Reboot with a 7-Day Paleo-Powered Healthy Meal Plan
Too many cookies, cocktails and formal dinners these past few months? Functional nutrition therapist Andrea Laine White, who has a clinical practice in Castle Rock and serves as head nutritionist of Baby Fresh Organics (babyfreshorganics.co), a meal delivery service for kids you can order through SupperBell, designed this plan to jumpstart your energy, ignite weight loss, balance blood sugar and hormones, gently cleanse and detoxify and reset metabolism. All recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free and—yes!—delicious. Who’s in?
All recipes courtesy Andrea Laine White; brand names listed are White’s recommendations.
BEFORE YOU START
1. Get organized: Planning is key. Stock up on ingredients, prep what you can in advance and make the decision to prioritize your health.
2. Batch cook: Lunch recipes use proteins from dinner the night before, so make enough chicken, salmon, bison and tuna for the remixed lunch recipe the next day. The same can be done for veggies.
3. Save money: Many of the pantry staples can be purchased through discount health food online retailer thrivemarket.com.
From carnivore to vegan: here’s what happened when I quit eating animal products
By Elaine Goodman
Last July, after watching the Netflix documentary “What the Health,” I knew I could no longer keep my head in the sand regarding how harmful the manufacturing and consumption of animal products was for my health, for animals and for the planet. The message was so powerful to me that I decided that the very next day, my birthday, I’d start eating a plant-based vegan diet. This meant giving up meat, eggs and dairy products—the very foods I was raised on.
Initially, I challenged myself to 100 days and my husband decided to join me in this endeavor. To my surprise, the 100 days came and went and not only had I not eaten any animal products since the day I started, I had no desire to go back to my old way of eating.
The benefits? I’ve lost weight without even trying, I feel better mentally and physically and my numbers at my yearly physical were better than ever. My doctor is amazed. I’m amazed. And what’s most amazing of all is how easy it has been. There are so many online resources that provide recipes, support and advice that the transition was almost effortless.
Being vegan doesn’t mean eating salad every day. I love to cook, and all the foods I made before this change can be easily “veganized.” Also, Denver is a great city for eating plant-based food, with wonderful restaurants (I love City, O’ City and Native Foods Café), bakeries and even vegan pizza places (try Brooklyn Pizza—so yummy). There’s really no need to go without.
When people hear that I’ve gone vegan, they always say they could never give up eggs, cheese or you-name-it—and I used to say the same thing. I never thought I could do this—it was so outside the box for me. But the longer I do it, the easier it gets, and it feels so good to know that not only am I doing something great for my health, but that what I’m eating isn’t contributing to animal cruelty or the deterioration of the planet.
Elaine Goodman lives in Denver and is a paraprofessional with Denver Public Schools. She is married with three grown daughters and a grandson. Photo: istock
I’ve run every day for more than 850 days straight; here’s why
By John Brackney
On Thanksgiving Day of 2017, I ran for the 850th consecutive day. In other words, for more than two years, I haven’t missed a single day of running—each time outdoors, no matter the weather, and always in shorts. At a minimum, I run 1 mile, although I average around 4 ½ miles daily, and my streak is officially registered at runeveryday.com. My ultimate goal? To run 1,000 days in a row.
So what brought about this crazy idea? There seems to come a time in life when you suddenly realize you need to, want to—or just decide that you can—make a change in deeply held habits or lifestyle choices. After a decade of working too hard—and eating and drinking too much—I had ballooned to 225 pounds, about 50 more pounds than my 6-foot frame can handle gracefully. I would start sweating profusely during even modest exercise or while climbing a couple flights of stairs. So I decided to lose weight. I lost 35 pounds over the course of a year in 2013, and 15 more pounds in January of 2014. Then I decided to quit chewing tobacco after 33 years. Quitting a daily habit I had from age 16 to 49 would be formidable and I knew I would need to substitute a really good habit for this really bad one.
After three months or so, I found running was an essential part of my day, and, in all honesty, I have enjoyed every single one of those runs. Even during the four or five days I was in bed with the flu in the winter, I got up, laced my shoes and trudged out on a 1-mile loop. Those 11- to 12-minute runs (yes, they were slow) marked the only times I felt human during that week.
I’ve run regularly off and on most of my life since high school. In fact, I have run more than 100 races, including several marathons and the Pikes Peak Ascent, but I had always found that running was tiresome, difficult and awkward and therefore would often opt to skip running for weeks, months and even years straight. The book “Born to Run” and fellow “streak runners” changed my entire perception and execution of the sport.
I can now trail run for several hours in the mountains enjoyably. I feel better, mentally and emotionally. Even on bad days I still know I consistently completed a positive action that can keep me healthier longer for my loved ones and friends. I also hope to inspire others to be physically fit, healthy, friendly and kind. We each could do so much more for ourselves and others if we simply chose to listen better, express empathy and then offer assistance and motivation. And once I hit day 1,000? I hope to just keep running and helping others with their goals.
John Brackney is the director of public policy and community engagement at Webolutions, having formerly served as an Arapahoe County commissioner and CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. An active member of the Colorado Masters Running Association, he also founded Webolutions Revolutions, an active outdoor adventure group, free and open to any business or community leader who wishes to engage in team outdoor trail running, hiking or climbing. Photo: istock
How I discovered the incredible lightness of organizing
By Kate Kalstein
I’m a planner and always have an eye toward efficiency. As a consultant for nonprofits, I have to. But I’m also a sole practitioner, my practice is growing, and in 2017 I realized I needed help organizing my paperwork.
So I reached out to Kate Englebrecht at Call Kate (callkate.org), who told me she practices the KonMari method. She then said, “We’ll need to start with your closet.” I said, “It’s not my clothes that need help; it’s my files!” But she persuaded me to read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo, and I decided to hire her.
My husband said, “You’re going to pay someone to help you organize your clothes? Your closet already looks like you’re totally Type A!” But I have a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old who are active in sports, Girl Scouts and dance. My husband is a finance professional. I run the household and my own business, do shuttle driving and coordinate schedules for after-school pickup—I needed help.
In August, Kate came to my house for four hours. She was wonderful and supportive, not directive. We emptied everything out of my closet and purged pile after pile, creating bags to donate or consign. And after four hours, we’d gotten rid of about half of my things.
Kate’s process really spoke to me in terms of addressing the emotional stressors of my environment. I decided to go through the rest of the house on my own, using the tools I had learned. I went through my kids’ rooms with them, discarding the things that they had outgrown or that didn’t spark joy. I went through the kitchen and baths, and Kate and her assistant came back and we spent six hours doing the basement.
The result, for me, is a lightness and a sense of calm. I also feel gratitude for being able to share things we weren’t using with those who can benefit from them. The funny thing is, my office, which is what started the whole process, still isn’t done, but the good news is that now everything is consolidated in my desk work area; there’s no longer an overflow of papers in the china cabinet and down in the basement.
Working with Kate was part of an overall year of focusing on my wellness. I’d gone through a stressful period—my grandmother passed away, a close family member had a recurrence of cancer, my hometown flooded, my husband took a new job—this led me to find a new therapist, who helped me discover new wellness tools including acupuncture, and now I’ve found KonMari. Today, I can say I feel dramatically different: lighter, healthier and happier all around.
Kate Kalstein is the founder and principal of Kate Kalstein Consulting. She provides support to nonprofit organizations including board development, governance, strategic planning and training services. She has devoted her career to strengthening nonprofit organizations through leadership, advocacy and the law to enable them to focus on progress. Kate is an active member of the Consultants‘ Leadership Forum sponsored by The Denver Foundation and CausePlanet. Appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in fall 2015, Kate proudly serves as commissioner to the State Commission on Community Service, Serve Colorado. Photo: istock
I gave up my stressful career to travel the world
By Meghan Hunt
A year ago, I was a tightly wound ball of anxiety, misery and debt. I couldn’t find my way to anything that resembled joy. Often, I couldn’t even find my way off the couch.
A year before that, I had been in an incredibly stressful job, working 70 to 80 hours a week. I was on anxiety medication and had insomnia, heart palpitations, panic attacks and stomach ulcers. I quit that job to get my health back and be more in control of my own destiny. I had always wanted to start my own business, so I spent 2016 trying to do so. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out; I realize now that I’d thought my career would make me happy.
That’s been a huge theme in my life—putting conditions on my happiness and thinking, if I just get this promotion, start this company, break off this toxic relationship or start eating better and get into shape, then I will be happy. But the second I’d reach one goal, I’d be looking for the next one, never appreciating anything along the way.
I finally realized I needed professional help, so I turned to Megan Abbott at Fruition Coaching (fruitionpersonalcoaching.com). It wasn’t easy—I had to get painfully honest with myself—but Megan made me realize I was trying to force myself into a cookie-cutter life, with a nine-to-five job and living for the weekends. She taught me to live in the present, rather than constantly planning ahead.
She also made me realize how much I wanted to travel—every session we had, I unknowingly mentioned travel repeatedly, and until she pointed it out, I didn’t realize how important it was to me. After working with her for a while, I decided to take the leap. My husband and I sold a rental triplex that had been weighing us down financially and emotionally and went to Indonesia for a month. Every day of that trip, I tried to use the tools Megan had given me: doing meditation and gratitude lists and working hard to be in the present.
After that trip, my husband and I tied up a few loose ends in Denver—like selling our cars and hiring a management company for our house—and took off traveling. In the last year, we’ve been to Germany, the Netherlands and Mexico, and we’re planning a four-month trip to South America. We try to really experience life in these places—not visit them as tourists. We live off passive rental income from our duplex in Denver; I also do travel writing, and my husband is teaching himself how to code.
When I look back at the old me, I see a shell of a person overwhelmed by every part of my day. I had become deeply negative and had lost faith that I would ever find happiness. I now have a new life filled with so much joy, gratitude and beauty. The old me was $60,000 in debt, in truly desperate straits. Now I’m debt free and traveling the world with the love of my life. We’ve never been happier, we’ve never been closer and we’ve never been more confident that this is the path for us.
Meghan Hunt is a full-time traveler and the co-founder of snmtravel.com, a site dedicated to documenting the adventures and challenges of digital nomad life. She lives and works on the road with her husband, Steve Wilson, and rescue dog, Ash. Photo: istock
Bitten by the Photography Bug
By Tammy Nelson
Nature is my stress reliever. And about four years ago, during a tough time at work, I found myself looking at things really closely when I went on walks around our Silverthorne and Park County houses. I noticed how much beauty there was and wanted to capture it. I also wanted to have something to help me forget about work, and photography seemed like a great distraction.
Fast-forward four years, and it’s become my passion. I’ve taken workshops with Ed MacKerrow (my first one, where I thankfully didn’t make too big of a fool of myself) and John Fielder and classes with The Great Courses, New York Institute of Photography and CreativeLive. And I’ve used the skills I’ve learned on photo trips.
I photographed this beautiful kit fox in Silverthorne.
My first trip, just after I got my first camera, was to Peru. We stayed at Inkaterra. Our guide there took me out one night with a flashlight, and I got photos of a monkey, frogs and a bunch of tarantulas—I’m afraid of spiders, but they were so cool I had to get closer. That trip got me hooked. Last year, I took our camper van to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks by myself for a week. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but it helps that my son, Jeff, is a professional photographer and has been a great mentor, always willing to help me when I need guidance or a critical eye. In fact, he gave me the best photography advice I’ve gotten so far: Learn how to shoot in manual mode first.
Now semi-retired, I hope to catch up on all the photography time I’ve missed. Luckily, living in Colorado makes finding a good photo almost too easy.
Tammy Nelson works two days a week at Whole Foods for fun. For 35 years, she worked in health care clinics and raised two children with her husband, Dave. Find her on Instagram: @tammynelson274
My Family's Priority: Hitting the road
By Sarah Stranak
We talk about the world in our house a lot. My husband, John, used to travel internationally for work and would come home with stories, pictures and souvenirs for our kids, Luke, 8, and Hayden, 11. The boys also go to a school with an International Baccalaureate program, which emphasizes a global perspective. Between the two, the kids’ curiosity to see the world was sparked. So, while planning a family trip last year, we decided to take the plunge into international waters.
It wasn’t easy making the trip work. We had to prioritize the amazing experience we would get over material things and activities here. To anything extra—from weekend trips to new landscaping—we’d say, “Wait—we’re saving for Greece.”
It was Hayden who inspired us to go to Greece. My favorite day there, we rented a car to explore Naxos, a mountainous agricultural island. We visited villages, talked to the locals and got a feel for what it’s like to live there. But our car was like a glorified golf cart and as we were trying to make it up this hill it would not go. I was about to grab the kids and bail when suddenly, my husband shifted the right way and we took off again. It was crazy!
What pleasantly surprised my husband and me was how much our boys enjoyed the trip. We still discuss Greece probably once a week in our house. All these months later, the boys love to tell stories from the trip and are still looking at the pictures. Since we’ve been back, they’ve created a bucket list of all the places they want to go, and their excitement makes the cost and time worth it. Next, we want to go to Italy.
Sarah Stranak is a stay-at-home mom of two busy boys, Luke and Hayden. Born and raised in rural Kentucky, she moved to Denver with her husband, John, in 2002. Her love of travel was inspired by her late mother, who taught her to embrace new opportunities, and her husband, whose sense of adventure is contagious. Photo: Mykonos, Greece, courtesy of Portico
Photography by Paul Miller