Friday, January 31, 2014

Tiger Blood: My 'Whole 30' Experience

Since this Paleo fad has taken off, I've been reluctant to give in to the hype.  I've never been a "dieter", and definitely not one to follow many trends when it comes to eating.  I eat limited processed food and do my best to buy certified organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, free-range, and am pretty much a foodie snob of sorts...there, I said it.  Overall, I find my diet to be pretty healthy. 
 
The hubby and I had our specific reasons to give the Whole30 a try and I'll have to explain those reasons in a separate post.  I have always belonged to the, "just eat the bread" and "it's all about moderation" camp. But when my body decided it wasn't going to function as ideally as it should, I decided to give this Whole30 elimination diet a good 'ole American try (I seriously don't know if that's a positive or derogatory saying now...). We have never done such a strict elimination diet, and were actually really excited to try it. Well, I speak for myself here, I wouldn't say Matt was necessarily excited.  Everyone I know who has done Whole30 talk about the "Tiger Blood", the amazing energy surge you feel at some point during the 30 days, and most people end up feeling so great, they keep up with Paleo in some form (you can read more about Paleo HERE).  Tiger blood?!  I want me some of that, yes please.
 
How would we do?  Could we make it 30 days eating such a strict diet? How would we feel? How difficult would it be? Would this be "life changing" like so many people report?
 
I apologize to those unfamiliar with the Whole30 for not explaining what the heck I'm talking about.  But people far more educated on this do a much better job explaining it HERE and HERE (30 convincing reasons to do Whole30).
 
I had a health issue arise within the first 5 days of starting the Whole30 (completely unrelated to our new diet) and this made it difficult to stick with it.  I was craving SUGAR! I didn't really think I had much of an emotional attachment to food, but this situation really made me realize that I turn to sugar when wanting a "make me feel better" snack.  Plus, when I'm told, or tell myself, I can't have something it makes me want it more...don't you agree?
 
WE DID IT!  The 30 days are over, and here's a little recap:
  • The first 2 weeks I had super strong cravings for ice cream, nutella, and brownies.  Mouth-watering, tempting, blood sugar-raising sugar laughed in my face on the t.v., standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, and just driving down the street passing places like Dairy Queen.  Just give me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, please!
  • But what did I miss the most? My coffee creamer!  Coffee is allowed on the Whole30, but you have to drink it black, since dairy and any form or sweetener is a strict no-no  No. Thank. You.  I ended up using a coconut milk/egg/vanilla/cinnamon concoction that got me through, but I don't think it is technically in line with the overall goal of Whole30.  I'm such a rebel.
  • We were always hungry, despite eating large, protein and veggie-packed meals.  Matt and I both had to figure out how much protein and healthy fats we needed to eat in order to not feel completely empty 30 minutes after eating a meal.  Our bodies were adjusting to the lack of those filling, yet empty carbs we were used to eating.  Weight loss was not our goal in this, so we had to be sure we were eating enough.
  • I didn't lose any weight, and Matt lost about 5 pounds and was glad it wasn't any more.
  • Once I adjusted our meals, we were less inclined to feel like snacking, but I was sure to keep snacks such as almonds, pistachios, avocados, and hard boiled eggs on hand, but now that the 30 days are up, I don't find myself wanting, or feeling the need, to snack as much. 
So, did we see any benefits?
  • For a little while there, Matt wasn't having the back pain each morning that he's become accustomed to, and his sinus issues were no more.  But it may have been just a coincidence, because it seems they have returned.
  • Around day 20 I noticed a HUGE improvement in my skin!  I've always had issues with my skin, whether it is breakouts, dryness or redness.  My skin is now hydrated, smooth, smaller pores and feel like it's glowing!  This may be TMI, but I started my period this week...not one breakout!  This is big folks :) It's either the Whole30 or this Loreal product I'm using is worth much more than I paid for it; I've never had such amazing results from a drugstore brand.
  • I was a little bummed that I was nearing the end of the Whole30 and hadn't felt that amazing energy yet, and in fact hadn't felt much different at all.  But for about the last 10 days...I have the Tiger Blood!  Y'all that know me, know that I have NEVER been a morning person. I've tried, I really have, and it has just never worked and I have never enjoyed it.  BUT. I have been waking up (quite easily, I might add) at 5:30 to bundle up and go for a nice walk and I actually look forward to it.  I use this quiet time to pray and prepare for my day ahead.  I then have time to cuddle on the couch in my robe, sip my coconut milk-laced coffee while I read my devotional and my Bible and catch up on emails before getting ready for work.  On the days that I don't work, like today, this gives me time to get myself ready before Lucy gets up and have my alone time.  Who am I?! 
Here are some of our favorite meals we enjoyed these last 30 days:
 
Chicken Veggie Soup with Sautéed Bok Choy, Cilantro and Green Onion

These Citrus Carnitas were mouth watering!  I believe Matt's favorite.

Jicama Home Fries with eggs and bacon for breakfast.  These take some
prep work the day before, but it's easy...and worth it!

Satisfying my snack-tooth with these Garlic Kale Chips
These are amazing!

Now that the 30 days are up, we begin our reintroduction phase.  We will be adding these items we've eliminated back into our diet one-by-one, every few days, and monitoring how they make us feel and determining if it's something we should just limit from our diet long-term.  First up...dairy!  Because I miss my coffee creamer, and Matt is yearning for cheese. 
 
We're holding back our urge to binge on not just dairy, but also chocolate, pastries and beer this Super Bowl Sunday, but will instead be cheering, wearing our blue and green, while devouring some orange cheddar...the same way we'll devour the orange Broncos.  GO HAWKS!

Monday, January 27, 2014

We Have a Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the BOCO giveaway.  I'm excited, not only to participate in this co-op, but to also be a weekly volunteer who believes in the mission of making clean produce more accessible and more affordable for our communities. 
 
With that said, the winner of *One Full Share* through Blissfully Organic Co-Op is.......

* * STACY M. * *

Congratulations Stacy!! By entering this giveaway (and others yet to come), and sharing it with your friends, you are not only giving yourself an opportunity to win some free goodies, but you are also helping to support other mothers in their personal endeavors, like Jamie.  That, my friends, is what  Momster Mash is all about, supporting and encouraging mothers. 
 
So THANK YOU!  And get ready as we head into February, for yet another Momster of the Month.  I'm so looking forward to sharing February's MOM! (hint hint...there's a spectacular giveaway coming your way, too
 
Stay tuned!
 
 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

MOM Jamie: Part 3 - Staying Grounded and a *Giveaway*

Need to catch up this month? This post will make much more sense if you read these:

What does Jamie's family think about all of this BOCO business?
"Uriah calls BOCO 'fruits and beggies'.  Friday is when our produce delivery comes, and it comes to our house.  I have to bribe him to take is nap, and in exchange, he can help me with the 'fruits and beggies'.  I hope this never gets old :)  When I go to do BOCO on Saturdays, I have to sneak out of the house or else it's an epic meltdown, because he so badly wants to come and help.  He has a servant's heart...I love that little dude! Isaiah is too young to know life before BOCO and [my husband] Derek, well, he is my biggest fan."

One thing I like to ask all of my MOMS...How do you keep your feet on the ground in our hectic world? I think it's essential for us mothers to find ways to refresh, and I find it refreshing to hear what other mothers do in order to find their recharge.  It's easy to get stuck in a rut, and this is one way we can get some new ideas and gain new perspective.  So how does Jamie stay grounded? 
"God! He is my rock.  I feel blessed that I have such a strength in Him to get me through the crazy times, but also that He is there with me through my victories."
Jamie also likes to find time to herself to read, "I am a total sap!  I love Nicholas Sparks, I have to ration books!  I get so invested in the characters and once I start reading I can't stop!"

Jamie has one last word of encouragement she'd like to share, from one mom to another: "As moms, sometimes it seems like we stop believing in ourselves and doing things for us, we invest so much time and energy into our kiddos that we often forget to invest in ourselves, and let's be honest, at the end of the day we are incredibly tired.  Don't stop believing and dreaming, find your passion, find the mark you want to leave on the world and go for it!"

Thank you for that reminder Jamie!  I now have Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" running through my head...and I like it! I sang an epic karaoke rendition at Ozzie's in Seattle during my Bachelorette party.  So. Much.  Fun.
True story
To wrap up the month, Jamie is offering a BOCO GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive 1 full share through Blissfully Organic Co-op, a $22.50 value (see www.blisfullyorganiccoop.org/how-we-work for details, and terms and conditions).  You should enter this giveaway if:

1.  You live in the Maple Valley, Auburn, Puyallup, Lacey or Steilacoom areas (See blissfullyorganiccoop.org/locations for specific addresses).  If you pick up in Maple Valley, I'll get to see you there! Even if you already participate in BOCO, treat yourself to a free share next week.
2.  If you have been thinking about trying BOCO and just haven't yet; now's your chance to try it out for FREE!
3.  You know someone who would like to try BOCO and lives in one the above areas; you could gift it to them.

A few more BOCO facts:
  • Most of the produce is from local farms.  People hear "local farms" and think Seattle, but technically, local means anything that came from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
  • Eggs are from Steibrs farm in Yelm, Wa
  • Honey is from Timmons Honey in Graham, Wa
  • Dry goods are from a local company {Portland}
  • Bread is from a local {Portland} company, Dave's Killer Bread
  • BOCO's birthday is on Valentines day.  Almost 1 year old!
One of the most common New Year's resolutions has to do with health and fitness, am I right?  As the month of resolutions draws to an end, let Blissfully Organic Co-op help you continue to eat food that is healing for you and your family.  I truly believe that the food we eat has the power to work to our advantage, or cause us great harm; these small choices in the food we eat can have such a huge impact on our quality of life.  Life is short, and eating well is just one thing you can do not only for yourself, but for the wellbeing of your precious family.

Log into Rafflecopter below and follow the prompts to enter.  Winner will be announced Monday, January 27th and will be notified via email.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 11, 2014

MOM Jamie Part 2: From Fashion to Fruits and Veggies

So, you may be wondering how a mother of two, with a fashion degree, decided to start an organic produce co-op?  I wondered the same thing! Jamie explains:
"I wanted to feed my family organic produce, but living here in Puyallup we do not have an all organic store, and I didn't want to spend my day shopping at all of the different stores to compile my organic produce"
After speaking with her girlfriends, Jamie discovered that they had all been thinking the same thing.  And who wants to pay those crazy high prices for organic produce shopping at "Whole Paycheck", anyway?!   So what did Jamie decide to do about this predicament?
"Even though I was in the apparel industry, sourcing is sourcing, no matter [the industry].  I knew that there had to be a way to get a better price than what I was currently paying in the grocery store.  And so I began my journey in developing Blissfully Organic Co-Op (BOCO)."
Jamie vividly remembers sitting in her living room with her husband, sharing her thoughts about starting a co-op.  "I'll be honest, I come up with random business ideas ALL THE TIME.  So I'm sure to him it was like 'ohhhh great, here we go again!'"
Although Jamie was really excited to make this idea work, she never meant for it to turn into a business.  "I just wanted to help my friends and their families eat clean produce, but then the word spread like crazy and after six short weeks, I was serving over 150 families!"
She really had the desire to support Northwest companies and local farms, but after doing her research, she discovered that by strictly utilizing Western Washington farms, she would have to offer root vegetables 75% of the time.  Of course, she wanted to offer a wider variety of produce, so she decided that "the next best thing would be to support a local distributor who has the same values as I do."  BOCO offers produce from local farms whenever possible, but when you're buying items like bananas and kiwis, that is just never going to happen.
Since Jamie started BOCO in February 2013, almost 1 year ago, it has grown from offering 100% certified organic produce, to now also providing local eggs, honey, bread and dry goods. 
Ok Jamie, you've impressed me with your skills in making this all happen, in sourcing organic produce for families to purchase at wholesale prices!  But how in the world did you figure out the logistics of it all? How did you decide on a website design to make purchasing so simple? 
"I have ZERO website experience, in fact, for those who have been with me from the beginning can confirm that :) I started off selling shares through an online ticket website.  The fees were getting to be too much and so I began sourcing other options.  I found a great website builder, it was easy and I could do it myself.  But then I realized I needed something more, since this was turning into a business and I needed to track inventory and reports and I needed a website that could provide that.  So I set out on another quest to find our third, and where we are now, website.  There has been a lot of trial and error and there will continue to be that, but I believe that it is now a well-oiled machine that will just get better and better."
If you are new to BOCO, and interested in participating, here's what you need to know:
1. There's no commitment required.  Purchase weekly, skip a week if you're out of town, purchase monthly...whatever works for you. 
2. Buy-in is open Sunday through Wednesday each week.  Purchase your share and add-ons through BlissfullyOrganicCoOp.org during the buy-in window.
3. When you purchase, select the pick-up location most convenient for you:  Lacey, Puyallup, Steilacoom, Auburn, or Maple Valley. 
4. Pick up your goods Saturday morning at the designated pick up time for your selected location.  Visit www.blissfullyorganiccoop.org/locations for pick-up times.
Be sure to 'like' BOCO's Facebook page and sign up for the newsletter.  BOCO will post what you can expect in each week's share via their Facebook page, along with other updates and recipe ideas for your goods for the week.  For any other questions, visit www.blissfullyorganiccoop.org/how-we-work to read through the frequently asked questions.

Friday, January 3, 2014

MOM Jamie - Part 1

Welcome back and Happy New Year!  There is a little update for you HERE if you're interested in what I've been up to over the past month.  Let's kick off the year with a fresh, new MOM:
I met Jamie after I interviewed MOM Rachel in October.  Rachel shared her involvement with Blissfully Organic Co-Op (BOCO - a produce and dry goods co-op offering wholesale prices) and that got me very curious and anxious to try it out for myself right away.  The nearest pickup location was about 25 minutes from where we live, and I participated for a couple weeks until I decided we just HAD to get a pickup location in Maple Valley! 
Jamie is the brains behind BOCO!  I was able to spread the word, work with Jamie, and I am now the site coordinator for the pick up location in Maple Valley, just 5 minutes from our house!  I'm so happy to be helping Jamie spread the "produce love" to more people.  So I've had the opportunity to get to know Jamie a little bit over the last  few months, and I'm pleased to feature her as the MOM for December.
Jamie grew up in Lacey, WA, and majored in Fashion Design at The Art Institute of Seattle.  She then transferred to The International Academy of Design and Technology - Seattle, where she earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree.  Jamie says she was "blessed enough to get an amazing job just two weeks after college graduation at a high end golf apparel company is Seattle, working as a Technical Designer."
When Jamie and her husband, Derek, welcomed their second baby boy, they came to the consensus that it would be best for Jaime to stay home to raise their boys.  Jamie explains:
"I was commuting to work 2 hours EACH way, I would get home just in time for the meltdowns, I didn't get to eat dinner with my family and I was incredibly exhausted.  I truly loved my job, but it was time for me to spend more time with my family and raise our kids."
Jamie met her husband Derek in college, and they married in 2008.  They have two "little dudes", Uriah is four and Isaiah is 20 months.  They also have a host daughter from Korea, Judy, who is with them until June.  They also have a floppy-eared, smooshy-faced Puggle named Moose, which I think is awesome for 2 reasons:
1) We had a Pug named Kobe growing up.
2) Our Maltese is named Goose!  Goose and Moose sound like they could be best buds :) 
Jamie and her family love the outdoors, reading together, and playing board games.  Outside of raising a beautiful family and running BOCO, Jamie has started her own clothing design company, JamieErin Designs.  Visit her Etsy shop, where you can purchase the adorable Seahawks Tutu (also available in adult sizes - perfect Superbowl attire!)
What else does Jamie enjoy? "I *LOVE* running, I love being involved in my church, and I love to travel and see new things/places.  My goal is to run a marathon in 2014, eeek, I feel like by putting that in writing I am going to be held accountable". 
You can do it Jamie!!!
CLICK HERE for Part 2 to find out how a gal with a background in Fashion Design ended up starting an organic produce co-op... 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

My loves
I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas!  December was a whirlwind of the typical Christmas "busyness", working extra hectic days at work, and we just wrapped up our third (and final) family Christmas party today.  Our normal routine will resume next week and, although we had a wonderful Christmas, I'm welcoming routine back into this house with open arms. 
 
I'm excited to get back to blogging, sharing new Momsters with you, and meeting new moms along the way.  Thank you SO much for all of your support in 2013! Although I get so much joy, fulfillment, and creative fun out of this blog...it exists for YOU.  I am encouraged to keep this up by your kind words, and am looking forward to a new year of growing this Momster community.
 
What change are you making in 2014?  Hubby and I have decided to go Paleo so today was Day 1 of the Whole30.  I'm good so far, but Matt is...hungry :) I think I need to work on my meal planning.  I'll be sharing more about how this goes, and our reasons behind this decision.
 
Another aspect of November and December that preoccupied my life was my mom's lung cancer diagnosis.  If you've been following Momster Mash from the beginning, she was my very first Momster of the Month and shared her battle and DEFEAT of breast cancer.  You can read her story HERE.
 
Starting in the Spring of 2013, my mom started noticing a persistent cough.  She was originally told she had Whooping Cough (although no test of any kind was performed in order to reach that diagnosis, so whatever).  The cough remained, and she returned to many different doctors, had biopsies, a CT scan, and a PET scan.  The final diagnosis is stage 3B Squamous Cell Carcinoma in her left lung, which is typically strongly associated with smoking.  However, she has never smoked, and has actually always had a strong revulsion to it, but did grow up in a family full of smokers, so the oncologist seems to think it's from second-hand smoke.  It is not associated with the breast cancer in any way, and the good news out of this is that cancer is nowhere else in her body. 
 
Please keep her and our family in your prayers, we can use all we can get.  If you know my mom, or are familiar with her story, you know that she is stubborn and does not give up easily.  We are believing in another miracle, and have faith that she will conquer yet another road block.
 
If you happen to be a smoker, there is no better time than the present to quit!  It's a new year, the perfect time for improving your life.  Furthermore, please consider the consequences smoking can have in the lives of people you love, not just yourself.  Personally, and especially as a Dental Hygienist, I'm a strong advocate for smoking cessation.  But, honestly, now I just downright hate it. That's all I have to say about that.
 
Moving on, as life must, I have a new Momster of the Month to introduce to you!  My goal is to get that first post up tomorrow night or Friday for you.