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Need some meal ideas? Whole30: Week 2

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Need some meal ideas? Whole30: Week 2

I cannot believe I’m starting my third week without sugar, caffeine, dairy, beans or legumes. It’s been great! My energy level is now constant until 10:30pm. At that point it becomes “find your bed ASAP”. Then after about seven hours of sleep I’m waking up before my alarm and am ready to start the day. I’ve never been a morning person yet chose a career that starts at 6:45am. Oh well. I’ve found that I am functioning better with less sleep, especially on post-call days. That’s a plus! And WHOLE30 required a drastic increase in protein from my previous eating habits that now I’m only hungry for snacks after exercising or on long work days. This week’s blog will just feature my favorites meals because I learned to appreciate leftovers. Here we go…


Bacon wrapped Egg McNuthin

Bacon wrapped Egg McNuthin

Berries with Egg McNuthins

Berries with Egg McNuthins (overcooked, oops)

Spinach omelet with bacon and berries

Spinach omelet with bacon and berries

Scrambled eggs with bacon and melon

Scrambled eggs with bacon and melon

  • Egg McNuthin’s were yummy and great for work days. Warning! They will ruin even your nonstick muffin tins (yep, learned this the hard way) so be sure to line them with silicone cups or coconut oil. I also made some with turkey. Here’s what I found at my local Publix. If you’ve got to by lunch meat be sure to watch out for nitrates.
Nitrate free turkey

Nitrate free turkey



Meatballs and zoodles

Meatballs and zoodles

Meatballs and green beans

Meatballs and green beans

Pan-roasted lemon chicken over spinach with apple + almond butter

Pan-roasted lemon chicken over spinach with apple + almond butter

Jalapeno chicken burgers on sweet potato buns with spinach salad

Jalapeño chicken burgers on sweet potato buns with spinach salad

Mexican lettuce wraps with oven-braised beef

Mexican lettuce wraps with oven-braised beef

  • Italian sausage meatballs with zoddles or green beans. This one was new for me. I’ve never made meatballs before. One thing is for sure, they’re hearty. I learned that I much prefer green beans as a base compared to zoodles. I haven’t mastered pulling the water out so the zoodles aren’t soggy but I may try again.
  • Pan-roasted lemon chicken (repeat)
  • Jalapeño chicken burgers with guac and sweet potato buns. Delicious! I grilled the burgers probably a little too long because they were rocks when I reheated them for leftovers the next day. Consider freezing extra patties and grilling or pan cooking them for each meal if possible.
  • And now for my favorite! Mexican lettuce wraps with guac, cilantro and lime juice. Here’s where my flop of the week comes in. I read through 2/3 of the blog with the recipe and started cooking this after dinner one night for work the next day. When I got to the photo step where there’s a line about putting it in the oven I paused. Bake for THREE HOURS. Seriously?! I did not have time for that before bed time so into the fridge it went. And “marinated” for 36 hours until I got home from work. On the bright side, I popped it in the oven Sunday morning and boom. Lunch, dinner and leftovers for work were done. I didn’t have fish sauce so I found the meat to be adaptable to different styles of meals – Mexican, Southern, or Oriental.

On day 14 I added in some exercise to this WHOLE30 routine. I gave myself enough time to get acclimated to the meal planning and cooking and felt ready to add in some movement.

There you have it. Another week is in the books. And I know you’re not supposed to weigh yourself but I did. Drum roll please…. I’m down 10.2 lbs in 14 days. Feeling good. Hope you all have a great week!

– C

Happy 2014!

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Happy new year, friends!

A few years ago I adopted monthly goals instead of a yearly resolution. I find it much less daunting to think in terms of a few weeks and it allows for freedom to shift goals as life changes. My fit-focused goal for January is to drink an adequate amount of water each day. I pretty much walk around in a dehydrated state… not good. Water. It seems so basic yet it’s one of those things that is essential to life, to health. For a few fun hydration facts and study findings click here and here. Nurses are at particular risk for dehydration, as well as athletes. Add in my predisposition for kidney stones and I’m doomed! So I was completely thrilled when I opened a Christmas gift from my mom last month – a HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle. I know what you’re thinking – really, a water bottle makes you excited? Yep. It’s not just an ordinary water bottle. The Intelligent part means that it not only calculates how much water I need to drink but also keeps up with my intake and reminds me when I need to drink more!

HydraCoach Intelligent Water BottleSo, how much water do we need? The answer is not necessarily 8 glasses/day. Rather, it depends on a few things like weight, environmental temperature and moisture, age, gender and daily activity level. Here’s a good rule of thumb for a person of average daily activity level:

  1. Weigh yourself. It’s the beginning of a new year – always good to know where you start.
  2. Divide your weight in pounds by 2. This equals your daily water/liquid intake requirement in ounces.
  3. For every hour of exercise you’ll need to drink even more!

For a quick calculator go here. For my European and Aussie friends – the calculator can be adjusted to the metric system (which makes more sense and I wish we used it in the States).

Not everyone needs a “fancy” water bottle but the calculator is a great tool to help toward hydration. For those of you who are a tad absentminded like me, the HydraCoach water bottle might be a good investment.

Shifting to spiritual health…. My faith-focused goal for January is to be in the Word everyday. I am praying that the Lord will make me more disciplined in my walk with Him and increase my awe of Him. Today I spent time in the book of Hebrews. One of my favorite verses is one of hope and comes from Chapter 11, verse 13: All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

From this verse, and the context listed below, it is clear that “the ancients” (believers) who came before me were faithful. The lived their faith. It was not a one-time deal. They trusted God in the ins-and-outs of daily life. The lived expectantly. Just because they didn’t receive what God had promised during their earthly life didn’t mean that they weren’t good enough or that God didn’t honor his promises. They knew that God had been with them from the beginning, He was with them during the trials and times of rejoicing, and that they would see Him in the future. They had confidence and hope in God and believed through faith that His promises would come about. It wasn’t about their time schedule. It was about God’s. Something better was coming. Talk about perspective! Matthew Henry’s Commentary puts it this way, “Many, who have a part in the promises, do not soon receive the things promised. Faith can lay hold of blessings at a great distance; can make them present; can love them and rejoice in them, though strangers; as saints, whose home is heaven; as pilgrims, traveling toward their home. By faith, they overcome the terrors of death, and bid a cheerful farewell to this world, and to all the comforts and crosses of it. And those once truly and savingly called out of a sinful state, have no mind to return into it. All true believers desire the heavenly inheritance; and the stronger faith is, the more fervent those desires will be. Notwithstanding their meanness by nature, their vileness by sin, and the poverty of their outward condition, God is not ashamed to be called the God of all true believers; such is his mercy, such is his love to them. Let them never be ashamed of being called his people, nor of any of those who are truly so, how much soever despised in the world. Above all, let them take care that they are not a shame and reproach to their God…. The apostle tells the Hebrews, that God had provided some better things for them, therefore they might be sure that he expected as good things from them. As our advantages, with the better things God has provided for us, are so much beyond theirs, so should our obedience of faith, patience of hope, and labour of love, be greater. And unless we get true faith as these believers had, they will rise up to condemn us at the last day. Let us then pray continually for the increase of our faith, that we may follow these bright examples, and be, with them, at length made perfect in holiness and happiness, and shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father for evermore.”

From the book of Hebrews, Chapter 11:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

From the book of Hebrews, Chapter 12:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Let’s approach this year with faith and confidence; not in ourselves but in our Heavenly Father and may it be a year of faith and health.

Blessings to you and your family in 2014,

Clean and Curvy

Happy New Year!

Why I went “clean”

Why I went “clean”

Mostly clean. It was June 2012 and I was on the way in to work for another 24-hour shift. When you work a shift that long you need to bring along some necessities – an overnight bag, a large “lunch” box, and a water bottle. I loaded up my stuff and began my two-block walk to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Halfway up the parking garage ramp I began to breathe harder, sweat and had to slow my pace. Seriously? Who was I? What had happened that I couldn’t walk less than a block uphill? I knew that I had gained weight but this was the first time I noticed that it was affecting me. I had started lifting my leg, crossing it over my knee to tie my shoe instead of bending down because my gut was getting in the way but that wasn’t my wake up call. Huffing up a short, steady incline? That did it. I used to dance, cheer, play volleyball, and be a part of the track and field team. I’d done Zumba and worked out on occasion. I was as healthy as a horse. They’re big and still healthy. Big. I was now big.

I made it through the shift then got home, pulled out the dusty scale and hesitantly stepped on. I held my breath. Maybe I should have exhaled that extra air. I looked down, 200.2. Two hundred pounds. I don’t remember if I gasped or cried. I should have fainted. I never expected to see that number. I had gained 60 lbs in six years. I was devastated. I had heard some other nurse practitioners talk about a film called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (see the link under Eat Clean resources) and seen some of them bring in green smoothies. Um, gross. Does anyone really think that’s appetizing? Drinking something green is just not natural. I was intrigued about the film so I planned a day to watch it and to think about how to start getting the weight off. It’s humorous but honest. One thing that especially resonated with me was his recognition that health was on the bottom of his priority list. I hadn’t really thought about health. Insert the ironic question – aren’t you a nurse practitioner? Yep. I’m a baby nurse practitioner. I know a lot about helping preterm and sick babies be healthy but had done little introspection. I’d thought about weight loss on and off but not usually in a healthy way.

I grew up in a family that focused on weight, not necessarily health. I’m learning there is a difference. We were occasionally active. My brother and I played sports in school, I enjoyed piano for a few years and had roles in a few plays. Mom took up tennis and dad worked out. In the summers we had fresh vegetables most nights with dinner. But we never talked about “health”. My ability to go on trips, including mission trips, was dependent on how much weight I could lose. One year our family got together for a reunion around Christmas time and watched the movie Elf. It’s hilarious. You know that scene when Buddy the Elf is making breakfast in the city? He loves sugar and loads up a huge bowl of spaghetti noodles with maple and chocolate syrups, pop tarts, mints, M&M’s, and sprinkles. All of us were making grossed-out faces, saying “ewww” and a certain immediate family member pointed to the TV and shouted, “Hey, there’s Carlye.” Talk about mortified. I exiting the room, tried to hide my tears, and vowed I would do whatever it took to “get skinny” – starve myself, throw up, hit myself when I messed up. I had induced vomiting with swigs of ipecac syrup when I was younger. I HATE throwing up. I can’t breathe and it scares me. So thankfully that option was out. That left negative self-talk and being incredibly restrictive about when and what I ate. I stopped eating lunch at school and spent that time in my chemistry teacher’s room talking and working on equations. Yep, I was a nerd. But my teacher was kind and didn’t seem to notice I wasn’t eating. Looking back I don’t know how I made it through cheer practice in the afternoons without falling over. When I’d get home I’d sneak an unhealthy snack up to my room but dinnertime was unavoidable as most of them involved the family around the table. Later in the year things began to turn around. I don’t remember exactly what led to me getting better but God rescued me from that dark time. He used the song, “If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens to give me hope. A couple years later when I was a senior in college I tried a liquid, extremely low cal diet for six months. Where was my head? Talk about a metabolism killer. I lost a great amount of weight and thought that made me beautiful but I became obsessed with the scale. No matter how many times I got dizzy and almost passed out in the shower I was losing weight! Then I moved to a new state and started my first full-time job. I gained the weight back within a year and moved on to a prepackaged diet in 2006 – 2007. It was working. That’s when I started training for that sprint triathlon. But when it came time to start cooking on my own I failed. Within five years I had gained all the weight back, plus another 25 pounds. I looked for what was easy and what was comforting. That pretty much catches you up to June 2012 when I had no energy and could hardly walk up a small hill without panting.

Back to the film. In Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Joe looks at processed foods vs. micronutrients and their effect on the body. He talks about how food is a large part of life. In the South it seems where two or more are gathered you’ll find food. He chronicles his 60-day juice fast, under the supervision of a physician, as well as stories of others who join him on a shortened juice fast. They tell it like it is – how it tastes, how it makes them feel, the frequent trips to the bathroom, and their initial cravings. He talks about having a surprising amount of energy from eating fruits and veggies. Joe’s personal journey including losing weight and being able to come off steroids for Urticaria. Simply amazing. It did wonders for his physical and mental health. I wanted that – the energy, the weight loss, the health! Eating non packaged, fresh, organic food made sense. No one has taken the nutrients out or added anything to it. I googled “how to eat clean” and came across Tiffany McCauley’s website, The Gracious Pantry. Check it out under Eat Clean resources in the menu above.

I learned that eating clean means different things for different people. I started by limiting processed foods and drastically increasing my water intake. I made a grocery list and headed to the store. I shopped the perimeter, loading up on fruits and veggies. Of course this meant two to three trips to the grocery store each week. I cut out meat for the first week then added back chicken. It wasn’t a perfect six months but I felt better and had a lot more energy, and I lost weight. My goal is to eat ~85% clean. There’s not a Whole Foods or other “organic store” near me, not to mention it’s expensive, so I bought organic when my grocery store had it available. Some things I just couldn’t get rid of. I love cheese, ranch dressing and biscuits, none of which are clean, so I took a moderation approach. I had beat myself up long enough. This journey needed focus and grace if I was going to stick with it. I logged what I ate and averaged 1200 calories/day. You can eat a lot of veggies for very few calories. (I’ll share with you how I learned that was NOT enough calories in another entry). I had wonderful support from my boyfriend. We started cooking together and when we ate out we looked for places with clean options. When I shared with my family what I was doing I was met with questions but general support. I had more to learn, and still do, about portions, moderation, nutrient goals, etc. but it was the start of something good, something healthy.


Before. Me with my little cousin, June 2012.


Six months in to eating clean, December 2012.

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