Monday, December 29, 2014

Good or Bad Year?

I wanted to do a general end-of-year wrap up post in case I don't get much of a chance to post in the next couple of days. Things are a little crazy as we prepare for the end of year celebration, I'm a little tired (STILL sore from my crazy workout Saturday - I am definitely going back, I haven't felt that worked out in a long time). My Grandma is also back in the hospital... I am scared that she might not come home this time. She is such an incredible, sweet woman and I just get so sick at the thought of maybe not seeing her anymore. But, she is saying she will be going home :) So, I will hope for the best, keep visiting with her, and give her my love. It's all I can do.

That's my current situation... but, as the year comes to an end, I can't help but think of it as a whole.

My 2014? I am hesitant to describe this year (or any year) as good or bad.

It just was my year, it was my life and is inextricably bound to who I am right now.

Do I wish things had gone better? Easier? Definitely. But that didn't happen and there is not much point to looking backwards now.

I am ending this year in a place I didn't think I would be - in an unsatisfactory job, not as finished with my dissertation as I would have liked, financially unsecure. Nervous about the future.

But, I am also ending this year wiser than when I started it, stronger. I got through a scary sickness (remember when I ended up in the hospital, having bled out internally for several days at home in January without knowing it?? Crazy). I got through unemployment. My family (on both sides!) has come to my rescue more than I deserve, making me an incredibly lucky woman. My relationship with my husband is deeper and better all the time - I love him so much :). I have climbed over a dozen Adirondack High Peaks this year (when I hadn't even planned on any!). My house went through several huge projects and is as close to being updated as I could ever have dreamed, haha. I am a few pounds lighter than when I began the year, in really good health and pretty good shape!

I've had tough times, rough times, over my life - and of course I wish they hadn't happened (especially the too-soon deaths of my parents) - but, since I know I cannot change reality, I must accept what has come before as making me who I am today. Just as I wouldn't change all the beautiful things that have happened to me, either. It has all been important. Everything has been a lesson.

And I am feeling rather... at peace with myself. Getting more confident. Feeling balanced.

I am getting better at looking at the now. Not obsessing about the past and future - because the past is unchangeable and the future is unknowable. The now is where joy is :) I'm not perfect at this practice, but getting better with time.

Suffering is a part of life, and as Thich Nhat Hanh said - when you learn how to suffer, you suffer much less. I used to let the suffering near destroy me. Now, I know there is much I can learn from the hard times, the things that seem unfair.

This year has reinforced the tough lesson I've been learning for a while now - life is beautiful, in all the light and all the darkness. It is all part of one and I am glad to be here :)


Namaste, my friends. I hope you find peace.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


And I've never felt so sore!! My back, shoulders, biceps, chest and core are totally fried...

A boot-camp style class plus moving two U-hauls of stuff yesterday? Quite a workout. More intense than I've had in a long time.

My day looked like this with 17,000 steps:

I slept for 11 hours, haha :) and now am quite stiff!

Today will have no major activity except for a long, easy walk with the dog.

Weighed in at 123.6 today because of all the activity - exactly where I want to be for the New Year!! That makes me feel great. Nothing but our normal food till NYE (I think we plan on having some Indian food that evening with friends). We are going to the local co-op this morning to stock up on veggies!

Enjoy the last few remaining days of this year, whether it was a good or a bad year for you, it is important to savor all the time that we have <3

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Xmas Update- weigh in and HEAT

Let's see! 

I had a lovely Christmas with Chris' parents- really chill and fun. And Koda behaved! And was actually adorable, if you saw my last blog post :)

We had eggs Benedict for breakfast and a ham dinner - so, not Paleo, but I kept portions more moderate than any holiday before! It was easy, because I was really relaxed, and not stress eating. Never felt stuffed, just pleasantly full. No little nibbles on cookies or snacks throughout the day - just the 2 meals!

Chris and I walked Koda for 4 miles around their town that day, too!

Weighing in at 124.3 today - more than possible to be back at 123 for New Years.

I went to a group fitness class hosted by the yoga studio I went to the other week. It was called High Energy Activity Training (HEAT), hahaha. It was taught by a former Olympian and nutritionist.

He. Kicked. My. Butt.

My muscles failed a few times (during the 4 rounds of 25 push-ups intermixed with other cardio and arm workouts, for example... I fell out of a push-up!!). But growth comes from failure, so I'm kind of amped on it and plan to go back. It will make me a much stronger hiker - he kept our heart rates real high for an hour straight, so it'll help my heart deal with the steep inclines.

Now, we are going to indulge in a breakfast of Paleo banana pancakes, then walk a mile to our friends' house to help them move into their new home. Then we will walk a mile back home and sleep very, very, very well.

A very balanced week, again, of hard work and modest indulgence. It has been a good strategy for me during this holiday season. The next celebration for us is New Years, and that's not a time where we typically focus on eating - it's more about friends and dancing!

I hope everyone has enjoyed their holiday week!!

Namaste <3

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Latkes and Hiking

I guess I'll mention the latkes first. I had a lot of great Paleo, healthy meals this weekend, buuuuut..  I ate a lot of latkes, too (though some were made with sweet potato instead of regular white potato - they were still, you know, potatoes fried up in oil). One day was the Hanukkah party and the next our friend, who is Jewish, came to stay they night and brought us latkes. I love latkes and am very glad they are a once a year food! No more latkes till December 2015 :)

Well, anyway, that's pretty much the reason my weight is trending closer to 125 than 123 >.<

But this past weekend was my big holiday celebration weekend. It's pretty much done now, other than Christmas dinner with Chris' parents (but that's not going to be a big crazy over-the-top  feast - just a normal, nice dinner with dessert). I do also have my work potluck today - but I am not partaking. There are going to be a ton of desserts and fried food, so I am abstaining. I have my priorities (eg. I want to eat delicious latkes with all my friends, not random stuff all day with coworkers).

So holiday indulgences are over, which feels good! I know I can reduce my bloating/inflammation and lose a pound or two before New Years, so that I will be closer to my normal weight to ring in the new year :)

I credit no massive weight gain over the weekend, however, to how active we were!

I walked a ton on Saturday (about 15,000 steps - we walked the dog AND walked to the party) and went on a 12 mile hike on Sunday. Snowshoes all day for obvious reasons once you see the pictures. It is a little more exhausting to hike on snowshoes than regular boots, so my legs are good and worked out!

We didn't have any epic views as we were in the clouds on the summit, but it was a gorgeous winter wonderland hike, nonetheless:

Koda looks a little frosty on the summit! Don't worry about him, though, he was happy as a clam. Or maybe happy as a penguin? He LOVES the snow and the cold. His coat is so thick and he is tough as all get out.

We did the 12 miles in about 7 hours, which is awesome for us - we generally average about 2 miles an hour on the flats and about 1 mile an hour once we start climbing the mountains/dealing with elevation. And in the High Peaks, there is not a lot of walking on flat :) In the end, after a normal summer hike, we average around 1.5 miles per hour. So averaging almost 2 miles per hour in the winter is great! I felt really strong.

Walking around 18 flights of stairs or more every day at work is really paying off. Climbing was not as hard as it usually feels on the mountain.

I had a great weekend - hard work and indulgences, all. I like all those parts of life, but understand that hard work has to outweigh the indulgences, haha.

Just one more day of work before Christmas! Really looking forward to the day off - I get to hang out with my family and Chris' family during my time off, which I am also really looking forward to. Then back to work on Friday (boo!). But then New Years is right around the corner, which is more exciting than Christmas, for me (the holidays are still a little sad without my dad - I can't seem to get into the spirit. But NYE was always a friend holiday, not a family one, so I don't have that lingering ennui about that time of the year).

Hope everyone is enjoying themselves - and maybe putting a little hard work in with the holiday indulgences :)

Namaste <3

Monday, December 22, 2014

Type of Quiet

Sorry for being so quiet lately! Obviously, the holidays have me a little busier than usual.

The weekend included a family Christmas party, a friends Hanukkah party, a 12 mile hike in the Adirondacks, and a friend coming to stay overnight so he and Chris could go snowboarding today!

I have to get to work soon so this is just a short check in but I wanted to let you all know the quiet is not a sad, stressed, or depressed quiet. It is a busy and full of life quiet!

I hope everyone is navigating this holiday season well. I hope you find calm, joy, love and all of those good things. Focus on those beautiful feelings and try to let the stress go (that is a task I've set for myself, which is not an easy one because I am a worrier and always have been, but I want to enjoy all of this as much as I can).

Namaste <3

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Insurance Medical Exam

We had a medical examiner come to our house early this morning to test us - we are applying for some more disability insurance and a little term life insurance that we will also use as a retirement account. Still looking into options, but needed a medical exam to get some baseline quotes. Still doing research, but we're just trying to take more steps to further solidify our future :)

She weighed me in at 120 pounds, which was awesome! Especially since it puts me at my "ideal" weight for my height (per the doctor) - but any points I can rack up for a lower monthly quote on my insurance is great! :)

My blood pressures were really low - the lowest she took was 102/60 (yikes, but she said that was normal because I just woke up and so was really relaxed) and the highest was 113/70 I think.

I'm assuming bloodwork and such will all come back normal - good cholesterol and everything.

So that was a weird morning! The exam actually ran a little long and I had to RUN out of my house the second I signed the application, leaving Chris to show the woman out, haha. I can't be late to work (they keep close track).

I'm about to enjoy a nice smoothie I made, a little different than normal: I put a ton of spinach and a bag of frozen beets into my flax milk, blueberry and banana mix, added some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and a bit of honey to sweeten it up. A very earthy tasting smoothie with a hint of sweetness - I like it! It is also a crazy red color, which I like - a sign of colorful produce used! I filled up 6 mason jars of it (easy to take to work), so I am set on smoothies till Christmas!

The Survivor finale was fun, lots of yelling as expected. I am pretty happy with the outcome, though I didn't really like ANY of the contestants that made it past the merge enough to crazy root for them.

Chill night at home with the husband and furry family tonight. Very much looking forward to it (first evening this week without a "to do" on the agenda).

Have a great day, my friends <3

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Most Challenging Yoga Class Yet!

The warm Vinyasa power flow class was AWESOME!

First - it had 7 of my friends in it, so that was different and really fun. I usually only go to yoga class with my husband and strangers. But everyone had been talking about it on Facebook and a bunch of people decided to join. It was great to do something social and active (my dream!). I suggested to the girls that for Girls' Night, in the future, we all go to yoga class and then have a glass of wine together - a much better use of our time together than just drinking wine all night, hahaha.

Second - the room was quite warm! It wasn't hot, but they kept it much warmer than normal so that you sweat a little extra. It takes a lot of hard cardio to make me sweat (something is wrong with my sweat glands??? Nah, but I really rarely sweat) and I was a little damp at the end of the class :)

Third - the teacher was really great. She was really friendly and encouraging and urged you to push yourself (within reason, of course). I tried some new poses, failed at most of them, but had a lot of fun testing my body and playing around. She urged us all to be playful with our bodies, see what they are capable of and have fun with it! That's a really great environment to be in. People playing around, struggling, falling, succeeding, etc. You feel less afraid to try something new!

There were people of all abilities in the class - relative newcomers and people who could easily flip up into a handstand. It was a nice mix.

I'm glad I practice yoga pretty regularly because while I feel last night's practice in my muscles, I am not extremely sore or anything. Because of the nature of the class, we were in down dog and plank a ton - both positions I am in on a daily basis. My arms were ready for it!

I really loved being in a challenging yoga flow for an hour - it was great to reconnect with my body in that way :) I will definitely be attending more classes in the future, as soon as finances get a little more settled. Till then, I will use the class I just took as inspiration to up my game with my at-home yoga.

After class, I did get a glass of wine with two of my friends that had gone to class with me! It was really lovely and, overall, I had a great restorative night!

That's all for me - as you can maybe tell from the tone of my posts lately, I'm in a pretty good place. Things are still tough, in general, but I am feeling rather hopeful and positive - which are both tough things for me to feel when life feels kind of gritty and rough. I am making sure I enjoy all my moments, my family, my animals, my friends, and this pretty world. I am trying to learn my lessons here, to be better then I was before.

Namaste  <3

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yoga Class - warm Vinyasa flow

I'm excited! I booked a warm Vinyasa power flow yoga class tonight! You know that I love to practice yoga at home (I use what I've learned in class, iPhone apps and online videos) but at some point, I become a bit complacent and lazy in my practice. The time I practice or hold a pose gets shorter and I might not focus on form so much.

It will be nice to have a full hour where a teacher keeps me focused and in flow (no distractions!).

I've not been to many classes in the past year because of finances - and though finances are still really tight, a one time class isn't going to send us to the poor house. I'm looking forward to doing something really good for my body tonight. I've been really stiff lately, and some serious stretching is in order!

Other stuff? Things are good- we got a little Christmas money from my husband's grandmother and I used it to go to the local butcher and get some amazing meat for the next week or so. I'm looking forward to the Survivor finale tomorrow, as I'll get together with a bunch of friends to watch it. It's always fun and we end up screaming at the TV and laughing a lot :)

I weighed in at 122.8 this morning - great! I've been eating really well since the party I went to on Friday. I've had chocolate during the past couple of days, but I'm literally having just a square or two rather than the half of bar I was having before I went on No Chocolate November. I'm in a really good spot right now with eating, especially because this is a tough time of year. I'm feeling really balanced and my weight reflects that!

I'll let you know how yoga went :)

Namaste <3

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Paleo Banana Pancakes (and roasted turnips!)

You all know I'm not a huge fan of paleo-ifying grain-based treats, but you also know that I think it's fine to do that ONCE IN A WHILE! If you've been reading me for a while, you know that on my birthday and once during the holidays Chris will make me the most amazing Paleo pumpkin pie and also that a few times a year, we also might make Paleo muffins or bars for hiking. But I can count on my hands the numbers of times we've done this. So keep that in mind with my following post - paleo-fied SAD treats are fine as treats, and are not a usual part of my life :)

Remember that Paleo versions of standard baked goods are often very high in calories!

But I wanted to experiment this morning (Chris and Koda are on a hike I didn't want to go on), so --

I've been seeing recipes floating around the Internet for two or three ingredient pancakes. The simple ingredient pancakes are often oats, eggs, and bananas. The Paleo version of this is just eggs and bananas. I didn't want to just eat eggs and bananas, as I thought it might result in a strange texture or taste. I tried coconut flour in place of oats in the three ingredient pancake!


1 ripe banana 
2 eggs
1 heaping tablespoon of coconut flour
1 pinch of baking powder

I blended this all up:

And cooked them on a skillet coated with coconut oil and heated to low-medium:

They do burn easily, so you have to be aware! Before we were Paleo, I have perfected my pancake making, so the signs were easy to read of when to flip them (small bubbles forming on the top).

They came out well (and a huge portion!):

I wanted to show you the texture on the inside, but I forgot until I had eaten almost the whole plate! The texture was really nice, fluffy and not to dense.

I liked the taste, too - definitely banana pancakes! I think this is a treat I can make for me and Chris on holiday mornings with some real maple syrup and bacon and we will feel indulgent, haha. It's nice that the meal is just basically 2 eggs and a banana, which is actually a pretty normal breakfast for us.

Keeping this one in the repertoire, but I prefer easier/more straightforward breakfasts day-to-day (my cottage cheese or a scrambled egg with spinach, etc).

Yesterday was an amazing day, I hiked with the boys, and it was reallllllly lovely out.

We roasted turnips and just ate them as a snack! Tossed wedges in oil, salt, pepper and ginger and roasted at 400° until tender:

And Chris made pulled pork in the crockpot which made for a really lovely dinner with mashed potatoes.

I love cozy days at home with Chris where we spend a lot of time outside with the dog, run errands, hang out together, cook together, and end the day feeling rested and rejuvenated <3


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pedometer and Party

I went to my husband's work party last night. It was a lot of fun! A lot of the guys at his work make their own beer, so everybody brings them to this one guy's house who has a bar built in and we try them all. But I was the designated driver, so I only had two drinks and some tastes of the other beers over the course of 6 hours. Also indulged in some holiday desserts and dips - but was planning on that! We made deviled eggs which were a big hit.

It was a planned indulgence for the holidays. I don't really have any other parties or events to go to until Christmas Day, when we will be with Chris' parents. So back to the good ol' 95ish% paleo template till then!

In other news, I've had the pedometer on my phone for a full month now. This is what my month looks like in steps:

I averaged over 11,000 steps/day this month! There were some days that I didn't even hit 9000, but I made up for it on days where I walked anywhere from 12 to 15 to 17,000 steps (the really high days were two gorgeous weekend days so we took the dog out a ton). 

You can see the two days when the big winter storm hit (8th and 9th of Dec) because the only walking I was able to get done was in my building at work. It's nice to see that it all evens out. And that I'm generally hitting the mark as far as the recommendations of how active you should be.

It's a fun app! (It's called Pacer on iPhone) I like the accountability of it - I know that, in the past, there have been days where I've mostly just hung out inside the house and not gone for any big walks. But unless there's a reason for that in the future, like I'm sick, I don't think I'll be doing that again!

I've also been keeping a general accounting of my weight in the application. I weigh myself every few days and input it. You can kind of see on the side of the screenshot I took the weight graph - it's a very straight line! Been holding pretty steady and stable :)

That's all that's new with me. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nothing To Sell Here

I have nothing to sell you guys! No products to recommend (other than a free app or two and the best veggies to buy!). No plans, no special foods, nothing!

And it feels strange when 90% of the blogs I read are promoting shakes, cleanses, expensive workouts, the "right" workout clothes, gadgets, etc. 

But some of my favorite blogs don't sell much of anything - other than their experience (the entire No Grains, No Gains group comes to mind!).

But there's a truth behind this dichotomy. You can't buy a healthy life. It won't magically start with the right clothes/fitbit/protein shake. Your health comes from all those small decisions you make during the day (and I made these choices 10 years ago with oversized cotton sweats, a crappy old discman and  my determination).

I don't begrudge you if you like or just plain old want the newest, best, prettiest fitness gear. It can be fun!

But simply  having that stuff won't change your life. You will.

I just want to make that clear, because I see misconceptions out there - people waiting for the right shoes, the best juicer, whatever and SURE it will turn them in the right direction. It's so common. In fact, I see people in real life and blog life putting off a healthier lifestyle as they wait for these products to arrive!

True health comes with every choice and it can start immediately. Choosing steps over the elevator, filling up the grocery cart with 75% produce or passing by the fast food place. Those everyday, multiple decisions we make are free and can change your life.

I've always hoped the small size of this blog and the lack of monetization showed you guys that I write what I believe in my heart to be true. Health is something we all should be able to enjoy, if at all possible, to the best of our physical abilities.

I wish the best for you all :)

Be well (and be well with your very next choice!) <3

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Deconstructed Thanksgiving

We had a really yummy dinner last night:

Oh, hm. The picture didn't come out as I wanted! Well, it's eaten and gone and that is the picture :)

We had:

Brussels sprouts 

Butternut squash puréed with a little lactose free yogurt (very pleasant result!)

Turkey burger smeared with mayo and topped with cranberry sauce (mm, the cranberry sauce was an organic one bought from our co-op and REALLY tasty!)

It was paleo-ish (as you know, we stick mostly to the template but have our foods, like the yogurt, that really work in our life) and really filling - a focus on whole foods, kept close to their natural state can do that! Also a very simple dinner .. The most time needed was for roasting the butternut squash before we puréed it, but not very hands on :) We also have tons of squash for leftovers.

Just wanted to share dinner with you - lunch is always leftovers (supplemented by salad, fruit and nuts!) and breakfast is always my lactose-free cottage cheese with berries and sunflower seed butter. Not picture worthy, haha.

Didn't get many steps in yesterday because we had a big, slushy snow storm - no extra walks after work and relegated to the parking garage at work (can't walk as fast there). Same situation today, I think I'll walk the stairs at work more!

Namaste <3


A few experiences have been so incredibly spiritual and eye-opening, I wanted to share them with you (and they're simpler than you think):

- hearing Thjch Nhat Hanh speak

- listening to Cloud Cult albums

- reading "Skinny Legs and All" by Tom Robbins

- reading "One" by Richard Bach

I'm not sure how to articulate the things I've learned from these writers/creators.

But I will say... Once the "veil is lifted," it is hard to forget it. And yet still so hard to put into practice. Being human is hard and confusing, but the work we do, the things we learn- it's beautiful :)

Just in case anyone out there is looking for a little inspiration.

Namaste <3

Body Image - got to keep working on it

I have been struggling a little with body image since Thanksgiving. I got pretty bloated after the holiday because of the salty food AND I was making more indulgent choices after the holiday because, like I mentioned before, was in cravebread mode after eating grains. I was weighing 124.5ish for the past couple of weeks and just not feeling my best (probably because of the bloat, because an extra pound isn't THAT visible).

I don't think I've talked so negatively about my body to Chris in months. But I was just feeling a little down (which is always tied to many other issues in life, not just my physical health or weight). I knew it was time to get a grip on that behavior - Chris doesn't like to hear my downtalk myself, physically or mentally. Which I get. It definitely sounds like a girl fishing for compliments constantly. But I don't really want compliments or reassurance that I look fine... I really want to KNOW that I am fine, without outside reassurance, and that can only come from me.

I think self-image and body-image are going to be things I need to work on for the long haul in life. I work on it by being aware of when I fall into a self-deprecating cycle and trying to identify the stressors that are causing it (usually poor eating mixed with financial or academic or work stress!).

Well, anyway, I was trying to combat the bloating by eating well, lots of fibrous veggies, drinking lots of water, and I am back down to 123.2. I know I didn't lose a pound of fat, that definitely was me being bloated/inflamed. So I do physically feel better!

Mentally, I am getting myself in check by addressing the issue - knowing that it is easy to fall into negative self talk and get myself down. Talking about it here is definitely a strategy I employ to keep my eyes open.

Other news? Not much. Life is going on as normal. I am doing some overtime this week, which is nice during the holidays (but I am a little extra tired at the end of the day, ah well).

I've been really enjoying romaine lettuce lately. In fact, I've been CRAVING it, specifically - not any other greens. I want big salads for lunch and dinner. I made a mango/avocado/onion/tomato salad and have been eating "taco" salads a lot - I just put that salsa on a big bed of romaine with spiced ground turkey (spiced with chili powder, black pepper, cumin and garlic to make it taste more like Mexican flavors).

Romaine lettuce is actually pretty nutritious - it was on the list of some of the most nutritious foods recently. It is super high in Vitamin A, so I might be needing that right now?

Back to work, my friends. Hope everyone is well <3

Monday, December 8, 2014

Glimmerglass/Non-Paleo Lunch

Yesterday week took Koda a little out of our normal range to visit Glimmerglass state park in Cooperstown (a great city with cool museums, a reenacted historic village, the baseball hall of fame and the setting of James Fennimore Cooper's novels):

It was really pretty and a great hike outside our usual experience (no big mountains to climb!).

I had my non-Paleo meal out of the house - the kind I talked about in my No Grains No Gains post this month. I ate a lovely lunch out with my husband and now, the rest of my meals will be from home this week (homemade and Paleo!).

Ommegang Brewery is just outside Cooperstown and we ordered this:

A nice indulgence to have a bit of cheese and bread (so fresh!) but not go crazy with a huge plate of it.

Then we shared an apple crepe (the apples were sautéed in their Adoration beer!). It was a nice dessert to split - I didn't feel stuffed after. The whipped cream was awesome, definitely whipped that morning! The crepe was really well cooked - just sweet enough, fluffy too:

We drank beers with our lunch and were totally satiated! Incredibly affordable and we felt light after the moderate portioned lunch. A great day out :)

Just wanted to let you know what I was up to this weekend (Saturday we ran errands and lounged around, reading and listening  to records because it was rainy out!). And to give you an example of how I indulge off-Paleo without going off the rails.

Namaste - have a good start to your week <3

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cheapest Fruits/Veggies by Month

I came across this article and thought it was a good share:

Cheapest Produce by Month

And since produce is really the key to ANY healthy diet (Paleo, primal, vegan, Mediterranean, whatever! Only those with digestive issues who have legitimate health reasons to avoid too much fiber should stay away), this list is really great. I'll reproduce this month and the following months here on my blog (so as not to just steal the entire article!):

This month/December:

broccolibrussels sproutscabbage, cauliflower, grapefruitkale, leeks, mushrooms,oranges, papayas, parsnipspears, pomegranates, rutabagassweet potatoes, tangelos, tangerines, turnips

Next month/January:

broccolibrussels sproutscabbage, cauliflower, grapefruitkale, leeks, lemons, orangesparsnipsrutabagas, tangelos, tangerines, turnips


artichokes, broccolibrussels sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, mushroomsparsnips, pineapples, radishesrutabagasturnips

So obviously the root veggies and more hardy vegetables are the focus over the winter, as far as affordability. And that is what we eat mostly this time of year in the house. We make lots of squash soups, mashed rutabaga, roasted turnips and various sweet potato sides, Chris also loves kale and is getting me to start to appreciate it, too ;) One of our favorites is a kale and sausage soup during the winter!

You are not going to steer yourself too far off course if you always make sure to include more produce than not. Produce has got tons of nutrition and is usually pretty fibrous/filling, so you can get through your day on less calories when you bulk your meals out with veggies.

I really cannot tell you enough how much this part of my diet was the KEY to my final weight loss (going from about 145 to 123ish). I lost weight initially just cutting calories and working out, but I had to really revamp my diet to get the body I always wanted. When I went Paleo, I didn't use it as an excuse to OMGeatallthemeats, but as a chance to get rid of grains and fill the void with produce. I eat as much produce (mostly vegetable) that I want during the day - tons of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green beans, carrots, beets, squash, etc. 

I wouldn't be maintaining the weight I am now if I stopped focusing on my veggie consumption!

Time to start my weekend. I woke up at 6 AM even though no alarm was set. I usually wake up at 6:20, so I'm a little miffed I ruined my sleep in day!! Today will be an errand type of day as the weather isn't looking great. Tomorrow will be a outside/hiking type of day :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

No Grains, No Gains December Topic: Off Paleo Foods

No Grains, No Gains: A group of paleo/primal/grain free women who blog about their experience/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse acute/chronic health trends and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding!

This is a great topic for me this month! Why and What we eat off the Paleo/Primal template and how we don't let eating off template catapult us right back into eating the Standard American Diet.

I absolutely love the Paleo template (removing all the silly "prehistoric/caveman" associations with it) - I love the food: a focus on lean proteins, VEGGIES, fruit, seeds, nuts, and healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil and removing processed foods, too much sugar/alcohol, etc. I love that when I follow this way of eating, I greatly reduce inflammation and bloating throughout my body, increase my energy, sleep better and feel overall pretty amazing.

But I do not follow it 100%. And people must wonder WHY, if all those good things I said above are true?

There are two different situations that I don't follow the Paleo diet:

1. Some foods technically not on the diet don't affect me as far as inflammation/bloating/etc. I have incorporated these foods back into my diet because of their benefits. As I said, I do not follow the Paleo template because of some misconception that I am eating like my ancestors. I follow it because the template works really well for my body.

The number one food I eat that falls into this category is lactose-free cottage cheese. I am slightly lactose intolerant, so I can't eat straight dairy. However, I have found no better way to start my day than with this cottage cheese - it is FULL of protein (more than 2 eggs), is quick and easy in the morning (a must when I am getting ready for work), and keeps me full and satisfied all morning (I add blueberries and sunflower seed butter).

So, my feeling is that if a food works for you and your body - keeps you nourished, doesn't inflame you, doesn't cause you digestive distress, and helps you feel energetic and strong through the day, and does not negatively affect your long-term, overall health... why eliminate it? Most things eliminated on the Paleo template DON'T make me feel good, so I keep them overall out of my diet: grains, processed sugars, even legumes and white potatoes have inflammatory effects on me.

2. Sometimes I make a purposeful choice to indulge in foods off-template because I want to. Chris and I have a rule - we do not EVER buy off Paleo foods for the house. This works really, really well because we eat 19-20 meals out of 21 weekly meals from our house. So right there, I am kept strictly on track for most of the week.

That 1-2 times we eat out of the house? It is because a friend has invited us out to dinner or we are at a restaurant/cafe/etc.

Those times we eat out of the house, I weigh the cost/benefits of eating off template. Sometimes, it is not worth it to feel a little groggy or inflamed, and I will still order/eat as Paleo as possible in the situation. Other times, I want to eat a lovely meal my friends made for me or to eat Thanksgiving with my family or to try a chocolate cherry bread pudding at a fancy restaurant. I choose to indulge in that food without guilt, knowing that I just made a choice that won't help my body function to its optimum ability. But I am a pleasure seeking human, so sometimes the pleasure is worth that choice.

But it rarely is!

And with our rules in place keeping us on template most of every week, a single indulgence (that still fits into our daily calories!) cannot possibly derail us.

Eating the Standard American Diet is no longer an option for us. We know, now, how healthy, strong, and energetic we can feel. Eating the way we used to, we just thought sluggishness, stomach aches and skin breakouts/rashes were a normal part of being a human (when in reality, it was our body trying to tell us we were not fueling them well!!).

We are comfortable eating off Paleo because we know that we will never fully go off the diet. I will never make the choice to buy grains or whatever for my house - I will never put it in my grocery cart and pay for it at the register.

Our choices are purposeful - even when we choose a non-Paleo food out of the house.

As we grew into the full responsibility of adulthood together, my husband and I continue to build a life of mindfulness. Taking responsibility for our choices, knowing fully the consequences of those choices, it is very difficult to make a choice that will hurt us.

So on our path we continue :)

I am glad to get a chance to explain why I eat off the Paleo template occasionally. It might seem strange to some that I am so passionate about this way of eating, and yet simply do not do it sometimes. I think that my body is so thoroughly flushed of things that are toxic to it that it can efficiently process a small amount of inflammatory foods. (Note: SMALL amounts).

I do believe that, however, if I found that even rare instances of going off my food template made me sick or caused me to snowball right back into the Standard American Diet, I would not go off template at all. There is no food that tastes so good it is worth my health.

But, those are the choices we all have to make for ourselves! To truly be aware of our health and how any amount of a certain food will affect that. Right now, I am healthier than ever and will continue down this path. If somethings changes, so will my choices.

Follow the other members to read about how they stay motivated:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Someone on my Facebook shared this photo that I love:

The FB page it originated on was Dream Living with Karynn Boese... Not sure if she made it or saw it somewhere, but I wanted to give credit where it might be due :)

I had a long blog post that I momentarily posted, but decided that the picture speaks for itself and tells you everything you need to know about my goals for this holiday season :) No need for me to preach. Just wanted to share my outlook for this year.

Namaste <3

Lonely Walk

It is 32° in my neck of the woods, but sunny with blue sky, so I am out and about on my breaks, walking.

I used to see about a dozen other people when I went walking on my breaks, but as the weather has turned colder, I am the only one out here anymore.

So, I feel a little bit more alone as I walk through the silent parking lot. I already am missing out on some social time during work because my coworkers all go to the cafeteria during break time.

It's a choice I've made, and I'm happy about, in the end. I like getting fresh air. I like feeling the sun on my skin (just my face, now, as I am all bundled up!). I like getting my blood flowing. I like hitting my step goals for the day.

And, I haven't really "clicked" with anyone at work, so I'm not even really sure who I would talk to on my breaks. I have really good friends outside of work and I'm overall happy with my social life. But I just have to deal with feeling a little bit lonely during the day at work. It's just a strange thing to grapple with - I'm not sad or anything, I just feel odd not really conversing during the day (which is better, in the end, as there is a fair amount of workplace gossip here that is better for me to stay out of!).

I feel a bit like the office weirdo :)

I should tell you I am still applying for other jobs (jobs more related to my field of study or jobs I would more enjoy doing or, yeah, jobs that would pay more!). So keep good thoughts for me! I would love to better my overall life and perhaps make our financial situation a little more secure. We have been seeing a financial adviser to get better at saving for the immediate and distant future, and he's been really helpful. But there is a certain point at which you can't make your life better/more secure without more income. Working on it!

Looking forward. Learning to stay positive or at least hopeful even when life seems to be just one big messy struggle. Remembering that there is joy, even if you are worrying about bills. Remembering to be thankful for my health, my family, the fact that I have food and shelter and warmth in my life! Knowing it is okay to strive for better and still be grateful for what I have :)

So, that's what has been going on with me. Doing what I know how to do and trying to do better, too.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving Weigh In

I didn't bother weighing myself the days following Thanksgiving. I didn't need to know exactly how many pounds of salty bloat I had gained!

I resumed mostly normal eating on the weekend (but it was a struggle - I was in full on cravethebread mode!) and weighed in today to check in and make sure I am still on the right track. And I pretty much am! Weighed in at 124.5. Definitely the higher end of what I like to see, but still right in a great range for me.

I am going to stay right around 123 this month (didn't say try - I will). It is a weight I can easily maintain with 90-95% healthy, clean, paleo eating with a 5-10% indulgence saved for some festive celebrations. I won't lie to you on this blog and pretend that I am one of those people who stay completely paleo and clean all the time - I admire those who do that, but I am not there - so I will be honest about how I eat, how I celebrate, how I still honor my body and health, as well.

It's been an important lesson to learn HOW to celebrate around the holidays without derailing my health and my weight and my fitness. Thanksgiving used to mean days and days of lazing around and eating leftovers. This year, I ate a large meal with my family on one day (a day where I still got out and got my 10,000 steps!) and that was pretty much the end of it. The stuffing I ate the next day was part of a normal, moderate lunch. One meal and one day doesn't have to be the gateway towards a month of junk food eating!

I have no holiday parties for a couple of weeks, so I will stay on my normal food template and workout schedule. When a party rolls around, I will indulge but not binge (big difference... especially for someone who used to binge a lot): I will have drinks with friends, eat a communal meal, share desserts, whatever the party might entail. I won't eat or drink till I am sick - that is not festive or celebratory!!! Then when the party is over, it's over. Back to regularly scheduled eating :)

I love holiday festivities, but in years past, I went overboard. Used them as an excuse to return to old disordered habits. But that is harmful to me, mentally and physically, and I will stay more aware this year, more present, and look at my motivations.

There are tons of things I do differently now at parties that I didn't used to, so even though I indulge a little, I don't go crazy:

 - I don't show up hungry! I'll eat a salad or some other dish full of veggies to fill me up.

- I drink tons of water AT the party and keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum (alcohol definitely lowers my inhibitions and contributes to weight gain/feeling sick)

- I will position myself away from the food at the party, to limit mindless snacking. If I want to eat something, it is a purposeful choice.

I am planning ahead so that I feel good going into the New Year.

I didn't make any weight-loss resolutions last New Year's (first time I went into a new year feeling JUST RIGHT with my weight!) and I don't plan to have to make any this time :)

Namaste <3 Have a great week everyone!