5 Things I Learned On My Journey to Ketosis (Vegetarian Style)

I hate dieting and to be honest, i hate the word. When I hear the word diet, I immediately think of the word “restriction”. However, when Josh and I both decided to get into quick shape to prep for holiday debauchery, we fully committed to the trendy Ketogenic way of eating. But we remained vegetarian. Now, I had heard ALOT about being “Keto” or “Keto Starbucks orders” which I still order although I’m not fully following Keto because heavy cream is yummy. So hearing all the buzzwords, I naturally decided to educate myself and become an expert so to speak on the science behind the body going into a state of Ketosis and what effects it has etc. After deeming it safe for a short amount of time, we did it for 2 months and man, were we pleasantly surprised.


  1. I lost a significant amount of weight fairly quickly. In the first 3-4 weeks I was already down 11 pounds. Naturally, I threw a party in my head because my weight journey post-partum fluctuates waaay too much. PRO: Yay. Down 11. CON: Energy level was low. TAKE AWAY: Eat more.
  2. Eating more. I added more of the fat and protein and for us, protein was not coming from meat rather we were using farm fresh eggs, tofu (sparingly due to soy and the chance of hormone disrupting), or Beyond Meat products. You can review my previous post on veggie meat products here! I also added a ton of spinach and arugula to salads with copious amounts of avocado.
  3. I cooked at home WAY more. We saved quite a bit of money both grocery shopping and not eating out. Also I was forced to bring lunch to work. No more Door Dash extravaganzas hence the money saving perk. I just made double of dinner and brought it the next day.
  4. Starbucks orders. We love coffee. We also love creamer. One of my best friends gave me a Keto order one day and my life was forever changed. Grande iced coffee w/ heavy cream-2 pumps SF Vanilla, 2 pumps SF cinnamon dolce. Boom. Thank me later. If you have more Keto Starbucks orders or ANY coffee shop for that matter, drop them in the comments section!
  5. Now here’s the thing though…I was borderline starving myself. I personally could not manage a Keto diet and sufficiently feed myself. I’m not a fan of drastic restriction. For me, I found myself almost obsessing over staying Keto rather than staying healthy. That’s a problem k? Health is priority.

I am really really glad that I did Keto for that time simply because it gave me discipline and I wasn’t going rogue with office goodies, snacking all day, and refined sugar was out of my life (and still is by the way… wooop!). I dropped some poundage that was hanging on for dear life. But I did learn that, that is not a lifestyle way of eating for me long-term. Now, I do still eat very Keto (full fats-lots of protein), however I eat my favorite foods like quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas and I’ve integrated them into my weekly meal menu.

If you go Keto for a while, expect to learn discipline and self control and quick results (yaaaas!), but NEVER put a way of eating ahead of well being and over all health, mental health included!!

What about you? Have you done Keto? What was your experience? Thinking about it? I’m happy to answer questions whenever because seriously I did SO MUCH research on the effects of Keto on hormones especially for women.

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Happy well living! And happy eating too!

XO,

GV

Redefining Gratitude

Here’s the thing about gratitude… we find all the pretty things to give praise for. The beautiful homes, the comfy jobs that support our families, health and wellness, and all the lovely things. It’s easy to be thankful for those things, it’s easy to receive them. But what if we challenges ourselves for the not some comfortable things. The difficult moments: fights with our family, being unfairly treated at work, or even friendships being broken or worse? Why would anyone want to be grateful for those awful moments that made us sad or cause anxiety? The thing is you can either be grateful for them or resent them- which in turn continues to give those negative moments more negative energy.

Personal story and maybe I’ll elaborate in the future: I found myself in the middle of a terrible situation that I could’ve easily left due to the stress iI was under. Like it was unnecessary, caused by jealous and unhappy people. It could’ve been worse, yea, but it was awful none the less. It was defeating, I was angry. All the same thought it was empowering. Personal attacks can be quite easily both. Depending on how you look at it. Was it happening to me or for me? At first, I couldn’t help but entertain thoughts like “why is this happening to me?” “when is this over?” “I want to leave” and trust me, ALL of those things I wanted to just rest in but the truth is, they didn’t help. I had so much anxiety. I felt nauseous. I wanted to react with telling them off. Literally everyday it took all the energy I had not to say what I really wanted so instead I acted as though they didn’t exist. But all that was just immediate gratification and I’d probably feel the same if not worse in the end. So I changed my thoughts. Instead of the “why me”, I asked myself what I could learn from this moment (that lasted for-freakin-ever!). I was completely over it, I could’ve left, but I stayed. I pushed myself through an incredibly uncomfortable time around unhappy people. I saw them more than my own child….but that’s another story for another time! I stayed, I channeled all the grace and dignity in the world every single day and conquered. I didn’t want to leave because I was angry and couldn’t handle it. I wanted to rise above be better take in whatever reason it was that I was experiencing this.

Why am I sharing this? Because I know I’m not the only one who’s felt trapped in negative thoughts because of things that are happening around or to me. I want to help you while I help myself rise above and be better. I made the choice not that long ago to be grateful for some difficult times. Looking back, had I not experienced this crap…having uncomfortable conversations with the people closest to me, I would never have taken on a personal understanding of the incredible value of experiencing challenges. The lessons behind every experience contribute to who we become. To wish them away with immediacy is to take away the opportunity for growth.

So in this season of joy and gratitude, I want to challenge you to be thankful for all those less than favorable moments. Thank them and send them away with gratitude because it is in the hardest times you’re refined and made new. Made whole. Made a better version of you.


Now you know I’m not gonna leave you without some tips! How to change your mindset to express gratitude for even the most uneasy times. Redefine how you experience adversity! Redefine gratitude.

  1. Acknowledge it sucks and move on! Don’t dwell. It’s happening and accept it.
  2. Ask yourself what you can learn. There is always a lesson. Look at everything as a means to teach you something. You’ll learn to naturally appreciate whatever happens.
  3. Talk positively about it. Speaking negative words out loud just feeds and allows animosity to grow. I was doing this every. single. day. Until I was literally sick about it. Instead, I told myself, i am going to be a better person because of this experience. I said it over and over in my head until I believed it.
  4. Remember, negative experiences are an opportunity to grow. Don’t you want to grow as a human? Especially if you have little ones. Don’t you want to show them how to handle conflict and develop coping mechanisms that are healthy? Lead by example.

Wishing you growth on your gratitude journey!

 

XO,

Gi

 

Simplicity Parenting-Pt. 1

I absolutely loved Simplicity Parenting! I have finally finished one of the best self-improvement parenting books on the market! Since becoming a parent and learning about who my child was I quickly began to realize we’re all just winging it. However, there are certain tools that we can all learn from each other or others who have studied children throughout careers. Of course we all have different goals and ways that we parent and how we would like our children to turn out so for us, we want to raise a well-rounded human, respectful of others, and loving, creative and all the things we see he has the potential to be. So it is our job as parents to nourish those abilities and there are certain things we can do to encourage them.

This was pretty lengthy and I took so many notes that I have had a hard time putting this together efficiently for you guys. But here it goes!

The most definitive take aways I gathered were the following:

  • Minimize Options: Toys, activities, etc.
  • Simplify Surroundings: Child’s space, food options etc.
  • Be as predictable as possible: Prepare the child let them know what to expect.

Now let me elaborate.


Minimizing Options. Many of us have toys on top of toys. Some from grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, collections form birthday’s etc. We accept graciously, child is happy for maybe 24 hours to a week and then interest is lost and quite possibly so is said toy. Parents this is the hard part-parting ways with the unnecessary. So how do you determine what is not needed?

  • Remove age-inappropriate toys. If your kid is 3 and there’s a teether in their room. TOSS. You get my drift.
  • Reduce emulating toys. Toys that look like cartoon figures are discouraged in this book because it can replace the space for creativity, but it’s based on preference which is why I say reduce and not remove.
  • Remove toys that make noise or light up. These are highly stimulating. Stimulation is good, over-stimulation can have effects later to where kids learn to expect entertainment at all times. Besides, I have yet to meet a parent who adores their baby’s toys that play the same jingles over and over.

When minimization is occurring you may be wondering, well what will entertain my child? The answer I found is you. Your home. Involving the Noah in the home rhythms has helped exponentially. Invite them to help with the dishes, picking up around the house, make it an activity. Children enjoy being apart of something. Ever notice how they start getting psycho when you’re on the phone or cleaning up in a frenzy, they suffer from FOMO!  ItHelping a child learn his/her place in their home is settling. Gives them a sense of belonging. Instead of saying “you need to clean the dishes now!” I invite Noah to help by saying, “would you like to be my special helper with the dishes?” Telling him he’s my best helper is music to his little baby ears.


Simplifying Space. This might’ve been the toughest spot for us. Noah’s space is a full room right now, yet his bed is in our room, yet we co-sleep for right now. Noah’s room has a small bookshelf, chalkboard eisle, toy box, and a closet. That’s it. which we have turned into a reading corner. Simplifying the room just making things accessible and minimal helping the child learn to focus. What we did: we turned the bookshelf into a reading corner. We have removed MOST books and have left 5.  Those 5 are in the rotation for story time. (More on stories later)

The toy box is full. We, to be honest, are still working on this part of simplification. Stay turned. The idea is to have age-appropriate toys etc (refer to toy minimization above).

When you are simplifying, ask yourself evaluating questions.

Evaluating Questions:

  1. Is it developmentally appropriate?
  2. Is it based on a product or TV show? (Keep an “ad free” zone. Kids are 80% the target audience for products)
  3. Does it tell an unfolding story or is it all over the place? Does it nourish the child’s dreams? Does it encourage the child’s positive play.

Predictability.

Family rhythms are key. Children thrive off of the expected. This has been and is currently the absolute hardest piece of our daily lives because of Josh’s school/clinical schedule and me working full-time, it has been incredibly difficult to determine predictably. This is the reason I picked up this book, because our family rhythms were off and I could see my little boy being shuffled about, from daycare, to my mom, to godparents picking him up, I needed help. So I’m here to tell you no matter how busy you are, this is possible! The busier your life is, the more they need YOU the parent to be transparent.

  • Start at any point to develop a rhythm. Find points in the day that they can learn to expect. For example for us one was waking up and having prayer and saying what we’re grateful for. He expected this.
  • Create visuals. Help them pick out their outfit for the next day. They will be prepared knowing what they’ll wear this brings comfort. Tell them who is picking them up. Include them in the process. Noah is only 3, so this is slightly less of a conversation, but for an older child this will bring less anxiety.
  • Recap their day in the morning. We tell Noah, what’s happening from the point I’m dropped off at work to the point of when I get home. He asks A TON of follow up questions-questions I now call comfort seekers. Try not to get frustrated (I know it’s hard), but remember he is just trying to understand his day. Involving Noah in dinner process helps as well because he KNOWS he is needed.

I have 2 more  points to address: Sleep and Food. These points are the most sought after pieces of advice that I have personal sough as a parent so I’m sure many other parents are just as curious. How can we make both of these very vital pieces of our children’s lives, simple and efficient? Part 2 will be saved specifically for these two bad boy topics. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or how we’ve implemented some changes in our home. We’re all in this parenting thing together! To purchase follow link here and enjoy the learning process of raising tiny humans!

XO,

GV

Aspirations of a Chronic Snoozer

In the beginning of the year, I gave myself a word for the year: discipline. The purpose was to encompass all things that required discipline to help me stay on track in my facets of life. I gave up resolutions, because they just didn’t work for me. After February, they tend to drift away along with sanity. My word of the year is reflective. It evokes for me a sense of accountability and personal responsibility.

Discipline included lifestyle choices, dietary inclusions and exclusions, and hobby to business goals to name a few, but one very tall giant i wanted to conquer was waking up early. Now this is tricky because we are already woken up rather early with our human alarm clock otherwise known as Noah. B.C., (Before Child) I would sleep until the very last second and rush to get ready and would still be on time for work. Alone time wasn’t a scarcity and a small person was asking for a bagel at 630am. Therefore, waking up last minute had no real affect because I wasn’t missing out. Fast forward to motherhood and working full time at that, mornings are gone. If I wake up 1 hour before i have to leave as in the olden days, I spend 15 minutes making coffee, 20 doing make-up and getting dressed, and a few left over for hanging out with my kid that I won’t see unit bed time. Hence the waking up early. Now back to discipline.

I have yet to exhibit any type of discipline with waking up early-except today. 45 minutes before anyone was making a peep, a sound, or asking questions I was up and ready. That quiet time to look at the calendar, enjoy hot coffee that stayed hot, and be alone is what started the day off. The productivity manifested in those quiet moments was completely and pleasantly unexpected. So my take away? Try it. Slowly. Start with 15 minutes earlier, then 20, then 25…see how it goes because us mamas need as much time to recollect as we can get and there’s not one reason we should feel guilt for it. Where do you carve in time for yourself?

XO, Gi

Take Away Time and Why You Need One

We are currently in a state of seasonal bliss. (exhibit A: Us in a standard prom pose)

I define seasonal bliss as moments and time periods in life where you just feel at ease and everything has aligned. I rarely like to get super comfortable in this type of season, but I do by all means enjoy the peacefulness. Post graduation offers us some solitude in the fact that we can expect no major schedule changes, baby is with daddy during the day and at night Josh studies for the boards. I go to work and come back home and our weekends are for recharging and adventure. So here we are. We can expect things to change slightly once he’s on-boarded with his new job and new schedule and then we will need to revamp the setting again. But what can we learn from the last couple of years where we’ve had to adjust to one income, learn to parent, and still stay happily married? I always like to look at take aways whenever the dust settles and seasonal bliss is the perfect time to do so. They help gain perspective and they’re actively setting yourself up for success the next time chaos ensues.

 



♦♦A few aways from the last 2 years♦♦

1. Expect everything and nothing at all. We expected things to be structured and pretty much laid out and they most certainly were not. It was crazy how caught off guard we were and then just forget it when I started working again I think that’s when our whole world just did a 180. So that being said learning to just expect things to happen along with slight inconveniences. The element of surprise won’t be as strong and you’ll be more apt to respond instead of react.

2. Make peace with the process. This happened later on in the game because literally every 10 weeks when Josh’s schedule for class or rotations changed it honestly enraged me. Illogically of course I realize that now! But I really had to force myself to just accept this is what we chose when we agreed for him to go back to school so that was it. Either I could be psycho and complain or just shut up and figure out the next move. I’m actually annoyed at myself thinking back about what I complained about.

3. The tribe is everything. We really wouldn’t have been able to make this work without some very important and key people. From picking up Noah from daycare to watching him and feeding him just most of it surrounding the care of our baby they helped so immensely. And then there’s the ones that were there for us for meltdowns and disappointments not to mention tears and desperate calls. We all need a tribe that only works to support each other without judgement. The eminence of these few is immeasurable.

4. Be a team!! Oh my goodness the most obvious yet difficult component in all of this! Instead of fighting together we often fought against the other. Of course this came from stressors from work/school and frustration and the overall climate of life at the time, but it is counter productive if not done properly. Always remember you and your partner are here for the same thing working towards the same goal. Never forget that. Be attentive. Be mindful. Be supportive.

7 Years a Crazy Woman

7 years graffic

Through the last couple of years, we have been through moves, marriage, more moves, a baby, job changes, and more moves. Did I mention moving? I can’t tell you enough how much transition our little family has gone through since the early years of it’s creation.

Why does this matter? Because I personally know so many of you, and those I know no so personally experience transition and change and bumps and sometimes chaos. It can be hard feeling like you can’t keep up with Jones’s, let alone yourself. Our timeline? Let me share so that you know that I understand how you feel!

2011: Moved back from AZ to CA.

2012: Got engaged -Josh moved to CA and then back to MD to accept a new fantastic job.

2013: Got married in October. I quit my job of 2 years and moved to MD 2 months later. Moved into a condo. Our favorite place we’ve ever lived in! Our first home together.

2014: Started working a new full time job and then we had a moment of peace and quiet. UNTIL! I got pregnant with Noah.

2015: Gained 80 lbs and gave birth to a 9.6 ounce baby boy that Summer. I quit my job 1 week before I was set to return to work. Also, we reevaluated and really decided that it was best I stay home with the baby. This particular time was tough because Josh was working 60 hour work weeks and was gone a lot. We reevaluated AGAIN and came to the conclusion he should continue nursing school for better schedule and $$ so that I could work part-time. We prayed and prayed and we were led to Loma Linda University School of Nursing where Josh was immediately accepted all credits transferred. To us prayer and positive thinking believing people, this was the sign we needed. But wait. LLU was in CA. We were in MD. Moved again. Cross country. The two of us and baby in tow. Shipped two cars and moved in with my mother for 3 months.

2016: Moved to an apartment closer to campus because Josh was doing a 3 hour round trip drive every day at 5 am. By this time, Noah was 9 months old when I was being recruited by my old job (see 2013). We decided at least one of us needed to work so back to work I went. Full Time. Worst nightmare literally until recently. Why? I’ll tell you later. Oh yea, we moved again into the house we currently live in now! Haven’t moved in 2 years which I consider a deep win!

2017: Worst. Summer. Ever. Transition sucks. Mom guilt. Nursing student. Husband and wife=ships passing in the night. Growing toddler. We struggled like for real for real. Almost fully separated. It was awful. There is clearly more to this but I’m setting this up. Bear with me.

2018: Present. Peace finally. Love restored. Josh graduates in 1 week. We will be looking for a place and things have finally settled.

Why is this necessary? Because I want to share that no matter what, no matter how many transitions you go through there is a light at the end of the tunnel! It might be dim, but it still shines. So how do you deal with change and transition without completely losing your mind? Stay tuned!

XO,

Gi

 

You Said It Charles Dickens

When I read A Tale of Two cities, by Charles Dickens, I had no idea that the infamous “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”. would be my life’s most reflected on quote. Mr. Dickens sure does have a point and he sure did know how to collectively describe the life of a 30 something year old working wife and mother, supporting her husband through nursing school.

This week is a week of lasts. It was Josh’s last day at the hospital as a nursing student. This Friday will be his last day of actual class in the nursing program and June 10th, he walks across the stage. The last 2.5 years of our lives has come down to a cap, gown, and 2 hour ceremony. He didn’t care much for the fact that I’m forcing him to go to commencement, but to me it is more than the commencement, the ceremony, or the recognition even. To me, it is the epitome of what we have sacrificed almost literally to get to this point. But honestly? I wouldn’t have picked another man to do this with.

I will share in a future post how we got to this point, but the last 2.5 years have been a season of distress, yet complete positive growth and challenge. For lack of better words, a bittersweet season. When we look at that degree he earned we will not just see a Bachelor Degree of Science in Nursing. We will see late nights and early mornings, babysitter interviews, schedule changes, arguments, disagreements, tears, and self-doubt. But we will also see, relentlessness, discipline, persistence, love, faithfulness, and sacrifice.

I can’t wait to share with you the hows and the whats, but I need to find the right time and delivery because of how personal those events have been. My point is that any masterpiece or accomplishment is never in vain and rarely does not require sacrifice. So that thing you’ve been thinking of doing but hold back because it’s a temporary inconvenience, but can shift your whole future, do it. Future you will thank you for the growth opportunity. Accept the challenge. Change your life.

XO,

Gi