Change is a good thing.

A wedding, a move across the country, a new last name, and two new jobs. This all happened to us within a month. That month was October, 2016. Throw in the fact that I wanted to change how we eat, grocery shop and cook, to be healthier and it seems pretty overwhelming. For this reason, the dietary changes were on the back burner until about four weeks ago. I grew up eating all of the processed foods, believing "all things in moderation" was the rule of life, while I actually ate pizza and sweets more times than not. I have been inspired so many times by other people's eating habits, but that inspiration stops dead in its tracks, and I find myself eating junk again or saying those dishonest words, "I'll start eating clean tomorrow." Right.

My husband and I finally made significant lifestyle changes together and I couldn't be happier. Once we were both on board it became a team effort and a relatively simple transition. I have noticed unbelievable changes in my mood, energy levels, and even my satisfaction with life. I will explain what steps we took because I want as many of you as possible to join me. There are people who are so far beyond what we are doing, who are #healthgoals but I want to reach out to those who say "I want to be healthy" but have never taken that first step. There are also people who think what I use to.. that eating clean or organic is some kind of fad or diet craze that will fade out. Bottom line, the more you educate yourself, the more clear this whole food concept becomes. The processed foods, and the amount of sugar and GMOs we consume are hurting us, badly. I will get into this more over time but honestly, if I can choose to consume chemicals and toxins or not, I know which choice I will make. Once you want this for yourself the cost of real food doesn't seem like such an obstacle (that was always my greatest concern). I just had to move things around in the budget to make it work. About four weeks ago, I started transitioning all of our food from the easiest and cheapest ingredients, to organic. My husband and I also cut out dairy, and gluten. The only sweeteners we have used are raw, local honey, pure maple syrup, and coconut sugar. For dessert I have a few pieces of unsweetened dark chocolate or a serving of fruit. I love to take recipes from Facebook videos (I think it's so strange how much FB has changed over the years but I am obsessed with the cooking videos!!), clean eating magazines, and sometimes I just google the ingredients that I have and a recipe pops up like magic. I find myself on paleo blogs, or vegan ones, because I'm back to "all things in moderation" as long as it's clean eating. We make a point to increase our vegetable portions and use those mentioned sweeteners sparingly, as well as decrease fruit portions. There is this one fact that I keep coming across in my research. Cancer cells feed on sugar. Ugh, that sentence alone is enough to make me stay away. I will be sharing my favorite recipes so far but for now, one of my best tips is to stop eating sugar for breakfast! I'm not sure why we start our days like that, it's almost asking for a crash later. I now eat vegetables in a smoothie, with about half of a banana, packed with nutrients. Sometimes I really do just run around the kitchen and throw everything I can think of in those smoothies. God bless my husband for drinking them :) The easiest way for me to eat better is just to make it a challenge: how many nutrients can I pack into this one meal?

 

Last weekend I traveled to North Dakota for my sister and brother-in-law's graduation. I made a point to eat clean, I even found a decent cafe in the airport with real food :) I packed almonds and fruit/nut bars for snacks on the plane and my brother had some groceries waiting for me at the hotel to help me stick to my clean eating (thanks Jon!). This trip is when I recognized real, positive changes. After two flights and a whole day of travel I felt great, no, amazing. I felt so excited, had energy to burn and I was barely tired upon my arrival. This is not my traveling norm! My Mom even said I looked "different in a good way" when she met me in the lobby. I can't explain in words how encouraging this was. Even so, I went back to some old ways. It's actually easy to eat clean at home but going out is still a challenge. At dinner I ordered salmon and vegetables, but then started snacking on the tables community waffle fries (covered in cheese), later we had cocktails with plenty of sugar in them at the coolest Speakeasy bar in Bismarck! Oh yeah and I had my old favorite: pizza.  Just a side note, I don't believe you should never consume these things again, eating clean can be your base for wellness, one or two unhealthy things aren't going to take all of that goodness away. I just want to make a point as to how I felt after the weekend of getting off track. Honestly, I was sick, all I wanted to do was sleep, my return trip home was exhausting. After the pizza (sorry papa johns) I was actually dizzy. It sounds crazy but I consider these symptoms a blessing. If I didn't feel terrible from junk food it would be a lot harder to eat well. I am (normally) drained of energy in airports, and this was no exception. The next day I still felt exhausted and drained. I knew had to get back to the good stuff. 

It has been a few days now and I can feel the beautiful difference. My smoothies and salads are healing me from the inside out. Just from eating clean I am sleeping better, waking up earlier with energy, and I feel so happy and grateful. This is a peace that I hope everyone can have, it just takes a little bit of effort on your part. I wish you wellness. 

I could write all day about how grateful I am for my husband, but I'll spare you :P I just want to say I could not do this or make these changes without his support! 

I could write all day about how grateful I am for my husband, but I'll spare you :P I just want to say I could not do this or make these changes without his support! 

October, 2016. The start to many amazing changes. We pretty much look the same now but I can promise you we feel SO "different in a good way."  Photo cred: Jamie & Sarah Photo. Grand Rapids, MI Photographers.

October, 2016. The start to many amazing changes. We pretty much look the same now but I can promise you we feel SO "different in a good way."

Photo cred: Jamie & Sarah Photo. Grand Rapids, MI Photographers.