Well, it’s time for enjoying the great out-of-doors with folks looking for any excuse to party outside, grill, picnic, go to the beach for an afternoon or for a week, or just sit on the porch for some impromptu dining alfresco. For me, whatever I am doing, it’s always better being done outside in the fresh air! That novel is just so much more pleasurable to read with a gentle breeze and the bountiful sounds of nature all around. That afternoon nap is infinitely better when on a porch swing or hammock while being lulled to sleep by the buzz of the cicadas and the songs of the birds. Quiet conversation is more personal somehow when shared in the open air. Pauses in the chatter are totally acceptable as we tune our minds and hearts into the pulse of the nature around us! Unplug from all of the devices we surround ourselves with and plug into the hum of all that is natural for the best vacation possible regardless of location.
Wherever we find ourselves enjoying nature, family, and friends, it is still possible to have a good time and yet not throw away all we have gained in cleaner eating. Every mouthful is a choice. “Is this food or drink going to do ill or good to me?” There does not have to be any sense of sacrifice or deprivation if we surround ourselves with good options depending on our individual goals.
Most everybody in the Paleo community is very content with the 80/20 rule. As I explained in the last post, in addition to being gluten free (which is the first step in improved health for many), people eating according to the over-all definition of Paleo also exclude the rest of the grain world, legumes, possibly dairy, and sugar in favor of (preferably) free range and grass fed meats, eggs, fish and seafood, with plenty of vegetables, some fruit, and good fats found in olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Well, so what does that look like when you are in the 80 zone vs. the 20 zone? It is such an individual thing! For me, even the 20% is always gluten free with some give and take on the other grains or a bit of sugar. Now and then there will be a small scoop of rice or quinoa, maybe a quarter or a third of a baked potato, hummus, or a sprinkle of sugar on some strawberries. Don’t forget birthdays; we usually share a gluten-free brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce at our local Outback!
I am so used to not eating or drinking sweet things that sodas do not even entice me, and southern sweet tea is impossible. Truly, getting off sugar is not that hard after just a few days, certainly after a week or two. It’s a no brainer. Certainly, if your goal is weight loss, sugar has to go… for the most part. But again, let’s not create Paleo “Nazis” or sugar “Nazis.” Life is to be enjoyed and it is no fun to be around someone who is a royal pain in the fanny at a restaurant by not letting their kids have more than a spot of ketchup on a piece of hamburger because of the sugar!
Last weekend, we attended a fabulous covered dish and BBQ at a friend’s beach house. No real dietary sacrifices were made when eating fabulous Eastern North Carolina pork BBQ! Mmmmmm! There were a few corn chips used to scoop up shrimp dip and taco dip; that was 20 zone corn, but that is okay. Veggies and fruit were on the buffet; no problem. The corn off the cob was great; into the 20 zone but all okay. And the dessert table was groaning of course, but I did bring gluten-free cake, oh-so-slightly sweetened sliced strawberries, and whipped coconut cream for topping; all gluten-free but certainly high on the starchy carb scale. I was happy. Left with a happy belly, too.
So here I sit having helped myself to several servings of gluten-free strawberry short cake during the week, but guess what? My favorite white crop pants do not fit!
Carb consumption is clearly something I must control- along with needing to tone-up more. Remember my article, “Gradual and Consistent?” Well, my personal goal is to work exercise into my daily routine. Starting off with a goal so small, it is a cinch to do and succeed, I have mastered a half plank each morning lasting for up to two minutes! Having learned the art of French brewed coffee, I do my daily plank during the last of the 4 minute brew time. Not much, but a daily success. I have learned that for goal setting, being as specific as possible with when-where-how directly correlates with success, so that brew time each morning is when I do my planks.
Now, I am going to return to my slow squats, kettle bell swing, and step up/down routine by setting another specific time to guarantee success. Slow exercises are actually more effective than rapid movements, I have learned, and they do not have to be repeated as often during the week. If you’d like, I will do a post or two on exercises; let me know.
So, is the beach calling? Instead of chips fried in “Franken oils” and a Coke, at least grab some gluten-free pretzels, cheese, and green tea steeped with fresh mint! Grilled burgers are wonderful, but just don’t serve them with a bun; all of the goodies can go on top and forks work just fine! Egg salad on gluten-free crackers is a personal favorite; or tuna salad or chicken salad! Don’t forget some yummy avocado slices with lemon pepper on top! Pre-sliced carrots, peppers, and squash are tasty by themselves or great dipped in hummus (there’s that 20 zone). It is all good!
Have fun and don’t forget the sun screen!
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