Diet

Whole 30: My Journey [Week 1]

Earlier this week, I came home from a run with the dogs, took a quick shower, and, upon surveying  the current state of my body in the nude, had a full-blown meltdown to my fiance. “Our wedding is in six months! My arms are fat and my stomach is disgusting! I’m eating healthy, I’m working out, and nothing is happening! I don’t know what else to do.” [I know all you ladies can relate to this].

He, of course, thinks I look beautiful, and assures me every single day that even if I actually got fat [because, let’s be honest, I’m definitely not even close to “overweight” in any sense of the word], he would still love me as much as he always has. Of course it feels good to hear praise from your S.O., but let’s be honest – regardless of how many people tell you how good you look, you ultimately have to feel good to yourself. When I explained this to him, he threw out a suggestion, “Why don’t we do Whole 30?”

I’d heard of Whole 30 before. A couple of my friends had done it before and had huge success with it. I agreed to give it ago without doing any research beforehand. How hard could it be? I was pretty sure all you had to do was eliminate gluten and dairy. I could do that for thirty days, no problem.

It turns out it’s much, MUCH more than that.

When we decided to the Whole 30, I immediately went online and ordered the book and the cookbook, and start scouring Pinterest for any Whole 30 friendly recipes I could make in the meantime while I waited for the books to be delivered. I found three right off the bat that looked delicious, and prepped for the next three dinners of the week. My fiance [who really only ever eats dinner due to his work schedule and doesn’t actually need to do any sort of dieting], didn’t even last one meal without adding cheese and sauces that were on the no-no list. That was fine with me, as long as he was okay with me making the base of the meal, he could add all the crap he wanted. In my mind I was sure that I could make it 30 days without dairy and gluten NO PROBLEM.

The books finally arrived on the third day of my “diet,” and within the first two chapters of learning about Whole 30, I quickly realized there were a lot more things on the bad food list than I’d anticipated. Anything underneath the grain umbrella was restricted – including quinoa, corn and rice. All beans and legumes, peas, processed dairy and unnatural sugars were also not allowed. I immediately panicked. I’d anticipated cutting out two food groups, not FIVE. After reading a giant list of foods I couldn’t eat, I wasn’t even sure what I had left to choose from.

It turns out, there’s a lot more than I thought. Any type of meat, greens, eggs, veggies [minus peas], and potatoes are all on the approved list of foods. Pre-made sauces and dressings were out of the question due to added sugars, but I discovered plenty of recipes teaching you how to make your own. Instead of feeling disheartened, I started to see the fun challenge that the Whole 30 would bring for me. I had the opportunity to make fun new dishes with homemade sauces! And the first three days of trying new recipes had been extremely enjoyable for me, not to mention I had already noticed little changes in my body: I wasn’t waking up starving in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. I wasn’t having cravings, I wasn’t feeling bloated after meals, and I didn’t have an energy crash in the middle of the day. Even my mood had improved, despite it being my “PMS” week. I decided that if three days could make that much of a difference, ten times that could only be something short of miraculous.

With these feelings and hopes in the forefront of my mind, I am embarking on this new food journey with end goals, a plan in mind, and a new cookbook to boot. I would love to hear from anybody who has tried Whole 30 or something similar like a paleo or vegan diet [since there is a lot of crossover]! Part of my success will be learning what has worked for other people and what hasn’t.

Advertisements

Diet + Exercise. They’re Just Four [And Eight] Letter Words.

You know those people who just absolutely love working out? Like, they freak out if they don’t get a workout in every single day? They hit several group workout classes a week, they do cardio every day, plus they go to the gym and do strength training.

Yeah, I’m definitely NOT one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love to run. It’s very therapeutic in the sense that it burns extra energy and allows me to get my head on straight [writer’s mind makes you a little extra loco at times]. The actual physical act of running, though? So not my fav.

I truly envy those of you out there who have such a passion for working out. I have honestly made a solid effort to become one. I commit to these workout challenges [Tone It Up, for those females out there that are interested – actually love their programs, the timing of them just never works well with my life], I set my alarm to run before work. I’ve even been seeing a personal trainer since February [MAPT Fitness, for those fit folk out there who want an awesome trainer who acts like your brother and best friend and doesn’t treat sessions like freakin’ bootcamp – if I wanted to join the military I would have] to try and make a habit out of working out. And literally NONE of it works for me. I get so burnt out, and life gets in the way.

I’m also not somebody who can commit to eating healthy for every meal, every single day. To be completely honest, trying to work out and worry about what I’m putting into my body is freakin’ EXHAUSTING. It’s a full-time job [maybe this is why people hire other people to do it for them – personal trainers, dietitians..]. I, for one, do not have the time or energy to put into meal prepping and planning workouts every day.

Let’s be real for a sec. Does anybody actually believe that your body will be absolutely RUINED if you have “cheat” meals, cocktails, miss a workout, etc? You guys, you will be FINE. And look, I get it – I know exercise and nutrition are super important. Especially in this day and age with all the genetically modified food that’s sold at our grocery stores, and how polluted our earth has become. I totally get it. But we only get one life! We can’t be so obsessed with these two things that we forget to just enjoy living.

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a meal, overeat, eat poorly. Don’t feel guilty for needing more sleep one morning instead of going for a run. In this day and age, it’s all about enjoying the little things in life. Indulge yourself. We get so caught up in keeping up with the Jones’, pushing ourselves to be the best that we can, spreading ourselves too thin because we have mortgages, utility bills, car payments, children, pets.. Give yourself the okay to let your guard down every once in a while. A weekend [or even a week!] off from your obsessions won’t kill you.

For some people, I think there’s a fear that if they step off track for even one second they will fall off whatever wagon they’re on. And THAT is unhealthy. Using exercise and nutrition as a crutch for other things in your life is not good, and if you are one of these people then you desperately need a vacation far away from your daily life. Like, STAT!

You guys, I am obviously by absolutely no means a professional at anything I talk about on my blog, especially diet and nutrition [seeing as I literally just stated that I cannot stick to either one for very long]. But, that said, I do wholeheartedly believe in doing things that are good for you. I believe it’s healthy to unwind, put your walls down, indulge, relax – I’m sure you work hard, so spend some of that well earned cash on a weekend away. YOU DESERVE IT!

As Donna and Tom would say, “Treat yo’ self!” [Parks and Rec – if you haven’t watched it, it’s on Netflix, and it’s hilarious].

RAWr

Real talk – I care waaayyyyy more about Bella’s well being than my own.

I mean, I would legit starve myself for a week if it meant that my dog could eat and survive to see another day.

Yeah.. I’m a bonafide dog mom. And DAMN PROUD OF IT.

I may have mentioned before that poor Bella has struggled with sensitive skin from the get-go. When I adopted her at eleven weeks old, she had a mild form of mange [demodex], which is relatively easy to treat if recognized and diagnosed early enough. And through trial-and-error with different kibbles, I learned that she has a very common gluten intolerance, as well as a sensitivity to fish-based food formulas. It’s basically been a constant uphill battle with trying to find a dog food that was good quality and helped her skin allergies.

**SIDENOTE: something I learned recently in my research – if you’re feeding your pets a gluten-free chicken- or turkey-based food, make sure that the meats the company uses are grass-fed. Because grain-fed animals bear grain-fueled meat. So, essentially, you aren’t really feeding your pet grain-free food at all. ALWAYS make sure you do your research!

I thought we’d finally found a solution with a brand called FROMM [I highly recommend this food, actually, for those of you whose pets don’t have horrendous skin issues and are willing to shell out some extra moola for a good quality food], but in our situation it seemed to only temporarily mask Bella’s skin sensitivities instead of help them long-term.

So the hunt was on again.

I am constantly doing research on the proper diet for Doberman Pinschers specifically. As is typical with the internet, though, every blog and every website say something different. You can basically do all the research you want but nothing will actually matter until you try things out for yourself.

I’ve always been interested in the raw diet, but I never knew anybody who had fed their dogs raw, and had heard it was pricey so I never looked further into it. But after hitting yet another dead end in Bella’s diet, I decided that maybe it was time we tried something new. Drastically new.

As luck would have it, a coworker of mine happens to feed her two black Labradors raw. And has been for six years. She hooked me up with a bunch of links to sites and gave me some pointers on where to find stuff locally. But since I’m totally green when it comes raw feeding, I decided to do some more research before jumping in feet first. And that’s when I stumbled on a company out of Maine called ReelRaw.

If you’re considering raw feeding, I HIGHLY recommend this company. You can email them before you make any decisions and their staff will answer any questions you may have. The BEST PART about this company is that they MEAL PREP FOR YOU! This is honestly what swayed my decision. Having never prepared and handled raw food for my dog, I wasn’t sure exactly what to feed her, how to properly introduce the diet, and how much to give her. This company does all of that for you [PS – this is not an endorsement, I just really like how this company works].

Literally the one and only downside is that if you live on the west coast, it takes roughly two weeks for your order to arrive. But when the package arrived at my office a WHOLE DAY EARLY, I was like a kid in a candy store. [Yes, that is literally the point of desperation I had gotten to with wanting and needing Bella to be healthy. I get excited about raw food deliveries].

We are only a week into the new diet so I can’t say for sure if this will be the winning food route for Bella, yet. But STAY TUNED – I will definitely post my observations in a month or so..

I know that raw feeding isn’t ideal for everybody. I’m not trying to convince anybody to switch over unless you have the means to do so and are willing to try. It is more expensive than kibble, and it’s really not worth cutting corners to cut cost because in the long run you’re still paying more but lower priced meat means lower quality meat.

But what I am asking is that you DO YOUR RESEARCH when it comes to the food that you’re feeding Fido. I mean, you see the way that eating McDonald’s every day effects the human body.. The kibble you’re feeding your pet could potentially be doing the same kind of damage.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

Do any of you guys feed your pets raw? I’d love to hear thoughts and feedback!

Complexion Complexities

It’s no secret that we’re having a major drought out here in California.

Yesterday, the weather forecast for this weekend was rain, rain, rain.

This morning, as I pondered my appearance and checked the weather to coordinate my outfit accordingly, I was shocked to see that Saturday now has a predicted high of 66. Degrees. Fahrenheit. In Northern California. In the dead of January.

Now, if there was any way possible to convert the oil production made by my body into H2O, I honestly believe that we could cure the drought problem.

Okay, so maybe it’s not that drastic, but for those of you who know the all-to-familiar midday facial sheen (or, rather, the sheen that appears less than one hour after make-up application), it seems like it’s a constant uphill battle. And by uphill, I mean that you don’t actually get anywhere.

For years I have tried what seems like every oil-fighting product under the sun, and to no avail. “Proven to minimize pores and reduce oil production!” LIE.

After resolving to make this year a better and healthier year for myself (and my dog, but that’s beside the point), I finally took some of my free time to do some research (okay, I’m at work. But desperate times call for desperate measures).

What exactly is it that causes this major fire hazard on my face? And, IS THERE SOMETHING I CAN DO TO PREVENT IT?! Or at least reduce it.

Since product trial-and-error has previously failed me, I decided to steer my research in a different direction.

When I was little, my grandpa wouldn’t each chocolate. He always said, “Chocolate gives you zits.” When you’re a kid, that’s like telling a child “The sky is green” when it’s clearly blue. I mean, obviously there’s no way that something that goes into your belly can affect what’s happening on your face.

Turns out, it can.

And, as it also turns out, everything that’s on my “Most favorite foods to eat in the entire world” list is a major no-no for people who have overly oily skin. Insert sad sigh.

As I clicked madly from website to website, hoping for some sort of variety (or at least a loophole), I kept seeing the same thing: “Foods to avoid: red meats and meats high in fat content, dairy, processed sugars, soda and alcohol.” So basically everything I consume on a day-to-day basis. Double sad sigh.

So, I guess 2015 really is going to be the year of a total lifestyle change. And while I could throw a tantrum and cry about it, I won’t. I’m going to look at this as an amazing opportunity to see if changing your diet really can affect your body, or if we can chalk it up to an old wive’s tale.

Because, let’s face it, while winding down your day with hot green tea and a yoga sesh is relaxing, it just doesn’t do the trick like a glass of wine and a box of chocolates..