Is it possible to fall ON the wagon?

Someone’s not waking up in an autopilot stupor anymore!  And it’s this girl:

It’s been a pretty stressful last couple of months for me (personal reasons, nosy!).  And high stress for me is usually solved by = running around like a crazy chicken, emotionally eating waaaay too many sweet treats, and drinking entirely too much coffee.  That’s reasonable, right?

Unfortunately, getting so stressed and not dealing with it properly sort of propelled me into not eating very intentionally…and now my body is completely falling apart ;)  I knew it was related to anxiety, but then I started to get stressed out about not feeling well…which made it worse! Typical human behavior, Lol. I thought maybe some of this was hormone-based, but…hormones can mostly be controlled with nutrition. So basically I just needed to reset my body – both emotionally and physically – so it could function properly again.  So I did!

Eat this:

Not that:

which is a bummer…because I LOVE this…

Thankfully, it’s like I live with my own personal nutritionist – Pants ;)  (Oh how the tables have turned, Lol.)  His advice was to essentially go back to the Blue Zone Lifestyle, which for lack of a better term, is pretty much what he does, and is basically how we should all be living, anyway.

Food wise, I realized I had gotten into a pattern of not eating enough nutritious food for lunch (or not enough protein), and then would be starving like an hour later, which gave me like no power at all to resist snacking on convenient not-so-great stuff in the afternoons whenever I would ‘feel overwhelmed’ or ‘stressed out’…which was a lot of times, Lol.  So I started writing down what was emotionally ‘triggering’ me, and also joined Pants in his big-metal-bowl-of-nutrition for lunch every day.

So my new lunch lately is pretty much different variations of this:

It’s a big ole’ bowl of nutrient-rich salad (with protein), we eat ’em almost every day like 2 nerds. (Sometimes I eat leftovers or something else, but I try to mostly do this type of salad).  I will put our ‘recipe’ at the end of the post. It is sooo filling though, and I feel like all the greens are making my skin look so much better, so I want to keep it up ;)

Oh, and also HYDRATE!  I was the worst at drinking water, but not anymore!  Drinking water all throughout the day is like, the #1 best thing you can do for yourself.  I’m going to try to eat as clean as I can for the rest of the month, keep adding in green smoothies too (these are also KEY!), and see what I need to tweak after that.

Really this is all just forcing me to learn how to deal with stress in a healthier way.  Which I am.  The root issue was/is getting resolved, I have some really helpful sources for keeping up emotional health too, and I have taken up jogging and yoga as daily habits again.  (What, I only took a break from those things for like, 2 1/2 years…)   It feels GOOD to jog outside, even in the rain.  Promise.

I would encourage anyone suffering with…anything really ;)  to check out the blue zone way of living or similar plant-based eating.  But I am NOT a vegetarian, Lol!  I still eat meat/eggs/etc, especially as my body type seems to need quite a lot of essential fatty acids and protein.  I don’t rule out any food groups long-term, but having plants as the cornerstone of my diet is making me feel REALLY good.  Eating a bunch of good fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, etc) is also key!  Good fats = brain food!

Oh! and here’s our HEALTHY AWESOME SALAD ‘recipe’ …because no one else ever made a salad before… 

in a big old bowl, throw in:

  • a bunch of kale
  • cruciferous veggie mix (we actually get this pre-chopped at TJ’s – I think it’s called Super 8?  It’s like a broccoli, cabbage, carrots, etc mix…we’re too lazy to chop these ourselves)
  • handful of yummy berries or chopped apple
  • other veggies (whatever you have)
  • generous drizzle of olive oil, vinegar if you want
  • salt and pepper (I ALWAYS s/p my salad greens – makes such a difference!) plus herbs or spices
  • a helping of non-meat protein (lentils, quinoa, beans, chickpeas, etc)
  • for extra points: nuts, seeds, flaxseed, avocado, or any other good fats
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D.I.Y. Laundry Detergent (and a quick laundry tip!)

Just a quick little post about…laundry ;)  We’ve been making our own laundry detergent the past couple months (and I do mean ‘we’ since Pants helps), and we LOVE it!  It smells sooo good, but is so much more natural and cheap!  Oh, and only 3 ingredients.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 bar Fels Naptha soap (grated)

2 cups Washing Soda

2 cups Borax

First, grate the soap.  (This is where Pants comes in – I HATE grating soap!!  Like, if he didn’t do it, I wouldn’t make it.  I know...)

Of course he shook it so hard the container broke, buuut...at least no more big chunk ;)

Anyway.  Just add all the ingredients together in an old container of your choice (I just found this old Cascade dishwasher one under the sink, but am upgrading to glass), give it a stir, and that’s it!

I use 1/4 cup at a time for a regular-sized (or large) load.  Clothes are clean, and it smells great while it’s washing, but clothes don’t pick up any soap scent.  (You can also add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle as a fabric softener, which I do sometimes…but usually forget.)

We used to use these dryer balls in the dryer instead of icky chemical fabric softener or sheets, but now we don’t even use anything, I just take the clothes out and fold them as soon as they’re done (this is KEY for all your laundry pile-up problems, by the way!) , and we haven’t had any static issues.

I also do one load a day (or every other day) instead of waiting all week to do a HUGE mountain pile, that way it’s not so overwhelming.  Oh, and Pants washes his own clothes, which definitely helps.  Thank you to my mother-in-law for that one!!

 

Excuse me, I have to go drink my lunch.

Ok, I have a confession to make. If you follow me on Instagram it’s pretty obvious we’ve started juicing. Buuut…until now like 90% of the pictures are actually my husband’s drinks, not mine! I mean, I’m the one usually making them, but I haven’t been drinking them as much.  Why? The answer is…complicated. Just kidding, the answer is because I would rather drink a coffee instead. BUT, when I do drink a green juice, I notice a HUGE difference in my energy levels!  It’s like drinking a coffee but better, and with no side of nervous jitters.  Oh, and I’m less bloat-y the next day. (Ew. Sorry.) Pants drinks one a day and is like, becoming a superhero now.  One every single day is a bit much for me though, so I’m committing to drinking about four green juices a week…instead of just taking a picture and handing it over to Pants.

Ok, huge DISCLAIMER!  We just started juicing about a month and a half ago, and this is just what WE do.  I am not a professional or anything!  P.L.E.A.S.E. use your own judgment, and research it before committing to daily juicing…there are conflicting views, just like anything, so if you think juicing is not the way to go, then don’t do it!  I just know for US, for right NOW, it’s working.

Also, we are NOT juicing as a meal replacement, we usually have one in the afternoon between lunch and dinner.  Oh, and we only use organic produce. I know it’s more expensive, so do what you can afford…but I really, really think it’s worth it since there are SO many chemical pesticides on non-organic vegetables, that can cause people so many problems.  (Here’s a link to the best/worst list, if you need it.)  Organic produce also tastes waaay better than regular produce too, like, a noticeable difference.  What we did is stop spending money on crap food, and use that money for quality food instead…it eventually evens out…I think…

So there are 3 parts to a juicing recipe:

1) the base vegetables

2) the hearty vegetables

3) the fruit/add-ins

You really need all 3 for a complete (read: good-tasting!) juice.

1) the base vegetables

These are vegies that are high in water content.  We use a couple cups of one or more of the following as a ‘base’ for our juicing:

– cucumbers

– celery

– romaine lettuce

2) the hearty vegetables

These are the vegies that have less water content but are packed with nutrients.  We use a couple cups of a mix of the following, depending what’s in the fridge and what specific nutrients we want:

– cruciferous vegetables (broccoli – including the stems, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, etc)

– red, orange or yellow peppers

– beets (Don’t overdo these! We use only a quarter of a beet per drink, since they can hurt your stomach if you juice too much.  And they could also turn your pee pink.  Don’t ask how we know this.  Also adds a deep color to your drink!)

– dark leafy greens like kale or collards (These actually don’t yield too much juice, so these are actually better to eat in a salad or added to something cooked.  But we still use them.)

– spinach

– carrots (I know carrots have a higher sugar content, but I have read a lot about them, and in my opinion, they are fine.  So it’s your call.  And remember that adding these will make your juice more of an orange color.)

3) fruit and add-ins

We throw this stuff in at the end.  We try not to juice fruit too much (fruit is better for you eaten whole) but we do add either one small apple or pear to our juice sometimes.  We just use small amounts of the other add-ins:

– ginger (Obviously only use like, a thumb-nail size. Don’t overdue it, it’s strong! Incidentally, did you know the best way to peel ginger is with a SPOON? Just scrape the peel right off. My cooking buddy taught me that…)

– lemon (Just use 1/4 or 1/2 of one, they can be strong)

– parsley (This is great for making your juice taste, I want to say, brighter?  You know what I mean.)

– Anjou pears

– apples

Pants says: ‘Add 1/2 lemon and 1 Anjou pear to ANY vegetable juice combination and it will taste good.’  (So if you do that and your juice still tastes totally horrible? His fault.)

We pretty much have our system down by now, loooots of trial and error when we started though!  I don’t use specific recipes, although there are TONS online.  I just take a cutting board, fill it/prep the vegetables first, then juice it all.

THE JUICER:

Um, a blender is NOT a juicer.  A juicer is like, a whole separate appliance.  Don’t try to juice in a blender…just don’t, trust me.  We got an inexpensive juicer off Amazon Prime, and have been pretty happy with it. I am drinking about 16oz when I juice, and recently bought these glass bottles, which we LOVE.  They are like, our favorite thing made out of glass EVER.

Ok, this is entirely too long.  I will keep updating as we get more into it…there’s also some great information for beginning juicing over at Food Babe about what to do/what not to do, which is really helpful.  Bottoms up!

 

A twisted turn of events…

So the past couple years I feel like we’ve been in survival mode…where things like clean eating, balanced living, and my sanity…didn’t exist. Also our recent move (from two states away) took awhile to recover from. (Is six months ago still recent?)

The good thing though, is that once things got sorted out with said move, our life (stress-wise) basically changed 180 degrees from where it had been the past few years. Ah, another story for another time…but let’s just say, now that my husband works primarily from home and is actually HERE when the kids are, you know, awake (as opposed to before the move when he was traveling overseas for weeks at a time and working late nights), it’s soooo much easier to do this thing together. And by thing, I guess I mean…life? Since, you know, we’re both on the same continent most of the time now.

2014-12-28 10.31.20

Through all of this, we’ve kind of started to become a little more…intentional about how we’re living every day. I mean, we’re still total idiots, but we’re trying. For us, ‘healthy living’ really just means balance. Oh, and also eating pretty clean. (I mean, I’m eating good *most* of the time, but I’m not gonna sweat it if I eat a freaking cookie. That I made for the kids. That was the last one…ok, two…left…)

Anyway, so a new focus on this blog will be like, a little chronicle of what we’re trying to do to live more healthy, while still living in the real world. So like, healthy living 101. For dummies. Who are babies. You know, people like us. (So set your expectations low, is what i’m saying…) Don’t worry, there will still be lots of mindless rambling and personal stuff on here too…unfortunately, my ‘personal’ interests include things like Tolkien podcasts, buying gold candlesticks for my living room, and doodling in old notebooks, so, sorry in advance…

a lick and a promise

(gluten-free pancakes with butter, coconut oil, handmade peanut butter, bananas, and maple syrup on top. terrible picture, I know.  but YUM.)

i am really starting to up the dietary ante around this place. i have been reading lots of sites like cheeseslave, naturally knocked up, and archives of this old magazine, to name a few. i definitely don’t agree with everything weston price says, but there are some good principles there, and i do respect sally fallon. so it’s making me think, at least. and reconfigure where and on what i spend my grocery money. here are a few changes we’ve made so far…

buying better quality fats. like butter from grass-fed cows. (kerrygold, anyone?) raw butter would be even better, but i’m not there yet. oh, and coconut oil is some good stuff. i basically use it on/in anything i would use butter with, including popcorn, baking, etc. here’s an interesting aside – adding more good fat into my diet has actually helped me lose some weight, i think. like, without even really trying. i think eating more (good) fats are just more satisfying, so i don’t get as much of an urge to eat some empty-carb-sugar-thing to fill me up.

i started buying higher quality meats. like, not from the regular grocery store anymore. i would love to buy directly from a farm, but there isn’t a farm close enough to do that at the moment, so i’m sticking to the health market down the street where i know all the meat is local and hormone/antibiotic free. oh, and i also try to get lunch meat and bacon that is nitrate-free. trader joe’s has a good applewood smoked bacon that i looove.

the kids are drinking raw milk. i really have seen an improvement in sky’s overall health since giving him this. (well, minus the stomach flu from last week.) and the kids don’t notice a difference in taste at all. again, i wish we had a farm close by so i could get it direct, since it costs like, a million dollars and pants won’t stop complaining about it, but it’s still totally worth it.

lots and lots of produce. i usually just buy a bunch of random fruit and vegetables that look good (i try to get mostly in-season), then experiment when i get home. and if we aren’t really thrilled with the taste of something, i just throw it in a soup. i’m going to start making green smoothies again, too…i’ll let you know how that goes.

ok, this is a start at least! we still eat lots of normal stuff, too, although i’m trying to phase that out, much to pants’ chagrin. there’s sooo much more that i am still learning about (sprouting, fermenting, what the heck phylates are, making my own yogurt, etc.), so i’ll keep adding to this list.

(kale, red pepper, onion, and fresh sausage soup)