Wednesday, December 16, 2015

21 Day Fix Extreme December Update

It has been busy, busy, busy around my house.  I wish I had the time to sit down and write a proper blog update right now, but I am really strapped for time today.  I also didn't want to leave you hanging for another few weeks, while we all manage to get through the holidays.

OK.  Quick update on my 21 Day Fix Extreme.  I am really embracing the workouts this time around. When I first tried 21 Day Fix Extreme back in February, I REALLY struggled with the workouts.  They were almost too challenging for me.  This time around, I know what to expect.  although the workouts are still quite a challenge, I am finding that I am able to go longer, and I am a lot stronger (Thank you Insanity Max:30).  I still can't complete some of the exercise sets in full, but I am definitely getting better.  My shoulders and arms are really showing progress - lots of slimming muscular definition.  I have NOT been following the meal plan...didn't even attempt, since it is the holiday season.  I HAVE been very diligent about my food choices though.  I am sticking with lots of healthy options, and steering clear of my allergen food triggers.  I have also been drinking staying away from the sweets.  I don't know if it is the daily Shakeology that is helping with that , or the Beachbody Performance line...specifically the post workout Recover drink...which is chocolate...and delicious....tastes like a Wendy's frosty.  I also really enjoy the vanilla Recharge drink, right before bed.  PLUS, with both of these products, when consumed with proper timing post workout, or before bed, the calories cancel themselves out because of the muscle repair that results from it (it is all fancy scientific stuff, you can learn more about it HERE).

That is my quick update.  I will leave you with a fun, and not really healthy Eggnog Bread recipe that I enjoy this time of year.

CLICK HERE for the recipe.  
Happy Holidays!  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Back from vacation and Refreshed

I had a wonderful vacation, and really enjoyed myself.  I definitely took the time to indulge and have some treats.  We arrived home on Monday, after a long 15 hour drive.  I don't know about you, but when I travel, I am more prone to digestive upset - cramping, bloating, and constipation.  It is a common occurrence for many.  When you travel, you are taking yourself out of a normal routine.  That causes stress on your body, which makes digestion more sluggish. 

Before I left on vacation, I had already planned to come home and jump right into a 3 Day Refresh.  So, Tuesday morning (even without having been to the store yet), I jumped right in.  If you have not read my posts about the Refresh before, let me give you the scoop.  The 3 Day Refresh is a 3 day quick detox, that is designed to cut your craving for sugar, cleanse the digestive system, and help you drop the bloat.  It takes a cold turkey sort of approach...after all, it is ONLY 3 days.  The eating plan is Vegan, so you will be focusing on the fruits and veggies.  You get to enjoy REAL food, along with Shakeology and a high protein Vanilla Fresh shake (dairy free and soy free), lots of water, herbal tea, and relaxing exercise (optional).  Every time I do the 3 Day Refresh, I lose 3-8 pounds (mostly water), I drop the bloat, and I just FEEL better.  I am also much more inclined to make healthier eating choices because I get a reminder or how great my body feels when I eat right. 

A typical day on the refresh starts with Shakeology and a serving of fruit, in the morning.  Mid way through the morning you will have a Fiber Sweep drink.  Don't worry, it is a gentle fiber drink, and won't send you running to the bathroom.  Lunch consists of a serving of fruit, a serving of veggies, a healthy fat, and a Vanilla Fresh Shake.  You also get an afternoon snack of veggies and a healthy fat.  The 3 Day Refresh comes with a bunch of dinner recipes that you can choose from.   Asparagus with almonds, and Cucumber Tomato Salad are 2 of my favorites.  You also get to enjoy a Vanilla Fresh Shake with dinner.  FYI - the Vanilla Fresh Shake contains 20g of protein, and runs about 200 calories.  It really does help to keep you full.  there is also an option to have some vegetable broth along with your meal.  In addition, you will aim to drink plenty of water, to help flush out your system.  Herbal tea between meals and in the evening is allowed.  All in all, while on the refresh, you will consume about 1100 calories a day varies based on your food choices).  It is encouraged that you stick to very light exercise (yoga, PiYo, or walking), or just take the time to rest your body.

Get the Recipe HERE

I have done this 3 Day Refresh MANY times over the past few years, and I have to say it is great for getting back on track with your eating.  This round helped me drop 3 pounds.  I definitely dropped the bloat!!  I feel better, and I am ready to stay focused on my eating choices for, I have the WILL POWER to skip the holiday cookies. 

I am jumping back into my regular exercise routine today!  I have decided that I am going to do 21 Day Fix Extreme for the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. Why start on a Friday?  Because I do not want to wait until Monday.  Besides, starting today will have me finish my round of the Fix on December 24...Christmas Eve.  That means no pressure to get my workout in on Christmas ;).  I selected to do Extreme over the regular 21 Day Fix because I just finished up Insanity Max:30, and I wanted to stick with the more challenging workout through the end of the year.  I will be jumping into the brand new Master's of Hammer and Chisel program (including the meal plan), right after Christmas.  I am ready to commit to this program, and REALLY get some results in 2016.  Want to join me with ANY of these programs?  Message me and let me help you get started, support you through the process, and help you reach YOUR goals.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What does splurging mean?

I am on vacation this week, and after some comments on a few posts that I made on Facebook, this post started brewing in my head.  I really enjoy posting photos of foods that I enjoy while on vacation.  The posts usually get a bunch of likes and often comments about how yummy the foods look.  I also get a few comments like, "You are on vacation.  You should enjoy yourself.  Don't worry about eating healthy."  The truth is that I DON'T focus on eating healthy while on vacation.  I DO splurge.  I DO eat things that are incredibly unhealthy...for me.  That is the KEY...I eat foods that are unhealthy FOR ME...or you might say, unhealthy for my typically healthy lifestyle.  My idea of splurging is probably WAY different than yours. 

You see, I don't diet.  I have not dieted in YEARS.  Did you know that dieting leads to weight gain?  It's true.  How many people that you know go on a diet to lose weight (and they do), but as soon as they reach their goal, they go right back to the same habits that got them gaining weight in the first place?  When I decided to really start my weight loss journey, my REAL goal was to be healthy.  My plan has always been to make small, realistic changes to my regular eating, that I can maintain for the rest of my life.  It is called a lifestyle change.  It requires a complete shift in mindset.  Once you make that shift, it is REALLY hard to undo the way you think.  There are things that I simply do not eat anymore.  Not because I am trying to avoid them, but because I have managed to (over time) weed them out of my lifestyle.  As an example, I do not eat french fries...well, almost never.  Before I started my journey, I would take the kids to McDonald's, and I would order a meal...up-sizing the fries and drink, and I would EAT IT ALL BY MYSELF.   When I started my journey to a healthier me, I decided I wasn't going to eat the french fries.  It was a HUGE challenge at first.  I would still take the kids to McDonald's, and I would order just a sandwich, and still sneak in a fry or two from my kids plate.   Over time, my body adjusted to NOT eating fries.  On occasion I may sneak a few here and there.  However, to me, they no longer taste good.  They are not enjoyable.  I don't crave them.  In fact, I don't really want them at all, and often times when I do have a few, they make my tummy hurt...I actually have digestive problems eating ANY form of white potatoes (baked potatoes, chips, fries, mashed potatoes, etc).  That just makes those foods not appealing.  I managed to go through the same process with soda, and many other of my formerly favorite foods. 

Here's my point.  What might be a splurge for you, might not even be on my radar as a food that
I consider a splurge.  EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.  When you have gone out of your way to drastically change your eating habits, and you have established a new "regular" way of eating, then you redefine what splurging is for you.  For me, eating things like coconut, macaroon fried shrimp with bok choy and coconut rice is a big splurge!!  The food choices may be healthier, but they are still fried, and smothered in not so healthy sauces.  To me, it is a HUGE treat.

Tomorrow, when I enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, I will definitely have some stuffing, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, lots of turkey, and veggies.  I may even enjoy some wine and dessert, if they look appealing (I am not actually very big on pie).  I plan to stay away from the foods that bother my tummy.  I don't want to feel yucky after eating such a delicious meal. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Insanity Max:30 = COMPLETE

I did it!  It only took me 10 months to get up the nerve to stare Insanity Max:30.  I followed the modifier throughout the entire program.  I worked hard, and pushed beyond limits I wasn't sure that I even had.  And I came out on top!  My final results are in....I actually lost about 6 pounds.  I was kind of shocked because I have been dealing with health issues that have been preventing me from losing weight.  Even though I was modifying the exercises, I was still pushing myself to do the best that I could do.  I didn't lose as many inches in my waist as I had hoped, but I DID LOSE INCHES EVERYWHERE!!!  My hips and rear are slimmer, my chest and shoulders are more defined, I have fantastic arm strength, and even my thighs have shed some inches (I have never had that happen to me with a Shaun T workout).  FOR ME, better than the actual physical progress, I just FEEL stronger, and that is huge after the year that I have had with my fitness.  I am so proud of myself for attempting, and FINISHING Insanity Max:30!!

When I got up yesterday morning to take my "after" pictures, I was sure that I had not made any visible progress.  The truth is that I can ALWAYS tell when I compare my progress pics.  So, here they are.....
I do want to note (for my own piece of mind) that I am wearing a size smaller pants in the "after" pics.  So even though I still have some skin bulge happening, I am proud to know that it is happening in a smaller size ;)

As always, along with this program, I drank my Shakeology daily (my daily dose of dense nutrition).  It helps my body function better, and has become an essential part of my healthy lifestyle.  Also, for this program, I used the Beachbody performance line products.  The Energize was great for giving me extra energy to get tackle a challenging program like Max:30.  Hydrate kept me...well, hydrated during my workout.  I LOVE the post workout Recovery drink (my favorite) because it really helped to reduce daily soreness in my muscles.  I also used the Nighttime Recharge whenever I started a new workout in the program, or pushed myself extra hard and was feeling a little more sore than usual.  I am not sure I would have been able to make it through the program without these awesome products.  If you think you might like to give the a try, there is a sampler pack available.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Almost there

I can't believe that I am almost finished with my round of Insanity Max:30!!  It has been great to do a full program along with my husband.  If you don't already know, Max:30 is a pretty intense program....even modifying, like I am.  You really have to WANT to do it.  I'm going to be honest here.  I don't really get excited about doing the Max:30 workouts.  While I CAN do them, and I AM getting stronger, they are not my style of workout.  I am not a huge fan of cardio.  While there is a lot of body strength exercises in Max:30, there is also a lot of cardio.  I really do miss lifting weights....

Anyway, my point is that by working out daily with a partner, we are BOTH motivated to spend time together to get the workout done.  I am not gonna lie, many times we are both yelling profanities to Shaun T through the TV screen.  But, we are doing it together, and we get the workout in EVERY DAY. 

I am going to let you in on a little secret....we are only doing one more week of Max:30 (GASP).  We will be finishing up 1 week short of the 60 day program. '"Why?", you make be asking yourself.  Well, we are leaving on vacation next Friday.  It is either finish the program on vacation (which I don't really want to do on my vacation), finish up the week after vacation (the week AFTER splurging on food), or just call it a day at the end of 3 weeks of month 2, and move on to a new program for December.  Since I am super excited about the release of The Master's of Hammer and Chisel in December, I am going to squeeze in a quick round of 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme in December , and then jump right into Hammer and Chisel.  Don't worry, my hubby and I will still post our before and after pics for Max:30.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Every little step

Last week was the end of the first month of Insanity Max:30 for me.  I know that I have said this in previous posts, but the scale and I are currently at odds about my weight. That's OK.  I am still pushing forward, and I know that the scale will meet up with me eventually.  I have heard wise people say to aim for healthy, and weight loss will follow.  It really is true.  If you are striving to lose weight and not focusing on your health, you are likely to take drastic measures that may result in pounds lost....but will also result in some struggles with health.  And often times, when you start 'going back to normal' after taking those steps, the weight will come back too.  In any event, my goal right now, is for my clothes to be comfortable.  I have been slowly taking steps to get back on track with my eating.  I know jumping in full boar doesn't typically work for me.  I get frustrated about cravings, and I cave.  So, small permanent changes over time it is.  Slow and steady wins the race :).   I think I am doing pretty candy from my kids trick or treat buckets!!  Actually, I haven't been craving sweets at all, and that is a good thing right now. 

Ok, back to my month 1 results.  My weight has actually been fluctuating between 5 pounds lately.  In all likelihood, I probably lost a pound or 2 during month 1.  I HAVE lost 3.4 inches.  I would like to note that I took my month 1 measurements this evening.  Everyone knows that the belly pudge grows throughout the day.  I am pretty sure it is due to gravity ;).   Taking measurements in the evening, after dinner, is not ideal.  However, I still did it, so that I could create this post.  That is dedication!  I will measure again in the morning and update you in my next post.  So here is the REAL accomplishment of month 1 of Insanity Max:30.  I AM STRONGER!!!  I can say that will full confidence.  I know it sounds like a silly progress update, but it is so true.  Before I started Max:30, I could hardly do 5 push-ups (on my knees), without needing to stop.  Now, I can pump out 15-20 push-ups, before I need to stop for a break.  I have never been able to do this in any other workout program that I have tried.  Shaun T really hits the nail on the head when it comes to developing upper body strength by just using your own body weight.  Oh, and I follow the modifier for EVERYTHING.  You might be asking yourself, why I choose to modify the exercises.  2 reasons: 1 - I have lots of issues with my ankles and knees, and I require low impact exercises (no jumping) so I don't injure myself) as you can see from my previous sentences, I lack some upper body strength.  2 - I want to follow a full program WITH a modifier, to demonstrate that you can still get some great results while not forcing yourself to go high impact.  I am seriously impressed with how much strength that I have gained so far from this program.  My friend, talked me into running in a turkey trot for Thanksgiving.  Although I HATE running, I am anxious to see how Max:30 has improved my endurance.  I know when I did Focus T25, I went from running a mile in 9:30 to an 8.5 minute mile.  Max:30 is full of some crazy cardio too.  I am sure that my lung capacity has also strengthened.  The reality is that even though I am still struggling with symptoms of my EBV, I really do just feel better after finishing month 1 of this program.

Here you progress pics.  I have a love/hate relationship with progress pics.  Right now, I am not really happy with how I look, and I am working toward a better me. However, I NEED to be able to SEE that my body IS making progress.  I tried to wear the same clothing as in my before pic.  Although I notice my problem areas (we are our own worst critics), I can still see progress.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last week of Insanity Max:30, ROUND 1

Wow, I NEVER in a million years thought I would be able to go for the full 30 minutes of an Insanity Max:30 workout without "maxing out".  Last night, I did just that!!!  I went the full 30 minutes, during the Sweat Intervals  workout, giving it my ALL. 

What does that mean?  Well, the Max:30 workouts are designed for you to go as hard as possible for as long as you possibly can. The goal is that you push the limits of your body before giving into rest.  Don't worry, most of the workouts are not a solid 30 minutes of activity.  Many of them have a 30 second break after 5-10 minutes of workout out.  Last night, I really pushed myself.  I still followed the modifier (for low impact), and really focused on my form.  I gave my workout 100% effort.   It was definitely a challenge, but so worth it!!

On the food front, I have been doing much better with my eating habits. I managed to survive the weekend celebrating my youngest son's 6th birthday, and I DID NOT have any cake!!  That is huge for me.  It was hard, but I kept reminding myself that eating the sugar and gluten in the cake would cause me tummy pain.  That really helped me to stay in check.  I haven't gone cold turkey.  I have been sucking on hard candy to ease my sugar craving.  It has helped a lot.  In addition, next week, I will be doing a 5 day sugar detox group on Facebook.  It will be open to everyone, if you (or anyone you know) is interested in joining in.  Just CLICK HERE to message me via Facebook, and I will send you the info to join the Facebook group.  It is completely FREE, and will not require any special purchases.    My sugar detox group, starts Monday ...following the Halloween weekend....which I am sure will lead to sugar overload for most of us :). 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Taking the bull by the horns

One of the most frustrating things about being on a fitness journey is when you body chooses NOT to cooperate with your goals.  You are doing most of the right things, and yet, you are not seeing progress.  Worse yet, your goals seem to be getting further away as you progress.  That is where I am.  I am exercising 30 minutes a day, and following my Insanity Max:30 workout schedule. 

I am watching what I eat, and keeping a close eye on portion sizes.  I am drinking my Shakeology daily. 

But I am still feeling "puffy".  I even pulled my Spanx out today, so that I could slip my jeans on, and they wouldn't feel overly uncomfortable.  Yeah, I am a fitness coach, and I own Spanx. 

I would say, 'Don't tell anyone", but seriously, I just posted it on the internet ;).  Sometimes, you just need to smooth everything out, so that your clothes fit comfortably.  Today is one of those days. 

  Here's the deal.  I am losing inches in my legs and my arms.  My face thinning out.  My chest and shoulders are slimming and sculpting.  However, my belly is still not slimming AT ALL.  In fact, it actually feels like it is getting bigger.  In my last post, I talked about my theory of Fat Migration.  While I am sure there is some of that going on, I am becoming skeptical that it is the root of the problem.  I have a sneaking suspicion that not only is my EBV really flaring up.  Often times people that suffer from EBV will develop other autoimmune diseases.  Knowing this, I believe my best bet is to fight back through my diet.  It is time to buckle down and stay strict on my eating plan.  That means NO gluten, No corn, No soy, and very little dairy.  It is also time to boost my vitamin C supplements.  Don't worry, I am smart enough to know that if I am being strict about my eating, and I still continue to have problems, I need to schedule an appointment with my doctor.  I am hoping that this will help.  After all, I became really relaxed about my eating over the summer.  I won't know if that is the issue until I really set my mind to sticking with my plan.  I give myself 2 weeks to start seeing some improvement (or if things really get worse), before I call my doctor.

Monday, October 19, 2015

New levels of frustration

I am totally going to be real with you.  I am at a frustrating point in my journey.  I am doing my Insanity Max:30 workouts, and following the schedule, but I really need to get my butt on board with the eating plan.   I can't seem to stay focused on my eating habits.  I think part of it is that my EBV is flaring up, and I am eating for convenience because my energy is not where it needs to be.  I don't think I am doing a lot of overeating, but I am not making the best choices.  I am really struggling with getting my mindset in the position to be consistent.  I think the regular exercise is helping, but I am not where I was a year ago, with my eating habits.  It is stressful.  I am starting week 3 of Max 30 today, and I have GAINED 4 pounds.  No joke.  Mentally, I know that I am building muscle, and that I just need to be consistent.  I am slimming down and getting really defined in my chest and shoulders.  However, nobody wants to see the scale go up....especially when you have seen it consistently creep up all year.  I am definitely fighting an uphill battle with this EBV.  I seriously need to get my act together.  I KNOW where I need to make changes in my eating, I just can seem to get myself to do them...consistently.   I am laying it out here...I am one of those people that has what I like to call "fat migration".  I totally made up this term, but this is what I mean....It is when you are trying to actively lose weight, and you drop weight in your arms, legs, face....and it all seem to migrate to your belly.  That is so me.  The place I want to slim up the PROBLEM the last to show any progress...and progress can take MONTHS to peek out in my trouble area.  Do you have this problem too?   This is what really has me frustrated.  I can actually handle the scale going up because I can just NOT step on it and see what the numbers are telling me.  But, when my pants don't fit well, and I can't seem to make progress toward a more comfortable fit in the waist, that I get really frustrated.  As a health and fitness coach, this can really wear on your ability to feel confident in your job.  I am educated enough to know what is going on, but my brain likes to play those "what if" games....

  • What if I workout harder and longer?  Straining my already tired body.  Maybe that will help?  You are joking Melissa.  Your body will just CLING to the fat because you will be over training and depleting your nutrition. 
  • What if I did a serious calorie depletion to see some result?  Results that will instantly go away when I stop.  Dear Melissa, See the first' what if'.
  • What if I just throw in the towel and accept that I am not ever going to be at my goal weight?  This one is HUGE for most people because they just give up.  I can't do that.  I can handle starting over ever morning because it means that I am making progress.  I never want to give up on my health. NOT AN OPTION
Maybe that is the key.  I just need to shift my mental focus on the HEALTH aspect.  After all, I know that if you focus on health, weight loss will come.  The truth is, I just want my pants to feel comfortable again...and I WILL NOT go shopping for a larger size.

You may wonder why I blog about this frustration and stress, instead of focusing on the positive.  the reason is that I am a real person.  Even though I coach others to a healthier lifestyle, I still have my own issues with my weight and health.   I know the answers to my problems, but sometimes it just takes convincing my mindset to follow those steps.  For me, talking with MY coach, and blogging about my journey helps tremendously.  I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH because I have been there too! I AM there.  BUT, I don't give up.  I keep pushing through.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Max 30...BEGIN!

Well, I have finally done it.  I started Insanity MAX:30!  Just looking at my before pics, I can tell that I REALLY need this program.  It has been a rough year for me, and I have allowed my EBV to give me permission to skip out on my exercise.  I have my numbers pretty much under control now, and it is time to stop making excuses.  My hubby and I are doing the program together, and we are using that to motivate each other to get our daily workouts in.  So far so good!

Today was day 2.  So far, I am following the modifier.  There is a lot of jumping in Max 30, and my body does not handle the jumping well ;).  Even though I am modifying, I am still getting a really challenging workout.  This program is NOT for the beginner.  Yesterday I maxed out at 14:19...and I was MODIFYING EVERYTHING.  Since he already completed the program earlier this year, Jeff, informed me that the workout (cardio challenge) is the EASY one. Yikes!!!  He was right.  Today was Tabata power, and it was HARD.  Lots of push ups!  My arms feel like jello.  I even had to modify the modifier when Shaun T pulled out the tricep dips.  I have carpel tunnel, and there is something about the way my hands are positioned during tricep dips that causes them to go numb...every...single...time.  No worries!!!  With my extensive experience through my other Beachbody programs, I was able to come up with some exercises that worked the same muscles, but were much more forgiving on my wrists.  I maxed out at 8:13. 

Thoughts so far....I like this program.  Because I have gone through the Focus T25 program, I assumed that Max:30 would be a similar set up as far as exercises.  I was right and wrong.  Yes, there are many exercises that focus on cardio and working multiple muscle groups at once.  However, I also feel like I am getting a lot more strength training in (which I love).  one thing that I have made sure to do for this program, is to make sure I am using the Beachbody Performance Line.  So far, it have been great!!  I am using the Energize before my workouts, to help my body get a little extra boost to get through the intensity of Max:30.  I am following my workout with Recover, which has the proper protein and nutrients to help speed muscle recovery and reduce soreness.  Seriously, this drink is DELICIOUS!!  It tastes like a Wendy's Chocolate frosty.  Mmmmmmmm!  Then before bed, I make sure I am fitting in my Recharge, a night time recovery formula designed to support muscle recovery while you sleep.  It is a yummy vanilla flavor.  Do the Recover and Recharge work.  Ummm, I would say MOST DEFINITELY.  Whenever I start a new workout program, my muscles are usually sore for the entire first week.  I mean so sore that it hurts to walk up and down the stairs.  Not this time.  So far, I have only had a minimal amount of muscle soreness.  This stuff is AWESOME!!!  I have not been using the Hydrate during my workouts, but I plan on ordering some.  Hydrate helps improve performance and endurance, and replaces lost electrolytes better than just water or sugary sports drinks.  I also have not been using the Creatine, mostly because it is more for resistance training.  Depending on how the program progresses, I may add that in too.  

If you want to try the Beachbody Performance products for yourself, there is a sample pack available.  CLICK HERE.  

I will try and blog about my progress at least weekly.  Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Enough is enough!!!

The past 3 months have just been crazy in my life!  Between traveling and moving, and back to school (I home school my kids), I just haven't been staying on the healthy wagon.  I have been trying really hard to get back on track gradually by adding one healthy habit back in at a time.  Usually that works for me.  Not this time.  I am to the point where ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!  Starting on the first Monday in October, I am committing to Insanity Max:30 and my Shakeology for the month!  I have been really apprehensive about jumping into this program.  I have only done the 10 minute ab workout...which is TOUGH.  My hubby did the full program earlier this year and had AMAZING results!!  He and I will be doing the program together, as we get ready for a beach vacation in November :).  I am COMMITTING to it here in writing!  Keep me accountable!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


One of the biggest complaints I get as a coach is that being healthy is SOOO expensive. The reality is that taking charge of your health is an up front expense that will help you avoid extra expenses in the long run. Confusing? Let me use an example. 4 years ago, I was overweight and had a slew of health issues. I ended up at urgent care or the doctors office more times that I cared to go. I don't know about you, but my copays were $45 a pop, so I avoided going to the doc, unless I ABSOLUTELY had to. My husband had just started his own company, and MONEY WAS TIGHT. We were living paycheck to paycheck, and really struggling to make ends meet. I'm not going to lie. Before I started as a coach myself, I told MY coach that I could not afford to purchase the Slim in Six program to join her challenge group. The program was only $40 retail...not a huge expense. For me, at the time, it was a decision between a purchase for myself, and buying groceries for the week (yup, I was feeding a family of 6 on about $50 a week). I struggled with the decision to get the program. I ended up buying it used off of Amazon for only $10. Little did I know that THAT program would change my life. You know what is even funnier, I had previously purchased that program off an infomercial, had it for like 6 months, never took it out of the package, and sold it on Ebay. Anyway, back to my point. At the time I purchased the program I didn't realize what a game changer it would be in my life. That $10 helped to change my entire perspective on my health. I was no longer after the weight loss (well, I wanted the scale to drop, but it wasn't my focus), I was after better health. It was all about feeling better, so that I could be more involved with my family. So I could be a better person, a better wife, and a better mom. Today I am all of those things and more. That little investment in my health, made my whole world change for the better. Instead of continuing on my path to poor choices with my health and fitness. My poor choices would have eventually would have led to more health problems, and more expenses at the doctor's office and pharmacy, I choose to invest in myself and my health. Had I known that one purchase would have made such a difference in my life, I would have said that the $40 retail cost was a bargain.
My point? It is all about perspective. If you want to better yourself (lose weight, get healthy, get an education, better job, etc), you take the time to invest in yourself so that you will be in a position to reach those goals. You never know what is going to be the game changer in your life. Worrying about the upfront cost so much that you don't take that first step, may be hurting you more in the long run. Nobody ever regretted improving on themselves.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hello September!
I've been playing my fitness by ear lately.  I am fitting in daily workout, but I don't really have a plan that I am following.  I am just moving EVERY day.  There is so much other stuff going on right now.  My kids have started back to school.  Since I home school my kids, I have to put on my teacher hat every day.  The good news is that this year seems to have been an easier transition into the school year, than in years past...even with the addition of a kindergartner.  That has truly been a blessing because finding time to fit a daily workout in has been pretty easy.  Right now, I am finding that between 3 and 5 pm are perfect for fitting in my workout.  It gives me plenty of time to exercise, shower and then get started on dinner.  Some workouts are longer, and some are shorter.  I have managed to fit in PiYo, Body Beast, ChaLean Extreme, Slim in 6, 21 Day Fix, and CIZE.

Starting on Monday, I am going to start following the CIZE program for the rest of September.  I am excited to go through this entire program.  I am loving the workouts so far because they don't feel like exercise.  Each workout is set up just like a dance lesson.  You learn a step at slow speed.  You practice it a bit, and then try it at the correct tempo for the dance.  Then you practice some more.  Then you learn the next move (same format as the first).  Then you put the 2 moves together.  The whole workout is the same way, and you just keep adding on.  At the end of the workout, you have completed a FULL routine, you have had loads of fun, and you are a sweaty mess!  I have spent many workouts just tripping over my own feet, but then I FINALLY figure out the move, and I feel like a rockstar!  If you are interested in joining me for CIZE in September, I am running a private Facebook challenge group to help me (and others) stay focused and motivated.  If you want to join, all you will need is the CIZE program.  Message me HERE, if you want to join!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bumps in the road

You know how when you get all excited about starting something?  You go out of your way to prep, you tell everyone that you are getting ready to start this new thing, and your mind is mentally ready to jump in and just do it.  You get off to a great start, and then something happens and it throws you off?  Well, that was kind of the way my 3 Day Refresh turned out.  I'll be honest, I wasn't planning on following the 3 day refresh to a T.  I was planning on following it pretty closely, and then just have a typical dinner with my family.  My overall goal was just to get myself back on track after several weeks of moving and lots of fast food, and a week of vacation.  I just needed to refocus my brain on healthier choices.  Days 1 and 2 went pretty well.  Day 3 was my downfall day.  My youngest son starts kindergarten in Monday (we home school, but that is a whole different post), and I wanted to get him into the eye doctor and make sure he is seeing well.  I have 2 other kiddos in glasses, my hubby has been wearing glasses since he was a kid, and I had to start wearing glasses about 3 years the likelihood for my youngest to need them is pretty high.  BTW - the appointment went great.  My son has a slight color deficiency, and he doesn't need glasses yet, but probably will in a few years.  Anyway, I wanted to do something special for my little guy AFTER the appointment.

 He has been begging me to take JUST HIM to Bob Evans to eat.  He LOVES the piggy pancakes they have there.  Since Bob Evans is right next to the eye doctor's office, I decided to make it a date.  I wanted to stay on track as much as possible, so I chose a salad with dressing on the side, and water to drink.  As a little side note, I only order water at restaurants.  I am sure the servers just think I am a cheapskate.  The truth is, I don't want to drink all of the junk that is in soda, and I like my tea SWEET (which I save for a treat).  Anyway, lunch went smoothly.  When I got home, I decided to do a little yard work.  I think I may have been outside a little too long, and without enough water in my system because when I came in, I just didn't feel well.   I was dizzy and had some muscle weakness (kind of like when you have the flu).  I spent most of the afternoon laying around, and trying to consume as much liquid as my body would handle.  Lots of water, and I even added in a bunch of juice.  Needless to say, I completely fell off my 3 Day Refresh plan.  That's OK though.  I accomplished my goal of getting my brain in the mindset of making healthier choices.  I am feeling better today, and I am ready for the weekend...along with healthier eating habits.

I am human, JUST LIKE YOU.  I fall off the wagon (a lot) JUST LIKE YOU.  I like to eat junk food sometimes (or in some cases, more than sometimes) JUST LIKE YOU.  I don't always make healthy choices.  I don't always follow through with my plans.  I make mistakes.  HOWEVER, I always make sure that I don't give up.  I force myself to get back up, dust myself off, and give it another go. I'm not a quitter! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Getting Back on track

Sometimes life has a way of getting busy and disrupting your healthy lifestyle plans.  Between the move, unpacking, and vacation, I am feeling very off with my eating.  Definitely a little too much fast food, and too many food sensitivities that were clearly not paid attention to :(. 

That stops NOW.  Today I am back from vacation, and I am ready to get back to my healthy eating.  It is time to lose the short cut meals.  I am tired of the constant digestive inflammation, and irregularity.  I am gonna go cold turkey and detox my body with the 3 Day refresh.  This is by far the most efficient way that I have found, to get back on track QUICKLY!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's a rollercoaster of a ride

Confession:  My eating habits have been WAY OFF for the better part of the last 3 weeks!  I was in Nashville, TN for Coach Summit, July 15-19.  I had my Shakeology EVERY DAY.  However, we did lots of meals at restaurants, and I did splurge...a little.  Overall, I made healthier choices.  I participated in large group workouts, and I walked about 8 or so miles each day! 

I arrived back home on the evening of the 19th....just in time to close on our house, the morning of the 20th.  We spent all of last week moving.  Yes, we did most of it ourselves.  We hired movers for the heavy furniture, but the bulk of the moving (of the possessions of a family of 6) was done by myself and my hubby.  Our kids were a big help!  I am pretty impressed by my 11 and 13 year old, and their willingness to step up and carry stuff...even the heavy stuff.  Our parents also offered quite a bit of help, although, we tried very hard NOT to let them lift the heavy stuff.  Apparently, I have impressed my father in law, with my ability to carry heavy things.  Thank you Body Beast and 21 Day Fix Extreme, for the muscle training ;).  Needless to say, I was getting in tons of exercise with this move.  According to my Fitbit, I was getting in 15000-20000 steps a day.   As you may have guessed, we did a lot of fast food runs for meals.  I have had my fair share of pizza, tacos, fried chicken, and cheeseburgers this past week and a half.  I did opt for a few salads along the way, but honestly, when you are moving that much stuff, you NEED the calories from something other than veggies.  The good news is that I have finally unpacked my kitchen.  I can now start cooking again!!!  I have a 3 Day Refresh sitting on my counter, just waiting to be opened, to help me get back on track.  My plan if to jump on that, starting August 12 - we have some other things planned that will not allow a refresh to work well with my schedule before then.  I will keep you posted!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Quick check in

How is it Friday already?  The past 2 weeks have been kind of a blur.  I was at Coach Summit last week, and this week we have been moving.  We should be completely moved by Monday, so things should start to feel like normal again (except for the unpacking).  Confession...I have been eating like CRAP this week.  We have had more fast food this week, than I have had in the past year.  Today's mission is to find and unpack the pots and pans so I can start cooking in my own house! 

My success this week:  I am having a record breaking week with my Fitbit!  I have hit 80,000 steps, and I still have today to go...and that is JUST for the week.  What is your success this week?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Soy. Paleo. EBV

Finally the last allergen has been tested, and it turns out that I am not sensitive to soy.  YAY!!!  Finally something that does not bother my system.  Funny is not a part of Paleo eating.

This allergy elimination has been the best thing that I have done to see what I am able to eat, and what I should stay away from.  Because I forced my body to stay away from dairy, gluten, corn, and soy for 3 weeks, I was easily able to pick out which of those items was causing which digestive symptoms that I was experiencing.   I HIGHLY recommended that everyone give this a try to see what foods you may be sensitive to, and not even know it.  The process is not too hard.  It does require reading food labels, and thinking outside of the box, when it comes to your regular eating plan. It is only 3 weeks of completely avoiding those foods, and it is so worth the knowledge that you gain from it.  As a bonus, I was able to lose a solid 9 pounds over the past 5 weeks.  Obviously, my gut is feeling better and my body is running more efficiently.    If you need some direction or want to know how to do an Allergy Elimination diet, message me and I can help you out.

So now what?

Now that I have diagnosed that I am NOT very gluten or corn tolerant, and that I have a sensitivity to dairy, I need to avoid those things.  I still feel that going with a Paleo eating plan is the way to go, for me.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I am going to try and go about 80% Paleo.  I am allowing myself to be forgiving, so that I may enjoy an occasional slice of pizza, or treats at a party or gathering.  I will still make smarter choices because I KNOW how my body reacts to certain foods, but I can't live in a bubble.  Circumstances happen that will cause me to have to live in the real world, and not have ideal food options available to me, and I need to be prepared for those situations.  

So what is Paleo?  Essentially, Paleo eating is the idea that humans should go back to eating real, whole, unprocessed foods.  So that seems pretty simple, right?  Well, it is a little more complicated than that.  With Paleo, you are focusing on foods that were eaten by cavemen (during the paleolithic era).  So, foods that you might find while hunting and gathering.  There was very little farming, so things like grains were not really consumed.  Dairy appears to be a gray area with Paleo.  Milk from animals would have been available back then, but it was not utilized (time was not taken for milking animals).  However, milk (specifically breast milk) was essential in feeding and nourishing babies.  From what I have read, and in my opinion, I believe that dairy that has been minimally processed would fit very well with a Paleo eating plan.  That being said, I am also finding tons of recipes for cheese that is made from almond or coconut milk, both of which are non-dairy.  

If you are curious about Paleo, here is a nuts and bolts description of what is involved.  Keep following my story for how I am making it work for me.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Oh gluten, why don't you like me?

I just finished up my 2 days of gluten testing on this allergy elimination diet.  I have happy/sad news about gluten.  On the happy side, I didn't have the typical digestive issues that one has when your body doesn't agree with something.  The sad news, I had some serious bloating when I added gluten to my diet.  The fact is, I probably have intestinal swelling, which looks a lot like belly bloat. It's kind of like having hives on your skin, but it all happens inside your body :(

The book that started me on this allergy elimination diet suggested that gluten plays a huge role in preventing the body from being able to keep an autoimmune disease at bay.  I have actually been contemplating going gluten free for quite some time.  About 18 months ago, we went gluten free for my youngest son.  He was having awful issues with cavities, and his behavior was off the wall.  If you follow my blog, you know that I do my research.  I discovered that removing gluten from a diet can help heal cavities, AND it is also been very helpful in helping kids with ADD (which my son does NOT have) to be more focused.  We took out gluten for several months, and can I just say his behavior improved SO MUCH!!!  The cavities did not get any worse either. For me, I had more energy, and just felt better.

I truly believe that proper nutrition is the KEY to good health.   I HATE using medication.  I am all for changing your diet first, and then seeking medical help later.  Of course, if you are having an emergency situation, get to the hospital!!!  A heart attack will not heal itself with diet that quickly.  However, if the doctor says that you have heart disease, or high cholesterol, then do your research, and CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE!!  What is more important, eating the foods that you have grown to love, or having a body that functions properly, and allows you to be around and enjoy time with the important people in your life?  In my opinion, it's ALL ABOUT QUALITY.  Don't let the idea of changing your lifestyle make you feel deprived.  Let it EMPOWER you.  You are taking control of YOUR life, and of YOUR health.  Now, I will step off my soapbox.

I have been toying with the idea of going gluten free for awhile now.  I don't eat a lot of carbs that contain gluten.  However, I probably do eat more than my fair share of gluten containing items.  If you have never researched gluten, you probably don't know that gluten isn't just in bread, but it can be found in nearly any processed food.  Many condiments contain small amounts of gluten.  It is one of those things that just has a way of sneaking into your diet whether you want it to or not.  Anyway, while going through the process of adding these allergy triggers back into my diet, I have made a decision to start going Paleo.  I think for my overall health, Paleo is what my body needs.  While I am going to embrace the Paleo experience, I am also going to follow an 80/20 plan with it.  I still want to have the occasional slice of pizza.  I want to add cheese to my taco salads, and I wand to enjoy the occasional treat while I am at a party, or gathering.   I know deep down that my body NEEDS this sort of eating plan to keep my Epstein-Barr in check.  I am a little scared of making such a change in my life, but I also know that I DESERVE this.  I DESERVE to be healthy.  I DESERVE to have energy to play with my kids.  I DESERVE to feel good and be happy.  So after I finish my allergy elimination over the weekend, I am going to start implementing a Paleo lifestyle.  Don't worry, if you have no idea what I am talking about, I will be sharing more about Paleo in an upcoming blog post :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Corn :(

I can't tell you how challenging it was to add corn products back into my diet WITHOUT adding in soy, gluten, or dairy....aside for straight up corn (on or off the cob).  I know from past experience that my body does not digest raw or cooked corn well.  I didn't think I had an issue with popcorn.  Ummm, I think I was wrong.  On day one of my corn test, I had corn tortillas, which I toasted, broke into pieces and ate with salsa for an afternoon snack.  YUM!  I also had some air popped popcorn drizzled with coconut oil as an evening snack....BIG MISTAKE.  At the risk of TMI, the popcorn went right through me.  I had awful stomach cramping and gurgling.  It was so bad that on day 2, I limited myself to only the corn tortillas with salsa, and a tsp of cornstarch straight up (I know, not a fun way to eat it, but I couldn't figure out another way to test cornstarch, without my other allergens sneaking in).  My tummy was still rumbly, but much better than the day before.  I was completely back to normal on day 3, when I did not add in and corn products.

What does this mean from now on?  Well, I really need to limit my corn intake.  Once I get past the rest of my allergy elimination, I will test processed corn within products.  I am pretty sure cornstarch is OK for my system (especially in baked goods), but I won't know for sure until I try adding it back in as part of a product.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015


So I have completed my sensitivity test for Dairy.  I was actually surprised by the results.  I already knew that I have digestive issues when it comes to cheese in larger quantities.  My 2 day test indicated that I have issues with yogurt.  This was a BIG shocker!!!  I have been eating yogurt almost daily since last summer, and after this test I was able to put together the correlation between yogurt and constant nausea that I have had over the past year.  Here is a breakdown of my results:

Day 1
  • Natural Bliss coffee creamer (just cream and sugar) in my am coffee
  • 1 oz cheese with lunch
  • French Vanilla Coffee from Speedway in pm (it has been a MONTH, since I have been able to enjoy my fancy coffee).  French Vanilla was the only flavor that does not also contain soy.
  • 1 oz cheese with my taco salad for dinner
  • plain Greek yogurt as an evening snack.
I may have gone a little bit overboard with the dairy, so that could be a source of my issues, but I has severe nausea at bedtime.  It was so bad that I couldn't sleep. My nasal congestion was also much worse that usual. 

Day 2

  • French Vanilla Coffee from Speedway
  • 1 oz cheese with lunch
  • Gluten free cheese pizza for dinner  (it was so nice to have pizza!!)

 My nasal congestion was better, only slight nausea, and I felt a little bloated, and had some mild constipation.

Results - I am slightly sensitive to dairy.  I do not seem to have any issues with dairy that is a small part of a recipe, but dairy in larger quantities, and possibly yogurt by itself give me nausea.  For the remainder of my allergy testing, I will not be having dairy.  However, I plan to add it back into my eating plan (in small quantities) after I finish my allergy elimination.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I finally completed my 3 weeks of being gluten free, dairy free, soy free and corn free.  Overall, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  You do really notice those few foods that ARE important in your life.  For me, it was cheese.  Not that I eat much cheese, but I really missed not having it sprinkled on my taco salad.  Now that I have abstained from gluten, dairy, soy and corn for 3 weeks, I get to slowly add those things back into my diet, one thing at a time.  For the next 2 days, I am adding dairy back in to my eating plan.  I am going to take careful notes of how I feel.  Do I notice bloating, digestive cramping, constipation, headaches, nasal congestion (more than usual...I have terrible seasonal allergies), or any other unusual symptoms.  Then I will not have any dairy on day 3.  If I have no symptoms, I will continue on to another food, repeating the same 2 days on, 1 day off process.  If I have any unusual symptoms from adding dairy back into my diet, I will have to wait until those symptoms subside before I start the next potential allergen test. 

I have carefully selected the dairy items that I get to add back in.  I had to be careful to avoid soy, gluten, and corn IN those items.  On a side note...Do you have any idea how much these things are added into MANY of the foods out there?!?!?  This is why I always promote clean eating.  Most American foods are just so processed that you can't find too many items that are 'natural'.  It is kind of depressing.  As I was double checking my food labels, I noticed that my shredded taco cheese has cornstarch in it.  That's is out for now :(.  Since I don't drink cow's milk, I had to find some dairy items that fit my criteria.  I decided to go with Plain greek yogurt, hot pepper cheese (got to have my cheese), and  Natural Bliss coffee creamer.   If you LOVE coffee creamer, but want to avoid all the junk in typical creamer, then give this stuff a try.  It is simply cream and sugar!  I am picky about my coffee creamers (I just can't do straight up almond milk), but THIS, I like.  Over the past few weeks, I have been using So Delicious coconut milk coffee creamer, and it is also outstanding (a little out of my typical budget though).

**I haven't taken my measurements this week, but I have dropped a total of 7 pounds over the past 3 weeks.  I have also noticed a huge increase in energy, and I am sleeping better. I am hopeful that this allergy elimination will be the answer to some of my biggest weight loss obstacles. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

2 weeks down, one to go

Can I just start off by saying I REALLY MISS CHEESE!!!!  I have been gluten/dairy/corn/soy for 15 days now.  I am doing great sticking to my plan, but I have been CRAVING cheese.  I have also been wanting popcorn.  Other than that, I don't feel like I am missing out on much.  I don't eat a lot of cheese, but not being able to have an occasional slice of pizza, or add some cheese to my taco salad is driving me crazy.  Less than one week to go.

2015 has been a really tough year for me health wise.  A year ago, I was in the best physical shape I have been in since high school - I was a gymnast and swimmer back then, and stayed VERY fit.  I was back into a healthy BMI range, and well on my way to reaching a goal weight that I never considered would be possible for me to reach again in my adult life.  I actually weighed less than I did when I got married.  I was happy, confident, and very active with my fitness.  You can read my full transformation story HERE.  Then EBV happened.  For months, I had no idea why I had no energy, and why I was gaining weight so quickly.  After getting my EBV diagnosis in April, I have been taking a step back and REALLY listening to my body and trusting that by listening to it's cues, I will get better.  It's funny, at the beginning of the year, I was working out so hard, and really watching what I ate, and still NOT making any real progress toward my weight loss.  The past few weeks, I have hardly been exercising (some walking and exercise from packing for our move), but I have been really honing in on how my body reacts to food.  I am not cutting out the sugar, and I am not making ONLY healthy eating choices.  I have not started to add gluten, dairy, corn, or soy back into my diet yet, but because of the way my body is responding WITHOUT those things, I KNOW that I have a sensitivity to at least one of those things.  It took a lot of courage for me to give up those things for several weeks.  I have actually been considering the idea for MONTHS, but I just couldn't talk myself into it.  The truth is that I was scared to give up my favorites, and that I wouldn't be able to eat anything besides veggies and fruit. I am so glad that I did give this allergy elimination diet a try.  Now I can pinpoint where I have issues, and avoid those foods.  I have also found that my energy is definitely almost back to normal.  My body is not battling my food sensitivities, so it has time to focus on keeping my EBV at bay.  I feel great!  I am losing weight WITHOUT even trying, and I am feeling confident about myself again.  It is all because I needed to give my body a chance to heal.   

P.S. Please do me a favor and leave a comment below if you read this post.  Even if the comment is just a smiley face.  I am just curious about how many people are following my story.  Thank you <3!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Progress update - JUNE

I haven't done a progress update in awhile.  Between dealing with the EBV and trying to regain my energy and health back, finishing up our home school year, and getting ready to move this summer, I just haven't been working out like I should.  When I don't workout, I don't feel like I have "progress" to share.  I suppose I should clarify, I haven't been doing my workout programs - I'm missing my Body Beast and ChaLean Extreme, but they really deplete my energy.  I HAVE been walking 2 miles a day, almost everyday.  So, my exercise is just much lower impact.  I am trying to build my stamina back up.  I do try to fit in at least one Body Beast, ChaLean Extreme or PiYo workout each week to get in some strength training. 

On the upside, I HAVE been focusing on my eating.  I am in week 2 of my allergy elimination diet. I have NOT been cutting out the sweets, but I have not had gluten/dairy/corn/soy for 10 days now, and my scale dropped 3 pounds.  I am down 3 inches in the chest and waist.  I am dropping all the belly bloat (or more likely intestinal swelling), and I am sleeping like a dream!  Another 11 days to go, and then I can start "testing" my tolerance for gluten, dairy, soy and corn.  Even though I am supposed to add the items back in one GROUP at a time, I am planning on separating that even further to pinpoint if all foods in that category are triggers, of just certain forms.  For example, is anything with corn a trigger, or just actual corn kernels?  Maybe cornstarch or corn syrup are NOT triggers.  Don't worry, I will keep posting about it all.  Please feel free to contact me, if you are interested in testing yourself for food allergies.  I would be happy to share my knowledge :).

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Week one

I am on day 7 of my 3 week allergy elimination diet.  I have to tell you, it has really been pretty easy.  Of course, I am focusing on fruits, veggies, mostly lean meats (grass fed, when I can), and my vegan chocolate Shakeology, because they are all easy to determine that they are gluten/dairy/soy/corn free.  I actually figured out how to make my favorite brownies (Baker's one bowl brownies) into gluten and dairy free brownies....and I though they still tasted AMAZING!!!  I have been able to eat out at a restaurant.  Did you know that many restaurants have allergy info on their websites.  My folks to my hubby and I to Bob Evans.  They have a FABULOUS food allergy chart on their website.   I had my iPhone out as I browsed the menu.  It is really a challenge to find items that are free from gluten, AND dairy, AND corn, AND soy, but I managed to do it!  I ordered everything a la carte - hickory ham, baked sweet potato (plain...yes, I enjoy them WITHOUT butter), and fruit cup.  The meal was filling and all in line with my strict dietary needs.

One Bowl Brownies and homemade icing.  ALL Gluten/Dairy/Corn/Soy FREE. 

An interesting observation from the week.  I have not necessarily been looking for 'lite' or 'low sugar' foods while I follow this plan.  I want to make sure that I keep myself strictly off the no no foods, so I am allowing myself to splurge on some things that fit my restrictions, but offer a treat to my sweet tooth.  I have been eating more REAL sugar than I typically do (I don't eat sugar much at all), and STILL, I can tell the bloat and swelling in my belly is going down.  It really is true that when you choose REAL, NATURAL foods, your body knows what to do with those foods, and it doesn't cause as much irritation to your digestive system.  Before I started my elimination diet, I took my measurements, and I will share my updated progress in a few days (I am taking them again tomorrow, at the beginning of week 2).

I have been trying to embrace this eating plan, instead of focusing on what I CAN'T eat, I am on the lookout for foods that I CAN eat.  If you take your time at the grocery store, you can find lots of great 'favorites' to sub into your plan.  It's official. My kids hate going grocery shopping with me. They do not like that I stop and carefully read the food labels on everything!!  I have really been craving cheese this week.  I don't eat a lot of cheese, but still I have been missing it.  Yesterday, I came across this find at the grocery store.

If fits my plan.  I was so excited!!! It was pretty decent too.  You can taste the rice pasta (which I really like), but the 'cheese' left a little to be desired.  That's OK though.  I don't think it is forever.  I am already in tune with how my body deals with dairy, even though I am doing this elimination for 3 weeks.  I will be able to add real cheese back (in moderation) into my eating plan in a few weeks. 

Who else out there is gluten, dairy, corn, or soy free (or some combination of those)?  I would love to hear about your favorite grocery store finds!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Autoimmunity and food sensitivities

As I continue to research and learn to manage my EBV, I am learning so much about how the foods I eat impact my body and my health.  I mean, I already knew that eating healthy, clean foods are what the body needs for proper nutrition and fuel.  However, as I pour through books and websites on autoimmune diseases, I am learning so much about how much the food quality can also affect immune health.  One of the biggest things that I have picked up so far is that there is a link between the increase in genetically modified foods to an increase in food allergies.  Gluten intolerance (Celiac Disease), for example, has seen a large increase.  In addition, people are making the connection between excessive gluten and digestive issues (gluten sensitivity), ADD, Autism, immune health, and even dental caries (cavities).  From what I am reading, it isn't so much the gluten itself that is the problem (with the exception of Celiac disease), but the over use of gluten in the American food supply...which is a direct result of genetic modification as a means of increasing crop yield and thus providing a larger food supply.

Let me allergies are more likely to develop, the more often an individual is exposed to a certain food.   Back in the day, when families worked their own land and often farmed their own food, an individual's diet throughout the year would vary - fresh fruits and veggies in the summer because the weather is more favorable to farming, and more meat and grains in the winter, when hunting and use of harvest grain was likely to be the main source of food.   Foods were rotated in and out throughout the year.  Today, we can hit the grocery store pretty much anytime of the year and find pretty much anything you want to eat.  Although there is some variety in our diets, people still tend to eat the same things over and over again...all year round.   That increases our exposure to the typical food allergens, and therefore, gives us more opportunity to develop an allergy.  There is a TON of great info about this, and if you want to read in more detail, check out The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum M.D., M.P.H.

OK, so I'm bringing you our of the lecture hall and back into my blog again.  Over the past few years, I have noticed that I have adverse reactions to a certain foods.  I definitely have an issue with potatoes.  I know, it sounds CRAZY.  Every time I eat potatoes (regardless of form) I get stomach cramps about 2 hours after eating them.  Sweet potatoes are the exception.  However, I steer clear of baked potatoes, new potatoes, chips, french fries, and mashed potatoes.  I have had theories about other foods that I have sensitivities with (dairy, gluten and corn, specifically), so I decided to do a series of allergy elimination diets.  I am starting with the big 4 - gluten, dairy (milk), corn, and soy.  I have given up ALL four of these items for the next 3 weeks.  After the 3 weeks, I will introduce each one back in ONE at a TIME.  I will be taking careful notes to see how my body reacts. Later on I will do some testing for nut and egg sensitivities - although, I have never really had issues with either. 

Today is day 3, and so far I am doing great.  I am not at all hungry.  I am aiming to stay within my normal calorie range for the foods I am allowed to eat.  However, if I am really hungry, I will eat a little more.  You might be asking yourself, "If you can't eat gluten, dairy, corn, or soy, then what CAN you eat?".  The truth is that I really have to read labels in the grocery store.  Gluten free products are pretty easy to find nowadays.  I tend to shop at Kroger, and they have a special label on any food item in the store that is gluten free.  Dairy is also pretty easy to avoid.  I am subbing almond, coconut, and cashew milk for typical dairy products - coconut milk yogurt, cashew milk ice cream, etc.  I am skipping out on all cheese though, and I am NOT excited about that.  My challenges have actually been with soy and corn.  So many of the products on the store shelves use SOME FORM of corn (high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch...anything with the word corn in it), or soy (or soybean).  UGH!!!  Sadly, those are the 2 most over used products in the typical American diet.  Of course, I am getting lots of fruits and veggies, and my typical fare of lean red meat, chicken, turkey and fish.  I am trying to get grass fed or free range meats, whenever possible...mostly because those animals are usually fed corn....which I am trying to avoid.

My plan is to long in daily and give an update of my day and my progress.  However, since it is already day 3, and I am just now sharing my plan with you, I have a feeling I may not get to my blog every day.  In any event, I will share some pic of a few of the meals that I have enjoyed over the past 3 days.
scrambled eggs (in coconut oil) with peppers and green onions, strawberries and cherries

cream of rice cereal with a bit of honey mixed in, strawberries and cacao nibs

quinoa, turkey sausage, and sauteed peppers and onions

I made my family spaghetti and garlic bread. My simple swaps:
**I checked labels and bought sauce that met my criteria (I would have made my own, but I was short on time today).
**I swapped noodles with spaghetti squash
**I made my own garlic bread with gf/df/cf/sf bread, coconut oil and garlic salt.

Here is that AWESOME cashew ice cream I mentioned.  Completely dairy/corn/soy/gluten free!!