Why I feed my family weird food.

Anytime I bring food to a party or dinner, it comes with a warning. If someone is getting too close to it with hunger in their eyes, you are sure to hear ” It’s paleo” or “Callie made it”. It is then labeled healthy, diet and/or weird. I don’t blame anyone for doing this. Everyone wants to know what they are eating prior to consumption. Even now, I find myself issuing the disclaimer.
For Ainsley’s first birthday, I made her a grain free cake, free of refined sugars. I sweetened it with some local honey. The frosting was a buttercream made with real butter and cream, also sweetened with honey. But to really get ’em talking I colored it pink using beet juice (which is flavorless, by the way). WEIRD.
I know it is unusual. But I don’t do these things just for the fun of it. So why do I do all of this? Why is eating a certain way such a big deal to me?
After a year or so of dating, Hunter and I both found ourselves overweight and sick all of the time. We ate out A LOT, drank cokes with every meal, never passed on dessert. We were blazing our own paths to diabetes and we didn’t even realize it.
I always hear everything is okay in moderation. This is true. But what is moderation?  If we decide to have the cake and ice cream at every party we go to and on every holiday, that is probably 2-3 times a month. For some people that may work.  But for us that version of moderation is too much.  We start sliding back down the slippery slope and quickly find ourselves wanting more. It is addictive. And we are recovering addicts.
Food is powerful.  It can be comforting. It can be your way of showing love. It can be linked to fond memories of your past. But it can also control you. So many people stress over food. Is this bite going to make me sick?  How long will I have to exercise to burn the calories?  I have been there. That kind of relationship with food did not work for me.
So two years ago I changed it. Hunter joined me. We have lost 75 pounds together and we are so much healthier.
Both of us have diabetes and heart disease in our families. These diseases can be managed and prevented to a degree with diet and exercise.  So if the food we eat can potentially save our lives or prevent illness then of course I am going to try.  This is what works for us. We are healthy. We are happy. And a couple of times a year we eat “normal” food.
Everyone has to decide what honestly works for their family. What is going to make you happy and healthy?  A lot of people think they are healthy because they aren’t as bad off as others. But we have to each strive to be as healthy as we can be. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones.
I want my little girl to be happy and healthy.
I want my husband to be happy and healthy.
I want to be happy and healthy.
(and we are) 
That is why we eat weird (real) food.

Callie

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Better check yourself…

November: the month of cooler weather, giving thanks and unshaven men. It’s a good time of the year. The holiday spirit is being found in most homes and people are gearing up for all of the food and the family. I know this because of everyone’s Facebook statuses.
A few of my Facebook friends are doing the 30 days of thanks, thing. Some of them seem like they are already struggling (it’s only day 7). But some of them start my day all teary eyed with how sweet they are. I will admit, it doesn’t take a lot to get me emotional. I can’t even count how many times my siblings would say “you’re so sensitive!” It is true. I am sensitive. But their 7 (so far) days of thanks have made me get to thinking about what I am thankful for. There are so many people and blessings in my life. But I don’t want to just make a status about it everyday on facebook. I want to live a life of gratitude.
I saw this pin that said, “Cultivate an attitude of being grateful.” A light was turned on. Being appreciative isn’t just saying thank you or writing a note, a blog post, Facebook status, whatever. It is an attitude we can choose to have or not to have everyday. We can choose to have joy, or not.
So that is my newest goal for myself. Stop complaining, or to become aware of when I am complaining and what I am complaining about. I feel people, including myself, don’t event realize how often we complain. I don’t want to be bitter or a grouch. Sure, I am tired and irritable sometimes, and everyone is allowed to have bad days but I don’t want my attitude to lessen the greatness of my life. There is another quote that comes to mind, “you better check yourself before you wreck yourself”. Exactly what I am getting at here.
It is easy to say thank you. We all should do it and do it often. But we should also start each day with a grateful heart and let our attitudes be ones of gratitude. Complaining just takes away from the beauty of everyday and refocuses our attention on the negative parts.
So at the end of each day when I am saying my prayers and I thank God for all that he has given me, I will know that the day I was blessed with was not taken for granted. I lived it and did so joyfully.

Bye bye, negative nancy!

-Callie

Twenty five

This week I celebrated my 25th birthday. Twenty five years is not a super long time. But I think about how much has happened. The different stages I have lived through. And one thing has always been constant throughout the changes: I am immensely blessed. Every year I have less and less that I wish for as I blow out my birthday candles. Because as time passes I think about what I have and I know how fortunate I am.
I have had rough years but I continue to learn and grow. Here are some things I have learned and/or realized so far in my life.
1. Growing old is a privilege denied to many. Unfortunately a lot of good people are only given a short time here on Earth. So I am always thankful to see another year!
2. Balance. I think the key to being happy physically, mentally and spiritually is finding a balance in your life. You may have to compromise a little here and there to get it just right. What works for others probably won’t work for you. Create your own happiness.
3. People make mistakes. When I find myself getting angry with someone, I try to think if they are intentionally trying to be mean or hurt me. Usually the answer is no. So I try to let it go and move on.
4.A good nap and a good laugh go a long way. Pretty simple. Nobody likes a grouch.
5. Take a deep breath. Sometimes you may just need a second away from the situation.
6. Cry it out. So the deep breath didn’t work. Go ahead, cry it out. It’s okay to have a good cry session every once in a while.
7. You can’t change some people. Accept that and learn from them. If someone does something to you that you don’t like or treats you less than you deserve, learn from them. Don’t ever treat someone else that way or make them feel the way you felt.
8.The more you believe something is right the less you care what others think. This one is hard for me. I like to have other people’s approval. But I am definitely growing confidence in my decisions and it helps tremendously.
9. There is somebody for everybody. There were a couple times in my life my mom told me this. She was right. A walk through Wal-Mart is proof. But my proof is that I found my somebody.
10. It is ok to ask for help. Another hard one for me as I don’t like to ask for anything. But the answer is always no if you don’t ask!
11. Face your fears. That water slide may look ridiculous, but it may actually be fun.
12.It is okay to say no. This goes back to balance.
13. Wear that cute outfit. You don’t have to save everything for a special occasion. It’s never a bad day to look good.
14. Don’t compare your life to others. Sure, they have it going on on Facebook. But you don’t know the whole story. Love your life.
15. Be silly. You might look stupid but you’re likely going to have fun!
16. Enjoy being friends with your family. Because no matter how stupid you look (see #15) they will still love you. Enjoy your time with them, especially those who are always there for you.
17. Wave/smile at strangers. A little kindness never hurt. And if the person did turn out to be a creep, walk away (quickly!)
18. Go outside. From my brief experience with crying babies I have learned outside is a magical place.
19. Your health is important. Take care of yourself so that your health doesn’t cause you to miss out on things! Life is short. Do what you can so that you can truly enjoy it!
20.Be happy with a calm life. We all get busy but what we find ourselves busy with isn’t always important. Choose to make time to slow down, relax and enjoy the small things.
21.Accept change. Everything doesn’t have to be the same all the time for it to be enjoyable. Start new traditions. You may find that the new way works better.
22. Love people. Help them when you can. And give each person a chance to prove them self to you before you judge them.
23. Bend the rules (a little). I am the type of person that likes rules. However, there are times when it’s ok to get a little crazy and have fun.
24. This too shall pass. Time is constantly moving. So whether you’re dealing with hard times or you’re waiting for a bad haircut to grow out, remember, this too shall pass.
25. Continue to learn. About yourself, other people, the world, everything. Cause no matter how sure you are, you probably don’t know it all!

I of course don’t listen to my own advice all the time but hopefully in my next 25 years I will continue to learn, laugh and love.
-Callie

A few of my favorite… blogs

I follow a lot of different bloggers on all of the different social media sites. I wanted to share some of my favorites, in case anyone is looking for some motivation whether its food, health, natural cleaners etc.

Motivation for health and diet Whole9life

Dinner recipes Everydaypaleo

Baked goods and other grain free recipes (this is also my favorite cookbook right now) Againstallgrain

Green cleaners and motherhood Wellnessmama

Science behind paleo and other health related articles Robb Wolf

Tips for eating on a budget. This site has a lot of good information though. Balanced Bites

If you are looking for something else just ask me!

-Callie

Our Journey to Health

My husband, Hunter and I were both in our early 20’s when we decided to take control of our health. Neither one of us had any energy and spent most days complaining of aches and pains. We were both overweight. Our weight wasn’t extremely out of hand but we were both a little fluffy and on the wrong path. We were starting to think about the possibility of having a baby but I knew there was no way we would be able to keep up. My husband at about 21 was diagnosed with high cholesterol and he was put on medication. We pretty much accepted that was the only way to fix it. I was later diagnosed with borderline insulin resistance. So I started taking medicine. We started cutting calories and eating whole wheat. The only problem was the “heart healthy” standard American diet was not working for us. In early 2012 I was sick of being sick and knew something had to give.

I kept seeing a lot of buzz about the paleo diet. I messaged a friend about it and she told me about the whole30 challenge. I talked to Hunter about it and as he usually does he supported me and decided we would both try it. We started the following Monday.

We spent the first week or so hating the world and wanting to quit. But we didn’t. We went the whole 30 days and it has made all the difference in our lives. Parts of us were fixed that we had no idea could be related to diet. Of course there were the outside changes. Hunter lost 20 lbs and 2 pant sizes. I lost 10 lbs and one size. Well probably 1.5. I was starting to get a muffin top and should have been in a bigger size. My fingernails began to grow. They would always break and tear before. My stomach issues I have had as long as I could remember got better. We could fall asleep without having to take Benadryl. My daily headaches became a rare thing. Hunter’s cholesterol numbers were in the good range! And thank the Lord we were both a little less moody.

It has been almost two years now. Since then we have stepped off the path a few times but it is always short-lived as we usually get sick and say “I am never doing that again!”

I think a lot of people look to medicine to fix all of their problems when they have the power to fix some of their health issues, themselves.

It is hard but it is so worth it. I don’t have control over the length of my life. I know that. But if I can improve the quality in anyway then of course I am going to try.

We now have a beautiful little girl. I want to be help her live a happy healthy life. And of course I want my husband and myself to be an active role in it!

And that is why we choose health.

-Callie