A Few Things I Wish I Knew 20 Years Ago

There are things about being a girl that we take for granted and don’t talk a lot about, but dealing with these things conventionally can sometimes lead us to resorting to solutions that run contrary to our paleo and environmental principals. In the last few years I’ve found some alternatives to conventional girly-type wisdom. I wish I knew about them 20 years ago, but I’m glad that I can pass this knowledge down to my daughter.

Periods & Menstrual Cups

Until a few years ago, I thought the two options I had for dealing with my period were pads or tampons – both of which, apart from being inconvenient, seem not great for the environment given the amount of waste produced. But there really didn’t seem like there was a viable alternative. When I thought of a reusable product, all I could think of was something like this. That seemed even more inconvenient than conventional solutions.

I can’t remember how I heard about menstrual cups, but it was such an epiphany. Sure, at first it sounds incredibly disgusting, but once you get the hang of it (and it took me a while to get the hang of it), I cannot tell you the level of freedom it allows. No worrying about running out of tampons at an inconvenient moment, or carrying them around with you, or changing and discarding them discreetly every four hours. And while it costs about $40, it’s basically paid for itself in a year and so far, it’s lasted way longer than that.

The Diva Cup is my weapon of choice, but depending on where you live, there are an astonishing variety of choices. Who knew! This device has made having a period an order of magnitude less inconvenient. I can’t even explain. You just have to try it.

UTIs & Baking Soda

Not all women experience urinary tract infections, but those who do know that tell tale tingle when you know one is just starting. I get them occasionally, and it usually meant a trip to the doctor and a round of antibiotics (not to mention a week of discomfort). This, of course wreaks havoc on your gut flora and just goes against the way I want to live. In the last few years, I’ve found that I can easily nip the UTI in the bud with a little baking soda.

I’m not kidding. I know it sounds gross, but drinking a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water a few times a day, while disgusting tasting, totally kills the UTI. I had a full-on UTI the first time I tried this one weekend when I was desperate. By the time I got to my GP’s office on Monday, not only was I on the mend, but my urine test came back negative! I wondered at the time if I’d had a UTI at all. Then, the next time it happened, I left a urine sample with the GP before I started the baking soda, and sure enough it came back positive. However, the baking soda did the trick and by the time of my appointment my symptoms were gone and my second test came back negative.

Apparently the ph in the baking soda makes for an inhospitable environment for bacteria. I also drink lots of water. It helps get rid of the disgusting taste of baking soda-water and also aids in clearing out the urinary tract.

Dry Skin & Coconut Oil

As women, we are pretty consumed with facial moisturizers. I don’t know one girlfriend who doesn’t use a daily moisturizer for her face. I bet every woman I know can name the brand she prefers would have a bit of a crisis on her hands if she ran out of it.

One day I ran out. I’d been reading a lot about the wonders of coconut oil. Since I had some for cooking, I thought I’d try it out. Wow. I will never waste my money on moisturizers again. I rarely have a blemish since using coconut oil and my skin is always soft and smooth. Plus, it isn’t full of a bunch of carcinogenic chemicals and if I run out, I always have some on hand down in the pantry. Give it a try. It is also an incredible make-up remover. Even for water-proof mascara.

That’s it for now. I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful.


Ski Prep Time

We had our first ski of the season at Blue Mountain yesterday and realized two things:

FamilyinLakePlacid1. We were in WAY better physical shape last year

2. We better get in shape now if we really want to take advantage of our ski time in Vermont at the end of January.

Luckily, P90X has already figured it out for us. Starting Monday:

Week 1

  • Day 1: Plyometrics
  • Day 2: Yoga X
  • Day 3: Core Synergistics
  • Day 4: Legs & Back
  • Day 5: Kenpo X
  • Day 6: Plyometrics
  • Day 7: Yoga X

Note: There is no “rest day” because of the time constraints of the program.

Week 2

  • Day 1: Core Synergistics
  • Day 2: Legs & Back
  • Day 3: Kenpo X
  • Day 4: Plyometrics
  • Day 5: Yoga X
  • Day 6: Core Synergistics
  • Day 7: Legs & Back

Week 3

  • Day 1: Kenpo X
  • Day 2: Plyometrics
  • Day 3: Yoga X
  • Day 4: Core Synergistics
  • Day 5: Legs & Back
  • Day 6: Yoga X
  • Day 7: Plyometrics

Note: The change at the end is for maximum breakdown during the last hard bit of the 1-month cycle. Now it’s time to slow down before your trip. Hard training during your recovery will negatively affect your ability to perform well.

Week 4

  • Day 1: X Stretch
  • Day 2: Core Synergistics
  • Day 3: Kenpo X
  • Day 4: Cardio X
  • Day 5: Yoga X
  • Day 6: X Stretch
  • Day 7: X Stretch

During your trip, begin the day with some light yoga to warm you up for skiing. Ending each day with X Stretch or something similar will help you perform better the following day. Now rip it up and have fun!

Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge

I’ve decided to do a Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge starting today. I am doing this challenge so that:

  1. I sleep better. My sleep in the last month or two has been anything but restful. Too much wine, too much sugar, too much stress, too much blue light late in the evening. Gotta check myself before I wreck myself.
  2. I reduce my aches and pains. My muscles have been sore for no good reason. If I’m going to be sore I want it to be because I did a lot of pushups.
  3. I control my stress. Work and volunteering has been crazy lately and it’s getting in the way of my sleep and exercise and food choices. Gotta get control of this.
  4. I look better naked. When we first went paleo 2 years ago and had just completed Insanity and P90X I looked AWESOME. I was down to a size 2, I was tight with no muffin top and I felt great. I’d like to feel like that again.
  5. Improve my ski performance this season. Nuff said.

The 21-Day Challenge is good for me because it allows for a little more “lifestyle” than does the Whole30 and it is about more than just food, which I really need. I don’t think Mark is doing a challenge right now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do my own! Wish me luck.

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge
Learn more at Mark’s Daily Apple.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Pudding

pumpkinpieI was just saying to my husband this morning that I really really love pumpkin pie, but really just the filling part and not so much the crust (because we cavepeople don’t do the crust thing). I googled paleo pumpkin pie filling and this awesome looking recipe came up.

I am totally making it tonight. It’s been a crazy-busy week and we haven’t been having the family sit-down dinners that we normally do. Hoping that we can have the trout we got at the farmer’s market (cause it’s great to purchase trout fresh from the fields…) and then have a nice dessert (which is not something we normally do). The kidlets will be thrilled to get something sweet, carby and totally comforting, rather than cold leftovers from the fridge. 🙂

Banana Nut-Butter Muffins

These are the best muffins ever. I ran across this recipe from a friend on Facebook that I haven’t really ever interacted with, and if truth be told, probably shouldn’t really have as a friend, since we went to grade school together and that’s about it. But then she posted this awesome recipe and now I am going to keep her as a friend in case she finds some other awesome recipes that I will enjoy in the future.

May I just say that the best way to make these muffins (from experience – I have made them a lot) is as mini muffins with chocolate bits on top. You can substitute the nut butter for almond flour, but make sure you really grease up the muffin tins if you do this. Otherwise you’ll be wedging them out with a knife and licking the bottom of the pans…just sayin’.

Also – if you choose to use sunflower butter (as I do so that the kidlets can take them to school) be prepared for them to turn a startling blue-green once they cool completely. This is totally normal, but a little off-putting (although it doesn’t change the taste).

Household Cleaner Recipe

I got this recipe for a household cleaner from the EarthEasy site.

32oz bottle sprayerFill a non-aerosol sprak bottle with:

  • 1 tsp borax
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 1/4 tsp castile soap
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil (optional)

This recipe isn’t antibacterial, but I don’t go in for that stuff anyway. I really like this recipe – it works on everything and was even helpful when combined with baking soda in cleaning my stove and oven!

Chia Seed Pudding

This is from the Hungry for Change website. The whole family really enjoys this super-easy pudding. I do a double recipe to make 6 servings. According to the website the chia’s gelatinous nature helps to cleanse the liver and pass toxins into the colon for excretion. Yum!

  • 2 1/2 cups of coconut milk, almond milk or table cream
  • 2 tablespoons of raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients into a jar and shake the crap out of it. Pour into 6 ramekins and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Morning Cuppa Joe

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgI had posted a few weeks ago about my experiments with bullet proof coffee and how that was all going. Fast forward one month and my opinions have largely shifted. I am what some might called addicted to Wellness Mama’s strange coconut, butter concoction now. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning, truth be told.

You may recall that I had said that I was trying to cut down on my coffee consumption and thought that the recipe might help because I really didn’t want a second cup of the stuff! Well, the tables have turned. My coffee consumption is seriously down, but it’s because I don’t really enjoy drinking coffee that isn’t “special recipe” anymore. Whoa!

Anyway – I have a bit of a twist on Wellness Mama’s recipe, so I’m sharing it with you now:

Chuck all of this in your Ninja for 10 to 20 seconds until it’s all frothy. Throw it back into your cup and enjoy! Wash down your probiotics and fish oil with this lovely drink.

I make a variation on this for the kids to make sure they get a good start to the day. At first they didn’t like it, but now they are disappointed when they don’t get it.

  • 1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp of unsalted organic hand churned butter (I wish I could find raw milk or grass-fed in Ontario) (melted)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2-1 tbsp of raw organic honey
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 8000 I/U vitamin D drops

Chuck all of this in your Ninja for 10 to 20 seconds until it’s all frothy. Throw it back into your cup and enjoy!   Wash down your probiotics and fish oil with this lovely drink.

What odd thing do you have in the morning to do your body good?

Stand back, vegetable!


“The failure of fruit and veg to sustain is also why my eyes roll upwards when I here [sic] weight loss experts or health professionals recommend that people eat plenty of vegetables and fruit because “the fibre helps fill you up and keep you full for longer.” My experience, as I’ve said, is that this is largely bullshit.” – Dr. John Briffa

Since we went paleo a couple of years ago, I have failed to share my husband’s verve for lunch salads, nor do I consume near the amount of veg that he does at dinner. Not that I don’t eat a lot of vegetables – I do, but just not nearly as much as he does. And I always felt a little bit bad about that for some reason.


But the truth is, a big salad just doesn’t cut it for me as far as lunches go. If I have a salad for lunch, but 1:15 I’ll be hunting around for something else to eat. I need a big hunk of animal protein and fat (preferably warm) in my belly before I feel sated.

I guess that’s why Dr. John Briffa’s recent blog post resonated with me today. Sure, it’s important to make sure you consume a variety of dark and bright vegetables to ensure you’re nourishing your body (yesterday I had carrots, celery, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, swiss chard and onions, plus an apple and banana) but you also really, really need high quality protein and fat (yesterday I had eggs, bacon, ground beef, beef shank, gravy, coconut oil, fish oil, butter and probably too many spiced nuts).

I’m not sure how people on low fat diets get by, actually. Probably by eating a lot of bread, if I had to guess. Anyway – for whatever reason, this blog post made me feel better about my love/hate relationship with vegetables. I admire them, and they are a side attraction for sure, just not the main event as far as I’m concerned.

What do you think?