Nature Hike

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Hello Readers!

I went on a hike today with a dear friend…. did I mention how much I love hiking?  The sounds, the smells, the scenery…. whenever I am in a forested area listening to the birds and the sound of the wind in the trees, I immediately relax.  Sounds like a great idea for a video actually….  I could play it in my office, in my car, on the train…

One of the things I love about hiking and nature is the company I keep.  Since I never go alone, I always have the opportunity to have great conversation… it’s as though my mind is working as I walk and everything sitting in my head is being released, until I get to the end and feel light, free, and spent.

Hiking also gives me the opportunity to connect with my primal side; our ancestors spent their days walking trails foraging for food and migrating to new territory.  The differences are obvious today; I can walk purely for pleasure and enjoyment, which is what being primal in the modern age is all about.

Everytime I go hiking I learn something new about myself; today, it was that I choose the people I want in my life based on my level of self-confidence. I also realized that sometimes my independence and self-confidence gets in the way of having people in my life that support me.  If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I deserve to have everything I want and to be happy, and that I need to do my part to make it happen.

Needless to say, it was a day that totally lived up to “The Merry Life”.

Coconut Oil: Good or Bad?

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Hi Readers!

The other day someone in my life told me that they overheard someone else saying that “coconut oil is REALLY bad for you”…. talk about heresay!  My first thought was “Where did you read this?  What proof do you have?”

I have to admit I have a slight bias in favor of coconut oil…. there is an overwhelming amount of information in the blog-sphere about the benefits: the fatty acids have anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties; it is highly heat stable making it an ideal cooking oil; it is a medium chain triglyceride and is processed by the body differently than long chain triglycerides, and much more.

Like many others, I was truly skeptical that an oil of any kind (other than olive oil) could be good.  We have been trained to believe that “saturated fat is bad” and “unsaturated fat is good”, and since coconut oil is a saturated fat it must be bad, right?

Wrong.  There are a number of articles that write about the negatives of processed and hydrogenated coconut oil; I think most of us would wholeheartedly agree that there is no place in our diet for hydrogenated oils and trans-fats. What I do know about coconut oil is that the evidence is not conclusive about ALL of the proposed benefits, but there have been studies shown that there are SOME benefits to eating organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil; enough to make me think twice about reaching for the margarine or safflower oil.

Personally, if I have to choose between an oil that has been processed within and inch of its life and one that has been touched only enough to get it into a container, I would choose the latter.  I think it is common sense that real food is going to be better for you than processed food.

That ALL being said, I am not a nutrition expert by any stretch of the imagination…. just a regular person who likes to research and think about what she is putting in to her body.   And until I hear overwhelming evidence against using virgin coconut oil I will continue to slip and slide on the bandwagon.

The Pain of Fashion

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Hi Readers!

Fashion is one of the things I am the most passionate about…. there is nothing I love more than studying fabrics, colors and styles and then throwing them into a big pot to come up with my outfit for the day.

The pain of fashion is the dark side; as we all know sometimes clothes pinch, scratch, are too big or small, or just plain weird looking.  The other pain of fashion being, of course, the cost.

Some days I just love the outfits I choose, like today; a cream, puffed short sleeve lace top with an obvious zipper up the back; a pair of funky cropped cargo pants, and my neutral platform pumps.  It is cute, funky, a little bit edgy, and a little bit non-conformist.  See below (not exact representation but you get the idea).

August 11th

The problem?  My shoes hurt!!  There is nothing I hate more than shoes that hurt my feet…. it makes me grumpy and irritable, something I can guarantee no one wants!  I had no idea these shoes would hurt as much as they did or I would never have purchased them!

I love a gorgeous pair of shoes as much as the next shoe loving gal…. but I will not sacrifice pain for the pleasure of the shoe I want.  I have always found that there is a silver lining when it comes to painful fashion; if you truly love fashion and spend enough time looking, you will always find something you love just as much that is pain free (except for the cost of course!)  It might take you a long time to find it, but when you do you will hear the angels singing and hear the shoe/bag/pants calling your name in your dreams.

What is Primal? – Why we like Omega 3

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Hi Readers….

I have long heard that Omega 3 reduces joint pain and depression, but I never understood why.  After I became Primal, I started to hear a lot more about the “evils” of too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3.  Today I decided to explore why Omega 3 is good and how we can get more of it.

This is what I found:

Omega is an essential fatty acid that the body must obtain from food.  Many of today’s population has a very high ratio of Omega 6 to 3; a diet high in Omega 6 can lead to the oxidization of good cholesterol (LDL), inflammation in the body, and in some cases depression.

Having a good ratio of Omega 6 to 3 (some nutritionists say 4:1; in the primal community they insist that 1:1 is better and totally achievable) has been shown to be successful in helping prevent heart disease and lowering inflammation in the body that can cause arthritis and asthma.

Omega 6 is found in soy, corn, peanut, safflower and other seed oils; and given that so much of our beef and chicken is grain/corn/soy fed, is it any wonder that eating lots of steak and eggs was always linked to high cholesterol?

Now that I understand a little better the science behind the madness, I can feel good about seeking out the grass feed beef even more and the Omega 3 enriched eggs.  Other foods to find higher levels of Omega 3 include:

  • Fish (low heavy metal)
  • Flax
  • Walnuts
  • Algae

Off I go to find some grass fed beef and pasture raised chickens….

What is Primal? – The 80/20 Rule

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Hi Readers!

Today I wanted to write my second post in the series on the Primal life.  Yesterday I briefly (and I mean briefly… have you seen all the information out there??) summarized the Primal Blueprint; today, I want to talk about the 80/20 rule.

I had coffee with a friend today who has decided to explore the Primal/Paleo lifestyle.  To me that’s pretty cool, because I have been trying to convince my friends and family to participate since I started, with only moderate success; it seems most people are pretty skeptical that such a lifestyle is as good as people say it is, and you know what?  That is totally understandable; conventional wisdom has been preaching the opposite for so long it is natural that people WOULD be skeptical.   My goal is not to convince people that it is a good idea without allowing them to use critical thinking; in fact, I always say I am not an expert and that people should do their own research on the topic to see if they agree.

Back to the 80/20 rule.  There are many many diets out in the world today, including the standard conventional wisdom; eat less calories than you burn, and you will lose fat.  For me this either meant starving myself or exercising so much I had no time for living life to compensate for the calories I took in. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was never good at sticking to such a strict regimen for any length of time; usually after 6 weeks I was either bored, starving, binging, injured, or something else that brought my plan screaming to a halt.

Enter the Primal lifestyle; whether it be eating, exercising, playing, or just plain living…. the 80/20 rule allows us to be human beings without getting discouraged and feeling shame that we failed.  Everyone has their own interpretation of the rule; for me it means I get to have bread once in awhile, indulge in 80% dark chocolate, have my french press made coffee in the morning, or even have dessert on a special occasion.  The 80/20 rule in activity means I can skip a workout and not feel horrible guilt, but instead feel like I am taking care of my body and resting.

I truly believe in being Primal, and I know that 80% of the time I AM.  The 20% gives me the opportunity to live and not feel deprived or like I am missing anything.  As a result of being 80/20 and not feeling guilt about the 20, I have managed to stay Primal for the last 7 months, and loved every minute of it.

For Mark Sisson’s (PB author). take on the 80/20 principle, check out the following link: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/8020-principle/

What is Primal?

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Hi Readers!

If you read my About page, you saw that I am “Primal”.  Some of you might have heard of the Primal lifestyle, but others are probably thinking “what the heck is that??”

What I know about Primal comes from “The Primal Blueprint”, written by Mark Sisson, one of the leaders of the primal/paleo community.  He also has a blog called “Marks Daily Apple”…I highly recommend it as a great source of information about how to be primal in today’s world.

The PB outlines how we can be healthy, super fit and strong, and enjoy life.  Mark Sisson breaks it down on his blog in the “Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint” into the following components:

  • Eat lots of animals, insects (eww) and plants
  • Move frequently at a slow pace
  • Lift heavy things
  • Run really fast
  • Get lots of sleep
  • Play
  • Avoid Trauma
  • Avoid poisonous things
  • Get sunlight each day
  • Use your mind

When I first saw the list, a light bulb went off… and also the words “well duh!” popped into my head.  I mean doesn’t that all make perfect sense?  And it really is that simple.

Of course, when I first heard about it I was sceptical that something so simple could be so good for me… I mean weren’t we always taught the conventional wisdom of calories in vs. calories out?

The PB looks at health and fitness differently by focusing on the theory that fat stores are driven by insulin production rather than excess calories; and fat burning happens with consistent low level exercise, building muscle, occasional sprints, and a diet higher in protein and healthy fats rather than extreme cardio, low fat, low sodium diets.

There are actually many books and scientific journals on this topic; I am far from an expert in this area, however I have done enough reading about it and actually living it to be firmly committed to the concept.

I plan to blog alot more about this topic, so stay tuned for the next in my Primal Musings series!

Walking for sanity

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Hi Readers!

Today I went for a walk with a dear friend…. did I mention how much I love walking in nature?  This spot is down by the river, the trail is easy, there are trees everywhere, and as my friend said “negative ions” which are supposed to be good for you (I intend to look that one up!)

We had a great conversation, we usually do, she is like a mentor to me and helps me stay grounded and sane in my busy hectic life.

We walked for about an hour until we came to the new community they are building along the river, and stopped at a place called Roma (a new burger joint) for something to drink.  I had a mango / mint iced tea which was amazing, and she had rose lemonade with real rose oil in it, it was delicious.

While we were sitting there the waitresses were bringing out some really delicious looking burgers that we plan to try next time we are in the area.

Part of being Merry (happy) is spending time with my family and friends and doing things we enjoy.

Till we meet again….