What Do You Desire?

This video, a must watch by Alan Watts, is thought-provoking and inspirational.  And I send it to all the artists, writers, musicians and creative people. To all my family and friends.  To the people who feel trapped in life and incomplete.  To the dreamers and the doers.  To those who want to and are ready to live their un-lived life.  To those who have no clue and just follow that path they feel they need to follow.

Reach for that goal that will alter your destiny.  Ignore the pounding in your heart that tells you to turn back.

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A New Year…No Fear

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A magnet came in my Christmas stocking: “do one thing every day that scares you”…and I immediately said yes that is my New Years Resolution.  Should be everyone’s resolution.  Maybe not James Bond type adventure; not scare the shit out of us scary and dangerous, but put the fears in life aside and live life.

It might be something adventurous like skydiving or mountain climbing. Enter a contest or a race.  Say yes to that adventure when offered.

How about dance like a fool in public or jump on a stage and sing.  If you’re called to the dance floor…go out there and who cares what anyone thinks.

Might be changing your look, or buying something new you never thought you would.  Wear a fun, crazy or sexy outfit you never would have before.  Impulse buy!

Maybe tackle a new challenging project, start a new hobby, take on a new career or volunteer somewhere you never thought you would.

Talk to that person you’ve been wanting to talk to or talk to the one you never thought you would want to talk to.

It’s trying those things you’ve been wanting to do all this time and overcoming the little tug of fear that has kept you from trying.  Nothing is ever going to change in life if we do the same things we’ve always done.  Fear conjures up many excuses and these excuses always give us a reason to never take a risk and always play it safe.

No, these opportunities that may scare me won’t come up everyday, but when they do, big or small, I think I’ll go for it and give it a try.  Maybe it won’t be anything monumental…something small or maybe it will be life changing.  I may laugh at myself or feel proud of myself, but I can say, Hey, I gave it a shot!  The magnet is on my fridge…there for me to see every day of this New Year.

The Strong Girl Survives

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor  the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to  change. ~Charles Darwin

Changes in my life have changed me for what seems a million times.  I’d like to think it’s eased up by now and definitely getting better.  Most changes that I’ve endured have also changed my body, looks and self-esteem over the years…for the good and many for the bad.  And for those reasons I thought I would go more in-depth to some of the occurrences in my life that have made positive or negative changes.  Back at the beginning of my blog I gave you my health and fitness journey for the past couple years, but I think the body and mind affect each other over time.  I can’t go into the “why’s” of it all…because I just really don’t know why…I think change (shit) happens and I guess the strong girl survived.

Let’s dip back in time to early teens…yes the awkward stage for most girls and boys and geez was I ever awkward.  I was overweight, had bad acne, glasses until the 9th grade, not “popular” and add in that it was the early 80’s…not a good image!  Eating at home wasn’t that bad, but there was a corner store across the street that was full of candy bars and chips just for me!  The poor self-esteem started to develop.  My best thing going for me was my artwork. By the 11th grade in high school being able to draw Prince, Michael Jackson and Simon LeBon made me a hit for a while.  And my weight fluctuated of course because I was feeling good.  That is until  September 26th, 1984 when my mom passed away from leukemia at age 39.  I’m sure I do not need to go into how devastating it was for me and my family.  I was 16, starting my senior year in high school…life was not good.  I remember my art teacher telling me I needed to snap out of it…not to be harsh, but I was becoming comatose.  I did a little, but starting college my funk grew worse on the inside and for the next few years and I gained and gained and gained weight.  I would cope on the outside trying to stay happy and focused (at least I think that’s the game I played), but my insides needed hot fudge sundaes and big plates of whatever I could shove in.

Then I saw the photos of my drunken 19th birthday at the bar (yes in Canada the drinking age is 19) and I was horrified!  Had I not looked in a mirror for a few years?!  What happened to me?!  The oversized baggy clothes covered me up.  I stepped on a scale and it tipped at 180lbs for my little 5’0″ frame.  BOOM…Change!  I went on a “health” kick or what I would call now a starvation diet.  I kept track of every single calorie that went in my body.  If it was low-calorie, low-fat, low portion then I was in.  I kept myself to 500 calories a day during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays I would splurge a little, but on going out/drinking nights I wouldn’t eat so I could drink.  Nice.  I also exercised a lot…whatever excercise video I could fit in. In a year I lost 81 lbs…down to weighing 99 lbs!  Sounds good…uh no…someone actually told me I had a big head.  I learned some good exercises, but I had no muscle at all (because it weighed more so why do that!) and I was skinny.

The next 20 years, and boy have they flown by, can be considered a roller coaster of life events that would affect me mentally and physically over time…some of it literally a blur; a whirlwind of depression to happiness and seemingly going nowhere in-between…from marriage/divorce to moving adventures to owning a restaurant to a hurricane to this, that and the other.  The final “blow” per se, would be the day my Dad passed away suddenly in 2006…rolling about life, doing pretty well, the phone call comes in.  Back to that numb feeling.  Yes, it affected my weight again and put me in a sad state, but after a year of that I knew something in me had to change.  It sounds corny to say I had to “find myself”, but I think everyone does at some point in their life…and since it didn’t take overnight to get myself into this rut, it wouldn’t happen overnight to get out of it.  My dad had a huge change in his life when my mom passed away…he could have withered away, but decided to take life by the horns and live it to the fullest…knowing there is only one life to live and it’s pretty short, relatively speaking.  I would say he was, all in all, having a happy, fun life up until the day he died.  Hmm…something to learn from this man.

Since that day, the changes kept coming…trying to figure out how life is supposed to work…I still stumbled and I think earlier this year the lightbulb went off, which lead to my current journey.

A few months ago, when I started my blog, my cousin sent me a message on Facebook: “Congratulations, I’m really impressed with your transformation.  You should feel proud.  I’m only sending these so you can gloat.”  And attached was three photos, which I thought were from my worst moment at 19 years old, but looking closer, it was only about 10 years ago.  I was shocked because I didn’t recognize that lost, overweight woman.

And then I received another message from him that really touched me and means so much to me…I would have been hesitant to include this, but support like this keeps the journey going : “Hi Denise, First off, congrats again on the tremendous transformation.  Unreal.  I want to say though your greatest accomplishment is the mental toughness that it took to see it through.  Your determination is remarkable.  Even more though, good for you finding your solid ground of independence.  I know you’re a victim of mental abuse for at least a period of time.  I heard it myself.  Your breakthrough should be a celebration of self-confidence, determination and belief.  A lot of people spend a lot of time believing in something else, but you’ve shown a wonderful belief in yourself.  I’m happy for you.”

Writing this today, I have most certainly almost come full circle.  Even I have realized health, fitness, food, love, positivity and doing what you enjoy are the keys to happiness.  It’s not just one thing.  Coming full circle means connecting each of those rings of life.  Making it happen.  And still as I’m typing, I am still trying to figure part of it out.  I want my art to be a bigger part of my life, some way some how.  That will connect the rings.  I guess the changes will keep coming, but now I know to just adapt to the change and not just react by grabbing the first box of cookies and hiding in my cave.

I know my story pales in comparison to some and similar to many.  If you have a life story of overcoming the many obstacles you faced, let me know and possibly write a post about it.

Stop the Holiday Bulge

So you’ve finished gobbling down pounds of turkey with gravy, sugary cranberry sauce, hoards of stuffing, marshmallowy sweet potatoes and ooey gooey pies and cakes.  And probably couldn’t move….but today you barely lifted your ass out of the bed or away from the TV to hit the sales at the stores. Well, this is just the beginning of 6 weeks of holiday fun, or should I say: don’t buy that holiday outfit yet because at this rate you wont fit in it!  And in New Orleans we get another 6 weeks of indulging with Mardi Gras, aka King Cake season. starting right after New Years.

I love the Christmas season…the lights, the trees, the music, the scents, the magical feeling, but last year I stood strong and did not give in to the holiday extra pounds.  It’s not that I didn’t or won’t have some fun in the way of food or drinks, but I’ve learned how to not let it control me.  Aren’t you tired of starting the New Year with another useless resolution to lose weight, get in shape and get healthy?  Well it’s okay to start now and still have some Holiday fun.  So, let’s put the Thanksgiving pig-out party aside and go ahead and buy yourself a new outfit for the holiday parties…and girls make it cute and sexy….this will be your first incentive to not gain any more weight this Christmas season.

No more jumping up and down trying to get your jeans on and laying down hoping they will button up…and no more having to wear sweat pants to Christmas dinner because you filled up on Holiday party goodies since Thanksgiving.  I’ve complied a few ideas to keep you on track and no, it won’t include forced vomiting after inhaling piles of cakes, cookies, breads and pies!

  • If you have a workout schedule now, don’t quit.  If you do 4 days a week, do 4 or at least 3.  If you don’t, then take up walking outdoors.  Winter, especially those of you with snow (or even sand) have a great advantage to keeping that heart rate up and staying fit.  Lift some weights!  Chop down your own tree.  Move all those boxes filled with decorations.  Holiday cleaning. Keep moving.
  • Before the holiday parties, eat at home.  Eat a meal or a good hearty snack.  I know you don’t want to cook, but having a good size portion of protein or even some nuts and healthy carbs like fruit or a big sweet potato will fill you up and keep you focused.  There is no worse decision (and I’ve done it before) than to starve yourself all day so you can eat and drink whatever you want that night at the party.  Not sure what is worse, the hangover from not eating all day or the misery of stuffing your face so much because you were starved when you arrived.
  • Choose not to bake this year.  I always felt obligated to bake numerous mounds of family cookie and pie recipes.  And although they bring great memories and taste oh so good, I would say I ate half of them! I’d give them away as gifts, bring them to work…bake and bake and bake and really would eat and eat and eat.  As you’ve read before I am addicted to sugar and most people are…so why put the crack in front of the crack addict?  I WAS a Christmas treat junkie and have put that aside.  Last year I only made meat pies and gave those away.  This year…I am making nothing.  Saving myself and my bank account.
  • If you do want to or need to bake for a party, then choose wisely.  Choose a cookie or treat that won’t make you weighted down, bloated and miserable for giving in.   I can’t go into enough why sugar and gluten (grains) are bad for your health and waistline, but instead of putting all that here, just believe me that using some recipes from many Paleo websites, blogs and cookbooks are definitely the way to go and you will be able to leave the guilt behind. (of course provided you don’t eat the whole pan of those too).  Choose coconut or almond flours instead of gluten filled flours.  Don’t use sugar, but if you must use extra dark chocolate without soy products added or a little local real honey. Nuts and dried fruit make a cookie or dessert hearty and sweet.  Don’t use vegetable shortenings, but instead use lard, grass-fed butter or coconut oil.  Keeping it full of good fats and nutrient filled ingredients instead of glutenous globs of gunk will make your new Christmas desserts a hit!
  • Go ahead and drink some adult beverages (if you are of age, of course).  Since I’ve discovered hard apple cider (or Pear) drafts, I’m hooked.  If that doesn’t suit you for a beer substitute, then just try to steer clear of gluten filled regular or light beer.  And try to steer clear of sugary liquors.  Opt for wine (red preferably) or clear liquor like vodka or tequila.  Egg nog is probably not a good choice because of the sugar and dairy, but if you do have some, and who can have much anyway, stick to the full fat egg nog made of egg and real cream…it’ll be so rich you will only have one.
  • When you hit the buffet, make good choices (as a friend of mine always says).  Go fill up your plate with the meat, seafood (not fried), veggies and fruit.  That will be the most satisfying and you probably won’t want much more. And stay away from the pastas, fried food, sauces, dips, crackers and breads. IF you still crave a “treat”, then go for it after you have filled up on the meat, fruit and veggies.  Just try to hit the non-bread or cake/non-gluten varieties…a piece of fudge is better than a piece of cake or cheesecake and don’t eat the crust or have homemade ice-cream.  Control yourself Sweet Cheeks…one treat is fine…

So, now you’re ready for the Holiday Season right? Let’s have some fun and start it off right with some good decisions we won’t feel guilty about and with a little Christmas cheer from New Orleans (the last time it snowed here in 2008)…

Pain in the…

…Shoulder!  Geez, I use my right arm for everything!!!  Well, last week the shoulder area was bothering me so I lightened up my workout, but still kept at it thinking lighter weights were still a “rest”…sort of.  Then by Saturday after I vacuumed (why do I feel the need to clean sometimes), it hurt even more; a throbbing pain all night.  Some were worried: go to the doctor – could be a tear – you may not be able to workout for weeks.  WHAT? Hell no!

Ok, so I eat pretty strict Paleo to avoid inflammation (I know it’s not arthritis or my bones) and I try not lift more weights than I’m supposed to…like I said I try.  My head tells me I just pulled something or it’s stress in my neck and shoulders.  Nothing that rest and a deep tissue massage won’t cure, right?  I am trying rest for a week or 2, whatever it takes.  No doctor yet.  I don’t do doctors well besides the $40 co-pay will turn into an enormous medical bill I’m sure.

I guess what has put me in a bad mood about all this is, first of all, I cannot work out like I usually do.  Cardio?! YUCK!  Everyone knows I do very little cardio…but I am doing it just to do “something” and not use my arms.  On leg days, well there is more I can do, but I am used to doing dead lifts and weighted squats and lunges and now it’s just using body weight, which isn’t bad, but now I have to do 250 squats compared to 4×15 weighted squats!  Pain in the ass…I mean shoulder.

And not just that, it is amazing what I use my right arm for like vacuuming, mopping, washing dishes, laundry, drying my hair, walking the dogs…it’s almost impossible not to use it just getting ready for work in the morning.  The worst part, however, is not being able to paint.  I attempted to gesso (prime) a canvas and get ready to paint my next big painting and it killed my shoulder.  I tried with the left arm to no avail.  Frustration.  This is screwing up my new schedule of fitting in time to paint.

I will try again today to paint and go easy on the workout.  I have to.  I have goals I need to meet and a lousy shoulder problem cannot stop me!

New Artwork!

Blessed are the weird people, poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters and troubadours

for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.

~Jacob Nordby

Well, I finally finished a painting and what an awesome feeling it is!  There is still a couple other unfinished paintings I just had to put aside and not worry about finishing right now.  Maybe I have lost interest in them.  I am now committed to concentrating on painting or drawing what I feel at the time…thinking now about what to do next…I have a few ideas in mind.  Stay tuned…

A few people were sent progression photos of this painting and I thought I would include them for you to see the development of my painting.  Of course all artists proceed differently, but it will give you an idea of my thought process.

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Sunday Morning

Ahhh, relaxing on a chilly Sunday morning.  It doesn’t get any better than this!

BANANA PANCAKES

3 bananas

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1/2 cup whole organic coconut milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or macademia

1 Tbsp cinnamon

pinch sea salt

1 1/2 cups almond or coconut flour

Mix all together in blender. Use a 1/4 cup portion and make small pancakes (don’t make large because they fall apart) in coconut oil or grass-fed butter or ghee.

Top with some chopped fruit like apples, strawberries or coconut chips.  Serve with a few strips of bacon, a fried egg and a hot cup of coffee.  Enoy your Sunday!

Changes…

 I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.

~Andrew Wyeth

I’ve been focusing on the positive in my life; trying to keep to what is real to me.  So I’ve changed the look of my blog.  I wanted to focus more on the healthy balance of life and I will start another separate blog focusing on New Orleans.  A challenge…yes it is.  I also want to focus on my Paleo lifestyle and the positive affects it has on me.  With many parts of my life falling into place, I suddenly got my inspiration to paint once again…to paint what is real to me and what feels good at the time.  I think I was feeling I had to paint what others wanted, but art is individual and subjective…maybe you will hate the painting I am working on or maybe you will love it.  I will paint or draw a subject which pulls me in.  What I realized is that it doesn’t matter what you think, but how it makes me feel and if it makes me feel whole, then I am on the right track.  It’s the same with my blog…it’s for me as much as it is for you.  I thought my blog was scattered and indecisive, which resulted in a rut, so I’ve decided to stop trying to please with my words; just put down what I feel I want to at the time.  So, it may go from a recipe to the meaning of life, but it’s as scattered as my thoughts are sometimes and that’s okay.  I want it to be quirky and meaningful at the same time, because that is me.

Physically I feel right, mentally I feel perfect.  Now it’s time to take that feeling and express it in my art and my words here.

By the way, this is a favorite song of mine and some words have a lot of meaning for me…so please take the time to find the meaning for you also.

For the love of BACON!!!!

Who doesn’t love bacon?! (okay, vegans, but if you are one then you may not be reading anyway)

It makes everything taste better…hell bacon can down right make you happy!  Have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Chop bacon in your favorite dish, mix in salads, make bacon-wrapped asparagus, top your burger or just pre-cook some slices for a snack with an avocado.  I’m even going to try a recipe for bacon brownies (gluten/grain free of course).  Really, bacon has endless possibilities.

Bacon is not the food enemy it was made out to be.  Dietary saturated fat and cholesterol are good for us and not just in moderation.  It’s important to keep in mind that fat is a great source of fuel and bacon’s excess fat should not be feared. Of course, when it comes to fat, some choices are better than others. Pork’s fat, or lard, is approximately 40% saturated, 45% monounsaturated and 12% polyunsaturated. Saturated and monounsaturated fats are the ones that should be consumed liberally, while polyunsaturated fats should be kept to a minimum. The only bad thing about bacon and/or pork is that it is higher in Omega 6 than our wanted Omega 3.  So what?  have more fish and grass-fed beef that week then your “Omega’s” will be in-tune.  Another concern is the levels of nitrates in bacon. It’s true that most bacon, other than the nitrate-free versions, will contain varying amounts of nitrate, but this is often an unfounded concern and should not hinder your consumption.  So what? There is nitrate-free bacon available everywhere these days.  High sodium? choose lower sodium.

I made this last week: Bacon-wrapped Meatloaf, aka: Bacon Bomb or Touchdown Bacon or Bacon is F-ing Awesome Wrapped Around 2 Pounds of Ground Beef…that’s what I’m talking about.  Serve with some sautéed vegetables and a sweet potato topped with a little coconut oil, cinnamon and chili powder for a nice well-rounded meal.

BACON-WRAPPED MEATLOAF

1 medium onion chopped

4-6 garlic cloves chopped

1/2 red bell pepper chopped

6-8 fresh mushrooms chopped

2-3 Tbsp coconut oil (unrefined) or bacon grease

2 lbs grass-fed ground beef

1 lb fresh pork sausage (I used butcher made green onion pork sausage or use any)

1/4 lb ground grass-fed calf liver (I had my butcher ground it in the ground beef and used it for this, chili, burgers, etc…) – optional

2 eggs

Seasonings: Cayenne, sea salt, black pepper

12oz package of bacon (nitrate free and low sodium if possible)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Saute onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms.  Mix meat ingredients together (except bacon) and eggs.  Then mix in sautéed vegetables and add into meat mixture.

Form the meat mixture into a loaf in a pan larger than the loaf so you can form the bacon around it.

Next separate the bacon slices and place over the loaf in a basket weave or slightly overlapping diagonally.  Whichever way you choose leave at least 1/2 inch overhang on the sides to accommodate shrinkage.

Bake for 50-60 minutes then put under broil for 5 minutes to crisp up the bacon.

The loaf will be sitting in bacon grease but that adds to the flavor.

Cut into slices.  Will make 6-8 servings.

Apparently I’m not Superwoman

I know, what a shocker to me too.  I thought with all my cavewoman ways and the fact that I haven’t had so much as a common cold in 3 1/2 years that I had become indestructible.

But reality hits. Started with a scratchy throat…the usual…so I jacked up the nutrient dense foods and extra vitamins C, D and Echinacea.  Except it turns out I have strep which equals the worst sore throat ever! It’s been 4 days and I can’t eat and can’t barely drink…it’s like shards of glass when I swallow even water. Antibiotics aren’t kicking in yet. I’m frustrated.  Ear ache, teeth hurt, swollen glands and tired all the time…how fun!

Ensure – surely not good for you

I tried the usual pain narcotics like Vicodin, but hate the goofy useless feeling I get.  A friend got me a case of Ensure…I drank it out of desperation for some calories and nutrition, but it made me feel bad and then I looked at the ingredients…it’s a bottle of sugar and soy with I guess a One-A-Day inside. I really appreciate her going out of her way to get it, but I have to get some nutrition in my body. So I’m having smoothies with protein powder and fruit…no, still not Paleo, but it’s the only thing that’s giving me some calories and making me feel a little human…Smoothie King and Bolthouse!  Last night I tried some ground beef with eggs all chopped up really small and I couldn’t eat it…well now I have leftovers I’ll try again later.  Wishing I had some bone broth or some kind of healthy soup prepared for times like this.  I’m 3 pounds down so far and I don’t want to lose any weight.  I’ll need ankle weights to hold me down soon!

Much better choices!

Although I’m still wallowing in my pity party out of frustration…I realized I have to let the healing run its course or find a different doctor, different medicine or some miracle shot. I am all for it right now.  I am hungry.  I am not Superwoman. I can’t get well in a couple of days, it could take a few more days or a couple of weeks and I just have to take one step at a time.  Back to snuggling up with the dogs and cats on the couch and watching football; back to texting and having one-sided phone conversations…waiting because I know tomorrow will be a much better day.

Living Your “Un-lived” Life

“We all hurt in silence, but silence is too loud sometimes. Too much silence will make you deaf.” – Anonymous

She sits at her desk, doing her job she is so good at…she has her head in her hands.  “Is this all life is?  There has to be more than this”.  She lives for her her husband and children, the home she created with her family, her job she dedicates so much time and energy to and the routine she created.  She loves her life and her family dearly, she feels fortunate, even though there are days she feels unappreciated… she knows there is a part of her life she is not living.  What does she want?  Maybe just more time, freedom to put aside the mundane routine and enjoy life a little more; laugh a little more.

He loves his family, loves his job even though it consumes more time than he ever knew.  He tries to make time for himself when he can, although difficult anymore. He loves his children and his wife.  He works out, eats well…tries to look good for her, but she doesn’t even notice him anymore. He just wants to run and run…

She’s worked so hard, gave up so much…maybe too much to her, but she hopes she is on the right path.  She is balancing a job and a business on limited time and funds.  She is almost at her wits end though.  She has a mental overload…needs a vacation? more money? can’t get either.  She needs a new job, a man, a new place to live, a whole lot of luck…needs something to go right before she goes crazy.

Growing older, the woman he has loved for so many years may not be the woman that will grow old with him.  He has dreams that she wants no part of…she has her own life, which he doesn’t seem to be included in anymore.  He wants to work on that bucket list…live at a beach, scuba dive, hike a mountain…anything, but he did not want to do it alone.  This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.

She sits on the floor, crying and staring at the canvas.  Cannot get it together, cannot get inspired.  There is no time to create a painting anymore and when there is time, the creative flow just isn’t there.  Her real job, the one that pays the bills, consumes a lot of time and takes away the mental energy from what little time her creative energy allows.  She feels she cannot make the break from this job to live another life…what will happen if she does?  Life has become such a routine anymore.  She knows she needs to make changes; preaches it, even.  She is afraid.  Everything else in her personal life is wonderful, she has fallen in love, made a lot of positive changes in her life,  but still needs this one thing to fulfill this too long lifelong dream.

She knows she has to lose weight, feels bad all the time and hates looking in the mirror anymore.  And to even think about shopping for fall clothes…well that just won’t happen.  She knows she needs to eat better and exercise, but it all just seems too overwelming.  It’s hurting her relationship too because he doesn’t even care about himself anymore to care about her.  And he won’t even try with her so why bother? She sees other people’s success, but buries herself in her lack of self-esteeem.  She is trying to reach out.

She loves somebody else and has for a long time, but she cannot bring herself to even tell him…cannot endure the crushing pain of possible denial.  It’s killing her inside…she just wants a life with him, but that may never happen.  So she continues on with her life feeling alone inside; afraid to love anyone else that may come along because they don’t compare to him.

She stays in an unhappy marriage.  Works her little job for extra money…it’s not enough to live on.  She suffers through abuse and feels trapped.  This was supposed to be forever wasn’t it.  She’s lost her independence and can’t even remember what her dreams were anymore.  Career? Hobbies?…they ceased to exist anymore and now how does she get them back?  She lives in silence.

He has found the love of his life, the woman he will grow old with and share dreams with, but hates his job.  He tries to like it, does well at what he does; it pays the bills and buys them some fun extras in life, but this job has carved a huge crater in his mental being.  He feels incomplete because of it.  He’s not even sure what direction to take, but doesn’t want to wake up one day with regrets.  He doesn’t want to just share dreams with her, he wants to live those dreams.

Each situation represents several people I know or have come in contact with…and oddly enough most of the conversations I’ve had have been in the past couple of weeks, like I was meant to hear their heartbreak. I felt it.  When we think we are the only ones with problems and then realize too many people are not living the life they wish…all in the same situation, it makes it even more dismal.  I think too many people with this struggle are (as the book says) “fifty shades of fucked up”.  We all share similar problems and many are looking to live that “un-lived” life…that is the missing piece to the puzzle of life that could possibly give us complete happiness. We are afraid to make changes in our life…afraid to let our weaknesses show.

It’s time to move past the road blocks we’ve created for ourselves and really examine the life we want to live.  We have to prove our independence to ourselves by stating the changes we wish to make and actually following through with them.  It’s time come off auto-pilot and take time to enjoy this life we have.

If the life you lead and the life you wish to lead are far apart then find what you need to do to make them closer and hopefully overlap, so the once “un-lived” life is now your real-lived life.  I have made many small changes in the past several years and a few monumental ones.  My real life and the “un-lived” life I longed for were so distant it seemed unattainable.  I’ve shortened that distance a lot…not quite there yet, but I feel so close to living the life I always thought I should live.  Call it finding yourself or changing your reality.

Call it a new beginning.  Yes, find that one or two or five parts of your life that do not complete your happiness and throw them aside one by one or all at once. Remove the people, jobs, poisons, negative energies that are holding you back. It’s time for positive changes and thinking…time to set goals, make plans, take chances.  You deserve it don’t you?  Do you think the grand plan for your life is that you really deserve unhappiness? Deserve unsatisfaction? Deserve struggle? Deserve fear?  I don’t.

Live Your Passion

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs

One of my favorite quotes lately that I read and re-read…”follow your heart and intuition”.  I have done that in most parts of my life and have succeeded with happiness.  Most.

Then I I realized today that writing a blog is like artwork…you need to be inspired.  When I felt like I had no direction, I came across a list that I wrote down (from where I can’t remember) and thought I would share for a little inspiration.  This is definitely a list I will elborate on later:

How we look and feel is a result of how we live and how we live is a product of everything we do. Go to work, cook, clean, work out, errands…busy, busy.  But do you keep your personal commitments to yourself?  And of those personal commitments, which is the most important to you?  Are you willing to sacrifice other unwanted, but committed, parts of your life to make room for this important part of your life.  So how do you get to that point in your work life or personal life or healthy life?…follow these steps:

1. Look for someone that has the life you want to live or the career you want to have.

2. Know when your time is up.  You will know if something is forever or for a short time.  If you feel it is time to move on from a situation then it is.

3. Make a clean break from your current situation.  Yeah this would be the hardest for many to do, but sometimes if this is never done you will never pursue your passion.

4. Make a point to tell yourself, write down and tell others what your intentions are.  This gets the wheels rolling and keeps you focused.

5. Be brave…life will not end when you make a drastic change.  We all know it is easier to stay in a unhappy situation than to endure something where the outcome is unknown.  It’s why you stay in jobs and relationships even though it makes you unhappy.

6. Create opportunities for yourself. Seek, explore and give it a try.  Put yourself out there…if you don’t you won’t succeed.  If you don’t create your own opportunity you will end up doing what someone else wants you to do…again.

7. You cannot succeed how you truly want if someone controls your time and actions.  This applies if you are indeed an independent person and success comes on your own terms.

8. Do not perfect something you do not like to do.  This is where you again get stuck.  This also means not saying yes to every offer that comes to you if you are indeed not interested.

9. If you want to change your life, don’t just do something different…BE someone different. Take a leap to that new you.

10. Run with that passion of yours whatever it is.  This is your time to make it succeed.  Solve a problem, provide relief to other’s problems, find a platform to build upon and be everywhere.  Change your attitude, your goals and your life.  Create that happiness. Love and be loved.

Live your “un-lived” life!

“That’s Not Paleo!”

So at work this week, we had our monthly birthday cake and ice-cream gathering in the kitchen.  All I can smell is the sugar from the cakes and it doesn’t even smell good to me anymore.  We sing Happy Birthday and leave to go back to my desk.  Someone asks me, “Aren’t you going to have a piece?”.  And I say with disgust, “No indeed!”…I want a huge grass-fed ribeye for my birthday!  I now realize I think I might be a health food snob!  Oh no!

But I’ve found I really want people to be healthy; know what I know!  I want to help, but is it coming across that way?  I find myself looking at people’s carts at the grocery, even Whole Foods, and judging what’s in their carts.  I somehow find it hard to believe people still buy things in a box!  Cereal? Yuck. Milk? Quinoa? Pasta?…now they know that’s not Paleo, right?  They don’t know about GMOs and why to buy grass-fed beef and pastured chickens and eggs?  How could they not, I talk about it all the time?  And why is anyone still drinking and eating out of BPA filled plastic bottles and containers? Eww.  Gluten and grains, really?…it will destroy you!  They don’t even know the difference between Omega 3 and Omega 6?  Don’t they know if they just do Paleo for 30 days they will feel great.  I say or think all this.  I think about these things while I’m listening to the Robb Wolf podcasts, cooking my pastured eggs and grass-fed burger in bacon fat, while rubbing coconut oil on my body after I cooked my broccoli in it! And I talk the foodie talk with other people I got to do Paleo, like they’ve been doing it forever too. We can’t figure out why everyone isn’t just jumping on our band wagon! We have a “language” now.

Oh and I’m the same at the gym.  Really, people who look like hamsters on wheels on those cardio machines for an hour are annoying.  I look at those wimpy guys who have been working out for months and I lift heavier than they do…makes me want to scream.  And the people who look the same after a year of working out 5 days a week when I have transformed in the same time…how have they not figured it out?…I’m not performing miracles!  I eat Paleo and weight train…it’s easy!

Or is it?

I can laugh at myself for what I say with no regret, but I realize I am never going to change the way people eat or exercise by judging them or making them feel guilty.  I truly do want to help and I want them to see my results and know they can be healthy and happy too.  I need to get people to be excited about food and health; bring them into my conversations and ask me questions.  So I will be patient and remember the long journey I had also; that it took a long time for that lightbulb to go off for me.  I will be ready to answer if they ask.

Tailgate Food!

It’s football season ladies and gentlemen!!  I absolutely love football…live for it this time of year!  And if you know me well, you know when it comes to Michigan Wolverine football or New Orleans Saints Football…I am in full football fan gear and ready for the game.  Feed me, give me drinks and do not bother me for 3-4 hours!

That being said, lets talk food!  My Paleo lifestyle screams tailgate!…I mean it’ consists of a lot of M-E-A-T!

No, you don’t need chips and dips and processed cheese to make a good tailgate.  Plan a little and it will be outstanding, whether you are at the game or at your house.

DAD’S BBQ SAUCE (PALEO STYLE)

My dad made an awesome BBQ sauce, mostly spicy with a little tang.  This is perfect for your ribs, chicken wings, hamburgers and sausage on the grill.  And it makes enough for a few games.  I’ve taken out the sugars and replaced it with pureed fresh pineapple for the sweetness.

1 cup mustard

1 1/2 cups sugar free ketchup or organic tomato paste

2 1/2 cups pureed fresh pineapple

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all the ingredients well and refrigerate.

PALEO MAYONNAISE (Or as I call mine COCO-BACON-NAISE)

Oh yes, the basis for most dips for the tailgating season.  There are many recipes on the internet and I combined what I had and made my own version.  You can make this using a whisk to stir, but if you don’t want a cramp in your hand, just use a blender, but still be patient.  This should make enough for a big dip or salad.

4 eggs yolks

2 teaspoons of mustard

5 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup bacon fat melted at room temperature

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Salt and  white pepper to season

Put the yolks in a bowl with mustard and 1/2 the lemon juice and beat with mixer.

Mix the 3 fats/oils together. While still on high speed, drizzle the oils mixure slowly in with the egg yold mixture.  Mix non-stop and you will notice it starting to thicken like mayonnaise.  Keep up this process and after all oils are mixed in, add the remaining lemon juice and cider vinegar. Refrigerate and enjoy!

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN SALAD

Serve in lettuce wraps cold and top with some avocado.  Great starter for the early fall games when it’s still hot.

4 chicken  breasts and 4 chicken thighs grilled lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and chili powder

1   yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red onion diced fine

1/2 cup  green onions sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3/4 to 1 cup Paleo mayonnaise (see above)

1/2 cup canned chipotles in adobo sauce, puréed or finely chopped (this is not usually Paleo, but is not that much compared to the dish – use organic or one with no sugar or oil)

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup of grape tomatoes halved

Dice your cooked chicken.  Mix in the bell peppers, cilantro and onions.

Mix the mayonnaise with the lime juice, chipotle and salt and then stir in the chicken mixture.  Put in a bowl and top the salad with the halved grape tomatoes and more chopped cilantro and/or green onions.  If anyone wants added heat, use Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce to taste.

AL PASTOR IN THE CROCK POT

Ok, not really Al Pastor, but it has similar flavors.  It picks up the heat of the peppers and the sweetness of the pineapple. Use butter lettuce wraps instead of taco shells and top with fresh avocado.  Use leftovers to stuff and omelet the next day.

6 or 7 lb pork shoulder roast

Dry rub: 3 Tbsp chili powder, 2 Tbsp cumin, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp onion powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper.

Mix together and coat the pork roast and put in the crock pot.

Dice a fresh pineapple or get a large container in the produce section of fresh chunks of pineapple.  Dice 3-5 chipotle peppers. Add both on top of the roast.  You will cook the pork roast for approximately 8 hours on low.

In the meantime, saute 2 medium sweet onions, 1/2 each green, red and orange bell peppers in larger chunks, 5 fresh garlic, 2-3 chilis (hatch, Anaheim, jalapeno, poblano – or a combo), 1- 8oz package of white mushrooms – sliced.

Add the sautéed mix to the roast after a few hours cooking time. (roast will still pick up the flavors, but veggies won’t cook down too much)

The pork will fall apart with some amazing flavors.  If you want a little extra carbs or veggies, add a couple sweet potato chunks and/or baby spinach to the crock pot.

GRASS-FED BEEF ROAST WITH BACON AND MUSHROOMS
Here is this weeks football tailgate.  The crock pot is the best kitchen tool to have…slow cook easy recipes.

5-6 lb chuck roast (grass-fed if possible)

12-16oz bacon – or more if you want (good nitrate free, low sugar), partially cook, keeping the bacon fat. Chop.

2- 8oz packs of white button mushrooms

3-4 Portobello mushrooms whole and sliced

2 onions, chopped and sautéed

7-8 garlic cloves

Slice notches in the roast and put a garlic clove in each.  Season the roast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper. Put in the crock pot and top with onions, bacon and mushrooms.  Cook for 6-8 hours until the roast falls apart.  Serve with mashed or French fried sweet potatoes and a vegetable of course (check out the mashed cauliflower from a previous post).

More recipes to come!  Let us know what you are making for the game this week.

So get ready for some football…Put your eye-black on, wear your lucky shirt, pull on those game-winning socks….GO BLUE….AND GEAUX SAINTS!!