emily o'neal

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Esther!

How can this be?  My little girl is now a 2 year old?  It's pretty unbelievable when I stop and think about it.  I mourn a little for the baby days, wishing she could be tiny and chubby again and I could hold her all day long, but then again, this is such a fun age.  Seriously, forget terrible twos, can we call it terriffic twos?  Esther is developing such a little personality and is just a seriously fun person to be around.    

I'm so glad that we got to have a celebration this year (remember last year? we were in the throes of the worst sickness ever).  The Cavies came over and we celebrated with some of Esther's favorite foods - homemade carnitas & rice - gifts, and lots of playing with balloons and bubbles.  In lieu of cake we had berries and whipped coconut cream (she is still allergic to dairy and eggs, and berries are her favorite thing ever).  This two year old is easily pleased, I am thankful.  

Esther, you are so loved!  We are so thankful to the Lord for giving you another year with us here on earth.  

mom, please, just give me my berries


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Make This

This is not much of a blog post, I will admit.  But I've got to ease back into blogging somehow, right?

I just had to share one of my new favorite (EASY) recipes.  And I mean easy.  Like throw the ingredients in the dish, mix it together and pop it in the oven.  The secret to what makes this so good (I think) is the balsamic vinegar drizzle which turns the juice from the tomatoes and the drippings from the sausages into a delectable sauce (rich, acidic, just a little sweet, and maybe spicy, depending on the sausages you use).  

This recipe from the beautiful Jamie at Home cookbook, but can also be found here on Jamie Oliver's website.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I feel like a new person!

Let me explain...

No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.

Over the past few months we have really buckled down on our eating habits, changing our diet to a low carb/paleo/whole foods diet.  Originally the change was (mainly) to try to lose weight (also to be healthy, but the weight issue was more of a motivater...sadly).  After I got past the first week of cravings and low-carb/paleo flu, it was like someone had flipped a switch on my body.

I had energy.  Energy I had not felt in years.
I didn't have to nap during the day.
I was having fewer and fewer headaches (I have suffered from chronic migraine-like headaches off and on for years).  They are almost completely gone now.
My clothes were fitting again. (I've now lost somewhere around 10lbs...maybe more)
Aches and pains went away.
Mood swings went away.

I was a new person.

About 3 weeks in, I caught a stomach bug.  I didn't feel like eating anything but crackers, rice, and homemade whole wheat bread, so that's what I did (that's what you do when you're sick, right?).  A week later I was wondering why I was still feeling lousy...I thought it was the sickness still hanging on.

Even though I felt up to eating regular food again, I was still eating rice, bread, etc, because it was easy and they had crept back into my routine.  As soon as the weekend was over, I buckled down again and cut out the carbs.  The switch flipped again.  Energy.  No aches and pains.  No moodiness.  No feeling lousy.  It was unbelievable.

I always believed that we were healthy eaters.  I still think we were, compared to the majority of those on the typical American diet.  We didn't eat out much.  Most of our meals I made from scratch, with the occasional box of whole wheat pasta or frozen pizza thrown in.  But we were still consuming a lot of carbs.  Rice, pasta, homemade bread & baked goods, potatoes, and a good bit of fruit.

[I'm not going to go into the science of low-carb/paleo diets...lots of other people have dedicated their lives to doing that.  I will share info that has been helpful to me at the bottom of this post.]

So what does low-carb mean for us?  No white sugar, very few grains and beans, very few fruits. We eat lots of nutrient-rich eggs, meat, veggies, cheese, nuts, and raw dairy.  Occasional baked treats made with almond or coconut flour.

At first, the change is very difficult.  But once the sugar is out, it is surprisingly easy (or was for me) to stick to.  You just have to find new normals - new breakfast, new snacks, new treats.  Yes, it is more work.  Yes, it is (a little) more expensive.  Yes, sometimes I just want to go out for Mexican food and eat my fill of chips and salsa (which we do)!  We allow occasional "cheats" on date nights, weekends, or special days.  But for the most part, our bodies and lifestyle have adjusted quite nicely to this new way of eating.

Some of my favorite resources for learning about low carb, paleo, and whole foods:

Why We Get Fat, by Gary Taubes
Wheat Belly, by William Davis

Diet Doctor
The Weston A. Price Foundation
Maria's Health

Disclaimer - 
I know that many of you will not agree with this way of living/eating.  I understand.  I was there years ago.  I didn't think it was right for me.  But as I have learned more over the past few years, I have become convinced that this is the best thing for our family right now.  It may not be the best thing for you (but of course I would urge you to try it, since it has worked so well for us).
But guess what?  Whether you eat low-carb or vegan, grow all your own food or eat everything from the shelves in the grocery store, it doesn't matter to God.  You are not defined by what you eat.  We are all sinners in need of the Savior.  If you are a follower of Christ, that is how He sees you.  As His child.  This is just me sharing what has been good for our family.

If you have questions or would like to know more, I will try to help!