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Health + Wellness

My Food Diary Vol I

So…I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to share my food journey. As you know–and if you don’t know, start here–food is at the cornerstone of my natural based lifestyle. Changing my eating habits, cutting out dairy, and eating plant-based is a huge part of my daily life soooo obviously that means, new blog series! To share what’s been working, what hasn’t, what I’ve been learning, and recipes I’ve tried, I decided to share some of the most popular foods I’m eating through food diaries. So here we go, volume 1. Enjoy.

Food Diary: Breakfast

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Health + Wellness

Plant Based

Plant Based
Gather round friends. It’s story time! This is the true life account of how one day I was living my best meat eating life and the next day, I wasn’t.

If you’ve been keeping up, you know that I decided to make some dramatic changes to my lifestyle. One of the main changes? My eating habits. So here’s the thing though, while I was fully committed to eating better, more whole foods and cutting down processed foods and sugar…I didn’t ever actually have any intention on becoming a vegetarian. And vegan? Wasn’t even a passing thought in my mind. And if we’re keeping it real…it still isn’t. Transitioning to a plant based diet was honestly (truly) a natural progression, that happened rather abruptly. When I think about it, it was all really out of my hands. Funny how life works like that huh…

This whole thing started a couple months ago, when I stopped eating dairy. I wrote a little about that on my Choosing Natural post. With dairy, I had always had issues with it, and when I say always I mean since infancy when after a scary incident my mother learned I had to be switched to soy based formula. That shoulda been a red flag right? Nope. Instead I spent the next 29 whole years eating dairy. Why are people like this? Anyway, I started having all kinds of issues, so I cut out the most logical culprit. Dairy had to go.

Around the same time, I stopped eating pork. And, that was pretty random. I was doing some research and came across a few articles and videos on what pork does to your body and I was just like…for whyyyy? WHY? Soon after, with equal randomness, I stopped eating red meat. At this point, I’m not sure why I did that.You gotta understand, I was doing research but…it was something else that had me just feeling off about a lot of things. I was becoming skeeved out at meat in general. It was weird. But, whatever.

At this point in my life, I go in the direction that I am led and that’s pretty much that.

I had started feeling pretty good about where I was with food and fully intended on eating plant based during the day with meat at night. I planned to stick with chicken or fish and be good to go. And then I watched the Forks & Knives documentary and was just like…okay I’m good. And that was that. This is my life now…for now.

Here’s the thing. And y’all know (or maybe y’all don’t know…we should talk about this) I don’t do titles. So, saying that I’m vegetarian or vegan just feels like another label I don’t really want to have. I think that’s why I vibe so much with the “plant based” movement. For me, it feels right for where I’m at, at this point. I don’t eat meat right now and I don’t eat dairy anymore. That’s just what it is for me.

For my plant based friends…how did you make the switch. Are you vegan, vegetarian, doing what works for you at the moment like me? Anyone else super random?

Plant Based

~xoxo

Food + Drink Health + Wellness Life

Fixing Our Bad Eating Habits

Eating habits

As the only main cook in our house, all the eating decisions come down this mama right here. Whatever I decide I’m putting on the stove, in the oven, or crockpot is what’s going on the table. That’s why more and more often these days I feel a growing tinge of guilt when I make food that I know isn’t good for us. You see, ignorance is bliss and it’s one thing when you’re whipping up meals that taste good and you don’t know (or can’t help, no food shaming over here) that they’re bad. But when you start to flip over those packages, realize you can’t read a thing, and have every ability to do something different…it’s time to make some changes.

To be real, these horrible eating habits didn’t randomly appear overnight. It’s not something I was oblivious to for years. The truth is that, we’ve eaten fast food, processed food, fatty and sugary foods for a really long time. And changing the way we eat has always seemed like this daunting task that I couldn’t wrap my head around. I would creep on all the healthy food blogs and wish that I could start to make some adjustments in our meals but would then think of my picky toddler who eats maybe 3 kinds of food. My 7 year old who might eat 4. Or my husband who just likes what he likes…and these new recipes didn’t seem like they could be it. So what’s a mom to do you know? On one hand I know that we’ve got to do something different in the kitchen. On the other it’s like, where do I even begin without causing madness in my home?

Well…I’ve got to start somewhere.

  1. Eat more whole foods. And no I’m not talking about that expensive grocery store, I mean just everyday whole foods I can get at my local market. That means less processed foods or ready made things. Just good old regular foods that have ingredients I can read or better yet no ingredients at all because, they’re whole foods. I’ve been lowkey debating doing a Whole30 in September but honestly not ready to take on that kinda change just yet. We shall see but for now, this is a great start.

  2. Less bad snacks and more good ones. My kids love snacks. Especially the little one. And of course due to some serious spoiling by the Mr. who is just as addicted to snacks as his Jr., we’ve found ourselves in the pretty nasty habit of buying and eating way to many unhealthy snacks. Now, mama has to keep her sanity some kind of way and if we’re being honest, it’s not the snacks that are bad. It’s the kind of snacks that cause the problems. Instead of buying a bunch of sweets and treats it’ll be more fruits and healthy things. I need to figure out exactly what those are because they’ve done cookies and chips for so long, I don’t even know where to begin. Time to put that popcorn machine we got for Christmas to use!

3. Buy organic where I can. As of late I’ve been making a real effort to buy as many organic fruits, veggies, and meats where I can. The truth of the matter (welcoming all suggestions for a frugal organic blogger with a large family to point me to) is that organic foods aren’t cheap. And when you’re feeding three growing boys–one that eats like an adult–and an athletic husband who needs well rounded meals…let’s just say I’m barely keeping up with non-organic foods. I try not to be too nitpicky. I don’t need organic linguine. But if I can stick to the biggies, I feel okay.

  1. Meal prep! I’ve been using my new planner to add in our dinners every night and it has definitely helped with meal planning. But the plan is just half the battle. One of the most common reasons you might find us in a drive thru or eating chicken patties is because I didn’t prep the meal, got busy, or simply didn’t have the time. Meal prepping at the beginning of week is really helpful to ensure I’m not running into these moments. I started by prepping a few lunches for the hubs. Nothing major but making and freezing a few hamburger patties (made with organic beef and eggs) on Sunday cut down on him eating fast food throughout the week.

  2. Make it a family affair. The kids eat when they help make food. I learned this one Taco Tuesday where the picky 7 year old who declared he would never like tacos changed his tune when it came to making tacos for himself. All I did was cook, the meat and set up a station of toppings, and that took him from “I don’t like tacos” to “my taco is great!”. If I’m going to be switching things around here I want the family to feel involved as well. Whether that’s letting them choose which healthy snacks they want to helping cook or prepare our meals.

My goal is to really just introduce my family to foods that are better for them overall. I’m not trying to be a vegetarian. I don’t want to cut out all the sugars, spice, and everything nice. I just want to make eating good a regular thing over here in my kitchen :).

And with that, I’m off to the blogs. Wish me luck. ~ xoxo

Health + Wellness

Salmon + Strawberry Summer Salad

Salmon + Strawberry Salad

I’m always leery when it comes to posting about food. Now don’t get me wrong, if the fact that it typically takes an hour or so to cook a solid dinner and maybe 10 minutes for everyone to wipe their plates clean is any indication of my skills, I’d saying I do a pretty good job ;). But still, I’m no Chef Curry so I guess maybe it’s that whole imposter syndrome thing going on whenever I share food posts. Anyways…

Whenever it’s the hubs turn to cook–usually a night or two a week…on a good week–he leans on his trusty George Forman Grill to make the meal. At first I was less than enthused but it’s better than his alternative suggestion of chicken patties every Tuesday. No thanks. But as of late, it’s been growing on me.

I was craving a fresh salad and grilled salmon yesterday afternoon and there it was looking right at me. The Lean, Mean, Grilling Machine. I seasoned my salmon and got to work. I wound up adding strawberries because what’s a salad in the summer without strawberries, and even some candied pecans, ya know to balance things out ;). It turned out realllly good. Think I have my new go-to salad this summer.

So I wish I had some fancy recipe for you to follow buuuttt I don’t. But here’s the basics:

Organic spring mix

4 or 5 strawberries cut in quarters

Salmon (I used frozen wild caught from my local grocery)

Seasoning (old bay, lemon pepper, garlic)

A sprinkle of candied pecans (that’s a horrible measurement I know)

Salad dressing of your choice (I went with italian but almost decided on balsamic vinaigrette)

Enjoy! ~xoxo

Salmon + Strawberry Summer Salad

Health + Wellness

Easy Pepper + Onion Kielbasa Hash

Easy Pepper + Onion Kielbasa Hash

Only a few recipe posts in and already I’m making it clear that I love potatoes and recipes that are simple. A good hash recipe is always in rotation in my kitchen. They’re easy, I can slide in veggies with ease, and “most” of the time I can get all the kids on board without complaints (except for Man Man or better known as the world’s pickiest eater). I’ve been trying my hand at this meal planning thing–success pending–and Monday nights rotate between meatless or basic and this easy pepper and onion kielbasa hash made it onto the menu. It was a hit! There are rarely leftovers in my house full of boys but they were legit disappointed that I hadn’t made more. Adding this one to the meal plan rotation for sure!

I was inspired by this pinterest recipe and modified it a bit to fit what was in my kitchen and my taste. I also added rice with it because my son loves rice and asked so I said sure. It turned out to be a nice addition though totally unnecessary for most folks.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 14oz package of kielbasa (the recipe I used for this called for turkey but I like beef, it was great for us)

1 green pepper

1/2 yellow pepper

1 onion

3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into cubes

Olive oil

1/2 cup beef broth

2 cups cooked white rice (optional)

If you try it, let me know how you like it! It’s back on the meal plan for next week…assuming I can remain dedicated to this meal plan thing anyway ;). ~xoxo

Food + Drink Health + Wellness Life

Simple Sweet Potato Hash

Simple Sweet Potato Hash

Woop! It’s Friday, we made it. We have a pretty full weekend ahead with church events, Easter egg hunts, two basketball games, and I have to squeeze in time to watch the last two episodes of Cooked on Netflix. If you have some time, you should catch an episode or two. It’s a documentary about food through the lens of nature focusing on Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. It sounds simple but, it’s reealllyy good. It makes you look at cooking and food in a different light. Thanks Amiyrah for the recommendation!

Even before Cooked I have been making an effort to eat better, cook more, and spend less time and money on take out. I live for simple recipes, the less steps the better so when I saw this Sweet Potato Hash recipe on FB, I was inspired to try it. I think what intrigued me most is that the flavors seemed so weird together, to me at least. It was good, despite the face the pickiest toddler in the world was making ;), so I thought I’d share my version of the Tasty recipe. I wanted to link it but that page moves fast! Continue Reading

Health + Wellness Life

5 Ways to Practice Self-Care When Life Gets Busy

self-care coverSelf what? If anyone understands the “where do I make time for self-care struggle” it’s me. Between chasing after ManMan (my 3 yr old), cramming in time blocks of work between nap time and turn up time, volunteering at my older boys school, homework and extracurriculars, dinner and keeping up with the hubs hectic schedule…you see Mama is last on the list. But, although my daily lifestyle would suggest otherwise, self-care is ESSENTIAL for any of these things to get done. If I’m not taking the time to care for me, I genuinely can not care for the ones in my life that need me the most. My family. After battling with anxiety, sheer overwhelm, and consistently feeling like the hot mess mom in this BuzzFeed video, I knew I needed to get real serious about taking time for self-care so that I could be a better mother, wife, and me .  Continue Reading