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Archive for March, 2011

I am just kicking off my second week of Paleo and I feel physically good but mentally rough.  They say that Paleo can make you moody during the first few weeks, so I suppose I just have a dose of that.  The other slightly wearing fact is that I am getting very tired of meat.  As most people who know me would agree, I am normally not a huge meat consumer.  I love veggies and I really love all my “veggie meats” which happen to be made of most of the prime Paleo offenders (barley, gluten, cheese, etc.).

For breakfast this morning I just couldn’t bring myself to eat another egg, so instead, I made a protein powder smoothie of sorts – that was really  just ice, protein powder, water, a banana, and a handful of strawberries – all whirred together with my stick blender.  It was pretty tasty, but I felt like I still needed more food so I ended up having the dreaded egg and a handful of nuts.

I planned ahead and put some slow cooker tortilla-less soup (minus the tortilla) on low this morning so I would be ready for dinner.  It was my first time making the soup without beans, enchilada sauce, beer, amongst many other things, so I was worried it wouldn’t taste great.  However, once topped with avocado it was delicious.

I’ll also mention that I did go to Subway and get a salad with all the veggies and turkey/pepperoni combo at lunch.  I am finding that it is easier right now to buy lunch then it is to plan it and cook it.  I am hoping this will get easier over time.

So at the end of the day, I find that I did not get nearly enough calories for the day.  I am also finding that I feel like I know when I am hungry much more than when I was eating more carbs.  I don’t feel the need to snack throughout the day and I feel pretty satisfied appetite-wise.  Also, I went to CrossFit this afternoon and got in a hard workout and didn’t feel overly exhausted for one of the first times lately.

I’ll keep you posted on the rest of the week, but here’s to hoping my mood turns for the better by end of week.

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I make chicken tortilla soup at least once a month, so I was definitely not prepared to give that up when I started Paleo, but I had to make a few tweaks to make it still enjoyable. Here is how I did it.

Chicken Tortilla-less Soup

32 oz reduced sodium chicken broth

2 lbs chicken breasts

1 can petite diced tomatoes (so this was cheating a little – you could use fresh tomatoes here)

1/2 can tomato paste

2 cloves garlic

1 onion, diced

2 green peppers, diced

1 zucchini, halved and sliced

2 chipotle peppers (I like it spicy, so this can be omitted if you don’t!)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

Avocado (for topping – not in the slow cooker)

Throw all ingredients together in the slow cooker.  I set it on low for 10 hrs, but you can do much less time – 6hrs on low would probably do it.  Top with a lot of diced avocado!

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So in case anybody is wondering why I have been a little radio silent on here lately, I can tell you now it is because I am testing a new diet out in preparation for my trip to the Dominican Republic.  It’s funny because I am usually very against dieting as I don’t believe in low-fat and deprivation because it typically just leads to bingeing and unhealthy habits.

With all that being said, I needed to get bathing suit ready on short notice for my trip, so I thought why not give this Paleo craze a try.  It all started when my Crossfit owner printed out some materials for me on the Zone diet, which is basically a low-carb version of Paleo (which is more no-carb, but fruit and veggies are allowed).  While Crossfit is an advocate of Paleo, and they actually have a Paleo challenge going on right now, the owner knows that I don’t like meat that much so Paleo would be a stretch for me so he thought the zone might allow enough carbs to kick me off right.

I wasn’t really intending to follow his advice or cut back on my carbs, but I decided I would at least test it out for a day.  I was following the menu he gave me and planning out each “block” as dictated by the Zone diet, but it was a pain!  I didn’t like having to be so plan-oriented.

Enter one of our friends who has been doing this Paleo diet for a while now.  She was out visiting with her twin boys and she started talking about how great she felt on the Paleo diet and how easy it was to plan.  In her words, “I have as much meat and veggies as I want and it’s that simple.”  She also said that she wasn’t perfect on the diet, but tried to stick as closely as possible and she felt amazing and had really changed the composition of her body.

Something clicked and I decided to give it a whirl.  I did a little reading on a couple of sites:

www.everydaypaleo.com

www.marksdailyapple.com

I listened to a few of the podcasts on everydaypaleo and then I just started trying to eliminate carbs and sugar.

Day One

The first day was rough, I started the day with coffee (no sugar, no cream – did I mention I try to minimize my dairy, too?) an egg, and a veggie sausage patty.  I know, the veggie sausage patty is not strict Paleo because it has a few grams of carbs, but it was one thing I couldn’t give up.

Lunch came and I got a salad from Subway with double meat, all the veggies they had, vinegar and spices, and I slipped a little again with the chipotle ranch dressing.  It was Sunday so I had dinner at my sisters and we had grilled chicken marinated in Dijon mustard with oven baked vegetables which was actually delicious.

I was feeling really good, no soda, no sugar, a very small dose of carbs.  I didn’t feel overly full all day and I never had an attack of hunger take over.  On the bad side, I was already starting to get a sick feeling from all the meat.

Day 2

Today was a work day, luckily I was working from home so it afforded me a little time to ease into this new style of eating.  At this point, I was still willing to give it another day, so here we go…

Breakfast

One egg (over easy), veggie sausage patty, handful of almonds

I wasn’t willing to give up dairy at this point yet so I had a glass of milk and a piece of cheese on my egg/sausage combo.

Snack

I was craving sugar at this point, badly, so I had a pear for a snack.  Surprisingly, it hit the spot.  I actually was mindful of how sweet it was and it made my craving go away.

Lunch

I made a huge salad, similar to the one I got at subway with lettuce, turkey, turkey pepperoni, cucumbers, green peppers, jalapeno’s, spicy peppers, and tomatoes.  I added some herbs (basil, oregano, pepper) and vinegar and I did use a little of the chipotle ranch on the side (I checked the label and there were no carbs, still there was dairy…).

Snack

An apple – I couldn’t pass it up!

Dinner

I tried baking Tilapia for dinner.  This did not turn out well.  I think I picked bad toppings or cooked it wrong, that will be my only try at fish for a little while.  I also roasted a frozen mix of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.  I was still hungry when I finished, so I stopped by Fresh Market on my way to my tennis match and got some almond butter (freshly ground) and bananas.

I finished the day with a glass of red wine and I was pretty content, but feeling a little sick to my stomach – this lasted a few days because I think it was a HUGE adjustment for my body as usually my meals are based on grains and carbs with just a little protein.

By day five, I was feeling better, a little tired but from what I had read that was to be expected as my body tried to make the switch from burning carbs for energy to burning protein for energy.  I had eliminated the dairy by this point and I had added a protein shake which had a lot of the vitamins I needed and was worried I was missing.  The protein shake was a little sweet, so that made me nervous, but it was suggested by someone who does Paleo so I figured it must be okay.

Then came the weekend.  All of the sudden when I woke up on Friday, all I could think about was carbs and sugar.  I wanted a soda, a piece of bread, chips, fries…you name it, that was all I could think about that day.  I made this worse by not eating for too long and I was STARVING by the time I got to dinner.  I was grumpy, moody, and so hungry that all I wanted to do was order something with a carb in it from the menu at one of my favorite restaurants.  I ended up getting a salad to start, hold the croutons and then ribs with coleslaw and raw kale with a lemon dressing.  The salad dressing tasted sweet, but I figured I couldn’t be too worried about it at that point.  I ate all of the ribs (which I never do normally) and I polished off a good portion of the coleslaw and kale.

I left feeling full but not overly stuffed and a little tipsy from the red wine.  I felt happy and proud that I had made it through the week.

As a side note, I went shopping on Saturday (which I had already decided would be my cheat day) and had to go down a size in jeans!  It has been a week and I already have noticed some changes.  This was so exciting that I was motivated to not cheat too badly that day!  I did have some fries and chips at dinner, but not too many and the rest of my meals were Paleo friendly.

That’s week 1, I’ll let you know how week 2 goes but I make no promises at this point.  I’ll try to give a more frequent update so as to avoid long posts like this one.  Just trying this Paleo thing out…

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I didn't like the first pic so here are some leftovers served with chargrilled tortillas!

Who would have thought?   Frankie Valli (who is still AMAZING at 76 years old) and The Four Seasons was one of my favorite shows of all time.  This could be because it felt more like going to see a musical than a concert, but I just adored the show.  The theatre where he played was gorgeous and half way through the show we look over at one of the balconies and see an older couple spontaneously slow dancing to one of his songs.  It was a touching, wish we could all have that kind of lasting love moments.

Frankie – apologies for my poor photography skills!

Anyways, with that show and a couple of other things that have been going on this week it has been busy!  I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping in weeks and there are basically just a few cans of beans and tomatoes lingering in my cupboard and not much else.  I looked in the freezer and found some frozen chicken breasts, so I knew exactly what I was going to make.  The recipe is from another one of my favorite food blogs, SkinnyTaste, it’s called Chicken Taco Chili.  The best thing about this site and the recipes is that they are healthy but so good.  The name doesn’t sound fancy but it always turns out so tasty.

You can put this in a taco, on rice, on a salad or eat it as chili.  Try this, you won’t be sorry.

Serves 10: about 200 calories per serving (1.25 cups each)

1.5 lb chicken breasts, uncooked

1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce

1 14.5 oz can pinto beans

1 14.5 oz can black beans

2 14.5 oz can Rotel (diced tomatoes with mild green chiles)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

10 oz frozen corn kernels – optional

1 packet taco seasoning, reduced sodium

Whatever toppings or serving choices you like – rice, lettuce, taco shells, chips, chargrilled tortillas (just throw a tortilla on a burner (electric) for five seconds on each side)

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker (with the exception of the toppings).  Cook over low heat for 8-10 hrs or high heat 5-6 hrs.

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