Month: September 2014

Down thirty-one.

It’s been two weeks since I published my first post about my journey to healthier living thus far. It seems like the right time to check back in, post a photo, give a short update, and send out some love.

Where I am.


I have a new smaller notch in my belt and I am walking at least 6,000 steps every day.

All of that is great… BUT… The real reason I am posting today is to wish my sister, Jennie, a Happy Birthday.

Jennie inspired me to take my gluten allergy more seriously than I ever had before. After discovering she was allergic to gluten (like me) and also a slew of other common foods, she made considerable dietary changes that have helped to make her feel better and have improved her quality of life considerably. Watching her succeed has made me want to be a better and more healthy person as well.

Happy Birthday Jennie. I cannot wait to spend time with you, Dave, and your soon to arrive baby girl! Thank you for being the best big sister a guy could ever hope to have. I wouldn’t be nearly as far on this journey without your support.




AWESOME & CHEAP & FAST Review – LiveGfree Snickerdoodle Cookies

I found some delicious Soft Baked Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies at Trader Joe’s some time ago. They were bite sized morsels of cinnamon sugary goodness… but not worth an extra trip just for cookies. Then, I ran into Enjoy Life brand Soft Baked Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies while shopping at Hy-Vee. They were tiny chewy chunks of cinnamon sugary goodness… but they cost around $4 a box. I was dying for more of these cookies but I didn’t want to drive all the way to Trader Joe’s or spend $4 to buy 6 ounces of cookies…

ALDI to the rescue!

ALDI recently started promoting their gluten free line of products, including LiveGfree Snickerdoodle Cookies. They also were tiny bite sized chewy chunk-like morsels of cinnamon sugary goodness, they were at a location with plenty of other items I needed, and they were only $2.49 a box! AWESOME & CHEAP & FAST! But they were hiding something…



The “Finkle is Einhorn, Einhorn is Finkle” of soft baked cookie conspiracies!

Enjoy Life is a big brand baker who makes the cookies for their brand, Trader Joe’s (ALDI subsidiary), and ALDI. Because of the different market segments each brand is aimed at, pricing is different in their respective locations. Enjoy Life (Premium/Mass Market), Trader Joe’s (Specialty), and LiveGfree (Discount) all offer the same cookies!

This is starting to happen more with gluten-free products. It’s too costly to build a facility to produce exclusively gluten free products, so Walmart, Kroger (Baker’s in Omaha), and ALDI/Trader Joe’s continue to test and sell the best gluten free products under their “private label” brands.

Try the gluten free private labels first! You will save money and get the same quality as the big brands!


ALDI LiveGfree Snickerdoodle Cookies

Price – $2.49 (box of 12)

Calories per serving – 120 calories (2 cookies)

AWESOME & CHEAP & FAST Review – ★★★★★  (I love them so much I might buy stock in ALDI.)


AWESOME & CHEAP & FAST Review Preview.

I have always hated this adage:


I want them all!

Instead of settling for Good & Cheap, Cheap & Fast, or Fast & Good, I decided my reviews will be about AWESOME & CHEAP & FAST foods!

  • Awesome – Healthy or delicious… hopefully both.
  • Cheap – Reasonably priced or less expensive than comparable name brands.
  • Fast – Food that can be eaten for an easy meal or snack.

Each item will be reviewed from 1-5 stars and include pricing and locations to pick up the product.

My first review will be up tomorrow morning. Let me know what you think and if you have any products you would like me to review!



Down twenty-five.

If you haven’t seen me in the last two months I may look a bit different. I hope so at least! My blog is up and will be here to track my progress. “But JD! How did we get here?” I thought you’d never ask! It started with a lot of unhealthy choices over the last 27 years. I finally realized it, so… here we go….

Where I was.

In January, I wrote up a BIG list of “evolutions,” a long list of things that I wanted to change in my life. Some examples include:

  • 90% of the time make your own food. (Nearly an inversion of my patterns at the time.)
  • No eating things you’re allergic to. (Seriously… Gluten.)
  • Be healthier. Body AND Mind. (De-stress and get “better.”)
  • Run under a 9 minute mile in 2014. (11 minutes in high school was average.)

I started the year with a few attempts at change… but I didn’t stick with them. I was inspired for a few days by reading an article about someone being super healthy, watching a documentary about a “juice cleanse,” or by feeling like crap after eating way too much. I kept getting more and more stressed out about everything. I felt as if nothing was going how I wanted it to be going.

I needed to change. It took me until March to convince myself to see someone for my stress. It took a trip to Baltimore/DC to make me realize how serious my allergy was. And finally, it took until July 4th to start changing my eating habits. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my efforts over the last few months. I feel now that I am not just making changes for today or tomorrow, I am evolving so I have a better life for as many tomorrows as I am afforded.

Where I am.


What am I doing to have gotten to this awesome place? Since July 8th things have definitely changed for the better:

  • I am down twenty-five pounds! (5lbs. away from my lowest weight in the last 10 years.)
  • I weigh myself a few times a week and use MyFitnessPal daily. (Down 2 pants sizes.)
  • I eat what I want with portion control in mind. (Weighing and spreading out meals.)
  • I stopped eating gluten. (I feel 100 times better. ALDI now has a line of Gluten Free food.)
  • I stopped drinking soda entirely. (It took 2 weeks of migraines to get through.)
  • I am making my own meals MORE than 90% of the time. 
  • I started walking A LOT. (I will hit a 9 minute mile this year.)

Where I am going.


Everything I have changed thus far has been an improvement. I am happy with who I am today and I realize I really don’t need fast food, caffeine, or the emotional food binges in my life, so they won’t be in my life. These are not temporary “diet” changes, they are the way I want to move forward. Even with those changes I hope to meet some goals in the next months:

  • Lose excess weight and get to a normal BMI for my body type.
  • Learn more about nutrition and fitness.
  • Take more time to enjoy every day.
  • Help my friends and family make better choices.
  • Post about progress and review the healthy stuff I love.

I want to involve you in my journey!

If you’ve read this far, I appreciate your support and I hope that my posts will be interesting and helpful if you’re on a journey to get healthier as well. I hope that you post comments, share tips, make suggestions, or ask questions!