Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nice Paleo blog.....but I saw you stuff a cheeseburger down your face at In N Out yesterday....

Sometimes when I look back on this crazy journey of mine into trying to be a healthy human I have to laugh. I have had my ups and downs and that is no lie. I see people all around me trying to find the secret to feeling and looking better. I have friends on diets that only involve shakes. I have seen family members try blood type diets or 500 calorie a day starvation diets. I myself have choked down that AWFUL lemon and cayenne pepper crap only to break out in hives after 5 days and losing 8 pounds (how sick is that...8 pounds in 5 days!). I have nuked my fair share of lean cuisines and bought the "low fat" labels. And I look back on these past few years of my life and I think, "Am I better now then I was on Day 1?" On a strictly dietary basis the answer that question would be a resounding NOWAY. Right now, at 7 months pregnant, I sometimes feel like my diet is that of a teenage boy. I crave weird stuff like Lucky Charms and pudding cups. And I eat them! My fresh off the 30 day Paleo challenge self would smack my pregnant ass if she saw me now. But you know what has changed? Me. I have changed in so many ways from that super strict, sometimes guilt driven health nut I was a couple of years ago. Back then I ate awesome. I felt awesome and, not to toot my own horn, but it made me look pretty awesome. I was hitting new PRs at CrossFit what felt like every week and I was in better all around shape than I was when I played college soccer. The thing I gained from that experience is truly a wonderful gift. I finally knew what "healthy" felt like. I had energy. My body was being fueled at an optimal level and the results were undeniable. So where do I stand now? Am I still "Paleo"? I like to be completely transparent on this blog so my answer to that question is, "No in practice but yes at heart." That sounds super lame but it is the truth. Deep down I know what it takes for me to be at my fullest level of happiness and health. I know I can do it! And right now I am trying. But I am also fueling a completely different body than I was 2 years ago- I am fueling a body with another body inside of it and that baby body inside makes me crave cheese burgers and frozen yogurt. She makes me super hungry. She made me so nauseous that the thought of meat or vegetables (the bulk of my diet at that point) made me puke. The thought and smell of shrimp for some weird reason STILL makes me gag. She has recently been making me really tired and making my back hurt. So I have I turned to comfort food? YES. Have I completely thrown all of my beliefs about health out of the door? NO! I make sure she gets vegetables everyday and take a prenatal in case I have an off day. I get fruit in every single day. When I buy food I keep in mind she is growing- but I also know that the bowl of Lucky Charms I ate won't seriously hurt her. Adopting a healthy lifestyle does not have to be about pure restrictiveness all the time. Here is something I wrote years ago for my "What is Paleo Tab" on the blog:

"You may be thinking: "What is this "Paleo" diet anyways? Just another crazy diet where I am starving all the time? Counting my calories? Eating food that tastes like cardboard? Just another fad diet?" The answers to all of those questions are, "Noway!" I like to think of Paleo as a lifestyle rather than a diet- I know it sounds corny. But trust me if you give Paleo a 30 day try then you will think of it is this way too. Let me preface this explanation by this: I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I am not an expert. But I have done a lot of research and been Paleo for almost a year.

Let's go back in time. More specifically, before the agricultural revolution. We were hunters and gatherers. We lived a life where our existence revolved around food. Think about it. There were no cell phones, no jobs, no TV- there also weren't a lot of things that are nice like mattresses and refrigerators. But imagine your life REVOLVING around food. Our bodies were made to run off these foods that we needed to survive. I am sure almost all of their energy was put into finding, hunting, gathering and eating. Food was of upmost importance. The people back then were tall, lean, muscular and without most (if not all) of the host of diseases we have today. The way we view food has changed dramatically. Food isn't seen as a source of life. It isn't seen as a necessity for our bodies. It isn't seen as something that fuels us to be our best. It is seen as an afterthought. I know this is true because that is what it used to be for me. I would only think about food when I was hungry. And when I was hungry I would think, "Hmm..what should I have for dinner? Should I nuke a lean cuisine? Should I run through McDonalds? Ohhh or do I want Panera...and if I get a salad I can also get a bear claw..." Food wasn't something that made me who I am. It was something that if I ate less of and ran more I might be able to drop a few pounds. It was something that tasted good and that I would treat myself with when I thought I "deserved" a dessert after a long day. It was something that was an accessory to my life. I did not view it as it should be: Food should not be an accessory to your life, it should shape your life. That may sound extreme. But food really does shape our lives- it is necessary to our survival, and right now our society is doing an awful job of surviving. We are all getting fatter. We are all getting sicker. We are more depressed, anxious, stressed and unhealthy. Why? I think the MAIN reason is our diet. The crap we are putting in our mouths is making us crappier as a whole. Our focus isn't on our survival. Our focus is on whatever it is that is happening that day. Our focus isn't on fueling our bodies so they can perform at an optimal level- our focus is on who got cut from American Idol that night. Our focus isn't on maintaining our bodies or what we can eat to make it through this week- our focus is on playing Words with Friends on our i phones and getting that promotion.

So before I even get into the dirty details of Paleo lets re shift our focus and agree on these things:

1. We NEED food to live
2. It is one of THE most important things in YOUR life
3. The food we eat directly correlates with the life you will live
4. Our focus should shift from food as an ACCESSORY to a NECESSITY
5. Bad, chemically ridden food will most likely cause you to have a host of health issues ranging from bloating and gas to cancer to death.

So. Now that I have preached about modern society let's talk about Paleo.

Go to this website and read this article about Paleo:

Paleo is a healthy way of eating and living. It is eating the things our bodies were meant to eat. It is fueling our bodies with the purest forms of food. No more processed crap. No more fast food. No more microwave dinners.

In A Nutshell:

-No wheat
-No grains
-No dairy
-No soy
-No legumes
-No corn
-No peanuts (a legume)
-No processed food
-No sugar (besides sugar found in fruit or vegetables)
-No chemically altered food

-Lots of veggies
-Some fruit
-Meat- grass fed, hormone free
-Eggs- hormone free
-Fats (coconut butter)

For me- Paleo has changed the way I see food. It isn't something that I just have and eat when I need it. It is something I put a lot of thought and energy into. It is one of the reasons I am alive. It is something that can me a better athlete and a better person. Paleo has put me back in tune with my body. I never knew what healthy truly felt like until I ate Paleo. I know it sounds crazy that something that seems so insignificant can change someone's life- but that is the point I am trying to make. The way we eat isn't insignificant. It can change all assets of your life if you view it and respect it in the way humans used to. I hope this all makes sense and doesn't come off as a rant! But truly sit down and think about what you eat. You will be shocked at what will you will discover".

Re-reading this has really helped me today. I know there are reasons I want to eat healthy. I truly believe everything I said before. But I have grown to a point emotionally that I am allowing myself those cravings without a side of a guilt. I know that on a daily basis because of my Paleo journey I put thought and consideration in what I put inside my body. I know better when I eat unhealthy but I also know to make sure I get extra nutrients in the thing I eat after the french fries. I know the full potential of my health and it has caused me to explore NEW facets of this journey. Why stop at Paleo when there are so many more things to try. I have started a new journey learning about holistic medicine. After finally realizing that I cannot trust others to feed me correctly (look at the FDA food pyramid and every commercial on TV) how can I trust what I have always known about medicine? Is taking an Aleve for a headache really the BEST option out there or is there more? The things I have learned in this new journey are amazing as well and I can't wait to share all of my new knowledge. Which I will begin to soon.

So here is what has changed- I am no longer eating Paleo 100%. I still believe in it 100% BUT I am slowly adding to this belief system. I am learning the world is not so black and white and that living in the grey area for a little while won't kill me. I KNOW that with my new baby on the way when I am making her baby food at home and packing her snacks that consist of carrot sticks instead of cheetos I have Paleo to thank for that. I know that I am not perfect- and that's okay. But the reason I continue this blog, in times where I myself am not the poster child for Paleo, is because it really pains me to see so many people struggle in their own health journeys. Especially when I see them making the SAME mistakes I made- eating crap, then making up for it by eating what commercials and diet companies tell us are healthy. Then running on the treadmill and being miserable. Then eating crap and doing it all over again- all while having a steady stream of negative self talk in their minds. So I try to make meals they can make because when I first started someone else did that for me. I read countless blogs and got recipes that made me excited about food again. Recipes that made my weird love and hate relationship with food shift. So that is why I still blog. That is why I try my best to be honest- in the hopes that someone somewhere will switch out the lean cuisines and diet shakes for an avocado and some taco chicken. So with all that said (sorry I was long winded today) here is a recipe that I made the other day instead of going to In N Out. Small victories people, small victories.

Sweeeeet Potato Fries 

What you need:
- A large sweet potato
 -Coconut Oil
-Salt & Pepper

What you Do: 
Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sweet potato into thin slices and coat your baking sheets with coconut oil. I had some extra coconut oil I drizzled on the top but some of them were a little soggy so I would be sparse with the extra coconut oil. Line those suckers on a baking sheet. Put them in the oven between 400 and 425 (I started at 425 for about 10 min then finished at 400) and cook for 15-20 minutes. After the 12 min mark I would keep an eye on these and watch them so they don't burn. A lot of people like to flip them in the middle of the cooking time but I am too lazy so I don't mind one side being crunchier. Finally- let them cool on paper towels, add seasoning and enjoy.

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