Wednesday, February 26, 2014

You had me at Systemic Inflammation

That's where they got me.

Yep, I'm back to the book.

It Starts With Food starts off talking about the science of the body.


Not a fan of science. Never have been, never will be. I struggled through most of it, found a few things interesting, and then finally skipped over a chapter.

Then I got to the chapter on Systemic Inflammation.

I was hooked.

First, I would like to give the disclaimer that I am in no way in the medical field or a nutritionist and so really I have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm just sharing what I read in a book. And I always believe everything I read. Don't you?

Just kidding. I don't but this made sense to me and if anything I figured I might as well try the diet and find out for myself. I mean, really, what do I have to lose except for 30 days of healthy eating. Seems like a win, win to me.

Anyway, back to Systemic Inflammation or better yet, Chronic Systemic Inflammation.

What is it? Good question.

It is a long-term, full-body inflammation that is caused by the food that we eat. Basically, there is a whole science behind how the body works and how the food we eat causes this Inflammation. I could try to explain it to you but I don't want to bore you because it bores me just thinking about it. Plus I'm not sure I really understand it. (I'm really convincing you on all of this aren't I?)

But here is the interesting part, the list of conditions caused by this Inflammation.

It truly flabbergasted me! You mean to tell me this list can all be cured by just eating the right foods?

There is a whole page but here are some:

acne, allergies, anemia, arthritis, asthma, bipolar, cancer, celiac disease, chronic pain, Crohn's disease, dementia, depression, diabetes, eczema, endometriosis, gingivitis, Grave's disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, infertility, IBS, joint pain, migraines, multiple sclerosis, obesity, Parkinson's, and a lot more.

The ones that I have included here are because they either are things that pertained to me and Brad, I know people that suffer from them, or I was just amazed that changing your diet could cure these diseases. Instead we continue to eat bad food and then take medications to combat them.

Another thing that really spoke to me was that it affects your physical fitness. Last fall I was training to run a 10k but had to drop out because of painful joints and I just wasn't progressing in my running. I am excited to start running again this Spring and am hoping that changing my diet has helped.

Brad has had high triglycerides and will be having blood work done in the next couple weeks. I am really excited to see what his levels are like.

One thing that I found that is very exciting is that MOST (not all) of these health consequences are reversible.

This is something I just wanted to share with you all because if you are like me, this is news to you and maybe eye opening!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Three Weeks

It's been a full three weeks since we started our Whole30 eating lifestyle so I thought I would give an update on how it's been going.


I thought we were making progress this week as they sat one evening each eating a different fruit for their snack. And then two kids asked for kale chips in their lunch. Suppers have been going good. Not too much complaining.

But then.......Saturday I took them to Aldi and had to hear how mean I was for taking them to the store, walking them past all kinds of good food and not letting them get any of it.

I did make my first attempt at Paleo baking yesterday. I made banana bread. Although it tastes different, it was good and the kids loved it. We will keep trying new things. It's baby steps with them but I have hope that we will get there and that they will thank me in the end.


He has lost about 15 pounds already. The other night he was walking around the house and he looked like one of those thugs with most of his boxers showing. I asked him if his pants were untied or if they were really that loose. They were really that loose. So if you see Brad and he looks like a thug, he isn't trying to make a fashion statement. He just forgot to put a belt on.

I asked him the other day how he was feeling and he said that he wasn't feeling great but the exhaustion that he normally feels is gone. Which is saying a lot since he had a couple days this week that he got up at 2am. It apparently is enough for him to keep going.

I tried to make a dessert last night. Brad told me not to do it again because it needed sugar and just reminded him that he can't have it.


I haven't had the weight loss success that Brad has had but I guess that's good because I don't have that far to go. I've been feeling good but still waiting for that "great" feeling as well. Some days I feel like I have a ton of energy and the afternoon slump is almost non-existent. My joints have been feeling better and I've added in exercise. I didn't have huge goals this week but I had goals. My goal was to go on the elliptical 3 times this week for 15 minutes.

I like to start small.

For the first time ever in my life, I exceeded an exercise goal. I actually got on the elliptical 4 times. Twice for 15 minutes and twice for 20 minutes. I think this is the first time ever that I felt like I need to exercise to burn off the energy and I even enjoyed it.

Each day you will get a different story from me. Some days I am in love with doing this and others I just want to stop and get a cheeseburger, pick up a bunch of snacks that come in a box and give them to my kids, and then eat a big brownie.

I'm trying to stay focused. I am enjoying finding new recipes and we have enjoyed eating most of them. Who knew I would get a thumbs up on salmon cakes and on acorn squash.


I've been asked how this is affecting our budget. It's hard to say since this is the first month but so far I can say it has gone up a little. As we go along though I think I will be able to get it back down. This month we are trying to find what we like. One thing that Brad likes to snack on is nuts and banana chips. The banana chips do have some sugar but we do our best.

Pistachios are a must around here and they are not cheap.

The kids finally had me try one the other day and they are good. I usually don't like food that makes me work to get to it. That's why I'd never tried one. Now that I know they are good, I've been eating them too. SHHHHHH......don't tell Brad.

Even though it's gone up, there are other areas that things go down. We haven't eaten out as a family at all this month. Plus Brad and I both take an allowance if we want to eat lunch out or Brad likes to buy a pop at work or other small things. We aren't really needing that this month either.

I do end up at the grocery store a lot more than I used to but my visits are shorter and less items. I'm learning what is cheaper at which store and which stores have the best healthy options. Once I get that figured out, I will know what to stock up on and things should get easier.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Isn't It Ironic

My last post talked about how I miss sugar and this one is going to tell you how bad sugar is for you.

Yes, I have split personalities when it comes to that grainy, delicious, deadly, white substance.

It goes to show you just how addictive it is. But I must report, that I do feel my cravings have gone down a lot this week.

 Of course, I did bake some cookies for my kids last night and it took every bit of will power to not lick the bowl. At one point I had gotten some on my finger and I asked if I could lick it off. My kids then erupted into chants of "LICK IT! LICK IT!  LICK IT!"

Brad just looked at me and said, "This doesn't look good for when they are teenagers." I then had flashbacks to when I was a teenager and decided I was not giving into the peer pressure.

But I digress.....let me get back on track.

Right, Sugar is bad for you.

Two years ago I read something, not sure where I saw it but it has stuck with me.

Sugar feeds cancer.

As soon as I read that I wanted to cut back on my sugar immediately. But there is one problem, sugar is addictive.

You the young age of 32 my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She also got it back a second time. I was trying to calculate how old she was when she got it the second time. From my calculations it must have only been about 2 or 3 years later because of my age.

I say all that because when I read that about sugar, I thought, why on earth would I want to continue to give my body something that will feed the disease that I am at such a high risk of being diagnosed with.

So, for me that is how it all started. And in January, I decided that we needed to cut back on the sugar in our house. As I started to read labels (I never was much for reading those things) I was shocked that EVERYTHING has sugar added to it.

We can talk about eating it in moderation but if 90% of what you eat has sugar added to it, it's not really eaten in moderation anymore.

Today I saw this posted on Facebook and thought I would share it.

25 Reasons to Stop Eating Sugar

I do want to add that yes, I will eat sugar again. But my goal all along was for myself and my family to eat a lot less sugar and that is still my goal. I also want to clarify that when I'm talking about sugar I am not talking about natural sugar. We still eat fruit over here.

In the book It Starts With Food I read that a 20 ounce soda (or pop as I like to refer to it) has 36 grams of fructose. In order to equal that in fruit you would have to eat 5 bananas, 9 cups of strawberries, or 90 cherries! That just goes to show you much sugar we actually consume!

Now, if I can just get my kids to be on board with me!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I Miss You

I miss sugar.

And peanut butter.

And chocolate.

And Ice Cream.

And all of them together.

One day we will be reunited and it will be Oh So Sweet! (pun intended)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Want Some of That

Day 10

This morning I received a text from Brad.

Thanks for your hard work on this diet. I feel good today!
This came from the guy that can drink a cup of coffee and go to sleep 5 minutes later. The guy that can drink a 5 hour energy and it doesn't affect him at all.


That is one of the biggest reasons I started us on this diet.

Brad has been complaining of fatigue and lack of energy for a really long time. I am also sick of the fatigue. As long as I keep moving I'm fine but as soon as I sit down I just want to sleep.

I would love to have energy to play with my kids!

One of the biggest testimonies I've heard from people who eat clean and also throughout It Starts With Food  is how great everyone feels and the amount of energy they have.

I REALLY wanted to know what that feels like. So willing to know, that I was willing to give up all the foods I love. All the foods I've eaten my whole life.

Monday I started feeling this energy. I was actually cleaning my house at 7pm. Something I never have energy to do at that point.

I'm excited that it's turning around for Brad too. One of my biggest fears was that after all this, it wouldn't affect him just like caffeine and 5 Hour Energy don't.

If we are starting to feel this good already, I'm looking forward to see how we feel by next week!

Monday, February 10, 2014

You Lose Weight Because.....

People end up losing weight on this diet because you eat for nutrition not for sport.

No one ever craved a carrot stick in the middle of the afternoon or an hour after supper.

Well, maybe someone has. But not anyone that lives in this house.

"It's a hard knock life..."

That's what my son came into my bedroom singing tonight. I'm trying to break them of their evening cookie habit. They have been surviving by finding any old sweets left hiding around the house. They've been doing good so far. Last night they were left with some old Fudgecycles. Tonight there was nothing left.

They are trying to break me.

I won't let them.

That's all I have today.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Being Social While Dieting is not Easy!

Since I decided to blog about this crazy food journey we are on, I feel like I need to be honest when things were eaten that are not on "the list."

It all started with a certain person believing that the pizza was Paleo. So it was eaten. (That pizza did smell REALLY good! I wanted that pizza!) That same person also couldn't watch a movie without eating popcorn. I am not naming names but it wasn't me.

I wish that I could say that I was perfect but I was not. I had a piece of chocolate. The chocolate did not have sugar in it but it had peanuts. I found out after the first one that it had peanuts but I still chose to eat the second one. That little bit of sweetness did show me how addicting sweet stuff is and how it messes with my mind. It truly is an addiction. I thought about that little piece of chocolate for a long time and had to keep fighting to not grab another one.

I also had communion at church this morning.  Gluten. Yes, my church does offer gluten free communion but that would have required me to walk to the back of church and get it. I didn't feel it was necessary.

Of course, I think there are other minor things too. Like the small amount of sugar in my bacon. The pickles that I opened today had a couple ingredients that I'm pretty sure are not allowed. I'm having to just tell myself that I'm doing all I can and those couple little things are not failures. We are still eating way better than we did before!

I have always thought of myself as a planner. I was pretty sure that I didn't have a spontaneous bone in my body. Turns there is one area of my life where I am spontaneous. With food. I wake up in the morning and I decide what I want for breakfast. It's lunchtime? Hmmmmm......What should I have?

I did start meal planning for supper a couple months ago but really just for the week nights. The weekends were decided on the weekend.

Now I am having to plan every single meal. I have to admit.....It's exhausting! I keep telling myself that this is like when we started budgeting 5 years ago. It was a lot of work in the beginning but after a while it just becomes a way of life. I am looking forward to that but I'm sure it will be a while.

Plus I am getting really sick of eggs, carrot sticks, cucumbers. I'm trying to find creative things for breakfast and lunch. But we did have a great beef roast for our Sunday lunch. We had to skip the mashed potatoes and gravy. Brad wasn't too happy about the no gravy thing, so I will have to find a thickening agent that is not cornstarch or flour. We also had some really good fruit smoothies tonight. So it's not all bad!

On the plus side, I am already noticing a difference in my skin. Generally I look at myself in the middle of winter and it looks pasty white and dull. My skin has life to it, seems a lot smoother and better hydrated.

We've made it through the first week. Here's hoping week 2 is easier! And thanks to all of you that have commented and encouraged us in this. I appreciate it and it keeps me going!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I Never Meant For It To Come To This

We have completed Day 3. I have to give kudos to my husband. He woke up late this morning so did not get his breakfast, he then left his lunch at home, he had no money, his phone is broken so I couldn't text him to see if I could come bring him his lunch, and then he went straight to someone's house to paint their basement. It had all the makings of eating something not on "the list." Thankfully someone at work owed him lunch and he was able to buy a chicken breast. Good job Brad!

Both of us have been feeling fine. By fine I mean, no different than before. I've heard that we would feel really bad for a couple weeks. I've had moments where I'm not feeling "the best." Tired, some abdominal pain but nothing bad. Brad said he feels just like he did every other day. Maybe the worst is coming yet.

The worst part for me is mid-afternoon. I start craving food. Tuesday I went into work and there were cinnamon rolls, candy, and the last piece of chocolate peanut butter bacon pie. I had brought the last piece to work last week for everyone to try but they had forgotten to eat it. I had the pleasure of watching them all eat it and tell me how amazing it was. It pains me to even type this. I want a bite! After I left work I had a couple errands to run. The worst part of living where we do is that there are restaurants at every turn.

Here is what was going on in my head:

"Five Guys....I want a burger and fries!"
"Dickeys......mmmmm, BBQ!"
"I just want a cookie!"
"I just want to eat real food. Oh wait, I am eating real food. I want fake food!"

I haven't been eating much fruit but today I gave in and needed something sweet. I made a strawberry mango smoothie. After not having sweets for a couple days, even that tasted REALLY sweet.

So, how did all this craziness begin?

I won't bore you with all the details but for about a year I've wanted our family to be healthier but frankly food bores me. Well, unless it's tasty and going in my mouth. What I mean by it bores me is that I don't really understand all the science of it. What is healthy and what isn't. To me Sun Chips were healthy because hey, they are better than Cheetos right? Yogurt is healthy because it's dairy, even though it's loaded with sugar. Really, I just didn't know where to begin. Packaged food is easy. If I buy what everyone likes, I don't have to hear a bunch of complaining. And honestly, I just didn't know where to start.

Did you know if you add spices to your meat it tastes good? Yep, no canned items needed. It's amazing the things you learn!

Over the past year I have seen friends start a healthy lifestyle and it intrigued me.

The beginning of January a Facebook friend posted a video and it showed up on my feed. I was set to have Brad and I start counting calories again. But in this video it talked more about "what" you eat, now "how much" you eat. Really? It's not about how many calories you are eating but are you putting healthy food into your body? Who knew?

I talked to Brad about it, asked him to watch the video. Of course, his response was, "Give me the Cliff notes." So I did. He didn't argue about eating healthier, so I started to pursue it.

A friend of mine had started eating Paleo in the fall and so I asked her about it and just asked for resources for recipes. She told me to read a book called "It Starts With Food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Hey, it must be a good book, Melissa wrote it. I had told my friend that I really just wanted to cut a lot of the sugar that we eat out of our diet. But I didn't want to get all crazy cutting dairy out and wheat. I never meant for it to go this far.

I headed to the local library and checked out the book and the rest is history.

The first part of the book is very sciency. I'll be honest, I hate science. Part of the reason I dropped out of college was because I was going to have to take Biology the next year. I was pretty sure I wouldn't pass. I just don't get it. So, I admit, I skipped over some of it because it was far too mind boggling for me.

But what I did read made sense. Plus, I figured, if changing our eating habits had no effect on how we feel, then I guess we ate healthier for a month. What did we have to lose? While I was reading the book, I started looking at labels. I was startled to find that about 90% of the food in our house has sugar in it.

I will not go through everything the book says because there is no way I could sum it up. Through my blogs I think you will end up understanding what we are doing. But if you are interested in learning more, I would suggest reading the book or you can go to their website Whole9.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Day 1

I survived.

Actually, it wasn't so bad.

I was warned that I would probably have a couple weeks of not feeling so good before it gets better and I definitely had my moments. A couple hours after lunch and then again about an hour after supper, I felt tired and just yuck. It lasted about an hour and then I was all good. Brad said it went good. I think the hardest part for him will be the not snacking when he gets home from work. But with that said, he has much more will power than I do.

This is definitely a lot of work. Thankfully I like to hang out in the kitchen because I am spending a lot of time in it. Brad thinks I'll give up simply because of all the prep. I'm trying to have veggies already cut in the fridge to save on prep at meal time but the hardest part is breakfast. In order for us to have a healthy breakfast, I have to make it the night before so that we can just pop it in the microwave. Especially for Brad since he gets up at 4:30 already. I entertained the idea of getting up with him in the morning.....that idea quickly left my head!

Then there is the entertainment value in watching my kids eat spinach and avocado at supper time. They did pretty good. There has been worse things! I'm thinking Brad isn't a fan of the spinach either since he left half of his on his plate and he told me the frittata this morning had too much spinach in it He is really being a good sport about all of this.

Also, a word to those who attempt to make homemade mayo.......Read the instructions. Dumping all the ingredients in a bowl together and then reading the instructions will result in a bad batch of mayo.

Since I mentioned "kids" earlier, it begs the question......are the kids participating in all this fun?

The answer is "kind of". I am letting them finish off all the sugary junk in the house and then they are also going to have to get used to healthier snacks. I am not making them go Gluten free or dairy free but we will be lowering a lot of their sugar intake. Ever since they were little I was set on making one supper and they had to eat what we eat. That will be no different. They will eat what we eat, hence the spinach and avocados at supper.

We will all be trying new foods and we will have FUN doing it. Haha!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I'm Back

It's been a while.

One year, one month, and 21 days. Or something like that. Don't hold me to the math.

And yes, I realize I need a blog makeover. My kids are much older now. I will take care of that....eventually.

So, for the two people who have said something to me in the last year about my absence, I will get to the point of why I'm back.

I've gone back and forth about whether or not to share on here what I'm about to share I am.

We are changing our diet. Changing what we eat. Trying to get healthier.

If you have heard of Paleo or Whole30 then you know what we are doing. No more dairy, wheat, sugar, processed foods. As my brother-in-law asked me, "What can you eat?" He realized the list would be shorter. For the most part we will be eating meat, vegetables, some fruit, and nuts. Whole foods.

Tomorrow is the day. I'm scared and excited all at once.

I'm having to give up all the sweets that I love so much but at least I still get bacon and I don't have to give up my morning coffee.

As the days go on I will be sharing with you a number of things. How it's going, why we are doing this, what exactly we are doing, answer some questions that people have asked me as we plan to do this, our hopes of what changes we will see, and maybe even what exactly we are eating.

If you have any questions, I'd love to hear them and I'll try to address them as I post.