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!!

Darkness, Sweat and Fears

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting,
dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
~ Edgar Allan Poe

My only light during the hurricane.

The past week has been long. Too long for a supposed minor hurricane. With all the preparing we do it still turns our lives upside down.

4 full days without power in the Louisiana heat. To me this is living primal…I got to live like a cavewoman for 4 days. Even though I had a few modern necessities like texting (although I had to charge the phone in the car) and a flushing toilet, I took my Paleo lifestyle to a new level.

I prepared my Paleo survival food and cooked like mad before the storm came…it was coming a half day earlier than expected. Burgers, beef jerky, cut up vegetables, bacon, Paleo pancakes  sweet potatoes, pork roast and lots of water. Got the food cold knowing power would go off. I guess our hunter gatherer ancestors would have prepared what they could or consumed what food they could knowing they would be without for a few days.

Survival mode sets in. The hurricane came by overnight. Howling winds shaking the house. Up all night I tried to see the rain and watch the streets. Watching for flood…calling our tugboats on the Mississippi River to see how much it’s rising. It’s a little unnerving. Katrina didn’t hit us direct so what would Isaac do? He stalled and moved North. Thankfully.  On Tuesday evening, when the wind barely started, the power went out. Flashlight broke so I lit a few candles. Total darkness and I mean the scary boogeyman type of darkness. Alone with the dogs and cats in the dark.  One time at night I sat in the car charging the phone and getting some air with the dogs and a knock at the window by a neighbor, drunk and scaring the shit out of me.  I felt very alone.  Note for next time: Get a gun.

Rain and wind continued until the next day then it stopped. Then no breeze and the sun came out. Then the heat set in. Topping 100 degrees and extreme humidity. It was too hot to even go upstairs in the house.  I can barley function. I tried to exercise in the house but too hot. Walking the dogs was all I could do other than picking up debris and tree branches outside.  This is just what you do.  Ice was melting quick; so I stand in long lines to get ice. Throw out food going back and eat what I could. I still had to work…Grace had power, she took us in to her nice cool home to work for a few hours, then Ken did the same. I worried about the dogs and cats in the heat, and I would rush back to my hot home.  It’s still home so I don’t want to be away long.

And sleep, boy did I sleep. I slept as soon as the sun went down. Too dark and hot to stay awake. It was a little scary. I wait for a comforting voice to call. And after I would sleep more.

By Saturday with the sun and heat, although unbearable, it almost seemed normal and hoping this new “normal” would end.  Sweat is just pouring down me; standing under a cool shower feels wonderful.

And just as the sun is setting and the Michigan football game begins, the power comes on!  Glorious air conditioning…close the windows and make it cold!  Sprawl out on the couch and celebrate.  Just in time.

Out of cavewoman mode to recovery mode.  Work, clean, work.  The stress experienced after almost makes you want a little of that primal life…just without the scary parts.