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Paleo Plans: Birthday Gift #2

I admire people who are willing to research and explore this world, reach a conclusion based on their experiences and learning, and then faithfully hold that unique, fact-based perspective even as the popular opinion clings to outdated science, sentimental tradition, and the status quo.

I am doing my best to raise my children so that they may each become that kind of person.

The two greatest accomplishments of my 34 years
& the reasons I continue to pursue the healthiest lifestyle possible.

 

I won’t lie. It’s not always easy. I need guides. I need muses. I need information. Luckily, there is no shortage of any of these in the Paleo community.

 

One such guide is Dave Asprey. Even though he is not officially affiliated with “Paleo,” he is, in my belief,  a primal living guru. He views himself as a biohacker and has spent considerable time and money figuring out with the world’s leading scientists and researchers what is best for the human body. His website is vast and detailed, and you can check out exactly what it means to be Bulletproof at The Bulletproof Executive.

I was initially a huge fan of Mr. Asprey’s because he helped his wife overcome PCOS with his “Upgraded” diet, which he details in his Upgraded Chef Cookbook.

What continues to interest me about Mr. Asprey is his “Bulletproof Coffee” recipe.

I LOVE coffee. To a fault. As in it could be the only thing I drink. So, in learning about the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee, I decided to gift myself the Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee Kit and give it a try.

My kit should arrive today, which means tomorrow morning is going to be Bulletproof. I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

All my best for a terrific Tuesday, Lovelies!

 

 

Whole 30 Challenge, Road Trip & Party Survival Guide

Lovelies! How are you all this morning?

On Day #10, I am soaring–yes soaring!–on the feel-goodness of this plan! I’d try to describe how wonderful I feel, but I’d rather just encourage you to find out for yourselves. Nothing is as effective and motivating as first-hand experience.

For those of you already Whole-30ing along to Melissa and Dallas Hartwig’s Whole 30 program, a word of motivation: Do it.

Don’t sort-of-kind-of-ooops-I-had-a-cookie-or-two do it.

Do it as it is written.

There is absolutely no gray area to dabble in. Like the Hartwig’s point out, every bite, every nibble of inflammatory foods puts you back at square one of the healing cycle. It’s commendable you’re putting in the effort, now reward yourself with commitment and follow-through for thirty days. It’s just thirty days. Thirty days that have the potential to be life-changing if you put in the effort. Your one-and-only body will thank you. And, when in doubt, listen to the wise advice of Master Yoda:

Pretty simple when you think about it, right? Either you do it. Or, you don’t. I’d do it if I were you!!!!

So, while I truly believe that the mental clarity and feel-good-body results alone are more than enough to promote the Whole 30 program, the physical body-composition results are equally impressive. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some weight to drop, but in just ten days, do you know what’s happened?

Let me explain…

On Day #1 I put on a pair of jeans that barely zipped and buttoned (A full size smaller than what I wore in January, but still, NOT pretty!). On Day #5 I put on the same pair of jeans without any struggle (or unsexy overhang–yay! Be gone, overhang!) Yesterday, even fresh out of the washer–even with it being “that time of the month”–those jeans had a little room in the waist and hips. Today, I. CAN. FEEL. MY. HIP. BONES. Holy moly! I can’t believe I have them! They’ve been buried as deep as Atlantis for the majority of my adult life, especially post-kiddos. So deep, in fact, that I think I believed they, too, were mere myths or legends. Not so! They do exist! Sure it’s going to take a little more work in the gym to see the ultimate results that I want, but the careful attention I’m giving to my food sure is paying off! Hip bones, by golly!

This is where I say: If I can do it, you ABSOLUTELY can do it! No fuss about busy schedules or liking milk too much to give it up. (Lovelies, you are NOT baby cows who need fattening!). I don’t believe any of it. Not one little syllable. You are exactly as capable of doing this as you believe yourselves to be. When you are committed, nothing can derail you–not even a 1,200 mile road trip to party with family! (Yes, I’m really doing that–in just a few short hours, in fact).

How am I going to survive 600 miles each way, plus two days filled with food, family, and fun? I will be packing my own eats and politely asking for the support (not sabotage) that I need. No questions about it. Black, white, not a shade of gray. Most of my family knows my plan and my goals–the rest will soon find out. I will not indulge in birthday cake, grainy-carby-finger foods, or sugary-dairy-creamy-debauchery of any kind. And, lest you think I’m a party-pooper, I say this: How can I enjoy the party if I am feeling less than my best?

Now that I know what my true “best” feels like, temptation is an abstract idea that affects others. NOT me. It is liberating!

Want to find out what your “best” feels like first hand? Here’s your three-step get-started plan:

  1. Go to the Hartwig’s website. (Click here if you haven’t saved it from previous posts!)
  2. Print out the four pages of the Whole 30 program.
  3. Start. Now.

I believe in you! Keep us posted on your progress!

Whole 30 Challenge, Days #4-7

And just like that a week is over! Phew! What a whirlwind of feel-goodness! All I can say to anyone who is wondering about a Whole 30 is to just take the leap already! In only one short week, my skin and eyes are clearer; my often difficult female cycle continues to run like clockwork (and is accompanied by STABLE–dare I say pleasant?–moods); and I can feel energy humming through my body! No sugar cravings nip at me; hunger pangs are a distant memory; and my sleep is both deep and refreshing. Oh. Yeah.

This is no longer a Whole 30 for me. I want this feeling of health and well-being to be my Whole Forever.

Here are the links to the book I am using as a guide, as well as the website that accompanies it! Both are fantastic resources to guide you on your own Whole 30 & beyond!

Click the book to learn how to get a copy of your own! And, don’t forget to explore the entire website while you’re there! The Whole 30 Program is outlined for you FREE online thanks to the amazing authors who truly have your health’s best interests at heart!

Stress Eating: A Non-Solution

Oh, Lovelies. Stress. How we all hate it, right? Particularly on Fridays.

It disrupts our hormones, alters our sleep patterns (which further disrupts our hormones), and can take away our level-headed sense of control if we let it.

I almost let it. I might still let it, honestly. But, I’m fighting. And, I’m pretty sure I’m writing this more for me than you, no offense. I still love you, but please forgive me if I ramble today.

You know your day is going to be stressful when it begins with a euphemism-filled phone discussion with your husband (who had just left for work but called because he knows what would have happened if you had talked face to face) about whether or not your beloved old puppy has reached “that time.”

We are pretty certain that he has.

Cue the STRESS.

When we first adopted our Lab as an almost-two-year-old pup, the mere contemplation of the far-off “final day” was enough to drive me to tears. Today, after sharing eleven years, two homes, the birth of our two children–the majority of my adult life–with his unconditional affection and home-warming presence, the idea of what looms overwhelms me.

I’m drowning.

Historically, I cope through indulgence. In all the wrong things for a girl with PCOS (or, anyone, really). Bread. Pasta. Cheese. Repeat. Bread. Pasta. Cheese. Repeat. Luckily, though, not much of that is in the house. I think…

However, Panera is two miles down the road, and I am ready to stress eat my way through their entire assortment of menus–a new doughy, carb-loaded, ooey-gooey cheese dish between each new round of sobs. 

But, I won’t.

I can recognize, even in my distress, that stress-eating is a non-solution. It certainly won’t cure our pup’s now-debilitating arthritis, clear up his fatty tumors, or improve his newly-slipping hind quarters. It won’t help his stubborn Labrador-ness climb the stairs to sleep close to his family every night, make his medication more effective, or stop him from groaning in his sleep. But it will deplete me.

Sure, it would taste amazing, but that’s about all.

Very likely, I’d wind-up sick to my stomach, experiencing sugar-crashes, crankiness, and fatigue. I can’t have that, because not only will Chance’s passing be mine and my husband’s to share, but our two children will need us to guide them through the loss of their best friend.

Can you say HUGE responsibility?!?!?!?

We may be blessed with our beloved pup for another day, week, or maybe even month if he is comfortable. However, the best way I know to be prepared for that inevitable time is to keep nourishing myself the right way, even when I don’t want to, so that I’ll be the best I can be for those who are going to need me to be strong.

Hug & kiss your furry family members, Lovelies. They are here with us for far too short a time.

XO

 

 

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!

Five Tens and an Eight

What are five tens and an eight?

These are the hours dear Cave Hubby will soon be working…ten hours a day (don’t forget to add-in a total of three commuting hours each day) five days a week and eight hours on Saturday–possibly even six or seven tens if the work timeline continues to decrease by weeks at a time. Ugh.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I grew up on a construction schedule, so I understand that in a profession where it is either feast or famine and the wait list for work is at least a year long, we need to embrace the work when it is present and persistent. However, we here in the Klien Street Cave REALLY love our #1 guy, so, when he leaves home at 5 o’clock AM and doesn’t return home until 7 o’clock PM, our time with him is at an absolute MINIMUM. (Here’s a big shout-out to single parents–you are all superheroes!). And, in a coming month with three “holidays” (Election Day, Veterans’ Day, and Thanksgiving), all of which CH was scheduled to have off (Thanksgiving might be the sole survivor of the timeline push), things are looking a little hectic and a little stressful, to say the least. And I know that when things get crazy, I need a sanity-saving self-care plan.

So, what’s a girl whose family’s health is her main concern to do during such stressful, time-crunched, and fairly solo-parenting times? Let me tell you…

1.  Be Flexible

First, foremost, and forever, let go of rigid expectations in your non-essential plans. Yes, we all have obligations for work and school; however, the plans that don’t pay your bills or impact your professionalism need not contribute to your stress load. The more fluid you are about embracing schedule changes, the less power you give them to be a source of unhealthy stress. And, as we all know, stress can lead to unwelcome illnesses, which will continue to mess with your schedule. So, don’t subject yourself or your family to the stress-sickness cycle. Take a deep breath and bend a little. After all, what is the big deal about going grocery shopping on Monday instead of your usual Sunday trip? What’s wrong with taking a rain check for date night or declining an invitation to a non-obligatory event? When you step back and look at the forest through your bright, health-colored glasses, Lovelies, the answer is absolutely nothing.

2. Be Prepared

I think I’ve said it a time or two (or fifty) here at Perfectly Paleo Sisters, but preparation is KEY. Search for some Paleo recipes–the web is absolutely ripe with them. Write down the ingredients you need. Get thee to a grocery store. Load your cart with good, clean Paleo eats. Get home and prepare them. Stack containers in the fridge for grab-and-go meals, snacks, and post-workout noshing. Put in the effort on one day to eat well for the rest of the week. You can do it, and your health, as well as the health of your family, will reflect your awesome health-creating efforts. Remember: being busy is not an excuse to eat poorly. Don’t get caught in that trap–your health is too important during stressful times to eat food that doesn’t fuel you properly.

3. Treat Yourself Kindly

We don’t accept rudeness, intolerance, snide remarks, and undue criticism from others, yet many of us accept it from ourselves. If you want to make it through stressful times with your health and your sanity in tact, you need to be kind. Forgive yourself the pile (mountain?) of laundry that has gone unfolded on the couch. It will be there tomorrow. Did you miss a workout? Why beat yourself up when there is a whole other day waiting for you in the morning? Did the washer overflow, the car break down, and the dog run away with the cat? (Well, I suppose in this case my advice would be to ring a sitter,  get some tequila, and lock yourself in a bubble bath STAT). But, in all seriousness, Hakuna Matata. Instead of reviewing your self-perceived short-comings at the end of the day, ask yourself if everyone in your family is healthy, happy, and well-cared for. If you can answer YES to that question, then you have, by the most important measures, succeeded brilliantly.

4. You Time

I used to think that alone time was selfish. Now, not so much. In fact, on days when I have not been able to fit-in a head-clearing run or workout, and I have been surrounded by others non-stop, I am not above taking a book into the bathroom and reading for twenty minutes under the guise of stomach distress. Luckily, everyone in my house respects the bathroom isolation move. And, you know what? I emerge from the bathroom much happier than when I first entered (which is probably why everyone keeps “believing” my routine). I’m not suggesting the bathroom ruse is for you, I’m just saying that everyone needs twenty minutes to enjoy something just for themselves every day. Make it happen. Even if that means getting comfy on the throne.

What advice can you add to the sanity-saving self-care list, Lovelies?

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

XO

Nikki

Getting out of the Way (a.k.a. Living the Good Life)

Lovelies, I am blessed. I know this. I married a wonderful man–you know, one of the world’s last chivalrous types–whom I don’t deserve, and together we are raising two healthy, happy, smart, inquisitive, fun-loving, and big-hearted children. You know that million dollar family description–high school sweetheart husband and wife, daughter, son, dog, house in the suburbs? Yeah, nauseatingly, it applies. (I want to puke over our stereotypicalness sometimes. It’s okay if you do, too. I get it.).

But, you know what? Sometimes, even though I know I am blessed beyond measure and despite all the outward appearances and inner value of my  life, I get down on myself. I criticize my efforts when things go astray, and then I criticize myself for criticizing myself…it’s a vicious cycle once I get started. I suspect that I’m not the only one who does this….am I?

For example, I thought I had this week under control until precisely 7 PM Monday. I had completed all 74 mid-term grades. I had sent-out emails to friends and family with information about my daughter’s upcoming karate tournament (her very first!); I had grocery shopped (under budget, too!) for a week of clean Paleo eats; I was about to cook for lunches and prep a bunch of goodies for my loves when, instead, I found myself taking our karate kid to the emergency room for x-rays of her ankle. (In case you didn’t know, it is impossible to cook whilst in the emergency room–please laugh, I was kidding). And, by the time we got home and arranged our sparring princess and her potentially fractured growth plate and entirely shattered tournament dreams into bed, it was impossible to cook without pulling an all-nighter. I’m pretty sure my inner nag reloaded her entire arsenal with all the ammunition from Monday night’s fiasco, because as I closed my eyes in an attempt to sleep for a few hours, she started right on queue…

You are such a bad mother! How could you have let your #1 girl hurt herself just days before her big tournament? Don’t you know how important it is to her? She’s going to be so disappointed if she can’t compete–all because YOU let her get hurt! Now you’re not cooking? What will you do in the morning with one on crutches and the other still going to school? What will you put in his lunchbox. [Gasp!] You won’t let him buy SCHOOL lunch, will you? What about your husband? He’s been doing so well. You’re screwing up his success now, too! You didn’t run tonight, did you? How come? If you were REALLY dedicated you would have been running laps around the hospital. You’re going to FAIL at your half marathon because you skipped a day! Those new jeans you just started wearing aren’t going to zip if you keep this slacking up! Nag, nag, naggity nag…

And, sadly, Lovelies, these are not even the worst things that I said to myself. Ouch.

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like I’d been sucker-punched by Fortune and laughed at by Fate. I think, though, that the real problem is that I need to be nicer to me.

I certainly wouldn’t tolerate anyone else treating me this way, and it would absolutely kill me if ever my kids treated themselves so harshly.

So, in order to 1. be a better role model, 2. end the self-critical cycle, and 3. embrace the last of the Paleo rules with which I have yet to make friends (you know, the one that advises you to reduce the stress in your life, no matter the source), I’ve decided that today is the day I’ll stop being the source of my own stress. I’m making a concentrated effort to get out of my own way and allow myself to live the good life. After all, Annette Funicello had a point…

P.S. Yes, I know the little light-up heart guy at the top has a cigarette. I also know that cigarettes are not healthy or Paleo 😉 I am pretending that the cigarette is symbolic of life’s petty troubles going up in smoke. Pretend with me, please. Life’s more fun that way.

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