About Fasting

Picture that:

Mr. Paleolithic-Man is moving camp with a few friends, either for lack of food or water, climate change or because they have become the hunted. He gathers his tools and animal skins, a few nuts or sun-dried meat from camp in a satchel and they set off on a journey which could be miles or days away. As he and his friends travel to their next destination, they hunt when and what they can, as needed. Some days are better than others. They hope the few morsels they carry tide will them over till their next big find. Their strong, defined bodies continue on until they reach their destination. They set up camp and Mr. Paleolithic-Man sets off on a hunt while friends gather local plants to refuel themselves after hours/days of hard work.

 

Picture this:

You and your family decide to spend the day at the local amusement park, pool, carnival, block party or boardwalk. You drive your car to the destination then walk and play and enjoy yourselves until hungry or tired. You eat whatever you find tantalizing in the moment, enticed by colorful signs and bright lights, gooey concoctions and fried foods. Packaged snacks are so easy to pass out, so you do. You eat until your stomachs are heavy then you move onto the car for the drive home. You enter your house where all bodies flop onto the couch and recover. It’s not the long day you’re recovering from, mind you, it’s your body trying to salvage enough energy out of the grains and sugar you chose to fuel it with to get up and prepare dinner, tidy the house or get the kids ready for bed.


Now ponder this:

If you’re on a path of health the standard fast food options are the last thing you choose to eat. You point out the funky neon signs and the funny characters of the vendors at the park to your friends and family as you pass but you wait to eat until you find a reasonable option, or you go into your satchel (ie: purse, baby bag, backpack, etc) and pull out a banana or homemade jerky, perhaps you were better prepared with an insulated bag and share fruit and chicken and vegetables with your mates. OR *gasp* you just wait. It could be less than an hour till you’re at home where you have a refrigerator that has fresh, nutritious food waiting inside. Perhaps it will be 4 hours or 12 hours until you have access to reasonable, fresh, clean food. I promise, you will not die.

When people hear the word “Fast” they often think of religious sacrifice or fad-dieting. Fasting is a word I’m using for a less intense experiences and is something our bodies were designed to endure. I’m also not referring to Intermittent fasting, although an amazing option for building muscle and strength, which I’ve had my own positive experience with. Whether it’s 20 minutes after your stomach growling or a day, you can wait to eat. If you’ve been fueling your body with real food, it will find energy within. You will lean out over time and change eating patterns. Your insulin levels will steady out, your health will refresh and you won’t feel like you’re going to rip someone’s arm off their body and devour it after a little practice and patience.

Now, your child, on the other hand, may act as if they have completely lost their minds when they become hungry. This is our fault, not theirs. We have programmed them (and ourselves) to eat 3 times a day and pop a snack whenever they feel like it, half the time we’re only eating because we’re bored. Always grab an apple or a banana when you leave the house to help little ones through times of fasting until they are no longer ‘scheduled’ to eat. As adults, we have logic on our side. We also have decades of routine, so it is a hard choice to opt for fresh food until you’ve had a lot of practice. I’m working with 18 months of experience in clean (and mostly paleo) eating, it gets better, but you have to change your thinking. Your body and your health will thank you for it.

It’s not always easy to wait for fresh, clean food, but it’s always the right choice.

Setting yourself up for success is the best option. Eat before you head out, fueling your body with a hearty portion of protein befor a long day. Know where you’re going and plan ahead with snacks or a mental map of the day so your brain knows your body will be fed at some point. It’s more of a mental game then anything else. Drink water and stay hydrated, it’ll keep those pesky headaches away, too. Most importantly, however, enjoy yourself! Life is for living. Eating clean is easy, stop over-thinking, stop over-complicating and relax in the simple decision of plants & protein.

 

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(Always) Try Something New

Grasp your opportunities, no matter how poor your health; nothing is worse for your health than boredom.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

As a child, I remember moaning and groaning “I’m booooored.” Ugh. How could I have been so bored all the time? As an adult, there are always new adventures on the horizon. Life is exciting, but only because I keep it that way. This whole adventure I’ve been on with Paleo has reintroduced food as an exciting daily adventure. My fitness choices, although in spurts, also offer excitement and fulfillment in a way that has given me a new sense of pride over my body and abilities.

I have been making an effort to keep life fun, exciting and new in the simplest ways. Just a few days ago on the cusp of Independence Day, I was lucky enough to visit with old friends in Pittsburgh. It was a long drive but the time alone in the car was soothing and refreshing for me as it was my first solo road trip in 6 years! On the way home, I decided to take a detour by way of the Flight 93 Memorial in Stoystown, PA.

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National Memorial for Flight 93 in Stoystown, PA. Each marble slab has the name of a passenger. The slabs stand tall along the flight path of the plane as it crashed. The black wall and walkway outline the north side of the crash site.

I should mention, I was born on Independence Day and although I always found it a little cheesy to share a birthday with a National Holiday, I do feel pride in being an all-American girl born on the 4th of July. This also makes me a cancer; sensitive and emotional, which is spot on. I saw 1 sign on my way out to Pittsburgh which mentioned the Memorial and cried for the next 20 miles at the thought of the terror the passengers must have felt as they fell to the earth. Or were they at peace? Even more tears came at that thought. I decided to step outside my comfort zone and make a detour on the way home by way of the Memorial. I felt it fitting, being I am an Independence baby and the folks on that flight helped secure our independence a bit longer, at least from outside sources *wink*.

The private road leading to the crash site was nearly 4 miles long and winding. At one point it curved and inclined at such a rate it felt as if i were taking off. It was quiet and beautiful and touching. Deep in the meadows and tree clustered mountains off Rt 30 was a boulder marking the site of impact. I stared at it a long while. I shed a few tears and paid my respects to the lives of 40 men and women who had no business being forced into heroism for the entire nation, but who gave their lives so others were spared. I was happy to have such a pleasant experience in this now National Park.

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Through the gate of native Hemlock is a path leading to the boulder which marks the point of impact of Flight 93.

Over the next few days, I turned 32, celebrated with my loved ones and rejoiced in the life I’m leading. This morning I decided to use the last of my homemade, pastured stock (a sacred food full of amazing benefits, also a great hangover cure, just sayin’) as well as the last of my produce since thursday is my market day. Carrots, onions and kohlrabi. Kohlrabi?! Adventure on!

You must know by now my obsession with all things cabbage, after all, our Brussel Sprouts post is the most popular on the blog. Last week when I was perusing the stands at Farmers on Walnut I ended up staring at this weird-looking vegetable for a while before I asked “Could you tell me about this?” When the producer responded with “Do you like cabbage?” I almost died, “WHO DOESN’T!?” From there he explained how to slice it in rounds and sauté, or bake in some olive oil or butter and that it will taste like a sweet cabbage. YUM. This morning I sliced it up and added it to my stew. Variety is the spice of life!

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Onions, Kohlrabi, Carrots

Kohlrabi is almost out of season in Central PA so I’ll pick up another this afternoon and then it might be quits for now. I’m sorry I didn’t try it sooner, lesson learned: Never hesitate to ask about items at the farmer’s market. They sell what’s in season and we’re used to our standard tastes in veggies being available all year-long so it’s normal for them to receive lots of “What is this?”

Little adventures, or big, it’s all relative. Make sure your life is as special as you’d like it to be, you are, after all, in control. What small or large adventures have you had lately? What do you hope to do next? I’m starting a daily fitness program I found on Pinterest. In fact, I’m going to do my first set right now!