The Best Diet Plan Is Too Easy!

by holli on January 5, 2015

It’s that time again. The time for gyms, diet books and nutritionists to get back to work! You see some diets work wonders for your friends, and your mom swears by hers. Every diet seems to contradict another. You try one, and it doesn’t do a single thing except make you HANGRY (angry + hungry). You feel defeated and binge on the bag of Cheetos, or Ice Cream.

I was just telling a Mom friend about how we as a culture seem to be obsessed with being the best that we can be, which includes dieting and exercise. We’ve been at it forever – health spas and books have been around since books were being bound. What I’ve learned last year showed me that the best diet plan and expert is…

LISTEN to YOUR body!

Have you tried a high protein diet? Did it make you feel sluggish and tired? If so, that general kind of diet is not for you.

Have you tried a plant based diet? Did it make you feel tired all of the time and hungry? If so, that kind of diet is not right for you.

You get my point, right? The fact is that there is conflicting information from nutritionists and experts in health care fields. I think we need to get back to the basic idea of listening to our bodies. And, I believe that we really don’t know enough about our bodies yet to have concrete expert guidelines. Our genes really dictate what we are, but how they express themselves (if they are mutated, for example) is an entirely new science, Epigenetics.

I know I would die if I did a juicing diet. I can do juice for one meal in my day. Beyond that and I’m STARVING! I even did a high protein diet a long, long time ago, and felt sluggish and had super oily skin and hair (yuck). Everything I’ve learned about health has come to this moment of realizing that we all need to pay attention to our bodies. We should think about our food, that is true. But not to the point of deprivation or guilt.

As we enter 2015, I urge you to listen to your body. Take some time at the end of every day and write down how you felt: were you tired, stressed, happy, and what did you do, what did you eat?

It might sound crazy now, but I kept a diet journal for 9 months when my youngest was still breastfeeding and struggling with constipation for her and myself. It was really, really hard to make that time, maybe only 5 minutes to jot down those notes, but it was immensely helpful.

And, one of the biggest changes our family has made is to eat more vegetables. One way I engaged my kids to see what they eat is to talk about it. We did a sticker project where we placed stickers next to what we ate, we made food rainbows on paper to focus on a variety of color. Lucky for you, dear readers, I made a handy PDF in case you need a format for doing your own food journal:

Food Journal


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A Year In Review: 2014

by holli on January 2, 2015

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This is the month where I have to accept good enough. Some things are unfinished. Some goals weren’t even given a chance. Some things have to be let go.

I have missed writing and sharing, but it is one area that I have to let go of when I’m just barely able to keep up with my real life moments.

The truth is that I can feel the changes creeping in and there have been some difficult decisions to make, but I keep thinking of the butterfly who transforms only after what seems a period of rest. I’m feeling like a butterfly who unintentionally wrapped herself up in the cocoon of life itself. It’s hard to change, because for me that means letting go and trying not to feel like a failure. As I reflected on the year, I have also put more thought into what will change for 2015…

 What went well in 2014

The first thing that comes to mind is that I’ve given myself more time to be creative in areas I didn’t have time for before. I’m always a creative tinkerer, and that energy has mostly been expressed in the kitchen and home.

Last year started out learning about the MTHFR gene mutation, Sensory Processing Disorder and how much our bodies have to handle in terms of arsenic and lead in our environment. While it was overwhelming, the process of learning about it all has left me amazed at what our bodies can do.

I was holding onto the person I want to be while holding back the person I can be at this chapter of my life. Realizing this has been the best thing for me to refocus my priorities.

What did not go well in 2014

I want to garden and grow my own food. I want to have a successful business. I want to have happy, healthy kids. I want a happy marriage. I want a neat and tidy house. I want strong friendships. I want to look and feel my best.

The truth is that there are only 24 hours in a day. And for me that means that I have to stop taking on so much – all of what I want and who I want to be can’t fit into each day or each year. As I’ve struggled to do it all this year, I have been unhappy since I’m not able to do each thing as well as I can.

This blog is an example of a personal project that I haven’t put enough time and effort into being what I had dreamed it could be.

Moving forward to 2015, I’m going to let go and simplify. It’s painful, but I know that I can have the things that I want, just not all at once…

Garden – I joined the local community garden program in fall of 2010, because I wanted to grow some of my own produce. I also wanted my kids to have a firm appreciation for where foods come from and a community to engage with and learn. This has happened, but this past summer, I got busy with photography work, and the kids were more interested in spending time at their school garden.

While it feels like I’m failing to not renew my membership for the garden, it’s something I know doesn’t fit our life right now. The kids would rather help grow food in their school garden, and I’m happy to help there without feeling guilty that I should be pulling my own weeds!

Home/Work/Projects – Last year, I OVER committed. While I thought I had plenty of time to run my photography business and pursue projects like this blog, the truth is that I don’t. That meant that I was unable to keep my home as I really wanted, that I was feeling stressed by my volunteer commitments and overwhelmed by not being able to complete personal projects.

For 2015, I will focus on who I can be right now, and realize that saying no and letting go doesn’t mean I can’t do those things in the future.

Scratch Treehouse will continue to be a space where I share what life’s teaching me about health, family and homemaking. But, I won’t try to keep up to the standard like all other blogs: posting weekly recipes, craft projects and asking for likes. Instead, it will be a space to share and hopefully inspire authentically when I can.

Thank you for reading such a long post – Happy New year!



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November 22, 2014

It might sound corny, but I believe gratitude is never out of style. I am thankful even on days when I am sure everything is falling apart. I am thankful for clean water. I am thankful for clean air. I am thankful for food: both the good and bad. I am thankful for my family. […]

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Bolivia Update: almost half way there!

November 13, 2014

Despite the grief in my life with the loss of a dear friend in September and my Aunt last month, I have been living by the motto, “Keep moving forward.” Granted,  I have taken a couple of days off from my giant list of to-dos, but overall, I have been even more motivated to keep […]

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