Feel All the Things

Just some dried plants from a hike I took a couple weeks ago. I thought they were equally as beautiful in their dried form.

The act of suppressing one’s emotions is literally a physiologic stressor for the system. It’s no different than needing to go to the bathroom and holding it in too long. It’s not natural, it’s not necessary, and it hurts. The stress that comes along with emotional withholding always seeks an outlet. Again, food is one such common outlet. For many people, overeating, binge eating, and this fascinating experience called emotional eating – is indeed our emotions calling out for some airtime. Our feelings want our attention. And when they can’t get our attention, they can make us have all kinds of unwanted eating behaviors – which then get our attention in a big way. Feelings are meant to be felt. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to act on every single feeling. When a feeling is felt, it then has a natural lifespan and our emotional metabolism regulates it in a natural way. So here’s the remedy: start to feel your feelings. Be honest about them. See what’s beneath them. Listen to what they’re asking of you. Let them wash over your body. Stop fighting them. Stop trying to hide them. Stop pretending you’re not having those feelings. Be real. ~ Emily Joy Rosen

I saw this post this afternoon on Instagram and I loved it so much. I wanted to share it with all of you emotion bottlers out there. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

The same plants as above, just picked.

Whole30 + Intuitive Eating

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Hi, everyone! So, on my last post, I asked the question: How do you intuitively eat while doing a Whole30?

I decided to Google it. I thought someone else may be struggling with the same thing, so I thought I would share my results here.

  • Balancing Intuitive Eating & Whole30 – I learned a lot from this post. One of Simi’s points was to take into consideration what would taste good AND what what make my body feel good. I don’t do this. I only think about what would taste good. I tend to “fall off the wagon” when I’m stressed or worried about something. *Note to self: Write it out, girl. Just write it out.* If I write it out, I’m less likely to want to stress eat.
  • Adventures in Paleo: Starting the Whole 30 – The very last line in this post reads, “How did something as simple as fueling our bodies become so dang complicated?!” And that made me sit up and pay attention. I know I’m thinking about this way. too. much. It really isn’t a s complicated as I’m making it. Turn your head off, girl, and just listen.

And that’s where I stopped researching. With the tip to ask myself what would taste good AND what would make my body feel good and the hunch that I’m making this way too complicated, I just quit.

I realized that I’m trying to control my food like I tried to control it when I was using a calorie tracker, a water intake tracker and an exercise tracker. Same thing, different medium. Woah. That’s not what I’m after at all.

And, as I’m typing this, I feel free. Free to eat sweet potatoes and two eggs for breakfast if I want. Free to eat shredded chicken and broccoli for lunch if I want. Free to eat a spoonful of coconut butter or ghee or coconut cream if I have a hankering for it. Just free to eat what sounds good and what will nourish my body.

It feels really good.

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Slightly Frustrated Whole30-er Here. Insights and a Bunch of Questions.

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You could also take out “soul” and put “body” in instead and it would make just as much sense. This going to be a wild ride of a post and if you make it through to the end, I will give you a huge virtual hug. Promise!

You know, one thing I like about hot tea is that you can get 3-4 cups out of a bag of tea and each one tastes different.  You can’t really do that with coffee.

I’m still looking for that magic pill or diet or thing that will get me to lose 10 pounds without turning me into a neurotic freak with a calorie counter and water intake tracker and exercise tracker that I absolutely must use every day or the day is a complete and utter failure nutritionally.

A month or so ago, I quit listening to my body. I forgot about movement for the sake of feeling good. Moving my body so easily turned into how many calories I burned and how much I ate and what the caloric intake was and how much water I drank. But this week, I’ve done alright with that in the exercise department. I’ve been really tired, so I haven’t exercised. I deleted all those apps off my phone a few weeks ago {thanks to this podcast} and I’ve tried really listening to what my body is saying.

A few nights this week, my body wanted carbohydrates so I ate a bunch of those. I craved cereal and tortillas with butter, cinnamon and sugar. I ate them. I craved ice cream so I ate some. I craved pasta with cheese, so I ate a bowl of that.

I don’t feel guilty about it but my body definitely did revolt. The stomachache came in the days after and I noticed that I was really really REALLY tired the next day and my joints hurt and my energy level and mood were/are in the tank. I think my soul had a minor freak out moment and my body didn’t know what to do with it, so it asked for the things it always asks for when those freak out moments happen. Food. Fatty, sugary, carbohydrate-laden food.

I know I can do better than this. I did a Whole30 in January, why can’t I seem to do one now? I know the second Whole30 is usually a little harder than the first because for me, the newness has worn off {for other reasons why, click here} and I don’t want to be that friend who chooses to not eat gluten. I don’t want to be the one who is difficult. Mentally, I keep coming up with alternatives or excuses to quit:

  • What if I just stick with Paleo and allow myself wine?
  • I’m not going to learn anything new {which is already false}, so why even try?
  • You know, if you drank at least 90 ounces of water a day, you wouldn’t have cravings. Better download that waterlogged app so you can keep track. Drink water even when your body doesn’t want water.
  • You didn’t have any broccoli or anything green with your breakfast. You had sweet potatoes and eggs. Even though you practiced eating intuitively, you didn’t eat a healthy enough meal. Better have some greens with lunch. Oh, I know your body doesn’t want them right now, but you should eat them anyway.
  • You should eat more coconut products…I know you’re getting tired of eating avocados. Oh, it doesn’t matter that you feel ill when you eat coconut oil. It’s still a good fat!

I’m really struggling with reconciling doing a Whole30 and eating Paleo with intuitive eating. Like, really struggling. Sometimes, I want the pasta and the bread and cheese and all the yummy delicious things that are not part of the Paleo lifestyle. I crave them. How can I crave those things even though I know that my body doesn’t like them?

And then, let’s talk Whole30 portions. During a Whole30, your portions are as thus {click here for the meal template}:

  • Protein: as many eggs as you can fit in your hand, or a protein piece that’s as big as the palm of your hand.
  • Veggies: 2-3 cups at one sitting…or 2-3 handfuls.
  • Fat: A thumb’s worth, or 1-2 tablespoons.

Folks, that’s A LOT of food. I just can’t finish it all. If I do, and I did during my first Whole30, I feel lethargic and just way too full and it made me tired. With my second Whole30, I’ve backed off on the protein and veggies. I’ll have two eggs instead of three or a smaller cut of meat. With the veggies, I’ll have a couple handfuls. And the fat I kept the same, because it’s what helps keep me full. I feel like I can eat those quantities without wanting to take a nap afterward.

My aunt {who has been a tremendous resource through my journey and I am so grateful for her help} thinks my blood sugar level is the culprit. It may be that my blood sugar isn’t balanced and that may explain why I have such cravings and why I feel tired after a meal and why, an hour after eating a meal, I’m “hungry.” There are many instances where I’ve eaten my food and I’m full at the end of it, and then 45 minutes later, I’ll feel like I could eat again, though I know I’m not hungry. At the root of it all, though, I think is a leaky gut.

Hippocrates said that “All disease begins in the gut” more than 2,000 years ago. We’re so very slowly beginning to figure out just how right he was. For an excellent overview of leaky gut, read Chris Kresser’s post here. Here’s another great post from Jordan Reasoner: click here and there’s even a quiz I found {click here}! After reading those two articles, I now understand what gluten does to our digestive tract.

According to the quiz, I have a high risk of leaky gut. I’m not surprised, honestly. I think I need to rebuild my healthy gut flora and restore the integrity of my intestinal barrier.

How do I do that? Here are Chris Kresser’s recommendations:

  • Remove all food toxins from your diet
  • Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
  • Eat fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc., and/or take a high-quality, multi-species probiotic
  • Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
  • Take steps to manage your stress

That sounds pretty easy, right? Even if I don’t have leaky gut or imbalanced blood sugar levels, I have come to the conclusion that eating a Paleo diet is the way to go for me.

Question of the Day
Any tips for balancing your blood sugar? Does anyone have any experience with eating intuitively and doing a Whole30? Share in the comments!

Little Things That Make My Soul Happy

I’ve been focusing on experiencing things that make my soul happy lately. Here’s what I’ve been doing, eating and drinking!

An apple, sauteed in ghee, sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt and cinnamon. I remember my mom making something similar for me when I was a kid. She used butter instead of ghee and left out the salt. This is a lovely dessert when I want something sweet, but don’t want baked goods or chocolate or ice cream. It’s comforting and warm and it makes me smile.

Smudge, on the right, has a new friend. Squish has a sticker labeled “assorted foliage” on her pot and she seems to be taking to office life well. I wrote about the benefits of having plants in the work space here, and I find that having these two living things to keep me company makes me a much happier person.

Eating intuitively is such a wonderful thing. This is my plate from last night’s supper, which has bread and butter pickles {from Sonoma Brinery – so delicious!}, pickled beets and sauteed butternut squash. I know I’m doing a Whole30 and all, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat any meat or eggs. It just didn’t sound good and honestly, it kind of made my stomach roil in protest at the thought. So, I listened to my body and I put the things it wanted on my plate. And I was happy. The end.

Seriously, though, listening to my body is something that I have always struggled with because I’ve been taught that there is a higher power {whether it’s my brain or the latest exercise/fitness/health fad} who can tell me what my body needs. Really, all I need is to tell my brain to shut up and listen to what my body says. It’s a process :-) Thankfully, there are some wonderful resources out there that I’ve found to be immensely helpful. Want to know what they are? If you’re interested, drop a line in the comments. I’ll consider writing a post!

Hot tea. Hot tea makes me happy. It just makes my insides squidge in happiness and joy and warm fuzzies. I have no idea why, it just does. I decided to give my adrenals a break with the caffeine and try just sticking with herbal teas instead for awhile. I’m on my third day and I feel pretty good!

Question of the Day
What’s your favorite tea to drink?
How do you make your soul happy?

Weekend Hike + Geeking Out on Podcasts

Last weekend, the boy and I went on a hike with a friend and her son. The boys are about the same age and have some similar interests, so they get along rather well. It was absolutely joyous to be outside in the sunshine and in the breeze. We traipsed our way through part of Garrapata State Park and walked through a canyon of redwoods. The trail parallels a little stream that runs out of the mountains, which makes such a wonderful sound and it gave the boys something to explore.

The boy and I on the way up the trail. We smile real big when we’re having fun!

Climbing fallen trees is always a blast!

I love the color contrast here, with the tiny red flowers and the sage green on the lupin.

After the hike, we stopped at one of the boy’s favorite places to eat for pizza. I indulged in a glass of chianti and the best puttanesca ever. The boy had a make-your-own pizza and enjoyed every little bit of making it.

We also smile real big when there’s good food to be had.

This made me so exceedingly happy. It wasn’t even Paleo and honestly, I didn’t care. I enjoyed every bite I ate and we took the rest home for later {and I was full after about 2/3 of it}. The boy took it to school with him for lunch yesterday. Oh. My. Gosh. The olives, the tomato sauce, the anchovies, the capers, the linguini. I really hope they never ever ever change this recipe. If you’re ever in Carmel, stop by Allegro Pizzeria and get the puttanesca. You won’t be sorry. Also, you won’t be disappointed by their pizza crust either. The crust isn’t too thick or too thin. The bottom is crunchy and the inside part is light and airy. It’s the best, I tell you. Added bonus: no bellyache from the gluten. Win-win!

So, that was our hike and dinner adventure of the weekend! Now, want to hear about what I’m listening to on podcasts lately? I hope so, because I’m going to tell you!

I’ve recently begun listening to a lot of podcasts and I really enjoy the vast knowledge that these ladies have to share with the rest of us. Plus, they’re entertaining and funny. Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately:

I’ve linked to their sites and blogs as well in case you’d like to check them out. I make it a point to read their posts and to listen to their podcasts on a weekly basis. Actually, anytime I am driving in the car or going for a walk, I have a podcast going! I’m caught up with The Nourished Podcast, about halfway caught up with The Paleo Women Podcast and I’ve only listened to one of Mind Body Musings! I’m not one of those who can just start listening to a podcast in the middle. I have to start at the very beginning and work my way to the end. It’s like starting a book in the middle. I just…can’t.

Question of the Day
What is your favorite podcast? Share in the comments!

Food Stuffs That I Love!

I wanted to take a few minutes and get these things out there, just in case anyone may find them useful. I’ll write a weekend update later this week. We went on a wonderful hike and I can’t wait to share the pictures with you!

I saw this quote on the back of my kombucha bottle last week and I loved it. It reminded me to give myself some grace in my life. Honestly, that’s not something I’ve been very good at in the past. This also reminds me a lot of Meg the RHN‘s philosophy on self-love. I don’t think she has a dedicated post about her philosophy, but if you read enough of her blog posts, you’ll pick up on it. If you want a good starting point, this post is one of my favorites.

I’ve tried a few brands of kombucha recently, and I have to say that GT’s is my favorite. The one above is the hibiscus flavor. I like their flavors because they aren’t too sweet and they aren’t harsh either. And when my body is craving probiotics, a bottle of kombucha hits the spot!

This is a Chipotle salad bowl with carnitas, grilled veggies, mild and medium salsa and guacamole. This is always what I get when I go to Chipotle. This particular salad bowl was part of an experiment. As I mentioned before, my body doesn’t seem to be taking coconut oil very well, and I wanted to see how it handled other good fats. The guacamole here is one such good fat, which my body seems to tolerate just fine.

I should note here that I had a single Americano {one shot in a 14 oz cup} with coconut milk from Starbucks this morning and it didn’t bother my stomach at all. Maybe I can tolerate some coconut products well, just not a lot of them? I don’t know yet…stay tuned!

If you say this pretty much looks like butter, you’d be right. But, I added stuff to it! I found a recipe from Empowered Sustenance for these little buttermints, which are so helpful for curbing sugar cravings! The recipe suggests piping them out with a pastry bag and tip, but I don’t have those, so I just put it in a glass container in the fridge and I scoop about a 1/2 tsp out at a time when I feel a craving hit. I love the combination of grass-fed butter with raw honey and peppermint. They’re so delicious! And, if you don’t tolerate dairy well, she has a coconut oil option too! If you make the buttermints, let me know!

Question of the Day
What do you get when you eat at Chipotle? Guac or no guac?

Whole30 Round 2: First Takeaway

It is amazing to me how two days into a Whole30, I can feel the changes in my body. Rather, I can start to feel the things my body doesn’t like. 

For instance, my body doesn’t like coconut products, coffee and nuts right now. Ingesting coconut products and nuts makes me feel like I have a glob in my stomach and in the back of my throat. Two hours later, my intestines hurt and I feel queasy.

For the record, I don’t like feeling that way. 

Considering that I put coconut oil on my food at almost every meal, this adds up to a lot of bellyache and globs. It also seems to make me get full quickly because fat is incredibly satiating. With a Whole30, you’re eating three eggs {or protein the size of the palm of your hand}, two handfuls of veggies and a thumb’s worth of fat at one meal. I can’t eat all of that at one meal. I just…can’t. I get full after eating about half of it and want to stop eating, but I feel like I have to finish it or I’ll be hungry again in 2-3 hours. It’s kind of a vicious cycle, honestly. 

I think I’m going to try sticking with ghee and avocados for awhile to see what happens. I’m curious to see if I stay full longer and if I don’t have indigestion issues. I do think my gut needs to heal before trying coconut and nuts again and I’ll just have to see over time.

  
And coffee? Well, I plan on drinking green tea instead. Seeing as how coffee makes my belly burn, drinking it black or with coconut milk or bulletproofed isn’t going to matter one iota. So, green tea it is and I’m excited about the loose leaf green tea options I have in my tea stash!

I really like that I discover so much about my body during Whole30s. It’s kind of like a little science experiment and I really enjoy it. 

So that’s how Day 2 of Whole30 Round 2 went. Yay!

Question of the Day

What are your favorite teas to drink? Share in the comments!!

Lately All Sorts of Things

Wow, the crickets have been chirping around here, haven’t they? I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to writing here, and I do hope it will pick back up soon.

Yesterday, I just decided to do another Whole30 {here are all the posts about my first one and the failed second attempt}. Right before bed, I just decided. And then I thought, “I don’t even have any eggs for breakfast.” But, I went ahead and did it anyway.

Why? Because my body doesn’t tolerate moderation well. I feel tired, grouchy, almost always hungry and never satiated nor am I ever satisfied. I feel sluggish and snacky and just rather blah. I went to bed after my decision, slept the sleep of angels for 7 hours and 34 minutes, and then got up and worked out.

And you know what? I feel so excited and so at peace with my decision. I know it doesn’t make me the most desirable dining partner, but that’s okay. This isn’t about my dining partners. It’s about me. It’s about my health and my gut and my very own self. I’m a little selfish about it, but then, I have to be. Otherwise, I’ll end up like this:

I’m practicing putting my self on the front burner or at the top of the totem pole or whatever idiom you’d like to use. I have almost always been the self-sacrificing type. No. More. It’s time to figure myself out.

Whole30s are helpful for me to figure my body out. I came out of the last one a better version of myself and I hope this second one is much the same. Now, what about the rest of me? There are several facets to discovering my soul and my intuition. Here’s a few. One way is to read Liz DiAlto’s blog. Or Danielle LaPorte. And read read read read. Read things like Women Who Run with the WolvesRead books that my Midwestern Christian upbringing wouldn’t allow me to even ponder looking at the cover. Listen to podcasts and music that I don’t normally like. Examine my soul. Relax my posture and open up. Pull my shoulders down from my ears and just sit with anything and everything I’m feeling. Don’t label it. Just be and accept what is.

I know I’ve posted this before here, but ti still holds true for me now. If I keep doing what I’m currently doing, I’ll stay the same. I won’t be the best version of myself I can be. Who exactly that woman is is still under construction. I’m just glad she’s under construction :-)

5 Reasons Why You Need a Plant for Your Cubicle or Office

Do you work in an office environment? I do and I wanted to spruce it up a bit with some foliage, but I knew I would need something that could tolerate low natural lighting, as I have no windows and any lighting I do have comes from the LED lamps in my cube or from the fluorescent overhead lights in the ceiling.

Why did I want a plant in the first place? Here are five reasons why I thought a plant would be a good idea:

  1. Plants can help to increase productivity.
  2. Plants can help fight colds.
  3. Plants clean the air. We all probably remember this from grade school science. Here’s a neat little article that you can geek out on, if you’d like to read it. One source I found says that by having 1 plant per 3 employees in an office can increase the air quality. Carbon dioxide can be reduced by 50% and dust, bacteria and mold can also be reduced by up to 20% {source}.
  4. Plants make you feel better. For me, having something green and growing nearby makes me happy. I have my plant within my direct line of sight in my cube and every time I look at it, it makes me smile.
  5. Plants can help your skin.

There are so many more reasons, but these are the few that caught my eye.

Next, I had to decide which plant to get. After some research, I found the following:

  • Pothos – Pothos adapts well to a variety of office conditions, from low light levels to brighter levels. It has heart-shaped, white-splotched leaves and is low-maintenance.
  • Philodendron – Philodendrons are climbers and add height to small areas well. They are easy to grow and suffer occasional neglect well. So, when you go on vacation and your cube neighbor forgets to water your plant, it should survive.
  • Snake plant – These are also known as mother-in-law’s tongue. It’s a great plant for providing a screen or focal interest.
  • Peace lily – These lilies are tolerant of low light and are exuberant growers. They are also known for cleaning up the air.
  • Jade plant – These are hardy {read: difficult to kill} and long-lived. It needs to be watered well, but is otherwise hassle-free.

I bought a peace lily, which I have had in an office setting before. What I like about peace lilies is that they tell you when they need to be watered. The leaves droop, you water it, and about an hour later the leaves are perky again. Score!

Reader, meet Smudge!

I don’t normally name my plants, but Smudge just seemed to fit. So, my peace lily shall henceforth be known as Smudge. I think Smudge is going to need a spiffier pot though, and he may need a friend soon, too. I’d like another plant or two and I think Smudge would like some companionship when I’m not here. Ok, I’d better stop now or you’re going to start thinking I’m one of those women who talks to her plants.

For now, he’s happily ensconced in my cubicle, making my work life happier.

Question of the Day
Do you have plants at home? At work? Which are your favorites? Drop me a line in the comments. I love hearing from you!

The By the Bay 3K + Random Running/Treadmill Things

A couple of weekends ago, the boy and I ran the By the Bay 3K and we had a wonderful time! Neither of us had ever run this race before and we were excited to try it. About a year ago, I had tried the Run or Dye {read about it here} and I hadn’t run since. I figured 1.62 miles was far enough for my non-running self :-)

Here we are before the race. It was a nice, chilly and slightly drizzly morning, which I think is the perfect weather for jogging. I like it because then I don’t get too hot. Does anyone else like jogging or walking in cooler weather?

And here we are post-race, with our medals. I think we look like we need breakfast. And that’s exactly what we did after we hoofed it back to the car. We ate brunch and recuperated that afternoon by being lazy bums. We watched movies and took naps. It was glorious, I tell you.


Right now, I’m taking care of a sweet dog for a few weeks while her owners travel. Her owners have a treadmill and I think I may have fallen in love with it. I’ve always liked a good treadmill workout and I take advantage of it whenever I have the opportunity. I like the cardio and the weight-bearing exercise aspects of it. I also like that I can listen to a book or to the radio or I can watch tv while I do it. And, I like that I can make it as hard or as easy as I want to, and I usually make it difficult. I have a hard time doing that with workout DVDs, for some reason, and I don’t feel like I get as good of a workout. Since I’m house sitting, I don’t have to go to a gym to get my treadmill fix. There are quite a few pros to having access to a treadmill. The cons? Well, I don’t have room for one in my apartment. They can be pricey. If I want a treadmill workout when I’m not house sitting, I have to go to a gym and leave the boy home alone. As good of a kid as he is, that’s probably not wise. So, I just get my treadmill fix when I can, intersperse it with lifting weights and doing push-ups and planks. The rest of the time, I do my workout DVDs at home, go for walks or jogs outside and use the treadmill at my apartment complex when I can.

Self, after a 40-minute treadmill workout. My blood was a pumping, as evidenced by the prominent vein in my left temple. I haven’t found any at-home cardio to be as effective as a good treadmill session.


Here’s an article with seven tips to become a runner and stick with it for life. Check it out!

Question of the Day
Do you jog or run? What got you started?