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.


Cravings… ugh.

I’m going to approach this post in a different way because I just don’t have the time or energy to write all that I would like on this subject. Cheating? Perhaps, but sometimes cheaters win. It’s true and you know it. At least I’m still offering you the information in the links I have supplied below (READ THEM!). I apologize for not elaborating in a more personal tone – NEXT TIME!

Get your sugar from another source.

Why do you crave unhealthy carbs?  Here you go!

  • 5 Reasons Women Crave Carbs – Easy to read, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I will say, however, that Emily Deans, M.D. once noted the sugar/sweets/carbs craving during our menstrual cycle could relate right back to the nature of the beast: breast milk. Our first taste of sugar. Lactose, is a sugar. Carbs turn to sugar. Lack of nutrition craves food, comfort, taste. You see the cycle here? Eat real food as often as you’re hungry and you will fill the nutrition gap. That doesn’t mean you will lose those cravings, of course, but you will learn the difference between hunger and craving.
  • Why Do I Crave Carbs?  – Put down the carbs. Seriously. Fill your body with fat and protein from optimal sources and it won’t ‘need’ these simple carbohydrates, it will eventually stop craving them. Of course, that takes a long time, but it happens. One day you’ll wake up and that birthday cake just doesn’t do it for ya anymore.
  • Eat Carbs Crave Carbs – Evil little rascals.

Remember: THEY MAKE YOU SICK.

Ideas to curb the cravings?

  • 20 Tips – Here’s a handy flip through, which I’d like to add “Brush Your Teeth” to – usually comes in handy for those late night cravings. Drink a glass of water, brush your teeth, GO TO BED.

Bad habits need to be broken. It can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on the habit. Bad habits have immediate payoffs – good habits are established for a reason. All things are possible. REMEMBER: you are in control. The food you put in your mouth doesn’t magically appear inside. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s possible.

Find your motivation. Achieve your goals. Be your best.

Please share your go-to tips for curbing a craving in the comments or on our Facebook page dedicated to Pushups and Carrots. We are a community focused on wellness, become an active participant.


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.


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.