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Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

    As a food lover who writes about her passion for a living, I often get asked how I manage to stay slim, given the nature of my work. Usually I just smile and shrug and tell them that I’m into running. And that seems to keep them happy. But the thing is I used to struggle with my weight, just like everybody else.

    Then late last year, I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and decided to try eating ancestrally. Even after a few weeks I felt I was heading in the right direction. While I didn’t actually lose weight, my body shape started to change. My waistline became more slender – exactly what I was hoping for.

    Paleo, primal, slow carb or ancestral eating, whatever you call it, there are many benefits of eating grain-free. From improving your blood chemistry, to losing weight, to increasing your energy levels, to improving your sleep and more. It’s almost been 9 months since I started eating grain-free. I’m finally in a place where I’m happy with my weight and I’m really enjoying what I eat. I’m running about one third of the distance I was last year. No more pounding the pavement to make up for what I ate.

    But the best thing has been discovering that it’s much easier to ditch grains than you would think. In most cases there is a vegetable which fills the place of your bread or pasta or rice. And often they taste just as good, if not better than their grain equivalent.

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    So today I wanted to share a few tips for eating ancestrally. Enjoy!

    1. Have eggs for breakfast instead of cereal.

      Eggs are a brilliant source of protein that keeps you feeling full much longer than a bowl of cereal ever will. Still concerned about cholesterol? Have a look at 7 reasons you should eat eggs for breakfast.

    2. Grate raw cauliflower instead of steamed rice.

      A recent discovery, I’m just loving my new grain-free accompaniment to curries and stir fries. Just get raw cauliflower and grate it. Instant grain-free ‘rice’. And the brilliant thing it that it’s super quick if you get your food processor to do the hard yards. No more gluggy rice to worry about.

    3. Zucchini your noodles.

      For an alternative to spaghetti or other long pasta, roast some finely sliced zucchini (courgettes). And serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

    4. Carotti your spaghetti. Shave a carrot or two into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and then simmer until tender. Presto! Orange ‘spaghetti‘.
    5. Make thin omelets instead of pizza bases.

      Pizza can be difficult to go without. Try making a thin egg omelet in your non-stick pan and topping with your favorite pizza topping and popping under an overhead grill.

    6. Or try a meatza

      Something I’m yet to make myself. Hard core paleo fans replace their pizza bases with a big flat disc of ground beef.

    7. Replace flour with almond meal (or other ground nuts).

      This only works for some situations, like using flour or breadcrumbs to coat meat. Or in baked goods.

    8. Use pureed cauliflower instead of polenta.

      Pureed cooked cauliflower is a great alternative to soft polenta or corn meal.

    9. Try lettuce wraps instead of bread.

      For those who love their sandwiches, try washed lettuce – iceberg works really well – to wrap your favorite fillings. Think sang choi bau with so many possibilities. Just remember that lettuce isn’t as satisfying as bread so you’ll need to make your fillings more substantial.

    10. Serve your burgers without the bun.

      Let’s face it. The best part of the burger is the meat and the sauce. Just increase your burger size and serve it without the bun.

    11. Or try a mushroom burger instead.

      Just roast or grill two large field or portabello mushrooms until tender. Then use these exactly like you’d use a hamburger bun.

    12. Salads or soups not sandwiches.

      If sandwiches are your default ‘healthy’ lunch, just switch to a salad or soup. If you’re used to making your own lunch, it doesn’t take any more time to make a salad. Just keep the dressing in a separate container to add just before you eat.

    13. Use chocolate for sweet treats.

      For those with a sweet tooth, I know a life without pastries and cakes can seem a little dull (see point 15). But then there’s chocolate. Start exploring the wonderful world of dark chocolates, preferably with a high (60-70%) cocoa solids content.

    14. Wine not beer.

      If you enjoy a drink or two, going grain free doesn’t mean you need to get on the wagon. Wine is not only grain free, it is lower in carbs than beer. It’s also a source of antioxidants. Cheers!

    15. 100% compliance isn’t required.

      While coeliacs are unable to tolerate even the tiniest amount of gluten, most people will still see the benefits of going grain-free even without 100% compliance. I tend to have one day a week where I’m indulging in sourdough bread and cookies which staves off any cravings the rest of the week. Later is much easier to live with than never.

      ‘Carotti’ Bolognese Recipe

      serves 2+

      This is my minimalist version of a beef ragu or bolognese sauce. The secret is in the butter. Feel free to substitute your own favorite pasta sauce.

      450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
      3 cloves garlic, chopped
      2 cans tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
      large knob butter
      2 medium carrots

      1. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and cook beef and garlic, stirring every now and then for about 5 minutes or until well browned.
      2. Add tomato and simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced and good saucy.
      3. Meanwhile bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Shave the carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
      4. Cook carrots for 3 – 5 minutes or until al dente like cooked pasta.Drain.
      5. Toss butter into the beef sauce and season.
      6. Return the carrot to the saucepan and stir in some beef sauce. Then divide between plates and top with more sauce

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      Last Updated on August 20, 2019

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

      1. The Inner Critic

      This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

      The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

      Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

      2. The Worrier

      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

      The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

      This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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      This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

      The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

      4. The Sleep Depriver

      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

      The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

      How can you control these squatters?

      How to Master Your Mind

      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

      For the Inner Critic

      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

      • They rile up the Worrier.
      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
      • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
      • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
      • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

      Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

      For the Worrier

      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tense

      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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      For example:

      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tension

      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

      Breathe in through your nose:

      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
      • Focus on your belly rising.

      Breathe out through your nose:

      • Feel your lungs emptying.
      • Focus on your belly falling.
      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

      For the Sleep Depriver

      (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
      • Shut down your thinking.
      • Calm your feelings.
      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

      The Bottom Line

      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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