Whole 30

 

A few months ago I did the impossible and became a Whole 30 warrior!
What is Whole 30 exactly?  Basically its a total cleanse, designed to help discover how your body responds to different foods. By cutting out different inflammatory inducing foods,  you are able to better understand how the body responds to them.  Before getting diagnosed with UC, I was hoping this would help me to better understand my tummy troubles a bit better.
The harsh part:  no sugar, no legumes (including soy products), no alcohol, no grains of any kind, and no dairy and no scales for 30 days.
 
The Good
 
Scale Freedom:
  • Perhaps the hardest part of these 30 days was the rule preventing me from weighing myself. While it was difficult to not quantify my progress, I gained a sense of “scale freedom” and actually paid more attention to when I was actually hungry and what nutrients my body was craving.
Better Relationship with Food:
  • By the end of the 30 days, there is no question that the girl who used to count every calorie no longer felt obligated.  Because I was eating real food with ingredients I could pronounce, , I didn’t feel like I had to spend a day compensating for a pizza and beer binge the night before. Every day was about healthy choices, none of that food guilt the day after.  I actually found myself craving green juices.  The best part of cutting all the processed sugar out was that fruits became so much sweeter, grapes tasted like candy and berries and coconut milk became a dessert I looked forward to at night.  I also became disgusted at the sight of fried foods; when I was almost done with the Whole 30, I went out to dinner with Chad’s family who ordered fried mac n’ cheese, buffalo wings, and fries as appetizers.  For the first time in my whole life I was not even tempted to snag a fry.  This is when I knew how effective Whole 30 was.
Physical Changes:
  • The most exciting part of Whole 30 was the physical changes that cam with a clean diet.  I had lost a decent amount of weight without trying and my skin was clearer than ever.  I had lost the bloat that processed food often leaves us with.  While I cannot say I had more energy since I was in the middle of a UC flare, Chad who did most of Whole 30 with me, remarked on his increase in energy and was able to wake up each morning more easily, even without his morning coffee.
 
The Bad
 
Eating Out:
  • You don’t realize how often our society places social events around food.  Simple happy hour meet ups, trivia and nacho night, and late night walks of ice cream were all suddenly no-go’s. There were a few occasions where I had to go out to dinner while on Whole 30.  One of the most refreshing parts was the much cheaper bill since drinking was off limits.  Eating out was far from impossible but I did have to grow a major pair of balls because no matter what I ordered needed some sort of modification.  Sometimes it was as simple as asking for no butter to be added to the top of the steak.  Other not some simple dinners out involved having to call ahead to find out what ramen included soy products and subbing all veggies and extra protein for noodles.  I was still able to go out with friends and not feel deprived.  I simply felt annoying with my many requests, but so worth it in the long run!
Frequent Grocery Trips
  • For many this is a flaw to Whole 30, personally I love the grocery store and would go every day if I could.  And I basically did on Whole 30.  However, this added up financially very quickly.  Eating such fresh foods means having to buy them more frequently since they go bad much more quickly.  I also found myself eating full pints of raspberries, over a dozen eggs a week, and killing tubs of almond butter regularly.  Chad and I were able to rationalize our expenses since we were going out to eat much less and not drinking any alcohol.  Financially, it probably evened out in the end.  Not to mention it was a huge investment in our overall health.
Reading Labels and Planning
  • Whole 30 caused me to become even more of a “Type A Planner” than I already am.  Lots of meal prep, research and planning happened each week.  I would make sure my veggies were chopped, each food label was free of sugar (and other contraband) ingredients, and my proteins were prepared.  This took lots of time but for only 30 days I could not complain too much.

Sick Day Survival

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This past week I have been super sick, I am talking embarrassingly, grossly sick.  Gotta love having UC!  However, after days of nursing sips of gatorade, popping strong antibiotics like candy, and Netflix marathons I am finally on the mend.  Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than feeling like crap! I often forget how much it sucks to be sick until I am hit hard.  Last week was that situation.  Whether you have a cold, a broken heart, a stomach bug, or a super bug like me, here are some of my survival tips for dealing with any sort of illness!

Bathtime

In my opinion, there is nothing more relaxing than a bath. When life sucks seems to make everything in the world ok.  Whether you are a fan of bubbles or bath bombs, taking a bath will just about always make you feel better when you are sick.  The aroma of the bath products and the heat of the water will help your muscles and mind relax.  No bath?  A shower will work almost as well, just pull out the nice smelling soups (I love Johnson and Johnson baby bedtime bubble bath) and relax.  Plus who doesn’t feel better after a good   bath or shower after laying in bed sick all day???

Essential Oils

My essential oils saved my ass when I was sick.  It was the only thing making me feel slightly luxurious (and kept the bedroom from getting totally stinky).  Peppermint oils became my nausea relief, lavender helped keep me relaxed, and lemongrass knocked out the any yucky odors that come with the stomach bug.  Even when I am healthy, investing in a good diffuser is totally worth it.  I find essential oils set a new calming tone to our apartment.

Chicken Soup

We all have our go to sick remedies, my grandmother swears by a baked potato, my uncle a plain hamburger from McDonalds, but nothing seems to the do the trick quite like Chinese chicken and rice soup.  The simple bland flavors, lack of rando ingredients, lean protein, and simple starches make it easy to digest.  The sodium in the soup also helps your body hang onto fluids to prevent further dehydration.  So skip the Campbell’s and go get some simple Chinese take-out.

 

 

Sushi Bowls

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It seems the bowl trend has taken over my instagram, between burrito bowls, Buddha bowls, smoothie bowls, eating off a plate is so last year.  Only makes sense a sushi bowl is next on the radar for “it” food.

I made this sushi bowl post workout and it was pretty much the best refuel I have experienced in a while.  The perfect balance of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs left me feeling pretty invincible post chest day.  I reluctantly shared with Chad who surprised me by telling me this was one of the best things I had ever cooked.  I had quite a laugh because this recipe actually involved zero actual cooking and because he isn’t the biggest fish fan.  Maybe its because everything simply tastes better in a bowl, maybe it was the siracha dressing, maybe I’m just that good…

What I’m Loving Lately- March ’17

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Vital Proteins Grass Fed Collagen Peptides

  • I am far from having “hair goals” but I can sure try.  No question collagen peptides are the latest and greatest craze in health and wellness.  Social media peer pressure caused me to cave and I spent the hefty $25 on a jar and I ultimately became addicted.  I have been drinking this stuff for the past few months, stirred into my morning matcha and my hair and nails have never been better.

Brew Dr. Kombucha:  Citrus and Hops

  • Since finding out I had UC, I have been trying to lay off the booze and drink more of the buch.  Not wanting to lower my immune system or cause any more inflammation the sober life is totally worth it!  However, I do miss a cold drink now and then.  Thank goodness for Brew Dr!  This is one of my favorites because it tastes like a light refreshing beer, with no worries of a hangover the next day.

Perfect Bar

  • I could not imagine a better name for these bars.  Made with ingredients I know, these have become staple in our fridge.  Yes, fridge! The Perfect Bar website says:  ” Back in dad’s day, they had an incredibly effective preservative— it was called “cold.”  These bars are super filling, protein packed and contain over 20 superfoods.  Basically I am hooked!  My favorite is almond butter!

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread

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We had a snow day which meant I was feeling a little extra ambitious in the kitchen; I figured I would get in the St. Patty’s day spirit and bake up some Irish soda bread, gluten free style.  Please note:  no ambition needed for this recipe. You don’t have to be Irish either (as I am not).  I had done my research and found so many different recipes for gf Irish soda bread, I took a gamble and took the parts I liked from each one added some extra raisins and kept my fingers crossed while it baked.  Total recipe score!  With a thick spread of Kerrygold butter (the only butter I will buy) this was the perfect snow day snack with my afternoon coffee.

Gluten Free Bagels

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Honest moment:  one of my secret life long goals is to open a little bagel shop.  Basically because I love bagels, I can’t get enough!

Honest moment #2:  Sometimes I eat up to 2 large NY style bagels in a sitting.  Serious piggy moment!  Since going gluten free, I have had a hard time finding a bagel that tastes like a real NYC bagel.  When I found this recipe from Petite Allergy Treats for gluten free bagels I could hardly wait to try them out! These bagels lasted maybe 2 days!  I had my GF girlfriends over to help me bake them and we may or may not have polished off a whole batch of them that afternoon!

*recipe totally inspired by petite allergy treats

Crunchy Mahi Mahi Taco’s

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I wish I could say this was one of those well thought out, pre-planned dinners, but this recipe was the result of me thawing out the first protein I could grab from the freezer (mahi mahi) and seeing what else happened to be in the fridge that could accompany it.  This meant salsa, an avocado, fresh-ish corn tortillas, and romaine.  Enter the fish taco.  Love, love, love this recipe!  You can make the fish as spicy as you want and can totally adapt it for a healthier fish stick alternative for the kiddos too!  Don’t have the mahi mahi?  Any white fish will work, take a lesson from me and just use what you have on hand.

Red Curry Lentil Soup

IMG_5113Kale.

Acai.

Quinoa.

Avocado.

Chia Seeds.

 

In the world of superfoods it sure is hard to keep up with the latest and greatest ingredients we should keep on hand.  While “eat the rainbow” remains my go to motto (and no, this is not an excuse to dart for some skittles!) I have currently been LOVING turmeric! Following my “rainbow rule” this extremely golden spice has me sipping it in my teas with sweet ginger, tossing a little in my scrambled eggs, and popping supplements daily.  However, this hearty soup with a kick may be my favorite way to get my daily turmeric!

Kale and Chickpea Salad

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We had this salad with dinner last night and it pretty perfect.  Unlike today’s 30 degree weather, it was warm and felt like spring had arrived.  I was totally craving some fresh and light for dinner, and slow cooker BBQ chicken and kale salad sounded like the perfect make ahead meal.  I threw some drumsticks in the slow cooker with a low sugar BBQ sauce and threw this salad together before venturing out of the house all day for a coffee date, hair appointment, yoga, and my fifth trip to the market (because I am addicted to grocery stores, not because I keep eating all the food).  Basically, I came home to a ready dinner that was out of this world! This salad is one of those gorgeous, bright recipes that basically speaks for itself.  I don’t need to explain why this is healthy because its a kale salad after all,  and its simply delicious because its perfectly dressed in a sweet honey lemon dressing laced with tangy feta.  This crappy winter weather needs to move out for warm spring days and more kale salads!

new beginnings

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Hey Strangers!

Safe to say it has been a while since I have posted anything to TLCTC – I wish I could say I was on a fabulous vacation in Europe or locked up secretly taping episodes for The Food Network, but I simply haven’t had the energy to do much more than work, sleep, and eat.  The past few months I have been dealing with a new diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and been struggling to find the right treatment.  I will spare you all the yucky details of my past few months, and simply say I feel so blessed to finally be on the road to recovery.

As a nurse, I sometimes feel as though I know everything there is to know about everything healthcare related.  Boy, did I have my misconceptions about UC, it is way more than just discomfort and embarrassing runs to the bathroom.  I used to be the girl who could do marathon gym trips on 2 hours of sleep, now after 14 hours of  deep sleep on my days off I was needing a 3 hour afternoon nap, and walking the dog became my idea of serious cardio.  My once athletic body was bloated and puffy, I literally looked like I was 6 months pregnant, which meant living in leggings and sweatpants instead of my favorite outfits, feeling so self conscious that I didn’t want to go out.  High dose steroids made me cranky, God bless my boyfriend who dealt with my sassy pants so well!   Having UC became way more than just the actual disease, and really so much more about how it effected each and every day of my life in so many unexpected ways.

After a sudden trip and admission to the hospital, I am finally weaning off the prednisone and starting a new medication regimen, involving frequent IV infusions and daily medications that will lower my immune system  (a new scary battle.) Equipped with every vaccine under the sun in my body, and so much support from my family and friends I am so ready for the next chapter in this journey.

So enough about all my health issues, and finally back to the blog after all of this crazy health shit (no pun intended).  One thing UC has taught me is to pay attention to how food effects my body. I used to spend so much time analyzing calories, cutting carbs, and watching the clock for when it would be socially acceptable for me to fill my grumbling belly again.  As a result,  TLCTC will now be focusing more on the nutrition of foods, rather than the calories.  No more nutritional breakdowns because simply “calories are demons”.  If you listen to your body, eat real food when you are hungry, and stop when you are full, calories should not matter.  Instead, I’ll focus more on bright, fresh recipes that are still super easy, budget friendly, and, of course, yummy!  I can’t wait to share some of my favorite products, workouts, and day to day adventures with you too, as TLCTC transitions to a blog about continuous improvement, self love, and embracing the adventure of each day!

xoxo,

Taylor