Jeannette’s Blog: Planes, Train(s), and Green Thumbs

I wanted to start this week’s blog by thanking everyone who commented on the last one I did on stress. Some of you commented face to face, some on my Facebook page, others on the The Kettlebell Fitness Center Facebook page, and still others privately, by email or messaging. Turns out we all have ways we cope with stress, some good and others not. I’m glad that it gave you some encouragement, made you realize you weren’t alone, and thanks for advice given too; I really appreciated all of your input. You are all wonderful!

plane pullI am glad to tell you, dear readers that I am trying to get back on track and have “winner, winner chicken dinner” stuff to share. This past few weeks has been busy, but good busy. Some of us at The Kettlebell Fitness Center got to pull a humongous Hercules C-130 plane – even without a full team, we did great, with a better time than last year!

Nancy has introduced the “Simple and Sinister” workouts to KB classes…very simple workouts, but sinister in that it’s a tougher workout physically than it looks. Basically it consists of Turkish Get Ups followed by Swings. That’s it. However, it has helped me reach another goal this year that I thought I wouldn’t be able to because of my shoulders. I can now do get ups with a 14kg bell – thrice huzzah! On to a 16!

ClubladyAlso my shoulders are feeling a lot better, and I attribute it to…..Indian Clubs! Yes, we use them at class. Remember those vintage videos of women in bloomers and muscular men with mustachios swinging indian clubs to music? Well, that’s us! Well, it’s not us, but that’s what we do as part of our warm ups. Nancy and Mike love ‘em and now so do I. Here is a sketch of me swinging my clubs. Really, people, you should do it. It works, it’s beneficial and it’s funny when you bang your knee really hard with one of them.

I haven’t been able to get to Kettlebell workouts as much BUT have Early DeckFinished deckfound different ways to keep strong. We have been rebuilding our deck and having fun times with sledgehammers. Under the deck is a LOT of crushed stone and I’ve been the one loading the bags of stone from the truck to the wheelbarrow and then maneouvering the wheelbarrow (with EIGHT bags of crushed stone at a time) through the yard to get it to the right place, picking up the handles of the wheelbarrow Farmer Carry stylee. (No, my capable husband didn’t lose the use of his arms, but I really wanted to move that stone myself just to do some “strength” stuff.)

Yard work can be a nuisance, but it is a good workout! Bending over, weeding, raking, chopping etc uses all parts of my body, but it’s a great feeling to move and have the benefit of seeing results at home.

LettuceSpeaking of benefits of yard work, (see that neat segue there?) I have been growing lettuce for the first time – butter lettuce and head lettuce. I haven’t had to buy lettuce for 8 weeks now, and have enough to give our neighbours regularly. My tomatoes have started to ripen: I have a Russian Krim (deep purple), a Mr. Lemon (yellow obviously) and a Big Boy (big huge red tomatoes). I am in heaven. There’s nothing like a warm, fresh vine-ripened tomato drizzled with a little good olive oil and sprinkling of pepper! My kale grew like crazy and then bugs got at them, but I enjoyed them while they were baby things, sauteed with bacon, chopped up to put in burgers etc. If any of you garden and have advice on how to stop your kale being eaten to bits by bugs, please let me know!

Now I must get back to sitting on my new deck with a good book and a glass of iced tea with lemon ….


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Jeannette’s Blog: Life is a Rollercoaster

First of all, let me apologise in advance for this week’s blog. I had written one, but it seemed forced and pretty uninspired, so I scrapped it and have been struggling a bit, trying to find something to write about. To that end, I am eternally grateful to Nancy who has been posting very inspiring blogs on the Kettlebell Fitness Center’s FB page from Strong First and other websites to keep us motivated and encouraged.

sherbet pips close up 557 x 420px

This regular blog I write is about my adventures, ups and downs, successes and roadblocks on my road to health. I mean, I know that you wait with bated breath every week as I dispense wisdom like delicious Sherbet Pips upon your upturned and eager faces. (You don’t??) But this past couple of weeks has been an adventure in stress, sobbing, heart palpitations, and me turning into a first class lush and I have no idea where I am going with today’s blog. So I will just be me, and share with you my lush-ness and failures and lessons learned so that you can either nod your head and say, “I’ve kinda been there too..” or you can shake your head in disgust and whisper in a shocked tone, “I am appalled that you aren’t a superhuman being who rises above it all!” (Somehow I don’t think the second reaction will happen, because, let’s face it – we’re all human and wonderful.)


I know that many of us who go to The Kettlebell Fitness Center have gotten to know each other pretty well in our classes, and so I can safely say that this past year has been a tough one for a LOT of us – accidents, deaths, illness, injury and stresses of all kinds. Mine, in the face of others may not be so major but it was still stress I was dealing with and, looking back, didn’t deal all that well.


It all came about when we decided to buy a house in lovely Northville on the Great Sacandaga Lake and sell ours at the same time. I know! You see where this is heading, right?


Purple BathroomWe had a week to do a few things to our house to get it on the market and so we painted the hallway, mended the cracks in the plaster up the stairs and painted the high ceilings and the horrible purple bathroom, bathroom cabinets, radiators, medicine cabinet and anything else that was in range of our paintbrushes. I was up extremely early in the mornings before work and late at night with the darling hubs, painting, sweeping, dusting, decluttering and drinking copious amounts of wine. (Multi-tasking!) Kettlebell classes and exercise got pushed to one side. I think I managed once a week this past few weeks.


I walked through our door Thursday night, happy in the knowledgeKitchen ceiling 1 we had done all we had set out to do, only to see the hubs gazing upwards to the kitchen ceiling, where a huge bubble had formed. The upstairs toilet had been leaking all day and wanted to let the kitchen know that fact. I ended up kneeling in a pile of mushy sheetrock, sobbing and being generally pathetic. I drank bourbon that night.


However, gentle reader, I am married to Dan Dan Handyman. He had the beams dry in no time and took a day off to nail and tape new sheetrock to the kitchen ceiling.WINE I, on the other hand, came home and opened a bottle of wine. That night in bed, I couldn’t sleep. I felt sick. My jaw hurt, my face was burning up and my heart was thundering in my head.


After the week from hell, we put a bid on Northville house, confident that we would sell our house within 10 days. (Houses in our street are snapped up as soon as they go on the market.) After a hectic and stressful day of scrambling to sign and email a pile of forms, we were told that we didn’t get the house after all. Boos and booze were the order of the evening.


So! We decided to stay put, and do some upgrades to the house, Deck grrrstarting with the deck. Little did we know that we were opening a can of worms. The person who originally built the deck basically had it resting on a semicircular piece of tin protecting a basement window and had nailed it to the house with some cheap nails. We found rotting wood nailed to the house, resulting in wet wood behind it. My, a cold beer tasted good after that discovery!


So here I am, looking back on the past few weeks and learning that I do not cope well with a lot of stress on my head. I don’t like emotional drama and histrionics. I get enough of that over the phone during the day at work. Drinking alcohol nearly every night won’t help. Please don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t a hot mess, staggering around the place and telling everyone I loved them with earnest teary eyes. Just a glass or two of wine, or a bottle of beer at night to (supposedly) calm my stress. But it wasn’t good for me. I can feel the difference in my health, in my energy levels, in my sleep pattern, in my brain and in how my clothes are fitting.


Articles on stress tell us to stop and ask ourselves how we’re feeling, where is it coming from, what can we do to resolve, stop and breathe, take one step at a time, pray if you’re a believer. I know all this, of course I know all this, but in the midst of everything, all that advice went out the window.  I have learned that I need to work on coping with stressors, so that I don’t get ill or “lush-y”. Robb Wolf has a great article on how to manage stress and what it does to you – Adrenal Fatigue


The things I push aside during moments of stress are important to my well being. Exercise, eating well, sleeping well, drinking water and breathing well are important to my well being. Friends and family are important to my well being. And, I’ve missed my kettlebells – they are very important to my well being, both as exercise and being with people I really like.


resignedSo, my friends – that has been my last couple of weeks. Not a great time, not a success, but a bump on the road to health and fitness. I would really like to know, either by commenting on my facebook page, the The Kettlebell Fitness Center FB Page, or by commenting below, how you deal with stress. We can all learn from and encourage each other. I would love to learn from you, so that I don’t buy out the whole stock of Upstate Wine & Spirits next time I hit those road bumps.


Now excuse me; we have a deck to finish – J



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Jeannette’s Blog: What’s In a Name?

st gabesAs a kid, I was fortunate to have lived abroad, in Papua New Guinea, where I went to school until I turned 10, and then went to boarding school in Queensland, Australia for a few years. This photo is of my and my little sis, at boarding school,  rockin’ our Sunday uniforms back in ‘76. Apparently I was named after my dad’s Belgian second cousin, Jeannette, but at boarding school was nicknamed “Yogi” which stuck. Even the teachers called me Yogi. My mum calls me Jinny and my husband calls me Jin. The weirdest name I have been called by a customer service representative very recently is “Tunita”.


What’s in a name? We have all grown up, and sometimes defined ourselves by names and labels we have had or allowed others to put on us. I look back at some of the photos of me at high school and wonder why I ever thought I was fat. Probably because I allowed someone to stick that label on me. I remember someone saying that I obviously liked my food. I remember a guy in a pub once looking at me and saying to his friends, “Who let the fat chicks out tonight?” Isn’t it so crap that we always remember the negative names and labels that people throw at us?


Today, I am still sometimes guilty of disagreeing with my husband. When he tells me I’m beautiful. I tell him I’m not. He tells me I look great. I tell him I look fat. What a way to throw compliments back in someone’s face!


Strongman 2013 team(Photo courtesy of Katie Hunter Photography) One of the girls at The Kettlebell Fitness Center said something to me once that really resonated. “I never considered myself an athlete, but now I am one!” I thought that was awesome. We are a bunch of people from all walks of life, all ages and all sizes who love to swing chunks of iron, who like to challenge ourselves and be challenged by amazing instructors, and have found that we ARE  “Athletes, Strong, Committed, Consistent, Encouragers, Healthy…” How pretty darned amazing is that? So shed those negative labels, and let the positive ones stick. It’s harder than it sounds, but SO worth it. Please believe in yourself and your strength and your determination to work towards a healthier and stronger you.


Recently, I’ve found that I am walking with more confidence and with better posture, and as I feel healthier, and fit in my clothes better, I don’t care what mean people want to label me. I am beginning to know that I am strong, and unique and pretty smokin’nagging awesome! (Except when I’m nagging the husband to pick his clothes up off the floor). Oh, and by the way? My shoulders that I’ve been working on are getting better and stronger!


The Paleo “diet” is something that seems to have attracted a “fad” label. Have you found that sometimes people roll their eyes when lqcnyyou talk about it? They tell you about their fat-free/sugar-free/special diet food/detox cleanses and you tell them about your real food, and then they go, “Oh, are you on the Paleo thing?” and you say yes, and conversation then goes downhill. I don’t like being labelled “One of those Paleo” nuts… I just want to eat real, wholesome, good food and fats and minimize the stuff that makes me feel less healthy.


Cooking shows are great, and on PBS Create, my woman crush is Potato dressingLidia Bastianich, a feisty Italian woman. She cooks great food. However, she also uses sugar, so I do alter some of her recipes. One of my favourite dressings she makes is something I use with boiled red potatoes, or oven roasted potatoes. I chop a handful of mint and a handful of parsley finely and add to apple cider vinegar and EVOO to make a thick dressing and leave it for a few minutes for the flavours to develop. Pour it over the hot boiled or roasted potatoes and thank me later.


Lime Dijon ChickenI also found a great recipe for chicken. My husband said it was the best marinade ever, and I agree. Found it at the website  Elana’s Pantry, and uses dijon, olive oil, chili powder, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Check it out here: Baked Mustard Lime Chicken and enjoy grilled or baked.


One last word about labels…when you’re shopping, do make sure you check ingredients on the cans/packets/jars. Just because something is labled “organic” or “natural” or “healthy” or even “Primal” or “Paleo” doesn’t mean it actually is. Check for soy, sugar, carrageenan, things you can’t pronounce or understand.


So, my strong, fine, wonderful, healthier living friends – keep going, keep at it, crush your goals, aim higher, rest when you need to and remind yourselves that you are amazing people.


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Jeannette’s Blog: Spice Up Your Life!

UMAC plane pullAdmit it! The title of this week’s blog made you think of the Spice Girls with their mighty anthem “Spice Up Your Life”, and you started walking around shouting “Ha Si Yah! Hold Tight!” My work colleagues keep singing it while glaring at me as it’s now their earworm for the week. William Cowper, an 18th Century hymn writer and poet once said in his poem “The Task”: “Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all its flavour” and I believe it to be true both in your exercise program and in your eating. Before I started Kettlebell classes, I would run 3 or 4 days a week, using the same route. Running is pretty much a solitary thing, because if you think I have enough breath to chat with you whilst pounding the pavement, then you live in Lala Land. I would also go to the gym and use the same machines over and over. After a while it got boring for me.  I need variety in my workouts to keep me interested, and that’s why I love The Kettlebell Fitness Center so much. Everyone is fun, and over the past year or two it’s been a pleasure to get to know people and make friends there and, importantly, the workouts are never dull.

Tire FlippingVariety” is Nancy’s middle name – (not Ermintrude as I once thought). In every class, we are hinging, pushing, pulling, squatting and doing loaded carries in various guises: press ups, prowler pushing, military presses, Turkish Get Ups, swings, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, single leg deadlifts,  pullups, rows, goblet squats, doubles, farmers carry, suitcase carries  etc – you get my drift? But then TKFC goes a little further and here comes even more fun…Strongman Challenges!! Lifting Atlas Stones, Farmer Carries, pulling SUVs, Barbell Deadlifts, Tractor Tire Flipping (my fave). And then…we get to pull a Hercules C130 at the Annual UMAC plane pull! Such larks! Jolly japes ahoy! Makes me want to shriek “ZigAZigAh!!” like a Spice Girl. (Not really. Actually, it really does.)

HerbsSometimes my cooking on Paleo gets a little same old, same old during weeknight dinners. However,  herbs and spices are my special friends. I have just potted all my herbs this year – basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, chives, dill and cilantro which I use to zhuzh up any dinner. I use them make Amazing Paleo Salad Dressings, to make the tomato sauce for my spaghetti squash zing, to make grilling meat sparkle with citrus & herb-y marinades. I also love spices. A lot of Paleo bloggers out there like The Clothes Make the Girl, Stupid Easy Paleo and Whole 30 especially love Penzey’s Spices. If you like spicy and fragrant meat, I highly recommend you look at Well Fed’s recipe for Ras El Hanout…if you ever make it, you will use it constantly. DressingsI use spices to mush in ghee and garlic and slather under the skin of organic chickens. Make Zingy Ginger Dressing, Chimichurri (AKA Magic Sauce)(you will thank me), Homemade Mayo, Pestos and use them liberally. As Melissa Joulwen says whilst making them, “Rejoice that you have a nose!”

Spice CupboardHere is a photo of my spice cupboard. I think it may need a tidy. I have garam masala, cumin, turmeric, chipotle pepper, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, ground cardamom, ground cloves, cinnamon, mustard powder, garlic, lemon pepper, mustard seeds, garlic… the list is endless, and I also have loads of dried herbs…fennel, oregano, basil, rosemary, bay leaves, rubbed sage, dill, thyme and on and on. You get me? Don’t get stuck with a boring rut in your meals. Keep them simple by all means, but learn how to use them and mix them, even if by trial and error, then treat your tastebuds to the party of the century in flavour and spice up your life!

  • Jeannette

Photograph of me flipping the “heaviest tractor tire in the whole world (honest)”, courtesy of the amazingly strong woman who taught me how to: Katie Hunter of Katie Hunter Photography

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Jeannette’s Blog: Mindfulness, Unicorns, and Barry White

Sand Tree

I see a lot of talk recently around the word “mindfulness”. To be honest, when I first started reading about “mindfulness”, I thought it was just a fad that groovy, hippy, rainbow and unicorn people were into. However, I have changed my mind as I continue to try my paleo and fitness lifestyle.  (Disclaimer: We at TKFC have absolutely no problem with rainbow and unicorn people – in fact, they are among our favorites! :))

Mindfulness: “the intentional, accepting and nonjudgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”.  However, when we are working out with kettlebells and focusing on our form, aren’t we being intentionally mindful? I had a private class with Nancy the other day and as we moved through each muscle with the amazing

Shoulders1Alpha Tune Up Balls  I concentrated on how it felt & what it was doing. Then, as I spoke with her about my goal adjustments,Shoulders2we worked on my lats and shoulders. All I did was lie on my side, one arm holding a light kettlebell raised to the ceiling, making small circles, then lowering my elbow, but I could feel the difference as I made small adjustments ensuring that my lats were engaged. Even though they were light weights and tiny movements, I certainly felt it the next day, but I can also feel my shoulders improving every day.

Planks next: I had to pay attention to tightening the core, squeezing the glutes, my stomach, my knee caps and my forearms. Trying to make sure each part was engaged was just as tiring as doing the bloomin’ plank!!  And again, I felt it the next day!

Finally, 15 sec on/15 sec off swings for 5 minutes. Here, I had to be mindful also. It’s not just about the hip snap and hinge – I had to remember to squeeze my glutes, lock out my knees, and pack my shoulders instead of bringing them up as I tend to do and to remember to breathe properly. Becoming mindful in our training gives us marvelous opportunity to hone our form, build great foundations, avoid injury and go on to great things with no rainbows or unicorns in sight!  (See above disclaimer.) 

IMG_3171It’s the same with our eating. We love our food, yet pay scant attention to it whilst eating. We love the look and smell of it, but quite often just gobble it down with a book propped up in front of us, or with the tv on. I know that before I got married, I would always eat in front of the tv or the computer. Dan and I do try and eat at the table together every night where we chat as we eat our dinner, but am I mindful of what I am eating? Not always. But it makes a difference. My favourite meal to make is sweet potato hash crisped up in the pan, wilted cooking greens and soft poached eggs on top with a rasher of bacon crumbled over it all, seasoned with Trader Joe’s lemon pepper.

It looks good, smells good and tastes oh, so good! I could eat it in front of the Today show or standing in the kitchen while checking my phone, and it would nourish me. However, if I take my time and mindfully eat it, I really enjoy it even more.

Let me take you on this culinary journey. (Cue Barry White growling “We really got somethin’ goin’ on, baby.”) My breakfast sits there on the table, a work of art, orange sweet potato, with a pleasing dark green contrast, topped with beautiful white eggs with a yellow center. Crumbled dark bacon is a colourful sprinkle. Smell that bacon – doesn’t it smell good? Cut into the eggs and let the soft yellow yolks run over the greens and orange.

Take a forkful, put it in your mouth, and feel the crispy texture of the bacon and sweet potato hash, and the velvety viscous softness of the eggs combined with the slightly fibrous greens. Taste those delicious golden eggs, the saltiness of the bacon, the slight bitterness of the greens and the sweetness of the potatoes, all combined in one luscious mouthful. Chew it slowly with joy….and swallow. And that’s the just the first fork-full. You still have those sensations to come at you again. And as you eat, remind yourself of the goodness you are nourishing your body with…protein, good carbs and vitamins and good fats…it’s all going towards giving you healthy and strong body. As for my  strong, dark, French Roast

Coffeecoffee, made in my cafetiere…well. Everyone knows that you don’t speak to me until I’ve had my coffee. Slightly oily on the top from the freshly ground beans, the smell of heaven wafting up my nostrils and the mouthful of liquid gold, like a rich, smoky, warm welcome home. Nothing like it.

Mindfulness, people. It’s not just for the rainbow and unicorn people! Try it, and let me know how you get on.

  • Jeannette
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Keep Calm and Adjust (and Fajitas recipe!)

keep-calm-and-adjust-177Last week, I went to see a doctor about the inflexible shoulder that is giving me trouble and some pain. This doctor had never met me before, didn’t know my history, yet here were his recommendations:

1.  He brushed off my request to go see a chiropractor and told me my BMI number. Argh!

2. He said it was probably a little arthritis and perhaps I should look at other forms  of exercises other than kettlebells.  I responded by giving him what  we Brits call a “Paddington Bear Hard Stare”.

3. He prescribed ibuprofen.

4. He told me that now I’m 50 I should have a colonoscopy. I’d say that was a successful visit! (*dripping sarcasm*)

 I am NOT giving up kettlebells. If you remember, my goals this year were to be able to swing a 24kg bell 100 times, do a Turkish Get Up with a 14kg bell and to do 5 perfect push ups. However, push ups & shoulder presses seem to aggravate my shoulder. Should I push through the pain just to get to these goals, or should I adjust my goals to something that will not cause more injury?

 I think the sensible option is the second. It’s not failure. It’s recognizing that it’s going to take longer to get to some goals that others may sail up to and breeze through, but if I don’t have a great foundation to build upon, I’m only going to end up getting injured. And yes, that is also a metaphor for life and so many other things! I’m meeting with Nancy to talk about this goal adjustment. Perhaps it’s just work towards more mobility in these darn shoulders. Because I am NOT going to give up. So if those bloomin’ annoying voices inside start the comparison thing or the “you’re going backwards” whisper, I will trample those voices on my way to my (adjusted) goals. 

Ogunquit BeachDan and I went to Ogunquit, Maine for a few days last week. Beautiful sunny, cold days and yes, I did go “off-road” in my eating, so I have decided to start another Whole 30, just to re-set as my jeans are feeling a little tighter and my wobbly bits a little wobblier.

 One of my favourite things to make on a Friday night is steak or chicken fajitas because it’s so easy and quick. Hannaford has a great recipe for fajita sauce, but just like adjusting my goals, I have to adjust the recipe so that it is Whole 30 compliant. So, no brown sugar and no Worcestershire sauce. However, I find that coconut aminos is quite sweet and pretty much compensates.  If I am not doing a Whole30, I may add a little amount of honey or maple syrup for the sweetness.

FajitasFor the marinade, I use 2 tbsp EVOO, mixed with the juice of 1 ½ limes, a tbsp coconut aminos, (a squeeze of maple syrup if you are not doing a Whole30), ½ tspn ground cumin and 1 tbsp (or more) minced fresh cilantro.  I also add a dash of Tabasco and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and chipotle cayenne pepper, but adjust to your taste.  If I’m doing steak fajitas, I quickly sear the steak on both sides,  slice thinly and chuck the steak in the marinade for 20 minutes. If I use chicken, I buy an organic rotisserie chicken, pull it to pieces and chuck that in the marinade.

finished fajitasSlice up a red onion, and a red and green pepper and cook them in olive oil or coconut oil in a hot skillet (I love to get a kind of blackened thing going on with the peppers) until cooked, then add the meat and marinade to the skillet until the meat is warmed through and the marinade has coated everything. That’s it. I eat mine with some salsa and guac, and Dan has his with flour tortillas and some sour cream and salsa. There is a recipe for Simple Paleo Tortillas and I know some people who swear by them, so give them a try!

By the way, feel free to leave a comment under these blogs;  I’d love to hear from you!

  • Jeannette
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Jeannette’s Blog: One Step Forward….

Strictly BallroomMy favourite film is Baz Lurhmann’s first movie, Strictly Ballroom. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best films ever. And if you don’t like that movie, then I can never be your friend. I had the perfect moment at Kettlebell class last week in which I used one of the movie lines (in my head).


Did you ever have one of those weeks, where it seems everything seems to conspire against you? The work week seems endless and soul-destroying, you’re feeling a little emotional (because ladies, it’s THAT time) and then to top it all off, you go to a Kettlebell class and feel like you’ve forgotten how to do anything and that your body won’t co-operate at all?

KBs on stairsThat was me last week. Get Ups. Windmills. Planks. It was like I had never been to a Kettlebell class in my whole life. My planks were like rotten, saggy decking. Windmills? My body locked up and wouldn’t do what Nancy was telling me to do. Couldn’t even jut my hip out like a hormonal teenager. I fell on my backside during a Get Up and kept stubbing my toes. Ended up doing a few swings and stretching out my stubborn, inflexible shoulders as the others gaily planked, windmilled and got up to their hearts’ content.

By the end of class I just wanted to do a Fran in “Strictly Ballroom”, and melodramatically blurt out to everyone, (in an Aussie accent), “I understand. You’ve got your Pan Pacifics to win and I’m back in beginners where I belong!”

drama queenNancy could tell I was a little discouraged (possibly my sulky face) and told me not to be so hard on myself. Drove home thinking that I would never be able to do ANYTHING ever AGAIN!

So I had a bad few days. So I need to work on my shoulders and flexibility. It’s not the bloomin’ end of the world is it? I’ve come so far and am stronger than I was a few years ago. One bad class, or even two is not going to undo all the work I’ve done over the past couple of years. Lighten up, Jeannette! Go watch some more Baz…better yet, go work on your stretches.

It can be the same when you’re doing a Whole 30 or Paleo. You go through a period where you feel like you’re on fire, baby and there isn’t anything that’s going to sway you or turn you back to the unhealthy choices you previously made. You are conquering the world!! You pity the person behind you at the supermarket checkout with their less than stellar choice….or is that just me?

Junk GoodiesThen you get that trigger day where you just “know” the only thing that will calm you down is Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate/pizza/beer/pork pies/Creme Eggs and not necessarily in that order. Most of the time, it doesn’t make me feel better but worse because I feel yuck and like I’ve failed in yet something else in your life and why the heck did I get out of bed on Monday in the first place?

As Nancy says – “Don’t be so hard on yourself. What would you say to someone you love – would you be so hard on them?”

So we’ve had a blip or two. So we ate some junk. Today is a new day. Look how far we’ve come. Look how much healthier we’ve been feeling. One or two bad days isn’t going to undo all the good we’ve done over the past few weeks or months. We all have those triggers that set us off. The great thing to learn through eating Paleo is that it helps us discover what triggers us to go back to bad habits. There’s no point in beating ourselves up; let’s learn from it and move on..

If you feel like you’ve fallen off the Paleo/Whole30 wagon or you think that you might as well give up, check out this link:  Recovering from a Detour or email someone you know who is a good support. Nancy’s email address is on this website, and you can always email me – I’m not Mrs. Perfect Paleo Person, but I’m on this path with you.

Keep at it. It’s so worth it! One more thing – watch Strictly Ballroom. You’re welcome.


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Jeannette’s Blog: Tales of Scales

tired faceLast week, I was pleased with my progress as I worked toward my goals. This week, however, due to lack of sleep because I’m married to the Fidgetiest Man In The World, I missed a whole week of Kettlebell classes and workouts. Less than 6 hours of sleep a night does not make me a good candidate for swinging chunks of cast iron around.

 I also did a stupid thing this week. I weighed myself and then went online to see how I was doing on the ol’ BMI scale. According to the interweb and its BMI curve, I’m obese. But when I look at myself, I don’t see that and I’m pretty critical of myself at the best of times. I’m not skinny – I’m curvy. My little 5 foot 2 inch sister back in the Motherland is petite and a powerhouse and likes to be superfit  (and she’s an amazing policewoman). I’m the fluffy one. I’ll never be a size 6, let alone a 0. But I kind of like the way I’m looking in my clothes right now (and in my underwear, as long as I don’t make any sudden moves). I’m a work in progress.

 My weight loss in pounds has slowed down a little recently, but friends listen up:


Scales ecardOne of the many benefits of eating paleo is that you do lose weight, but if you are swinging big chunks of metal all over the place, and picking things up and putting them down, you are also going to gain muscle (and no, a pound of muscle doesn’t weigh more than a pound of fat and I’m not getting into that debate) and therefore, your scale may not be your friend; indeed your scale may disappoint you, BUT IT WON’T TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT YOU.

 Your scale will not tell you, “Hey, look at you! Those jeans are fitting fabulously!” Your scale may scream out a BIG number in pounds (or kilograms), but will not whisper, “You look so much better now you are getting more sleep”, or “That muffin top is disappearing like the wind!” or “Your shoulders and arms are getting shapely” or “You nailed those Get Ups today!” The truth, my amazing, strong and powerful friends, is that your body is changing for the better and your scales need to be locked in a dark room while you dance around in jeans/dress/shorts/the nude because you are looking good! As Shakira wisely said, “Hips don’t lie.”

sardinesNow onto scales of a different ilk. Ask my ever lovin’ fidgety husband about fish. I like fish…a lot. I found out years ago that Dan would only eat canned tuna if it was mixed with mayo or oven baked salmon if I twisted his arm, but I had to spring fish on him. If he knew during the day that he was coming home to fish for dinner, he would be depressed ….all day.

 Last year, we went out to dinner for our wedding anniversary. We hadn’t booked a table and forgot that Saturday nights in Albany are pretty packed for a good restaurant, so we tried further afield and ended up at the Lake Ridge Restaurant during Saratoga Restaurant week.  Dan, being a meat-eating North American man, chose steak, and I went with swordfish.

 As loving wives do, I offered him a taste of my food (practically shoved it in his face, actually). Long story short – we now eat swordfish, tuna steaks or salmon at least once a month. He actually asks for it and looks forward to it! 

swordfishI found a great recipe for Lemon and Herb Crusted Swordfish on the Food Network website. It’s a recipe of Emeril’s, but I substitute different herbs. (What is chervil anyway?)  I use any kinds of fresh or dried herbs, Organic Stone Ground mustard instead of Dijon, and of course, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil to cook the fish. I mix a little of the mustard, and lemon juice with homemade Mayo to make a lemony dressing and serve the swordfish with roasted or steamed asparagus. Very simple and only takes 10 minutes to cook. Try it, but remember, when you buy fish, try and get the wild-caught rather than farm raised. It does make a difference.

 Hope you’re all getting on well with your workouts and if you are trying Paleo for the first time, let me know how it’s going – there’s a huge support group out here for you! 

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It’s Gonna Be All White, All Right? Jeannette’s Blog


Kettlebell shirtFirst, let me thank you for the lovely comments from the past two blogs. I really appreciate it. Secondly, I still have scabs on my knees from all those Turkish Get Ups! However, I take solace in the fact that scars are tattoos of the brave.


Feeling a little pleased with myself this week as I work towards my three goals to accomplish by the end of the year.

  1. Swinging a 24kg bell 100 times.
  2. Five perfect pushups
  3. Turkish Get Ups with a 14kg bell.

I was swinging a 22kg bell like it was my job the other day!  But I am so sick of the white stuff aren’t you? I want the sun to shine, the mornings to be cool but pleasant, and to be able to workout outside just to impress the neighbours with my grunting and snorting, or, as we Kettlebell lovers like to call it – breathing.

KBs in grass

I got a few emails from friends who are considering Paleo and want to know more, so I have some great links for you. The book that started it for me is It Starts With Food which explains the “why” as well as the “how-to” of eating this way. The Whole9 site has shopping lists, loads of tips and great testimonials.  Robb Wolf ‘s website is excellent,  The Beginners Guide to Paleo Eating is very simple and informative, and Going Paleo? 5 Things You Need to Know from Nerd Fitness is helpful whether you want to dive in head first or gradually make your way toward eating the Paleo way.  What about eating out? Try this link: Tips for Eating Paleo in Restaurants from The Clothes Make the Girl

Many of us are sick of feeling sluggish, tired or just plain “bleugh” all the time. By cutting out processed foods, grains, legumes and other inflammatory ingredients, I no longer feel tired, bloated, and generally unwell. I am trying to pay attention as to what triggers any cravings for junk and as I continue on this path, I find I have less cravings. True story. I am the original chocolate chomper.

Remember how I said I would share with you my cooking successes AND disasters? Week nights, I normally keep dinners simple – a protein and lots of steamed or sauteed veggies, with sauces from The Clothes Make The Girl  – Dressings & Sauces that I make at the weekend.

However, Monday night, for reasons known only to myself, I decided that even though I’d never made it before, I could whip up an amazing Green Thai Chicken Curry. I printed off two recipes and decided to combine them. Don’t even ask me why.

I imagined this dinner being light, fragrant and full of delights. I used onion, chicken, button mushrooms, coconut milk and, to mix up the colours a little, frozen cauliflower. Can you see the “white food only” theme going on here? Why? Why didn’t my brain bring me to my senses, yelling “It’s ALL going to turn out BEIGE once you add the green curry paste?!”

Beige curry

Husband Dan (My Paleo Guinea Pig) came home and looked at it suspiciously before grabbing a tangerine and wordlessly sloping off to the living room, leaving me to my Thai hell.

I couldn’t put it off any longer. I served it up – over white rice (for crying out loud!) for him…and in a plain (white bowl) for me. I tried to zhuzh it up by adding the green ends of scallions and chopped cilantro to draw the eye away from the beige gloop, but it didn’t really work.

Apologizing profusely to My Paleo Guinea Pig, I set it on the table, pouring out a large glass of restorative (white) wine. (You can see I’m in my own inescapable vortex of white hell here, can’t you?)

Turns out, it tasted MUCH better than it looked. My Paleo Guinea Pig gave it a thumbs up AND had a second helping. What do you think…was he telling the truth or was he just plain hungry?

                                                                       Putting on a brave face




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Nothing Compares 2 U

JeannetteBlueberryCobblerI just had my 50th birthday. Still can’t quite believe I’ve lived for half a century! Anyhoo, off I bimbled to The Kettlebell Fitness Center on the day before my birthday for a workout. Nancy gave us a choice of different workouts to do that incorporated the number 50. I opted for 50 Turkish Get Ups. I did 50 Turkish Get Ups. Listen… I DID 50 TURKISH GET UPS!!!


You know what I thought half way through the workout? “I’m only using a 8kg/14lb/10lb bell. Nancy can do 58 with an 18kg bell…” Yep, that’s what I was thinking. Comparison sucks, people. It sucks the joy out of your accomplishments, whatever they may be. Fortunately, I whupped myself upside the head with a metaphorical 2 by 4 and came to my senses as I continued my birthday quest. This time last year, I was struggling with TGU’s and form. This year I DID 50…count them…FIFTY of the little blighters!


Comparison can be a good thing when you’re shopping for electronic gadgets, or prices, or food. But when you start comparing yourself to others and their achievements, just stop. My husband’s favourite historical person, Theodore Roosevelt wisely said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Believe it.


As the mighty Prince once wrote, “Nothing Compares 2 U”. What you’ve accomplished, in strength, goals or in your eating habits, is not necessarily going to be the same as another’s accomplishments. What you’ve achieved over the past days, weeks, months, years is YOURS. Own it. Delight in it. Get your swagger on, because Prince is right – Nothing Compares 2 U.


So I’m not yet swinging a 24kg bell…but I’m swinging a 20 and I’m going to get there. Maybe I can’t do a proper push up yet…but I’m doing better than last week, and am going to achieve that too. And, perhaps I crashed and burned at the weekend with couple of my eating choices…but hey, today is a new day and I am making right choices today and I’ve come a long way since last year!


Before Dan and I got married, I told him “I don’t think I can cook.” I was single ‘til the age of 36 and never felt the need to cook proper meals for myself. My meals consisted of fish fingers (you call them fishsticks) on toast, or fish & chips or Chinese food from the take out place below my apartment and I made a fantastic proper British Bacon sarnie.


As I settled in to the role of Domestic Goddess, I found that I wasn’t half bad at cooking after all! I make an awesome beef & ale stew and chicken cacciatore. On Saturday, my poor husband had to deliver propane out in the snow and freezing cold all day. So, on Sunday afternoon, I decided to make Fresh Blueberry Crumble from Practical Paleo  for him.


May I tell you what my husband asked me as he saw me making this? I quote, “What will you put in the blueberries to make them sweet?” Yes, my friends, you heard correctly. I whupped him upside the head with my busy metaphorical 2 by 4.


May I also proudly tell you that he LOVED my blueberry crumble. That it tasted just as  good as non-Paleo blueberry crumble and that he wanted huge seconds.


As you dip your toes into cooking and eating Paleo, be aware that what you make may not come out looking like the perfect photographs in your cookbooks. And that’s OK. Your food may not taste exactly the same as your favourite junk food, but it will be delicious! Your meatballs may fall apart, you will make mistakes (ask me about my naan-bread). It may seem overwhelming at first, so keep it simple. But the main thing is, you started doing something good for yourself, which is a step further along the path to a healthier you.


Keep at it. Have fun with it. Be proud of what you have accomplished so far, and let’s see your swagger, because nothing compares to you!


I am available for tastings.

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