Category Archives: Food

Mission Whole30: COMPLETE

I survived, no totally crushed, 30 days of no sugar, dairy, grains, or legumes. That’s no candy, no cheese, no rice, no hummus. And you know what, it really wasn’t that hard. I learned some lessons about my body and about food, but I mostly just feel like a total champion. Most importantly though, I don’t feel the need to reward my success by scarfing down a large pizza or having a bowl of ice cream. For me, that was sort of the whole point.

Despite having lost a significant amount of weight over the last year, I still wanted to eat all the garbage all the time. But now, I feel like a lot of that stuff just isn’t tempting me. Could this change in the next week or month? Yes, and in that case I will do a reset again to remind myself that healthy eating is the best way for me. This is Food Freedom, and I’m currently halfway through Melissa Hartwig’s new book, Food Freedom Forever. It’s a guide to a lifetime of eating well, whatever that means to you. For me, that’s going to mean eating pizza again after my reintroduction, and not feeling bad about it, but I also hope that it means I won’t have any desire to eat pizza in excess.

I want to tell you about the cons of this program, however you can totally get through them. Yo, cooking yourself every. single. meal. (save two in my case.. thanks Briands!) SUCKS! It sucks. Yes, you can make bulk meals and just heat them in the microwave, but you are putting in work all the time. There are days that are totally exhausting, not because you’re eating shitty, but because eating well requires work. So, as my roommate pointed out, which made me almost fly off the handle because I was tired of cooking, I was eating bacon maybe too much. Shout out to BLT+A salad for helping me thrive. To get through these 30 days, you might have the same meal a few too many times, and that’s alright.


The second con of this program is not the program’s fault, but the people around you will, hopefully unintentionally, constantly ask you if you want a drink or a doughnut. There are days within this 30 days that you might tell these people where they can shove their doughnut hole. That’s alright. You’re just doin’ you boo, and if getting through this means that you have to tell these people every day how dumb they are for constantly asking you if you want something you can’t have, do it. I spent a lot of my Whole30 at home alone because I really wanted this to be a success, and going out was just too much for me. Alone time turned out to be really great for me. I went to bed early, felt well rested, went for a lot of walks, started reading again, and found new motivation to achieve my goals.. this was also thanks to my new healthy diet. I think we call that a WIN-WIN!


There are so many pros that I might end up sounding like I joined a cult if I listed them all, so instead I want to share my non-scale victories. I actually can’t share my scale victory because I don’t have a scale, so I have no idea what I weighed when I started, or what I weigh today. No big deal to me, I will weigh myself next time I visit my Aunt and Uncle’s to see where I’m at from my starting weight and then give myself a little high five. I did however measure, so I’ll put those down below.


First victory, my sleeping habits; I fall asleep faster, I don’t wake up in the middle of night (unless my cats wake me up -_-), and I feel well rested every morning. My hair has started growing like a flippin’ weed. I got about 2 inches cut off just before the start of the Whole30, and all of the length is already back. My hair is also a lot more shiny and strong, and so are my nails. My focus is like a lazer.. ok maybe like a disco ball, but no diet can fix that. While I still have lots of things that I’m focusing on, I find myself less distracted while working. There are more, but the biggest non-scale victory here is my HAPPINESS. Last month I was struggling. I hated everything. I wanted to move home. I just couldn’t hang. Today, I feel happy. I am looking forward to so many things. Things that I knew about before I started the Whole30 that were just meh, are now YAAAAS.


Completing this Whole30 makes me feel so much more capable and in control of my life. No matter how you spin it, food is key in a healthy body and a healthy mind. I wish that I could convince all of you to do a Whole30. It’s really not that hard. I mean, do you remember what you ate 30 days ago, or even last week? Doing this reset has made me feel amazing, and I want every single one of you to feel as good as I do now.

So here’s the stats:
September 2015        September 2016          October 2016
Neck: 14″                     Neck: 13″                       Neck: 13″
Bicep: 12 ½”                 Bicep: 12 ¾”                 Bicep: 12 ¼”
Breasts: 43″                 Breasts: 39”                  Breasts: 38”
Chest: 35 ½”                Chest: 34 ½”                  Chest: 32 ½”
Stomach: 38″              Stomach: 35 ½”             Stomach: 34”
Butt: 49″                       Butt: 44 ½                      Butt: 43 ½
Thigh: 29″                    Thigh: 24 ¾”                   Thigh: 23 ½”
Calf: not recorded      Calf: 15 ¾”                      Calf: 15 ½”

I’ve lost a total of 24 ½ inches, 7 ½ of that on the Whole30.. if my math is right.. which it’s probably not, but whatever. Here are my before and after Whole30 pictures, which I can’t’ say I’m totally stoked to put on the internet, but progress is progress!


September Whole 30


Attention ladies and gentlemen (or man, probably just Dad), I am here to proudly declare, because it’s actually one of the steps I’m supposed to complete; I will be participating and completing the September Whole 30. Are you like, what is the Whole 30? Well, some might say it’s impossible, or hell, or a terrible idea.. but I say it’s the next step in my transformation from chubby caterpillar to lean and fit butterfly.

The Whole 30 is a lifestyle, which I know sounds hella cheeseball (which you can’t eat on the Whole 30), but it truly is a lifestyle. For 30 days you eat clean, like cleaner than paleo, which you’re more likely familiar with. The truth is sugar, grains, dairy and/or legumes are probably affecting your physical, and maybe mental, health negatively. And you can’t forget about all those nasty chemicals in like flippin’ everything we eat. So you eat clean, preferably organic, veggies, fruits, meats, seafood, eggs, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. You plan, you cook, you eat, your life changes. I’m not even being dramatic.

Over the last year and a handful of months I went from going out to eat on an almost daily basis to an almost never basis. I said goodbye to snacking on cheese and candy and drinking energy drinks. I stopped bringing home a bottle of wine or a six pack of cider. And slowly but surely I’ve watch my body shrink, my sleep improve, and my love for myself grow. I am now super ready to lose the last 15 pounds and start working out like I’m Khloe Kardashian.. just kidding, kind of. No, but seriously, do you follow her on snap? Her workouts are insane and the shape of her body is.. unreal.

So this, the magical September Whole 30, is my next step. Oh, and this Whole 30 is kind of a big deal. Melissa Hartwig (Google her, #goals) the creator of the Whole 30 is releasing a new book on the 30th day of this round. The book, Food Freedom Forever, gives you the skills you need to never return to savagely eating Cheese-Its or always buying gummy bears in the Trader Joe’s checkout. The book weens you off your Whole 30 so you can figure out what Whole 30 no-no’s are affecting you, whether it’s your evening glass of wine that’s keeping you up at night or lunch meat with nitrates that’s causing your acne.

I have been meal planning for weeks and I can’t wait to put this plan into action. If this has inspired you and you want to participate too, check out and be sure to leave a comment below so we can support each other along the way!


*image by emilie blincoe

Another Week


Well, my blog post calendar/schedule slightly failed. It’s been 12 days since I wrote my last post. However, if I get as far to hit publish on this post, I will have outdone last month’s count. This week is Spring Break, meaning there is no cap on my hours at work. You can sure as heck bet I am working the full 40 hours. Talk about a vacation.


The weather is finally starting to warm up. It’s been raining off and on the last two days. My peonies and daffodils poked their heads above the cold black dirt early last week. The leaves have been raked, and the trash from all these filth bucket college students has been disposed of. To say I’m ready for my favorite to season to be begin would be an understatement. I have always had an affinity for spring, likely because it’s my birthday season, but also because I love watching the world bloom. And it’s certainly not just nature, I think even people start to poke their heads out of the dirt.


I’ve been focusing much of my time on my professional future. Mostly by obsessing over my resume, following the leads of a few people who have been so kind as to offer advice and connections, and a lot just down right whining with my new found friend, Brooke. As May 7th creeps ever closer, you can’t help but feel the serious pressure of adulthood. I know I’ve said this many times, I am feeling both excited and terrified, and the degree to which I’m affected by those feelings changes daily. Today, I’m hopeful that this week I will perfect my resume and get it into the right hands before the end of April.


I’ve been feeling a little rough around the edges. With all the ‘get out and there and adult’ stuff, it’s easy to find comfort in candy. I’ve totally plateaued in the weight loss world. Not that it’s all about losing weight, but I was on a roll for a while. I think now that I can ride my bike again, if I can just avoid emotional eating, I will kick my 25 Before 26 goal, no problem. But, for more immediate results, I went to see my dear friend Jac at the salon yesterday. Four hours later and…


I couldn’t be happier. Jac is a hair Goddess. If you live in the area, make an appointment with her at Hair Biz on San Marnan.

-Saturday at the post office, the old boxes are my favorite
-There’s something for everyone at the thrift store
-Catching a UNI game at Toads with Mom, I went for the company and chips
-Babes out on Main
-Sunset bike ride with Brynn
-Lunch on the roof of the Union with the bros
-Breakfast nachos, a new regular
-Silver hair wasn’t built in a day, but stage one sure is pretty

‘It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.’

I’m writing this post after getting a few inquires from my last post when I mentioned I had lost weight. I am no expert, CLEARLY. Not to mention I ate breakfast twice today, once was at Dunkin’ Donuts, and I then followed that up with chicken strips. But hey, it’s totally okay to eat like crap sometimes, it taste good.

So here is my average human being advice on how I’ve been working at being a healthier average human being. I bet I have said this like 300 times, and there are probably a few people in the world that are really tired of hearing it, but it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. SERIOUSLY. The word diet is basically a swear word, like the really insulting super bad kind that never accidentally slips out when you’re around your Mom. You might lose weight on a diet, but you will 99% of the time gain it back. A diet is a quick fix, not a solution. More than likely you have to change your lifestyle to become healthier, so here’s how my lifestyle has changed.


I have not been meal planning like I planned to back in May, but I have been counting my calories. I use the Lose It! app. I have tried My Fitness Pal, but that thing is not a pal. It made me feel bad. Lose It! is not trying to be your pal, it’s just telling you how many calories you ate, how much exercise you’ve done, and how many calories you’ve consumer/burned in your day. Yes, it gives you a goal, but it’s not yelling at when you go over…Okay My Fitness Pal doesn’t yell at you either, but I just didn’t like it.


I’ve committed myself to not buying bread or sweets (other than cereal which is basically candy), and trying not to drink alcohol during the week. Bread leads to grilled cheese, and peanut butter and jelly, and BLT’s, and breakfast sandwiches, which are all great in moderation, but who the hell is moderating my sandwich intake? It’s supposed to be me, but I have no control over making sandwiches. So if there is no bread, there is no excessive sandwich making. And alcohol, well that’s a no brainer.


Without sandwiches, I’ve been eating healthier alternatives such a zoodles, spaghetti squash, and all the vegetable stuff in between. My Mom recently gave me a smoothie maker, which is both convenient and fun. I highly recommend investing in one. Clearly, produce is my new best friend for all meals. Besides produce, I eat eggs or Greek yogurt at breakfast, at lunch I like low-fat cottage cheese and deli meats, and at dinner I usually toss in a protein like chicken and whip up sauces to make meals more exciting.


Lastly, in the food department advice, follow the serving suggestions. If you’re counting calories you have to put in the serving. ONLY EAT THE SERVING. I can’t live without a crunch, especially at lunch, and crunchy vegetables don’t count. I pretty much always have wheat thins, or pita chips, or something in the crunchy category. As I reach my 30 pound goal, I may have to cut these out, but for now I will take the 100 some calories for the 14 crackers. It’s worth it. But only eat the 14 crackers, otherwise you might as well just eat a grilled cheese because SCREW IT.

Oh one more food thing, if you have an ALDI, buy your produce there. Seriously. So much cheaper than anywhere else. SO MUCH CHEAPER. Really, why are you shopping anywhere else for anything else unless you need Jiff or Q-Tips? Oh and weekends are for eating whatever you want, especially pizza. And drink water, like all the water.

Physical fitness wise, yoga is my go-to activity. I can’t recommend Yoga with Adriene enough. She is the most hilarious, positive, chill person on the Internet, I swear. I really want to be her best friend, but practicing with her videos will suffice. I kicked off my ‘fitness journey’ by doing her 30 Days of Yoga. Really, I’m not a huge exercise till you sweat person. I don’t mind sweating, but I hate showering. My skin is sensitive and I have better things to do with my time than bathe. Thus there is no dedicated cardio time in this lifestyle change, but again, might have to happen to reach the big 3-0.


I live the pedestrian life. I haven’t had a car in over a year now, which obviously only works if you live within a certain proximity of your daily activities, have a Mom who takes you shopping when needed, and have friends who will always pick you up (THANKS EVERYONE). Life without a car has literally forced me to be physically active. On average I walk just over 3 miles a day. I believe this has hugely contributed to being more active and positive in general.


LASTLY, I believe the number one contribution to my lifestyle change is cutting out negativity in my life. I’m sure the health benefits of eating and exercising make me feel better too, but I’ve weeded out a lot of negative, and filled in the gaps with lots of positive stuff. From a whole pack of new friends, to new responsibilities that have lead to new passions, the positive feels I have for life right now make everything easier. So smile, live in the present, and do what makes you happy!

I hope this has inspired you, or encouraged you to try something new, or just made you laugh a little. What do you do to live a happy healthy life?!




For the majority of our relationship, Audrey and I have dreamed of going to New Orleans. Around tax season we got pretty serious about making the trip. I saved some of my refund, and so did Audrey. But, then reality set in that I’m barely working 20 hours a week. I kept having to dip into my savings to live my life the way I wanted on a regular basis. So we put our NOLA trip on hold, but still wanted to take a vacation.

Anna, one of my favorite ladies in the world, was taking a trip to Seattle. I offered to housesit, and watch her cats for her while she was away. The perfect mini-vacation for Audrey and I, complete with a free place to stay! Anna lives in Des Moines in the historical Sherman Hill Neighborhood. Sherman Hill is conveniently located right off downtown. We never went anywhere that took us more than 10 minutes to get too. It was perfect.

We arrived on Wednesday evening, and headed straight to Krunkwich Ramen House. We both had the classic ramen dish, which included chicken, braised pork, green onions, a soft boiled egg (my favorite part), and of course ramen noodles. The portions were generous and the bowls were adorable. It was delicious, and something that I hope that Audrey starts making at home. Next time we visit we are looking forward to trying something off their tator tot menu!

On Thursday we headed straight to Smokey Row Coffee so I could work on homework and Audrey could do some admin stuff. A couple hours later we headed downtown to one of our favorite bar and restaurants, Royal Mile. We split a BLT, and discussed our plans for the remainder of the day.

It had been raining on and off all day, so we decided it would be the perfect time to go the botanical gardens. Audrey had mentioned several times that her Grandma used to take her there when she was little, and how amazing it was. I was thrilled to finally get a chance to go, not to mention I’m a little plant obsessed at the moment. Unfortunately for the Botanical Center, but fortunately for our wallets, the roof has some serious leaking issues. It was basically raining inside, so admission was free! I have an excessive amount of photos I want to share, thus I’m going to do a separate post for them.

For the size of the garden, I was highly impressed. It was absolutely beautiful. I do wish more plants would have been labeled so I could really nerd out and Google them and figure out how to turn my house into a rain forest, but maybe it’s for the better.

That evening we met up with some of our friends for drinks, ordered a late night delivery pizza, and watched Dexter.

Bright and early Friday morning we grabbed breakfast at Mullets with Audrey’s Dad. I would HIGHLY recommend Mullets. Tons of options, delicious bad-for-you food, and cheap prices. I spent the remainder of the morning and early afternoon doing school work while Audrey relaxed.

That afternoon we visited the Iowa State Capital Building. I hadn’t been on a tour since I was in elementary school. It was so beautiful, and a lot more meaningful as an adult. Sometimes I think I could be a politician, but I think I will stick to local city council dreams over Congress Woman Hannah.

That evening we were invited to a family cookout by our mutual long-time friends. It was a wonderful time with their family of seven, and so generous of them to invite us over. It was great to catch up with everyone, and meet April’s three-year-old daughter Gretchen. I didn’t take any photos because I was too busy water coloring Doc McStuffins.

On Saturday morning we visited the Farmer’s Market for breakfast. I had an amazing grilled cheese with a friend egg and bacon, from Say Cheese. We saw lots of adorable dogs of all shapes and sizes. There was a lot of “I could live here” and “I want that dog” moments.

Audrey had a show in Iowa City that night, so she left Saturday afternoon. In her place arrived Zach! We went shopping at the mega mall, where I proceeded to spend every single dollar I had left on make-up items that I had been dreaming of for months. I’m totally irresponsible with my practically non-existent money and I don’t care who knows it! I LOVE MAKEUP!

After going broke, we grabbed a couple sandwiches at Smokey Row, and then went on a wonderful long walk around Sherman Hill. Talking with Zach is always very good for me, because it reminds me how much life can change, even between 21 and 25. It is so important to remember where you came from, and to appreciate where you are now. He is an incredibly wonderful friend, and always makes me laugh. All in all I walked over 8 miles on Saturday. At least that’s how far my phone walked, and I believe it. So we ended the evening with pizza and watched Nightcrawler (4.5 stars!).

It was an absolutely perfect vacation. If I couldn’t have NOLA, then Des Moines was an almost totally equal trade. I love Iowa, and all of the people that reside here that I call my friends. I also love vacationing with Audrey. She is more than willing to do all the tourist-y things with me, and then

I will return later this week with pictures of stuff! You know how I love stuff.