Tag Archives: hiking

Paleo Introduction and How It Works


     I wrote an e-mail today to a friend who wanted information about Paleo, I kept the identity secret but thought that this e-mail might help out other people with similar questions. Enjoy. Feel free to e-mail me at paleofitniche@gmail.com for free diet coaching.


   Dear #####,
     I’d love to help you out. I also suffer similar skin problems, I have Celiac’s Disease which can account for around 80% of the country that’s Gluten intolerant. I used to be depressed because I’m a workout junkie and I wasn’t losing the weight, adult acne, dry AND oily skin, gas, flu like symptoms after meals, terrible joints and so one and so forth. Since I’ve changed my diet everything has improved a hundred percent.
      I like to do a combo of Paleo, juicing, and non-dairy smoothies. The first tool to help you more than any diet is to educate you and your family on what these commercialized, anti-nutrient, and over processed foods do to us.
     Grain and legumes fall into the same category of anti-nutrients. What this means is that the plant has a natural defense mechanism to protect itself from being eaten. How it does this is by coating our cells with a barrier that keeps us from accepting vitamins and nutrients. This same thing also happens when we eat things like potato chips with fake anti-nutrient oils and chemicals. These anti-nutrients also cause inflammation all over our bodies, accounting for pain and bloating.
     Dairy isn’t a natural thing for us to be ingesting. Cow milk is only for baby cows,and milk for humans is only appropriate for young toddlers, up until around the age of 6. Milk is a cellular growth food, it can speed up the aging process and how fast cancer cells grow once we are too old for it. It’s important to look for signs of bloating, gas, and mucus buildup after eating milk which can be signs of intolerance.  Some paleos eat cheese in small amounts, I try to avoid it for the most part just because I notice my bowel function isn’t right and I bloat and get gas. Milk also contains a lot of infection, unless you go organic you will be consuming a lot of cow utter puss from the infections they get (Gross I know) and when we consume diseased animal foods those same diseases can store up in our tissues, along with anti-biotics and bovine growth hormones (why girls get their periods earlier now a days, also a source of cancer as well).
     Then we need to look at sugar, sugar is in everything. The way we look at foods as being different in category doesn’t mean anything once it’s breaking down in our bodies, grain, processed corn, dairy, and fake sweeteners cause our insulin levels to spike and to encourage the onset of Type 2 diabetes which is reported to affect 1 out of 2 people in just under 10 years. A recent documentary I watched had a nutrition doctor giving a speech to a local school. He wheeled out a wheel barrow full of sugar cubes and dumped it onto the stage, then explained to the parents this was the sugar one child would consume in a year just from school milk.
     Sugar and Carbs are too easily found now, and so rarely found in nature which is where our real food is supposed to come from,.We would never rationally be eating grain and sugar in large amounts if we lived in our natural state like the cavemen did. Which is where Paleo comes from, it is a science based nutritionally balanced diet our ancestors ate during the peak of physical health for the human race and what we are still genetically geared to eat today, but with a twist so we can still enjoy cooking fun and delicious varieties of food.
*Haven’t we evolved?
Yes in the our lifestyles are different, which is why it’s even more important now that we eat better. In our day and age we need to fill our plates with healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Our digestive structure has not changed a bit.
*Didn’t cavemen die around 35?
Yes, but they didn’t have the advantage of modern medicine that we have today, child birth was very dangerous, and the quick fixes we have become accustomed to in the ER. However, the elderly that lasted still thrived better though, unlike today.
*Meat, eggs, butter, how about cholesterol levels?
The idea that consuming foods in high saturated fat and cholesterol has been medically debunked and now is just a tool for diet companies to sell their products. i.e the Framingham Study, the Honolulu Heart Program Study, and the Japanese Lipid Intervention Trial.
   Marketing campaigns by the food industry have confused everyone to know end, saying fat is the enemy and we should live on low-fat grain, corn, and rice based cereals loaded with sugar, crackers (sugar), and that whole-grain is some how heart healthy. They have their best interest in mind because it is a high yielding, low-cost product. Pharmaceutical companies also have a great influence because they supply drugs to “fix” or “band-aid” the problem which only end up making the problem able to stick around unnoticed until it develops into something irreversible like a massive heart attack, cancer, diabetes, or stroke.
Why eat Paleo food?
Your life will be enhanced. You will look good be healthy, feel amazing, live longer and have….
. Optimal Brain Function
. Balanced Moods
. Fat Loss
. Healthy Joints
. Strong bones and teeth (a paleo nutritionist told me during a seminar she had some people claim to regrow parts of teeth).
. Clear Skin
. Incredible Strength and Fitness
Here’s a few folks before and after Paleo
before and after paleo blake-before-and-after-copy1 paleo and crossfit compared to p90x
Here are some signs that your current diet isn’t working for you……
1. Body fat Storage: The World Health Organization believes that in 2015 2.3 billion over weight adults and 700 million or more will be obese (fat storage to the point of being unhealthy).
2. You’re a Serial Snoozer: The way you feel in the morning is an indication of your general health. At peak health our bodies will awaken naturally like a timer after 8 hours of sleep. We get up after struggling with which hygiene practice to for-go that morning for a few more minutes in bed, pump ourselves full of caffeine, then crash, and  day-dream about getting back to our bed’s. Sounds awful.
3. You Fart, A lot: Excessive gas shows us that the foods we’re eating aren’t good or working right with our digestive system. Sherry A Rogers, author of “Detoxify or Die” explains that the road to good health is paved with good intestines. Listen to your body, once you start eating clean it will let you know what foods it doesn’t want or recognize.
4. Skin Issues: Skin suffers the most after eating and drinking over the weekend. Inflammatory problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis are even more serious cries for help from your body, Topical creams don’t fix the root of the problem, which is totally fixable. Your skin is a the reflection of your health, if your skin isn’t good you are on a toxic overload. Once your gut becomes impaired and unable to alleviate these toxins it sends to out of your skin.
Inflammatory Foods to Avoid:
Sugar, poly saturated vegetable oil and hydrogenated trans fats, commercial dairy, processed and grain fed meat, iodized salt, alcohol (if you must drink try to stick to red wine and tequila), preservatives, imitation flavors, fake sweeteners, and additives…basically if you don’t know what it is either does your body. Read your labels before buying 🙂
The solution to these problems is to heal from the inside out so we can
*balance blood sugar levels, digestive support, reduced inflammation, improved detoxification
How do I change my mind to change my health? As told in The Paleo Primer
1. No excuses, with so many healthy recipes to choose from there are no excuses to not eat well.
2. Acknowledge to yourself this isn’t a diet…it’s a lifestyle.
3. Realize that health food does not mean bland and boring, most people think health is a chicken breast and steamed broccoli….would you eat a burger and just a bun? no way you’d dress it up, learning these new recipes is fun and once you realize healthy isn’t boring most people get over joyed, we all love to eat.
4. Know that no one can’t afford to not do this, people have a conception that health food is timely and expensive. It is better to invest a little more time and money into today and paying for tons of health care later and wishing we had lived differently. Plus who is tired of starting their day out feeling like complete crap?
5. Love that you can still have a social life, all you need to do is just modify your foods at a rest or ask for no bun, we don’t need to be rude about it or feel more informed but just simply state you have a sensitivity or allergy, let the rest know how to prepare your food, and let them know to expand their menu, we now see more diet friendly items on menus. GF, V.
6. Accept that you can live without pizza or cake, but you don’t totally have to. Many paleo friendly recipes include sweets and comfort foods but made with whole foods that don’t do as much harm and won’t leave you feeling off.
7. Believe that you will see results. It took a long time to get the way we are so we can’t expect a 6 pack in a month, it will take time but the benefits will show up in many ways and eventually to your ideal weight.
I hope this helps you out in understanding how it all works. I personally like to do juice cleanses to jump-start my healing process as well as eat paleo foods. If you have Netflix I recommend “Hungry for Change”, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, and “Food Inc.” in that order. It will educate very quickly and give you an extra push toward the goals you want and they are free to watch.
Feel free to keep contacting me about changing your lifestyle 🙂 its great practice for being a Health Coach.

What the $%^# is Paleo? and Why do I Care? Here’s My Story

                                                       What the $#%@ is Paleo?

         ” Paleo” or the “Caveman Diet” is a diet associated with the “Paleolithic Era”  and how our ancestors ate; it also looks like they might have known a thing or two about food that we don’t.  Often in these recent days we have fallen prey to fast and easy conveniences in our daily lives; Whether it be texting when we can call, driving three miles down the street when we could have walked, or eating out in restaurants and fast food joints.  We do these things simply because we are Americans, we live extremely full lives and stressful ones at that.  We are also a country riddled with disease, “The health of Americans is far worse than the health of people in other countries despite the fact that we spend more money on health care,” says report author Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH.  So why is this?

Recipes, Information, Exercises, and Motivation

Number of deaths for leading causes of death for 2011 according to the CDC

  • Heart disease: 597,689 (poor diet, smoking, inflammation, and sugar)
  • Cancer: 574,743 (genes, poor lifestyle, poor diet, smoking, no exercise, radiation, and environmental factors)
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080  (smoking, infections, genetics)
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476 (being over-weight, smoking, poor lifestyle, diabetes, poor diet)
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494  (genes, poor lifestyle, environmental factors)
  • Diabetes: 69,071 (obesity, genes, poor diet, inactivity)
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476 (infections, toxins, and auto-immune disease, which is a big part of why Paleo is so good for us…but we’ll get to that later)
  • Influenza and Pneoniuma: 50,097 (poor-immune functions)
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

As you can see above its safe to say that with today’s bevy of information pouring out about all corners of our broken food system, our lifestyles are the culprits.  If you would like you learn more about what is happening to your food on its way to your body, I recommend some research in your free time. I will post a few of my favorite documentaries that are available on Netflix at some point soon.

so freaking enlightened

A lot of people are starting to wake up to our poor diets being the cause of our untimely, costly, and avoidable deaths.  Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan,  and Pescetarian are all forms of healthier eating.

The Paleo diet however, is the only diet I have found and tried along with countless others that actually works for me. Black and White NO BS I LOVE food ! I mean I’m a culinary arts major, my favorite hobby is cooking for people, eating, and food porn. I used to think that because I was a foodie I was supposed to have an insatiable appetite and along with this comes the pounds…So what do we all do first? Well usually working out seems better than giving up your favorite foods, right?

I spent a long time in the gym with no results, and I work-out really hard. My gym sessions usually last between 2-3 hours a day and consist of constant changing high resistance interval training, there is really no way why no one would lose weight doing this along side eating “healthy”.  I use healthy very loosely because I have learned in my own personal research over the years that things being sold to us as “healthy” aren’t, they’re just cheap and business is business.


Needles to say I was becoming very frustrated, insecure, and dis-heartened by my ability to not lose weight…..and isn’t the gym supposed to give you energy? I was tired all of the time, moody, and depressed.  I figured I just had a slow metabolism and I was doomed to deal with not being at my ideal weight anymore…over the years I’ve done nothing but research food, diets, diet pills (which worked great for a year until I became almost a delusional anxiety case, developed fibrosis in my left breast from the caffeine, and my thyroid gland was also becoming affected by this, so I stopped. Slowly re-gained the weight and double time! I look at pictures of myself and the word for myself was swollen. I had accepted that this was my size and I would just deal with it.

Then I started to hear more about auto-immune diseases, and gluten allergies being the culprit of a lot of our little problems that cause an over all large amount of damage to our bodies.


Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune disease affects up to 50 million Americans, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy body cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function. There are as many as 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Many of them have similar symptoms, which makes them very difficult to diagnose. It is also possible to have more than one at the same time. They usually fluctuate between periods of remission (little/no symptoms) and flare-ups (worsening symptoms). There are no cures for autoimmune diseases, so treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms.

Autoimmune diseases often run in families, and 75 percent of those affected are women (AARDA). African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans also have an increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease.

  • What Are Some of the Most Common Autoimmune Diseases?

    The following are some of the more common autoimmune diseases:

    • rheumatoid arthritis—inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues
    • systemic lupus erythematosus—affects skin, joints, kidneysbrain, and other organs
    • multiple sclerosis—affects the brain and spinal cord
    • celiac sprue disease—a reaction to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine
    • pernicious anemia—decrease in red blood cells caused by inability to absorb vitamin B12
    • vitiligo—white patches on the skin caused by loss of pigment
    • scleroderma—a connective tissue disease that causes changes in skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs
    • psoriasis—a skin condition that causes redness and irritation as well as thick, flaky, silver-white patches
    • inflammatory bowel disease—a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon and small intestine
    • Hashimoto’s disease—inflammation of the thyroid gland
    • Addison’s disease—adrenal hormone insufficiency
    • Graves’ disease—overactive thyroid gland
    • reactive arthritis—inflammation of joints, urethra, and eyes; may cause sores on the skin and mucus membranes
    • Sjögren’s syndrome—destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dry eyes and mouth; may affect kidneys and lungs
    • Type 1 diabetes—destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas

    I began to discover that many of my problems seemed to coincide with having an auto-immune problem. I also started to pay attention to the fact that whenever I’d eat at a restaurant,  no matter what I’d get mucus buildup, sneeze, and started coughing like crazy once I was done eating. I have SAD (seasonal affected disorder), allergies, lethargy, mood swings, bad eyesight, acne, very bad joints and a torn ACL, Plantar’s,  constipation, eczema, and a bad shoulder due to a crash. I felt like I was 90 and I was only 24!



I became frustrated with myself and decided I needed to get back to nature where I was from in NH and to hike (hiking is when I feel most at peace and my thoughts just seem to become so clear (probably due to the negative ions in the air, also in ocean air), one day soon I plan to hike the Appalachian Trail).

So I went up north and spent some time in nature, then it occurred to me maybe I should just stop eating grains, beans,and dairy and see how that goes for me (mostly because of what I was eating on the trails, there’s not a lot of cheese, bread, and sugar around and every die-hard hiker knows those aren’t good things to load up on before going on a 10-20 mile hike.) I was noticing though how my body was reacting to the food I was making for myself, mostly for energy, I wasn’t trying to heal anything.

So I decided to stick with it and not eat dairy, beans (legumes), or non-naturally occurring sugars. My diet was pretty consistent of a fresh berries, water, and coconut milk smoothie along with two eggs over easy for breakfast and I’d bring nuts with me if I got hungry. For lunch I would just try and have veggies, soup, salad, and for dinner I would either have turkey, chicken, lamb, or bison with more veggies prepared some way. I still like my alcohol in the evening so I switched to wine from beer…and one glass when you are clean eating is all you need trust me, drunk as a skunk off two.  So essentially I was doing Paleo and didn’t realize it. It just started to all make sense to me, maybe I wasn’t giving my body what it needed and that’s why I was over eating, because I was really starving inside on a cellular level. My skin became very vibrant, my hair was growing in silky, my body felt strong and young, my ummm GI-Tract was definitely healthy..(no one tells you how much poop your going to deal with the first week of eating clean…that alone was disturbing, to know all that was just hanging around) . Once we cut out the processed refined foods that have no nutritional value and only harm our bodies on a cellular level, we see awesome things happen. These positive side effects that usually start about a week into Paleo become pretty obvious, mentally and physically.


I was happier, more excited to wake up and wake up early, I felt beautiful inside and out, every issue I had been experiencing started to become less of a bother, it was awesome.

Then I fell off the wagon, but this was the most important thing I could do. Without becoming unhealthy again, I wouldn’t really appreciate and understand how eating bad can really affect the body and mental state.  First thing that went was my joints and feet and I started to develop Plantar’s Faciitis, it is a super painful almost snapping feeling along your arch and it takes about 9 months to heal with physical therapy, my knees and hips started to inflame, my skin started to become uneven looking and acne came back, my hair started to get dry again, and my body was losing tone and gaining weight.

When this began to happen, it really happened very slowly which is why no one really notices these things about themselves. I just started to wear makeup and straight iron my hair again like most girls. I decided I was going to eat whatever I wanted and I didn’t care if I gained a little weight, my depression has a tendency to lead me to do this with food, especially getting into the habit of using food as a reward for something,  we can always find a reason to justify eating something we know isn’t good.

I moved back to Charlotte, NC. I picked up pretty un-healthy habits to stay skinny..smoking, diet soda (I never drank soda before I worked in a bar), and eating whatever I felt like..justifying it somehow to myself. I kept my weight fairly under control but I didn’t look or feel healthy at all (I just faked it with makeup), I could barely get up for work and by the time I got home I just wanted to sit on the couch until I got tired. I stopped having energy to go to the gym as often and started to dodge it, losing a lot of muscle tone and started to get…cellulite…I know its normal but not all over your body and not for me (probably because of rapid weight loss and gain). Once I learned it was genetic and really isn’t fat distribution but actually how your skin is attached to the muscle, I became very dis-heartened.  I still wanted to get back to where I was though before  during the summer in New Hampshire.


All my physical goals and dreams of being back in peak condition  were brought to a pretty fast stop when I tore my ACL while I was skiing. Growing up in the North East I loved to ski, it is in my family’s blood from my father who was a ski jumper, cross country from my mom, or to my uncle who skis all over the world all year as an instructor.

I didn’t realize how bad it was going to be, essentially after you are able to walk on your own again in about 1-2 weeks you find that you’ve lost the ability to use side to side motion..at all. My knee would re-tear and I would have to experience the pain and go through the same re-healing process. I could have gotten surgery but it’s around $15,000.00. After a year of babying my left leg I had lost almost all of my strength in it..and my body showed it.

Finally after a year I was able to start walking again on a treadmill, but my knee would be so inflamed afterwards it wasn’t helping at all. I decided to stick with very mild exercise and just try to eat better, like I did in NH.

I became very bored with my same meals everyday of chicken, salad, and eggs…like I said cooking is one of my biggest if not my biggest passion in life. Cooking healthy isn’t really fun when your on a boring diet, you just do it. Until I discovered Paleo around Christmas of 2013 while I was looking for a deviled egg recipe.

I found the recipe online for a Christmas party and it called for Paleo mayonnaise. I felt like kind of a idiot running around the grocery store asking for puh-lay-oh mayonnaise, which I thought was just fancy mayo. I started searching and realized it was homemade mayo, who the hell would want to make their own mayo?                      paleo pyramid

I didn’t really give it much thought until I started to see it pop up around my health sites I like to visit.  I saw the rules and it started to make sense to me that what I was doing that summer was actually a serious healthy way of eating and also one that combated auto-immune disease…which made sense why my body responded so well and so quickly to that way of eating. I realized I needed to go back to this because I was learning that all my ailments could potentially be fixed with food, and the recipes looked so amazing! Finally a diet with so much resource and geared towards people who love food and eating…JACKPOT!

I started a few months ago and I can say I’ll never go back to the prescribed American diet of bread, dairy, bad fats, and sugar. Here is how my reaction the Paleo diet went and where I currently am .

  •       Headaches, tired, muscle aches, nausea, chills, gas, extreme cravings for sugar and salt, and diarrhea (this is normal and lasts a few days to a week, depending on how toxic your system is)
  •      Energy (a lot of energy),  better sleep, normal bowel functions (which is very important for many reasons)
  •      Not needing deodorant, unless I have alcohol or bad food, my skin starts to glow, my attitude is 100% better in every aspect
  •      I feel smarter…I know this sounds strange but I no longer feel like the foggy headed lazy couch potato that I was becoming, I feel quick-witted and constantly creative again…probably since I was a kid to be honest. I can draw up information easier in conversation, and I have become much more in-tune with my personal self. I no longer get angry at the little things in life, mostly because I can rationalize things better or it’s because I have the energy to accomplish tasks that used to stress me out.

Now I am most thankful because my knee has made almost a full recovery and I am quickly heading back to that accomplished, healthy, and fitness oriented woman I used to be.


When we eat foods that nature intended we eat our bodies begin to even out, problems caused by a lack of nutrients are fixed. We no longer eat like we are starving all the time, we get full very fast and stay full. I attended a seminar on the Paleo diet, the nutritionist actually reported people growing back teeth and repairing very fast from injury.  It really is something everyone should try just to feel the benefits, and then control your diet and what you want to eat through trial and error to see how your body reacts. If you become gassy, un-satisfied, inflamed,fatigued, or show signs of mucus after eating then that food doesn’t work with your body and could potentially weaken your cells. However, we won’t know what foods do this to us without a clean slate to experiment with.

I like to do a cleanse before I eat this way, to really just get everything out of the way (bloating, water retention, energy, and so forth, but this can be pretty dramatic for new beginners, so it might be easier to achieve detox through food).

  • What Are Some of the Most Common Autoimmune Diseases?

    The following are some of the more common autoimmune diseases:

    • rheumatoid arthritis—inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues
    • systemic lupus erythematosus—affects skin, joints, kidneysbrain, and other organs
    • multiple sclerosis—affects the brain and spinal cord
    • celiac sprue disease—a reaction to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine
    • pernicious anemia—decrease in red blood cells caused by inability to absorb vitamin B12
    • vitiligo—white patches on the skin caused by loss of pigment
    • scleroderma—a connective tissue disease that causes changes in skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs
    • psoriasis—a skin condition that causes redness and irritation as well as thick, flaky, silver-white patches
    • inflammatory bowel disease—a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon and small intestine
    • Hashimoto’s disease—inflammation of the thyroid gland
    • Addison’s disease—adrenal hormone insufficiency
    • Graves’ disease—overactive thyroid gland
    • reactive arthritis—inflammation of joints, urethra, and eyes; may cause sores on the skin and mucus membranes
    • Sjögren’s syndrome—destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dry eyes and mouth; may affect kidneys and lungs
    • Type 1 diabetes—destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancrease.



We look at things sometimes as being just black and white, we think fitness and diet is for people who want a six-pack. I think that fitness is something that naturally comes along with a full-life(we are designed  for physical fitness it’s in our genes), you are able to operate with a full palate of vibrancy instead of just making it through the day and throwing yourself into bed and waking up miserable and in pain for some reason.

It has been fun becoming part of this community of like-minded people and learning everyday more about exercise, and food as medicine which has side effects worse than the problem sometimes, as far as I can see there is no cures yet for all these things and that might just because you won’t ever be able to fix a life-time of damage with a pill.


I look forward to growing this page full of content I really haven’t been able to find all in one place. Information, recipes, exercises, and science.

Thank you for reading, I hope my story somehow inspires others to explore other options for dealing with health issues, or just wanting to learn how to cook healthy for your workouts 🙂