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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and learning, and then faithfully hold that unique, fact-based perspective even as the popular opinion clings to outdated science, sentimental tradition, and the status quo.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!

The Good, The Challenges, and Opportunities for Awesomeness…

It’s that time, Lovelies.

The time where I need to re-evaluate my goals and the methods I’m employing to achieve them.

So, here’s my mid-March review:

Goal #1: 100% Paleo Eats, 80% of the time

The Good: I need to follow a Paleo diet. Not as a fad. Not for the here and now. Not because a friend of a friend is passionate about it. I believe in Paleo because the more attentive I am to feeding my body well, the better I feel, so this is definitely an area about which I will continue to be vigilant.

The Challenge: I notice that my percentages have fallen into the 100% Paleo, 60% of the time range, and my body is feeling the slip. Cramps, bloating, yuck, yuck, and yuck. I definitely need to tighten-up my “too free” with dairy tendency, as I know that this is the source of my dietary angst.

Opportunity for Awesomeness: Tomorrow I begin a Whole 30 Challenge. For 30 entire days (and quite possibly beyond!) I will make nourishing my body a priority by following the guidelines set forth here.

Goal #2: Moving, Shaking, & Faking

The Good: I have been active. I’ve been running in preparation for the Color Me Rad 5k with my awesome little cave gal, and I’ve been busy walking, playing, and stretching. I love activity, and I know that activity loves me back. So, it’s time to step-it-up!

The Challenge: I could be doing so much more! There is time in my schedule that I could be utilizing in a better fashion, and I am not. Shame on me. The gym not yet being open (April 1 is the new opening date–moved from Jan. 1, to Feb. 1, to March 1) is NOT an excuse for complacency.

Opportunity for Awesomeness: Insanity. Yes, you read that right. Shaun T.’s Insanity. I start tomorrow. If I never post again, you’ll know why…. Oh, by the way, check out what Insanity did for my friend Josh here!

Goal #3: Clarity

The Good: I have so many opportunities in front of me this year, and I am the type of person that fully submerges myself. I research, study, and then tackle things head-on. I thrive on learning and experiencing new things, so my mind is in total feast mode these days.

The Challenge: I have so many opportunities in front of me this year, and I am the type of person that fully submerges myself. I research, study, and then tackles things head-on. I burn myself out; however, when I burn-out, it isn’t my work or family or obligations that suffer. It is my head-space that approaches melt-down.

Opportunity for Awesomeness: I completed Day Two of Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge today. Participating in this Meditation Challenge is a segue into meditating daily, a practice that has more benefits than I can go into right now. (But, keep your eyes open for some future blogs!) Interested? Join here!

March may be famous for going out like a lamb, but  I can tell you that this Leo doesn’t see it going that way this year!

Join me for any or ALL of these Opportunities!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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.

Octoberiffic

I love October. A lot.

In fact, October is my favorite month of the year. How can someone NOT love the slow slip into the colors of fall, the crunchy leaves underfoot, the chilly rains, the crisp air, the homemade apple & pumpkin butters, the warm-cinnamony candles, the cool nights spent snuggled-up by the chimnea, the long hikes and camp-outs with loved ones, the unlimited creativity of costume making, the haunted walking tours of my hometown, and the family traditions that grow bigger and better every year? I’m not quite sure, either, Lovelies. Seems pretty impossible not to have some sort of love for a month so grand.

However, aside from all of the wonderful gems of the fall season, October holds some pretty strong motivational power over me as well. You see, October is when the weather begins to significantly cool here in PA, and with cooler weather, my outdoor running really comes back into focus after a summer spent slogging away on the awful dreadmill. I have a love/hate relationship with our treadmill–as in I love it because it allows me to run through the misery that so many people worship as summer, but I hate the whole hamster-in-a-wheel-running-to-nowhere aspect. October breaks that cycle for me and allows me to once again enjoy the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other in the magnificent environment I call home. The bevy of trails near my house come alive with busy squirrels; fallen leaves crunch underfoot; the sunshine is warm, but the air is cool; and with the abundant and diverse deciduous tree-life, the colors make every trail run feel like I’m running through a painted masterpiece. Not a bad way to usher-in a new half marathon goal of a sub 2:30 finish at November 4th’s D & L Heritage Half Marathon! (Which, if you are a fall runner lover, I HIGHLY recommend).

Amazing scenery for all 13.1 miles!

Not only am I motivated to get my sneakers moving in the great outdoors,

but I’m also motivated to get my family moving out there, too!

My #1 girl and I kicked-off October a couple days early by running the Celtic Classic 5K in Bethlehem. She’s a real live wire, so we took off at break-neck speed (she’s eight, mind you) before we settled into a comfy 12:30 pace. We were doing great until we accidentally missed the turn-around for 5k runners and followed a few 10k runners for an extra half-mile before we turned and made our way back to the finish line. According to my phone’s running app, we did 4.2 miles in 50:49. I think my girl might have some more races in her future!

We’re also adventurers by nature. Fall hasn’t been fully experienced by our family unless there have been a few fall hikes. With our proximity to Hawk Mountain, The Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock, The Delaware Water Gap, The Appalachian Trail, Hickory Run State Park, Jacobsburg State Park, and South Mountain, being an active family is easy. But, more importantly, being an active family not only keeps us healthy, it keeps us close. Some of our fondest memories have been made on the various trails surrounding our home. I sometimes think that our kids will one day tell their own children that they spent more time wandering around the woods with us than they did at home!

(I’ve spared my family the embarrassment of all the more “candid” in-the-woods photos. Though we love to laugh at them, they are best saved for the time when Chris and I will get to show them to first girlfriends and boyfriends, much to the horror of our children.)

The last item on my list of reasons why October motivates me, is the most important. October motivates me to resist stagnation–in all things: work, education, parenting, romance, marriage, health, fitness, life in general. How does it do that, you wonder? Well, Chris and I will celebrate eleven years of marriage this month, and every October we strive to do one new thing together. It isn’t something we really discussed starting, rather it is an organic tradition that has grown with us as we have grown in marriage. (We weren’t very good at being married at first, Lovelies. But, no worries, after lots of practice, we’re terrific at it now). Much like a new coat of paint freshens up a room, a new experience lets us take a break from the craziness of work, parenting, schedules, etc. and see each other with fresh eyes. And, I am happy to say that this year, as we enjoy a picnic and private vow renewal with our children at Hickory Run followed by an adults’ only evening at a local amusement park’s Halloween Haunt Night, we will be the healthiest we have ever been together (and we’ve been best friends since 1994) thanks to our shared Paleo journey.

So, tell me, Lovelies.

What about Fall motivates YOU?

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