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.

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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.

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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.

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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. ;)

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

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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.) ;)

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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!

xx

e

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!)
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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?

 

xx

e

Big Changes on the Home Front

Are you even ready for this mamma-jamma of a post? I don’t know if you are. Buckle up, it’s a doozy, and it’s Monday morning, so if you haven’t had your coffee yet… maybe you should.  I have a few big announcements to share and I figured it best to just knock ‘em all out in one post.  Ready or not…

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Wait for it…

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Holy crap, we’re having a baby! That’s right, I’m a little over 13 weeks and out of the “danger zone” for the most part so I figured now would be a good time to officially share the news with family, friends, and the world. (For the record, most of our family knew this already, and we made the announcement on Facebook on Friday, but now all the distant cousins and what have you can be in on our little peach-sized secret). We are over the moon excited about it, though at times it still seems a little surreal… that is, it did until I was in a fitting room last week and had a moment checking out my profile in a suddenly tighter than usual tank top. Don’t worry, it was a happy moment – I was actually relieved to have something resembling a bump versus looking like I’ve been overdoing it at every single meal (which is how I’ve been feeling I look for the past three months!).  The first trimester has been rough, but not as bad as I’m sure some moms experience, so I count my blessings.  I’m finally starting to feel more like myself which means actually eating real food (more on this in a future post) and not having to take a nap every single day, which is MAJOR progress. Things like registering for gifts and setting up a nursery still seem like… “What? We have to do these things?” right now, so I’m hoping that feeling will fade and we can get busy getting ready. By the end of October, we should have our very own little pumpkin to enjoy! (Cheese, I know.)

i heart charleston

With this little (big) change on the horizon, and with our recent move to Charleston, SC, (i.e., new life phase, new city, turning a page, etc.) it felt fitting to get back to writing more regularly on the Diaries, to revamp a little (again), and to make this blog what I’ve always really wanted… which, I don’t think I ever had completely figured out. I’ve been poring over a lot of my favorite blogs lately to get some inspiration and trying to figure out what it is that makes me love them and keep coming back for more. The common denominator? Personality and real-life-ness (new word I just made up), often combined effortlessly with a little bit of niche expertise. There’s the DIY blog with humor that cracks me up left and right, gives me useful information on how to complete any number of household projects, and throws in a little bit of that real-life-ness (there it is again) with sweet photos of the authors’ newborn baby or posts cataloguing conversations with their three-year-old. Or the fashion blogger or foodie blogger or personal organizer blogger or life coach blogger or crafty-stay-at-home-mom blogger… all of whom provide valuable resources that I have actually pinned and used at one point or another and who also keep me completely hooked and entertained with personal stories about their lives, their families, their wins and their losses.  It’s something I’m striving towards.  I updated my “Meet Erin” page the other day to reflect this evolution of The Heyday Diaries… so when you’re ready, pop on over and have yourself a gander.

facebook breakup

And last but not least (are you still with me, I know this is a lot to take in)… I’m CONSIDERING quitting Facebook. That’s right, you heard me. Insert horror movie screams here. Here’s the deal, when I get on Facebook, it’s usually to actually look for something like an article I read or a link I wanted to send someone, or to find a “Page” in search for more info about a company or WHATEVER – the point is, I usually get on there with a purpose.  And then this madness ensues:
Oh look, a cute photo of someone’s baby, I have to comment/like/etc. [Click on baby photo] Oh look, so-and-so also commented, I haven’t seen her in forevvvver, I wonder what she’s up to? [Click on so-and-so's photo] Oh look, she posted a funny video, it’s only TWELVE minutes long, I should watch it immediately. [Watch video] Oh look, here’s a link here to another funny video… Four hours later, I’m still in my bathrobe with un-brushed teeth, it’s mid-afternoon, my hot tea is now cold and I have significantly less time to complete everything I wanted to complete in the day, to-do’s get pushed to the next day, and I feel like a worthless blob. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we’ve all had those moments of self-control, or should I say, lack thereof, with Facebook and to be honest, that is really ONLY reason numero uno for our semi-breakup.  Equally important numero dos is that… well, Facebook just isn’t what it used to be.  Once upon a time, my newsfeed (or whatever it was originally called) was filled with photos of family and friends, and Facebook was a way to keep in touch with loved ones across the state, the country, and even the world.  It was a people-connector.  Now, I have to scroll through dozens of ads and links and articles and “sponsored posts” before getting a glimpse of a friend’s new baby or reading the exciting news that a cousin has just been accepted to grad school.  Sadly, it has just become a huge disappointment, an even HUGER (new word) waste of my time.  The only real reason I feel obligated to keep it for now is because, as obnoxious as it is, it’s still the primary photographic connection to family and friends across the miles.  I’m baby-stepping down from having a presence there (which, I suppose, I already was), and we’ll see how that goes for a while before I cut ties completely. I’ve started by removing the app from my phone and connecting my blog to post automatically to my Heyday “page”… which, is still there for now and will probably be there indefinitely, assuming that “social media is here to stay“, and blah blah, so you can find me there I suppose, but probably more often on other platforms, such as InstagramTumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter… all of which are more for fun anyway and much less time-consuming for me. Oh, and this blog. This is definitely here to stay, so I really, really hope those of you who stumbled upon this post via my Facebook breakup announcement on the actual ‘book will subscribe to receive posts via email if you care to keep up with the Frazees and possibly learn something about nutrition or yoga along the way.  OH, and also maybe we can share a few laughs while we’re at it. I promise I will do my best not to bore you to tears.

That’s all… for now. I think three huge announcements are enough for one post, non? ;)

Stay tuned.

xx

e

 

2014… Commitment: ADVENTURE!

i want to be

This morning, unlike many mornings past where I had been quick to snooze the alarm and pull the sheets over my head… this morning, the first of many mornings to come in 2014 and beyond… this morning I woke up with excitement.

Determination.

Hope.

Wonder.

What is to come?  

Tim and I spent a good majority of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day morning dancing around the kitchen to my new favorite song (and quite possibly my newly-claimed life theme song), American Authors’ The Best Day of My Lifeand having New Year’s-y conversations, remembering all the fun things we did this year (like bicycling through the Everglades in the middle of the night, venturing out to SanFrancisco and wine country for a long weekend, and hopping into a car for a random road trip to the Carolinas, among other adventures), thinking about where we were last year at this time (still living in our old apartment, Tim still working his old job and traveling across the country every other week), and of course, talking about all the things we wanted to do, or start doing, in 2014…

Another year, another adventure.  More adventure.

We know this year has a LOT in store for us.  In a few months we’ll be living in a new home in a new state, a new, unfamiliar city with lots to explore and discover.  We’ll be seeing old friends and making new friends.  We’ll likely be home-OWNERS this time around… which means we’ll have lots of new responsibilities, lots of fixing-upping, lawn-mowing, mortgage-paying, and everything else that comes with owning a home.  If it’s in the cards, we’ll probably be having a baby this year, too (insert wide-eyed emoticon here).  That’s a LOT OF CHANGE, and a lot of growing up for the two of us kids-at-heart in their 30s (that’s right, Tim, you turn 30 this year!).

With the potentially mind-numbing day-to-day “grown-up” routine of eat, sleep, work, repeat right around the corner, we both agreed that this year we would COMMIT TO ADVENTURE!  We’re committed to having experiences and to LIVING life to the fullest versus just getting caught in the endless spinning of the hamster wheel.

On the heels of a weekend spent learning how to drive a motorcycle and getting his license to legally do so, Tim has a spark for wanting to learn new things… things like how to play the piano and take golf lessons from a pro.  I’m with him!  I’m ready to learn some new things, too… to SERIOUSLY learn how to use the camera I bought nearly a year ago (and on which I have taken maybe a total of 40 bad pictures), to make homemade kombucha instead of spending a fortune on it at Whole Foods, and to learn to climb, something I said I wanted to do over two summers ago when I really started getting into fitness.

A new year usually brings reflection on the time that has passed, how fast a year can go, the accomplishments that have been achieved in that time, blah, blah, blah.  That’s wonderful.  But nothing is more exhilarating than the idea of a clean slate, a fresh start, the first blank page of the book that is the rest of your life.  Well, get out your paper-mates, pals, because today, we start setting some goals.

During my stint with lululemon athletica, I picked up some powerful life tools that I hold near and dear to my heart, and from which I think everyone can benefit.  Ready?  Here are some of my favorite tidbits from good ol’ lulu that will kick-start your 2014 (follow the links for specific how-to’s):

Write your ten-year vision.  How can you start setting goals if you don’t have an idea of where you want them to take you?  Block out 10 minutes of your day to sit down, close your eyes, and envision what you truly want your life to be in ten years… how you want to feel, people you want to share it with… all of it!  Then, put pen to paper so you’ve got the evidence.

Set some goals.  Lululemon has a specific strategy for creating powerful goals and there’s a reason they take the time to coach all of their employees how to do it.  It’s a great feeling when you can fill out

Fired up yet?  Thirsty for more?  Why not go whole hog and set a goal to ACCOMPLISH those goals… one goal a month for an entire year.  Enter the 30-day-challenge-a-month challenge… an inspiring idea from one lululemon educator that took the concept of goal-setting (and goal-crushing, as the ‘lemons call it) to a whole new level.

Happy New Year, friends.  May your 2014 – and the rest of your life – be filled with joy and laughter and accomplishment and ADVENTURE, one month at a time!

xo

e

 

 

 

Makin’ moves.

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Hiya, pallllls. As you probably have noticed, my website is currently in the process of getting a makeover! Don’t worry – it’s all good!

Heyday has taken on many faces over the past few years, first starting out as a personal blog and website devoted to my career as a freelance and wedding hairstylist, then evolving into a fitness, yoga and lifestyle blog during my time working with lululemon and as I went through my yoga teacher training. Some of you have been with me from the beginning and watched as I stretched through growing pains throughout these different phases of my life and career(s), and as I look back, I have to laugh and shake my head at the changes that have taken place in just a few short years. Who knew how fast life could change, and how drastically?

I am so happy to say that although it’s taken a bit of searching along an ever-winding and unconventional path, I am… happy. I’m finally studying something that has always interested me and the fact that it goes hand in hand with how I have come to love to live my life is just… extraordinary. I’m really excited to be transforming Heyday into a wellness and lifestyle site, and over the course of the next few weeks (and beyond!!), I will be FILLING it to the brim with powerful information and resources on food and nutrition (including recipes), yoga and fitness and health, and living a life filled with joy, peace, and wellness.

Thanks for sticking with me through the ups and downs… I am so excited to be turning a page on the site and can’t wait to share more with you very soon. Stay tuned!

xx

e

 

What I Learned From Failure

Good morning, people.

I love the days when Tim does a little work from home.  He makes important phone calls and taps away at his keyboard while I quietly go about my morning routine, which, as this morning would have it, included prepping a beef chuck roast and veggies to dump into the crock pot (a recipe from my new paleo cookbook, Against All Grain), making a quick visit to the chiropractor, doing a few loads of laundry, and whipping up a quick breakfast of poached eggs in marinara sauce over leftover delicata squash rings for us (YUM!) before sitting down to type up a blog post for your leisure-reading pleasure.

A slow-cooker pot roast and poached eggs in (sugar-free) Rao’s Homemade marinara over roasted delicata squash rings?  I must be the queen of the sugar detox, am I right?  Wrong.  Don’t let today’s menu pull the wool over your eyes, my friends – things were not so perfect just days ago.  Let me paint a picture for you…

Four days into the 21DSD (because I’m a cool kid now, I can use the acronym), we had friends visiting from out of town, friends we hadn’t seen in over a month since their wedding in another state, friends who (like us) really enjoy drinking wine and when the four of us get together, well, let’s just say, with all the talking and laughing and losing track of time, we’ve been known to polish off a bottle or… seven.  Luckily, this past weekend, we only made it to six.  While I feel like I held it together somewhat on the food front, passing on dessert and steering clear of starchy carbs, the aftermath of the wine the following day left me not wanting to cook and weak enough to give into the temptation of Sunday afternoon NFL advertising…

Pizza.

Sure it was delicious.  But was it worth the cold sweats, body aches, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal distress, and poor sleep that followed that night?  Or the sore throat and headache in the morning?  No. Freaking. Way. I had to take a cold (and I mean cold) shower that night before going to bed I felt so sick.

So there you have it.  And my reason for sharing this slip-up in today’s post is threefold.

FIRST, to express to the world that I am not perfect, and I’m okay with that.  As a yogi, and a yoga instructor, it is  often  assumed that I must have it all under control, that my life is rainbows and butterflies and that nothing bothers me because I am breathing, I am calm, I am yoga.  Well, that’s just ridiculous.  I NEED YOGA because it helps me stay balanced.  Of course, I would love to be in a yogic state of mind 24/7, but for me, that’s just not realistic (not yet, at least… there’s always room for improvement, which is why it’s called a yoga practice!).  Life is always going to be crazy, some people are always going to drive me crazy, and I’m probably going to get the urge to lay on my horn in (Miami) traffic from time to time.  But having a regular yoga practice helps me to keep my mind clear so that I’m better able to deal with situations as they arise that would normally throw me for a loop.  AND, when I DO get thrown for a loop, I know better than to beat myself up about it – I’m only human, and the only way to treat myself, especially when I’ve experienced what most would consider failure, is with loving care.  So in that aspect, failure teaches me to love myself.

Which brings me to my second point, which is: when I stumble and fall flat on my face, I don’t just lie face down in a puddle of self-loathing and self-pity and misery.  No.  I get up, I brush myself off, and I move forward… maybe just keeping a closer eye on the path and watching out for those potholes… because Lord knows they sneak up on you!  Failure not only teaches us to love and be gentle with ourselves but to learn from the failure itself.  It had been so long since we indulged in pizza, I could only remember how glorious it tasted and had no concept of what it would do to my body after eating a clean diet for so long.  After the way I felt Sunday night and Monday morning, there will be no forgetting!  After I got myself together on Monday, I immediately planned our clean, paleo (sugar-free!) meals for the rest of the week and made a trip to the grocery store to stock up on veggies and protein.  Twenty-four hours later, my crazy flu-like symptoms have subsided and I’m beginning to feel like myself again, not to mention savoring every delicious morsel of clean, nutritious food with which I’m fueling my body and nursing it back to health.  I’m so grateful for the slip-up so that I could be reminded of how amazing a clean diet can make you feel!

THIRD, this weekend also indirectly brought something else up for me, and that is that only I can control what I put into my body.  The same way I choose the clothes I put on in the morning, what I eat is my own decision, and no one else’s.  If it is socially acceptable for a person eating a vegetarian or vegan diet to make special requests at restaurants and to make their diet known to their friends and family so that meals can be enjoyed together as they are meant to be and not become a cause of conflict, then why should it be any different for someone following a paleo diet?  This is the diet on which I feel my absolute best, and, as I am learning in my Nutritional Therapy coursework, the diet we are designed to consume for optimum health! I shouldn’t feel obligated to eat something that I know will make me feel less than my best, and I’m ready to make that commitment… to myself, my family, and my future children.

And, as I expected… it feels so good!

Stay tuned for some recipe reviews… these cookbooks are preeeeetty awesome.

Clouds Part Eventually…

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Yep, still wet here in South Florida.  Unseasonably wet… with few, if any, days of sunshine falling on days that I’m forced to be inside working.  Of course.

Though I can’t complain.  We have a roof over our heads to keep us dry. 

We’ve had a rough few weeks since the move, one thing after another going wrong or otherwise upsetting the balance of our little world.  A faulty lock on the night we moved in, misplaced (important) mail, ordering the wrong furniture, utility service appointments being missed, sick dogs, and multiple more-than-minor inconveniences added to the pile.  I don’t even remember what the final straw was that broke the camel’s back last night, but it resulted in me counting off every single thing that has gone awry, a list that seemed to go on for ten minutes.  My peace and my patience has never been more tested.

Tim stared back and me and smiled, and, as we often do for each other, offered an enlightened perspective.

If we could categorize our complaints, my ten-minute list would fall into the trivial “material” pile, and could be countered with a hearty dose of gratitude for whatever it was we had to complain about in the first place.

Wrong couches? Hey, we have a roof over our heads, a nice solid floor, and a cozy shag rug that will do just fine until the right ones arrive in a couple months.

School books getting mailed to the wrong address? At least we have a physical mailing address… and the luxury to advance our education.

Sick dogs? We can afford a veterinarian, and the unconditional love we get back from these pups is worth any vet bill.

Crappy customer service? We’re so grateful for our own integrity and for those who do provide amazing service… and even more grateful that we don’t have to field those complaint calls! ;)

Once we got into the “gratitude-counter” game, we began to forget the month of complaints all together and started realizing just how many wonderful things had happened to us since we moved here.

We’ve made as many friends, if not more, in a single month than we did in two years of living in our previous city.  We’re already on a first-name basis with staff at most of the local shops and restaurants.

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We’ve spent nights talking until 2am with strangers (now, great friends) who have connected us with even more amazing friends, a church, and teaching opportunities (for me). This past weekend, we bonded with neighbors at the pool and spent the afternoon with them on a road trip to a legendary fruit stand, enjoyed milkshakes and fresh mangoes, and had a hilarious ride home.

Robert Is Here

We are never at a loss for things to do, friends to spend time with, good wine to drink, good food to eat, or laughs to share.  There is so much to explore and so much adventure to be experienced, and we are just beginning!

This week if you find yourself faced with (yet another) cloudy day, just remember that those clouds will soon part, and until they do, there’s always a rainbow somewhere… you just have to be open to seeing it.

xx

e

Holding Space For Others (and For Myself)

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You know what’s awesome? Doing something reeeeeally cool for the first time.  It’s especially awesome when that really cool thing is about to become a huge part of your life, and doing it fills you up with so much joy that you are practically bursting at the seams and walking on air upon experiencing it.

That’s how I felt last week when I observed a yoga class for the first time as part of my training.  I felt so validated in my little corner in the back of the room, watching carefully and knowing intuitively which students the teacher would assist, in which postures, what verbal cues he would give and what props he would use to assist them.  I felt confident.

Nearing the end of the class, during final savasana, the teacher approached me with a small bottle of essential oil and asked me to help close the class.  A little nervous, but mostly excited for the hands-on part, I gathered my courage and made my way around the room, touching each person, offering a little traction on their cervical vertebrae and letting them breathe in the essential oil which I had warmed in my palms.

No big deal, right?  I mean what’s so great about walking around to 20-some people and giving a little neck massage, if you can even call it that?  I’ll tell you what.  Here I was, a student myself, with nothing to offer but love, peace, and a little space.  Space for someone’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, cousin, teacher, student, doctor, mailman, waitress, dog-walker… to be still, and to find peace.  Looking down at the peaceful faces of each of these people, I imagined their lives off the mat.  Where they were before this class, and where they would go after… it didn’t matter.  They relaxed into my touch and breathed a little deeper, sank into their mats a little more fully – it simultaneously melted my heart and lit a fire inside me.  Who knew I was capable of this, being this vehicle for them, this passive guide?  I instantly wanted to be the one to hold this space for not only these students, but for my loved ones and everyone who crossed my path.  I was moved to tears.

I’m reminding myself of this experience tonight as I pause from the chaos of my day.  Cleaning, packing, working, studying, walking the dogs, more packing, making phone calls to realtors and mortgage brokers, looking at real estate listings, making lunch and dinner plans with friends, prepping dinners for the week, answering emails, setting up appointments, coordinating schedules with Tim to look at property… it seems a never-ending to-do list, and there is just not enough time in the day.  Not enough space for me.

Life is crazy, chaotic, and sometimes it feels like it is all out of your control.  But it all works out.  When I try to think of all the times in my life I have ever been stressed about my present situation, I realize, that period of stress was really just a tiny fraction of my life, and had I had the presence of mind to stop and recognize that it all works out, always, I would have been able to calm down and appreciate the present, live in the moment, and enjoy the experience… much like those yoga students were enjoying their savasana as I held their heads in my hands.

My commitment this week:  Breathe deeply.  Make time for meditation.  Hold space for me and live my yoga off the mat.

xx

Green juice and new beginnings…

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Nope, that isn’t muddy water or what came out of the steam-vac.  That, friends, was breakfast, otherwise known as green juice and my new best friend.  It was over this glass of juice (okay, mason jar – let’s be honest, they make everything more enjoyable) that I contemplated the fate of the Heyday Diaries, as I have many times before, and made the decision to give the blog a timely facelift and put my heart and soul back into it.

Times, they are a changin’ here around the Heyday Diaries.

As you well know by now, I’m about halfway through my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training.  I hesitate to say that “it’s been taking up the majority of my free time”, because, it’s really more like “I love it so much that I’ve been soaking myself in it with as much of my free time as I can possibly give”.  Yes, that sounds about right.  I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people know “yoga” to consist of mainly asanas or the physical practice of yoga on a mat, downward dogs, chaturanga dandasanas, sun salutations and more.  Though it was that good sweaty asana practice that attracted me to yoga, I knew there was more to learn beyond the physical – that it was a lifestyle and a mindset I wanted to cultivate for myself and for my life.  Minimalism, peace, health, connectedness, love…

What does that mean for the Heyday Diaries?  Well, for starters, let me just say that this post isn’t being written from a soapbox or a pedestal or any other metaphorically higher level of ground that would involve me talking down to anyone else or his/her lifestyle.  It IS being written from a new, open space, full of wonder and possibility and real-life application for what I’m learning and will continue to learn for the rest of my life.  I want to share my perspective on living a healthy life, and I want to do it in my way, which may be sitting in half-lotus on my patio with a mason jar full of green juice one day, or curled up on the couch with a glass of vino the next.

Stay tuned.

e

Finger prints and water spots = real life.

Finger prints and water spots = real life.