Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

So it’s been a while. I feel like I’ve been starting off every post with this. I can definitely say this is my craziest summer yet. My weekends are packed to the brim and I’m traveling 9 out of 11 of them through the summer. My friends need to stop getting engaged and pregnant! But seriously, it is so easy for us to pack our calendars and be on the go – and I have seriously missed my blogging, my city, my friends, and I have not picked up my Bible for over a month now. I’ve made a conscious effort to tone things back and give myself at least one weeknight where I don’t schedule SOMETHING. We’ll see how THAT goes.

Anyways, during a minute of downtime at work today, I came across this article. Seems it was originally posted a month ago, but was a really great read. It’s definitely REAL and gives some extremely practical and simple advice for losing weight and getting healthier.

In a nutshell, this guy lost about 100 pounds over the course of about a year, and provides a few really useful (and surprisingly uncomplicated!) steps he took to shed that weight. And by “uncomplicated,” I’m not saying they are easy or stress-free to implement; as with any big lifestyle change comes some strong commitment. But what they are is simple in principle – no rocket science or crazy tricks. I think the biggest takeaway is that he has become more MINDFUL of what he’s putting in his mouth, how he’s treating his body and how he’s even thinking about food.

NoBigMacHe started with what he was eating. There is a statistic floating around that I always quote (not sure where I found it), but around 80% of your body comp is what you put in your mouth. A lot of times people justify their dinner of pizza and beer because they ran a mile, but really that dinner is VASTLY more important to how your body looks than the mile you ran. I love his quote, “You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.” Essentially, if you are downing Big Mac’s all day, no amount of exercise is going to help make that not impact your body (and you’re also entirely missing the point!). So what did he do to lose the weight? He ate clean (protein/veggies), stayed away from wheat & gluten & sugar, and drank more water.

Also, he gave all this “health” stuff a chance and changed his mindset. After reading some books on quality nutrition (read: anti-sugar), he decided that it was worth trying. I think this is what holds up a lot of people – not giving an idea a chance or being immediately defensive towards it. What I always tell my friends when it comes to the way I eat (or who complain about migraines or bloating or other gluten-related effects on their bodies): GIVE IT TWO WEEKS. You can do anything for two weeks. But he also makes a good point that you have to WANT it. Even if your friends, your family and your spouse want you to do it, the desire for change has to come within yourself as well.

Then he added exercise. Small amounts at first and tried to find activities that were enjoyable that included exercise (think sports, games, etc). He also got enough sleep. This is something I think a lot of us pass over: sleep is so critical to staying healthy. Also – shut down the TVs and smart phones and electronics way before you crawl into bed. The blue lights messes with your melatonin levels and you seriously see such a difference if you say, READ A BOOK (I know, mind blown, right?), instead of Facebooking for an hour before bedtime.

Lastly: support from your friends and family is CRUCIAL! Give yourself a good support system and avoid those friends that chastise you or try to make you keep your unhealthy habits (PS: what kinds of friends are those anyways?!). I think it helps to think of your change as a lifestyle adjustment, not a diet. “Diet” is a word I think we associate with feelings of being temporary and this should be a permanent change (it’s a marathon, not a sprint!).

That’s all for now! Hopefully I’m back to blogging more regularly (although not holding my breath!).


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So being a foodie AND paleo makes life hard sometimes- like, really hard. I LOVE food. I love trying new foods and dishes and restaurants—but most usually have some element of gluten, which even though tastes delicious going down, feels not so nice afterwards.

Chicago just finished up their restaurant week, and let me tell you—it was amazing (as usual). I tried 4 new restaurants and each did not disappoint. I was trying to plan an outing with my friend Annika during restaurant week (who has a gluten allergy) and I forget how un-fun a week like restaurant week is for those people that actually CAN’T eat gluten (unlike myself who just feels like crap the day after). You pay a bunch for food you can’t eat!

Heaven behold. Senza: a new restaurant that popped up recently in Lakeview that is entirely gluten free. Alcohol-food-dessert-everything gluten free. And with 4 courses (and an amuse!) for only $50 (which if you think about it—is basically just as much as restaurant week and you get more courses AND can pick what you want). WIN.

And let me tell you. This place is SO GOOD. The chef, Noah Sandoval, came from Schwa (which has one Michelin star and who’s chef [Michael Carlson] has been nominated for a James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes for the last 3 years). The food was delicious (oh- AND they bring you a whole loaf of gluten free bread, too!), the ambiance was awesome and service was great. And both of our cocktails were the bomb dot com.

Here’s my menu recommendation (from what we both got and liked!):

DUCK CONFIT || huckleberry | saffron | pea tendril

PARSNIP SOUP || pear | celery | lobster | caviar

SCALLOP || golden raisin | cauliflower | foie gras

SPIKED APPLE CIDER || sorbet | gingerbread

I recommend this to anyone—but especially to those with gluten allergies or someone like me, trying to have a foodie night out, without feeling like complete crap in the morning!

breadsenza 1entreesdessert

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first blog post!

Finally- my first blog post.  I appreciate the support (and gentle prodding) by my friends to get this going!

For those of you close to me, you know that I have been immersing myself in the primal/paleo lifestyle for a little over 2 years now. I have developed a passion for paleo eating, cooking and living, and am a member of the Chicago CrossFit community as well. I LOVE learning and reading (and talking!) about all things food and exercise.

I think all this health and wellness fascination most likely has to do with the fact that I’ve had to diet most of my natural born life.  Growing up the chubby kid in class is never easy, but it definitely gives me some insight into what works and what doesn’t- because who wants to listen to diet and nutrition advice from a lifelong size 0 who eats McDonald’s for lunch every day and can consistently maintain an eight-pack without ever doing a sit-up.  I have run the gamut of unhealthy fad diets, products and pills and struggled for years with eating disorders.  I get it.  I’ve lived the life of obsessing about EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth- and it sucks.

Fast forward post-college.  Naturally the 6-nights/week of binge drinking took a toll on my body second semester senior year – not to mention the spattering of half-assed workouts I threw in all semester to make up for the end of collegiate sports.  Because let’s be honest- the only “runs” taking place were late night ones to Taco Bell.  So clearly some responsibility was in order as far as reining in the eating and drinking.  Being an adult took care of a portion of it, but I severely restricted everything I put in my mouth.  Whole grain bread and pasta, pretzels, those 100-calorie packs of sugar-free cookies (seriously makes me want to gag now)… and I wondered why the hell I wasn’t losing the college weight.

Three years later—the official primal/paleo discovery.  I met a gym owner at a networking event in Columbus, Ohio and he told me about Mark Sisson and his blog, Mark’s Daily Apple.  After some reading and initial skepticism, I figured I could pony up the $25 for Mark’s book, The Primal Blueprint.  THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE!  Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s definitely what bought my one way ticket on the paleo train.  I’ve read a lot of diet books—trust me.  And this one just makes sense.  Anyways, this isn’t supposed to be a book review, but Mark outlines ten simple “laws” of living primal and living a great life (check them out here), including what to eat and how to workout and getting enough sleep… that kind of stuff. 

It definitely took some getting used to, trust me (due to my grain & sugar addiction)… but even after a week I felt a difference in my energy, I felt thinner, I felt healthier- and after a while, you don’t have those carb cravings- you know, at 3:00 in the office when you’re dragging and all you want is to gorge on your co-worker’s stash of mini Twix bars.  You never have that stuffed, full belly bulge feeling after a big meal.  You have so much more energy.  You’re seriously happier.  And the real clincher- it’s NOT HARD.  I never worry how much I’m putting in my mouth, how many calories I’m eating or how much harder I’ll have to run on the treadmill because of that-thing-I-ate-that-I-shouldn’t-have.

Shortly thereafter, I became a product of the failing economy; I lost my job and decided to venture to the Windy City to start the next chapter of my life.  I made my way to Chicago and have been here for a little over 2 years.  A year and a half ago I started CrossFit- and I have seen wonders in my body composition, energy and fitness!  Especially for a former college athlete who doesn’t have anyone making me run wind sprints until I puke or go on 5 mile runs at 6 in the morning; CrossFit is a perfect solution to feel awesome, look awesome and get your ass seriously kicked.

So now that my life story is complete… a little about the blog.  I wanted to start this blog in order to document my progression and knowledge about the paleo lifestyle, and give me an outlet for my food frustrations (so my friends don’t have to continually listen to my rants!).  And being in such a huge city makes it really fun to learn and discover new ways to continue my journey. By the same token, I’m also HUMAN- and a female in her 20’s- which means happy hour is my fav hour of the day, I can never say no to a trip to Sweet Mandy B’s, and nothing is better than watching sports with a Chicago deep dish pizza and an ice cold beer.

My goal of this blog is to document my life as it relates to paleo- and everything else that goes along with it. Simply—life, with a side of bacon.

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