Label Free Life

Living real doesn't need a label

Posts Tagged ‘Starting


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I’m a quitter (so far)!  I’ve made it almost 24 hours without a cigarette.  It’s hard now that I’m at home where I smoke most but, according to experts my blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped to normal. However, tonight anxieties peak in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.

Are you looking forward to seeing me at work tomorrow? Here’s what you can look forward to: Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal. Cessation anger and irritability peaks.

I don’t normally eat dinner but I was starving on the way home from work.  I whipped up some beef curry with snow peas, carrots and turnips.  It’s served over konjac noodles. It was quite good.

p.s. I had a pink lady apple and about 8-10 olives during the day today.


Written by Sonya

August 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Day 1

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We’re all off to a good start!

Steve rendered our beef tallow from Deep Roots Meat this weekend so I have nice buttery looking jars of goodness to cook with. Thanks, Steve!






Breakfast tasted better than it looks. I made Sarah Fragoso’s egg muffins with a slight twist since I’m not eating bacon during the Whole 9. I’m afraid I haven’t quite gotten down the difference between “chop” and “puree” with the food processor.

Please don’t let this picture discourage you from trying the egg muffins.  They are delicious, incredibly portable and I won’t have to cook breakfast for the rest of the week. How cool is that?

I’m not hungry when I get up, so I eat breakfast at work when I do get hungry.  You’ll be seeing those plates a lot over the next 30 days.

Lunch is leftover roast beast on a bed of lettuce and carrots with some grilled asparagus (yum!). I made a vinaigrette with olive oil and pear-infused vinegar I found at the store. That’s it – I didn’t add any seasonings and it was so flavorful and light.


Written by Sonya

August 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Twas the Night Before Whole 9

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Twas the night before the Whole 9 Challenge
And all through the kitchen
My hands they were grillin’
Egg muffins, roast beast and asparagus were chillin’

Awww, hell, I’m not a poet….let’s just say that the haul from the grunchy store to be certain I have plenty of Whole 9 approved goodies on hand was large. You’d have thought I had 10 kids at home with all the stuff I bought (I do NOT like having no options on what to eat when the mood strikes). I even bought some pear infused vinegar which is actually pretty darn good!  I discovered my beloved Paul Newman’s Oil & Vinegar salad dressing has – gasp! – vegetable oil in it. I may or may not finish the three bottles I have once the challenge is over – I will cross that bridge when I come to it but for now it’s off limits because I am doing this thing all-the-way – no exceptions.

I wanted to take a picture of my fridge like Mark Menjivar has done with people but I couldn’t get the lighting right and, since I live alone, it’s really not all that exciting. Rest assured, though, there is no snake in my freezer.  It’s mostly batteries (Floridian hurricane paranoia) and some goat meat I haven’t had the courage to actually cook yet.

I made Sarah Fragoso’s egg muffins to have my breakfasts taken care of this week. I am going to avoid processed meats, and that includes bacon and sausage so I used left over roast beast in the recipe. I have always been fond of Kalyn’s egg muffins but Sarah’s are different in some ways and that’s what I’m needing for this challenge to avoid “paleo-izing” favorites. When I make Kalyn’s I always, always use cheese, Sarah’s don’t.

In the strictest sense of Whole 9, I’m also giving up nightshades which has proven to be difficult for me because in my preparations I realize how much I must love tomatoes and peppers since they seem to be in every single thing I eat. If they are the cause of these horrific acne outbreaks and hormonal imbalances I have, I want to know. I’m just torn, now, trying to decide whether to add back dairy or nightshades first when the challenge is over. I love both so much! Those are the two things I think I’m going to miss most – believe it or not, over nicotine and wine. I plan to quit the nicotine for good and the wine… well, we’ll see. *smile* I am open to all possibilities.

“When the challenge is over….” Is that healthy or not? To already be thinking about when the challenge is over.  I dunno. It’s not supposed to be a forever thing – it’s a “resetting” thing – it’s a “getting a great base line” thing – it’s the mentality that I’m going to do this Whole 9 Whole Hog (Mississippi thang) – I expect great things to come out of this experience. Thanks, Steve, for challenging all of us to do this with you!

Steve, Jason, John, Noralynn, Arlene and I embark on this great adventure together starting tomorrow. I’m ready.

Written by Sonya

August 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Who do you want to be?

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I’m into psychology, energy medicine and nutrition, etc…. the whole package. How our emotional, physical and spiritual selves all meld together to make us who we are. Life is more than just what you think or how you eat or whatever “spiritual” path you follow. It’s a whole conglomeration interrelated making up the whole person. I’m not sure what the balance is or how it all works but I know that when I’ve been able to vividly visualize where I want to be I’ve seen it come to pass.  Coinky-dink?  I dunno. I’m not up to arguing about it either because I only remember when it does happen and not when it doesn’t or because I really don’t like to argue. I am into investigating other viewpoints and opinions though there was a time when I wasn’t.

I vividly remember sitting behind the driver’s side of my Mazda Protege and visualizing myself higher up in the seat with less front end vision saying “this is what it is going to be like behind the wheel of my Subaru Baja” (my dream car at the time). Less than a month after these “pretend” sessions I was talking on my cell phone and totalled my Mazda. I used the insurance money and my savings to buy that Baja. I love, Love, LOVE my Baja!! I would not have bought it without the impetus of having no other options at that time.  I looked at the situation as being a “all things work out for the good” situation, however, I do not ever talk on the cell phone or text while driving anymore.

I likewise, do visualizations with my body. I have pictures of me when I was much younger and thinner and healthier than I am now posted on my refrigerator along with pics of really fat girls to discourage me from those late night binges. These have not worked as well and I don’t want some life-changing, serious situation like totaling my body to get me to the health I want to experience.

This is where Whole 9 comes in. This is where I have run out of excuses for living the life I dream of. This is where I have a reason to take control of my life before some catastrophic event forces me to make the changes I need and know I need to make. I am intimately familiar with the mind~body connection (yes, I believe in this). I know balancing nutrition will help balance mental health will help balance physical health will help balance addictions (to processed foods, cigarettes, alcohol, destructive behaviors/thoughts) will help balance etc….

Donna Eden, Candace Pert, Jimmy Moore, Mark Sisson, Nora Gedgaudas, Julia Ross, Michael Shermer, etc. have all impacted my life and how I think , eat, breath and move. Some of it may seem like quackery to you and that’s okay. Maybe it is. *smile* I was in a very high demand religious cult for 10+ years and not able to think for myself. I was told what to do with my mind, my heart, my time, my money, my thoughts for so long that I’m still trying to figure out what’s what. I don’t think nutrition and diet are the end all ~ be all of health – I think it encompasses more than that but not sure how habits, lifestyle, thoughts, mentality and nutrition all tie in to make the healthiest, happiest person we can be. I am convinced that it’s different for different folks because we all have different situations.

Whole 9 with friends and co-workers, basically, is my excuse to give up cigarettes and alcohol – two of my biggest challenges – it gives me an excuse to go “hard core” into the healthy lifestyle of eliminating everything that might be a problem in my life. Could I have done this on my own? Sure. But I haven’t. Could I do it without admitting my challenges publicly like this? Sure. But I haven’t despite my best intentions – those same “good intentions paved the road to hell” intentions. I’m 42 and not where I wanted to be when I turned 40, but nobody else knew at 39 where I wanted to be by 40 because I never shared that with anyone. This is it. This is where I “put up or shut up”. I plan to “put up”. (Thanks, Melissa!) I have in other ways, but this whole person transformation is what I’m looking for this time…uncovering the real me, the “me” I want to be and am proud to be. I’m rather excited about it.

Written by Sonya

August 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Diet, Getting Started

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Labels Suck

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I despise labels – labels on people, food labels, even diet labels: Low Carb, Smart Carb, Paleo, Primal, Ancestral Diet, Archevore, Whole 9, Warrior Diet, Caveman Diet, Functional Paleo, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Call it what you will; I don’t have a label for it because I do what works for me. Others are doing the same – which is what we’re supposed to do, right? We have to figure out what works for us because our bodies do not come in a “one size fits all” package.

Paleo seems to be the standard that communicates the essence of it to most folks so that’s what I use when forced to give it a name. When I’m not, I just say, “I eat REAL FOOD – things without a label – I buy my meat, eggs and veg (and occasional fruit, raw milk dairy products and butter) from local, organic, grass fed farms. I buy coconut milk, coconut oil, olive oil, spices and some wholesome things that do have a label so I’m not totally label free and, yes, I buy meat and produce from the grunchy store when I’m watching my pennies. I don’t buy processed crap and I don’t eat sugar in any form save the occasional fruit.” I think it gets the point across fine – even to those who like to argue accuracy and semantics.

When I read about someone saying there’s a need for a label, something other than Paleo or Primal, I find it amusing. Because 1) there’s no need for a label 2) we will start to sound like the vegetarian community 3) all it does is instigate arguments over semantics and minutiae. It reminds me of the Bible verse about straining gnats and swallowing camels. Do people really expect us to start saying, “I’m a lacto-paleo” or “I’m Paleo 4.0”? All labels do is facilitate pigeon holes and stereotypes. People who are familiar with Paleo/Primal eating know there are variations within the diet. Those who don’t only need the basics and instructions later on how to figure out what works for them so they can decide which elements work and which don’t in their particular situation.

There are some folks who need/want a hard and fast set of rules and they want everyone to be 100 percent accountable 100 percent of the time to following those carved-in-stone rules. Ambiguity and fluidity frustrate them. However, it runs contrary to the heart and soul of living the all encompassing healthy lifestyle that I’ve geeked out on and have come to love.

That lifestyle embodies flexibility and a keen knowledge of what works best for your body.  I’m still figuring it out for meeself. There are times and ways to figure that out which is why my friends and I are embarking on the Whole 9 program for 30 days starting August 15. This will require regimented eating but will give us each the experience and n=1 knowledge of what works with us individually. I’m rather excited about it, actually. I don’t expect any of us to ride the Crazy Train to Carrot Town and I fully appreciate that we will call each other out should one of us buy a ticket.

What embarking on this lifestyle has done for me is teach me the value of play, quality sleep, real foods and eliminating stress in my life. It’s introduced me to many invaluable experts and bloggers on the healthy lifestyle that I choose to live from nutrition to medical to lifestyle management. Some of my favorite bloggers are labeled with a certain diet, but many aren’t such as Dr. Bernstein for his management of diabetes (I’m pre-diabetic), Julia Ross for her invaluable insight on addiction, amino acids and how diet affects our moods and addictions of every kind, Todd Becker with his Hormesis viewpoint and many of the other wonderful folks interviewed on Jimmy’s podcasts. In fact, Jimmy’s blog and podcasts is where I first learned of Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Tom Naughton, Nora Gedgaudas and many others in the Paleo/Primal community.

This is a lifestyle – not a diet.  This is figuring out what works for you, personally, not following some set of rigid legalistic standards and arguing over semantics and what the caveman did or didn’t do. It’s starting from a base of sound scientific, biological, evolutionary evidence for healthy longevity and tweaking it to figure out what gives you optimal “feel, look and performance” in your life (with a nod to Robb Wolf for the variation of his phrase).

Written by Sonya

August 4, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Getting Started

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It all started when I won an autographed copy of Gary Taubes, “Good Calories, Bad Calories“. I had been looking into getting healthy and changing my bad habits before turning 40. Everything I thought I knew about nutrition, exercise and health was turned on its head.

The more I read, the more I learned and I really started geeking out nutrition and changing my diet to reflect what I was learning. Changes started happening and I really liked those changes. I want to continue making changes and tweaking my lifestyle to be the healthiest person I can be.

This is me a year ago and again two months ago. The physical changes aren’t as big as I’d like. I am working on that and expect the next year to show bigger changes.

Written by Sonya

July 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Getting Started

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