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What Being Primal Means To Me

Roasted Carrots

Scott and I’s transition into a Primal lifestyle was a slow one.  I probably kicked and screamed a little on the way too because when I was first introduced to this way of life I was not on board.  I probably even made fun of it.

That was until I stopped working out, drank too much beer, and wrecked my health along with my digestive tract. Both Scott and I gained too much weight.  Our sleep was affected, I was unhappy, and my digestion was not normal.

Last spring I did a Spring Clean Eats challenge where I omitted some things and it was sort of like a modified Whole 30.  We did well and I learned that I really like eggs and protein in the mornings.

But not long after we fell back into old routines and it was like nothing changed.

Fast forward to the end of the year and I was over feeling like crap.  OVER IT.  Along with exercising, I decided it was time to get my diet and digestion under control.  I turned towards the Primal/Paleo community because they embrace whole real foods and promote digestive health and healing.

No other community does this in a way that I can relate to.

Since January of 2015, Scott and I have adopted more of a Primal lifestyle and we are definitely seeing the benefits. Everything is improving; weight, digestion, and sleep.  Scott now even comes to bed earlier and gets up earlier in the mornings.  A feat I never thought I would see!

We lean more towards Primal than full on Paleo.  We can tolerate high quality dairy in the form of yogurt, cheese, and butter.  Scott can even handle grass-fed milk.  We also tolerate white rice and incorporate that into our diets as well.

Beans, Wheat, Soy, and other Legumes are out.  Corn, while technically a grain, we can handle in small amounts.

I thought I could handle beans but the last time I ate a few bites I bloated up like crazy.

For me, Primal is a lifestyle and not just a way of eating.  It focuses on:

  • Eating whole nourishing foods while avoiding foods that can cause inflammation or gut irritation.

  • Exercising each day and moving my body with intention.

  • Spending time outdoors.

  • Making Self-Care a priority and not a luxury.

This is how Scott and I live our lives and it’s made such a world of difference. I don’t preach and I don’t really talk about it with others unless asked.  However, with my health coaching clients, it is the lifestyle I focus on with them since I feel it is the most healing and the most nourishing.

My whole outlook on life has since changed.  I’m inspired to be back in the kitchen cooking kick-ass meals and experimenting with foods.  My confidence has built back up, I’m happier, and I’ve been able to incorporate some running into my life again (more on this in another post).

I wouldn’t be in this position had I not decided to make a change and take charge of my health.

 

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On Health Coaching

It’s been a long while since I’ve talked about health coaching.  I feel like for some they may think this is coming right out of left field and the truth is that I’ve been a health coach for several years.

This blog originally started out as a place to share recipes and discuss my journey (and also my husband’s) towards better health and nutrition. Because I fully believe that we can heal ourselves with the foods that we choose to eat, I pursued schooling to become a health coach.  I took on clients and I helped people get back in the kitchen.

A lot happened in 2012, this was a big year for us and I was feeling all out of sorts.  I was struggling with running, struggling with a new dog that has a lot of baggage (Oh Avery, he’s a special guy.), and struggling finding my place.

I feel off the wagon.  It happens.  I have a feeling that almost everyone goes through something like that at some point in their lives.  Because I was struggling, I felt like I could not be in a position to help others so my coaching dropped off.

I went from being a super active and fit half-marathoner to not.  I was in a state where I was just existing and not really living life.

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December of 2014 was a wake up call for me.  I was tired of not sleeping well, tired of feeling like shit, and tired of making excuses to not workout.

I got my ass in gear.  Just like that.

Now I exercise almost daily, I eat well, and I feel 100 times better and more confident that I did.

I couldn’t have done this without support though.  Support is key.  This made me realize that I’m sure there are others going through the same thing and who are looking for support.  Change is hard and we can’t always do it alone.

So here I am back on track and back to doing what I feel is important. Back to doing what I’m meant to be doing, helping to support and build others up.

Being a health coach isn’t just something I’m all of the sudden tossing out there.  It’s about me getting back to me and therefore helping others be the best they can be.

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April Goals

Trail

I haven’t done monthly goals in quite some time but I have a lot going on this spring and setting up goals will help me stay on track.  Here’s what I’m focusing on for this month.

Getting up at 6am during the week

I’ve struggled with getting back into a routine where I am getting up at 6am in the mornings.

I am a morning person.

This does not mean that I am chipper and ready to offer you conversation and a smile.  It’s best if you don’t even talk to me in the mornings.  By “morning person”, I mean that I prefer to get up and get my day started.  I like exercising first thing in the morning and I’m also way more productive in the mornings.

Since I haven’t been getting up early to start my day, production levels for me have tanked and I am finding that I’m running out of time to get everything done that I would like.

I have successfully got back into the routine of getting to bed early but sometimes if I don’t have a good sleep then getting up early doesn’t happen.  No excuses this month though! I have someone I check in with each morning to let them know that I’m up and ready to start the day.  I also make sure that I’m in bed early with plenty of time to read before it’s lights out.

Running several times a week

I chatted before about giving up the runner label.  I had to do this because I wasn’t in the space mentally and physically to run.  Despite my best efforts it was not happening.

I missed it though.  Very much.

A few weeks ago on a whim I decided to try running again.  I alternated between running and walking on a trail and I did great.  Better than I thought I would do.  Which sparked in me the desire to try running again.

At the moment I’m sticking to trails and ones that are very flat (no inclines at all) as I work towards getting my running legs back and developing my breathing.  So far it’s been going well and I’m up to two miles.

Going full on Primal with eats

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve seen a recent uptake on posting my daily eats. It’s a lot easier to share my meals via that platform verses spending time writing out a full blog post about it.  Scott and I have been following a mostly primal diet for a while now with a few non-primal things thrown in because we can tolerate them.  Well this month we’ve decided to go full on Primal.

As I work towards healing my gut and getting us back on track with our healthy lifestyle, I’ve realized that eating Primal makes me feel the best and is the most beneficial towards gut health.  Scott is on board, of course, because he’s not the one making the meals!  But the truth is, both of us enjoy a more primal lifestyle.  We feel more satisfied and fulfilled.  If you asked me about going primal three years ago, I would have told you that was crazy.  Now I get it.

One thing this year has taught me so far, is to never say never.

Those are my April goals!  What are you working towards this month?

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For The Love of Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken

When people find out that I cook (a lot) or that I do recipe development, one of the first questions they ask is, “What is your signature dish?”  A close second being, “What is your favorite thing to cook?”

This always left me stumped and scrambling for answer because the truth is that I like to cook all the things.  I don’t have a signature dish or a cuisine that I like to focus on.  I enjoy it all.

However, this week, I realized that probably my favorite thing to make is a roast chicken.  There is something very elegant and classy about a great roast chicken.  It also looks fancy even though it’s so easy to make.

I try to roast a chicken once a week and usually on Friday evenings.  That’s my idea of a great Friday night.  In my jammies, a chicken roasting away in the oven, and sipping on a glass of wine while I prep veggies and the side dishes.

That’s how I like to unwind after a long work week.  I don’t want to go out or really interact too much with others.  I want time to relax in my own space making a great dinner.

So I guess the next time someone asks me what my favorite thing to make is, my answer will be a lovely roast chicken.

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Making Stock In The Slow Cooker

Slow cooker stock

I used to make stock on the stovetop with a huge pot that simmered for about 4-5 hours.  I started off with six quarts of water and would only end up with about 3 quarts of stock.

It took me a long time to try making stock in the slow cooker.  I think a part of me was afraid that it wouldn’t turn out right but friends, I was wrong.  Oh so very wrong.

The first time I made stock using the slow cooker was last Thanksgiving and I will not be going back to the old method at all.

I don’t have a pressure cooker or an Instapot so for me, the slow cooker is the best method for getting the most flavorful and rich stock.

Using my basic recipe for broth:

Bones + Veggies + Salt + Apple Cider Vinegar + Crapton of Water

I add all these things to my slow cooker and I fill the slow cooker all the way to the tippy top with water.  Put it on high and forget about it.  Once the liquid inside reaches a nice simmer (which takes about 6 hours), I turn the temperature to low and let that baby go for 24+ hours.

Yes, 24+ hours.

The house smells amazing and I end up with the best stock I’ve ever made.  When I get up in the mornings I’ll top off the slow cooker with more water to bring the level back up to the tippy top and give it at least another 6 hours.

I strain everything out and portion out the stock.  Typically I end up with about 5+ quarts of stock.  Chicken is my favorite but I’ve done this with beef and pork as well.

In fact, I just picked up some pork neck bones with my local hog share and I cannot wait to make some amazing stock out of that.  Pho in da house for daaayyyyzzz!

Some folks who use or drink stock on a daily basis will keep the slow cooker going for a week, topping off the water to replace what they remove.  I may try that if we get to a point where we are drinking stock on the regular but for now 24+ hours is perfect.

The best part (aside from the result!) is that making stock in the slow cooker means the house doesn’t steam up and I can move on to other things without having to babysit a big pot on the stove.

Now go make yourself slow cooker stock!