Whole {Foods}.

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Greetings good people! While I’ve been quiet on my little space here on the blog, I have shared with many of you about my healthy eating journey on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve been journeying for over 6 weeks and I have committed to doing 90 days of totally cleaning eating. The most common questions I have gotten are the WHAT?, WHY? and HOW?

First let me tackle the WHAT? question. So imagine taking everything off the table. Now put on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, meat (no processed meat like lunch meat or bacon), and nuts (no peanuts) and don’t forget salt and pepper and other pure spices. So there you have it, that’s what I’m eating. Everything is prepared, nothing is quick and easy. Everything is fresh and intentional.

You see, when I’m not pregnant I have faithfully loved Weight Watchers. It has helped me lose weight and maintain my weight for nearly 13 years. But here’s my problem. I can manipulate WW to lose weight. I can cut corners, eat junk and still lose because it’s a calorie game…NOT a nutrition game. But now all the sudden I want nutritious food. Actually I LOVE good fresh food. And guess what? I’m losing weight! Some of you may be able to eat super healthy with WW and that is great, however, I have learned that for me, it is no longer a good fit.

Now for the WHY? This is probably the question I have gotten most often. It all started with doing Beth Moore’s Daniel Bible Study. If you are not familiar with this study it details the book of Daniel from the Bible in two parts. Part One is Daniels life as a captive in Babylon. Part Two is the prophesies that God gave him concerning the future. So a quick recap of Daniel….As a young man Daniel was captured in Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, along with all the other Jews. Here is part of the text from Daniel Chapter 1.

“Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility–young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service…..But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way….Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. “Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.”

You see, Daniel was a Jew. He was different. He was set apart. It was against the Jewish law to defile himself with much of the king rich food. So he boldly requested only vegetables and water instead. Not only was he brave to ask, but he was committed to living differently from the rest of Babylon. He was a Jew not a Babylonian. This is important for me as a Believer. Am I different than everyone else? Do I speak words of love and truth? Do I live in a way that honors God in my speech, my heart, my studies, my finances, my eyes and ears? What about my mouth? What am I eating? Through the book of Daniel I have learned that through his obedience to God, even by way of his eating, God gave him a place of great valor in Babylon in order to serve each king with dignity and great honor to the One True God. God used Daniel because of his obedience in the big and small things, but what about me? I will speak of God, sing to God and truly LOVE God with all my heart, but please don’t take my coffee creamer, candy and granola bars. Please. God you can have it all, but don’t take my junk food.

This hit me hard. Very hard. This is when I began processing a change.

Then I had a few poignant conversations with some medical friends about sugar, how much we love it and how awful it is for us. In fact, researchers are now saying that while cancer can strike anyone, one of the only ways to prevent cancer is to cut sugar. As we were leaving my friend said to me, “It’s easier to prevent than it is to heal.” Wow.

After all these thoughts were swirling around my head I had my sweet Nonny’s birthday party. At the party we had lots of junk food of course. I found myself eating things that I didn’t even like (hello Pizza Rolls!) and after the party I felt gross and guilty. So the next morning I woke up and declared that I was committed to doing 90 day of whole foods to begin. 90 days of nothing, not one thing, processed. I didn’t clean the cabinets, read a book or talk to my husband about it. It was time and that was that. Because friends, that’s how I roll.

So here I am almost 50 days later. I’m still committed. I feel lighter (17.5 pounds down so far), I have more energy, I have cut out all coffee (because apparently I was never addicted to the caffeine only to the sugar in the creamer!), and replaced it with one cup of black tea in the mornings. I am not searching the house for sugar at 2:00pm. Eating good whole foods is making me feel so amazing. I am not taking any pills, supplements, drinks or shakes. Only real food for the Earth. That is the big secret.

But HOW? you ask. Well, I have found that keeping it simple is key for me. No complicated recipes. No crazy ingredients from the store. Just beautiful produce prepared simply. If you go online you’ll find zillions of Whole30 recipes and that is great. I find most of them overwhelming. I am basically getting out a pan putting in some olive oil and chopping veggies and sauteing them together. It’s very, very simple.

So here is a normal eating day for me:

Breakfast; 3 eggs with salt and pepper and a few grapes and an orange

Snack: A handful of pure almonds

Lunch: Cucumber, raw carrots, almonds, apple and a leftover chicken breast or chicken legs

Dinner: A piece of meat (chicken, pork, fish or steak) prepared with garlic, salt and pepper. Spinach, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, onion with coconut oil and salt and pepper and I’m also loving roasted sweet potatoes. (I try to chop up the sweet potatoes and veggies during nap/rest time to cut down on the time spent on dinner). Another option is to chop veggies on the weekends and label with dinners for the week

After Dinner: An apple or orange

I am NOT starving. I’m eating often and if I’m hungry I eat. I’m not counting calories or fat. I am simple eating real food.

Here are some examples of what I’m eating:

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This is sautéed Crappie Fish in coconut oil and fresh pineapple juice with salt and pepper. Roasted sweet potatoes and delicious pico de gallo! I had to watch a video on how to make “the worlds best pico!” And homemade guacamole with freshly sliced pineapple on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce.

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Sweet potatoes with olive oil, paprika and pepper. Spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic over baked chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. Simple and delicious.

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Grilled Steak with garlic, salt and pepper, sweet potatoes with coconut oil and salt/pepper, roasted broccoli, asparagus and carrots with olive oil, mushrooms, onions and peppers.

So there you have it. It’s not easy, because our culture tells us that we “deserve” things. “These kiddos are insane today! I really need chocolate!” Or “Zach I know it’s late but I’m so hungry! How about some graham crackers with peanut butter!”  I craved coffee creamer from the second I woke up in the mornings (sugar), then I would eat a Clif Bar for breakfast (sugar) then a peanut butter sandwich for lunch (sugar). At nap/rest time I was desperate for my sugar fix and then a dinner with hidden sugars in salsa, bread, microwaveable veggies, and some meat. But don’t forget my after dinner treat too. Sometimes my treats would be a few jelly beans and sometimes half a bag of chocolate chips. I thought I was eating healthy!!!! I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing weight and felt exhausted all the time. It’s because I am a FULL BLOWN sugar addict. I have learned this about myself. If I treat this addiction seriously and do not downplay it like before then I am careful to realize it’s power of me.

I have had so many of you tell me that you are scared to try. I was too. I convinced myself that it was too much work. I am already overwhelmed caring for a 6, 4, 3 and 1 year old. How in the world could I prepare all the meals with no help from nuggets???? Well, I just am. Because when you want something, you do it. I have prayed a thousand prayers for strength over the past weeks. And I can honestly say that before this journey I had never asked God to help me with food. I am learning that eating, for me, is as much of a spiritual battle as it is physical. I have asked Jesus to break all the chains of my sugar addition and He is. One day, one meal and one moment at a time.

You can do this friends. You really, really can.

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Fact.

FullSizeRenderMolly the Budding Artist: Age 5

When I was a kid I wrote a “song.”

It went a little something like this…

Face the facts of your tomorrow

Face the facts of your today

Face the facts of your tomorrow, or there may not be a to-day

I know, I know. Genius right?

I’m a natural songwriter.

I sang it in the bathtub. I sang it in my bedroom with hairbrushes. I sang it in the car. I sang it on the playground. This song was my masterpiece.  I clearly remember being so proud of my very first song. Never mind that it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It was my JAM.

But this was only the beginning into my dramatic songwriting career. My next hit was also about facts. Apparently facts were a thing. 

Ready?

Facts!

Facts are real!

Facts are real. 

Facts are true.

I know, again, my songwriting talent just goes on and on doesn’t it?

When I wasn’t writing songs I was listening to music. In the early 90’s I was completely hooked on country music. Garth, Reba (Fancy anyone?), Kenny Chesney (back when he had hair), Colin Ray, Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, ya know, the good stuff.

I would sit in my room and just SOB during the songs. I would cry and sulk and cry and sulk some more. Of course I truly had no idea what the songs were actually about. I was a tiny child after all. In fact, do you remember the song “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks? Before the music video came out I thought the song was about the dangers of thunderstorms. (It was really about domestic violence).

Looking back I probably should have out gotten outside a bit more, no? How about the sandbox young Molly, rather than sitting in your room crying to the country music radio station about how thunderstorms are the #1 killer in America?

But then again, if I had I wouldn’t have created my Platinum FACTS COLLECTION.

Don’t ya worry, maybe for Christmas I’ll write another little ditty just for you. Who knows what facts I’ll teach you about this time!

Get ready friends, the facts are so real ya gotta face ‘em.

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PS: Sometimes when the world feels heavy, laughter is truly the best medicine. Have a happy day friends. 

Magic {boss}.

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A few years ago as my tiny children napped I began the daunting task of putting up our beloved Christmas decorations.  They accumulate, you know.  Somehow over time the precious memories multiply into pictures, ornaments, crafts and frames

As I was pulling out our decorations, a thought hit me like a ton of bricks, “I am the memory maker.”  Me.  I am the boss of the magic.  Not my husband, not Santa, it is me.  And friends, that magic doesn’t have a thing to do with presents.

Sure we buy our kids presents, play Santa and move our Elf “Spot” every night, but more than anything we invest in experiences.  We are official “cheer spreaders.”

When my children are grown up I know they won’t remember many presents, but they will remember caroling to our neighbors and bringing them homemade cookies.  They will remember building shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child for kids around the world.  They will remember our traditions of making tickets to the Polar Express out of construction paper and stickers and me being “the Conductor” using a ridiculous voice as I take their tickets.  They will remember driving through a live nativity every year and hearing the Christmas story acted out in real life.  They will remember wearing their pajamas and drinking hot cocoa while we drive around looking at Christmas lights.  They will remember walking down main street in our little town as the trees sparkle along side them.  They each will remember picking an angel from the angel tree at our church for kids who may need a little extra love at Christmas.  They will remember our family.  Our love and our time spent being together.

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These things are not expensive or fancy, but they are ours.  Our traditions.  Our precious family traditions.

Every family can cultivate these kinds of memories.  It takes thought and intention, but Christmas is much more than taking your kids to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap.  They need your presence, attention and desire to cultivate these memories that will last a lifetime.

Because after all, we get one shot at this friends.  One shot.  This life is short and goes by at lightning speed, but if we stop and soak it up and truly invest in our families we will not regret it.  Not for a second.

From one Mama to the next I encourage you to spend time with your families and hide these memories in your heart, as Mary did so long ago.

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