Monday, March 4, 2013

Paleo Thai Chicken Soup

 I made this delicious soup from the Meatified blog yesterday. I left out the coconut sugar and subbed in mushrooms for the snap peas to make it Whole30 compliant. I used a homemade chicken bone broth, used roasted shredded chicken, and added a bit more salt and coconut aminos, but otherwise kept everything pretty much as described in the recipe. It is so tasty and nourishing! So many wonderful nutrients and such a wonderful relief in the winter! I plan to make another batch really soon.

Oh man, CrossFit is great, but I have to remind myself that I won't see immediate progress every day. I feel like I'm at a bit of a plateau (progress-wise) but I'm doing all the things I should be doing: sleeping adequately, following a paleo diet with enough total food, managing stress, and giving 100% to my workouts. I guess it just takes time to see strength gains.

Bring it on.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

CrossFit + Paleo Challenge

First thing: I started CrossFit on September 7th, 2012 and it changed my life! I also know it is still actively changing my life! I cannot even imagine not doing CrossFit at this point! I know that my experience with it is not unique, but it has become such an important part of my daily routine! I go five mornings each week and take the weekends off. In just under six months of CrossFit, my body has become so much stronger and capable of things that I thought I couldn't do! I can do kipping handstand pushups as prescribed (even like 50 of them in a workout!), I have my bar muscle ups (working SO hard on my ring ones!), Fran RX'd (although be it very slowly), and deadlifted 215 pounds last month!

Although I'm thrilled with my progress, I also have so many more goals! I want to lift heavier and get faster. I want to push 100% at the box each day. I love that CrossFit is always challenging and there's always something to improve on! I also love the community that cheers me on when I'm the last to finish a workout, or that celebrates with each other when someone gets a PR!

My gym is also wrapping up a two month long paleo challenge. This was a great experience for me, as I'm already mostly paleo anyway. However, my biggest challenges were no dairy (outside of the challenge I drink non-homogenized full fat milk and occasionally kefir or yogurt and goat cheese or cheese from grass fed cows) and no paleo baked goods! I LOVE baking paleo friendly treats and plan to post more of my adventures on here when the challenge is over. Additionally, I was trying not to eat as many nuts as I usually do, due to their higher omega-6 content and less fruit because of the sugar in it.

 I love the way I feel with no sugar, and after the challenge, I am looking forward to experimenting with sugar free chocolate (using stevia or erythritol) or very low sugar chocolate with a bit of local honey. I also want to bake more with coconut flour instead of almond flour, although I am not giving up my almond flour chocolate chip cookies! :)

Here's a typical breakfast for me, which I've been enjoying while typing this. Two scrambled organic eggs, 2 slices nitrate free turkey bacon, sauteed broccoli in lots of coconut oil, 1/4 avocado. Also, coffee with coconut oil mixed in! (Sounds weird, but is so delicious and healthy!) Obviously, the paleo diet is about nourishing your body correctly and not some horrible weight loss fad that fights your physiology.

Lastly, I was also enjoying my new BCAA's that I ordered this week. They are from SDC Nutrition which is a local Pittsburgh company. I purchased them on a friend's recommendation with the hope that they would help me be less sore and recover faster from CrossFit workouts. They definitely seem to be helping (for which I am grateful!), but I've only been supplementing with them for a week. They honestly don't taste great, but that's not really why I'm taking them. It's kind of like medicine for my muscles. Haha! I do like that it is sugar free, although I'm not crazy about it being sweetened with sucralose. I feel like it has to be possible to make one using stevia or erythritol, but obviously I'm not a food scientist. Anyway, not to be negative; I am really grateful that it seems to be speeding up my recovery time. My body was really hurting for several weeks, despite doing everything I could with nutrition (including post WOD) and trying to sleep at least 7.5 hours a night!

So, to sum up my post: CrossFit and Paleo eating ROCK MY WORLD. :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beautiful Oregon!

I just got home yesterday from the most wonderful trip to Oregon! I went there to visit some friends and it was just such an overwhelmingly enjoyable and happy experience! Highlights were the hiking trails at Crater Lake.

These pinnacles are awesome rock formations! And such a long ways down - don't fall!

Plaikni Falls
This waterfall was definitely worth the two mile hike! So lovely!

Phantom Ship

So, so beautiful!

Such blue water!
I'm glad we hiked down Cleetwood Cove, to the water edge, where we stuck our feet in and just enjoyed an amazing day with sun and a breeze!

Ooh, water access at the bottom of the Cleetwood Cove trail!
Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Tide pools! So many fun creatures!

Yaquina Bay Bridge
Driving through Oregon is so amazing, because the scenery, even along the interstate is so gorgeous! Other highlights included going to the Rogue Brewery in Newport, seeing little towns of Roseburg, Corvallis, Eugene, and Newport; the Oregonian coast especially the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and the tide pools there, and just hanging out with my friend is such a relaxing environment!

I'm back home now, but I already miss Oregon so much!

I hope everyone had at least close to as amazing of a weekend as I had! :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

An Open Letter

An Open Letter to Everyone Who Has Ever Said, “I Just Want to Do Something I Love With My Life”

I used to be just like you.

I did all the right things. I went to college, declared a violin performance major, practiced up to seven hours solo per day, not including all the ensembles, chamber rehearsals, coachings and lessons I participated in. Then I graduated and moved across the country (for my art!) and spent thousands of more hours on a masters degree.

I am now self-employed “doing what I love”, and let me tell you a secret: the first time you are diagnosed with a potentially dangerous medical condition and cannot afford necessary blood work and/or follow up care, your “love”, your art, your life, and your passion will get a whole lot less fun, REALLY QUICKLY. Yes, I know you think it will never happen to you. I didn’t either. I am extremely healthy, I never get sick (in the sense of “catch a cold”), I run and do gymnastics and work out regularly and eat very healthy nutrient dense whole foods. But I was diagnosed with Raynaud's Phenomenon, which is where the capillaries in my toes randomly spasmed for no reason, leaving them purple for the coldest four months of each year. I was advised to have extensive blood work done, as Raynaud's can be indicative of an underlying rheumatoid condition, but there was no way I could afford it. So I'm hoping for the best.

So why am I writing this? If you are in high school, thinking about your college major, or if you know any high schoolers, I am pleading with you to tell them how critically important it is to choose an employable major over a fun major. Use me for an example if you want. But please choose a major with a potential for getting a job, with health benefits. Your life might very well depend on it in the future.

If you are young and not currently married, DO NOT assume that you will just get married to someone who will provide you benefits. You may never get married. And if you do get married, your spouse’s job might not have benefits either. Or they could lose their job. And they could decide to divorce you and leave you just as alone as before you were married. So counting on marriage to provide benefits is unreliable at best.

And even if you never ever get sick or injured, which is highly unlikely, if you ever want to be a mom, just having a baby (with a perfect delivery and no complications whatsoever) will run you about $10,000. That is a pretty large bill to foot on a job that probably doesn’t even give you paid time off.

Some of you may be saying “But even if I choose a traditionally employable job, I may still not land a job with benefits.” That is true, so you need to be smart and prepare yourself as well as you can. If you are still in school, keep your grades up. Do extra credit. Volunteer. Shadow. Study abroad. Take every opportunity that comes your way, because they will all boost your odds of getting a decent job. Yes, that means it will be a lot of hard work. But I promise it will not be as hard as trying to get out of medical debt in the future while working retail.


A Concerned Self-Employed Citizen With Crappy Health Insurance

Sunday, August 26, 2012

First steps into paleo

Recently I've been experimenting with a paleo/primal style of eating. It's primal because I do consume dairy products, but mainly just unhomogenized milk. I feel pretty strongly about UNhomogenized milk, because homogenization apparently blasts the fat particles into such small pieces that they can be absorbed differently than how humans have digested fat for thousands of years. I'm not a scientist or a dietician, but to me it just seems like we should probably consume food in the form that it's been in for thousands of years. In those forms, it also kept humans healthy and diabetes, heart problems, obesity and many other modern health problems were basically unheard of. So to me, it seems like there's a pretty good chance that part of our modern health crisis stems from artificial foods and ways of making/raising/preparing food. I.e. feeding animals GMO corn and soy, weird chemical fertilizers, etc. So I've been making a big effort to avoid these things.

The biggest reason I adopted a paleo diet about six weeks ago was because I was desperately trying to get rid of my hypoglycemia. Ever since my eating disorder, and even after recovery, I had major problems with low blood sugar, almost no matter what I ate. So eventually, even though I had been eating grains all along with what I thought was no reaction to them, I decided to cut them out and just give it a try.

The results were AMAZING!!

I lost eight pounds almost immediately without trying at all! I also stopped having low blood sugar spells, which improved my mood drastically. I also had more energy, and wasn't hungry ALL.THE.TIME. And I gained several new skills in gymnastics that I am convinced were due to losing a big of weight and gaining strength and energy!

Needless to say, I'm planning to be in this for the long haul. And honestly, I don't crave bread/pastries/etc that much because I know how crappy I'll feel. I definitely make some yummy chocolate desserts that I enjoy, but they don't send me into a hypoglycemic spell and I enjoy them so much more. The BIGGEST addition to my daily diet is COCONUT OIL!!! I LOVE it so much!! It makes me feel warm and happy and healthy. I literally use it for everything, from baking to sauteeing veggies in to cooking meat with. I've gone through four jars in the past couple of months! It's simply amazing! :)

I'll leave you with two amazing paleo meals I've enjoyed recently:

Shrimp, sauteed veggies with avocado, and strawberries!
Pesto chicken from Trader Joes with sauteed veggies. Of course in coconut oil! :)
I can't wait to see how much stronger I can get from my paleo diet and how many more gymnastics skills I learn!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ten Reasons Not to Date Me

An Open Letter to Guys, or 10 Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Date Me.

Dear Boys,

Recently more guys have expressed interest in me and/or asked me out. I’m writing this open letter to you regarding the matter. Consider this your warning.

1)    I talk too much and too loudly.

2)    I love food, and I will always eat to keep myself healthy and happy. When my 25 year old metabolism slows down, I make no promises that I won’t end up 50 pounds overweight when I’m in my 30s and 40s. You don’t want a fat girlfriend.

3)    I am a Christian with fairly strong moral convictions. This means that you might think I’m a religious weirdo.

4)    I am more specifically a feminist, liberal, egalitarian Christian. Which means that if you’re also a Christian, we probably won’t get along, theologically speaking.

5)    I am supremely selfish with my time. No, I don’t particularly want to spend a lot of time trying to enjoy your hobbies; I have my own. And no, I don’t want to plan my day around yours. That’s never going to happen.

6)     I am extremely unpredictable in what I say, think, feel and do. I’m a human being. I refuse to apologize for this, but it would probably (rightfully) infuriate you.

7)    I am cranky a vast majority of the time, whether it’s hunger, stress, fatigue, cold, or any combination therein. No really, you don’t want to date me. Got it?

8)    I don’t wear cute enough clothes. And I am sure as heck not going to dress in what you like me to wear in order to have you find me attractive. I wear what I like, and it’s not usually what guys find attractive.

9) I am a people pleaser to a fault. Oh, and I also hate conflict.

10)    I don’t –ever- want to get married. So why even bother to date me in the first place?

Yours Truly

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's been a long time!

I'm back!

But this blog is changing directions. It's no longer going to be a food blog, although I will probably still blog about food since I love it so much! But rather, it's going to document my life, thoughts, career change, school, and other things I want to talk about.

The biggest NEW announcement is that I'm actually going back to school to become a physician assistant! This change came about for many reasons. The biggest reason is that I shadowed clinical dieticians at a local hospital last year, and even though I LOVE the field of nutrition, I realized I wanted to be doing more hands-on medical procedures, and I wanted to work more closely with patients. I then also shadowed a nurse, but nursing is not my calling (although it is a wonderful field that helps so many people!) But then, I shadowed an orthopedic surgeon's PA for about 4 months and I LOVED IT! The PA and the surgeon were incredibly gracious to me and I am so thankful for that opportunity! I spent several weeks researching the PA field, talking with other medical professionals and students and learning about physician assistants. And I realized that I wanted to pursue that! So I am still taking science prerequisites, and I am about ready to apply to schools! I am currently taking Microbiology and Human Lifespan Psychology. I've finished up my year of Anatomy and Physiology, Bio 1, Chem 1, Nutrition, Algebra, and of course all of my undergraduate and master's degree classes (from the first master's degree.) The second, also huge, reason I want to become a PA is that there is no way I can continue being a violinist while there are so many people suffering all over the world from lack of medical care. Some of them are literally dying of easily preventable causes: lack of clean water, lack of antibiotics, lack of sanitation, and lack of vaccinations. Others are dying from things that might be tougher to treat, but we still wouldn't think too much of in America. (Need for surgeries, delivery of babies, and chronic conditions that can be cured or alleviated with proper medical care.) Can I do everything to heal them? No. But I need to do SOMETHING and this is my something.

My upcoming classes include Chem 2 (this will be my biggest challenge!), Statistics, Bio 2, Medical Terminology and Organic Chemistry. That's ALL! I know that PA schools are extremely hard to get into (one school said they had 1600 applicants for 80 spots and this seems to be about the normal for most schools!) But I am confident that I will get in somewhere this year, or if not, I will try again next year. I have an excellent GPA, a very unique history, I am a non-traditional applicant, I have strong letters of recommendation, and I am extremely proud of my personal narrative. Beyong doing my part to excel in every way that I can, the rest is up to God and the admissions committees. But I will definitely be writing more about it on this blog!

Well, I am going to go study Micro and am going to church tonight!