Thursday, November 19, 2015

We Completed The Whole 30 and Lived to Tell About It!

Brooke and I started our Whole30 journey on October 20, 2015 and SUCCESSFULLY completed the trip on November 18, 2015 - 30 complete days of compliance to a very prescriptive program (Note: there is much more flexibility than you might think). We believe that anyone can finish the Whole30, but ONLY if your head is in the game. Granted, there are certain medical conditions that could make this harder, if not impossible, but our experience has proven to us that it was our "mental toughness" combined with a "best friend and buddy accountability system."

Let me share our experiences with Whole30, but first let me dispense with the formalities, rules, regulations, warnings, interactions, contagions, rumors, side effects, made-up legal lingo, distractions (squirrel), unrelated run-on sentence, and the all around general information (batteries not included and DO try this at home). My resemblance to anyone living or dead would be odd, but coincidental.

The Ground Rules: If you cannot agree to these simple requirements then STOP, do not pass go, and do not collect $200 nor healthy results (the larger type is provided for the hard of hearing)    

So, one last thing before I review how we were affected by this program. I have taken this straight off of the Whole30 site because this "reality" will very likely enter into your mind should you decide to follow in our footsteps; get past this and you will win!:

Our Experience in Simple Terms - The Candelaria Pros and Cons: 

Let me start with the CONS or the challenges, real or imagined -
  • Yes, we missed cheese more than anything else (note: you can have natural organic bacon so you do not have to miss that)
  • I enjoy a good craft beer and Brooke enjoys wine, but we could not have ANY alcohol for 30 straight days (note: honestly we both had virtually no cravings for alcohol the entire time)
  • There are plenty of excuses to cheat, but NOT a single acceptable reason to do so
  • Eating out and traveling is much harder, but not impossible (note: plan in advance)
  • We did not have "immediate" results meaning we had unrealistic expectations initially (note: extraordinary changes started mid week 3)
  • No exceptions, we had to commit to 30 days straight - starting and stopping for any is not an option 
  • Doing this alone without a buddy or a committed cheerleader would be exponentially more difficult
  • The are saboteurs EVERYWHERE be it well meaning friends, family, or complete strangers who think that one little french fry, or half a glass of wine or a single shot of Patron won't hurt in the grand scheme of things (note: there are people you know who do not want you to succeed, as mysterious as that may seem)
  • 30 days seems easy in the beginning, but it may seem a prison sentence later down the road (note: do not confuse this decision and commitment as a loss of freedom because it is no less a personal choice than deciding to eat those fries or drink that wine) 
  • You have to have an imagination and willingness to try and/or prepare new dishes or you WILL get bored even if you LOVE eggs or avocados or salads or bun-less burgers or smoked chicken wings or Filet Mignon (note: having cooking "chops" or being a foodie is hugely advantageous)               

And now for the good stuff, The PROS, all real -
  • We were fortunate to not have cravings because of Brooke's ability to create numerous fantastic tasting foods
  • Doing this together as a couple with similar goals and COMMITMENT made it seem easier to complete 
  • The focus on this as a food intake cleanse (making better food choices) made the weight loss an awesome by-product
  • No calorie counting so we were able to eat as much of the right foods as we could "stomach" (note: easy to manage hunger which diminished greatly over time) 
  • Both of our daily blood pressure readings dropped into normal ranges and it proven even after we both stopped our medications for hypertension 
  • Though we have yet to weigh in, we both lost weight
  • We both lost size in the waist
  • We have noticeably higher energy levels
  • Both of us are experiencing much better digestion (no heartburn, no cramps, no gas, no irregularity)
  • Virtual elimination of wide mood swings (Greg) 
  • An interesting and wonderful feeling of overall euphoria and happiness (all is well with the world)
My deepest thanks to Brooke for being my partner in this journey!
Good luck to any of you who plan to try this #Whole30 trip. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to recruit us as your cheerleaders!         

Day 1 Shopping


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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Closing the generation gap .... with cookies

I was taught to respect our elders. It's just how we were raised in my generation. In fact, I've always really liked being around seniors, because they represent such a wealth of knowledge, experience, wisdom and history. 

I worked as a candy striper for four years in the skilled nursing care wing of a hospital, was a highly involved volunteer for the Senior Olympics, and generally just like spending time with my elders. 

Despite irritation and discouragement from my observations of the lack of respect and consideration our elders receive, sometimes a brilliant ray of sunshine breaks through and renews hope. This time, it was in the form of two adorable little boys - ages 4 and 6. 

The doorbell rang at my parents' house the other day. Mom was greeted by a young family who introduced themselves as neighbors from a few streets over. The parents, both school teachers, explained that they take their two sons by my folks' house nearly every day on the way to the swimming pool, and they often see Dad working in the yard. The little boys were so impressed with how dedicated he is to making the yard nice that they wanted to do something for him. 

And so, little Finn and Jack each wrote Dad a note which was delivered along with a bag of delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies. Upon learning that Dad had just celebrated a birthday, the boys were even more excited. 

Mom didn't mention that he just turned 99. I don't know if the kids could even fathom that. Mom didn't mention that he doesn't keep track of the fact that he's outside 25-plus times a day. The kids might like this, but they cannot fathom that it's because his dementia makes him forget how often he's out there. 

But bless that family, the parents who instill great values in their children, and the big hearts of those two boys. If I ever get to meet them myself, hugs all around! THANK YOU.
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Monday, June 9, 2014

Headed to the World Cup? Here's how to not get robbed in foreign cities.

Everyone’s seen the video in which a Brazilian woman being interviewed on live TV is rumbled by a thief who brazenly steals her gold necklace on-air.

Having experienced Sao Paulo, which admittedly is not a particularly safe city, I'd like to share a few tips to increase your odds of not getting robbed. Especially if you're headed there for the World Cup.

  • The general rule of thumb: don’t be stupid! You know all the usual stuff like never carrying your passport, always having ID, respecting laws and customs, not leaving a drink unattended, etc.
  • Constantly scan your environment. Know what/who is in front of/behind/next to you. Don’t walk so close to the street or doorways that you or your belongings can easily disappear. Narrow streets are a dream for thieves on motorcycles. Notice buildings, landmarks and small details: they help keep you safe and alert and could be important if it becomes a crime scene.
  • Separate your things. Put a ‘steal’ wallet in your pocket with stuff that you don’t really mind having lifted, including a modest amount of cash. Put your other money in your hidden pocket. If held up, offer the aggressor your fake wallet and your phone if you must.
  • Related to the above, take only one credit card with you at a time, leaving others in the safe. Use an ATM during the dayt, return directly to the hotel and put it in the safe. Ensure you’re not being followed. Get the bell captain or concierge to have an employee accompany you to your room if you're nervous.
  • In a taxi, it’s best to put your laptop bag in the trunk. Road-based thieves are often on motorcycles and just want you to open the window and hand over your wallet. They won’t take the time to examine the contents of the trunk.
  • Walk confidently and don’t look clumsy or foggy. Head high, good alert posture, purposeful gait. Thieves read body language.
  • Leave your bling home. Don’t look expensive. If you have a ‘more money than sense’ air about you, you’re an accident waiting to happen.
  • Don’t wear silly heels. Carry them in a bag if you must, but you’ll be thankful for comfortable flat shoes if you have to run.
  • Only take the public transportation known to be safe for visitors. In Sao Paulo, the metro is generally okay for anyone to take, but buses are never okay for tourists.
  • Malls are generally pretty safe – as long as they have security guards, nice stores and restaurants, video surveillance and families.
  • Study up on the place you’re going so you know the usual MO for thieves in that region (e.g., gypsy girls in Rome, young fit men preying upon middle-aged cruise passengers in the Baltics, tandem motorcycle riders in Sao Paulo, thieves who target the Metro in Paris).
  • Register with STEP – the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You’ll receive alerts about the countries/region(s) where you’re traveling, and can receive assistance more quickly from the State Department if you run into trouble.

This isn't a foolproof formula. But in a few decades of travel, I’ve never been robbed (thankfully!). Some of it is sheer luck; most of it is just being alert and practical. And I’ve been to some seriously dodgy places.

Don't let paranoia ruin your trip though - enjoy the travel, and don't be stoopid!

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