Paleo f(x): Will I see you there?

Hi there. Remember me?

I have been MIA lately and have admittedly neglected this blog. I’m human, do you forgive me?

I have been caught up in the chaotic whirlwind that is my life lately. In addition to doing the school and work juggling act, I recently moved after three years of being a clothes hoarder and have also been experiencing some serious family matters.

As things are settling down a bit (and I’m coming up for air), I thought I’d check in, say hello, and tell you where I’m headed.

On Thursday, I will be flying to Austin, Texas to attend PALEO f(x)!

What is Paleo f(x), you ask?

Paleo f(x)™ is an organization dedicated to advancing and promoting the functional paleo approach to health. Our mission is to show how theories of evolutionary health can be “made functional” — turned into real­ world practices that improve human health and wellbeing.

…Our chief focus continues to be our yearly symposium in Austin each Spring, and we have grown considerably each year. Spanning over three days, Paleo f(x)™ features multiple stages and a massive “expo floor.” It has an array of presentations, Mastermind panels, cooking demos, and workshops, all led by cutting ­edge health practitioners, scientists in a variety of fields, coaches and gym owners, New York Times best­selling authors, popular bloggers, community and sustainability activists, and more. It is the largest paleo health event in the world.

In addition to connecting with like-minded individuals, I am really looking forward to the presentations and cooking demos featuring the following very knowledgeable and inspiring people:

What else am I excited about? Why, the local gluten-free and Paleo friendly eats, of course!
Here’s a list that I’ve been compiling:

  • Picnik
    ” Picnik Austin is your home for paleo, primal, gluten-free, grain-free, clean, healthy, ancestral cooking and baking in Austin, TX.  We source organic and farm-to-table ingredients whenever possible, and we believe in serving the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.”
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  • 24 Diner
    “Chef Inspired Comfort Food.” They have a sweet gluten-free menu.
  • Lick Ice Cream
    “Honest ice cream..we base our flavors on what the land has to offer us and when the season is right for each ingredient.” Lick uses only local, hormone & antibiotic free, and grassfed dairy. They proudly state that they know where every ingredient originates.

Have you heard of Paleo f(x) before?
Will I see you there?
Do you have any places to add to my list of good eats?

Let me know in the comments below!

Love and Light,

vm

 

 

 

 

Monday Morsels 3/3/14

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Happy Monday!

For some of the newer readers here, Monday Morsels is a series where I share recent articles or blog posts on the topics of nutrition, wellness, and clean beauty.

Nutrition

Recently, I read an important article written by Chris Kresser that examines the vegetarian diet from a nutritional standpoint.

A large majority of my audience comes from the green beauty community, which is comprised mostly of vegetarians and vegans, so I thought that this would be relevant to share.

Holistic nutrition is my passion and this topic is in line with my nutritional approach.  Although I may be one voice in a sea of many green beauties, I wanted to share my thoughts.

To all of my vegetarian and vegan friends: Although I am not a vegetarian myself, I respect your choice to eschew meat due to ethical, spiritual, religious and social reasons.

The aim of this post is not to convince anyone to eat meat.

The purpose of this post is to raise awareness about the possible negative health implications of a vegetarian or vegan diet, if not properly implemented. 

Many people who choose to adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet do so because they assume that it is healthier than diets which include meat. Many people are not aware of the potential nutritional deficiencies that they may develop.

As a side note, I believe that anyone pursuing any type of diet (meat or not) for the sake of health should have a deep understanding of the implications of that diet.

Chris Kresser discusses this in a fair manner and his article is an important read for those who choose to be vegetarian or vegan for optimal health. I should note that the author is a former macrobiotic vegan. Click here to read his article:

Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

The biggest takeaway is that thriving on a vegetarian or vegan diet is possible, but it requires an active and meticulous awareness of the nutritional composition of your intake of food.

I Choose to Eat Meat

Being a green beauty blogger, it’s easy to feel like I am the only meat-eating one. I follow a Paleo framework which is a diet that is based on nutrient-dense whole foods.

Foods That I Eat:

  • Grassfed, pasture-raised, organic meat (I consciously purchase ethically and sustainably raised meat whenever possible)
  • Eggs (ideally pastured)
  • Fish and other seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Starchy tubers (sweet potatoes, taro, etc)
  • Fruit
  • Foods that support intestinal health (bone broth, raw sauerkraut)
  • Traditional, unprocessed fats (grassfed ghee, cold pressed coconut oil)
  • Other nutrient dense foods such as organ meats and fermented cod liver oil

Foods that I Exclude From My Diet:

  • Processed foods
  • Gluten
  • Most grains (except white rice) and legumes
  • Refined oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, etc)

What I Value:

  • Ethically raised animals
  • Local, sustainable, and organic food sources
  • Food that is closest to its natural state
  • Food that nourishes the body, supports long-term health, and prevents illness & disease

Why do I eat this way?

As I’ve mentioned before, in 2013, I became very ill with Histamine Intolerance, Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO), and a pathogenic intestinal infection. At the beginning of my sickness, I was incredibly reactive to most foods.

As I struggled with navigating what I could and could not eat, I dove deep into learning about eating to heal your body. More and more, I came across an underlying theme of the importance of eating for intestinal health by eliminating all inflammatory and irritating foods while incorporating nutrient dense foods.

Lots of people, myself included, have turned to eating a Paleo/ancestral/traditional type of diet to cope with autoimmune conditions like Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Celiac disease or to prevent these diseases. Eating this way has helped many people not only cope but also thrive despite their very serious conditions. (Read about Danielle Walker of Against All Grain and her inspiring story here).

Autoimmune conditions are on the rise , and I truly believe that it is due to environmental factors as well as the lack of proper nutrition due to factory farming, GMOs, and the prevalence of highly processed foods.

I feel as though the Paleo/ancestral/traditional diet community is misunderstood by the green beauty community. For a long time, I didn’t know how to share my thoughts about this, but once I read Chris’ article, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity.

Eating a Paleo diet has a lot more in common with living a nontoxic lifestyle than one might initially think.  Both require conscious decision-making with the aim of optimal health. Both are environmentally conscious and value food/cosmetics/products in their purest, most natural forms. Both recognize that conventional food/products contain toxins and have a desire to go back to the basics.

I choose to eat meat in following a Paleo framework as it makes me feel like (and actually become) the healthiest version of me. Eating healing foods while excluding inflammatory foods has helped me heal from the scariest, most life-altering health ordeal of my life. Eating Paleo also upholds certain values of mine such as supporting local, sustainable, and ethical farming and food sourcing.

What about you? How do you choose to eat and why?

Love and light,

vm

Times that the universe conspired to help me

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. ” – Paulo Coelho

I was 20 when I first heard this powerful quote. It was the summer after I had finished my sophomore year of college and I took up a sales job which often came with several inspirational self-improvement type of talks from management. During these sales meetings, I ate these talks right up. These type of quotes fired me up for the first time in my life not only because they were inspiring, but because time after time, I found truth in them. And I found trust and accountability in myself as well as pride in my own efforts. Once I established my goals, and went full throttle and fully applied myself towards achieving them, I eventually reached my goals. Along the way, I experienced quite a few too-good-to-be-true “magical” moments. Ones that really did feel like the universe was conspiring to help me.

Eight years later (spoiler alert: I’m 28), I’m rediscovering this quote at a very fitting point in my life. As I had mentioned in my previous post, 2013 has been the most difficult year of my life. I became very ill with Histamine Intolerance along with SIBO and a cryptosporidium gut infection, all of which wreaked havoc on my adrenals and hormones. I’ll get into my condition more another day, as it is not my main focus in today’s post.

The point that I’m attempting to reach is that in this very scary and dark point in my life, I was forced to reevaluate my entire life. At first, the reevaluation was about food intake, sleep sufficiency, stress reduction, and questioning the intense exercise I had been doing regularly while sleep deprived. Then it got deeper. Am I happy? Do I feel fulfilled? If not, why? Was my corporate accounting job stressing me out to the point of illness? I was definitely happy in my personal life, and I kept answering “no” to that last question. Truthfully, it wasn’t a stressful job. I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing, and that I was good at what I was doing all while working towards a financially stable career. But day in and day out, I wasn’t satisfied with how I was spending my time. I looked back at the 8 hours of account reconciliation and journal entry posting and felt so unsatisfied that I was hunched over at a computer all day not contributing to something that I truly valued in life. I started to realize that most days, I wouldn’t say more than three peeps to anyone. I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be meant for something else in life.

Meanwhile, no doctor or allergist could explain to me why I was experiencing borderline anaphylactic shock reactions to certain foods, why I often felt faint, why I had trouble breathing, why I got persistent head aches, or why I couldn’t sleep most nights even though I felt like a zombie at work most days. I had to roll up my sleeves, wipe my tears of fear and frustration away, and google my heart out. One night, unable to sleep due to massive chest pains and heartburn, I googled my way on over to an article Chris Kresser wrote on Histamine Intolerance. I made a mental check mark next to nearly every symptom he mentioned. Order was restored in my universe once again, and I breathed a sigh of relief and may have even cried a joyful tear. However, that joy didn’t last. I was still very sick and still had to treat myself through implementing a very restrictive and tricky diet (as the only effective treatment known today is a drastic change in diet). It was clear that I HAD to contact Chris Kresser to seek out his help. Little did I know, that in a very ill market of people who have no idea where to turn, he is the guy that is highly in demand. I got put on a waiting list with an estimated wait time of four months or more (aka an eternity, at the time).

I got lucky and was seen in three months. During those three months, I dove deeper into learning about food intolerance, gut flora imbalance, intestinal pathogens, the GAPS diet, the SCD diet, why Paleo works, the Low Histamine Chef, the blood brain barrier, leaky gut syndrome, adrenal fatigue, probiotics, SIBO, stress management, meditation, yoga, wellness, grassfed beef, pastured eggs, bone broth, ghee, etc etc. Due to the nature of a low histamine diet, my life revolved around what I was going to cook and eat for my next meal. Slowly but surely, my symptoms weakened. I began to sleep soundly after years of grogginess and sleep deprivation. And above all else, I experienced the healing power of food.

Fast forward to today, eight months later, I’m still ill, but getting better every day. I quit my accounting gig and am pursuing a career change to holistic nutrition. Quitting my job was equal parts incredibly liberating and incredibly frightening. I’m walking away from a financially stable career and starting another career that offers no promise of success?? Despite my fears, I had to jump ship. I had been through too much, learned too much, became passionate about too much to ignore my innermost desires to help others who are experiencing what I was.

School starts Spring of 2014. In the meantime, I am working towards my CPA license while working part time. It’s still scary to think about what I will do once I become a certified nutrition consultant. There are many unknowns. How will I start my business? Will I join an existing practice first? Who will I work with? Will it pay the bills? I know it won’t be easy. But I know I will figure it out.

I have been immersing myself in reading up on holistic nutrition and following the work of those who I admire in the industry to learn of how they got started. One fateful day, I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast and the guest interviewee was a woman who had nearly the exact same background as me! Former accountant turned nutrition coach. After listening to the interview, my main take away was “Wow, what a coincidence. If she can do it, so can I”.

A week later, I listened to a talk on YouTube given by Ramit Sethi about how to get your dream job. A facebook friend of mine ‘liked’ the talk, and I clicked on the link because the topic was relevant to my current situation. His talk was all about taking charge of your destiny. Not about applying for jobs, sending out resumes, and hoping for a call back. But about contacting people, connecting with people directly, and carving a path for yourself. That same day, I sent out a handful of emails to nutrition professionals who I admire in the industry asking if they had any internship opportunities available. Among these professionals was the woman who was featured on the Balanced Bites podcast I had listened to a week earlier. To my delight, she replied very warmly, seemed to like my story, and appeared genuinely surprised at how similar our backgrounds were. We met today and got along quite well. She is revamping her business offerings and is happy to bring me on board to experience and help with the process of it!

I can’t stress in words how elated I am to know that I took the initiative, made a few decisions, and as a result, worlds collided, stars aligned, and a great opportunity was born.

I thought I was going to limit this post to one cheesy quote. But here’s another one: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I don’t necessarily believe in fate. But I do believe that happy coincidences or lucky chances occur in life. You just have to pay attention and be prepared for these moments in order for them to work in your favor. In no way do I feel like I’ve made it yet, but I feel as though I’ve taken the first step on my new career path in holistic nutrition. I’m excited for what’s to come.

I’m going to file this one under “times that the universe conspired to help me”.