Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pushing the "Reset" Button on my Cravings

I've had several people ask me if I REALLY (like for reals??) don't crave sweets anymore. And I can understand their skepticism! Anyone who knows me personally knows that I L-O-V-E sugar.

My nickname is D.Q. for goodness sake (b/c of the affinity that I had for DQ Blizzards!!) My two biggest weaknesses were Krispy Kreme donuts and Dairy Queen Blizzards.

So it doesn't bother me that my friends are a bit skeptical of my claims - I think I would be too if it were someone else claiming that they honestly didn't crave sugar anymore. A month ago, I thought it wasn't possible!

I've tried to kick my cravings about a million times before. I've done everything from just trying to ignore them (epic FAIL), to going on a month-long protein drink diet that was supposed to extinguish cravings (yeah, don't ask. . . how is consuming nothing but sweet protien shakes for a month going to help you get over sugar cravings?? What was I thinking?)

I've gone "mostly" Paleo for long stretches of time in the past (up to 6 months), but each of those times, I still had to fight my cravings regularly which never failed to put me in a bad mood. I enjoyed the healthy foods that I was eating, but I still craved sugar daily and it was a constant battle within my head to refrain from eating it.

So what did I do differently this time? I followed the Whole30's instructions not to try to "paleo-fy" Non-Paleo foods - No "Paleo Ice Cream", "Paleo Pancakes", "Paleo Pudding", etc.

In other words, No Fakes!

In the past when I've done my stints of eating Paleo, I'd find ways to paleo-fy EVERYTHING. One of my favorite snacks was raw honey, almond butter, and cocoa powder heated for a few secs and stirred together. While those ingredients were technically "Paleo" (although not Whole30 approved), the combination of them effectively created a dessert. So any time that I'd crave sugar, I'd whip up one of these snacks. I always craved dessert after dinner, so I'd end up eating one (or. . gulp . . two) of these snacks just about every single night. I also stumbled across the "So Delicious" Coconut Ice Cream in the myriad of flavors, and justified to myself that the ingredients were 99% Paleo, so this stuff was okay . . and I'd crack out a few times a month by eating half a pint (or sometimes a full pint) of the stuff. . . yeah, that didn't do much to kill my sugar cravings either!

I'd found recipes for coconut macaroon cookies that used a crap-ton of Agave Nectar or Raw Honey. . . and I'd found recipes for cookies and puddings. All using technically "Paleo" ingredients. . . but essentially just junk food.

Additionally, I didn't cut artificial sweetners (Splenda, Truvia) out of my diet. So I would sprinkle them on everything. I'd put 2-3 packets in my coffee in the morning for a sweet treat. I'd sprinkle them on grapefruit, and even on sweet potatoes (like they're not already sweet enough!!)

So every time that my sugar craving would kick in, I'd answer it with exactly what it wanted - Sugar (or fake sugar). Even if it was from more natural sources - it was still crap!

This time around, I did not Paleo-Fy a single thing. I used no artificial sweetners, honey, or agave nectar. I avoided even "good" foods that I knew might start up a craving. One example of this is fruit.

I know that fruit is good for us, and am not going to sit here and suggest that anyone cut fruit entirely out of their diets. But for me personally, I have chosen to significantly cut back my fruit intake during the Whole30, and will continue to do so after experiencing the results. I only eat fruit once a day, and it's almost always in the morning with my breakfast (usually berries). I also avoid super sweet fruits like pineapples, mangoes, and melons because I've learned from experience that these tend to kick off a rampid sugar craving. I eat a piece of pineapple, and start craving a krispy kreme donut. . go figure!

Of course I understand that not everyone's body reacts the way mine does to fruit, so if you're able to eat it without having it send you on a sugar binge, than great!

I think it's a combination of all of these things that have helped me to kick the sugar habit, and I couldn't be happier. I've never been so in touch with my body, and the way it responds to different types of foods - it's really actually kind of cool :)

**Additional Note (added later)**
I realized after posting this that I should mention that I DO plan on allowing myself the very occasional Paleo Treat or piece of pineapple - it's not that I've cut them out of my diet forever and ever amen. But I have been able to finally gain control of my sugar cravings, so I know when I do something that may bring one on, and can brace myself for it :) So I may occasionally eat some pineapple or a Paleo Dessert (the key word here being occasionally - as in not often), but I will do so knowing that it will likely spur a small sugar craving - and I'll be prepared for it!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Acne-Free Skin Can Be YOURS!!

Okay, so enough with the info-mercial title - but seriously - it's true!

I started the Whole30 a month ago because I wanted to feel healthy again. I was tired of feeling rundown and crappy all of the time, and also tired of the guilt I felt after nearly every single meal that I ate. Those were my primary motivations for starting this new way of eating. . . but over the course of the last 30 days, I've noticed a few other unexpected bonuses!!

  • CLEAR SKIN!!! - I had acne as a teenager, but always assumed that it would go away when I "grew up". Unfortunately, I'm in my early 30's, and was devastated at the fact that I still had regular breakouts! Rarely a day went by that I didn't have at least one blemish on my face, and most of the time, I had several around my chin and nose. I just assumed that it was my genetics, and did the best I could to minimize them with skin care and prescription topical acne meds. Even with the prescription meds, I broke out regularly though. About half-way through the Whole30, I noticed that my skin had cleared up - I was skeptical, and braced myself for another round of breakouts, but they never happened! I've been 100% acne free now for about 15 days. . . not long enough to prove anything really, but I'm confident that my new way of eating is responsible for my clear skin. It's the ONLY thing that I've changed :) Reference the pic above - I took this pic last week after a haircut - but notice that there are NO blemishes on my face - this is absolutely the first time I've been blemish free for as long as I can remember - and I'm LOVING it! Not only am I blemish free, but my skin looks much healthier in general - it's no longer dull, and has a little bit of a "glow" to it!

  • Weight Loss - My primary goal was not weight loss, but I knew I had a few inches to lose from my hips and legs that had crept on as a result of my crappy diet. I didn't take measurements before hand, and didn't weigh myself throughout the month because i didn't want to be a slave to the scale or the measuring tape. I DID weigh myself the day that I started though (July 29th). I was 154.4 lbs. I weighed myself again this morning, and was SHOCKED to see 140.4 pop up on the scale! I've somehow lost 14 lbs in the last month. I haven't gone hungry one single time - I'm eating a much larger volume of food than I was before - it's just healthy, clean food! My jeans are falling off of me (Darn - guess I'll have to go shopping!!), and my workout pants nearly landed around my ankles when doing double unders this morning! And I can say with confidence that I haven't lost an ounce of muscle. My strength gains over the last month have been great!

  • Improved Performance in the Gym - All of my WOD times are steadily improving. I can do more pullups in a row than I could 30 days ago (23 vs. 6 - really). I can lift more weight, and do it faster. I don't get winded as easily (more stamina). Really, what more could I want?

  • No More Energy Dips - I'm no longer experiencing a roller coaster of energy levels throughout the day! I'm not a slave to the coffee pot (although I still enjoy a cup of black coffee in the morning), and I don't find myself nodding off mid-afternoon! I sleep better at night, and have more energy throughout the day - it's great!

  • Emotional Stability / HEALTHY attitude toward food! - I'm an emotional person - always have been. I cry at chic flicks, and I'll get weepy at the drop of a hat. But aside from that, I was on an emotional roller coaster that I couldn't seem to get off of over the last several months, and most of it was driven by food, and guilt associated with food, or frustration over trying to refrain from eating foods that I was craving like crazy - and then ultimately guilt again when I caved into the craving. It was a vicious cycle that I couldn't seem to break. I was constantly fighting myself. I couldn't ever be happy because I was obsessed with food. I was always either fighting a craving, or feeling guilty for giving into a craving - there was never any "peace". I know this sounds crazy to a lot of people, but I love food - I had an emotional attachment to food. I used it as a reward and as consolement when I was feeling bad. I snacked constantly when I was bored, and every achievement was "rewarded" with food, most of the time bad food, which killed the feeling of accomplishment that I got from whatever the achievement was. When I was extremely happy - I ate to celebrate. When I was extremely sad - I ate to comfort myself. I can now HONESTLY say that I have finally broken this cycle!! This for me is the BIGGEST accomplishment of the month. I don't crave crap anymore, which means I'm not fighting myself constantly - which results in me being less grumpy, crotchety, and irritable ALL THE TIME! I am able to view food as nothing more than a fuel source. I eat when I'm hungry, and don't eat when I'm not. It's that simple. I never thought I'd get to this point, and am absolutely awestruck that I managed to get here in such a short period of time. Don't get me wrong - I still LOVE food! But it doesn't rule my world and my emotions any more :)

There are probably a ton of other subtle improvements to my overall well-being, but these are the ones that I've most appreciated. I am a new woman. I am a happy woman. I am a healthy woman. I am an energetic woman. I am NEVER going back. Not ever. No amount of sugar or chocolate is worth it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Evil Edamame!

This is a public service message for anyone following Whole30 or attempting to eat within Paleo Guidelines - EDAMAME is NOT an approved Vegetable - it's a Soy BEAN. . . A.K.A. a LEGUME.
This is common knowledge to most, I know - but I made the inadvertent mistake of eating a half of a bowl of edamame on Day 28 of my Whole30, thinking that I was eating a vegetable! I know better. . . I really do. . . .but for some reason, it didn't compute to me that I was eating a legume until I was about half way through the bowl. . . crap!!

The final day of my business trip (yesterday), I was invited out to lunch with several of the employees from the office I was visiting. Building rapport and working relationships with other members of my company is very important to me both personally, and as a part of my career. I did not want to be the person to order a dish with 15 revisions, and give them the impression that I was high-maintenance!

Explaining my choice to follow a Paleolithic “diet” to friends and co-workers doesn’t bother me at all – it’s just that it usually centers the conversation around me and turns into a 45 minute discussion/debate – not the kind of first conversation you want to have with co-workers that you just met over a casual lunch meeting!

We went to a very nice Sushi restaurant (I told them I was unable to eat Gluten that morning when I passed up a bagel in the breakfast meeting, so they were gracious enough to find a place that I could easily find a gluten-free option).

I used to LOVE Sushi Nigiri & Sushi Rolls, but am happy to say that the rolls/etc on the menu didn’t even tempt me!

I scanned the menu, and found the “Seafood Salad”, which was a bed of fresh greens topped with Avocado, Sautéed Shrimp & Calamari, and an Asian dressing. I was easily able to make this Whole30 compliant by simply asking that they hold the dressing and sauté the Seafood only in olive oil. (And by the way – it was DELICIOUS!!)

As an afterthought, I also ordered a bowl of steamed edamame as an appetizer so that I would not appear “rude” or go into a 15 minute explanation by refusing food as everyone else was sharing appetizers of Sushi Rolls & Tempura. I thought to myself – “Hey, I’m increasing my veggie intake to boot – Yay!”

I had eaten about half of the Edamame when I suddenly had the realization that I was eating . . Soy BEANS. . . which I’m pretty sure are legumes. . . CRAP! Here I was thinking “veggie” and instead was eating “legume” . . . darn it!

I did some research to see just how much I may have screwed up the Whole30 “reset button” that I’m trying to press.

Here’s what I found about Soy Beans/Edamame:

Apparently, Soy beans contain a ton of “anti-nutrients” – more so than most legumes. To make matters worse, the particular kind of anti-nutrients contained in soybeans are not removed by cooking them. . . yikes!

My research informed me that Soy beans contain Enzyme Inhibitors which block the action of enzymes that are needed for protein digestion. In other words, these prevent our bodies from absorbing proteins and amino acids in our foods – No Bueno!

Additionally, soy beans contain Phytic Acids which block the uptake of essential minerals in the intestinal tract – blocking absorption of these minerals by our bodies. In other words, the good minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, and Zinc that we would normally obtain from our foods is not able to be absorbed by our bodies when Phytic Acids are present, and instead is passed straight through in our waste. . . Ick!

Finally, Soy beans contain Goitrogens, which can suppress thyroid function . . . again – Wow – Who knew?!?!? And these things are legal, and toted as “healthy”???

So I’d say that my inadvertent slip up yesterday definitely broke my Whole30, as I’m sure that there were some negative reactions within my body as a response to the Edamame, which interfered with the healing cycle that I was trying to complete – but that’s okay – upward and onward – I’m going to stick with it the remainder of the 60 days, and I’ll just call it a Whole 28/32!

Oh, and I looked at several different sites when researching this info, but most of it was found here:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yeah. . .that's going to hurt in the morning!

Okay, I'll start with a quick update - I'm wrapping up day 26 of the Whole30 Program, and I feel absolutely fabulous! About the start of week 3, this way of eating began to just feel "normal" again, and it is no longer a hassle at all. I'm currently on another business trip, but staying Whole30 compliant on the road is even easier this time than it was the last! I cooked my dinners in advance, and cooked up a big batch of eggs for breakfasts. Once I arrived in Cleveland, I stopped at a Whole Foods and picked up Salad Fixings and Wild Planet Tuna for my lunches - and that's it :) Easy!

I'm planning on stretching my Whole30 into a Whole60 - that basically just means that I'm going to stay very strict for another 30 days with absolutely no deviations from 100% Whole Foods. After the 60 days is over, I may occasionally cook a pot roast in some red wine, or make a very rare decision to deviate slightly for a special occasion - but I don't see any reason at all that I can't maintain this way of eating for good! I'm finding that I don't miss artificial sweetners or salad dressings at all. The smell of warm bagels doesn't bother me in the slightest any more either! (And yes, my hubby is happy about that!!) The only lingering craving that I occasionally have is Ice Cream, but I can live with ignoring the occasional ice cream craving, and I'm assuming that these cravings will soon diminish as all of my other cravings have.

Okay, now to explain the picture and title of this post! As I mentioned, I'm on another business trip. I was super excited about this one because it would bring me through Cleveland! I'm a huge fan of Kate Rawlings, and knew that she coached morning WODs at CrossFit Cleveland, so I was oh so very excited about getting to attend one of her classes! I showed up this morning at CF Cleveland to find this on the board:

400 Meter Walking Lunges - For Time

Anyone that has not personally experienced this work out first hand would probably look at this and think "wow - that's not bad at all". . . and they'd be DEAD WRONG! You see, I've done this one before . . . twice. And each time I remember clear as day the agony that I was in 48 hours after completing this WOD. The workout itself hurts enough - but it's the after-effects that REALLY kick your butt!

I know from experience - The 2-3 days immediately following this workout are pure torture. Each time I've done it before, I've found new muscles in my legs that I never knew I had before - and they screamed bloody murder at me for two days straight in an attempt to convince me to NEVER put them through that again. . . I guess I just don't learn!

So I looked up at the board and said "Well, Crap!" You see, I usually work remotely from my home office, and spend my days in sneakers or flip flops, so having insanely sore legs would be bad enough under normal circumstances. . . . But it just so happens that I'm on a business trip, and will be wearing skirts and high heels for the next three days - Doh!

Picture if you will a baby giraffe that just learned how to walk - and then put it in roller skates. I think that's about what I'm going to look like attempting to walk tomorrow!

As much as I've whined about it though - I really do like this workout. I've got pretty long legs, and great stamina, so I'm able to take long lunges, keep a steady pace, and do the full 400 meters without pausing for a rest, which makes for a great time :) I finished this morning in 8'32" which is a PR for me by about a full minute!

But much to my dismay, my legs started complaining within minutes of finishing. I was standing there chatting with Kate about the cool-down exercise when suddenly my left but cheek decided it was going to have the spasm of it's life. I literally let out a little yelp , screamed BUTT CRAMP!, and crumpled to the floor - talk about embarassing! And not a good omen of things to come!

I took all of the precautionary measures that I could - I stretched REALLY GOOD after the workout - and then again around noon. This evening I did my Olympic Lifting Programming at CrossFit Nasti in Cincinnati (which helped to loosen my legs up some more), and then stretched yet again. All I can do at this point is continue to stretch, stay well hydrated, and hope that I'll be able to get out of bed in the morning - wish me luck :)

I also want to take a quick moment to thank Kate and the morning crew at CrossFit Cleveland for making me feel welcome this morning - I really enjoyed working out w/ you guys - even though my legs will be complaining for days!

I also want to thank Stephen and Brent of CrossFit Nasti for letting me borrow a platform in their gym this evening so that I could get my Olympic Lifting in - they graciously welcomed me as part of their "extended family" as well :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recipe: AMAZING Paleo CrockPot Meatballs!

I LOVE CrockPot cooking - who wouldn't! There's nothing like spending 10 minutes of prep time in the morning, and having dinner ready by the time I'm done lifting or coaching in the evening!

My CrockPot has been working overtime the last few weeks - I've experimented with several different recipes - some have been great, and others well. . . not so great. . . but I made a CrockPot Meal today that was absolutely TO DIE FOR!!!

It was so good, I had to share the recipe! I used the recipe that I found here as a starting point, and made some modifications.

AMAZING Paleo CrockPot Meatballs

Meatball Ingredients:

1 lb GrassFed Ground Beef (mine is approx 85% lean)
1/2 lb Lean Ground Pork
1 Stalk Celery
1 medium-sized Carrot
1/4 Vidalia Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Omega-3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Almond Meal
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Sea Salt to taste (about 1-2 tsp?)**

Sauce Ingredients:

1 16 oz can Organic Diced Tomatoes
1 small can Organic Tomato Paste
1 handfull fresh basil leaves, torn
5 cloves garlic, minced
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste


Coursely Chop Celery, Carrot, Onion, and 2 Cloves Garlic in Food Proccesor. Combine chopped vegetables with the rest of of the meatball ingredients, and mix well (knead with your hands). Form into large Meatballs, and place in the bottom of a lined Crockpot.

Mix together Sauce Ingredients, and pour over meatballs in Crockpot.

Cook In CrockPot for 8 hours on low.

I served mine with Roasted Brussel Sprouts tonight, and it was soooo good! It took self control not to go back for another helping!

On 9/20/2010 I added "Sea Salt to taste" to the meatball ingredients. I made these last week, and didn't realize until after I tasted them that I'd left that out of the ingredient list initially. . .oops! It makes a BIG difference in the flavor. They were fairly bland w/o a little sea salt.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Working My Weaknesses. . .

THIS is what I felt like today when trying to deadlift a measly 195 lbs for 3 unbroken reps. . . .

I know that deadlifts are one of my weaknesses - In fact they are my weakest lift and when compared with my other numbers, my deadlift number is ridiculously low. I also know that I should work on the things that need improvement. . . but for some unknown reason. . .


I think part of it is the slam to my ego that I get every time that I do them in a group setting - watching other CrossFitters pick up considerably more than me and make it look easy is frustrating! Don't get me wrong - I love to see other people succeed (Really, I do!), it's just a bit disheartening to watch someone else do something so easily that I struggle with so much.

It's only common sense that I won't get better at something unless I practice it - but it's so hard to practice things that I'm bad at when working on things that I'm good at is so much more fulfilling!

The cold hard truth is that if I ever want to have a prayer of picking up more weight, I've got to start working on my DL form and technique - so I'll suck up the ego to make way for progress :)

Right now, I dedicate my Saturday's to "active rest" where I spend about an hour doing skill work on the areas that need improvement, like HSPU Progressions, Ring Dip Work, L-Sits, etc. Somehow I think adding deadlifts to that list would eliminate the "rest" part of the active rest though, so I will have to find another way (i.e. ask Coach Wilkes!) to work them into my programming more frequently. But I will get them in, and I will improve . . . time to STOP ignoring my biggest weakness just because I don't like working on it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fighting the Temptation to Overtrain

Anyone that knows me personally knows that I have a Type A++ personality! I’ve never been afraid of working hard toward a goal, and once I have my mind set on something, I’m willing to do everything in my power to make it happen, regardless of the amount of work required. I can also be very hard on myself – I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my own successes and failures.

I think that this is one of the reasons that I love the CrossFit Community so much – I have found in my experience that A LOT of CrossFitters have Type A personalities just like me – so I fit in pretty well within the community :) This makes me wonder though if others have to consciously work to “hold themselves back” to prevent overtraining . . . let me explain:

Overtraining occurs when the volume and intensity of exercise exceeds a person’s recovery capacity (Mondey). In other words, when we don’t give our bodies enough time to heal (a.k.a. RECOVER) after a workout, we risk suffering from overtraining. Symptoms of overtraining can vary from fatigue, irritability, and loss of motivation to constant muscle soreness, recurring sickness, reduced work capacity, and increased incidence of injuries.

So why does overtraining occur if everyone knows about it and its negative symptoms??
  • I don’t know about every one else, but I find that when I set my mind on a goal (either short term like mastering Hand Stand Pushups, Ring dips, a Snatch PR. . . or long term like competing at an Oly Lifting tournament or qualifying for the CF Games), I tend to let my Type A personality take over. A little devil on my shoulder tells me that if I train harder, longer, and heavier - I’ll reach my goals faster. I mean, in the other areas of my life harder work = faster/better results, so why wouldn’t this carry over to my training to, right? WRONG. (Or so I’ve been told by some very wise people who are trying to help me reach my goals . . . )

  • I’ve also found that chronic lack of proper nutrition can lead to overtraining symptoms for me, even if my training level hasn’t increased much. This is because when I’m eating poorly, I’m not giving my body the fuel that it needs to repair itself and get stronger after intense exercise. So it doesn’t heal as fast as it normally does when I’m giving it the right “fuel”. As a result, even though I’m not exercising more frequently, my body isn’t able to fully recover from an exercise session before I start the next one because of the lack of fuel, and as a result, I begin to see overtraining symptoms creep back in.

  • Finally, for me at least, exercise is addictive. The rush of endorphins that I get when working out is amazing, and I’m almost always left feeling a little bit euphoric after a Lifting Session or CF workout. Add to that the awesome feeling of accomplishment that I get when I am hitting PR’s, and it’s like my “happy drug”! It’s human nature to do things that make us feel good, so as a result I can sometimes go “of the deep-end” with a few to many 2-a-days. . .

You may ask why I’m writing this if I already have it “figured out”. . . well that’s the thing – I know about the dangers of overtraining, but recently I’ve found myself doing it yet again.

It started out with little things – like it’s a rest day, but there’s an awesome WOD on the board, so I say to myself “I can’t miss THIS one”, and do it anyway. . . after doing this a few times, I started to notice the fatigue and chronic muscle soreness creeping back in. So “Smart/Logical Christie” had to pull “Type A Just-Do-It Christie” into a corner and talk some sense into her head. . .

The fact of the matter is that we’re all capable of overtraining, regardless of our fitness levels. My husband refuses to CrossFit because he says he sees too many people getting hurt and putting themselves out for months at a time with injuries – and he says that several people that he works with feel the same way. And really, he has a point. . . . I do see a lot of injuries in CrossFitters at all levels, but I don’t think it’s actually CrossFit that is causing these injuries – I think it’s a bunch of Type A personalities like mine that are addicted to success and progress, and think that the harder that they push themselves, the more results they’ll see. . . again . . . WRONG.

One of the symptoms of overtraining is increased frequency of injuries. If we don’t give our bodies a chance to heal themselves in between workouts, they are going to start breaking down eventually. . and we begin to see injuries occur more and more often. It’s my personal opinion that the perception of CrossFit being “dangerous” comes more from people who injure themselves as a result of overtraining than it does from the type of training that we do. If we went into every workout fully recovered, I think we’d see a lot less injuries, and as a result more progress. . . . Of course, this is referring to our every-day training, and not competitions – occasional 2 or 3 a days in a competitive atmosphere are great – as long as full recovery time is given after the fact, and our every day training doesn’t become a string of 2-a-days.

So the moral of the story is – in some cases – less IS more. Reduced training frequency (more recovery time) can and will lead to better and faster results for someone who has regularly over trained in the past. Listen to your body – and if it’s screaming for a rest day – give it one

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Road Trip! (+ Update)

This is just a quick update because I've been horribly neglecting the blog this week!

I had a last minute business trip come up last Tuesday, so I had to scramble to get my travel booked and all of my "travel food" cooked and prepped and packed . .oh yeah, and had to pack my suitcase too . . . but food first!

I've been on the road in the great MidWest this week (Illinois, Wisconson, & Michigan). This is the first trip that I've taken since going back to strict Paleo, so I was a little bit anxious about my ability to maintain my clean eating while on the road - fortunately, it really hasn't been too bad!

I prepped and packed a ton of food before leaving (HB Eggs, Chicken Tenders, GF Ground Beef, Carrots, Almonds, Coconut Flakes, Kale, Bok Choy, and other misc stuff). Boy did I get some funny looks from the people in airport security about that cooler! But the let me through with it, so all was good.

I took the advice of the Whole9 crew and used frozen sweet potatoe cubes as my "ice packs", and they worked like a charm. I also took some extra ziplok bags and filled them with Ice from a FF restaurant after passing through the airport security.

I'm staying at a series of Extended Stay America's, and I've got to say that they make Paleo life on the road SO MUCH EASIER!! My company would put me up at a Hilton or Sheraton if I wanted, but I'm much happier in a cheap hotel w/ a full kitchen :)

I hit Whole Foods upon landing in Chicago and picked up some pre-cut veggies, some meats, fish oil, olive oil, and a few spices. With these basic ingredients, I've been living off super easy but insanely delicous skillet meals prepped on the stove top in my hotel room.

I also found a local CF Box (CF Arlington Heights) that is graciously allowing me to do my Olympic Lifting on a platform during their class times - and I even joined them for a WOD earlier in the week - I love the CF community! The Owners, Josh & Jimmy, as well as all of the members welcomed me w/ open arms and it's been great to spend my evenings with like-minded people getting my sweat on instead of sitting in a hotel room! I'm very happy to say that I haven't missed a single day of my Oly Lifting Programming while on the road - - it all comes down to planning and preparation - without it, I've learned that I'm screwed - but with proper planning traveling really isn't so bad!

I'm leaving for Michigan in just a few, and am going to try to get in w/ a CF box in Grand Rapids while I'm in the area - staying at a Double Tree up there, so I prepped several skillet meals last night to bring along - that and Salads, plus my Sweet Potatoes/Turkey for Post-WO and I'm good to go!

I also want to leave a quick note thanking Melissa and Dallas for the great write-up on their blog - I hope that everyone that stops by my blog for a visit finds something useful :) I love to share all the tips and tricks that I have for Paleo living and fitting in workouts when "life" interupts, but I'd also love to hear any tips or tricks that readers may have too!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering - YES, I have stayed 100% Whole30 compliant since July 29th when I started the program - even through the travel, airports, business lunch meetings, and hotels :)
Okay, off to hit the 5 hour road trip to MI - wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A House Divided

As I was doing some casual reading last weekend, I ran across this quote from former President Abraham Lincoln:

"A house divided against itself cannot stand"
Well, I am very much hoping to prove the exception to the rule in this case!
You see, when I made the decision to begin the Whole30, and make this way of eating a life-long thing, I tried desperately to get my husband to do the 30 days with me on a "trial basis". I love him dearly, but his eating habits had slid as much as mine had over the last 6 months, and they are starting to impact his health. In his defense, he has made an effort to improve the quality of the foods that he is eating (no more McDonalds/fast food, and he's cut down his Pepsi consumption from 2L a day to 20oz a day), but he was just not ready to go "all in" with me - and I have to respect his decision - you simply can't force this way of life on someone who is not ready for it - it has to be something that a person wants for themself.
As a result, I haven't been able to "purge" my house of non-paleo foods. Mainstays in my husbands diet are (white) bagels w/ cream cheese, toast, cereals with milk, sandwiches with cheese, baked beans, sodas, sweet tea, and frozen desserts like popsicles.
Fortunately, he doesn't complain when I cook Paleo dinners (I refuse to cook two seperate meals!), but I have found it hard over the last week to be sitting at my desk in the morning, and suddenly have the heavenly smell of a toasty bagel floating through the air, tempting me! It's equally as hard to watch him eat a popsicle after dinner, which is when my sugar cravings tend to kick into high gear. Lastly, I found out early in the first day that opening my pantry and seeing the bread, cereal, and bagles was not a good thing for my will-power . . or my sanity!
I know that many people who follow a Paleo lifestyle have family members or children who are not Paleo-Compliant - I would have to assume that it is difficult for them as well, especially in the begining as they are trying to go "cold turkey".
So what can be done to make things a little less difficult, without forcing the Paleo lifestyle on those that we live with who do not want it for themselves?
Here is my solution:
  • I set up a seperate shelf in my pantry, above my eye level, and I put all of my husbands "non-paleo" foods on this shelf. I have two shelfs at eye level and below that are full of all of my Paleo-compliant foods. So when I reach into the pantry for olive oil or coconut milk, I don't have to reach past his bagels :)
  • I did the same in the fridge - there is one shelf dedicated to his soft drinks, baked beans, cheeses, and anything else that doesn't fit into my diet - there are also two condiment shelves with the salad dressings, ketchup, mayo, ect. Then I have MY shelves stocked full of veggies, fruit, lean meats, and water :) When I open the fridge, I can go straight to my shelves, and don't even have to glance at the stuff on his shelf that would normally tempt me or set off a craving.
  • I've also asked him not to leave the bagels or toaster on the counter-top, as both make me think of bagels, and tend to set off a craving - he's been great about putting these things away when he's done with them.
  • Lastly, I just leave the room after dinner when he's enjoying his popsicle - I can easily use that 5 minutes to straighten up in the kitchen, lay my workout clothes out for the next day, or sort some laundry - it would be unfair of me to ask him to leave the room!
I have found that these simple steps have helped me a million times over in surviving the first week of my new Paleo way of life. They have also helped to reduce some of the tension in the house (because I'll admit - I can get a little cranky/moody when I'm craving something, and he's sitting there eating the very thing that I want!)
I also remind myself that I could have these things if I wanted them, but I am making the choice to cut them out of my diet in order to improve my health, both now and in the future. Looking at it in this light helps me to avoid the feelings of "restriction", and help to make me less grouchy, and a little easier to live with ;)