Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Progress, Perfection and Poptarts

"the reason we have so much disease (like cancer, heart disease, diabetes) infiltrating our society is because people are too lazy and uneducated to really look into what they are eating and instead just put things into their mouth and rely on medicine to fix it." -Some blogger chick with too many followers for her own good

 I am so disgusted by this statement and really lost respect for the blogger that wrote this.To say someone has cancer because they are lazy is just gross. Yes, we can all do better in the way we eat. And yes, we are very much to blame for some of the medical issues we deal with. But from a young age we are fed that low-calorie means healthy... government agencies that say 50% of our diet should be "whole grains"... that red meat is bad for us... commercials that tell you to eat Special K for 2 weeks straight and lose 6 pounds... vegetarians that say soy this and soy that... the list goes on and the messages are so confusing. It's going to take a while to reverse this message and get manufacturers to start using real, wholesome ingredients instead of the crap that is feeding disease. Let's be cautious of who and what is to blame for America's health problems... it is not ONLY a consumer problem. We stop buying it, they figure out how to give us what we want. Supply and demand, people… supply and demand.  Remember who makes the food we buy in packages… they aren’t in business to be your doctor, they are there to make money.  We stop buying their crap, they stop making their crap.

Yes, it’s gonna be a longggg time before Poptarts become all-natural, but a girl can dream, right?  

I rarely buy packaged foods anymore because there are not nearly enough foods that contain real, grain-free AND gluten-free ingredients that aren’t genetically modified, pasturized or processed. I had a friend state that this just seems impossible because the “real” food is so much more expensive. I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes they can be. Organic fruits and vegetables, free-range chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef… it gets more expensive when we are used to buying whatever was on sale.  But maybe that is the problem… maybe we are so used to buying foods that are the cheapest that the only reason it seems “expensive” is just because it goes against everything we have known in our generation.

I recently read a statistic (World Bank 2009, U.S. Department of Agriculture 2009; Euromonitor International) (and yes, I do research the things I am saying here on this blog) (and yes, I read sometimes) that stated that we, the United States, spend the smallest percentage of our income on food in relation to the rest of the world. This is absolutely crazy to me. I read another statistic (don’t ask me to find that one for you) that said that up until the 1950's, Americans were used to spending up to 30% of their income on food. But then came Campbell's and “packaged” became the new norm. Thanks a lot chicken noodle soup.  (I made that up part up. Can you tell? Don't ever blame anything on chicken noodle soup. It's pure gold.)

On the other side of that, I can completely understand that there are some individuals and families that are feeling like they are just fighting to survive right now. They are working to survive.. not LIVE. That, too, breaks my heart. I want to be sensitive to the fact that for some people, living in a one bedroom apartment ends up being 50% of their income. For this, I have great understanding and compassion for people living in poverty. Since moving out, living with a roommate, paying all my own bills,  buying everything for myself and feeling “broke” 90% of the time (the 10% is the first 3 days after each paycheck before all my bills go through - getting my hopes up every 2 weeks) with little savings, I have come to realize just how difficult it must be for some families who make the same amount of money I do. I feel grateful for my job and my circumstance but will not take that for granted and suggest that everyone is able to spend 30% of their income on food, medical bills and supplements. Yay Hashimoto’s.

Which brings me to my next point…


There are weeks that I laugh at the thought of being able to buy the $7 grass-fed ground beef compared to the kind on sale for $3.99. And then I go put the $3.99 beef in my cart while the guy stocking the shelves asks why I am laughing and then he says “oh” and walks away. Then, there are some weeks where I was able to make a little more room in my budget and can afford the more expensive beef… or the extra-healthy meat is on sale and I load up my freezer. I spend an average of $75-100/week eating paleo (All my meals/snacks for the week). And I’ll tell you this… I’d get way more bang for my buck if I had other mouths to feed because I end up with too many leftovers and fruits and veggies that go bad. Unless I feel like baking a ton or trying a new supplement… and that’s when my bank account tells me to calm the freak down.

Organic. I wasn’t a believer for a long time. I’m a lukewarm believer now. I buy organic for the things that matter the most (fruits and vegetables that I consume the skin or eat whole) and I don’t for other things like oranges, squash, sweet potatoes, onions, etc. Even then, I sometimes buy regular and just do my best to scrub them clean with Citrus Magic… my favorite all natural cleaner (working on my own version with essential oils!).  Sure, yell at me that the pesticides are soaked into the fruit/veggie… maybe it will kill me someday! Idk. I still plan on dying one day. I do what I can.

You should too. Do what you can! Make little choices and decisions that you know you can commit to and go from there. Take it slow! There is no need to look at paleo and think… holy crap that is so unattainable and expensive. That’s not true. Start small. Make family dinners paleo and then jusy health-ify lunches and breakfasts to what your wallet and sanity can handle. Or instead of buying dinner rolls, buy sweet potatoes for just as cheap. Instead of fried tacos, make taco salad. There are so many things you can do. You will go to Sprouts (my favorite place to buy cheap and absolutely delicious produce) and look at all the bags of produce in your cart and want to cry because it looks expensive but it will cost you $40 and that is the basis of all your meals. Obviously if you want to feel/see the major health benefits from paleo, you will have to cut all that out eventually, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t working towards getting you and your family more healthy. Also, if you are going gluten-free to see if you have intolerance, this "do what you can" rule doesn't apply. A little gluten is just as bad as a lot of gluten. Also, PLEASE beware of all the gluten-free products out there and how much crap they contain. I rarely buy them because they almost all contain starches, soy and chemicals. Still not what I'm goin for here...

Check out my blog post called “You Don't Have to be a "Paleo" to Eat Paleo! “. You will see some good tips and ideas for meals. And follow my Instagram @itspaleoonthego for some of my practical ideas on how I do paleo on-the-go… because I’m starting to get tired of seeing blogs about moms and people who have made this their career and actually HAVE the time to raise their own goats, hatch their own chickens, do crossfit in their barns and feed their cattle grass. I would love that kind of life someday but mamma aint got the funds for a farm. And I actually don’t like animals that much. What I do promise you though, is more recipes and ideas and less rants. I never have time to take pictures of what I make for dinner because I’m too busy blasting Luke Bryan or Justin Timberlake while I cook and do 40 other things at the same time. But I gotchu. They are coming.

Today, eat a piece of dark, dairy-free, naturally sweetened chocolate and thank God for it.  And for the gift of life.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Detox... My Way

Detox. DUH DUH DUH. 

What is the point of a detox? You hear about people that drink lemonade for like 3 days and lose like 10lbs… but is this healthy? NO! Your poor, poor starving body. I would cry every day without food. I decided to do my own detox – the healthy way. The point of a good detox is to give your digestive system a “break” from all the hard-to-digest foods we put in our bodies and instead fill it with easily digestible pure nutrients that are cleansing and refreshing. I decided to do my own detox using smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to break up your food, releasing nutrition, and a great way to add all kinds of different healthy ingredients to one easy drink. 

Detoxes that don’t provide proper nutrition are just stupid. Not worth the 5lbs of WATER WEIGHT you are losing. Because that’s what it is. Water weight. When you are working out often or working out hard (like my bootcamp Saturday… I literally fell onto the floor inside my door and didn't move for a very, very long time) you are setting yourself up for disaster by depriving your body of protein like most detoxes. I have worked super hard for the little muscle that I have and I am not willing to lose it! So you will see that I used whey protein in my detox. This isn’t necessarily easy for the body to digest but will help keep you full and energized and is ESSENTIAL to your diet no matter what. 

Plan to spend a few hours on a Sunday grocery shopping and prepping your food for the next 3 days. I had many of the ingredients already in my fridge so this detox cost me about $50. The Aloe, protein, Olive oil, chia, flax and psyllium are the most expensive ingredients. Everything else is cheap. So if you already have those you are in luck!! I bought everything for this detox at Sprouts. One stop! 

Don’t be scared by how many ingredients are on the list. It’s not that bad!! I’m sure you have some of the ingredients already. You should also note that I am not a fan of using any kind of frozen fruits and vegetables. I would rather use fresh things that are in season.  Frozen fruits and vegetables usually are blanched in hot water before freezing (this means they lose some of their nutrients). Look at the vitamin contents on the back of the packages of the frozen food you buy. You will be surprised at how little it really is. 

If you don't want to do my detox, here are the most important ingredients to include in a detox: cayenne pepper, ginger, tumeric, fennel, aloe, lemon, grapefruit. I added fruits and veggies that I know have cleansing properties as well. 

Sunday Preparation: 
1. Peel and freeze 3 bananas  
2. Make detox soup (recipe below) 
3. Put smoothie packets together (recipes below) – basically, take a medium size ziplock bag and stuff it with all the ingredients (except main liquids) for each smoothie. 3 packets of your RED smoothie and 3 packets of your GREEN smoothie. The post-workout smoothie can be prepared at home after your workout if you work out. 
4. Pack up Nutribullet, smoothie cups/straws, lemon juice, Orange juice, grapefruit juice, aloe juice and almond milk to take to work or have handy wherever you spend your days! These need to be refrigerated. 

Shopping List: 
3 bananas 
1 container of strawberries
1 container of blackberries
1 pineapple (OR frozen pineapple if you want to save time) 
1 bunch of long-stemmed kale 
1 bag of spinach leaves
2 bags of mixed veggies (I bought broccoli, carrots and cauliflower) 
1 rutabaga 
1 jicama 
1 fennel root 
1 onion
1 bunch green onion
Garlic powder
Onion powder 
Sea salt
Cayenne Pepper 
Olive oil 
1 jar of chopped ginger 
1 jar minced garlic 
1 container of dried figs or prunes (whichever you prefer) 
Flax seeds (small bag)
Chia seeds (small bag) 
Psyllium (small bag) 
Box of green tea 
Box of dandelion root tea 
Vanilla Whey protein – no fake sugars or creepy ingredients 
One little container of lemon juice (or lemons if you want to deal with squeezing them) 
One bottle of pure aloe vera juice 
One carton of unsweetened almond milk 
One carton of pure orange juice 
One carton of pure grapefruit juice 
6-8 cups vegetable broth/stock 
3 packets of MacroLife Naturals Macro Greens 
3 packets of MacroLife Naturals Miracle Reds 

Detox Soup: 
1. Use 1 large pot and heat your broth/stock 
2. Chop your rutabaga, fennel, jicama, green onion, onion and put in soup once hot
3. Add 2 bags of veggies to soup 
4. Add a few shakes of turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt and a couple             small pinches of cayenne pepper 
5. Add 2 T. minced garlic 
6. Add  ¼ cup olive oil 
7. Let simmer for maybe 10 minutes. 
8. DO NOT overcook the vegetables since you will be reheating and things get all                   mushy. 
9. Place pot/lid in fridge 
You can use your nutribullet to chop veggies, or I have this little guy that helped so much!! And yes, you can expect the chipped nail polish ALL the time. 

Every day: drink 8oz of grapefruit juice in the morning and drink organic green tea (hot or cold) and TONS of water with lemon – all day er’ry day. Many studies have also shown that the natural acidity of lemon speeds your metabolism by cleansing your kidneys and liver and also helps you sweat out extra toxins. 

Every night: drink dandelion root tea before bed 

Morning Smoothie: Reds All the Way   
o 3-5 strawberries 
o 10 blackberries
o ½ c. almond milk (unsweetened) 
o 2 T. chia seeds 
o 1 individual packet of MacroLife Naturals Miracle Reds 
o 1 scoop vanilla whey protein (not completely Paleo) 
o ½ cup of Crushed ice 
Berries for antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, folate and potassium; almond milk for a little good fat, vitamin E and calcium; chia seeds for intense fiber/ some protein/good fat; vanilla whey for protein boost in morning and 1 packet of MacroLife for an extra boost of extreme added nutrients with the rip of a packet! 

Afternoon smoothie: Greens, Greens, Greens 
o Handful of spinach leaves
o 1 Kale leaf/stem 
o A couple chunks of pineapple (maybe ½ cup?) 
o 1 T. chopped ginger 
o 1 T. psyllium (ground) 
o 1 packet of MacroLife Naturals Macro Greens 
o ½ cup orange juice with pulp 
o 2 oz. of pure aloe vera juice 
o ½ T. lemon juice 
o ½ cup crushed ice
Spinach and Kale both provide Vitamins K, C, A and many antioxidants. Kale also provides sulfur which is a mineral essential for detoxification; ginger is widely recognized for aiding the digestive system and boosting the immune system, psyllium has a ton of fiber to keep things “moving” and help you feel full(9g per 1 T. serving!!), orange juice gives you a big boost of vitamin C and natural sugars for energy, Aloe Vera is an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial as well as a laxative and soothing agent for the entire digestive system, lemon detoxifies the entire body providing digestive support/cleansing and helps with fresh, glowing and healthy skin (score!). And pineapple just makes everything taste amazing. 

Post-Workout Smoothie  (Only if you worked out and burned over 500 calories – if you were mostly sedentary during the day, do not drink this smoothie) 
o 1 scoop vanilla whey (or 20-40g protein) 
o ½ large frozen banana 
o 4 dried figs or prunes
o 1 cup almond milk 
o 2 T. flax seeds 
o 1 t. cinnamon 
Bananas include a hefty amount of potassium which is great for post-workout; protein is also essential for post-workout; prunes and figs have fiber and natural laxatives; cinnamon is known to lower cholesterol, help with blood sugar regulation and provides manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Detox soup for dinner. Dandelion tea for dessert. And voila – just like that… for 3 days you are set!  

I lost 4 lbs with this detox even though that wasn't really my goal and I literally am feeling great. I was EXTREMELY satisfied while I did this detox. I was so shocked at how full I was the whole time. I feel like I got to completely start over and I totally recommend this to anyone struggling with carb addictions or just having trouble with a diet!!! No before/after pictures from me… ain’t nobody wanna see that!! 

Thanks for reading and PLEASE let me know how your detox journey is going/went on my Instagram!! 

Follow me on Instagram @itspaleoonthego and remember to thank God for chocolate... after your detox. 


Insecurities and Bad Art

Ever have one of these days?

Last week I had like 3 in a row. It was ruuuulll pathetic. And funny. Because I drew this without thinking while I was on a conference call with an angry woman from Texas and it looks like I'm throwing up cooking utensils. I suck at art. But honestly, who cares if I am still a little chunky? I’m getting there. I am strong and I am healthy because every morning I wake up and ask God to help me be strong and healthy. After so many days at the beginning of this year waking up feeling like I wasn't going to make it, I can't stop thanking God for the healing He has provided. What more could I ask for? It's too easy to spend time complaining about how you will never look good in a two-piece bathing suit or that your arms will always be a little flabby. What you do need, is to be healthy. You owe yourself that. I also want to be clear that that isn't an excuse to say to yourself, "It's ok that I'm 40lbs+ overweight. I workout once a week and I eat vegetables a lot". I've been there too. Telling myself it's ok that I was 40lbs overweight because I ran a half marathon which obviously means I'm healthy (NOT). I was extremely unhealthy, physically and emotionally. So I say with caution, healthy doesn't always mean skinny. We have to be honest with ourselves. The Bible talks about having a "fair estimation of yourself" in Romans 12:3 and this is what I am working on. You are not less than anything God would create but you are not God himself. Find a balance in the truth that you are His and then take great care to preserve that. 
I think some of my crazy insecurity issues snuck up quickly was because last week I  had someone I barely know say, “wow, I thought you were paleo? You can’t eat that!!!” and another person ask me how come I've only lost 2 pounds this month ….While they were stuffing their mouth with Doritos. I'm working on being confident in my choices and not letting negative people get to me.  So I want to define a couple of things for all you new to Paleo or people who have never heard of it. Sidenote: there were like 12 incidents where I couldn’t remember certain words to make sentences this past week at work and I think 78% of people in my office lost confidence in my ability to express thoughts into words, so defining things for you will be interesting. March has been long. Very long with little sleep. 

My last blog post I had stated that you don’t have to be a “Paleo” to eat paleo meals. This time, I want to explain that even though I say I follow the paleo diet, I, along with most other “paleos”, have a 85%/15% rule which was part of the original paleo diet plan created by a doctor. This means that you are paleo 85% of the time and NOT 15% of the time. I give major props to people that can do it 100% of the time but that isn’t realistic for me and isn’t what I want for my life. I'm in this for the long-haul. Which can be overwhelming if you don't let yourself find a balance. 

This is real. I make mistakes. I forget to do food prep and then cheat because its convenient. Or someone throws out my smoothie ingredients in the fridge at work. Now I’m eating plantain chips and little grape tomatoes for lunch today. Thanks guys, not like I’m bitter or anything.  I’d rather do my best and be able to share honestly with you all than say I'm Superpaleowoman and hide the fact that I eat naughty foods sometimes. There is no point in that. I’m all about the honesty. I’m all about getting HEALTHY and losing weight will come with that. It is coming... just slowly. For me it just takes longer than others who do not deal with the conditions that I have. My metabolism is kind of a joke.

 We have to be able to talk to each other about the struggles and difficulties so we can be failures together sometimes!! I no longer consider myself a failure when I cheat once or twice a week. I consider myself a failure when I binge and feel the need to lie about it. Luckily I haven’t had that in a while. I was sick like a month ago and ate a whole box of ritz crackers and 4 cans of progresso soup over like 3 days. It was pretty terrible. I’m also an emotional eater and seem to be doing better emotionally since paleo.  

I usually stick to gluten-free even when I cheat but sometimes not even that! It’s called enjoying life. I am still not 100% sure if I am gluten-intolerant or not, but I’m in the works of testing that. I know I’m definitely allergic to dairy to some extent. Which is so, so depressing. But then I think about the fact that chocolate isn’t dairy. So, so not depressing!!   

Understand that being on the paleo diet or “living the lifestyle” (a phrase that annoys the crap out of me for some reason) does not mean you never get to eat anything else ever again. Basically you are training your body to crave the right foods so that foods that aren’t good for you can be considered a rarity or treat. If you are expecting me to never eat cheese again, you will be sorely disappointed. Cheese = happiness and I look forward to the glorious day when I can have cheese again. Maybe next week!  This blog is not here for me to show off or tell you how great I eat. I want to give other people inspiration and tips so they can experience the same joy and healing that I have found!!

I will say that since changing my diet a couple months ago and being more radical about paleo (something I used to do crazy strict for a week and then would binge the next), some of my symptoms related to my thyroid disease and PCOS have really been decreasing. I do see little flare ups when I spend a weekend eating a piece of pie on pi day and a s’more at a beach bonfire… not like I did that or anything. Just kidding. I totally did and it was amazeballs. I also ate like 3 containers of grape tomatoes, 2 containers of strawberries, 2 bunches of kale, 3 bell peppers, brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash, all kinds of chicken, turkey and chicken sausage, lots of carrots, chia seed pudding every day and so much more. So if you are going to judge me for not only eating things that are green, please also remember that you don’t see me on a day to day basis.
I 100% understand that by putting my blog out there, I am asking for some sort of accountability. I am begging for it actually! I expect some people to think I'm trying to be perfect and thinking I'm some role model others should look up to. That's just not the purpose of this blog. In fact, I find those blogs extremely frustrating and then I laugh and say "yeah, I really see you in the kitchen all day in that outfit, cooking all that food, looking like that, with your 4 children patiently helping you cook for the big meal for your perfect husband to come home to."  Yesterday I was explaining to my roommate that I ate the pie and I said, "oh well, it doesn't matter" and she said "Yes! It does matter! You have a blog". I loved that. It wasn't a jab... it was a reminder that my decisions matter for myself and matter because I'm putting myself out there on the internet. Just an added little boost to keep working hard so I can keep giving others advice. 

But seriously, look at this pie that my friend Brian made for Pi Day… How could you not eat this? It tasted as good as it looks. He’s single, ladies.

And don't forget to take time every day to thank God for chocolate. Sweet, sweet chocolate. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

You Don't Have to be a "Paleo" to Eat Paleo!

Below you will find practical tips and some yummy things that make Paleo more do-able for someone on the go (Please see: the title of my blog). Please also note that this blog is extra long and it's for people who are wanting to get started and don't know how! 

Raise your hand if you are tired of reading fitness/health blogs that suggest the only way you will be a successful person is if you never eat another carb for the rest of your life and "working out" means 2-3 hours a day at a $200/month gym? *hand raised* For me, this just seems so unrealistic for people who want more out of life than being a gym rat and eating the same food every day (a.k.a. me). I will admit that this lifestyle can be a little addicting. You start to crave a good work out and discovering what else out there tastes amazingly yummy and won't add pounds to your tummy. Ugh I hate rhymes. Don't ever let me say something that stupid again. 

So the whole "Paleo" thing can seem extremely restricting, confusing and frustrating at first - I get that. I tried going Paleo multiple times in the past 2 years to lose weight and only lasted a week or two at best before my favorite $3 Taco Bell meal on the way to class got the best of me. Fast food also meant I could watch more Netflix and spend more time doing my nails - the real important things in life. The thing about Paleo is that you almost have unlimited possibilities, you just have to know a little about them. Remember, you are eating: Fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, healthful oils, spices. There is so much more you can do with this than you think! 

On to the actual point of this post: below you will find some things that could help you make the transition to a more healthy lifestyle. I feel like I need to put some sort of disclaimer that you can't sue me if you don't like lose 20lbs by the end of this post or something dumb like that. Disclaimer: don't sue me; I'm broke and you will get nothing. Please also note that below are tips for making Paleo EASIER when you are on the go. I will post more recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks/desserts in the future. For now, you can check out some good stuff on my Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krazykate8/paleo-diet-recipes/. While you're at it, pin my blog! I have not tired all these recipes but based on my experience making so many paleo meals - these recipes seem pretty legit.  I will say right now that I am still learning and do not know everything there is to know. I just know that I love experimenting with food and I'm feeling better and better the longer I do this. 

Last thing: you have to actually want this for yourself - for your life. No matter how many tips I give you or how many good looking recipes on pinterest you find... you will have to want this for yourself to make it work. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging and who want the best for you too. Spend less time with people who are enablers and constantly remind yourself that you are taking care of what God has given you. 

One more quick thing... don't watch "The Following". Both my roommate and I keep waking up with nightmares and then keep watching it anyways because you just have to know what happens to Kevin Bacon. I hate those shows that reel you in and then damage your emotional well-being with their twisted-ness. 

1. PLAN AHEAD: Even a caveman could do it. Breakfast and lunch are the easiest meals to eat and still comply with your "diet"... your adrenaline and hormones start acting up in the afternoon - making you crave more carbs and fatty things by the time your favorite evening show comes on.  No matter what, ALWAYS pack your breakfast and lunch the night before to take with you to work/school. Giving yourself one option forces you to eat what you already spent time and money on... soon enough you will start to crave these things. Try transforming your breakfasts/lunches first, as a start. This will save you TONS of calories throughout the day. You don't have to be Paleo to eat Paleo meals often. Every little bit counts.

2. THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST. Or the first 5 days. Shocking your system to stop craving bad stuff is the HARDEST part and the stage where most people give up. By day 3-5 you will be grumpy, angry and feeling sorry for yourself. The poor boyfriend had to deal with a week or two of me feeling sorry for myself. Allow yourself to feel like this for a day or two (or 10 for me) and take it out on the treadmill. With Paleo you will be craving bread and refined sugars by day 3. The first two days you will be feeling awesome about yourself. Remember that feeling if you start to go downhill and don't let yourself eat emotionally - go out and do something instead! Yelling at Juan Pablo on the Bachelor is also extremely therapeutic. 

3. "CHEAT" MEALS or "LAME" MEALS. On your first two weeks transitioning into the paleo lifestyle, I encourage you not to eat ANY "Cheat" meals that you are apparently "allowed" on the Paleo website (85% paleo/15% other crap). These are triggers and make you feel you've been "lacking good stuff". Guess what? Fruits and vegetables are carbs. Eat those. If you feel like you are a pretty self-disciplined person- go for it but be careful. Now I use my 15% to eat some gluten-free grains! 

4. MASON JARS AND PYREX = Gold.  Invest in these!!! Spend $50 on some pyrex containers and 2 different sized packages of Mason jars and this will help you immensely - trust me. I use these things for EVERYTHING. I think my roommate gets like 1 shelf of the fridge and pantry after you take out all the stuff in all my containers. Sorry, Ally. When you buy fruits and veggies or cut them up - put them in these containers in the fridge to avoid having to throw stuff away when it goes bad before you can eat it.

5. SHOP IN SMALL QUANTITIES. This can be frustrating at first. If you are used to shopping at Costco for everything and then eating it for the next 3 weeks... this might not work anymore. Eating food that doesn't go bad after 3 weeks is kind of an indicator it's probably not Paleo. You are going to be eating mainly fruits and vegetables and these go bad... if you don't know that then we maybe need to talk more later. So shop in smaller quantities, more often. Plan what you want to make in the next 3-4 days and only buy enough for that. This will take you a little more time than you are used to but it get's easier!  

6. IT'S NOT THAT EXPENSIVE. With all the money you save not buying cookies, bread, crackers, snacks, starbucks, lunch on your lunch break at work every day... you really aren't spending that much more than you were before. You have to think about this when you go grocery shopping - maybe this bill will be a little higher but you are saving money in the long run by avoiding other things. Unless you do Paleo baking - those ingredients start to cost a crap load of money. I'll spend another blog post in the future talking about that.

7. BREAKFASTS: I never wake up early enough to make my breakfast... so I make it the night before and stick it in the fridge to take to work for later. My breakfast ideas: protein shake w/ almond milk/coconut milk, smoothie with almond milk/coconut milk, chia seed pudding, trail mix, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets made in advance, muffins made in advance, fruits, coconut yogurt. All of these things have some great nutrients to get your morning started: good carbs, good fats and protein. Yum! 

8. LUNCHES: I pack a variety of little things in my lunches the night before. Instead of eating one huge burrito for lunch, I eat like 5 ziplocks of different things and I get SO FULL by the afternoon. Another good thing about Paleo is that most of the food you are eating (besides fats) is extremely low in calories which means you get to eat more and feel full all the time (Unlike weight watchers or South Beach diet where you want to eat your own arm). For lunches: grape tomatoes, leftovers from last night's dinner, broccoli in a pyrex container with some coconut oil and lemon pepper (MY FAV) to warm up in microwave, slices of nitrate-free, all natural lunch meat (Trader Joes has good ones), hard boiled eggs, fruits, plantain chips (T.J's for the win again), baby carrots, salads, grilled chicken cut and saved in fridge to put on salads, trail mix, Larabars. All these things take two seconds to put into a lunch bag and then take to work the next day. Hardly any prep at all. Love it. 

9. DINNERS: Find meals that look good on Pinterest or start learning how to make some of your favorite meals Paleo! Some of my favorites are recipes from www.Paleomg.com. Juli is hilarious and comes up with very creative and delicious stuff! Try out one of her recipes this week to start. Her Pizza Spaghetti Pie is to die for. Make something in the crockpot on Sunday that you can warm up for a night or two that week. I don't have anyone else I have to cook for besides myself, so I only end up making 2 or 3 big meals a week and eating leftovers. 

10. PALEO SOME OF THE TIME: Doing paleo when you don't have access to a kitchen or fridge/microwave all day can be tough (living at college, certain workplaces, truck driving, living in Africa...idk). Take little steps to eating more whole foods to the best of your ability. Sometimes this is the best you can do! Maybe your cafeteria has a salad bar or buy protein powder to take in a cup to the cafeteria to fill up and make a shake. Eat way more of the vegetable side dishes than the pasta. Fill up on veggies! If you have to go to fast food - get the salads and then just use half the dressing they give you or choose subway or flame broiler. Obviously these things aren't "paleo" but you are making efforts towards a better you and that's all that really matters. There are probably a bazillion Paleo's yelling at me "blasphemy!!!!" right now. Oh well. Sometimes you just gotta do the best you can and take time to thank God for chocolate. 

Speaking of chocolate... go to Sprouts and buy this ASAP. Straight spoon to jar to mouth action. OMG! 

Some favorite easy recipes coming soon! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Thank God for Chocolate

I never thought I would find myself entering the blogging world.. Ever. I read blogs, not write them. I've always been the first to say I don't have a lot to say... ok wait... I have a lot to say but maybe not a lot of USEFUL things to say. But I'm doing this because I have a passion and desire to be healthy and I want to see others gain the same passion and desire. Let my failures (uhm there are way too many of them) aid your success!!  

After stuffing my face with cookie dough and goldfish crackers ("fishies" in my house) all through high school as if they were the only foods that really existed, my body seems to be coming back at me with a vengeance. All the sudden you get in to college and realize that your favorite jeans from 7th grade don't zip and think to yourself, "oh my gosh... this stuff like... makes you fat?". Beyond that, I started to develop thyroid disease and some other issues that could only be defined as PCOS when I turned 17. So I ended up with weight issues, emotional issues (probably because I felt like the end of the world was upon me for I would never be able to touch another Almond Joy again) and problems with fatigue/muscle fatigue and whole bunch of other yucky symptoms while the rest of my friends seemed to be out enjoying what was considered the best years of your life. BTW they totally lie to you, kids... college sucks 75% of the time. Unless you don't work... then I imagine you would have lots of fun but be an extremely irresponsible adult. Anyways.

Doctors have tried to help with various medications (and by that I mean like 50 billion different things that I keep buying) but it hasn't seem to do the trick. I thought medications meant that it would make me better so I could eat and do whatever I want. Apparently that's not what they teach you in medical school... who would have guessed? Whatever. I decided to try the Paleo Diet after so many failed diets in the past to lose the 20lbs of extra weight I've been carrying around since the cookie dough/goldfish fiasco of 2008. The Paleo Diet is the first diet I have ever thoroughly enjoyed and truly wanted to be part of. The first diet I didn't give up on when dreams of dancing girlscout cookies came into my head. Can you tell I like chocolate? You're wrong. I'm literally obsessed with chocolate.

You can learn more about the Paleo lifestyle here: http://thepaleodiet.com/. If you hate reading (yet you're reading this blog) basically all it says is to stop putting stuff in your mouth made out of car engines and rubber tires and other scary crap they tell you on the news. Meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthful oils and spices/herbs... Remember those? Yeah. Apparently they still exist in some parts of the grocery store! Surprise!

My entire definition of healthy has changed. Dairy has been cut out of my life almost completely (I still like a little low-fat string cheese here and there... bite me), sugars are no longer added to my coffee every morning and poured on my oatmeal (oatmeal's healthy right?) and grains have almost completely left my pantry (I cried a little that day).

When I tell people about this diet the first thing they will say is "I don't have time for that". YOU TOTALLY DO, YOU LIAR. We have time for this stuff but we choose to not spend our time on it. That was my first realization. Yeah, of course I don't have time to cook meals because I'm too busy drinking Cherry 7-Up and eating Cheetos Puffs while I watch The Bachelor.  Duh. Let's be honest, being on any sort of a "diet" is more work than driving through taco bell but when you look at your life, are you able to enjoy and experience all you want out of life? Do you feel the best you think you can feel? I challenge you to look at your life and just think about how different your life might be if you suddenly had energy to like...go to work AND work out after AND still go out with your friends on a *shocker alert* week night!

I firmly believe that God had different plans for us when He created us so perfectly, so like-him. Yes sin came into the world with a bite of a piece of fruit (not a good reason not to eat them BTW), but we continue to tarnish this blessing of a body that gives us the ability to live the life God always wanted for us. How is it possible that that isn't a priority? How is it possible that we find other things so much more important that sustaining our body so Christ can continue to work in us and through us? Why does it take sickness for us to realize we are dishonoring God with the way we are living our lives?

With years of self-hatred and depression due to my looks in high school (and what I realize now was partially a health issue), I've heard it all. "You don't need to lose weight!" "You're beautiful just the way you are!" and whatever other words people thought they could heal me with. I felt ugly. I felt fat. I felt like my life could only be made better if I could just be prettier because they've got it good. It was a sickness and an obsession. To me dieting was the only way I could ever possibly be happy some day. We often look at "dieting" and "working out" as methods to get skinny... "it's vanity" many Christian friends have told me through the years... it's "wrong to care about what you look like because God loves you for who you are on the inside". You know what I say to that now that I'm an adult and can? Bullcrap. I don't think God blesses us as we dishonor Him by ruining what He has given us. They are partially right, God has made us fearfully and wonderfully... SO STOP FILLING IT WITH ISH YOU CAN'T PRONOUNCE. I have had to learn both sides to this seemingly never-ending battle in very harsh ways.

I feel that God is truly healing me every day from my self-hatred and loathing. My goal in life is no longer to "get skinnier" or "look prettier". My true goal with this blog, and with my life, is to be as healthy as I possibly can in order to enjoy this blessing called "life". So I'm not saying bye-bye to chocolate-covered peanuts completely... but I'm only saying hello to them far less often. I hope you will join me as I explore new recipes and share workout tips... not because it's my life but because some paleo and a good sweat is the only way I can truly enjoy it. It's all about balance and thanking God for chocolate.