My Eating Habits, Your Questions

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am doing my second Whole30, and you are constantly bombarded with images of my food ;) I've been getting a lot of comments/questions on Insta, Facebook, and even in person (when people see my lunches) about what I am eating, why I am eating it, how I do it, and where I get all my ideas and recipes from. So here are some of my secrets and examples of my day to day meals. 

First things first, what is Whole30? 
It's 30 days of clean eating very similar to Paleo, but a little more strict. You can read all about the rules here and about the why and the science behind it in the book It Starts with  Food, here are the basic rules:
No Grains
No Dairy
No Legumes (including peanuts)
No Soy
NO SUGAR (except fruit)
No carrageenan, MSG or sulfites

Everyone's first reaction when I tell them this is "Oh my gosh, what do you eat?!". My answer is typically something like "everything else, duh", but the non sarcastic answer is veggies, fruit, meat, and fish (I'm allergic to eggs, so even though they are Whole30 approved, I avoid them).

Why? There are a few reasons why I am doing another Whole30 and why I try to mostly maintain these eating habits and lifestyle when I am not doing Whole30. 
The first reason is to keep my Ulcerative Colitis in check. I've had it since 2012, and fought it despite my medications for a few years before changing my lifestyle. Once I started eating healthy, exercising, and discovered my food allergies, I stopped having symptoms. That was a year ago!
After the 2015 holidays, I couldn't seem to get my 2016 sugar cravings under control. Best way to beat that is to starve your craving and stop eating desserts! 
The third reason is because I feel better. I am more energized, I sleep better, I have less breakouts, My joints stop hurting, and I am not bloated - ever.
Lastly, and quite honestly because my confidence and self esteem are through the roof. Ain't nothin
wrong with wanting to look good and feel good about yourself!

A few tips if you're going to try this out:
  • Grocery shop, plan your meals for the week, and maybe even meal prep over the weekend
  • Don't choose complicated recipes if you're hungry now - no one likes you when you're hangry
  • Avoid food boredom by trying new recipes and foods
  • Make enough for dinner so you have leftovers for lunch
Here are some examples of what my husband and I eat day to day with links to the recipes!

Dinner: Burger topped with Avocado with a side of tomato slices and roasted brussel sprouts

Breakfast: Black coffee, sausage patties topped with avocado with a side of sliced mango

Dinner: Creamy sundried tomato chicken with a side of green beans sautéed in bacon fat

Dinner: Taco Salad (ground beef or chicken cooked in homemade taco seasoning) topped with avocado, spinach, and tomato

Breakfast: Sausage patties with a side of peaches and kiwi

Breakfast: Hashbrowns, sausage, bacon, and a side of fruit (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and banana)

Breakfast: Sausage, sliced tomato, and sweet potato hash
Sweet potato hash (season to taste):
Cubed sweet potatoes
cooking oil of choice
onion powder

Combine oil and potatoes in a pan and season to taste, cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 10 min stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and cook for another 10 min.

Dinner: Italian Chicken Tenders with roasted brussels
(I sub eggs for almond milk - works just as well)

Dinner: Grilled chicken thighs (seasoned to taste) with a side of green beans

Dinner: Shepherd's Pie from Well Fed (link above)

Breakfast: Banana coconut pancakes topped with sautéed blueberries and side of bacon and peaches
Banana with almond butter (I buy this at Publix) and a side of bacon and blackberries

Snack: Roasted Artichoke

Well, I'm sure you're starving now, but I hope you're also feeling motivated and inspired! If not, at least maybe your questions were answered ;)

Ashleigh H {Cumming Senior Session}

I met this wonderful girl through her newly adopted little brother who was assigned to me through a program called fostering together, where I volunteer. It's a great program that pairs volunteers with children in foster care and their families. I am a mentor/ Aunt figure for this little guy, but other volunteers serve by bringing meals, transporting, providing overnight respite, etc. Anyway, I digress...

The POINT is, that I fell in love with this family, and when I found out that their oldest daughter Ashleigh was interested in becoming a photographer and looking for someone to shadow and to mentor her, I said "Uhh me please"! That was a just a few short weeks ago, and I am crazy excited to get started!

She also happens to be graduating from high school this year, so obviously I just HAD to do her senior session, and I am so glad I got to! You'll see why, when you scroll down. Girl, rocked her session!

I Want Everything

I want everything. A career in social work, a career in family photography, a happy marriage, children, a healthy, strong, and capable body, incredible lasting friendships, meaningful close relationships with family, to save the world from hunger, poverty, and abuse one person at a time, annual vacations, time for relaxing and entertainment – EVERYTHING. I want to be everything, do everything, have everything. I want to be respected and remembered. I want to be HAPPY.

I don’t always succeed, but I try to be all these things, to work towards accomplishing all these goals, and to maintain all these relationships. As I live and experience life, I am constantly learning new ways to better my approach towards attaining the “everything” that I am chasing after, but the one concept has really stuck with me and is ingrained in my mind is that to achieve all of this, there must be balance. In order to make time for your family, your marriage, your health, etc. you must set expectations that allow you to balance these with your career while still giving your best and going above and beyond at work.

Its terrifying, its motivating, its hard, its invigorating, it often makes me cry, it brings me anxiety and it energizes me.

Though I may stumble along the way, and every day may not be a success, I will continue to strive towards balancing my everything, all these things that are so important to me, the things that give me joy and bring me happiness. Not only because I want them and I want to but because I CAN.

I will have EVERYTHING.