Musings from the Midwest

One of the unexpected benefits of choosing to drive cross-country rather than fly was being able to gain a greater appreciation for the beauty of the world. I haven’t travelled much and feel as though I still experience life (in some ways) through the eyes of a child. Everything was brand new to me and being able to see just how vast this small part of the planet is gave me a lot to think about.

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Sequoia National Forest

 

It’s easy and natural for us to get caught up in our individual lives, problems, relationships, routines, school, work schedules, and so forth. Taking a step outside of the norm and opening our eyes to new experiences and opportunities takes courage! The last several years have seen a lot of change in my personal life, some of which I never thought I could or would get through. Now I find myself more prepared to take risks and do what I really want to do, not lead a life that allows others to follow their dreams while mine are forgotten and abandoned on the roadside.

Part of why I started this blog in the first place is because it’s something I’ve felt compelled to do for years but never thought I could do it or anyone would want to listen to what I had to say. Now, even if only a handful of people are reading this right now (and thank you for those of you who are!), it still gives me a sense of personal pride to be achieving a personal goal. Health, fitness, and self-discovery are all things I am passionate about and want to help others in achieving the joy and personal achievement that I’ve felt on my own journey!

So, thank you for reading and I hope that I’ve touched a part of even one person who can take these thoughts and turn them into action like I have!

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Paleo Greek Hamburgers

Burgers

  • 1 lbs ground beef (or other ground meat)
  • 1 tsp saltGreek Burger
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • cooking oil

Tzatziki

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (almond or coconut)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and finely diced

Toppings

  • Butter lettuce
  • Tomato slices
  • Red onion
  • Chopped Kalamata olives
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Mix seasonings together and alter to taste. Mix into ground beef by hand with lemon juice. Form patties and brown on one side in pan on stovetop with cooking oil
  3. Place patties onto baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven, approximately 12-15 minutes
  4. While burgers are cooking, mix all ingredients together for tzaziki and alter seasoning to taste
  5. Serve burgers with desired toppings, using butter lettuce instead of a gluten-filled bun!

Paleo Breakfast Sandwich

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  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 6 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for cooking
  1. Add all ingredients except oil to blender and puree on high. Mixing air into the batter will make the pancakes light and fluffy
  2. Add oil to pan (olive, coconut, or whatever your preference may be) and cook pancakes. These are probably the only Paleo pancakes I’ve ever made that actually look like flour pancakes!
  3. When finished, make breakfast sandwich with fried egg, bacon, and (for those who are Paleo Plus) a slice of cheddar cheese. It can be eaten as is, or drizzled with some maple syrup for those who have a bit of a sweet tooth!

Friday Fun

My philosophy in life is to start each morning with a clean slate. I have a mental checklist of things I want to do every day and then make a tangible list of how I’m going to carry out those goals. Some of the things I aim to accomplish are:

  • housework chore
  • personal growth
  • physical activity
  • work productivity
  • one new or exciting thing

Those are the five main objectives I try to hit each day. Now, do I always get it all done? No, of course not! But it’s good to begin with the goals in mind.

Physical activity doesn’t just mean working out at the gym. Biking, dancing, hiking, surfing, swimming or anything else counts as long as you’re moving and getting that heart rate up!

Guitar

Personal growth can be any number of things as well. The main ones I’m focusing on right now are learning a new language and piano practice. Unfortunately, this is the category that seems to get cut off first when time starts running out for the day. However, even if I don’t get to it myself, my two mini humans do and I count that as a half point for me! (I can do that, right?) That’s my little guy pictured above working on his guitar practice.

Horseback

And my personal favorite, something new or exciting everyday! Realistically, every day can’t have a major event, so sometimes it’s small, like playing a game or enjoying a fire in the fire pit. I count anything that’s a tad out of the ordinary for a daily routine. But, when I’m really lucky, it’s something super exciting! Last week I was able to go horseback riding through the Sonoran Desert and it was amazing!

So, let’s keep up the Friday Challenge and see what we can all come up with over the weekend! I’m thinking…a salsa club??

Make it Count!

Okay, so why don’t we talk about the other part of this blog:

Make today count more than yesterday!

This is where the additional meaning of “Plus” comes into play. While eating extremely clean and doing fierce workouts everyday might sound amazing to some people, that intense side of healthy living isn’t for everyone. In fact, it probably isn’t even for most people!

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There are some days when I go to the gym and just kill it! I’ve got sweat pouring down my face and my muscles are screaming at me to stop!  I’m on fire and push myself to the limit!  And then there are days where I just want to practice Zumba routines in my living room while sipping a glass of wine…and you know what?  That’s okay too!  Because when you’re enjoying yourself, it’s easier to stay motivated.

Get moving everyday!  Whether it’s morning yoga, that workout at the gym, a new kickboxing class you’ve been wanting to try, dancing with your kids until you’re out of breath, or a long evening walk to end the day, it all counts.

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So yes, I believe that each person could benefit from following a Paleo lifestyle and going to the gym seven days a week, but the reality is (unless you’re a professional athlete or body builder), it’s probably not going to happen.  So add what you can into your routine to keep yourself healthy, moving, and motivated!

What’s your “Plus”?

Why Paleo Plus?

Although I’ve wanted to write a health and fitness blog for quite some time, I’d like to address why I finally chose Paleo Plus.

My personal ‘healthy living’ journey started about 10 years ago, but I wasn’t introduced to the Paleo diet until 5 years later. At first I thought, “That’s crazy! I could never give up (insert favorite unhealthy non-paleo food)!” But as I continued on my path and started doing at-home Crossfit workouts, I kept coming back to the Paleo diet. I was curious and finally decided to give it a shot.

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Over time, I modified my diet, first limiting grains until I was completely gluten and grain free by mid 2012. During that time I started cutting out refined sugars and dairy and, by the end of 2012, was an (almost) 100% Paleo eater! It wasn’t easy and required a lot of planning and preparation, but the results and health benefits were worth it to me.

Fast forward three and a half years, and it’s been an up and down journey! Between starting and completing a (non-paleo) culinary school program and working in several restaurants, it was difficult to maintain my healthy eating habits and find time to work out. I never gave up, but I did repeatedly fall off the wagon.

By some chance, my last stint in the culinary world found me working for a Paleo meal delivery service. That spark to help others on their own journey towards a healthy lifestyle was ignited once again! Even though I no longer prepare Paleo fare for Crossfit athletes, I am finding other ways in which to put my skills and passion for healthy living to use.

Phew…so. With that shortened version of how, now we get to the why. I jumped back onto the Paleo wagon but decided that I didn’t need to be as strict with myself as long as I am living healthy in other ways as well, not just when it comes to food. And my personal kryptonite is cheese….savory, gooey, delicious cheese….So when my friends started asking how I was losing weight again (along with working out), I told them I was “Paleo plus!”

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I also found that having this little loophole for myself makes it so much easier to follow the other Paleo guidelines! When I get the urge to go off-track and eat something unsanctioned (like a delicious plate of nachos or a big cup of fro-yo), I stop and remind myself that I am allowed to have a “cheat treat”, but that I need to stick with what I’ve chosen for myself, not something sugar-y or grain-y! (Now, that’s not to say I never give in, because the Peeps flavored frozen yogurt I sampled last week was surprisingly tasty!)

But anyway, back to the point. The bottom line is, we all have a “plus.” No eating plan or workout regiment is a one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone needs to find what works for them, put it into action, and be happy with their accomplishments! It’s so easy to compare our own achievements to others and perceive ourselves as falling short. And that’s the real essence of why I started this blog.

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Start your journey! Find a beginning point that works for you and then follow that path with your own personal twist. Every morning is a clean slate! Take advantage of each new day and improve just a little bit.

Make today count more than yesterday!