things that make me happy in this silly world



this is major:  i packed my husband’s lunch for work.  it contained roasted spaghetti squash with tomato sauce (homemade with grape tomatoes) and whole milk mozzarella.  and he LOVED it.  this is my all-carb, all-fast food-loving husband we’re talking about here.  i feel victorious.  he’s losing weight, too 🙂

i’ve been absent for a while because i have been swallowed by the back hole of blogs and articles concerning paleolithic and primal living.  i’m in the middle of discovering what all this is and it’s riveting.  i’ve found that dr. cate‘s teachings are very closely mirrored in these lifestyles.  i’ve been so overwhelmed with information and i can’t get enough!

i can’t believe how much information is available and i’ve just been missing out on it for so long.  i’m always updating the blogroll in the right column so check out those blogs that are way more established than mine.  i’ve become a HUGE fan of Sean Croxton at Underground Wellness.

i’m currently reading:

this book is pretty amazing so far and has been mentioned over and over and over in the health blogosphere.  it’s the first of many books that i want to wrap my fingers around regarding health.

i also got:

although it’s been getting a lot of positive reviews in the eyes of paleo and primal people, it’s just OK in my opinion.  i’d much rather follow gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipe blogs like elana’s pantry instead.  which is what i’ll be doing from now on.  in fact, i think following blogs (which almost always contain recipes) is way more practical and yields better results that buying a cookbook.  i’ve made a few recipes from the cookbook and the best one has been the paleo bread.  although, the recipe for paleo bread at elana’s pantry looks much more delicious and i plan on making it as soon as i can get my hands on some coconut flour.

paleo bread. i toasted up a slice with butter in the morning and toasted another slice to go along with a salad.

and one last thing.  i bought $85.00 worth of products at US wellness meats. i’ve been waiting forever to order from them.  i got 2 blocks of grass-fed butter, a wedge of grass-fed raw mild cheddar cheese, 2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef, package of free-range chicken wings (for the ole ball&chain), 3 or 4 bone-in skin-on free-range chicken breasts, and a load of free-range chicken livers (aka: nature’s multivitamin).  i think that’s it.  i get it in a day or two! 🙂



yesterday, i traveled approximately 40 minutes and found a publix…the closest one to my small town.  you would have thought i found a Whole Foods store.  i went minorly berzerk.  yes, i brought a cooler with me in the car in case i had to carry back some precious cargo.  and it was the case.  check out my loot:

they had real *WILD* salmon.  not the horrible farmed kind (in which they’re fed CoRn).  obviously, it’s more expensive.  however, i recognize that i’m paying more because i’m getting more nutrition and i’m supporting fishing instead of mass farming.  and because i pay more, i make sure i eat every bit 🙂

they also had grass-fed ground beef!!  it also came organic, but i didn’t buy it because it was just WAY too expensive.  i’m going to have to work out a plan so i’ll be prepared to buy it organic in the future.  apparently, living healthy also makes me more creative and frugal.  for now, i bought 3 pounds of the non-organic grass-fed beef 🙂

and then i found my beloved stonyfield organic yogurt made with WHOLE MILK!! none of this zero fat or low fat nonsense.  when you get rid of sugar, you need to eat full healthy fat to keep satisfied.  and i’m not going to even get into what amazing feats fat performs in our bodies.  sugar? nada, no nutritional value.  even worse, it acts like a poison.  i’m literally treating this yogurt like gold.

and here we have my much coveted almond butter.  i eat peanut butter multiple times a day…on everything, even a spoon.  but i have been hard pressed to find almond butter at my local grocery store.  i should say REAL almond butter, because my local store has almond butter full of sugar and hydrogenated oils…gross.  i found this variety which has an ingredient listing of ALMONDS and SALT.  please and thank you.

and last but not least, wine!  i’m slowly becoming a wine lover…my tastes are developing.  i’m moving from whites to reds.  the other night i had a glass of MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir at a restaurant and loooved it.  my palate has REALLY changed since i cleaned up my eating habits.  i used to think red wines tasted SO bitter but this Pinot Noir tasted like a glass full of berries.  it was so rich and smooth.  but it was one of the most expensive wines on the restaurant list so i knew i wouldn’t be able to find it at my local grocer.  but i *hoped* publix would have it.  this place cannot let a girl down 🙂

i also went to Target and found a much neglected dr. bronner’s section at the bottom of a cosmetics shelf.  i got the castile soap in almond (smells sooooo good) and 3 bottles of hand sanitizer (for those times i can’t get to soap and water) all the items were noted “temporary price cut” or “clearance”.  so a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do 🙂

mama’s rules

i saw my mom the other day and she wanted me to come up with a menu plan that she could follow all week.  she’s basically on the verge of diabetes and i was thrilled she reached out to me at all.  then i realized that what she needed was not a menu plan (it’s like giving a fish to a hungry man instead of teaching him to fish), but a small list of rules to help her navigate the menu waters on her own.  this way, she’ll be able to recognize trends on her own.  it’s way better to have an understanding of something than to just blindly do it because you’re told.

anyway, after brainstorming for a long time and trying to make some rules that would be basic and simple but encompass most rules i believe in, i came up with this:

hi mama!

i know you wanted me to write you a menu to get healthy, but this list of rules to follow will be much more helpful.  you have to make big changes to your habits but i’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to start.  follow these steps and once you become comfortable with them, you can move on to some more i’ll give you.

  1. CUT OUT ALL WHITE SUGAR.  this includes anything that is made with sugar.  the easiest thing to do would be to stop getting dessert.  start READING INGREDIENT LABELS.  if it has sugar in it, put it back!  anything that ends in “-ose” (dextrose, fructose, sucrose, glucose…) is a sugar.
    you can still have fake sugar (splenda and truvia are best) while you’re getting used to this.  and you can still have carbs (whole wheat breads and pastas) and fruits (which have natural sugar).
  2. CUT OUT “HYDROGENATED” and “PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED” oils.  when you read the ingredients, if you see anything that says “hydrogenated” PUT IT BACK.
  3. GET EXERCISE.  keep hiking with dad.  and when you go shopping anywhere, park far away and WALK.  you don’t have to go to a gym or have fancy equipment.  if you can break a sweat at least once a day, then that is a great start.  oh, and you can try the ZUMBA dvds i got you 🙂

you’ll find out that you can’t buy a lot of processed foods because they almost always contain sugar and hydrogenated oils as their main ingredients.

here’s something fun:  go to the peanut butter aisle.  get a jar of JIF and a jar of SMUCKERS peanut butter and look at their ingredients.  you’ll find the JIF has sugar, hydrogenated oils, and some other things you can’t pronounce.  SMUCKERS has peanuts and salt (that’s REAL peanut butter).  when the oil separates and sits on top, that’s GOOD and it means it’s a REAL food.  hydrogenated oils keep the oil from separating so JIF looks prettier (but it also poisons us).


even though you are going to cut out sugar and hydrogenated oils, this is what you need to replace them with (and eat a lot of it!):

REAL BUTTER (absolutely NO margarine–it’s hydrogenated oil)

FULL FAT milk, cheese, and yogurt

* when you can, make sure to get these dairy products ORGANIC.

obviously, i’ll want her to cut out all artificial sweeteners.  getting rid of sweets will reprogram your taste receptors to become more sensitive to naturally occurring sugars.  studies (and real life) show our bodies react to sugar like a drug.  the more we eat, the more we need to get our “fix” (you slowly increase sugar consumption to maintain the same level of sweetness you taste).  for someone like my mom (who hoards splenda packets and adds no less than 2 to her (already) sweet tea) i figured i wouldn’t take away fake sugar and carbs just yet.  if i did that, she might decide being diabetic isn’t so bad!

yum yum yogurt shop

i currently live in a super tiny town.  i moved to this tiny town last year from another tiny town.  in my old town, they have a natural foods shop called “act natural” that i visited for items not carried at wal-mart (this was during my short-lived healthy kick.  it’s sticking this time!).  so i held out hope that my current, seemingly smaller town would have a little health foods store i could keep in business.

i recently found a gem by the name of yum yum.  even though everyone seems to go there for the sugary self-serve yogurt, yum yum can count on me to stalk the shelves of overlooked healthy items.

after reading so many healthy lifestyle blogs that talked about ezekiel bread, chia seeds, nut butters, almond flours, and so much more i realized i might be ordering all my food online :(.  when i finally stopped by yum yum, i almost had a seizure.  it’s definitely small, but it has VARIETY.  i found all sort of flours, chia seeds, body products, tahini, you name it.  i was in heaven.  HOWEVER, i did not know exactly how heavenly this place is until i finally made it towards the back of the store where they have one fridge and one freezer section.  they. have. ezekiel. bread.  i almost cried.  they even have ezekiel hamburger and hot dog buns.  i had no need for bread at the time, but i bought a loaf because i was afraid the stockpile would vanish as soon as i turned around.

i love you, sprouted grains.

if you’ve read deep nutrition, you’ll know all about how sprouted grains are better for you than plain whole grains.  the act of sprouting the grain releases bound up nutrition that would normally pass right through us.  since carbs are such empty calories, why not go sprouted and get more nutritional bang for your buck?  and this bread tastes so hearty and satisfying.  i mainly got it so i wouldn’t have to make my husband go cold-turkey off the carbs.  little does he know, i’m slowly weaning him off carbs 🙂  not completely, but it needs to not be the staple in our diet that it has been.  when we get the urge, i know i can quickly grab some ezekiel at yum yum!

one last thing, i tasted kombucha juice for the first time.  and wow, did it suck.  i’ve been dying to try it forever (not even really knowing what it is).  i scooped it up when i saw it and before my first sip i read the label.  and it scared me.  it says “organic, raw, probiotic green tea”.  so it’s got microbes and it’s fermented.  sounds gross.  in the words of my husband:  whoa, this junk smells like vinegar.  i forced a few gulps since it was $4.00 and figured i got enough probiotics in my system to do some good…then it got trashed.

big negative

and this is just me eventually getting side-tracked by my baking soda, oatmeal, yogurt, coconut oil-loving skin


i believe having an active and healthy lifestyle encompasses much more than adding more vegetables to your diet and adding exercise to your daily routine.  for me, it includes lots of grocery shopping time, lots of prep work and cooking time, at least an hour of exercise time daily with the addition of an extra hour of having to shower and get ready all over again if my exercise isn’t right at the end of my day.  i have to allot brain time for menus, creative time for trying to use up left over foods at the end of the week so as not to be wasteful, daily kitchen clean-up time, and so much more.

i used to be caught up in the americanized “convenience” lifestyle of nuking as much prepared food as possible.  that or stuffing something in the oven or ripping open a box to make an instant meal on the stove (and eating out A LOOOT).  when i moved from this lifestyle (and i’m still learning/transitioning!) i realized how unimportant the meal ritual had become…from preparation to consuming.  i treated it like a burden almost ALL the time instead of something that we should probably all treat as sacred.  i saw that devoting time to a healthy lifestyle would be a MAJOR commitment.  so finding the motivation is absolutely key.  i just don’t see any way to half-ass this.

everyone has different motivating factors and i think we all owe it to ourselves and the people that we love to at least explore what might motivate each of us.  the first step is to give a care.  why wait for something bad to happen first?

we have to WANT to do it and find ENJOYMENT in it.  DO NOT make a healthy lifestyle a chore, but something to look forward to.  it is a POSITIVE thing in life that will only ENRICH everything about us (everything!).  but for some reason it’s waaaay too easy to focus on the fact that it can all be a time suck….which is only ONE (1!) possible negative out of all the positives.  and it’s easy to turn it into a positive with a little recognition and redirection of the thought process.  but no one can make that decision for anyone else.  we are each our own advocates and the sole caretakers of our minds and bodies.

should i ever start a family, i would want healthy habits to be second nature.  a normal established part of my life.  i would want these habits to be the basis of the habits my children would form.  when i find information regarding health and nutrition and the epidemics (diabetes, obesity, etc.) surrounding them, it inevitably segues into the growing trend of childhood diseases and disorders.  i’ve read that 20 or so years ago ADD and ADHD were so uncommon that they were not mentioned in a lot of medical journals of recognized diseases in that time.  now every other kid is medicated for it and commercials for prescription medications abound.  it’s so scary we’re coming to this.  SCARY!  why aren’t you SCARED?!  or pissed off?!

i don’t have anyone around that possesses the same conviction as me so i’m the lone wolf among my friends and family.  since it’s impossible to force change on people, i quietly lurk about waiting for an opening to plant seeds of thought 🙂

face follow-up

i made good on my promise.  i pulverized my quick-cooking oats in my blender and got a nice powder (to use in my oatmeal/baking soda/water face cleanser).  MUCH better result when washing my face 🙂  so much easier and less messy to use.  i’m still impressed by how well my skin is responding to such a basic and inexpensive cleansing routine.

oatmeal ground up nicely

i then got it in my head to grind up some almonds since they make for a good exfoliant:

about to get blizted!

it went BADLY when 2 nuts were impaled causing them to burn while spinning generated smoke and everything

and i only ended up with this much. and they smelled like burnt rubber.

so i threw the ground almonds out and decided that i would use flax meal instead–>this was genius.

i did do something right when i made parmesan crisps to eat with vegetable soup i made using my homemade chicken stock:

ah, sugar, you beastly thing.

another doctor supporting what i’ve been uncovering in my search for information.  try to make it through the whole thing, you won’t regret it.  if you’re on the fence about nutrition, diet, and sugar, hopefully this will push you over the edge.  if you’ve never really thought about it hard before, hopefully this will make you question what you believe.  i see too many people hurting, frustrated, and unhappy when it’s easily fixed with knowledge.  and it frustrates and hurts me to know that people who don’t take charge of their health are ultimately hurting the people that love them.