Sunday, December 26, 2010

May your days be merry and bright

I hope you all had a wonderful and merry Christmas. We did. It was an amazing day of being together and loving one another. I am so blessed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

To post, or not to post

I have been going back and forth all day trying to decide if I should take the time to post or not. Not only would I have to take time to do it, but I really haven't much to say today. My mind is a flutter with Christmas preparations. I have been trying to figure out what I am taking to various holiday gatherings and what to make for my little family on Christmas day. I have been wrapping presents (a chore that I hate more than I can tell you) and cleaning house to get ready for Santa's debut. The neighbor gifts are delivered, I only have one package left to mail, and all the Christmas shopping is done.

My thoughts have been turning to the new year and what I would like to accomplish. I have been trying to think of what resolutions I would like to commit to. This year I want to realistically commit to a few things and actually follow through. It's not that I'm flaky (although that may be the case some of the time) with my resolutions, it's that I never document them and soon forget them. Plus, I have always been a little skeptical of setting resolutions just because it's January 1st. But this year is going to be different. I plan to only set a small few well documented resolutions and to stick to them. All year. I'll update you more on that.

I have been awfully hard on myself lately. I keep trying to keep a positive outlook. I keep reminding myself where I have been and how far I've come, but I keep getting frustrated. My clothes don't fit, still. I am so tired all the time, again. The pain is returning, quickly. I know what I need to do, but at the moment I can't do it, or at least, not all of it. I'll be getting tested for Celiac's disease at the end of January, until then I have to eat gluten. To be honest, I'm not very hopeful of getting a real diagnosis, and that also makes life hard.

Do you question yourself often? I sure do. Especially when it comes to my pain and fatigue issues. Every new test comes back fine. Every doctor tells me I'm fine. So maybe I really am. There is a small chance I can't eat gluten, but I've given up hope for a diagnosis. I figure after this last test I can just change my eating habits to manage the pain and fatigue. But then I wonder if I truly am making this all up. Maybe I don't hurt. Maybe I'm not tired. Maybe I'm lazy and I use this as an excuse. I've always been one to like attention, maybe I'm making all of it up.

Yes, these are the things going through my head lately. It's funny how this time of year can bring so much happiness, excitement, fatigue, depression, and bewilderment all to one person all at the same time.

Ah, perhaps I shouldn't have posted today after all . . .

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

So I have a confession. Remember those wonderful sugar substitutes I recommended? I had never actually tried them on a large recipe, just in minor little things. So I decided to play around with them. I found a recipe for whole wheat pumpkin bread that I liked and decided to change it up and see how it turned out. I had been feeding the finished product to my husband for a day or two before I mentioned that it is actually healthy. He was shocked. Apparently it tastes too good to be healthy. Try it for yourself and see.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips for good measure)

Um, so some of my loaves didn't come out of the pan like I thought they should. I guess I should have taken a better picture of the ones that actually did turn out, but you get the idea, right? Isn't that bread pan cute? It's from my sister. You want to fill your bread pan about 3/4 of the way up, as shown in the picture.

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, preferably 60% cocoa 
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter.
3. Combine flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
4. In another large bowl, combine butter, honey, and molasses and beat for two minutes. Add the eggs and lightly beat until just combined. Mix in pumpkin and vanilla -- do not over mix. Gradually beat in the flour mixture in thirds.
5. Dilute baking soda in ¼ cup hot (not boiling) water, then beat into batter.
6. Stir in, by hand, the chocolate chips and nuts.
7. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 325 for approximately 55 to 65 minutes. (test for doneness being careful not to over bake as it may dry out the bread) 
8. Remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool. If you plan to serve this to guests and want clean slices, then allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Otherwise dig in after 5 minutes.

I got the original recipe from here. I baked a bunch of mini loaves for 60 minutes. They're perfect for the neighbor gifts we are giving out (although I did pair them up with fudge which is less than healthy, oops).

Monday, December 13, 2010


Did you read Friday's post? Immediately after I posted it I started thinking to myself, am I really this shallow? Then my husband got home and read it. When he got to this picture:

And read what I wrote he started laughing. When he was finished reading he told me that he had thought I was writing a sweet post about my family and the ones I care for. But  then I started going off about my hair. Although he didn't say it, I think he was probably thinking I was rather shallow as well.

All weekend I've been thinking about that question: am I really so shallow? And I guess the answer I came up with was yes. And no. The more I thought about it the more I realized that on days when I'm feeling shallow and thinking about my hair, clothes, make up and what have you I tend to have a harder time with accepting myself. On days when my thoughts are better engaged I tend to feel better about myself and am more comfortable where I'm at physically.

It's interesting, but our thoughts really have a lot of power. You wouldn't really think that worrying about what to wear to a party could send you down a long spiral of self-degrading thoughts, but it often does. I know it certainly did for me last Friday. When I'm shallow it feels as though I knock myself back down into the pit I have been trying to climb out of.

So how do we correct our shallow thoughts? I'm still working on that. Because let's be honest, we are all going to still bother about our hair and what outfit we should have for a specific event. We all still have to think about our size when we buy clothes, and those cares aren't just going to disappear. The challenge is thinking about those things in a way that doesn't create a dark aura on our feelings of self-worth.

One thing I think that does help is to step back and take it all into perspective. This takes a conscious effort, but really when you think about it objectively it likely doesn't matter what you wear or how you look. How you act, now that will leave a much longer impression.

So as I think about our next Holiday party I need to remember to step back and worry less about frivolous things and more about the things that truly matter. Any other thoughts on ways to keep your mind out of the pit?

Oh, and this cute girl that appeared in both of my pictures in my shallow post happens to be my sister. Isn't she beautiful? I think she is.

P.S. There's still time to sign up for the cookbook giveaway. Tonight I'm making a yummy chili that comes out of that book for dinner. So many delicious recipes. And something else I love about the book is that with each recipe it makes suggestions for what sides would be good and how to make the meal a total and complete meal. It takes a lot of guess work out of it for me. Sign up here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things on my mind

My mind is all over the place today. I'm really not getting much done. Here's what I've been thinking about in no particular order.

Look at how cute he is. How can I not think about him? And he's been sick lately, so he has been in my thoughts even more than normal.

I've been thinking a lot about what I need to do to help out Santa this year. I'm close to being done , but I wish I was all the way done.

This is another person I think of often. He needs a haircut right now. I need to figure out where we are going to fit that into our schedule this weekend. I miss him when he's at work. 

I've been thinking about my hair. It used to be pretty short, as you can see. And today I miss that. I need to go blow dry it which always takes forever. Then what to do with it. I miss just putting gel in and not thinking about it again.

But then again, look at it long. That's what I'm going for again. It's been a few years since it's been really really long and I want to get it there again. Patience. . .

This man is impossible to buy for for Christmas. I love my dad dearly, but come on.

Food. I've been thinking about food, and my relationship with food, and what food I would like to eat, and what foods I think I should stop eating, and about making fudge for the neighbors, and making other candy for family, and about how I really like food, and how I really hate food.

And about how thin I used to be. I thought I was fat when this was taken. Ammon's company has parties both tonight and next Friday. I have nothing to wear and I've been stressing about it. If only I were a size 4 again. I have boxes of adorable clothes (not pictured) that would be excellent choices. But those are negative thoughts and I am trying to put them aside. Remember the progress, just think about the progress. . .

Speaking of appearance, I need to leave in an hour and my hair is wet and makeup is not on and I have a baby to get ready to visit his aunt. Better run.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Tis the season to gratify that sweet tooth. I automatically assume that if something is sweet then it must be loaded down with sugar and other things that are completely not healthy, but there are ways to make your favorite desserts a little easier on your body. I've compiled a list of Sweetener replacers that work well in place of your regular granulated white sugar. Enjoy.

~Agave Nectar: replace 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup agave nectar and reduce liquids by 1/4 cup.

~Brown Rice Syrup: replace 1 cup sugar with 1 to 1 1/4 cups brown rice syrup and reduce liquids by 1/4 cup.

~Honey: replace 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup honey and reduce liquids by 1/4 cup.

~Maple Syrup: replace 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup maple syrup and reduce liquids by 1/4 cup.

~Molasses: replace 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup molasses, no need to reduce liquids.

~ Stevia: replace 1 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon dry Stevia, no need to reduce liquids.

~If no liquid is called for in the recipe add 3-5 tablespoons of flour for each 3/4 cup of liquid concentrated sweetener.

~There are a lot of whole wheat flours that substitute well for refined white sugar. Try whole wheat pastry flour if there are no gluten allergies.

There are so many ways to eat delicious desserts and other favorites without compromising health. Enjoy the holidays, the yummy food, and your health.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guilt Free Breaks

I've been a terrible blogger lately. Both my boys have been terribly sick. I've sprained my ankle yet again. I'm eating gluten so that I can be tested for an intolerance and it is sapping my energy. Christmas is around the corner and I still need to do so much (shopping, crafting, baking, candy making, cards, etc...). With all of that blogging has been set on the back burner.

I have been feeling guilty about my lack of blogging. Especially on my family blog. I love to blog. I enjoy it. And I feel like I need to keep up with it. But guilt? Is that really necessary?

I've been asking myself this question a lot lately. December is overwhelming and I feel like it really shouldn't be. To me, this month is a time to remember the life of Jesus Christ. It is a time of good deeds and good will.

So I have decided to set guilt aside. Too much of my life has been accompanied by guilt that was unnecessary and usually un-needed (and always unwelcome). Instead of stressing about everything not getting done I have been trying to focus on the things that truly matter.

Like these two:

Guilt causes us to have feelings of inadequacy about ourselves. This is unhealthy. It is also ridiculous. When you have really done something heinous then I feel that guilt has a place. Otherwise, should we be feeling guilty that we took time to hold and rock our sick baby instead of writing blogs or getting our Christmas cards addressed? I don't think so. Some things are important, others are more so, and we are only one person with only one life to live. Let's do the most important things and let the others deal with it. Life is too short to feel like we aren't good enough because we had guilt over missing one workout or eating fast food for dinner one in a while. You get the picture.

There is still time to enter the giveaway. It is open until the New Year! But I have a magic number of entries in mind that we need to hit. So keep getting the word out and please, enter more than once!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me (and giveaway)

Well, it's that time of year again. No, not the time that you start allowing Christmas music to be played in your home (although that may be happening too). It's my birthday. Sandwiched in right after Thanksgiving and right before the Christmas hype gets out of control. At least it's an easy day to remember for the most part. The 1st of December. No crazy numbers.

I'm turning 27 this year. It's sort of crazy to me. I have not been afraid of aging. In fact I think there are many thrilling things about getting older, but something about entering my late 20s sort of gives me the freak out. Why? I really don't know. I suppose in all of my years growing up I imagined what I would do in my 20s and never really thought about life after that. Maybe what weirds me out most is that my sister is now 23 and in 2 months time my baby brother will be 20. 

So on this my Happy Birthday I wanted to share a few pictures of a younger Melanee. If you were wondering where my son got his eyes this should clear up any mystery there. I'm lovin' the fake backgrounds and such. I've been beating back my feelings of despair over my current size all day. I've been trying to focus on what I've accomplished in the last few months rather than on where I wish I was. What is it about birthdays that brings up so much self scrutiny? 

Since it is my birthday, and I can do what I want on my special day I have decided that it is time for another giveaway. It has been far too long. Don't get too excited, it is another book, which may not thrill everyone, but as I have said before, that is where my passion lies. But this time it is a cookbook. In fact it is THE cookbook that got me going on my path to better health. This is the cookbook that has the whole elimination diet in it. It is a wonderful book and one I have recommended to many people.

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Look it up and see if it doesn't interest you. I learned a lot in the pages before the recipes. I love nearly all of the recipes I've tried (and there are a lot). I feel great when I eat better and this cookbook has really opened my eyes and helped me learn how to cook in a healthier way. I don't really like to cook, but I have really been enjoying this. Even better, it shows you how to change recipes to get rid of nuts, eggs, gluten, and other foods that are common allergens. So if you have someone with an allergy in your family, this book is an excellent choice.

So here's what you can do to enter the giveaway. You can enter once or all 5 times:
1. Leave a comment letting me know you want to enter.
2. Become a fan (you know you want to). Then leave me a comment.
3. Grab my cool new button and put it on your blog. Then leave me a comment.
4. Blog about this on your own blog (this is worth 2 entries). Then leave me a comment.
5. Tell about the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Then leave me a comment.

Good luck! 

Monday, November 29, 2010


Now just because I didn't post a specific "Thankfulness" post for Thanksgiving does not mean that I am not indeed thankful. Last week a storm came in, so we rushed off to beat the storm up to my parents house. It was about 15 hours of driving there and back.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, but right now I need to do miles of laundry, get some food made because we are all starving, finish unpacking, and bring in some more firewood. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Today I'm thankful for my husband's incredible skill driving on horrible, horrible roads. And his amazing calm while he does so. It helped me a lot. I'm thankful to be safe and home.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sound Body

First off I will start with by confessing my current sin to ease my guilt: I am listening to Christmas music. It is normally a rule with me that I do not do this before the 1st of December, but I was in the mood. It is so gloomy out, we have a blazing fire going that my dear hubby started before he left for work, and I am excited for Christmas this year (every year).

So there you have it. Now on to some other things. I have been reflecting a lot lately on things relating to having a sound body. You see, on Wednesday I somehow tweaked my lower back and have been in nearly constant pain since. I have been living off of ibuprofen which is something I always avoid until life gets too unbearable, so I guess that puts this in perspective. It is very difficult to be the mom of a baby that still needs lifted a lot when you are nursing a bad back.

On top of the back pain something has gone awry in my diet. I have been exhausted and having horrible stomach aches. I'm not sure if I'm eating a food that my body would rather not have me eat, or if I'm coming down with something. No good. My husband woke up sick this morning, and poor Cormac is still tugging at that right ear. We are a broken bunch.

Generally my tone on this blog is one of lament over my size or physical appearance. I have realized lately that I don't give my body nearly enough credit for all that it is and does. While it is true that I am no stranger to pain, the pain I experience has not kept me from doing my normal activities the last couple months. Even when the pain has been at it's worst my body has somehow gotten me to the places I needed to be and gotten the things done that had to be done. Stomach aches are usually foreign to me. I can walk and talk and learn. Really I have been blessed with a remarkable body.

Even my little family, though we have been sick a lot lately, is usually pretty healthy. There isn't much for us to complain about when it comes to our everyday health. So today as I sit here wishing for a new back for my birthday or at least for Christmas I am thankful for the reminder that my normal complaints about my body are so superficial. Our bodies are amazing and beautiful things. I have been reading about the functioning of the body lately. It blows me away how intricate and amazing our bodies are.

And if nothing else, my body gave me this:

which is something to celebrate.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Throwing fits

Things around here have been a bit frazzled lately. First of all, I have not been eating well. I have gotten lazy. Part of me feels that with the holidays upon us I might as well give it up because I'll never be able to eat the way I want. It's been an internal battle. I know that when I eat sugar, gluten, and dairy I don't feel well. Yet I constantly give in. My energy is down. My mood is bad. My body is beginning to ache all over again. Sometimes I forget that changing our habits doesn't happen over night, it takes a lot of time. We need to expect the occasional backslide, but not let it ruin our resolution to change. I need to remind myself of that constantly right now.

Secondly, Cormac has another ear infection. This is his second one in six weeks. I'm anxious about it. I had horrible ear infections as a child. The doctor is concerned that if this happens again soon (before we are even really into the season for ear infections) that we may need to get tubes put in his ears. I know that many children have tubes in their ears and they do just fine, but I'm anxious. That, and I'm trying to comfort my sick baby.

Thirdly, Cormac has decided that he likes to throw temper tantrums. When Ammon is home this is not so bad because Ammon has more patience than almost everyone I know combined. But during the day it is another matter. I do not have patience. In fact, I have a little temper of my own. So I watch as my child throws himself on the ground and continually bashes his head into things. It upsets me and makes me mad which I am ashamed of. We are trying to get him off his bottle and I think that is largely his problem; he really wants his bottle. I want to give in, but I don't. It has been hard. Any advice for stopping tantrums? His poor little head is covered in bruises. I have tried to stop it, but I've found lately that I just have to let him scream it out while getting most things out of his way.

Lastly, I'm anxious about Thanksgiving. I have a whole list of things I'm going to bake so that there will be fun, healthy treats available, but I know what is going to be on the table during the meal. It's not that I feel like I can't eat these things. I know that I can. It's just that I know how horrible I feel when I do eat these things and I don't want to feel that way. For whatever reason I struggle to keep in good spirits when I'm with my family. I stress that things need to be just right from my own personal appearance, to the behavior of my husband and son, to how much fun everyone is having. I feel personally responsible for all of these things. Ridiculous I know, but there you have it. So the last thing I need is a low because I'm not eating well.

So today I'm feeling anxious and frazzled. I guess I feel the need to throw my own temper tantrum, but you'll have to excuse me, I need to go see if my son has cried himself out yet. I feel like a terrible mother...

Monday, November 15, 2010

A worthwhile poem

One of the blogs that I enjoy looking at is the beauty of different. I enjoy the things she writes. She recently posted a video of a woman reciting a poem that made me cry. The way that she ends this poem is so powerful and is what I want for my children. I have posted the edited version here (although the unedited is more powerful I felt uncomfortable posting that version here since my dear nieces read this blog).

Please take the time to listen. This is truly beautiful and inspiring.

Friday, November 12, 2010


My family growing up: Me, Dad, Mom, Nick, and Sera 
(as a side note, I'm now the shortest in my family and little Nick is a giant.)

Growing up my mom was amazing at getting a family meal on the table. Some days it wasn't anything fancy, like Hamburger Helper (which I still despise). But even with our less than fancy fare we always ate together as as a family. We even kept it up during the years when my dad was traveling a lot and wasn't around to join us for dinner. Most of the meals that Mom made were just fantastic. She really put a lot into feeding our family.

I usually volunteered to do the dishes because I didn't like to cook very much. This worked fine for my mom since she generally dirtied every dish in the kitchen and needed someone to wash some of them a few times before we even got the meal on the table (this is something I picked up from her much to the sorrow of my poor husband and someday poor little Cormac). One of the things that would drive me the most crazy was the way she would cook something in a pan and then put it in a pretty bowl to set on the table. I thought we should just set the pan on the table and save ourselves another dirty dish, but Mom was strict about this rule most of the time.

Lately I've been striving to make our meals at home more fulfilling. Did you know that a meal that is presented in a beautiful way is more satisfying and usually leads you to eat less? It's true. When the food is beautiful with many different colors next to nice dishes it makes the meal more pleasing. In my own family I make it a point for us all to eat together. Even when Cormac was strictly on baby food and couldn't eat what Ammon and I were eating, we still sat at the table together and ate together (usually my food was cold before I finished with Cormac and got to it, but still, we were together). I wanted to set the standard for the rest of our life as a family together.

The more I learn about having meals as a family the more impressed I am with the idea that in order to create a healthy relationship with food and with each other family meals are incredibly important. So much so that I believe we need to make more effort to eat at home at any cost. Home cooked meals are so much healthier for you (most of the time). Plus you eat less than when you are at a restaurant.

I decided to write about this today because I read an interview that Nie Nie did. You can read it here. In a world that emphasizes quick and easy shouldn't we take back at least one area and demand that it be special, slow, and enjoyable? We would all be so much healthier, both in mind and body.

So to my mother: Thank you for all the times you made us set the table nicely, even though I had to do more dishes (it had it's good side effects too, I don't know anybody who can wash as fast and well as I can, ahem toot, toot). Thank you for taking the time to feed us well, even though we weren't always appreciative. And most of all, thank you for making family time a priority. I hope someday to be as good at making dinner special as you were.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

In my family we happen to have quite a few soldiers. I'm thankful for all of them. I worry about those who are currently away, but am so proud and thankful for them. I am lucky to be related to such wonderful and devoted people.

My Great Grandpa is one of our Veterans, and he's still with us. I'm thankful for him. Just this last October my family went to see him. We wanted Cormac to meet his Great Great Grandpa. Grandpa was rather taken with Cormac. I think Cormac was a fan of Grandpa as well.

This plaque hangs on the wall next to a plaque with all of the other stories of the veterans living at the facility where my grandpa stays.

It reads: "Harlen Garrison, U.S. Army WWII

"Harlen Garrison enlisted in the Army at the age of twenty three, even though he had a wife and four children at the time. He volunteered to be a paratrooper, jumping from C-47 aircraft so he could earn an additional fifty dollars a month to send back to his wife and family. Harlen was aboard the McAndrews, a troop carrier, with 1,900 soldiers on board when it collided with a French aircraft carrier. "It was like going to hell" Harlen said. According to news reports the collision tore a hole in the side of the ship, and sent 135 soldiers into the cold, choppy water. Sadly, rescue efforts were only able to save 14 of the 135 soldiers who went overboard. After surviving the collision on the McAndrews, Harlen was then shipped to England and later went on to France. From France, Harlen travelled to Germany via boxcar. While in Germany, Garrison joined a machine gun squad as a rifleman and they were given assignments to clean up towns. Before leaving Germany Garrison had the opportunity to see the remains of Hitler's bombed house. Harlen still wears his 82nd Airborne wings around his neck."

And here we are, five generations of Garrisons.

Grandpa and Cormac checking each other out. Grandpa kept saying what a "good one" Cormac was.

It was a really neat experience to see Great Grandpa and to be all together as a family. Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served and are serving our country.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


And while we're on the subject of my imperfections here's another one that I need to work on. I still want/need the praise of others to validate my actions. I don't know why, but I'm just not secure enough to take pleasure in the fact that I have changed the way I eat, exercise, think, and feel about myself. I need others to know what a great gal I am (hence the blog?) and to praise me.

Poor Ammon gets the brunt of it. When he comes home I proudly tell him how hard I worked at the gym today, what I ate and how I made sure all the food groups were represented, and then I give him my stats on how much weight and inches have been lost. He humors me and tells me he's proud of me (which I think he really is, but how many times does the poor man have to say it).

When other people notice that I've lost weight I'm just exuberant with joy. It's to the point where I have caught myself leading the conversation in that direction in the hopes that they will compliment me in some way. Lame. And when they don't I feel disheartened.

In fact, there are people that I truly expected to say something the last time we met, and instead I found that they sort of felt like not much had changed, and that I still had a lot of work to do. I was crushed. For a few days I felt like all my hard work had failed and that I would never reach my goals.

As I thought about this particular incident though I realized that I'm missing the point. Wasn't my goal to like myself as I am and to be secure with myself as a person? When did my goal shift to what the scale said about me? I think it shifted when I started losing weight. At that point I felt that I no longer needed to love myself where I was at because I was changing that, and soon I could just embrace my old pre-pregnancy self.

That's a good theory. I would love to be at my pre-pregnancy weight again, but as we have discussed several times on this blog, that thinking is flawed. First of all, I will never be totally rid of the marks that pregnancy has left on my body, so why should I expect that the number on the scale will be enough to make me happy? And secondly, what happens if I get pregnant again and gain weight because of it. At that point do I no longer feel like myself or like my body anymore? Do I suddenly drop back into self-loathing until I can once again reach that magical number? And what if I can't maintain that magical number? What if my body naturally needs to weigh more than that? Should I do unhealthy things to get to that number and stay there and battle with it for the rest of my life until I am so sick of all of it that I give up entirely and run with open arms to the junk food aisle at the store and shun anything healthy...

So what I have realized is that I need to stop seeking praise. I need to stop worrying about my size. I'm not going to stop my efforts to lose weight. I need to lose weight to be truly healthy, which is my ultimate goal. But I need to be at home in this body where it is. Just like I need to act and be confident in my own skin in the gym, I need to appreciate my body enough to stop seeking praise and to not feel discouraged when it doesn't come. What others think and feel about me should not have much weight in how I feel. Compliments are lovely, but aren't they more so when they are given spontaneously? I think so. Just another thing to work on. It's hard to figure out just how to feel at peace without the validation of others, but like the rest of this journey, I'm sure there is a way. I just need to keep looking.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Secure in mind

I know this is blurry and not a great photo, but it's the most recent shot that I have showing more of me than just my face. I don't know if you can tell based on my last portrait, but I've gone down a dress size.

It has been awhile since I had a break down or spilled my guts on my imperfections and short comings, but alas, I still have them. Most days I do alright. I can see the improvements that I have made in my health just by how I feel and how I look in the mirror. I'm usually just fine, except for when I'm at the gym and feel like the fat kid that no one really wants around. Seriously, I do. I should get over it, I know. Realistically I'm sure no one is actually even thinking about me and what I'm doing at the gym, but I still feel like they are just annoyed that I'm taking up space on their precious machines. But I need the workout just as much if not more than they do.

I realized the other day that I'm the one to blame for these feelings that I have at the gym. The looks people give me are probably not dirty, and if they are dirty perhaps I bring them on myself. How? Well, I'm the one walking around feeling self-conscious and avoiding any conversation. I'm the one who doesn't want to be in people's way because I feel inferior to them because of my body type. The truth is, I can lift as much and work out as hard as many of those gorgeous women in there. I've just had a harder go this last year which has left its mark on my body. I'm the one who didn't take care of myself like I should have, but I've repented of those ways and am working on it.

Sometimes I watch as women with a shape like mine act like they own the place. They talk with others in there and are accepted as equals, not because they are incredibly thin and look the part, but because they have the confidence to know that they belong. They know that their body is fine the way it is. It's beautiful even if they have a few things they would like to work on. But they are at the gym, taking care of themselves which is most of the battle.

What do these women have that I don't? The exact thing that I've been striving for since I started this blog, confidence and peace with the person and body that they are. So lately I've been trying to act the part. I don't feel the part, but often thoughts and feelings can follow action. Like when you act with energy even though you have none it automatically lifts your energy level and brightens your mood. So far I think it's helping, even though I'm not exactly chummy with the others at the gym, but I have made a few friends and I no longer look away in shame when someone glances in my direction. I may not be a size 4 right now, but I'm taking care of my body, and I'm worth it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Last Year

Yesterday Cormac started taking steps on his own. Up until now he wouldn't dare take a single step without something to hold on to. So in celebration of my baby growing up I have made this movie. It's a recap of my little guy going from new born to toddler. As you know, I'm not great with videos, but I think it works for those fans of Cormac who don't see him often.
The songs are by Mindy Gledhill and I love them. I may or may not cry when I hear the second one and think of my little boy.
In other news, what do you think of the new blog? I love it. I would like to thank Amy at Designer Blogs who did the layout and designe for me. I still have a lot of work to do, but it's getting closer. So, once again, if you have a story or thoughts you would like to share that would fit the theme of this blog please let me know.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I have been asked many times what it is about Yoga that I like. So often people will tell me that they want to like yoga, but they really don't. I have been thinking a lot about this the last few weeks wondering what exactly I do like about yoga.

A few years ago I turned to yoga in desperation. I was living in pain. The pain was new and while we were bouncing around from doctor to doctor and from medicine to medicine I had to live my life as a student, employee, and wife. I had heard about the success some people have with yoga, so I decided to try it. I started small. I got a DVD with a little morning and evening routine on it. I can't tell you how difficult it was at first, but after 2 weeks of doing it I was stronger, more flexible, and hurting less than I had been in a long time. 

I was fascinated by yoga. The whole idea of it was interesting to me, so I finally looked up a yoga studio and began attending classes. It wasn't long after that when I began my teacher training. I wanted to learn as much as I could. For several weeks I would do yoga for at least 5 hours a day. I studied it and trained. I taught and learned. I found all of it fascinating. Those were some of my happiest days in a learning environment, out of all my schooling.

The most exciting part was they way the yoga made me feel. Doing yoga was the only thing that took away the pain for a few hours a day. That alone was addicting. But my attitude toward my body changed. Yoga is not about what you cannot do. So when people say they aren't flexible enough or whatever their excuse might be it bothers me because they are missing the point. Yoga is a celebration of what your body can do, even if you can only reach your knees when you bend over. As I started to see what my body was capable of I began to respect it more. My husband noticed a huge difference in my attitude towards myself. My self bashing almost disappeared. Then I got pregnant and stopped my yoga for a while, gained weight, and, well you know the rest.

The word yoga mean yoke. I find that inspiring. We can use yoga to help lift the burdens that we are under whatever those may be. There are eight limbs to yoga:

Yama - Ethical disciplines
Niyama - Self observation
Asana - Posture
Pranayama - Breath control
Pratyahara - Sense withdrawal
Dharana - Concentration
Dhyana - Meditation
Samadhi - A state of joy and peace

There are so many styles of yoga as well, but the purpose of all yoga is "to grow toward enlightenment." When I approach my practice I go into it with the attitude that this can help enlighten me. It can bring you closer to your God, it can shed light on your own abilities, it brings peace, it strengthens and nourishes your body. It's beautiful. Have you ever just watched someone practice yoga without a teacher. Just watch as they move from one asana to the next, it's beautiful.

Pranayama has become one of my best friends. I'm a stressor by nature. I automatically go into panic mode when things get rough, but learning breath control has made a huge difference. I can calm myself down and bring myself back to a place of rational thinking.

So I use my yoga in every day life, not just while I'm in a class or teaching a class. This may not be the answer you were looking for. It may not help you love it the way that I do, but keep trying. There are many types of yoga, experiment until you find something you like. But most importantly, before every practice set an intention and let that guide you through. I often set the intention of health, or self love before I begin. As I think about my intention through my practice it helps me take it to a whole new level of discovery and joy.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

From my little buccaneer to you, we hope you have a wonderful Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Elimination Diet Sum-up

So, it has been a few weeks since I finished my elimination diet. I have been meaning to write and tell you all what I thought, but I just haven't gotten to it. So, here it is.

I am amazed how much of a difference eating strictly whole foods and cutting out problem foods (like those that cause allergies most commonly) has changed the way I feel. I finished my 28 days on October 16th. At that point I was feeling fantastic. I still was not eating gluten, dairy, red meat, yeast, and a few others. The problem I ran into was that we were planning a trip to Boise to celebrate my Father's birthday. Since we were traveling it was assumed that we would be eating in restaurants at least 2 or more times a day for the entire weekend. The way the elimination diet works is to challenge a single "problem" food every 3 days. This presented a problem for me since I would have time to challenge each of these foods that I would likely encounter on this trip.

So what did I do? I decided to just give myself permission to eat and then after the trip to return to the diet I was on for two weeks to allow my system to recoup and then challenge the foods one at a time. The reason the foods even need to be challenged is to find out which one might be causing you pain, fatigue, etc. Up to this point I had not really found a culprit other than refined sugars and flours.

It was nice to see my family this last weekend, but the entire trip wrecked havoc on my system. I went from having energy and feeling great to feeling more sluggish and having more headaches and more pain with each successive meal. By the time we started the drive home I was feeling so miserable I didn't think I would ever eat again.

To be honest I'm thankful that there was such a stark difference in the way that I felt. I now know how much of an impact my healthy diet was having on me. Not only did I lose 17 pounds during my 28 days, but I had energy to get through my entire day. My mood was improved, and the pain that has been my constant companion for so long was almost completely gone. After this weekend I see how incredibly important it is for me to continue down the path that I began.

On a note unrelated to the way I feel physically, I want to tell you how much fun I have been having learning to cook in a new way. This is shocking to me because I DO NOT like to cook. That's right. I occasionally get in the mood to bake, but cooking, not so much. I have been baking and cooking and loving that everything I make is healthy and good for me and my family. It has created a whole new relationship with food that I never knew I could have. You may recall my complaining that my relationship with food was not so fun before, but now, well, let's just say that food and I are getting along just fine these days.

So I would like to tell you all that I think making changes to our daily diet is crucial to feeling better physically. For me, a dramatic change was necessary, however, I have been changing the diet of my entire family much more slowly. You can't expect a one year old to suddenly love vegetables after all. I have found that in most cases just making small changes, like switching to whole wheat rather than white, one at a time is much better for life long change. Look at your own diet and see what you can start changing. You'll feel great and be so glad that you did it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Look and Feel

Well my dear readers, I have been absent a lot lately. But even though my time has been demanded elsewhere and I have had very little time to blog, my thoughts have not been far from you. I have been doing a lot of thinking about the future of this blog, and what I want to do with it.

I started this blog as a way for me to document my journey to self acceptance (as you well know), but to be honest, some days there just isn't that much to report. I find anymore that most days I am at peace with myself and my situation. There are moments and days that I still struggle, but I am making progress overall. There are times when I really don't have much to write about. You see, most of this is internal and undocumentable (is that a word?). So the question I have had is what to do here.

Since starting Mirror Health I have found that there are so many people who are struggling along with me. I have found that this is a place where people can come to be uplifted and to feel that they are not alone. As I have thought about this and the direction I want to go I have decided that I would like to move Mirror Health in a more collaborative direction. I would like to hear your voices. I think everyone can benefit by moving in that direction. We can all come together to share our good and bad days. Here is a safe place to express all your thoughts on body image.

So, I am going to be making some changes very soon. Good changes, I hope. I welcome your feedback. Please let me know what you think of this idea and any others that you might have as well. If you are ready to share your story, send me an email with it all typed out (and a picture if you can). I'll be posting your stories as they come in.

Thanks for caring about my journey. You have no idea the strength I have gathered from this blog. I hope now to share that strength, and to allow everyone to participate.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Harboring Thoughts

I have been amazed these last few months to realize how much control I have over my feelings. I guess in the past I have done a rather poor job of screening my thoughts. Rather, I have allowed all kinds of influences in and have just let them bash me around. But as I have struggled to redefine my body image in my head I have been extremely cautious what I let in. I am careful what I think. I excuse bad thoughts, and I am learning to be kind to myself. It is a wonderful way to live.

I have been reading Eat, Pray, Love and have found some of the things she says in this book to be incredibly profound. But as I was reading tonight I came across this passage and I was dying to share it with you. I love this. She is talking about how she just realized that she is in control of what comes and goes in her mind.

'So I've started being vigilant about watching my thoughts all day, and monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: "I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore." Every time a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow. I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore. The first time I heard myself say this, my inner ear perked up at the word "harbor," which is a noun as well as a verb. A harbor, of course, is a place of refuge, a port of entry. I pictured the harbor of my mind--a little beat-up, perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with a nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self (which is a young and volcanic island, yes, but fertile and promising). This island has been through some wars, it is true, but it is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now--let the word go out across the seven seas--there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor.
     'You may not come here anymore with your hard and abusive thoughts, with your plague ships of thoughts, with your slave ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts--all these will be turned away. Likewise, any pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assassins, desperate prostitutes, pimps and seditious stowaways--you may not come here anymore, either. Cannibalistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be screened carefully, for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor. The entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquillity. If you can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind--otherwise, I shall turn you all back toward the sea from whence you came.
     'That is my mission, and it will never end.'

Beautiful. I love the way she puts that. I can't add anything to it. I just agree whole heartedly. Let's all guard the harbors of our minds more carefully and only allow good things onto our islands.

Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs

I think this talk is wonderful. She has such a unique and wonderful perspective on beauty. Take the time to listen if you can.

Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs | Video on TED.com

Note: Some of the pictures shown are a little revealing. Consider yourself forewarned.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family pictures of a beautiful family

A few months ago I entered a blog giveaway and somehow won. It was a miracle. What did I win? A photo shoot with the amazing Staci D. I love her work and am glad that I was introduced to her by our mutual friend Heidi. Check her out, you'll like what you see. Here's a sneak peak.

We had the pictures taken in Midway. Isn't it beautiful? Incidentally we also lost our only car key while we were out there, and after searching for it for nearly an hour in the dark, tall grass we ended up having to call a shuttle to come pick us up and take us all the way back to Lindon. It's a long story and one I'm sure we'll laugh at some day. But I think the pictures are worth it.

I may have won the giveaway, but Staci has won a client out of me. I love these pictures. And what can I say, I think we are a pretty good looking family (and I truly mean that).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Hey friends. I'm sorry it has been a while. Life is crazy busy. I'm frantically attempting to get a whole bunch of things done around our house before Saturday because we are having Cormac's First Birthday party. On top of that we are having family pictures, my dad's birthday, and family in and out. It has been wonderful but busy. To make blogging worse, our internet is on the fritz. So, this is going to be short and lame, but I'll try to update you more soon.

In the meantime, I'll be done with the elimination diet on Saturday. My days of being a vegan are almost over. It will still be a while before I have everything in my diet again, but I will have completed the 28 days. I'm feeling great. I've lost some weight and have more energy. No complaints here.

I hope you are all well. Stay tuned soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Self Discovery

I am sitting here at my computer savoring the most delicious artichoke that I have ever eaten. It is divine. The dishes are done, the laundry is started, I finally got to go to the gym today after a week of everyone being sick, my baby is sleeping, and all is right with the world for this brief moment. Sure I have a million things on my to do list, but nothing can beat this quiet little moment while I take the time to enjoy every. single. bite of this food that I didn't know that I liked a few weeks ago.

Since beginning this blog I have been discovering so many new things about myself. The elimination diet, for example, has shown me how much I adore cauliflower and artichokes, but I hate sweet potatoes and yams. This last bit makes me sad. They are so good for you. I truly tried to love them. I really wanted to, but I don't.

I have been reading The Happiness Project. In part of the book she talks about learning what exactly it is that she enjoys doing and then doing it. She also talks about how this can be liberating and sad at the same time.

Let me explain, in my own life I love to read. I just adore it. All kinds of books. So, I try to take a little time each day (even if it is just a few minutes) to sit and read. I am also allowing myself to finally accept my true nature as a shy introvert. All my life I have wanted to be one of those outgoing people who have a million friends and are always doing something, like my sister. But I'm not comfortable with that. I don't even like to talk on the phone. It is sad for me to think that I'll never be super outgoing and never be comfortable going from one social engagement to the next. I would love to do that. But I don't enjoy it. It stresses me out.

I have really learned a lot from this deep reflection on my true nature and what I do and don't like to do. I have come to realize that if I want to love myself then I need to come to terms with the person that I am, my true nature. Now, this is not to say that I would never try new things and that I can't learn to like things, I most certainly can and do, but knowing that if I want to pick up tennis and then learn that I don't enjoy it I can drop it without guilt is a wonderful feeling.

So, today on day 20 of my diet I am happy to report that I am feeling more at home with myself than I ever have in my life. I am trying new things, accepting who I am, and learning to find joy in each and every day.

Diet Update: Day 20. I'm adding in cashews today (although I haven't had any yet and should probably go eat some). Two days ago I went and got my hair cut. I had Cormac with me at the mall and it took so much longer than I had planned. I hadn't brought anything for us to eat. Cormac was starving, so I stopped at the food court and bought some french fries for the crying boy. He didn't eat them all, of course, and I didn't eat any. I didn't even lick my fingers, I was so proud of myself (I adore french fries). I went the grocery store today and walked past all the Halloween candy without so much as a look. I walked straight to the produce aisle and felt giddy over the enormous apples and grapes on sale. I picked out beautifully colored greens to eat. I was in Heaven. Who knew that one day I could get as excited about fresh produce as I used to get over sweets. So, I'm doing well. My back pain is still present and actually getting worse, I'm not sure if it is food related or just in need of a good Physical Therapist. Other than that I have been feeling great. Hooray.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


While we are on the topic of my religion I would like to say a few more things. I am ashamed to admit that I have been rather shy about saying anything concerning my beliefs because I didn't want anyone to feel alienated when they came here. But I'm afraid that this has been ruining the authenticity of this blog.

You see, my beliefs about God and our mortal existence are enormous factors in this little journey of mine. I doubt I would ever have really taken this challenge to like myself seriously if it weren't for those beliefs, and I'm sure I wouldn't be succeeding as well without them.

Let me explain. I believe in a Heavenly Father who is the literal father of my spirit. I believe He is also the creator of my body. Not only did He create my body, but He created it in His own likeness. In other words, God has a body and my body is like His. Or to be more accurate, my body is like my Heavenly Mother's body because I believe I have one of those also.

I also believe that the reason I have this body is to house my spirit. Together my spirit and body become my soul. I believe that my soul is a beautiful creation of God. And though this creation is not yet in it's perfected form, it is beautiful and a masterpiece of Deity.

So, when I put down this body, I am in turn putting down a creation of God. And when I try to manipulate my body to look like something that is unrealistic I am telling God that I do not like my body or His and that I can do it better. This body I have been given is a gift from God. It is one that I need to take care of. When I treat my body with respect by choosing to be healthy then I show God respect and love. By taking care of myself and loving myself I am showing God that I am thankful for the masterpiece He created and allowed me to have.

I also believe that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me dearly. He loves me for who and what I am. I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to be happy and to see me the way He sees me. So when I struggle I know that if I pray I can feel His love for me, and He can help me to know that I am special and someone worthy of love.

I understand that some of these beliefs are a little strange for some. If you would like me to tell you more I would be more than happy to share, just let me know. But regardless of your relationship with God, if you do believe in a God, wouldn't you say that all things created by Him are beautiful? And if that is so, aren't you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Expressing Gratitude

This past weekend I was privileged to listen to the voice of a prophet as he spoke to the people. I love that every six months I can hear his words and know what my Heavenly Father would like for his people. It's a big deal. I know that many of my readers are not members of the LDS faith and probably have no idea what I'm talking about. To learn more about what I believe go here. To learn more about General Conference go here. To listen to the Prophet speak go here.

President Monson spoke of gratitude and how if it is not expressed then what is the point of it. I had never thought of it that way. I often feel gratitude for things but fail to actually voice that opinion. So today I thought I'd express gratitude.

First to my husband. It is hard for me to even put in words how I feel about this amazing man. How do you tell someone that they are everything without sounding cliche and nerdy? I don't know if that's possible. But either way I need him to know that every day I am thankful for him. Every day I realize more and more how much I love him, and every day I realize what a good decision I made marrying him. I'm so glad we have eternity.

Next to my sister. Birdy is a wonderful woman. I have felt so much love and support from her throughout my life, but even more so these past few months. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders. And even though she is my younger sister, she is a shining example to me.

I want to thank my parents for being my parents. These two sacrificed so much to raise my siblings and I. I love them dearly and know they love me. I am thankful for them. I have great parents.

I need to thank my sister-in-laws. These women are the reason I decided to make this journey of personal acceptance in the first place. They are amazing women, all 5 of them. There is something about each one of them that I want to incorporate in my own character. Every time I am near them I feel inspired. I adore them all.

Thank you my dear readers for reading this blog. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Thank you for holding me up when I feel down. Many of you are my dear friends that I have known for a long time or are family members. I appreciate you and love you. Some of you are those that I have never met, I appreciate you giving me the time of day. I am glad that we can be acquainted in this way.

To my anonymous commenter who said they think that I am prettier today than on my wedding day: thank you. What a sweet thing to say. Your kind words brought tears to my eyes.

Lastly I need to express gratitude for this body of mine. Thank you for putting up with me for the past 26 (nearly 27) years. Especially when I wasn't always as kind to you as I could have been. I have had a wonderful life and I owe it to a healthy and sound body. And most important to me right now, thank you for giving me this:

I adore this little boy and every time I look at him I realize how blessed I am. I didn't think I would be able to get pregnant there for a while, but look what I did. Look what my body did. Thank you.

Diet update: I think we are on day 18, I think. I started tomatoes which was wonderful. But I am sick. I finally succumbed to the flu stuff that my boys have been suffering with. So I am going to stay stuck at day 18 or whatever it is until I feel better. I need to recover before I move on. I am suspicious of soy at the moment, so I'm cutting that out as well. But other than that it is going well. What I want most right now? Bread.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Last night I went and saw Stephanie Nielson (Nie Nie) speak. Wow. That's all I can say. Boy do I feel like a little brat. Here I am complaining that I weigh a few extra pounds and that I have stretch marks. Well boo hoo. Here is a woman who was burned over 80% of her body. She looks completely different than she did before the accident and she can stand in front of a group of hundreds and declare that she is beautiful. And she is. She truly is.

Here are some things that she said that I would like to remember.

Beauty is health,
Beauty is harmony,
Beauty is peace,
Beauty is self-confidence,
and Beauty is your inner voice sharing God's love and reminding you to return to Him. (I'm paraphrasing).

"Our beauty is a gift given to us by God and no one can take it away."

I'd like to end on that. I'll update you on the diet and such later. For now, just let those last words of hers sink in. How powerful to think that our beauty if from God and not something defined by anything or anyone here on Earth. And even more powerful is the knowledge that it is ours and cannot be taken away.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Watching what I say

I read the other day (a common phrase with me) that what we say about others reflects on us. So if you tell a friend that someone you know is selfish and petty your friend will unconsciously attach those qualities to you. I found that to be rather interesting. I have mentioned before that I am trying to stop being so judgmental, here is just one more good reason to actually implement that goal.

As I have been striving to cut myself a little slack what I am finding is that I am much more willing to cut others slack as well. It is still much easier to be more generous towards others than towards myself, but I'm making progress, and that is worth something.

So I am going to try to watch what I say. I suppose if I say only nice things about everyone than others will think only nice things of me whether they are true or not.

Update on Day 13: My baby is sick again which is frustrating. This time with the stomach flu. I abhor the stomach flu worse than anything. I am terrified of getting it. So, I am washing my hands a lot and hoping that my healthy diet has boosted my immune system enough that I can simply be the caring, concerned mother and not the mother who is laying in bed sick along side her baby.

Other than that things are going well. I got to start Tamari today (which is basically soy sauce) and have been in heaven. I cannot even begin to tell you how marvelous the flavor is. I appreciate flavor so much more than I used to. I am even learning to savor my food, which has never been a strong point for me, I usually just inhale.

My headaches are all but gone. The pain in my legs is gone except for when I spend an entire day up on them, then they ache slightly in the evening, but nothing like before. My back pain also only flares up when I do things like dishes, play the piano, or walk a lot, but even that pain is minor compared to what I'm used to. My energy level is incredibly high. My feet only hurt in the morning, and my mood has been much lighter. I am happy to report that I feel great and am excited to continue eating better.

One area that needs improvement for me: breakfast. I struggle with eating a decent breakfast, but in order to rev up your metabolism eating a good healthy breakfast is so important, so my goal for the coming weeks is to eat a decent breakfast.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 11

I apologize for not posting more last week. On Thursday my little one crawled into my lap, laid his head on my chest, and just sat there for a good half hour. The rest of the night he would start doing something, get sad, climb in my lap, and just lay there. He also stopped eating. So Friday morning we went to the doctor. Poor boy has an ear infection, so I have been up late at night and been needed all through out the days. I love all the cuddle time, but I sure miss my chipper, energetic little friend.

If that wasn't bad enough my poor hubby came down with something awful on Saturday as well. So I have been nursing everyone back to health this weekend.

Why do you care? Well, the exciting news is that I am usually the first to come down with anything that goes around in this family. I have had a minor headache and sore throat, but other than that I have been the picture of health. I am thrilled. I attribute it all to my healthy diet I've been on.

I was talking with my sister last night about this diet, and I was telling her how much fun I am having learning how to cook in a whole new way and with different foods. It has been thrilling. And I don't like to cook much. But there are few things more satisfying than taking a bite out of something that took you all day to make, but you know with every single bite it is nothing but ridiculously healthy for you. I love it.

So, how am I doing on Day 11? Great. I think about food a lot less. My cravings are easing up. My pain is all gone in my legs, almost gone in my feet, and reduced in my back. I do have more energy (I would have even more if I wasn't up all night rocking a sick baby), and I am just pleased as punch that I have stuck to my guns this time.

Life is good. And so is Lemon and Lentil soup, if you want the recipe just let me know, it is so, so, so good.