Have Yourself a Completely Paleo Christmas

Christmas + Paleo can seem like an impossible task when dinners of Christmas’ past were laden with sugar, bread and other wheat flour foods. Furthermore, scouring the internet to find good paleo recipes for you conventional Christmas favourites can seem like a tiresome and time-consuming task. That’s why, one week from Christmas, I’ve compiled one mother of a round-up of paleo recipes for all aspects of this year’s Christmas feast. Peruse the links below, and decide if you want a traditional turkey dinner with all the gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free trimmings; or, try an unconventional Christmas dinner of roast beef or lamb, and a chocolate dessert. Good luck and enjoy!

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Last year’s completely Paleo Christmas dinner

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How to Stay Paleo this Holiday Season

Christmas 2015 is heavily upon us! You’re probably already in the thick of work Christmas parties, one last meal with friends before the big day, and starting to plan your Christmas dinner. You may have read this post and thought “I actually could’ve done with this post two weeks ago;” but don’t worry. While I acknowledge that this post could’ve been published two weeks ago, let it be a used as a guide on how to possibly continue your festive celebrations, and also reassure you that the extra alcohol and non-paleo foods you may have had these past few weeks are actually okay; being Paleo Perfect shouldn’t be a huge priority right now, (or ever really because that’s too much unnecessary pressure and standards by which to live). This is when, of all times, you should truly exercise the 80-20 rule Mark Sisson advises. Below, I’ve highlighted what I think are the five main concerns us paleo peeps might have around this time of year, as per the series I posted this past week on my Instagram account (follow me?).

 1. Alcohol: 

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Gifts for the Primal Runner – part 2

I personally think the gift of food, or anything food-related, is one of the best gifts you can give, or receive. Here’s a few of my favourites.

For the Primal Eater

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1. Cookbooks: I know cookbooks aren’t the most original gift, but they are one of the best things you can buy for a primal eater, or someone that loves food, cooking and baking in general. I’ve had many bought for me, and I’ve gifted many cookbooks to others as well. I highly recomment these two books that fit the primal bill:

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Gift Ideas for the Primal Runner + giveaway!!!

OR What Danielle would like for Christmas 😉 Whether you’re buying or asking, thoughtful and original gift ideas can be hard to come by at times. Today and tomorrow, I will be featuring some inspiration that will make any runner, any primal eater, (maybe a primal runner?) happy come December 25th.

For the Runner

The obvious gifts would be running clothes and shoes, which any runner would be thankful for, but maybe there are other gifts we’d also appreciate as well…

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#streaks and #challenges over the holidays: update

Three weeks ago,  I told you about how I’d be participating in the #RWrunstreak running challenge and the Travelettes #dailytravelette Holiday Instagram Challenge.  I thought it would be a great way to keep up my running over the festive period and to increase my social networking audience over Twitter and Instagram, plus take some cute and interesting photos. In the process, I learned a few things.

Running every day can get interesting, especially if you’re away for work

I had a very last-minute two-day work trip that took me to the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport. Although the website claimed the hotel had a fitness centre, where I could run on the treadmill after our sessions, when I actually went to do a workout, I discovered this was in fact false advertising. To stick to my #RWrunstreak, I ran a mile around Glasgow Airport: the parking lots, the paved walks, the front of the airport itself. It was a bit strange, but interesting enough, really good! Two days made for two easy miles amidst weary travellers.

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DAy 3: Curl Up with a Book.. a zombie love story. In your hotel room

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DAy 4: Red and Green Starbucks cup from the Starbucks IN MY HOTEL!!!! For Daniel instead though

Sometimes, you get really desperate for photos

The best part about photo challenges is that they make you think outside the box. Yes, you could be literal when the theme for day 15  is ‘Wrapping paper / Wrap it up’ and photograph your Christmas wrapping paper, or you could look at ‘Wrap it Up’ in another way, like when I took a #selfie of my friend Amy and I, wrapped up in our winter running headgear, out on a chilly Sunday morning run.

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DAy 19: Like ice in the Sunshine… uhh, just like this glass Christmas ornament from a student. This is what happens when you do all your photographing at night, in a place where there is no snow

Running everyday leads to #runger

That good old friend that pops up during longer distance training, the one that makes you hungry at times you’ve never been hungry before, like between breakfast and my morning snack, and just before bedtime. Of course, I need to satiate my appetite, so I turned to healthy snacks like dried fruit and nuts, or a wheat cereal with fruit. As a result of #RWrunstreak, and some smarter, healthier eating on my part, I lost about 5 pounds!

My delicious Asian Chicken Salad from the Runner’s World cookbook:

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Running everyday drastically increases your weekly mileage. Who knew?

The two weeks I was doing #RWrunsteak, my mileage went up to 20+miles! This is big for me, they only time I’ve had mileage that high is during my half marathon training. I’m still doing longer runs every Sunday with friends, so that distance (8 miles), plus my normal runs (2 x 4-5 miles), plus four days of 1 mile each ad up.

I also began to look at running in a different way as well: rather than being very rigid with my schedule and when I got my miles in, I rationalised that while I missed my usual Tuesday night 4+ mile run due to being away for work, I still ran four miles altogether that work week. Rather than getting the miles in all at once, I spread it out.

Running everyday hurts. Even at easy pace.

I never had to deal with heavy legs from running everyday, but my hip pain, which was virtually non-existent a few months ago, has flared up, and I’m blaming it on the run streak. As a result, I tweeted this last Friday:

While I’m a bit disappointed to give up, I know that it’s for the best. I want 2014 to be an even better, even faster year of running, so I need to take it easy in my off-season. Instead, I’ve been planking and yoga-ing, trying to loosen up my hips and back, and also continuing to work on my core strength. It’s all worth it!

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Day 9: At least I got to show of my hardware for the year

Off to bed to find some Day 18: Coziness

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Have you had to call it quits on something due to injury?

What’s your most obscure photo challenge interpretation?

First World Problems and what to do about them

Maybe you’ve seen it on Twitter, maybe you’ve seen it on Instagram, heck maybe you’ve even seen it on Facebook: #firstworldproblems. The problems that we have living in developed, first world countries, where quality of life is good, war and conflict are non-existant, and we are treated equally. The problems that we think turn our world upside down, but really, in the grand scheme of things, are just lemons to make lemonade with. The problems that, in retrospect, make you think that good old Scottish phrase of “Get a grip of yourself!”

Like the tattoo says

Like the tattoo says

Today, I had a first world problem kinda day. It started when I got out of the car at work, and ripped my pants (trousers). There was already a tiny rip, so small that I thought I could get away with it until the weekend, when I would buy a replacement pair. That was unfortunately not in the cards, and the rip, high up on my right, inner thigh, got bigger. I thought I could at least get away with it for the school day, then buy a new pair on the way home from work, but this was not in the cards. Just before lunch time, getting ready to leave with a class, I ripped them again, and the hole grew from my inner thigh to my rear thigh. It was too noticeable, and therefore, inappropriate. I needed a solution immediately! I went into town (because my school is in the middle of the countryside, set in the woods – picturesque really), and bought a new pair of pants without any hassle. Or so I thought. I had changed into the new pants in the store, and asked the kind sales assistant girl to throw out my old ones, (which she did, so nice!), and then I headed back to work. Little did I know that I had left the key to my locker, which houses my wallet, mobile phone and car keys while I work, in the old pants! I couldn’t go back to get the key because afternoon classes were about to start, so I called the store and asked them to retrieve the key from the pants. Which they did, thankfully.

I didn’t get a lunch break, nor time to get any work done; add that to an already stressful term with massive changes to the Scottish seconday curriculum,  increasing workload demands, Christmas show preparations, last minute assessments, #RWrunstreak, and some less-than-ideal off-task behaviour from some of the angels I teach, and this made for a very frazzled Danielle. In a nutshell, I felt like this:

I got home late because I had to go into town to get that locker key, then head back to work to pick up my mobile phone, then head home. I had already had a mini breakdown at school, but my amazing colleagues were there to listen. I got home to a husband who had made dinner, who was willing to listen to me vent, and who wanted to do whatever it took to make me feel better again. I vowed to never be one of those women who always praised their husband, but when you’ve got a good one, you want to tell everyone 🙂

Pat asked me “What would Nelson Madela do?” because we had watched his memorial service last night, but also to make a point. If Nelson Mandela can forgive and move forward despite the many hardships he faced, surely I could get over my day of hell, right? I said “He would forgive.” While this isn’t necessarily a case of  forgiveness, I can take my ‘hardships’ and look at them in a different way, from a different perspective.

I ripped my pants and had to buy new ones fast.

At least you had money to buy them and a car to take you there.

I missed my lunch.

At least you have a lunch; some people, including children, don’t have that luxury every day.

I left the locker key in the pants, in the store.

At least you had possessions you thought were important enough to lock up.

I had to go back and forth, back and forth between the town and work today.

At least your colleague that you carpool (lift share) with was totally okay with it, listened to you vent, and made you laugh.

I had a little cry at work today.

At least you had three awesome colleagues there to listen to you, offer their help, and make you feel better.

The same colleagues that bought my this shirt for Christmas

The same colleagues that bought my this shirt for Christmas

There’s too much work to do and no time.

At least you have a job, and a head of Education and principal teachers that value what you do so give you additional responsibilities because they know you can do it.

Some of my students seemed like they couldn’t care less about what they’re doing in school.

But most of them did, and they had really good periods with you. So much so that they made you laugh and smile, and made you proud to be their teacher because they were working hard, making positive contributions to discussions and being creative. You also had one boy achieve a qualification and he was so happy. Your students have helped you learn so much about dealing with difficult and cryptic behaviours, and in the process, you have become an even stronger, even braver person.

I just want it to be December 20th already! (also known as the last day of school before the holiday)

At least you get both Christmas and the New Year off.  And you’re going to Germany for it to see family and friends.

All fair points, all different ways of looking at a situation, all turning negatives into positives. This is what we need to do, all the time. It’s not easy, and on a physiological level, it’s a difficult feat in the heat of the moment when your brain is flooded with cortisol (the stress hormone) that prevents us from thinking with our logical brain and only with our emotional brain,  (ever wonder why, when you’re emotional, you don’t think rationally? This is the reason). I’m fortunate to have a supportive, understanding and mellow yogi-husband, as well as some pretty awesome colleagues I consider friends.

So the next time you have a #firstworldproblem kind of day, you can ask yourself “What would Nelson Mandela do?” and give yourself a healthy dose of perspective.

What do you do to make yourself feel better after a bad day?

What are your Christmas plans?

#streaks and #challenges over the holidays

The problem with December is that it’s such a hectic month, isn’t it? With Christmas, and all that it encapsulates, our routines go out the window.  It’s a challenge to stick to regular eating and exercise regimens in December as every type of indulgence is practically in our face all the time: treats at work, drinks with colleagues, appetizers at parties, big family dinners. The food follows us. And exercise? Again, when our routine is all over the place, it’s difficult to stick to that structure. To sum it all up, it’s all a challenge!

December and the holidays aside, another challenge that I face as a blogger is that I want to increase my audience. I want more people reading this humble blog. It seems that one surefire way to get this done is for me to spend a lot of time on social media. I need to tweet on Twitter, instapost photos on Instagram, and keep spreading the word, all day, every day. But I don’t like living my life all over social media. I often wonder what kind of life those that constantly tweet live? Are they one of those people with their nose in their phone all the time? The type that sits in a busy restaurant, oblivious to their company? These are stereotypes, of course, but my blog roll features many bloggers trying to get away from the constant socialising over social media, more that want to be in the moment.  It seems while they’re trying to pull away from that time-consuming engine, I’m trying to make an effort to use it more. While I refuse to join Pinterest, and have no plans of starting a LinkedIn or Tumblr account, the least I could do is tweet more than twice a week, right? And if I’m going to share more over social media, I might as well get creative with it.

What better way to overcome these many challenges than to face them head on? This is where the #streaks and #challenges come in. My exerise #challenge over the holidays is to do the Runner’s World 2013 Holiday Running Streak: I will run at least one mile a day, every day, from American Thanksgiving to the New Year. And I will tweet about it on Twitter using #RWrunstreak. Check out my progress since Friday below:

Click on any post to follow me on Twitter, or check out my right sidebar for my daily tweets. And apparently, I did Day 3 twice 😉

I’ll also take on another #challenge: a photo challenge. The Travelettes, some pretty cool ladies that travel all over the world, all the time, have started an Instagram challenge for December 2013, the Happy Holiday Edition.

Each day features a different theme for your photo, and how you interpret and present that theme is up to you. Yesterday’s theme was ‘Season of Love’ so I enthusiastically posted two photos with #dailytravelette:

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Our first batch of Christmas cards from family

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Doggy love by the fire

Day 2 (today) was all about ‘Make a Wish;’ I wished that all this laundry, mostly running clothes from the #RWrunstreak, would dry itself! This is when not having a tumble dryer is a pain.

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Believe it or not, this isn’t my first set of #streaks and #challenges I’ve done lately. Last month, I did the 30 day plank challenge, and went from a shaky thirty second plank to a solid two minute plank! And I still keep it up, just because I like the challenge.

It seems I’m not the only blogger trying something new and challenging herself: Andrea, over at On a Fun Run, is also doing a few fitness challenges. Good luck!

Are you doing the #RWrunstreak or #dailytravelette challenges?

What’s your favourite type of challenge?

What do you do to stick to your healthy regimen over the holidays?

Do you like the snow?