Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Whole30 - Introduction & Information

Well, new years mean new diets, right?? Of course they do! Everyone feels inclined to cleaning up their diet and getting themselves in shape and feeling better, especially after eating 42 cookies between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a side of 863 pieces of chocolate that seem to multiply from Halloween.

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you've probably read about my birth stories, you know that my post partum recoveries have been rough. After my second son this year, I hemorrhaged, had two blood transfusions, and an extra long stay in the hospital. Ever since then I just haven't felt like myself. I haven't felt "good." I've felt sluggish, tired, emotional, anxious... just not my normal contented self. So now that my son is almost 8 months old, I finally feel like I've gotten the hang of life again somewhat (haha do we ever really get the hang of life??) and am ready to do something drastic to help my body. 

My cousin's wife recently was diagnosed with diabetes, and she is probably the healthiest person I know. She did a diet similar to Whole30 and it kept her condition from getting worse and has made it manageable for her without having to use medication. So I thought, hey, let's give this a try. She and other friends of mine have done the Whole30 diet and just rave about how it has made them feel, how they have lost those extra pounds they had been trying to lose, and how their relationships with food have changed.

I started reading "It Starts With Food" last month and and also recently got the Whole30 Guide and am really ready to do this. So here we go.

From everything I have read and been told, preparation and planning is KEY. I have been reading on the Whole 30 website and also pinning recipes (you can follow my Pinterest Whole30 board here), trying to get a good plan in place. I thought it would be good to blog about it as much as I can so that I can focus my mind on the plan but also help others get started and make it through as well. I'm hoping to do future posts on meal plans and how I'm feeling throughout the next month.

I copied the following directly from the Whole 30 website, because I couldn't say it better myself, and because they need to have the recognition for this material. This is WHY I want to commit to this massive change in diet, at least for 30 days, if not longer in some aspects.

"Established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system."
"Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff."
"So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health."

The more I read about this diet and lifestyle change, the more enamored I am and interested in pursuing it. I feel like it will be an answer to some of the health challenges I've been dealing with. My body needs a "reset." I need to break these habits I have had for so many years and just be kinder to myself instead of giving into muffin cravings every afternoon when the kids are asleep. (I may or may not have done that for a solid month and half... #momconfessions) I also feel like it will just be a good thing to do for the body that God has given me and also good for my family, because I am the one in charge of feeding them hah! I listed some of the benefits of Whole30 below and also a couple of photos from their book.
Benefits: (Also from the Whole30 Website)
  • changes the way you think about food, your relationship with food
  • weight loss
  • change habits and cravings
  • healthier body image
  • improvement from any of the following... high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, sinus infections, hives, skin conditions, endometriosis, PCOS, infertility, migraines, depression, bipolar disorder, heartburn, GERD, arthritis, joint pain, ADD, hyroid dysfunction, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lupus, leaky gut syndrome, Chohn's, IBS, Celiac disease, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis
    • See links to success stories and testimonials here! These are so encouraging to read!

At first, Whole30 really seems daunting, especially if you haven't ever considered a whole food lifestyle before. There is a lot of information and a lot of resources. I've been reading and spending every spare minute I have this last week trying to learn more and get ready. So in order to maybe help someone else not feel completely overwhelmed, I tried list the rules and guidelines below in the more straightforward way I could. Hopefully no one feels like this as they read through them haha... 

1. What can I eat?
  • Eat whole foods of meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. 
  • Eat foods with very few ingredients, all ingredients you can pronounce or foods without ingredients involved because they are natural and unprocessed. 

2. What I won't eat.
  • No added sugar of any kind, real or artificial - so no honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, splenda, equal, stevia etc. 
  • No alcohol in any form
  • No grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, corn) 
  • No legumes (beans, peas, cickpeas, lentils, peanuts, peanut butter, soy, edamame)
  • No dairy (milk products, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream)
  • No carrageenan, MSG, Sulfites (read product ingredients for these!)
  • No recreated baked goods or junk food/treats with Whole30  - this is important to help break some of the psychological dependencies we have on "comfort food." Even if the "pancake"is Paleo, it is still a pancake and still achieving that weird reward center in your brain. (I probably didn't explain that as well as the Hartwigs did in their book so you'll just have to trust me or go read it haha...)
3. No Scales or Tape Measurers Allowed!
  • A big part of this change in lifestyle is recreating your psychological relationship with food and improving your self image. You want to reduce your dependency on foods (comfort foods etc.) and learn to love the way you feel and look again without a number telling you to do so. 
Exceptions to the Rules:
  • clarified butter or ghee (Kerrygold brand butter is a good brand for after Whole30, but technically not Whole30 approved)
  • green beans, snow peas, sugar snap peas
  • vingear (just make sure it doesn't have added sugar)
  • fruit juice as sweetener (try to use sparingly or not at all, you are trying to retrain your tastebuds to enjoy food as it is!)
  • salt (table salt has sugar in the form of dextrose to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost)
I really encourage you to read more on their website about "giving them 30 days" and how "it's for your own good." I copied a few excerpts below but I really would suggest reading through all of their information on their site if this seems like something you would be interested in. It is really empowering and makes you feel like you can make this commitment and do it! 

"Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured or free range. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress… for 30 straight days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food."

"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. Don't even consider the possibility of a "slip." Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of doughnuts, there is no "slip." You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don't give yourself an excuse to fail before you've even started. You never, ever, ever have to eat anything you don't want to eat."

I hope maybe this has given you something to consider or think about. It'd definitely a huge change and will be an adjustment. I'll be honest, I am kind of nervous about committing, especially with two little ones and a crazy labradoodle reeking havoc in our house, but I am hopeful and will do my best! That's all you can ask for! If I'm not perfect this time, then I will try again haha! My next post will be over preparation for the program and then hopefully I will be able to post about meal plans and how things are going with Jacob and I throughout the 30 days. Hope to see you back soon!

Monday, December 28, 2015

What I'm Reading - 2015 Fall Book Reviews

As I've been saying lately, I'm a little behind in my posts! I have so many ideas floating around in my head but just don't have the time to sit down and write them all down! I start drafts for blog posts and never get around to finishing them sometimes haha! 

One thing I've been trying to do more of the past few months is just being better about reading books. I really enjoy my mommy quiet time in the afternoon and before I go to bed, and lately I've been trying to fill some of that time with a few moments immersed in another world. :0) I love the world  of little boys I'm in but it's nice to escape to a quieter place sometimes!

Since I'm not reading a ton of books, I decided to just do a quarterly post of the books I have read. I did my first post over the summer books here. You can also see the list and links of books in the book tab above and follow me on Good Reads here.

One of my best friends gave me this book for my birthday. I had it listed on my GoodReads list of books I wanted to read, so she snagged a copy and surprised me with it. Y'all... I loved this book. It was one of the cutest, funniest, sweetest books I've ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it. It was a clean, fun read and really kept me wanting to get through it to read more of her personal stories about friends in life. One thing I really liked was that she is an Aggie, so a lot of her stories were things I could relate to from attending Texas A&M myself! Couple of my favorite excerpts are below...

After I finished the book, I passed it back to her so she could read it too. I thought it would be fun for her to get some little messages about why Nobody is Cuter Than Her hehe :0) I think she enjoyed her sweet notes throughout the book, I definitely had fun writing them!

Yikes this book creeped me out a bit! This whole book consisted of letters between Wormwood and Screwtape, about how Wormwood was working over his "patient," which was a man he was following around trying to direct his soul to Hell. It took me a while to get through this one, mainly because the language is serious and somewhat difficult to follow, and when I'm reading at night I am zonked haha! But wow, so many incredible things to think about... how I consider things, thoughts that pop into my head about situations and people... negative thoughts and words that are being swayed by Satan that I hadn't even considered before... I was really amazed at everything C.S. Lewis thought of in this read, and was impressed at the way he presented the stories. It definitely kept me thinking about my own actions and approach to my own life for sure! 

Doesn't this just make you shudder? To consider that demons or Satan is stalking us, constantly trying to distract us from God?

I downloaded this book for free one day on my Amazon Kindle app when one of my friends, Jessica suggested it to me. I read this one simultaneously with "Nobody is Cuter Than You," which was actually confusing at times haha but it was fun to read her stories about friendship at the same time I was reading about her stories about marriage. I really loved reading this book. It was so lighthearted, yet serious, with so many hilarious situations that we all find ourselves in with our marriages. She literally had me laughing out loud at times because of course we had had similar conversations or experiences in our marriages. It is funny how men and women can be so different at times! She had so many good things to say about marriage, so many funny and serious stories, full of advice and encouragement to take care of one of the most precious relationships in our lives. Here are some of my favorite quotes below... My personal favorite is the part I highlighted at the very end of the book... "Wherever he is, that's my home."

This was a great read as well, a very interesting story set in Europe during the time of World War 2. What I liked about this book was how it jumped around, one chapter would tell the perspective of what one character was going through and the next would talk about what the other character was going through. It would even jump from before the war to during and after, so at times I had to double check the date at the beginning of the chapters to keep up! It was interesting to follow the lives of the two individuals the book was about and how they eventually end up crossing paths. You all know I look for clean books, so that is my only annoyance with this read... the first half of the book was great, but when we got into the Nazi training schools and the war, there was some language involved, which I understand is part of the situation the character was in, but I still just hate reading it. I almost stopped reading the book, but after 8-9 curse words in the middle section, the last half of the book was fine. It was easy to get immersed in this story, and there was a lot of interesting perspectives to think about. Definitely made me thankful for our safe country and times!

Hope you enjoyed the suggestions, happy reading peeps! :0)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Craftaganza! - Christmas Tree Countdown

This was the first year that Jackson really was super aware of Christmas, which was so fun! He was really into the lights and Christmas tree, and just loved all of the fun holiday things we did, especially the present aspect of Christmas haha!

As soon as I started wrapping presents and leaving them under the tree, he was asking me if he could "pick one out" and "open it." I was seriously having the same conversation with this kid every single day, so I thought it would be good to have some kind of Christmas countdown!

I'm sure there are a million ways to do a Christmas countdown, lots of super Pinteresty ideas, and probably even this one could be found on Pinterest! I have a friends that have made felt Christmas trees for their kids, so I thought I would just do this and add the numbers so he can maybe have some kind of concept about when Christmas would be coming!

It was super easy! Hobby Lobby had these felt packs of green felt that were about 3 feet by 3 feet, perfect size for a toddler felt Christmas tree! I picked up one of those and some other single pieces of felt to make the star and ornaments. 

I started by folding the green felt in half, and using the natural creases from how it was packaged to cut tree limbs. By folding it in half, I knew at least it would look the same on both sides. I'm all about easy crafts that are forgiving when I make mistakes haha! After I cut the tree limbs, I opened up the felt and tada! Christmas tree done!

I did the same thing with the yellow piece of felt to make a star for the top. I wasn't super happy with how the star turned out but it did the job. :)

Next, I found a pen cup that I could trace to make the ornaments for the tree. I traced one circle and then used it as my pattern. Again, I did the fold the felt technique and just cut out multiple circles at once. Momma of a toddler and baby has to do things quickly!

Helping Mom out by organizing the ornaments! Of course they had to be in a line haha...
After we finished cutting everything out, I wrote the numbers 1-25 on the felt, putting 25 at the top with a sharpie. I hung it up in the kitchen with a few push pins and Jackson helped hang the ornaments over the numbers.

So proud!
Each morning we get up and hang up another ornament, counting down another day! We've had a lot of fun talking about colors and numbers with this too! Hope you have fun making your own! You could easily add tinsel or other fun things to your tree too! Happy Crafting!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Gobble 'til You Wobble!

I'm so behind on my posts... posting about turkey day on Christmas haha... Oh well, holiday stuff plus two kids and a dog will do that to you! Wednesday of Turkey week was SUCH a special day, not only because I got to go to one of my favorite places hehe, but because we got to meet our newest nephew! Mr. Hawkins! Hawkins was born about six weeks after Jude, but he's already passed him up in size haha! We were so excited to spend some time with this little guy this week!

Cousin babes meeting for the first time!
I'm just going to warn you... this WHOLE ENTIRE post is just pictures of our family. Apparently that's all we do when we get together. It's really not, but it kind of felt like it was haha... hey, with a truck load of kiddos, 3 of which are babies, pictures take a while to do!

This week was also special because Jacob's Grandma flew in from Alabama and got to meet Jude for the first time. Loved getting to catch this sweet moment. She was so excited to see all of the babies this week.

Jude with one of his Great- Grandmas! He has FOUR!
We spent Thanksgiving Day at Jacob's parents house, just spending time with his family. All of his siblings and their families were able to come into town so it was a full house for sure! We hung out and talked, played with the kids and just enjoyed being around each other. :0)
One sweet baby playing in the bouncer!
Another little munchkin!
Of course wrestling is involved!
More sweet baby smiles!
More baby snuggles!
We tried doing nap for Jackson at Nana's, but that didn't happen with eight of his cousins running around having a good time without him! So, we ran home, did naps and then came back to Nana's to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

He got a nap too!
Back to Nana's we went for lots of good fun and more crazy Campbell fun!

Another munchkin!
PaPa with his Momma!
Gobble 'til you wobble folks!
The "kids" table!

Mmmmm this is gooood!
And after we ate... the marathon picture taking session began.... and went on and on...

Last year at this time, we looked like this! All preggo and growing humans! Now, a year later, we have these three precious boys!

We wanted to get pictures of these three studs but they weren't really into it. Hawkins' pants were too tight so he was over it from the start lol... "Mom, come on, I wear size 18 months!"


Take two? Without pants this time Hawkins!
Love my little family!

Are we done yet?? Nope...

On Friday, we went to see the Good Dinosaur movie, and then later that afternoon came back to Nana's for picture taking session numero dos.

Those two on the end are going to keep Jenny and I on our toes, they were such a mess together this week!

Full hands, full heart, right? :)

Some other random pictures from the week...

Bathtime with the babes!

The big kids went fishing!

We had a great few days together, it's not very often that Jacob's whole family gets together! Jackson had a blast with his cousins and learned a lot of great things this week too like how to pick his nose and how to have a frying pan fight with his friends. (Don't worry, they were plastic!) Hope you enjoyed a peak into our holiday!