Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Favorites: the Clothes Make the Girl

I'm pretty flipping excited to feature one of my favorite bloggers, cookbook authors, and Paleo expert Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan, who writes the blog "The Clothes Make the Girl".

Melissa is on a mission to be a "super fit, well-fed, dressed-to-kill, glossy-haired, Rock-n-Roll, tart-tongued detective", and she is definitely fulfilling all such things.

She has committed to practicing a healthy lifestyle by eating clean and incorporating yoga, meditation, CrossFit, running, and strength training into her daily routine.

Melissa's candid account of her struggle with weight loss (featured in her blog) is very relatable and inspiring. She is the first to admit that she didn't always eat clean:

"My parents were both exceptionally good cooks — my dad owned a restaurant and my mom won almost every cooking contest she entered. I was a chubby kid because I really liked food. And after broken ankles and playground taunts — at a bus stop, I was once unfavorably compared to a whale by one of the neighbor kids — I stuck with reading and practicing the piano and roller skating to the library. I don’t know how many gym classes I missed because I was “sick” or “forgot” my gym clothes. I do know that my P.E. attendance put my otherwise stellar grade point average in jeopardy."

"Even though I avoided sports, I secretly admired the athletic kids. They walked taller than the rest of us. When I was in 10th grade, my dad took me to Annapolis to see the Navy band play a concert, and for about three weeks, I was determined to get in shape so I could apply to the Naval Academy. I abandoned that dream because I was incapable of doing pushups and situps — and I was too embarrassed and overwhelmed to ask for help.)"

However, Melissa did not give up on her mission to get in shape. One healthy hobby she enjoyed practicing was roller-blading. In 2001, Melissa moved to Austin, TX where she met a bunch of other woman who shared her passion for rollerblading. Together they formed the Texas Rollergirls, the original Flat Track Roller Derby that started in Austin and spread across the world! 

Appearing on the Today Show and Good Morning America, Melissa began to create a name for herself in the Roller Derby world. As a result, the publishing company Simon & Schuster published her book she had written about her Roller Derby experiences, titled "Roller Girl Totally True Tales from the Track".

Left: "Roller Girl: Totally True Tales from the Track" by Melissa Joulwan
Right: Melissa (Middle) during her professional Roller Derby days.

In 2007, Melissa began adding Cross Fit classes to her active lifestyle. In 2009, she switched to a Paelo lifestyle. By gaining strength, finally sleeping 8 hours a night, and eliminating dairy and gluten from her diet, Melissa finally "made friends" with food and her body. And while I could go on and on about Melissa and her amazing blog & paleo cookbooks, I will let you all learn a little more about Melissa for yourselves. Below is a Q+A with Melissa: 
Lu: How was the title "the Clothes make the girl” created?
Melicious: I started my blog while I was working at my full-time job for a web development agency. I was bored at work and was a little obsessed with fashion blogs, so I decided to start my own, just as a fun outlet for writing. At the same time, I was also changing my eating habits and training to get really fit. After a while, I realized I wanted to write about those things more than my outfits. Little by little, the "real" blog — where I talk about nutrition, recipes, training, meditation, and how to have an awesome life — emerged. That was in 2008, and I had about five readers. Now about 400,000 people read it every month.

Lu:  What are some of the more notable/ “happier” changes you’ve experienced since switching to a Paleo lifestyle?
Melicious: Eating Paleo has changed my life in many ways, but these are my two favorites: (1) I was a lifelong terrible sleeper. Now that I eat high-quality carbs, sufficient fat and protein, and no junk, I sleep like a champ for 7-9 hours every night. (2) I used to need to eat every 2-3 hours or I'd get cranky and droopy. Now I can go for 4-6 hours between meals, and when I'm hungry, it's simply hunger — not moodiness that makes me feel like I'm going to stab someone.

Lu: If you had to describe a Paleo diet to a newcomer, how would you describe it?
Melicious: The version of the paleo template I follow is based on eating nutrient-dense foods that make me healthier: high-quality protein like grassfed beef and pastured chicken, tons of vegetables and fruits, some starches like sweet potatoes and plantains, and natural fats like coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and nuts for a little treat. It's real food and it's delicious.

Lu: What is one major thing you miss about being a Rollergirl?
Melicious: Oh, definitely bashing into people and making them fall down! And putting on my uniform — it was really fun to pretend to be a glamour girl then beat up on people.

Lu: What inspired you to write the cookbooks, Well Fed + Well Fed 2?
Melicious: Eating paleo made me fall in love with playing in the kitchen, and I wanted to share that with other people. I think cooking can be intimidating for people and I wanted to show that it can be like play time that also provides nourishment. I love cooking because I get to be creative and then I get to eat — two of my favorite things!

Thanks Melissa for taking the time to speak with me and to share your story with the Creatively Lu community! 

 And now for your dose of inspiration, inspired by Melissa.

Melissa during a Cross-Fit workout,
rocking her "Well Fed" socks.
Quote by: Henry Ford

Create a healthy & happy Friday everyone!

*To learn more about Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan and her blog "the Clothes Make the Girl"
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