Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guest Post

Here is the guest post, as promised:) 

My name is Shelli and I'm Briana's younger sister. At the beginning of her blog she told you of her journey with the primal lifestyle and what a difference it has made for her. Well, I was on the sidelines watching the changes and decided to try it as well. But first, a little background... 

I'm nothing like Briana. I was effected by the normal american diet with stomach issues, depression, and being over weight. All through life I believed it was normal for my stomach to feel upset at least once a day or every other day. That is what it had been like for as long as I can remember. Also, when I got stressed I would have shooting pains and ulcer-like symptoms. Probably the most affected aspect was that I had been conscious of my weight since I was in third grade. I even remember the day that I came home from school and asked my mom why I was fat. I even said "fat"! I had asked this because several kids had asked me. I didn't have an answer. Neither did my mom, honestly. Lastly, I had episodes of depression throughout my life. Some mild and some pretty drastic. Mild consisted of little interest in anything and other times drastic to the point where I couldn't find a reason to get out of bed and wanted to avoid people completely. I hated anything and everything and would get upset over a butterfly. The butterfly's not true, but you get the picture! 

Now and then I would go on a run with Briana. After a while it became an outlet for me as it did for her. I also loved being outside: hiking, riding horses... anything and everything outside sounded good to me. I was active and also ate just like everyone else, so why was I so physically different? 

Then, Briana told me about 'The Primal Blueprint' and the 21 day challenge. It made perfect sense! I jumped into the challenge within the next week and my stomach felt completely different by the second day. It had not even made a peep nor did I feel gross... nothing. By the end of the first week, my body was looking different, too. The bloating was gone and I lost at least 5 pounds. By the end of the second week, I was a very different person and by the end of the 21 day challenge my results were phenomenal. It was night and day! I wasn't in my constant haze, I felt awake and alert all day! Overall, I was happy and my body seemed to handle life stressors as I was giving it the nutrients it needed. All of my clothes were fitting loosely. I am now never worried about how things fit on me. I feel okay about trying on new clothes and I am now a size 7 from a size 12! 

Needless to say, I love this way of live. It makes my body happy and it makes me overall happy! It can be difficult now and again as I am a college student, but I can actually tell those kids in third grade now why I was "fat". I also understand what it takes to make and keep a healthy body and mind. 

Here is my before and after picture!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Happy Saturday!

Happy Saturday! Today my husband and I went to our local farmer's market and stocked up on some goods for the upcoming weeks. Check out these large-and-in-charge blueberries...

My cute husband is on a pickling spree! He has bought pickling cucumbers every week for the past few weeks to pickle along with cabbage and cauliflower. He ferments them by using distilled water. If you use tap water, you would let it set a while due to the chlorine content. It's actually very easy {according to my husband!} We let them sit for a few weeks {sometimes less} and enjoy with meals or for snacks.

It is delicious to say the least! 


Tomorrow's guest post...
My lovely sister Shelli's Primal story!

You will love her :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fit Friday

This is a curse word to my ears, but it's a functional movement {to lift up kids/babies? who knows...}
I like this first video for you to get an idea of the movement all together. I also love that it is emphasized to explode your hips and ensure that you have full hip extension before the bar is extended. The power in your hips is what will help you get the bar up.

This second video is great  for breaking down the steps, so great....that I'm not going to repeat them {you're welcome!} 

Any questions?

Let's try a WOD... a really popular, er, well-known, Crossfit WOD:


For time:

21-15-9 reps of


Like all the WOD's I post, modify as necessary. If you have dumbbells, use those instead of the barbell. If you don't have a pull-up bar, perform chair dips or go get on the playgrounds monkey bars!

"Fran" is a WOD Crossfitters use to determine how they are doing in their fitness. As time goes by, one will see a decrease in their "Fran" time. It's used as a base to see one's progress. So, write down your "Fran" time!

The above picture shows the aftermath of an almost Rx'd {prescribed or not scaled/modified} WOD. In the barbell picture there is a spot of blood from that nasty old callous/blister that won't go away! I have taken 2 days of rest after this workout. The Rx'd 135# deadlifts played a number on my lower back muscles.

This was the WOD:

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of

chest to bar pull-ups
box jumps {30"/24"}
deadlift {195/135#}

Any questions?

Update on my "project": it's coming along very well! eeek! Will post about it in a couple weeks:)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Food For Thought

I was reading 'The Primal Blueprint' the other day and wanted to share a paragraph with you...

I was reading the summary section after the 10 Primal Blueprint laws were given {these are mentioned in my post explaining what being primal means} and it dawned on me, "WOW! That really is it. Everyone would want to know this-how easy it is to be healthy and look great without the stress and constant worry of not doing enough."

If the picture is too small, it reads, "Now you can enjoy natural, delicious, nutrient-dense foods that promote health and effortless weight management by moderating insulin production. Now you have permission to back off from uncomfortable workouts and regimented schedules and instead enjoy an active lifestyle with regular low-intensity aerobic movement punctuated by occasional brief and very intense efforts. You can even hang out in the sun and take a nap in the name of health!"
-'The Primal Blueprint' by Mark Sisson

Who doesn't want a simple, yet effective, lifestyle? I truly believe in the saying to "simply your life" in order to be happy. In today's world, it seems to be the opposite.

{This picture was changed to black & white via instagram}

It was enough for me to try it out and it was simple! All I did was change the way I ate, kept harmful chemicals out of my body, and moved as much as possible at a slow pace. My results were clear skin, energy all day, fat loss, the ceasing of abdominal issues, and just feeling good all day long.

That's it and I hope you try it, too!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Primal Project

I have a project underway and I am anxious to share the results with you in a matter of weeks!
Patience for now...

In the meantime, I will soon have the pleasure of sharing a success story of a very close friend {like, sister close;)} who completed the 21 day challenge.

Meet my gorgeous sister {before the challenge}!

Like the rest of my family, I excitedly told my sister about the Primal/Paleo lifestyle and how life changing this knowledge and application is. Later, this lovely sister of mine completed the 21 day challenge soon after I had and told me she could never go back to the way she ate/lived before the challenge {this is a very common phrase among the Primal/Paleo folk!}

Although we are sisters, we have struggled with our own mild health issues, thus having some different results along with many similar results. 

I am excited to share very shortly!

ALL of my two sisters;) and I at my wedding {pre-challenge}.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fit Friday

The last 2 days of Crossfiting was rough, to say the least. Not that the WOD's were insane {I actually looked forward to the WOD's and thought, "Ah, I can do that! Piece of cake."} But I was wrong. SO wrong. It is so hot and so humid right now. If you're in a warm place I suggest (1) water and lot's of it, (2) chalk up those sweaty hands during your workout {remember my nasty callous picture?}, (3) eat primal, folks!

{Another favorite fluid source of mine besides water. Delish.}

I promised a few days ago to discuss the Clean and Hang Clean. My favorite olympic lift and functional movement {Thrusters are another story...Fit Friday next week, perhaps?}

Okay, so check out this woman doing 5 sets of 3 reps of the Hang Power Clean. She is amazing.

I want to discuss a few things...
(1) This is called a hang power clean instead of a hang squat clean because there is only a partial squat rather than a full squat. You notice in the video she does a full squat due to how heavy the bar is which is a squat clean, NOT a power clean.
(2) Like she showed us, use a "hook grip" anytime you are pulling weight. When pushing weight, you don't need the hook grip.
(3) Let's review the set up: place hands shoulder width apart on bar {your hands are about a thumb length apart from your legs}, feet also shoulder width apart, hook grip {thumbs under fingers}, knees slightly bent, bar resting in hang position {above knees}, shoulders behind bars, and face forward.
(4) Let's review the movement: explode your hips forward {there will be a slight jump} with shoulder shrug to get the bar moving, the bar will be close to your body moving upward like you're zipping a jacket, pop hips completely forward, get under the bar and catch bar at the shoulders {rack position} with your elbows UP.

Here's a Power Clean:

A full clean will be starting from the ground in a squat with your back flat and head looking straight ahead like you're going to do a Deadlift. Everything else above applies except for the starting position. You are also moving the bar longer distance than hang clean, so remember when you are standing up to do a good shoulder shrug to get the bar moving. 

With both the power clean and hang power clean it's important to remember to explode the bar up when you pop your hips. That part should be fast and explosive.

Always stay strong in your core, take a deep breath and hold right before you do a lift or pull, and keep your weight on your heels.

FFFF: fun fact for future...a high hang is with the bar starting at your hips!

Would you like a little WOD to do at home?

21-15-9 {repetitions} for time:

Hang Power Cleans
Box Jumps

{So, do 21 hang power cleans, 21 box jumps, 21 burpees. Then the next set is 15 hang power cleans, 15 box jumps, 15 burpees and so on.}

Modify for box jumps if needed. Use something sturdy or use a chair that is secure. I sometimes go outside and use a bench across the street from us.
Burpees: from the standing position, put your hand on the ground, jump back with your feet so you're in a push-up position, do a push-up, jump your feet back to your hands, stand up and jump raising your hands in the air or clapping behind your head.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Primal Lemon Pepper Chicken in the Crock Pot!

Today it was hot AND humid, so it was sounding pretty nice to cook in the crock pot instead of steaming up the house with dinner {plus, I was lazy from my morning Crossfit WOD...hello throw the dinner in a dish and let it cook itself!}.
Currently, we have a lot of chicken sitting in our freezer and we've officially eaten all the good stuff {wink, wink}, so I checked out some crock pot recipes for chicken and came across one that sounded delicious...
But, of course, I had to turn it Primal by tweaking the recipe. Here 'tis...

Lemon Pepper Chicken ingredients:

4 chicken thighs
1/4c coconut flour
1t ground black pepper
1/4c butter
2T dry italian dressing mix
1/2c fresh lemon juice
1/2c chicken broth {you can make this yourself or I used some natural chicken broth from our co-op.}

Dry Italian Dressing Mix:

1T garlic salt
1T onion powder
2T dried oregano
1t ground black pepper
1/2t dried thyme
1t dried basil
1/4t celery seeds
1T sea salt

I used my mortar and pestle to grind up all ingredients and mix together {you will have some're welcome!}

1. Trim off chicken thigh fat, rinse, and pat dry.
2. Mix together the coconut flour and pepper in a small bowl or plate.
3. Coat the chicken thighs with your flour/pepper mixture {this will be a thin layer}.
4. Melt butter in a saucepan {I used my cast iron pan} on the stove over medium heat.
5. Once the butter has melted and starts to sizzle, place the chicken thighs in the pan and let cook until just golden brown on all sides {do not cook it through}.
6. Coat crock pot dish with coconut oil and place chicken in crock pot.
7. Sprinkle 1T of the dry italian dressing mix over chicken.
8. Mix the chicken broth and lemon juice together and pour over the chicken thighs. Sprinkle the last remaining tablespoon of the dry italian dressing mixture over the chicken thighs.
9. Cook on low for 4hrs.


This is how I spent the majority of the 4hrs waiting for dinner to be done :) 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Today I went to Crossfit and wanted to share a fun little Crossfit WOD {Workout Of the Day} that was mingled in with our WOD today! It's called "Cindy". Try this at home. No equipment required. Okay, maybe a pull-up bar, but you could modify the pull-ups by doing chair dips instead. Although nowhere near the full body experience. But do what you've got to do!

If you cannot do a pull-up well, just try it! Eventually you will get it :) Other ways to modify the pull-ups are (1) jumping pull-ups {this is what I started out with for WOD's} and (2) kipping pull-ups using a rubber band or without a rubber band {I now no longer need a rubber band!}.

Here is a great video showing the two modified pull-ups:

I love what he says at the end about a "real world situation"when discussing why we have the back of our hands face us rather than our palms when performing pull-ups. This is a functional movement, folks!


AMRAP {As Many Repetitions As Possible} in 20 min

5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 air squats

*To modify push-ups, use your knees instead of feet. Remember to keep hands out and close to your sides rather than aligned with your shoulders.

Here is what our WOD consisted of today in honor of Coach Jay E's Birthday from Crossfit Inguz:

AMRAP in 20 min

1 hang clean {135/95#}
1 round of "cindy"
2 hang cleans
1 round of "cindy"
3 hang cleans
1 round of "cindy"
and so on and son on....

I love the clean! We can discuss the clean and hang clean in detail this coming Fit Friday.

I was able to complete exactly 9 reps of the hang cleans and rounds of "Cindy" with my specified bar weight and doing kipping pull-ups. But with the humidity....

My callouses ripped.

Be sure to chalk up or do this in your air-conditioned house ;)


Friday, July 12, 2013

Fit Friday

I hope you enjoyed Cecilia Wong's guest post by me this past Monday! If you haven't read it, you can check it out here

I have been a little MIA this week because one of my younger brothers flew ALL the way from Arizona to visit :) 

{Chalking up my hands during a workout.}

My brother and I went to Crossfit the other day and we did a WOD {Workout Of the Day} which included deadlifts. I love the deadlift. I do not have a lot of strength in my lower back and now that I am starting to get older {emphasis on starting} this lift is helpful in strengthening those back muscles to help prevent future injuries {plus it gives you a great looking back}. This functional movement also works on your legs and gluteus muscles. 

Here is quick video teaching the deadlift.

I love how coach John Benz focuses on the posture before the lift. No matter how many times you have done a lift, it's always important to focus on your posture in order to have efficiency and to prevent injury. So, head neutral, chest up, shoulders back, abdomen tight, bar close to legs, switch grip {one hand facing up and the other down}, follow the bar up the shins and thighs, and finish with your hips forward/open. Never pull with your arms. Use your legs and tighten that stomach in order to not hurt your back.
It might also be helpful to review squats from last friday's 'Fit Friday' post. 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cecilia Wong Skincare post tomorrow!

Check out Cecilia Wong Skincare tomorrow to see my guest post on her blog!

Cecilia Wong is a brilliant woman with an amazing story that got her to where she is today. 
She has a holistic skincare salon in New York City where she performs special facials {my favorite is the Oxygen facial using a hyperbaric oxygen spray infused with Cecilia Wong Skincare's Black Currant Serum. Amazing!}, LED light therapy, Microcurrent Therapy, and Oxygen Treatment {the oxygen facial}. This woman has been in magazines and on TV!
Cecilia has an incredible chemical-free skincare line using ingredients grown on an organic farm in Colorado. These products are handcrafted to help others achieve beautiful skin. This really impressed me and I had to try Cecilia Wong Skincare!
I have been using Cecilia's skincare products for about 6 months now and LOVE them! I use them everyday from face wash, toner, lotion, to a blemish free mask that I also use for spot treatment.
These products are gentle, yet powerful. When I use the blemish free mask for spot treatment at night my blemishes are usually gone in the morning or at the most they disappear within 1-2 days.
I also can't get enough of the toner! I spray it on throughout the day especially in this humid, summer weather to keep my skin hydrated and clear.

With 'being primal' and using Cecilia Wong Skincare, I am achieving my goal of clear, healthy and beautiful skin!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fit Friday

Happy Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July yesterday. It is one of my favorite holidays to spend time with family and friends, eat food outside in the summer warmth, and celebrate our country's birth!

Today I want to share with you some tips on fitness.
To be primal, it is important to ensure that you are moving around throughout the day at a slow pace along with throwing in some short, intense workouts. not stress out about missing a workout! If you are eating primally, then working out is like an extra bonus :)

Here are some things you can do to get in a lot of movement throughout your week:
1) Park far away from work, so you have a longer distance to walk.
2) When you take a lunch break, or any type of break throughout your day, take a stroll.
3) Take a walk after dinner with your family, friend(s), or dog(s)!
4) Go for a hike on the weekend.
5) Do fun activities: swimming, tennis, throw a frisbee, volleyball, basketball, etc.

Not only is this a great way to stay fit, but it also decreases stress, increases endorphins, and allows quality time spent with the people that you love!

It is also important to include short, intense workouts a few times a week that are less than 30min long.
This includes sprints, lifting heavy things, and performing functional movements. This is one reason I love Crossfit because you get short, intense movements that increase your strength, mobility, flexibility, agility, and endurance. Crossfit is defined on under 'What is Crossfit? as, "that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity)". This will allow you to perform functional movements in everyday life with more ease and safety from common injuries.

Here is one functional movement I have been working on at my local Crossfit gym lately:
The Back Squat
I found this to be a great video explaining the back squat...

If you are using a bar, remember:
-bar on the meaty part of your back
-chest up and head looking straight ahead
-hands and feet shoulder width apart
-knees OUT and butt BACK
-weight on the back of your heels
-knees behind your toes

If you are not using a bar and just want to work on squats, again, remember:
-chest up and head looking straight ahead
-feet shoulder width apart
-knees OUT and butt BACK
-weight on the back of your heels
-knees behind your toes

*Make sure you get your butt down low!

Squats are used a lot in Crossfit and, if you think about it, everyday life. Also, think of our hunter-gatherer folk who performed this functional movement all the time!

Now start squatting! Not just for workouts, but use this functional movement in your daily life to prevent back and other injuries.

Message me for tips!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Story

I was blessed without weight problems growing up, but that doesn't mean I had other mild, yet annoying, health issues.

For one, I always felt sick and bloated after eating {especially after eating out}.
But, I thought that was normal.

Two, I wasn't regular and often struggled with constipation.
But, I thought that was common for women.

Three, I had breakouts occasionally, but especially while on birth control pills filled with hormones.
But, I thought that was a normal side effect.

Lastly, I  worked out and ran a lot to keep a lean, toned physique. I had been a runner all my life and my knees were starting to kill me after cross country in college!
But, I thought that working out chronically to stay in shape was normal for everyone.

A year and a half ago, my husband heard a podcast interview with Mark Sisson {the same podcast I posted a few days ago}. He was intrigued and told me all about it.
I didn't buy it. If it were true, then everything I had learned in school and our country's knowledge of nutrition would be wrong.
After learning that grains and legumes are avoided in The Primal Blueprint and Paleo diet, I questioned my husband which went something like this:
"But, you need grains."
"Well... I'm not sure, but it's part of the food pyramid."
Honestly, have you ever thought about why we need grains and legumes? Have you ever thought about why the government came out with the food pyramid recommending 6-11 servings of grains per day?
Sure, there's some protein, but the rest is all carbohydrates.

If you think about it, our country eats carbohydrates to burn carbohydrates. If you don't have enough, you'll crash--get tired, hungry, fatigued, etc. We are like cars, you need gas to keep going, but what if there is no gas available? What if one day there was no food to consume {drastic, I know}?
Our bodies rather have fat to burn and store, so if something were to happen, we could use the fat to burn for energy. Sounds like cavemen, right? Right.

I like to explain to others the way Mark Sisson discusses eating primally: we are turning our carb burning bodies into fat burning bodies.
Now who doesn't want that?

Back to my story...
I finally did my own research and became fascinated about this Primal/Paleo lifestyle and it made complete sense. So, for the past year and a half I've been eating mostly Primal/Paleo.

Then, I had another issue after trying a low-dose hormone pill for birth control. My skin was not happy to say the least and I was so embarrassed. I decided to take the bull by the horns and really try the Primal cheating, no every-other-day Primal eating...the real deal.

I started 'The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation' challenge.

What's 21 days? Nothing. You could do anything for 21 days.
I wanted to see what results I would have and I also wanted this lifestyle to become a habit {ever heard of 21 days = habit?}

My results were transforming and they started to show in the first few days of starting the challenge:

First, I did not have bloating, pain or any other unwanted digestive issues.
Second, I was regular and my abdomen was always flat {again, no bloating}.
Third, I did not have breakouts, my skin felt smooth, the redness and inflammation went away.

{I took a before and after picture of the severe side of my face and, although embarrassing, my purpose in showing this picture is to help someone}. 

Last, I did not have to work out hard to keep a lean, toned body. As a matter of fact, it almost seemed like I was doing nothing and still having the results I wanted! I didn't have to spend long hours at a gym, run far distances, work out everyday, and I didn't have to stress over missing a day of working out. I only did quick workouts in less than 20 min and was done {this "less than 20 min." workouts will later lead me to discuss Crossfit}.
Again, I have been blessed with no weight issues, but by day 21 I had lost the extra inches around my abdomen, knees, and arms.
I was stunned and so happy with all my results.

The biggest blessing from eating primally is the energy I feel all day long and simply feeling great.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I love the summer time! Especially when the farmer's markets open up. It's a great way to get fresh, organic produce for a fraction of the cost.

Last week I went to a farmer's market with my husband. As I was browsing the produce I saw baskets full of squash blossoms, so I had to ask the guy selling them what on earth they are used for? I found out that many people pan fry the blossoms or, even better, stuff them and fry! As we were checking out, the very nice man gave me a bag full of squash blossoms to try :) {thank you!}

So, when we got home, although hot and humid, I turned on my stove and went to work.

This is how I made the squash blossoms:

First, I made some bacon, let cool, and then broke them into pieces.
Then I shredded some cheese {I used parmesan, but next time I will choose another cheese. I felt the parmesan was too overpowering}.
Next, I carefully opened the blossom petals and stuffed with bacon bits and shredded parmesan cheese.
Then I mixed up a couple of eggs and dipped the blossoms in the egg mixture.
With a little bit of olive oil heated in a pan over medium-low heat, I placed the stuffed squash blossoms in the pan and cooked until golden brown like an omelet and then flipped to cook the other side.

It was different, new, but good!