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The Most Important Relationship You Will Ever Have

Romantics would say it will be with your significant other.  Parents will say it’s your children.  Those who are religious are certain it’s with a higher power.

They’re all wrong.

The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you are already having – with your body.  It is the one relationship that will last right up until you take your last breath.  And if you stop to think about it you will realize that if you don’t make that relationship work you’ll be taking that last breath sooner than you would like.

I want you to imagine the perfect date.  This will be different for everybody, but for the most part it will involve food and an activity of some kind.  You’ve been waiting for days and you’ve gotten more excited the closer it gets.  Whether it’s a first date or a special occasion you want to look your best.  You spend extra time getting ready and you’ve agonized over the perfect clothes.  When you see your date they take your breath away.  They look amazing and smell intoxicating.  You go to a nice restaurant where the food is good and the conversation even better.  Afterwards you take a long walk, enjoying the evening breeze and holding hands with the one person you want to be with more than anything.  It’s a beautiful thing and it should be what everyone experiences.

But what happens if your date shows up looking slovenly and unkempt, smelling not-so-pleasant, takes you through a drive-thru for dinner while the music is blasting so loud there is no chance for conversation, and then takes you to a movie you don’t want to see? This is not someone you want to be with and you can’t wait to get out of there.

And yet every day this is exactly what we do with our own bodies  We abuse them, neglect them, and treat them with total disregard as if they will simply take care of themselves.  And to a certain degree they will.  Just like a long-suffering wife with a cheating husband.  Your body will take as much as it can.  And then one day – it just can’t take any more.  A woman who has had enough will leave her husband.  And when your body has had enough it will leave too – only it’ll take you with it.

If you want to love your body you’ve got to treat it like you already love it.  Be good to it.  Cherish it.  It’s the only one you will ever have.  Give it fresh, whole, nutritious foods that it evolved eating.  Give it exercise so that it will be strong and beautiful.  Treat it like it is your most prized possession because in truth – it is.  It is the one thing you came into this world with and the one thing you will have until you leave this world.  Just as humans respond to kindness and compassion, so too does your body respond when you are good to it.  But being good to your body does not mean taking it easy.  It means giving it equal doses of pampering and pushing.  Test your body to see what it’s capable of.  It will surprise you and excite you.  Give your body what it wants, needs, and craves – attention.  Just as you spend all that extra time getting ready for the perfect date, spend extra time doing nice things for your body.  I promise it will come back to you tenfold.

“You must choose, but choose wisely…”

There is probably no power more potentially detrimental to the human spirit than that of hopelessness. For where does the human spirit turn when it believes that it has been stripped of it’s power to control it’s own destiny? I have always been taught that built within mankind is an instinct for survival, and yet today everywhere I look our society has turned into one full of victims. So many people allow the negativity to consume them and they spend their lives expressing this victim mentality in one way or another. They become so ingrained in the identity of this helpless soul that they cannot see that they themselves have erected the barrier preventing their escape.
 
And then there are the warriors. These are those individuals who, faced with the same (and often worse) experiences as our “victims”, find themselves fueled by it. This is why I say that hopelessness is potentially detrimental. Some people find themselves engulfed by the darkness and instead of submitting to it, they rail against it. They grit their teeth and steel their resolve and do not stop until they find a way to claw out of the abyss. For these individuals there are no barriers, no chasms, no obstacles – only challenges to be overcome.
 
What makes these individuals different? What creates a warrior and what creates a victim? I’m sure there are a lot of psychological reasons behind it, and it is these excuses that victims use to enable their negative attitudes. The warrior, on the other hand, takes that negative experience and uses it as a building block to become a better and stronger individual. In the end, regardless of what we’ve experienced in life or how much sorrow and strife we’ve suffered, we are still left with a choice: give in or go on.
 
Every day brings it’s challenges. And there are days when I give in to the negativity and have myself a good old-fashioned pity party. We all feel sorry for ourselves at one time or another. It’s human and it’s natural. But if we allow ourselves to stay there in that “poor me” state, we are robbing ourselves of our own potential. Inside every single one of us is a spark of indefinable strength and courage. Feed it. Fuel it. Fan that spark until it fills you with a conflagration of sheer WILL. Then use that power to go out and conquer those things that brought you down. Find your fire.
 
 
 

 

The Paleo Blues

Woke up this morning
Not a stitch I could find
Not one piece of clothing
Would fit my behind

Because it’s gone!
Yeah, my drawers are fallin’ down
Because it’s gone!
My hiney done went and left town

The Wolf-man he done tol’ me, “Girl, you gotta eat da fats.”
I told him what had happened and he said, “Holy Cats!”
Cause my seat is baggin’
My shirts are saggin’
And my pant legs are trippin’ my feet
I got no cash for clothes cuz it all goes for grass-fed beef

I got dem Blues
Oh, dem Paleo Blues
And Time, well she don’t mean a thing
Cuz I know in a coupla weeks
The new pants that I buy today
Will be draggin’ ’round my sneaks
I got dem Blues

Got rid of the grains
Got rid of the sweets
Now all o’ my jeans
Are fallin’ to my feet

Because it’s gone!
Yeah, my rear is out of here
Because it’s gone!
My metabolism finally got in gear

I try to listen when Erwan says to move nat-ur-al-ly
But how can I Free the Animal when my clothes are swallowing me?
No more auto-immune
And I’m allergy-free
And they’re never coming back
But I’m lookin’ like the bag lady that lives under the tracks

I got dem Blues
Oh, dem Paleo Blues
I’m eating meats and nuts and seeds
And scarfing tons of fat
But my wallet can’t keep up with me
Cause my clothes fall off too fast
I got dem Blues

I got dem
Wild caught fish and pastured pork
Yard bird eggs and chicken legs
Coconut oil and bacon fat
Snatching, jerking
Deadlift working
Pain-free and
Coma-sleeping
Now all my clothes are too big for me
Paleo Blues

The sista needs some threads, ya’ll.

Just when I was feeling accomplished…

The farmer’s market was closed today, but the wonderful lady that I buy my meat from was kind enough to take my order by phone and deliver!  How cool is that?  I was nearly out of ground beef and the puppies have to eat.  And I know it sounds crazy, but I can’t bring myself to feed them anything I wouldn’t eat.  So only grass-fed/pastured for my four-legged children!  The beef liver is much cheaper (and chock full of nutrients!) so I take a pound each of liver (and today it was on special buy-one-get-one-free!) and ground beef and mix it together for my furry babies.  At least the puppies love it.  I’ve finally gotten my chihuahua to eat mostly paleo, but she turns her nose up at raw food.  I ask you, Queen Bianca, where is the wolf within?

“I am a higher being, you simpering human.  Now roast me some sausages and feed them to me with those ridiculous looking digits on your paws.”

And sausages were on the menu today since I was making the homemade Jambalaya recipe from Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution”.  It was indescribably good!  The recipe makes a ton so I’ll be getting at least five meals out of it.  I saved a couple of bowls in the fridge for this week and froze the rest.  I also put a hunk of ham in the crock pot to cook all day.  It should be ready…oh, right about now.  I’ll be having some slices of that deliciousness with eggs around lunchtime tomorrow.

Andouille sausage and spicy shrimp – what’s not to love?! 

So I spent the day peeling, chopping, prepping, and cooking and was feeling pretty darned good about what I had managed to get done.  I even fit in a little snow “workout” by hauling the christmas tree back to the shed along with the many boxes of doodads necessary to trim the thing.  I broke a little sweat and only fell once.  I did end up with snow in the pocket of my sweater, but managed to retrieve my phone before any damage was done.  This should have been my warning sign – sharp curve ahead.  Word to the wise – when you’re feeling ahead of the game – STOP!  I’ve never been able to do this.  I may have a slow starter, but once in motion I am unstoppable.  Well, until I head over the cliff, of course.  The cliff always wins.

So after all that hard work, I sat down at my computer and thought I would relax and mess around online.  My mistake was saying to myself,  “Hm, maybe I should change the layout of my blog.”  I’ve spent the last two hours trying to fix everything.  Ugh.  But hey, at least I got a post in!  “Silver lining” – check.

Catching Up

I’m sure the one person who follows my blog (Hi Annie!) is wondering where the heck I’ve been.  Well between the holidays, the bizarre episode of Bell’s Palsy (which for me includes violent heartburn and severe insomnia due to the prednisone), and the two new puppies I brought home, I haven’t had much time to think, much less blog.

 

That’s Molly on the left and Apollo on the right.  Is it just me, or does Molly have Amy Winehouse eyes?

 

I’ve been trying to think of a way to relay all of the information I’ve collected about Paleo since I started researching it and it finally occurred to me that instead of trying to rephrase what all those other articles said it might be a darn smart idea to simply collate all of those various articles into a collection rightch heah.  It won’t be comprehensive by any means, but I’ve read a number of articles on various topics such as oils and fats, cholestorol, nuts, gluten, dairy, etc. that were (and continue to be) helpful to me on my Paleo journey.  And since I’m hoping that this will be a stopping place for newbies, those same articles might be helpful to them as well.  So the articles collection is in the works. 

As for my own Paleo diet, I’m not having any difficulty.  In fact, just yesterday I noted on Twitter that oddly enough, being Paleo is the easiest thing in my life right now.  I fail to blog, not because I’m eating things I shouldn’t, but rather because I’m a simple girl and I tend to eat simple foods and they’re not the kind of things you take pics of and post.  You’d get tired of seeing baked leg quarters, hamburgers, spaghetti meat, shrimp stir fry, and crock pot pork loin.  When you’re a single mom it’s gotta be fast and easy, or ready when you get home (ala crock pot!)  On the odd occasion when I make something special it’s usually gone before I can snap a pic and share.  But here’s a pic from the first meatza I made.  YUM.

Anything this work intensive is a rare treat – as is the raw milk cheese.

I will try to do better with the pics.  I did make a recipe from Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution book tonight that was VERY good.  If you have the book (and why wouldn’t you?!) it’s the Paleo Chicken Alfredo recipe on page 253.  Just a tip or two: if you’re using pastured chicken like I did you might need to bump up the oil since you’re making the sauce from the pan drippings.  Also I used coconut oil rather than olive oil and I still didn’t have enough liquid at the end and had to thin it with coconut milk.  I also thought the 2 tsp of tarragon was a little much, but that might just be me.  Definitely worth a repeat!

The one advantage to the prednisone drive I’m experiencing right now is I get a lot of housework done.  While I was making tonight’s dinner I got a load of laundry done, the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded, the floor swept and mopped, and tomorrow’s dinner started!  I hacked up my first whole chicken this morning and threw it in the crock pot (minus the breasts which I used tonight) for a chicken stew for tomorrow.  It was ready when I got home today so I removed the bones then tossed in a bunch of chopped veggies.  I’ll drop the crock pot bowl back in the warmer in the morning and dinner will be ready when I get home, baybay!

If today’s post seems a little disjointed, it’s probably the prednisone.  Or the insomnia.  Or the puppies who are already eating me out of house and home.  I’ve learned, however, that if I stuff their little bellies with lots of lovely raw, grass-fed beef and pastured eggs that they will sleep through the night.  Even if I’m not. :p

 

The Resolution Solution

Every January people sit down and make lists, either mental or literal, of goals that they want to accomplish in the new year.  Everyone I know does this and I’ve done it myself.  But I don’t know anyone who sticks to their resolutions more than a week, and that’s a generous estimate.  Oh, I’m sure there is that one odd individual out there who experiences an epiphany and is able to actually accomplish their goal.  But why does everyone else fail? 

They set their goals too high.

I hear the arguments now: “We SHOULD set goals that are high!  How are we going to achieve anything if we set goals that are too easy?”  And to these chest-beaters I simply respond – an easy goal that is achieved takes us much farther down the road of progress than dreaming big and achieving nothing.

Part of the problem too is that the goal may not necessarily be that high, but that we look at it from the wrong perspective.  Looking at goals that last a whole year puts undue pressure on us because we’re balancing our accomplishments with the load of work that lies ahead of us.  If you’re sitting in January and you’re looking ahead to what you have to accomplish through December you’re adding a ton of stress to your life.  “I have to do this for 364 more days??”  If we think in these terms we can then get fatalistic about it “there’s no way I can do this for that long so I might as well give up now” or we turn to our old pal Rationalization and say, “If I can just do it most of the year then I’ve still accomplished my goal.”  If we’re fatalistic we aren’t even giving ourselves a chance, and if we’re rationalizing we’re allowing ourselves to be lazy and defeating the purpose of a resolution.

My solution is this:  Think of it in terms of what you want to accomplish daily and do it – just for that day.  You can’t judge your success or failure based on what hasn’t happened yet.  You don’t know what you can or will accomplish in the days ahead.  Humans can only use their past to predict their future.  But if your past is littered with laziness and negativity and you use this as a reference for your future success then I can promise you – you’re going to fail.  A resolution is the conscious choice to be better.  You cannot allow yourself to be pulled back into bad habits and negative thinking.  You may be given a new year on January 1, but you are given a new day every day.  Take advantage of this!  Just because you allow one day to go to hell doesn’t mean that the rest of your week, month, or year is shot. 

Small, easily achievable goals set daily is the surest road to success.  Each day builds on the day before as well as each week and each month.  Don’t think of what lies ahead and don’t focus on failures of the past.  You live NOW.  Don’t put undue pressure on yourself by expecting perfection, but don’t allow yourself to be seduced by ghosts of the past and give up either.  What is past is over, what is to come is up to you.  Live today.  Be in the moment that is now.  Choose daily what goals you want to accomplish for that day and do it.  If you do this daily, the year will take care of itself.

Fuhgeddaboudit!

The last week has been pretty awful.  Not paleo-wise, just period.  I’m so. freaking. tired. all the time.  Then I spent the whole weekend trying to come to grips with the idea of starting the whole nutrition tracking tomorrow and it just stressed me out.  And the more stressed I got the more I slept.  Now the weekend is gone, I haven’t accomplished anything, and I’m even more stressed out.  I just want to sleep, sleep, sleep.  Then today I got to thinking that I’ve experienced this before, several times, and when it hit me what it was I was shocked – depression.  But Paleo is supposed to cure depression!  When the ramifications hit me I was floored.  I was upset and confused and it was such an overwhelming thought that I didn’t even want to think about it.

Now, I’ve never been convinced that I’ve ever actually been depressed.  I’m not a negative person.  I don’t feel “down”.  But I will go through periods where I’m just extraordinarily tired.  In the past when this has happened I’ve gone to my doctor and he’s put me on anti-depressants despite the fact that the only symptom I’ve ever had that could even be related to depression is the tiredness.  Needless to say I do NOT want to go that course now.   Leaving my doctor out of the scenario means doing a little self-analyzation.  Since I do this as a matter of course anyway it’s fairly easy.

Thankfully, logic is a relatively quick path to follow.  When I considered that every other time that I have experienced these same symptoms it was also accompanied by severe stress the bell went off and the dogs started barking. 

Every year for Christmas my mother does everything.  She decorates her house, buys all the gifts and wraps them, and cooks dinner.  All I have to do is show up.  I was recently informed that my mother has decided to go to Canada this year and spend Christmas with my brother.  Now I don’t have a problem with not having Christmas.  I’d just as soon fuhgeddaboudit.  I doubt very seriously, however, if my two daughters will permit that.  So now I must contend with decorating, shopping, and planning a special feast.  Besides this stress I’m still trying to pay the thousands of dollars in medical bills related to my metabolic syndrome.  I’ve also been trying to “fall” clean and my exercise equipment is covered in clothes that I need to box up to donate to charity.  The kitchen is full of baskets of clothes that need to be washed because I’ve been spending so much time reading and researching Paleo that I’ve let the housework slide.  And all of these little stresses add up to a lot of stress that I simply can’t cope with and so…I sleep.  As if sleeping will somehow eliminate the stress. 

So…you take all of that and add to it the additional stress of attempting to track my nutritional intake and you’ve got a serious meltdown condition.  BUT – since I now realize that it’s most likely the stress that’s causing me to be so freaking tired, I no longer feel it’s necessary to track my nutrition.  Yay!  Now, of course, remains the rather large task of reducing all this stress.  Time to take a bite out of the elephant.

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