To quickly recap from Tuesday’s post,  I felt like crap after having Annabelle.  Part of this was diet induced, part exhaustion from having a baby, and part of it was excessive caffeine.  I knew I had to change in order to become a pleasant, capable person that people enjoyed being around.  Here’s what I did and how I accomplished the changes in my approach to feel better, look better, and regain some energy.   

Overall, I started with Kimberley’s approach hardcore for a week or two which involves basically nothing good – ever, (very few carbs, no refined sugars, no dairy, only chicken, turkey, fish, lots of raw fruits and vegetables (organic), no shell fish, no gluten. I think that’s it… and then I discovered a few of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbooks and her more laidback philosophy of “do what you can most of the time but still enjoy life.” This resonated with me more than Kimberley’s strict approach, and every recipe I’ve tried in Paltrow’s cookbooks are amazing.

Breakfast

I drank (and continue to do so) a green smoothie every morning which consists of: spinach, a banana, an apple, coconut water, bee pollen, and juice from half a lemon.  All organic produce.  I also have one cup of coffee mixed with a teaspoon of coconut oil. No caffeine withdrawals or headaches anymore.  Lots of energy in the mornings.

My lunch primarily consists of raw veggies and organic carbs.  Sometimes I allow myself a veggie burger or a few sautéed squash and mushrooms.  NO MEAT FOR LUNCH.  Some examples of recent lunches include: organic tortilla chips and homemade salsa or avocado on toast (avocados are my new best friends, super filling and healthy). 

Dinner.  I started strict by adhering to the small piece of meat and raw veggies that Kimberly called for, and it just didn’t work for me. I was hungry and longingly looking at whatever tasty dish I had prepared for the rest of the family.  Now, I work to eliminate beef and pork from our diet leaning instead towards free range turkey or chicken, lots of raw veggies, and homemade wheat bread.  In essence, I’ve cleaned up dinner considerably, but it’s still filling and satisfying for all of us.  For instance, the other night we had homemade chicken burgers with beat/apple soup, homemade French fries and raw key lime pie (which is delicious!).   Another meal was turkey lasagna made with homemade sauce and homemade wheat bread.  Tonight will be chicken curry with lots of fresh veggies and lemon rice made with brown rice. Still carbs.  Still delicious, but a big improvement on what we used to eat.

Bonus.  I drink water all day – oftentimes with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice added.  I still allow myself wine (wine and bread aren’t going anywhere – ever), and I sip on warm lemon water before bed.

Side effects. – Good and bad.

About three weeks in my body started to feel the effects of all of the fiber and changes.  The fiber was doing its job very well, and according to the book, this was to be expected as my organs rid themselves of months (maybe years!) of sludge saved up in my gut.  Eight weeks later, I totally see a difference in my waist.  I’m wearing tighter shirts and feeling confident about wearing them – shirts I hated to wear because of the bulge they showed before.  My skin also started to show signs of detoxing at around week 3 or 4 and again, she said this was to be expected as my body figured out ways to rid itself of the toxins.  I felt renewed almost immediately.  I slept better, I woke up at 5:30 am ready to start my day after 7 hours of sleep (I didn’t necessarily, but I could have), I had way more energy throughout the day, and I didn’t need coffee or tea midday.  At about the four week marker I spent a day or two feeling ickish, almost flu like symptoms but not really, just ick.  She also mentions that this will occur as the body gets rid of all of the toxins. Today, I feel great. Waistline continues to shrink, I continue to sleep (unless I’m pmsing) headaches are gone, skin is clear and getting smooth again, my eyes are brighter, and my hair is shinier.

Workout. I incorporate yoga three nights a week (M, W, F) and on T, Th, Sat, I run for 20 minutes on the treadmill and do strength training for 10 minutes or so on legs (Th) and arms/abs (Tues, Sat).  Annabelle thinks we’re playing a game as I sweat through sit ups or bounce around the house doing lunges.  It’s all good.

Family’s reaction. The kids and Ryan have been really positive about the food changes.  Ryan has even commented that he doesn’t miss red meat. Nobody complains about swapping hamburger for ground chicken or turkey, and in fact, they don’t even seem to notice it.  They love all the raw veggies and they’re happy with the desserts as well.  The dinner transition has not been a battle at all.  Luke has taken to about 50% of the meals – but, he’s always the wildcard. It’s a continuous learning process for all of us. We have been slowly transitioning to more goat products (milk, cheese, and yogurt) for over a year now, and I’ve been cutting back on refined sugar for years as well to the point where our taste buds don’t handle excessively sweet very well anymore.  My kids have thrown candy in the trash because it “hurts their mouth.” Music to my ears.

Cheating. Sure.  I have whatever I want on date night including a few beers.  Special occasions like a girl’s night out or meeting my mom and grandma for fried chicken? Yes.  I’m gonna eat the chicken, and the biscuits, and the collard greens.  I discovered I don’t really care for goats cheese on pizza.  I changed it to half goat, half mozzarella.  Hopefully my taste buds adapt at some point and if not, oh well. Life is short.  Eat good pizza.  That should be inscribed on a pallet or something.  I do adhere to the smoothie every morning, zero meat for lunch (instead lots of veggies) and a healthier dinner. I still have to work on no snacking before bed – even if it is dehydrated peas or flax seed crackers. I’m a work in progress.

Amazing products I’ve discovered in 8 weeks.  Veganiase, (a vegan mayo that is AMAZING.  I love mayo, and this is almost better than mayo and good for you).  Ghee (a healthier butter option), Vege Sale, (a healthier salt/spice option) almond meal (makes great pancakes and bases for desserts) leeks (a sweet onionish vegetable), rice syrup, maple syrup (both great substitutes for refined sugar), NUTS – lots and lots of nuts for bases for all things good like cheesecake, homemade candy bars, and lemon bars to name a few.

The bottom line for me is determining what I’m willing to live with (vices) and what I’m willing to live without.  Checks and balances. Hope that’s helpful for anyone looking to make some changes in their health or diet.  I have 8 kids and a meat and potato husband who can vouch to the delciousness of many of these changes.  

On a side note, I’ve been slowly working on my next project – a cookbook dedicated in part to Lucas, my miracle baby who is often a pain in the rear end when it comes to eating healthy foods.  I’m determined that this book will only have Luke approved recipes, and if it’s Luke approved you can bet your picky eater will probably approve as well.  I’m going to attempt to post one of these recipes a week on the blog, and I’m hoping y’all can give me some constructive feedback.  Stayed tuned! First recipe will be up next week sometime. 

Just keep livin!

picture credit (instantpot.com)

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