life: doing the Whole30

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Just making it official.

If you want to see my Whole30 in action, follow my IG stories @emperatrixx

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life: 2016 recap, life changes

The time has come for yearly recaps!

I already went over the good things that happened this year (let’s not speak of the bad again), but today I wanted to talk about the changes I’ve made; these include health, life, and wellness in general, but also little changes, like taking the time to play with the cats every night, or just learning to enjoy the moment.

This year, I completed 3 Whole30s (I’m in reintroduction mode right now). I’ve never followed a health plan, and I have my doubts about some of the methods out there, but the Whole30 just made sense at a time when I was feeling adrift with my health (see my original post, video, and initial reintro). I love the program. It works for me and it helps me reset when I’m not feeling my best. I am currently reading Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever and it just makes me feel all kinds of YES!

I started journaling on a regular basis (stay tuned for a journaling update this Friday). Just taking the time to reflect on my day has improved my mental state when dealing with stress (and there has been a lot of that this year).

I dove head-first into minimalism as a serious lifestyle goal. I became intrigued by the idea of the KonMari method when looking to help my mom with her own excess, but I fell in love with the idea of a light, joyful lifestyle that relies on conscious consumerism and intentional living.

These are the big ones, and I look forward to sharing my progress into the new year.

life: on not following tradition

I’m doing something different this year: I’m not planning/making/stressing over a Thanksgiving feast. Nope. No, sir, not this year. I’ve decided to make it a take out sort of night. Just good, non-homemade food and time spent with family (mom, gran, bf). That’s it. No recipes. No shopping. No cooking. No cleaning. Just time to kick back, watch some films, and veg out.

Being on the Whole30 during the holidays is supposed to be next to impossible, but I’ve actually realized that I’m not really missing any of the stuff I would traditionally gorge on. Growing up Cuban, the foods associated with Thanksgiving were not really on the menu, so I have little nostalgia towards things like pies and casseroles. I only discovered pumpkin pie as an adult, and I prefer my own to anyone else’s, so I can make it any time I really crave it. As I write this, my coworkers are arriving with all manner of dishes for our holiday feast, and I know that I will only pick out those sides that I enjoy and which are compliant. I won’t feel deprived, nor will I feel deprived when we’re chowing on friscase or picaddillo on Thanksgiving.

Sometimes, not following tradition is the best tradition.

off the shelf: Danielle Walker’s Celebrations

celebrationsbook_zpsevsvpinjAgainst all Grain is my grain-free bible. Of all the paleo/grain-free/gluten-free/Whole30-esque cookbooks I’ve read, Danielle’s has been the best resource for home-style, every day recipes that I a) want to eat and b) can actually make (skill and ingredient-wise). When I learned that she was publishing a book of holiday menus and recipes, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Celebrations is a beautiful, inspiring collection of recipes for a delicious, grain-free holiday. The book is divided into holidays and features a full menu (including drinks, desserts, entrees, appetizers, and sides) for each event. Some of these include specialty flours, but these are regularly available at Whole Foods and similar markets. I’ve already marked my holiday menu and can’t wait to try the Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes. 🙂

I received my copy of Celebrations from Blogging for Books.

vlog: After the Whole30 – reintroduction

Another week, another vlog 🙂 and no recording snafus! So thrilling.

I completed my Whole30 on Monday and it feels like such an accomplishment. I only broke the rules a couple of times (in a really silly, minimal way, which I explain in the video). Otherwise, I managed to stick to the rules, even when faced with cake, pasta, and other non-compliant foods. Yes, I lost 3.5 lbs, but I saw some serious changes in my body composition, especially around my belly. I’ve started my slow roll with legumes (documenting my reaction to foods as I make the introduction), and have only introduced a couple of added sugar foods (honey-roasted cashews and chocolate). I’m trying to eat these sparingly, as my goal is to keep the sugar monster at bay; however, it’s my birthday this month, so I will be eating cake.

More details in the video. I’m planning a second round in July.

Like and subscribe to my YouTube channel to receive updates 🙂

the view from Sunday: self-care and small indulgences

Woke up to the usual chorus of meows and meeps… feed me, feed me. Never any rest with the kitty cats.

Don’t be misled by the sad look… he is a total opportunist.

Fed the kitties (cat 2 is too skittish for snapshots), then fed the self. I’ve been making more of an effort on my presentation, even if no one else is joining me. Gives me a bit of a perk me up.

I only take a few supplements, but I started taking turmeric a little over a month ago (this is my second bottle) and I’ve really noticed a difference in my TMJ. The number of morning headaches is definitely down. Also, started taking biotin again. I take it on and off, but my hair was in need of a boost.

A little tea for the lady business… turns out the tiredness was mostly PMS. I take these teas every month and find I don’t need to take as much advil to relieve the aches.

Then there was second breakfast, because first breakfast just wasn’t cutting it. Happens.

In honor of self-care Sunday, the boy treated me to a foot massage! I told my friends about this place and they thought I was mad but it is AMAZING! They do an all over massage with a focus on reflexology. I feel totally melty.

Brace yourselves! Horror movie stuff right here! I bought a couple of paper masks a few weeks ago and decided to top off my post-massage vibe with a little pampering at home. Plus, turbie twist FTW!

Time for a demitasse and catching up on the blogs. TTFN!

in which I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck

This post was going to be about something completely different but I feel like I’ve reached the Pits of Despair! All that energy I had last week? Well, it’s gone. I’m totally riding the “I need a nap” stage of the Whole 30. I was floating along and then BAM! Everything hurts and I just want to crawl back into bed. Not much else to report. Sticking to it, but really hoping this wave will wear off soon.

Writing wise, things are progressing and I’m making good time with my revisions. I have a conference to attend in June (and my birthday!), so my goal is to be done with this draft before then. I don’t want to even look at Scrivener during that time.

I’ve also been looking into tips and tricks for vlogging. I have a rather nice camera, but it does not have a flip screen, so I’m going to give the mirror trick a try. If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know in the comments :). I would like to improve and avoid the weird staring into space face that I make when I use my iPad.

and then she came back

It’s been a quiet month, but a good one. I challenged myself to rewrite chapters 11-15 and I did, writing an entirely new chapter during the process, and soaring past my initial word count goal. I like to think that the new bits add the much-needed character development that was lost after my first round of cutting and rewriting. It’s a slow, arduous process, but it’s coming together and I only lost 5 writing days this month…

Speaking of lost days—I started taking turmeric to relieve my aches and pains (TMJ and arthritis in general, plus migraines as a result). I just finished my first bottle and, I have to say, I’m really feeling a difference in my pain levels. Can’t wait to receive my next order (I should’ve ordered sooner, but I was caught up  in getting sh*t done).

There has been a lot of drama on the kitty cat front (re: poopy princess kitty). By some strange alchemy, I think I’ve managed to get the poops under control, but it was a serious trial (and error).

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Caramel Loaf does not approve.

In the meantime, I’m mentally preparing myself to do my first Whole30 in an effort to kill my sugar cravings and reset my system. My biggest challenge will be cutting out the grains. I’ve cut out dairy in the past (and seriously need to get back in the habit), but it’s bread that I’ll miss the most. I generally avoid soy because of my thyroid issues, but dairy (not milk, but yogurt and cheese), peanuts, and grains are my weakness. Wish me luck (and willpower).