Simplify Food Choices: The End or the Beginning?

I had multiple people ask me why I gave myself a clean eating challenge. My main goal was and is this: for my health, and for my family’s health. I didn’t do it to lose weight or fit in a certain dress size. I didn’t do it with hopes to fit back in my pre-kids jeans (those days are long gone. A 30 year old who has had 4 kids does not need to be in a size 0 blue jeans). I did this for my health, and from there flowed different objectives I wanted to accomplish.

I wanted to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth. Many times I felt like a hypocrite (as I should) because I would deny my kids ice cream, but then bust out a pint when they went to bed. I noticed there were times I just drifted towards the pantry, not even because I was hungry, but just to see if something caught my eye… almost like I was treating food like entertainment. I realized I wanted to change my mindset about food: I want food to be enjoyable, but I also want it to serve a purpose. I want food to fuel and heal my body.

I wanted to create better habits. I mentioned in the beginning, so much of what goes in my mouth does so out of habit. What I also realized was so much of what I make is also habit. I’d like to think of myself as a pretty healthy person, but I have to admit I got a little lazy when it comes to preparing lunches. Most days when I pack my kids’ lunch it’s a peanut butter sandwich and a piece of fruit. Not terrible, but not amazing. I realized I need to work on lunch, and plan on buying a few containers that would be conducive for them to take veggies and hummus to school instead of relying on breads to fill them up. Please help! What are some of your favorite containers for your kid’s lunch box?

So, the results… Do I feel better? Sure, but I can’t say I notice a drastic difference. Now, this could be because I ate healthy about 70% of the time, or maybe I need to do this for 90 days or longer to notice a huge shift. But, I do feel better. It’s easier for me to wake up in the mornings (mostly) when my alarm goes off at 5:00AM (another habit I’m starting). I’m also pooping more. I go about twice a day without any effort, so that’s nice. I did lose about 4 pounds, also nice. I’m convinced I’m still addicted to sugar and bread because I still think about both often. Although, I don’t miss dairy… which is kind of funny because I used to tell myself I think I could easily go vegan if I didn’t have to give up cheese.  

What’s next for me in my food journey? I honestly am not sure. I’m doing more research, which mainly means watching a ton of YouTube videos (my favorites right now are Kris Carr and Dr. Axe which is kinda funny because they have 2 different views) and Netflix documentaries (Hungry for Change and Food Matters will rock your world) while I’m washing dishes and doing laundry. I do think I’ll be vegan one day. I’ve already made small steps in that direction, and I think that’s how it will happen: one small step after another instead of stopping all animal products cold turkey (I had to add that pun in there!).

Ok, I need some feedback while I’m still on the fence about where to go from here. What’s your food philosophy? Why did you choose your path?

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Simplify Food Choices: Not So Simple

Simplifying food choices is proving to be not so simple. I was pretty strong until now. I’ve stocked my pantry with rice cakes instead of bread, I hadn’t wanted sugar in days, I don’t even think about dairy anymore… And then Valentine’s Day happened.

My two oldest boys came home from school with a bag full of goodies. Today all 3 boys came home from church with another bag full of candy… and chocolate. I do miss chocolate, y’all. And then I did it. I bypassed my usual routine I do to fight sugar cravings, and I ate a pink heart shortbread cookie. Then I ate a chocolate candy (to which I thought, These aren’t as good as I remember), and then I ate another chocolate candy hoping it would be as good as I remembered. It wasn’t.

chocolate

Then I was mentally beating myself up the rest of the evening. Y’all, I can’t do that anymore! And I’m not talking about the chocolate candy here… I’m talking about beating myself up for eating the chocolate candy. I am not a failure for eating the cookie and candy. I made a poor choice. So what? Move on, sister. By all means, don’t degrade yourself for it!

Why is it so easy for me to criticize myself for making the wrong choices, and yet it’s so difficult to give myself a pat on the back for making the right choices? Geez, I conquered the temptation yesterday of eating all the sweets, I haven’t had a flour tortilla in 17 days (which is a miracle in South Texas. Tortillas are life, y’all), heck even making the choice to eat fruit this morning instead of the cookies that were mocking me. I didn’t give myself a thumbs up for that. I need to do that more often. Focus more on the positives, and less on the negatives.

As I get ready for bed, I am excited for a new day. A new day where I can make one healthy choice after another. That’s how change happens. One step at a time. One choice at a time. One small action at a time. This time I will recognize the change taking place, and I’ll give myself a mental fist pump, high five, or chest bump with each nourishing bite. Because I’m worth it.

Let’s encourage each other. What changes are you taking to better your health?

Simplify: Food Choices

I need to be honest. I’m not really looking forward to this portion of my Simplify series. I actually intended on waiting until later in the year to this, so I could just keep on eating the crap I’m addicted to. But, part of my team is doing a cleanse right now, which really just includes clean eating and a few doTERRA supplements. I know these things are usually easier when done in a community, so I wanted to jump on this opportunity.

Now, I’m not doing the “cleanse” part. Even though doTERRA provides a very gentle and safe cleanse, it’s not recommended while pregnant or nursing. Your body already has a high demand during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so there is no need to cause any additional stress. Although, I do have to say, I take doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality pack as my pre and postnatal multivitamin and I’ve had amazing results.

llv-m2m

So, what does this month look like for me? Basically, I’m going to simplify my food choices. If I can’t pronounce it, I won’t eat it. If it came from a cow, I won’t eat it. If it’s made in a lab (think: refined flours and sugar/sweeteners), I won’t eat it. BUT what I will do is eat more vegetables and fruits. I will eat more Godmade food, and take out the manmade foods. I will explore different grains other than flour. I will try new recipes, and create new habits.

I actually started this on January 29th so I could make it a solid 30 days, instead of a random 28. Why does February only have 28 days? I just liked the way 30 sounded better than 28. I know, I’m weird. All that to say, it’s been 10 days of clean eating.

Giving up sugar was the most difficult during the first 3 days. After that, my mind just switched to FEED ME ALL THE BREAD. I’ve realized much of what I eat on a daily basis is just habit. Normally when I make the kids’ sandwiches, I’ll eat a bite of it. When I put pretzels in a snack bag for them, I’ll take a couple for myself. (I may have spit one out the other day when I realized what I was doing!) I eat pasta at least once a week because it’s convenient and I have a homemade tomato sauce we all love. I got used to eating a flour tortilla while cooking tacos. I made a habit of always eating a bowl of cereal at night because I felt like I deserved it at the end of the day. So much refined flour. Hello, my name is Amanda, and I am a bread junkie.

I’ve made some changes now that are becoming my habit. I’ve stopped packing as much grains for my kids’ lunches. Now it’s not a sandwich and pretzels, it’s a sandwich and an apple or orange. I make zoodles for myself instead of traditional pasta noodles. Instead of eating flour tortillas, I eat the clean taco toppings (ground turkey or black beans, pico de gallo, and guac… so good!) on a bed of greens. They’re small changes, but that’s how change happens. I’m creating new habits. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.

bean-bowl

Cutting out dairy has not really been a challenge, although I totally spaced during the Super Bowl and put cheese on my chili. I also forgot last week and tried a sample of Fro Yo, then thought Why does this taste like heaven? Then I remembered I hadn’t had sugar or dairy in days. Don’t worry though, I didn’t eat a cup! I threw away the unfinished sample, and tried to ignore my mind screaming at me to eat the freakin fro yo while everyone around me enjoyed it.

I’m pretty excited to see what’s to come. I’m already noticing small changes for the better. I’m not craving sugar nearly as often. Usually I don’t want it unless I see it. My mind is still obsessed with bread, but I’m hopeful that this will change as well. I’m excited to try different grains and create new habits. Stay tuned for another update soon!

Have you gone gluten free? Sugar free? Dairy free? Share some success tips with us!

Friday Fun Facts #21

1. January was all about simplifying my home. February is going to be about simplifying my food choices. Be prepared for recipes, rants about sugar cravings, and raging headaches due to lack of caffeine.

2. Speaking of caffeine, our electric coffee grinder broke the other day and I was desperate for some coffee. One of my sisters had given me an antique manual coffee grinder as a bridesmaid gift, and we really weren’t expect it to work. Well, I dusted that puppy off and figured out how to grind coffee with it! It was a great accomplishment. Plus, look how cool it will look on the counter? And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like things on her kitchen counters.

coffee-grinder

3. The weather here has been gorgeous lately. We’ve been spending lots of time outside, and my boys love to pick ALL the flowers they can find. They are so sweet and picked flowers for me, their dad, baby Sarah, Nana, Pops, Grandma, Grandpa, and the mailman.

isaac-flowers

4. This past Saturday I did yoga for the first time in years. I used to think that yoga was this easy peesy workout… Y’all, the next day there were muscles hurting that I didn’t even know I had. If you wanna get ripped, go to yoga.

5. Speaking of yoga, have you ever tried using essential oils along with your routine? I wanted to be able to come with a clear mind, and not be worrying about the stresses of life. I rolled doTERRA InTune on my wrists and it really helped to keep me grounded.

yoga-intune

San Diego Shenanigans

Hey y’all! I’m back! After a week of traveling and getting some precious time with family, we are back home and getting settled in to our normal routines. Now, if only I could get the suitcases unpacked… So much has happened over the past couple of weeks, I don’t even know where to begin, but I think what I really want to write about is my time with my sister and her son in San Diego. **Note: the majority of pictures are still on my phone which is currently lost in Neverland right now. I will update some pictures as soon as I find my phone.**

It was just Isaac and I who went on this trip while the rest of the boys stayed with my in laws in Dallas. (By the way, I wasn’t even missed, Noah informed me that he was having too much fun to miss me! Grandma and Grandpa did a great job keeping them entertained). So, I’m going to highlight some of my favorite things we did while we were there.

There were so many great things within walking distance: parks, restaurants, shops, ect. The weather was so wonderful we walked to so many places, so I only felt slightly guilty for not working out while I was there. Isaac was on this napping strike while in California, but he would fall asleep if we walked around in the stroller, so it worked out. Of course, my favorite part was just hanging out with my sister and her adorable son, so here’s some cute pictures of us doing life together.

isaacandenoch      boysatpark

One of the first places we went to Seaport Village before church on Sunday in hopes of a Farmer’s Market, but they had stopped for the summer. It was still fun to go and look at the shops and historic monuments. The park was gorgeous with huge trees, a running trail, and the beach in the background. Ah, it made me want to move there!

seaportvillage

A really yummy place where we got fish tacos for a ridiculous price of $1.50 was at this little food truck in the parking lot of Miller’s Market (nice little neighborhood market, with friendly customer service). Oh, and they give you this delicious free soup while you’re waiting on your tacos. Isaac loved the soup and the fish from the taco. He didn’t really care for the cabbage, so I gladly ate his portion.

One morning we went to Captain Kirk’s Coffee and got a couple of amazing acai bowls. I chose the Hula bowl which was loaded with strawberries, blueberries, mangos, pineapples, and of course acai. I could eat this for breakfast every day. The fruit was fresh, the flavors were so bright and you felt amazing knowing something so healthy could taste so good.

acaibowl

Last food place: this cute chocolate shop called Eclipse Chocolate. You walk in and you can watch the employees make their homemade chocolates. The menu was so ridiculous it literally took me ten minutes to decide what one thing I wanted… because I wanted to eat it all. If Rachel hadn’t let me try her killer coconut lime truffle or to die for sea salt dark chocolate bar, I would have spent way too much money in that store. I wanted to try everything. I decided on a bourbon pecan cupcake, and my exact words when I ate it were, “This is everything a cupcake should be.” It was that good. The dark chocolate ganache was heavenly, the cake was moist, and the bourbon added excellent flavor. But y’all, they also serve dinner and were featuring an heirloom vegetable special that looked good too! If you are ever in San Diego, this is a MUST. (I do have some cool pictures of the store, stay tuned!).

There was a parking lot about a block down the road with a few trucks we thought we would try out. The food was okay, but my favorite part was visiting friends from college and her precious baby. Rachel got some BBQ from the Super Q food truck because it advertised Texas BBQ, and she said it hit the spot! I liked my idea better of her coming back to Texas for some Texas BBQ.

foodtruck

Of course, we checked out the beaches and Rachel showed me all her favorite surf spots, and where her hubby likes to go spear fishing. Y’all, it’s just beautiful. God’s creation at His finest.

Old Town was a must on my list, as I love things like homemade soaps and candles. There was also a fun coffee and tea shop that I could have spent an hour in, but my baby boy was getting cranky by then (no nap, remember?). It’s a fun, touristy place to walk around and shop.

My favorite activity was Balboa Park. I wish I had more time, because you could literally spend a whole day there. There’s a beautiful rose garden, art museums, artist exhibits, a coy fish pond, playground for kids, carousel, a little train for littles to ride… do I need to go on? We just walked around staring at everything, and then let our boys go nuts on the grass.

isaacatbalboa

Sadly, I had to make my way back to Texas, although I was missing my family terribly by then so I had many mixed emotions. We took a quick “sister picture” and I left quickly so we wouldn’t start crying. After a long day of delayed flights and traveling, we finally made it home to good ol’ Texas.

P.S. We also fed watermelon to camels, but that trip was kind of a bust. It was overpriced and not very catered to children as it was advertised. We laugh about it now. This would be better with older kids that could actually ride the camels. Like I said, we can laugh about it now.

camelfeeding