you aren't soaking it all up?

So as I prayed and asked God to bring me to my word...He did.
It was pretty much a no-brainer for me.

My word for 2014 is
BE.

The word 'be' means to exist or live.  
For me, living means to be in the moment.
To be grateful for what I have right now. 
It means to just be present.

I am so excited to see what God has in store for us this year.
I am excited to be grown and stretched.
I am excited about the endless possibilities for this blank canvas.
But for now, I am so thankful for what God has blessed me with.
I am thankful for the abilities and resources He has given me.
I am thankful for a best friend that He gave me to do life with.

This year, you'll be able to find me enjoying life...soaking it all up.
Because really...we aren't promised another day.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34 NIV