Tag Archives: Health

Hello, 2016!

Goodbye 2015 and Hello, 2016

I love the feeling a new year brings.  It’s an opportunity for a fresh new start in whatever arena you’d like… not that you can’t make that change any time of year, but there’s a new-ness in January that only seems to be found during this month.  It’s a blank slate before Spring; an empty vessel waiting to be filled.  I want to make a tradition of taking a few minutes to write and reflect on my year in the rear view and a look at the year ahead, so here goes.

Hello 2016 | oysters and pearls


Last January, I made some major lifestyle changes, committed to a yoga practice and did a round of Whole30, stepped down from some major obligations and commitments, and completely changed my health and outlook on life.  I am SO thankful that I made a commitment to my health, my sanity, and myself last January, and I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it for an entire year.  I’ve even managed to continue my yoga practice well into my pregnancy (with a few modifications).  In addition to re-committing to taking care of myself physically, last January I began a SheReadsTruth Bible study and re-connected with my faith in a strong way, and for that I’m even more grateful.


word of the year

Last year, as I reflected on 2014 and set goals and intentions for 2015 (for the first time ever), I gave myself a word of the year: GRACE.  This was a new thing for me, but this “word of the year” gave me something to meditate on, a quick, one-word mantra to pull up when times were tough, and it set the theme for each major and minor decision I made this past year.  I tend to be very hard on myself in every way.  I set my own standards really high, and when I don’t meet them, I beat myself up a lot.  And on top of all that, I tend to hold others to these same high standards.  While it makes me a productive person, it also can make me a very difficult person to be close to, I know.  Each time I held myself or others to an unreasonably high standard in 2015, I practiced giving myself and others GRACE.  The big man upstairs gives me grace every minute of every day.  The least I could do was give that to myself and to those around me!  And the best part of this word-of-the-year concept?  It worked!  I mean, obviously I’m still not perfect, and I still am too hard on myself and others, but it has helped immensely.


When it came time to sit down and come up with a word of the year for 2016, I struggled more than last year.  Last year, the need for Grace was at the forefront of my heart and mind and the choice was easy.  This year, I’m starting the year out feeling so blessed that I really had to think about what I needed this year.  After a few days of thinking about it and setting an intention in my last yoga practice of 2015, I finally had it.


In addition to setting my own bar too high, I also have a tendency to push through the present and set finish lines for myself.  “If I can just make it until tomorrow afternoon…”  or “If I can just make it until Christmas Eve…”  I can power through almost anything if I know there’s an end in sight.  However, living from finish line to finish line leaves you wondering where your days have gone and missing the important moments that are fleeting and are what really matter.  So this year, my word of the year is PRESENT.  I don’t want to wish away this year, this pregnancy, this baby’s first moments in this world, no matter how chaotic, how crazy, how stressful, how painful, or how uncomfortable they may be.  I want to be fully present in every little moment.  Feel every little kick, taste every bite, laugh at every joke, feel every ache and pain, enjoy every stitch, every conversation, every sloppy dog kiss, and not miss out on a single thing just because I’m wishing it away until the next milestone, which would be so very easy to do at this point in my life.  2016, I’m ready for you!  Each and every minute of you.


maiden south

A quick note about the shop:  Although I know I’ll be slowing down soon in a lot of ways, I’m so grateful for the creative outlet and community that we have created and that has evolved with us at Maiden South.  We’ll be kicking off 2016 creatively by hosting Knit Night at One.Two.Three. (our old space next door) from 6 to 8 pm tonight.  If you knit, crochet, embroider, or do anything related to fiber art, come do it with us for a couple of hours tonight.  We do this the first Monday of every single month, so mark it on your calendars, join our Knit Nights Ravelry group, our Knit Night Facebook event, and come join other fiber-lovers for some fellowshippin’ and stitchin’ tonight at six at One.Two.Three.

Knit Nights at Maiden South | oysters and pearls

thank you

Thank you to everyone for all the tips and recommendations for our Asheville babymoon trip!  We leave in a couple of weeks and I literally could NOT be more excited.  Really, I don’t think it’s possible.  It will be the longest I’ve ever taken off of work, the longest vacation Wheat and I have ever taken together, and I cannot wait to get to the mountains to explore and relax.

Thank you, too, for following along with Oysters & Pearls for yet another year.  I’ve been sharing my thoughts, feelings, recipes, knitting, projects, and more for three years in this little corner of the world wide web.  Although the frequency of that sharing has slowed down, I am so grateful to continue to be here when I can and to have met so many wonderful people through it.  Y’all are the very best and I wish I could hug each one of your necks!


I wish for each of you the gift of being fully present… being all in and being all there and in awe, this year.

Until Next Time - oysters and pearls

Whole30 Experience

Hello, Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July Holiday weekend!  I know we did.  I wanted to take a moment to share my Whole30 experience with y’all this morning.  Mondays are great days to get motivated, am I right?  (Such a shift in my ‘tude these days!)


Whole30 is over, y’all!  And I’m so glad… that I did it.  I’ve learned SO much about how food affects my body, my mood, and my mind.  And I’m sad to say I’m shocked at just how much it affects every little aspect of my life.  And how much better I feel without gluten and dairy!

You Are What You Eat - oystersandpearls.net

As a refresher, or for anyone just tuning in, here’s the Whole30 program in a nutshell:


The Whole30 Program Rules

Yes: Eat real food.

Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list.

No: Avoid for 30 days.

More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” Remember, these are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.


Whole30 Reflections:

I’m not going to share my before and after pictures with you, but I will share some results.  As readers know, since January I’ve been working hard to lose weight and generally increase my overall health.  However, I had hit a bit of a plateau with weight loss, although I am less worried about the number on the scale these days than I am with my strength and cardio health, which is constantly improving! Anyway, over the course of the month of June/Whole30, I lost 5 pounds.  5 very stubborn pounds.

In addition to losing 5 pounds, which probably doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, I gained a LOT otherwise.  It is insanely eye opening to see how sugar, gluten, and soy are added to the the most random and seemingly unnecessary foods.  Fruit is already sweet – why do we add sugar to it?  It’s really surprising and sad.  It’s really no wonder we, as a society, are obese.

On top of being more aware of the is put on and in food, I’m much more aware and careful about what food I put in me.  I wrote down everything I ate this month, and also tracked any symptoms or positives (as Whole30 calls them: Non-Scale Victories).  The few times I cheated, I could directly track a consequence to the action.  Upset stomach? Yup, cheated.  Skin breakout?  Yup, cheated.  If you’re thinking about doing Whole30 yourself, I highly recommend keeping a food journal.

Other Non-Scale Victories?  My under eye circles are nearly gone.  I’m not even wearing under eye concealer anymore – for the first time maybe ever!  My skin is clearer and more even-toned than it’s maybe ever been.  My digestion is much, much improved.  (I’ll leave that one at that!)  I’m in a better mood and more even tempered.  I have more energy.  Like, lots more!  I’m sleeping like a champ and I wake up refreshed and clear-headed instead of groggy and hitting snooze 10 times then rushing to work late.  And I’m going to bed at the same time as I was before!  My rings are all too big and I’m going to have to get them re-sized.  Almost all my clothes are too big now.  I’m almost down two pants sizes!

All these Non-Scale Victories are far more important to me than the number on the scale, and I’m well aware that muscle weighs more than fat (and looks better, too).  I’ve seriously never felt more proud of physical accomplishments.

Going Forward:

I will say that toward the end of my Whole30 month, I did a nutritional consult with my yoga instructor, Lindsey, who is also certified in holistic nutrition.  She is a big proponent of eating for your blood type.  I’m B+ (also my life motto), and she made some recommendations based on my blood type, such as not eating chicken, shrimp, oysters, and most especially gluten.  I KNOW.  OYSTERS.  She said I can have them as a treat every now and then. :) Funnily enough, when I looked back at my food journal, many of the digestive issues I documented occurred right after I ate chicken… so I definitely think there’s something to it.  So going forward, I’m going to reintroduce some dairy products (but not a ton, mostly just some cheeses in moderation), and skip out on so much chicken and shrimp (I eat both fairly regularly).  I don’t get oysters as often as I’d like anyway, so shrimp and oysters will continue to be treats for this seafood lover.  I’m interested to see if I continue to lose weight on this regimen.  I’ve already eliminated most of the items I was supposed to for my blood type, so I plan to mostly keep on truckin like I have been.  Except the wine and the dark chocolate and gluten-free rolled oats can make their way back into my life, ASAP.  I’ll be sharing a couple of recipes I’ve discovered this week that I just cannot get enough of that are super healthy for post-whole30.

Whole30 Compliant Oatmeal | Oysters and Pearls

Speaking of grains… I also just read Grain Brain by neurologist Dr. Perlmutter.  It’s very eye-opening as well as to the science behind gluten-intolerance and the history of celiac disease, so I’ll be incorporating some of those points (and supplements) into my new permanent diet, as well.  I may post on Grain Brain specifically in the near future.

When it’s all said and done, I couldn’t have done it without Wheat (mostly) and secondarily, my lady friends at work.  Anne wrote about it on her blog, Georgianne – she had a great experience, too!  I can’t recommend this program enough.  It’s a great way to reset, detox, and re-evaluate what you’re putting in your mouth and how that affects your body, mind and mood.  It’s also spurred me to be more conscious of what I’m putting on my body, as well. But that’s another post for another day!  Overall, this is a great way to connect with your body, and you end up looking and feeling better for it.  Feel free to shoot me any questions you have about Whole30 or otherwise via commenting below or shooing me an email at oystersandpearlsblog at gmail.com.

It’s Monday – a chance at a new day and a fresh week, full of possibilities!  So get out there and carpe the hell outta this diem.

Until Next Time

Working on my Fitness


It’s no secret that since January I got my act together and starting working on my fitness.  Along with multiple other things.  Since then, I feel like a completely different person.  Someone who actually likes working out.  Who makes it a priority.  Who eats well and tries to truly live well, rather than running around like a chicken with my head cut off, just trying to please each person who put a request in front of me for my time/energy/creativity/productivity.  Whew.  Thank goodness that’s over.

So now I walk a lot, and I even run a good bit!  I do yoga almost every day, and I use a medicine ball to do some strength work.  Nothing revolutionary.  In fact, nothing even remotely hardcore.  But it’s fun and it fits into my still-busy schedule, and most importantly, it works. So I thought I’d write a quick post about the things that have been working for me.

Hazards of Working Out at Home | Oysters and Pearls

That hazards of at-home workouts: cats and dogs vying for attention.  The Honorable Judge Wallace Cat-O is especially demanding.

So my newest craze is medicine ball workouts.  I first got hooked thanks to Kelly Ripa and her ABC workout.  This is an older version than the one she did recently with Michael Strahan, but the workout is still great, even back in 2007!

Another one my husband, Wheat, recommended to me is the Carolina Tar Heels 400 Workout.  I highly recommend it now, too!  And this workout series by Popsugar is one I discovered earlier this week, but have already incorporated some of the moves into my routine (some of them are the same as the ones in the Tar Heels 400).

On days I’m crunched for time, I do a quick 20 minute medicine ball workout.  High intensity, short time, certainly better than nothing! :)  I follow it up with usually at least 10 to 15 minutes of yoga.  On days I have more time to spare, like days I work from home, I go for a half run/half walk with Juin and listen to my audio books.  She enjoys it just as much as I do!

And finally, on days I’m working in Thomasville, I get my butt into a yoga class at ma gurl Lindsey’s yoga studio.  Lotus Yoga & Holistic Wellness just opened up in its permanent location on Monroe Street (behind the post office and across from the Big Oak).  It’s adorable and beautiful and fabulous and I’m so excited my office is so close by!  Congratulations, Lindsey!!

Lotus Yoga & Holistic Wellness, Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

I’ve found that mentally challenging myself by rotating through quick, high intensity workouts,  longer walks/runs with audiobooks, and mental/spiritual/physical yoga keeps me engaged, never bored, and actually excited about exercise.  What are your favorite workouts?  Any youtube videos or links? Share them in the comments, por favor!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  -Psalm 139:14

Until Next Time