food journal diet weightloss

Why you need a food journal(free pdf!)

Have you ever wondered if a food journal might help you with your health and wellness journey? Do you have unexplained symptoms such as headaches, bloating, fatigue, or nausea? Do you feel like you have been dieting and watching what you eat, but still are not losing the weight? If any of these apply to you, a food journal will most definitely help you! By writing down what you eat and drink everyday for a couple weeks, along with how you feel after eating, you will many times, pinpoint where you are struggling diet-wise or find foods that cause those unexplained symptoms. When I was practicing midwifery, I would always give my clients a handout to chart their food and water intake for the first month and bring it back to me at their next prenatal visit. Many times, the women would be amazed at what they ate, what their diet was lacking, or even discover they were not eating enough. It is also a great way to make sure you are drinking enough water. Many of us go about each day dehydrated. It’s amazing how much better our bodies work when hydrated properly.

I have a free printable Food Journal page for you to give it a try. This is just one easy method. If you like this printable, you may print multiples and hole punch them to put in a 3 ring binder to keep it all together so as to see your progress. Or, you could get a notepad, small notebook, jot it into the notes section on your device as well, whatever is easiest for you!

I will write more in another blog post about using your food journal to help you reach or maintain your health and wellness goals. Happy food journal-ling!

 

A genuine look at how I reduced my stuff to simplify my life

Over the past year, I have really been cognizant of minimizing my belongings. I have always in a part, been a minimalist at heart, but like many others, have become immersed in consumerism. They make it so easy! I read Marie Kondo’s book, The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japenese art of decluttering and organizing(whew, for a minimalist, that’s a long title!). She has some “out there” ideas, but her book does help to methodically go through the house and to help one see the joy in the belongings we choose to hold on to. I’ve read other books on minimalism over the years, but I was feeling stuck in a way, so I wanted to see what this book was all about.

There were several sentimental items I had been holding onto. One was a shirt from my daughter, Ansley that died three days after her birth. It was a shirt given to me by the medic team that transported her to the children’s hospital. She hadn’t even worn the shirt and it really wasn’t a good memory for me at all, but I had held on to it anyway for these past five years. That was one item I let go. I realize many have special attachments and memories attached to items, but they are not that person. Think about it, what is it you do whenever you see, hold, touch that object? You conjure up a memory in your head! The memory of that person is held in your head and heart, not in that particular item. I am not saying that it is wrong or not minimalist to keep sentimental items, but I encourage you to see why you need it. I did keep several items from Ansley, but most, I gave away. My three daughters enjoy using the couple baby blankets I had from her to play dolls with and it brings me joy(with a hint of sadness) whenever I see them wrapping their baby dolls with her blankets now.

I also wanted to not have so much to have to put in storage while we traveled. The last move we did, I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had even after I had gone through so much beforehand and it was a lot! So, this time, I wanted it to be a lot less. I still feel that I could get rid of more, but I am at a difficult stage with trying to decide if its worth storing for a couple years or if it could be replaced. The frugal part of me wants to keep it, but I’m trying to be okay with living without some of these items.

The featured image above is a current picture of my kitchen space. It is a big kitchen and I love that I have plenty of counter space, but it is also nice to be able to have it cleared off. I have worked hard at getting rid of enough kitchen gadgets to get to this. When I’m in a smaller kitchen I’ll be challenged again!

One thing I’ve been working on is minimizing the amount of food I buy and store. For so long we lived over 20 minutes away(one way!)from a grocery store and I was part of a natural food co-op, so I got used to stocking up. Now I have lived for several years very close to a grocery store, but still was stuck in that mentality. It’s going to be a work in progress and I just hope that I’m not too overwhelmed with it all when I’m in a small RV trying to stock up on groceries!

My hope is to beckon more harmony into my life by simplifying the stuff I have surrounding me. I want to be able to spend more time and energy focusing on the people I love by not having to worry about keeping my house cleaned up.

What are things that you feel you just couldn’t live without? Do you feel stuck in your journey to a minimalist home?

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Pantry+Meal Planning

I love my huge pantry, but it is so easy for me to keep buying food to fill up the shelves because one, I have the space and two, I will buy things on sale just because I have the room to store it. This creates some problems over time if I’m not careful. You might be wondering how on earth this could become a problem? Well, I tend to forget what I bought and then open my pantry to look at what I have for meal inspiration, but I seem to have everything, but nothing that will make a cohesive meal. This is where a large pantry will fail you if you don’t plan. I have not been much for meal planning in the past, but recently I have started to. I am still learning and trying not to impulse buy food on sale or stockpile for when we are in our RV, we definitely won’t have the space to store this extra food.

First, you’ll want to go through your pantry and take stock of what you have currently. This may seem daunting at first, but take an hour or two(set a timer even!) and throw away any items that are expired. Have a paper and pen on hand and write down what you have. The items that are going to expire soon, put a star or check next to them. If there’s canned or packaged food that you just don’t see you or your family eating, donate it to a food pantry, now is a great time to do this. Try your hardest to plan meals around what you currently have on hand, then you’ll be able to start fresh with meal planning.

With meal planning, I’ve learned to keep it simple. I may some weeks get bored with my menu, but it does make nightly dinner preparation easier in the long run. My girls love tacos, so I have adopted “taco Tuesday.” I never was a fan of things like this, but it does take off a whole lot of pressure to know that at least one day of the week, everyone will be happy with the meal and it is easy to keep these items on hand.

I typically grocery shop on Tuesday’s as I’m right by the store coming from the library’s toddler story time, so I try to make my weekly meal plan on Sunday’s or Monday’s. Monday’s we typically have leftovers or if no leftovers, then breakfast for dinner.

I like to use the app, OurGroceries, which is nice to keep a running list. I have not used a paper grocery list in ages as I would forget it frequently at home and not remember what I need and I always have my phone on me. I do jot my weekly menu plan on a scrap piece of paper mostly, but lately I’ve liked to use a small note pad or book so I’m able to glance back at meals.

As you can see from the picture of one section of my pantry, I’m still trying to pair down. So, be easy on yourself and be happy that you’ll have more time, better money management, and less stress from simple meal planning.