diet | recipes

Simplifying Dietary Changes

By on January 17, 2019

The Struggle is Real

The holidays are over and I am still having trouble getting back on track with my diet. These are the thoughts that have been floating around in my mind:

Carbs taste good, I’m pregnant, just one more day, it’s just “social” eating, one more treat, I’m tired of cooking, cleaning, planning, purchasing.

There ya have it. All excuses to not be my best self. Have you ever had that dialogue floating around in your mind?

I KNOW changing my diet changed my life. I found a healthy, stable weight, my periods returned like healthy clockwork, my son’s medical issue resolved, my feelings of anxiety released, and countless other benefits.

Why, oh why are bad habits so hard to break? Why is convenience more important than health?

Last night, I really had to give myself a reality check. I’m going to deliver a baby in just a few short months, and I do not want a repeat of my last birth experience. Plus, I want my body to bounce back so that I’m not telling another story of postpartum depression or healing difficulties.

Three Tips to Simplify

Simplifying the diet is key. I’ve had to adapt so that I’m not cooking and cleaning all day, or having to run all over the state finding appropriate ingredients.

How have I simplified?

1. Shopping in bulk and mail order has been #1. I found a local source for high quality meat, and place a big order about every 2 months.

Our Costco membership has also been amazing and saves quite a bit of money. We can find compliant cheeses, vegetables, grain-free products in bulk, nice cooking oils, avocado oil mayo, almond flour, compliant salad dressings and several other staples. Scheduling this every 4-6 weeks keeps our pantry stocked and minimizes our trips to run out for just an item or two.

Amazon Prime or Thrive Market are excellent sources to find items that aren’t as accessible in the mainstream market. For me, I would have to drive an hour to a grocery store or health food store that carries compliant baking items.

2. Meal planning is also important. I used to be able to replace a meal with a protein shake to lighten my cooking load. Being pregnant has required that I eat 3 meals and only use shakes for protein rich snacks. Have you ever tried planning 21 meals a week? Its laborious.

Batch cooking and freezing is a good method to lighten the load or just having a plan for dinner by 10 am tends to work for me. Unthawing meat, knowing what veggies need prepped and just general timeline can make the task easier.

Cooking enough food to have leftovers for lunch is also a time saver, or cooking a bigger batch of a favorite that can be eaten over the course of several days for lunch.

3. Instant Pot

I have had my instant pot for about a year and wasn’t sure if I loved it or not. It is not something I use daily but it works wonders to cook a good, healthy, nutritious meal very quickly. I love it for soups and stews or to cook a perhaps frozen chicken very quickly to use for multiple meals.

These are just my tips and tricks that help me stay focused and on task with what I’m putting in my body. I am going to share one of my favorite lunch, batch cooking recipes. I make enough for several days and serve on a bed of greens with a few Simple Mills grain-free crackers. It’s both healthy and satisfying.

Lemon Tarragon Chicken Salad

2 lb. pasture raised chicken breasts

3 stalks of celery, diced

lemon juice

4 Tbs chopped, fresh tarragon

avocado oil mayo (Chosen Foods brand, I buy at Costco)

handful of dried, unsweetened cranberries

1. Drizzle chicken breasts with avocado oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 min.

2. Cool and dice chicken breasts.

3. Add diced celery, tarragon, salt, pepper, and enough mayo to coat thoroughly. Approximately 1/2-3/4 c. Mix well. Add 1-2 Tbs. lemon juice and cranberries and mix again.

4. Chill and serve.

Continue Reading

diet | musings | success

Backwards With Time

By on August 10, 2018

 

avett-brothers-2390713_640The Avett Brothers are one of my favorite bands. The lyrics and title of the song Backwards With Time have been floating through my head most of the day. Backwards With Time. Am I losing my mind, or am I going backwards with time?  This verse is what I want to focus on for a moment in my writing.

Goals, decisions, choices. I think about these things a lot. Why would we ever feel like we are losing our minds or going backwards in time?  Why would someone work hard to achieve something then let all they have worked for go away? I know I have been guilty of this. An example is losing 25 pounds, managing it keep the weight off for a year and gain it all back in a matter of months. My answer is complacency. We get tired of working hard, or feel we “deserve” things to keep working on its own without the same effort. For me, I am learning to make lifestyle changes permanent. Changing bad habits– making true change, and keeping up with my vision of what true health and wellness is. I refuse to settle for only feeling “okay”. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

I have had a lot of bad habits in my life. One thing I have learned is that once you know better, it feels way worse to “backslide”. Yesterday when I sat down with my Avett Brother’s playlist I was in one of those moments where bad habits were lurking in my mind. I felt stressed, overwhelmed, and questioned some advice I was given (that I knew I needed to take). My first response was to react in anger (which for me is the cover emotion for absolutely every other emotion), then the thought of devouring a box of cookies felt like a good choice.

My mind was searching for something to soothe or procrastinate the actions I knew I needed to take for my ultimate wellness. Why, oh why is suffering such an “easy” choice? Stepping out of our comfort zone and doing something different– thinking a new thought and doing it, even if it feels uncomfortable often leads to personal growth that we can not even fathom. Lifestyle change, permanent change requires tapping into an internal strength and commitment to the light at the end of the tunnel that we may only get a glimpse of on occasion. Strengthening our focus, staying attuned to that glimpse makes the day to day actions toward whatever it is at the end of the tunnel feel less elusive. The key is to get out of complacency, pushing against resistance and catapulting up and out of the funk that sometimes feels like we may be losing our minds or going backwards in time.

Continue Reading

family | musings | success | yoga

Maybe the Best Present is to Be Present?

By on July 27, 2018

maine-1719782_640

We have been home from our family vacation/pilgrimage to Maine for about 2 weeks. I was essentially unplugged for the duration of the trip. Travel and family vacations are such a romantic idea. Seeing the world, eating wonderful food, making memories. I wish I could approach travel with that ideal. Although I make memories and see beautiful sites, a piece of me stresses about sleep, bathroom breaks, itineraries, expense, and food additives.

I have done a lot of study on personality types. Colors, Gems, Shapes, Enneagrams. I have taken all of the tests, and it always concludes that a big part of my personality is a green, an emerald, a square– or in other words, someone who likes routine and structure. I tend to get stressed about 3 days before we travel, then I have fun until it is time to start planning the return. My husband and I are opposite personality types. Following his lead in many ways has really helped balance my uptight-ness, and loosen my desire for control.

I have written a few times that I grew up in a chaotic home, and that is why I developed this personality trait. It gave me a feeling of security and control. I found order and success in my chaos by planning, knowing what to expect, and living somewhat as an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, connecting, AND having fun– I just require a certain amount of quiet to recharge my batteries.

Softening the rigidity of my personality is something I have been reflecting on since our return. Learning to go with the flow while running a business, and managing a family, as well as maintaining a balanced amount of discipline and structure is huge in my mind since returning from our vacation. Historically, summer stresses me out. My older son travels and spends many weeks away, we attend convention, and make a few other stops during June and July. I feel my entire schedule has to be written in pencil, which is difficult for someone who prefers permanent marker!

I am not bad-mouthing this quality within myself–being structured and disciplined can get a lot accomplished. I had the realization that I utilize a lot of mental intensity on thoughts of whats next? or why? or how? All of these questions are future based and by putting so much energy into trying to control the future, I often miss the good, or am not fully present to that which is right in front of me. Being present centered and not stressing about the past or future creates space to recognize the blessings in what I have created thus far, and allows me to see the beauty of all of my surroundings. This keeps my nervous system balanced and grounded, reducing stress by not putting energy into the unknown. I will never be a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, however I will allow myself to feel safe and secure so that along life’s journey I can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Continue Reading

success | yoga

Growing Pains

By on May 27, 2018

birthday-947438_640

Today, I am sitting down to write. I have looked at this screen and have not known where to go with my posting. I jot down words and half sentences nearly every day, however knowing where to go with those notes is often perplexing. Today I am writing on what it means for me to be an adult. My birthday is coming up tomorrow, so what a perfect season to reflect on adulthood. I mentioned in a previous post that I had to grow up quickly. I did. I took on adult responsibilities like earning an income, buying groceries, doing my own laundry, etc. These tasks are part of being an adult, although the longer I’ve been on this earth, the more I’m finding the meaning of growing up is much deeper than the chores I manage.

Becoming emotionally mature has been a much bigger piece than the “tasks” of day-to-day adulthood. How my life goes, how it is perceived, how I struggle (or enjoy) all depends on what goes on in my mind. If the world is my mirror then I must approach the world with positive attitude so that this place I inhabit is a positive place.  In all of my self-improvement studies and yoga practices I have heard the words “forgive”, “let go”, and other flowery words that sound so nice and peaceful. My mind would always struggle with those concepts. How do I let go? How do I keep the thoughts, the pains, the pressure from returning?

The word to describe the “how” of letting go and forgiving is surrender. Surrender is the ability to balance and calm emotions when we are being very rigid or stuck in our ways. Often when we’ve experienced a trauma or a tremendous pain, we carry that pain with us for years or even decades. This can block our vision to a happier, healthier future. The negativity can create stress in our bodies, and the longer we hold the stress we create tension patterns that can then turn to disease. When we surrender, we relax our bodies and clear our minds so that we can focus on what is important and the steps to get to the “other side”. The “other side” is just living in a space where we operate from joy and from love.

If we can operate from a space of joy and love we can truly begin to enjoy life, see the beauty of what is around us. Sometimes stormy thoughts keep us from noticing what is good even if it is right in front of our face. Choosing to surrender, in a sense cleanses the mind and the body. Any fear, anxiety, or negative chemistry are then released and  softness is created in the body, a release of tension. When we release tension from negative emotions, we are maturing and defeating an enemy of sorts– the enemy that is ourselves.

Continue Reading

yoga

My “Why”

By on April 26, 2018

beauty-1845520_640

To be propelled toward a goal, most often a pressing “why” or urge is the force that drives someone. That why is a motivator, something to stay focused on. Since the beginning of my life I have had a pretty clear “why” statement. I was born into a family full of addiction and abuse. I remember sitting in my room at age 4 telling myself I would “break the cycle”. It was a strange clarity for a little girl.

As a fourth grader, I learned how deep the drug addiction was. I learned about crack cocaine, methamphetamines, overdose, and who to call when it happens. This is also the year I attended my first Al-Anon meeting. I took notes in the Al-Anon meetings, I knew what it meant to be an “enabler”, a “scapegoat”, the “hero”, and all of the other verbiage from these meetings. My dad was the known addict in our family, the one who lived a more openly addicted life. My mom was just as bad– although better, for a while, at covering her tracks. My brother quickly spiraled down the same path of addiction at a very early age. I learned about the lies it takes to be an addict, and I became a good liar when it came to covering up what my home life was like.

When someone is addicted, they can not love. No matter what, the drug or object of addiction is the only thing that matters. I grew up quickly, taking on the role of adult before it was age appropriate. I felt it was unfair, that surely life did not have to be this way. I connected myself to bad relationships where I continually had to play the role of “mother”, or “fixer”. Co-dependent is the title for that role. Growing up without proper role models and support is definitely a different sort of path, and a path I was quite ashamed of.

Thank heavens I know what I know now. I learned how to change a story and recognize your “why”. The desire to break the cycle of addiction, poverty, and abuse became my mission. Luckily, I stumbled on to the right information to begin to make it happen. Years of therapy never helped release my body from the anxiety. It felt as if the only way to get to the “root’ of the issue was by rethinking and retelling my stories over and over. That kept my mind in a place looking for someone or something outside of myself to either blame for the pain or to keep me feeling victim to the circumstance. I was not going to take a pill to make myself happy.

Becoming the author of my story was quite empowering. Realizing that I had the power to not be a victim, but the owner. Their actions, their words did not have to control my actions or my outcome. Just because something is a struggle once, or a million times, the power to release the “bondage” of the past came from me. Changing my role in my family was the first step, and changing my thoughts surrounding it was the next one. For me, I would feel anxiety, despair, or depression often. A sadness that came from the loss of what a family “should” be. A feeling of unfairness, or of lack. Instead of whining and feeding the story (those feelings), the power comes from reaching for something “good” when those old feelings of anxiety or despair resurface. Good food, good books, good friendships, good music, an essential oil or a yoga pose– you get the idea. This is a practice. Something that I have to remind myself and repeat over and over. Not to say I do not have “bad” days anymore, it is just that the “bad” days are much shorter.

Regaining my balance now takes a fraction of the time. The anxiety, despair, anger, or depressive feelings used to encompass days, or weeks of my time. Now I can look around and count my blessings and attune to something happier or more beautiful than the darkness that used to float around in my mind. I can send loving thoughts toward my family, even though I no longer feel I  have to participate or try to “fix” their circumstances. Sharing my story from a place of empowerment, of health/wellness, and purpose changes the role I used to carry. Which is modeling a different example for my children, therefore breaking the chains of addiction that were modeled for me.

Continue Reading