Our house is nearly 60 years old, and if I may say so myself, it's never looked better. Of course, we've put a lot of work into it, and we still have a long list of improvements we need to make, and an even longer list of routine maintenance to be completed. I wonder whether we will ever be able to say our house is "done". However, I intend to do everything in my power to ensure our house improves with age.
I fully intend the same for myself as well, but a month after my 35th birthday, I realized my plans for self improvement were failing. My personal structure needed more than spackle and caulk - a complete overhaul was in order. But where to start?
Fortunately, my friend Amy wrote a post that jumpstarted my personal renovation. Here's an excerpt that hit me over the head like a 2x4 stud:
"Health is our birthright. How different people experience health is up to them. It is not our birthright to gain two pounds a year for the rest of our lives, manage our stress and fatigue with caffeine and alcohol, and reach for a prescription when we experience discomfort or pain. But many of us have determined, to varying degrees, that that is our right. (I'm not exempt here. Did you see how big my coffee mug was this morning?). By virtue of failing to grasp our birthright, we have, in essence, stepped up to a plate where we are never asked to swing. When I am feeling less than vibrant in my health and life, it is ultimately because I am failing to take responsibility for some part of my life. I am choosing to squander sleep in favor of reading, or (fill in the blank.. drink too much, eat too much sugar, not watch my words with my children), you get the idea."
Until I read these words, I had never considered my own birthright. The term "birthright" was a phrase that had nothing to do with me, just an antiquated word I'd read in the Old Testament, right alongside "begat". I'd never given much thought to my inherent rights, never considered "health" a right to which I was entitled from birth.
Instead, I focused on and feared the opposite of health; my inheritance:
High blood pressure
Fear of wearing a sleeveless blouse in public
Type 2 Diabetes
Hips and knees in need of replacement
A portion of the kitchen dedicated to prescription bottles
Hell no! This is not what I wish to inherit, nor pass on to my children. Fortunately, I firmly believe that I have a certain degree of control over my health, and that I don't have to accept what I consider avoidable afflictions. While I can't dismantle and reassemble my genetic makeup, I can grasp my birthright, step up to the plate, and swing for my health.
So seven weeks ago, I did just that. I stopped eating all grains and refined sugar, I stopped drinking alcohol on a regular basis, I stopped making excuses when it came to exercise, and lo and behold,
I lost 11 pounds. I rediscovered my waist, my biceps, and strength I didn't know I possessed. I feel more alive than I have ever felt. My extra chin has started to shrink, and my muscles shout, "move, move, move!" from the moment I wake up. The shorts that were in the giveaway pile because they were too tight are now falling off of me. If I may say so myself, I've never looked better. And I'm certainly not "done". I'm just getting started.
I can't say it's been easy, but it has been simple. Diet and exercise. Diet and exercise. Diet and exercise. But I'd like to replace those two words to reflect my experience: Home cooking and housework. I've thoroughly enjoyed discovering and creating a variety of new recipes using vegetables and meat (with the occasional egg, fruit, and nut). As for exercise, I haven't joined a gym or bought any fitness apparatus. Instead, I've found opportunities in and around my house to workout: push-ups, crunches, and challenging yoga positions on the area rug; pull ups on a tree limb; hauling wheelbarrows full of dirt and rocks from one part of the yard to another; squats and frog jumps around the perimeter of the house; a full routine of arm exercises using a digging bar; jump roping on the back patio; walking and running around our neighborhood. Simple and free. Much like my birthright.
While I'm tempted to start a new blog called "Better with Bacon", and write about nothing but the Paleo diet and Crossfit exercise, I'm going to just squeeze in tips and recipes here and there between my regular (or irregular) posts, beginning with a paleo friendly breakfast recipe to start your day off right. This frittata was inspired by one of my favorite recipes from Better Homes and Gardens for an oven pancake with sausage and pears. It's so delicious, I don't even miss the pancake part.
Sausage, Apple and Onion Frittata
1 small sweet onion, cut into slivers
1 apple, chopped
2 links of chicken apple sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
Splash of milk (optional)
Pat of butter (or ghee, olive or coconut oil)
Melt butter or oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until onion just begins to caramelize. Add sausage and apple, stirring occasionally until hot. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and milk, then pour egg mixture over the sausage, apples and onions. Cook on medium low heat until egg sets on the bottom and edge of the pan. Transfer to oven and broil until the egg sets on top. Cut into wedges and serve warm.