Wednesday, October 17, 2018

NOOK: Whole30 Approved & Delicious!

 NOOK Photo: IndyStar
Back in 2015, my husband and I ventured into our first Whole30 together.  1/2 way through, we considered ourselves food prep ninja's, expect label readers, and felt that Tiger Blood coursing through our bodies.  But...we had not ventured outside of our own kitchen for a meal.  Our kids were begging to go out to dinner, so we decided to head to a local chain restaurant that we thought could be easy to make a Whole30 compliant meal.  We looked at the menu online before, had a plan, went in and ordered our food.  When it came out....there was quinoa on both of our salads and it was doused in dressing that we asked to be omitted.  It was such a stressful situation as we didn't want to have any slip up's during our Whole30 and after that we decided it was just safer for us to eat in the comfort of our own home.

Your Whole30 shouldn't force you to not enjoy social outings to eat with your family, friends or colleagues.  Fortunately for us in Indianapolis, there is NOOK: Paleo.  NOOK is a paleo influenced diner and is an official Whole30 approved restaurant (they have Whole30 approved menu items, ya'll!) Their mission is connecting people to their food story, which I just love!  With everyone's different dietary needs, it's so wonderful to have options at a restaurant that understands and respects those needs and has easy accommodations.  Their staff was very knowledgeable about the various lifestyle menu options they offer and everything was clearly marked on the menu (either paleo, Whole30, etc.) to make our selections easy.

My husband and I tried NOOK (we weren't in the midst of a Whole30) about a month ago, and we were super impressed--not only was the food amazing, but the interior was beautiful and inviting. We live a paleo lifestyle most of the year and we absolutely loved the bacon chips with the guacamole. (Hello! you can't lose with bacon & guac!) I picked a Whole30 entrée--the seared tuna with avocado stuffed peppers, cilantro, lime and mashed sweet potatoes (SO. GOOD.)
Photo: Yelp
As a Whole30 Certified Coach I have been referring my coaching clients to NOOK so they don't have the overwhelming decisions to make while eating out at other restaurants during their Whole30.  I can't wait to go back and enjoy my Food Freedom at NOOK. I'm sure I'll see you there!

About NOOK:
  • Location: 15 E. Maryland Indianapolis
  • Indy's first & only paleo influenced diner serving local ingredients
  • 4th restaurant nationally to be Whole30 Approved
  • Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Vegan options
  • Menu can vary, so check out their website for any changes

Monday, September 17, 2018

My Pre-Whole30 Diet's something funny!  I grabbed an old notebook out of my office to write down some notes for an upcoming CycleBar class and came across a few pages in it that had some interesting things written down in it.  So at one point, I was keeping a food journal and keeping track of what I ate every day.  This is something I've done off/on for years, but have never done it consistently.

Here's what I found:
Crazy right????  I was shocked.  Pre-Whole30, I thought I was eating pretty healthy but this is evidence that I wasn't eating healthy.  AT. ALL.  Tons of grains and sugar and I'm lacking protein, fats & veggies.  (Where are the veggies, for goodness sake--there's none???)  This is just an example of the Standard American Diet (SAD) that I've been working hard to refrain from since our Whole30 journey began in 2015.  I was a tired mom (to just Dylan at the time) and honestly not very confident in myself.  I thought if I monitored what I ate, worked out 1-2x times a week (maybe), and took a vitamin, that all of that would help lead me to be the confident, energetic mom I knew I was meant to be and that Dylan and Dustin deserved as well.  
With Whole30, I have been able to find my own food freedom and eat to fuel my body instead of eating all of this crap to give my mind that short-lived rush. I eat more than what was on these pages, and always try to include a protein, fat and veggies in every meal.  That snowballed into my love of fitness, personal development, finding a tribe of woman that show mutual love & support to each other, working on my passions every day and paying it forward to others. It all just started with food!  Crazy to think how such a simple elimination "diet" has helped changed my life in so many ways.

*If you want to feel this way too...I'll be hosting a new Whole30 Group Coaching Session in January.  Email me at: for more info.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

My Husband's Whole30 Journey

I'm so blessed that my husband and I are team members in everything we do.  When we decided to give Whole30 a try back in 2015, we did it together.  His health was more in trouble than mine and it completely changed both of our lives in profound ways that we didn't see coming.  He was so nice to write his story to share with you.  Here's Dustin's story:

It all began on September 22, 2015.  That was the turning point in my life with regard to my health and fitness.  Leading up to this date, I had been suffering from a snowballing reaction of negative health and life events that stemmed from being put on shift work in 2009.  For about two and a half years I was forced to work rotating shifts, usually 2 weeks on nights, 1 week on afternoons, and 1 week on days, and this rotation continued monthly for about 2.5 years.  During this period from 2009-2012 I developed severe insomnia, and in an attempt to fight the insomnia used every sleep aid/prescription possible.  As a side effect to using these prescription sleep aids, I developed depression and hopelessness.  They only helped me fall asleep, but never left me rested.  I would wake up after 4-5 hours and never fall back asleep and it was impossible for me to ever take a nap.  I eventually swore off any prescription or over the counter sleep aids due to their effect on my mental health, but instead turned to alcohol to help me sleep.  This led to further health deterioration.  I was gaining weight, irritable all the time, all of my joints hurt, my blood pressure was increasing, and I was not enjoying life or my children.  

In 2012 I was able to move back to 1st shift permanently, but my insomnia was so bad that I could not adapt.  I started trying to run and workout again to reset my mind and body, but I had built up such sleep debt and bad sleep habits that I could not overcome them by myself.  I turned to hypnosis and acupuncture to try to reprogram my brain.  Finally the acupuncture gave me some results and I was able begin to shut my brain off and rest for a few days after acupuncture.  I continued getting acupuncture for a year or so along with working out, but I still was relying on alcohol to help relax me more nights than not.  From 2012-2015 my sleep habits improved very slowly, but never fully recovered.  I was still in a dead end job and was not able to lose weight or get rid of my joint pains even though I thought I was eating healthy and I was working out. 
The last straw for me to take action was in the summer of 2015.  I had finally joined a gym, started lifting and running on a fairly regular basis, but was not fast and not improving.  Then, I tweaked my back doing yard work and was in excruciating pain.  I dealt with increasing pain for 2 months or so.  I first went to a chiropractor, which only made the issue worse.  Then I went to Ortho Indy, and X-rays showed a bulging disc that was pressing on a nerve root.  Their advice: do not run and do not lift weights standing up.  As it turns out, this bulging disk happened due to a pre-existing injury from when I was 11 years old when I fractured my back(a “pars fracture”).  It left me with a condition called spondylolisthesis.   The spark that ignited the fire in me was the doctor’s orders: “do not run and do not lift weights standing up”. 
Here I was at 34 years old and 200 lbs., I drank alcohol nearly every day to help me sleep, my joints hurt all of the time, I could not lose weight or improve on my fitness even when working out, my back was in excruciating pain, and the doctor basically told me I’m screwed and don’t work out.  That was NOT an option!
After consulting with my brother who had completed several rounds of Whole30, Emily and I decided to give it a try in hopes of reducing some of the inflammation in my back to reduce some of the pain and to lose a little weight.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and what a dramatic change it would bring to our lives.  So, with a print out of the Whole30 program rules and a guide of what to eat and what not to eat, we started our first round of Whole30 on September 22, 2015. 
The first round was very difficult.  Basically all of the comfort foods that we relied on were ripped out from under us.  I was no longer able to rely on my crutch, alcohol, to help me sleep.  I had headaches when working out for nearly 3 weeks during that first round.  We both went through sugar detox from the insane amount of sugar that our previous diet consisted of in processed foods.  Initially, we had no idea how or what to eat and how to eat out.  After the first 20 days or so, things finally began to click.  We figured out how to meal prep, what foods would leave us satisfied, and by the end of the 30 days we felt amazing.  During that first round I lost 14 lbs.  I finally was sleeping unaided and feeling rested.  My joints were no longer hurting and my back pain was finally bearable, but probably the most important effect was that I had broken my habit with alcohol and had a positive mindset and felt more mentally alert and clear than I had in years!
With the weight falling off and my joints no longer hurting, running and lifting became easier.  I started getting faster and didn’t want to stop.  I enjoyed the way I was eating and kept following the Whole30 guidelines pretty much all of the time.  As the weeks and months went by, the weight kept falling off and I kept feeling better and better.   Around 6 months after our first round, I was down an astounding 40 lbs. and was starting to have a re-awakening of my competitive side.  I registered for my first 5k race in 8 year, which I ran a 19:15 at the Finish Line 5K!  That just made me hungry for more and I started setting goals to see how fast and how hard I could push myself.  

Also during this time, with a refreshed outlook on life and a positive mindset, I was able ditch my dead end job and move into a much better position at my company that is extremely rewarding and provides room for growth.  I no longer experience the stress that my old position put on me and I am in a position that I never would have dreamed possible before. 
Fast-forward to now, it’s been nearly 3 years since my first round of Whole30 and my life has been completely revitalized.  I still stick to the Whole30 guidelines for the vast majority of the time, making small exceptions here and there for treats.  I ended up having spine fusion surgery at the end of 2017 which permanently fixed my back issues and I was able to recovery very quickly.  I am down 50+ lbs. from where I started and am in the absolute best shape of my life.  I started running Spartan races in 2016, but got very competitive this year, qualifying for the Spartan World Championships this September.  I sleep very well every night.  I have a great job that I look forward to going to every day.  My joints no longer hurt and I rarely get sick.  I have not had a drop of alcohol in 21 months!  I love life, my kids, and am always positive.  These are just the highlights of what has happened, but the list of positive things that have transpired in my life due to Whole30 could go on and on!

Thanks to Whole30, I was able to completely break all of the old bad habits I had with food and alcohol, which allowed my mind and body to heal and me to become the person I am today.  As a way to pass on our success and show just how much a simple change in diet can do, we have introduced numerous family, friends, and co-workers to Whole30 over the past 3 years.  Just recently, Emily has worked very hard to become a Whole30 certified coach in hopes of reaching a larger audience in order to help people break bad habits and learn to live their life to the fullest starting with a healthy diet!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

10 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Whole30 Certified Coach

So, you've been thinking of trying Whole30?  Great!  I'm so happy for you to go through the next 30 days of changing your habits and relationship with food. For this crazy, busy working changed my life.  So much, that I became a Whole30 Certified Coach so I can help others take charge of their lives and change from the inside/out.

So why hire a Whole30 Certified Coach?  Aren't all the resources I would ever need free on the Whole30 website? Yep.  They are!  Go, find them for yourself...I'll wait...

However, based on feedback from fellow Whole30er's and folks that have failed Whole30...many feel they need a heightened level of accountability. And, hi!  That's where I come in!  So here's my 10 reasons why you should hire a Whole30 Certified Coach.

1.) Heightened Accountability: Having a coach to check in with and to check on you is MAJOR!  Doing something on your own can be hard and isolating.  Having a coach to check in with you who is an expert and veteran Whole30'er who understands what you're going through will certainly aid in your success.
2.) It's not hard, but can be tricky:"This is not hard...cancer is hard." -famous words from Whole30 Headmistress, Melissa Hartwig.  I'm sure you would agree that you can drink your coffee black for 30 days and it probably won't kill you.  But, reading labels is hard and tricky and having someone (other than Google) to consult on if an ingredient is compliant or what the heck is SWYPO will make your experience easier.
3.) You got skin in the game: Like I already mentioned, the Whole30 is free.  But, for some...they need to make a small financial investment in their health.  You'll be less likely to fail and more likely stick to the rules if you have paid a coach to help you through your Whole30 journey.
4.) You think you can't cook or meal prep: I hear this A TON from my clients.  They're not sure how to cook and can't even fathom how to meal prep past their Monday night's dinner.  I get it.  It can be overwhelming.  A coach can help you with easy grocery lists with the Whole30 meal template in mind, share recipes and how to meal prep. You'll be a meal prep ninja in no time!
5.) Talking you off the ledge: There is a reason people fail Whole30 in their first 10 are feeling like crap!  Your body is going through a sugar detox, your hormones are trying to get back on track and you're dreaming about donuts and pizza and chugging it down with some rose.  I get it.  However, if a coach can be there to talk you off the ledge and help you through the "darkest days," you'll be in the clear to finish out what you started.
6.) Reintroduce like a pro: Many people skip this step at the end of their 30 days (don't do it!)  Most Whole30 Certified Coaches won't leave you high and dry on day 31.  A coach can help you with the right kind of reintroduction for you to figure out exactly what foods are having certain effects on your body.
7.) Asking the hard questions: A coach will ask you the hard questions and help you figure out the psychological hold some foods may have on you.  The Whole30 just isn't an elimination diet protocol to figure foods that cause you inflammation, but also foods that perhaps provide comfort when you're stressed for example.  (So if you are turning to a sweet date & nut bar x3 instead of cookies when you're stressed--are you really changing that habit?)
8.) A coach can help you see past weight and focus on your HEALTH: There is a reason we tell you to get rid of the scale during your Whole30--the number on it doesn't define you! The NSV's (non-scale victories) such a better sleep, clearer skin, food not controlling you are EVERYTHING.  A coach can help you discover your NSV's this during your Whole30.
9.) Helping you find your Food Freedom: Hooray!  You made it through your Whole30.  But, now you're in a situation and you think you'd like to have a glass of wine and it's stressing you out whether you really want it or not.  Or, you kind of want a cookie...but you're afraid you'll then eat ALL the cookies.  We talk about your life after Whole30 a lot and how you can come to find your own food freedom forever.
10.) I'm actually kind of FUN: I get it. Whole30 can be intimidating (I certainly was intimidated and overwhelmed when I embarked on my first Whole30 in 2015).  But, I've grown and learned so much about myself each round I've done.  Whole30 can be fun though too!  I passionately believe it will snowball into changing your life and your heart and mindset.

Ready to go?  You can get on the list for my September Whole30 here (we start September 3rd and it's only $25 to join since this is my inaugural group coaching experience as a Whole30 Certified Coach):

Can't wait to help you change your life. xoxo

All Heart,

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Stress, Sugar & Shopping!

The Triple "S"--Stress, Sugar and Shopping.  

They all go hand-in-hand for me and my experiences of going through on average about 3 Whole30's a year since 2015 has helped me realize this.

Whole30 is a 30 day elimination diet (and I use the word, "diet," loosely) aimed at helping you evaluate your relationship and habits when it comes to food.  You eliminate processed sugars, grains, legumes, alcohol, and dairy--all of which are known to cause some bad reactions in the body.  (Are you thinking, so what do you eat?)  Well...quality meat, fish, eggs, good fats, veggies and fruit. Whole30 isn't only about how these foods physically affect your body, but also how some foods have a psychological hold on you (sugar for me!)  After the 30 days, you reintroduce those foods one at a time, very systematically to see how they affect your body.  You can then find your own food freedom and see what foods are worth it to you and know how they will affect your body.  You can always go back to a Whole30 when you need a reset if you realize you are going overboard and not feeling amazing like you should.

When I'm in the midst of a Whole30 and find it to be a high stress time of year for me, I want to turn to sugary coffee drinks (a Grande white mocha with coconut milk to be exact) and especially sweets like chocolate chip cookies.  I also find myself mindlessly shopping online because of the high I get when I order a cute new outfit or even just a new rug for the living room.  It makes me "feel" better, but in retrospect...does it really?  No, it doesn't.  When I find myself wanting to turn to sugar or shopping when in a high stress situation, I now deal with it by using a meditation app and breathing techniques, hot green tea or just being outside helps.  It feels SO much better and doesn't come with a sugar hangover or a lighter check book. do you deal with stress?  Have you ever really thought about it?  I didn't until Whole30 entered my life, and it has changed my life for the better.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Whole30 Asian Slaw

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  Ours was full of swimming with family & friends and LOTS of food!  We're 22 days into this round of our Whole30 and we were able to eat compliant foods all weekend.  Lots of hamburgers with no buns, fruit and veggies, and this amazing slaw that I put together (we ended up making it 3 times this weekend!)  Mine was based on recipe by Tasty you go!:

2 bags of coleslaw (I chose one with lots of carrots & red cabbage)
1 additional bag of shredded red cabbage
1 red pepper
4 green onions
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup cilantro (you can never have too much cilantro!)

1/4 cup coconut aminos
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 large pitted dates
*Place all dressing ingredients in your blender and blend away!  It makes a thicker dressing that is sweet and tangy!

Combine all of your slaw components with the dressing just before serving!  It was SO good!  Hope you try it out too!  And if you're in the midst of a Whole30 right now....YOU GOT THIS!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The 4 Tendencies (Family Edition)

You all know I love reading/listening to personal development!  I fully enjoyed Gretchen Rubin's book, "The Four Tendencies."  As I was listening to this one, I couldn't help but nod my head as she was going through each tendency and identify which one my husband, my kids and myself all fall under.  It's really helped with how I communicate with all my boys and check myself sometimes in different situations.  Here's which tendency we all fall under:

Emily--The Upholder: 
An Upholder wants to meet outer and inner expectations.  This is SO me.  I'm all about setting my own goals and sticking with them.  However, I'm also a people pleaser.  I really like to meet or exceed expectations and like to go above and beyond for others. 

Dustin--The Questioner:
A Questioner meets their own expectations and doesn't really worry about the external expectations.  They are no grey areas--everything is black and white and needs to make sense.  He's not a big fan of chaos and like to get things done in a timely manner.  

Dylan--The Obliger:
An Obliger is all about the outer expectations.  OMG, Dylan is such a rule follower.  He gets upset if we go over the speed limit and if on the kids menu it's 9 and under (he's 10), there is absolutely no way he can order off of it.  

Tyler--The Rebel:
The Rebel, Tyler.  If you know Tyler then you're not surprised.  We've always said what a joyful & confident kid he is and how he marches to the beat of his own drum.   

I'd encourage you to check this book out as well and see which tendency you and your family fall under!