Friday, December 13, 2013

Crossfitty my way

Here we are in December and everyone is decorating and putting up lights and singing and I’m pretty sure it is all because my birthday is the 30th of this month.  Go ahead, put it in your calendar so you don’t forget. Last year was pretty big because I turned 30. So I’m like a grown up now…or I think I’m supposed to say 'adult' now that I’m grown up. Anyways, 31 approaches and I am amazed at how much Jess at 31 is pretty much just a more stressed out version of Jess at 13.

You would think after years of experiences and somehow collecting that elusive wisdom I would not feel the same insecurities as I did when I was a skinny little gangly teen. BUT I DO! And it is even worse now because I know better!

My personality is kinda overwhelming in some areas. I happen to be uber girly (as if you couldn’t tell from my adorable blog posts). It just pours out of me. I can’t help it. I have ALWAYS been this way…and for a long time I hated it about me. I even went through a period where I pretended to be different because I was made fun of for it. And then after I got tired of pretending I just kind of embraced it and stuck with it. But that was a problem too because I put myself in a box. I felt like I couldn’t be athletic like those mean girls because I wanted to still be dainty and soft, not rough, tough and hard. So I never tried to be athletic in any way…until last year.

Enter CrossFit454. I’ve posted on my first experience with crossfit before. It was a bit overwhelming…especially for me who had never even attempted a push up before in my life. But I didn’t tell you about my real fear. I was terrified the athletic women at crossfit were going to hate me or judge me for not being super sporty. And let’s be honest…those women exist. They exist when we are teens and they too grow up and exist when we are adults. And at CrossFit454 there are some incredible athletes who are serious about getting stronger, fitter, and faster. I just knew they were going to see me as silly or be annoyed by my overwhelming bubbliness that I sometimes cannot control.

But this amazing thing happened…I realized that these strong, athletic women who are putting up ridiculous weights and pounding out burpees are just like me. Well, okay not just like me because let’s face it, there is only one me in this world (thank goodness) but they are girly too. They are gentle, sweet, kind, encouraging, supportive, and I realized you do not have to be this mean testosterony He-woman to be athletic. You can be a whatever kind of woman you are and be sporty and fit and active in your own way. THERE IS NO BOX! We do not have to fit a specific stereotype. We can be whoever God built us to be and he made me crossfitty…who’d a thunk it.

I know it may seem trivial to want to be accepted but let’s face it…girls women can be so mean to one another. Why is that? It is an ugly truth about my gender. Is it a competition issue? Or a jealously issue? Or an insecurity issue? Or maybe all of the above? Who knows, but I am so incredibly grateful to the amazing women at my crossfit box who are now dear friends whom I adore and think the world of. I feel like that hurt and insecurity that 13 year old me lived with all these years has healed because of the acceptance of the truly beautiful women that represent all strong women in a real way.

And now I think about how I want my little Addie to grow up. I will punch some mean girls in the face if they make my very girly little girl feel like she is anything less than absolutely amazing and the most perfect version of who God wants her to be. I hope she realizes strength doesn’t come from size like my sweet friend Bobbie who is this teeny little person but the strongest woman I know. I hope she is an encourager like Tawnya who is always cheering others on. I hope Addie is joyful like Jenny who is always laughing and who happens to have the most adorable baby girl who we all cherish. I hope she is determined like Christie who has more inner strength than any person I have ever met or will ever meet again. I hope she is like Maggie who is always pushing herself further and setting new goals. And I hope she is like me who may not be the strongest, or fastest, or most athletic but chooses to be exactly who God made her to be. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Donner Party, Table for....

Holy cow it is cold outside!!! Did you notice my new pic for the blog? Everything is still covered in glassy ice that looks beautiful in the same way that sharp glistening daggers look beautiful when hanging from every single tree that surrounds your home. I’m so over this cold weather nonsense. We haven’t had power in 72 hours and it was fun for a little bit…until my Kindle died. Now I have a mountain of laundry that is piled up in the laundry room, all the food I had stocked my fridge with is now bad, all of my Suave dry-shampoo is gone, and I think about making myself some hot coffee or tea every 4.2 seconds and I am then immediately disappointed because I rememeber Keurigs are not battery powered.  

The absolute worst part of all of this is not my day three of dirty hair (because we all know that dirty hair actually gets the most compliments) but my complete and utter inability to make good food choices! I know I made that last blog post at the beginning of day 1 of this ice storm mess about how I was going to turn over a new leaf, start fresh and make healthy choices. Well, it just didn’t happen. I wanted it to but I was at the mercy of the bipolar electricity. It would be off all day and then flicker for 20 minutes, stay on for a few hours and then off for another 24.  I even made that lovely Rosemary Pork Tenderloin and Paleo Cornbread Dressing but it never got cooked completely because the power cut off once again. So instead I’ve used the lack of power as my excuse to eat as much junk as this girl can stuff into her blue and frozen lips.

I actually wasn’t that bad and managed to eat kinda paleo for the most part but we ate out for every single meal so I’m sure I’ve not been fact, I’m pretty sure that pumpkin cheesecake, cheesy crab dip and lobster nachos were not so much paleo. And I feel gross. And to make matters worse I use my grossness to justify another bad decision. “Ugh, I already feel like a fat blob of inflamed goo. I might as well eat this sourdough bread that was served with this amazing crab dip because I can’t feel any worse.”  I just don’t do the 80/20 thing well. I apparently go from 80/20 to 40/60 in less than three days flat. I just need to keep it paleo…no matter what.

But all of this winter barely survival has taught me a valuable lesson…I am so not ready for the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m serious. It’s gonna happen and I need to get a plan of how I am going to keep it paleo in the midst of no power and biochemical brain eating monsters. So I have spent these last few hours when I wasn’t watching my breath and making sure I can still wiggle my toes to devise my “How To Stay Paleo During the Zombie Apocalypse Plan.” Here’s what I’ve got so far…

1.     Learn how to make coffee over a fire. Actually as a precursor to number 1: buy some camping cooking gear.

2.     Start storing canned goods. Canned veggies suck!!!!!! But it isn’t like frozen veggies will stay frozen for long when the power goes out. Learned that the hard and expensive way.

3.     Start figuring out how to grow a garden. I try this every year. We spend lots of money on making it pretty, mixing the perfect soil/vermiculite/fertilizer ratio, adjust the water timers according to the temperatures and yet it never fails…we get maybe several tomatoes and peppers but nothing else ever looks very healthy and most of the time those giant disgusting worms enjoy our produce before we do.
My dear friend and neighbor told us about these hay bale gardens that seem really successful so maybe I’ll give that a shot…not too pretty but pretty doesn’t matter when you are hungry.

4.     Learn how to hunt Katniss Everdeen style. Somehow she manages to hunt and still look amazing. Plus a bow and arrow is much quieter than a gun so I won’t be alerting any zombies of my whereabouts. I actually am kinda excited about learning how to do archery. Is that how you say it…’do archery?’ Whatever. I think I will be good at it and I don’t know why but it seems nicer than a gun. Although this leads me to number 5.

5.     Get a gun. Guns will be necessary to keep those bad zombie survivors away. If they see a chick carrying a bow and quiver full of arrows (where do you buy a quiver???) they will just laugh because I’ll look more like a fae character than the feisty zombie killing warrior that I know I was fated to be. So I need a gun to pull out of my tall black leather boots and matching leather jacket…because I’m going to jump on any excuse to wear that kind of outfit. (I hear zombies have a hard time biting through leather.) Bad guys fear guns because they use guns to instill fear. So I’m going to get a gun or two or three. Maybe a rocket launcher too.

6.     Stockpile some jerky. I know we all think we will just hunt forever and get back to our caveman roots but have you ever considered that maybe this zombie virus could infect the animals too!!!! I had never thought of that before recently and it blew my mind! Cows seem all docile but can you imagine one that wants to eat your brains!!!!!! Plus, even if you survive a cow attacking you and you manage to kill it first, you still can’t eat it! It is infected meat! So jerky is pretty much my only solution. Well, maybe spam too but only in a last resort kinda way.

7.     Learn how to weld. This may seem like an odd occupation but in the apocalypse those that know how to weld a chainsaw, axe, and gutting knife together to make zombie weapons will be those with the most power. And I intend that person to be me. President Jess…Queen of ZombieLand…Destroyer of Brain Cravers…Princess of Paleo. ;)

8.     Move somewhere that is always warm. It just doesn’t seem so bad to consider fighting off zombies as long as I’m chilling on a beach. Plenty of fish, coconuts, bananas, and rum…right? I just can’t imagine pillaging for food in this nasty weather. It is hard enough to try to fix my hair in the dark well enough to be seen at Chili’s.

9.     Plan the quickest route to Costco and haul bootay. Costco has everything! Thick warm socks, big screen TVs, generators, food, food, and more food, medicine, Snuggies, even playground equipment! And it has those lifts that beep when they go backward and we could place them outside of the Costco and assign gunmen to be our lookout for zombies or rival gangs.

10. Align myself with the right people. I bet you’re wondering why I’m sharing my brilliant plan with you and I’ll tell you. First of all, you are my readers and I naturally think you must be awesome if you take the time to read my insane thoughts. Secondly, I know that a large percentage of my readers are also my closest friends and my friends are some of the coolest most ingenious and brilliant people I know and I want to keep all of you around as long a possible. And thirdly and most importantly…eventually we are going to have a Donner Party situation on our hands and I figure that since you read this paleo blog then you too most likely care about what goes into your body. And you know how they say, ‘you are what you eat eats’…well, if it comes to that I want the highest quality human available…and that is you.

So now that you are either totally grossed out or think that I’ve lost my ever loving mind, here is a sweet recipe for you.

Possibly The Worlds Best Ever Butternut Squash Soup-(This is a challenge, not a tooting of my own horn.)


4 cups butternut squash, diced and roasted
1 cup coconut milk, full fat
2 Starkrimson pears, pealed and diced
1 small onion, diced
4 TBSP grass-fed butter
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ heaping tsp thyme
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onion and pears in butter until super soft. Add to food processor and puree. Add roasted butternut squash and coconut milk and blend until smooth. Pour into soup pan and add seasonings. Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Goes great with a cold chicken salad or sausage and sauerkraut.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Baby it's cold outside

Like really really cold. Like eyes watering, nose running, fingers falling off cold! And my skin is so dry! I can’t keep enough coconut body butter on it. It just soaks right up and I’m crackly again. I limit my exposure to the elements as much as possible, which means I pretty much get into my warm SUV in my warm garage and stick to running errands that only require drive-thrus. If I have to leave my heated seats then it must be really important like toilet paper or coffee. I’m pretty sure I haven’t had much fresh air in quite awhile. I kind of miss it. I tried to go outside to just breathe and enjoy the beauty of the dead grass and bare tree limbs but my lungs seized up and nose immediately started running so hauled back inside to my cozy stale air.

And to make matters worse my body is trying to make me fat! It is like my brain has sensed that it is cold and has officially signaled my body to add layers…not with adorable camis, sweaters, jackets, scarves, legwarmers, and boots but with actual adipose tissue.  I feel like all of my will and determination to eat healthy and stay physically active has completely disappeared.  All I want is to do is sit under a blanket, next to a heater and eat sweets and drink hot drinks with lots of sugar added. What is wrong with me??? This isn’t normal. I am that crazy health nut that scoffs at the idea of desserts on a weekday and here I am sneaking into the pantry three and four times a day to get a few pieces of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. And I’m pretty sure I am eating more than normal. My portion control is out of control. I am pretty sure I justify it because being fuller makes me feel warmer….really, it does.

And my crossfittiness has disappeared too. I just don’t have any desire to freeze until I start to sweat and then freeze some more because my sweat freezes when I leave. And it doesn’t have a drive-thru! I actually have to get into the fresh air to walk from car to box and that just seems unnatural. Plus I am covered from head to toe in all those adorable layers so whether or not my arms are toned goes completely unnoticed so I lack the motivation to even try. And even if my arms did show having muscle tone would be the last thing anyone noticed because they would all be shielding their eyes from the blinding glare from my pale and pasty white skin.

It is just so much easier to be healthy in the summer! In the summer I actually leave my car. I wear thin single layers and because I actually see sunshine my skin isn’t quite so blinding and doughy looking.  Plus there is always that added motivation of bikinis. And herein lies the bigger issue. We only care about taking care of our health when 
a.) we lose our health or
b.) we want to be aesthetically pleasing

So what in the world do we do about this because I for one do not want to wait to become sick before I decide health is a priority and I need something more to motivate me other than the fear of a muffin top over my bikini bottoms. I think I personally need to reevaluate my priorities. My focus needs to be about the way I feel, my energy levels, my joy and feeling of contentment, feeling strong and powerful, being confident in my body and its ability to perform the tasks needed.  And really I have noticed that since I have turned into a heavily layered hermit that all those things have really suffered. I actually had to get Levi to open a jar for me the other day and that is just not okay!

I needed to write this post to remind myself why I choose health. Why I choose to buy high quality but more expensive foods. Why I spend so much time planning, prepping, cooking and cleaning in my kitchen. Why I resist my urges to drink warm sugary drinks and eat those gluteny (it’s a word, don’t look it up) sweet temptations. Why I risk the fresh air blowing me over for the sake of sweating with my favorite people and getting stronger and more competent in my jar opening abilities.  Why I take my vitamin D so that I don’t bah hum bug my way through the rest of this season. Why I am recommitting to being a more healthy, thriving, strong and joyful me.

I am not going to wait until January 1. I’m doing this today. I have no electricity. Not really sure how I’m going to cook anything or how I’m going to ever leave this cozy spot on the chaise lounge in front of the fire to actually lift something heavy or work up a sweat. But I’m going to CHOOSE to do it. And yes, I will mess up, get lazy, succumb to the lime jello salad that my Momma makes at Christmas with marshmallows and cheddar cheese (it sounds gross but it is soooooo good).  But I really believe as long as I remember why I choose health then I will naturally consciously make good health choices too.  

I made this yummy bison chili and paleo mini corn muffins the other day while it was still nice and in the 80s outside…you just never know in Texas and once your meat is thawed you have to just go with it. But I’m excited because tonight I’m using the same paleo cornbread recipe but I’m going to turn it into cornbread dressing and serving it beside a beautiful pork tenderloin cooked in hard cider and seasoned with rosemary and thyme. Ooooh. Can’t wait! (Imagine girly clapping and bouncing here) I’ll post that recipe soonish. But now that it is frozen over outside this chili recipe will hit the spot.

BISON CHILI (Because Bison is cooler than beef…but you can always use beef too.)

4 lbs. grass-fed bison, browned  and drained (found at the Sunshine Shoppe of course.)
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6 oz. tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 organic green bell pepper, chopped
1 organic sweet bell pepper, chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
2 green chili peppers, seeded and chopped
2 bacon strips, cooked and chopped small
1 cup beef broth
½ cup red wine
¼ cup chili powder
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP Franks Hot Sauce
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Dump all of these ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low all day (6-8 hours). If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can cook this in a dutch oven and let simmer all day.

PALEO CORNBREAD MUFFINS- slightly modified from

1 cup coconut flour, sifted
8 free-range eggs, at room temp (if you are like me and forget to set your eggs out an hour in advance, just submerge in warm water for 10 minutes.)
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup organic, unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup raw honey
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
Coconut oil spray

Blend eggs, applesauce and vinegar in food processor. While blending slowly add honey and coconut oil through that little spouty thing on the top. Stop you blender for a second and add your flour and salt. Blend again…cover that spouty thing. Once everything is nice and combined pour batter into greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes if using mini muffin pan and 25 minutes if using regular muffin pan.

I doubled this recipe and we had these muffins the next morning drizzled with honey butter. It was lovely.