"Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom."
-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
When Tom and I started a daily meditation practice a little over a year ago, we didn't really have expectations for results. Honestly, we did it because- like eating kale- we'd heard it was good for you.
After about a month of regular sessions we noticed a shift. We both reported experiencing an overall, steady sense of calm. We were less reactive in our jobs.
Like many people in the United States, I spent most of my adult life on a diet. Sometimes the diets would "work" for a little (I would lose weight), but the process sucked. I was always hungry and fixated on my next meal. This lifestyle was so difficult to sustain that I was constantly on the lookout for the true answer to effortless weight maintenance. Fortunately, in my quest for the next best diet, I found Eat Fat Get Thin and The Primal Blueprint. Thanks to Mark Hyman and Mark Sisson, I learned that fat is actually our body's preferred energy source. The Standard American Diet emphasizes utilizing glucose for energy, which often equates to empty calories that leave you hungry, with your body producing too much insulin. Too much insulin equals inflammation; too much inflammation equals disease.
Adopting a primal lifestyle transformed my life in countless ways. I solved digestive issues, I felt nourished and satisfied with delicious food, my body learned how to use fat as fuel, I ended a sugar addiction, I stopped dieting and started living my life fully, moment to moment.
But honestly, this lifestyle change would not have been possible without addressing internal issues as well. I had to look inside to transform my outside. This is how I began my transformation:
Tom ran out of healthy food on his week long fishing in Yakutat. Upon his return, he sheepishly reported back to his drill sergeant (me) that he had indulged in junk food and was ready for a detox. He'd noticed a few things during his food free for all: once he started in on the sugar his thoughts became controlled by the greedy bacteria in his gut demanding more sugar. It was difficult to stop once he'd started.
I love morning time: the quiet, the peace, the unlimited potential of starting anew. I heard the term "hour of power" on a podcast a few years ago and I thought it was the perfect way to describe my morning rituals. I've always been an early riser, but it wasn't until fairly recently that I realized the power in an intentional start to the day. I now know that I create every single day with my thoughts and actions upon rising. There are so many beautiful ways to begin a day; I will share my routine as an example.
If you run in a similar social media circle I'm sure you have heard "Cauliflower is the new kale!" Well, how about, "Cauliflower is the new garbanzo bean!"? Perhaps not quite as catchy, but I will explain why that is my phrase of the day.
Hummus has been off the table for me since I began my Primal Health Coach certification and I learned more about legumes. While they don't affect everyone in the same way, they can be problematic and they totally unnecessary for optimal health.
The focus of this morning's yoga class (courtesy of YogaGlo) was creativity. The instructor encouraged body movements that mimicked the flow and ease of water. Gliding through the poses, I could indeed feel an opening to that meditative, creative channel that gives birth to inspiration.
I was reading an Outside magazine article entitled “We have Found the Cure! (Sort of…)” in which the author describes her adventures in cleansing treatments including fasting. The treatments leave her glowing and feeling beautiful and young, but then she asks doctors about the science behind the treatments. When asked about fasting the quoted doctor rolls his eyes and states, “There are no proven health benefits from fasting.” Another doctor said it might be okay as long as you don’t do it too often. I found these statements interesting, particularly when compared with the research described in The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.
I love red curry. I especially love easy red curry. After transitioning to a primal lifestyle I took a close look at the ingredients of my favorite Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste. This is what I found on the label: Red Chili, Garlic, Lemongrass, Galangal (Thai Ginger), Salt, Onion, Kaffir Lime, Coriander, Pepper. No sugar, no MSG, no fructose high corn syrup, no scary vegetable oils.
The pre-primal me (see My Story) never would have eaten pizza: too high in calories, too high in fat, too high in guilt. Fortunately the primal me doesn't give a damn about calories and consumes healthy fat with wild abandon and pleasure. And life is really too short not to eat pizza. My digestive system really enjoys the grain free life, so figuring out the pizza crust situation involved experimentation.
Not only are fiddleheads beautiful and tasty, they are also a nutrition powerhouse! According to LiveStrong.com , fiddleheads are a fine source of Vitamin A, Vitamin, C, niacin, riboflavin, phosphorous and iron.
Today I am sharing my favorite fiddlehead recipe: pesto! I used toasted pumpkin seeds, but feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand (pinenuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc). Remember to begin by blanching your fiddleheads in boiling water for about two minutes, followed by an ice bath.
As I mentioned yesterday, we are currently in the midst of fiddlehead harvesting. After work we headed back out to the river for another picking session. Even Tom finds fiddlehead collecting satisfying because they fill the container quickly!
Alaska is abundant with wild game and fish, but foraging for wild plants takes a little more work. But it's fun work! With the right mentality, every spring walk through the woods can be turned into a treasure hunt for green buds and shoots.
I roast quite a bit of wild game bones for our weekly dose of broth, which means I am often swimming in marrow. Marrow is decadent: rich, creamy and flavorful, so I usually enjoy it by the small spoonful. A little goes a long way! This week I was craving something different. I decided to make tapenade, as I thought the tang of olives, lemon juice and capers might jive nicely with the earthy, creamy caribou marrow.
I was feeling restless the other day. I was experiencing a mental block while working on a big project and frustration was creeping in. I could feel the frustration transitioning to anxiety and self-doubt. Suddenly, I was daydreaming about sliding open the silverware drawer, grabbing a spoon, opening the fridge and reaching for the almond butter. How enjoyable a fat scoop of almond butter would be! Because I’ve been practicing, I was able to pull back and became an observer of my thoughts.
A few years ago my diet looked like this:
If you are anything like me a few years ago, you are tired. Physically tired from working out. Mentally tired from thinking too much about food and what should or should not go into your mouth. Emotionally tired when your pants feel tight or if the scale isn’t budging. This was me pre-primal, followi
One of Alaska’s primal perks is the abundance of clean, beautiful, wild game. Many Alaskans have extra freezers in which they store a year’s supply of moose, caribou and salmon. While spring is an amazing time of year up north, it also coincides with diminishing vacuum-sealed freezer goodness. I currently find myself both hoarding what meat we have left and day dreaming about eating it every night- particularly in the form of moose burgers.