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“Learn something new every day”, a motto I live by, just ask my kiddos…..I say it all of the time.  Even if you mess up, learn from it.

So as I’ve traveled this road of a “Whole 30”, I’ve learned and confirmed, quite a few things.

1)      Doing a Whole 30, or any other endeavor, is harder to do alone.  Having a support network or someone to do it with you is better.

2)      I used to eat a lot of cheese.

3)      I love vegetables, especially sautéed in coconut oil.  Yum!

4)      I now appreciate and enjoy sunbutter.

5)      I can drink black coffee and enjoy it without gagging.

6)      Seafood makes me happy. I feel healthy, happy, and “light” even after a full meal.

7)      I can live without cheese.  *Prefer not to, but I can survive.

8)      It is a challenge to do a Whole 30 when you are the momma and your husband and children are not doing it with you,…..

9)      Meal planning is essential.

10)   When planning to do a Whole 30, account for parties and stress,…..it could really throw you off!

And now, my latest update on how my Whole 30 is going and how my 30-day squat challenge is going….

I could lie.  I could tell you how wonderful it is, how it’s so easy, how you should do it too,…….

But that’s not me.


I could go on and on.

I could give you a list of excuses.

I could tell you that being the momma of 8 kiddos who eat 24/7, having a hubby who works endless hours to provide for us, living 20 minutes from the grocery store, OR dealing with a birthday and a graduation is all to blame,……………but it’s not.

This last week, I just wasn’t thinking.

huh girl

My meals were planned, my house was stocked, and I just wasn’t thinking……
My daughter chose one of her birthday foods to be corn on the cob, a no-no on a Whole 30, and well, without the blink of an eye,……I ate it.

Maybe my brain was just thinking, “it’s a vegetable”.   ??

Maybe my brain wasn’t thinking at all.

I just ate.

Needless to say, I “fell off of the cart”.

I was devastated.  I wanted to cry.

You see, the whole point of a Whole 30 is to be perfectly consistent in order to let your body reset itself.  If you cheat, at all…… you’ve blown it.  No. Cheating. At. All.

So, guess what I did?

Yep, I said, “to heck with it”.
How often do you hear that on a blog?

I decided that I’ll need to plan better and try again another time.

I considered just starting my Whole 30 all over again the next day, but I was just an emotional mess due to my screw up.  (I’m usually my worst enemy….can you identify?)

The good news,………..

I’m kickin’ butt (no pun intended) on my 30-day squat challenge!!!  I’ve lost almost a whole inch on my thighs and hips!  My pants feel comfortable and loose and it gets easier every day!

Now, many of you have asked, “what program are you following”?  Well, here it is:

30 day squat challenge

Today I’m at 105, and I am so psyched to be able to say, “I did it”!!!

So, as I move forward, my plan is to complete my 30-day squat challenge, continue with my gluten-free (almost grain free) eating plan, and continue doing what I do,……”always strive for balance, learn something new every day, and Praise God for every single second”!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena   😉

Woohoo!  Today is day 7 of my Whole 30 challenge, and I’m goin’ strong!

I can’t lie, I’ve missed a few foods, but over all, really not a big deal.  I think it’s more of the “I can’t have it right now, so I really want it” mentality.

I’m also chuggin’ right along on my 30-day squat challenge and today I did 75 squats…..whew! It’s hard to imagine that by the end of the 30 days, I’ll be up to 160 squats a day!

I have to admit, I know it’s only been a week, but I am noticing a few changes in my body.

I’ve noticed that my breakouts are clearing nicely and my rosacea is much more calm; my psoriasis is doing ‘something’, by that I mean, it’s not as bad but my skin feels very tight (not sure what that means, but I’ll be keeping tabs on that); my chest and waist are definitely changing too, my clothes are fitting differently (not like crazy weight loss, more like a little loss with redistribution);  my cravings are changing; and lastly, I’m also sleeping really well and when I wake up, I feel very refreshed.

Have you joined me yet?  You can jump in any time…..  😉

The biggest tip I can give you is, BE PREPARED!

When I’m not prepared, I just want to fill my face with anything that’s convenient, not good.  So it’s really important to have the kitchen stocked with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins that are easy to prepare or eat “as is” (like boiled shrimp), and keep avacados close by.   *One of my favorite snacks has been half of an avacado with lime juice on it (one time I also added a tablespoon of fresh pico de gallo—YUM!) and 2 oz. of cooked chicken or turkey.

Since being prepared is my biggest tip, I thought I’d share my menu ideas to help you plan for the week. I hope you enjoy it and get some inspiration.


  • 2 eggs with veggies sauteed in coconut oil, salt/pepper to taste
  • Smoothie with one banana, a handful of blueberries, a handful of sliced strawberries and coconut water
  • 1 banana and an apple with sun butter and an 1 oz. chicken/turkey
  • Leftovers


  • Green salad with spinach, lettuce/mesculun, 4-6 oz. diced chicken/turkey or shrimp/beef, sliced almonds, ½ an avacado and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • “Sliced turkey wraps”—the vegetable of your choice (asparagus, red pepper, cucumber…) wrapped in a slice of turkey with some apple slices
  • “Lettuce wraps” –same concept as above only I use romain lettuce as my ‘wrapper’
  • Leftovers


  • Baked chicken with “rice” and roasted veggies (paleo rice is cauliflower “riced” in the food processor and sauteed in coconut oil—it is awesome!)
  • Beef and broccoli stir fry (feel free to add in any extra veggies on hand)
  • Roasted spaghetti squash with coconut oil topped with ground beef and salsa
  • Salmon and roasted veggies with a side salad
  • Leftovers!


  • Half of an avacado with lime juice/salsa and 2 oz. chicken/turkey/boiled shrimp
  • 1 banana with sunbutter
  • 1 apple with almond butter
  • Cucumber and red pepper slices with a splash of rice vinegar

I hope you’ve found some inspiration and encouragement today, and I hope you’ll continue this Whole 30 journey with me.  If you’ve completed a Whole 30 before and would like to share some tips, I’d love to hear them!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena  😉

I’ve had many questions sent to me.

Some of you are wondering, what exactly is a Whole 30?

A Whole 30 is a 30-day time frame designed  to stop and change things up a bit (aka. “reset”) in your body  for a solid 30 days.  😉

paleo 30 days

See, sometimes, our bodies need a change so we can break plateaus, so we can get focused, so we can calm down some systemic inflammation, or so we can detox.

In my last post, I explained that I have been following a gluten-free diet since last fall and I have had some wonderful results!  My body has been able to absorb iron again, my psoriasis (a very pesky skin condition which is auto-immune related) has cleared up a bit, my migraines are better, my fibromyalgia pain is rare, my monthly cycles are WAY less painful,….. it’s been great!

I’d still like to make it better.  Good, better, best …. Right?  😉

So, today, I started a Whole 30.

That means, not only am I cutting out gluten, but I am also cutting out ALL grains (even the gluten-free ones), ALL dairy, ALL legumes (which includes beans and peanuts), and ALL sugar.

Awe, come on, it’s only 30 days.  The Israelites ate manna forty years!  We can do this!

You may be wondering, what’s left?

paleo veggies

I will be eating lean meats, chicken, fish, and lots of eggs.  I will be eating lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.  I will using healthy oils (my favorite, coconut oil-yum!) and I will be drinking lots of water. 😉

What does that look like in a day?  Like this:

Wake up: Drink a large glass of water (with lemon is helpful for detoxing)

Breakfast: 2 eggs with veggies (this morning I used 1 zucchini, ½ an onion, some red pepper and tomatoes in coconut oil).

Mid-morning: 32 ounces of water

Lunch: 6 ounces of pulled pork (cooked in the crockpot—the easy peasy way), a handful of baby carrots, a few slices of cucumber, and some apple slices.

Afternoon snack: ½ of an avocado with lime juice and 32 ounces of water.

Dinner: 6 ounces of grilled chicken, grilled slices of summer squash, and one ear of corn.

Evening snack: some yummy homemade grain-free granola….aka in our home as “paleo-nola” 😉  and yes, WATER!

THAT’S A LOT OF FOOD!  I sure didn’t starve today.  😉

In addition to starting my Whole 30, I also began a new 30-day exercise plan.  Today, that included 55 squats and ½ an hour on the stationary bike.

What makes this sound so easy?  PLANNING!!!!  Without a doubt, PLANNING!!!!

Do you use a meal plan?  I love meal planning, it makes life so much easier!

There are many ways to do it, …. That’s a whole series of posts!  Interested?  Let me know!

For now, here are few tips:

Use your crockpot.

When you cook something, double it to get ahead.

Use leftovers.

To learn more about the Whole 30 plan, go to: www.whole9life.com.  To get movin’, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/30-Day-squat-Challenge/109536482550422 or google “the 30 day squat challenge”.

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 🙂

As I anticipate my first CSA delivery next week, my excitement is hard to contain!  🙂


Being raised in south Texas, I find winters here in New Hampshire to be a little bit long……as spring arrives (in my heart, it arrives on March 1 😉 ) I get so excited to get outside, dig in the dirt, plant my vegetable garden, plant some flowers and herbs, …. And get some ‘spring cleaning’ done.

This year, I’ll be doing something a little different.

Let me back up for a minute…..

See, last fall, after MONTHS and YEARS of trying to figure a couple of tummy issues with a few of my children, I went to see a Naturopath for the first time.  What started out as a “let’s see how this goes” appointment, did NOT end that way.

After much conversation, after going over all of my notes and information that I had been tracking for years,…..my naturopath ran a few tests, one of them being a genetic test to see if I was predisposed to Celiac Disease.  We wanted to see if perhaps I was ‘sharing’ some predispositions with my children and if some of my issues were from the same “root of the problem”.

Now, let’s keep in mind, it was my children who were having the tummy issues.

tummy ache

Long story short, we discovered that I have Celiac Disease.  Despite the fact that my symptoms manifested in some ways that were not obvious symptoms,  it sure did explain a lot for us as we tried to solve some mysteries for the children.

For me, well,…..some of my symptoms were as follows: fibromyalgia, pernicious anemia, psoriasis, migraines, endometriosis, fatigue……. seriously.

The naturopath said I should STOP and AVOID ALL gluten ASAP.  The thought that immediately went through my head was, “Okay, HOLD ON,…..I came in here looking for answers for my children, NOT a life changing event that would make ME cut out foods that I love”.     *do you see the oxymoron?

I had gone to school!  I am a Holistic Health Counselor and Educator!  I CAN’T HAVE CELIAC DISEASE!  would KNOW if I had Celiac!!  And did I mention, I LOVE PIZZA!!!!  CANNOT HAVE CELIAC !


Hi, I’m Elena, I have Celiac Disease.

Since that day, I have been gluten-free, well, except for the days I cheated (yes, pizza) and boy did I pay for it!    I don’t cheat any more, it is SO NOT worth it.  (And for the record, there are some really great gluten-free pizzas and pizza crusts on the market!  And it’s pretty darn easy to make too!)

Since that day, things have changed!

My body really does NOT like gluten.  I get physically sick when I eat it; my face breaks out like a teenager;  I’m moody (probably because I’m in total body pain)…..it’s not pretty.


My body DOES love yummy, clean, WHOLE, Unprocessed, fresh food!!!

My fatigue is way better!  My fibromyalgia is virtually gone!  My psoriasis is getting much better! My migraines are GONE! My cycles are less painful and more ‘normal’!  AND,…..My anemia is WAY, WAY, WAY BETTER!!!  *THAT is a BIG DEAL!

I have always struggled with anemia!  The “normal range” for iron levels in a woman is about 30-126,….last fall, I had hit my all time low of 9!!  But last month, I had my yearly physical with my medical doctor, and I tested at 30!!!!  I HAVE NEVER, EVER TESTED THAT HIGH!

See, for someone with Celiac Disease, gluten blocks iron absorption, nevermind that the intestinal tract is damaged from gluten.  Clearly, that is what had been happening for me.  So, despite me taking iron supplements for years, my body couldn’t absorb it.

Since 30 is still the low end of “normal”, we know my body still has some healing and repairing to do, but, I’m definitely headed in the right direction!

My plan, to do a Whole 30, in celebration of my “30”.

If you are unfamiliar with what that means, you can go to www.whole9life.com for a full description, but, my brief description is:

A Paleo-style “reset” for the body.

So WHY am I doing it?

There are MANY people out there who have changed over the way they eat to the Paleo way and found great results with some of the same symptoms (and more) that I mentioned earlier.  Personally, I HATE (sorry, I know that’s not a nice word) PSORIASIS!  I certainly don’t appreciate being over 40 and getting acne breakouts!

So, in an attempt to “reset” a few things in my body, I’m going for the Whole 30!

I’d love to have you join me!

There are many benefits to the Paleo lifestyle, try it out this way for just 30 days, you may find that you really prefer eating that way.   Just google it and you’ll find MANY resources on the Paleo lifestyle.

You can find some of my favorite ‘Paleo Places’ under the Whole Living Resources tab.

If you’d like to join me, I will be offically starting my Whole 30 on June 3 and I’ll be blogging along the way, so stay tuned!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena  🙂

Whether it’s the hours in one day, the days in one week, the weeks in one month, or the years that seem to have passed in a blink of an eye……time flies.

ques clock

Since becoming a mother 21 years ago, I feel like my life is going faster and faster.  I hear the words that many wise women told me, “before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone……you’ll wonder where the time went and you’ll probably wish you could have it back.”

Boy, were they right!

I know I still have quite away to go, I mean, “the baby” is 7, but still, I remember her birth like it was yesterday.

On a daily basis, I find myself in amazement at how wonderful, beautiful, smart, and funny all of my children are.  I love them more than I ever thought possible!  I am in awe of God!

Tomorrow I will have to say goodbye to my “little” girl, who’s now 18, as she leaves us again (she just got home from college 2 weeks ago) to head out on another adventure.

She will be headed out west to help plant a church. 🙂  *It’s one of those bittersweet moments where I say to her, “I am SO proud of you and I am going to miss you SO much!”  And in my prayers, I say to God, “I am SO proud of her, I am going to miss her SOOOO much!!”

Loving and letting go is sometimes VERY difficult!

We train our children, day after day, to learn the skills that will help them as they grow up to be able to care for themselves, for their families, and for others; then one day, everything you taught them reveals itself when you see them in action.  It’s a  HARD, yet, BEAUTIFUL thing!

So what’s a mother to do?

“I prayed for this child. The Lord has given me what I asked him for.  So now I’m giving him to the Lord. As long as he lives he’ll be given to the Lord.”  1 Samuel 1:27,28

You prayerfully love, and let go.

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 😉

About Me

Hello, I am Elena Marshall! My goal is to teach you, my family, or anyone that will listen, about all of the wonderful, real, WHOLE foods God has created to nourish and protect our bodies.

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