Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our new lifestyle....never going back!

Have you ever had one of those life alternating moments?  I'm not talking about the joyful moments in life like the birth of a child, the day you get married, etc. I'm talking about a personal revelation or awakening. Well, I'd like to share mine. 

Ever since I turned 30 almost 1 1/2 years ago my body seemed to be falling apart. At least that is what I thought. All of my old injuries were starting to bother me, I started getting acne for the first time ever, I easily gained weight and had an even harder time loosing it, I had regular headaches, I was constantly bloated, constipated and gassy, I tired easily and I didn't sleep very well at night and the list goes on. I just generally felt NOT good. Of course I blamed all of the aforementioned issues due to the fact that I was getting "old". I dreaded turning 30. Well, almost 2 years later and still nothing had changed. I tried exercising regularly, I even started running (which I don't overly enjoy) and still I felt tired around 3:00pm everyday!  Something had to change, but I had no idea where to start. I tried a few quick cleanses and lost a few pounds out of it but after I was done I went right back to my old habits and BAM nothing changed. 

About a month ago I was watching Netflix while doing some laundry and I saw a documentary called "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". So I decided to watch it. It as awesome! ( Basically this guy that was obese and had numerous health problems decided to do a 60 day juicing fast all while traveling across America and interviewing people about their health and diets. Well, he ended up loosing all of his weight, all of his health conditions disappeared, he got off of all of his medications, basically he became a different man. 

After watching it I decided to do a bit of research about juicing and detoxing. I read a book that I downloaded on my iPad called "Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing for Life" and it opened my eyes to even more advantages of a primarily vegetable and fruit diet. The part that really got my attention was the chapter on the colon. (Now this is where you get to know probably to much information about me). Ever since I've had my children, love those little cuties, my body has changed drastically. Yes I have the visual reminders of stretch marks but I also have the internal reminder of constipation. I always thought that it possibly wasn't a good thing that I had only 1-2 bowel movements a week but I never really thought much more about it than that. Well let me tell you, it is NOT a good thing at all!! In fact, I found through all of my research that that is the root of all of my problems!  A blocked up, unhealthy colon can cause a plethora of problems and have even been linked to larger chronic conditions like crohns, colitis, diabetes and even cancer, to name a few!  Now I don't claim to be a doctor and as far as I know I don't have any of these conditions nor do I want to get them. But a lot of what I was reading was written by health professionals and it woke me up to the realization that this could happen to me. 

Anyway, this is when I got my personal revelation that things had to change and NOW, as a lot of the aforementioned conditions run in my family. So this is what I have changed in my life:

- No more Dairy
- No more wheat; we've been eating small amounts of quinoa instead
- Exercise everyday (except weekends)
- Use coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or margarine
- Increase my vegetable intake substantially, basically I can eat as much veggies as I want!
- try to stick to low sugar fruits
- Eat only small portions of meat and only lean meats (chicken, turkey and fish)
- juice at least 2 meals a day
- start taking probiotics
- nuts for snacks 

So we bought a juicer, and stocked our fridge full of fresh produce. 

This was our fridge the first week, now our fridge is full of mostly green (oh and the Becel is gone, no more butter!)

The first day was pretty hard, mostly because we weren't prepared with good juice recipes, so our first attempt was, well, awful!  Day 2 was much better. Now we have our menu and eating schedule down to a science:

Breakfast - fresh fruit and veggie juice with tbsp ground flax seed and probiotic

Snack - nuts/fruit/veggies/energy bites (recipe below)
Lunch - fresh veggie juice and probiotic
Snack - same as above
Dinner - a small portion of lean meat, lots of veggies (fresh or lightly steamed), optional 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and probiotic
(This is taco salad with ground turkey and quinoa with all the fixn's)

(Chicken stir fry, also with quinoa and also very yummy!!)

Snack - fresh smoothie (we are still working on a good recipe for this)/popcorn made with coconut oil (which is AMAZING)

That's typically what we have been eating this past week. I thought it would be hard to get rid of my dairy and wheat but it hasn't been at all. The first two days I missed my occasional slice of cheese, but not all now. Breads don't tempt me at all. In fact, I rarely have cravings now!  I also have incredible energy!  Im going full throttle until about 10:00 at night. No more mid afternoon crashes. My face should be breaking out in acne about now as a pre-warning that aunt flow is on her way, but not a single zit is on my face! My keratosis polaris (a skin condition I've had forever) is clearing up. I have been sleeping through the night and waking well rested and energized. And the biggest change of all....I have had regular bowel movements everyday, sometimes twice a day, which has never in my entire life happened!! I feel "light" and full of energy! I haven't had a headache at all this week or felt any of my regular aches and pains. I seriously feel like a new person! I even lost 3lbs. All of this in just one week!  My husband, who has also been doing this with me (I'm seriously so lucky to have such an amazing husband!  I mean how many of your husbands would give up their meat and potatoes??) has also reported a bunch of changes to his body as well. Now he already takes really good care of his body, and in my mind is healthy to begin with ( he's an ironman for crying out loud!). But he told me he has noticed an increase in his energy as well, his BM's have increased/changed, has had the feeling of being "light" and he lost 5lbs in a week! 

I actually had a real personal moment Saturday night, I felt like I really knew my body for the first time and it touched me in such a way that I just started to cry. My husband was wondering what was wrong with me!  Lol. I just felt so incredible it was like waking up for the first time in a very long time. 

Now you are probably wondering if I'm going to continue this or if its another "fad". I'm definitely converted!  Never again do I want to go back to feeling like a heavy, lifeless blob of nothing!! I'm converted for life!  I will gradually bring back into my diet lean red meats and eggs, but even then I will eat the red meat sparingly. I honestly don't miss it at all, so who knows??  

Someone actually asked me the other day if I was Paleo now?  I had no idea what they were talking about, so I researched that and I found their diet very similar to what I am already doing, with a few minor differences (like I still eat beans, and they don't eat ANY grains where as I still eat quinoa). So I guess if you need to give my diet a label, that is what I am, a juicing Paleo. Or you can just call me healthy, because that's how I feel for the first time in my life!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

St. George Utah family trip and 1/2 Ironman

So this is a bit late but I guess better late than never!  A few weeks ago we took a little family vacation to Saint George Utah, mainly for David to be able to participate in the 1/2 Ironman event there, but also to have a little family get away considering we may not have a whole lot of time to do anything the rest of the year (I will explain why later). 

So we left on our vacation on April 29, starting things off by traveling down to my parents for a night. Then we drove to Pocatello the next day and spent the night at my sisters and then we finally made it down the St. George on May 1. The traveling down was a bit nerve racking as it snowed bout 6 inches the night before we left and followed us all the way down to Pocatello!

Yep this is what we woke up to. Yuck!
Not such a great start to our vacation. I get really anxious driving in the winter, you think I would be use to it by now but I'm not. And I'm sure you're thinking "it's snowing in April/May?"  Yep!! Only in Alberta!  

Anyway, we made it safe and sound and the weather was a balmy 21 Celsius when we got there. The next day we drove to Zion National Park to spend the day there. It was absolutely beautiful!  The kids did really good too as we forced them to do two hikes with us, the River walk and the Emerald pools (they made it all the way up to the middle pool). David and I will have to go back someday and do the Angels landing hike when we don't have the kiddos with us. 

The beginning of the Riverwalk trail. We had a little picnic lunch here before the hike. 

It was really quite a beautiful walk. The rocks were really cool. 

This is the end and from here you can hike through the river to the opening of another hike called the Narrows. We were planning on doing that too (just to the beginning of the narrows) but after watching some people we realized the water was a bit too deep (up to some adults wastes). So we just hung out and threw some rocks in the river for a bit. 

We are all flexing. Lol!

This is the Emerald pool hike. Here we made it to the lower pool. 

Now the steep hike up to the middle pool. 

We made it. That's the pool behind the kids. 

This was on the way up to the mile long tunnel!  That was pretty cool to, a little claustrophobic, but cool. 

Friday we just hung out at the pool at the hotel, did some shopping, David had to drop off his bike and pick up registration stuff. Then we went out to eat at Cracker Barrel. It was pretty good. The kids enjoyed it because they got to have pancakes. 

Then Saturday May 4, the day of the big race. David left the hotel by 4:00am to catch a bus to the Sand Hollow reservoir, where the swim was. The kids and I slept in and then I helped the kids catch up on some homework (since they were missing a week of school), packed a picnic lunch and then headed down to the finish line area to wait for David to finish. Luckily there was a nice splash pad there for the kids to play in and stay cool while we waited. 

Then he made it!! His time was 6:04. 

YAY DAVID!! He's such an inspiration to me. 

The rest of the day we just relaxed at the pool at the hotel because the next day was the start of our three day journey home. 

K chillin playing some games on his iPod. 

Overall it was a great trip! The kids had fun and were really good, David did great on his triathlon and we had a much needed break from the daily grind. The kids, David and I were happy to come home to spring/summer weather too and not SNOW!  Yay!!!

I just had to throw this one in. My brother and his beautiful little family came out to my parents to see us on our way home. This is my adorable niece!! My other adorable niece was busy playing with my kiddos. 

The boys meditating at grandma A's, getting there mental energy to get back to school. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What a busy month it has been!

Today I took the time to go through my millions (well, that's what it seemed like) of pictures that have been downloaded over the past year, to organize them and put them in places so that they are easier to find later.  I realized as I've been reminiscing that most of my pictures are now being taken via my phone, and honestly I can't even tell the difference between the pictures I take with my phone verses my camera. Makes me wonder if and why we still need our camera??  I'm no professional photographer, I leave that up to my sister ;).  As long as I have something to click and freeze those special moments in time I'm good. 

Anyway, enough about my rant on the change in technology. Onto my very busy past month.  

First is report cards!! I love this time of year. For us it happens three times throughout the school year and this is the second or midway report card and I couldn't be a more proud mommy of my kiddos!  They all are doing great!  

 I'm especially blown away at Xander Mans Reading level.  He is in grade 2 but is reading at a mid grade three level!  He's not even on their chart description they sent home with the report card, I had to ask his teacher.  
 Good job smarty pants!!

 Living in Canada you would think that I would be use to living in weather like this, but when it's mid April and still snowing it's kinda depressing!  These photos were taken end of March.

This one was taken just last week on our way home from walking the boys to school.  It has since been warming up slowly and melting away pretty fast.  This morning we woke up to a bit of rain and it smelled absolutely WONDERFUL!! I love that fresh rain smell.  So spring is almost in reach.

Easter time!  The kids love this time of year, what kid doesn't!  I think they were more excited about the gift in their baskets than anything else.  We got them these really cute angry birds blankets.

We also had a new cousin born into the Johnston family!  We were very excited to meet baby Garrett.  Look how adorable he is!

April always starts off with a celebration for us, Bean's birthday!  She of course wanted yet again another princess birthday.  This time I specifically asked her who was her favourite princess and I was surprised and excited to find out that it was Rapunzel!  That's probably my favourite princess movie so I went to work researching (mostly on pinterest) for ideas for her party.  

Fun was had by all!  We had a little party at home, then we went to the pool to swim (her favourite thing to do) and then back to have a little sleepover party with her two besties.

Since I quit my job last year and Bean started kindergarten, I've had the opportunity to really get to bond with this little man, and let me tell you that I just love this little guy to bits!  He is definitely a challenge and has his moments but he is so full of life and love.  So I've made it a personal goal of mine to spend at least an hour a day just doing something with him.  I've found that his favourite things to do are play with play dough, water and be read to (that's my favourite, then I get some good cuddles in!)

So almost everyday the kids bring random classroom assignments and artwork home. I'm sure you parents know exactly what I'm talking about.  My counter is usually covered in them!  So anyone that knows me knows that I'm not a hoarder!  I'm the exact opposite...less is more.  I dejunk regularly!  And the funny thing is that I married into a family that is totally opposite.  After we got married we received a bag of my husbands baby clothes and random stuffies and toys from when he was a kid.  Lets just say that bag didn't stay to long in our house.  It was a hard adjustment for my husband to be married to someone like me, but over the past 10 years he has become accustomed to my need to "cleanse" our house every once in a while. That's great that some people are sentimental and want to keep every piece of scrap paper that their kid draws on, but that's not me.  

Anyway, I usually just take a quick look at their pieces of art, tell them how proud I am of them and if something is really impressive or describes who they are and what they are like right now I'll usually take a picture of it to keep as a memory.  Well I came across this assignment that my daughter did in school the other day and it stopped my heart!  We are members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and every week we have a night devoted to our family and we usually teach them something gospel related, plus we go to church weekly and participate in various church activities.  All this time we spend teaching them sometimes I wonder "do they really understand any of this?"  Well, I got my answer today when I saw this.  This validates to me  how important it is to teach my kids important spiritual things at a young age.  
Yep, this is a keeper :)

Along with all of the family and kid things going on in our household we have still been working hard on our renovations.  We have finished painting walls (YAY!!) and are slowly chipping away at the baseboards and casing.  Our tile backsplash in our kitchen will hopefully be going up this weekend, so I'll definitely have a post about the kitchen renos when that is completed (a year in the making!).  But for today I want to share our ToyRoom renovation.


and AFTER!!

I love the way this room turned out, especially the fireplace!  That took about 3 days just to finish.  Who knew it was soooo hard to paint brick!  We had to do a primer coat, then a base coat and then (the fun part!) I had to individually sponge each brick a slightly darker color.  I got the idea from pinterest and was going to share the link here but it's gone now!?  I think it was on Lowe's website but I searched for it there and couldn't find it either?? 

Plus I was able to refurbish the dresser under the TV and make it into an entertainment storage unit.  I wish I had taken before pics of the dresser. I always seem to forget.  I got this idea from here .  It holds all of the kids movies and wii games and stuff.  The kids were so excited about having their room back too that I didn't even get time to take a pic of the room when it was all clean!  Oh well :)