Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What is a Cave Princess?

What is a Cave Princess?  She is a woman FUELED BY NATURE; a woman concerned about the impact her actions have on the planet; a woman eager to be constantly challenged physically and mentally while maintaining her femininity; a woman that is not only strong and fierce but SUPER feminine (and maybe a little cute) as well. 

I chose to write a blog about how being FUELED BY NATURE changed various aspects of my life for the better. I wanted to share a feminine perspective on feeding the body with plenty of natural food, and how a healthy relationship with food facilitates a peaceful balance for the rest of your life. 
There are so many interpretations of the “Caveman Diet”, and those interpretations are called many names.  The philosophy I most closely follow is the Whole 30/Whole 9 approach to the world of Paleolithic eating.  The Whole 30/Whole 9 website is an amazing resource for individuals interested in being FUELED BY NATURE.  It is where I started my journey and where I have found myself most comfortable.   The focus of this paleo philosophy is on appropriate portions of organic vegetables and fruits, organic and compassionately raised meats, and healthy fats.

There are parts of the paleo diet that do not make complete sense to me.  This Cave Princess can not follow blindly.  I always have to ask questions!  That is why my blog prescribes to a vegetarian/vegan/raw perspective as well.  The concept of consuming plant protein and pure, unaltered food fits perfectly into the FUELED BY NATURE lifestyle. 
When people hear “Paleo” they immediately associate it with CrossFit….and for good reason….. they complement each other perfectly, but there is room for primal eating beyond the CrossFit culture.  I incorporate CrossFit workouts into my weekly routine, checking out the Workout of the Day (WOD) to gather inspiration, but I prefer to mix things up a bit with some more classic sculpting/bodybuilding exercises.  I love throwing around some heavy weight and get a total rush when I beat my time in a functional workout, but I also enjoy lifting weights with creative moves I have created, stolen or modified.  Going primal is a perfect fit for me too!  No matter your current workout regiment eating all natural foods without being held back by calorically dense and nutritionally sparse grains, can work for you.
Once you embrace a more primal lifestyle you become a “member” of a unique, enthusiastic and passionate “club”.  Breaking in, however, can be overwhelming and intimidating.  Sometimes such devotion leads to an exclusion and dismissal of diverging philosophies.  I want to live in a world of acceptance, tolerance and inclusion, so although I believe in the consumption of meat and have personally felt the benefits of eliminating grains and dairy from my life (more about that later), I want this blog to embrace all of the individuals interested in living a healthier and more natural life.  There is a difference between chowing down on a loaf of bread and creating a balanced dinner of quinoa and vegetables.  I get that. . . and embrace the idea of consuming grains responsibly!  
A ton of “paleo” blogs are out there…and even more vegetarian/vegan blogs populate the web.  At times I feel as if a war between the sides is being waged.  I constantly read posts "hating" on both sides of this debate.  Why?  We actually have similar goals.
Spending countless hours researching nutrition I discovered a number of similarities the paleo food philosophy shares with the vegetarianism/veganism.  I know what you’re thinking……… um…….. Krista…… Paleo advocates eat bacon; a vegan would rather gnaw off her own arm before allowing fried pork fat to pass through her lips.  Hear me out!  Paleo girls and our vegetarian/vegan sisters are more similar than you might initially think!   (By the way, there are paleo vegetarians out there!  Cookbooks for this particular demographic actually exist).
How exactly are two seemingly opposing philosophies alike?

1.    Paleo advocates and vegetarians/vegans understand the importance of making organic/local farming choices when possible.  All of us have chosen a more alternative approach to nutrition.  Both sides have made a conscious decision to put the needs of the environment and personal health at a premium despite the inconvenience it may cause.  A Cave Princess is FUELED BY NATURE.

2.     Bacon is delicious.  My son, Brenden (aka Mr. B, Bren, B-Man, and my best buddy) adores bacon.  I cook with it weekly and have nothing against bacon….when it is used responsibly… How does this relate to a vegetarianism/veganism?  A Cave Princess cares about how her choices affect the planet.  Many herbivore Cave Princesses made the decision to stop eating animal flesh for ethical reasons. If you choose to embrace a primal diet you too will research the inhumane treatment of animals.  I personally find that I am most healthy and strong when I eat a variety of meats, and what I have learned about eating paleo leads me to believe that I am making the healthiest and most balanced nutrition choice for my family, but I respect the moral concerns many vegetarians/vegans have.  The beauty of going primal means you’re conscious of how the animals you consume are treated.  There are some abusive paleo dieters that proudly proclaim they regularly down a pound of bacon of day.  We can only hope-for the sake of their health, the health of the animals, and the health of the planet- that all of those pounds of bacon come from farms that compassionately raise pork.  Many vegans cringe at the thought of thousands of factory chickens stuffed into cages pumping out hormone laced eggs or waiting to be unnaturally fattened quickly for slaughter.  So do I!   It is far more comforting knowing the poultry products my family consumes come from healthy, vegetarian fed birds that roam around a little pasture.

3.     Going primal means eliminating most processed foods from your diet.  A "good" vegetarian/vegan does the same, ensuring her body is nourished by foods rich in substance.  I’m sure you’ve all read the taglines: "If your food can go bad it’s good for you; if your food can’t go bad it is bad for you"…or… "shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store".  Both statements hold true for me!  I only hit the inner aisles for a few pantry staples (pole caught canned tuna, coconut milk, organic tomato paste, almond flour, coconut flour).     

4.     Paleo girls and vegetarians/vegans have made a commitment to a diet that falls outside the guidelines of the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Breaking convention requires hours of planning and research.  It takes strength and determination. (Especially when dealing with grandparents- “Just let the poor child have a piece of toast.”  “Why can’t little Suzie have a hot dog?”) J

Both sides of this debate should embrace our similarities.  We are all Cave Princesses dedicated to an honorable albeit more alternative approach to health and nutrition…. We are FUELED BY NATURE….All while donning the cutest outfits!

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