Introduction to Eat Happy Cook Thru Series

Hey there! And happy Tuesday! We are incredibly glad to see you here at our happy place…this little corner of the internet that we call home. What are we doing around here today? Well, today we are introducing a new series that is going to be a regular Tuesday thing for….well…for a long time. Why? Well, we are cooking through one of our FAVORITE cook books…that has like 200 recipes…sooo dats a lot of Tuesdays! It’s going to be fun though!

Eat Happy is the cookbook in question. It was written by Anna Vocino and published in October of 2016. We know who Anna is because we both follow a way of eating called NSNG (no sugars no grains). Anna is close friends with and co hosts a podcast with the man who coined the phrase NSNG and started the revolution that is this way of eating, Vinnie Tortorich.

We could both literally write several blog posts detailing exactly what NSNG is, how we follow it on a daily basis, the million ways it has changed our lives and health for the better, BUT for now we’re going to give you the quick and short version. 😉 I mean, if you want to hear more please leave us a comment or drop an email or tune in to our Wine Wednesday Live Chats on our Facebook page…because NSNG has been a hot topic over there lately!

In short, eating NSNG means that you cut out all sugars and grains from your diet. The grain part is pretty easy for most people to understand and comprehend. Grains are obviously present in bread products and also things like rice. “Grains are peasant food.” – to quote a mutual friend of ours. They are filler foods that are not necessary to your survival and honestly don’t do anything to make you feel or function better on a daily basis. Wheat Belly is a great book to read if you are curious about the negative impact grains have on you. Sugars though? Most of us are running around as little sugar addicts and we are completely unaware.  And yes, obviously we are talking about cutting out sweets. Clearly, eating several cookies is not going to be good for you because there is obviously sugar involved in the process of making them. However, there are sugars hiding out in almost every form of processed food. We are talking SAVORY processed foods. Do you put prepared season packets in your food? There’s typically sugar added to those. Do you have a favorite salad dressing from the grocery store that you love to slather all over your leafy green salad? There’s likely sugar in that dressing. Do you crave a ready to go red sauce that is conveniently sold in a jar at your local supermarket? There’s added sugar in that. We could literally go on and on and on. Added and UNNECESSARY sugar is just sprinkled and dumped into processed foods like it’s the answer to everlasting life. But it isn’t. Sugar is an addictive killer. And all those sugar substitutes? The ones that companies use in order to put that “sugar free” label on their product. They’re still sugar. They taste like sugar. They act like sugar. The affect your body like sugar. And they will hurt you … just like ANY form of sugar will.

What does eating this way do for you? What has it done for us? We both feel so much better. We have more energy. We are able to ward of sickness more often than not. We don’t suffer from brain fog. We can control things like frequent migraines or headaches. We are able to truly taste things and appreciate the flavor of “just real food”. Our digestive systems function so much better than before. We’ve both lost a ton of weight. We are more happy with ourselves. We are no longer slaves to food. We can eat delicious food … as much of it as we like… without negative side effects.

Eat Happy has been an amazing resource for us to find new meals to prepare – and every single recipe in Eat Happy is void of sugars and grains. We just love it. We’ve cooked so many things from it. However, there are still a ton of recipes that we haven’t gotten to try yet! So, we thought a fun project would be to spend some time cooking all the way through the book…and to share that experience with you guys!

We are going to start with the very first recipe and plow through each one while alternating between the two of us. We won’t be sharing or posting the actual recipe on the blog, because we believe that you should purchase the book…but what we are going to share is our experience while making the meal – and introduce you to some meals that are super healthy and incredibly delicious!

Melodramatic Birthday Post – Ashley

You guys – it’s Spring. I always say this time of year (March to the beginning of May) is like another Christmas season. There are sooo many birthdays and then throw in Mother’s Day to end the whole shabang. So I’m here to finally talk about my little birthday that occurred last week…and do some rambling….hope you’re all in on this one.  😉

Ok, so… let’s talk about 32. My birthday was last week. Last Tuesday – at 10pm I officially turned thirty-two years old. Honestly, I haven’t even given the number much thought. Yeah, I definitely feel like I’ve reached the point where I wouldn’t mind being able to stop time for a little while. You know – stay young longer. I’ve noticed differences in my body and mindset due to aging. Generally though – I’m at peace with my age. So, why am I here blabbing on and one about it? Well I did want to take some time to reflect. Think about where I’ve been … and where I want to be. I’ve always been the type of person that lived more in the future. I always look forward to where I’m going, what type of person I’ll be in ‘x’ amount of months or years… And overall, I’m really happy with where I am now. In this 32 year old life of mine. 😉

I made the comment the other day that I really wish I knew as much about taking care of my body and had the confidence in myself that I do now when I was younger. I am and always have been a super quiet and shy person. I think I’ve mentioned before how I’m socially awkward…not just in person. Ask Rhonda. It even takes a lot for me to interact virtually…. BUT I’ve come such a long way. My highschool and twenty something self didn’t think much of herself much less take any extra time to take care of her mind and body.

Weight was always an issue that I struggled with. The size of my body was something that always made me feel inferior, not attractive, not worth getting to know. I think it is so great now that there are plus sized super models or just plus sized celebrities and public figures who are letting it be known that size does not determine beauty of self worth. I try to flood my social media timelines with women like this. Women who are larger than average, and who are so so confident in themselves. I try to make a conscious effort to compliment my children – not just on their physical appearance. I try to say things like “ Oh my god…you are sooooo cute… and such a sweet baby.” I encourage my son to interact with other children. When he approaches other kids at the park and they don’t want to play with him. Of course, he comes running back to me. I tell him, “That’s ok. Find someone else to play with.” I try to teach him and demonstrate to him that rejection stings but we can move on from that. I want my daughter to be confident in her body and not afraid to wear whatever she wants. I want my son to be confident in his body and to not be afraid to wear whatever the hell he wants. I don’t want them to doubt themselves. I don’t want them to be afraid to make new friends or approach new people – because they worry about the reaction they will receive.  Because I lived that way for so long. I still struggle with that. I’m working on it. And I’ll keep working on it. 😉

Over the past 3 years I’ve made major changes in the way I eat and think about food. I lost a ton of weight….gained some back during and after being pregnant with Sophie…and am now back – less those extra pounds. Rhonda introduced me to the NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) Lifestyle that was coined, preached, and demonstrated by Vinnie Tortorich. Eating clean. Cutting out the majority of the sugar and grains in my diet. Those things have made me a physically and mentally healthier person. I know that it has made me a better mom. When you cut the crap out from  your diet, you don’t have to worry so much about the amount that you eat. You don’t have to restrict yourself to teeny tiny meals in the hopes of losing a few pounds. AND you don’t just lose weight. You gain healthier hair, nails, skin, mental clarity, energy, and on and on and on. Something else really important that I gained? Confidence in myself. Confidence in my body. Confidence that does not hinge on someone else’s opinion of me. Confidence that is due to my new opinion of myself.

I can look back … ten … or even fifteen years ago – and where I am now? That’s not where I thought I’d be. But you know, I’m ok with that. I had this disillusioned idea of what I thought life should look like at 32. And for a long time – those aspirations and goals that I set when I was a teenager – the fact that I hadn’t gotten to or reached those goals used to really haunt me. It used to make me feel … like I hadn’t accomplished anything   at all. Which is complete crap. I’ve accomplished a lot. Because listen. It’s ok to change your path. It’s ok to quit something that no longer holds any meaning for you. It’s ok to change your mind. I am a better person now. I’m not perfect. I still have a lot of work to do. BUT I am thankful the place I am at. 🙂 For me, feeling accomplished is no longer about marking off big achievements or reaching momentous goals. It’s not about having a list of things that I can say “LOOK at all the things I’ve checked off!!”. For me I try to feel accomplished in my every day. I look to my future with anticipation and excitement for things to come; however, I relish the here and now. I focus on the people in my life. I think about what can I do in the next few minutes to make something happen. I want to “Be here, now.” I don’t want to look back and think…. I wish I would have enjoyed that moment more…while it was happening.

I think 32 is going to be great. I don’t wake up with any dread of what I may face that day. My family is healthy and happy…and so am I. I really like my daytime job, and I am so happy to have this little blog space that I get to share with my best friend. I am so grateful that each of you come by to check in on us…see what we have to say. 🙂 I’m excited for our future, but I’m loving this. This right here. This moment. :):)