I Survived Whole30 (and a #ROW80 Check-In)

Progress Reports

Whole30

Well, I did it.  I survived Whole30.  It was easier than I expected…although part of that was because 2 and a half weeks in, after all the caffeine headaches had passed, I decided that one cup of proper tea, exactly as I normally drink it, wasn’t going to derail my progress (unlike all the other stuff I was eating to try to unsuccessfully satisfy the craving for it).  Of course, a program like this is much easier for a household where we already cut out dairy and gluten because of food allergies.  At the end of the 30 days, I’m down 6 pounds and my middle and backside are slimmer.  My blood sugar is stable.  Cravings in general have all but disappeared and the ones I do have (mostly) are of the “oh that sounds tasty” rather than the “OMG GOTTA HAVE IT GET IN MAH BELLEH” variety.  And my hormonal acne (a huge issue since I left birth control behind four or five years ago) has dramatically improved.  I’m back to my low from last year and definitely reset from the holidays.  All in all, I’m calling it a success.  Hubs and I will be shifting in to broader scale Paleo (which is more inclusive) from here, with the occasional splurge.  We’ve agreed on one bag of Fritos Scoops a month.  It’s a personal weakness for both of us.  Terrible for you, but chili and taco soup just isn’t right without them.  Tonight, though–TACOS.  WHEE!

I’ve been seriously head down in the book.  I finished Act 3 last night, so now I’m in the final push to get through Act 4.  Depending on how things go the rest of the week, that might happen by end of the weekend (and then I have a scene and a half to go back and write).  But THE END IS COMING.  I’m at the top of that roller coaster about to hurtle toward the end.  I love this part.  Hoping to get it to The Pink Hammer by next week, then dive into revisions on the novella I wrote over Christmas, while I plot out the second book in my Sooper Seekrit Project trilogy.

On Tacos and Getting Back on Track

Progress Reports

I keep…not posting.  There’s been a lot of getting caught up at the Evil Day Job (a LOT).  Last week was a short week anyway because of MLK day, and then I was supposed to be on the road to Natchez.  And then that trip got cancelled.  And there was a bunch of rescheduling.  And then the weekend just got away from me.  There was a lot of cooking (when is there not?) and generally attempting to get back on track.

Hubs and I have one more week of Whole 30.  A week from today there will be TACOS in my life.  Can’t wait.

It actually hasn’t been bad.  The food isn’t all that far off from what we normally eat because of our food allergies.  And I’ve discovered a few things that I LOVE.  Like monkey bowls.  Slice a banana, sprinkle with cinnamon and a tiny pinch of salt, melt almond butter and pour over the top and add unsweetened coconut flakes.  NOM.

On the writing front…last week was slow.   I was in the Act 2 slog.  And then I didn’t get a chance to write at all on Saturday.  Yesterday I did a read through of what I have (a little over 31k total so far), making note of what needs expanding or adding.  And today I’ve been pondering Act 3.  I had an Act 3 in my outline but it was all very vague.  Today I hammered out the nitty gritty of what it actually encompasses.  And I may have added yet another chapter…  But it’ll be the stronger for it, so that’s fine.  I need to kick it in gear to get back on track with the schedule.  I’m going to end the month lower than I’d planned.  I had hoped to be duplicating my NaNo success.  Or at least hit 40k.  If I bust my hump this weekend while hubs is at work, I might can at least get to that.  As long as I knock out this first draft by mid February, I’ll stay on schedule.  I need to be good and going on the 2nd book in Sooper Seekret project while this one is with my editor.  But I have knocked out three of my crits for the anthology I’m a part of, so that was a fair chunk of my time this month.  All in all can’t complain.

I’m on the road again tomorrow for the trip to Natchez that was MEANT to be last week.  Driving is always good plotting time, so I’m hoping to get some plotting done on said Sooper Seekrit Project 2 while in the car.  Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

Out of Routine and Impending Snowpocalypse

Musings / Writing

Updated: OMG, I have been trying to get this post written for two days!  

Blanket FortI don’t know what it is about holidays that just pull me totally out of routine for DAYS.  We were closed for MLK Day on Monday.  I spent THE ENTIRE DAY in my JAMMIES.  I can’t remember the last time I did that when I wasn’t sick.  It was pretty fabulous.  The blanket for was still up from girl’s night on Friday (because this is how we chose to watch Sense and Sensibility in honor of the passing of Alan Rickman </3) and I spent the whole day camped out in the living room by the fire.

The writing has been going well.  I probably won’t quite finish this novel by the end of January, but I’ll be close.  I’ve cranked out 12.7k since my last check-in (which was Sunday before last).  A bit lower than I wanted, but I had stuff going on and needed to figure some plot stuff out.  All in all, I think this draft is going pretty well.

I’m in a mode for re-evaluating covers at the moment.  I did some playing around with cover options for Just For This Moment over the weekend, and was messing with Know Me Well, which I’ve never been happy with.  It doesn’t fit with the rest of the series.  I was operating on a shoestring last year financially and wasn’t able to hire my original cover designer.  Now that things have picked up, I think I’ll be rectifying that.

I was supposed to be traveling to Natchez for work today (because it’s now THURSDAY…where has the week gone?) but that just got cancelled due to the fact that they are apparently supposed to be having a literal blizzard type storm in south Mississippi tomorrow.  SNOWPOCALYPSE.  Preceded by a bunch of tornadoes and hail today.  Yay. Not.  Of course, probably we won’t get more than flurries here and not get out of work…because that’s almost always how it works.  I just want one snow day.  Is that too much to ask?

Shameless plug!

Anyway, just as well I’m not having to travel and figure out how the heck to eat on Whole 30.  I’m on Day 18.  Over the weekend, I finally made the executive decision to allow myself one cup of tea a day as I like it.  A lot of Whole 30 is learning what foods are problematic for your body.  I already know that what goes in my tea doesn’t bother me.  I did the full elimination diet for allergies a couple years ago.  Since I’ve been drinking tea for nearly 20 years and I know perfectly well I’m not going to STOP drinking tea, now that the caffeine withdrawals are over with, it didn’t seem worth NOT drinking it.  Especially since my weight loss had stalled out because I was compensating for not having it by over-eating a bunch of other stuff (which totally didn’t satisfy the craving).  So.  Tea.  And the scale is moving in the right direction again.

Since I’m in the office today, I have a bunch of paperwork to catch up on.

The Food Blog Is Functional!

Foodie Thoughts

When I made the decision in early 2015 to combine all my blogs into one, self-hosted site, it simplified some stuff for me, bringing everything under one umbrella.  Which de-simplified things for many of my readers, as I had completely separate audiences for my food blog than I did for my writer’s blog and merging meant they were all mushed together in one big mess.  I did a lot of research on things that would help alleviate that issue, making it easier to navigate through the recipes if that’s the only thing people are here for.  MOST of what I found involved needing to go in and change things in each individual post (which, when you have over 600 posts to edit, is just…crappy).  So nothing got done.

I had seen the Visual Recipe Index plugin before, but according to their site, it requires each post has a featured image (which was a thing I hadn’t done because I just didn’t know).  This morning, I found another blogger’s post that mentioned it will just take the first image in the post if there wasn’t one set.  So I installed it post haste and made the necessary tweaks and TA DA!

Now I have a thumbnail recipe index by category!

If you head on over to Recipes and click on any category in the list, it’ll give you a nice pretty index of all my recipes in that category, so instead of scrolling endlessly through every post tagged “recipe” (which is still what you get over under the Latest Recipes button), you can see in a jiff what’s there.

I’m ridiculously pleased by this.  There’s still a bunch of under the hood stuff I’d like to do.  I’m in the midst of a slow update to get each post to present as a recipe card using EasyRecipe (not hard, just involves going into every recipe and clicking some buttons and updating it), setting featured images and assigning SEO terms.  But at least people can FIND STUFF NOW.

I have no idea when I’ll pick back up with new recipes.  Definitely not while we’re in the middle of Whole 30 (although the shepherd’s pie I made was kick ass…I should write that one down).  We’ll be (probably) shifting to a mostly Paleo lifestyle after this, and I’m more in the realm of following other people’s footsteps going through my half dozen Paleo cookbooks and really learning the ropes.  But eventually.  Anyway, that’s the update.  The take away is that the food blog portion of the site is now functional!

 

On Leveling Up and Finding The Way

Progress Reports

Operation G.I.T.

My brain has been all over the place this week.  I’m closer to back in the groove of normal schedule, but not quiet there.  Mornings after taekwondo are always the hardest for sticking to my vow to get up and write before walking the dogs and the gym.  I don’t get to bed nearly as early (since I’m amped up from epic cardio), so dragging my butt out of bed at 5:15…hasn’t been happening.  This morning it was the writing that suffered (though I didn’t quiet know what I wanted to do with the scene until after my walk–I’m sure anyone who would’ve seen me in the pre-dawn muttering to myself would’ve thought I had a screw loose).  Dogs got walked and I did a weight lifting workout at home. We’re 9 days down with Whole 30.

Writing

The writing has been going well, though.  After few words on Sunday due to just being overly busy, I cranked out 4500 words in the last two days.  I need to maintain a pace of around 1684 to make it to the end of this book by the tail end of January.  My own personal NaNo, if you will.  Which is, more or less, the name of the game all year.  I was jiggering around with my production schedule, trying to figure out how I could squeeze in another novella this year, in addition to the three short novels and one long one I’m writing.  Think I’ve sorted it out–with room to spare depending on how much is necessary in revisions on various projects.  I may be over-reaching, but I don’t know.  I kinda feel like I’ve leveled up as a writer.

Blogging

I still haven’t gotten back into blogging, really.  Or social media.  I’m not, NOT on it.  I just haven’t been anywhere near as active the last year or two because…well, I’ve spent my time writing my butt off.  One of the things I was thinking about yesterday is that I’ve slacked off on all those fronts, not just because I’m writing, but because I finally found my tribe, as it were, locally.  I was SO SO active on blogging and social media all those years because I was, frankly, lonely.  And feeling very misunderstood.  None of my close friends were here.  The ones I did have moved away.  I didn’t have anybody I felt like who really GOT me–and all the efforts I made on that front usually left me wishing I’d stayed home and written instead.  That changed, thank God, when, ironically, a local fan internet stalked me over Red.  We got to talking, decided to meet and hang out, and through her I have met MY PEOPLE (All hail the Sisterhood of the Snort ‘n Curl!).  BOOK PEOPLE.  (Who are all also fans, which was secondary but awesome because I ask about their kids, they ask about my characters, and nobody thinks I’m a lunatic)  And it’s been awesome.  It means I’m doing more living of my life…you know, in real life.  Which is healthy and good.  And it’s meant I’ve had less to say online than I used to.  So I’ll be fumbling my way through figuring out where that happy medium is.  Or rather, no.  My word of the year is INTENTIONALITY.  So I’ll be giving some intentional thought to what the best way to approach it is.

Web Stuff

I somehow found my bounce rate on my website yesterday, which is abysmal.  Most of the people who are landing here aren’t actually looking for me or my books (in fact, they are looking for pants for women with curves and how to change the editor font in Scrivener–my two most popular posts!) and they don’t stick around.  It’s on the list of things I should do something about but…eh.  Website stuff (particularly the under the hood things) is on the short list of things I’d like to hire out for at some point.

I haven’t been happy with my website.  I think the theme is cute, but it’s got some quirks I haven’t been able to fix.  I’ve tried to simplify the navigation, but I don’t know if people actually dig it or not.  And I’m starting to think maybe it was a mistake to move my food blog in to have everything under one umbrella. Particularly as I’m not food blogging with anything resembling regularity and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future.  It’s just not where my creative energies are going.  There’s a bunch of under the hood stuff that needs doing THERE in order to make it more practical, but it involves doing stuff to the code of Every Single Post (I have around 600 recipes), and I just…don’t wanna.  I’ve got limited time and I don’t want to spend it doing that.  Not to mention the stretch I worked on it gave me an almost paralyzing bout of carpal tunnel.

But whatever.  My focus is, as ever, on getting the next book written!

Belated Sunday Summary: Cooking All The Things

Progress Reports

I totally didn’t get around to posting this yesterday.  I didn’t even get around to writing yesterday other than about a hundred words of expansion on a previous scene.

  1. I spent Sunday cooking All The Things.  Now I cook a lot to begin with since I make a bunch of stuff from scratch that most people just buy.  That’s been amped up considerably while on  Whole 30 because even the few things I would normally buy, I’m making from scratch to avoid all the hidden sugars or other ingredients that are on the avoid list.  Saturday was my condiment day.  I made mayo, ketchup, ranch, worchestershire sauce, and A1.  Yesterday I started cooking at 1 and didn’t sit down again until dinner at 7.  I grilled chicken breasts for lunch salads this week, made meatballs for hubby’s lunches, hardboiled eggs, deviled those eggs, roasted a batch of sweet potatoes and onions for my breakfasts, roasted a huge butternut squash, put together a shepherd’s pie for tonight’s supper,  and roasted a chicken with parsnips and carrots for last night’s dinner.  It was like an episode of Chopped up in my kitchen!
  2. We also took down the Christmas tree (finally)and got the house put back to rights, which was long overdue.  And I finally got a massive headboard I’ve been trying to sell for TWO YEARS sold and out of the garage.  I was running purely on determination by the end.  I knew as soon as I sat down, that was it.  I wasn’t getting up again.
  3. We watched The Intern last night.  This is one of the few non-romance movies that I really loved.  The ending was a little more subtle than I expected, and there was one plot point I disagreed with, but all in all, a great watch and I’ll definitely watch it again.  Robert DeNiro was delightful, and I adored Anne Hathaway in this role.
  4. We also watched the first four episodes of The Shannara Chronicles this weekend.  I’m coming at it from the perspective of someone who’s never read the books, so I have no idea how faithful the adaptation is.  We enjoyed it, though.  It’s an odd blend of high fantasy and modern, with lots of nods to Lord of the Rings and, indeed, quite a few cast members who did time in the LOTR franchise.
  5. I only made it to the gym twice last week, and I skipped taekwondo because I was feeling lousy.  But I did walk the dogs every day.  I think I’m finally, more or less, back on my work schedule.  That feels like a feat, surviving last week without caffeine.  Speaking of,
  6. I finally found a tea I can drink.  I ordered a big box of samples from Adagio that came in on Saturday.  Among them was Cream Tea.  It would be absolutely delightful with actual sugar.  Without it’s…endurable, which is, frankly, all I am expecting from tea without cream and sugar.  But the essence of cream in the tea cuts the tanins admirably, so I can tolerate it.  Most importantly, it doesn’t taste like dirt or paper.  Three weeks go to.  I did go ahead and order some decaf black teas for later, as I was surprised how much impact the caffeine in the tea I WAS drinking had on me.  I really didn’t think I was drinking that much.
  7. I had a pretty decent writing week last week.  Knocked out 8243 words.  A bit below what I was hoping (since I didn’t really write yesterday), but considering everything else I was throwing at myself last week, I’m quite happy with that. I ended up expanding the novella outline into a short novel (because when do I EVER manage to stick to the length I intend? Rarely).  But it’s not turning into Monster Book, so I can live with that.  It’s hubby’s long week at work, so I’ll definitely be forging ahead.
  8. I’ve also got two novellas I need to crit for the Virtually Yours anthology.  Need to knock out at least one of those this week, as well.

Some Friday Fun

Awesome Things

So while I was at the gym this morning in the wee hours, Uptown Funk came on the radio.  So of course I started dancing–as you do.  And then turned around and realized the gym wasn’t as empty as I thought.

Whoops.

But whatever, it’s a good song and a nice, upbeat way to start your Friday!  So I give you UPTOWN FUNK WITH MINIONS (because I’m me) for some Friday fun.

Whole 30 Day 3 and a ROW80 Progress Report

Progress Reports

It’s been a rough transition back to work this week.  There’s no such thing as a slow start…it’s like jumping headfirst into the deep end of a pool and being electrocuted.  My uncaffeinated brain hasn’t been dealing too well with that (not that caffeine is verboten on Whole 30, but everything that goes in my daily tea is, and plain tea is nasty).  The withdrawals from caffeine have meant some pretty nasty headaches (and I had no idea there was enough caffeine in my tea for that to be a thing).  And with all the meetings and conference calls and such starting the week, I’m only just now getting around to making a plan for how to deal with all of it.  I should be back up to my usual speed by the end of the week.

One of the big things that’s been driving me bananas got temporarily tabled.  I finally convinced my boss that it made no sense to focus on that when there were so many other things due RIGHT NOW and we’re getting further and further behind.  We don’t have the manpower to do what she wants.  Whereas if we wait until end of February when the first phase of the project is over, we can then go back and update the things she wants updated (with all the necessary, laborious paper file digging).  So that was a little bit of nice vindication.

Things have been going mostly well on the Whole 30 front.  I haven’t had any problem with the food side.  It’s not having my tea.  Today is Day 3 and I totally had that “Seriously how bad would it be? As soon as Whole 30 is over, I’m going right back to drinking tea as I like it, so what’s the point in cutting it out at all?” conversation with myself.  I’m holding to the program; I’ve just officially reached Grumpasaurus Rex status.

That whole getting up at 5:15…  I did it Monday.  That went fine.  Tuesday I slid back to 5:45…enough time to walk the dogs, and then I skipped the yoga I was going to do and still got some writing in before work.  This morning I didn’t make it out of bed until 6:40, so no gym for me, just walking the pups.  I’ll squeeze in a time crunch weight lifting workout tonight before my writing block.  I had this problem last year until daylight savings time went away–this whole problem of being trapped by the tractor beam of my bed, unable to move even though I know I need to.  Warm/Cozy/Sleepy is a lot more appealing than Cold/Dark/Conscious.  A lot of this is that resetting my body clock to work schedule instead of vacation schedule (aka my natural circadian rhythm–which runs 3 hours later than my reality) has been rough.  I’ve had Benedryl AND melatonin every night this week trying to make myself sleepy when I need to go to bed.  :STARES AT CEILING:  But I’m wiped out, so I’m getting there.  Next week that should be better.

I’ve finished Act 1 of Just For This Moment.  I’m at that point where I’m getting to know the characters and story better, and I’m having to pause to update the outline from what I had originally.  But the whole thing is really coming together quite nicely.  We’ll see if it stays the novella it’s intended to be or if they stretch it longer.  It’s been known to happen, and Myles and Piper are a LOT of FUN! [For a preview of this, go check out Once Upon A Setupthe Meet Cute where we see their beginning.]

According to my text notifications, the rest of my recording gear I need to try this audiobook thing has arrived.  Maybe I’ll give that a try some this weekend.  Or not.  I also need to edit a couple of the anthology novellas for Virtually Yours.  We shall see.

Bring It 2016! Round 1 ROW80 Goals

Writing

Because I work for a university, one of the epic perks is a long Christmas break.  Since we’re off until after New Year’s, it doesn’t ever REALLY feel like a new year until I get back to work and into the normal routine.  Today is that day and I’m raring to go.  I’ve got eleventy billion things to catch up on, so I’m just gonna rip out my goals here real quick.

  1. Successfully complete Whole 30.  Okay not a writing goal, but I’m also starting this today, so it gets listed.
  2. Write 20 out of 30 days.  One of these days I should up this just because I usually hit nearly all 30 days most of the time, but as soon as I remove the wiggle room, I’ll miss it.
  3. Continue to get up during the week at 5:15 to write before my morning workout.  I started doing this during NaNo last Round and had surprisingly good luck with it.  It really helped me up my total word counts and keep my head in the story more easily the rest of the day.
  4. Finish Just For This Moment, Piper and Myles’ novella.  I started this one with the new year and have finally hit my stride.  God I love these two.  They’re so fun.
  5. Outline and finish Sooper Seekrit project Book 2.  It’s partially outlined already, so I just need to finish that out.
  6. Get back into my weekly gym routine.  I sorted out a new lifting routine over Christmas and started that this morning.  I am opting to wait until I finish Whole 30 to give C25k a try again.
  7. Learn Audacity.  I want to give audiobooks a try.  I thought I’d maybe turn some of my Meet Cutes into Podiobooks.  We’ll see how that goes.  I bought a course last year on how to do it.  I just need to go through it.

Anyway, that’s it.  Back to the grindstone.

Manifesting the Positive in 2016

Musings

sparkler

Welcome to 2016.

It really won’t feel like the new year for me until Monday, when I dive into the new/old routine that is daily life.  I’ve enjoyed my holiday, gotten some rest and some quiet.  Done some reading (knocked out Tawna Fenske’s latest, The Fix Up and Tara Sivec’s Seduction and Snacks, both of which were flipping hilarious and awesome).  Finished writing a Wishful holiday novella (which I’ll release next holiday season).  And dove into a new project.  But I miss being in a routine.

Fitness

I spent some time yesterday deciding on a new weight lifting program to kick off the new year (the Fat Loss program from Beautiful Badass by Nia Shanks, FYI).  I am ready.  I feel like a slug.  Other than walking the pups, I haven’t exercised in two or three weeks.  I found some beginner tai chi on Amazon Prime that I might take for a test drive later today.  I’ve always wanted to learn tai chi.  I have no idea why except it always looks so…calm and soothing.

Food

My kitchen is FULL of veggies and fruits and healthy food in preparation for starting our Whole 30 on Monday.  I’m feeling so frigging bloated and UGH after holiday eating, I am READY.  I’ve been batch cooking for a week to get some things done.  Fresh, homemade marinara.  Four pounds of Whole 30 compliant sausage patties in the freezer.  Two pounds of venison meatballs.  I’ve been going through and indexing all my Paleo cookbooks and planning out the wazoo in Evernote (I’ve made that notebook public in case you get the urge to take a peek).   I’ve got all kinds of lists, recipes, and even a 30 day menu plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  I know perfectly well that will change as I try out new recipes (like the spaghetti squash fritters from Well Fed 2, which are a new favorite) and see what’s on special at the grocery store, but this takes the guesswork out so that there’s never any staring at the fridge trying to think of what to fix.  I’ve even got a whole section with recipes I tracked down for Whole 30 compliant versions of all my hubby’s favorite condiments (note to self: must make ranch this weekend).  The lack of availability of compliant bacon is sad, but we shall prevail.

Post Christmas, I bought myself a copy of Paleo Takeout (and OMG, the number of Chinese dishes I can’t wait to try once Whole 30 is over…) and Practical Paleo.  The latter is enormous, much bigger than I was expecting.  I always feel good about buying a cookbook that’s heavy enough to bludgeon someone in a pinch.  Makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.  In this case, it’s so big and fat because it’s got one of the most comprehensive explanations of the science behind the whole Paleo diet, along with a metric ton of custom menus for all kinds of medical conditions.  If you’re considering going Paleo and really want a good understanding of what’s behind it, I highly recommend this book.  And then go pick up a copy of Down South Paleo, as it is the most accessible and full of comfort foods (that are still healthy and Paleo compliant!) of all the Paleo cookbooks I’ve tried.

Since I started learning all this stuff about nutrition and the food supply and the idea of healing through food back in 2010, when we figured out hubs is gluten intolerant, it’s really changed how I think about food.  There are things I’ve learned that, frankly, sometimes I wish I could unlearn because it makes my stomach turn [click any of the following at your own risk–you can’t unsee this stuff] (like the primary ingredients in grocery store chorizo, or what they use for “vanilla flavoring” in ice cream that doesn’t actually specifically list vanilla bean–GAG).  I am now terrified of anything that lists just “natural flavorings” in the ingredients–because the stuff the FDA allows to fall under that heading should never be approved for human consumption.  But apart from the serious gross me out side of things, I’ve learned how food science has mucked around with huge chunks of our food supply in ways that the human body has not evolved to handle.  Hence the enormous rise of adult onset food allergies in the last decade.  There’s all this pseudoscience out there that’s accepted wisdom in terms of what constitutes a healthy diet–which plays in to the enormous reliance on grains in the standard American diet–in the form of wheat, corn, and soy–all of which have been genetically modified (in the US anyway, where such things are not required to be labeled) and do really bad things to our bodies.  There’s been a corresponding rise of all kinds of allergies and medical conditions that are linked to inflammation that goes along with the increasing use of all these things in all foods.  Seriously.  Look at the ingredient label on anything that has ingredients.  They put wheat, soy, corn, and their derivatives (not to mention sugar and unnecessary salt) in EVERYTHING.  Because they are a) appetite enhancers, making people eat more (because Americans need to do that, right?) and b) fillers.  And it’s not just correlation research.  There are lots of scientific studies out there providing strong evidence of the link between things like our high ingestion of Round-up Ready wheat (did you know you were eating weed killer with your daily bread?) and leaky gut syndrome.  The reason you haven’t heard about it?  Real science doesn’t have a multi-million dollar ad campaign budget to disseminate its findings.  So you’re seeing all the big money ads from big food, lulling you into thinking that everything you’re eating is safe.

Anyway, I’m not actually here to give some kind of lecture on how everybody should go Paleo or whatever.  That’s completely a personal choice.  What I was working my way around to saying is that I really dig the idea of healing your body through food–REAL food–whole ingredients (fruits, vegetables, meats)–instead of through a bazillion medications.  It makes me feel like I’m getting less chemical junk in my body.  And it seems like almost every Paleo cookbook author out there has a story of some health condition that was dramatically improved by changing their diet.  I’m sure everyone’s mileage may vary, but feeling better is a good thing in my book.  I know one of the biggest objections to Paleo is the cost–because whole hog Paleo means organic, grass-fed, non-GMO everything and no question that is hella expensive.  The approach that I (and several of the cookbooks I’ve read) take to the thing is you do what you can.  If you can’t afford the organic, grass-fed meat, buy the leanest cuts you can afford, trim off the excess fat (where a lot of the ick is stored) and that’s still better than ground chuck loaded with growth hormones or whatever.  The point is to focus on REAL FOOD that doesn’t, in and of itself, have ingredients.  An apple is just an apple.  It’s not the dried kind that’s loaded with sugar and God knows what else.  Eating real food instead of processed crap is going to lead to improvements for anybody!

End soapbox about food.

Manifesting The Positive

In her recent post about bidding adieu to the old year, Ava Miles talks about a little ritual she has of writing down the stuff she wants to manifest in the new year.

The new year is always a time of reflection for me. Some days ago, I began the process with a list of all the things I was grateful for. The list topped out at three pages front and back. Hurray! Then I moved on to all of the things I didn’t want to bring forward, things like self-doubt, fear of the future, limiting beliefs, grudges, etc. You know what I’m talking about. Lastly, I picked up a fresh piece of white paper and began listing all of the things I wanted to have the Universe bring me this year with the caveat I now include with everything: “this or something even better.” I carry things over from year to year, sure, but I keep believing in them, keep sprinkling fairy dust on them, waiting for them to manifest.

I loved this idea.  She goes on to talk about looking at last year’s list on New Year’s Eve and seeing what she’s manifested.  This fits in nicely with the “Thoughts become things!  Choose the good ones!” motto of Notes From The Universe (which I get daily in my inbox).  I’m a big believer in the idea that you get back more of what you put out into the world.  So I love the idea of really focusing on manifesting positive things in your life (particularly when we are often surrounded by a lot of toxic, negative people and things that we can’t get rid of).  It feels like a great way to balance.

So that’s on my do list for today.  A list of the things I am grateful for from 2015 and a list of the things I want from the Universe.  Maybe I’ll finally put one of those zillions of blank books I have to work for a daily gratitude practice this year (and I love that one of my BFFs totally knew to get me two…a pretty one and an ugly one I’m not afraid to write in–because she totally gets me).  The gratitude practice is something I’ve tried the last couple of years in various guises.  I’m still looking for the right format.  It’s not something I do well in digital, as it happens.  So we’ll try old school this year!

Best of luck to everyone for a fantastic and fabulous 2016!