Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Approach (& Move On) with Gratitude!

The annual Holiday season has officially begun! The first holiday we have, as you know was Thanksgiving. We ate heartily and gave thanks to family, friends, and God for all the love, joy, and abundance we have in this life.

Isn't it amusing if you consider that we enter this holiday with so much gratitude and joy, but many will look back on it with remorse? "Oh my gosh I ate so much!" "Oh my gosh, I gained 5 pounds already!" "Why did I eat and drink so much? I feel terrible!"

Never realized that huh?

Read the rest of the post here!


Monday, November 26, 2012

4 Steps to Damage Control

Did your Thanksgiving meal fall along the lines of "Not Exactly Paleo"? Oops. Now what?!

Thankfully, doing damage control when you eat Paleo is SO easy! Typically, a holiday meal weekend is very heavy in the carbohydrate department. The easiest way to get back to feeling like yourself is to regain your Paleo diet as soon as is humanly possible!

  1. Drink water. Wine, coffee, beer, amaretto sours, eggnog etc are not exactly Paleo and aren't exactly hydrating. Drop the liquid carbs and get back to purity.
  2. Increase your fat intake again. If you eat Paleo regularly, you are accustomed to eating higher amounts of fat than of carbohydrates. This pattern was switched during your holiday dinner (most likely); mashed potatoes or yams, alcohol, cookies, pies, and even Paleo baked goods are higher in carbs! This week get back to eating green veggies, quality meats and quality fats. Get back to normal!
  3. Drop the idea that you need to do a carb taper. I've heard this before, the idea that you should gradually get back into strict Paleo. This is a thinly veiled excuse to finish off the cookies. Just go cold turkey and do yourself a favor! Respect your body and your blood sugar, they SO want to return to normal!
  4. Exercise, but don't go crazy. They key word, have you noticed, is "normal"! Get back to normal with your routine this week. If you ate poorly this weekend then your body is likely fighting off a good amount of inflammation. Quiz: Do you think beating the ever loving out of yourself will improve or prolong the body's healing process? (Answer: prolong)
So you treated your tastebuds well this weekend, now give the rest of your body a treat and do what you can to help it heal! With fittest intentions,


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Real Food Gets Its Time In the Spotlight!

This is an exciting time to be living in! Let me give you a quick explanation as to why white bread and confined animal feedlot organizations are commonplace, but won't be for long! (Thanks Paleo-heads!)

The food that first got me thinking about all this was Wonder Bread; good ol' simple, wholesome white bread. Why was white bread "an essential"? Always portrayed in TV shows, always the taste and texture standard to which "healthy" breads were held, where did this come from? Bread is kind of a fascinating food to me. My modern head is saying, why not just eat a handful of seeds? Isn't that pretty similar, so what's the need for the extra work to make it into bread? I believe it was developed 1) for being an easily transportable dense calorie source and 2) for its "specialness", texture and variability. Making bread requires that many many seeds/grains be ground to a very fine texture, bound together in some way and baked. Consider this, you can carry a loose bag of seeds (consider what a pain it would be should you spill) or a portion of bread. If you can afford to have someone combine the seeds into an easy to carry cake, you may as well. The latter being far more convenient. Anyway...

Evolution of Food Technology

The first foods eaten by humans were those readily obtained directly from the earth; hunted meats, gathered plants, still water. Gradually we developed systems to process our foods to the small degree that our technology would allow. Mostly due to environmental pressures and the need to survive, cooking meat and plants then drying meats and storing food evolved in order to last through the barren seasons.

We humans are an innovative bunch that enjoy novelty. We're not so good at leaving well enough, or average, alone. Soon methods to gather and process more difficult foods were invented (ie collecting, soaking, grinding and baking seeds). These methods were only utilized however when the manpower needed could be spared from other more typical daily chores. This "specialty" processing made the resulting food special as well, maybe even unique and rare. Due to the fact that a specialty food needs a high number of resources yet yields a low amount, it is labelled a non-essential, luxury item. These were, and are, most often associated with special events, wealth, power and holidays.

As technology progressed, so did the variety of luxury foods. Methods that created the first specialty foods were also improved upon and in some cases improved so much that the food it created became common. A wonderful example of this are breads. What once required someone (or some many) to purchase and/ or gather grains enough to grind, then mix and knead and let rise and knead again and then bake in an oven carefully tended so that the proper temperature could be maintained has now become a staple in diets the world over regardless of hierarchy or class!

Food and Hierarchical Importance

There is always a way to outdo your neighbors, and food preparation technology continued to improve and increase. The first breads and seed cakes were very dense and labor intensive. When bread as we recognize it became common, it was more of what we would call whole-grain or whole-wheat. At some point someone decided they would make the bread they served much more expensive & difficult to make, so they increased the amount of processing that went into making their bread. Thus refined (white) flour was created and white bread was invented.

I'm going to use a fictional King to illustrate my point of food tech prowess and competition! The King decides to hold a ball. Without a disco ball, DJ, or fog machine, how is he to thrill his guests? With phenomenal offerings at his dinner table the likes of which no one has seen! Cakes taller and sweeter than anyone has seen or tasted and decorated with feathers from far off lands, meats cured for weeks and marinated in heavy amounts of exotic seasonings only the King could afford because he alone owns the ships that brought them and vegetables dressed with more butter and cheese than a typical family can get in a month! Bread that is whiter, lighter and fluffier than anyone has seen before also makes a grand impression! The event would be exciting, the food would be memorable and would have been an event unto itself. The food is a reflection of the King's power and status.

Months later, one of the Dukes in attendance has a large gathering at his castle. In order to show his status and importance, he offers an impressive spread but makes sure to serve bread like that at the King's table. Months later a Count does the same, once the technique for refining flour has become a bit more common, that is. Eventually, someone starts selling refined flour (making it available to anyone) but at a premium (keeping it away from just anyone). Soon however everyone has access to some degree of refined flour. At this point, course-grained bread has become low-class while white breads are preferred as they are perceived to be finer & of higher quality. It does not take long before everyone is only purchasing refined flours and breads at market. Technology is employed to increase the refinement of the white flour until the pinnacle (in my opinion) of this was achieved with Wonder Bread in 1921.

Meats and plants being easily obtained and having been on this menu of ours forever, are not considered to be special on their own. Dressing up the essentials with expensive spices or difficult cooking techniques (can you say turducken?) that require hours of work all help to elevate the perceived status of both our basic food groups and of our selves. After all, no one wants to host a lame dinner party!

Common = Normal = Status Quo = Comfort

We live in an age that can find the answer to any processing question. We can make even difficult-to-make items available to everyone! Using my bread example, this would mean that white bread which was once rare and special is now the norm. Translation: normal people eat white bread. For example, lets imagine for a moment that we didn't have this food technology. Imagine that if a household made less than a combined $85,000/year then you could only afford plain meat and plain vegetables. If you wanted bread then you would have to make it, because a bag of flour is far more cost effective than is buying the pre-made bread. Imagine then coming home from work and finding that someone gifted you a loaf of warm crusty bread to go with your veggie stew! This special treat would elevate your mood, ease some stress and make you feel good. Dare I say, make you feel normal?

These miracles of processing bring specialty foods to anyone. It makes people feel special to eat certain foods and brings them comfort. Being able to have a "special occasion" whenever we also want gives people satisfaction. Don't believe me? Ghirardelli tells us to eat their "special" chocolate as a reward! Buitoni wants me to eat their tortellini and thereby have a romantic date night. These foods are by all definitions common, except that I cannot make them at home by myself very easily. Therefore they are still specialty foods and capable of being a reward or the center point of a special event like a date.

Food Has A Future

Thankfully, we have spent thousands of years inventing and improving on food technology so that now we are at a point of saturation. Of course the technology will continue, but right now meat and vegetables are again rising to the top! Complicated cooking techniques and heavily processed foods are falling by the way side. Now what is setting food apart is the way in which it was raised and harvested! Instead of a feast featuring foods that are extravagant BECAUSE of the processing they went through, fine meals now include steak from pasture-raised stress-free kills and organic heirloom vegetables grown locally. People today want small, handmade, artisanal foods and products because we have been drowned in processed uniformity.

I see this emerging in many fields (books, clothing, crafts, jewelry, business even) but I think the Paleo movement is a huge force in changing what is "normal" in food. As more and more people embrace Paleo, the louder our collective voice will be at the grocer, the restaurant and at the farm. We vote best with our dollars and when faced with a 16oz CAFO steak or an 8oz pasture raised steak, I know I (and thousands like me) would take the latter any day of the week.

Processed just won't do for us anymore, we want technology to support farming healthy animals and foods. C'mon, don't try to tell me we can't make enough food if all the CAFOs were turned into proper pasture land. We have thousands of years of technology and of imagining solutions under our belt. Does that suddenly mean nothing? We have discovered that unnatural feed lots were NOT the answer, but why would we ever think that we cannot do any better than this? What makes anyone think that we cannot go on creating? Creation through technology doesn't mean destroying to make way for a product or a thing, it is simply imagining a solution!

Our technology developed a way to send a man to the moon. I'm just daring to imagine that our cows and pigs can get some decent grass live on! Maybe this is what they mean by, "Eat Paleo, Save The World"!

A dream? I don't think so!

With fittest intentions,


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Spirulina: Update

Last week I started taking spirulina in a glass of apple cider each day. I'm not sure why exactly, but after doing a little research I found it does have some redeemable qualities: mostly in its vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient profile. My intentions of taking it everyday were slightly interrupted by this little matter of Hurricane Sandy. I will now continue taking it, but right now I can't give any testimonials.

Something else I read that you can do with spirulina was making into a face mask...

Yah, I thought it sounded scary too. So I had to try it.

Spirulina Face Mask

  1. Shot glass or small paper cup
  2. 1/2 Tsp spirulina
  3. 1 Tsp Water
Add spirulina to the glass/cup. Add water and mix until blended. Smear on your face, a little goes a long way! Wait 20 minutes (it will dry rather faster than that) and use a warm washcloth to remove gently.

BEWARE! The following image is frightening and may stay with you long after you read this post!

I warned you!

What I discovered was that this stuff IS a great face mask. It tightens up like crazy, so be ready for that. My stunned look in this picture attests to that, I couldn't blink! Afterwards though, your skin is super soft and silky and not with the slightest tinge of green!

I feel badly that I've ruined your eyes with that last picture, so here's a kitten picture to make it up to you :)

With fittest intentions,