10 Things I’ve Learned from Eating Organic for 30 Days

Here are 10 things I’ve learned from eating organic for 30 days.  I hope this helps if you intend to do the same…

All Sustainable Food Changes Start with a Documentary – If you poll your friends who have recently become vegetarian, vegan, or joined the war on McDonald’s, chances are they started that movement after a 90 minute documentary on the amount of harmful chemicals we’re consuming or after watching how McDonald’s french fries do not rot or change shape after a month.  I love documentaries!  The one that really influenced me to go organic was “Food, Inc.”  The part where the chickens are pumped so full of hormones to grow so fast that they become so fat they can’t even stand up….that was an eye opening moment.  If I’m then eating that chicken…what does that mean for me?!  If you’re on the verge of cleaning up your diet – order a pizza, grab some fast food, and any other unhealthy option you can find (because this will be the last time you have those foods) and do a documentary marathon starting with “Super Size Me,” “Food, Inc,” and “Forks Over Knives.”  You’ll be disgusted and inspired all at once.

Look for the 9 – When you buy fruits or vegetables, purchase with the ones that have a code that starts with a 9 on them – that tells you they’re organic and free of chemicals.  Sub-tip:  You’ll never be able to buy organic bananas.  They all go bad before any human has a chance to buy them and take them home for consumption.

Chop & Freeze ASAP – When you buy organic produce you need to cut it up the day you bring it home, put it in little plastic bags, and throw it in the freezer.  You’ll save yourself the disappointment later when your $7 strawberries grow moldy before you had a chance to eat them.

Organic Doesn’t Equal Size 2 – Organic means “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.”  So, technically you could eat all organic and your entire diet could be made up of organic chocolate, organic cookies, and organic candy.  Organic (in my opinion) will provide health benefits simply by not consuming pesticides, harmful chemicals, etc but it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll lose weight.  Bummer.  I know.  Typically (based off no facts) if you’re eating organic though, you’re going to end up eating more fruits,  vegetables, and a healthier diet overall.  It becomes harder to find “treats” and extremely hard to eat out if you’re eating organic, so you might as well just select foods that are good for you and save the organic candy bars for weekends so that you can not only have internal benefits, but fit into pants you haven’t fit into in years.

Find The Circle – Labels are confusing and who the heck knows where to start?!  I spent 30 days researching this…so just save yourself the time and do what I say.  If you want to eat as organic as possible, shoot for buying only items with the labels that look like this:

organic label

Any other label that references “organic” or “organic ingredients” that does not include this circle logo typically means <70% organic in total.

Going Out To Eat is a B*t#h – You really just can’t be sure of any ingredients when you go out to eat.  The theme of restaurants is typically “we do our best to source locally” and I just don’t have a good measure of “do our best.”  My best is 100%, what’s your best?!  I have found, in Columbus at least, the restaurants with the highest number of organic ingredients are Northstar Cafe and Bare Burger.  There are a few others that I didn’t have a chance to try this month but intend to visit going forward.  My recommendation – if you can mostly eat at home then don’t fret about organic when you go out to eat if it’s not everyday.  Going out to eat is a major part of our social calendars.  It’s what we do when family visits, when we meet up with friends, when we have business meetings, etc.  If you can keep it organic the other 80-90% of your meals, then a basket full of non-organic bread at dinner isn’t the end of the world.  Sub-tip:  Keep medicine in your purse or car for potential stomach aches that may follow when you do have a non-organic meal.

You Don’t Have to be Pregnant to Have “That Glow” – If you eat organic for 2 weeks, people will start to tell you that your skin “has a glow about it.”  You will feel prettier which will make you happier.

Say Goodbye to “Blah” – I have been blogging about my every day since Jan 1.  When I read my Jan, Feb, and Mar posts I constantly said I felt “blah” in the mornings.  I could never explain it but it was nearly everyday.  After eating organic for 30 days and reflecting back on how I felt this month, I only felt “blah” 2 out of 30 days (both were the day after I went out to eat) compared to only feeling good 2 out of 30 days in the past.  I’d say my general energy has been better, but the biggest benefit has been waking up and not having that pukey-eh-blah-am-I-sick feeling in the morning…commonly referred to in my world as “food hangovers.”

Don’t Tell Others What to Do – I’ve blogged about this notion in the past but feel so strongly about it I’m mentioning it again.  As this pertains to eating organic – a preliminary sharing that you try to eat primarily organic foods is enough sharing with people.  If they want to learn more, trust me, they’ll ask you….or they’ll read your blog and follow your lead.  Telling people how they should eat or reminding them of the chemicals in something or how we’re all going to die from toxic taco seasoning someday is really not the best way to make friends.  Food is a sensitive and emotional topic for many as it’s the primary thing that fuels us or depletes us, that makes us gain weight or lose weight, that heals us or makes us sick.  Just be.  Just do your thing.  If you want to start a chemical free food campaign, show people by your actions and trust me….more people will follow your lead.  People like to see people do, not talk.

Be Pretty & Wear Lipstick – When you eat better you feel better, when you feel better you are happier, when you’re happier you dress better, when you dress better you spend more time on your makeup, when you spend more time on your makeup you end up wearing lipstick, when you wear lipstick you feel important and smart.  The gist is…put your physical self as a top priority.  We can’t possibly sustain all the things we have on our schedules and in our lives if we don’t.  Take care of yourself.  Do it.  Stop waiting for things to be perfect.  Be healthy.  Drink a lot of water.  Rest well.  Wear lipstick.  Feel pretty.  The rest is just non-dairy icing on an organic cake!


I did it!


The Stats Are In

Rather than doing my typical recap of the last few days in detail, I thought I’d share the important stuff like what before and after really looked and felt like in a month where I was eating all organic.  Pictures on the bottom.

Here are the highlights…

I lost 7.5lbs.

I had an overall better mood, better energy, and my productivity increased.

I fit in 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of yoga pants, and 1 yoga tank top I couldn’t fit into before.

My skin on my face looks less blotchy.

The redness on my arms reduced (still not perfect).

I felt “blah” only 2 mornings out of 28 compared to the inverse I was feeling pre-April.  This was the biggest change and one I wouldn’t have realized had I not been blogging about every day this year!

I went to Whole Foods more in 1 month than I have in 5 years.

I learned how to read labels as it pertains to organic make up.

I packed my lunch almost everyday.  Another huge change for me!

I only went out to eat approximately 10 times this month compared to the normal 30-45 (ouch, that hurt to admit).

I have all kinds of internal benefits, I’m just sure of it.

My cravings for unhealthy food reduced.

As for pictures (I always kind of cringe when I post these because we all obviously only want to share ones where there’s a perfect filter and pose), but here ya go….

While the lighting is different, I’d like to think my face/skin look different (I’m wearing all the same make up in both pics).

Day 3 on the left, day 13 on the right

before after selfie

I tried to recreate the outfit/lighting for this next one.  I blogged all month about my red arms and my theory on it being a result of a casein (protein in milk) sensitivity.  I was not successful in totally eliminating all dairy, but I did reduce it by about 90%.  One day my arms would look almost clear, another day they would be red again.  If nothing else, I like to at least say I look a tad bit thinner on the right.

Day 1-ish on the left, day 23-ish on the right.

Arm before and after

I will be posting my traditional “10 things I learned…” post on Thursday and will be quickly preparing for May’s goal (hand writing a letter to someone each day).

Thanks to everyone who has been encouraging me along the way!  And yes, I have a pizza lunch planned for Friday (May 1).



Return of the Mac (and Cheese)

Apr 20…Monday.  I’m in between giving myself credit for sticking to my goal of eating organic and being hard on myself for preparing less and less each week with exactly what I’m going to eat.  Is it because I’ve learned that much that I don’t have to think about it….or because I’m eating the lazy version of meals?  Probably the latter.  I remember this day was a mix of some of the same snacks I’ve had in the past like oatmeal, coffee, granola bars, fruit strip, and left over vegetable soup with shredded chicken.  Once I got home things started to go south a bit.  I started doing that ravenous search through the pantry (which is even more organized than ever before because I got in one of those super-organized crazy modes last week) looking for anything that was organic that didn’t require cooking – exactly what I said I didn’t want to do this week.  I decided to finally try the organic chewy candies (starburst type consistency) I’ve had in there for a couple weeks and was so pleasantly surprised with the taste that I ate almost the whole bag.  I even ripped the bag down the middle which ruined the photo op.  I was also surprised that each individual piece had the organic logo on it which eased my guilt with every one that I ate.  I kept thinking ‘I mean, how bad could these really be for me anyway…they all have the logo on them.’  I also was so lazy that I decided to turn into a college student or a bachelor for 3 minutes.  Mainly because it took 1 min and 30 seconds to heat up a frozen burrito, and then another 1 min and 30 seconds after I had to flip it.  I’ve never eaten a frozen burrito in my life and probably won’t for another 33 years.  Frozen burritos aren’t really my gig.  I don’t even really like beans other than the black beans I can tolerate in some Mexican dishes if buried under sour cream or other fattening-type ingredients.  I bought this little burrito pre-April when I still didn’t know about reading labels so while it’s made with organic ingredients, we know that means it’s less than 70% organic in total.


Apr 21…It was my last evening training with my personal trainer of 5 years.  She will be switching locations and times which unfortunately won’t work with my schedule/location.  I really had no idea how much it actually was making me sad on the inside until today.  The drive to her gym has always been an inconvenience for me, but one I was willing to do because I really liked training with her and we had built a good relationship.  So long story short, after I was done lifting I found myself wanting to go out to eat.  Ah ha!  Emotional eating….you have officially arrived!  You took 21 days to get here, but hello, I’ve seen you before!  I am totally limited on going out to eat with this organic ordeal, so my only real options are either Bare Burger or Northstar.  I went to Northstar.  I ate half a sweet basil burrito with chicken (which comes with chips and salsa), an oatmeal raisin cookie, and a shooting star drink.  Similar to yesterday, I stuck to my organic goal but I was obviously starting to veer a bit from my ideal state of eating at home throughout the week.  By “ideal” I mean “ideal in terms of health” not “ideal in terms of feeding my emotions and instant gratification needs.”  The rest of the day leading up to that was a mixed bag of similar snacks to all the other days this month with lunch consisting of left over shredded chicken and salsa.

Apr 22…Today the calendar held an all day leadership meeting that my boss’ boss hosts a few times a year.  It’s held at a location that’s notorious for their constant replenishing of snacks.  I’m not proud (okay…maybe a little) to say that I have had giant swedish fish there for a mid-morning snack when attending meetings in the past.  A typical non-organic day there could include a muffin for breakfast, various candies for a snack, a buffet lunch that always ends with dessert….like not getting a dessert there is just weird….and then more snacks in the afternoon that are a mix of vegetables or dips or a random fried treat, and then a happy hour with appetizers when the meeting concludes.  I think at 22 days in my head was already in a place that I knew what I needed to do – and that was not scooping tiny pieces of candy into a paper cup with a soup spoon.  I ate oatmeal before I left, I was pleasantly surprised to find they had organic coffee there, I had raspberries and blueberries at mid-morning (which I’m guessing were not organic), chicken + rice + cottage cheese for lunch (totally breaking my no dairy rule) which I assume is not organic either but the healthiest of my options, and then I had an organic granola bar and fruit strip in my pocket for the afternoon.  I headed to Whole Foods immediately following the meeting to stock up for the rest of the week.  So while the day was one worth patting myself on the back for (in my opinion.  Did you read the part where I turned down the desserts and treats?!  They even had pizza at lunch that I didn’t eat!) I was craving macaroni and cheese by the evening.  I’m not going to scare off my male readers by mentioning PMS again as I already dedicated a full blog post to that in past months, but just know that sometimes PMS gives you 2 options in life:  1.  Eat a noodle and be happy with potential regret later or  2. Well, there’s really no #2.  #1 is really your only option for sanity.  So I went on a search for organic mac and cheese (which I knew existed because I tried it once last month) and told myself that as long as it was organic and I ate chicken with it I was willing to let myself slide on the fact that it involved dairy (knowing I had organic milk at home) and that it wasn’t necessarily the healthiest choice in the world.

Cliff note version:  the whole box went into my stomach, chicken was nowhere to be found on my dish, I was extremely bloated, my upper arms turned red and splotchy shortly following.

There may have been a subtle ‘told ya so’ look from Chris at some point in this evening as well.


mac and cheese

Apr 23…I had my first dermatologist appointment ever scheduled today for my red arms.  Let’s talk about this red arm situation for a minute.  I started this month by researching what is causing my upper arms to get red.  I’ve received several notes from friends saying to exfoliate because it’s dry skin, or to try a variety of non-toxic products, I have an infographic of essential oils that are supposed to help, etc.  But I was most intrigued to find online that it can be caused from a sensitivity to casein, which is a protein found in milk.  I’ve shared this info in past blog posts.  So I’ve been successful in eliminating 80-90% of dairy from my diet in the last 23 days.  The day I had an organic milkshake = red arms.  Yesterday when I had mac and cheese = red arms.  So I’m pretty convinced that dairy (or maybe gluten?  ugh…I don’t know?) is playing some role in how my arms look.  But, I woke up today and my arms looked almost perfect.  What the h – e – double hockey sticks?!  So last night they were so red that it looked like I was clearly having a reaction of sorts, and then I took a tylenol PM and went to bed, and then woke up with nearly perfect looking arms?  So of course my theory is that either 1.  tylenol PM has magic healing properties or 2.  it’s just like when you decide to chop your hair off and the day you make an appointment at the salon is the best hair day you’ve ever had.  In any case, I made my way to the dermatologist and told her that having both a masters degree and an iPad clearly qualified me for self-diagnosis….and then I told her of my theory (not the one on the hair appointments, but on the dairy part) and I felt semi-sophisticated as I used words like “casein” as I took off my new professional looking trench coat.  She informed me very quickly that “according to their literature, this is not caused from dietary reasons.”  I started to tell her about the milkshake day or the mac and cheese day but when she repeated herself I just let the story fade.  So here’s my struggle – I left there with a bag full of creams to put on my arms.  One I can use daily which sounded fine (and I knew I would be leaving there with lotions of some sort, and I kind of hoped I would), and then there were 2 other samples – one I’m supposed to buy over the counter and the other I’m supposed to call in some sort of mail order prescription.  I think it’s the mail order one she said to only use 2 or 3 times a week and not for a prolonged period of time because it can eventually harm my skin in ways that it burns it (or something?) and could cause stretch marks and other issues.  For all my “crunchy friends” or Ava Anderson consultant friends….I know you’re dying a little on the inside with this story.  After researching eating organic for 23 days (I often read articles online at night to keep me motivated on my goals or to learn more) I have read that any sort of skin irritation that presents itself is a signal that your body has a food sensitivity or toxin or something wrong on the inside which is showing externally.  So do I just never eat another piece of cheese, or do I burn my arms off with these lotions?  She did confirm that it was keratosis pilaris which was what I always thought it was – which she said is genetic.  Anyway, Chris said it best because he witnessed my arms post-milkshake/mac and cheese.  He says he believes that it is genetic but believes there are foods that are irritating it so if it can be controlled by diet that’s great.  I said I’d try the daily lotion as I’m not anti-modern medicine or prescription by any means, but I’m not trying to burn my arms off.  Oh yeah, she said “you may want to wear a glove when you put one of these on because if you have a cut on your hand it will sting.”  So….that’s that.  I’m tired of talking about my arms and I’m sure you’re tired of reading about them.

On a different note, all the days in January and February that I blogged about feeling the unexplainable “blah” almost everyday…..well, I’ve only felt that way 2 times in the last 23 days.  Both were the days after I ate out.

Here’s to officially 1 week left to go….

Holy Guacamole

Apr 17...Friday with perfect Spring weather and I received my second compliment of the month – a friend said I looked like I lost weight!  I already had lunch plans on the calendar that included going out to eat, so I think you’ll find a familiar restaurant on today’s food list if you’ve been following my blog up to this point.  Spoiler alert: you may see the same place in tomorrow’s entry too.

Organic unless otherwise noted:

8am – almonds

9am – oatmeal from a packet + (non-organic) coffee + (non-organic) skim milk

12pm – lunch at Bare Burger – I had the same meal I’ve ordered all the other times which was a plain turkey burger on a sprout bun + salad

3pm – applesauce (I should’ve packed more/I continue to forget I have rice cakes in my cabinet at work)

5pm – fruit/vegetable juice from Whole Foods (same kind I’ve posted a picture of before which has a smoothie like consistency).  I made a pit stop at Whole Foods on my way home so I bought this and had it in my car on the way home.  I think these juices are giving me slight stomach aches but that will be confirmed when I finish the other 3 in the fridge.

5:45pm – binged on 1/2 a bag of organic white cheddar pre-popped popcorn I bought at whole foods.  Oops.

6:15pm – hip hop class

7:30pm – cookie (pic below) – since it was technically the weekend at this point and since my trainer was technically the one to recommend this bakery, I considered it fine and dismissed the fact that I was eating my dessert as the appetizer to my dinner.  I had heard that Pattycake Bakery in Columbus served organic and vegan desserts, but luckily I didn’t have to drive all the way there to get the cookie – they had some at a coffee shop I happen to be at downtown this passed week so I bought it and managed to not eat it for a few days.  I read on the back of the label that any ingredient with a * beside it was organic.  The large majority were organic…a handful weren’t.  After the dessert, I had my actual dinner which was a ground turkey taco on a whole wheat wrap with salsa.

Stopping at Whole Foods on Fridays after work is helping me stay on track in multiple ways.  First, I avoid going out to eat at Easton and possibly binge eating on chips, salsa, and enchiladas….not that I’ve ever done that before.  Second, I can hit up the Whole Foods on Lane Ave which is semi-close to work vs the long hike to Dublin which makes me just want to stop and eat 5 million bagels at Einstein bagels on the way….not that I’ve ever done that before either.  Third, I’m all set for the weekend with food at home and don’t have to waste my Saturday or Sunday at the grocery.

Apr 18…It was our monthly Meals on Wheels day with plans for dinner with friends from out of town.  The main event was that I fit into jeans I haven’t been able to fit into for awhile ::applause, applause::

8:30am – I made organic coffee at home + added organic milk.  I used ground beans and put them in a washable k-cup (the green kind with the mesh screen) but I did find organic coffee in kcups yesterday at Whole Foods which Chris tried this morning and responded with “they’re alright.”  I had a packet of oatmeal too.

10:30-12:30pm – delivered 13 meals for Meals on Wheels and drank the smoothie-type juice somewhere around noon.  And yes, those are not making my stomach feel that great.  I’m done with those after the last ones in my fridge now.

1:30pm – ran approximately a mile around the neighborhood and then walked the block.  Allergies made it look like I was crying my way through the neighborhood.

2:30pm – Okay, on Friday I was really craving mac and cheese which isn’t a part of the plan so I broke down and bought “Mac and Cheeze” (see old posts for my reference to vegans eating “cheeze” vs “cheese”).  It was a frozen meal made with organic rice noodles and non-dairy cheese.  I was less than pleased when I saw it was over 500 calories while I was heating it up, but more than pleased when I realized I could only eat 3 bites because it was so disgusting.  Ew!  So I didn’t have to worry about those calories after all.  I thought I took a pic of the box but can’t find it on my camera roll now?  I ended up just eating pineapple, a granola bar and organic cookies instead.  I was too lazy at that point to pull a real lunch together.

5:30pm – dinner out at Bare Burger (yes, again) with friends who came to visit from out of town.  Even though I’ve had Bare Burger a hundred times the last week, I did try adding guacamole to my regular order (turkey burger + sprout bun + salad) and now I’m so sad I never put the guac on before.  Matter of fact, I want another one of those burgers with guacamole as I type.  Oh yeah, I had their iced coffee with my dinner too.  I’m thankful everyone was up for going here for dinner because even though I tried to get us reservations elsewhere, it did work out as convenient for my goal that we ended up at an organic restaurant.

I was proud of myself for running outside today….the first time in 2015  (I think).  Lunch was a little bit of a flop but I am glad I don’t have a new addiction to this so-called “cheeze.”  Blah.

Apr 19…A Sunday with my Grandpa in town!  My Grandpa called this week and said him and Karen were going to be in town this weekend, so of course organic eating goals go out the window since it’s not everyday they come to Columbus and Bob Evans was convenient for them, us, and my mom who was coming to town to meet us too!  Here’s how the day has shaken out with food so far…

10am – almonds

10:30am – Bob Evans – since there’s obviously no organic options (I even tried to google it) I defaulted to the healthiest thing I could find which was a veggie omelet which had onion and spinach in it (I didn’t even eat it all…it was just blah), wheat toast with strawberry jelly, and I picked the pineapple and 1 grape out of the fruit dish, coffee + cream (which I don’t know if it was real cream or milk?).  My Grandpa’s dirty jokes/inappropriate comments with the combo of my mom’s perfect sense of humor and Karen and Chris’ laughs made the breakfast worth it.  Who cares about the amount of onions in an omelet when you get to spend time with your fam and are reminded of how you and your mom laugh exactly alike.

2pm – I waited way too long to eat after breakfast.  I went to Target and roamed around, tried on clothes, and bought random organizing-type things and some home decor while starving.  I bought some dark chocolate granola thing which was the quickest organic thing I could find in the store – I had a piece in my mouth before I even set off the alarm in the store with my memory card purchase for Chris that they never did the magic de-activate scanny thing to.

2:30pm – Drank the second to last smoothie-type juice in the fridge, ate a handful of white cheddar popcorn, cookies, and a fruit strip.  You know when you eat 10 things that don’t go together instead of taking 10 minutes to make a real meal.  I was too busy reorganizing our pantry and hanging our new kitchen valance to heat a real meal.

It’s 3:30pm and I’m blogging now so I will probably have a rice cake and some fruit and a real dinner which will likely be the chicken I made in the crockpot yesterday or the ground turkey that’s in the fridge.

I’m heading into my last official full week of this goal.  My goal for the next week and a half is to continue to be prepared and make sure I’m not slipping into a day full of meals that are granola bars, fruit strips, cookies, popcorn, and what I call a “hodge podge” of random organic snacks.  I honestly thought all my blog posts this month would be about the emotional meltdowns I was having over trying to get off processed foods….but no.  Is this because I mentally prepared?  Because I did research?  Because I secretly kind of like shopping at Whole Foods?  Because I have a carb fest of a meal planned for May 1?  Or simply because it’s spring?  Still pondering…

For those wondering about my red arm situation – I did take a photo of my arms on day 1 and will post it next to a picture of my arms sometime the last week of the month.  Other than the milkshake day, they are looking much better.  The redness isn’t totally gone but neither is my dairy intake.  After cutting about 80-90% of the casein out of my diet I would almost consider wearing a tank top.  Stay tuned on that one.

iced coffee pinneaple cookie



My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to The Yard

Apr 13…Monday.  I got my first compliment of the month!  A coworker said my skin was glowing.  Yeah!  I had actually noticed the day before that my face seemed to look a little less red/blotchy so someone else saying that validated it and made me feel like a million bucks.  Especially because I was starting the day with texts to Chris letting him know that eating organic felt dumb and I didn’t want to do it anymore.  I didn’t do as good of a job tracking every detail this week based on a busy schedule and a false expectation that I could remember it all – so here’s the main meals and a mix of snacks that were scattered throughout the day.  Organic unless otherwise noted:

7:30am – oats + protein powder (I wanted to puke)

12pm – shredded chicken + wild rice + zucchini + salsa.  I made the chicken the day before by putting chicken broth (pic below) + chicken breasts in the crock pot.

4pm – shredded chicken + salsa.  I had to eat dinner early because my boss was speaking at an OSU class this night and I went to help with a group activity.

8pm – frozen lasagna.  I was starving and turned to my organic foods in reserve.  Come to find out, this purchase was something I bought before doing any research so it didn’t have the organic label noting that it was at least 95% organic, it was simply “made with organic ingredients.”  I also totally forgot that cheese was involved.  I wouldn’t normally eat a piece of lasagna this late but I was starving and the other choices seemed boring.

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon – I think I had a mix of a kid size granola bar, applesauce, strawberries, and a fruit strip.

I binged on a few organic cookies while I was waiting on the frozen lasagna to heat up….I just remembered that part.  Oops.

Apr 14...Here’s the food news:

8am – oatmeal that came from a packet

12pm – same lunch as the day before (shredded chicken + wild rice + zucchini + salsa)

6pm – lifted shoulders with trainer

7:45pm – welp, I veered from the plan and went out to eat.  I stuck with my organic rule though and ended up at Northstar.  It was a busy day/evening and I noticed I just wanted to go out to eat because I enjoy the break/time to myself.  I had the sweet basil burrito with chicken and took half home.  Oh yeah, I ate an oatmeal raisin cookie.  I didn’t feel miserable because it was healthy but I kind of wish I would’ve just eaten at home and cookies are supposed to only be a weekend thing.  The way I felt when I stopped to eat is how I’ve felt often when I stop to eat somewhere – except I normally  make unhealthy choices and then go with the ole ‘well, I already ate bad so I might as well wait and try again next week’ which is not a good mindset so I guess I’m happy I didn’t take it to that place.

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks – same as the day before, a mix of fruit, granola bar, applesauce, and fruit strip

Apr 15…Let’s cut to the chase, I had a milkshake.

8am – oatmeal from a packet

12pm – lunch out at Bare Burger.  Turkey burger + salad.  I went with a coworker and all it took was for me to say “their milkshakes are so good here, especially the peanut butter one, and….actually….they’re organic.”  I caved under peer pressure and sucked down every drop of that milkshake (pic of milkshake and their menu below).  It technically was organic and followed my overall goal, but saving sweets (even if organic) only on weekends and not having dairy went out the window.  I was actually regretting it at the same time I was having it, mainly because I was a little disappointed in myself for caving so quickly when I’ve been so focused/disciplined up to this point.  Even though the redness on my arms has yet to totally go away this month (and I have still had milk in my coffee everyday), just know that my arms were so red they almost looked purple in spots by the end of my work day.  So maybe it is from casein after all?!  Sidenote – I broke down and made an appointment with a dermatologist for next week.  I wanted to “heal” my arms with no dairy, but it’s not happening quick enough for me and one PB milkshake set me back x10.

8pm – 2 ground turkey tacos on whole wheat soft shells + salsa.  I didn’t leave work until 7pm so I was cooking turkey on the skillet later than desired, but the milkshake situation made me reel it back in as far as food choices are concerned.

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks – same as the other 2 days

Apr 16…Thursday with plans to have dinner out (at a non-organic restaurant) with my boss and a couple workers.  I said in my original rules that if I was at a restaurant without organic options, my default would be to select the cleanest/healthiest thing on the menu.  Here’s how it shook out:

8am – almonds

9am – oatmeal from a packet

10am – applesauce + blueberries

12pm – left over ground turkey tacos with whole wheat soft shells + salsa

3pm – apple.  I swallowed a piece whole on accident and almost choked.

5:30pm – dinner at The Pearl.  This was not organic but the best option I could find – roasted chicken, quinoa, edamame (my first time having that), roasted tomatoes.  The meal looked very pretty on my plate but I didn’t take a pic since I was with my boss/coworkers and it would’ve been weird.  I had a decaf coffee after dinner.  I dreamt of eating the corn bread appetizer and the brown sugar pie for dessert, but I refrained.

7pm – stomach ache thanks to the dinner which was my first non-organic meal in 15 days

As I look back over the last 4 days, I had the most meals out that I’ve had all month and the least amount of workouts.  That’s just reality.  If you (meaning me) can avoid totally dropping your plan when your schedule isn’t perfectly aligned with gym time and organic options – then you’re good.  Matter of fact, we have friends coming in town this weekend and my Grandpa will be in town – both of which we’ll go out to eat for – both of which will likely not be at an organic restaurant.  These goals are awesome to have and have kept 2015 so interesting, but if family or friends who I never see come in to town and that means I have to eat a non-organic egg on Sunday morning….I’m not going to be anything other than happy about it.  It’s about fitting this into life, not making it my life.

So I’m officially at the halfway point.  I have learned how to read labels, I have filled up my camera roll with pictures of food, I have found 2 restaurants I can eat almost all organic, I have suffered from a non-organic stomach ache, I have lost at least 6.5lbs and have told my husband to hide the scale until the end of the month, and I have actually not struggled nearly as much as I thought I would with sticking with my plan.  I have a teammate who is eating clean this month who sits by me at work, and I have a husband to eats clean all the time.  Surrounding yourself with others doing the same thing is the key to this madness!

Here’s to the halfway point!


Lasagna chicken broth Bare Burger Menu milkshake





Cheezes Crust

Apr 9…This day felt like a hodge podge of organic foods pieced together.  Last night, I totally forgot to get my food (specifically lunch) together for today.  I grabbed every small organic food I had and I think this is what I recall eating…

8am – almonds (I needed a break from oats)

10am – coffee with skim milk (not organic)

11am – strawberries, kid size raisin granola bar

12pm – scrambled eggs that Chris made for me in the morning since I was unprepared, applesauce

4pm – fruit strip

I think I had to have eaten something else in there but forget?

5:15pm – lifted back with trainer + 15 (or 20? I forget) minutes walking on the treadmill

7:30pm – 2 ground turkey tacos on whole wheat wraps with salsa

My appetite was low today.  Nothing profound to note other than having organic snacks like a granola bar, fruit strip, or almonds handy that requires no prep made it a little easier today when I was semi-unprepared.

Apr 10…Friday and I’m off work.  I scheduled this day off when I was in the midst of the super busy work week I had at the end of March.  It was the earliest convenient day I could find.  I may be guilty of scheduling my days off around a yoga class I like too.  I had planned to hunt down some super secret trendy organic restaurant on this day too with dreams of fancy pictures of hummus I magically liked or pictures of me standing outside this hole in the wall type of place.  Instead, the day went as follows….

10am – oatmeal – I am sick of the oats + protein powder so I switched to the packets which are still organic but less protein (pic of the box below)

12pm – (Vinyasa) Yoga at Thank Yoga in Short North.  If you’re ever in Columbus, take a yoga class here.  The owner has a gift of teaching yoga that makes you feel like the adult version of a “cool kid” between the location of the studio, the music, and her overall badass yet humble demeanor.  The studio is mysteriously hard to find and requires street parking and walking through an alley to get to before you roll your mat out in a space that’s both small and large at the same time with the perfect number of imperfections in the wood floors.  It makes you feel like you’re a little part of an underground Columbus.

1:30pm – kid size raisin granola bar and fruit strip as I tried to figure out what restaurant I was going to hit up

2pm – I landed at Northstar.  It was close to Thank Yoga and ranks as #1 on my google search of top organic restaurants in Columbus.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, you already know that I said I felt like I was filming a documentary while I was there because it required a small rally of kitchen staff to answer my question regarding the organic make up of my food.  This took my mind on a tangent of how much I really would like to film a documentary – an idea I mentioned no less than 5 times to Chris over the course of the weekend.  Anyway, the short version of my lunch was the black bean and chicken chili.  The staff said the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and black beans were organic.  They didn’t reveal that they would be putting cheese on top which would not only violate my no dairy (even though I justify the milk in my coffee) rule but the combo would also leave me with my first stomach ache in 10 days.  I ate every bit of that chili, had a coffee, and a shooting star (carrot, orange, lemon, and ginger juice).  Maybe it was the combo of the drinks that didn’t pair with chili whatsoever (I hate people who say “pair” and I just did it), but I left the restaurant feeling fuller than I had felt the last 10 days.  It was glorious and miserable all at once.  Oh yeah, the chili came with chips too with no comment of organic either way.  Pic below.

2-4pm – a combo of chocolate covered pretzels, fruit strip (I think I ate 2….well…I know I ate 2), and a new kind of organic juice I bought at whole foods (pic below).  The symbol is on the back showing that it is at least 95% organic.  It’s more of a smoothie-type consistency and I’m positive the sugar and carbs, even if from organic fruits and vegetables, is a little high….but it was yummy.

6:15pm – last minute decision to do an hour hip hop class.  Why not?!

7:45pm – 2 eggs + ezekial bread + new kind of jam I picked up (pic below)

My learning for today was around eating out.  In my search for that so-called cool organic restaurant, I noticed that the restaurants who do claim to be “organic” aren’t really 100% organic.  Most of their websites actually say “we do our best to source from local farms….”  “Do our best?!”  What is that?  If you’re a type A personality (I’m in denial) then “do our best” leaves you going…..’so…..is this organic or not?’  Matter of fact, when I told Chris I didn’t think everything at Northstar was organic he actually said “well, they do their best.”  He even knew that was the slogan too!  I also noticed most places that say they are organic are also vegan.  No knock to vegans, but what is cheeze?  I noticed this trend where vegan cheese (meaning no animal products) is actually called “cheeze” in some places.  Before I actually went into Northstar I stopped at zpizza which is next door which I have heard is organic too.  I read their menu posted on their window and it says their tomato sauce is organic – leaves me thinking their cheese (or cheeze?) is not organic nor is their crust?  I’m guessing it’s a combo of organic and non-organic foods?  I’m making this judgement based on a quick scan of a menu and a quick google search so I could be wrong and since the comments are shut off on this blog you can’t tell me otherwise…mwa ha ha.  I can’t believe I walked away from a pizza place, especially one I could’ve justified as part organic, but I knew it would tempt me to go totally rogue and I’d end up justifying donatos by day 20.  Plus, all I could think about was a concert we went to with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law where they sold pieces of pizza – one piece specifically called “cheesus crust” and had a sketch of Jesus next to it.  Maybe I’ll celebrate 30 days of organic eating with “cheezes crust” on day 30?

Apr 11…I’ve started weighing myself too much thinking that organic = magic weight loss.  I instructed Chris to hide the scale until the last week of April so I’d stop getting it out of it’s current hiding space on an almost daily basis.  In food news….

9:30am-ish – packet of oatmeal, organic coffee I made at home (look at me!) with a small amount of organic milk, orange slices

11am – lifted chest with Chris.  I realized how much better shape I’d be in if I would’ve made 1 month’s worth of Gals With Goals dedicated to lifting with him.  I also re-remembered how incredibly strong he is.  I couldn’t lift my arms by 11:10am.

1pm – egg taco (3 scrambled eggs + whole wheat tortilla + salsa) + another one of the smoothie-kind of juices

5pm – (4 hour lag time before next meal, I should’ve packed something) – we were at Easton so I found myself at Northstar again.  I had the sweet basil burrito which came with chips and salsa.  According to the cashier, nearly everything in it is organic.  She said she thought the chicken was organic, the brown rice is noted as organic on the menu, and she said the vegetables should be organic.  No comment on the chips that came with it, and it just seems stupid for the salsa to not be organic.  I only ate half of the burrito.

7pm – chocolate covered pretzels – I’m officially addicted to those things now

8pm – fruit strip

I didn’t really get in solid snacks today.  Oh well.  I watched the “Forks Over Knives” documentary at night to keep my motivation going and because I don’t really know how to turn off the Apple TV and Chris was upstairs, I went ahead and watched the “Miss Represented” documentary too.  I was a feminist vegan by 11:30pm.

Apr 12…Sundays which are normally designated for yoga, lunch, and shopping (and yes I feel guilty not saying “church” in that sentence) and today was no exception.

10am – oatmeal

11am – (Mysore Ashtanga) Yoga at Lulu Lemon

12:15pm – Look, I’m at Northstar again!  It’s my normal stop on Sundays, but when you blog about your habits sometimes you go “wait, so I went to the same restaurant Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday?!”  I wanted the granola but opted out because of the greek yogurt (avoiding dairy).  I got the sweet potato hash (pic below), shooting star juice, coffee (they had an organic kind!) and an oatmeal raisin cookie that I feel no shame for because it was an “organic cheat” I’m convinced….even though I now realize there is probably some sort of dairy product in it.  I felt a little sad when I left at least 1/3 of the sweet potato hash uneaten because Chris loves that dish and would’ve said “you aren’t going to eat that?!” if he were there.  I ate until I was full and stopped.

3:30pm – fruit strip I had in my bag because I was still out shopping

4:30pm – orange slices

And now I’m blogging so I haven’t eaten dinner yet.  I’m blogging from our back patio with music playing and the perfect weather.  Yes!

My learning for today is….if you really do have a food allergy (since all my no dairy talk has just been a self diagnosed sensitivity to casein which may be fictional), you are a rockstar!  I know of many friends, neighbors, etc whose kids have peanut or tree nut allergies, a friend whose kid has an egg allergy, coworkers with gluten allergies, etc.  Well, I just want to say I have serious respect.  For me to say I’m avoiding dairy and then put some milk in my coffee….there’s no real repercussions.  The mindset you have to have if you have a food allergy or you’re the parent of a kid with a food allergy who isn’t old enough to make their own food choices…wow!  The research, the worry, the challenges with eating out.  I have a whole new respect, and even this piddly blog/30 day experiment doesn’t do you justice!

I find I’m cutting out a lot of my thoughts/feelings/etc about this whole thing in order to not post the longest blog posts ever since I’m including everything I’ve personally been eating.  I’m not going to do that anymore, you peeps can skim and look only at the pics I guess if you don’t want to read all the gory details.  Long posts coming to a blog near you next week…

Trunk Foods Chili Northstar menu Northstar

For those of you still hanging with this post, here’s a fun egg lesson for you.  If you look at these 2 cartons of eggs, which one do you want to buy more?  Probably the top one thanks to the marketing – there’s a sun on it, it says “cage free” which we hear is good, and it even says “certified humane” which seems notable!  No one wants to scramble a non-humane little baby chick.  There’s also a “non GMO” label on it and we all know GMO means we’re going to die if we eat it (in due time).  Well, you’ll notice it doesn’t have the “certified organic” round label on it like the one on the bottom.  So the boring red labeled one is at least 95% organic, and the top one….we don’t know.



The Day I Said a Turkey Burger Was Amazing & The Dirty Dozen

Apr 7…Let’s start with the rundown of my food choices today:

Organic unless otherwise noted

8am – oats + protein powder

9am – iced coffee with skim milk – yup, a splash of milk and it wasn’t organic.  Coffee was always my non-organic exception, I’m tired of justifying it and I can’t handle it without the milk I was trying so desperately to get rid of.  It tasted amazing.  Note – just because I’ve totally failed on eliminating milk in my coffee, please do not dismiss my ability to go without cheese, yogurt, sour cream, or cottage cheese for 7 days so far.  ::patting self on back::

11am – strawberries + 2 rice cakes – I still stand by the fact that the organic rice cakes taste so much better (pic in a past post)

12pm – the last of my left over chicken, tomatoes, and wild rice

12:30pm – mint tea at Starbucks and I’m still unsure if that’s organic?

3pm – protein shake – it was the 2nd of those 2 milk free plant based protein packets I bought before where I described the taste much like dirty water

5pm – fruit strip on drive home

5:10pm – kid size raisin granola bar on the drive home – organic, 80 calories, and helped distract the mind while stuck in traffic.  I feel like “stuck in traffic” may be a spin off blog I do in 2016 as it makes it’s way into most of my posts?!

6pm – the last 4 chocolate covered pretzels in the bag….the same bag that was supposed to be opened only on weekends.  Oops.

6:25pm – 2 pieces of toasted Ezekiel bread with peanut butter.  I could’ve had 1 and been fine.  Organic Smuckers peanut butter is not my fav and a little goes a long way.

7pm – Hour and a half zumba/hip hop

I didn’t feel like cheating on my plan today but I wasn’t in love with what I ate.  I had hoped to have eggs after Zumba and wouldn’t call toast a dinner, but it’s better than choices I’ve made in the past and everything was organic (except the coffee, of course).  I did find that during my drive home I was mentally in a place where I was frustrated, couldn’t decide if I should drive straight to Zumba or go home first, and there was a little part of me that wanted to just stop off and eat at a restaurant and forget all of my plans (which I’ve done numerous times in the past).  I got it together, pushed through, and came home from Zumba at 9pm sweaty, exhausted, and a little dehydrated.  Must drink more water.

Apr 8…Ever have a day when the first thought upon opening your eyes is ‘wish I had a donut?’  This was one of those mornings.  I’m “in it” this month mentally so I knew I wasn’t going to actually have a donut, but when I weighed myself to see I was still at a loss of 6lbs it was easy to get discouraged and want 2 donuts instead of 1.  6lbs is great and I’m only officially 8 days in, but you know when you have a few awesome workouts and a handful of healthy eating days….it’s easy to get a little delusional on your results.  I’m all but in crop tops (as if people wear crop tops anymore?) and in the 120’s in my mind….but apparently reality takes longer.  I also knew that today was going to be my first day eating out for lunch (other than Easter weekend which didn’t count according to my rules/planned cheats) so I was hoping it didn’t start to derail me.  Here’s what’s fueling me today…

Organic unless otherwise noted

8am…oats + protein powder – so over it

9:30am…coffee + skim milk – not organic

11am…strawberries – I almost forgot to eat this meal due to meetings.  I had planned on eating rice cakes too but didn’t since it was so close to lunch and I was busy prepping for another meeting

12pm – lunch out at Bare Burger – I had been there once before to scope it out knowing this goal was planned for April.  They say they are organic, their menu says “Bare Burger Organic” on the top, and their chalkboard sign outside references organic and kitschy drawings of animals that say “I like grass.”  I didn’t investigate down to the details of what they consider organic or what percentage of their food is organic, etc.  Since my criteria was ‘if it says “organic” it counts’ I was willing to roll with it.  I also kept with my ‘choose the cleanest thing on the menu’ option while out too.  I had a turkey burger on a sprout bun (plain, no condiments) with a garden salad with some sort of avocado-type of dressing.  The burger was amazing!  I know that I’m either tired of packing (8 days is a lot for me, I could eat out for every meal normally) or their food is just really that good….because I would laugh at myself a few weeks ago at the thought of claiming a turkey burger was amazing.  Pic below.

3:30pm – protein shake (using the same powder I put in my oats). Eh.

4:45pm – fruit strip + kid size raisin granola bar

7pm…chocolate covered pretzels….a new bag I bought that was supposed to be for the weekend….oops again

7:30pm – ground turkey tacos which also tasted amazing!  Maybe I was just really hungry today?  For turkey specifically?  It was just ground turkey + whole wheat taco shells + salsa.  If you don’t eat organic or don’t desire to – at least change to organic taco seasoning.  It tastes way better, doesn’t make your stomach feel weird (or maybe it’s just me that the other kind does that to?), and I read somewhere on Pinterest the other kind is some super crazy toxic mix of seasonings that we will eventually all die from.  I would hate for everyone to die from a taco.

I hit a wall at 5pm as far as my energy was concerned (from work/working out or because I ate out? Mmmm?) and felt thankful that I was considering it a rest day from working out.  When I left work I just wanted to eat whatever and then lay down.  The urge to stop and eating anything wasn’t that strong but it was there.  I opted for a dry cleaning pick up and the tacos at home instead and was thankful I did later.

bare burger Tacos

For those of you who enjoy the ‘learning something new’ portion of this blog – here’s an organic lesson for you today.  In the organic world, there’s something called “The Dirty Dozen” which is basically saying that if nothing else, at least buy these items organic due to the highest potential level of pesticides compared to other fruits and vegetables.  So if you’re finding organic foods are more expensive (oh yeah, I’m supposed to talk about the price difference in a blog soon!) and have to be selective about which ones you can/want to spend the money on, here’s a visual to show you which ones you should consider investing in the organic option.  Each fruit and vegetable on this picture has arms, legs, and a mouth…so clearly this is credible (I have read about this dirty dozen outside of this picture though too to validate the info).

In summary, buy these items organic plus my recommendation of organic taco seasoning and visit a Bare Burger if you find one!

Dirty dozen

Got Milk?

Apr 4…A Saturday in Dayton celebrating Easter a day early.  I talked to my mom on the phone when I woke up and she kept asking me to repeat myself because I sound like a frog thanks to whatever is swirling around in the air that’s killing my allergies.  I’m tempted to actually go to an allergist to find out exactly what I’m allergic to because my allergy app isn’t showing me any sort of trend, but our family doctor quit so now I have to go through the hoops of a new family doctor with a referral first.  Obviously, the smarter thing to do is have watery eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy voice while spending $20+ at a time on over the counter allergy medicines.  Since today was an official cheat day because of the family time/holiday per my first post, here’s the rundown (organic unless otherwise noted):

9am – oats + protein powder + ginger tea with honey

11:30am – strawberries + applesauce

1pm – Lunch at Coldwater Cafe with my family (none of this was organic) – bread, turkey chili, cornbread, chicken salad sandwich, chips (I refrained from a dessert ::patting self on back::)

4pm – Dinner with Chris’ family (none of this was organic)- turkey, green beans, 1 scoop of cheesy potato salad (::patting self on back for only one scoop::), fruit, wheat roll, raspberry lemonade, 1 tiny chocolate egg, 1 little cluster of frosted flakes (I think) with peanut butter, and 1 similar-type cluster with chocolate and marshmallows.  I’m still impressed with myself for not having macaroni and cheese as I could probably live off just that for the rest of my life.  Once I’m an old lady…I plan to just eat noodles and candy and wear gaudy jewelry, lipstick, and bright colors and gamble a lot.  Why not?!

8pm – Apple + almonds.  I wasn’t really hungry but ate it so I could stick with my 5-6 meals a day/stay on track.  I also have probably only eaten an apple 5 times in my life that wasn’t already pre-sliced.

The day was great and other than my allergic reaction to the outdoors, it was nice seeing family and we even had time to stop by my BFF’s too.  I can’t say I felt any worse after eating these foods compared to organic foods since I’m only 4 days in.

Apr 5….Easter.  He has risen!  It’s a beautiful day.  We didn’t have any plans today for the holiday and are probably both carrying a slight level of guilt that we didn’t attend church.  I’ve spent most of the morning scrolling through Facebook to find pictures of my beautiful friends and their perfectly gorgeous kids.  I think all my friends kids could be models.  My only plan for the day was to recover in some fashion with the allergies, stick to my food plan, and catch up on the normal laundry, pay bills, etc type of items while listening to Norah Jones’ Pandora station on the SONOS speaker.  I also had a great level of happiness when I remembered this coming week is only a 4 day work week since I scheduled Friday off just for the heck of it (“heck of it” means yoga, shopping, and finding a cool organic place to stop downtown – I’m an advocate for taking days off for yourself just because it makes you happy).  Because I’m not feeling 100%, my temptation to cheat on my meals isn’t that high, but I can’t say I didn’t dream of a brunch today with Chris at a trendy restaurant where we’d drink coffee, eat biscuits with homemade jam (I’ve never seen him eat a biscuit), and laugh about life while someone secretly took artsy black and white photos of us (yeah – those are what my day dreams look like).  Oh yeah, my hair would also have a perfect wave to it and our outfits would be a mix between casual and super trendy.  Enough of that, here’s what went down the hatch today….

As always, it’s organic unless otherwise noted.

10am (slow start) – oatmeal + protein powder + ginger tea with honey

12:30pm – rice cake + blueberries (freezing them is the ticket!) + organic coffee + a splash of organic milk (doesn’t align to my no dairy rule but I couldn’t drink the coffee black and am hoping the tiny bit I put in there won’t travel to my arms and make them red.  I’ve been justifying my coffee choices for months on this blog I think).

3pm – chicken + tomatoes (from a can) + zucchini + wild rice.  I was actually impressed with myself with this little dish (pic below).  I ate some chocolate pretzels while I was cooking.

6pm – I went back for more chocolate pretzels.  I then read that it “contains milk.”  I’m totally failing on the no dairy.

7:30pm – protein powder + ice + honey + water (I would normally use milk but didn’t) in the magic bullet.  It was gross.

Since I ate my first meal so late, I only really got 4 meals in today.  I went to bed feeling organized with my food for tomorrow, all my clean clothes put away, etc.  Never underestimate the power of a clean house and organization!

chicken and tomatoes

Apr 6…Monday morning which means I was at the gym at 6am. Okay…6:15am.  I’m still sticking with my early Monday morning workouts and then evening workouts the other days of the week.  It frees up my Monday evening to prep my food or stay late at work if necessary, even though I made a last minute decision to do Zumba tonight too.  The day went as follows….

6:15am – 25 minutes on elliptical

7am – The new cold brew iced coffee from Starbucks – black

7:10am – A splash of organic milk in the new cold brew iced coffee from Starbucks. #nomilkfail  That $h*t is strong without some sort of milk!

8:15am – oats + protein powder even though it was the last thing I wanted to eat and I should’ve probably left earlier for work

10am – (frozen) strawberries + applesauce

12pm – leftovers from last night’s dinner (chicken + tomatoes + zucchini + wild rice)

12:15pm – mint tea from Starbucks *this wasn’t organic I don’t think.  This was strictly an excuse to step away from my desk and thanks to some tea and headphones I avoided the bread, noodles, and pizza I was dreaming about.

3pm – protein powder mixed with water. Gross.  It tasted like dirty water.  It was a new kind that didn’t contain milk so I bought a couple packets to give them a try.  It wasn’t any worse than any other protein powder, but….blah.  Picture below.

5pm – fruit strip while I drove home from a Whole Foods pit stop

6:30pm – left over chicken + tomatoes from last night with a whole wheat tortilla that I ate like a 5 year old by tearing it into pieces while my chicken heated up

7pm – Zumba

8:30pm – vitamin water *not organic.  I made a pit stop at Kroger (yes, 2nd grocery store in 1 day) and I was so thirsty and it looked so good

9pm – applesauce + 1 dried apple chip that was gross

protein powder

It’s 9:30pm and I’m exhausted.  After 6 days I’m already starting to feel so much better in my clothes which has increased my mood x10!  I could actually breath in my work pants today and didn’t feel the need to unbutton my pants while driving just because my trench coat covered my waist (you know you do it too…or…uh….is that just me?).  I think I had mentally prepared for this month so much that my temptations have been fleeting and haven’t gotten to me too much.  We’ll see how the next 25 days go.  I wish I would’ve done a better job of tracking the number of grocery trips I’ve made so far, but let’s just call it 5 in 6 days to be safe.  I go a lot in general because Chris is always eating clean, but this organic thing has just put it over the top.  I’ll discuss in future posts the cost difference between organic and not.  Apparently “not” is called “conventional” according to the signs at Whole Foods.

As for the no dairy piece of this gig….I’m trying.  I think the little splash in my coffee is going to have to stay – I just need to do a better job of realizing that milk is in practically everything I guess.  My upper arms are still really red.

Based on my overall boosted mood the last 6 days – I’m convinced the most damaging thing we can do to our mental selves is to not take care of our physical selves.

Here’s to doing it all over again tomorrow…









April 1…My goal this month is to eat all organic for every meal.  Before I start with the rundown of what April 1st involved, here are my general rules for this month (subject to change upon my discretion/emotional state as the month wears on):

1.  Must eat organic for every meal for the month of April.  If it says “organic” in the title – it counts (more to come on label reading).

2.  Coffee gets an exception.  If there’s an organic coffee option I will get it, otherwise, give me the Starbucks blonde roast.

3.  I get 2 cheat meals for Easter (actually, the Saturday before Easter) – lunch with my family and dinner with Chris’ family.  Holidays and family time should be focused on that….who cares about organic asparagus on these days as they’re few and far between.

4.  If a peer, boss, or someone of an executive level asks me to go to lunch/dinner I will do my best to select a restaurant with organic options.  If I’m not in control of the picking, my default with be the cleanest/healthiest option on the menu.

5.  A minimum of 5 out of the 7 days a week will be “clean organic” as I’m calling it.  Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  I could technically fill this month with organic cookies, organic milkshakes, organic chocolate, etc.  I have those in reserve in the pantry, but only for weekends.

6.  I will eat every 2-3 hours totaling between 5-6 meals a day depending upon workouts/timing.

7.  I have keratosis pilaris on the back of my upper arms (aka the tops of my arms get really red) which I’m suspecting (through google searches/self-diagnosis) is due to a casein sensitivity.  Casein is a protein found in milk, therefore, I’ll be giving up all dairy products that contain casein in hopes of wearing sleeveless shirts by May without being self conscious.

So back to April 1st.  The first week of a new goal is awesome – with this new goal every month thing it’s very freeing to release the old goal and start a new one.  I decided that if I can step up my workouts in combination with this “clean organic” eating then I will hopefully feel amazing by month-end.  So I headed out the door at 5:20am to try out my first hot yoga class which started at 6am.  I’ve been doing yoga for years but have always avoided hot yoga because I hate heat.  I guess this blog has inspired me to step out and try new things on a lot of levels.  What’s the worst thing that can happen?….I sweat and leave early?  Fortunately, she only had time to heat up the room 30 minutes before the class so the room only got up to 88 degrees according to the view I got of the thermostat from downward facing dog.  Bonus – the class was free thanks to a birthday coupon I received in my email.  To avoid this blog becoming incredibly long, I’ll hop straight to it on the food.  I pulled out my old obnoxiously large cooler from my figure competition days and packed it for the day.  Here’s what I ate (all items are organic unless otherwise noted):

5am – almonds

6am – hot yoga

8am – oats with chocolate protein powder mixed in it, ginger tea with honey

10am – applesauce and strawberries

11am – Iced coffee from Starbucks – black

12pm – scrambled eggs, sweet potato, zucchini

3pm – protein shake, almonds

5pm – fruit strip while driving

6:15pm – zumba

8pm – scrambled eggs and asparagus

It was easy to stick to my plan today.  It was day 1, I was motivated, and I had a meeting over lunch distracting me from going out to eat.

Here are some pics of the products…

Food 1 Food 2 Food 3

A few things I’ve learned through my pre-April research is….

-If it says “made with organic ingredients” then it’s only 70-94% organic.

-If it says “organic” but there’s no organic logo on it then it’s <70% organic (example, the bag of almonds above)

-If it says “100% organic” plus the logo then it’s 100% organic (in 3 shopping trips, I have yet to find 1 product that says this)

-If it says “organic” plus the logo then it’s 95% organic (which is the majority of the products I bought).  It’s like a class you can never get an 100% or A+ in because everything I’m finding falls within this category.

Here’s the logo you’re looking for which will ensure at least 95% organic and you can see it on everything in my photos except the almonds (and the tea because it’s on the box it came out of):

Organic label

I’ve also learned that the numbers listed on fruits and vegetables will give you an indication if it’s organic, genetically engineered, or contains pesticides.  Every week for the last 6 years I’ve been buying items that start with a 4 (yikes!) but once switching to organic I’ve been buying items with a 9.  The funny thing is, at Whole Foods the asparagus or other items will have a giant 9 in the front to highlight that it’s organic.  So I guess this info is in fact true (my standard is obviously just a pinterest image and Whole Foods sign to make something true)…

Produce label

April 2…I woke up feeling dehydrated from yesterday’s hot yoga, zumba, and probably not enough water.  In terms of food, it was similar to the day before (I have a feeling many blog posts this month will read the same way).  Here’s the general rundown…

8am – oats with chocolate protein powder in it

10am – applesauce and strawberries (I’ve learned to freeze them or they go bad way too fast)

12pm – scrambled eggs, sweet potato that wasn’t cooked all the way through, and asparagus that I ate with my hands like french fries

2pm – coffee with soy milk (soy milk was not organic – I got so excited about soy being an option without casein (I think) and being that high maintenance person who asks them to get special soy milk out that I totally forgot about my organic goal for 5 seconds)

3pm – 2 rice cakes which are very crumbly but taste way better than the quaker kind we normally buy (pic below)

5:30pm – fruit strip while driving (yes, these little adult fruit roll-ups are quick, easy, taste great, and help to avoid starving – pic above)

6pm – lifted back with my trainer

7pm – protein shake on the way home

8:30pm – 2 pieces of toasted Ezekial bread with peanut butter

rice cakes

I didn’t feel any temptation to cheat today except for 5 seconds when something irritated me (my first reaction was ‘what can I eat?!’) and when someone said the word “Donatos” at work today.  One thing I’d like to mention is that I used to be a serious diet coke addict.  I kicked the habit in January 2014 when I had my gallbladder removed (hey look – I got to talk about that surgery twice in this blog and I’m only on my 4th month!).  I decided that was a good time to let it go and never look back.  I don’t think I could’ve switched to all organic and kicked diet coke at the same time this month if I hadn’t eliminated that from my life last year.  Additionally, I gave up red meat at that time (I still eat chicken and turkey but no cow or pig) and alcohol which I never really drank in the first place.

One sad realization I had today was about my arms.  I noticed they were still red (you know in my mind I expected them to clear up completely in 2 days).  I was driving home thinking about it while I drank my protein shake (the one that has the cap on it and is already mixed up and ready to drink).  Then it dawned on me….I looked down and read “contains milk” on the side.  Ugh!  I assumed it didn’t because the tub of the powder I bought of the same brand that I’ve been putting in my oats (and pictured above) says “dairy free.”  So no luck on the no dairy part of the goal yet.  I had one more of those shakes in my fridge so I planned to have it tomorrow and not buy them again.

I’ve lost 5lbs since my birthday (March 25).  Crazy because I’m only 2 days in.  What does that say for what I was eating before?!

April 3…A Friday that I squeezed myself into some old jeans because I was convinced that I was clearly lighter and leaner after a mere 3 days.  As much as I don’t want to type about not feeling well…it’s totally the weather and a sinus/sore throat situation.  I went to work a little late but pushed through and have been taking medicine every 4 hours.  At least it’s not the “blah” feeling I’ve complained about in past blogs based on what I was eating.  The good news is, I think my sense of smell is gone so my food temptations are practically non-existent.  The menu today is….

8am…oats with chocolate protein powder

9:30am…coffee with soy (I figured coffee was my exception from organic anyway so I splashed the same soy I used the day before in there today – look at me rationalizing after only 72 hours)

10am….applesauce and blueberries (froze those too because I’ve thrown away one too many fruits that have gone bad too fast in my day)

12pm….scrambled eggs, zucchini, the other half of the sweet potato that wasn’t cooked all the way through

3pm…fruit strip while driving (Good Friday….got to leave work early)

5pm…protein shake (yes, the last one with the “contains milk” label), almonds

6pm….rice cake with peanut butter

7:30pm…I’ll be making ground turkey black bean chili for dinner after I post this blog

Moved my cardio plans to tomorrow because of not feeling well

The only thing that kept me from not wanting to cheat today was eating every 2-3 hours.  I never got to a starving point where I’d want to stop off and eat somewhere which would’ve been my typical Friday.  I lost another .5lbs so I’m down a total of 5.5lbs now since March 25.  I didn’t start eating organic on March 26, but the 25th was the last day I weighed myself.  While this post was strictly what I bought and what I ate – I anticipate future posts to get more at the heart of the emotional side that comes with weaning off of processed foods and passing Tim Hortons without getting a donut.  I’m an emotional eater.