Sunday, December 29, 2013

Whole 30: Week 1 Menu Plan

Let's not sugar coat the facts: the first week of your Whole 30 is going to be the hardest. 

You will be breaking habits, learning how to cook a different way & with different recipes, and you may be a little anxious if you are spending more money than normal on food.

With that said, here are a few items I would recommend having on hand to make your experience run smoothly::

*Ghee (I buy mine at Trader Joe's)
*Olive oil
*Coconut oil
*raw almonds
*raw cashews
*3 dozen eggs (at all times)
*almond meal and/or coconut flour (for thickening sauces or use in place of bread crumbs)
*Cooked chicken (your choice of cooking method...great for salads or quick snacks)
*raw veggie sticks (my fave are carrots & red peppers)
*green apple slices (the tartness/sweetness helps curb cravings fast! especially if you sprinkle on some cinnamon)
*Homemade Mayo

Here are the first seven dinner recipes I have compiled for you!  

Dinner Ideas: 

#1: Coconut Chicken Fingers, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, steamed broccoli (frozen is fine) 

#2: Turkey Burgers**, Sauteed Apples & Onions, Green Beans(frozen is fine), Butternut squash
**I season the turkey burgers with dried herbs, s&p..then top with homemade mayo & the sauteed apples & onions

#4:Chocolate Chili with toppings of your choice...ideas: shredded lettuce, olives, scallions, avocado, chopped tomatoes

#5: Moroccan Meatballs, Moroccan carrots, spinach salad with olive oil & vinegar (fresh spinach, cucumber, red pepper, black olives)

#6: Whole 30 Shepherds Pie, green veggie of your choice or a salad would be nice

#7: Baked Chicken, mashed cauliflower (sub ghee for butter), sauteed peppers, onions, & mushrooms.

Breakfast Ideas: 

Veggie Egg Bake (recipe coming soon!), Clementines, baked sweet potato fries. 
Hard Boiled eggs, homemade sausage (eliminate coconut sugar), veggie of choice (frozen or fresh)
Scrambled eggs with wilted spinach, fruit, veggies

Lunch Ideas: 

Salad with portion of meat (grilled chicken) and homemade dressing
Portion of meat, veggies, baked sweet potato fries

Good Luck!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Whole 30 Start Date

If you read my last post you know that I have invited to you start a Whole 30 journey with me. 
Great right?... You may not think so due to the date I have decided to start. 

I have decided to start my Whole 30 lifestyle on Monday, December 30th

Yes, before New Years Eve.
Don't let this stop you, please let me explain. 

I have chosen to start my Whole 30 on December 30th for 3 reasons...

#1. December 30th is a Monday. 
I have a Type A personality all the way. If I were to say I was going to start something on a Wednesday (Jan. 1st), I would wait until the following Monday to actually start because that is just the insane way my brain works...and that crazy reasoning gives me 5 days to talk myself out of doing it all together. 

I'm not joking, this is a real reason for the December start date. 

#2. I'm eliminating a night of indulgence
New Year's Eve is often a night when people go "all out". Eating rich foods, drinking cocktails, and let's not forget that mid-night champagne toast. When I was thinking about my start date, I decided that I was going to honor myself & the process of eliminating things in my life that are not beneficial to me. Indulging on New Year's Eve isn't going to do anything for me other than leave me bloated, exhausted, & with a possible hangover in the morning. Mitchell & I will be ringing in the New Year with a sparkling water toast...they even have a strawberry champagne flavored seltzer out now. ;) 

#3. I hate resolutions. 
I have never kept a resolution 
This year I'm going to be 3 days in on my new lifestyle change, and I won't even be thinking my yearly January 1st  thoughts of  "this is a day of new beginnings! I can change TODAY! Forever starts NOW!"....only to be broken and defeated 5 days later. 
Besides, God promises that His mercies & strength are new everyday...every morning...why do I put limits on that truth & think there are only certain days I can "reset"? (hmmm....apparently I still need to work on this...see reason #1 above)

This year, I'm taking a stand & proving to myself that I can do this. I'm going to skip a national day of indulgence, trust that God has my back, and love myself enough to do what is right for my body & emotional health. 

So there you have it...why I'm starting a new lifestyle at the end of the year instead of at the beginning of the new one. 

If you were to start on the 30th with me, what would your reasoning be? I would love to hear about it! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It Starts With Food

I borrowed the title of this post from a New York Times best selling book of the same name by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. It Starts With Food describes the eating plan known as the "Whole 30." It is a 30 day strict Paleo diet that is meant to be a "nutritional reset."


In a nut shell, the Whole 30 can easily be described by this little graphic: 


Oh, and the biggest thing:

My husband & I completed the Whole 30 challenge in July. Here are the questions we had before we started along with my honest answers. I wish I had had an honest resource like this before, if you are here because you are thinking about doing a Whole 30... you're welcome

*Disclaimer: Please know that I think the book It Starts With Food is an awesome (the best) resource and you should defiantly check out the website that goes along with the book before undertaking such a drastic change in lifestyle. It explains all of  the reasoning & science behind the rules. The following advice/answers to common questions are from MY personal experience.

Was it hard? Yes. 
The Whole 30 isn't something you just take on lightly. It requires first and foremost, the right mindset. You need to go into this committed to not cheating, sticking with it for 30 days, and knowing it may not be easy. It also requires careful menu planning, grocery shopping, food preparation, portion control, and if you are like me...budget planning. 

Why budget planning? This program does not allow the "cheaper" filling food such as whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, etc. I'm not going to lie and say eating only fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, & meat is a cost effective plan for a growing family. For us, this way of eating costs at least 50% more than our normal grocery budget.

Did we hate it? Sometimes. 
Here is a very accurate timeline of the ups & downs you will feel while on the Whole 30. Go ahead and read it...

Now that you have read the timeline &  have an idea of why we sometimes hated this challenge, I have one word for you: patience. 
Have patience with yourself, patience with your spouse (if they are doing it, they are most likely feeling the same way as you!), and patience with the process...this is not an overnight change.

What did we eat? A lot of delicious REAL foods & a TON of veggies. 

We learned to LOVE vegetables.A plate full of raw veggies at breakfast alongside some eggs was something I actually looked forward to, seriously!  Pinterest was a great resource (be careful though, a lot of things are pinned as "whole 30" then upon further inspection they are not!), a blog called clothesmakethegirl has amazing recipes (she also has 2 cookbooks out), and then there were days we kept it basic & fancy recipes just a portioned piece of grilled meat & a plate full of vegetables. 

Did you cheat? No, but kind of. 

What does that mean? Well, we kept with the rules 100% except we had pureed frozen bananas with cinnamon & almonds on top maybe once a week as a late night snack. For us, we did not feel we were cheating ourselves by having this. Let me explain: 

Part of the rules of the Whole 30, is not to create "off limit" foods with "allowed" foods...they call this "SWYPO" (...Sex With Your Pants the book for a further description of the rule.) In our case, what we were consuming would be considered "Banana Ice Cream." It totally wasn't that for was fruit in a different form. It didn't mess with our heads or make us think we were having a "treat." If either of us were addicted to ice cream before we had started the Whole 30, and were using this snack to replace an off limit food it would have then been a problem. 

Did you see results? Yes! 

I personally lost, 15 pounds and 4.5 inches around my waist. I also cut my daily diet coke habit completely, which was huge! 

Did you stick with it after the 30 days were over? Nope, I basically fell of the wagon & was run over by the truck towing said wagon. 

This past year has been insane. I haven't slept through the night once since the baby was born, we have 3 kids, I'm still nursing the youngest, I have so many household responsibilities...I could go on & on. 

But the hard truth is this: 

I didn't stick to this way of life because I didn't respect myself or the sacrifices I made during the Whole 30. .I let "life" get in the way, I allowed the "easy way out" to win...even though I saw the results I wanted & felt the benefits that came from taking care of myself.
It had nothing to do with feeling deprived, not liking to food, or not being able to afford it. 

I didn't (don't?) value myself enough to stick with it & get the long term results I KNOW this program can deliver!

So long story short, about 5 days after our Whole 30 ended we ordered a pizza & bought a bottle of forward 4ish months later & I have gained back the weight plus an extra 2 pounds. (hey, I told you this was going to be an honest resource...) 

 Okay, with all that info, I'm ready to publicly announce that I'm starting the Whole 30 lifestyle on December 30th. 

((Notice I didn't say "I'm starting another Whole 30"? That was intentional. I'm not setting a limit on this next "Whole 30" could be a "Whole 45" or a "Whole 108"...I'm honestly not sure!))

I'm back at square-one (+2) & I am blogging about all of this to invite you to re-start this journey with me. 

What's in it for you if you join me?? Well, three things...

First:: You are giving yourself the gift of self-care, which I have recently learned is so important. For most of us so many issues in our health, our hormones, and our emotions are in directly related to our diet. It truly does, in my opinion, Start With Food.


Second:: I'm personally planning out 30 days of family friendly Whole 30 compliant meals for you. You read that right...I will have seven "dinner" meals, along with breakfast & lunch ideas, including a shopping list,  posted once week in advance. These meals will also have suggestions of simple side dishes for those who are not on the Whole 30. 

Third:: I will be blogging about my experience as an encouragement to you! Every Saturday you will get an honest recap including the physical, emotional, & spiritual aspects of my week...along with tips & bonus recipes to get the most out of your own Whole 30! If I get brave I may even try to video blog these updates! 

And I know you may be thinking, "Wait... she wants me to start BEFORE the New Year?"

 The simple answer is yes

I will tell you why tomorrow...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Let's Get Real

fe·lic·i·ty: noun\fi-ˈli-sə-tē\

: great happiness
: something that is pleasing and well chosen
: joy

I used to read a lot of  "idealistic life" blogs. 

You know the ones... the house is always gorgeously clean and in the perfect neighborhood. The kids are always smiling, photo shoot ready, and they complete their chore charts everyday without a fight. The mom is always a perfect size (whatever that is) & she wears the cutest hair, scarf , & boots then takes pictures of herself doing so with a caption like "can't believe I am posting this...I look awful today!".  Don't get me started on the husband...he has the perfect job, looks like a GQ model, never leaves a wet towel on the bed, & always picks up his dirty clothes. Oh, and to round out this sitcom worthy life, the dog doesn't shed & has never had an accident in the house. 

Of course I am exaggerating...kind of. 

Often times, after 15 minutes of my precious free time I left my computer having coveted a home, a family, and a situation that seemed ideal; a life that appeared to be "perfect". Basically, I would leave those sites feeling inferior, like a failure,and like an inadequate wife & mom for my family. 

It is so easy to forget that the information most people share online is just a glimpse of their true everyday life. This truth pertains to Instagram, Facebook, blogs, or whatever online or social media you are a part of. 

It is easy to hide behind a screen & "paint" a pretty picture for others to see. Perhaps some are even painting a picture of what they wish their life would/could be.

So, where am I going with this?

Let me get something out in the open from the beginning...I'm not perfect & I'm human.

I yell at my kids. I hate doing laundry & I sometimes don't sweep my floor for 3 days in a row. I have mood swings & pity parties. I'm not above feeding my kids leftover cake for breakfast on a Saturday, and I argue with my get the point right?

On this blog I am going to strive to be authentic. While I will do my best to be 100% real,  I refuse to focus on the bad (aka selfish/sinful) moments of my everyday. Just as every other person on earth my days are sometimes absolutely horrible, but you know what? God has called me to be joyful. He has taught me that everything is beautiful in it's own way, even the hard stuff. Seasons change, and I am going to strive to be joyful in all seasons of my life. 

It is by God's GRACE alone that I do anything well. It is only Him who makes things in my life beautiful.He promises that in HIM I will find hope, I will be joyful, I will be fulfilled. 

He promises felicity.

xoxo ~Heather

Hello! Let Me Introduce Myself...

This blog is a long time coming....

I have written many a blog post in my head, does that make me weird? (no need to actually answer...) I am now finally ready to start actually typing out my thoughts & sharing them with the world.

Let me take a minute to introduce myself...

My name is Heather.

I am a lover of Jesus, family, and traveling.
I am a 30 year old Mommy to three sweet boys: ages 9, 7, & 1.
I'm married to the boy I met in 5th grade Sunday school.
I live in a popular coastal town of Maine & could never live without the ocean.
I love making things.

Here a Promised Felicity you will find articles related (but not limited) to:
Natural living
Decorating on a budget
Making a rental home your own
Recipes & cooking with whole real food
Life as a mom of three boys
DIY tutorials
Re-discovering yourself after 3 kids in 9 years (I'm looking forward to that series myself!)
So much more!

I would be honored to have you join me on this journey of blogging.
Welcome friend!
Brew a cup of tea & spend a moment with me...

xoxo ~Heather