Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Keeping the Peace

I am a bit of a Scrooge. I don't mean to be but this dreary weather compounded with the unnecessary busyness of the season kinda puts me in a funky mood. Every one else is already listening to Christmas carols and decorating their homes with bright lights and tacky blowup Santas and all I can think is, "Seriously people? We haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. And if you wake up and find your inflatable Santa with a BB hole between its eyes, well, you're welcome. It was ugly. And while I'm at it...hang your ridiculous multicolored lights straight for crying out loud!"

 I have been like this my whole life.  I am very aware that this is an ugly personal issue. The rest of you seem so happy to unpack your Elf on the Shelf and fill your calendars with cookie exchanges, ornament exchanges, White Elephant gift exchanges, Chinese Christmas exchanges, recipe exchanges, tacky sweater parties, trips to Santa Land, waiting in line for 4 hours to have your kids scream on Santa's lap, and lots and lots of stressful shopping. Just a sidenote...shopping should never ever be stressful! It should be joyful and wonderful and tingly...not an opportunity to use your MMA skills. But that's the thing...Most of you really love all of those things and I cannot wrap my brain around barely being able to tolerate them. I just don't really love this season the way the rest of the population does. It seems overwhelming, claustrophobic, and loud. Everyone screams, "PEACE ON EARTH!"

 I just want to feel peace in me.

The concept of peace is so new to me. You don't even really think about peace until you don't have it. I never thought about it until this last year. Peace just seemed to come naturally before then. I completely took it for granted. But this year I am having to be intentional about choosing peace. I am having to say no to certain events that don't bring me peace and only lead to busyness and choose to do the things that I know make my heart feel calm and bring me joy. So in the midst of this holiday season I am choosing peace and have therefore made a list of things that bring me peace. They may not be what the rest of the world is enjoying at this time of year but they speak to my heart and mine is the only heart I have.

1. I enjoy the heck out of my coffee. I wake up an hour before the rest of my family just so I can enjoy a cup of creamy bulletproof coffee before I become in demand. This time is precious to me. I listen to music, nutrition podcasts or missed sermons. This time is mine and no one else's. 

2. I play. There is nothing quite as fun as tickling a child that is screaming and begging for you to stop and when you do release them from the giggle torture immediately teases and taunts you to do it again. It cracks me up. I love surprising Jack with my video game playing skills (which unfortunately do not work on any other games except for 007 Goldeneye and NBA JAM for the Sega CD. But I can take anyone on either of those.) I spend a ridiculous amount of time dressing and styling Addie's dolls and Barbies, decorating the doll house and separating millions of beaded necklaces for dress up. Dance parties are frequent as are super hero action sequences. I have yet to become too old for tea parties with real tea, spinning senseless on our merry-go-round, and collecting smooth rocks and colorful leaves.

3. I read. I love to devour anything written. I love learning and discovering new truths. I love getting lost in a fictional place and time. I treasure every second I have to cuddle with my Addie as we read through the classic version of A Little Princess. I am so grateful for my Daddy and Holly who instilled the love of literature in my heart. Even now it connects us as a family as we all sit around and debate book reviews or send one another a text with a new book to try out. I find peace when I view this world and life as an unfinished story and reading reminds me of all the possibilities.

4. I love people. I have recently had more opportunities to be at my shop and invest my time in others. I have found a renewed love for humanity and our desire to connect with one another. People have a natural desire to share themselves, tell their stories. Our community is full of the most incredible people and I am just tickled when one of those amazing people walks through my shop door, turns around in the grocery line for a quick friendly chat, or takes the time to call and just check in.

5. I tinker in my kitchen. I cannot express the love I have for making a huge mess, coconut flour in my hair, dishes piled high in the sink, music in the background, cup of hot green jasmine tea or a glass of wine depending on time of day and creating something that will not only feed and nourish my family but also my spirit. The changing of seasons inspires me to try new dishes and experiment with new and unusual foods. I love the smells of this season...allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. I get so excited to take a favorite nonpaleo recipe such as cinnamon rolls and surprise my family with a healthier paleo version that ends in lots of happy yummy noises.

6. I will spend time with those I love. I don't do it because it is a particular date on the calendar that requires family get togethers. I do it because it is a Tuesday and I miss my Mimi and I got a new cookbook that I want to tell her all about. Or because my Momma loves me so much that she drives all the way out to my house just for some hot tea and a chat. 

7. I write. I do not claim to be a skilled literary genius. I just like it. There is something healing in putting feelings, ideas, dreams, goals into something tangible, something I can see. 

8. I sing. This is funny actually because I am the absolute worst singer ever (although I've been told my humming is pretty.) But who cares if I suck. I enjoy the snot out of blaring out some Katy Perry 'Roar' at the top of my lungs. It is not unusual to find multiple serving spoons in the sink because they were used as microphones by me and Addie when a good song came on. Making up our own lyrics is also pretty spectacular. They are always complete nonsense but it keeps us from missing a beat.

9. I watch cartoons with my family. It is like pure medicine to listen to Jack and Addie laugh. Seriously, it is the very most incredible sound in this whole world. Plus Phineas and Ferb are stinkin hilarious. If you have never seen it you need to. Laughing together as a family is awesome. 

10. I breath. I dream. I pray. I love to sit in silence, look out over my pond, watch those stupid ducks that haven't figured out that it is stinkin cold and they need to fly south and just dream about what is to come. Ask God what his plan is. Tell him my heart's desires. And wait. The quiet is nice and calm and for right now I don't need definite answers or clear direction. I need peace and healing and that is what he gives me.

I really hope you take the time to find pockets of peace in this crazy season. It is just beginning. Don't let the all the stuff, the lists, the plans, the schedule take away your peace...your joy. And if you enjoy the snot out of having an inflatable Santa in your front yard then by all means go get you an inflatable snowman too! I plan to take some Vitamin D so hopefully I will be able to resist my Grinchy urges. :)

This post wasn't very paleo...but really there is only so much paleo this girl can do in a day. But the following recipe is a wonderful paleo comfort food to be enjoyed during this chilly season.

Bacon Meatloaf

Ingredients for the Meatloaf:
3 lb grass fed ground beef
1 1/4 cup almond meal/flour
2  free range eggs
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
15 sliced uncured bacon, 3 sliced cooked and diced
Combine all ingredients except for the bacon in a large bowl
Mash together with your hands. It is squishy and wonderful. Perfect stress relief. :)
Add the cooked diced bacon. Mash some more.
Add mixture to a loaf pan. I used a mini loaf pan because they are cute.
Top your meatloaf with uncooked bacon.
Bake in oven at 400 for 45 minutes.
While meatloaf is cooking and getting all bacony prepare the sauce.
Ingredients for the sauce:
3 oz. tomato paste
1 TBSP mustard
1/3 cup coconut crystals or palm sugar
1 TBSP Franks hot sauce
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
After meatloaf is done cooking, spread with sauce. Eat and enjoy.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Created to be Super Heros

Because I am a mom of a seven year old little boy, I am quite familiar with all things super hero. I know all of my Marvel characters and all the DC characters. This stuff is a big stinkin deal to my Jack. I teach him about life, he teaches me about super powers. I am pretty sure I am a super hero too... I can make $10 by spending $1000 on my Nordstrom card. I can take the most random, end of the week grocery items in my fridge and make a delicious edible meal. And I wear spandex almost every single day. But whether or not you wear spandex God made you a super hero too! He has created all of us with the incredible ability to heal!!! I'm telling you that is some crazy Wolverine kind of super power. And he is kind of my favorite because he is all emotionally vulnerable and crazy hot.

So why am I comparing you to a sexy albeit incredibly super hairy X-Man who suffered through having metal alloy admantium bonded to his skeletal structure and is just waiting for the right woman to come along and make him whole again. Sorry....I kinda let that get away from me there for a second. :)

Aaannnnnyyyyyways...Wolverine has the power of self-healing and guess what???? WE DO TOO!!!

Seriously...no joke. That awesome super power is called...dun ta da....INFLAMMATION!!!

What?!? Hold up. Inflammation is evil and bad and we hate it and want it to die die die!!! So maybe I share some anger issues with Mr. Howlett. (That's right, I know Wolverine's last name.) But let's take a look at God's purpose for inflammation and discover just how incredible our bodies are.

So let's say we are on a date with Logan, aka Wolverine. Listen, if you are a dude and reading this don't pretend like you aren't stinkin excited to be on a date with Wolverine. So we are enjoying our very paleo dinner at a very fancy smancy restaurant. People are snapping pics and asking for autographs when all of a sudden Wolverine's hand blade thingy slips and stabs you in the arm! Worse things have happened on first dates...don't freak out...your body is already working to heal itself.

First your cells release these immune proteins called cytokines. These bad dudes (bad as in awesome) widen your blood vessels which increases blood flow and therefore that is why your injury site is now feeling warm and turning red.

Then your blood vessels carry leukocytes (white blood cells) and plasma to the injured area. The blood vessels become more permeable which allows the leukocytes and plasma into the damaged tissue which leads to fluid build up...swelling.

Then the hormone, bradykin is released which increases your pain sensitivity and tells your brain to keep your arm still Stupid, so you don't injure it further.

Then those leukocytes get to work and start healing the injury. Pretty stinkin awesome if you ask me. Granted a stab wound may take a bit more care but it had been a paper cut you would be good to go.

And all of that is how inflammation is intended to work. God's plan was for inflammation to be a good thing, a super power, but once again our own choices have gotten in the way of God's perfect plan.

We crazy nuts have messed it all up because now inflammation is considered a bad thing because we have WAY too much of it going on in our bodies due to...
  • Diets high in sugar, processed carbs, industrial fat, and gluten
  • Low Omega-3/High Omega-6
  • Lack of sleep
  • Too little activity or exercise
  • Too much activity or overtraining
  • Stress
Don't freak out! I know you just looked at that list and one of those things pretty much screamed at you. It's okay...I've got a plan.

Step one: Stop eating that junk. Eat paleo for crying out loud! Protein, veggies, fruit, good fats...easy peasy.

Step 2: Take some fish oil to get those Omega-3s back up. This is really important. It isn't just one more pill for you to add to the handful you already take or remember that you should have taken after you have already made it into work. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce cognitive decline, reduce symptoms of ADD/ADHD, relieves depression, reduces arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia pain, and much more. Read up on it. It is really important to take a good quality fish oil. Purity is a big stinkin deal. We do not have purity standards for fish oil in America so you have to do your research...or you can stop into the Sunshine Shoppe where were have done the research for you. :)

Step 3: You have got to get some sleep. I know...not enough hours in the day and all. Totally get it. I'm there with you. But there is no arguing that sleep is invaluable. Make it happen. Set a time and make yourself go to bed every day at that time regardless of how long you laid there the previous night before falling asleep. It takes a bit for your body to figure out that you are doing something good for it. Don't watch tv to fall asleep. Turn off all electronics. Breath, relax, pray. If that doesn't help try some magnesium, melatonin, Gaba, passion flower or valerian root.

Step 4: Go do something. Lift something heavy. Get a friend to walk with you every day. Park in the furthest parking spot so that you are forced to walk as much as possible. Take the stairs. Play outside with your kiddos. Get a standing desk at work. Sign up for a boot camp. Come get crossfitty with me. Anything. Just move.

Step 5: Pace yourself. You are not a machine. You are a breakable human being. Your super powers only go so far. Understand your limits. Listen to your body.

Step 6: So stress, huh....Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....no idea. Actually if you are doing steps 1-5 your stress will be reduced significantly. Stress happens. Make changes in your life to eliminate the sources of stress or find ways to manage how you deal with those stressors.


Adding more salmon to your diet will help knock those Omega 3s up. Try out this yummy recipe from one of my favorite paleo blogs...PaleOMG.com.

Cilantro Salmon Burgers with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
For the patties
  • 1lb salmon, skin removed or canned salmon from Wild Planet
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped small (yes, small)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon green onions
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
For the vinaigrette
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1½ limes, juices squeezed
  • ½ lemon, juices squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Add all your patty ingredients to a food processor, except for the celery. Once everything is mixed, fold in the chopped celery.
  2. Make patties however big you want.
  3. Place on hot, greased skillet and cook on both sides for about 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. While the salmon burgers are cooking, make the vinaigrette.
  5. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to the food processor. Taste to perfect! Add salt if needed.
  6. Top burgers off with vinaigrette.