Monday, April 29, 2013

Paleo Dinner and Springtime musings

Super paleo dinner tonight: carrots, parsnips and onions with olive oil and spices in the first photo and elk sausage in the other. Really, really tasty local elk meat! We made enough to eat a hearty dinner for two and to have two big portions for lunch tomorrow! I love setting my days up like that: make a rad dinner full of protein and veggies and have leftovers for lunch - no thinking/planning needed!!

Our tulips are looking beautiful!! Albany is an early Dutch city and we make a big deal out of tulips around here :) I hope to visit a historical mansion in the next couple of weeks that has an awesome tulip garden (over 7000!).

Nice, long walk with Koda today. He was a little tired from his big hike over the weekend, but that's nice for me :) I got to wear shorts and flip-flops out today -- it is totally spring in the Northeast, no denying it. Everything is blooming, colorful, warm and full of life.

Lots of stuff getting done around here. Ordered wedding invitations. Got gifts for my bridesmaids (I was so worried about this one!). Writing up the ceremony and vows. Etc, etc, etc. Chris is filling out a form for "lost money" he is owed (got delivered to the wrong address years ago, so hopefully the government will send it to the right place now!). And a new dress I ordered is coming tomorrow!!!

I ordered a white dress from Victoria's Secret last week, hoping it is the one I will wear to my bridal shower(s).... so if it fits and looks nice, I will make a post tomorrow showing it off! If it doesn't.... well, back to the company it goes.

Sleep well and wake happily!!


Remembering the pain of obesity...

This might be a little TMI, but I am going to post it anyway, because it's relevant to my goals and plans. It made me remember what life used to be like and how my body used to feel when I was obese.I ate pretty normally and well yesterday. Had a flax milk/strawberry/banana drink (made it myself with just those ingredients), had a late brunch of eggs and a strip of bacon, a bunless burger with avocado/tomato/pickles for dinner, then 200 calories of coconut milk ice cream as a treat..... and then the trouble started.

I was just at home, enjoying quiet time with Chris, and my body started rebelling in a way it hasn't done in a long, long time. The last time I remember being in that much pain, having to run to the bathroom every 10 minutes, was when I ate WAY too much dairy and my slightly lactose intolerant body freaked out.

I was in pain for a long time last night. My body was gurgling and complaining for hours.


I've eaten all the foods I listed before, many times. The coconut milk ice cream is something I ate ~once a week last summer to keep me away from dairy ice creams.

I did take an allergy medicine yesterday, which is the only other odd thing I ingested (I never take any medicines... aspirin at the most, so maybe? but it seems unlikely allergy medicine caused it). I was pretty upset last night, stomach troubles like that are a thing of the past for me!

It got me to thinking about life before "the change" ;)

Not only was I overweight/obese for most of my young life/teenager-hood/early 20s.... but WOW, the problems that came along with it SUCKED. These are some of the things I dealt with in those years, things that plagued me and made me uncomfortable, sad, and pained on a daily basis. I didn't know what it was to feel healthy:

- intense hip pain on my left side
- back pain
- trouble sleeping (from lack of physical tiredness???)
- liver pain from eating too much fat (I had an ultrasound because the pain was so bad... I remember they had me drink water before the ultrasound and I was so unused to drinking water, I found it disgusting. Turns out I had fatty deposits my liver was working too hard to clear out causing the pain... gross).
- intense and constant gastrointestinal pain (to the point I would miss out on social/family things because my stomach was too upset.... having a toilet available was always more important)
- terrible menstrual cramps that would last for days and irregular periods (never knew when they were coming, and they would last anywhere from 3 days to two weeks!)

That's all over now. I have regular and predictable periods, sleep just fine (unless I am stressed out from life stuff), no more hip pain (which is a freaking miracle to me based on how INTENSE that pain used to be), no back pain, no liver pain, and -- since I adopted a paleo-ish lifestyle -- no more GI problems. In my late 20s/early 30s, I finally know what it is to have health and to live without pain.

Which is why last night was strange. Really strange. And it brought up memories of the past, where it was a normal thing to be in a fetal position on my bed working through GI pain.

I know what it was like to be fat, to be truly unhealthy. The memory of that is enough to keep me on the straight and narrow as far as eating well and staying active.

It was so sad, really, really sad. I was too young and lost so much of my childhood to the pain of obesity (physically and emotionally). Last night just brought those memories flooding back.

Never again will I hurt myself like that.

Namaste <3

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend: biking, Ginsu knives, my damn good mood.

Things have been going well round these parts!

I forgot to weigh in before I ate breakfast, and since every weigh in is exactly the same (about 15 mins after I wake up, before food or water), I just couldn't see the point in it. However, yesterday, I was at 126, so all good there. Five pounds to go till July 7th - possible and probable!

I went biking for 45 minutes yesterday. The sunshine and fresh air felt great! Also, my ankle is healing up nicely, and the biking doesn't aggravate it.

Wanted to share this picture of my beautiful neighborhood, I feel so lucky! It makes just getting out so much easier. I love stepping out my front door, seeing all the old homes with the bright yellow bushes and tulips budding. (Can you tell I am in a bit of a gushy, love-y mood today??)

We got our first ever wedding gift, too! It was a surprise since the wedding isn't till September, haha. It just showed up on our doorstep late Friday night. I am SUPER amped about it: a set of gorgeous Ginsu knives. Makes cooking easier and PRETTIER :D

Chris and Koda came home this morning from Koda's first ever camping trip (I wasn't going to go because temps went below freezing and I have this cold and the ankle problem - can't wait to hike with them soon!). Total success and everyone is riding a high of adrenaline and bliss.

About to cook Chris and I brunch (he got home around 10:30 AM and I made lemon cakes this morning for a friend who is going into surgery soon - I definitely nibbled a little and haven't been hungry yet!). 

Then off for another bike ride, woo!! I'm really enjoying my bike this year, so much so that I am debating whether to join a gym or not. I definitely can do body-weight strength workouts at home, and biking is nice cardio... we will see. I am just hesitant to spend money right now on something I am totally rocking out for free!

Hope you all are having as happy a Sunday as I am.

Namaste <3

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who is a "real woman"?

Just posting this to point out how silly it is to say things about how "real" women should look. We are all real women just how we are.

They've Been Sharks All Along!

I am not a supporter of those who think you can be healthy at any size (there is a size at which that is just patently untrue!) but, regardless, skinny or fat or fit or curvy or flat-chested or big-breasted, WHATEVER, we are all real women and we all deserve respect, body shape be damned.

I think the better we treat ourselves, the more respect we have for ourselves and others - the healthier we will be, in body and mind.

I really am all about health on this little blog and in my life - the total pursuit of COMPLETE health, body, mind, and spirit.

I was fat and sad and hated myself and messed up from all of that for FAR too long. And now that my body is healthy, I try consistently to remember to love it, to think of it as a gift, to cherish this life and be happy.

In more mundane, life news: still sick, but better, am over the hump of the big yuck! Going to attempt a dog walk later in the afternoon (I always feel better in the afternoon when I am sick than in the morning).

I've also made a big step!! Did not purchase gluten free bread at the farmer's market this week (it's been a weekly buy, and I work my way through the loaf till the next farmer's market)... so my house is officially paleo food only. It feels good :)

No alcohol, eating paleo - yay! I feel strong and clean.

Love you all,

Namaste <3

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quality of Food Matters

I've had this post in my drafts for a while and decided to post it today. Especially because I am one of the infected now (zombie reference).

Sickness grew worse, despite the fact that I took exceptional care of myself since the very first hint of a cold. Oh well, sometimes it just has to run it's course. I feel like I am drowning in my own lungs, though - a breath just doesn't feel like enough oxygen.

Still going to eat paleo and (obviously) not drink alcohol today.

So, onto quality of food!

I listen to Jillian Michaels' podcast. And she is a huge, huge proponent of eating organic. And if you can't eat organic, then try to buy mostly from the "clean 15":

She also talks about how people call her "elitist" for suggesting people buy organic milk or organic berries or whatever, because only a certain percentage of the population can afford it.

Jillian KNOWS they cost more. But she also knows they are HARMFUL to your health and believes that no matter your income, you should have the right to be healthy. That's why the "clean 15" is pushed... you don't have to buy those organic to avoid eating pesticides! 

Consuming pesticides changes your body, it affects your cells, your metabolism, your health.

Does it matter if the cow you are eating was fed GMO corn or pesticide free grass? Yes.

Does it matter if the chicken you are eating was injected with growth hormone and antibiotics or not? Yes.

Does it matter if the veggies you are eating was sprayed with cyanazinde or not? Yes.

"Most pesticides are manufactured compounds that are designed to kill specific pests, such as weeds and insects. Many pesticides have the potential to harm nontarget organisms" - USGS link

Does it matter if the wheat you are eating is genetically modified or not? Yes.

You are what you eat. And we were never meant to be genetically modified unpronounceable chemical compounds. We are carbon, we are water. We are flesh and blood. Eat things that grow from the dirt or have been born.

Well, that's my rant. It's what I believe. It's how I try to live. (and remember, this is a girl who has NEVER earned more than 20,000 in a year in her life..... but I have my priorities, and health is one of them.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Just Sharing a Little Bit of Spring!

Just wanted to share a little bit of non-weight related stuff (but I guess it is still health related!).

Battling a cold, I'm not participating in any big cardio exercises today. My lungs feel like crap. But it is still a gorgeous, sunny spring day by us! So I brought the dog down to the Capital to see Chris on his lunch break, we all walked around and played a little. Then I took a walk around my block at home with my camera to photograph signs of spring.

I just wanted to get out there in the sun and get my body moving even though I feel like crap. Laying in bed all day seems to make me worse when I have a cold - got to get some fresh air sometimes!

Anyway, I caught this awesome, fuzzy bee having a little pollen treat, and it came out really well, so I wanted to share it with everyone :)

The lesson here: don't let anything (in my case, a cold and a still-sprained ankle) stop you from enjoying life, feeling the sun, breathing the fresh air, and seeing all the world's little treasures :D :D

Losing weight and staying fit is a mental game. So get in it!

"Focus on Health, Not History" - a Whole9 outlook

First, a little update on my life. Choosing to do the Whole30 right now was serendipitous!! Could not have come at a better time, and I didn't even know it. Weighing in at 127 (did some damage control after a bad weekend). The Whole30 is going to help stop me from having a few drinks and eating junk I shouldn't on the weekends.... which will mean no weight gain on the weekends and nothing to do damage control on! I can just get back to 123ish and rock it out.

Also, however, I AM MF-ING SICK. Seriously. Chris had to take time off work last week and miss a party because he was sick (fever, cough, sore throat, etc). I thought I had escaped it, but no. Yesterday started a sore throat and a rumbling congested sound when I breathed. MMMMM. Delightful.

But what better medicine than shoving a bunch of nutritious, clean, simple food into my body and avoiding alcohol and things that inflame my body (inflammation means my body is fighting the food, not the sick germs!)? NOTHING.

Going on with business like usual, but at a chill pace to make sure I don't exacerbate the sickness.

Onto why I am loving the Whole9/Whole30 approach even more than when I did it last time!!

It's the basic paleo approach, but without any of the focus on the "paleolithic" part of it. It is a way of eating food to focus on health - eating things that help and fuel and heal your body, not hurt it.

Definitely take a look!
From the Whole9 Website:
"Our recommendations are based around the framework of a Paleo Diet, with a focus on health, not history.
We eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. We choose foods that were raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
This is not a “diet” – we eat as much as we need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight. We aim for well-balanced nutrition, so we eat animals and a significant amount of plants.
Eating like this has helped us to look, feel, live and perform our best, and reduces our risk for a variety of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions.
Sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy are all food groups that have significant potential down sides, and may not contribute positively to your health.
The more you eliminate these “less healthy” foods from your everyday diet, the healthier you will be.
However, you don’t have to eat perfect 100% of the time to have and maintain excellent health."

I am very, very excited to get back to this way of eating. I am hoping that it will improve my energy levels and skin health, as well as help me maintain my goal weight. I know all of these things will happen if I can commit to this.
I like that they are honest about not ALWAYS eating 100% perfect, but maintain that the more you eat whole, healing, good foods - the better you will feel. I don't like feeling like a failure if I have a glass of wine, but I like implementing a healthy life in which I don't drink 4 - 5 glasses of wine at a time or even every week.

Also from the site:

"We want you to use the Whole30 as a learning tool to gain awarenessof how the foods you used to eat were actually affecting how you look, feel, live and perform.

And then we want you to carry that awareness forward, and use your experience to change the way you eat for the rest of your life."
Onwards and Upwards!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Whole23 and 30 days of no alcohol

The ever so lovely and straight-forward, no bullshitting Norma is doing a Whole30 starting on May 1st.

Wonderful news for me, since I planned to get back to paleo on May 1st, as well! It is always nice to have a support system.

I didn't want to do the Whole30 since it doesn't allow alcohol (wah!) and I do like a drink or two. But Norma so kindly told me to "woman up!" and go thirty days without alcohol.

I am going to jump right in and do it RIGHT NOW - no alcohol for 30 days. Which frees me up for Memorial Day weekend where Chris and I are having a romantic mountain weekend full of hiking, sleeping in lean-tos, AND a fancy dinner or two in nearby towns to celebrate becoming Adirondack 46ers. I will feel no shame about having my first drink in a month on that weekend.

So here we go.

April 22nd - May 23rd: NO ALCOHOL

May 1st - May 23rd: Abbreviated Whole30 (23!)

May 1st - ???: go back to living 95% or more paleo!

I am pretty excited. I've got a wedding dress fitting on July 7th. A month of no alcohol and strict paleo will get me back into the good habits I had last summer. And then I can easily maintain my goal of under 125 for the wedding dress :)

Also, the next big step will be once I HAVE gotten fitted for the dress, I then have to strictly maintain that weight for two months until my wedding. So lots of really good motivators for me (vanity is a huge motivator for me - my health is REALLY great right now, so I feel no shame in saying that, hahaha).

So yay! Yesterday was day 1 with no alcohol - and I was tempted because our new roommate offered to mix up cocktails. Chris and he had one and I declined, just sitting and talking about his trip. Day 1 - win. Day 2 will also be a win. :D 

The new roommate is getting settled in and used to our huuuuge and rough-housing dog, heh.

Okay, I slept late, got to get on the move with breakfast and dog walking and errands before work!

Namaste, my friends.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Making the most of it!

Yesterday was a really homey, sweet kind of day. I had a really nice time with Chris and Koda and Walter (the cat), as well as friends we saw when we all got together to watch Game of Thrones.

We had originally planned to go hiking, but with my ankle feeling still pretty bad, we had to cancel those plans. But I would say we made the MOST of our day, anyway, and still got in a lot of exercise.

Chris and I went grocery shopping at the local co-op, brought Koda to the pet store so he could pick out a treat (I will never get over how cute that is), got some really amazing local coffee, did some yard work, cleaned out Chris' car (which gets SO gross because we use it for the dog, hiking, skiing, etc), cleaned up the house and then rewarded ourselves with some delicious roasted chicken legs, roasted sweet potato, and raw snap peas!

Mmmm, sweet, crisp raw snap peas. I love having a dinner veggie that I don't have to cook :)

Chris and I also went on a bike ride! My ankle is still pretty unstable when bearing weight, so the bike was a perfect activity for our Sunday. It felt great to get my heart rate up again. I took the dog out this morning for a 40 minute walk, and my ankle is a little angry about that, but I can tell it is slowly healing. Good news.

We also rode our bikes to our friend's house to watch GoT instead of driving. Love saving gas and burning calories! (And, holy crap, that show gets better EVERY FREAKING EPISODE. I am in love.)

Our friends had ordered pizza and offered us some, but Chris and I are trying to get back to a more paleo lifestyle, so we turned it down. I had left room in my day to drink some white wine, and so that's what I did! It felt good to do what I had planned on and not give in to temptation.

Had a great, laughter filled night with friends - which ended up with me swearing revenge on one of them for hiding my bike and making me think it was stolen so I would freak out :D :D :D

This morning's breakfast:

The dark drink is a veggie heavy fruit juice... I put about 3-4 oz in the glass and then dilute with water. Still getting some vitamins and sweetness, but not drinking 120 calories of juice, for the win!

Got my nutrition in for the morning, got my dog walk in, cleaned the kitchen, and am now settling down to do work with a nice cup of coffee... mmmmm, life is sweet sometimes.

Alright, that was a bumbling little update on my life. But hey! I'm freaking out on caffeine, whatdayawant?!?!

And, just before I go, another little tidbit that is going to affect my life - we are getting a roommate tonight!! Our good friend is moving in for a little while, as he just left the west coast. I'm pretty excited :) We cleaned out my dad's old room and got it all fixed up for our friend. I am so interested in how living with a roommate will go. Chris, me, dog, cat, and friend! Ya!

Love you all <3

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Party, Caprese Salad, Cupcakes

Just a little update to stay accountable. I went to the party last night, where a bunch of people who couldn't fly to Sedona for our friends' wedding all got together and partied and watched the wedding on streaming internet. We tried to recreate the wedding menu and had a nice time in the bride and groom's honor.

I was actually very pleased with the food options! There was baked chicken, asparagus, two different types of veggie salads, corn chowder, and whole grain rice. I had caprese salad (which I made!) as an appetizer, a normal plate of food for dinner - no seconds, and two small cupcakes. I also drank champagne.

But for a party? For a wedding? It was great. I filled up on lots of veggies. I had eaten very lightly and sensibly before the party so I wouldn't be starving but also wouldn't have eaten a ton of calories by the time I got to the party. Very pleased with the lack of binging!!

I wanted to show you the gorgeous caprese salad I made, I was very proud of the good quality ingredients, the arrangement, and the colors. It was a huge hit at the party (it was the only appetizer, as well, and it went fast!)

Also, I wanted to share a picture of me that I really love. It is not a great picture for someone who writes about health since I am holding a very lovely cupcake... but I also won't write this blog and hide who I really am - a person who eats treats and doesn't ALWAYS only eat things that are good for me. But this picture shows me how I was last night, totally happy and enjoying myself and NOT drowning myself in food!

I didn't drink enough water last night with my champagne, so I woke up dehydrated. But I downed a bunch of water, made a light egg breakfast and am about to head out with Koda (going to see how my ankle feels, it doesn't hurt anymore but feels really unsteady - we will see!).

Enjoy your weekend, folks, fill them with laughter and movement and joy <3

Friday, April 19, 2013

Eating food as it was meant to be eaten..

I thought I would do a little paleo post today, especially since the lovely Kelly mentioned me and my paleo ways in her last post!

I would say right now I am doing very well with eating paleo! (And weighing in at 127, wooo, that's what I like to see!). I eat paleo in all ways except that I will drink alcohol and I do go through almost 10 pieces of gluten free bread in a week. Those are two things I haven't been willing to completely do without, and as long as I am moderate and mindful, they don't affect my weight.

I recently made a comment on another blog, which I won't link to because I am not sure I agree with most of what's going on over there, but the comment was basically urging the writer to not spend a lot of time and effort with making paleo foods resemble items from SAD (Standard American Diet), such as pizza or cakes or whatever.

One of the VERY best thing eating paleo has taught me is to enjoy food in its natural form!!

And I think if you are eating paleo and NOT learning to enjoy cauliflower as just plain old roasted cauliflower (a little oil and spice isn't bad!) or whatever the vegetable/fruit/protein is, you are missing out on a big lesson.

Paleo brownies? You're not really getting it.

When you start filling your house with paleo brownies, breads, etc... your house starts to look like it had BEFORE paleo. And that certainly is not the point. Especially since paleo-version baked goods are way more calorie dense and just as nutritionally unsound as SAD baked goods.

I really like this page: Getting too good at paleo (aside from the no snacking between meals part, if you are hungry, really legitimately hungry - eat).

And this quote from that page:

"The major problem with elaborate Paleo(tm) foods and desserts is that they are calorie-rich and low on nutrition. This is exactly why SAD doesn’t work. And here we have Paleo folks mimicking the SAD approach! "

And this list from that page:

  • Start with the basics: food, sleep, activity, sunlight, socializing. Do not start with, “What can I buy to fix such and such?”
  • Eat real, whole foods. Fill your plate with recognizable foods and make them delicious with cooking techniques and spices.
  • Avoid Paleo(tm) processed foods. Nut flours, oils, butters, etc. are processed foods. That doesn’t make them toxic, but it does make them easy to overeat. Do you think human beings have had a chance to evolve a mechanism for detecting when too much coconut oil, almond butter, or coconut flour has been consumed? I don’t.
  • Avoid snacking between meals. Admit it, before you learned how to make Paleo(tm) muffins, you rarely snacked between meals. And when you found out Larabars were Paleo(tm)? Fuhgeddaboudit. Even if you did snack a bit, the foods were less calorie dense and probably more nutritious.
  • Stop being afraid of starch. Unless you are diabetic or otherwise unhealthy (and being a little overweight is probably not ‘unhealthy’), why are you avoiding a food like potatoes? They are nutrient-dense and low in calories. They’re also inexpensive and can help solve Paleo(tm) budget issues. Give your body the glucose it wants, or heck at least experiment with it. It’s done wonders for n=1 me.
  • Learn new skills like fermenting, instead of baking. You can keep getting better at a Paleo(lithic) approach, too!  Fermented salsa and kombucha will keep your gut humming along nicely.
Now I would take the avoiding nut butters/flours and the no snacking rule with a grain of salt. BUT the logic behind it is sound. If these items are making you behave like you did before - why are you even bothering? The point is to get good, solid nutrition in your body and to eat simply.

Kelly mentioned how Chris and I will make muffins once in a while, to hike or whatnot. And that is true! We sometimes make a batch of "paleo muffins" for the house. But these muffins aren't.... ahem.... exactly delicious. They would never make me reach for one if I wasn't hungry or trigger a binge. Don't get me wrong, they don't taste BAD, but they aren't filled with sugars or sweet things. They are basically a protein bomb (often almond flour and eggs comprise most of the muffin) to grab when we need it.

We can and have made some paleo treats - we made lemon bars this year and made a cake last year. But those come into the house once in a very great while (not even once a month)... they are treats, meant to be shared with others, and not part of our regular diet.

We also don't make these every week. We can go WEEKS around here with only eating super simple food. It works for us. We cook veggies in oil and spices, roast up a protein, have a sweet potato and... ta da - that's our dinner every day of the week! Breakfasts are always an egg and veggie scramble, lunch is often dinner's leftovers, and snacks are nuts and fruit or almond milk yogurt.

I would refer you to My Easy Shopping List so you can see how simple, easy and straightforward my life at home is!

My struggle is when I go out socially (and I will be tested at a potluck party tonight, but I think I will be able to post tomorrow about how good I was!). But setting myself up for 100% success at home means that I really have no problem keeping the weight off (I lost 10 pounds on paleo and it hasn't come back!).

Remember KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid. :D :D :D

Love you all, have a beautiful day!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mini horses and ankle pain

The ankle injury I mentioned was still affecting me yesterday. I had gone to the barn in the morning to groom my horse (have I mentioned my miniature horse, Ernie? I don't think so!) and just walking to the paddock to get him sent pain up my foot and ankle, making me limp.

First, here's some Ernie pictures!

But I knew I wouldn't be able to walk Koda his usual three miles with my ankle feeling the way it did, so I shoved him in the back of the car (he's so huge) and brought him to a local, quiet park where I could let him off leash and play fetch, let him run run run run run till he was exhausted. So Koda got his exercise yesterday!

I wanted my exercise, too, though. Still at 128 and wanting to be 124, I know I can't just sit in front of a computer all day and get the results I want.

So, I did lots of arm work, floor work and any yoga poses I could do on one foot :D Planks, push-ups, arm work with weights I could do with my feet just planted normally on the floor, etc. I woke up this morning with my shoulders and upper arms BURNING. It felt great! 

No reason to not use my body, just because one piece of it hurts.

This morning, my ankle feels.... off. It doesn't hurt like the past three days, but it doesn't feel right. Going to go out and run some easy errands before I decide to hit the pavement with Koda. I could really use a long walk, though, I've come to rely on them to get my day started off right.

Either way, I will still workout today - If I can't go on my walk, I will focus on my core today, get it as sore as my arms are!

When the best things are not possible,
the best may be made of those that are.
- Richard Hooker

Peace to all <3

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Flax Milk and Weight Update

Good Karma Flax Milk Review:


Seriously, the taste is amazing. I haven't tried the unsweetened one yet, but the original is great. It's got some sugar, but that's okay with me since I don't have a lot if sugar in my day (if I'm on plan, anyway!). I posted a picture of the label/ingredients so you can take a look.

It's got calcium and omega 3s and it's a little less processed than my almond milk, too, which is a plus!

As someone trying to limit or eliminate gluten, dairy and soy? Great choice.

My morning coffee just got a lot better :D You can check out their website here: Good Karma. (they are really marketing to me with that name, haha, totally in my wheelhouse) I picked it up at my local food co-op. Expensive, but a super nice treat for me :) A way better treat for my body than a piece of cake or a slice of pizza, too. Doing my body a favor, for sure.

Isn't this a lovely sight??

So weighing in at 128, the Wednesday after a weekend of way less than stellar eating choices. I've been between 126-129 for two months now. Good in almost ALL ways (my general health, etc) except I just would like to be lower for my own self-pride and pleasure in my appearance.

I have a dress fitting on July 7th, where the major changes will be made to my wedding dress... I would like to be under 125 at that point. In order to achieve this, I will be doing a more strict version of the Paleo diet than I have been following - mostly, I will not eat the Standard American Diet at social events! I must still eschew the crackers and the cheese and the cookies at parties or gatherings. No matter WHAT my emotional state. 

Not too worried about my goal. I know that I went strict paleo last April and stayed strict through most of the summer. And it wasn't hard at all. Meats and veggies are easy to come by in the summer months! I think I am going to bite the bullet and join a gym on May 1st, as well.... if finances seem stable, at least. Either way, I will be super active in the warmth with the dog and all :)

So yeah, holding steady with weight. Could be better, but this life doesn't really have a destination point, does it? This is all work, all the time.

Have a good one, folks.

Namaste <3

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You are your own worst critic

Just wanted to share an experiment funded by Dove. Very interesting! And a lovely and well done video.

Basically, a woman describes herself to a sketch artist who can't see her and then a stranger describes the same women to the sketch artist.

What resulted was that a perfect stranger always described the woman more accurately and more beautifully than the woman herself.

We, as women, focus on the negative things about ourselves and our appearance. I am always extremely guilty of this behavior. It's a nice to be reminded that we can all look at ourselves in a different way, and be more at peace.


Putting a little bit of good out there..

I made a post last night about BEING the good in the world, in reaction to the horrible news about the Boston Marathon (as well as all the other unnecessary tragedy that happened yesterday).

So I thought this post would be about how to put something like that into action. About how to take a chance to be the good, spread the love, be a positive force in this world to counteract those few who'd like to spread darkness.

Now, I am on a pretty tight budget. Most of my money goes towards the house, the dog, and... FOOD.

I was thinking about my budget for the week, how the money would get spent this week, and I knew Friday is a potluck party for people that have to miss our friends' wedding that is in Arizona. I offered to make two dishes (we are trying to replicate their wedding menu) and knew I'd need to spend some of my budget on those dishes to feed 20 people.

Then, on Facebook, I saw a post from another of my friends, asking for donations to support her on an MS walk (she has MS).

And I knew right then, that instead of supporting entertainment gluttony, I was going to spend that money on my friend. I normally don't have leftover money to give to charity, but this was an easy choice!

I let the party planner know that I'd only make one dish, that everyone would be fine with the literally dozens of other food items there. I felt a little nervous about that, like I would seem like a loser, basically, but....

I had to decide what's more important.... and I am glad I budgeted for something other than pleasure!

I realize I spend a lot of time on physical pursuits and physical pleasures. And while I am a firm believer that the spirit cannot be healthy if you do not care for your body, I know that I need to remember just as often to take care of both. My spirit needs just as much tending as my body.

Do good out there today, everyone. It will help ease the hurt, confusion, and sadness.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Be the good and light...

As with most people, my heart breaks during tragedies such as the one today, at the Boston Marathon. While looking through the news to learn about it, I also read about several murder suicides (one involving a police officer and her infant son and the other involving a young girl and her army recruiter). Tragedy is everywhere and all the time. It is only the ever-present light and goodness in this world that carries me through.

Someone unexpected summed it up beautifully. Patton Oswalt, on Facebook said:

Boston. Fucking horrible. 

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."

But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths. 

But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness. 

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago. 

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

Very, very true. Pledge to be the good in the world, do your part.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Walking in flip flops

In my last post, I shared with you my favorite pair of fancy, grown up shoes. But the reality is- I hate shoes.

I wish I lived in an environment where it was weather appropriate to be barefoot almost all the time! I hate constriction on my feet. My usual strategy is this:

1. Flip flops from early spring to fall. (Being that person you ask "Flip flop season ALREADY??")

2. Soft, furry, slipper like boots for the winter-- think off-brand Uggs :)

3. Getting Vibram fivefingers to wear whenever possible when running, working out or hiking.

Sooooo.. My feet don't get a lot of support. It's usually no big deal since they never had support, the muscles in my feet/ankles are pretty used to supporting and balancing me with no support.

And flip flop weather is upon us (it keeps leaving, but it is here!). 50 degrees and no rain? Yeah, flips!!

Threw them on yesterday before taking a long walk with Chris and the dog. We walked on the local bike path by the river for an hour and a half (so probably a little over 5 miles).

And last night and this morning? Whoa! The ankle pain is intense!

Never any year before this has my first foray in flips hurt me! I think I generally ease into them a little slower. Five miles on pavement? Not the kindest choice.

Flip flops fun but not great for feet!

So I get the science and the warnings and all of that. I grew up wearing shoes, that's what my muscles/stride adapted to. But, I am a stubborn little wench. I refuse to wear shoes! I think, as I get older, I just have to be more aware and ease into the change in footwear so I don't injure my ankles like I did yesterday.

But I thought it would be an interesting topic to throw out there. Shoes, sneakers, new technology for footwear are all big topics on weight loss and fitness blogs. People love to find that perfect sneaker for exercise.... while I avoid it as much as possible. When I work out at home, I am barefoot at all times. Obviously, when I am at a gym, I throw on some generalized sneaker that doesn't hurt me. I wear hiking boots in the winter (boo, one of the reasons I dislike winter hiking haha!) or in bad weather.

The fivefinger vibram technology is obviously making the rounds, but I don't hear too much about it since a big surge last year. Maybe as the weather gets warmer, I will :)

Well, I am off to take care of some life stuff, make some egg-y breakfast and then take the dog on a walk (flips or not, that IS the question!!).

Namaste, friends <3 <3

Saturday, April 13, 2013

High heels

Went to my future mother in law's 70th birthday today, wore some killer high heels that I love and wanted to share!

Also a pic of me and my guy ;) <3

Friday, April 12, 2013

Lost some sleep, gained some heart

We all know how important sleep is - keeps your body balanced, working efficiently, keeps your mind healthy, your hunger under control.

Well, I got four hours of it last night! Got home around 4 in the morning, telemarketer call woke me up at 8, was unable to get back to sleep - will go through my normal day, normal eating and dog walking, and reset tonight with a full night of sleep :)

The lack of sleep was so worth it, though! The concert last night was incredible.

We started the day by getting to Manhattan, walking about a half hour down to city hall area, looked at the buildings and parks in the area and then decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. A very fun experience, actually... wasn't expecting much from it, but what a cool place!

We went out to a great restaurant, Spring Street Natural Restaurant, in the area... it had a lot of vegan options, gluten free options, all organic produce, grass fed/free range meats, etc. Perfect place for us! 

I ate a salad with grilled chicken breast, it was amazing - they dressed it very lightly, everything was fresh and lovely! It was my lunch/dinner because we had had a late breakfast of eggs and veggies at home before we left.

We then met our friends at a biergarten where I did eat a potato pancake and some nibbles of shared food, but nothing I feel any regret/shame about. I did drink too much beer last night, but also, no regrets. I didn't get wasted or anything, just had a fun buzz for a long night of music and friends. Really, really pleasant!

The music was stunning. Cloud Cult played flawlessly and picked a great line up of songs to make it a whole, beautiful experience. Two people painted in the background during the show, as well, which was amazing to watch - the creation of some stunning paintings happening over the course of about two hours. Really special.

They also played my two favorite songs right away, which helped tremendously. The time just sped by - I was completely under their spell, couldn't take my eyes off their stage show, their projections, and just their faces as they sang/played.

Really beautiful.

So, some indulgence last night. But a full, full spirit :) Also, the food I put into my body was healthy fuel, so I feel pretty good today despite the lack of sleep. It was great to choose a fresh, organic salad over a slice of pizza :D

Off to do some resetting for the day - get some eggs in me and get that dog walked!!

Namaste <3 <3 <3

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's all about Love.

So sometimes this is about the body, but sometimes it has to be about the spirit. A body can't be truly healthy if the spirit/mind is sick.

I wanted to share something with you all that touches me in a deep and spiritual way. I am heading down to the the big city ;) to see my favorite band of all time tonight for the first time: Cloud Cult.

Sometimes music is just fun for me, it's music, it evokes, it makes me move, it's good.

But then, I listened to Cloud Cult. And I listened some more. And I got more albums. And I found a band that spoke to my heart and my soul. A band that speaks of love and your spirit and all the good ways to live. And I found the closest thing to religion that I have.

I will leave you with a copy of the liner notes to their most recent album, "Love."

"There's a fundamental law in physics that states that energy cannot be destroyed (only transformed). Our whole scientific understanding of the universe is built around this law. Interestingly, most of our world's religions discovered this a long, long time ago. It's not just a philosophy, it's a literal truth to say the way you think, feel, and live will resonate eternally. So it follows that a life lived with intention on Love is a life well spent, because that positive energy goes on forever. The physicist and the mystic agree: It's all about Love. The path back to "God" (or whatever you call It) is one of Love, presence and surrender of ego. It's easily said, so instead of doing the work, we write it off as cliche. But get over the cynicism and hear the Calling. It's gonna take some fuggin' hard work.

The antithesis of Love is fear, and that stuff is everywhere. So to truly find the Love of Life, Self, "God" and the Everything, they say we first gotta face our inner demons. But have you taken a look inside lately? It's a complicated maze of machinery, memories, pain and beauty. But when it comes to the path of Love, you're the only thing in your way. We all need to dig in our heels and rid ourselves of the inner obstacles that keep us from a life built on Love. This ain't no quick-fix solution, because there's a lot of junk clogging up that beautiful inner heart of yours. But It is what you were made to do, and we believe in you. They say we're made of chaos. I saw we're made of Love, and that's why your Show starts now."

I love this because it articulates something I've found hard to articulate. I believe in an It, a Love, a "God." I do... I just don't believe in how any organized religion defines this being, this Other.

It's about love, it's about getting over ourselves, realizing that the power to love and do good affects everything and everyone. And if we made that our life, our culture, our society and everyone felt that love and DID that love.... we'd all be that much better off.

So I am about to go see this band who talks of love, strength, belief, friends and heart and fill myself with all the good things.

Namaste, friends <3

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cycles, events, and cats, oh my!

Feeling good about my weigh in this morning, but also a little bittersweet because I realize I am in a repetitive cycle of gaining four pounds, then losing them, rather than *actually* getting to my goal weight.

So this morning I was 126. Much better. I really don't like being so close to 130... represents a place I don't want to be anymore, and not just weight-wise.

I want to be under 125. But the past few months, whenever I get to 125, I sort of.... relax, I guess. I stop being so vigilant with my exercise/eating. Then before you know it, within a week or two, I am up four pounds.

I am going to try very hard to change my mental space when I get to 125.

Being at goal means eating dinners like last night:

chicken sausage with mustard, half sweet potato with salsa, asparagus

And not eating a hamburger with a bun at a friend's house just because it's there. Eating, again, was super good yesterday. The weight gain scare affected me. I always know what to do to lose or maintain weight... as evidenced by the past couple days.  I just have to do it... have to get out of my own way!

I have a few events coming up this week. I am going down to the city tomorrow to see Cloud Cult (most amazing music on earth!) and then out to Utica on Saturday for Chris' mom's birthday. I will have plenty of opportunities to drink and eat and drink and eat.

But that is not my plan. I don't want the jump in weight that accompanies that kind of behavior, the resulting bad mood and then the work to take it back off again!

So here's to yet another good day, good in all ways (work, love, food, exercise, creativity, and on and on!)

I leave you with a picture of my cat, whom I adore :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Deep Love Affair With Eggs

Ahh, general mood upturn from yesterday. Sorry for the bummers. But, that's my life... I've been going strong for a number of days, up to a week, and then BAM, like a ton of bricks, I feel slammed to the floor.

But here is my new day. Always a chance to start things off right.

Wanted to share a picture of my pretty, colorful breakfast!

Egg, egg white, veggies with some ketchup and strawberries! Putting it on a pretty orange plate helps - I really like pretty food. And it is so much easier to make healthy food pretty (because it is not all beige and oily!).

I really, really, really love eggs for breakfast. Benefits of Eggs. Eating one yolk a day will NOT affect your cholesterol (except for the better, maybe!) and is chock full of protein and vitamins. Eat 'em up!

Down a little in weight today, which is nice. Going to continue that trend for the rest of the week by doing my dog walks, a strength/yoga routine every day, and eating moderately/clean/mostly paleo. It is a tried and true system. I gained weight last week because I was weak, sad, stressed and ate a bunch of wheat-y junk. It was no fluke I gained.

Being back on track yesterday AND writing that post, venting a little, getting the dark thoughts out.... I feel 100 times better today. :)

Downloaded a few older Jillian Michaels podcasts to listen to (since I am all caught up on the recent ones) and ready to head out for my walk. I love her, I really do. I used to not like her so much as a Biggest Loser trainer, but her podcasts really speak to me. She is a proponent of eating quality, clean food and not lying to yourself. She doesn't like bullshit and seems to genuinely care about the people who call in. It's a nice way to start my day - by listening to a no-excuses hour long show focusing on good physical and mental health.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” 

― Herophilus

Namaste, my friends.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The darkness of body dysmorphia

Just a warning, this is a low day for me. I am definitely in a down cycle from my highs of last month and feel rather depressed, despite the amazing spring days ahead of me. But I am aware of it and battling it and determined not to spiral.

But here is a simple truth. I had my menstrual cycle last week, started feeling very depressed, moved less, ate more, and am up to about 129 pounds today.

And Chris had to deal with a girl this weekend who felt utter disgust for her own body.


Yes, I gained some weight. But I am putting the brakes on it. Despite feeling depressed and low energy, I am getting back on the proverbial horse. Four pounds weight gain shouldn't make me hate my body. I am still under 130 pounds. I am not huge. Not too many people would notice the gain except me.

But, damn it, I have struggled with dysmorphia for a long, long time. I didn't even realize it for a long time.... that what I was seeing in the mirror wasn't always the truth. That what I saw in the mirror was completely determined by my MENTAL state rather than my physical one.

I also didn't realize for a long time that I didn't HAVE to feel that way, that not everyone did. That a lot of people were perfectly comfortable with their bodies, flawed or not!

Right now, when I touch my body or look at it in the mirror, there is little difference between the current me and the obese me. I feel just as much shame about my body now as I did then.

Here I am, at a weight lots of people would love to be at.... and I feel shame and disgust for myself. And the truth is, I could weigh ANYTHING and feel the same exact way. These feelings are a sickness and have nothing to do with the reality of my body. 

Here are some of the symptoms of dysmorphia that I deal with and try to mitigate on a regular basis. These symptoms fade and strengthen over time, depending on my mental state:

Obsessive thoughts about (a) perceived appearance defect(s).
Chronic low self-esteem
Feeling self-conscious in social environments; thinking that others notice and mock their perceived defect(s)
Strong feelings of shame.
Compulsive mirror checking, glancing in reflective doors, windows and other reflective surfaces.
Compulsive skin-touching, especially to measure or feel the perceived defect.
Seeking reassurance from loved ones
Comparing appearance/body parts with that/those of others, or obsessive viewing of favorite celebrities or models whom the person suffering from BDD wishes to resemble.
Compulsive information-seeking: reading books, newspaper articles and websites that relate to the person's perceived defect, e.g. being overweight.

These symptoms are not the worst that someone with dysmorphia could have. I am not self-destructive, physically. I have never sought help for it. I want to get help for it now... and I will when I get insurance in a few months. Because I don't want this for myself anymore.

But, till then, I need to stay aware and not let it swallow me.

This post is cathartic. I have deleted it several times this morning, unsure of whether to share this sad, dark part of myself with you. But it is a part of me. I need to stop feeling shame about who *I* am, physically and mentally.

So, my message as always is: love yourself, take care of yourself, this is your one life and don't waste it.

And I will be here, trying to follow my own advice.