Digesting the Day

Today, my co-workers and I, spent the day at Eupepsia Wellness Center in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. Nestled along a hillside surrounded by small creeks and wooded areas, looking very much out of place, and yet, right at home at the same time, Eupepsia, who's motto is: the alchemy of digesting life, sits awaiting your personal or company retreat.

We are greeted by numerous friendly- faced hosts and hostesses upon our entrance to the property. I took this video of my walk down the porch later on after lunch.

Our morning began with freshly made pastries of all sorts, some with cheese and some with fruit, coffee and tea. For some of us, who are often nervous at these sort of required gatherings, arrival time can set the tone for the whole day. I am pleased to report that everyone quickly relaxed into casual conversation and greetings of coworkers we don't often see. This was helped along by welcoming staff wearing name tags and eager to speak to any lone wolves.

I didn't catch all the details, but I understand that the staff was brought in from Dubai and they make everything from scratch. Naturally, me being me, I couldn't wait to see what was on the lunch menu.

But instead of seeking that out we got on with our morning company business and mini training sessions, readying ourselves for a productive school year. (We are all Therapeutic Day Treatment counselors and work within the schools in several counties in Virginia. )

After our trainings, which were short and sweet, the staff got underway providing us with opportunities for a myriad of team-building exercises. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil the surprise for you if your company is kind enough to book a day here, but wear comfortable shoes and clothes. We all had a great time with the activities, which seemed challenging but not impossible, and definitely made us feel like we could trust each other and work together.

Now the best part of my day trip here to Eupepsia Wellness Center was… you guessed it… LUNCH! Everything was vegetarian, although, they did use cream, cheese and probably butter in some things. So, if you are like me and lactose intolerant, be prepared for that.

At the end of the day we did a few more activities which helped us hone in on our personal differences and strengths within our groups. The staff then showed us a short video of our experiences during the day, which was anywhere from well- received to downright hilarious.
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I feel I can speak for most of our group in saying that this was one of the most enjoyable and beneficial beginning of the year meetings we have had. I would love to return to Eupepsia, especially since it is only 15 minutes from Wytheville and very easily accessible by car.

If you would like to book your company or personal retreat at Eupepsia, you can do that here.

Walking in Wiffle 

I was out walking with my niece tonight and we were knee deep in a conversation about how she is starting the Whole30 tomorrow and the numerous treats she’s permitted herself this weekend in preparation… eh hem… when we made a right off Main Steet onto Tazewell, to avoid the “Sidewalk Closed” area and started past Petals


Photo borrowed, affectionately, from Wiffle Pop’s Website

We heard some friendly chants coming from the corner across the street where a gang of kids was patrolling the parking lot looking for their next victim. Are you completely scandalized yet? Don’t be. A friendly gentleman popped his head out of the door and shouted, “Hey, you wanna free Wiffle Pop?” Well, “YES! Of course!” We replied, neverminding the Whole30 conversation 😂 

I handed off my gigantic German shepherd without a word to one of the kids outside, who gracefully obliged me and we popped into the new shop. How CUTE was this place??!! No, I didn’t take pictures of the shop, so you’ll just have to go see it yourself.

I asked why in the world he was giving me a free Wiffle Pop, when I would gladly pay for one, as I have many times before, and never to my disappointment, might I add. There was even this one time someone had “paid it forward” when we visited their booth at the Market, but I paid it forward again because well, they are that good! 😊 He said this is our new location and these were our practice pops. Um… count me in on that YUM 👅!!

Curious as always, I asked him if they were benefiting from the grant money from the Wythe business start up program and Mr. Temple, Matt, gladly showed me the machines he had been able to purchase with the money. I asked how he made all those tons of Wiffle Pops before and he told me they were freezing them in molds, which I’m sure took FOREVER! 


I stole a few pictures from their Facebook page and website, since I definitely did not have my wits about me while I was in there, enough to take pictures of anything except the menu. 


We picked up our conversation about the Whole30 as my polite way of letting them know I needed one that didn’t have any dairy, since I had recently realized I was lactose intolerant. No problem there! My niece had a cookies 🍪 and cream pop and I enjoyed a mango, much to my delight!

The Temple family has been serving us Wiffle Pops (gourmet popsicles) at the Farmer’s Market for a while now, and I think I recall having one also at a local festival, but alas, the Farmer’s Market has been closed since Octoberish and I have not seen a Wiffle Pop in some time. I was hot from walking and had given my dog most of my water 💦 and man was this a nice unexpected treat! Thank You 😊!


I don’t know what was on this corner before, but I told them I was SO glad to see that they were going to be here now. I mean, the Farmer’s Market gets a bit of traffic, but let’s face it, I don’t only want Wiffle Pops on a Saturday morning. I just know Wytheville is going to embrace this little shop with open hearts and big smiles. Really, they’re such a nice family, how could we not, and plus … POPSICLES! 

Mrs. Temple let me snap a pic of the new menu for the shop which opens in Downtown Wytheville at the beginning of May 2017.


I found this Gofundme link on their Facebook page, I don’t think they would mind me sharing. Click to help! 

I am so excited to add this place to my list of “MUST VISITS” for my readers, I just know they’ll have something you will LOVE ❤️ !!

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Karen Bradberry is the owner and sole writer for “Disturbing Clarity”, a humorous yet factual blog found at http://www.disturbingclarity.com. She began this blog in effort to try to fill in the gaps for travelers like herself, ready for adventure and avoiding disaster.

As a parent, college student and full time counselor, Karen strives to bring you a better understanding of the places she visits, how to get there and how much it really costs to readers who have always wanted to travel. You can reach Karen Bradberry by writing to: disturbingclarity@gmail.com

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Wolf Creek Indian Village / Museum & Gift Shop: 1st Annual Easter Egg Hunt 


We hurried up to get to Wolf Creek, hoping they wouldn’t start without us. The hunt was scheduled for 10am. I had never been there, although the kids have both been on school field trips. It was very easy to find, right off I-77 N at exit 58. 


There was plenty of parking for the day, and it was free! I actually would have paid to park, like the state parks require, but thankful nonetheless. We went into the gift shop to register, which only included me handing over $3 a piece for the kids, so no paperwork! We were allowed to look through the museum and gift shop, both were excellent but you’ll have to go there if you want to see it, because they ask that you don’t take pictures in the museum. Totally acceptable in my opinion. 


Unlike most gift shops we visit attached to museums, most items were quite affordable, a nice aspect. The history in the museum was very interesting to me and I easily could have spent a few hours reading  and viewing all of the artifacts. But we went down a few minutes later as a group, which I was glad for since we had to be somewhere later. 


We took a nice little five to ten minute hike down a well-laid trail, around large rocky outcrops that had wooden signs posted identifying local plant life. I noticed they had a golf cart available to carry anyone unable to hike down independently. A very nice touch! 


We ended in the Indian Village near a creek and adorned with palisades. Ages five and under hunted eggs just outside the village and the older children within. The kids scampered in and out of the huts and all about the grounds. 


I saw a lot of older children, including my own, assisting younger ones in reaching eggs in roof thatches and under hut “furniture”. The entire hunt was over in about ten minutes. The staff instructed there would be no pushing, no running and that everyone would treat each other kindly. Thank you 😊! 


We hiked back up through the trail enjoying the scenery, everyone in less of a hurry now.


 The Easter Bunny was waiting at the trail head for photo ops and hugs and most of the children seemed genuinely surprised to see him/ her there. 


The staff continued to organize and direct instead of allowing people to do what people in large groups sometimes do.. eh hem… Good Job! 👏🏻


All the parents were asked to count their childrens’ eggs and write the numbers on a sheet next to their names. And after this was finished they handed out prizes for most eggs, least eggs and two golden eggs found. 


Pictured above: (with parent permission of course) Annabel Rasnik finder of the golden egg age group 6-12. What a cutie! 

They gave out great prizes! The golden egg finders received a large plush animal and the other winners got gift certificates worth $10 each for the gift shop. Like I said before, prices were good in the shop, so I’m certain the $10 went far. Then each child who hunted eggs got an arrowhead necklace. 


They were thrilled! We bought ten mystery eggs that contained jewelry, miniatures and a gift certificate for a stuffed animal and a t-shirt! Win! I also spent $3.50 each on a bag of polished stones for the kiddos. 


We were finished in about 1 and a half hours and on our way. Overall it was a great little excursion which only took 20 minutes in travel time from our hometown of Wytheville, Va. I always try to let you guys know how much things cost because most of us do have to think of that. I spent a whopping $26. Maybe I’ll see some of you there next year! 


Karen Bradberry is the owner and sole writer for “Disturbing Clarity”, a humorous yet factual blog found at http://www.clearlyiamdisturbed.com. She began this blog in effort to try to fill in the gaps for travelers like herself, ready for adventure and avoiding disaster. As a parent, college student and full time counselor, Karen strives to bring a better understanding of the places she visits, how to get there and how much it really costs to readers who have always wanted to travel. You can reach Karen Bradberry by writing to: clearlyiamdisturbed@gmail.com

The Whole30…Who’s Disturbed Now?

Ok, so it’s still me, but you’re right there with me correct? Let’s all pause for a moment of clarity…

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I am tired of being hungry and continuing to gain weight. Sure it creeps on slowly, but it just stays and stays. I am tired of not fitting into my good jeans anymore. What the Hell happened?

I don’t know….

I’m lying. I do know. It was me. I ate every ounce of whatever I wanted. I tried a smoothie diet for a couple of weeks. It worked, but yuk! I don’t want to drink my food and I don’t want to be unhealthy. Even more than that, I don’t want you to drink your food or be unhealthy either, because I care about you, my dear reader.

OK, so I decided to give up sugar on Sunday of last week. That went alright for the day, so I decided to give up wheat. Well, that proved to be even more difficult for me than sugar! But okay, I was still alive after day 2 so, I began to think, “What else is in my diet that could be problematic?”

I have had digestive issues for about three years which leaves me bloated and with a belly ache, like all the time. They said they can’t do anything about it, something about spasms, blah blah blah. I soothe this belly ache with oatmeal, bread, crackers, cheese, yogurt…Whatever I feel like my body is craving at the moment. The G.I. doc said eat less fiber and more bland food because I was not processing all the fiber in my leafy greens and whole wheat products efficiently. It didn’t really help anything, but it made me feel better for the moment. In hindsight, I knew exactly what I was doing. I am a gerontologist. I have a very good understanding of the functions of the human body and how we change as we age, psychologically as well as physically.

But when aging happens to YOU, it feels very personal and scary; even very normal aging processes like a slowing metabolism. When dietary changes are necessary and you ignore them, fat happens. Fat, fatigue, lethargy, laziness, being angry at your clothes and in a bad mood each morning as you have to decide what to wear, they all happen.

                     Karen Bradberry

So, as I was weaning myself off of what I thought were possibly problematic foods, I searched the terms, “what to expect when giving up wheat.” I read a blog post, (I am so sorry I don’t remember where), and there was a link to the Whole30.

I thought, “nope. nope. HELLS to the NO!” I always fail at diets. They feel like punishment and let’s be realistic, NO ONE is going to tell ME what to do! I make the rules about what I eat and I am a foodie. I am NOT, I repeat NOT doing this “diet”.

Then as the week went on I became curious to see how long I could go without reintroducing wheat and sugar into my diet. I was feeling not as hungry all the time, which I thought was just a fluke because I wasn’t eating as much. Sometimes we have those days when we just aren’t that hungry, you know? I also immediately accepted the fact that the lack of blood sugar spikes and drops were because of the absence of sugar and wheat. So, I was like hey, maybe the articles I read are actually true and “Wheat-belly” exists. I am not allergic to any food (dammit), but that doesn’t mean I need to eat it. So I decided to give up dairy and legumes. You know, just to see what would happen.

Today is day 8 without those things. Except yesterday I ate two pieces of fried spam and the day before that I ate a half a package of liverwurst. They were both very delicious to me. They both have corn syrup or sugar in them. It may be a negligible amount of sugar, but it’s sugar all the same, and it’s a no no. If I say I gave something up, then I have to be truthful with myself.

Today I started the Whole30. SHUT UP! I know what I said. But I was like, “dangit….I’m already almost there anyway. Let’s see if I just tweak this thing a little more, I could start counting the days toward the Whole30. ” So, I did. I’ll keep you posted.

Are you doing it? Have you done it? Do you think I am disturbed? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

Day 1 of the WHOLE30:

I gotta tell you. I am still reeling from the weekend. I hadn’t really had any cravings past the first three days. I also hadn’t really done any physical labor of any sort aside from light cleaning, cooking walking at work type things. Then Saturday morning came and I sat with my coffee, in my spot, and thought about all the delicious sweets I could be enjoying with it. DING DING DING…There you have it folks. I wanted sugar and wheat. Little Debbies to be exact. And I sat and wrestled with those emotions and talked to myself.

I gave my kid the Nature Valley Peanut Butter Granola Cups I had bought last week and asked her to take them into another room to eat them. I also warned her, “If you see me running toward you, run…” She got it. But alas, I made it through the hour, with the realization that I HAVE AN EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO FOOD! Like I really felt like I deserved a treat for making it to Saturday and I felt jipped that I didn’t get it in the form of sweet cream filled corn syrup laden wheat cake covered in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil chocolate flavored coating.

About an hour after this “episode” I realized, if I am going to continue to have my coffee on the weekends then I am going to have to look at the coffee as my reward or find some other way to reward myself. After eating my three eggs and veggies and a banana, the cravings went away. I gave myself a reward. Self-love and a little pride.

Good. I learned something.

All the cravings I had vanished and I packed my “dinner” for the trip I was about to take. I went out to play the show at the Greenbrier. Ate a healthy snack on the way. The other boiled egg I had, some peppers and raw almonds. We unloaded equipment and although I don’t do much heavy lifting these days what with four men in the band, I worked up an appetite.

Well, we missed dinner and the employee cafeteria closed.  So, I ate the rest of my peppers and my guacamole, a few homemade almond meal crackers (I’ll tell you about my issues with mushy foods later) and a banana. Then the employee cafeteria opened back up before we went on and they were serving something that smelled delicious. POT ROAST!! The boys were eating the mashed potatoes and peas too…(Those mashed potatoes are why I couldn’t start the Whole30 Saturday.)  I only took a teeny tiny bite of the potatoes but ooh lala they were heavenly. I counted them of course. STRIKE!! I need to be as aware of what I am putting into my mouth as what is coming out of it…Both are a challenge for me.

I ate the pot roast. It was very yummy. I didn’t eat any other unapproved foods that evening. Man was my energy level LOW by 3AM. I was like a slug. Note to self: I need to eat more leafy greens and more carbs if I am going to be dancing and singing all night.

Well, after watching some disgracefulness on the dance floor, (Alcohol knows no socioeconomic boundaries people) and after a girl got up on stage, grabbed my mic and yelled “Hey all you Mother F****” throughout the casino and hotel, (clearly she was disturbed) and after we packed up and hit the road back to VA, I was totally DONE.

The next morning, afternoon, whatever, I had a terrible headache and I smelled SPAM cooking. Yep, I ate it. I ate the SPAM. It was delicious. It also had sugar in it. So, there’s that. STIKE!!

And that’s the story of how today, Monday, became my Day 1. I had almond milk in my coffee, a banana chopped up in some cereal- type concoction of toasted coconut flakes, almonds and walnuts. I ate a can of soy-free Raincoast tuna and I am just not hungry for anything else right now. Real food that doesn’t cause my body to have an immune type response keeps me feeling full much longer. And that my friend, is why I am going to complete the Whole30 and totally change the way I look at food.

Join me if you dare.

Are you doing it? Have you done it? Do you think I am disturbed? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

Day 2 of the Whole30- Well that was interesting….

So this is day two for me and so far it has gone pretty well. I realized late last night that I MUST add eggs back in because although I wasn’t hungry yesterday, I got hungry last night and had bad cravings. I ate the beef that went into the fajitas I love so much, but I didn’t like it. I always LOVE it! As it turns out, I guess what I LOVED was cheese and sour cream and the bite and rubbery tug of the tortilla as I ate it, not so much the meat….

Good, I learned something.

So, I looked in the freezer and behold, my farmer’s market chorizo was in there and dat- da-da!! It contained no sugar! This was surely good news for me because I have about four lbs of it left. It isn’t my favorite sausage by any means, but it’ll do a lot. I sauteed some random veggies and made an egg bake. Then I was like, what to do with this extra chorizo?….So I stayed up entirely too late and made mini muffin cups with potatoes, chorizo and eggs. I just sauteed a couple of potatoes in the chorizo, dumped them in the muffin pan and poured some egg over top. They were great. It was all great. I had it for breakfast so far and I feel much better today already.

I think I ate too many nuts yesterday. Had a stomach ache. But it could have been the coconut because it was the first time I had ever eaten coconut in any bulk.

Are you doing it? Have you done it? Do you think I am disturbed? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

Day 3-4

So sorry but the week got away from me. In fact, it’s 11:20 and I’m just stopping by to say, it gets easier…. then hard for a few minutes a couple of times a day… then easy again. When bananas and sweet mini peppers taste like candy, I think you’ve officially reached some sort of cleanse pinnacle. They’re lovely, really. I don’t try to limit the peppers but I do only have a couple of bananas a day and I try to not snack on them. But they’re good for me in an emergency and there seems to always be one within arms length when you work at a school.

I gave up the raw nuts and toasted coconut cereal concoction I bragged about eating the other day because it definitely did not agree with me. I’ve also limited my coconut milk to a little in my one cup of coffee each morning. It’s definitely helped the tummy issues.
I can feel my body thanking me each day for doing the Whole30. Sometimes my mind has other ideas though. Things are going good. I’m going into day 5 tomorrow! Hooray! I feel accomplished and I’m not nearly ready to throw in the towel.

Day two and theee were nap days for me. Today, I was good to go for the long haul.
I’ll tell you what helped me the most. Once I realized it was the nuts that were bothering me and probably the coconut, i reintroduced eggs. I made a zucchini, spinach, onion, peppers and Rotel tomato egg bake in two big old pans. I’ve eaten it every day for the past three days and it has been yummy!! Baking the eggs makes them a little chewy which I can deal with since I don’t like mushy foods. And I get a load of sautéed veggies in each serving. I also added the farmers market chorizo to that mix and it’s a hearty filling meal.

I’m going to bed. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Are you doing it? Have you done it? Do you think I am disturbed? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

Day 5: Salad is my friend 

I slept like the dead last night, which is a great thing for this old insomniac. Today I ate a Larabar with my coffee. Is that okay? I checked it out and since there was no other compliant food available, I decided just to aware that this is an emergency food for me. I have to make sure that I don’t use it to feed my sugar monster, which is always a raging beast. Done.

I am eating a ton of veggies in salad form due to my texture issues and I have to find my way around that.

Challenge accepted.

Day 10: I feel good

I have been sleeping better, feeling better and my digestive tract thanks me every day. I’ll spare you the details. However, I have this little problem. People ask me about my “crazy diet” all day long at work. When I tell them I am absolutely still doing it, they scoff. They ask me why and say they would never do that. So, I think I have decided this about them, if they had serious gut issues like I have for the past four years, where “healthy eating” was actually a present and active practice in the conventional sense, but still felt bad all the time with bloating, fatigue, pain, constipation, occasional fleeting relief only to be countered the next day by worse pain and bloating, they wouldn’t think this is “crazy” and they would actually want to do it.

Meal planning is a lot less stressful now that I am fully aware of the boundaries of this plan. The egg bake in the fridge is a great way to get extra veggies in without eating salad every meal and without mushy cooked veggies. I have found that bloating and pain have subsided if I do a few things differently and they’re not that hard! I cook a couple of pots of soup each week. I blend them in the blender and drink them up at lunch and they are so yummy. Broccoli was bothering me. I love it raw, it tasted great to me and has a nice texture. But it left me feeling gassy and bloated. I don’t like it cooked, because if I cook it enough that it doesn’t bother my gut, it’s mushy. When the water left in it squishes out in my mouth, it gags me. Who wants broccoli soup? Not me. But I’ll eat some cream of broccoli soup like crazy….I can’t have dairy so I dismissed it the first week.

Then I was like, hold the phone. I can cook it down in some chicken broth, onions and ghee. Add some almond milk or almond and coconut milk and blend it. It becomes a creamy, salty, very healthy comforting bowl of goodness and I don’t feel bad about eating it at all. In fact, I feel really good about eating it. Boom, I get more veggies in, I feel full and I don’t have to stab at a salad with a plastic fork on my lunch break. My gut thanks me. It turns out that if I cook the broccoli and blend it up with the other ingredients I love the fluffy texture and I digest it perfectly. This week, I also added spinach and carrots to the blend. It made a gorgeous green soup that my co-workers said “eww” to. That’s fine with me. I am comfortable with not having to share it. People always want some of your salad, but they don’t typically want your grass colored “whatever that is in your bowl.”

Keep eating, my friends.

Are you doing it? Have you done it? Do you think I am disturbed? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

Day 14: Procrastinating wears me out 

Ok so i have a confession… I procrastinate about school work, cleaning, opening mail… you name it. The only thing I do in a timely manner is eat. But guess what… today I procrastinated myself right into feeling exhausted. I was so stressed out because I waited too long to send my interview questions to a friend for a school paper of mine, I ended up emailing my professor and telling her my paper would be LATE. How embarrassing. But anyway, the reason I made this great Confession is to tell you, stress really does lead to a lot of bad things. I was feeling pretty stressed out all week because of some family stuff, then all weekend I piled on, “I’ll do it tomorrow” with my schoolwork, but still continued to think about he fact that I hadn’t done it. It’s like I couldn’t get up the nerve to turn on my laptop.

I started freaking out about my last assignment due, snapping at everyone, wishing for some peace and relaxation. Trying to genie blink myself back to Tortola… so the moral of the story is…. stop doing the same thing and expecting different results. I guess this 10% off my grade will make me HAVE to turn the other assignments in on time.

Jeremy made soup today and we both continued on our way to feeling better and being healthy. For the first time in many years I had an entire basket full of healthy food that I knew would not go to waste. I knew exactly how and when I was eating this stuff cause I’m 14 days into the Whole30 and I’m basically a pro.  The salad stuff would be eaten in a few days, the veggies for soup would go today, (ok I’m throwing that cashew milk away if I can’t cook the taste out of it) the fruit would be gobbled up as breakfast a dinner sides, the eggs, EVERYTHING would be gone and into our bellies. No wasting. Why would I let it go to waste now? I wouldn’t have anything at all to eat 😦 And I am not failing at this.

Are you doing it? Have you done it? Do you think I am disturbed? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

Day 18- Go to Hell donut 

Ok, so today there was a training and my daughter had a long awaited specialist appointment that got moved from Friday to Thursday. I really wanted to be the one to take her. But I had to do this training. So I go, believing there would be donuts, cereal bars, juice and coffee with creamer, and there was. A new donut shop just opened up in this small town and it is ALL THE RAGE. Everyone is talking about how yummy these sourdough circular sugary wheat bullets are and I was finally faced with them in person. I resisted. I’m proud. Not because I didn’t crave them, I could smell them from the freakin elevator. But because I knew how yucky they might make me feel later and I respect my body enough not to want to do that. Also, I’m on day 18 of the Whole30 and have been compliant thus far. Donuts will still be there when I’m done. They’re still going to taste the same, should I dare to eat one. They will not fall off the face of the earth 🌏 just because I didn’t eat them yet.

Let me tell you what a donut will do to me right now. I will get a lovely sugar high, fill my belly with that sweet starchy bread and feel all warm and gooey for about five minutes. Then, I’ll still be hungry and my veggies and fruit won’t taste so good. I’ll get a headache when I come down off my sugar high.  Then later and probably for a couple of days I’ll have a belly ache from whatever it is in things with wheat that sets my immune system into a tailspin. Not worth it.

I had a stressful day so I wasn’t that hungry overall, and probably didn’t eat enough calories for a girl my size. But I still don’t feel as bad as I probably would have if I had eaten the donut. That doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about them all day though.

I had a bad temper this afternoon when my kids came home telling me that after they had only a half day at school and had played for seven hours at their afterschool training program, they didn’t have time to get there homework done. As they flopped down in their beds all mad at me because I wouldn’t let them stay up late and do their homework, I decided I’m a mean mom. And that’s ok.

Personal responsibility and accountability have to start when you are young and natural consequences are the best teacher. Some people would stay up late with their kids and help them do their homework and hope that next time they made a better decision. That wasn’t me today. I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with the donut though.

Are you doing it? Have you done it? Do  you think I am disturbed? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

So here are my results on day 31 of the Whole30 according to Myfitnesspal, My Aria Scale and Fitstream. For all you who said, “that’s crazy” and for all you who are just curious. There’s no shame in my game. 


Then. Now 

165.9. – 156.9

waist 36/ 34


hips 42/ 38


neck 14/ 13


I lost an inch in every other one of my measurements except my thighs…. Lost 4 inches on each thigh at that fattest part. The part that keeps your phone from falling in the toilet. That part.


dude….. I feel fantastic about this … 9 lbs… I’ll take it. I’m 5’8″ and although I know it’s only 9 lbs, I feel like it was 30. That’s how good I feel. I am never crazy hungry now (hangry) and when I’m hungry after dinner, I don’t feel bad about having a little something because I haven’t put junk in my body throughout the day. I’m surprised at how little food it takes to satisfy me when I feel like I need a little snack. It’s actually a LITTLE snack. A couple shrimp or the rest of a salad I had earlier at dinner. 


So much has changed for me in 30 days. Severe grouchiness in the morning, stomach aches all the time, headaches, sinus infections, lethargy, anxiety, depression, inattention, back aches, and insomnia, all gone! I’m still mean as Hell but that’s just me I guess…It’s not like me to gush, so take me seriously here folks. I didn’t do this for weight loss but I am stoked about it as well. 

Things you will probably need to successfully complete the WHOLE30 (In my opinion) 

Ghee- Serves as a cooking oil, probiotic digestive aid, mix in (think mashed potatoes with ghee and almond milk), spread on, dip in.

Whole30 Approved Buffalo Sauce- You know, for wings and dipping things in.

Whole30 Approved Dressing and Marinade (Zesty Ranch)- It is like an oil based dressing and marinade which I used for marinades, dipping and dressings.

target=”_blank”>Safe Catch soy free tuna- I am not a huge tuna fan, but you can get these in many stores and it served as a good emergency food for me.

Why have tuna when you can have Smoked Trout though? Its almost $4 a can in the stores. I included a link here but couldn’t find one with a decent price. Just go to Walmart.

 



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Karen Bradberry, MA is the owner and sole writer for “Disturbing Clarity”, a humorous yet factual blog found at http://www.clearlyiamdisturbed.com. She began this blog in effort to try to fill in the gaps for travelers like herself, ready for adventure and avoiding disaster. As a parent, college student and full time counselor, Karen strives to bring a better understanding of the places she visits, how to get there and how much it really costs to readers who have always wanted to travel. You can reach Karen Bradberry by writing to: clearlyiamdisturbed@gmail.com

Seven Days in the BVI (on a budget) by Karen Bradberry

Recently the bf and I visited the British Virgin Islands for seven fun-filled but relaxing days. As someone who always feels unnecessarily anxious when I have an itinerary, I decided to travel without one. I suggest you do the same, as it worked out beautifully!

Of course, I did some research about the islands, the climate and the people, for safety’s sake and to eliminate unnecessary baggage. The best tip I got was “pack light”. No problem there, I hate lugging around bags and I figured since I was going “budget friendly”, I wouldn’t need anything fancy to wear. 

We flew into St. Thomas, destination Tortola. Tortola is one of the larger islands and so my thinking was “if traveling by ferry or water taxi turns out to be something we cannot afford once we are out there, there will probably be enough to do on the island within driving distance.” Another great tip I got was “rent a car,” a four wheel drive to be exact. So, that is what I did. 

I had a couple thousand dollars saved up because I was worried about getting over there and running out of money, but I still played it safe and spent as little as possible. After all, it was Christmas time and I didn’t want to be broke when I got back either. 

Man cannot live on “salt air” alone

The first thing I want you to know is that food is very expensive over there and I am not just talking about eating out. I am talking grocery store food was super expensive. For instance, a small can of condensed Campbell’s soup ran about $3.00. Orange juice was about $8.00. A loaf of bread was $6.00. Normal everyday staples were outrageous! I spoke to many locals about the cost of food on the island because I was convinced there must be some secret to shopping more affordably. I mean, this is a tourist industry with most locals working for minimum wage of about $6 an hour.  They told me they had to take the ferry over to St. Thomas for any real shopping, at $35 one way! Overall, the locals agreed that the price of food on the island was not affordable and made life quite a bit more difficult than was necessary. This would explain why most locals with even the smallest bit of land had vegetable gardens.

*So here is my “I’m gonna do this next time” tip for you, check a bag with some non-perishables for your flight over. I’m talking ramen noodles, bread, mayo and dried fruit, the kind of things that customs won’t care about. This way, you’ll pay normal, reasonable prices for your food, a $25 checked bag fee and have an empty bag to take back souvenirs or just throw it out if you don’t love it. You will still come out on top monetarily since a case of canned soda in the BVI will run you about $18.

Where the streets have no names 

The second tip I have for you is to rent a car. After having rented a car on Tortola, I am not sure I will ever visit another foreign land and not rent a car. At $50 a day, we saw every part of the island we cared (or dared) to visit, and paid $0.00 in taxi fees. Yes, it took some getting used to; driving on the left, crazy roundabouts and a few close calls, but totally exhilarating and absolutely cost effective. Having our own means of transportation meant we could go to almost any beach, any day, for free. Technically, I could have spent each day at a different beach with a packed lunch and been back at the rental in time for dinner. We used a total of 3/4 tank of gas in seven days, driving every day. So, just do it and thank me later. 


Crow’s Nest Guest Cottage 

We rented a studio guest house on the West End of Tortola. It was the cheapest thing I could find and it had a hot tub, beautiful views of Soper’s Hole and was oh so quiet. It also had a kitchenette which we took full advantage of each morning and evening.

Adventure Awaits 

So, what did we do besides lounge in the hot tub, cook steak and shrimp kabobs on the grill and watch movies on our Amazon Fire Stick every night? Here is a list of my favorite cheapo adventures and things I would enjoy doing again if I return. 

P.S. They don’t really tow on Tortola, so you can park right next to any little beach access with “no worries”.



1
. Smuggler’s Cove(Free) Snorkle, lounge on the beach, swim, collect rocks and coral. It’s a small secluded beach on Tortola’s West End. Taxis don’t like to drive there because the roads are so rough. Your rental car will get you there with no problem, once you find it. There is even a little bar there called Nigel’s Snack Shack if you need a drink or two…. or four. The first day we went there were four other people there. We went there each day though, before dinner on our way back from wherever we had been, just to look at it one more time. 

Above: Smuggler’s Cove

2. Cane Garden Bay(Free) Snorkle, Swim, Lounge, rent a paddle board or kayak for around $20 including a lesson. Have lunch at Myett’s. If you do, I recommend their catch of the day, conch fritters and Blue Chair drink. They also make a great Pain Killer, a local favorite. 


Above: Cane Garden Bay from Myett’s  

3. Brewer’Bay- (Free) I didn’t take any pictures here because I was too busy snorkeling, which is exactly what I recommend you do here as well. The beach didn’t look as picturesque as some of the others so I reluctanlty got in. Once I stuck my mask under water, that was all she wrote. We swam around for hours looking at the beautiful reefs. Ask a local how to get down to this beach and you will not be disappointed. The road to it is paved and there is a parking area, if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s a little restaurant and bar here as well. 

4. Road Town(Free) Ok, so I’m not really into hustle and bustle or shopping, but since we planned to go to another island the next day, we thought we would venture over to Road Town, get our bearings and figure out where the ferry dock was. (This is also where the real grocery store is, so unless you’re eating out every meal, you must make your way there eventually.) At this point we had been driving the island for three days and decided we could deal with the traffic. We parked at the ferry dock and stopped into Pusser’s where we had a fantastic quesadilla and an even better Pain Killer…A Disney cruise was docked and there were a lot of people around shopping at the typical port looking shops. We ventured over to Sunny Caribbee’s Spice Co., bought some teas and spices and browsed local artists’ creations. I also bought some magnets for the kids from one of the port shops. Not a bad haul for the day considering my aversion to shopping. We got the ferry schedule and got the heck out of there. But… not before making several heart-thumping trips around the roundabout pictured below… 

5. The Baths, Virgin Gorda- ($3.00) Swim, snorkle, walk through the caves, hike along the paths, swim in the pool, people watch. We took Speedy’s Ferry from Road Town to Virgin Gorda for $50 round trip.We rented a car through the ferry service for $50. We drove down to the baths in the rental car and spent several hours there snorkeling, hiking and had a drink at the bar.



The locals at the rental car pick up recommended Hog Heaven for lunch. Since we rented a car, we had no taxi fees,  and we weren’t forced to stay and eat at the high priced restaurant at the Baths. The food was cooked on a smoker (except for the honey-dipped fried chicken I had, which was also delicious) and was easily the best food/drinks we consumed, that we hadn’t prepared ourselves, since arrival in the BVIs. It was only about $15 per meal there, so it was worth not packing lunch. 

Below: View from Hog Heaven on Virgin Gorda 


Still, there was one more destination I wanted to visit on Virgin Gorda. A five minute drive landed us at the old Copper Mine. No one else was there, and I got several lovely photos. Oh, did I mention this was free? No one mans it, so it was an easy self tour. 


We returned to the Baths because we still had about an hour to return the rental car and get on the ferry. Everyone was gone and it was perfectly legal to then go down and walk around unsupervised. Given the chance, I would probably repeat this trip exactly the same way, and at least twice in the week. We spent about $6 in gas on the island. Taxis run about $30 per person per trip, so, we definitely came out on top by renting a car. 

6. Sage Mountain- Hiking, banana smoothies and the best stories from Jim. Ok, so although you can’t tell from our photos, it rained a lot while we were down there. Mostly it rained at night and you really couldn’t tell in the morning. But when we got up to Sage Mountain to do the hike, Jim, recommended not wearing our “only shoes,” but our “only shoes” were all we had since I “packed light.” So instead of a muddy hike and regretful ruining of shoes, I asked Jim for a banana smoothie and a story. Specifically, I asked him for his story because he had a strong English accent and definitely a worldly look about him. He also seemed like such a happy person, I immediately wanted to know all of his secrets. We spent an hour or so listening and enjoying the stories of a traveling ex-Navy chef who came very close to working on the Queen’s yacht. So, while I can’t recommend the hike on Sage Mountain, (because I didn’t do it) I can recommend asking Jim at the restaurant and other local transplants to tell you their stories of how they came to live in the BVI. This is absolutely free. 

7. Norman Island (Treasure Island)-($20 Round Trip) That’s all you really need to spend to get over to this little island for the day. Eat breakfast first and pack a lunch if you’re not planning to spend $50 per person for lunch and a drink. The dive shop was open first and the people in there were very nice. We snorkeled for free all day and laid in the sun on the beautiful beach at Pirate’s Bight. If you don’t have a boat and don’t pay for a scuba trip, you really don’t get to see the caves or anything fancy like the part of the island where you might find treasure,  but it is a cheap way to get a boat ride and see a new beach. Snorkeling was excellent here. You won’t be disappointed unless you planned to see the caves…. (sad face). 

If this isn’t enough to keep you busy, but not too busy, all week, feel free to repeat recommendations 1-7. No one will hold it against you.

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Karen Bradberry is the owner and sole writer for “Really Traveling”, a humorous yet factual blog found at http://www.clearlyiamdisturbed.com. She began this blog in effort to try to fill in the gaps for travelers like herself, ready for adventure and avoiding disaster. As a parent, college student and full time counselor, Karen strives to bring a better understanding of the places she visits, how to get there and how much it really costs to readers who have always wanted to travel. You can reach Karen Bradberry by writing to: clearlyiamdisturbed@gmail.com


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