Some of you may or may not be celebrating Easter today and in my house-hold we celebrate Easter the way we do most holidays by eating. This is not a religious holiday for us but instead a holiday wrapped all around food. Let me explain, we start with Easter brunch which by the way we all love very much. We have gone to Easter brunch for 25 years as a family and my spouse and sister-in-law have been joining us for the last 12 years and now my nephew for the last 2 years. This brunch is a place where we make memories happen every year. Every year something fun happens or we create something fun or silliness just starts. The Easter bunny comes around, the kids go nuts and walla silly starts. This is a place where although it is “classy” they take the class down a notch and just let the kids have some fun. My nephew gets blueberries with whipped cream which is a kids dream and the rest of us chat, laugh, and just enjoy the time together. One meal down and yes we are stuffed but it doesn’t stop there.
We move on my mother’s home because the day just can’t be finished with Easter brunch. We climb into more relaxing clothes and now that our tight pants are off well we just feel better and have made room for more food. We do wait for a bit of time but not much before the tray of munchies makes it way out to the table. You don’t realize how much you can eat when music is being played, dancing is going on, a little too much red wine might be consumed (yes even on Sunday early afternoons) and after munchies well the ham arrives with salads and sides and now we are sitting down to another entire meal. Did I mention that there is dessert too? I know because I’ve brought it!! I am just as much a culprit in all this as anyone but this is what we do. We eat, laugh, talk, eat, dance, laugh, eat and talk some more. Honestly, I wouldn’t change this day for anything except the need to get into the Bikram studio which doesn’t happen on holidays but if I could that would be one heavenly day.
So, with all this eating what kind of choices do I need to make? I make sure that I choose gluten free first and foremost. From there I can make other decisions and I usually choose not to eat any potato type foods and stick with eggs, meats, salads and fruits. At brunch I will find a dessert I like and have it but I will look at all of them and make a decision based on what I really want. When we get to my mom’s most of the food is all suitable for Matthew and I to eat because she is getting use to what we do and don’t eat but if there are things there that have gluten we won’t eat them. Gluten is our main concern at this point and if we can avoid that we have done extremely well in social situations. The dessert I made is great for Matthew, my nephew and me because I made a banana chocolate chia pudding. I used a whole banana this time as my sweetener, with 2 tbsp of dark cocoa powder, 1.25 cups almond milk and 1/3 cup chia seeds. I put everything in the blender and moved it to my glass jar and although it isn’t being presented very pretty in the jar I’ll dish it out and put a little whipped cream on top and everyone will think this is just chocolate pudding, with a twist.
I wouldn’t trade in my moments with my family ever and nor should I. Yes we eat a lot but my family is fairly active, healthy, and eats well when we aren’t together so we use holidays as a reason to eat, eat and eat some more. Happy Easter to all of you and hope you make the best decisions for you today.
Sprint work does not sound fun and I won’t try to convince anyone that it can be fun. Although there are many options to sprint work, whether you do it on an elliptical, treadmill, row machine or just sprint outside around a track. I took several weeks off from my sprint work due to illness, then vacation and finally just because it is so easy to fall out of routine and not do sprint work.
My Cross Fit trainer gently reminded me that I shouldn’t take any more time off from sprint work and get back to it. Before I stopped I was doing about 10-12 minutes of sprint work with resting time in between but sprinting hard and fast and really feeling it. I decided for my sprint work this week since it had been a while I would do it on the treadmill and start at 9miles/hr. for 20 and rest 10 seconds. As you can see I’m using the Tabata method on the treadmill to get back my stamina. Ok, no joke after 2 minutes of Tabata work I was completely winded. I had no idea I could lose my lung capacity after that amount of time so now I have learned my lesson and back to regular sprint work until I can get back to my 10-12min then I can move to other machines or hopefully by than the weather will be nice enough for me to sprint outside. When I do my sprint work it is on my walking days and yoga days.
I did some more sprint work today and was able to get up to 3 minutes of Tabata type sprinting so I’m increasing but it is painful. I don’t mean painful in the sense that anything hurts it is just extremely tough. It is so important though as part of the overall health and fitness of my life so I can’t ignore it or put it on the back burner like I did. Now if I get sick or go into flare I’m not sprinting. I will walk, and walk and walk some more but I won’t push my lungs if I don’t feel really good. The key though is that as soon as I do feel good I will get right back to it and not go long periods of time anytime in between sessions.
The good thing is that I feel great right now I should take advantage of this time and without over doing it, really do it well. I am at nearly 50 days without a flare and my body is feeling very strong. I like the strong feeling I have and don’t want to compromise that or lose it but at the same time I have a fine line of not falling off the flare-free fence either. Right now I’ve got it pretty well figured out and with the nice weather coming soon I will be able to get outside for fresh air and extremely long walks and hikes. That is when I’m the happiest and in my bliss so come on SPRING!!!
I have been experiment with different chia seed recipes and who knew these little seeds were so diverse. I even have people in my office trying chia seed recipes so not only are we swapping recipes but we get to taste everyone’s creations. Some that I have tried is a banana/chia pudding in which I took ½ banana with 1.5 cups almond/coconut milk, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup in blender until smooth. Added milk mixture with 1/3 cup chia seeds in a jar, shake well and refrigerate for an hour. I used the other ½ of my banana as a garnish during serving.
I tasted one that was chia seeds in coconut water and the difference is that this one had a bronze color when mine all turn gray so the color is much more appealing. Today I tried a chocolate chia seed pudding; this may actually be my favorite. I’m going to make for Easter because I think my nephew will really enjoy it as well. This was 3 cups of almond milk, ½ cup chia seeds, 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, and mix in a bowl and refrigerate until desire consistency. Some garnishes are dark chocolate shavings, whipped cream or even berries. This one used white chia seeds which I hadn’t seen before and only ever buy the black ones. The consistency was so good on this pudding and the chocolate flavor was quite nice. This one didn’t have any garnishes but was still quite good.
I have read that chia seeds are in smoothies but I haven’t tried it yet. I have smoothie almost every day but not sure how the little seeds would taste. I do add ground flax seed to my smoothies but I can’t even taste that. I may try grinding my chia seeds to make the same type of powder consistency as the flax and see how that tastes. I have also been adding the chia seeds to my salads, sauces and in other types of food.
It is fun to come up with new recipes and try and new foods. I also love it when I come up with something that my little nephew also likes. We haven’t ruined his taste buds yet with crazy foods so he can still enjoy the “sweet taste” of foods even if we haven’t added sweeteners. I was listening to a podcast that said that raw almonds are actually sweet. I must admit I don’t taste sweet in them yet but maybe someday I will. I have badly ruined my own taste buds over the year which is why I won’t do it my little nephew as he has plenty of time to do that himself as he gets older!
It is not unusual that I would be having sugar cravings each day now that I’m back home and trying to get back to normal. I was eating and drinking way more than I’m use to and we did splurge big time on sweets while we were gone for our week. My home is clean of all treats and snacks and truly has been for several months so when I’m home I still get the cravings but I have nothing to feed the cravings. At work, this place is swarming with sweet treats from candy, goodies, and anything else sugar laden you can think of. This is actually the time when I get the cravings the most. I have made sure to eat a larger dinner than normal so after dinner I have no room left in my belly for a treat even if I wanted one but at work I constantly have to tell myself that I don’t really need a snack and I certainly don’t need a sugary treat.
Last night my husband said we need a treat. He very rarely says these words, so the fact that he did say it means he is having weird cravings also right now. We need to detox the bodies and get back into the mind frame of eating whole, real food again and not letting distractions and the idea of treats throw us off track. I’m reading the Paleo Coach which is a wonderful book and I just happen to be at the point where he talks about “cheat or treat meals” and what a bad idea they are. It really comes down to making choices about health, food, and nutrition and I have much bigger goal in mind than just feeding a sugar hunger that isn’t even real.
The program “The Whole 30” is about eating whole foods for 30 days. There are no treats which means no Paleo treats either but just eating real whole foods that have no processing attached to them. Both my husband and I have started the Whole 30 only he doesn’t exactly know it yet. Actually I’m not even going to say anything because as long as there are no Paleo treats at the house he has to eat what is there which is all whole foods. For 30 days I’m concentrating on getting back on the Paleo program and getting my diet dialed in. I’m not worrying about the AIP right now and have incorporated a few tomatoes and peppers back in because they are sweet without wreaking havoc on my blood sugar levels. I have packed my cooler with 1 piece of fruit but lots of protein and vegetables and I’m not using nuts at this point since they are just filler and not really a lunch or breakfast item. I’m working on eating 3 regular meals a day without any snacks and getting in moderate exercise but my sleep is really great right now so the rest will fall into place soon.
During my cross fit session this morning I felt really strong and glad I didn’t take the entire week off from exercise while on vacation. There is so much work that can be done in the sand and walking, walking for miles and miles and it doesn’t even feel like exercise. I did jump in the gym a few mornings to get in some tabata training so when I hit the class again today it felt like I had never left. Our workout was tough and I was tired but I felt like I had accomplished what I set out to accomplish this morning and that feels great.
How easy it to stay Paleo on vacation? Well, that all depends on what you set your trip out to look like. My husband and I are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this year and wanted to treat ourselves to a grand vacation, which we did. Before we left we sat down to discuss how our vacation would look so we didn’t have to worry, discuss, and fret or anything about food and drinks on the actual vacation. I decided that for my eating and drinking pleasures I would have desserts and drinks without any guilt. I didn’t need bread, pasta, rice, beans, or other grains but didn’t want to pass on yummy desserts that tickled my fancy or fun tropical drinks. Alcohol can be a trigger for me but I find if I have sippers, red wine and not the real sugary, fruity drinks I do ok. I had no issues but I also found a gem a place which I’ll talk about in a minute that combatted any stiffness, soreness or swelling that I might have otherwise had from eating and drinking.
We found lots of meat, especially seafood, vegetables, and fruit which were filling our bellies nicely and preparing us for sharing desserts to end our meals. This kind of eating and drinking would probably make normal people swell because we tend to overdo it on vacation when we wouldn’t normal over eat at home. However, at the spa I found a decongestant room which is about a 110 and over 100% humidity. It was Bikram but without the postures. I would go into the decongestant room every day for about 30-60 minutes and just let all the toxins out of my body. My body wasn’t stiff, my fingers weren’t swollen and I had found my favorite place at the resort. It was a steam room, only hotter and steamier than your typical steam room.
My husband also experienced the decongestant room but he referred to it as being inside someone’s armpit. Not the best visual but I understood what he meant all the same. 2 days of him in there and he had a greater appreciation of what it means when I say I’m off to Bikram. I loved this experience and the sweating out the toxins what was really saved me on this trip. I could be really strict and do strict Paleo but part of vacation is truly letting go of everything and just relaxing and if I’m constantly concerned about what I’m eating and drinking how relaxing is that. Since I made up my mind before I got there my choices were easy for every meal and I encountered some fabulous food and walked for hours and hours every day so when I got back I was ready for real life again.
I also kept up with my HIT training and weight training while I was there for 30 minutes each day with 2 hours of walking every day but the walking was not exercise it was truly enjoyable and I know my cortisol levels were staying low during my “strolls” beach walking is magnificent and yes we did a little yoga and stretching but really should come up with more ways to play and exercise on the beach. Vacation is a chance to reconnect to yourself, your spouse, your family or whoever goes on vacation with you. It is a reminder of how we get lost in everyday life and need to come back to calm, quiet, relaxation. I can’t wait for our next trip and thank my husband for all his hard work as he thanks me for mine so we can take trips together. Paleo is a great lifestyle on or off of vacation but relaxing and being worry free is even better.
After 2 weeks of not doing very much of anything I did some weight training again and I felt like I was starting over. I had gained so much strength in these last several months and felt the strongest I had ever felt. I saw my doctor this past week as part of my normal routine and when he saw me I wasn’t feeling great with my cold but he said I looked really good and wanted to know what was going on. I explained that my diet and exercise routine were helping me feel my very best and I was curious as to what my numbers looked like this time. I’m still waiting for those numbers but I’m hoping to see the number of my inflammation going down and then I’ll know that this is working.
He asked about my weight training and I told him all I was doing, my weights, that I had no issues in my shoulders, elbows or wrists doing my pushups and he was surprised, pleasantly surprised but still surprised. My little joints have caused me grief for my entire disease. With every trainer I had had in the past I would stop my training because my little joints just could not take the pressure of the weight training I was doing. I think the diet comes into play here for me as I strengthen with the weights. The protein and fat and helping to build the muscles I’m creating with the weight training and the combination of the two have worked out very well for me.
I will get back to where I was and I’m taking it slowly. If I rush this process I risk injury and I have worked too hard to injure myself with lack of patience. I’m back to 2 days of class cross fit training and also doing 1 day on my own. The weights are light the reps are moderate and as I see results I’ll increase my weights and lower my reps to build the muscles back that I once had. It really is true that when you don’t use it you lose your muscle way faster than you gain it. Also, is true for gaining fat way faster than you lose fat but I’m not worried about losing fat at this point, just gaining back my muscle. My husband liked having the strong me around to help out with all the heavy lifting around here and I look forward to assisting him again very soon.