Thursday, October 25, 2012

Daily Products We Use Linked to Breast Cancer

   I've been making strides to switch out my household, makeup & beauty products for non-toxic ones. I recently had a very strange reaction to one of my "natural" cleaning products and that was pretty much the final straw for me. The more I've been researching, the more convinced I am that this is the right decision. I plan on doing a whole series of posts & videos on this and the products I've been using. But I thought I'd share a link to this article about how the products we use every day are potentially leading to an increased risk for breast cancer. We need to be aware that 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed directly into our bloodstream. With cancer rates on the rise as well as several other diseases, we as consumers really need to start looking at environmental factors (the ones we can change) and do something about it!

Check out the article below & let me know your thoughts!
Metro - Is your daily routine leading to breast cancer?

xx, Sarabeth

Gluten Series: Intro Video

Gluten Series

     Okay, so I thought that this was a good place to start. I plan on doing a whole series on gluten. I think it is such a prevalent issue and as of more recently, it is gaining a lot of attention. I felt it is important to address the questions that you might have about gluten and going gluten free as well as hopefully clear up some confusion. I think it is also important to hear from someone who has been there. I have a lot of experience with this subject. I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy about 4 years ago and since that day, I have been completely gluten free. I think getting properly diagnosed probably saved my life. I was so ill, but my symptoms didn't really match up to any of the "classic" gluten intolerance/sensitivity, allergy or celiac symptoms. It took me a long time to get properly diagnosed and for a large percentage of those of you who are reading this, I'd say that at some point in your life, you are very likely to struggle with some form of a gluten intolerance.

     While I will also be sharing about several other subjects, I wanted to start this little series, which I will be posting youtube videos on as well as more information here. Please feel free to comment on my Blissfully Whole youtube channel or here if you have any questions you'd like me to answer throughout this series.

Also, make sure to let me know if you are off gluten and what your experience has been. I'd love to hear!

xx, Sarabeth
Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Current Diet Program: The Whole 30

     So, last month when my doctor told me that I needed to continue being off of gluten (obviously, since I have an allergy to it) as well as casein, legumes, corn and soy. I found that while I was doing well with it for the most part, I would find that on the weekends I would completely fall apart, practically downing an entire bag of corn tortilla chips without a second thought (Matt's go-to snack...prior to this program). It was as though I was feeling deprived and I couldn't just stop at one. I knew I needed to do something even more strict, because I was all of a sudden struggling with intense cravings and I'd binge on junk food and then feel miserable afterwards. I could tell my body was all out of whack and I needed to make a serious changes. That's about the time I came upon the Whole30 Program. The program was created by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. You can find all about it on their blog, the Whole9, which is a great community that is geared towards health and fitness. The program is built around real food and healthy nutritional habits and while it's recommendations are based upon a Paleo Diet, it is different than the Paleo diets I have seen in the past. For me, this is about making a lifestyle change and continuing to be healthier, not about losing weight. But there are numerous testimonials of people who have seen dramatic weight loss with this program. The basic premise is that for 30 days you eliminate  several food groups from your diet and allow your body to heal and your hormones to normalize and your body to start burning fat for fuel instead of sugar (which is a great thing). I was really intrigued, but I wanted to know more.

The following is an excerpt from Dallas & Melissa's blog about the program. You can find more information & details there as well.

What is the Whole30®?

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?
This will change your life.
We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact – the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and tens of thousands of people have done it since, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion. (Need convincing? Just read some of our stunning testimonials.)

Our Whole30 program, as outlined.

Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list.
More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain! This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best to leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold and fingerling potatoes off your plate.
In addition, no Paleo-ifying dessert or junk food choices. Trying to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold will ruin your program faster than you can say, “Paleo pizza.”  This means no desserts or junk food made with “approved” ingredients—no coconut-flour pancakes, almond-flour muffins, flourless brownies, or coconut milk ice cream. Don’t try to replicate junk food during your 30 days! That misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.
One last and final rule. You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program. This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat or taking comparative measurements duringyour Whole30. (We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, however, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)

You can also find their book on Amazon, which I highly recommend. I read it in about 2 days and I thought they did a wonderful job of explaining things in a straight forward manner. After my research, I decided to take the plunge and somehow convinced Matt to join me. I will try to post updates throughout the program. I hope you will consider joining me. This may just be the thing that will change your life!! 
Let me know your thoughts!! 
xx, Sarabeth

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blissfully Whole ~ Welcome!

Here is a little introduction to my new youtube channel Blissfully Whole. I will be putting up some videos that relate to my blog as well. Make sure to check it out!
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blissfully Whole

Hi everyone!

Welcome to Blissfully Whole! This is our first official post and we are both so excited to start this journey. If you want to know more about us and our story, be sure to check out the My Story tab at the top of the page below the header. I (Sara) am the main driving force behind encouraging our family to live whole and healthy, but Matt will also be sharing as well as he has been hugely impacted by my health challenges and the changes we've needed to make to our diet and lifestyle.

First off, why the name Blissfully Whole? Well, as you will read in "My Story," you will see that there was a time when I was so ill, that I didn't know if I had a future. Then I found out that one of the major culprits of my illness was gluten. I remember being so incredibly thankful and blissfully happy that it wasn't some dreadful disease, that I changed my diet and never looked back! I was so happy that I had a choice and that it wasn't too late and while I can't erase what I went through, I have been able to use it to become stronger and better and whole. That is not to say that I never have moments where I miss certain things from my old lifestyle, but overall, I have learned to handle it pretty well. This is what this blog is going to be all about! Living a whole and healthy life. I have extensive and real life experience with living with a gluten allergy as well as other food sensitivities in addition to sensitivities to other things in my environment. I'm still learning and figuring out what works and what doesn't work for me and our family. It is a constant process and I think that it continues to evolve. In conjunction with my degree in the health field, I have also gained so much insight and knowledge throughout this process. I am incredibly passionate about sharing what I have learned with others in the hopes that they will become healthier as well.

Make sure to stay connected for upcoming posts!

xx, Matt & Sara