Just eat real food

What is your why? I remember that was the question that was asked of me when I first started this health journey. My answer was to take care of me so I can take care of my family and patients. I need to set a good example by taking care of me first. Here is the video I created. It’s so raw and of course not edited.


The reason I wanted to share this video was to remind myself of my journey and willingness to help others in this journey too.  I may not be a “coach” but I am a nurse so by nature I care for others and want to help them get better.  I’ve seen sick people when I used to work nights in the hospital and now in the clinic setting I see healthier people and I can make an impact in their preventative care to help optimize their health.  I’ve come to realize over the years that it’s not about just working out, but its about food!  It truly starts with food and understanding how food fuels your body and it makes a difference on the quality of foods you take in.  I also believe that it helps to understand your relationship with food as it can affect your mental health (at least for me it does).

I’m a home cook, but I am nothing like my chef dad who is amazing at what he does.  I’ve watched my parents cook, but I never tried to prepare a meal for them because I was so afraid of criticism and failing!  I was intimidated by them.  When I finally moved out on my own, I had to grocery shop on my own and prepare my own meals.  I gained confidence in cooking and eating healthy.  I’ve come to accumulate a variety of cookbooks like Local-Hawaiian, Filipino, easy meals, make a head meals, slow cooking, pressure cooking, and vegetarian. I love cookbooks with pictures!   My go to cookbooks are Paleo.  The reason why I love the Paleo diet is I love the simplicity of the whole food approach to food. In the past I struggled with IBS so when I changed my eating style to include more whole foods my stomach issues have decreased.

Here is my review of my favorite healthy cookbooks:
  • When I first started my healthy journey I followed Autumn Calabrese's 21 day fix.  Her program help me lose a lot of weight.  I was such a fan girl I bought the Fixate cookbook.   The recipes are easy to follow especially when your using the 21 day fix food containers
  • Michelle Tam's Nom Nom Paleo and Ready or Not! - great asian Paleo recipes with cute cartoons. I love that Michelle is a spunky medical professional with an adorable family. She craft her book and blog with beautiful pictures of food and her recipes are easy to make. It was because of her frequent use of the Instant Pot that I decided to get one (actually my fiancĂ© bought it for me). Also because of her influence, I always “meat” my defrost bowl, have a “garbage bowl” and do leftover makeover!
  • Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry's Real Life Paleo -  start Paleo in phases with home style recipes
  • Diane Sanfalippo's Practical Paleo - my favorite informative book on all things Paleo. Comes with cut out shopping list and guide, meal plans and even DIY seasoning
  • Russ Crandall's Paleo Takeout - great takeout-like recipes without the junk ingredients
  • Steph Gaudreau's The Performance Paleo Cookbook - recipes with macro counts to help fuel your workouts

Here are my new cookbook additions:


  • I enjoy Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s book “It Starts with Food”.  I started reading this book a little after my health journey started.  There is so much information about the science of how certain foods like sugar, alcohol, grains, legume and diary can affect your health.  I truly feel it’s a revolutionary book and I highly recommend it.  I recently bought Whole30 Fast and Easy because I love the simplicity of the whole food recipes.  I have not done a full Whole30 yet, but I’ve practice these principles since my health journey started.   On most days I avoid grains, legume.  I eat diary, sugar and drink alcohol in moderation.

  •  Leanne Vogil's "The Keto Diet".  I love this book as it like a low carb paleo book.   Leanne use to be vegan and transition to eating meat and high fat which has improved her health.  Her book is very informative for Keto newbie, but the recipes may be a bit complicated.   
  • Maria Emmerich's "Easy dairy-free Ketogenic Recipes" has recipes that are so simple anyone can follow along.   

So as you know I have been doing  low carb whole food/paleo, but wanted to try keto.   For the first 2 months of this year, I attempted to do Keto, but I'm not sure if I did it quite right. I struggled to get down to 20 net grams of carbs. Getting my fat up is still very scary for me.  While trying to do keto, tracking my macros on my MyFitnessPal made me crazy obsess! I didn’t feel this was sustainable, I couldn’t possibly track every food I eat for the rest of my life.

I've come to a realization I was obsess with weight loss.  I wanted so badly to keep losing weight.  When my weight loss stalled out and I started gaining weight I panic trying to find a quick fix to lose weight again.   But with all the working out, meal planning and food tracking it was making me crazy!   I have restricted myself so much my that my own family was worried about me because I was not eating like before.  How did I eat before?  Well I ate a lot and I was fat!   At first I was offended with what they were saying, because I was thinking they like me fat?   I took it the wrong way and realize it was because I had restricted my eating so much I was not present.  I was not happy.  I was not me any more. Sure I want to be skinny, but maybe skinny is not really being happy.  I fear becoming fat again!     

March I just threw everything I knew out the window. I wanted to approach my diet as a more intuitive approach to eating.  To hell with tracking. I will do the plate/hand technique and stop worrying about calories!  Of course I will still meal plan as I believe having a meal plan works, but I have come to realize it's ok to give in to carbs and cheat food once in awhile.  You do not have to eat "clean" 100% of the time.   It's ok to give in to your cravings.  I know I am not perfect! On most days I eat “clean” and I allow the weekends with family and friends to enjoy.  So what if I have a stall in weight loss.  I am healthy and I need to have a balance in life with working out, enjoy food and keeping my mind healthy.  If I eat something my stomach does not like, I need to remember to avoid it or eat less of it.  I should have fun with my family and friends over the weekend.   Then I can use Sunday for meal prep and detox. You can still enjoy food and you do not have to track every meal.  This balance allows me to have food freedom and not fear becoming fat.  As long as I keep eating healthy on most days I can treat myself in moderation.  

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