Sunday, June 30, 2013

Natural Sugars

Read this over at Norma's blog - letting you know that artificial sweeteners are crap (though we should all know this by now) and detailing the gross and dangerous process that occurs when making "natural" stevia.

If you don't know stevia is bad for you by the insane way it tastes (that ain't normal, folks).

So I am here to remind the few of you that forgot - real things that grow in this world are sweet!!!

Honey, maple syrup - totally sweet. And completely not carcinogenic. And there is some indication that if you eat local honey, you won't have bad allergies (your body will get used to the pollen from the inside out!). And maple syrup, well, I don't know if it has any health benefits - but, o.m.g. it MAPLE FREAKING SYRUP.

Also, and this should go without saying, fruit is sweet. And delicious. Natural. Good for you.

You don't need stevia. Or truvia. Or equal. Or whatever. You don't even need processed white sugar. Things taste good without all that stuff!

For example:

Now, we rarely make paleo "baked goods" - we like just eating whole foods that grow in the world. But a co-worker of Chris' gave him tons of rhubarb and I had just picked tons of strawberries - so a strawberry rhubarb dish seemed perfect.

We made this strawberry rhubarb crisp using the natural sweetness found in the world: STRAWBERRIES (full of sugar) and maple syrup which bound together the almond "crumb" topping. It is not too sweet, but naturally sweet. And tart. But yum, so yum.

Most of the time when I want something sweet, I eat grapes or berries or something. I do enjoy dark chocolate as well. I didn't buy dark chocolate at the store for this week because we are obviously going to be working on this crisp for a loooooong time (I have to have really, really small portions of this because it has a lot of calories from the nuts and syrup).

But I would urge those of you out there who are still kind of hooked on artificial sweeteners or even white sugar to think about all the natural ways you can enjoy sweetness. Foods are naturally sweet and we are attracted to them (it's the calorie rich stuff that kept us alive when we were australopithecines just trying to get by out there a million years ago!) - and if you stop artificially sweetening your food, you will start to appreciate just how amazingly sweet naturally occurring foods are!!

Enjoy your lovely day <3

Saturday, June 29, 2013


One major factor in my weight loss and fitness pursuits is making sure LIFE is generally taken care of - taking care of business, as they say.

If life is crazy and messy and scattered and confusion, if the house is dirty and the laundry is piling up, if there are papers to file or banking to be done, etc, etc, etc... it is so hard to focus on health.

So today has been about Taking Care of Business!

Friday night, when I got back from my hair trial (ooooh, it went well! the lady is so nice and friendly and talented and we are doing my hair in a side swept updo with pin curls and some softness... pretty, pretty!), I cleaned the house so that we wouldn't have to worry about doing any cleaning this weekend and could focus on other tasks -

Today, Chris and I set up out joint bank account, we went grocery shopping, mailed out some documents at the post office, took the dog on a walk, went to the hardware store and fixed some washing machine issues (and drooled over the new washing machines and driers - so LOVELY), and Chris is now down in the kitchen brewing up his latest batch of beer (he is still a beer drinker even if I'm not!). 

So I am taking a breather and blogging, because we've been going for about 6 hours straight, starting at 7 AM!

It just feels so.... nice to have life all sorted out, nothing hanging over our heads, and we don't have to feel stressed.

Stress is such a big cause of emotional eating for us. Clutter and craziness makes it hard to focus on what's important.

So get focused out there, folks - it's very worth it!

I will leave you with a picture of a lovely flower in the bouquet Chris brought home for me last night :)


Friday, June 28, 2013

Eat Real Food - PLEASE

I am currently visiting my fiance, who travels Monday through Friday during the summer and fall for work. I miss him lots, but we make things work. Like, I can take a day once in a while to visit him at his hotel (our roommate is watching the animals) and enjoy dinner and a night together :)

He is actually working near the area we are getting married, so I am taking the opportunity today to get the hair trial for my wedding done! I am a little nervous, since I have frizzy, crazy, curly hair that is VERY hard to tame. My dream wedding hair would be down with loose curls and very soft and romantic. I am probably going to have to end up pulling it all back - maybe go for the classic movie-starlet look (or attempt it haha).

In keeping with the theme of this blog and my passion - another silly little flowchart (man, I love flowcharts) to help you decide what to buy at the super market:

Put simply: I shop around the perimeter of the supermarket. I rarely ever venture into the aisles, except for ketchup or toilet paper or toothpaste! I like to buy frozen berries, too, because the organic frozen ones are so much cheaper than fresh!

Shop at the produce section, then the meat and dairy section, and if you are a grain eater - the bread section. Then go home.

Have a great day!

Peace and love (leave you with a picture of my date night outfit!):

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Protein, fat and carbs and portion sizes

I wanted to share my idea of a well balanced meal.

I've got two chicken sausages made with spinach and garlic (and if you know me, you know they are all natural haha), half a plate of asparagus cooked in olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. Got a little dollop of mustard there, too. This was dinner at about 6 o'clock in the evening, I'll be having a snack of grapes (organic, since they are BIG offenders on the dirty dozen list) and that will be my food for the evening.

Simple, clean, reasonable.

Protein from lean meat, carbs from vegetables, fat from healthy oils.

Stop over-thinking! 

Don't make meals or snacks or FOOD in general more complicated than it needs to be.
As far as simplifying food and your life, thought I would share this chart about portion sizes, for those of us who just don't want to bother with the time and mess of measuring cups and whatnot. I think one of the biggest problems a lot of Americans have is understanding what a REAL portion size is, what amount of food they actually need to eat to maintain health.

See the thumb portion for peanut butter? Goes for all nut butters.
Soooo easy to over do it - but be careful, that thumb is 170 calories!!!

I, myself, had a huge problem with portion sizes (and still do if I don't keep honest with myself) - I would eat three or four pieces of pizza, even though I stopped being hungry after 1 1/2 slices. I would eat 3 portions of pasta because it was YUM. I would eat 3 - 4 tablespoons of peanut butter because I couldn't stop.

Portion sizes are much less of a problem for me, now, because I can eat as much fruit and vegetables as I want... and all I eat for most of the day is fruit and vegetables! I take a moment before putting meat on my plate, eyeing out the portion size and what I REALLY need. Same thing with nuts, nut butters or my yogurt products. Anything that I could tend to overdo it on, I just take a moment to decide what's reasonable and put the rest away.

Let's all get real with ourselves, what we are eating and how much we are eating.

I really want everyone out there to succeed in their goals and rock optimum health.

So start getting honest, don't trick yourself out of the most awesome life you can have.

Oh, yeah, and I am down to 123.6 - lost about a .8 from yesterday. If I hadn't indulged in alcohol and chips this weekend, I'd be right near goal by now! Well, like I said, I am not perfect, but I am working on being better :)

Love you all, Namaste <3

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Living Day to Day Simply

Down another .4 today. It's amazing that I spent so much of my life overweight/obese when, in reality, all I had to do was try a LITTLE bit and I could lose .2 - .4 pounds a day (leading to a 1-2 pound loss a week!).

It really boggles my mind when I think about the insane effort I put into staying fat: how much I had to eat, the junk I bought, the utter determination to sit on my butt all day. Ridiculous.

My days aren't consumed with losing weight - I just eat normal portions, eat whole/clean foods, and move around more than I sit/lay down. When I want to lose weight, I make sure I end up just the teeniest bit hungry at the end of the day (a sign that I didn't eat enough calories to make up for what my body burned that day) - which is around 1700 calories.

My day yesterday:
  • Internet and Blog
  • Eat coconut milk yogurt and frozen berries
  • Dog Walk
  • Life Stuff
  • Eat cilantro chicken sausage with 1/2 sweet potato, peppers and onions
  • Eat square of dark chocolate
  • Life Stuff
  • Yoga/Strength workout
  • Eat cantaloupe and grapes
  • Hang out with Dog for nice times
  • Eat lemon pepper chicken and green beans
  • Drink flax milk
  • Enjoy evening and go to bed!
It just doesn't have to be awful or hard, I promise.


You really can't eat processed crap. I'm a true believer in that.

It wasn't until I removed all processed food from my diet, all chemicals, all CRAP, that I could really easily control my weight. My most processed food is the yogurt and flax milk (the chocolate is just melted down clean ingredients) and it's minimal. There are no dangerous chemicals or preservatives. The chicken is natural - no hormones and no antibiotics.

Now that I only eat meat/eggs that are hormone/antibiotic free, I've seen a big difference in my body. It responds SO WELL to food. It actually scares me how many outside hormones I was ingesting, and I wonder what the hell it did to my body. Did it mess with my menstrual cycle? Did it bloat me? What? There is actually very little research done on this issue because it is hard to see the effects of added hormones from natural hormones. What I *DO* know is that there is a high possibility these IGF (insulin-like growth factors) can affect our own human growth hormone -- and when human growth hormone gets out of control, cancer is a likely result.

So whether they have decided, scientifically, if these things are safe or not, I still prefer to go as natural as possible.

There is literally NO harm in eating the most natural food possible (unprocessed, no hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides). But there is some likely harm from eating the opposite way.

So my experience is anecdotal, not scientific, but it is here for you to read. I've found what works for me:

Eat simple.

Eat clean.

Stay as close to natural as I can with fruits/veg/meat.

Eliminate grains/legumes/dairy.

Stay active - mix of strength and cardio.

I am not perfect in any of this. But I follow these rules wayyyyy more often than I don't. And the results for me are undeniable. I spent my teenage years and early adulthood obese. I spent the rest of my adult hood just a little overweight. Now, in my 30s, and following these rules - my body is at a great, healthy weight, my body is energetic, I am rarely bloated and no longer have any digestive issues.

So there's another rant for you.

I just wish I could really make some people see and feel how EASY all of this is. Once you get over the hurdle of changing bad habits - the days are so simple and easy and your spirit and body will feel so good. 

Namaste, my friends. It is time to eat my eggs and take the dog on a walk :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Depression, Exercise, and my day :)

I was listening to an Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew podcast on my run yesterday. They were talking about studies that have shown that exercise helps ease the symptoms of depression just as much as drugs do.


And I completely believe it, knowing how I felt with my heart pounding, my body working, sweating in the sun as I listened to that podcast.

I realize I am still battling some depressive symptoms, even 9 months out from my dad's death. It can still sneak it's ugly head into my life, making me irritable, fatigued, sad and super anxious and limiting my productivity and joy in life.

The runs in this beautiful, sunny, warm weather feel like AMAZING medicine to me. The adrenaline gives my brain a little reset, making the rest of my day more productive, making me feel happy and PROUD of myself.

This little article from WedMD sums up why it works nicely: Exercise and Depression. And gives this list which I felt important enough to share with you (to urge anyone out there who might not always find the desire to exercise!):

Regular exercise has been proven to:
  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
Exercise also has these added health benefits:
  • It strengthens your heart.
  • It increases energy levels.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It improves muscle tone and strength.
  • It strengthens and builds bones.
  • It helps reduce body fat.
  • It makes you look fit and healthy.

My day yesterday:

2 mile run, 1 mile dog walk (short because Koda is still tired from the weekend!) and 200 row pulls.

All of a sudden running is more attractive to me- minimalist shoes and warm weather help! I can't wear sneakers, my feet don't plant naturally like that and so the sneakers have always hurt me in the end no matter what if I run in them. Also - I can't wear minimalist shoes in the snow, so winter running is really out of the question for me.

I thought I was totally done with running (as I said, these past two times are the first runs I've had in a year) because it hurts my joints and it is BORING. But it wasn't boring these times. It was kind of.... fun, dare I say. No run for me today, though. I am looking forward to just doing yoga and a little strength workout.

My weight is down to 124.8 - glad to be back in the 124s. I won't mind going to my dress fitting weighing 124 (though I am going to try for 122/123 before July 9th).

Favorite moment of yesterday: sitting on the porch with Koda, reading Wicked, as the rain poured down. It was so cozy and Koda was so calm and cute. I felt insanely happy.

Hoping for another delightful moment like that today!

Namaste <3

Monday, June 24, 2013

Little fail and lots of awesome!

So before I get to the fails, I will let you know that I am so completely happy and sated and relaxed after this weekend.

I spent it at a gorgeous cabin in the Catskills (in PERFECT weather) with more than a dozen of my friends and most loved people in the world. That fact alone would be enough. But it was also an awesome party, the kind where you stay up till the morning and lose your voice a little from talking and laughing too much. It was also the first time Koda has been to a big, crazy party and he made lots of new friends by being a silly, playful, energetic, crazy puppy.

Seriously - I fell even more in love with everyone in my life: Chris, Koda, and all my friends.

Here's some pictures to let you get a glimpse of the nice times:

I wanted to eat paleo, and I did succeed for the most part - burger without the bun, pulled pork, fruit. But I got drunk Saturday during the day and definitely ate way too many corn chips. They are a total weakness for me - crunchy, salty, satisfying. I loved it at the time, but regret it now because the indulgences in alcohol and chips put me back up to 125 this morning.

I made the mistake of drinking beer on Friday night - I should stay away from beer because it's made with wheat, but damn if a Belgian white beer isn't one of my favorite beverages in the world.

On Saturday, I drank some vodka drinks in the afternoon but stopped before the evening time and decided to abstain from alcohol for the night (had a realization I had already had more drinks than I should and didn't want to COMPLETELY ruin my body). I was pretty proud of myself, especially since I stayed awake till after 4 AM and didn't drink anything.

I am sure after Sunday's detox and getting back to regular scheduled programming for a few days that that number will be back down. But - urg, you know? Still not perfect here, still not making all the best decisions.


So you don't think I am all doom and gloom, I am still at 125 or under and I am LOVING my body. I felt strong and capable after my run last week. I got lots of compliments that I looked good this weekend - compliments on my arm muscles or that I look small. I also got compliments on my awesome outfit for the late night sequin dance party, hehe, I wore a silver shirt completely covered in sequins, black leggings, and silver high top sneakers (shown in the last picture above). Totally awesome.

So I am going to keep doing what I am doing. Stay paleo 95% or more of the time. Drink only once a week (or less, ideally). Keep up yoga, strength training, rowing and occasional runs. And stay in love with my body :)

I still need to learn to control myself a little better in these weekend party atmospheres but all the hard work and good habits I've been practicing are paying off - I am still at a great weight, still strong, still happy.

Back to the grind this morning - had a coconut milk yogurt and am about to head out for another jog and will use my rowing machine afterwards!

Much love, my friends! Namaste <3

Friday, June 21, 2013

First run in a year!

I think I've been decently vocal about my dislike of running. It's just not for me. I've got short legs. Running hurts my hips and knees if I do it too much. It's usually pretty boring for me.


Yesterday was a stunningly beautiful day here in the Capital Region and I was dog-less (Koda went to a day of socialization and obedience training). One of my friends posted a picture of herself running in the area and I don't know what came over me, but I decided to go on a run for the first time in over a year.

I will do anything to get cardio any other way than running, usually (rowing, hiking, jump rope, whatever!), but I just felt the need to head outside and run around and see the world.

Threw on my headphones (ahhh old Loveline episodes, how fun!), my vibrams, tank top and shorts and off I went with very little fuss.

These pictures are post workout:

I ran just over two miles without stopping to walk. Not too bad for someone who is insanely out of practice! I felt good, strong, fit and LIGHT (wow those ten pounds I dropped last year make a huge difference). It's nice to know I am still in good enough shape to go running whenever I damn well please.

Big proponent here that running is not the be all and end all exercise (though props to you long distance runners out there!) - you can do a TON of different stuff for cardio and strength and not lose the ability to run. I would dare say strength training would make you a better runner! So if you hate running, don't force yourself to do it all the time (but I think I will start running a few times a month just to make sure I never lose the ABILITY to do it). I sometimes read blogs or see people out on the street who are absolutely miserable with their runs - I don't get it. Do exercise you love. If you love running, run your heart out. If you don't, mix it up!

Anyway, after my run, I walked a few extra blocks to the local organic coffee shop, got myself a coffee with a few drops of honey as a treat, and then walked the ten minutes home, sipping on my coffee and enjoying the sunshine.

The whole deal took less than an hour (more like 40 minutes including the coffee nice times) and I felt energized and happy (might be the coffee as much as the run, though!).

Feeling sore and great this morning, walked off the stiffness in my calves (I'm a toe runner!) and thighs by taking an early morning walk with Koda today :) We have another one scheduled later to make sure he is tired out for the car trip to the cabin this weekend.

Get out there any chance you get folks. You won't regret it!!!

Peace and Love to You! If I don't update again till Sunday (since I will be living it up with 30 friends at a cabin in the woods hehe), have a great weekend <3

Thursday, June 20, 2013

In case you don't read the comments:

I wanted to share a comment I got from yesterday, because it sums up my feelings about eating paleo (or generally just eating healthy) very well!

I know I don't always read the comments to the blogs I read, unless I am leaving a comment or the topic is of particular interest to me. But I got a great comment from Norma yesterday and I wanted to share it (if you can't tell from how much I link to Norma, I think she's pretty awesome and you should really go read a couple weeks worth of her blog posts):

This is what people need to know about a clean/Primal/Paleo lifestyle, exactly: they don't need a collection of cookbooks and complicated recipes and exotic ingredients. They also don't get to eat two pounds of steak in a setting. You get your proteins: eggs, fish, poultry, beef, pork -- whatever you prefer, the best quality you can afford. You cook it simply: salt, pepper, a few herbs or spices of your a good quality olive oil, coconut oil, or just grilled or roasted in the oven. You get all the veggies you love, eat them raw or steam them or grill them. You throw in a fruit or two here and there; some nuts or nut butter here and there. And you drink water. You eat when you're hungry and you stop when you're full. NO BRAINER. People who are determined to make a big project out of "going Paleo" seem, without exception, to view it as yet another temporary "quick fix" during which they are going to be "deprived" of cheese and candy -- and are, hence, doomed to fail. When eating good quality whole foods in proper portions, prepared simply, becomes your way of life (as it has for you, and for me, 95% of the time) it becomes insanely easy to eat for health. 

Love it. She said exactly what I think about this.

Stop making eating well complicated, whether you are eating paleo or not.

You know a whole food when you see one. You know processed junk when you see it. Eat one, not the other.

Cook those whole foods simple, with good oils and all the herbs/spices you want. Same for the veggies. Or eat them raw. Whatever. Simple. 

Give your body fuel to live your life.

In other news: my calorie counter app on my iPhone wouldn't work yesterday! Argh! I like to keep a general tally for the day so I don't go crazy. Especially right now when I am trying to actively lose weight.


Keeping to my own rule of keeping it simple and easy- I just ate the same thing I ate the day before, and the day before that. I eat the same breakfasts, lunches, snacks and a variation on the same dinner almost every day.

So no big deal about the app failing. Just kept on keeping on. Weighed in a little heavier this morning, 124.2, but that's life! 

In other news, look at my haul from berry picking yesterday (so excited to have fresh berries as dessert!):

Namaste. Stay bright.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keeping it simple.

I have been keeping things very simple this week. Simple, straightforward food. Simple, continuous activity. Very little thinking or worrying going on.

Holding steady at 123.6 for three days now. That means it wasn't a fluke! Very exciting for me :)

I am being pretty simple and strict this week because I have a party weekend at a cabin in the woods coming up - our friends are having a joint bachelor/bachelorette party (it's weird: my computer always underlines bachelorette as if it's spelled wrong and tries to correct it to bachelor... computer doesn't want us girls to have some fun, too??).

Anyway, haha.

Food is being provided for us. I'm assuming, since it's summer, it will be grill food, BBQ-type sides, etc. My plan is to stay as paleo as I would at home. I can eat a burger with no bun. I can enjoy fruit and vegetable dishes. Breakfast is usually eggs and bacon with this group. So aside from not eating the QUALITY type of foods I like eating (doubt the beef is grass fed or that the bacon is nitrate free), I'm okay with going into the weekend.

Haven't drank in a while, but I plan to have a few this weekend. Making a promise to myself to not overdo it, though. No reason for all that. I have learned in the past that I am out of my shell enough to have a great time with people without getting trashed first!

I turned to alcohol in my mid-20s, when I had just lost weight, had a new body, and was trying to have a social life for the first time, really. I went out with co-workers and drank a LOT to loosen up and feel comfortable and part of the group. I don't need to do that anymore, I am more confident now.

Back to being strict to prepare for the weekend-

Chris is traveling for work this week, so I prepped food for myself this week. I made a big turkey chili (ground turkey, snap peas, garlic scapes, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes) that I have been eating once a day with baba ganoush on top and once a day mixed in with eggs. The rest of the day, I've been grazing on melon, bananas with sunflower butter, sweet potatoes, annnnnnd... that's about it.

Keeping it simple.

The ONLY silver lining to Chris being gone for the week is that my food gets super simple. There is a little prep work at the beginning of the week and then I don't have to think about food for days.

Plan for the day is to walk the dog, weed the tulip beds, plant some rose bushes, do a little yoga, and then... who knows :)

Namaste, my friends!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just had to share.. :D

Any South Park fans out there?

This gave me a chuckle:

Finally took a little nap today and feel normal after the bout of insomnia I have a night ago. I feel like when I lose a night of sleep, I have a few days to catch up on sleep and my body gets set back to normal with no ill effects.

Losing a night of sleep really makes me realize how IMPORTANT sleeping is to my overall health.

Going to babysit again tonight- I like making the extra cash. Been using it for some little house improvements. Tomorrow I am going to get some fencing and gardening stuff and plant some awesome rose bushes that were just given to me!

This was just a little off-plan post to share a chuckle - hope everyone is having a lovely day/evening!

Namaste <3

The dress fantasy :)

Had a great weigh in this morning! I am happy because I have been trying VERY hard to be mindful about my food. I went off paleo a little bit this weekend (I ate sushi on Friday - 2 rolls, and I had a beer after the garage sale) but fit everything into my calories. I've stayed insanely active, been doing my yoga and short strength workouts, walking the dog, having the sale, babysitting a toddler.

I've been attempting to lose this weight while not taking any extreme measures - I want to keep this weight off and live this life till my last day! The only thing I will do after the weight is gone is not keep to the 1600 calorie range I've been keeping to - I will probably up it to more like 1800 to maintain weight. So that basically means that I will eat exactly the same I am eating now, except I will have an extra small snack throughout the day.

Easy enough!

Well, I haven't mentioned my weigh in, haha :) I weighed in at 123.6 PRE-bathroom times and after drinking some water.

/does a little happy dance/

I still have two weeks till my dress fitting too :) I want so badly to feel like a beautiful woman when I stand up on that platform and have the seamstress fuss over the dress. I want to fall into that fantasy completely and not let self-esteem issues rip me out of it.

Seriously - I have a bit of a princess dress, I am getting married in a stone church and having a reception in a rustic, wooden hall. I read a LOT of fantasy books. I want to feel like a maiden in a fantasy world going to meet her knight ;) I know without a doubt that my marriage is going to be happy and strong (he's the most right guy for me in the world) and now I am focusing on wanting this wedding to fulfill all my little girl dreams.

I'm so happy I am in the place I am right now!

I canNOT push the idea of clean eating enough. (I will also recommend TRYING paleo, but I wouldn't push that way of eating on someone - it just so happened to be the right way to eat for me). But clean eating? It will work for everyone.

Get those chemicals and preservatives and pesticides and completely foreign crap out of your bodies - you will see your bodies change for the better.

They will be more energetic. More efficient. Stronger. Healthier. Skin will clear. Stomach problems will lessen. Headaches will ease.

Taking all the processed foods and heavily pesticide-d foods (the dirty dozen) out of my diet helps me to get to the weight I want to be at. My body isn't fighting those foreign, dangerous substances and can devote all it's energy to the important things.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Are You Happy?

Had a bit of insomnia last night and now I need to head off to babysit. The insomnia was a result of garage sale anxiety.... AFTER the garage sale. I kept thinking about getting rid of all the junk and stuff and realizing that was the last time I will see any of those stupid things again.

The lamp that was in my living room for 30 years. My dad's stupid cartoon ties. The nightstand my mom painted and I had as a child. The stupid ugly plastic horse statue me and my dad bought. UGHGUGHGUHGUHG.

I am definitely a hoarder at heart. I have that sickness that seems to pervade American society - the sickness of acquiring stuff, deeming it more important than it is, and never being able to let go. However, I want to FIX this problem... and I do it by admitting I have the problem and getting rid of stuff anyway. I've never gotten rid of stuff on such a HUGE scale, though. Apparently my little lizard brain was misfiring from the shock of it all and I had some severe anxiety issues last night.

I had to do it, though. I know the garage sale made me anxious. I know it kind of broke my heart. But this is for LONG-TERM happiness. Having a clean house. Having a clean mind. Being free. I needed to get rid of that stuff that was going to choke us.

Still. It's not easy.

The clutter problem is just like weight loss - so many of us know we have problem and we know what we need to do to fix it, but it is the DOING of those things where so many people just stall out.

I don't want to stall out, stay in place, be stagnant.

I want to be happy.

Bringing the child I watch to Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Hiking Trails today. I'm excited to do something active with him! If I am going to be hanging out with a four year old for several hours almost every day this month - I want to instill in him some of MY values (the love of nature and the love of being active) and make a little difference in his life :) I don't want to just watch him and make sure he is alive when his parents come home, I want to brighten his day and expand his world and all that cool stuff!

My stomach is upset from the insomnia and anxiety all night, but I will bring a banana with sunflower butter with me to Five Rivers for when I eventually get hungry!

Peace and Light, friends. Be Happy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ditching the clutter!

Like Norma said recently, it's important to ditch the physical AND emotional clutter in order to get and stay healthy.

True, true, true in every sense.

I took a big step this weekend and had a garage sale. Even more big because it is Father's Day weekend.

I had to go through my dad's clothes, his movies, his CDs, the knick knacks he loved, and I had to decide which were important to keep and which were not.

It was heartbreaking to make those decisions - if he were alive, he'd want all of it to stay! And getting rid of any of it meant that he is really, really, really gone and not coming back.

Every item of clothing that got sold, every CD that got taken away, it hurt a little. I had to focus on the fact that I was making some people VERY happy (my dad had awesome nice coats and tons of belts and gortex boots and all sorts of stuff that people bought who were SO AMPED to be able to have those nice things - things they might not have been able to afford otherwise).

It was a huge step emotionally. Dealing with him being really gone. Taking steps to deal with it (I've been pushing some of my dealing with it issues to the side the past couple of months - but it's important to realize I'm still grieving).

It was a huge step PHYSICALLY, as well. We de-cluttered our space!!! The basement is CLEAR again, we can move around again, feel free again.

AND -- we are NOT going to fill in the clear spaces with more junk! This is a clutter-free, hoarder-free house!

I do feel healthier. I feel stronger. Cleaner, freer.

It will be easier for me to make healthier choices, because of feeling those things.

Mind, body, and spirit - I do believe in the pursuit of total health.

Namaste, friends. Wish your dads a Happy Father's Day if you have them and make sure they *really* know you love them, despite all their faults and quirks. I wish I could today!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Importance of a Supportive Partner

Reading a lot of blogs lately that mention how hard it is to eat right when a partner either A) is eating junk on their own B) bringing junk into the house C) actively encouraging the other to eat junk with them.

One of my dear friends, who is a lovely man, did something that horrified me the other day (I briefly mentioned it on my blog). His girlfriend is eating paleo this month and struggling with it. He walked into the room where we were trying to avoid the smorgasbord in the dining room with a piece of red velvet cake WITH A PIECE OF MELTED PEANUT BUTTER ICE CREAM CAKE frosted over top - he was proud of his treat and was showing it off to his girl.

If my fiance did that to me, well, he might end up with that cake all over his face.

Thankfully, not only does Chris try not to indulge in junk when I am around (and even when I'm not!), he would never dream of making sure I knew there was junk food being enjoyed around me. He might have wanted cake that night, but he joined the ranks of those abstaining to A) feel good HIMSELF and B) make abstaining easier for the rest of us.

I couldn't be more grateful.

I know I wouldn't be where I am if he didn't stand by my side. He not only encourages me to eat well but has made it important in HIS life, as well. Now, because he finds it important, there is absolutely NO arguing or misunderstandings about food.

I really think couples who are struggling with this need to have some deep heart-to-heart talks. This isn't just about vanity. This is about life - long life and quality of life. I've lost TOO many people in my life who didn't take care of themselves, who put poison into their bodies (cigarettes or food).

I met Chris, I fell in love, and I became terrified of losing him.

I want us both to do everything in OUR power to give ourselves a chance at a healthy, happy, long life. It might be taken away by forces not in our control, but if that happens - I won't feel guilty or bad because I know we tried. We loved each other and ourselves enough to try for that life.

It was actually a genuine heartfelt talk like that that convinced Chris to stop smoking cigs. The talk wasn't about the cigarettes (and the talk shouldn't be ABOUT junk food), it was about my fear of losing him too early. That I wanted more for us.

It's something to think about and to work towards. Some of the most successful weight loss bloggers I've seen have pretty awesome partners (or if they are single, they have great support networks). It CAN be done on your own - but why make it so much harder?

Also, I wanted to share this awesome resource about WHY it's important to eat organic (more nutritious, safer, free of additives/pesticides) and how to do it on a budget:

Namaste, friends!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rainy day ramblings

Well. Another rainy day here in the capital of NY. Seriously, June has been crazy with rain. So was May. Guessing we won't be having drought problems up here this year!

So I am hunkering down with the dog for a while, neither of us feeling up to heading out for his walk (seriously, he is curled up in his favorite recliner with his blankets and sleeping hard - he didn't rouse all morning!).

I'm okay with that! I took him on a nice long walk yesterday, he is calm (for now). And I am at peace with my levels of activity: I walked over 6 miles yesterday - did the dog walk and walked to and from a friend's house. Did my yoga yesterday. Also dragged a bunch of crap up from the basement for our garage sale (my arms were burning after I dragged an almost 100 pound punching bag up!).

Slow and steady weight loss is happening - which is all I can ask for since I am already at a low weight. I am at 124.2 this morning, hoping I will see 123 on the scale before the week is out! I might, might, might make my goal of 120/121 for my dress fitting.

I am SO THRILLED that I will be at my healthiest/smallest/best for my wedding. I will be at a weight I haven't been at since I was maybe in eighth grade (or younger?)! And it will be because I am eating whole, clean foods, not emotionally eating, and keeping my butt moving.

I've had unhealthy weight loss in the past (my early 20s) - this isn't that!

It's been ALMOST a decade of learning about weight loss. I am glad I progressed from those early years - where I thought I could eat anything in moderation, if it fit into my calories. I put so much processed junk in those years. Went through binge cycles that would get triggered by eating too much sugar, followed by obsessive exercise cycles to get back in control.

Weight loss now feels like a straight path - I do the same things every day, basically, with a little variety on food types. Once in a while I will eat out or have a drink (but that has become exceedingly rare!) and, since it is so rare, it doesn't affect my weight. I like that.

I don't know that I will get out for a walk this morning, so I will do a strength workout made up mostly of planks, weighted squats, lunges, and other body weight exercises. Finish up with a little yoga and then get back to the garage sale organizing!

Started the morning with an egg, egg white, and half a sweet potato.

Just another day in the life :)

Sorry for the boring, rambling, rainy day post - but it's dark out and the rain is falling and I am lulled almost into a place of hypnosis!

I will leave you with a picture from our camping trip, Chris and I in a lean-to, with our dog snuggled behind us on his own sleeping bag :)

Namaste <3

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What is Eating Clean?

So "eating clean" gets thrown around a lot, especially in the weight loss blogging world. It's almost become a sort of buzz word that has a lost a lot of meaning.

I ran into this article looking at the good and bad of Tosca Reno's eating clean diet plans: Should You Be Eating Clean?

I like Tosca Reno - she's got a lot better ideas than a ton of weight loss industry writers/speakers/trainers/hacks out there. It seems to me like the author of the article has a stick in their butt about clean eating to begin with and so looks a little too harshly at Reno in response.

The article goes point by point through the diet and talks about it. For example:

"Avoid chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sugar. This simply an appeal to the naturalistic fallacy. It’s not possible to avoid “chemicals” in your diet; chemicals ARE your diet. The same can be said for preservatives. Salt is a preservative. Added ingredients need to be evaluated on their own merits, not avoided wholesale. The same can be said for artificial sweeteners. Reno demonizes sugar substitutes claiming they “work against you just as much as white sugar does.” Yet there is no persuasive evidence to demonstrate that artificial sweeteners are harmful, or will compromise dietary goals. The same cannot be said for sugar."

Um. A naturalistic fallacy?

They are playing dumb.

People who are trying to eat clean are NOT freaking concerned about salt preserving their food. I'd be delighted if the preserved food I wanted to eat just had salt in it. I'm trying to avoid dangerous food additives (and these were only the most dangerous in 2008... I shudder to think what is dangerous now), not SALT, for god's sake.

No persuasive evidence that sugar substitutes harm you? I don't give a rat's ass. I really don't. I don't eat crap developed in a lab somewhere and made in a factory.

I eat things that grow on trees or in the dirt or have faces (and have been fed the food THEY are supposed to eat).

THAT is clean eating.

Aspartame has no part in that.

Clean eating to me is so simple. It looks like that paleo flowchart I posted about a week ago, except I add in the rule that everything that CAN be has to be fresh. And if it has a label (like a pack of nuts), then the only ingredient can be NUTS - no oils, no preservatives, etc. For example, I do buy ketchup, but I buy Annie's Organic ketchup so I know there are no pesticides on my tomatoes and the ingredients are: "INGREDIENTS: *TOMATO PASTE, *DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR, WATER, *CANE SUGAR, SEA SALT, *ONION, *ALLSPICE, *CLOVE. *ORGANIC INGREDIENTS"

Easy as pie, my friends - but lay off the pie ;)

Putting actual food in your body, clean food, will benefits your health, energy, and metabolism SO MUCH MORE than you could ever have imagined. It's been the best change I've ever made for myself.

I leave you with another silly but true flow chart :)

Namaste :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Where's the Nutrition? and Spaghetti Squash!

First, my semi-daily weigh in (I forget sometimes, but weigh in about 3 - 4 times a week). Weighing in at 124.8 - haven't seen 124 in a number of months. Really, it was just around when my dad passed - I dipped below 125 and even got to 121, but that was because I was hardcore grieving and depressed. This weight is a reflection of me getting my life back together and feeling happy again :)

On to my topic!

I read this opinion piece on the New York Times website and thought it was relevant and interesting:

"Each fruit and vegetable in our stores has a unique history of nutrient loss, I’ve discovered, but there are two common themes. Throughout the ages, our farming ancestors have chosen the least bitter plants to grow in their gardens. It is now known that many of the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste. Second, early farmers favored plants that were relatively low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil. These energy-dense plants were pleasurable to eat and provided the calories needed to fuel a strenuous lifestyle. The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health."

Interesting, hm. The most nutritious/beneficial foods don't always taste the best? Humans go after sugars, starches, and oils first? Couldn't have noticed that!!

It took me forever as an adult to start liking more nutritious foods like kale or other more "bitter" foods because, as a child, I was surrounded by super tasty, nutrient-void foods like white breads, cookies, and veggies slathered in cheese.

We need to re-think our food culture. Food does NOT *have* to taste amazing all the time - it doesn't have to rage our taste buds, make our sugar sensors scream or slather our primitive brain in oil.

Focus on nutrition. Focus on energizing your body. Focus on giving your body what it NEEDS to function and thrive.

I am doing that, and succeeding HARD right now. I struggled with the Whole30 in May, but I am no where near struggling now. I decided not to do the Whole30 strictly but to use it to guide my life - taking the pressure off, I found I follow it way more often than not. I maybe ate two bites of non-paleo things last week. 

Being rewarded with a non-bloaty belly right now!

Dinner last night was awesome, by the way. I bought a HUGE spaghetti squash for around four dollars, cut it in half and roasted it (with no oils or anything!) till tender. Got rewarded with several pounds of squashy "spaghetti" which I turned into dinner for two, lunch for two, and a snack for two (I put maybe about 200 calories worth of food into small tupperwares we can grab when hungry) using a nice turkey meat sauce with vegetables I also made:

This is a huge bowl and the squash was several inches taller than the bowl - SO MUCH SQUASH

TBSP oil, 1 lb turkey, 1 onion, 10 mushrooms, broccoli, and tomato sauce

Really, really, REALLY simple. Really cheap. Really easy. And super tasty!

No excuses, my friends, no excuses. :)

Peace and light to you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Holy Non-Paleo Temptations, Batman!

First off, I'll start the post with saying I am weighing in at 125.6 and pretty excited about it! My wedding dress fitting is in just under a month and though I know I won't hit my goal of weighing 120, I know I will be pretty damned close, so I am happy about that. Feeling pretty awesome after a week AND a weekend of eating paleo, staying within my caloric range and being active :)

So... the temptations.

I detailed the temptations at the brunch yesterday (that I DO agree, Sandra, the thought of what those refined flours and refined sugars would do to my stomach and body really were the biggest help in turning them away): nutella filled crepes, raspberry lemon muffins, crumpets, biscuits, cheese souffle, bagels, etc.

Then I went to watch the Game of Thrones finale at a friend's house. Now this friend is doing the Whole30 right now, so I thought I was pretty safe from temptations. Ahem. Nope.

Problem 1: Her boyfriend is NOT doing the Whole30 and is, in fact, kind of teasing her with all the junk he can eat and tempts her with it a lot. I love this guy as my friend dearly, but I felt *horrible* for the struggles she is going through. I had so much support from Chris during the Whole30 and even now, when he's not eating strict paleo, he is totally on my team.

Problem 2: It was a friend's birthday, as well, and he brought eggplant Parmesan and garlic bread to celebrate. There were also THREE cakes: cheesecake, peanut butter chocolate cup ice cream cake, and three layer red velvet cake. Damn.

Well, it was easy not to eat the eggplant Parmesan. It reminded me of a blog post I had read in the past where someone talked about how eating some eggplant parm was more important than living a long life, basically. Easy choice for me.

But those cakes - I love how they ALL taste.

But for my friend and for MYSELF, I sat in the other room, eating the berries that were brought to go on top of the cheesecake, and doing my best to just chat with my paleo friend and ignore the gorgefest that was going on in the other room.

I felt insane yesterday, like I was living in a twilight zone where life is nothing but EATING MOAR FOODS!!

This past weekend was definitely a weekend focused around eating and drinking for most of my friends. I was glad we got away to the woods for most of it so I didn't get caught up in the insanity. Instead, I played in the forest with my fiance and my dog, read an awesome book next to a river, and felt really calm and pleased with life.

I felt bad for my friend, though :( She is definitely fighting her way upstream to a healthier life. I am reaching out as much as I can to offer support.

Running late into my morning so I can't post the hiking pictures (I haven't even seen them yet, so I don't know if there is anything worth showing, haha), but I will soon!

Resist that temptation, friends!

Namaste :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

After hike brunch

Koda woke us up at 5:30 AM this morning, in a lean-to miles into the woods- it was adorable and aggravating!! He woke us up with doggy kisses, so I forgave him :)

But it meant we hiked out by 8 AM and were back to Albany by 10... So we decided to go to a brunch our friends were having at noon.

And it was definitely a test - raspberry lemon muffins,Nutella crepes, rhubarb crumble, cheese soufflé, etc. Also mimosas (a weakness!).

I had two pieces of bacon, about four cups of salad, local strawberries and a tiny bite of the rhubarb crumble. No alcohol, just coffee!

Total win. Normal lunch. I'm trying to get back to being social and not pigging out. Not eating crap just because everyone else is.

This was the salad I brought, it had mango, avocado, and red peppers!

Will be back tomorrow with a more cohesive post and hiking pics :)


Saturday, June 8, 2013

A weekend full of my fav. exercise!

Going hiking and camping this weekend! Figured I would check in and let you all know why I was on radio silence till later Sunday!

This is my major and favorite exercise in the world! We'll do over a dozen miles and about 3000 feet of ascent today, and several miles to backpack out tomorrow. We packed good clean paleo food for the weekend to give us great energy and fuel.  

Not bringing my nice camera as it us supposed to be pretty rainy but I have the little point and shoot so there will be pictures!

Weighing in at 127, in the middle of my cycle, hoping I'm down at the end of the weekend :)

And we're off!!!

Use your bodies this weekend!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Why It's Worth It, Reason #465

Sometimes it doesn't seem like it's worth it - all the working out, all the clean eating, all the moderation. People start to stress out about what they are missing: dinners out! drinks with friends! chocolate chip cookies! pizza!!!!

Hell, even in bed the other night, I told Chris that I missed our "bad behavior" earlier this year (where I was putting on a couple of pounds because we were hanging out with friends at restaurants and bars and gatherings and just throwing caution to the wind).... it was pleasurable to be bad like that, IN THE MOMENT. But the next day, and all the days after an indulgence, I was left feeling gross, groggy, bloated and a little worthless.

So what's truly worth it?

Literally the morning after I confided that to Chris, I had this wake up call:

I had to bring the kid I am babysitting to his swim lesson. And I had to wear my suit and get in the water with him because you can have before/after play in the pool but there would be no teacher.

I flashed back to the last time I babysat, about ten years ago and at my fattest (I remember a kid saying my tummy was fluffy like his fat moms ughhhh) and how I would have been HORRIFIED to wear a swimsuit at a crowded pool while babysitting-- but it would of kind of been part of my job.

What a relief yesterday to just take off my shirt and shorts, jump in and have fun!!

There were no seconds of hesitation. There was no looking around to see who was looking. There was no planning to get under water completely as fast as possible so no one would see my body. There was no cringing about the cute lifeguard who had to watch us.

There was just... life.

This is life after weight loss and its SO WORTH IT!

And these are the things I have to think about when I start to falter.

I hope you think about it, too!

Namaste <3

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fast Food Fallacies

People think they're eating less than they are - it seems like I read a news story like this every month or so!

My solution to this problem? Um, don't eat at fast food places. Seriously. No, not even Subway because it's "healthy."

A year and a half ago, Subway was the only fast food place Chris and I would go to, because it was meat and vegetables and we could REALLY control what went on our food. This was before I went paleo and realized there was really no excuse for not eating at home or bringing my own food places, though.

Anyway - a year and a half ago I was struggling with some constant weight gain. I was up in the 140s at one point, feeling terrible about my body. I couldn't understand why - I was hiking intensely every weekend, working a manual labor job, and walking EVERYWHERE. One thing I clearly remember when we went paleo was giving up Subway.

I used to order a footlong veggie or turkey sub with lots of veggies, honey mustard, and on their wheat bread. This was a typical before and after hiking meal, and sometimes just a "we are too lazy to make food, let's get Subway" meal.

And that was one meal - and I KNOW I was consuming way too many calories for that one meal. I did not need to be eating over half my day's calories in one sandwich.

I miss the convenience of Subway. I tried going there and just getting the salad (and would still do that if something crazy happened and I was stranded somewhere at 9 PM and everywhere was closed except a Subway) - but I realized the QUALITY of the vegetables, meats and dressing was just... bullshit.

So I don't do it anymore.

So, if you aren't going to take my advice and stop eating fast food (and don't bother commenting defending fast food - it's a terrible sign of our awful food culture - ESPECIALLY McDonalds because I will just delete and move on)... then be VERY, VERY careful about what you order and KNOW exactly what you are putting in your mouth.

Yes, it's full of chemicals. And it is full of way more calories/fat/sodium than you would imagine.

Be careful out there, guys, it's a crazy world.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Paleo Flow Chart

I don't have a ton of time this morning (had to follow Chris to the car shop, drive him to work, then make breakfast and I am about to head out to babysit!) but I did have something I wanted to share with you all. 

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook yesterday and I *love* it!

I like the tongue in cheek humor ("it's probably a rock," "corn is a grain knucklehead," etc) and then all the "no's" end up at "That crap will kill you"... haha. Very nice.

But it's a nice easy visual way to show someone what eating paleo is all about - it is not about how our ancestors ate or anything prehistoric, it is about inflammatory foods vs. non-inflammatory foods, foods that our bodies easily digest and don't, processed food and non-processed foods, chemicals and non-chemicals.

It's about eating CLEAN, first and foremost.

Enjoy your day, move your body, don't eat chemical-laden processed junk, and live brightly!

Namaste :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gluttony and Sloth

I was TEMPTED last night. It felt like I was purposely being tested by the healthy eating/clean eating/paleo gods.

Around 8 o'clock at night, the dog started going wild - which could only mean that a stranger had dared to come onto the porch. I let Chris deal with it, as I had no pants on (which is pretty typical for me in the later evening!). A pizza delivery man showed up at my door with hot pizza, wings and soda.

Fresh, hot, greasy, awful, delicious pizza!

And my mouth watered.

Of course, we didn't order it. He had the wrong address or something. But, in a moment of weakness and remembering the old days of gorging on greasy take-out, I really wished I *had* ordered that pizza!

Chris and I laughed for a little about it. I couldn't quite explain the wash of emotions that came over me. Desire! Guilt!

We have been eating so clean and so well. We talked about how it's almost like a religion and the pizza man was our temptation. Something that would lead us astray like fat little sheep ;D

The major sin of MY religion: ordering delivery.

It's the epitome of some bad behaviors: gluttony and sloth.

Gluttony - you can eat a whole bunch of crap that is terrible for you.

Sloth - all you have to do is pick up your tiny little phone and someone brings you food.

In the end, we passed the test with flying colors and remained true to the paleo and clean eating gods :) Definitely no sloth last night: we built a lawnmower, cleaned up the house, worked hard on our dinner AND we took a bike ride after dinner. And no gluttony, either: we ate chicken burgers with fresh tomatoes, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and avocado.

Ended the night with a cup of organic decaf coffee (if you are a big coffee drinker, consider going organic - coffee beans are one of the heaviest pesticide sprayed foods in the world) and a banana with a tbsp of sunflower butter.

My body thanks me for not sinning :)

Hope you are treating YOUR bodies like temples today!


Monday, June 3, 2013

Bikini vs. One Piece; Body Image

The lovely Kelly keeps urging me to wear a bikini. She rocks one and thinks I should too! I know most people would look at my pictures and tell me I am ready to wear a bikini, but ah.... the self-consciousness I feel is INTENSE.

My stomach is where I gained most of my weight when I was overweight/obese. I am always super aware of it now, even though no one else is. I'm afraid by wearing a bikini, all of a sudden, everyone else would be super aware of it as well. I know I would be obsessing!!

So, for now, I will be sticking with my one pieces :) For example, I went to a local hiking and swimming area with Koda and Chris yesterday and wore my one piece to enjoy the water with my crazy dog:

I still get to have all of the fun, but not be constantly thinking about how I look.

It made me realize I still have a LONG, looooong way to go before I really, truly love my body as it is. As I've written before, I have some pretty intense body dysmorphia. But I also haven't completely forgiven my past self for letting my body get so out of control. Some loose skin and stretch marks are reminders of that, reminders that really bug me every day.

I am not in a place of acceptance of my body, not yet. I'm working on it, though. I have stopped hiding my body because I know logically it does not deserve to be hidden. I try to stop myself when I catch myself looking in a ton of mirrors and judging my body. I do yoga to find peace with my own body.

It's interesting. Women with a wide variety of bodies will feel comfortable in bikinis. Other women, also with a wide variety of bodies, wouldn't be caught dead in a bikini.

We are all so different and all dealing with so many tough things regarding body imagine, confidence, and value.

I definitely am affected by the media's idea of what a "bikini body" is, how they constantly rip apart every flaw of a celebrity that is wearing a bikini, lauding the most perfect bodies and slamming the others. I am not perfect. I never will be. And it freaks me out! It shouldn't, but it does. 

My hope is that my future daughters or granddaughters will be comfortable in their own skin in a way I never was.

Namaste <3

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hula Hooping

Walking home from a friend's house on Friday night, I found a golden hula hoop!!

This is me, delighting in my find (and a little tipsy and overly excited!):

This is me the next day, using my new hoop:

I challenged myself to hula hoop for fifteen minutes straight without stopping. I'm pretty good at keeping the hoop going, I don't drop it. But, wow, after fifteen minutes, my core was BURNING and I could barely keep the hoop hooping! Great workout that I am going to make a more consistent part of my exercise regime! Super fun :)

I don't often do a lot of core work, aside from the balance postures with yoga or doing plank. This is a good addition.

Just wanted to share the nice times!

Heading to bed, waking up early-ish to take the dog to a local swimming hole with a waterfall... he loves swimming and so do I :D

Good night!

I'm taking a stance...

I'm taking a stance, because it's something that I believe in, and I kind of want to do a blog-makeover for it.

I've had this blog for over a year now - and it's detailed my experimentation with paleo when paleo was pretty new to the scene, it's detailed a crazy/joyful/tragic/wild year of my life and how I've *FINALLY* learned how to deal with intense emotions (either joy or sorrow or anything in between) without food.

But I feel like I need more of a direction, I need to be passionate about something if I am going to continue to blog all of the time.

And I am passionate about clean eating. I don't care what "diet" you follow, I am a firm believer that your overall health (and in direct correlation, your weight) is negatively affected by consuming ANY processed foods or chemicals.

They're out of my life. This house is clean (aside from my roommate's food, which we don't eat, so technically *our* house is clean) of processed food - you will never find a bag of chips, a package of oreos, deli meat, hot dogs, any refined flours/sugars AT ALL.

And my health and energy and weight control has never been better.

It's absurd that we feed our kids cereals with ingredients we can't pronounce. It's INSANE that we feel like we "deserve" junk food like combos or slim jims.

I'm taking a stand here. This has to stop. It's not okay.

Another reason why is this article: Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous For Human Consumption.

Get the processed crap OUT of your houses, out of your mouths, and off your minds.

Eat organic (or the clean 15) vegetables and fruits, nuts, vegetarian fed chickens and their eggs, grass fed meats, organic dairy (super important to go organic here if you have dairy.... so many antibiotics and crap in there).

Leave the chemicals, the antibiotics, the growth hormones, the UNRECOGNIZABLE substances out of the equation. They are changing us at a cellular level. They are killing us and our children. I am being melodramatic because it's important. There is no wiggle room here.

So, yeah. That's my stance. Expect to hear more from me on these matters.

I won't be the person that comments on other blogs telling them to lay off the lean cuisines or the low fat snacks or the soy-based diet meals (don't even get me started on soy right now!)... even though I feel very strongly that items like that should not be part of a healthy lifestyle. I will not force these ideas on other people. But if anyone wants to read this blog, just know that this is my opinion, I feel passionately about it, and believe there needs to be some intense change in this world of ours.