The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Place, New Adventures!

So, I think I mentioned how Deek and I had been spending a lot of time chillaxing after our move across the country. When you travel across the nation at break-neck speed, live in a hotel for a month, interview like crazy, and search for a place to live, you get a bit worn out. And that's the state we've been in for about two months. But we're finally starting to get that familiar "let's adventure" itch. Naturally, it started with ziplining!

Did you say ziplining? Why, yes, I did. When we decided to get back into the adventuring saddle, we didn't start off small. LOL! In fact, we chose to go ziplining over a waterfall!

Here's a pictorial view of our amazing weekend!

Friday, I picked Deek up from work for a dinner date.

And we immediately started laughing. We LOVE our time together and cherish each precious second.

The next day, we lounged in bed talking, laughing, and writing until it was time to go ziplining. Rules: Close-toes shoes, comfy clothes, all long hair pulled back

 I don't know why we decided to do this pose, but it's adorbs. LOL! 

Deek is ready to rumble.

Half excited, half scared.

On the practice line

Me on the practice line with a photobomber...

We're ready to go. Geared up, we know how to zip, and now it's time to do this thing!

Deek was brave enough to let go.

I wasn't. LOL! 
But I did make sure to hold a tight plank while going through the air to get an additional ab workout. That counts, right? Haha!

And we climbed bridges. This ziplining wasn't just fun in the trees; it required a quite a bit of strength and cardio too!

Case in point--look at how steep that bridge is!

High up in the sky and about to climb higher!

Our guides were awesome! They took good care of us, made sure we were safe at all times, told us interesting stories, and made us laugh!

The waterfall. It was so gorgeous! First, we walked on a suspended bridge to get a good view, and then we ziplined back across that baby!

Stopping for a moment to enjoy the view!

And to sneak a kiss!

We had a total blast with our awesome guides and with each other!

A little celebration and mediation on the way back to our car. LOL!

And now that we're back in my home state, we have opportunities to meet up with old and new friends as well as participate in more author events. Recently, we traveled a little farther east and attended a Q&A session and book signing with our buddy, Chrissy Lessey! Deek will be writing a blog on that, so stay tuned for more Deek and Erin Adventures!

I am beyond thankful to have a partner who chooses to be involved in all aspects of my life. We chill out, adventure, write, attend writing events, and just "do" life...together. Together. That's the key word. I've lived a life of loneliness before, where I did all things by myself, and I'm just tickled pink to have a partner to do them with now. And more over, I'm blessed that partner is Deek. :)

Be sure to check out Deek's upcoming post about Chrissy and our book adventures!

Until next time, live out loud!

Friday, September 16, 2016

One of Our Favorite Primal Recipes

I just did a blog post about our fitness journey and how we've begun to Primal eating style as created and explained by Mark Sisson at Mark's Daily Apple.

As I sit here munching on a primal energy bar, I thought I should share this recipe with the world. Deek and I are CRAZY over it! Just this morning, we fake argued over them. We only had four slivers left, and wanting to be a generous wife to my overly generous husband, I offered him all four. He said he wanted to leave me some because we love them so much. I insisted. He insisted. Finally, he took two out and put them in a bag for him and left me the other too. That man is just beyond thoughtful!


Here's the original recipe from Mark's site: Primal Energy Bars

But Deek and I have made some modifications, so here's our recipe:

Deek and Erin's Modified Primal Energy Bars

Ingredients: (We usually double the recipe)
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Omega Trek Mix (I pick out the cranberries--they mess up the flow of the food)
1/2 cup Trader Joe's crushed pecans
1 scoop of Warrior Blend chocolate protein powder (I'm allergic to milk and soy)
1/4 cup homemade cashew butter
1/4 cup Trader Joe's coconut oil 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Pour nuts into a food processor. Pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground.
  2. On a cookie sheet, toast nuts until golden brown. I set the oven to 350 and let them toast for about 10 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and coconut butter. I do 30 seconds for 1 batch and 45 seconds for a double batch. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add protein powder. Mix thoroughly. Fold in nut mixture and mix.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour mixture onto that.
  7. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
  8. Cut into squares or strips.
  9. Enjoy! If you don't plan to eat immediately, put them in a sealed container and keep in the refrigerator. 
If you drink black coffee, I recommend taking a bite of primal energy bar then taking a sip of coffee. Your mind will be blown! Holy wow!

If you're looking for a non-dairy, non-soy, or vegan alternative to standard protein powder, one with the appropriate balance of amino acids, I recommend this one. My former trainer, Leo, had me bring in nearly every kind of non-dairy protein powder on the market, and he gave a big ole "no" to every single one of them except this one. He said only Warrior Blend had the right balance for muscle development. That worked for me because of all the ones I tried, I liked the flavor of this one the best. Oh, and I just had to reorder and discovered it qualifies for Amazon's 1 Day Free Shipping for Prime Members!! WOOT!

And since you've probably often seen me in photos with my "Pizza is Life" shirt, here's a primal idea to be able to nosh on your much loved pizza!

The Friday night favorite at our house!

Do you have primal recipes you enjoy? If so, I'd love to hear them! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Truth About Diet, Food, and Exercise

If you've read my bio, you know I used to be a fitness trainer. More specifically, I trained runners. And I was a runner. <cue sound of record scratching> Did I just say "was a runner?" Did you read that right? Yep and yep. So, let me just put this out there. I'm not writing this blog to be all "this is what you should do" and "this is what you shouldn't do," but instead, I'd like to be open and lay out my journey in hopes it will help or inspire others.

I think I would describe my shape as an "upside down funnel." I have small shoulders and a lean torso, but man do things balloon out at the bottom. My grandmother, who is a twin, says I have "twinning hips." LOL! I played a lot of sports in my youth, particularly soccer, so I have large quadricep muscles. Basically, the bottom half of me is out of alignment (in my opinion) with the top half.
Me as a teenager with a artist who painted Gone with the Wind portraits.
Excuse the quality of my parents' old camera. LOL!

I had a very dark period in my life, and during that time, I watched what I ate and exercised a lot. I could control my food when aspects of my life were out of control. And I could exercise to relieve stress and escape. During that time, I was super fit. I began running, and soon, I began training runners as well. I took up boxing, kickboxing, and lifting for cross-training.

First place! WOOT! 
(Notice how my smiles are often forced unless I'm with friends or special family members, and sometimes even then. This is part of the dark period. BUT you'll notice a BIG change in the genuineness of my smile when Deek enters my life)

My running partner and soul sister, Dawn. She's also a Dream Team member!

Ninja mud run with my girlies!


More cross-training

Once, prior to deciding to run half marathons, I tried this diet called Primal from Mark's Daily Apple. I felt amazing eating that way. My body really responded to the higher fat, lower carb idea, and I thrived physically. But I had to stop that eating plan in order to run longer.

Super slim on the Primal eating plan

As a long distance runner, I learned bad habits. Since I'm so small, I burn my entire daily caloric intake during a 10+ mile run. I tried to do it the right way--eating healthy foods after my runs--but I just couldn't consume enough calories to make up for the deficit. I'd get sick, shake, or feel like passing out (and that's with consuming Gatorade and gels during the run). It got so bad, I even went to see a nutritionist. But nothing worked...until I discovered the secret. Post-run, I'd eat a bowl of EnviroKidz Koala Crisps (yes, I ate kids' cereal; it's good) with chocolate coconut milk. After my shower, I'd have half of a large pizza and a 24oz Coke. Only then did I not feel like passing out. Sounds great, right? The only problem was, I was eating pizza and drinking Coke! And I got used to eating that way...

Half marathon with my bestie (aka: "twin") from high school

Thankfully, the dark period came to an end, but with that came lots of new stresses. Instead of eating right, I turned to food for comfort. I stopped exercising as much, but I kept eating like someone who ran and trained a lot. Pizza, Coke, Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers comprised way too much of my diet.

Fries... Man, do I love fries.

And I continued to eat that way for quite a while, without any repercussions because I'd been so fit beforehand. Then, Deek and I decided to start dating, and a bright, happy light shined in my life. I wanted to get back into better shape (Deek was super into fitness and very buff).

Deek at the gym with his very serious trainer! 

Soon, Deek spent half of his time on one coast and half of his time on the other, and we knew that wouldn't work for much longer. So, we decided I would move to the Pacific Northwest with him for a while and then he would move back to the South with me for a while. I ran my last half marathon in March 2014, packed up, and moved across the country to live with Deek.

Last half marathon
Everything is awesome, except running 13.1 miles in the pouring, freezing rain!

For the first time, I was truly happy. So you'd think my eating would improve, right? Well, Deek and I started doing what we call "happy eating." LOL! We ate *because* we were happy. Yes, we worked out together too, but we had trouble establishing a good workout routine because we moved, sold houses, and traveled back and forth across the country several times. Just when we'd get on a good fitness/eating roll, it would be time to take the train across the country to the South for a month. Let me tell ya, that really messes up those good habits!

Panda Express

Yep, more Wendy's


But we did some running and lifting and a lot of hiking and adventuring.

Kiss before our run

Deek ran is first official 5k race

Weight training

But despite the workouts, the pounds crept up on both of us, thanks to our bad eating habits. When we moved back to the South, we vowed to get those pounds off. After a few stutter-starts, I'm pleased to say we've FINALLY figured out an eating and workout routine that has consistently slimmed us down! We returned to that eating style which had worked so well for me in the past, Primal

Drinking my protein shake

We eat higher fat, lower carb meals. It takes some planning, but we're both committed to it. I'm so grateful that Deek's not one of those guys who thinks cooking is a "woman's job." We do it together, and we can get the meals made so much faster because of it. And we've found ways to work in some of our favorite foods!

Meatsa! Crust is made from ground chicken. Oh, so good!

The exercise program is straightforward and easy to do. We focus a lot on bodyweight training, and we sprint once a week (tabatas). Boy, do we hate tabatas, but they're great for us! And we walk...a lot.

We found a pedestrian bridge in the South. How very Pacific Northwest!

And guess what? The pounds are falling off. We're losing weight, eating in a way that works for our bodies, and getting/feeling fit. We have energy to do what we want to do and aren't limited by the extra weight. In fact, we just had an epic date weekend where we went ziplining over a waterfall. This course required a good amount of upper and lower body strength, and we completed it like a boss.

Headed out to zipline! 
(Note the genuine, big, goofy grin my handsome husband puts on my face!!)

I'm not one of those people who believes every diet is a one-size-fits-all. I've tried my fair share of ones that worked for other people but didn't work for me (NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, SlimFast, counting calories). I am hypothyroid, so the calories in/calories out methodology is pure bunk for me. I have to eat an endocrine based diet (diabetic, South Beach, paleo, primal), or I will not see any results. I also have a protein based body, meaning I run best on protein and fat instead of carbs. Carbs leave me feeling immediately hungry, shaky, and unsatisfied. 

Me after tabatas, but it's also how carbs make me feel. LOL!

And I'm done running. I no longer need to go for a long run to destress or escape. I'm insanely happy with my life. And I'm convinced that running, ironically, started me down this path which led to weight gain. I was always hungry and ate more as a result. With bodyweight training and sprints, my hunger stays in check while my heart and muscles get the necessary workout.

Chillin' on da porch with our protein shakes after a workout

And I can fit into my old clothes again.
(Deek kept taking pics of me during our date--to a primal friendly place--and telling me how beautiful he thinks I am. #LuckyGirl)

I'm thankful to have a partner who works with me on fitness and exercise goals. He's my true partner in every aspect of life, and he puts the smile on my face and the skip in my step. I adore him more than words can ever express! I'm thankful to be on this fitness journey and this life journey with such an amazing man!