4 “Ingredients” That Can Change Your Life

Welp, I did it again. I roped my husband into another one of my “harebrained” adventures.  (See also: The Shocking Truth About Diapers and Divorce and Divorce Doesn’t Have to Be Like Boot Camp.)  Only this time, I think my “scheme” was a good one.  Really.



This Scheme Helped Me Discover 4 “Ingredients” That Can Change Your Life


I mentioned to one of my trainers just over a month ago that I was having trouble dropping a few pounds.  When I asked whether he thought adding another day of exercise might help, he said “probably not.”  Instead, he suggested I make a BIG change to my diet.


That was not what I wanted to hear. AT ALL.

4 “Ingredients” That Can Change Your Life
4 “Ingredients” That Can Change Your Life

(Was he really on the verge of suggesting I give up my thrice weekly Grande Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino Lights with Caramel Syrup and Whipped Cream?  And my weekly Sunday evening Dairy Queen runs, a ritual I’ve had – like – FOR-EVER?)


Why, yes.  He was.


More specifically, Carl suggested I take a look at a plan called The Whole30.  So…when I got home from the gym that morning, I researched it. I learned that The Whole30 is a 30 day challenge designed to “reset” your system so you can experience the effects certain foods have on you on ALL levels. Choosing to take part in this challenge would mean giving up the following things for AT LEAST 30 days:


  • Dairy (cheese, yogurt, ICE CREAM, etc.)

  • Grains (BREAD, rice, cereal, etc.)

  • Alcohol

  • All sugars (even if they are “natural” like maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc.)

  • Sugar substitutes

  • Legumes (which includes REFRIED PINTO BEANS, any type of soy AND peanut butter!)

  • White Potatoes


Annnnd….this is what you CAN eat on the plan:


  • Protein (meat).

  • Vegetables.

  • Fruit.

  • Water.

  • Black coffee (in moderation).


That’s it.


The more I investigated the plan, the more I read about how the payoff at the end of 30 days was BEYOND HUGE. The payoff was supposed to be about more than just weight.  It was supposed to mean a shift in your entire constitution and mindset.


The minute James got up that morning, I told him that we were starting the program. THAT DAY.


You can imagine how thrilled he was.


This would mean we would have to start planning meals.  It would mean we would have to do more thoughtful grocery shopping.  It would mean we would have to give up America’s famous refried bean burritos.  And, it would mean we would become the annoying diners in restaurants asking to modify every single dish to fit our needs.


We went for it.


We had sugar withdrawals.  Starbucks withdrawals.  Stomach cramping.  Headaches.  Digestive issues.


We did it anyway.


Day 30 was the day before I turned 43. On my birthday, James told me he wanted to keep eating a “real” (as opposed to processed) food diet.  He also gave me some cookbooks that would support us in pushing forward.  We agreed, though, we would need to incorporate occasional “sweetness” into our menu for this plan to be realistic long term.


So, for my birthday, to celebrate, I made a chocolate cupcake recipe from one of my new cookbooks using coconut flour, almond flour and maple syrup as a sweetener.  As we were biting into them, I realized that I had somehow forgotten to add the coconut milk.  NOOOO!  So much for that first sweet indulgence after 30 days of sugar celibacy!


Everyone still ate them.  James claimed they were delicious.  I thought they were dry.


I wondered to myself how much more moist and delicious those cupcakes would have tasted had I added one simple ingredient.  As far as I saw it, that one ingredient was the difference between an average cupcake and an AMAZING cupcake.




BUT THEN, that thought about gluten-free chocolate cupcakes lead me to think about how 1 (or 2 or 3 OR 4) ingredients can transform an average person (or life) into an AMAZING person (or life.)



So…Without Further Ado, Here Are 4 “Ingredients” That Can Change Your Life:


1.  Generosity.


If you are in the dumps, find a way to give to someone who needs more than you do.  That person is out there.  She could be sitting in the office next to you at work. He could be the person helping you at the Starbucks drive thru. It could be your mother, child, cousin or EX.  Yes, your EX! Give that person something s/he needs.  It will give you a lift.  It will take the focus off YOUR situation.  It will be a deposit into your good karma bank.  It will make you feel goooood.



2.  Guilt-Free Living


Guilt is a useless emotion.  Don’t go there. (Click to tweet this!)  If you made a decision and it was a mistake, learn from it.  Don’t feel guilty about it.  Don’t waste one more ounce of energy on something you can’t change.  Focus on making a better decision next time.  Or reframe the experience so you can see the gift in it. Share what you did with others so they can benefit from your wisdom.



3.  Grace.


Somebody is a jerk to you?  Let it go.  Someone wants to argue with you about your stance on politics or gay marriage?  Let them win.  Your soon-to-be-ex wants to fight about who gets what TV in the divorce?  Let her have all of them.  (Read here to hear Johnny Depp’s advice on how to go your separate ways with grace.)


Let someone else be right.  Don’t resist.  Don’t get too attached to outcomes.  (Tweet this one, too!)


Live your life with grace.



4.  Gratitude.


Even when you are having a crappy time, there is ALWAYS something you can be grateful for.  You can probably breathe, see, walk and talk.  If you are reading this, you have access to a computer.  You likely live in some sort of dwelling that is better than a box under a bridge.  There are people who love you.  You have food to eat (even if it is not the food you WANT to eat.)


Take time every day to be thankful for at least five things.  (Check out this Gratitude Journal app for your phone.  It’s cool.) It will become a habit.  As you become more grateful, you will begin attracting more good in your life.  This will make you more feel even MORE grateful.


Which will bring you more good.


Which will make you happier.


SO… let me start with GRATITUDE.  Today, I am grateful for my baby brother.  He is one of the hardest-working, sweetest AND smartest men I know.  He is a DJ for 98 KUPD.  He’s a high school literature teacher disguised as a rock-star god. He is an expert in radio, promotions, and social media.  He redesigned Hernandez Family Law’s new website.  He is pushing me to go places I have never been in my writing, public speaking and marketing.


He also guest wrote this week’s featured Hernandez Family Law Post: How to Make Your Relationships and Life Easier Through Contribution.  If you are going through some family law issues, this blog is a must read.  It is more than just average…it is AMAZING.


So…to wrap up…


There is (was) A LOT more to The Whole30 than I’ve shared today.  If you want to hear about my personal experience with it, please reach out to me.  I’m happy to talk about it!


As far as the 4 “Ingredients” That Can Change Your Life…can you do a “4G Challenge” with me for 30 days?  The only thing I’m asking you to give up is the GUILT.  The other stuff–the GRACE, GENEROSITY and GRATITUDE–are EASILY added to your life.  I GUARANTEE that they can and WILL change YOUR constitution AND your mindset, too.


Are you up for the “4G Challenge”?


I bet you are.


Sending you my wishes for a week filled with less guilt and MORE generosity, grace, and gratitude.


All my best,



P.S. What five things are you grateful for today?  Leave a comment below and share.


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