Whole30 wrap up

February 11, 2014

today is the last day of our second whole30. we did the first one last january, and you can read about it here.

i have mixed feelings and many thoughts but the absolute bottom line is that i am SO GLAD to have done this. i find it to be an*excellent tool to truly re-set my self-control; my appetite; my nutritional focus.

today, i feel real control over my food choices. i have not indulged in a single bite of sugar, a bite of a grain, a taste of dairy … in 30 days. and for sure, it was hard at first … i think days 10-13 were the worst as far as feeling discouraged and apathetic. but once i dug my heels in and determined to press forward, the angst *totally* lifted.

i feel totally empowered. i am eating small, smart, intentional and delicious meals. i am pretty much not snacking. i am eating nothing in the evening (a decision i made mid-cleanse) and am *fine*.

i feel “less” as far as body size, squishiness, extra. i am back in the “normal” weight range that i settled in to pre-babies … although i am at the high end of that range and am going to keep moving forward to knock off the next 10+ lbs. i’d like to lose 20 more but who’s counting?!

i lost 10 lbs this time, and several inches.

besides that, and really much *bigger* than all that, is the way that I know GOD uses this cleanse as a big tool during work that i sense Him prompting me to do during a particular season for our family.

right now, we are working with total focus and determination on healing our boy’s skin. a huge piece (but not if you listen to the western medical doctors, ahem) is the food that he consumes. so for certain, this cleanse has been a great tool to tighten (severely!) the food he eats, and continue to evaluate best choices.

about halfway through this Whole30 i had an ah-ha moment that coconut may be a trigger for josiah so i eliminated it in all forms – a huge bummer in that i generally use a *ton of coconut oil. it’s eye opening and paradigm-shifting as some of the things that are touted as the most healthy, whole-food-community-real-food-loving items (ie, coconut oil, raw honey) may in fact *not be good for my boy. alas.

as far as meals … when we started out, i ran out of the gate with a bang and was super creative and motivated in making our meals. i lost my steam a couple weeks in 🙂 and we ate a lot of ground beef, sauteed veggies, sweet potato fries, chicken,  chicken sausage, etc. the boys all continued eating rice and quinoa. i am all about making sure my babies get enough to eat and especially for caleb, who isn’t a big meat eater, rice was essential to keep him full & happy.

for “snacks”, we enjoyed organic pure rice cakes (the boys), some dried fruit, sweet potato chips, raisins & dried coconut (maddie’s favorite).

i am MOST missing real creamer in my coffee. i am super thankful for the canned “coconut cream” from trader joe’s (please don’t tell me if it’s not 100% whole30 legit!). it made my coffee bearable. but not the same 🙂

another thing … the past couple weeks i’ve had incredible weakness in my leg strength; they feel bone tired after just walking up the stairs. it’s different than a workout-induced tired; they are deep down, muscle tired. i can only attribute it to the radical dietary changes and think it must be connected to lack of carbs perhaps… and it definitely feels unsustainable. i also haven’t had the great energy burst that many have during cleansing but am certain that my lack of sleep must be a big piece of that. 🙂

overall, this has been a great & needful cleansing time on many fronts. and i am thankful that today is day 30 … whoop whoop! cannot wait for my hazelnut breve at dutch bros tomorrow! :))

odds & ends

January 27, 2014

it’s been a while, so here are a few “highlights” of life lately …

:: we are on day 15 of the Whole30. we did it last january and maddie and i particularly felt a great readiness to do it again. it has been a challenge some days; easier others. hubby and i were having crazy energy crashes during the afternoons which weren’t pleasant! – but getting more manageable. truthfully, the challenge is a different and more difficult one for me this time (aside from the logistical burden of cooking from scratch 3 meals a day for everyone, growing super weary of savory food for all meals even though it is *delish, longing for something sweet, the boys asking for various off-limits items, etc): i am not losing weight the way i normally do. the few times  in the past that i’ve implemented a plan with the goal of losing weight, i see results fairly quick. last whole30, i was down 5 lbs on the 4th day (and 15 lbs after 30 days). motivating! this time, 5 lbs as of *today. not so motivating (but thankfully i took some measurements and have lost 2.5 inches from my waist which feels good). and yet here’s what i know: this is a longer play. i am closer to my regular weight and not carrying as much extra as i was last year. my body has gone through crazy physical changes in the past 2 years with 2 pregnancies and 2 csections. i know intuitively that this time around, this is more of a slow & steady … diligently making good decisions, day in and day out, moving toward the goal of being healthy and strong. so i’m doing it! i haven’t cheated – not one morsel or nugget – so only protein, veggies, fruit, some oils and nuts … for 15 days. 15 to go! and then, moderation. most of all, i am missing my cream in my coffee. coconut cream is ok but just not the same.

:: for certain, one of our primary goals in this elimination diet is to find healing for josiah’s skin. i took him to a naturopath last month which felt helpful and good … a good step of many. so it is deeply discouraging that his skin is worse, and in a severe flare right now … so much so that he can’t sleep well and the past 3 nights has been up most of the night w/hubby or i, miserable itching and raw. (he had been doing SO great w/sleep, for the past few months. ahh.).  again and always, it feels like we are trying everything. and still, the answer – the trigger – is elusive. the other day i had an ah-ha moment: what if it is coconut?? i use coconut oil in *everything and even more on this diet … so i cut it out totally. and just last night, someone suggested perhaps it is *fructose … so all those apples and pears … ?! LORD, please heal our boy.

:: this is a tiring, relentless season of parenting. and yet, i hate being a complainer – both to others, and in my own head. i was talking with a friend about this yesterday – about being *real in how we share life (ie social media) without sounding uber negative. i think social media can also tend to the other direction: sharing only the glowing superlatives about our days and our lives, mistakenly leaving an impression of blissful living. there’s got to be a happy medium. so for me, for today, my happy medium is right here and the words i am sharing. the truth is that parenting these boys – ages 16 & 33 months – is intense. i have literally zero breaks, round-the-clock. and i don’t believe i *deserve breaks necessarily but just that none exist. i have a baby on or near me including pretty much every time i use the restroom. and really the most intense part is the way THEY interact: without boundary, restraint, understanding, control … and thus in constant perpetual motion and inevitable conflict. this is a season of hands on, eyes-always-on training and intervening and directing. EVERY second. caleb is toddling grabbing instigating in all his chubby deliciousness. josiah is possessive of his toys, impulsive in his movements (hitting kicking). they are moving appropriately through age-appropriate learning and training and AND it’s wild and crazy around here.

add to that? i have a teenage daughter for whom i am (attempting to) homeschool *well, as she works through an academically challenging classical education.  i fail constantly in maintaining the patience and grace that i am desperate to share. i know that i cannot share and “produce” something that isn’t being generated within me; i cannot strive harder or more to be more or different. what i can do is be so saturated both in GOD’s Word and His grace in my life, that i pour this forth in my parenting. i see evidence of His incredible work; ways that He has changed and softened, and i am desperate for more.

wow, how is that for some uplifting updates!? LOL. just keeping it real. all is well and good and up and down and OH! that reminds me of this, the most totally awesome article that resonates SO much for me.

this dinner tasted so totally deliciously amazing to me tonight that i have to write it down, so i won’t forget it!

this afternoon, i faced the familiar question: what to do with these chicken breasts for dinner??

here’s what i came up with, and will *absolutely* be making again:

lime, cilantro & sun-dried tomato chicken 

2 defrosted boneless skinless chicken breasts


1/2 bunch cilantro

about 1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes in oil

coconut oil

real salt

extra virgin olive oil


i started by chopping the chicken breasts in pieces. i heated a lot of coconut oil in a pan, then added the chicken … covering with a generous amount of real salt. while the chicken cooked, i put the cilantro and the juice from about 6 limes in my ninja blender. the limes were disappointing, with very little juice, so i ended up adding juice from half a lemon. i blended this, and then added some olive oil, until it became a little more creamy.

when the chicken seemed close to cooked through, i added the sun-dried tomatoes (making sure lots of the oil from the jar poured out as well) plus the cilantro/lime mix, to the pan. i cooked this on low, covered, for about 20 minutes.


i had prepared brown rice for my family and decided to make myself a salad (not eating very much rice). i decided to make a dressing that matched the chicken flavor, so in the same ninja blender i added the other 1/2 of the bunch of cilantro, a generous spoonful of sour cream, real salt, the other half of the lemon juice, and some olive oil. i blended this and poured over a chopped green salad, with the chicken on the side.

OH MY WORD! Lime-y cilantro salty tangy bliss! and everyone here loved it. 🙂

here’s a terrible picture – i am definitely no food photographer – but i like to have some kind of visual to remember:

cilantro lime chicken

we did it!! 30 days of no sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, bread/rice/pasta, processed anything.

it was difficult, wonderful, and extremely valuable.

sometimes … beautiful insights, connections and habits come from taking the right step – which could never have been predicted or anticipated.

i knew this cleanse was *that* step for our family, and indeed … what it has produced and inspired is not what i expected.

i want to preface by sharing that i’ve had this word – organize – on the forefront of my mind as i’ve thought about 2013. it doesn’t sound very spiritual but something within me has gravitated to that word as my word for this year. organize … my home, our schedule, some habits, some messes. it’s time.

i had no idea that this cleanse would move me beautifully and firmly in that direction! i tend to have a rhythm vs a tight schedule when it comes to our days at home; an order or sequence (roughly!) of events but no set times, really. i tend toward flexibility and spontaneity. but i am finding that a tighter schedule and more structure really brings a freedom and peace of mind!

:: this cleanse created this focus on mealtimes; in the absence of mindless snacking, there was an intention about eating. we were hungry and ready!  i had to PLAN and put in time preparing every meal. so about the second week, mealtimes crystallized: 12noon for lunch, and 6pm for dinner. those hard-stops then helped inform the schedule for the morning and created sort of a domino effect. and it felt GOOD. i want to press forward with this for our family.

:: necessity inspired me to become even more creative in the kitchen! from ideas to satisfy our sweet tooth, main dishes trying to mix up the meat & veggie combo, and the endless pursuit of a breakfast that was something other than sausage/turkey bacon (chop and saute sweet potatoes and apples in coconut oil with cinnamon!) … we tried new things this month. in fact, that is something maddie shared as her highlight of this cleanse: she tried and enjoyed new things. yes!

:: i had hoped for a clearing of skin issues for my babies … really suspecting foods as a trigger … but if anything, their skin worsened this month. very discouraging and yet helpful, knowing that we *completely* eliminated nearly every trigger that could be eaten. now to figure out other triggers … !

:: i lost 15 lbs! and 2 days post-cleanse, i was down 17 lbs. losing this postpartum weight was and continues to be a primary goal for me, so i am stoked!

:: as for the effects you sometimes hear about, the clear-headedness, extra energy, etc … ya, those didn’t happen so much. lol. i DO feel more clear, and for sure there were days of great energy. but i can’t say that i have this profound, overwhelming sense of feeling GOLD (which is how i felt after doing 9 day isagenix cleanses). of course, this may have to do with the reality of having TWO BABIES and sleepless nights!! LOL.

i do feel better. some aches and pains have lifted. i feel stronger.

:: another emerging habit: daily walks in the afternoons.  i have come to really look forward to these each afternoon, which is awesome!! i pack the babies in the double stroller and take an invigorating walk through our neighborhood. we had several afternoons of beautiful sunshine which was awesome; there have been some drizzly cold afternoons that made the walk impossible. but most afternoons, i did it … and it felt GREAT.

:: there is nothing like the sense of empowerment from exercising will power and self control.  i think this may be the biggest takeaway for our girl: knowing she can do it!! she can set her mind to a seemingly impossible task (no sugar for 30 days, are you kidding?!) and she DID it. with literally NO COMPLAINTS. focused. and she beamed with satisfaction upon completion.

:: the first several days were really difficult but never excruciating. honestly, my biggest craving this month was my {favorite} hazelnut breve from dutch bros. i missed that! fast food didn’t even sound good to us, which was great (still doesn’t).  i was pleasantly surprised how much i liked real coconut milk (from the can) in my coffee, with a dash of stevia. yum.

:: satiation definitely is happening much sooner when eating; our stomachs have shrunk? for sure, we are all satisfied with  much less.

:: i feel a serious sense of having reset the metabolic picture for my body; the “nutritional reset” you hear about happened for sure. i am fine with feeling a little hungry. most nights, i went to sleep slightly hungry and i was ok! i don’t have to respond to the slightest twinge of hunger with food, immediately. food has lost some control, if that makes sense.

:: as day 30 approached, i felt some angst about the big question: what next?? what to reintroduce and bring back to our meals? my tentative plan is to bring back brown rice, soaked whole grain bread, cream for coffee, cheese (yes!!), oats/whole grain breakfast cereal, rice pasta.  i won’t be buying any refined sugar or white flour. we will have one cheat day a week. i will severely limit my brown rice/rice pasta/whole grain bread, until i’ve lost the rest of the weight i need to lose. i will continue to focus on creating meals for my family around good protein, veggies and fruits (+ rice, quinoa, etc for them).

:: real, whole foods will continue to be the norm.

{doing this cleanse with a few dear friends and their families was invaluable!! we kept each other accountable, we shared words of encouragement and recipes … it was the best! i love you ladies!!!}

date mounds

January 23, 2013

date mounds

i made up this little creation this afternoon for josiah, who can’t have the tahini in our tahini date mounds.  i think they turned out really good!! josiah happily ate 2 when he woke from his nap.

date mounds

in food processor, blend …

handful of pitted dates (maybe a dozen)

about 1/2 c raisins

about 1/2 unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 c melted coconut oil

about 1/8 c freshly ground flax

generous shakes of cinnamon

1/2 apple, chopped

**in recent batches, i’ve omitted the apples. in addition to the ground flax, i’ve been grinding chia seeds – about 1/8 cup. i’ve also been adding organic raw pumpkin seeds – a handful. so good!!

blend, then form in to balls and freeze. mine were solid but soft after blending; freezing made them very firm. i will store in a bag in the refrigerator.


January 20, 2013

:: i had an epiphany this week, despite having a degree in this stuff, working for years with kids that primarily grew up in highly dysfunctional, chaotic environments: children speak what they hear. they learn what they hear.  it was a regular day around here, and once again josiah blew us away with something he said … and we realized: he heard US saying that. he hears US saying so much to each other, so much sharing of ideas and discussion and talking throughout our days. and he speaks from that “database” of rich language … so basic and so true. my heart breaks for the babies that are hearing violence and profanity and scary.

:: i have had a major cleaning project hanging over my head for a couple of weeks: i *need* to get this big archaic space-taking, eye-sore desk out of our room. the drawers are overflowing with sentimental keepsakes; the top piled high with baskets overflowing, papers and bills spewing everywhere.   i need to make that corner of our room a sleeping space for baby caleb, who now pretty much only sleeps in our bed … he’s outgrown the bassinet, and there’s really no other place. and nights are beyond uncomfortable for this mama – back aching, neck craning through the night. SO, the cleaning project. i started last weekend and thought i would work on it during the week. but i realized …

:: i can barely keep up with basics of day-to-day living during the week … simply do not have the time to spend a few hours on a project. i was grumpy about it for a while, longing simply for a few uninterrupted hours (maybe in a few years?). but i decided to accept it, not stress over the project mid-way done … and work hard this weekend. so it’s now saturday and when i had a great window (caleb napping, josiah hanging with daddy) i did a tear up deep clean in our bathroom! it needed it so bad and i just jumped in … and feel so good about it. but needless to say, it took a chunk of energy and time … next was time to prepare lunch, and now it’s almost naptime. maybe i’ll tackle the project then? because now my energy is low, i’d love to shower and enjoy this glorious sunny cold day with my family. we shall see!

:: i made a pinky pact with 2 other mama’s doing this whole9 cleanse, that we would get out and take a good walk every day. i have made this happen most days, which i am glad about … the impact of being in the fresh air and moving my body is so real and good for me. i am a fresh air girl, period. confession: i cracked my kitchen window yesterday despite the freezing temps outside – just had to feel the cool fresh air. SO, the coolest thing is that many afternoons have been crystal clear, blue skies during my walk … absolutely glorious. i am walking farther, extending by a block or a hill each time. last week i invited hubby to join and ohmyword, one would have thought that man was in a fast walking competition, LOL. i could barely keep up! ha. but it felt good.

daddy walk



:: so, whole 9 … as i type this (it’s now sunday) we are on day 20!!! twenty days of no sugar, bread, rice, pasta, grains, dairy, fake anything. i am down 10 lbs which rocks! and mostly, i do feel pretty darn good. steady. even keel. no bloat at all. i am SO proud of my family and especially my daughter, who has not wavered once … no complaining, no asking to cheat, not once. amazing.  i will say that the work involved in eating like this is crazy. i spend hours prepping and cooking each day. there are no “convenience” options. lunch is a fully cooked meal, no heating up something from the freezer. the biggest bummer/challenge continues to be breakfast. we can’t do eggs, of course no other traditional grain/bread/oats options – so we are left with … chicken sausage. turkey bacon.  repeat. sure, i eat leftovers but maddie and hubby are not on board with eating, say, a bowl of leftover soup for breakfast. i MISS a bowl of hot steel cut oats with coconut milk, honey and cinnamon … a plate of hot pancakes with butter and maple syrup … ok, enough of that. suffice to say, i am going to be figuring out what foods i will be bringing back in to our diet, especially including breakfast options.

ok, a few pictures of my precious babies …

maddie bjorn

sweet big sis wanted to try wearing caleb in the bjorn!


amazing how much josiah loves his baby brother. he is always wanting to hold his hand, help put a paci back in, help him when he's crying. precious.

amazing how much josiah loves his baby brother. he is always wanting to hold his hand, help put a paci back in, help him when he’s crying. precious.



darling hat made by our dear friend jessica!

darling hat made by our dear friend jessica!



2 delish creations (whole9)

January 13, 2013

day 13 of whole9!  i feel like i have passed through the time of transition and am settling in to these food boundaries with a feeling of ease, creating and trying new combinations that come to mind.  i am inspired constantly by amazing mama cooking friends, other bloggers, and truly just sampling flavors that inspire creativity.

lest i forget to recent yummies, here they are:

saute sweet potatoes and apples

chop sweet potatoes and apples, simmer in coconut oil and sprinkle with real salt and cinnamon. YUM! i served this with roast and a big green salad, and it felt like a decadent treat 🙂

tahini date mounds

maddie was asking for those tahini-oat balls i’d made before, but no oats for us … so i came up with this. oh my sweet deliciousness!

in a food processor, blend about a dozen dates, a handful of raisins, a handful of unsweetened coconut, about 1/4 c melted coconut oil, and 1/4 c tahini. add cinnamon and real salt.

the consistency is strange; i scooped in to mini cupcake tray and froze, then bagged and refrigerated.