New Year's Eve is already upon us; can you believe it?
What will 2012 hold for you?
I wrote the other day about choosing to begin the Paleo diet at a time when you personally are most likely to be successful at it, rather than making the assumption that just because it's January 1st, it's the best time to give it a go.
I believe whole heartedly in this approach.
At the same time, however, I do think it's worthwhile to spend at least a little time on reviewing what 2011 brought you and your loved ones, in terms of health and happiness and pro-actively making decisions on what worked well and what didn't.
Rather than set those same old New Year's Resolutions that you've gone through the motions with year after year, why not choose some new attainable goals that you can actually reach, so that this time next year, you're feeling satisfied rather than kicking yourself with a bunch of 'should have, could have, would haves'?
If you tell yourself that you 'won't eat X food anymore' or 'won't be sedentary anymore' or 'will be 'good' and go to the gym four times per week' but don't devise a plan about how you're going to do (or not do) those things, how will this New Year be any different from one in the past?
We humans respond most favorably to what to do, rather than what not to do. Therefore, if you're trying to omit a not so great behavior or food choice, a replacement action needs to be in place.
Let's revisit the list of those go-to resolutions, but this time with a positive spin, heading towards something favorable rather than running away from something not so great.
Replace 'I won't mindlessly eat pizza late at night anymore' with 'When I find myself about to eat out of boredom, I'll leash up the dog and we'll head out for a walk'.
Instead of 'I won't be sendentary anymore', it could be 'I am finally going to learn how to rock climb'.
Finally, rather than 'I'll force myself to go to the gym, which I hate', how about 'I'm going to join the local running group I've felt shy about trying out for all these years'.
Make a plan and act on it.
And don't forget to plan when you're going to go Paleo, too!
Happy New Year!
I take vitamins but don't always follow the directions, such as "take two pills, three times a day". I tend to just take all my vitamins at night. Vitamins and supplements cost a lot and I just want to get all the bang for the buck I can, not to mention the benefit I hope they are giving my body. What is the best time to take vitamins and do I actually need to be taking them?
Thank you for this question, Tonya! We are certainly led to believe that we need vitamins and supplements, and for some, the thinking is the more the better. Take a peek down the vitamin aisle at my favorite store for food, Whole Foods, and you'll see thousands of pills, tablets and powders all indicated for one health benefit or another.
Certainly, there are many gains to be made by taking certain herbs, tinctures or other natural remedies for specific ailments, but those should be closely monitored by your naturopath, doctor or whomever is providing your care for whatever it was you sought treatment for in the first place.
As a whole, however, I am not a proponent of most people taking heaps of supplements and vitamins in place of simply adhering to the Paleo diet. If one does so, the chances of having any vitamins or minerals lacking in the diet, generally speaking are far less than if one eats according to the good old "My Plate" theory.
Of course, there are situations which warrant a different approach, particularly if one does not follow the Paleo diet.
One example of ambient conditions creating a need for supplementation would be people living in areas with little sunlight might need to first be tested for their Vitamin D levels and then perhaps supplement. I observed this first hand when I lived in Seattle for three years and many of my friends and colleagues found that they, indeed, had low Vitamin D levels. They were also not Paleo. I was already Paleo then, and got outside plenty to train and guess what? My Vitamin D levels were normal.
Another factor which is actually addressed in Dr. Cordain's second book, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, is that in modern times, we are exposed to many unhealthy conditions in the atmosphere that our ancestors did not have to live with, such as exhaust fumes, a depleted ozone layer and second hand cigarette smoke. As such, taking an anti-oxidant supplement, as long as it's food-based and does not contain fillers, would not be a bad idea.
Finally, given that most people do not likely get enough good fat in their diet, a fish oil supplement, rich in Omega 3s will help balance out the delicate ratio of the inflammatory Omega 6s we get when we eat things like nuts.
However, do keep in mind that vitamins and supplements should be considered extraneous. As in, no, you cannot eat french fries, cheese nachos and soft drinks and then take a vitamin pill and pretend all is well and good.
The bottom line? I recommend taking fish oil and perhaps an antioxidant supplement. Most people can do so safely and without risk of toxic levels of anything building up. Take them with food and be done with it. If you do drink black coffee, don't do so around the time you take these supplements as the caffeine will indeed block the absorption of some.
To summarize: Stay Paleo and you won't need vitamins!
Save 25% on all plans in the New Year. New Paleo You Sale. One per customer; offer good though December 31, 2011. Enter coupon code 2UTQ355QOMN4 when checking out.
Start the 2012 on the right foot.
It's not too late to make a great holiday present; give the gift of the path to a healthier lifestyle!
I'm angry. It's not often that I feel perturbed after reading something, but an article in yesterday's New York Times did the trick.
In the business section, aptly positioned, was a piece about how Medicare is set to begin reimbursing doctors for obesity treatment in the new year.
A quote in the third paragraph cuts right to the crux. "In medical school, I learned more about treating malaria than I did about treating obesity", states Dr. Kaplan, who founded the company featured in this article.
His program will include three different diet options that a patient can choose from based on how much they want to spend and how quickly they want to lose weight. Their treatment includes bars, shakes, vitamins, as low as 800-calorie-per day intake and appetite suppressants.
He later goes on to add, "Obesity is a disease best treated by doctors".
Where do I begin?
What about one of the most respected physicians of all time? How about what Hippocrates said? "Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food."
How are obese patients going to learn how to properly eat after treatment? Eating poorly or not having the knowledge of how to properly eat or a combination of the two is what helped lead them to obesity in the first place, so taking a quick break from their habits while supervised by a doctor and receiving pharmaceuticals is hardly a good or lasting solution.
Why is Medicare going to pay for this? (I'm sure I'm opening a huge can of worms with this query, but let's get everything out on the table?)
And, here it comes...
Why not just try eating food, not eating things that are not food, and moving? Hello? Paleo!
Perhaps you've been toying with the idea of giving Paleo a try and have decided you're ready...almost. You've told yourself you're going to be 100% committed...but not until the New Year begins.
While I am a fan of making sure you're as best equipped as you can be to make a lasting, effective and positive change to your health, and choosing to implement them when you're best suited to make your own health a focus (finally), I am not an advocate of another behavior that tends to go hand in hand with those good old New Year's Resolutions.
As in, thoughts such as these:
"I'm going 100% Paleo as soon as the New Year rolls in, so from now until then, I'm eating whatever I want, and lots of it!"
"I have already been tested for gluten sensitivity, and I totally get the connection between those awful acne breakouts I've been getting on my face whenever I even eat a little bit of bread, but I don't care. I'm having as much bread and pasta until New Year's Eve, and then, I'll be 'good'"
"I know I should be better prepared and bring healthy meals to work, but there are always so many tasty things brought in for our lunch meetings. Even though I know that my favorite gourmet sandwich from the cafe downstairs in my office building piles on the Camembert and hummus, both of which usually leave me feeling nauseated and bloated the next day, it's really hard not to have them. Once 2012 begins, I'm going to pack veggies to bring to work every day".
See the trend? I've seen and heard statements like these from clients over the years, all too many times.
If your mindset is such that following the Paleo diet is the equivalent to strictly adhering to some antiquated deprivation diet that you've tried for the last fifteen years (also beginning on New Year's Day), I'm happy to tell you that you're quite mistaken.
And, as such, there's no reason to not start now. We've got just under a week before the start of 2012, so consider this: do you really want to 'eat whatever junk you want' and then pack on a few more pounds, have a couple more stomach aches and perhaps some lovely acne along for the ride into the New Year? Is it really worth it?
If you think you're ready for Paleo in less than one week, then I challenge you by this suggestion: aren't you ready for it now?
If not, fine, wait until you are ready. Wait until you've finished moving to your new home, until you're comfortable in your new promotion at work or until you've adjusted to the youngest of your kids having left the nest in order to go off to college.
But please, don't trash your body for a week and then assume that something magical is going to happen on January 1 to suddenly make you 'ready'.
Of course, in a perfect world, I'd love it if everyone were Paleo now, but short of that, I prefer to suggest to people that the pick the most optimal time for their own personal lives to give this great change a fighting chance.
You won't regret it!
We've covered what to do with that turkey carcass, but what to do with the remaining roasted sprouts, Paleo cranberry sauce and steamed broccoli, or whatever else your Paleo feast may have included?
Soups, marinades and salads are but three options you have to choose from in order to re-create your holiday meal into something brand new.
Of course, you can always opt to freeze things, but don't be timid about getting creative with your Holiday leftovers!
Turkey Soup with a little pizzaz, that is!
I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some new flavors after staying quite true to the traditional holiday themes for all my Paleo dinners and events I've hosted and attended between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Add to that the fact that in the height of cold season, we could all benefit from a little 'heat' in our food- via garlic, cayenne and ginger to help ward off those bugs that are all too present at this time of year, and we've got a perfect rationale for a little spice in our food today!
Yes, I'll still be cooking the remaining meat and carcass of the free-range turkey from yesterday in my trusty Le Cruset dutch oven, but I'll also be incorporating a little flavor from South of the border. Fresh garlic, some jalapenos, fresh lime juice, crushed tomato and, right before serving, some freshly chopped cilantro and a dollop of homemade guacamole, will all help to give what would otherwise have been a boring old soup a brand new flavor profile.