Taking Stock: July 2017

Hello! It’s been an awful long time between posts and a bit has changed since I was doing the #Whole30 challenge back in November. I’m in a new home and a new job, so life feels a bit different, but it’s settling down now into a lot of new routines.

I’ve been thinking about writing again for a few weeks, so am very glad to get back online. As always, the ‘Taking Stock’ challenge by the lovely Pip (from Meet me at Mikes). You can read about her July here.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m probably going to make a couple of tweaks and edits to the blog here, but ones which will most likely mean I can post more regularly! But in the meantime, I’m also posting on my Instagram account, at onestepwellbeing. Please feel free to drop by and say hello 🙂

Making: Nothing today. But tomorrow will be full of bone broth making, soup brewing and menu planning for a busy week at work

Cooking: All of the above. In addition to regular dinner for the two of us after work #everyfuckingnight

Drinking: Lots of herbal tea. Currently sipping on Gewurzhaus’ Eva’s Yummy Tummy Tea, which is minty, and refreshing and perfect when your insides are feeling a little “delicate”.

Reading : Living the Healthy Life (Jessica Sepel), and An Abundant Life (Dr Ezzie Spencer). Both wonderful, but looking for something fiction that I can read in the evenings, when I’m looking for something to help me wind down and relax before bed. Any suggestions?

Trawling: Nothing much, outside of work. I need to start trawling for holiday inspo soon! Hopefully have a two-week road trip to Queensland coming up soon(ish).

Wanting: A little bit more time in the week for the less busy things. Like writing, being creative and pottering. Some more sleep as well would be nice.

Looking: At my blank menu plan for next week. Need to complete this before I head out to the markets tomorrow.

Deciding: To make time for rest this weekend. My body and my mind are craving it.

Wishing: I wasn’t still feeling sick. Since the beginning of June, I’ve been plagued with a lingering cough; mostly in the evenings but making it difficult at night to get to sleep (or stay asleep). Be gone, cough!!

Enjoying: Winter sunshine. I don’t mind too much that it’s under five degrees, just give me the clear, bright skies and sunshine!

Waiting: For the internal dialogue in my brain to quieten down. I’ve only recently really become aware that I have internal chatter going on All.The.Time. There are things I can do to help give this chatter a place, and then give the chatter time to rest so I can just be. Such a work in progress 😊

Liking: Writing again. Every time I wonder why I put it off for so long; there is something so therapeutic for me in getting my thoughts into an external place (see above point).

Wondering: How my ALF team (go Swans!) will fair tonight. It’s the local derby against Greater Western Sydney, and they tend to be cracking games. Will be glued to the couch tonight!

Loving: Dresses with pockets. They make up at least 75% of my winder working wardrobe… Cute and practical!

Pondering: How I’m going to hold up working full time for the next few weeks. I’m very much adjusted to my four-day-a-week routine, and I’m a little nervous to be honest, because when I get too much stress, it’s way too easy for me to get sick.

Listening: To the AFL; it’s my partners team playing and he’s trying not to be too invested in the result I can tell. But so far, so good (for him!).

Considering: Where I should take my beloved for dinner for his birthday next week? Last year, we were in New York at an amazing steak restaurant (that he found), so I need to find something equally amazing close to home.

Buying: Trying to be more mindful of my purchases, especially online (especially with the EOFY sales!). I’ve been visiting more farmers markets in recent weeks, so spending the good cash on quality veg, meats, eggs, and delicious home-made concoctions.

Watching: AFL on the TV, partner doing his ironing and the sun coming in to our living room.

Hoping: My pesky knee sorts itself out soon. It’s currently strapped up with physio tape, but incredibly achy and sore, meaning I can’t walk about too much right now.

Marvelling: At the many, many good people, who are still willing to help, support and encourage others online. We can see the interwebs for all the nasty, trolly, negative people (that are very much there!), but I’ve also seen such kindness, time and energy given from people who just want to see others do well. Look for the helpers, always.

Cringing: Politics generally. I’m really sad that in general, I don’t have much nice to say about politics (local or international). I used to enjoy keeping up to date with the ins and outs of it all; now I just want to take a nap.

Needing: A little break. From routine, from home, from the everyday. A long weekend away would do just the trick!

Questioning: Most of what I read online, sadly. Especially any articles by an “expert”. It frustrates me sometimes that so many people don’t question where their information is coming from, or with what agenda. I see it too often that people get overwhelmed and confused by all the information circling about, throw their hands in the air in frustration and are frozen in indecision. Be your own researcher and take that power back.

Smelling: My oils diffuser. Currently using Citrus Bliss with a couple of drops of Lime. So, refreshing, especially on days where we are more likely to spend lots of time indoors. I use doTerra essential oils (in case you are interested!)

Wearing: My fave navy tracksuit pants, and black fine knit long sleeved top. I was “dressed” earlier to go for a walk to get lunch, but now I’m all about the comfort. And the warmth.

Noticing: To always pay attention to my body and the subtle signals it’s telling me about my health. I try and remember the quote (thank you Oprah!)… “Difficulties come when you don’t pay attention to life’s whisper. Life always whispers to you at first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you’ll get a scream”. I’ve had enough of life’s screams over the years to pay close attention to the whispers.

Knowing: “The same boiling water that softens the potato, hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances”

Trouble-shooting: Lots of work stuff. Who knew training could get so complicated at times?

Thinking: How I want the rest of this year to feel and pan out.

Admiring: Rachael Kable from ‘The Mindful Kind’ podcast. I wish I had half her insight and entrepreneurial spirit when I was a Psychology graduate!

Getting: Inspired and dedicated to make some long-term changes to my health. I can be a great procrastinator when it comes to making change, so I need my brain to be in the best headspace as I can.

Bookmarking: Non-spoilery articles about Game of Thrones starting next Monday. Also recipes, always recipes!

Opening: More articles and posts about using essential oils. I’ve been purchasing regularly since February, and I love learning more about the beautiful smelly blends that people put together. I’m also learning lots about how to use them both therapeutically as well as for emotional support.

Closing: Keeping the doors closed in our house to keep the warmth in. We live in the opposite of open plan living with small heaters in each room, so while Melbourne is chilly, we have closed doors!

Feeling: A bit tired, generally very content, but very much wanting a little break.

Dreaming: About holidays. And good nights’ sleep. And free days to do with as I please.

Hearing: A few little whispers in my body. Must make sure they don’t become screams.

Celebrating: Game of Thrones returning on Monday night! Cannot wait to get drawn into all the drama of Westeros

Pretending: That some things don’t matter to me as much as they do. That I’m not really in as much pain as I am (go away painful knee!)

Embracing: Comfortable winter clothing. Leaving the house without makeup on weekends. My new(ish) Ugg boots. My many, many scarves!

My #whole30 November… The halfway mark!

So, while I had every intention of writing weekly posts, this month is already running away with me and to my great surprise, I’ve realised I’m already past halfway through the month of November – meaning halfway through Whole30!

It’s already been an interesting exercise, not only on myself (and testing my ever-so-fickle willpower!), but also in observing others’ reactions when I’ve talked to them about what I’m doing. For the most part, I’m actually not talking about it much at all, but a recent family catch up this past weekend revealed that the moment some kind of eating “program/ diet/ protocol” (pick your poison) is mentioned that everyone (EVERYONE!) wants to know all about it, why you’re on it, what are the exceptions, how you’re finding it, and very importantly, how my partner is dealing with it.

Given that these are completely valid questions and coming from a place of curiosity rather than judgement, I figured here would be the easiest places to answer these from my experience of being two weeks in.

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Breakfasts… Leftover salads with quick eggs and mushrooms

Why am I doing the Whole30?

For the most part, I addressed this in my post a couple of weeks ago – but essentially I wanted to test myself out on a strict program during a time where I knew I’d have the time, resources and the “why” to really commit. Whole30 does not include “treat days’, exceptions and I’m sure isn’t for everyone, but it was something that appealed to me currently to help “kick start” my health where other approaches hadn’t been as effective.

What’s in and what’s out?

Again, I’ve addressed most of this in my first post, but the main point I wanted to mention on this is that just because I’m not eating something because of Whole30, doesn’t mean it’s not healthy, or that others should also eliminate said food/ drink.

I’ve had a few big (interesting!) conversations with a few people about the ideas around natural sugars (honey, maple syrup, dates) in opposed to refined sugar. For me normally, I would try as much as possible to be refined sugar free, however while I’m doing Whole30, the only sweetener I’ve included is dates, which I’m having in moderation, not every day and in combination with other foods. It’s tricky at times, but knowing that this is a short experiment helps rather than thinking that this is for the rest of my life! Alcohol is similar for me… I generally only drink a couple of times a week, mostly red wine and rarely more than two glasses at a time. However, for the month of November I’m not having any alcohol at all. I don’t think drinking (especially at the levels and ratios that I drink) is necessarily bad or unhealthy, I’m just giving my system a break for a while.

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Smoothie bowls have become a new fave… Especially when they have the texture of ice cream!

How has it been so far?

The big question! Honestly, for the first week or so I really didn’t have too many issues with it. While I was home, I was making sure I had a great big breakfast which meant that I didn’t want for lunch; I might have a snack at some point, then have a regular dinner, then maybe a herbal tea and small snack again in the evening.

It’s been trickier when I’ve been eating out with limited options or temptation is staring me in the face (hello, cheese!) but on the whole it’s been relatively straightforward to stay on track. In fact, I’d go as so far as to say it’s much easier to adopt a whole or nothing approach to my food rather than think I can just have some foods “occasionally”. Let’s face it, it’s so easy to reward or console yourself with a treat at any given occasion, that occasionally for me can easily turn into everyday if I’m not careful! The biggest test for me so far was the family catch up on the weekend where everything (bar the Whole30 approved sweet treat I’d brought along) was out of bounds for me. I was able to scrounge up some carrot sticks and hummus (not quite Whole30, but I was getting desperate!) and satisfy myself with them, some pickled onions and a few pieces of salami for the afternoon (again, not quite Whole30 approved, but I needed some protein, and it was salami or the cheese!). There have been a couple of exceptions overall, but in these cases, each time I feel I’ve compromised with the best option available to me at the time. So I don’t feel too bad!

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Sweetener-free granola is a quick and easy addition to our weekly routine.  My partner loves it on yoghurt as a post-dinner treat and I’ve been adding it to my smoothie bowls for extra CRUNCH

How’s your partner “dealing with it”?

Another doozy I’ve been asked about several times. I have a wonderful partner, who loves his meat, carbs, ice cream and food in general. I was clear from the beginning that I didn’t expect him to follow what I was doing, however given that I am responsible for our groceries and most cooking at home, then he would obviously be exposed to some of the program. During the week, we don’t eat breakfast together (we’ve currently got quite different schedules Monday to Friday), he buys his lunch every day at work, so it was really only the main meals that would be affected. With Whole30, I’m focusing on lots of veggies, great quality meats and healthy fats which all fit really easily into the evening meal regime. Most of our dinners are quick, unfussy and suited to both our tastes. There’s always a protein (I am being quite conscious of mixing up different types of meat throughout the week), with greens and generally some roasted vegetables or a salad. On the whole, I don’t think it’s affected him at all, except for when we eat out together (generally on weekends) where I try to find places where I know I can find something easy to eat for both of us.

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I’ve recently started Pilates as well in an effort to help out a reoccuring lower back niggle. Early morning classes are kicking my butt, but made a little easier with some new active wear!

Overall?

So far, so good! It does require preparation, time and occasionally being “that person” in a restaurant asking for meals to be adapted, but generally easier than I expected! I don’t feel hungry or deprived because of what I’m eating and I’m paying far more attention to my emotional responses, energy levels and overall mood.

I’m especially grateful I chose this time to start as I’m putting extra time into food preparation, menu planning for the week and picking a variety of foods to incorporate each week!

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Sweetener-free “bliss balls as a sweet treat – these ones had a creat choc-caramel taste!

Again, I’ve written way more than I intended to, so I’ll add in a recipe for my current favourite Whole30 adapted dish to share later this week!

In wellness,

-Rebecca

My #whole30 November

So, while I’m working behind the scenes to get this website up and running properly, I thought I’d begin with some blog posts over the month of November, covering a bit of an experiment on myself.

Like many people, I’d heard of the #whole30 program, and was vaguely aware that it was related to the Paleo movement. I’m fairly sure I heard about it first from an American blog about three years ago, back when I had zero idea about CrossFit (I remember that #whole30 and CrossFit always seemed to be related) and Paleo was only just starting to enter Australian media.

With every other health and wellness movement setting the scene alight over the past couple of years, I have to admit that I hadn’t heard much at all about #whole30 until a couple of weeks ago, when it was again, featured on an American food blog I’ve been following for years. Tracy from Shutterbean had recently completed her thirty days, and knowing she was a carb lover from way back, my interest was peaked to hear how she found it. Expecting to hear stories of suffering and woe, I was fascinated to discover her observations on how it helped her to tune in to her emotional relationship with food in particular and the health benefits she had also felt along the way.

Given that I’ve had a particularly stressful couple of months with some unexpected “life events”, I was well aware that many of my usual self-care strategies, routines and general health practices had fallen to the wayside. My face especially was showing the effects of too much sugar and although I’ve been exercising more than usual, I wasn’t noticing any difference at all in how my clothes fit (or on the scales for that matter!). So, it was a speedy decision on the last week of October to tighten in the reigns and challenge my brain as well as my body to a #whole30 program.

For anyone wondering “what the heck is #whole30”, you can find out more details about it here and also on Shutterbean’s blog here. Tracy has written a weekly recap, as well as her suggestions for snacks, meals and her reflections on the process. The essential components of #whole30 include removing certain foods for thirty days, to allow the body to “reset” and potentially help heal from inflammation and other health conditions. This means, removing from the diet:

  • Sugar – Real or artificial. Honey is out, dates (in moderation) are OK
  • Alcohol (even in your cooking!)
  • Grains – Including (but not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and quinoa.
  • Legumes – All kinds of beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts. Also, includes removing all soy products (miso, tofu tempeh and edamame)
  • Dairy – All sheep, cow and goats milk products, cream, cheese, yoghurt and most importantly, ice cream!

The program also talks about ensuring your foods don’t contain any sulphur, MSG or any other chemical processes. It also advises against re-creating *treats* with “approved” ingredients (which. sadly, omits the refined-sugar free chocolates I made last weekend, sob!).

Sounds a bit harsh, right?! However, for me it’s more a case about reigning in the little things; I’ve been “mostly gluten and dairy free” for the last four months or so, and I don’t allow myself more than two glasses of red wine a week. Sugar has always been my toughest vice to crack, but I’ve even reduced this over time, though it has always been my “go to” crutch in times of stress.

This has become a far longer introduction post than I intended, but the main point I wanted to bring up is that this is just me, experimenting on me. I am fortunate to have the time, energy and headspace for the month of November to commit to this program and I’m committed to chronicling this journey; to noticing any subtle changes to my mood, energy, emotions as well as the physical aspects too.

Each week, I’m going to do a wrap up summary here on the blog as well as one recipe I’ve made that is #whole30 friendly. You’ll find pics of my week on Instagram (@onestepwellbeing), and I’ll be posting on my new Facebook page too (onestepwellbeing).

In wellness,

-Rebecca