While I have always enjoyed writing, I have placed pressure on myself to produce in a way to get a response in return (likes, shares, comments, verbalizations from peers, etc). Usually this pressure results in freezing my writing efforts because I worry that I do not have a solid focus or direction. I start treating it like a private enterprise where I must be the best with some form of profit as the goal. This typically disgusts me, so I give up. I have written in a just a few journals in my lifetime, some handwritten, some app journals. But I never stayed consistent with them. That was until (and let’s see if this lasts….I think I can!) I found 750words.com. I love this site! It isn’t complicated, and it has somehow motivated me to write 750 words every day for the past 30 days. I try to type first thing in the morning, as that is the premise of the site, based upon the morning pages concepts birthed from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. However, on some days I type later. I basically spill my soul, random thoughts, worries, joys, and mostly confusion into what I write. I love this because it is private and doesn’t have the component of pressure associated with it. I don’t have to care about redundancy, using too many clichés, run-on sentences, fragments, or how others may perceive my feelings/thoughts/incidents. I can be authentic, yet I still feel like that the site is my non-judgmental audience. Sometimes I even address the website itself while writing/typing. That’s the other thing, I prefer typing to handwriting. For one, physically writing has become physically painful for my hands, which is embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. I also feel like I better express myself while typing, so there’s that.
This site is free for 30 days, and then it is $5 a month. Yes, that kinda sux, but I feel that is a small amount to pay for the therapeutic value it provides me. The site also has some helpful features in which you can choose to participate. There are monthly challenges to write every day where you can set rewards and consequences for doing so or not doing so. You can also earn badges for writing a certain amount of days in a row. Another feature analyzes what you write everyday. It provides quantitative data about your typing speed and number of distractions. It also analyzes your feelings, concerns, mindset, time orientation, primary sense, perspective, and tracks your frequently used words. Yes, you must take this with a grain of salt because it is automated, but I think it is a pretty interesting way of providing feedback.
I truly hope to continue writing on 750words.com because it provides an outlet for writing, and it helps to get the day started because I am able to get everything (or most things) out of my brain. I am always appreciative when people provide various ways of motivating myself to do practically anything, so I hope this helps someone else out there!
Well, it looks like I have been on an unintentional sabbatical from writing here. I know I talked about re-branding my blog back in September, and then I disappeared! I was posting to my Facebook page, but well, between my two international trips to Europe in August and Bolivia in October, my Paleo lifestyle kinda flew out the window. So, guilt-ridden, my Cutting the Cheese persona went along with it.
The good news is, while I lost my way a bit in the nutrition world, I have started to find my way in the mindful world which is almost even better! I have been eating up a lot of literature about mindfulness, meditation, attachment/detachment, etc, and I’ve also been eating up a lot of processed food (eek!). But the great think about unintentionally swapping Paleo for spirituality of sorts is that I wasn’t beating myself up about the Paleo thing. I love eating Paleo, it makes me feel AWESOME. So let’s put it this way, when I don’t eat Paleo, my body punishes me enough with pimples, gas, muscle cramps, and sinus headaches. Do I really need to beat myself up mentally? First of all, fat shaming myself and others is incredibly harmful and sexist on many levels, check out Cranky Fat Feminist for some inspiration about that. Being mindful (NOT critiquing) of the way I’m thinking and feeling in any situation (food-related or not) has given me a way to examine my habits. Where do they stem from? What do I exactly say to myself? How do I react to other people/objects/situations/myself in these situations? How do I cope or ‘fill’ myself? With food? With TV? Talking to friends? Facebook? Clothes? Wine? I am guilty of doing all of these, and I have done my best not to judge myself for that. Because, well…how does that help anyone? Wait! It helps the fat loss industry, my bad 🙂
Cynicism aside (kinda), as cheesy as it sounds, looking at myself, my feelings, and my actions has been so valuable in the past few months. One can only wonder how beneficial that can be if done throughout a lifetime! Well, that’s my intention going forward. Looking at the ways I am broken has mended me. I’m not encouraging anyone to dwell on the past by trying to figure out what’s “wrong” with them. First of all, the binary notion of “right” and “wrong” is…well…wrong 😉 I just intend to express that we are beautiful in everyday, when we are heavier, lighter, depressed, joyous, eating Oreos, or eating kale. With that behind said, here is a newfound quote (new for me) that expresses the above:
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
There was a woman I used to meet through some mutual friends, and when I asked how she was, she would say on multiple occasions, “I’m just sad”. I just wanted to hug her, tell her not to be sad, talk about positive things in life, etc. I don’t have this urge any longer. While I would still love to give her a big hug, it would be in acceptance of her sadness, not because I desire to change her feelings. We all have a right to feel the way we feel. Sitting in our feelings is the single-most difficult yet transformative things we can do. The process of emotions can be so painful, yet the outcome can be quite beautiful.
In my self-exploration, I have started to truly love myself in a way I didn’t know was possible. And, a lot of it has been through not just examining myself, but observing others, staring at snowflakes, trudging through a snowstorm, working with a difficult client, locking my car keys in the car, listening to my mom talk about my dad who passed away a year ago…the list can go on. Now how the hell does that make any sense? Well, I have been seeing myself through the lens of other people, situations, objects, nature, while riding the bus, etc. And I see that there is an interconnectedness to everything when I am in the company of others or isolated by myself.
My path is ever-evolving and always in transition (aren’t all of ours?), and I am falling in love with it because I don’t know where it will lead me. However, I am certain that it will have a positive impact in so many areas of my life, including health. The idea of self-observation and self-love will hopefully allow me to be healthier in every aspect of my life whether it be food, exercise, self-talk, relationships with loved ones, and, most importantly,the relationship with myself. I will falter, I will deviate, because that’s just part of it.
As I re-read what I have just written, I thought to myself “Wow, I sound like some New Age hippie!”. Well, so be it. This is where I am now, and I’m just happy to be.
No, I’m not re-launching my site or anything yet, but as my thoughts and experiences with my health journey evolve through the way I eat, move, and think, my vision for “Cutting the Cheese” has evolved as well.
Initially, my thought was to create a blog name that would be refer to Paleo and also be punny. I think I succeeded. I do have to give credit to a close friend that helped me out, so thank you Jasmy 🙂 Cheese is something I LOVE, so I thought it was a perfect fit! However, as I learned more about Paleo, I realized that, yes, in the strictest sense, dairy isn’t “allowed”. But, as time went on, I stopped thinking of Paleo as a diet of restriction, and I started to see it as using food for nourishment. So, given this change, I started introducing dairy in my meals. While I do feel some effects from dairy, I am unaffected in moderation. So, I haven’t always had to “cut the cheese” out of my diet…however, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to do it figuratively 😉
As I have I started looking at Paleo from a different perspective, I decided to re-brand my blog through a different lens. I believe most of us know what “Cutting the Cheese” means as an idiom. If not, feel free to find out here. The the meaning is funny in the sophomoric sense that many hate to love. It provokes laughter with a bit of discomfort – literally and figuratively 🙂
Recently, I started a Facebook page to go along with my blog. I tend to post a few times a day to this page by sharing some personal experiences as well as sharing information that I find helpful from other blogs/pages. Sometimes I share recipes or just general information about the Paleo way of eating. However, as I have mentioned before, I do see Paleo as a lifestyle. At the same time, I see eating processed foods and treating certain physical ailments with drugs, and not nutrition, as a lifestyle too. Paleo aside, I feel there are obvious sociopolitical conflicts that serve to profit companies that the modern world just accepts. This makes me uncomfortable…very uncomfortable. I didn’t want to believe it. I don’t want to believe it. But I have to believe it. The Food Pyramid, FDA guidelines, GMO’s, yadda yadda are all politically and economically motivated and most of us either want to ignore it, minimize it, or simply believe that the government and big food companies have our best interests at heart. As an individual, I cannot solely change the current political, economic, or food systems. However, it would be silly for me to not recognize the motivation and manipulation of these systems. If everyone realized how they were being manipulated, they would probably be uncomfortable.
Another area I have felt passionate about is self-love when it comes to body image and what we think about ourselves. I have definitely struggled with body image in many ways that I hope to share in future posts. In the past couple months, I have been able to move past a lot of my insecurities and get to a point where not only do I love myself and my body more than before, but I have also realized that I was making excuses about why I didn’t think I was insecure in the first place. Again, this was uncomfortable. Loving who I am, as I am, is uncomfortable. Do I have a Victoria’s Secret model body? NO. Have I lost as much weight as I would have initially liked? NO. A year ago, these answers would have made me very uncomfortable. But, I’m happy to say, that I’m much more happy in my skin, as is, than before. Does that mean I don’t want to lose weight or that I don’t think I would be as attractive if I lost more weight? No, not at all. My priorities have just changed. My goal is health first, and, as Jason Seib says, to look “hot by accident”.
Lastly, I have started to make some changes in my daily routine to include meditation, prayer, and asking for help when I feel I need support in my life. Stress management is a huge part of lifestyle and if affects our bodies immensely. Here is a great summary about stress and adrenal fatigue: The Real Deal On Adrenal Fatigue by Robb Wolf. Making changes to daily habits is difficult. After all the Merriam-Webster definition of a habit is “a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way”. So making changes in our busy, stress-filled lives, especially to slow down and let go of certain outcomes through mediation, prayer, or what have you, is hard and uncomfortable, but it is also very beneficial. I’m not talking about being a yogi and sitting on a mountain in lotus position. These are changes you can make throughout the day in the comfort of your home, but, to do so, priorities have to change.
I’m evolving/re-branding this blog by pushing through uncomfortable barriers and becoming more aware, accepting, and comfortable being uncomfortable! I still do plan to post recipes, etc to have some balance and fun 🙂
Enjoy and feel free to comment about this change!
I returned from Europe about a week ago, and I had an amazing time! Here are my top 10 takeaways from the trip:
1. Restaurant service in America is incredible (as compared to London/Paris).
2. Dairy and meat quality in Europe (at least London and Paris) is phenomenal, and most food was very fresh.
3. London is expensive!
4. But visit the Borough Market in London anyways 🙂
5. Paris is beautiful!
6. French food is rich, simple, and delicious.
7. Don’t eat French food if you need to compulsively use Sriracha (or insert other hot sauce) on everything.
8. While, the service in Paris is mostly crappy (compared to the states), most Parisians seem to be ok with it. Maybe it’s because they aren’t always in such a hurry like Americans. 🙂
9. It’s hard to stay Paleo in Paris and avoid baguettes, croissants, macaroons, and crepes 🙂
10. Biking around in Paris was one of the most adventurous things I have ever done in my life!
Overall, it was very, very difficult to stay Paleo, especially because of #9. All the gluten, grains, and alcohol I drank definitely had a negative impact on how I felt physically and mentally. I also did not have the best quality of sleep because of it. However, since I have returned, I have a renewed passion for the Paleo lifestyle. And I feel great!
On to some changes! As I mentioned in my last post, I am excited to start sharing different material on the blog and just expanding in general. One change is that I have a Facebook account exclusively for this blog, yay! So please like Cutting the Cheese on Facebook! I also made a new twitter account to really focus on primal/paleo/real food nutrition and lifestyle. My new handle is @cuttingthecheez, so please follow me there 🙂
That is all…for now!
Tonight I’m leaving for London and Paris for a couple weeks! I’m so blessed to go on this trip and see a dear friend (the one who wrote this awesome post) get married, meet family, and simply enjoy different parts of the world! I’m hoping to document some things and perhaps learn some food related ideas about each place while I’m there as well.
How will I stay Paleo on this trip? Well, it will probably be hard as vacations are usually opportunities where I have failed. However, I have equipped myself with some trail mix and grass-fed beef jerky from Gourmet Grassfed Meat! I’m bringing these with me on the plane to snack on as well. I’ll just do the best I can, and, most importantly, enjoy my time 🙂
I also wanted to talk about some changes about the content of this blog. Somewhat deeper thoughts have been entering my mind through various forms of social media, personal life experiences, and discussions with friends. This includes food policy, emotions and eating, the female body image, etc. I definitely have some ideas about these topics, some that have been expressed before, and, perhaps, some new ones. I will say this now and again when I write these posts: I am not an expert in..well…anything! This is purely a journey of learning that I thoroughly enjoy. Prove me wrong, challenge me, I welcome it 🙂 Getting my ideas out there helps me to grow and, hopefully, allows my readers (or maybe just 1 reader at least? hehe) to get a different perspective as well.
Aritey, that’s all folks…see you in a few weeks!
Well…I have to start with an apology for dropping the ball on my blog. I returned from India in January with a heavy heart. A trip that was supposed to be joyful turned out to be very sad. My parents traveled there as well, and my dad became very ill. He unexpectedly passed away in the city where he grew up, Mumbai. So, as you all can imagine, this has been a trying time for my family and me.
Currently, I’m helping my mom cope with the aftermath while working part-time. This hasn’t allowed much time for “me”, and the stress definitely brought upon total derailment in the food and exercise department. However, I’m happy to say, that while this is a hard time for my family, I’m doing the best I can to take care of myself inside and out. It took a month of crappy, crappy eating and barely exercising, but I’m back into a groove in terms of diet…and I’m working on getting back to the exercise.
One area I’ve become really passionate about since I came back is trying to understand the science behind the whole Paleo philosophy. It has helped give me a lot of perspective and more reason to continue along this path. It all started with listening to some GREAT podcasts. First I started listening to the “Healthy Skeptic” Chris Kresser’s podcast Revolution Health Radio. Then I became obsessed with the Balanced Bites podcast hosted by Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe, and Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness podcast hosted by Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib. These podcasts have their own flavor in terms of perspective, personality, and content. I love listening to them on my drives to and from work. All this has basically made me realize WHY I feel so great with the Paleo lifestyle and why I should continue to live this way 🙂
I really want to get into everything I have been doing, but I will stop for now. I just wanted to catch you all up on what’s been going on in my life and why I have been so absent. It was definitely temporary…just a part of my journey 🙂