May 29, 2014

I used to work for Starbucks. That job (and a hand full of others) got me through college. I tend to be a little picky about my drinks but I'm not one of those people. You know, the ones that ask for half a sweet’n low and half a splenda in their Latte. Yeah, we used to have a lady order that in the drive-up. Really?

I like to think I am able to pick the perfect drink for someone who is in desperate need of caffeine or if someone is trying to watch their figure or even if someone is just looking for an amazing splurge. I'm going to share my list of go-to drinks and drinks that I recommend to friends and family often.

If you need caffeine-

Espresso and water.
Bold flavor.
Stronger than your normal cup of joe.
My favorite way to order an Americano is Iced Venti three pump Cinnamon Dolce with room.
I either add cold soy or half and half, depending on my mood.
An Iced Venti comes with four shots of espresso and six pumps of syrup.
I used to get the full amount of syrup but I would opt for sugar-free.
Now that I have eliminated aspartame from my diet I get the regular syrup, I just prefer less of it.
You can definitely request sugar-free if that is what your heart desires.

Iced Coffee
Coffee poured over ice.
I pretty much order my Iced Coffee the same way I order my Iced Americano.
Only difference is I prefer my Iced Coffee with Caramel.

If you are trying to save calories-

Half coffee. Half milk.
Mistos are better hot.  
If you order it iced the Barista may refer to it as an Iced Coffee with milk.
They are also a great alternative to a Latte, because a Latte is mostly milk and a little espresso.
I order mine with soy and 3 pumps of Caramel.
During the holidays I order them with 3 pumps of Pumpkin Spice.
So good.
Less expensive and less calories than a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

If you love Chai, try an Iced Venti Black Tea with Vanilla. No water. Add soy milk.
When you get your drink sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.
Normally this drink would come with 6 pumps so in order to save calories you could cut the pumps in half or order sugar-free syrup.
You could also order this drink hot.
Chai Tea Misto with soy and Vanilla.
Make sure the Barista knows you want the tea bag, not the Chai syrup.
They may charge you for a Chai Tea Latte, which comes out to be more expensive than a Chai Tea Misto.

If you want to splurge-

Coffee blended with milk and ice.
My all time favorite is a Cafe Vanilla Frappucino.
No more explanation needed.
If you like chocolate, go for the Java Chip Frappucino.
If you're even more daring, add Peppermint syrup to that Java Chip.
Do you want caramel?
Go for the Caramel Frappucino.
Do you want something very original?
Order a Strawberries & Creme Frappucino and ask them to add Toffee Nut Syrup.
See what happens.
You can request to have your Frappucino made light or with soy milk.

Yes, my ultimate goal is to be healthy and be in great shape. So why am I talking about sugar filled drinks on my blog? Because I truly believe in splurging every now and then. Everything in moderation. I used to deprive myself of my favorite sweets and I'd end up going crazy by overeating. Don't deprive yourself. Order a Tall when you get a Frappucino.

Since I have been off the Whole 30 all I have had from this list is Iced Coffee with half and half and 3 pumps of syrup. I haven't 'splurged' at Starbucks yet. Haven't had the desire too.

This terminology is specific to Starbucks only because I am very familiar with their products. But this could easily be adapted to any other coffee shop.

This is in no way a sponsored write up or review of Starbucks. I just wanted to share the love.

Extra Java Tip- Condiment bars are always well stocked with spices. Feel free to add them to your coffee or tea for extra flavor without the guilt.

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May 28, 2014

I'm pretty sure by now you all know how I feel about my face. Clear skin is what I crave. Lately, after much research, I decided to start washing my face with coconut oil. No soap, no cleansing pads. Just coconut oil. I was a little skeptical at first because I assumed that by adding oil to your face it would lead to excess oils and breakouts. But just the opposite has happened. Apparently when your face is getting enough oil, it doesn't try to over-compensate by creating more oil.

Coconut oil is free of harsh chemicals. The only ingredient is organic, un-refined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil. For years I have been searching for the perfect face wash. I’ve tried them all. I had no idea that I’d find it at my local health food store.

The best part of all is that coconut oil works as a natural moisturizer. No need to pay for face soaps and creams. With coconut oil you get two in one!

I keep a small bowl of coconut oil in my bathroom at all times, separate from the oil that I cook with in the kitchen. Once a week I apply the coconut oil in a circular motion with the brush pictured below. It works as an exfoliator. The rest of the week I just use my hands and the oil to cleanse my face.

I was applying Benzoyl Peroxide and Clindamycin Phosphate to my face daily. Neither one of them cured my acne and they both dried out my skin. I’m sure the Whole 30 program is why my skin is so clear right now but I like to give some credit to coconut oil as well. 

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May 25, 2014

AAAAAHHHHHHH! I can not express to you how happy I am right now! I have completed the Whole 30! The best part about this whole journey is that I have proven to myself that I can do anything. This was such an amazing experience. I have learned so much about myself and my body. I have been able to share my story with so many people, on my blog and in person. I want to take the time to thank each and every one of you who have followed me on this journey, whether you read one blog post or all of them. I appreciate each and every one of you. You all definitely kept me motivated, especially the #Whole30 group on Instagram. You are all such wonderful people and you have been the best cheerleaders.

I guess I should share how my last day went. My body woke me up at 5:30 this morning. Really?! Today was my day off and I was really looking forward to sleeping in. Luckily I was able to fall back to sleep. I woke up again around 8:30. After removing the casing, I cooked up my last Italian sausage from Trader Joe’s. I also made some homemade coconut yogurt by blending coconut milk, blueberries, raspberries and a banana. I let it sit in the fridge to thicken before eating it. A couple hours later I finally had my coffee with homemade creamer.

I pretty much lounged all day. I caught up on my tv shows. I watched two episodes of Nashville and four episodes of Law & Order SVU. I also painted my nails. For lunch I ate some chicken sausage and blueberries.

I finally got off the couch around 4 and I went to the gym. I started with cardio. My boyfriend met me there and we did shoulders.

After the gym I went home and showered. We then went to the grocery store so I could get some post Whole 30 foods. Greek yogurt, potatoes, Kettle chips and water flavors were the only things I got that are not Whole 30 approved.

We ran to Starbucks and I got an iced coffee and my boyfriend got an iced Americano. I have to tell you all that this is the boy who hates Starbucks and he has been with me the last two days. I think he’s slowly changing his opinion and it makes me smile. I even sent this picture to his mom and she was proud of me for getting him to crossover.

When I got home I did add a little almond milk to my coffee. I was actually surprised that it didn’t taste bad when I drank it black. I have never been a black coffee drinker. I used to drink more creamer than coffee so I’ve come a long way.

My boyfriend cooked us up some turkey for dinner. I ate mine with carrots and an apple.

We are now watching Mad Men and relaxing.

I feel like it’s Christmas Eve. The countdown to midnight has begun. I may or may not have a hand full of my Enjoy Life non dairy chocolate chips at midnight.

I really want to continue to eat as close to the Whole 30 as possible. Even tonight when I was at the grocery store I ended up leaving some things behind because they weren’t Whole 30 compliant. For example, bacon. I couldn’t find any that were free of nitrates so I walked away. And I wanted some more cashews but the only ones they had contained soybean oil so my boyfriend suggested I just continue to buy things like that at Trader Joe’s.

I definitely did not complete 30 days of eating only whole foods just to turn around and go right back to the way I was eating before. The occasional splurge will occur but for the most part, I will be eating foods with the fewest amount of ingredients I can find.

I will continue to blog about my re-introduction phase so this is not the end of my Whole 30 series. And even after that I will write about other goals I am working towards. I’ve always got something new on my mind. Constantly trying to better myself.

Here are my before and after photos. My pants are extremely loose now. I love them so I will probably continue to wear them with a belt. And one major difference I noticed was in my face, especially in the photo of just my face side by side. I look much happier today. Maybe it was because in the first photo I knew I’d have to live without sugar and potatoes for 30 days. Anyways, I feel great about my results. I don’t like to weigh myself anymore so I’m sorry I don’t have a number of pounds lost to share with you all. I don’t trust the scale and I feel like all that matters are the inches lost. 

30 days complete!!!

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May 24, 2014

I only have one more day left on the Whole 30. 29 days ago I had doubts I'd make it through this journey and now I'm approaching the finish line. I never before thought I could live without sugar or artificial sweeteners or white potatoes. But I did. I eliminated those things from my body and I'm still alive! I went to Starbucks for an iced tea tonight and my sleeve said 'Your life is big. Keep reaching.' I will keep reaching, Oprah. I will.

I am a girl who could never run and has now completed a half marathon. I am also a girl who used to eat frosting straight from the tub but has now gone 29 days without added sugar. This isn't the end of my journey. This is only the beginning. I'm looking forward to seeing what other things my body and mind can accomplish. 

My 29th day started like any other. I woke up at 6, I took a shower and I made a cup of coffee with homemade creamer. 

Once again I ate cashews and blueberries for breakfast. I didn't finish them until 4 so I guess I grazed on them pretty much all day. 

In between the cashews and blueberries I ate a couple leftover chicken strips from last night.

After work I went to Nordsrtom Rack in search of work pants and a dress for an event next month. I left there with a dress, a jacket and two sports bras. I found a couple pants but none impressed me enough to purchase them. I did, however, put on a pair of size 10 pair of pants and that made me so happy! 

I went to get a haircut when I was done shopping. I needed a little pampering and I wanted to reward myself for following through with the Whole 30. I want to make sure I don't reward myself with food anymore. 

I planned on ending my me afternoon at the gym. I thought for sure my boyfriend would be working late so I was surprised when he met me at the gym. I did my cardio first and then my boyfriend and I did legs together. I loved having him there with me. 

He loves when I make him take a picture with me.  
For dinner I ate a Cobb salad with balsamic. 

I feel like tomorrow is going to be such a big day for me. Can I call it a milestone? For anyone doing the Whole 30 currently, keep going. It is an amazing feeling of accomplishment once you get to this point. You’ll want to feel this, trust me.

29 days complete!!! ONE more day to go! Let’s do this! 

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May 23, 2014

I've been thinking a lot about what I will eat AFTER the Whole 30. I already have my breakfast planned for Monday morning. I know, I know. I'm going to wake up and go to the gym. After that I will come home and have a PROTEIN SHAKE! I will also make myself some eggs, maybe some chicken sausage and potatoes. Yes, white potatoes. I've missed them. I love potatoes and they technically are REAL FOOD so I don't feel guilty for eating them once in a while. I also know at some point on Monday I am going to have a glass of wine. My boyfriend bought a new Moscato for us to try like three weeks ago and I reminded him I couldn't have alcohol at the time. So he said he'd wait to open it until I have completed the Whole 30. Very sweet of him to wait for me. I'm looking forward to that glass (or bottle) of wine. I kid. I kid. Maybe.

The whole point of the Whole 30 is to slowly re-introduce food groups to see how your body reacts to them. So I don't want to go add all food groups back right away. Because I want to add protein powder right away, I will add dairy back during week one. I'm thinking maybe some greek yogurt. Maybe a little feta on a salad.

I will see how things go and add new foods after that. Maybe every few days. Maybe weekly. I just know I don’t want to go crazy. I have complete faith in myself though.

Once again, I felt great today. I woke up at 6 and went to the gym. I did back and cardio. Luckily I discovered a new singer who I am in love with (I’ve already discussed it with my boyfriend) and his music kept me company. Cardio flew by today! I bought a strawberry chia juice from Trader Joe’s and I brought it with me in case I got hungry. I took one sip and that was all I needed.

I went home and showered. Then I drank my coffee with homemade creamer while I got ready for work. I brought the same thing as yesterday to work with me for breakfast. I enjoyed it so I thought why not enjoy it again? Cashews, blueberries and I brought the rest of my strawberry chia juice.

For a snack I grabbed an iced green tea from Starbucks. Are you surprised? AND I still had my strawberry chia juice so halfway through my tea I added my juice. That was such a brilliant idea because it was delicious.

I went home for lunch and had Trader Joe’s Italian sausage (which I prefer to take out of the casing) and an apple. 

About an hour before I was going to get off work I suddenly had a craving for chicken strips. I went to the grocery store to see if they had almond flour. They did! The only ingredients were almonds. I also bought some organic chicken breasts. When I got home I sliced them into strips and I cut out all the veins and ligaments. I’m weird with that stuff so I have to just eliminate it. I poured the almond flour in one pyrex and I added eggs to another. I also added garlic, salt and pepper to the flour. 

I dipped each chicken strip in the egg and then the flour and then I put it in the pan. I used coconut oil to fry them. My boyfriend helped me by flipping the strips while I continued to batter each strip. Once they were fried my boyfriend put them on a cookie sheet and he put them in the oven for about ten minutes, just to make sure they were fully cooked. 

The finished product was amazing! I was so worried I would miss barbecue sauce but I didn’t even think about it while I was eating because they were so good. For those of you who don’t know, chicken strips are probably in my top five favorite foods of all time. Chicken strips and fries would definitely be my last meal if I knew I was going to die. And I know God will let me have them in Heaven. I just know it.

I ate them with blueberries because it was getting late and I spent so much time on the chicken strips that I didn’t have time to make a side dish. Oh well. Keep it simple.

Such a great way to end my 28th day! Only 2 days left!  

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