Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week 2 BodyFX Cleanse & Whole 30 Wrap-Up

The best thing about Week 2 of Whole30 is my strange "Oh hell, I just took a bite from a popcicle" dreams came to an end! Seriously, guys -- I had so many strange dreams in Week 1 where I bit into something sugary or filled with gluten, then spit it out and generally freaked out that I almost messed up this challenge! How crazy is that?

The worst thing about Week 2 of Whole30 is... well, to be honest, there isn't a worst thing. I was so scared that I would be angry and mopey and crying over my lost M&M's and ice cream, but I haven't missed them at all. I honestly can't believe it. Me! Without sugar cravings! It's a baby Jesus miracle.

Also, the splotchy red patches on my face seem to be disappearing. I have some new lame blemishes popping up, but I expected that, so I can deal for now. Here's my three week face-o-rama:
This picture freaks me out. It's like attack of the Kelly-clones.
I don't think you can really tell from the photos, but I feel like my wrinkles are even reducing! Amazing what happens when you give your body the water it needs. While taking the BodyFX Cleanse, which I finished on Day 10, it's uber-important to drink tons of water. Now that I'm back in the habit of drinking around 100 ounces of water a day, it's pretty much the only liquid I crave. Even the desire to drink wine is gone. And between Whole30 and CleanseFX, I'm down 12 pounds in the first 14 days! Unbelievable.

 Best meal of the week: Paleo Butternut Squash Lasagna, sans cheese.
Thanks to the brilliant minds at Health-Bent for this scrumptious meal!
Also, I used ground pork to make my own italian sausage instead of buying it prepackaged. And added olives and spinach. Oh lordy hallelujah, this stuff is good. I felt like I was eating a "bad" meal.

Worst meal of the week: I'm not sure I can call it a meal, but I've been juicing once a day just for the hell of it, and I added dandelion greens to one of my juices. A little bitter. Next time I'll need to add an extra fruit to sweeten it up a bit.

What was new in week 2?
This week I've also noticed a surge in energy. I don't feel like I need coffee -- but I definitely want it for the flavor. We haven't been working out, since I really wanted to focus on things I'm noticing with food, but I felt the need to get moving this week so we went on walks around the neighborhood each night and basically just adventured and checked things out. Again, I was struck by how much more laid back life is this way. Even with the time it takes to prep and cook our meals, we were still able to go on a 45-60 minute walk in the evening. I definitely prefer this to the old merry-go-round dizziness that we were speeding by on before. Somehow, we're doing more but we have more time. I can get used to this!

Also, chia seeds! I am in love with chia seeds. I'll share some yummy recipes later this week, and explain how eating gelatinous foods like chia seeds actually helps detox your body.

I expect I'll actually start some workouts in week 3, because my energy levels have increased and I finally feel the need to be active. I love the rewards of listening to my body instead of telling it what to do! I've been wanting to review Figure 8 Fitness for you guys, so this seems like a good time to get moving and do some dancing! Can't think of a better way to reintroduce more frequent workouts.
Sounds good to me!!

What are your workout plans for the week? I hope you keep it fun!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

No-Poo Should Be Called ShamFree, and Other Haircare Tips

When I watched Hungry For Change, I began questioning my beauty regimen.

Okay, regimen is a pretty loose interpretation of my random haphazard method of caring for my skin and hair. But that's beside the point.

I said to myself, "Self! Is there a more healthful way to wash your face and hair?" Of course, Google is super nosy and always wants to interject its thoughts into my little self talks. And as usual, Google had a lot to say!

You guys! I never knew there was this whole "no-poo" movement out there with people making there own toxin-free shampoo and conditioner. And not just chicks living out in tree forts and stuff. It's pretty trendy. And guys! Their hair! It morphs into these beautiful, often wavy or curly, shiny locks of perfection. Here is a great site that shows pics of hair 9 months after beginning this method for haircare. I'm down with that. Especially since this is what I'm currently dealing with:

Unfortunately, whoever started this whole thing didn't have the sophomoric mind of a 10 year old boy like I do, because -- seriously? This was the best term to describe natural haircare? I don't even know, guys. How about just calling it ShamFree?? I totally heart this idea, because spending a zillion dollars on haircare is totally a sham and it incorporates the word "shampoo." I mean, admit it -- that's pretty genius right?

There. Problem solved. Internets, listen to me! ShamFree is the way to be!

Anyway. After reading a trimillion different blogs, it seems like most everyone going ShamFree (see how much more awesome that sounds?) is happy with the following method:

  • 1 TBSP baking soda + 1 cup water = wash that hair!
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar + 1 cup water = condition that hair!
I'll admit, I was skeptical. First, we all know that if there is vinegar anywhere near my eyeballs, I'm definitely going blind. Second, baking soda? Will wash my hair? Color me unconvinced. 

But it's summer and I don't have to show up to work every day looking all professional and spiffy, so this is a decent time to experiment on my head, I guess.

So this morning I mixed up my two potions and hopped in the shower. Because I never do anything the easy way (and I'm not about to dump out my current shampoo and conditioner just yet) I didn't have any squirt bottles. I did have the next best thing, though! Water bottles! Yep, I definitely mixed up my concoctions in two different water bottles and took them into the shower with me.

Shower time! Ryan Gosling not included.
Here's the deal, guys. Washing your hair with what is basically just water is sort of tricky. You can't exactly plop a glop into your palm and sudsy it up into your hair. Today's application method involved holding a water bottle above my head, tilting my head way back, and dumping what was probably way too much baking soda mixture on my head. I was worried I wouldn't be able to tell when I had enough on my hair, but I could definitely feel a difference between the hair that had the mixture on it and the hair that didn't. It was smoother, I guess. 

You're supposed to massage it in a circular pattern to work everything in, and then wait one minute before rinsing it out.

I forgot about the one minute part. Imagine that. But it's okay! My hair still got clean and didn't turn weird colors or do strange things.

The next part is using the apple cider vinegar rinse. Well, I have to tell you that I was a little freaked out when considering dousing my head with vinegar. See above regarding the certain blindness that would follow. But then I remembered reading that you are supposed to concentrate the vinegar on the ends of your hair! Duh! Problem solved. This time, I somehow remembered that "wait one minute before rinsing out" part. It was a proud moment.

I decided to let my hair air dry afterwards, just to see what the texture would be like without any straightening or product. Also, I was in a hurry to get out the door. I tucked a hair tie in my pocket in case of ultimate hair disaster, and off I went!

But here's the thing -- I never needed to pull back my hair to hide its terrifying shame. It dried without being oily, and even felt thicker than usual. In fact, normally when I let my hair air dry, it becomes this weird mix of straight, wavy, curly, frizzy strands of lackluster sadness. Today? Thick and much less frizz than normal.

I'm not saying this is hair that anyone is going to envy, but it's much better than what I expected after my first round of ShamFree™! In fact, it's actually better than an air dry/no product day when using normal shampoo and conditioner.

I'll post more pics in a week to document this crazy hair experiment. Word is, your hair goes through a sort of "terrible two's" kind of rebellion when you first start this, so in a week you may get some pretty gnarly footage! Until then -- what's the strangest beauty routine you've tried to perfect your 'do or save some pennies and get natural?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 1 - The Truth about Whole30 and BodyFX

I have officially made it 9 days eating the Whole30 way and using my BodyFX Cleanse. If you had told me 9 days ago that this week was going to be easy, I would have laughed heartily in your face.

Heartily, my friends.

Especially since the past week was the last week of school -- lots to do, tons of stress, and previously -- I would have shrugged my shoulders and complained that I was too busy and too tired.

But honestly, if you want to know what it's really like muddling through your first week with no sugar, grain, or dairy....

It's been pretty fanfreakingtastic! Over the last few months, The Hubs and I had gotten into the terrible habit of stopping off at whatever fast food joint or restaurant sounded good on the way home from work each day. I mean, that's supposed to be the easy way to do things, right?

But this week I realized something pretty profound. Even though it might be faster to swing through Taco Bell on the way home, I much more enjoy the time spent in the kitchen each night with my husband when we're prepping a delicious Whole30 meal. It takes a little more time, sure, but that time feels less rushed. It flows better. We throw on some good music and work side by side preparing our meal. We talk. Not just the rushed car conversation that happens when we're ordering out -- but real conversations. And more importantly -- we play. By the time our dinner is ready, we've been talking and laughing for a good hour.

I can't think of a better way to spend my pre-dinner time. And I'm delighted with the discovery that there really is enough time in the day to work and play. As always, it's all about mindset. I've decided what is truly important to me, and I won't let doubts or other obligations stand in my way.

In the past couple of years I have had a crazy strong addiction to sugar. I'm not saying I ate more than my fair share of M&M's or anything, but this year for Teacher Appreciation week, almost all my students gifted me with bags and boxes of M&Ms. Oh, the shame.

But this week, and I think this is mostly thanks to CleanseFX, I haven't had one craving for sweets. M&Ms have lost their hold on me! Queue the Hallelujah Bells! It also doesn't hurt that we watched Hungry for Change last week. If you guys haven't seen this documentary, you've definitely got to check it out. It's unreal the amount of poison and chemicals we ingest here in America without even thinking about it. The Hubs and I have decided to rewatch this documentary once a week until it all sinks in!

Oh, and as promised... here is what my pretty lil nekkid-face looks like one week into our Whole30 & BodyFX Challenge:
Left: Day 1, Right: Day 8
Thankfully, the Zit of Mass Proportions is calming it bad self down. I am noticing some red splotchiness appear, but I expected things to get worse before they get better. All those toxins need to bubble to the surface and get completely out of my system! One good thing I'm seeing is reduced puffiness -- in my face, hands, lower legs, and feet. In fact, after about 5 days, the chronic ache in my hip seems to have subsided. It's amazing what happens when you give your body the foods it needs to heal itself. Oh, and if all of that wasn't good enough -- I've also lost 9 pounds and found an increased amount of energy and general emotional outlook.

It's funny, the foods I ate when I originally began seeking a healthier lifestyle are no longer foods I will eat today. Although they were healthy to me back in 2007 and they did help me lose 100 pounds, I have learned so much more about nutrition and general health since then. I now know they aren't the foods my body needs to become as healthy as possible. My journey is constantly transforming, and I love that.

The more I learn -- the more educated I become -- the more primal my beliefs are.

Ironic, isn't it?

Here's looking forward to week 2! I'll try to share some of our fave Whole30 recipes and maybe even some of our more primal health and wellness thoughts throughout the week on our Off the Merry-go-Round Facebook page -- if you haven't been there yet, you should definitely check it out!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

BodyFX 30 Day Challenge & Whole30 Shakedown!

Let's get real, shall we?

Well hello, gorgeous.
Youch. Here I am, in all my makeup-free glory. Day 1 on my BodyFX and Whole30 challenge. My skin has been such a disaster fest recently, I thought it would interesting to track any changes throughout the month. Honestly, if I can just get rid of the bright red zit that has recently taken up residence directly between my eyebrows, I'll be happy. So anyway, you can look forward to these weekly little pretties to track exactly what happens when a gal goes grain and sugar free!

Hold up -- that's worth repeating! No grain! No sugar! No dairy! What am I thinking?!

Actually, I'm thinking I just cannot go one more day feeling the way I do. My clothes don't fit. I'm exhausted. I'm waaaay over-emotional. (Just ask the hubs, he'll tell you!) Also, I'm fairly certain that the way I've been living has made me dumb(er). No, seriously. If you are what you eat, and all our cells renew themselves based on the foods we feed our bodies, then I've just been killing off brain cells left and right -- and that must stop.

Lucky for me, our plan to kickoff a Whole30 challenge for ourselves is coinciding with the BodyFX 30 Day challenge! Huzzah! Now I have extra motivation and the chance to win a trip to San Diego to share my transformation story. Win-win-win, I say.

And I'm pretty stoked that the hubs has decided to join me on this journey. It's been far too easy lately to agree to his desire to grab ice cream late at night or swing by the local Mexican restaurant for nachos and margaritas when we don't feel like cooking.

No more! This morning we started our cleanse with CleanseFX and I got my first taste of ProteinFX, which is DELICIOUS mixed with almond milk and all natural peanut butter! Tonight we threw out all the junk and bought a ton of fresh produce and grass-fed meats. I even found a sweet website to help find Whole30 recipes and build my grocery list! More on that later.

So -- Day 1, feeling great. No headaches, no insane hunger fits -- just sipping water all day, snacking on whole foods, and preparing for the coming week. Wish us strength -- because luck has nothing to do with it!