Sunday, February 15, 2015

Whole 30 So Far (Day 15)

So, I'm halfway through my first Whole30. I learned about this program from an Instagram acquaintance I follow, and looked more into it on my own. After reading about the program on the Whole30 website, I made the decision to commit to it for 30 days starting February 1st.

I've been overweight for years now, and having two kids has only added to the problem, though in a wonderful way that I do not regret, haha. But having two young boys who are both picky eaters, I got into the mindset that I should feed my kids whatever they would eat, just so that they would eat. In the end, having less than healthy food/snacks around, I ended up eating a lot of crap too. Every few months I'd get upset with how I looked (usually seeing a less than flattering image of myself helped that along), and would be negatively "inspired" to make a change. Counting calories seemed to always be the solution most recommended, but it always left me frustrated and hungry, and nothing changed.

In the past year I was also diagnosed with severe depression. I was put on antidepressants that helped. I also joined a gym to make sure I exercised more regularly. My doctor recommended trying a gluten free diet to aide me in healing as well. I kept it up for a few months, and lost some weight in the process which was nice, but didn't really see a big difference in my mood when on or off gluten, so I got sucked back into eating the way I used to.

Even with the medication, exercise, and what I convinced myself was "healthier" eating, I was having issues with low motivation, low energy levels, and bouts of depression on and off. I'd also taken to eating entirely too much. I found that when I was bored I'd eat. When it was a certain time, I'd eat because it was habit. When there were sugary treats around, I'd have waaay too many. When the kids went to bed, it was my time to enjoy a show or book, and eat. I didn't know when to stop, and it wasn't easy to stop even when I wanted to.

Reading "It Starts With Food" was a real eye opener in understanding why my cravings and overeating were occurring. I definitely give the book credit for convincing me of why this program would help me. And thus I was even more committed to sticking with it.

The first few days on the Whole30 were tough just because of the headaches I'd get from "withdraw" from the bad foods I had eaten prior to starting. I also had a lot cravings, mainly for sugary foods those first few days. I got through the cravings stage relatively quickly though. My next big issue was that I felt nauseous for the first 10 days. It was hard to eat certain meals. The forums on the Whole30 website were helpful, as people suggested I try to include more carbs to lessen the nausea (this was something I did during my second pregnancy for nausea too!). I also made sure I had the recommended amount of fat at each meal, as some others suggested that might help too. By day 11 or 12 the nausea was much less, thank goodness.

I missed 2 days in a row of taking my anti-depressant around day 9. I had missed taking my medication the same way prior to the Whole30 and it didn't have any negative effects on me. But because I wasn't consuming many carbs (something necessary for serotonin production), I felt extremely low after my 2nd missed dose. I felt worse than I had felt in quite a few months of taking my anti-depressant. Thankfully I came across an informative post in the forums about people dealing with depression and being on the Whole30, and I realized not only do I need to keep up the carb intake, but I need to not miss doses of my anti-depressant!

Things have been going more smoothly in the past few days, though I do still see certain foods and want to just pick them up and devour them. Hah. But it's amazing how much easier it is not to do that because I made a commitment to this program. I'm also hoping because I've kicked some cravings and I'm teaching myself to not eat just to eat.

What I Hope to Get Out of My Whole30

1) Of course weight loss would be fantastic, but I don't expect anything amazingly drastic in a month. And weight loss for health reasons more than anything else.
2) I'd love to come off of my anti-depressants in a month (about a year after I started them), having given myself that time to heal. Sustaining this healthier diet will be necessary, I feel, to keeping up my mental health.
3) To be more energetic and alert and on top of things!
4) I don't expect to be able to eat Whole30 forever, as ideal as it would be. But my goal is to eat this way as much as possible, keep the junk food out of my house, and indulge only when I truly want to, and be able to not over do it. Which brings me to...
5) Have a healthier relationship with food psychologically.

Any other outcomes would just be an added bonus.

If you're interested in what recipes I've found thus far that have gotten me happily through the past 15 days, check out my Whole30 board on Pinterest!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Curried Cauliflower, Asparagus and Chicken Soup!

I'm on day 11 of my first Whole30 and just tried a new recipe tonight. I must say, for a soup that I was worried would leave me neither full nor satiated, after 2 servings, I'm fuller than I've felt on any meal I've made for myself on the Whole30 yet. Hope some other Whole30-ers will get enjoyment out of this recipe!

The recipe itself is a variation of a recipe I found on the Amy Myers MD website. I had thought that the recipe was a soup, and when I went to make it realized it was just a curry, and I was ready for a soup, so I made some adjustments, as you'll see below, to enjoy it the way I had intended.


1 head cauliflower
1 TBSP coconut oil
3 c cooked chicken, shredded
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
¾ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
4 c bone broth or Whole30 compliant chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can full fat coconut milk
fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)


Wash and break apart cauliflower into florets. Heat coconut oil in large pan over medium heat. Put cauliflower, chicken, asparagus in pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add spices to pot and blend well. Add broth and coconut milk, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer covered for about 5 minutes.

Remove larger chunks of cauliflower from soup and some broth, and put in blender and blend to a nice pureed consistency. You can then pour the blended cauliflower and broth back into the soup to add a nice, creamy consistency to the soup.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Toddler Fun: Felt Board!

Wow, I love that I stumbled upon this how-to via Pinterest today for how to make a felt board for a toddler! I can't even remember where or when I used a felt board in my childhood, but yet I have such fond memories of them from when I was little! Seemed like a great idea for something quick and easy to make for my son to play with, and something new for him to figure out/explore.

Browsing through all of the materials I'd need on the tutorial list, I realized I wouldn't be doing this board today if I went by the instructions the author offered up. So instead I kinda just winged it because I already had a ton of color felt, white fleece felt, some hard/thick poster paper, tape and glue.

Here's a photo of my resulting board. I just kinda used what I had, taped the light/white felt pieces together then glued the taped side to the poster board. Then I went to town cutting up shapes. I tried to go for a large variety so that my little guy could turn the shapes into little things, i.e. a house, car, airplane, etc.

The little dude did very much enjoy the new felt board experience, though after a while he got a bit more enjoyment out of just smacking all the felt pieces off the board and to the ground (I used clothes pin magnets to hold the felt board on the fridge so he could play while I cooked).

I'd definitely suggest reading the actual tutorial I linked to above to make a much neater, more durable felt board. Just wanted to show off my easy-peasy board in case you're not too picky and already have the stuff you'll need to do it simply/quickly at home.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Operation Screw All These Dishes

So I was reading a cooking blog the other day that focuses on minimalistic cooking/kitchens. The author was writing about her experience living in NYC in a small apartment with limited kitchen space. Her logical solution to the space dilemma was keeping only enough cutlery, plates, glasses, etc for a meal for two people, and cleaning them immediately afterwords. I kinda wanted to kick myself repeatedly after reading that post when I thought back to the small apartments my husband and I shared for 5 years, and the ridiculous amounts of plates, cups, mugs, etc we had on hand, which would always just pile up and make the kitchen a disaster of a place. HOW HAD I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS?

Fast forward to the present, where we are living in a townhouse with a decently sized kitchen and a reasonable amount of cabinet space, and our kitchen is still a disaster area. We moved in right before I gave birth and so I never had time to organize the kitchen the way I would have liked. Add to this a busy husband, and until more recently, a busy me with little time to do much else but tend to a demanding baby, and you might be able to sympathize with my constant pile of dirty dishes and altogether unorganized kitchen.

My son is older now and, God bless him, able to amuse himself for spans of time, and so I got it into my head to improve my kitchen. A month or so back I went through everything and put all of the items we basically never used in a box and later in a yard sale/Goodwill. And more recently, after reading the aforementioned blog, I became enamored with the notion that I really didn't need the piles of plates, bowls, mugs and cups we had sitting in our cabinets, taking up useful space.

We are a family of 3 and I rarely entertain guests, so this seems do-able for us, but I'm sure some families are so large or busy that this scenario wouldn't be plausible. Now, what I propose to do, is to cut out all but the essential amount of plates, bowls, cups/mugs because these are the big space takers. I'm down to 4 large plates, 4 small plates, 5 large glasses, 3 bowls and 4 mugs. The idea is to simply pick up a sponge and clean our plates, cups, etc right away. That simple. Limiting the amount of plates available to us will motivate us to be sure we clean them right away so they are dry and ready for use the next time we need them. Further motivation will arise from the energy and water we will save thanks to not running the dishwasher 2-3 times a week.

Mind you, I'm not automatically getting rid of all those extra dishes and cups. Some will go into the cabinet in the dining room so if we do have people over, we have easy access to them. The rest will go in a box in the basement until I decide if this whole operation actually works for us. I am all for quickly cleaning dishes right after use. The main thing is getting the h-band on board. To be honest, as I write this I haven't told him my plan yet. I don't forsee him having an issue with it so I'm just going to spring it on him tonight when he gets home :)

We'll live like this for about a week and see how we like it. I'll be sure to write about the experience after the week is up. Ever done anything like this yourself? I'd love to hear how it went for you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Take-Out & Reuse

I have fallen prey to the guilty pleasure that is take out now and again. I'll admit it. There are times when there's nothing in the house to make, and I am NOT in the mood to leave the house, and take out always wins at these moments.

Generally the biggest problem with this guilty pleasure for me is all the extra containers, utensils, packets, etc that I'm left with. Today I found a new, simple use for a couple of take out containers. In particular, those plastic containers that soups come in, and used chopsticks were utilized to replant some sunflowers that I've had growing on my back deck in small paper planters.

The sunflowers quickly outgrew their original homes (pictured), but they are still much too tiny to replant in the yard. I know: I replanted a few only to find them completely devoured the next morning by a stealthy resident rabbit.

I am hoping my sunflowers can do a bit more growing in the take-out containers before I give replanting them in the yard another go. Notice that the sunflowers are propped up by used chop sticks as well. I have some used plastic forks, spoons etc on hand that I'll use for the remaining sunflowers when they are large enough to need some support as well.

A few other things I've used these plastic take out containers for:
- Storing old/dead batteries until I can take them to the proper place in my municipality for safe disposal.
- Cut a hole in the lid and you have a change holder (some contact paper could turn it into a pretty spiffy change holder, at that).
- An airtight container to store kitchen waste before I can take it out to our composter.
- A mixing "cup" for when I need to make a mixture of baking soda and Dr. Bronner's, water or vinegar to help clean up the bathtub, sink & shower dirties.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to get some more use out of old take-out containers?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dying Brown Eggs

So today we dyed eggs! I am really in love with the rich colors that resulted from dying brown eggs. The h-band seemed pretty impressed with the results too.

Here's the instructions on how to dye brown eggs again, for anyone who missed my last post which contained this link.

I am equally amazed at how much my 1 year old son was content to sit and watch as the eggs soaked in the cups of dye. Periodically he'd yell out the name of a color (usually green) and point, and that meant that I should bring the egg up and check on its progress.

Tomorrow I'll be hiding the eggs around the house while my husband feeds the boy breakfast, and we'll see how he likes his first Easter egg hunt. I crocheted some egg cozies to add a bit more color, decoration and cushioning for the eggs, especially considering they will be getting handled by a 1 year old :D

Have a happy Easter if you are celebrating it tomorrow!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

It's Earth Day once again. I have never been great at doing something grand to celebrate. I just do what I do every day of the year, in trying to be as sustainable and eco conscious about the water and energy I use, reducing the amount of waste we generate, recycling, etc. It's nice to reflect on what we do to live greener lives today, and to think of how we could potentially be more earth-friendly in the future.

With that in mind, I came up with a list of ways I'd like to live even more sustainably in the coming year...

- I'd like to cut out any use of paper towels. I use them VERY sparingly as it is, but I really do need to designate certain cloths which I'll use to clean the toilets, so that I don't feel compelled to use paper towels over cloths.
- Eat a whole lot more fresh fruit and veggies, and shop for them locally. We are lucky to live close to lots of farms and 2 farmers markets that will be stocked with local produce very soon. I just have to make the extra time and trip to them every week, on top of going to the grocery store.
- Get outside more! Especially this summer. This way I don't need the air conditioning on so much too, as I won't be in the house. I am working on making our small outdoor space into a fun, shady place just for this purpose. I'll be looking for deck furniture on craigs list and in thrift/antique stores too instead of automatically buying something new that I could get for cheaper in a used but good condition.
- Drive even less. I'm lucky enough to not need to drive very often. We live in a town with a decent amount of things to walk to. So when I want to get out of the house, I will have to try and find us lots of fun things to do within walking distance.

Earth day falls very close to Easter this year, so I thought I'd share the few things I am doing to celebrate in a greener way...

- I found an Easter basket and stuffing (made from wood) from my local Goodwill store this year. Spent a whopping $1. 98 on those items
- We are going to dye the organic brown eggs we have (and be sure to actually eat the eggs when the Easter egg hunt is done). I found this great write up on how to easily dye brown eggs with household supplies (no egg dying kit necessary, or the extra wasteful packaging that comes with it).

What are your plans for greening the year ahead, or even just greening Easter?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just Listen

This has to be my favorite Bon Iver song. It's hauntingly beautiful.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Leaky Pocket Diapers

Since my son was about 8 months old I've been slowly growing a collection of different one size pocket diapers (i.e. Bumgenius) to replace the previous sized prefolds and Grobaby 2 in 1 diapers I'd been using for him, as it became obvious he would not fit in those options for as long as I'd need to diaper him.

The more pockets I bought, the more I fell for them. I didn't think I'd be all for pre-prepping diapers after washing them, but as my son grew, became more mobile and squirmed like the dickens for every change, I quickly saw the benefits to having a diaper all ready to snap or velcro onto him. Pockets were my dream diapers, I found.

The issue with his diapers came a few months ago (my son is about 18 months old now), as the little guy's bladder grew and I found that any and all of his pockets would start to leak when he wore them. I didn't even consider it a design or manufacturing flaw, as I have a large variety of different pocket diapers. The leaking made me feel like he was a newborn again with the amount of changes he needed in a given day. Moreover, I never had leak issues with cloth diapers before, whereas I had had them a lot with the disposables we had used when he was first born and when we went on vacation. Overall the cloth diaper leak issues were bumming me out.

My solution to the leak problem, for a while, was to just add more inserts to the pockets. I'd stuff about 3 inserts into a pocket, but still a lot of times he'd leak, and I would find that the pocket wouldn't even be saturated all the way, especially not the back portion of the inserts, near his butt.

More recently I had a eureka moment when I realized that the leaks might not be so much about an overactive toddler bladder, but about how the inserts were being placed in the diapers. It didn't matter if I had 3 inserts in a diaper, once the front of the diaper was saturated (little boys tend to saturate the front of the diaper the most, whereas girls, so I have heard, saturate the middle), urine would start moving out of the diaper from the sides, and onto his clothes, instead of making its way to the rest of the inserts in the back of the diaper. It was so simple that I kinda feel naive for having not realized it sooner. All I had really needed to do was to fold one of the inserts in half and make sure it was positioned in the front of the pocket. This meant that the folded insert near the front would be able to do more absorbing. Of course I use a doubler in a lot of his pockets too, so that was also folded along with one insert, and added to the front of the diaper as well.

I have definitely cut down on the amount of leaks he was having, and have extended the amount of time he can remain in a diaper before needing to be changed by about a half hour more, on average. I think this is definitely worth trying first if you are having leak issues, especially before you go ahead and try stripping your diapers (which may not be necessary at all). It's worth a shot!

My question to other cloth diapering parents is, how do you handle a heavy wetting girl in pockets? Pretty much the same method, except perhaps putting the folded insert more towards the middle of the pocket? Or something else? I'd love to hear, especially for other readers who may have this leaking issue, but with little girls :D