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.

primal blueprint book

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.


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!)
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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?




Let’s Detox!

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a field day earlier this week exploring a bunch of paleo-foodie blogs in search of inspiration to kick it up a notch in the kitchen.  What I wasn’t expecting was repeatedly coming across bloggers mentioning a mysterious code: 21DSD.  In the cases of PaleOMG and Against All Grain, even devoting whole pages to this mystery.  After a quick google search of 21DSD, I came across a million other posts from other blogs and websites, Pinterest boards and pins.  What does it stand for?  The 21-day Sugar Detox, created by Diane Sanfilippo, author and holistic nutritional consultant.  How timely, since I am studying blood sugar regulation!


As I mentioned, I try to stick to Paleo at least 80% of the time, but I’d be lying if I said my diet hasn’t been including more treats lately in the form of fresh and dried fruits, natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup, and even the occasional (ahem – nightly) few squares of 90% dark chocolate.  I KNOW, it doesn’t sound bad – all of that stuff qualifies as Paleo, it’s natural and fine for you, right?  Well, yes, but when it gets to the point that you’re craving something sweet at any given time of day, that’s when you know you might have a problem.  And I’ll admit it, I have a problem.

I’m ready for a change and that change starts today (well, yesterday).  I thought it would be a piece of (sugar-free) cake, but as I experienced yesterday, wow, it’s going to be a challenge.  I’m committed, though, and I’m armed and ready with the arrival of my new cookbooks.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and if you’re interested in joining me on the detox, head over to Diane’s site Balanced Bites, where you can load up on information about the 21-Day Sugar Detox, get one of her books, and even sign up for daily emails throughout the 21-day stretch!

If you’re thinking ahead about Thanksgiving (Um, what? I would like to enjoy a slice of Paleo pumpkin pie, thank you very much!), don’t sweat it.  If you start your 21DSD today, you’ll be done JUST in time to enjoy a Paleo holiday treat without wrecking your progress, and you’ll be much less likely to trip down the slippery slope of the dessert table temptations because your sugar craving will be virtually nonexistent by then!

Let’s do it!



Let’s Talk Food.

Last night, in an attempt to get organized (mostly in an effort to be successful at blogging regularly – I told you people I would be better about this!), I sat down with my calendar and started jotting down ideas for posts based on the events and “dates” we have coming up. The ideas that came most readily were, of course, those centered around the Friday theme I promised: Date Night.

(Side note: Is this what normal bloggers do? Or am I just that OCD that I need an outline to follow? Don’t answer that.)

Anyway, of course Date Night is easy because A) it involves my favorite thing: food, and B) we really enjoy dining out and have several favorite foodie restaurants in the area (not to mention, this will give us an excuse to visit a few more we’ve been wanting to try…like this one).

With all the future Date Night posts running through my mind… glorious visions of pork belly and smoked gouda grits, carrot cake waffles with maple cream cheese frosting, the best fried calamari you’ll ever eat, crimini mushroom pizza with smoked bleu cheese and roasted garlic oil, fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and roasted beets, guacamole prepared to order (are you drooling yet?)… I felt like I needed to preface those upcoming indulgent posts with a disclaimer of “OKAY, WHOA NELLY WE DON’T EAT AND DRINK LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME NOR DO I RECOMMEND YOU DO!  EVERYONE DROP THE FORKS AND CALM DOWN!”

There’s no denying we’re total foodies with a mutual soft spot for culinary creativity, but here are the food rules we live by the other 6.75 days of the week, in order to feel okay with indulging once in a while:

  • Both Tim and I follow the Primal Blueprint diet 90% of the time.  I’ll let you read about the details elsewhere, but basically, we eat mostly animal protein (red meat, chicken, fish) and vegetables… no grains, no sugar (other than what occurs naturally in fruits and veggies), and no packaged foods.  Some hardcore Paleo-dieters don’t eat milk products, but I like a little half & half in my coffee, I cook with butter, and let’s be honest, I love me some cheese on occasion.  This is the inspiring article that first prompted me to try eating this way (and to start lifting weights), and it’s been the best – and easiest – diet decision I’ve ever made.

  • We eat clean!  That means fresh fruits and veggies, organic whenever possible, and organic, humanely-raised meats and wild seafood, fresh and local whenever possible.  It wasn’t always that way, but more and more, if I can’t buy it organic, I won’t buy it at all.  I’m not being a snob, I just really want to be careful about what we’re putting into our bodies! I want to give my body the cleanest possible fuel so that it can run efficiently, heal itself, and maintain its strength.  Luckily, we are fortunate enough to live in an area where organic options are readily available at every turn.  We have access to a buying club that provides us with a weekly mystery box of fresh organic produce, and surprise of all surprises, COSTCO now offers a generous selection of organic meats and dairy products, and even nuts and oils.  If you think it’s not possible for you to eat clean or that it must be a boring way to eat, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Clean Eating magazine (or get a digital subscription for your iPad – I love mine!).  Tosca Reno’s book, The Eat Clean Diet, will give you even more insight as to what eating clean can do for your health (P.S. Listen, if Tosca can go from a frumpy, worn-out, 40-something wearing mom-jeans to a pro figure model and nutritional therapist… I mean, if that isn’t inspiration for you, I don’t know what is!! If anything, just Google her to read her story.).

I love that Clean Eating magazine offers a “real life” approach to eating clean… complete with no-brainer meal plans and shopping lists in every issue, and articles focused on making eating clean as simple and enjoyable as possible (cue the red wine and make-ahead meals!).

  • I try to eat five small meals a day on a schedule (yep, I set my alarm).  I plan ahead religiously (I keep a notebook) just to be prepared, but that’s as crazy as it gets.  I do not count calories – once upon a time I did, but honestly, I loathe plans that require counting calories because I become obsessive and consequently starve myself and then binge… it just doesn’t work for me.  I eat protein, veggies, and fats in every meal, end of story.

3:30… time to eat… what’s on the menu? Check the little green book.


In case you’re curious, here’s what my food looks like. Follow me on instagram (erinfrazee) to see more of my plate.

  • I make exceptions (within reason).  I make a protein shake after my workout every single day with whey protein and unsweetened almond milk.  Neither of those things are primal-friendly or technically “clean”.  I’m not worried about it, which brings me to my next point…


  • I don’t stress about food.  I allow myself one cheat meal a week, which usually ends up being on Date Night when we’re eating out at a restaurant and don’t have as much control over the food, or just want to indulge a little.  Cheating doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be filling up on the bread basket, but if grits come with our shrimp, you’d better believe we’ll be partaking.  (And if key lime pie is on the menu, um, it’s happening.)

Prosecco and macarons at Bottega Louie? You betcha.

  • I don’t let plans with friends throw me off either, and it bums me out that this is such a struggle for some people!!  Life is meant to be lived, friends, just do your best!  When doing something fun with friends that involves food, I either eat according to my preferences as best I can, or I use that meal as my cheat meal.  For example, if I’m going to a wine tasting with friends mid-week (such as is the case this week!) which will entail eating and drinking off the plan, it’s no big deal… I know that when Date Night rolls around later in the week, I’ll be doing the cooking.  It all evens out, and there’s no reason to stress!

I love me some dinners out with friends!! (Obviously.)

  • I drink red wine on the reg!  One glass with dinner or sometimes more if it’s with a cheat meal.  Occasionally, white wine happens, but not often.  I don’t really drink beer, so I don’t have a problem not drinking it.  Though the occasional craft beer at a local brewery or Bud Light Lime on the beach won’t throw off my weekend, it’s rare that I even have the urge for a pint.  If cocktails are in order, vodka or tequila and soda with lime is about the craziest I’ll get.

Oh yeah, we keep this baby stocked.

  • I have learned to quell the urge for something sweet after dinner with a square of Lindt 85% cocoa dark chocolate.  It’s not even sweet, but cutting sugar out of the rest of my diet has made my taste buds super sensitive when it comes to dessert.

So good.

So there you have it, folks.  Part of living a full and vibrant life means making health your top priority so that you can enjoy your life… taking control of the food you eat is the easiest way to do that.  Tim and I are always saying to each other, “I love the way we eat!” because not only is it easy, it’s healthy, we’re always satisfied but never stuffed, and we feel strong and we enjoy our food when we eat it.  For two foodies, I think that says a lot!!

Stay tuned for more good stuff comin’ up soon… need a preview?  I’ve got a calendar packed to the brim with a wine tasting, date night, dinner with friends, and a little sunrise yoga on the beach with Lululemon that is sure to be incredible!  Ciao for now!


Where have I been, you ask? Or: Another numbered list.

I have been a seriously absentee blogger, and I apologize for that.  Lots has happened, and I’m about to give you a quick run down to fill you in.  Some seriously important, some not so important, but you’re gonna get it all.  Ready?  Hold on to your seat.

1)  I lightened my hair a little bit… only about two levels (to a 7, from a 5, to be exact – those of you in the hair industry will get what I’m saying).  Just barely noticeable to the naked eye… in fact, I didn’t get many comments on it, which is exactly what I was going for.  I had just earned a pretty good tan when I decided to make the change, which is, I’m guessing, why not many people noticed… it simply looks as though my hair lightened in the sun while my skin was getting bronzed.  I left the area closest to the scalp and some of the underneath/back a bit darker to look more natural, and though it was a little weird at first (I’m sooooo conservative with my own haircolor – shocking, I know, coming from one who has shaved her head and sported a mohawk for a while now), I’ve grown to love it in a little over two weeks.  In other hair-related news, I’ve decided to just texturize it myself from here on out, and attempt growing it out… again.  We’ll see how long it lasts.

Subtle, no?

2) I have hardly been wearing any makeup and I freaking love it.  Day to day, if I have to go anywhere, I’ll do with just a light dusting of Bare Minerals, a swipe of mascara, and a pretty pop of color on my lips.  Most days it’s nothing, though.  I’m SO excited about this.  I credit this to my religious regimen of Arcona, which has been keeping my skin clear without fail, and which I talked about first in this post.  (Probably has to do a bit with my tan, too.)

3) I found a natural deodorant I like, for now.  Back in April, I switched from my hardcore, clinical-strength antiperspirant to an all natural, powder deodorant called LifeStinks.  It worked well enough but about a month ago, I started experiencing a bit of burning pit-irritation (awesome, right?)… which led me to endless researching of other brands of natural deodorant, and even to research some natural deodorant recipes that I could make myself.  I knowwww, I’m a crazy hippy.  We’ve been over this, people.

What? I have to keep it in the fridge!

THIS is the recipe that I tried (pictured above), which works well enough in the smell department (seriously! no smells!), but still gives me a bit of irritation, which is a major bummer.  For now, I’ve resorted to using a natural deodorant that I read about online, and found on the shelf at Whole Foods, a brand called Jason (I got the soothing aloe vera one, since my pits needed a little TLC). [EDIT: Jason was just not cutting it, people… multiple applications a day and still stinky?  No thanks.  I made a well-worth-it splurge on Lavanila, sold at Sephora or online, which got rave reviews from my bestie and life advisor… it’s amazing and you all should go buy it immediately.  I personally love the Vanilla Coconut scent, which is slightly sweet but fades with wear.)

4) I figured out what the HUGE ominous bug lingering around my patio was (pictured above): a mud-dauber.  EEK!  I caught it mid-progress building a little mud-hut for  its larvae on the side of our patio table, which immediately prompted a google image search to figure it out… bleeeughhhh, even the word larvae grosses me out to no end.  Anyway, once it had flown off, Tim and I decided to dismantle its larva-pot and let me tell you: I WISH I HAD TAKEN A PICTURE, just to gross you all out.  Little green wormies spilled everywhere, which we promptly swept up and launched over the balcony railing.  A little part of me felt sad for the mommy mud-dauber, who would come back to find her nest and babies destroyed… especially after reading that the species, though it looks menacing enough, is not aggressive and will rarely sting a human.  :(

The chicken pictured here is not free-range… and this’ll be the last time you see it atop any salad of mine.

5) I came to a conclusion about my diet the way I want to eat.  Last week, while Tim was out of town, I holed myself up in the apartment for a few rainy days to watch a zillion documentaries on netflix that I knew he wouldn’t want to watch with me (clearly, I am awesome).  I ended up wide-eyed, watching a few that horrified me or at least grossed me out enough and made me feel terrible as an animal lover that I was supporting factory farming and the awful conditions these animals must endure for much of their miserable lives, most of them diseased and pumped full of chemicals, before being slaughtered and served up as dinner.  Living on a 90% Paleo diet myself, I was fraught with guilt and faced with a serious decision: to go veg or not to go veg?  Since this is not a fitness/diet blog per se, and since I have written extensively about it on my primarily fitness/health-centered tumblr, if you’re interested, feel free to read more about my week trying vegan and incorporating grains back into my diet over there.  If you’re not interested in the details, here’s the short version: I’ve decided NOT to fully abandon Paleo, as it is the way of eating my body responds to best (in my opinion)… but that I am DEFINITELY going to be more mindful of where my meat is coming from, eat less of it, and focus on a plant-based diet.  With a little help from a new cookbook (I couldn’t resist), I’m excited to make my veggies a bit more exciting.  Like I said, check out the long version of the story on tumblr.

6) Tim and I have been spending more time enjoying ourselves and less time stressing out.  We are so blessed to live in a place so beautiful – it is an absolute crime not to make time to enjoy it.  So we’ve been making a real effort to do so during his time at home… and it has been amazing.

7) I decided, I think, that I might want to have a baby.  Someday.  I have no idea what prompted this “flipping of a switch” so to speak… from almost absolutely 99.9999% decided on my contentedness to never bear children, my somewhat annoyance with children and consequently, their parents… to… yep, I could find out I was preg tomorrow and be not only okay with it, but also, pretty pumped.  Is this completely weird?!  Before anyone gets their panties in a twist about this – it’s not happening anytime soon.  I’ve still got the Mirena in and have no plans to have it removed anytime soon, until we are absolutely positive we’re ready for whatever might happen.  I guess I just started thinking about my own childhood, how great my parents were with my sister and I, what an amazing life I’ve had and how much my parents loved (and still love!) me, talking to Tim about his childhood and growing up, the fun things about our childhood that we remember and cherish, the things our parents taught us and the relationship we have with our families… sigh.  It just made me a little sad to think that one day we might be old and wrinkly and never have shared life with a child.  And then of course I thought about what an amazing dad Tim would be, and how there is no one in the world I’d rather have a baby with.  AAAH, OKAY STOP.  Not happening right now, but it’s kind of funny how we’ve talked about it and we’re both on the same page… which is something that has changed for both of us (both having not wanted children or not being sure before).  We’re growing up!  (P.S. Plus, how cute would that little bugger be?)

8) AAAnd, last (I think) but not least, I got a job.  I’ve been doing hair here at home, as planned, but my handful of clients can hardly qualify it as a full-time job, and I was starting to get bored, and sad, and just all-around down about what I’m doing with my life and even moreso, what I’m not doing.  I’ve been struggling, as you’re aware, with the idea of departing fully from my “hairstylist” identity, but it’s getting easier as I realize more and more that I just need to do what makes me happy – it’s that simple.  Anymore, my day to day consists of putting a great deal of focus on my health and well-being, my nutrition and my fitness… it’s extremely interesting to me, I enjoy doing it, and it keeps me busy, particularly while Tim is traveling.  A few months ago, I was recruited to apply for a job as an educator at Lululemon Athletica, but couldn’t even consider it, expecting my unpredictable schedule with Aquage would make it virtually impossible to accept even a part-time position.  I can’t say that I immediately thought of Lululemon when I left Aquage… the truth goes probably a little more something like this: a month passed and I was getting bored and depressed and feeling useless and basically just wanting something to do with my brain!  THAT is when I remembered Lululemon.  How awesome does arriving to work in yoga pants, a sports bra, and flip-flops sound (among a zillion other perks)?  I’m in.  I called, I submitted an application, I interviewed (twice), and… they liked me.  I start in a few months, which is perfect… just after our vacation with Tim’s family to North Carolina.


I’m mostly looking forward to this job… to get my mojo back.  To get out there again.  To try new types of exercise (advanced yoga? pilates? climbing?).  To be involved in something that feels good!  And to explore a new realm of possibility… already my wheels are turning.  What might this become?

I. feel. so. good.

Hope everyone else has been doing as awesome.  :)