If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed me posting about my current health experiment–#mySADexperiement is 11 days in and is going strong!  I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what exactly it is I’m doing, so I wanted to answer some of those questions here.

First of all, SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety, and SAD is something I deal with every single winter.  When the days are shorter and the sun isn’t out as long during the day, we can’t get as much vitamin D, which is so necessary for our bodies and our sanity.  Because of this, a lot of us struggle with our moods, energy, and motivation during the winter months.  The “winter blues” can be mild to severe for different people, and for me it can get pretty intense.  Last year was the toughest winter yet for me, and I’ve been going into this winter with some anxiety.  I want to do whatever I can to alleviate and manage my SAD symptoms and enjoy this season–after all, it’s my favorite time of year!

I’ve done quite a bit of research on nutrition and depression/anxiety, and time and again studies are seeing a connection between what you put in your body and your emotional/mental health.  Now, I’m not saying that changing my diet will prevent or cure anything, but if there is a connection, it can only help, right?

The biggest culprit seems to be sugar.  Studies are showing that sugar is basically the devil–all kinds of negative consequences to our bodies, little to no nutritional benefits.  Too bad this time of year is filled with sugar, sugar EVERYWHERE.  I made chili last night with some Italian pork sausage and found corn syrup (aka sugar) in the ingredients.  WHY???

Which brings me to my experiment: during the 30 days of November, I’m being intentional about fueling my body with what it NEEDS and what will be beneficial for me, not with what I want (you know, all the bread and leftover Halloween candy).  Limiting sugar, staying away from breads and refined grains, and limiting dairy while loading up on fresh veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats.  I’m also committed to working out every single day, since exercise releases endorphins and helps with your mood.  My doctor has told me more than once that the first thing I need to do for my depression is work out, and I’m usually very consistent with my fitness.  During the winter months, however, it gets so easy for me to skip workouts and make excuses–who doesn’t want to stay in bed under the warm covers a little longer when it gets cold outside?

So far, this experiment is going really well!  I’ve gotten a workout in each day, and while I haven’t been perfect with my nutrition, I have been very intentional about what I’m eating and have been great at getting my veggies in–and I’m feeling really great!  I don’t expect to have zero SAD symptoms this winter, but I am determined to avoid the darkness I felt last year.  So far, the difference is night and day between how I’m feeling right now and how I felt in November of last year.

This time of year is notorious for being difficult for people to focus on their health, but I’m determined to be different this year.  I have committed to owning my health this season instead of letting the season own me, and I’m excited about making it happen.  I’ve got the all the tools I need between my streaming workouts and super shake, and putting them to use may not be easy, but it’s definitely simple.

If you want to join me in #mySADexperiment, click here!

Clean Eating Hummus

I love hummus.  I could eat it with a spoon all day, every day.  But I am kind of particular about the texture of hummus, and when I’ve made homemade versions in the past, the flavor is always great, but the texture has been too thick for me.  So, I’ve stuck with my store-bought brands that are kind of expensive and filled with some extra ingredients that aren’t necessarily bad, but that I just don’t want to eat every time I have hummus.

Recently I posted a picture of some hummus I was eating for lunch, and one of my friends messaged me to offer up her dad’s hummus recipe.  Holy moly, ya’ll, this hummus is PERFECTION.  It’s a great base to add other flavors, like roasted red pepper or sriracha, and the texture is exactly what I like.  It’s simple to make, and has very few ingredients that I already had in my pantry from previous hummus experiments.  The best part of this recipe, for me, is the small amount of olive oil–I’ve always made hummus with at least 1/4 cup of olive oil, and that is a lot!  I love that this recipe still has great flavor without a lot of oil (and therefore fat and calories).

One variation I’ve tried so far is to double the garlic (because I LOVE garlic) and roast 2-3 cloves in the oven before chopping them.  I peel the cloves, put them in a small square of aluminum foil, drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil, and fold up the foil to make a little pouch.  I put that in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes, and then chop and add it to the hummus mixture.

You can adjust the amount of liquid you put into the hummus based on the texture you prefer–less liquid if you prefer thicker hummus, more if you like it thinner.

***I half this recipe each time I make it because I’m the only one in my house that eats it.  The full recipe made just shy of 5 cups of hummus!

Clean Eating Hummus (from my friend Macarena and her dad)

2 cans garbanzo beans, liquid drained and reserved

3 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons cumin

Mix all ingredients except the bean liquid in a blender or food processor.  Slowly pour the bean liquid as you blend.  Blend in olive oil to taste.


My 3 Day Refresh, Round 2

This summer was really hard for me.  I was a new stay at home mom struggling to get used to a new routine with a toddler who doesn’t really adjust well to change. It was stressful, and I’m a stress eater.  So I ate.  And I’ve put on more weight that I’m not happy with, and once I got my head on straight and my emotions in order with the stress of the summer, I was ready to make a change.


I decided to try the 3 Day Refresh again, which is a 3-day program that is basically a vegan diet with some supplement drinks.  It’s lower in calorie than I would normally eat, but I needed to reset my body and diet and I do better with something that is very structured and already laid out for me, rather than just “eating healthier” on my own.  I did the 3 Day Refresh program just over a year ago, but since I did it the weekend that we were moving, I feel like I didn’t really do it the best way since lugging heavy boxes up and down stairs all day isn’t recommended.

I started on a Friday and ended on a Sunday so that I could start working out hard on the first Monday of the month and follow my new workout plan.  The Refresh plan is pretty straight forward–lots of water, LOTS of fresh veggies, some healthy fats, a little fruit, and the supplement drinks.  I still drank my Shakeology every morning, but I just blended it with water and ice instead of my usual recipe.  I had a Fiber Sweep drink as a midmorning snack, and a Vanilla Fresh protein shake with lunch and dinner.


The Fiber Sweep drink was exactly like I remembered it–citrus flavor, super thick texture.  It isn’t thick like a milkshake, unless you let it sit for too long (which honestly is about 5 minutes; you have to drink it fast!), but kind of like thick water.  Not my favorite, but not as horribly gross as a drink titled “Fiber Sweep” might sound.  And it didn’t make me run to the bathroom like you might think, either.  It made me a little gassy, but didn’t affect me in a dramatic way like a fiber drink could.  It filled me up as a small snack and helped tide me over to the next meal time.

The Vanilla Fresh drinks are pretty tasty, especially when I blended some fruit with it.  I didn’t do that more than once, because I wanted to actually chew my food to help my brain realize how much I was eating.  I was afraid that if I mixed in fruit with my shakes that I would end up feeling hungrier.  I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not, but it made sense to me!

Before starting, I was really concerned that I was going to just feel like I was starving all the time.  I didn’t remember feeling super hungry last year, and I didn’t go back and read my blog post because I wanted a fresh experience, but I was concerned that maybe the stress and busyness of moving that same weekend distracted me from what I was feeling.  This time around, I felt pretty hungry, mostly/especially in the mornings.  Until lunch each day, I was basically on a liquid diet–Shakeology with fruit, tons of water, some herbal tea, and the Fiber Sweep.  Not a whole lot of actual volume, even though the Shakeology and the Fiber Sweep are both full of a ton of nutrients that my body needed.  Lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner options were much more filling and I felt pretty satisfied with those options.  In fact, I chose a salad option for two of my three dinners, and it was SO MANY VEGGIES that I could barely finish.  It took my about 20 minutes to just eat the salad because I had to force myself to chew it–not in a “this doesn’t taste good” way, but more in a “I’m tired of chewing” way.  Lol.

One amazing thing that I realized on Day 3 is that even though I felt hungry, I didn’t have ANY specific cravings.  In the mornings I wanted to have food to chew, not just drink, but the nutrients in everything I was eating was giving my body exactly what it needed because I didn’t crave anything specific.  No bread or carb cravings, no sweets cravings, no meat cravings.  Even when I went to the pumpkin patch and watched my whole family eating–chili, hot dogs (ew), funnel cake, BBQ, etc–I wasn’t sitting there drooling and wishing I could eat what they were eating.  I was sitting there wishing I had all my veggies to eat!  That was pretty awesome to realize–I was giving my body what it needed and I wasn’t craving the junk that it doesn’t need.

The biggest negative for me, besides just being hungry in the mornings, was the major bloating I experienced on day 1.  A little Google search has me thinking that since my diet was so off before I started the Refresh, my body had more that it needed to get rid of and wasn’t used to all the fiber it was getting through the Fiber Sweep and all the veggies, which makes sense to me.  It was crazy bloating!  I was very gassy and uncomfortable most of the first day, and that night after I had all my food and water for the day, I swear I looked like I was 5 months pregnant.  It was unbelievable!  That was hard for my mindset and my pride, because frankly part of the reason I did the Refresh was so I could have a “win” with my body.  I needed the structure and the quick gratification for my own motivation, and the crazy bloating made me think that maybe I had made a mistake.  But once I started reading about other people experiencing that as well and the connection to a bad diet before, I felt better and knew that the Refresh was going to help me at least feel better, if not look better, too.

Sunday night--after eating all my food and drinks for the day!  No food baby belly!

Sunday night–after eating all my food and drinks for the day! No food baby belly!

When I woke up the next day and compared pictures to just 24 hours before, I couldn’t believe how different I looked!  It was amazing to me what 24 hours of super clean eating can do for you.  That was all the motivation I needed to keep going.

24 hours difference!

24 hours difference!

Ultimately, I lost 4.2 lbs and 1.5 inches, mostly in my belly area.  More importantly than that, I feel better.  I feel better physically–lighter, more energized, not sluggish, and just generally healthier.  I feel better mentally/emotionally–taking care of my body helps my mindset, makes me feel proud, makes me more confident, and makes me more comfortable in my skin.  I’m fitting into my pants better, and I’m motivated to continue!  (I do realize that the short time frame means that I lost water weight and not actual fat, but that’s okay!  I still feel awesome!)

The results from my 3 Day Refresh.

The results from my 3 Day Refresh.

I didn’t feel this way last year, but I would definitely recommend this program!  It was the structure I needed to jumpstart clean eating again without cheating, it gave me some instant gratification to help my motivation, and it gave me some results that motivate me, as well.

Do you need some structure and some quick motivation to jumpstart your health journey?  Contact me and let’s connect!



My 3-Day Refresh Experience

I’ve been struggling to actually lose weight this summer.  Between putting our house on the market, showing the house/keeping it show-ready, selling our house, finding a new house, moving out of the old house, and moving into the new house, it’s been hard to stay tight on my nutrition.  I’ve been maintaining my weight all summer, which is fine, but I’ve been so close to my goal that I’ve been really frustrated.

I have seen a lot of ads for the Beachbody 3-Day Refresh and was curious.  The marketing promises that you will lose weight and inches without starving yourself in 3 days.  I started out pretty skeptical.  For the record, I don’t believe there is any need to “cleanse” your body.  If you have a functioning liver, you’re good.  I was interested in the 3-Day Refresh for 3 reasons–hit my goal/find out if you really lose a few pounds in 3 days, see if I would really not be starving, and to help me get my mindset changed from vacation mode to disciplined routine.

The program follows a pretty simple process: they send you shakes to make throughout your day and you supplement those shakes with some fruit, veggies, and healthy fats.  No bread/starches, no dairy, no meat.  The plan states that each day is around 900 calories, depending on what combination of foods you choose from their lists.  Obviously, that is not enough calories for a normal, healthy diet, so I decided to not work out for those 3 days.  I did move/unpack the last day, so that was the only “workout” I did.

I won’t bore you with the play-by-play of what I ate, but I wanted to share my general thoughts.  The plan calls for one Shakeology drink per day, with one piece of fruit.  I chose to blend my fruit into the shake since that’s what I normally do, but I think that it may have been better to chew that fruit to get more satisfaction from eating it.  I loved the Shakeology portion of my day, as usual.  Lots of energy, focus, and tons of nutrition to start the day!

My mid-morning snack was a Fiber Sweep drink each day.  Ya’ll, I was pretty afraid to drink it, for fear that I would be running for the bathroom at some point that day, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case for me.  The drink wasn’t delicious or anything, but it had a nice lemon flavor that was refreshing.  It kept me fuller than I expected, but I was still very ready for the next meal before it was time to eat.  I will say that the fiber drink had some noxious effects on me the first day/evening, but the second and third days were much more pleasant for those around me. 🙂

Lunch and dinner both consisted of the protein Vanilla Fresh shake and veggies.  Lunch had a healthy fat and fruit, and a mid-afternoon snack of a veggie and healthy fat helped keep my hunger at bay, too.  The Vanilla Fresh was pretty tasty.  Not the same vanilla flavor as the vanilla Shakeology, but good blended with ice.  Like the fiber drink, the Vanilla Fresh filled me up more than I had anticipated, but not enough to keep me from feeling really hungry snack time.

 For me, the second day was the worst.  I don’t know if it’s because my dinner wasn’t that filling that day, or because I knew I had another day left, or because I watched my husband eat delicious carbs all day, but that second day, I was very hungry and very irritable.  Overall, I was really hungry.  Dude.  SO. HUNGRY.  I tend to be a hangry person in general (Google it), so I was prepared to be hungrier than the ads called for.  I tend to be hungrier than most people, and this was no exception.

My energy levels were pretty good during the three days, even the day I moved.  The food and shakes all tasted good, and I never felt light-headed or sluggish at all. I slept well all three days and felt fine to move boxes and unpack our new home.  The day AFTER I finished the program, though, I felt terrible.  When I woke up that morning and walked the 10 feet from my bed to my bathroom, I got very dizzy and very lightheaded to the point that I had to hold myself up on my bathroom counter and realized that I had legit blacked out for a minute or two.  That freaked me out.  I had a normal breakfast and was fine after that, but it was scary for a minute!

As for my results, the program really delivered on their promise.  Unfortunately, my scale was packed when I started so I don’t know exactly what I weighed at the start, but it should have been around 138, meaning I lost around 4ish pounds in 3 days and at least a quarter of an inch from my waist, thighs, and arms.  In just 3 days!  Obviously, a lot of that (if not all) is water weight and it isn’t a way to lose weight for the long run–I was 1.5 pounds up the next morning after eating my normal diet for one day.

I have some mixed feelings about this program after finishing it.  I was super hungry and irritable from being hungry, so that wasn’t very enjoyable.  All the food tasted good, and I didn’t feel like I had to force myself to eat or drink any of it.  I was happy with my results–it made me feel like my hanger was “worth it”, so to speak.  But, I didn’t like how I felt that 4th day.

If a customer or friend asked me about the program, I would really only recommend it if they had a specific event they wanted to get ready for, like a wedding, a reunion, or something like that.  It is definitely not just for fun, and it is not a way to lose weight for the long run.  It was helpful in getting my mindset ready for a more disciplined eating plan, so it might be a good way to jumpstart a program for you because of it’s small food list to choose from and specific directions.  And it definitely worked, which is more than I can say for other “quick fix” programs out there.

Have you ever done the 3-Day Refresh?  I’d love to hear your experience with it!

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