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Hungry for Change Happiness Project

 Plano, we have a problem.  My life is high stress, fast paced and full of activities.  It is a recipe for a heart attack.  In fact, I had a fake heart attack a few weeks ago due to high stress and impossible deadlines at work.  I work well under pressure- it is my best motivation, but I am ready for change.  I am hungry for change.  I also just read The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, and want to incorporate a year-long happiness search with my lifestyle change.  I think it is all inter-related, and I want to spend the next year documenting the changes.

So what is my strategy?  I have no clue right now.  I know that I need to make some changes, so I am going to cut out all artificial food.  My family has agreed (sort of) to do the same.  Their change may be a more gradual, but I am starting NOW.  I am starting with all organic produce (bananas will be conventional), no GMOs, so no corn or wheat products (YIKES!).  When we get through this set of groceries, I will only bring good stuff into my home.

Hungry for Change is a very motivational food film that we watched last night. But, how can a normal, American family carry out eating all whole foods, juicing pounds upon pounds of produce, and all grass-fed/free range meet while sticking to a VERY modest budget?  I don’t know, yet, but I am going to find out.

So here’s my objective.  If it isn’t necessary, I won’t eat or do it.  Is Candy Crush necessary?  Nope, but I justified it as a de-stressing activity.  How can I better use my time?  I will apply this to food too.  Are chips and salsa necessary?  NOPE!  But, I can grill an avocado, fill it with taco filling of my choice and enjoy with salsa.  It will take some creativity, planning, and a will to change.

Eventually, I want to nix the microwave, never use plastic, and use natural hygiene products, but for now, I’m sticking to time management and food.

What makes me happy?  The thought of a healthful lifestyle, exercise, proper whole food diet, and low stress.  I love to cook, write, and spend time with my family.  This is the perfect vehicle to do all three.  We will get healthy together, I will write, and we will document our hit and miss recipes from this year-long experiment.  Stay tuned and I’ll post dinner videos and recipes.

My objective for the end of the year is to be the healthiest we’ve ever been, fit, lower our stress and drama, and be artificial ingredient free.  I also want to be a full time writer/film-maker.  There I’ve said it.  Those are my goals, fit and writing and filmmaking.  So here’s day one:  158 pounds, day one of writing, and needing help to stay on the goal wagon.  I’d love to hear from you and see what you do to eat healthy, and work towards goals.

So here are my goals:

1.)  Diet and fitness change

2.)  Stress management

3.)  Pursuing my passions and not waiting for a more convenient time

4.) Having a happier household

I’ve never been happier, however, I think our happiness and stress levels can use a positive boost.  What can I do to help change that?  How can I help the attitudes of a preteen, almost two-year old and a four year old?    I can’t make them less attitude-y, but what can I do to promote a happier home?  Let’s find out!  I really believe that a whole food diet is step one to better attitudes.  Proper sleep and a predictable schedule will help, too.

That’s a lot, but I think it is a great starting point.  I’ll weigh in on our progress tomorrow.  Stay tuned!


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Foodie Friday- Wheat. Miles and Miles of Wheat.

So I’m not a doctor, and I’m not a student of nutrition, officially.  But I do read several nutrition newsletters a day and read quite a bit about diet and exercise.  Everything I have read lately has encouraged me to give up the grain.  I do not have celiac disease, but I do suspect an allergy.  I am SOOO wiped out whenever I eat bread.  The wheat we eat today is genetically modified and has twice the gluten than the wheat of our parent’s generation.  The genetically modifications are enough on their own to keep me from my beloved.

I recently gave up artificial everything, as much as possible.  I am a crazy label reader and try to only eat whole foods that I prepare myself.  I know it will happen from time to time, but 98% of what I eat is all natural.  And just knowing the consequences of consuming fake anything was easy for me to quit cold turkey.  I even gave up anything that contains high fructose corn syrup because the corn used to make the corn syrup is genetically modified.  I haven’t had a soda with HFCS in months.  I do occasionally have a real soda with real sugar, but mostly drink water, coffee in the morning and a glass of wine with dinner.  So why is wheat so hard to give up?

Wheat is in everything.  Gluten is used in chewing gum to keep it from sticking.  Flour is used in gravies, soups, cheese sauces, and of course baked goods and breads.  It is even in corn bread.  Crackers, some beers, and even meatloaf all have wheat in them.  Think about all the stuff that you add breadcrumbs to.  And pasta.  Have your tried gluten free pasta?  I have and it is MEH.  I even made gluten free pancakes and was less than impressed.  Wheat is delish and there is hardly a worthy substitute.  And, wheat is the foundation of our diet.  I couldn’t imagine going a day not being able to hand Baby Q a cracker or Gold Fish while I make dinner.  No Cheerios?  But, that is what I need to do, based on my convictions.

This is not for everyone.  Not every nutritional expert believes that genetically modified crops are harmful.  It took God a long, long time to perfect his creations.  When a scientist tweaks this and changes something in one season, I tend to be a little leery of the ramifications.  Besides, the whole point of genetic modifications is to create pest resistant crops.  What does this mean?  For GM corn it means Round Up in its DNA!  I am not up on my GM wheat research, but imagine the whole point of the genetic modifications is to make it pest resistant, like corn.  I like my wheat plain.  The same way the bugs like it.  Besides, if nothing in nature likes the GM wheat, then why should I?  If it kills or bugs are resistant to it, what is it doing to us?

One of my goals this year is to read Wheat Belly to get the whole picture.  The doctor who wrote the book was on Dr. Oz and explained that giving up wheat products will cause a person to lose at least fifteen pounds because of a chemical reaction in the brain that makes a person crave more calories than a person not consuming wheat.  There is a heroine like reaction in the brain, but instead of feeling euphoric, it causes the person to eat 300-500 more calories a day.  When it comes to bread, wheat is my heroine.  I can eat and eat and eat bread, waffles, baked goods, and not get full.  But, when I don’t eat bread, man, I fill up fast on good food and not empty calories.

I have been wheat free since the 2nd (I made corn bread to go with my blackeyed peas on the 1st).  I can’t wait to see if that makes a difference in my diet.  I am not going out of my way to count calories or eat perfectly.  Just cutting out wheat cuts out most sweets, gravies, cheese sauces, anything with breadcrumbs, fried foods and generally anything I shouldn’t be eating.  We’ll see!  I’ll keep reading, both from anti-GM sources and pro-genetically modified foods.  Until I have my mind changed, I will continue to eat my organic produce from the veggie co-op and search for lean, grass-fed animal proteins.  Yes, I am a hippie in training.  But, I do still shower daily.

Tomorrow- Saturday Happiness Project Update.

Daily Prayer:  God, I pray for guidance as to where to go.  I put one foot in front of the other and thank you for strengthening my faith that you will guide me down the path you have chosen for me.  I pray that I am who you want me to be and that you continue to help me grow.  AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving:  I am thankful Jeff is such a neat freak.  It is very obnoxious that it takes him forever to get through his routine of putting everything up before joining us for the dinner I slaved to get on the table as he got home from work, but I am thankful that if someone dropped by, my house would be presentable.

Kardashian Kash:  Hair extensions sound like a really good idea right now.  I can not get my hair to grow much longer than it is.  I would love LONG hair, and that sounds like my solutions.  But, I want good ones.  Not cheap ones.  And, I want to keep them up.

Happiness Project:  I have made my two eggs, sriracha and avocado for breakfast all work week.  I’ve had my stuff ready to go by the door for the mornings.  I have worn full hair and makeup.  A coworker told me today that I looked rested.  Yep, that has changed me forever and I will never leave the house without full hair and makeup.  Mascara only apparently isn’t enough.  🙂

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Peanut “Bud”er.  Chocolate whoopies with a peanut butter creme filling.  http://www.makingwhoopieplano.com

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