Finding balance through the Whole30


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


Get to know the Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen!

4DD62057-8127-4612-9A61-6E15B1190419It’s important to clean your gut to avoid autoimmune disorders and if you have autoimmune disease(s) already.

Inflammation is the word for the movements that are all around us now. Eliminate inflammation for optimal health! A great way to start to clean your gut is to shop the dirty dozen and the clean 15 lists when buying fruits and vegetables.
Ultimately, growing our own would be the most healthiest knowing what environment these were grown in but not many of us can live with such a privilege.

Here are the (EWG) Environmental Working Group dirty dozen and clean 15 lists to assist in avoiding harmful chemicals in the produce aisles. A good way to think about these choices is the clean 15 have the lowest levels of pesticides used ~ thin skin organic, thick skin non-organic.


Note: Green beans and kale are moving up on the most sprayed list.


Figuring out where your blocks are through books (self help & memoirs)

I think we need to stop, take a step back and examine what is not working in our lives. Take time to find the block or blocks.  Ask ourselves “Where is it that the flow has stopped?” or “Why is the flow not what it use to be?” From there we see the past, going through the steps we took and what happened when the change took place. What was it that occurred? Was it a mistake, a failure, trauma, a time when we were off or weak? [In these words I use loosely as I don’t believe in failure or weakness or even mistakes. I see everything that happens in our journey as a milestone, a learning experience, a process that was necessary in our evolution. But in this context I use these words to express my point.]

The hurdles in our path make us put up barricades to protect our emotions and allow us to carry on. Once this happens again and again we form blocks that are so deep that it’s hard to get unstuck. We can become numb or so use to acting a certain way to hide the pain and hurt that we are fake which forces us to atomically go through our days like a robot. Running from the pain, not dealing with it just pushing it down further and further, so the block is changing the course of our lives. We can get so far off our path until we get to the breaking point, that rock bottom. In my case it was illness; autoimmune disorders.

Being in these blocks is like drowning, we are pulled under then for a split second are above water able to gasp for air only to be pulled under again. In this pattern of ebb and flow our bodies become imbalanced which leads to a down hill spiral of negative events. These events are our path, they take us to where we are suppose to be and gets us to where we are intended to go. It’s the “work” we do in that pain that is mandatory to get us to the other side. To be free!
When we release all that takes us to that place of rock bottom we transition into a new person, we become that of which we were always suppose to be. That detour was the doing of psychology, the way in which the human brain works. The brains way of dealing with emotions, not wanting to be hurt or damaged and to suppress pain and the hurt that is taken on by the individual.

Every one of us is different, we can be in the exact same place experiencing the exact same thing/situation yet our experiences will be nothing alike. It’s the way our brains are wired, how we interpret the actions, words, expressions of others. We don’t think about how we are affecting others around us, in that we don’t know how our actions affect people. Psychology!

Here is a link to “THE WORK” with BYRON KATIE, everyone will take from resources what they need and leave the rest. This is how I live my life, I think we all do. But for me it’s not out of ignorance or a closed mind it’s simply the info in front of me was not meant for me at that time. When I need it, somehow it reenters my life, just at the right time…synchronicity! I moved mountains in my life by reading and learning from this brilliant women’s work. – LOVING WHAT IS

In 2013 I was extremely ill (ANEMIA) with undiagnosed Crohns; the culprit of my declining health. I had no idea how sick I was. I was in an unhealthy relationship with a couple of people in my life (along with other people in the background sabotaging the one relationship, truthfully, it surely didn’t need that to decline) and somehow it ALL was wearing on my health. (how to deal with toxic people)  You might want to google NARCISSIST too! Anyway….I was a new emptynester as well, as both my daughters moved out at the same time and I was all alone for the first time in 20 years. IN TWO F**KEN DECADES!!!!

So, there I was living alone in a basement apartment, unhappy in a unhealthy relationship, anemic for over a year at this point and my body was starting to waste away in that my lungs were shutting down, my muscles had started to waste, started to  lose body tissue and I was already extremely unbalanced (mind, body and soul). I was searching for ways to get back my balance and trying to figure out what was going on. The two doctors I had been going to were not helping me in anyway. And this is what I felt like….when things fall apart!

when thing fall apart

This is the first book I read once I realized I needed help to get through whatever it was I was going through. Now, I had never felt sadness or depression before but I was experiencing sadness and had no idea what this emotion was, if you can imagine. Yup, that’s right, I had experienced an incredible amount of death in my younger years but had never had this emotion before. Ends up is was ANEMIA! so the doctor said.

This book started it all….and I mean it ALL! This was the declining stage of my life and for the next five years progressively became worse, in different ways and has challenged me in ways I hope to NEVER be challenged again. EVER!!!!!!!!!! But this book gave me a different outlook, a change in my view of life and mindset. I needed this book as badly as I needed to end the relationship I was in. You should read it along with the other books and links I provide in this post. Who knows you may need one of these resources to help you on the road to healing!

NOW>>>>> These are books I read and go back to many many times. I may read a book or a page or a paragraph, sometimes a sentence then revisit it a year later and get something completely different out of it. That’s how it works for me. I hope that you find this post helpful to get to where you are searching to go!

Pema Chodron – Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change was also an amazing book. She’s written 40 books so there is a lot for you to choose from.

Next was Elizabeth Gilbert, she is an amazingly talented writer, I aspire to be this type of writer. EAT PRAY LOVE, BIG MAGIC!

Then Gabriel Bernstein – I started meditation and was introduced to tapping. SPIRIT JUNKIE, ADD MORE ING TO YOUR LIFE, THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK. I can’t wait to read her new book JUDGEMENT DETOX!

And all the others who changed my life…

Wayne Dyer – an amazing life of work! SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS

Glennon Doyal Melton – LOVE WARRIOR


Kris Carr – meditation

All things HAY HOUSE Books, Radio

C.G Jung – SYNCHRONICITY – speakers (most of the ones I’ve listed here)


Eckhart Tolle – THE POWER OF NOW

The mind is a powerful thing! Be curious, be adventurous, be open minded, be KIND always. DO THE WORK, enjoy the journey of getting to your authentic self.

Enjoy your weekend friends.


Never Defined

I’ve never played the victim to my illnesses. My daughter said to me a couple of years ago `You are not defined by anyone or anything. “ I had two thoughts; one I had never thought about it before and wow that is a major statement coming from a 20 year old. Playing the victim to an illness is not helping your situation, in fact it is making it worse. Having that mentality is detrimental to your health. When I first started on social media about this last Crohns flare it was for one reason only, to let others know they are not the only one, that others are struggling and going through the grieving and healing process too.

As I posted and my followers grew I followed them too. But then I realized that almost everyone of them who was dealing with autoimmune disorders were sucky, poor me, look what happened to me now. This victim mindset was prevalent on more accounts than not. It was toxic. It disgusted me. I unfollowed every single one of them because it brought me down, it made me think this isn’t how this should go, why would you let others see you being weak and pathetic. I’m not like that I can’t watch this happen. I’m strong, I’m a fighter, I don’t back down. Never have!

So, for all you who have an autoimmune disease(s) I am a fact based person, here you will find my journey to figure out how to get from almost dying to healthy and beyond. And most importantly, to never ever let that happen again!

I think it is important for people to know the facts, to hear what happens to others so that we can learn and so that maybe I can help someone avoid what I’ve gone through. At 17 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in Toronto, Ontario by a specialist. At that time I was told to go on disability. I refused. I’m a fighter I’m not going to be labeled at such a young age. I am not giving in to disease, I’m not a quitter and I most definitely did not want people looking down at me. Wasn’t gonna happen! I’m still not on disability even as my diseases multiple but you know what I can see that I will have to at some point and there is nothing wrong with that. But at that young age all I could see was people would take over my life, that they would have control over me. And I’m glad I didn’t at that time.


We don’t have to be victims to our circumstances, to illness, to diseases. Speaking our truth is different, it’s telling the facts, educating and advocating. Advocacy for ourselves, for others, for disease, for healing and for strength. So, please don’t mistake the content in my posts as playing the victim or wanting sympathy or attention. If you knew me you would know that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Thoughts become words which become actions. Being a victim is hard for me to understand so I had to do a little research.

Victim: One who is harmed by or made to suffer under a circumstance or condition. Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case in the face of contrary evidence of such circumstances. Victim mentality depends on clear thought processes and attribution.

I think the worst part of playing the victim is not making changes to your life.  I have talked to many and they refuse to make changes.  If you have illness, your lifestyle is not working for you. You have to change your thinking, your lifestyle and your surroundings. We all struggle, there are far worse situations to be in that others are dealing with right now. Be a fighter, win back your life, DO THE WORK! You will get there. Don’t give up.

Tell your story! But for the right reasons. To educate, inform, advocate and to heal!

Light Love & Peace ~Andrea xo