Whole30 Recap: Week 4

Hello and happy Friday! I finally found the will to recap week 4 of my Whole30 1 week after it ended. Let’s get to it, shall we?

If you’re interested, you can read about week 1, week 2, and week 3 also! 🙂

Day 22

Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, banana, and the last of the almond butter I had on hand.

Lunch: The rest of some stuff I had thrown in the slow-cooker on Sunday: chicken thighs, Brussels, sweet potato, and an apple. This sounded good in theory, but ended up only being OK. Especially on day 2—it didn’t reheat well.

Dinner: Apparently I forgot to take a picture of dinner, but I made tacos: ground beef, chopped zucchini and bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and a whole bunch of cumin.

Day 23

Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, banana, and a packet of Justin’s almond butter I had randomly picked up. Good thing too, because almond butter is where it’s at.

Lunch: Leftover tacos from the night before in 2 Siete tortillas.

Dinner: Quick and easy scrambled eggs in tortillas with hot sauce. Amazingly, I never really got sick of eggs on Whole30. If I had, making dinner on busy nights would have been much more complicated.

Day 24

Breakfast: The usual. By now, my coworkers were complaining about my hard-boiled eggs every single morning. #sorrynotsorry

Lunch: The rest of leftover tacos and tortillas.

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with sauce made of ground beef, chopped zucchini, diced tomatoes, and Rao’s.

Day 25

Breakfast: Eggs, banana, and another almond butter packet I had on hand.

Lunch: Leftover spaghetti and squash from dinner.

Dinner: We made plans to go to dinner at Hacienda that evening, and I ordered a salad. Which unfortunately turned out to be the single worst salad I have ever had in my life. I picked out some of the chicken and ate that, but went home hungry and sad. So I had a banana and more almond butter when I got home.

Day 26

Breakfast: Fried eggs over some arugula (finally something different, I know).

Lunch/dinner: After the previous night’s disappointing experience, we decided to try for some good Mexican food at Chipotle. I had a salad with carnitas, pico, and guac. Much, much better!

Day 27

 

Breakfast: Fried eggs over arugula with hot sauce and clementines. Maybe my favorite breakfast of all time.

Dinner: I snacked off and on all day and didn’t really have lunch. For a simple dinner, I fried an apple chicken sausage, topped it with mustard, and had riced cauliflower and sweet potato with ghee on the side.

Day 28

 

Breakfast: Back at work, so it was hard-boiled eggs, banana, and almond butter. And I promised my coworkers we were on the home stretch with the eggs. 🙂

Lunch: Chicken sausage and riced veg (I made extra the night before so I could have some for lunch).

Dinner: Last taco Monday of Whole30! I had 3 tacos (the usual mix) with Siete tortillas and a bowl of raspberries for dessert.

And that is the recap for my fourth and final week of Whole30. At this point, I felt…amazing. I plan to do yet another post recapping my last 2 days (because as they say, Day 28 is NOT Day 30), plus fill you in on my final thoughts and the benefits I saw during the reset.

I hope you all have enjoyed reading these! They have been a fun way for me to look back over the last month and see the changes I was able to make by doing the Whole3o.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, eat something delicious, and do something good for yourself. ❤

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Whole30 Recap: Week 3

Hi! Happy Friday/Groundhog Day!

So my Whole30 is officially OVER, but I’m still scrambling to post my recaps of the month. Let’s get started with week 3!

Also, if you’re interested: Week 1 recap & week 2 recap.

 

Day 15

Breakfast: The usual hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter.

Lunch: Leftover tacos in 2 Siete tortillas and a handful of arugula. Also v proud of myself for not even batting an eye at the pizza brought in for lunch at work!

Dinner: Chicken sausage with mustard, sweet potato with ghee, and a small salad of mixed greens, cranberries, walnuts, and oil + balsamic dressing.

Day 16

Breakfast: See above.

Lunch: The rest of leftover tacos with Siete tortillas and arugula, plus a red pear as dessert.

Dinner: Fried eggs over some mixed greens, sweet potato with ghee.

Day 17

Breakfast: Same.

Lunch: Leftover spaghetti that I had frozen from the week before. When I was packing my lunch, I cooked a spaghetti squash in the microwave and paired it with defrosted spaghetti in the morning. Less food waste is one of the changes I am most proud of from doing Whole30.

Dinner: Fried eggs, mixed greens, sweet potato, ghee.

Note: This was a super stressful week at work, hence the abundance of eggs + sweet potatoes for dinner. This meal takes like 5 minutes to make and was always delicious and filling. 🙂

Day 18

Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, almond butter, banana. Around this time, my coworkers were complaining about the smell of eggs every.single.day.

Lunch: The last of the leftover spaghetti I defrosted and spaghetti squash I had made.

Dinner: Friday night is usually our pizza night, but for Whole30 I started doing Chipotle night instead. Unfortunately, they were out of carnitas and guac that night, so I ended up with lettuce, chicken (technically not compliant because of the oil it’s cooked in), and salsa…a pretty sad little dinner. The good news is I got it for free!

Day 19

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with salsa and Everything But The Bagel seasoning with clementines.

Lunch: I went back to Chipotle to give them a chance to redeem themselves, and they did! I had a salad with carnitas, salsa, and guac.

For dinner we were at a birthday party for one of my best friends’ daughter, so I snacked on what was available and compliant: more guac, fruit, and some chicken. I also looked longingly at the giant fried ice cream she had made for dessert.

Day 20

Breakfast was at Kite and Key with my bestie: I got scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, and fresh fruit. Plus coffee (and I brought my own creamer in my bag).

Lunch was more or less some snacks: Larabar, banana, almond butter.

Dinner was chicken sausage with mustard and 2 tiny sweet potatoes with ghee.

Day 21

Breakfast: The usual.

Lunch: I put a bunch of stuff in the crockpot the night before to take for lunch: Chicken thighs, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and an apple. It turned out pretty good!

Dinner: Taco Monday! Our usual taco mix is ground beef, chopped bell peppers and zucchini, diced tomatoes, and a whole bunch of cumin. Served in 3 Siete tortillas.

That’s a wrap on week 3! This was the week where I started really feeling good. I woke up more clear-headed. I found that my need to eat every 2 hours was gone, and I usually went 4-5 hours between meals. I snacked less, especially in the evenings (I found a cup of tea or some fruit after dinner usually did the trick if I wanted something). And things became more routine…like when lunch or treats were brought into the office, it didn’t really bother me. I had way less cravings, and started feeling really good.

I’ll be back in a few days with the rest of my recaps and final thoughts on the Whole30, but until then, have a great weekend! ❤

Whole30 Recap: Week 2

So I’m pretty far behind at updating my Whole30 this month, huh? In actuality, I’m getting ready to END my Whole30 (spoiler alert: I am making it through!).

My original plan was to do an update at the end of each week, but life (obviously) got in the way, so I’m going to do several posts right at the end of my Whole30 and catch you all up. Let’s begin with week 2, shall we?

If you’d like to go back and revisit week 1, read here.

Day 8

I’m kind of bummed to admit my breakfast on work days consisted of hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter, and coffee. I had hoped I would be a little more adventurous with breakfast, but this was quick and what worked best.

Lunch was a chicken sausage I fried up the night before and topped with mustard, plus some riced veggies (cauliflower and sweet potato) topped with ghee and some salt and pepper. (Pro tip: Frozen riced veggies are the way to go. They are cheap, don’t have lots of extra ingredients, and easy to pop in the microwave on nights when I didn’t have a lot of time to make lunch for the next day.)

Dinner was slow-cooker barbecue and slaw (recipe here). I had randomly picked up round steak at the meat shop this week, and found this recipe while scrolling through Instagram. While I definitely miss sweet barbecue sauce, this was a good option and Whole30 compliant!

Day 9

Breakfast: More hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter.

Lunch: Leftover slow-cooker BBQ and slaw from the night before. (Leftovers for lunch ALWAYS for the win this month!)

Dinner: Fried chicken sausage with mustard, 2 tiny sweet potatoes topped with ghee and pepper, and grapes. Note: You’ll see a lot of eggs and sweet potatoes in this recap. While I wish I could have spent more time in the kitchen, this month ended up being really stressful and crazy. Finding quick, simple, compliant recipes to make for meals was more critical than my need for variety. 🙂

Day 10

Breakfast: The usual. My coworkers are SO SICK of the smell of hard-boiled eggs. (Sorry, guys.)

Lunch: The last of leftover BBQ and slaw. Another huge benefit I’ve experienced through this month is that the amount of food waste we have has significantly decreased. I was definitely in a bad habit leading up to this of just throwing out leftovers or letting food go bad. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to change that and plan on continue  doing so.

Dinner: Taco night! So this is where things got a little sticky. I picked up some Siete tortillas at Elbert’s Natural Foods and while they are technically compliant, they are definitely not encouraged. But by day 10, I was so bored and pushing through the changes I was making, plus my appetite was just gone. The thought of eating plain taco meat with nothing else was almost nauseating. So I heated up 2 of the tortillas (one cassava flour and one almond flour) and had them instead.

Day 11

Day 11 ended up being a snow day! My fiance and I both worked from home, which meant I got to make a delicious breakfast of fried eggs over arugula, topped with Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning.

I snacked throughout the day and didn’t really have lunch (also note: I haven’t been posting my snacks on here. While my appetite eventually changed, I was definitely still snacking a lot at this point in Whole30). For dinner I made amazing spaghetti with ground chicken, zucchini and mushrooms, diced tomatoes, LOTS of Italian seasoning, some salt and pepper, and this Rao’s tomato sauce. Finding tomato sauce without sugar in it is really challenging, but this stuff is legit—probably my favorite tomato sauce now, period. I made actual noodles for my fiance and had mine over half a spaghetti squash.

Day 12

Day 12 was a Saturday, and I made myself more fried eggs over arugula for breakfast and had some clementines on the side.

Again, it was kind of a weird day and I kind of snacked in place of lunch. We ended up going out for a late lunch/early dinner before going to some friends’, and I ordered grilled fajitas, skipped the cheese/tortillas/beans/rice/etc. and just topped the grilled veg and chicken with lettuce, guac, and some salsa.

Day 13

Sunday breakfast: Fried eggs, arugula, clementines (unpictured coffee).

Dinner: Sunday dinner has been really simple this month, another new habit I plan on keeping. I scrambled up some eggs and had them in Siete tortillas, plus a sweet potato with ghee and pepper on the side.

Day 14

Day 14 was back to work, which means back to the ol’ hard-boiled eggs, banana, almond butter, coffee routine.

I froze the leftover spaghetti sauce I made on Friday and had it plus half a spaghetti squash for lunch, plus a red pear.

Dinner: Taco Monday (with more Siete tortillas, because they are delicious).

And that’s it for week 2! To be honest, the first 2 weeks of Whole30 were really blah and some food ended up being kind of repulsive. I felt like I was grieving all of the food I couldn’t have, not to mention all the chips and salsa, cake, chocolate, whatever, that someone else always seemed to be having. However, I am also reading the Whole30 Day By Day guide as I’ve been going through this, and it has been a huge encouragement to stick it out.

I’ll be back in a few days (I hope) with a recap of weeks 3 and 4, plus my final thoughts on this whole process. Stay tuned. ❤

I’m Doing the January Whole30!

Hi there and happy new year!

Yup, I’m doing the #JanuaryWhole30. Insert a fair amount of eyerolls from people, I’m sure. 😉

I’ve had several people tell me they are interested in Whole30 and how the reset is going for me, but before I dive into meals and such, I thought I’d give you a little background if you haven’t heard of the program.

First, visit whole30.com and preferably, read the book It Starts With Food. I’ll give you a quick overview of the program, but if you’re really interested in learning more about the WHY and the science behind it, check those out for sure.

Whole30 is considered a reset, NOT a diet. The first thing people usually ask when they are curious about it is, What CAN you eat? Well, here you go:

Basically, you are spending 30 days focusing on veggies, fruit, animal protein, and fats. The aim is to spend 30 days feeding your body real, whole foods, break unhealthy cycles of eating (like using food as love or reward), and then gradually adding back in the foods you eliminated and seeing how they make you feel (also known as food freedom).

January is a really popular time to start the Whole30, mainly because we’ve just come off an indulgent holiday season and we’re all focused on “new year, new me.”

I’ve actually attempted to do the Whole30 2 other times, and both of them went pretty poorly. But I kept coming back to the idea of doing this reset, especially since I’ve had a lot of stress in my life the last few years, and January seemed like a great time to start. My start day was Monday, January 2, and I made sure to plan meal ideas and stock up on a ton of fruits and veggies at the grocery store that weekend.

Day 1

Day 1 I was feeling super pumped and got up early to make breakfast: 3 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, kale sautéed with lemon and sea salt, and 2 cuties (I also picked up black iced coffee on my way to work and used this coconut milk in it once I got to the office).

Lunch was balsamic chicken legs that I cooked in the slow cooker on Sunday, plus a salad of arugula, dried cranberries (these are Whole30 approved), and chopped walnuts. For dressing, I use olive oil, balsamic, garlic powder, and spicy brown mustard to make a vinaigrette that is SO good (normally I use honey instead of mustard, but unfortunately, honey is out for the Whole30).

Dinner was quick and simple: I fried an apple chicken sausage, microwaved some riced sweet potato and cauliflower, and topped it with salt and pepper and some ghee.

Day 2

 

Day 2 I was feeling less ambitious, so I hard-boiled 3 eggs while I was getting ready and grabbed a banana and spoonful of almond butter before I walked out the door (plus coffee).

Lunch was the same as the day before: chicken legs, arugula salad, a side of grapes, and a La Croix (side note: I miss my Diet Coke at lunch so much).

Every week we have taco night, so I made our usual taco mixture (ground beef, chopped red and orange peppers, zucchini, a can of diced tomatoes and peppers, and a TON of cumin) and had it sans cheese in lettuce wraps. It was only OK. The worst was having to look at my fiance enjoying his in tortillas with cheese. :/

Day 3

Day 3 breakfast and lunch: More of the same.

Dinner was a random assortment of things I threw in the crock pot before I left for work: chicken thighs, sliced zucchini and yellow squash, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and a big ol’ scoop of ghee. For being a random assortment, it turned out pretty OK!

Day 4

Breakfast was the usual hard-boiled eggs, except we were out of bananas and they didn’t have any at Starbucks, so I made due with the cuties I brought. I also had brought almond butter, but ended up saving it for a snack later.

Lunch was chicken legs and arugula salad.

Friday is our usual pizza night, but I opted for Chipotle since it’s much easier to find something Whole30 compliant. I got a salad with carnitas, mild salsa and guac. And then enjoyed mocktails and watched everyone else eat their chips and cheese with envy. 🙂

Day 5

Day 5 was Saturday, which means I finally switched up my meals a little. I had 3 fried eggs, lemony kale, cuties, and unpictured coffee for breakfast.

Lunch was an apple chicken sausage with mustard, some leftover riced cauliflower and sweet potatoes with ghee, and grapes.

I’m not exactly sure what happened with dinner, but we must have decided to keep it simple. Scrambled eggs and sweet potato (cooked in the microwave for about 5 mins—poke holes in it and wrap in a damp paper towel and it’s perfect!) come together really quickly, so that’s what I did.

Day 6

On Sunday, I was exhausted and didn’t get up until almost 10:00. I picked up coffee on my way to church (put my coconut milk in my purse so I could add it later haha) and grabbed a banana and Larabar to eat for breakfast. #makeitwork

I met my mom and my future mother- and sister-in-law for lunch at RiRa on Sunday. So full disclosure, I made the best decisions possible—but it’s very possible that the bacon in this salad wasn’t Whole30 approved. Whatever. I got their chopped salad (greens, bacon, avocado, tomato, red onion, and chicken) minus the cheese and subbed balsamic and oil for the vinaigrette. So good and I didn’t even miss the cheese.

Dinner was low-key again—fried eggs, sweet potato, and grapes. My fiance isn’t doing Whole30 with me, so for dinner (I enjoy cooking and usually do for both of us), I’ve been making something for him and something for me if I don’t have something planned. Most weeknights I have meals planned and prepped for dinner, but weekends we usually kind of wing it (which on Whole30 for me means eggs and sweet potato haha).

Day 7

I made it through week 1! Work breakfast on day 7 was hard-boiled eggs, almond butter, and a banana.

Lunch was a fried chicken sausage with mustard, riced cauliflower and sweet potato with ghee, and cuties.

I had a crazy day at work and had to work that evening, so we opted for “choose your own dinner.” Like I said, eggs and sweet potato are always quick and easy.

Week 1 Thoughts

Not to lie, the first week (especially days 1-3) kind of sucks. I thought about food all.the.time. I told one of my coworkers, “I feel like everything I love has been taken away from me.” So that was probably a little overdramatic, but I think it’s a pretty normal reaction for the program.

I was also tired during week 1, but not super grouchy or anything. Luckily, after the first few days I kind of got into a groove. Don’t get me wrong, I still thought about food A LOT—planning meals, looking at menus before we went out, having compliant snacks on hand at all times—but it wasn’t as much of a struggle after the first few days.

Positives from week 1: better digestion, fuller between meals, had more consistent energy throughout the day.

Negatives: really, really tired a few days, a TON of dishes to do, felt kind of blah about meals, especially toward the end of the week.

As I’m writing this I’m finishing day 10 and still going strong. I’ll be sure to update you in a few days with how week 2 has been. ❤

Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch

As I was typing up my first post in a while, I was thinking about what kind of things I wanted to share on here. I started keeping a note in my phone with possible topics. Because while I love reading “day in the life”-type posts on blogs, they get kind of repetitive. Even more so when you’re a creature of habit, like me. Posting the same breakfast, lunch and snacks plus work synopsis would wear pretty thin pretty quickly.

One of the first ideas that popped in my head was tips on packing your lunch, because that is something I kind of have on lockdown. Packing a lunch bag for work (or school or whatever your current life situation is) is one of the most effective things you can do to make healthier choices throughout the day AND save some money. So here we go!

Tip 1: Get Your Shit Together the Night Before

Pardon my French, but this is THE most important thing when getting my lunch (and life, for what it matters) together. I am not a morning person (which if you know me at all, you know that about me), and I can think of the instances when I’ve actually packed a good breakfast + lunch + snacks the morning before work on like, one hand. So now I make it a point to put everything together the night before—and honestly, it usually takes no longer than 5 minutes. Then I can snooze in the morning and not worry about having nothing to get me through the day at work.

Tip 2: Get a Really Nice Lunch Bag

I got mine at TJ Maxx for less than $20, but you can find it on Amazon here. I love it because it’s big enough that I can get A LOT of stuff in there, but small enough that it can still fit in the fridge at work without taking up an obscene amount of space. It also has some nice outer pockets where I keep utensils, stuff that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, etc.

Tip 3: Invest in a Few Reusable Containers

(I didn’t have any clean containers, so I used the ones with my lunch in it for tomorrow. Cooper was pretty interested haha.)

For years I used Gladware or other plastic containers, but I recently got a set of 4 Pyrex containers so I don’t have to worry about anything leaching into my food, especially if I put it in the microwave. I can’t find the exact set I got online, but here’s a similar one: mine has a 4-cup bowl, a 2-cup bowl, and two 1-cup bowls. I got them at Target for less than $20 (and they seriously go on sale all the time). I also got a set of these 4 ounce Ball jars, which are perfect for dressings or dips.

Lunch is usually a salad that I put in the largest bowl, and then I bring berries or some other fruit in one of the smaller bowls. The 4 bowls in this set plus the 4 ounce jars are basically all that I need. And, pro tip: If you are able, wash your containers at work, so you’ll have them clean when you get home—just throw everything together for tomorrow and you’re done!

The other thing I’ve started using recently that I really like are these reusable zip bags (like Ziploc, but you can reuse them). I used to use a TON of Ziploc baggies, and I started getting really convicted about how wasteful that was. I found this set of 5 online (3 sandwich size, 2 snack size) and am in love with them. They are BPA-free, freezer-safe, and I just wipe them out with some soapy water and a paper towel, then air-dry them overnight.

Tip 4: Overpack Rather Than Underpack

So ideally, pack the right amount of food, but I would much rather bring too much and then bring it home with me or leave it at work for the next day than not bring enough and be hangry all day or looking for change to use at the vending machine.

Most days, I bring my breakfast, lunch, and then a snack for midmorning (which I sometimes skip) and a snack for midafternoon. Breakfast is usually turkey sausage with a banana and almond butter (which I buy in pre-portioned packets, so I don’t go overboard with the AB), and lunch is either leftovers or a salad. I try to bring snacks that are healthy, filling, and portable. Most days I bring 2 cuties, a sandwich bag of baby carrots or some other fresh vegetable, and a Larabar. If I know I won’t be heading home right after work, I might have some grapes or jerky to hold me over till dinner.

This is based on years of research, fyi. Figuring out how much food to bring, plus what kind of food is filling without making you feel miserable, is a lot of trial and error.

Tip 5: Extras and Nice-to-Haves

OK, now we’ve basically covered what I consider are the essentials of a good packed lunch. Now we arrive at the things that are nice to have, but really up to you. A couple things I really love:

  • A good water bottle. I actually bring 2 big water bottles to work every day (each 32 fl oz) to cut down on buying bottled water from our vending machine (I’m really into recycling right now, guys). I still usually have to buy maybe 1 or 2 bottled waters each day, but it’s much better than before.
  • Reusable utensils. I came across these bamboo utensils while I was poking around online and they look pretty neat. The ones I keep in my bag are just plastic, maybe Tupperware. Honestly, I mostly use them when other utensils are not available—I should stop doing that.
  • Coffee tumbler that keeps drinks hot or cold. I am obsessed with this Healthy Human tumbler I got. It for real keeps drinks cold for 24 hours (or after an entire day in 90 degree heat, in the sun, in a car with black interior). Plus it’s so pretty.

And that’s all I got! Let me know if you guys have questions or would like to see more of these types of posts. Oh, and have a happy and fun long weekend! ❤

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WIAW: Photos of Meals Eaten at My Desk

Hello and how are you!? I mentioned this in my last post, but the last few weeks have been…weird. We have just been out of routine around here, so that’s kind of thrown off my blogging and hobby motivation.

I’m typing this up as I’m watching pre-third presidential debate coverage (ugh) and before I finish up some work things. Since it’s Wednesday and I actually remembered to take photos of (most of) my meals yesterday, I thought I’d link up for another fun edition of WIAW.

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OK, so I’ve been reading Cassy Joy Garcia’s book Fed & Fit lately, and it is so good. I just love her energy and perspective on health and nutrition—she’s so positive! On Monday, I cooked up a batch of her plantain protein pancakes to freeze and take for breakfasts, and I’m in love. I had 2 pancakes, some of these turkey sausages (also so good), and a side of raspberries. Plus the usual iced coffee with almond milk.

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Lunch was premade at home on Sunday: one chicken sausage fried in coconut oil along with one golden delicious apple, half a sweet potato, cubed and roasted, and a cup of Brussels sprouts sautéed in coconut oil. I got the idea from this recipe I found on Pinterest. I made 2 servings on Sunday and stuck them in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go lunch.

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This was my first afternoon snack of the day. I found them in the gluten-free aisle at the grocery store this weekend and decided to pick up a few. I’m glad I did! They reminded me of a fruit roll-up or fruit leather, so BOLO if that’s your thing.

(Note: Since I worked through lunch yesterday and ate almost all my meals at work, I tried to take photos in different spots around my cube. Just trying to keep it interesting for you.)

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Second afternoon snack of the day: Red delicious apple + Justin’s classic AB. Because it’s fall.

I also had an unpictured snack of baby carrots—this is the part where I started forgetting about taking photos. 🙂

I had a chiropractor appointment after work and then plans with friends yesterday evening, so I went home in between super quickly to take care of the dogs. My “dinner” was an Udi’s gluten-free chocolate muffin and a handful of tortilla chips.

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So filling (not) and delicious (yes). A few of my girlfriends and I ended up going out for drinks last night, and when I got home I snacked on a strawberry popsicle as “dinner, part 2.”

And that was it for the day! I hope you all are having a wonderful week (we’re halfway through!). If you’d like to check out other WIAW posts, you can visit here. And make sure to check out the OG WIAW, Peas and Crayons.

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And if you’re watching the debate tonight, take a few deep breaths and have a glass of wine maybe. ❤

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Thursday Things + Food Journaling 101

Hello there! And happy October / Fall Festival week for those of you in southern Indiana! I have not actually made it down to the festival yet, but there ARE still 2 days left—who knows what could happen? The world is my oyster!

The last few weeks have been jam-packed with a ton of stuff, and on top of that I have been feeling run down.

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First and foremost, the boyfriend and I went to Notre Dame 2 weeks ago for their game against Duke. Sadly, the game was kind of a bummer, but we still had an amazing time. The campus is incredible and it was so fun to be part of a football weekend.

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The weather was absolutely perfect and we had a really great time hanging out with our friends and spending time on campus.

In addition to our trip, life has just been keeping me busy. I was trying to think of specific reasons why I’ve felt so blah, but there’s not one thing in particular. There are just some seasons of life that are like that—between work and friends and relationships and running errands, it just goes by super quickly.

Health-wise, I’ve been feeling a little off for the past few weeks. I have issues with my neck and shoulders, so a family weekend at Holiday World (riding the Scrambler in particular) left me in a lot of pain. Which turned into a migraine after an appointment at the chiropractor. I’ve also been experimenting a little with my diet, which leads me into what I want to write about today: food journaling, or why I think we should all be doing it.

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I have been a user of MyFitnessPal for years. I actually did a project involving it for one of my classes in school.

MyFitnessPal is both a website and an app you can download to track your food and beverage intake, physical activity, and progress toward goals. It can also sync with other apps you may be using, like Fitbit or MapMyRun.

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You can also connect with other users for accountability or motivation (don’t worry—you can choose what information is viewable to others, like weight, food diary, etc.).

So MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular food diary apps because it’s really user-friendly and has a really really large database of food and drink. Seriously, I can find almost anything I’ve eaten, including particular brands and specific entrees at restaurants. It also saves recent entries and recipes, so it’s very easy to track your food if you, like me, tend to eat a lot of the same things.

OK, this is probably starting to sound like this post was brought to you by MyFitnessPal, but it’s NOT. I just think it’s a really great app and a useful service. I personally use it to track my food and exercise, but I specifically love being able to see nutrient and macronutrient intake. If I’m feeling really hungry one day, I can look back and see I’ve eaten 70% carbs and very little protein—and this helps me know what changes I should be making in my diet in order to feel my best.

The other form of food journaling that I find useful is a good old fashioned notebook and pen.

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I started keeping a notebook and pen on my nightstand a few months ago, mainly to see if my diet affected anxiety and stress in my life. You can make this as detailed or as brief as you’d like, but generally I include:

  • What I had for each meal plus any snacks (again, this doesn’t have to be in-depth—simply writing oatmeal and coffee for breakfast will suffice)
  • How much water I drank that day
  • What my energy levels throughout the day were like
  • What kind of activity I did (how many steps I got, if I worked out, foam rolling, etc.)
  • What my moods were like
  • Any other major differences (was I exhausted all day, bloated, bad headache, etc.)

It can be tedious at first, but like most new habits, once it becomes part of your routine, it feels natural. And I can’t stress enough how helpful this has been. Like that really bad stomachache I had a few weeks ago? I can look through my notebook and find that I had a similar one 2 months ago, and both those days I had eaten X. Or if I’m feeling really good one day, I can see that I drank a ton of water and had 3 meals with a good amount of protein in them.

If you are trying to meet a weight-loss goal, have been having digestive issues, or just haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, I encourage you to give food journaling a shot. Even if you don’t include every single thing you ate every day (which I usually don’t), it is so helpful for both accountability and information. Knowledge is power, people! Especially in regards to your health.

I hope this post was helpful! If you have questions about food journaling or would like me to explain anything I forgot, please let me know. I hope you all have a wonderful week and a sweet weekend. 🙂