Adventures in Paleo

I got this mammoth book for Christmas: Practical Paleo Book

It is huge and heavy and I’m fixin’ to take it to the Kinko’s and have them split it in half and spiral bind the sucker.  Then it will be more manageable and user-friendly.  The first half is the why of doing Paleo and the second is mostly recipes.  The “why” was an interesting read over Christmas break, but my “why” is simple – I want the benefits I’ve seen in Cosmo’s cousin…  She and her family have some allergies and they started doing Paleo several months ago.  Allergies are gone and she and her husband look amazing!

I want my allergies gone and I want to look amazing, so I decided to give it a shot!

Beef & Veggie Stir Fry

So, we’ve been at it since Monday (today is Saturday) and I have to say, it has gone GREAT.  We went on a massive shopping excursion after spending a couple of hours creating a meal plan and shopping list (note: there are only two of us…I have no idea how you people with children ever accomplish this task.  You are my heroes.).  We have spent more time cooking this week than I think we did in the last six months – and that includes Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners!  But we have had fun being together in the kitchen and have created some truly amazing food.

In this process, I wanted to keep track of our progress, likes and dislikes, successes, failures, struggles and the like.

Thai Curry & Coconut Soup

What I’ve learned this week:

  • reheated eggs are not my favorite – we made the “Swirly Crustless Quiche” and then reheated it a couple of days.  It was ok, but not as awesome as it would have been fresh out of the oven.  Good, time-saving idea, but not worth it…
  • perfectly baked bacon rocks and is good reheated
  • pumpkin pancakes took a long time and were not worth the effort…maybe I didn’t cook them long enough or something, but they were kinda too soft and mushy.  I’m big on texture, so these didn’t work for me.  Searching for a better paleo-friendly pancake / waffle recipe.  I think coconut flour ones are the answer…
  • it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  I did find myself longing for bread last night, but I made it through and am planning some paleo muffins into this week’s menu.
  • it has been time consuming, BUT as we learn more about how to do it, I’ll feel better about branching out from specific recipes to do my own thing.  AND we have enjoyed being in the kitchen working together to make meals.

So far, I am still sniffling with allergies and don’t look amazing, but I feel pretty good about the whole thing and am willing to persist…

My First Chiropractic Adjustment (at Aloha Wellness Austin)

The X-rays don’t lie…  If you asked me how I thought my head alignment was, I would have answered that I had a slight forward head lean, but not too bad.  After my initial Wellness Evaluation X-rays, I can confidently say I was living in denial.  I’m apparently the poster child for forward head posture.

Because I don’t have any injuries or a specific incidence of trauma, my main goals for treatment are to increase mobility and work to correct my “textbook” forward head posture.  According to the X-rays, my 12-pound head was 2.5 inches from the proper degree of alignment. That means I’m lugging around approximately 50-60 pound bowling ball on top of my spine. Geez.

"Hello, I'll be administering your electroshock therapy today.  Hold still..."

“Hello, I’ll be administering your electroshock therapy today. Please hold still…”

So I had my first chiropractic adjustment here at Aloha Wellness.  Dr. English began my treatment with interferential therapy to start the process of increasing my range of motion.  What’s that?  Well, according to Wikipedia: “Interferential therapy (IFT) is one of the various types of physical therapy. It uses a mid-frequency electrical signal to treat muscular spasms and strains.. The current produces a massaging effect over the affected area at periodic intervals, and this stimulates the secretion of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers, thus relaxing strained muscles and promoting soft-tissue healing.”

In my words, he stuck little electrode pads to my lower back in four places and on four other areas in my neck area. Then he turned on the machine and I started feeling a tingling sensation, which was the little electrical impulses.  He set it to a level comfortable for me and let me lay there for 15 minutes.  All I could think about was the scene from Real Genius

Bodie: He said he didn’t feel like it. And I said, “You’d better!” And he said, “Or what?” And I said, “Or you’re gonna be in trouble.” And he said, “Jam it.”
Professor Hathaway: That’s a wonderful story, Bodie. I noticed you’ve stopped stuttering.
Bodie: I’ve been giving myself shock treatments.
Professor Hathaway: Up the voltage.

But I digress.  Next came the hands-on portion where Dr. English did some PNF stretches followed by the chiropractic adjustment.  It was smooth and painless, but I got the most wonderful “pops” in my back and neck.  I’m pretty sure I grew a couple of inches…

Then, it was on to the Posture Pump, which, in conjunction with the other treatments, will help fix that forward head posture I’ve got going on.  I felt excellent afterwards.  My husband made some crack about hoping I was finally well adjusted now…smart alek.

All in all, it was a great experience.  I’m looking forward to the next one!

me + groupon = heart 4 ever

So, you should know that I’m a total Groupon junkie.  I’ve gotten deals on everything from half off at expensive restaurants (like The Melting Pot) to deals on bed and breakfasts (like Vintage Villas) to massage and wellness packages (like at Aloha Wellness Center).  I’ve read some negative reviews about Groupon, but I stand by them.  Their deals are awesome and I have never once been disappointed with their customer service.

But this post is not really about Groupon…  Rather, it is about Aloha Wellness Center, a fabulous business I found as a result of my ongoing, unrepentant, love affair with Groupon and the amazing deals I get.

Aloha WellnessAloha specializes in wellness programs that integrate chiropractic, massage therapy, and physical therapy.  The Groupon was for a Wellness Evaluation and three follow up massages targeting the issues discovered in the evaluation.

I enjoyed the overall experience so much that I used Yelp for the first time, ever, to write a review.

As a result of my introduction via the Groupon, I signed up to participate in the wellness program they recommended for me.  And now, you get to benefit from my participation…through this blog!  I’m going to document the treatments I receive – giving my thoughts, results, and general review as I experience all that Aloha has to offer.  Coming Soon is my review of my first chiropractic adjustment…

Full Disclosure:  In addition to signing on to participate in the program, I also asked for a job and am now working for Aloha. My employment agreement includes free treatments.  Having said that, their prices are very reasonable and chances are good that I would have signed up anyway.  Rest assured, I intend to be fair and honest in my reviews, so you can still read an objective account.  Just so you know…

Oh, interval training…how I’ve missed you!

In my training for the half marathon, I pretty much abandoned all other training except for running.  It was time-consuming and brain-power consuming and sinceI’m limited in both of those areas, I needed to focus to accomplish my goals for the race.  It was a conscious decision that I believe was the right one for me.

However, I am glad to be done with it.  As the miles got longer, the time spent (obviously) got longer and more often than not, it was about completion more than anything else. The worst part about the training was the time commitment.  Sounds kinda odd, but the runs were never so hard that I dreaded doing them for the physical toll – just the time-toll. (Note: I didn’t do hill training or tempo training, as my coach advised.  I just got the miles in.)  My body was spent at the end of them, but even that wasn’t a big deal to me.  I suppose intense cardio exercise that gets your heart really pumping is the kind of exercise that I categorize as “hard,” and so this just wasn’t hard for me in that way.

I’m only just realizing this today, so let me see if I can convey what’s rattling around in my mind…

For the last two weeks, I’ve been giving my body a break.  With the exception of leading a couple of exercises classes and going for walks with my husband, I haven’treally done any serious exercise.  I’ve been thinking about what’s next, exploring some options, and pondering new goals.

Friday, I threw in an interval-training DVD a our friends – David and Shuna Norton – produced awhile back.  David gave us the DVD several months ago, but I had never looked at it.  Today, I just felt like doing it, so I did.  David’s a goof-ball, so it made the routine fun, but he’s also seriously fit, so it was definitely a challenge.  Heart rate was up, breathing was heavy – just like you’d expect from an interval round.

What I had forgotten was the way I feel after an interval training session.  The endorphins kick in and I feel just great.  Really great, in fact.  Full of energy and enthusiasm and ready to GO!  I don’t recall ever feeling that after a long run (or any run!).  Ironic that what some call the “Runner’s High” I’ve never had after running…  Pride and sense of accomplishment, sure, but more tired than anything else.

Anyway, it was an old, familiar feeling, reminiscent of the good old days doing CATZ sessions, one-on-one training sessions with Lauren Sparrow Meyer, anddiscovering what my body is truly capable of.  Like a flood, those memories came rushing back in on me along with their emotions and hopefulness.  Sounds like it’s time for something entirely different from what I’ve been doing for the last 4-5 months, but a return to a forgotten love. This is the (re)start to a beautiful friendship.  😉

Malcolm Gladwell + Tough Mudder

Yes.  MIA.  That’s me.

Caught up in life that won’t slow down or give me time to take a breath.  But loving it.

I am blessed beyond measure – you know this is true if you have ever met my husband and my family (those by blood and by bond).

So what’s my latest exploit?  Tough Mudder.  Yep.  I’m doing it.  Feeling a little crazy for wanting to, but every time I look at the website, I get excited.  Weird, I know.

I created a whole workout plan to get me ready for it.  No, I am not capable of doing anything without first making a plan.  Why?  What have you heard?  It’s an awesome, daunting plan.  Today is Day 2.  Day 2 included four miles of speed walking with one mile of jogging in the middle.  Not so tough, but that’s how you work up to running 10 miles when you’ve never done it before…at least that’s what they tell me.

It’s pretty cool because I’ve been planning to start this training for a long time – somehow I decided I needed eight weeks to get ready for this event, so I didn’t have to start training until yesterday.  I have a color-coded calendar printed up (totally not kidding – I just can’t help myself) and a list of circuits to do on alternating days when I’m not running.  I have exactly ONE rest day per week and that is a little scary, but I’ve done that before and my body actually loves it…  I just like to MOVE.

I’m feeling really thankful that I can train at all.  Just finished listening to Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  (I’ve found listening to audiobooks while I run makes it go by so fast for me!)  In the end, one of the truths he unveils is that people who make it great were given a huge opportunity to work really hard.  And they took it.

Sounds odd – being given the opportunity to work hard – but I know just what he means.  I’ve been given a huge opportunity – based on where I was born, the family I was born into, the people I was surrounded by, my health, etc. and now I get to work really hard to do some great things.  Or not.  I don’t have to take the opportunities I’ve been given.  I could ignore them and sit on the sofa eating chocolate chips cookies – warm ones, fresh out of the oven, with cold milk…and believe me, I totally do that every once in awhile – but pity parties are fewer and further between these days.  However, the point is, I get to choose what I will do with every day.

And of course, if you have ever read my blog before this moment, you know that when I say, “I get to choose,” the underlying reality is that I believe in a God who has perfectly ordered my steps.  And when I follow them, I get to live this amazing life.

So, what opportunity to work really hard have you been given?  Or did you think “opportunity” meant being handed life on a silver platter?  Yeah, me too.  I thought that until my 5 mile jog / walk this morning when Mr. Gladwell convinced me of a different definition.