Category Archives: Weight Loss

Paleo Lifestyle, Whole30, and You

Fresh veggies

Eat Your Veggies!

My friend Sandi completed her first Whole30 in January 2013.  It took me a year to get my mind ready to take on the challenge myself in January 2014.  Today, I am two Whole30’s and one Whole60 into converting my SAD (Standard American Diet) into a much more plant-based, nutritionally dense, locally sourced diet and it’s awesome. It’s amazing how dietary changes, whether you take them on all at once or incrementally over time, can change not only your waistline, but how you look, feel, think, and behave every single day.  Following is an interview I did with Sandi about her transition into a Paleo lifestyle, and how it’s helped her.  Both of us highly recommend you take stock of your diet, and see if some of these principles could help YOU feel better and be your best self!

Vicy:  I’m excited to introduce Sandi Smith, founder of the local food blog “Paleo Greenville.”  She has a Facebook community page by the same name, and she’s also a very good friend of mine who I originally met through rowing.  (We both LOVE rowing!)  So today, Sandi, I thought we could just talk a little bit about what “paleo” is (and is NOT) and what your interests are and how you got started.

Sandi of Paleo Greenville:  OK!  Well I got started kind of on a dare…  It was a good thing that I didn’t know as much about it as I know now probably when I was first beginning because honestly all the information out there is overwhelming!  (laughs)  So I was talking to some rowing friends that are in a different city and they were all going to do this “Whole 30” thing – that was in January 2013.  And so I said I could do a Whole 30, if I knew what that was!  So they sent me the website and I kind of read it and I thought, “oh well, you know, it’s only thirty days… like, I could do anything for thirty days.”  And the key to me, and I know that we have talked about this before, was that I didn’t feel bad [at the time I took the dare]. At that point, I had already lost probably thirty pounds [by] calorie counting, being really rigorous with my exercise, really incorporating rowing into my life… I was feeling good at the time and did not know how much better that I could feel when I started cutting out some of these inflammatory foods and being really intentional about my eating.  So I did [this Whole30 thing] for thirty days and about halfway through it with absolutely amazed at the results that I was getting.  Things like I could really breathe in a way that I had never really noticed breathing before.  It was like the air was cooling my brain!  [laughs from Sandi and Vicy]

I was also sleeping so much better.  And it’s not that I felt like I had a problem sleeping, but just soundly like a rock from the minute my head hit the pillow and then waking up five minutes before the alarm every day. So those were some of the changes of my first 15 days.  Then acne cleared up tremendously, which was really incredible because that was something I had struggled with for a long time.  So I was kind of noticing some of these changes.  You’re not supposed to weigh yourself or measure yourself AT ALL during the program. But when it was over, I did see that I had lost thirteen pounds, which was, you know, pretty incredible in thirty days without starving myself or counting calories at all and eating to satiety every single meal. So that was really impressive to me!  So that’s how my “paleo” lifestyle started.

Delicious Paleo treats

Special Paleo treats – YUM!

Vicy:  Awesome!  Okay, so can we back up a little bit and you – because I could do this but I would rather have you do it – Can you kind of explain what paleo is (and isn’t)?  And since you mentioned this whole30, which I did as well this year as you know and our listeners have heard a little bit about that, but can you just tell people what the Paleo diet is and what that means and then maybe go over the rules of Whole30?

Sandi:   Absolutely!  So, the term Paleo diet or just Paleo comes from the term Paleolithic. And the idea would be that we would eat a more traditional diet similar to what our ancestors ate and what humans had evolved to eat over the course of us being people.  You know it’s only really in the past hundred years that we’ve introduced packaged foods and processed foods.  And really since the advent of agriculture, you know, not more than a couple thousand years ago – max – that we started eating crops like grains and growing corn and things like that so this is taking us back to a pre-agricultural human diet is the gist of it. And there’s you know a lot of opportunity to make fun of that!  Did a caveman eat a cookie?  No.  Because, you know, they don’t grow on a tree.  Did a caveman have an oven to bake these paleo brownies in?  Clearly, the answer is No and I think we’re all aware of that and I would never call it the case. And for those types of reasons, it’s a weird name.  But I do think that thinking about what the Paleolithic people ate is useful because the concept is really about seeking a varied diet based on local food that was close to them that was easily obtainable in their environment. [So these are] the types of foundational things that we’re looking for [in the context of “paleo lifestyle” in our modern times.]

As to the Whole30, I’ll kind of go over the rules then quickly and you can take a deeper dive on each of these topics…  Some of them are a little bit debatable but the first one would be to remove all grains.  We’ve heard a lot about gluten but that really is just part of the reason to let go all grains – even like grains of corn rights etc. Reason being, grains contain elements that are inherently designed to do things like protect their seeds from predators like birds, but they can also wreak havoc on our digestive systems. So rule 1:  remove grains from your diet.

Next is to remove dairy.  Some people take that to be all dairy or that’s what it takes for them, and some people can tolerate a little bit of cultured dairy like yogurt and cheese and stuff. That’s one of the key distinctions between Paleo and primal which are sometimes lumped together in discussions.

But dairy also has highly inflammatory properties and it’s really for baby cows… You know it’s not something that humans are supposed to eat.  You know milk:  [it’s supposed to be] human milk for human babies and cow milk for cow babies.  Milk is highly charged with all sorts of you know messages from the mother to the baby about how they are developing, what is supposed to form, and what type of antibodies there are…  So when you’re drinking cow antibodies, for example, this is very foreign to our system and many people have an inflammatory reaction.  Therefore, we would recommend that you take out dairy.

Similarly with grains, there’s also removing legumes [for Whole30], so you know that would be beans.

Vicy:  So even soybeans [tofu and what not included], peanuts, which of course include peanut butter?

Sandi: Yes, that includes peanut butter but almond butter…

Vicy:  There was a time I really didn’t think I could live without peanut butter!  [laughs]

Sandi:  I know!  It’s funny, but almond butter becomes a perfect substitute.

Vicy:  And it’s really reasonably priced, particularly when you make it at home.

Sandi:  That is true.  And remember that peanuts also develop a mold, which has more to do with processing and stuff, and they’re one of the most highly pesticide laden plants because they have a very thin shell that doesn’t protect them from pesticides in the peanut itself.  It’s not something you can wash off.  So there are there are lots of reasons that peanuts in particular are not a great food choice.  And then other legumes like soy and grain like corn are the number one and number two G.M.O. crops! So you want to stay away from soy primarily because the G.M.O. And when you start looking at private labels it’s just absolutely insidious [pesticides and GMO’s].

Vicy:  So, avoid soy in all forms.

Sandi: Yes.  And there’s a LOT of it in processed foods.  Soy oils, soy powders, and soy proteins are really mixed into most processed foods now. So it’s something to be aware of and pay attention to.

Vicy:  The rules so far are no grains, no dairy, no legumes… and only good fats!

Healthy food prep

Easy food prep – Make Your Own Ghee

Sandi:  Yes!  Only good fats. So you want to be focused on fats that are easily digestible to your body. Some of the seed oils – like canola oil, vegetable oil, what is marketed as vegetable oil – is just soy oil anymore so there are lots of hydrogenated fats. Obviously then we need to consider replacing those oils with things like pure olive oil (if you know and have a good source for it), certified organic or grass fed butter (that’s been clarified so you can remove the dairy particles and make a product called Ghee, which is the Indian name for clarified butter.)

Vicy:  I love ghee!  And it’s very easy to make it very easy to make at home inexpensively.

Sandi: Yes and you should opt for grass fed starter, if that’s an option.  Kerry Gold is a brand that’s grass fed, and there are some other brands out there too. [Another component of Whole30] is opting for animals and protein sources that are as close to their natural diet so that they fit into your natural diet… Those are sort of the major tenets of the Whole 30….

Vicy:  And then that really big next rule becomes the really painful one for most people.  Sugar.

Sandi: Yeah, sugar.  NO sugar for a Whole30.  Sugar has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine. It acts on your brain in ways that you [Vicy] probably know much more about than I do, but it will keep you coming back for more. And part of the processed food industry knows that and they create what, in the book called It Starts With Food, is called food with no brakes.  [Great book by Melissa and Dallas Hartwick, which is what the Whole 30 program is kind of based on, but they take a much deeper dive in the book & they tell us all about food with no brakes.]  For example, you can start eating a bag of chips and just keep eating until it’s gone and they’re designed to be that way. They talk about crunch-ability, for example, and there’s all these scientists in white lab coats trying to come up with the next you know hot food item that people won’t be able to put down and so when you get into these food with no brakes and you end up eating a bag of Oreos you know you might even feel bad about yourself. But they [processed foods] were designed to make you have that trigger response!

So those foods work really well!  Just the way there were designed in a lab to work!  Therefore, the Whole 30 does require you to cut out ALL added sugars and sugar substitutes, if you will. But you’re welcome to eat fruit, even if it’s a date or a high sugar fruit.  You know we don’t mince words there.  Nobody ever killed themselves by eating two apples a day. That kind of REAL sugar is not what we’re talking about but anything with any sweetener – and I’ve got a list that’s got seventy different names for hidden sugar like maltose and dextrose and you know there’s cane sugar beet sugar and even artificial sweeteners can still have some of the brain effects.  That includes stevia, which I know is a popular right now. Agave syrup, even though it’s quote “low glycemic index.”  Any of those sugars need to be removed from your diet and what that does is not only reset your brain connections, but it helps reset your palate!

And so I can remember being about fifteen days into the Whole 30 and eating a strawberry. This was in January.  I was eating a strawberry and I told my husband, “this is the most succulent and delicious strawberry I’ve ever had,” and he looked at me as like this [funny face] and said, “those strawberries really aren’t even very good.  It’s January!”

So I think when you do you dial your sugar receptors back and you take your palate back to a much less hyper stimulated state, you pick up the nuances of food. I mean food really does become a whole different experience!

Easy snacks

Easy fruit snacks kids love!

Vicy:  It really, really does! I can definitely vouch for that. OK So the basic rules are to spend thirty days with NO sugar or sugar substitutes, removing all the possibly inflammatory foods we’ve already talked about, and the purpose of this is to give you an opportunity to ultimately reset everything:  reset your metabolism and reset your palate.  And as Sandi said, it kind of resets your whole relationship with food.

And then after that 30 days, then you can kind of play with adding things back one category at a time.  You can look back and begin to see how your body responds and have a better sense as to how food is actually making you feel, which has been really eye opening for both Sandi and myself and really everybody that either of us have talked to that have actually done this 30-day process.  It does take a certain level of commitment to do it.

So at this point you are pretty strictly paleo and your husband has in turn become paleo as well and you have three children who are off to a good paleo start, too, yes?

Sandi:  Yeah! There seems to be two kinds of ways to start “being Paleo.”  It’s funny because my husband does say, and it’s true, I’m a Band-Aid ripper… I just want to get things over with!  So the thirty day very strict program was perfect for me. It helped me wrap my head around this thing. It gave me insights that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. The second way is, you know, in a slow progression type of way. But since we’ve been on this paleo journey and started PaleoGreenville.com and really started talking to more paleo people, I think there are kind of two camps. You know there’s a Band-Aid rippers that do it all in one and then there are the people that slowly phase things out over time.  Like, you know, all the crackers in the house are gone, so I’m not going to buy any more crackers, etc.  And so we really did kind of a combo approach in my household even though I went very fast and strict.  When there had been some great results I was having and he [my husband] so those, he was on board within a couple months and then and I just feed him what I eat, so he has less choice in the matter!  He’s pretty strict too in that regard.  And then the kids: we have kind of transitioned a little bit more slowly, and so on some levels and I’m ashamed to say that I let them eat up all the crackers, and then all the chips you know whatever was left in the house and then I just haven’t been replacing them.  And so I’ve kind of gotten to a point, as the primary food shopper,  that I’ve decided, “if I’m not eating it I’m not buying it,” and they’re young enough – eight, seven, and four – that that they don’t have a lot of consumer power. [Laughs from Sandi and Vicy]

So it might seem wacky at first, but they eat pretty much you know eat what we eat. They still eat some dairy and you know it’s debatable there are certainly other great sources, primarily vegetable sources, of calcium in things but you know they’re still growing so they eat the whole milk yogurt and cheese and some cultured dairy I should say.  A couple of them were almost vegetarians, so they eat beans.

The beans and black beans have persisted in their diet but they seem to be tolerating them very well.  So that’s something that we’re looking for in terms of you know just stomach upset or indigestion or problems that they don’t seem to be having problems with it… They’ve been eating certain things since they were babies and it’s something that their bodies are used to eating.

Vicy:  Yeah so maybe can you tell about what you CAN eat on Paleo and maybe, on an average day for you, what’s on your plate?

Paleo plate

Paleo plate – veggies first!

Sandi:  Well that’s a really good question because I get a lot of responses when I talk to people like, “I could never do a Whole 30 because I couldn’t give up X, Y, or Z.”  You know, for example, say, “I can’t give up my morning oatmeal,” or “you know I do yogurt every day at work at lunch,” and so it is always kind of funny to me now because I think “that’s so silly,” but you know people are very set in their ways and then you know there’s the other response which is like, “oh my God!  What do you eat or what can I eat?  You’ve taken everything away from me!”  And I would argue, and many paleo cookbook authors and all the paleo blogs in the entire Internet would say, that that is simply not true.  There’s still a lot to eat!  So I have not been hungry at all.

So I started eating that way and I think you can focus on the things that you can eat and we even encourage the kids by saying you can have all fruit and any vegetable and all protein sources lean or fatty we don’t care. You’re going to have good fats and that really opens a world of possibilities. You know sometimes you end up with a whole lot of ingredients and not, you know, maybe, what used to be considered food at your house. So there is some prep and some cooking involved.  You can look at Michael Pollan and some of the other pundits out there.  I think you know cooking at home and cooking for yourself is part of the next revolution.

So for my typical day:  I would start with breakfast and we do eat a ton of eggs so you know I definitely have eggs and I need more vegetables.  So at every meal if I can get those veggies, and practice cramming more vegetables in my day, so I would add spinach or mushrooms and whatever vegetables were left over from last night – cook up kind of like an egg scramble.  Sometimes I’ll have like a bacon and sausage with it and then I always try to have some fruit with breakfast, too, because I enjoy that.  And then for lunch, you know I’m on the go a lot and so I pack my lunch and I either make like a whole roast and have some throughout the week from there, or I like to make homemade mayonnaise so I know what all the ingredients are and even if you’re out and about you know you can always do a chicken with you know salad or something equally easy. And then dinners:  we grill a lot and do maybe a sweet potato, a meat, and a vegetable.

I try to make vegetables kind of the main course so I might do three veggies, and apportion it to me and my husband, and the kids.  So that’s really, I think, the key is filling your plate with fibrous vegetables. They give you all the good fiber and vitamins and minerals that you need and then you just kind of fill in with protein.

Vicy:  I know you and I’ve talked about the fact that some people need more protein than other people.  For example, I suspect that I eat a good bit more protein than you do, but I tend to have longer workouts.

Sandi: Sure.  Everyone needs to think about their own needs.

Vicy:  One thing is that, though you can’t see us, I’m 5’ 8” tall with broad shoulders, athletic build, and Sandi is only 5’ 1” and a very petite build, so we don’t have the same needs.

Local fresh foods

Local food means local farms!

Sandi: Exactly.  You have to think about these things!  For example, with my petite build and so that was something even with my husband and me at first.  When we first started this, I’d kind of split the food up evenly between two plates until I realized that he’s, you know, a lot bigger than me!  So now I’m trying to do the two thirds one third because I don’t need to be eating as much food as he does and he needs to be eating a little more!  So that that’s kind of how we do our portions. Over time, you just kind of learn what you need.

Vicy:  YES!  You know, one of the fascinating things to me just in general was learning better what my body’s actual hunger signals are and how I had responded to that versus how I’m responding now:  it’s drastically different.  So this is a topic that I’m very passionate about and as you can hear in her voice so is Sandi, so we will be revisiting this. But I just wanted to give everyone sort of an introduction to Paleo and the Whole30 program, and if you’re interested, you can learn a lot about this topic via Sandi’s blog http://www.paleogreenville.com/ You can also find her on Facebook and she has lots of beautiful pictures of the food that she makes and having gotten to try a lot of it, I can tell you it is delicious and she does a lot of linking to other people that have recipes and what not and then if you’re interested in any more than that you can contact her or you can contact me!

We appreciate your being here so much!  Thank you for joining us Sandi.

Sandi:  Thank you!

Note:  All photos are from Sandi’s lovely Paleo Greenville Facebook page!  Thank you Sandi! 🙂

The Fountain of Youth: Keep Your Brain Young

diversindevilsden_500wI’ve always been adventurous and have often been quoted as saying, “I’ll try pretty much anything at least once.”  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that this statement is still true and it’s a big part of why I truly enJOY my life, my work, and all the people in “my world.”

It is true, to the best of our knowledge at this time, that fundamental differences exist in the adolescent brain (11-24 years old by neuroscience & psychiatric definition) that make us all distinctly different in these years than in childhood or in adulthood.  However, as adults, we are fully capable of embracing our ability to consciously change our brains by first examining our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, and then changing the ones that don’t seem to be GROWING us and actually helping us THRIVE in our lives.  When we start making changes, our brains change too!  What’s awesome is that those brain changes affect how we think, remember, focus attention, make decisions, and relate to others (and ourselves).

We can learn a few things about how to GROW and THRIVE in our lives by setting ourselves up to experience more of the positive sides of four specific qualities embodied in the teenage and young adult mind, according to doctor and researcher Dr. Dan Siegel.  In the book Brainstorm, Siegel defines those qualities as:  Novelty Seeking, Social Engagement, Increased Emotional Intensity, and Creative Exploration.  There’s no time like the present to take on at least one of those categories consciously and make some changes in your life to support it!

“Novelty seeking” is a perfect starting point in flexing my adult-brain muscles because adventure and the deep sense of excitement and exhilaration I feel when I try new fun stuff is fantastic for me!  It’s also something that I can really hold onto and am able to enthusiastically transfer to others through the power of storytelling and sharing.  (Which is cool in and of itself, AND it ushers me forward in my own growth because it precipitates more social engagement and increased emotional intensity in my own experiences… see how that works? Growth-orientation feeds more growth!)

This past weekend, I took a road trip with friends to visit even more friends down in Florida.  We wanted to escape the winter for a while and get some sunshine, swim time, and some new experiences to forge new positive memories together.  Goals:  all accomplished and the trip exceeded all expectations.

boatfriends_smNovel Experience #1:  We canoed and kayaked around one of the local crystal clear headsprings (72 degree water, year ‘round) and got to swim with a multitude of wild manatees. We saw a family of manatees with a wee baby, and our individual manatee counts ranged from at least 6 to maybe 12-13 separate manatees.  Once we were in the water with them, they swam right up to us, often nudging us with their bodies or their noses.  I was snorkeling when 2 large adults swam directly up to one of my friends while I watched from about 5 feet away.  Once of those guys turned towards me and swam directly underneath me, touching the skin on my bare legs as he swam by.  It was truly an amazing experience!  As we swam slowly away from the headsprings, we were able to identify them as the water turned darker and more brackish.

I felt excited but calm; these large animals were clearly curious and totally trusting of us.  I felt a deep sense of connection and responsibility after I realized that most of the manatees had scars on their backs from propellers.  I was so grateful to be moving slowly and mindfully through their waters, a visitor inside what was clearly their territory.  When we got back in our boats to paddle upriver for a while, I just felt awestruck by how graceful these animals were and how they seemed to just immediately embrace our presence, in spite of their scars.  I think this experience taught me a valuable life coach lesson about trust, using my strengths (enthusiasm, curiosity, love of learning), and the golden secret of slowing down and paying close attention. If we had just jumped into a boat and sped away upriver, we never would have seen those welcoming creatures.

(Apologies for not being able to photograph the manatees; I wasn’t prepared with an underwater camera.  But you can see how happy we were after swimming with them!)

stepsintodevilsden_outside_smNovel Experience #2:  When you’ve been friends with a group of people for a time period now measured in decades, you all get to know each other REALLY well.  The super cool thing about that is that you’re able to perfectly predict the kinds of new experiences that ALL of you will enjoy, which makes it easier and easier to set up the possibility of new awesome memories you can create together.  Our second day of adventure on this trip was one of those, “I know people who want to come here even though they don’t know it exists yet” moments.  Our friend T, host with the most and partner in our cozy accommodations Rainbow River Club, had scouted out a place called “Devil’s Den” and we packed up with swimsuits, snorkel gear, and a picnic to go check it out!

stepsintodevilsden_smAfter signing our lives away on various waivers which required a steady stream of initialing down the side of a front and back sheet of paper, we walked carefully down a set of about 20 stone steps into a hole in the earth.  At the end of those stairs, we were standing on a rock ledge that had another 20 or so wooden steps leading down to a series of underwater platforms in the huge cave below, with sunlight streaming in from a gaping hole in the earth around the corner from where we’d entered the stone staircase.  As the light lit up the water, you could see straight through to the bottom of the cave about 75 feet below the water’s surface.  One person at a time (as instructed), we walked down the steps with our snorkels and flippers in hand.  Once we got the platform suspended in the 72°F water about knee deep, we put on gear and pushed off for a snorkeling adventure while scuba divers explored the depths below.  It was an incredible experience!  You could see all kinds of fishes and as you swam around, the light danced all around.  We had a private swim for about half an hour, exploring every nook and cranny we could get to without dive gear.  I’ve never seen anything remotely like it anywhere, and it just felt like we were in some fantasy adventure movie of some kind.  It was unreal and truly awesome.  Although we’re used to swimming in 60° mountain river water in the summertime, 72° with flecks of sun inside a cave is only tolerable on bare skin for so long!  So, we climbed back up the two very steep sets of stairs and found a sunny table to spread out a picnic and warm ourselves up like turtles on a log.  By the time we’d picnicked and walked around the old SCUBA training facility on the property and dried out in the sun and shared what our personal take on the place was, the sun had shifted significantly and there was more sun on the hole in the earth. “Let’s do it again!” and off we went back into the earth for another swim and exploration of this cave that had a bit more light on it now.  None of us wanted to leave, really, and have determined we would love to go back and spend some more time… and maybe go beyond the surface next time!

selfieinsidedevilsdenIt’s SO IMPORTANT to keep experiencing new things and growing our connections to friends and family in exciting and memorable ways that make us all FEEL GOOD.  Embracing change through self-selected growth is one of the keys to long-term happiness, brain health, and a positively oriented thriving life.  If you’re not doing anything new, or changing anything by using more of your strengths, we strongly encourage you to take on a challenge of some kind to do so!  Keeping your brain, your mind, your body and your spirit active and growing is the closest thing to the fountain of youth we’ve discovered!  Be well and be good to you and yours.  Namaste!

Curry Spiced Cauliflower “Rice”


Vegan Cauliflower RiceCurry Spiced “Rice”
(grain-free, gluten-free, #whole30 compliant, vegan, made with cauliflower power!)
original recipe by Vicy Wilkinson, MA, BCC

I’m so lucky that part of my job as a transformational life coach involves helping people (myself included) continuously improve their nutrition and ability to take good care of themselves at the most basic levels.  Food is the tastiest of those basic levels of THRIVING!  And I LOVE FOOD SO MUCH!  I’m grateful that many of friends enjoy my becoming-more-and-more-frequent #whole30 resets.  I’ve found that following the guidelines of this program as outlined in the book It Starts With Food every 4-6 months really helps me stay better on track over all, with both health and fitness goals and all the rest of my goals, too.  {As within, so without.  As above, so below.}

At some point during the last year, I cooked dinner for a friend, and ended up serving her a “rice” dish I made with cauliflower that she has asked me about ever since!  “How did you make that?  It was delicious!” she says to me every time I cook for her.  During my weekly food prep for a busy week of seeing clients and changing the world, I finally decided I would try to re-create this dish, and keep up with how I did it so that I could share it with her… and you!

I realized that one of the keys to simple recipes like the one that follows is that having a good spice cabinet.  If you’re still getting by with salt, pepper, oregano, and Mrs. Dash, I highly recommend that you start exploring new worlds by adding a spice or two to your kitchen apothecary each time you visit the grocery store over the next few months.  You’ll be amazed with what you can do with just a couple of ingredients, and the right blend of spices! {Also, even if you’re missing a couple of the less common spices in this recipe, like Garam masala or 5-spice, try it anyway!  It’ll still be good, you’ll just be missing some of the subtle hints created by these antique spice blends.  Pick them up  next time you’re in a spicy mood!  Remember, spice doesn’t necessarily equate to heat.}

Here’s the recipe, along with a few pics I took of the prep work along the way!  Please cook, share, embellish as you wish… and ENJOY!  ♥

Ingredients
*Note:  the full version below is pretty spicy, and is recommended for people who are used to this intensity of spice pallets.  I’m including (in bold) the 1/2 spice version for the unsure or timid!

  1. 1 head of cauliflower
  2. ½ tsp. 5-spice powder (commonly found in Asian food sections of most grocery stores; consists of fennel seed, star anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon) (¼ tsp. 5-spice powder)
  3. ½ tsp. Garam masala (another spice blend; usually consists of black and white peppercorns, cloves, cassia bark, nutmeg and mace, black and green cardamom pods, Bay leaf, Caraway) (¼ tsp. Garam masala)
  4. 1 tsp. turmeric (½ tsp. turmeric)
  5. 1 tsp. cumin  (½ tsp. cumin)
  6. 1 tsp. curry powder [I used hot, yellow curry powder in this version; use whatever youRaw Fresh Ginger have on hand!]  (½ tsp. mild curry powder)
  7. 1 tsp. cinnamon  (½ tsp. cinnamon)
  8. ¼ c. ish fresh minced ginger (*see photo ~ this is a ¼ c. measuring cup, before I minced it)
  9. 1 large or 2-3 small cloves fresh minced or crushed garlic (½ large clove or 1-2 small cloves garlic)
  10. ¼ c. raisins
  11. Big handful of nuts*
  12. 3-4 Tbsp. coconut oil
  13. Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast

 

Instructions

  1. Wash cauliflower, and then cut it into large chunks.Spice pallet for Curry Spiced Rice
  2. Add all pieces of cauliflower to your food processor and “pulse” in 20-30 second bursts until cauliflower is a nice “rice-like” texture, with maybe a few larger chunks. {This will probably only take 3-4 bursts – you don’t want cauliflower dust! J}
  3. Set aside until you prepare your curry paste.
  4. Add 3-4 Tbsp. coconut oil into a large saucepan, and heat to medium for a few minutes.
  5. Stir in your “wet” curry ingredients: garlic and gingerWet Curry Paste Ingredients
  6. Reduce heat to low and stir in all the “dry” curry ingredients: turmeric, cumin, curry powder, 5-spice, Garam masala, and cinnamon.
  7. Now add your cauliflower and stir until the curry paste coats everything fully.
  8. After it’s all mixed up nicely, turn up the heat to about medium and stir frequently for about 10 minutes to soften the cauliflower.
  9. Reduce heat to low and add your nuts and raisins.Cauliflower Rice ~ Spice Coated
  10. Cover and let simmer on low (lowest possible setting on your stovetop) for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat and sprinkle with Bragg’s nutritional yeast (because it’s good for you) & stir or “toss” before serving.
  12. ENJOY! {Garnish with curly parsley, if you want to get real fancy with it.}

*I used pecans in this batch; sometimes I use cashews; I suggest you use whatever tree nuts you have on hand.  I’m pretty sure I used pistachios in the first batch I ever made that my friend raves about so much.  NOTE:  to maintain #whole30 compliance, nuts must be raw tree nuts, no peanuts and no nuts roasted in any non-compliant oil.

Serving suggestions:  Pair your tasty spicy rice with baked or roasted chicken, and a simple roasted veggie.  (I like roasted purple cabbage and a simple chicken breast, for example.)   Better yet, stick with the Indian theme and make Tandoori Chicken or Tikka Masala to go with it… but be prepared to spend some extra time in the kitchen for these delights!

May we all eat well & be healthy and happy! Namaste. 

STOP Your Runaway Thoughts & Take Control of Your Mind

Tame Your Mind, Improve Your Lifeby Vicy L. Wilkinson, MA Philosophy, BCC, Certified Transformational Coach

It’s nighttime, you’re trying to relax and go to sleep, and your brain suddenly bombards you with thoughts about what you woulda’ coulda’ shoulda’ said during that argument yesterday or great ideas that will turn your whole life around AND save the world or the twenty- seven tasks you didn’t complete because you were trying to help the kids with a school project… or a million other things that our minds can come up with when we’re lying in bed and trying to relax and fall asleep.

In the world of transformational coaching, we call all this thinking, which has a tendency to turn dark, negative, and brooding, rumination or having ruminating thoughts.  Another term for this thinking-excessively with little control is “monkey mind” or “monkey chatter.”  In the Shambhala Tibetan Buddhist tradition, this sort of mental chatter is compared to having an untamed horse for a mind.  No matter how you look at it, rumination can get out of control and cause a lot of difficulty in life such as insomnia, anxiety, short temper, forgetfulness.  If left to fester and expand, rumination can lead down a slippery slope of temporary negativity into low mood, poor resilience, chronic stress, and even depression.

Of course, rumination doesn’t just happen when you’re trying to relax and go to sleep; many of us are plagued with ruminating thoughts during our wide awake time as well.  For example, how long have you obsessed in your mind over a stressful conversation that happened hours ago?  Or what kinds of thoughts take up space in your mind when you’re getting dressed in the morning and a certain pair of pants don’t fit right?

No matter when rumination gets in your way, though, there are proven techniques to help you regain control over your mind and discover your calm, peaceful center so that you can quiet that monkey chatter and choose a better direction for your powerful thoughts!

One easy way to put the brakes on rumination is very simple:  stop “just thinking” by taking specific action.  That action can be as simple as sitting down for 5 minutes and writing down what your mind is saying.  Just dump it all right out on paper.  It’s amazing how this simple act diminishes the hold negative thoughts have over us.  If it’s at night and you’ve already gone to bed, do yourself a favor by sitting back up, turning that lamp on again, and taking up pen and paper. When we write down all the stuff our brain is screaming to us, it helps externalize our experience and in this simple act, many people find immediate peace.

Sometimes our brain is just trying to help us remember important things; when we write those things down, we can refer to them later when we CHOOSE to do so, and our brain can stop reminding us and let us focus on relaxing.  This is especially helpful when your brain gets stuck in a loop about the minutiae of daily life:  schedules, tasks, 17 things you must remember before walking out the door Monday morning…whatever it is, write it down – just “brain dump” it out there onto the paper.

Another great thing about writing it down is that for many of us, our mind likes to pour out creative ideas or solutions to problems we had a month ago at random times.  If we take a few minutes to capture some notes about those ideas and solutions on paper, our brain can relax and move on.  Writing things down gives us a logical sense of closure.   It’s essentially clearing the cache in your mind like you do in your web browser.

If you find that writing is extremely difficult for you for whatever reason, I recommend keeping a voice recorder or using an app on your phone to just talk it out: literally speak your list or rambling thoughts into the recorder.  (Sometimes this works especially well for extroverts who don’t enjoy writing, but do enjoy talking!)  The outcome is similar as with writing it down because you have externalized the thoughts.

After you’ve taken the time to empty out some of the chatter, your mind can begin to relax and you can further help slow down any future rumination by taking advantage of that moment of spaciousness in your mind.  After writing or voice recording, take 2-5 minutes to focus on your breathing and calm both your mind and your body all at once.  If you take a really deep breath in and count to four – 1, 2, 3, 4 – slowly in your mind, then hold your breath for an equal 4-count, and then slowly exhale to a count of eight – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – you will notice instant feedback from your body.  Repeat this breath at least 5 times and you will help relax your entire nervous system, which naturally shuts down all that spinning monkey chatter.

If you find you still have some chatter after doing this breath work, you may want to take a step further in your writing or voice recording process by making notes about some potential solutions or ideas if your mind is still focused on some sort of dilemma.  Some of us need to not just write the thoughts down, but also to do some creative problem solving in order to gain that sense of closure that helps us rest.  You can alternate between breathing carefully as described above and writing to maximize your level of control.  With practice, it all gets a lot easier and you can begin to slow the rumination periods over time.   Bonus tip for problem solving in your sleep:  Ask yourself a specific question about the problem and then go to sleep.  Write for five to ten minutes first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed, and see what kinds of answers your awesome self has come up with overnight, like magic.

Experiment with these tools and make them your own.  Once you find out what works best for you on those nights your brain tries to hijack your calm and your sleep, keep whatever you need beside the bed and keep those ruminating thoughts from robbing you of well-deserved, and much needed rest, relaxation, and precious sleep.

Take care of you.  If you need more help, give us a call.  We’re glad you’re here.  Namaste.

STRESS: Learning to Let it Go

Vicy Wilkinson, MA Philosophy, Wellness Coachby Vicy Wilkinson,  MA Philosophy, BCC

Having spent the majority of my life until my thirties “stressed,” I feel like I have some expertise in the field beyond all the studying, training, and experience in helping the clients and students I serve.  Because of my expertise, I offer this simple advice:  let it go.  The advice is simple, but HOW to do so is elusive for most of us.

It’s easy to SAY, “I’m going to let this go,” but just because we say it, doesn’t mean our bodies and brains automatically respond and “just let go.”  Nope.  Not at all.  Instead, our bodies have a tendency to tense up tighter – I always feel it in my shoulders and in my jaws – and our brains tend to keep on going over and over whatever it is that has us all stressed out in the first place.   If we do immediately let it go, it’s often by distracting ourselves temporarily with something – a task, a cookie or twelve, a conversation, television, music, or a stiff drink.  Unfortunately, the stress remains in spite of our distractions and eventually creeps back into our immediate consciousness and there we are again:  stressed.

So, what CAN we do to let it go?

Let Stress GoTo really let stress go, we have to become consciously aware of it so that we can specifically address it in some way and then replace it with something that’s simply not compatible with stress, like relaxation, happiness, gratitude, joy, or love.  The key in real stress reduction, then, is consciousness and a willingness to stay present with the stress.  Many times, the stress we feel has a very specific message and no matter what we do to relieve the stress, it will come back (again and again!) until we hear, acknowledge, and act on the message it’s trying to give us.  Once we’ve heard, acknowledged, and acted on the message from stress, it’s a lot easier to make a choice about how to replace it with an incompatible state of being… and keep ourselves relatively stress-free.

Find out more about acknowledging stress messages here.

Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine

Dr. Marina Ponton, DAOMAcupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
with Dr. Marina Ponton, DAOM

Join us for the last episode of our new 4-week Health & Wellness podcast series! This episode features an interview with Dr. Marina Ponton, DAOM, from Greenville Natural Health Center.

Marina Ponton has been a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine in private practice since 1998. Her practice focuses on helping others achieve and maintain their optimal health through acupuncture, herbs, diet, supplements and nutrition. Dr. Ponton’s belief in healing the body through natural methods has led her to practice and lecture in the United States, Sweden and Holland. She has studied at the American University of Paris, FAMU University in Prague, University of Miami, Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine and Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Dr. Ponton has a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with a specialization in women’s health and longevity medicine.

Dr. Ponton is an exceptionally talented natural health practitioner and well recognized lecturer who is passionate about educating patients on the importance of incorporating natural health modalities into their every day life. Some of her specialties include pain management, women’s health and fertility, holistic dermatology, environmental diseases and mental and emotional disorders. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

More about Marina and her practice: http://www.greenvillenaturalhealth.com/

Our Health & Wellness series is designed to give you a kickstart in motivation to explore some things that can help you build a better life and a better business… because when you feel great, everything is easier!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/completelifecoaching/2014/04/07/acupuncture-traditional-chinese-medicine-with-dr-marina-ponton-daom

What is “Row-Ga!”?

rowgalogosmallWhat is “Row-Ga!”?
Interview with Laura Caylor, certified yoga teacher & Concept2 certified indoor rowing instructor

Join us for the third episode of our new 4-week Health & Wellness podcast series! This episode features an interview with Laura Caylor, certified yoga teacher, Supreme Science Qi Gong Level III, Thai Yoga certified, Concept2 certified rowing instructor, and pretty much one of the most fabulous women we know. She and her husband Lowell Caylor own Greenville Indoor Rowing in Greenville, SC, and Laura offers special “Row-ga!” classes Tuesday – Thursday at 11am.  We’ll talk about Laura’s personal yoga journey and discuss how the combination of yoga and rowing creates an amazing and inspirational workout that helps you build lean muscle mass, tone up, shed extra pounds, and learn to LOVE TO HAVE FUN again with people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages.

Learn more about GIR and Laura’s classes: http://www.greenvilleindoorrowing.com/.

Our Health & Wellness series is designed to give you a kickstart in motivation to explore some things that can help you build a better life and a better business… because when you feel great, everything is easier!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/completelifecoaching/2014/03/31/what-is-row-ga-interview-with-laura-caylor-certified-yoga-teacher

What is Paleo and How Can It Help You? with Sandi Smith from Paleo Greenville

SandiWhat is Paleo and How Can It Help You?
with Sandi Smith from Paleo Greenville

Join us for the first episode of our new 4-week Health & Wellness series!  This episode features an interview with Paleo Greenville founder and Full-Time Wife and Mommy Sandi Smith, who takes her family’s long-term health seriously, and helps others do the same.  We’ll share some personal stories and insights about how changing our diets have helped us lose weight, get glowing skin that makes us look years younger, cleared our thinking, and made us happier!  We talk about our own experiences with the amazing Whole30 program, and encourage you to check it out yourself!

Our Health & Wellness series is designed to give you a kickstart in motivation to explore some things that can help you build a better life and a better business… because when you feel great, everything is easier!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/completelifecoaching/2014/03/17/what-is-paleo-and-how-can-it-help-you-with-sandi-smith-from-paleo-greenville