The First 30 Days

Okay, thirty days are done. Where am I at? Will I continue?

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Perfect as a side dish, a lunch, or part of a main dinner entree!

Paleo Creamy Coleslaw

Just in time for those end-of-summer barbecues!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Aaand She's Back!

The short story is that I got a job. (Hurrah!) The long story is that I got a GREAT job, that (while absorbing all of my time in the last 6 months) I love. Now that things are slowing down a bit (ha!), I finally have been able to carve out some time to focus on my eating.

From the time that I was hired I went from eating paleo to eating from the vending machine on what little time I had. Many days I didn't eat at all. I kept wanting to return to a healthier way of eating, but each time got derailed; until this past weekend when I shouted "NO MORE!"

Today was the first day back on paleo, and I am happy as a clam. A gorgeous greens salad for lunch with a little olive tapenade and a tablespoon of fresh organic goat cheese. Dinner was a large beef shortrib, roasted, sauteed cabbage, grilled zuchinni, and a large roasted carrot. I've also started an exercise regimen that I can easily keep up with at work, until I can supplement with biking in the warmer weather.

My attention to this website will return, but I won't be able to post as many photos as before; the truth is that my work does keep me exceedingly busy. What I'd like to be able to showcase for those visiting, however, is that a girl with a 9-5 job can still find the time to cook, eat, and exercise--the caveman way.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Challenge: 60 Days

I did really well on the first 30 days. Piece of not-really-cake-cake. Then I got cravings for the sweet stuff, and it was fine; I satisfied it with some 80% cacao chocolate and paleo brownies. The paleo brownies turned into chocolate pieces that turned into coconut milk ice cream with agave. But those, sadly, sparked the fire that would not go away. Add to that the difficulty in finding a job, and the fact that the scale didn't seem to want to move anyway... and, well, I took my first humble dive off the wagon. 

Which is weird, and I'll tell you why. I don't really see being on paleo as being ON a wagon. It's good food! It's indulgence! I looked forward to eating every day, and I felt so satisfied! In fact, for the first 30 days I didn't miss bread or cake or sweets. It was annoying that the scale wouldn't change, but I was losing inches, and noticeably. Why would I even want to go back to all the processed crap and grains and sugar? 

I didn't, and I don't. It's funny to see the mental push an old habit will give you, even when you know it's not good for you, and when you eat something and feel like crap afterwards. The whole situation reminded me very much that sugar consumption is an addiction, and given your personality, you can't always have "a little bit", or even an alternative, because the alternative is too much like the real thing to give your brain a break.

When I had my first bite of watermelon after 30 days without sugar it was incredible. I had never tasted anything so sweet and delicious, and I don't even like watermelon! But by the end of my slide, it wasn't special any more. Common sugars had relegated it to the background chorus again. I want watermelon to be just as amazing every time I eat it. And it is: when I'm eating 100% paleo. Even the rich and indulgent coconut milk ice cream became sickly and un-awe-inspiring. It went from "oh my god this is so amazing, and delicious and rich!" and me eating 1/4 of a pint of ice cream to me eating an entire pint and thinking "meh." This is NOT how I want to feel about food, people!

I'm upping the ante this time. After all, 60 days isn't anything; it's not a diet, or a contest. It's a way of life, and I'm embracing it fully. I'm going 100% paleo, and, for 60 days, cutting all fruit and nuts. I'm also going to start supplementing slightly, with fish oil and a multi-vitamin. I'm also going to add in exercise, at least an hour each day. This is my challenge to myself; to take this "relapse" and turn it into me kicking addiction's ass.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

De-Lurk Wednesday: How did you hear about Paleo?

How did you come to this diet?

Now be honest. Did you think it was a load of bunk before you heard it out? Or was it something you intuitively knew to be right, but you didn't have a name for it? Did you research it nonstop before you began, or did you plunge headfirst?

I had heard about it from a vegetarian friend of mine who was making the switch. As soon as he began talking about the paleo lifestyle, I knew right away that it was what I had been looking for. For years I had been feeling "off", but not sure why. My weight was more or less okay (ranging between 125-135) but in the last couple months I had really begun to edge up to the 140s. I figured a lot of it was due to 'life stress', and in a way it was, but I couldn't deny that I had been feeling out of shape and unmotivated for years.

My friend had planned to begin soon. Before the words were out of his mouth, I swore I'd start with him. "It's always easier with a buddy system," I said, pretending that I was doing it for him. I couldn't bullshit for long. Within weeks, and before he was ready, I jumped the gun. I wanted to try it! And now I'm set. He began himself finally, not too long ago. Hopefully my "pioneering" has helped some of the initial hurdles. I can't lie though: I'm not doing this to help anyone out; except my own health, of course. :) 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Featured Post 9/6

Later this week I have some fantastic recipes to post, but first I want to put up the featured post of the week. I don't have children, but I do think about what I ate as a child, and how I would feed children if I had them. I know a puppy isn't a child, but I have a maternal amount of concern over what Henry eats, and how his condition and behaviour are. I do strongly believe that his mood as well as his overall health is greatly affected by the raw diet he is on.

The same goes for myself. I know without a doubt that when sugars, lactose (unfortunately), and wheat begins to creep back into my diet, my mood begins to dip and I get cranky more often. In today's featured post, Stacy from Paleo Parents talks about their young son's behavioral changes, as well as his pro-healthy perspective in eating. If I ever have children, I would want them to be highly aware of what they eat and why. It's definitely something to think about, and why it's today's featured post!

Check out the post at Paleo Parents, by clicking here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Your Cheating Heart

Yesterday Henry spent the day at a dog-daycare facility as a trial run for boarding him for this upcoming weekend (Music Fest North West!). He and Jeff's dog Jezebel spent the day romping about with canine pals, peeing on things, and generally goofing off. 

I spent the day eating bread. 

It wasn't a planned "cheat day" per se; I knew that during the 4-day music fest I'd likely have a beer or two, and that was planned. But yesterday was the first dog-free date day Jeff and I have had in a very long time, so I ended up indulging. I had pastries at St. Honore Bakery in the morning, along with wonderful coffee and cream. I had a mocha (and I don't even like mochas) at Ace Hotel. I had a Himalyan noodle dish from a food cart at Art in the Parks. And I topped it off with sushi from our old favourite sushi place.

It was so...unsatisfying. I hadn't realized that a big difference of what I feel when I eat paleo is satisfied. I eat my meat, and my veggies, and then I'm good for hours. When I ate all that bread not only did it not last (I was so hungry the whole day!), it felt completely disconnected from eating. My stomach was uncomfortably full, but I didn't feel energized or satisfied. For me, that was the most noticeable difference. I'm so happy that I cheated, because I now have a fresh comparison in my mind between how good it feels to be on paleo, and how crappy it feels to not.

No stomach upsets, thankfully. And, because life is worth living, I am still going to have a beer next weekend. But I don't need the noodles, or the sushi, or the bread. I don't even want them. Last night Jeff and I were at his place, dogs conked out on the floor, and I was still hungry (after a whole day of eating!). He whipped me up a Paleo chicken salad, and it was the best thing I'd eaten all day. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stocking the Paleo Pantry

When I began Paleo, I was highly enthusiastic about starting. I cleaned out every scrap of sugar, processed food item, gran, bean... it was gone. Unfortunately, this left my cupboards exceedingly bare. Now I advocate taking this approach, because you're less likely to eat something non-paleo "just so it doesn't go to waste". To make sure my food items didn't go to waste, I donated everything unopened. The stuff that was opened went to friends who wanted it (some guys will eat anything ;) ). The rest? I ditched, and didn't regret.

After the Great Purge of 2011, I needed to restock from scratch. I had NO idea what would be good to have on hand. It took some trial and error, and knowing what my body needs and wants (for example: I had pecan nuts right away, because I've always thought that pecans are nice and sweet, and would help me get over that "need to have something sweet" after a meal).

So here are some ideas to get you started. And if you have any suggestions, let me know!  I'll add them to the list.

Meat Always on Hand:
  • Adelle's chicken and apple sausages. Perfect to freeze singly as well!
  • Frozen single patties of ground beef, fish, turkey. 
  • Bacon, if you allow it. I do, because it's so useful. I save all the grease and cook with it. 
  • Eggs. I always have eggs on hand. Some people do paleo without eggs. I personally would go nuts without fried, scrambled, hard-boiled, poached, or deviled eggs.  
  • Not everyone has the time to do this, but I typically go down to Safeway every day or every other day and pick through the clearance meat. Sometimes I'll freeze them for me, sometimes I'll freeze them for Henry, but often (the best choice), they're dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. Steaks for $2 and pork shoulder for $1 is not a bad thing. Most groceries have clearance meat, with good deals!
  • The tip is to go for lower carb veggies. Greens are important, and add much-needed fiber to the diet. I try to keep a bag of spinach available at all times. Next year I hope to have some from my own garden!
  • Sweet potatoes are great carb sources for fueling before or after a workout, and I also find they help nip cravings in the bud. (See Sweet Potato Souffle)
  • Some people try to stay away from nightshades. The most common are potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. Personally I allow peppers, but I like to give my body a break from them, time to time. I do notice a difference.
  • Zucchini and summer squash are staples in my fridge. I never get tired of the taste, and they can go in almost anything.
  • Garlic and onions add so much flavor, keep practically forever, and are good for you!
  • I love the heck out of mushrooms. 
  • Asparagus is fantastic, in season. I'll eat it every day, if I can! 
  • Broccoli and cauliflower are basic necessities. 
  • Beets are pretty sweet, but I do love to roast them up with other root vegetables. Mmmm, one of my favourite go-to lunches. 
  • Avocados! You'll want to stay light on them if you're trying to lose weight, but otherwise they are filling, and delicious. I love putting them on eggs now and again, or using them as a creamy "dressing" for salads. 
  • Berries are a great, quick-fix snack, especially if you're on the hunt for something sweet.
  • They are high on the carby end, so I try not to eat them often, but I do like how mentally alert I feel after eating bananas. I also try to have some for when I'm cramping and low on potassium.
  • I don't eat a lot of fruit, over all. It's gotten very sweet since I've given up sugar. This means that the now and again fresh watermelon in the summer is an incredibly sweet and wonderful treat!
Spices and Herbs:
  • My go-to spices are simple: fish sauce, chili peppers, ginger, sea salt, curry pastes, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and celery powder are the most common. When I get fancy I'll use mustard powder and onion powder. 
  • I love, love, love, love cilantro. I'll put it in damn near anything. It's got its own eventual plot in my eventual herb garden. Other features contenders are:
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Chives
    • Basil
    • Oregano
    • Tarragon
    • Sage
    • Dill 

Pantry Must-Haves
  • Bulk pecans, almonds, and walnuts. These are my emergency, pull the rip-cord, I need to eat these otherwise I will go out right now and buy ALL THE CAKE EVER. A handful satisfies. 
  • Toasted Seaweed. Sounds boring, tastes amazing. I like the hot and spicy, because the seaweed is sweet and briny and pairs so well with the heat. Perfect again when you just want the action of putting something crunchy and savory in your mouth.
  • Coconut Milk. Every curry needs this to be successful. Plus it tastes amazing. I want to learn how to use it more often. 
  • Coconut oil, olive oil, bacon grease, lard. Save all the delicious grease from your bacon for cooking! Your veggies will never be the same. I actually save all the scrap fat from whole chickens too. Tossed in with some broccoli, it's excellent!
  • I do have emergency 85% dark chocolate on hand. Again it's the "if I don't eat this, I will walk down the street and buy gelato" sort of aid. However some folks are of the "if it is in the house, I will eat it all" attitude. If that's you, maybe don't keep it around. :) I also have unsweetened baking chocolate for cooking, thankfully that's never been appealing enough to gnaw on. 
  • Asian supermarkets are your best friend. They carry such a variety of spices, snacks, and handy items that you'd be surprised are paleo. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

De-Lurk Wednesday: The "Who Are You?" Edition!

Who do you think you are? 

No, really. I want to know! Most of the folks popping by here seem to have come here from chowstalker, so I'm assuming that the bulk of you already eat paleo. I want to know about you all: so the big question I'm putting out there is

Who are you?

What blogs do you guys have? Are they paleo? Political? Whimsical? What is one thing you want people to know about you, or to associate with you? Other than site hits, I don't know who any of you are, and I'd love to change that. Every Wednesday I want to have a new question to ask everyone, but to begin with I'll keep it broad and simple: Tell me who you are! 

(You don't have to get detailed, I promise I probably won't stalk you, so no home addresses or telephone numbers. ;) If you don't want to leave a comment, e-mail me at curiouscarnivore AT I love comments and e-mails, and I've love to get to know some of you!)

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