Back to Priority

Last year I was so fortunate to have had a great break through in my life in regards to food and nutrition.  You can read more about that here. However, since going back to work I’ve been struggling far more than I expected.  All the things I mentioned I was learning about? Ya, those are all still being learned and definitely reinforced.

2015 has not had an easy start when it comes to health for me.  I’ve had strep throat twice, a couple colds and the stomach flu.   On top of all of those things, I’ve just not been feeling great.  Definitely not feeling anything like I felt last year at the peak of my nutrition breakthrough.  I’m frequently feeling sluggish and a bit nauseous.  I am far more liberal with my treats and exceptions.  I eat way too much gluten and refined sugar, and drink far too many cups of coffee in a day.  Generally I think I eat a diet that is closer to healthy than unhealthy.  I still eat ample amounts of fresh produce, I still eat meat that is grass fed and finished and antibiotic free but my body has hit a point that’s telling me strict is better.

As I sit and type this out I’m feeling exceptionally unwell and it’s a wake up call for me to stop being so liberal and get back to being more conservative with what I put in my mouth.  It doesn’t help that it’s winter and I’m working full time so I’m not able to get out for a daily walk like I used to.   Side-note: working momma’s who also find time to hit the gym or even just work out at home – you are my heroes!

So it’s back to less treats and more fruit.  It’s back to tracking my food and feeling well.  It’s back to the simplicity of pure nutrition from real food.  Less process and more nature.  It’s back to making this a priority.

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.

Roasted Tomato Spaghetti Sauce

Roasted Tomato SauceI’m excited to say I finally got to use my garden tomatoes! I was waiting until I had a large amount so that I could try a roasted tomato spaghetti sauce.  Last week I got my wish, and even better we loved the tomato sauce!

It was so simple to make.  All I did was quarter the tomatoes and 2 onions and threw them together with some oil, salt, and a head of garlic cloves.  I put the mixture on two cookie sheets and roasted at 350 for an hour and a half.  When everything was nicely roasted I put it all in my blender and pureed it.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I browned some beef, then added the tomato sauce with some Oxo and a bit of water.  We ate it with black bean spaghetti from Costco, if you haven’t already you need to try it! So incredibly nutritious and way healthier than regular pasta and it paired very well with this spaghetti sauce.  Add a bit of cheese and you have yourself a super simple yet incredibly delicious and nutritious meal.

How I got here

Although this story starts long before November 2013, that is where I will start.

In November 2013 after a heartbreaking journey of infertility my husband and I welcomed our sweet baby Ezekiel into the world.

If you have children then you know that your world completely changes.  No matter what experience you’ve had with parenthood, be it easy, hard, heartbreaking, world crashing, or a mixture of it all, the fact of the matter is that you are never the same.  I suppose that’s the same of most things in life, we’re always journeying forward and even if we wanted to revisit the past, we only have the future to look forward to and with the journey change always happens.

Leading up to my sons birth I had grand plans for my maternity leave.  I had lists upon lists of things I wanted to accomplish, I imagined my year being a year of accomplishments. I had projects lined up, grand plans of painting the house, hanging pictures on every wall, getting the yard up to snuff, refurbishing many items of furniture, organizing all our paperwork, baking every day, having a hot meal prepared at the end of every day, and in the midst of that I was also going to be a social butterfly, going for coffee and tea at least 4x/week.  I was determined that my house would be perfect, and that my baby would just go along with it.

Can you tell I’m a typical Type-A personality? I found this article and it’s pretty spot on for me – even the not so great parts…

Right from the get go I was determined that my year was going to work out as planned.  I cleaned my house 11 days after having a c-section – seriously I needed to just relax, but couldn’t!

As the year has progressed I have found that it has turned out far different than I had imagined and it’s been perfect for me.

The first 6 months I ended up being focused on health and nutrition.  I lost a significant amount of weight and I suppose that was a a big part of my subsequent desire to simplify my life. My diet now consisted of 90% fresh food as close to it’s natural state as possible.  Those 6 months I was still determined to get my lists done, but I was making lists on top of those lists (I doubt I’ll ever stop list making).  As I studied my lists I realized that most of what was on them was “make work” projects, simply because I had the material.  For example, I wanted to make a quilt, as well as scrapbook the hundreds possibly thousands of pictures I have but only because I had the scrapbook material, and the quilting material.  The kicker of it all was that as I thought about doing those things I didn’t get any enjoyment out of the thought, in fact I dreaded it.

Eventually I realized that all these things I had in my house were cluttering my mind and my life.  The were deterring me from enjoying my days with my son.  When Ezekiel would go down for a nap I would quickly get started on a project, but then he would wake up in the middle of my task and I would be frustrated, and that frustration overshadowed my whole day.  It didn’t take me long to figure this out, so then I just put all the projects on hold, but the “things” were still nagging me because they were staring at me every day, every where I went in my house.  So I decided that it was time to get rid of my junk.

I had a garage sale, I sold virtually all of my crafting materials, all of my books (except about 20, a mixture of sentimental books, bibles, and textbooks that are still useful for my career) and my entire wardrobe that was too big.  The freedom that came from this act alone was unbelievable! I literally felt like a huge weight had come off my shoulder and I had the peace of mind to just be “present” in the moments.  I could enjoy the day with my son, I could sit and play with him on the floor for an hour without thinking about what I could be doing instead.  I could use his nap times as my chore times but easily switch mindsets when he woke up.  His awake time was now his time and not a burden or inconvenience into my own time.  This switch in mindset was so evident with Ezekiel as well.  He’s far less impatient with me, he’s confident to play on his own for long periods of time as I sit and sip some coffee on the couch, simply because he knows that I’m not distracted.  I’m not anxiously waiting for the next moment I can tackle my to-do list.  I truly have found joy in living simply, and it’s changed me deeply.

Simplicity is now my mantra.

Do I still have to do lists? Yes, absolutely

Do I still have projects I want to do? Yep

But the lists and projects have taken the back burner, and I’m approaching them at a much slower pace, knowing that they will get done eventually.

There are so many areas that I still need to simplify.  There is so much more to learn, and so much I want to write about. This blog will be my platform to share how I’m living simply, and how it’s changing me.

Please join me, give me some encouragement and advice.  I hope that as I write you are able to glean little bits of wisdom here and there.