Posted in healthy eating, Uncategorized

Should I J.E.R.F.? Can I really Whole 30?

Ah! Healthy eating!  That is a serious goal of mine!!!  Since starting our label reading journey years ago (see previous post entitled “Reading Labels”), healthy eating has been in the back of my mind!  We already avoid food dyes (red-40 for example) like the plague. We don’t drink sodas.    I used to eat Little Debbie brownies for breakfast.  I have made progress.  But, I am still not where I need to be!

I did a short South Beach diet (12 days) a few years ago, sometime after Ella was born! I lost weight and felt great!  But, then, the real world kicked in, and chocolate came back into my life!  I like the idea behind South Beach, but the concepts weren’t quite right! I can’t eat sweet potatoes or fruit, but I can eat lunch meat?  That just didn’t work for me!

Months ago, my super-crunchy and knowledgeable-in-many-subjects friend, Jill, announced that she and her husband were doing a Whole 30.  She lists herself somewhere in internet world as Jill the J.E.R.F. (Just eat real food).  She is that friend that will, knowing you are trying to eat “right,” ask you what that is you are eating, as you scarf down some cheddar and sour cream chips at lunch on homeschool day! I love that about her!  I have had the privilege of eating at her home a few times.  Delicious, jerfy food!  Baked sweet potatoes with caramelized onion, goat cheese and b-b-q chicken on top.  I have recreated that one several times at home!

Whole 30 intrigued me! J.E.R.F-ing intrigued me, too!  Fast forward too many months, I am mentally preparing myself for a Whole 30.  Thirty days of eating real food!  Nothing processed; nothing created to be like processed.  There is no peanut butter allowed (not too sure about this one–I haven’t met an almond butter I like—I am planning to make my own in the Vitamix). Store bought ketchup, ranch dressing, and butter are out of the question!  I love butter!

It’s time, though!  It’s time I practice what I preach and lose a few pounds!  I want this to be a time of life change.  I love chocolate and sweets! But, it’s no secret that sweets are destructive!  I bit the bullet and ordered the Whole 30 cookbooks today! As stubborn as those in my family history are, I should be able to use that will power for good!

Have you done a Whole 30? Are you a J. E. R. F.?  I would love to know your tricks for staying the course!!!

Check out:

There are tons of Whole 30 facebook groups!  Check them out!

Books I purchased:

Our society is too sick to deny that our food is one culprit!  I will update soon!!! Wanna join me?


Posted in ditch and switch, healthy eating, Uncategorized

Reading Labels!

Growing up and until about 10 years ago, I never gave a single thought to what I ate!

Brownies or cookies and skim milk for breakfast? Sure!

Soda several times a day? Yes!

In 2006, we had two boys.  S was 4 and D was about 1 1/2 years old.

It was a Sunday afternoon.  I had not been to the dreaded grocery store lately, so D drank a familiar red drink for most of the day.

We made our way to the PM service.  During the service,  D fell asleep and proceeded to vomit red “stuff” on my cream colored sweater!   He was feeling fine by the time we made it to the restroom.  I, of course, was in a panic.

Over the next few months, this red-vomiting situation occurred a few more times.

I mentioned it to our pediatrician at the next well visit.

His response, “It’s probably just a red 40 sensitivity.  Lots of kids have the same sensitivity. Just don’t let him drink red things.”

I had no idea what red 40 was.  Thus began our label reading journey.

I went home after our doctor visit and began to research red 40.  I began to look at labels on every single thing I thought about buying.  Dyes are in almost everything, from cough syrups to gum to gummies to drinks, and any dye with a number after it is especially harmful.  They are made from either coal or petroleum.

Definitely not what I want my children (or other living being) to ingest!

Ten years later, it still makes me angry that this is even in our food.

Do you read labels on food, household products or beauty products?

As I began to read the labels looking to avoid red 40, I began to wonder about other ingredients.

What is monosodium glutamate (or msg)?

It’s a slow poison. It hides in dozens of other names including natural flavoring, caseinate, hydrolyzed pea protein and many others. MSG is an excytotoxin that may play a role in neurological disorders(migraines, seizures, etc.) and likely diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers.

What is high fructose corn syrup and why should I avoid it?

HFC causes insulin resistance, diabetes, weight gain and makes my son very hyperactive.  Most corn on the market today is Genetically Modified, unless you grow from your own  non GMO seed.

Why should I avoid soy?

Some sort of soy is present in about 60% of the food on the market today.  Versions of soy have been proven to impair fertility, affect estrogen in women, trigger early puberty in children. ( A great alternative to soy sauce is Coconut Aminos.  It is delicious and can be purchased at many stores.


What is carrageenan?

Carrageenan comes from seaweed. It has been linked to ulcerations and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.  It is also linked to increased inflammation! (from

What is caramel color?

Caramel color is made from highly processing sugar.  Several studies showed that caramel coloring can reduce white blood count and has possible carcinogenic effects. (

What are all those words I can’t even pronounce? There are many other harmful ingredients in food. The best avenue is to eat food without a label….apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, asparagus,

And why are they in my “food?”

Our family is still on this journey today. We still read labels.  When we are in the grocery store (yes, I usually shop with all of my kids), one of them will ask for a boxed-something. They know the answer from me will be to read the label.  Tell me the ingredients aloud. As they do, they know what the ingredients are and if they are banned. One of them  will inevitably roll their sweet little eyes, knowing that it most likely has what we call “junk” and that I, most of the time, won’t buy it!

There are so many options and many companies are moving toward removing the nasty junk from our food supply.  It just cannot happen fast enough!

We are now replacing our cleaning products with non toxic versions.  There are many available, but most of them do not perform! My favorite household cleaner is from Young Living.  It is called Thieves household cleaner.  You can use it from floor to ceiling.  It smells fantastic too!

Young Living Thieves household cleaner!!

I have, over the past few years, replaced most of my cosmetics with more natural, non toxic versions.

My kids don’t use traditional sunscreen, we are slowly replacing  deodorant with aluminum free.

Our family is not perfect. On rare occasion, my kids have soda. We do not eat a perfect diet.  But, when you read those ingredient facts above, you can’t help but make better choices for your family! This takes time and a little effort, but it is definitely something to consider and implement with the sickness and obesity in our country.

I encourage you to do your own research! Type in “damaging effects of….” and read all about it! If you research no other products, please research soda! Check your products!

Check back for future posts on other ways we are ditching and switching toxins around our home!

See you soon!!!

Some food brands we love include:

Larabar! Specifically cashew cookie, which only has 2 ingredients and the brownie version!

Kind bars!

Orgain Organic Protein Powder