04 May 2015

[ talk: My Experience with Whole30 ]

I once read, "a year from now, you'll wish you had started today."


Well.  Today marks a milestone for me - Day30 of the Whole30 Challenge.  Is it a diet?  No.  Is it hard?  Sometimes.  Has it changed me?  Most definitely.

Will I be changed forever and never fail with poor food choices again?


Thirty days ago, I was defeated.  A day of good intentions, seemed more often-than-not to be finished with a bag of Halloween candy and a litre of ice cream.  And what I realized, was that it was always a progression - and my mood ultimately decided what I would put into my body.   My mood was deciphered by the weather, my stress level, my struggle between the balance of being on my own and loneliness, and my cycle.

Sorry.  Had to put that last one in - because it is SO true.

If you know me, you know that the success and defeat with what I put into my body has been an ongoing one - and one that I will probably go to my grave with.  I'm not delusional and think that after these 30days, the relationship my body has with food is going to be all rainbows and unicorns.  

BUT.  This feels different.

Thirty days ago, I saw myself in a photo from our Easter service and thought - "Tawn.  You need a reboot.  You are out of control.  Again."   I wanted to be able to run well (I love to run), I wanted great skin, I wanted to sleep soundly, I wanted to look at my wardrobe and say, "I'll wear that today," and actually fit into it.

What to do?  Where to start?  Well - fortunately for me, a friend of mine had just completed a Whole30 and raved about it.  So, I began to check it out.

What IS Whole30?  Well - simply speaking - it's sticking to a plan of no grains (or legumes/beans), no sugar and no dairy.  So - it's basically Paleo, except no honey or maple syrup ... or goat cheese.  And no peanut butter either, I should add.  I miss some of those things and am pretty sure I'll be adding them to my diet shortly.  Paleo eating seems to be a good fit for me after this ... 

What Whole30 isn't?  Whole30 is NOT a diet.  You are not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days (I totally did.  Sue me).  It's not supposed to be about weight loss, but rather about rebooting your body and giving it a break from the absolute crud we put inside of it.  

Is is hard?  I love what the site says, and THIS paragraph is actually what smacked me into starting Whole30 right away:  "It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime." 

So - I started thirty days ago and what are my thoughts today?

1.  My Body Size:  I'm not a "big" girl.  I'm 5"1, but I'm pretty strong and definitely not little-boned.    I weigh a lot more than people think I do.  That's ok.  But in the 30days, I lost 3¼ inches around my waist;  1inch around my arms; 1inch around my thighs.  That's HUGE for me.  Huge, huge, huge  --- motivation like none-other.  As for weight, I'm down just shy of 6pounds, and more importantly almost 5% body fat.

2.  What did I eat?: At first, I ate like a toddler LOL.  A plate with chopped fruits and veggies, like what a three-year-old would eat.  It took a few conversations with my good friend who had just completed Whole30, to start using recipes that helped me out.

3.  What recipes were your faves?: Here's my Pinterest Board that I daily checked Whole30 recipes from ( HERE ).  I also have a couple other boards you may be interested in ... one is called "smart sweets" and is clean eating/paleo ( HERE ).  The other I called "wheat-free and worth it" -- it has yummy treats that are wheat-free ( HERE ).  My friend has a lot of boards called "Clean Eats" and she has them in categories based on food type ( HERE ).  Now those boards aren't necessarily Whole30 - but they have a lot of great info on them!  Pinterest was SO helpful -- so many blogs and helpful hints out there when you search Whole 30.  There's a muffin recipe with eggs, almond butter and bananas.   I have no clue how that turns into "bread", but it was a gift for me on day 15.  I needed something that felt starchy ... and this totally cut it for me.  There are a lot of things with coconut milk, yams, avocado, eggs and almond butter -- as well as all veggies + fruit and meat you can eat (check your packaging for hidden sugars and preservatives.  Or better yet, don't buy anything with a shelf life).  I've learned a lot about marrying flavours from herbs and spices - cilantro, dill, tarragon, red currie paste.   Whole30 does NOT mean bland.  

I also got creative and made the BEST darn soup I think I've ever eaten.  No lie.  I put the recipe up on my "Make: by Homemakingirl" ( HERE ) if you're interested.  I've frozen a batch, and having some for lunch today *drool*.  

4.  What was the hardest thing about Whole30?:  Learning to order at a restaurant.  But I'm pretty good at it now ... simply put - no butter, no sauces.  I would ask for "no dairy or gluten please" and that always upped the waitress' attention.  But you would be surprised at how much junk is in our food ... until you ask for it to be simplified.  Also - it was tricky when invited to other people's places.  It doesn't feel right, making other people feel uncomfortable with your new eating habits.  For some reason, if I passed on something, I sometimes felt that others thought I was judging them for partaking.  That just isn't the case - although I am definitely more aware of how bad some of our choices are.  Sometimes I would get teased -- but all in all, most people have simply been interested in the "why" of my choices.  

The other thing that I found hard - was the no honey or maple syrup thing.  They are considered "clean" - so I was used to having them in my diet.  And I have a sweet tooth.  That is not gone ... just as someone with a liking to salt, isn't going to stop liking salt after 30 days.  I am SO looking forward to adding honey to my diet this week ... yum!!

Time can be tricky.  You MUST take time to "prepare" your meals -- you have to think in advance.  That may mean dedicating an afternoon to preparing snacks so that when you're actually hungry, you won't take the easy route with processed foods (which are NOT allowed).  I bake yams 4 at a time, have one - and store the rest in the fridge.  I always have a rotisserie chicken on hand.  I buy produce (apples, berries, cucumbers, peppers, bananas ...) twice a week - they're the best choice for snacks for me.  I hard-boil egges, a few at a time ... some simple planning goes a long way.  And don't tell me, "I can't do that."  You can.  

5.  Is Whole30 basically Clean Eating?:  Yes.  And no.  It's a more amped up version of Clean Eating.  There are a lot more restrictions.  For example, in Clean Eating, you can have grains --- like oats, quinoa, brown rice ... you can have beans, natural peanut butter, whole milk, greek yogurt, butter ... get the drift?  In my opinion, the easiest is Clean Eating, then Paleo, then Whole30.  Just my opinion.

6.  Now what?  Are you done?:  I'm a bit OCD with things like this.  When I finally get control, I'm actually really nervous to let the reins loose - even just a little bit.  I have considered doing another Whole30, but my intentions would be for weight loss ... and they really drill it into you that body numbers should NOT be a motivation with this way of eating.  So - we'll see. 

In conclusion ... what have I noticed after being on Whole30?

1.  my skin:  I literally got a half dozen compliments on my skin last week at church.  That was a foreign thing for me!  And sure - maybe only a half dozen ... but it means that it was different.  I've personally noticed a BIG difference in my skin ... apparently it has to do with omitting dairy.

2.  my sleep:   I sleep like a rock.  For 8 hrs.  Straight.  And I wake up --- awake LOL.  That was huge for me.

3.  my endurance:  I ran 11km last week ... longest distance in a good 8 months.  And I felt like I could've ran forever ... again, another obvious change in my body.

4.  my body size:  Look - it's far from perfect.  I'm not 20.  I'm not tall.  I'm no model.  BUT.  I am starting to fit the clothes that I want ... I feel leaner - and the truth is, how you FEEL has a huge affect on how you present yourself.  I would say that I've been enjoying dressing up and presenting myself to the outside world a little more ... all because of Whole30.



Did that help?  Are you interested?  Have you done one before?  Would love to hear your experiences!

Have a great one!

20 April 2015

[talk : My Take on Proverbs 31.]


It's been a while ... I know.  Trust me.  The ache I've had to put thoughts into written words has been strong.  But the need to complete some other projects on my "to do" list has been stronger.  Namely, my 2014 DigiScrap album.  

And I finished it, uploaded it, and ordered it - YAY!  

I'll post those pages on another day ...

Like most times when I come to sit and type here, there are many things on my mind.  Trying to pick which topic to stretch myself on is always a luck-of-the-draw.  But after having 20+ people in our home last night for the Canucks Playoff ( #canucksalltheway ) -- it sparked some fantastic conversation about hosting.

And the topic of hosting always leads me back to Proverbs 31.  You know - the passage in the Bible that basically outlines Wonderwoman, the woman every teenage boy can't wait to marry ... so she'll do everything for him?  Yeah, that one.

She used to intimate me.  She often motivates me.  And sometimes I just want to punch her lights out.  But in my studies of her, and listening to teaching on this passage - the thing that I would want every woman to know about the Prov31 women is ....


She didn't do it alone.


No - it's true.  She didn't buy a field on her own, stay up all night creating clothes of scarlet on her own ... the Bible says her husband was respected at the city gates, and that would lead scholars to believe that he was noble ... and wealthy.  

She had help.  Servants.  People she delegated to.  People who HELPED her.

This isn't going to be a very long post - but I just felt like I wanted to say, to all of you women drowning in the ideal of what you are supposed to accomplish every day ... breath in and out.  Don't be afraid to get your children to DO something - to help out.  If you're in a situation where your time is non-existent and you have someone come in and help clean your home - it's ok.  If you have your kids in daycare, or nannied, or staying at their grandparents throughout the week because of work and financial obligations ... relax.  If you did the laundry and spent time with your kids at the park and ordered in for dinner?  You're problem solving - and prioritizing to what you feel is best for your family.

You're delegating.  You're doing your best.  

As you let your mind wrap around that - I should add that what I am MOST impacted by the Prov31 woman is this :: she does not waste time.  To me, that doesn't mean that she didn't rest, that she didn't take time for herself.  No.  In fact, she was probably very good about that - because she would've been rendered useless if she hadn't.  

But she used her time wisely, more than anything.

So today, my challenge to myself is to not feel the need to do everything on my own, to delegate appropriately, and to show something for my day.  Today?  It was vacuum the house, vacuum the kitchen drawers, wipe down the kitchen cabinets, clean the oven (who are we kidding, I pushed a button), do my hubby's + my laundry, and hem the kitchen + living room curtains.

It's 10:45am and I'm already almost done the list -- except for the curtains.

Which ... I should probably delegate someone to do.

I suck at sewing.

Have a great one!! xx

** special thanks to K+L for the stunning flowers ... 

22 January 2015

[mealplan : Lunchbox Ideas.]

It's halfway through the year ... and even with a break during Christmas, it doesn't take long to feel like I'm completely trapped with lunch-creativity LOL.

My children have no wheat, gluten or dairy sensitivities.  

Here are a few ideas that I do for lunches:

Pizza Pinwheels
Chocolate Zucchini Mini Muffins
Ham+cheese buns
Honey/Jam Rolls (tortillas spread with honey or jam, rolled and cut in two)
Macaroni+cheese (thermos)
Soft Tacos (thermos for meat), small containers for tomatoes, cheese and avocado
Eggdrop soup
Leftovers from dinner *grin*

Cubed kiwi fruit
Apple slices
Cubed cantaloupe
Fruit snacks
Rice Krispie squares
Cucumber slices
Mini carrots
Dill pickles
Mandarin (cutie) oranges
Sticks and Stones (mini marshmallows + pretzel sticks)
Berries (in season)
Popcorn twists

Ok ... that's all.

Got any ideas?  Would love to hear them!

Have a great one ...

02 January 2015

[ talk: NYE 2015 ]

If you're a FB friend, I have posted a couple of albums of our Christmas celebrations there.  The holidays are FULL of family time -- with so many birthdays mixed in with the regular Christmas traditions our family shares.  So no blogposts on them ... 

But the other holiday tradition we have in our home, is hosting a NYE Party.  We have done it for about a decade now ... with a group a close friends, a pot-luck fondue meal and a whole lot of laughing.  This year was a little different, in that it was also my hubby's 40th bday.

Yes, his bday is on NYE - another big reason we celebrate.  But our NYE gathering is never really a 'bday party' -- although this year, I did manage to sneak in a couple of bday-ish things.  

Once the kids were fed and safely playing, the gang of 20 adults took a seat.  And as usual, KW started off our dinner by belting out "Happy birthday" ... every.  year.

A lot of our "usual" group of NYE-ers were away or had other plans.  This meant we invited a lot of newbies this year and it worked out just perfectly.  There were even people who had never even FONDUED before ... that's super fun to watch - people have a blast trying something that you already love to do.

The meal started with the always-necessary "hands-raised-prayer" ... gah.  Why my B+W pics upload onto blogger in sepia tone, I'll never know.  Not a fan of sepia ... but I sure love this pic LOL.

Kudos to my hubby for creating a seasonal addition onto our home deck ... a tent - equipped with heaters, Christmas lights and a borrowed-sound-system.  It's the ONLY way we could ever seat this many people ... 

One of the things that Lu had done at the party he had for me this year (Part One HERE ; Part Two HERE), was ask three friends to say a few nice words.  For me, it was the highlight of the night, for sure.  Having people you love say nice things?  Who wouldn't want that?

So I did the same ... and the guys spoke such love and truth over Lu.

Then, some bday cake.  I made Lu's favourite Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream-Cheese Frosting.  My love language ... baking.  HA!

Then, inside to clean up. 

Then ... at around 11pm some guests needed to leave and get their kids in bed, while the rest of us headed inside and began the "Name Game".  Special thanks to Ian + Danielle for heading that up ...  

With just a few minutes to spare before the countdown, the kids came upstairs and joined us all in ringing in 2015.

And then?  Some stayed, some called it a night ... 

It was a great way to bring in the New Year - and I hope that whatever you did, whomever you were with, it brought you a whole lotta joy and smiles!!  And here's to a 2015 worth remembering *grin*!

Have a great one! xx

17 December 2014

[ shalom: nine.]

Nine years.

Is that even possible?

Did this even happen to us??

It's a strange thing to be on the other side of grief -- to be restored, to feel grateful for a journey that had left you broken and at times, unable to breathe.

But that's exactly where we are.  Restored, and grateful.  

We had never really planned on talking much about Shalom Hope - but as Mattias had already been born, and as it was a therapeutic process for us - he knew of her from the beginning.    He was the one who told Josiah.  And Josiah?  Well, he told Katia.  I remember that day clearly ... him sitting at the breakfast table, munching on food, telling Katia that she had a big sister in Heaven -- as her eyes grew big.  She must've only been two.  I couldn't stop it ... the words were said so quickly, so out-of-the-blue.

If anything, Katia expresses the most sadness about not having a big sister.  Yet other times, she will talk about her sister-in-heaven with huge pride.  Again - we hadn't planned on sharing Shalom's story with them until they were older ... but, we are hoping that the dialogue has been helpful.  The kids like to ask questions about the experience every now and then.

Yesterday, Mattias asked if we could go see the Christmas Lights -- like we used to on Shalom's birthday.  That kinda shocked me, to say the least.  We haven't done that for years -- not even since Katia's been born, I think.  

The tradition of Christmas Lights started the very day Shalom was born.  I remember wanting to escape everything about our lives.  For me, our home SCREAMED of the absence of our baby girl ... I needed to get out.  And it was a beautiful night, with snow coming down.  We packed up Mattias in a stroller, and walked around the neighbourhood.  It was a beautiful escape.

We did that for years on December 17th.

And then ... at some point - it just felt ... strange.  So we stopped.

But tonight, we will go as a family.  We may or may not talk about Shalom.  The kids may ask their typical questions ... how old would she be, which sibling she'd like the most, would she have long hair ... but it'll be a family night.  It will be a good night - and hopefully the rain will hold off.

If you don't know our story ... if you're curious about our experience ... I'm posting link for you to head to.  It was written years ago - and part of me wants to update it, as it wasn't exactly written the best.  But - I'm going to leave it, as I vividly remember writing those words.  It was so helpful for me.

Our story of Shalom Hope can be found HERE.

I'd like to close with the lyrics of a very old choir song.  It was sung when I was a little girl, sleeping under the church pews.  I was reminded of these words during a conversation this week ... it seems fitting, because I believe it is so true.  It's called "Praise the Lord" by Russ Taff.  If you've never heard it, well that' because it's an oldie for sure.   I found a random version of it on Youtube, sung by Russ and the Gaither choir.  It's hugely nostalgic for me , and I find that I turn into a 4 year old instantly when I close my eyes ... picking gum off the bottom of the pew *smile*.  

You can watch and listen HERE  to the song if you wish, but if you do -- please take those few moments and listen to the whole thing.  It makes me cry every time ... the lyrics are absolute truth.  I can testify to that.

"Praise the Lord" was written by Hudson, Michael Vincent/bannister, Elliott B..

When you're up against a struggle, that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan's manifested scheme
And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fear
Don't let the faith you're standing in seem to disappear

Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

Now, Satan is a liar and he wants to make us think
That we are paupers, when he knows himself we're children of the King
So lift up the mighty shield of faith for the battle must be won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen and the work's already done

Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him


Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Have a great one ... xx