How to Set Goals for 2018

The new year is upon us, and in just two days we will enter the freshness and newness of 2018. I don't know about you, but I LOVE anything that has to do with a fresh start, and the fact that January 1st is on a Monday?? It's my OCD-type A personality-perfectionist DREAM COME TRUE!

I love setting goals and intentions at the beginning on each month, and naturally each year too. But this year, I'm doing things a little differently. I'm following Zig Ziglar's "Wheel of Life" method to set goals for different areas of my life. The idea here is that our life is like a wheel, and all sides of the wheel need to be balanced for our life to "roll" properly. Here are the different areas illustrated in the Wheel of Life, and these are the areas I'll be setting goals for in 2018!

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Now, I've heard from a lot of my blog readers and social media followers that they have a hard time setting goals. They don't understand what to shoot for or how to organize their goals, so I think this wheel will do the trick for those who want help narrowing down certain areas of their lives and setting specific goals for health, finances, personal life, spiritual life, etc.

Are you a big goal setter or does it overwhelm you? I hope this tool helps and I'd love to hear what your goals are for these areas of your life! My husband and I are planning on sitting down and chatting about our goals for 2018 over the weekend, and I'll be sharing some of them with you on the blog next week! Feel free to share some of your goals in the comments below, or contact me above and we can set some together!

And as always if you need help with your health and wellness goals, I am one click away! My 2018 Your BEST Year nutrition package sales end TODAY. That's right, TODAY. If you want to make me your personal dietitian for 8 or 16 weeks, email daily, and get a meal plan and sessions with me to make sure you stay on track with your goals, these packages are perfect for you!! And as a heads up, I am planning on keeping these packages going year round, but the prices WILL go up after today, so if you want to snag them at their discounted rate, do so now and we can book your first session and get you on track to make 2018 your BEST year yet!

Stop saying “I can’t”

I hear this all the time, and it’s starting to get on my nerves.  

 

I can’t eat healthy.  

I can’t workout in the morning.  

I can’t give up my soda/bread/junk food.  

I can’t meal prep because “there’s no time.” 

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It’s time for some tough love. You can TOTALLY do this. You can do all those things I stated above. Because you are a grown up person with capabilities. You are a responsible human being, and when you want something bad enough you will figure out a way to make it work.

You will MAKE the time to work out...you will make the time to cook for your family. You will prioritize your healthy habits above other things (ahem Netflix, anyone?) because it is THAT important to you. THAT’S what you tell yourself the next time you think you “can’t.” 

Because you can do these things. And then, you’ll see how your life changes. 

You will be more present with your family, you will be a better employee at work, you will get better sleep, you’ll have more energy to play with your kids, and you will be a kinder and more patient person. I’m saying all this because I speak from personal experience.  My life has changed completely since I stopped telling myself I “can’t” do certain things. I started to actually just DO THEM.  

So in 2018, do the hard things. Do the things that you weren’t able to do in 2017...or rather that you CHOSE not to do. Give yourself some tough love, because the only way we will grow and make changes if we do something different...consistently. 

What do you want to do? Do you want to get healthy? Lose weight? Lower your cholesterol? Manage your blood sugars? Eat for better moods? Whatever it is, you can TOTALLY do this, and I can help!  

As a registered dietitian, my passion in life is to help people realize that they can make healthy choices and it IS possible to reach their goals and live a vibrant and energetic life. So when you are low on motivation, I'll be there for you. When you don't know what to cook for dinner, I'll give you some ideas. And when you really REALLY don't want to get up for that workout, I will do whatever it takes to get you out of that bed (unless you are sick obviously). I am committing to be there for you 100% of the time, so why don't YOU start showing up for yourself, too?

If you want to work together and receive my knowledge, advice, and guidance in the new year, my special discounted packages are still live in available until December 29th. Take a look and see what package fits best with your goals, and if you can't figure it out, we will brainstorm together and pick the plan that's perfect for you. COntact me above with questions!

You CAN make 2018 your BEST year. You just have to take action, and then do the thing. Go be awesome today, friends! 

Finding my HAPPY...and how you can too

It's no secret that I am the happiest that I have been in quite some time. Heck, I even changed my Instagram name to happywholeeats.RD because I want everyone to experience the peace, joy, and overall happiness I've felt. I am so thankful to God for this and for His direction and wisdom in this crazy ride called life! I hope this post helps someone out there find their own happy too, and know that I am always here to help!

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I don't think people realize how important the foods we eat are, not only to our health but our overall quality of life. This post is about just that. How I've found my happy through the foods I'm eating and choosing, and hopefully, how you can too.

It’s been 1 month since I have gone 100% gluten free. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that my history with eating gluten free has been rocky. And if you just started following along, let me recap you so you are all caught up. It’s storytime, ladies and gentleman!

Back in 2012, I was diagnosed with a severe gluten intolerance after months of bloating, basically looking pregnant, and uncontrollable gas that kept me home most nights instead of out with friends because...embarrassing! Cutting out gluten eased these symptoms almost immediately, and I was grateful to finally find a way of eating that worked and didn't' send me running to the bathroom after each meal like I had done since I was a little girl.

All was fine and well until I started dating my then boyfriend, now hubby, Vasken. I didn’t want to be a high maintenance eater (even though he NEVER made me feel that way and even researched restaurants for gluten free options while planning our dates!) so I decided to slowly start incorporating gluten back into my diet. My stomach issues came back, but I wanted to ignore them, because I had missed all my gluten-containing foods SO much. I lived for bread baskets at restaurants, Panera cookies, and of course, my beloved Wetzel Preztel cinnamon bitz. I kept going back to my gluten free diet when I started feeling sick again, then hated the deprivation and went right back to binging on all of my favorite gluten-containing foods. It was years of this on again, off again routine with me, and I hated the inconsistency and the stomach issues that it was causing. I also wanted to be “free” with my food choices, but now I realized I was wanting this freedom as a way to binge on all of my favorite foods when times got tough, and at the expense of causing severe digestive distress, as well as brain fog, allergy symptoms, dark circles under my eyes, and constant anxiety. This went on for years and years, and the frustration with my health, stomach issues, and binging grew.

During pregnancy, I was also able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted, which I have heard happens with pregnant women and food sensitivities. Your body is so focused on the BABY, so those types of things take a backseat. And once Emma was born, with breastfeeding hunger and the craziness of life with a newborn, I didn’t really worry about what was going into my mouth. But I hated the fact that I had to cut some nursing sessions short because of my urgent need to use the restroom, or that I couldn't console Emma when she woke up because I was yet again, in the bathroom.

On top of that, going back to work was so hard on me, that I basically binged my way through work days on Oreos, crackers, and chips. This added to my stomach issues, stress, anxiety, and my waistline. At the end of October, I found myself 13 lbs heavier from when I had gone back to work back in August.

So, the morning of Emma’s 6 month birthday celebration, 10/29/17, I decided that enough was enough. I decided to start back up on my gluten free diet then and there. I KNEW that I would feel deprived, so I already had a plan of attack: finding the BEST gluten free and paleo recipes (Against all Grain has been my saving grace!) I could find for my favorite treats, so I would never feel deprived again.

And you know what the crazy part is? I saw improvements, not only in my health and weight, but in my anxiety and moods. I’ve been happier, less stressed out, I don’t cry at work anymore, I don’t binge at work anymore, and I have a more even temper (just ask my hubby). Yes, I lost the 13 lbs I gained, but to me, I’ve gained so much more:

 

  • More restful sleep (which is hard with a baby!)
  • More energy for my workouts
  • Less anxiety/stress
  • Less tears going to work
  • Clearer skin
  • Clearer mind
  • A more positive outlook on life as a working mom
  • Less urgent trips to the restroom
  • Less bloat
  • Trying on clothes I would “never” wear and actually feeling GOOD in them
  • ...and my jeans fit again!

 

And yes, not ALL of this may be attributed to cutting out gluten, but I know many people who have experienced similar benefits when they clean up their diet and start avoiding gluten. I know that I like this version of me way more than the anxious, stressed out, and teary one. I am more energetic, I am a happy healthy mama, I am a better wife, and I am enjoying the heck out of the foods I’ve been cooking and baking!

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And the truth of the matter is, gluten is an inflammatory agent. So we know that eating less gluten is healthier for us all in general. Check out this post for more of the science on that.

All this to say, I feel the healthiest and happiest I have felt in a good long while. And I want everyone I know to experience this type of joy when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle! The fact that I have been happier has been more motivating for me to stick to it than anything else. And, these cookies have made it easier as well!

My wish is to work with my clients from now on with a more holistic approach, and really dive into which foods may be helping their health (mind, body, and soul), and which foods may be hurting their health. Not everyone will be sensitive to gluten, because we are all different. My aim is to help you INDIVIDUALLY assess your health and create a plan that works best for YOU.

And what better time than now to start? My 2018 packages are a great and affordable way to get the complete package of working 1:1 with me as your own personal dietitian. These packages will only be available until December 29th, so take advantage of them now!

You only have one life to live on this earth. So why not live it as your happiest, energetic, and most vibrant version of yourself? Make 2018 your BEST year and let’s figure out how you can find your own HAPPY when it comes to eating and living well!

 

The Sleepy-Turkey Myth

Thanksgiving Eve is here, and most of us are hustling and bustling getting things ready for our holiday celebrations! We are so excited to be celebrating Emma's first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and basically first-everything this year! We are going to my husband's side of the family for dinner, then driving over to my grandma's house for dessert. We usually alternate dinner and dessert every year between the two families. That way we get double the fun and celebration! Do you have any traditions that you love? I'd love to hear in the comments!

Before we kick off this long weekend, I thought it would be fun to bust a Thanksgiving myth for you all, so you can act super smart and nerdy around the table when this topic comes up tomorrow! We all believe that we get sleepy from the turkey in our Thanksgiving meal....BUT, that is a myth!

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We used to believe that the tryptophan in turkey is what caused drowsiness and naps after our Thanksgiving meals. Tryptophan is an amino acid, and a precursor for serotonin, a brain chemical that contributes to good moods, and helps us sleep better. But, the amount of tryptophan in turkey is no more than what is found in other animal products, such as chicken. Nuts and cheese are even found to have MORE tryptophan than turkey does!

So, why do we get extra sleepy after our Thanksgiving meal? The hard truth is that you are probably getting sleepy because you overate. Hey, it happens! Especially on Thanksgiving. But, don't blame the poor little turkey.

Actually, there is a way to make your Thanksgiving meal a healthier one! Turkey is a great protein source, so fill up on that! You can also make some roasted sweet potatoes as a yummy side dish packed with vitamin A and fiber, or bring some greens with you that aren't doused in a "cream of something." I plan on bringing a healthy smoky sweet potato dish and grain-free chocolate chip cookies, so I KNOW that I will have some healthy treats to look forward to! And if you end up overindulging, it's ok. Take that nap, don't beat yourself up, and just know that you can get right back on track the next day!

Thanksgiving is just one day, as is Christmas, New Years, and any other holiday. I think our downfall is that we tend to overindulge every day for 45 days and then wonder why we gained 10 pounds over the holiday season. If we choose our indulgences wisely and mindfully, we can fully enjoy the holiday season, be present with our friends and family, and still honor our body and our health.

I hope you all have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

The Mind, Food, and Mood Connection

It is common knowledge that what we eat affects our body and appearance. If we eat too much of the wrong foods, we tend to gain weight. If we eat more nourishing foods, we tend to lose weight. But what has been more interesting to me is how the food I have been eating lately has been impacting my MENTAL health, not just physical health.

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**Now, as a disclaimer, mental health has a WIDE spectrum, and I am not assuming that food can cure any mental health disorders. I am just sharing my experience and how changing what I’ve been eating has been helping my mood and my mental state. But PLEASE seek medical advice and attention if you are struggling with mental health, it is real and it NEEDS to be taken care of.

This post is going to be raw and real, because I’m all about sharing my real life with you guys and not hiding anything. I've learned that vulnerability is a part of healing, and also helps inspire others to make changes and grow as well. It’s been no secret that going back to work after Emma was born was rough on me. I only work three days a week, but those days were filled with panic attacks in the bathroom, crying on my way to work, crying when I picked Emma up from daycare, and LOTS of oreo purchases to “get me through the day.” I thought that I could only make it through the emotional ups and downs of the work day by numbing myself with food. But in reality, it just made it worse.

The anxiety and sadness got out of hand. I would burst into tears during work meetings and have to excuse myself. If I wasn’t eating, I was crying. Food was DEFINITELY my coping mechanism, but it also just seemed to numb the pain for a little while, and then it would return with a vengeance and my moods would spiral down again. The days that I was home with Emma were filled with tears as well because I knew that I would have to leave her the next day. I wasn’t being able to actually ENJOY my baby and the time I had with her. I knew this cycle had to stop.

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Being the dietitian and holistic-health proponent that I am, I began doing research on different foods and how they can impact our mind-body connection. One of these foods is gluten. Gluten and I have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. I have a gluten sensitivity and have been told by my doctor over and over again that I need to be on a gluten-free diet. But, I have always told myself that I loveeeeee gluten too much. Such as excuse, you guys. Ready for a science lesson? I hope so!

The thing about gluten is that it stimulates the release of a protein that can actually cause permeability in our gut. Our gastrointestinal (or GI) tract, is considered to be OUTSIDE of our body. It is lined very carefully to protect the INSIDE of our body (anything other than our gut) from receiving undigested food particles, germs, or anything else we ingest. But gluten causes the secretion of a protein called zonulin, which can cause permeability in our gut, allowing particles to pass through and enter our body, where they don’t belong. Food should go straight to our small intestines to get “digested” properly so our body can use the fuel safely. But, with zonulin, the permeability can cause undigested food particles to enter our bloodstream, cause inflammation since these particles are not digested yet, and can also cause symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, and even depression. This is all new and up and coming research, but it fascinated me and makes sense from what I’ve learned in my seven years of schooling to become a dietitian and get my masters in nutrition. Our gut is considered our “second brain” and impacts how we think and feel SO much, so this finding is super interesting to me and motivated me to cut out gluten  with a  new motive: not only to alleviate my stomach issues and bloating, but also to alleviate the mental ups and downs I had been experiencing.

I have also read the book “Grain Brain” in the past, which I highly suggest for anyone wanting to know more on this topic! The author discusses how not only gluten, but also grains, can impact our mental health and lead to issues such as depression, alzheimer's, and other mental health concerns. Of course, following a certain diet is not going to magically cure these issues, btu they can alleviate symptoms, which is what I experienced.

I started back on my gluten free diet on October 29th, and since then, I’ve been happier and more energetic. Yes I've lost some weight and bloat, and my jeans fit again (YAY!), but I am more amazed by my mental shift. I am just HAPPIER. I have been getting creative in the kitchen and am not missing any of my favorite treats thanks to Danielle Walker and her amazing paleo recipes (check her out here!) My husband has been enjoying our meals and my happy moods more, and we’ve spent LESS on groceries and eating out because we always have food ready and are buying less junk! I have SO much energy for my workouts, for my patients and clients, and for my family, and feel like I am finally living each day to its full potential.

Another change I’ve made is increasing my healthy fat intake. I have always been a fan of eating more fat, but I’ve been incorporating these fats into practically every snack and meal. I'll have grain free baked goods made with coconut flour, almond flour, grass fed butter, and coconut oil, I'll add avocado to my salads and lettuce wrapped burgers, and I am not afraid to eat yolks scrambled in ghee. I've been getting a variety of healthy fats in my diet, which boosts brain function because our brains thrive on healthy fats! 

 The BEST  cookies  I've ever had! I've made countless batches already because my husband and now, our extended family, can't get enough!

The BEST cookies I've ever had! I've made countless batches already because my husband and now, our extended family, can't get enough!

 

Overall, I am enjoying this journey and am embracing this life of mine, being a working mom and a stay at home mom in the same week, which I am learning is SUCH a blessing! I feel so much better and didn’t cry at all at work this week! (WIN!) Of course I still miss my baby girl like crazy, but I focusing on taking care of ME because this way, I can be a better mom for Emma. I am working out daily, drinking my superfoods (which are full of adaptogens, which also impact your brain chemistry! But I'll save that scientific post for another day!), and am eating foods that I know will nourish my body, my soul, AND my mind.

If you want to get involved with eating for your BRAIN health too, I would love to go through the Grain Brain book together in a virtual book club format! Warning, this book is definitely for nerds, so come ready to learn and grow! Contact me above if you want to be part of the book club! We'll start the first week of December!

ALSO, I am planning on doing more cooking demos and recipe videos in my free facebook community that I run, so if you want to join, contact me! I can add you and you can get access to the meals I’ve been planning, as well as get meal prep and planning tips and tricks from yours truly! Meal prep has been my saving grace for sticking to my gluten free diet, so I am passionate about making it a regular part of my life, as well as yours!

Thank you for reading and for supporting me through the ups and downs of this journey. At times, I don't want to share what I am going through, because I feel that my journey has been such a crazy ride. But, I am a real person, and real life is a roller coaster! What may work in one season of life (ie. my vegetarian diet last year), may not work in another season of life, like this one! My goal with this blog and platform is to share my nutrition knowledge based on research but also my own personal experiences too. Because we are all scientific experiments and each body is so unique and different. So keep figuring yourself out, get curious and find what works for you! And if you need some guidance along the way, I am always here to lend an ear! Feel free to contact me with any questions!

 

 





 

Weekly Meal Plan & Goals

Morning y’all! Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend. We are stilll recovering from Emma’s first fever/flu. Thank goodness she is feeling better but things got scary on Friday night when her fever shot up to 103 and infant Tylenol didn’t kick in till 5am. But thank goodness her fever finally broke and we are just dealing with tons of congestion in her cute little nose. 

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Unfortunately, my husband caught whatever Emma had, so he’s down for the count this morning. Which means he wasn’t able to start Hammer & Chisel with me! I’m super bummed because he wanted to do this program together, but he can just jump in once he’s feeling better! I did the first workout today and realized how much I miss lifting weights! Can’t wait to see my 60 day progress and share with you all! 

 

With these programs, you get a certain amount of portion control containers for each food group to make sure you are following a balanced meal plan all day long. My husband and I both fit in to the 1800 to 2100 calorie bracket since I am breastfeeding and need the extra calories and nutrients! Which means we both get a ton of food every day! Here’s our tentative meal plan for the week!  

 

Pre workout: energize, the ONLY pre workout I’ll drink because it is plant based and what could be better than that!? 

Post workout: recover, the cleanest protein drink I’ve found that tastes like chooclate milk, yum! 

Breakfast: shakeology w/spinach, eggs

Snack: pumpkin oat muffins, vegetables  

Lunch: ground turkey, rice, roasted veggies OR salad and leftovers if hubby leaves any ;) 

Snack: nuts, fruit, rx bar

Dinners:

  • kufteh (basically ground beef and cracked wheat mashed together, a family favorite!) 
  • healthy sesame chicken w/rice and veggies
  • tilapia w/salad and potatoes
  • and leftovers of course!  

 

Of course, this is all tentative because we never know what the week will bring. This used to give me so much anxiety because I’m a perfectionist BUT I am so happy I’ve learned to have more balance and make last minute changes fit into my healthy lifestyle! 

 

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 If you have trouble making a meal plan that you find balances your nutrients and keeps you full throughout the day, contact me up above and let’s get you on a plan that works for you! I work with clients one-on-one or in a group coaching setting to figure out what will best meet your needs to help you stick to your goals. Meal planning and prepping have basically become a hobby of mine and something I am so passionate about sharing with my clients. So don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some extra support! 

 

 

September Life Updates & Goals!

Is anyone else relieved that August is over? I don't know about you, but August was one of the hardest months of my life. We went on vacation at the beginning of the month, and just a few days after I was starting back up at work. Even though I am only working three days a week, those three days are filled with tears and so many emotions. I speak regularly about wanting to be positive about this experience and returning to work with being a new momma, but it has been SO hard to leave my sweet baby. I feel like a piece of my heart is left behind every time I leave.

So even though I wallowed and threw myself a lot of pity parties in August (and unfortunately, Oreos were involved), I want to still work towards being strong and brave throughout this experience. I know that everything happens in life for a reason, and I know God is trying to teach me patience and TRUST throughout this whole process.

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My phone background is this quote, and it's been really helping me focus on being kind, fierce, and brave. Our thoughts impact our behaviors SO much. Having a fierce mind means being strong to whatever negative thoughts come my way. My favorite Bible verse always pops into my head when I remember how powerful our thoughts can be:

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Making my thoughts obedient to Christ is something I want to work on this month. I want to surrender all of the noise, fear, and anxiety to Him. I am starting a 30 day Miracle Morning challenge with my friend where we spend the morning time in prayer, in God's word, journaling, visualizing, and of course, working out! I am looking forward to really focusing on the positive and all God has done for me in the morning time and hoping that sets the tone for the rest of my day! Practicing Miracle Mornings is one goal I have for September (and comment below if you want to know more about this and do it with me too!)

Another goal I have for September is to continue on my plant based diet experiment. I am cutting out beef, chicken, pork, etc this month (still eating eggs and occasionally, fish!) and really focusing on getting as many whole, PLANT foods into my body as possible. I started this past Monday but have not been as plant-heavy; carbs have been the easy option this week. So I plan on meal prepping this weekend and making PLANT foods the easy option, aka prepping and planning my meals out so I stick to my goals and nourish myself fully!

I also want to be blogging more, but I need your help! Tell me, what do YOU want to see more of on the blog? Recipes? My weekly meal plan? Workout updates? Mom-life updates? Day in the life posts? Nutrition research and summaries? Comment below or email me (tveen.verano@gmail.com) and let me know what YOU want to see more of in this space.

Workout wise, I am finishing up two rounds of a strength and agility program I started back in July. I loved doing this program, but I am SO ready for a change! I am starting a week long program next week focused on heavy lifting, then doing my favorite, 8 week toning program for the rest of September and October! I am so excited for this program and saw amazing results back when I did in last year. If you'd like to join in and be my workout buddy, fill out this application and I will get back to you!

Lastly, I am now taking on new clients for my private nutrition counseling practice! September is almost like January, right? School is starting, it's back to routine and a fresh start...so why not jump into taking care of yourself and learning how to properly nourish and fuel yourself? If you want to lose weight, get your cholesterol or diabetes under control, GAIN weight, or just learn how to prepare healthy meals for your picky family, I can help! I focus on individualizing nutrition for each of my clients, so if you want some additional support and guidance as you embark on or continue on a healthy lifestyle, feel free to check out my services and book your first session with me! I plan on taking on only 5 new clients this month, so be sure to reach out so I can save you a spot and we can get you started!

So happy September and almost fall, everyone. I plan on buying a few cans of pumpkin after work, because it's never too soon to start baking up some healthy fall treats! Hope you all enjoy your weekend and stay tuned for my plant based diet meal plan for next week!