Friday, February 28, 2014

Nutrition Labels

This change in nutrition labels was much needed, read about it in detail here:

I, obviously, learned the little tips and tricks of labels long-ago. So, it's not going to change the way I eat, but it's going to make it a lot easier.

For example, they are getting more real about portion sizes. A bottle of soda will be a serving size (not that I drink soda) and I think that applies to most other drinks too, so a bottle will be a serving size, not half the bottle or a third of the bottle. Also, a serving of ice cream is now going to be a cup instead of half a cup, which the government admits most people do not eat half a cup of ice cream. Just less math I have to do in my life!

I wonder if it really will make a difference to what people by. I'm not sure about that. But at least will have to be really real about what it is they're consuming. Right there, and huge black lettering, will be the calories you consume.

The other change I really like is that they're going to add a line for added sugars. So you will be able to very easily distinguish, without reading the ingredients, between natural sugars that occur in the food and added sugars that the manufacturers put in. For me, that's great because I can just scanned that line and if there's any added sugars in that line, I don't have to go on - I'll just put it back.

I'll still maintain my usual habits of buying whole foods that don't have labels for the most part, but some food I buy does have labels, and I like that they have to be a little more forthright and obvious now.

Through a lot of practice, I don't buy anything I don't mean to buy, meaning there's no hidden sugars or chemicals or anything I don't want. But it took a lot of work. And a lot of me being very careful the time. That's not the same way everybody works. So this makes it easier for other people, too, to be realistic about what the reading, I'm happy.

Not much going on for me today. Same old, same old. It's very, very, cold out. So I will bundle up later on in the day and take the dog out for his walk. But, ohhhhhh, do I dread it.

Alright, coffee time!

Edited to add: weighed in at 121! 

Namaste <3

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My chatter :)

Odd day in blog land for me yesterday! I was actually confused by the fact my last few posts got a lot of traffic and spurred comments and emails! To me, I was just putting my fractured thoughts out there, ruminating, wondering. 

But, I really appreciated a few who reached out and said I was doing good work- making attempts to move on from this obsessive part of maintenance and find some balance. I'm not there yet, I'm just exploring, reaching out to new places I haven't reached out before.

In the end, I will eat how I've always eaten, but the goal is to find peace in it :)

In other news: I volunteered to make a cake for my friend's birthday yesterday (I love baking but never do it anymore- obviously because there is no baking really with how I eat!). I definitely had some, too, but I left room in my day for it.

121.8 today, which I am very pleased with :) 

I got a little more serious this week about all the extra bites and snacking I was doing in the evening. Continuing walks with the dog, daily yoga stretching and strength training several times a week (just home body-weight strength training, but it works!).

So, it goes on: a quest for healthy balance in mind, body, spirit.

Off to start the day once the coffee is gone ;)

Namaste <3

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Follow Up...

Just a quick follow up to my last post...

I have no intention of giving up my paleo template :)

It is an undeniably perfect way for me to eat - my body responds well to it with amazing energy levels, reduced inflammation, overall better general health.

The reason I am looking into help for my control issues/obsessive behaviors is because I have this idea that is is possible to live in a more balanced, peaceful way.

That balance is STILL eating the way I currently eat (clean, paleo, moderate) BUT without all the stress, obsession and strict control that I must currently employ TO eat that way.

This way of eating does not come naturally to me. I must remind myself constantly how to eat, what to do. I keep tabs on my phone, I let my daily weight affect my mood, etc. I think about weight and food and my body so much of the day.

I believe total health resides in a space where there is peace with food (and food how *I* want - clean, paleo, etc).

And, please, the takeaway message here IS NOT about food. It is about my anxiety, stress and grief. The way I deal with those things is by maintaining a death grip control over my body and my food. That's not right and that's not healthy.

The goal here isn't just to maintain a healthy weight (though that is PART of the goal), the goal is to find overall health... that includes everything, including HOW I maintain a healthy weight, my mindset, my ability to be at peace.

This is all exploration, I am not someone easily led astray from what I know is right (I am insanely strong minded) but I am also very open to listening and learning from other viewpoints.

This is a crazy journey, this life.


The Rules of "Normal" Eating

Had a decent therapy appointment yesterday. I feel like we are still in discussions about what the problems are, where they stem from, and how to best work on them.

She gave me two books to get and start working through. One is a Phobia and Anxiety Workbook by Bourne and the other is The Rules of "Normal" Eating by Karen Koenig. The workbook I ordered for a dollar but have to wait a week or so before it arrive. I got the Rules of Normal Eating on my Kindle, so I started on it last night.

First off, it hit me right across the face with the introduction.

I have struggled with the idea that I am not normal. Sometimes I tell myself I am because I am normal weighted and appear normal to other people. But her description of restrictive eaters (as opposed to compulsive eaters, which is only me in my rare binge moments that rarely if ever happen anymore) fits me to a "T":

"As a restrictive eater... you know more about calories and fat grams than many registered dietitians do. You keep yourself on a permanent, lifelong diet leash and rarely let go. Filled with shame and guilt around food, you're terrified of gaining weight and follow rigid rules about when and how much you can eat. You use your relationship with food to manage your problems and feelings."


The book doesn't claim to be a quick fix, but a step on the way to becoming a "normal" eater (normal in quotes because normal is different for everyone... and there is an understanding that, if you have been disordered for a very long time, a full normal may not be possible, but you can get close).

It seems, so far, to be similar to intuitive eating. But not. I'm not sure yet, I will perhaps delve into that a little later when I get further into the book.

Right now, I am reacting strongly to the book... mostly in the "NO WAY! I will never be able to do THAT to be normal..." Things I know I'd have to stop doing obsessively, at least for a while, such as daily weighing (switch to weekly) or not using the calorie counter app.

Also, one thing stood out to me like a punch... she wrote that to be normal, I'd have to be at peace with the idea that I would put on a couple pounds or a few pounds while making the long learning transition into normal eating. NOPE. I'm not. Because I am disordered, hahaha, I am not okay with that. But that's why I am reading this book and going to therapy, so that I don't have such crazy intense reactions to the thought of gaining a couple pounds.

I still don't believe it is possible that I can be any sort of normal. She addresses that in the intro, and promises that it IS possible... with commitment, work, therapy, books and willingness.

And because I am interested in a completely healthy, balanced life... I am willing.

I am not jumping into anything too fast (such as letting go of my methods of control, like my app or whatever) and I still do plan on being "restrictive" by staying paleo, because oddly enough, going paleo isn't a method of control for me, it IS a health thing for the good of my body and doesn't play into any weird "good/evil" food thoughts.

Lots to think about.

It is a dream, what I think is an impossible dream, that someday I will just be able to make and eat food and not record it all... it takes up too much of my day.

But I do not have a relationship between body/mind/mouth that I can trust myself to say yes to food at the right times and no to food at the right times.

Not there yet.

But maybe someday? We'll see.

Namaste <3

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our thoughts on oatmeal :)

Well! Quite a discussion got going in the comments yesterday. Instead of replying to each, I'll just put my thoughts here.

So, Chris' BP was 120/80 so technically normal, but on the edge of being considered prehypertension. He always used to have low BPs, like me, more like 105ish/60ish. He'd like to be back to that place and maintain as we age.

The big thing that has changed? Going paleo. I'm NOT saying eating paleo causes high BP, though!! I'm just saying that's the major change in his diet since this change. It COULD just be genetics or something, who knows. But, being scientists at heart, we want to see if a tweak in the diet might affect long term change for the better.

Eating real oatmeal (not instant) a few times a week for a few months is just a test... One with valid research behind it.

Eating a diet high in fiber can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 g of fortified oats has 10 g of fiber. Oatmeal is high in  SOLUBLE fiber. Soluble fiber is unique in that it dissolves in water, as opposed to insoluble fiber, which absorbs water. Some research shows that soluble fiber helps reduce blood pressure.

And he is going to continue eating paleo 90-95% of the time (I aim for over 95% of the time but fail sometimes haha).. Because we truly believe a diet high in lean protein and vegetables (all if high quality) will keep us healthy.

This is just an experiment, because... Why not? I do not believe a few servings of oats will wreak havoc inside my husband. If, in a few months, his BP is the same or if other readings are out if whack, back to no oatmeal.

He eats the same foods I do, and I have low BP readings, so his body is just different. We eat so many veggies and such good quality meat, we just aren't sure where to tweak our diet as far as all of that goes to work on his blood pressure, because the diet is already spot on. We eat leafy greens, seeds, bananas (all good for BP), don't add salt to food or buy processed foods (which are high in sodium), and aren't big drinkers.

So, what else?

We are rational human beings who do not think we know everything. That's why we tried paleo even though people were dismissing as a fad diet... And we each began to maintain 10 lbs lighter than previously and noticed reduced inflammation and higher energy. The experiment stuck!

We like to read, learn, and question. That's all. 

I get that wheat and grains in THIS day and age are not like they used to be and no longer good for us because they are changed at a genetic level. That's why I don't eat them. But there is a lot of research out there that shows oatmeal can help lower BP, and BP is a really important thing to have under control. Right now, it's worth the slight risk from the grains to see if it makes a significant difference.

And, as far as we know, his cholesterol is perfectly normal, so we aren't worried about that. I eat about 8-10 eggs a week and my cholesterol is normal. I know there's a lot of conflicting information out there about egg yolks and whites and good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, but it's never been an issue in our lives so, we just keep everything in moderation hope for the best.

I'm still keeping on with my normal diet!

I was proud of myself yesterday. At work, my office mate asked how long I would be there, and when I told her she insisted that I stop by before I leave for a piece of cake she had made. It was full of Bailey's Irish cream and rich chocolate and whiskey and sound delicious! She definitely is a food pusher. And cake, it's a huge weakness of mine. I love the word cake, I love cake frosting, I love cake! (Cake, cookies and pizza are my holy trinity hahaha)

So, what did I do?

Just thanked her politely for the offer, didn't commit to coming for the piece of cake and just went home when work was finished.

Down to 122.4 today. :) Finishing my coffee, walking the dog, hitting the books then going to the therapist.

Have a beautiful day!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Life Catch-Up - some changes

Ahh, Monday. It's so interesting to me - I LOVE reading blogs, I read a lot of blogs, even if I don't comment on most of them. I'm a bit of a voyeur, I love seeing how people live their lives. Well, every Thursday and Friday, I barely get to read any blogs.. only about five or six post close to the weekend. Then Monday comes and there is a veritable flood of posts from every blog I've ever bookmarked and I can't keep up!

It's a weird phenomenon!

Anyway. This morning someone came to our house to test Chris because he signed up for a life insurance policy. That was weird. We will know in about two weeks how everything came up and what kind of rate we will get.

Also - good news! Chris and I became an uncle and aunt last night! His sister had a gorgeous baby girl named Alexandra. I am chomping at the bit to go visit her, but I want to give the new family plenty of time to settle in and settle down, don't want to overwhelm them!

(I also got some baby fever as I cried in joy for his sister... that's another story, though).

I have another therapist appointment tomorrow. I'm glad I do, but I'm not excited for it. I just seem to be going crazier and crazier!!! (not really - just seems that way. I've felt decently centered the past couple of days... but I still get stuck in such a bad head space most of the time. I want to change that!)

I have nothing revolutionary to discuss today. I'm a bit low energy since I was a bit sick this weekend. My weight continues to fluctuate in a range I am not happy with (123-125) and I know I have myself to blame - I am super snacky, especially in the evening, not from hunger, but from emotions and stress. But, hey, that's why I am finally going to therapy, no? I'll continue trying to get it under control.

One interesting change we are probably going to make - Chris is going to lighten up on the paleo a little. His blood pressure is consistently a little higher (still normal, but higher than he'd like) since going paleo. So he is going to substitute oatmeal for eggs a few times a week. It's not paleo, but his body doesn't seem to respond to paleo as SUPER well as mine does. But, he's going to change up just his breakfasts for a while (not going to add in any other types of grains or at any other time of day) and see if it affects a longer term change in his blood pressure.

Off to work for me, going to try and wake up a little, get more focused (mmm coffee).

Namaste, friends.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

No hike- still walking!

Didn't go on the hike as planned, like I said yesterday. I was feeling under the weather. I made the right decision, because I went downtown yesterday to take a walk in the park, and after an hour I was exhausted and kind of out of it, ready to take a nap! My nose is really stuffed and it's making it hard to breathe.

But I did get a beautiful hours' walk in, it was the first warmish day in a long long time!!!

I'm back down to 123.4... In the "feel good" zone. Whew. I hadn't seen a number over 125 in almost two years! I definitely was doing some emotional eating and soothing.

About to head out for some light errands and a walk. I leave you with a picture of the sweetest, mushiest cat ever:

Namaste <3

Friday, February 21, 2014

Paleo misconceptions- Jillian Michaels

First, I am down to 124.5 pounds. So some of the bloat from eating grains is gone. I definitely ended up with a bit of a craving for grains after a few indulgences, and I can't seem to shake it! Something to work on.

Also, I had to skip out on the hike today because I am actually a bit sick. I've swollen glands and a very stuffed nose. Plus, my throw is just a little bit sore and I'm very tired. So I'm going to take a walk today as it's going to be very warm but that's it.

Anyway, yesterday I was listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast that was a few weeks old. She was talking about how she doesn't like CrossFit as someone's main or only form of exercise because she doesn't think the exercises are varied enough. She thinks people should include it once or twice a week with other forms of cross training, such as yoga and boxing or whatever it is. 

But, in her rant about CrossFit, she made a comment about eating Paleo. She thinks it's absurd to completely eliminate a food group.

Now, I usually love Jillian Michaels to absolute pieces. And I still do! I think she's very sweet, funny, and a good person, very real. However, I don't think she's done her research in this area.

I might've agreed with her that eliminating an entire food group is a bit crazy. However, we as humans have so changed the genetic code of wheat, that it no longer resembles the wheat we used to eat. And we did this through our own technology, not through evolution.

That simple fact makes it so that many people are sensitive to eating wheat. It didn't evolve with us through hundreds or thousands or millions of years. We changed it and now it isn't always very good for us. It certainly isn't good for me. It gives me rashes and causes general inflammation.

Then she went on to state that people who eat Paleo pay no attention to the quality of their food especially their meat.


This is a super common misconception that I keep running into. And I'm sure that there are many people who pay no attention to the quality of their meat, or who eat way too much red meat, or who he too much meat in general on Paleo. The same was true of Atkins and really any other diet that says it's okay to eat meat in the first place at all.

I eat LESS meat now on Paleo than I did before. I've replaced the grains and then some with eating vegetables.

People who really pay attention if they do the whole30 or do any real research on Paleo, find out that eating clean is one of the most important tenets of eating Paleo. Jillian says people who eat Paleo eat way too much bacon, and are ingesting way too many nitrates, which is one of the leading cause of testicular cancer.


Nitrates were a big no-no on the whole30!

Starting Paleo was actually a huge step in me realizing how dirty my diet was before. It gave me the knowledge and the opportunity to clean up my diet, focus on grass fed me, local pasture raised eggs, organic vegetables.

I just wish people would do there research, and find out how people who actually follow Paleo live and eat.

There always anecdotes and stories and people who do it wrong. Always. But just because they are violating the spirit of the thing doesn't mean everyone is.

In the end, I still love Jillian. But I won't listen to her about Paleo!


Thoughts on therapy

Well, I spent the hour kind of filling the therapist in on my whole background, from my parents' deaths and all my coping mechanisms to current day stresses, etc. I also spent most of the hour crying... It felt therapeutic to just tell someone all this stuff that is always rattling around in my head, never giving me a moment of peace.

The lady was really nice and I'm going to go back next week, see if I can make some changes in my daily levels of anxiety.

We talked about medication, but she said she would suggest an antidepressant because they also treat anxiety... But I'm not ready to be taking a pill every day and becoming reliant on it for my mood stability. I was more interested in taking something only when the anxiety got too bad, but obviously those are more dangerous/addictive drugs, so I get it. I'm  willing at this point to just see if therapy makes a difference over time.

So, all in all, a good experience. It was more of an intro session, so I'm interested to see how I can make progress.

I didn't blog yesterday because I was actually a bit wiped out, emotionally!!

My weight is up higher than it's been in almost two years- 126. I know why.. The past two nights, I went off paleo and ate grain-based snacks at friends' houses.

Trying to get a handle on my bad choices and make only good ones today. Focusing on today and then I'll focus on tomorrow, tomorrow.

We are going hiking tomorrow, as well. 

I want to be healthy, inside and out.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Body Dysmorphia and Therapy

Alright. I have my first therapy session tomorrow. I have no real idea of what to expect or where she will want to go first or how to let her get to know me. I am pretty self aware and "get" what my problem is... I just don't know how to get out of the cycle. I focus on food and my body because I can control those things, unlike life, which I cannot control at all..

Oh, well. Hope it helps or starts to help!

And I will warn you... there is a stream of consciousness-esque rant coming. I am trying to get all these feeling out and tangible so I can sort through them mentally. They've been banging around in my crazy brain for a while.

I am really wrapped up in my own anxiety right now. I don't know how to focus on real life and big issues... so I focus on my body. And I am kind of hating it right now. Only about 3 pounds heavier than when I "liked" my body. It's obvious the liking/hating of my own body has little to nothing to do with what my body actually looks like, but my state of mind.

I also usually hate my face... did I ever tell you I didn't look in the mirror for about 5 years or so? I was a teenager and just. couldn't. do. it. I really have very few memories of what I looked like then, so when I see a photo, I am shocked. I liked to pretend I was beautiful and seeing the mirror reminded me I wasn't.


I feel kind of pretty and put together today, so I snapped a photo to remind me that I am not some weird monstrous troll like hideous thing that no one can stand to look at.

Just a normal woman, really. Not exceptionally beautiful or ugly. Just a person who should just be using her body to live life... not focusing on how her body doesn't measure up. 

I try to fight it and am usually successful, but in the end, my control issues make me idealize the lean, hard, strong body that is VERY hard to obtain because women are so naturally curvy and round (because we NEED to be to be fertile!).

Control issues because my parents died, decades apart, in ways that were very traumatic for me. Anxiety because I feel so out of control in life.... other people could die, the dog could die, the cat could die, the house could burn down, the world could go to shit, we could be broke, etc, etc, etc.

I'm a mess.

It's okay.

And it's okay if you're a mess.

We're breathing, we're alive, so that means we have lots of chances and lots of hope to get this right.

I spill my gut here to let you know that just because I've hit maintenance, just because there are no longer any outward signs of the problems that made me fat in the first place, that just because I might look like a skinny bitch I used to hate on.... that all doesn't mean there isn't still a LOT of work to be done.

Obesity is a symptom.

I was really close to curing the DISEASE that made me fat (my anxiety and control issues and sadness) when I found my father unexpectedly dead in the house I now live in. Before his death, I was so close to not feeling disordered, so close to thinking like a normal human. I spiraled right back (which means that I hadn't cured it, just kept it at bay).

The disease came back full force and I am trying hard as hell to not let all the symptoms come back, as well.

Aaaaaand, this is why I am finally getting into therapy.

Because this isn't easy.

It requires work. Healthy eating, being active, caring for your MIND and your SPIRIT. You cannot take any of those factors out if you intend on journeying towards a well-rounded and healthy human at the end of all this.

I'm doing the work. I will get better. 

There is hope for all of us :)

Namaste, forgive my crazies <3

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Just read it:

These 11 Charts Show What is Wrong with the Modern Diet

Pretty spot on.

Nothing more to add, it says it all!


Eat the Rainbow!

Back when I used to eat a more Standard American Diet (even the healthier version of it where I eliminated fast food and junk but still ate breads and pastas, etc), my plates were often generally beige- meat and potatoes/bread/pasta/whatever took up up to 2/3rds of the plate!

Now that I've gone paleo, I've replaced the grains with MORE vegetables (despite some common critical voices who think that people who eat paleo replace the grains with more meat!! -  could not be farther from the truth!). And my plates rarely look beige-y at all.

It's a super visual sign that I'm eating well and getting my nutrition.

Last night's dinner of local, natural pork sausage with broccoli, onions and tomato:

We served it over roasted sweet potatoes :)


Here's an article about eating colorful food and the nutrients you get from them: 

I generally eat lots of colors in a day. Some examples are:

  • Orange: sweet potato, carrots, clementines
  • Red: tomato, beets, strawberries
  • Green: spinach, broccoli, peas, asparagus, etc
  • White: coconut, onion, garlic, mushrooms
  • Purple/blue: blackberries, blue berries
  • Yellow: butternut squash, bananas
  • Tan/brown: lean proteins (chicken, turkey), almonds, coffee, flax

See how there are even white/beige foods that have a ton of nutrition?

Make sure you have a decent variety of color in your daily diet :) It really is, to me, a very easy and simple way to ensure you are eating well!

******And I think it goes without saying that those colors should come from the natural colors that occur in the food, and not from food coloring or other chemicals!!!!!!!

(had to star that heavily for emphasis)

It's been so much easier for me to incorporate all these colors once I got rid of grains. The grains just end up being a placeholder in so many diets, they fill you up without doing anything for you. Those calories are so much better spent!!!

Ok. Day needs to start for me!!

Namaste, friends <3

Monday, February 17, 2014

600th Post! - and results from weekend

I wish I could be standing here in my 600th post a little more confident - but this is real life and you will always get honesty from me. I'm not perfect! But I am maintaining a healthy weight and maintaining health, in general. So, I suppose this blog is great for people who want to know what maintenance really looks like for a woman in my place in life - for a woman who still struggles with disordered eating and struggles with anxiety, but wants to succeed. I do my best to find that balance of living life to the fullest but not damage my health in the meantime!

I am back to the 124s after my delightfully lovely Valentine's weekend - 124.8 to be exact, ack!

I blame a lot of my poor decisions on this:

I drank a white cosmo before dinner came, and it kind of snowballed from there. We did great at first - sharing a simple seafood appetizer, very paleo. But then I let go of all inhibitions and had pizza and bread pudding for dessert. Amazing dinner paired with more delicious drinks. But, wow, I can NOT drink. I let go of all will power and I end up with a huge hangover the next day.

My day was spot on yesterday. We even got the dog out for a walk, even though it was cold and the sidewalks are terrible. 

My day will be spot on again today. Starting my day with my favorite:

Fresh, organic blackberries have been on sale at my local co-op and I am IN LOVE. I love that yogurt too (even though it is the most processed thing I allow on my 'clean' diet) because it has a lot of protein and is super delicious.

Heading off to work in a few, will be bringing some sweet potato and ground turkey I cooked up earlier. 

Enjoy your day!

Namaste <3

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekend VDay Celebration

Ok. Ate too much and drank too much. Gluttonous desires sated and GONE. Yucky sluggish feeling today.


The day was awesome in many ways. I'll let the pictures tell the tale.

Took a two mile walk along a frozen river with wolves. Took an hour long sleigh ride through a beautiful Adirondack forest. 

Spirit is filled, which is more important than the stomach! (but, dinner was insanely awesome. Crab cakes and brussels sprouts gluten free pizza with cocktails... so full)

Moving on. No weighing in today, don't need to know the damage RIGHT NOW, as I am basking in the gorgeous day I had :)

I will be back tomorrow with more coherent thoughts <3

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

Finally a drop- 122.6! Yay, mentally I like that much better. Back in the range. It weirdly HELPS me to eat right when I am at my ideal weight. My brain is odd, for sure.

Shoveling this morning.. Had to dig out our trash cans and recycling before the truck came. The snowfall is unlike any I've experienced the last couple years. Thank goodness the snow was light and fluffy so it's not the worst to deal with.

I knew when I woke up in the snow had obscured my view out my bedroom window that it was a serious one!!

Ah, well. Maybe no dog walk today... If even 10% of people haven't shoveled, it would make the walk AWFUL. I don't really feel like bundling up in full hiking gear to prevent the snow from going down my boots! But we'll see.. I'm a softy and if he starts begging for a walk, I may give in :)

So the agenda this Valentine's Day? Well, Chris is taking full advantage of this new snowfall and going snowboarding with some buddies. The best Valentine's Day gift I could give him was to encourage him to go! I also got him an old High Peaks book and his favorite chocolate turtle from the local chocolatier.

He got me these:

There are 12 truffles (4 flavors)... So I will limit myself today to trying each flavor once and then putting it away (I eat dark chocolate almost every day anyway, so as long as I can maintain my portion size, I'll be alright.)

But my big present? If the weather holds up, we're going up to Lake Placid tomorrow and going to visit wolves at an animal sanctuary AND a horse drawn sleigh ride!! /squeal/

But first, today- eating well, working out, getting some dissertation stuff done!

Love and Light <3

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Walking in the storm, Clean eating VS. Paleo

Still at 124 today. I went to a hiking meet-up at a local brewery yesterday... I am on a forum for High Peak hiking and people get together every few months to chat, talk about hikes, plan future hikes, etc. I've gone to a couple so far and LOVE it - get to meet so many interesting people and talk about all the things I love with like-minded people.

I had beer, though - a cherry/raspberry ale - because I get such social anxiety, I wanted to relax a little. No regrets - it did the job (I was very chatty!) and was super delicious. :D I love beer. Love, love, love. I'm proud of myself that I stopped drinking it for the most part. I used to drink every other day or so! Now it's limited to once every couple weeks. Sometimes longer, depending! But, oh it is my vice. A vice I limit, but my vice, nonetheless. I am an imperfect healthy living blogger, do forgive me :)

What was great - I talked about hiking food with a lady and she was on my bandwagon of eating no gluten or processed food while eating!!! She said how much it has changed her hiking to maintain a stable blood sugar throughout the whole hike. She brings sweet potatoes and chicken on hikes (just like we do!) and it was just really nice to talk sensible food ideas with someone :)

Another stormy winter day here for us. But life must go on! Chris called in to work so he didn't have to risk the roads, so we took Koda for a family walk. We all still need our exercise, even if "snowpocalypse" is happening (It's not that big of a deal, really, haha, it snows in the Northeast, no surprise there!). It was fun and Koda had a blast busting moves in the powder:

We're all set with our food for the day, so we can make delicious, nutritious food while "stormed in"... I will probably do some yoga or strength training later.

I've been thinking about how I view and talk about food on this blog. I, obviously, eat paleo most of the time (with the exception of occasional alcohol and rare eating out). But, MOST IMPORTANT, and what I want to get across to people who read this, is clean eating. Clean, clean, clean.

The difference?

Clean eating:

Clean eating means eating foods in their most natural form possible.


Paleo means eating clean AND giving up certain inflammatory food groups (dairy, grains, legumes) for overall health.

I am a HUGE proponent of clean eating, even though I eat clean AND paleo, but I am aware that paleo is a tough lifestyle and most people are unwilling or struggle too much to eat paleo (though in my opinion, eliminating grains is the best thing you can do for yourself after you clean up your diet!).

But the realism of it is apparent to me. I will not sway most people over to paleo eating. So I push clean eating. It's important for overall health, fitness and weight maintenance. It is so, so, so much harder to maintain a strong, healthy body if chemicals and processed foods are being eaten - too much of the body's energy has to go towards struggling to clean that crap out (leading to overall inflammation and bloating and fatigue).

Where clean eating and paleo overlap contains the most important things I live by in my eating habits:

- eat whole foods

- eat organic, no antibiotic, no preservatives

- eat grass fed and local meats

- eat foods in their most natural form

- focus on vegetables and fruits with healthy doses of good fats (olive oil, avocados, coconut, etc) and lean protein

Those simple, simple rules are the most important. It's why when I stray a little from the paleo lifestyle, I still try to stick to the overlap with clean eating. It keeps me on track and healthy.

Okay - I'm off! Hope those in the Northeast are staying warm!! We are going to have a fire and play games by it tonight while we watch the snow fall.

Namaste <3

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Success in the mornings

I am having a difficult time adapting to early wake ups where I HAVE to get moving. I am so used to the slow, meandering wake up, having a slow cup of coffee, doing a little yoga at my leisure, eating a home cooked breakfast and THEN getting to the tasks of the day whenever I am finished with that routine.

I still WANT my coffee, my home cooked breakfast, and my yoga in the mornings!! It's hard to kind of rush it all to happen earlier in the morning.

Also, the dog isn't getting his walk in the morning right now. When it is time to go to work, I just cannot muster the courage to head out into the freezing temperatures and the dim light and walk him and THEN get ready for the day. Also - dog walk in the morning would mean waking up an extra hour early, which is not something my brain can handle right now. Maybe as the temps rise and the sun starts shining earlier, I will be more inclined to wake up an hour early.

For right now, monsterdog is getting his walks mid-day :)

I rushed about this morning. I did get my yoga in, and tried not to hurry it so I got the full benefits of the stretching, but I didn't have time to sit and eat breakfast...

So I took it with me!!

Pre-roasted sweet potatoes, raw tomatoes, eggs and spinach - little container of ketchup and my coffee and I am at work!

I am still at 124 today. Can't seem to shake the extra weight. I've been eating paleo and really clean this week. Also been working out a LOT, which is making me extra hungry, so some extra snacks find their way into the day. Oh well, I would rather have strong muscles, so I am going to keep doing what I am doing... will just try and keep an eye on the extra snacking, make sure I am not going overboard!

Hope you all had success this morning, too - it is TOUGH, especially in a cold weather environment. I love winter for soooooo many things (cozy fires, pretty landscapes, skiing, snowshoeing, etc) but this is a bitterly cold one. I am ready for spring :)

Namaste <3

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dinner win, Idiocracy

Well, I got the job! I can start subbing in March- the supplemental income takes a lot of stress off my shoulders :) thanks for the good luck wishes!!! 

Dinner last night:

Lemon pepper chicken breast on a bed of spinach, topped with mushrooms, roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes in the side.

We've really been going all out to make super delicious and nutritious dinners lately ... I'm loving it!!

I'm at 124 right now, a pound heavier than my "happy" range. But I'm working on it and not freaking out about it (especially since it's still a really healthy weight to be at)- I've been stressing about so much in life lately, my main goal is to calm the hell down. My doctor's appointment is Thursday and I'm looking forward to asking for some help!

Sooooo, in other news, last night, I saw a commercial for a fast food chain offering $1 soft drinks in the morning.

Morning... Breakfast... Sugar and chemicals galore.

Ever seen Idiocracy?

I kind of feel like we're there. And it's not funny.

Just going to keep trying to spread the word that whole, clean foods make you feel better... Better than you could ever imagine!! I am so grateful for the way I eat... With the anxieties, grief and depression I've been fighting, the food I eat has given me an edge to keep my head above water here. 

Off to walk the dog this chilly morning...

Namaste :)

Delicious noms

Last night's dinner was delicious enough that I had to share - we went a little on the special side, away from our usual sauté up some meat and a bunch of veggies and served with roasted sweet potatoes.

We made cilantro line turkey "tips" and topped it with my homemade mango/avocado/tomato/onion salsa! Served it with sautéed broccoli with a touch of soy sauce!

It was amazing, filled me right up, left me beyond satisfied. I love filling up a dinner with a ton of different flavors, coming from different types of vegetables and different spices and things. The flavor burst makes sure I never miss junk food for dinner again!


Big day for me- going to try to make up for the missed lecture from the snow day last week, fit in two lectures today if I can. Then I have an interview! I decided to see if I can be a substitute teacher for the county, based on many people's recommendations that I at least give it a shot.

Interviews are scary, new jobs are scary, changing your life is scary. I'm a little scared :)

But forging on ahead!!! Hoping for the best. Life doesn't change if you don't do something to change it. I'll be poor till May if I don't put myself out there.

Wish me luck!

Namaste <3

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Winter Hiking - good for brain and body!

Accomplished my third winter High Peak hike this year today! Snow conditions required snowshoes, which are much tougher to use than microspikes and require different muscle/balance use. I had a BLAST and am very proud of myself. About a 7 mile roundtrip hike this time (we wanted to have an "easier" day, though it is never truly easy to climb a High Peak - they are serious mountains).

I almost didn't summit - conditions were a little rough and the summit, well, you'll see in the photos. It's a bit scary. But I did summit :)

Pictures from Wright Peak:

In my super cozy down jacket - love it!

Me and my friend, Tara, mid-way up

Climbing up the OPEN, rocky, exposed, SUPER COLD, windy summit!!!

Huge person-size cairns so they can be easily seen, no matter the weather - Algonquin Mountain in the background (2nd tallest in NY)

Dramatic views caused by cold!

Algonquin seen from Wright

Colden seen from Wright

Descent just as tough as ascent (mentally, especially!)

Chris and I at the trailhead :)

Gorgeous, though cold, day! Feeling pretty awesome (and tired) after all is done. We started the hike at 7 AM (2.5 hour ride each way) and I am home by 4 PM! We hiked like rockstars, very proud of all of us :)

My brain is calm, my body is exercised, my spirit is lifted.

Hiking is good for the soul - moving around this world, connecting with nature, realizing how big and how small we all are, in the end.


Friday, February 7, 2014

No Grains, No Gains - A Day in the Life....


Our topic this month is "A Day in the Life..." and I am using pictures to tell my story (so if you have a slower connection, it might take a minute to load up!). 

I wanted to do a day where I went IN to work, since I mostly work at home, to show you how I prep for heading into an office and classroom with food and such. But, alas, my chosen day was a snow day, so here's my reality! If you notice throughout the pictures, I have all homemade food, but I'll let you in on a little secret... the ONLY thing I cooked this day was eggs! The rest of the time, I just heated up pre-prepared foods. I do my food prep in the beginning of the week, with some little additions throughout. I like it super easy (especially when Chris is traveling, as he was this week, I don't go through so much trouble to make a big sit down dinner) to make sure I have time/energy for errands, work, exercise, etc.

Anyway, here's my day:

I woke up to see this at 7 AM, after getting an email that school was canceled. I knew what this would mean. Shoveling. A day inside. General annoyances. - the storm was bad enough that it really was a "stay inside" kind of day, getting on the roads was dangerous.
This is what I do first every morning... I call it pre-breakfast because it is often only 140-170 calories. Just a snack to get food in my stomach, get the metabolism started, give me some energy. Not a full meal. Also my vitamins and water! (Don't want to take vitamins on an empty stomach)
Typical cat watching me feed the dog his breakfast, wishing HE got canned food, too.
Shoveling.. not my favorite thing (usually a Chris kind of chore) but is a good workout. Takes about an hour to do the front steps, sidewalk, driveway and back patio. Shoveling done by 9AM.
Koda wanted to go out, still, and since I was all bundled up in my snow gear from shoveling already, I figured why not! Notice the woman cross-country skiing down the road.
No one had shoveled yet, really.
Koda really love the snow.
Around 10AM - only thing I cooked that day, eggs. With spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, ketchup and water. The eggs look like that because I sprinkled flax seeds all over them.
Pre-breakfast and breakfast usually add up to under 500 calories, but I was hungry from shoveling, so I added a little more food.
Didn't have to go in to school to teach, so I took the opportunity to settle down at my home office to work on my dissertation. With a mug of coffee with organic creamer (I'm off the chemical creamer, but still using cream - my only dairy I still consume).
My messy but cozy little home office nook.
I don't really eat a MEAL again throughout the day. That's pretty typical for me. I like small mini meals throughout the day. If Chris is home, I will combine two mini-meals into an actual meal to sit and eat with him. This is borscht! Low calories, high nutrition. Water.
Moar working.
Break from working - workOUT! This is a hard circuit and I usually don't make it all the way through to the last plank, hahah. But sometimes I do. This day, I did.
Getting stronger!! I am doing at-home workouts (varying between leg strength, core strength, general cardio and yoga) 6 days a week. It is paying off.
Mini-meal 2 - around 2 PM, sauteed brussels sprouts and onions with soy sauce.
Mini-meal 3: nitrate-free deli turkey and mustard... and my little treat, SELTZER! I had this soon after the brussels sprouts, very hungry from workout.
Shoveling round 2. Another hour here.
Immediate after shoveling snack (SO HUNGRY) - banana and sunflower seed butter. I put cinnamon on top because it's very beneficial to your health to have cinnamon every day. I use a lot of spices and herbs and the like in EVERYTHING, whether garlic or black pepper or cayenne or cardamom or coriander or or or or..... you get the point. Spices make you feel more satisfied with your food and have a myriad of health benefits.
Pretty normal for me to have eaten about 75% of my calories by 5PM... I know already I will up my calorie allotment to 1700-1800 because I worked out so much this day, it is set at 1500 to remind me that I am trying to lose a few pounds. But I rarely stick with the recommended amount.
Cat says I am dumb for going outside at all. So much cozier in bed.
Worked hard today, self-motivated, so I wanted a reward. Lit up a candle....
....and took a bubble bath!!! I've learned I've needed to do these things for myself, especially on weeks when Chris is away. I am not getting the companionship or help that a partner brings to the table, and if I do something nice for myself, it makes it all a little less stressful!

Koda was loving it outside and just played with his ball all by himself in the snow (throwing it and then searching for it in the snowbanks)... he didn't want to come in and pouted whenever I tried to get him in.

Last mini-meal: butternut squash with turkey "mix" - I mix them up and put salsa on top. Really loved how this "mix" came out - nice and flavorful with Mexican-type spices, lots of onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Very nutritious. Once again, this was all pre-cook (the mix and the squash) early in the week so that the rest of my week just entails EATING, little to no prep or cooking. I'll gladly give up a few hours early in the week to enjoy the fruits of my labor for the next six days :)

Settling down for the night... snow all shoveled, words all typed, food all eaten, life all lived... time for dog cuddles.

Oh, but first, a little treat.... hot cocoa with vanilla almond milk. Settled down in front of the TV for the night, with the dog, with my cocoa. Kind of made the semi annoying cooped up day worth it :)

So this is how I ended my day... calories are closer to 1700 actually because I ate an extra bite of sunflower seed butter after taking this picture, hahahaha 

This is generally how I like my nutrient balance to be every day... ideally, I would take 5% from the carbs and put them in the fat category. But not every day can be perfect. Some days I eat more fat than carbs. I was super hungry today due to all the burning, though, so the higher carbs are normal.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd the climax of my evening - CRIMINAL MINDS!!! <3 JJ

So, this was actually a pretty normal day for me. I usually will, you know, LEAVE THE HOUSE and do some grocery shopping or errand running or work or visit a friend, whatever. But the snow made that not happen at all.

But as far as the food, exercise, and animal shenanigans.. that's all the norm. I prep TONS of vegetables, at least one meat/veggie mix, and other assorted snacks for the week. I eat mostly veggies, peppered with lean proteins and fruit and fat (like the avocado). I aim for COLOR, COLOR, COLOR :D Seriously, it's a goal, because then I feel comfortable that I got a well-balanced day of nutrition. I also aim to eat my GOMBS everyday (Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds).

I always walk the dog and I always do a workout (some days it is less intense though!). 

I always drink tons of water. Water with every meal and snack.

These are just things I have taught myself to make habits. It took a long time to teach myself these things. I adopted a new healthy habit (like taking a vitamin or always having a cup of water with food) every few months. Until, after a few years, they were all just there. And all my days were healthy, and my weight was consistent, and I felt really great. And those days where I don't do so well (like my impromptu girls night) don't really matter that much - because 95% of my days are filled with good habits.

It's not so hard, in the end. Ten years ago, I would have looked at this pictorial spread and go "OH MY DEAR LORD - that seems AWFUL!! That woman must be SO HUNGRY and tired and BORED!!!" But the exact opposite is true, though I would never have believed it. I wake up with energy, gain energy throughout the day, and just plain-old feel awesome. There is no bloaty, inflamed, lethargic crap dragging me down, like when I used to eat a more Standard American Diet.

And I am grateful for these healthy habits that gave me this healthy body. I will never forget that I am alive and well today because I kept my body strong. I get to cuddle with my dog and talk to Chris and laugh at dumb Facebook stuff because I put the effort into being healthy.

I love my days (most of the time!).

If you want to see how other women who follow a paleo/primal template live their day-to-day lives, give my fellow bloggers a read: