Hello February, Life Lessons & Resolution #37 Get Published on YCN

I can’t believe it’s already a few days into February.  I’m even more dumbfounded that I’m staring down the barrel of the age of 24, just a week away. (Happy Birthday to me!)

The shiny newness of 2013 hasn’t even started wearing off yet and it’s already proving to be so much better than its totally lame predecessor, 2012. Just in the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten a few leads on writing gigs, including a couple of guests posts for a new e-mag being started by the lovely Danasia over at Born at Twenty-Five called The Urban Realist.  It’s going to be fabulous, I can’t wait for it to launch.

Resolution #37: Get Published on YCN

Speaking of legit writing gigs, I actually got a piece published on Yahoo! Voices last week!  Me! A Yahoo writer! Please excuse the tooting of my own horn. But, if you’re interested in checking it out, I wrote about 5 Free/Inexpensive ways to keep that ‘Get Fit’ resolution.  It’s local, here in Austin, of course, but even if you don’t live in Austin, every time someone goes to read the article I get a few pennies from the big men over at Yahoo! Corporate.  So please go check out the article: 5 Free or Inexpensive Ways to Keep Your Get Fit Resolution in Austin

6882880373_5eda9dff5b_bI’ve also managed to get through an entire month of the paleo diet, with the exception of a few cheat days thanks to a birthday party featuring s’mores and a cookie cake, and an outing to a restaurant called “Bacon” where I didn’t even put up a fight against the powers of Chicken and Waffles.

IMG_5460What caveman could say no to that, huh?

Other life lessons learned this past month?

1. Lock Your Car

Everyone knows this is a good idea. And you may think that I say this because I got my car stolen, or something stolen out of it.  Luckily, and I mean really luckily, this is not the case. But, I did come back from a night out to discover an unconscious stranger in my backseat. Turns out this classy gent got a little too drunk downtown with him brother and stumbled back to what he thought was his car to sleep it off in the back seat. He was harmless. Not a thief, or a serial killer, but just to avoid that terrifying moment when you’re friend opens the back-seat and exclaims “…who is that?!”  Just lock your damn car.

2. Your inner child isn’t dead, let it out of its cage.

This past weekend I spent Saturday afternoon at the zoo. I can’t even claim the idea as my own, I would have never thought to go to the zoo on a Saturday, but Dru did and it took exactly 4 minutes before I was back to 10-years-old saying things like “Oh my god they have a tiger!!”  “I want to feed the deer!”  “Can I PET it?!” I had more fun feeding petting zoo food to baby goats and making conversation with parrots than I’ve had doing any ‘adult’ things lately (What would that be?  Drinking I guess?  Rated R movies?).

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Then on Sunday I skipped the Super Bowl and went and saw the Lion King (stage version) with my sister.  I’d originally bought tickets for she and her son for Christmas, but her son was still a little too young for live theatre, so she took me with her instead. We already have a special mutual connection to the show, but it was also great getting to giggle at Timon and Pumba’s antics and bouncing along to the Disney sing-a-longs.

3. Just say yes.

2035781407_23e1c60febThere were a few times this month where I found myself in a situation where I was presented with an opportunity and thought “Er…well, shoot…I don’t know if that’s a good idea.” or worse, “I’m scared.” I said yes anyway. Many times it involved a little nudging, or a violent shove from my friends, but I pushed past my own fears and limitations and just…did it anyway.  And guess what? Most often they were the most fun, most exciting, or most rewarding things I’ve done in a while.  Sometimes–they were not. Sometimes they were terrible ideas that I immediately regretted, but even then they turn into good stories or lessons learned. Either way it’s better than having to answer the question “What’ve been up to lately?” with “Oh you know, same ‘ol same ‘ol.”  Just say yes.

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Paleo Living: Hunting and Gathering in the Land of Convenience

grocery

Whoever said that there is no ‘hunting and gathering’ in the modern world has obviously never tried to grocery shop on a ‘hunter-gatherer’ diet.

For those that aren’t yet familiar with this paleo/primal/caveman diet thing that seems to become such a big deal in the health and fitness world, it’s pretty simple and yet highly restrictive. Basically, you eat like our paleolithic ancestors might. Anything that could be hunted or gathered is what you are allowed to eat. This includes grass-fed/cage free meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Simple. That, in turn, eliminates grains, legumes, dairy, refined/added sugars, soy and any artificial flavors, ingredients and preservatives of any kind. The idea is that it goes back to what we are meant to eat on an evolutionary level, the argument being that things like grains, dairy etc. are the products of modern technology and agriculture and we are not really ‘programmed’ to have them as dietary staples.

“Sure okay, no problem.” you say?  Okay, maybe you don’t say, but that’s what I said…and then I went grocery shopping.

A friend of mine keeps joking with me when he watches me eat, “You didn’t hunt down that cow, you can’t eat that.” But, oh did I ever have to hunt it down. Just like I had to hunt down tomato sauce that didn’t have sugar added, almond milk without preservatives, trail mix that didn’t have peanuts, and chicken stock made with sea salt. It’s never more brutally apparent how unnatural our society is until you’re trying to live all natural. Even with things like organic and  even gluten-free foods becoming more mainstream, the grocery trip for a paleo eater is still most definitely a hunt.

But it’s not impossible.

Here are a few things that have made paleo living just a little easier for me since I started:

The Paleo Central App for iPhone

paleocentappThis little gem was developed by the fine fellow over at nerdfitness.com, who has a hilarious and awesome blog that you should probably check out and read. I’m a firm believer in the fact that there’s an app for everything, and sure ’nuff there’s one for this too.  I can’t tell you how full my google history was with “Is _____ paleo?” (the answer is usually no, by the way) before I found this thing. It’s basically a big, long, ridiculous, I-don’t-even-know-how-he-curated-this-thing list of foods, paleo and non-paleo that you can search or browse to find out if a particular food is allowed on this diet or not. It’s a life-saver when I’m combing grocery isles for anything I can eat.

Home-Delivery Groceries

So I can’t exactly get a pizza delivered anymore, but it surprised me to find all the companies that exist solely to bring healthy, organic groceries to your door. It’s not really an inexpensive option, which is why I don’t do it often, but if it’s a really busy week it’s nice to have as a back-up.  My sister bought me a voucher for the Paleo Perfect Tasting Menu over at Beetnik Foods which I can’t wait to receive. Grass-fed steaks and burgers, perfectly portioned snacks of fruit and nuts, veggie sides. All boxed up and brought to me. There are also options like Greenling and Farmhouse Delivery, who carry local and organic produce and groceries.  I’ve used Greenling off and on for a couple of years now, even when I wasn’t on any special diet. It’s like bringing the farmer’s market to your door. Or, if you’re up for some regular super-local deliveries, local farms like Johnson’s Backyard Garden offer Community Support Agriculture (CSA) memberships that get you a big box of farm-fresh food delivered weekly or bi-weekly.

Chipotle

chipotle The paleo diet almost immediately eliminates a lot of eating-out options, which is pretty debilitating for people with a busy-bee on-the-go lifestyle. Sure, it would be ideal to cook every single meal at home, but really–who does that? I’ve found a lot of restaurants that will cater to dietary restrictions. Hell, even my favorite sushi restaurant agreed to make me rolls sans rice so I could still eat there, but Chipotle is great because they have options straight off the menu that are paleo friendly. There’s no feeling like a pest for making special requests here.  Their meat is all grass-fed/cage free, they have tons of veggie options and of course…guacamole. My favorite paleo friendly friend. My go-to is a salad with double meat, peppers, onions, pico, salsa and a hearty helping of guac.

Paleo Bloggers

Paleo bloggers are like your own hard-working, totally kitchen savvy support system. Not only are they always there to answer your paleo questions, but they are also there to tell you that it’s okay to slip up, show you that you CAN make donuts and pancakes paleo, and collect all the ways and reasons that bacon is your friend. Blogs like PaleOMG and Everyday Paleo are the reason that I get through some days. Especially the days when I’m like, “ALL I WANT IS A COOKIE!”  …yep, they can show you how to do that too.

Overall, I’m 10 days in to this whole paleo thing and while it’s wildly inconvenient sometimes I am really loving it.  I feel really good, have a lot more energy and surprisingly I don’t even really feel that restricted even though I’ve eliminated about half of the things I usually ate. Heck, I almost feel like the most difficult change I had to make was to start drinking black coffee at Starbucks since I can’t drink soymilk anymore.  I’m aiming to make it at LEAST a month doing this thing, I love all sorts of food far too much to stay this restricted forever, but who knows, maybe I’ll like it so much that I’ll stick with it for longer.