My Whole30 Story...want to write your own Whole30 Story too?

I changed my life with the Whole30.  And it’s with confidence that I can tell you, this statement is true.  I originally entered in to the 30 day program not to lose weight but to educate myself about food.  At the time I had recently lost a bit of weight due to juice cleanses, going gluten free, and various lifestyle changes (a TON of yoga sculpt due to teacher training).  I was nervous about how food was affecting me and I started to feel very limited about what I could eat. 

It was when I learned about the Whole30 that I realized I could familiarize myself with a variety of natural foods and take back some of the control that I had lost.  To this day I incorporate the skills that I learned and the information I gained over those 30 days and in turn feel healthier than I ever have before…I’m in my 40’s and in the best shape of my life.

So, what is the Whole30? It is a program that provides your body an opportunity to reset as you eliminate foods that cause inflammation and replace them with whole, natural, satiating ones.  After completing the 30 days you have the opportunity to systematically add back in the foods that were taken out so that you can determine if ones are either right or wrong for your overall health.  For example, when I added back in soy to my diet I realized right away that this was the mysterious culprit of my cystic acne.  I was plagued by if for years and in just a couple of days of re-consuming soy, I had the answer to my problem.  

The Whole30 is about empowering you to make healthy choices.  It puts you back in the driver’s seat with your health by teaching you what works and what doesn't for your own unique bio individuality.  I started the Whole30 because I wanted to know more about food.  I finished the program knowing not just what to eat but how to eat it and prepare it.  Yes some of it takes time but the results are totally worth it!  By prepping and packing my foods I have the freedom to eat what makes me feel good throughout the day and helps to sustain my energy.  

Here’s the low down.  What to eat and what not to eat during the program.

What TO eat for 30 days: 

Real food. Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry... these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list. 

What to AVOID for 30 days: 

Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life. 

Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize. 

Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.) 

Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels. 

Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin). 

Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream... with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.) 

Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30. 

Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved”
Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients. 

To read more click HERE.

I’m delighted to be offering my 3rd Whole30 Support Group starting THIS Sunday.  We’ll be meeting for 5 consecutive Sundays, January 13th- February 10th for 1.5 hours each week.  I’ll set you up for success right from the get go by providing all the info you’ll need to get started the very next day with clean eating.

Email or call with questions about how you can participate in the Whole30 Support Group.  Can’t make it to the sessions because you live out of the Chicago area or your schedule doesn’t allow for the 5 session commitment?  Let me know as I’m offering an online support group via private FB page. It’s only $99 to participate from a distance and $275 face to face, so come and bring a friend.

With all my heart I encourage you to make this commitment.  In 30 days you will not just change your food, you will change your life.

A Year in Reflection Activity

Every year offers us our challenges so it can be easy to say, now that it’s almost over, “I’m so done with all that, I’m moving on”. However the challenges we face become opportunities when we allow ourselves to reflect upon them. When experiences are uncomfortable the natural inclination is to turn away or to try to forget them. But in the messy and the muck there is information about our patterns, our tendencies, our triggers, and our cues. So when we allow ourselves those moments of reflection, before moving on to forget, we grow, we learn, and then we can move forward and on.

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Detox Smoothie Bowl

Combine in a blender:

2 cups wild blueberries

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 frozen packet of unsweetened acai

1 cup cilantro

1 small handful Atlantic dulse

1 tsp spirulina

1 tsp barley grass juice powder

4 inches of aloe vera

1-2 cups unsweetened coconut water

Mix until smooth. Add less coconut water for a smoothie bowl and more to enjoy this as a smoothie. For a smoothie bowl top with blueberries, rasbperies, and or strawberries.

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Gratitide: An abundance practice

In Thailand, on the beautiful little island of Koh Pha Ngan, I was taught to pray. Rather than asking, “please keep my friends and family healthy and safe” which passively assumes that they are or will come into harms way, we were instead taught to give thanks for the existence of what we desire, “thank you for keeping my friends and family safe”. The night before last I attended a full moon meditation led by @chillbabealma She shared that this harvest moon is about abundance, however if we seek to obtain abundance we must first express gratitude for what we have. This brought me right back to the practice I had learned in Thailand.

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Venturing into Hashimotos

Just over 4 months ago I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Disease, an autoimmune disorder that has led to hypothyroidism or under active thyroid. The symptoms include significant fatigue, sluggishness, sleep disruption, unexpected weight gain, sensitivity to cold, depression, muscle fatigue and pain. 

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Super Smoothie Breakfast Bowl

When you can’t decide if it’s gonna be a matcha, smoothie or a yogurt & granola kind of morning and with indecision, decide to combine all three...voila the super smoothie breakfast bowl is born!

Pictured here are some of my very favorite things. The vibrant green is a matcha smoothie bowl base with @vitalproteins beauty greens and spirulina. Scroll on down the page to find the full recipe posted here. The velvety white section is @kitehillfoods dairy free almond yogurt and it is to die for (if you haven’t tried it, it’s a must). And finally, I topped it all off with @kitchfix grain free granola aka the reason I stopped making my good, a staple in my kitchen these days.

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Helping Hands

Yesterday morning I drove myself to the ER. After I awoke from an extremely fitful night of sleep, I found I could not swallow, it was hard to breathe. "Is it the infection in my throat?" I asked myself, "Or is it an anaphylactic response to the antibiotic?", something I'm prone to having. In that moment I could feel the adrenaline rising, I had a choice, freak the hell out or use my yoga. Honestly, I think I did a bit of both.

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Be Still Experiment: Room for 1

Room #1 at the Adobe Inn, the "expensive room" by the maitre d's standards, the longest running Inn and Restaurant in Ridgeway, Colorado.  A gem with a window into my heart.  I've stayed here with a dear friend and on that night our relationship was rocked to it's core, never recovering, never quite the same.  I've stayed here with a lover, an adventurous voyager, his vibrance, his darkness eventually taking him to his grave.  I said goodbye here to a boyfriend who when we reunited he became my fiance, my husband, and my ex. 

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Be Still Experiment: Dis-ease

Dis-ease is a physical sensation that originates from the gut, an unpleasant vibration, a tension, almost twisting, butterfly wings fluttering, the emotion that resonates is shame.  A dull, low-level nausea coincides with the sensation and increases or decreases with intensity in relation to the thoughts that I have come to call the shoulds, the spoasdas, and the coulds; the voices from past experiences, from others, from within, that distort the softer more subtle ones of truth, intuition, the gut, the self.

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The light needs the dark to shine

I find no coincidence in the fact that on this heavy, seemingly dark day, one of Chicago’s Public Schools opened its doors to me, making room, offering space for the establishment of a skill set, the skill set I believe we need.  On a day when my soul needs a hug, I was moved to tears as a team of parents, a loving principal, said yes to investing in social and emotional wellness programming for our children.

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Healing turmeric smoothie

After what feels like two straight weeks of late nights watching post season baseball, go Cubs go, I woke up this morning and decided to get creative with turmeric, a lovely orange root with anti-inflammatory effects.  What manifested was not only beautiful to look at but was delicious and energizing too.  I hope you enjoy it.

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Welcome: Create Space

We all need a space for our voice, for an expression of our creativity.  A place to be ourselves, to tap into our truth.  However to make space, we have to make room, clear out, clean out, and separate ourselves from our junk, something we don't often like to do.

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