My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

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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!


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!



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!

My birthday is soon approaching, and it’s making me think about where I really want to be in my life right now in terms of my physical health.  I feel that in the past 6 months, I have made great improvements to my life including being aware and ACCEPTING my eating behaviors (sugar obsession and overeating), working out at The Dailey Method pretty regularly, and transitioning to a Paleo/Whole30 eating lifestyle.

However, in the aftermath of my first Whole30, I have gained a couple pounds back, and I have also started to reduce my workout frequency from 4 days a week minimum to 3 days a week.  Soooo back to where I want to be in my life….I really want to lose some more inches.  Working out 3 days a week, is definitely maintenance mode in my head.  Therefore, I am planning to increase the frequency of my workouts to 5 days a week.  Given my schedule, I think this is a fair and feasible schedule change.  While I don’t plan on being super strict for Whole30, I do plan on following the guidelines for the most part with the occasional indulgence.

I once read that in terms of health, food > sleep > exercise (I think it was on the Whole9 Facebook page).  I feel that sometimes I wasn’t exercising because I wasn’t sleeping as much.  So, I am going to put a change to that!  I plan to be in bed every night by 10:30pm, so I can get up and workout feeling rested.  I really think I’ll notice a difference with this subtle change.  I did a quick Google search about workout frequency (I’m so scientific!), and I came upon this site.  The picture I first saw (below) scared the crap out of me, but I liked the idea of the article.  (No, I don’t want to look like him…not that there’s anything wrong with that!)


Basically, it talks about the frequency of strength training you need to make different types of changes in your body.  It also emphasizes the importance of muscle recovery.  I love that The Dailey Method has a combination of isometric strength training and low-intensity cardio!  I really feel like I’m getting it all in one class 🙂

Speaking of The Dailey Method, I’m excited to announce that I will be attending a Dailey Method workshop next weekend about taking my practice to the next level!  This should be really great, and I’m looking forward to blogging about it.  Also, I have been struggling with preparing Whole30 meals ahead of time with my work and personal schedules…so I started looking into Pre-Made Paleo meals that I can heat up and eat.  I’m excited to announce that I am going to be receiving some of their meals to review on this blog!  I’m super excited about these upcoming posts, and I hope you are too 🙂

Here are a few questions for you all:

1. Have any of you noticed any changes to your body by increasing the frequency of your workouts?

2. How/when do you manage to make meals ahead of time for yourself and/or your family?

3. Do you believe in or practice “food > sleep > exercise”  in terms of order of importance?  Why or why not?

So as I mentioned in my last post, I intended to introduce food groups one at a time back into my eating regimen.  Well…that didn’t go to well.  I only added dairy for the first 2 days, but then on the 3rd day I went to a Chicago Air and Water Show party.  The spread of delicious food was amazing!  There were unlimited drinks and desserts galore!  I think I got a little too excited.  While the desserts were gluten free, I definitely had other foods that were not along with many other sugary delights.  For me, it was really hard to just do one food group at a time because my body just started craving more “bad stuff” once I started!  I hadn’t felt like that in over a month, and I did NOT like that feeling.

On the Whole30, I really enjoyed that I never felt bloated and flabby.  I mean, wouldn’t you??  It was a great feeling.  However, I know that it might not always be realistic.  In ISWF, they mention that it may take a few times of re-entry to understand your cravings and know how to eat without going nuts after the Whole30 is over.  So…I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much.  But, getting back into a non-Whole30 diet definitely gave me perspective!   It made me realize that I am MUCH happier when I adhere to the Whole30 guidelines (I’m not gonna lie. One thing I am holding on to is my coffee with Splenda.  So far I don’t feel many negative effects from doing so).

While I wasn’t able to isolate how I felt with each particular food group, I can tell you that eating how I used to reminded me of how not so great I used to feel.  I got more sinus headaches (which I used to get weekly), stomach pain, not as wonderful sleep, and some irritability in terms of my temperament.  None of these feelings were fun, but I am happy that I experienced them.  Why, you ask?  Well, now I know how I CAN feel if I eat good, natural, unprocessed, whole foods 🙂  I am happier and healthier.  Sounds easy, right? 😉  Now when I eat something that isn’t as healthy, I have a full understanding of the potential consequences.

The Whole9 Facebook page had a really great post the other day:

The simple absence of grains or dairy or whathaveyou in stuff you eat doesn’t make it “Paleo”. A Paleo way of life is about choosing to partake in a “nutrient-dense life”, complete with deeply nourishing food, emotionally satisfying social relationships, and genuine interaction with the natural (i.e. outside) world. Embrace the spirit of the lifestyle instead of seeking ways to work around it. Relying on a blend of dried fruit and nuts isn’t “Paleo” – it’s just overeating trail mix.

This statement reflects the thoughts my original post about doing Whole30 in the first place. I really have been trying to embrace this lifestyle concept.  However, the greatest difficulty so far is to not look/seem like a “picky” eater or inflexible.  I never was picky with what I ate.  However, finding a way of eating that truly makes me feel good, actually GREAT, makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing!  Sometimes it’s hard to explain/make someone believe that I’m declining the cake, candy, bread, etc because I really don’t want it, not because I “can’t” have it.  It’s a work in progress.  I guess the point is that I’m not trying to convince others.  If I did that all the time, I would never be happy.  Also, if change were comfortable, it wouldn’t be so hard, right?

What types of things have you changed in your life for the better or worse?

I’m so excited about my first giveaway with Door to Door Organics! For the past few months, I was very intrigued by the idea of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) which provides a way to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. I was also very interested in buying organic. Typically you can sign up for a CSA which is either delivered to you or picked up at a farmer’s market. I will admit, I didn’t do a ton of research, but what I did find were ones that had an inconvenient pick-up time. I also had a hard time finding ones that delivered to me without me being there. Again, I didn’t do a ton of research. Also, you don’t get to pick what you get in the box. I think this is awesome, but also possibly wasteful. The element of surprise is really fun, and I love the idea of learning about new fruits/veggies and how to prepare them. However, I wasn’t to keen on paying for food that either I didn’t like or was a hassle to prepare.

I found out about Door to Door Organics because someone I know liked them on Facebook! Note the power of social media 😉 I checked out their page, and I was instantly interested. First of all, they offer FREE DELIVERY (I felt that deserved to be capitalized). Also, they offered many sizes and even offered delivery every other week. Seeing as it is just my husband and I, I didn’t want a ton of food (many of the CSA’s small sizes fed a family of 1-4). So I decided that I would get their smallest “bitty” mixed (fruits & veggies) box every other week to start out. They do have a bitty local box, but it doesn’t always have the variety of the mixed one. Obviously I want to use what I have and not waste it, so the mixed box worked better for me.

Another thing I love about Door to Door is that you can kind of customize your order. They “Produce Preferences” where you can list the types of produce you absolutely love and produce you don’t like at all. They definitely haven’t sent me anything I don’t like yet! I really do love this option because there is still an element of surprise, but it’s usually a good one 🙂 They also e-mail you what will be in your order a few days before delivery! Another great bonus is that they sell groceries besides fruits and veggies (cheese, dairy, meats, drinks, coffee, etc). So after they tell e-mail you your order, you can also add groceries that will also be delivered! I haven’t bought any groceries yet, but I definitely hope to at some point. When they deliver to you, they include ice packs in the box in case you won’t be home! At first, I didn’t think this could withstand some of the Chicago heat we have been experiencing. But for 2 out of the 3 deliveries we have received, the temperature was between 95 and 100 degrees. The box was left out for hours, and everything was gravy – meaning fine, not actually like gravy 😉 I took pictures of my last delivery (this was around 6:30pm after I got home on a 100 degree day):

The list of what was in my Bitty Box

My beautiful organic fruits and veggies

So onto the exciting part! Door to Door Organics is offering a giveaway of a Bitty Mixed Box (worth $26.99). If you would like to win, you have to live in the Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, or Denver area!!! I would hate for someone to enter and not live in one of these places 🙂 Please check if they deliver to you at Door to Door Organics before you enter!  This is open to new and existing customers within their delivery area.

Want more chances to win? You will get more entries every time you do something indicated below (# of entries are indicated after each task). This will be open for a week until Thursday, July 26 at 10:00pm CST! One winner will be announced (and e-mailed) Friday morning. Remember to do #10 or you won’t find out if you won 🙂

1. Comment on this post: Tell me what you love about eating organic, how it’s helped you, or what you hope to gain from eating organic food. (+1)

2. Follow me on Twitter: @nisham (+1)

3. Follow Chicago, Colorado, Michigan, and KC Door to Door Organics on Twitter: @dtdOrganicsChi @dtdOrganics @dtdOrganicsMI @dtd_KC_Organics (+1 for each)

4. “Like” your local Door to Door Organics on Facebook Chicago, Colorado, Michigan, and KC  (+1)

(If you already follow me or Door to Door Organics on Twitter or like them on Facebook, you still get the entry)

5. Like this post by hitting “Like” below. (+1)

6. Follow my blog using the link on the sidebar (+1)

7. Tweet about this giveaway (you can do this everyday) using the button below and pasting the following (e-mail me the URL): “Win a home delivery #giveaway of #organicfood from @dtdOrganicsChi @dtdorganics @dtd_kc_organics @dtdorganicsMI and @nisham!” (+2)

8. Share this post on Facebook using the button below and e-mail me the URL. (You can do this everyday) (+2)

9. Pin one of the pictures above on Pinterest and e-mail me the URL. (+2)

10. E-mail me! Send me an e-mail at (so you can claim your prize) and let me know something you’d like to see me blog (or not blog) about! Also, let me know your twitter user name and paste the URL’s of your Tweets, Facebook shares and Pins so I know you did them (if you have multiple tweets/share URL’s, you can send me one e-mail with all the URL’s or one for each time you do it)! (+2)

Thanks everyone!

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