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Why No Poo

First off, I just want to thank Liz Wolfe for keeping me educated and entertained while I get ready to work with her (and Diane Sanfilippo’s) podcast Balanced Bites. Liz is an amazing certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who works with Steve’s Club at my box.  She’s also an author that I follow religiously.  Her ebook Skintervention is my body bible and I’m looking forward her newest book Modern CaveGirl (I’ll be sure to write reviews and navigation for both soon). In her Skintervention Guide, on her blog, and during Balanced Bites, Liz talks about The No Poo Method.

No Poo = No Shampoo

I decided to try it for three reasons:

1. It costs less money than expensive sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
2. I’m so far down the Paleo rabbit hole that I don’t want to put anything on my body that I can’t ingest.
3. I’m a greasy greasy Italian and my scalp can’t go more than a day without a shower

1.  Eating Paleo is expensive.  I’m dropping cable soon and scraping together whatever cash I can so I can buy organic, clean food.  If I can save $25/month by not buying expensive shampoo, then I’m in.  As a side note, I have to use expensive shampoo because the cheap Suave stuff makes my hair brittle and knotty.  I’ve been using organic sulfate free shampoo/conditioner at $12 for each 11oz bottle.  Can’t afford that but I love the way it helps my hair.
Sulfates are detergents that make the lather nice and foamy.  Lather = Clean, right?  Well while that’s true, it also strips your hair of natural oil.  The theory is that the more you strip your hair of its natural oils, it thinks it needs to produce more oil.  This is a win-win for shampoo companies- greasy girls that have to wash their hair every day buy their products often and they get to give them a pleasurable latherful experience.

Ooooh Yeeeeeaaaaa

2.  There is something logical about not putting anything on your skin that you can’t eat.   At the heart of washing your hair, you’re really removing the sebum from your roots/scalp.  Your massaging chemicals into your head to strip the natural oils away and replace them with chemicals that make your hair soft and manageable.  But when you think about it, you’ve just stripped your body’s natural defense and replaced it with god-knows-what that now has instant access to your body.  I’m spending a lot of time, money, and effort to be eating as cleanly as I can so it just seems silly to start lathering up with chemicals- I may as well just drink the soda!

3.  So I started Paleo because I had to eat every 2 hours or I’d get dizzy.  I figured that was too often and not healthy.  My body clearly wasn’t regulating sugars properly.  A few weeks into eating strictly Paleo, I actually went 6 hours without food and felt fine.
My body also produces too much oil.  I’m Italian, so it’s funny, but by the end of the day, my hair looks like an oil slick.  I can’t skip a day of washing ever.  I’ve had many a battle with wedding hairstylists who yell at me for washing my hair in the morning because “Second day hair is easier to style”.  Not my second day hair, lady.  I figured maybe No Poo would help my oily hair problem in the same way Paleo helped my sugar problem.

So here goes!  I’m giving it a shot.  I’ll be posting before-during-after pictures and a How-To shortly. Stay tuned!

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

You may notice from time to time that my blog will have some focus on autoimmune protocol.  I do not personally have a diagnosis of autoimmune disease, however, I believe there is some hereditary issue that I am fighting.  I don’t know what it could be, but it is a very strong reason for why I have such a keen interest in the Paleo lifestyle, and the autoimmune effects even more so.  Let me explain:

Growing up my Nana (actually my great grandmother) always made the best shortbread cookies.   They were little and cute and always covered in delicate pastel frosting. I never saw her eat one.  She swore up and down that white flour made her violently sick.  She ate basically a Paleo diet- meat, vegetables, starchy veg, organ meat, sauerkraut- it’s like she just knew what to eat.  She was average weight- 5’1, 125lbs.  There was never any medical diagnosis that I know of, nor did anyone ever really pay any attention to it.  Everyone just rolled our eyes and it was understood that she was just not going to eat this stuff- sort of the way they roll their eyes at me now.  She led a healthy life until she was stricken with “something autoimmune related” in her 80’s.  It was as debilitating as MS but the doctors couldn’t diagnose a specific disease.  She lost motor function in her legs first, then her hands, and finally she was completely immobile.  She later passed away from this mysterious illness and to this day, I’m not sure the doctors ever had a firm grasp on what was wrong.

Her daughter, my grandmother, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was born.  Crohn’s Disease is an autoimmune disease that manifests in the gastrointestinal system.  It basically tears apart your stomach, intestines and bowels resulting in irregularity, nutrient deficiency, and other terrible things.  She battled every day to try to keep herself healthy.  She always ate very well, but she did eat a SAD diet.  One day, in her late 60’s, she was in a fender-bender and hurt her neck.  A few days later she was stung by a bee.  Soon after, she started having numbness and mobility issues.  Doctors didn’t know if it was related to the accident or the bee sting.  Maybe it was Lyme’s Disease?  They found a tumor at the base of her skull which was restricting bloodflow to her brain.  She had surgery to have that removed and when her symptoms didn’t go away, doctors said it was because brain damage is irreversible.  And then she got worse.  Doctors were sure it was not MS and probably not another autoimmune disease.  Her motor functions basically disappeared- she went from limping through the house to using a walker until she could no longer walk.  Her hands basically went from full motor function to not able to feed herself.  Eventually, she could not speak, her Crohn’s got the best of her and she passed away.  Doctors still not sure what happened to her, even though it was eerily familiar to what happened to her mother and her daughter has a diagnosed autoimmune disease.

HER daughter, my mother, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was 16 years old.  MS is a fairly well known autoimmune disease that attacks the myelin (fatty coating on your nerve endings that helps transfer electrical impulses from nerve to nerve) making your nerves unable to communicate with each other. This results in tingling, stinging, and numbness.   It often starts in the extremities and eventually kills its victims, usually by ceasing lung function.  Here’s the kicker- it often affects motor functions rather than cognitive function, meaning the victims end up being trapped in their own bodies being fully aware of what’s happening and unable to do a single thing.  Not much is known about this disease.  They don’t know how someone becomes infected.  There are some correlations made such as “the closer you are to the equator, the more likely you are to have the disease”, “heat and humidity aggravate the disease”, “men are affected more severely than men”.  There is no cure.  Luckily (?), there are so many people affected with this horrible disease, the conventional medical world has made great strides in developing medications that help stop this disease in its tracks, but those of us close to the disease still hold our breath.  My mother is very lucky (?) that she has Relapsing Remitting MS meaning that she has “attacks” where sometimes the affects go away and sometimes they do not.  This is a much better option to the Progressive MS where the disease just slowly kills its victims.  She once went blind for a month but regained her vision, though it is still scarred and not improved by corrective lenses (since it’s a brain problem and not an eyeball problem).

My sister has been having issues with PCOS, which is not autoimmune related, however does touch on the need for sugar regulation and the Paleo diet is often recommended.  Diabetes is considered autoimmune related and since sugar disregulation leads can lead to diabetes, it might be that these cysts are the precursor to an autoimmune problem.  I may be on the road down a slippery slope, but considering my family history listed above, I am not taking anything as a coincidence.

I had low blood sugar problems as well as IBS and an ulcer by the age of 25.  I believe most of my issues stem from a high-stress job, but I got to the point where I’d have to eat every hour to keep my blood sugar regular- and that’s not normal.  Upon shifting to the Paleo lifestyle, I’ve been able to do intermittent fasting with no issues.  In fact, when I “cheat” I can feel the sugar rush from enough bread.

All of this to say, I think my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother all have/had a serious autoimmune issue, whether it is MS or something unknown.  I’m not sure if my grandmother was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s or if it was in addition to that disease.  I have been hyper vigilant since my teens about being aware of every tingle and fallen-asleep foot and doing whatever I can to combat this mystery illness that I’m sure runs in my family.

If any of you Paleo nerds out there have any suggestions of what this might be, I’m all ears.  I’ve considered Hashimoto’s but I’m not sure it fits.   Nor do I think it’s Celiac although that’s a better fit than Hashimoto’s.

Meanwhile, I’m 99% Paleo, convinced my mom to give it a shot, and begging my sister to give it a try.  I’ve seen incredible results and I’ll keep everyone posted on my mom’s progress.  It’s only n=1 and she has relapsing MS so she hopefully won’t see any symptoms to combat, but it’s still worth reporting.  She’s starting with a regular Paleo diet and if we see results, we’ll shift towards an autoimmune protocol.

Grain Party

I went to go visit my bachelor boyfriend this weekend.  He literally had nothing in the house to eat that wasn’t leftover from when I moved, which basically consisted of the 10 boxes of pasta I bought on sale ($10 for 10 boxes) for him before I left.
So that’s what we had for dinner on Friday.  A big, heaping bowl of pasta.
To be fair, I brought a shake in the car for the 3 hour drive, but to be honest, if I don’t use whey protein (just almond milk, strawberry, and banana), it tastes kinda watery and gross.  I’ve been trying to get away from whey because I’m trying to lose weight and remove even whey from my diet.  It’s got sugar in it too, which is probably another reason why it makes protien shakes taste better.  In hindsight, filling up on  whey protein would have been better than a giant bowl of pasta.  I tried, but I am weak.

Woke up in the morning and made omlettes with the last 4 eggs in the house, some Kerrygold Cheddah, and some (very salty) country ham he had.  Better than pancakes.

Then we went to the shop, where we battled with my new tires, and I ultimately fucked up my car (sorry, I try not to use the eff-word on this blog, but causing $1000 of damage is described no other way than fucked up.)  The thought makes me want to cry so let’s move on.  Oh, we had sushi for lunch.

My downward spiral of mourning left me bereft to worrying about dinner and making healthy choices.  Truth be told, I just wanted to drown at the bottom of a beer bottle.
and I did.
after I ate an entire calzone.
and had 2 beers and a glass of bourbon.

Woke up and went to the grocery store to find food.  Got more eggs for breakfast and the store had some really good looking challah bread so I bought it.  And made French toast.  And then ate it.  While at the grocery store, I completely neglected to think about lunch.  Just bought copious amounts of bread products.  Addicted much?

For the record, the challah French toast was epic.  I really missed that.  I’m not really sorry I ate it.  Just all the other stuff I ate all weekend.

Fast forward to lunch-  what’s left in the house?  Some leftover pasta, leftover pizza from last weekend, and two pieces of breaded chicken breasts I made for Dear Boyfriend last weekend.  So that’s what we ate.  And I ate it all.  It was probably twice as much food as I needed, but when you are eating foods without breaks, you just keep it going.  Shoveled it all into my mouth like someone was taking it away from me.  Blarg.

Dinner?  Well, after driving 3 hours and schlepping all of my laundry to my apt, I didnt really feel like cooking.  So I waited until I was starving at 9pm and ate 2 tablespoons of Nutella and almond butter that I keep at the apt for emergencies.  And promptly got a stomach and headache.  Double blarg. *Note: sugar this close to bedtime also makes for a restless night of sleep.

So what’s the big deal?  One weekend won’t kill me, right?  I shouldn’t be striving to be 100% Paleo because it’s unrealistic, right?

Bread coma

Well here are my observations:

  • I had that super-full bloated belly where you want to unbutton your pants after Thanksgiving dinner.  For the record, I never get that feeling after a Paleo meal.
  • Hangry headache- granted, we were frustrated pretty much all day Saturday from the task at hand, but I do believe I was more irritated than usual.  By the time we got to the sushi place, I was ready to murder the screaming kids also eating fish.
  • Constipation- all weekend.  ew, I know.
  • Stuffy nose.  This may have been cause from all of the cat hair/dust but I still have a stuffy nose
  • Sugar craving.  I struggle with this alot which is funny because I never considered myself someone who ever craved sugar.  I guess I was getting enough of it throughout the day while eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) because I really notice it now.   Queue the ridiculous Nutella attack last night.

Dear Boyfriend is fixing the mess I made of my car this weekend.  In return, I’m going to clean the condo and cook him some food for the week.  It’s really the least I can do.  I’ll be going grocery shopping early Saturday morning so hopefully I can keep myself in check and make more healthy decisions.  I really need to keep this in check because I feel like crap.

Paleo Cookin’

I’m getting good at this Paleo cookin’ stuff.  Admittedly, I haven’t been cooking as much when I’m with Dear Boyfriend.  I legit had guacamole for dinner last night.


Dinner is served!


One thing I have never been able to conquer is the crock pot.  I could never understand how housewives all over America worship these things when every single thing I cook comes out tasting exactly the same.  Literally, Dear Boyfriend had to ask me what kind of meat I was serving him because he couldn’t tell.  It all tasted like burnt onions and garlic.  I had a hunch that it had something to do with overcooking.  I had an hour commute and an 8 hour day for the last 8 years and I think 10 hours probably too long to cook anything, even if it’s on “low”.

I have a 5 minute commute now, so I can run home at lunch and turn the crock pot on.  But a girl needs time to gossip so I found a better idea.  Enter: the timer.



Now I have the timer set to go on a few hours (or however long the recipe calls for) before I get home and turn off as soon as I walk through the door.  That way it cools off enough for me to shove the contents down my throat as soon as humanly possible.

So, as you can see, I tried an artichoke recipe.  I prefer my artichokes with just a little seasoning.  I know some people like them with breadcrumbs but I never did.  Now that I’m eating about 90% Paleo, breadcrumbs are out anyway.  This is a Paleo recipe but I swear you won’t even miss the breadcrumbs.  They were cooked PERFECTLY and were melt-in-your-mouth amazing.  A big thanks to Lori from The Produce Mom for this recipe.  Check out her site for play-by-play photos.  Amaze-balls. (note: I hate when people say that, but it really is)

Crock Pot Paleo Artichokes

  • 2 artichokes (or as many as you can fit in your crock pot)
  • About 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • About 2-4 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • About 2-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Cut the stem off of the artichokes so they sit flat in the crockpot
  2. Remove the outside leaves until you get to the ones with the meat on them
  3. Cut the tops off of the artichokes so the heart is exposed
  4. Pull the leaves open to there is room between the layers and you can really see the heart
  5. Splash the artichokes with some lemon juice so they don’t turn brown
  6. Take about 1Tbsp of chopped garlic and mash it in between the leaves and a small layer resting on top
  7. Top artichokes with olive oil (also helps the garlic get down into the leaves)
  8. Pour the water and sherry into the bottom of the crock pot until the artichokes are about 1/4 covered
  9. Cook on high for 3-4 hours depending on the size of your artichokes

*Note: I also put two cubes of bone broth that I made and froze a few weeks ago.  It’s a good way to get some extra vitamins and minerals into a meal



I paired this beautiful artichoke with a pan-fried chicken breast, also with a couple bone broth cubes.

Adobo, Italian Seasoning, and Chicken Breast cooked up in some bacon fat and bone broth ice cubes

Adobo, Italian Seasoning, and Chicken Breast cooked up in some bacon fat and bone broth ice cubes




Since I’ve moved to NJ, I’ve been on my own in my little apartment.  I’m 1 mile from work, 1 mile from my CrossFit gym and have pretty much the same routine every day.  When I get home I have nothing to do but make dinner and go to CrossFit.  I kinda feel like I’m at rehab, CrossFit rehab.  I can focus 100% on eating Paleo, stretching all night after the WOD, getting to bed early to recoup from the WOD…  100% focused on my goals.

Right now, it’s exactly what I need to get back into shape.  Enough of the roller coaster rides with my weight.  I’m ready to get serious about my health and this is the perfect atmosphere for my ADD personality.  There are no distractions.  It’s nice to just focus on one (ok maybe 2) key things and stick with it.

On the weekends I get “released” into the real world where I finally get to see my hunny and interact with the rest of the world.  It’s kind of a double edged sword where I miss the heck outta my boyfriend and obviously need to interact with the real world, but it’s a little scary too.  Now I know why there are in-patient rehab centers.  If it’s this hard for me to avoid bread and beer when I’m out on the weekends, I can’t imagine how hard it must be for an addict to give up their addictions.

Also, on the weekends we introduce the car racing thing, which has also been a bit of a challenge.  It’s nice to go through the week not getting anxious about it and then go back to NJ on Monday and release all of the anxiety at CrossFit.  I’m waiting for the day that something “clicks” and I just “get it” and am not so afraid anymore, but for now it’s another thing that I’ve got to stick with until it becomes easier.  It is fun, but it’s alot more scary to race a car at 100mph than throwing 100lbs over my head.  That probably isn’t logical, but it’s where my head is at right now.  It’s getting better but (like everything), not really fast enough for my liking.

For now, CrossFit is really intense as I try to get back into shape.  Taking a couple of rest days are much appreciated and needed.  Eventually, I’ll be at a fitness level that I can go 6 days a week.  Eventually, I’d like to compete in CrossFit competitions.  Hopefully by then I’ll have a normal life and it’ll be possible to get to the gym more often than I can right now.  But for now, things are exactly the way they need to be.  Mostly.

Hopefully this little rehab session will give me a strong foundation to really reach my goals.  I’m all in.


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I’m celebrating because I PRed my Back Squat at 140# today.  My metcon endurance still isn’t there but my strength is coming back.  I’m not sure if this is my ultimate PR because I don’t have my book from the old box, but I’m still excited because I maxed out at 128lbs two weeks ago.  Hopefully my metabolic conditioning gets better fast.  I’m just going to show up every day and give it whatever I’ve got.  Baby steps, I guess.


So I’m celebrating a 140# Back Squat.  Meanwhile, in AnnieLand….



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