Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wrapping It Up and a Give Away!!!

Yesterday was the end of our Whole30., I had pancakes for breakfast and pizza with a Coke for lunch.  KIDDING!!!  Today, I've eaten exactly the same way that I've been eating since October 1st.  To be honest, in the beginning of this, I thought that after the 30 days we would go back to having pizza nights once a week and/or a cheat day.  What I've come to realize is that I don't want to live like that! I don't want to view food like that.  Food needs to nourish my body, provide a benefit.

I'm not saying that there will never be a meal for us that isn't Paleo.  As a matter of fact, this weekend is my youngest daughter's birthday party.  She is having a regular birthday cake with buttercream frosting.  We ordered just enough for the party and I don't like cake!  Now to figure out what to do with all of their Halloween candy...  I'm sure I would have trouble passing up a Snickers or Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

I've had a couple of people ask about our results.  While our daughters also had significant weight loss, I'm not posting their numbers.  My husband, -13.4 pounds and me, -12.5.  This has never solely been about the weight loss.  But it is a definite perk!

This is a photo taken on Monday night at a Mary Kay meeting.  In light of it being Halloween week, our director (the cute little witch in the middle) asked us to come in costume.  Generally speaking, Mary Kay asks us to come dressed in dresses/skirts.  So, I wasn't going to pass up the chance to come in comfy clothes.  Apparently, my friend Debbie and I had the same idea!  She was a yoga instructor and I was a personal trainer/runner.  Clever, huh?  I've posted this photo because a month ago, I would not have been able to comfortably zip this jacket.  That is a measure of success for me.

I feel happier!  My family seems to feel happier!  We are learning to try new foods.  Because we have not been eating at restaurants, we've enjoyed more meals, together, around our dining room table.  My cravings have been minimized.  My joints are less achy.  This is a huge WIN for our whole family!

Now for the give away...

Because I truly feel that "It Starts With Food" has completely changed my view of food and nutrition, I want to pay it forward.  I am giving a copy of this book to someone who will REALLY be committed to following Whole30 for a minimum of 30 days.  AND, you must be willing to share your results with me in the end so I can post them on my blog.  Results should include weight loss but even more importantly, changes that you've noticed in your body, physically and emotionally.

How do you enter?  It's simple.  "Like" my Facebook page Our Blended Blessings and comment either here or on the Facebook post telling me why you are willing to make this change.  This book is not being donated to me.  I am purchasing it and will either mail it to or hand it to the winner.  I wholeheartedly believe that it will "change your life in unexpected ways".

I will announce the winner on Monday, November 4th!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How I Really Feel

I'm not really a mince words kind of gal.  So, most people usually know how I really feel.  Curse or blessing?  Both, I suppose.

After 23 days of the Whole30 program, I feel amazing!  Here are some of the changes I've noticed recently.

The increase in energy is incredible.  Prior to Whole30, I would find myself wanting a nap around 3 p.m. each day.  I never actually had time for that.  But the urge was still there!

Guys, this is definitely geared more toward the gals!  Also prior to Whole30, my PMS symptoms were out of control!  To be honest with you, they were and still are the main reason for making this nutritional change.  Approximately a week before my period, I had to suffer with such horrible breast tenderness that I couldn't snuggle with my daughters, hug my husband, or barely stand the pressure of my seat belt.  I am happy to report that I did not experience that AT ALL this month.  Coincidence?  Most definitely not!

Since June, I've been experiencing what seemed to be an increase in hair loss.  From what I can tell, based off what I need to clean from my bathroom shower (sorry for more TMI), I am getting to keep more of my hair each day.

Aside from that, my clothes are a little looser.  My wedding ring fits much better!  I feel that my emotions are also a bit more under control.  Although, if you had been with me at Women of Faith this past weekend, you could argue against that point...lots of tears shed!

Speaking of Women of Faith, what do you do when you are attending a conference that does not serve the types of food you eat?  This conference was hosted at the Excel Center.  They had posted signs which prohibited outside food and beverage.  Friday night was not a big deal.  We were only there for three hours.  However, Saturday, we were there from 9-5.  When I registered for the conference, we had not begun Whole30 and I had ordered a box lunch.  Included in the box lunch was a turkey sandwich, chips, a cookie, and a bottle of water.  How about a piece of fruit people or some vegetables?  Well, I snuck food with me: dried fruit, jerky, and almonds.  It felt all kinds of wrong to be disobeying rules while attending a Christian women's event.  What would you have done?

I want to end today with a quote from a daily calendar that is on my desk year after year:

"It is our attitude toward life which determines life's attitude toward us; and it is our attitude at the beginning of any task which more than anything else will affect its outcome.  Throw all of the negatives out of your attitude; take words such as 'can't' and 'impossible' out of your vocabulary." -Mary Kay Ash

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halfway to Whole30

A friend of mine pointed out that we are at the halfway point of our Whole30 journey.  The changes we've made have been fairly substantial yet completely sustainable.  I am becoming a better cook every day and have loved trying new recipes and modifying old ones.

I can't say that I've gone without cravings or missing the ease of ordering a pizza.  Yet, it has been worth every minute that I've spent in my kitchen.  And let me tell you, that has been a lot of minutes!  The next step for me will be learning to cook in larger batches to create leftovers and freezable meals.  I've learned things like where to buy cheesecloth and cooking string, actually the butcher at my local grocery store gave me quite a bit of cooking string.  Thanks sir!

Here have been some of this past week's successes:

These were the biggest hit with my family!  Apparently we were all missing the combination of salty and crunchy.  They are from the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook.  The preparation and cooking time is a little lengthier than normal.  But they are a fun and tasty treat!

I've also learned that it is a great idea to shop my local Asian market.  I was able to find coconut milk that contains just coconut milk, no extras, for a great price!

These roasted pieces of butternut squash and carrots became Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (pictured below) from a recipe that I found Stupid Easy Paleo's website.

Mango has become a favorite fruit for my oldest daughter and me.  This was the best lunch I made all week.  It was the roasted butternut squash soup, chicken salad - which I made with chicken that I had cooked/shredded myself instead of canned - topped with avocado, and ripe, juicy mango!

Last night, I made the Mediterranean Roasted Chicken recipe (couldn't photograph it because my husband cut up too soon...but it was GORGEOUS!) also from Everyday Paleo's Family Cookbook.  THEN, I used what was left to make chicken broth.

People who know me well know that this is a little out of character for me.  Although I am a work from home mom, I've never been much of the stereotypical homemaker type.  I'm not crafty.  I don't sew.  Actually, I own a sewing machine but don't know how to use it.  I don't bake often.  Cleaning is one of my least favorite things to do.  However, cooking has now become something that I really enjoy.  I guess there is hope for me yet!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Enjoying the Fall Day

I have watched this little boy grow into a young man.  I have known Axel since he was just a toddler.  And now, he stands taller than me!  We had beautiful weather to snap a few photos of this guy.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Whole30: So Far So Great, Day 8

Our Paleo adventure started last Tuesday with a bit of unbelief.  Being such a drastic change, I just didn't know how we were going to pull this off.  I did know that we were determined to change our nutrition and believed fully in the information from the Whole9 book, "It Starts With Food".  We shopped and stocked up (I'll get back to stocking up a little later) on the food from the Whole30 shopping guide.

Shopping was a little challenging.  I was looking for foods that I hadn't purchased before.  For example, I wanted to purchases canned coconut milk.  When I found it, I checked the ingredients and found something called "guar gum".  Ummm...what?  I was looking for the ingredient list to read "coconut milk".  The end.  My advice to anyone who is looking to clean up their nutrition, read the labels!  Just because it is the product that you are looking for doesn't mean that it's just that product.  It turns out that there are brands of canned coconut milk that do not include guar gum.  But you have to shop a little bit more.

I have to say that days 1-3 were the toughest.  Since I like my coffee with cream and sugar, I decided not to drink coffee.  Although I only drink a cup, a VERY LARGE cup, per day, removing it from my diet was enough to give me pretty awful headaches.  To all of you who had to be in my presence last week, I'm so sorry!!!

By Saturday, I was feeling so much better!  The headaches were gone.  I wasn't feeling as hungry because I was starting to figure out the portions of food necessary to fuel me.  Even though we had to be up very early to be a soccer family, I still had plenty of energy.  And, believe it or not, was a little bit of a morning person.  That is SO outside of my normal character!

Here are some of my creations from this past week (I apologize for the quality of the photos.  They look much better on my iPhone):

Using the Whole30 recipe, I made my own mayo!  I had no idea it would be so simple.  The bonus, it tastes great!

Using some of that mayo, I made chicken salad.  Butter Leaf Lettuce has become a staple in our house and has taken the place of bread.

This was so good that it felt like I was somehow cheating.  It's simply a turkey burger, cut in half, and topped with mashed avocado and tomatoes.

For the last two years for Christmas, my parents have given us a quarter beef which has included a few packages of soup bones.  Thankfully, last January, I learned how to use them.  I love making soup!  It simmers in my house all day making it smell oh so good!

This meal also seemed like a treat!  My husband grilled burgers which I topped with a little mayo, tomato, and mashed avocado on - you guessed it - butter leaf lettuce.  Applegate has become a very popular brand in our house.  They have an excellent assortment of meat, including hot dogs. 40+ I still like hot dogs!  The highlight of this meal for me were the Chili Lime Sweet Potato Fries from Popular Paleo.  If you love sweet potatoes, you have to try these!

Now, this is for my friend, Traci and my brother, Nick.  One of the things we all three have in common is our disgust for mushrooms.  I don't like there smell.  I don't like their texture.  I don't like their taste.  However...I appreciate their nutritional value.  I've learned that if I can chop them into small enough pieces, hide them in my eggs along with peppers and onions, I can eat them and still enjoy my meal.

While this has been an adjustment for our entire family, it is probably the biggest change for our children.  I have to admit that I haven't been the greatest about making them experiment with new vegetables over the years.  My oldest was really on board with this idea and fully supportive.  Our youngest, however, was not as excited.  I can tell you that her diet has been a little different than ours.  We all eat the same thing at home.  But, for instance, she had cake at a birthday party and both of the girls had hot cocoa after soccer in the cold rain.

I can also happily report that as of Sunday coffee has reentered my life.  Thanks to advice from a friend, I've begun using just a smidge of coconut milk in my morning cup of Joe.  It was an easier adjustment than I had anticipated.  I am no longer missing the sweet and just enjoying a warm drink in the morning.

Now back to stocking up, that is kind of a thing of the past.  We have purchased a few pantry items and meat.  For the most part, however, we go through our food pretty quickly since we are eating so many fresh fruits and vegetable.  Side note...if you are in the Twin Cities area and a Costco member, buy their fresh mangos right now.  It's like God's candy!

Social media has made this a much easier transition.  There are so many great blogs.  I've found people through Instagram (@mistyhanderson).  Hashtags may seem useless to most, but they are helping me to learn a lot! 

#gottago #soupson #whole30 #whole9life #paleo

Okay, I'm done with the hashtags for now.  But seriously, if you want more information, hashtags are the way to go!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Brayden | Twin Cities Newborn Photographer

Last week, I met this handsome, very alert, newborn boy!  He has the most darling dimples.  Congratulations Stephanie!