Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Paleo & Tao Chapter 76 (Remain Flexible)

We all know that things change. Chapter 76 of the Tao Te Ching reads:

"While alive, the body is soft and pliant

When dead, it is hard and rigid

All living things, grass and trees,

While alive, are soft and supple

When dead, become dry and brittle

Thus that which is hard and stiff

is the follower of death

That which is soft and yielding

is the follower of life

Therefore, an inflexible army will not win

A strong tree will be cut down

The big and forceful occupy a lowly position

While the soft and pliant occupy a higher place"

~Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths in 2006

Flexibility…and acceptance of change. We innately know this, that change must happen but yet we still fight for sameness, for things to remain as they are. This happens in everything: you pray you don't get downsized out of the job you hate because although you hate it, you're comfortable there. Or you don't want to end a not-so-hot relationship because at least you have someone, you're somewhat comfortable. You don't want to give up grains because getting a bagel on your commute each morning is easy, it fills you up even though it makes you tired later. But you're happy enough, loved enough, and healthy enough right? Thankfully we as People are flexible, we evolve. Find any movie love story and there's a line in it about how one will love the other for the person they are now and who'll they become.

If everything about us evolves shouldn’t then our diet? We were satisfied with breast milk when we were babies, then we grew to like solids and then grew to like still different foods. Who gave us the idea that suddenly because we've reached adulthood that our tastes and our diets should stagnate? If we use our governments age of adulthood of 21, then I supposed to have the same tastes that I had at 21 for the next 80 years? I think not, I’d still be eating vegetarian bologna! When I was 21 I HATED margaritas and tequila with a violent repulsion. Today, a NorCal Margarita is one of my very favorite alcoholic drinks. Maybe not the healthiest of examples, but you know what I mean, my tastes are still evolving!

Growing up I had one brief run in with food allergies and was told I was allergic to chocolate and something in Doritos. After I grew out of those allergies, I really had zero trouble with foods. Well, that is if you consider gaining alot of weight to be "no trouble with food". What I didn't know then was that I had plenty of sensitivities to certain foods but because my diet was so full of inflammatory foods my whole system was inflamed. I had no way to tell which foods in particular were causing trouble as there were so many alarms going off I couldn't tell where any single one was coming from!

So fast forward to 4 years into Paleo and my personal discoveries include finding that I seem to have reactions when I eat;

- eggplant (oral allergy (?) causes lips to burn),

- roasted nuts, including almonds, (get a rash & tingling skin)

- milk, even raw & even raw goat (get itchy neck rash)

- corn chips, I used to consider non-GMO corn chips about once every 4 months to be a good cheat food (causes rash)

I went into Paleo with the idea that I really didn't know what I was doing and I allowed my body to teach me the lessons I needed. Since then I've learned a ton about what food is TO ME. Most importantly I've learned that learning doesn't all happen at once and that getting reactions to things you've eaten doesn't mean you're getting sick, it means you're becoming more aware! If you've been eating very clean then if your body says, "hey, that food you just ate? That wasn't a good idea", now you're in a position to listen....and to do something about it.

I suppose what I'd like you to take away from this is to remain flexible in your journey. Allow yourself to be wrong and allow yourself to change your mind later if you want. If you think you'll never NOT love ravioli or Oreo cookies and that you could never love vegetables, allow yourself to be surprised. There may come a day that you think Oreos taste like sugary-iron-plastic stuff (my opinion now) and that pesto is God's gift (also my opinion). You may discover a staple maybe doesn’t agree with you anymore and that one that you never thought about is now your favorite.

Life is exciting and oftentimes very surprising! Let it be so, go for the ride and discover what you may!

Best :)


COMING UP: How did I discover what food do and don’t work for me, and how you can apply this to YOUR Paleo diet.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Do a "Paleo Challenge"?!

Seems like any time you google Paleo you get a bazillion links to gyms and blogs tracking people's experiences with a Paleo Challenge. Our box is even doing a Paleo Challenge: 6 weeks of clean eating for anyone who wants to submit a food diary to one of our coaches. Why do we bother to bug you about what you eat? Are we coaches trying to make you feel like shit? Do we think you need more "character" and so got together and devised this deprivation diet just to piss you off? Are we seeing just how much you'll let us get away with? Very simply put, you joined this gym in order to get healthy and we promised to give you the tools to do so.

Tool #1: Moving, has been addressed. Now comes Tool #2: Nutrition

Sometimes I wonder if you really understand the purpose of the challenge, of having to dedicate yourself to eating according to Paleo-food rules for four-six weeks. The idea is that we've all been on a junk food diet our entire lives. We really have NO clue how our bodies feel if it could be fueled by the purest fuel. This is our chance to find out. Cut out all the junk, see what happens. You have got absolutely NOTHING to lose and everything to gain.

Do you remember being young and being distinctly TOLD something like, "honey, the stove is hot." Words are nice and all but we didn't really KNOW the stove was hot till we touched it and got burned. Some learning needs to be experiential in order to sink in and make an impact. These Paleo Challenges are your learning experiences. All the testimonials in the world won't mean jack until you experience the goodness for yourself.

You know to eat vegetables, meat, some fruit, some nuts, some seeds. Already, if you're new to Paleo, you're starting to panic because that list looks awfully short. I assure you, it isn't! If potatoes, peas, carrots & the occasional leaf of iceburg sums up your knowledge of the produce department you have got ALOT to learn (hint: it's all good stuff). So you see this seemingly short list and start to panic and start to devise clever "paleo" alternatives. I can hear you musing, "there must be paleo-french toast, there must be."  It's similar to vegeterians eating soy-bologna sandwiches with vegenaise. Yup I'm sure you, at some point, thought it was funny that vegetarians eat things manufactured to resemble the very foods they strive to avoid, meat. Foods like Tofu-rkey, TVP "bologna" and other lunch meats made of soy & gluten, no-tuna salad and so on. So how is it any different for a Paleoterian to make meals out of Paleo-ified muffins, paleo-ifiedpastas and breads?

I've heard "because I miss those foods" as reasoning for eating this stuff each day. What is the point? What are you gaining by pretending? Think about it this way; isn't it hard to forget about eating cookies if you have your hand in the cookie jar? Carrots will never get a fair chance if you eat them always wishing they were pizza. You’re not about to throw your husband away because he isn’t Rich Froning right? So let’s be mature about this and not throw a fit about faux-bread not being on the menu J

The things I want the most for you to learn:
·         You CAN free yourself from your lifelong junk food diet & all the cravings if you dare to embrace Paleo completely.
·         The grass IS indeed greener (& not treated with RoundUp) on the Paleo side of the fence.

Take these six weeks and go unapologetically head first into eating Paleo and dare to be be the healthiest you've ever been. Don't eat clean just so you can feel better about an all out Cheat Day. Don't eat Paleo because you want to justify pizza and cake. Don't apply conventional ideas (ie: no fat is good fat) to your Paleo-challenge. Don't Paleo-ize foods to mimic junk food. Don't eat Paleo and wish you were eating "normal”. THIS is normal, eating PALEO is normal!

Bon appetit,

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Dear Sweet Larabar!

When they came on the scene all us food naturalists were pretty stoked. Here was something that looked and tasted like candy but without all the hydrogenated oils, stabilizers and lab-created flavor coatings. With choices like "Key Lime Pie", "Cherry Pie" and "Chocolate Coconut Chew" we were just too excited to discover that they didn't contain any added sugars. No citric acid. No natural fruit flavoring. No added fructose. We could follow our Paleo rules but feel like we were cheating! It was kind of exciting.

But years have passed and we are so accustomed now to grabbing the newest flavor like "Blueberry Muffin" and knowing that there isn't going to be any sugar in it. We know because it's Larabar. They've been psyching us out for years with flavors that sound like they should be loaded in added sugars and bits and glazes. So we let down our guard. We stopped checking the ingredients.


Sugar; it's in Larabars now. While part of me is a little bummed that they too submitted to demand to adding sugar and making "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough", I realize that this is business. And I'd be lying if I said I'd never had one. I just know that these are indeed CANDY BARS and she be used as an occasional treat. They are not meant to be eaten everyday and certainly not to be mistaken as "just as good" as a whole cup of fresh picked organic raspberries splashed with coconut milk or pastured heavy cream!

This is a good reminder here that no one has your best interests at heart more than you do. 
YOU are responsible for your food choices and none of them are safe, not really. This isn't a bad thing, it's a natural environment thing. Even our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to look upstream before they drank to make sure no herd of animals was wizzing in the water just then. It didn't mean that stream wasn't EVER safe, it just meant it was smarter to assess a food/beverage source every time before consuming it.

Just in case you're a comparison kinda kid, next time you go to eat a whole Larabar as "just a little snack" remind yourself that an average Larabar has the same amount of sugar as an entire sweet potato.
Just saying :-)

All the best,