Wednesday, October 30, 2013

21 Day Gluten/Dairy/Sugar Free Challenge

Happy Halloween!

Perhaps it's not fair to post this the day before the night of tricks-and-treats, but ironically that's how the timing worked for me.

November is the last month of the Gluten Free Health Challenge, and I'll be sharing just one final post from each of the 7 women taking the challenge.

But in the meantime, I wanted to tell you about a new challenge that our gluten free coach, Shirley Plant, is holding. Her 21 Day Gluten/Dairy/Sugar Free Challenge begins on November 4th, and is a great way to help you ease into this lifestyle.

I chose Shirley as one of the coaches in the GF Challenge after talking with her via Skype, and I really like her gentle, non-judgmental approach. Plus, I also know she tackles the mind-body work that I love so much by adding a self-hypnosis audio into the challenge. So if you're looking for help with starting - or sticking with - a gluten, dairy and sugar free diet, here's a great option for you.

Included in the Challenge:

  • Recipes and menu plans
  • Helpful dietary and emotional tips throughout the challenge
  • Closed Facebook group for added support from Shirley and other challengers
  • Three one-hour calls with Shirley each Monday, with Q&A at the end
  • Audio clip from integrative medical specialist, Dr. Richard Nahas, on why he recommends his clients go gluten free
  • Audio clip from hypnotherapist, Johanna Lynn, with a 30 minute hypnosis to help you with the stress and emotions that come up when changing your diet
  • A chance to win a one-on-one thirty minute consult with Shirley 
Shirley will be holding a free 45 minute call on Friday November 1st at 7:30pm EST to answer questions about the challenge. You can register for that call here.

Full Disclosure: I'm an affiliate, which means I get paid a small amount if you sign up for the challenge with this link. The price doesn't change for you though, and I only decided to be an affiliate after talking extensively with Shirley about the program and making sure it was something I felt good putting my name behind. I was also happy to be able to share this with you because I know many of my readers are looking for something like this, and it's no longer the type of work I'm personally doing, but I think it has great value. There are a lot of people jumping on the GF bandwagon and selling programs, but Shirley has been doing this type of coaching for a long time and really understands the emotional side of having food sensitivities.


p.s. Don't worry about Thanksgiving coming up for those of you in the U.S. I've done many a Thanksgiving gluten, dairy, and sugar-free, and Shirley will be sharing some recipes with you all for the holiday.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rebecca's Balancing Act: Home Cooking and Dancing the Night Away

Ah gluten free challenge, I feel I am failing you.  I am successfully staying away from bread and pasta, the 'biggies' on a gluten plate, but flour tortillas and soy sauce have both snuck in.  Argh.

BUT you know I have been trying to cook more, and in my last post I said I had decided to ask my mom to work with me on weekly meal planning.  We've done it for two weeks now and I've made four home-cooked dinners - YEA!  Three of the dinners were okay, but last night's Tomato and White Bean soup was SO GOOD!  Damian literally licked his bowl clean :-)  It's from the Gluten Free Vegan Cookbook, as were the stuffed bell peppers which were really good, but I needed to cook the peppers longer or roast them first.  It's my favorite cookbook these days!

Cooking success!  But still eating a LOT and Taco Bell snuck in a few more times.  Tonight I realized that one of the things that would help is if we make a rule that all food in this house must be eaten at the dining table.  Like, we can eat *anything* we want - chips, ice cream (for him), whatever, but it has to be at the dining table.  We've been snacking in front of the TV too darn much lately!  Damian's game for making healthier choices, but we are kind of bad for each other's motivation.  We get home from the day at work SO tired.

But there were other successes - we spent last Sunday at the beach and in a long walk through the woods, with a picnic of Kale Salad and other good foodies at the end.  SO NICE!  And we went dancing at an 70's/80's costume party and did the Cha Cha and Swing and Hustle for two hours - it was AWESOME!  I am so lucky to have a dancing partner who can REALLY dance!

I also hired an assistant, and once she is up and running, that should free me up a little to add my walks back in - I hope!  It will be amazing to have help in the office. I had to rearrange and redecorate the office in anticipation of a helper; the changes feel great!

My big struggle is just that now, without the wedding, I have lost my drive, my short term reason that was creating so much health success for me, and the longer term goal of a healthy life just isn't quite the same motivator.  On the other hand, I am going to see my mom in January and don't want to show up pudgy and unhealthy when my own habits were starting to motivate her to make more nutritious choices too. I am also going to get new head shots for work soon thereafter, and I certainly want to look my professional best for those.  So, I guess I need to find a way to keep those smaller motivators front and center.  

Or maybe just plan another wedding.  Kidding!

THIS WEEK'S KEY TO SUCCESS: Cooked twice from scratch!!

THIS WEEK'S PERSONAL CHALLENGE: Drink 1 liter water! Daily!

Pic 1 - won the costume contest at an 80's dance party - best night of the month!

Pic 2 - Rivalee Design headquarters refreshed and reorganized office ready for a helper at my side!

Pic 3 - still juicing, though not regularly


Monday, October 21, 2013

Amy's Bandwagon: Anxiety and Perfection

I have been thinking about writing this post all week.  In a way, I am a little nervous to admit this, even though I shouldn't be.  I'm a social worker and I should know that it is not a scandalous thing to admit that you have issues.  The issue that I deal with, though not on the same level as other people, is anxiety.  I was recently reading through some of my old report cards, even going back as far as kindergarten (the grade my oldest is in), and I realized that I hd anxiety type issues even back then.  I always get anxious around people and certain situations, especially new situations.  I guess this could be a pretty normal thing and overall, it doesn't always effect me negatively.  Where it does though, is when I don't allow myself to experience things because I'm too afraid of what others will think of me or that, God forbid, I'm not perfect at something.  

How does this play into the challenge?  Early on, Mia and I talked about my perfectionism issues and how it relates to food.  In the past, I would give up on gluten free eating/living if I had a slip. Then it would just send me on a downward spiral, where I kept eating what I shouldn't.  Have I been perfect with this challenge? Nope!  The best part of that is, I didn't give up and allow it to defeat me.  I may slip up, but I don't beat myself up.  I did have some anxiety about joining in on this challenge.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to live up to what I was saying I would do.  Now, I realize that it's ok not to be perfect all the time.  As I say that, I have to admit that I still have a hard time being okay with not being perfect and still find myself holding back due to the fear of failure.  It's better, but needs some improvement.

One thing that I am going to do, even though I am very anxious about it, is to join my town's local arts collaborative.  A friend has been trying to get me to join, but I have always felt less than.  Never really felt like an artist.  I'm still having a hard time calling myself an artist, but I am working on that.  I told my husband I am no longer going to call myself a quilter or a knitter or say that I scrapbook or make cards.  I am going to refer to myself as an artist who works in paper, fiber, beads, and clay mediums.  Maybe if I start referring to myself as an artist who works with certain media, I will start feeling like an artist.

Maybe if I start believing more in myself, I won't have as much anxiety, I'll start trying things, and maybe even be better at putting the right foods in my mouth more often.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rebecca's Balancing Act: A Roller Coaster Ride

The interesting thing about writing a weekly post for me is that when I write it, I find that I have all kinds of perspective on the week and that my posts don't really reflect the roller coaster I often actually experience.  When I look back at this week, I feel pretty good about it, but within each actual day it varied from extreme frustration with myself and my eating habits, to utter gluttony and indulgence and a dismissal of all healthy habits, to exceptionally healthy eating and exercise.  All things considered, it was a good week.  But the roller coaster is exhausting.

The week started back up with more Taco Bell.  It's not that it tastes 'good' per say, but it tastes comfortable.  I find it soothing to eat and it kind of numbs me out.  After last week's work with coach Ellen, it really annoyed me that I was still making stupid unhealthy eating choices.

That led to a day or two of intense frustration with myself, though not really a change in habits.

Then, Damian suggested that we start eating really healthy 6 days a week, and super-indulge on Sundays.  I had done that many years ago and it proved really effective with my black and white personality.  So I turned Friday into "Sunday" and ate, among other things, a box of Eggos.  And cream sauce over pasta.  And a fair amount of rum.  The next day I PAID.  OMG was I sick (can you say "Duh"?). My body was so mad at me.  I won't go into the gory details, you've probably been there.  So that brought me back to juicing for a day just to be gentle with myself.  Then, the next day was a combo of juicing and healthy meals, and a lovely walk in the park with Damian.  And now I am writing this post.

Roller coaster!  But since it ended well, like most roller coaster rides do, I fell okay.  But I am REALLY hoping that getting that sick a few days ago will help me stay with healthier choices.  Fingers crossed.  At least if we do the indulgence days I ought to keep them gluten and dairy free cuz, damn!

The GREAT news is that my mom and I had our first on-the-phone meal planning date this week, and I planned out meal for two nights - Stuffed Peppers for dinner last night and Potato Spinach soup for dinner this coming Wednesday.  The peppers turned out REALLY well and Damian really liked them.  That is saying a lot because he's been making stuffed peppers for decades, but beef and lamb based, so to make a gluten free vegan option and have him really enjoy it is a big success!  Yea!  But the biggest success for me is that I got into the kitchen and cooked. 

I feel so uncomfortable in the kitchen.  I want to get to a place where cooking feels easy and doesn't intimidate me.  And I know that within a month or two, if I keep up the planning dates with mom and the twice-a-week cooking, I'll get there.  

My favorite thing since the wedding, though, is that I am focusing on taking time for myself and for my marriage.  We spend evenings either watching a show together or reading by the fire (my favorite). I try to stop work by 6 or 7, and I am loving how much time it feels like I have.  And stuff is getting done anyway.  It's kind of amazing.  I am also taking both Sundays and Mondays off from clients and design-work.  What?!  A whole weekend?  it's kind of awesome.  I still do stuff related to work - today I am working on a speech I'll give tomorrow, and calling references for the assistant I want to hire, and might even create a newsletter to send out, but no design work.  And I'll try to get out for an extra hike (though we went out yesterday, so it would just be a bonus).  So excited to hire an assistant, and so nervous!

THIS WEEK'S KEY TO SUCCESS: Eating so much gluten and dairy that it reminded me why I don't eat those.

THIS WEEK'S PERSONAL CHALLENGE: Cook twice, take a hike.

Pic 1 - Out with Damian in the gorgeous weather for a hike and a picnic - amazing afternoon!

Pic 2 - Revamped office all set up and ready for an assistant, now to find the right one....


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Marisa's Menu: Chaos and Clutter

With Aunt Marcia at Grunauer Oktoberfest 2013

It is definitely time to rid myself of clutter.  I've reached a point where I am so incredibly busy, that the very last thing in the world I have time or a desire to do is de-clutter.  But because the state of my schedule is currently somewhat crazy for the time being, and it is temporarily going to be a challenge to stay grounded and balanced, that probably means having less clutter would be even more beneficial than ever.

With cousins David and John at Hagoyah

My thoughts right now are definitely indicative of the clutter around me.  I am having a hard time even writing this blog post.  So here's to a week of some serious de-cluttering -- of my physical surroundings, AND of my mind.  Keep me accountable readers.  I need it.

So, I am trying to break things down, chip away at a few tasks per day. And no matter what, I am hoping that being stretched thin will NOT impact my yoga practice or the time I am giving to myself for balance and especially rest.

I don't know what happened.  I swear at the end of August, I felt that I somewhat had a handle on things.  But as it usually does, life just took over, and every possible opportunity arose at the same time.  And then, within the past few weeks, a rush of out of town friends and family have been visiting as well.  The weekends have not been true weekends.  Free time is scarce.  

The great news is that opportunities did arise. I could not be more grateful.  I also got to see friends and family who I have missed, and it was so nice to see them.  But the part of me that needs balance, as well as my autoimmune issues, has made all of the good things more stressful than enjoyable.  Luckily, Eryn, my health coach in this gluten-free challenge has been a huge help in keeping me on track, and reminding me of the areas I tend to lose sight on when I become overwhelmed.

Some of the highlights have been:
* Opportunity at my main yoga studio, in the capacity as an employee versus a customer.  The energy there is off the charts awesome.  I could not be happier about this. They show an appreciation for each and every person who walks through the door, and the sincerity of it is heartwarming.
* Opportunities with a few different independent businesses (none of whom are yet at a place where they can afford to pay anyone).  But I am so passionate about these endeavors that my interest was never about a salary in the first place.  I simply love promoting things I believe in.
* Visits from folks I love, such as my dear cousins who moved to San Diego over a year ago.  They used to be our neighbors and my closest friends.  I feel lost sometimes without them because I miss them so much.  But I am so happy that they moved to a place where they are so incredibly happy.  Having them pop in town briefly was amazing. Seeing how happy they are was inspiring and comforting. My Aunt Marcia came in for a few days from Indiana. And my friends Eliot and Brent visited from Chicago. Then soon after they left, one of our friends, Eli James stopped through Kansas City via his North American tour. And then within two days, Julie and Matt stopped through for just under 24 hours from Minneapolis. Julie and I share some of the same food intolerances. So it was great having a dining buddy who truly understands my issues. It has been a revolving door of visitors. Wonderful, but tiring.

Post-It note in the break-room at Hagoyah 



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