Diet · weight loss

How I Pack 55 Grams of Protein Into Breakfast!

A while ago I was frustrated and telling a very fit friend of mine about how I had successfully lost 35 pounds and had been thrilled with the results until the scale just stuck.  For some reason, I just couldn’t push past the plateau.  I was expecting sympathy, instead, my friend whimsically asked me if I was eating enough protein and then quickly changed the subject.

Was I eating enough protein to lose weight…

Hours later, I sat down with My Fitness Pal app and Google determined to look further into my current protein intake and what I needed to do next.   I found The Institute of Medicine recommends that the average woman, ages 19-70,  consume 46 grams of protein per day.  A Popsugar article suggested I eat substantially more.  I reached out to a few personal trainer friends who suggested I eat even more protein and shoot for 80-90 grams a day.

Since I L-O-V-E meat, I was surprised to find I was averaging around 30  grams of protein a day. No wonder I was “hangry” most of the time, not building muscle tone at a rate I thought I should, and the scale had hit a plateau!

Meet the King of Nutrients for Weight Loss

One of my google searches declared protein as the king of nutrients when it comes to fat loss and a better-looking body.  If it’s possible, this blog from Healthline was even more complimentary to my future best pal, protein.  Healthline reported protein boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, and improves weight-regulating hormones.

I quickly went to work on researching ways to consume more protein in a day and decided to start with breakfast.  Since I am highly intolerant to eggs, my breakfast options are somewhat limited, so I found a shake and paired it with several other healthy protein-rich ingredients.

And then I Packed 55 Grams of Protein into Breakfast

Spinach (one cup) – Love starting my day with a leafy green vegetable and this one offers about 1 gram of protein.

Avocado (1/2 an avocado)  – Great for healthy fat and has 2 grams of protein.

JJVirgin Paleo Inspired Shake (two scoops) – In case you haven’t heard me say it before I absolutely love this gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, flavor-full plant-based mix with 22 grams of protein. (order here)

Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel (one scoop) – Got to love a great source of protein that is also great for your skin, nails, joints, bones, and muscle mass especially when it has 11 grams of protein. (order here)

Silk Protein Milk (one cup)– This dairy-free soy-free milk has 10 grams of protein.

Imagine Bone Broth (one cup) – When I first read about putting bone broth in smoothies, I didn’t think it sounded very good.  I quickly found out that it brings out the flavors in the other ingredients, adds a ton of gut healing goodness and 9 grams of protein.

Wow! Not sure if you were adding the protein grams up while you read, but I was able to pack 55 grams of protein into breakfast.  What a way to start the day off!

Gluten - Free, Dairy Free Protein Shake with 55 Grams of Protein

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Protein Shake with 55 Grams of Protein

Is protein the magical ingredient to any diet or weight loss program?

Since I am still working on my own weight loss, I don’t feel 100% qualified to answer that question.  I can tell you eating more protein on a daily basis has had some fantastic advantages:

Made Dieting More Fun – Did you just read that?  Yes, I said it – Fun and dieting in the same sentence.  Eating more protein has helped to lessen my appetite and provide satiety which has made dieting SO much more enjoyable.

Made More Muscle and Less Puff – Within days of eating more protein I noticed I was less puffy and firmer all around.  I may have even noticed a new muscle or two!

Fewer Cravings – Protein helps to maintain blood sugar levels which means insulin release is better controlled.  I wrote about this in How I Eliminated My Sugar Cravings and You Can Too!  I have officially sleighed my sugar dragon and sweet tooth and know protein was a big help.

So, if you have been dieting for some time and have hit a plateau, feel “hangry” much too often, have sweet cravings, or would like to build some lean muscle and lose some puff, you may want to eat more protein.  If you love delicious chocolate shakes, you’ll love my recipe!



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gut health · holistic health · weight loss journey

Gut Health & Weight Loss – My Story

When my Husband told me the results for my gut health and food intolerance tests were in, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve.  I couldn’t wait to sign in to the patient portal to see them.

Since I had been drinking bone broth, taking probiotics, and doing gut shots consistently for over a year,  I optimistically believed my test results would reflect my hard work.

The gut health report

The report showed, my gut bacteria was in great shape and balance which made me very happy because I had significant issues with it in the past.  I was confident the Whole30 diet, a great probiotic, and nightly gut shots plus a whole lot of bone broth must have really helped!

When I scrolled to the section about my overall gut health and food intolerances, my jaw dropped open and the tears started to stream down my cheeks.  It showed I was highly intolerant to well over 30 foods!

Gut Health
Gut Health

About seven years ago, when I was first tested for food intolerances, my Doctor told me that anyone with over fifteen intolerances most likely had a leaky gut.  And thirty is twice as much as 15 – ugh.

As a sidebar to my story, in case you are wondering if you or a loved one has been affected by poor gut health some of the symptoms are listed below.

Known symptoms of a leaky gut:

  1. Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating – potentially IBS, Crohn’s, or colitis
  2. Nutritional deficiencies
  3. Poor immune system
  4. Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  5. Excessive fatigue
  6. Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema, or rosacea
  7. Cravings for sugar or carbs
  8. Arthritis or joint pain
  9. Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
  10. Autoimmune diseases
  11. Gastric ulcers
  12. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
  13. Allergies
  14. Respiratory infections
  15. Acute inflammation conditions
  16. Thyroid disorders
  17. Obesity-related metabolic diseases (fatty liver, Type II diabetes, heart disease)
  18. Autoimmune disease (lupus, multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, Hashimoto’s, and more)
  19. Tendency toward weight gain or obesity

Plan to heal my gut

It quickly became obvious, I needed a plan to heal my gut quickly.  I spent days googling, skimming books, reading blogs, and watching videos and online classes. Throughout my research, I found multiple blogs that supported my hypothesis that my leaky gut was impairing my weight loss efforts.  Check out: Could a Leaky Gut be Making You Fat? and Is Leaky Gut Causing You To Gain Weight?

And finally, I committed to the following plan:

  1. Eliminate foods shown as being intolerant to and continue eating a Whole30 diet (minus the foods that tested as intolerant).
  2. Continue with the same probiotics as they seem to be doing a great job.
  3. Start taking a prebiotic.  I’ve never given much credence to prebiotics but recently read they are like gut fertilizers. Prebiotics feed the friendly bacteria in the gut and allow them to grow and repopulate. They also prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast. So, here goes!
  4. Continue to take the same digestive enzymes since they seem to be working well.  I haven’t had any acid reflux issues at all since I started taking them!
  5. Start taking JJVirgin’s Leaky Gut Support .  It seems as though the main ingredient is L-Glutamine which has been recommended throughout my research.  I also love JJVirgin and the quality of her products.
  6. Start taking three shots of apple cider vinegar a day.
  7. Continue doing a few gut shots a day since they seem to be part of the cocktail that has drastically improved my gut flora and balance.
  8. Start taking collagen daily because it is known for healing and supporting gut health.

Progress in my gut health story

When I started my health and weight loss journey,  I was experiencing thirteen of the above symptoms.  Today I am blessed, grateful, and proud to say I experience none of them…..well, maybe a bit of #19 (tendency toward weight gain or obesity).  But, in n case you don’t know, as of the last time I weighed in, I am no longer obese :). The great news is, if I can heal my gut, you can heal yours too!

Experts say a leaky gut can be repaired

Potentially the most promising thing I read this afternoon is that gut health can be repaired in as little as 120 days!

Please if you know someone who might be suffering from gut health issues or would benefit from this blog, share it with them.  In this instance, sharing is truly caring :).

Gut Health
Importance of Gut Health




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Whole30 Experience (Day 3)!

I awake feeling a little less tired than I did yesterday – Whole 30 day 3 score!

As I head towards the bathroom, the scale all but calls my name but I kept walking.  What is it about our relationships with the scale? I vividly remember my Mom and Dad weighing themselves every morning and I guess I just thought it was the thing to do.  I wonder how I made it through college?  I didn’t have a scale in my room.  Oh, that’s right, I walked 15 minutes away to weigh myself at the gym every day. Well Almighty Scale, it’s going to be 28 days before I step on you.  That is if I can hold out that long.

Weight Loss Help


As I walk into the kitchen to make my morning bone broth, I remember reading what It Starts With Food said about snacks last night.

In general, avoid snacking between meals because it turns your eating habits into grazing and grazing can disrupt the normal functioning of leptin, insulin, and glucagon and may promote inadvertent overconsumption.  It may take you a while to figure out the right-size meals, though, so if you find that you rather you have a snack than spend hours being cranky, tired, and hungry.  Make sure your snacks are just smaller meals and include both protein and a healthy fat- don’t snack on veggies or fruit alone, as they’re not very satisfying by themselves.

I stood in the kitchen staring at my bone broth – truly one of my favorite things.  Would this be considered a snack?  Should I be starting out my day with it? In its defense, it has 9 grams of protein in one cup and the benefits of drinking bone broth are amazing and include:  alleviating joint pain and promoting healthy bones, healing leaky gut, boosting the immune system, and encouraging healthy skin and shiny hair.  I have noticed an improvement in all these areas since I have been drinking bone broth and I’m not ready to give it up.  Wait a minute, I think I feel a brainstorm coming on in the middle of this Whole30 induced hangover brain.  What if, I added a meat and some vegetables to my bone broth and call it a meal?

Bone Broth

I’m proud of myself for being able to think clearly in my hangover state of mind.  I decide to relax, sip my broth and read the Whole30 Day by By Day for day 3.  Melissa’s motivation is talking about Taylor and my favorite topic – snacks.

Sometimes being told what to do is appreciated more than peppy rah-rah speech …First, wherever you are it’s normal (Probably see the FAQ).  Don’t worry about whether or not you are doing the “perfect” Whole30.  Are you following the rules 100%?  Then you are doing it right.

Second, if you are hungry, go eat something.  Snack if you have to. Make sure each snack has protein, fat, or both.  An apple all by itself is not a snack; it’s a recipe for additional sugar cravings and more hunger twenty minutes after you finish it.

Finally, SLEEP.  Go to bed early, even if it means you are not current with the The Walking Dead/ Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/ email/ your sister’s dating recap/ Lego cleanup. Your body is working HARD, and willpower is replenished tremendously when you sleep.  Future You will thank you for the extra hour!


It’s about 8:45 and the growling noise my stomach is making is much louder than the sound of my fingers hitting the keyboard, so I decide it’s time for breakfast or what Melissa Hartwig suggests I call Meal 1. Since I’m calling it meal 1, I decided to treat myself to the Whole30 Chicken Pot Pie Soup -please don’t judge me.  I’m just a girl trying to get through the next 28 days :).


Whole 30 Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Whole 30 Chicken Pot Pie Soup


Around 10:45 I walk into my yoga studio so tired and plagued with the Whole30 hangover,  I don’t know how I am going to make it through a class.  I’m kicking myself for signing up for the September challenge group because I don’t think I have it in me. Within 5 minutes and my first few poses, I feel fine.  There is something magical about exercise and its ability to lift the Whole30 hangover.


Yoga for Weightloss


I was starting to get a little hungry after yoga and cracked open a Performance Nut Butter.

Whole30 Snack: Performance Nut Butter

I was hungry again around 1:30 and had grilled chicken, avocado, and bacon wrapped in lettuce with some broccoli.

Around 5:00 the Whole30 hangover came back and I felt like I wanted to wrap up in a ball and go to sleep.

For dinner, I had a hamburger, salsa, and avocado with carrots and Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing

Whole30 Dinner

And I decided to treat myself to an apple with nut butter – yum!

Whole30 Treat

By 8:30 I have nothing to give and decide to call it quits.  Thankful to be checking another day off the Whole30 calendar.

Whole30 Calendar


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My Whole30 Day One Experience!

It’s My Whole30 day one experience and I make my way to the scale for what is supposed to be the first and last time for the next thirty days.  I gained a few ounces since the day before and I’m sure this is because I allowed myself a few extra treats yesterday.  Why do we all do this before we start a diet?  After all, it just means we’ll have even more to lose.  I logged my weight on MyFitnessPal and couldn’t help but wonder if they would reach out to me to see if I was o.k.  I have weighed myself every day and logged my weight on MyFitnessPal every day for the last seven years.  Not weighing myself daily is going to be one of the most akward parts of the Whole30 for me!

I head downstairs around 6:30 AM to drink my big glass of water and warm up my bone broth.

Bone Broth

Around 7:47, I’m famished. I would like a big healthy breakfast but I’m the only one up in my house and it’s my quiet time and big chance to get things done. I need to keep working so I grab a Performance Nut Butter.  I absolutely love the texture, smell, and taste of it and how it fills me up!

Whole 30 Compliant: Nut Butter

Around 10:30 I’m starving again.  I had been daydreaming about food and came up with a concoction of over easy eggs and avocado over a baked potato.  I made it for my family and it was an instant hit!  Pinterest Link

Whole 30 Breakfast: Potato, Avocado, and Eggs

I caught an afternoon Yoga class.  The teacher suggested we set an intention for the day and I intended to stay calm and centered in the grocery store.  I absolutely hate grocery shopping and am terrible at it.  Gathering my Whole30 food supplies was next on my agenda and I wasn’t looking forward to it.  By the time I dropped my friend off and made it to the gas station it was a little after 2:00 and I still hadn’t eaten lunch.  I was famished and stopped at the gas station to look for a snack.  I circled the convenience store side of the gas station multiple times and gave up.  They didn’t have one Whole30 compliant snack in site!

I was starving when I made it to the grocery store to collect my items for my first Whole30 dinner.  I found a pre-cut pineapple and ripped it open and started eating it in the middle of the store.  I was a little embarrassed when I placed the almost empty pineapple container on the checkout.

Whole30 Day 1- Pineapple Snack

When I got home, I sat down and ate my very simple lunch like it was my J-O-B.

Whole30 Lunch
Whole30 Lunch

After I ate, I noticed everyone in my house was busy doing something or another and I literally snuck to my room and took an hour nap.  It was divine and I truly feel a nap should be included in the survival tips for Day 1 of the Whole30.

A few hours later, I was hungry again and looking forward to the Whole30 Chicken Pot Pie Soup my Husband had prepared for me.  Funny thing is, as Tony was scooping it into my bowl, he asked me if I would like a piece of bread with it.  Seriously?  Lucky for him he’s cute and can cook.   Pinterest Link

Whole 30 Chicken Pot Pie Soup

And at the end of the day, I have to say, I agree with Melissa Hartwig.  There is something very gratifying about checking that box in the Whole30 Day By Day.

Whole30 Day 1 Reflections
Whole30 Day 1 Reflections

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Diet · weight loss journey

My Perfect Weight Loss Day

“Whatever The Mind Can Conceive and Believe, The Mind Can Achieve.” – Napolean Hill


What makes the perfect weight loss day?

I awake with that crazy Charlie Horse from The Pursuit of Ketosis Day 2 and The Pursuit of Ketosis Day 3.  This time I have strange feelings of pride and adoration towards the pain.  I made it to yoga yesterday and my muscles are reacting and sore. As I get out of the bed and move towards the almighty scale, I think about yesterday’s blog One Perfect Day and the questions I asked you.  What if you had one perfect weight loss day?  What would it look like? What would you do? What would you eat? What type of exercise would you partake in? And most importantly how would you feel?
I gave the questions some thought.  I would start my day with meditation and prayer.  While writing my blog I would sip bone broth.  I would attend a yoga class at the studio and somehow control my adrenaline and stay calm throughout the day.  I would eat my new favorite high protein low carb foods, dessert, and of course, peanut butter and absolutely no gluten.

This funny thing happened after I daydreamed about the perfect day.  Things just kind of started coming together.  I almost always wake up to meditation and prayer so that part was easy, but the yoga piece was interesting.  I have been putting off joining the studio because of its schedule and my kids’ summer schedules just don’t jive and it’s pricey.  August is always a bit tough on the finances with two kids needing school clothes, school supplies, sports fees, Drew’s birthday, and Surfers Healing.  I was clicking around on the internet and a one month unlimited special popped up for less than ½ price and then I found an additional 20% off. When I went in to tell my Husband how excited I was, he asked, “Why not go today?”.  So, after three months of “trying” to make it to yoga, I finally made it to my mat.

Yoga for Weightloss

I must interrupt this perfect day with a confession.  I’ve been cheating on my diet again.  This time, I’ve been researching three different diets, not just The South Beach Diet Super Charged.  This is crazy because I am normally loyal to a fault, but I just feel like there is something missing from the clinic’s high protein low carb diet.

The food piece pretty much fell into place as well. I was coming back from yoga and wondering what was for lunch when I decided to stop at the grocery store and get one of my all-time low carb diet favorite foods Caulipower Pizza. – Yum.

Low Carb Cauliflower Pizza


When dinner time came around our family was going in several different directions because of sports meetings and therapy appointments so Taylor and I decided to grab dinner out.  We went back to this new restaurant with great gluten-free options and had a fantastic dinner.

low carb weight loss meal
Delicious Low Carb Meal

All this talk about my perfect day, I almost forgot to get on the almighty scale. I lost an ounce and I’ll take it.


I wonder, if we took a few minutes to think about our perfect day every morning, would we have more perfect days?  What do you think?  Want to give it a try?

perfect day
Perfect Day

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