Hello Healthy Eating - Because eating healthy makes you happy!
Hello there! My name is Cailee. I live a happy, busy life and I'm a 'little bit' obsessed with health and nutrition. I'm gluten, dairy, and soy intolerant, but I still seek to eat a balanced diet... everyday.
Having an autoimmune disease can be a real pain sometimes. I’ve recently been going through a flare-up of my Psoriasis. While psoriasis is a skin disease, the effects of it begin and end far beyond my skin. I do believe that food is medicine and I’m always adapting my diet in an attempt to manage my disease. Psoriasis is caused by chronic inflammation so lately I’ve been making an increased effort to reduce inflammation in my diet.
The other day I was listening to a podcast about inflammation and intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is essentially a shortened fast. We all fast while we sleep at night, but intermittent fasting takes it a step further. The fast I choose was 16 hours of fasting & an 8 hour ‘feeding’ period. Essentially I stopped eating by around 7pm at night and then started eating again the next day sometime between 11 and 12pm.
My experience? The first few days were great! I was really excited about my new health experiment! I felt like I was cleansing my body and giving it plenty of time to rest! But I can’t lie, a few days in and it was getting HARD. I’ve been practicing intuitive eating for years and I suddenly felt like I was actively working against my intuition. By the time I finally sat down to breakfast after 16 hours of nothing, I was weak and famished. I was SO hungry that I felt like I couldn’t fully the food which was finally in front of me! I realized that I was probably not eating enough calories since it was such a short window of time.
I’ve decided to take a more intuitive approach to intermittent fasting! Meaning, I still have days where I decide to fast in the morning and not eat breakfast till 11:30, but other days when I wake up hungry, I will eat! I still try to do 12-13 hours of fasting because honestly I’ve been doing that for years. I’m not a nighttime snacker and I usually prefer to eat a late breakfast, so that just works out for me. Bottom line? Listen to your body!
It’s all about balance… so while ‘intermittent fasting and I’ are no longer exclusive, I’m SO glad I tried it for a week. We learn something new everyday!
“We don’t need more to be thankful for, we just need to be more thankful.” –Carlos Castaneda
Isn’t it funny how much your mindset impacts your life?? Your perception of your circumstances often determines your attitude. And we all know that a bad attitude makes EVERYTHING worse.
Imagine this- you wake up late and run out the door to work. You’ve got no time to make breakfast so you skip it and feel your tummy grumble as you hop in the car. You glance into the mirror and realize just how terrible your hair looks (talk about bed head!). Ugh! You’re swiftly driving to work when someone suddenly cuts you off. You feel frustration and anger building inside you… plus. at this point your starving and you can sense your under-caffeinated self getting grumpy. When you finally pull up to work, all the convenient parking spots are obviously taken. Oh, and naturally it’s raining. At this point, you’re MAD. You walk into work and snap at the first co-worker that cheerfully says “good morning.” Unfortunately, your perception (and the way you respond to all these events) sets the tone for the rest of your day.
Now imagine the exact same situation, but try approaching it with an attitude of gratitude. When you wake up late, you’re thankful for the extra sleep you got and you’re glad that you can still make it to work on time. You glance in that rear view mirror and you’re thankful that you always wear a hair tie on your wrist. When that person cuts you off on the highway, you say a little prayer thanking God that it didn’t result in a car accident. When you get to work and have to park far away, you take it as a sign that you could probably use the extra steps. Plus, the rain is an opportunity to use your bright and cheery umbrella (I keep the cutest one in my car and I swear it makes rainy days better). Then when you see your smiling coworker, you’re reminded of how grateful you are to work with such friendly people. Of course, missing breakfast is never fun, but then you remember the yummy gluten free protein bar you stashed in your purse. You take a deep breath and nibble it peacefully at your desk while you work. You suddenly realize just how good it tastes when you are that hungry! With an attitude of gratitude you can face the exact same situation and yet have a completely different experience!
Gratitude changes EVERYTHING. For the next 30 days (starting June 1st) I’m challenging myself to think of something I’m grateful for every single day. I’ll be sharing my 30 Days of Gratitude on my Instagram stories and I encourage YOU to think of all the things YOU’RE thankful for, too. Let’s see if it doesn’t make a difference in the way YOU respond, but also in the way others respond to YOU.
Happiness is a CHOICE that starts with an attitude of gratitude!
…wait, what, MAY?? Does anyone else feel like April flew by?
Honestly, I woke up this morning feeling a bit anxious. I had just finished my breakfast (Hello healthy bowl of oats) and my mind was racing. So I decided to do a little deep breathing meditation. I opened up God’s word and spent a few minutes praying. I was thanking God for blessings in my life (it’s hard to stay anxious and worried when you’re focused on being thankful). I was also praying for wisdom, guidance, and for safety for myself, my friends, my family and my community. I also found myself searching for a ‘word’ for the month, a ‘focus’. I asked God to put something on my heart that could represent all the goals and intentions I was feeling. I opened up my journal and I started to write.
I’m the kind of person who cares more about intentions than outcomes, I’m naturally intrinsically motivated and I find that the only way to feel content and at peace, is to have the right intentions deep within my heart. The journey towards reaching your goals is just as important as getting there.
In my journal I wrote about my spiritual health, career goals, emotional well-being, community involvement, etc. I thought about my different intentions for each category and as I kept writing I found myself continually thinking of the word NOURISH. According to dictionary.com nourish means to- “supply what is necessary for life, health, and growth.” It also means, “to cherish, foster, strengthen, build up or promote.”
In each category I found myself coming back to this idea of nourishment and care… I don’t like to set extreme goals (probably why I’m SO against dieting), but instead I prefer to set loving, gentle, realistic intentions that promote well-being, health, and happiness!
So when I think about praying more, I do so out of love and the connection I have with the Lord. When I think about eating healthy foods, I do so out of care for my body and a desire to be well. When I think about moving and exercise, my goal is not to punish myself, but rather to nourish myself, to strengthen my body and to feel my best! Same with career goals and relationship goals and emotional health goals. It’s amazing what can happen when you set goals from a place of LOVE instead of FEAR.
So… take a deep breath, pour yourself a hot cup of tea, do some gentle stretching, meditate on your favorite verse or quote. Be thankful, consider your priorities, and set reasonable, ‘gentle’ goals. Our attitude impacts all the little things we do each day, so why not choose to do everything with a little more care and love? Take time to NOURISH!
Happiness is… watching the waiter bring you your food at a restaurant.
I LOVE restaurants. There’s just something about eating out that makes me happy. Spending time with the ones I love, enjoying delicious food and making memories are just a few of the reasons I love going out to eat. Not having to do the dishes is a nice perk, too. When I moved to Charleston I realized that so many of the memories I had from Rhode Island revolved around food, specifically food at my favorite restaurants. I thought about the local Vietnamese place that my friends and I were OBSESSED with during college. I thought back to the Noodles restaurant where one of the waitresses always remembered my order (and still gets excited to see me when I go there!!). I thought about the coffee shop where I get my favorite tea, and the romantic restaurant overlooking the water (the one that Mitch and I really love). And when I look back on my 8 months in Charleston, some of my best memories are from the restaurants downtown. I remember the friends I shared those meals with and the good conversations we had.
FOOD is so much more than fuel… so today I want to share my top tips to eating out without ‘breaking the calorie bank’. I also want to share how I eat out on a restricted diet. I’m currently gluten free, but for the past 3 YEARS I was gluten, dairy, and soy free and I still managed to eat delicious food at fun restaurants.
When I came home to Rhode Island for Christmas break I ate at 13 restaurants in 10 days!!! That’s a bit excessive, but what can I say, I was on vacation?? While that may not have been the best for my wallet, I managed to do it without packing on the pounds.
Restaurants don’t have to be unhealthy. For me, I DON’T skip meals to save for a dinner out. Instead I eat normally all day (food is nourishment). I want to show up to dinner hungry, but not ravenous. Otherwise I won’t fully enjoy my delicious meal. I make sure to have veggies with every single dinner out. I’ll have some Thai curry on top of my garden salad, or a Greek salad with some gluten-free pizza, or a bowl of veggie-lentil soup at an Indian restaurant. I love it when there are colorful pictures of the tasty meals and appetizers. Speaking of appetizers, you can totoally blow your fat, sodium and calorie count (not to mention your wallet) on a tasty ‘pre-meal meal’, so why not skip those altogether? Unless you want a little ‘nime chow’ (fresh rolls) to get you started (good for you and not very pricey). I balance my day as I look forward to my night out, but I also balance my meal when I get there. That way I can save room for a little ice cream or dark chocolate when I get home!!
Regarding food intolerances, I’m blessed to live right outside of Providence, RI. While PVD is a small city, there are a TON of delicious ethnic restaurants all over the place. I love Thai, Indian & Mexican food because they have so many delicious gluten/dairy/soy free options! Rice noodles, coconut curries, veggie dishes, corn tacos, etc… YUM! Try something new and look forward to that moment when you spot your waiter waltzing towards your table. Mangia!
How about you? Do you love restaurant food as much as I do?!! What’s your favorite food to eat out?!
I know, you’ve never heard me tell a Dairy Joke, and that’s because for the past few years I haven’t been able to smile about anything ‘dairy’ at all! Three years ago I went ‘dairy free’ to help heal some digestive issues. I also suffered with daily tummy aches and frequent bloating. So, cheese has not been a big part of my life lately.
But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, my childhood nickname was actually “CHEESE!” and I used to LOVE the stuff! I loved all things cheese… mac & cheese, mozzarella sticks, string cheese, sprinkle cheese, cheese pizza, cheese balls, cheetos, cheese flavored popcorn, nacho cheese gold fish… the list goes on and on! Oh, and I also smiled a lot and whenever my mom took the camera out, I would flash my pearly whites and shout, “CHEEEESE!”
On Instagram I shared how I’ve been going through a variety of changes in my life. And this is just one of many.
I ADDED DAIRY BACK INTO MY DIET.
Over the past few months I’ve found myself incredibly dissatisfied around food. I’ve felt like I’m always hungry. I’d come home from work ravenous even though I had eaten enough throughout the day. I secretly referred to myself as a “salad savage”… it wasn’t pretty. Because the food I was eating (mostly veggies) was so low-calorie, I would eat MASSIVE bowls of salad to the point where I was stuffed but not satisfied.
I realized that I while prided myself on intuitive eating and balance, in reality I wasn’t actually listening to my body. I was eating the exact same things every single day! Hardly any variety at all. I soon found myself literally craving yogurt (which is an odd thing to crave when you haven’t eaten it in years).
I started slowly. I knew my body wasn’t used to breaking down dairy, so I made sure to start taking probiotics and prebiotics. The first few days I added a couple scoops of Greek yogurt to my oats and that was it. I spoke with a Functional Medicine doctor and she explained how I should go about slowly reintroducing dairy products. One word- FETA. It’s a great place to start. It’s gentle and delicious! I’ve been loving in on top of my salads or mixed into scrambled eggs.
Honestly, dairy is even better than I remember!! I physically feel SO much better with dairy back in my life. Over these past few weeks I’ve noticed a HUGE change in overall satisfaction regarding food. I’m shocked at how well my body has responded and I’m really excited about it!
My diet has had a label for 5 years now (starting with gluten free) and it has worked for me. Following a restricted diet has truly helped and healed my body of various ailments, but right now I’m embracing adding foods back in (rather than taking them away) and I enjoy seeing how my body responds. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, smile and say, “CHEEEESE!”
It all began in middle school. Things were fine. I was a happy kid, great friends, loving family, positive attitude… but for some reason, I wanted to be skinny. I wasn’t fat at all. I was pretty normal, but I wasn’t skinny. So I started skipping meals and restricting my calories, and checking out my growing shape in the mirror. But then I’d come home from school RAVENOUS and I would start inhaling all the foods I was trying to avoid…. granola bars, chocolates, cereal… anything I could get my hands on. And then I’d feel guilty, of course, and I ‘d promise myself I wouldn’t do it again. This unhealthy cycle continued until I was a sophomore in High School. The yo-yo dieting led me to gain weight. I was unhappy with how I looked and how I felt and most importantly I began to hate my relationship with food. At that point in my life I can’t even remember a day where I ate “normally”. I was either starving or stuffing myself.
The summer after 10th grade I decided it was time for a change. I was not getting healthy and I was certainly not getting happy. I realized that thinking of my weight as the “problem” was only going to cycle me deeper and deeper into disordered eating. I had to see the problem for what it really was- not my weight, not the food- the problem was my relationship with food.
At that point I moralized food. I labeled foods as “good” or “bad”. I thought I was having a good day if I barely ate… but once I did eat something( other than string cheese and bland crackers) I couldn’t seem to stop! To say I had the “All or Nothing” mindset is an understatement. I remember getting on my knees and crying- asking God why I had to struggle so deeply with food. Food is something we’re all faced with everyday and when you’re obsessed with it (or with not eating it) it can be hard to focus on anything else in life.
That summer HONESTLY changed my life. I left Rhode Island to work at a summer camp upstate New York with one goal- to quit dieting. I was 15 years old. I didn’t know what I was doing. No one in my family struggled with food the way I did. And none one of my friends seemed to either. I felt SO isolated.
One thing I did know- I was SO done with the voices in my head and the obsession I had with food. I just wanted to enjoy each day and I wanted to feel GOOD!
Here are 5 things I did that summer that helped me lose 10lbs and (FAR more importantly) change my relationship with food FOREVER:
Quit dieting. Wayyyy easier said than done, but each morning I would tell myself, I’m done with dieting. I made a promise to myself that summer, that I would NEVER diet again. I was out. Adios! Goodbye. I stopped doing anything that made me feel restricted. I was in search of food freedom. I figured if I could learn to stop starving myself I could also learn to stop stuffing myself. Turns out I was right.
Eat 3 meals a day. God really blessed me with that summer job. I was on staff with about 300 other people and we all ate together at the dining hall 3 times a day. I made some sweet friends and learned the importance of meal time. I was working HARD and meals were a time to relax, refuel and unwind with my friends. We’d go through a buffet line and fill our plates. While it wasn’t the healthiest food (it was camp foodafter all), it was fairly balanced. I created a little rule for myself- “No seconds.” I could have whatever I wanted, but it would have to fit on my plate. I slowly learned to eat enough, but not too much.
Eat whatever you want (in moderation). I LOVE desserts. And part of quitting dieting meant that I would no longer deprive myself of them. At the dining hall we only got dessert a couple days per week, so I could either have something there (like a small piece of cheesecake, brownie, or cookie) or I could “save” my dessert and go to the local ice cream shack. Many evenings my friends and I would walk into town (about a mile away) and get an ice cream there!
Forgive yourself. I remember the first few weeks after I quit dieting, I was doing so well. There may have been a couple days that I ate a little too much, but for the most part I felt like a different person. Then one night I somehow bought myself a big bag of Swedish fish at the penny candy counter. I ate way too many. I felt SO sick. I was incredibly disappointed that I binged… but instead of waking up the next day and restricting myself (like I used to do) I reminded myself that I had made a promise. I had quit dieting. So I got out of bed, threw on a sweat shirt and a smile, and I ate a balanced breakfast. I got on with my life. I didn’t let one mistake ruin all the progress I had already made. It happened again… and again… but these little mistakes seemed to happen less and less often.
Really LIVE your life. I learned a LOT that summer. I learned HOW to eat. I overcame over/under eating, but most importantly I found food freedom. I learned how to quiet those voices in my head- the ones that were obsessed with food and dieting and weight… I learned that life is SO much more than that. I made friendships. I laughed (a lot). I spent a lot of time with Mitch (my then close friend, my now boyfriend!!). I made so many memories. I learned that Skittles taste better when you eat them with your friends, and popcorn is more fun when your tossing it into each other’s mouths. Ice cream is sweeter when it’s dripping down your arm on a hot summer’s night and you’re not worrying about it. And pizza is better when you eat it on the beach with people you care about (although it can get a little sandy!). The point is, LIFE includesfood, but life is not food. And really learning that has changed my life.
There you have it! The top 5 things that DRAMATICALLY changed my relationship with food. That summer set the foundation for how I eat today. Seven years later and I still believe those principles are KEY to getting (and staying!) healthy & HAPPY!!