whole30, again

“Hey, it’s been almost a year. Let’s do Whole30 again. It’s so fun.”

Okay, so that’s not really how it went. It really went, “my pants don’t fit, I’m the heaviest I’ve been since I was pregnant, something’s gotta give and I need structure.” So there you have it. I’m doing my fifth Whole30 and I started on Monday. I’m calling this a modified whole30, because of a few reasons.

  1. The obvious – I’m doing it to lose weight and that’s totally not the premise of a true Whole30.
  2. I already know what my body doesn’t like, so I won’t be doing reintroduction like a true Whole30.
  3. If I go out to eat and want bacon on my bun-less, cheese-less burger, I’m going to have bacon even though it might have a little added sugar in it.
  4. I’m still taking my supplements. I take this to regulate my blood pressure and you better believe I don’t drink this stuff for the sugary taste. My bp is more important than the tiny bit of stevia that’s in it.

I’m going to do the whole30 plan for at least the 30 days and then after stick to a strict paleo diet to try to lose the weight I want to lose. I know for me, this is the best way to lose it. Once I make a commitment, I hardly ever waver from it so committing to Whole30 was the best choice for me. I lose 7-9 pounds in the 30 days, so that’s a win for me. Getting over the hump of the first few days is a little bit challenging after allowing myself to let go in the food department, but it’s what I need to do.

If you want to read about my first Whole30 experience, Whole30 Q&A, when I paired Whole30 and P90X3 and my other Whole30 posts check the category here. I’ve also shared just a few of my favorite Whole30 recipes here. Seriously though, beyond the weight loss, there are so many NSV’s (non-scale victories) to doing a Whole30. How about looking younger? Less joint pain? Fewer seasonal allergies? More patience? More energy? So many good reasons to do a reset like Whole30. So let me ask you a question I’ve asked before – what if? What are you waiting for? Join me.

paleo coffee creamer

My husband and I are slightly obsessed with Califia Farms Chocolate Coconut Almond Milk. It’s so creamy and delicious and now that they’ve taken out carrageenan, I feel comfortable drinking it. The other day when I was at the grocery I saw that they now carry Toasted Coconut Coconut Almond Milk blend (still carrageenan free) with no added sugar. Now, it still has some of the “gums” in it, so you can decide wether or not to drink it. I brought it home to try it in my coffee and decided to make a creamer out of it. It’s sweet and slightly coconutty.

Ingredients:
2c Califia Farms Toasted Coconut milk blend (you can also do 1c coconut milk and 1c almond milk if you so choose)
4T maple syrup
1 split and seeded vanilla bean

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a slight boil, take off heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain vanilla bean and enjoy in your coffee (use however much you want). It’s very easy and much better than the store bought creamers.

paleo peppermint mocha

peppermint-mocha

Paleo Peppermint Mocha

8-10oz coffee
dash of your favorite non-dairy milk
1t cocoa powder
2t maple syrup
1 drop Peppermint Vitality

Simply mix all of the ingredients. You can customize the taste by changing the amount of milk, cocoa or syrup. This blend was just perfect for me. I personally chose to put them in my individual-sized blender to froth the milk but you can also simply use a whisk to do so or choose to not froth the milk at all. An extra bonus with the peppermint oil in addition to it tasting great is that it supports normal digestion and helps with gastrointestinal comfort. Yay for that!


I personally use and trust Young Living as my source for essential oils. They have a line of essential oils that are labeled for internal/dietary use called the Vitality line. When I speak about ingesting essential oils, the only brand that I can recommend from my experience is Young Living. There are many opinions about ingesting essential oils and the French school of thought is the route I go: some essential oils are safe for internal consumption. Young Living’s integrity and quality is so important to me and I love their Seed to Seal process. The fact that I can visit the farms and see how the oils are produced speaks volumes to me. If you’d like to learn more about essential oils, I’d love to talk to you more about them and how to purchase them or click here to learn about becoming a wholesale member.

what I learned from my first half marathon

img_0890On Saturday I ran my first ever Half Marathon in Indianapolis. No, I’ve never really run any considerable distance before more than 2 miles and yes, it was difficult. But the reason why I ran made it easier to do being that I’m not a seasoned runner. This whole experience was challenging and I learned a lot along the way that I wanted to share with you all. These are in no particular order and I’m sure as soon as I hit “publish” there will be more things that pop in my head so this list might be ever-growing and changing.

What I learned from my first half-marathon (and maybe my only half-marathon):

  1. img_0061stretching is almost as important as the running itself – I dealt with quite a few weeks of injury during my training. I’d venture to say that almost 50% of my training time I was under some sort of pain. I learned near the end of my training that stretching really is so important. On the days where I took time to stretch for an extended period of time, my joint pain lessened. When I added a foam roller to the mix to get the muscles that I couldn’t quite stretch on my own, it helped even more.
  2. it’s easier to run long distances with people cheering you on – before the run I heard people say to start slow because the adrenaline and people will make you start too fast. Boy was this the truth. I did start too fast but even in the times where my body needed me to walk, having those around me that were strangers but took time to cheer me on meant so much. And it’s motivating when you see people passing you to keep on moving too.
  3. essential oils, epsom salts and ice are our friends – my body was SO mad at me on Saturday night after the race. Specifically my knees. Ice was and is my best friend now. So are the essential oils that I used (PanAway and Dorado Azul) both topically and in my epsom salt bath. For the epsom salt bath I used 2 cups of an epsom salt/baking soda combination with 6 drops of essential oils and I soaked for 30 minutes. It did wonders to soothe and loosen my muscles and joints.
    img_0898
  4. don’t decide the fate of your next run on the day of your run – as soon as I crossed the finish line I said “never again.” Now that it’s over and my body is feeling better, I’m learning to never say never. God could call me to run again and raise money for clean water or sex trafficking or something else. I might want to run a half through Disney World. Time will tell. Right now I’m feeling like I’ll stick to 5K’s but never say never.
  5. split the run into small milestones to avoid “the wall” – when I started the half-marathon, I new that my parents and kids would be cheering me on at mile 5. I looked forward to that. I kept counting down the miles until I knew I could get a high five from them. After mile 5, I set other milestones for myself to keep myself going.
  6. img_0299listen to your body, to a point – the mental game with running is so hard. There were times during my training that I just wasn’t feeling it. My body wasn’t hurting, but my mind told me to walk. I had to will myself many times to keep going. There were other times where I simply had to listen to my body though and walk or skip a training day in order to prevent further injury. And you know what, it was okay! Skipping a training day (or sometimes a whole week) was what I needed to do in order to allow my body to heal so that I had a better chance to do 13.1 miles when I had to. You need to listen to your body but sometimes you just have to tell your mind to shut up.

If you’ve run a half- or full-marathon – what other things have you learned? Leave a comment and let us know!

workouts + protein

almondsMost of you have heard how important it is to pair working out with protein. The question is, should you eat protein before or after a workout and what type of protein is beneficial?

According to bodybuilding.com,

adding protein prior to your training session primes the pump: It starts protein synthesis during rather than after your training session. Pre-workout protein most likely increases amino acid delivery and uptake by muscles during training. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise found that one scoop of whey protein prior to working out increased calorie burning over the subsequent 24 hours.

One protein source option for whey protein would be Young Living’s Pure Protein Complete. Pure Protein Complete is a comprehensive protein supplement that combines a proprietary 5-Protein Blend, amino acids, and ancient peat and apple extract to deliver 25 grams of protein per serving in two delicious flavors, Vanilla Spice and Chocolate Deluxe.

The information above doesn’t mean that post-workout protein isn’t also important! Nuts.com states,

After you finish your workout, your body enters recovery mode. This means that your tissues begin to rebuild and replenish themselves. Creating the perfect post-workout snack is critical to reaching your goal, whether it entails losing weight, boosting endurance, or building muscle mass. Your body has two major nutritional needs during recovery: carbohydrates and proteins. The relative ratio of carbohydrates to proteins depends on your training goals.

Nuts.com goes on to give some excellent recipes for pre- and post-workout snacks that will help you maximize your workout and calorie burn. One of my favorite recipes that I’m excited to try from Nuts.com is the No Bake Gluten-Free Granola Bars. They look and sound delicious (and they’re paleo too if you use maple syrup or honey).Their site is a wealth of information about healthy snacking. They also have products available for purchase for your pre- and post-workout snacks. For more information on high protein snacks, be sure to check here. Lastly, Nuts.com periodically sends out discounts to their enews subscribers, so be sure to subscribe here.

What are your favorite ways to get your protein in? Mine would be macademia nuts and hardboiled eggs. Tell me yours below in the comments.

chicken zoodle soup {whole30 & paleo}

1 lb chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1/2 onion, chopped finely
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 c bone broth
1/8 c fresh parsley, minced
2-3 small zucchini, julienned or spiralized into zoodles
salt & pepper to taste

Put the chicken, onion, carrots, celery and broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and add the parsley. Salt and pepper, if you’d like. Right before taking it off the heat, add the zucchini noodles and stir. Enjoy!

roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes {whole30 & paleo}

IMG_8941About a month ago I roasted a chicken for the first time – before that I always threw the whole chicken in the slow cooker all day long. Roasting it just creates a different taste – the skin gets crispy and the veggies almost caramelize in this recipe. It’s all just so delicious and super easy.

I don’t have exact measurements, because I just made how much I thought would fit in the dish and how much we’d eat. I don’t have a roasting pan, so I had to use a glass casserole dish. I need to get a roasting pan so that I can fit more veggies in there because they are so good, especially the carrots. Yum! I hope you enjoy it and if you have chicken left over, it’s perfect for soups or chicken tacos.

1 whole chicken
ghee
1 lemon, cut in half
4-5 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
3-4 potatoes, cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped in large pieces
olive oil
salt, pepper & seasoning

Preheat oven to 425*. Rinse and blot the chicken dry with a paper towel – be sure to remove all of the insides from the bird (you can decide what to do with those, some people use them…I don’t). Squeeze the lemon halves and put them inside the chicken. Tie the legs shut (truth be told, I didn’t do this either time and it worked out fine). Rub some melted ghee (or grass-fed butter if you’re not doing Whole30) on the outside of the chicken. Put the carrots, potatoes and onion in a bowl and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Also grease the bottom of the roasting pan with some olive oil, then put in the chicken, surrounded by the veggies. Season everything with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you’d like. I used a sweet all-purpose herb mix from Penzeys Spices called Parisien Bonnes Herbes (chives, dill weed, basil, french tarragon, chervil and white pepper). Put it in the preheated oven for about an hour and a half. If everything looks dry, you can add a little bit of chicken broth or water to the pan and then baste it every 20 minutes or so. Stir the veggies occasionally so that the tops wouldn’t get burned. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer measures 165*. The juices should run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.

When you get done picking the bird clean because it’s so yummy, save the bones and any extra meat you can’t get off and make some bone broth. You’ll need it for tomorrow’s recipe.

simple spicy chili {whole30 & paleo}

IMG_8949This is Dave’s favorite chili and I’ve adapted it from this recipe (didn’t take much amending) to make it whole30 compliant and Paleo. Like all recipes, check your ingredient list for canned goods to make sure there isn’t any hidden sugar or other things that you don’t want while doing whole30. This is a spicy chili, but not overly hot. Our kids like it too so it’s a great way for them to get some veggies. This is a great recipe to double and freeze some for later. Our family of 4 eats almost all of this in one sitting.

1 lb ground beef
1 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped bell pepper
4 tsp jalapeño peppers, chopped finely
29 oz diced tomatoes
15 oz tomato sauce
2 1/2 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf

In a large saucepan or chili pot over medium high heat, combine the ground beef, onion and bell peppers. Stir and cook until the beef is browned, about 5-7 minutes or do. Drain the fat and return to the pan. Add the jalapeño peppers, diced tomatoes, sauce,  chili powder, garlic, bay leaf, and cumin. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste.

You can amend this even further by using another ground meat instead of beef like chicken or turkey. You can also throw some chopped carrots in there or other veggies to make it more substantial.

zucchini lasagna

Last week I took a risk – I made zucchini lasagna for my family. Not gonna lie, I prayed as I was making it that my family would be receptive to it. I knew my daughter wouldn’t be, because she hates pasta any way. But our son LOVES pasta, so I was eager to see what he thought. Well, three plates later I think it was a win. Hubby also had a second helping and we ate the entire 9×13 pan. I didn’t take any pictures because mine wasn’t very pretty and I was in a rush to get it finished, so sorry about that. You all know what lasagna is supposed to look like. This recipe is adapted from Primal Palate – the only change I made was omitting the mushrooms and adding some mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Bell Pepperschopped
  • 1 cup Onionchopped
  • 1 Tbsp Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • Zucchinisliced thinly
  • 15 oz Tomato Sauceno salt added
  • 3 cloves Garlicminced
  • 6 oz Tomato Pasteno salt added
  • 1 tsp Salt and Pepperto taste
  • 1 block mozzarella, shredded
  1. Brown the ground beef in a large pot over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Add in garlic, onion and green pepper, and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato paste and tomato sauce.
  4. Add in parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, continue to stir.
  5. Bring sauce to a light boil, then remove from heat.
  6. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with coconut oil.
  7. Place a thin layer (1/2 inch) of the sauce in the baking dish.
  8. Layer zucchini and cheese over sauce, and repeat, alternating layering of sauce, then zucchini and cheese.
  9. Bake lasagne at 325°F for 15 minutes, covered with foil.
  10. After 15 minutes, remove foil, increase temperature to 350°F, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The sauce is amazing – it looks like it’s not wet enough, but the zucchini adds some moisture to the dish. The zucchini cooks up to the texture of noodles and they hardly have a zucchini taste. Three out of four of us liked it!

10 helpful wellness links

10-wellness

This past week I listened to quite a few sessions at the Wellness Family Summit and gleaned a wealth of information through those sessions. I thought you all might enjoy some of the new resources I’ve come across so here they are!

Mommypotamus // recipes for food, beauty and home products

Saving Dinner // recipes, helpful food information, encouragement

TheDr.com // founder of The Gluten Summit, a wealth of info about gluten and what it does to the body

Chris Kresser // one of the top 25 natural health sites, Chris is a functional and integrative medicine leader.

Civilized Caveman Cooking // yummy paleo recipes

KombuchaKamp // all you wanted to know about kombucha

The Alternative Daily // natural health news and tips

Kitchen Stewardship // being a steward of our family’s nutrition, budget and the environment

Kwik Learning // memory & speed reading training

Steve Wright // the specific carbohydrate diet and healing leaky gut

There is so much great information out there to help lead you in your wellness journey – I hope you find some that will encourage and uplift you as you try to become healthier. If you have another favorite, leave it in the comments for us!

This website is intended to help people find natural options for wellness by using food and essential oils. Information is not provided to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease or injury. Please consult your physician before trying an at-home remedy.