Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day Fourteen: Beef May Hate Me, But Chicken is My Friend

Thank you for the tips about my beef crisis. Maybe one day next week I will be ready to let go of my grudge against cows and try my hand at it again.

Chicken has proven to be my strong suit, though. I scored a REALLY sweet deal (something to the tune of less than $3) on a whole chicken at the local grocery store this past weekend. It wasn't a huge chicken, but it was 5 pounds and that's more than enough for just two of us for a few meals. I had oven roasted birds before, but it has been quite a while so I wasn't expecting anything spectacular. Well, when I was considering how I might actually go about prepping the birdy, I came across a REALLY simple recipe on Pinterest. (See! I told you I can't live without it.)

So, I threw everything together (including a few sprigs of fresh rosemary from my garden that my dad so graciously planted for me. Thanks again, Daddy!), popped the chicken in the oven and went to enjoy my workout. Then in about an hour, the chicken and I were both done!

Again, I apologize for the poor picture quality. This is what happens when you cook while it's dark outside (i.e. there is no natural light to help improve the picture).

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! My mouth waters just thinking about the delectable bird. It was so good, I probably could have just sat at the stove and eaten the whole thing by myself. I would have been mighty sick afterwards, but it might have been worth it. In my humble opinion, it was better tasting than any of those rotisserie chickens you can by at the super stores. And it didn't have any preservatives or surprise ingredients! Yes, it took a little bit more effort, but honestly, it was maybe 10 minutes total hands-on time. To me, that is worth the peace of mind that I'm not pumping my body full of hidden crap.

I took some with me to work last night and ate it alongside my roasted vegetables (the ones roasted with the leathered beef) from the night before. Delicious combination, but the picture would have looked so much prettier with some greens on the side, as well.


     Leftover sirloin roast
     Baby carrots

     Roast chicken
     Roasted veggies

     Roasted pumpkin seeds
     Baby Carrots

As a side note, I started doing the Insanity workouts tonight. My plan is to alternate days between Insanity and the Supreme 90 Day workouts. (This is the plan for now. We'll see how it pans out!) But, anyhow, I may or may not have broken down in tears halfway through the first Insanity workout. No one is able to confirm or deny, so I cannot be held accountable for my emotions, but sheesh! Those workouts are killer! Phew!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day Thirteen: Beef Hates Me

Today's post is a short one because, well, frankly, I'm a bit irritated with beef! As a matter of fact, I have decided that beef and I are on a hiatus.Unless it is a simple grilled steak, I'm not making it!

Here's what happened. Keep in mind that for all of my married life, we have not really eaten beef unless at a restaurant or while visiting other carnivores because red meat just doesn't agree with my husband's GI system. No details necessary, just suffice it to say, for the 24 hours post-beef, you can certainly tell that the man has consumed red meat. Poor guy! Anyhow, I have been trying to beef up my calories (pun completely intended) and have found that adding red meat back into my diet has helped with the extra caloric intake and also has helped increase my iron consumption, too. So, I grabbed a 1.5 pound roast the other day and decided that I would make a modified version of pot roast. I had all of the ingredients on hand, just needed the meat. So, again, I went by the little stickers on the front of the meat that explain what the cut is best suited for. This one, a "beef sirloin, bottom round roast," said that it was suited for oven roasting and even contained a recipe! PERFECT! Or so I thought.

I followed the recipe instruction-by-instruction and cooked that puppy (well, it was a bovine, not a canine) up with some baby carrots, sliced onion, and chopped sweet potato. When the time was up, it smelled tasty and looked fabulous, but looks were deceiving. The vegetables were spot-on! The best roasted veggies I've had in a long time. The beef on the other hand... well, it was as if there was a big old chunk of leather on my plate. ARGH!!! Tasted fabulous. Impossible to masticate!

You will notice there is no picture today. I was so angry at that darn roast that I couldn't even bring myself to take a photograph of the thing.

Will someone please help me?!? I'm floundering around here with no guidance in the world of cow meat preparation. Chicken, fish, pork... I've got that stuff down and I'm willing to trade tips and tricks with anyone who is willing to help me out with this darn red meat!

Beef! You stink!


     Dried ol' shoe leather
     Roasted carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes

     The last of the chicken fajitas

     Raw almonds
     Apple and cashew butter

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day Twelve: Pinterest Enhances My Paleo Journey

Do you remember life before the internet revolution? Remember when you had to consult the Encyclopedia Brittanica instead of Google? Remember when you actually called or wrote to find out  what was going on in friends' lives instead of stalking them on Facebook? How about actually holding a physical book with pages instead of flipping thru the virtual pages of your Nook, Kindle, or other e-book type device? Oh, or back when people wrote in real, hard-bound journals rather than blogging?!
I know, it feels like that was f-o-r-e-v-e-r ago. I, honestly, think that I wouldn't notice much of a difference in my life if I couldn't access Facebook ever again. Yes, I'd miss "keeping up" with my friends, but I could revert back to letter writing and phone calls, if necessary. I would not be any less of a person if I never wrote another blog entry and the world would certainly not miss my half-hearted attempts at wit. I prefer to read REAL books over the computerized ones. Don't get me wrong, I read magazines and books on my iPad, but I prefer the feel of turning physical pages and the smell of ink on paper that one can only embrace when reading a book. Could I live without Google? Yes. Would life be more "difficult?" Possibly. Would more time be consumed? For sure. But, I have the skill of consulting a librarian, periodical indexes, and card catalogs, so I'm confident that I could do it. But, could I live without Pinterest? Let's not even think about that one, okay?

In the event that someone in the world has no idea what Pinterest is, it's essentially a virtual pin board or favorites list. If you find something in the vast expanse of the internet that you want to hold on to for later, for whatever reason (recipe you'd like to try, color scheme for painting your bathroom, ideas for your wedding in 26 years, etc.), you "pin" it and the site holds those "pins" in your account and makes them available for your friends to see, as well. It's a lot of sharing the same pins over and over, though. I seriously think I have seen the post for the Jolly Rancher lollipops 1,000 times. And if you want to know how to make your hair wavy only by using a flat iron, I'm confident that almost every girl ages 17-24 has posted this one to their account. Well, I jumped on the bandwagon for one of these "most popular" posts and found it to be completely worth all of the re-pins that show up on my home page. You might be familiar with the post, if you are on Pinterest. It boasts that it is "the best shrimp you'll ever taste!" The one that I pinned doesn't even go to a real blog or anything. It's simply a picture with the recipe in the caption of the pin. Four simple ingredients: butter, lemon, shrimp, and italian dressing dry mix. The instructions read, "Melt a stick of butter in the pan. Slice one lemon and layer it on top of the butter. Put down fresh shrimp, then sprinkle one pack of dried italian seasoning. Put in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 min."  Here is the picture from Pinterest:

Before I started on my Whole30, I made them just as the "recipe"/caption says. They actually were really great! I don't know that they are the "best shrimp" I've ever eaten, but they were good enough to make again. Only thing is, I'm doing the Whole30 now and butter is not allowed (unless it's clarified butter or ghee, neither of which I have time to mess with right now). So, I made them with coconut oil instead. AND I made my own no-sugar added Italian Dressing Mix using a recipe I found here (I simply omitted the sugar and significantly decreased the amount of salt). Know what?! I think I liked 'em even better with the coconut oil/homemade dressing mix. Oh, and by the way, I used peeled shrimp for this recipe. The ones in the picture clearly still have the shell intact.

I ate mine on top of bagged salad from the grocery store, but I served the hubby his on a bed of buttered egg noodles. Gosh! His looked sooooo tasty! I REALLY wanted those noodles. But, I was good! I stuck with my salad and enjoyed it.

If you eat seafood, specifically shrimp (I know, they're the cockroaches of the sea. But, we like them. And we don't eat them every day!), then I would recommend you try these with your fat of choice (butter, coconut oil, lard, etc.). And if you'd like to decrease the sodium and sugar in your dressing mix, try the homemade recipe and use 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dry mix to sprinkle over your shrimp before baking. They're too easy to pass up!


     Eggs with spinach
     Roasted pumpkin seeds

     I missed lunch. There was too much going on at that time. I need to get better at being more purposeful in eating at least 3 meals a day.

     Steamed asparagus

     Gala apple with cashew butter

Monday, June 18, 2012

Days Ten & Eleven: Grilling Goodness

So, I'm just guessing here, but I think it is reasonable to believe that cavewomen didn't have grills. They cooked over the open flame of their fire or simply ate things raw. I kind of picture a family of cavepeople sitting around their fire holding long sticks that hover over the licking flames. Cavedaddy is holding the stick that pierces the leg of antelope from the day's hunting expedition, Cavemomma holds the one with the zucchini that she found behind the cave, Cavebrother is roasting the small onions they managed to forage earlier in the day, and Cavesister holds the dessert stick, roasting peaches that she picked while climbing through the trees that afternoon. It actually sounds like wonderful family bonding time and I bet their food was delicious (in my opinion, there are few foods in life that don't taste better by cooking them over a campfire), but modern cavepeople don't have time to cook their meals over a fire every day and I'm not about to eat all of my foods raw (no offense to those who enjoy their raw diets). Thankfully, we have a grill! I LOVE grilled foods! YUM!

Our grill has made my Whole30 so much more enjoyable, too. I am loving that every day I have the joy of partaking in some kind of grilled goodness. We have enjoyed many delicious foods on our grill lately. Chicken, swordfish, steaks, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus... the list goes on. This weekend, we had one of my favorite combinations thus far: steak and asparagus. I was thinking that some grilled potatoes would have gone great, but there are no white potatoes in the Whole30, so I had left over cauliflower rice and my non-Whole30 husband enjoyed a baked potato. I'm fairly certain that there is no campfire that could have produced a dinner this scrumptious!

The day before our steak extravaganza, I made chicken fajitas. Normally, I would eat them covered with a layer of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. Well, I am not eating dairy or grains, so all of those things are out of the question. Instead, I enjoyed the chicken, peppers, and onions in all of their seasoned splendor atop a bed of spinach. And I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't miss the extra goodies one bit.

I have a little bit more research to do, but I'm excited to tell you about my new favorite Whole30 approved product. Be on the lookout for the new excitement in the next few days!

Oh, one other note. We went out for Mexican again yesterday with some friends from church. I knew NOT to order the tostaguac like I did last week. So, I successfully found an option that is completely acceptable in my Whole30 plan and it was delicious to boot! I ordered a "Mexican chef salad" which was really nothing special and actually was something akin to my fajita salads mentioned above. It was shredded lettuce, tomato, grilled chicken, and guacamole. It was supposed to have cheese, too, but it was simple enough to order it without the queso and still filling and pleasantly palatable. I'm pleased that I know of an option that I don't have to feel guilty about or have to pick through to sort out the approved foods.

Yay for progress and delicious foods!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day Nine: Belly full of goodness

You might recall that the hubs and I were supposed to be going to the Community Market in hopes of scoring some local produce. Well, we did indeed go, but nothing looked too appealing to us and everything seemed to be exceptionally overpriced (I know they are local farmers and they need to make a living somehow, but it seemed to me that their prices were much higher than they normally are). So, needless to say, we came home empty handed. Kind of.

On our way home we decided to stop at the Bedford Avenue Meat Shop. (Typically, I would give you the link to their website, but it appears to be down at this time. My old buddy Google might be able to fill you in on other info if you want it, though.) This is a local butcher shop that sells only pastured meat products and organic sides, etc. They also sell cheeses, wines and various oils, as well as prepared foods (ribs, pasta salads, etc.). I have been intending to get to this store for probably two years now, but for one reason or another, I've never made it... until now! We took our sweet ol' time looking at EVERYTHING and decided on some sausages. We bought 2 full-sized links of a mild Italian pork sausage and 2 links of a garlic and herb beef sausage. The people who own the shop are really very nice and helpful. What I was especially grateful for was the fact that their meat cases clearly displayed all ingredients in their products, so I was able to order my sausages with confidence knowing that I was staying within the plan of my diet. We really liked this store and WILL return in the near future!

So, I used my fresh, local butcher shop sausages to make sausage "stew," which really is more of a goulash, if you ask me. I got the recipe from a Weight Watchers cookbook that was collecting dust on my shelf. The recipe called for the precooked sausages that come packaged in the refrigerator section of the grocery store (the smoked sausage type), but those generally are loaded with no-no substances and I like fresh sausage and I had it on hand, so I used it. The original recipe also called for a can of beans, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce all of which I omitted. So, here is the recipe I ended up with:

Sausage, Mushroom, and Tomato Stew (Original name, but I think I shall dub my version Sausage and Vegetable Goulash)

6 oz fresh sausage links, sliced
1/4 C onion, diced
1 (8 oz) pkg white mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 T organic tomato paste
1 t garlic and herb seasoning (I just threw some stuff together)
2 C lightly packed baby spinach

Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, and zucchini; cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients except the spinach and allow to cook 5 minutes longer or until liquid begins to bubble. Add the spinach, stirring gently until it wilts, about 1 minute longer.

It doesn't look super appealing, but it sure was tasty! I served it alongside cauliflower "rice" which I overcooked. Oops! It was my first experience with the stuff, so I wasn't sure what to expect and I made the mistake of walking away from it for "just a minute." Oh, well! Now I know for next time that it can't be trusted by itself.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day Eight: Mayonnaise and Beef

It's not technically Day Eight, but since I didn't read my labels like I needed to on Day Two, I've added two days (in case you were wondering why it doesn't add up).

So, I have found some help for making enough calories in one day--mayonnaise and beef. I haven't tried them together, yet, but this is not completely out of the question for a future creation.

First, you have to truly understand the magnitude of how much this mayonnaise has changed my life. I want to eat it on everything! I am the girl in our family who is known for "not liking mayonnaise." I most typically do not order it on anything and sometimes I have been known to attempt to scrape it off of items that come pre-covered in the gunk. But, lately I'm trying to come up with brilliant dressing and dip ideas so that I can indulge more often. Don't worry, though! I'm not getting all of my calories from the mayonnaise, it just simply makes it easier to get my healthy fats in each day and adds some calories that I wasn't previously eating without adding the bulk of more food. It's amazing! Thank you to all of my friends who encouraged me to bite the proverbial bullet and just go for it!

Beef. It's what's for dinner. Sorry, I couldn't resist! But, seriously, it's what was for dinner yesterday. This is a new development for me. We just don't eat red meat in our home on a regular basis. My husband's GI system is very sensitive to red meat and I prefer ground turkey or chicken over ground beef, so we just simply don't eat the stuff. But, as you well know, I'm trying to find more calories and beef seems to be the easy way to get a few extra kCals in the diet. I made beef and veggie kabobs. Unfortunately, I know nothing about picking cuts of beef. Cavewomen had that thing easy, they would just cook up whatever cut of meat the caveman slung at them earlier in the afternoon. Me? I have to survey the whole gamut of butchered flesh and decide, based on appearance, cost, and size, which piece would most suit my needs. I don't really know anything about what the different cuts are or how they are most appropriately prepared. This past grocery trip, I settled on top round because it seemed to be the trifecta when it came to appearance, cost, and amount. Only problem, it clearly was not the appropriate cut for kabobs. It ended up very dry and tough... something akin to shoe leather. It was super tasty, just not easy to chew. I need to attend a "How to pick the best slab of cow" class.

Please forgive the poor picture quality, it was nearly dark when I was grilling. Clearly, not the ideal time to take a picture.

Eggs with spinach (this is my new favorite egg combo)

Leftover turkey burger (on a bed of spinach, fresh sliced onions and MAYO!)

Beef and veggie kabobs

Raw pecans

I'm starting to think that I might need to be concerned with my cholesterol. I am eating a lot of animal proteins and eggs (which are notorious for being a source of high amounts of cholesterol). I am exercising, though, and the foods I am eating are lean proteins. Does anyone have any insights about this? I have not had a cholesterol problem in the past, I was just giving it some thought. It was suggested to me that I possibly try a garlic supplement. Has anyone used this with successful results? I'd truly appreciate any insight.

Time to Catch Up

I have been off the map for a few days and feel like I have to catch myself up quickly so that I can be fully accountable for my diet these past few days. Sunday I had intended to take the day off from blogging. I needed a break, Sunday, being the Sabbath seemed the appropriate day to do this (though, I worked my real job, still). Also, taking a break from the blog gave me the push that I needed to try my hand at making mayonnaise. I DID IT! And it was good... and I didn't get salmonella! It was a great victory for me. But the next day, the victory was quickly forgotten because on Monday, we suffered a tragedy in our home.

In the early morning hours, our sweet kitty, Rosco, passed away. He was born with feline leukemia, so we have known that this day would come, but that didn't make it any easier. You see, he has been without symptoms for all of his life until about one month ago when he started having some difficulty breathing and anorexia. We have been mourning our loss for the past few days, so the atmosphere in our home has been very somber and not so creative when it comes to food. In all honesty, I considered throwing the whole diet out the window so that I could properly eat my emotions. I had my mouth set for a Taco Bell feast with a side of "Blue Box" macaroni and cheese, a giant milkshake, and maybe a late night cheesy western (greasy cheeseburger with fried egg, for those of you non-Lynchburgers) or two. Did I mention that I am an emotional eater? But, don't lose your faith in me, I stuck with the Whole30 inspite of my sorrow.

Rather than chronicle every morsel that I ate for the group of days I was absent, let me just fill you in on some of the highlights.

Swordfish steaks
Grilled eggplant (Note: Grilled eggplant is only good while it is warm, if it gets cold, it is nearly repulsive.)

Turkey burgers (topped with homemade mayo! oh, yeah, and some veggies, too.)

Homemade chicken salad (using the mayo again and my leftover Caribbean Lime Chicken)

Let me tell you about Tuesday. I had friends in town that wanted to get together for dinner. They decided that we should go to La Carreta, a local shoebox Mexican restaurant. I planned ahead of time what I was going to order by viewing their menu online. I was so proud of myself because I had it all worked out and I wasn't going to have to be too annoying when ordering. I had intended to purchase something they call "Ensenada," which is grilled chicken and shrimp with onions, peppers, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and guacamole. It was also supposed to be served with two tortillas. I had planned to just ask for "no cheese and no tortillas, please." But, when we got to the restaurant, the menu said that it also came with sour cream, refried beans and rice. I didn't want to be wasteful and just let the food be thrown away, but at the same time I didn't want to be a pain and ask for that long list of things not be included, so I changed my plan. I ordered what they call a "Tostaguac" instead. According to the menu, it was a corn tortilla with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese and guacamole. So, I politely ordered it with "no cheese" (I had no intention of eating the corn tortilla) and patiently awaited my food's arrival. When the food arrived, it was just as I had expected, except it was covered in refried beans! I was so disappointed. I was able to pick thru the meal and eat the lettuce and guacamole and about half of the meat that wasn't drenched in beans. Needless to say, it was not a very substantial meal. And almost instantly, I regretted my decision to eat anything that I didn't make with my own two hands. My stomach was torn up for the rest of the night! No more eating out until I'm ready to be a huge pain in the patootie with specializing my order, so that I can avoid the pains in my own patootie!

In other news, I would HIGHLY recommend the homemade mayonnaise. I don't even really like mayonnaise, but this stuff was mmm mmm good! There is such a difference, in my opinion, between the jarred junk and the fresh goodness of this treasure! If you get the courage to try the recipe, let me know what you think! I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm excited to try it flavored (I'm thinking chipotle or garlic and herb maybe) and in new salad recipes. I made it into chicken salad already, but I'm thinking about using it in a tuna salad in the near future and possibly making a creamy salad dressing for my tossed salad. This new, homemade world is so riveting!

Here's the recipe for the mayonnaise from this lady who has been super insightful and helpful with her plethora of paleo recipes. Try it!!!

"Homemade Olive Oil Mayo

1 egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice @ room temp
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 cup olive oil (light, not extra virgin) @ room temp
1. Place the egg and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Let them come to room temperature together, about 30-60 minutes. Add the dry mustard, salt, and 1/4 cup of the oil. Whirl until well mixed – about 20 to 30 seconds.
2. The only remaining job is to incorporate the remaining 1 cup oil into the mixture. To do this, you must pour very slowly… the skinniest drizzle you can manage and still have movement in the oil. This takes about three minutes or so. Think about three minutes during a WOD; it’s a fairly long time. Breathe. Relax. Drizzle slowly.

If you’re using a blender, you’ll hear the pitch change as the liquid starts to form the emulsion. Eventually, the substance inside the blender will start to look like regular mayonnaise, only far more beautiful. Do not lose your nerve and consider dumping! Continue to drizzle.
If your ingredients were all at room temperature and you were patient, you will be rewarded!"

Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts and insights!  And go try that mayo!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day Five: A Bumble and Some Shrimp

Day Five was full of several abominable discoveries. (How am I learning so much and I'm only 1/6th of the way into this thing??) The word "abominable," though it sounds like it should be horrendous, kind of makes me smile. It reminds me of the Bumble from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. He was always my favorite character!

Sorry, rabbit trail. Back to the real (non-smile-worthy) abominations.

Abomination #1: I gave up refined sugars for Lent this past winter/spring. When I did that, I did NOT also give up high fructose corn syrup because it seemed nearly impossible to give up both sugar and corn syrup and still eat like a normal person. In all honesty, the average American eats way too much sugar anyway, so I don't know why I was striving to be "normal." But, with the Whole30, one is not allowed to have any added sugar (real or fake), so both sugar and corn syrup are out of the question. Essentially, the only sweet treat I can enjoy at this point in time is fruit. However, I think that I'm starting to dislike sweet foods altogether. I had an Apple Pie Larabar for a snack at work last night and thought that it was mighty sweet. When I had this flavor for the first time, on Day One (four days ago), I thought that the Apple Pie version was quite scrumptious. While it still tastes good, the sweetness was almost enough to make me sick tonight. Similarly, I have been eating grapes and pineapple the past few days, both of which I really enjoy, but I am beginning to think that they are just too darn sweet to indulge in more than one or two bites. What is happening to me?! Am I really turning into a cavewoman?!

Abomination #2: Speaking of cavewomen. I know they couldn't read and write and all they had were cave paintings, but I bet their cave paintings didn't come with lists of ingredients for their foods. I am becoming more and more irritated with labels on food. As you may recall, I had "dry roasted sunflower seeds" on Day Two as a snack. In my haste running out the door to go work last night, I decided to grab the bottle and take it with me when the ingredients list caught my peripheral vision. I noticed that it was quite extensive and immediately my curiosity was piqued. I mean, what can POSSIBLY be in a jar of sunflower seeds other than seeds and maybe some salt. I'd considered the possibility of oil, but they are dry roasted, after all. The list of ingredients seemed to go on for days! Who decided it was a good idea to poision unsuspecting sunflower seed lovers with monosodium glutamate?! Seriously?! MSG in my sunflower seeds?! Good grief! What is this world coming to? Not to mention the fact that they have cornstarch (a corn product, so not allowed), sugar and corn syrup solids (both added sweeteners, so no!), and hydrolized soy protein (soy product, so no, again!). Who knew something so simple as sunflower seeds could be so toxic? So, because I made the mistake of eating these on Day Two, I have decided that I will be extending my Whole30 to be a Whole32. UGH! I'm trying so hard, only to be tripped up by an innocent looking bottle of seeds. Lesson learned! READ ALL LABELS!

Abomination #3: I'm running out of vegetables! My husband and I are going to visit the Lynchburg Community Market today in hopes of scoring some delicious local produce to help remedy the lack of vegetables problem, but I'm running out of creative preparation ideas, too. Does anyone have a favorite vegetable (not corn, beans, or white potatoes) recipe that you'd like to share with me? I'd be grateful for any new ideas you could share with me. I found a recipe for "creamed" kale yesterday that I'm excited to try. I don't know if I like kale, though.

Abomination #4: I still didn't get enough calories yesterday, according to myfitnesspal. How in the world am I supposed to keep eating if I'm not hungry? Is that not counterproductive to what I am trying to accomplish? I used to overeat all of the time. All of the time! But, now I have gotten myself to eating mostly normal portion sizes, healthy food choices, and drinking only water and the darn fitnesspal thing says I need to eat more! I can't win!

Here's the break down of what I ate (I know I did not have enough vegetables, see Abomination #3):

2 fried eggs
1 banana

Leftover Caribbean Lime Chicken breast
Classic Panera salad (no dressing)
1/2 C Pineapple

Roasted greenbeans, mushrooms, and shrimp
1/2 C Pineapple

Apple Pie Larabar
Scant handful of raw pecans

Here is the recipe for the greenbeans and shrimp. I found this recipe originally on Pinterest, so I am new to this lady's blog, but she seems to have a lot of good sounding recipes. Perhaps, if no one can share any good veggie recipes with me, I'll have to start trying some more out. I didn't have any coriander, so I just simply omitted it. I added 8 oz of button mushrooms, halved (and about 1/2 T of extra oil to compensate for the mushrooms soaking it up). And next time, I will add probably 1/2 t garlic powder.

Clean Eating Roasted Shrimp and Greenbeans

For the beans:
  • 1 lb. green beans trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
For the shrimp:
  • 1 lb. medium-large raw shrimp (thawed if frozen), peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus a little extra to brush on roasting pan)
  • zest from one lemon (save the lemon and cut into fourths)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.
Once the shrimp has been peeled and cleaned, rinse it under cold water. Be sure to pat the shrimp really dry (if the shrimp is not dry it will steam rather than roast!).
Place the trimmed and cut beans in a bowl and toss with extra virgin olive oil, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Cayenne pepper.
Place shrimp in another bowl with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and fresh ground black pepper.
Brush roasting pan with olive oil or use a non-stick spray, then arrange beans on pan in a single layer (as much as possible). Roast beans 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, toss the beans and arrange shrimp on top and roast 8-10 minutes more or until shrimp are just done.
Squeeze the four lemon quarters over the shrimp and beans and serve immediately.
Makes 2-4 servings.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Day Four: Raw Eggs and Steeled Determination

After much trepidation, I decided against making the mayonnaise yesterday. I don't know why, but the raw egg is creeping me out. I need a pep talk to make this stuff! My mom tried to convince me that it was safe and completely edible, but I'm terrified of becoming violently ill from a batch of homemade mayo! Oddly enough, before it was time to actually make the stuff, I was a tad bit excited to be trying my hand at another new (and economically beneficial) recipe. But, now I'm struck with terror thinking about the Salmonella Scourge that might overcome our house. Do you think that cave people ate raw eggs? Or did they always cook them? Maybe Do-Do bird eggs didn't pose a salmonella risk like chicken eggs do.
In other news, I'm beginning to realize that it's not so difficult to live without the foods I cannot have (grains and dairy especially) as long as they are not at my immediate disposal. However, plop them down in front of me and I become weak in the knees and might even be seen trembling! When I walked into work last night, there was a veritable Panera Bread buffet in our kitchen. Loaves of luscious looking bread, perfectly plump bagels, bearclaws oozing their sweet sugary goodness, sandwiches that smelled just as good as they appeared and three different types of salads, not to mention the scrumptious looking toppings for all of these goodies and the delicious sounding drinks. OH MY GOODNESS! I had to steel my determination and make a healthy decision. Rather than indulging in the goodness of a Sierra Turkey sandwich or a French Toast Bagel with cream cheese, I opted for a huge Classic Salad instead and ate it with some of my leftover Caribbean Lime Chicken from yesterday. It was so delicious, though, not quite as delicious as a savory turkey sandwich with a side of potato chips and a crisp pickle would have been.
I am not one to toot my own horn, typically, but I have actually been doing a great job at resisting temptation. My husband has a can of Pringles that I swear follows me around the house taunting and laughing at me with their duckbilled mouths. But, I've been good. I have resisted. I think I've gotten to the point where I have come to realize that my health is really so much more important than any food I can eat. This a HUGE step for me! Maybe the Whole30 really is changing my life.
I don't have any fun recipes to share today because I stuck to leftovers, however, I did discover that sweet potatoes and eggs aren't really as bad together as they sound. Here's what I ate:
2 fried eggs
Leftover sweet potato innards formed into patties and "fried"
Chunk light tuna in water wrapped in lettuce leaves
Cucumber slices
Fresh pineapple
Classic Panera salad with oil and vinegar
Leftover Caribbean lime chicken with salsa
Cherry Pie Larabar
I don't know if I want to be a cavewoman if I have to eat raw eggs!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day Three: Learning a Lot (and a summery chicken recipe)

Up until this week, Wednesdays have been my weigh-in days. Why Wednesday? I'm not 100% sure, but I think it stemmed from the fact that most of my recent appointments with the "lady doctor" have been scheduled on Wednesday and I like to be fascinated by the fact that when I weigh myself at home, I consistently weigh 7 pounds less than when I'm weighed at the doctor's office. Does this happen to anyone else?! It is so discouraging to me, because I just know the doctor is going to be proud of my loss, but when I get there, the scale says something much more than what my scale at home is saying. Scales are liars! Cavewomen did NOT have scales, I'm certain of it. Actually, they probably used the balance-the-see-saw method. But, I digress. Whilst doing the Whole30, one is not supposed to weigh or measure for the whole 30 day duration. Do you know how you feel naked when you forget to put your watch on in the morning? Well, yesterday I felt naked most of the day because I felt like I was forgetting to do something, when in fact, I was consciously not doing something--weighing myself.

I am learning a whole lot while doing this diet! (Sidebar: I have decided that for the 30 days that I'm consciously making the decision to abstain from certain "bad" foods and eat only the "good" foods, I'm going to consider this regimen a "diet." Afterwards, if I continue to stick with the paleo way of life, then I will begin to consider it a "lifestyle.") For instance, I'm learning that processed foods are SUPER convenient! My husband and I had errands to run yesterday morning, afterward, it was lunchtime and I was hungry, but I was also tired because I hadn't been to bed yet (I work third shift, so the errands were during my normal slumber time), so we decided to stop at Kroger and grab something quick for lunch. Well, his "something quick" was a small tray of freshly made sushi (which contains rice, that I cannot consume) and my "something quick" was not really anywhere to be found unless I wanted raw fruit or vegetables, neither of which sounded remotely appealing to me at that point in time. I ended up grabbing a couple dozen eggs and "quickly" scrambled some up with the produce we had at home. While it was a doable (and delicious, even) meal, it certainly wasn't as convenient as the sushi that my husband was indulging in.

Because of the lack of convenience of fresh, whole foods, I'm learning that I need to plan better. For instance, when I woke up from my sleep yesterday, I found myself with only a short amount of time to do the long-ish list of things I needed to do, among them, cooking and working out. Normally, if I don't feel like cooking or I just simply don't have time, I'll stop at the Food Lion on my way to work and grab a frozen dinner or a sandwich or something and roll along to work. 10 minutes, and I'm done! However, when you actually have to prepare food (because, otherwise, what will you eat?!), it takes much longer than 10 minutes. It is soooo worth it, though, because the food I end up with is so much tastier and healthier than what I could grab out of a freezer and throw into a microwave for 4.86 minutes, but it sure does require some planning and preparation! The plan for next week's meals is to figure out exactly how much I need to make of each recipe to make it last for the number of required meals and do as much preparation as possible in advance so that I don't find myself having to choose between a workout and eating.

Yes, I chose the food over the workout even after I promised the world in Day Two's blog that I wasn't going to give up on my exercise regimen any more. But, don't worry! I'm planning to get my sweat on this morning before jumping into bed. So, I WILL have a workout under my belt for the day. (I view my days of the week differently than most people do. From the time I wake up in the afternoon, to the time I go to bed in the morning, that's one day. Not from 12a-12a as most people would perceive a "day.") Working out before bed is not ideal, I know. But, lately my mantra has been, "Something is better than nothing!"

Just in case you're wondering, I'm hoping to continue with my learning today. I think I'm going to try my hand at making homemade mayonnaise! (Wish me luck!)

I know you're itching to know, so here's the list of food that I ate for Day Three:

Scrambled eggs
Button mushrooms

Leftover ground turkey taco meat (the last of it, finally!)
Leftover pico de gallo
Baby carrots

Caribbean Lime Chicken (recipe follows... in the future I will add jalapeno pepper to the salsa and possibly red pepper flakes to the marinade. I also added cilantro to the salsa.)
Sweet Potato
Grilled Asparagus
Grilled Carrots

Dry roasted sunflower seeds
Fresh Pineapple

From the Taste of Home magazine, 2012 Grill It! Edition:

Caribbean Lime Chicken

½ C lime juice
¼ C olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 t Greek seasoning
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz ea)


2 lg tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 C diced fresh pineapple
2/3 C cubed avocado
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 T lime juice
1 T cider vinegar
½ t salt
½ t pepper

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the lime juice, oil, garlic and Greek seasoning; add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 2 hours. In a small bowl, combine salsa ingredients. Chill until serving.

Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4” from heat for 5-8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170°. Serve with salsa.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day Two: Hurdles and Victories (and some tasty pork chops)

Yesterday presented me with some unanticipated struggles.

Struggle #1: I felt like I had been drained of all of my energy all day. Well, not all of it, I’m still able to function, but maybe what is equivalent to an electrical “brown out,” where the energy is just grossly diminished. PHEW!

At first, I wanted to blame the new diet... not enough carbs (i.e. pasta!), not enough calcium (i.e. cheese!), etc. But, that was silliness! I’m still eating carbs, they’re just complex carbs (which are better for long-lasting energy) and I know full well that calcium doesn’t have anything to do with energy levels.

So, then I decided that I’d blame it on the weather. It was rainy this evening, so that’s a good excuse, right?

Finally, I had an epiphany! I hadn’t worked out in THREE days! I find that I have so much more energy when I’m actually applying myself physically. So, after some serious pep talks, I convinced myself to don the workout garb and get to sweating. UGH! Worst workout of my life? Probably. But I can tell a difference in my energy level since then. Problem solved! Now to just stick with it.

Note: Today's workout was Supreme 90 Day: Cardio Challenge. If you live in Lynchburg and are interested in this program for yourself, you might find the DVDs at Ollie's for about $8. The Mr. and I really enjoy them. They're challenging, but not impossible. It's something akin to P90X, but MUCH less expensive.

Struggle #2: The String Cheese Monster has been chasing me all day long! You need to know that I have a “thing” for cheese. I love it in almost any form. The Whole30, however, does not allow for dairy in any form, so the SCM has been taunting me. Luckily for me, I have a Person! You know a person you call when __________, fill in the blank as you see fit. She knows how badly I want to stick to this so, she made up lies to make me feel better. For instance, “They stopped making string cheese because kids were choking on the strings,” and “Monsters aren’t real, therefore, you don’t really want string cheese!” My Person is the best, even if she's not a good liar! Problem solved, though (at least for the time being).

Struggle #3: Up until now, I had been tracking my food with myfitnesspal. It’s a great tool for personal accountability! You can keep a running log of the foods you’ve eaten, exercises completed, and measurements, among other things (forums, blogs, etc. with others who share similar goals). So, I’ve been trying to keep track of the foods I’ve eaten while doing the Whole30, even though tracking is not required for the program. Only problem is, I’m having a hard time (both on Day One and on Day Two) eating enough calories, based on the amount that the program says I'm supposed to eat. I'm not starving myself, honest! I'm not even hungry at most points in the day. This is a foreign problem to me. I'm used to eating way too many calories and trying to figure out how to eat less, but now I have to eat MORE? Really?! Cave people must have done nothing but eat to get enough calories! I guess this goes back to the principle of "Eat to live, don't live to eat." As long as I am satisified and getting a smattering of nutrients I should be okay, right? Even if I don't make my calorie quota for the day? Problem still under review.

So, here's the breakdown for what I ate today (Please note, that with my sleep/work schedule, my meals are very much abnormally scheduled, in that I typically eat dinner as my first meal of the day.)

Meal 1:
Pork chop with herb pesto (Recipe follows, I used boneless chops!)
Steamed broccoli
Sweet potato oven fries

Meal 2:
Banana bread Larabar (NOT my favorite flavor thus far)
Raw, unsalted pecans

Meal 3:
Leftover taco meat
Pico de gallo
Guacamole (shared with me by my wonderful Person)
Zucchini and Onions
Red grapes

Leftover sweet potato fries
Baby carrots

Still trying to make it as a modern cavewoman. No quitting yet!

Here's that recipe, as promised, from the Taste of Home magazine, 2012 Grill It! Edition:

Pork Chops with Herb Pesto

4 bone-in pork loin chops (3/4” thick and 7 oz ea)
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
2 T water
1 T each minced fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, and basil
1 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced

Sprinkle salt and pepper on pork. In a small bowl, combine the water, herbs, oil and garlic. Rub over both sides of chops. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill chops, covered, over medium heat or broil 4” from the heat for 4-5 mins on each side or until a thermometer reads 145°. Let stand for 5 mins before serving.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day One: Embarking on the Adventure of The Whole30

Yesterday, June 4, 2012, marks the first day of my new “cavewoman” lifestyle! I am adopting a new, simplified way of eating and hoping that it will carry over into many more of my life’s decisions. I have begun the Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet, more specifically, I’m embarking on the Whole30 journey.

You might recall from Sixth Grade Social Studies class that “Paleolithic” refers to the Stone Age. You know, cavemen and women sporting their Wooly Mammoth hides accompanied by their clubs and spears adorned with Saber Tooth Tiger teeth inlays. Yep, that Stone Age-- back before the Agricultural Revolution, before the abundance of grains and flours, before the availability of year-round strawberries, before the development of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and carageenan. Well, anyhow, the Paleo diet draws on the “hunters and gatherers” or Stone Age mentality. What can be hunted or gathered (meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits) are all that is to be eaten. It is ideal to eat a lean protein with complex carbs (from veggies and fruits) and healthy fat (oils, seeds, nuts, avocados, etc.) at each meal. That’s it!

Yes, you read correctly! No dairy (not even cheese, much to my chagrin), no grains (including all kinds of grain flours, cereals, and corn), no legumes (including soybeans and soy products as well as peanuts and peanut products), no processed junk (those products with lists of ingredients that go on for days because they’re composed of 18-letter words that only scientists can pronounce), no added sugar (the real stuff or the wannabes—honey, agave, maple syrup, stevia, Splenda, etc.), no additives (like the carageenan, sulfites and MSG sorts), oh yeah, and no white potatoes.
As I understand it, these products on the “forbidden” list are known to cause inflammation which leads to migraines, general aches and pains, and bloating. This diet of whole, unadulterated foods is intended to return one to the way one was originally intended to feel after eating—satisfied, without the baggage of bloat, blood sugar spikes, migraines, GI discomfort, etc. According to the Whole30 testimonials, a LOT of folks have had a turn around of some serious and some not-as-serious health problems after embracing this new way of life (See the website for full details. I don’t want to steal someone else’s glory and there really is SO much more than I could tell in one simple blog post!). And on top of all of this, making better food choices might lead to weight loss and better stamina to handle the daily tasks of life and athleticism. These food choices are supposed to be ideal for supporting athletic endeavors from every day tasks like bludgeoning a mountain lion to training for the Crossfit competition. While I don’t intend to have any run-ins with mountain lions and I’m not even close to being about to compete in the Crossfit competition, I am trying to be more purposeful about being active and kicking my own butt into gear!

I think that you probably get the point by now, so instead of continuing to beat a proverbial dead horse (I bet cave people didn’t beat horses after they were dead), let’s just cut to the chase. After much research and planning, I composed a menu for the week, went grocery shopping, and prepared myself for my adventure. Only problem was that I had planned to eat leftovers all week for lunch, but didn’t consider that on the first day, there is nothing to be leftover because nothing has yet been made! Oops! So, here’s what I ended up eating on Day One of my thirty day journey:
2 eggs with fresh spinach and fresh mushrooms
1 bundle of grapes
1 bottle of water

Blueberry Muffin Larabar
3 oz of baby carrots
1 bottle of water

Ground turkey tacos in lettuce leaves instead of taco shells
Homemade pico de gallo
Sauteed zucchini and onions
1 1/2 bottles of water

1 banana
1 Apple pie Larabar
More water!

Notes: I know I should not have had two Larabars in one day. While it fits into the plan, the bars in conjunction with the grapes and banana probably added up too much sugar for the day. Better planning for tomorrow will equal less Larabars (And thank goodness! I can see how those could possibly get costly! If you ever find them on sale somewhere, please tell me!) and less sugar.

In spite of the fact that I was craving macaroni and cheese all day (pasta… no, cheese… no, milk… no) and the fact that everywhere I looked someone was telling me it was National Cheese Day (rub it in my face, why don’t you?!), Day One is now behind me! I have fought the battle and come out victorious. Now only 29 more days to go and a lifetime of wise food decisions thereafter.

Here’s to becoming a modern cavewoman!