An Honest Whole30 Review 


I just finished the Whole30 challenge. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s avoiding:

  • Dairy
  • Added sugar
  • Grains
  • Alcohol 
  • Legumes
  • Carrageenan, MSG, and Sulfites
  • Junk food

And it’s not to say that these foods are all inherently bad, the plan calls these foods trigger foods foods that commonly cause bloat or allergic reactions in people. 

The day I started the plan, my co-worker brought in two dozen donuts. Now, anyone that knows me, knows that I love me some SWEETS! And when I say love, if I go out to eat and start to get full I will stop eating my entree just so I can save space for dessert. Donuts are not my favorite sweet, but there was something about the chocolate iced ones with sprinkles. They stared at me. If you listened hard enough, you probably could of heard them saying my name. My problem with sweets is if I really like it, I can’t have just one. I must eat them all!  So not only did I eat one donut, nor did I eat two. I ate three chocolate iced donuts with sprinkles within 5 minutes.  My favorite dessert of all is Filipino flan. It’s much thicker than Spanish flan. I have sat down and ate a pie sized flan all by myself in one sitting before, just to give you an idea of what I mean when I say:

I love sweets!

Anyway, back to Whole30. The first week of Whole30 was difficult. I had headaches from not eating as many carbs and sugar. I missed spaghetti, breads, and oatmeal. I couldn’t even eat rice to soak up all the flavor from the meats I was cooking. However, I did notice a huge difference in the grocery bill. Not buying all the extra carbs and processed foods brought our weekly bill down $40! Which is big for us. That’s at least $160 a month going towards our ‘Debt snowball.’ Another benefit I saw the first week, was that I lost 6 pounds. The Whole30 Book tells you not to worry about the weight coming off because that is not the focus. The focus is changing your mindset and relationship towards food. But I couldn’t help it. I needed to jump on the scale and weigh myself so I would know I wasn’t wasting my time. I’m glad I did because seeing that I lost those 6 pounds motivated me to continue the plan. 

After that first week, it was pretty much smooth sailing. I enjoyed knowing that I was producing healthier meals for both me and my family. So here is a list of my pros and cons for the last 30 days:

Pros:

Simplifies food prep.  I never realized how much thought, effort, and time that I used to put into cooking. With Whole30, I pretty much stuck to the same breakfast everyday and 5 different meals for dinner. As for lunch, I just ate leftovers from the night before. 

Saves money.  Not only did I save money during grocery shopping, I saved money from not buying as much fast food as I used to. No more burgers or apple pies. I made sure I packed my lunch so I wouldn’t have to worry about eating foods that were not allowed on the plan. 

Acne on my face cleared up. After I had my son 7 months ago, it seemed like my forehead developed bumps overnight. It was probably from all the sugar and processed carbs I was eating. 

I finally have control over sweets! Not drinking Stevia in my coffee was hard.  Whole30 doesn’t even allow artificial sweeteners. This is to reprogram your mind into not craving sweets. This was definitely me. In the past, every time I had a meal, I craved something sweet behind it. I was able to break this addiction during the cleanse. 

Cons:

Constipation. I’m usually a ‘regular’ BM kind of girl. Like at least twice a day, but I found on Whole30, sometimes I wouldn’t go for two days! That’s just unacceptable in my book. I feel weighed down if I don’t go everyday. 

Less breast milk production. This was not too much of a big deal since my son is 7 months and supplementing with solids. However, I don’t recommend this if your baby is less than 3 months old. I noticed that I was producing half of what I usually did. 

No oatmeal, rice, or beans. I enjoy warm oatmeal in the morning especially since it is quick and expensive and something I could just throw into my lunch bag even if I was running late. I was also surprised to learn that brown rice was not allowed. Rice and beans are just a staple side item in my home. Like oatmeal, the fact that it’s super inexpensive we tend to eat it 4-5 times a week. 

I cheated. I didn’t realize corn was not on the menu. It was my go to vegetable when I went out to eat and needed a side item. Unfortunately, corn is considered a grain, not a vegetable. Who knew? 

Overall, I recommend Whole30 to anyone who has food addictions especially to sugar.  Whole30 enabled me to gain control and to be mindful of what I put into my body. However, some of the foods that I will reintroduce into my diet are brown rice, corn, beans, and oatmeal. Eating those 4 foods help with fiber intake and helps me be a happy, ‘regular’ girl. In the end, eating well is all about having control. Control over what you allow into your life and this has definitely trickled down into every area of my life, but that’s another post, for another day. 

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Why I Love Him Part 1


“Bang! Bang!”

It was two something in the wee hours of the morning when I was awakened by my mother pounding on my bedroom door. I swiftly jumped out of my bed and ran to my  parents bedroom to see what all the commotion was about. I entered my parents’ bedroom and find my father on the floor having a seizure and my mother next to him trying to grab a hold of his tongue so he wouldn’t choke. She yelled for me to call 911 and I frantically did. In our family, we hardly showed emotion, but at this moment, even though it was way back when I was just 16, I still remember how dramatic this was. Since it was the middle of the night, the 911 operator asked me to open the front door and turn on the front light so that the EMT’s could easily see our house. As I stood at the front door, in the foyer for what seemed like an eternity, I could hear my mother panic and slapping my father asking him to wake up. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Two weeks earlier, my father fainted in the front yard as he was cutting the grass. My mother called 911. He was taken to the hospital, while still unconscious, and was later released a couple of hours later after he came to and refused medical treatment. 

As the ambulance finally arrived, I felt the anxiety in my body rise even higher. The EMT’s jumped out and I showed them exactly where my father was and they begin working on him. I watched them hit my father with a shot in the thigh, and this stopped the seizing,  but he was still unconscious. My mother told the workers that he was also diabetic, so they ran his sugar level and found that it was over 200. They loaded my father onto the ambulance and my mother and I had to wait for a taxi because our family didn’t own a car. 

The taxi ride was quiet. And I still didn’t understand what was going on. It didn’t help that earlier that day I was upset that my father wouldn’t let me go out with my boyfriend. Was he going to die tonight and would me being mad at him be the last emotion I shared with my father?

We arrived at the hospital and of course it took us asking at least 5 different people where my father was before we would be able to find him. He was in a small square that had no walls, just curtains. Still unconscious, he already had all kinds of tubes and wires connected to his body. I sat on one side of him and held his hand. My mother on the other side of the bed was in a wheelchair. Two weeks prior, we were crossing a street and she tripped into a pothole and broke her leg for a second time. 

I was so confused. Why was all of this happening to my family?

An hour later, the emergency room doctor finally came in to give us an update of my father’s condition. He told us that we should start making funeral arrangements because he did not look good. Wait. What? Funeral arrangements? My father went to weekly doctor visits to manage his diabetes,  if something was wrong with him wouldn’t he tell me?  I couldn’t help but think this seizure was all my fault. Maybe my anger towards my father that afternoon triggered something in his body. 

A couple days went by, and my father was still in a coma. The doctor told us they found a golf ball sized tumor in my father’s left lung. He had lung cancer. I remember my father had periods where he would smoke a pack a day. But lung cancer? That only happens on TV.  And my father needing funeral arrangements, kid’s parents only die in Disney movies. Desperate for some answers, I decided to try something I had never done before. Pray. 

My prayer was:

” God, I don’t even know if you’re real, but all I’m ask is that you wake up my father so that I can tell him I love him before he dies and I will do whatever you want me to do. ”

I went about my day. I kissed my unconscious father good night. Since he was in the ICU, visitors were not allowed overnight so my mother and I had to leave at 9pm. I went home that night and went to sleep easily after an exhaustive week. 

The next morning, I got ready as usual and made my way by myself to see my father. My mother was already there. As I walked towards his room, I couldn’t believe it, but I could hear my father’s voice. It was super hoarse(from having the breathing tube down his throats for 6 days), but it was definitely him!  I walked into his room and my father greeted me like nothing ever happened. There he was, wide awake and he even recognized me. “My prayer worked!”  I thought to myself. It took a few hours, but when my mom finally went to the restroom, I was able to tell my father that I loved him. God answered my prayer. 

I tried another prayer. Watching my father and mother suffer each day as he was not able to do simple mundane task such as brushing his teeth and getting up to use the bathroom, I decided to ask God to take him so that he would not have to suffer any longer. And being a nurse, my mom took it upon herself to sponge bathe my father and even withdraw blood from him since the lab techs were having a terrible time finding good veins. This was too much for my mom I thought. 

Unfortunately, after 20 days back and forth between the ICU and hospice, the cancer spreaded into my fathers bones and digestive system and he took his last breath while my mother held him. 

This may sound like a story with a bad ending, but on the contrary, this was the start of the most amazing relationship I’ve ever experienced. I found the real and living God. I found Jesus and because I’ve tried Him and He’s proven himself over and over again to me there’s nothing and no one that could ever make me doubt him. I am far from perfect, but He’s given me closure, salvation from my sins(and I have tons of them!), an amazing husband even after a divorce, two amazing sons, a career that I know I don’t deserve, and most of all some amazing relationships. The craziest part is, all you have to do is ask. There are no strings attached to His love. He freely gives and doesn’t  force Himself on you.

My hope is to bring someone some hope. Maybe you feel like you’ve tried it all and you can’t take anymore. I ask you to not give up yet, and just try a little of Jesus. 

(Matthew 11:28-30)

Mary or Martha?

This morning, as I dropped my 11 year old son to school, he told me how excited he was to go on a field trip today.  I asked him “why,” and he said that he “had not been on a field trip in a while.”  Although we only live half a mile from his school, I drove him since he only had ten minutes to get to his class.  As we pulled up, the car pool line was all the way out of the gate, maybe ten to fifteen cars deep, so I asked him if he wanted to jump out and just walk the rest of the way. He said “no.”  So we stopped and go-ed through the whole line until we made it to the front of his class.  I kissed him good-bye and realized that these were the last few days of fifth grade, the last few days of elementary school, and maybe the last year of school where he is not too embarrassed to give me a kiss before he gets out the car on the way to school.

As I drove off,  the time I shared with my son through the past six school years flashed through mind.  I could not shake the memory of missing my son’s first day of kindergarten.  Despite the fact that this was almost six years ago,  I still feel mom guilt.  I gave up the opportunity to take my son to his first day of elementary school for a chance at a dream job.  This is something that I have yet to forgive myself for.  My family tried to console me with the fact that I would be doing this so my son would have a better future.  Still, this did not make me feel any better.  I was 1,500 miles away while my son experienced his first two months of school.  I was missing out on small conversations before and after school, making him an afternoon snack, and tucking him in bed at night.  And it was all for my dream job.

So as I drove off today, and continued to think of all I sacrificed for a so-called better life,  I’m stumped with the question, “was it all worth it?”

I listened to an awesome sermon the other day that was  based on the scripture in Luke 10, where Martha was cooking, cleaning, and preparing her home for Jesus who was in another room with Mary, her sister.  Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to everything He had to say.  Frustrated, Martha approached Jesus and asked Him, “why don’t you tell Mary to come help me?”  Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

After listening to that sermon, I had an ‘AH-HA’ moment. I began to have so many questions that I could not answer: Why am I chasing the wind while I am missing precious moments with my family? Wasn’t the reason I took on this career to better my family?  Sure, we have more money, and a LOT more things, but I have far less time with the people that matter most to me.  And this blog, that I’ve dreamed of creating, and finally took the leap and just did it, will I ever have the time to maintain it the way I want to?  Who knew I had a passion of writing until I finally had TIME during maternity leave to sit down and journal.  Yes, we have enough money to make payments on our car and house notes, all our bills are paid on time, heck, we even are able to give 10 percent of our paycheck to our local church, but at what cost?

The cost is our time.  The funny thing is, time as a currency can never be replaced. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Money, however can always be made.  You may lose some in the stock market, gambling, or from theft, but it can always be replaced.

I now realize I do not want to be Martha.  I want to be Mary.  I want to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present for my family and friends.  I’m ready for change.

-To be continued…

The-clock

Why the Grass IS Greener on the Other side


In 2014, my family and I lived in a community that had a homeowner’s association. One of the services that was provided was lawn care. This included mowing of the lawn and trimming of trees and shrubs. I always admired my lawn because it was thick and healthy. Or so I thought. 

One morning, as I was walking to my car in the driveway, I noticed my neighbor’s lawn (Mr. Richard) was much greener and much taller than mine. I thought it was odd. But just brushed it off and figured that maybe he told the lawn care folks he did not want his lawn cut the week before. A week went by, and the lawn service was in the community cutting our lawns. And because we were next door neighbors, Mr. Richard’s lawn and my lawn got cut at the same exact time. Another week goes by, and to my amazement, Mr. Richard’s lawn is longer than mine, again!  Not only was it longer, you could actually see where our property line was because his grass was that much greener and fuller than mine. 

Fortunately, Mr. Richard was in his sixties and retired. So that meant he was always home. That evening, as I arrived home from work, Mr. Richard was at the mailbox collecting his mail. I greeted him and anxiously asked, “Mr. Richard, why is your yard so much healthier than mine?” He smiled and informed me that he put down fertilizer a month before. “But I watered my yard twice a week(I think) wasn’t that enough?” I thought to myself. He said that he put down fertilizer at the beginning of every season and sometimes he even sprinkled down some grass seed to make his yard thicker.  Right then I had a revelation. I wasn’t maintaining my yard. 

When I thought about it some more, I realized that this was true of all relationships including my marriage   Every thing that has a use or a purpose requires maintenance. 

My husband and I would go through this crazy cycle in our marriage early on.  There were many times where I would feel left out because my husband spent a lot time working out, hanging out with friends, etc. I felt like he wasn’t fully invested into our relationship. It probably seemed like a quiet revenge to him, but I would give him the silent treatment out of being spiteful. I thought, if he doesn’t make me a priority, why should I let him be my priority? 

Unfortunately, the silent treatment just made things worse.  It turns out, me being silent just gave my husband the opportunity to create every irrational, erroneous, false lie in his mind that only created more drama. And then I would just give him some more silent treatment…

Thankfully, my husband is one of those people who can’t sleep if there is an issue between us. He used to bombard me with questions and try to verify the crazy thoughts he came up with. But, through reading books and friendly suggestions from a close mutual friend, we both matured and he learned to ease off and give me at least 10 minutes of alone time when we have a disagreement. This allows me time to cool off and think more rationally instead of hormonally and a chance for him to pray and ask God to change my heart. There have been a few times where I would be in another room and all of a sudden I would feel my spirit totally change from raging mad to so forgiving in a matter of seconds. Sometimes I just laugh because I know my husband just prayed for me. And when I ask my husband, he confirms that he did. 

My husband and I learned that proactive communication is way easier than reactive drama. We became transparent with each other even if we knew honesty may hurt the others feelings for a moment.  Being quick and honest was far less pain than dealing with a well played lie. We learned to remove the weeds so that our grass could grow tall. 

Side note: we picked up some fertilizer and applied it our yard. Within a month, our yard was Greener and taller than Mr. Richard’s!

To conclude, there are times when you have to water your grass, add fertilizer, and then step back and wait. It may not happen when you want it, but through cultivating your own grass you too can have greener grass and not have to lust after your neighbor’s yard.

Time Management; A Woman’s BFF

With a new baby, I sometimes feel as if I am never able to complete all my daily tasks at home and at work. I’m constantly waking up late or even running late to work for an afternoon shift even when I thought I planned my morning well so that I would not be late. Unfortunately, once I’m late it seems like my whole day snowballs into a huge mess. However, I’ve found a better way to be more effective each day and without it I find I’m aimlessly mothering, loving my husband, and just being an inefficient employee at work. 

Nine months ago, while I was in the nesting phase of my pregnancy, I noticed my home was all out of whack. After a terribly tiring first trimester, I let my homemaking go by the wayside. Thankfully, I have an understanding husband who had no problem with me sleeping all hours of the day. I knew it was time to get my home in order so I started searching the web and my local library for all things ‘organization.’  My home was such a mess, it took me 2 weeks to go through every crevice and corner and get it to where I felt it was ready to welcome a brand new baby.  As I was cleaning my home, I realized not only did my house need cleaning and organization but also did my life. I needed to better manage my time. 

The first step in my getting a hold of my time management process was purging.  I can not stress enough how important it is to get rid of unused or cluttering items. Not only will it save you time by not having to clean those items, but your home will feel more spacious. The less things that you own, the more time you have to do the things that matter. My husband and I threw out a coffee table that was falling apart and it somehow collected everyone’s things at the end of the night. Miraculously, all the items that we used to throw down on the table after walking in the door(keys, watches, headphones, etc.), finally made it to their humble homes in our bedroom drawers. I decide to part with anything that did not bring me joy. When it comes to your life, this might include activities that do not bring any benefit to your life. Like that one hour or more of watching reality shows that do nothing but make you subliminally believe your life should look this way. There was a certain reality show I was watching religiously a few years ago and I realized after watching it I was never content with anything my husband was doing for me. One mid-nagging session, I realized I sounded just like the main character on the show. This ended me DVRing this show. 

Now that your home is clear and only the things that you want and need remain, it’s time to create a schedule for things to get done. I had a daily planner that I used to remember all my prenatal appointments so I figured it would be a great idea to write down tasks that need to be done around my home. For example, Wednesday is the day of the week where I clean out the fridge. I remove all expired items(salad dressings, lunch meat, etc.) and throw out any old meals that we forgot about. This sets the stage for grocery day which is Thursday so it’s easy for my husband to slide new groceries in and not have to worry about running out of space. Here is an example of tasks I write into my planner daily:

Laundry – I try to do at least 1 load of laundry each day, but not more than 2 loads a day. After 2 loads, the third load either does not make it into the dryer, does not get folded, or does not get put away.  So I’ll save the next load for the following day. 

Cooking – I write down exactly what I’m going to cook and the time I plan to prepare it. (For example, Baked chicken, sweet potatoes, and mixed veggies at 4pm)

Exercise – I create a time slot for the gym. If not, it seems like I always find an excuse for not going. 

These are only three task I plan for, but I definitely put in way more than three each day. This is just to give you an idea. 

It may say sound pretty nerdy to plan to-do’s so specifically, but I find that planning and organizing daily task at home as if you were running a small business is the most effective way to get tasks done efficiently. Being a busy mom and wife, I need every little bit of help I can get at remembering things so that will be able to actually follow through and execute them.  Even more of a time saver, is being able to delegate tasks out to your entire household which we’ll talk about in another post. 

Have you tried this approach in managing your home? Let me know down in the comments.  I’ve recently fallen off from being intentional with my time, but starting today I’ve decided to get back on track. I can’t afford to waste another minute. Tomorrow is not promised. 

-Modest Miami Mom

2017. I Will Be Intentional!

Every New Year, countless people across the world start the same resolutions that they attempted to start in prior years. I have had several weight loss goals and money-saving goals that for whatever reason, went south right after March twenty something. However, last year, I started keeping lists, journals, and calendars to keep my dreams from just becoming thoughts, but allowing my dreams to turn into real, tangible goals. Last year, my husband and I got back on Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball in August and since then, we’ve been able to pay off $20,000 of debt even with the birth of our son in September, in 5 months. I’ve also been able to read on average, 2 books a week and make it to the gym every 3 days. Which may not sound like much to the fitness heads, but it’s more than enough for a breastfeeding mom who’s working full-time.

My family and I have been able to keep up with all of this by me writing everything down. That includes appointments, meal plans, grocery lists, and simple to-do list. The Bible says in Habakkuk 2:2, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets…” I truly believe something happens when you put a pen to a paper and be intentional. Some say you’re releasing it into the Universe, but I believe it’s spiritual. You’re not only telling yourself, but you’re reminding your spirit that you have a standard to reach every time you look at that paper.

So this year, in 2017, I’ve decided on 4 areas with 4 specific goals that I will focus on and be intentional in reaching:

God – I will read the Bible and pray each day(I’m a Christian, and I believe in the power of God’s Word, the Bible)

Family  – draw closer to my older son(with a new baby, it’s easy to make him feel left out)

Work – transfer into a position that has a more steady work schedule( I am currently working shift work that forces me to work a different set of hours each work day which has me exhausted by the last day)

Personal – eat well and workout consistently(I don’t believe in diets, I believe in balance)

I believe the most important part of goal setting is remembering that I am not perfect and that I will mess up. I may not even keep all 4 goal through the year. But the hardest part of keeping a goal is jumping back on the horse once you’ve fallen off which is why most people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. So as the year progresses, I will glance at my list from time to time to keep myself accountable to my goals and being intentional.  So when the day comes where I decide that I’m too lazy to perform the task at hand, I can glance back at my journarl and remember that I have a mark to meet, a standard to live up to.

I will keep you updated with my goals and in March 2018 I will give you a 1 year update on where I am with each one .