Why I’m thankful for the toughest year ever

There are 2 hours of 2014 left as I write this and I am extremely emotional. This year has been the toughest that I’ve ever experienced and yet, after a really long time, I feel more authentically myself.
The lows
Business was extremely challenging and along with that, finances. And when you’re responsible for the finances of 10 other people, it’s a whole other level of pressure. I started to doubt my competencies, skills and vision. At some point, I even lost sight of the joy that I derive, working to help passionate people express and present the magic they bring to the world.
Add to this, the health condition which, my body miraculously manages by itself, took a turn for the worse. After 8 years of not having this condition interfere with my day-to-day life, this was an immense wake-up call. I took it as a sign that I seriously had to review my life and start doing things differently.

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Tips for Successful Paleo Living: Meal Prep

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Roasted-Squash

 

Many things about paleo eating are actually much easier than you might think. The first question I usually get when explaining this lifestyle to people is – so what can you eat?! My response – cutting out grains, dairy, sugar and processed foods actually opens your eyes to a wide variety of interesting foods (particularly vegetables and roots) that we otherwise ignore. I’ve become a much more creative cook as a result.

The next hurdle is finding time to cook. Eating paleo means you’re most likely going to have to cook a lot – because that’s the best way of making sure you know what’s in your food (and what’s not!). These are busy times and even for me, the thought of coming home from a full day at work and hours of commuting to cook a nutritious meal is not something I can realistically sustain day-in day-out. It’s easier to grab some greasy take-away or throw some grains in some boiling water and top them with something out of a jar or can.

To successfully sustain a paleo lifestlye, you need to be prepared. You need to make it hard to reach for the unhealthy options. Enter meal prep. It’s as simple as it sounds: taking some time to prepare several meals in advance. Lus and I do this at least once a week. If you plan it well and get several things on the go simultaneously, in 2 -3 hours, you can have a variety of meals cooked to cover you for at least half of the week, if not more.

In this post I share some photographs from a recent meal prep afternoon. On the menu:

 

  • Roasted sweet mama squash
  • A mustard green and onion frittata (cut in rectangles and voila – breakfast!)
  • Korean beef stew (add raw courgette noodles when you’re ready to eat!)
  • Cassava (aka yucca) cooked in coconut milk and cardamom, with some red and yellow peppers
  • A whole roast chicken
  • Chard sauteed with onions and garlic

 

You’ll notice minimal vegetables here. Vegetables are so quick to steam or saute and indeed, many are great raw so, we tend to leave a lot of them out of meal prep and prepare them on the day.

See the ‘related’ links at the bottom of this post for more information on paleo eating, my journey and recipe ideas.

 

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Baked-Eggs

(Frittata with mustard greens and onions – without the potatoes. Image at top of post: squash roasted with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper)

 

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Beef-Stew

(Korean beef stew. I use this recipe and leave out the soy sauce and sugar)

 

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Coconut-Cassava-Yucca

(Cassava/yucca in coconut milk with cardamom and peppers. A recipe I learned from my mother, inspired by East African coastal cooking. Details to come …)

 

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Roast-Chicken

(A very easy, tasty and comforting roast chicken)

 

Paleo-Meal-Prep-Chard

(Chard sauteed with onions and garlic)

 

Bon appetit! What’s on your menu this week?

 

Photos by yours truly, with a little VSCOcam love. Search ‘#mealprep’ on Instagram for some more, mostly paleo inspiration. And follow me while you’re there – ‘lulukitololo’

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Related:

 

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Paleo Meal Ideas and Templates (+ Results from my Health Reset Challenge)

Paleo-Meals-Egg-Salad

 

A week ago Wednesday marked the end of my Health Reset Challenge. The mission had been to complete a Whole30 – 30 days of strictly paleo, as well as regular exercise and at least 8 hours of sleep daily.

 

Unfortunately

I was not consistent with keeping to my exercise and sleep goals, mainly due to me prioritising working on my fortune. As I’ve gotten into the groove of the new year and put in motion the game plans to achieve my 2014 goals, I have a more realistic picture of where I can make time for exercise and how I can develop a consistent and sufficient sleep pattern.

 

Fortunately

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30 Day Health Reset Challenge: In the Interests of Getting Things Done

30-Day-Health-Reset-Challenge-Getting-Things-Done-Afri-love

 

We all know that, if we’re going to be putting in the work that’s required to make things happen this year, we cannot neglect our bodies. They are the precious vehicles that help us to turn thoughts and ideas into action.

Yet, if you’re anything like I have been in the past, the first things that get compromised when I’m busy are:

  • Exercising
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Healthy eating

Probably in that order!

And it’s January. You more than likely overindulged in some festive eating (my excuse, throughout December, was – “it’s Christmas!”). And you more than likely didn’t move half as much as you usually do (it’s cold! I need to rest! Etc. …).

It’s almost 2 weeks into the month and the resolution fever has probably started to die down for most but, I want to let you in on a challenge that might just change the course of your year. It’s a challenge that I’m embarking on, along with my partner, his sisters and a few of my friends. And I would love for you to join us.

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2014: The Year of Fearlessness

Afri-love-Year-of-Fearlessness-2014

 

Happy new year everybody! I have an amazing feeling about this one – this moment is pregnant with the raw energy of a boiling pot of water that’s just about to pop its lid off! It’s that exciting.

 

Last year in review

stopped making resolutions a few years back. Instead, I pick a quality/action/intention to use as my guiding philosophy for the year. Last year it was kindness. The verdict:

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The One Word My Kids Will Learn First: Consistency

Consistency-is-Integral-to-Success

While you may not have seen it in the frequency of posts on the blog, consistency is all I’ve been thinking about in the past month. In true cosmic form, the theme of consistency came up everywhere I looked! In conversations, in books I read, in websites I stumbled upon and in running my business.

And it really got me thinking (and fired up) about the connection between consistency and possibility and success.

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7 Common Excuses that Prevent Our Success (Demolished with Help from Jim Rohn)

7-Common-Excuses-that-Prevent-our-Success

At a friend’s recommendation, I recently read Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle by Jim Rohn and it was so timely in so many ways:

  • It offered the very affirmation that I needed in order to make the tough decisions that will propel me forward in terms of my well-being, my business and my life as a whole
  • It reminded me of the importance of lessons previously learned but forgotten (or foolishly ignored)
  • It inspired me to make these few remaining months of the year count like never before!

The things that had prevented me from reaching this point of confidence and conviction: excuses, that don’t really stand up in the light of day. For that reason, this post is for me – as a very public reminder for the times when I find myself falling short in terms of the respect, graft and love that I owe myself. It is also for any of you who can relate to the situation of your activity and/or results not matching up with your ambition. Here’s some of that good old tough love, seasoned with some of my favourite quotes from Jim Rohn’s book. In no particular order …

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Amazing Results from My Whole30 + Autoimmune Protocol Experiment

Whole30-+-Autoimmune-Protocol-Results

From February 20th to April 1st of this year, I did the best thing that I’ve ever done for my body and my health. I completely gave up grains, sugar, legumes, dairy, eggs, alcohol, seeds, nuts, seed-based spices, fruits and nightshade vegetables (i.e. potatoes, all kinds of peppers, eggplants and tomatoes).

 

So what the hell did I eat?

When sharing this list with people, many thought I’d gone completely mad and were wondering what I could eat. The truth is, there are a huge variety of vegetables and this adventure actually pushed me to discover and try out new things which, in my books, is one of the joys of living!

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9 Acts of Kindness

9-on-Afri-love

In consciously exploring how to be kinder to myself, I observe again and again, how forgetful I can be when it comes to remembering what’s in my best interest. To help evade such unkind amnesia and to encourage you to share your experiences and ideas (and because I love making lists), I’ve decided to keep a running list.

So here are my Acts of Kindness, #1 – #9 (in no particular order):

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Going Primal/Paleo: Blogs to Support your Diet and Lifestyle Transformation

Paleo Primal Butternut Squash Pudding

You may have heard about the paleo, primal or ‘caveman’ diet. You may have read about some of my own primal adventures on this blog. More than just a diet, the paleo/primal approach is about challenging conventional (and often commercially-driven) wisdom and living a healthier life in all respects. It starts with food but also integrates efficient movement, sufficient sleep, stress management, play and more.

You may know someone who’s had great success with this lifestyle. I have a friend who’s embracing it after 16 years as a vegetarian (with the majority of that time being vegan) and has never felt better. My still-vegetarian brother has limited his grain intake and among other benefits, it’s kept his asthma in check. A friend of his is playing squash again for the first time in years now that his joint pain has gone away, thanks to eliminating grains.

I myself have never felt better. I’m currently approaching the 4-week point of a Whole30 + autoimmune protocol. In short, I have not been eating grains, sugar, dairy, eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, seed-based spices, soy products and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, all kinds of peppers). Believe it or not, it’s not as restrictive as it seems! I’ve been enjoying plenty of diverse vegetables, herbs and quality meat and fish. It’s an elimination diet where I’ll slowly start reintroducing these foods (except the grains and sugar which will be reserved for very very very rare and special occasions) and hopefully determine whether there are any that my body doesn’t like.

I’ll blog properly about that experience soon. For now, I wanted to share some of the resources that have served to enlighten, educate, inspire and support me along this transformation over the past couple of years. A lot of people have been asking me about it lately so I thought I’d compile this list.

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