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