2015 Goals

It’s been quite the month around here! I’ve been really contemplating this blog and where I want it to go now that I’m back at work and don’t have as much time at home.

One thing I know: I love writing and I love this blog so I don’t want it to become something on the back burner. I’m going to try my best to get onto a better schedule.  Forgive my absence and bear with me as I continue to transition into this working momma role.  It’s amazing to me how long it’s taking me to get to a “normal” place in this new role I find myself in.  Of course starting a new job has made it even more difficult for life to feel “normal” because my transition in a new job has also had it’s challenges.

Anyways, more on all that later!

I promised a list of goals in my last post and I’m about to make good on that promise.

GoalsSo here they are!

Office : Our office is the bane of my existence! The thought of the disorganization and clutter in that room drives me batty, but it also overwhelms me to the point of paralyzing me.  This year I will conquer and finish that room if it kills me! I’ve already cleared out the closet and organized it.  Next up is the filing.

Monthly Dates : Carlos and I hadn’t been on a date since before Ezekiel was born! Now that I’m back to work and life is busier than ever and finances are a bit more stable we are making it a point to go on one date a month.  That might mean staying home and watching a movie.  It’s more about the intentional act of spending time together just us.  Marriage needs to be a priority, and this year we are making it that way.

Home Binder : This will be our finances, cleaning and maintenance, warranties and other things.  Just another way to organize our lives.

Gluten Free : After going back to work in November I let my diet go and eating gluten again has wreaked havoc on how I’ve been feeling.  So I’m making it a point to maintain a gluten free diet to allow my physical body to thrive.

No Credit Card Debt : while on maternity leave I was forced to use my credit cards for various things and was never able to pay them down.  This year I will pay them off and leave them locked up and put away to use only for emergencies.  I’m already over half way to this goal! I’m excited to thrive financially this year.

Past Years Picture Books : for years I’ve had pictures printed and stored in a box, and pictures stored on my computer.  Just sitting there, forgotten.  I wanted to get those printed pictures into photo books and also create digital books for the digital pictures.  Last year I found an online deal for digital photo books and bought five of them for $5 each and I finally got them made! I’m so happy to say I am all caught up on my photo documentation!

2015 Project Life : I realized last year while documenting Ezekiel’s first year of life that I really dislike digital photo books.  So I’m committing this years documentation to Project Life.  I have to be careful about the amount of supplies I buy.  I was drawn to Project Life because it can be as extravagant or as minimalist as you like and of course I’m going for more of a minimalist look.  The problem is that it’s just so tempting to buy all the cute supplies! So far I’ve almost completed January and I’m quite pleased with it!

So those are the big goals for this year.  I’m confident that they are all achievable and I’m ready as ever to thrive in 2015!

My Food Journey

Tea and Peaches

I thought I’d write a bit about food and my evolving philosophy and relationship with it.

I love food.  Always have. Always will.

I grew up in a meat and potatoes household.  Being the daughter of a farmer and a nurse I always had good food on the table.  We never had many treats in the house, and always had our fill of fresh food.  As I got older and when I graduated and was responsible for feeding myself it was clear I still had a lot to learn.  At my heaviest I was around 220 lbs and I knew that I needed to change something so I began tracking everything I was eating and making sure that I wasn’t exceeding my calorie goal but that was the extent of it. I didn’t focus on nutrition, just on calories.  It was a few years of trying and failing, and then right before I got pregnant I got serious about it, I lost about 40 lbs.

Then I got pregnant and gained that 40 lbs back.  After having Ezekiel I dropped 30 lbs in the first 6 weeks, and then Ezekiel was having some digestive issues and in a desperate attempt to fix it, I began the elimination diet.  Basically I eliminated anything that could possibly be causing him problems, which left me with very, very few options for food.  For 2 weeks I basically ate vegetables, fruit, and chicken.  Slowly I reintroduced each item I had eliminated to see if I could figure out what was bothering Ezekiel.  It ended up being gluten, so I went gluten free and at this point I was still tracking calories.  Ironically I was tracking the calories to make sure that I was eating enough to sustain myself and Ezekiel.  At this point I also became very interested in nutrition and how best to fuel my body and provide good nutrition for Ezekiel.  From January to June the weight just melted off, I wasn’t actively trying to lose weight, but I was actively pursuing the best way to fuel my body.  My goal was to feel good, and eating well was helping me to feel good.  I hit my all time goal weight in June and I’ve held that weight since.

I’ve dabbled a bit in every corner of the nutrition world.  Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, vegan before six, protein powders, raw food – you name it I’ve probably tried it for a couple days or more.  Today I’m more interested in fueling my body with real, unprocessed food than I am with the calories I am consuming.  About 6 weeks ago, right around the time I started this blog, I stopped tracking calories and deleted my calorie counting app to simplify my life a bit more, also to unchain me from my phone.  I began a journey of letting go of the control of counting calories and freeing myself to eat how I wanted.  I also wanted to make sure I was still fueling my body with food that was going to make me feel good.  Once you stop tracking each morsel it can be a dangerous spiral downwards if you are not careful.  It’s easy to stop paying attention to the food you are putting in your mouth if you aren’t writing it all down.

There’s been ups and downs and a lot of learning but I’m still enjoying this process.  I’m learning a lot about what my body needs and wants.  I guess this way of eating is called Intuitive Eating but I didn’t know that was an actual thing until a few days ago.  You can learn more about it here.  For me it’s not only about feeding myself, but feeding my family and it’s definitely a journey that isn’t even close to being done.  We are always tweaking our diets here and there but I’m thankful my husband is pretty open minded.  He takes a while to arrive at a conclusion about certain foods (white sugar is his latest – he’s switched entirely to organic coconut sugar) but once there he believes wholeheartedly and changes his diet.

When it comes down to it we are both passionate about nurturing Ezekiel.  We want our diets to reflect how we want Ezekiel to eat.  We want to teach him how to eat well, and why he should eat well.  We want him to understand why he should choose the banana over the chocolate bar.  We want him to love fruits and vegetables and understand that a treat is a treat and not a daily part of his life.  We want him to eat good wholesome food and so we also want to eat good wholesome food.

Since starting this intuitive eating process I have learned that gluten definitely does not agree with my body, that white sugar wreaks havoc on my body and that one cup of coffee is my limit (but I still drink more).  I’m learning that stress and exhaustion go hand in hand with terrible eating and I’m learning strategies to combat that.  I’m filling my freezer with baking that is gluten free and refine sugar free so that when I’m wanting that bit of comfort I can have it without feeling terrible afterwards.

I’m learning that eating enough fruits and vegetables in a day will make the next day much better.  I’m learning that if I don’t drink water I will have a huge headache the next day.  I’m learning that if I eat brown instead of white (rice/bread/pasta) I won’t feel as sluggish.  I’m learning that I don’t need huge helpings or seconds or thirds.  I’m learning that just because it tastes fantastic does not mean I need to over indulge, I just need to enjoy that moment fully.

This life is a journey, and we are all life long learners.  This is just a small excerpt in my journey but I’m fully enjoying it.

Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I’m slowly obtaining recipes to freeze to make my transition back to work smooth, stress free, and organized.  I’m fairly certain this is an ideal I have and that it’s actually going to be very difficult, but anything I can do to make it a little less difficult I’m going to try out.  I had a large ziploc bag full of frozen bananas, and quite a few strays in the freezer to use up so I figured it was a perfect time to test out some Banana Bread recipes, I tried two and settled on this one as the winner. Overall we got 5 loaves of banana bread out of my stash!  I had a really yummy recipe that I always made for Carlos but it’s laden with oil and sugar and I’m really trying to cut back on the sugar intake in this house.  Not to mention I’m on a mission to limit Ezekiel to no refined sugar at all (there’s another ideal).  So my mission for this recipe was to make a bread that would please my husband (I’ll eat healthy anything but he’s a little harder to convince) and that I would be able to give to Ezekiel without compromising my ideal.  Enter this gluten free banana bread.  The recipe is adapted from one I found on The Minimalist Baker.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt **
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (you may need to add xantham gum depending on which blend you use.)
  • 1 1/4 cup oats

** I made one loaf with coconut oil and the rest with yogurt, the loaves with yogurt were A LOT heavier than with the oil but still really good.  If you don’t mind oil you could substitute this for 3 tbsp melted coconut oil.

Here’s what you do:

Gluten Free Banana Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper.
  3. Dump all ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, when it’s done it will be firm in the center, be golden brown and have cracks on the top.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting so that it holds it’s form.

Gluten Free Banana Bread Gluten Free Banana Bread

Let me know if you make this and how it turned out!