I’m grabbing life by the bacon, with my second Whole30!

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Howdy and welcome! I’m so excited that you’ve decided to join us for our second Whole 30. I beg you to please join in the conversation, I know that I need all the help and encouragement I can get and maybe together we can get through the next 30 days feeling better than ever!

My name is Stacy Dudley, I’m a dairy farmers daughter, a devoted wife to a horse loving cowboy, and a mom to 3 beautiful little girls, Savannah is 6, Dakota is 5, and Albany, she’ll be 2 in July! Both my husband and I work for Pederson’s Natural Farms and make bacon, ham, and sausage for a living! Here’s a look at my journey to Whole 30.

HIGHSCHOOL/TWENTIES

I’ve always loved to workout and I’ve always watched my food (mostly caloric) intake, but I haven’t always known the difference between good food and bad food. I’d say my relationship with both food and workout was a bit unhealthy and extreme, especially when I was younger. I can remember getting extreme satisfaction from being 100% in control of my food intake and how little it took to get by. A typical day was a NutriGrain Bar for breakfast, a baked potato (dry with salt and pepper to taste) for lunch, and a chicken breast (skinless and dry) for dinner. I don’t really remember ever eating anything green. Ever! Gross, I know.

Somehow, I was lucky enough to outgrow this borderline dangerous and unhealthy behavior before it got out of control. It was either “luck”, or the car accident that landed me in a hospital being closely monitored by drs., bedridden, and in a wheelchair for what felt like my entire senior year.

As I moved into my 20s, I didn’t feel the need to control my diet like I had when I was younger, and I had to adjust from an obsessive workout schedule to something I could manage with 8 pounds of metal in my hip and a pretty damaged knee…

I was living in Nashville, working on music row, and traveling with bands across the country. I’m pretty sure I lived on coffee, the sweeter the better! Many days coffee served as a meal replacement… sometimes twice a day! Cream, sugar, and a little coffee is still my biggest weakness. “Better for you” food was starting to trend, but not with my musician friends! They were more about beer and late night drive through burgers (about all you have time for on the road).

Fast forward… MY THIRTIES

I started having babies, I turned 30 (6 years ago this month… GASP), and something had to change. Here’s a look at what 30 looked like for me.

I had a happy and healthy 16 month old baby girl, Savannah Grace, and Dakota had just turned 6 weeks. Yep, things were pretty GREAT! Not really too much to worry about outside of the usual… Eat, sleep, wipe a nose, change a diaper, eat, sleep, change a diaper. I’m sure it wasn’t that easy, but looking back now, if I had known what was lurking around the corner for our little family, eating, sleeping, wiping noses, and changing diapers, was EASY! And even at that, I only had to change about 1 in 3 diapers because I am married to a real life SUPERDAD. No kidding. I’m not sure what his parents did to raise such a good hearted husband and dad, but they sure did it right! I hope we raise our girls to find a husband just like him!

So, it was about 3am and I’m nursing my then 6 week old baby Dakota. Neil walks in from the bathroom and says, I’m driving myself to the emergency room, I think I have a kidney stone. After a quick x-Ray they tell him that the bad news is he’ll have to suffer through the pain waiting for the kidney stone to pass, the good news is, the kidney stone helped them identify a 4cm mass on his adrenal gland. After surgical removal and some testing, we got the diagnosis…

It was cancer. Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma to be exact. You can look it up, it’s a scary one. They all are, aren’t they? After a second pathology report came back and a roller coaster ride of emotions, not to mention the initial terrible 5 year prognosis, we learn that maybe it’s a borderline case, his numbers were just on the line of maybe cancer, maybe not? Oh dear, how do you process that information? I think we both felt as though a 1,000 pounds had been lifted! Have any of you ever had an experience like this? I really always thought “it”, the C word, was more black and white than that!

Truthfully, this time for me was a blur, and while I wish I could remember more about it, I just don’t. I remember the doctor using a pen to draw what looked like a football play on the hospital bed. I remember that my superhero of a husband never acted scared. I remember knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to do an adequate job raising these girls by myself, and I remember that they sent us home with a diet designed to not feed the cancers in our bodies. This was the real start to a healthier life for both of us.

It was a diet following the New American Plate guidelines developed by the American Institute for Cancer Research. You fill your plate with 2/3 or more of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans and 1/3 or less of lean animal protein. We’ve never followed this exactly as we’ve opted for Paleo and Whole 30 lifestyle, but they share some similarities… We cut out the sugars and any overly processed foods. This was not recommended by our doctor, but seemed to be a pretty good fit for our lifestyle and a much better alternative to our previous diets.

We like Whole 30 because it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. It improves our sleep, energy levels, and mood. It helps us eliminate nutrient-poor, calorie-dense, foods that promote overconsumption… and, at the end of the day it gives us the energy we need to keep up with these three beautiful growing babies!

Im a busy mom and like many of you, I just want to be the best ME I can be. Over the next 30 days, I plan to post weekly meal plans, shopping list, and recipes so stay tuned and join in as I’m hoping you might have a recipe or two to share with me along the way!

Stacy Dudley

-Stacy

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