Big diet changes for me! (Part 2)

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Enjoying some Fish ‘n’ Chips on South Padre Island (the napkin bib was just a joke for this pic FYI)

OMG! I just realized it’s been 2 years since I posted Part 1 of this article (in which I may have “promised” you more details “soon.” Ooooops!).

Well, better later than never, aye?

Okay…so…in Part 1, I explained that during the past several years of our travels, I’ve finally gotten up the nerve to lighten up a bit on my 100% additive-free diet.” I’d say I’m in more of an 80/20 sort of situation these days – 80% additive-free, 20% eating for fun, fellowship, etc.

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Our friends surprised us with a beach picnic for our Anniversary!! 

After about 7 years of eating only “clean” foods and not eating any typical American processed foods nor going out to eat, nor partaking in social food events, etc., I’ve started doing all of these things now…at least to some extent.

(And I’m including a bunch of photos here of things I’ve eaten during the past few years for those of you who’d like to see some examples of exactly what I mean.)

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Chad used to eat Chicken Chimichangas before we changed our diet, so I took him out for one at this cute lil’ place on the beach in Santa Cruz, CA.

Throughout the many years I spent coaching folks on how to clean up their diets, one of the most frequent questions I would get from readers and clients is, “Do you ever go out to eat?” And for many years, my answer was always, “No. never.”

And, really, that fact more than any other obstacle seemed to discourage people from eating “cleaner.” At the time, I really didn’t understand that because I felt soooooo good that I didn’t even desire to go out to eat or to partake in any foods that were less “clean” than I preferred.

Buuuuuuut….a few years ago, I started to feel differently about things.

Eventually, I just started to feel like I was “missing out” sometimes. And I’d never felt that way before.

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I’m a sucker for dining just about anywhere with waterfront seating.

During our full-time RV travels, we would sometimes come across cute, quirky little places that looked like they’d be fun places to dine. But I wouldn’t go.

Or we’d come across free samples of local fare, and I’d be too scared to try a bite.

Or we’d do a favor for someone along our journey, and they’d want to take us to dinner to thank us. And we’d politely decline.

And then..one day during our travels, we were on a tour of San Francisco. We landed in China Town at lunch time, and I could tell that Chad was longing for some Chinese food. (Before we started eating an additive-free diet,  we used to go out for Chinese food quite frequently.)

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Enjoying Orange Chicken at a Chinese restaurant

I knew I would make his day if I offered to eat Chinese food with him…in China Town.

So, I took the “plunge.” And, honestly, even as I’m writing this years later, I still can’t believe I did it. I was soooooooo nervous, and I didn’t eat very much. But it’s a memory we look back upon fondly. And I’m glad we did it!

I’m definitely not saying that any of this is good for my health, and I’m definitely not encouraging (or discouraging) you from doing the same.

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Enjoying burgers with an ocean view.

But, I definitely wanted to post an update for you about how much my diet has changed these past few years.

I do, now, enjoy going out to eat (and ordering more than water!)…and I’ve eaten holiday meals (and “just because” meals) with family and friends on many, many occasions these past few years.

I’ve even eaten some regular ol’ processed candy just to see if I would like it the same as I did before I ever stopped eating it! (Turns out…not so much!) 

Basically, if I feel like I might be missing out on something these days…an experience… or fellowship…or sometimes just simply the flavor or convenience of something, then I’m generally willing to consider giving it a try.

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Eating “famous” BBQ Ribs on a deck overlooking the bay on Padre Island

Of course, I still fully believe it’s physiologically healthier to eat a 100% additive-free diet. And I’ve actually been inching my way back closer to that end of the spectrum lately.

I have put on some weight these past few years (which I can’t say is entirely due to the dietary changes, of course), and I don’t always feel quite as amazingly healthy as I used to. But, for now, the joy and freedom I gain from being less strict with my diet is totally worth it!

I definitely believe that our health is determined by many factors in addition to our diets…with our mental state being very high on the list. You may disagree, and that’s okay.

Loosening up on my dietary restrictions has brought me much excitement and fellowship and also encouraged me to believe that I’ll be able to travel more freely in the future (perhaps internationally?) without having to be so 100% concerned with every ingredient in every thing that passes through my lips.

And that has been so incredibly liberating!

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Chad enjoying a complimentary Birthday Beer on our Alaskan Airlines flight 

So…how about you? Do you eat an entirely additive-free diet? Why or why not?

What factors do you consider when deciding whether or not to eat certain foods? We’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and here are a bunch of additional pics from the past few years in case you want to see more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans!

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Our tiny home on wheels

People are always shocked to hear how much we love Costco!

They don’t expect us to benefit much from a warehouse store membership because we live in a tiny space (and travel full-time) and we eat very few processed foods.

So, are we the “World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans”?! Read below about the 2 reasons we think we might be…and YOU be the judge. 🙂

Reason #1 –

People are surprised we shop so much at Costco because we are passionate believers in the idea of living simply.

IMG_0811We personally own very few things. We live and travel full-time in our tiny campervan – literally everything we own fits in here and travels with us. We don’t have a storage unit full of stuff anywhere, and we sold our home and property years ago.

Because we own so few things, we only own things that we LOVE! And so many of our very favorite things were purchased at Costco because we love the savings as well as the quality of the products they sell (not to mention their awesome return policy!).

Here are a few of our favorite purchases from Costco…

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Me and my Canon 70D

While traveling, we’ve developed a passion for nature and wildlife photography (and documenting our travels, too). All of our photos are taken with the Canon 70D camera that we purchased from Costco. Our nature and wildlife gallery is on display at www.ChristyP.com. These photos allows us to earn some income while traveling since we are only in our 40s and nowhere near retirement age.

My eyeglasses are a Costco purchase that I use all day, every day.

And, of course, we make use of the savings on gasoline – one of the most critical things we need for our travels! We try to run out of gas anytime we’re near Costco’s awesome gas prices!

Our GoPro video camera is great for recording our adventures, and we’d literally be lost without our Garmin GPS that we use every day (also a Costco purchase)!

We love our Bem portable speaker for listening to music during the day, but we especially rely on it for listening to white noise at night since we’re always sleeping in new places with unpredictable noises.

Thanks to the Braun cordless razor (which we got a great deal on at Costco), we’ve both switched to dry shaving since we live with limited amounts of water on board our RV; and this razor works WAY better than others we’ve tried!

We were super excited to find the Smart Works Pop-Up Organizer at Costco, which we use every week when we do laundry. For nearly a year, we wished someone would invent a collapsible laundry basket. We even scoured the internet looking for a space-saving solution. Then, one day, we spotted this amazing item while walking through Costco! YES!

Needless to say, with our adventurous lifestyle, we track a LOT of dirt into this tiny little space. So we needed a powerful vacuum that we could store conveniently. We tried out dozens of options, but there was no contest once we discovered the Dyson DC 44 stick vacuum at Costco!

And, since we’re on the road full-time, it’s great to have peace of mind knowing that we can fill our van tires to the recommended tire pressure or jump start our rig anytime if necessary without finding someone to help when we’re in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the jump box we found at Costco, these things are never a concern for us – plus, we can air up our own bicycle tires in a snap, too.

Reason #2 –

People are surprised we shop so often at Costco because we are natural foods advocates.

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A glance at our kitchen

We eat a natural, additive-free diet; and we make a living teaching others how to shop for and prepare natural, additive-free foods at www.CompletelyNourished.com.

Until I tell them about it, most folks have no idea that Costco sells so many natural and organic food items…and at great prices! The savings on these foods alone literally more than pays for our membership fee!

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A peek inside our pantry 

When we moved into our camper van, I assumed I’d be kissing my Costco shopping days good-bye. But, actually, we can squeeze a surprising amount of goodies into our van as you can see by this snapshot of the inside our our pantry.

(The fridge is packed, too, with all sorts of meats, fruits, veggies and eggs from Costco…but I had trouble standing back far enough to get a good picture. LOL!)

I like to think that if we can eat natural, additive-free foods and benefit from the savings at Costco with our lifestyle and our teeny kitchen and limited storage space in our less than 150 square feet of living space, then anyone can find ways to eat more natural foods!

Some of our favorite natural foods that we are still able to purchase at Costco are:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Organic eggs
  • Organic and grass-fed meats
  • Cheese
  • Organic salsa
  • Olive oil
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic peanut butter
  • Natural almond butter
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Coffee
  • Organic lemon juice
  • Organic quinoa
  • Wild-caught canned salmon
  • Organic raisins and other dried fruits
  • Almonds
  • Larabar snack bars
  • Organic bread
  • Organic tomato paste
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Sea salt, black pepper and other dry spices

Of course, when we had a full-sized kitchen and more storage space we were able to benefit from even more of Costco’s products…and I still encourage others to do so by sharing all sorts of recipes on our website.

We love Costco for all sorts of products that are not specific to our businesses or lifestyle, too. Even with our tiny living space, we still find room to store other bulk goods and household items from Costco like paper plates, paper bowls, parchment paper, foil, plastic wrap, feminine hygiene products, Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap, etc.

So, what do you think? Are we the “World’s Most Unlikely Costco Fans”? Do you shop at Costco? Are you intrigued? What are YOUR favorite Costco goodies? We’d love to hear from you below!

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our blog if you’d like to stay up-to-date on our tips for natural health and happiness! 

 

What’s in Our Fridge Today?!

I get a lot of questions asking about what Chad and I eat. And, while our diet tends to change a lot from time to time, we do consistently avoid food additives like MSG and its many hidden names. Now that we are traveling full-time in our RV and our food access and storage options have changed significantly (i.e., no garden of our own, no deep freezer, no home-canned goods, limited access to farmers markets and natural grocers at times), folks have expressed concern about what we’ll be eating. We’re just getting started with our new life, but here’s a peek at what we’ve got in the kitchen right now….

WANT MORE?!

“Follow” our blog (in the left-hand column of this site), and we’ll send ya more great tips!

Please…Stop ignoring your inner voice!

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Yes, you! I’m talking to you! You…the one who has been pretending not to know that you are “supposed” to be taking a certain action – quitting your job, leaving a relationship, moving to a new town, expressing your true emotions to a loved one, checking in with your doctor…or whatever it may be!

Please, stop ignoring that inner nudging! It’s your built-in guidance system, and it’s trying to steer you toward the best version of you!

Although it can be scary to think about making the “leap” and trusting your gut (especially in a society so dedicated to weighing the “pros and cons” of things all of the time), it’s been my experience that “leaps of faith” (when rooted in truly listening to one’s own heart), will not disappoint! Sure it’s scary! Definitely uncomfortable…and filled with all sorts of “what ifs.” Yes, I know. But just stick with me here, and open your mind to taking even one small leap that you haven’t had the courage to take before. Start with something small. And when it works out (and the “worst thing that could happen”….doesn’t happen), you’ll build your confidence in the process and work your way up to bigger leaps of faith.

It’s so easy to imagine all the things that could go wrong if we decide to start making the changes we desire in our lives. But if you sit down and really concentrate, I’m sure you could generate a list just as long of all of the things that could go wrong even if you don’t make those same changes! Yes, that’s right…tons of awful things could happen to you right now…as you sit there in your comfort zone with a white-knuckle grip on all of your perceived sources of security. Not to be harsh, but the fact of the matter is that nothing is guaranteed. And if you never take a leap, at least one of those “things that could go wrong while you’re sitting there” is definitely going to happen – you won’t be living the life you dream about! Sigh…(not good)!

I’ve learned from experience during the past couple of years that it feels so wonderful to follow your inner voice, and it really does not lead you astray! My most recent experience with my “inner voice” was the shaving of my head. (NOTE: If you’re not too interested in the soul-bearing example I’m about to share regarding my farewell to my hair, please bear with me as I really feel that you’ll find value in this example regardless of the type of leap you are considering.)

MY “LEAP” – To shave…or not to shave!

So…my husband wasn’t really too “comfortable” with the idea of me shaving my head, but I knew I just had to do it. Even after a month without my hair, I still don’t feel that the reasons why I needed to shave it so badly have been 100% revealed to me….but I do know that I do feel so much more me (if that makes sense to you), and I feel incredibly free without my hair!!! I definitely don’t miss my “bed head,” and I really don’t miss feeling differently about myself from day-to-day based on how I felt my hair looked!

So here’s how it all went down….

I’d been feeling the urge to shave my head quite strongly for several months, but I kept delaying the leap for…ya know, solid “logical” reasons (wink, wink). Actually, looking back on things, I can recall wanting to shave my head for many years, really, but I never really entertained it as an actual possibility until about 6 months ago.

As time went by, the inner nudging became more and more relentless. Finally, one day about a month or so ago….I found myself pushing my hair down with my hands every time I’d catch my reflection in a mirror…and I realized  that I just did not feel like my true self anymore with my hair – although I wasn’t really sure why I felt this way. It didn’t really make sense to me, but the urging was so strong that I knew a head shaving was inevitable.

That night as my hubby and I were going to sleep, I found myself overcome with emotion – I was actually sobbing to him in bed about wanting to shave my head. Emotions sure do have a way of showing you the direction you are supposed to be heading in life! I wasn’t actually feeling sad. I was feeling tormented by the idea of resisting this hair cut any longer. And the emotion was stroooong – like, impossible to ignore. All-consuming, really. Another clear sign that a “leap” was in order! I kept trying to explain to him why I needed to shave my head….not that I had any kind of explanation that would make sense to another human being. LOL! Finally, I realized that there really weren’t “reasons”….it was a feeling. When he realized that my desire to shave my head was coming from a place so deep inside me that I had no control over it, he assured me that he’d support me in whatever I decided to do.

bandana shotThe next morning, I awoke before him as usual. Again, I was feeling like a different person than what was staring back at me in the mirror. I grabbed a bandana and covered my hair in an attempt to approximate what I’d look like with a shaved head. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but I grabbed a hand mirror and stood facing a wall mirror while holding the hand mirror at a particular angle so that the bandana wasn’t too visible in my reflection (as you can see in this photo to the left – feel free to click the photo to enlarge if you’d like).

I took a picture of this pose with the intention of showing it to my hubby so he could get an idea of what I would look like with no hair… but something much more unexpected came from that photograph! When I saw the picture of my face compared to the smaller reflection of my face in the hand mirror in this photograph…it was like looking into my soul….the reflection in the hand mirror seemed like me…and the other shot of my face did not. I can’t really explain it, but that’s how it felt. The whole experience reminded me of that song, “Reflection,” by Christina Aguilera. (You can check out the song in the video at the end of this post –  Perhaps you’ll find something in the song for you, too!) To me, that person in the hand mirror seemed so incredibly happy, content, and “whole.” The strange thing was that I had always considered myself to be perfectly content, happy and whole. So that feeling really caught me off guard! (I also found it symbolic that the reflection of my face is actually over my heart in this photo, which was in no way intentional.)

So….in that moment, I knew I’d be shaving my head very soon! 🙂   Oh, and if you’re wondering….I did still use the photo to “explain” things to my hubby. And, far from what I was expecting….it still made no sense to him. LOL! So funny…because I thought it all seemed so objectively clear at this point! Seriously…from the way I felt, I assumed he’d take one look at that picture and know exactly what I was talking about and relate to how I was feeling. Well…not so much!

So that’s when I realized….this was between me and my soul. And there was no need to convince anyone else…even my beloved husband! 🙂

shaving hair 2Even though he didn’t understand (and now I realize his understanding really wasn’t necessary), he did help me shave my head. And, after a few days of getting over the “shock” every time he saw me with no hair (a problem I had, as well. LOL!), he was pleasantly surprised that my lack of hair didn’t bother him at all like he had assumed it would. Aesthetically, I’m sure we both prefer me with a hair-do of some sort; but we have both seen how much more I’ve “come into my own” by taking this leap…and “looks” were never a factor in the decision at all (in case anyone is wondering).

So…How about YOU ?!

If there’s something you have been wanting to do but you’ve been resisting it, I urge you to sit down and think about what’s really (I mean….really!) stopping you!!!

Most things in life aren’t “permanent.” And you may end up kicking yourself if you never give it a try.

You may just find that sitting there wondering what you must be missing out on actually turns out to be much worse than whatever outcome you fear if you go ahead and DO it! So GOFORIT !

pooschkesYou only get one chance at this life, so make sure you’re living the life you want to live!!! Believe me…I know it’s scary to step outside your comfort zone. After the last couple years I’ve had (full of leaping), I’m starting to have trouble recalling what my comfort zone even looks like! LOL! But the feeling of FREEDOM is soooooooooo worth all of the “fear conquering” involved along the way!

I blog about a lot of things, but if there was just one message I could spread to the world, it would be to listen to your inner voice! Do you agree? If so, please forward this post in an email message to anyone you’d like to encourage to do so!

Oh, and be sure to “follow” my blog (over in the left margin of this page) in case I decide to purge my soul on the Internet again sometime soon. LOL!

Alright, enough about me! Your turn! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! What leaps are you resisting….or what experiences have you had with listening to and following your inner voice? Oh, and here’s that song, “Reflection,” that I mentioned above…