Our Whole30 Experience

As many of you know, I spent the majority of 2014 uncovering food/chemical sensitivities and dealing with them (more on that here).

In February 2015 I successfully finished my LEAP protocol. LEAP is an immunocalm diet/plan that systematically builds a healthy diet of foods that can be tolerated by your body. Thanks to MRT testing and the LEAP diet, I now know how to deal with my food/chemical sensitivity issues and haven’t suffered from any awful symptoms in ages.

However, as my menu of food options grew, so did the number on the scale. I began to overindulge in my favorites (bread, chocolate, pasta, cheese) and slack off in the exercise department.

I needed something to get me on track, motivated to cook, and back into the good head-space I was in while doing LEAP.

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Enter the Whole30.

It’s a month-long, clean-eating program that emphasizes eating real, whole, minimally processed foods. The Whole30 is based on the popular Paleo diet/lifestyle. For those who don’t know, Paleo is a long-term nutrition and lifestyle strategy where nutrient-dense foods are encouraged, but inflammatory, nutrient-poor foods are avoided. The Whole30 is more strict and short-term version of that. The focus is to eat mindfully and consume things that are more healthful than harmful. It is also designed to help you observe which foods may be problematic for you. During the 30-day dietary reset, you eliminate added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy.

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After reading about the Whole30, I thought it would be a good challenge to get out of my rut, back in the kitchen, on the path to making better health choices. Ryan decided to join me and I’m so glad he did!

We began on August 3. The first week was a little rough since you’re detoxing in a way and may feel tired, moody, hungry, or have headaches. Days 3 & 4 were the hardest for us, Ryan said he felt very foggy and I was irritable and had a pounding headache. But once we were over the hump it was smooth sailing! Well… except for remaining conscious of our grocery budget and staying culinarily creative.

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But we both survived and are feeling great!

During the Whole30 you aren’t suppose to focus on weight-loss but is instead look at it as a jump-start for your optimal health journey. However we did a weigh-in before we started out of curiosity. Happy to say I’m down 7 lbs and Ryan is down 13.5 lbs. Besides weight loss, I bid bloated and sluggish feelings farewell, learned that broccoli and I are not friends, and noticed that the skin on my upper arms are much smoother (I have mild keratosis pilaris).

The Whole30 isn’t something that is meant to be maintained longer than a month so we plan to take what we’ve learned and continue to fuel our bodies with nutritious food while also enjoying treats from time to time. Our goal is to eat in more relaxed manner than the Whole30 but still maintain a healthier lifestyle.

To do this we’ll use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time we’ll follow the guidelines we decide on (that might end up being Paleo or simply upping our vegetable, fruit, and protein intake, while still allowing a little room for nutrient-rich legumes, whole grains, and dairy — moderation is key). Then for 20% of the time we’ll loosen it up and eat what we’d like. Striking a balance between eating for energy and eating for joy is what we’re aiming for!

I did a lot of research before we started and while the Whole30 might not be for everyone (you can read some pro/con articles here, here, here, here, and here) we found it to beneficial since it got us back on track. Only you can decide what’s best for you! Nothing is one size fits all.

Below are a few recipes we enjoyed this month as well as some helpful resources.

For a detailed account of what I ate every day, check out my Whole30 posts on Instagram.

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Recipes:

Homemade Ghee (in the crockpot!)
“Baked” Cinnamon Apples
Sweet Potato, Apple, Pancetta Hash (we modified this over time and ended up with our own version: sweet potatoes and pork sausage with an over-easy egg on top – yum)
Crockpot Turkey Chili (swap out the vegetable oil for olive oil, the tomato soup for pureed tomatoes – add water if not “soupy” enough, and the beans for root vegetables like carrots, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc)

Resources:

Paleo or Whole30: Which is better? – Stupid Easy Paleo
The 12 Major Things I Learned on Whole30 – Sisterhood of the shrinking jeans
Read Your Labels Carefully with These 6 Whole30 Ingredients – Whole30.com
9 Tips for Surviving Your First Whole30 – Chaarg
What to Expect When You’re Whole30-ing! – Lovely At Your Side
Whole30 Shopping List (for omnivores) – Whole30.com
Whole30 Seasonal Guide (fresh produce on a budget) – Whole30.com
The Round-Up: 30+ Days of Whole30 Recipes! – NomNomPaleo
A great Whole30 Pinterest Board

Products:

We didn’t about before the Whole30 but now love…

Trader Joe’s Salted Almond Butter
Applegate Farms Uncured Hot Dogs (100% organic grass-fed beef)
Applegate Farms Chicken Apple Sausages
Wellshire Sugar-Free Dry-Rubbed Uncured All Natural Bacon (found at Whole Foods)

Have you ever done a Whole30? Thinking about trying it? Would love to hear from you!

Wishing you all good health and happiness!

weekend review

IMG_6790My mom & grandma came up for a visit!

We went thrift shopping, swam in the pool, checked out Excelsior and Lake Minnetonka, played Wizard (a super fun card game), watched a few episodes of Keeping Up Appearances (a British sitcom on Netflix), and just relaxed.

It’s always fun when family comes to town!

Hope you all had a good weekend too!

Our New Digs

On August 1 we moved into our new apartment in Bloomington and so far we’re really enjoying it!

The complex is within a 15 minute drive of my work, near the stores and places we like to go, and was recently updated. It has a pretty epic workout center (including a big gym, half-court basketball, indoor and outdoor pool), attractive grounds and walking trails, and is dog-friendly. Yes, Ryan’s counting down the days until we can get a pup!

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Our little one-bedroom is cozy, with lots of storage, a deck, new carpet, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, and underground parking which will be nice in the winter.

Ready for a tour?

Here’s the kitchen and storage closet:

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The bedroom and bathroom:

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The dining room which leads into the living room:

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The living room:

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Even the plants like it!

It’s a bit smaller than our old place but we’re still pleased and look forward to utilizing all the amenities the complex has to offer and exploring the neighborhood soon!

weekend review

Mr.C & I spent this weekend with our friends Sarah & Brandon from Indiana. It had been 2 years since we last saw them and this was their first visit to the Twin Cities so we wanted to make it memorable!

Friday we cooked dinner, wandered around the Mall of America, ate delicious gelato, and then played games the rest of the evening… well, that is until a tornado warning chased us into the bathroom!

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Saturday we made breakfast and set off to see the cities. First stop was Minneapolis and of course we popped over to the famous spoon and cherry.

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Next stop was St. Paul and the Festa Italiana at Harriet Island.

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It was quite warm that day so after our exploring we headed back home for a nap before dinner at the always delicious Mozza Mia. And after that? More card games of course! We’re fiends!

Sunday the boys had an appointment at Twilight Tattoo to finally get a little friendship ink. They’d been talking about it for ages! As big kids (and nerds for life), they opted for matching Ninja Turtle tattoos. Ryan got Michelangelo/Mikey and Brandon got Donatello. Ink by Bradley Trotter.

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When they were finished, we dropped by Glam Doll Donuts for a little sugar before cooling off at Minnehaha Falls.

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Next stop – dinner at The Nook! Everyone was jonesin’ for a Juicy Lucy and we were not disappointed. We also fell in love with their sweet potato fries and honey-bacon cheese curds.

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Monday greeted us far too soon and we had to send our friends on their way home. So glad they were able to visit though! We had an absolutely wonderful time.

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Hope you all had a good weekend too!

weekend review

This weekend Mr.C & I headed down to Okoboji, IA, with our friends Nicole & Brian. Brian’s parents have a lovely lake house where we were able to stay to enjoy a few days of fun and sun.

We went last year too and were so happy to be invited back since we always have such a good time.

This weekend we grilled out, took a boat ride, played bags, went swimming, grabbed brunch at Prairie Chick, napped, swam some more, became obsessed with a new card game (Wizard), double dated at the drive-in (Minions was playing), and stopped at Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store on the way back home.

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Hope you all had a good weekend too and were able to enjoy the beautiful weather.

I definitely did (although I could’ve done without my wicked sunburn souvenir)!

Gotta love summer!

weekend review

Hellllooo July!! Man, this month is already flying by… and we’re only a week in!

So far we’ve started packing (we move to our new apt. at the end of the month), bought a 2nd car (a silver 2012 Honda Accord), celebrated my 26th birthday, and traveled back to our hometown in IL for a quick visit. With time off work for the 4th of July holiday, we made the drive to see family, friends, and fireworks. It was a great time!

Wednesday night we got into town and stayed up really late catching up with Ryan’s family.

Thursday was my birthday so we went out to a delicious lunch at Krumpets with my family, toured my mom’s gorgeous garden, and then had dinner Sievert’s to celebrate with Ryan’s family.

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Friday my college roommate, Katie, drove up to have brunch with us (breakfast pizza from Land of Oz – guilty pleasure, totally worth it!). I last saw her two years ago so it was great to catch up in person (although with technology we’re able to keep in touch and chat often).

Friday afternoon we saw Peter Pan at Timber Lake Playhouse. The playhouse is where I spent many summers working the box office, where Ryan proposed to me on stage, and where we later tied the knot! Obviously TLP holds a special place in our hearts, so it’s always great to come back and attend an amazing show at the theater. Peter Pan is one of my favorite musicals and the cast and crew at TLP did not disappoint! Friday evening we played board and card games with my best gal Elecia and her boyfriend who was visiting from Washington.

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Saturday we slept in (finally!) and then headed over to my grandma’s for a few rounds of euchre. Later we grabbed ice cream from Dairy Queen to munch on while watching the 4th of July parade which, in a tiny town, typically consists of ambulances and firetrucks from the surrounding area and a few small floats. Saturday night friends and family gathered in my mom’s backyard to watch the fireworks display, witness the only traffic jam of the year, and enjoy a bonfire with a side of s’mores.

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Sunday was our last day in town, so we grabbed a quick breakfast at the café downtown before making the rounds to say “see ya later”.  As always, it’s so nice to see everyone back in IL. Thankfully some of them will be coming up to visit us this fall so we won’t have to miss them too much!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend too. xx

Let’s catch up!

Can’t believe it’s been exactly a month since my last blog post! After drawing the curtain on our student debt pay-off series and sharing the final steps of my food sensitivities journey, it seemed like the right moment to take some time off.

But, I’m back now and ready to play a little catch up!

Work:

The summer hiring rush is on and our recruiting firm has gotten a lot of new clients who are eager to fill their job openings. We recently added a new candidate sourcing specialist to our team and I’ve been helping to train him. We also launched our new website and it was very well-received! As the designer, I can’t help but be proud of the outcome. 

You may remember that Ryan switched positions about four months ago. Well, he is still enjoying his new duties, coworkers, and being on first-shift. His company is growing rapidly which is exciting but it’s also proving quite stressful as current employees are trying to fill in the gaps left by the expansion and restructuring of staff. Hopefully they will get things balanced out soon!

Life:

As the deadline to find a new apartment loomed we were feeling very panicked but I’m happy to share that we finally secured our next home! It’s really tricky to find a one-bedroom right now and on a whim we stopped by a community who happened to have one available. We were the first to see it that afternoon and they had 11 other showing appointments after us! With that news, we immediately completed the applications and put down a deposit.

Our new place is in Bloomington and has an epic workout center (including a big gym, half-court basketball, indoor and outdoor pool), pretty grounds and walking trails, and is dog-friendly. The complex was recently updated so we’ll have new carpet, paint, and appliances. We move August 1 and are looking forward to it! Since we’ll be living too far away for me to walk to work, we’re car shopping. No luck yet but we’ll definitely be adding another vehicle in July.

Fun:

out 'n about with our friends, Austin & Jessica

out ‘n about with our friends, Austin & Jessica 

We drove down to Nebraska to help Ryan’s brother and his family move into their new house. It was a lot of work getting them settled and unpacked but it had been awhile since we’d seen them last so it was nice to be able to visit and fun to play with our 3-year-old niece.

Other than that, our weekends have been pretty chill lately – we’ve been hanging out with friends, enjoying the sunny weather, and catching up on some of our Netflix favorites.

I was also recently introduced to Zumba and am now hooked! I attend classes twice a week and love it. It’s the first time I’ve ever been excited to routinely workout. Zumba is a dance fitness program that is easy to follow and high-energy. We groove out to hip-hop, latin, and international beats while getting in shape. To be honest, it’s basically a party. The class I attend is taught by three-generations of Zumba instructors (daughter, mother, grandmother) and it’s such a fun and uplifting workout session / dance party. If you’re in the Twin Cities and want to give it a try, check out Zumba with Nessa, Tuesdays & Thursdays, 8 – 9:15 pm, in Burnsville at Youngman’s American Martial Arts. No membership needed – just pay $6/cash at the door.

So, that’s what we’ve been up to lately! July is gearing up to be very busy and very fun. We already have a trip to Illinois planned as well as a weekend lake getaway and visit from friends on deck! Not to mention we’ll also be packing and moving soon. Phew!

Hope you all are doing wonderfully and summer’s treating you well!