Okay, it’s story time. I grew up torturing my gut. Fast food, diet sodas, low carb protein bars, pots of coffee, and extreme binges on peanut M&Ms and low-fat ice cream. In junior high I developed an eating disorder where I starved myself and pounded my body at the gym for two hours a day, nearly seven days a week, and continued this behavior for eight years. When I met Scott at the age of twenty I was a wreck inside, and through his constant display of love and assurance that I was stunning no matter what – I began to loosen the reins on my disorder and treat my body with care. This began with switching to what I viewed as an “organic lifestyle”. Aka: one without the processed junk. It was 2010.
I made a few health swaps that felt like huge victories to me at the time. I switched to Mojo granola bars instead of the chemical-heavy Zone diet bars, and bought bags of trail mix from Trader Joes to have at night instead of a “small” bowl of peanut M&Ms. I started grilling my own organic chicken instead of buying the processed/packaged junk, and focused on eating whole fruits and veggies with hummus during the day for my snacks. Water replaced diet soda, and all natural peanut butter replaced my beloved Jiff. I still went out with Scott for beer and a basket of battered chicken strips once a week after our classes, and enjoyed a pb&j sandwich every now and then. These were my initial baby steps, and my strides have gotten longer over the past seven years, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without that first decision to set down the diet soda and pick up the plastic bottle of water. To jump to where I am now would have meant an immediate (and overwhelming) failure.
Reading Phoebe’s book, “The Wellness Project“, felt like reading through a comparable train wreck health story to my own. She takes you through the real mindset of someone trying to take back their health, and still have a life. Its about those baby steps, the making of one bad habit a little better – and learning to keep a few vices in your back pocket to pull out every now and again for some fun. Phoebe is hilarious, and delivers not just impactful stories, but actual data and results she receives along the way. After battling a slew of health issues over the years, she steps back and thinks for herself (with the help of a few holistic professionals’ opinions) about what she could do to try to get her health back on track. She decides to dedicate a year to documenting the methods she tries to help balance her hormones, treat her thyroid, heal her back, and so much more. I can’t rave enough about how inspiring this book has been to me recently. I’m currently on my second time reading it within just a few short weeks, and cannot remember the last time I finished a book just to turn right back to page one for another read. This book is real, it’s honest, and it’s helpful no matter where you are at in your health journey.
Seven years into my lifestyle overhaul and I am still a wreck. I’ve had periods of great health followed by sickness and unbalance. I’m working on documenting it all to publish as a separate page here on the blog labeled as my “health story”, to be updated as life goes on. Through the ups and the downs. The wins and and losses. Because through it all, we learn and we grow – and it helps to know someone else has been there too. I’ve found this in Phoebe’s book, and I am so grateful.
Phoebe is doing something really neat with the launch of her book this week, and that is the “4 Weeks To Wellness Challenge“! The concept is to pick your own micro-adventures for a month of self improvement, much like Phoebe did for an entire year (which is documented in her book). You can do one each week, for four weeks, or tackle all four for the entire month! Whatever is doable for you and will help you take the next step to a deeper level of wellness. I couldn’t be more excited to dedicate a month to this, and am going to share my four challenges I’m setting for myself with you here below. You can read all about Phoebe’s “menu” of ideas in this document here. There are so many to choose from – but make yours personal, and make them doable. For me, they will be pasted on a sheet of paper that is taped to the top of my planner – so I can’t begin the day without reading through them first! Here they are:
#1 No phone until after I work out in the morning.
#2 After finishing breakfast, walk once around the block to feel fresh air and get my blood flowing.
#3 No evening television Monday through Friday, instead: read, relax, do an act of self care.
#4 Have an afternoon tea ritual, or make ginger juice shots. Slow down and sip.
As you can tell, I have a desire to be more present throughout the day and connect with myself. I’m hoping that by making this a finite challenge I will actually commit to enduring the days when I just don’t “feel like” sticking to this list. I can’t wait to see how it effects my stress and mood, and really overall awareness of life at the end of these next four weeks. Want to do the challenge with me? Maybe an extra one you can throw in there is to order and read Phoebe’s book ;). But it is not necessary because she is wonderful and put together this document for the challenge too! If you feel comfy, I’d love to read in the comments below which self-improvement-adventures you are signing yourself up to do. We can check in with one another each week for the next month and I’ll be sure to let you know how things are going here on my end.
Thank you for sticking through my novel of a post! Just to finally reach the point where I discuss the recipe that most likely brought us all here. At the end of each chapter in Phoebe’s book she gives a few recipes that help support whichever area of health she was tackling in the previous pages. One that stood out to me was her dad’s cherry almond overnight oats. I’ve been giving up oats, and cannot have almonds, so naturally I made my own cold quinoa porridge with fresh cherries that is assembled just as quickly. I am pretty keen on this discovery at the moment and hope you enjoy it too if you give it a whirl.
Thank you for all of your comments and messages while Scott and I were in Austin last week! We had such an amazing time, and I cannot wait to share with you our favorite spots and things to do in a future post soon. All of your tips were so stellar – xx.
QUICK CHERRY QUINOA BREAKFAST BOWLS
Makes 1 serving.
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 batch of “mega milk” (recipe below)
toppings (choose any):
coconut shavings, fresh cherries/berries, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, nut butter, coconut butter, etc.
3/4 cup plant milk
pinch of vanilla seeds
pinch of pink salt
few dashes of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 handful of pitted cherries/berries (optional)
The night before:
Blend the “mega milk” (everything except for the chia seeds) in a high speed blender until creamy. Add the chia seeds to a 16 ounce jar, pour the milk mixture on top, seal with a lid, and give a few good shakes. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning:
Give the “mega milk” jar a shake or two. Scoop the cooked quinoa into a bowl or a jar to-go, pour the “mega milk” on top, and add your additional toppings (such as: fresh cherries/berries, nut butter/coconut butter, and all the crunchy seeds). I enjoy the fruit as the sweetener, but feel free to add a drizzle of pure maple syrup or raw honey to suit your taste buds.
Enjoy right away, or pack in a lunchbox with an ice pack to take on the go if you eat breakfast elsewhere. This can have so many fun variations, so play with it as you like!