You Have a Choice.

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Okay, you guys. Do me a favor and while reading this post, try to forget that I am a registered yoga teacher, and instead just pretend that I’m a beginner. Because, guess what? In a way, I am. Without getting too woo-woo on you, we all are, even the most advanced yogi. Every time you step on your yoga mat, you are new, the practice is new, your body is new, it’s all new. Some parts may seem familiar but for the most part, you have a fresh clean slate and you’ve never been where you’re going. And that is honestly one of the many things about yoga that I love! Anyway…

This morning I went to an actual class for the first time in… a while. I mean, I have a million excuses… injury, exhaustion, that whole kid thing, time, etc, etc, etc. Whatever. I was literally in the parking lot trying to talk myself out of going, I had other things with which I could easily fill up 90 minutes, I hadn’t practiced in months (um, total ego working, that’s exactly why I SHOULD go in to class), I was restless and impatient and feeling like I had fallen behind in my practice and would be stiff and sore and too wrapped up in my own self-deprecating thoughts to get anything out of the practice… wow, clearly I really needed this class. So, once I realized what was happening in my head and how much I actually needed to get my butt in there, I went for it. And boy, oh boy, was it my lucky day, because the teacher’s message was just for me.

We have a choice. In every moment, we have a choice. We can choose to take the yoga class, or choose to drive away and sit at Starbucks and get sucked into the internet instead. We can choose to plan ahead and prepare healthy meals to support our body and our best health, or we can choose get take-out for the third time in a week. We can choose to yell at our kids in a moment of frustration, or choose to stop what we’re doing, take a deep breath and take a moment to get on their level. We can choose to argue and disagree with our significant other, or choose to slow down and try to understand their point of view. We can choose to dwell on regrets we have over the past, or choose to live fully in the present and appreciate all the gifts we have in our life right now. We can choose to let anxiety and worry and stress take away our peace of mind, or we can recognize what a waste of time that would be, and instead choose happiness, gratitude, and love for the present moment. We can choose to judge ourselves (or others) harshly, to let our own negative judgments keep us from experiencing all that this life has for us, or we can choose to be OPEN, to slow down, recognize the recurring patterns of our thoughts and subsequent behavior, and then again, choose to change.

There is no need to push negative feelings down, to ignore them, or to try to replace them. The need lies in recognizing and allowing yourself to feel these things, but then also in understanding that you are not your feelings. It’s so easy to identify with our feelings, to believe we are that which we feel. But we are so much more! We are strong, powerful, beautiful – we are filled with light! We are meant to connect with each other, we are meant to give and to receive… we are meant for soooooo much more than what 99% of the population believes is true for themselves.

My request for you today is to simply slow down, recognize that you have a choice. You don’t have to be sad, you don’t have to feel rushed, you don’t have to feel sick and tired, you don’t have to be angry, you don’t have to be anything but the light and the love that you truly are.

Namaste, y’all.




A Word on Perfection.

Jeez, it’s been a while.

My thoughts are racing. I have so much I want to write, so much I’ve wanted to write for a while… months (obviously, my last post was in June!). Every day, multiple times a day, for months, the thought has crossed my mind, “I could write about this” or “I should write about this” or “Dang, this would be a great post”… and then an inner monologue ensues for the next several minutes, writing the post in my head, and I decide that one day I will invent a brain chip or some kind of device that will record this stream-of-consciousness-style dictation and set it all up, nice and pretty, in a blog post, ready for editing and publishing at the press of a button. Has someone invented that yet? Where can I get one?

I digress.

What’s been holding me back? Hm. Well, ladies and gentlemen… that would be perfectionism, plain and simple. Perfectionism has been holding me back. And it’s been holding me back for a long time. It’s what held me back from that dance recital and piano recital when I was little (seriously, I remember these things vividly), and it’s what still holds me back today. Sometimes I hide behind the notion of perfection, that I DO have all my ducks in line and all my shit together, when really, I’m kind of a hot mess with a million things on my plate, none of which are truly quenching my appetite for creativity because I’m not devoting enough time to any single one of them. And perhaps if I were just honest and fully out there and vulnerable about where I stand, perhaps then I could breathe more deeply, chill the F out, and realize that I’m human and it’s not the end of the world if people see my wounds or my imperfections and that whole “being perfect” thing would magically no longer be necessary. And maybe that honestly and vulnerability would strike a chord with other imperfect humans. (Duh.)

As I sat down to write this post, I first took a second to look at the blog, scan the headers and buttons, and almost fell down the rabbit hole of reorganizing, deleting, “making pretty”… but is that what I came here to do? No. I want to write, and I need to get into the habit of actually writing, versus waiting for the perfect time, the perfect idea for a post, the perfect language to come to me, or worrying that the blog site itself isn’t perfect, that I don’t have the right camera or the right links or the right web design or hosting or stats… gah! It’s overwhelming, and it’s no wonder why I haven’t been back for a while. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect? What is “perfect” even? Who decides?

I was reading an article the other day which mentioned how the employment model is changing, how people can’t stand to be employees any longer and how more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs. But then, once they become entrepreneurs, they fall into the bad habit of creating a start-up by following the same ol’ money-seeking model, much like the company they left to become an entrepreneur, simply because it’s what they know. And the cycle continues. What does this have to do with my blog?

The Heyday Diaries is small. I would love for it to be bigger, to have a following. I would love for it to be pretty, like other mom blogs, fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, food blogs… pick one. It’s just not right now, and maybe it won’t ever be. But maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe I don’t have to follow the models set before me. Maybe I write about what real life is for me. Maybe I take pictures with my phone. Maybe I misspell things (the horror!) or have misplaced modifiers or dangling prepositions or run-on sentences in my writing. Maybe I share things that I like because I think other humans might like them, too. Maybe I just do it because I want to do it, and see what happens. Maybe I’m not perfect, and maybe I’m totally okay with that.

What do you think? Do I stand a chance?

I said I had a million things to say… and I will. Stay tuned.





Six things (of approximately one zillion) I’ve learned in just over 6 months of motherhood

With Mothers’ Day upon us, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on a few things I’ve learned as a new mama. Being a mother has opened my eyes to all of the things my own mom must have experienced in raising me (and probably still experiences)… the wakeful nights regardless of whether or not the baby is waking, the insane capacity for love with no bounds, the ever-present (and surely, often unnecessary) anxiety over not being able to keep her in a protective bubble, not to mention the constant pushing-down of fear that I’ve already screwed up my kid in less than a year of this mom gig. The list of things I need to thank my mom for grows daily. (Thanks, Mom! I love you!) Side note: Is anyone else dreading their little girl’s teenage years…?

This list is by no means all-encompassing, but it is a bit more personal, it’s kind of funny, and it is ABSOLUTELY ALL TRUE. New moms and seasoned moms alike, there’s bound to be something in here that you can identify with. Here’s what I think:

  1. How did I ever think I could live without coffee? Coffee and I broke up years ago when tea stole my heart. We had a brief fling when I was pregnant and summer mornings in SC involved strolling the beach on Isle of Palms with an iced coffee in hand, tanning my gloriously round belly and relishing in the fact that I didn’t have to “suck it in” while sporting a teeny bikini. Post-bump, I’ve tried them all: black tea, yerba mate, matcha… they’re all lovely in their own earthy way, but nothing quite gets my heart pumping in the morning like a good ol’ cuppa joe. These days, my emotional cup runneth over in so many unbelievable ways, but motherhood has carved a little (sometimes big) hole in my sanity that only a strong cup of coffee can fill. And what is this hole, you ask? Hm, that brings me to my next point…

2. Sleep really is underrated. No, really. Everything everyone says about sleep when you are pregnant is true. “Sleep now while you still can!” “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” “You’ll never have a good night’s sleep again for the next 18 years!” There were times when I wanted to punch those people when they uttered these seemingly stupid words, simply because I was sick of hearing them. Now, I just look back at my pre-baby self, tight-lipped, and I close my eyes, shake my head, and try not to cry. HA! BUT SERIOUSLY. On those glorious weekend mornings when Tim pops cheerfully out of bed to scoop Lennon off on an early morning stroll with the dogs, I gladly pretend to be dead for as long as humanly possible before one of many motherly duties require my being conscious. I truly look forward to the day when the first few hours of my morning do not consist of painfully blinking puffy eyes and attempting to entertain my child (or basically just making sure she doesn’t injure herself) until that first nap, at which point I most often choose sleep for myself, too, instead of getting a shower, doing laundry, dishes, paying bills, etc. Come on, moms, I know I’m not the only one in this groggy, wobbly, caffeinated boat. This morning, I was in the shower while Tim brushed his teeth and suddenly, I panicked out loud, “SHIT! WHAT DAY IS IT? MONDAY?!” Cue the well-deserved side-eye from my husband, because IT’S FRIDAY, PEOPLE. Not like it’s Tuesday and I thought it was Wednesday or Thursday and I thought it was Friday. I was a whole four days and a weekend off. Sigh. My brain hurts. More coffee, please.
3. Little victories deserve celebration. Little victories like remembering what day it is. Just kidding (or am I?). I am a girl who likes to get things done. My home screen is my to-do list. I garner immense satisfaction from crossing things off said to-do list. And let me tell you, pre-baby Erin? She got. Shit. Done. Pre-baby Erin laughed in the face of errands. Pre-baby Erin basically set up post-baby Erin for miserable failure with her insane expectation of what was actually realistic to accomplish in a single day, infant in tow. Enter the “ta-da” list. I have searched high and low for the original source of this idea, or at least, where I saw it first, which was on Instagram, but alas, I can’t seem to find it to be able to direct you there or to give proper credit. The idea is this: that instead of piling a million items onto my to-do list in hopes of accomplishing a mere few, and in effect, setting myself up for bitter failure, I take a few moments at the end of the day to acknowledge and celebrate everything I DID accomplish. Like that I washed, dried, folded, and put away a single load of laundry. Or that I remembered to take the chicken out of the freezer yesterday so that I could actually cook dinner and we didn’t have to order takeout for the third time this week. Or that I remembered to pick up the mail for the first time this month! Or that I finished bath time and bed time before 6:30pm and made it onto the balcony with a chilled glass of vino just in time to watch the sunset with Tim – YEAAH! HUGE victory! It may sound silly (and I realize now that, ha, I may sound like a huge loser who needs to GET IT TOGETHER), but I know I’m not alone here. As cliche as it sounds, we’ve got to give ourselves a break and enjoy the present moment, with our kids, our spouses, and our SELVES… And for God’s sake, treat ourselves to a cleaning lady every now and then, am I right? ;)

[For the record, this blog post is in and of itself, a major victory. It would be anyway, but the fact that I had written about 75% of it before casually hitting the “delete” button on my keyboard while my cursor was not clicked inside the text box, resulting in a complete annihilation of the entire post (because no, of course I didn’t save it as a draft, silly, why would I do that?)… that makes this finished post a huge victory. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did cry actual tears when I realized the first post was beyond recovery, because I’m a mom, and that sacred 35 minutes of nap time spent sipping coffee on the balcony whilst typing up this piece of hilarity for you, and which could have been spent doing laundry or dishes or sleeping or paying bills or whatever… was all for naught. I have coffee to thank for my sob-fest only lasting one minute instead of the rest of the day. ;) Questions? Refer to number one.]

4. So-called “baby experts” write books because people will buy them, but the best resource is a mama’s own intuition… and the best support comes from other moms. Because I’m a little type A, I spent plenty of money on books, spent tons of time Googling articles that told me what to expect when I was expecting, how to get my baby to sleep/nap/get on a schedule, the pros and cons of co-sleeping or baby-wearing or crying-it-out. I even read a book in the final weeks of my pregnancy (I won’t even bother to share the title) which promised a predictable schedule and minimal night-waking for my exclusively breast-fed baby by the age of… wait for it… SIX WEEKS. Now, I am right there with the rest of you reading this when I throw my head back and laugh at the thought of that even being suggested to a naive, first-time mom, and part of me is even a little annoyed, dare I say, pissed, that books such as this one are even written, and then treated like the bible when it comes to figuring out those first early stages of motherhood. There are still times I resort to Google when I come up against a head-scratcher, but when I catch myself feeling upset or frustrated more often than I’m feeling joy and enjoyment in caring for my child, that’s when I know I need to step back and see my situation for what it is. Hello. I have a baby. She’s a tiny human who is just figuring out her world and I get to figure it out right alongside her. It’s not easy all the time but, holy crap is it amazing! It makes me sad to think of the time I spent berating myself for “doing something wrong” because a stupid book told me I should be doing it another way. Just tonight, Lennon fell asleep nursing (the horror!), and I rocked her for a while as she slept, just watching her tiny nose and mouth and feeling her little sighs against my skin. Bless her sweet little heart – I was in heaven. Weeks ago, a sleep trainer (along with countless resources that say the same) told me to never let the baby fall asleep nursing! Never rock her to sleep! You’ll create a sleep crutch!! You know what I say to that? Screw you. My baby is beautiful, she’s only going to be a baby for a short while, and who knows, she may be my only baby. I’m going to hold her and nurse her and rock her and stare at her as long as I damn well please, thank you very much.

As for support, understanding, empathy… no book will give you that the way another mom going through the same thing will. My saving grace on many a rough day has become an online community of mommy bloggers and instagrammers and my weekly (or more) fix of meeting up with other real-life mom-friends for coffee and yoga and general commiserating. Some of you are probably reading this and feeling that sense of camaraderie now as you scroll through my list… that “me too!” feeling, or that “thank God I’m not the only one!” feeling. Community is an absolute necessity as a mom and I will be the first to admit, I would be insane and miserable and completely lost without my fellow moms.

 5. My life goals have suddenly taken on much bigger meaning. All right, time to get a little deeper. Who is with me, here? You know what I mean. Everything I do is now preceded by a thought, however fleeting, of how this will affect my child. My thoughts of my own future, my goals, dreams, and aspirations, are now fueled by the desire to provide an amazing and adventure-filled life experience for my child and the desire to be something that she will someday not only be really proud of, but also inspired by. I walk a little taller, talk to more people, put myself out there, practice a little self-love… because I want to inspire her to do the same. I’m hyper-aware of my health, now more than ever, the food I choose to put into my body and my physical fitness… because I know what it’s like to lose a parent to illness at way too young an age, and I do NOT want her to have to experience that… plus, I want her to learn from me that taking charge of your health is not only empowering, but that it opens the door to a full and happy life. Plans to travel, to start a business, to spend the rest of my life DOING THINGS and not just talking about doing things… all of that seems infinitely more exciting knowing she will be a huge part of it.  

6. Taking care of my SELF is now more necessary than ever. It’s why I commit to that early morning yoga class every Saturday. It’s why nap time doesn’t always mean it’s time for me to do the dishes… but that maybe I’ll take a nap myself or spend that time sipping coffee and reading on the balcony. As women and mothers, it seems we are so hard-wired to spend our time taking care of everyone else that we often forget to take care of our selves. I, however, am acutely aware of how detrimental that whole “putting everyone else first” thing can be to a person… physically, mentally, and emotionally. There was a time when Lennon was a brand new baby, we were living in South Carolina, the closest family members several states away, and Tim was traveling a lot for work. I should’ve reached out for help, but I didn’t. There were days – weeks, sometimes – where I was the only parent caring for a new baby 24/7 with no breaks and no clue what I was doing and it almost broke me. I now know that I NEED time for myself to reboot. Time spent alone, allowing my mind to rest. Time spent moving my body and taking care of my health so that I can feel good. Time spent exploring and pursuing my passions. Time spent connecting with girlfriends, and connecting with my husband. Because if I don’t take care of myself first, what kind of broken, incomplete, resentful, and unhappy wife and mother would I be? And what sort of message would that send to my girl?

I knew being a mom would change me, but what I didn’t know is that it would change me in ways I never expected – that being a mom would make me want to be a better person simply because I’m no longer just stumbling through life trying to figure things out for myself… I have a gorgeous, tiny person who depends on me to survive, and who hopefully will look up to me and model her behavior after mine, which makes every single thing I DO meaningful. I mean… life just got REAL. There’s no way my pre-baby self could have even imagined how full and crazy and mind-blowing my life would feel now that she’s here. Life as her mom is amazing, dirty hair, coffee breath, and all. 

Happy Mothers’ Day, moms.



On Blogging, or… Not Blogging

Okay, so do I ignore the fact that it’s been almost three months since my last post? Do I even need to start this post with an apology? I feel like in the past year, I’ve had at least half a dozen posts start with something along the lines of “sorry it’s been so long since my last post…” followed by a promise of more regular posts and lots of exciting future posts lined up, blah blah. But let’s be real: life happens. I’m a real person and I have flaws, not the least of which is my non-ability to adhere to a strict blogging schedule for your reading pleasure. Sorry! While I love blogging, sometimes it takes a backseat to the rest of my life… which sucks because I get so much pleasure out of writing and posting (regardless of the feedback, or lack thereof), that I really should make an effort to cultivate and nurture the habit.

Came across this post in my feed this morning (because I’m still somewhat of a regular reader, and always feel more inspired after filling my cup with a dose of Camp Patton or Swanky and Dapper or some other favorite)… from zenhabits: The Biggest Reasons You Haven’t Changed Your Habits.

Aka: Good morning, Erin, this post is for you.

Let’s take a moment, shall we? In fact, YOU take a moment – go read it, then come back, and we’ll discuss.

The first three reasons for failure listed in Leo’s post are the biggest for me, personally, and seem to be for people I work with regarding nutritional therapy, too.

1. Not changing your habit environment. This is a biggie. Set yourself up for success. For me (and for most people) it means, for example, if you know you’re watching your sugar intake, don’t buy the ice cream and pretend you’re just going to have a small spoonful of it every now and then. Why even have it in your house? If you’re cutting grains, don’t buy bread! Don’t torture yourself! Change your environment: clean out your fridge, your freezer, your cupboards, and only stock your kitchen with whole, nutrient-dense foods you won’t feel guilty about putting into your body.

2. Expecting comfort. Change is not comfortable. Change freaks people out. But you’ve got to understand that anything worth having – that goal that you want so badly to accomplish – takes some effort on your part and it’s not going to be easy. We all have aspects of our life we want to change, but the real challenge comes in taking the necessary steps to get there. We want to lose weight, exercise more, be stronger, be healthier, save money, go on trips, have hobbies, spend more time with friends, cook more, read more, write more, get more out of each day, live a full life. It takes a little planning and commitment on our part, and the action items themselves are not necessarily difficult… it’s just the getting started, the act of doing something differently than you are used to, changing your comfortable routine, that is the most uncomfortable part. You have to start somewhere.


3. Not starting small. I am notorious for biting off more than I can chew when it comes to setting goals or having a plan to develop a new habit. Especially when it comes to blogging. Haven’t blogged for months? That’s it! I’m going to blog every day for the next week. Monday, great. Tuesday, I have a topic, but it’s a little forced. Wednesday, crap, I have lost all zest for writing and this sounds like phony baloney garbage. Forget it, I’ll start up again when I feel inspired… *crickets*… three months later… I’M BACK AND I’M GOING TO BLOG EVERY DAY! *Insert side-eye emoticon here.* It’s just not realistic, nor is it sustainable. Habits take time to create and to grow… and to maintain! Attempting to climb Mount Everest or run a marathon on a whim without the proper training is just asking to be disappointed. I know better, and so do you.

That being said, I’m going to start small, today. Currently, my plate is full. I’m eight months pregnant; I own a house in one state and I’m currently (though temporarily) living out of a suitcase in another; I’m attempting to map out yet another move, to yet another state… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Oh, and did I mention I’m about to have a baby in four weeks? Possibly (hopefully) less? Yeah, there’s that. So there may be a few other things taking precedence over the Diaries. Still, I want to make time for it. Maybe if I don’t set the blogging bar so high in the first place, maybe if I set myself up for success by mapping out time each week, maybe if I get comfortable with being uncomfortable… maybe, just maybe, you’ll be graced with a little more of my wit and wisdom here on the Heyday Diaries. ;)

See you soon, but not too soon…




Revisiting The Primal Blueprint

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I’ve mentioned in a few posts recently that I’ve been reminiscing about living in our first apartment in Jupiter, how it has me homesick for Florida and the life we had there. Without getting all philosophical and emotional about the past and present and blah blah, I will say that I’ve been doing a little soul-searching to figure out why things feel so different now and guess what came up for me repeatedly? A major – and I mean MAYY-JORR – contributing factor to living the vibrant, healthy, happy life we enjoyed there was – SHOCKER!! – our diet and workouts. You’d think as a yoga teacher and nutritional therapist, this would be old news to me, right? I mean, duh, Erin. Duhhh.

SO, long story short, I thought back to when I first started getting into fitness and healthy eating, and decided to revisit the first book I ever read on the Paleo diet/lifestyle – that changed the way I looked at food and working out, might I add: The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation.

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Okay, ignore the cheesy cover – this book is legit.

I first found the book by poking around the internet googling something along the lines of “eat like a female bodybuilder”… I KNOW, I know, make fun of me now, I’m fine with it. I had started working out more (Tim was traveling a lot and I was only working part-time so it became something to fill gaps in my day) but I wasn’t noticing much change in my body. I didn’t actually want to be a body-builder, but I knew my body type was muscular (aka, I was not designed to look like a super-skinny VS model) and I wanted to see what I could do with it. But I was still weak and knew it probably had something to do with my diet because, at that point all I knew of nutrition was the mainstream low-fat, whole grain nonsense… I was clueless (like the majority of the population) about feeding myself for optimal wellness and in this case, athletic performance.

ANYWAY. In my google search, I came across this article, which I could totally relate to… and which led me to this article, which broke down the Paleo diet so I could understand it… which then led me to Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark Sisson’s website. After poking around a bit on his site, I downloaded the 21-Day Total Body Transformation and, as I said above, my life was changed.

Tim and I implemented the lifestyle immediately. I was already getting an organic produce share every week, so my grocery trips to Whole Foods and sometimes Costco meant stocking up on quality meat and fish, healthy fats like organic coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, and a variety of spices and primal-friendly pantry staples like coconut aminos and almond meal.



The mother load.

I continued my workouts and noticed changes in my strength and endurance in the first week. I was adding weight to my sets consistently and feeling strong and energized at the end of my workouts instead of depleted and dizzy.


HA! Nice face. Remember this?! Check my guns, yo!

We followed the advice of the book and started enjoying exercise more by finding things we liked to do outside the gym, participating in group beach workouts and going for bike rides together.



Six days a week, we ate every meal according to the primal blueprint guidelines, enjoying a glass of red wine here and there, a square of 90% dark chocolate almost every night, and one night a week, usually on the weekend, we’d enjoy a meal at one of many local favorite restaurants. While we tried to stick close to primal blueprint guidelines when we ate dinner out, we knew we couldn’t control what was going into the dish and we didn’t obsess about it. And sometimes, we didn’t stick to the blueprint at all. We were crazy fit, healthy, energized, and happy! Life was seriously our oyster and we were eating it right up… because those are allowed, heyyyy.

Enjoying a burger, fries, and beer (off-meal) after a long bike ride on the beach... and, from the look on his face, also enjoying ESPN on the bar TV. ;)

Enjoying a burger, fries, and beer (off-meal) after a long bike ride on the beach… and, from the look on his face, also enjoying ESPN on the bar TV. ;)


Eggs (in one of many forms) and veggies for breakfast were ARE the new norm.


SIDE NOTE TIME! Now, I will admit that being pregnant has me a little more body-conscious than normal right now, (and that my current total weight gain of 6lbs feels like 20 on my 5’3″ frame) but this isn’t about that. It’s about getting back the energy, the clarity of mind and body, the zest for life, and preparing myself not only for the delivery of a healthy baby, but also for my rebound into a successful run with breast-feeding and optimal post-preg wellness for both me and the babe.

So that is what inspired me, a couple weekends ago, on the way home from our road-trip to Raleigh, to take the 4.5 hours in the car as the perfect opportunity to revisit and refresh my memory of the Primal Blueprint. So that A) I could get re-motivated to clear my kitchen of any lingering first-trimester junk food and replace it with healthy primal-friendly stock, and B) so that I could share with YOU the basic gist of the Primal Blueprint and perhaps persuade you to look into trying it for yourself. (I promise, you won’t regret it!)

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SO, without further rambling (geez, I know, sorryyyy, that was a long intro), here it is.

The Primal Blueprint is about getting the greatest health and fitness benefits you can with the least amount of pain, suffering, and sacrifice […] Today, my goal is to look super fit without having to follow an exhaustive, time-consuming exercise regimen, [and] enjoy the heck out of my meals without the slightest hint of deprivation.  – Mark Sisson

I’m going to outline the key concepts for you here. You can find more information about the lifestyle by visiting Mark’s Daily Apple, or of course, by getting one of the many books he’s written on the Primal Blueprint. (Nope, I’m not being paid to say that.)

Out with the OLD

The Primal Blueprint involves changing your lifestyle, but let me just say this once: IT IS NOT HARD. So get it out of your head that it is. For starters, here’s what you can leave in your past:

  • Grains, sugars, sweetened beverages. All of it. Processed carbs drive insulin production which can lead to inflammation and fatigue among other issues.
  • Hydrogenated oils. There’s the obvious heavily processed snack foods and packaged baked goods along with deep-fried foods, but this also means no more margarine or “spreads”, canola, corn, or vegetable oils either. All this stuff sets the stage for cancer and heart disease, no matter what it says on the label about being heart-healthy, so pitch it! You’ll have plenty of other primal-friendly options in terms of healthy fats that will leave you way more satisfied.
  • Beans and legumes. These babies are just hard to digest, period. They can mess with your gut big time and therefore your immune system and health in general.
  • Dairy. You don’t haaave to get rid of it, but here’s the thing: most commercial dairy isn’t good for anyone. It’s loaded with hormones and other impurities. If you’re lactose tolerant, opt for organic, pastured butter and heavy cream. YES, that’s right. BUTTER. And HEAVY CREAM.
  • Chronic exercise. I’m talking to you, chick on the elliptical. Time to reject your hours spent in the gym and the idea that reaching a certain number of miles, hours, or weekly workouts is the key to fitness. It’s not.
  • Sedentary patternsNow I’m talking to you, chick in front of the computer. Google “sitting disease” and tell me what you find. How about a lot of fat storage, elevated risk of heart disease, joint pain, muscle weakness, and lack of energy? Get up and move.
  • Poor sleep habits. Just go to bed already. Leave the phone plugged in downstairs, use a real alarm clock, and “shut down” at least an hour (preferably more) before climbing into bed.
  • Somber, spartan approach to lifestyle transformationGet it out of your head that you have to count calories, have rigid portion control and specifically timed meals, limited menu choices, guilt, or binging cycles. Does this sound familiar? Well, it’s over. There’s no strict workout regimen, no struggling, and no suffering. Like I mentioned before: IT IS NOT HARD. You’re welcome.

In with the NEW

Is this starting to sound like something you might be interested in trying? Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It is that good. Here’s what you can look forward to with  your new primal lifestyle:

  • Primal foodsMeat! Fish! Poultry! Eggs! Veggies! Fruits! Nuts! Seeds! High-quality fats! Eat it up and love your life! Guess what else? You can even enjoy your red wine and dark chocolate, too!
  • Primal eating philosophyEat as much of your primal foods as you want, when you want, however often you want. You’ll begin to notice you’re satisfied with less, after meals you don’t feel stuffed or bloated (you feel amazing), and you can indulge sensibly without having the urge to binge because you’re able to enjoy life guilt-free. If you’re anything like me, this will be HUGE for you.
  • Increase daily movementNotice this doesn’t say, “do this exercise five times a week”. Nope. Did you not read that part above? NO MORE of that. Do what makes you happy. Do what you enjoy. Walk more. Use stairs. Take frequent breaks when you have to sit for a long time (i.e., at work, etc). Basically, get off your behind and move around.
  • Brief, intense workoutsThis may be a curve ball or something new to some of you but give it a shot – it’s essential for maintaining high energy levels and a healthy heart and lungs at any age. Go harder but less often and for less time. So, like a 30-minute (or less) strength workout. Sprint intervals for 15 minutes (or less). That’s all… it’s easy, and you don’t have to do this every day.
  • Calming evening rituals. Like I mentioned above, wind down at night to prepare yourself for a healthy night’s sleep. Turn off the tv, put away the technology, dim the lights, use candles, read, chat with your loved one, take a slow neighborhood stroll. You get the idea.
  • FUN approach to lifestyle transformation. This is your chance to explore exciting new foods, recipes, and establish new eating practices. (Side note: I will never forget the first time we tried sun-chokes or kale… and how my cookbook collection expanded to include what are now some of my favorite recipes of all time!) You’re going to start exercising for fun and energy, and best of all – NO MORE OVERTRAINING! You’re going to PLAY more! And probably best of all, you’ll start to enjoy life more with your loved ones, because you’ll be inclined to be less “connected” and more appreciative of spending time with your family and friends. This really does happen, people! (This is the part where I could go on a tangent about diet and digestion and protein and fat and related neurotransmitter production and mental wellness… but I’ll spare you.) ;)




What to expect…

So aside from the energy levels and new zest for life you can expect to experience by going primal, what are some other benefits from adopting this new way of life? So glad you asked.

  • Anti-agingI can’t explain this as well as Mark does here.
  • AppetiteYou won’t overeat anymore. You just won’t. Adopting the Primal Blueprint literally cured me of my binging tendencies.
  • Blood markersExpect to see some improvement in your cholesterol. But how can that be, eating red meat and butter?! I’m rolling my eyes at you right now. Get your head out of the low-fat-high-carbohydrate-garbage diet myth you’ve been fed for years and start doing your own research.
  • Body fatYou will lose body fat. Can I say that any more simply?
  • Diminished cravings. People don’t believe me when I tell them I just didn’t want grains, junk food, or sweets any more. Sure, I indulged on occasion, but I didn’t miss them in my daily life. Don’t believe me? Guess you’re going to have to experience it yourself.
  • Digestion. If you didn’t already know, your digestion is probably impaired… yours and nearly 90% of Americans’. The Primal Blueprint follows the guidelines of the diet I recommend as a nutritional therapist for optimal digestion, and optimal wellness. Period.
  • Drug-free. This can mean so many things… you’ll soon be ready to ditch your OTC antacids and pain relievers, then, with your doctor’s support, you’ll be able to work toward eliminating many if not all of your prescription meds, too.
  • Immunity. This goes hand in hand with digestion: healing your digestion leads to optimal immune system function. You’ll probably notice getting sick less often and recovering more quickly if you do happen to get run down.
  • Measurements. If you happen to be keeping track, you’ll see these change, too. Your clothes will fit (and look!) better and looser as you decrease body fat, reduce systemic inflammation, and get rid of the bloating and water retention! Where will you see this first? Tush, hips, thighs, waist – the primary storage areas for fat. (YAY!)
  • Muscle mass. Increase or maintain and sculpt muscle mass while dropping body fat. Um, isn’t that basically ideal and what everyone wants? Awesome.
  • SleepYou’ll fall asleep faster, sleep better and more soundly, and begin to awaken naturally (without an alarm), refreshed and energized. No joke.
  • StressDiet alone affects the way our body and mind respond to stress. The Primal Blueprint will help regulate this and reduce fatigue, burnout, and dysfunction that seems to go hand in hand with a hectic modern life.
  • Total fitness. The Primal Blueprint involves functional exercise and a diet that develops and supports a balanced physique and broad physical competency. See that picture above, the one of me doing my best meathead impression and taking selfies in the gym? Ha. Okay take a close look at the picture of me standing. For most of my life, carrying most of my weight around my hips (like many people), I never used to look like that… even and muscular and balanced from head to toe. And I’ll never forget my mom’s reaction when I carried a huge la-z-boy recliner up a flight of stairs by myself. Simply put, you’ll look good, and you can do more – physically – without risk of overtraining or injury.
  • Optimal wellnessEverything listed above and more. Improved bone density. Glucose tolerance. Insulin sensitivity. Improved blood pressure. Hormone balance. How will you know about all of this if you’re not being tested for it? Simple. You’ll feel the best you’ve ever felt.

So… wow. There you have it. Man, I don’t know about you but revisiting this book has me totally reenergized to get back to that lifestyle.

And you? What are you waiting for?! Get the book and join me!



P.S. Nope, I wasn’t paid for writing this. (Sadly!) My opinion is legit. I really do love it and recommend it with all my heart. Go for it.

Look UP.

Coming off a weekend filled with laughter and adventure with two of our best friends in Raleigh, NC, I’m a little worn out and don’t have much desire to spend a lot of time in front of the computer… it’s a beautiful, sunny day here, and I really feel like getting out need to get out to enjoy it.

I woke up this morning, immediately flicked through junk emails on my phone, and the first thoughts running through my head were crappy ones: I’m still tired. My back hurts. Tim’s already on a plane again. I have so much to do today. There is ZERO food in the house and I’m completely out of dog food, too.  And these new dressers aren’t going to put themselves together.

Then I stopped myself. What a horrible way to start the day. I put the phone down and closed my eyes. It’s going to be a beautiful day today – sunny and blue skies! There’s no food here, so I should treat myself to breakfast before hitting Trader Joe’s. Maybe by the beach. I need to get out and enjoy this day. I am so blessed – I have everything I need. Today is going to be a great day.

And it is.

On another note… this video has my wheels turning… Check it out.

A Lesson in Non-Attachment: Confessions of a First Trimester Diet

Hi, my name is Erin, and I’m a first-trimester-crappy-food-aholic. 

[Hi, Erin.]

Time for a confession, friends! Maybe one you’ve been wondering about, sitting back and waiting for, and perhaps one any fellow moms-to-be will be relieved to hear. So here goes nothing:

I haven’t eaten like a nutritional therapist for three months.

I’ve eaten foods at which I would otherwise turn up my nose, foods I would never dream of putting in my grocery cart, foods I would NEVER in a million years recommend to any nutritional therapy client, foods I would – and did – feel guilty feeding myself, my husband, and my unborn child. *hangs head in shame* Oh, the drama.

I feel blessed and cursed with my bout of first-trimester morning sickness… blessed in that I know some friends who had experienced far worse than what I did, and cursed in that… well, let’s just say none of it is particularly pleasant. For three months – pretty solid, starting around week 5 – I woke up every day feeling hungover, and if and when I did get out of bed, that any sudden movement might throw my stomach into somersaults. The feeling lasted from the moment I woke up until I laid down at night. It was not pleasant.

As a result, I didn’t want to eat – anything. After a few days of even water making me feel nauseous, I caved and asked Tim to pick up some gingerale. Yep, high fructose corn syrup-laden gingerale, in all it’s carbonated, sugary glory. It tasted like nectar of the gods and though I was well aware that it was nothing I would normally put in my body, I took comfort in the temporary relief it brought.

After about a week of eating barely anything (aside from a few cardboard-y saltines, yep, those too), I felt nauseous but starving and panicked that I was doing the growing bean inside me a major disservice by depriving it of food all together. Now I know that that’s not exactly true, but at the time, and even now still, it’s anxiety-provoking to think that now I was responsible not only for my own nutrition but for another life as well! YIKES! NO PRESSURE!

The Pizza Incident

I should probably mention that, by the time I felt like I was ready to try eating, the entirety of my normal paleo diet suddenly seemed repulsive to me. Red meat? Forget it. ANY meat? Not a chance. Eggs? Don’t even say the word. Lettuce, vegetables, anything remotely healthy? No, just no. The only thing that sounded good to me was a salty, brothy bowl of packaged, msg-laden ramen noodles, a cheesy bowl of kraft dinner, or a plain, not-too-saucy slice of cheese pizza. I KNOW, people, I know. Shut it.

So when I confessed my guilty desires with Tim, he promptly ordered a pizza (come to think of it, he was probably all-too-eager, after basically fending for himself for any and all meals for an extended period of time). What happened when I took that first bite surprised me: instead of my stomach turning into a hot queasy mess, my entire body relaxed. It was as though I was finally giving it something it wanted – needed – and it was thanking me with complete and utter relief. I will never forget the feeling – it was so odd!

A Lesson in Non-Attachment

From that point on, I cut myself a little slack. I didn’t go completely crazy and give the excuse that I was eating for two or that, welp, this is all I can stomach, so I might as well eat ALL THE CARBS. No. I cut myself a little slack. I let go of the idea of perfection, because that’s all it is – an idea. I made a commitment to be non-attached to my previous lifestyle as a nutritional therapist, to be present and accept where I was at the present moment, and to understand that this, too, shall pass, that it was temporary. I wouldn’t feel this way forever. (Thank you, yoga.)

It’s hard to remember, especially when it does feel like it will be forever. But it was important to just take it day by day.

I am particularly grateful for my healthy diet and awareness of my body leading up to my pregnancy and that I have been able to maintain that awareness to a certain extent. What I noticed as time went on, as my appetite began to improve little by little but as I continued to allow myself to eat breads and grains and sugars, was that it was no longer just “first trimester” sickness I was experiencing. This is the part where some of you seasoned moms will roll your eyes or maybe even stop reading all together, because I’m going to tell you that the uncomfortable bloating, the fatigue, the lack of energy, the joint pain, the acne – all commonly considered normal, unavoidable pregnancy symptoms – that, I believe, those symptoms, for me, were diet-related. And I say this because, after a week of getting back to a 90% paleo diet, most of those symptoms have subsided for me. In the last week I have been less bloated, more energetic, my skin is clearing up, and I’m sleeping better (aside from the 37 times I have to get up to pee, of course).

I am beyond pleased to share that the 14-week mark has come and gone and that first phase of misery (and my stint with malnutrition) is over.  Here are some of the delicious, primal-friendly meals we enjoyed last week:

  • chicken sausage with roasted sweet potatoes, eggplant, and zucchini
  • roasted spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and homemade grass-fed beef Italian sausage
  • RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME grilled green chicken with sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers and portabello mushrooms
  • crock pot pork shoulder with tangy creamed swiss chard and caramelized onions
  • leftover shredded pork with red peppers, romaine lettuce and avocado over cilantro lime cauliflower “rice” (a la, Chipotle’s carnitas bowl – YUM!)
2014-04-27 19.06.44-2

Hooray! Meat and veggies are back on the menu!

What’s next?

Because of our (yes, our, Tim has been in this with me, obviously) compromised diet over the last three months, we both feel ready for a little detox. Before you get your panties in a twist, I should probably reconsider my choice of words. We’re not exactly doing the Master Cleanse over here, so relax. So what will our detox look like? Probably a few weeks of 80-90% primal blueprint, easing into a 21-day sugar detox to rid ourselves of the sugar cravings we’ve both been feeling (Trader Joe, if you tempt me with your dark chocolate peanut butter cups, I swear!). More on the 21DSD in a future post… stay tuned!

I know everyone has a different experience when it comes to morning sickness and pregnancy in general.  What was your first trimester like? Did you feel guilty about eating junk? How did you get back on track?