Good morning! Or afternoon! Or night! Whenever you happen to be reading this.
I mention gratitude pretty frequently here, mainly because it has become critical part of my day to day life.
Gratitude is a powerful force, it is able to pull me out of pity and reveal to me that I do, in fact, love my life. We are all human, (unless you are a primate, participating – probably unwillingly – in some internet training experiment, in which case, welcome friend. And thank you for your contribution to science). Anyways, we are all (most likely) human, and sometimes life gets stressful.
Personally, when I am in a period of stress and strife, my perspective is tunnel-visioned on the negative. I see what is wrong, what I need to do, what other people are doing wrong (oy – I’m eye rolling myself on this)…all in all, it is a very skewed vision of my life and of reality.
Taking a moment to take inventory of some things I am grateful for, helps open my eyes to my actual reality. And nearly 100% of the time, I feel revived and my time spent in the pity pot is cut short.
So, when I made my 30 before 30 list, I knew gratitude had a place on it.
I wanted a gratitude journal. I had heard of this before by some very wise friends of mine. It is a small journal, where I can randomly jot down things I am grateful for. During a difficult day, I can look back and read some of my entries. It sounded like a pretty wonderful thing to have.
Awhile back, I won a prize package from one of my favorite artists, Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Design. She creates her pieces by hand, then works with production and distribution companies to have them translated into products like cards, journals, wall hangings, etc.
One of the journals included in my happy little prize was just the ticket!
I have mainly kept it on my nightstand. I usually update it a few times during the week, writing in a couple of entries at a time before hitting the sack.
They are mainly simple things like, “The smell of summer coming,” and, “Clean water.”
Many of them are about the people in my life, about the little things they do that I love and appreciate. Great hugs, play with Zo, give encouragement, singing to Wilson Phillips. It is filled with love.
I am sure that many of this little blips of memories would be washed out of my mind had I not written them down. It is nice to read back and remember the small moments that bring me so much joy.
The last Whole30 I did was in September and October. I talked a bit about it in this post, but I never came back to talk about how I felt when it finished.
And I did finish, I did 30 days with all of those restrictions – no dairy / legumes / grains / sugar / sweeteners / corn / processed foods / etc. I was super proud of myself! I love dairy and grains and sugar, especially when they are all wrapped up in the delicious package of a bowl of cereal.
So, as much as I loved these things, I kind of knew I needed to let them go. Around that time, I had awful abdominal pain, energy spikes and crashes, and fluctuating hormone levels. Although not all of these issues are purely food-related, I believe that quality food and nutrition would help. And they did.
A couple of days into the process, my abdominal pain went away. Two weeks in, my energy lifted out of its fog, and maintained. I was able to feel clear-headed and awake throughout the day, without snacking or reaching for another coffee.
Because the Whole30 is so restrictive, I was able to re-introduce certain foods into my diet after I finished and clearly see what reactions my body had to them. Most dairy gave me horrible pain, but on occasion, organic whole milk is fine. As is whole milk greek yogurt with bacteria (or “probiotics”) present. I found that when I had skim, 2%, or cream – my abdominal pain came back. Anytime the milk was in its whole form, it was pretty okay. And for some reason, unknown to me, the organic milk rarely gave me any issues, where regular milk would.
Another fun finding was that processed sugar would make me feel like a crazy person. I kid you not, my instructors would give out fun-sized candy – I would eat one – 20 minutes later I would feel more agitated, irritable, and emotional. Also, it should be noted that my instructors would give out this candy when teaching about things like Diabetic Ketoacidosis or Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome… Kind of mixed messages there.
It should be mentioned, that none of these reactions prevented me from gorging myself during the holidays… Oh yeah, I ate a whole lotta cookies!
And fudge…and beef stroganoff…and more cookies, but a different kind…and chocolates….andandand…well, I ate a lot. But it was okay, because if I was gassy it was around family so…. and if I got emotional, I just blamed it on those Hallmark Christmas commercials. Seriously though, those aren’t even fair. They don’t even give you a chance NOT to cry. Just try!
I love that commercial so much!!!!!
Phew, okay. I’ve composed myself. Turns out, it triggers the same reaction even without sugar.
Anyways, so after my season of sugar, I decided that another Whole30 was in order. I wanted to tame my sweet tooth, and reintroduce my body to fruit and vegetables.
Today, I am on day 17 – I started January 1st. I feel great. My energy is sustained throughout the day, I am sleeping better, my head feels clearer, and tummy feels better.
I have been cooking a whole bunch! This time around, I set a goal for myself to try new and different foods and recipes. I have made salmon, Kalua pork, brined moroccan chicken, and rutabaga hash. I even barbecued during a snowstorm (I was determined to get grill marks, however the below freezing temp fought me on that one…)
I have even survived a trip to all-you-can-eat sushi with friends! It went great, I ordered a sashimi plate for myself, extra salmon – less hamachi, and look what came out!
Beautiful! It was amazing! It was way cheaper than the all-you-can-eat price, then I didn’t have to eat my body weight in rice. I enjoyed the fish, and didn’t feel disgustingly stuffed afterwards (like I normally do after getting sushi). To avoid soy sauce (no legumes, no soybeans), I recommend using coconut aminos (found in the vinegar / oil section of Whole Foods). It costs less than 5$ and will last a long time. The wasabi should be Whole30 compliant as well.
So today I continue. I just pulled some chicken breasts out of my CrockPot (which I am in love with). I put them in their frozen last night with leftover moroccan spice mix, chicken stock, and coconut milk (canned, not the milk alternative) – now they are delicious!
When I am done with this Whole30, I would like to experiment with Paleo baking. The Whole30 puts the cabbash on Paleo-fying non-paleo foods (pancakes, pizza, desserts, etc). But when I am done, I would like to try out some recipes for waffles and desserts. Most of them utilize very little coconut or almond flour and only minimal amounts of natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar. If I find anything good, I will share it here!
I hope you have a great rest of your day, I am off to study, eat, get a haircut, and savor the rest of my day off, without added sugar of course.
It has been oh, a MONTH, since I last posted. A lot has been going on. Well, mainly a lot of holiday baking and sugar-eating (which lead me to do my second Whole30 throughout January! But more about that later).
Right now, I am sitting at my desk, trying to avoid eye contact with my TO DO list. It is menacing right now. It is filled with tasks that seem small, but really have great big consequences. I am graduating nursing school in May, so this winter break I am trying to get prepared. I am taking an ACLS course, updating my resume, collecting letters of recommendation, and meeting with friends and coworkers gathering information and tips.
Don’t get me wrong, it has been great so far, but each time I look at that list to find my next task…I feel dread. I begin to fear what kind of nurse I will be. I start to question my knowledge and my abilities. I start to drum up memories as evidence backing the idea of how incapable I am. In general, I really freak out.
So what is behind this? Here is what I have come up with…Fear, obviously. Particularly about change.
My life is about to, yet again, get flipped (turned upside down – holla back Fresh Prince). And that kinda freaks me out. I will have a new schedule, I will learn new things, I will be around new people. My priorities, responsibilities, and routines will change. AH!
That is pretty intimidating. But here is the thing, as I type it all, I find myself also excited. I know that I am doing what I am meant to. I know that I have worked hard and will do fine. I know that I will struggle for a while at first, but also that period will pass and eventually things will smooth out again.
I know that this is worth it, that I am worth it. I am worth trudging forward through this scary bit. My future will be better because of it. I will be stronger and smarter because of it.
And all of those memories I am dwelling on that make me think I can’t do this? Psch. Bananas. If I stop and piece them apart, they aren’t accurate. They are false evidence. (False Evidence Appearing Real) So one time a patient of mine threw up? I did not cause that, their body caused that. I gave appropriate care before, during, and after the whole shebang. One patient getting sick does not equate to me being a terrible future healthcare professional. (my fearful mind can be very overdramatic…)
Writing (typing) this all out, feeling this all out has lightened my mind and my heart. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. Also, I am surrounded by loving and supportive people, and that fact will not change, regardless of my employment status 🙂
As for all of the things that will change, I have a feeling they will turn out just fine. They did for this guy.