Journey to the best health of my life (yes, the journey includes olives)


Whole30 made me feel beautiful

I’ve finished my second round of Whole 30. In fact, I finished a few days ago.  I have been wanting to write a post, but (and I’m being brutally honest here!) I had mixed feelings on the day I finished.  I was extremely proud of myself.  I still am.  I did 30 full days of sticking to the rules.  By the seventh day I noticed that my shirt was feeling loose around my tummy.  By the end of Whole30 my pants were falling off as I ran up the stairs for the train.  My energy was up; my skin was glowing; my system felt clean.  Result!  Why wasn’t I jumping up and down? (aside from the fact I did not want my trousers pants to fall off!)

I had to think long and hard about that question.  Like many of you, I have been struggling for years with my weight.  Even with Whole30 success it did not feel like enough.  I started Whole30 weighing in at 238lbs.  I finished 16lbs lighter at 222lbs.  Before you all go crazy and jump on me – I get it, 16lbs is a GREAT loss.  I’ll be honest – it was not enough for me.  I wanted to lose 100lbs yesterday.

I spent the last few days changing the way I think.  My brain needed to be retrained.  Success is measured in small steps, and not just one big step.  It’s all about the small steps we take on our journey that will turn into that big change we want to see.  That decision I made to not consume something off plan was a small step.  That decision I made to to exercise was a small step.  That decision I made to give 110% to Whole30 was a small step.  Small steps are enough.  Small steps lead to big changes.

My results are enough.  To me, the weight loss is a small step. It’s a small percentage of the long journey ahead of me.  However, it took a lifetime for me to get to where I am today and I cannot expect to lose 100lbs overnight. In addition, I now truly appreciate all the results.  I am on this journey to be the healthiest version of myself that I can be.  I have seen many positive changes while completing Whole30.  They are all small wins.  If I can continue the small wins I will reach my goal.

Whole30 did not just guide me to eating nutritious well-balanced meals. Whole30 challenged my mind.  It led me through a path of emotions that has truly changed my life.   It forced me to open my eyes and now I view my successes differently.  I am going to stop putting myself down and instead celebrate all my successes – big or small!

I looked in the mirror this morning and I felt beautiful.  Beautiful because my body is well-nourished; beautiful because I am taking small steps to improve my health; beautiful because I am true to myself; beautiful because when I smile I’m truly smiling.  My husband tells me all the time that I’m beautiful, but rarely in my life have I truly believed it. Today, I believe it.

I have no affiliation with Whole30 – I just think it’s an amazing FREE program.  Check it out here.  Also, I would strongly recommend reading It Starts With Food.  It’s a fantastic book!  



Sweet potato hash with eggs

When I first saw this Whole30 friendly recipe I knew that one day I would definitely make it!  I finally made it yesterday and it was so good.  I’m 6 days into my Whole30 and I’m doing great. Yesterday I definitely felt the need for more carbs though.  I made this delicious meal which was tasty and satisfying.  I had it with a big salad on the side.


1/2 sweet potato
1 large pinch of Himalayan sea salt
A few shakes of a mixed herb powder
1 tablespoon of fresh crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 egg (if you want)

Peel the sweet potato and shred it.  If you have a food processor then you can follow what nom nom paleo did.  If you don’t then you can use a spiralizer like I did.  It was a bit tricky, but once I got the hang of it the spiralizer worked great!  Put the shredded sweet potato into a mixing bowl and add the salt, herbs and garlic.  Use your hands to mix it up.  Feel free to change it up for your taste buds.  You can add pepper, chili flakes and various other herbs.  Melt the coconut oil in a pan and add your shredded yam.  I cooked it with the lid on for a few minutes until I could see the potato browning on the bottom layer.   On the side make an egg (I always use coconut oil to cook my eggs).  Eat while hot!


Whole30: Day 1

As promised, my first day is done! Normally the first day is pretty easy right? I prepped on the weekend, and had all my food ready and planned.  I opened my fridge in the morning and it just made me smile.  I have a variety of freshly cut up and ready to eat vegetables which look so good.  I was ready to go!  I had my breakfast (eggs, a small salad, half a grapefruit).  That kept me going until lunch where I had some pork, a large salad and the rest of the grapefruit from the morning.  Then came the challenge.

Day 1 challenge

A few people at work went to get coffees.  Last week I told my colleagues that I was starting a 30 day clean eating challenge on Monday.  One colleague asked if I wanted something from Starbucks.  I said no, and that I was fine.  She came back with a coffee for me – one of the new ones for the season (caramel something?). She insisted I have it.  I reminded her that I just started a clean eating challenge.  She responded saying that I could just make it a ‘cheat day’ – everyone has them.  I’m not even going to get into ‘cheat days’ right now, and how I absolutely hate that term.  I’ll leave that for another post.  And a cheat day on day 1 – or any day for that matter?!  I don’t think so!

So, I thought, what do I do now?  How to I handle someone at work that is trying to sabotage my 30 days of clean eating?  It may be coming from a good place, but she is still trying to sabotage me.  I have real health issues, and may have even more serious health issues if I do not focus on clean eating.  I’ve been vocal about my 30 day challenge and I just wish that everyone respected that.  At the same time I did not want to offend her.  All to often ‘not offending someone’ has led me down a path that away from my health goals.

I decided I was not going to let the Starbucks coffee sabotage day 1.  I poured it down the sink.  I felt terrible because by taking the coffee and not drinking it I was not being honest with my colleague.  Maybe one day I will be able to just say no, and not worry about offending others.  However, when I evaluated my day I felt really good about the decision I had made to not break a promise to myself.

I will face more challenges over the next 29 days.  I hope I have the strength to make the right decision every single time.

Have you faced challenges like this?  How do you deal with it?  I would appreciate any tips!


Starting the Whole30 Program

I have spoken about the Whole30 program, and I’ve said how this changed my life. It truly changed the way I think about food. I think about all the diets in my life and this ‘diet’, this way of eating, is the one that makes the most sense to me. It is the one program that I know is filling my body with the goodness it deserves.

For those who don’t know, I completed my first Whole30 in early 2012 with amazing results. I have tried to do it again, but have never quite managed to finish 100%. Well, last night something clicked and I decided it was time. I’m officially starting Whole30 on Monday November 3 and I will finish it 100% this time. I plan to be successful.  I will follow the rules. I will give myself the best chance at success.

It will not be easy! I have lots of events over the month of November.  I could wait for a quieter 30 days, but that will never ever come.  There’s always something going on.  The time is now.

Planning is my friend. I need to plan my week in advance, and I must plan for the unexpected. A late night at work, impromptu drinks with colleagues, stressful moments.  I’ll be spending weekend making sure I’m ready!

It’s only 30 days, right? I can do this!

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Crunchy bites


It has been a while since I’ve done a recipe. So here’s a really quick one that I do all the time!

I have been making this delicious quick snack for years. It is one of those recipes that is never quite the same because the ingredients change depending on what’s in my cupboards. However, that is a good thing since I am sure you can adjust the recipe to you taste!

1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seed
1/2 cup pumpkin seed
1/4 cup hemp seed
1/4 cup flax-seed
1/4 cup honey
Handful shredded coconut (for sprinkling on top)
Pecans (to decorate)

Lightly brown the sliced almonds on a low heat (I like to use a wok to make this as I find it easier to mix and flip around the nuts/seeds). Mix in the pumpkin and sunflower seeds followed by the honey. Once the almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds have been coated by the honey, mix in the hemp and flax-seed. Lay the mixture onto a baking tray lined with waxing paper. Use another sheet of waxing paper to flatten out the mixture, and then remove the top sheet. I like to leave it about 1/2cm thick, but you can make it thinner if you wish. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.

Take a knife or pizza slicer and cut the flattened mixture into squares. This mixture makes about 25 squares, but it all depends on the thickness and size of each square. You can decorate each piece with pecans as I did. Place the tray into the fridge to harden for approximately 20 minutes. It’s now ready to eat! Crunchy bites will store in the fridge for weeks and is perfect for a quick ‘pick me up’ snack. I store them in air-sealed glass containers once the bites have hardened.

Ingredients are extremely variable and the quantity and type of nuts/seeds will dictate how much honey you will require. I find that if I use too much honey it turns out too sweet and clumpy. If I don’t use enough honey then it doesn’t hold together well. It will probably be a case of trial and error to find the right consistency for you. Once you’ve made this a few times you’ll know what any mix should feel like at the right consistency.

I don’t think it matters too much when you mix in the honey. I tend to mix it in after the bigger items and then throw in the smaller items. That works for me. You can substitute the honey, but you would need something that would harden in the fridge to produce the same results. If you like the sweet/salt mix you could throw some salt in there too. Be adventurous!

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Why olives?

The short (and sweet) answer:  Olives have good fat and I love them!

The long (and more interesting) answer: I’ve spent most of my life running from fat.  I trusted the “food pyramid”, the low-fat, low-cal outlook.  I thought eating less, means lower calories, which means weight loss.  Sure, that might work in the short-term, but in hindsight my body was lacking in so many vital minerals and nutrients.  I was not healthy.  In addition, I was eating a lot of processed food that I believed were healthy for me.  These processed foods had ingredients that my body did not recognize and I can’t begin to tell you the extra sugar in them!  I discovered good fats and whole foods.  My world changed overnight.  Things finally made sense.

I’m happy to say that I don’t even enjoy those processed ‘healthy’ foods I ate in the past.  My taste buds are alive again.  I used to hate olives.  I had one by accident on a day soon after I made the switch to whole foods and well, my mouth did a happy dance!

I’m a great ingredient label reader (when I buy something with a wrapper) and food is far tastier when you cook it from fresh.  Nothing in a wrapper tastes as good as my home cooking!