Friday, 19 October 2012

Paleo Park Bench

No more pumpkin recipes I promise....well, at least not until November.
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Yesterday was rainy and nasty, but not today. A sunny fall day is something that needs attention and it had mine. Well, partly anyway. The kids wanted to go to the park and I needed to get some reading done, so off I went with my hard cover plastic covered library Paleo research book under my arm and I headed straight for the nearest park bench. Between calling out, "Put your shoes back on," and to "Don't jump off the swing from a dizzying height!"(who want a trip to the emergency room just before dinner)I settled down and managed to plunge into a short portion of The Paleo Solution, The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf. I love the way Robb writes. He gets straight to the point and does it in such a straight forward manner without airs and graces. One of the things he addresses is that most of us suffer from a lack of sleep. I talked about that very thing in my post: "Let's talk about sleep baby" I just had to laugh out loud when he talked about Cortisol, particularly his foot notes!*

Robb Wolf tackles the myths of the dietary world and some of subjects that, up until a year ago, were completely foreign to me. One thing I noticed is that a few times he suggested that we are so used to feeling "off" that we have forgotten what it feels like to feel healthy. (I paraphrased of course)
I really agree with what he is saying. I have been there and now that I am not, I know what it feels like to REALLY feel normal, and it is vastly different to what I felt before.

Ever laugh out loud while you are reading and then look around to see if anyone is watching? Well, that was me when I read:"Suggest that people should perhaps forgo bread and pasta for their health and they will bury a butter knife in your forehead before you can say "whole wheat!" Sorry folks, I don't make these rules, I just have the lovely task of educating you about them. Why I had to focus on gluten-free living, exercise and trying to get you healthy , I will never know. I should have just peddled hookers, cocaine and pastries! So much easier."

The reason why this sent me into fits of laughter is because I was laughing at myself. A year ago I would have been on the other end of that butter knife. I am not suggesting everyone suddenly abandon their way of eating and turn Paleo, but I know that giving gluten (among other things) a miss has helped me stabilize my blood sugar and as a reformed sugar-addict I can cope way better and my digestive system is thanking me for it. (I'll spare you the details)

Anyway getting back to the sleep thing...I was chatting to a friend several time zones away from me on instant message. I congratulated him on the arrival of his beautiful new daughter and asked how he was doing. Well of course his answer was, "We are not getting much sleep, but we are very happy." So these two things got me thinking, once again, about how important sleep is to us. I remember those nights and days when my children were infants, although not clearly, but as if through a fog. I didn't think I could cope another day, and yet somehow I did. Sleep deprivation is something that is a real and dangerous thing. Get this, not only does the chance of having a car accident increase when you are sleep deprived, but it can make you fat!

If your cortisol (that is a hormone) levels are elevated due to lack of sleep or consistent stress, it indirectly impairs insulin sensitivity. A classic sign is a gain of weight in the midsection. Time to get out the Chamomile tea which is a traditional herb used to promote relaxation and sleep if you having trouble generating some ZZZ's. If you want to know more about what Robb has to say on the subject of sleep, Click here.

Interesting that Cortisol and testosterone compete for the same limited resources according to Robb Wolf. He says that if Cortisol goes up, then testosterone must go down, and that applies not only to males of course. Basically Stress is a killer, is what he is saying, as well as lack of rest. They go hand in hand. Stress and lack of sleep can sabotage your efforts in the gym!

So getting back to the whole thing about what to eat and what not to eat...all I am going to say is this:

Be open to discovering what is right for your body. You can't eat the same thing all the time, year after year, month after month, day after day and expect different results. As a mom, if you are gaining weight and your energy levels are dropping and your temper is short, and you have no motivation to do stuff with the kids, or hubby for that matter, the first place to look at is your nutrition. Had you have told me a year ago that I would not be eating gluten, and that I would be happy doing so, I would have laughed uproariously in your face (and not politely either!) What I realized is that if you are not satisfied with how your body feels, you have to search for the truth, do your research, talk to your doctor, drain the library books and get answers and take action. You will find answers and you will benefit from them if you persevere. Be open to the possibilities and be aware that you may have to try something different and it may not be what you expect. Don't give up! I almost did, and I could have lost out on the best thing that I ever did for myself and that was to find the solution to my sugar habit and to ditch the gluten. I do it happily and willingly, I feel so much better. It is no longer a struggle, but a way of living in freedom.

I look forward to many more times on the park bench discovering, researching and finding ways to look after this body I have been blessed with so that I can be the best mom, wife and friend I can be as long as I am privileged to live this life. What books will you be taking with you to your park bench?

To download Robb Wolf's book click here
(Note: I am not getting anything to recommend this book, it just is a great book!)

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By Melony Teague

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Melony Teague a freelance writer and columnist who lives in Canada with her husband and two young children.
Founder of "Secrets of Body Transformation from the Inside Out" 
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