Let Go

cropped-let-go-of-what-no-longer-serves-you-1024x724If there was one thing that you could leave behind in 2016, what would it be? What habit, behavior, mindset, person, situation, THING is holding you back from becoming who you want to be or what you want to achieve? This is the perfect time of year to take stock of what didn’t work in 2016 and create a different reality for your life.

At any given moment, we have a choice. We can either continue down the path that we are on or we can do something different. It might mean veering off gently or it could be a hard turn in an entirely new direction. It might even be a U-turn. What we need to realize, though, is that we are not locked into the path that we have previously chosen. Really. We get to decide if what we are doing fulfills us and moves us closer to where we want to be or if it’s time to let it go.

Every year on the Winter Solstice, I take pieces of paper and write down those things that I want to let go and a few things that I want to see more of in the future. Then I take those bits of paper and burn them – giving some thought, attention, and intention to each one so that I can let it go and allow the universe to take over. I don’t always know exactly what I want to have happen with each item, but I know that those are the things that need to shift in the following days, months, year. For me, it’s a beautiful ceremony. It’s simple and it aligns my soul.

The New Year, though, is a much longer process for me. I love this time of year. I like setting goals and re-envisioning my daily routines and habits and I take a few weeks to do it. I even like completely overhauling how I’m doing things. It feels invigorating to me. For some people, though, goals and resolutions are uncomfortable and perhaps even have the opposite effect from what they desire. They might get frustrated, depressed, or feel like a failure if they don’t achieve their goals or give up on them early in the year.

For me the process of setting goals helps me focus on what is important. If I don’t achieve something that I listed, I use it as an opportunity to reassess. Maybe the goal was too big and I need to put in an interim goal, a step in the process. Maybe my life has changed and it’s no longer a goal that I want to pursue. Or maybe there’s something buried a little more deeply that I need to look at. And if I still want to go after that goal, then I put it right back on my list. No judgement. Just keep going after it.

But in order to feel the freedom and excitement and energy around working towards new goals, we need to have the space in our lives to work on them. That’s where the practice of letting go what no longer serves us is so critical. We need to make space for the things that we want to manifest. If our life and mind and heart are too cluttered, then it’s that much more difficult to bring in the new.

Now is the time to make that space. Take a few moments to think about where you want to be a year from now. What is getting in the way? Let it go. Please don’t think that by saying it so simply I also believe doing it is simple. Sometimes the thing we need to let go is also the thing that we are most connected to, that hurts the most to give up, that feels like the one single thing that ties us to our identity. Sometimes it feels like the scariest thing to let go of. I get it. But if you feel drawn to letting it go, then maybe it is time. Cry a little. Hurt for it. Mourn.

If it’s that one thing that is getting in your way of living the life that you dream of, then let it go anyway. You will make space for what you truly, deeply want to appear. That’s magical, unpredictable, and seriously amazing.

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Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms cropped 2016-001

It’s almost New Year’s Eve when it can be super fun to have a bunch of different nibblies to enjoy throughout the evening. So how about some stuffed mushrooms! I’ve loved stuffed mushrooms my whole life, but in the past they’ve been filled with cheese and bread crumbs and all sorts of other things which made them less than a healthy choice. Delicious, sure, but not exactly in line with my Paleo lifestyle goals. That being said, they were never the worst thing either. Still a vegetable, right?

The other day, I got to thinking how easily they could be made Paleo and how they would still be really delicious. I haven’t finished with the variations either because I think these might be one of those things that are perfect to make during a weekly cook up so that they can be lunch or snacks throughout the week. Pair a couple of them with a big handful of veggies, some carrots and bell peppers, for example, and they’re special and simple all rolled into one.

I dolloped a mixture of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard on these which added a really nice creamy kick. I would have taken a picture of it like that except the battery in my camera died after one shot – this one shot – and then I was done. I suppose we could have waited to eat them, but that just didn’t seem right.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb. whole mushrooms with stems

1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp. ghee

1/2 onion

3 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp. pepper flakes

1 lb. uncooked Italian sausage meat

Salt & black pepper

Optional sauce: Equal parts mayonnaise and mustard

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Rinse or brush off any dirt from mushrooms. Pop stems out, finely mince, and place in a large bowl.
  3. Place mushroom caps on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  4. Finely chop or mince the onion and add to the minced mushroom stems.
  5. Melt ghee in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and mushroom mixture, along with garlic, pepper flakes, a large pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until veggies are soft and mushroom stems have released any liquid.
  6. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or pepper flakes if needed and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Return veggie mixture to the large bowl, add the sausage and mix together well using your hands. Ensure everything is evenly distributed.
  8. Take large pinches of the mushroom mixture and stuff into the mushroom caps. You can have a full, meatball-sized amount sitting on top.
  9. Make extra meatballs out of any extra mixture and place on the baking sheet as well.
  10. Cook for 20 minutes until slightly browned on top.
  11. Add a little sauce and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

A Bit of Grace

she-has-fire-in-her-soul-and-grace-in-her-heart

I gave myself over to something in 2016. It was important to me. I didn’t have the perfect solution. The unfortunate side-effect of working on this particular part of my life is that I let my healthy eating take a back seat. In doing that, I lost control of my ability to reign it back in. It just didn’t matter.

Now, twelve months later, I’m admittedly frustrated with where I am, I don’t feel good in my skin, in my choices, in my clothes. I wish I could have figured it all out at the same time. So much stuff. The truth of it is, though, that my life shifted a little bit and I needed to allow that shift. I’m trying really hard not to feel shame around what I let go or anger or anxiety at how hard I will have to work to get back to the me that feels healthiest. Shame. Such a negative feeling. It is, however, how I feel sometimes right now because I think that I’m supposed to know better by now. Reality check – I clearly haven’t learned all the lessons that I’m supposed to learn around healthy eating, living, loving and more. I’ve got some growth to do.

One of the lessons that I learned this year was that of grace. Somewhere along the way, I learned that we need to afford ourselves so much grace – every day – for the things that are difficult, that we are still learning, that leave us breathless. I love eating healthily and moving my body, but sometimes life has other plans and I guess I have a few more things to learn about living a life of balance.

I afford grace to others all the time and I tend to forgive easily and let go. We are human. The key – I am also human. 2016 was not my year of health, wellness, energy, vitality. But it was a year that I needed. The positive perspective that I choose to see is that 2017 now has even more potential to be truly amazing. I have the work that I’ve done in 2016 that I will connect with the goals and desires of 2017 and I know that this time will be magical.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Magical doesn’t mean perfect and easy and all-my-dreams-come-true, but it does mean that I’m incredibly excited to begin 2017 and work towards my goals. I know there will be challenging moments, but I am almost excited for them because it is the tougher moments that teach us what we are made of. The challenges we overcome on our journey are the ones that give us compassion and acceptance and forgiveness. They are what build our strength and resilience. The challenges are acutally the point.

This year, as I work to overcome those hurdles, I choose to see them as opportunities for strength and moments to celebrate. I choose to learn and grow and be grateful. No judgment, no shame. Lots of grace.

Here’s to the learnings and JOY that 2017 will bring!

 

January 2017: Whole30 Keto-style (W30-Keto)

healthy-food

Hello there!

If you don’t know me, I’m a mom, trainer, yoga instructor, lover of trees, quiet breezes, and people just as they are. I found the Paleo lifestyle a few years ago through a friend and discovered that eating whole foods (and no gluten, grains, dairy, or alcohol) made me feel amazing. Since then, because of a number of years – like 40 – of disordered eating and a struggle to accept myself as I am, I have experienced the joys of giving my body, mind, and soul what it needed as well as the dismay of falling back into old, not-so-healthy patterns. I love eating and drinking and indulging. I also love exercise and lifting heavy weights and being active. The balance of all of that has kept me pretty healthy – even if there are still things that I want to work on.

I’ve done a few Whole30s in the past, and there’s a tab and the tag cloud that will lead you there, but this time, when a friend asked if I would do another Whole30, I started looking for a little twist. I like to experiment on myself so that I can share my experiences with others and discover new things. I’ve known about “keto/ketosis” for years, but recently I bumped into it several times through multiple channels. When that happens, I tend to listen because I believe it’s probably the universe giving me a little nudge to go check it out. So I decided to do a Whole30 in January with a Ketogenic focus.

Bonus – it aligns with reconnecting with all of you in a new way and looking at our health and wellness from a slightly different perspective.

So what is Keto? Well think Paleo with a little less protein and a little more fat.  Here are the key factors that I plan to focus on:

  1. The Paleo part: Eat meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Don’t eat processed food, grains, dairy, or alcohol. Keto keeps fruits pretty limited – see below for more.
  2. Healthy fats: Fats store toxins so if I’m increasing my fats, I will watch from where they come. I don’t always purchase the highest quality meat, ie. local, organic, pasture-raised meats. Sometimes I just need protein. If it isn’t from sources that I am comfortable with, it will be leaner choices, which means the fat will come from elsewhere. Good fats include coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, etc. No canola, sunflower, safflower, or other more processed oils high in Omega-6s.
  3. Protein: While still being more protein-forward than the Standard American Diet, it seems that protein can impact ketosis (the active burning of fat for fuel) so it is something to be watched. I lift weights regularly and, therefore, tend to want more protein for the repair and building of my muscles. This component is interesting to me, so it’s a part of what I’ll be watching, but I have a feeling it won’t really be a limitation.
  4. Fruits and veggies: I get it. Fruits and veggies have naturally occurring sugars and in order to keep blood sugar levels steady, it’s necessary to limit these. (Steady blood sugar is key for so much goodness and health!) But they are also whole foods that the body processes a little differently and so…hm. It’s not that keto says no to them, but they are quite limited because of the carb limitation. Most keto plans seem to talk about keeping carbs under 20g – especially when working to get into ketosis and for fat loss. Maintenance is a little higher (maybe 50). I can totally get my head around limiting fruit. While I love it, I definitely feel the sugar hit and while our bodies probably benefit from a little bit, we don’t really NEED it. Veggies, on the other hand, I’m a huge proponent of. I love my vegetables – yes, all of them (except okra) – and I think they do wonderful things for our insides and outsides. Here’s the low-down: 2 cups of leafy greens and 1 cup of cooked (preferably green) veggies = 10g of carbs. I generally eat that in a minute, probably at breakfast. It will be an adjustment for me and I’m willing to give it a try, especially with the knowledge that once I’ve reached my own personal goals, I might adjust that up and add in all the veggies that I love.

Those are the basics so that’s all I will say about it now. Starting January 2, I will focus on fats, protein, veggies, nuts, seeds – limiting carbs to around 20g per day. I’m excited to let the sugar dragon have a rest and to get my body humming like it loves.

Feel free to do some experimentation of your own, maybe join me for the ride. I’ll post about what I’m experiencing and will probably feel inspired to share a recipe or two. It’s not too far off from how my body loves to fuel itself and there are potentially huge pay-offs, including weight loss and hormonal balance. Real food. Reduced cravings. Balance around food.

I’m in. Anyone else interested?

Where Did I Go?

beyoutifulThis is not an easy blog post to write. I’ve been holding off for quite some time, months in fact, because I didn’t know how to handle what it was I wanted to say. I wasn’t even entirely sure that I knew what I wanted to say. Because of that, I needed to let it all sit for a while.

Some time ago, I started wondering what I really had to offer all of you. There are so many Paleo blogs out there with better photography, inventive recipes, and more relevant and informative things to say. I started to get insecure and feel really uncertain about continuing on.

One of the things that got in the way was time. I am not always inspired to slow down my cooking in order to do measurements, repeat and refine the recipe, and find the perfect setting and lighting to make it look appetizing. Instead I’m a mom and wife and trainer who is trying to hold it all together and look like I know what I’m doing. Most days go pretty well and I am very excited about the direction I think my life is headed, but sometimes I’m just breathing.

Another thing that got in the way was intent. Since I started this blog on the basis of Paleo cooking and eating, I got a little stuck in that idea and thought that if I wasn’t posting recipes, I shouldn’t be posting at all. You want recipes, right? But then I realized that maybe I have something else to offer – and occasionally a recipe to support that.

That led me to the most fundamental reason my blogging stopped. Vulnerability. To write about things that are more personal is tough. And what if it doesn’t resonate with anyone? What if it doesn’t always make sense? What if I don’t have the answer? What if I can only talk about the process, the journey, without some big revelation for you? Where is the value?

Here’s where I am with all of this right now: I’m just going to move forward AS IF you love me just as I am. I’m going to work very hard to believe that and I’m going to write from the heart. If what I say doesn’t resonate with you, then please feel free to check out the many fantastic blogs out there. But if sometimes I say something that helps you along your journey, fuels you as you strive to reach your goals, or inspires you in any way, then please stay around awhile and maybe even drop me a comment. It lets me know you’re out there and helps me know what you might need to hear.

Some of the things I imagine talking about: Food – in all it’s amazingness as well as some of the struggles it brings, Paleo, Keto, Weight loss, Motivation, Exercise, Challenges, Successes, and most importantly, learning how to love ourselves just as we are so that our very own beautiful lives can evolve and grow so that we may Shine Bright! (My mantra for 2017.)