This was my first month participating in Foodie Penpals and all I can say is that it is a great program!!! Foodie Penpals was created by Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean and currently has over 600 participants! Thanks Lindsay for connecting us all and creating an awesome program!!
My Foodie Penpal is a blog reader named Katie and she sent me an awesome box of goodies! I love trying new products and Katie’s box definitely fit the bill. Since Katie does not have a blog of her own I asked if she wanted to share a guest post for reveal day and I am so excited that she accepted my offer. First I will reveal all my awesome items and then I will share Katie’s inspiring post.
- World’s Best No Bake Chewy Granola Bars: Homemade and delicious!!! She included the recipe which is great because I will definitely be making these again!
- Maple Coconut Granola: Another homemade item which was absolutely delicious, recipe included!
- Biscoff Spread: A European alternative to Peanut Butter made from Biscoff cookies. I will be trying this out when I finish my Barney Almond Butter.
- 2 Travel packages of Justin’s Nut Butter: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Hazelnut. These have found a home in my lunch box and will make for a great snack!
- Pure Indian Foods Digestive Ghee: Artisanal clarified butter with herbs and spices. It says on the bottle to add it to my oatmeal or make cinnamon toast with it!! I will let you know when I try it out!
- Vietnamese Cinnamon from Penzeys Spices: Katie wrote in her letter once I tried this cinnamon I would never go back to regular cinnamon and she was right!! This cinnamon is fantastic and a little goes a long way, thankfully she sent me a Penzeys Spices catalog in the box too!
- Organic Sun-Dried Tomato Halves: I love cooking with sun-dried tomatoes so these are great!!
- Organic Maca Root Powder
- Raw Organic Cacao Nibs
- Raw Organic Cacao Powder
- Raw Mesquite Powder
- Raw Organic Lucuma
I’m Katie and recently got the opportunity to participate in a Foodie Penpal exchange with Toni thru the Lean Green Bean’s blog. It was fun and I suggest if you have the time to try it. I’m personally in LOVE with food probably to a fault. I am an adventurous eater and will try just about anything. However over the years I’ve battled with my weight. Every pregnancy I’ve managed to lose all but the last 15-20 lbs. putting me at 185 lbs. at 5’6”. After delving myself into fitness and healthy eating blogs I decided to get my lazy butt off the couch and do something about it.
I want to be clear about my wanting to lose weight. Most certainly some of my ambition was vanity. I desperately want to be back into single digit jeans. More than that however, I want to be healthy. I am NOT healthy. Aside from my digestive ailments I have joint pain. I can physically feel the stress my extra weight is putting on my body. I have skin problems (acne and eczema) that are most likely an additional symptom of whatever is going on with my GI system. Also anxiety and depression have played a role in my life. I’ve tried elimination diets to rule out common food sensitivities such as gluten, dairy and nuts/seeds. Also went thru colonoscopy and upper GI endoscopy. All these ruled out colitis, cancer, and Crohn’s but still have left me without an answer. I’m fairly anti-pharmaceuticals so am looking for a healthier way to heal myself so I can get back to leading a healthy active life.
I’ve read that it’s not so much the things you do as it is what you consume. With this in mind I’ve been reading nutrition books like they are romance novels. Also watching documentaries like Forks over Knives, Food Inc., and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead have been inspired to change how I eat and how I feed my family. I’ve started juicing for breakfast everyday. For lunch I generally have a salad and fruit and supper I eat a cooked meal with my husband and children. I’ve cut a lot of dairy out of my diet and am striving to cut out white sugar and flour. We have eliminated nearly all packaged foods and have transitioned to whole foods rather easily.
People always ask if I miss certain foods. I do, but after going without them for a long time I find that they aren’t as good as I remember them to be. I believe this is because I’m eating higher quality foods! The things I used to crave weren’t REAL food, but highly processed garbage. I find that I used to reward myself by buying pastries and ice cream and now I have been trying new produce and new raw food items. I make smoothies and have discovered raw sweeteners like lucuma and mesquite. I also have discovered the energy boosting powers of raw cacao and maca. Flax and chia seeds are wonderful way to add Omega 3s to oats, smoothies, crackers, anything!There is a world of pure flavor out there to discover that I now wonder why we feel the need to process things and create artificial flavors.
I am very excited to start a juice feast with the guidance of a health coach this summer. Inspired by the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead I am hoping this will jumpstart my system and restore my health. I cannot limit my caloric intake by doing a juice fast because I am still breastfeeding my nearly two year old and did not feel comfortable attempting this on my own. (Hence the health coach) I will be slowly working towards this and aspiring from eating 80% vegetarian diet to a vegan diet which includes a majority of raw foods and juices. I seemingly have sparked the interest of my sister who will be joining me which is grand!
Besides the nutrition aspect last summer I was determined to get back into running and started the Couch to 5K program. I was super excited and decided to tell everyone I knew I was going to be doing this so I’d feel more obligated to follow thru. I was super self conscious going out for my first few runs, getting passed by slim, fantastic looking, svelte runners. Runners I envisioned being born slim and never having a fat moment their entire lives. Runners that looked blissful instead of strained and ready to keel over at any moment from exhaustion.
I ran the same route every day pushing my son along with in a stroller. Huffing and puffing along I was greeted by neighbors who always smiled and waved. I had a gentleman in his 60s ask if I needed a running partner. I remember telling him I’d probably slow him down. (I thought he was joking but later saw him out running at 6am and indeed…I would have slowed him down ). When things would get hard I’d remind myself that I birthed 3 babies. THREE BABIES! If I can push out a baby I most certainly can run a 5K! My mantra I’d internally chant to myself was “My body is amazing”. It may seem corny to some but it worked fabulously for me. I posted on Facebook every time I ran. I got encouragement from friends and family and even got sister and brother-in-law on board. It was inspiring to see myself progress. Each week I saw my stamina build and I was gaining speed and distance.
So a year later…I am not running as much as I’d like mainly because of my GI problems and the discovery that I’m a fair weather runner (Wisconsin isn’t really a place you want to go running in January) but I have not stopped exercising. I currently sneak in workouts via DVDs while my youngest is taking his afternoon naps and now that the weather is warming up I’m feeling that urge to get back out and hit the pavement and also will be on the hunt for a 2nd hand treadmill. Besides the health benefits I’ve also conquered my battle with depression and have dealt with far less anxiety.
Thru all of this I realized the health risks of being overweight, the addictions that come along with food (both physical and emotional), and that for most people it takes lots of dedication and hard work to be in shape. I also learned that having a good support network was crucial to being accountable and staying on track. But that working out and eating right shouldn’t feel like a punishment. I’ve taken to looking at it as an adventure! I’ve lost 10 lbs. and as discouraging as the numbers sound (because I have roughly 20 more to go before I’m out of the overweight category) I’ve lost 2 pant sizes and I’m one size away from being in single digit jeans!
Thanks so much Katie for sharing your inspiring story!!!! The changes you have made to improve your health are amazing!!!!
If you’d like to check out what I sent to my Foodie Penpal then stop on by Confessions of a Fat Mama for her reveal!!!