You may recall that I went to Jamaica last month for a wellness retreat with Synchronicity Wellness and ePhysiologix. I was fortunate to have won the retreat, which was truly meant to be. The retreat was called, “Optimizing Your Awesomeness,” and took place at an all-inclusive resort called, the Grand Lido in Negril, Jamaica for 4 nights and 5 days. I felt very blessed to be given this opportunity and it still blows my mind when I think about it. I was able to take Jesse with me as well and we both had a wonderful time. We met a group of amazing like-minded people, learned some valuable things, got plenty of R&R and enjoyed visiting a new place. It was transformative, introspective and an experience to remember. The retreat was led by Dr. Dan Stickler, Dr. Mickra Hamilton, Dr. Warren Walsh and Kim Smith. Below is a group shot of all of us striking our, “power pose.”
Some of the topics covered during presentations and discussions included stress, sleep, heart rate variability (HRV), strategic eating, nutrition and food intolerances, breathing and meditation, fitness, living optimally and more. Each morning started with yoga and meditation outdoors, which was led by the lovely, Kim of the PaleoYogaMom. After yoga, some of us weight trained in the resort gym and then, we normally ate breakfast together. Lectures started shortly after and lasted a few hours. The rest of the day was ours to do as we pleased, but most of us all hung out together on the beach during the day.
Oh, one day it started pouring in the afternoon (literally buckets of rain!), so we had a dance party and played a classic Jamaican game (see next two pics):
If you’re curious, it was not hard to eat paleo on this trip at all. Breakfast and lunch was always a huge buffet, and dinner was at our choice of on-site resort restaurants (they were very accommodating with substitutions and dietary needs). One of the nights, there was a giant dinner buffet though, which had so many great foods to choose from (fresh fish steamed in coconut milk was my favorite that night). My breakfast of choice was always bacon, eggs made to order (which they’d cook in butter for me), steamed greens (which I’d put butter on) and black coffee. Lunch was usually more steamed veggies, curry or stew of some sort (one day was even goat, which I tried for the first time and enjoyed), fresh fish and maybe a little salad with olive oil. Most of my dinners were fresh fish (often snapper) with veggies, but I did have a delicious beef filet one night as well.
Anyway, here are some interesting points or things to think about that I took away from the retreat:
- Humans are the only beings that can think themselves into stress.
- About 90 percent of physician visits are stress related.
- With stress, you have to treat the brain, not the adrenals (the brain sends the signals).
- Constant chronic stress has you constantly on guard, ready to jump.
- 20 minutes of meditation is equal to 2 hours of sleep on the body.
- The time of your sleep is crucial. Going to bed from 12-8 is not the same (quality-wise) as 10-6. This is because our circadian rhythm is most active from sunset to sunrise.
- You need 8 REM cycles for adequate sleep each night. To get all 8 REM cycles every night, you need 7.5 hours of sleep minimum. Only about 1 percent of the population is efficient and needs less.
- Memories make life epic, not material things!
- Happiness is a choice; only YOU can make YOU happy.
- Lucky people will pick up on opportunities or details that other people miss or overlook.
- Practice more autotelic living. In other words, do something solely for the purpose of doing it and not for its goals or consequences. Pay attention to an activity for its own sake. This is the idea of getting into a flow state.
- Keys to balance are: 1. Sleep, 2. Stress management, 3. Sound nutrition and 4. Smart exercise. It is imperative to keep it in this order!
- Nutrigenomics is the combination of food, environment, genetics and epigenetics.
- 95 percent of us is subconscious. We use only 5 percent of our brain.
- We are conditioned by our experiences. We have a love lens and a fear lens.
- You can un-pattern your conditioned responses via breath-work and meditation.
- To change our lives, we must change the way we think, feel and behave. Break up your habits, take another route, do things differently. You can’t change anything by fighting what exists.
- Use your breath to get out of an unhealthy reaction or situation (excuse yourself for a few minutes if you need to). In doing so, you’ll realize there’s never really a need for conflict.
- 70 percent of people live in the past. Come back to the present! There’s also no need to stew about the future. The present is all you have and there is no stress if you’re in the present moment.
- Ask fear why it’s there. Move from illusion to truth.
The ePhysiologix and Synchronicity Wellness team is leading another retreat in May 2015, which will take place in Sedona, Arizona. Jesse and I are hoping to go, but can’t commit financially at this point. If you’re interested in attending, please check out this link for more details. I guarantee it will be epic! Plus, I’ve heard Sedona is pretty magical.
Hi everyone, I’m still here! I know it doesn’t always seem like it sometimes since I post sporadically now, but I’m around and still care about my blog and all of you. As most of you know, I post when I can and when I have something I deem share worthy.
Meanwhile, I’ve been really enjoying my summer so far — crazy hot temps and all! Luckily, it’s supposed to start coming back to normal summer temps now. Anyway, you really can’t beat summer in Portland though. It’s kind of the best. My mom is coming to visit me in less than two weeks and will stay with me while Jesse goes home to Michigan for a visit. I’ll be going back home at the end of September for my cousin’s wedding and didn’t want to go back twice in a such a short period of time. Jesse did and had the funds to do so though, but I’ll be here working and hanging out with my mom. I’m totally good with that and am happy to stay here!
Anyway, with summer in full swing, I thought I’d share some things I appreciate and am loving lately. Here goes:
- Fresh-picked blueberries: Jesse and I did our annual blueberry pick this past weekend. You may recall my blueberry picking post from 2013 and 2012. Anyway, we picked a whopping 21 pounds in the mid-day heat. They are the best blueberries and so plump! We kept a big bowl in the fridge and froze the rest. Sadly, we did not make it to Besaws for breakfast this year before our annual pick. I did miss that part.
- Walks around my neighborhood: I walk all year round, but it’s wonderful not having to bundle or cover up in the summertime. I get a good dose of vitamin-D and take in both new and familiar surroundings. I love exploring and walking with no destination and finding the unordinary in the ordinary. Sometimes, I challenge myself to find 10-20 things I haven’t noticed before. The other day, I found this and thought it was a gem of a find and totally Portland appropriate.
- Kombucha “cocktails”: squeeze of fresh lemon, kombucha (I like this with GT’s Gingerade or Trilogy), ice and splash of sparkling water for extra fizz. If you wanted to make it an adult beverage, you could add a little vodka, which mixes pretty darn well with kombucha.
- Ham lettuce wraps: fresh green leaf or romaine lettuce, New Seasons fresh sliced honey ham (good quality and no junk), yellow mustard, cucumber and thin slices of grass-fed cheddar cheese. Sometimes avocado too. This has been my favorite lunch lately. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to share, but I think you all get the idea, right?
- Jasmine Primal Pit Paste: this new Jacked-Up Jasmine scent reminds me of my late grandma. She often wore floral scents and I can’t help but think of her when I use this. It’s an added bonus to a product I already love. The smell is fresh, feminine and lovely. It works pretty well too, at least the strong does.
First off, I was really excited when someone from Step and Go™contacted me to test their product. I had been wanting to try a toilet squatting stool for a while now, so jumped on the opportunity when it was presented. I actually had to laugh at the subject line of the email – “Poop like a paleo.” It definitely caught my attention!
Please know, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and even though I received a free Step and Go™ to test out, I was not compensated in any way to write this review.
Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of talk floating around lately about proper elimination and bathroom posture. Squatting to poop is nothing new, but our modern day toilets don’t allow us to squat when going to the bathroom. If you visit other countries though, particularly in Asia, you can walk into a bathroom and still find a hole in the floor in which to poop. Traditionally, it’s the way we’ve always pooped and anatomically, it makes a lot more sense. If you ask me, it’s more comfortable too.
So, what’s the deal with squatting and why is it a more natural pooping position?
Well, for one, squatting allows for “a more complete and healthier elimination,” as stated on the Step and Go™ website. A squatting position opens the colon completely, whereas sitting causes it to break or kink. Forcing the rectum into a kinked position causes the need to strain, which can then lead to other problems such as hemorrhoids, constipation, fecal stagnation (major cause of colon disease), bowel herniation, etc. The website also states that most colon cancers develop in areas which can’t be fully emptied in the sitting position. Notice the difference between the two images below. The first shows the anorectal angle in the sitting position and the second shows it in the squatting position. Notice the kink in the first and the straighter line in the second. See how fecal matter could get stuck in that kink in the sitting position? Pretty gross and no wonder it causes problems!
So, how does the Step and Go work?
In a nutshell, it acts as a little step stool for your feet, so you can find your squat. It is designed for use with the modern day toilet and fits right at the base of the toilet bowl. When you need it, just slide it out and place your feet on top to find your squatting position. While going, you can comfortably rest your arms or hands on your knees. When finished, slide it back along the base of the toilet for easy storage.
Jesse and I have both been using the Step and Go™ for about two weeks now and based on our positive experience, prefer to always use it for elimination from now on. Before even trying the product, I knew I was going to be a fan and notice a difference because the whole concept made sense to me. Even after trying it just once, I already felt a greater appreciation for it. I didn’t really have any trouble going before trying the Step and Go™ (I did before paleo though), but using it seems to make everything that much more easeful and natural. Without getting too explicit, I’ll just say that I’m left feeling much cleaner and emptier when the duty is done. It’s comfortable, simple and works well.
I highly recommend getting a Step and Go™ for your own bathroom(s) at home, so you can start pooping better and improving your elimination health. It’s easy to use, affordable and appropriate for everyone, even kids. Lucky for you, the folks at Step and Go™ created a promo code just for Paleo in PDX readers! Enter the code PDX10 at checkout for 10 percent off your entire purchase! The code is good now through October 1, 2014. Go to the Step and Go™ website to get yours ASAP!
For those of you that currently use the Step and Go™ or a similar product, what do you think? Have you noticed a difference? Also, if you purchase a Step and Go™ report back and let me know what you think!
I realized I never shared any photos from my recent honeymoon in Kauai and Oahu on here, so I thought I’d share some highlights. I had a recipe in store for today, but ended up not being completely satisfied with it, so decided to scrap it for now.
Meanwhile, here are some memories from our trip. Enjoy and happy Friday! Oh, and our 1-year wedding anniversary is this Sunday, June 8th. Hard to believe a year has passed already!
As you know, my honeymoon is coming up. In fact, we leave for Kauai this Friday! That’s only two days away! I am so ready and beyond excited! Meanwhile, I’ve started packing and stocking up on some essentials to take with us. Aside from the obvious swimsuits, tanks, shorts, sundresses, sunglasses and camera, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’m including in our suitcase and/or carry on:
Epic Bars: these are great anytime, but especially on the go. Made of high-quality meat and low in sugar, these soft jerky bars really satisfy and taste great too. We actually bought a whole box (12 bars) and for doing so, got a 10 percent discount at Whole Foods. We did half beef (my favorite) and half bison (Jesse’s favorite).
Justin’s Almond Butter Packets: again, another easy food to travel with. Plus, Justin’s Classic Almond Butter is actually my favorite. The individual packets can be expensive, but fortunately, they’re on sale for $0.89 each at one of our local co-ops right now. Eat it straight from the packet or squeeze onto an apple or banana, which are easy to find at the airport (and also easy to pack in your carry on).
Dr. Mercola’s Sunscreen: inevitably, we’re going to get prolonged exposure to the sun. We practice safe sun exposure and eat plenty of foods that add protection, but we’re going to be in the sun a lot and for long periods of time, and covering up is not really desirable when it’s hot. We generally don’t use any sunscreen, except coconut oil, but in this case, realize we’re going to need a bit more. We avoid toxic chemical sunscreens, but are comfortable with something nontoxic and of high quality. Dr. Mercola’s sunscreen is chemical-free, hypoallergenic and biodegradable. We have a bottle of SPF 30 and SPF 15 to take with us. Read more about Dr. Mercola’s sunscreens here. We also prepared ourselves for sun exposure by supplementing with astaxanthin in the weeks leading up to our vacation. This is a potent antioxidant that basically acts as an internal sunscreen.
Coconut Oil: I don’t take the whole container, but scoop some into a small travel-size container. It’s a great after sun moisturizer and truly, great for almost anything! I don’t travel without it!
Rosewater Mist: I use this stuff as my face toner, but love it as a body mist too. It’s great anytime you just need a refresher, really. Its light rose scent is so pretty, fresh and delightful. It will be great to spray on after being at the beach or after a sweaty hike along the coast.
Minimal Sandals: I just treated myself to these new barefoot sandals (in the grey/silvery color) for our trip, and Jesse got a pair too. He actually got them first (the men’s version) and then I liked them so much, I went and tried on a pair. I know they’re spendy for such a minimal style sandal, but the brand is reputable and well made. These can also be worn in the water and are easy to clean. I like that they’re like a flip flop, but have a back strap and flatter sole. The back strap eliminates the need for the toes to grip to keep the sandal on the foot, which is what inevitably happens with flip flops. I admit that flip flops are convenient and handy for certain things, but for walking around, I’d rather have something like this. Better for the feet too.
Digestive Enzymes: when I’m regularly eating my meals out, like I will be on my trip, I like to carry these with me. I never veer from my version of paleo when traveling or eating out and always make my needs clear when I order. But, just in case cross-contamination happens, these help. See the link above for the brand I like best.
Lacrosse Balls: we always travel with at least one mobility tool and lacrosse balls are one of them. I like to keep one ball in my carry on and use it on the plane under my hamstrings, behind my upper back or manually use it along my chest/neck. It really helps relieve stiff tissues from sitting and makes me more comfortable on longer flights. Of course, we use them to a greater degree in our hotel room when we have more space and access to different angles in the body. We usually take a double lacrosse ball (two balls taped together like a peanut) or the MobilityWOD Gemini for the thoracic spine, and Yoga Tune Up balls too since they’re lighter and don’t take up much space. We have some other mobility tools too, but they’re better left at home due to size and weight.
Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter if you celebrated yesterday. We didn’t really do much and actually ate leftovers for dinner. We’re leaving in a few days, so decided to not do anything big or special.
Meanwhile, I want share this awesome deal with all of you: The Primal Life Kit. It’s available today through April 28 and is full of amazing stuff. It includes over 49 paleo and primal products, with a value of more than $1500! The good new is that you can purchase everything for only $39 and the deal is open to everyone!
Primal Life Kit: 49 Paleo and Primal Products and 14 Discounts for $39
What’s The Primal Life Kit?
The people at PaleoPlan.com have put together a really exciting opportunity for you! When you purchase the $39 Primal Life Kit, you get over $1500 worth of the most popular and life-changing Primal and Paleo products:
- 35 Paleo and Primal eCookbooks and Informational eBooks ($498 Value)
- 3 research papers by Dr. Loren Cordain ($15 Value)
- 1 Online Cooking Club subscription ($39 Value)
- 3 Fitness Programs ($67 Value)
- 2 Paleo Challenges ($44 Value)
- 2 Meal Plans ($69 Value)
- 2 Online Magazine Subscriptions ($36 Value)
- 1 Bonus Video about Eating Paleo on the Road
- 14 Discounts ($757+ Value)
TOTAL VALUE $1500+ for just $39!
These educational and potentially life-changing Primal and Paleo products are being sold for just $39 – more than 97% off their original retail value – this week only (April 21st through April 28th).
All the ebooks are in pdf format, so you can read them on your computer or the e-reader of your choice. This $39 kit will give you all the tools you need to eat, cook, work out, and live Primally.
21 Paleo and Primal Recipe & Meal Planning eBooks ($221 Value)
- Caveman Feast Cookbook by George Bryant and Abel James of civilizedcavemancooking.com and fatburningman.com ($47 value)
- 30-Minute Paleo Dessert Recipes by Louise Hendon, the creator of Healthy Recipes Magazine ($2.99 Value)
- Fast Paleo Best 100 of 2013 + 4 Bonus eCookbooks by James Gregory and Ute Mitchell of FastPaleo.com ($14.97 value)
- Fast Paleo Best 100 of 2012 + 4 Bonus eCookbooks by James Gregory and Ute Mitchell of FastPaleo.com ($14.97 value)
- Just A Taste of Cavegirl Cuisine by Michelle Fagone of cavegirlcuisine.com – This is a shortened ebook version of the coveted Cavegirl Cuisine Cookbook created just for this sale. ($14.99 value)
- Paleogasm by Camille Macres, the creator of camillemacres.com, schoolofinnerbeauty.com, the Paleo, Love, & Transformation Podcast, and the Paleo Cooking at Home program (see below for a discount!) ($30 Value)
- Chowstalker Community Cookbook by Ron & Patty Strilaeff, the masterminds behind Chowstalker ($19 Value)
4 Autoimmune and Inflammation eBooks ($132 Value)
- Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Quickstart Guide by Sarah Ballantyne of ThePaleoMom.com ($18 Value)
- Research Paper on Grassfed vs Grain Fed Beef by Loren Cordain, PhD, author of The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Diet Cookbook, and The Paleo Answer at thepaleodiet.com (Value $4.99)
- Research Paper on Egg Whites and Autoimmune Disease by Loren Cordain, PhD of thepaleodiet.com (Value $4.99)
6 Informational eBooks ($75 Value)
- Birth Control Unlocked by Stefani Ruper, author of the book Sexy By Nature at paleoforwomen.com ($8.99 value)
- “How To” Paleo Guide by Nell Stephenson, Paleoista, author of Paleoista and co-author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook at paleoista.com ($.99 value)
1 Online Cooking Club ($39 Value)
- Good Food for Bad Cooks Online Club Lifetime Membership by Liz Wolfe ($39 Value) – Learn kitchen basics, meal planning and more in a stress-free online community. By the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, author of Eat The Yolks, The Skintervention Guide, and blogger at RealFoodLiz.com.
2 Success Stories eBooks ($31 Value)
- Real Life Primal Transformations by Primal Blueprint at http://www.marksdailyapple.com ($5.95 value).
- Everyday Paleo Success Stories by Alison Golden of PaleoNonPaleo.com ($24.99 value)
2 Kids and Paleo eBooks ($21 Value)
- 3 Phase Paleo (SNEAK PEAK) by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry of PaleoParents.com ($11 Value) – This is a shortened 60-page sneak peek version of the full ebook.
3 Fitness Programs ($67 Value)
- Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness Program 1 Month for $.01 by Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib at EPLifeFit.com ($20 value) - You will not be automatically signed up or charged for this program by purchasing the Primal Life Kit. You Must cancel after first month to avoid being charged for subsequent months.
2 Paleo Challenges ($44 Value)
- 1 Free Month of Paleo Bootcamp by Paleoaholic ($7 Value) – With over 300+ Paleo recipes, Paleo meal plans, and shopping lists, the end result is a weight loss plan and shopping guide system that’s now helped over 10,000 people drop the pounds and keep them off.
- OPENutrition Challenge by Heather Kelly of OPENutrition.com ($37 Value) – In this 5-Week Paleo challenge, you will receive daily email support, a sample meal plan, and you’ll learn what to eat in order to improve your health, boost athletic performance, and shed fat while adding lean muscle mass.
2 Meal Plans ($69 Value)
- Primal Blueprint Meal Plan 1 Month for $.01 by Mark Sisson of PrimalBlueprint.com ($9.99 value) – You will not be automatically signed up or charged for this program by purchasing the Primal Life Kit. Must cancel after first month to avoid being charged for subsequent months.
- 6-Week Paleo Meal Plan for Endurance Athletes by Nell Stephenson, Paleoista, author of Paleoista and co-author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook, featured on the Dr. Oz Show twice. Find her at paleoista.com. ($59 value)
2 Online Magazine Subscriptions ($36 Value)
- Healthy Recipes Online Magazine 3-Month Free Subscription ($19.96 Value) - Get 4 regular issues of this ONLINE magazine with expert tips on which foods will save both your waist-line and your wallet. More info on iTunes.
- Paleo Living Online Magazine 3-Month Free Subscription ($15.96 Value) – Get 4 regular issues of Paleo Living, the premier ONLINE magazine for living a perfect Paleo life. More info at paleomagazine.com.
1 Bonus Video
- Sneak Peek at Fat Loss Masterclass Video Home Study Course from Jonathan Bailor and Abel James (Free Sneak Peek Bonus) – Abel (FatBurningMan.com) and Jonathan (author of The Calorie Myth at thebailorgroup.com) dive into the do’s and don’ts of foraging your best options for eating on the go.
14 Discounts (Over $757 Value)
- Primal Life Organics – Get 20% off any products at Primal Life Organics. Expires June 3rd. PrimalLifeOrganics.com
- Optimum Performance Training ($448.50+ value) – Get 50% off Nutrition Training Course for Coaches and 15% off apparel and supplements. Expires May 18th. OPTExperience.com
- Paleo Magazine ($6 value) – Get 20% off a 1-year U.S. print subscription to Paleo Magazine for new subscribers. PaleoMagOnline.com
- Upgraded Self (Bulletproof Coffee) – Get 10% off products at Upgrade Self, the official store for Bulletproof Products. Expires June 10th. UpgradedSelf.com
- New AMRAP Bar – Get a FREE SAMPLE (you just pay shipping) of the all-new AMRAP Bars. Also get a 50% coupon on any purchase of the new bars up to $100 (a $50 value). amrapbar.com
- Paleo On The Go ($29.99 Value) – Get free shipping on a minimum order of $50. Expires June 2nd. PaleoOnTheGo.com
- PaleoLogix Adaptagest Supplement ($15 Value) – Get 30% off. Created by Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf. Expires July 30th. PaleoLogix.com
- PaleoLogix Adaptaboost Supplements ($15 Value) – Get 30% off. Created by Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf. Expires July 30th. PaleoLogix.com
- Paleo Cooking at Home by Camille Macres ($48.50 value) – Get 50% off. Expires June 29th. Paleo Cooking at Home.
- PaleoCare: The Nurses’ Guide to Real Food ($64 value) – Get 40% off. Expires November 1. PaleoCare.com
- The Willpower Solution by Dean Dwyer ($69 Value) – You pay $9 for the audio and video versions. Expires May 2nd. Willpower Solution
Get all of this (retail value $1500+) for just $39. Seriously.
That’s normally the price of just one or two of these products! After you purchase the kit, you’ll be sent an email with a link to all of the downloadable products, as well as the coupon codes for all of the discounted products.
NOTE: You will not be shipped any physical goods with your purchase of the Primal Life Kit. These products are downloadable ebooks, online magazine subscriptions, and discount codes. There will be a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase. Please contact email@example.com with any questions about the Primal Life Kit.
Hi and happy Monday, everyone! I thought I’d take the time to share some things that I’m anticipating and excited about right now. It’s great to have things to look forward to and in general, it’s good to be excited about life. Please take a moment to tell me what you’re looking forward to in your life. I’d love to hear!
Cirque du Soleil: Jesse and I are going to see Totem this Wednesday night. It was a late birthday gift to him from me. We plan to go out to dinner beforehand and making a full evening of it. We try and catch the Cirque du Soleil performances whenever they come through town because they’re always amazing. It always makes me want to change my mind about what I want to be when I grow up. Gotta start training young for those kinda skills though.
Hawaiian honeymoon: I know I’ve already mentioned our belated honeymoon, but it’s coming right up! We leave for Kauai April 25th and will be there for seven nights. Then, we fly to Oahu for the last three nights to visit some of our favorite stomping grounds. A couple things we already have planned are zip lining in Kauai and going on a bike tour in Honolulu or the North Shore. A former colleague of mine (from when I worked at a PR firm) just moved to Honolulu with her husband and opened a bike tour business there. They now have a location in Portland and one in Honolulu. So cool!
Animal Flow: The talented Mike Fitch himself will be here in Portland April 12th and 13th, at Recreate, leading the certification. I’m blessed with great employers who are hosting the certification and also paying for me to do it. It will be hard work, but valuable and fun too. Plus, have you seen Mike Fitch?
September MI trip: Jesse and I just booked a week long trip to Michigan September 24th – October 1st. My dear cousin is getting married on the 27th and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. She was like another sister to me growing up (kissin’ cousins, like our parents said), so missing it is not an option. It will be a beautiful wedding and a lot of fun too.
Leftover meatloaf: I will be sharing the recipe of my classic, go-to meatloaf later this week, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, we’ll be enjoying the leftovers for the next couple of days. As a kid, I detested meatloaf in any way, shape or form, but now I like it, especially the leftovers.