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Anorexia Dieting Faith

When Fasting Fuels The Flame Of An Eating Disorder

December 8, 2014



My Anorexia, And How It Began With a Holy Experience


I can hear the soft crying of my teammates around me.

We have all taken the same journey over the past six weeks. The physical journey over vast expanse of water; from Texas, to Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Our personal journeys, however, differ greatly.

I was fifteen, and being deeply challenged in ways that would affect the rest of my life.

This particular morning we all sit in the upper room of a church in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The sun pounds down harsh outside.

We have gathered, as a team of teenagers who were strangers six weeks before, to process how this experience—the extreme physical and spiritual hunger we have witnessed—will change our lives from here on out.

Some of my teammates are speaking with our team leaders, being prayed over, sharing the commitments they’ve made for when they get home.

I write my own manifesto, as of each of us do; promises to myself and God for how I will carry out this ministry at home. I begin, “If we end our mission here at the end of the trip, we have failed.”

I go on to ink my intentions into vows. “Stay in contact with the Thai people I’ve met”. “Sleep on the floor every Thursday to remember those in poverty” “Be informed about world events” “Study missionary biographies.”

And finally, “I will fast on the fifteenth of every month, to always remember the need overseas.”




A Fast To Fuel A Famine


I came home from that trip with a mission. I also came home from that trip with a secret. And tragically, my mission began to fuel my secret.

Secrets in their very nature fuel upon covertness; the longer it is hidden, the more power that secret gains.

One morning in Thailand, I had come down to breakfast and made myself this challenge: eat only half as much breakfast as normal. And with that seemingly innocent decision, a secret was born.

I carried that secret through customs, over an ocean, and back home. As it began to thrive and gain power, good intentions turned into cloaks. My commitment to fast on the fifteenth of every month quickly morphed from a day of thought and prayer, to an “easy” day for masking my anorexia.




The Giving Up Of Good For The Pursuit Of Healing


Fasting is a simple act—an abstaining, usually of food, for a time. The purpose? To think clearer, and to focus on prayer.

It is a reminder for us to depend upon God alone for what we need. It’s not only a Christian practice. People of all kinds of belief practice fasting as a way to clear the mind and regain clarity and focus. It is a good and healthy practice.

That is, if you don’t have an eating disorder.

I would eventually give up my practice of fasting once a month, trading it instead for the decision to heal. It was too risky a practice; something meant to be good, but I had tarnished ugly with my sin and secret.

I still don’t fast. Although I am completely healed, and no longer struggle with any facet of an eating disorder (God is so good, seriously.). I just never took up the practice again. That’s not to say I won’t. Perhaps it’s simply because I have too many unhealthy memories of the days I fasted; tying it forever to a great mistake I made. Perhaps it’s simply because I haven’t felt the need to.




The Filling Up Part


There is something wonderful that happens at the end of a fast: you get to eat again! The meal after a fast always holds an extra morsel of appreciation, gratitude, and enjoyment. When I broke my fast, at the end of several years battling eating disorders, and I approached that first day with certainty that God in His grace was making me whole again—my soul filled.

My healing began through the realization that I had grown hungry for much more than food. My body, my soul, my spirit–the whole of me was being starved.

My fast lasted years, and although it was murky and sinful and deadly, God somehow in His grace used it to bring clarity. However, my clarity did not come through the fast itself, it came at the end, with that first meal. With the filling up. With the making whole.

A Practice Of Breaking The Fast


I think this may be why my favorite meal is breakfast. For Heaven’s sake, I have waited all night long to eat! Breakfast is just that: breaking the fast.

I appreciate breakfast the most, because I know that it is in the filling, after a fast, that empowers us for a day. It fills us up with nourishment, that we may fill others up with nourishment as well.

I never miss it.

In fact, when we were leaving our house late this morning for church, none of us having eaten breakfast, I hopped in the car and my husband chuckled at me as I pulled out two hard boiled eggs and began to peel them in my lap. I cannot not eat breakfast, because a fast has to end at some point. The emptying out and abstaining helps us clear our mind, and it prepares us for the filling up.



What Type Of Hungry Are You?


I believe that we need to ask ourselves from time to time just what our motive is for our spiritual practices. And not only for the spiritual, but anything we deem important in our life. Because motives can quickly be skewed when we fail to keep our focus on the “why”.

Maybe your fast has turned ugly, as mine did years ago. How do you need to be filled up? Is your soul weary and spirit aching from empty?

Are you hungry?

Then I dare you to examine your fasting. Whether its physical—a struggle against your own body for the ideal image in your mind. Or spiritual; a giving up of the very food we need for all life, God and His Word.

We are all hungry. We are born hungry. Awkwardly squawking out our first breaths as desperate cries for our mother’s milk. We are born hungry for more than just milk. At times we fuel the flame of that hunger by avoiding the very nourishment we need. I challenge you today, ask yourself what your body and soul are longing for, and then pursue the nourishment from that which is good; that which always satisfies.


Pannekoeken (Dutch Baby Pancakes)


  • 1/4 cup butter (organic)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs (free-range)
  • 3/4 cups milk (organic, whole)
  • 3/4 cups flour (organic, unbleached white; or white spelt)
  • 2 slices proscuitto (or thinly-sliced ham)
  • small handful freshly-shredded parmesan cheese
  • (Try other savory toppings as well. Or make a sweet Pannekoeken with things like toasted pecans and apple sautéed in butter and sugar!)


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place a cast-iron skillet into the oven with 1/4 cup butter, just until butter is melted, then remove skillet.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together: 3 beaten eggs, salt, milk, and flour
  3. When your oven is pre-heated, pour your egg mixture into the skillet, over the melted butter
  4. Tear your proscuitto into small pieces, and arrange it, along with the cheese, over the egg mixture
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until risen, bubbly, and just beginning to brown

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{One Year Later!} A Step Back into The Gruetzmacher Kitchen

October 7, 2014


Just How Much Can One Year Change a Kitchen–and A Family?


One year ago I stepped into the kitchens of a few daring whole food mamas who were brave enough to share with me their triumphs, failures, discoveries, and stories of fostering a whole food lifestyle in their homes.

And a week ago we began stepping back into those same kitchens to see just how a year can change a kitchen–and a family!

Last week we revisited the Marshall family, and learned from whole food mama Becky how she adjusted her whole food kitchen to meet new dietary restrictions, and saw in her a very real struggle many of us face:  the mental battle involved in running a whole food kitchen! Read her One Year Later update here!

This week we will be revisiting Amy Gruetzmacher’s whole food kitchen. Last year when I first interviewed Amy, her son had been recently diagnosed on the autism spectrum, which sent them on a journey to revisit their diet and see what changes they could make. I’ll let Amy take it away with her own words…


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Our year in review: how eating whole foods has changed us in the last year


When Eryn asked me to write an update about how our family is doing with our new eating plan, it was a great opportunity for me to reflect on the changes on our family in the last year.

At this point last year, my oldest son had just been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum (formerly Aspergers) as well as having ADD. We pursued some more holistic therapy options for him, and one of the things that we discovered was that food played a huge role in his behavior and focusing ability.

We also had him tested for food sensitivities (IgG) and discovered that he would be best to avoid dairy, gluten, eggs, and peanuts. THAT rocked my world a little bit. As a mom who was responsible for his meal prep, I had to find suitable options that were transportable (for lunch) as well as things that our entire family would eat for dinner (because I’m happy to cook dinner but I’m not going to be a short order cook in my own home, we will all eat the same things for the big meal of the day!).


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A Little Creativity Goes a Long Way for Feeding Little Ones Whole Foods!


We started with basic meals that consisted of things that he could have – and over time, as I experimented with substituting, I’ve gotten a bit better at branching out a bit.  We started with lots of stir-fry meals with fresh veggies and meat over quinoa or rice, homemade soups (using rice milk in place of cows milk), and found some great treats (energy bites and oatmeal “cookies”) that packed a great nutritional punch while leaving out the things he couldn’t have.

For awhile, things were going fairly well, although the holidays made it tough to be consistent. In February, I finally decided I needed to get serious about restoring my health and getting my weight back to a good place, something that had been an issue for me since a broken foot nearly 5 years earlier.

So I found a good exercise program, made sure we had fresh foods in the house, and really monitored what I was eating, opting for fruits, veggies and lean protein over the grains and other carbs that had snuck their way back into my pantry.Not surprisingly, it worked! I lost 45 pounds and felt better and stronger and more energetic than I had in years.

And then at the end of June, we found out that I was pregnant – and to be honest, the wheels fell off again. During my first trimester, I could only stomach very plain and high-carb foods like pasta and bread, and so I ate what I could and my poor family survived on foods out of a box and take-out for a month or two. Now that I’m feeling better, I’m cooking dinner again, and we are back on track.


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A Journey of Good Eating


I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last year is that this way of eating, for us, is truly a journey. And like any journey, there are times when you’re right on plan and other times when things don’t quite happen the way you’ve planned and you have to improvise.

I have realized that much of it depends on me, as the stay at home mom who is primarily responsible for feeding my crew. My choices affect my entire family, and that’s a huge responsibility that I don’t want to take lightly. Overall, my kids are eating much better foods than they were before I started being more intentional about our diet. They still have their favorite processed foods (Levi can’t wait for Sundays and goldfish for snack at church!) but I don’t buy or offer those foods any more, or I’ve found healthy substitutes. For example: since Isaac can’t have ice cream, we freeze bananas and put them in the blender along with frozen berries (or other fruit) to make his own version of ice cream. He loves it!


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A Year of Firsts!


Of all of my children, David (20 months old) eats the best variety of foods – and I can’t help but wonder if that’s because he was exposed to whole foods basically from the time he started eating. My big boys will turn their noses up at avocados, zucchini and tomatoes, but David eats it all (and then some).

There is no way to undo past choices, but I am thankful that we didn’t go any longer before making the change, for all of our sakes.

The longer we eat good food, the more we are all willing to try new things. The other night, I made roasted ratatouille for dinner, and my husband commented that that’s the first time in his life he has ever eaten eggplant. We have had lots of firsts this year: new types of seafood, new vegetables, new grains – just lots of amazing, delicious, and beautiful food! I’m certain that we will continue this way of eating for the health benefits it provides our entire family!

The recipe below, adapted from the Beachbody 21 Day-Fix eating plan guide, is a great morning breakfast treat for Isaac on his way out the door to school. He’s not a big fan of breakfast, but these muffin-like cookies give him a great start to the day and he loves them!


{A huge thank you} to Becky and Amy for sharing their stories! You ladies have encouraged, challenged, and inspired me in my own journey of feeding my family whole foods!


Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, egg free)


  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (use GF oats if needed)
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 ripe medium bananas, mashed (or you can sub 1 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1/4 c golden raisins (or I have used chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts or toasted pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine oats, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add bananas, raisins and nuts; mix well.
  3. Drop by heaping Tbsp onto baking sheet; flatten cookies with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until firm.


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{One Year Later!} A Step Back into The Marshall Kitchen – Part 1

September 28, 2014

Last year I embarked on an adventure into the kitchens of 3 families who are taking on a whole food diet.


My aim was to show readers that there are more real families out there saying “no more” to processed foods, learning to purchase and prepare real ingredients, and trading in fad diets for real food!


In the midst of the busyness of work and raising families, these are the people who are just crazy enough and concerned about their health enough to make a whole food diet a priority in their homes. I wanted to show that it is doable, no matter what life stage you find yourself in. And in the middle of hearing and sharing these families’ stories–I was the one who got an education.

Well, it’s a year later and I thought it might be time to revisit these families and see what has changed, adapted, and transformed over the past year.

So this week and next, we will be stepping back into the kitchens of the Marshall family and the Gruetzmacher family! Now, I did find myself with a bit of a challenge in conducting these interviews. Since I last interviewed them, I have moved 9 hours away. And so, instead of my words, you will be hearing directly for these whole food moms yourself! So I hand it over now to Becky Marshall, mom of 4 busy with homeschooling, church planting, and making her family delicious, whole foods every day!



But first! If you have not yet had a chance to read the 3-part story I wrote on the Marshall family last year, begin here!




“If you keep good food in your fridge, You will eat good food” – Errick McAdams


I found this quote online today. This is something that I need to keep reminding myself of. Our family follows an 80/20 approach to eating real foods. I try to not buy much in a box and most of what we eat is prepared in my kitchen from their whole forms. On occasion our family will splurge and buy organic cheese curls or frozen pizza, but really due to cost I don’t buy much in the way of convenience foods. The area I struggle in most is avoiding sugar.


What is in Your Home is What You Will be Eating


My husband has often needed to remind me that if I don’t buy sugar, or in our family’s case, sucanat, then I won’t be tempted to bake and eat too many sweets. It really is true that if you keep the ingredients you don’t want to be eating out of your house, then you won’t be eating those foods. Keeping the fridge full of fresh produce and real food snacks sets our weeks up for success in the food department.

Now I know this is easier for me, a stay at home mom who really rarely leaves the house. I don’t know how my will power would fare if I was out a lot and faced with delicious treats on a regular basis, but for me bringing the good into our home, and keeping the unwanted out is a key to success.



At the river at our local farmers market. I try to buy most of our food here during the summer and fall months.


Some New Challenges Since Last Year


This past year I have been challenged in a new way in the way our family eats. After visiting a naturopath our family discovered that I had Candida overgrowth and a resulting dairy sensitivity.

My boys both had dairy sensitivity and one had a gluten sensitivity. So for the first time (in forever… sorry for the Frozen reference) our family had to strictly limit what we brought into the home and what we allowed outside of our home.

Starting in October I cut out all sugar and dairy (for the sake of time I will refrain from sharing my holiday failures with you). I didn’t eat honey, maple syrup, sugar, dried fruit, refined flour products, and very little fresh fruit. I eliminated my beloved cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, etc.

We later found that butter caused no problems for me and I feel it is such an important part of a nutrient rich diet so I gladly added that back in. Then early winter we eliminated dairy and gluten after my boys went to their appointment.


Learning the Ropes of a Gluten Free Kitchen


I found that if one person needs to be gluten free it is much easier for the whole family to be gluten free. Making a gluten free version and a regular version is way too much work.

Bread became a rare item in our house and I started baking a gluten free loaf on occasion for a treat. It’s kind of funny when you get to the point where a simple peanut butter and jelly is a special lunch.

Most every dinner had rice or potatoes for an easy starch at our meals. I found that many recipes became too much work and costly on a restricted diet. Making a simple gluten free starch, a stir fried veggie, and a type of meat was the simplest & most cost effective way to go.

I started flying through cases of canned coconut milk to replace many of my diary staples and discovered that pizza with dairy free cheese is quite disappointing and that a cheese-less pizza is surprisingly satisfying. For me tacos with no sour cream equates to “what’s the point of even having tacos?”, but when you bring avocados into the mix you don’t miss the sour cream quite as much.


Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of Becky’s update, where she will delve into the mental battle involved in running a whole food kitchen.


In the meantime, here is one of the gluten-free recipes that the Marshall family has enjoyed on their stricter diet!



Gluten Free Zucchini Pizza

I like this one because I can easily do this in the middle of winter with my frozen shredded zucchini. In fact that is my plan for many of my gallon bags in my freezer. I packed them into 4 cup increments so they will be ready to go.


  • 4 cups of shredded zucchini (drained and squeezed with a towel)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • (additional ingredients for topping)


  1. Mix all ingredients together and press into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 425 for 20 min.
  2. Now spread a layer of pizza sauce or your favorite spaghetti sauce. Top with more mozzarella and top with whatever pizza toppings your family likes. Lately I’ve been doing a pound of ground beef or pork, olives, green peppers, and tomatoes.
  3. Bake in the oven for another 20 minutes and enjoy.



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Finding Your “Happy Gluten Spot” – 3 Ways to Include Gluten in a Whole Food Diet {With Recipes!}

September 11, 2014




Last week I had the privilege of writing 2 guests posts over at Dandelion Discoveries for my friend, Biz.


She asked me to share what I have learned over the past two years concerning the Gluten Free Movement in whole food eating, and whether or not I believe it is a fad, or true.

Please begin with these posts, as they will set the groundwork for what I want to share with you today. And that is the discoveries I have made—through extensive research and tons of taste testing—in how to incorporate gluten and grains into a whole food diet!


{Part 1}  What’s All The Fuss About Gluten Free? {The Day Everyone Stopped Eating Bread}

{Part 2}  5 Things You Need To Know Before Giving Up Gluten





Have Your Gluten and Eat it Too! {Just Choose Wisely….}


Last week I explained how, even though modern food industry had good intentions, the modifications they have made to wheat within the past 50 years have wreaked havoc on our bodies. That is why so many people are beginning to have digestive issues when they eat foods that contain wheat–this is also where gluten gets a poor reputation. (Read more here)

However, even in light of the information I covered last week, I believe that throwing out grains and gluten all together is (except in cases of extreme intolerance) completely unnecessary.

I compare it to other nutritional fads brought on by exhortations to avoid certain foods completely, such as when nutritionists and doctors told everyone to stop eating eggs. Or butter. Or meat.

Years later we now understand that eggs, when they come from free-range chickens, are one of the healthiest foods we can eat. And butter and meat from grass-fed or pastured cows are an incredible source of minerals, nutrients, and healthful fats.


The “Middle Ground of Gluten”


I find the same is true with grains. Modern industry has modified them and made them unhealthy, even toxic to our bodies. But there is a middle ground; there are some exceptions that make allowances for us to include grains and gluten in a whole food diet.

Yes—we have our work cut out for us, modern food industry has made sure of that, but with some research, time, and effort, we can find a healthy balance of gluten and grains in our diet.




 3 Ways to Include Gluten in a Whole Food Diet


Over the past two years of researching, experimenting, and taste-testing with different flours and methods for preparing wheat, my family has settled on 3 wholesome ways to include gluten in our whole food diet:

Spelt flour, Sourdough fermentation, and Oats.





{1}  For The Love of Spelt!


When wheat went through its tragic transformation 50 years ago, a couple of grains escaped the travesty—spelt and kamut.

Although I have yet to experiment with kamut flour, we have transitioned to using spelt flour in most of our recipes that call for flour. We love it for making homemade banana bread, cookies, waffles, pizza, muffins, pasta, tortillas, Pannekoeken (Dutch baby pancakes), and almost anything else we would previously have used white flour for.

It acts much like white flour in baking, but has none of the unhealthy modifications of wheat. It is also much more affordable than most specialty flours. We buy ours for $1.50/lb from a natural grocer. Search for organic whole brown spelt flour.


Start Here: Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies, made with spelt flour!





{2}  Sourdough – My Bubbly Science Experiment


Walk into my kitchen on any given day and you may notice a faint sour smell emanating from my kitchen shelf. Follow your nose and it will lead you to a glass jar with beige, bubbly substance within it. I introduce you to my sourdough starter.

Sourdough is an ancient preparation of wheat that involves souring wheat through active live yeast and bacteria. I know—appetizing….but hang in there with me. It is super simple, and extremely nutritious.

Once you have a sourdough starter, all you do is “feed” it every day with a mixture of flour and water, then it is at your disposal for making outstandingly delicious sourdough foods.

The natural fermentation process actually breaks down gluten, so for those who are looking to just cut down on gluten and eat a low-gluten diet, this is a good option. Especially if you feed your sourdough starter with spelt, an unmodified grain.

Click here for more information on getting started with sourdough!


Start Here: Low-Gluten Sourdough Pancakes!






{3}  Oats! The Versatile Low {or No} Gluten Option!


I was surprised recently to learn that oats are naturally gluten-free—this was news to me, and good news! However, oats are usually grown next to wheat fields, or processed on the same equipment as wheat. Because of this they are often contaminated with a trace amount of gluten from wheat.

There are gluten-free oats that have been protected from contamination of gluten, but they are much pricier than your regular old oats.

If you are just looking to cut back on gluten, there is no need to pay the extra hefty price tag only to avoid a trace amount of gluten—reach for regular oats, but make sure they are high-quality organic oats. We are also just beginning to experiment with oat flour as a low-gluten option in our pantry.

Click here to read more about oat flour


Start Here: Low-Gluten Oat and Blueberry Pancakes!




For Those with Celiac – Going Gluten-Free


If you have Celiac Disease (A Sever Intolerance to Gluten), then yes—going gluten-free is your best option, and I would encourage you to begin learning how to make gluten-free foods at home from scratch rather than falling prey to expensive, highly processed store-bought versions.

Start Here: Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Omega-3-Packed “Pancakes”


You can also begin experimenting with gluten-free flours such as coconut flour or almond flour, and gluten-free grains such as brown, wild, or black rice, as well as quinoa (which is actually a seed, read more here).


Finding Your Own “Happy Gluten Spot”


It has taken me over two years to come to a comfortable and confident understanding of wheat and gluten, and with that knowledge to settle on what is best for me and my own family.

Wherever you are in your own whole food journey, I simply beg of you to not jump on the Gluten-Free Bandwagon simply because someone (or 20 someones) tells you that gluten is terrible for you.

Like every other area of your health, it is your responsibility to research your options, listen to your own body, and find a healthy balance of what is best for you. And, also like every other area of your diet, understand that this will take time–it is a journey, embrace it as such!

So go forth and find your “Happy Gluten Spot”.



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What’s All the Fuss about Gluten Free? {Guest Post for Dandelion Discoveries}

September 3, 2014

I avoided the Gluten Free Craze like I avoid every other extreme diet.


When I finally realized that the hype over Gluten Free eating was not going to dissipate into Fad Diet History like most other eating “extremes”, I finally dove into researching the facts and fictions of gluten free diets. And then because it was inevitable, I experimented with a short period of gluten-free eating.
What did this research and experimenting lead me to conclude concerning the Great Gluten Debate?

Find out as I share my own gluten journey over the next week.




  • Part 2 will be posted tomorrow, as another guest post on Dandelion Discoveries. I will share The 5 Things You Need to Know Before Giving up Gluten.
  • And finally Part 3 will be posted on my own blog next week, where I will share with you some surprising ways my family has discovered to include gluten in a whole food diet!


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For All of Those Who are Fed up with Fad Diets {Forging Your Personal Path to Health}

June 4, 2014

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There is Nothing Like a Road Trip To Give You Time to Think


On Monday I made a confession–we are on a diet; or rather, a detox.

It all began on our recent trip to Colorado, or rather to and from Colorado– during the 20 hours we spent in the car. We put our car time to good use and listened to hours of podcasts from some Doctors and Trainers that we highly admire. Much of what we believe about eating and being physically active has been influenced by these:



Somewhere throughout the hours we spent listening to these coaches, we decided that a time of detoxing would be timely for us right now to help us take our next step to finding a healthier us.


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Finding a Healthier You Is a Very Personal Journey


During my research I became a little bit overwhelmed by all of the various methods of detoxing. When it comes to sugars you can limit:

  • Processed sugars
  • Natural sugars (such as honey and maple syrup)
  • Fruit (Fructose)
  • Milk and dairy (Lactose)
  • Wheat and grains (which our bodies recognize and burn as sugar)

I began to think that we should just limit absolutely everything we could , or else we might do it “wrong”. With so many different options, how do you decide which path is the best for your health?

But then I finally began to see–this is about finding what is best for our family. In regards to your own health, it is not about following fad diets or health goals outlined in a blog post or magazine article. It is your responsibility to put in the research, decide what your own goals are, and forge a path that will best help you meet those goals. That path looks different for every one of us.


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Setting SMART Goals


We had to begin with one big question: What are our personal goals for this time?

I would challenge you to ask yourself the same question.

Take some time to sit down and reflect on your eating habits, what has made up the bulk of your plate; and what is driving your food choices, as well as how those choices are affecting you. And then set some SMART goals.


SMART Goals are goals that are:


Specific (Ex. “Buy and cook from the Farmers’ Market every Saturday” instead of “Visit the Farmers’ Market more”)

Measurable (Clearly and tangibly defined so you can measure progress)

Actionable (Don’t make it too abstract, begin your goals with action verbs, “Start”, “Run”, “Eat”, for example)

Realistic (Make it large enough to stretch you, small enough to see quick results and not be overwhelmed. As Life Coach Michael Hyatt puts it: “I go right up to the edge of my comfort zone and then step over it.”)

Time-bound (Don’t leave it open-ended. A deadline will help you work harder towards seeing your goals met! But remember to be realistic 😉 “A goal without a date is just a dream”)

 Always remember: “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.”

Find out more about making SMART Goals here


I think it is important to point out here that whatever you choose to do, it should not leave you hungry. That is one big difference between fad diets and times of detoxing—you are not starving yourself or limiting calories!

During our first 3 days of the detox, when our bodies were burning through excess sugars and learning instead to rely on fats, we felt hungry all of the time. But within just a few days our bodies began catching on to the plan, and we found ourselves satiated much quicker and with less food. In 1 week we have lost a combined 14 pounds, and we feel very content; full but not bloated, and definitely not hungry!


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Our Personal Goals for Detoxing


Eryn’s Goals:

  • Learn to cook and eat less dependent of wheat and sugars, even from natural sources.
  • Teach my body to burn natural, healthy fats as fuel rather than carbohydrates and sugars, ultimately to give me more endurance for my running.
  • Break bad habits of reaching for dark chocolate and wine to relax after a long day. More specifically, I want to introduce more moderation and less dependence on foods that should not be eaten as much.
  • Lose 8 pounds to get down to my pre-baby weight (1 week in and I am down 7!)


Grayson’s Goals:

  • Jump-start his stalled weight loss and lose 17 pounds (1 week in and he’s down 7!)
  • Wean himself down to 1 cup of coffee a day to become less dependent on it for energy


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Use Your SMART Goals To Create an Action Plan!


Once you have your SMART goals clearly defined, it is much easier to set up some clear action steps to help you achieve them!

In order to meet our goals, below are the perimeters we have set up for these three weeks to guide us.


 What we are not eating:

  • No sugars in any form besides one serving of fresh fruit a day.
  • No wheat or gluten
  • No dairy besides a dash of organic, whole milk in our coffee in the morning
  • No alcohol (Ouch…)

As always, I know that the best way to phase out certain foods is to bring in more good stuff!


And so this is what we are eating:

  • Tons of fresh vegetables! Our garden is beginning to produce, and it is grilling season, so bring on the big salads and grilled vegetables!
  • As much sustainably-raised meat as we can eat! Free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, wild caught fish; it’ll be coming out of our ears! And Eggs, oh the eggs!
  • One serving of fresh fruit a day (Our Strawberry patch is bearing beautiful fresh berries each morning, and it would be a crime to not eat them!)
  • Brown, black, and wild rice, as well as beans and legumes. These are a bit debated when it comes to detoxing, but for the sake of caloric intake and fueling us to be active, we are including them.
  • Nuts and Seeds. I have been eating homemade peanut and almond butter like it’s ice cream!
  • Coffee. There is a line, and it’s drawn at coffee. (2 cups a day)



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Some Surprising Results From Our First Week!


Day 2:  An intense fatigue settled over me, and I realized my body had been more dependant than I had thought on sugar and carbs for energy. I am very, very cranky…


Day 3:  I feel better than yesterday. Grayson suffers a bad headache, and some serious fatigue. I realized I had developed some habitual and emotional attachments to certain foods that I hadn’t recognized.


Day 4:   My shorts were noticeably looser. We gain a new appreciation for the natural sweetness of almonds, apples, and sauerkraut. I also realized how dependant I had become on wheat to fill my boys’ hungry bellies. And although I was still tired and had a fuzzy head from sugar withdraw symptoms, I felt overall better, less bloated, like I was healing.

Grayson stopped at the grocery store for lunch, and ate 2 grilled chicken breasts, a pound of grilled vegetables, and ¾ pounds of salad. He said that afterwards he felt very full, but a different kind of full, a good, not bloated full!


Day 5: I looked in the mirror and realized my stomach looked completely different. It was flatter. It still had it’s “pooch”, evidence of the two babies I’ve grown inside my abdomen, but my stomach was void of any bloat!


Days 6-7:  We began feeling much better; less fuzzy headed and groggy, and less cranky. Perhaps we have made it over the daunting first week and will feel better from here?


Day 8:  We miss wheat, but have not craved sweets yet. We step on the scale and are pleasantly welcomed by lower numbers. We have lost 7 pounds each—in seven days! We are also disturbed yet encouraged to see our bodies actively detoxing. That’s all I will say about that.

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A New Perspective


I am surprised by just how introspective this process has been. It is challenging me to think over the roles that food play in our lives, and view it more than ever before as a gift from God as a means to nourish and sustain us. Sometimes a little bit of self-denial is good for the soul–refreshing, even.

A fast, in the original Biblical context, is meant to do just that:  to make you a bit uncomfortable, and force you to reflect on where your heart is, what it’s been up to, and the effects of those actions and affections. It is meant to give you a clearer picture of things you weren’t seeing, and to refocus you on what is important.

The goals we set and the resulting action plans will look differently for each one of us. It can’t be about rules, regulations, and limitations; it is a heart issue and must be treated as such—this is about understanding our relationships to food, and being faithful stewards of our health.

So now it is your turn–go find a quiet spot, take out a piece of paper and pen, and start mapping out your personal journey to a healthier you!


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Dieting Family Real Food

“It’s a Detox, Dear, Not a Diet!”

June 2, 2014



The Late Night Munchies


It was late. The boys had been in bed for two hours. Grayson spent our precious quiet “kids in bed” time finishing up a bit of work, and I had spent it editing photos and puting the finishing touches on a blog post. We were beat, and our heads fell hard on our pillows. But then it hit us.


And it was the type of hunger that only something sweet will satisfy. We snuck out of bed and crept towards the kitchen like children set on the cookie jar. We grabbed two shiny red treats, admired their beauty, and then sat out in the pitch black of night savoring our apples together on the back deck.

That morning Grayson had arrived at a work appointment to have a customer kindly inform him that he looked wore out. He laughed. “I’m on a diet….” “You don’t need a diet!” The woman respectfully advised him, “You need a lifestyle change!”

Little did she know that she was preaching to the choir.




Doing The Very Thing We Speak Against


It’s true. Us–the ones adamantly against diets for their temporary and unsustainable characteristics and results; us, the ones who grimace at extreme diets; us, who are usually the ones advising, “You don’t need a diet–you need a lifestyle change!” Yes. us. We are on a diet.

We have not changed our values or beliefs. We still wholeheartedly believe in finding a wholesome way of eating and living that is sustainable for all your years, not just temporary stretches of time. We still believe that diets, in essence, are more harmful than helpful. Most often they set into action a never-ending, never-satisfying struggle for thinness; frustrating the chronic dieters with endless attempts, persistent hunger, unrealistic goals, and expensive supplements that over promise and under deliver. We are against diets.



So… Why Are We On a Diet?


I would like to clarify that we are actually “Detoxing.”

This means that we are adopting, for a short period of time, an extreme way of eating for a very specific purpose. Specifically, for three weeks we are giving our livers a break from the very arduous job of processing hard toxins that come from any form of sugar, whether it be obvious sugars, or sugars found in the forms of fruit, dairy, and wheat.

It is not that our diet has been poor– not at all. Our way of eating has been very low in processed foods, and rich in local, mostly organic produce, sustainably-raised meat, organic whole fat dairy, and grains from non-modified sources and fermented when possible. It’s been good! But we should never shut the door on progress.




Pursuing Progress Over Perfection


We will never achieve the perfect diet all of the time, and that is okay. Our goal is always to focus on progress rather than perfection, and to enjoy the ride along the way!

It won’t always be perfect, but we are aiming to continuously move forward, and make the adventure a delicious, wholesome, and fun one as we navigate through living an abundant life!

In order to always move forward in finding a healthier you, you must always focus on progress– on that next step forward. Our three week detox is a way of achieving that next step. What about you–what is your next step?




A Time To Put Food Back In Its Proper Place


This is the type of diet I do endorse, one meant for a very specific purpose of “resetting” your body; of giving it a period of time to rest, and refocusing yourself on a balanced and wholesome way of eating.

This is how we can put food back in its proper place. This diet is not meant to be something we could sustain over the long haul; it’s just too strict and limiting if we want to enjoy the good things in life and find proper balance. Instead, it is meant to refocus us on the big picture of health. To help us step back, and get a clear look at what we’ve been eating, what has made up the bulk of our plates, and how it has been affecting us.




A Detox To Heal Both Body and Mind


We are only on day 7 of our detox, and already seeing some very noticeable physical effects and symptoms. Some of them are unpleasant, but they are assuring us this is working; that our bodies are learning, resting, resetting, and healing. And some of them very pleasant–like a 10 pound combined weight loss! Not only that, but this time is already giving us a very clear and surprising look at the roles food has been playing in our lives.

Stay tuned on Wednesday as I’ll share the surprising discoveries we are making from this time, what exactly our detox entails, and some ideas of how you can set realistic goals and take your next step to finding a healthier you!