Life After Whole30, Now What?

I did it!
Wahhhoooo!
Yippee Yay-o Ky-eh!

BOOM

For REAL this time! ūüėČ


This morning felt a bit like a dream. Usually every morning I have every meal planned out for the day and I know EXACTLY what foods are in it. I had nothing planned today.¬†Well, that’s not entirely true. I¬†did have some plans, in fact, I have been¬†dreaming¬†of this Day “31” and the foods I would consume. If you had asked me a little over a week ago, I would have told you that my meal plan for today would look something like this:

October 4, 2014 Meal Plan (Post-Whole30)

Breakfast: Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks, Pumpkin Donut from Dunkin Donuts, and a bowl of Captain Crunch; just to celebrate.
Lunch: Chocolate, Tacos with lots of chips and salsa, but not in that order; because I can.
Snack:¬†Did I mention Pumpkin Spiced Lattes? I’ll take another now.
Dinner:¬†More chocolate, a big plate of Pasta (but I’d add veggies) and maybe a glass of wine; I did the Whole30, remember?!
Dessert: ICE CREAM. Obvi

But something AMAZING happened when I woke up this morning… I didn’t want to “ruin it”. Even better than that, I¬†enjoyed the way I have been eating the past 30 days. I felt¬†energized and¬†healthy. I have felt as though I was¬†thriving off of all the veggies, fruits, grass-fed meats, nuts & seeds I have been eating– not to mention the amount of coconut I have consumed. It had been an amazing journey, but¬†this is only the beginning! This is a¬†lifestyle change, not just a 30-day challenge for me.

My day did not look like the way I had planned a few weeks ago…
This is how October 4th really went down:

I woke up after a full 8-hours of sleep and drank a giant refreshing glass of water with mint + lime. Starting off hydrated as I have been doing for the past 30 days.Mint Lime WaterI made Cinnamon Fig Pancakes without the help of Bisquik or Aunt Jemima, using all Paleo-approved ingredients.
Figs! I added figs to my pancakes! What has happened to me?!Cinnamon Fig Pancakes Cinnamon Fig PancakesAustin and I stopped in Wawa to get some coffee and I got mine¬†black. No sugar. No milk. No creamer. Just black. My “usual” no longer includes a flavored-syrup & creamer. I enjoyed my lovely treat while watching a morning football game.Make It Black CoffeePost-football, I was inspired as we waltzed around the local market by all the brilliantly colored fruits and vegetables, so I¬†knew¬†a salad would be coming for lunch.Produce BrillianceThen lunch happened– yes, lunch! At this point I was “supposed to” eat copious amounts of tortilla chips & salsa with tacos, but no. No tacos here. Instead, a giant¬†Pad Thai Salad with¬†Sesame Ginger Dressing and a side of my¬†Mojito-style Watermelon.

Raw Pad Thai SaladFruits, veggies and seedsРnot a trace of taco to be found.Raw Pad Thai Salad Finally, my snack came around and it was time to attack that Milkyway I had been saving up. Well, I did have chocolate, but a single square of Paleo-approved dark chocolate with sea salt. That was all, just a small square. It was quite sweet and I only desired a taste. A workout happened today too! I spent time outside in the morning and got my sweat on in the evening. It was a beautiful night for a circuit workout + run.SunsetDinner included spaghetti squash, roasted green beans, and chicken breast. Pasta was the farthest thing from my mind. No desire for that junk over here.Dinner Time

So what is going on with me?¬†CHANGE. The kind that I want to be permanent. My experience with Whole30 has truly changed my life and I’m sticking with it. Not only are all these things from my last post still true, but after the complete Whole30 I have also noticed:

1)¬†Weight-loss: I wasn’t doing this for any weight change, but for those of you who are skeptical and a bit “fat-phobic”, I lost 6 pounds while consuming coconut milk, fresh coconut, avocado and olive oil as part of my meals. I have always stared at fat grams on labels my entire life, so it took some trust, but I now know that these healthy, quality fats have made me feel full and satisfied after eating a meal and are essential to our health.

2) My nails, though: I know I posted about this already, but I simply cannot get over how quickly my hair and nails were growing!

3)¬†Clearer skin: I’ve been on every acne medication under the sun. Even at the age of 24, I am still battling adult-hormonal acne issues. Also,¬†keratosis¬†psoriasis has been taking over the back of my arms since I was a teen. Both of these things have¬†significantly¬†decreased on my skin. I have stopped taking acne medication all together (the first time in quite some time) and during these thirty days I hardly have had a problem.

4)¬†Love for cooking & new foods: I am constantly creating new recipes and sampling new fruits and vegetables. I can taste the slight sweetness in “unsweetened coconut milk”. Fresh mint, cilantro and basil are potent flavors to meals. I enjoy my time in the kitchen and look forward to meal planning. My attitude has completely changed about what “food” is and how it changes my health.


Overall, I know this post is crazy long, but I cannot tell you enough how this has completely turned my perspective around about food and health. I encourage you to at least try it for the thirty days to discover this for yourself.Tiger Blood

Real food and an active body is life-changing. 

What I Ate Wednesday #1

I’ve read a few “What I Ate Wednesday” posts (or WIAW for you trendy folk) on other health food sites and I couldn’t decide if they were silly or helpful. Once I realized how many meals plans I acquired, recipe ideas I’ve conjured up, and motivation I’ve received, I decided these simple little posts are actually quite positive!

Breakfast was¬†two scrambled eggs with two strips of¬†Maverick Ranch bacon and a portion of my newest recipe:¬†Roasted “Sweet” Apples. Of course, it wouldn’t be breakfast without a¬†Coconut Milk Latte¬†to wash it all down.

Sept 17 BreakfastThe morning could not get started without some play time with the kitten. Storm loves playing hide and seek. Or maybe she is just scared of me… which is totally possible.

Little StormToday I caught up on a bunch of random chores: dishes, laundry, sweeping, you know… the good stuff. I got to spend some time in the Word and have been praying over this lovely piece of Scripture:

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
— 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I hope that gives you a bit of encouragement about the incredible importance of¬†love. I’m so thankful for God’s great love. I pray that I may demonstrate and share it with others as best I can. ūüôā

Meanwhile, over in the kitchen, my sister was juicing…
Can you juice this?Or¬†attempting to juice, rather. She told me today that she is going to start her Whole30 journey. Now that I’ve shared this with the public, she has to do it.¬†HA. Committed.¬†Really, I am cheering for you Jacqueline and I hope you stick with it! Proud of this decision!

For lunch, I sat down to take my online course and paired it with this lovely meal. Just a bunch of things I could throw together. Simple! A big helping of¬†Mediterranean Salad¬†(and I went back for more) with some Whole30-approved¬†Turkey Breast slices. I was looking for something sweet and crunchy (I love a good “crunch factor”) and got out some¬†roasted almonds¬†mixed together with¬†bareSnacks’ Organic Crunchy Cinnamon¬†Apple Chips. Dang, those are addictive.

Sept 17 LunchAfter more online coursework, I then headed over to Austin’s place for a tabata-style upper body workout. Which, not to worry, I will be posting later. T’was a pretty good one. I imagine I’ll be sore tomorrow, so I’ll wait and see. This now brings us to dinner…

Sept 17 DinnerRosemary-roasted white mushrooms and saut√©ed green bell pepper + onions were scarfed down along with¬†two Applegate Farms Uncured Turkey Dogs. I know, I know, turkey dogs are not super fancy. I’m out of sausages, okay?!¬†Nonetheless, I am grateful for another delicious Paleo/Whole30 Meal.

Also, today is Day 14. YES.

Whole30 Day 14
He UNDERSTANDS me.

Now I am off to band rehearsal for our church’s worship team. And to stay committed to this whole WIAW post, I will have you know I will have a snack later. I’m not sure what, but it will happen– Looks like this is ending as a mystery. Have a great evening! I will be singing the night away… Happy Wednesday! ūüôā

The Incredible Bulk [Nation]

I am probably a little too excited about this post. I’ll try to contain most of the excitement. This morning, Austin and I were roaming around Orlando and he said, “I have a surprise for you!”. We pulled into a shopping plaza and I saw it:

BULK NATION USA

Bulk Nation USAQuick background story: Last summer while working at an incredible summer camp, Muskoka Woods, we were allowed to head into town a few times a week and one of the highlights was the local Bulk Barn. I have yet to see anything like it in the States. So this was truly an exciting find for us and was reminiscent of our last summer in Canada.

Bins on bins on bins!
Bins on bins on bins!

This place is truly a gold mine. Strolling up and down the aisles, there is a plethora of options ranging from flours to butters to coffees, and everything in between.

I had to be very careful around all these coffee beans.
I had to be very careful around all these coffee beans.

I love that this store can appeal to everyone too. Paleo? There are bins full of coconut flour, almond flour, and organic, local honey. Are you Gluten-Free?¬†Not only do they have bins of gluten-free products, but also a whole¬†wall dedicated to¬†Bob’s Red Mill products (I honestly didn’t even know some of these products existed and I’m a fan of Bob’s). Maybe you are a hardcore¬†Organic¬†consumer; there are¬†plenty¬†of¬†organic options which are labeled with a bright green label. And if you have a major sweet tooth, you may not want to get too close, due to an aisle of chocolates and candies, which I walked through at a brisk pace.Bulk Barn Aisle

And let me tell you about the¬†prices! I have a list in my phone of prices of products I use most often from the stores where I shop at most.¬†Bulk Nation blew these prices out of the water.¬†A 16oz jar of coconut oil is on sale for $2.99 right now¬†(no, that is not a typo). TWO NINETY-NINE! They have a¬†student discount¬†available with valid student ID, so bring a college kid with you. Not to mention that they have a list of “Products of the Month” that have additional discounts on them. Finally, check out the website right now for a $5.00-off coupon¬†for a purchase of $30 of more for the rest of August.

Make Your Own Nut Butters! Talk about fresh!
Make Your Own Nut Butters! Talk about fresh!

Once I reminded myself of that thing called a “budget”, my recipe-creating juices came to a halt and I agreed to grabbing¬†just one¬†bag of¬†Vegetable Chips as a snack. FOR TODAY, that is.

Hello there, Delicious.
Hello there, Delicious.

Perhaps the best part of this mini adventure was the¬†staff. We were greeted by every employee in the store. Also, since they have a specific system to bagging up your goodies, we were offered a little “training course” on their procedure. Although, there was some friendly banter about our memories at¬†Bulk Barn, but luckily Canada is not down the street and this place is. ūüėČ We may have new loyalties now.

Oh decisions, decisions...
Oh decisions, decisions…

We had an awesome experience today at Bulk Nation USA. Sometimes fun surprises can happen in your own town. I am excited to have this new store in Orlando and it will aid with my Paleo recipe-making in the future!

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post without stopping and running to Bulk Nation, well done, but now go hop in your car and get going! The Grand Opening will only last so long!!

“4x4x4” Workout

The workout was created by Austin and named by yours truly (I played a really big role, obviously). No rhyme or reason for the name other than when I looked at the workout, I saw 4 exercises and that you complete 4 reps on each side 4 times through.

And the¬†4x4x4 Workout was titled! Because¬†all workouts need a title…

4x4 WorkoutTime to pump some iron (use a decently heavy weight):

1) Squat & Press Р4x with right arm; 4x with left arm

2) Pushup & Row Р4x with right arm; 4x with left arm

3) Lunge & High Pull Р4x with right arm; 4x with left arm

4) Turkish Get-Up Р4x with right side; 4x with left side

Repeat entire workout 4 times. Feel the burn. Don’t hate my afterwards.

Iced Coffee & Perfect Timing

This morning started off great. Special shout out to my Iced Coconut Coffee for helping out with that! I love these things hot or iced; they never cease to get me going in the morning.

Liquid Gold

Here’s my concoction because I know you’re all wondering:
And to give credit where credit is due, I took this recipe and just manipulated it a bit to suit my tastes. 

Iced Coconut Coffee (serves 1)

Ingredients:
8oz cold coffee (Mine is usually a generous 8oz)
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
4 ice cubes (I usually make coffee ice cubes and use those)
Cinnamon

Directions:
1. Place coffee, coconut milk, and ice in blender
2. Blend together until smooth
3. Pour into glass and top with cinnamon!

*Today I was a bit adventurous and added a banana. It was delicious. I highly recommend it for added sweetness, nutrition, and a way to get rid of that banana on your counter that’s on its way out. ūüėČ


So this afternoon was supposed to go like this:

11:30am – leave house

1:50pm – arrive in Tampa for audition

2:15pm – finish audition and enjoy the evening with Austin at Busch Gardens

That is not what happened.

Instead, my car broke down in the middle of the highway, then started up again, but broke down a second time on the off ramp. The tow truck wasn’t going to arrive for 2 hours, so I had to call the agency to tell them I would miss the audition, but they said they would send someone to pick me up. The tow truck came and a man named Brad picked up Austin and I. I was 2 hours late for my audition and after much resistance, they decided to let me audition. Then we were dropped off at the mall where my roommate Sarah drove out to pick us up. And then we ended up at Universal for dinner. Whoa. [Insert deep breath here]

Random Universal Trip
Did I mention how much I love these people?

Now let me say this… please, do not mistake that long monologue for complaining. I’m sharing because, as a believer in God, I love to find ways He is working. For a situation that could be perceived as¬†bad, I look for His perfect plan. I always end up smiling when I realize how a situation like this turned out the best possible way it could have. Here’s how:

1. The obvious: My car turned off in the middle of the highway and we had to drift over some lanes to get to a safe(ish) place and we weren’t hit.

2. The location: the tow driver is free under 100 miles from your home. The location we were headed to was over 100 miles, but where we broke down was just under 100.

3. The help: my agency could have easily said “Sorry, I hope it all works out for you”, but they went above and beyond and found someone to come pick us up. That man, Brad, was late for his own audition to go out of his way for me and he was gracious and kind about the whole process. Also, my roommate, Sarah, just so happened to not have any work scheduled for the afternoon, so she was able to leave and make the trek to us at a moment’s notice. (THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!)

4. The timing: We weren’t sure what we were going to do if the tow truck arrived before Brad (then we were stranded) or if Brad arrived before the tow truck (then Austin would have stayed with the car and been stranded for a bit). But¬†of course, the tow truck arrived and just as he was finishing loading up the car, Brad called. He was parked on the other side of the street waving at us. ūüôā

5. The company: Austin never comes with me to auditions, it just so happened to be in Tampa, and we thought it would be fun to make a day of it. He was patient and kind to me throughout the whole process. And if he wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have had the option of leaving my car if Brad arrived before the tow truck. (THANK YOU!)

All in all, whether I get the part or not, I am just so floored at God’s hand. He truly does take care of us. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing your perspective and seeing it.

Too many times we choose to look at the negative. I invite you to do the opposite.