Backstory to the 2019 Healthy Eating Jumpstart

For the next few weeks, I’m going to document my return to intermittent fasting (IF) and provide more specific details of how it’s working for me.

I decided to kick-off 2019 with a few weeks of intensive IF to eliminate the 10+ pounds I gained when I added gluten back into my diet about 18 months ago. I say + because I probably added a couple of more pounds in December 2018, due to an unusual (for me) month of “bad carb” consumption.

My Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

I accidentally discovered the practice of intermittent fasting around 2014-15. I think my first awareness of IF as a health practice came during a time period when I was regularly listening to the Bulletproof Radio podcast.

I discovered back then that my preferred “breakfast” time in relation to my preference for early dinners sort of fit within the framework of intermittent fasting, even though it wasn’t always practical for me to eat according to my preferred schedule due to work constraints.

Once I heard about intermittent fasting and the health benefits of IF, I (sort of) began to pay more attention to my eating schedule.

I’ve been a casual intermittent faster over the past 3-4 or so years. I say casual because I’ve never made a formal effort to regularly practice intermittent fasting. I did IF fairly often during those years, but mainly because I could control my eating schedule on most days. I did not have a set practice. When it was possible, I simply had some coconut or MCT oil and butter in my coffee (far below the official “Bulletproof” quantities) and waited to eat “breakfast” when I got hungry. The timing of breakfast determined if/when I would have lunch. I usually did. What I had for lunch then determined the time for dinner and how much I ate. I never ate dinner later than 7 p.m.

My foray into intermittent fasting overlapped with my decision sometime in 2015 to give up all gluten, to the extent practical. I bought GF products when feasible and stopped eating breads. My gluten-free initiative resulted in a significant reduction in sugar consumption, as well. Most of my sugar intake over the past 15 years has come from home-baked cookies, cakes and other desserts. [I’ve never been a big consumer of any processed sugary foods, especially since the late 90s.]

The gluten-free shift + coconut oil in my coffee resulted in the loss of about 5-8 pounds without any intent or effort on my part.

Gluten In, Pounds On

I continued my gluten-free initiative until the first week of August 2017. I remember the exact date because I made a specific decision to have a BLT sandwich from the Odette food booth during the Made South weekend in Birmingham. It was delicious! [Odette is a great restaurant in Florence, Alabama.]

Since I had been so good for 2 years, I thought–that same weekend–that some of my Shine Springs Farm grown heirloom Italian peppers would be so awesome on a nice baguette from Continental Bakery. Heirloom Italian peppers sauteed in olive oil with garlic and served on a baguette is one of life’s great pleasures. I succumbed to the thought and gave in to the temptation. As a girl thinketh…..

That weekend of gluten led to a week and then a month. Then two. I backed off on the gluten in October when I realized I had very easily added about 8 pounds without even thinking about it. I say “backed off” because I ended up having gluten in home-baked foods several times during the holidays and I also ramped up my 2017 holiday baking, using gluten-free flour as well as regular whole wheat flour.

I’m talking about gluten because it was gluten that also led me to back off on the intermittent fasting practice.

During early 2018 I got back on track and started dropping the pounds again, until mid-summer when the heirloom peppers started coming in again. I was running again at that point and decided I could afford to eat baguettes again occasionally, at least on the weekends, with my beloved Italian peppers.

The problem with the summer 2018 time frame is that I started eating later in the evening and having an earlier breakfast to allow me to run earlier in the day before it got too hot.

The normal eating schedule of 3 meals a day and dinners from 6:30 – 7:30 and an overall higher calorie intake + gluten resulted in another few pounds by the time October rolled around. I ramped up my running, but didn’t really change the eating schedule or what I was eating. As of my birthday in late November I was at my highest weight ever. 🙁

The incessant rain during December combined with a rare case of the “mulligrubs” led me to a lot more snacking and relatively more processed carbs than usual, even during the holiday season. I even went so far as to make TWO batches of a maple-flavored Chex party mix using a recipe I found in Martha Stewart Living. Delicious, but definitely bad for the abs!

So all of that extra weight set up my commitment to give up gluten again, for sure. Rather than throw out whatever I had in my cabinets, though, I decided to just eat it all down as the year wound down.

2019 Game Plan

During the early part of the New Year, I decided to jump-start things by also returning to the intermittent fasting eating schedule.

Then, as I thought about it more, I decided to more or less double-down and see how long I could go without eating each day. The game plan that evolved was to:

  1. Try to eat just one meal per day during January
  2. Use up all the food I have on hand before buying more groceries and
  3. As I progress on #2 begin to move back into a more paleo style of eating.

So it’s the results of this game plan that I’m going to be blogging about this month.

I’m writing this at midday on Day 6 of plan and so far it’s going amazingly well. Perhaps better than I probably would have predicted, even though I have pretty good self-discipline when I make a firm commitment to do something health-related.

I hope you’ll follow along with my efforts. More importantly, I hope that what I share will inspire YOU to ramp up your own health commitments during 2019.

Breath on Paper Blog Grow

Peace: The Parting Gift

The Prince of Peace showed me early on that I have no reason to be afraid or have a troubled heart, but that it's really about the absence of something we consider unpleasant.

The peace that passes all understanding….well, let’s just say it took me a while to grasp it.

Two hours after law school graduation, I embarked on my journey into adulthood in a packed-to-the brim Cutlass Olds.

Destination: Miami

18 hours later, I walked to the front desk of the small, Art Deco-style Miami Beach residential hotel where I’d lived the previous summer.

The same building manager handed me the key to my efficiency unit and I walked up 3 flights of stairs. As I reached to insert the key, the unlocked door swung open and I was greeted by an awful stench and a floor littered with trash. I eased inside, peeked into the bathroom, and discovered the source of the disgusting odor.

Clearly, the wicked had not known peace (Isaiah 57:21).

The building manager didn’t ask why when I said I couldn’t live there after all.

I was a bit nonplussed, but I’d faced worse.

I am strong. I am invincible.

Chin up.

I drove across town, booked a room at the Holiday Inn in Coral Gables, and set out to find an apartment unlikely to have been squatted by drug addicts.

It was a quick search. Lease signed, I returned to the hotel and called home to explain the change of plans.

The next morning I reported to work—an eager legal eagle ready to begin my dream job as a corporate securities lawyer. Six new associates were ushered into a conference room, where we learned we would all be doing insurance defense work for two years.

My heart sank.

Fast forward one week. I felt less than invincible but still resilient.

I knew the Lord was in control, but despite a lifetime in church and a deep faith, I was a spiritual baby. If you grew up in a church culture that focused on fire insurance, you understand.

Peace was not flowing like a river.

Two weeks in, the AC on my car retired. I traded the Cutlass for a Suzuki Samurai thinking that would raise my spirits. Of course, things don’t bring peace.

Three weeks in, I was invited to accompany a junior partner to an early morning hearing at the courthouse. I’d worked on the case, so it seemed innocuous. Afterwards, he suggested we stop in at a nearby restaurant for breakfast. Who was I to object?

The Metro train back downtown was standing-room only, and we were scrunched in tightly in the middle of the car. The only place for my hand on the pole between us was at waist level—my waist. At first, I’d thought it was just the crowded train, but with the fourth bump and grind….lightbulb moment.

After this already auspicious start to my day, he invited me to his office, where I learned my new job also came with, as they say, fringe benefits. We could go out on his boat.

A few days later, I turned in my resignation and returned the signing bonus. It was the only choice I could make.

I am woman. With self-respect.

In that moment, I felt a brief shimmering glance of infinite peace in the midst of massive anxiety about my worldly future.

I think I made the right choice, although it changed the trajectory of my life.

As the Rolling Stones sang:

You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you might find that you get what you need.

That month was life-altering for a 24-year-old, but the wisdom didn’t come quickly. Decades of refinement were required for diamonds to appear.

It turns out that peace really is about the absence of something—self.

When we let go of self, we make room for God to shine his light into our hearts and fill us with the Spirit in which we find true freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:1-6, 4:6, Romans 15:13, Galatians 6:8-10).

Simple, but not always easy. It requires daily practice.

A version of this post was originally published on

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how side and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,..." Ephesians 3:17-18. Sheree Martin

Professional Portfolio

Recent Freelance Articles

For a little more than a year now, I've occasionally been hired as a freelance writer to write sponsored content articles for Alabama Media Group.

These articles are published on (and possibly other digital media properties in the Advanced Digital corporate family.)

Since I'm ghostwriting these articles as sponsored content, I do not have a byline. However, I've confirmed that I have permission from the Alabama Media Group to share links to these in my portfolio.

The following is a partial list of the sponsored articles I've written:

AMG Client/Advertiser: Wallace State Community College

Fast Track to Success at Wallace State (Published May 25, 2017)

Art as Conversation, Art as Education, Art as Mirror to Understanding (Published April 26, 2017)

Get on the Road to Success With a Career in Transportation: It's Not Just About Driving a Truck (Published December 29, 2016)

From Choices to Pathways: Wallace State Helps Students Move Forward (Published November 3, 2016)

AMG Client/Advertiser: Austal USA

Revitalization of Manufacturing: Rise of Shipbuilding in Mobile (published July 1, 2016)

Link to a second article to be added later.

AMG Client/Advertiser: Royal Cup Coffee

The Transformative Power of the Birmingham Experience Known as Sloss Fest (published August 31, 2016)

AMG Client/Advertiser: Mayor Tim Kant

At the time of the article, Tim Kant was mayor of the City of Fairhope, running for reelection.

A Performing Arts Center to Inspire the City of Fairhope (published August 8, 2016)

AMG Client/Advertiser: Yulista

Building Culture: Yulista Expansion Grows Footprint and Workforce (July 22, 2016)


Discover Professional

Writing, Law and More

You are a writer.

You are called to write. You feel called to tell stories and offer messages of hope that will change lives, shine light into dark places, and spark change in the world.

I know exactly how you feel.

Over the years, I have come to understand that my own calling is in the broader realm of helping others to discover, grow and shine. I've written about that many places.

Writing, blogging and other media production is a big part of that.

So is teaching, equipping, empowering. Those are the reasons I left law practice to write, earn a Ph.D, and work as a college professor.

In 2011-2012, following a year of prayer and reflection on what was next for my professional life,  I started to feel led out of higher education and into something entrepreneurial that would combine my talents, interests, and dreams into something that I loosely summarized as the “Shine Vision and Values” statement. That vision included the Shinecast® media venture and other related projects.

What’s interesting is that about 20 months ago, I began to perceive that law might be a part of the “Shine” calling, in ways that I had never anticipated. At first, this nudging was simply other people making suggestions, which I resisted. I didn’t see the connection.

Then inquiries from “outsiders” (people I didn't know personally) who had no familiarity with what I'd been trying to do. Multiple inquiries, from different (unrelated) sources.

It was, quite frankly, a difficult time for me. By March 2016, I was completely broken—self-will was demolished. My response to God during those months was that I would do whatever He wanted, just please make the first step clear and plain. That's what I thought I was doing, and had intended to be doing, when I resigned my faculty position to pursue the Shinecast venture. Nothing had worked out as expected. I was confused.

Empowerment Through Law

The light on the path started blinking: “I equipped you as a lawyer you use that knowledge to equip and empower others.”

I said, “OK, show me the way forward.”

Doors opened, opportunities arose, resources appeared. It’s been a walk of faith.

Write: Legal and the companion package, Blog: Legal, are the first resource offerings of a new venture that's intertwined with the Shinecast mission to help others shine in and through health, wealth and wisdom. I'll be sharing more about the details of the new venture and how it connects to the Shinecast vision, mission, and business enterprise.

In the meantime, just let this suffice…..

I look forward to helping you DISCOVER, GROW, and SHINE  in whatever way I can.

Discover Professional

What’s Been Going On?

It's been a long year+ since my last update on this website.  It's not that I haven't been busy (or even blogging), but my focus as been elsewhere.

I returned to the practice of law, while continuing to work on the Shine Vision as much as time would permit. From April – July of 2016, I was super-busy getting all my “ducks in a row” for my return to the legal world.

During July and August of 2016, I was also hustling lots of farm produce grown at Shine Springs Farm. We had a great mid-summer harvest of watermelons and okra.

Our Shine Springs Farm watermelons took 1st and 2nd place at the Franklin County Watermelon Festival “best tasting” competition.

My recipe for watermelon-flavored sweet iced tea won the “best flavored tea” competition sponsored by the Franklin County Extension Service (ACE / Auburn University). I'll find the recipe and share it.

Thanks to Chef Chris Newsome, Chef-Owner of Ollie Irene for buying and serving lots of Shine Springs Farm produce in 2016 (and 2014-15). It's been great to get to know Chef Chris and wife, Anna, through my farming activities.

I handled several trademark registrations and then the legal work started to take off.

My niece Allison lived with me for 8 weeks in the late Fall while she did a round of clinical training with a Birmingham PT healthcare provider for her degree in physical therapy. It was fun having a room-mate again. 🙂

It turned out to be a great year, although it was definitely not without its challenges!

God is good and He will meet our needs when we come to him in faith.

The whole return to law practice was an exercise in faith, because it wasn't something I intentionally chose to do or that I entered into lightly.

As I opened myself up to fully embrace His will and purpose in my life, the doors began to open to law in ways I had never anticipated. As I took the tentative steps in faith, the opportunities and somewhat bigger picture began to unfold.

Each week has been a continued exercise in faith as I've sought to take action in ways that serve the clients I've been blessed with, while continuing to pursue non-legal activities and work that are consistent with the Shine vision and values.

As the “bigger picture” has unfolded, I've also come to see how my background in law is entirely connected with necessary for my Shine vision to come to fruition, in part through Shinecast® media and in part through other similar-but-separate ventures.

In late February, I attended the Lawyerist's TBD Law 2 event in St. Louis.

Sheree Martin attends TBD Law 2 Conference, Franklin County Times April 2017 article

In a few days, I'll be making the official announcements, but I'm about to launch a series of courses to help creative professionals, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs with legal and business topics. The initial offerings will be through the Sheree Martin Law website, but I'll be moving them into a standalone portal later in June.

This isn't the final logo for Write: Legal but it's one of my early DIY designs:

Write: Legal (TM) a Resource from Sheree Martin // Law

June 2-3, 2017 I'll be speaking at the Southern Christian Writers Conference in Tuscaloosa. It's always a great time and a very inspirational conference.

Thanks to Cheryl Sloan Wray for including me among the speakers she featured on her blog in the weeks leading up to the conference.

Lots to do….best get to it!!