whole 30 days 22-28

I’m almost finished my first Whole 30!!

I had a couple of food wins this week.

Number 1:  I no longer feel compelled to eat everything on my plate.

Not even if I’ve made it. Not even if it’s delicious. This week I sat down to a scrumptious breakfast of parsnip, pumpkin and apple hash (inspired by this recipe) and I was enjoying every mouthful… Until all of a sudden I wasn’t. I realised that I was no longer hungry, put my fork down and stopped eating. It was like the  **i’m full**  light switch in my head was finally flicked.

What is satiation? Here’s a run-down about satiety and satiation from It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig:

Satiety occurs in your digestive tract – specifically, in your intestines. When you’ve digested and absorbed enough calories and nutrients to satisfy your body’s needs, hormones signal to your brain that “I am well-nourished now”, which decreases your desire for more food.

This is based on actual nutrition and how long the food takes to be digested though so can take several hours for the message to get through.

Satiation is regulated in the brain and is based on the taste, smell and texture of food and the perception of “fullness”. As you eat, you perceive various sensations all of which send your brain status updates to help you determine whether you still want more… It is an estimate dependent on your perceptions, not an absolute measurement.

On Wednesday my satiety/satiation functions worked beautifully and I simply stopped. eating. when. i. was. done.

This is a massive breakthrough for me.

I don’t think that I’ve EVER stopped eating something delicious before; certainly not something that’s delicious AND healthy.


Number 2: Food is medicine.

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No, I’m not suggesting that medicine is redundant, but after this week I believe that what you eat certainly impacts your health… for better or worse. There has been sickness in our house for over two weeks now. T had a cold a couple of weeks ago before going to QLD for a tv shoot. He returned a few days later even worse for wear. The following weekend we had friends stay and their slightly-snotty toddler woke in the middle of the night moaning and grabbing her ears and was a total wreck the next day. The day after that both C & L started to display cold and flu symptoms. For the last seven days our house has been a bit of a snot factory. T’s been sleeping for hours every day, supplementing and medicating by the handful and the kids have been dosed up on panadol, neurofen and homeopathic symptom relief. Yesterday the three of them saw a doctor and the little ones are continuing to throw temps and leak grossness.

I’ve been largely unaffected.

I honestly believe that my lack of inflammatory foods (think sugar, legumes, grains, dairy) and the wide variety of vegetables, proteins, fats and fruits that I have been consuming has boosted my immune system significantly.

I have been a little scratchy of throat the last few mornings, and a little watery of eye the last couple of nights when L wakes for a feed, but if you knew how sick this household has been – and how hands on I have had to be with our little snot monsters, whilst T is out of action – I am very well, thank you! Not out of the woods by a long shot, but doing just fine!

How amazing is that? Imagine what illnesses and diseases could be drastically minimised if we all just ate real food?

So there you go. Two very exciting food wins as I enter the last few days of Whole 30.

Happy Monday!

Jenn xx


it’s Spring Day! (and Whole 30 days 15-21)

Happy Spring Day!

September 1st is my favourite day of the year, and I especially love it when it falls on a Monday. First day of the week, first day of the month, first day of the season (and my favourite season at that). If there was a Most Inspiring Day of the Year award, today would win hands down.

Spring Day

Two years ago today the lovely Kate (who also loves Spring Day) started OperationMOVE: a challenge for herself and her readers to pledge a certain number of minutes that they would commit to movement for the month. Such a great idea and one that has taken off faster and wider than I'm sure she ever imagined it would. I'm not an active Operation Mover anymore but I love to check in with the team from time to time and see the great success that have taken place as a result of Kate's little challenge.

The thing that I loved most about Opmove was that it wasn't about busting any great records or committing yourself up to your eyeballs (though both ok if so desired!) but rather about just committing to moving x number of minutes a month; just getting out there and doing something. It's gentle but encouraging, it allows you to challenge and compete against yourself if you wish, and it's been amazing to see so many women become empowered and take control of their health and fitness.

Bravo Kate.

Spring has always been about health and fitness for me. I've historically been a bit of a sedentary winter person and then, spurred by glossy magazine covers (GET YOUR BEST BIKINI BODY EVER!), upcoming softball season and warm, sunny days I get my mojo back from September 1 and start the annual 'health' kick of low fat, calorie restricted foods and do my darnedest to work my butt off.

For the last couple of years I've been in the sugar-free, full-fat camp so dietary changes have been less drastic (though still a bit of a tighten up), I've been having babies, so the desire to get My Best Bikini Body Ever has dwindled somewhat, and due to where we have lived I've not been playing softball. Still I see Spring Day as a chance to pull my socks up a little higher and set some Big Hairy Audacious Goals and cut the crap that inevitably still seeps into my winter diet.

In Health and Fitness Land, this year Spring Day has actually been a little bit of an anti climax. I've been running every week for the last couple of months and am now at 7km. I'm on day 22 of the Whole 30 and feel as though this is something I will be able to maintain (albeit perhaps with some dairy if I don't have any problems when I start eating it again!). I've not done anything different today because I've already been treating my body well… And it feels good to already Be the Change.

In general Jenn Land it's been a BRILLIANT Spring Day. After weeks of rainy days, today has been spectacular. The sun is shining, the flowers are opening up to soak in the rays. We took an earlyish walk to the station to drop off some visitors and continued on around the bay. We had a wee birthday party at the river-beach for one of C's little friends, in and out of the water in and out of the sun. We've eaten delicious, wholesome, nourishing food. Life is good! We've got rain predicted again for much of the week to come so I just love that today has been so perfect.

It wouldn't be Spring Day without at least thinking about my exercise and nutrition. Last week was week three of my first Whole 30 and I'm still glad to report that I've been going really well. As I mentioned, I feel as though this is a foodie lifestyle that I feel like I can maintain. My energy levels are good (except for the fatigue that comes with a frequently waking nine month old – and even then I'm surprisingly on top of things), my gut seems to be pretty happy, I can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans (woot!!), my skin seems brighter, my nails less brittle, my mood pretty stable. All good things! I'm still snacking a couple of times per day, which isn't strictly Whole 30 but I think since I'm feeding a monster baby that's ok. I'm still not drinking enough water, which probably also contributes to the desire to snack.

I had a food realisation today. I crave sweets when I'm hot. After a few hours in the sun today I came home and stared straight into the pantry and then the fridge, looking for something – ANYTHING – that would satisfy my sweet craving. I'd eaten a bit of mixed fruit at the birthday party so didn't want to eat another orange (though the semi frozen fruit at the bottom of. Y fridge screamed my name!) and for some silly reason I just didn't fancy water. I ate a carrot and a couple of teaspoons of almond, Brazil and cashew nut spread and a cup of tea with coconut milk, all of which kind sorta didn't really do the trick but at least made me aware of my previous habit which would have been ice cream/yoghurt/milk then failing that peanut butter toast… Because that fixes everything right!?

Did I mention that I need to drink more water!?!?

I've been really proud of my running over the last few weeks, running 6km two Fridays ago and 7km this Friday just gone. That's by far the furthest I've run in… I don't know how long! Possibly since the 8km Mothers Day Classic last year. What I need to improve on is stretching, resistance training and looking after my legs with more gradual increases in distance. I just really wanna complete the 10k run in three weeks time! I think so long as I do a couple of shorter runs throughout the week and love the foam roller like I know I should, then my knees should feel less shock and more like contributing to a comfortable longer run.

So… Goals for this week:

  • Drink 2L water a day, ON TOP OF tea
  • Before reaching for a snack, have a glass of water
  • Roll out my ITB before and after each of three runs (2 x 3km, 1 x 8km)
  • Do at least one yoga class, plus stretch for 10 mins every day
  • Do some resistance leg work!

Do you love Spring? Have you made any health and fitness goals?



Whole 30 :: days 8-14

I lost my draft for this post… Waaaah! Truth be known it's probably a blessing; I'm pretty sure my week one log was the most boring post I've ever written in my entire life. I thought that journaling my food and impressions might be a nice way to keep track of my Whole 30 experience but to be honest it's actually not been THAT difficult a transition for me. I've certainly noticed physical and mental changes since the beginning, but I've not experienced some of the wild ups and downs that many people face when transitioning to a whole foods diet, largely I assume because I already ate sugar-free most of the time.

Now that I've finished week two of the Whole 30 program, I'm starting to think this is a lifestyle that I might be able to maintain. I'm feeling good. I don't have energy dips, my snacking is decreasing, I'm rarely hungry between meals, I've had no further hypoglycaemic mornings, I've managed a few runs and a gym strength class, I'm sleeping more soundly (though L is still waking me at least once overnight for a feed).

I've had two social outings in the last week, the first of which was hard but surprisingly successful! We went to Newcastle for a friend's birthday and they were beautifully tolerant of my choice, offering a delicious chicken and corn soup (serving rice and bread on the side) and fruit salad as well as cake for dessert. I didn't feel left out in the slightest. It was the travel that was hard; even though I had a very hearty and nutritionally dense breakfast before we left I just didn't have enough snacks on hand to boost my meal while we were away. A good thing to remember for next time!

The second outing was a catch up with a friend and our kids at our local cafe. I ordered a pot of tea, no milk, no honey… And added a good schlook of coconut milk that I brought along. Too easy! And no judgement/questions/eyebrow raising. I love my friends!

Oh! And I've been largely coffee free since starting too. I had my first… and last… when we went to Newy. I'd taken my trusty coconut milk bottle with me and poured some in. Yuck! Hahahah. I'm loving coconut milk in a variety of teas but I just cannot. do. coconut. coffee. No siree.

Today I had my first real moment of weakness when T and MissC made some cookies. That smell… Lordy.

So that's week two! Feeling really good, loving my energy levels.


Jenn xx

(nearly) Niçoise salad

When we lived in the mountains we belonged to a fresh food co-op and got 1.5-2kg of fresh seafood for $40 every fortnight. The selection was seasonal and varied; whatever was swimming that week that could be bought for a decent price. I admit there were times when we had a backlog of fish in the freezer but for the most part we enjoyed trying a bunch of different types of seafood and preparation styles.

Since moving to the river we’ve had fish & chips far too many times, but I can count the number of times that we’ve purchased fresh local fish on one hand (with fingers to spare).
Doing the Whole 30 may add a bit to your fruit and veg bill expenses, but in our case it has drastically cut the amount of moolah that we throw away on eating out . Don’t get me wrong, eating out can be a wonderful sensory experience, but when your sensory experience consists of hearing your baby bang on the table, seeing your toddler escape from her seat more times than you can count, smelling your meal for far too long because you are too busy feeding/entertaining/wrangling to taste it, tasting the bitter disdain that fellow diners have for you and feeling like none of it was really worth the $50 you just dropped on two coffees and a couple of steak sangas… Well, it’s not really worth it!! And now that I’m not eating grains/dairy/sugar/alcohol, finding a suitable eatery is near impossible.
So the other day we splurged and bought some fresh salmon. It’s been far too long since we’ve had fresh fish and whilst I baulked at the $35/kg price tag, I knew it was 100 times better value for money than a stressful meal out. I bought three fillets for dinner but we only ate two, leaving one lonely salmon steak for three of us the next day.
How do you make one piece of salmon serve three people? Turn it in to a salad of course! Based loosely on this recipe, we were all three satisfied and satiated. I give you my (nearly) Niçoise salad.
Salmon and sweet potato salad


  • 1 large salmon steak
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, soft but not mushy (mine were baked whole that morning)
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 2 good handfuls of green beans, stem ends trimmed, blanched
  • 1-2 mini capsicums, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven or your BBQ (we used our weber) to 200C. Rub the salmon steak with a wee bit of oil and season with salt and pepper, then cook on a lined tray for 10 minutes. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes then slice it up. Arrange all the ingredients for the salad on a plate. Sprinkle some capers all over the salad, drizzle the vinegarette and you’re good to go.

Jenn xx

a quick catch up and why you should wear sunscreen

I haven’t posted anything for a while. I’ve been busy, yes, but it’s mostly because I found out that ‘Vitalogy Health & Fitness’ is already registered as an Australian Business Name.Then I listened to my Cert IV Business Operations and Marketing lecture and -much like they do in Bloggersville – they were talking about having a niche. And having a name that represents your brand and your niche. So then I got all in my head (and all over twitter) about how to morph ‘Vitalogy Health & Fitness’ into something pregnancy and post natally related, whilst still keeping Vitalogy. And then in the end I spoke to my father in law and he came up with the catchy ‘Natal Days Health and Fitness’ which I quite like, so obviously spent a good few hours designing and perfecting a wee logo for my new business.

Natal Days logo

Yes, I am only two modules into my Cert IV.

Yes, I have QUITE a ways to go before I am qualified and can actually run a fitness business.

Still, some things you just gotta do right? Logos are important 😉

Oh, and I started another blog and started transferring posts from here to there. Started thinking about rebranding and writing more niche specific content, started the Whole 30.

And then I thought about buying a gym and the idea of Vitalogy Health & Fitness bounced back in my head as I pondered life as a gym owner and personal trainer to the broader public (with a focus on pregnancy etc), not merely a self employed, meet-you-at-your-desired-location personal trainer to pregnant and post-natal women. I thought about how it would turn our worlds upside down (both positively and negatively, no doubt) and about how it might be the poorest and most fulfilling years of our life. Or the poorest first year and then financially freeing decision we make.  And things like that.

And then Hubby (furthermore known as T) said what about our 2016 Road Trip? And it reminded me that when we look over the sale information we need to make sure we consider ALL aspects of our lives that will be affected, not just the obvious time and financial ones.

So I’m back in the Natal Days camp. But as I write this though I keep thinking about how much I like the word vitalogy even though it’s not officially a word. I like it because it sounds like vitality, which is such a great word and reminds me of life, which reminds me of birth, which brings me back to the niche. So maybe I can still use Vitalogy SOMEHOW. definition of vitalityAnyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve got time to think about it all still. In the mean time I’m going to move the new posts from there to here again and stay in this happy little place for a bit.

NOW, the reason for my post!

I just saw this video on Upworthy and LOVED it. I’ve been extremely slack with sunscreen over the last few years – living in a bleak town for 4 years will do that to you – and it’s a habit that I’ve had trouble breaking since we moved to the river. Not anymore.

Jenn x

Whole 30 :: days 1-7

Day 1:

Breakfast: bacon, egg, avo and pumpkin hash

Lunch: tuna, egg, avo, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin hash

Dinner: pork chops with date and orange sauce, zucchini and broccolini


Thoughts: I ate LOADS today. Couldn’t stop snacking all good stuff, but still. Hungry, hungry hippo. Actually that’s not true; just mindless eating. I’m wondering if I’ll be able to commit as I’m approaching this in a very easy going gentle way. Time will tell!


Day 2:

Breakfast: green smoothie (spinach, avo, coconut oil, pear, celery, ginger) plus egg, avo, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin hash

Lunch: stuffed portobello mushrooms with tuna, pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, spinach, capsicum, zucchini and tomato, topped with almond meal and grilled

Dinner: pork and apple sausage and balsamic-roasted cherry tomato zucchini ‘pasta’


Thoughts: I’ve been full today. Couldn’t finish lunch, not hungry after dinner. Drinking a few cups of tea a day with coconut milk. Not drinking enough water. One small snack of a handful of almonds. Didn’t need it, but they were there! A few food habits to break, me thinks.


Day 3:

Breakfast: tea with coconut milk, apple, leftover sausage pasta with added pumpkin

Lunch: tuna, salmon and mixed veggie hash with avo on top

Dinner: Sticky Dukkah Chicken Thighs


Thoughts: I woke up hungry this morning and after half an hour of reading in bed with Miss2 I was STARVING. As in low sugar level, heady, shaky starving. I made a massive mug of tea and poured a very goodly portion of coconut milk in and chugged it down, with an apple chaser for a quick sugar release. This gave me the energy to breastfeed the little one and get me through til I could heat up my breaky. I’ve read about women having milk supply issues when doing Whole 30, so have been making an effort to have sweet and/or white potato with most meals to boost carbs and I’m taking a breast feeding support tablet just in case.


Day 4:

Breakfast: Sweet Potato, Apple and Pancetta Hash with a fried egg and tea with coconut milk

Lunch: leftover Sticky Dukkah Chicken Thighs sliced and hashed up with butternut pumpkin, capsicum and baby spinach

Dinner: Asian style beef mince, carrot, capsicum and broccoli stitfry (inspired by (It Starts with Food’).


Thoughts: according to the Whole 30 website, for many people day 4 is really tough. I’ve been great today! Went to the gym to do some work experience hours and ended up doing an hour long strength class. Bought a tin of tuna to boost my protein and had a good lunch when I got home. No headaches, no fatigue, no desire to punch anyone in the head (yep, apparently that’s a thing!).


Day 5:

Breakfast: leftover asian mince with sweet potato and egg

Lunch: Quick Salmon Patties (with added sweet potato) with baby spinach and Nashi pear salad and dukkah

Dinner: (mostly) pumpkin soup with an egg poached in it and topped with crispy bacon and sage

Late snack: I was shaky nauseous starving at 930pm so finished off the chicken from a couple of days ago.


Thoughts: feeling good again today. A little weary, and struggled to get out of bed but no less energy than usual and no adverse feelings! Had an orange after lunch, which was delish. So far my milk supply seems to be just fine, however I’ve noticed that bub’s poos have become really loose and smelly. I guess he’s adjusting to the increased fibre and decreased bread! Also with the sheer volume of foodie eating I suspect his little nine month old gut is adjusting. And that late night hunger was odd. Felt much better after polishing off the dukkah chicken.


Day 6:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with capsicum, baby spinach, mushroom, coconut milk and a side of baked sweet potato

Lunch: fire baked spud stuffed with savoury mince (ground beef, capsicum, tomato, zucchini, red onion, herbs) and topped with dessicated coconut

Dinner: salmon fillet with braised garlic kale, parsnip fries, carrot, snow peas

Snacks: almonds, sliced apple, snow peas, strawberries


Thoughts: tired and cranky today. Not overly tired, but more weary than normal, and snappy, espcially at Miss 2. Maybe this was my version of day 4/5 ‘kill all the things’. And I had a very VERY vivid dream last night. Guess I’m just all over the shop!!


Day 7:

Breakfast: leftover savoury mince with baked sweet potato

Lunch: (nearly) Niçoise salad

Dinner: lamb cutlets with cauliflower and potato mash, carrots and braised greens

Snacks: orange, boiled egg


Thoughts: Again a bit tricky to get out of bed this morning (rough night with L didn’t help), but once I was up I was fine. Despite being generally fatigued I had no energy slumps or spikes which was nice. I went for a run this afternoon and that felt good!

DAY SEVEN! Woot! So far so good. The biggest change for me is breakfast – I’m usually a weetbix/porridge/eggs kinda girls so hot breakfasts every day is a welcome change. Breakfast has always been my favourite eating out meal though so it’s absolutely not a drama to be cooking up or reheating something every morning. The fact that it often looks like last nights dinner is takes a bit of adjusting to, but otherwise all good!


i’m doing the Whole 30

I'm doing the whole 30On a bit of a whim, I'm doing the Whole 30. I read about it a few weeks ago when I was in the middle of a fortnight-long cold and thought it might be a good way to boost my immune system, then my husband teased me and said 'you just love a good challenge, don't you?' and I got cold feet.

The thing is, I DO love a good challenge. I've historically been a bit of a challenge junkie – and have never been ashamed about it before – so why start now? I. love. challenges.

The thing is, I've also realised that I am quite the little organiser, easily motivated but not easily committed… and more into the planning of things than the actioning. I decided a couple of months ago that I needed to stop thinking and start doing and so I'm going a bit rogue and not doing a big plan before I start, but rather just taking it a day at a time. NOT how it's meant to be done. I also recently realised that making and sharing Big Hairy Audacious Goals online doesn't work for me and rather that it's just about being mindful. About paying attention to my body and how it feels. About making small adjustments that I can stick to, rather than sweeping change.

So isn't this all a bit hypocritical? Perhaps. The thing is that I currently have only a tiny handful of readers on this wee blog, most of whom are personal friends, so it's more like an open journal with a couple of supportive readers. And as for the sweeping change factor?

I'm tired. Like bone tired, not I was up too late tired.
My skin is dry.
I've had a virus for weeks that I can't shake.
I've had a headache for a week.
I feel bloated and I weigh a few kg more than I'd like to.
I've rekindled my love affair with sugar. It's early days in the relationship but we've been seeing a bit of each other recently.
I eat too much bread.
I don't drink enough water.
I have a terrible attention span.

I think a little 30 day-whole food experiment might just help me with some of these issues.

Here's my day 1 face.

whole 30 day 1 face

I'll journal daily but publish weekly… don't really want to fill up my new little blog with thousands of Whole 30 posts.

Jenn xx