Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reinvent Yourself

It's the last day of 2016 and I'm enjoying this moment of reflection.

After stepping away from the corporate world in 2015, I had a deep desire to leave societal values/pressures behind. This allowed me to approach the past year with the ability let go, explore, face challenging interactions and discover my authentic self. It led to an incredible year of growth, freedom, insight, new experiences and deep connections with people and nature.

As I traveled, met new people, nurtured existing relationships, read books and embraced a simple homelife I have learned a great deal about who I am and the journey of my choices, past and present.

Every choice has an outcome and with those outcomes there is something to be learned, whether positive or negative. I've found while in the moment of choice uncovering motivations, tapping into our source of values/beliefs and listening to our truths can provide more authentic driven decisions.

It was this insight that led me down a transformative path. I've now chosen to shift my contributions from the high tech corporate world to academia and social work. I have recently started working in the research field at our local university and at the same time been accepted to a private university to acquire my Masters in Counseling.

I would not have realized this reinvention of self without operating from authentic choices. I would have based my next move on financial extravagance, relying on my domain experience, equating success with job title and material recognition. However, I broke the cycle of letting fears determine my choices. Letting go of superficial desires, wants and expectations, which are fear based, has allowed me to recognize the learned self and transform into the true self. I'm no longer invested in how it should be, but what it could be.

My choices now welcome the unknowns, throw caution to the wind and focus on the process, not the outcome. I believe this is what living life to the fullest resembles.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

It's Easier To Sustain A Paleo Diet If You Stock Your Refrigerator With The Right Foods

Embracing the paleo/keto approach six years ago has transformed my refrigerator. It consists of all fresh foods and high fat products.

There are many staples I have on hand and then there are some additions if I'm trying a new recipe or preparing a one-off dish.

My main staples you'll find in my refrigerator are grass-fed heavy cream, organic cacao butter, ghee, local eggs, homemade heavy cream yogurt, liver, no sugar italian sausage, coffee (decaf/regular), sparkling water, homemade pulled pork, crockpot chicken, homemade bone broth, coffee, assortment of fresh herbs, organic spinach-cucumbers-avocados-red bell peppers-red onion and

My freezer is not only storing grass-fed beef, flap steaks, chicken thighs, chicken skin, liver, beef heart, no sugar sausage, salmon and cubies, but also homemade bone broth and crockpot dishes. I enjoy cooking meals and storing them in the freezer for future use. If I get back from a trip I'm able to heat up a meal.

If I have a new recipe it's always paleo/keto based. Although there are many paleo recipes online I tend to use them as inspiration. I find a lot of recipes use sweeteners and flours, which I have chosen not to incorporate in my diet. My palate has shifted away from sweet flavors and instead prefers rich fats and spices.

These aspects are key to sustaining a paleo/keto diet; having the right foods available allows me to sustain my paleo/keto diet all year round.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Grass fed Beef Chili

One of my favorite recipes is grass fed beef chili in a crockpot. This is a no-fail recipe. Enjoy!

1-2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
½ jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, diced
1 red bell pepper diced
3 Tbsp roasted or non-roasted garlic, minced
3 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp paprika
Cayenne pepper to taste

Melt a Tbsp of coconut oil in a slow cooker. When cooker is hot (medium heat-250 degrees) add garlic. Saute and add diced zucchini. Cook for 3 minutes and then add diced bell pepper, jalapeno, grass-fed ground beef, cumin and paprika (cayenne pepper-optional). Cook on low heat (150 degrees) for 4-6 hours. Add chopped tomatoes. Continue low heat for 20 minutes.

Makes three 10oz servings.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What You Need to Know In Order To Succeed WIth A New Program!

Whenever you start a new lifestyle practice such as nutrition, fitness, meditation or mindfulness it's important to understand more than just the program itself. It's critical you know YOURSELF. What are your motivations, short/long term goals, strengths, weaknesses, influences and character traits? It's important to know your patterns and channel them to help you make the necessary choices on a daily basis. One process to get to know yourself, specifically your patterns, is to ask these simple questions:

(These questions are based on a nutrition plan. You can replace the last word for any program.)

1. How do you currently eat? (situation)
2. How would you know it's time to change how you eat? (purpose)
3. What would you need to know in order to feel comfortable changing how you eat? (comfort level to embrace change)

These questions will help you discover a realistic path to a new nutrition program that works for you. They uncover your need to feel comfortable with the plan. Some needs or concerns in this example might include: Will I enjoy the food? Will I feel deprived? Will I see results? Will it fit into my daily routine?

My concern when I started Paleo six years ago was, "Is this the right nutrition plan for me?"
With that question I knew I needed to experiment in order to find the answer. Then I leveraged one of my known patterns to see it through.

My pattern example:
I've always been motivated by self actualization. I would choose programs or activities where I confidently envisioned self actualization. My comfort zone was realizing/experiencing my full potential and achievements. I put this pattern to work for me when I started Paleo six years ago. I felt confident in my ability to put the necessary effort into the nutrition plan knowing it would result in personal growth and self improvement. This pattern drives my desire to refine and challenge my paleo/keto diet.

Once you know more about patterns you can begin to increase the probability of your success.

It's important to uncover your motivations, which can be learned through the second question above. It's identifying the purpose of the program for you. You will reflect upon this throughout the program to maintain your commitment and dedication.

With that, your goals will be identified. It's what you ultimately want out of the program. It's most beneficial to have a goal that is measureable.

Lastly, know your strengths and weaknesses. These will be called upon when negative influences are present. Lean on your purpose, consequences and accepting your decision might be unpopular.

I'm about to participate in Whole30 challenge. I'm joining to inspire, encourage and be an accountability mentor. I enjoy this program because it recognizes different things work for different people with a bias towards natural foods. They have many helpful guides, resources and support channels. This program provides all the tools they will need. The only missing component is to know themselves in order to be successful!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Why We Should Eat More Butter or Ghee!

Have you ever heard of butyrate? It's the food/energy for our cells lining our colon. "Without butyrates for energy, colon cells undergo autophagy (self digestion) and die.[1] "

"Butyrate is a molecule, called a short-chain fatty acid. Fatty acids are building blocks of fats and our cells can not be without them. This particular fatty acid is very small and is usually is made by bacteria living in our gut ..."

"Short-chain fatty acids, which include butyrate, are produced by beneficial colonic bacteria (probiotics) that feed on, or ferment prebiotics, which are plant products that contain adequate amounts of dietary fiber."

"Butyrate can also be made by animals’ own cells – for example, it can be found in the form of butyric acid in dairy products (especially butter) [R4]. Butter contains about 3-4% of butyrate in form of tributyrin and it is actually from butter that butyrate gets its name [R5, R6]."

What I've learned through my research is I can consume butter or ghee rather than worry about my fiber intake to ensure I'm producing butyrate. The production of butyrate during the fermentation process of fiber relies on a type of gut bacteria. There is an interesting article published on Yahoo; Fiber's Cancer-Fighting Effect Depends on Gut Bacteria that references a study suggesting it's the combination of the fiber and the right types of bacteria. Getting butyrate from butter ensures that all of the cells in your body will benefit from the energy because it becomes available early in the digestive process. Getting butyrate from fiber only benefits the colon cells as it becomes available after bacteria in the colon produce it (it must be the right bacteria). Any butyrate that the bacteria in your colon produce, but that your colon cells don't consume gets stored as fat.

There are many references online that provide butyrate's benefits, such as an increase in your metabolic rate, it may prevent cancer by “starving” cancer cells but feeding healthy cells, an increase in lean muscle mass, decrease inflammation and it fuels your brain. For a high level understanding please read PaleoLeap's blog or for a more in-depth scientific understanding please read the Hyperlipid blog Part 1 and Part 2).

Uses of butter or Ghee; cooking, bullet-proof coffee and cubies (see my recipe here). ENJOY BUTTER/GHEE!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Easy Meals That Use Similar Ingredients

I usually go online for inspiration when it comes to paleo cooking. However, I like to adjust recipes so they aren't too complicated or expensive. My goal is to have a variety of meals throughout the week that use similar ingredients to save on costs.

Here are a few tasty meals that use simple ingredients that can be eaten right away or during the week.

Bone Broth Chicken Sausage

1 tbsp of Coconut Oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 large onion
1 tbsp of fresh chopped rosemary
3 links of chicken sausage cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces (no sugar)
1/2 large red bell pepper
1 C of fresh spinach
1/2 C of fresh broccoli
1/2 C of celery
1/2 C of carrots
32 fl oz of bone broth (store bought or homemade)
16 fl oz of veggie broth

In a soup pot on medium/medium high add the coconut oil with fresh garlic, onion, rosemary and stir for 3 minutes. Add the sausage and saute for 5 minutes. Add all vegetables and saute for 5-7 minutes. Then add the bone and veggie and turn heat to medium. Stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Serve or store in refrigerator or freezer. 

Coffee/Cocoa Rub Pork Chops

2 tbsp of cocoa (unsweetened)
1 tbsp of fresh ground coffee
1 tbsp of coriander
1 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/4 tsp of cloves
pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tbsp of coconut oil or ghee
2 large pork loin chops (bone in and pat dry)

Mix all spices in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over each piece of pork. Heat frying pan over medium high. Add coconut oil or ghee. Once it sizzles add pork chops (be careful, it splatters). Allow it to sit for about 5 mins. Flip and sear for another 3-5 minutes. You can make a cut in the middle to check for pinkness inside (cook to your liking). Once cooked allow it to rest on a plate or cutting board for 3 minutes. 
I enjoy cooked veggies with the pork since it's so hearty. I would use some of the veggies purchased for my other recipes to pair with the pork.

Red Coconut Curry Soup

Homemade Red Curry Paste: (Can buy at store to cut down on time) 

2-3 Chiles (hot red)

2 garlic cloves 

1 stalk of lemongrass

1/2 tsp of ginger

1/8 small onion
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/2 of lime juice
1 tsp of coconut oil
Place ingredients in a mixer or food processor on medium until it becomes a paste. 


1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 small zucchini, sliced

2 scallion stalks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1-1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, de-veined & tails removed
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste (see above for homemade)
4 oz. coconut milk
1 1/4 c of vegetable broth
1/2 avocado for garnish


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt coconut oil.
Add garlic and ginger and saute for about 1 minute until fragrant.
Add all vegetables and saute for another 5 minutes until softened.
Add shrimp and then curry paste and toss to thoroughly coat all the vegetables and shrimp with the paste. Saute for another minute.
Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth. Cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 3-5 more minutes.
Season with salt & pepper to taste. 

The lemongrass and ginger are the highlight of this soup! The flavors hold up well even as a leftover.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Free Workouts In Urban Public Spaces!

Austin has so many great outdoor venues for recreation. Project Austin encourages the public to experience these urban spaces from a unique perspective.

This group consists of fitness enthusiasts, accountability buddies and community seekers that meet several times a week in free, open spaces with hardscapes that support a strenuous, yet rewarding workout.

This group is just one of several in Austin that encourages free workouts by leveraging the city's urban public space.

Come join us and experience downtown in a whole new way!

Free workouts downtown every week @ 6am!
Mon @ Doug Sahm Hill 
Wed @the State Capitol
Fri @Federal Courthouse steps - Republic Square Park