Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Our Whole 30 Journey

    As we our on this journey of minimalism it has us evaluating all areas of our life. This month we take a look at our whole foods diet to see if we can not only simplify it but to help make it healthier. Lets back up for a moment.... about 10 years or so ago we started eating a whole foods diet. The first change was to start drinking raw milk and the change was profound. I got off meds(allergy and asthma) and spent more days in health rather then sick. More changes followed and we all felt better. Then things leveled out but sometimes we fell back to a few leftover bad habits. The last few years we have experienced Lyme and some hormonal issues(mine after gallbladder surgery).
    The bottom line is we either "eat to live or live to eat." I want to choose to eat to live, and live to its fullest! I  don't know about you but I love having energy, being symptom free, and feeling satisfied when I eat. A few years ago we did a 30 day cleanse and we felt awesome but the diet felt restrictive and just that, a diet. Last year we tried the Paleo lifestyle which really is just a simple whole foods way of eating. But then we found ourselves over doing the natural sweeteners. This year we found we still have a problem with sugar so we are going to do the Whole 30 to reset our bodies. Anyway you look at it most of us take in too much sugar, some of it hidden in our foods. Whole 30 is simple- clean meats, fruit, vegetables, nuts and clean fats, that simple. No shakes, no pills, no processed packets of food, just real whole foods. So if you would like to join me and my family in eating clean to reset your body and to feel better follow us for the next 30 days. I will post once a week to share links to recipes and tips that I find helpful. I am also on Instagram and Pinterest. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new way of eating.

    I found these downloads very helpful to get me organized to start off our 30 days. This does take planning and a commitment if you do it as a family.

So this is what we did....
-read over the grocery list
-looked over my recipes to see if they fit
-picked some new easy recipe that we would like
-made a menu with 4-5 breakfasts(meal 1), 4 lunches(meal 2) and 7 dinners(meal 3) to rotate through(this way I could buy bulk of certain items and keep cooking simple)
-make sure ALL your recipes are printed out so you are ready to go(I even write down dressings, smoothies, etc.)
-looking over your recipes, write up your grocery list of all the items you need
-be an optimist and highlight all the foods on the list you love and look forward to eating rather then focusing on what you may not be eating during the 30 days
-the goal is for this way of eating to become the habit

This is what our menu looks like the first two weeks(first week is listed because we will repeat this for week 2, then we will change up some of the recipes for the last two weeks):
meal 1-Monkey Salad(could add other fruit to it) and smoothie
meal 2-taco salad in a mason jar
meal 3-Lemon Olive Roasted Chicken (clean rest of meat off bones and make bone broth in crock pot over night)with Prosciutto wrapped asparagus 
meal 1-hash browns topped with dip egg, blueberries
meal 2-grilled chicken salad with homemade Lemon Mustard Tarragon Vinaigrette
meal 3-beef with chimichurri sauce and steamed carrots
meal 1-sausage patties, eggs and spinach, smoothie
meal 2-tuna salad with homemade mayo in butter lettuce cups
meal 3- creamy crock pot lemon chicken kale soup
meal 1-hard boiled eggs and sautéed vegetables, fruit
meal 2-paleo chili made with ground or roast
meal 3-Pork Carnitas with cilantro lime cauliflower 
meal 1-grain-free granola with coconut or almond milk
meal 2-taco salad, fruit
meal 3-Turkey Gravy over roasted potatoes, pineapple whip for dessert
meal 1- monkey salad, smoothie
meal 2- grilled chicken salad
meal 3-chili over roasted sweet potato bites
meal 1-hash browns topped with dip eggs, blueberries
meal 2- tuna salad in lettuce cup or tomato
meal 3- sauteed shrimp(or baked cod or salmon) and roasted vegetables

    To prepare for the first week I will cut up some of my vegetables, pre-make sausage patties to freeze, make my crispy nuts on Saturday so I can mix up the granola on Sunday, defrost my whole chicken, cook up the taco meat and grilled chicken to freeze in 4 person lunch portions, blend up my dressings, make mayo, and make/freeze my chili. Doing this makes the week much easier.
    I find that my kids eat what we eat because there are no other options. They are not huge fans of greens but they prefer swiss chard and kale over cabbage(12 and 16 year olds). They love smoothies even green ones, so they are always a hit.
Our nursing 18 months old eats these things as well but sometimes he defaults to grapes, applesauce, or sweet potatoes. One last tip.... if you don't have it in the house they won't eat it at your home. It is baby steps but we no longer buy packaged products like gold fish crackers, cereals, cakes or cookies... it took years to slowly build habits that replaced this way of eating. Give yourself and your family time to change to a new lifestyle!

Monday, March 16, 2015

End of my Second Month for Simplify-Your-Life Challenge

So here are the photos from our kitchen after the purge. Not minimalist by many standards but for our farmhouse we have only kept what we use or love. The wood stove was repaired, cleaned and used all winter. We cleaned out cabinets and reassessed both tools and food items. The calm in the kitchen makes it easy to cook and clean up.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Setbacks...An Opportunity

    I know it is March and not the end of December, when I was supposed to post my after pictures of the kitchen. So you may be wondering were did the "Organize Now Challenge" go??? We do have a Facebook page. I do have some after pictures of the kitchen to share with you in the next post but for now I wanted to share one of the frustrations many who declutter find in their own homes just as I did. 
    If you have a family then you don't live alone which means it is not just your stuff that takes up space in your home. I respect my family and their belongings. When we clean out we do it together so they can make decisions for themselves about their own belongings. My goal is to instill life long habits of good decisions not only in myself but my children. If I force this on them then it means nothing personally for them. If they see the value in simplifying ones life then they will see the value in continuing with the habit. Isn't that pretty much all lessons in life? We can't force others or even "teach" others how to do anything and expect that they will just do it without question. We all SHOULD question why and how we live our lives and the decisions we make everyday. We are humans not robots and this is not a "one size fits all" world. We need to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. Every family is different in how their daily routine unfolds, what they value, how they grow spiritually, and how they work or play together. Here is a great article on Minimalism with Kids. 
    So as we had some setbacks this winter... illness, work schedule, winter weather, etc. that made things a bit more challenging I didn't let that completely set me back. I rose to the challenge and kept working through areas of our home even though it wasn't a room by room event. After finishing the living room and kitchen the first two months I managed to clean out a quarter of the belongings in our attic, go through all bins and reorganize what we decided to keep. I also reevaluated my wardrobe with the Project333 concept.  My creative projects got a serious inspection and our basement freezers got inventoried along with the kitchen cleanout. So not all was lost. I plan on doing a video this summer of our home and how we have simplified thus far. It will not be everyones definition of minimalism but it will be our families take on it.   
    One of our biggest areas of setback was a leaky pipe that is turning into a bathroom and laundry room remodel. No other choice then to see that as an opportunity. It is not one that we could jump into right away but one that will need to get done over months this next year. Such is life in a 160 year old farmhouse. So if you have been decluttering in your home and life this winter what have your challenges been?