Lets Be Thankful

Hi, it’s me. Diana. Worst blogger evaaaa. It’s a new month though which feels like a good time to try to reinvigorate myself around getting you some regular posts!

I’m taking a page out of Pam101’s book and deciding to fill November with posts about being thankful. I’m already a day behind, so here are two things I’m thankful for:

1. 28 Years With My Grandfather — My grandfather passed away on 10/21 at the age of 88. He lived a long, healthy, full life and was married to the love of his life for 65 years. I’m so thankful to have known him. He will always be a role model of patience, kindness and love to me.

2. Knowledge — This probably sounds weird, a totally nerdy, but lately I’ve been craving knowledge. I want to learn and understand so much more about so many things – healthcare marketing, photography, nutrition, business management, fitness…and the list goes on. It almost feels overwhelming. I’ve never had a strong, lasting desire to go back to school, and I don’t think I’m feeling that now either, but I’m thankful for the ability to learn on my own through classes, career development opportunities and reading. Knowledge is a wonderful thing.

Here’s hoping you’ll join me in being thankful this month!

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Sticking a Fork in the Whole30

Well it’s about time I give you my Whole30 wrap up, don’t you think? Only a few weeks behind, but better late than never. Actually, I’m kind of glad I’m writing this a couple weeks after we finished our Whole30 because it gives me a little more insight into the whole experience. (And if everything I just wrote makes zero sense to you, you might want to read Part I, II and III)

The biggest thing for me is that this whole experience has really changed the way I think about food, the way we shop for it and how I’m ok with looking at good, healthy food as something worth investing in, because really I’m investing in my long term health and well being. Oh, and this morning for breakfast, I had a smoothie made from Kale, 1/2 an avocado, goji berries and applesauce. Hello, hippie much?

I can honestly say I loved the way my body, mind and spirit felt during the Whole30. The best word I can use to describe it as is…clean. And the first week or so after getting off the Whole30, and going back to a non-paleo diet,  Joey and I both felt like crap. I’m still getting random headaches here and there and I truly feel like I have less sustainable energy throughout the day.   I’m not saying it’s ALL related to food, because I know I’m more stressed with work at the moment, but a curious coincidence, dontcha think?

Full disclosure: Post Whole30 I’ve totally fallen back down the sugar rabbit hole. I seriously can’t stop myself when it comes to one cookie vs. three, and the fact that we had hot fudge brownie fixings in the house from Joey’s birthday, well it was all over for me. No. Self. Control. I need to get this in check. Like yesterday.

Eating Habits Now: I’m much more relaxed about the things I’m eating, but I am trying to stick to a mostly paleo diet, choosing lean meats, veggies, fruits and nuts as much as possible. We have yet to buy milk or cheese for the house (not to say I haven’t had either outside of the house, but it’s a start). I made a cauliflower rice dish just last week.  After watching Food Inc. again, I’m very serious about only wanting to buy grass fed beef and free range chicken. I’ll keeping going to my favorite local produce stand until it closes for the year. We’re changing. It won’t happen over night, but I feel a conviction deep inside of me.

Whole30 PartII?: Joey, completely under his own influence, wants to do another Whole30 in October. I think he feels bad because of all of those cheat days 😉 We’ll see what happens.

As for all the questions of, “Isn’t it hard to eat like that?” I’ll quote my favorite motivational line from It Starts with Food:

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

So who’s coming over for some Paleo Southwest Meatloaf tonight?

Whole 30: Week 3 In the Bag

Week 3 of our Whole 30 is in the bag (if you’re new, check out week 1 and week 2 recaps), and I’m still going strong. My main feeling after realizing we only have one week left to go is…umm, this is easy! I’m starting to think about what things look like post-whole30, and I can honestly say I think I’ll be making some long term changes to the way we buy our food, what we buy and how we cook. And I’m super excited about all of these things (and yes, that’s in a dorky way just like it sounds).

Full Disclosure: I told you about my breaking the no-alcohol rule for a bachelorette party. Well, Joey broke it too during a recent work trip out of state (cough cough and maybe a few other times too cough cough), and there may or may not have been late night taco bell on said work trip (GASP!!), but I have to give the man credit for sticking to the program even when I know he has been ready to give up and eat a pound of pasta. He’s a guy. He has a (enviously) fast metabolism. And he works out. I think his body seriously craves, and needs, that carb energy to keep him going. He depends on those quick, filling meals and sometimes a can of tuna and a sweet potato just don’t cut it.

I also have a bit of a leg up since I have access to an awesome salad bar/full cafeteria 5 days a week at work, where Joey doesn’t. And instead of ‘cheating’ on the Whole30, he’ll eat a meager lunch of whatever he can throw together quickly. But Joey + small meal + crazy work schedule = Mr. CrankyPants (Love you babe! smooch smooch!).

Moving along.

How am I feeling? My update is much the same as last time. More sustainable energy throughout the day, can forgo my morning coffee without getting a headache, and my body just feels…better. I don’t feel, however, like I have any superhuman, health food induced powers. It’s not like this amazing, SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS, transformation of body and soul. I  just simply feel good about myself and my food choices.

Food Discovery of the Week: Cauliflower rice is AWESOME! I don’t have a food processor, so we put ours through the blender a little at a time to break it down into rice sized pieces (see photo above, not my photo but it’s a dish using cauliflower rice). Joey sauteed it with olive oil, garlic and other spices. Added some of this awesome andouille sausage we got from a local natural market, and a green pepper and zuchinni from our favorite produce stand, and holy cow was this dish awesome. I went back for seconds…and thirds. We were so stuffed we couldn’t even think about yonanas for dessert 😉 Need to make this one again asap.

For Your Instant Queue: Some food for thought documentaries if you’re interested in making some changes to your diet, or understanding more about our food industry and food’s role in our overall health. I highly recommend you watch Food Inc. and Food Matters. I know you have to be careful of what you take as gospel, but starting to question, research, and understand is never a bad thing.

Oh, and if anyone is planning on trying a Whole30 (I know Campbell is!), or switching to a paleo based diet, I’d love to hear updates on how it’s going!

Happy Happy Friday, All!

Endorsed: This Sh** It’s Yonanas…

Get ready to have your mind blown.

This crazy little appliance called Yonanas makes what looks and tastes like soft serve ice cream using frozen fruit, and nothing but frozen fruit! Hello healthy!

As a total ice cream nut, I was a little skeptical but willing to shell out $50 if it meant getting to have dessert during our Whole30 challenge. I tested out the classic strawberry banana combo, pressing nothing but frozen bananas and frozen strawberries through the Yonanas chute, and holy moly my mind = blown.

Ok, I’m so not a food photographer, but this really did have the consistency of soft serve ice cream, and the banana totally fools you into thinking it’s made with cream and sugar. Plus, there are an endless number of recipes you can try from mint chocolate chip to pumpkin pie to key lime. I made classic banana the other night, topped with some cashew butter and it was pretty sinful…yet not.

You can watch a video and learn more about how Yonanas works by clicking HERE. This game changer is totally endorsed! They should pay me from all of the word of mouth publicity I’ve been giving this sucker 🙂

Whole 30: OOooo We’re Halfway There

I’m having a little Bon Jovi moment as I realize that we’ve hit the halfway mark on our Whole30 journey. I may or may not be doing some Jersey Shore-esque fist pumps from this side of the computer screen.

But let’s focus now because I have a confession. As I mentioned in my last post, I was in Philly for a bachelorette party this past weekend and I did enjoy a few alcoholic beverages :). Yes, that is a Whole30 No-No, but I gave it a ‘whoops, sorry about that’ and moved right along. Haven’t broken any other rules, I promise you that, and I’m not going to let one little indiscretion throw me completely off track.

Wednesday, for example, was a huge test of my willpower. First, I spent my lunch hour in a meeting where there was free lunch, but it was all “sandwichs, cookies, soda” so I rode it out with a bottle of water and grabbed a grilled chicken salad post meeting. Normally I would have had at least 2 cookies, and maybe taken one for a late afternoon snack. And speaking of my sugar monster, later that evening we had consumer marketing research sessions where we’re put in a client lounge with bowls of mini-chocolate bars, cookies, and M&M dispensers at every turn. And to top it off there were gourmet cupcakes to celebrate a colleague’s birthday. It was so tempting to say, “Oh just one cupcake, it’s a special occasion,” but then I channeled my inner badass, reminded myself that I’m stronger than a f**kin’ cupcake (sorry, my inner badass has a potty mouth), and grabbed some cashews and a cup of decaf hazelnut coffee.

I think back to all those sugar temptations and if I wasn’t doing this Whole30 challenge, I realized I probably would have easily consumed somewhere around 1,000-ish additional calories. That’s a ton of sugar- fat- zero-nutritional-benefits calories. Sugar is such a slippery slope for me, where one little cookie turns into 3 cookies and a cupcake, so knowing that it’s all off limits somehow makes it easier.

Here are my other thoughts/discoveries from this past week:

  • Definitely feeling like I have more sustained energy throughout my day. No peaks and valleys, because I’m not experiencing over-carbsumption or sugar related highs and crashes.
  • I skipped morning coffee three days in a row and MUCH to my surprise I had no caffeine withdrawal headaches. Amazing.
  • Eating Kale makes me feel like Popeye. Why did it take me 28 years to discover Kale?
  • I made some awesome blackberry glazed pork chops on Monday, and some bangin’ homemade thai coconut chicken soup on Tuesday. I have more culinary superpowers than I knew I had. (PS: I need to do a post with recipes, but my way of cooking is usually 1/3-recipe + 2/3 improvising, so it might take a little time to put that together)
  • My go-to breakfast has been a sunny side up egg (two egg whites, one egg yolk) over a bed of arugula. Yum.
  • Raw cashews are AH.MAZE.ING.

15 days down, 15 days to go. Thanks for coming along for the ride even if you’re all calling me a hippie soul cleanser behind my back 😉 Yeah, you know who you are!

Whole30: One Week Down, Three to Go

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High-five to week one of our Whole30 being complete (if you’re not sure what the Whole30 is, read more here)! And I can happily report that we haven’t touched any grains, dairy, processed sugar or alcohol — so far, so good! Since we’re already generally healthy people, I will say that it wasn’t as hard as some of the things I read claimed it would be. Honestly, the only thing I’ve been craving is Pop Tarts, which is especially weird given I very rarely eat a Pop Tart, so that was just my sugar habit talking. Other than that, I don’t feel deprived at all. I do think Joey is missing his pasta and rice though!

I’ve learned that the key is to be prepared! As in, stock the kitchen with tons of healthy options, hit up the blogosphere for Whole30 approved recipes and know that you will be spending a lot more time cleaning pots and pans. I put up this little chalkboard menu in our kitchen on Monday to help plan our dinners for the week, and it was a huge hit.  It keeps us both on the same page with what the expect and helped us plan for a variety of meals/flavors so things don’t get boring.

It also helps that Joey and I are doing this together. And we’re both so competitive that we would LOVE to see the other person be the first to break the Whole30 and drink a beer, or eat a noodle :). I just realized that sounds like we have no interest in the other person succeeding, which isn’t entirely true. However, we have been known to make the Dentist determine whose cavity is worse than the others in order to win some hygiene-bragging-rights. (Mine was wider, his was deeper, Dentist said that meant it was a tie. I think it means I win.)

So how am I feeling? I would say after 7 days I don’t feel like I can jump tall buildings in a single bound or anything, but I also haven’t gotten any, what I’ve long suspected are dairy related, stomach aches. I do feel a sense of confidence though that we’ll be able to make it through the 30 days. Stay tuned!

It Starts with Food Part III: The Whole 30

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So now that you understand the premise behind It Starts with Food, as laid out in Part I and Part II, it’s time to talk about the final piece of the pie — the Whole 30. It’s a 30 day dietary challenge to strip all the less-healthy and/or overly processed foods from your diet in order to learn first hand how the foods we eat affect your daily and long term health.

Here’s how the brains behind the operation lay it out:

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely.Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?

This will change your life.

In a nutshell, no alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or white potatoes for 30 days (the entire program is outlined here if you want to give it a read). And starting August 1 the hubster and I are pledging to give it a go, which means you’re along for the ride too! Want to try it with us? Print out this grocery shopping list (because there are plenty of awesome food choices on the YES list), hit the store tomorrow and lets go! Oh, and let me know too so we can cheer each other on.

Class dismissed.

It Starts with Food Part II: Setting the Standards

So now that you’ve had time to digest Part I (pun intended), I’m back with Part II to explain what those foods that make us ‘more healthy’ look like compared to those foods that make us ‘less healthy.’ Here’s how Dallas & Melissa Hartwig lay out their “Good Food Standards” in In Starts with Food.

The food we eat should:

1. Promote a healthy psychological response.

2. Promote a healthy hormonal response.

3. Support a healthy gut.

4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation.

Are you asking yourself what foods fit those standards? Great question! And here’s the answer: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit and the right fats. NYCathy sent me a text after Part I asking about olive oil, and yes olive oil falls into the ‘right fats’ category, along with avocado, avocado oil, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, olives and more. Hungry yet?

So what should you be limiting and/or cutting out completely to make yourself more healthy? Sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, seed oils, grains, legumes and dairy. Basically, there’s a reason you can’t eat just one salty, greasy potato chip and there’s a reason I could eat an entire bowl of Starbucks whipped cream covered in caramel drizzle (wonder what the Barista would think of that order), and to further that there’s a reason that indulgences like those don’t leave us feeling satiated, but rather leave us wanting more, more, MORE.  It boils down to the psychological and hormonal responses these foods have on us, which in turn impact so many other things associated with our overall health (ie high cholesterol, diabetes, headaches, allergies!).

Again, this is the high level stuff and if it interests you, and you want to understand more about the science behind it all, I recommend you read the book. Of course if you have a more general question, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to explain!

I’m looking forward to Part III, where I get to tell you about what’s called the “Whole30” and maybe even convince some of you to try it with me starting Aug. 1! Until then…

It Starts With Food: Part I

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“The food you eat either makes your more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.”

That’s the theory behind It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. And I admit, since I started reading this book a few weeks ago I’m totally drinking the Kool-aid. Figuratively speaking that is, because literally the nasty chemical powder that is Kool-aid is definitely not one of those things that makes you more healthy.

I should also disclose that this book is very science-y and a thousand times less sexy than 50 Shades of Grey. Sorry ladies. That being said, this stuff is also important seeing as we only get one body and one chance to make the most of it.

Ok, so what is “It Starts With Food” all about?

I’ve been struggling with this post because the book is about so much, but at its core it’s about encouraging you to eat real food — fresh, natural food like meat, vegetable and fruit. It’s about learning how to choose foods that are nutrient-dense with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals rather than foods that have more calories, less nutrition, and tons of ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Why eat like this? As I mentioned, the book is very science-y and if you want to learn about brain signals, insulin, leptin, glucagon, cortisol and your gut barrier, you’ll have to read, but to sum it up, I’ll pull directly from the authors’ website:

 Eating this way is ideal for maintaining a healthy metabolism and reducing inflammation within the body. It’s good for body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, mental attitude and quality of life. It helps eliminate sugar cravings and reestablishes a healthy relationship with food. It also works to minimize your risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack, stroke and autoimmune.

Interested in more? Hang tight for Part II soon on the “good food standards”, and Part III on what they call the Whole 30. Like I said, I’m drinking the Kool-aid people!

Where to Start? Also Known as the ADD Post

I have three drafts pending in my new post queue, they include few complete sentences, random idea nuggets and a photo. My mind is sort of everywhere lately and while I want to craft my ideas into great posts, it just doesn’t seem to be happening.

The main themes of my self-inflicted ADD revolve around friends & family, health and money. Here’s your D-spot download.

  1. Hilary is BACK! As in back in the USA after two years in Africa for the peace corps. There are lots of emails flying between my sistas-from-other-mistas as we scheme on a girls reunion weekend. Looks like it’s going to be in September. And it’s going to be awesome.
  2. The hubster and I are heading to the beach this weekend, woot woot! Originally we were going next weekend, but my on-call week got swapped and so we’re packing up the four-legged children and getting out of dodge effective tomorrow afternoon. I’ll get some pictures up next week, Instagram in the meantime @DianaTroese.
  3. Maybe it’s because I work in a hospital and I’ve become way more aware of disease and ‘wellness’, or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older and making more of my own life decisions, but the idea of living as healthfully as possible has been on my mind lately. I’m reading a new book that I’m looking forward to telling you about that discusses the role food plays in our overall health. I also have some ideas about making our home a little more environmentally healthy too. Posts to come.
  4. I have visions of money, budget, saving, spending, retirement funds and life insurance dancing through my head. Hubs and I had a very Adults-Talking-About-Finances moment this week, where we started to set some goals for ourselves in terms of investing, saving and spending. I’m thinking of creative ways to save, and I look forward to having a conversation with you about that soon!

So what’s new with you? Anyone have a baby yet? (Sara, Kacie, I’m looking at you!)