Sunday, October 25, 2015

I Can't Believe I'm Doing This...

Those of you who know me know that I suffer from chronic migraines. Even though I continue to take handfuls of supplements every day, watch out for triggers, and get Botox treatments, I still have 8-10 migraines per month. Now this is a serious improvement from where I was one and a half years ago. I was getting 17-20 migraines per month. I am in no way complaining about the success of the treatments I am receiving, but I always wonder if I can limit my migraines even more. 

I have decided to change my life. I work out regularly, I stretch, I take time to relax, but I eat animal products. I have decided to jump cold turkey into a whole foods, plant-based diet. I have been reading, researching, and searching for delicious recipes to use in my diet. I will be eating no meat, no fish,no oil, and no dairy. Thinking about not eating cheese or seafood is seriously killing me. I love cheese, and that's an understatement. I also love seafood: mussels, shrimp, scallops. Some of my absolute favorite foods. 

Creamy Curried Kale and Chickpeas:

At the moment, I'm not nervous or scared about starting this new way of eating and living. I'm really excited. When I asked my husband to jump on board my crazy train, he agreed. But then he looked at me and asked, "Wait, we're still eating cheese, right?" I froze and looked at him with a little bit of trepidation. I answered, "No. It's not plant based." His eyes opened wide, and I think he wanted to say a few choice words about eating no dairy. But he didn't. My husband is an amazing man, who supports me in any way he can. When I have a crazy idea, he jumps on board no questions asked. So we're going on this ride together.

Here are the goals I have for eating a whole-food, plant-based diet:

  • Reduce my migraines even more
  • Reduce animal sufering
  • Lose weight!
  • Have more energy
  • Feel lighter
  • Recover more quickly from my workouts
  • Be healthier
  • Reverse my acid reflux
  • Have a smaller global footprint

I know I have lofty goals for this change, but I am excited because I feel that all of these goals are possible with this new eating adventure. From everything that I've read so far, I do not believe that any of these goals are unattainable. The only question I have is about my migraines: can this really help me to reduce them even more? I can't wait to find out!

Here are a few links to some interesting information to check out if you're interested in living a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle:

Must watch: Forks Over Knives Documentary

Here's a link to my Whole Food, Plant-Based Pinterest Board

I know that I may struggle with this change at first. I know that I may just want to eat a piece of cheese. I know my husband may seriously want to eat some cheese or some eggs. Hubby and I also have a giftcard to one of our favorite restaurants. I am planning on eating a meal of my choice when we go out. Lifestyle changes are personal. You decide how they fit into your life and how you want to adapt that lifestyle to fit into your own. At home, I am going to completely do my best to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet. I feel so good about it, and I am ready to rock and roll!

Here's my first whole-food, plant-based grocery list for this week. All of this is for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners:

Anyone else eat a whole-food, plant-based diet?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Friday, October 23, 2015

Funny on Friday

Hey, friends! Have you ever had one of those Fridays--the one where you're just not feeling great, you're tired, not in a peppy mood, and you just want the day to end? Well, I was having one of those days. It's funny how one small thing can happen in your day to put a pep in your step and turn your whole day around. 

As an ESL teacher, my students say the cutest and funniest things! One sweetie today made me smile just when I needed it. Thought I'd share with you the funny that made me turn that frown upside down--so to speak. 

Happy Friday!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Going All In Is Not Always As Easy As It Sounds

As a teacher, I hope that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I can make a difference in the life of my students. That's all I can hope for. Starting at a new school district this year has been challenging. It was also not an easy decision to make. For the past nine years. I developed relationships with other teachers, my students, and their families. I knew I'd have mixed emotions about leaving once I made the decision to go, but I never realized the emotional roller coaster that would come with this change.

The reading corner in my former classroom

I left a family, a family I developed relationships with. We laughed together, we cried together, and we supported each other. I had gotten into a routine; I felt comfortable where I was, but I decided it was time for a change. I made a conscious decision to jump into the cold water and let what would happen, happen. And things happened. I got offered a new job, and I decided to accept the position.

The initial excitement of feeling needed somewhere hit me. It was the beginning of a new journey. After a few days, I battled with the decision of leaving my current job. Am I making the right decision? Should I really do this? That step of the life changing process lasted awhile. I knew in my heart I was making the right decision; my mind (especially my OCD mind) doubted everything I did. That was a tough battle. I kept questioning whether I was listening to my intuition by taking on this new opportunity or making the wrong decision. 

Drawing from a former student

Doubt. My OCD loves doubt. It plays with my emotions and keeps me wondering if I did the right thing or if I made the wrong choice. After some time battling with my doubt OCD, I finally started to tell myself--I did the right thing. I knew I did, but squashing those doubtful thoughts was not always easy.

My confusion and frustration turned into excitement again. I started thinking of new teaching ideas, getting excited for my upcoming professional development, and meeting new people. That excitement lasted for awhile until it was almost time for school to start. A new emotion gave way and was extremely hard to shake off. I was extremely sad. I was sad for leaving my good friends, for leaving the students whom I love so much, the people who cared for me every day for the last nine years. That was a rough feeling. Leaving my job was like a loss I had to work through. I think the sadness was the hardest emotion during this time of change. There were some teary-eyed days. Talking to my friends or texting them made me feel infinitely more sad. It was a hard realization that I was starting over.

Tears, uncertainty, excitement, and anxiety: what an unexpected ride. 

Pine cone gift from a former student.

After the first month of school, I had gotten into more of a routine and the sadness lifted. I feel good about my decision. I always had; it was just really difficult to separate the emotions I was feeling from the choice I made and the reason I made it. 

My new classroom

Bottom line: I'm getting my work done and not taking it home, I have a manageable caseload, and I love ESL kiddos. I've realized now that the anxiety and sadness has passed, that I did the right thing. I will never forget my years at my former job. I belonged there, and I love that I felt so comfortable in my skin. But I keep reminding myself I was there for 9 years. 9 years of building relationships. 9 years for people to get to know me. 

New endeavors always start out with a sense of uneasiness, especially when you have anxiety. Eventually, people will get to know me, and I will get to know people too. Students will do the same, and so will their families. It takes time to build relationships, and I am looking forward to doing so. I can't say that my emotions about leaving my former job will never resurface. And if they do, its okay. I welcome those feelings with open arms. After all, it is hard to leave one family you love to start building a new one.

Love and happiness <3 Holly