Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Whole30 Journey

Let's go back to the very beginning of this journey and where everything began. A little over a year ago I decided to start following a Paleo diet because I needed a change somewhere in my life to help me feel better and get healthier. I started at the beginning of 2013 and right away started losing weight and feeling better. I was following an 80/20 Paleo diet where I would eat Paleo all week and on the weekends if I wanted a splurge I would go ahead and have a little splurge. I was sleeping better, I wasn't having awful sinus issues anymore and I was just feeling better about myself in general. Then all of a sudden after a sudden loss of a dear friend I went spiraling out of control and started becoming very sick. All of the lymph nodes in my head and neck were very swollen and I could barely turn my head, I was breaking out in hives all over my body and scalp, my eyes were swelling, and I was constantly very sick. I finally visited my Dr. and after a many blood tests, a round of very strong antibiotics and a discussion of concern since swollen lymph nodes are a main sign of Lymphoma (scariest day of my life and thank the lord for clear blood tests) I still wasn't feeling any better. Thankfully my Dr. is amazing and she wanted to figure out what was going on with me so we sat and talked for quite a while about all of the changes in my life recently and in passing I mentioned that I had been following a Paleo Diet for the past few months and had just recently stopped. All of a sudden it was like a light bulb turned on over her head and she said she was almost 95% sure this all stemmed from something dietary. Before running any expensive inconclusive tests she suggested I go back to a very strict Gluten Free diet. I immediately started freaking out because I didn't know what to eat or what to do (mind you I had been living gluten free for the past 3 months so I am not sure why not being able to eat bread sent me into a panic). I of course first turned to anything and everything labeled "Gluten Free" (breads, crackers, cookies, baking mixes, pasta, etc) and initially I lost a ton of weight (best side affect ever). After a while I stopped losing weight and actually started gaining everything back plus some which just goes to show you that just because something is gluten free doesn't mean it is healthy.

After a few months I was feeling a little better and not having as many reactions, but something still wasn't right. It wasn't until right before Christmas 2013 when I had an extremely bad reaction where I broke out in hives all over my face (there is nothing like face hives during your class Christmas Program and every single parents asking you what is wrong with your face) that I was sent to see an allergist. Come to find out I not only have issues with gluten sensitivities, but I am also allergic to black and white pepper (my body doesn't discriminate), and oranges. I thought ok I can live without these things. No biggie. This won't be any more difficult then what I was already living without. So once again I rearranged my diet and stopped using anything with pepper and oranges, but something still wasn't right. Living gluten free these days isn't as difficult as it used to be. There is so much information out there these days about living without gluten, my grocery store offers at least 3-4 brands that are great gluten free replacements for most foods, and most restaurants also offer a few selections that are gluten free these days so you can almost live a normal life even if you are living with celiac or a gluten sensitivity. Sadly there is not a lot of information out there for my awesomely weird allergies. I should have know I was in trouble when my allergist walked in to check my tests and said "Well........This is a surprise! I have never had anyone allergic to pepper before". Thanks doc you are making this so much easier! When I got home that day I tried to find as much research as I could find and became a super label checker and after many more allergic reactions and a few long talks with my sweet husband while he was scratching my back because I was so itchy we both decided that I needed to stay away from anything labeled with spices, citric acid, citric fiber or natural flavors in it. That basically meant no more processed foods especially anything labeled Gluten Free since these foods had so many extra ingredients to make you feel like you are kind of sort of eating something that tastes like real bread.

And this super long story you just read is what lead me to complete my first Whole30.
I knew I needed something to retrain my mind and my body to eat real food and to get rid of any old cravings that might be lingering. Basically Whole30 is Paleo on steroids so no grains, no beans, no sugar, no dairy and no alcohol. Sounds awesome right?  Well it is and I am planning on completing another Whole30 sometime soon. I am so proud of myself for sticking with it and I can honestly say I am a completely different person than I was when all of this allergy mess began a year ago. I now stick to a 95% Paleo diet and I feel amazing! It is always so funny when I tell people why I can't or don't eat something because they always get this sad look on their face and tell me how much that would suck or how they could never live without eating or drinking such-n-such. I just flash my pearly whites and go back to drinking my spinach, banana, spinach smoothie and think how lucky I am that I am still on this journey and how much better not just my life, but my whole families lives are because I can't eat such-n-such. You may not think there any medicine for what I have (Except Benadryl. Lots and Lots of Benadryl!), but I think I might have discovered a cure all.


Don't Forget

Go Like Backyard Ocean for a chance to win an awesome pool before it really starts to get hot out there!
All you need to do is click HERE and fill out the form for a chance to win some summer fun!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Let The Giveaways Begin!

I am so excited to be teaming up with Backyard Ocean the next 2 weeks to promote their giveaway to win their Keep It Cool 2014 giveaways.

All you have to do is jump on over to their Facebook Page and give them a Like and every time they hit a Like milestone someone will win a gift certificate for one of these awesome prizes:

 “200 Likes Milestone” – When the Backyard Ocean Facebook Page receives an additional 200 likes from the start of the sweepstakes period, one lucky winner will receive a $50 Backyard Ocean gift certificate. 

“500 Likes Milestone” – When our Page gets an additional 500 likes after the 200th fan mark, we will give away a $100 Backyard Ocean gift certificate. 

“800 Likes Milestone” – When we hit 800 likes after the 500th fan mark, we will give away a $150 Backyard Ocean gift certificate. 

“1,100 Likes Milestone” – When we hit an additional 1,100 likes after the 800th fan mark, we will give away a $200 Backyard Ocean gift certificate. 

“1,400 Likes Milestone” – When we hit 1,400 likes after the 1,100th fan mark, we will give away a $150 Backyard Ocean gift certificate.
 For entry details and other contest information head on over to the Backyard Ocean Blog .

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer Summer Summertime!

I hope you are all now singing the title in your best Will Smith voice. And now you are probably starting to hum the fresh price of bel air theme song and you might even be doing the Carlton dance. Now that you have all of that awesomeness stuck in your head lets talk summertime!!!!!!

School is out and it is time to relax with my girl and enjoy our time off. And by relax I mean play outside all day, search for bugs, and get dirty. 

We have so many fun things planned this summer from swimming lessons to zoo dates, but I am already dreaming about the days we strap on our swim suits slather on some sunscreen and I lay in the hammock with my feet in the pool while the wild child splashes around and gets dirty enough to need a bath every single night. I may or may not count a few hours in the pool as a bath some days and some of you may be cringing right now and a few of you are nodding your head and thinkin to yourself "thank god I am not the only one who does that!" 

Last year we spent most of our time in one of those tiny plastic baby pools and while that was great my girl has quickly outgrown her little wading pool. Thankfully we are teaming up with Backyard Ocean this year and they are giving away tons of school stuff this summer!

Between May 26 to June 4, 2014 Backyard Ocean will be hosting some awesome giveaways and yes I said giveaways! 

So stay tuned and go check out Backyard Ocean on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram and be on the look out for a ton of pictures of my feet and my kid in a party pool. I will be posting again soon with more information about how to enter and be on the look out for wild child and my review. I am pretty sure we are going to love chilling in a pool together all day long! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

What A Wild Crazy Ride

Today the 2013-2014 school year comes to an end and I am not sure how I feel about that. Each year each class and each child steals a little piece of my heart and I am not sure if I am ready to let them go just yet. Today as I was wiping my eyes for the third time and reminiscing about the year and how it flew by and all I can say is time flies when you're having fun!!

One of the main reasons this year was so incredible was due to the amazing people I spent very single day with.  I have been so incredibly lucky to have worked with amazing teachers and I can say that I count every single one of them as not only friends, but family. That is 100% true for the 2 nuts I spend 40 plus hours a week with. 

It is always a special thing when 2 people  come together and form a special bond, but 3 people being able to put up with each other every so gel day and not wanting to kill each other is another story. I am so very lucky to have Ann and Caroline in my life and no matter what they do or where they go in their lives I hope they know how much they mean to me. 

From singing off key, to sloppy dancing, to awesome nap time stories I love you guys more than a rainbow tv in the shape of a number 3! 

Long Live Team Inappropriate!

Monday, May 5, 2014

What's Shakin Bacon (Mmmmmmmm Bacon)

It's been awhile since I have been around these parts. Not much has been going on except the end of the school year (14 days, but whose counting). Our last day of school is Friday May 23 and then we will have a week of Inservice to close everything down. Thankfully I won't have to do too much since my wonderful assistant will be running summer camp in my classroom. I plan on cleaning out and getting rid of a lot of stuff, but besides that I am done. 

I honestly think the reason I have not been around much is because all of my extra time has been spent dealing with my little ray of sunshine (we have been in the trows of the terrible two's for the past 2 months) and cooking. Lots and lots of cooking! I have really been trying to get a handle on my allergies and dig myself out of the rut that comes with trying to figure out what I can and can not eat these days. I have cut out all processed foods and I have never felt better. I have gone full Paleo these days and I am currently completing my first Whole 30. I attempted to start one a last month, but Lent kind of threw a wrench in the whole you need to eat a lot of meat thing and I panicked and stopped after about 2 weeks. I am pretty sure God will forgive me for eating meat during Lent since there isn't much else I can eat and no one would want to be around me on those days I only ate fruits and vegetables (It t'wasnt pretty). . After these 30 days are up I will continueto follow an 80%/20% paleo diet which means I will stick to a completely paleo diet during the week and on the weekends If I want a little splurge I will enjoy my homemade gluten free pizza crust, almod ice cream bites,  and almond chocolate chip cookies and I will enjoy every bite!

I posted on my Facebook a few weeks ago about how people react when I tell them about my food allergies and what i eat. They usually ask "If you can't eat bread what do you eat?" and then they say how much that would suck and I must be hungry all of the time. I will say living this way isn't the easiest and the amount of dishes I make would make any mom cringe, but for me this works and I am happier and healthier than I have been in quite some time. As you can see for not being able to eat any bread I eat pretty well most days.

Zucchini noodles with homemade ground turkey spaghetti sauce

              This next picture is a typical day of food. Breakfast of poached eggs, sweet potato hash browns, and fruit. Lunch this day was tune fish stuffed hard boiled eggs using egg free/dairy free paleo mayonnaise. All of these snacks lasted me about 3 days at school. Dinner was a bowl of home made turkey tacos with black olives, lettuce, avocado, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro.

Another breakfast of scrambled egg whites, Pederson's bacon, sweet potato hash browns, and some avocado.

Dinner of an all beef burker patty over some fresh lettuce, sweet potato fries, and some apples.

Looks awful huh?

I am on day 9 on this new journey and I have never felt better. Besides 2 allergic reactions to  foods I knew were not safe I am 100% happy and healthy. I typically post all of my meals on Instagram especially during these next few weeks of my Whole 30. I am not an expert on this journey and I am absolutely not perfect, but I am trying my best to do the best for myself and my body. I am going to try posting a weekly update of my meals and how everything is going. Today also marks the first day I will be joining a new workout group at my school and I am hoping this helps out with my goal to run the St. Jude Half Marathon this year. Wish me luck and if you are also working on a Whole 30 I highly suggest you check out Nom Nom Paleo. I get a lot of ideas and recipes here.

9 days down 21 more to go, but whose counting. And if you were really paying attention you will notice the end of my Whole 30 does not coincide with the last day of school so we will see how restrained I am in not enjoying some of the wine I have waiting in my freezer on that very last day.