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!

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RESOLUTE!

I am a BIG fan of resolutions. Clear, focused goals that will allow you to become a better person or adjust your lifestyle positively; something that is within reason, yet breaks you out of your usual mold; a goal which allows you to feel successful.

I am proud to state that my #1 resolution for 2012 was to get houseplants. More importantly, though, it was to keep them alive indefinitely. Guess what? I DID IT!!! Allow me to introduce a few…

I adopted the bulk of my plants from my mother's lush collection. Most of the little fellers live in the Play Room.

I adopted the bulk of my plants from my mother’s lush collection. Most of the little fellers live in our Play Room.

I think this is a Jade. My cousin-in-law's mother-in-law gifted me a sprig after admiring her beautiful tree.

I think this tall guy is a Jade. My cousin-in-law’s mother-in-law gifted me a sprig after I admired her beautiful tree.

This guy has grown 4xs his size, was repotted twice and is due for another. His little buddy brother has a home in our Living Room.

This guy has grown 4xs his size, has been re-potted twice and is due for another. His little brother has a home in our Living Room and is, thankfully, much less work.

The plants have brought new life into a house that I keep as stark and modern as possible with children and a collector husband living within. They’ve grounded me during a whirlwind year where I closed a business, started school and changed my career. A simple watering schedule provides routine to my week and breathes life into something. Instant gratification. Plus, my plants don’t shout for “Mama!” all day or fight with their sister. They are calm.

'Viva la Paleo!' Robb Wolf

‘ Viva la Paleo! ‘    Robb Wolf

Alas, not all resolutions survive, as starting a blog (THIS blog) was one of them. Well, I started it…and then maintained it…and then I ignored it. I believe my last post was made in July. Half way through the year isn’t too shabby, but no prize. I have received a lot of feedback from the Pushups and Carrots page on Facebook and I appreciate all the love and support, the questions and comments you’ve provided. I felt as if I hit on many of the topics that were a struggle for me as I began my Paleo lifestyle and that was my purpose in starting the blog. I am now finding new purpose through conversations with friends, old and new, and a year of go-go-go wrapping up. I am more than ready for a new year, a new me, and a new purpose!

Despite the odd number, 2013 is being met with zest! I’ve been inspired by so many of you and others who garden (another 2012 resolution which was successful…for most of the harvest) This year, I will grow AS MUCH of the produce we eat as possible. The pay-off is amazing, delicious and creates an immense sense of self-satisfaction to walk outback, cut a few things into a bowl and walk back inside to enjoy it with your family. YUM.  More to come on the crops I plan for 2013. I started my spreadsheet last night! I also look forward to using the results of my Mother’s Day gift from 2012, fresh COMPOST!

Keeping with the gardening theme, my 5yo (the once 4yo who named this blog) came up with a great idea: a garden meant for giving. She would like to bring flowers to people “so (she) can help them”. Adorable and doable! We’ve been gradually planting wildflowers for a number of years now, with a few additional cutting flowers planted, I’m certain we’ll have plenty of bouquets to give out and people to meet in the process.

Fresh eggs!

I pay anywhere from $4-6 a dozen for non-grain eggs.

While the garden is my main focus for 2013, I’d also REALLY like a few Rhode Island Reds. My brother, who has his own brood, offered to help with the coup. Although I’m up against a few pesky laws, I have confidence in my plan. (Keep your fingers crossed!) That being said, I’m also resoluting to hang a proper clothing line and start my year off with a Whole30 as well as 30 days of fitness. Now for the Big Daddy of resolutions, and one I’m not fully confident in (much like the feeling I had about the houseplants, which were a major success, if-I-do-say-so-myself) a year with absolutely NO white sugar.

That shit creeps its way into everything.

All in all, I’ll choose to live by this little mantra I found attached to this afternoon’s tea: “To be great, feel great, and act great.”

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

BAM! What do you think? What are your resolutions?

I wonder which resolutions will be my biggest successes of 2013 and which will perish amidst the chaos of my new career… Exciting.


Lifestyle Change & Frugality

Do you have a healthy living resolution for 2012? Emptying your cupboards into the trashcan followed by a race to the grocery store to fill your house with ‘healthy’ replacements can be exhilarating. However, this is not the way to start a new lifestyle and could cost you hundreds of dollars. Keep all aspects of wellness in mind and communicate with your partner, decide who is committing to this change. Is this a “you” thing or is this a family thing? Everyone must choose this for them self in order for it to stick.

When I began my journey a year ago, it was a very ME thing. I knew I could influence my children’s diet, but my husband’s was a different story and he was certain there was no Paleo in his future. I could have thrown my hands in the air and blamed someone else for my quick defeat, but I was choosing change. I had read too much evidence on how the Paleo diet can restore your body to health and prevent modern disease to quit on someone else’s accord. So, I never trashed the cookies and pretzels. I simply stopped buying it. My husband will buy items I categorize as ‘junk’ but rarely asks me to buy them for him. He respects my choice, as I respect his.

If it is, in fact, a household decision then TRASH AWAY! What a glorious day that would be. Check your fridge for leftover grain and sugars of your recent holidays, then to the cupboard, the mecca of JUNK. Someone living the Paleo lifestyle has very little inside their cupboard. (I’d like to use mine for appliance storage.) Aside from some nuts, perhaps a small baking section of almond flour, dark cocoa powder, molasses, honey, maybe some dark chocolate (high in cacao), I’m blanking on what else I eat from the cupboard. Clean it out, make it pretty, and store your extra serving dishes inside so you’re not tempted to restock.

The next step is the fun part, at least for me. I’m a grocery store, market, local farm junkie. I love food shopping and this is a major plus considering my next piece of advice is: Shop every 2 or 3 days and only buy items you will eat in 2 or 3 days – you’ll get better as time goes on. A slow start will help form a new habit which is more likely to stick. Paleo essentially means protein and plants. You want food to be fresh (and preferably on sale). You also don’t want to spend your entire grocery budget in the first week, so pace yourself. Create a tentative meal plan based on either what’s in your fridge or what’s on sale this week, use leftovers creatively and start eating them for breakfast, too.

Our taste buds are overwhelmed by the standard American way of eating. Once you have cleaned up your plate and taken out the chemicals and processing, you’ll start tasting food again. Real food. Salt and pepper and common spices are all you need to make a delicious roast. The natural flavorings of a roasted carrot or fresh cucumber are satisfying again. Cooking isn’t complicated so don’t over think it. And remember, it takes time for your body to purge it’s cravings and release old habits. Choose healthy and clean as often as possible. If you choose unhealthy, have a bite and move on, you’ll lose your taste for it over time. Until then don’t let it defeat you. Choose better at each next opportunity.

      Sample

   Monday – BREAKFAST: eggs & uncured bacon (maybe add some fruit for the kids); LUNCH: salad with chicken, hardboiled eggs and some crumbled bacon from bfast; DINNER: hamburgers, sweet potato fries, side salad

Tuesday – BREAKFAST:  omelet with a mix of your faves (mine are peppers and onions); LUNCH: leftover burger on lettuce, hardboiled egg; DINNER: roasted chicken, roasted veggies with salt and pepper (when finished with dinner, put the remaining chicken into the crock pot, fill with water, some spices and cook overnight to make your own broth)

Wednesday – BREAKFAST:  hardboiled eggs and leftover chicken; LUNCH: nitrate free Deli Turkey on a salad or rolled up with cucumber inside; DINNER: hearty chicken soup in the crock pot with the broth from last night’s dinner – get creative with big chunks of carrots (not baby carrots, real carrots), onions, celery, red pepper, throw a jalapeno or three in there, some herbs. YUM.

You can also eat soup for lunch the next day, turn leftover ground beef into meatballs with some shredded veggies for a lunch or dinner, and eggs & bacon make for a great meal any time of day!

Buy ONLY what you will need and stretch it as far as possible, use the entire animal and buy on sale:

  •  eggs
  • uncured bacon
  • large tub of mixed greens
  • chicken breast
  • ground beef
  • sweet potatoes
  • peppers, onion, cucumbers, carrots
  • whole chicken
  • nitrate free Turkey
  • jalapeno

 

 


Live in the Moment – Approach Others with Love

There is more to being ‘fit’ then your BMI. A major part of wellness is being at peace, managing stress with ease and maintaining emotional balance.

So often, we over extend ourselves with to-do lists, obligations to family or friends, and extra-curricular activities for our children or pets, while making sure to hit the gym, go the extra mile for clients and cook dinner. Fatigue will set in quickly when living in the fast lane without being present in each moment. Disappointment looms, then a feeling of failure in one’s self when the chores are not completed or the boss is not happy. Frustration takes over and before you know it, you’re a cynical, wrinkly, grump who snaps at their kids, looks down when they walk and avoids people instead of communicating with them.

Take a deep breath, think about your purpose, proceed with love.

Instead of racing through life and your to-do list, take a moment to refocus. Close your eyes, inhale slowly and think about what you are doing, why you have chosen to do it and how it will impact your life. It’s not always going to be a glamorous answer, sometimes the dishes just have to be done before you can move forward in your day. I am constantly taking a moment to refocus and am often called out on it by friends with a “You okay?” and in response, I assure “I am now.”

Likewise, instead of worrying about how you’ll avoid a co-worker who tends to annoy you, or speaking in anger toward your toddler who never listens, approach them with love. Easy enough? Yes, but difficult to remember so why not make a habit out of it? Your co-worker may think very highly of you, why disappoint them with a cold shoulder or snap judgement? And toddlers, well, they don’t know how to listen yet. If you continue to bark at them, they will learn to bark at others. Feel compassion in your heart and peace in your soul before greeting others with calm eyes and loving words.

Every moment is an opportunity to share a part of your self with the world. Choose the best parts to share. Others will learn to expect it from you and will begin to share their best in return.  I will caution, however, some folks will reject your peaceful approach and I urge you to remain calm and depart with kindness.


Paleo and “What do you eat?”

(This is an edited version of a Note that was originally posted on Facebook to help friends who continue to inquire about Paleo and how I’ve been living that past year.)

In easy terms, the answer is: Plants and Protein.

Paleo (Paleolithic Diet) is the way you eat and from there, the way you live. I started living (as) Paleo (as possible) in January of 2011. That was after almost of year of throwing the idea around, researching the heck out of the concept and making subtle changes to my standard way of eating in preparation. Going from the Standard American Diet to a real-food Paleo Diet is quite a change. It’s okay to ease yourself off one and into another. In fact, it’ll help habits stick and stay. My first step was cutting portions and talking about it with my adorable husband who loves to feed me and is an amazing cook. But if I wanted my body to change (this all started, after all, out of vanity alone) I had to be real and ask him to PLEASE start scooping me HALF of what he had. The day finally came when I started passing on the starch portion of the meal altogether. But that was over time and by choice.

It’s all by choice. That’s the beauty of life. Every thing we do is because we have decided to make a move. YOU must want this, it’s for no one else. My husband made it clear he was NOT interested in Paleo or giving up his TastyKakes, and that is HIS choice which I must respect. Fast forward to January 2011 and I turned to him one night “I’m doing it. No more grains, no more processed food. I’m going Paleo.” He smirked at my random declaration of immediate change (as I do this often) and agreed to support me. DONE.

From there out, it’s been Protein, Plants and Water, which translates (for me) to: eggs, beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, fish, crab, scallops, greens, peppers, onions, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, olives, avocado, almonds, walnuts, cashews, coconut oil, real butter… you get my point. If it’s not fresh, it’s not Paleo. I also try to eat grass-fed meat and dairy, free range and VEG FED eggs (read labels, a lot of those organic eggs are being fed grain, tricky), wild caught sea life, local/organic veggies and the like.  But these labels are not a deal breaker and I buy meat on sale whenever possible, I have a family to feed after all. I eat very little fruit (natural sugar IS sugar) I drink my coffee black or with heavy cream for a treat. Good fat. Red wine. I learned to love cooking!

Now reality says “Yes, I’ve eaten a sleeve of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, had too many frozen mini KitKats or Reeses cups… I have the occasional bowl of ice cream, a few beers or a mini pizza.” But this are not often and I always feel like crap after the sugar spikes. I see these moments as learning experiences.  In fact, each time I go off-Paleo, I realize more how unimportant those ‘treats’ are and their taste is becoming less and less gratifying as my year has progressed. I think sometimes, it’s only just to prove that I’m in charge and no one can make me do anything. A little rebellion goes a long way.

Just Say "NO"

Getting back to basics. I always recommend reading through the FAQs section at http://www.RobbWolf.com, which began my obsession with Paleo after a friend recommended the same to me. I think his exact words were “If you’re really serious, check this out.” Boy was he right! But I’m also a focused, obsessive compulsive woman who loves a good mission. Researching this way of life and how many amazing benefits you can experience from filling your body with clean fuel is my constant motivation. If I stopped reading and LOVING what I read, I believe I’d lose my focus and go for all that ‘delicious’ easy food that makes us sick and fat.

Some of the changes I personally experienced from this (drastic) diet change over the last year are: lack of headaches, stabilized mood, loss of belly fat (yes, even that gross mom gut), leaner body, lack of body odors, regular bowel movements, shortened/lightened menstrual cycle, lack of illness… It’s an endless list and one that could be even more vast if I had my cholesterol, blood sugars, body fat, vitamin levels and whatnot checked at the beginning. Another thing I never did was a Before picture, which is a real bummer. I was just too embarrassed by the lack of aesthetic beauty my body had morphed into after 2 children in 2 years and settling into married life. I urge you to take a photo and forget about it until you’re ready for an After. You won’t regret it!

Anyone can make a change! Each time you choose a drink or a snack, you have the opportunity to try something new. Whether that is a new approach, a new vegetable, a new recipe or a new filtered water bottle, keep things interesting and FOCUSED. My best advice when making changes in life is TALK ABOUT IT. If you promote yourself as one thing, it’s a lot harder to fail. Convince others of your passion and you’ll live up to the name you create. Small steps lead to larger steps and soon, you’ll be full of energy, passion and a new view on life and wellness.

A few things of note:

– Set yourself up for success!

– Focus on what you CAN eat, not on what you can’t.

– Don’t sweat the small stuff. Condiments and dressings – No one is perfect and if you live by the 80/20 rule you have room for these little delights in life without stressing out over the details.

– Your choices become more on point and focused over time. There is a learning curve and it’ll get easier and healthier. Don’t stress perfection, just keep making good choices.

– Research effects and history of food and obsess over the Paleo heavy hitters; read blogs (ha), books, reviews.

– Recognize that you are currently addicted to grain and sugar. It is like quitting smoking. After 3 weeks, you’ll feel (and look) better. Promise.

– Always be prepared. You MUST have a snack or leftovers available. When you first go Paleo, you may notice you go from satiated to ravenous in the blink of an eye. Make extras at dinner, always have a roasted chicken and hardboiled eggs in the house (great as a snack or on salad) and bring an insulated bag with fresh snack options in the car when you’re out for the day. Seriously.

– Google is your professor. Search “Paleo _________ ” for recipes, ideas, advice and reviews.

Onto the easy stuff: FOOD ideas and staples in my life…incidently, my husband and kids are Paleo by proxy and I’d say they are easily at 70% most of the time. It’s just so easy. You’re eating real food and fueling your body with premium gas. When you put in the low-grade fuel, your body begins to reject it through fatigue, headaches, behavior malfunctions and the like.

Snacks – on the go or at home!

– Hardboiled eggs

– Raw veggies

– Whole fruits

– Cupped fruit (in water) drain in the street, it’s just water!

– Almonds, other nuts or mixed nuts

– Any leftover or cut up protein – roast chicken, meatballs, dried beef, YUM and fueling

– Frozen banana smoothies, add any berries, dark chocolate, etc to taste – get creative!

– Dried unsweetened fruits

– Nuts baked with honey and maple syrup, shaved coconut, and drizzled in dark chocolate (Granola bar) leave the chocolate off and stir while baking to make your own cereal

– Nitrate free deli meats rolled up – add avocado, tomato, mustard to the inside for flare

– Egg muffins (great for on the go breakfast too!)

Please add your go-to snacks in the comments section – this is just a quick start!

I believe the meals are pretty obvious, but I’ll go over a few sides to help you spice up your protein. The Big Ass Salad (BAS) is a staple to the Paleo diet, at least in my case. Any sandwich, wrap or burger can be placed atop a bed of greens and enjoyed. No excuses.

Breakfast needs to change in your mind as well. Eggs and (uncured, grass-fed) bacon are tops, but any leftovers from dinner the night before or protein that’s been prepared are great to start the day. Coffee black if possible. You’ll wean yourself off the sugar, trust me. Until then, 80/20, use it wisely.

Sides to Protein

– sauerkraut (great for your complexion)

– roasted vegetables drizzled in butter and salt – different pairings create different experiences

– raw veggies – root veg will also keep those sugar cravings at bay, grab a carrot!

– steamed veggies  – get funky with your food and add spices

– mashed cauliflower

– baked sweet potato

– baked apples with cinnamon or onions

– sautéed veggies

– fruit salad

– eggs, cooked or boiled

– coleslaw

That’s all I have for now. It’s a start!

July 2011 Photo for Patriot News Article "The Paleo Perspective" by Steph Loh

I love talking Paleo and fitness (different time) so please don’t hesitate to share and continue the conversation upon finishing this note.


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.