Life… and a year in Kentucky!

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HELLO! It’s been awhile, I know. Nearly every day, I tell myself “I need to stop slacking and update my blog!” Yet…. you know what happens. Life. Life gets in the way. I get too caught up with things that when I think about posting a blog update, I tell myself, “it’s not really that important” and I go read a book instead. Or run away to Colorado.

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Yes, I did go to Colorado for a long, lovely weekend for the wedding of some dear friends. It was just what I needed to recharge a bit, too (love those mountains).

But anyway, I just…. haven’t had the motivation to blog much online these days. I have a love/hate relationship with blogging/social media/the internet. Currently? It’s leaning towards the ‘hate’ (or rather, the strong dislike of and desire to stay away from screens). Those of you’ve known me for awhile might have noticed this pattern over the years…. *ahem*

But, that aside, I owe y’all a short and sweet update of the last several months!

  • The RV. We sold our RV about a month ago. It was very bittersweet. So hard to see it go, knowing all the energy and love we (and others) put into it. But, after evaluating what to do next regarding a place to live, it was good to get it off our shoulders and into someone else’s hands. This journey isn’t over yet. We’ll get another one in the near future for weekend travels. Once you RV, you’re hooked!!!
  • Speaking of RVs, we finally met RV Wanderlust! Eric and Brittany Highland are the two wonderful and humble souls behind RV Wanderlust. After nearly a year of being connected through RV groups and getting to know each other online, Kyle and I spent a wonderful evening in Lexington with them. If you’re about to embark on an RV adventure (or you already are), do check out their blog.
  • Geocaching is my addiction….. all over again. Sun’s shining, we’re living in a windowless room, and there’s plenty of Kentucky to explore. What to do? Geocache! Kyle and I became hooked on this game nearly six years ago. We kind of let the hobby slide for a bit but got back into it again a couple months ago to beat the windowless room and see more Kentucky. Hooked. I’m looking for geocaches whenever I can… and it gets me out of the house.
  • Summer travels! Aside from a few days in colorful Colorado, we’ve been to Chicago a couple times with intention to return one more time before winter holidays. After that? I anticipate traveling less. Staying in Kentucky and using our weekends to relax at home or explore surrounding states and cities (St. Louis, Nashville,…..) We did manage to hike up Natural Bridge in Kentucky in June and loved it. Beautiful. Kayaking down the river in town has also been checked off our list.
  • Work. I want to mention that Kyle found a new job he loves, which freed up his weekends and allows us to spend more time together. I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for us. Whee!
  • We are back on our feet. We went through a rough patch within the last year as we started over a couple times, but these days we are feeling a bit more stable. It’s a good feeling. Kyle and I had a pretty easy life together in Chicagoland and we took a lot of things for granted. I have a greater appreciation now for basic, daily things that keep life calm.
  • Whole30? Oh yeah….. what happened with the Whole30? Well. It was off to a good start. And I did notice some improvements in my overall health and energy levels. But by the time the third week rolled around, I was tired of obsessing over my food and stopped Whole30. All these food lifestyles and diets (whether or not you want to call them that) take up brain energy that I’d rather distribute elsewhere. As long as I keep a varied diet of whole foods and eat with moderation, I’m fine.
  • Last but not least, Jesus. I am thinking more and more lately about what it means to follow Jesus, especially in the wake of all the controversial issues that have popped up lately. I’m digging deeper into scripture and reflecting on what kind of life I want to lead and how to lead it that way.

Also, a couple weeks ago marks a year since we’ve moved here to Kentucky. Whoa.

We’ve had two different experiences: six months in our RV on a lovely ranch and six months in a studio apartment on a main street in a small town. Both were enjoyable: I loved our sweet RV and the farm (with all the ducks and that crazy rooster) and have loved being in town, near the stores and events. I’m thankful for both the farm and the apartment, but looking ahead to the next living situation. We’ve also developed friendships with honest, humble people who have deeply blessed us. Our roots are growing with these people, with our church, and with this community. Every day I am in awe that we are here.

Nothing is forever, but plenty of things can be right now.

And right now? Kentucky is home.

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Whole 30: Week Two!

So, I’ve made it through two weeks of Whole30! Woo-hoo!

And… uhm…. I failed. A lot. I did have plenty of Whole30 meals… and then some not so Whole30 bites to eat. Things like a slice of pie, a chocolate bunny, hot dogs (on buns), potato chips, a handful of Goldfish crackers, and pizza. Sigh. I feel like I have a good reason for some of these food choices (like those two days my emotions we were weird and I dealt with sadness & anger…. and that one night I had no other choice but to eat nothing), but yep… I failed the Whole30….. more on that at the end of those post.

Here’s what I ate last week:

Day Eight

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Breakfast: bacon/sweet potato/spinach scramble with iced chai tea.
Lunch: strawberries, Larabar, water.
Snacks: mixed nuts, LaCroix
Dinner: Italian beef (I skipped the bread) and various veggies (not pictured).
Today’s cheat: apple dipped in caramel sauce.

Day Nine

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Breakfast: bacon/sweet potato/spinach, banana, water.
Lunch: salad, Larabar, water.
Snacks: cashews, raisins, water.
Dinner: Chick-fil-a Whole30 option: grilled chicken nuggets, fruit cup, water, iced coffee
Today’s cheat: chocolate bunny split with my husband

Day Ten

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Breakfast: three egg veggie omelet, iced chai tea
Lunch: peas & carrots with peaches (not pictured), mixed nuts & dried fruits, Larabar, water.
Dinner: hard-boiled eggs (not all the eggs in the photo!), mixed nuts, water.

Day Eleven

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Breakfast: strawberries, hard-boiled eggs, iced coffe or chai tea (cannot remember)
Lunch [today’s cheat]: Chick-fil-a…. not a Whole30 meal, iced coffee.
Dinner: fruit-infused water, Italian beef (no bread), salad.
Another cheat: slice of apple pie from local restaurant in town.

Day Twelve

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Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, iced coffee
Lunch: salad, NAKED juice (probably wasn’t Whole30, oops…)
Dinner [today’s cheat]: I actually did not have a proper dinner but between 6pm and 2am, I consumed a slice of pepperoni pizza, three hot dogs (two with buns), handful of potato chips, and an almond milk coffee energy drink. Definitely threw my Whole30 out the window there. However, I woke up the next morning feeling pretty fantastic…. Weird, right? Might be endorphins from all the running around I did.

Day Thirteen

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Breakfast: bacon/sweet potato/spinach scramble, iced coffee
Lunch: veggie salad, some nuts (not pictured), strawberry-infused water
Dinner [cheats]: two slices of sausage pizza

Day Fourteen

Ohh…. all I had to eat today were some slices of pizza, chocolates, and water. Ouch. Let’s leave it at that. At least I consumed a lot of water today, right!? Yeah…. But I don’t want to entirely give up just yet.

How did I feel this past week?

As I mentioned earlier, I went through a couple days of sadness and anger. It was so weird. I think it was due to some other things going on in my life, but someone pointed out that the Whole30 could be doing that to me as part of my withdrawl from certain foods. Perhaps? As for those times I consumed chocolate and pizza? The chocolate left me feeling really icky afterwards and the pizza made me bloat. But other than that, I was energized and happy.

So…. am I still doing this challenge?

According to the Whole30 rules/guideliness, if you ‘mess up’ and sneak or consume something that is not Whole30, you have to start all over again. With that in mind, I should have started over again. But I didn’t. I’m thinking that as long as I maintain a 80/20 Whole30/whatever eating lifestyle, that I’ll be OK (this is my personal experiment… let me do what I am comfortable with!). At least, a lot better than I have been for the last few months (which is the reason I took on the challenge). I have a feeling that once the challenge is ‘over’, I’ll be sticking with it. I’m still going through the next two weeks with Whole30 in mind. Taking it one day a time.

Whole30! Week One Progress.

Last week Monday, I started a personal Whole30 challenge. For thirty days, I’ll be eating a strict Paleo diet: basically veggies, fruits, meats, seafoods, eggs, nuts, water, and tea. No sugar, no cheese, no dairy, no breads, no grains, no pasta, no legumes (beans, soy, peanuts), no alcohol, and no processed foods of any kind.

Why? I’m tired of feeling sick all the time. For the last seven months or so, I’ve been sick on and off more than I’ve ever been. I attribute it partly to the weather, stress, and change, but also because I’ve been eating ‘worse’ than usual: too much pizza, too much pasta, ramen, candy, soda, etc. Lack of time and low funds have greatly contributed to that icky diet (now I understand why so many busy, broke Americans eat so poorly). We’ve got a better handle on things now and I’m ready to take control of my health again. And yes, I’m eating meat for this.

The day I decided to start Whole30, I went through my fridge and cabinets, moving all non-compliant foods to a different shelf or drawer (my husband is still eating whatever he wants). I had a few staples to work with but went to the local grocery store to pick up some eggs & meats to start. I tried my best to select items that were compliant (organic, grass-fed, no soy, no sugar, etc.) with the options I had. After a whirlwind Easter weekend in Chicago, I started Whole30 last Monday!

Here’s how my first week went:

Day One

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Breakfast: coffee (two sips and I was done), apple slices, sausage
Lunch: green beans, pineapple, water.
Snacks: raisins, banana, water.
Dinner: kale & spinach salad with grapes, blueberries, seeds, olive oil & vinegar, strawberries, water.

Day Two

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Breakfast: two eggs, sausage, steamed kale with sesame seeds, tea.
Lunch: grapes, strawberries, apples, water.
Snacks: handful of mixed nuts, Coconut Creme Larabar, LaCroix drink.
Did not have dinner. Wasn’t hungry, I suppose.

Day Three

 

 

 

Breakfast: two eggs with spinach, bacon, iced chai tea.
Lunch: turkey & romaine-wrapped pickles, mixed fruits, water.
Snack: nuts, Apple Pie Larabar, LaCroix, water
Dinner: lemon-pepper chicken, mixed veggies, roasted red garlic potatoes, water.

Day Four

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Breakfast: sausage, two eggs, orange, coffee with coconut milk.
Lunch: leftover herb roasted potatoes, turkey & lettuce-wrapped pickes, Larabar, water.
Dinner:  hot dog with veggies (no bun!), water

Day Five

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Breakfast: bacon, eggs, iced coffee with coconut milk
Lunch/afternoon snack: water, two Larabars, salad
Dinner: random fruits and veggies, sausage (not pictured)

Day Six

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Early lunch: stir-fry veggies, water.
Morning/afternoon snack: LaCroix, dried fruits, water.
Dinner: salmon, sauteed veggies, water.

Day Seven

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Breakfast: two eggs with spinach and mushrooms, banana, iced coffee
Afternoon snack: Larabar, Kombucha
Dinner: some ground beef (it was the only thing I could eat from what was offered)
Dessert: green smoothie with spinach, pineapple, and banana

So… how do I feel?

GOOD! The first day was rough. Total lack of sleep and dealing with a cold plus not enough food made for a very cranky and exhausted Laura. I was unable to prepare enough for that day and had to make my lunch stretch through dinner since I had a 12-hour work day, as well. All the snacks in my classroom and all the food in the building? Couldn’t have most of it. I resisted temptation (go, me!) but it was hard. Rawr. Fortunately, it got better from there…. except for the constant headaches. Withdrawl, perhaps? I’m not sure. Also, I bought the LaCroix drinks because they are apparently Whole30 compliant and I thought it would be nice to have something to drink other than water, tea, and coffee. The LaCroix drinks give me headaches too. I never finish the entire can when I have one. I have no idea why they give me headaches…!? I was also getting over a rough cold when I started the Whole30 and now I feel so much better (aside from the headaches)!

I need more filling meals, though.

Most of my meals were lacking ‘completeness’ in my opinion. They were bare bones and needed a lot more veggies and well, food in general. It doesn’t help that I didn’t plan any of my meals — just thought of what ingredients I had and put things together as the meals came. Hoping to change that this week as I’ve dug up a few yummy-looking recipes and picked up some of the things I needed for them.

I did, however, notice my desire to snack lessen as the week progressed. I’m usually a nonstop snacker. Not munching on crackers or jelly beans was weird for me…. but I got used to it. Hoping it lasts the rest of the thirty days.  (Soooo thankful for a chance to visit Whole Foods today — they’ve got way more compliant options.)

What I learned:

Soy and sugar is in almost everything!! Seriously! I’m a label-reader, but for Whole30, I’m reading every label and finding so much soy and sugar in everything (in its various forms)! It’s ridiculous. And sad. Especially when you are in an area where you have no other options for certain foods. Eek!

On that note….

Have you done Whole30 or started eating Paleo? How did things go for you?

Here’s to another healthy week!