Our Favorite Gut Healthy Summer Dinner

OK – I’ll have to admit one of the reasons we’ve been able to be so successful with our gut healthy journey and change of lifestyle is there have been some amazingly delicious and super easy recipes – like our go-to grass-fed burgers (or bison) with an easy coleslaw, fermented pickles and avocado. Yum!

INGREDIENTS & DIRECTIONS

Once you’ve had this, there will be no surprise why it’s quickly become one of our favorites. There is one ‘weird’ ingredient that you may not be used to eating or cooking with is fennel. We have never had fennel prior to our gut health journey — but there are a handful of recipes that’ve called for it like this one. And it does have a distinct taste, but it tastes good! Fennel is oddly shaped and a member of the carrot family, but it is not considered a root vegetable. A few other ‘gut healthy’ pointers when buying some of your ingredients:

Yogurt – Make sure to get greek yogurt that has live cultures with at least 1 million CFUs (colony-forming units). Also, when possible look for pasture-raised cows so that you don’t have any extra hidden evils in there.

Meat – It’s crucial to purchase and eat grass-fed beef or bison, this ensures you’re not eating any additional antibiotics and getting the freshest and safest meat. We are always stocked on grass-fed beef thanks to Meatboxlocal.

Ingredients:
– (4) carrots, peeled and shredded
– (1) fennel bulb, shredded
– 3-cups of sliced red cabbage
– Juice from one whole lemon,
– 1 teaspoon of celery seed
– 1-cup of 2% plain greek yogurt
– For Serving: avocado, fermented pickles, grass-fed beef or bison burgers.

Step-by-Step Instructions:
1. Wash and prep your carrots, shred them with a cheese grater into a bowl — add your red cabbage.
2. Next, prep your fennel – wash and cut the greens off. Then shred overtop your carrots and cabbage. Next up shred half of your lemon peel and pour lemon juice over top.
3. Top with your 1-cup of greek yogurt and teaspoon of fennel seeds. Mix well, refrigerate until ready to serve!
4. Serving size is 1-cup of coleslaw, use as your base and stack burger, quarter avocado and a few pickle slices for your final meal!

Serving Size: (1 burger, 1 cup of slaw, quarter of an avocado, 3 sliced pickles) 284 calories, 31g protein, 24g carbohydrates, 9g total fat,

And that is really it! I promise you it’ll be a go-to and it’s so easy to pull together. The coleslaw recipe would be great on it’s own as a side and a healthy alternative to bring to your next backyard bbq or family gathering. We make this at least once a week and love every bit of it – you don’t even miss the burger buns because the flavor between the coleslaw, avocado and pickles paired with the burger is just soooo good!

Kitchen Reno – Demo & Mood Board

Welp! Demo has officially started on our kitchen reno, perhaps a little preemptively but after meeting with our contractor to talk him through the plan – we quickly realized there were a handful of hidden outliers that had B and I itching to uncover. So last Saturday, we just tried to rip up a few of the lament floor tiles to see if the hardwoods were wrecked or not… a few hours later – we had half the room ripped up and the floor was looking in pretty tip-top shape. Since then we’ve (mostly B) taken down the ceiling, layers of plaster walls to continue to uncover what we’re working with. I mean… we live in a 100+ year old home. So far, we’ve uncovered a ceiling leak (thanks rain) and a few other janky workings.

I say we preemptively started demo, because once we start something – we can’t stop (especially B) and also because, we don’t actually have any contractor confirmed for when work is going to get started. We have gotten a few different cabinet quotes and think we have that nailed down at least the company and general direction we want to move forward with. But now that demo has started – there is no way this kitchen isn’t happening this year. We’re hoping to get a few follow-ups from our slow contractor and then go from there. So until then, I’m working to finalize some of the design and details as we work through the demo — it’s funny, now that we’ve disrupted our currently living room and are starting to get a blank canvas, the design and finishing inspiration is finally coming to life for me.

So now what? We’re going to continue to move forward and get our kitchen cabinets and counter tops finalized – the company we’re most likely going to move forward with the in home field measurement and design consultation to make sure we’re optimizing the most out of our space. Yes, this is getting us more kitchen, but it’s still going to be relatively cozy (that’s the nice way of saying small) — compared to what we’d really want in a dream kitchen — and sadly that still includes moving walls to extend our footprint.

Having a design consultation will be exciting and then we’ll be able to make sure we’re closer to exact as we’ve learned a few hard ways how important accurate measurements are. For example, our first cabinet quote was through Home Depot, super fast, great way to get an initial price for cabinets — but we ended up having more space in one area than we actually do (we had guestimates of our measurements when we went to this apt.) — the reality is those couple inches significantly impacted the potential sink size (like 33″ down to 27″) and the corner cabinet solution, i.e. lazy susan or something a bit unconventional. Luckily, with this new company – it sounds like they have some fun solutions to get us space to have a larger sink while being able to best utilize that corner spot.

Now, with the demo and our kitchen footprint pretty open, we have been able to put a few pieces to “mock up” the spacing to get a better idea of our kitchen nook area and what we can fit comfortably in the space while still letting it feel big and open. I even sat and browsed for products while we had the nook set-up and it was perfect – I can’t wait to hang out and blog while B cooks dinner. I was even finally able to decide on a few design pieces. I might even be as far as to having an idea of the backsplash that will go counter to ceiling on either side of the kitchen above the stove and sink area. Here is a look at a few of the potential final picks, a bit of mood board for our kitchen – I’m still trying to find an affordable faucet!

Since I want to incorporate brass/gold – it’s going to be crucial to make sure the shades of everything match up closely. That is why I was excited to find the light fixtures as that look pretty similar in the brass color that they are. Our appliances – as of right now – are white and gold, so as long as the back order doesn’t lead us to cancelling, we’ll be having pops of white and gold! Here’s to making some actual progress towards getting this kitchen done!

Fourth Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide

Ok, I have to admit the four year wedding anniversary gift is kinda weird and kinda of boring. Up until year four, the gifts have been fun and make you think outside of the box – but fruit or flowers? Yes, fruit or flowers is the traditional wedding gift for year four, which traditionally, is what B and I like to stick too. But ironically, the modern gift for year four is appliances. Ironic, because we’re in the process of a kitchen remodel and the only thing we’ve actually done is order our appliances, which are an upgrade and major splurge.

“Your relationship has fully bloomed by your fourth anniversary, making flowers or ripe fruit an appropriate gift.”

“A more practical gift, sure, but electrical appliances also embody how settled you feel in your relationship by the fourth year.”

The Knot
Photo Credit: Marina Claire Photography

TRADITIONAL: FRUIT OR FLOWERS

Fruit and Flowers just seem like every day normal things to me – which in my opinion make this ‘theme’ a little less-special, especially when celebrating something so special as a marriage and your commitment. I also do research when I’m putting this together to provide unique gifts and ideas for my readers, because otherwise what’s the point?! So here are some twists/turns on this oddly normal gift theme.

Lemon Tree. A fruit tree can be a clever way to give the gift of fruit (and flowers) without letting it be eaten up or temporary. A lemon tree can grow and produce lemons year after year — of course some research may need to be done based on your climate, and/or keeping this inside. But I personally, would love a lemon tree!

Hydrangea Bush. In the same vein, this is something that you can plant together AND it will come back each year as a perfect reminder of your marriage – and each year it’ll grow bigger and stronger just like your relationship does. Of course, any sort of flower bush or plant would be a great gift, so finding something that fits into your climate and landscape will definitely be the best bet and may require a bit of research!

Flower Inspired Jewelry. If you’re not really a plant person – get something that never dies! These birth month flower gold necklaces are simple, delicate and meaningful. Or this option is a little more bold and trendy (B, if you’re reading this, winky winky on this second link!). You could even get the flower of the month you were married to make it a little more special and tie it into your anniversary more! There are so many options to choose from on Etsy, plus then you’re also supporting a local business.

MODERN: APPLIANCES

I definitely don’t recommend surprisingly your spouse with a brand new expensive fridge, unless you’ve already consulted each other on the purchase. Otherwise my beef with appliances as a gift is, it feels sort of boring and generic and bad-Christmas gifty — unless that is your thing! But that’s why I dug deep for a few more price-friendly and unique “appliances” if you’re shopping for a modern fourth wedding anniversary gift. The key for thinking of a more personalized appliance, is what’re things you enjoy doing together? Here is some inspiration from B and I.

Adult-Level Toaster. First of all, if you don’t have a four slice toaster, get one! Also four sliced toaster for your four year anniversary… dare I say, genius? Now, upgrade to a nice looking toaster that has style and function. B and I always like making breakfast together – so this makes sense and is something we’ll both enjoy using. Also, if you ever host you’ll be able to toast four slices, instead of two.

Gourmet Coffee at Home. B and I love to drink coffee, we also love getting coffee. You too? Bring the barista to your home! Even if it’s just getting a single serve espresso maker – this can instantly up your at home coffee game, especially if it’s something you both enjoy together!

A Glammed Up Air Fryer. We haven’t jumped on the air fryer train, but Drew Barrymore’s Beautiful line, exclusive to Wal-Mart (ugh!) is SUPER cute and kinda of makes me want an air fryer. The color options are so fun and you can get a few other matching pieces or appliances that all match and will make your kitchen looking high-end but at a much nicer price tag!

Shop Links: Black Air Fryer | Teal Four Slot Toaster | White Nespresso Maker

Here’s hoping that the appliances we ordered in June actually get here and that we can make this kitchen renovation a reality this year! So, backorder pending – we have our four year anniversary gifts already picked out, but I know we will find another way and something small to celebrate and spoil each other come November.

Celebrating a different anniversary milestone? Read my Two Year Gift Guide & Three Year Gift Guide.

Weekend Recap – A Perfect Weekend Away

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve shared a weekend highlight. One, because last year it felt like a cardinal sin if you had an ounce of fun or socialized with anyone — and this year, is just an awkward light-switch back to normal, so you better be prepared to live life like last year never happened! Sorry, not quite there – and have been taking baby paired with big steps into trying to get back to live pre-19.

But we had the most perfect weekend away, so I just had to share a few highlights from our time away.

Our annual STBC trip. A trip to the cabin means an automatic trip to our favorite spot, Southern Tier Brewing Co. We first went to STBC in 2013, and have made it back almost every year since as it’s our annual tradition. We usually make it there in the fall so that we can enjoy their fall seasonal beers, but we got there a little earlier this year! Luckily they had their fall beers on tap – so I was able to have my fave Warlock. The forecast for the weekend, specifically Saturday was looking like a wash, but we were going to try and arrive to STBC when they opened at 11am, so we could snag an optimal covered outdoor spot since we brought Moz. Well, when we were heading out, the forecast looked like it was clearing up, at least for our morning timeframe. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. We got our prime covered, outdoor seat – avoided the crowds – and splurged on some yummy eats and brews! And by the time we left, it was a crazy downpour, so it was seriously the definition of perfect timing.

Homemade, local ice cream! I wanna scream right now — I ate real ice cream… in a cone… and didn’t die! After being diagnosed lactose intolerant almost 6-years ago, I just came to grips that I needed to opt for dairy-free or yogurt-based ice creams to avoid a problem. BUT after going on this gut cleanse, I was interested in trying out ice cream again, I think a big thing that helped is we went to a homemade local ice cream spot near the cabin. I really wanted cookie dough, but they didn’t have the flavor (can you even believe?) so I opted for buckeye and thin mint. Thin mint was definitely where it was at – I wish I had a whole cone of thin mint. It was basically amazing.

Cabin life. Our cabin getaway is a family home, so we are so lucky to be able to enjoy our time away, make memories with a quick drive to the middle of nowhere. Once you arrive at the cabin, you’re just welcomed with a sense of relief — the real world is so far away, even when you’re scanning work emails or posting something for a client. The covered deck is perfect for early morning breakfast and late night game nights with fun lights, tiki torches and quiet ambiance of nature. Even with the rain, being “stuck” inside is welcomed, because either way it’s a retreat and a break from the real world. We love our walks around the grounds, our morning coffee, sleeping in, and making breakfasts.

Between the rain working out with our schedule and being able to get our STBC trip in – to enjoying some ice cream – having a fun game night – and then meeting some fun farm animals at a neighboring farm, the weekend was simply perfect.

My Gut Health Journey – Phase 3

My “official” gut health journey is wrapping up, which means the start of the official life as we know it gut health lifestyle — this three part journey has only just been the start. In Phase 1, we took 30-hard days of cleansing our gut with a keto-like approach, which helped drop serious pounds and also clean out the bad gut bugs. In Phase 2, we focused on fertilizing and re-planting the good gut bugs back into our gut by adding in fermented foods and probiotics. Phase 3 has been all about maintaining and easing into “life as we know it” – and I have to say, I’ve been pretty pleased with Phase 3, as I’ve been able to give and take a bit more while still maintaining my weight over the last few weeks – which is the ultimate goal on top of having a healthy gut!

THE GIST OF PHASE 3

Phase 3 is basically life as we know it – with a primary focus on food that is closely related to and inspired by the Mediterranean Diet. Phase 3 is about achieving and maintaining the ultimate healthy lifestyle – with a good balance of healthy, natural foods, paired with exercise, ways to reduce stress, better sleep and even enjoying the finer things in life every now and again. That last part, was something that also made me realize I’ve picked the right thing to help switch up my overall health — being able to enjoy sweets and other tasty things. As we are reminded throughout the book the poison is in the dose. So many ‘diets’ are about being super strict and eliminating this whole food group or that whole food group – and this really offers a nice variety – it’s just focusing on cutting out the fake foods our society has normalized and made so easily accessible overtime.

Also, so many diets focus on the food only – and not the well-rounded being beyond saying you should “work out.” Here is another powerful quote that represents what this lifestyle change is really all about. Another gut-health resource on Instagram is Dr. Mark Hyman – he shares a lot of great gut health information.

“Environmental influencers do impact the expression of certain parts of your genetic code. Diet, exercise, stress levels, toxins, and more can trigger receptors in your genes that will alter the messages they send to your body. That means what you do, what you eat, how you exercise, how much stress you have, and how you behave everyday actually affects you at the deepest possible biological and physiological levels.”

The Gut Balance Revolution

MY PHASE 3 RESULTS

This 85 day journey has proven crazy results, including obvious physical ones and then mental and other health benefits. I’m actually below my initial goal weight of 154 and weighing 149, which is a total loss of 25lbs. And, as I mentioned since Phase 3 has started, we have been able to maintain that weight steadily for the last couple weeks — even with a cheat day thrown in here and there.

Let’s talk more numbers! I’ve lost 6% of my body fat since the start – which is incredible in and of itself. I’ve even lost over 7-inches around my upper thigh, 5.5-inches around my belly and my breast width is down 2-inches. The physical transformation, has also helped my mental well-being, I just feel better. I’m more confident, more happy when I put clothes on — the weight has literally been lifted.

As I mentioned in my Phase 2 update, I’ve been able to eat a few things that I haven’t in over 6-years, like yogurt (pretty regularly, soft cheeses). My cough that was lingering since October has even gone away, whether it was acid reflex related or not, my cough and congestion have become much more tolerable and pinpointed to actual natural elements (even though I don’t have any technical allergies).

WHAT’S NEXT?

We will continue to make recipes and utilize everything we’ve learned from a healthy diet perspective, what to favor and what to have fewer into our everyday diet. We’ll continue to integrate wild caught fish like salmon and shrimp and even focusing on making sure we’re buying grass-fed meats (oh hey, Meatboxlocal!) And we will continue to severely limit those processed foods that do our bodies no good. And yes, I look forward to integrating a few more cheat days into the mix – especially as we’re getting back into a workout routine along with our better eating habits. I did enjoy a frosted cookie and piece of my mom’s apple pie over the weekend – totally worth it, but also worth reeling it in the rest of the weekend!

Here’s to maintaining a healthy and happy gut!

Miss the first parts of my Gut Health Journey? Catch up on my Phase 1, 30-day cleanse recap here and my Phase 2, gut reboot here!

3 Ingredient Frozen Dog Treat Recipe

I love to make my little Moz homemade dog treats – that way we know exactly what she is eating! And although I make these easy pumpkin and peanut butter treats throughout the year – I thought finding something frozen with some other ingredients for Moz would be easy and fun to have all Summer long.

ingredients & directions

These frozen dog treats are so easy and simple because of the ingredients! Also, if you don’t have silicone molds, you can easily make smaller one off treats using cookie cutters on a plate to freeze as well – I just did that before making this batch to help celebrate Moz’s 8th birthday – it was perfect for a larger special treat in a pinch!

Ingredients:
– 2 Ripe Bananas
– Peanut Butter – not containing Xylitol
– Ground Cinnamon
Silicone Molds

Step-by-Step Instructions:
1. Using a mini food processor, first mash up your bananas – they can still be a little chunky. Next, add in 3 large spoonfuls of peanut butter and sprinkle some cinnamon overtop.
2. Continue to mash in the food processor until it’s thick and creamy. Once it’s well mixed, pour into the molds.
3. Fill up the molds, almost to the top and place in the freezer. Freeze for a minimum of 3-hours, if not over night.
4. Push out of molds and store for those hot summer days, to treat your pup! (or yourself!)

Seriously, so easy! And they’re Moz approved — they’re not to thick that she can bite them (although it gives me a brain freeze just watching her eat them) or she can lick them as they melt away. They’re easy to store away, plus the molds were seamless for taking them out and it was no fuss at all, easy clean up and ready for the next batch.

I definitely am going to try a few other flavors – keeping it simple with a couple ingredients will make other options just as easy to make and throw into the rotation. Other, easy dog friendly ingredients with berries or pumpkin can also be mixed with peanut butter or bananas as other flavor alternatives.

Now your pups can stay cool on those hot days and be happy Summer pups! ☀️

Kitchen Renovation – The Plan

Pretty much since we bought our house, the kitchen was always the worst offender. In fact, B was sold on this house and had to convince me — the kitchen being one of my sticking points for the price of the house (which was over our budget). Also, the kitchen was green when we bought it, so that was another strike against it. So it’s very exciting to finally be in the process of planning out our kitchen renovation. Unfortunately our kitchen doesn’t have an ideal footprint where we would just be updating cabinets, countertops or flooring. In fact, we’re moving walls to extend the footprint to create an actual kitchen!

The Plan

As you can see above, we have a tiny little alcove with all of our cabinets, sink and stove… and then a larger room for our fridge and a bunch of other random pieces of furniture… our fridge used to be in a different spot when we got the house, but moved it to be less in the way… yeah it’s an odd configuration with a lot of wasted space in our “larger part” of the kitchen. Oh and did I mention, zero counter space?

The layout and our initial plan of what we thought we could do versus what is more practical have changed as we’ve worked through the logistics with my Uncle whose a contractor. He gave us some really good things that added space to our design, but also made us think through some practical and more functional design layouts which we took to heart and have incorporated into the final plans. One of my must-haves was quickly smashed with reality based on the space limitations we still have, so my kitchen sink will not be facing a window looking out into our backyard… 😢 Mainly because, we weren’t accounting on having a door still in our kitchen space, instead we would be putting a slider door out of our dinning room onto our patio. Unfortunately we quickly vetoed that because it would be about $5k, need HVAC reworking, and eat up about 2-feet or more of our patio for nice walk out steps. My uncle also felt from a functionality perspective, having a door in the kitchen to go in and out to grab stuff made more sense and the more we thought about it the more we agreed.

Another big part in this planning, is tempering expectations – we have a tiny footprint currently, so the updates and expansions we’re planning feel like we are going to be getting this massive and more open space… which we are, but not as much as we think. I’ve also been dreaming of a cozy little breakfast nook, but have even been doubting my initial vision for that, because I’m afraid we won’t have as much space as I’m thinking/hoping.

Also, don’t worry – we have actual cad plans of the space besides my poor measuring and rough sketch!

The inspiration

I must admit, I am usually one that has a vision and everything planned out – especially for our house projects, but this one is making me super indecisive and unconfident about what to choose. On one hand, I want to make some bold choices with flooring, or a cool backsplash… and on the other hand, I feel like I know I’ll end up keeping it pretty classic and timeless with simple and safer choices. But I want to push myself to picking at least one bold thing. The vibe I’m going for is glam, yet classic and cozy. We also will not be skimping on the finishes, from appliances (already half ordered🤞) to the hardware, lighting and faucets… oh! and heated floors.

I’m fairly confident we will end up going all white cabinets, although I do love a light blue/grey color – but I’m also in a green obsession (Thanks, Ashley Brooke!) so we shall see. Definitely going with gold finishes and maybe leaning towards a rich butcher block counter top and tile floors. But if we do end up picking a stone countertop, it sounds like Quartz is the resounding and durable choice.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Soooo many things to decide! B and I are planning to go do some window shopping at a few different spots to scope out flooring, backsplash and maybe even a direction on cabinets. For now, we are still working on finalizing the actual floor plans with our amazing friend and then we’ll be getting our contractor in here to talk numbers and timing. We’re hoping we won’t have to do anything structurally, but there is that chance still. We are also really hoping we can get this done in 2021 — but are also realistic that we may need to push to 2022. Here’s to hoping we have a brand new kitchen in time for Christmas!

Lastly, if you’ve made it this far – what do you love/hate with your kitchen remodel? What do you wish you would’ve done differently or can’t live without? Comment below, or shoot me a private message!


#EmnBtoDE – Rehoboth Beach Recap

B and I are fresh off a family trip to the beaches of the East Coast – but more specifically Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Typically with my vacation recaps I love to share mini guides of things to do, food recaps and other fun more touristy tidbits, but since this was a family trip to celebrate my MIL’s 60th – we ended up going with the flow vs. planning out every meal and our days like we typically do for trips. So, here is my mini highlight reel of our trip – which happens to include some food and drinks.

Heirloom

Heirloom was an Instagram find that turned out to be one of the nicest and most delicious dining experiences we have ever had – it also happens to be a James Beard Mid-Atlantic Award Winner. Seated right in the heart of downtown Lewes in an old house – this is a darling place inside and out. I was so glad we were able to get there with B’s brother and SIL for a much enjoyed dinner. We even got a nice shaded patio spot, although the interior of Heirloom was so quaint and cute. The silverware and dishes were vintage and mix-matched and the service was impeccable. When it came time to ordering, we all enjoyed a starter – I got the Baywater Farm Field Greens Salad and B ordered the Atlantic Octopus a la Plancha. For dinner we both ended up getting the Crispy Skin New Jersey Tilefish, not only was everything platted beautifully but everything tasted divine. I truly didn’t want to leave! B even splurged on dessert and ordered the Dark Chocolate Budino mouse – which was also delicious – at least I am told! The four of us all enjoyed our dining experience and were happy we went.

Henlopen State park beach

We lucked out for our second beach day with a warm, yet overcast day so we were truly able to enjoy the weather, sun, sand and surf for a nice long chunk of time! It was perfect for the whole family, and there was even a mini competition of who could find the coolest sea shells from the ocean. The State Park is a $10 day pass admission, but definitely worth the entry fee and extra drive for a super clean beach and a lot more space from all of the other beach goers. Not to mention, the extensive beach made for a lovely long walk away from the crowd making it feel like a bit of an escape and like you were on your own private beach! B of course especially loved it because he is the true pieces in this family, loves the water and the waves and definitely got his water kick. We even got to see two different schools of dolphins out in the distance which made this day a little extra magical.

dogfish head brewery

Another highlight that was a must during the week was going to Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. B and fam went to Rehoboth about eight years ago and made a stop at the brewery too – so ever since then I’ve had some minor FOMO about wanting to experience one of B’s favorite beer breweries myself. Plus, we’re always down for a brewery visit, filled with chats, sips and snacks.

The experience at Dogfish was overall a good one, there were some technical difficulties ordering and getting our bevies when we first got there, as they’re still keeping a few of their safety precautions in place throughout the dine-in experience. Once that was figured out, the guys were able to taste a few new beers and we all enjoyed some of their yummy eats. One of B and I’s things whenever we’re at a brewery, no matter what is to order the pretzel — welp, we splurged and cheated big time on our diet, but it was so worth it and so delicious! For the record, I did eat a delicious salad before, so they did a good job on all kinds of foods.

We of course snagged a photo in front of the famous Tree House – the entire campus is impressive and massive and apparently has grown significantly, but not surprisingly since B last visited!

lots of family time

The pros and cons of living near family is you get to see them more often, but not always for long periods of time. This was our first family vacay with B’s family, so we definitely had a lot of family time throughout the various activities during the week – beach days, pool days, putt putt, dinners in, dinners out and morning coffee. We made sure to celebrate my MIL’s 60th with surprise decorations that stayed up all week around the beautiful house we stayed in. We also treated her, to her favorite Key Lime pie accompanied with some singing and birthday wishes and custom beach themed cookies. We enjoyed afternoons in the hot tub, had a fun and competitive night playing LRC, and even let the guys cook for us a few nights which was just as good as eating out!

It’s always great being able to visit a new place with B and have more of a beach vacation – one of my first in my later years. The weather was nice and warm, so it really felt like Summer as we kicked off the season at the beach — now we just have to keep those Summer vibes going!

Are you vacaying to the beach this year?

My Gut Health Journey – Phase 2

ICYMI – I started my own Gut Health Journey, after diving into the Gut Balance Revolution book. The first phase was a 30-day cleanse that showed major improvements with a keto-like approach to cleanse my gut. It was wildly successful, but only the first part of this journey.

The Gist Of it.

This Phase 2 is rolled out as “do it until you reach your goal weight.” When I ended the first Phase I was still 5-6lbs away from my goal weight, but was 15lbs down already. The focus of Phase 2 was adding prebiotics and probiotics back into our diet to add the good gut florals back after being cleansed. I thought we would be on this for a quick two weeks, but we’ve been working through Phase 2 for almost four weeks now. I was also nervous about this phase since a lot of the ways prebiotics and probiotics are added back in during this phase is through yogurt, kefir, and a few other typically not so dairy friendly diet options. This phase also adds in a variety of fermented items like pickles, sauerkraut and beets, yum!

Our portions for Phase 2 seemed a lot bigger than Phase 1 – so we were a bit shocked, and questioned if we were portioning correctly, although didn’t complain. We also were adding in more good carbs, like black beans, garbanzo beans, steal oats and buckwheat porridge, just to name a few — this also had me a bit hesitate as they aren’t only filling (while is great), but they’re also carbs!! As I’ve continued reading, I’ve learned that picking good carbs and controlling the portion better are OK to incorporate into the diet.

my phase 2 results

I finally hit my goal weight of 154 at the start of week three in this phase for a total weight loss of 20lbs, which was conveniently right before our beach vacation. And I’m down nearly 7.4% in total body fat since the start of this journey. I also had little to no side effects on eating those foods that I was nervous about and typically avoid like the plague, like greek yogurt, kefir and even a coleslaw we made was delicious! We quickly fell into a good eating pattern, mixing up the recipes for breakfast, snacks, lunches and our dinners making Phase 2 somewhat of a breeze after learning the meal options. Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries has been my new favorite breakfast, and I haven’t ate yogurt in probably 6+ years.

Another part of Phase 2, I’ve been trying to navigate responsibly is being able to have some alcohol again. After going nearly 40-days of not drinking, I enjoyed a glass of champagne – this may be my main “cheat.” The book only really talks about red wine and beer, which I don’t drink or haven’t been able too drink so I was sticking to my safe bubble route. It definitely came for good timing with a few more social functions happening now that Summer is in full swing. I’m still trying to be strict, but also enjoy myself and I’ve been pretty good at finding that balance so far! I did learn that recovering with a hangover on this diet is a little harder than before – since I’d normally just consume a bunch of carbs and greasy food. Whoops 🙃!

what’s nexT?

We will most likely stay on Phase 2 a little bit longer since we’re coming off of a week long vacation – although I’ve been sticking too the diet pretty well still. From there we will be starting Phase 3 which is the final phase and maintenance mode. I’m looking forward to finalizing this initial journey, while kicking off the ongoing phase in order to maintain this goal weight — while also being able to enjoy a few more cheat-like things from time to time. More to come as we continue into Phase 3 and work towards maintenance mode and sustaining all this hard work we’ve done in the last almost 60 days.

Miss the first part of my Gut Health Journey? Catch up on my Phase 1, 30-day cleanse recap here!