July is over and yippee I've made it! I survived eating a striped down 'clean' diet in which I cut out gluten, dairy, alcohol, sugar and processed foods. I successfully stuck to a clean eating diet for 30 days and I'm here today to share with you what I've learned and how I'm feeling now that the month is complete. I've had some realizations this month, I've come up with some plans for my future and I'm starting a new 30-day health challenge for August that I'm going to share with you here.
I have a more thorough breakdown of how my clean eating month went over on the Shift Worker's Guide from midway through the month and a final wrap-up. Otherwise, here is my quick breakdown of what I learned this month and what I have planned moving forward.
What it was like to spend a month eating clean:
Honestly, this has been a month of ups and downs and trails and tribulations but it was overall a great experience that I'm very glad I embarked on. I wasn't always perfect and being a shift worker didn't make the challenege to eat clean and healthy any easier but I succeeded in completing it and I'm happy for that fact. Here are some quick points that stood out to me about this month's challenge:
1. I succeeded in proving to myself that I can maintain a healthy diet and life even while being a shift worker and that it doesn't have to be a chore.
2. It probably took me all month to truly withdrawl from years of eating refined white sugar and processed foods. It wasn't always a pleasant experience but it was well worth it considering all the benefits that I'm now exepriencing.
3. These benefits include: I now have more energy than I've had in a long time, my sleep habits and patterns have changed for the better, I no longer have cravings for junk food and it's easier to say no and avoid the bad-for-me foods.
4. Once the 30-day challenge was over I decided to give myself the weekend to indulge in a few things that I'd been missing over the month, such as bread, cheese, wine, chocolate, etc. and in doing so I'm now reminded why I embarked on this journey in the first place: I feel so much better eating clean.
5. I've decided that from now on I'm going to eat clean as my normal way of life. I'll continue to avoid refined white sugar, processed foods and alcohol while experimenting with reintroducing some gluten and dairy back into my life in moderation. I'll keep you posted!
What does the future look like for me:
As number 5 stated above I'm going to make clean eating my new standard in the way I eat and live. I'm going to continue to blog and write about my experience with living a healthy life and share my recipes for turning classic comfort foods into healthy and clean versions. In that vein one of my goals for the future is to create a book that will serve as a starting point and guide post for others who are intertested in starting on the clean eating way of life. I want to create this book as something that will help others withdrawl from the junk they've been eating and make the switch to healthy with the help of guidelines, recipes, and tips.
I had a friend join me for a portion of this month in order to clean up his diet and he turned to me for advice and guidance throughout the process. He has so far experienced similar positive results from totally changing his life around when it comes to his health and that's something I and he want to share with you. In the near future you will see an interview with this friend of mine on his experience going from someone who knew nothing about clean eating to being a health rockstar.
Another plan I have for the future is to expand the Uncommon Wealth empire into another area of interest of mine. This is a fun thing that I've been thinking about for a while and I think it's about time I dove right in and got started. I've always been someone who has really enjoyed arts and crafts, organization and writing and I think I've found a way of life and a supportive online community that intersects all those interests. What I'm talking about is planners and the planning community. This may make no sense to you right now but this is something that I've very passionate and excited about. Do not expect to start seeing planner posts pop up on this blog but I will be creating a YouTube channel and accompanied social media accounts that'll be associated with the Uncommon Wealth title.
I know I was a bit MIA on the blog here during July but I've recommitted myself to this blog and I have some really exciting things in the works for the future so stay tuned!
New 30-day Health Challenge for August: Meditation
August has arrived and with it a new 30-day health challenge. For August I've decided to take a break from the diet and exercise focsued challenges to one that is more mental health related. As stated above I'm defintiely going to continue to maintain a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, however I'm now going to add on an element that will help me balance another important area of my health: my brain.
I believe taking care of my mental health is so important especially being someone who is a shift worker in emergency services. I hear and witness too often how stressful shift work-type jobs in the emergency services are and can wreck havoc on a person's mental and emotional states and I'd like to find a healthy way to counteract this process.
I've dabbled with meditation in the past and I've felt like it has helped and when I've maintained a regular practice but I've been so far unable to make it a permanent part of my life. I truly believe that meditation and mindfulness is a beneficial practice and should be part of everyone's healthy daily routine. So for that reason this month I'm going to set myself a goal of meditating a minimun of 5-10 minutes a day in the hopes of setting up a regular meditation practice.
There are a lot of great resources out there to help you learn how to meditate: for example just search meditation on Google and you'll be surprised what you can find. I really enjoy using guided meditations to help me and I currently have the Calm.com and the Omvana apps on my iPhone, which allow me to download and use a variety of meditations, sounds and music for free or a small price to aid me in my meditations. If you are new to meditation check out Headspace, which is a website and a free app that explains in plain language and with fun cartoons how to meditate and make it a regular practice with the help of a free 21-day intro program.
I'm going to experiment with adding mediation to my morning and eveing routine and see which works best for me. I'll keep you posted on my progress but for now just get started: sit quietly, close your eyes and focus on your breath while letting all other distractions drift away for just a couple minutes...and viola you've just meditated! Repeat tomorrow, and the day after and then the day after that until wow now you're a meditator: welcome to the club! Feels great doesn't it? Let me know how you've done with meditation and any resources, tips or tricks you've found helpful in the comments below.
Happy meditating and as always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)