Money Saving Tips on Buying Name Brand Health Foods

How to Buy Name brand foods on a Budget!

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to buying healthy name brand food on a budget can be a tad bit difficult without a strategy. Luckily I have worked the last few years as a new wife working on figuring out how to do it!

So here are some of my top tips for buying name brand foods on a budget for you and your family!

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1. Figure out what your buying options in the area are.

For Daniel and me we don’t live near any of the cheaper health food stored like Trader Joes or Whole Foods so we have to rely on the more expensive grocery Stores. If this is you figure out when they run their specials and make a plan to go in and get out as soon as possible so you don’t get distracted and overspend.

For us, Fresh Market has 2.99 Tuesday where Ground Beef and Chicken Breast is 2.99lb! When this happens we stock up on about a months’ worth of meat so we cut down on the number of times were in the store.

2. Buy your Organic Vegetables Locally!

You can do this for signing up for your local CSA or find your nearest farm stand. This was you are only buying what’s in season so everything is higher quality, it’s usually a lot cheaper then what’s in stores and you're supporting a local small business!

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3. Buy your Pantry Items Online!

I am sure you have heard of THRIVE Market and Amazon. Both places to find your convenience items, but both can really rob you of your money. This is why I am always careful in choosing what I buy from these stores and always have the mindset of only going on to buy essentials.

THRIVE market has similar prices to Trader Joe’s when it comes to Pasta, anything Tinned, collagen, etc. I try to stock up once a month since shipping is only free after $50 and I find it easy to overspend on unnecessary things. The nice thing about thrive is you always get a free gift worth about $20.

AMAZON, on the other hand, carries one of my favorite brand Anthony’s Goods, and don’t have to spend a certain amount to get free shipping. I also have compared prices and we have signed up for subscriptions for personal care items such as toothpaste and toilette paper.

4. Always Check the Price per ounce!

This is a trick my Dad taught me and it is one of the biggest money savers! There are usually a few different name brands of our favorite products like Almond Butter. Conveniently there all usually a different size with a different price, but don’t just grab the cheapest one possible! The Price per ounce shows you how much you’re actually paying per item. I have seen it where the packaging looks exactly the same size and the price is similar but one will be 30 cents more per ounce! This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it adds up and makes a big difference in the end!

So now that you have all your tools to make buying Healthy Name brand foods possible for your family, it’s your turn to show the grocery stores what you’re made of! And use that extra cash to put towards something meaningful and fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Sonya Peacocke

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How to be Content

I don’t know about you, but birthdays for the last few years have kind of freaked me out. I know, I know, I am definitely still a spring chicken but when you go from the positivity of sweet 16 to the idea of ever being older than 21 it’s a weird adjustment. This happens for a lot of milestone Birthdays and I just wanted to take a minute to talk about it all.

Lately, I have been pondering the fear of aging. We are all fearful of some degree to age, whether it be for our looks, our abilities, our time with family members, etc. Becoming older is the one big thing everyone knows we have no control over and it’s a scary thought.

The problem I have with this thought of not wanting to age is what age gives us. Age offers experiences, children, wealth, friends, knowledge, memories, resilience, and strength. Yes, playing in the sprinkler on a hot summer’s day as a 5-year-old is a magical time of life, but we tend to idealize certain ages, thinking of only the good. We might always think back to the best moments and we often forget the moments which caused us pain. I did run through a sprinkler in the summer, but I also tripped over it and got into fights with my sister and brother over it. We had it easy, but even as a 5-year old I wasn’t content with what I had.

You might say you don’t even realize what you have no matter how old. Every day is truly a gift from God and I believe that when we spend a life in discontentment and worry we undermine Gods plan. He is involved in every small detail and we can’t even begin to see what he does.

I was recently reading Matthew 6:25-34 where the Bible discusses the importance of not worrying about tomorrow. It goes over how if God cares for something as small and insignificant as flowers and birds then he surely will care for us and we are not to worry. As well as worrying, God wants us to be content with what we have! Paul teaches us about the power of contentment in Philippians 4. In verse 12 Paul speaks to the people, saying “I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” and Philippians 4:13 he goes on to tell the people “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

When our focus is on God we find contentment, security, fulfillment, and peace! When we focus on him, age doesn’t matter because with a content heart and a mind free from worry we will truly enjoy the gift of life that God gives to us every single day, no matter what age you are!

So here’s to a worry-free birthdays and a big BYE FELICIA to social media trying to convince us we always need to have a life that portrays perfection. I’ll leave that to the only one who is perfect in this world!

Thank you again for stopping by, and for being a part of Gods Plan for my life!

-Sonya Peacocke

Prioritizing Health and Wellness

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to health and wellness things usually turn out the best for me when I focus on it as an afterthought in life.  

I know what you might be thinking, because hello Sonya, isn’t health and wellness what you are all about? And to answer the question, Yes it is what my main focus is here and I believe it is my calling from God. The thing is, I believe that when our lives are focused on the right things in the right order, everything begins to fall into place.

Think of your time like a budget, where people often assume the thing they put the most time into will be successful; therefore bringing with it true happiness. There, of course, are several different types of investments, but the one thing that people (Myself included) need to realize is the only way to gain true balance and success is to first invest in your relationship with Christ!

In John 3:30 the bible says “He must increase, and I must decrease.” This doesn’t mean you as a person have to give up on everything brings you joy or makes you feel good. What it does mean is that what you invest in first and foremost in life is God.

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My life did not reflect John 3:30 at the beginning of college when all I truly cared about was getting healthy and fit. It sounds innocent enough, but because I was putting myself as my main investment I began to act as though I was the only thing that could provide happiness in my life. I became so obsessed with obtaining happiness that I became a slave to myself. I stopped eating, was over-exercising, and lived for the high of loose fitting pants.

If you read Proverbs 27:19, it says “So as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” My life reflected a selfish and broken system, a life dependent on self. I believed that in turning to myself and leaving God at the bottom of the list I could make everything right when in reality, my life was a disaster.

In Proverbs 21:2 it says, “A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.”  

My ways were not right, and even today I don’t always invest my time properly, but my end goal is to first and foremost focus on the LORD. I know that when my heart is not invested in him, my relationships, work life, and health suffer. 

So the next time you dive into a self-help book, blog, Instagram page, make sure that before working with these tools find out what's going on in your heart.

Thank you for stopping by, If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below or dm on my Instagram handle at @sonyasopencupboard. I would love to talk to you more about the freedom and LOVE which comes from God!

Love always,

Sonya

Hot to Form Healthy Habits

I don’t know about you but when it comes to keeping habits, I am usually a little all over the place when it comes down to it. Of course, the intentions are always good, but sometimes I lose focus, lose interest and my big plans usually fall flat.

After many attempts at fighting the desire to form a habit and then rebelling against what’s expected I have figured out some secret weapons informing and keeping habits.

· Tip #1: Learn how YOU operate.

One of my favorite things I did last year was take the Myers Briggs personality test and learn more about me as a person. When you learn more about how you operate it can make all the difference in how you begin to approach things like forming habits.

For Example as an ENFJ, I know that I can be a bit, well VERY idealistic. In order to combat this, I need to reel myself in a bit and start small with forming habits but keep my big ideas at the forefront to keep me motivated!

You can find the test HERE https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test and use your results and the next three tips to start to build the healthy habits that you want!

· Tip a#2: Give yourself a time slot.

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Sometimes if I know there’s no definite ending point I won’t even begin trying, even if it’s something I actually want to do. So instead start with a week-long commitment and when the week is over, start your week goal over again.

This way if you have a hard time committing to something long term by keeping things simple you’re more likely to continue with it, especially if you realize you actually enjoy doing it.

· Tip #3: Show yourself some Grace

Okay so one thing I find about forming habits, after a few weeks (or days) of staying on track something might get in the way and you have the time, forgot, or maybe just chose to not do it. In these situations, I usually get discouraged and quit since my plans for perfection have been derailed. This is where the grace part comes in.

It’s good to remember that nobody is perfect no matter what their Instagram feed looks like or how they come off. Everyone gets derailed, and it’s OK the only thing you have to worry about is to keep moving forward.

· Tip #4: Remind yourself WHY you started

When you first decide what habits you want to form write down a list of WHY you want to make the habit. If you want to go to bed early because you don’t want to be grumpy with your family in the morning then write it down. This way if you start to move away from your new habits you can take a look at the list and use it as motivation to stay on track!

Hopefully, with these tips help you feel motivated to form and keep those healthy habits!

Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out this post!

As always, lots of love and have a wonderful day!

-Sonya

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How to Avoid Burnout / 2019 Goals

I don’t know about you, but January was one heck of a month. I keep seeing all these memes of people saying how January felt like the whole year and figured I would talk about it a little bit with you.

When it comes to the New Year there are a lot of positive vibes flowing the first week. Things like people starting over with a clean slate, forming new habits, working towards a big project, etc. and then life happens. Your apartment floods, you get sick, you realize you forgot to pay a bill and now you have to pay a fine. These types of thing happen whether or not you have a plan to reorganize and revamp your day to day life. We end up idealizing what our year will look like and by February feel disappointed we weren’t’ able to put life together in four weeks.

The new-year cycle is far too familiar with us filling January with possibilities and February filling us with disappointment. When we start to feel disappointed instead think about November and December. The months where we get the opportunity to take a look back on the year and express our gratefulness for everything. We take time to reflect on the good and bad, to see the changes in our personal lives and get excited because in just a few weeks we get a whole new 12 months!

I don’t know about you but I want to feel like every month, week, or day is a new opportunity to achieve something great! I want to acknowledge the fact of each day is a gift from God and we can accomplish anything because God has given us the chance. It says in Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Instead of focusing this month on what stopped you from achieving goals and filling your days with regret for how you might have spent your time, rejoice in the time God has given you! Each day we wake up, each day we have a chance and as long as you wake up these chances never end. They last all day, all week, all year, and all you have to do is decide what attitude you are going to greet your day with.

Start with a grateful heart and an optimistic attitude and before you know it every day will feel like January first.

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Thanks again for stopping by,

Sonya

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New Year New You

New Year New You. 

So I know this is coming a little late in the season, and all of you probably are killing your new year’s resolutions but I wanted to just take a minute to write about the whole New Year new you.

New Year new you, is something I have seen all over social media and it got me to think about what New Year new you actually means. For me, I tend to fantasize January 1st seeing a perfect version of myself. Waking up before the sun to smash out a workout, reading my bible, blending THE PERFECT chocolate smoothie, etc. 

When in reality, I might accomplish this the second or third day because January 1st means waking up late, reaching for the leftover chips and chocolate, and chilling. This lasts for a few days and then I get serious and start to attempt to work towards what I want to happen for the next year. As you might have guessed this also lasts for maybe longer than a week and then I am back to plain old me.

Now I don’t know about you guys but this whole New Year new me doesn’t seem like the most productive plan. Therefore; this year I decided to nix the New Year new me and stick to plain old Sonya Peacocke, the aspiring wellness blogger, and awkward situation maker. I know that In order to accomplish my bigger goals in life I have to stay focused on living a life that is honoring and pleasing to God. In Colossians 3:23 it says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”.

We are created perfectly by God and there’s no need for a “new you”, but there’s always room for growth. For now, I will simply look at goals like they are a continuation of my whole life and morals. I don’t need to lose 15lb this year, but I want to continue being active and eat well to honor the body God gave me. I don’t want to earn a certain amount of money, but I want to continue encouraging others because of my desire to share Gods love.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want to feel like every January I have failed just because the world is telling me I need to be or do something better. I want to always feel the desire to grow and change so that I am ready for whatever God has in store for me.

Missed you all and hope you had a wonderful Christmas/Thanksgiving!   

Thanks again for stopping by,

-Sonya

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How to Enjoy the Small Victories

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I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to accomplishing goals I go 110%, up until about the half way point. For example, I started an eight week fitness program and the first four weeks were fantastic, but the last four have been a struggle. It’s not that my body can’t do it, but it’s my mind that tells me to stop. I haven’t seen or felt the drastic change so I try to tell myself it’s not working or I decide to neglect a workout because I convince myself I have too much to do. Of course this is all while I lay on the floor watching IG stories on how to make Halloween cakes…It is a good trait to think big, but when I don’t see the big change immediately I give up, thankfully I have my husband to keep me grounded when it comes to these things.

He constantly reminds me that in order to get where you want to be, your confidence is going to drop and spike and you have to push through. What you’re passionate about will drive you to learn more so you can overcome the down slopes and keep moving forward. And in order to see the big results I have to give it time, effort and consistency without letting the fear of failure or inability getting in the way.  

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A big part of what gets in the way of doing these things is not recognizing all the little victories along the way. Think about having a clean house. You don’t just pull out the dust pan and brush, stand there for an hour and poof your house is clean. You have to individually approach each part of the house. When the floors are cleaned you move on to the windows, and from there the messy drawer, and so on.  You would not have a clean house with all the small victories of different areas of the house. It is the same for our lives, weather your looking to get healthy, change your habits, improve relationships, etc. It’s not going to happen overnight, but when you take time to appreciate the little victories you will come to see the value in what you are doing.

If you feel unmotivated to finish or even star working towards a goal, take some time to journal some of the little victories that have helped get you this far. You might be surprised at how many victories you have accomplished that have helped you reach that point.

After you write down your accomplishments take some time to make a list of small victories you would like to accomplish to help you work towards your goal. This will help you get excited and help you to see as you go along just how much ability to accomplish what you set your mind on! 

Give it a go and let me know what you guys think!

Thanks again for stopping by!

-Sonya Peacocke

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Healthy Tips for Monday Motivation

I don’t know about you guys but I have my fair share of struggles when it comes to eating in a way that helps my body thrive. Thankfully I have some wins in there as well and since this is a page where you guys can come to find encouragement and helpful tips I figured why not dive into some of the ways I am working to better myself and work through my struggles.

SO here we go, a little look into the day to day life of someone looking to improve and facing the #strugglebus just like you!

First of all let’s check out a positive change

·         Sipping vs. Gulping

Recently I have become aware of the fact that even though I drink enough water its usually because I guzzle down half or even all of my 32oz tumbler of water after not touching it for hours. This makes me feel bloated and sick to my stomach like I just ate a whole thanksgiving spread. It’s one of those aha moments where you think that even though you’re getting a bad result from a habit, you’re still technically doing what you’re supposed to do. In this situation it’s getting enough water, but in reality flooding your system isn’t much better than getting less than what you’re supposed to.

In order to stop the bad habit I am working on consuming as much water as needed, but through sipping my water throughout the entirety of the day. This helps your body absorb what it needs without the constant urge to pee everything out…   

For me I haven’t done anything too fancy to change the habit except for make myself accountable by telling you guys about it here. Since accountability is how I work this for me is perfect, but if you’re looking for something more tangible think about getting a water bottle with ounce markers to tell you how much you have been drinking. Soma fancy ones have time slots as well to help you along your way!

Here’s a negative shift

·         Sugar vs too much Sugar

Okay, so my body is extremely sensitive to things like sugar, caffeine, medicine, smells, etc. My mom was an angel as the smell of bug spray made me burst into tears, sugar made me a crazed hyper thing and medicine usually made me feel like crap.

It only makes sense that in my older age of 23 that nothing has changed except for the fact that I can control myself a little better. That being said I have recently lost the will to keep my sugar & caffeine addiction at bay, especially late at night. 

One of my problems is that I have filled the house with more sugary treats than low sugar treats. For example I have had a healthy supply vegan chocolate, fudgsicle, ice cream and cake…yeah not a good environment for the one who does not have much will power. SO this week I am making sure to have on have treats on hand that are filled with nutrients, low in sugar, and still super tasty!  

 

Here’s a sneaky recipe for one of my favorite treats that fit the criteria!

 

Sugar free Vegan Chocolate Parfait 

Ingredients

·         1 serving coconut or almond milk yogurt. 

·         1Tbsp. cocoa powder

·         ½ tsp. unrefined stevia powder 

·         ¼ cup frozen raspberries

·         1tbsp. chia seeds 

·         Pinch of salt

·         Gluten free granola (find the recipe here! https://www.sonyasopencupboard.com/recipes-1/3/4/2018/5-ingredient-gluten-free-granola)

Mix everything together in a mason jar for that authentic hipster look and top it off with my 5 ingredient gluten free granola if you really want to get fancy.  

So without further adu here’s to a week of sipping water and keeping the sugar at bay!  

Thanks for reading!

-Sonya Peacocke

How to Believe in Yourself

I don't know about you guys but when it comes to goals and aspirations, I am not one to allow myself to go for it. I often times find myself over the moon excited about an idea, just for the voice in my head to tell me it can't be done. This, of course, keeps me in the "safe zone" where I don't have to try anything new or have the opportunity to fail. I didn't realize that even though I try to steer clear of failure this "safe zone" of mine was causing me to fail.  

Without even realizing it, my fear and lack of confidence were holding me back from some of the most fulfilling work I could ever imagine. This blog has been proof of just that, as I have always had a passion for helping people as well as health and wellness. Even though I had the passion for it, it took me a whole 2 years to even start my own blog and another 6 months to actually create the content! Now that I am here I find it hard to remember what exactly held me back and why that even though at the moment I knew what I wanted, I didn't go for it. 

I believe it might have been a combination of things that held me back, but I want to discuss the two that made the most impact in stopping me from going for what I wanted.

Permission:

My mother-in-law recently brought up the fact that often times we don't give ourselves permission to do the things we want. We make excuses such as we can't afford the time, money, or energy. We also tend to think of investing in ourselves as something that is selfish, when in fact it is not! This is not to say that being self-absorbed is the goal here, but it is allowing yourself to recognize yourself as a person. A person who, like everyone else has needs, both physical and emotional. These needs are not always serious, but they are simple. You need joy in your life, you need something that drives you to do better, you need relaxation as well as discipline, etc.

Next time you feel as though you are not giving yourself permission to do what you want, take a step back and evaluate. "Is it pleasing to God?", "is it beneficially to myself and those around me?", "will doing this help me to be a better version of myself?”  These questions will help you understand how you need to make your decision.  

Confidence: 

When I think of confidence I tend to put it into the negative aspect of human traits. I think of people who are unaware of their surroundings who think of only themselves, but my husband has proved me wrong. True confidence includes having the bravery to fail and the will to try again, it is knowing that you are capable of anything as long as you keep working at it. Confidence helps you to focus on the truth and tune out the lies you tell yourself. I definitely am one to assume a low confidence level, but it something that once you recognize its presence you can work to build it up. 

Next time you feel a lack of confidence look at everything around you. Every simple object in your house had a creator whose idea probably seemed crazy to most people at the time. Thankfully they had confidence and to just go for it and now here you are today with their invention sitting in your home.  Let yourself know that anyone can accomplish big things, but it all depends on you!

Do you feel like you are allowing yourself to take those crazy ideas and run with them? The next time that great idea comes to mind, look into it and see if it really is a crazy idea. You might be surprised at what you find yourself accomplishing once you give yourself permission and show some confidence in your abilities!  

Thank you guys for reading & I hope you enjoyed! 

See you next time! 

Sonya Peacocke 

 

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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.

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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

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Candida Diet Update

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 

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How To Enjoy Food on a Diet Change

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. 

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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! 

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•    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  

Hot to Eat Healthy While Traveling

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Traveling
Recently I jetted off to Cali for a fantastic getaway with my sisters, the trip in itself was wonderful but one thing I struggled with was my digestion. I attempted to eat healthy the whole time, but found that some of the key habits in my day to day life I didn’t uphold and that made all the difference.

My first mistake was not drinking enough water. I lost my water bottle due to an attempt at going through security with it filled with water (whoops). Since I didn’t have my water bottle I didn’t drink half as much as I needed.

I also am a big fan of coffee but don’t drink it that often, but of course this was vacation so I decided to enjoy a few cups a day. Now some people drink it to help their uh…digestion, but let me tell you I did nothing but throw things off. That being said I enjoyed every 1st 2nd & 3rd coffee run of the day because it was quality time with my sisters, and something that I would have regretted to miss out on.  

Besides the lack of water and increase of coffee I found that I began to eat a lot more things I normally avoid. Things like corn, processed sugar, soy, coffee, etc. these foods can be okay for some people, but for people with extremely sensitive tummies such as myself, they can really wreak havoc.

Overall it took me about a week to not feel like my stomach was going crazy and to recover from the jet lag. This trip was a tester for myself as I have another upcoming trip where I will be traveling for much longer and in a place where all the food is completely different (any guesses?).

My plan for keeping everything good is to first stick to SIMPLE foods a few days before traveling and afterwards. Things that I know are simple and good for me such as probiotic rich foods, steamed vegetables, low amounts of sugar etc.

I will also be investing in another water bottle that is easy to carry around and MAKE SURE not to lose it…Along with this I will try to keep focused on drinking more as it is easy to forget while traveling.

On the plane I will attempt to fast for the length of the flight. Flying in itself can mess with your digestive system, and to add in the complimentary “roast beef” dinner just doesn’t equal a good time.  

This has all been a type of experiment and though it wasn’t that much fun dealing with the aftermath, I am excited to put what I have learned to the test and update you after the next attempt at traveling!

Until next time,

Sonya

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How to Balance a Social Life & Healthy Eating

I don’t know about you guys, but for me I have had a hard time balancing a social life and healthy eating. Back in the days where I was counting calories I would simply order seltzer water and lime because it was free and low calorie! A win-win for sure, or so I thought. Now don’t get me wrong, seltzer water and lime tastes great, but not ideal for a meal replacement which is exactly what I was using it for.

After ending my days of calorie counting I found myself overloading on all the food that I wasn’t able to have beforehand and grew accustomed to over eating. This led to a different reason to be stressed, because I couldn’t stop myself from eating until I was almost sick. This meant that the whole time leading up to eating and afterwards I would be consumed with the thoughts of food rather than enjoying the time spent with the people I love.  

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After a few years of trial and error I have come to a point where I have a better understanding of how much I need to eat and how I should be eating. I know that I’m not facing my last real meal for a few days, or that I am eating a food I have put in the “don’t touch” category. I can stop at one plate of food, but I also feel free to go for seconds without guilt. I know now that if my friends want to go out for a treat I won’t shut them down. I am okay if there’s nothing on the menu for me because I will plan ahead with snacks and order a seltzer with lime because it’s delicious.  

This being said, I still have many struggles when it comes to food, but because I have put my faith in God he has strengthened me to keep moving forward. Lately I have been reading a devotional created by Cambria Joy and two verses have really captured my attention. In Matthew 11:28 it says “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” and Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Even though I still fight it, I have decided to let God be in control of my life. It has taken quite a bit of time, effort, and tears, but through it all God has been my strength.

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If you find yourself stuck in an unhealthy mindset when it comes to food, take it to the Lord and read through Philippians 4:4-13. Search the bible for encouragement and pray for strength, it is only through God and his grace that you will find complete healing!

Now go enjoy an evening out at a restaurant with friends or a date night in with your favorite treats and I will do the same!

Sincerely,

Sonya

Don't Starve Yourself // Eat Food

Eating food is better than starving.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have struggled with the idea that starving is better than eating food. This is a viewpoint that came to life as a young adult and is something I still struggle with today.  

It started in high school when I began to be conscious of what I was eating. This was in a sense great because I had a good relationship with food and a simple mindset to become a healthier person. Unfortunately, it morphed into something much bigger than I thought possible without even realizing. During high school, I maintained a healthy weight, but once I graduated and the stress of holding down a job and paying for school I lost both weight and understanding of what healthy looks like. Originally it was the feeling of losing control of my life and the desperate search for what I could still hold on to. Instead of looking for the Lord for Guidance and stability, I tried to fix things myself. I began to control the one thing I knew I could and that was what I put in my body. I began to cut out foods, restrict calories, exercised obsessively, took water pills, and binge-watch dieting shows in my free time. In the midst of it all, I actually developed a fascination for anorexia because I thought I was better than them. It also gave me confidence knowing I had some "cracked the code", and therefore validated my behavior.

After a year of going hungry, I found myself unhappy in several areas of life. I was losing weight and acing my classes, but I had begun to look sickly, my temper and stress were out of control, my relationships began to strain and I struggles to find Joy in life. 

In order to combat the pain I was feeling, I began to treat myself to eating exactly what I wanted and however much I wanted. Now going from eating minimal amounts of food to excessive amounts can take its toll. As I began to gain weight I felt like a failure, I was more anxious and full of fear. The only way I was able to get through this time in my life was to look to God for forgiveness and His grace in my life. I knew what I was doing was wrong and in order to change the direction of my life I needed to rely 100% on God. In no way was this transition easy, and I still struggle today, but I thankfully have the Lord to guide me and lift me up in my time of weakness. 

Though I still struggle with thoughts of whether or not to eat, downloading and deleting fitness apps, and feeling the urge to work out every single day and assuring myself at meal time that I don’t have to gorge myself. I know that I am free to eat whenever I please and whatever I please. I now know that

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·         Food is not the enemy

·         The feeling of fullness should not cause guilt

·         & it’s better to build a foundation on the Lord rather than a scale.

Matthew 24-27

 

Pst* Shout out to Cambria Joy who inspired me to write this blog post!

How to Become a Morning Person

6 Steps to a Better Morning!

I don’t know about you guys but for me, mornings are a crucial part of my day. Since I am a morning person, if my attempt at morning is rolling out of bed late I will probably crash and burn in about 2 hours. I Love having a schedule where I wake up early enough to read my bible, get a good workout in, and prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch. This way, I am prepared for what craziness lies ahead in my day.

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Though I love to wake up early, it is not the easiest thing to get a handle on. Thankfully I have come to learn a few tips that help me to wake up and get going.

So here’s the low down on the 6:00...6:30am start to your day!

Tip #1: Set ONE alarm

It’s good to do this because when you hit the snooze button you are dozing off in between or on your phone which actually makes it harder to get out of bed and feel alert.

Tip#2: Keep Water right next to your bed

Drinking water immediately after waking up helps you to feel alert and more awake. This is just a small benefit though, when you take into consideration the fact that drinking water first thing in the morning helps to boost metabolism, detoxifies the body, and strengthens the immune system!

Tip#3: Start your day without your phone

 Personally I use my phone for my workouts, but I try to first read my Bible or journal and also try to step outside to get fresh air before my workout.

Tip#4: Get Moving!

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Some people like myself thrive off of morning workouts, because by the time it gets to 5pm the most movement I want to accomplish is a walk or bike ride. If you are not like me and find you have more effective workouts in the evening then instead take the time to go on a leisurely walk or do some yoga. This helps to get your blood pumping, aids in digestion, and adds a little boost to your metabolism.

Tip#5: Apple Cider Vinegar.

I have found that starting my day with breakfast doesn’t sit well, so instead I chose to drink apple cider vinegar before my normal meal. Apple Cider Vinegar is great way to get in some healthy probiotics while reducing sugar cravings, detoxes the body, and aids in digestion.

There are several ways you can enjoy ACV, I recently have discovered adding drops of grapefruit essential oil as well as lemon to sweeten things up!

Tip#6: Skip the Caffeine.

If you don’t have any problems with caffeine than go for some matcha, but for me I have found that as long as I keep my breakfast full of nutrient dense foods and I stay hydrated I don’t have a need for caffeine. The benefit of this is not relying on stimulants to keep you going, and avoiding that mid-day slump caffeine introduces us to.

BONUS TIP* Find a music playlist you love and play it every morning, and pretty soon your brain will associate the music with waking up. SO keep the Jams going and you might find yourself feeling a little bit cheerier.

Now that you guys are equipped and ready to start your morning with these hacks, give them a go and let me know which one is your favorite!