PR With a Twist

Not just PR, but the twists and turns that make life interesting.

Archive for the category “Inspiration”

Is This Dieting? No, It’s Paleo . . .

I like baseball. I like movies. I love baseball movies. Whether The Natural with Robert Redford or Kevin Costner’s classics, Bull Durham (which also launched Tim Robbins’ career) and Field of Dreams, there’s just something iconic and all-American feel-good about them. The other thing about memorable movies is their great lines. Field of Dreams has one of the best:

That’s what I thought of this week as I got to the 20-day mark with 10 days left to go on the Whole30. I take a look at some of my meals over the last week, most of which come from Melissa Joulwan’s “Well Fed” book, available here. And, although I’ve heard that the Whole30 is just an amped-up version of Paleo eating, I sometimes find myself having a hard time believing I’m on a diet. And then I remember, I’M NOT!

This is a new way of life, not a short-term diet that I’ll yo-yo back to again and again. Or, worse, bounce to the next-best-thing diet six months from now. I know this because of the way it makes me feel and the fact that I know the food choices I’m making are healthier, but more importantly, can be maintained long-term. If I didn’t, do you think I’d be writing about it in this blog right now??? Well, hopefully not.

That’s why, with 10 days to go, I don’t look at it the end of the 30 days as a countdown. In fact, it’s barely even a milestone, since I’ve already planned to extend my Whole30 another 15 days and then maintain Paleo long-term. In the meantime, here are several pics of some of the delicious foods that have kept me very satisfied and maintained along the way (and again, the hus’ is loving this food too!). Enjoy.


P.S. A word of caution — clicking on the photos to enlarge may make you hungry. 🙂

Chipotle Carnitas Bowl: In a pinch, I was able to grab a quick lunch out at Chipotle. I ordered the Carnitas Bowl with extra meat and no beans or rice, pico de gallo, lettuce and guacamole. Divine!

Whole Roasted Chicken and Gravy: From Nom Nom Paleo, this is a whole roasted chicken made in the crock pot, with its own gravy that’s unreal. I served it with steamed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie: This is the Italian Pie version with ground beef from “Well Fed”. I can’t even tell you how good it was. I sent some leftovers to work with hubby today and had some myself. Even better the second time around!

The Versatile Frittata: Got eggs and some leftovers? Make one of these! A little coconut oil melted in the pan, scramble the eggs and add a bit of S&P. Pour in the pan and add a little leftovers. This one has some roasted chicken and onion. One day I used ground beef and served it with salsa and avocado. Just cook on the stove until it’s mostly set then pop in the oven under a low broiler until it browns on top. Slide out of the pan and enjoy. (Remember to use a high-heat safe pan).


Flat Iron Steak: Pan sear the steak in a very hot pan that has melted coconut oil. For about an inch think steak, cook 4 minutes on one side, turn and 3 minutes on the second (use a meat thermometer to check doneness to your liking). Remove meat from pan and let rest. Lower heat to medium and deglaze pan with just a touch of organic beef broth (check label for additives) then add mushrooms and saute until done. Pour mushroom sauce over steak and serve with another steamed veggie (I served asparagus), a salad or both!





Food Too Good Not to Share (and a first time for everything)

I grew up eating spaghetti and chili. What? For the uninitiated, the closest I can come to explaining is Skyline Chili, which I actually didn’t experience until fairly recently. Skyline does a fairly good job of imitating the legendary Fred & Red’s “Spaghetti Red” of my youth, although none will come close to the original.

The now-defunct, yet iconic diner formerly located in Joplin, Mo., will always hold fond memories for me and my family, oddly enough all of whom (except me) grew up in and around the area. I just visited there all my life. And with each stopover, I insisted on reliving that glorious dish, never straying from the same order each time.

Skyline 3-Way Chili

When we couldn’t make it to Joplin, my mom would make it at home and it was a family favorite, naturally. Years later, I served it to my Chicago-born-and-bred husband and he came to enjoy it as well (although admittedly maybe not as much as the rest of us). And, eventually, I discovered Skyline. Sadly, Skyline has no restaurants anywhere near Chicago and Fred & Red’s closed earlier this year after 89 years in business. Now I can’t even visit there when I go to see my dad in Joplin. Steak & Shake is a desperation substitute.

But, what am I thinking?! I adopted a PALEO lifestyle of eating. I wouldn’t dig into a plate full of spaghetti Imagetopped with greasy chili and mounds of cheddar cheese anyway!! Right? Right. So, you can imagine my delight when I purchased the wonderful “Well Fed” book by Melissa Joulwan and found not only a Chocolate Chili recipe that is to die for, and which is also available on her blog here, but the version in the book recommends it with spaghetti squash for a slice of heaven that brings me back home . . .

It marked THREE firsts for this paleo newbie:

  1. My first “followed-to-the-t” paleo recipe (I’d been winging it before now)
  2. My first meal sampled from the “Well Fed” book
  3. My first experience with spaghetti squash

Finished dish with fresh avocado and green onions

I’ll sum up what I discovered in two words. Home run. Seriously delicious. The leftovers? Even better. And the hus’ loved it too. Here is a pic of my own concoction. Needless to say, I thoroughly recommend it. This Whole30 thing is a snap! 🙂

P.S. Would love to hear from you if you like your spaghetti 3-way, 4-way, 5-way or otherwise! And doubly so if you’ve had this paleo version that I think outscores them all!

One more thing for the weekend…

I forgot to mention in my last post (about what I learned on the first week of the Whole 30) perhaps the most important lesson:

You can’t be successful in undertaking any lifestyle-changing, health-inducing program if you don’t exercise!

That is my personal opinion, of course, but it is proving to be true at least for me. When I began this journey, I had no daily exercise routine. Zilch. Zero. Oh yeah, I would get an ounce of inspiration from time to time and have a spurt of energy and resolve to do something but it would fade quickly. I’m also not a lifelong couch potato, either, having been a competitive athlete in my youth and teenage years. Therefore, I know what a fitness routine looks (and feels) like.

During my first week, I diligently committed to do some sort of exercise at least three times per week for 30 minutes at a stretch. What I choose was a brisk walk/jog and did 2.36 miles the first day, 2.26 the second, 1.16 the third, realized I was losing weight and did nothing for days four through 10! Yikes! I’m happy to say I’m back at it, with nearly two miles logged today, and a renewed dedication. I know it’s not much to start, but I hope to work up to more and stay consistent.

I think my bout with insomnia (which I’ve never experienced) during the days that I didn’t exercise could be attributed to my idleness. Or at least helped if I were more active. I also haven’t been as regular or felt my metabolism working as effectively on the days that I don’t exercise. It will be interesting to see how those things are impacted.

So, there you have it. No more excuses. Time to get back in the fitness saddle!

Have a great weekend,


The Power of “Before” and “After”

It started with the superficial:

I was “blessed” with thick, fairly curly hair, which some people would admittedly love to have. However, it curls (or frizzes up) in humidity, is sometimes hard to manage and doesn’t necessarily adapt well to the latest styles.

And along came Keratin (or GK in my case)! Although it can be pricey and only lasts about five months, for me it has been transformational. For the first time since I was a kid I’ve been able to grow out my hair and like it in the process. It also dries faster and is easier to style.

But, although I changed my outward appearance, I didn’t feel any different on the inside. For some time, I had wanted to make major changes in my entire body and, more importantly, my health.

Like many people, I’d go on a diet and exercise kick, would see results until I felt happy with where I was and before I knew it, I had fallen back into old habits. This was frustrating as I am in the business of PR — helping clients build their brand image and crafting messaging and programs that will help showcase it to the world, or at least their target audience. I felt as though my own personal brand needed retooling and it was time to walk the walk.

As luck would have it, through the PR blog, “SpinSucks” written by Gini Dietrich, I was introduced to fellow PR pro Kate Finley and her KateUpdates blog. She has been chronicling her transformation in mind, body and spirit through the Paleo diet-based program, Whole30. So I did my research. This sounded like something I could truly adopt as a new lifestyle — or at least stick to for 30 days to see if the health benefits I experienced made me want to continue in the long-term.

So, the Facebook posts for which I had always been known switched from enchiladas:

To broiled Tilapia:

Although I wasn’t one of those people who would chronicle every meal on Facebook, I realized I had become recognized among friends and followers for sharing photos of the food I prepared (or was eating at a restaurant); people would actually tell me they looked forward to it. Some said they even lived vicariously through my meatloaf with homemade gravy or strawberry shortcake postings.

My personal Facebook page had become a showcase for unhealthy and indulgent eating! Now, if I were one of those people with lightening-fast metabolism, that would be one thing. Although it still wouldn’t be healthy if my food choices were poor.

However, the older I became I was feeling (and seeing) the effects, so I knew that change was in order. A wake up call made me realize my husband was feeling it, too. Chronic GI issues culminated in two recent hospital stays during which he had his gallbladder removed and discovered two gastric ulcers and a hiatal hernia. Although he is thin, he clearly was not eating the right foods. His lifestyle had to change, and it made me begin to realize that my well-being was not optimal, either. I could definitely benefit from feeling better, having more energy and being leaner and healthier.

We started by undertaking a low-fat diet but found that it was too easy to slip back into old habits when not on a committed program. Then I found out about Whole30 and took the plunge! We are on Day 2, and every day is a learning experience.

What I didn’t expect is that I felt a new sense of empowerment and drive to not only eat “clean” but to clean out the cobwebs and address the low-hanging fruit that had been causing me stress.  I resolved to do one impactful thing each day that I’d been putting off or needed my attention.

One Day 1, my closet went from this to this :

I realize it wasn’t exactly an episode of “Hoarders,” but it was long overdue and stressing me out. What transpired was about more than just cleaning up the clutter. It was about getting organized, making it livable and getting rid of what I no longer needed. Along with the clean-up, I threw out a garbage bag of trash and collected another huge bag of old clothes for Goodwill. Who knows, I made need that space for new clothes on Day 31! 🙂

For some reason, I’ve always had trouble letting go of what is outdated, no longer fits and isn’t good for me. But no more! If I’m going to make a change, I’m going to make a transformation, even if it’s one step at a time. I realized that where I was wasn’t where I wanted to be. Did I mention that on Day 1 I also did a two-mile brisk walk/jog? That’s not like the “old” me, but it is who I am now . . .

Off for a walk,


Where Am I?

Or more appropriately, where have I been? The answer, of course, is right here. Where I’ve always been. Working, going through the “busyness” of day-to-day life and wondering where the time goes. Isn’t that more true at the end of summer than nearly any other time of the year? Come Labor Day, we take a breath and wonder what happened to the hot days, warm evenings, family gatherings and the opportunity to visit new — or favorite — places on vacation or during a fun weekend getaway.

So, I am “HERE”, at the intersection of late summer and early fall with (can it be true?) less than 90 days to Christmas? Although spring is usually the season for renewal, I am going to make a detour on the downhill road to the end of 2012 and make some changes. Today.

I resolve to:

  • Slow down. This summer has been crazy, and I don’t want to pile a crazy holiday season on top of it. Instead, I will learn to only partake in those things that are the most important, feel guilt-free about forgoing what is not, and take time to appreciate what’s closest to my heart.
  • Step up. Okay, this may sound like it’s in opposition to the first point above. But what I want to do is to be more intentional about those things to which I commit. Eliminate the clutter and focus on activities that are most important, particularly in the area of serving others and community involvement.
  • Start a revolution. Well, maybe not literally, but within myself. Now is the time to take stock of my physical well-being and make a commitment to become healthier and at peace with my mental, physical and spiritual fitness.

The best way to do all of the above? One day at a time. Without specific intentions to make small changes every day, we will find ourselves overwhelmed at the prospect and slipping further into the chaos that got us to this place. I’m excited about what’s to come and am ready to give 100% to making it happen.

As you may have guessed by now, resurrecting this blog — and giving it a new face lift — is part of the process. Come along on this journey and share your thoughts along the way. And, if you’re wondering whether there’s a PR Twist to be had in this undertaking? It’s this . . . through PR whiz Gini Dietrich’s wonderful blog, “Spin Sucks,” I became introduced to Kate Finley. Kate also has a great blog and inspired me, not only through it, but through her commitment to a Whole30 diet and “30 Days of Fitness”, I realized this is something I could conquer! If you’re curious, check out Kate Updates and you may be inspired, too!

Ready to spring into fall . . .


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Kate Updates

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Not just PR, but the twists and turns that make life interesting.

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