Finding balance through the Whole30

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I was listening to Melissa Hartwig on a live IG story (personal or Whole30) and one of the questions she was answering was how do I stay on the Whole30 when stress enters my life?

And in that moment I had an aha! moment. It’s BALANCE! This is definitely something I need to hear. I find the hardest thing in my life is to keep my balance.

I listened to the answer and it seemed so obvious yet I have been struggling with this since I was 18 when I left home for college.  Living at home upnjntil then with my parents there was always healthy food, meals that were planned and prepared every night.  That kept me aligned.

I lose balance so easily, it could be as simple as a few missed hours of sleep the night before or anything new like a move or job and when stress enters my life. Any of these occur and I fall apart and everything goes to shit!

I finally figured it out. It’s as simple as food! The Whole30 program is not a diet.  It is learning how to meal plan, shop, cook and eat for your body. It’s also more than that, it’s a community, feeling positive about food freedom and figuring out how food fits into your life.

Taking this information in as Melissa was saying something like; even when stress enters your life keep food as a routine. Then I won’t lose balance. THAT’S IT!  I literally wanted to yell from the rooftops that I figured it out, point to my cell phone and say look….This is me! This is it! Right here!

The Whole30 has taught me a lot about food, myself and how food fits into my life. It’s been a process and I think everyone should know it’s within you to learn and figure out. It takes the amount of time it takes. There is no time limit or certain mile stones or markers.

The battle with food is personal and individual. AND it goes much deeper than food.  It reaches the inner most depths of the mind, of the soul.  It’s a learning experience of the past and sets you free!

For me it’s cravings when I start to become unbalanced. My unhealthy food relationship is controlling my food intake when the number in the scales says 5 pound gained.  The instant I notice this happening I stop eating properly and that spins me into a horrible cycle of little amounts of nutritional foods and small quantities. I’ve narrowed it down to being entirely stress related.

When I lose balance everything falls to pieces and then once that shift happens everything slides out of control. Once I let my food routine go out the window it affects every part of my life. My sleep, my health, my brain and gut function. All I want is balance but I dislike routine so that’s why I’ve struggled with this for so long. By not sticking to the routine of meal plans, shopping, eating and cooking I ultimately sabotage my health.

Its the worst feeling to go from cooking and eating healthy, feeling well and in balance, to my body shutting down and spiraling out of control.  When this happens I would feel terrible but didn’t know why. I would be craving chips and chocolate and eating little else. No wonder I just kept going down hill. And when I didn’t see it or realize what the answer was I wouldn’t know how to stop it from happening.

Keeping the meal plan simple and whole30 I feel my best and I don’t lose balance. This is seriously THE best aha moment I’ve had and I’m so glad I found the answer to the biggest issue in my life. Knowing how to keep my balance on a consistent basis is a tremendous relief. Now the work begins to keep this aligned until it becomes a habit!

Everything Whole30

I lose balance in the fall/winter transition but I like to do an overhaul in the winter/spring transition too.  (I also do a cleanse in March) I am planning on doing a WHOLE30 starting April 1st.  If you are interested in joining me follow my One Gutsy Lady Facebook page for support, advise and to have fun with the program.

Here are the links for the Whole30 program.

What is the Whole30?

Whole30 Program Rules

Have you tried or completed a Whole30? What was the outcome? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

Let’s do the Whole30 together! It’s free! Join me on Facebook  @onegutsylady

~Andrea

The Importance of Eating Alkaline Foods

What are Alkaline Foods?

An alkaline diet emphasizes alkaline foods such as whole fruits and vegetables and certain whole grains, which are low in caloric density. Healthy Alkaline Diet Foods involve the ideal balance between acidifying and alkalizing foods.

The body includes a number of organ systems that are adept at neutralizing and eliminating excess acid, but there is a limit to how much acid even a healthy body can cope with effectively. The body is capable of maintaining an acid-alkaline balance provided that the organs are functioning properly, that a well-balanced alkaline diet is being consumed, and that other acid-producing factors are avoided.

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Here is a list of high Alkaline Foods: Examples of Alkalining Vegetables: Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Kale, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Spinach

Examples of Alkalizing Fruits: Apple, Banana, Berries, Cantaloupe, Grapes, Melon, Lemon, Orange, Peach, Pear, Watermelon

Alkalizing Protein: Almonds, Chestnuts, Tofu

Alkalizing Spices: Cinnamon, Curry, Ginger, Mustard, Sea Salt

Here is a link with a list of Alkaline Foods and important information to go along with each one.

Danielle Walker from Against All Grain has three cookbooks, an app, and tons of recipes on her website that are a great balance of alkaline and acidic foods. Majority are alkaline which is why she is having such success with her recipes. The whole30 is another great source for a balance lifestyle. I eat the way these two women cook and eat.

Andrea

Ama/Intermittent Fasting

Ama is unique to ayurveda; it builds up in your GI track when food is not digested properly. When our ability to digest food becomes impaired, the body can no longer absorb essential nutrients. Undigested and partially digested food lingers in the body, leading to the formation of ama. Ayurveda views ama as one of the most threatening opponents to good health, linking the majority of health disorders in some way to the presence of this substance. Simply stated, ama is undigested food that begins to eat you which causes inflammation and disease.

Causes of Ama:

Overeating
Eating before the previous meal is digested
Not making lunch the main meal; eating large meals at night
Ice drinks and cold-food meals
Food that isn’t fresh, pure and organic – old food, stale food, packaged foods
Eating without full attention on the meal; watching TV or reading
Eating too quickly
Eating while emotionally upset
Not taking the heaviest parts of the meal first when the agni (digestive fire) is strongest
Not engaging in light, enjoyable exercise daily whenever possible, or a few times a week
Intermittent fasting is an important part of your health as much as eating is. Allowing the body to fast is important to allow the GI track to eliminate and regenerate ready for the next meal. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16 hour fasts, or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week. Humans have actually been fasting throughout evolution. Sometimes it was done because food was not available. There are a few different ways to fast but the one that is natural to me is the 16/8 method. But I don’t do this often it actually happens naturally. I don’t force myself to fast nor will I ever.

The 16/8 Method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1 pm to 9 pm. Then you “fast” for 16 hours in between.
Benefits of intermittent fasting:

reduces stress and inflammation
lose weight and belly fat
changes the function of cells, genes and hormones
beneficial for heart health
various cellular repair processes
what’s good for your gut is good for your brain
longevity
reduces insulin resistance, lowering your risk of Type 2 Diabetes
All about AMA

Shattering the myth of fasting for women

Mark’s Daily Apple

Ama: The Antithesis of Agni

I can’t stress how important is it to live a balanced life! A holistic lifestyle is a gentle way to treat your body which in my way of thinking is the natural and best way.

Peace ~Andrea

UPdate!

On Monday July 24th I had a colonoscopy.  Wondering about the damage possibly done by the last flare. Having the resources of Homeopathy, biofeedback and natural remedies has been a saving grace for me. This trip was somewhat overwhelming for me. The appointment was in Hinton which is close to where I use to live but a two hour drive to the hospital from where I’m staying now. I had to ask for a ride so my older daughter was out a days pay but I was luck as my younger daughter actually had that day off so she came along too. It was wonderful to have double support. On our way out of Edson the tire popped on a dip in the road. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to do anything, I was pretty much useless.  Changed the tire to the spare with the help of a guy.  We couldn’t believe that there are actually people who are willing to help.  And another guy stopped and asked if we were okay.  That blew our minds too.  There still are a few people out there who are considerate and have respect for others.

The colonoscopy results showed NORMAL! NO DAMAGE, NO SCARING, NO CANCER!

Ironically, having the procedure triggered inflammation in the colon, so Colitis symptoms returned. Three days later I had a Homeopathic appointment and immediately it was under control.  Within a couple of weeks will diminish and in a month it should be completely gone.  No flare!

In all this illness I’ve learned a great deal in many areas of my life. But SELF CARE is definitely the most important lesson learned which I have made a daily practice. This does not come easily to me. When we have something going on it is so easy to get out of balance. Once we loose our footing for whatever reason, it can be extremely hard to get back on track. And so the momentum is lost and it’s easier to keep the unbalance going than it is to correct. It is such a time consuming struggle!

“And—please hear me loud and clear on this last one—self care is always the right choice.” ~UmberDove

I have put a few things in place that help me reset quickly so I don’t trip myself up leading to illness again or waste more time on finding my way back to a balanced life.

Natural Remedies – VC 15 Forte (Once the imbalance begins I take two of these shots, and by that I mean two viles of liquid down the hatch on two consecutive days), & AdrenaSmart. These are only used to keep my balance. I stop taking them until I find I am unbalanced again then will use for a short time until I feel I have come back to center.

Meditation – Extremely helpful to stop the negative thoughts that like to pop up when the imbalance begins and it’s so easy to stay there in that place while I beat myself up, feel fear, anger, resentment. After all if it’s been a life long habit, it is so much easier to stay STUCK! I find it a great relief to feel the guidance I get from this simple practice. Gabriel Bernstein is my favourite. Her voice and music used is soothing and the recorded meditations she has on her website are in perfect tandem to the thought process and the relaxing time needed. I also read, reread and use her books (#spiritjunkie). The Universe Has Your Back is EXCELLENT!

Walking – “When you get caught up in your head, move your feet.” ~Kelly Clark. Walking is a great way to get out of your head. It flows, it’s meditative. But it’s also a way to explore, see new places, find new pieces of the outdoors. Exploring in nature has always been my peace, the deeper into the bush the better.

Sleep – I lack in restorative sleep because I have Fibromyalgia, which stops me from reaching REM sleep. For this AdrenaSmart is a savior. It also helps with stress.  Who doesn’t have stress in their lives that they need to manage?

If you noticed food is not listed. That is because I have such a routine in this department that imbalance only happens if the above list gets really out of control (which hasn’t occurred in some time). Whole30 and Against All Grain Cookbooks keep my on track in the grocery stores and kitchen!

A new, or should I say a revisited item on my list, is art in all forms. I am drawing, writing more, colouring, painting, collecting, sketchbooking, observing so hard that I get lost in the realms of the forms of art in front of me. I love that feeling! It’s such a natural place for me to be.

“I am an internal processor; this I’ve come to recognize in the ebb and flow of sharing and silence.” ~UmberDove

I’ve done the surviving…now on to THRIVING! I am excited to see what my future holds. I know I am not finished with Crohns and Colitis but I am going to live…I am going to live hard, fast, free and wild! Doing exactly what I want to do. Being free! Live without abandon, set no limits, just being free! What I feel is my calling. The path I am here to lead. The changes I am suppose to make. The new world I am part of starting. I know my purpose now and I thank illness for taking away my old life and making me new, forcing me through all the horrific pain, debilitating defeat, chronic change, that has brought me to this place.

This place of peace. This place of renewed hope and strength. I have learned self-compassion, self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. This self awareness has taken me deep into a world of love. Loving what is. Love instead of fear. Pure Love!

You see, this illness brought me to my knees but I rose up and greeted it with full on determination, will, fight and GRACE!  I am fearless! Always have been, always will be. I am strong in mind, body and soul. For all of this I am grateful. I have shed some layers of that which no longer serves, and I am leaning hard into the rawness of my own authenticity.

Peace, Love & Light

~Andrea