My 1st Post on CrossFit

CrossFit taught me that I can do anything.

I dig the gym enough and it helped me to lose a good chunk of that post-baby weight, but now that I’ve had a taste of the magic formula that is CrossFit, I don’t think I could ever go back. In fact, Santa hooked me up with the essentials for Christmas so I can work at home when I can’t make it into the Box (aka, CrossFit gym). Let’s put it this way: Would you rather drag yourself into a crowded building with rows of machines in front of televisions where you’ll barely look into another person’s eyes …OR… would you rather circle-up with a dozen other athletes in a brightened warehouse ready to rock a serious workout, cheer each other on, while practicing form and strength? I AGREE!

Disclaimer: the first description did sound good as I read this back, I can tend to keep to myself or become anxious in group settings, but trust me, the later is so much better. Exhilarating. 

The Box is a place filled with positivity. Camaraderie. Support. The Coaches at CrossFit717 probably just rolled their eyes thinking of all the bitching and complaining they hear, but that’s part of the fun! (no seriously, quit complaining – just do it.) We’re excited to be there, or we wouldn’t be. We know we’re going to push through whatever fears or walls we meet, give our all, and we’re going to do it together. There’s no half-assing it when you’re one of many committed to accomplishing a similar goal. I’m not only my own worst critic, I’m my only critic at the Box. Everyone else believes in me. And that’s not surprising, since I believe in them.

October 2011

There’s something to be said when your able to fill your schedule with positivity throughout all avenues of support. It’s so easy and often you hear of other’s negative impacts. They seem to be everywhere for some people. CrossFit has become another constant for me. A section of my day, 3 times a week, that is filled with something intense, empowering and satisfying. Each and every visit.

Now that I’m over the initial shock: the fear of every WOD because I didn’t understand the agents or finding a reason not to make it in just because wall balls were on that morning’s menu; the workouts don’t make me nervous. I’ve learned there are two definites: I will finish and I will be proud of myself. How can you beat that? It’s a thrill to have such an uplifting start to my day.

Don’t get me wrong. CrossFit is a lot of other things too, like an excuse to wear your Vibrams and yell from the gut or swing a sledge-hammer. And no one cares what you do outside the box because inside it we’re all the same: sweaty and stronger than we were a year ago.

 

 

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2013 Resolution Review

2011-year-resolution-400x400It’s July, we’re half way through the year! Let’s take a look at how I started 2013, shall we?

2013 Resolutions:

  1. Produce Garden
  2. Flower Garden for Giving
  3. No white sugar
  4. Chickens (shh, don’t tell anyone)
  5. Proper Clothing Line

January specific Resolutions:

  1. Whole30
  2. 30 days of Fitness

January. Now to review, we can start with January. I was almost spot on with a Whole30 AND 30 days of fitness. However, I know I skipped 2 days and then I konked out at 24 days. So really, I completed a Whole 25, give or take, and only 22 days of fitness, but it was an admirable start! If I do say so myself.

1. Now for the year’s resolutions. *Sigh* My produce garden is/was an epic fail. So sad! However, a good farm takes lots of care, planning, work, and attention. I have teamed up with a soil-expert friend of mine, Seppi Garret from Your Garden Solution, and I am confident that I will wrangle this yard yet!

I was able to get a few salads out of my  heritage greens before they became too bitter and I do believe I’ll get some more in the ground for the later half of the harvesting season. Nothing like a fresh salad! We also had success with carrots and onions this year, which we eat a ton of. I suppose is wasn’t a complete fail. Seppi and his son, Ben, were kind enough to help add a new bed by bartering a few pieces of wood, some vermiculite, cardboard and sweat for some video work documenting Seppi’s amazing yard built on the designs of permiculture. I love a good barter! We hope to continue to expand throughout the next year. Our yard is large and full of sun. We just need to work on good soil to bring forth a bountiful crop.

2. There is NO flower garden. Over zealous is not a new addition to my list of characteristics.

3. SUGAR! I try, I really do. I go in spurts with it, and it’s usually because of the lack of fresh food when I get home from work at 11pm and just feel hungry and drained. Of course, I realize fresh food will replenish my body, and the most exciting evenings offer me leftovers from my family’s dinner. However, they do not always enjoy something I would consider nutritious and sometimes I eat it anyway. Any kind of pasta is a direct offender. I don’t even like pasta. I vow to try harder.

4. The chickens have been an ongoing topic of discussion and planning. At this rate, I can feel a community of advocates growing stronger where I live. Perhaps we’ll change policy and break in new habits for our neighbors to learn and adopt. I’m also waiting to meet new, over-the-fence neighbors before I surprise them with our (sub)urban petting zoo. But we have a great location place, I know a guy with a coop and my research is hefty!

5. I turned 33 the other day and guess what I got for my birthday? That’s right! A clothing line. My family loves me.

perfect

I sense a theme in my posts this week and it’s that I’m not perfect. I think we all knew that, of course, but I want to impress that this is reality. Success and failure are relative and I feel very successful in my choices pertaining to a simpler life, a healthy diet and being fit-enough. Does that mean I’m gung-ho, 100%, on my game all the time? Hell no. But it certainly doesn’t mean I’m not doing a good job. Every new moment presents an opportunity for a better choice. Choose best as often as possible.

Oh, did I mention; I’m back at Crossfit717 as of Monday. Say hi, I’m too nervous to speak!


Healthy Family – Healthy Future

I remember as a little girl, sitting on my father’s running shoe-covered feet, arms around his sweaty knees, while he completed sit-ups after his run. I’m certain each of my 5 siblings has a similar memory. I don’t know how far or how often he would run, but he always encouraged us to run and/or to be physical. What I do know is that he completed his 1st marathon on his 50th birthday and he began Cross-fitting in his 60’s. INSPIRING.

I never did go for a run, not until just recently actually, but I was active in baseball, softball and swim team through most of my adolescence. After activities ended, I gained weight and ate/drank unhealthily for most of a decade. Towards 30 is when I found Paleo and Crossfit, only after entering motherhood. Motherhood is when it all clicked for me; I am a role model, a leader of a pack and I must make right choices for my cubs. At least, that is what goes through my mind on a daily basis.

My girls on a recent hike up White Rocks Trail in Cumberland Co, PA. We made it all the way to the top!

My girls on a recent hike up White Rocks Trail in Cumberland Co, PA. We made it all the way to the top!

While I once lived to party, I now enjoy walking my children the 10 blocks to a mile, to and from school, digging up soil and mixing compost, researching what plants work best with other plants to help deter critters, promote healthy growth and of course, taste the best. I’m using heirloom seeds, recycled egg cartons to start them, chopped off milk jugs in the event of a chilly evening… Who am I and how did this happen to me?! But most importantly of all, I am doing all these things with my children. Children who live in a culture where we are taught to trust the government, doctors, big brand names and their friends’ well-meaning treats on a daily basis. I’m hoping to infuse them with their own power through information gained and gathered on the fringe of what passes for our modern American culture. Do as I say / Do as I do. I am teaching by example and although they make choices that aren’t best, they also know that eating healthy food before a sweet treat is a better idea so their bodies don’t feel bad. That they learned on their own.

One of my 2013 resolutions was to grow as much as possible based on what my family likes to eat. So far, I have 2 4×4 garden beds with carrots and onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and I’ve begun seeds inside (due to a late winter chill and fear of frost) which include a variety of peppers, cucumbers and greens; arugula, spinach, butter crisp, head lettuce, I’ve also planted snap peas in a very fun way…I’m sure I’m forgetting something and I hope I’m able to keep up with it all! I also plan to add another raised bed to our farm this season for all the greens and the potential of 3-6 hills for melons and pumpkins. Luckily, our backyard has plenty of room for both play and food. Of course we’ll also be mixing these two very important aspects of life together by building a wall for the vining veggies to grow up and my kids to play under, FORT!

I used scrap pieces to make a humble wall for some snap peas to climb. I am propping it up with another stick to create a fort for the kids to play in and to provide some shade in our very sunny backyard.

I used scrap pieces to make this humble wall for our snap peas to climb. I am propping it up with another stick to create a fort for the kids to play in and to provide them additional shade in our very sunny backyard. They helped paint, roll out the chicken wire and plant the peas.

While my 6 year old churned the soil and collected any weeds from our back 2 beds, my 5 year old helped me plant seeds in egg cartons with a bit of our first batch of compost, started last year in my Mother’s Day present. We tend to the yard every chance we get on these brisk Spring days, before I have to go to work and they have to attend school. We look forward to Sundays when we can really get our hands dirty and everyone gets a say in where and what we plant. The time we spend together is priceless because we’re working as a family FOR our family.

That's me in the black, next to my father and his wife, both active members at Crossfit717, along with 1 of my daughters, 2 nieces and 3 nephews. They were all participants during a fundraiser featuring family wods and a pint sized wod circuit. Not pictured: another daughter and my husband, who dj'd the event.

That’s me in the black, next to my father and his wife, both active members at Crossfit717, along with 1 of my daughters, 2 nieces and 3 nephews. Not pictured: another daughter and my husband.

Life has a way of coming full circle as I caught my nephews sitting on each other’s feet while the other completed sit-ups in preparation for the family WOD (work out of the day) at Crossfit717‘s weekend event in support of Autism. It was a great day, filled with fun, family and fitness. My younger girls were able to participate in a WOD circuit, built just for 8 and unders including box jumps, burpees (their fave), air squats, farmer carries and more, while my husband dj’d the event. We have surrounded ourselves with quite a community. My only wish is that my children influence their own friends and family in a similar way some day and my efforts are not in vain.

How does your family stay focused on health? Leave a comment or join us on Facebook for more posts and discussion.


Basic Recipes & Local Treats

I often turn my nose at the idea of “paleo-izing” items from modern food culture. Bread, brownies, pancakes, noodles… attempting to recreate these items doesn’t allow you to fully change your habits. One of the first rules of new habits: Set yourself up for success. Not failure.

In my head, I either change or don’t change. Eating paleo bread makes me want to choose regular bread when there isn’t a paleo option. While I’m pretty black and white for myself, I understand folks may be easing their way into this lifestyle change or, perhaps, look to such food items for comfort or tradition.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

That said, I’ve been known to bake chocolate chip cookies from time to time. You can find my Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in Paleo Parent‘s first book “Eat Like A Dinosaur” along with an arsenal of approachable go-to’s for families or people with a traditional palate including freezable chicken nuggets, fruit roll ups, waffles and more. I respect their copyright and would encourage you to check out the book for yourself, it’s been one of the most used recipe books in our house! Not to mention, there is a children’s book, their familiar back story of (un)health and an easy-to-read allergy index included on every single page.

Now that I got you all amped up on the idea of a delicious chocolate chip cookie, I’ve got great news for my local friends! Betsy’s Bakery created their first prototype! As soon as I saw their Facebook post about Paleo cookies, I grabbed a kid and headed right over. As the story goes, Betsy has Celiac disease and her bakery is entirely gluten-free! She also has dairy free, vegan and now (the most healthy of all) paleo options!

Betsy's Bakery in Mechanicsburg, PA has recently added a delicious PALEO cookie to their gluten free repertoire.

Betsy’s Bakery in Mechanicsburg, PA has recently added a delicious PALEO cookie to their gluten-free repertoire. Remember to support local commerce for the things you want in your life or don’t complain when it’s lacking.

When we chatted briefly about her chocolate chip cookies, future recipes and marketing to the audience of these sweet morsels, she thought Fridays would be a great day to offer fresh Paleo items. I agreed! As a used-to-be Crossfit’er I know how focused I was during the week, but by Friday it was definitely time for a reward. What better way to celebrate then with a naturally sweetened, protein and (good) fat packed dessert that tastes like a cheat, but isn’t! Remember to refrigerate paleo baked goods – fresh ingredients stay fresher when chilled.

ROASTED VEGETABLES

Paleo eating is easy and shouldn’t overwhelm anyone with ‘how to cook’. I am not, repeat, AM NOT a ‘good cook’. In fact, I didn’t begin really cooking, or understanding how to cook, until I decided to eat paleo. Plants and protein, so EASY. I typically roast or crock pot large proteins, I’ll pan cook smaller portions of proteins, and sauté or roast veggies. The creativity comes in the spice blends, medleys and pairings.

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To roast veggies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Add a dollop of coconut oil or grass-fed butter to a baking sheet
  3. Place in oven till oil is melted
  4. Toss chopped veggies onto sheet
  5. Season to taste (salt, pepper and garlic are my go-to’s, be as simple or creative as you’d like with your spice)
  6. Toss veggies every 10-15 minutes until desired  – typically around 25-30 minutes for most of my vegetables – the softer the veggie the faster it cooks so I may wait to add onions to a sheet until half way through, etc
After greasing the pan, dip your veggie fries in egg then a blend of coconut & almond flours with preferred seasonings.

After greasing the pan, dip your fry-cut veggies in egg then a blend of coconut & almond flours and preferred seasonings. It’s definitely a special treat in our house. Who has time for dredging?

Alternatively – and a great way to cook ‘fries’ (sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, etc):

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Chop vegetables to even sizing, add to bowl
  3. Pour melted coconut oil or grass-fed butter on top
  4. Season with preferred blend
  5. Mix
  6. Add to baking sheet
  7. Toss every 10-15 minutes until cooked

CHICKEN on the bone

I get asked how I roast my chicken a lot. I forget how something so simple can feel so scary for a new cook. It wasn’t 3 years ago that I cooked less than 10% of the time and now I do most of the cooking/preparing. Paleo food is EASY and that’s the whole point. While I roast/bake most of my chicken the same way (350 and flip/marinate every 20 minutes till cooked – whole birds I flip every 40 minutes) the wings I made for dinner tonight were too good not to share. I only regret I didn’t take a snapshot, but they were gone before I gave it a thought. Moist and crispy. They were a flavor so delicious the whole family enjoyed them.

I bake my wings and other chicken parts atop a cookie cooling rack, over tin foil on a baking sheet. Sophisticated.

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place wings on rack apparatus mentioned above, or something similar
  3. Brush with coconut oil or grass-fed butter
  4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Savory Spice Shop‘s Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning: Hickory smoke salt, Hungarian and California paprika, roasted garlic, toasted onion, black pepper, hickory smoke flavoring and oregano OR ANY OTHER SPICE/MARINADE YOU CONJURE UP
  5. Bake for 20 minutes
  6. Flip wings and repeat steps 3, 4 then 5
  7. When timer goes off the 2nd time, flip wings as you place them onto the tin foil covered baking sheet
  8. Wrap wings – I use an additional piece of foil for leaking and insulation – place in oven
  9. Turn heat up to 450
  10. Bake for 10 minutes
  11. Flip foil package and turn off oven – this is when I make salads, get the table set, etc.
  12. ENJOY!
A friend recently tried my Cookie Bar recipe and was delighted! I haven't made them since I originally posted this photo, perhaps I'll make a batch for an impending slumber party.

A friend recently tried my Cookie Bar recipe and was delighted! It’s been some time since I made a batch, perhaps I’ll whip some up for a certain (about-to-be) 5 year old’s slumber party. A special treat packed with protein!


No Ladies Allowed

From the time we’re born, female humans are prompted to be sweet, delicate, polite, dainty, helpful, soft and pretty. I’ve spent 30 some-odd years first rebelling against, than attempting my best to adhere to, this very definition of being a lady. I always cross my legs, and when not, my knees are tucked gently together. Napkin upon my lap, elbows are never on the table. Although forever-clumsy, I try my best to be graceful even if that means while falling. *Sigh* There’s a lot of pressure on chicks, man.

Enter CrossFit: That sly little devil of a fitness community where ladies are left at the door. Otherwise you’ll find it mighty uncomfortable as your coach prods you to use your ass and not your thighs to get your self below parallel and back without a bounce at the bottom, chest straight up over knees, as fast as you can and with perfect form. Knees out. Keep trying. GO! Shit… what?

Exactly.

Any proper lady could also offer the advice that your hips are to remain closed, quiet and still. Shhh. A lady does not talk of such things for long. At the Box, your hips are everything. Your central power source. Thrust from the hips, bring them up, throw them out, open, stretch, let’s GO! *Deep breath* It’s intimidating as hell. Liberating, as well. Imagine your self in a squat, a weighted bar across your chest, your HIPS are the way you’re going to get your ass up to then thrust that bar straight over your head. RAH! Lady… who?

A lady would find herself flummoxed by the uncontrolled grunts, yelps, gasps and buckets of sweat pouring out of each woman’s reddened face as they push themself farther than they ever thought possible, just to finish …. a workout? But it’s more than that. It’s a routine affirmation of your ability to be successful outside your comfort zone. The zone where ladies wear sweaty tank tops and weird, flat shoes. Where your hair is a mess, your hands smell like dirt and you perspire like a man. You’re allowed to yell and drop heavy things on purpose in CrossFit, although I’m still trying to get used to the later half, still trying to leave my ‘lady’ at the door.

And yet, the most exhilarating part of being a CrossFit Lady, for me, is that you also get to walk around, pretty dress and pearls in check, knowing you could help move that tub of ice and drinks across the yard during an early afternoon brunch, but you’ll let the man of the house struggle on his own instead. A proper lady would, of course, prefer to keep her dress pressed, her nails pretty and keep the fact that she could lift that bucket over head, sprint around the block, drop into a dozen burpees and place the bucket in its desired spot all to her herself.


Have another “No Ladies Allowed” anecdote to share? Post in comments or join in the discussion on the Pushups and Carrots Facebook page.


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.

 


Stubborn Belly Fat

I love/hate those commercials “Got stubborn belly fat?” uh…yeah!  Who doesn’t? Selling a ‘cure’ for something that is a result of the food you eat, without changing the food you eat, will either 1) not work or 2) backfire. Everything we buy between the produce and the dairy sections in the average grocery store has sugar added for taste – yes, even the healthy/organic foods and most of the dairy too. If it’s packaged, it’s usually not very healthy after all. We are taught that food is bland without sugar. So where do you think that layer of stubborn fat comes from, and why it doesn’t go away with regular ‘dieting’ and exersize? Because you’re still filling your body with sugar. 

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Sugar, sugar everywhere!

After a year of working out at the Y and watching what I ate through calorie and portion control (and losing a significant amount of weight), I thought I had reached my new ‘thinnest’ and had a handle on the belly fat. While I realize everyone’s post-baby belly is different, I was blessed with a pronounced gut which cut off like a ledge right above the bikini line – not attractive – I thought I was stuck with it as well as the layer of fat that extended straight up over my ribs, my thicker thighs and fat butt because it was genetic. Too much information? We’re all friends here and it is what it is… or it WAS what it WAS

During my 1st two weeks of going strict Paleo, I lost 2-4 pounds but more amazingly, my stomach was actually flattening and my gut didn’t seem so gut’y! I had cut all sugar from my diet, only eating fresh vegetables, eggs and meat whenever I was hungry. I knew I was going to see more progress as time went on and I did. Of course I also joined CrossFit towards the end of the summer 2011 which helped firm and tone what I got down through diet. CrossFit strengthens your core through complex moves without even trying. Hundreds of sit-ups have never done for me what a random routine of deadlifts, burpees, squats, v-ups, sprints, kipping pull-ups, wall balls (kill me) and the like have done for my ‘stubborn belly fat’. Now my ‘gut’ actually smooths right into the rest of my body, I forget where that ledge once lived and I can see fitness lines that I thought I’d only see in magazines.

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                                                         V-ups

Remember, fitness takes time. It isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. My gut a year later is what I was aiming for in the first month, silly woman. Instead of refined sugar, choose alternate sources, when necessary, like honey or dark maple syrups or puree some dates for a sweet punch to a yummy meatball or loaf. Also keep in mind, natural sugars ARE sugar and too much is not a healthy choice. If you’re in a weight-loss frame of mind, cut the fruit out of your diet other then a special treat. Otherwise, keep it to a minimum. Moderation is key and too much of one thing is never going to end well. But most importantly, sink your money into fresh produce and not the gimmick-of-the-day that promises to make you lean and toned – only YOU can make that happen through smart choices and hard work. No really, you can. 


What Did You Eat Today?

As a 30 day Better Body Challenge gets underway at Crossfit717, I thought it would be a good idea to catalogue what I’m eating to help others as they become accustom to a new way of thinking about food. Whether you decided to eat based on Paleo or Zone, you can’t go wrong with the ideas you’ll find below.

Remember, don’t over think Paleo. Prepare food ahead of time so you’re not left starving without a quick snack while you cook dinner. Cook an extra piece of protein with each meal so you’ll have leftovers for breakfast, lunch or snack the next day. Utilize a crock pot on hectic days to make soup, stew or chili that can last all week.

Protein. Plants.

BREAKFAST: Today I enjoyed leftover pancakes that I made for my daughters yesterday. This is a rarity for two reasons, 1, I don’t typically eat breakfast because I’m not hungry in the morning and 2, I don’t actually like pancakes. But Paleo pancakes I can get down with. I warmed them up for 15 seconds and enjoyed their delight with a little butter and coffee. I then tossed back a few pieces of sirloin from last night’s dinner for a boost of energy and protein. And because I love steak.

Hardboiled eggs are great to have on hand for a snack or to add protein to a side or dinner salad.

After our meeting at the Box, I stopped by the grocery to pick up a few items that we eat daily: tub of greens, cucumbers, peppers, fruit for the kids as well as a few items for this week’s food prep: eggplant and yams. I also checked out the meats and picked up a great deal on Nature’s Promise whole chickens, uncured bacon, store brand pork loin and nitrate free lunch meat for my kids and husband.

COOK DAY: Typically Sundays and Thursdays end up being “cook days” in my house to maintain fresh options for quick meals and snacks or sides. Today I have a roasted chicken, hardboiled eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato chips to go with the roasted eggplant dip I’m prepping, cantaloupe and pineapple. Incidentally, did you know you can grow a pineapple by simply lopping off the top, soaking in water and replanting after it begins to root? In a mere 24-36 months your plant will produce it’s very own pineapple from the middle of its leaves. This also works with celery and chives, both of which I have growing in my playroom and both of which grow at a much more rapid pace than the pineapple. Once I cut the pineapple, I will not hesitate to begin growing my own.

Roast a chicken for snacks, salads or breakfast options, then use the carcass to make your own broth and soup.

LUNCH: I had cole slaw, 2 drumsticks and chicken breast from the roasted chicken.

DINNER: We will be having the pork loin I just bought, mashed sweet potatoes and a large side salad including mixed greens (the greener the more nutritious), cucumbers, onions, carrots, egg.
If this is a helpful idea, I’ll be happy to update this post occasionally with more menu items from our household. It would be fantastic if you shared what you are enjoying today as well. Please post a comment with your day’s menu by clicking the ‘comment’ link at the top of this post. Inspire and motivate others!

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January 16

LUNCH: Tuna on greens with carrot slices, celery and hardboiled eggs. A dribble of raspberry vinaigrette.

DINNER:  Chicken with sautéed onions and peppers. Side salad with cucumbers, carrots, radishes, celery, onions, red peppers. A little too much variety for my taste, but I ate it because I didn’t have to cook it.

January 17

LUNCH: Leftover sirloin with sauerkraut (source of probiotics which seems to keep my skin clear). I actually shelled and ate a hardboiled egg while I heated up my lunch too. Yum.

Not sure what we’ll have for dinner tonight but a girlfriend emailed me that she’s found relief in scheduling 2 days a week with the same meal. She says it’s taken the ‘pressure’ off coming up with new and exciting dinners every night. Whatever works!

(We ended up having meatloaf, roasted onions peppers and celery, and almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. YUM!)

January 18

LUNCH: Shrimp and bacon.

DINNER: I hate to say it, but we’re making pork again (hey, it was on sale AND it’s delish) so I may resort to my favorite dish in the whole word: Sweet potatoes and sauerkraut with apple sauce. Delightful. However, I know my family will not entertain this meal again so they will probably have noodles and salad. *sigh* Paleo is MY choice. I can not force another to adhere.

Paleo is a new way of eating and you may find yourself questioning new habits. It’s going to be okay. What did you eat today?


Never Quit

I’ve never had a serious injury, so when I sprained my kneecap and patellar tendon on November 26th, I took it like a death in the family. Mind you, I fall a lot. But this time I couldn’t get up. I needed crutches, I needed rest, I still require a brace with light activity (but it’s getting better). I wasn’t able to work out my frustrations in the gym or catch the high off my adrenaline, all of a sudden it was a sad, slow existence. The exact opposite of my typical day.

Fast forward 3 weeks and I finally got back to the Box for my first ‘workout’ in 21 long, painful days. I couldn’t “do” anything. In fact, Coach Dan was there that morning and I remember him actually laughing when I said “No lower body.” In a world centered around the squat, I understood his chuckle but I had to get back into my fitness routine or I’d lose my mind. The abmat became my bff, I kipped a few pull-ups a day but it rattled my knee too much to do more, strict and push presses wore my arms out – but I was doing something and that made me happy.

Then came week 5. After 2 weeks of putzing around with upper body exercises and limited mobility, I was frustrated and envious of my friends who were reaching goals and setting new ones, as I watched. I once again scaled the day’s WOD (workout of the day) to suit my injury and was ready to GO. Things started off well. 1 armed push-ups were also 1 legged, as I sat my injured leg atop my good leg so my knee didn’t touch the ground. I believe ring rows, sit-ups and possibly kettle cleans were other agents in the workout. I felt good, tired, almost strong when… my injured leg fell and BAM! pain shot through my body. My eyes swelled with tears and I almost let them fall. I was pissed. Then I did something I never expected of myself: I left.

I walked out on my workout, on my team, my friends. I just left. I couldn’t see anything but my own self pity and forgot that I had support. I could have asked for help, or rested while rooting on others. I should have finished, stretched, anything other than walk out.

Like magic, CrossFit 717 reposted a blog from Rogue Fitness the next day that presented the message: NEVER QUIT. Keep going. It was the reminder that I needed. “Break through the wall”. FOCUS. We must remember to think outside ourselves. Who wants to be a quitter? Or a whiner? Not I.

I took a few days to re-gather my gumption while I prioritized my fitness goals based on my current status. Much like my diet, I stopped thinking about what I “can’t” do and focused on what I can do. I realized I wasn’t able to keep up with the other athletes (these chicks are fierce!), I wouldn’t be able to complete every move or hit the goals I was working toward pre-injury. That had to be okay before I could move forward, and all of a sudden it was. The next few workouts were thoughtful. I focused on form, not speed or weight. I checked in with the regulars at my morning workouts and while I paused due to soreness during the WOD, I watched them perform. I was mindful of their technique and how I could tweak my own. I was finally growing as an athlete again.

2011 WOD for a Cure

Today I did a snatch balance of 60lbs. Don’t laugh. That’s huge – FOR ME. If I’m going to break through any walls, they will be MY walls. I can’t compare myself to others and I will not disappoint myself again.


Happy Anniversary!

I never really understood ‘the blog’ and I don’t really follow any (I think 3) so I’m not exactly sure how this will go. Despite that, Pushups and Carrots has been created to commemorate my 1st year living (as) Paleo (as possible). My 4-year-old daughter named it, and I think it’s kind of genius. I realize the Paleo Diet can be intimidating and I urge everyone to find what works for them, but this is the fuel that works for my body and I’m happy to share it with anyone who will listen. I’m 31 years old, a wife, mother, business owner and (now) obsessed with all things Paleo and CrossFit. My name is Erin.

I will add a few “notes” from Facebook that I recently wrote while contemplating a ‘real’ blog, after which I look forward to utilizing Pushups and Carrots to continue the conversation that comes from living crazy, busy, exciting lives, all while maintaining health, strength and wellness. Anyone can choose this. I look forward to your feedback.