PaleoFX – The Vendors

One of the highlights of PaleoFX was the vendor set up. One, because there were things we could EAT without hesitation and two, because the vendors understood our mission. They were not there to push products that were mostly-paleo or only had a little bit of sugar, etc. These were vendors who had items to make our lives easier, food that was pure and natural, books that are loaded with recipes and encouragement suited for a lifestyle focused on fueling our bodies in the most efficient, nutritious and strengthening manner. I hope to see it triple in size next year! Now onto the products that I picked up in my travels.

Up first, the infamous LOVE BEAN Fudge. This is considered a cream, as noted over and over again by the TSA Agents at the Austin airport. They confiscated dozens of jars, one by one, as we left the great state of Texas with this precious cargo in our carry-ons. Damn the man. I ordered a new jar as soon as I arrived home and it was worth every penny. I will be ordering more soon, as my stash is minimal and it’s great to have on hand for those chocolate attacks every woman is familiar with.

Love Bean is a clean eater’s dream and the Raw Fudge contains 4 single ingredients. The Original Fudge option contains only a few more and remains all natural. You can store it in the cupboard or the fridge, heat it up or keep it cooled. You will have to stir it up a bit for that smooth fudge look because of the coconut oil concentrating in pockets through the differing temps.

 

 

 

USES: I topped off my daughter’s class snack, coconut flour cupcakes, with some Love Bean, for her birthday. She said it was a hit, but when are cupcakes not a hit? I also scooped a bit and stirred my coffee with it, after adding coconut oil. The combination was a very special treat. I drizzled a little on an apple, tried some with a banana, and honestly, ate it right off a spoon as any delicious icing should be tasted. NOM.
Next: Savory Spice Shop a newly franchised shop focused on herbs, spices, blends and sauces. Their packaging is what caught my eye, long tubes filled with lovely colored blends. However, the representative and local shop owner assured me this was not the typical packaging and wasn’t always available. I purchased the Flat Irons Prime Rib Rub and Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning based on scent and for the purpose of gifting that cool looking tube, but I couldn’t resist and have used both myself. Delicious and easy: open, rub, cook and enjoy! Can’t wait to use more once grilling season kicks off in Pennsylvania.

Now for my go-to munch while in Austin, Paleo People Snacks. Coined as all natural clusters of nuts, berries, seeds and fruit, it’s one of those things that you’d rather buy then make because of the time it could take. Same reason I buy guacamole. And let me tell you, the banana was DELICIOUS. I bought as many mini packs as I could the first day, probably because I was starving but then I tasted it and had to buy more. I bought a few regular sized pouches the following day to bring home for the kids. They gobbled through a bag of Apple on our next walk and I’ve kept a bag in my purse to nibble from throughout the day, as needed. The Cacao flavor was also appealing but, surprisingly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Cappuccino, although a new friend bought 3 bags of it. Perhaps I’ll try it again.

Sitting behind the table was a gentleman and his wife, the ‘people’ behind Paleo People. They were charming, direct and the original owners of the 1st CrossFit Affiliate in Palm Springs. Pretty cool. They said they started in their garage. Love that. They’ve since sold and moved on from gym ownership and Palm Springs has had a CrossFit boom in the meantime. You can find Paleo People online and in many CrossFit boxes across the nation.

Now for my final and favorite item of the event: Eat Like A Dinosaur. RAWR! When I asked for it at my local Barnes & Noble recently the woman behind the counter asked “Would that be meat or plant-eating dinosaurs?” to which my answer was “Yes!” Unfortunately, they do not yet carry it in this particular store however it is available online through B&N or Amazon. I pre-ordered the book as soon as it was announced by PaleoParents months ago. It was to be a present for my little girl, who LOVES to ‘make’. When I had the opportunity to view it in person at PaleoFX I became so caught up in the amazing order, colorful allergy key and enticing photos that I nearly missed one of my most anticipated panels.

I was lucky enough to be in the right place on the 3rd day and received a free copy of ELaD on my way out of the conference center. It is all I read on my flight home, cover to cover. I was delighted to learn more about a family I have been following on Facebook and Twitter for some time. They have lost a combined total of 200lbs, their children’s behavior and allergies have evolved and they continue on their quest for health by providing the rest of us a book loaded with menu staples, special treats and school lunch ideas. Oh! The best part: There is a storybook within the book which my girls loved. They asked why Cole got in trouble in school, why the family was sad… and they were elated when the family was happy again. My girls related to the family’s fresh market travels, food preferences and silly disposition. They even ask to read it again as their bedtime story.

This book is a fantastic staple for any family, or individual. It is geared towards children with its illustrations and coloring but it’s full of delicious options for any household, whether college students, single women, bachelors or a family of 12. Cuisine is varied, tradition is kept in mind, and the ever important ‘treat’ is given ample time and variety. Every mom knows you must have a good cookie recipe and the chocolate chip cookies in this book are TO DIE FOR. So yum.

I’m so much a fan of this book and what it can do for a someone dealing with gluten intolerance, who is on a new path towards health, or someone looking for answers to behavior issues or modern disease, that I will be sending a FREE copy of Eat Like a Dinosaur to a random supporter who does the following two things:

1. Comment on this post and tell us what the catalyst has been to change the way you eat/live.

2. Become a fan of Pushups and Carrots on Facebook – it’s a new page, created just days ago, to supplement my blog with more information supplied by those on the forefront of healthy living. Don’t hesitate to share, be active, tell your story or post links that may have struck a chord with you. You could change someone else’s life, after all.

 


Paleo and Kids

I have kids and they are not strict Paleo, as I like to goal towards for myself. There are 2 reasons for this: 1, because their father doesn’t follow Paleo and 2, because we allow them to indulge in snacks at school or friends’ houses without restriction. This is not ideal in my mind and I struggle tremendously with the idea that I am not providing them the best in health. However, I am confident in the fact that I do what I can. I set them up for success by creating meals and snacks in a paleo fashion, I am honest with them about nutrition and I continue to talk with my husband about options.

For example I had a recent small victory; my little one is a huge fan of tuna fish. She’ll eat it right out of the bowl I used to prepare it if I give her a spoon. I serve her tuna without bread all the time but my husband serves her a tuna fish sandwich. Finally I asked my husband to no longer make her a sandwich and just give her a lump on her plate or in a bowl. The very next day, she had tuna fish for lunch and my heart was happy and light when I looked at her plate to see there was no bread included in her meal. SUCCESS! …And our journey continues.

My girls, newly 4 and 5 years old.
Photo courtesy of Renee Campbell

If you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of free time so I’ll keep it short and provide a few ideas when transitioning your family to a clean eating lifestyle:

1. Drinks… invest in filtered water bottles. My girls love them! They fill them independently and grab them from the fridge whenever they desire. Giving kids a sense of control and teaching them independence is always a plus. Filtered water bottles are also easy to travel with and don’t cost any money after the initial $10 investment, at least until you replace the filter. I believe it is recommended 600 refills. If you keep an eye out, sometimes you’ll find them on sale! We own the Bobble brand, found at Target in the workout aisle. These also make an excellent present. We gifted 6 last Christmas.

2. Breakfast & Snacks… Change your mindset on what a breakfast meal or snack option can be. Healthy meals should be full of protein and fat for yourself AND your kids which includes breakfast. Starting the day with a bowl or plate full of grain and sugar is not the right foot to send your child off on, to be met with behavior and mood fluctuations when their blood sugar crashes. You will feel satiated, strong and clear-headed throughout the day when you start the morning with a nice serving of protein. Eat real food when you are hungry and in turn, feed real food to a hungry child, not nutrient empty and sugar heavy crackers, pretzels and cookies. Snacks can be leftovers, eggs, nuts, whole fruits, cut veggies. Breakfast essentials will also include leftovers from dinner, eggs, meat, plants. It’s as easy as handing them a banana.

3. Stock… YOU control the items brought into your house. Stock it with healthy, natural foods: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables and fruit. Easy, right? Not so fast; In my household, we are divided on our preferred stock and my husband enjoys having a stock of snacks, sweets and soda. These are kept in a specific spot/cupboard and when the girls ask to have something from that cupboard, I simply remind them “let’s pick a healthy option right now, we can save the sweets for another time” and we move on. It’s not always easy, but it’s certainly not out of my control. Children thrive with boundaries and information and they look to their parents for these things. Every interaction has the opportunity to be a learning experience.

4. Be prepared… Invest in a thermal bag, if you don’t already have one. Real food needs to be kept fresh, after all. Confession: I have 4 thermal/insulated bags of various shapes and sizes. Throw an ice pack in and then fill with staples like cut veggies or whole fruits, yogurt, hardboiled eggs, or leftover scrambled eggs from breakfast, rolled up (nitrate free) lunch meats, nuts, berries and water.

5. Cook Day… Now that I have the hang of things, I do this once a week. It was twice a week while I was still getting used to this lifestyle. Cook Day ends up being a day when there is little scheduled outside the home so I can spend time preparing meals, sides and options for the coming days. Whether it’s because I won’t be home to cook or because I’d like to have a few items on hand for breakfast and lunches for the girls, it’s fun to cook and stash. Cooking with simple foods, herbs and spices is easy and pleasurable. This is of course an extension of #4 “Be prepared”.

6. Keep It Simple…When looking for a preferred option in the grocery, check the ingredients list. If there are more than 5 ingredients, hesitate to buy it at all. If the ingredients are easily pronounced, GREAT! If there is soy or wheat, corn or sugar, especially in the first 3 listed, move onto the next option.

GREAT! You’re family is set and ready to go, what next? School. 

1. Communication… Talk to your teachers, principal, director, other parents, volunteers, whomever you come in contact with. These are all people you should be talking to regularly anyway as they are a big part of your child’s future. Don’t second guess yourself either, your kid is not the only one with an allergy, disease, disorder or preference when it comes to food (that’s the whole point). The more you talk about your preferences and dislikes, the more people will listen and respond. This is the future, friends. Share your healthy lifestyle through example, others will follow in their own way, each making steps towards wellness. What better legacy?

2. Control… When approached with bringing an item for a class party, go for the gold, choose “Cookies” or “Cake” or “Candy”, seriously. You can make near anything in a much friendlier fashion. Plus, kids don’t care! It’s a cookie! And if they don’t eat it? Good. Instead of juice, provide mini water bottles. Kids appreciate their small stature and grown up affiliation. Best part: the store brand is $3 or less for 24. Done.

3. Pick Your Battles… Stay calm and focused. Remember, you are a parent, not a martyr. Send your child with healthy lunch or snack and hope that all the communication and examples you’ve set forth take the lead. When they don’t, however, learn from the situation, try to do better next time and MOVE ON. You can not dwell on set backs. Stress can be just as bad as food choice on our health.

So, what do you think? Have feedback, ideas or a situation you’d like to ask, offer or share? Please do so in the comments section of this post or on the new Facebook page specifically for Pushups And Carrots. Share with your friends, continue the conversation, and create accountability for yourself.


PaleoFX – CHOICE

If you were in attendance at PaleoFX, you may quote the mythical Mark Sisson with “Life is an experiment” for me, however, it was a resounding message heard first and often from my father, a behavioral psychologist, one G. David Smith. Both men are fairly laid back, read a lot and take an active approach towards life. Sisson, however (sorry dad), brought it home for me in a new way and solidified the ideals my father has instilled in me and that I often share with others.

Before I get into that I must comment on my use of the term ‘mythical’ in reference to Sisson. To witness him with my own eyes and hear him speak on lifestyle choice and his approach is, I said it, legendary. As I awaited Jack Kruse to take the podium and present his keynote on the eve of PaleoFX, I turned my head to the left and spotted what I thought was surely a hologram walking among us. It was bronzed, blond and wearing a signature blue shirt. I literally just stared at it until it turned toward me. I quickly looked down, turned around and tried to catch my breath as I realized ‘it’ was Mark Sisson! I wasn’t even a ‘huge’ fan (really big fan? yes) coming into the conference, so I was doubly shocked by my inability to approach or communicate with Sisson directly. I never did speak with him, although I’m certain he would have been welcoming and helpful as he interacted in a genuine and casual manner with guests. I just didn’t have a reason other than the fact that I’m still not sure he’s real. His individual lecture and Q/A the following day sealed the deal on the fact that he is super human, at least in my mind, I’m sure he and his family may disagree but I’m going to go with it. He displayed everything I strive towards; health, strength, and most importantly for me, calm.

Mark Sisson’s individual talk centered on, you guessed it, lifestyle CHOICE. Each of us chooses what path(s) we’d like to explore or take in life and he even went as far as to connect the fact that we sometimes choose disease. We choose happiness, opportunity, friendship. Sometimes, we choose to let our health slide a bit (or a lot) for the sake of our family or careers, personal goals. In the end, it is our choice and we must own that in order to change or celebrate where we are in life. This is something I often stress in my blogs, it is your CHOICE to focus on healthy eating, complete and whole living. Mark Sisson brought it together for me with the mere fact that he is a living, breathing example of choice. His demeanor was relaxed and welcoming. He was not just calm, he was so chilled out (or seemingly so, good job Mark!) that I felt calm too. With the excitement of the previous panel and new ideas and information still running through my brain, I was immediately soothed by his presence. Deep.

On Sisson’s blog, he answers what his typical day-to-day looks like and it’s a simple one: a mix between business, family and activity. He focuses his activity on PLAY, mentioning in his lecture, if he’s not having fun it’s not something he’s interested in doing. Good call, Mark. Remember, stress plays an integral role in health. No matter how fit you look on the outside, it could be killing you on the inside. Stress, lack of sleep and over training were spoken of often during PaleoFX as a way to burn through your stem cells at a more rapid speed, leading to a shortened lifespan. Which brings us back to CHOICE. You choose to be a Wall Street Millionaire and work your ass off 20 hours a day. That could bring you great personal satisfaction in life. Others choose to over train and hold onto extremely low body fat, compete in fitness and strength or sports arenas and fulfill lifelong dreams. With choice comes consequence, positive and negative. This is all okay. It’s a matter of perspective and personal interest.

Enter dietary choice. When folks visit the Paleo Diet for the first or fifth time, they are sometimes overwhelmed and to that I always say “you’re doing it wrong.” Paleo is not just about food choice but a simpler way of living. If protein and plants is too complicated for one to approach, then choose to do it differently. Plan a pasta night, or include white rice and sweet pots in moderation. Anything is better than a grain focused, sugar heavy diet, in my opinion. I usually urge folks to work their way towards drinking the beloved cup of coffee black, no sugar, no dairy. The fantastic thing is: YOU CAN CHOOSE however you’d like to drink that delicious, warm, mug full of joe. Mark Sisson made a statement that may have floored many in attendance, “I enjoy heavy cream and a little sugar in my coffee.” GASP. Sugar?! He CHOSE sugar?

Now, before everyone runs out and buys a bag of sugar for their morning coffee (UNrefined if you must), remember my first sentence “Life is an experiment.” I usually suggest approaching Paleo by getting back to basics: Protein and plants, water. This allows your body to detox and purge the anti-nutrient dense foods and chemicals in our systems. It allows our taste buds to be re-born and come to taste food again, instead of living in an inflamed state, requiring more and more additives, sugar and salt in your food for ‘taste’. THEN, after several weeks begin your experiment(s) and HAVE FUN with it. Be thoughtful (remember my MovNat experience mentioned in the previous blog?) in your actions and you’ll notice how your body reacts after you eat certain foods. Want cream in your coffee? Choose less processed options: pastured whole milk, heavy cream. Afterwards, be mindful of your body and see if there is a reaction to the dairy. Many of us are allergic and don’t know it. Many of us choose diary anyway because the side effects aren’t that bad and ice cream brings back childhood memories and comforts us. After eating the sun-dried tomato chicken salad provided by Caveman Cuisine on the 2nd day of PaleoFX, although delicious, I was reminded why I stay away from tomatoes. Every piece of food we choose affects our body and how it functions.

Find more PaleoFX recapping at AncestralizeMe.com

PaleoFX was packed full of individuals on a quest for health and fitness, whether because of disease control & prevention or for one’s ego, the reason was not up for debate. There were folks of all shapes and sizes, from many different cultures and religions but all with a similar interest in the food and movement we choose. Sisson emphasized that we are all together to share and learn from one another. We are each vehicles of information and, as I hope I remain true to, we are not here to push ideals on others. Paleo is MY choice, it is not my husband’s. I struggle with allowing my children to eat items full of grain and sugar but I choose compromise and family over control. They are, after all, my husband’s children too.

In the end, Choice is the most powerful gift we, as humans, have been given. Food choice, for example, will allow you the pleasures of taste, freedom from disease, a commonality among friends and/or all of the above. It is as simple as a “Thank you” or “No, thank you”. You must certainly use your manners (my mama didn’t raise me otherwise) but also your willpower. Some folks will find it more pleasurable to indulge in the occasional sugary snack then go off their medication for Type II Diabetes, and that’s okay. It’s their CHOICE. See, powerful. Others will find it perfectly acceptable to over train to meet an elite body type despite the potential of shortening their lifespan. CHOICE. After 16 months Paleo, I am just now choosing not to take a nibble of the box-brownies my girls made with their daddy. I have chosen a piece or a bite in the past to be met with stomach pains and a headache. That being said, please don’t try to ‘catch’ me choosing poorly, as people often do. It’s MY choice, after all.

Now that my choices have brought me from 162lbs to 122lbs, I am focusing my choices on reversing possible hormone imbalances, sleep and, of course, PLAY. Thank you for the further inspiration, Mark. My experiment continues with Day 4 of 10 hours of night sleep in a row. My skin is clear and moist, my body feels strong, my head clear.


PaleoFX – Babies, Toddlers and Children

As many of you know, and evident in my Twitter feed over the past 3 days, I’ve been camped out in Austin, Texas this week attending the PaleoFX Ancestral Momentum – Theory to Practice Symposium. (I KNOW!) It’s been an exciting experience to be part of such a strong group of like-minded individuals focused on health and wellness despite the pressures of modern culture. Keeping that in mind, I will be posting several blogs over the next few weeks that pertain to the information that touched me most during this 3 day event.

First up: Food and Fitness in Children

This is a very personal topic for me, and I’m sure every other parent reading, as I have 2 young girls growing up in a very sick world. If you would do anything to protect your children, then diet (noun, not verb) should be your #1 concern. Fight for their health by feeding them well. (Feed yourself the same.)

According to the CDC, in 2008,
nearly 20% of 7-11 year olds were obese.

There was a most exciting panel on Thursday that included Angelo Coppola as moderator, Chris Kresser, Marissa Pelligrino, Stacy Toth, Dave Asprey, Sarah Pope and Michelle Tam. There were a few prepared questions for the panel to answer, followed by a Q & A session with the audience. I hope to link you to the online video of this session soon, as PaleoFX is recording all events.

Now to touch on some items that stood out to me and which I feel an obligation to share and explore with my fellow warrior-parents.

1. Fitness: Get that kid moving early. In fact, their first movements could come within the first 20 minutes of life. Plopped lovingly and naturally upon their mothers belly, they will lick their own afterbirth from the hand, then crawl their way towards the nipple, fueled by natural instinct and the smell of amino acids. AMAZING. Jump ahead a several months, once your child is able to grip, they can hang, hold, and lift items from ground to overhead. Watch how they squat naturally (flat feet, chest up, butt down, you should try it sometime), allow them space to scoot, crawl or shimmy their way towards their most optimal food source: Mom.

Melissa Pelligrino is a trainer at Relentless Fitness in Philadelphia, PA and runs classes for children (and their family) as young as 18 months. She focuses on simple, natural movements and strengths like hanging, rolling, jumping and balance. She also stressed that the WHOLE family must be involved in any wellness program. Your children learn what they’re taught and the great majority comes from their parents. If mom and dad aren’t moving and eating well, why should they?

Speaking of fitness, but unrelated to this specific panel: I had the pleasure of participating in a MovNat workshop on Thursday morning. This is a natural movements fitness program created by Erwan Le Corre and/or every human being and animal on the planet who has come before us, depending on how you look at it. MovNat is based on real, practical movement done in the most efficient manner. It is a comprehensive conditioning program and now I can say that with real experience. Over the course of 2 hours we trained with one of Erwan’s understudies, Brian, and engaged in balance exercises, ground movements, rolling techniques and traversing (when it wasn’t raining, talk about nature!). My calves hurt today and it was a real test of coordination and balance throughout every move, which is not my forte. It was a load of fun!

Back to kids: The following day, I enjoyed Erwan’s lecture and Q & A session. The real, simple and logical information he presented had me thinking about my (almost) 13-year-old nephew. Erwan spoke (in his endearing accent) of mindfulness in movement, action, posture, thought, etc. How the level of mindfulness and thoughtfulness involved in essential and proper movement leads to mindfulness in all aspects of life. My nephew is brilliant, and yet…insufficiently alert. The MovNat concept would be an amazing addition to a child’s life. As Erwan said best, “If you teach a child, you will not have to rebuild an adult.” Powerful and true and primal. He also mentioned creating Physical Education Curriculum as a forthcoming project from MovNat – EXCITING.

Keep in mind, the playground is full of options. Don’t let your children shy away from the monkey bars, boost them up and see how long they can hang or hold themselves above a bar, you’d be surprised! In fact, I traversed the monkey bars for the first time in my life (yes folks, my life) on thursday right before I pulled myself up and over a pull-up bar (despite being unable to do an unassisted pull-up). Climbing all over, running, jumping and screeching up a storm is natural and positive. If you’re child is not given the opportunity to be active, their bodies are not in their natural state, already upsetting their internal system. Let’s not forget the delicious amount of natural (and free) Vitamin D they will be exposed to while playing outdoors. Encourage exploration, if you’re worried about them soiling their knickers, you’re doing it wrong.

2. Food: Okay, let’s dive in! This was very exciting for me. My husband and I, whether out of sheer laziness or personal preference, never ‘fed’ our infants solids. I felt an infant should ‘eat’ solids when they could eat solids. And by that I mean, when they were able to pick up real food and put it in their mouth. My pediatrician never pushed me towards anything, although he did suggest rice cereal as a first food around 6 months. I politely declined after which he said, “Good choice.” Speaking of rice cereal, let’s go there.

Sarah Pope turned my head so fast with the following statement, which I will paraphrase, that I immediately posted this information on my Facebook page, where I infrequently share things I feel everyone should hear at least once. As the panel discussed feeding infants, only after they could sit upright, displaying proper core muscle development which aids in proper digestion (MAKES TOO MUCH SENSE!), they touched on why rice cereal is a bad idea for your infant.

An aside: As I was typing that very paragraph, a friend commented on my Facebook post with a good point (thanks Josh!) “I’m pretty sure there are worse things to feed a baby than rice. Let’s set the hyperbole aside for a minute.” Of course! I would never feed an infant chips or soda, or a million other things. Especially as their 1st experience with food. I’m coming from the point of view that rice cereal is the most recommended first food by pediatricians. Therefore, my post stating it is the worst food to feed your infant is referring to this popular suggestion and to the average intelligent and informed way of feeding your infants in general (meaning: NOT JUNK). Make sense?

Back to what Sarah said: Rice cereal is the worst first food you could feed your infant because babies do not have the ability to properly digest carbohydrates until later in life. Therefor, the rice sits in their gut and rots. Eczema, autoimmune, and allergies all stem from their sick guts. Her full blog post on this topic is found here: The Right Way to Feed Babies. I could also argue that despite developing the proper enzymes for carb digestion, humans never really digest grain, evident in the grain fibers found in your stool.

When Sarah, in a very adamant tone, made the correlation between an infant’s inability to properly digest non-green carbohydrates (rice, cereal, bagels, crackers, etc) properly and gut rot, my head almost exploded. This resonates with me so heavily because of the information I’ve read on gut health and how it is directly related to most modern disease, including autoimmune diseases, mental illness, gluten sensitivity, and much more. How many of you have a child, or who has themselves, battled with skin issues, or have been diagnosed with celiac, or possibly deal with one or more of a slew of autoimmune malfunctions? In my mind, I immediately thought: We’re starting their lives out with a sick gut. It only gets sicker from there if you’re feeding/eating a standard diet, high in processed foods and grain, beginning their path towards disease. HUGE.

As Dr. Lane Sebring, of the Sebring Clinic, stated during a solo session on Friday entitled Disease Reversal with the Paleo Diet, “What can Paleo treat? EVERYTHING.” Dr. Jack Kruse also made a good point when I spoke with him privately about my family’s Rheumatoid Arthritis, “Fix the gut and then you can begin to fix everything else. You can’t replace the floor in a burning building and expect it to be safe from the fire. You got to put the fire out first.” Dr. Jack is a wild guy, full of passion, a neurosurgeon and trailblazer in the medical community by focusing on nutrition instead of the scalpel. More to come on both of these men in the very near future.

3. The good news: You can heal the gut. It takes time and is a longterm process, expect real healing after two years (or more) but it will begin to get better as soon as you stop putting processed foods and grain into your children’s (or your own) belly which includes elimination of all the fancy new gluten-free products that look just like the old poor choices. Pro and Prebiotics are a huge asset in the healing process and should be staples in your diet. Prebiotics are consumed through lots of vegetable and fruit options like onions, bananas, honey, garlic, artichokes, among others. Probiotics are found in foods like sauerkraut, yogurt (not all are created equal) and other fermented and cultured products. Choosing full fat options will provide you with a great amount of nutrients the body doesn’t otherwise obtain, as well as keep you full and satiated. It’s also not as processed, I mean, how do they get the fat out of stuff anyway?

4. Sacred Foods: I’ll make this brief as I know this is a lot for most people to take in at one time. The introduction of ancient, sacred foods to an infant or expectant mother has a dramatic effect on their health, proper growth and essential brain development. Fish eggs, liver, bone marrow broth are all rich in minerals and fat-soluble activators which allow all the good stuff to be absorbed by the body. This is different than most common foods which the body does not absorb efficiently. The sacred foods of indigenous people are viewed as the strongest possible foundation for development. A baby’s first foods would ideally include pastured egg yolks and liver.

As the Weston A Price Foundation puts it: “Generations ago, sacred foods were revered, non-optional and non-negotiable additions to the diet. Today, the burden rests on all of us to reestablish these truths in our nutritionally confused culture. Only with our effort will inclusion of sacred foods in the diet become a common practice, passed down to future generations for the health of their own families, communities, and nations.”

Other sacred foods to add to everyone’s diet (because it does provide a greater source of nutrition for grown children and adults as well) include: anchovies, sardines and whitebait, other small fish, cod liver oil, organ meats, raw pastured dairy, pastured animal fat, insects.

Do what you can, get creative in the kitchen and you’ll forget you added it to your tacos, dip, soup, etc.

5. Win/Lose: This is not a black and white issue. If you weren’t able or chose not to breastfeed, like myself (yes, I know, I’m going to hell), had a c-section, fed your infant rice, started before they could sit upright or never ate a sacred food, you haven’t lost the battle. The ship can turn but it’s important that you realize you can’t turn a ship without a captain. Practice what you preach, look at these new ideas as experiments and have fun! Your children will grow tall and strong and happy. Influence is powerful and they look at you, their parent, like a god. Go with it. Give them the most positive influence you possibly can (whether from birth, age 3, 8, 17…) and they will learn to live well. They will be fueled with experience to make good choices. You can then thank yourself.

In Short: Do I think everyone has to eat Paleo or exactly like me? Absolutely NOT. Do I feel GRAIN and processed foods need to be eliminated from the diet for an optimal chance at health? Yes. The beautiful thing about life: we have the ability to CHOOSE. I am but a vehicle of information.

More to come from PaleoFX!


Water – 1st Line of Defense

“I can’t drink water.” “Water is gross.” I’ve heard both these statements several times recently. Break out of your comfort zone and reclaim your body by giving it the most valuable substance on earth: WATER.

Most people would do anything to save the life of their child, mother, or lover. Yet, when it comes to themselves, they choose pain and discomfort over a clean, healthy diet. The first change towards cleaner eating is upping your water intake. I know it’s easier to continue eating and drinking the way you are accustomed, but to choose to live in a state of chronic dehydration and continue to suffer from modern disease, because you won’t simply drink a glass of water every 4 hours, is absurd.

To say “I can’t” to anything has become too foreign a concept for me to feel compassion towards. Choose a different word if you must but I’ve dealt with pretty intense personal discipline in the last year, not to mention the trial-and-error of life we all go through, and at this point am convinced that ANYone can do ANYthing more then ever before. It’s a choice we make: to do better, feel better, be better. It’s.Your.CHOICE.

Water makes up 50-65% of the human body, and more in men then women. If you break it down by organs, the percentage of water used to properly function is even higher in the brain and heart, around 75%, in the lungs and blood we’re looking at about 85%.

Coffee, tea, juice, sports drinks… Although water is the base for these treats, very little, if any, is absorbed into the body. Instead these choices act as diuretics and pass right through, causing more frequent urination and, if this is your only source of liquid, dehydration. When cells are lacking the necessary amounts of water to transport all the good stuff to whatever part of the body needs it most, they slow down. Your organs then go into over or under drive depending on the situation, causing havoc which presents itself as a number of modern diseases.

Chronic dehydration is very common. While there is surely a pill to help whatever you’ve been diagnosed with, (lack of) water is at the core of many modern problems. The addition of pure water in your diet will begin to show results as soon as you replenish your cells, bones and organs. Cut back on the sugar drinks and stop relying on coffee as your ‘water’ intake of the day. It should only be counted as your coffee. Your body has grown so accustom to operating in a state of dehydration that it no longer signals you with thirst as a first sign. The way you feel is the biggest sign. Heartburn, arthritis, GERD, bladder pain, migraines, UTI, back pain, angina, colitis, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol – ALL things an increase in water can help cure, prevent or manage.

After reading this, I would hope no one, especially those suffering from any of the above mentioned disorders, will continue to shy away from drinking water. Do your own research. If you still ‘can’t’ drink water, than I’m afraid you have much bigger problems then any disease or disorder that may be crippling your quality of life. Think of your family, your future, your LIFE.

Will you begin to drink more water? A minimum of 8 glasses a day is recommended, I would suggest more whenever possible and a filtered water bottle to keep in your purse, bag, car, back pocket, or where ever else suits you. Just like Vitamin B, your body is in constant need of more water. Have a glass before and/or after every glass of anything else you choose to drink. Gulp it, sip it, chug it; cold, warm, whatever. It’s a fresh start down the path to increased wellness.

 


Good Mood Food

This term is also a slogan of a fast food chain near my home. I cringe every day as I drive by the gigantic sign. The processed, breaded and sugary foods they promote are actually the exact opposite of ‘good mood food’. I challenge you to prove me wrong after turning your diet towards a clean menu. I’ve already told you why I’m committed to Paleo, now let me tell you why the food you choose will help you regain control of your mood.

Medical doctors are not necessarily educated on nutrition, and I’m not sure why, as the food we eat affects our bodies entirely. From weight and disease to behavior and mood, we are able to manipulate so many variables by the food choices we make, not to mention the medications we are prescribed. It’s amazing how the positive effects of natural foods follow right in line with the paleo way of eating. (Are you really surprised?)

Depression seems to be a huge trend among the folks I know and I know it’s not just me. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration say 17 million adults experienced a major depressive episode within the last 5 years. Whether it’s seasonal or a lifelong battle, it’s a weight I hate to hear anyone is carrying. Just yesterday, a woman confided she was hospitalized last year because of a severe depressive episode. BREAK MY HEART. She was morbidly obese, pre-diabetic, and riddled with arthritis. All things which clean eating can effect a positive way.

If you’ve read my ‘Committed’ blog then you know I’ve dealt with mental illness for a long time. I am currently experiencing the longest span of clear-headedness that I can remember, with the most control and awareness over my moods that I’ve ever had. It does not come easy, of course, nothing does. I work hard at this. When I become lax in clean eating, which has happened, I immediately see signs of returned illness in the ways of unexplained sadness, lethargy, ease of aggravation and a slew of other unwanted characteristics.

The best “Good Mood Food” I can suggest:

Protein: Proteins rich in amino acids and tyrosine can help boost energy and clear your foggy head, allowing you to concentrate and perform better. Tyrosine helps in the production of dopamine, a mood enhancing neurotransmitter often lacking in folks with depression. Although research is lacking on increasing your tyrosine intake to battle depression, it seems to make sense, no? Protein also fuels your body for longer periods than empty carbs or foods heavy in sugar. There is no spike, either positive or negative, in blood sugar levels when you focus on protein and plants in your diet, also allowing for a stable mood. Foods rich in tyrosine include: poultry, fish, almonds, bananas.

Carbs: Carbs are not all created equal. What I call ‘green carbs’ include fruits and vegetables. Starchy, grain-heavy carbs are where you get your belly fat, weight gain and unstable mood. Fill your body with fresh or frozen produce to allow yourself a healthy and necessary intake of carbohydrates. Choose sweet potatoes or yams over white pots for that heavier/filling feeling a lot of people miss. (The fresher you eat, the less you will miss feeling weighed down and full of stuff.) It may take some adjustments in both desire and habit, but a clean diet is worth it. TRUST ME! Once you detox from sugars and grain, your body will react positively to the increased nutrition it will begin to receive. Mood will be effected immediately. Watch out for those nasty habits, though, take a bite of that sticky bun at the next brunch or office share and your body will crave it all over again. Just say NO (as often as you can).

Vitamin B: Vitamin Bs do not stay in your body, so your daily food intake is imperative to maintaining a healthy level of B. A deficiency in B will bring on fatigue, mania and depression. HELLO! The Top 10 foods heavy in Vitamin B include seafood, beef and eggs. I keep a liquid form of Vitamin B Complex on my bedside table and a pill form on the vitamin shelf. I take then when I feel yucky, bummed or aggravated. I will try to take some in the future when I am overwhelmed by my own energy. It will be interesting to see if that could help the ‘mania’ I experience sometimes, and help to regain control in calming down. Life is an experiment.

Water: Chronic dehydration is more common than you may assume. Coffee and teas, along with many other water based options, act as a diuretic and wash out through urination, instead of being absorbed by the very thing that needs it most, your body. You MUST drink water or you’ll experience things like heartburn, reflux, joint pain or exacerbated arthritis, asthma, constipation and of course DEPRESSION. Any of this sound familiar to you? It all comes back to the production of amino acids needed to produce serotonin in the brain, which take a lot of water to move through the body. Do you drink enough water? 8 glasses minimum. Drink more. I may have to write more about this…

SO MANY simple choices affect our quality of life. Choose wisely. And when you choose poorly, make a better choice next time. No one is perfect, including myself. I don’t waste time beating myself up over poor choices, I just decide to choose to do better. This is ALL about you. You are not failing as long as you are still living. My wish is that you, the collective people of the world, choose to live as healthy, informed, and completely as possible.

It’s a good time.


Busy as Hell

I’m a member of a group of women who like to gather and ‘Lunch’ occasionally, which basically means drink wine, eat delicious food and chat each other up till the clock strikes and we all run back to our real lives. Today a member of the Ladies Who Lunch, who also happens to be a sister of mine, asked if we’ll be getting together in March. I quickly checked my calendar (thank you iPhone for organizing my life) and realized there is not one free moment this month. BUSY AS HELL! I kindly declined and then got thinking about preparing a few items for the kids, who have reverted to Cheerios 6 days a week for breakfast, much to my dismay, and for myself as far as breakfast and snack options during these hectic days running to and from schools and work and appointments. Today is the only day I have nothing scheduled. It’s been a real treat with no sense of urgency weighing on my back.

Currently, we have a new version of our infamous Paleo Muffin in the oven. This time I went with the basic ingredients and added a chopped, organic apple to the mix after reviewing Sarah Fragoso’s Paleo Apple Muffin recipe in my recently returned hardcopy of “Everyday Paleo” – Thanks Katie. The recipe looks something like this:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grade b maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • bigger pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 chopped apple
  • 375, 25(ish) minutes until tops begin to brown
Another delicious treat I’ve been slacking on is mashed sweet potatoes, which take too long to make on the fly. I picked up a few, along with other essentials, while the kids played in the grocery store childcare this afternoon. That’s right folks, our grocery ‘giant’ has a childcare room that allows for 1.5 hours of grocery shopping bliss. Although sometimes I spend that time in the cafe reading, blogging, or working. It’s quite the commodity. Okay, back to topic: I have the potatoes peeled, sliced and boiling as we speak. Remember, after mashing, sweet pots only need a bit of coconut oil or butter added, too much and you’ll have a soupy mess. I store the end result in glass tupperware and refrigerate, portioning out at dinnertime and often baking it off in the oven while the meal is prepared. Butter and salt on top is total YUM. Incidentally, my girls saw me slicing ‘those orange taters’ and got very excited, looks like we’ll be adding some to the side of tonight’s dinner as well.

So… in the time I’ve been preparing the muffins and potatoes and attempting to write this blog, the first batch has finished and are a HUGE HIT with myself and my girls. We even made a mini batch and cooked them off in the Easy Bake oven. My soon-to-be 4-year-old, Roe, just gobbled up 5 mini muffins and my newly 5-year-old ate 4 before being cut off, as dinner is looming. Roe made me promise to include a muffin on her dinner plate – OKAY by me. These muffins will make a great treat for breakfast and will also be good to travel with as I have a trip looming, but don’t worry, I’ll blog about that soon enough! (HINT: I am a certifiable Paleo Geek)

I was truly disappointed when I went for a stem of Brussel sprouts and they were out of stock at the grocery today. I’m not sure what else I will be preparing, but thinking ahead for this week, and keeping in mind my stock of frozen meats, the crock pot looks like a million bucks right about now. What have you made recently that is non-grain, gluten-free and super delicious? I need ideas, help a girl out!

P.S. Nature’s Promise Uncured Bacon is on sale this week. I always stock up when this sale occurs – $2 off – and their stock often runs out, so get it while you can!