Thursday, June 17, 2010

Radical Woman Q&A with Paleo Chix Patty "Cookie Ruiz" and Aileen "Pony" Ryan

The Paleo Chix is a wonderful blog that features daily posts written by a panel of women on nutrition, fitness and women’s issues. The blog in particular embraces a Paleo Lifestyle. What does that mean? In a nutshell it means living a life as NATURAL as possible, following nutritional guidelines that resembles that of our pre-agricultural ancestors (yes to: whole foods, meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds & no to: processed foods, grains, refined sugar, dairy and legumes).

I am pleased to bring you a Radical Woman Q&A with two of the Paleo Chix, Patty “Cookie” Ruiz, the West Coast Chic & Aileen “Pony” Ryan, the east Coast Chic. I am not featuring them as radical women for their belief in the Paleo Lifestyle itself. Rather I feature them because they empower women. Empower them to challenge themselves to be their very best, empowers them to question conventional norms and empower them that health is about a lifestyle not a diet.

Patty "Cookie" Ruiz

Q: You use the words, “Paleo Lifestyle” on your blog, not “Paleo Diet”, why?

Cookie: I will never DIET again – I will eat in a manner that promotes wellness and health. Today’s society diets – looks for a temporary fix to unwanted pounds. That’s not what I’m about. It’s a way of life!

Pony: I realize that making such a huge commitment to the way I eat transfers to other areas of my life. I am very conscious of what I put in my body, why shouldn’t I also be as conscious and concerned about the amount of sleep that I get, the exercise and activity that I do for my body, the effects of stress of my body? It makes sense- the body is not just a physical being, we are emotional and spiritual as well- and we need to feed those aspects too.

Q: Why are you so passionate about Paleo?

Cookie: I can be the best ME I can be! I get a variety of nutrients, cook amazing foods and have optimal health. I wish everyone could experience this!

Pony: It has enhanced my life beyond measure. My health has greatly improved, my skin is absolutely crystal clear, and my sleep is deep and long. I have always enjoyed cooking and gardening, and with Paleo, I am even more passionate about both. Having a “short” ingredient list has made me more creative with my cooking. I am now growing my own herbs and veggies. If I could, I’d be raising chickens in my backyard for pastured eggs and use their manure for my garden. Seriously. (I live in a very urban area, so that’s not going to happen.

Q: How has the Paleo lifestyle changed you as a people, beyond the physical?

Cookie: Mentally I have changed a TON! I have tried many new things, I’m constantly learning, and have a true awareness of my health.

Pony: I’m definitely more thoughtful when it comes to products, of any kind. I’m always reading ingredient lists, I’ve switched to sulfate/paraben free hair and body products. I read constantly and decided months ago that anything the FDA rules on, I’m going to do the exact opposite.

Q: What do you hope people get from reading your blog?

Cookie: That eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, that dieting is not the answer, and that proper nutrition makes a huge difference in your daily life.

Pony: Hmmph, I never really thought about that when we started. I suppose I started writing posts a la George Carlin, you know, Brain Droppings. Just what random thoughts were going through my mind. Upon reflection, I know that I want people to get more out of their lives from what they read in our blog. That it makes them pause to think, maybe read up on a subject, pursue an activity we’ve talked about, try something new.

Q: Since you are both mommies, how has the paleo lifestyle changed you as mothers?

Cookie: I have VERY opinionated children. I have educated them and let them play a part in food prep and choices in our household.

Pony: Made me more aware of what she is eating, and what she is doing with her body (martial arts and dance) and all that computer time she has (ugh!)

Q: I find self-love to be one of the most important motivators in helping me to stay healthy, how do you find that loving yourself fits into your views on health?

Cookie: I truly feel like while I may not be society’s ideal, I am the best ME! I eat wonderful food, lift heavy crap, and challenge my body regularly. This is how I am supposed to look.

Pony: Loving myself means treating myself well, which translates into eating well, getting enough sleep, managing my time well so I am not stressed. When I love myself, I can look at potential outcomes of a situation and think about whether or not those outcomes reflect a loving attitude about myself. Like binging on a chocolate bar will make me feel uncomfortable physically and mentally- will those feelings make me loving and loved? No. The same goes for rushing around like mad. That doesn’t make me feel loved (and I am definitely not loving when I’m harried and stressed.)

Q: You are both CrossFit coaches, why do you crossfit and what do you get out of coaching?

Cookie: I love challenging myself. I was a coach potato until age 40 so I have a lot of catching up to do. I get more excited at a client’s progress than I do my own! Seeing someone surpass their goals and expectations is AMAZING! If I can be part of that journey, it is an HONOR!

Pony: I CrossFit because it mirrors life. It is unpredictable, fun, makes you stronger- BUT you have to have the right attitude. It can’t be about comparing yourself to others, its about being a better you, each and every time. And in life, it’s about being a better you, each and every day. I LOVE coaching, and all aspects of it. I love the satisfaction of helping my athletes get through a workout, of tackling a fear like handstands, I even love the programming end of it- I look forward to designing a program that is going to help them get stronger, faster and healthier, all the while we are having FUN.

Q: What is the one message you most want to get out to women just starting out or trying to get motivated on a journey towards better health?

Cookie: I say gimme a week. Tell me you don’t feel fantastic. Tell me you don’t feel a sense of pride knowing you are doing the best thing you can for your body.

Pony: You CAN do this. This is not as hard as it looks. It is simple, though at times, it is not easy. It calls for self-examination.

Q: Living Paleo is clearly not the norm, how do you deal with being the oddball out in the world?

Cookie: I feel pride in what I’m doing. If people ask, I tell them.

Pony: Well, I’ve always been kind of kooky, so being an oddball is right up my alley. I like being different, always have. I have an unusual name which I have always liked since I was little, except when I would be looking for a name magnet or keychain. They never have “Aileen”. If you ever see one, can you get it for me? Seriously, I learned as an adult to ask myself, “What do YOU care what other people think?” Very powerful that question is. I shouldn’t care what other people think- that goes back to loving myself.

Q: Many people would consider Paleo Lifestyle too strict or too hard, what would you say to that?

Cookie: I have 3 busy kids, work full time and I’m growing my client base and I’ve never been too much of a cook. If I can do it anyone can. You will quickly learn what works for you – easy recipes, weekend food prep or tons of planning. Anything is doable if it’s important to you.

Pony: Well, jeez, if you wanted to, you could look at all of life as too strict or too hard. Perspective is what it is all about. Crossfit could be seens as too hard, too strict. “What do you mean I have to hips below parallel, get my chin OVER the bar every rep? That’s too hard! Wah! ” Getting enough sleep COULD be hard, but I choose to make my schedule such that my day is all wrapped up and I am getting ready for bed by 9. My clothes are ready for the next day, lunch is prepared, and all work stuff is done. And if it’s not done, it goes on tomorrow’s agenda. So it goes for my eating. It could be HARD, but its not. I enjoy feeling good, and eating this way makes me feel good. That’s not hard, in fact it’s simple. What makes it hard is when we think we will inconvenience someone with our requests, or we think we can’t live without sugar, or we mustn’t skip a meal.

Aileen "Pony" Ryan

Thank you so much Patty and Aileen, for taking the time to spread your inspiration to the readers of Radical Hateloss. Thank you for all the work you are doing at Paleo Chix and beyond that is changing the lives of women. Keep being radical!

If you are curious about the Paleo lifestyle, just Google, “Paleolithic diet” and definitely check out Paleo Chix. I have found that a paleo lifestyle works well for me, in many ways, but Paleo is just one option, that might work for you. There are many types of healthy lifestyle options out there. None of the options will bring true success until you are able to live them with Joy. Health is not about suffering and sacrificing, it’s about loving your body so much that you are able to enjoy giving it what it needs and wants most. The only way to find out what it wants and needs most it to start listening to your authentic self, and be guided to lifestyle choices that are right for you.



"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are"

~ Theodore Roosevelt

I am please to announce Radical Hateloss Workshops! I am offering group workshops, individual telephone sessions and formal presentations on the principles of Radical Hateloss. These workshops will support and inspire joyful healthy lifestyles based in acceptance and self-love. For pricing or more information please contact me at


Tamara said...

Patty and Aileen rock! Nuff said.

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