Day 2…thirty days!


Check out day one HERE

Our next step as a family, after beginning to eliminate processed foods from our diet, was to tackle a Whole30.

The very first one I did was in the summer of 2015. Ellie jumped in and joined me and ROCKED it! The rest of the family….not so much. HA! Bryan was traveling a lot so that made it hard for him and the other kids weren’t so sure about eliminating some of the foods they loved for thirty days.

Here are the basics.

  • Thirty days
  • No sugar
  • No alchohol
  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No dairy
  • No MSG, carrageenan or sulfites
  • No baked goods or junk food made with approved ingredients


I know what you’re thinking.


No way, I could do that!

Hear me on this…it’s only thirty days. You can do anything for thirty days. Seriously, come on. You can do hard things.

And here’s the benefit…You are going to learn so much about yourself and the way that food makes you feel.

That information is priceless. And worth the thirty days. Trust me.

At the end of the thirty days, you add back in each of the excluded groups, one by one. See if they cause you any issues. If they don’t, toss them back into your diet and move along.

If you add one of the groups back and notice some ill effects, it’s time to evaluate whether or not you want to permanently eliminate that item from your diet.

For me, I quickly realized that gluten and dairy were NOT my friends. They shouldn’t even be acquaintances of mine. HA!

Can I have them from time to time? Sure. Not the end of the world. But to consume on a daily basis, three meals a day? Nope, my body rebelled. Gluten caused SO MUCH inflammation in my joints and body. The way I felt WITHOUT gluten was so obvious. If inflammation is something you struggle with, it is worth thirty days of your life to see if  eliminating gluten can help you.

Dairy…well let’s just agree to not discuss the effects of dairy. Jenifer is much happier without dairy. All we need to say.

If you want to know the WHY of Whole 30, then start with their first book called “It Starts  with Food”. For some, this may be way too technical and more than you ever wanted to know. I’ll let you be the judge. Definitely a great book!

If you just want some great recipes and the basics of the program, grab a copy of “The Whole30: The 30-day guide to total health and food freedom”. Check out their latest cookbook HERE!

My favorite page on the entire Whole30 website is the downloads page. So much great information! I printed it all out and took it to my local office supply store and had it all spiral bound together….cost me about $3 and then I had all the basics in one convenient place. Easy to toss in my bag and have on the go.

Two other books that I LOVED as resources during my Whole30 were by Danielle Walker….she is amazing! Some recipes require some tweaking but lots of great ideas!

You can read about Danielle’s story HERE and how she used food to help heal her body. AMAZING!

Interested in doing your own Whole30? Check out our Facebook group just for mommas! Everyone is always happy to answer questions there and cheer you on!

Day 1…change is good!

Let’s start at the very beginning….a very good place to start…(bonus points if you can name that movie reference!)…

Growing up, we ate well, mostly. Vegetables from my grandparents’ garden, southern staples like cornbread, meat…not at every meal, but lots.

My mom cooked from scratch, I don’t remember many boxed, processed foods as a child. Some Chef Boyardee thrown in for convenience, sure, but not everyday.

Then Bryan and I get married.

He had two small sons and I might have fed them mostly Hamburger Helper and canned green beans. YIKES!

I didn’t know better and MAN were those Hamburger Helpers EASY!!!

We went out to eat fast food a lot…McDonald’s was a staple as well as other fast food joints. The kids loved eating out at kid friendly places and it felt like we were good parents when we regularly treated them to a fun meal out.

Then along came Ellie.

My first born.

Dare I say, the foods that crossed her sweet little lips suddenly mattered to me more than I could have ever imagined.

Did we do a complete 180?

No, but my eyes became a bit more critical of food labels, I made her baby food myself and breastfeed for fourteen months. We bought her milk from a local dairy and thought we were doing pretty well.

Add in babies number 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

With each little one’s arrival, I began to realize that we thought we were doing well but we were fooling ourselves.

This week, I wanted to share with you a bit about our process and some resources we used along the way.

My first goal was to cut back and eliminate, as much as possible, processed foods.

While I was doing well with the kids and at mealtime, I was still a glutton for treats from the snack machine at ballet, trips to Starbucks and “healthy” fast-food. Who can resist Chick-Fil-A, am I right?!?!?

I continued to pack on the pounds. Many from pregnancy and many from the foods we were eating.

In August of 2014, I ran across Lisa Leake’s website…100 Days of Real Food.


This book was such a great place for us to start! It wasn’t TOO crazy radical! HA! It was easy to make these very simple changes. EAT.REAL.FOOD. She suggests that if you DO buy something processed, then choose something with real food ingredients and no more than FIVE ingredients on the label.

This one book started us on a journey of intense label reading and we have never looked back. Even my kids will pick up an item in the grocery store, read the label and say “YUCK, we don’t eat that”!

Maybe the thing I loved most about this book, was that Lisa was just a mom like me. She didn’t have a “title” that made her new food choices possible. She just wanted to do better for her girls. She did the research, made changes and saw results. For her, this isn’t about a diet or losing weight. It was just about making better choices for life.

Lisa has also come out with a second book entitled “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous”.  Check it out HERE on Amazon!

Check out Lisa’s Facebook community HERE.

Join me right back here tomorrow for the NEXT step in our food journey!

*Affiliate links included.

Let’s talk about food, shall we?

I had no idea, when we started to change the foods we ate, that other people would have such strong opinions.

I’ll admit that we’ve made a lot of changes over the last few years. Some worked for us and some were a no-go.

We’ve learned a lot along the way.

Bryan and I still don’t agree on all the changes.

We might never completely agree. Ha!

Hello….sweet tea = marital discord.

The kids are learning too and a lot of the time making some really good choices.

Starting Monday, for the next few days, I’ll share a bit with you about the steps we took to get where we are today.

And I’ll tell you, I’m still trying to figure it all out.

I’m trying to figure out who to believe when it comes to research.

I don’t have all the answers.

But I can tell you this….I’m just a momma trying to make the best choices for my babies. And I love seeing you make the best choices too.

Let’s figure it out together.

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I just can’t do it yet…

Can I be honest? I haven’t read all the articles this week. You know the ones….Australia, Iceland.

Let’s wipe out all the babies with Down syndrome and then pat ourselves on the back.

Those articles.

I just haven’t had the heart to read it all yet. I plan to.

But I know the disgust that will come with the reading.

I’ve seen enough posts to know that I probably already know what they all say.

Friends, the world is not a safe place for my children. Yours either.

The world is not a safe place for “different”.

That becomes more and more obvious each day.

How about this quote from one article I skimmed….

“We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.”


No other words.

I want to read all that my friends have written this week.

I want to go back and read all the articles.

Then, maybe, if I can stomach it, I can share more.

You and I need to talk about these things.

Lay it out on the table.

Shout from the rooftops about it.

Many of you have no clue what I’m talking about.

That’s part of the problem.

We have to do a better job of making sure you know.



I feel like I’ve had lots of conversations lately about balance with friends.  Don’t all moms struggle with this?  In just about every area…today let’s talk about wellness. As moms, we often put ourselves on the back burner. To be honest, we often don’t just put ourselves on the back burner of the stove top….we aren’t even in the KITCHEN.

We put everyone before ourselves. Especially our kids. We want them to eat healthy, be well, have a good education, have access to every extra curricular they could ever dream of and yet, we make no effort to do something for us.

I’m not talking about a girls’ night out or a mani/pedi. I’m talking about real change. Something for ourselves…something that will change our lives forever.

And why is that? Why don’t we invest in ourselves?

Do we not see the value in living a life of wellness? Do we not see how that will benefit not only us, but our children as well?

I was talking to a friend last night, I mentioned that I feel better than I did ten years ago. Yes, seriously. I eat better, take better care of my body (except for the exercise part….that is about to change!), my skin is clearer, I have really begun to understand how food affects my body.

But here’s the thing….I didn’t change all this stuff at once. I made small changes over the years. I guess it really started when I was pregnant with Ellie. I was worried to death that I would make a choice that would affect her for life. I remember even being worried about the one cup of coffee I was drinking a month…yes, a MONTH. The doctor looked at me like I had lost my mind when I asked about that.

Then, I was holding this precious little life in my hands. Every decision I was going to make would affect her. Such a responsibility.

We had already begun to try and use more natural cleaners. But we were still eating processed food straight out of their over marketed boxes. My poor big boys….I fed them lots of hamburger helper and canned vegetables. Hope they forgive me. I just didn’t know better.

At some point, I picked up cloth diapering and making my own baby food. I felt on top of my momma game. I nursed all four of my biological babies for over a year each and felt like I was earning my crunchy momma status. I was the mom who gave the pediatrician push-back if his suggestions didn’t sound quite crunchy enough for me. I know he loved me for that.

I bought the safest (I believed) baby products on the market. Research carseats brands. Wore my babies in a sling. Tried my best to make sure they had all the best.

Yet, somewhere in all this, I never really took care of me. I fed my kids a healthy lunch and crammed a candy bar in my mouth while hiding out in the kitchen. I gave them healthy drinks and I was chugging soft drinks at every turn. I made sure they went to bed at a reasonable time and yet stayed up into the wee hours myself trying to conquer the world (I still struggle with this one). I read my children Bible stories and talked about Jesus yet put my personal time with the Lord was way down on my priority list.

I was trying to keep all of those plates spinning and yet I was failing my own self miserably.

Four years ago, we started to make some purposeful changes. Bryan and I started to really look more closely at what we were putting into our bodies. We decided that we wanted to live a life of wellness…not a life where we reacted to symptoms. Do we realize that is how many in the world live? We just sit around doing nothing, waiting on something to happen with our bodies and THEN we react. I don’t want to live that life.

We started kicking the chemicals out of our home. That part was easiest, I think. You just shop differently. We replaced our cleaners, supplements, body care products with ones from Young Living. We threw away our candles (yes, all of them)..and we used to MAKE candles for a living. We replaced those candles with a diffuser and oils that come from plants. How much safer can you get than that?

What was hardest for me was the food part. Whole 30 played a huge part in helping us make some much needed changes. I learned how certain foods affected my body. Can I just say that I recommend a Whole 30 set to EVERYONE? You will learn so much about yourself in the process. And I can guarantee you’ll feel amazing afterward. It’s just thirty days. You can do anything for thirty days.

Now, exercise is my next big step. I’m ready to start an exercise program that I can do at home, in my living room with my babies. I knew that at this point, I was not going to get my hinney to  gym. Let’s be honest, I’ve been a member before. I lasted about a month and then I started making excuses.  I received the gift of this program from another work-at-home rockstar momma who has changed her life too with small changes. Such an inspiration. Will there be before and after pictures? Uhhhhmmmmm, don’t hold your breath. But, I’m ready.

My time with the Lord has been absent on many days. Prayers asking Him for all the things I need, but not the time spent in His Word to hear the answers. None of this matters without Him. So convicted to replace the time I waste with things that have a kingdom impact. I need accountability here more than anywhere. What about you? Do you struggle with this too. Why do we struggle? I have no excuses or eloquent words about this one. I just know I want to know Him more.

But since we are friends here, can I be honest about this whole wellness thing? You can’t get a bottle of lavender oil, put a drop on yourself and expect the world to change. You have to make some real changes. Is it easy? Uhhhmmm, no. But you can do it. You just have to start. I have some friends and we have been talking about oils and supplements for the entire FOUR years that we have been using Young Living products. They will attend every class I teach, ask lots of questions about what oils can help them, but make no real changes. I can’t imagine being where we were as a family four years ago. I don’t want to imagine it. I love that we’ve made changes and I want to see that for you too.

Friend, don’t say you don’t have the time to learn. Make the time. I can help point you in the right direction. I’d be honored to help you. Give me a holler. No judgment from me, promise. I just want to see you healthy and well. And your family too.

Ask me next time you see me how I’m doing on going to bed earlier and my walk with the Lord. I’m struggling with these. Ask me and stand waiting until I answer. We need each other friend.