Here’s to Health

Here it is, Day One. I slipped up this morning when I had a Quaker Oats oatmeal thing that had whey protein in it – oops! But other than that I’ve had almonds, a banana with almond butter and a nectarine. On the menu is an energy mix made with almonds (can you tell I love almonds?), pumpkin seeds, cashews, dates and I think something else – can’t remember off the top of my head – as well as grape tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers with hummus and veggie pasta for dinner. I’ve started taking flaxseed oil, turmeric and B12 to help with nutrients and I need to throw in some coconut or almond milk for calcium. Drinking just water and so far, I feel awesome!

Here’s a little note of temptation: I’m currently in Orland, CA at the Glenn County Fair. For the next four days I will be surrounded by smells of fried everything as well as ice cream, beer, ICEEs and BBQ foods. So far, I haven’t felt tempted but it’s only been a few hours so who knows how I’ll feel six hours from now when I’ve been sitting in the sun listening to children screaming and telling people to “push the red button” on Sudsy’s a thousand times. 13151406_10154633851811729_3017438794107059033_n

Overall, I’m so excited to try this. I have never really been excited about a “diet” before and maybe it’s because I don’t see this as a temporary thing. I have always loved smoothies and often preferred them over food itself. I know that the hardest thing to give up is going to be pizza (although there are vegan options available) as well as ice cream. I have discovered vegan recipes for brownies (a guilty pleasure of mine) as well as cookies. But I’m actually more excited about trying all these new kinds of juices and smoothies and being able to look in the mirror everyday feeling a little bit better about myself.

For the past probably ten years (maybe more), I have struggled so much with my appearance. While I have never really let it stop me from doing anything or pursuing anyone, I have always felt self-conscious and overly aware of my body. As a performer, I am on stage and in front of people all the time. I walk around fairs in tight clothing resembling that of a ringmaster, cowgirl, pirate and even a flight attendant at times. And when I’m in costume, sure, I’m a hell of a confident girl because I’m a character, I’m not Paige anymore. But there are always the first looks in the mirror in the morning or at night, the moments where you stand 5 feet away because you look better not up close. There are the swimsuit fittings, costume fittings, shopping for makeup and hair products in order to cover up the fact that I’m a chubby girl with a pretty face. And this past week, I finally said that I’m done.

I’m done faking my smile and pretending that I’m not as big as I am. I am done spending a fortune on makeup and skin care and hair care in order to achieve the same results simply by eating right and exercising. I am done shying away from the idea of approaching someone simply because I am not cute or beautiful enough to catch their attention. I am done going into stores and not being able to find clothes that don’t fit me or boots that won’t accommodate my ginormous calves. I’m done being negative, treating my body like absolute shit and choosing food over my health, happiness and general well-being. I have given so much power to food. I have given it the power to cure my boredom, dictate my social events, serve my temporary cravings and distract my feelings of loneliness, self-pity, a bad day even. I don’t honestly really care how long I live – that’s not completely my decision to make. But what I do care about is my quality of life, the happiness that I feel and the depth of my relationships with other people. I care about not letting my body stop me from taking on any adventure whether that be hiking, kayaking, rock-climbing, swimming, cliff diving, ziplining, waterfall repelling or simply being an amazing performer.

So here is to trying something new, something that may or may not work (though the whole not working thing seems completely ridiculous) and something that at it’s very core is going to improve my health. I eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, legumes, whole grains and that’s it. I don’t eat dairy products, meat products or anything that has added sugar (I don’t always win in that department but I’m trying). I’m not here to proclaim my veganism or guilt you for your love of steak, eggs or yogurt. One of the best phrases I have learned as a traveler has been this: You do you, and I’ll do me. I am writing this in search of support and ideas from other vegans as well as a way of documenting this new path that I’m jumping on. This blog also serves as self-accountability. I want to, 30 days, 60 days, a year from now, be able to look back on this post and say “I actually did it, I stuck with it – here’s how I’m doing.” I have had a lot of Day One’s in my life and I’m sure I’ll have a lot more. I have started diets, jobs, relationships and more only to quit within a year or two – sometimes less.

So here’s to trying new things for health!

The Cutest Show & Sudsy’s Barn Girl

As a traveling performer I have encountered my fair (no pun intended) amount of characters in this world. I’m lucky to be part of a team that travels around the country performing shows for kids as well as running what we fondly call “A Disney-esque hand-washing station.” I have acquired labels such as “Cutest Show Girl,” “Sudsy’s Girl” and “That badass girl driving a truck and trailer.” These labels have wormed their way into my self-identity and I gotta say, I’m a fan.

For those of you reading this and already lost – let me slow things down and tell you a little bit about this crazy life I’m actually living.12801318_10154452117601729_186926494475646777_n

My name is Paige McDaniel and I currently work for Fusion Talent Group. This umbrella of a production company owns, among many other amazing acts, Sudsy’s Barn and The Cutest Show on Earth. These two “acts” were acquired by Fusion Talent Group in late 2014 after a tragic accident limited the previous owner, Elisa Hays, and required her to hand over the gloves to someone else. I was with Elisa off and on since 2012 and when she passed the torch to our courageous new leader, I followed. This year I am a lead tour actor with The Cutest Show on Earth and I lend a helping hand for Sudsy’s Barn when needed.

So what do I do exactly?

The Cutest Show on Earth is, at its rawest form, a kid’s dress-up show. We have four shows – Circus, Wild West, Pirate & Farm Time – and we begin recruiting kids before our shows, get them in costume and perform a live show for audiences at fairs and festivals around the country. As the leader of the show, whether that be as a ringmaster, cowgirl, pirate captain, or flight attendant, I have the pleasure of watching kids come out of their shell and show off to their friends and family on stage. We do anywhere between one and three shows a day and it’s an absolute blast and amazing way to travel. Check out more about The Cutest Show on Earth here.

Sudsy’s Barn is, like I mentioned before, an interactive “Disney-esque” hand-washing station. Fairs around the country have struggled repeatedly with E. coli breakouts due to livestock and people not properly washing their hands after interacting with animals and other things at the fair. Elisa Hays came up with this brilliant idea to make handwashing a fun experience that kids and adults would actually look forward to. This 2-ton trailer transforms into an actual experience where you can get water from a goat, cow, alpaca or donkey who will also talk to you! All I can say is – you have to see it to believe it!

Thanks to these two acts, I am able to travel around the country 6-8 months out of the year meeting amazing people, seeing new things and having quirky and amazing experiences. I have discovered a true family made up of hypnotists, jugglers, tractor-pullers, animal trainers, trapeze artists, comics, clowns and more because of choosing to be a touring actor.

When I’m not on the road with Fusion Talent Group, I try and explore different places around the world. I recently spent a three-week gap in Costa Rica volunteering at a Spanish immersion school called Tico Lingo. Before my last tour I was in Europe backpacking for three months. The opportunities are out there and jobs exist that you may have never thought of that allow you to travel. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities wherever and whenever you can!