Whole30 – Transformation Plan

Whole30 2014For the next 30+ days, I will be eating meat, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits and nuts. I will not be eating processed food, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes, and I won’t be consuming any alcohol.

I’ve done a few Whole30 challenges before, but this time I’m looking for something a little different. I lost touch with my Paleo choices last year and I would like to reconnect with what it means to feel healthy, vibrant, and in tune with my whole self.

If you’re doing a Whole30 or other challenge, if you are living/exploring the Paleo lifestyle, or if you are simply looking for some tasty recipes to add to your repertoire, be sure to leave a comment to let me know you’re out there! I am so glad you stopped by!

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

beginThere it is. I’m putting it out there that a new Whole30 will begin on January 2, 2016. I’m super excited because I know just how amazing it feels to be giving my body the fuel that it loves and craves and works best with. But I won’t lie, it’s also challenging. I have years of food addiction and deep rooted cravings for certain things, including filling emotional holes with food. But I feel ready to regain the strength and energy and well-being that comes with doing what my mind, body, and heart really need.

Because they do truly need to be fueled right. I can tell. When I think back to how I felt during previous challenges, but more specifically to when Paleo eating was engrained in my life outside of the challenge, THAT is when I felt like I could conquer anything. So I will return to the basics in order to move from there.

I am calling this challenge 2016 Transformation because I can just feel that something profound has the opportunity to manifest in me this year. Who knows? Maybe it won’t. But since I feel something bubbling inside of me, I’ve decided not to suppress it just because it might seem silly or it might not work. Instead I’ve decided to embrace it. That’s something I see myself doing more and more in 2016 so what better place than my health and eating to first embrace that change?

For anyone also considering a Whole30, here are a few things that I’m doing this week to get myself ready for success…

Food Shopping

Being prepared with food, dinners, snacks, easy eats, etc. is essential to a successful Whole30. A few things I will purchase include:

  1. Cans of tuna and chicken for lunches and snacks
  2. Greens to cook that I will wash and put in a tub
  3. Salad greens that will make up lunches and wraps
  4. Zucchini for breakfasts and zoodles
  5. Cauliflower for “rice”
  6. Celery for salads
  7. Carrots, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers to snack on
  8. Eggs! for everything

Food Prep

If I have a few things already cooked and in the freezer, I won’t be caught out and frustrated. So in the fridge or freezer, I will have a few things:

  1. Hard boiled eggs
  2. Washed greens
  3. Meatballs – perfect dinner or snack
  4. These chicken thighs – dinner, salad addition, or snack!
  5. Lots of veggies all ready to eat
  6. Steamed broccoli – it’s bulky so it satisfies my need for quantity and it can make a dinner side or a snack. Just like that.
  7. “Riced” cauliflower, steamed and ready to become something delicious
  8. Baked sweet potatoes – I know I’ll be craving carbs early on so it’s best to have some on hand to mix with tuna, avocado, and a squeeze of lemon after a workout. One of my favorite snacks.

Mental Prep

I know what this is about and I’m ready to feel amazing. But that doesn’t mean that it will be easy, so I have decided to spend a minute or so each morning just breathing and believing in my success for the day. There is a tremendous amount of benefit in picturing yourself achieving success. I remember years ago having a motivational speaker at one of my sales meetings who talked about practicing golf in his mind while he was a prisoner of war. I’m embarrassed that I don’t remember his name, but I hope to honor him with my thoughts about the sacrifice he made and his subsequent impact on a total stranger. He practiced his swing, his approach to the hole, every aspect of golf…but he did it all in his mind. When he was finally released from years of confinement, his golf game had actually improved.

This left an indelible imprint on me and I have since always believed in the power of the mind. We can accomplish anything! Sometimes we need to realize that it begins in the mind where it can be visualized, reworked, retried, even reinvented – whatever you need to do to reach your own, very personal goal. I have decided to dedicate a few moments each day to visualizing what my healthiest version of myself looks like and feels like so that I can then live that image.

This is It

As the final days of 2014 come to a close, I’m a bit sad thinking about what might have been. Really. I love my Paleo lifestyle and can’t fathom why I would get out of synch with it. But sometimes I do. For no other reason than I’m human. I can have the most deeply held beliefs and still spend time in a space that isn’t in line with who I am, what I believe, or the goals I’ve laid out for myself. My sadness is not for the mistakes made or choices that were off-target, but it’s really for this thought that if I had followed my Paleo dreams, I would feel strong and amazing right now. Not like I need to detox. But then, I enjoyed the wine and cheese. So is it balance? I honestly don’t know. That’s why I think 2016 is quite important for me in my own journey. I believe that I have an opportunity to see these two different years juxtaposed with each other and then to do something different.

I’m intrigued by 2016 and this energy I feel around transformation. What does it look like? Where will it lead? The unknown can either be scary or exciting. In 2016, I choose exciting. And here’s just one more thought that I’ll leave you with, something that occurred to me not too long ago – Just because you aren’t sure you can succeed, doesn’t mean you don’t start. So start.

Start with me. Make a change. Live differently. Find your definition of health. Believe in YOU. Just start.

Advertisements

Whole30 Time!

dragonflyIt’s been a long time since I’ve done a Whole30 and I think it’s about time to take on the challenge again. I love the new year and I’ve already been making lists and goals and setting intentions like I do every year. I really love the exercise of looking back at where I’ve been and dreaming about where I’d like to go. There have been many years when I haven’t even come close to attaining all the things on my list, but for me, that’s not the point. It’s more about putting the intention out there and watching it evolve.

Let me give you an example. Two years ago, I kind of wanted to do a handstand push-up, so I put it on my list. I did a few things that year in line with that, like working on my shoulder strength and learning to do a yoga pose that approaches it. No handstand push-up, though. I didn’t get discouraged. Instead I looked at the goal and thought about it and decided that maybe just learning to do a handstand was a better start. That was this year. Still no handstand yet, but I did take a yoga seminar that spent an hour working on handstands. While I didn’t get into a free-standing one, I did one up against the wall and held it with assistance. I also learned a few strategies to work on. Did I fail for the second year in a row? I don’t think so. I haven’t decided if it will make the list this year or not, but what I do know is that I learned some things about handstands, and about myself, that I didn’t know before. I am not disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal, instead I’m pretty pleased that I did things I never thought I would.

That’s where the lists come in. I have to keep all the floating ideas and dreams somewhere so that I can look at them on New Year’s Eve and decide what I want to focus on. And who knows? I might wind up doing a handstand without it even making the list – because it’s already out there and you never know when it might all come together. I have three (or five, or maybe even more) different journals going right now. Reflections on past years are near the top of my mind as I start to envision the next year. I love it – this time is special to me. I relish the planning, the dreaming, the peace that comes with sitting in solitude and allowing visions to arise and take shape.

As I have been looking back on the past couple of years in terms of food, a few things come to mind. My Paleo life was exciting and solid and I felt great in 2014, but this entire last year has been out of balance in terms of eating for my health. And I’m not talking about weight here, although for me that is a big part of how I define myself. (Not that it’s the best way; I’m a work in progress.) I’ve been holding on, barely, to a body that still fits in my jeans, but it’s been far from perfect. What has struck me over and over this year, though, is how I feel. My energy and moods have varied far more than the year before, my love of cooking took a back seat as I went for the easy option of grabbing whatever was around, and my heart felt dissatisfied, reminding me that I wasn’t doing the right thing for me.

Change is so hard. Even when you know that you feel better, live better, think better, and play better. Change is still hard. But just because it’s hard, just because I might not have achieved the things that I wanted to last year, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that it isn’t worth tackling again. So I’m in!

Another Whole30 is on the calendar so that I can reset my health, my hormones, my sugar cravings, and my connection to myself. What I know from past experience is that I’ll learn something about what works for me, and I might even discover a new recipe or something that I’d like to share.

It starts on January 2 and I’ll be chronicling the journey in daily (I hope!) posts that will look at a few different parameters. I’ll keep track of how I feel about the food, what my mood is from day to day, how my sleep is, what my activity looks like, and then I’ll probably have a special focus each week to keep me engaged.

If you’d like to come along, I’d love to have the company and support. Let me know in the comments if you’re doing your own challenge and if you’ve ever done one before. Here’s to an amazing, healthy, happy, and fulfilling 2016!

 

 

Balance Holds You

Sonja's stacked stones in NorwaySometimes I hear something and it speaks right to my heart. I went to a Winter Solstice yoga workshop the other night and the instructor, Jessica, was a lovely lady with wisdom and humor and a gift for sharing. We were talking about muladhara, the root chakra, where it all begins. Balancing poses in yoga work with this chakra because you ground with one leg and lift through your spine from the stability of your foundation. Tree pose, for example.

If you’ve done Tree pose, then you know that some days you feel more balanced and others you sway and bend as a tree would on a windy day. I’ve always loved this representation of life, coming in and out of balance. It spoke to me enough to build my blog around it. But sometimes it feels extremely uncomfortable to be out of balance. If in a yoga pose, I want to hold it steady and “do it right”. If in life, I want to align all the little pieces properly so that it appears “balanced”.

And then Jessica said something. She said, “Balance is not for you to hold. You don’t have to hold it together. IT holds YOU. Sometimes it holds you for a decade. And sometimes, it holds you for a breath.”

Still days later, this brings tears to my eyes. I feel an almost overwhelming sense of relief wash over me every time I think of this. “Oh thank goodness,” my mind sighs, cries, yells. “Because I don’t have it all together. I’m trying really hard and some things are out of balance and I can’t figure out how to put them all back together again so they are perfectly aligned, one off-setting the other.”

Do you ever feel this way? Does your mind ever speak to you like this? Do you need to hear that balance is not for you to hold? That balance holds you.

I have not fully assimilated the teaching that this represents for me because there is still too much emotion tied to it. I can’t quite pull all the little strings apart that keep tugging at my heart in order to look at them and study them individually. A thought, an idea, bubbles to the surface and I can almost grasp it, but then another thought branches off and I follow it a little way until yet another comes to mind. It’s okay, I tell myself. You can still lay it down in your blog because it is not for you to give the answer. It is not for you to hold.

Photo courtesy of Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching from her epic Norseman/Ironman.

 

Spiced Nuts

Spiced Nuts 2015It’s officially winter! There is snow on the ground and it’s cold. It seems that in Colorado, summer lingers and even fall stays warm, with a few days of cold to remind us that winter is around the corner. And then one day, it hits and winter settles in for a while. Not like in the mid-west, but enough so that you know it’s time for the holidays to arrive. This year has been a little different for us as a family. We’ve had more official parties and not quite as many spontaneous get-togethers with friends. It’s been busy, sometimes challenging with different schedules, but just in case a friend gets the urge to stop by, I’ve kept some spiced nuts on hand. You never know when someone might pop over and a few nuts and a bottle of wine will be just the thing to take the chill off.

It’s really easy to pull out a tub of nuts from the pantry, and I don’t have anything against that at all, but sometimes it’s especially nice to elevate that experience just a little bit. I think it lets your friends know that they are special, that they are worth that extra step, and for this reason, I’ve worked on a recipe that makes everyone feel warm inside, but that is so simple that it can be pulled together quickly. Almost at the last minute.

Whatever nuts you like will probably work well here. I usually add cashews to the mix but on picture day, I had run out so pecans and almonds made the cut. There are all kinds of spiced nut recipes out there and I know it can be hard to choose, but I’ve been hooked on these for a while now and find that they appeal to many different palates. The egg white might seem like a strange component, but it’s the best secret! It creates a light, crispy coating on the outside that sort of reminds me of what tempura does to veggies. I think it might be what makes these so special.

I hope you enjoy this spicy-sweet combination so much that you share it with friends, family, and maybe even strangers. If you make any changes (I’ve been considering adding something herbaceous next time), please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear!

Spiced Nuts

about 3 cups of mixed raw nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, whatever you like best)

1  Tbsp. coconut oil melted

2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut sugar

2 1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 egg white

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a small bowl and mix spices and salt into the bowl.
  4. Pour, or scoop, the spices and oil onto the nuts, including sprinkling the coconut sugar on.
  5. Mix well – either using a wooden spoon or your hands.
  6. Taste to determine if more spices or more nuts are necessary to make this perfect for you.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk egg white until frothy and then add to the nuts.
  8. Mix very well. Then keep mixing. You want to ensure that everything is evenly coated.
  9. Spread nuts on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. Stir and continue baking for 10 minutes.
  10. After about 25 minutes, bake in 5 minute intervals, stirring, until done to your desired darkness. This can vary, but watch carefully as nuts can burn quickly.
  11. Remove to a cool place – a bowl or counter. They will crisp up as they cool. Taste, share, and enjoy!