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

 

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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/

Happy Anniversary

It is our ONE year anniversary of going Paleo!!  When I stop to actually think about it, it’s so hard to comprehend how many changes we’ve made.  What a difference a year truly makes:

Jan 5 2013:  I heard the doctor say: “Based on all the tests we’ve run, the results are indicative of MS.”  I heard it, but didn’t comprehend it.  I just wanted so badly to get out of the hospital after being there for 3 days.  I wanted to be alone to figure this out for myself.  Unfortunately, I had 3 more days to go.

Jan 26 2013:  I figured it out.  Rather, I had a game plan.  I was going Paleo and not starting MS drugs.  I poured over information from Dr. Wahl’s and others and knew this was the path for me.  Chuck agreed and we become gluten, grain, dairy, soy, processed food free.

Feb 1 2013:  Paleo flu hits me HARD.  Google it.  I’m in the bathroom at work unable to move because I feel so sick.  Chuck has to drive to the burbs to pick me up and take me home.  I spend the rest of the weekend in bed with zero energy, feeling sick to my stomach.  I’m questioning my chosen path.  I recover a few days later, but am still on quite the adjustment period.  This lasts for a good month.

Mar 2013:  I start to adjust and get the hang of Paleo living.  I am still experiencing MS symptoms in my legs, feet and back but, they are finally subsiding.  I’ve been going to work this whole time, but am now comfortable enough to go out socially.  I went back to yoga at the end of the month which meant the world to me.

May 2013:  I’m working with my chiropractor/ wellness doctor.  I’m eating good, taking the right supplements and feeling great.  I’m feeling normal again.  We start doing all kinds of weird stuff like skin brushing, making bone broth, eliminating toxins from our household and eating grass fed gelatin.

Aug 2013:  Trip to Napa.  Feeling awesome.  We drink some wine.  Chuck proudly parades around in his first speedo.

Sep 2013:  I do a 6 week ‘cleanse’.  It’s basically an even stricter version of Paleo.  I’ve reduced alcohol greatly and when I do drink, it’s red wine only.  But, I’m completely alcohol free during this time.  Chuck wanted this cleanse to be over as much as I did.  Maybe I was moody?

Dec 2013:  First MRI since diagnosis.  I absolutely dreaded it.  Ok, I had a glass of champagne to celebrate when it was over.  Chuck starts doing yoga and loves it!  He also starts doing more weird stuff like oil pulling (google it).

Jan 2014:  Doctor calls with results of MRI.  No new lesions and existing ones have diminished.  I have proof and validation that I’m doing the right thing for me.  Paleo has truly changed my life.

TODAY (January 31 2014):  Feeling incredible.  Yes, sometimes there are still minor symptoms.  For the most part though, I feel better than ever.  We are both full of energy, we sleep soundly and we eat amazing Paleo food.  Chuck has lost 35 lbs and his blood pressure is the lowest it’s ever been.  It was a process, but a worthwhile one.  For anyone starting out, know that it doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.  From my perspective, it’s absolutely worth it.  Ok, we might have a glass of wine tonight.

Cheers – Happy Anniversary!

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

Down with Paleo

There are always critics with an abundance of reasons not to live a Paleo lifestyle.  When you tell people that you are Paleo, they are either extremely curious about it or they question its legitimacy.  Personally, I have had great success living Paleo. This blog was actually created to document what works and what doesn’t and to help guide people through the ups and downs of Paleo.  If the lifestyle didn’t work, I wouldn’t waste my time writing anything other than a quick blurb about Paleo sucking and being a stupid sham.  Well, it’s not a sham and Paleo works. We personally know of at least 15 people who follow our FB page and blog that have made dramatic/ positive changes in their health and well being by adopting a Paleo lifestyle.  These are people that hadn’t heard of Paleo before or had heard of it, but quickly dismissed it because it appeared daunting or too extreme.  Hey, at least they took the initiative to try it for themselves before taking the negative road.  I typically hear criticisms like, “Paleo is a fad diet”, “you have to be rich to eat Paleo”, “eating the same as a caveman is impossible”, “Paleo is a cult”, “Paleo is too hard to do”.  The critics go on and on, but that’s ok, their GMO powered brains don’t know any better.  Critics may never understand Paleo or it may take something catastrophic to get their diet cleaned up.  But, diet/ lifestyle choices are as personal as religion and politics.  My mantra… do what works for you.

Some questions to ask yourself and figure out if you are on a healthy path… 1) do you have any current or recurring health issues, 2) is your stress level manageable, 3) are you comfortable with what you see in the mirror… naked, of course, 4) do you get enough sleep, 6) are you happy with yourself?  If you answer “Yes” to all, keep doing what you are doing.  If your lifestyle includes super sizing everything or thinking that Burger King’s new Satisfries, low-cal french fry recipe, is a gift from heaven, so be it.  If it is truly working for you, keep on truckin’.  If not, make some positive changes.  Give Paleo a week to work its magic and you will be hooked.  Over all, Paleo is very simple.  Cut out the processed food, dairy and grains and eat fresh everything.  If you love to spend money, get all organic produce, grass fed beef and free range, organic chicken.  Whole foods is happy to help lighten your wallet.  If you are on more of a budget, go with the conventional stuff.  Just concentrate on fresh food and have fun trying some new recipes.  The Paleo lifestyle is no walk in the park, but it is extremely doable and everyone will make some tweaks to their particular situation.   We are here to help, so let us know your questions!

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