Label Free Life

Living real doesn't need a label


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I’m still here. Still plugging along and still thriving in the Label Free Lifestyle. I’m still loving working out at RDV and even more, loving this awesome fall weather! The night blooming jasmine is smelling up the neighborhood.  I have increased its reach into my bedroom by sleeping with the windows open and, boy is it awesome.

The past two weeks have been frustrating regarding my workout schedule, though. Too many unavoidable things have popped up preventing me from being consistent. This week isn’t any better, but I am determined to make next week flawless regarding my exercise. I had a substitute Deep Water Aerobics instructor last Monday.  I recognized her instantly as the instructor who nearly killed me in my very first Deep Water Aerobics class last year.  Seeing her there on the edge of the pool instantly struck fear into my heart and the memory of how she showed ow difficult water aerobics could be.  She remembered me, too… with an evil grin.  I still don’t know if that’s good or not.  I do know I felt like a contestant on The Biggest Loser during the “Last Chance Workout” by the time the class was over. LOVE those tough, feeling like I accomplished something worthwhile classes!

Another one of life’s joys is friends you don’t see for a long time but with whom you can pick up right where you left off enjoying each others’ company. I had the pleasure of such a reunion last night.

Pam and her mother traveled from North Carolina to visit family.   When they decided to come, Pam asked if I would have time to visit while she’s here. But, of course I would have time for Pam! We decided to meet at Joe’s Crab Shack  in Sanford. It had been about four years since I’d seen Pam and I noticed right away that she had lost quite a bit of weight.  Her cheeks were healthy and rosy looking and she looked younger to me.

As we were chatting and catching up on old times, old friends, our doggies and the exciting times we live in, I asked her about her remarkable weight loss. She said that the chiropractor she works for is a Crossfit enthusiast and had been helping her. I knew right away what kind of lifestyle she had switched to. Can you guess?

She had read the fabulous Dr. Richard Bernstein’s book, “The Diabetes Solution”, Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution” and is an avid follower of Robb’s blog and Mark’s Daily Apple. She’s lost 40+ pounds and is now at her ideal weight . Her blood sugars are stable, her cholesterol is now near perfect and she is no longer on insulin or suffering from the many complications that accompanied her diabetes. Pam does not belong to Crossfit but does love her water aerobics. One more thing we newly have in common!

What a wonderful serendipity!

Written by Sonya

October 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Diet, Exercise

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Seriously? Kudzu?

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Don’t these people realize this shit is free all over the south??

Maybe I should dig up some roots to sell for twice as much at the farmers market next time I go home. It’s non-certified organic cause I can promise the only fertilizer is “natural” and there’s no pesticides on it since nothing kills it and the south has given up on trying to get rid of it.

What’s it good for, anyway? Anyone know? I kinda consider myself a nutrition geek but have yet to see any literature on the benefits of kudzu in the past year or so that I’ve been rockin the nutrition world wide interewebs, books and podcasts.

Apparently, it could be our next ethanol... but, given the starch component (and the above packaging found at Whole Paycheck Foods, I’m thinking it’s our next High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Written by Sonya

September 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What I’ve Learned in 30 Days

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So, we finished our office Whole 9 30 Day Challenge on Tuesday.  I lost a whopping 4.5 pounds. Yes, I’m disappointed but I am working out, lifting heavy things and walking the Vixenator every night so the scale is not the end all and be all of what’s going on with my body shape and size. Besides, this experience was about way more than the scale and boy, did it pay off in spades. The biggest being that I can now call myself a non-smoker!

In no particular order – some things I learned or experienced during this time:

  • I can *gasp* live without (and actually enjoy) a diet totally free of sweeteners (artificial or not) – which aren’t good for you anyway .
  • Tazo Wild Sweet Orange herbal tea is da bomb!  Thanks to the blogger who introduced us to it and sorry we forgot who that is.
  • Quitting smoking SUCKS!! REALLY SUCKS!! Even though I know it’s worth it.
  • Alcohol really doesn’t make you sleep better.
  • A really good night’s sleep on a regular basis can do wonders for body and soul!
  • Melissa has a really cool blog with lots of great recipes. (The Clothes Make the Girl)
  • My acne has cleared up.
  • My bra size has gone down.
  • There is something odd going on internally as I am usually one of the hottest people (temperature not looks) in the office. I vehemently defend the cryogenic temperature of our office. Not anymore, I’ve joined the ranks of co-workers who sport a jacket, sweater or parka during working hours.
  • I think Vixen lost more weight (% wise) than I did. I did cut back on her food because she is going to be in a grooming contest in October and needs to be closer to her show weight. I didn’t reduce it that much, but girlfriend is definitely curvier.
  • I have PCOS and insulin resistance. One glorious aspect of that is these hairs that grow on my chinny chin chin. I’ve tried electrolysis but because PCOS related hair growth is hormonal they don’t guarantee the process. As well they shouldn’t or I would be asking for my money back.  I’m not sure which element of the past 30 days is the hero in this situation but my neck and chin are considerably clearer. The growth hasn’t stopped completely but it has drastically slowed.
  • My two fingers that I worried had arthritis no longer feel stiff and painful.
  • Teamwork, support and peer pressure can not be overrated. I honestly don’t know if I would have stuck it out for the Whole 30 days if it weren’t for my coworkers. We talked food, recipes, challenges, favorite blogs and everything lifestyle change related on a daily basis.  I felt obligated and compelled to stick with it – especially the quitting smoking.

So, now that it’s over what happens?

I ventured to the store to purchase some awesomely ripe tomatoes which is what I missed the most. Surprisingly I have only had one tomato and here it is three days after we completed the challenge. I guess I didn’t miss them as much as I thought I did.  I plan to go another week or so with only adding back my tomatoes and peppers before venturing down the dairy aisle. I will continue eating real, wholesome foods – foods that don’t have a label – foods that nourish my body and brain.  I’m so proud to have the earned the “I Finished” badge and so thankful to Steve for challenging all of us jump on board! This has been a great springboard into living the healthiest life I know to live.

By Leia Speia / (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Photo by Leia Speia / (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Written by Sonya

September 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Diet, Whole 9

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So it goes…

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With a nod to Kurt Vonnegut

10 years ago today I was looking for a job. I had been laid off and was hitting the pavement.  I had dropped off my resume at ORMC and was in the car on the way back home.  At that time TV Channel 6/WKMG aired on 87.7 FM. Being the news junkie that I was (and still am) I had been listening to the news on the way to drop of my resume. When I got back in the car it was after 9 AM and Bryant Gumbel was talking.  My first thought was, “Why is that ass still on the air? The news should be over.”

I heard him ask someone why they thought the plane flying into the tower was intentional.  Then the second plane hit. I pounded the accelerator and rushed home as quickly as possible once it became clear what was happening. While I wasn’t happy to be laid off, I was so glad that I could be home to watch the coverage because it was so disturbing and upsetting. My husband at the time was a police officer and I could not imagine being the spouse of an emergency responder in NYC and knowing what they were facing.  God bless those who lost loved ones and thanks to the brave people who responded to the calls for help.

So, after crying my eyes out this morning watching the memorial service I didn’t really feel like working out as planned. What I truly wanted to do was to go to the beach and bask in the sun alone with my thoughts, but I have a goal of getting some things done around the house and some plants I bought last week but didn’t get to plant yet were looking rather sickly. So, I sucked it up and took Vixen on a nice walk and by the time I got back my arms started feeling….well, I don’t know exactly how to describe it….they felt like – like – like they NEEDED to lift heavy things. I know! Right?  How friggin’ odd is that?!? My body seemed to know it was a weight training day and was getting ready for it?

I kept my Vibrams on, tossed Vixen and few treats and headed to the gym. Yay me! I only did the weight circuit, though, no swimming laps today. I did kinda regret not having my suit with me after I finished the weight circuit. It’s alright though, the yard work was quite exhausting.  I cross my fingers that I can keep the plants alive and enjoy the fruits veggies of my labor in a few months. I’ve got some acorn squash, yellow squash, red cabbage and cauliflower on the menu should things work out right.

Tomorrow is Day 29 of this 30 Day adventure.  I’m excited to share my thoughts on this time once it’s over.

In the meantime, hug those you love and call those you can’t hug.

So it goes.

Written by Sonya

September 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Posted in Memorial, Whole 9

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Finish Line in Sight

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by jayneandd / (CC BY 2.0)

Today is Day 25 of the Whole 9 Challenge! We are all five still hanging in there and doing great, feeling great and discussing what things we’re going to keep from this challenge in our new adventures in healthy living.

Over the long weekend I enjoyed chicken, eggs, ribs, curry, more pear infused vinegar salads and the most delicious green beans I think I’ve ever had. I even bought some wee little plants to attempt to grow in my back yard.  Fingers crossed that I don’t kill them in the first week and actually get to enjoy some of the fruit of my labors.

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time walking Vixen instead of puttering around the house and watching too much TV. While walking I’ve also enjoyed listening to my favorite podcasts, but have been sucked into listening to the lectures from the Ancestral Health Symposium.  If you are totally geeking out on the nutritional, fitness, lifestyle and balanced life information from scientists, doctors, experts and super intelligent bloggers, I highly recommend listening to all of these.

Some samples of these great speakers:

Denise Minger of Raw Food SOS

“The case against sugar(s)” by Gary Taubes, MA

“The nutrition mess. Can we fix it?” by Richard Feinman, PhD

“Heart Disease and Molecular Degeneration” by Chris Masterjohn

“Food and Western Disease” by Staffan Lindeberg, MD, PhD

“The Trouble with Fructose: a Darwinian Perspective” by Robert Lustig, MD

“An Organic Chemist’s Perspective on Paleo” by Mathieu Lalonde, PhD

“Great Apes and the Evolution of Human Diet” by Craig Stanford, PhD

“Heart Disease and Molecular Degeneration” by Chris Masterjohn

“Where is Darwin on dentistry? Caries & malocclusion from an evolutionary perspective” by Kevin Boyd, DDS, MS & Michael Mew, DDS

“The effects of cultural evolution on human health” by Mark Cohen, PhD

“Evolutionary bariatrics: A ‘new’ treatment approach to morbid obesity” by Vivian Shelton, PsyD

“Science for smart people” by Tom Naughton

“Wild animals, zoos, and you: The influence of habitat on health” by John Durant

And that’s not even all of them!  I understand Dr. Eenfeldt has posted his on YouTube so that you can see the slides as well as the presentation but I’ve not ventured there yet.  I still haven’t even gotten through all of these!

One more weekend as a recluse avoiding all situations that may tempt me to drink and/or smoke and then I may have to put on my big girl panties and practice holding my own!

Written by Sonya

September 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Posted in Diet, Whole 9

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Fall’s a comin’!

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It was so nice and cool this morning when I awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed. Fall is right around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited.  We are encroaching on my favorite time of the year. 

By: terratrekking / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The past few days have been very good and my menus the same (probably boring to you) meals of eggs for breakfast, Thai beef for lunch and chicken thighs for dinner.  I’ve enjoyed some fruit, too, an Asian pear – a favorite of mine, blueberries, raspberries and a pink grapefruit. A few macadamia nuts for a snack.

Whole Paycheck Foods had grass fed beef on sale for $4.99/lb yesterday only.  I didn’t find out until right before leaving for work and was afraid the store would be a mob scene or totally out of beef but was pleasantly surprised to find the butcher section well stocked and no line.  The limit was 10 lbs. per person and my friend and I both wanted 10 lbs. each.  This wouldn’t be a problem except that she and her husband were leaving right after work for the Bahamas (lucky them) so she couldn’t get her 10 lbs. The very kind butcher allowed me to buy 20 lbs. Woo Hoo!!  

Now, to find some fun, new recipes to try out with my beef. Everything I think of has tomatoes in the recipe but those will have to wait another 10 days. Yes, there are only 10 days left in our Whole 9 challenge.  We’ve made it to the finish line! While I’ve enjoyed the journey I am looking forward to adding nightshades back into my diet and I’m hoping they like me as much as I like them.

I will be enjoying this long weekend by working in the yard and cleaning up some of the clutter in the house. My office has built in bookshelves that go all the way to the ceiling.  When I got divorced my ex took most of the books and the shelves were sad and bare looking. I went on a mission to make them not look so empty and went a bit overboard. Now I’ve accumulated more books than will fit on the shelves, too many magazines I keep thinking I’ll read some day and piles of paper… where does the paper come from? It’s time to clean house and get rid of the clutter before I’m turned in for hoarding. 

Written by Sonya

September 3, 2011 at 12:55 pm

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Well, it’s Day 16 and I’ve absolutely been compliant.  It’s hard to screw up when you can’t hold anything down. 

Last night I made the most delicious conch fritter concoction that came out more like a conch patty.  Conch, onion, celery, spices, almond flour and an egg dropped into a pan of coconut oil.  Not exactly deep fried but delicious nonetheless. Dangerous?  I’m not sure but something woke me up in the middle of the night and had me in the bathroom the rest of the night. The conch was canned and I don’t think anything was out of date, but it is curious, no?

Today has been a mostly beef broth and La Croix water kinda day. 

I am feeling somewhat better and need to make sure I have lunch and suppers for the rest of the week so I fixed Melissa’s Thai Beef & Basil tonight.  This is so quick, easy, delish and versatile!  I’m a fan!  It’s simply ground beef with green beans, garlic, basil and coconut aminos.  Served with lime juice, scallions and optional nuts.  I only had a little bit to taste it, but I know I’ll be enjoying it and making this again.

Written by Sonya

August 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized