Highway to the Slumber Zone

I’ve always been been good at falling asleep, but I did find myself regularly waking up in the middle of the night either too hot or thinking too much or just uncomfortable. Once I woke up, it was almost impossible to fall back asleep. My brother, Dan, attributes that waking period to the “two sleeps” where, historically, some cultures had a pattern of sleeping for 3-4 hours, waking to do some creative work, meditate, have sex or whatever and then fall back asleep again for another 3-4 hours. I thought that idea was kind of cool, but I just don’t fall back asleep after my brain gets going. I’d rather just sleep through the night in one swoop, then wake up and do awesome stuff all day. For a couple of months, I wore a Fitbit to bed to track my sleep patterns. No surprises, but the data reinforced what I already knew about when I was deep in sleep (not much of the time) and when I was awake tossing and turning. So, now what? The options were to stick with the same sleep, wake, sleep, be groggy all morning pattern or try to adjust it somehow. In my opinion, the keys to a good nights sleep are no lights, no distracting sounds, steady comfortable temperature and a clear/ stress free mind. When chatting with my friend/ real estate business partner, Jeff, he added in “consistency, no technology devices allowed in the bedroom, and limiting caffeine after noon.” All valid points! So, to correct my suboptimal sleep pattern, I tried all kinds of stuff and here are the results…

#1 An Essentia Mattress – Of course I use this nightly! We actually purchased this mattress about 2 years ago and it was a significant sleep upgrade. The previous mattress was a Costco special that eventually cratered in the middle, so you would wake up with a strained back and sore side from fighting the nightly gravitational pull to the center. After significant research, we chose an Essentia mattress because it is made from certified organic latex and is unbelievably comfortable. Three years later and it is still as comfortable as day one. Essentia doesn’t have many store locations, but we are lucky enough to have one in Chicago. We spent an entire Sunday afternoon trying out the different firmnesses before selecting the right one. When we travel, I wish we could take it with! I haven’t found a mattress as comfortable anywhere. Essentia mattresses are expensive, but they run sales all the time, so sign up for email alerts and wait for a deal. It’s worth it!

#2 Black Out shades from The Shade Store. I splurged and got the motorized version, so we get darkness or light at the touch of a button. I guess light switches also fall into that category. Anyway, there is some “light leak” around the edges. It drives me crazy, so, I supplement with a SleepMaster sleep mask. I’m so used to sleeping with the mask on, that it is hard to sleep without it. There is something comforting about having it wrapped around your head like a warm hug. It looks weird, but I’m not posting sleepy selfies, so who cares.  Rene does not like to sleep with hers on every night and the light leak also bothers her.  We’re most likely adding a blackout curtain for the princess (Rene, not me) – stay tuned for that update.

SleepMaster
Sexy Sleep Mask

#3 No Tech! I try to limit screen time and exposure to led lights before bed. Also, WiFi and bluetooth are turned off on the phone, there are no smart wifi switches in the bedroom and all the lighting is from incandescent bulbs. I did EMF testing on the room and the outlets. The room was great having no signals, but the outlets/ wiring were carrying a high amount of EMFs. I was able to reduce the “dirty electricity” and bring the numbers down using GreenWave filters on two of the outlets. If you’d like more information on how to test for EMF’s in your home, please reach out to me.  This has been a game changer for us.

#4 No blue light. If I’m up late working before bed, I use Night Shift and f.lux apps. You can use these apps on your smartphone, tablet, laptop to create a yellowish/ orange tinted screen. This limit the evil blue light that messes up your sleep because your brain thinks it is still daytime. I use nightshift on my iPhone and f.lux on my MacBook after sunset to keep my circadian rhythm in check. The only time I have issues using the apps is when I am processing real estate photos in Lightroom and forget f.lux is running. After making color adjustments with f.lux on, you can get some funky results in real world lighting. So, if you are doing any graphic design or photo processing where color is important, you can click the “disable for an hour” button on f.lux. Or just do it during the day!
In lieu of the apps, you could try yellow tinted glasses, similar to the old school Blu Blockers. We have tried the inexpensive Uvex Skyper yellow safety glasses and the fancy Swanwick glasses – Swannies are cool, hipster looking yellow lens glasses that we first saw at the Paleo f(x) conference. These babies stop the blue light before it hits your eyes. I’d say that both are very beneficial at night if you are watching TV or on the computer. I prefer the way the Swannies fit and look, but I’m not a big fan of the pricetag so search around for discount codes.

Swannies Twinsies
Swannies Twinsies

#5 The ChiliPad – I use this nightly and can’t do without it. I sleep hot and would wake up in the middle of the night throwing the comforter off so I could cool back down. The Chilipad is a mattress pad that circulates cool or warm water, keeping your body temperature however you like it. I originally purchased a chilipad to cover the whole mattress and with dual controls to have separate temperature control on each side. The chilipad didn’t agree with Rene as immediate swings in temperature will trigger nerve symptoms in her legs, so the company was kind enough to swap the dual one for a single. I’m happy with it, she is happy without and we are both sleeping well.  Aside from the Essentia mattress, this really is my favorite sleeping device! The infamous Ben Greenfield tipped me off to the Chilipad at Runga in Costa Rica.  Thanks Ben!

#6 Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier – We run a portable cool mist humidifier in the dry Winter months and fill it every other night with filtered water. Humidifiers are pretty basic and this one is nothing fancy.  I think it was about $20 at Target.  You can find them in the baby section! Without the humidifier, Rene is waking up in the middle of the night with a dry throat, which wakes me up and then no one is sleeping. The humidifier is $20 well spent!

#7 Air Filter – we use a Honeywell Air Genius filter that is washable and has a charcoal pre-filter. I need to clean it about once a month, so it is doing the job and catching particles from the air. I am wondering how much it is missing, though because the exterior gets pretty dusty. At some point, I’d like to upgrade to a HEPA filter and/ or ozone air cleaner. Still researching!

#7 Delta Sleeper – This little device I use a few times per week. It sits on your collar bone and sends a pulsed field at a specific frequency through your brachial plexus to your brain. Sound weird? Well, it is, but I do get some serious deep sleep when I’m using it. Ben Greenfield again gets credit for introducing me to this one and #8. It is really cool and does work!

#8 Binaural Beats – You may have heard the term or tried binaural beats before. Basically, you wear headphones and listen to a steady frequency in one ear and a slightly different frequency in the other ear. The difference in frequencies makes the sound “pulse” as your brain reads the sound as the difference between the two frequencies. Your brain goes along for the ride on that frequency difference and can put you into a very relaxed state. Different frequencies will produce different results, so you pick the right frequency for sleep or meditation or for focus or attention. There are a bunch of apps that have binaural beats, but I have been using SleepStream. You can layer in other sounds like rainfall or waves crashing into the shore. It is really relaxing. I have listened to them in combo with the Delta Sleeper and it puts me in a kind of trippy meditative sleep. Since the binaural beats need stereo sound to work, you have to use headphones for best results. I’m not a fan of sleeping with headphones on, but I found some comfortable sleeping headphones that are built into a headband. Even wearing those, I still end up waking up in the middle of the night wrapped in the wire and have at least one sore ear. Because it ends up defeating the purpose when I wake up at night, I don’t use binaural beats very often. But they are interesting to play around with!

So, did the experimentation work? Absolutely! You really don’t have to spend money on the weirder stuff, but having that light-free environment, comfortable bed, comfortable temperature, consistent bedtime = good sleep habit will get you there. Things I wouldn’t do without are the Essentia mattress, the Chilipad and the Sleepmaster mask. I’m sleeping great, now. I still wake up occasionally in the middle of the night, but I can usually attribute that to an extra glass of wine that I didn’t need or a super stressful day or both! When that happens, I just know to set aside a little more time the next night to get relaxed and de-stressed before bed. Anything interesting you do to fall asleep and stay asleep? I’m always open to more ideas!

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Dispenser Hack – Bulletproof Brain Octane

Brain Octane - Bulletproof

Hack is a strong word for this, but it sounded cool. It’s actually just an improvement. I’ll spare you from the build-up and history, but it is below if you would like to read on…

The annoying problem with the 32 oz bottles of Bulletproof Brain Octane is the drip that comes down the side and makes a mess on the counter. I contacted Bulletproof to see if they sold a better dispenser bottle or a pump, but no luck. I searched far and wide to find a solution to my oily counter. Amazon to the rescue! The best option I found was a small pump that actually screwed perfectly onto the top of the bottle. Perhaps the bottles are made by the same manufacturer? Also, the serving size for Brain Octane is 1 teaspoon. What luck! This pump dispenses exactly one teaspoon and is only $4.98! The odd thing, it is a dispenser pump for bottles of Liquid Glucosamine… for dogs. Here is a link. Canine connection aside, my only question is if the pump is BPA free like the Brain Octane bottle. It works beautifully, though. Hopefully I can get the BPA question answered, but, until then, my counter is drip free! Hey Dave – let’s sell some pumps!

History:
We first tried Brain Octane in Austin Texas at Paleo f(x) 2015. Dave Asprey gave a great talk, so we stopped by the Bulletproof booth in the vendor fair to chat. Great guy, great info and very passionate about his Bulletproof products. We had been making our own version of Bulletproof coffee at home with regular coconut oil and (sometimes) grassfed butter. Delicious and gives you a nice brain jumpstart for the day. At Pf(x), we learned about medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) and how it is more effective than just coconut oil. We tried Brain Octane and really noticed a difference in alertness and sharpness. No downside to it, except the price! You can read about Brain Octane here… http://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-upgraded-brain-octane/.  Back to work!

Holiday Wrap Up

Despite contrary sentiments I noticed on Facebook, I was quite sad to see the end of 2014.  For us it was a great year – one of strength, stability, growth and success.  Perhaps most importantly, we felt healthy and strong, committed and comfortable with our paleo lifestyle.  On the flip side, we’re looking forward to carrying this into 2015 and making this year just as great.

The holidays were the perfect time for us to unwind, relax and hang out with family and friends.  There’s not much that can compete with sleeping in, mom’s (paleo) cookies and dad’s fresh squeezed oj 🙂  Did we keep it paleo through all the parties and travel? Duh, totes. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite things and what we ate.

Santa knows us pretty well.  These are a few of the awesome gifts we think you should know about:

  • Mala Beads: These are beautiful, handcrafted pieces.  I got the Strengthening Agate Mala for its ability to ground and balance emotion as well as its healing properties
  • Mascara: This is my go to mascara that is gluten free
  • Salad Spinner: This has saved me loads of time in the lettuce washing department
  • Cast Iron Skillet: We’ve literally used this every day since we got it
  • Smart Wool Socks: Amazing, comfortable and feet don’t get sweaty or cold.  We also love the Defeet brand.

As for food, we don’t travel light.  We ordered groceries ahead of time from www.doortodoororganics.com and www.freshpicks.com.  We packed the car with the food, a box of our spices and even a crockpot.  Here’s what we feasted on:

  • Christmas Eve: Paleo Chili from Against All Grain cookbook.
  • Christmas Day: Eggs*, Bacon, Avocado and Fed and Fit’s Blueberry Scones.*  Grass Fed Pot Roast, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Paleo Pumpkin Pie.  For the pie, I used this crust and this filling.
  • The next 2 days were spent in Peoria, where we ate leftover scones, more avocados, salads and veggies. We also had a new pot of Chili and some Grass Fed Italian Beef (Thanks Dave!)  We went out to eat one night where we ordered burgers with no buns and a side salad.  Chuck also finished off the rest of our cookies on the drive down when I fell asleep!  We had some backup larabars, renola and almond butter if we needed it.

*I have a sensitivity to eggs so I don’t eat them.  My accommodating mom made the scones by substituting one banana for the egg and they turned out amazing!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday as well.  Happy New Year!!

New Years Day
New Years Day Selfie at the University Club of Chicago

 

Do Celebrities Eat Gluten?

Those of you that know me know I’m a sucker for celebrity gossip.  To Chuck’s dismay, I love shows like The Real Housewives and The Bachelor. I like to catch up on my Hollywood friends by perusing entertainment sites online during my daily train commutes.  Today, I came across an article from Harley Pasternak: Is It Good to Go Gluten Free?  http://greatideas.people.com/2014/05/28/gluten-free-diet-harley-pasternak/

I’ve got to say that this article totally pissed me off.  Now, I get it…it’s a short blurb of an article and it’s probably not meant to elicit thought-provoking, intellectual scientific discussion.  I’m sure they’ve got to keep things fairly superficial for our small, entertainment focused minds.  There’s my problem.  You don’t introduce a topic that is both controversial and important like this one, fill it with mis-information and then end it with a flimsy sentence saying:  “But before we throw money after potentially unnecessary gluten-free alternatives, let’s let the scientific community investigate further!”

I want my fellow celebrity stalkers to know this is not good advice!! Don’t wait for that – there is a ton of information out there already.  There are so many things I disagree with in this short, shallow article.  But, I’ll just cut to the chase.  One sentence in the article said: “Researchers found that the subjects reported worsening of their symptoms with all of the diets, including the gluten-free diets.”  You can’t eat gluten one day and then not eat it the next day expecting symptoms to go away.  You also have to address other items that can be working against you (toxins, sleep patterns and a host of others that are topics for another blog). The best way to test for gluten (or any other food sensitivity) is through an elimination diet.  You have to eliminate the food from your diet COMPLETELY for at least 30 days (many people do longer) and then re-introduce it again to see if it causes any symptoms.   I would highly recommend cutting out gluten and never re-introducing it, though, as I believe it is the worst.  Why?  Keep reading for my references…..I just have a few more quick thoughts to get off my chest first!

I’m not a doctor or the world’s most prominent gluten expert, but Harley isn’t either.  I don’t have a famous television show to carry my message, but I do have this blog and I do have first-hand experience. I think it would be awesome if everyone gave up gluten (and a host of other terrible foods) and went Paleo.  The results for me have been nothing short of exceptional.  Yes, I had a compelling reason to try it out.  But, many others (some of whom we’ve featured on this blog) have done it and haven’t looked back because the change in the way you feel is so great!  Do I expect that everyone will live this way – no.  Do I hate my friends that eat gluten – of course not.  Do I want you to stop reading People magazine?  Don’t be silly.  Do I hope you try it out and get educated on the topic from some place other than entertainment mags?  Totes Magotes!! 

Here are some of my celebrities that I follow specifically addressing the topic of Gluten:
http://www.thepaleomom.com/2011/11/why-grains-are-bad.html  (by the way, she IS a scientist!)
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/#axzz33VFwT2Ak
http://robbwolf.com/2014/05/16/gluten-intolerance-exist/

Of course, check out anything having to do with my personal hero, Dr. Terry Wahls:
http://terrywahls.com/

PFX14 – Day Three – It’s a Wrap

Think Tank: Catalyst for Change – (Robb Wolf, Abel James, Roger Dickerman, Dr. Shilpi Bhadra Mehta, Diana Rogers)

This was a great gathering of Paleo experts, especially Robb Wolf. Basically, this session was an open discussion with audience input on how we can get the word out about Paleo lifestyle.  

As individuals, we send out a message and it resonates with people – need lots of different voices and takes on Paleo to grow it.  There is a group of people that will want to hear your message and your story.  Your personal story is what will give you credibility and get people interested. You don’t have to write a NY Times best seller, anything effort no matter how small helps.  That gives me hope for this humble blog 🙂

The Silent Autoimmunity Explosion – (Nora Gedgaudas)

There were so many great stats and points in this session that I was having a hard time keeping up.  We had the opportunity to meet with Nora for a book signing of Primal Body, Primal Mind.  She is true authority on auto-immune.  Auto-immune is the single biggest epidemic in the world today and we aren’t hearing anything about it.  The body Immune system can’t distinguish from self and non-self, so it attacks itself.  Auto-immune issues used to be very rare and now it is common. 1 in 12 women and 1 in 24 men are estimated to have an autoimmune disease. Health care providers aren’t aware and it may be a bigger problem than cancer and heart disease combined.  Why don’t we hear more about this? There is a disconnect between the field of medicine and the field of immunology. Everyone is at risk of developing an autoimmunity in their lifetime. That is really scary!

Why is this happening now? There are a significant amount of grains in our diet, we have an industrialized food supply full of dietary anogens (gluten, casein), depleted soils, GMO, antibiotics, vaccines, contamination, increasing toxic additives to foods, exposure to heavy metals. Other causes – refined table salt, chronic EMF exposure, fluoride exposure, blood sugar surges, infections, haptens. 

The thing we can control is our diet… that is where Paleo comes in. Addressing leaky gut is critical. Once the gut healed, it is not ok to go back to the previous diet. Keep gluten intake at zero, avoid table salt, eat a healthy fat based ketogenic diet, use an air purifier. #1 Glutathione destroyers, 1) Alcohol and 2) Acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Nora has a new book coming out soon and a Primal Restoration Series e book as well.

Genes Aren’t Destiny (but they do matter) – (Dr Helen Messier and Dallas Hartwing)

How do you know that you are healthy? More than a collection of “good numbers” for HDL, LDL, body weight, BMI, BP, fasting blood sugar, body fat percentage. These numbers can give a false sense of security that we are truly healthy.

Optimal health is a state without limitations on out physical, emotional abilities

Up until disintegration and death, it is all reversible. Our tendency it to just paint the yellow leaves green, we forget about the trunk and the roots and the soil that feeds the roots.  Not all trees thrive in the same environment. To optimize our health, we need to live in harmony with our genetic heritage and recognize underlying clinical imbalances.

I’m very sad to say, that Paleo f(x) 2014 Austin is over.  I was very memorable and the chance to talk directly to Dr Wahls and Nora Gedgaudas was woth the price of admission. We stayed all the way through the last word of the closing remarks and still didn’t want to leave our new Paleo friends.  The good news is that we don’t have to wait another whole year for PFX.  There will be a Paleo f(x) conference in Denver from October 10-12, 2014. I hope to see you there! Woohoo!

Stay tuned for our Expo write up and see who our favorite Paleo vendors are!

PFX14 Closing Remarks

PFX14 Day One – A Paleo Neophyte in Austin

I lead a fairly strict Paleo lifestyle and consider myself to be knowledgeable about the food and cooking and why I made this change. But, after one day at Paleo f(x), I am learning how much I really don’t know about Paleo.  I realize that after a year and a half, I am just a beginner.  The wealth of knowledge and quality of presenters at the conference is amazing.  Speakers are throwing around topics that are household words to them and it’s literally the first time I’m hearing this stuff.  Earthing? HRV? Adrenal Fatigue? It’s overwhelming and great at the same time.  It’s thrilling to feel the positive energy and eagerness to share from everyone we meet.  It is such a stark contrast to the lingering malaise from our long Chicago winter. There is no polar vortex in Austin! This is a great learning environment and I’m so glad we made the trip.

I’m going to list out some of the new and interesting topics that we learned about today.  Most of these will require some googling and further study, but I’m planning on expanding and blogging on these topics later.  Here we go…

Gluten and the Gut – Panel Discussion (Dr. Lane Sebring, Jordan Reasoner, Dr. Amy Myers, Dr. Daniel Kalish, Jennifer Fugo) – This one basically boiled down to how bad gluten is for us and it is better to just cut it out completely

Hacking Stress – Panel Discussion (A Jolly, Ben Greenfield, Nora Gedgaudas, Sara Eye, Evan Brand) – Lots or new and hot topics here, lots of googling needed later – Sensory Deprivation Tanks, Binaural beats, Earthing, REM Rehab, HRV – Heart Rate Variability, Herbal Adaptagen, Kava, getting magnesium through epsom salt baths, essential oils

How to Win an Argument With a Paleo CriticChris Kresser – Take the best of the hunter gather diets and combine it with our modern medicine and lifestyle to live even longer. Hunter gatherers didn’t have obesity, diabetes, auto immune, allergies or heart disease. Today, 1 in 6 or people have auto immune issues and 1 in 10 are gluten intolerant Agricultural foods are far more likely to cause issues. Only been eating for neolithic foods for 10k years instead of paleo for 2 million years. You never hear of blueberry intolerance 🙂  Always ask yourself, “How is this food nourishing me or my gut?”

The Road Ahead: Obstacles to Popularizing the Ancestral Health Movement – Hamilton Stapell – Can Paleo ever go mainstream or will it always be on the fringe?  Hamilton is a historian and had great insight on past health movements. 85% of people doing Paleo, have only been on it for three or less years. There are obstacles preventing Paleo from going mainstream 1) Cultural obstacles – Neolithic foods are woven into our culture. Hard to remove from daily lives. 2) Physiological obstacles – Neolithic foods are addictive and taste good. Cause us to eat for reasons other than hunger. The food game is fixed and manufacturers work it to keep us coming back for more. Neolithic foods are 70% of the typical American diet. 3) Social obstacles – I Deserve it, Instant gratification, I want to be happy. We should promote holistic mental and physical flourishing instead of just happy (eudemonia). Paleo out of step w main stream. 4) Other obstacles – Large vested interests like Monsanto and professional organizations like AMA have deep pockets and their own agendas

Maximizing Nutrient Density for Optimal HealthDr Terry Wahls – This was a simply amazing talk… Dr Wahls is a personal hero to Rene and has so much information to share. She showed some incredible videos of patients with primary progressive and secondary progressive MS that are walking again after following her protocol.  And she spoke a lot about nutrient dense foods and how our foods modern have been depleted of nutrients over the years. Buy her book and read it. Rene actually got to speak with Dr Wahls one-on-one. She was absolutely starstruck (Rene, not Dr Wahls).

Adrenals: Key to Restoring Optimum HealthDan Kalish – This is all new to me, but I find the adrenal gland topic fascinating. Symptoms are overweight, fatigued, depressed, gi problems, female hormone imbalances. Three body symptoms: Hormone imbalance, GI tract, detoxification – correct in the order that the problems occur. Original source was probably stress that could have come years before, so that needs to be corrected first. High cortisol leads to fat storage, inflammation, connective tissue turnover. Adrenal fatigue – causes emotional stress, dietary stress, pain and hidden inflammation. Ideal adrenal rhythm follows the circadian rhythm.  I really need to dig deeper into this topic.  The Kalish Method should be a good read on the topic.  Dan Kalish is also pretty hilarious, so it made the topic very fun to learn about.

As you can tell, this was a long day and I’m feeling overwhelmed, yet enlightened, with all of this new information. It also gives me a lot of great blog topics to delve into this year!

Coming up soon, I will be doing a full rundown and recap of our favorite vendors from the Expo.

Dr Wahls
Rene meeting Dr Wahls

 

Happy Baby

2013 has truly become a transforming year.  To my own surprise, I have embraced what I previously considered line-dancing on rubber mats.  In reality, I have always loved yoga. But, I loved it for different reasons.  Earlier this year, my love of yoga stemmed from the 90 minutes that Rene was in class.  During these precious 90 minutes, I could catch up on “Gold Rush Alaska” and “Bering Sea Gold” without interruption.  There was nary ounce of shame for being so engrossed in the relentless search for gold by highly unqualified “miners”.  It also gave me some quiet time to tune my bike while scouring the cycling forums for deals on shiny new components that I could install during next weeks yoga class.  Rene would come home totally blissed out from her yoga experience, so it was a win-win.

All of this “me time” recently came to an end when Rene coaxed me into checking out Sanctuary Yoga in person.  I had been stalling the inevitable for a long time, but my general lack of flexibility provided a good excuse.  About 3 weeks ago, I attended my first class. Luckily, it was a small class with just Rene, myself and one other yogi.  Steve Cull is the impossibly limber instructor that led me down this path to yoga enlightenment.  I borrowed a well used mat from him and we began.  We started with a little stretching and intention setting then it kicked into high gear.  Overall, I was more bendy than expected.  My hamstrings were ridiculously tight, though.  Any pose that really stretched the hammys made me want to throw up or pass out.  Other than the uncontrollable shaking anytime my core activated, the poses and flows went awkwardly well.  Picture a newborn fawn taking first steps.  Yep, that’s me.  Realizing that my core is more rotten than strong, the final resting pose was a very welcome finale.  I thought the class was pretty demanding, but Rene let me know that Steve took things easy since he knew it was my first class.  It was a really good mix of physical strength and spiritual mindfulness.  I appreciated and savored every minute of it.  Three weeks later, I find myself rocking a Manduka yoga mat and looking forward to attempting Crow at the next class.  There are couple weeks of gold mining action still sitting on the DVR, but my bike is still getting plenty of attention.  Namaste.

In case there is any doubt, those are photos of Steve… definitely not me… the shorts are too long 🙂

 

Image

To you. With love.

It’s Thanksgiving week!  Naturally, bloggers are posting their favorite recipes and documenting all the things they have been thankful for in 2013.  This seems like a good time for me to take over this blog and do a guest post for, or perhaps to, Chuck.

It’s been a rough year…..That actually sounds like an understatement when reflecting on 2013, but luckily it doesn’t feel like it (at least not anymore).

Chuck started this blog to chronicle our journey with paleo.  And, as he wrote in his intro , we started paleo when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, MS, in January this year.  I don’t like to talk about it, as more often than not, I don’t feel that much different.  This is actually the first time I’ve talked about it publicly.  The main reason I’m doing so is because I’ve realized how much I’ve learned from others out there who have talked about and shared their experiences.  If I can do that, for even one other person, then it’s worth it.  But, I’m not here to do that now.  I plan to do some more guest blogs in the new year on this topic.

THIS post is about Gratitude.  It’s Thanksgiving, remember?!  And, even after a rough year like this one, I feel extremely thankful.

For what?  Well, for starters, after spending the first 3 months of 2013, doing an insane amount of research (and that is NOT an understatement) I decided to use diet, specifically the paleo diet, to manage the disease and symptoms.  I’m a libra and, therefore, was born indecisive.  But, this was possibly the best decision I have ever made…and I’m so thankful that I made it!

Once that decision was made, Chuck said he would do it with me.  Both of our parents started doing it and many of our friends also adopted a paleo lifestyle that worked for them.  Talk about an amazing support network!

Before I knew it, this blog was born.  Not only was I feeling great, but Chuck was, too.  His blood pressure went down, he was full of energy and wanted to share that with others.  He was there to help me through my chee-tos withdrawal, made me dinner every night and brought me sushi to make me feel better.  Without his support, I never would have made it through those first few weeks of the paleo transition.  Eventually, my body adjusted and I was reaping the rewards of a clean and healthy lifestyle just like him.

It’s now 11 months later, the end of 2013, and we are a well-oiled, paleo machine.  Chuck loves his tight, metrosexual attire, admiring his fat-free body in the mirror and showcasing his new speedos on facebook 🙂  He makes sure our fridge is stocked with fresh, organic produce and meat and he still makes me dinner most every night.

So, I am also thankful for you, Chuck (another great decision this libra made 9 years ago).  I know I could never do this without your daily support.   You changed your life simply because I had to.  You embraced this lifestyle to help me.  In doing so, you’ve demonstrated how lucky I am to have a partner like you and for that, I am beyond grateful.

Thank you for starting this blog, supporting me and giving me so many things for which to be thankful this year.  Although 2013 started out difficult, it ended up being one of the best ever.  Now, go cook that turkey!!

To you.  From me.  With love.

Chuck 1 Thanksgiving_Cropped

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