A blog about balance for real people, by real people

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Gluten-Free March | Dairy-Free April

Gluten-Free March | Dairy-Free April

I gave up gluten during the month of March (with a few exceptions). Here are my general reactions from doing this very-specific elimination diet: It was easier than I thought. Initial Reactions I have to immediately caveat that with the acknowledgment that I *chose* to […]

Whole Roasted Chicken: Five Ways

Whole Roasted Chicken: Five Ways

One of my favorite convenience foods/meals is grabbing a whole rotisserie chicken from my nearest grocery store and figuring out how not to eat the whole thing at once to make multiple meals out of it. This last round, I think I got it locked […]

Elimination Diets | A Challenge

Elimination Diets | A Challenge

I sort of accidentally cut out gluten this week.

Well, sort of. Maybe.

I have been toying with the idea of doing a Whole30 thing for years. I’ve long been curious about food sensitivities I may have, and I have heard many success stories from friends who have done one or multiple rounds of something like the Whole30.

If you aren’t familiar, the Whole30 diet is a 30-day detox-type elimination diet where you cut out known toxins and other common allergens: alcohol, caffeine, gluten, dairy, soy, lentils, etc. While I understand and respect the notion of wiping the slate clean like this, every time I think about cutting out ALL of this at the same time, I crawl into a hole of overwhelm and grab a whiskey and a burger.

I want to do something like this for a number of reasons:

  1. I never really have. It sounds incredibly beneficial to completely wipe my body slate clean and slowly reintroduce things one at a time and see how I react. Because I’ve never done any major detox or elimination diet, I *think* my body runs just fine, but what if it could better? While I can say with pretty solid certainty that I don’t have any serious food allergies (I mean, I’m alive and I don’t get sick or break out or stop breathing with anything I’ve ever eaten), I wonder how my own bio-individuality might function even better.
  2. My clients will ask about it. While I’m fully prepared to discuss a wide number of dietary theories, my own personal experience with a lot of them is pretty limited, with one exception — pescatarian. I went pescatarian for Lent in 2008 (as a personal experiment in discipline more than anything) and ended up feeling so great on that kind of diet that I kept it up for years, only reintroducing other meats — starting with pork — when I moved from Colorado to Portland.
  3. My own ethical code and commitment to social responsibility dictates that I do make some conscious changes. Whether or not I cut anything out for health reasons, I have to recognize that not all food is created and treated equally or sustainably, and that my choices matter. It’s for this reason that I’ve stopped buying beef at home. I’m not avoiding it altogether, but I now know too much about our country’s agriculture practices and its impact on the environment, our water supply, and on our sustainable, arable land, and I’m choosing to reduce my impact on that by spending my money on other proteins in my own home.

On the other hand, I haven’t done this for also a number of reasons:

  1. I work in a British Isles-inspired restaurant. The British Isles are known for a lot of things, but when it comes to their cooking? Butter, dairy, wheat, meat, eggs. Rich, savory foods. Gravy. It is incredibly difficult for me to even consider a dietary change while still nibbling on our own dishes and our staff meals. Not to mention the coffee every morning and the exposure to tastings, events, and other social gatherings that center on alcohol.
  2. I haven’t ever really *needed* to. Like I mentioned above, I’ve never had an actual allergic reaction to anything I’ve eaten, so I’ve never felt particularly compelled to avoid or cut any one thing out of my diet.

To be honest, when I look at these reasons, both for and against, it really comes down to me being a little lazy and not willing to put the work in to make some changes. For that reason, I thought I might start a little smaller and cut out 1-2 things at a time, for short periods of time, to allow myself the ability to learn what it might mean or take to actually do this on a grander scale. To cut all of this, all of these things I eat and drink on a near-daily basis, all at once, felt overwhelming. And while I definitely subscribe to the “crowd it out” approach where we add in so much goodness that we start to run out of room for the “bad,” I also recognize that when we approach elimination diets, we *have* to focus more on what we’re cutting out than what we’re bringing in. I think that “crowd it out” works in a broad sense, especially if we want to make longer-term, lasting changes to our habits and our thought processes, but if you’re testing for food sensitivities? Yeah, you gotta just cut that shit.

All of this to say, that I decided I would cut out wheat/gluten for a few weeks and see where that landed me. I’ve made it for four days at this point, with one exception that I just totally missed by mistake — soy sauce. I made an epic peanut sauce/dressing this week [based on this recipe from this book] and there’s a tablespoon of soy sauce in there. I made rice and veggies for lunch today and seasoned it with soy sauce.

So, I adapt, and I continue on my no beer/bread/roux/gravy train until the last couple of days of the month, where I’ll reintroduce it and see what happens.

So, why am I doing this?

  • An experiment in discipline and trying new recipes
  • An experiment in my own food sensitivities (or not)
  • To better relate to my own clients as they want to make changes (food-related or not) in their own lives

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my own home kitchen experiments with different dishes. I’ve had a lot of rice and veggies, and my next move is a quiche with a sweet potato crust.

Raise your hand if you have any experience with an elimination diet and have tips to share. Should I go big or go home? Or do you think it’s more realistic to start small and take my time?


In an MMMBop, your [decades-old expectations about others are] gone.

In an MMMBop, your [decades-old expectations about others are] gone.

This has sat in my drafts folder since October, so I decided it was time to go ahead and publish it. – – So. My girlfriends and I saw Hanson in concert a few weeks ago. We bought these tickets back in March, which means […]

2018 Goals – Update

2018 Goals – Update

At the beginning of January, I outlined some of my longer-term goals for 2018. These goals centered around financial health, new experiences, and building a new business. While I believe in long-term goals and visions, I also believe in the importance of breaking these big […]

The cure for being very cold and scared in the woods is whiskey and a soaking pool.

The cure for being very cold and scared in the woods is whiskey and a soaking pool.

Last week, I was snowshoeing with two girlfriends and after a series of small mishaps (broken gear, a couple of wrong turns, covered trails), we found ourselves lost right as it started to get dark. What started as an intended few-hour hike through Central Oregon’s beautiful snowy woods turned into a much longer experience that ended after multiple 911 calls and a snowmobile search-and-rescue.

This story clearly has a happy ending; I’m sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Portland, Oregon, writing this blog post. We are all safe and healthy. But the experience itself was a wake-up call, one of those pivotal Life Moments, the moments you look back on from the future and think, “Oh yeah, that was important.”

Like really important.

I’ve struggled to find the right way to tell this story. Do I tell it in its entirety? Do I write a chronological account of the time we stepped out on the trail to the time we made the first 911 call to the hours that we spent walking in circles to keep warm to the moment we saw the headlights from the snowmobiles? Do I write an emotional account that runs through fear and fortitude in an endless loop as I tried to keep my brain calm and worry at bay?

I’ve settled, for now, on telling this story in gratitude and in lessons learned, from the practical — don’t ever, ever, ever go out on a hike, on a river, into nature, without a level of awareness and preparedness for worst case scenarios — to the incredibly emotional and spiritual — just how far meditation, yoga, taking a deep breath every so often, and the process of physical activity can take you, and how all of that work isn’t just for day-to-day stress but can be life-saving in a crisis mode.

I am grateful for my trail companions and their incredible strength and resolution (honestly quite the microcosm of the many strong, graceful women in my every day life). I am grateful for the 911 dispatch team for staying incredibly patient with us as we grew more and more anxious in the woods in the dark, to the [volunteer] SAR team for their commitment to helping people, and to the people we later encountered at the nearby McMenamins (because the cure for being very cold and scared in the woods is whiskey and a soaking pool).

I learned that love, kindness, and compassion go so, so far, and that if you give people the chance, they will blow you away. That when people make mistakes (like not bringing the right kind of gear on a “short” hiking adventure), it goes so much further to love and teach and train than it does to roll your eyes and ridicule.

I came away from this experience with a new humility, a new resolution to do things, go places, and live in a state of truth that I had dimmed. The people-pleaser in me who worried more about what people thought than whether or not I was happy, she is now more concerned about getting the most out of every day, being true to herself, and seeing people through a lens of kindness and compassion (and a lot less concerned about trivial things).

There’s more to tell, really lovely (in retrospect and perspective) vignettes within this larger story that I believe are worth sharing, though perhaps in a different format or through a different medium. For now, I just wanted to acknowledge that this happened, to set this foundation for the way I write, live, and coach now and moving forward.

For now, I will commit to taking wilderness safety classes, I will commit to getting back onto Oregon’s trails with a lot more preparedness, and I will commit to showing more grace, compassion, and kindness to people I meet every day.

New Year’s Resolutions – 2018

New Year’s Resolutions – 2018

“It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets “True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life […]

Tuesdays are my Sundays, and other weekend things.

Tuesdays are my Sundays, and other weekend things.

Tuesdays are my usually my favorite day of the week. Since I work in a restaurant, and I work a restaurant industry schedule, Tuesdays are my Sundays. Tuesdays are my home days, reset days, food days, school days, please-don’t-end-so-quickly days. On Tuesdays, I do things […]

The Risk to Remain Tight in a Blossom

The Risk to Remain Tight in a Blossom

Well, here we are. It’s that time of year where so many of us look back and reflect on the year behind us and set intentions and our focus for the one to come. I’m 100% one of those people, and my reflection time started something like a few weeks ago.

It’s been a weird time. I mean, if we’re honest, I’d say I’ve been in a funk. Creative, expressive, communicative, focus, clarity, drive, ambition, all of it. All of it just… stalled. And it’s weird because there were high points in this past year when I felt more creative and inspired than I had in a very, very long time. Things in my life felt aligned. It felt as if I’d found depth, clarity, and purpose to just about everything.

It was if it almost evaporated, and I’ve just about let go of trying to figure out why or what shifted. The past few weeks have been spent more leaning into the discomfort. Acknowledging that I have felt stuck. That my creativity and passion and ambition feels stalled. That my growth feels stunted. I settled into it a little. Not in a way that I would stay there, just in such a way that I acknowledged those feelings and just decided I’d… rest.

I’m coming through it (I think. I hope?) as little sparks of inspiration are starting to form again and my motivation to do the things that cultivates that emotional endurance and creative spark is returning. In the first half of the year, I was fiercely committed to a whole bunch of self-care practices that put me in one of the best mental places of recent years (despite the political dumpster fire we have been enduring/suffering this year). I felt like, for the first time in awhile, I had the mental and emotional fortitude to move forward.

I blamed the stuck, stalled, and stunted feelings on a number of things: changing jobs and the subsequent overhaul of my routine, financial stress, other stress, too much information, too many options, no space, too much space.

And sure, those things can all contribute, but I also spent the entire first half of the year learning how to build myself into a foundation that supported me through those things. What’s comforting is that I now know better than ever how to come back to that place, even if I don’t always put The Things I Know About Being a Healthy and Happy Adult into place.

That’s where I’m at now. Looking at all of those Things I Know and integrating them back into my life. Going back to the gym, where the outlet for adrenaline means I experience an alarmingly low amount of anxiety on a day-to-day basis, where the connection between mind and body is so strong that the ideas and inspiration overflows right out of my heart, and where I remember just how capable I am at Doing Hard Things.

Getting back into writing, even when I “don’t have anything to say,” which, to be honest – is exactly how I felt when I started writing this post. I just told myself to say things that are true and the words would come.

Evaluating longer term goals, like spending more time with family, nurturing new and old friendships in much bigger ways, discovering what I need and want out of romantic relationships, honing my home-cook skills, and really considering what kind of business I want to build when it comes time to take this health coaching education and turn it into something real and tangible.

So, in a nutshell – I’m looking back over the course of the past year and I’m seeing an incredible amount of growth. Even despite the current status of feeling a little stuck, I’ve made so much progress that I know now better than ever before what it takes to get me [quickly, even] right back on track. And that gives me peace.

As I look back on the past year and I think about the next one, I’ve already started to formulate a few intentions. They’re still forming, but the jist is that I need, want, and crave saying yes to new experiences, hobbies, learning, activities. I spent a lot of time this last year learning how to move from surviving to thriving, and it’s in this next year that I intend to fully grow into that.

I’ll get into big and small self thoughts another time, but I feel like 2017 was the year I reached peak small self (as in, outgrew it), and 2018 will be the year I burst right through it. There’s a lot of fear that comes with that, but,

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin

And such sets the tone for me as I close out 2017 and get ready to move into 2018.

Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash
Moving is more than packing and unpacking stuff.

Moving is more than packing and unpacking stuff.

Let’s back up a little. In my last post*, I sort of glazed over the fact that I just recently moved. It might’ve been just a mention in the middle of a post about my attempts at minimalism, but the truth is, there were a […]

My Diary

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