Sick, Tumbled off the Wagon & Slowly Climbing Back On…

It has been a long time since the last time I posted. I got extremely sick, Paleo went almost down the drain and now I am starting to slowly get myself back into reality.

I was really sick. I had something going on with my Chiari Malformation and nothing was helping. I was stuck in bed most days and to go shopping, prep food and actually make it wasn’t in the cards for me. My wife was working, my son still needed his 2nd mom and I couldn’t ask MY mom who traveled all the way from Texas to make my “special” foods. I ate what was given to me and I was happy that I was getting any food at all.

After 6 weeks of being off of work, I finally went back. I was hoping to ease myself into it, but that was only a lie that I told myself. From being sick and after going back to work, I was eating about 50/50 when it came to Paleo. I know I was being bad and it was dragging me down, but I didn’t have the capacity to handle work, being a wife, being a mother and being Paleo. So, the food went down the drain.

After more than 2 months of not going to the grocery store and eating processed food, I finally remade my commitment to myself. I went to the store, bought my needed ingredients and I am back to eating Paleo. I prepped my food and have my “food bag” back on my shoulder.

Where am I now? My job is still 60 hours a week. I’m working on my stress levels and I am hoping that getting back on track with my food will ease that. Maybe some of those vitamins and minerals that I am lacking will help boost me up.

The good news is that I already know what I am doing. I just need to take the time to do it. I need to start writing again, I need to start loving life again and enjoying the little things that keep me going. So, as I focus on rebuilding my immune system and eating the earth’s bounty, I will work on healing me mentally as well.

~Brandi

Inside Out

Everyone seems very interested in my transformation. People are noticing my unintentional weight loss and my friend told me today that even though I was always beautiful; I shine now. That made my day. Her comment got me thinking about changing from the inside out and what that really consists of. There are many ways you can lose weight to look good on the outside, but that doesn’t mean you are healthy. Although this journey isn’t about losing weight for me, it is an added bonus and that is what people are going to see the most.

So, as I was thinking about the “inside out”, I thought that not only does that mean body but it also means your mind. Once you get past the detox portion of Paleo your mind really becomes a lot clearer. I wonder if it is because your body is just running smoother in general or because different chemicals are being released…I’m sure I could research it, but I would rather just ponder.

Paleo has not only helped me with getting my body healthy, it has also helped me with my anxiety, stress and overall mental health.

My anxiety is a lot lower than it use to be. I am grateful for this. Don’t get me wrong, I still have melt downs where I clean the house from top to bottom for no reason other than it helps me think, but they are less frequent. In fact, I actually left dishes in the sink!

My stress levels are far lower than before. I am positive that this is a direct result of me getting more vitamins in my body and on a daily  basis. The food that I eat is so nourishing that it allows for optimal absorption. Vitamin B is important to reduce stress and I am getting enough through my diet that supplements aren’t needed. It is a great feeling; especially since vitamins always made me sick.

Speaking of vitamins…they are a funny thing. We as humans take them because we don’t get the nutrients we need through our food sources. I only take one vitamin and it is a multi-vitamin. I am able to successfully get all of my nutrients through my food sources. I understand taking vitamins if you are deficient and can’t absorb or produce what you need, but why not cut the cost and just eat the right kinds of foods? The price of a bottle of vitamins makes me want to go eat a spinach salad instead. I would rather spend my money on a new pair of jeans or a cardigan. Plus, let’s be honest…if you don’t plan the intake of your vitamins with your next bowel movement; you will end up pooping it out anyway.

Anyway, I’ll get off my vitamin soap box.

A lot of people think that Paleo is a diet and I guess for some people it is. If you are doing Paleo to lose weight and then you achieve your desired results, the average person would then go back to their old ways and then it becomes the yo-yo game. I try to stress when I talk to people about this that it isn’t a diet. It is a way of life. It is just who you are and that’s about it. No diet, nothing extreme, just going back to basics and eating real food. When it is an actual lifestyle, there is technically no cheating. In fact, I encourage you to go out and eat a meal at your favorite restaurant. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that once in a while. I do! Plus, it might release some good endorphins in your body and actually aid you overall. Mental and physical!

I guess I would say, work on you as a person! Write down what makes you happy and what brings you down. Find ways to maximize your happiness and ways to reduce the negative in your life. Personally for me, I look at what I call “the grand scheme of things”. If I am finding that something upsets me, I try to think about how it is truly impacting me on a scale of 1-10. Usually, I find that it is very low and I work to remove the emotion. I’m not saying it works for everyone, but it works for me. In fact, when I decided to go through with this change; I cried. Oh, lord did I cry. I thought I was going to be so miserable and my life would be incomplete without these wonderful foods I had grown to love. It was so wrong. I stopped, I analyzed and I moved forward with my plan. I focused on me and how I could help myself from the inside. It’s working…join me with.

~Brandi

 

 

Stop Staring

Over the weekend, my family and I celebrated Thanksgiving. I knew that the traditional foods would be served and I had a plan of attack. Honestly, I don’t think that anyone should have to give up a holiday celebration meal. Sure, you can make alternatives, but when it isn’t your house that isn’t really an option. Plus, you can still make small good choices while attending to that delicious plate in front of you!

My Plan:

I knew there would be veggie platters, so I brought my Paleo approved ranch. People can stare…but at least I am taking out one unhealthy thing. Plus, I don’t have to worry about anyone double dipping in my own ranch!! I had pumpkin pie, but only the pumpkin; I didn’t eat the crust. I brought my own Sunbutter for dipping other snacks and all of these proved to work out well. For dinner, I opted for the smallest plate in existence and allowed myself small servings of what I enjoyed the most. I didn’t go back for seconds. I didn’t gorge myself until I couldn’t eat anymore. I was happy and satisfied. Not bad for my first Thanksgiving living a healthy lifestyle.

New Creations:

Last night I baked. I made what I have innocently named “Banana Balls”. I didn’t understand the giggles until someone explained the sexual nature of the name. I will press forward with the name. I like the giggles. I also made Sunbutter cookies (dryer than I wanted; working on that) and some homemade cinnamon apple crisps. It was a very successful night and I look forward to mastering my own recipes.

On top of that, I also made a spinach soup which was delicious. Tonight, I am going to conquer spinach ravioli. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

More About Me:

I came down with a cold over the weekend. I am blaming it on a virus that was lingering in my body from when my partner had a cold a couple weeks ago. Whether or not that is true, that is what I am saying. I had processed foods (not much, but enough) two days in a row. On the third day, I woke up sick. I immediately began to “juice” up and by the next day, I was feeling much better. It really does help to keep those vitamins in your system. When you put in ugly, the ugly will find a way to everything else.

My overall health is improving. I’m still dealing with a lot of pain, but I notice that mentally it is becoming more tolerable. I wonder if that is because my mental clarity is better or because I am just healthier in general so I don’t feel so down. I am continuing to lose weight. People are noticing; it is a nice feeling. I suppose that is the extrovert in me.

My digestive tract is back on target. The only issues I ever have is if I eat something that isn’t raw. My body essentially tries to purge it. I can almost describe it as someone who has had gastric by-pass surgery and if they eat something on the bad list they will get sick and “dumping” occurs. I know that if I eat something that is not raw that within 30 minutes I will get sick. It never fails. So, 98% of the time I eat raw and the rest of the time, I prepare myself for the aftermath for the delicious goodness that I ate.

I wish other people would walk beside me in this journey. I look at some of my friends, co-workers, family members and I know how much healthier they would be if they did this with me. Sure, it takes time to get use to. You might want to give up. You’ll get bored until you find a bunch of new recipes. You’ll get tired of going to the store, cutting, chopping and preparing.

BUT

Get past that first month and your hurdles are gone. I promise you that your creative juices will start flowing. You will begin making things you never imagined. When you feel hungry and need a snack, you will juice or make a smoothy instead of opening a bag of chips. The preparing will take minutes, the chopping will start to look like you are a professional chef. It is amazing what 4 weeks can do to your body, mind and soul.  It will be second nature to you…or in the case of our cavemen, first nature.

My secret plan (which isn’t a secret anymore) is that I have everyone try my food when I make it. Whether it is good or bad, I have them try it so they can see that just about anything can be made Paleo style. 99% of the people who try my recipes like them. They have no idea they are eating something healthy; especially when I bring in my baked goods. Each person has their own preference, so I am big on asking for opinions and modifying as needed. Spices are important. Too much and the dish is ruined; too little and the dish is ruined. I’m new at this so I need all the help, comments and feedback I can get!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I’ll be uploaded some recipes within the next couple of days! Be on the look out!

~Brandi

Another Weekend…

Weekends in general scare me. They go too fast, I don’t get everything done and I usually spend too much money. They scare me even more now since I can’t just get up and go. I can assure you that even though the gas station might have a cup of grapes sitting there, it isn’t necessarily the safest to eat.

I didn’t cheat this weekend. I had no desire. I had a processed induced meal in the middle of the week and it made me so sick. I imagine that will continue to happen and I will continue to have a processed meal here and there. Anyway, by the time the weekend came, my stomach was not quite ready for anything that wasn’t raw.

I got a text from my partner that our friend’s son was going in for emergency brain surgery. I was at the grocery store, so I reached out to our friend, got the details and we went and stayed with her. I was hungry. I had been so busy running errands and cleaning that I didn’t eat much in general. I have to remember that eating raw (without meat) doesn’t sustain my hunger as long as processed foods, but in general my energy is more stable. Processed foods will keep me full all day, but I will crash…

So, as we are getting ready to leave, I am in the kitchen cutting up fresh veggies, spooning out some organic ranch, getting some yummy sunbutter prepared and cutting us some apples. I had myself a little spread since I didn’t know how long we were going to be at the hospital.

I think people think I am crazy. As my partner and I were walking into work this morning she tells me that I need to get rid of my purse. She laughs and tells me I have too many things to carry. Let’s see, I had my jacket and scarf on my arm (not idea why I wasn’t wearing it), my laptop backpack on my back, my purse and my giant Trader Joe’s bag with all of my daily food intake. It’s true! I look silly, but I look at it as some form of weight lifting and I am getting some muscle definition since I do it 5 days a week! Since I have issues with my right chest/shoulder/arm…I usually carry everything with my left arm so I am going to have one of those giant arms with the other arm being skinny. haha

Update on my health:

I believe that eating raw is helping me with my overall health. My weight is going down which is good. I am not trying to lose weight, but it is just happening since I am eating what the beautiful earth actually intended us to eat. My energy levels are much better and I am finding that I do not crash in the middle of the day, at night or in the morning for that matter. Even if I only get 3 hours of sleep, I find that I can wake up a lot easier in the morning and I start moving faster than normal. That is a bonus since I am and ENTJ and us intuitive types are usually always late for everything.

As far as my pain levels, I think I want to start a pain journal to see how my pain levels are fluctuating. This past weekend we had a lot of cold weather and rain. That knocked me out Friday and made me have higher pain levels throughout the weekend. Weather is always going to impact me because it flare up my lymph nodes, but I feel that this time around it wasn’t as bad as it has in the past. Still bad…but a lesser bad perhaps. The pain in my chest around my collarbone and into my shoulder has been pretty much the deminse of my “pain free” days. It has to be connected to my Chiari somehow and I really need to get into my neurosurgeon and talk to him. Since the MRI on my chest and shoulder came out normal with the exception of the mass, I can only conclude that it is related to my Chiari and neck since they are all connected. Either way, the healthier you are in general, the better off you are if you do have Chiari. Any pressure from being overweight, etc. just isn’t a good thing. Plus, a lot of the foods that eat on the Paleo diet are high in anti-imflammatory so that helps with the lymph nodes.

 

 

Kick Ass Kale Wraps

Kick Ass Kale WrapsKick Ass Kale Wraps:

  • 1 Pear
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Mexican Squash (or squash of your choice)
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Dash of Garlic Powder
  • Dash of Onion Powder
  • Drizzle of Raw Honey
  • 2 Pinches of Cumin (go easy on this; it is strong)
  • Dash of Ginger
  • Dash of Nutmeg
  • Chia Seeds (optional)
  • Coconut Oil (enough to saute)
  • 1 Kale Leaf

Dice up the pear, red bell pepper and squash and saute in coconut oil. Add your spices and let it saute stirring occasionally. I cooked mine so the pear had a little crunch and the bell pepper and squash were soft. Towards the end, I minimized my stirring because I like a little brown.

Once done, take 1/2 an avocado and slice it up on your kale leaf. Add the sautéed ingredients and roll the kale leaf into a wrap. You’ll have to hold it pretty tight, but the flavor is totally worth the potential messiness!

Enjoy!

I’m that person

It’s true! I’ve turned into that person who has to talk to everyone about eating clean and I don’t even care if they want to listen or not! Anytime someone tells me they are going to eat, I respond with “keep it clean!”.

The truth of the matter is that it works. It really does give you more energy and it helps your health in so many ways. My partner has been sick for a week with something awful that I was positive I would get. Nope! It hasn’t broken through my fruits and veggies defense barrier! I have so many vitamins and antioxidants in my body that I haven’t even felt a sniffle. Well, my throat was hurting, but turns out that was my lymph nod, not that yuckiness she has.

I was reading a blog the other day about a woman who hasn’t had a flu shot in 10 years and she also hasn’t gotten sick in 10 years. All because she started eating clean. I find it to be utterly amazing. I began to think if the “common cold” or  if the flu even existed back in the caveman days. Are these viruses that we have made by the sheer unhealthiness of our lifestyles? Are we spreading germs because we aren’t in-taking the right kinds of nutrients; therefore our bodies don’t know how to handle something foreign that might come our way?

I don’t know the answers, but my assumption is that the better you treat your body, the better it will treat you. That my friends is something I will take!

I really want to share with everyone how easy it is to live a Paleo lifestyle or even Paleo with a Twist like me. You can still go out to eat, you can still make “normal dinner”. The only difference is that you are going back to basics when it comes to eating. If you like chicken, make yourself some grilled chicken with veggies instead of rice. Perfection! For me, since I don’t eat meat, it makes it a bit more difficult in social settings, but I make it work. It doesn’t inhibit me from still enjoying life; in fact I enjoy it more now. I have learned to prep my food intake so I am prepared for just about any social setting.

This weekend our 3 year old wanted to go to Red Lobster. Granted my child only eats chicken so it doesn’t matter where we go, but he likes to look at the lobsters. I ordered a salad specifically based on the ingredients listed on the menu. The salad which I was excited about, came and sadly was sent back. There were croutons, cucumbers (I just don’t like them) and all sorts of things piled on top.

I sadly have the waiter take it back and bring me another salad. I could tell he was confused, so I politely explained that there are certain foods that I do not eat because they are considered processed. He seemed to understand and was actually quite pleasant. I got another salad that he essentially let me build and all was well.

On another note…

The other night I made “squash noodles” with a homemade marinara sauce. The noodles were boring and lacked flavor…the sauce was yummy but so runny that it was like a soup. It was a disaster. I’ll work on that creation of mine…

On the same night, instead of an epic failure, I made a wonderful treat that I am naming “Oh, My Muffins”. I’ll post on my recipe tab when I’m done. It was so delicious. One of my dogs even snuck in a muffin; although it wasn’t an approved snack!

I’m not sure what I am going to make tonight. I want to do some recipe checking and get some new ideas. I am lacking in the meal section right now since I have made just about everything I have found. I would say this is an accomplishment so time to start recipe hunting. Besides, payday is tomorrow so time to stock up on some new freshness!

Check out the recipe for my Oh, My Muffins in “My Creations” tab that I just uploaded. You won’t regret it!

Apple Heaven

Last night I got hungry and decided it was time for a light snack. It had been a while since I had dinner and to be honest, I didn’t eat a lot earlier so my stomach was yelling at me for some substance.

I wanted something light and I REALLY didn’t want to cook anything since I had already made my “Last Leg Vegetable Soup”. I decided to cut up an apple and I drizzled it with some raw honey and then spread some Sunbutter on top. It was so yummy and it really hit the spot. The mixture of salty and sweet was a perfect combination and the protein from the Sunbutter was great for keeping me satisfied into the early morning. I was so delighted with my snack that I opted to bring it in to work so I could taste it again!

I’m excited to try my “Last Leg Vegetable Soup” for lunch or even for a snack. It is funny because you make things, but since you are eating so healthy, anything can end up being a snack. You truly are eating more than ever! There are no more 3x a day meals as you are consistently providing your body with the appropriate nutrients throughout the day. I have noticed that my body is telling me what it needs. I now know if I need protein or sugar or vitamins from veggies. I feel different and my brain just knows what I need to eat. I guess that is what happens when you get all of that junk out from your system.

Anyway, I have to admit that I took the plunge and actually weighed myself yesterday. I promised that I wouldn’t weigh myself, but after reading some blogs, I thought it would be a good idea. I now have a baseline so I can measure if I do begin to lose weight too fast. I have read in some other blogs that people who do the Paleo diet lose a lot of weight really fast which I do not think is healthy. I would be happy with 1-2 pounds a week, but I would also be happy with nothing, provided that I feel better about myself from the inside out. This is definitely not about weight loss, but it comes with the territory when you begin to eat raw. So, we’ll see. I don’t have a goal of how I want to look. Of course, I can say that I would be happy at a120 pounds, but now that I am 30, I am not sure that is realistic. I don’t have the same body I did in high school so I am happy with just being healthy.

I think it is important that we as humans stop putting such a huge focus on a number or a size when it comes to the way we look. I wish we could just look at ourselves and say, “wow, I look good today” or even “I like my curves today”. I know that society plays a huge role in the way we think we are supposed to look, but we ourselves need to also take personal responsibility. There is no reason why we can’t throw away society and find inner happiness and contentment.

I’m a hypocrite and I will admit that. I want that perfect body and everything society says I should be. But why? I can preach all day about finding inner happiness because I know it is the right thing to do, but at the end of the day, I am no different from anyone else. Part of my journey in this lifestyle change is to find that inner happiness. To be happy with a few curves and be okay with not being perfect. I encourage all of you to work on this journey with me and with yourselves as we change from the inside out.