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Weekly Fitness Victories - Last Two Weeks Recap

11/14/2014 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

It's been a few weeks since I've written a Weekly Fitness Victories post. Mostly due to lack of time and then I had to take almost 2 weeks off from the gym because the little one was sick. 

When I got back to the gym last week, I thought I was going to experience a set back in my training - but it was actually the opposite. I came back stronger and was able to kick butt in my workouts. I guess my body needed some recovery time! 

Last week, I was only able to go to Crossfit two days but they were good workouts! During Tuesday's workout, I was able to progress to only a black band for pull-ups. I used to need both black AND green to pull myself up. Getting stronger! WOOT! On Wednesday, we did a lovely benchmark workout combination of Grace + Annie + Grace. That was rough, but fun. It was my first time doing Grace (30 Clean & Jerks for time) and I completed the first Grace in 4:03 at 55#. I'm looking forward to testing my progress in a few months on that one. Either faster time or heavier weight!

Current week: 11/10 - 11/14


TUESDAY: ARMISTICE - In honor of Veteran's Day. 
This was a tough workout, but I felt very strong and was able to maintain a good pace. 


THURSDAY: All the Squat Cleans! 
We worked on squat cleans from the hang position and I PR'd! The heaviest I've been able to clean off the floor was 85#, but I was able to do 90# from the hang! I bet when we test a full clean, I will be able to do more. I worked a lot on technique and getting under the bar quicker - which totally helps! Sometimes I freak myself out mid-pull and bail, but my coach helped me to just drop under the bar and stand back up. After missing an attempt, I was able to clean the bar without a problem. Funny how that works. Technique is so important.

I finished. That's all that matters! Wittman seemed like it wasn't going to be too bad, but seven rounds of anything is definitely going to test your stamina. I wanted to quit after round 2, and then again after round 5, but thanks to my coach, I was able to push through. After all, it's all about honoring the fallen who gave it all. I just can't quit - they surely didn't. 

Share some of your fitness victories this week, big or small, in the comments below! 

Until next time!



Sausage and Kale Pesto Bowl Recipe

11/13/2014 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

After a great WOD (workout of the day) at the box (Crossfit word for gym), I was hangry (a cross between hungry and angry). I got home at 8am, got the baby down for a nap by 8:45, and had a work conference call to attend at 9. I decided to be adventurous and make breakfast while on the phone - thank God for mute buttons! 

Since I was paying attention to the conference call, I just started pulling stuff out of the fridge and throwing things together. End result was a yummy bowl of chicken sausage, grape tomatoes, kale, and cashew pesto. It's a simple recipe which can easily be adapted to whatever veggies and proteins you have on hand. I ate this whole thing, but it could also easily be a side dish for two alongside some eggs - darn, why didn't I think of that earlier?

Sausage & Kale Pesto Bowl Recipe

Recipe Ingredients
2 Aidell's Chicken & Apple Sausage (whole30 approved!), diced
15-20 grape tomatoes, quartered
2 big handfuls of organic kale, cut and cleaned
1 heaping TBSP of pesto (recipe below for cashew pesto)
1 TBSP cooking fat of choice
1 capful of apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt

Recipe Directions
1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
2. While your skillet is heating up, chop up chicken sausage and grape tomatoes into bite size pieces.
3. Once the skillet is hot, add enough cooking fat (I used olive oil) to coat the pan and add your chicken sausage and grape tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add your two big handfuls of kale, pinch of salt, and capful of apple cider vinegar.
5. Stir frequently until kale is wilted. Kale is a sturdy green, so it may take a little longer to wilt than let's say spinach. 
6. Once the kale is cooked to your liking, add a heaping tablespoon of already prepared pesto. I had my cashew pesto already in the fridge from earlier in the week. Stir until pesto is warmed up and lightly coated on everything.
7. Serve in a nice big bowl and savor every bite! 

Cashew Pesto Recipe
My cashew pesto recipe is based on Everyday Paleo's Walnut Pesto. Lately, I've been using cashews instead of walnuts and twice the amount of lemon juice and I love the way it turns out. 

Recipe Ingredients (adapted from original recipe)
4 oz fresh basil (or a big bunch)
1 cup cashews halves and pieces
6 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
Juice from 1 lemon

Recipe Directions:
1. In a food processor add the cashews, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Process until smooth.
2. Add the basil and lemon juice and process again until smooth.
3. Take a taste and fall in love.



Transformation Tuesday!

11/11/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

The night of my daughter's first birthday party, I was talking wedding dresses with some of the ladies who are excitedly planning their weddings. I then got the crazy idea to try on my wedding dress for them, so we snuck upstairs and I pulled out the beautiful gown from my closet. 

Now, in preparation of my wedding on January 28, 2012, I had lost 25 lbs following the Weight Watchers program and I felt GREAT on my wedding day. It wasn't until the summer of 2012 that I found out about the Paleo lifestyle and subsequently, the Whole30. 

Who would have thought that almost 3 years later and just 1 year after having a baby, I would not only fit into my wedding dress, but it would actually be a bit too big?! 

Although we eat Whole30/paleo most of the time, and I've now become a Crossfitter, it's easy to get down on yourself when the number on the scale doesn't budge as much as you think it should. But dancing around in my wedding dress this past weekend made me so proud of myself. I've definitely come a long way and I can't wait to see where we go from here. 



Need Organic Groceries? Vine Market to the Rescue!

11/06/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

Ever since I discovered the Paleo lifestyle, I've been on the search for organic, clean, real food products that I feel comfortable feeding my body. It's not always easy to find a store that carries items like coconut butter, cashew butter, avocado oil, etc, but I have spent a lot of energy (and gas!) looking for them. We now find most of our organic products at Wegmans, which is about a 30 minute drive, but some times I have to travel to multiple stores, just to find what I'm looking for.

Now with a one year old, I care even more about what we are bringing into the house and the types of food I am letting her explore. As my husband says, "Only the best for our girl!" On the flip side, finding the time to go grocery shopping can be difficult with a little one. I don't always have the opportunity to drive 30 minutes to Wegmans, let alone make multiple stops along the way looking for specific products.

And then God answered my prayers!

Enter Vine Market.

How cool is this?!?!
Not only are the prices comparable to in store prices, but shipping is free at $49! And when I think about the time, energy, and gas I will be saving by ordering some of our staples online - I'm beyond thrilled.

I'm going to be putting in my first order this week, and if you'd like to order too, I have a special coupon code! Use coupon code: HELLOVM for 20% off your first order! Sweet!

Here's some of the items I'm ordering:
Vine Market
    And they don't just sell food - they have tons of products you can order. At everything is green. They make sure their products are either organic, natural, energy- or water-efficient; run on their own renewable energy; are made from sustainable materials; or contribute to a healthier home.

    Looks like I've found my new favorite website :)


    *Note: Product links are affiliate links. It doesn't cost you a thing and helps maintain the free information on my blog! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family or don't already use and love. Thank you!


    Adobo Lime Roasted Chicken Recipe

    11/06/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

    My go-to roasted chicken recipe is "Sara's Chicken" but sometimes, like tonight, I only have 5 minutes to throw something in the oven. 

    This recipe, which I've named Adobo Lime Chicken, is basically a simplified version of Sara's Chicken, but with a little zesty twist - fresh lime juice! In a nut shell, I just seasoned the chicken with olive oil, fresh garlic, a bunch of my homemade adobo and sazon, squeezed a fresh lime over it all, and stuffed the lime in the bird. It always surprises me when something quick and easy comes out SO GOOD. Give this a try and let me know what you think! Sorry that there's no exact measurements, but that's how I cook 90% of the time!

    Adobo Lime Roasted Chicken Recipe
    Recipe Ingredients
    Whole chicken
    Homemade Adobo seasoning
    Homemade Sazon seasoning
    4-5 garlic cloves
    1 fresh lime 
    1/4 cup olive oil 
    1/2 cup water

    Recipe Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

    2. Put chicken in a large roasting pan and coat with olive oil.

    3. Season liberally with the homemade adobo and sazon seasonings, add chopped garlic, and put the  chicken "Breast-side down". 

    4. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lime all over the chicken and place the lime halves inside of the chicken cavity. 

    5. Add 1/2 cup of water to pan, cover with roasting pan lid, and roast for about 1.5 hours or until done.

    6. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. 




    Plantain Egg Nest Recipe

    11/05/2014 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

    This is a super quick, delicious, and filling breakfast. I like to make this after a hard morning workout - but let's face it - eggs can be eaten any time of day! 

    Plantain Egg Nest Recipe
    Recipe Ingredients: 
    1 plantain, small dice 
    2 eggs
    Cooking fat of choice 
    Salt, pepper, ground cumin, to taste 
    1/2 avocado, diced 
    Fresh cilantro

    Recipe Directions: 
    1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and turn the oven broiler on. 

    2. Dice up a green plantain into fairly small pieces. 

    3. Fry up the plantain pieces in the cooking fat of your choice. I used coconut oil. 

    4. Once the plantains are browned on all sides, make a well to fry your eggs. 

    5. Season everything with salt, pepper, and ground cumin and carefully place the whole pan into the oven. 

    6. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Keep a close eye! 

    7. Carefully remove from oven and top with diced avocado and fresh cilantro. 

    I eat this right out of the pan, being careful not to touch the very hot pan! 




    Weekly Fitness Victories - 9/22 - 9/26

    9/26/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

    This week started out a little rough. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I couldn't make it into the box (Crossfit word for gym) on my regular training days. So instead of working out 4 times this week, I only got in 3. But they were all really tough workouts so I'm not complaining!

    Current week: 9/22/14 - 9/26/14 



    This workout was a toughie. It was a chipper which means it was high reps of a lot of different movements. I'm most proud of doing 80 sit-ups. Since having a baby, my core has been really weak. When I first got back to working out in January, I could barely do 5 sit-ups without having to take a break. Wednesday, I did the 80 reps in sets of 20 - that's progress! 

    I hate running. Whenever there's a run portion of a workout, I always do run/walk intervals. But during Thursday's AMRAP which included a 100m sprint every round, I did not walk at all. I ran the whole time for every round. 100m may not sound like a lot, but when you're tired from doing all the other parts of the workout, you can easily get in your head about needing to walk to catch your breath. At least that's what happens to me! But I pushed through those thoughts and I'm proud of myself. 

    FRIDAY: HERO WOD FRIDAYS - Hotshots 19
    Hero WODs are always over the top hard. They are supposed to be - how else can we honor our military, law enforcement, and firefighters who have given it all?! Hotshots 19 honors the nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team who tragically lost their lives on June 30, 2013, while fighting a fire in Yarnell, Arizona. 

    I took my time with this long workout and I'm just glad that I finished it. I might have wanted to quit a thousand times, almost threw up during round 5, and had to walk more than run, but ladies and gentlemen I finished it. Took me 52:28, but I finished! 

    So here's to another week of pushing myself to new limits! The weekend calls for some rest and I hope to be right back at it on Monday. Share some of your fitness victories this week, big or small, in the comments below! 



    Spinach and Prosciutto Egg Nest Recipe

    9/24/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

    I've been trying to include some more greens in my diet, particularly at breakfast. A quick google search and you will find all the reasons why dark greens like spinach and kale are nutritional powerhouses. 

    Did you know that spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C? It's also a good source of protein - who knew?! 

    So here's a simple yet delicious way to enjoy your greens first thing in the AM, but don't feel like you can't just as easily prepare this for lunch or dinner. 

    Here's the play by play: 
    By hand, rip up 4-5 slices of prosciutto.

    Add those prosciutto pieces to a hot cast iron skillet, that's been coated with a bit of cooking fat (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, etc)

    Once the prosciutto starts to get crispy, add in 2-3 heaping handfuls of spinach into your pan, along with another small drizzle of olive oil, a capful of apple cider vinegar, a dash of salt (remember the prosciutto is salty), and a little black pepper.

    After continuously stirring the spinach and prosciutto, make a well once the spinach has started to wilt.

    Add in your eggs...

    ...and cover! The steam will cook the tops of the eggs and finish cooking the spinach.
    After a couple minutes, your meal is done!
    I'm a busy, working mama so I just ate it straight out of the pan! One less dish to clean!

    Spinach and Prosciutto Egg Nest Recipe

    Recipe Ingredients 
    • 4-5 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
    • 2-3 heaping handfuls of spinach 
    • 2 eggs
    • capful of apple cider vinegar
    • pinch of salt and pepper 
    • cooking fat for pan (olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, etc)
    Recipe Directions
    1. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat.
    2. By hand, rip up 4-5 slices of prosciutto so that you have smaller pieces.
    3. Add those prosciutto pieces to a hot cast iron skillet, that's been coated with a bit of cooking fat, and crisp up for a minute or two.
    4. Once the prosciutto starts to get crispy, add in 2-3 heaping handfuls of spinach into your pan, along with another small drizzle of olive oil, a capful of apple cider vinegar, a dash of salt (remember the prosciutto is salty), and a little black pepper.
    5. After continuously stirring the spinach and prosciutto, make a well once the spinach has started to wilt.  Add in your eggs and cover the pan. The steam will cook the tops of your eggs and finish cooking the spinach. Use a clear top if you can, so you can see when the eggs are done to your liking without having to prematurely let out the steam.
    6. Once done to your liking, uncover and enjoy! I eat this right out of the pan - no need to dirty another dish! 

    How do you like to incorporate greens or other vegetables first thing in the morning? Leave a comment below! 



    Paleo Baby: Teaching my daughter the love of real food

    9/23/2014 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

    There WERE raspberries and coconut cream in that bowl :)

    Ever since I learned of the Whole30/Paleo lifestyle, I knew that I wanted to raise my future children to not only eat but love real food. A little over a year later, we welcomed our little Paleo Baby into the world and we have remained committed to only feeding her nutrient-dense foods.

    We have been blessed with a great breastfeeding relationship which is still going strong at almost 11 months old. Isabelle still gets a majority of her nutrition from Mama's Milk, but since about 4.5 months old (which is early), I began to introduce wholesome, real foods into her diet.

    I originally wanted to wait until 6 months before introducing solid food, as recommended by many. However, when my child started to make chewing motions with her mouth as she watched us eat and started to swipe at my dinner plate, and cry when we didn't let her have any, I knew it was time to do something. I didn't want to give her the typical baby cereals since I knew from my research that it wasn't nutritionally necessary and could often cause digestion issues. So I started out with mashed sweet potato and Isabelle responded really well. She even grabbed the baby spoon and fed herself that night - this girl was READY. If you don't believe me, check out this photo documenting her first real food experience:

    "This stuff is so good!"
    From 4-6 months I kept things very simple and only introduced sweet potato, avocado, and banana. I would often puree these items with breast milk to aid in digestion. I also made sure that everything she consumed was organic or locally grown/raised. 

    At around 6 months, I started introducing her to more purees including butternut squash, applesauce, zucchini, and blueberries. She loved them all.

    At around 7 months, I started incorporating some "babyled weaning" ideas and started giving her chunks of real food and letting her self feed. I found this to really help her motor skills and food became a fun, learning experience for everyone. Up until now, we barely spoon feed her anything. We put food on her high-chair tray and let her go to town! It gets messy, but I love watching her discover new foods. I think that most of my pictures of Isabelle are of her in her high-chair, covered in food. 
    Blueberries and Watermelon

    At almost 11 months old, Isabelle pretty much eats whatever we eat. I no longer spend time making "baby food" as I did in the earlier months. Whatever I am eating, which typically follows a paleo template, is what Isabelle gets to eat as well. Some of her favorites include:
    • Avocado - her absolute favorite
    • Olives
    • Coconut milk, cream, butter
    • Raspberries 
    • Blueberries
    • Watermelon
    • Spaghetti Squash
    • Ground beef
    • Shredded chicken/turkey 
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Sweet potato
    • Butternut squash
    • Plantains
    • Banana
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli 
    • Spinach (in the form of a green smoothie)
    To this day, Isabelle has not met a food she does not like! Sometimes she'll make a funny face if her raspberries or blueberries are too tart - but she'll still eat them.
    I love avocado!

    With all that being said, here is a list of food groups we are choosing NOT to include in Isabelle's diet:

    GRAINS - with the exception of an occasional serving of rice
    Why? Here's a snippet from "The Grain Manifesto" found on the Whole30 website:
    In a comparison* done in our New York Times bestselling book, It Starts With Food, a daily diet based on “healthy” whole grains provided more than three times the sugar and sodium as a diet featuring vegetables and fruit, but provided less fiber, potassium, and substantially less magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.
    So I rather fill ALL of our plates with a variety of fruits and vegetables instead of bread, cereal, or pasta. 

    Because the over consumption of sugar is just plain bad. Anything and everything that comes in a box these days has sugar, or some form of science experiment sugar, as an ingredient. Again, I don't want that in my body, let alone my daughter's little vessel.

    Cow's milk is designed for baby cows. Human milk is designed for baby humans. Once Isabelle weans off of breast milk, I will most likely continue to pump and have her drink breastmilk from a cup or have her continue to drink coconut milk. So many people don't tolerate dairy well - including myself - so I just don't see the need to introduce it to her. I may one day consider a raw, organic, local source of cheese or yogurt, but for right now she's dairy free. If you're concerned about calcium, you should know that dairy is not the only good source of calcium. You can find calcium in vegetables (greens), meats, nuts, and seeds.

    Why give my child fake food, when she loves real food which is much more nutritious and delicious? Will my child one day have a piece of candy? Eat a piece of cake? Of course, but they most certainly won't be common occurrences and won't even be valued as a treat.

    It's so easy to get concerned about whether or not your child is getting enough nutrients, but by looking at the assortment of different fruits, vegetables, and protein Isabelle IS eating on a regular basis (versus what she isn't), I feel confident that she's getting enough of all the right stuff. Plus she's a good weight, good height, has soft and clear skin, healthy hair and nails, and is overall a very happy and healthy baby. (THANK YOU JESUS!)  
    Raspberries and coconut cream - another favorite combo

    I know this is also setting her up for good eating habits in the future. She does not snack all day on Gerber puffs or other sugary processed carbs, so she won't feel the need to constantly snack on empty calories when she's older (a habit I still struggle with).  She is being exposed to many different, nutrient-dense, and flavorful foods that will hopefully give her the confidence to always try new things - a behavior that could benefit her in numerous ways.

    All in all, the purpose of this post is to share how we are feeding our little one and what our experience has been like so far. I hope this can be encouraging to other mothers out there that would like to implement more healthy eating habits into their home. It can be done and I certainly recommend it!


    Spaghetti squash, pumpkin, and ground beef - yum!


    Weekly Fitness Victories - 9/15 - 9/19

    9/16/2014 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

    At least for me, it's easy to get down on myself for not being able to do more when it comes to my Crossfit workouts. I get frustrated when I have to walk instead of run, when I have to use less weight than my peers, or when I can't get over my fears to just jump on a box. 

    But I do know that I'm getting stronger, faster, and better everyday so I'm going to start a blog series that will document at least one victory from each of my workouts in a given week. 

    Focusing on the positive is the only way to live life! 

    Current Week: 9/15 - 9/19

    Monday: I hit a new PR! 

    We worked on deadlifts, and I increased my 1 rep max by 40 lbs! My new PR is 175# and my 3RM is 135# which was my old 1RM! 

    Tuesday: I did two double unders in a row! 

    During one of the EMOMs, I actually did a double under! And then I did another one - 2 in a row! I was so excited I dropped my rope, hugged my coach, and then went back to the WOD. I didn't get another one after that, but it's progress! 

    Wednesday: I did 50 thrusters at 55#! 

    Typically, during a WOD with thrusters, I've only been able to successfully complete it with a naked 35# bar. But not today! I did all reps at 55#.My first set was 17 reps unbroken - I guess there is no going back! 

    Thursday: REST DAY

    Friday: HERO WOD FRIDAY - Whitten

    Just showing up was my victory today. While the WOD called for 5 rounds of a bunch of stuff I don't like (burpees and running blah!), I did a very scaled version of 3 rounds. I could have stayed home today, but I showed up and did something. I can't be mad about that! 

    Share some of your fitness victories this week, big or small, in the comments below! 



    Whole30 - Round 4!

    9/16/2014 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

    It's been 2 years since I've discovered the Whole30 and it has most definitely changed my eating habits for good. We eat paleo style and Whole30 meals the majority of the time, but do allow indulgences as we see fit. 

    However the last couple of weeks were a bit more than just an indulgence - I was stress eating and ended up having a carbopalooza. I immediately gained 5 lbs of bloat and just felt horrible. So with that being said, I'm doing my 4th official Whole30. No slips, no mistakes, no excuses, for 30 days. Just 100% real food, 100% of the time. I will be documenting more of my meals on my Instagram account (smpons) so please feel free to follow me on there. I also hope to post some new recipes on the blog as well. 

    Hope this motivates someone else! Change your life in 30 days! 

    Yesterday, 9/15/14 was Day 1.  Especially since I now do  Crossfit 4 times a week, I'm expecting some great results within the next 30 days. 

    If you'd like to join me, leave a comment below! 




    It's been a while!

    8/27/2014 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

    Oops! It's been over 6 months since my last blog post! 

    Life has been SO BUSY. Baby. Husband. New home. Work. Crossfit. I will just leave it at that!

    I would love to start blogging again and I really hope I can squeeze it in, even if just once a week. I would love to start sharing my progress with Crossfit and my journey to getting myself into the best shape of my life, post baby. Also, we are feeding Isabelle a Whole30/paleo inspired diet, and I'm sure other moms with a desire to do the same would be interested in what/how we are feeding our little one. Hint: she pretty much eats what we eat! 

    Lastly, and of course, I'd love to share new good food recipes! 

    So stay tuned for some more activity on this blog and in the meantime, feel free to follow me on Instagram! I'm always posting there! 

    Until next time!


    Whole30 2014: Days 21-30

    2/10/2014 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

     So I'm a little late with this post. But do not fear! We did successfully complete our Whole30! The last 10 days of our Whole30 were just as delicious as our first 20. Although we were busier, got a little sick, and tempted to indulge, we remained on the course! I'm actually still going strong and today is Day 37! Mark had a mini detour and enjoyed some organic tortilla chips with my guacamole. I know, we are such rebels.

    I currently have a cranky baby on my lap so I will just post these pictures as a reminder that eating this way is never boring or bland. I have actually enjoyed some of the most delicious meals while on this program. I hope to post a reflective piece on what I've learned from the experience this time around in the next day or so, as well as some of the recipes for the meals pictured below. Stay tuned! Until then, be inspired to eat real food!

    PS: I downloaded this new app that adds text to photos and I might have gotten a little carried away!

    Sweet potato, ground beef, and a homemade balsamic cherry jam

    That's yucca and plantains in that soup - no potatoes!

    Recipe slightly adapted from Primal Cravings Cookbook

    Another delicious recipe from the Primal Cravings cookbook


    Whole30 Recap: My Father's Story

    2/09/2014 *Sara-Marie* 6 Comments

    Before and after his Whole30
    My father is my hero. In his younger days,  he used to be a body builder and I remember being able to hang and swing holding onto his biceps. After a long car ride home, I would pretend to be asleep in the car, just so he could carry me in the house in his strong arms. 

    As the years went on and his priorities shifted from bodybuilding to becoming the first pastor of a Spanish speaking congregation in our small town in Pennsylvania and the founder of a local food bank, the weight started creeping on. He was (and is still) so committed to helping this community that his health took a back seat. 

    Due to the weight gain and poor diet, my father then developed poor circulation in his legs and cellulitis. Over the years, he's had two surgeries to address the issues and after an ER visit this past December, was headed for a third. 

    I had spoken to my family about the Whole30 since I discovered it back in August 2012, but they never thought it was feasible for them. After all, I come from a very Puerto Rican family that can live off of rice and beans alone. But after my dad's latest health concerns, he decided to embark on his own Whole30 journey. 

    About 10 days into his Whole30, feeling great and loving on his granddaughter Isabelle
    I am so proud of his commitment and dedication over the last 30 days. I've seen with my very own eyes, how his energy has increased, how positive he feels about life, and how he went from needing 5-6 cups of coffee per day to only 1-2 cups. I've seen him reach for a piece of fruit for a snack instead of his usual crackers with peanut butter. I heard from my mom that he's sleeping so much better and longer at night. I've seen him preach on Sunday mornings with more fervor. I've seen his suits fit him so much better. 

    And most importantly, I've seen his inflamed leg return back to normal. In just 30 DAYS. See for yourself:
    No medication, no surgery, just eating real food.

    Is that not incredible?! FOOD IS MEDICINE! 

    By simply eating real foods like meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts, and avocados, he has taken his health into his own hands. Oh, and he also lost 23 pounds. TWENTY THREE POUNDS. No big deal. 

    My father is so encouraged by his results that he has officially decided to extend his Whole30 to a Whole60. In his own words, 

    "I give God all of the glory. Without His help, I couldn't do it. And I thank God that He gave Melissa and Dallas Hartwig all of this knowledge and wisdom to help so many people like me."

     I couldn't be prouder. My father is my hero. 

    This picture was taken today, February 9th

    And just because I love this picture...
    On my wedding day, January 2012, before we knew anything about Whole30.


    Whole30 2014: Days 11-20

    1/27/2014 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

    Two thirds of the way complete with our Whole30! Again, I say it has been so easy this time around! I'm taking advantage that our little Belle is asleep so I'm keeping this post short and sweet. May the pictures speak for themselves.

    WHOLE30 EATS: Days 11-20

    I made a fresh batch of ghee!

    2 eggs with avocado and tomato salad

    Not the best pictures, but chicken wings, tostones, and avocado - YUM.

    A very random concoction on a very busy day: avocado, tomatoes, red onion, chicken sausage, and olive oil

    Keeping it simple with some scrambled eggs with coconut milk and dried tarragon

    A delicious meal I made by accident: Walnut Pesto Ground Pork Salad
    Walnut Pesto Ground Pork Salad Recipe
    2 hardboiled eggs drizzled with the walnut pesto sauce I'm currently obsessed with eating
    Sara's Chicken

    I decided to make a big batch of chicken breasts for emergency protein. They were simply seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in the cast iron skillet in some ghee.
    Some of that emergency protein with roasted butternut squash and rutabaga and of course, the walnut pesto sauce.

    Horrible picture, but some more of that emergency protein with some organic marinara sauce
    A big pile of food: sweet plantains, chicken sausage, and an avocado
    Bacalao con Guineos: Salted Cod with Plantains. Recipe coming soon.