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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Erin Goes to Dr. Wolf…

(For those of you who don’t know, a small aside: Erin has vaccine-induced systemic lupus and is sick and tired of our current healthcare system. This is her latest experience with another Dr. Wolf. Oh, honest, altruistic doctors, where are you?)

Ok…. So back up on my soap box I go…After waiting an hour and 15 minutes to see my rheumatologist for him to tell me, “Yes, you still have lupus, and yes you are inflamed in your joints today…” I got extremely aggravated  by the whole visit.

 

It started like this–he asked how long I had been taking hydroxychloroquine. I said, “Since I was 14.”

 

He said, “Wow! That’s a realllllllllly long time for someone to be on it.” (No shnit!). He then said, ” Well we can cut your dose (little does he know I already have) and alternate it with another anti-malaria drug.” (Anti MALARIA???? Well thank God I am already on one with the way mosquitos bite me).

 
He then asked if I am still taking my two doses of 500mg Neproxen… I said, “Yeah, if I need it but I try to stay away from it and just deal with the pain and work it out.”

 

He said, “Good I don’t feel the need to put you on anything more TOXIC yet.” (TOXIC!??!?!?!?) I couldn’t believe the verbage he was using!

 
So for now I REALLY want to get off all prescription medication. With this in mind, I simply asked this doctor if any of his rheumatoid or lupus patients have tried/done the Paleo diet/way of eating…… his answer just shocked me and really angered me.
He said (in that condescending tone)…….. “Yes,” *rolled his eyes* and stated that he had a few do it and their weight got really low. Their weight. That’s all he commented on. No mention of their symptoms, etc. Their weight was his observation.

 

I rebutted with, “I am not doing it for the weight purpose. I am doing it for the medicinal factor and trying to get off of my medications and completely control my lupus with my diet and routine.”

 

Then the best, best, best answer ever came out of his mouth (and has caused me to lose complete faith in doctors). He said, “You will never get off of hydroxychloroquine, Erin. Following that diet may help with inflammation a little, but you will never be prescription-free. What you are on is a preventative for lupus.” (And this is the same doctor who mere minutes before stated that being on hydroxychloroquine for 14 years was a long time! Now he’s talking about NEVER getting off of it?!?!?!?!?)

 

I could not believe my ears- REALLY?!- NEVER….. so needless to say I have more ambition in the world than ever to prove him wrong and eventually never have to go see him again.

 
Why wouldn’t my rheumatologist want me to get off medication, want me to have a healthier life style, want me to have a longer more fulfilling life? It’s just really upsetting to me that some doctors don’t really want to help you. They want to keep you under their care to get kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies to fund their lavish lifestyles and ensure that they have a job……….

*Sigh*

Until next time Lovelies,

Erin

Minimum Philosophy (from a shoe)

Runners know within minutes whether or not the shoe, quite literally, fits. Just a few strides can indicate whether or not they will become one with the shoe, the force will be with them, or if they have found their long lost solemates. In a world full of complications, it seems that running shoes have the right idea: back to basics.

Natural. Minimal. Minimus.

These words inspire me. They also make me wonder, how come we are so slow to notice ill-fitting lifestyles?

My new solemates just happen to be these fine looking, BOGO50%off-ers:

Pretty, right?

Yes, pretty, but also functional and instructive.

Going minimal in my running has done great things for me over the past year, but shoes are only one piece of the philosophic “minimalist” puzzle here in our cave.

Philosophic mimimalist puzzle, what?!?!?

For me, a minimalist running shoe represents running in an as-close-to-natural way as possible while still protecting your feet from all those stones, sticks, sharp slivers of glass, etc.

And, as a Paleo-enthusiast, that is how I strive to live my life: In an as-close-to-natural way as possible.

Minimalist for me, is not just about the running.  I believe it’s about evaluating your whole being and finding ways to sustain you, your relationships, your health, your vitality, and your happiness, naturally and in ways that embrace the “less is more” philosophy.

I prefer the organic, picked-ourselves apples over the grocery store apples any day. I’d rather spend an afternoon mashing them into applesauce than opening a jar full of preservatives. I prefer the lazy afternoon spent picking vegetables from a garden over the produce aisle polka every time. Speaking of time, the time spent assembling delicious meals for my family with help from little hands, the conversation around the table, and the satisfied feeling that follows cannot be replaced at a hustling-bustling restaurant–especially if unsavory ingredients upset our systems later.

This is not to say that our family is not busy at work and at play. Between work and school, volunteer and extracurricular activities, we share many of the same time-pressed concerns as others; however, our adoption of minimalist ideals beyond our Paleo diet (fewer possessions equals less clutter) have simplified what we do and how we do it in our non-comitted time.

And you know what has resulted?

Even though we don’t get to spend more time together, we spend a lot more time enjoying each other. (After all, who wouldn’t prefer a family archery day over a family laundry day?)

And, at least to me, Lovelies, that puzzle’s picture seems just about perfect.

XO

Nikki

Foam Rol-oh-Oh-OH-ler

For anyone who’s ever spent 30 minutes rolling around on the floor in awkward contortions just so that the right spot gets the much-needed attention it deserves, you know exactly how good it hurts!

(Now, now, Lovelies. Minds out of the gutter, please. You know what I meant by it, and it wasn’t that).

This is more what I had in mind:

For anyone who has yet to get down with a foam roller (like the fellow above), I ask, “What are you waiting for?!?!?” Here are some quick tips to hopefully assuage your roller fears.

Is it the price?

Yes, some foam rollers can be expensive, but there are lots of great DIY ideas out there–just look at the two below!

(Click on the pics to be taken to the tutorials, & you could be foam rolling yourself into heaven this evening!)

Is it the fear of someone someone seeing you like this?

I firmly believe in locks on doors and A-L-O-N-E time, Lovelies. Your poor, tired, achy muscles deserve a little lavishing one-on-one time! (This is not to say that I am against couples’ foam rolling time by any means 😉 ).

Is it lack of know-how that keeps you from rolling?

Let’s remedy that, shall we? Click on any (or ALL) of these great guides! Some cover the WHY, & some cover the HOW.

Once you start incorporating foam rolling into your routines, I am certain that you will find all kinds of benefits!

Have a great weekend! (And don’t forget to share your roller with the ones you love! They can benefit, too!)

XO

Nikki

P.S.~Does anyone have a favorite roller move to share????? Variety is the spice of life, right? Go be spicy!

Extra Oomph…

It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. The middle of the week.

The day where some ambitions are waning and intentions are sometimes forgotten.

Not for you, though, Lovelies! I’m going to share a secret with you. Ready?

I am here today to give you a little extra oomph to keep you moving and get you over the hurdle.

How? Check it out…

My awesome sister is one of my main motivators, and I must share with you her latest creation.

Look:

Isn’t it pretty?!?!? 

(Click it if you want one for yourself! Erin will be happy to help you!)

I don’t know about you, but something pretty and sparkly and full of symbolic, motivating meaning always rejuvenates my enthusiasm and reinforces my commitment to my goals. How could I go astray while wearing a Paleo-inspired locket? “P” for Perfectly Paleo Sisters reminds me that I am not in this lifestyle alone. That little pink sneaker reminds me to be active. Every. Single. Day. The smiley face is me (or you), on Paleo. I follow Paleo to remain prescription-free and maintain my health naturally, hence the Caduceus (medical symbol). And, the bone and cookbook illustrate my belief that cooking good, primal food is a joy, as well as the best medicine available. Yep, I can’t go wrong with that kind of beautiful motivation hanging around my neck!

What else is motivating?

Well, Lovelies, I find this pretty darn motivating: 

This is my favorite workout. EVER. 

(Okay, AND it’s my favorite workout poster. EVER. [R.I.P. Andy Whitfield]. The laminating girl at Staples even tried to buy it from me…I politely declined, of course.)

BUT, eye candy (the only kind approved while following Paleo) aside, the workout in itself is 40 minutes of pure motivation. You will sweat. You will curse. You will think you’re dying, but then you will take a drink break and suddenly feel like another set is possible. No, not just possible, but inevitable! This workout motivates me because it is awesome. Give it a shot! I’m sure you’ll love something about it, too!

What else motivates me to get over the mid-week blahs? Here are two of my favorite sources of motivation:

  • Are quick effective workouts your thing? Check out the Crossfit Mamas Blog!
  • Need to be treated like royalty? Check out the fitness Queen at SweatItOut!

Have a great day today, Lovelies!

And, remember–Keep on going!

XO

Nikki

P.S.~Don’t forget to share (we have a comment section, you know 😉 ) what motivates YOU! We would certainly love to hear!

Monday Morning Mindfulness

With the demands of the work week about to commence and the fond memories of the weekend still lingering, there is this quiet little moment. I am having tea (yes, tea! Yogi Caramel Apple Spice Tea, to be exact) and counting down the minutes before the kiddos join me in conquering Monday morning. And, I’m also counting my blessings–the minutes are sure to run out before I’m finished.

One month ago, I began this Paleo journey. Yes, just one month ago I was twenty pounds heavier and a whole lot sicker. Just one month ago I hadn’t had a period in nearly five months. I had painful cystic acne, extreme fatigue, and a number of other health ailments. Today I am counting my rejuvenated physical health as one of my greatest blessings, for it has allowed me to once again participate in my own life and the lives of those I love. (You know what we did this weekend? Karate, Kobudo, yard work, laundry, dishes, cooking, grocery shopping, a family visit, two workouts, and a Renaissance Faire!).

One month ago, I knew of a girl from high school who was doing Paleo. Now I have a friend whom I wish I’d known better back then, but now look forward to growing with as our Paleo journeys continue.

One month ago, I had kiddos who, though they ate well, were still consuming “gluten-free” and “lactose-free” versions of SAD foods. Now I have kiddos who only occasionally look at someone else’s bowl of mac ‘n cheese with longing–mostly they view it as “a bowl of pain.” No longer do we fight over broccoli and spinach, and grilled chicken breast has become a lunchbox staple! Fruit is the snack of choice–especially if it is dipped in homemade cocoa-almond butter.

One month ago, I had a husband who opted for convenience over health–a trade I wasn’t content to live with, yet had not discovered the key to prompt some re-prioritization. Today, I’d venture to say that he is down about 15 pounds (last confirmed was 13, last week), and he has not left home without his homemade, well-stocked lunchbox more than once. (And on that day, he was working in a building with a cafeteria and salad bar, where he enjoyed a grilled chicken salad).

One month ago, I was still banging my head against the proverbial wall in an attempt to be someone others wanted me to be (incredibly unsuccessfully, might I add). I have walked away from those relationships and emotional junk, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet so many new, like-minded individuals, who have nourished my soul as much as Paleo has nourished my body. Thanks for that, Lovelies ;)!

One month ago, I had only hope. And what a powerful thing it continues to be!

As you take-on the week, remember what centers and grounds you. Remember what makes you happy, healthy, and fabulous–then do more of all those things!

XO

Nikki

I Love You, Me.

Image

I am musing this morning. Apologies in advance. I will have a point in the end…eventually.

Strength and Courage….

What’s so special about them, you ask? I asked the same thing yesterday when I saw this quote and it nagged me all night.

I’ve decided that, on their own, I don’t suppose there is much special about strength or courage.

The mere possession of strength of body or mind or will rarely achieves greatness. Sure, you may have a rockin’ physique, an I.Q. enviable to Einstein, or the tenacity of a hungry shark. Good on you! However, unless you have the courage to use your strengths, they remain your locked-away secret–your dormant potential, but not your reality.

(Tragically, I’ve noticed that too many people get stuck possessing great strengths with heaping amounts of self-doubt, and they hide their strengths away from the world. They appear bitter, jealous, insecure, unfulfilled, and unhappy).

When strength and courage exist simultaneously within you, though, they work synergistically, and your potential cannot help but burst forth and shine, improving your life and the lives of all around you. The key is to embody both so that one may continuously influence the other and allow you to live in your true state of being. Sounds blissful, right?

According the Lao Tzu, love has something to do with it.

So what’s love got to do with it? (Great question, Lovelies!)

Love is the matchmaker that unites your strength and your courage. Most of us were born into the perfect strength-courage scenario: We came into life much to the delight of parents who loved us unconditionally. Their love gave us strength as we grew, and because we loved them back we had the courage to test-out our strength in the world.

Unfortunately, most people outgrow this scenario right around the time their strength and courage will be tested the most: adolescence.

As our perspective of the world expands and changes, so do our needs. We start needing the love of others, not just our parents, to sustain our courage. And so we audition others for our support team. We find people to love and who will love us in return, even if only temporarily, so that we can feel safe being ourselves. Isn’t that why high school was so much fun for some and so hellish for others? Some of us are lucky to find our lifetime love, a constant giver and receiver, in our teens; others of us search for a lifetime, moving from person to person until the right one enters our lives.

I am lucky. I am in love with my best friend and have been since I was sixteen years old. (That’s one year more than half my life, Lovelies!). Has our relationship been rom-com Oscar-worthy, filled only with sunshine and fairy dust?

Um, no.

Nor would I want it to be.

What our relationship has been and continues to be is the fulfillment of Lao Tzu’s wise words. By loving each other we give two things: Strength to our partner and courage to ourselves. I am, undoubtedly, the person I am today because of CH’s love and my love for CH.

But I realized something….

My strength and courage don’t just come from loving someone else and accepting someone else’s love.

My strength and courage come, in part, from loving myself and actually accepting my self-love.

Think about it: how much better would you feel if you gave yourself permission to love yourself? All of you. Even your flaws. Isn’t that the kind of love we give to our partners? Isn’t that the kind of love our partners give us? They wouldn’t give up on us, would they? Well, then, don’t you dare give up on yourself!

This is your job today, Lovelies. Love yourselves. And make sure you know it!

You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are strong and courageous.

Go light-up the world!

XO

Nikki

To Schedule or Not To Schedule? Is That Even A Question?

Good early morning to you all! The sun isn’t even peeking up over the horizon here. The sky hasn’t yet lightened (but that pic is what it will look like when it does). CH is off to work with his cooler successfully topped-off with good eats. The kiddos are still snuggled and will hopefully wake to the smell of fresh coconut banana muffins wafting up the stairs in an hour or so. (And, my gosh, I will make a full dozen of those muffins because our little cave girl out-ate CH at dinner last night! We are expecting a growth spurt of Alice In Wonderland’s magic mushroom proportions!)

A couple days ago I was asked about how I prep my family’s lunches–particularly about how I cook larger portions of meat and then portion it out. Here’s what I did for today’s packed meals:

  • I roasted two organic chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) while I was already baking chicken legs for dinner. No extra effort there!
  • After dinner clean-up last night, I popped Clean Eats in the Zoo’s Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake in the oven (you should all go make this, right now! It smells divine and tastes even better!), and while it was filling my kitchen with the most amazing cinnamon aroma, I plunked the chicken breasts into some wrapping and tossed them in the fridge.
  • This morning, I cut one breast into strips for CH’s garden salad, and then the remainder of the breast I made into a creamy chicken salad for his afternoon snack. Easy peasy. (Why didn’t I do this last night? Well, I was feeling lazy, and, after a long holiday weekend, I was guessing that I might just need a little extra motivation to slip out from under our toasty covers).
  • The remaining chicken breast awaits its carving hour for the kiddos’ lunches and my post-workout meal. (I know, I know, I could have done this while making CH’s bounty. What can I say? I wanted to get to blogging for you, Lovelies).

Ah, workouts…another question I received pertained to my workout schedule and routine. This is kind of a two-part answer: What I have been doing and what I am beginning today…let me explain.

The Old Way

Up until this morning, my workout routine consisted of three running days (just the standard Easy Run, Tempo Run, and Long Run) and three weight training days or HIIT days. I’d fit them in where I could, when I could. And sometimes missed one. Or a few. Or all of them.

I’ve definitely been better about making time for my workouts as of late (when you’re feeling better you are more motivated to sweat!), but the return of the school year has given me a gift: windows of time that are mine. To schedule health and fitness. To do something for me.

So today begins…

The New Way

I’m up with CH at 4:15 AM anyway, so I’ve decided to use the time between his departure and the kids’ rising to exercise. No, I can’t go running outside (that would be a very irresponsible cave mama!).

However, I can join the Queen over at Sweat It Out on her September “Back to Booty” group challenge. And, I can do it right from the comfort of our new workout room! All I have to do is push play and move my body along to the amazing rhythms of Beach Body’s Brazil Butt Lift program. (And, honestly, if all goes well, what better gift for our upcoming eleventh anniversary, right?) Today is my day one!

In addition to shaking my bum bum (boom boom) every morning, I also have a standing date with my best fitness pal over at Warrior Fit for three days (T, Th, & Sat) of HIIT (including suspension training). Did I mention that she is getting her personal trainer’s certification really soon? You can be sure she is putting me through my paces! Just look at the contraption she tortures me with!

And, lastly, my running.

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays.

Recovery Run, Tempo Run, Speedwork, Long Run.

I am training for the D & L Heritage Half Marathon, which, if you are an autumn-lover-runner, is the half marathon for you! Riverside trails, crunchy leaves, crisp air. It’s like my running bliss trifecta. Plus, tech tshirts, cool finisher’s medals, and it’s a half marathon with room to grow. After this year’s half, I’ll be training for the full in 2013. (See what happens when you start feeling great–you become delusional! No, I’m joking. But, you do start dreaming a little bigger and following-through a little better!)

Hope you are full of great ideas, great actions, and great dreams today, Lovelies!

XO

Nikki

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