Whole recap

Well I made it the 30 days!

Today is Saturday and while I do not normally have big plans on weekends, I do try to get out and make the most of a nice day. Maybe a walk is all but still nice to get out. I was feeling bad for not taking advantage of a nice day when I realized “it may be sunny but it’s -20 and over a foot of snow on the ground, take this time to relax guilt free”.

So I took a break from binge watching Riverdale (omg Archie am I right!) to do a little recap on my whole30 month.

I would like to start by just saying I’m really glad I saw my goal through and that right there is the best part for me. Sure I actually did notice some changes but those are the result of sticking to the goal that I set.

One thing that, maybe due to lack of research on my behalf, I learned is the reintroduction phase is an additional 12 days post whole30. I was not going to do them because 12 more days is almost half of another month!! Excuse me but that’s a lot of extra time to sneak in at the end. Then after reading further I saw that those who don’t do it, generally regret it. The idea is to reintroduce one food group back in at a time which I will further detail in a reintro post, but anyway I did decide to do it.

So, anyways I’m in the reintroduction phase right now but thinking back on the month – did it change my life? Not really. I mean definitely not in the way that I read so many people describing. Then again, I started at a spot where I was already making 98% of all of my meals at home and rarely buy lunch. Obviously if you were eating 98% fast food it would have a bigger effect? I did notice changes though, my clothes fit more comfortably and I felt in control. I never even once seriously considered eating something off plan. That level of control did surprise me as I don’t often see or feel it but I had made up my mind this time.

After the reintroduction where I find out if any of the food groups causes  reaction then I will likely continue to eat pretty basic and as I have been the last month with obvious exceptions. Another thing I learned on the w30 website is that Melissa, the blogger behind whole30 says that it’s not meant to be forever. The point isn’t to say I will never eat dessert again. It’s so that you eliminate potential problems from your daily consumption, add them back one at a time, and then going forward you will know that dairy messes up your gut but that it’s your birthday and your friends got you an ice cream cake and you can make the decision of yes, this might effect me but I am willing to face the consequences and enjoy this. No guilt. Move on. (I also just remembered that my sister told me that Dairy Queen ice cream cakes don’t contain dairy…which is weird because ice cream…? So good though right.)

I got a passion planner for Christmas and I just reached the first months end. I love that at the end of the month it prompts me to reflect and write down some answers about the month. I wanted to share what I wrote for
“What were the three biggest lessons you’ve learned in this past month?”

  1. Time passes regardless of effort. This is obvious but what I mean is that if I hadn’t set a goal January would have still flown by and we would still be right here in the same moment now but without any progress or changes. So even if 30 days felt long at times, not doing something doesn’t make time wait or feel longer or anything.
  2. Lots of people who make healthy choices go through phases 100% and 50%. I had been feeling guilty about making good changes a few years ago and then letting the old habits come back. Something I read on the W30 page written by the founder was that she often has to bring herself back and do another w30 when things get a bit out of control – like eating cupcake tops in bed. I realized, oh she lets her habits come back too. Maybe 100% all of the time isn’t realistic and that happens to other people and you just have to find your way back to a place you can feel good about.
  3. Sometimes bending the rules to best fit you and lead to more success is better than trying to do something that isn’t sustainable. This is how I feel about making smoothies on the w30 even while strongly discouraged. I see the point but at some point I needed to analyze and say “is having a smoothie with compliant ingredients really an issue? If I deny myself this, will it lead me to dig in the back of the freezer and find that Christmas chocolate that I froze?” I just found that bending the rules to best fit me, while staying within allowed ingredients was the best way for me to get to the end goal. I did make a pancake but only once and that was a choice I decided was ok for me.

Must get back to Archiekins. Happy snow day !

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Whole30 day 22

Hi again,

I haven’t really made an effort to sit and write once a week like I thought I was going to but here I am, day 22.

Things are going well! I haven’t caved yet and I’m pretty proud to say I’ll be seeing the whole 30 days through. I have also decided I would like to stick to the 10 day reintroduction phase after as well. I have never completed an elimination diet before so I figure this is as good of a time as any to see if reintroducing each food group one at a time will bring any issues to my attention.

Rob was home and just left yesterday and he was an awesome help. He and I stuck to the plan for the 10 days he was home and absolutely knocked dinners out of the park. We made some of the best dinners we’ve had in SO long. It was really nice to have his help even though he’s not participating in a whole30. We were able to customize our meals while both eating a super healthy dinner for example, we made zoodles and turkey meatballs and he had cheese on his, while I did not. We also got out for some good walks and some outdoor skating too!

As of right now on day 22 I’m feeling good but not magical. Reading a lot of other whole30 posts I see what people describe as “tiger blood”, like a rush of energy that magically fills you with an unstoppable power… YA NO. Not feeling anything coursing through my veins. I feel good in the sense that I’m super happy that I’ve stuck it out, tried new recipes, survived not eating cheese while watching Rob eat cheese…. but I don’t really feel THAT different. Maybe that’s good, maybe that means I didn’t have too much to detox? I don’t think that’s the case but possibly because it takes the better part of the 30 days to even feel anything. I have heard the last 5 days are when you feel the best.

I also encountered my first social outing and challenge. This was kind of hard but thankfully the menu had a lettuce bun burger and I didn’t have to feel weird creating a non menu item. I got the lettuce bun burger with no cheese, and only mustard as a condiment and all the toppings – tomato, onion, pickle. It was decent! The hardest part was trying to pretend like I wasn’t dying inside while everyone was eating mosaic dip… I also felt a bit awkward explaining why I was getting a lettuce burger, like it feels like it comes off as snobby almost… which I was not intending but I could see how it might sound like it when I’m saying I’m not eating certain foods that they are about to eat. I guess there’s one positive of having a very minor social life, one outing in 30 days is not bad.

Work has been really tame too. Normally there is a weekly announcement that so and so brought 3 boxes of doughnuts and they’re waiting to get eaten, or some type of celebration or even potluck. Nothing so far which is a relief! My appetite is picking up again but I’m definitely not as hungry as I felt before. I guess maybe my food is fueling me better and longer? Hard to say.

Rob and I sorted through both of our dressers, our stored summer clothes and all of our closets this past weekend. We donated 3 huge garbage bags of clothes to Salvation Army and 1 to the garbage. That felt awesome! We try to go through our clothes every season change but sometimes get a bit behind. I feel like with the elimination diet and clothes, I’ve been purging a lot of useless things in my life and that feels super refreshing.

I’ve also sort of realized that I’ve bent the rules slightly a few times. Apparently after the first 4 days you’re not supposed to snack AT ALL. Not going to lie, I’ve snacked and I’m ok with it. Sure it’s good to make it to your next meal but if I’m at work starving and it’s 10 AM I’m ok with having an apple to tie me over until lunch. Which brings me to my next point, I guess it’s strongly encouraged NOT to have fruit on it’s own, I suppose it’s a replacement for a sugar craving… again I do not feel the least bit of guilt for snacking on apples oranges and bananas. Smoothies are discouraged as well, but I’ve made a few. I had a banana with nut butter after dinner last night which is frowned upon because it’s like replacing dessert, but hey I still stuck to the food groups allowed and got to have some give. The biggest rule I’ve broken is I ate banana and egg pancakes which is only 2 ingredients, both compliant ingredients but apparently is a huge NO. Like the transformation of the two ok ingredients into a pancake is a huge debate and hot topic and is a strict NO on the site. Rob got frustrated that I said I couldn’t have it but then I decided that I would. For me, pancakes are not an issue I MIGHT have them 1 time a month, and I didn’t cheat and put syrup on them.  I stuck with compliant ingredients but I guess i didn’t follow the spirit of whole30 for that choice.

I’m pretty certain a lot of these rules are for people with really hard to break eating patterns. Someone who ate pancakes daily before starting whole30 isn’t going to make good changes if they create a new pancake to eat daily. For myself, I do not feel like it negatively impacted my mindset. I technically did break a rule but I feel like it’s more of a “spirit cheat” than an actual cheat. I stuck with compliant ingredients but I guess i didn’t follow the spirit of whole30 for that choice. Not losing sleep.

8 more days to go! I will see how I’m feeling at the end of next week and maybe I’ll be feeling the magic by then. I will also lay out the reintroduction phase because I think that will be hard. I’ve made it this far and I want to avoid just binging at the end. I want to see if something surprises me when I add it back into my life and then after that I can conscientiously choose if it’s worth eating.

Some of my fav eats:

Happy eating!

 

Whole30

Hey again!

Just wanted to make a post about my experience with the Whole30 food program. The way I’m going to set up this post is I’m going to make a contribution a little at a time. This way I’m going to be able to speak truly to how I”m feeling at this moment versus “ya I think week 1 was good”.

So – what is Whole30?
It can seem a bit extreme but keep in mind the 30 stands for 30 days. In the whole scheme of things 30 days is super temporary, but can still feel super long when you’re counting days.

Rules –

  • No sugar
  • No dairy
  • No alcohol
  • No legumes *
  • No grains

*although green beans and peas are a legume they are allowed. Also some people, including myself, are surprised to learn that peanuts are a legume (not a nut??) so this means no peanut butter too …

So…what can you eat?

  • Protein in many forms ~ red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Veggies!
  • Fruit
  • Good fat (coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil)

Check out a much more detailed list of rules and tips here -> Whole30

You might be wondering “what’s the point”? well good question. Yes although it is January and a typical time for getting healthy and setting goals. I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to set some goals. This was a way for me to challenge myself and have set instructions. I find that I do cook similar to this on a regular basis but of course and not attentive to the things in sauces, I like drinks, dessert all that. I am in NO WAY committing to never eating those things again!! It’s simply a 30 day kick start. I just wanted to clean things up a bit and then adjust going forward. Sometimes I’m a bit of a rigid person in terms of black and white. I need yes or no, instructions and clear rules. That is why I decided to do a program versus just telling myself “ok, let’s eat healthy” because what does that even mean.

The crazy thing is I”ve tried to do things like this before without a program and I slipped up right away but this time I am not even considering a slip. I think it’s definitely a switch in mentality which in my opinion is the biggest hurdle to a goal. I realized a slip up isn’t you physically slipping your face into a pizza. It’s a choice. I’m choosing not to slip up and I’m really sticking to that (for once!).

Also I say program but really it’s 100% free. You can of course buy books, plans, sign up with a meal planning company or whatever but to do whole30 there is no membership or purchase required. There are facebook support groups, thousands of recipes on instagram, pinterest, tumblr, blogs, google. The internet is a wealth of information!

I have been planning whole30 January since October lol… that’s pretty much how much time I needed to mentally prepare…sort of kidding. I did a trial run in November except my good friend Justine came to visit me and I wanted to out for drinks and dinner and lattes and not be a downer like “hey I know I said I would show you that bakery…can’t no sugar no dairy”. so I went into that trial knowing I was going to half ass it and then give up entirely. And give up did I ever – that month was exceptionally busy in the work treat department. Then I knew to not even test December – I was going home for Christmas and I was going to eat stuffing god dammit. And chocolate. And booze. And everything.

So here we are, January.

Week 1:

I got back from my ten day trip home on Sunday the 31st and had the 1st off. I decided to officially start on the 2nd because when I returned I had zero food and I needed a day to prep and get ready. Plus it’s not whole31 ammiright?

Honestly so far it’s going surprisingly well. Did I push it too far in Nov/Dec and I’m finally like omg yes health food, or am I just sick of saying I’m going to follow through with something and then falling through? That being said I think if you were making a RADICAL lifestyle change like going from not cooking and eating out/fast food everyday to this extreme and cooking every meal than I think it would be super challenging. Luckily I am versed in the kitchen and actually enjoy cooking and making new things. I still think it’s possible for someone new to do it.

I haven’t had any intense cravings this first week thankfully. I have had a few general cravings for dessert, they always hit me at the same time – after dinner when I’m not ready for bed yet but I’m winding down probably relaxing and watching something on Netflix. Normally I would stuff my face with a family sized bowl of popcorn – I do still stove pop it with coconut oil and pink salt but still I can see how that is problematic. I also do crave coming home from work and cracking a cold Aprikat beer or having some wine / drinks with a friend but I did want to really pay attention to this because I find it easy to just get comfortable with having a beer every night after work or you know drinks at brunch on the weekend whatever it may be. I find I lean on it a bit much and I just really like booze.

Here are a few of my pics from the first week:

Yes, you can eat bacon BUT you must read the ingredients and make sure it fits the rules. If you see sugar or some other non compliant ingredient it’s a no. It’s possible to find the foods you want to eat that are compliant but you have to look harder probably go to a new store and READ THE LABEL!

Take extra caution on things like sauces and condiments. Ketchup is LOADED with sugar and so are most salad dressings. And “low fat” dairy products – I just want you think about what dairy is. It has fat in it. We need fat to function, not from dairy specifically, but in general our brains run on fat (think salmon, avocado, nuts). When you take a product with fat in it and make it “90% fat free” you are no longer left with the same product. So I would say there aren’t any low fat dairy products that are whole food. Dairy is excluded for the full 30 days but still.

Some tips I would suggest is having enough food. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean we are going to be starvings ourselves. The point of this isn’t strictly weight loss – if you do it strict for 30 days you might find you do lose some weight but it’s really about learning to read labels, changing your relationship with food – learning to eat for fuel versus pure hobby, and to feel your best. Actually you are only allowed to weigh yourself on day 1 and again on day 30, that’s it. So you’re used to having an egg and toast in the morning and you’re wondering how you’re going to make it? Try having 2-3 eggs and no toast.

Some snacks I have found helpful to have around.

  • mixed nuts
  • lara bars (read the label, some are compliant some are not)
  • pureed fruit&veg pouches (yes it’s baby food)
  • fruit
  • veggie sticks & guacamole (wholly guacamole is compliant)

You will find that a lot of Americans doing the whole30 have access to WAY MORE food options. There are a lot of American companies that create whole30 foods. These products are often not sold in Canada or super difficult to find. I found that really disappointing at first but then I realized you don’t need any pre made products to make it. These are simply a crutch and are almost besides the point of the program but hey it doesn’t matter. I also find living in a big city I have wayyyyy more options than if I were living in CR. This weekend I’m going to check out a store that I found out sells some of the items I was looking for online right here in the city.

I feel good so far. I haven’t really noticed a ton of changes yet as it’s only been one week. Except I have found my skin to be quite clear. This is great. It could also have something to do with the new toxic free makeup and face wash I bought from Beauty Counter <- check out my review.

I haven’t been very hungry the last two days. I didn’t eat all of my lunch and wasn’t very hungry after work which are both unusual. I have however had enough energy to make it to the gym in the mornings. I haven’t had any “detox” symptoms like headaches or raging which is nice.

This was a huge rambling post but hey I will check in again in one week! I hope if you guys set any goals, that you are kind to yourself. Sure it sucks when we make mistakes or don’t stick to our goals but think about why you’re making those goals. When it comes to eating it’s not just 30 days and then done, it’s a lifetime event. We eat every day and will for the rest of our lives. So if you make a mistake, just start over because it never ends.

Happy New Year!!

 

Beauty Counter ~ unbiased review

Beauty Counter is a company that offers safer cosmetics. I decided to give them and try and here is my honest opinion.

The first product I tried was the “clean slate duo” pictured above. It’s one of their best selling products. It comes with a charcoal bar and a charcoal mask. This is a mini set I believe it was $50.

Here is my skin before starting Beauty Counter:

Since I’m being 100% honest here I should mention that my cheeks are quite rosy as this was taken before applying makeup and after the gym. But you can see below the jaw I have quite a few blemishes and large visible pores on my cheeks.

When I got my bar, at the advice of someone I cut it up into 6 pieces so it was easier to use in my hands and it lasted longer. I would suggest doing this. My first impression was that it lathered nicely and after the first use I honestly did find that my face was that squeaky clean. It was really nice! Unlike some people I do find that it dries a bit, it’s nothing like if you were to use a bar of soap (it’s actually soap free) but I live in a super dry climate so if I don’t moisturizers right away afterwards my face feels tight.

The charcoal mask is pretty awesome. It goes a long way and I find using only one finger to spread it avoids wasting it on my hands. It dries very quickly as you can see below. It has a really refreshing peppermint scent. When it dries you can actually see every single pore and that was actually kind of terrifying because it looks gross but made me feel like it was getting in all the necessary places. Skin feels very smooth after using. I’ve used other charcoal masks before and I found this one to be the best. It’s hard to explain but when you wash it off you can totally feel that it’s real charcoal. Like it’s not sticky it basically just melts into black water. It’s like the pure charcoal I’ve used before on my teeth.

I wanted to give it a fair amount of time before I reviewed the product so I could show the results. After a couple weeks I took a progress photo.

Again to be fully transparent this photo I am wearing makeup and the lighting is different. But you can see below the jaw looks improved. Also in the above photo I’m wearing my old Sephora brand makeup.

From there I decided I wanted to the “Flawless in Five” set. It’s basically all the basic makeup essentials you need all safer versions. I asked Rob for the makeup set for Christmas and it came a while ago. It was packaged very nicely.

Included is:

  1. Tint foundation
  2. Concealer pen
  3. Eyebrow pencil
  4. Mascara
  5. Blush/bronzer
  6. Lip gloss

Honestly it does take a few times to adjust to it – mostly because without certain chemicals in typical over the counter makeup, the foundation has slightly different texture. Also I should mention I went from using a 1/2 to a full pump of full coverage Sephora liquid foundation for 3 +years to using a pinky nail sized blob of this safer tint foundation.

I love the concealer pen, I paint it under the eyes and it really brightens my face up. I really like all the products and it truly takes 5-10 minutes to do the whole face.

The photos above are using all the BC products. You can see how the under eye pen really brightens it up. Also my face feels way less cakey without all that foundation piled on. It’s light and really nice. I did find my forehead started feeling a bit shiny but I’m not exactly sure why.

Overall I really like both the clean slate duo and the makeup set. It feels nice to know I’m doing something even a small gesture to lessen my exposure to less than safe stuff.

Sometimes it’s hard to spend a little more upfront, but I’ve found that these products really last a long time. I used to use the twist eyebrow pencil and it got used up fairly quick but the BC pencil hasn’t even needed to be sharpened at all and I use it the same. I also have used the brown eyebrow pencil as a nice subtle eye liner. It works perfectly for elevating a more “done up” look. The charcoal bar is really long lasting too. I would say each of the 6 pieces I cut it into lasts about a month so 6 months worth – it’s also the mini size, so I’m guessing the full sizes would be 8+ months. The mascara seemed slightly dry compared to what I was used to. I always put a drop of lavender and rosemary essential oil to my mascara, it makes it go further and promotes growth.

One thing I was kind of bummed about was recently after I purchased it, the full sized bar and mask came out on sale for the same price I bought the mini set for. Obviously you cannot predict this but I would have definitely bought the full sized set.

Another thing is that I have not been very good to my skin in other aspects lately. I haven’t been eating that great – more sugar and dairy than usual. I know for me that does effect the way my skin looks. Also from my understanding, below the jawline acne is typically hormonal. Therefore I’m not sure that a new external wash would calm the internally caused acne. Either way though I will continue to use the products and will be going back to sugar free in the new year so I’m thinking that will really help my skin. I think it’s something that all works together.

*as a side note I was skeptical to try because to me at first it seemed structured like a pyramid scheme – where you have to buy from a consultant and they make money from your order. I spoke to one of my very health conscious friends and asked if she has ever heard of Beauty Counter and to my surprise she replied that it’s the only makeup she trusts. So I decided it was worth a shot.Overall I’m pleased with these products !

Couldn’t help it, my nails matched.

Reflecting

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

If you’re reading this blog you likely have seen some earlier posts which go back to 2015. I first made the blog when I moved to Alberta and knew not one single person. School hadn’t started yet and I didn’t have a job and Rob worked away in camp.

I filled all my days by trying brand new recipes and eating extremely strict and disciplined. Cutting out all sugar, dairy, grains, processed foods. It was easy at the time because I didn’t have any other commitments. I didn’t even have to leave the house if I didn’t want to.

After some time I obviously felt fantastic, shed some extra weight, skin was glowing, hair was long and healthy, just felt good. I even had Rob on board and we spent hours in the kitchen crafting up fun and new recipes every days off. We both were feeling and looking our best.

Slowly, as I started school, met a couple friends I started to have more of a social life and since I had been pretty lonely when Rob was at work I told myself you know eating this way is amazing but if it means turning down a social opportunity that I’m clearly lacking then I don’t think it’s worth being that strict about it. So I would make some exceptions here and there.

I think we can all relate in some way or another when over time a few exceptions here and there become more and more frequent. As I eventually made more than just 1-2 friends, I started to have more and more social events – dinner out, drinks with girlfriends, birthdays, celebrating end of exams etc. Well fast forward one year in 2016 I was fairly medium on the scale of discipline. Wasn’t eating nearly as clean as 2015 but still considered myself a really avid cook and healthy eater. I would come home from school and Rob had made dinner and even a separate dish for my lunches all with healthy ingredients (which he still does). When we had drinks we would try to stick to craft beers and vodka sodas. Anyways somewhere along the way I (we) kind of fell away from this lifestyle and all of a sudden I’m in the end of 2017 looking back through 2 years of blog posts and almost over come with a heavy sadness that I didn’t stick to all the changes I had made.

Sugar, dairy, grains, and sometimes just straight up junk had crept it’s way back into my life. I don’t even know when or how. I see some photos from 2 years ago at my peak and I am like wow my skin is so clear, my jaw line is defined and those pants fit! Reflecting on the current moment my skin is not clear, my face is soft, and those pants do not fit!!! It’s really hard to see a picture where you know you look and feel better than you currently do and not be extremely hard on yourself and feel guilty for that. I guess I know that keeping that strict of guidelines for myself actually wasn’t realistic for longevity and I know that I was so glad to create a social circle and have interaction with people and I do not regret that part of it. I also know feeling bad, guilty, hard on myself etc won’t change anything but if I’m being honest that’s how I do feel at times. I can’t help but think “imagine what state I would be in right now if I had continued that for 2 years straight”. I mean when I was eating that clean I wasn’t really exercising in the gym although I was walking about an hour a day on weekdays. Now I find myself going to the gym on weekdays before work. IMAGINE I had combined the strict clean eating with the gym. I bet it would have been amazing.

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite too because if someone brings up a nutrition topic or something about a food, I want to share all the information I gained when doing all my research because truly I’m still very passionate about cooking and healthy food, but then I’m like “you don’t even practice what you’re saying”.

I also realized that at some point a lot of my clean products like shampoo and stuff got a bit lost in the mix. I am definitely wanting to make it back to really clean products and switch my makeup to clean brands.

Obviously when I started this blog I was suffering from extreme boredom and a fierce motivation fill my time and to change my life. I was looking through my archived posts the other day and saw the frequency go from daily, weekly to a gap of 6+ months without posts. I guess in a positive way, I am busier now than ever which means the whole reason the blog was created has been fulfilled. I’m working full time in a career that I went to school for and actually love. I have friends from school and co-workers now that I spend time with after work and weekends, Rob and I are happier than ever and feeling very secure and excited for our future.

Honestly, I’m not really sure the point of this ramble. I think it’s just that I’ve noticed a big slip in dedication to clean eating, that I’m ready to acknowledge and face again. Maybe not quite as clean as 2015 because I do still want to accept invites out and be a part of things. Maybe I don’t want to be blogging daily again as I don’t have the time for that, but maybe I want to re commit to posting more regularly. And maybe I want to motivate Rob and myself to shape up for our wedding so we can look back and be happy with what we see. To be fair I do still make 90% of all my meals at home and still prep my lunches for the week on Sundays. I think it’s just all the extras in between these times that I’ve allowed back in.

Overall things are really good. My career is going well, I love what I do and it’s always interesting and rewarding, although stressful at times. Rob and I are both working hard and now that I’m working full time I can actually contribute equally to the household which is a really good feeling. I also for once have something to provide to us that neither of us had before – medical and dental benefits. I’m proud of that! For as much as he’s supported me through university and taken care of things when I wasn’t making any money, it’s so satisfying to have completed that and now I can offer something in return, not that he would even ask. We’ve almost been engaged for a full year now and can officially start planning in January (eeek). We are also looking to purchase our first home in the spring.

I’m still home sick at times and miss my family. Especially now that I have a little niece who is cuter than ever and I want to see every day. Thankfully I do have a job that allows me to take some time off every year and I do get some long weekends that I will be able to take advantage of and go home. It is nice to not be spending all of my money on tuition and spare time on assignments. I can actually save for visits and have the time to do so. I am aiming to visit 4 times a year or so going forward. Much more often than the 1-2 times a year over last couple years in school.

So really I have no reason to look back and feel bummed about lost progress or how things could be right now when things are actually really good. I definitely do have a renewed desire to get my shit together again nutrition wise.

I have a friend visiting next weekend so you know I’m going to go out for dinner and have drinks. We are going to have a really great weekend enjoying city food and having fun. December is also hard but I swear January – Whole30 reset and really time to shred for the wed.

I honestly have no idea if these rants even get read but it feels good to acknowledge some faults and re commit to working on them. So going forward I’m going to try and be realistic and reasonable yet more consistent and disciplined. I don’t have to be HARDCORE for 1 year and then slide, I want to be pretty healthy and consistent long-term.

  

Peppermint mocha ❄️☕️

I got this recipe from a health wiz I know Mandy. Her version was hot chocolate but I turned mine into a mocha by mixing with coffee. Yum! I was actually surprised how similar it tasted to a store bought peppermint mocha from somewhere like Starbucks but clearly without all the SUGAR and also artificial junk.

Here are the ingredients in a Starbucks peppermint mocha:

Milk, Brewed Espresso, Peppermint Syrup [Sugar, Water, Natural Flavor, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid], Mocha Sauce [Water, Sugar, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Vanillin], Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Milk, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup [Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Dark Chocolate Curls [Sugar, Chocolate Mass (Processed With Alkali), Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract].

You guys, this SB drink has 54 GRAMS OF SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!! I looked it up on their website. That’s a lot, not quite double but almost to a can of coca-cola (35g of sugar).

Here are the ingredients you will use to make this peppermint mocha:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 heaping spoon raw honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp carob powder (Mandy says raw but I could only find roasted)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 drops food grade peppermint essential oil
  • dash of sea salt

Mandy also uses 1 tbsp cacao butter which makes it creamier but I didn’t have that. It might be more essential to a hot chocolate than a mocha. Above, makes 2 mugs of the mocha, but 1 cup hot chocolate as you won’t be mixing half coffee.

I don’t know exactly how many g of sugar this drink has, because of course honey does have sugar properties, but I know that it’s a lot less. I also know that unlike white sugar that provides no benefit to your body whatsoever, that raw honey at least does carry some.

I was also somewhat skeptical about adding essential oil to my drink, but if you do your research and get “food grade” then there shouldn’t be a problem. I typically do not add any essential oils to my waters or ingest them in any way because I find them to be quite acidic and just feel like I would rather juice a lemon into my water than add 2 drops of lemon oil, but that’s just me. This recipe did however really work for me.

I added the almond milk to a pot and started heating it over medium heat.

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I one by one added all of the ingredients listed. This wasn’t how Mandy made hers but I just kind of went with what I had available.

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I used a battery powered milk frother to blend all the ingredients until smooth. This worked so perfectly. I didn’t add to a blender because 1, I only have the plastic magic bullets which I do not like to add hot liquids to, and 2 because I find I lose a lot of heat when transferring and when blending and I like my hot drink HOT. 

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Frothy minty coffee goodness.
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I would say give it a shot next time you’re craving something like this. You might be like me and feel really surprised how easy and delicious it was to make a healthy version of a not so healthy treat.

Don’t get me wrong, I buy coffee out quite a bit. There’s something about working in a down town core of a big city that almost feels cultural about going for coffee. Maybe you and your co-workers hit up the bux on your break once in a while. Maybe you’re running late and don’t have time to make your normal home brew. I am in no way shaming that as I do both. I am just trying to be more aware myself about what I’m actually consuming again. I had a pretty big break from blogging, which is a different Post, but I’m going to stick to the americanos with no sugar at the bux.

Happy sipping!

Pumpkin brownies

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  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

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Blend all together

Pour into a dish and bake at 350 for 35 mins.

These are VERY soft. so let cool before you take out of the dish. These pretty much stay soft.

The original recipe called for coconut sugar not maple syrup. I also had leftover grated carrot for some muffins I made yesterday so because I used another liquid I tossed it in there for some extra substance.

healthy banana bread 🍌🍞

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  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana(3)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
    Add all wet ingredients to the food processor and puree.

IMG_0297To the wet ingredients add the following:

  • 2 cups whole wheat/all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • walnuts (optional)

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IMG_0299Pour into lined loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes at 350.

Pai-shau hair products review

So this post will be a little different. Wanted to just share my thoughts on some new products I tried.

I needed some new shampoo as I recently went back to brunette and didn’t want to use my blonding purple shampoo. I stopped in to a salon that I’ve never been to before but was in the same lot as my grocery store and wanted to find some quality products.

The owner told me his personal favorite was the Pai-shau brand which I had never heard of at all and assumed it was an attempt to upsell me. Being somewhat thrifty, I was at first just looking for the cheaper bottles, which weren’t even that much cheaper at all. I had picked some and went to purchase when the debit machine malfunctioned and gave me just enough time to change my mind. I grabbed some of the Pai-shau shampoo and conditioner and the machine worked…suspicious ahah. I feel like you do get what you pay for and I feel satisfied with this.

$28 each for shampoo and conditioner.

I was actually surprised to see the list of ingredients that these products do not contain like parabans and sulfates etc. After the first wash I did notice my hair felt really nice and after reading some of the reviews I decided I wanted to try two of their other products.

$42 for the mask

Today I went back to the salon and picked up the mask and the oil. The mask is something I would probably use no more than once per week. It says to leave in for 5 minutes but this morning I put it in my hair and left it in for a few hours while I cleaned the whole house. It’s like a really nice deep conditioner.

You want to apply this to damp or wet hair and since I didn’t want to wash mine until after, I just wet it down. It goes further that way and rinses out easily in the shower.

$35 for the infusion

This concentrate is awesome. It’s like the feeling of a hair oil like maroccan oil but without the greasy component. As you can see above it separates and you will want to shake it really well before using. A little goes a long way and I could see this container lasting a LONG time! This can go in towel dried hair or a tiny amount over dry straightened hair to calm any frizz and add shine.

Well over all my hair feels AMAZING today! Soooo soft. It also smells amazing. The scent comes off as a bit masculine at first, almost like a cologne, but it’s already grown on me. It is much more subtle once your hair is dry of course.

Apparently the claim of these products is a concentrated tea blend. Anyway I am really pleased and can’t wait to see how my hair feels going forward!

I think these products will actually last a long time so although it can seem like an investment up front I expect to have these for a few months at least – and I could see the mask and oil lasting significantly longer as they are quite large. There were smaller sizes of both the mask and oil but it was a far better deal to get the bigger ones. for 120 ml of the oil was $35 and for 30ml it was $25 so you can see why paying ten dollars more for 3 times as much was an obvious choice.

I can’t stop touching my hair because it feels SO nice.