So This is Goodbye

For once I’m at a loss for words.  How do you write an intro paragraph to the demise of something you’ve enjoyed doing the past year? I guess you don’t, you just jump into it.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for sharing this journey with me.  13 months ago I started Noshing on Asphalt as a way for me to keep family and friends up to date on training for one of the biggest challenges I had accepted – running my first marathon.  While every ‘first’ marathon is absolutely special the one that I chose to be my first had extra meaning.  I would be running the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of my brother who was killed in Iraq.

Roger

On October 28th, as Hurricane Sandy started showing her ugly face, I laced up my tennis shoes and set out on a 26.2 mile journey.  They say you discover who you really are during a marathon.  Your mental and physical strengths pushed to the limits.   What I discovered during that race was that it wasn’t the race itself that showed me who I was; instead it was the months of preparation that went into it.  During those months of training highs and lows, I realized that I had finally come to some peace about my brother’s death.

MCM

So that’s how Noshing on Asphalt got it’s roots.  But something happened during those few shorts months of training and blogging about my experiences, I discovered you, my readers.  We forged a bond through your sweet comments, advice and encouragement.  I had friends who weren’t active asking me how they could start living a healthier lifestyle.  Even though I’m nothing special, I realized that people were motivated and intrigued about my lifestyle and that excited me.

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So I kept blogging.  I kept sharing my ramblings.  Bits and pieces of my quirkiness.  My love for all things bright, colorful and obnoxiously neon.

My love for running.  Without running, I don’t know where I would be.  It is my bliss.

109141-111-018fI shared my passion for healthy eating and expanded my knowledge of what it really means to me.  I discovered that I feel better when I follow a more Paleo diet instead of the beloved clean eating which was one of the cornerstones of my blog.

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Ah spaghetti squash, how I love thee.

Ah spaghetti squash, how I love thee.

I discovered some truly fantastic bloggers that have helped me grow in my fitness and healthy living life.  Make sure to check out my Good Reads tab if you’re looking for some good blog recommendations.

Ready to rock-n-roll.  Bring on the brains!

Zombie Run with several of my fun blogger friends.

During the past 13 months I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing companies and found several products that I seriously can’t live without.

Nothing but thumbs up for Handana after a very sweaty run!

Nothing but thumbs up for Handana after a very sweaty run!

To say the least, I’ve really enjoyed breaking out of my comfort zone and sharing my adventures.  I’m not quite ready to shut everything down but life is funny with how it happens so I now need to devote my time to other matters.  I don’t know if this is my absolute last post or if I’ll pick it up down the road when things calm down a bit.  However, for now at least, this is goodbye.

Thank you again for sticking with me and enjoying this fun roller coaster journey I’ve been on.  I will miss you all very much but I know you’ll continue to do exciting things.  Keep pushing yourself; don’t stop striving for healthier lifestyles.  Remember, you’re a role model for others – even if you don’t realize it.

Real Food

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile now but for some reason or another just haven’t.  However, I started reading a nutrition book last week (review to come later) and I finally feel like now’s the right time to write this post.

I get a lot of interest from people wanting to know the way that I eat, what diet I’m on (really, that one pisses me off), or why I eat the way that I do.  Not that I’m anything special, I’m more an oddity to them.  Fruits, vegetables, no chips?? What gives?? I used to give a lengthy explanation of clean eating but I kept noticing the same glossy eyed look on different faces.  Now that I’ve gone paleo, it’s even harder to explain.  So I’ve learned to keep my answer short and sweet:

food 2

This revelation either shuts the conversation down immediately, or opens up further dialogue.  Usually, further dialogue follows with a confused look and “Real food??” in a questioning tone.  Alright, I think to myself, I’ve got ‘em hooked.  This is where I pull out my soap box.

Yep, real food.  Food that comes from a plant, not manufactured in a plant.  Food that I recognize and can pronounce all the ingredients.  Food that can go bad.  Food that has a mother; although, that actually sounds really terrible.  And I’m pretty sure I just heard all my vegan / vegetarian friends gag.  I’m talking about beef, chicken, pork – not cannibalism.  Food that visually excites and inspires me.

Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto

Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto

papaya

Freshly halved papaya

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Sausage stuffed ‘shrooms

Real food is consuming food that is as close to the real form as possible.  Whole fruits & vegetables, nuts, meat that have been minimally altered or processed.  If it tastes like a banana, by golly, it better be because I’m eating a banana or it has a banana in it.  Not because it has banana flavoring. (Dairy, legumes and grains fall into the real food category, too, unless you’re Paleo.)

Real food rots and goes bad.  It doesn’t have a shelf life able to withstand a zombie apocalypse.  You can find it by shopping the perimeter (with some exceptions) of your local grocery store.

It’s taken me years of trial and error to find this real food lifestyle but it works for me; it fits me.  I went through the phase of eating low fat, no fat, sugar free “food” thinking it fell into the healthy category.

This aisle was my BFF for several years. Quick, easy, convienent, and...."healthy"

This aisle was my BFF for several years.
Quick, easy, convenient, and….”healthy.” I mean the sign even says so.

lunch

Look at those stats: 16g protein, 3g fiber and only 210 calories.
Eggs, potatoes, cheese, and peppers. Simple, healthy. Right?

I read nutrition panels like a hawk. I could quote health benefits of processed foods like nobody’s business – ‘that’s a great source of fiber, calcium, whole grains, whatever…’ But I never stopped to read the ingredients.

ingredients

This is the label from that breakfast meal above.
Not quite as simple as eggs, potatoes, cheese and peppers….

When I started reading the ingredients, I started changing my life.  That was a couple years ago and I haven’t felt better.

{Some} Benefits of Eating Real Food:

  • Increased energy;
  • More complex variety of vitamins, mineral, phytonutrients; antioxidants…. i.e. a multivitamin without the pill;
  • Happier & healthier digestive system;
  • Strengthened immune system;
  • Environmentally conscience;
  • Minimally processed;
  • Tastes great (duh); and
  • Doesn’t make your body a vessel for science experiments.

If you really take a look in the grocery store, the shelves are filled with food-like products.  I say food-like because if you read the ingredients, it’s more like a science experiment in a box.  A very well crafted and cleverly disguised science experiment.  Seriously, take a look at some of the ingredients.  When was the last time you saw a garden or pasture full of sodium bicarbonate? (Yes, that chemical is one of the ingredients in the frozen egg thingy pictured above.)

“But it tastes so good….”  Is something I hear a lot when I’m explaining real vs. processed food.  Yes, that processed stuff does tastes good. No, scratch that. It doesn’t just taste good, it tastes fantastic.  It was designed to.  But what is that food really doing for you?  Is it nourishing your body or just filling your stomach?

Real food nourishes your entire body and -wait for it- tastes great, too.  When I first ditched the processed crap, I missed it terribly. I might even go so far as to use the word ‘withdrawals.’  However, after awhile I started to notice just how great food, real food, tasted.  I was amazed at how natural flavors seemed to burst out of food that I had previously thought bland.  Gone was my need to add salt and refined sugar.  Gone were the junk food cravings.  Eating real food, I feel satiated when I’m done eating. I also feel like each time I grocery shop I’m buying a small amount of life insurance.

I could go on and on about this topic but this is where I step down from my soap box.  The processed stuff you find in the grocery store will not kill you. It may not contribute to your health but you won’t die if you eat a Twinkie. Unless you choke on it. Always chew your food thoroughly.  Don’t think that I’m putting myself on a pedestal either, I still splurge from time-to-time on non ‘real food’ (did someone say froyo??). This post isn’t meant to make you feel bad about how you eat, just maybe make you more quizzical and conscientious about what you’re eating.

Question: What’s your favorite real food?