My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

Tag Archives: healthy living

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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I’m so excited to post about my recent experience Paleo Pen Pals!  They match you up with another member of the Paleo community which provides such a fun interaction with someone you don’t know!  Basically, all you have to mail each other a Paleo ingredient and make a recipe from it!  I remember having pen pals in grade school and being so giddy when I would receive a letter from them.  This giddiness was felt again when I received my Paleo ingredient from Tanya at Feed the Clan 🙂 Her recipe using the star anise that I sent her is here.

I was pretty nervous to do this because, while I love sharing recipes, I haven’t exactly really created many on my own.  Sure, I’ve deviated from other recipes by adding or changing some ingredients, but I haven’t really come up with anything from scratch.  After stressing out about this (#firstworldproblems), I realized that maybe I can still tweak something I know about.  After all, isn’t that how people come up with some recipes in the first place?

So…here is what Tanya sent me:

Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

Tanya told me the Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey was from a local source in her area, which I loved!  I was so excited to see how I could use this in a recipe!  When I tasted it, I was reminded of the red chili powder that my mom often used in her many delicious Gujarati (state in India) dishes.  I’m not sure if it’s very different from what we get at the supermarket in the states, but that was my experience with it.  So basically, this powder was infused into honey and was quite yummy 🙂

I had some home-grown cabbage at home, and my mom had brought some beautiful purple and white carrots from a farmer’s market.  So I decided to make a Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots based off a Gujarati dish I ate growing up.  Usually, my mom never added any type of sweetener or carrots, so I was curious about how this would taste. This recipe can also be made without the carrots.

Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots

1.5 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup shredded carrots

3 cups shredded cabbage

2.5 tsp Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp sea salt

Dry roast the mustard seeds in a pan until they pop – this increases the mustard flavor in the dish. (You can also add sesame seeds to this if you’d like).  Heat oil in another pot or wok, and add mustard seeds and turmeric. Let it sizzle for a little bit so it’s mixed in well.  Add cabbage and carrots.  Mix this thoroughly so the turmeric covers the cabbage and carrots completely.  Add the honey.  Then cover until the cabbage is cooked but still a little crisp – about 10 min.  Add salt.

Finished product!

Finished product!

And VOILA!  You are done.  At first, I didn’t feel like I tasted the chile flavor.  And it still isn’t as strong as my mom’s, but the point is that it didn’t NEED to be spicy.  What’s really cool is that the honey flavor really makes it yummy and the spicy kick comes at the end.  This can be a great side dish with any meal.  You can also add some chicken, pork, or beef to this dish as well.  I’ve never done it, but I think it would be really great!

I hope you enjoyed my first real recipe 🙂  Paleo Pen Pals was such a fun experience that pushed me to be creative.  I will definitely be doing it again!


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 used a random number generator to pick a winner for the It Starts with Food giveaway!

And the winner is….Rachel Ball!

Congratulations Rachel!  Send me a message on Facebook or email me at cuttingthecheeseblog@gmail.com so I can send you the prize 🙂

Thanks for entering everyone!


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!

startswithfood

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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!


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!



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