What if I fall? oh, my darling, but what if you fly?

-Erin Hansen

I love this quote. It reminds me of a commercial I used to watch as a kid if a little boy on top of his garage in mask and cape scanning the sky around him. When do we lose this feeling of the potential to fly and replace it instead with a fear of falling and failing?

And thanks even more to the internet it can feel beyond overwhelming to jump headfirst into trying something new. The online world offers easy access to people who have already gone thru the paces of discovering what they’re passionate about, so we forget how much work, waiting, heartbreak, and starting over had to happen to get them there.

For that reason it’s so easy to stop trying when we don’t find immediate success.

Sadly it’s even more common to not try at all.

And we teach what we need ourself. Starting over seems something I’m made for. I first started Fitbynature in 2004. In 2010, brain tumor surgery stopped me in my tracks as I spent the next few months learning to walk again. Perhaps more so was the severe dip I felt in my confidence which, despite those around me not really seeing anything different in me, had been zapped. Everything I knew about health, movement and nutrition seemed wrong, especially if someone apparently so fit and healthy could be so unknowingly sick and dying.

Fast forward to 2012 and starting over by moving to the USA. A new country, a new city, a new culture, new friends, new lifestyle, new habits, new thoughts.

Fast forward again to 2015 and the birth of my beautiful boy, in yet another city, Chicago. Never mind I wasn’t to know until I was 5 months pregnant despite tests, not so dissimilar to my brain tumor discovery days before surgery. How did these things keeping jumping up on me?!

After nearly four years, this August I made the decision to start over with my business. I have never stopped learning, studying and working whilst in the states, though had stopped charging without a work visa with Lachie’s birth. I have loved teaching for free, being with likeminded people who just loved what I did. I’ve written blogs about what we’ve been learning and what they’ve taught me. Sometimes what we teach we so appropriately need ourself: the confidence to start over.

And now we’re moving back to oz. I think I’m all ready. In fact I feel drawn to it like a magnet, starting over, and helping others do the same. Because this time it’s different. I am open to this next adventure, I am choosing it, not being lead.

Nearly everyone can name something they’re drawn to like a magnet. I’m buzzing again with all the feels about what I’m passionate about, but not so much I’ve forgotten how much work, waiting and heartbreak awaits to get me where I want to go. But knowing where it is I want to go and realizing where I am, I’m excited to pull all the details together to head toward my desires in this adventure.

Come with me? Cos you know that you you desire to be? That one who can climb mountains, run and crawl thru tunnels with your kids, surf for the first of many times, listen to your own body and move it thru ailments you previously sought help for when it got too bad. It’s the same you, just where you’re going!

Don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Let’s make it one. Remember, you’ve just the same (if not more!) potential to fly than anyone!

Sign up for online group coaching (begins January) and the waitlist is now open!

A lot of the time we take our body for granted. It’s just taking us thru each day and we don’t pay attention until something’s wrong or hurt or we get an injury. Look down at your knees and realize the hips above and the ankles below carry us around all day. So they’re probably something we gotta be appreciative for on a daily basis not just when something goes wrong.

This week I experienced my first climbing injury. Ever.

I went thru the range of emotions. Of course the usual ones anger, sadness, disappointment… but then something unexpected happened, I felt happy.

Happy in the realization that I’d achieved my goals climbing a V6, dropping in at the skatepark. How come we forget to celebrate stuff like that?!

Happy that new goals and adventures are ahead. So what can i do with a cast? Running. That’s right I love running! I’ve run three nyc marathons to celebrate getting my life back and how far I’ve come. Sounds perfect for now, no? I’ve managed to run twice already this week, once from Ocean Beach over the Golden Gate bridge home another thru the beautiful trails of mt tam. Not a bad second option!

And happy that I got to see a great doctor. Here in Marin, so close to the home of ski-bumming and Tahoe, and then also the home of mountain biking, she recognized my injury immediately. On the X-ray she saw the fracture – astounded my ligament was so strong it had actually broken the bone off my thumb instead of snapping. She said while I was getting away from quite a long recovery I wasn’t getting away without a cast. She then took the extra care to set my cast, in pink, and glitter, both of which Lachie is particularly happy with: ‘mummy, your hand looks so pretty!’. Deal = sealed.

Three things we can all easily take for granted are breathing, appreciating, and our ability to move this body moving you all week long. And we all know, if not family-wise, there are certainly others who don’t have this ability. But when do you ever stop to appreciate and focus: that everything I do have right now I get to move into. Our bodies are moving for us on a daily basis so focusing on what we do have, what you do have, is going to keep you moving. You’re so fortunate to have your body. Let’s not take it for granted.

Challenge:

– write three things you’re grateful for about your body each day this week. Post your most grateful in the comments

You don’t stop playing cos you grow old, you grow old cos you stop playing.

Imagine if we all replaced the word ‘exercise’ with ‘play’. You’d do it every day!
I do. I love to climb and skate. Slack line and surf. Trail run. Ride bikes. Play tennis. Sup. And that was just this weekend.
I love to move my body. I love moving it around itself. Feeling how it works, and doesn’t. I love working out how my joints should work, if they feel the same or different each side. And suddenly half and hour or a whole hour has passed just playing around. No gym. No reps or sets. Just moving. Play, exercise, mobility, moving: it’s what you make it. Finding what your body needs is key.

And most of us know what our body needs. We eat our vegetables, meditate (or if you’re like me at least try), get good sleep (again I try!) but exercise, probably the most important habit change anyone can make, still leaves most people struggling with making it a lasting habit.

The solution is to replace the ‘exercise’ habit with play. Think about kids: they don’t care about what they “should” do … all they want to do is have fun. And so they play. Building sand castles and tunnel slides really are fun at any age!

That’s why I’m never stopping playing. It’s in my dna and part of who I am as a person and my happiness. Don’t move it to avoid losing it, move it to move more!
Never stop playing, never stop (and get old).
It’s a year since last years comp. I loved it. It took me to greater heights (excise the pun) in bouldering than I’d ever thought possible. By the time results were out my previous bests of v4 were superseded to not one but three v5s in the comp.
So it only follows I want more this year. V6! But even trying to start them, get off the floor even eeek. It’s freaking hard. But bouldering and in a comp where v grades are replaced with numbers 1-80, I love taking out preempting my ability and instead taking ‘I might’ to the wall.
We live in a world constantly telling us we’re not good enough. Heck I even tell myself. So I’m telling myself I might be. And today I surpassed my own expectations. I tried harder than I thought I would. Nearly 10 numbers higher! Warmed up on a 2,12,16. I looked around and thought I’ll try to get in the 40s. Then just tried a 36, 48 then 49 (no go), 44, 35, 47 (no go) 36, 43. Most of my best climbs were on the second page for scoring and flashed first go (you get less points for making it up to a fifth attempt). Pretty much stoked to the max right now.
And while rushing to leave for my son’s nap, wondering if I could’ve done more, I feel I liked the pressure to finish and get out what I could in the time i had. (And I’ve just had a nap too!).
The raw rarrrrr of competing with other chicks and not preempting your ability and just taking it to the wall. Whoa. Look at all I am. And that goes for you too, you’re more than enough. You’re unique, you’re incredible. Own it.
I want to inspire other women to be strong mind body and spirit no matter their life stage, age or where they’ve been. Just where they’re going. And I’m starting out coaching myself the same way.
Oh and until comp results release next week, I actually have no idea what grades I climbed today. I’m feeling V6. Don’t you think?!
note: while these pics weren’t the hardest climb I did it was immediately after! And you can see in the first pic there’s an almost horizontal yellow piece and a grey bit below that on the left. You have to run and jump for it by jumping off the grey one. But then you have to jump both hands to the first yellow trunk kinda one. Scary. And exhilarating. Haven’t dyno-ed in years!
Growing up I always thought, ‘go to university, get a job, earn money and you’ll live well’. I loved uni, but dotcoms dotbombed, three times in a row for me, and a brain tumor stopped me more than a little in my tracks. I ended up just exercising the way I loved, in parks and beaches, and my movement and nutrition business began. And I’ve never run it like a personal training business. It’s a lifestyle within your work day, your home day, your daily life. So much of the fitness industry is aesthetics based but more and more I came to see it as a sense of fulfillment and feel good. I was training confidence and happiness.
Because in an aesthetics based industry it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. I know I still do it. Even in the ways I constantly try to take my own movement and mindset.
When I started skateboarding I constantly thought about how I would never be as good as other skaters out there, especially girls 30 years younger than me, not to mention the crazy dudes out there who are almost as inspiring (ha), so pursuing it often felt a bit ridiculous.
And I’m not sure that it’s a feeling of lack or jealousy. Instead I decided to celebrate with them, realizing I have just as much an opportunity to get out there too. Their success is not my failure or that they get some means I get less. I’ve come to see all of them as confirmation – if they can, I can. And so can you!
I think of Mikhail Baryshnikov when he said, ‘I do not try to dance better than anyone else, I only try to dance better than myself’. Everyone is unique in their talent and abilities so you can’t share another persons benchmarks. But the reverse is also true. It doesn’t matter how many people do what you do. No one else can do it like you. Even I have strengthens in skateboarding! You need to focus on your strengths and talents.
I love my skateboarding. I’m not good in skateboarding standards but I’m so freaking happy doing it, getting new lines, connecting things I never dreamed I’d get.
Let’s face it. No one else is you. No one else is me. So let’s stop comparing ourselves to others. Looking to others is a great way to get motivated. Using their achievements for inspiration and the sheer fact it’s possible is much needed gumption. But using other people as a standard for judging yourself is pointless. If you spend your life trying to imitate other people you will not have time to discover what makes you unique.
Which in itself can be difficult especially if you’re stuck in the trap of comparison. And you live with yourself all day long, so everything you do probably feels so normal to you. But it’s not normal, it’s you. You do things no one else does. You have thoughts and dreams and abilities that packaged together are highly unusual. The trick is to find your uniqueness and embrace it.
Focus on what you love cos it makes you feel alive and happy.
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My inspiration. Ok, so the deal is, ‘if he goes, I go!’

As a climber I’m aware daily how much my body prefers upper body strength. But one of the coolest thing about that is that upper body strength requires middle and lower body strength, which requires a suppleness in all body tissues. So it goes without saying, I’m gonna keep loving climbing.
But how can you do the same, aside from taking up climbing of course (which is really fun and you should so try it!)?
Hanging from our hands. We all need to move ourselves toward more ideal upper body strength.
Here’s where you normally hear the whole rant about the fact you’ve years of shoulder, neck and arm tension which have created patterns of wear on your ligaments and left you with major muscle atrophy. And it’s undeniable that aesthetics is still the main driver of the fitness industry, so let’s just put here how our upper body holds up our torso (read: our abs). What about the fact that upper body suppleness holds up our head (& our pride!). And consider how much is housed in your upper body – your heart, lungs and all the connections to your brain. Pretty major.
And hanging from your hands is one of the best incidental ways to get your upper body strength back to neutral, if not kickass, daily.
One of the main reasons, and it’s not your arm strength or probable weakness in your hands (we all are to start), is to lengthen and strengthen your lats.
A classic example of the effect weak or undertrained lats can have is being hunched over, which if you drive a car, ride a bike, or sit on a bus train or ferry to work then a desk to repeat the transport posture coming home, eat dinner at the table sitting, relax watching some tv before curling up foetally in bed to sleep, that’s exactly what yours are. They’re always pulled down and shortened so hanging will lengthen and lighten them, back to your infant self. Slumping forward weakly without suppleness will inhibit your body’s efficiency to be well.
You don’t need to start like macho man in the photo holding onto rings with both legs off the floor (helmet necessary of course!). In fact you should try first with your feet on the ground! Start in your own home. A skirting board. Even a railing in the bathroom or the sink in the kitchen. Because our living room is exactly that, a room for living in, we’ve a set of pull up bars in the doorway entrance to the kitchen. (We’ve also rings hanging from a central rafter but that’s another blog post!). It makes hanging a central part of every day, or every time you remember!
Start just holding on. Lean away if you’re on a railing or at the sink. If you’re on a skirting board or pull-up bar and you’re too short like me, have a chair nearby. You want to keep your feet in contact with the ground (or chair) so you can start by introducing a load that is much less than your weight. Try hanging standing on both feet then one foot then the other, then each arm by itself and then both. You can change your grip position to palm over to palm up, one of each, narrow and wide.
As you hang, go through this check list:
Checklist:
*Start in your own home, hanging from a kitchen or bathroom sink or railing, or from a skirting board or pull up bar in you have one, feet on the floor. Try both feet, then one then the other, and both hands, then one and the other.
*Your shoulders do not belong near your ears. Think about relaxing them down, have someone touch your shoulder blades on your back and think about moving them down. This is the biggest anti hunching pointers you could give yourself
*Your ribs might be splaying or thrusting up to the sky. Think about relaxing and lowering them too. Think about your abs pulling them down, your breath relaxing them downward.
*arm hanging stretches one of the biggest muscle groups in your body, your lats. They link your shoulders and your hips and are more a part of core aesthetics and reflexive working than just mincing out sets and reps of crunching abs (including your back). They connect at five different points including the spine, pelvis, ribs, scapula, and upper arm so are involved in a LOT of different functions.
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Good for:
Opening your chest and back
Lengthening your spine between each vertebrae (yup, you’re gonna get taller, or so I tell myself)
Pretty much reverses sitting posture
Open up slumped muscles atop lungs, heart, stomach
Entertaining you and your baby!
Get you some long strong lats, not only for developing strength, but keeping your back and shoulders healthy as well. Focus on long strong lats, and everything else will follow.
We all need to hang and swing in order to optimize our upper body’s strength to weight ratio. I’m not talking pull-ups but gradual increases in upper body usage incidentally to increase the use of more of our body parts. Spread the love I reckon; go hang from your hands on something right now.
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One of the best warm ups no matter your choice of movement is crocodile breathing. It will help you “feel” what it is like to properly expand your belly through 360-degrees. Fully using our diaphragm when we breath in initiate its reflexive involvement in our core function and in turn the aesthetic abs of steel we all covet.

When you think about breathing you can change it, yet the minute you stop thinking about it it continues on it’s own. Thankfully! But that also means we can choose to improve the way we breathe, practice that, and it will carry over unconsciously. Yes please.

Stress of any kind – mental emotional postural anatomical illness exercise – can all effect its efficiency. But like any other movement pattern, it’s a motor skill that can be perfected with perfect carry over for perfect posture and perfect body functioning, namely Health. Miraculous no?!

The Steps

  1. Start lying on your stomach on the floor. Start thinking crocodile thoughts
  2. Bring your fists together and rest your forehead on your hands. Starting to look like that croc now.
  3. Relax you body with legs straight and your toes pointed down. Rarrrrrr

Your hand and head position will feel a bit unnatural at first. But with your head straight, NOT turned to either side, you’ll clearly open up your airway. Secondly, with your hands and arms elevated, the muscles of your neck and the traps are more relaxed away from stretch and tension. They’re your secondary respiratory muscles so this croc thing relaxes you in more ways than one!You’re now making it as easy as possible to execute proper breathing. Simply focus on the quality of your breaths. Easy.

While the tempo is important, your focus needs to be first placed on the expansion of the belly. Lying face down, it’s the perfect setup for breathing into a 360-degree expansion, meaning that not only are we breathing into the belly against the floor, but expanding our breathe through the sides of the torso and letting it lift the sway in your lie back. Check your image in a mirror but take care to get your head back to neutral to relax your neck when you breathe or have a friend touch your sides and lower back to push against during each breath.

Also, make sure to pause and hold the breath for a split second at the top to experience the feeling of that 360-degree expansion. That’s the goal. When we breathe deeply we expel too much co2: but when we hold our breath at the end of an exhale you retain more. This in turn allows us to access more o2 releasing more of it to our mitochondria in our cells. They’re our energy storehouses: so slower more controlled breathing generates more energy from each cell. Now that’s core strength.

No reps or sets. Just focus on the quality of movement: we’re reminding our brain that there are options other than chest breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing uses the diaphragm of course, one of the main core muscles as well.

So often our focus is on working the muscles on top of our diaphragm into submission and hopefully flatness or washerboard status will eventuate. But activity, namely the reflexive rising and falling, protrusion and flattening if you will, of our diaphragm could do more for the aesthetics of your abs, let alone the initiation of their reflexive workings for functionality, to bring about that flat tummy in the first place! So you can lay smiling like a crocodile knowing you’re prepping your abs for the steel they’re only too soon to become.

Sure, we all hear too often that poor posture will lead to shallow and labored breaths, but the belly full, rib widening, back expanding breaths pretty much like a crocodile lying on its belly, will lead to better posture and let’s face it, our abs of croc like steel.

Note: no crocs were harmed in the filming of this demo

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But I Still Need a Little Something Sweet

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Most people’s sugar evolution goes something like this: promiscuous sugar usage as a child, artificial sweeteners in college, honey post college, then agave maybe stevia, now mostly none. Zilch. However if 30 years of low-no fat dieting has told us anything, removing entire food groups from your diet when you don’t know what you’re doing, is dangerous. Organ, hormonal and emotional dysfunction can all result from cutting out food that is vital to your body’s function. So should we be quitting sugar for good?

SHOULD WE ELIMINATE SUGAR ENTIRELY?

Most of us following Paleo whole food values are pretty much back on the (healthy) fat bandwagon. We’re eating pastured animals complete with the fats they come with, cooking in butter and lard and delving back into our love of bacon. And speaking of bacon, it goes with anything right? There was even a bar of bacon chocolate the other day at my local store! Yum…

Ok, so it’s that last little bit of over-indulgence that this article is about; because who doesn’t fancy a little something sweet no matter the health or balance or both of their diet.

Let’s just face it: anything that seriously satisfies our sweet tooth isn’t going to be the epitome of health: most snacks (even the healthy ones, gasp) contain sugar. We swap out white, brown and raw sugars for more natural versions like coconut, Yacon, maple and honey. However the trouble with substituting one added sugar for another is it still keeps the sugar bar high, never allowing our taste buds to recalibrate. We still need more and more sugar to get the same sweet sensation. We just don’t give our insulin producing pancreas, and its myriad relationships with all the hormones in our body, a rest.

GET YOUR SWEET ON FROM LESS

Luckily, we can aim for low sugar or one that offers something beneficial (not eliminating sugar completely) at the same time. You could get your sweet tooth:

  • From fruit, or from teasing out food’s internal sugars by roasting root veggies (with a sprinkling of cinnamon to lower their insulin surge)
  • By distracting the tastebuds with another flavor so they’re less focused on the absence of sugar. Cinnamon or nutmeg can give the impression of sugar in it’s absence. Vanilla extract is a great sugar like substitution too.
  • Lemon juice-soaked or lightly (not caramelized) onions in dishes can also add that little something sweet you’re looking for.
  • Coconut oil in cooking, baking or just on a teaspoon is a great sweet craving reliever
  • Paleo ‘sweets’, though beware even following Paleo principles, when these become creeping-up-on-every-meal treats, are still ‘treats’.

CUTTING WAY BACK ON SUGAR

When you try it yourself, cutting way back on sugar (even those healthier natural sugars) you do start to crave less and detect hidden sweetness in non sugar foods; you get the same sweet sensation from less.

Because we need some sugar; a higher fat diet will have you craving sugar too. We need that sugar we’ve been carefully removing from our diet. Our brains are wired for sweetness. We’re naturally wired to seek ripe, seasonal foods that are naturally sweeter. The same wiring lets us know when a food is spoiled or if it’s poisonous! Sweetness in food was a marker for edibility in primitive times and it should still be in modern times, and for the deliciousness we’ve all come to love (albeit in excess).

So what’s the best way to get a better balance, and even enjoy that little bit of sweet you love after a meal? No guilt, no craving; just ‘that’d be nice thank you’. Does it exist? You’ve probably heard that certain cravings can tell you about what’s missing from your diet. When we don’t assimilate food well, or don’t eat nutrient-dense food, our body craves extra food in the attempt to fill in the nutritional blanks. Yet, we don’t always crave the correct foods, and can end up reaching for something that doesn’t support our health.

A SINGLE MEAL CAN HELP YOU LISTEN

A single meal can help you get back to listening to what your body needs:

  • Excess fats/ proteins – leave you feeling lethargic, ‘heavy’
  • and sleepy and with a dull mood
  • Excess carbohydrates – leave you feeling headache-y, jittery and jumpy in the mind or with brain fog, nervous/anxious and tired, and you seem to get hungry quickly
  • A great starting principle is 40:30:30 (carbs: fats: proteins) of your plate, where most of your carbs come from green leafy vegetables (and a few starches like sweet potatoes as sides now and then); your proteins from pasture raised organic where possible ethical choices; your healthy fats from the most pristine sources.

DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY YOUR FOOD!

But this is just a start; you need to work out how best you feel so try keeping a food diary for at least four days, even a week, and track your own feelings after eating: you know your body better than anyone. Try cutting back excess sugars, mix up your go to’s meals, distract your taste buds using cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, lemon juice-soaked onions and coconut oil. Try and detect sweetness in fruit and vegetables you’re eating. And don’t forget to enjoy your food!! Paleo whole food values is a great template for you to listen to your body. And then enjoy that little something sweet you love.

The truth is that nothing is good or bad, just in or out of balance. Too little (i.e. sugar) or too much (even the healthiest, daily) of anything doesn’t do a body good. A single meal can help you get back to listening to what your body needs, and let’s face it, that little bit of something sweet we all feel now and then, no matter how satisfying a meal.

Get the Basic-Foods Before the Super-Foods

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

DO WE REALLY NEED SUPER-FOODS?

If your diet’s good, no. You shouldn’t need anything more to supplement your daily meals. But with soil depletion, our use of additives and the prevalence of sugar, refined carbs and rancid veggie oils, no one can really say their diet has been perfect. And for those unwilling or unable to give up bad habits like caffeine, alcohol or smoking, a daily supply of superfoods is essential.

GET THE BASIC-FOODS BEFORE THE SUPER-FOODS

Research has shown that the ideal diet is one that is largely plant-based with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and healthy animal products. If you’re interested in eating a healthier diet upgrade to the most nutritious whole foods, not processed, and as close to the form that they were planted and grown in. Something you have to love about Paleo whole food principles is that these qualities are innate: it’s rich in nature’s superfoods!

EAT MORE VEGETABLES!

  • We could all do with adding more vegetables at every meal because most of us don’t get enough, especially dark leafy greens.
  • We’ve all pretty much been on low fat diet for the last 30 years, and and now it’s time to up your (healthy) fats slowly and optimize their digestion. We are what we eat: our bile is what our bodies use to emulsify fats but the best quality bile is made from the very fats it breaks down!

HIGH QUALITY PROTEINS

  • Add in high quality animal or alternative protein, like nuts and seeds, and more as a side than the huge steaks we see. Even the Paleo lifestyle tends to over rely on almond butter and flour in cooking as we try to resolve our love for the bread and cakes we’re missing. As with fats, we need to encourage their optimal digestion. We’re also seeing an epidemic of low stomach acid in our culture. Good stomach acid is the key ingredient to protein digestion and assimilation of 90% of all our nutrients (and our health!).

DON’T FORGET TO DRINK WATER!

  • Don’t forget good quality water: we’re 70% water and we cannot store it. Sipping up to half your body weight in water (not tap) in ounces (or kg x 0.03 for liters) a day with a pinch of sea salt in each glass is a good start.

SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY!

  • Don’t forget to stop and enjoy your food, our forgotten macronutrient! Thinking about the delicious food to come, while cooking, shopping or ordering from a menu, triggers your body’s cephalic response. It helps your body to start releasing salivary and then stomach juices to prepare for optimal digestion and absorption well ahead of time.

WHOLE FOOD PRINCIPLES

Get the basics first, through Paleo whole food principles, and you’ll keep your body balanced at just the right amount of enough for nature’s superfoods to give your body all the super powers you need.

Paleo: What to Eat, Not What Not to Eat

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

PALEO: WHAT TO EAT, NOT WHAT NOT TO EAT

For a long time we’ve been basing our diet decisions on what not to eat: don’t eat fat, don’t eat carbs, don’t eat sugar. We’ve tried eating a diet limited to cabbage soup, restricting calories by only eating grapefruits, prohibiting complex carbs and protein during the same meal, lowered or totally immured fat in everything, only choosing high protein but low carb, a specific ratio of carbs, fat, and protein or meals based on restrictive whole grains and veggies. We’ve excluded so many foods from our plates it’s no wonder we’re so confused what to eat now to look after ourselves.

So maybe we’ve all been told what not to eat for so long that it’s time we started with what we should. And of course on a paleo meal delivery blog you’re expecting to read that it’s the solution we’ve been waiting for. And of course that’s absolutely right! Sure Paleo tells us what to avoid, but its more what we can eat, allowing us to fill up first on what we need instead of filling up on fillers and non-foods.

EAT ORGANIC, GRAIN FREE, ANTIBIOTIC FREE

If you’re from the history of dieters rolling your eyes at yet another ‘way to eat best’, you’re seeing meats and thinking mad cow disease or heart disease; meat is just bad. And if we were talking feedlot animals, eating under enormous pressured conditions in every way possible, then I’d agree with you. But with all the paleo dieters, or just a sign of the times, we’re forcing more awareness of organic growing than ever, and of pasture raised meats: naturally hormone and antibiotic free simply because they’re eating what they’re meant to eat. And reared this way, they are indeed a whole food for us: even the fats are not only delicious but nutritiously naturally free of toxins and instead full of nutrients we have been omitting for our health. We are indeed what we eat, in fact what we eat eats, what nature intended, unaltered chemically, genetically or prescriptively, for naturally good health. That said, let’s not all rush out and eat as much meat as we can. Everything in moderation (even moderation!).

EAT HEALTHY FATS

So back to the healthy fats thing, after thirty years of no fats, let’s talk butter. One thing you cannot deny is that it tastes really good. Yet lots of us still don’t eat it because we feel we should eat something less tasty, apparently making it better for us, despite being chemically laden and far worse for us that the real deal. The low or no fat diet has really done a number on us! And for too long we’ve not just been low or no fat, especially no saturated fat and most certainly no butter! But saturated fats are one of the main ingredients especially for our body’s pro inflammatory mechanisms. So a good thing to omit then? No way! The truth is we need a balance of as much pro inflammation as we do anti inflammation. It’s a self regulating system. So we need all fats, saturated and unsaturated and everything in between. Our bodies are far too out of whack and even more complicated than a this-for-that mentality could even begin to fix! Let’s just suffice, it’s all about the balance: eat your butter. And your olive, coconut and sesame oils, your duck fat, beef tallow, lard, the whole egg, macadamia and avocado oils. Mix them up. Enjoy them with each meal. They’re what bring everything together, including our low fat flailing health.

Which leads us to considering the importance of proper accompaniments: there are a few vitamins (A, D, E, and K) that are only soluble in fat. That means that they are not bioavailable unless they are eaten alongside fats. Similarly, there are other foods that can improve the bioavailability of nutrients. The organic acids found in fermented foods improve absorption by forming soluble compounds with trace minerals. Ascorbic acid in citrus fruits, tropical fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts makes certain iron compounds more soluble. Ascorbic acid can also counteract the inhibitory effect of phytate and may enhance the absorption of other trace minerals like selenium. Finally, animal protein enhances the absorption of zinc, iron, and copper. Yup, we need to eat whole food, all foods, great variety, and even more, to eat with enjoyment.

eatEAT AND ENJOY

Ok so that last bit about enjoyment is not just to make you smile. But then again it is. Enjoyment is what food is all about. Scientifically it’s our cephalic response: the sight, smell, thought, or taste of food, and the greater the appetite, the more intense the response. It’s the start of all our gastric juices, beginning digestion before we even eat, ready for all the very best foods we’ve now elected to eat knowing they’re what our bodies need. It could even be more important than the food itself!

Paleo enables us to turn dietary restrictions into culinary opportunities. And to start every meal with boundless possibilities rather than a long list of nos. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!