Howdy! I’ve gotten lots and lots of requests for a post on how I eat and what activities I do, so I thought it was high time I answered your questions. 🙂 Now, I am NOT an expert or even close to the epitome of health. My mom’s a health nut, and that’s basically my only credential.

What I eat:
Whenever possible, I try to eat organic, naturally grown, local veggies, grass-fed meat, raw milk, and home-grown eggs. Here in the outskirts of Nashville we’re spoiled by the huge foodie community and have access to so many farmers and fellow freaks.
Let’s just go through the food groups, shall we? You know, this fancy pyramid from a few years ago that’s supposed to give us a healthy diet? Well, I’m just gonna take the groups as an easy way to generally talk about what I eat/don’t eat. Since apparently y’all are curious. 😛
File:USDA Food Pyramid.gif
Starting at the bottom with bread, cereal, rice, and pasta:
I have been gluten free for about 4 months because I think gluten 1) contributes to my headaches, 2) drains my energy, and 3) is usually not pesticide/GMO-free. There are so many amazing GF recipes out there for baked goods that I really don’t miss gluten at all. I don’t worry about it too much if there might be flour in Alfredo sauce or a kind lady offers me a cookie, but in general I know that consuming gluten isn’t worth it. Now, I do eat about 2 servings of white (apparently not as hard to digest as brown?) rice a day, whether that’s through GF flours, GF pastas, or just the actual grain itself. The starch helps fill me up since I do have a rather large appetite for a girl. :p

Vegetable group:
In the summer especially, I try to buy and eat local things that are in season. We are members of a CSA (community supported agriculture. It’s awesome. Look it up and get involved in one near you.) and that provides us with some produce, and I get most of the rest from Amish country. Or Costco’s fresh frozen section. 😛 I also really love buying really strange, totally not local stuff from the International Food Store and eating things like cactus, young baby coconuts, avocados, yucca, eggplant, etc. Veggies make up like 2/3 of my diet. 😛

Outfit details: 
Tank: Target || Shirt: Target || Skirt: Walmart

Cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, peaches, oranges, lemons, and watermelons are our favorites. We buy 20 bunches of bananas at a time and peel, freeze, and use in chocolate/ cocoa/ coconut milk/ banana smoothies. Fruit’s a bit more expensive usually than veggies and harder to get locally year round, so I only eat about 2 servings a day.

Milk, yogurt, and cheese:
Like I said earlier, I’m a huge fan of raw milk (yes, it is legal in TN if you have a cow share, which we do. :). Regular store bought milk makes my stomach hurt, as do most packaged yogurts. I’m not a huge milk drinker anyway, but I do enjoy a glass with a GF peanut butter cookie. 😉 Greek yogurt is the only way to go for me, since it’s unsweetened, or homemade raw milk yogurt. Cheese: I’ll have cheese maybe twice a week on my eggs or on pizza, but I generally stay away from that many calories. 🙂 I’m gonna lump butter in this category and say that it would be a crime to live in the south and stay away from butter. 😉 Honestly, I usually keep my consumption to about a tablespoon a day. (I may be kicked back north again soon, though, if I don’t change my ways. 😉

Meats, beans, eggs, and nuts:
After trying some 100% grass fed beef, our family will never go back to the other stuff. It’s so incredibly tasty and doesn’t need seasonings. We raise our own meat chickens, and have fish and shrimp a couple times a week. Most of my family can’t eat beans, so I don’t eat those much. Eggs are free-range, like I said earlier. And nuts– I love to eat trail mix made from soaked, rinsed, and dehydrated walnuts, pecans, and roasted peanuts. By doing that it gets rid of the enzyme inhibitors that make them hard to digest, but leaves the protein and stuff that cooking would take out. 🙂

Fats, oils, and sweets:
Hehe. So, contrary to popular belief, animal fats are super good for you. They heal your gut and help you digest better. I did the GAPS diet for a while which has you eating nothing but animal broths and boiled veggies for several days, and then super strict for at least a month. That was great and taught me a lot about how my body digests and processes things. So, even now if my stomach is feeling sugary or yeasty or just blechy from something I ate, I’ll drink a cup of chicken broth and almost instantly I feel better. So, all that to say I don’t avoid animal fats. Other kinds of fat like on chips or in Hardees meals, I skip.
Oils: Basically only go for coconut oil, and occasionally olive. We use coconut oil for everything, and I looove to use it on my skin. It’s so good for you, too. 🙂

Sugaaars: I try to limit my consumption of sweeteners (honey or white sugar- dislike stevia) to a tablespoon or two a day. Like, total. Drinks, muffins, cookies, chocolate chips- anything. Fruit doesn’t count. If I have more than that, I’m super susceptible to getting a cold or other germy disease. This also keeps me from gorging myself on yuuuummy things or consuming too many calories.

So, there ya go. Other things that might make what I eat different than
the SAD (standard American diet. 😉 may be the almost complete absence
of processed foods. Very few canned, smashed into a new shape, or
colored things. 😛  I’ll have fast food maaaybe once every too weeks at the most, mostly because we’re out in the boonies. Plus it always makes me feel like the inside of a potato chip bag– greeeeasy. 😛

Now, onto exercise! This one’s kinda funny to me, since I’ve never been able to consistently exercise more than a month. 😛 I love physical activity though, and try to wear myself out every day. Once a week or so I’ll do 15 push ups and 80 sit ups, and if it’s too difficult, I’ll know I need to exercise more. 🙂 I also enjoy running in the winter when I’m not doing as much outdoor physical activity (like gardening) and it’s cooler. 😉 Otherwise, I just do housework (lots of up and down the steps with laundry!) and stuff. Sorry I can’t say, “I’ve done this exercise program and it’s why I have a 6-pack!” because neither would be true. 😉

Well, I can’t really think of anything else to say… any questions? Suggestions? What’s your diet like?

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37 thoughts on “The Diet and Exercise Post”

  1. I came across your blog the other day, and I have to say, I have fallen in love! It's wonderful to see stylish, yet modest clothing, and even healthy food posts! I'm glad to see others eating organic foods, as well as being g.f. 🙂 Oh and using the great-for-absolutely-everything coconut oil;) Thanks!


    1. Yeah, I did know that, actually! I was mostly talking about the weird foods from the International food store in that sentence, since yucca and avocados aren't veggies. 😛 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ya, I know what you mean. For awhile i dieted a lot but you know its really unhealthy and many times will lead to an eating disorder.

  2. Love the diet!!! We live on a hobby farm, though we're down to only laying chickens right now and a struggling garden. We follow an ancestral diet (aka paleo, primal, hunter-gatherer – whatever you want to call it) that is similar to yours. Lots of good animal fats and protein, and tons of yummy veggies and fruits. Occasional gluten-free treats.

    For exercise, my boys and I do pushups, tricep dips, squats, crunches, planks, and arch ups (like a reverse crunch) a few times a week. We just started, so we're working our way up. A proper diet and exercise are certainly good for you! 🙂

  3. I loved reading this post. Very interesting. One thing that I've found that has helped me get into exercising lately is Leslie Sansone's "Walk at Home" program. They have a video on the website (I've listed it down below if you're interested) that is a 1 mile walk. I've read a lot of the testimonials and people say it's really good for when it gets really cold outside and they can't go out and walk (like if there's three feet of snow on the ground). And it's more than just traditional walking (you get a lot of circulation, muscle movement, etc.). Now that I have started exercising my next big leap will be eating healthier, so I might try some of the things you are doing (like eating more veggies, and cutting back on my sugar intake). Thanks for doing this post.

    Walk at home link:

  4. I don't diet at all. I mean, I don't eat too much food, or overeat, but I never lessen my food portions. I've never really consistently worked out, but now that I'm in a public high school, I do an hour of intense PE/Aerobics right away ever morning. It really wakes you up when you've just dragged your butt out of bed at 6 in the morning! hehe.

  5. Yeah, we have a saying around our house that "Being healthy feels better than unhealthy food tastes"… I have been gluten and sugar free since February. Wow… I feel great! 🙂 It is amazing how great you can make foods taste that were meant to go into our bodies in the first place!!!!!!! (obviously most of these foods taste great without doing anything to them…) As with exercise, I haven't been as diligent with it as I should… I try to get it in, but sometimes I am just "too busy"… When I do, I either work out in my room, or go on early morning walks with my mom. We have a great neighborhood with shaded hills. 🙂 Thanks for posting!!!

  6. Wow. I'm the exact same way (except I don't avoid/have problems with gluten). However since I have problems with sugar (hypoglycemia)(this big, fat word basically means I get low blood sugar), I have to stay away from it more often than most people. 🙁

    I'm so excited I'm not the only person who drinks raw milk! *happy dance* Have you had raw goat's milk? I actually like it better than cow's milk 🙂

    This was a great post. I loved it 😀

    I was wondering (in terms of sweeteners), have you ever tried agave? I don't like stevia either, but I absolutely *LOVE* agave. If, indeed, you have tried it, do you like it?

    And (sorry about all the questions) where did you get your earrings? They're so cute! Did you make them?

    1. I like agave but I've found it's pretty addicting. I grow stevia in my garden – sometimes if I'm craving chocolate, I'll go out there and just suck on a stevia leaf — and it completely cures it! 🙂

    2. Agave's fine, but your body treats it the same way as white sugar (minus the bleach chemicals, I guess), so I stay away from large amounts of it, too. Stevia I've heard might be bad for the female reproductive system (don't take that for fact, there's much controversy)so I stay away from that, too. 😛 But yeah, liquid is so much better than powder! bleh. 😛

    3. Have any of you guys tried coconut sugar? It has a bunch of good vitamins and minerals in it, including iron, potassium, and vitamin B. Like Stevia, it has a low glycemic index (basically a big fancy word to say that your body processes it differently, therefore, you won't get a sugar high, then sugar low). Best of all, it can be used as a 1:1 substitute for white sugar in cooking and baking!
      P.S. everything tastes better when it has a tiny bit of coconut flavor in it! 🙂

  7. I really need to start eating more healthily. Usually (thanks to my mom, who sounds like she would get along pretty well with your mom) my diet is pretty healthy, but other times…I may also try going gluten free for awhile to see if it helps me, because this year especially, I've been feeling pretty drained of energy and more headachy, even with ten hours of sleep a night. So we'll see.

    Great post! Hehe, and I love your face in that first pic!


  8. My diet…well I'm more into health than my parents so it's hard to eat right, but I live in southern California so fresh fruits and veggies are available all year round. And it's funny you say you get weird foods from international stores and then mentioned avocados-my absolute favorite food (love it on everything!!!! Guacamole is good too!) here in California, avocados are practically a staple and now I want some!!!

    I loved this post! 🙂 I will try to encourage my parents to eat healthier this week. For me, I exercise A LOT so that is how I stay healthy. 🙂

  9. Sugar feeds infection. Some good alternatives to sugar is agave, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, xylitol (granulated), and honey. I understand— I dislike stevia too. 😉 It's very strange and too sweet.

    Also, white rice— not very nutritious. It doesn't have what brown rice still has (the whole kernel/shell) which is the most nutritious part of rice! As far as brown rice being more digestible, I have no clue. 🙂

    Oh, man, grass fed beef, fresh raw milk, etc.— Sounds like heaven. 😉 There is a local restaurant called "Square Burger" and they have grass fed beef, organic produce and cheese on their burgers. Delicious!

    This was a very interesting post. Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  10. My diet isn't as healthy as it should be, but we're getting there. As Tabitha said, I'm also more "into" eating healthy than my parents. But my mom is trying to help me. We're trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet, as well as legumes and lean sources of protein. My down fall is definitely ice cream…oh…yeah I probably shouldn't even talk about that! My mouth is watering!
    We started a new exercise program last week, so we're trying extra hard to eat healthy-however we're going out of town this weekend and aren't going to be able to eat at home…oh well! My biggest problem is not freaking out WHEN we don't eat healthy-you know, loosening up a bit. (trying)
    A Modest Fashion Blog:

  11. I don't know how you can have such a small amount of dairy products!!! I would go crazy! 90% of my calories in a day are dairy.I am getting kinda curious about the gluten free thing. I thought it was just a fad that would pass but tons of people have recommended it to me.

  12. "So, contrary to popular belief, animal fats are super good for you. They heal your gut and help you digest better" that is so not true? Please inform yourself and don`t spread such things over the internet… people are so fast with believing that stuff!
    Diet and nutrition is such a wide and complicated field, not for nothing it is a whole profession ans science attached to it…

    1. Hi! Not wanting to get into this here, but I thought I'd share some of the research I've read on the subject. Here is a link to a series of articles on the history of the "Saturated fats are good for you" movement:
      And, if you can ignore the evolutionary timeline discussed in the beginning of this short video, it's informative:

      Obviously I hope nobody will take what I'm saying about my personal eating habits as fact without doing their own research. Health is a very individual thing and you're right, there are many professions and sciences for it. 🙂

  13. This is pretty cool, I'd like to see more posts on recipes and stuff. Have you considered a vegan diet? I've been vegan since March, and gluten-free since the first of August. I feel absolutely inCREdible!
    I drink tons of water and green/white tea, don't eat any animal products, and eat a lot of grains/beans/veggies. 🙂
    I love coconut oil, I use it allll the time! In everything! In my oatmeal! lol

    For exercise, I run three miles every morning with my Labrador (we live in the country and have awesomesauce trails all over) and I do yoga (JUUUUst the stretches, I'm not into the whole hum-and-get-into-your-inner-self thing…) right before I go to bed. Yoga has made me so much more flexible, it's crazy! Running is pretty cool, but three miles is a long way to run. 🙂

    Anyway. LOL. Thanks for the post. 🙂

    And Susi — you are SO right. animal fats are WICKED to your body. Nasty! Ew!

  14. This post was great Oliva!! Like you, for an 18 year old girl who has finished growing,I eat A LOT!!! 🙂 In the past I have had 'issues' with gaining weight, however the last year or so I haven't had this problem, however I do have to be careful not to miss meal times or the weight will start dropping off (My Mum says enjoy eating like a horse while I can, coz once a few babies come along in later life, I will have the opposite problem!)
    Even though I DO eat a lot most of my diet consists of fruit and vegies, grass fed beef and lamb (we mainly eat our own meat from our farm) and raw milk (YAY!!- its the BEST stuff!!)
    I have been on a VERY strict gluten free diet for about 6 months – and yes I have so much more energy and feel SOOOO much better! I am staying on it, thats for sure!
    I know what you mean about a belly ache if you drink 'shop bought' milk – ouch! I feel AWFUL for several days after consuming it!
    Unlike you however, my biggest downfall would be cheese – I'm CRAZY about it!

    I am a big fan of honey as a sweetener – I also use it as a great base ingredient for homemade face scrubs/lotions and have seen a huge improvement of my skin – it seems to 'balance' the skin type, unlike heaps of shop bought face care that seems to make oily skin dry, and then dry skin oily!

    I totally agree that animal fats are good for you – thats a great idea about the broth if you're feeling not too good, makes sense! 🙂

    As to exercise, like you, I'm a big sister to many and running around after little siblings is so tiring! Put this on top of lifting washing, milking cows, mopping,lots of physical work at shearing time and cattle work, you get a pretty good work out everyday!
    I do however try to run 2KM a day,preferably before breakfast – however I have been sick for about 4 months, so I haven't been able to do this -DRs orders!
    There is nothing like running in the morning though! 🙂

    Well, that was VERY long winded, sorry! It was really great to get insight into what your 'food and exercise program' looks like! 🙂 It seems very similar to mine, hey?!
    Its pretty simple though, just feeding your body with what God has designed it to comsume… in moderation, and avoiding 'junk' basicly! And using your everyday life as one big exercise program! 🙂

    God Bless you richly,

  15. I try to not buy anything that has fake colors in it. The kids like those flattened fruit strip things, but Target is the only store I know of (around here) that has ones without red #40 and blue # whatever. I also have tried to avoid high fructose corn syrup. For example, most "syrup" is corn syrup with fake maple flavoring. Real maple syrup is more expensive, but much more natural and actually goes farther because it is sweeter and tastier. Your diet sounds really healthy but sensible (room for enjoyment!). Good for you to be so aware of healthy eating. But I think you're right: growing alot of your own food helps alot in being aware. I wish I could get more things to grow in our tropical heat.

  16. We have a low food budget, so a lot of we get is canned or boxed. We do try to buy whole foods in bulk, and we garden and can our own veggies and fruit with honey. Most time fresh fruit is available in the summer, and veggies as well. I am trying now to eat low carb in everything but fruits and veggies. We will see how it works!
    you do a good job with your eating! 🙂
    _ B

  17. I Just want to say from experience that losing weight is like 75% mental and the rest physical. You have to make decisions within you. Its like you tell yourself. I wont eat this, and I will do this and this as exercise every day. Alot of people for instance say, " oh I want to buy weights I want to exercise ". That thought will probably last a week, but they already gone out and bought a benchpress and weights only to not use it.
    I remember reading an article about this on I don't know if its still there.

  18. My Mom is a health nut too, and she says the same thing about coconut oil! 🙂 Thanks for this post – I got some great tips (next time I think I'll try chicken broth on my tummy). My Dad's a research doctor, and he always tells everyone to take fish oil/eat more fish, FYI. 😉

  19. My mom is a big health nut,she has lymes disease,so it pays off,and her along with myself and 2 other siblings have celiac and eat gluten free. I can't have rice or Dairy,but I kinda cheat on those. I think I'm going to go on a GAP diet for 2 or plus years to heal my damaged gut,which is going to be hard cause I love food and eat a good amount. 🙂 What can I say I like using my taste buds.

  20. This is great! It sounds very much like the gluten free, whole foods based diet I've recently adopted. (It's a lot Weston A. Price and a good bit paleo as well). I've lost some weight since making the switch and I notice my energy is much more stable, my skin much more clear, and my tummy much more happy the stricter paleo I am (which is to say, strictly grain free, with very little dairy – mostly butter). I'm still looking for a cow share though (for both raw milk and grass fed beef). It's hard for me as a single girl living alone, most of the cow shares I've found are meant for families and the portions would be wasteful for me (both in terms of finances and in what I could actually use). Anyway, thanks for sharing this information!

  21. Hey! I was glad you reposted this post! I love eating healthy, and have been making some gluten free meals for my brother who has celiac desease (can't eat gluten) You should try this gluten free roll recipee:
    it's gluten free and grain free!

    I was so glad when you mentioned fats….People who go on low fat diets end up being some of the most unhealthy people!I've made a coconut oil body butter and use it on my face every night, and if you have a tablespoon on olive oil it really makes your hair and skin healthy. So keep with the oils, they're amazing!

    Come visit my blog!

  22. Thanks for the post, Olivia! I'm going to pin it to my "health and fitness" board.

    Like Katie Vannoy above, I was very glad that you mentioned animal fats are actually NOT bad for you. Recently my mom (who, like your mom, is very into "healthy" stuff–though I wouldn't classify her as a "nut") read a book on beating Alzheimer's, and she learned that cholesterol is actually NOT a factor in heart disease. And that coconut oil (which is almost pure saturated, aka cholestoral-y, fat) is the best thing for your brain.

    So, thank you again 🙂 Very helpful.

  23. Thank you for this post! I'm planning declaring a major in dietetics next year, so it's interesting to read about how you stay healthy. I tryyyyy to run at least every other day and to help me stay on track (pun not intended) I am going to self-train for a marathon! Hopefully I can stick with it!

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