Only two days of vacation left! Noooooooo! That’s okay though; it’ll be nice to get my schedule back to normal. Routine is a good thing. I received my work schedule for the upcoming week and I have already started planning our Weekly Menu. We’ve got some good things to come, as well as a much deserved treat. That won’t be on this coming weekly menu, but at the beginning of the next. Speaking of treats I do want to spend some time talking about something that I have been working really hard on.
Jason and I have been living a Paleo lifestyle for about a year now. We have had ins and outs as far as pure dedication, a few months in the beginning were more lenient, and we’ve also had months where we would not budge on strictness. The thing is — lifestyles change; they fluctuate…and depending on what you have going on whether it be higher levels of stress or a lot on your plate you will naturally feel more pressure. I truly believe that we have found a nice medium to settle down in. As I have mentioned before when discussing treats, we have come to the unified decision that we will indulge once a month, completely free of guilt. Now for most people this is extreme, but it works for us — usually. The problem is: we are all human and like most girls I have a tendency to have days where I don’t appreciate the way I look. I am not about to get too sappy or personal with you — I am just being real. When you live a lifestyle as strict as ours, yet still have issues about yourself that you don’t like you have to re-evaluate some things. Now, I will say — I am aware that these issues are not real to anyone else but myself. They are all in my head; and they have no real merit other than that they are my own weakness.
Here’s the point — when it comes to overall health, there are a handful of aspects to consider. I read an article recently by Chris Kresser, and it really spoke to me. It is extremely simple in thought, yet I never looked at it in quite the way he wrote it. Basically he refers to your overall health as being a chain. It is humanistic to spend time thinking about the things that we feel comfortable about, and doing the kinds of things that we feel confident about. In other words, we all have blind spots in our life. There are things that we just don’t think about, not because we try to suppress these things, at least not intentionally…but there are certain aspects that we are just not aware of because they’re not areas we commonly feel comfortable in. It is these areas that need to be thought about because they are the areas that get the least attention and for some of us, we have areas that are completely ignored just because we are unfamiliar with them. If there are things about yourself that you don’t like, you are more likely to enforce your areas that are already strong — leaving the problem as it is. Back to the health example, again your overall chain is health. If you are not seeing the results you want you will likely work out even harder, try to eat even better, etc. because you think those are the reasons you’re not improving. The problem is that those links in your chain are already strong — you already have those parts figured out but naturally we flock towards things that we feel comfortable and confident doing. We stick to areas that we have the know-how about. You can work on these strong links all you want to, but unless you pay attention to the links that are weak your chain will still be weak overall. In regard to the health chain — maybe it’s good quality sleep that you’re lacking, maybe it’s too high of a stress level? Time spent thinking about things that you are not used to thinking about will help you, and giving attention to those weak links that frighten you about yourself will make your chain stronger.
What the hell am I trying to say? I’m tellin’ you — there’s no way I explained that as well as Chris Kresser. He’s amazing with his words, unlike me. What I took from it though is that I worry too damn much. That is my weak link. I know this because when I think about how I don’t always see results that I like and I play this game with myself asking why, why, why…I usually go right in to thinking that it has to be something I am doing wrong. I will claim that I must not be working out hard enough; I will start thinking that maybe I’ve been eating too much fruit, too many nuts…and really…my diet and my workouts are fine. I feel comfortable in those two areas. I know what I am doing and they are my strong links. So I naturally look to them for some sort of explanation, but they’re not the problem. The real problem is that I worry a lot, about everything. Whether it be money related, work, family issues…whatever the case may be. I know, deep down, that if I cut out the worrying I will feel better…my body will feel better. If you haven’t read the relation between high cortisol levels (stress) and poor health, you need to! Chris Kresser says it best in a post about training to hard, getting poor sleep, and not managing stress properly: “Another major effect that extreme exercise has on our bodies is an immediate increase in cortisol, the hormone that is released when the body is under stress. Heavy-resistance exercises are found to stimulate markedly acute cortisol responses, similar to those responses found in marathon running. Chronically high levels of cortisol can increase your risk for a variety of health issues, such as sleep disturbances, digestive issues, depression, weight gain, and memory impairment. Excess cortisol also encourages fat gain, particularly around the abdomen.” They are directly related, and I know that giving attention to my worrying problem will significantly help the way I feel; the way I look; and all of the above.
Now, are you ready for a wonderful curry recipe? It is fantastic, and really hit the spot tonight. Nice warm flavors, prepared simply and quickly — my favorite way!
- 1 lb. chicken, cubed
- 2/3 c. coconut milk
- 1/2 c. canned pumpkin (you want pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. unsalted cashews
- Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add garlic. Once fragrant, add cubed chicken.
- Cook chicken about 5 minutes, stiring often. You want it white on all sides, but still somewhat pink so that it does not dry out.
- Add coconut milk and pumpkin. Stir well, breaking up the pumpkin as you go.
- Add sliced onion and all spices, let cook until chicken is completely cooked through, flavors have melded together and sauce has thickened to your liking.
- Stir in cashews and mix well.
- Serve spooned over Coconut Cauliflower Rice, recipe found below.
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/3 c. coconut milk
- 1/4 c. shredded & unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 tsp. honey, optional
- Place your cauliflower florets in a food processor. Shred to the consistency of rice.
- Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add cauliflower, salt and pepper to your liking and cover to steam.
- After about 5-7 minutes, remove cover and add all other ingredients.
- Cover again, and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until all the coconut milk has evaporated and cauliflower is tender.