"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Friday, April 24, 2015

On Becoming Paleo


2014 was the year I discovered oils.  It was easily one of the best gifts I've ever been given, and I am so thankful to those who have walked with me on my oily journey.  It has allowed me to find options that I feel actually help my body as opposed to mask my symptoms.  Oils are lovely, and I love nothing more than to have in depth conversations on oils. 

But 2015 seems to be the year I discovered paleo.  I kind of love it as much as I love oils.  I am beyond thankful that I took this plunge, and I am completely amazed at how much it has changed my life for the better.  Paleo is as lovely as oils, albeit in a different way.

Back in January, I had a zyto scan done (scans body frequencies to determine what oils/supplements you body needs).  It showed that some things were off with my gut, which wasn't surprising.  I have had an easily upset stomach for years now, although I have never been able to tie it to a particular sensitivity.  In response to that scan, I did a candida cleanse.  It was so hard because you basically starve your body of all sugar.  I had no idea how addicting sugar was until I went without it.  I craved sugar in the most surprising way, but I was determined to make it the 30 days.  I really didn't enjoy it at first.  The meals I was eating were fairly unappealing.

And then a friend suggested AgainstAllGrain.com and I probably immediately bought her cookbook.  When that book arrived, it was like the heavens opened and my soul smiled again.  I found a passion for cooking I don't think I ever had.  I felt like I had found my purpose standing in the kitchen mixing sauces and sautéing vegetables.  I didn't know how pleasant it would be to make something I am proud of, and that is completely healthy for me, and completely healthy for Jude.  He has adapted so well to this lifestyle too.  Just ask him about mashed cauliflower ;)

Left: Mexican Chicken Chowder by Against All Grain
Right: Sausage and Butternut Squash stuffed Tomatoes

I have stuck with meal planning for the first time in my life.  I plan out healthy vegetable and meat based meals that are delicious (because of her recipes, not me).  It's exciting and thrilling and also cathartic after a long day.  At the end of the dinner, I have a quiet satisfaction knowing I did something good for my body.  It's delicious.  I have baked so many of her desserts- I don't feel like I'm depriving myself of anything.  I don't miss bread, or sweets, or even ice cream.  In fact, now when I taste normally sweetened food, I lose interest in a bite or two.  That sugar addiction is real, and now that I have broken the addiction, there just isn't much enjoyment in super processed sweet food.  I prefer my slightly sweetened chocolate chip cookies to the real ones.  I find real ones icky!  Which is just crazy that in 4 months I can completely alter my lifestyle, but also my food preferences. 

It's exciting to me because when I discovered her book, I discovered the rest of my life.  I can't imagine not eating this way.  For one thing, I realize now that my system is very food sensitive, and it just runs better on healthy food.  The times we are out and I eat less paleo, I pay for it for the next 3 days.  I really love this lifestyle.  Paleo is something that I can and will stick with, simply because I enjoy it.  I prefer it.  I have had tons more energy.  My moods have been more stable.  My gut health has shown improvement (I still have some healing to do).  My hormones seem to be more stable.  I can't tell you how many people have told me my skin looks great and that I look like I'm glowing.  I haven't had bad acne in months!  I've even lost 12 pounds!  And for the first time in my life, I find myself truly wanting to exercise.  I have all this energy that I need to get rid of.  I still have a long way to go with that, mostly because of scheduling, but the desire is there.  And that is not something I've ever enjoyed.  I have a long way to go to help my body recover from just the hazards and toxins that are 21st century life, but I truly feel like I am on the right path.  It's a change that was hard the first 2 weeks, but now, it just feels right.  I can't recommend it enough!

Friday, April 3, 2015

April reflections

Right now I feel completely captivated by Spring!  The weather is beautiful.  Today as I drove Jude to school and then went to pick something up from my sister's I was completely taken in by the beauty of the overcast skies contrasting with all the greenery.  Jimmy and I have set up our garden's for the year.  We have some basic flowers, I got a beautiful delphinium, and he got copious amounts of tomatoes.  I've set up birdfeeders and shamelessly downloaded a bird identification app.  I love how spring just feels like coming alive.  I hope to fully embrace life this season. 

I've been reflecting over the last couple months based off a book I read.  I love the way these questions make me dig a little deeper into my soul.  I'm actually reading her other book right now called "Cold Tangerines" and the topic is celebrating.  Perfect for this season.

Am I thankful for my life and the way I'm living it?
I am so thankful daily for Jimmy and Jude.  They are wonderful gifts.  As we all worked outside last weekend, I was so thankful for the simplistic beauty that is our life.  Hard work, dirt all over our toes and fingers, slightly sun kissed cheeks.  It could not have been more perfect.  However, I feel like I am so easily distracted by lists and the need to accomplish something.  I have a definite penchant for negativity.  I know that my life is lovely, but sometimes it feels like I see that from the a distance.  Like I always watch my life on a movie screen- seeing all the parts but not really a part of the story.  I would give anything to be able to not be like that.  1000 gifts made the biggest difference in my life with that.  But it still isn't a habit.  I really really want to be more positive and embrace the moment more- with joy.

What have I tried this month?
This month I tried crab at Cantler's Riverside Inn, which I actually saw listed in a copy of Coastal Living as one of the 3 best places for seafood in Maryland.  So I consider that a win!  I still probably ate more shrimp than crab, however.  That being due entirely to the fact that I am lazy.  I saw my first (and probably only) wedding at the Naval Academy.  Which was pretty much the most romantic wedding ever.  I love the quaint yet classy persona of the East Coast.  Wandering around Annapolis with all the houses that have been there forever, the sailboats in the water, people walking their dogs just speaks to my heart in every way.  Jude and I went on a run through Annapolis- my first run in a downtown city of any kind.  Of course, it was more play racing and sprints, but it was fun. 

What am I doing to get out of my routine?
Last week we focused on gardening.  I'm the best about gardening in the spring.  I would keep up with it more in the summer, and I do really try.  It's just so hot here in NTX...  And in a blistering, torturous way.  I miss coastal heat...
Also completely out of my routine... My brother of course got married.  And during the reception, I got my dance on with my favorite people- my family.  I don't dance very often, mainly because it usually would have to involve creepy people and creepy bars.  And Jimmy isn't a big dancer.  But I actually love dancing and being silly, and my brother and sister are probably my favorite people to do that with.  Can someone invent a bar that plays 90s music, and you have to intimately involved with another person to enter?  You know a bar for married people who just want to pretend they are 18 again.  But don't want a stranger touching them in any way...  Because I would go.  Often.

And this weekend, we are cooking Easter brunch this weekend, which isn't going to be a big deal by any means.  But 1- it will involve mimosas which immediately makes all things right with the world and 2- we never just get to have brunch.  I love reasons to celebrate, and I'm glad we get to.
Next weekend I am going to a gathering with some ladies, only one of which I know, but she's fabulous.  Just to talk about Christ and Life and whatever else.  And the only requirement is to bring our favorite bottle of wine.  My friend throwing this is one of the loveliest people whom I haven't seen since my wedding.  I'm so excited to focus on the good Christ is doing!

What have I learned about God this month?
I've been learning that God wants me to laugh, to be joyful.  I'm remembering that God is a God of celebration.  I mean what is Easter but a celebration.  There is so much death and darkness around us.  But that's just the middle of the story.  The end is beautiful and joyful and should make you dance in celebration.  The crosses of our lives will always bring us to a point of surrender, they will always hurt, they will always break us.  It's so easy to forget that the cross is temporary, but victory is eternal.  This year, I bore my cross.  But the rising is coming, indeed is already here in some ways.  Hallelujah for the cross, for the resurrection.  Hallelujah because He has blessed me with a godly, loving man.  Hallelujah because he has blessed me with birds that sing.  Hallelujah because he has blessed me with an engaging and kind little boy.  Hallelujah for baking and clean kitchens and pretty towels.  The Resurrection happens every day because God is actively redeeming everyday.  I want my Spirit to notice Him. 
And of course, we have a lot to celebrate this month, because my brother married someone lovely.

What brokenness is holding me back?
I continue to struggle with the pursuit of perfection robbing me of joy.  My to do lists rob me of joy.  This isn't a new struggle by any means, but it is currently showing its ugly face.  I hate it because it robs me of joy, but also relationships.  It puts a barrier between me and the people I love the most.  I realize that everyone has their thing they struggle with.  But I sure do hate mine.  So I am seeking to love Jesus more.  To fill my mind with Jesus so that He spills out of my heart more.  I need to use my oils more and pray more as I use them.  These were the kinds of things that eventually led to panic attacks and medication.  So I need to use the physical (oils) and spiritual (prayer, speaking truth over myself) tools and weapons to fight for joy. 

What do I want less of?
Less striving, more rest.  That's the theme of my year and my life right now.  I want less of working beyond my limits.  Less defining myself by how clean my house is.  Less taking for granted the beautiful moments I have to pour into Jude's life.  Less sarcastic, impatient speech on my part.

What do I want more of?
Jude and Jimmy.  I want to savor them.  I want to invest in them.  I want to build them up and encourage them.  I want to bless their lives and I want their days to be better because I was in it.  I'm so hopeful for our next phase of life with me working less.  I hope I will have the energy to invest in them like this.  I want more of a gentle and quiet spirit.  More words that are weighed carefully.  More joy, more peace.  Basically, more Jesus.