Whole30

Buffalo Chicken Chowder

If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you that I am absolutely obsessed with all things buffalo. If a dish has buffalo sauce incorporated, odds are that I will try it and love it. And given that it’s Winter and temperatures around here are finally getting back down again (we had a brief warm-up recently), I’ve been craving some cozy soups lately.

I’m the first to admit to anyone that while I love cooking/baking and being in the kitchen – I am not a recipe developer. Creating recipes is not necessarily a strength, but I do know how to follow them. But with that being said – I actually did create this one! I borrowed some favorite components of other delicious soup recipes and threw this one together.

Buffalo Chicken Chowder

Buffalo Chicken Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (I use rotisserie chicken!)
  • 2-3 medium sized russet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can mild diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 64 oz chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup hot Sauce (Frank’s Red Hot Original is my favorite!)
  • 1 T ghee
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  • Melt the ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until onions are translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for about a minute. Add all remaining ingredients except the chicken. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Once potatoes are tender, add in the cooked chicken breast and stir to combine. Serve hot!

2019, Let’s Go

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!

It doesn’t quite feel believable that it’s January 1st around here although that’s probably because it’s legit 70 degrees here in Raleigh today. Seriously.

It seems fitting, though, that today is the first day of the year and I spent a portion of it in the gym. Now, that’s obviously not all that different from thousands, if not millions, of other people but hey, I was there.

I’m beginning 2019 in a manner that I would have never thought I would – and that is with a trainer. It feels strange even saying that, like there’s this weird thing that happens when I even say the word “trainer” but nevertheless, I’ve got one. And truthfully, it was high time.

My health journey isn’t super interesting in the grand scheme of things and I’m still learning to listen to my body and become more in tune with what it needs. And right now, in this season, it needs the addition of strength training and I know myself well enough to know that I’m not going to get very far if I start out solo. Is it uncomfortable? Um, yes. My body kind of hates me. Is it awkward? Yep. But God has been showing me lately just how much I need to focus on my health in all areas (spiritual, mental, physical, etc). He’s reminding me that when one thing is off – whether it’s in my physical wellness, spiritual wellness, or whatever – it shows up in other areas of my life.

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Life Lately

Hello friends! I’ve got a sort of “stream of consciousness”-like update post for you all today.

It is officially summer vacation in my neck of the woods and something tells me that this is going to be a hectic summer! Between moving to a new city in late July/early August (see this post), opening an antique booth with my Mom in the NC foothills, and closing out a another school year – it’s already been a little crazy.

When I first committed to my new job and the move to Raleigh, one of the first things that I thought about was budgeting. My next thought was about wellness. Really, it was! Ever since my family and I first did Whole30 back in July 2017 and began following the Paleo lifestyle afterwards, there are certain ingredients, products, and recipes that we have kept in our lives. Although I have strayed from Paleo a lot lately, this way of eating and living is one that I truly believe in and feel strongly about. Whole30 and Paleo taught me how to start listening to my body and to pay attention to what I was putting into it. Which brings me to my next little story…

I recently had a wake-up call of sorts with my health and it forced me to open my eyes and see just how far I had strayed from the healthy lifestyle that I once had. I was never the perfect Paleo person, but I was pretty diligent for several months! But life happens, you tell yourself that a little treat here and there wouldn’t hurt, and before you know it…your clothes are back to feeling uncomfortable and you just feel off all around.

A couple weeks ago, I went in for a physical. Sadly, I can’t even remember the last physical that I had because it had been so long and I had fallen into the practice of only going to the doctor if I truly felt really sick. I had some blood work done but rather than having a completely fine bill of health, my results showed that my thyroid levels were abnormal. That certainly got my attention.

I knew a little bit about thyroid issues but did a bit more research and realized that some of the things that I had just written off as normal for me or simply due to my work environment or eating habits were also signs and symptoms of abnormal thyroid levels. My PA wanted me to wait a week to come back in for a full thyroid panel so I made the decision that for the next week, I would eat completely Paleo. Now, it ended up not being 100%, but it was pretty dang close. When I went back in for a full thyroid panel, my results came back normal (with a more than 6 point drop).

Of course, I truly don’t know if a week of eating mostly clean foods is actually what caused the normal readings but I can’t help but think that it definitely played some role. While I am super grateful for those normal results, this whole thing is super convicting for me to get back on “the bandwagon” and keep Paleo a regular and central part of my lifestyle. In a society that paints the unrealistic and damaging picture that we have to constantly be on the move and that what is quick and convenient is not going to harm us, we ultimately have to be bold enough to stand up and say enough. Enough of mindlessly filling our bodies with junk and feeling like junk in return, enough of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the fact that what we put into our bodies does have a direct impact on our health.

What Matters Most | Whole30 Recap

Whole30 Recap

Here I am, sitting at my computer on Day 30, sipping my cup of Whole30-compliant coffee.

To be here, having completed my first Whole30 feels like a gift, you guys. And I know that probably sounds way too sappy and I get it. I mean I’m just one person out of the millions, probably, who have already done a first, second, and maybe third Whole30. But for me, I am just grateful to be here, in this moment.

I had an inkling when I first decided to do Whole30 back around Memorial Day that my life was going to change. That was probably because I bought/read every book on the subject and everywhere in them was talk about food freedom and how this was going to change my life. It was never really a secret to me that the root of my food issues and my biggest roadblock with living well and eating healthy was me. I knew that stress eating was a real issue in my life (teaching is stressful, you guys) and even though I knew ways to counteract that and knew that I needed to get more active, I just simply didn’t do it. I made excuses that my schedule was too busy and that I just simply wasn’t strong enough.

Dear Whole30, thank you for shutting me up about that last part.

My parents and I decided to do Whole30 together for several reasons. For starters, I live at home and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do Whole30 on my own without huge amounts of temptation. For my Dad, it was a chance to see how a Whole30 way of eating could affect his high blood pressure and kidney function (he has chronic kidney disease due to a rare autoimmune disease). My mom was a little reluctant (and shell-shocked at every turn when I told her all the things we wouldn’t be able to have), but jumped in with us too. She also has high blood pressure and she actually ended up experiencing the most profound changes.

So how did we do?

For my Dad, he lost over ten pounds and has had lowered blood pressure of the past month. This past week, though, his doctor told him that his potassium numbers were a little high so we have now had to shift him to a low-potassium renal diet. My “pet peeve” with this is that there aren’t that many low-potassium recipes that are also Whole30/Paleo approved but we are trying to find a balance between getting his potassium back in check while also following what we now know and believe about nutrition (So many gluten/grain ingredients…*shudder*).

Like I said above, my mom probably had the most substantial changes of the three of us. Her blood pressure has been significantly lower, guys. Like, down to only taking one medication instead of two. Around the second week, she was experiencing very low blood pressure and her doctor began tweaking her medicines a bit. The fact that she has been able to completely stop taking one of her medications is pretty amazing to me! At first, my mom wasn’t sure how much of Whole30 we would carry over into “post-Whole30 life” but now that she has seen these changes, I think she is open to transitioning to a Paleo diet with me.

As for me, my biggest transformation has been my mindset and my outlook on wellness and nutrition as a whole. Like I shared in my halfway recap, I began doing yoga this month and joined a gym about halfway through. In fact, sometimes I found myself forgetting that Whole30 was wrapping up because I truly went into this not as a 30 day thing, but as a springboard for a total lifelong change. I knew that I wanted to try and follow a Paleo diet after Whole30 and that sentiment still holds true. With all that I have learned about food and nutrition through the Whole30 books and in Practical Paleo, how could I go back to the way things were?

I truly feel excited and hopeful for what the future holds! July was a great month!

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