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October Unprocessed Challenge 2016: 8 Days of REAL Food

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We are almost halfway through the October Unprocessed Challenge (eating only REAL food for the entire month of October)!  This is my 4th year taking the challenge, and I am still learning so much every day!

My greatest accomplishment so far this year was finding a recipe for taco seasoning that my whole family loves!!  Taco Tuesday is so much better now, and I feel great knowing exactly what is in the seasoning!  If I get nothing else out of this challenge, I will be happy about my new taco night discovery! 🙂

This year has seemed the easiest so far of all the years I’ve attempted the challenge (last year I only lasted a few days, and then I gave up!).  This blog is what is keeping me accountable this year, and knowing that I’m going to post everything I eat is one of the main reasons I haven’t given up.  Although it seems easier than previous years, this challenge is still a LOT of work and takes a lot of planning and prep, since I often have to make 2 meals for dinner since my kids will not eat some of these new foods (although I do make them try everything.)

Below is a list of EVERYTHING I have eaten for the first 8 days, along with links to many of the recipes.  It’s not 100% unprocessed (chocolate chips are my weakness), but I am happy with my progress so far.  I am surprised that I have not really had any cravings for sweets, and I have not felt hungry at all.

For more real-food recipe ideas each day, check out the Journey To Complete Wellness Facebook page.

If you have any favorite real-food recipes, please feel free to share them in the comments on this post or on the Journey to Complete Wellness Facebook page!  I’ll take all the help I can get! 🙂

October Unprocessed 2016

Saturday, October 1

Breakfast: Omelet with Peppers, Onions, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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Snack:  Grapes ,cashews, raisins
Lunch: Salad (Romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, raisins) w/balsamic

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Dinner: Honey Balsamic Sheet Pan Chicken

This is delicious!  I will be making this again (maybe a few more times this month)! 🙂

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Sunday, October 2

Breakfast: Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

I love these, and my 12-year old daughter does, too!

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Snack:  Celery Stick, Raisins, Grapes, Cashews
Lunch: Leftovers from Dinner and  Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

The soup is so tasty!  My 13-year-old daughter loves it as well!

Dinner:  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

This was good, but my family was not crazy about it.  I had a lot of leftovers that I froze in individual portions to use later in the month.

 

Monday, October 3

Breakfast:  Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

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Snack: Plain Greek Yogurt w/1 T honey & 1T chocolate chips, Popcorn
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Dinner: Mozzarella-Stuffed Slow Cooker Meatballs

This is a favorite in our house!

 

Tuesday, October 4

Breakfast: Leftover Banana Pancakes/Kiwi/Slice of Boar’s Head Deli Turkey
Snack: Fuji Apple, 5.3oz Greek Yogurt, ½ T Honey & 1T chocolate chips
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Dinner:  Taco Meat w/Jasmine Rice, Lettuce, Tomato. Taco Seasoning

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Wednesday, October 5

Breakfast: Leftover Banana Pancakes with Grapes
Snack:  Grapes, Chocolate Chips
Lunch: Raspberry Peanut Butter Green Smoothie (I used grape juice)
Dinner:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup (w/brown rice noodles)

 

Thursday, October 6

Breakfast: Scrambled Egg w/Diced Tomatoes;grapes
Snack:  Peanut Butter Cookies, cashews

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Lunch: Leftover Chicken Soup
Dinner:  Pate Chinois

 

Friday, October 7

Breakfast: Leftover banana pancake, PB cookie
Snack: Yogurt w/honey & cc; apple; cucumbers,celery,dip,chips,salsa
Lunch: Leftover Tomato Soup
Dinner: Leftover Pate Chinois

 

Saturday, October 8

Breakfast: Leftover chicken soup
Snack: Kettle corn; Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Lunch: Strawberry/banana/yogurt/milk smoothie
Dinner: Baked Haddock,rice pilaf, and Roasted Broccoli

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October Unprocessed 2016

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October Unprocessed starts tomorrow!

When I first decided to take the October Unprocessed Challenge 4 years ago, I had no idea what would come of it. I love a challenge (especially if it’s free), so I wanted to try it to see if I could do it (eating only REAL foods for an entire month.) I was also hoping to discover some new foods and recipes along the way so I could add more variety into our diets.  I did those things, but as I look back now, I can see that this challenge had so much more of an impact on my life than I realized at the time… it was actually life-changing for me.

Among other things, I learned that the body, mind, and spirit is much more closely connected than we may realize.  When we decide to honor and respect our bodies by fueling them with the foods nature intended for them, doors automatically open up to help us improve in the other areas of life as well.  It all comes back to self-love!

The first October Unprocessed challenge I took was a catalyst for so many wonderful things in my life. Immediately following that first challenge, I was inspired to start this blog, which has since led to even more amazing things! This will be my 4th year taking the challenge, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it!

If anyone would like to join me in this year’s October Unprocessed Challenge, you can sign up or find out more information about it here! It costs nothing to participate, but be prepared to spend a little extra time in the kitchen. The rewards are worth it, though!

My goal is to try to post on here once a week with updates on my progress and recipe ideas. On the Journey to Complete Wellness Facebook page, I will try to post daily recipe ideas and tips.  This blog is what is going to be keeping me accountable, and I hope you will join me on the journey and take one step closer to loving yourself more and becoming healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

Random Acts of Kindness Generator and Additional Kindness Resources

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Random Acts of Kindness Generator

Being kind sounds so easy, but often we are so caught up in life’s activities that we forget to extend a helping hand. Simple things such as opening the door for someone, or helping a neighbor move are all opportunities to make someone’s life a little easier.

Random Acts of Kindness week is coming up on February 14th, and in order to prepare you for that,  Shari’s Berries has come up with a random acts of kindness generator.  Simply click on a category in the top row and their generator will provide a fun idea for the day.  There are over 50 ideas, so enough for being kind all year long!
RAK Generator preview 500

Additional Acts of Kindness Resources

Kindness Ideas

 

Inspiring Quotes and Stories about Kindness

Movies

  • The Letter Writer.   This inspiring movie is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.
  • Pay it Forward

If you have some suggestions for more inspiring movies about kindness, please let me know about them in the comments below.

 

Coloring Pages

Be kind adult coloring page

From freelargeimages.com

kindness adult coloring page

From http://www.printablecolouringpages.co.uk/?s=kindness

Videos and Inspirational Stories

These inspiring videos demonstrate how a small act of kindness can make a big impact.

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group. Thank you! 🙂

 

February Acts of Kindness Challenge

When I think of the month of February, the first thing that comes into my mind is Valentine’s Day.   And when I think of Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of love.  So, I thought it might be fun to challenge myself and my family to spread our love during the month by performing at least one act of kindness each day.

When I first suggested the idea to my family in 2014, they were all really excited. I’m sure their excitement probably had something to do with me mentioning a reward at the end if we were able to complete it, but the real reward turned out to be the experience in itself.  We have taken the challenge every year since, and I can see this tradition being one that we will continue for a long time to come!

I invite you to join us and many others in spreading love and kindness all month!  Feel free to make up your own rules, or follow our guidelines below.

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Act of Kindness Challenge Guidelines:

  1. Prepare.  Print out this February 2017 Acts of Kindness Log for each member of your family.  Use it to record your acts of kindness throughout the month.  Also keep track of the acts of kindness performed toward you each day.  You might be surprised to actually see how many nice things people do for each other each day. 🙂  We put ours on the refrigerator so it stays in view and is easy to remember.
  2. Identify a Reward to keep You Motivated.  If you are taking the challenge with others, take a vote to see how you want to reward yourselves once you have completed the challenge!  In the past, we have rewarded ourselves by going out to dinner together as a family (something we usually only reserve for birthdays or special occasions.)  Come up with something that works for you and your family and that will motivate you to complete the challenge.  Don’t skip this step.  This is the step that keeps my kids motivated to keep going throughout the challenge.
  3. Spread your love!  Each day in February, perform at least one act of kindness and write it down on the log.  Try to come up with something different each day.  My definition of an Act of Kindness is:  any action you take to brighten someone’s day without expecting anything in return.  Also, write down any acts of kindness others performed toward you.
  4. Encourage each other and keep each other accountable.  Each day, share your ideas with your family members or loved ones who are also participating in the challenge.  Talk about the acts of kindness you performed.  Also, feel free to share your ideas and inspiration in our February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group so we can continue to support and encourage each other and keep each other accountable.
  5. When the month is over, share what you learned from the experience.  Feel free to join our February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group and share your stories with us there as well!
  6. REWARD YOURSELF!!  Don’t skip this step, either.  For many of us, the real reward is the experience in itself, but make sure to recognize your accomplishment and follow through on the reward you set in step 2.

I invite you to join us in this challenge and spread your love. It only takes a small act to make a big impact. Let’s make a difference together! “Like” the Facebook page February Acts of Kindness Challenge for inspirational stories and quotes each day, or join the Facebook support group at February Acts of Kindness Challenge to share your ideas and inspiration. 🙂

Feel free to do more than one Act of Kindness a day.  Don’t be afraid to write them all down.  You may already do several acts of kindness each day without even realizing it.  The point here is to become aware of all the good things you already do and realize the impact it has on others.  You may also want to try to take it a step further and do some things you normally wouldn’t do.  When we make a small effort to brighten someone’s day out of love (not obligation), we are rewarded with happiness.  Anything done out of obligation is not an act of love and will only cause you to feel resentment.  It doesn’t matter whether your acts of kindness are random or intentional, but to honor your own self-care, please make sure they are performed out of love.

As you perform more acts of kindness, you may also notice yourself becoming the recipient of more acts of kindness.  Learn to accept these gifts with gratitude.  Many times it is more challenging for us to receive than it is to give.  We may resist acts of kindness toward us because we may feel like we will owe the other person, but when you let people do nice things for you, you are actually giving them a gift.  Learning how to let others help you might be just what you need to learn from this challenge…I know from previous years it was exactly what I needed to learn.kindness mark twain

RESOURCES

If you run out of ideas at any point during the challenge, this Random Acts of Kindness generator is fantastic!

Check out this link for some great Random Acts of Kindness ideas!

“Like” the Facebook Page The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Check out the inspiring movie, The Letter Writer. It is a great reminder of the impact our actions have on others, and the difference one act of kindness can make.  If you have some suggestions for more inspiring movies about kindness, please let me know about them in the comments below.

Random Acts of Kindness week is a 7-day celebration of kindness.  This year it falls on February 10-16, 2017!

Check out this inspiring 5 minute video to see how one small act of kindness can make a big impact.  

Do YOU have any kindness ideas, quotes, videos, or inspiration you would like to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or share them on the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook support group. Thank you! 🙂

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Are you tired of making New Year’s Resolutions you can’t keep?

This year, instead of focusing on all the things you want to change about yourself, what if you made a different kind of resolution? What if the only resolution you made was to love yourself more, exactly as you are?

You are a perfect creation just as you are!  You were born with so many natural gifts to share with the world, but when you focus on all the things you think are “wrong” with you or that society tells you are “wrong” with you, your precious time and energy will be spent on the wrong areas and everyone will be missing out on the real gifts you have to bring to the world. Instead, why not focus on being yourself, discovering those gifts, and sharing them with those around you?

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When you learn to love yourself unconditionally and live a more authentic life, all of the things you think are “wrong” with you will naturally take care of themselves. For example, if losing weight was going to be your resolution, that will naturally happen when you take the time to love yourself as you are and commit to discovering the emotional cause of your eating habits. Once you are able to deal with and overcome those emotional issues, you will naturally want to care for your body and fuel it with real foods that nature intended us to eat. Then, the weight will fall off naturally. The same goes for any other area of your life that you think might need improvement.  When you begin to live authentically, everything begins to fall into place and your dreams will begin to come true!

If you do want to live a more authentic life and get to know and love yourself more but you don’t exactly know how to do that, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge was written to help you do just that.  It requires just 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day for 31-Days. You will learn to embrace your uniqueness, discover your priorities so you can spend your time and energy on those things that really matter in life, and recognize your gifts and talents so you can share them with the world and fulfill the purpose that you were sent here to make.

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So, whatever challenge or resolution you decide to make for this New Year, I wish you much success!

February Acts of Kindness Month: Ways to Stay Motivated and Keep the Kindness Going

If you are joining me in participating in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge but have run out of ideas, I have some easy tips to help keep you motivated and some easy ways to keep the kindness going.

  1. Get the whole family involved.  In my opinion, the best part of doing this challenge is doing it with my entire family.  We enjoy sharing our acts of kindness with each other, and we help to keep each other accountable.
  2. Put the February Acts of Kindness Log somewhere so it is very visible. We put ours on the refrigerator.  Every time we go to the refrigerator, it is a reminder to do our act of kindness or to write down what we did.  All 5 of our logs are up there together, so it is fun to read what everyone does each day.  My daughters are also great at reminding each other if someone misses a day.  They don’t want to miss out on that reward in the end! 🙂
  3. Set a reward for yourself.  For every challenge you set for yourself, you should build in a reward at the end.  This is a crucial step in helping you to stay motivated.  Honestly, the reward is what is keeping my kids interested in participating in this challenge.
  4. Remember, no act of kindness is too small.  Sometimes we feel like our acts are insignificant, but each action you take (and each word you speak) has the potential to make or break someone’s day.  Keep that in mind and choose kindness always! 🙂

aesop kindnessIf you’re stuck for ideas, a simple way to make someone’s day is to download a Care Card from You Matter. I wrote one out for each member of my family last night, and it felt great!   #YouMatter is a grassroots movement that aims to promote positive mental health through acts of caring. Telling someone they matter can have a greater impact than we may know! 

There are four easy steps to participate in #YouMatter:

1) Download a Care Card from the MSW@USC blog.

2) Write a message of caring, friendship or appreciation.

3) Snap a picture of your card and share on social media using the hashtag #youmatter and tag us @youmatterbc to inspire others.

4) Give the Care Card to someone and make that person’s day!

There’s never a better time than now to show others that that they matter in this world, so let’s keep promoting acts of kindness together!

If you have not been taking the February Acts of Kindness Challenge, it is not too late to begin!  Simply print out the February Acts of Kindness Log, hang it somewhere visible, set a reward for yourself, and begin performing at least one act of kindness each day.  Then enjoy the wonderful feelings that come with helping others and knowing you are helping to brighten up your community and the world. 🙂