Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Paleo, 30 Day, Primal Hybrid Diet Thing

My family is on the “eat whatever you want whenever you want" diet.

Unless what you want to eat involves sugar.

Or grains. Or dairy. Or alcohol. Or preservatives. Or Legumes.  Or soy. Or processed food. Or vegetables oils.

But other than that, you can eat whatever your heart desires. My parents have been doing it since the second of the year and I have been doing it since I got back last Tuesday.

I first heard about this crazy diet (although the powers that be tout it as a “lifestyle”) last April and filed it away as a good thing to do that was probably way too hard for me to figure out.

Last semester I read (part of) the book The Primal Diet. After that, I couldn’t eat grains without thinking about what the terrible levels of insulin were doing to my body. I avoided grains as much as I could and would go for a week or two without eating any and then I would have to eat fast food or something.

I sent the book to my mom and she read it. And then she read more about the Paleo Diet and the 30 Day Challenge. They pretty much are the same kind thing except the Primal Diet allows you to eat dairy. And each have different nuances and things they emphasize. We are mostly doing the 30 Day Challenge. You follow the rules strictly for 30 days and then start adding in food to see what makes you feel crappy and what your body processes well.

Here’s a quick summary of what happens to you when you stop eating grains, processed foods and everything else: you feel terrible. You start detoxing. Two days in I had a massive headache, stomachache and was incredibly tired. My parents felt the same and one night, my dad came downstairs and was shaking really badly.

Then you start feeling pretty great. I haven’t really been doing it long enough to flaunt how incredible I feel, but my I haven’t had any acid reflux since Tuesday, and I haven’t taken any medicine, which is a huge deal for me. My stomach has basically been acidic for most of my life but got way worse the summer before I started college. My stomach also feels flatter like there’s less fat there. Not that I am saying I was fat at all but it seems like there's less.

So that gets me started thinking (read: complaining): “I feel pretty good. I had chili and my stomach isn’t on fire. This is awesome… and now I want a coke. And a giant pretzel. And a glazed doughnut. And nachos. Crap. There’s no way I can do this.”

Then my mom chimes in, “Oh I want buttery popcorn.”  So then, I also want popcorn. And we just stare at each other sadly and distract ourselves with the TV or a book.

Really, most all of my family’s success in this endeavor belongs to my mom. She has been cooking up a storm every day for lunch and dinner. It has to be exhausting. She is almost constantly grocery shopping, washing and cutting fruits and veggies, looking up recipes, cooking and cleaning. 

We have eaten a mix of weird/new things and old things made in new ways. We’ve had butternut squash (not a fan) cauliflower mixed in a food processor so it becomes almost like mashed potatoes, chili without beans, stuffed egg plant (I surprised myself by not hating that), chicken in several different ways and sooo many fruits and veggies.

Here’s a small sample of the weirdness that has crossed my plate:

Guess which one of these food tastes like celery? 

It looks like green beans, steak and mashed potatoes right??????
Haha nope

Did you guess the white stuff? You’re right! It’s actually ground up celery root. I was not a fan. For whatever weird reason, celery gives me a headache.

So here’s to hoping my family can continue on our 2013 healthy eating kick. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Friends Are The Best

I haven’t forgotten about my blog. This is just a quick update to assure you that I haven’t forgotten. Since my last post, I haven’t really done very much.

I mean I did graduate. And not more than 6 hours after I did, my parents began packing away my things to move them. It was terribly tragic, and I pouted like a little kid. I’m not proud of it, but it happened.

I didn’t actually move until a week later with my car full of clothes. And I spent the time in Chicago doing almost nothing except reading. I finished Les Miserables (and saw the movie… awesome) and then started on about a book a day pace until I acquired the most recent installment of the Song Of Ice and Fire Series: A Dance with Dragons (Game of Thrones #5). And that is a much slower pace of reading. I keep up with Goodreads, marking what I’ve read, pretty frequently and if you like to read at all, you should too.

I celebrated a low key Christmas with the family. My parents made a fantastic Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch. Those two can cook.

Michelle and I hung out for a few more days and then headed back to Kansas. And seriously, I have the best friends. You might think you do, but really, mine are so great. They have pushed me to think of so many creative way to say awesome and cool because they are so awesome and so cool. The following is probably a cheesy synopsis of my time in Kansas and the friends I saw.

Beth and I at Sandbar!
I started out by staying with Beth, one of my best friends born from long hours at volleyball tournaments and more-than-hectic newspaper work days. Notably missing from this time was Molly, but such is life. They are definitely my funny friends. I almost never stop laughing when I’m with them. However I enjoyed my deep chats with Beth about our soon-to-be journeys abroad, literature, relationships, benefits of singledom, and American Girl Dolls. I walked away with three new books I’m looking forward to reading. One evening, we even skipped over to Lawrence for dinner with a great friend and then got glowing drinks at Sandbar.

Elena and I before NYE
I then headed to Elena’s house to stay and prepared for New Years Eve at Power and Light. We bought passes that got us free food and drinks all night. We hopped around to a few bars but spent most of the time dancing at Shark Bar. I haven’t danced really since high school dances, but Elena lovingly danced in my presence all night without making fun of me. She is one of my best friends in the best and weirdest way. Statements like, “Your hair feels so weird. Please just go buy conditioner” are complete normal and welcome. It’s gratifying to have someone know all of your strengths plus depths of your weaknesses and love you fully anyway.

An old but good picture of Kellie (left), Lindsey (right)
and I.
I stayed the nights bookending my trip to Manhattan at one of my oldest friends house, Kellie. Kellie and I are kinda mostly the same person. Our relationship was build on a foundation of a mutual love of Harry Potter (she can go toe-to-toe with me in terms of love for and knowledge of the books and movies) and evolved into a friendship I know can last the test of time and distance. And we spent our time pouring over our shared tasted in (super awesome) books and television shows. If I find something nerdy and awesome to read, Kellie is the first person I tell. And I have seen and read so much just because she told me it was good. Also notably missing was Lindsey, but we still love her dearly even though she’s so far away.

I did journey to Manhattan for a few days to watch the Fiesta Bowl (and suffered excruciating heartbreak). While I was there I stayed with a more recently acquired, but nonetheless wonderful, friend Alex Reinecke. We met while I was student teaching at East campus where he is an actual teacher. We had strange and splendid conversations on life, love, teaching and basically just whatever. He’s definitely one of the good guys. He and his roommates allowed me to stay for several days without batting an eye. These boys are so welcoming; they have people so constantly in and out, it makes it slightly difficult to figure out who actually lives there and who just visits frequently. Overall, my time in Manhattan was very relaxed; I spent a little time visiting some other pretty great friends and accidentally bumping into family. (Sorry you don't have a picture Alex!)

Those are by no means all my friends, they were just the ones who were able to open their homes and beds/couches to me during my stay. I have so many supportive, loving, and flat out spectacular people in my life. I've always known it, but this trip to Kansas really made me appreciate how wonderful they are and how lucky I am.