Stop Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to how I snack it all comes down to emotions. I say snack because eating three balanced meals a day is easy. I look forward to my smoothie breakfast, my salad for lunch and my hot meal for dinner. This is all good and well until I look in-between the lines, where I see the secret snacking and quick bites of food here and there. Then there is the “I AM SO STRESSED THAT I NEED THIS CHOCOLATE ANYTHING TO RELAX AT NIGHT”….Yeah so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but maybe it’s not…?   

I find that I eat when I am disappointed or proud of myself, I eat when I am bored, when I feel happy or sad and for any other occasion in between. This is not to say that all is lost and I have no way of changing the way I eat. The real situation is that I have the power to change my habits and rituals, but that it takes time effort and a willingness to do what it takes despite how scary it feels.  

Eating in general is an extremely emotional experience that is often tied with memories and feeling of guilt, pleasure, pain, etc. This emotional experienced paired with a life that encourages mindless eating can wreak havoc on personal goals health wise. We don’t only have to deal with the emotional aspect, but that food is at the ready for us 24/7 and opens the opportunity to easily eat on the run  or while we are preoccupied. I don’t know about you, but the opportunity to sit for half hour to enjoy a meal is a rarity and the busy lives we lead don’t exactly encourage creating homemade nutrient dense meals.

The problem we face here is the loss of connection with food as well as with our emotions, we can however work towards improvement. Here is a good starting point to become a more intuitive eater in order to stop the emotional roller coaster of eating in-between.

·         Start a Journal.

IMG_20171014_093146_982.jpg

Yes I understand you might have heard this before, and it is daunting thinking about tracking the food you consume, but let’s take a step back and look at this tool a little differently.

If you feel like it is too overwhelming, start out with journaling 2-4 days per week. With your journal entries don’t just focus on food, but focus mainly on how you were feeling, whether or not you were actually hungry, and in what setting you were eating in. If this is confusing here’s an example from my own personal journal.

“…Today I entered the kitchen tired and slightly dehydrated. It was an hour past when I normally ate lunch and had worked out that morning. I felt happy and confident from my accomplishments that day. Once I opened the fridge I grabbed ingredients for a salad and then proceeded to instead toast some bread and ate an egg sandwich, two slices of cheese and half of my salad. In between I snacked on random bits and pieces from the meal as well…”

This might seem like a lot of detail, but it helps you to determine the situation you put yourself in around food and how easy it was to go off track. I could have gone for lunch an hour early to prepare a well-rounded meal and focus more on taking the time to sit down and eat.

This tool helps your brain to connect the dots and realize when you are choosing to eat based on emotion or hunger.

Now Emotional eating is not something to be ashamed of or worth giving up over, it is a struggle that even though it is small, still causes harm. Instead of giving into the temptation of something familiar, work on becoming uncomfortable. Start a journal and make a plan to stop the bad habits and create new ones. The more you take the time to understand why you are turning to food the more power you have.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want food to be my safety net, rather I want it to be a tool. A tool to help me stay healthy and active with my children and family. I want to put aside my obsession with food and instead God with worshiping him rather than food and allowing Him to have the control rather than passing it over to myself. I want a life that is simple and pleasing to God, where I don’t have the overwhelming focus of food to distract me from the life He has lead me to lead.  

This week I was reading in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and found it an encouragement to remember the importance of the process…

 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear down, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

Hope you all have a lovely week! 

-Sonya

P1010483-2.jpg

Eating Healthy During the Holidays // 4th of July

Staying on track during a Holiday// 4th Of July

I don’t know about you but holidays are my absolute favorite, not only because of the party but because it’s a time to fill your life with people and food you love! The sad part about it is that for several years I found myself miserable when it came to big events because the food would cause so much stress. I have always ether gone to the extreme of avoiding everything except the veggie platter or to the opposite end of the spectrum where I eat everything including the food I don’t want. Seems crazy, I know, but this was the reality.

As you guys might now I started the Candida cleanse again about three weeks ago in June, fully aware that 4th of July was right around the corner. 4th of July is bigger than Christmas here in Florida, so there’s a lot of opportunity to fall into my old habits, but I wanted this 4th of July to be different. I didn’t want to feel regret or like I missed out on anything while also being content.

I decided for the sake of breaking the cycle I would approach things differently. I would chose my absolute favorite healthy foods and treat myself to them in moderation, I would try to stay hydrated and allow myself a little wiggle room to enjoy some things that were not allowed on the candida cleanse, but wouldn’t cause any turmoil. Instead of choosing healthy options that stuck strictly to the diet I would eat things than bent the rules. The catch was that in bending the rules I would be content to stop there. I wouldn’t feel the urge to go overboard or be too controlling and overall I think I achieved just that.

Here is a little recap to show you what I decided to eat and avoid, but more importantly the MINDSET that I kept through the whole day.  

·         Coffee was a go for the morning and I paired it with Gluten Free toast. One slice with egg, bacon smashed avocado and the other with homemade sunflower butter and cacao nibs.

·         Lunch was a frozen banana smoothie bowl

-          Banana

-          Sunflower Butter

-          Chocolate Protein

-          Ice

-          Almond Milk

·         Snacks consisted of several cucumbers and carrot sticks as well as fruit such as watermelon and blueberries. I also had a few things like Gluten Free pretzels and homemade cookie dough bites that were not candida approved, but helped me to avoid eating chips and other foods that would have bothered my stomach.

·         While everyone sipped on beer and mixed drinks I stuck to fancy water, aka a splash of Pomegranate Bai with water and cucumbers. I also enjoyed a Hard Kombucha and La Croix sparkling water.

·         Dinner was nether here, nor there I had a few different small meals after lunch but they were mainly salads and then pulled chicken as well.

 

Overall the say was a success both with food and with family and I look forward to taking what I have learned and applying it to every future gathering!

 

Happy 4th of July! I hope you guys had a great one!

IMG_20171107_082915_659.jpg

Working With Candida

I don’t know about you guys, but after a week of being more conscious about what I am eating and cutting out the added sugar I feel pretty good. Not only have I stopped feeling bloated and in pain I have been able to enjoy my food more.

I actually find that when I have the freedom to eat whatever I eat the same thing all the time. Ever since I started cutting out sugar and going back to the candida cleanse I have been eating more unique foods and trying out recipes I have been wanting to try, but haven’t. For example, I usually have the same smoothie every morning for breakfast. Instead I have swapped to oatmeal and different kinds of smoothies with less fruit and more veggies!

I have also noticed myself researching more as to what foods can disrupt the digestive system. I know, sounds super fun, but honestly it’s something I am really interested in. Over the last few months I have lost some interest in researching gut healthy foods, but now find myself interest in it all again! It has helped motivate me not to give up on the Candida diet and to also learn as much as I can from the experience.  

This is what I want to encourage you to do as well. If you are starting the Candida diet or any other specialized was of eating, do your research and get interested in what’s actually going on in your body. Ask questions, follow others who are going through the same thing and get excited about it because knowledge is a powerful thing. It helps you understand why you need to work hard and why it is so worth it!

Thank so much for checking out my blog and I will see you again next week!

-Sonya 

P1010199.jpg

Candida Cleanse // MY CANDIDA STORY

I don’t know about you guys, but lately, I have been feeling a little out of the ordinary, and not in the good kind of way.

First off, I have been noticing a change in my skin, it tends to break out more than I would appreciate and I have also noticed dry patches on my scalp. Secondly, I have noticed a decline in how I feel after eating or drinking anything. Now I have discovered that I have been consuming certain foods that really disrupt the digestive system, but even without those foods I still am feeling sickly after every meal. 

Along with the skin and the gut issues I have felt under the weather which is not normal for me, and it is more than just allergies. My body has become more fatigued and my mood has been in the dumpsters, which is not a pleasant place to be, especially if you’re my husband (sorry Dan). 

There have been several factors leading up to me feeling like this, like the fact that I was on antibiotics a few weeks ago and that I have been neglecting to work on managing stress levels in my life. Managing stress is a huge part of feeling your best because your body can function the way it was meant to without any hindrances. Oh yeah and of course I have been going heavy on the sugar lately, or maybe more like the last few months. I am all for #TREATYOURSELF, but sometimes it’s good to remember that with everything there needs to be a balance. Treating yourself doesn’t have to happen with every meal, and it can also take the form of something other than sugar. 

Therefore I have decided to embark on another Candida Diet, where I will avoid almost all sugar except in the form of a little fruit. I will also be sticking to m normal no gluten or dairy and work on focusing on foods to help aid in treating candida overgrowth. I am not a health professional, but I know my body and I trust in doing the candida cleanse where I will not be attempting anything to harm or put my body in danger. There will be no under eating and no deprivation, just a shift in the foods I choose to consume.

I want to be an encouragement to whoever might be struggling with candida, or even a change in diet. At times it can feel lonely and difficult, but this is me telling you it is SO worth it in the end. The struggle is #REAL, but the rewards for sticking with it are worth every bit of hard work.

Let me know what you might be facing health wise and how you are approaching changing your lifestyle and habits! 

Pst* Follow my Instagram @sonyas_open_cupboard for more encouragement and daily content in what I am doing for this candida cleanse!

How to spice things up when changing your diet.

Spice Things up//Make the switch easy! 


I don’t know about you guys but for me swapping over to a whole new way of eating was pretty daunting. After I learned I had candida I had to give up all sugar, gluten, dairy which made my meal choices seem pretty bland and to tell you the truth they were. 
In saying this they were bland because I had no idea what I was doing when it came to preparing gluten, dairy, and sugar-free food. I had never experimented with spices or herbs, I had no idea how to use condiments other than ketchup and didn’t know how adding textures and contrasting flavors could really make a dish awesome! I began with eating plain oats, plain chicken, and millet with some greens, smoothies that contained mostly ice…It was the farthest from tasty that you could get. I realized that if I was going to survive three months of that I decided things had to get interesting. 


At this time I also moved in with my sister and her family who enjoyed cooking meals that use strong spices and herbs such as curries, smoked meats, jambalayas, etc. It was good I moved in with them because I was not the only one who had to figure out how to make family meals sugar, dairy and gluten-free. It became a challenge for us all, figuring out how to substitute and what new things we could create to replicate the meal so that we could all enjoy it. 
We discovered the beauty of pairing organic mustard with sauerkraut and that adding fresh cilantro and mashed avocado was the perfect substitute for salad dressing. We found recipes to make things like granola, cornbread, pancakes, cookies, etc. I found out that cheddar cheese or buttered bread is not the only way to make a dish taste good, it’s the way you prepare the food. 

20180606_181007-01.jpeg


Some of my all-time favorite foods are because of the great experiments we would have with new meals! If you find the idea of changing the way you eat daunting, remember that even though the beginning might leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, as long as you keep trying it WILL get better! 

Here are some of my favorite things to spice up my meals without sacrificing my health! 

20180607_134632-01.jpeg


•    Mustard: Make sure to buy organic and check the label
•    Sauerkraut: I like to combine this with mustard and add it in salads, eat it plain. 
•    Kimchi
•    Turmeric
•    Cumin  
•    Cinnamon
•    Nutritional Yeast: This is great sprinkled on eggs or even popcorn to get that cheesy taste! 
•    Artisan Oils and Vinegar: You can always find these at your local farmers market or health food store! Some of my favorites are garlic olive oil and fruit-infused balsamic
•    Fresh Herbs: Cilantro and rosemary and mint are my favorites. All three can be used in ether savory or sweet dishes! 
•    Bay leaves: great flavor to add to soups and jambalayas
•    Bamboo Shoots
•    Cocoa powder: This is my favorite way to make things like  oatmeal, smoothies, chia seed pudding, etc. much more interesting
•    Pink Salt and Freshly cracked peppercorn: I couldn’t come all this way and not give mention to what Good salt and pepper can accomplish in a dish!  

Let me know what are some of your favorite ways to make healthy food that much more exciting!  

Sincerely, 

Sonya  

My Story

My Story.

As the second to last child in a family of nine you could say that when it came to food, it was survival of the fittest. If you weren’t fast enough you could kiss those Reese’s puffs goodbye. Food wasn’t just something to fight over though, it was something we all bonded over. When my dad came home at night we ate together as a family. For birthday’s instead of lavish gifts my parents provided homemade mac n’ cheese, warm veggies, sweet treats and coffee to top off the night.

Food has always been a big part of my life, but my relationship with food wasn’t always healthy. By the time I turned 18 I was planning to get married to my high school sweetheart who lived in South Africa.

Yes, I said South Africa.

I also started my first real job and began my first college courses. The combination of starting so many new things, missing my boyfriend and figuring out how to make a wedding work I began to feel like I was losing control of my life. In order to compensate for the lack of control in life, I began to control my food. I started tracking my calories (average 800 per day), weighing myself constantly and over exercising, sometime till 2 a.m. I also began to feel the effects of depression, mood swings, amenorrhea, stomach pain, patchy dry skin and nervous habits. After a year of abusing my body I dropped down to about 100lb, a weight I hadn’t been since middle school.

This was a weight I was excited and proud of, and as a reward I began to eat again. The good thing was that I put weight on again, but the bad thing was I was gorging myself on everything I had deprived myself of including pastas, breads, sugar, etc. I also had developed a skewed view of my body that added to the stress. Thankfully my now husband was able to visit and I began to feel calm again, knowing that we were ready to get married and I would be soon planning a trip to South Africa with my family for a dream wedding. I also began to get into a more regular exercise routine and was able to hold back a bit on food.

Once the time came to go to South Africa I was a healthy 115lb, but still stressed beyond belief. Through the whole whirlwind of the wedding I began to eat more gluten and dairy, two foods I had avoided for a while. During this time I began to notice my health declining. Out of the 3 months I was in South Africa the only two weeks I didn’t have the flu, a virus, or a cold was the week of my wedding and honeymoon. I also had developed pain in my stomach and nausea every time I would eat, and to top it off I gained about 25lb by the end of my trip.

I knew there was something wrong with me so I took action and visited a holistic Dr. that a friend introduced me to. She said I had Candida which is basically an overgrowth of yeast in your stomach. This tore holes in my stomach lining allowing parasites into my blood. This lead to a strict gluten free, dairy free, sugar free 3 month diet along with SEVERAL supplements to get rid of the Candida. Thankfully it worked, but it uncovered several other health issues that needed to be dealt with.

Since then I have completely changed my diet, cutting out all refined sugars, gluten, dairy, most soy and a few other foods I have a hard time digesting. I eat a low GI diet and have switched my workout routine to fit my body’s needs. I have successfully gained muscle, lost weight and have gotten my period back after more than 3 years without a natural one!

Though I know this body will always be a work in progress it has inspired me to not only care for myself, but share my journey. I know going through all of this was extremely difficult, and it would have been amazing to have someone to share tips, words of encouragement and some tasty recipes. Whether or not you have health issues, or you just want to get healthy my goal is for this to be the place for you. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Love,

Sonya

IMG-20170906-WA0000.jpg