Taking My Own Advice

I’m well-acquainted with the things I need to do to be the Best Version of Myself. Sometimes, I get caught up life-mania and/or having fun, and I neglect to take my own good advice. That all changed with a cookup and a badass workout…

The Food Side of Life

I didn’t do a Weekly Cookup last week, and we felt it all week long. We ate out in restaurants more often than usual, and my breakfast/lunch situation was disappointing. Throw that into the mix with celebrating my last day at the corporate overlords (Ahem… champagne. Ahem!) and a friend’s wedding on Saturday night (two words: dessert buffet), and you can probably imagine how I was feeling after the foray into mild hedonism. Bloated. Moody. Snacky. Plagued by churning thoughts.

Yesterday, I tore through the fridge like a locust to clean, prep, and cook the back inventory of vegetables from our CSA that had been languishing for two weeks. I fired up the grill, plugged in the crockpot, set the oven to 400F, and got busy. The results are now posted on our fridge so we’re set up to succeed this week: the official week one of New Life.

A few things to note:
– I’ve got a new, crazy-good, stupid-easy recipe to share for crockpot Asian-spiced pork ribs. Coming Thursday!

– A few weeks ago, I made a red cabbage soup that was perfect for breakfast on a cold morning. I named if Fuchsia Soup and was excited to share it with you. But the original was quite fatty, so I’ve been trying to concoct a more reasonable version. Two attempts; two fails. One more try, and I’m abandoning that recipe. I’ll let you know.

VEGETABLES! Are you eating at least two servings of veggies at every meal? Please say yes to that. They’re so good for you.

– Mayo is not listed above, but you can assume that I always have a batch of homemade Olive Oil Mayo in the fridge. Always.

– I realized I was maybe making too much food for one week, so the Spinach Muffins were pushed out ’til next week. Sorry, Spinach Muffins!

Need some tips for managing your kitchen? You might like these previous posts (or pick up a copy of Well Fed, which is packed with ideas for how to keep yourself fed without spending all your time in the kitchen):
Stocking Your Paleo Kitchen
The Method Behind My Madness
The Secret of Veggies: Steam & SautΓ©

The Training Side of Life

In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I’m following the 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy and crank through a mini-metcon. My hands are regaining their callouses, and I did my first get-pretty-sweaty workout since starting the Healing Experiment. (Mini update on the Healing Experiment: at my last visit with my endocrinologist, he said I’m a “metabolic rock star,” so I’m adding mini high-intensity workouts into my weekly mix.) Today’s workout looked like this:

2:00 elliptical
1:00 jump rope
slow air squats
slow good mornings
shoulder mobility


3 @ 70% 1RM (115#)
3 @ 80% 1 RM (135#)
max reps @ 90% 1 RM (145#) – I did 9.

Overhead Press:
3 @ 70% 1RM (60#)
3 @ 80% 1 RM (65#)
max reps @ 90% 1 RM (70#) – I did 9.


2 rounds, for time-ish:

11 one-arm rows, 25# DB
11 lat pulldowns, 70#
11 box jumps, 20″ box
11 KB swings, 12kg
11 walking lungs, 10#-plate overhead

This “playtime” took about 10 minutes, and it was invigorating. I didn’t know how much I missed box jumps until I did them. HOLY COW! That was some fun.

As I settle into working from home and establishing a new routine, I feel super excited and optimistic β€” and also a little unsettled. Things are Different. Which is beautiful and, well… different. So I’m going to remember to take my own good advice. I’m eating clean, nutritious food; I’m sleeping at least 8 hours per night; and I’m remembering that the barbell and I, we are demon fighters.


How ’bout you? Cookup? Workout? Tell us what’s up with you, friend!


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  • JennF says:

    I’ve been implementing your weekly cookup in baby steps and will likely go whole-hog next week. Yesterday I went crazy ordering Penzey’s spices (every.single.one. you mentioned in Well Fed plus a few more). Yay!

  • Alicia K says:

    I’m SO happy for you! And I can’t wait for that crock pot rib recipe. Have a GREAT week!

  • Holly says:

    Yep, I just couldn’t relate more right now. I’ve had two weeks of awful (to me) eating and while they were fun experiences or understandable deviations, they are COMPLETELY killing my mellow, ya know. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, after spending the entire day helping family members move I was determined to get to the grocery store and stock up on good meat and veggies. The fact that I did that alone has totally set the tone for my week. Still a bit behind, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!!!

    Good luck finding new routine, and super excited about the ribs recipe. YUM!

  • Jodi Arnold says:

    I ordered your book. I purchased grass-fed meats (the ones I could afford) at our local farmer’s market. My husband scoured the sales circulars for items on sale and we came up with a menu and shopping list last night. We are going shopping tonight and doing our first cookup tomorrow to start our first Whole 30 on Wednesday. I love all your tips in your book! It makes us feel confident that we can stick to it!

  • Jodi Arnold says:

    I should have said our first “successful” Whole 30 together. I’ve started them in the past and have not stuck them out. But, now it is just me and my husband and he is now on board, so this time will be successful!

  • Jessica says:

    I love doing a cook up. It is my “mommy time” on Sunday! Haha. I have a 20 mo. old and she hangs with dada while I get busy with tunes in the kitchen. Although I have to devote a good hour or more to cooking, having all of that food ready to go insures that I am going to be able to give her good clean “dino-chow” when she’s hungry (which happens to be about every hour or two). The bonus is that my husband and I get what she doesn’t eat!

  • Jessica says:

    I am super new to the whole paleo lifestyle. As in, just ordered your book along with many others and spent all weekend reading everything I could find online. I also bookmarked every blog and started following many on facebook. I’m heading to the store today, kids in tow, and going to do my best to avoid the middle isles. My husband and I come from families that grew up on microwave meals. We really don’t know how to cook at all (except some boxed stuff). We eat out almost everyday, sometimes for every meal. (Hangs head in shame) Today, however, I’m changing that. Thanks to your website and a few others. I think I can actually do this. So thanks! Wish me luck.

    • Juniper says:

      Jessica you are a major badass!! I luckily come from a family that eats almost paleo (without knowing it), so it was an easier transition. I can’t imagine going at it from scratch, but it’s worth it!
      It will be hard, but there are lots of things that are harder. When you get stressed or freaked out just get on here and vent and ask for advice. You have just joined the dino-chow family and we’re here for you. Go girl!

  • Susan Bostic says:

    Well Fed. Best cookbook ever. Hands down! Is it weird that I tell people that I love you?! haha So, so sorry I’m technically challenged and missed the conference call last night with you and the fabulous Stephanie Vincent πŸ™ but I listened to it this morning and wow! Now I’m even more sad that I missed it!
    Paleo/Primal is what I’m heading toward, slowly but surely. And with your fantabulous cook book, my husband is trying new foods that in a million years he’d have never thought he would have tried! So thanks for all you do to help us poor souls that are weeding our way through this crazy wonderful life and trying to get there the healthy way!

  • Jamie says:

    It’s kind of nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who went wheels off last week! I was all sorts of discombobulated last week without my normal leftovers and such! Yikes! Back to the good planning this week.

  • Christa says:

    Congratlations on being a metabolic rock star. That’s gotta feel good. The whole family has been sick for a week with the flu. I finally put mattresses on the floor of my room for my kids. Unfortunately, when we need it most veggies have not been my priority. I’m just keeping us in fluids and vitamins. Today I think I’ll be able to make soup and for some reason , kale is calling my name. Maybe I’m getting better.

  • Becky T says:

    I am so excited to see the rib recipe! My local pork share gave me 2# of ribs this weekend and I can’t wait to try something new with them.

    Also, just like I heart your cookbook, I heart Jim Wendler. Enjoy 5/3/1!

  • Sally says:

    We have FINALLY gotten into the habit of weekly cookups, after almost 2 years of on and off paleo, and it has made everything SO MUCH EASIER. We follow a lot of your routines, plus make a big egg/meat/veggie casserole that my husband and I eat for breakfast during the week. Packing my lunch and breakfast the night before is a brain-free process, so I don’t have excuses to join my co-workers at the sushi place for lunch or snack on the basket of candy. Thanks for the inspiration and tips!

  • Chelsea W. says:

    The cook-up has been essential for me working six days a week for 12 hours. I’m so glad I pulled this idea from you! I’d pre-cooked breakfasts before (because I am NOT an early riser) but shifting it to an entire week of meals has been…enlightening. I’m not sure I will go back to cooking full on meals every night ever again. πŸ™‚

  • Ms jane says:

    My wheels fell off too and I ran right into a pavlova, which I ate half of (it’s an Australian dessert), and then threw up a few hours later. Nice. Sugar is not my friend. On a good note I swam 2 km at swim squad which I am fairly stoked about seeing as a year and a half ago I could barely walk around the block! Hope you’re enjoying sitting down for brekkie! Looking forward to catching up with you more x

  • I am looking forward to the rib recipe. We may need a whiteboard as well. I made 3 different veg recipes, tuna salad, and paleo muffins yesterday plus 4 loads of laundry.

    This morning was my first training session for my powerlifting meet in April. The squats felt heeeaaavvvyy, but I got it done.

    Missing you so much, Mel!

  • J.Marshall says:

    I have been eating low carb for MONTHS now. And this weekend, I should be ashamed of myself. I ate gingersnaps…like 3 of them..and a brownie (or two). I’m ashamed because it was “secret” eating so my husband wouldn’t “catch me”. (He wouldn’t say anything..it’s just me with my shameful self! LOL) I’m out of control with this addiction to sugar/carbs! I don’t know if it’s an actual addiction, but it sure feels like one. Tomorrow it will be eggs and I am making your Pork Carnitas. Can NOT wait. πŸ™‚ Oh and “Well Fed” will be in my mail box on Tuesday! Yippiee!!

  • Cecilia Foltz says:

    Just started Paleo about a month ago and CrossFit about 2 1/2 months ago, and I feel FANTASTIC!!! I’ve never felt better in my entire life!! I am now in love with being strong, not skinny!!!
    Did my max deadlift today, 195#!! Didn’t think that was gonna happen. So amazing to push myself and see what I am made of!
    I love trying new recipes and finding what I like. My absolute most FAVE recipe is plain and simple, roasted cabbage slices.
    Here’s to getting back on track πŸ™‚
    PS Love your blog, check it everyday!

  • Cecilia Foltz says:

    Just started Paleo about a month ago and CrossFit about 2 1/2 months ago, and I feel FANTASTIC!!! I’ve never felt better in my entire life!! I am now in love with being strong, not skinny!!!
    Did my max deadlift today, 195#!! Didn’t think that was gonna happen. So amazing to push myself and see what I am made of!
    I love trying new recipes and finding what I like. My absolute most FAVE recipe is plain and simple, roasted cabbage slices.
    Here’s to getting back on track πŸ™‚
    PS Love your blog, check it everyday!

  • Kelly R. says:

    I am on week #3 of the cookups. The first one took 2 hours and it looked like a bomb hit my kitchen by the time I was finished. Weeks #2 & 3 were a little over an hour. My Kitchen WOD is improving already!

    I experimented with different veggies this week (carrots and broccoli slaw instead of zucchini and spaghetti squash) and am really excited to eat lunches this week! I also made the citrus pork and cauliflower pilaf yesterday. It is so delicious that I felt like I was cheating on my Whole 30. I can’t wait for leftovers tonight.

    As for tonight’s WOD, I’m a little nervous. I have had shoulder issues lately and we are doing 4 rounds of a welcome-to-my-shoulder-nightmare complex. I might have to go light and sub out some of the push jerks for another squat.
    3 DL
    1 Power Clean
    2 front squats
    2 Push Jerks
    2 back squats
    1 Push Jerk (from behind the head)

  • Heather says:

    Just recently discovered your blog and tried the Pizza Soup last night! It was really great but as I didn’t have the special Pizza Seasoning I had to play around with some Italian herbs and it was still very good. Of course I can’t help wondering how it would’ve tasted with the pizza seasoning!!! So… I’m going to make a Penzeys order soon and was wondering what other unique herb or spice mixes they make that one simply should not live without…Which are their best ones you recommend?

    Also wondering, for those with thyroid challenges do you always recommend to at least lightly cook the goitrogen type veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc?

    Thanks for your refreshing take on food and life!

    p.s. I plan to buy your new cookbook very soon too πŸ™‚

    • Mel says:

      I’m so glad you found me! Welcome!

      Yes, I always cook my cruciferous veggies — partly because of my thyroid and partly because I just really like them that way. I’ve found that if I lightly steam cabbage and cool it, it works great in cole slaw, which is really fun ’cause I was missing the cold cabbage crunch.

      Regarding spices… Well Fed has a recipe for homemade pizza seasoning with no sugar, so when you get a copy, you can make your own. YAY!

      Penzeys includes very little sugar, so it’s OK to eat, unless you’re doing a very strict Whole30.

      I did a whole post on my favorite spices. You can find it here:

  • Lara says:

    I’m on week 2 of utilizing your weekly cook-up method (after buying/reading Well Fed) and it has CHANGED EVERYTHING!!!

    I am a wife, have 2 small children and am a full-time trial attorney so cooking 3 meals a day is tough.

    Last week was the first time I was set up for success after prepping for 2 hours on Sunday. Did it again this past Sunday and can’t wait to get home to turn my ground beef into taco cups.

    Seriously, I can’t thank you enough. LOVING the weekly cook-up!

  • Renee says:

    I made my first bone broth in the slow cooker yesterday, a batch of meat/veggie muffins, and sauteed some beet greens and red chard with garlic, onions and pancetta. Because of that, I was able to come home from an appointment today feeling famished, and in about 1 minute and 45 seconds have the most satisfying bowl of comfort food I’ve ever had in my life (I’m not kidding – my taste buds are still singing.) Thank you for starting me on this journey with your blog and book, and for keeping me going with fresh ideas and inspiration.

  • Heather says:

    Thanks for the info and spice links, I’m excited to try some of Penzeys interesting mixes once I get your cookbook!

    Hmmm…now I’m wondering about kitchen prep tools. For years I’ve simply used knives and cutting boards and occasionally my funky blender. Now with so much veggie prep I’m realizing prep time would go a lot faster with a few good kitchen tools –like maybe a slicer and simple food processor, etc.

    I don’t have tons of counter space and have to store things in cabinets when not in use, so I can’t have anything too huge either. Can you suggest some basic and also affordable ‘must have’ kitchen tools to make prep time quicker? I’ve looked at various food processors and read lots of reviews but it’s so hard to know which products will be a worthwhile investment. If you have brand and model recommendations, that would be even better!

    I’ve recently heard of someone who got a spiral slicer that allows one to make things like squash noodles, which is kind of cool. Any experience with those? Here’s the one I’m referring to: http://www.amazon.com/World-Cuisine-48297-99-Tri-Blade-Vegetable/dp/B0007Y9WHQ

    Any helpful suggestions for optimizing a new paleo kitchen would be very much appreciated!:)

  • Linda says:

    All I can say is “Chocolate Chili”…pure genius! Seriously.

  • De23 says:

    I’ve been struggling with most everything with this crushing schedule I’m currently under. I’ve been eating maybe 70% paleo and not exercising at all. But starting tomorrow I’m rebooting with a Lenten Whole 40 and exercise at least a little every day NO MATTER WHAT. It’s time to make my health a priority again, even if some other things are going to slide.

    I got away last weekend for a house party with friends. Even though it was diet fail (bread, beer, etc.), I made your chocolate chili and everyone loved it and wrote down the recipe. I even got some people to think about Paleo, even if many said they couldn’t imagine giving up bread or cheese for the rest of their lives. Following up with lots of links for them all soon!

  • Mel says:

    You guys! I’m consistently overwhelmed by how incredibly smart, supportive, and funny you all are. Thank you so much for being part of my everyday life.

    I’m thrilled that you’re having such great success cooking with Well Fed — and so touched that you share your sweet words with me.

    I love reading about your cooking adventures and the good news that you’re sharing the paleo way with friends and family.

    You guys are the best. For real.

  • Heather says:

    ~ Any ‘can’t live without’ best-loved kitchen prep tools you can recommend?

  • Heather says:

    Thanks, I’ll check them out soon!!! πŸ™‚

    By the way, I made the Cumin-Roasted Carrots last night and they were delish! Love the cinnamon with the cumin, YUM!

    Hubby is French and says ‘he’s nothing without bread’…so you can see he’s not a total Paleo convert yet but so far loves all the recipes I’ve tried. He just supplements with a helping of brown rice or couscous or some whole wheat baguette to eat along with it while I toss in little comments here and there about why cutting carbs is healthier. If I’m patient I think he’ll come around eventually. He loves that he now gets to clean both our plates off with a little piece of bread at the end of the meal. (Can’t say I don’t miss that part!)

    I found the carrot recipe from the wonderful preview printout of your new cookbook since I haven’t yet received my copy. The type on the printout was so tiny though that I had to read with a magnifying glass…so I’m hoping the book print is a little larger!:) Love your notes about alternative ways to vary recipes too ~ So creative!

    Well tonight it will be the Coconut-Almond Green Beans. I already use and love extra virgin organic coconut oil so I can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Oh about the kitchen tools, if you have any comments about spiral slicers or the one I sent a link to, please post.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  • ElizabethJ says:

    I haven’t been able to keep my eating clean as i want it. The sad part is i just finished a whole 30 on Feb 1st.
    I work from home also, Mel. When did you start? How are you doing with your schedule? Do you have to be online from 8-5 or whenever? I’m an 8-5’er which i love b/c i can go to CF in the mornings 3 times a week before hubby leaves for work. Rock on. BUT i find myself eating my son’s gluten free snacks- not good. if it was once a week then I wouldn’t be concerned with it but it’s more like every day.
    I think I’m going to post some note cards around the house. I get so wrapped up in my work day I forget what I’m doing when I’m not working.

    Funny about this new pork recipe. We just went to ikea and bought about 50 glass jars to once and for all organize this spice cabinet (I should send you a picture, it’s beautiful). Anyway, I came across the 5 star and thought to myself, geez, i don’t even know how to use this. I bought it b/c I heard Mel talk about it. Now I can use it YAY. Actually I did use it once in a shrimp dish. It was pretty kickA**

    • Mel says:

      This is my first week working at home THIS TIME — but I’ve worked freelance before. I tend to keep a pretty strict schedule with myself most days because if I don’t, I start skipping workouts, eating at weird times, and generally messing with myself.

      Can’t wait to see your spice jars!

  • Carla says:

    This is my second attempt at Whole 30 and I am doing great now after cooking from your book, Well Fed. I just LOVE it! My husband approved the Bora Bora Fire Balls tonight! Pure deliciousness! And that sunshine sauce, well I just don’t know how I lived life without it. Sunshine sauce, I love you!