Improving our health by going back to our roots

Perspective is everything.

There’s one mindset shift that isn’t talked about much but that I believe has immense potential to help people make long term lasting changes:

Changing the way you view yourself as a human and your relationship to your environment.

We live in modern times but we are still “animals”. Look in any biology book, we’re homo sapiens. We tend to differentiate ourselves, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are indeed… animals.
We have evolved on our planet for millions of years. Modern day humans… hundreds of thousands of years.

Now take a second to think of yourself from an evolutionary perspective and then… eating a twinkie. Are we built to eat a twinkie? Do our bodies, our biology, understand what that even is? When you think in evolutionary terms and what makes sense from that perspective, everything comes together. Does it make sense that I get my nutrition to fuel my body from a Twinkie made in a lab 2 years ago? Of course not.

We live in modern times and are constantly bombarded by a world we were not designed to live in. Our genes don’t adapt that fast and if we want good health we need to treat our bodies and our environment in a way they understand.

That’s why when I discovered the ancestral food movement (Paleo/Primal/Weston A. Price), I was instantly converted. Thinking about diet and lifestyle from a natural perspective instantly resonated with me. I grew up loving nature, leading backpacking trips, hiking whenever I could. I remember nights staring at the stars away from civilization and connecting with nature in a variety of ways… but somehow:

  • I never made the connection that food should come from nature
  • Or that exercise should be based on the natural movements of our ancestors
  • And even though I was resetting my circadian rhythm out there in the forest… I didn’t know it and went back to a world of bright lights and late nights

When it comes to health, I failed to connect the dots about how far removed we as modern humans are from our ancestral roots. I needed to think logically about our place on earth as humans, how we’ve evolved and what makes sense from an ancestral perspective.

Often times what is making us sick is simply a mismatch between our genetics and our modern world.

For me, changing my perspective to think ancestrally about my health decisions… was everything. I can’t emphasize enough how important this mindset shift is when it comes to connecting dots about your health.

Our bodies are put into a world they just simply can’t adapt fast enough to. We can certainly debate that we’ve adjusted to some degree to grains or dairy (which started becoming widely available about 10,000 years ago), but there’s just no rational biological argument that we are capable of adapting to the post industrial era of “food-like product” at the rate at which it’s being introduced.

Modern living is wreaking havoc on our health.

Sure, we’re not all going to go live off the grid and hunt and gather our own food. BUT, we can make choices that take into account what our bodies are biologically adapted to. We can choose real food. We can spend time in nature. We can reduce our toxins.

So let’s make that mindset shift. Let’s remember, that above all else, we’re animals. Just trying to adapt to the human zoo of modern living.

Let’s get back to the basics.

To optimal health!

FREE Mini-Course_The Paleo Mindset

 

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By |2018-02-05T00:37:00+00:00February 5th, 2018|Clean, Live, Nourish|1 Comment

My view of health in 1109 words

Navigating the world of health is hard. There’s no one perspective and you’ll find conflicting views on just about everything. So I thought I’d make it super easy for my readers, potential coaching clients and potential students of my courses to understand who I am and what I advocate for when it comes to health.

Here’s my view of health in 1109 words

I most resonate with the paleo movement, but I’m not perfectly paleo

I don’t care much for the “paleo diet”, there is no one paleo diet and we are all unique individuals with unique biology… I believe in a paleo template. Meaning, we root our ideas of what we should eat on ancestral principles and what makes sense from an evolutionary perspective… but aren’t bound by rigid rules. Just because it didn’t exist 10,000 years ago, doesn’t mean it can’t be a part of a healthful diet. We all need to figure out what works best for us.

The reason I am an advocate for the paleo movement is because it makes sense. Simple as that. If I owned a zoo, and had to decide what to feed the animals, I would figure out what their native diet was and try to replicate it. We are no different. In the grand scheme of things, the last 100 years of processed food, and even the last 10,000 years post agriculture is nothing but a tiny blip in human history. I believe we should live in a way that most syncs with our evolutionary history and what our bodies were built to thrive on. It just makes sense.

Of course, no one can quite agree on what that diet was. And that’s fine. It’s just a mindset. We’re learning more and more everyday. Most of those foods don’t even exist in the same form today. It’s simply a baseline to start from and a perspective to take when we make decisions about what we eat and how we live.

I think it’s more important what you take off your plate than put on it

I think the number one step for any diet is to remove the processed food that makes up 80% of your grocery store. That’s what’s weighing you down the most. If you remove processed food, all that’s left is real food. And sure, there’s a lot of debate on what real food is and a large spectrum on quality… but that’s what the next steps are for. Eliminate food-like product made in a lab before anything else. You don’t need to be fueled by chemical sludge.

I don’t like that the health movement is focused on losing weight. It should be focused on HEALTH

Which means not drinking processed chemicals in a can. Sure, it helps you lose weight, but are you gaining health… no. When you make health be about weight, that negates the importance of everything else. What about disease reduction? Feeling vibrant? Reducing the toxins in your life? Sleeping well? Reducing stress? You get the point.

It’s not about losing weight but about GAINING health. Period. Losing weight is a means of gaining health for many people, but the goal should still be HEALTH not weight loss.

I am not a low carb fanatic and don’t resonate as much with that facet of the paleo movement

I absolutely believe a low carb, or even ketogenic diet is the right choice for many people. But it’s not the right choice for everybody. For some, it can have negative implications for health, particularly in regards to hormones. That being said, I don’t advocate a diet with a carb count resembling the Standard American Diet to anyone. I’m simply suggesting that super low-carb diets aren’t for everyone and paleo doesn’t need to be synonymous with low carb. We should all be low carb relative to the obscene carb heavy diets of most of our peers, but some safe starches can absolutely be a healthy and daily part of your diet… if that’s right for your goals.

Toxins are so much more important than most people think

We are surrounded by thousands and thousands of chemicals all day everyday, most of which aren’t regulated and we know very little about. And some of these chemicals… we do know a lot about and it’s not pretty. Sure, they won’t kill us in small quantities, which is why they are “generally regarded as safe”… but the synergistic accumulation of this stuff should be worrisome and is not properly understood by science. We can’t avoid it all, we live in the modern world. But we can make choices to reduce our toxic burden and I think doing this is just as important as what you eat.

You be you and don’t worry about the others

We all have our own pace and our own journeys. Some of us need to be strict, some of us don’t. Some of us switch over to healthy living like it’s no big deal and for some it’s a major emotional adjustment. It’s ok, take your own pace. Progress not perfection. Tomorrow is always a new day.

You may have resistance from the outside world. I say screw em, you’re ahead of the game on your health and you should be proud of that.

Counting macros, keto, crossfit, etc.… start with the basics first

There are a lot of paths to take in the paleo sphere. I’m not crazy on any of these things and you don’t have to be either. OR YOU CAN BE. That’s what’s so great. We are all on our health journeys and can resonate with what we resonate with and make our own choices.

If your main goal is to get lean or be a more optimal athlete, I’m probably not the right person for you. The lifestyle I recommend can naturally make people more lean and fit, but it’s not my focus.

My focus is on helping people GAIN health

I’m all about whole health now and in the future. I know what it feels like to be sick and I also know the power of food and lifestyle to assist the healing journey. That’s why I focus on:

  • getting people on real food
  • giving people a mindset shift on what it means to be healthy
  • pushing the importance of whole health (there’s more to health than food and exercise)
  • getting past misconceptions and misinformation
  • helping people reduce their risk of disease or manage existing disease
  • helping people live optimal lives

When it comes to healthcare, you want to utilize functional medicine

When it comes to healthcare and seeing a professional to deal with your health issues, you want to find someone who looks at health from a root cause perspective not a pill for every ill mentality. Functional medicine strives to reduce disease by finding the root cause rather than simply suppressing symptoms which is the mainstream medical model. To truly heal, you need to be viewed as a whole, unique individual.

And so much more… Of course! But we have to stop somewhere

Does this resonate with you?

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By |2018-01-21T18:28:23+00:00December 27th, 2017|Clean, Live, Nourish|3 Comments

What’s wrong with the paleo movement?

What's wrong with the paleo movement

As a certified Primal Health Coach and paleo advocate for almost 5 years, I live and breathe the paleo world. That being said, I have my concerns.

There’s one question I see asked over and over again that I believe completely misses the mark of what the paleo movement should be about…

Is _____ paleo compliant?

That’s not the point.

It’s not about strict rules and rigid guidelines. There are many shades of paleo and many definitions. People who start the paleo diet are often confused because there isn’t a consensus on a variety of foods (such as dairy, white potatoes, coffee, etc.). When it comes to diet, many like rigid rules. They want to know what to eat and what not to eat. Unfortunately, biology is a lot more complicated than that.

The reason there’s so much confusion is that the paleo diet is only a concept and isn’t about whether a caveman physically ate something or not. Taking a look at what our ancestors ate provides us instruction on what to eat, it’s not a definitive script. It points us in the right direction as to what is likely to contribute positively to our health and what is likely to be harmful. However, we are all unique individuals with unique biology.

For instance, healthy fats contribute positively to most people’s diets but some individuals have a hard time tolerating them. Dairy can be a great addition for many people but it also wreaks havoc on the health of others. What works for one person might not work for another. We are all different and we should all have our own paleo template to eat by.

Often times people focus so much on the details that they miss the bigger picture. The question shouldn’t be, Is _____ paleo compliant? It should be…

Will _____ contribute to my optimal health?

If it doesn’t contribute to your optimal health, it should be consumed sparingly. The nitpicking and rules get in the way of people achieving their health goals.

Let’s get rid of the rules and start asking the right questions.

Free course, the paleo mindset

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By |2017-12-20T20:00:25+00:00December 20th, 2017|Nourish|7 Comments

Is the paleo lifestyle right for you?

Is the Paleo Diet right for you_

Want to take your health into your own hands? Tired of diets? Ready to join a lifestyle? The paleo lifestyle is not about dieting, it’s about lifestyling… it’s not about losing weight, it’s about GAINING health.

Take the questionnaire to see if the paleo lifestyle is right for you! Click below for the PDF version or stay on this page for text only. Enjoy!

Is the Paleo Lifestyle Right For You?

DO YOU THINK REAL FOOD IS HEALTHIER THAN PROCESSED FOOD?

Most food isn’t food, it’s “food-like product.” It’s usually high in sugar, inflammatory, nutrient void, linked to poor health consequences and contains preservatives, flavorings, texture enhancers, flavor enhancers and more.

DO YOU WANT TO LOOK AND FEEL HEALTHIER AND MAYBE EVEN LOSE SOME WEIGHT?

Eating real food provides your body with the nutrients it needs to feel optimal. In addition, reducing processed food and eating simple, real food, can help lower your insulin and balance your hormones, helping you lose weight.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS?

In the paleo diet, it’s not just “you are what you eat,” it’s “you are what your food eats.” Animals that are raised in their natural habitats eating their natural foods are less inflammatory and have higher nutrient density.

DO YOU WANT TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DISEASE?

By removing processed food, added sugars, vegetable oils and focusing on high quality nutrient dense food, you reduce inflammation, improve your immune system, ensure adequate nutrition, give your body what it needs to repair itself, improve gut health and sleep better.

DO YOU WANT TO BE LESS INFLAMED?

Inflammation is thought to be at the heart of cardiovascular illness among other health problems. You don’t want to inflamed and the average diet is full of inflammatory foods.

DO YOU THINK YOU’LL FEEL BETTER WITHOUT ADDED SUGARS IN YOUR DIET?

Sugar leads to insulin resistance, weight gain, increased inflammation, and a whole host of deleterious health consequences.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO STOP DIETING AND START LIFESTYLING?

Diets are about losing weight, but it should be about GAINING health. It’s about making changes for optimal health over the course your life, not just temporary weight loss.

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR PESTICIDE EXPOSURE?

Approximately 3000 toxins, by law, are excluded from certified organic products. Regulators do not have sufficient comprehensive research regarding consumption of multiple types of pesticides and their impact on human health over the long term.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM?

Want to get sick less? By eating a nutrient dense diet, getting plenty of sunshine and vitamin d and reducing exposure to toxins that burden your body…

you improve your immune system!

DO YOU THINK FAT TASTES GOOD?

The paleo diet doesn’t fear fat. High quality fat is full of necessary nutrients and are essential for brain health.

Most people think fat tastes good. How could you not? You won’t feel deprived without low calorie low fat garbage!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SLEEP BETTER AND STRESS LESS?

You’d be surprised how much food influences stress and sleep. Numerous studies show the connection between sugar and other processed foods and mood, stress and sleep!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE A CLEANER LIFE?

The toxins in our environment and products are just as important as our food. The paleo lifestyle is all about living in a way our bodies understand, a world with minimal chemical exposure.

CAN YOU DITCH THE INFLAMMATORY GRAINS?

Grains contain anti-nutrients like gluten, phytates, lectins and more. These can bind to nutrients, cause inflammation and lead to intestinal permeability.

DO YOU THINK THERE’S VALUE IN GETTING MORE VITAMINS, MINERALS, PHYTONUTRIENTS AND ANTIOXIDANTS IN YOUR DIET?

Your body is built to receive a wide variety of nutrition of real foods. Everything in the paleo diet is a real food.

COULD YOU BENEFIT FROM BALANCED HORMONES?

Removing processed food, eating nutrient dense food and removing toxin exposure helps your body balance hormones. Our modern world is full of hormone disrupting chemicals. The paleo lifesyle moves beyond food to reduce toxin exposures.

DOES THE CHRONIC LONG TERM EXPOSURE TO TOXINS CONCERN YOU?

It should. Regulation of chemicals is inadequate and we have no idea the harm that is being caused to human health.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO EXERCISE SMARTER NOT MORE?

Did you know exercising more isn’t always better? By exercising like our primal relatives, we make full body movements, have occasional high intensity workouts and do plenty of everyday movements like walking. No chronic cardio here.

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE BACK YOUR HEALTH AND JOIN THE PALEO LIFESTYLE?

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By |2018-01-26T16:07:39+00:00November 13th, 2017|Clean, Live, Nourish|6 Comments

Top 5 reasons to go paleo

Top 5 reasons to go paleo

There are many reasons to jump on the paleo bandwagon. Unfortunately there are a lot of misconceptions about the diet and a lot of nitpicking (Can I eat dairy? Are potatoes paleo? Can I eat white rice?). Some of these details get in the way of people achieving their health goals, so let’s focus on the main reasons to eat a paleo diet.

There are many shades of paleo and it’s a great template to begin your health journey.

 

Here are the top 5 reasons to eat a paleo inspired diet:

 

1. It’s a REAL FOOD diet.

Many diets like the slim fast diet or nutrisystem diet are nothing more than processed junk in a can. That’s not food, it’s food-like product. Health starts with real food. You might have short term success with those other diets, you may be losing weight… but are you GAINING health? Probably not.

2. It removes processed food

Processed foods generally are higher in sugar, sodium, unhealthy trans and vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates. They contain preservatives, flavorings, texture enhancers, flavor enhancers and more. They are nutrient void and don’t contain the necessary fiber we need for proper digestion. In addition they bypass our innate abilities to know when we are full and contribute to weight gain.

Many ingredients used in processed foods have not been thoroughly researched and we don’t understand the true implications of what they are doing to human health.

We are built through millions of years of evolution to live off a diet that contains nutrients. Processed food is devoid of nutrients.

3. It removes inflammatory vegetable oils (canola, soy, cottonseed, etc.)

Vegetable oils are ubiquitous in our modern lives. Just look at the ingredients in most items in the middle aisles of your grocery store, you’ll likely see canola oil in the vast majority of the products. It’s hard to escape.

There are a variety of reasons to avoid vegetable oil, the two most important being its highly processed nature and fatty acid profile. These factors lead vegetable oils to be one of the most inflammatory aspects of the modern western diet.

4. It’s naturally low in sugar

There’s no diet that advocates for high sugar (even though a lot of them actually HAVE high sugar). This is for good reason, it’s harmful to health in a variety of ways. It’s connected to every condition under the sun from heart disease to diabetes.

5. There are countless success stories of people losing substantial weight and curing chronic disease on the paleo diet

Why is this? It’s because it’s a diet of REAL FOOD. Because it eliminates PROCESSED JUNK. It’s anti-inflammatory and it’s naturally low in sugar. Of course it’s going to make people healthy!

These are the real reasons why people have success on the paleo diet.

 

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By |2018-01-26T16:09:44+00:00October 2nd, 2017|Nourish|5 Comments

Inflammation: The sneaky cause of pain and illness

inflammation cause of pain and illness
The following is a guest blog post written by Kim Maravich, RN. Kim is the author of the book titled “360 Health: Your Guide to Cancer Prevention, Healing Foods, & Total Body Wellness” available on Amazon. You can follow her at www.kimmaravich.com

What do think of when you hear the word “inflammation?” Maybe you think of red and swollen joints. Or, perhaps, the pain and fiery irritation from an injury come to mind. Maybe you remember a time of illness and think of fever, chills, and aches.

Undoubtedly, all of the above are forms of inflammation. However, inflammation can also be a sneaky invader, harming us unawares.

By definition, inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect itself against harm. Acute inflammation occurs immediately following an injury or accompanies an illness or infection like pneumonia or the flu.

Chronic inflammation, however, is often a low-grade, continuous burden in our bodies and is typically a response to an unwanted or undesirable substance. It’s so problematic because it is insidious, and we often may not know exactly what is causing it.

Symptoms of Inflammation

The symptoms of chronic inflammation can also vary from person to person which is why it’s so darn sneaky and hard to “diagnose.” People may just feel a little “off” or chalk up their pain to aging.

Symptoms can range from achy joints, to skin issues like rashes and eczema, digestive problems, fatigue, excess weight or a “spare tire,” periodontal disease, brain fog, puffy face or eyes, and even depression or anxiety.

Unfortunately, if left unchecked, this constant barrage of irritation can also lead to conditions like atherosclerosis, lung disease, high blood pressure, or joint immobility. The list goes on and on.

Autoimmune conditions are also thought to be caused, in part, by excessive and chronic inflammation. When the body senses that toxins are present, it tries to eliminate or wall them off by forming inflammation around them. But sometimes problems with the immune system cause it to mistake the body’s own healthy cells as invaders and then repeatedly attacks them.

Cancer is another disease that is associated with chronic inflammation. Over time, this inflammatory response can lead to DNA damage at the cellular level. Once DNA is altered, the cells are no longer “normal” and can mutate into tumor cells. This is scary, to say the least!

If you’re wondering how much inflammation you have in your body, your doctor can order a C-reactive protein (CRP) test. This is a blood marker for inflammation and potential disease.

Causes of Chronic Inflammation

As we mentioned earlier, our bodies identify and attack unwanted “toxins” and foreign substances. So what are these toxins, and how do we avoid them?

Some toxins come from our environment. When we are exposed to pollutants in our water (like chlorine and fluoride) and in the air we breathe, our bodies become inflamed. Our beauty products and household cleaning supplies often contain dangerous levels of toxins like fragrances, phthalates, parabens, antibacterials and triclosans to name a few. Sometimes environmental toxins surround us whether we know it or not. One example is radon, a colorless and odorless gas.

Toxins can also invade our bodies through the food we eat. We may be ingesting antibiotics and hormones when we eat conventional meats and dairy. When the animals are given these substances, we too get them when we consume animal products.

Refined vegetable oils are also a culprit in inflammation. Oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and cottonseed are damaged in processing and oxidized. These are Omega 6 fatty acids and are associated with inflammatory diseases (versus Omega 3s which are anti-inflammatory).

Other inflammatory foods often enter the average American’s diet. Fried foods, because they are heated in damaged oils, contain potentially carcinogenic compounds. Trans fats fall into this same category of damaged fats/oils.

Refined and heavily processed foods like most cookies, crackers, and boxed snacks are also inflammatory. They may contain damaged vegetable oils, and more significantly, they are high in carbohydrates and simple sugars.

Sugar, in general, is VERY inflammatory and should be limited or avoided as much as possible. Sugar leads to increased blood sugars and insulin, taxing our bodies and leading to stored body fat.

Too much alcohol is not good for many of our organs and is associated with diseases like cancer. Red wine may be beneficial and anti-inflammatory in small doses, but overconsumption of alcohol is detrimental to health.

Genetically modified (GMO) foods should also be avoided. The four most common GMO crops are corn, soy, canola, and cotton. But GMOs are making their way into other crops like potatoes, tomatoes, sugar, rice, and conventional dairy and meat (since the animals are given GMO feeds).

Healing Chronic Inflammation

Fear not. There are ways to reduce the overall inflammation in our bodies. Sometimes making just a few changes can go very far in turning around one’s health and unpleasant symptoms.

Environment: First of all, we can avoid as many environmental toxins as possible. You can make your own cleaning products using water and vinegar and some good-smelling essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus. Alternatively, you can look for organic cleaning products.

Likewise, organic beauty products may be a good choice. There are companies that pride themselves on providing non-toxic makeup products. Also, look for lotions and sunscreens without toxic ingredients. Another simple, effective ingredient is baking soda. Baking soda can be used as a toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and even to clean the house. Talk about a multi-faceted and cheap solution!

anti-inflammatory food

Diet: As far our diets go, if we follow a diet similar to what our ancestors ate, much of the inflammatory foods will be removed. The Paleo diet is a good approach. Following this way of eating, one would aim to cut out most refined and simple sugars. Most, if not all, grains are eliminated. This is important since grains can be inflammatory, elevate insulin, and even cause digestive issues. They also contain anti-nutrients like lectins, phytates, and sometimes gluten which can lead to a leaky gut, and, you guessed it … more inflammation!

Conventional meats and dairy are also out. The focus would be more on grass-fed beef, organic chicken, pastured pork, and wild caught fish. For some, all dairy is eliminated. However, some Paleo followers allow for ghee (clarified butter), butter, full-fat yogurt, kefir, and cheese … all of the organic and grass-fed variety. If someone tolerates dairy and seems to be asymptomatic consuming it, these high-quality versions may be fine. However, in general, dairy is quite inflammatory for many.

When we focus more on eating an array of fruits and vegetables, healing fats (like avocado, olive oil, or coconut oil), and nourishing meats and organ meats (from grass-fed and/or organically raised animals), our bodies get a break from toxic foods and can have a chance to heal. Another nourishing and healing superfood is bone broth. Consuming a cup or two of bone broth each day can heal the digestive tract, reverse a leaky gut, and help stop inflammation. Drinking lots of purified water also helps to flush out toxins. Aim to hydrate each day with at least 8-10 cups of water.

Lifestyle: Daily exercise, meditation, prayer, good sleep, and stress relief are essential to reducing inflammation. These things will reduce blood pressure, help regulate blood sugar, and release feel-good chemicals that help calm the body and lower CRP. Getting adequate sunlight and spending time outdoors also lowers inflammation by raising vitamin D levels.

Supplementation: There are some key supplements that have anti-inflammatory effects. Including the following into your regimen may be beneficial. Omega 3s (in the form of fish oil, krill oil, or cod liver oil), turmeric curcumin, evening primrose (GLA), vitamin C, vitamin D3, magnesium, vitamin K2, and coenzyme Q10 are a few known anti-inflammatory supplements.

Final Thoughts

Chronic inflammation is something we all need to look out for. If we’re experiencing any unexplained aches, pains, or fatigue, our body may be telling us it’s in distress. When inflammation goes on without efforts to stop it, we can become sick or diseased.

Through thoughtful and diligent food choices, lifestyle decisions, and self-care, we can reverse inflammation and feel much better in our own skin.

This was a guest post written by Kim Maravich, RN. Kim is the author of the book titled “360 Health: Your Guide to Cancer Prevention, Healing Foods, & Total Body Wellness” available on Amazon. You can follow her at www.kimmaravich.com

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By |2017-12-19T17:05:31+00:00September 17th, 2017|Clean, Nourish|6 Comments

Paleo junkfood is still junkfood (and why I eat it anyway)

paleo junk food is still junk food
There are no shortage of paleo dessert cookbooks, fancy bars and paleo cookies. Us paleo folk are really, really good at finding replacements for every standard junk food item out there. Paleo donuts? We’ve got em. Paleo doritos… Siete nacho flavor fits the bill.

The heart of the paleo diet is all about eating nutrient dense food. Paleo junk food.. Eh not so much.

So do I think we should all be eating strictly perfect paleo all day long, all year long, for the rest of our lives? Of course not.

Paleo junk food is still junk food but why I eat it anyway

I’m going to eat “junk food” for the rest of my life.

I enjoy food far too much to never have a cookie or potato chip ever again. But here’s the thing. Will I eat a dorito ever again? Probably not. I don’t need to. Why? Because I have alternatives made from real food with real ingredients. They may not be the most nutrient dense foods out there, and sure, maybe I’m replacing a meal of vegetables to splurge on a paleo treat every once in a while… but ya know what? I’m still “paleo” and I don’t care.

Would I maintain a paleo lifestyle year after year if I didn’t allow myself to eat “junk food.” No, I’d go insane. There is absolutely no way I would maintain a healthy long term paleo lifestyle sticking to the best of the best, day in and day out.

I’m still going to occasionally use food to self medicate. I don’t think I need a therapist. I think I’m normal. But I don’t have to eat crap, even if I’m in one of those moods. I can find a clean, reasonably healthy alternative to almost anything. So I will.

It may not have been nutrient dense or amazing for my health but it doesn’t wreck havoc on my body like processed food. It’s been at least 4 years since I’ve had a dorito or a real, gluten filled, sugary-frosted donut.

I lead a paleo lifestyle now. I don’t eat crap.

BUT I DO EAT “JUNK FOOD”.

And I do stay sane.

Paleo junk food should be treated just like normal junk food was once treated in your life. It’s an occasional treat that keeps you from feeling deprived and helps you get through those tough times when it’s easy to “cheat” and reach for some processed poison.

I don’t need to eat poison because ingenuity is one of the paleo community’s best traits.

 

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By |2018-01-25T17:56:42+00:00September 10th, 2017|Nourish|7 Comments

It’s more important what you take off your plate than put on it

eat real food, take poison off plate

When it comes to the world of healthy eating, there are a lot of different schools of thought. I’m a little bias towards an ancestral perspective, as following our biology makes the most sense (we are animals after all), but to give credit to some of the other diets out there (not the ones that come in boxes or cans like Nutrisystem or Slim Fast)…

Any diet that removes processed crap is a pretty decent diet.

Although there’s a lot of value to our health in eating nutrient dense food, high quality pastured animals and loads of healthy fats (including saturated!)… I think you get the most benefit to health in dropping the poison from your plate.

Yes poison, let’s call it what it is.

Processed food isn’t food at all, it’s food like product. It’s made in a lab with some fancy technology that depletes it of any nutritional value. Those nutrients you see on the label? They are likely added back in and manufactured from petroleum or in some fashion equally as off putting.

Those ingredients you can’t pronounce?

Sure, on a one off basis, not a big deal. They aren’t going to kill you (quickly anyway). But when you take meal after meal, day after day, year after year of hundreds of random chemicals, working in synergistic fashion, it becomes a problem.

It’s a very slow poison, but a poison indeed.

Poison: a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.

Yep, that’s it. Poison!

There’s one common feature to most diseases and that’s our modern lifestyle. Of course there’s more to it than food. Our lack of sleep, high stress, and toxic world doesn’t help. But what we eat directly contributes to our health and it starts with the food you put on your plate.

Evolution hasn’t equipped us for highly processed foods stripped of nutrition, high sugar foods, trans fats, food dyes, preservatives, artificial fillers and empty calories.

Let’s get the poison off our plates and go back to eating real food!

End rant!

 

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By |2018-01-25T17:57:45+00:00August 21st, 2017|Nourish|5 Comments

Intermittent fasting is all the rage, but should it be?

intermittent fasting and paleo


Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor nor claim to be. Please seek medical advice should you choose to begin a fasting protocol.

I won’t keep you in suspense. I think intermittent fasting is all the rage and with good reason (mostly).

Before I get into why, let’s talk about what intermittent fasting is. You may also see it simply referred to as IF.

Intermittent fasting is purposeful fasting in order to improve health and/or lose weight. It’s an eating pattern that cycles periods of eating with periods of fasting. There are many methods to achieve this with varying hours of fasting and in varied frequencies.

Why would anyone not want to eat?

That’s a good question. Food is awesome, right? So why on earth would we purposefully not eat if we have the means to do so?

From an ancestral perspective we would fast on a regular basis. Our bodies are built to function assuming periods of fasting.

It makes sense.

Food wasn’t always abundant and you ate when you had access to food and sometimes would go long periods without. Our bodies are built to have breaks of time to regenerate and heal. Fasting brings about cellular repair processes, such as removing waste from cells.

It’s nature’s detox, essentially.

In addition, extending time between when you eat allows your insulin levels to drop and increase your rate of fat burning. Intermittent fasting changes hormone levels to make stored fat more accessible. This is why it is often used as a tool in weight loss.

Finally, due to lower insulin levels, hormone changes and cellular repair, intermittent fasting reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, reduces risk of diabetes, can improve risk factors for heart disease, and most impressively, it has been found, at least in mice, to reduce the risk of cancer.

Check out these studies showing the impressive benefits of intermittent fasting on health:

“Periodic cycles of fasting reprogram pancreatic cells and restore insulin production”

“Relatively mild dietary restrictions should be included in clinical trials designed to inhibit cancer growth and enhance the survival of human cancer patients.”

“Fasting cycles retard growth of tumors”

“Alternate fasting could exert a beneficial antioxidant effect and a modulation of the oxidative stress associated with aging.”

“Long-term IF regimen exerts an anti-promoting effect on rat hepatocarcinogenesis”

There are many other purported benefits, many of which are scientifically backed up. It can definitely be a positive and therapeutic tool.

Ok – so should everyone fast?

No, not necessarily. For women, long term intermittent fasting might be a bad idea due to its influence on reproductive hormones. Our reproductive organs might be thinking “oh no, a famine.. Don’t reproduce now” and turn your hormones out of whack. That’s why I don’t advocate any sort of long term or overly frequent fasting like many intermittent proponents might recommend. It’s a powerful tool and with such, it should be used with caution.

using bulletproof coffee to fast

Dave Asprey of bulletproof fame has his version of fasting he specifically recommends for women called bulletproof intermittent fasting. Basically, he recommends having coffee or tea with fat (generally coconut oil, MCT oil or butter) for breakfast which lets your body receive the benefits of fasting because you are still refraining from carbohydrates and protein. Due to the added fat, your body has fuel and doesn’t think you’re in a famine, keeping hormones more in line.

There are also specific medical conditions that do not support intermittent fasting. If you have existing medical problems, take extra caution. Your mainstream doctors will likely think you’re crazy saying you’d like to fast to improve your health, so I recommend seeking a functional medicine practitioner or a more progressive doctor who is cognizant of the latest research in fasting.

But practically speaking, what does intermittent fasting entail?

A lot of people do a lot of different things. Some fast for a full day then eat for a few days, some fast for 18 hours every day and only eat during a small window. There are many methods of intermittent fasting.

What I advocate for is 16 hours without eating once or twice a week. It’s a small enough amount that it shouldn’t cause adverse reactions for the vast majority of people. It’s also relatively easy to do. Here’s what that looks like:

Dinner 6pm
Breakfast 10am

Doesn’t sound that crazy right? Heck, you might already be doing that sometimes. This gives your body a break and helps it regenerate and remove waste from cells!

Pretty cool, huh?

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By |2018-03-08T16:30:18+00:00August 13th, 2017|Nourish|4 Comments

Clean eating on the go

Clean eating while traveling
I’m leaving for vacation in a few days and staying healthy is top of mind. My healthy eating lifestyle is super easy to maintain while I’m home because I’ve set up my kitchen to make it a breeze.

Things aren’t always so simple when I leave the confines of my kitchen.

Traveling and trying to eat real food is a struggle. Most restaurants simply serve junk, even if it’s disguised in healthy appearances. Vegetable oils, preservatives, sugar… restaurant meals are full of it. Fast food, rarely an option.

So what’s a paleo momma to do? Here’s my plan and my thinking for this particular trip so you have an idea of how I plan out my travels.

First, I plan out my travel day.

I’m flying from Denver to the Bay Area, and with travel time and car rentals, I’m probably looking at about 7 hours. If I wanted to, I could simply not eat during that time period or have a quick snack… and plan for a healthy meal on arrival. But I love me some food.

So here are some of my options:

The first thing I do is I think about my options at the airport if I were to want to get food there. Denver, unlike most airports, actually has 2 really good real food options (Mod Market and Root Down if you’re wondering). I won’t bother looking into Oakland, because if I’m at my destination that means I have options OUTSIDE the airport which are much more plentiful.

My other option, and the option I’ll most likely take is to pack some food!

I could bring any of the below assorted foods, usually I just take whatever I already have so I don’t need to go to the store and make a big hubbub about the trip.

Snack type items:

  • Grassfed sausage, which I would plan to eat cold
  • Fruit: Anything not too messy, I usually stay clear of oranges or things that will make my hands sticky
  • Veggie sticks or grape tomatoes: I rarely bring this because personally I find it boring, but it’s definitely an option for some.
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Bars: Lara bars or some relatively clean equivalent
  • Dried fruit (high sugar but easy to snack on!)
  • Cans of fish: I usually pack a fork or take one from a Fast food restaurant at the airport (something about stealing their utensils to eat my healthy food makes me feel good). Options include: sardines, tuna, oysters, whatever you can find in a can! Don’t eat this on a plane though unless you want to get the stink eye from everyone around you.
  • Hard cheese: I don’t eat much dairy at home, but while traveling it opens up a lot more options so I may include some.
  • Dark chocolate: No explanation needed.
  • Almond butter: Sometimes I’ll buy pouches ready to squeeze on a banana or apple or just eat straight
  • Jerky: Grass fed of course!
  • Avocado: If not too soft, I may bring one to eat with my fish

Prepared food:

  • Hard boiled eggs: Sometimes I boil up a few eggs, keep the shell on and munch on them at the airport. This is also a no plane food – people don’t like the smell of eggs!
  • Meat roll up: I may roll some sliced meat over lettuce or shredded carrots
  • Paleo treats: I might make some paleo approved banana bread, muffins or something in that category. They are easy to eat and travel with.

Or

I might just bring what I normally eat in a pyrex or perhaps a disposable container I have laying around, depending on the circumstances. I’ll just eat it cold instead of warm, and all is the same as if I were at home! Make a fresh salad, eat some leftovers, whatever floats my boat.

Next up, what am I going to eat when I get there?

Lucky for me, we’re staying just north of Berkeley, CA and getting fresh, real food shouldn’t be too difficult. Hippies love real food, right?

I’ve already staked out a natural health food store that sells organic prepared food. That’s a great option! There are some Whole Foods as well. Awesome.

I’ll typically search online for the city I’m staying in and the words: paleo, organic, farm to table, healthy food, etc. Lucky for me, Berkeley has a full scale paleo restaurant called Mission Heirloom. I’ve heard good things.

Outside of that, my favorite food in the world is Asian food. Generally, the following are relatively clean and filling if you’re ok eating white rice:

  • Thai curries
  • Vietnamese soups
  • Indian curries (though do expect them to use vegetable oil)
  • Sushi (avoid artificial crab and most sauces)

I also have a backup of chain restaurants I know sell a few things I’m ok to eat: Chipotle, Panera, Ruby Tuesday (they have a salad buffet), Wahoo Fish Taco (they have a paleo plate), and some american style restaurants have ok meat/veggie plates. I won’t have to extend this option in such a culturally diverse area as the Bay area, but sometimes when I travel that’s not the case.

Any American chains you’ve found healthy meals at?

Next up, hotel living.

If you’re staying somewhere with a fridge and microwave, you can go a long way! I will have access to both.

Some things I may be able to find at a grocery store for snacking at the hotel:

  • Ready made hard boiled eggs
  • A small bottle of olive oil (to put on something I make at the salad bar instead of their vegetable oil poison they call salad dressing).
  • Amy’s Organic Soups. They aren’t perfect, certainly not ideal eating soup from a can, but they are relatively clean and a good snack item to have lying around. Plus, they are cheap.
  • Steamables. Sometimes you can find vegetables in a steamable bag you just put in the microwave. You could buy butter to put on it or snatch some salt packets.

Concluding thoughts

Part of why I make such a big deal about staying healthy while traveling is because my diet at home is clean 95+% of the time. I just can’t handle processed food anymore. My body knows best and it says poison! My main goals while traveling are to 1) be gluten free and 2) eat as few processed ingredients as possible.

I don’t want to feel like crap all vacation.

But at the same time… It’s a vacation.

I want to indulge a little.

That’s why I stick to foods that generally don’t make me feel sick but aren’t necessarily perfectly paleo. I love ethnic food and it’s a real treat, so that’s the direction I’ll likely take for many meals. If I find a gluten free bakery, I may splurge.

I also have a toddler to travel with, so it’s a whole new ballgame. I may be ok eating some vietnamese pho, but my 19 month old? It’ll be on the floor in 3 seconds flat.

Wish me luck.

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By |2018-01-25T17:59:28+00:00July 31st, 2017|Nourish|2 Comments

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