My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

Category Archives: mental health

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.

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During my paleo journey, I have had my ups and downs.  I would like to say that I’m on an upswing now.  However, it’s because of my paleo/non-paleo phases that I can look back and see what I was really doing.  Oftentimes I would say that I was about 80/20 paleo/non-paleo.  When I said this, what I meant that 20% of the food I ate was non-paleo.  It made sense to me, and, apparently, it made sense to other people as well!  It also gave me the “I’m not too extreme/restrictive/hard to feed” card.

While listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Everyday Paleo, Jason Seib mentioned that the whole percentage thing didn’t really make sense because it’s so arbitrary.  Of course, at the time, I was what I thought to be 80/20.  However, his statement made me think genuinely and critically about my own paleo percentage claims.  I realized that Jason had a very good point.  Making these claims disregards accountability, food quantity, and food content.

  • First of all, when I said I was 80/20, I couldn’t really say that I had ANY proof to back me up.  I wasn’t tracking my foods, I just kind of felt that 20% of what I ate was “off-track”.   In reality, 30-40% of my food was probably non-paleo.  I wasn’t really being accountable.  Then when I didn’t feel good in terms of heaving headaches, getting sick, or just feeling a little too pudgy, I couldn’t figure out why.  However, it’s hard to keep track of this because food quantity is a bit arbitrary…
  • Sometimes I would equate 20% of food to 20% calories.  But really, what does 20% mean?  Is it 20% of calories?  Is it 20% in ounces?  Is it 20% of non-nutritious ingredients? Was I including beverages?  What unit of measurement was I using for this arbitrary percentage?  Let’s say I drank some Diet Coke.  This is definitely non-paleo, but it has no calories.  So did that count?  This gets to my next point…
  • What was IN this non-paleo food?  Let’s be honest here, there is NOTHING natural about Diet Coke and other sodas.  They are a bunch of chemicals mixed together, and aspartame is an awful sweetener.  So, in turn, I might not be ingesting calories, but I’m also not ingesting any nutrients.  In fact, I’m probably drinking negative nutrients.  So does that go towards my percentage?  How is this interacting with the rest of my body? Is there a percentage of pain I will be in because of the percentage of Diet Coke I drank?  I’ll pose another example.  Let’s say that I have 2 tablespoons of salad dressing that had canola or soybean oil, some high fructose corn syrup, and caramel color…just for kicks.  Is that as “bad” as having half a chocolate chip cookie?  Or a slice of cake?  The content of food matters.  I’m not a food scientist, but I find the intersection of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients fascinating.  However, it is very complicated and not definitive.  If you’re interesting in learning more about this, I would suggest reading Chris Kresser‘s website and listening to his podcast.  But the fact is, that the content of the non-paleo food is going to react to our body in ways that we won’t be able to delineate or understand, especially not in terms of quantity. If I ate a slice of cake,  it might set me back in terms of my health for a couple days even though it was only 5% or 10% of my calories.  This, of course, depends on your body and what else you ate.  The point is, the content of food matters cannot be equated to a NUMBER.  Quality is ultimately not quantity.
  • Now, I can be eating 100% paleo and still eat a lot of paleo “treats”.  I haven’t really made any paleo treats until recently.  I made some “Paleo” Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were delicious!  However, after having 2 of the cookies, I didn’t feel so hot.  It was probably because of the quantity of almond flour I used!  Or maybe it was the honey.   I am happy to treat myself, but I try to be aware of the content of that treat.  It can be dangerous to hide behind a label.  Sure, it’s Paleo, but that doesn’t mean it’s always nutritious.

Having 20% non-paleo food does not mean that you will be 20% behind of your goals or 20% fatter than if you were 100% paleo or 20% less healthier.  It just doesn’t work that way!  If I do choose to eat a non-paleo food, instead of saying i’m 80/20, I’ll just say what I ate.  Or, I will just say that I do the best that I can.  Or, I will admit that I am a sugar addict, and sometimes I just fall off the wagon.

Jason Seib, now I know what you mean 🙂


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!


This past weekend was full of wonderful celebrations!  My husband and I drove down to Indianapolis on Saturday to celebrate the 1st birthday of the son of our dear friends.  Of course, Sunday was Father’s Day.  It was so great to enjoy time with friends we haven’t seen in some time.  It was also a once in a lifetime experience to see 37 kids (most under the age of 5) in one place at once, lol. Just watching them all jumping around was quite exhausting. Sunday, we had a Father’s Day lunch and dinner which was wonderful as well.

Clearly, it was going to be difficult for me to stay on my diet when I could not have complete control over my meal choices.  I always allow for myself to indulge a meal or two during the week that aren’t compliant, since that is just reality.  However, being unprepared definitely got me in trouble.  Saturday morning before we left, I made sure to have a bigger breakfast consisting of a 3-egg omelette with spinach and an avocado.  As we embarked on our drive, I decided to only bring water with me.  I did not bring any fruit or nuts to snack on.  Clearly, when we arrived in Indianapolis, I was starved!  So I immediately ate a sandwich and then ate tons of pasta and some delicious cake (I had planned on eating the cake beforehand).  Everything was delicious, and I wasn’t beating myself up too much about it…but I know I could’ve prepared a bit more so I wouldn’t have taken that second serving of pasta and eggplant parmesan.  On top of it, we were driving straight to my in-laws that evening, and I had not prepared a breakfast plan for the next morning.

I started thinking about where I went wrong in not preparing for the trip.  Did I not have the food with at my disposal?  Nope.  Did I not have enough time to get it ready?  Nope.  Did I give up?  Yes!  Basically, I had already thought to myself, “I’m going to let go a little”.  I did not decide how or when I was going to let go (which is what I usually do), which pretty much gave me the opportunity to eat whatever I wanted.    So I failed in my thought process, which led to me choosing to not be prepared and eating unhealthy.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting go a little bit.  However, for a person like me, who lacks self-control, this little goes a long way.  I am positive that having a piece of fruit or nuts on the ride there would have staved off some of my impulsive eating for that day and the next.

The next morning, I had granola with milk and fruit for breakfast (fail).  I meant to get some eggs, but since I had given up, this just didn’t happen.  For lunch, I was able to be compliant, however, for Father’s Day dinner, I decided to have 1 crab rangoon.  My parents don’t eat meat or seafood, and one order of crab rangoon had 6 pieces!  Well of course I can’t make my husband eat all of those!  Before I knew it, 3 of them were floating around in my tummy.

Inevitably, this all lead to me feeling irritable.  I was annoyed that I let it happen, and this all led to negative thinking and being a victim to my own choices.  This way of thinking is never good.  On top of it all, I didn’t go to The Dailey Method for 2 days in a row, which I try not to do.  But alas!  This morning,  I went to The Dailey Method and after 10 minutes I could feel myself becoming more calm.  The stress I had placed on myself started trickling away, and I felt the ultimate release.  Finally, I felt like my new self again 🙂

Overall, I think this is a lesson that it just takes on small thought to begin an avalanche of negative behavior.  At the same time, I was so grateful to get back on track and to make the choice to get out of the negativity.

The best part of the weekend was seeing this face 🙂  He was such a birthday champ and is the most handsome little man I have seen!


I just saw this video from The Dailey Method in my Facebook news feed and it is hilarious!  Let’s just say that I may or may not have said one or more of these things, lol.

I love to laugh at myself – out loud, in my head, alone in the car, etc.  Laughing at my ridiculousness (in and out of the studio) has really helped me to accept my imperfections and focus on the progress I have and will hopefully continue to make whether it be in class, at work, or in my personal life.  There aren’t many things that I take too seriously anymore.  Before I started on this journey, I had a tendency to set high expectations for myself (and I definitely still do at times), but these never served me well.  They just caused me to treat everything as a big deal when they were not.  Not only is laughing healthy for our bodies, it is also healthy for our minds.  I try to remember this when I think I’m in a serious situation which is really only a small moment in the large scheme of things.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

What types of things do you do to take the edge off a serious situation?



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