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What’s the Grass Fed Difference? Huge! Here’s What and How I know.

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Blog | 6 comments

What’s the Grass Fed Difference? Huge! Here’s What and How I know.

 

As a woman who has never made more than $12,000 / year, it’s not very easy for me to get my hands on grass fed beef. In recent months that limitation has been further complicated by the fact that I’ve been living in Detroit, Michigan, and just about no one here eats grass fed animals, not even people who shop at Whole Foods.

(I know!)

There is one farmer’s market downtown every Sunday, and I believe they have one or two grass fed stands.

In any case, this means it was an enormous (enormous!) delight, benefit, and pleasure, to be contacted by the incredibly gracious Tx Organics in early March and asked to participate in a grass fed taste test.

 

tx bar organics

Check ‘em out @ http://txbarorganics.com

Hell yes, I said.

—-

So a dry-ice packed box arrived for me overnight, shipped from California (!). Two sirloins and two packs of ground beef. Talk about service. (!)

The true intention of the taste test (which is being conducted by some other paleo advocates) is to test grass fed beef from the Pacific Northwest – directly from the Tx Organics farm – against grass fed beef from around other parts of the country. Since I told Tx I hadn’t been able to get my hands on a grass fed animal in quite some time, they were eight million kinds of gracious and sent the animals along anyway, saying I could just compare the grass to the grain fed.

Win!

Since I am a n00b, and all.

———

I knew paleo fx was coming, so I hurried up and cooked the selections ASAP. First up was the ground beef taste test. In the morning I made conventional ground beef, and in the evening I made the good stuff.

No fancy sauces. Just the beef, salt, pepper, and my frying pan.

Conventional:

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(I swear I didn’t try to make this look unappetizing… just beef in a pan that happens to look like plain old grocery beef in a pan. I figure there’s no point to dressing it up in fancy food photos for a taste test. I’m not trying to sell you a recipe. Or anything, come to think of it.)

The good stuff:

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Another photo I’m not trying to dress up at all. The visual difference? The first meat was definitely grey-ish, while the grass fed alternative has a richer, warmer color. It’s also a very different texture – no pink slime here! – but that is quite possibly due to variations in fat content and in grinding and packing techniques. Nonetheless I can tell you absolutely right now which one has a more palatable and enjoyable texture.

 

 

What’s the taste difference?

More than I can possibly say!

In the Tx Organics ground beef, I noticed right away a certain buttery flavor. I don’t know how to describe it better than that. It’s rich and tastes to me what I think a cow should taste like… literally. It tastes like a cow looks. 

This is compared to my typical grain fed stuff, which is a little coppery in that bloody kind of way–and I like that, don’t get me wrong–but which lacks pretty much any kind of other natural flavoring. There’s no complexity, and none of that cow-ness that I just don’t have the words for. Sweet, buttery, cow-ness.

The textures were quite different, too. The Tx Organics was soft and sort of melted in my mouth, and the grain fed is rough and dry. The grain was in the grey color spectrum, whereas the grassfed had a richer red-orange-brown color to it. Note that my cooking methods were the same for both and both selections of ground beef were between 85 and 92 percent lean, I’d guess.

So that was it for the ground beef. But the sirloins?

No contest. 

Obviously.

I rested a grain fed and a grass fed cut of meat with some simple salt and pepper.

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Rested, thrown in hot pan. Whoopah!

I threw them in the pan. I got from them the exact same taste differences as I did with the ground beef: something coppery and delightful about my grain fed cow–it is still a cow, after all–but something complex and rich and buttery in the grass fed.

Moreover, the color of the Organics steak was vibrantly red and alive, the fat a buttery yellow color rather than pasty white (which means the steak is higher in vitamin A), the steak was thick and dense, the fat made an incredibly rich and sweet au jus, and the steak eight million kinds of softer than the floppy, dull looking grain fed.

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More “not prettied” photography. Not selling you a recipe. Showing you my delightful experience… which was inhaled in all of about 14 seconds.

———–

Was all the difference I interpreted a placebo? Did I convince myself the grass fed was better because I wanted it to be?

Well, it’s possible. I guess next time I’ll have to do it with blindfolds. But I don’t think so.

Why might I have been subject to a placebo effect?

Because the other difference between grain and grass fed beef is enormous. It’s for your (and others’!) health.

Here are the benefits of grass fed over grain fed cows:

-So far as we can tell, all beef contains the same amount of omega 6 fat, more or less, but grass fed cows contain more omega 3. Depending on the breed of cow, grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef. Says this study, the average ratio of n-6:n-3 in grass fed beef is 1.53:1. In grain fed beef, this ratio jumps all up to 7.65:1. So, that’s a pretty hefty difference. On the other hand, this really isn’t an awesome source of omega 3s regardless, so don’t solely rely on it for healthy omega balance.

-Grass fed beef contains more stearic acid (the healthiest kind of saturated fat that is more or less proved to not raise blood cholesterol levels) than grain fed beef.

-CLA – conjugated linoleic acid – is an incredibly healthy fat  that is 2-3 times more concentrated in grass fed than grain fed cows. CLA might be protective against heart disease and cancer and is a potent anti-oxidant that can boost brain function and weight loss. Grass fed beef is arguably the best source of CLA.

-Grass fed beef has a lot of antioxidants, including vitamin A and E, and also glutathione, which is critical for your body’s detox abilities.

-Zinc, iron, phosphorous, and other electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, are all more naturally concentrated in grass fed beef.

———

So there you have it. Better tasting. Better for you. Better for the animals. Better for the planet (more on which in another post).

And an enormous thank you to Tx Bar Organics for making this possible — both in my own kitchen as well as out in the world at large. It hasn’t been easy getting the grass-fed movement up and running — these heroic ranchers are fighting a steeply uphill battle — so I have nothing but world’s of gratitude and respect for them and am going to start digging deep into my pockets to vote for health with my dollar.

Head over to Tx to check out their shipping programs — you can get a big discount if you order in bulk! Amazing!

Click here for the farm, and to see some beautiful photos and videos of cows and cuts in pasture, like the few featured below!

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Barbeque

Liver

Liver

New York Strip

New York Strip

Bone marrow!!!!!!!

Bone marrow!!!!!!!

 

Thank you Tx Organics!!!

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Tx Organics Grass fed Beef and pasture in California

 

 

 

 

Free Sexy by Nature Webinar TONIGHT at 8PM EST

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

Free Sexy by Nature Webinar TONIGHT at 8PM EST

 

Tonight (April 17), at 8pm EST, I am finally participating in Camille Macres’s webinar program, in which she brings women on to calls to listen in on and participate in discussions regarding health and beauty.

Sounds AWESOME TO ME! Right?

And it’s all about Sexy by Nature and my thoughts on how to do it all, right, for good, etc, etc.

(Click here to register for the exclusive call & hang out @ the webinar for free! And also be automatically entered to win a free copy of Sexy by Nature! Whoopah!)

So Camille is the author of the cookbook, “Paleogasm: 150 Grain, Dairy & Sugar-free Recipes That Will Leave You Totally Satisfied & Begging for More”, and the founder of the women’s holistic health program, The School of Inner Beauty, which I JUST SO TOTALLY ADORE since she is absolutely 100 percent right about things (since she mostly agrees with me, obviously!)

Camille has a unique understanding of what it REALLY takes women to win their battle with food and their body, once and for all. Here’s a little message and and an invitation from her:

“After years of working through my own body and food issues, working with many kinds of people on their own health, and seeing all of the distorted messages and ‘solutions’ offered by the diet and weight loss industry, I have noticed some things:

You want a body that feels good, that you can be proud of when you look in the mirror, and that supports your life, whether that means having the energy and vitality to be with your kids, do you your work, or simply enjoy life’s simple pleasures. You want freedom from worrying about getting a debilitating or life-threatening illness, even if it runs in your family or people you know are getting sick and having their lives cut painfully short. You want to feel good in your body and about your body.

But if you’re being honest with yourself, you probably don’t and you may feel totally hopeless and resigned that things could be any different because despite your best efforts with different diets and programs, not a whole lot has changed, at least not a change that sticks without tons of struggle.

Before you shake your head with the thought: ‘This isn’t possible’, let me tell you my story. In its words, you will see why I can confidently stand before you today and tell you that having a body you love, one that serves you and your life, is not only possible, but that you totally deserve it! I have always loved food. Even as a toddler, I would sneak into the fridge and snag sticks of butter to gnaw on. My mom actually started bungee cording the refrigerator to keep me out. Life at home as a kid wasn’t so fun or easy, and I found comfort, love and solace in food, nay bread. Carbs. Loads of glutenous carbs. Cooking with my mom and later for friends was one thing that always brought me so much joy. Unfortunately, this all came with a tremendous toll on my body. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was intolerant to the foods I loved most: bread and cheese. They made me tired, sluggish, depressed and fat. And even after I knew of their ill effects, it still took me many years to get them out of my diet. And even when I did manage to do so, I always wanted them, and even when I did manage to be strong enough to go without, it honestly felt like something was missing in my life without the pleasure of these foods. And even when I was on the straight and narrow, I still didn’t have the body or health I wanted, and didn’t feel totally free, knowing a temptation was going to be around the next corner.

Exhausting, huh? This year, after about 20 years of struggle, I finally solved the mystery. I can honestly and gratefully say that I now experience true freedom with food, love my body, and have returned to my ideal weight without struggle and I have no fear about the weight returning. I don’t count calories, I don’t obsess about what I eat. I love food and it doesn’t rule my life. I love my body, and I can now see its perfection, even in its imperfection (I used to think I had to look like a Victoria’s Secret model to be pretty enough).

If you would like to have the relationship with food and your body like I just described above, I have something really exciting to share with you! Next Thursday night, April 17th, from 5-6:30pm PST, I will be joined by Stefani Ruper, the author of “Sexy by Nature: The Whole Foods Solution to Radiant Health, Lifelong Sex Appeal and Soaring Confidence.”

We will be giving you some of the essential pieces you will need if you want to experience true freedom with food and your body. Stefani will be giving away 2 copies of her book to a couple lucky ladies who join us live, and I will be offering a sampling of the work we do in The School of Inner Beauty. Our promise is that by the end of the call, you will be given everything you need to radically transform your health, your relationship with your beautiful body, and quite literally, your experience of being a woman.

 

Or something. :)

Reserve your spot for and tune in to the 8pm EST webinar HERE.

Should be fun! Don’t forget I’m giving away some copies of Sexy by Nature, and this also gives you a chance to sign up for things like The School of Inner Beauty, which is one of my favorite health resources around.

webinar

Paleo Fx 2014 Recap, Round-up, and Love Fest

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Blog | 10 comments

Paleo Fx 2014 Recap, Round-up, and Love Fest

 

If the paleo world were in charge of things like time and space, then each new year would begin on April 11. It would be like the fiscal year, but for diets. Because every time I go to paleo fx I measure the last year of my life in the paleo world, and I feel the sphere’s life collapse and re-ignite like an inter-galactic pulsar star.

So another year has come and gone and boy, oh boy was it a hell of a party. I’ve never had a better conference!  There were so many amazing things about paleo fx 2014 I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps I’ll give you a rundown.

Arrival: Tuesday April 8. 

I got to Pfx on Tuesday! My best best best best best friend lives in Austin. He picked me up from the airport. I lost my phone and went into a state of calm if innerly rabid panic as I realized I had lost one my tool not only for navigating the city but also for communicating with all the people I love. Over the course of the night, I make six separate calls and leave several messages and emails for southwest lost and found.

Wednesday, April 9. 

I still get no answer from southwest and am resigning myself to a weekend of lackluster logistics. I tell my mother about the phone problem, and, because the universe likes her about 100 x more than it likes me, someone picks up on her first ring, has my phone, and it’s immediately fedexed on it’s way to me. My amazing publisher Erich Krauss at Victory Belt Inc helps me ship it overnight. Thanks, Erich! Also big thumbs up to me for arriving a day early so not too much is lost. I spend the rest of Wednesday with my friend Evan and walking about town.

I also spend a significant amount of time looking at my laptop, trying to resist looking up salsa dancing venues. I had told myself before going that I would focus my energy on networking and forbid myself from dancing. 

I lasted all of about two hours. Found the “wednesday” salsa on Google (because in every city of reasonable size you can find salsa somewhere in the city on any given night), and took a bus downtown.

It was epic.

I also fell in what I like to call “bachata love” with this man named Kurt – with bachata love being this completely overwhelming clicking in dance style and level. Kurt and I totally kicked ass and he became my salsa hero for the rest of the week as he became my salsa chauffeur and guide.  Very nice.

I finish Wednesday having done not one thing paleo. A nice break before things get nuts.

Thursday April 10.

My phone arrives from fedex at 10am! Hooray! I get it just in time to communicate with Stacy Toth and Matt McCarry – with whom I had already made plans for this – to go to 24 Diner, an epic local organic Austin hub. Bill and Haley Mason Staley were in attendance. Juli Bauer. Josh Weissman. Russ Crandall. Alex Boake. Sean Coonce.  I was so happy. These people mean so much to me.

A man in the restaurant recognizes Juli (of course!) and pays for her meal as a way of saying thanks for her recipes. Pretty cool stuff.

We go to Whole Foods, register @ paleo fx for early bird speakers registration, I get to meet my kickass publicist Susan, with whom I have only ever talked on the phone before, get RICE MILK gelato (seriously!!) at an incredible ice cream place called Dolce Neveand retire for the evening to the house Stacy, Matt, and Danielle have rented. Also, I get heart palpitations and a ton of energy from eating so much chocolate — arguably the best paleo treat I have ever had — in Brittany Angell’s fudge rounds.

I had been telling myself I wouldn’t go salsa, but with all this energy I’ve just gotta. I borrow Evan’s car at 11pm and drive north to the club, and again have a phenomenal time. Hit the hay around 3 or 4am, which is typical for me.

Friday April 11.

Paleo means that I wake up when I want to, so I sleep until around 11, take a bus to the conference, and roll in around 1pm.

I am also wearing leather pants and a sheer top, which stir up way more interest than I had anticipated (just kdding – I’ve over the years gotten used to the paleo world being a bit astounded by some of the things I wear). I meet Luke Robinson of Wolfpack fitness for the first time, we joyously hug and he says “you sure look like a sex object for someone who’s all about feminism.”

Well, kind of. The whole point is to dress like my spirit, and my spirit felt like sassy leather pants.

So there!

Luke is amazing. I saw Kaila Prins again. Love her. Hugged Liz Wolfe, love her, who was in town super quick.

Mark Sisson spots me in the hallway and comes up to me and gives me a hug and tells me that my book is awesome. A woman comes up to us and, cross my heart hope to die, says to Mark “I have a question about women and intermittent fasting.” Mark and I look at each other and burst out laughing. I gently guide the woman to the book booth and hand her a copy of Sexy by Nature.

Go to the paleo fx speakers dinner at the Springdale Farm in Austin. It is a beautiful evening. Dan Pardi and I incite a wicked photo bomb –

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— I get in some epic dancing with Jolly in front of the acoustic two-man band, drink some killer Kombucha, and get a lift to a local dance studio for a night of bachata and kizomba.

(Bachata is the slow, sexy version of salsa, and kizomba is the slow, sexy version of bachata.)

(I know, right!?)

Make it home around 3am, have some coconut butter and apples to re-fuel, and sleep ’til 10.

Saturday April 12. 

This is an awesome day.

I meet so many women who are digging the whole “self-love” thing. I hang out mostly at the Victory Belt (my publisher) table. I hug about a million people. I subsist off of Cappello cookie dough and Exo Cricket Protein Bars and Tanka Bars and Primal Pacs.

I do my book signing, which is totally bomb, even if I haven’t quite figured out how to sign standing up yet, and refuse to sit down.

I also feel pretty charming this whole time. My ego is leaping out, cackling gleefully.

After the conference I head over to Picnik Austin with Stacy, Russ, Alex, Matt, and Sarah Ballantyne, my new paleo favorite and bestie (we both have advanced degrees in the sciences and are super super super nerds who also happen to be rabidly ambitious). We get incredible Sushi at Uchi. The best Pork Belly I’ve ever had. I meet some cool people hanging out at Abel James’s table and get to catch up with him (we went to college together).

I get a ride downtown and dance salsa until 2:30. I meet another man with whom I fall in bachata love. Mmmm bachata love.

Sunday April 13.

The last day is as good as all the others. I sign books. In fact, I sell out! I am the only Victory Belt author to sell out. Pretty cool, eh?!

I do a women’s health panel with Dr. Lo, Dr Ruthie Harper, Diane Sanfilippo, and Dr Deborah Gordon. Dr. Deborah tells women to love themselves. She tells us to eat a lot of food. She tells us to masturbate. She immediately becomes my favorite menopause and women’s health MD and I can’t wait to take her on a date at AHS or Pfx 2014.2.

(BECAUSE THERE IS A PALEO FX 2014.2. IT WILL BE IN DENVER. IN OCTOBER.! I KNOW!!!)

I go to dinner with Bill and Haley, Danielle, Juli, Sean, Suzanne, and everyone’s staff (all my friends have staff… and I will too starting next week!). Barbeque. Finally! I am in Austin and I demand a barbeque.

I meet up with Luke, Kaila, and some others, and I take them salsa dancing, and we sing and dance until almost the sun comes up.

Not a bad way to end an amazing weekend, eh?

After

So now I have a flu and am in recovery. I gained a few pounds from all the chocolate and crickets. But all these things are no problem because I had a great time and have made some great connections and have great plans for the future.

Paleo fx demonstrated this year that we’ve been right all along (and only now is everyone else catching on, haha!) – life is about wellness. It’s about holistic health. It’s not about perfect diets or macronutrients. Almost no talks or speakers were about that. It was all about lifestyle design and doing things better in evolutionary perspective…. something I am behind approximately 6000 percent.
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Primal Pacs!

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First night at Dolce Neve. Bill, Haley, Sean, Suzanne, and Juli.

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Stacy and Matt rule the world. “My girl is stronger than you.”

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Ben Greenfield. Beyond Training (comes out today!) Love this man.

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Cain Credicott, the man behind Paleo Magazine!

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Russ Crandall, The Domestic Man, one of my new dear friends.

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Tony Frederico, another Paleo Magazine mastermind.

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Gluten-extracted beer! Hooah!

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Mickey Trescott, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook all star

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Tammy Credicott, Make Ahead Paleo author and Jimmy Moore photobombing

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Trina’s the woman who brings us Primal Life Organics kickass skincare!

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Sushi at Uchi. Sarah Ballantyne front and center.

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Ore, one of my favorite fans with the most amazing energy and positivity.

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Juli is as loving and beautiful as ever.

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Jason Seib, one of the first ever “let’s take care of the brain” paleo-ites and one of the best men I have ever met.

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Luke Robinson, dear friend and owner of Wolfpack Fitness

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Danielle Walker, about halfway pregnant with her second! So good to see her doing well :)

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Steph Gruenke, Rock Your Hormones, another kickass paleo woman and mother-to-be

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Instagrammed photo of me @ Stacy and Matt’s place with some pears. Mmmm.

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The Women’s health panel on Sunday afternoon from an audience member’s phone.

Hoooah!

I’m going to go take a nap!

I’m at Paleo Fx!! (And it streams LIVE!)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Blog | 4 comments

I’m at Paleo Fx!! (And it streams LIVE!)

 

Ladies, what up!

The sun is shining, it’s 75 degrees outside, and I am in Austin, Texas for the weekend with some of my favorite people on the planet.

Not only do I get to stay with my best friend of all time who is currently an architecture student at UT, but I also get to party at Abel’s new home, meet Luke Robinson of Wolf Pack Fitness (finally!), hug Stacy Toth, see Kaila Prins for the first time in a year, and, holy crap thank god, see Liz Wolfe for the first time in 18th months. Amy Kubal, George Bryant, Todd Dosenberry, Juli Bauer, Bill and Haley, John Durant, Jason Seib, and Sarah Fragoso are some others I cannot wait to hug again. Chris Masterjohn I have not seen since he came with me to buy my now favorite painting back in August on a trip up the Maine coast.

Paleo fx shall be, methinks, something akin to a hell of a time.

What am I up to?

-I will be signing books at the Victory Belt table on Saturday afternoon from 3:00-3:30. That is my official time. I’ll probably be spending a significant amount of time loitering around there.

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-I will be participating in the Women’s health panel from 3:45-4:40 on Sunday afternoon.

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-When I am not sneaking salmon out of the ‘speakers’ room (yes, there is, and yes, I will be), I will be loitering around the entrance hall. I probably won’t go to very many talks. Much as I love my friends, all of whom are presenting, and think they are very smart, I’d rather be talking with you.

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-I will be dancing cha cha with Chris Masterjohn. He’s a ballroom dancer, did you know? And I do salsa. We find good overlap in cha cha, and it just so happens both of us are pretty talented. This should be fun. We should have booked a stage.  Maybe I’ll get a friend to record a video of us dancing.

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What else is going on?

So much I can barely keep track. Four stages at all times. Three full days of panels and presentations. Some of the smartest and most passionate people I know.

For the schedule, check it out here.

How can you get involved?

Well, if you’re going to be in the area, get a ticket! You can come hang out on the expo floor for only 20 bucks or so a day. That’s like a penny each for all the cool people you’ll meet.

For those of us who cannot make it, however, we can all be there LIVE!

Each talk will LIVE STREAM at this site: Paleo Fx Live Streaming.

AND if you miss the LIVE STREAM, you can purchase individual talks or whole packages in days afterward! You can do so at the same live streaming page, HERE.

So join us in any way you can! It’s an absolute party and an honor to be a part of this beautiful event. I cannot wait to share with you all the photos and stories on the other side!

Hooah!

paleo fx

Fani Making it Big Time on the Web!

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

Fani Making it Big Time on the Web!

 

Once, I went on a three month trip through the Rockies with a group of 12, and there were two women named Stephanie. (My name is spelled ‘Stefani,’ but pronounced ‘Stephanie,’ to be clear. Maybe I should have told you that years ago. *Sigh.) In order to distinguish, she became “Stephie G” and I became “Fani.” As in, if you pronounced my name like Gwen Stefani and left off the ‘Ste.’

So anyway, long story short: I am Fani.

And when I talk in third person, I am Fani.

Fani is all over the internet these days, and how amazingly fun is that?

This is what is going on:

-Sexy by Nature is again hovering around the #1 spot in the category “whole foods” on Amazon!

This doesn’t mean much, though. The book shot up in the rankings because I just this week got some reviews on some important websites (more about which in a minute). It’s performance has actually been quite low. My heart’s not broken, not quite, I do believe in us!, but I am  definitely working hard to keep our numbers growing!

We cannot spread the good love and food word if we don’t have word of mouth.

So this is where you come in.

Did you buy the book? Could you write a review? Every single review is one more vote for us in the Amazon world, and, literally, every single one counts. If you could put something up on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes and Noble, I and the rest of this movement will be indebted to you forever.

Literally. Forever.

Do you have a Facebook page? Twitter account? Pinterest? Instagram? Want to share the book with your followers? (Here’s the amazon page!) Do so and tag the PaleoforWomen page and I’ll go ahead and share your stuff back in turn!

——-

-Last week, the popular hippy yoga largely vegetarian website Mind Body Green published an article I wrote called “6 Reasons the Paleo Diet is Great for Women.” Originally, I called it “6 Reasons the Paleo Diet is the Best Diet for Women,” but I guess they wanted to tone it down. The article’s about soy and grains and and nutrient density and eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full.

There are a ton of really dumb comments. Sorry. That’s rude. But there’s a lot of blood type talk going on. Vegetarianism I consider to be less crazy, and a lot of hate coming from that angle, too. If you want to go defend me and our lifestyle, please, be my guest. If not, please, spare yourself the agony and don’t read the comments.

-Twitter and instagram really, really like my new “Love is the New Skinny” campaign (see here), which I am going to continue, and which I think might be the title for my next book. 

Pin and tag if you like, whoopah!

compassion stefani

 

(This is me, btws.)

-Sexy by Nature has been reviewed and loved by some really, really kick ass people.

Long, fun reviews:

1) Stacy Toth and blogger Courtney at Paleo Parents.

2) Heather Spergel at HeatherSpergel.com (brought tears to my eyes)

3) Nina at Paleo Owl. (A truly great review, saying this incredible bit about Sexy by Nature having “it all:”

For me personally, Sexy by Nature is like a sassy sister to The Paleo Coach. This Sherlock finally got an adequate Waston. I know that my “obsession” with EPLifeFit, Jason and his book might seem a little repulsive to you by now, but hey, so is running and chronic cardio, and pictures of fitness models with “motivational quotes” to me.

The reason that I have a Top 3 paleo books (The Paleo Coach, It Starts With Food and Primal Connections) and not just one, is that every book has “something” and no book has it all. Sexy By Nature DOES HAVE IT ALL. Sexy By Nature takes all the most important knowledge that the author gained over time, mixed it with some solid science and research, sprinkled it with sweet bits of her personality and added a provocative title on top.)

4) Liz Wolfe’s video review at Real Food Liz.

5) Kaila Prins at In My Skinny Genes

6) Jason Seib @ Everyday Paleo (another one that brought tears to my eyes. It means the world to me to have so much of Jason’s respect.)

Short and to the point reviews:

7) Danielle Walker at Against All Grain

8) Pete’s Paleo

9) Richard Nikoley at Free the Animal

And some really beautiful reviews over on the Amazon page by incredible people like Jimmy Moore, George Bryant, Russ Crandall, Sarah Fragoso, Todd Dosenberry, and Ashley Tudor.

-But, as you have seen, this is just 9 blogger reviews! And 34 Amazon reviews.

We can do so much better. 

So I am! Here we go, ladies, to the mattresses, huzzah, huzzah!

—-

And there’s more on the way, as always!

Check out and/or review Sexy by Nature (still 27 percent off!) @ Amazon @ here.

And get some exclusive excerpts from the book – not seen anywhere else! (except in the book, duh) – at the Sexy by Nature facebook page!

My job as a philosopher, the power of acceptance, and how to write a book – my interview with Liz Wolfe of Balanced Bites

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Blog, Podcast | 3 comments

My job as a philosopher, the power of acceptance, and how to write a book – my interview with Liz Wolfe of Balanced Bites

 

By now, you should all know who Liz Wolfe is. She’s the brilliant voice behind Cave Girl Eats (now Real Food Liz), as well as the author of Eat the Yolks.

Liz interviewed me (all on her lonesome! Usually Diane Sanfillippo accompanies) for the Balanced Bites podcast a while back, and it just went up last week.

In the podcast, we talk about:

-my life as a philosopher and what my other “career” is all about

(hint: awesome stuff)

-what I learned about myself and about the world writing Sexy by Nature 

-how writing a book is like having a baby (so I’ve heard)

-and how acceptance can salvage your relationship with your body, as well as just about everything else.

Read about it, listen, and download at the link HERE, or on the image below, at which you can also read a full transcript, which is awesome.

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(button credit: Diane Sanfilippo)

But then you don’t get to hear us laugh, which we do the whole time.

I’ve pulled some quotes, too, to give you a taste for what we sound like:

Stefani Ruper: Very thin. And these days I’m a little bit sturdier. I’m super curvier. And it really is, it feels strange to be in a differently sized body. I feel like I look a little bit more like an adult, and that isn’t to say that people who are thin look like children. {laughs} But I think I kind of did, because it wasn’t my natural shape. And I think I look healthier. And when I put myself in my skin, and when I’m at home in my body and like a partner to my body, that’s what makes me excited to be in it. That’s the very first thing I say in the book. I try to define sexy, and I’m like, sexy is excited to be in the skin you’re in. It’s a feeling. It’s owning your skin and being excited to be there. When you love your body, and you forgive it, and you accept what you need to do to make yourself healthy and you try to get there, then you can look people in the eyes, and be like, “What?”

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Stefani Ruper: {laughs} What? This is me, and I’m not apologizing for that fact, because this is what’s best for me. And people love that. Once you start doing that. Once you start just leaping, the final step in every single step by step list I make is always, you’ve just got to go do it. Because that’s going to give you the data you need. It’s going to give you the experience you need to learn how positively people respond to confidence. And it’s not at all; it’s so, so, so little about how you look. Just the tinniest, tinniest little bit. And all about how you present yourself. I don’t care how big you are, I don’t care what’s going on with your skin or your hair. It is entirely about how good and confident you feel.

——

Stefani Ruper: B) I said, in one swift and terrifying week, right? I accepted myself. Which is funny, because as true as that may be, that week was awesome, I was like, yeah, I’m doing this!

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Stefani Ruper: And then it was another; when was it, that was in early 2012. And it was still, it’s still happening. Right?

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Stefani Ruper: It’s still happening, and I have those weeks all the time, and I have good days and bad days, and also I said 10 pounds, and since then it’s probably been more like 20. Because again I’ve been doing this process over and over. And, even at that point, I was working on learning how to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full. You know, I was working on accepting my body, but I really didn’t get… I want to say, I think I’m good at it now. I really didn’t get good at it for, I don’t know, another couple of years. You know, very close to this date. And I keep getting better. But I want to throw out there, this thing may have a certain starting point, but it doesn’t, so far as I can tell, have a certain ending point.

——-

Stefani Ruper: And I like both of them a lot. And so the whole time I’m working on this, I’m being torn in different directions, and sometimes I’m working on my philosophy work, and I’m feeling frustrated that I can’t be working on the book. And usually, it went vice-versa. And, the great Ron Swanson comes to mind here.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Stefani Ruper: Because he tells Leslie Knope that “You don’t half-ass two things, you whole-ass one thing.”

Liz Wolfe: Yes! {laughs} I love that quote.

Stefani Ruper: Yeah! And so, for a couple of years there, I was probably three-quarter assing two things.

 

And more!

Whoopah!

Love is the New Skinny

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Blog | 17 comments

Love is the New Skinny

 

“Strong is the new skinny,” is what everyone says these days.  No longer do you have to look like a runway model! No longer do you have to starve yourself! Wow! Everyone is ecstatic.

Except not everyone is. Who isn’t? I am not. That’s because I know that “strong” means you still have to starve yourself (or at least be restrictive). And build eight pack abs on top of that. “Strong” sets an even higher standard that’s even harder to achieve. It’s unrealistic. It calls for amount of willpower. It demands an egregious amount of your time.

See “skinny”:

m1

talentrising.wordpress.com

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fashion.info

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victoriassecret.com

(Don’t argue with me: these women are skinny, okay?)

See “strong”:

(Search results from Googling “strong is the new skinny”):

strong-is-the-new-skinny

Resultswillvary.com

strong-is-the-new-skinny2

superdietreviews.com

8tracks.com

8tracks.com

  breakingmuscle.com

breakingmuscle.com

 

Because when people say “strong is the new skinny” what most of them actually mean is “lean with lots of muscle” is the “new skinny.”

Not everyone distorts “strong” to mean “thin and muscled” like these women do. Some actually believe that physical strength — and not the physical, idealized body that comes from hardcore exercise — but actual physical power — is what is truly beautiful.

The inspiring shewolves of Wolf Pack Fitness are one group of incredible, powerful women like this. Many Crossfit women (hellooo Stacy Toth of paleo parents) are some others. Lots of women who do push ups or sling kettlebells in our own movement are others.

But that doesn’t stop the fact that the primary sentiment behind the “strong is the new skinny” movement is that beauty is all about the way that your body looks.

This is not an idea I like very much.

————–

What is beauty about?

Beauty–true beauty, the kind of beauty that stops your heart and makes the world go ’round–is about love.

It’s about compassion.

It’s about having the courage to affirm yourself and to affirm others on a daily basis.

It’s about daring to say yes to positivity and no to hate.

It’s about owning who you are and never backing down.

It’s about always apologizing when you should and never when you shouldn’t.

It’s about vulnerability.

It’s about the firm grip of your hand, the warmth of your hug, the welcoming light in your eyes, and the open laughter on your lips.

It is, as I have said, about love.

I highly recommend this speech by Lupita Nyong’o. What is beauty? she asks. It’s not the color of your skin, that’s for sure. It’s not your waistline. It’s your compassion. For yourself, your loved ones, and the world.

——-

If we are going to change our standards of beauty away from “skinny,” we may as well do it right and go all the way. Maybe a part of beauty is about muscles. Maybe some of it is health. Maybe it’s about your hair or your radiant skin. But maybe it’s about so much more than that.

Maybe it’s about a future in which the best, most admired, and most desired people are those with the biggest hearts.

I am more than okay with being attractive. I will continue to try to be so. I cannot help it – nothing will stop the human race from caring about aesthetic pleasure.  But being attractive is not what makes me beautiful. It is not what makes me desirable. It is one small component of who I am–only the surface of an entire, powerful being.

I will not try to be skinny. I will not even try all that hard to be strong.

But I will try to have a big heart, and to love myself, to love my family, and to love the world with the most open and daring compassion I can possibly muster.

compassion plant 1

Community, prepare thyselves to be bombarded by a steady stream of “love is the new skinny” memes.

Please pin and share these as widely and freely as you like. Memes are, after all, the best way to share good ideas.

In fact, if you’d like to make your own, and share them on the Paleo for Women Facebook page, tweet them to @paleoforwomen, or tag me on Pinterest or Instagram, I’ll re-post them to make your voice heard.

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And my favorite:

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Sweet Plantain Guacamole by one of the world’s best human beings and paleo chefs, George Bryant

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Sweet Plantain Guacamole by one of the world’s best human beings and paleo chefs, George Bryant

 

Ladies. If you haven’t already, meet George.

George is the brilliant mastermind / chef / photographer behind Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. He also happens to be one of my most dear friends, and one of the most open and outspoken advocates of body love in the paleo world. He struggled with body image and with bulimia for many years, and while a Marine, to boot. After Crossfitting for some time and going paleo, George found real health. He found allegiance to his body. He found radical, permanent self-love. You can listen to his story on my podcast here, or read it in his own words at his blog here.

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George makes food. But he doesn’t just make it. He creates it. He loves it. He perfects it. It’s always an enormous honor to be in his kitchen (helllooo paleo fx 2014!). He’s been blogging food and making apps and producing ebooks for years and years now, and is a pro.

And now, finally, he has joined up with the wickedly brilliant and beautiful Juli Bauer of PaleOMG to produce a hardcover, Barnes and Noble-esque cookbook called The Paleo Kitchen. 

 

the_paleo_kitchen

 

This book can be pre-ordered now, here, and I could not recommend it more highly. T’will be delivered June 10, 2014.

Also: in celebration of the book, George, Juli, and Pete Servold of Pete’s Paleo (another phenomenal paleo chef up to 1000 kinds of good in the kitchen) are teaming up to bring to you an incredible giveaway –

An all-expenses paid weekend hangout with the three of them.

George describes it like this:

A 2 night, 3 day trip to San Diego all expenses paid to hang out with us.  We will go shopping for food, cook up a storm, do some sightseeing and Crossfit if you want.  We will also be hanging out with the amazing Pete from Pete’s Paleo who will be teaching all of us how to shop at a farmers market, picking the freshest ingredients and developing a menu around them.  Pretty much, we want to make sure whoever wins has the best 3 days of their lives in San Diego and we eat lots of food with lots of laughs.  You even get to bring a friend.

All you have to do to enter is to pre-order the book from Amazon and tell George you did so @ here.

 

San-Diego-ca-downtown

 

So in celebration of the book and because George is kind enough to entertain my begging, he has shared his infamous Sweet Plantain Guacamole with me here to share with you.

 

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It’s easy. It’s amazing. It’s the perfect combination of fat and carbohydrates, both of which you need in order to be a fully nourished woman. And it is made, as such, as follows:

———–

Sweet Plantain Guacamole

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

———–

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large brown plantain, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons water

3 large avocados, cut in half, pits removed

¼ medium white onion, finely chopped (30 grams)

handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno

juice of ½ lime

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

salt and pepper, to taste

———-

Place a small skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil.

Once the coconut oil is hot, add half of the garlic to the pan along with diced plantain.

When the plantain dice begin to brown, salt them, and then flip to brown on other side.

Add the water to the pan and cover to steam the plantain. Once the plantain dice are soft, remove

from the heat and let cool.

While the plantain finishes cooking, scoop out the insides of the pitted avocados and add to a

large bowl to mash. Mash up the avocado with a fork. Add the onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime

juice, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix well, then fold in the plantains. Chill in the

refrigerator before serving.

———-

And tada!

Brilliant. Simple.  Huzzah.

So remember, friends:

George. The Paleo Kitchen. Epic Giveaway for a weekend of learning and cooking and hanging with George, Juli, and Pete at George’s blog. Ends April 9!

 

Body Love and Botticelli: How Ancient Art Gave Samantha (more of) the Power to Love Herself

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Blog, Body Image | 1 comment

Body Love and Botticelli: How Ancient Art Gave Samantha (more of) the Power to Love Herself

 

When I was 18 years old, I lived in Beijing for six months. It was… epic. For a lot of reasons. Least of which being all the beer pong. The nudist protest I made in a Chinese bar. Hiking the Great Wall.

Okay, maybe the Great Wall goes first.

Anyway.

Beijing was also my first experience in a world class museum. The Beijing version of the MET had an entire exhibit devoted to medieval and rennaissance depictions of women…. and I fell in love.

Being slightly overweight, young, in college, and feeling badly about myself but not understanding the worlds of body image, sexism, disordered eating, and the like…. when I saw paintings that glorified bodies that looked less like American ideals… bodies that were softer, pudgier, rollier, versions of American ideals – I realized just how deeply beauty norms are conditioned by societal preferences.

I realized that my body was worthwhile.

I realized that American norms didn’t get to tell me if I was beautiful or not (neither do the Greek or Italian ones, of course.)

I fell in love with ancient art that muggy afternoon in Beijing.

One of our community members, Samantha Williams, who is a beautiful woman and poet and soul and fire – has reflected on the same experience to a remarkable degree. I asked her if she would be willing to write a short piece for our blog that discussed her transformation and relationship to the art, and this is what she delivered.

So Samantha….

—————– 

“You could be a sister of the Graces,” my friend told me as we stood examining a print taken from Botticelli’s Venus and the Three Graces Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman.

 

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Botticelli, detail from Venus and the Three Graces

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Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman (1483-1486)

 

Although I could have deflected this compliment by mentioning numerous dissimilarities (for example, my face is much too round), instead I smiled and said, “Thank you.”  In general, my friend appreciates my appearance more than I do.  It is not my job to try to make his taste conform to mine.  Arguing would diminish his enjoyment and deprive me of the chance to bask in the glow of his sincere regard.

 

Sometimes it is easier to see myself as beautiful when I look through someone else’s eyes.

 

Intrigued by the figures in the painting, I went online the next day to learn more about the Graces, minor Greco-Roman goddesses of beauty, joy, and abundance.  My search for pictures of the mythical trio soon brought me to Botticelli’s Primavera.

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Botticelli, detail from Primavera (c. 1482)

I admired the easy flow of the dancing Graces.  And I noticed their curves.

Then I moved on to other representations.  While the body types varied, it seemed obvious that in each case, the artist felt that the women he had portrayed were beautiful.

body love and bot 4

 

First-century fresco

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Raphael, 1504-1505

 Italian fresco, c. 1519

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Jacques Blanchard, Venus and the Three Graces Surprised by a Mortal (1631-1633)

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Peter Paul Rubens, 1635

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Carle van Loo, 1763

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French painting, c. 1765

Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1797-1798

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Antonio Canova, 1814-1817

My quick search for depictions of Venus, goddess of beauty and love, also began with Botticelli.

 

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Botticelli, detail from Primavera (c. 1482)

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Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (1486)

 

I was particularly drawn to Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus because the goddess’s face is similar to mine, and I have spent more time bemoaning my “fat cheeks” than complaining about any other body part.  Like many of the other portraits I found, this one illustrates that the six-pack is not the only abdominal ideal.

 

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Giorgione, Sleeping Venus (c. 1510)

 

When I imagine myself among this company of beautiful women as another finely crafted showpiece in the human gallery, I want to treat my body with the love, respect, and care worthy of a work of art.

 

I suspect that these images of Venus and the Graces exercise their power not merely through the way they look, but also through the way they make the artist and the viewer feel.  The degree of appreciation is influenced by the attitudes of both the model and the perceiver.

 

When interacting with people or viewing pictures, we can apply a propensity to objectify, criticize, and find fault, or we can bring a disposition to accept, empathize, and celebrate.  I have noticed that my impressions of how my friends look are infused by my affection for them and by my memories of the times we have spent together.  I have come to associate their physical appearances with their characteristic traits of ability, intellect, and imagination.  Since paintings and sculptures often represent composite images created over multiple sittings with the goal of eliciting particular reflections and responses, such artworks may come closer than most photographs to approximating this deeply subjective dimension of human experience.

 

For me, exploring visions of beauty from other periods and places has reinforced the lesson that a woman who exudes vitality and delight can be attractive no matter what her shape.  We can all seek the beauty in others and share our unique graces with the world.

 

10 Signs You’re a Healthy Woman

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Blog | 6 comments

10 Signs You’re a Healthy Woman

 

Much as I love empowerment, self-love, and confidence, I am going to pass out if I write another article about sex appeal this week. That stuff’s important, but only as one piece of the puzzle of what it means to be a whole, healthy woman.

What are some other signs that you are healthy – and as a woman, specifically?

What do you want to look for as signals of wellness?

Here are the most important:

——

1. If of reproductive age, you have a regular menstrual cycle.

The menstrual cycle is highly sensitive to fluctuations in health. Impaired gut health, inflammation, insulin resistance, physical stress and mental stress can all negatively impact your cycle and its regularity. If your cycle is irregular, you may want to investigate what may be causing it. An irregular cycle is a pretty clear signal that at least some thing is amiss in your body, even if the list of potential culprits is long.

2. Your period is relatively pain-free.

I will not guarantee you a painless menstrual cycle, no matter how healthy you are.

But if you are physiologically healthy, your period will never make you so sick you have to miss work or spend an entire day curled up in the foetal position with Love Actually. Common reasons for intense pain during a menstrual cycle are endometriosis – a condition of having endometrial tissue planted excessively throughout your abdominal cavity – and estrogen dominance. Endometriosis is associated with autoimmunity and immune system dysreulation, so an autoimmune protocol may be in order. Estrogen dominance is a result of being overweight, stress, inflammation, poor liver health, and birth control use.

High amounts of inflammation can also seriously impact your menstrual experience. Many women find that excessive sugar or a meal out at a restaurant leads to menstrual pain in the following days.

3. You do not go crazy once every month.

PMS is a sure sign that your neurotransmitters – the molecules that make up the bulk of your brain – are not quite working the way they should. In PMS, certain “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine do not react well to the hormonal changes at the end of your menstrual cycle.

So both your hormones need to be balanced and your neurotransmitters need to be supported if you suffer PMS or PMDD (the more extreme form of PMS). Cooling inflammation, weight loss, focusing on omega 3s, exercise, eliminating grains, dairy, and sugar, and healthy animal protein are all great ways to do this.

4. You sleep well.

Women experience insomnia at much higher rates than men. This is largely because hormones influence everything in the body. Estrogen is necessary for moving magnesium into tissues, which helps your body shut off at night. So without proper hormone balance, you may have trouble falling and staying asleep.

Women are also highly sensitive to stress hormones. Cortisol – the primary stress hormone – is also responsible for wakefulness. So if you are under an undue amount of stress, that can show up in your sleeping patterns and wreak havoc all its own.

If you sleep well, this is a good sign that you are in decent hormone balance, have your stress within manageable ranges, produce the right amount of sleep hormones, and have healthy neurotransmitters.

5. You have regular bowel movements.

Constipation, diarrhea, and irregularity are all signs that something’s a bit off with your digestive processes. This is likely due to an impaired gut flora population (which often runs hand in hand with leaky gut). This is a crucial problem to address for many reasons. 1) Your comfort. 2) Your intestinal lining and a healthy immune system. 3) Keeping inflammation in check. And 4) Keeping estrogen levels healthy. Too little fiber and too much constipation makes your body re-absorb estrogen that it is trying to excrete, possibly making you estrogen dominant; and too much fiber and diarrhea on the other hand can do the very opposite.

6. You have clear skin.

This is a tough one for me. I have incredibly sensitive skin. Nonetheless, in the end I have nothing to be but grateful for this fact since my sensitivity makes me so attuned to small differences in my health. My cystic acne alerted me to my dairy and soy sensitivities. My keratosis pilaris (those red bumps commonly found on people’s arms) only flares up when I eat gluten, alerting me to some degree of sensitivity on that front. I break out when I am under even a small degree of stress.

And all of this is even more extreme because I had/have PCOS, one of the most common female hormone imbalances.

Your skin is littered with testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, DHEA-S, and other sex hormone receptors. Testosterone aggravates the skin and causes increased oil production, and estrogen soothes and softens your skin. If you experience cystic acne, particularly as it may fluctuate with your menstrual cycle, this is a clear sign that some sort of hormone balance is plaguing you.

7. You don’t have hair in male places, like around your mouth, and you aren’t balding where men do, like on the top of your head.

Male-pattern hair growth and hair loss is a clear sign of hormone imbalance. When your hormone profile matches a man’s — primarily via testosterone excess — you will develop hair growth patterns like a man’s.

8. You have a libido.

Libido is not just a side benefit of being a woman. It’s an important marker of health. Hormone imbalance – in both the cases when estrogen levels are too high and when male sex hormone levels like testosterone are too high – will often precipitously endanger your sex drive. Stress and poor sleep also derail libido. As does poor psychological health regarding sex.

If your libido is raging, ten stars for you. If you struggle with it, consider working on issues of hormone balance, reducing stress, and creating the safest sexual environment possible.

9 You have energy both before and after you exercise.

You shouldn’t have to force a workout. If you have the right amount of energy, (and if you are appropriately listening to your body!), exercise should feel good and fun. You also shouldn’t be so fatigued afterward. If you have energy both before and after you exercise, this is a good sign that your body is not over-taxed, that your stress hormones are in manageable levels, and that your body is on board with your current lifestyle.

9.5 You have energy. Period.

Way, way, way too many women are chronically fatigued. From stress hormone excess to poor sleep to hypothyroidism, it is incredibly easy for women’s lives to slip away into brain fog. If you are chronically fatigued, consider nutrient deficiencies, stress, inadequate sleep, too low carbohydrate or fat intake, too low calorie intake, blood sugar fluctuations and hypothyroidism as possible culprits. Hypothyroidism is particularly important for women since the vast majority of hypothyroid cases occur in women. The thyroid gland is highly sensitive to pituitary and stress hormone activity, both of which we know are crucial and highly influential aspects of women’s health.

10. Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t impossible.

Women have a harder time losing and maintaining a “healthy” weight than men. Why? Hormones, of course. For one, the female body is highly sensitive to starvation signals, so if you over-do it in terms of calorie restriction or exercise over a long period of time, your body may rebel by decreasing its fat-burning rate. For another, if you are on birth control or your estrogen levels are at all elevated (due to inflammation, being overweight, stress, and the like), your estrogen levels may be encouraging weight storage and preventing you from losing weight. If you are menopausal, you may struggle with weight maintenance because your estrogen levels are too low (counter-intuitive, I know), and you need at least a little bit of estrogen in order to store fat properly.

Also, the female body just so happens to usually really love having some fat on it, so give it a hug. Don’t try to starve it away.

——

All of which and more in the seminal guide to women’s health, Sexy by Nature, @ Amazon and in stores now!

 

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