My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

It Starts with Food Giveaway!

My birthday is Friday (yay!), and I wanted to do a giveaway to celebrate 🙂 I was trying to think of the best thing to offer you all, and I realized I needed to go back to my roots…my Paleo roots that is 🙂 So…I’m going to give away a copy of It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, which outlines how to do a Whole30 which I did last year. This book literally changed my life, inspired me to start this blog, and has gone so far as to inspire me to learn more about biochemistry, permaculture, meditation, and farming practices! (WHOA!) And this all comes from a person that grew up in the suburbs of Chicago! Now, Dallas and Melissa clearly state that the basis for the book is health, not necessarily the ancestral/paleolithic way of thinking. So if you’re not interested in that angle, which is fine, this book is still a great way to think differently about your overall health.

So please hop on over to my Facebook page, Cutting the Cheese, like it, and comment on my giveaway post. This contest ends on Friday, 9/6 at 10pm CST!

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Paleo Percentages: The Game I No Longer Play

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 🙂

10 Lessons Learned in London and Paris

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!

Bon Voyage and Some Changes

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 🙂

Paleo Snacks!

Paleo Snacks!

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!

Taking Coffee Black – Finally!

Well, I have succeeded in my coffee quest! I can now take my coffee black thanks to a simple ingredient….DRUMROLL PLEASE……

LICORICE!

For those of you that don’t like licorice (I’m talking about black licorice because, let’s face it, red licorice aka Twizzlers is just sugar), well, sorry. You really do need to like licorice if you want to try this. I really don’t know how I came upon this idea a few months ago. However, I thought that using licorice root in my coffee could help reduce my desire for sugar/sweetener in my coffee. I told my mom about this idea, and she recalled that she had some licorice powder at home that she had bought from India. If anyone of you knows my mom, you would probably say “Of course she had licorice powder!”. My mom is the bearer of most things 🙂

So I tried it…and it was awesome! What I liked most about using licorice powder was that it didn’t cover up the taste of coffee like sugar/sweetener. I started to really appreciate the taste of coffee. Then one glorious day, I was at a restaurant for brunch, and I tried my coffee black…and I liked it! I wanted to actually finish all of my coffee! Mission accomplished 🙂 After that, I still preferred to put licorice powder in my coffee, however, after a month of two, even that desire was reduced. Now I just “treat” myself with the licorice powder.

No, you don’t have to go to India to get this. You can use licorice powder or licorice root, your choice. I love Amazon Prime and hopefully you do too 🙂 The powder might seem pricy, but a little goes a long way. Hopefully this helps any of you looking to make this change!

Sorry if any of you feel this way…I don’t, but I thought it was too funny not to post 🙂

Yum!

Yum!

Prepared!

So happy that I FINALLY did this. It saves me tons of time during the week. It’s a mix of eggs, bacon, basil, bell pepper (from my garden), onions, and rainbow chard (from my garden) baked to perfection!

This is a quick post, but I’m excited to share 🙂

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Whole7 Done! Lessons Learned…

Well I did my abbreviated version of a Whole30 with success. It’s been almost a year since I did my first (and only) Whole30, and I forgot (and was reminded) of some things.

1. Eating out. One lesson I was reminded of was how hard it is to eat out! Regardless of the quality of meat restaurants use, one thing that really gets me is the oils they are probably using. I’m usually too skittish to ask, but I’m guessing most restaurants don’t use Organic Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. I guess that might seem like I am really snobby, however, I feel that I have good reason to be picky about this. Also, it is very likely that there might be hidden sugars in food. The best bet is to order a salad, dressing on the side (or request olive oil and balsamic). On many instances, I did eat prior to eating out since I knew I might be limited. I learned that even though I’m afraid, I do need to ask questions when eating out.

2. I love sugar! I really do, well maybe just my brain does (same thing?). The first couple days were pretty challenging in this regard, however, after that it wasn’t too difficult. Fruit provided a perfect sugar fix that didn’t make me feel like total crap afterwards.

3. Variety exists! When I started this journey last year, it was difficult for me to think about variety. In the past year, I have experimented with different types of meat and seasonings, and variety is much more common for me. I have experimented with vegetables like chard, bok choy, kale, etc instead of sticking to lettuce and spinach. I experimented with lamb and pork, which I was very frightened of last year.

4. I feel great. That is a given. I knew I’d feel fabulous when I did this, even though it was only 7 days. My stomach felt at ease, I slept well, my sinus problems reduced, and I didn’t wake up feeling fat 🙂 The funny thing is that even though I can afford to lose a few more pounds, it wasn’t my main goal. It was an added benefit, but I’m so glad I am less focused on this aspect. As one of my favorite podcasters Jason Seib from the Everyday Paleo Lifestyle & Fitness podcast says “Healthy by choice, hot by accident” 🙂

This goes to show that doing something like this, even for a short time, really proves that changes in diet can impact health and happiness. If I did this longer, it would have made even more of a difference!

I do want to do a Whole30 again before the end of the year. I’m thinking I will do it the month of my birthday (September), so stay tuned 🙂

 


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