no carbs gluten sugar caffeine dairy diet

I Haven't Eaten Carbs, Gluten, Sugar, Caffeine Or Dairy In Two Weeks, And I Feel ~Fabulous~

Before you health freaks panic, hear me out.

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I should first mention that I have been overweight practically my whole life. Well, probably my whole life, at times, more than others, but nonetheless, self-conscious about 98% of the time. And let me tell ya, hard stuff. It isn't easy never feeling confident in the way you look or truly feeling the D.U.F.F. stuff. Not fun, and nothing against anyone.

For the most part, except for a few bumps in the road medically, this has been my fault.

I'm not going to lie, it gets old, you know, feeling down a lot of the time. It interferes with a lot — the sports you play, the activities that you partake in, the trips you go on, the things you're thinking about all the time. It's not fun to be stuck in your head instead of enjoying the moment because you're worried you might look fat doing something. It's not fun looking through the group photo and while everyone else might be worried about their smile, you cannot see past your size.

It's something I have worked on, getting past my image, and it is something I have gotten so much better about, but just like anything, there are good days and bad days.

Recently, my mom started selling Arbonne. Bless her heart, she finally did something for herself. She is loving it, and I couldn't be more proud of how hard she is working on doing it her best. Well anyways, she did a 30-day challenge back in April, and she saw incredible results. She felt great, slept great, ate great, and looked even better.

The challenge consists of cutting everything toxic from your system and rebooting your metabolism by balancing out the acidic levels in your digestive system. This requires you to cut carbs, caffeine, sugar, dairy, and gluten. Now most people usually say at this point, "So what can you eat?" At which point I explain that I can have any berries, practically anything green, any lean meat, any veggies, and a few vinegars, oils, and nuts. I also get supplements from Arbonne, and am drinking boatloads of water. The program helps you set guidelines and planning tactics, and really helps you to understand that change is in your hands.

It sounds silly, but this has probably been the best thing to ever happen to me. It has been hard, and I have had to sacrifice a lot, but combined with working out regularly, prioritizing sleep, and getting in some me time outside of work, I have truly never felt better.

I haven't measured my progress yet, I am waiting until the end of the thirty days, but 13 days later, I feel more energized than I ever could've with my regular multi-cup-coffee energy. I feel rested, I feel like my skin is glowing, that my eyes aren't as heavy, and that I am much less lethargic.

Shoutout to mom for being my number one cheerleader through all of this, You're the best.

Also, I am not paid to be endorsing this product or service by any means, I'm just a believer in healthy choices (but high-key it's changing my life for the better)

Cover Image Credit:

Erika Glover

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Difference Between Vegan, Vegetarian, And Some Other Diets

I get asked what it means to be a vegan all the time, so in light of those who have trouble understanding, here's an article defining a few different types.

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Coming to a college full of new people, I couldn't tell you the number of times I hear, "Wait, are you vegetarian or vegan?" It's a question we all get, and sometimes people don't even know what those phrases are. Another, "What does that even mean?" They get mixed up, thrown around, and ranted about in my daily life, and it's quite a trip. I explain over and over again the differences, what I am, and why I am vegan, but the questions always come again.

For those of you who are still confused, I'll help you out a little.

Here is a list of some different dietary types, and what they mean.

Vegan

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Veganism, easily defined, is the lack of meat, dairy, or any animal product from your diet. Honey, milk, eggs, chicken, bacon, pork, steak, beef, etc., are all items vegans don't eat. Many go even further by buying only animal-free and cruelty-free (not animal tested) makeups, body products, clothing, and more. A devoted vegan checks every product used or consumed to make sure it's free of anything animal related. The Vegan Society defines Veganism as, "A way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

A vegan diet can also be referred to as a plant-based diet, with all the same aspects, but some plant-based people may not focus on any other products than food.

Vegetarian

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Sweet and simple, vegetarians just don't eat meat. This does not include dairy or egg. They can still eat macaroni and cheese, just no more cheeseburgers or steaks. Vegetarian is pretty straight forward in the fact that they only lack the meat aspect of a diet!

Pescatarian

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Similar to vegetarians, pescatarians eat no meat except fish. They allow themselves to consume kinds of fish, just not beef, pork, or other types of meat.

Flexitarian

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My definition of a flexitarian is someone who keeps to a mostly plant-based diet, with the occasional animal product. These could be people who are transitioning and trying out the vegan or vegetarian diet but are not fully committed to it, for various reasons. Flexitarian could also be someone who just choices to eat mostly meat or dairy free but every few meals will eat something from an animal.

Although this is not technically a vegetarian or vegan diet, it's a great way to start the journey to becoming a vegan.

It's a tricky thing trying to navigate all the diets out there these days.

If you're ever interested in trying out these diets there are incredible amounts of resources available to help you on that journey. Do some research, get an understanding of why people choose these diets and then find somewhere to help you! Good places to start are PETA, The Vegan Society, Vegan Action, and many more. Just type into a google search, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or any other diet and you'll get loads of information! I encourage everyone I talk to, consider these types of change because they're great for yourself, the animals, and the environment.

I hope these brief definitions have helped you to understand some more what these different words mean, and maybe they have you thinking about ways you could change your diet!

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