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A New Year: Two Weeks In…

Happy New Year, Lovelies!

Yes, I know it’s now two weeks into a new year; so, let’s not waste anymore time! Here’s what’s been going on in the Klien Street Cave….

Thanksgiving landed me in the ER. Twice. With the holiday’s heavy carbohydrate load–mashed potatoes, biscuits, stuffing, pie crusts, etc.–and my POOR food choices, my insulin resistance had a heyday, and my ovaries blossomed with debilitating cysts. I couldn’t find comfort standing, walking, sitting, sleeping, NOTHING. In fact, the pain and nausea got so bad, my little family of four had to leave a post-Thanksgiving celebration in order to bring me to the hospital where, overwhelmed with extreme pain, I started vomiting and wound-up on anti-nausea medication, an IV drip, and morphine before undergoing both a transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound, accumulating over 700+ pictures of my internal lady parts. Lovely, I know.

I was sent home on Vicodin to deal with the pain of an ovary that was swollen to four times its normal size with cysts until I could follow-up with my OBGYN practice. I went to see a new doctor (the only one with an appointment available) at that practice the very next day. After spending about five minutes with me (and that included an internal and an examination of my ultrasound pics), he told me that PCOS doesn’t cause painful cysts and that I should follow-up with my PC physician, who didn’t have an appointment until the next day.

That night, the pain became so severe that I wound up back in the ER, back on an IV drip, back on anti-nausea medication, and back on morphine. This pattern was not one that I wanted to keep repeating. Even though I had worked so hard at keeping my diet clean and Paleo-focused up to Thanksgiving, I had lost control of my diet over the holiday, and my body was making sure that I knew what a mistake I had made–in quite the memorable fashion.

My PC doctor confirmed what I already knew: my pain was caused by the cysts on my ovaries. She put me on Metformin to help my body better regulate my insulin response, and she fully supported the idea that I should follow the Paleo way of eating as closely as possible–advice that, you can believe, I took to my very disappointed-in-myself heart.

Christmas came and went, and for ONE day only I allowed myself a few little treats with no relapse into my painful cystic state, but I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough for my health, because, even with a Paleo-focused diet and Metformin, the extra weight I’d accumulated wasn’t budging. Not one little bit. Gross. I hated the way I felt. I’ve never been thin–I don’t aspire to be, either. I’m too muscular for that. But, I have been at a healthy weight. And, getting back to that healthy weight became the focus of my New Year’s Resolution.

And this, Lovelies, is the point where I get truly excited. After much contemplation and even more searching, I have found something transformational: Bodymedia Fit LINK Armband.

My new best friend

Let’s be clear: I am not saying that this is for everyone. Nor am I saying that you should get one. I am simply offering insight into how this tool is helping me achieve the best me possible, when so many other products, plans, and methods have failed.

First, this armband is the perfect trifecta for me:

1. It provides centralized data for a multitude of different measurements. By wearing the armband, I can collect data about my calories burned, calorie balance (it syncs with MyFitness Pal), total activity time (both moderate and vigorous), the number of steps taken per day, and total sleep time and sleep efficiency.

2. It motivates me to meet the goals I set for myself. Because I set my own goals, I am immediately more invested; however, the LINK armband syncs with my iPhone5, and I can real-time monitor my calorie burn, my activity time, and how many steps I’ve taken. What is more motivating than seeing how close you are to achieving your goal? The activity manager feature even suggests additional activities to help you reach your daily goal!

3. It is flexible and supports my specific needs. The LINK does not require that I follow any specific program. No points. No mail-order food. No gimmicks. No false promises. The armband requires that I nourish my body the way my body needs to be nourished. For me, that means following Paleo. So, I plug all my Paleo-eats into MyFitness Pal and the calorie information is transferred automatically to my armband. I set my own step goal, and I monitor it throughout the day, parking farther away from my destinations and taking stairs when possible, because each step counts. I also set a daily activity time goal, and I work to meet the times I have set for myself. I make sure that if I’ve planned a workout that I keep that workout time like any other appointment in my planner, and I make sure that I play with my kids whenever the unplanned opportunity arises. Because, after all, activity is activity.

Second, it works.

One of the benefits is weight loss: 15 lbs. to date. Which, for someone with PCOS, who has been so discouraged by past experiences, 15 lbs. is an outstanding start!

As much as I love the results as they are reflected in my physique, I am enjoying the feelings of control and informed participation much more. For the first time, I am able to concretely see what is and isn’t working for my body. Pie charts, bar graphs, and percentages are my friends. I can make correlations and inferences by observing these data trends that I now have available–for instance, seven hours of sleep is my magic number. Every night where I have gotten approximately seven hours of sleep, I have lost weight. Less sleep=no weight loss. Information is powerful stuff.

And, Lovelies, do you know what is even better than my success? My husband has gotten onboard with a LINK armband of his own! We are on this journey as partners now (as opposed to me journeying and hubby hanging on for the ride), and our family is so much stronger for it!

I hope you are all having a wonderful start to your New Year, too! Make sure to share all of your New Year successes with us!

The Food Lovers: Make it Paleo Review

Yum. Delish. Please, sir, may I have some more?

These thoughts pop like fireworks with every bite of Bacon & Egg Salad, Coconut Flour Waffles and Pancakes, Prosciutto e Melone, Leg of Lamb, Lemon Garlic Roasting Chicken, Pineapple-Glazed Chicken Skewers, Fennel and Orange Salad, Roasted Broccoli, Balsamic Onions, and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins lovingly reproduced from the recipes in The Food Lovers: Make it Paleo cookbook. Though I only cooked a fraction of the over 200 recipes in this fabulous cookbook, each one was remarkably delicious. (As evidenced by my family’s inability to leave leftovers).

So, it’s obvious that this cookbook is big on tasty Paleo recipes, but why else does it earn a permanent place on my kitchen’s cookbook shelf (as opposed to the one in the dining room–a.k.a. the cookbook graveyard)? Oh, so many reasons! I could write about them all afternoon, but I figure that you’re just here for the down and dirty…

Reason #1: PICTURES

Sure it sounds silly, but there are pictures for EVERY recipe. Not just the ones that look pretty when they are finished cooking, not just the main dishes, not just the tempting desserts. Every single one. So, for those of you who like to dinner shop with your eyes, or those of you who want to know what your meal should aspire to look like upon completion, you’re all set!

Reason #2: THE FIRST 43 PAGES

Surprisingly (or not so much, depends on how many cookbooks you read), the first 43 pages contain zero recipes. Don’t despair, though! What they do include is even better. Staley and Mason provide you with a beautiful table of contents (which is very useful) and a  flash-course in Paleo eating that will serve the beginning primal eater with invaluable guidance and keep the experienced hunter-gatherer sharp and focused on good nutrition. It is stuffed with information from details about the different cuts of meat you have to choose from to the subtleties of creating your own herb and spice combinations. Don’t skip these pages just because they are recipe-free!

Reason #3: EVERYTHING ELSE

Okay, so I’m joking. But by everything else I mean that the recipes win the Ease-of-Use Award (if such an award even existed). They are introduced briefly and clearly; the ingredients are neatly bulleted; the difficulty of each recipe is rated; prep times and cook times are always present; and recommended serving sizes are provided for each recipe. And, all of this is done in an organized, easy-to-read format. In fact, some recipes even take it a step further and recommend a complimentary dish from elsewhere in the book! Talk about meal-planning made easy!

Overall, I feel that if you are committed to the Paleo Lifestyle and you enjoy good food, this cookbook will give you the opportunity to cook both some everyday staples like Simply Grilled Salmon as well as some unique dishes like Shrimp and Bacon Squash Blossoms. And, of course, who wouldn’t look forward to the occasional Chocolate Mocha Cupcake?

Happy Cooking, Lovelies! May your kitchens smell divine this weekend!

XO

Nikki

Not Your Grandma’s Diet Book, Or Your Great-Great-Great-Great……Grandma’s, Either!

  This book is not your grandma’s diet book. It contains no information about cutting down on the amount of eggs you consume or put into your Sunday omelets. It does not concern itself with trivial matters like brown rice vs. white rice. Instead, Lovelies, this nutritional manifesto changed our lives! Dramatic statement, we know (and, if you know us, you know we don’t do drama. We’re more the use-humor-to-fix-any-situation-no-matter-how-inappropriate-types); however, this time, the drama is warranted.

If you are at all interested in Paleolithic nutrition, or know someone who is, here are three reasons why you need to check out The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf:

1. Wolf respects his readers. His explanations are clear, thorough, and consistent throughout the entire text–in other words, he means what he says and says what he means. You will not learn something in Chapter One that is contradicted later in the book. (I despise when authors betray readers’ trust that way!). Wolf cumulatively and strategically builds his readers’ knowledge so that they may benefit most from his expertise, and he shares a bounty of research citations for further consideration at the conclusion of his work.

2. Wolf is not selling you anything, readers, except maybe the idea that it isn’t too late to buy-back your health from the SAD (Standard American Diet). He isn’t pushing special “Paleo Solution” Magic Pills that claim to reverse gravity’s effect on saddlebags after just one use; he isn’t advertising expensive shakes, protein bars, and shaker-cups emblazoned with his name; he doesn’t even have a DVD workout series. What he does have is knowledge and an unshakeable belief that each reader can significantly improve the state of his or her health. He empowers his readers to embark on their own Paleo journeys by sharing both of these things frequently and passionately.

3. Wolf’s authorial voice is at once commanding and humorous as well as in-charge and humble. He tells of his own personal experiences from a point of wisdom without losing the authenticity of the events themselves. This presents readers with a book that is as informative as it is pleasurable to read–as if your extremely intelligent, well-read older brother just happened to be your college professor. Read a chapter or two! We’ll be amazed if you don’t find yourself laughing out loud as Wolf shifts your perception of the modern eating paradigm! We know that we sure did!

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New York Times Bestselling author Elana Amsterdam founded Elana’s Pantry, the go-to website for easy, healthy, grain-free, Paleo recipes, in 2006

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A real-life approach to the Paleo lifestyle with tips and recipes to get the whole family healthy.

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