Monday, December 9, 2019

24 Days of Togetherness [Days 5 – 9]

Good morning, friends!

I can’t believe it’s already December 10th. Holy cow, this month is flying by. But, of course, that’s why we love 24 Days of Togetherness so much.

The holiday season always whizzes by, and I’d hate to feel like we missed out some of our favorite traditions. Having a bucket list of sorts is such a great way to enjoy time together while also “checking off” our favorite activities. With that, here’s a recap of days 5 -9! 🙂

DAY 5: Make a gingerbread house.

Quinn actually had the opportunity to make TWO gingerbread houses. One was a kit from Trader Joe’s.

And the other was a part of a special “Saturday Science” class at the Hingham Library all about architecture. Didn’t he do a great job? I’m so impressed with our little architect!

DAY 6: Bake holiday cookies.

This year’s cookies might have been the tastiest yet! 🙂 We used pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough and then decorated the cookies with red and green frosting and all sorts of sprinkles.

DAY 7: Go to see holiday lights.

We saw the lightshow on Lilah Lane once again this year. If you’re local, it’s a MUST SEE!

Then, we came home and ate cereal together. 🙂

DAY 8: Donate a gift to a local toy drive.

Our local Orangetheory hosted a gift drive to support the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family, so we participated and selected a 10 year old boy.

DAY 9: Watch a holiday movie

This year, we snuggled on the couch in our holiday pajamas and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was Quinn’s pick! 🙂

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I’m Confident My Lifestyle Will Pay Dividends

It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Yup, success stories are back! And I’m looking for more. Follow-ups, mid-progress reflections—every story at every stage has the potential to inspire folks out there who are getting started or contemplating a new beginning. Contact me here to share your story—long or not so long. You never know who you’ll impact by doing it. Enjoy, everyone!

My success story isn’t one of weight loss amazement, but it’s still about an overall remake. Tyler version 2.0, I guess. My Primal path started about four years ago because I simply got fed up with feeling gross and tired. I had some friends and social media acquaintances who often touted the benefits of Paleo living and how eating real food made such a difference for them. I was skeptical. At the time, I remember being on a kick of eating more rice because I thought, “healthy carbs in large quantities are surely a good thing.” But on a Saturday morning in March of 2015 I told my wife I had had enough of feeling like garbage.

The next day I went to the grocery store on a Primal shopping mission. I loaded up on meats, fruits, and veggies with the determination to eat from those three categories for two weeks. If I didn’t like it or didn’t find it helpful, then I’d find a plan B. Well I’m still on Plan A, thank heavens. I went through the carb flu and came out on the other side intact. Yes, I had a couple of cheat moments those two first weeks, but I kept the 80/20 rule in mind and didn’t beat myself up over it. Heck, I still don’t!

Like others, I reveled in the fact that I could indulge in eating almost endless amounts of glorious meat (and fatty goodness), yet not gain weight or feel lethargically disgusting like I did when eating mounds of pasta, pizza, or other SAD foods. It was so wonderful to not count calories or watch my portions while on this new “diet” I was trying. The diet became a passion, and it became pretty darn easy. I went through the phase of telling everyone else they were eating wrong and that Primal was the only way. They didn’t all listen. Bizarre, I know. So I adapted to quietly telling the benefits of my lifestyle when asked, but I stopped shouting it from the mountaintop.

Fast forward to 2017 when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Without yet knowing my preferred diet, my doctor gave a short sermon on how I’d have to radically shift my lifestyle away from a normal Western diet and avoid processed foods. When I told him of my Primal ways, he gave me a nod of approval knowing I was already on the right track. Having Crohn’s is a little scary (and many other people have ailments way worse, I know), but knowing my diet and lifestyle were already strong helped me feel a little more at ease. I still take the prescribed medication, but I’m confident my lifestyle will pay dividends in the long term helping me avoid heavier-duty prescriptions, surgeries, etc. And I now look back at my early days with even more gratitude for you and other Primal/Paleo advocates. You gave me something healthy, sustainable, and satisfying that I can use for the rest of my life.

In March of 2015 I weighed a little over 180 pounds and now weigh in around 165. I feel good, like this is what was meant for my body. Now in my early thirties, I am confident I won’t get that “dad bod” I was worried I’d someday have to face. I still eat mostly meats, fruits, veggies, and nuts and seeds. I don’t worry about missing meals or having all the food groups in that pyramid thingy. I lift heavy things and run up the hill in my yard just for a short sprint now and then. Because why not. I am not perfect – I don’t have a workout routine, I should probably eat even more veggies, and I still partake in non-Primal indulgences like beer or a half pan of brownies in a moment of weakness. Yeah, I could try harder, but I’m happy and I like this version of me. And I’m excited for the growth that might just yet come.

Thanks, Tyler


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Goody Goody Gumdrops

Seasons Greetings! We had a holly jolly weekend complete with a visit with Old Saint Nick himself!

Friday Family Birthday Fun

On Friday night we went out as a fam to Fry’s Spring Station to celebrate Thomas’s birthday!

We love a good round of Monster Mashup!

We all shared a big sesame kale salad, and I had a glass of Malbec.

Plus plenty of pizza! We ordered too many and took a whole pizza’s worth home to have for lunch the next day.

Birchie was very enthusiastic and ate cheese pizza himself!

Back at home we had this cake (which we started eating on T’s real birthday the night before) waiting for us. Nona got him a Prince Charming cake (aka Princess cake) from Albemarle Baking. It’s almond flavored and so light and fluffy.


I went to my usual jumping-around-athletic-dance class and then had a little cereal fo breakfast.

We stuffed our Christmas cards from Minted into envelopes. (Here’s a link for $25 off your first order of $100 from the Minted referral program)

And played some games!

Every week when Thomas goes to the grocery store I clean out the fridge. First I clear out any leftovers that are likely past their eating date, and then I wipe down the shelves. Sometimes I vacuum or totally remove and clean the drawers. It’s so much nicer to put away new groceries when the fridge is empty and clean.

After a light lunch, Mazen and I headed to the Colonnade Club at UVA for a special holiday party hosted by the lovely Lauren who is new to the staff there!

We met the Struckmann crew there too!

Ho ho ho!! Mazen asked Santa if he was the same Santa he had seen a week prior and Santa said YES!

There was a magician who was fabulous!! His company is called Freckles n Friends.

There they are! Mr. & Mrs. Claus.

Back at home the family builder helped Mazen build his gingerbread house!

We had kale salad and Mona Lisa ravioli for an easy dinner. Thomas went out with the guys, and I was in bed reading next to Mazen at 8!

Sunday Morning

Stack ‘O pancakes for his highness

Eggs, toast, fruit for the rest of us.

We went to the gym on Sunday morning (Birch did great, thank goodness!) and then had salads and smoothies for lunch before doing some Christmas shopping.

Greens, roasted squash, walnuts, yellow peppers, pita chips, cheddar.

Sunday afternoon Thomas and I went to the UVA v UNC game and then out to dinner while Nona stayed with Birchie. A little sports birthday celebration for T!

How was your weekend?

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