Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feed Me Seymour!

Famished! Not sure what's up but I have felt fairly ravenous the past two days. I pulled off two successful IF's on Monday and Tuesday with no problem. In fact on Tuesday I only ate lunch and was quite content. I awoke Wednesday and cooked a lovely balanced breakfast, one that was honestly larger than I needed. After that I don't know what happened, but I've been insatiable. J brought me dinner that evening (just 4.5 hours after lunch) and then later we attended a party. At first I politely declined any food, then conceded to one taste and it was all over. I pretty much had "4th meal." Today is more of the same. After cheating last night I was going to get myself back on track with another IF. My body disagreed with this goal so I munched on a small orange at 11am. Then lunch at 12:30pm. And the desire for food continues. I don't really understand where this is coming from. So what do you eat when finding yourself super hungry, anything that triggers this occasionally? All I know is there is pot roast at home and I am literally RACING to it, errands be damned!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kenny's Kruciferous Kreation

My long time best friend and beloved vegetarian Kenny also contributed indispensable sides to the party's feast. He brought a gigantic salad to the table (enough to feed legions). Kenny has always been a salad master. He magically combines leafy greens and his own spur-of-the-moment dressings to produce unique and satisfying flavor combinations. His primal concoction incorporates Brussels sprouts which enhance the texture; this may be my new favorite. Thank you Kenny!

Salad with sliced Brussels Sprouts:
(Makes a VERY LARGE salad)
Three bags of various greens (Rocket Mix, Mesculin Mix, Baby Spinach, Wild Arugula, etc.)
1 1/2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts
1 cup slivered almonds
8 oz. Asiago Cheese

1. Place the greens at the bottom of a large capacity salad bowl.
2. Shred the Brussels sprouts on a fine setting on a mandolin slicer, or slice finely with a sharp knife. Spread the shredded Brussels sprouts over the greens. I place mine in the middle to add visual contrast.
3. Use a vegetable peeler to make 2" cheese ribbons out of the Asiago cheese. Spread them over the vegetables.
4. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over the salad.

3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Whole Lemon
1/2 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
2 Tbsp. Tahini (Sesame Paste)
3 Large Garlic Cloves
1/2 Tbsp. Salt

1. Mince the garlic and sprinkle salt over it. Then turn the blade of the knife parallel to the cutting board, and bear down on the garlic/salt mixture "smearing" it to make a paste. Repeat this step until the paste shows no more chunks of solid garlic.
2. Add this translucent paste into a steep-sided bowl, along with the remaining vinaigrette ingredients, and whisk thoroughly. Drizzle over the salad when ready to serve. (Add more oil and salt if necessary.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mayo Monday!

Nobody likes the start of the work week. The only way I can think of to improve the forecast? MAYONNAISE!!!!
Uninformed dieter's may shudder at the mere suggestion of this creamy goodness but we know that Fat is our Friend. Our very tasty friend.

Since my schedule is going to kick into high gear come tomorrow, it seems best to whip up a batch of this yumminess for use as a binder. My meals will be eaten away from home until Friday so this should be a great way to create appetizing tuna salad on the fly.

Store bought mayo is unacceptable. It's made with soybean oil and some brands even contain starch or sugar. Aw Helllll No Let's love our bodies and our taste buds tonight.

Health-Bent suggests that avocado is the best oil for mayo making. I've tried my hand at the art before: extra virgin olive oil then a hybrid of olive oil and coconut oil. No bueno!

Avocado Oil should be the magic ingredient for a buttery, unobtrusive flavor profile. Now I just have to be patient with the slow inclusion of the oil (1/2 cup) into the food processor where it will join an egg and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice . Go too fast and you'll end up with oil/egg soup. Bonne chance!

Friday, March 25, 2011

3 Ingredient Awesomeness

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Dates

I like to call these gems a Dessert Appetizer. They are deceptively wonderful and beautifully simple in construction. The bacon fat and sugary dates meld together to form a sweetened savory that seduces your tongue before delivering an enjoyable crunch from the almond inside. Sweet + Salty. Chewy + Crunchy. These babies are a win.

Medjool Dates
Raw, unsalted, whole Almonds
BACON (uncured, nitrate-chemicallyness free)

Slice the date length-wise on one side and remove the pit. Replace it with an almond or two (my dates were quite large and required 2 each). Wrap the date once around with bacon, no need to double over. Space in a lipped/sided pan 'cuz fat travels

Now the cooking is up to you. The recipe I used called for broiling at 415F but the bacon wasn't cooking (it was rather thickly sliced). We switched to baking it, which took longer but achieved the desired effect. You really can't screw this one up. Just watch until the bacon looks done. Fight the urge to pop in your mouth as they retain a high level of heat for a bit. Once tongue-safe: DEVOUR!

Wanna kick it up a notch? I served guacamole that night and my kitchen wizard buddy Dave discovered that a stuffed date dipped in guac is kinda sorta mind-altering.

* Forgive my self-portrait, and any more which may follow. All of the food was scarfed up so quickly that most dishes went, sadly, unphotographed. This was all I had to share of today's recipe*

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Party-time Primal Polenta

This weekend I hosted a birthday party to honor the aging of, well, myself. Also to surreptitiously force my friends to eat Paleo and Primal food. IT WORKED! I think everyone was well-fed and goodness knows we had a great time. So WELCOME to all of my lovely party-goers, the mystery behind you're favorite dish will soon be disclosed. Over the next week or so I'll be sharing the recipes for what was served. We'll kick it off with my guy's super awesome Cauliflower Polenta. Jeffrey makes this for me habitually at our weekly dinners. I really wasn't kidding when I say this is how he nabbed my heart. Well, that and being an incredible person

Schmallipower aka Primal Polenta
by Jeffrey Easter (straight outta Compton)

1 head of cauliflower steamed 30-45 mins

Put into food processor and puree

When the cf has broken down add 1/2 stick of melted butter (or evoo equivalent for Paleo) while the processor is running to give it a creamier texture

Taste and add Parmesan cheese or a pinch of salt if necessary

Transfer puree into a small bread pan, sprinkle Parmesan on top and put into the oven at 350F,
keep in oven until top is golden brown

-->In order to observe Paleo/Primal principals one should use the best ingredients: organic cauliflower and butter/cheese made from grass-fed cows. Trader Joe's carries Kerrygold Irish Butter which is derived from grass munchin Moo'ers. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Art of Self Sabotage

I think I can, I think I can, I know I can't!
How did it start? Well, I lost the Paleo Challenge. I didn't just lose, I was found wanting, monstrously so. Indeed I shaved time off of my WOD, tons of time in fact. I was the first to finish in my heat! It felt great, the recovery was almost instant, I couldn't have been more pleased with the improvement in my physical strength. But when those "Before & After" photos hit my Inbox I cried. EVERYONE looked different. Many were akin to those changes you see on late night infomercials for diet programs. But my photos? I really can't say there was marked improvement. Everything looked the same, in the same places. My stomach doesn't look like I've been doing anything over the past 2 months. Should I have just continued sitting around and frequenting the Froyo shop? Visual evidence seems to suggest so.
This was crushing. I put off commenting on it to let myself have a chance to gain prospective. All that has happened is a considerable dive in self-confidence and satisfaction. WTF diet have I been on? What were these people eating? We all do the same WODS so I must have f'd on the eating, but HOW? I thought I had this mastered?!!?!?! I really can't convey my disappointment well enough. I'm frustrated and flustered.
Looking around it feels like every fat girl has changed herself completely! Sarah Rue, whom I adore, has gone from being the classically cast fat girl to a sex kitten. And she only lost 50lbs? I've lost 80, why don't I look anything like her by now? Let's not even talk about the unmatchable beauty of svelte Jennifer Hudson! Now even vocal goddess Adele has slimmed down. Last night I had a "nightmare" that Adele's stomach was featured in her video "Rolling In The Deep'" looking flat and slightly defined. I woke up this morning to Google images of said new body only to realize I'd imagined it all. And was jealous, of a dream <---cuckoo! But seriously. I don't understand. How am I failing??? And as in any case in which I find myself not winning, I rebel with outright failure. If I'm not good at something I don't care to try. Which is probably why I found myself eating sugar-laden frozen dairy products and WHITE BREAD at midnight. It. Didn't. Even. Taste. Good. *golf clap* I don't just fall off the wagon folks, I jump off of it and run in the opposite direction.
I decided that today I would recommit myself to eating clean, hitting the workouts hard, and incorporating even more IF's. Today's IF was to last until dinner tonight. But since I f'd up my happy chemical balances by shoveling crap into my gullet the hunger pangs hit by mid-morning and I ate some tuna curry and dried fruit. So yay for failing on yet another goal.
I just want to have a nice figure, why is it so damn hard? It shouldn't be this difficult to attain a pretty body! I don't want to be Megan Fox, more like Kate Winslett.
Seems I have three options:
a) give up and go eat myself to be the size of a house
b) accept the improvements acheived up to this point and live with the nasty remnants
c) keep trying and hope beyond reason (it's seeming) that things will change

Only one of these is an acceptable course of action. Damnit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pass It On

I have become nutrition-blog obsessed. Those closest to me often fall victim to daily e-mails labeled "must read," or "let's make this." Everyday I check in on my favorite people: Mark's Daily Apple, Everyday Paleo, The Clothes Make the Girl, among others. It's been a great way to learn new recipes, discover products that will make clean eating tastier as well as provide me with a sound scientific understanding as to why these nutrition choices are so crucial. It's not just about looking pretty anymore, it's about living fully.

Today I came across two entries that I wanted to share with you. The first being from Barefoot Coconut. I've tried spouting "Sugar feeds Cancer!" People just give me a quizzical look. Perhaps the message will be better received by this informed lady?

Second is a bit of BOOYAH encouragement via Finn at I WANT SOME FECKING CHIPS! (great title Finn!) While a bit vulgar for my taste, he gets to the crux of it all. Read,Rinse&Repeat

There you have it, happy blog hopping~*

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

1 step back, 3 steps forward?

First off: THANK YOU for the awesome support throughout this "challenge" and especially for the well wishes as I headed in to the final WOD. I am super proud to say that I shaved minutes off of my time. I actually was the first to finish in my heat (some of my squats were shallow though, damn long legs). The before and after photos will be evaluated b all participants and then the winner will be determined *fingers crossed*

I had been fantasizing about an immediate cheat at the contest's close but found myself too afraid to let dairy or grains pass my lips. Instead Jeffrey and I whipped up a mighty meat bowl and curled up on the couch to remind ourselves of what couch potato life was like.

The next day we were both faced with a pot luck and came through it just fine! I had a sip of wine, a sip of a mimosa: both tests confirmed I don't miss alcohol. I had two bites of cheese: unimpressed. There were some hearty looking cookies but I didn't touch them. Instead I pigged out on ham, apples, J's stellar paprika avocado dip w/ veggies and a super yummy curried broccoli,bacon, pecans dish.

That night was my uncle's birthday party. I had a bunless burger, sweet potato chips and passed by the colossal chocolate cake and ice cream. I know right, I am super woman!

And then Monday morning happened. Longish story short: I ate PET ice cream. It contained corn syrup and other crap. But I ate it, after my huge Paleo breakfast. I ate it right out of the carton! Thank goodness I stopped at just under 2 servings. Afterward I was frustrated by my weakness but also convinced myself it was a good test for food allergies. By late afternoon my stomach was mad at me and I won't be eating that stuff again. Even better: it kicked off my current fast which has just rounded out to 24 hours!!! VICTORY!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Final Countdown

Completed another 19 hour fast today! Lunch was thanks to TJ's. I added some avocado and cut down on the dressing to avoid sugars. Dinner will be some more avocado and a bit of jerky. Giving it my all on this last day.

Egads, in less than 24 hours the CFVB Paleo Challenge will be over and done with, the WOD completed and winner determined. EEEEK

I can't believe it's time to take the "After" shots. I stared at myself in the mirror this morning trying to decide if my stomach looked any smaller. I feel a Hell of a lot better, more in control and entitled to be who I am. When I am making strides toward my health I am more confident so currently I am awash in this feeling. I don't worry about my size as much because I know I'm being proactive. Honestly, I should stop worrying about what I look like anyway. This just in: 5'10" hourglasses are gorgeous. 5'10" hourglasses with flat stomachs and rock hard thighs stop traffic...give me time :)

I'm nervous about the final WOD. When we did it initially I was totally intimidated by the crowd of regulars watching each heat. It was my first workout with CFVB and I had a really painful muscle strain in my abs. When the workout was over I felt wretched, it took me a long time to recover. This time around I predict it won't be so harrowing, but I do plan to push myself really hard to improve my time. I'm mainly dreading the push-ups. Mine have always been paltry and tomorrow will likely be just the same. Thank goodness there are only 20 to be done.

I want to win. I set out to win. I want to win. I've put forth great effort and $20 into the kitty. I want to win. I want people to look at my photos and say "WOW! Great results." I want to cut minutes off of my time. I want to win.

But if I don't it's okay. I have been attending WODS regularly (with regrettable but needed bow-outs during my TWO colds). I'd score my nutritional choices at A-. That's pretty flippin good for me! So while I hope I win. I WANT TO WIN. Well it's corny, but I think I already have *awwww* I am comfortable in this Paleo lifestyle and I don't want to go back to the old ways. The true purpose of the challenge has been achieved. I'm enthusiastic about being supremely healthy for health's sake, not superficial motivation. All that said, it's time to WIN!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Beat Goes On

Another easy day of healthy awesomeness.

I skipped dinner last night since lunch had been a generous sized burrito bowl at Qdoba - double meat, grilled veggies and a pile of salsa&guac. I have to say I think Qdoba is pretty paltry flavor wise, I'd take Chipotle over it any day. But I digress...

Worked out with the 5:30am crew this morning and got home, realizing my fast had lasted 19 hours comfortably. I decided to break it with 3 eggs fried in coconut oil and a small serving of Paleo Krunch in almond milk. I could have gone ahead and made it a 24 hr. fast, but didn't want to find out if I would get the munchies as the finish line neared while at work. However, one full day of fasting is on my soon-to-do list.

J met me for lunch. We both had fajitas with lettuce, guacamole and sour cream. No rice, no beans, no tortillas or chips! YAY US I had forgotten to ask them to leave off the dairy, so I avoided it mostly but enjoyed a little.

That's the food day so far! I have plans tonight after work so dinner may or may not happen. Won't bother me either way :D

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Home Repairs

Back! It was a nice, exhausting weekend. The mission of staying Paleo was accomplished. There were a few moments where I thought "normally I'd get this, or that" and "it would be nice to try _____" but really no big sacrifices were felt. I've changed how I value food, it is what it is and I'm happier this way. I ate well and focused on taking in the experience of being with the people around me <---isn't that what really matters anyway?

I don't know if it was because I was travelng and not cooking for myself, the strung out exhaustion from everything I've been up to lately, or maybe yesterday evening's WOD. All I know is that by last night I felt like a dizzy, somewhat nauseous pile-o-crap. I layed down in a darkened room for a few minutes at 8pm last night only to wake up this morning just in time for the 5:3oam class at CFVB! Normally I can't manage to sleep over 7 hours but this was, apparently, much needed. It also helped to induce an unintentional intermittent fast which I carried through for 18 hours before casually breaking with some Paleo Krunch: Cranberry Recipe and a hard boiled egg.

Now I feel quite full and a little icky again. Wonder what's up with that? Guess I should have listened to my body and staved off a bit longer. I love IF. ( I feel great when I do it, accomplished and in control. I am noticing a difference on the scale. I've pulled off about 5 IF's, 13-18 hours each. I'm down to about 165 lbs. Oh my goodness, 165! I can't believe I've made it this far. Just 15 more to go and I'll have accomplished what I dreamed of, but never really believed I could do.