Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Plans

I weighed myself this morning to see where I'm at - 122.8! Exactly where I want to be! I ate a lot of great meals this week and had healthy snacks at work. Evenings included a little too much chocolate, but I've also upped my exercise this week, so weight stayed stable.

My plans for tonight??

We are meeting up with some friends and hitting up the downtown area of our city. We plan to generally walk around and take in the fun ambiance of the Halloween on a Friday night in our little city! We will probably stop into a bar or two and have a drink at each one, but I don't plan to overdo it at all.

And candy is not on the agenda for tonight!

Halloween is a time for costumes and being a little weird and hanging out with my friends, I don't really care if I eat candy on the day.

In fact, I am mulling over the possibility of giving up all chocolate for November. If you pay attention to my blog, you know I eat chocolate pretty regularly and maybe a little too much. I want to challenge myself to give that up, make myself remember that I don't need to have chocolate every day, there are other much more nutritious foods I could be using those calories for!

Off to work - enjoy the holiday if you celebrate it, be careful, and don't make yourself sick on candy!!!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Donuts and Parking Garage Workouts

My office had a treat for the workers yesterday: Apple cider donuts!

Oh man, how I would have loved to have one, that crunchy sugary outside and the sweet moist inside... Perfect binge food for old Jeanette.

But they also had farm fresh apples right next to the box of donuts. So I grabbed myself an apple :) It's a slippery slope. Treats in the office can spiral out of control, candy and baked goods all the time. I definitely didn't need to do 300 extra calories yesterday, and it is not like I don't treat myself, I have chocolate a lot in the evenings and indulge a little on the weekends. I can't get into the habit of indulging myself during the workday during the week, as well!!

Also- I wanted to show you where I work out when it is raining outside but still pretty nice, as far as temperature:

LOVELY, isn't it?!?!

Hahaha, no, but I get a really nice view of the trees and the changing leaves behind our office, so I do step ups on the barriers in the corner there. I will also walk around the parking garage for little bit.

I just so am not ready to be confined to the office building for eight and half hours a day. I'm getting out as much as I can now, before the temperatures take a turn for the worse!

And it is pretty clear from the remarks made to me by my coworkers, that I am now "that girl." 

You know.....  the one who chooses exercise over socialization and deprivation over treats in front of everyone else. So if they don't feel one hundred percent comfortable with what they're doing, it turns into comments and judgments about what I am doing.

But they won't deter me. I know what I'm doing is good for my health. And I have a vibrant life outside of this office so don't necessarily need more friends (though I take them if I could get! But won't stress if my coworkers think I'm a bit strange) and this is a place where I don't want to be for more than a year or two anyway, so I'm not looking to please anyone else with my choices during the day. 

I'm liking the flow of life right now - being really proactive, getting a ton of life, school, work and health business taken care of. Forward motion :)

No Recipe Soup :)

Just to go along with a general topic on my blog lately, I wanted to tell you about dinner last night!

Chris made dinner (which he has been doing because he is a GREAT partner to have and is taking some of the cooking responsibilities off my shoulders so I can focus a little more on my dissertation). We had no plan, no recipes, just a bunch of food we had in the fridge. You know, food from that general grocery list I laid out a few days ago. I wanted to explain HOW we use that food to make delicious dinners withOUT any muss, fuss, or stress!

I am a big believer in filling my house with a variety of veggies and a standard group of proteins and fats... and the meals will come easily!

He made us turkey burgers, which I ate on a bed of romaine, and a really lovely soup from the random veggies we had in the house - butternut squash, a bag of parsnips, a bag of carrots (he also used some carrot greens we had from last week), onions, leeks, and mushrooms! It made a really thick and filling soup - not planned ahead. He peels and cubed the squash, did some basic chopping of the other veggies, boiled them up in stock, spiced it up, let it simmer for a while to really build the flavor, then blended it up till it was creamy!

We worked on getting the basics of making a soup down some years ago - layering the flavors, spicing it how we like it, getting the right consistency with either stock or coconut milk and a hand blender.

Now, we both kind of feel like magicians who can take some cold veg out of the fridge and cook them down into a filling, tasty soup that warms you up on a cool fall night :)

This kind of meal making is so easy - doesn't need anything specific, really just a carby vegetable (like squash or sweet potato or carrot) that will blend up nicely and whatever other flavors you like. I felt treated because of the unique flavor (never had parsnips in our soups before) and it was so simple!

I will often make a sweet potato soup with coconut milk and give it some Thai spices, then add mushrooms and onions after I've blended the sweet potato/milk mixture for a different feel.

Another easy type of soup we make is leafy greens and meat in broth (not blended up and creamy) - Chris likes kale greens and sausage or some variation thereof.

The possibilities are endless - all we rely on is a REALLY good grocery shop that stocks our fridge and our imaginations.

We eat insanely healthy and we eat a lot of the same foods over and over... but somehow, it's never boring. I only rarely get a craving to go OUT for something special (like Indian food - chicken saag or tikka masala... because sometimes the effort put into a great recipe by an amazing cook is so worth it!!!) because we get a great variety of flavors and textures and types of foods in our daily meals (even thought we really do seem to buy the same stuff every single week... seasonal variety in vegetables keeps things interesting!).

Okay.. enough blathering about how we cook. Just wanted to give some insight into the type of meals we can make from the list I gave you before.

Everything else is going pretty much as normal... the calm before the storm, as I said (maybe the storm won't be so bad, though ;) ). I am going for tons of walks lately, the weather has been great. I am also back to doing some serious at home strength training and yoga. I've been rewarding myself for working on my dissertation with some crappy reality TV during which I will spend an hour stretching and strengthening my body.

Namaste <3

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The calm before the storm?

So, I am a bit of a pessimist, even though I try my hardest to be an optimist.

 And I am trying to just enjoy the calmness in our life in the past week. No crazy projects, not tons of appointments, nothing seeming to go wrong, no big disasters. Everything for the most part settled (obviously, aside from general financial woes).

Things have been chill at home, a nice routine - work, dog walk, work on dissertation, dinner then either TV or social time. It's easy, calm, familiar.

Going to enjoy it while it lasts and try not to focus on the next upheaval of life, haha :)

Optimism IS hard for me and something I have to purposely work on, just like physical health.

The weather is still PLENTY nice enough for walking outside on my breaks, which does WONDERS for my mood:

Been a great fall and I'm grateful for it!!

Have a lovely day <3

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Party Win

Chris and I went to our friends annual Halloween party - I went as a "basic" girl (you know - leggings, UGGs, oversized sweaters, infinity scarf, pumpkin spice latte ;) ) who got poisoned by her pumpkin spice latte ..

I made deviled egg "eyes" for the party:

I ate really well before the party, but didn't eat dinner at home, knowing I'd have a few snacks at the party. Chris and I promised each other that we would NOT overeat and end the night feeling gross and we totally kept that promise!!

I had a deviled egg, two meatballs, a few veggies dipped in hummus and a homemade whoopie pie (pumpkin and cream cheese filling - wow).

I was full and stopped eating!

That's a total win for me - not overdoing it. I have a big problem with binging at social events, feeling out of control. I'm not at a place in my life where I am ready to go total abstinence. I stay about 90 to 95% Paleo and let a little loose on the other 5 to 10%.. Which works for my life and my health, but not if I binge when I do it!

Felt great :) especially since we stayed at the party till 3 AM and I didn't fall prey to late night drunk snacking (I was drinking though - but I'd fill a huge cup with seltzer and splash some vodka into it .. Kept me hydrated! Also it took a long time to drink all that seltzer so I wasn't going back again and again for more drinks, like if I was drinking wine or beer).

It was nice to party all night with friends and not feel yucky after - that's always been my goal!

Ok - off to start the new workweek <3

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sharing Pictures

First, general life updates: SO-SO! Hahaha, life is hard. I will never sugarcoat that. We don't make much money, bad things seem to happen at a strangely high rate, and we struggle. Sometimes, a little depression sinks in... but it appears to be situational. So, all we can do is try to improve our lot! I am working nightly on my dissertation, still applying to better jobs, we are eating well and being active and trying, trying, trying.

But that's the norm for me, hm? No biggie, I am learning to accept that this is just how life rolls.

Weight is still at 122 (woo!) - I have been eating really clean and feeling really healthy. Now THAT is one thing I CAN control :)

But I wanted to share some pictures from my hike this weekend (a mix of my friend's pictures who has a REALLY good camera, and some from my dinky point and shoot):

Beautiful woods!

Lightly falling snow made it kind of fairy-tale like :)

The ever majestic Koda!

Me on the top of a rock feature that SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME 2 years ago.... easy as pie now!

Near the summit

Not so majestic Koda ;)


REWARDS! We weren't supposed to have ANY views... we felt blessed!

But that's all, just a little picture dump - to let you know why I hike so much! I love getting deep, deep into the wildest forest in my area... being isolated, seeing these views, hearing the quiet. It's awesome.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

For Carrie - my philosophy about cooking and my meals

I got a great comment on a blogpost the other day, and an actual question! I don't get a lot of questions (maybe because I am insanely transparent and honest and you all already know everything about me?? hahaha)

Part of Carrie's comment was: "Currently, I am struggling with my weight again. I have lost and gained the same 20 pounds for 5 years now! So frustrating! I need to lose about 50 pounds and my biggest problem is nutrition. I exercise all the time, it's my poor food choices that hurt me. When I found your blog, I read an entry that you went from not being cook to loving making healthy, easy meals. I'm not a good cook! So I was wondering if you would be willing to share some of your favorite easy breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. Your meals always look so good! I try to look up paleo meals on the internet and just feel so overwhelmed by it all."

I bet a lot of people out there are ALL too familiar with this situation - struggling with the nutrition part of the health equation. There are several parts to this equation, and I'll try to be clear on my thoughts:

1. Exercise is GREAT and it is immediately rewarding with tons of little happy chemicals that flood our brains during and after activity and the immediacy of that pride of knowing you did something awesome for yourself!

2. Eating a simple, healthy diet doesn't have the same immediate rewards or sensations of pleasure. In fact, it's the opposite! It's the stuff that isn't so great for us (sugars, fats, carbs in the form of cookies, cakes, chips, pizza, fries, whatever!) that gives our brains that immediate shock of pleasure.

3. And as I've said before - we are HUMANS. We are animals. We are biological creatures on this earth with physical bodies - and we are pleasure seeking animals, just like every other animal! We want to feel happy, fed, safe and warm. No shame in that.

4. With 1-3 in mind, it's important to remember that most people can undo HOURS of exercise with a few daily habits or a few weekly junk meals. You know the old addage, "You can't out-exercise a bad diet!" and I have found that to be, unequivocally true for myself! I'm glad I learned this, because a few times in the past few years, I've been laid up and unable to exercise, but was able to maintain my weight through diet alone.

So I try to be honest with myself and remember all of this when I go through the grocery store, when I prep snacks, when I make dinner, when I choose what to put into my mouth. It helps so much.

But she asked for some good solid information about how to cook EASY, healthy, meals. That's my forte! I love cooking, but I am not an expert, and I keep it simple at all times, pretty much :)

It starts at the grocery store. I buy a lot of the same basics every week that I know I can make filling, nutritious and delicious (to me) food from all week long. No thinking, no recipes, no confusion.

My staples:

Absurb amounts of sweet potato
Whatever other squash or root veggie is on sale (acorn squash, butternut squash, rutabaga, turnip)
Whatever fruit is seasonal and on sale
Frozen blueberries
Brocolli/cauliflower/brussel sprouts/etc
Frozen peas
Baby carrots
Tomatoes (canned and fresh)
Canned pumpkin
Ground meats (beef, turkey, chicken, pork)
Chicken legs/thighs
Bacon :D
Other various pork items - sausages, ribs, whatever
Lactose free cottage cheese (not paleo - but important part of my diet!)
Flax milk
Coconut milk
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Sunflower seed butter
A HUGE selection of spices

With these ingredients, I eat 3 meals a day and snacks every week, easily. We do a lot of prep on Sunday/Monday - roasting sweet potatoes, roasting beets, making a pumpkin-flax smoothie, making chicken legs or sausage for lunches/snacks

My best ideas:

For breakfast -

Well, I have EVERY DAY (I know, crazy) a serving of cottage cheese with frozen blueberries and sunflower seed butter.

My husband, on the other hand, pretty much eats a veggie and egg scramble every day. A hint: cut up veggies in advance to reduce prep time in the morning, throw them in a pan with oil, toss in eggs when ready, and you got breakfast in minutes! Need a big breakfast? Serve on a bed of spinach with pre-roasted sweet potatoes (I ALWAYS have pre roasted cubed sweet potatoes in my fridge!)

Sometimes I would throw leftover meat from dinner the night before into my eggs to bulk it out.

For lunch -

Well, this is an easy one. Lunch is dinner leftovers. We ALWAYS make more dinner than we need so everyone can have leftovers for lunch. One less meal to prep.

In my lunch box, I usually pack leftovers with roasted beets, baby carrots, a spinach salad, a banana/apple, pepitos and my pumpkin smoothie for snacks throughout the day (I don't like eating one big meal in the middle of the day)

For dinner - 

Now, this is where I differ from most people. People LOVE recipes, involved cooking, new tastes/textures/etc. Not me. I love simple and familiar and easy.

Our simplest meals involve us cooking  pound of ground meat in a cast iron skillet with tons of veggies (onions, mushrooms and  tomatoes are standard - plus whatever else is around). We put this on top of salads or sweet potatoes and boom. Done.

We also like to make burgers, meatloafs/balls, chilis with the ground meat - sometimes we eat it taco style in lettuce wraps. Or easy cook sausage or pork chops.

But whatever it is that we make - we almost never have to go get special ingredients or follow a recipe. We know how to spice our food to our liking (which matters a LOT!) and we know how to cook meat so that it's not dry. We got cooking our veggies down pat (not too al dente, not too mushy). 

I have a lot of posts in the past where I share what a day in my food life looks like or what my groceries look like:

And there is more, but I will admit to being lazy and not wanting to look through 775 posts to find them :)

I hope I helped and didn't sound like a rambling lunatic. My philosophy is simplicity and nutrition that tastes good. And what tastes good to me NOW took years of training my taste buds, because I sure as hell did not eat like this 5 or 10 years ago... I would have thought current me is crazy :)

It's a long road of exploring what works for you.

Don't feel like you have to copy any specific diet or recipe book or blogger! It took me and my husband a few years to get our routine down!

And I am weighing in at 122 right now - at my low end - so I love the way I eat :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Soda Aging You?

Wanted to share this link:

And, obviously, with any new research, you have to take it with a grain of salt and look at it critically.

Maybe soda does/does not shorten the telomeres of your genes .. But the link us there, and maybe it is that if you are the TYPE if person to drink 20 oz of soda, you are likely to engage in other activities that age you?

Either way, more evidence that food can heal you or sicken you. Your choice!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Balance

My weekend was on opposite ends of the spectrum!

Saturday, I went to my uncle's 25th anniversary - an Italian feast. You know, food, food, and more food! I ate a serving of fried calamari because I LOVE it, some antipasto, and only about 1/4 of my meal (roast chicken ... I couldn't really eat it because it was INSANELY salty). I also had less than 1/2 a normal piece of cake. It was delicious, but I knew I had already indulged in the calamari.

I had eaten really well prior to this event, and if I was still a calorie tracker, I would guesstimate (and I was always spot on with my calorie measurements when I had to guess and look them up later!) that I only ate a little over normal on Saturday!

Sunday, however, was a whole different ball game. A long, rugged hike in the Adirondacks (mileage estimates vary, as it is not a blazed trail, but anywhere from 11-13 miles is a good guess) with friends :) The weather was actually very beautiful - not very cold, lots of pretty sunshine AND snow flurries. Yes, sun and snow at the same time!!

It was an unforgettable hike, really lovely:

And for the first time in a long time, I ate really normally for a big hike day - just a little bit more food than normal to makeup for the big energy expenditure, but not overdoing it! 

So, pretty happy overall with my behavior this weekend.. not even going to talk about Monday, it was a pretty stereotypical awful Monday, hahaha.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

What's the point?

I don't know what it is - maybe it is the fact that the last vestiges of the old house are gone (only one bedroom that stores my brother's stuff looks how it used to, before Chris and I moved in).

It's all changed - full of color, full of brightness, everything cleaned and fresh.

And so it has made me think of my dad MORE, because the physical reminders aren't really as evident anymore. I don't see ghosts of my past everywhere I look.

And, for some sick reason, I read back through my blog through those months where it all happened. When I found my dad in this house, gone, and my world fell completely apart. And where I found strength in myself, endless love from family and friends, and a totally new understanding of how gorgeous this life is.

This post, from just over two years ago, sums it up nicely: For Life and those are not feelings I want to forget (I cannot always feel them so strongly, that would be incredibly distracting and I need to do some mundane life stuff sometimes, too!!).

I was asking myself, what is the point? My dad died. He wasn't here anymore, he couldn't hear or see or do or feel here anymore. What was the point of it all??

And I still feel strongly, that just being is the point.

We get to BE here! And it's beautiful.

And two years later, I also feel just as strongly as before about keeping this physical body of mine healthy so that I can be here as long and as fully as possible.

That is the heart of this blog. It is the reminder I need. I hope it helps someone else.

I was devastated to the point of numbness two years ago. It passed. I healed. I still cry for him, for the lack of him. But life has gone on and I am lucky to be a witness and a participant in all that this is.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Great Dinner - getting into eggplant!

I have a pretty open mind when it comes to vegetables. I think it is because I used to eat almost no vegetables at all as a child and teenager - a big part of becoming an adult for me was trying new things (especially foods - new cuisines, new veggies, etc) and learning to appreciate them. Even if their tastes, textures, or whatever was really unfamiliar and maybe not awesome at first.

But for some reason, I really have never been into eggplant. Chris made me fried eggplant a few times in our relationship, but that's fried food, and really we all know that anything fried is going to taste pretty good. I'm not in a place right now where I'm looking to eat fried food!!!

This past weekend at the co-op, I saw gorgeous, local, baby eggplants. They were so colorful and shiny and for some reason, I had a really strong craving for them. So we went a little Italian style and made an eggplant and meatball dinner:

We sautéed beans and onions with pepper, garlic and lemon juice:

We mixed up ground chicken with egg, coconut flour (both used as binders), garlic, rosemary, basil, pepper, and lots of other spices to make our meatballs. We seared them in the cast-iron and then finished roasting them in the oven: 

The eggplant we did really simply. We sliced them, put them on parchment paper, sprayed them with olive oil, put a little black pepper and garlic powder on them, and roasted at 400° for about a half hour:

And had a lovely Italian flavored (very Mediterranean, with all the olive oil and lemon juice and things like that - fresh vegetables and simple protein) meal:

I am an eggplant convert!! It was so tender and really soaked up all the flavors of the spices.

I know there is a ton of nutrition in eggplant, and it's usually pretty cheap at the store, so I'm glad to have finally added this vegetable into our rotation :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

JLaw Against Gluten-Free

So. I absolutely, 100% adore Jennifer Lawrence. I am not a huge celebrity follower, but I have my favorites - people I think are absolutely talented, gorgeous, quirky and interesting (Jennifer Lawrence and Jared Leto, really! Hahaha, don't judge me.)




I have been reading a few news articles where Jennifer Lawrence is bashing gluten-free diets as the "new cool eating disorder." And where she is against dieting. She is quoted as saying "I think that people are built the way that they're built" and "There's that Kate Moss quote that's like 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' and... I can name a lot of things that taste better than skinny feels: bread, potatoes... a Philly cheesesteak and fries." And she is LAUDED for eating spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast and a cheesesteak before some awards show.




Well... that's all realllllllllllly easy to say and do when you look how SHE looks. Even when she is slightly "heavier," she is drop dead gorgeous and the perfect American ideal - men and women drool over her, want to be her, want her. She poses almost naked for magazines and in movies, completely unself-conscious. Which, again, is really easy to do when you look like her.


I still love her, think she is awesome and funny and, yes, beautiful. But I think she does not get to be on a high horse about people who diet or choose to be gluten free (for their health or their weight or for whatever reason they want to).


Would she be against eliminating more carbs if she was 50 pounds overweight? Would she be against eliminating gluten if gluten gave her awful acne and cysts on her face? Would she have eaten a cheesesteak before the awards show if it made her look 4-5 months pregnant in her slinky skin tight dress?


It's always been hard for me to hear women with idealized, Hollywood-approved bodies claim that we should all love our bodies exactly how they are, stop dieting, stop trying to change them.


And I know she has faced more body bashing than usual for young starlets - she is NOT stick skinny and refuses to GET stick skinny, which I applaud! But even when she weighs a few pounds more than usual and an agent says something unkind about her needing to lose weight, she still is not in the same position as those of us who have been or are obese.


No one gets to say others have an eating disorder because of the way they eat when they don't know THEM personally or their struggles or how food affects them. Especially when you are a Hollywood starlet.


I don't know - her comments rubbed me the wrong way, I think, BECAUSE I have looked up to her. I loved her strong, athletic body in the Hunger Games (exactly how Katniss should have looked - she was a hunter in the book who ate enough and was super active - not a starving waif). She is curvy and strong and looks extremely healthy. But she doesn't get to tout body positivity at any size, when she is THAT size! She doesn't get to tell us that we should be eating pasta and cheesesteaks and whatever else because SHE does - if I ate the meals she says she eats, I'd be 20 pounds heavier in about a month. I'd feel less energetic, less healthy, and would be more self-conscious about my body - it certainly wouldn't be a body that would pose naked on a magazine (it isn't that way NOW!).


I think her comments would rub me wrong even if I didn't love her. There is a weird feeling I get when people who look like models tell us dieting is stupid, or watching what we eat, or choosing not to eat a certain type of food, etc, is wrong. She should walk a mile in 20 year old Jeanette's shoes and THEN tell me that she would eat pasta for breakfast still.


That's my rant. Just had to get it off my chest :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I caved!

I finally bought something at work!

I forgot my pumpkin/flax/banana/spiced smoothie yesterday and was a little hungry - I wasn't DYING or anything (as I still had my salad and meatloaf leftovers) and thought a day with slightly lower calories than usual wouldn't be the worst thing (as I've been trending a little towards the higher end of my range the past few days) but I wanted SOMETHING, so I hit the cafeteria.

But no worries - it was just coffee :) it was actually a treat to go a little caffeine crazy - I have the same exact 3 cups (actual cups, not huge mugs!) a day - staggered through from 8-12. And I am very used to it, so don't get that pleasant caffeine buzz anymore, more like maintenance!

Still, spend $2 on coffee seems lame when 1lb of AMAZING organic coffee beans costs ~$9 at our co-op!!

So a financially dumb choice, even if not a bad food choice.

Also didn't taste as good as home!

I didn't even like GOING into the cafeteria- it was my first time. It smelled strongly like pizza, and had lots of hot, junky food for sale. There was a salad bar, and I went over to look at it, but there was tons of dressings on all of the premade salads. Too many junk toppings.

Ah, well. Staying out of there. Bringing my smoothie this morning!!

I'm glad I went down - I've been curious. Now I know and have NO desire to get my food there. We spend a lot of time, effort and money to get high quality foods into our diet everyday. It would be silly for me to spend money on over priced, processed, low quality food!

In life news - the usual. Financial stress. I finally got my car back, and the bill was insane. We are barely treading water here. It's really hard not to feel stressed and anxious and kind of bad about myself.

Also, right now all my friends are at a point in their life where they are being really successful, making more money than they need, and generally doing really well.

I shouldn't compare myself. But I do, and I feel less then.

Still looking for a better job...

We will see!

Lemon Water

In order to save money, I've stopped buying seltzer so much - and I don't want yet another machine cluttering up my kitchen (my friends all urge me to get the at home seltzer maker machine, but I'm just not into it).

So, instead of carbonation, I've been adding pure lemon juice concentrate to my water in the morning, just a splash! I really like it! 

As an added bonus, I get a little extra citrus in my diet. I'm not actually a huge fan of citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruit, etcetera) though I will eat a little bit now and again so I'm not depriving myself of any vitamins :)

There is also some indication that starting your day with lemon water aids in digestion and digestive health and helps reduce inflammation. Not bad if that's true!

So that's that :)

Otherwise, things are going ok - things are settling down a little and we are calming down too.

Off to work!

Edited to add: I think adding unnatural stuff to water (like Mio or Crystal Light) is about as dysfunctional as you can get and exemplifies the problem in the modern American diet. Taking something as life-giving and pure as water and adding fake sugar and chemicals and food coloring?!? Yikes.

Try lemon juice :)

But also, getting used to normal, plain water daily is best. If you detoxify from sugars and start to love the taste of water, you'll drink more of it!

That's it for now :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dental Work and Local Hike

I spent a good portion of the early afternoon at the dentist, getting a temporary crown put on. Not fun. Still numb!!

I reallllllly hate the sound of the drill - my anxiety goes through the roof and it requires all of my effort to stay still and calm so they can work! I can tell I'm going to be sore for a while, lots of work done around my gum line.

I wasn't up for much after that, so Chris and I drove with Koda to a local arboretum that we'd never been to before. I wanted to get outside and get a little activity even though I didn't feel so well.

It was adorable!

Totally worth the effort. Now I'm chilling in bed with my cat, with zero guilt about being lazy now since I got out there earlier :)

Back to work tomorrow!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crow Pose!

After some years of lightly practicing yoga, I've finally been able to get into crow pose...

Next goal, work on form ;)

But progress!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

What I Eat (and weigh)

So, it's been a while since I've done a "day in the life of" food post. And as this is a weight-loss, maintenance, health blog, I like to occasionally update you all to what a day of my food looks like.

What inspired me this time, is that I've had a little bit of free time at work, and I'm reading a lot more blogs than usual. I've noticed that an unfortunately high percentage of healthy living bloggers rely on prepackaged, processed, gimmicky, "healthy" foods. And I won't call anyone out, because that's not the type of blog this is, but I've noticed the larger blogs, the monetized blogs, the people getting paid for it or sponsored with products are the ones eating this way. And in a smaller percentage of the blogs I've read that rely on these products, you would be hard-pressed to find even five servings of vegetables in a week of their food.


And I am a small blog, and I don't get paid, and I just want to live a really long time and be as healthy as possible. So that's my angle when it comes to telling you how I eat.

Yesterday (and remember that I do my own version of a diet loosely based on Paleo, but I do have a few items that fit my life and my body that are not Paleo included - i'm not a huge fan of following any prescribed diet to the letter, but making it fit you in a healthy way)


One serving of lactose free cottage cheese with a serving of frozen, organic blueberries, and sunflower seed butter drizzled on top (mmm I've eaten the same breakfast for about seven months now, it works perfectly to start my day)


Smoothie: flax seed milk, banana, pumpkin with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a dash of honey


Spinach and tomato salad with avocado
Roast sweet potatoes with ground turkey, tomato, onion and mushrooms


Roasted beets
One serving of pistachios
One serving of baby carrots


Huge serving of mashed rutabaga!
One grass fed beef burger with raw onion, tomato and lettuce


Half of a bar of organic dark chocolate with almonds

I'm able to eat a TON of food because it is bulked out with fibrous, high nutrition, low calorie veggies and fruit. I eat pretty much every 3ish hours.

I feel sated, energetic and happy eating this way :) it takes time to prep these foods - but it is soooo worth it! I never feel deprived.

Weighed in at the low end of my happy weight range this morning: 122.5

That's all for now <3

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How I have spent my first three months at work:

So yesterday actually marked the third month of being at my job.

I remember when I first got the job, I was concerned because it is a desk job and I would be sedentary for more hours than I've ever been sedentary before!

So what have I done?

Three months of:

- bringing my lunch (always homemade food, whole foods, and heavy on the veggies)

- drinking three or more water bottles of water per day 

- not spending even one cent on food available in the cafeteria or vending machines

- getting up early to either walk the dog or to do yoga, when Chris is home to walk the dog

- going for three walks a day during breaks in the parking lot (which is pretty) or the covered parking garage when the weather is bad (which is not pretty)... I take two 15 minute walks a day and one 30 minute walk a day.

My parking lot- I love the trees:

And surprise! I have maintained my weight since day one of my job.

It can be done. It takes effort, it is not always easy, but it is so worth it. My health has not suffered in the slightest since I changed my lifestyle to a desk job.

And onward I will go. Things might change a little in the winter, when my walks are not really feasible anymore because of the harsh Northeast winters but I will let you know what I come up with!!

Namaste <3

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

500 Sweet Potatoes

We did the math and we figured out that our household consumes between 400 and 500 sweet potatoes a year!

The reason we figured this out was because there appears to be a sweet potato shortage in our area!!! For the past couple of weeks, the grocery store hasn't had any or hardly any sweet potatoes available. And the co-op only has organic sweet potatoes (prohibitively expensive) and not its usual stock of conventional.

It scared me!

Sweet potatoes are a staple in my diet. They are a major source of my carbs and my starch. They fill out a meal. (we also eat other squashes, like acorn or butternut... turnips and rutabaga also fill this role... but sweet potatoes are my absolute favorite!).

So what did I do? Bought up every last sweet potato my store could offer! Hahaha :)

Not really worried about it. But it was amusing to think about how reliant we are on sweet potatoes - they are what bread used to be for us!

Short post today, back to walking on break :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekend Update - city walk, hiking, renovations

Lots done this weekend - lots of house changes (more this week - painting us done, ceiling to be fixed, rearrangement of rooms, etc).

Also spent oodles of quality time with Chris :) we walked around our city on Friday- the weather was gorgeous!!

Did a small hike on Sunday that had to be cut short because I'm a little under the weather - 11 hours of sleep last night rely helped. Sleep is the BEST medicine!!

Some pics from the weekend:

Just a little update to let you know what I'm up to- better posts to come!


Friday, October 3, 2014

No Grains, No Gains: Dealing with Body Shape and Size Changes


I skipped out on last month's No Grains, No Gains topic because life was really crazy for me. No surprise, life is still really crazy, but I managed to get my stuff together enough to participate this month!

The topic? How my body shape and size has changed, and how I've dealt with it.

First, I will show you how it has changed.

This is me, circa 2003, before my "awakening" when I got real and dropped some serious pounds (I am also filthy because I am doing archaeology... wow, this is the worst picture of me on earth, seriously):

Here I am after losing the weight, but not getting real about nutrition, so still pretty bloated/inflamed (I am at one of my best friend's weddings here in 2010!):

And here I am AFTER Paleo, after getting real about nutrition and exercise (2014):

I suppose "dealing with it" is the wrong way to phrase it, since all the changes have been incredibly positive, it really has just been a process to STOP thinking of myself the way I used to be (for so long) and learn to accept that I have this new body (and as long as I stick to my plan, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere!)

So, what's changed?

Well, my weight is a big one. Before going paleo and getting real about ditching processed foods and empty carbs, I was still pursuing health and fitness in my own way, but I couldn't seem to break a plateau that was driving me crazy. I had dropped from almost 200 pounds to 135-140 pounds doing a general calorie in-calorie out formula (with little regard to food type or quality - I was still eating processed foods). I felt generally healthy, healthier than before, but I still looked a little pudgy and couldn't seem to get to that next level that I had always dreamed of (I am a big admirer of strong, athletic body types).

I had started to accept it as it was, actually.

But then Paleo started to come on the health and fitness scene. I was interested, and NOT because of the hype around "eating like our ancestors" because I know that that premise is a bit silly, but because giving up grains, white sugar, alcohol and putting in TONS of veggies, fruits, lean protein and healthy fats just made a ton of sense. The idea that QUALITY mattered hit me in the face like a ton of bricks... I don't know how I didn't put the pieces together before.

I did the Whole30 and dropped to 123ish pounds in a just over a month.

I was floored.

I had spent the majority of my life obese. And a small part of it at a healthy weight, but not feeling like I was at my best.

After that first major drop of weight (which I maintained! Here I am, over 2.5 years later and still weighing 123 (though last year I did dip down to 118 for my wedding... I was super skinny and it was not maintainable for my body!)), I did have to stop feeling like I wasn't good enough. I had to get those stupid thoughts out of my mind.

I WAS good enough. I was good enough at all the weights I was.

And then, reaching a really ideal body weight (ideal for health and for fertility and longevity), I really had to face my body dysmorphia demons. Those voices that tell me I am fat and not good enough? They are clearly and logically wrong. It was a lot harder to pretend like I didn't have body dysmorphic issues once I was medically very fit and healthy. It didn't jibe.

My body was healthy and then began the work to get my MIND healthy (look back at years of posts to see how I approached that work). That was the REAL and HARDEST work I did. I wish I had loved my body my whole life.... but my obesity was a symptom of a lot of pain and self-doubt and fear. It probably was impossible for me to love myself then.

But I've talked ad nauseum about that! So back to the topic:

My body shape has changed as well.

Firstly, I was no longer bloated and inflamed from that grain-focused, processed standard American diet. My stomach was flatter than I ever dreamed it could be (still not FLAT, but I am a woman with curves, and had to get out of my head that I would ever look like a model).

Secondly, the Paleo diet really encourages you to strength train and to get your whole body fit. Gone were the days of hours of low intensity cardio! I had always done a LITTLE strength training, but really went whole hog after I went Paleo. I love full body exercising (hiking, swimming, yoga, body-weight training, etc) and engaging my whole body. I focused a lot on my core strength and balance.

And trust me, once you realllllllly get your core in shape, you will notice that you stand straighter, stronger and more confidently, which changes your body shape immensely.

So the takeaway?

Even if you don't eat Paleo or Grain-Free, I do recommend ditching as much of the empty carbs, processed foods, chemicals, antibiotics, preservative, white flours, white sugars, etc as possible. And when you do? Fill up those holes in your diet with more veggies than you think possible, beautiful fruit, lots of lovely protein, nuts, seeds, coconut oils, olive oils, avocados, etc.

You might just see a big change in your body!

Other members of No Grains, No Gains:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cancer scares me, so I'm doing some crazy rambling!

(Brace yourself for a rambling rant of my crazy brain... but these are typically the thoughts that swirl around in there when I think about these issues!)


If you read here often enough, you know I preach a general motto of "processed/chemical/etc foods cause inflammation and inflammation causes disease" around these parts.


This morning I was reading an article about the link between obesity and cancer risks (from your predisposition to GET cancer to your ability to recover from it):


The article can be summed up in these quotes I pulled from it if you don't want to read the whole thing (but I recommend that you do!);


"the encompassing explanation seems to be that obesity triggers changes in how the body operates, which can cause harmful cell growth and cell division. Many of these changes may be linked to inflammation. In general, inflammation occurs when your body is reacting to something out of the norm -- say a virus or a splinter in your foot. Obesity seems to cause chronic inflammation, which in turn may promote cancer development."


"Obesity can affect a cancer patient's outcome from diagnosis to remission. Obesity-related pain or unbalanced hormone levels may distract patients from the early warning signs of some cancers. Fatty tissue can also make it difficult for doctors to see tumors on imaging scans. And a late diagnosis often means a lower chance for survival. The relationship between cancer and obesity also matters after diagnosis. Cancer treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy, may be hindered by a patient's size. If the patient needs surgery, studies show excess fat puts them at a higher risk of complications, infections and death."


While, of course, we all want to look good and every human has a little (to a lot!) vanity in them, these values I preach are NOT about vanity. They are about your life and your health and your longevity.


You can see from my weekend that I do not eat PERFECTLY, I don't know that I ever will (but I know some people and read some blogs of people who do - it is something to aspire towards!). But I eat really, really, really well and moderately most of the time. Even when I have some wine or eat a pancake for breakfast on a vacation, I still eat lots of veggies, drink lots of water, get tons of exercise. It is important to always take care of myself... this isn't a game I am playing here, this is my one and only life I get to have on this earth (well, likely my one and only ... I won't say anything is impossible, but I do doubt reincarnation ;) )


I was 200 pounds years ago - I was on that path, I didn't care if my life was shortened. What changed? I am not sure. I think I grew up and realized that I loved it here. This crazy, scary, beautiful world. I didn't want to leave it early.


I might leave it early - accidents, crazy diseases, who knows? But if I do, as I lay there dying, I don't want to look back on the years and know that I could have prevented it. No regrets, right?


I posted this article because cancer scares me. And I imagine it scares you. CANCER. Damn. It took my mother when I was 10. That fact alone scares me and saddens me beyond belief.


I think about the future sometimes when I make choices that are hard for me (the choice NOT to eat the pizza, the choice to wake up early and go for a long walk, the choice to down a few liters of water instead of drinking with friends, the choice to spend my weekend hiking instead of cozy in bed with my cat and a book, etc). I think about the fact that I want to see and do and live and be here as long as possible. And if that means not indulging the child in me who wants comfort and pleasure and distraction and to be numb to the scary things in the world, so be it. It's better that way anyway, since it is the joy AND the pain that makes this life really awesome.


Why did I say all this?


To those people who maybe need to get real with themselves.


Losing weight, getting fit, being healthy - it might seem like a fad or a game or something OTHER people want you to do or to be. But it is for YOU and your life and your family.


I did not succeed in weight loss when it was all about vanity and all about fitting in.


I succeeded when I focused on doing the things that would keep me here the longest (and keep me here in GOOD CONDITION!).


That's my rant. Slow day at work. Scary article. Crazy brain :)

Take care of yourselves today and all days <3