(Alternate Title: PARTIAL 28 . . . get it?)

Hi Friends!

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want this blog to be, but one thing I know for sure is that it’s driven by a belief that each of us should be motivated to create lives that are full of our unique brands of beauty. Part of that means being brave enough to try new things—even if, and especially if those “new things” might thwart the expectations of our peers, families, colleagues, etc.

In support of this idea, I want to have a portion of this blog where I share non-professional projects that help me move toward my healthiest and most beautiful self. Of course, I am aware that you could go to the blog of an expert for advice about such projects . . . but my goal is more to report on my own vulnerable, comfort-zone-expanding projects. Maybe you’ll feel like you can take on some projects of your own! Or, maybe I can just look back and remind myself next time I’m scared to take a step forward. 🙂

Low Carb Challenge

In this little sweet spot I’m having between the BYU Winter Semester and busy wedding-gig season, I want to give myself a little jump start to a more physically healthy summer. With any luck, maybe I can keep some of these habits long term! So, a few years ago I did my first Whole30. It was AWESOME! I felt so great. But  . . . it was so expensive, and required so much prep time. I couldn’t keep it up (all of the props in the world to people who can). Then, about six months ago, I tried another Whole30, but I didn’t have time to plan properly, and it kind of fizzled out. REGARDLESS, I like the idea of the Whole30 . . . and I like the basic paleo idea of eating mostly protein/fat/veggies . . . AND I like having really strict rules, at least as I’m trying to build a habit. Without strict rules, I often have very little self-control (sound familiar, anyone?).

The first time I did a Whole30, I followed a specific guideline on a blog that has since disappeared (bummer). The gal included specific meal plans for every single day, and also included a YouTube link for a workout video for each day. Looking back after having attempted a second Whole30, I wonder if part of the reason it worked so well for me the first time was the specificity of that particular plan. With that in mind, I have been planning a modified 28-day Paleo-ish challenge for myself. And, for the sake of accountability and comfort zone expansion, I am just gonna go ahead and share it with anyone who wants it! My recipes are mostly paleo, but a few involve chickpeas, quinoa, soft cheese, and/or yogurt–more for convenience and variety than anything else (sometimes I get a little “meat-ed” out). You could easily substitute chicken for chickpeas, zoodles/cauliflower rice for quinoa, and just leave out the cheeses. Disclaimer: I am a zero percent certified nutritionist or exercise scientist. These are things that work for my body, my schedule, my personality, etc. Maybe they’ll work for yours, too!

Low Carb Challenge

In addition to Paleo and Paleo-adjacent recipies, I’m including a daily gallon challenge, a teensy workout, and a bigger workout (I’ll plan to do my teensy workout first thing in the morning, and my bigger workout in the afternoon, but my schedule is weird so . . . adjust for yourselves, if you want to participate). I also just had a birthday (29!) for which Andrew gave me a FitBit, so I’m planning to also make sure I get my 10,000 steps per day!

I’ll include weekly shopping lists, and calories for my serving sizes (I’m a 5’1’’ woman . . . so you’ll need to adjust this if you’re a larger or smaller person). My lunch and dinner recipes are based on my two-person household. Pretty much all of them make enough for four total meals, the idea being that we eat leftovers the next day. So, if you need to feed more people, you can just double all of the recipes, so you’ll still have enough for leftovers the next day. I’ve tried to plan my recipes in a way that avoids having to purchase excess ingredients, and that avoids having too many of the same ingredients/flavors in one day. Please feel free to add/subtract spices at your leisure (imagine that I pronounced that “lehjure,” and then enjoy a good cringe). If you’re new to Paleo, I can offer a bit of advice that I wish someone had given me when I first started: the basic idea is 4oz protein in every meal, as much low-sugar produce as you feel like you want to eat, and plenty of healthy fats. Thinking of those basic rules helps me plan my serving sizes.


My favorite Paleo-ish breakfast is two scrambled eggs with onion and spinach, ¼ avocado, and a greek yogurt. I usually just chop an onion and some spinach at the beginning of the week, and use it the entire week. You are welcome to do one egg and one egg white, if you want a smaller breakfast. You can add eggs or another ¼ avocado, if you want more calories. You can add/subtract veggies. You can have some fruit instead of a yogurt (yogurt isn’t Paleo . . . but it is Ketogenic-friendly). If your mornings are hectic, make these (I recommend spinach, onion, red pepper, mushroom, a teensy bit of Italian sausage, and a sprinkle of smoked gouda) at the beginning of the week and heat them up each morning. They keep pretty well in the fridge! Pair with a grab & go fruit (banana, clementine, etc.). Alternately, you could experiment with chia seed “puddings,” paleo banana pancakes, and paleo smoothies. I haven’t specified any breakfasts in my plan, but just find what works for you, and adjust your shopping list, accordingly. As for my recommendation of hot lemon water with breakfast, read this.


This plan includes eight lunch recipes. Each recipe is repeated once throughout the 28 days. So, week 1 matches week 3, and week 2 matches week 4. If you notice that you have too many leftovers on weeks 1 and 2, you can plan for weeks 3-4 to be more efficient. Just delete your least favorite lunch and replace it with your favorite leftovers! Like I said before, most of my recipes are meant to last two days (four total meals). In order to avoid having to cook a lunch and a dinner on the same day, each is staggered. So, your 1-off dinners are set for Monday night, and your 1-off lunch is set for Sunday. So, for each day, you’re either cooking a fresh lunch OR dinner, and having leftovers of the other. Weeks 2 and 4 have three “no leftovers” lunches. They’re all pretty low-prep, but if you’d rather, just pick the one that looks better to you, and double that!


There’s only one repeated dinner here! After two years of experimenting with paleo and paleo-adjacent recipes, these are my go to faves. My favorite “no leftovers” Paleo recipe is the Creamy Citrus Salmon. I don’t love fish in the first place, and I DEFINITELY don’t want to eat it reheated . . . but it’s super good for you so, you know, ya gotta eat it sometimes. My recommendation is to make the sauce once, separate into four equal parts, and freeze three of the four for weeks 2-4. This way, you know you’re getting good healthy fish once a week, but it’s barely going to take any of your time, and you don’t have to gag down leftovers. I will say, of all the fish recipes I’ve tried, this one takes the cake. It is pretty good. And having no leftovers each Monday will help you keep your cooking staggered to one new meal per day (not including breakfast, obvs). If any of the dinner recipes don’t look good to you, you can repeat one that you’ve liked, or substitute with something else! You do you.


Pinterest can help you with lots of Paleo snacks, but here are a few of my faves:

  • Celery w/ sunflower or almond butter
  • Baby Carrots
  • Homemade Date Bars or Larabars
  • Veggie Chips
  • Fruit: Clementines, bananas, and apples are all easy to take “on the go”
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Try experimenting with Paleo popsicles!


I don’t know about you, but I am programmed to feel like I NEED something sweet at night. It’s a ridiculously frustrating habit to break, but I’ve found that even having a tiny square of dark chocolate will put my dessert needs at ease, especially if I eat it really slowly while also drinking some herbal tea. It lets me keep the dessert ritual, but skip the nighttime sugar spike. Do what works for you!

Daily Mini-Workout:

  • 30-second right-side plank
  • 30-second left-side plank
  • 30-second center plank
  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 lunges (10 each leg)
  • 30 calf raises (10 turned in, 10 center, 10 turned out)
  • 1 minute of “high knees” (or 10 burpees, if your arms aren’t already falling off like mine will be)

Longer Workout:

I am aware that muscle confusion is important, and one should therefore not get into super regular habits with a particular workout. However . . . I am a person who gets really scared of new workouts, so I like to keep the same routine for at least a month, and then switch it up for the next month. Some of these ideas are kind of specific to my own location and schedule, adapt at will (aka . . . at your lehjure).

Monday: Leg workout video  . . . I can’t decide which is my favorite. Just pick one of these!

Tuesday: Yoga Class + Stairs

  • My neighborhood is up against a mountain, and we have these awesome stairs that run straight down the middle of the neighborhood. You can substitute with bleachers, or any kind of cardio you like. Running makes me want to poke my own eyeball out, so I will do stairs, thank you very much.

Wednesday: Motley Fitness Killer Core Workout. Maybe I’m just a wimp . . . but this is so hard. BUT I don’t get bored, and that’s important to me. 🙂 You could also do this Jillian Michaels video.

Thursday: Yoga Class + Stairs (replace with whatever you want – some strength, some cardio)

Friday: Arms: Fitness Blender Video

Saturday: Hike or A Long Walk (you’re welcome)

Sunday: 30-minute guided meditation (I like Denise Lynch’s products) + This Crazy Video

DAILY: Add a walk at night to get 10,000 steps!

Gallon Challenge Plan:

16oz water first thing in the morning (put it on your nightstand the night before)

Breakfast: 24oz water + 8oz hot lemon water (1/2 lemon)

Lunch: 24oz water

Afternoon: Drink another 24oz somewhere in here . . .

Dinner: 24oz water

Before Bed: 8oz hot lemon water (1/2 lemon) or herbal tea

Daily Routine Summary:

Wake Up: mini workout + water

Breakfast + water + lemon water

Lunch + water

Noon: snack + water + workout

Dinner + water

Evening: walk + chocolate square + herbal tea/lemon water

Alright! That’s it for now. Week 1 shopping list, meal plan, and recipes coming in a few days!

Happy Beauty Building!