Thursday, April 26, 2012

A different approach

One of the things that I've been pondering is our concept of failure, especially in regards to changing our lifestyles to the paleo/primal continuum. I think that most people who have tried diets in the past have had one "treat" or "cheat" that was a gateway food and then felt like it was hopeless to continue trying.

Here's the thing: these little trips down memory lane are not failures. They are spaces in time that we have been given the opportunity to learn from. My mom had a better analogy: our lives are like a piece of plywood-just because it has a weak spot here or there does not mean it should be tossed out because these spots are surrounded by strong spots.

What we really should be doing with these weak spots is learning from them. For example: this past Saturday I was tired and didn't want to cook. It had been a really long day and I wanted nothing better to do than to go to sleep but I couldn't because I was hungry and my family was hungry with no food that was ready to eat. So I ended up choosing to go get a sandwich, a soda, and some Cheetos. I figured it would be my one cheat after 20 days of eating well. The next day we were at a birthday party that had pizza. I figured, why not? Just one slice. One slice turned into 2, as usually happens. Then, yesterday, I went to my moms and was feeling horribly stressed out because of everything that is going on around me and ended up eating SAD (standard american diet) foods for 2/3 of the day.

What did I learn from this? I learned that I did not fail (20 days is nothing to shake a stick at), that I am not at the point where even a nibble of non-primal foods can cross my lips without me wanting to pig out, and that I need better stress reduction techniques. Prior to this, during my 20 day sugar detox, I also learned that a paleo(ish) cookie is still something I cannot have just one of unless I am at my strongest.

So, what do you do after a misstep on your path to changing your life? You learn from it like I did and then you plan on what you will do when it happens again (because it will). Luckily for me Paleo Non Paleo recently wrote a post on 22 ways to beat sugar cravings. I've already begun implementing some of the techniques and am on Day 1 of trying to beat my 20 days sugar-free record. Which techniques am I using specifically?

1) Keeping a record of how long it's been since I have eaten sugar as well as my all-time record. I just made a simple log for this that I will update daily. It's laminated so it's reuse-able!
2) Blogging, obviously. I may not be the best at this yet but I plan to write for a 1/2 hour every day to get myself into the habit of writing again (this is also a stress reduction technique AND a way for me to love myself-more on this later).
3) Don't deal in sugary foods. I don't make them, rarely ever make primal alternatives, and am going to plan on not passing out any foods that tempt me (like I did at the party-this simple act changed my "no, thanks" to a "well, maybe one"). I do give my daughter primal cookies now and again that my mom makes but I can limit myself to 2 of these unless I am in a low. During these lows she doesn't get any unless someone else gives them to her. I need to take care of me so I can be a good example for her.
4) Know your limit. I can't have ANY at this point in my life and I am okay with that. This will really only become an issue around Christmas, anyway, since I plan on doing birthday alternatives for Gorgeous and myself, doing Halloween sans candy (as much as possible and the candy that is given will be given to my hubs unless he refuses), and bringing my own pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (and probably some paleo stuffing since I LOVE it).
5) Eat good fats and protein: If I get a bad craving it's usually because I'm hungry or thirsty so I try to look in the fridge for what looks good and them modify it from there.
6) Swap bad for good: If a salad from the store looks good but it has stuff I can't eat in it then I make it myself. If I REALLY want chocolate (usually milk) then I may some bakers chocolate covered strawberries or something similar. Usually I just eat some bananacado pudding with Gorgeous.
7) Monitor your caffeine intake: I recently had some black regular coffee because I liked it and thought I could handle it. This preceded the SAD misstep by about a week and I kept drinking the coffee daily-something I haven't done in about 6mo. So while 1 cup may be okay I need to be extra vigilant to keep it that way.
8)Visualization. Sometimes I do imagine that the sugar craving is nothing more than the yeast in my belly saying "Feed me, I'm dying" and then I feel better. I want the yeast to die back!
I do so many more but I really think you should just go to her page to see what I mean. It's much more comprehensive!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Call to action in ourselves

I've been feeling a calling...

Recently I've been reading a lot of blogs who seem to be forming a call to action for paleo women who aren't the athletic type, who are parents, and who are just simply real. I've been scared to answer that call but feel I must, so this blog shall be about my life as a stay at home, homeschooling mother on a very tight budget who doesn't have a lot of space and who has dietary restrictions (ie paleo/primal).

Moreover, I've been feeling a call to get back into the things I used to love to do. I want to draw every day like I used to when I practiced to be a tattoo artist, I want to take pictures every day like I used to for the thrill of it, and I want to write like I used to when I was a competing slam poet. But I also want to do things for myself that I never used to do, like exercise in the free class that my local Crossfit offers and garden in order to sustain my family.

I'm not fully sure what I'm being called to do or how to do it but I feel an agitation and turbulence in my heart. I feel like I MUST do these things in order to be kind to myself and to others. Maybe this is why I've been so focused on kindness and teaching it to Gorgeous...

Thoughts on food planning.

Editors note: This was originally posted on my journal at marksdailyapple.com so it is written in a stream-of-consciousness style (or thereabouts).

I went to the grocery store yesterday and got my meat for the week based on the sales. I've been thinking about this a bit, especially with posts like Mark's today where we are focused on nutrients in foods. While I keep it simple and focus on meat and veggies (fruit and baked primal goodies are our treats) I've been thinking more about what I want on our table. I decided that each day of the week will be certain food types. My meat this week includes 2 kinds of ground meat (turkey and hamburger), 1 seafood (the wild caught dover sole was the least expensive I could find), 1 chicken, and 1 "other" (pork loin this week since we're tired of chicken and ground meat). I've already been told that taco boats are a staple in our house so I know that will always happen once a week. Then the other ground meat is up in the air as to how I'll cook it (meatballs this week). Chicken is chicken breast 9/10 times due to habit and this week is no exception. The seafood will depend on whatever I find on foodee or googling the type of food with the term "primal recipe" afterwards that is simple (simplicity is my friend). And the other will be another foodee find.

Unless the meal is all encompassing like taco boats I must get another veggie as a side dish. This week I got cauliflower to make paleo pork fried rice (which I'm hoping will be another "converter food" as my hubby calls it), broccolli, kale for kale chips, and some other foods I forget right now. To get my toddler (20mo) to try veggies I'm also letting her pick out one veggie a week for us to try. This week it was cabbage.

For lunch it is almost always leftovers but I tend to buy some higher quality lunch meat or some basic hot dogs for those days when there is no leftovers. Speaking of leftovers-I always plan one night a week devoted to leftovers that didn't get eaten for lunch. This also gives me a break day. Breakfast is ALWAYS eggs with cheese (though I'm working on finding some egg muffin type foods that I can grab in the mornings we're running late but I have yet to try any on the toddler to see if she likes them). And snacks are always fruit or bananacado pudding. I use the pudding for dessert on the nights that my toddler doesn't eat dinner so that she gets something in her system to hold her over through the night (but I also make it in the afternoons for me and I share it so she has yet to catch onto my system here).

I also got a dragon year pack (aka sampler to me) of SeaSnax. So far my toddler likes the sweetness of the sea sprinkles but won't eat them. I have tried the chipotle and it is too spicy for me. I'm hoping we can find some of these we like so I can stuff them in my hubby's lunches (that I am starting to make for him-he felt very well treated last night when I told him I made his lunch) and for grabbing in my diaper bag for snacks on the go. I figure if we find ones we like and can get past the fact that it's seaweed (aka my toddler and hubby need to-I'm still working through the burn on my tongue!) then it'll be a staple twice a week to bump our seafood intake. Update: we've now tried 4 of the 5 kinds and none have been a hit since they do leave the fishy taftertaste (they are seaweed after all). For some reason they upset my stomach too-I think it may have to do with the peppers from the chipotle more than the seaweed but I suspect an intollerance to nightshades too.

I'm also working on obtaining some crabpots to go rock crabbing (love it!) but I'm the only one who likes it in my crew. And my hubs and I are going to start fishing together so we'll get some fish in us soon. I just need to learn to gut it and all.

I'm also looking into the "pet burger" that grasslandbeef.com has in order to get some inexpensive good quality ground meat in us (the hubs and kid don't need to know it has liver and heart in it too) between it being grass fed and the organs in it. I figure I already pay about 4.50 a lb for ground meat anyway unless I can find a good deal. I'll have to double check my pricing on it first though.

All in all my attempts at menu planning have so far been a failure but I must remember that I may learn multiple ways NOT to do something before I learn how to do it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A peek into the cloud.

I’ve been noticing a lot of paleo people talking about a few thigns that have had me thinking… Mostly I’ve noticed that there is a call for more women bloggers, more parent bloggers, and more large people blogging about their paleo paths. I feel inspired and intimidated by these calls to action. I’m afraid that I am just going to drop the ball on this blog like I have in the past, that I may be taking on too much (I’m thinking about blogging 2-3 times a week), that I may have something that others would actually be inspired by, and that I may just be a lonely voice in the middle of the cloud with no one there to listen. I’m not even sure what I’d write about! If there is anyone out there who reads this and wants me to start talking more about my life then, please, let me know. Let me know that you wanna hear me and what you would like to know.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Making your food bill stretch

In this economy we are all looking to make our dollar spread a little further than it used to, especially as it relates to food. I’ve got a few tips for you on this and I’m assuming you already cut out excess luxuries and have budgeted. So, here are some ideas for you:

First of all, if you’re looking to make the most out of what little money you have, you need to PRIORITIZE. For my family we have 3 people and 3 different ways of eating due to varying health concerns. So our priorities lie with what we can all eat first, followed by specialty items. What does this look like? Well, we all eat meat, veggies, cheese, and fruit in varying degrees so these come first. Then comes our specialty items: the hubby gets bread products, sugar products, and milk products; I get coconut products, nuts/dates, special sugars and flours, and seasonings; and Gorgeous gets special snack foods she can eat like jerky and dried fruit as well as special milks.

Next, you need to MEAL PLAN. Most people are groaning at this point but it is a necessity. If you meal plan then you have a list of the items you will need to use for the week. Once you have your ingredients list you can look in your cupboards to figure out what you already have and how much. After that you have your “to buy” list and can head to the grocery store with this, any coupons you have, and a calculator.

Thirdly, check your sale ads. Not only will checking your sale ads allow you to see what sorts of things you can save on, it will allow you to see where it is truly less expensive to buy the items when full price. For example: I know that if I have a choice between Safeway and Rays I will go to Safeway for the milk and milk alternatives but will go to Rays for eggs and cheese. The other thing you need to figure out is how much it will cost you to go to the store.

The cost of heading to the store is very important. I live in an outlying area and know that it costs about the same to buy sugar at the next town over (where the in-store price is much less) vs. buying it in the town I live in (which is expensive when just looking at the store price and not gas). When figuring out how much it will cost you to go get the food a good estimate to use is 55 cents per mile. This is the estimate the IRS figures it costs per mile to run a car when you total maintenance, loan payments, insurance, repairs, gas, and all other things you associate with a car. If you use the bus then consider the price of the bus trip and if you bike then you need to figure out your per mile cost (I’m not quite sure of a good estimate so if you figure this out please let me know!).

Now, it’s time to shop! Grab your list, coupons, and calculator and head to the store on a full stomach (you’re less likely to impulse buy on a full stomach). As you grab your items keep track of them on a calculator to make sure you don’t go over budget. Some people find that keeping a set amount of physical cash on hand also helps. Keep your blinders on when you hit the registers as the candy there will only serve to tempt you (why do you think they put it there, anyway?).

Once you get home and put it all away you can finally relax, right? Wrong. Now it’s time to go back over your budget and make sure you kept on track. If you were as tight as a swollen door then you can only trim other fat off your budget (say the TV bill?). In the long run food is less expensive than you may think. While you are trying to trim your budget month to month you need to remember that if you nourish your body now you won’t have as much health care costs later on in life between meds, doctor visits, and insurance costs.

So pat yourself on the back for feeding yourself and your family the best that you can with what you have. You have done well! Oh, and tell me any tips you may have for me, I’m always looking for good budgeting advice!

Christmas gifts

Christmas isn’t about the gifts. We all know this. And yet, despite this fact we will be inundated from now until after Christmas with ads and posts about what is the “best” gift for that hard-to-buy for person. How are you supposed to deal, especially if you are a parent who hears “you’re not a good enough parent if you don’t get your kids a gift” every time you watch a commercial?

Turn it off! Seriously, until you can remember that having you is the best gift you can give them you need to look away from the screens and magazines. Stay away from the mall, especially. It will only hurt.

As a parent I know that all we want to do is provide the best we can for our children and it is so easy to be pulled into the marketing scheme designed to push this exact button! But if your kids have a roof over their heads and food in their belly then all they need is you.

The most frugal, minimalist, primal, whatever sort of gift you can give anyone, ESPECIALLY your kids, is yourself.
If you feel you MUST get them a gift once this sinks in your brain (has it really sunk in yet?) then get them something that they can use with you.
We can’t afford toothpaste half the time but we have extra fabric and wood at our disposal so we’ll be making our own version of the Kitchen Helper and matching aprons for mom and daughter. We can’t buy her anything but we can make her these things to provide a learning environment for her and the experience of cooking with mom (or dad!).

So, I beg of you this holiday season to NOT buy ANYTHING. Seriously. And, on top of that no-buy Christmas, anything you make should encourage time WITH you.
And if you are still skeptical, think of this: What message does it send to your kids if you sit back enjoying watching them open all of these things you made/bought for them and then you go off and do your own thing, thinking that they are happy now and know they are loved? They aren’t getting you; they’re getting the things you got them. Are they worth more than those things? Are you?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Smells of a Homemade Autumn

I can see a series coming on because I absolutely adore this time of year for it's wonderous colors and smells. Warm spiced cider, homemade applesauce, apple cranberyy pie, pumpkin pie, turkey... Oh I'm in heaven all over again. Can you tell my two favorite seasons are autumn and winter? Ha!

Today Gorgeous, my in-laws, my parents, and I carved/painted pumpkins and sat around for an end of the year barbeque. My husband has been sick today so he tried to sleep while I did double momma duty. My daughter ADORED painting the pumpkins for so long and loved the feel of the slimy pumpkin innards. She even had her first slice of pumpkin pie gobbled away in a matter of seconds and wouldn't let us take away her pumpkin cider! She is such a huge pumpkin fan-from the picking to the playing to the eating!

Between her love of all things pumpkin and my love of all things apple this time of year I'm going to be writing up some of my favorite recipes from my childhood with a primal twist. Be ont he lookout for a few Autumn themed posts coming up!