4 Steps towards Food Freedom

Finding food freedom while still trying to live a healthy lifestyle is a delicate balance of nourishing your body with whole, nutrient-rich foods, but also allowing yourself to eat treats, sweets, and other foods that may not be as nourishing to your body, but more nourishing to your mind and soul. A couple of years ago, I developed a style of eating that truly made me feel nourished AND free. I had never felt so free in my food choices, but so healthy at the same time. Unfortunately, this past year, I got sucked back into diet culture, food rules, and found myself in a whirlwind of anxiety and confusion when it came to my food choices. God shook me out of it pretty abruptly and brought me back to a place of freedom with food that I am forever grateful for. My anxiety has been at an all-time low, while feeling the healthiest I have ever felt! I want to bring this nourished and free concept to you all, which is why I started my Nourished & Free community where I counsel and educate clients in a private group and show them ways to develop health habits, not restrict, and find their sweet spot of feeling nourished and free in their own healthy living journey!

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If you have a similar story to me and you are sick of the diet, restrict, binge cycle that seems to plague most of us, read on. Here are my four basic steps to starting on your journey with food freedom. I hope they help and inspire you!

Let go of the diet rules, the good and bad foods, or any other labels you’ve put on yourself.

The best way to get started on your journey is to let go of your mental list of “good” or “bad” foods. Yes, some foods have more health benefits than others, and some foods will be more nourishing to your body, but no ONE food or one food experience is going to make or break your health. The stress caused by confusing food decisions will cause more damage to your health than the slice of pizza or side of fries! Unless you have a diagnosed allergy or celiac disease or a food that really affects your health poorly (and that’s not just in your head, more on that later), the best first step towards food freedom is to allow all foods into your lifestyle.

Find a healthy form of movement you enjoy.

The next step would be to find a form of exercise or movement you enjoy. The only way I can get up so early in the morning to workout is because I actually look forward to my morning routine. Remember, our bodies were MADE to move, so we can all find a form of movement that we enjoy. Try out your local yoga or barre studio, join a gym, get some home workouts, or start training for a race. Whatever it is, I truly believe that we can all find a form of movement that we can enjoy a few times a week. I also think it is important to note that exercise alone does not cause weight loss, so we have to find other motivations to workout and move our bodies. Use exercise as self-care, to decrease your anxiety, and to increase your energy and motivation for a day. This will help you stick to a workout routine for reasons other than to see the number on the scale go down.

Add vegetables to your meals and snacks as often as you can.

Vegetables are nutritional powerhouses because of a myriad of reasons. They are full of fiber and water, which help fill you up during your meal. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which help protect your body against disease and energize you. They also can be prepared in SO many ways that there is no excuse anymore to not eat your veggies! I love to add veggies in wherever I can. You can add them to omelets in the morning, snack on carrots or cucumbers at work, always add a side salad to your lunch, and roast up some of your favorite vegetables for dinner. This way, you still feel like you are eating a lot of food (any other volume eaters out there?) but you are also nourishing your body with whole, nutrient-rich foods.

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Learn food freedom by incorporating some of your favorite foods and evaluating how they make you FEEL.

Lastly, the best way to start living out food freedom is to start incorporating some “forbidden” foods into your day, and then evaluate how you really feel. Does dairy really cause you to breakout? Does bread really cause you to bloat? A lot of these symptoms are caused by other factors such as stress, lack of sleep, etc. Did you know stress can actually make you feel blaoted too? I started testing this out a few weeks ago and its changed my entire mindset. For example, I decided to start enjoying the free food that work offered, and I realized that I was just as sleepy in the afternoon after having my homemade, paleo free lunch vs. the pizza and salad that work provided. Maybe I was just tired in the afternoon because I am PREGNANT, and not necessarily because of gluten, sugar, etc. While I do believe there is a time and place to make nutritional recommendations and changes based on symptoms, I found that I was overanalyzing every food decision I made and thinking all of my symptoms (anxiety, sleepless nights, a breakout) had to do with the food I was eating. I reality, there is SO much more to health than just our food choices. Sleep, stress, activity levels, financial issues, a life event….ALL of these factors play a role in how you feel as well. I don’t want to undervalue your symptoms, because trust me, they feel very real, and I’ve been there not too long ago. But if you want to experience true freedom with food, know that research is very blurry when it comes to food sensitivities, and there is no real way to prove that a certain food is causing an issue for you because most of us are also under stress, feel sleep deprived, and have other factors contributing to our symptoms. Become an investigator of your own body, and evaluate non-food stressors as well that could be impacting your health.

I hope these simple tips can get you started in your own food freedom journey. Know that life is worth living, and is about so much more than your food rules or what you do or do not eat. You do not have to live in two extremes: being deprived one week and then binging the next. There can be true freedom when it comes to nourishing your body, and if you want to dive into that further, I highly recommend you joining my Nourished & Free community!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Move your body, eat some delicious food, and love on/be present with those around you!

 

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Pregnancy Update: 24 weeks pregnant!

Poor baby #2. Emma got regular updates during my pregnancy with her, and this is only my second update since announcing that we are pregnant with baby #2! I feel so terrible, but life has been nuts and most of the time, I have to stop and remind myself that I am pregnant and need to take things easy! Being pregnant + having a toddler is no joke! On top of working full time, running a private practice, serving at church, and overall LIFE in general.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy season. Busy, but also exciting and full of God’s blessings! Every time I get exhausted or overwhelmed, I remind myself of how grateful I am for my life, my babies, my husband, and my community. God is so so good, y’all.

Anyways, onto the updates!

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How far along are you?

24 weeks! This pregnancy is FLYING BY.

Gender:

GIRL!! We’ll be announcing the name soon :)

How big is the baby?

She is the size of an eggplant…so big!

Total weight gain:

I am 4-5 lbs up from my pre-pregnancy weight! I’m really grateful for steady weight gain since gaining weight was so difficult with Emma and our abnormal umbilical cord. Thank God for a normal cord this time around and a healthy appetite for mommy!

How am I feeling?

I have moments of extreme energy and happiness, followed by being an emotional and exhausted mess. I had a breakdown yesterday just because I couldn’t switch a load of laundry (our machines are on the 3rd floor, Emma was on the 2nd floor, she’s getting heavy to carry up and down with me, but I digress). I’m learning that it’s ok to ask for help, and even though I want to do it all and feel like I should be able to do it all, those are just unrealistic expectations I have been placing on myself. Moms, ASK FOR HELP. I’m preaching to the choir on this one.

Maternity clothes?

I have been re-wearing all of my clothes from my pregnancy with Emma but I finally ordered a few new sweaters and a pair of pants this past weekend! I wanted some fresh clothes to enjoy!

Favorite workouts:

I workout at home and do mostly Beachbody workouts! I’ve been alternating between lifting, maternity workouts, kickboxing, and modifying some of my other favorites. I am so grateful to be able to move my body!

Stretch marks:

None and I hope it stays that way!

Cravings:

Hmm lately I’ve been wanting big leafy salads and warm fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!

Sleep:

Sleep has been off and on. Better than it was but definitely not great. I’d say it’s mostly just restless nights!

What I miss:

Intense workouts, more than 1-2 cups of coffee/day, having more energy to play with Emma, and having more energy to stay on top of house chores! Also, wearing cute(r) clothes!

What I am looking forward to:

This hasn’t changed: having two little girls to play with and enjoy! I am an only child and prayed for a sister almost every day of my life, so I feel so blessed and happy that Emma will be able to enjoy that special bond.

That’s all for now! Hopefully I’ll be a little more regular with these updates, I enjoy writing them and I’ve enjoyed reading through Emma’s old posts too! Thanks for reading and have a great afternoon, friends!

Weekend Eats + food experiments

Happy Monday everyone!!! Who else feels like this entire year has flown by? Emma is 18 months today and my heart just can’t take it. I feel like she was just born, and now we are expecting her baby sister in just 4 short months! Life is moving quickly, and I can’t help but appreciate each moment more and more.

This past weekend was just…so nice. We spent the weekend together as a family and enjoyed every moment of it. For our family, our weekends are typically busier than the workweek, and I often times find myself looking forward to work to rest and relax a bit. Weird, huh? Well, this is the first weekend where we had zero plans expect for church and a few errands. It was so low-key and relaxing…what weekends were meant for!

I will say that the eats I’ll be sharing are different than what you’ve seen on this blog lately. I’m experimenting with my body, but most importantly my brain and mindset. More on this later as I’m still trying to figure things out, but I thought I’d share anyway and show how “healthy choices” are not always so black and white!

But let’s backtrack to Friday! I went to work and met with one of my dear friends for lunch! Our plan was Chipotle but they were out of rice (um, what?) so we went to Blaze Pizza instead. I LOVE their green stripe pizza, so I got that with a side salad. This meal was so so good!

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Friday night was just a usual night of youth group. My husband and I are the youth leaders at our church and we so enjoy the time we spend with our church family! We got home pretty late Friday and crashed in bed.

Saturday morning, we enjoyed a family breakfast at home of waffles and eggs! I forgot to snap a good picture, but let’s just say waffles + peanut butter + syrup are the best combination! Then, we headed to a car dealership where we actually had a pretty frustrating experience. By 1pm, my husband and I were both starving and Emma was ready for her nap, so we had a quick lunch while Emma napped and vented to each other about how stressful car dealing is.

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We each got the 2-item plates at Panda Express, and had enough leftovers for Emma once she woke up, as well as some left for dinner! These plates are so massive, so we both listened to our hunger, filled up on the broccoli and the veggies, and stopped when we were full. My husband LOVES Chinese food, so it was nice to enjoy this with him and sit outside in the fresh air.

After lunch, hubby took Emma home and I hit the grocery store. We were out of so many staples, so I stocked up big time. Our Trader Joe’s is remodeling, so while it was difficult to get around, I got the job done and am so excited for our new and improved store to open soon!

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The rest of Saturday was pretty low key. I cleaned the floors at least 10 times as Emma has been throwing food all over the place. We put her down to bed early, watched the Lakers game, then I knocked out at 8:30pm. Oh how I love sleeping early even on the weekends!

Sunday morning consisted of my usual morning routine (quiet time, journaling, Bible study, and my workout!) We got ready for church and headed over for our English service and Sunday school class. I was SO hungry by 11:30 am that I was snapping at everyone (so sorry to my husband and mama!) so we had an early lunch at the local mall’s food court and walked around a bit! I had been craving a sandwich + salad combo, so I tried out Stone Oven for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised! I got the chicken pesto sandwich with with a side salad.

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We walked around the mall a bit, fed Emma once she woke up (we gave her leftover kebab + rice from my husband’s meal) then headed home. We were both in awe at how early we were getting home on a Sunday! We are usually out all day on Sundays, so it was nice to come home and relax. I got a head start on laundry and meal prep, and we enjoyed Emma’s playfulness while we got things done around the house!

For meal prep, I made pasta in the instant pot and roasted vegetables. Meal prep is continuing today, but it felt good to get a few things done and enter the week with food ready to eat in the fridge, which we also enjoyed for dinner!

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Emma went down early again, so we finished up the last 3 episodes of Man in the High Castle. This show is SO good, although I will say season 1 was my favorite. We just finished up season 3, and while it was intense, rarely is a show ever as good as its first season…ammiright?

And so far on this Monday, I have been running errands, cooking, finishing up laundry (will it ever end??) and enjoying a quiet day! Emma is at school for a few hours today, so this pregnant mama is getting all the rest she can!

I hope you all are having a relaxing and enjoyable week so far! Here’s to it being almost-November!








Baby #2 is on her way!

Yep, we are expecting our second baby girl and couldn't be more thrilled! Lord willing, we will be welcoming the 4th member of our family at the end of February 2019. We are so excited and blessed and happy Emma will have a little sister!

I blogged through my last pregnancy with Emma, and I want to TRY to do the same with this one. But let me tell you, being pregnant with a toddler is no joke. For all you first time pregnant ladies out there, ENJOY ALL THE REST. Because right now, I feel like I am forgetting that I'm pregnant because I am so busy running around a 16 month old, working full time, and taking care of all the things. It's okay though, God provides His strength and that's the only way I could get through!

I'm 15 weeks now, and finally starting to feel better and shedding that first trimester getting-hit-by-a-car feeling. I thought I'd do a little recap about how this pregnancy has been so far...hope y'all enjoy!

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How far along are you?

15 weeks and 2 days.

Gender:

GIRL!!

How big is the baby?

She is an avocado this week....so cute!

Total weight gain:

I am still below my pre-pregnancy weight since I lost some in the first trimester. I will say that I am definitely hungrier with this baby compared to my pregnancy with Emma, so I am sure I will be gaining weight in no time!

How am I feeling?

Pretty exhausted...the nausea really knocked me off my feet in the first trimester, but I have finally been feeling better the past couple weeks! A bit more energy and being able to enjoy the nourishing foods I love!

Maternity clothes?

Oh yes! I feel like I started showing the minute I found out I was pregnant this time around! It's like my body knew to just pop out!

Favorite workouts:

I do at-home Beachbody workouts because they have gotten me the best results and I've never been as consistent as I am when do their programs! Right now I am doing Liift 4, a 4 day/week program, plus adding their maternity workouts and MMA style kickboxing workouts!

Stretch marks:

None and I hope it stays that way!

Cravings:

Gimme ALL the Greek salad! And can I just say, I am so grateful I've been craving salads because for a solid 2 months my diet consisted of ritz crackers, cheez its, and bread. Those are the only foods that seemed to settle my stomach. It's such a relief to be able to eat some nourishing veggies again!

Sleep:

Sleep has been AWFUL, but it was the same with Emma so I was expecting it!

What I miss:

Intense workouts, more than 1 cup of coffee/day, and having more energy to play with Emma. She is such a good independent player and loves her toys. She sings and talks to me all day long while I rest and sit on the floor with her. I just wish I could be more active with her, but for now I know this will do, and she still loves me! (Mom guilt is real, guys).

What I am looking forward to:

Having two little girls to play with and enjoy! I am an only child and prayed for a sister almost every day of my life, so I feel so blessed and happy that Emma will be able to enjoy that special bond.

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That's all so far on this pregnancy! Thank you for all of your sweet words. We are praying for a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby, and are so excited for our new blessing!

Daily Manna: Chasing Joy

It is so important to find joy in every day. But I am realizing that joy won’t just naturally come to you; you have to look for it. You have to spend your day going out of yourself and find a little bit of joy and gratitude in the interactions you have, the people you’re with, and the places you go.

I used to write these daily manna/day in the life posts a few years ago as a way to get out of my “tent” so to speak and collect God’s blessings for the day (biblical reference in case you wanna look it up!)  

I thought I’d start doing them again as life has been crazy lately and I’ve been full of anxiety and worry and excitement all at once. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoy writing them!  

The past five or six days I’ve been getting up early to do my morning routine. I had been really disciplined about this earlier in the year and craved my mornings with Jesus, but like I said anxiety got in the way this summer and I found myself literally thinking “I have too many things to worry about...I don’t have time for my morning quiet time”...how crazy is that! That’s WHY we still need that time for prayer and reflection...because of all that worry and anxiety. I am so happy I’ve been able to implement it back into my day. This morning, I read a devotional and journaled about a Bible study I’ll be teaching this Friday at our youth group! 

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Then, it was workout time.  I’ve been in a workout rut lately and decided to start a new program this week. It’s been so helpful for me to follow routine and structure again! I’m only using 8 pound weights (I used to use 12-20 lb dumbbells) because I lost a lot of my strength over the summer, but I’m determined to keep going and build that strength back up! 

Instead of being hard on myself for my loss of strength, I decided to be grateful that I can actually move my body, lift weights, and that I am blessed with a home and area to workout in. Looking for your manna or blessings in the midst of frustration can completely shift our mindset and help pull us out of it!

     

 

 

And then, it was breakfast time! I made this shake and it was delicious! 1/2 scoop vegan vanilla protein (love the one from Sprouts!), 1 scoop collagen peptides, 1/2 frozen banana, handful of spinach, 1 tsp peanut butter, and some ice and water/milk! I forgot to snap a picture when it was full and pretty, so this is what it looks like almost done when I got to work!

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I work in a dialysis unit as a Renal Dietitian. The morning was filled with seeing patients, typing up notes, and catching up on emails. As most of you know, I am a working momma and leaving Emma at daycare has been hard on my mommy-heart. The past few months, I have been extra bitter about it, and it's effected my moods and the way I take care of myself. So, I have tried to make a conscious decision to be joyful even though this wouldn't be my ideal situation. At work, I get to use my talents and degree, collaborate with other adults and coworkers, serve and be a light to my patients, and I am able to contribute financially to my family. Again, this mindset shift and finding the JOY in being a working mom has been HUGE for me!

During my busy morning, I definitely needed snacks throughout the day so these were a few of them!

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Even with all those snacks, I was hungry come lunch time! Lifting weights can do that to you! I prepped a burrito bowl for lunch with rice, pinto beans, and peppers, with some chips we had in the break room because why not?

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It’s so funny how afternoons usually come with a dip of energy, but they are the busiest time of the workday for me! I had to fit this snack in between patients though because I was starving! Peaches have been hitting the spot this summer! 

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I've also finally begun enjoying RX bars again! I love these things. We did however just find out that Emma has a cashew and walnut allergy, and while not all these bars have those nuts, I've still been super careful because they are manufactured on the same equipment. I've only been having nuts and nut bars at work (minus peanut butter, which is actually a legume) because she has zero reaction to peanuts thank goodness!) and then brushing my teeth before I go pick her up from school. Hey, at least my dental hygiene is getting a little extra boost!

Around 5:30pm, I left work and went to go pick up Emma, my favorite part of the day! She's been at a new school for the past month and so happy there, so that's been helping my heart as I miss her throughout the day. Once I pick her up, we usually get home and I either cook dinner or heat up food if I've meal prepped. Thank GOD this week, I meal prepped, so we enjoyed my low carb veggie lasagna for dinner! Which was more like a lasagna soup but still tasted amazing! 

 

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and then....Emma had a meltdown. She only napped for 45 mins at school today, and she usually naps 2-3 hours. So we put her down to sleep and she was out by 7pm. My hubby and I settled down to a quiet night of some Netflix, reading, and an early night to bed! 

 

Even though it was a busy and somewhat stressful day, I had so many things to be grateful for! 

- a great morning quiet time and workout  

- a super productive day at work  

- cuddles with Emma before bed (once she calmed down!)  

- a quiet night resting at home!  

 

Always chase joy and look for the GOOD in your day...you’ll be glad you did! 

Addition Nutrition

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week, and a great summer so far. It's been a busy summer for our family, full of vacations, exciting projects, and down time with my little family. Overall though, I am so ready to be out of this crazy California heat that we have been experiencing and can't wait to get into the Fall spirit! Anyone else??

I've also had a really fun time running my new wellness community on Facebook! It's free to join and I have been doing weekly nutrition education lessons, plus accountability check ins and even sharing some fun recipes! Click here if you want to join!

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A topic that I recently chatted about in this group is the concept of Addition Nutrition. Nowadays, with all the diets out there, the majority of these plans focus on eliminating certain foods and food groups in order to reach your weight loss or health goals. These diets recommend cutting out meat, bread, fruit, fat, and so many other foods that leave many feeling deprived and reaching for junk food on day 3.

Been there, done that.

But, what I have learned lately in my own journey, as well as what I practice with clients, is the idea of addition nutrition. What can we ADD to our plate, our pantry, and our meals to feel healthier and fuel our bodies better? Can we eat more vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, wholesome carbs, and good quality proteins? Can we drink more water, add a salad to each meal, and snack on some vegetables in the afternoon?

OF COURSE WE CAN. It's all about your mindset and how you view healthy living. If you just follow a diet or plan that is a list of "no" foods, you won't be staying on that for very long.

What I try to do to keep my mind right is focus on the abundance of nutritious and satisfying foods that make me feel my best. Then I go buy those things, prepare those meals, and look forward to all the food that I have on my meal plan. I enjoy my meals because I am not coming from a place of deprivation. Rather, I am looking at all the foods I can ADD to my day that nourish me and fill me up.

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On a personal note, I have struggled with this recently in regards to my gluten free diet. I have a doctor-diagnosed gluten sensitivity, and yet this summer, I found it very hard to stick to my gluten free diet. I started to focus on all the foods I couldn't have, and had a scarcity mindset towards food. BUT, a quick shift in mindset is just what I needed to snap out of it! I am now choosing to focus on all the grains, meats, vegetables, fruits, and other foods that ARE part of a gluten free diet...and let me tell you there are several! The more you approach healthy living with an abundance mindset, the happier and healthier you'll be.

My challenge to you this weekend is to make a list of all the healthy and nutritious foods you want to start ADDING to your meal plan. Then go to the store and stock up on these foods. Prepare some meals in advance if you can, and approach this new week with excitement and an abundance mindset towards healthy living. I promise you, it'll make all the difference!

Friday Favorites

Happy June everyone! I can't believe how quickly this year is flying by. Summer is here and I am so excited for beach days, time in the sun, and enjoying this season with my little tribe. I thought I'd share what I've been digging lately and what I've been grateful for in life, because God is good and I definitely feel blessed!

1. Father's Day cookies. I've posted about these cookies so many times, and you can find the recipe here. These are my husband's favorite cookies. They are so delicious and light, so I woke up early on Sunday morning to bake them for him! We've been munching on them all week, so delicious!

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2. Disneyland days. I am beyond grateful to have the chance to enjoy so many Disneyland days with Emma! We went on Monday and had so much fun! I love watching her learn and notice new things every time we go. She is growing up so fast!!! I also had to stop myself from buying this  cute Beauty and the Beast tea set. Belle is my favorite Disney princess! Who is yours??

3. Limiting caffeine. Ever since becoming a mom, I've gotten into a bad habit of having 3-4 cups of coffee a day. So I've made a more conscious effort to just have 1 cup of coffee/day, and I'm feeling a lot better! I am definitely a bit more tired, but I know that I will get used to it and it's better for me overall, and might help my sleep too!

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4. Free food at work. I used to not give in to the free food at work because it's typically not the healthiest, but this week I definitely enjoyed some! We had an all-day training yesterday and they brought Corner Bakery for breakfast and Panera for lunch...basically all. the. carbs. I ate what I typically don't eat, but health is not about being perfect 100% of the time. It's about eating nourishing food MOST of the time so that your body is able to handle the occasional treats and sweets! That's a much healthier mindset to live in long-term, and I got right back on my healthy eating plan today and feel incredible!

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5. Emma's Mickey Mouse toys. My cousin got Emma these toys for her birthday and she has been OBSESSED with them. Every morning she wakes up and talks to them, carries them around the house, and sets them up all around her. It's absolutely adorable to watch her play and interact and babble! I just love this girl so so much.

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I hope you can also think of some things you are thankful for in your life or the blessings God has bestowed upon you this week! Blessings are all around, you just gotta look for them! Happy Friday, everybody!

Gluten-free does not equal healthy

I got a wonderful and thoughtful question from a blog reader last week, and I thought I’d answer it in a post because I am sure there are a handful of people that are confused about the same thing.

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I know there has been a lot of confusion over the past couple years about gluten free diets and whether or not they are healthy. Let me start by saying I have had my own experience eating gluten free and eating normally over the past few years, and have discovered that, for me, gluten free/paleo-ish is the healthiest way for me to eat for my health, digestion, and mental wellness. BUT, that does not mean that when we eat gluten-free, our diet is automatically healthier.

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One of my blog readers sent me a message last week stating that she saw that I eat gluten free, and that she tried going gluten free herself a few years ago but found that the gluten free breads, pastas, and mixes were all high in carbohydrates from rice and potato flours, and that they weren’t actually healthier. She wanted to know if she was right in thinking this and basically, what the deal is with gluten-free!

I’ll start by saying that this reader is SO smart to pick up on the fact that gluten free products are not healthier than their wheat flour counterparts. Just because a product is labeled gluten free does not mean it is healthier or a better alternative. And frankly, most of the time, it is higher in carbohydrates and sugar than the regular products. All foods are a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals, so whether or not it has gluten in it does not change this fact.

Gluten is simply the protein found in wheat, and when people have allergies, they are typically reacting to the protein in a certain food. Gluten free products are substituted (most of the time) with rice flour or potato starch, plus are found to have even more sugar in them to make them taste good. They are still just has high (or higher) in carbohydrates, are often times devoid of fiber, and are still a treat. Gluten free cookies are still cookies, and gluten free pancakes are still pancakes.

 

 My favorite  paleo cookie recipe  from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

My favorite paleo cookie recipe from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these foods. I love gluten free toast from Trader Joe’s and Pamela’s gluten free pancake and baking mix! But these gluten free treats should still be treated as TREATS. They should be eaten just as often as you would eat a regular pancake or regular cookie. Not an everyday food, but a sometimes food.

So be a savvy shopper. Just because something is labeled gluten free doesn’t mean that we can have bowls and bowls of gluten free pasta and still think that’s a “healthy” food choice.

And if you want to go gluten free, the best thing to do is replace your usual breads, pastas, or cookies, with plants. THAT is the healthiest way to go gluten free. So instead of having a hamburger, have a lettuce wrap with an additional side salad. Instead of having a cookie with your salad, have some more vegetables on the side or some fruit.

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And most importantly, if you don’t have negative symptoms from eating gluten, there is no reason for you to go gluten free. Yes, gluten is inflammatory over all, and I don’t think there is any harm in cutting it out (if done right like I mentioned above, with the addition of plants). BUT if you don't experience any negative side effects from consuming gluten, there is no need to cut it from your diet. It won’t automatically make you healthier, especially if you are still consuming gluten free noodles, cookies, pancakes, and more.

I personally gravitate towards a gluten free diet because it helps me with my digestion issues and my anxiety. I even tried to incorporate some back into my diet as recently as last week (kodiak pancakes are a favorite of mine!) and starting feeling those similar symptoms return. For me, I have a clear reaction to consuming gluten, which is why I avoid it unless a food is absolutely worth it (and trust me, it rarely is worth it for me!) But just because I eat a gluten free diet does NOT automatically mean I am healthy. I eat a ton of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and gluten free grains from time to time, along with those occasional gluten free/paleo treats, and all of that contributes to a healthy diet.

I hope this helps you become more aware of your food choices too and learn to be a detective in the grocery store and not just fall for any marketing that is slapped on our food products nowadays. The more we know, the better we do. And if you all have any more questions, please send them in! I love answering these types of questions I get, so please don’t hesitate!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

 

 

Friday Favorites & Updates

Hello friends! Long time no chat! It's been exactly a month since I've blogged. I've had every intention of keeping up with this place, but with being a working momma and Emma getting more mobile every day, it's been hard to carve out time to consistently blog. It's still such as passion of mine though, so I promise to be more consistent! Anything YOU all would like to see more of in this space? I'd appreciate any ideas in the comments below!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things that have been on my heart and mind this past month...starting with the best cake smash ever!

1. Emma's cake smash.

Emma thoroughly enjoyed her cake on her first birthday! It was a simple white cake with vanilla frosting and we let her go at it for a couple minutes and then swiftly took it away.

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And yes, it was a full sugar, full flour, totally regular cake. I didn't make anything sugar-free or organic or anything like that because the truth of the matter is (from the research I've done and children I've worked with), when you restrict a child, they are even more likely to rebel and do things that you don't want them to do. She eats healthy vegetables, proteins, and whole grains 99% of the time and I want her to have a healthy relationship towards treats from the very beginning; starting with the fact that treats are "sometimes" foods, and not "everyday foods" and that it's ok to have a treat on your birthday, then move on with your life.

2. Birthday trip to Disneyland

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We took Emma to Disneyland the Monday after her birthday and we had a BLAST! She slept for the first two hours which gave my hubby and I sweet time to walk around, grab coffee, and reminisce about our days at Disneyland when we were dating and just married. Disneyland holds a special place in my heart, and now it's even more special to be able to enjoy it with my little tribe!

3. Being Brave

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I grabbed this book on a whim at Target and I am so glad I did. Almost every devotional, Bible verse, or motivational quote I've read lately has been on the concept of being brave. Think God is trying to tell me something? All that to say, I highly recommend this book!

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4. Cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe's.

This stuff has been blowing up my Instagram feed for weeks, so I finally decided to give in and try it. Oh. My. Gosh. WE LOVED IT! Even my husband who needs meat with practically every meal, thoroughly enjoyed this. We used a pesto cream sauce (literally combined a 1/2 cup lite Alfredo with 1 tsp of pesto and mixed it well). Such a good meal and I'll be definitely grabbing a few bags next time I hit up TJ's!

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5. Kodiak Cakes.

A box of these protein pancakes have been sitting in my pantry for a couple weeks. I finally made them and they were SO good! And all you do is mix the mix with water, so easy! I added a dash of cinnamon to the batter too, because cinnamon. These complemented my spinach scramble nicely and kept me full for quite a while! I highly recommend!

 

I hope you all have had a great week and can pick at least 5 things you are grateful for and are "favorites" in your life! It's always good to have a positive mindset and look for the joy and blessings in our life verses only focusing on what may be stressing us out! Have a great weekend and blessed Mother's Day to all you mommas out there! Not gonne lie, we are rockstars!