Whole30: 11 Days Down

Have you heard of the Whole30? Basically, it’s a healthy eating challenge in which you do not consume any grains (gluten-free or otherwise), dairy, legumes, alcohol, seed oils, or added sugar for 30 days. As a co-worker said to me, “So what DO you eat?” Fruits, veggies, healthy fats (except peanuts or peanut butter), and protein. He then said, “And WHY are you doing this?”

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I started scouring the Internet for gluten-free recipes. While Pinning away, I noticed a lot of the GF recipes I was saving were from paleo blogs. If you have no idea what I am talking about, Paleo is a way of eating that follows the same rules as Whole30, though some people who follow a Paleo diet will eat certain dairy products (unpasteurized) or include honey in their meals, etc. When I clicked through to these blogs to explore even more paleo and therefore also gluten-free recipes, I read each blogger’s about page (my favorite thing to do when finding a new blog!). I started noticing a pattern: A LOT of Paleo bloggers follow a Paleo lifestyle due to digestive or autoimmune diseases (like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one…you get the idea).

I then started to read more and more about the Paleo diet and the people who use it to manage various health issues, which lead me to discovering both SCD and Whole30. Reading about both of those diets lead me to the conclusion that just cutting out gluten may not solve my issues, at least not at first. Since my intestines are damaged (particularly the villi which absorb nutrients and help with the digestion of food groups like dairy), more than just gluten could potentially cause me inflammation, pain, and the host of celiac symptoms I’ve been dealing with. Once my body has healed more, I could potentially reintroduce different food items or groups without negative effects (though never gluten again, gluten is forever a no!).

So, paired with my own research (at lot of which I pinned to my “Living With Celiac” board) and the reading of this book, I decided to complete a Whole30. Many people complete a Whole30 for the same reason as me – to see if changing their diet will change the way they physically feel. A lot of people also lose weight on this diet, since the only carbs you are really eating are fruits and veggies, but that’s honestly not my motivation (though it will be a welcome side effect, let’s be real!). I wanted to give my body a chance to heal to the best of its abilities. And though I did not specifically discuss completing a Whole30 challenge with a registered dietician or a nutritionist, when I saw a R.D. I did ask her about consuming dairy (because of that whole damaged villi thing). She replied to the effect of, “I would just see how you feel when you eat it. If you eat ice cream and your stomach is hurting after, then it could be the dairy and all the sugar. If it doesn’t hurt when you have cheese or yogurt, then you know you can tolerate that. Just see how you feel.”

That’s my aim with Whole30: see how I feel. Eliminate some potentially “harmful” foods for 30 days, then reintroduce each group of them one by one and see if my body experiences any negative effects. If it does, then I may choose to continue to avoid those food items for awhile and possibly reintroduce them again at a later time. If it doesn’t bother me, then I know I don’t need to worry about that consuming that food in addition to avoiding gluten.

I’m currently 11 days into my Whole30, and I am feeling pretty darn good! I haven’t had a headache since I started it, and I can’t remember the last time I went over a week without a headache, I really can’t. My stomach has only hurt once or twice. I’m not sure why that is – it could be just IBS acting up, triggered by stress or a poor night’s sleep, or it could be that due to celiac damage, even with a very limited diet my stomach can be irritated while trying to digest food. I have definitely had more energy, even though I am drinking less coffee and haven’t had any sugar. I have lost weight (I weighed myself, even though you’re “not supposed to” during Whole30) and my clothes are fitting differently.

And honestly, eating in a Whole30-compliant manner is NOT as difficult as I thought. I wouldn’t describe it as easy, per se, but it’s not as challenging as I thought it would be. Maybe it’s because my reason for doing it is very important to me. Or, maybe it’s because my body is feeling good so I’m not missing stuff. Or, it’s because it’s only been less than two weeks, haha.  In any case, it’s been easier willpower-wise and prep-wise than I thought it would be. “Meal prep” is easy – go to grocery store, buy lots of fresh, unprocessed food. When you make a meal, just combine a serving of each fruit, veggie, protein, and healthy fat. Boom, meal planning done. I’ve made sure our kitchen is well-stocked and to pack compliant snacks anytime I go out (work, baseball game, bridal shower, road trip, whatever). I also planned to start my Whole30 before major events that I knew I would not be able to stay compliant for or really hate trying to – annual family get together Memorial Day weekend, a wedding, my birthday, chaperoning a school trip to Washington, D.C., and family vacation (all occurring within a three week window! The end of May/beginning of June is going to be nuts!). I definitely think choosing the right 30 days is important and has helped, as well.

Have you ever completed a Whole30 or a paleo challenge? Would you ever consider it? I’m documenting my journey daily on my fitness Instagram, @kcd_fit, if you are interested in following along!


weekly gems


    Cuddles on Saturday morning 

My Life: What’s Up

photo (1)


What’s New:

  • Daniel and I were married in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony on July 20th, 2013, and then celebrated with an intimate formal reception. I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • We went on a mini-moon around Ohio during which we attended minor league baseball games, shopped, went to the movies, ate a lot of delicious food, and visited our alma mater.
  • We had an amazing picnic reception with our extended family and friends on July 27th. Again, I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • Back to work and everyday life as newlyweds and we’re loving it!

What I am…

  • Reading: City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman (not my favorite so far but still enjoying it!) and Truman by David McCullough (loving this, just soooo long!)
  • Watching (TV): Dan & I binge-watched Community earlier this summer and loved it! Now I’m catching up on last season of Parks & Recreation.
  • Watching (movie): On our minimoon, Dan and I saw Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2. Pacific Rim was all-around entertaining (loved the music!), World War Z totally freaked me out but was awesome, and while I did not enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the original, it was cute and funny.
  • Listening to: The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles (beautiful and chill but boosts my mood), The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake (JT can do no wrong), and Pioneer by The Band Perry (my favorite new music purchase of the year!)
  • Doing for fitness: I recently officially became a Tone It Up! member. I had been following the community along from a distance for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. After the wedding, things slowed down tremendously and I feel so much more settled and content. I began walking 2-4 miles everyday and eating less processed foods in smaller portions. My anxiety has been much easier to manage and I’ve felt much more positive. Tone It Up! (TIU) is all about eating clean and exercising regularly, so it just felt right for me at this time. I’ll keep you updated on my journey! Loving it so far!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I created a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit for my TIU check-ins and to connect with the TIU community more. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: my new running shoes and feeling better running than in the past, the last few weeks of relaxing summer, longs walks with Madison and listening to my favorite podcast, cooking different rice bowl variations, the Cleveland Indians (despite their recent – now broken – losing streak), the approach of a fresh school year, and new pieces of furniture and decor here and there that are making our apartment truly look and feel like home.

What is new with you? 

weekly gems


Have a wonderful weekend, my dears : )

weekly gems


weekly gems




my life: volunteering at the animal shelter, part II



Yesterday I discussed the inspiration and motivation behind one of my March/April New Year’s All Year goals, volunteering at the animal shelter, and promised that today I would share how that experience is going so far. So here we go!

My local animal shelter always welcomes volunteers. Volunteers under 18 are only allowed to do specific tasks, but volunteers over 18 are allowed to help in countless ways. All volunteers fill out an application. On the application you preference shifts (AM, before noon, or PM, starting at 4) and days, as well as a desire to work with dogs, cats, or either. I preference weekday evenings and either cats or dogs. A volunteer coordinator from the shelter contacted me. She discussed with me what days the shelter needed volunteers for and said she was assigning me to help with cats. I did not know this, but apparently May-October (at least in the Greater Cleveland area) is “kitten season,” and the shelter was going to really need volunteers to help with the cats during that time.

Once a day (every other Friday), time (evenings), and type of animal (cats) was assigned, we set up a time for me to come into the shelter for training. This training was no joke – it took a little over two hours. I was shown around the shelter in its entirety and taken through every step of caring for the cats. Since my training, I have been to the shelter twice to help take care of the cats (like Peppermint, featured in the photo below!).

Here’s what happens during a typical afternoon shift at the shelter where I volunteer, inside the main cat room*:

  • Shift leader assigns each volunteer (including herself) a section of cages
  • Each cat is fed dry food. Most cats eat the same kind, but some are on weight management or senior diet, which is indicated by notes on their cages. Kittens also have special food.
  • Each litter box is cleaned and refreshed.
  • Each cat has a little clipboard with two sheets of paper. The first has their their name, approximate DOB, arrival date, medical information about things like spay/neuter, worms, etc., and any other information like if the cat is shy or anything like that. The second is a sheet changed weekly. For each day of the week is an AM and PM box. Whatever volunteer takes care of the cat for a given shift is responsible for filling out that shift’s box. In that box, volunteers indicate if the cat is eating or not, urinating or not (and if so, to what degree), and passing stools or not (and if so, to what degree). This information is used to catch problems and monitor conditions.
  • If cats need medicine, the shift leader takes care of it or assigns an experienced volunteer.
  • If a litter scoop is used on one cat’s box, it cannot be used on another. Once it is used, it needs to be put with the “dirty” scoops to be sanitized.
  • After every cat has been fed dry food, had their litter box changed, and clipboard filled out, they receive a dish of wet food as a treat. The shift leader scoops it onto plates and the rest of the volunteers pass it out.
  • Once all the cats are done with their wet treats, a couple that get along well will be let out of their cages to roam. These may be cats that have been marked as “needing exercise” for health reasons or just cats that enjoy walking around and playing. The cats will be rotated in groups for coming out to play.
  • The volunteers collect the wet food plates when the cats are done. The dishes have to be washed, dried, and put away.
  • Once all the supplies have been cleaned and put away, the volunteers spend the rest of the time visiting the cats. Some cats don’t want to visit, because they’re shy or because they just want to sleep. Others want to cuddle up in your lap or sit and purr while you pet them. They all appreciate company and love.
  • Around the time the volunteers are able to just socialize with the cats is the time the shelter is open to the public. Friday nights are usually pretty popular for adoptions, and will especially be so when more kittens start arriving.
I am greatly enjoying my experience so far. I obviously knew the shelter took a lot of effort to run, but I never realized exactly how precise the procedures were and how much time it could take to do them all correctly – and doing them correctly is essential for the health and happiness of these cats. I really like being able to help animals in need, and I love cuddling with cute cats like Bethany pictured up above! A lot of the cats at the shelter have been there for longer than you think. The shelter I am at is a no-kill shelter, and there are quite a few cats that have been at the shelter for over a year now.


And here is where my shameless plea comes in: if you are thinking of adopting a cat, please consider adopting a CAT, not a kitten.**  So many people want kittens, but older cats have just as much capacity to love and be loved – maybe even more so in the case of ones that have never had a real home. There are several cats at the shelter who are relatively young (2-6 years old) but have not been adopted. They are friendly, cuddly, sweet cats, and they haven’t been adopted simply because they aren’t kittens and kittens are more appealing. It breaks my heart. As much as I wanted to work with dogs, I am grateful I am working with these cats and giving them the attention they deserve. (And if I could take them home with me, I would! However my house already has two dogs and three 14 year old cats. While the dogs wouldn’t mind, I’m pretty sure the three cats would kill me. As would my mom.) So please, consider young adult cats or adult cats. They’ll already have been spayed or neutered, have their shots, are housebroken, etc., and they need just as much love. And if you already have experience with cats, you should consider seniors. I assure you they would much rather spend their golden years in a loving home than in a shelter, no matter how wonderful the care and visits they receive there. When I imagine a cuddly and beautiful senior cat like my cat Shadow, pictured below, in a shelter instead of sunning on the porch, it breaks my heart.

If you love animals but can’t commit (for whatever reason) to adopting a cat or dog at this time, consider volunteering at your local shelter or welfare/rescue society.*** There’s many reasons why volunteering is awesome, but providing a homeless animal with some much-needed love is definitely a great one.

Have you ever volunteered at an animal shelter before? What was your experience like? Would you ever consider adopting an adult or senior pet?


*There are also quarantine and step-down rooms where animals are cared for, but I do not volunteer in those rooms at this time. **Or consider a DOG instead of a puppy! Puppies may possibly be even more work than kittens! ***If you love animals but are allergic to dogs and cats, there are plenty of ways you can help them without being hands on! ****Last three photos taken with iPhone and filtered through Instagram.

recent loves

Book – I cannot stop reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I’m totally hooked! Perfect for anyone who likes mysteries and/or chick lit.

TV Show – I’m loving the show White Collar. The characters are endearing, hilarious, strong, and smart, the acting is excellent, and the writing is fun and engaging. I highly recommend it if you like shows like Bones, Body of Proof, In Plain Sight, etc.

Source: amazon.com via Kelly on Pinterest

App – I’ve had Instagram for several months now, but I’ve just recently become really hooked. Recording and sharing the small but meaningful parts of life adds a little extra celebration and positivity to each day. Plus, the photos of other users are so fun and inspiring!

Source: instagr.am via Kelly on Pinterest

Beauty – As I’ve mentioned, I’m getting more and more interested in the world of beauty, particularly nail polish. Right now I’m really loving Nicki Minaj for OPI Metallic 4 Life.

Snack – Lots of people adore cake. I’m not typically one of them. However, I do enjoy cupcakes and cake pops. As a result, I tried Starbucks’s new cake pop, raspberry truffle – and fell in love. Delicious!

Source: starbucks.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Workout – Have you ever tried Zumba? If not, you must! I truly love it. It’s fun, and a really is a great workout without even feeling like it. I’ve been going to a class once a week most weeks for the past couple weeks. I’d love to increase that number or pick up the DVDs.

Source: shape.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Quote – I find quotes by First Ladies to be particularly inspiring and wise. This sentiment by Martha Washington is no exception.

What have you been loving lately?

my life: recent happenings via instagram

First three photos: My friend Elizabeth’s cute papillon puppy, Rosie (she’s 2.5 pounds!); Madison in a basket of blankets; cuddling with my family’s dog Sasha while watching Wheel of Fortune with my parents. Middle three photos: fantastic Melt Quesadilla appetizer Dan & I shared on our first trip to Melt Bar & Grilled; my delicious BBQ chicken grilled cheese from Melt; yummy cake from Resch’s Bakery, courtesy of my future-in-laws, to celebrate Dan & I’s engagement (and in our wedding colors!). Last three photos: Dan & I before his indoor soccer game; Dan knocking down an opponent player while playing; booty from my weekend trip to Target.
Sorry I’ve been a bit absent lately. (I also apologize if there are formatting issues while viewing this post – some browsers aren’t displaying it correctly) The end of the swim season accompanied with subbing and traveling often has taken some toll on my spare time, which has been spent with family and friends with little leftover time for blogging. What have you all been up to lately?
*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!