Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Paleo-ish

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I mentioned in my last post that I am working on another Whole30. Well, it is more a general paleo/primal sort of eating that I am working toward and that will last more than 30 days. I’m trying to find a sustainable balance that will result in good eating habits, overall health, renewed energy, and a positive outlook on life. Right now I’m at about 90/10, and I’d like to keep it that way.

I know that paleo works well for me from my past success almost two years ago and even from my more recent attempts. I enjoy eating savory foods, eating when I’m hungry, not counting calories, and trying new foods and ingredients. I enjoy feeling full, having more energy, and not being a slave to intense carb cravings.

Rather than finding the “diet” restrictive, I find that it is focused on the “yes” foods. Meat, eggs, nuts, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats (especially avocado and coconut). Because dairy doesn’t seem to bother me, I tend to lean toward the Primal side of things by adding in butter, aged cheeses, and Greek yogurt (and some cream cheese) here and there.

There is a wealth of paleo/primal information and recipes available online. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to sift through. I thought I’d share (again) some of my basic menus and meal ideas as well as a few links for those interested. (I know a few people emailed me or commented in response to my last post.)

It would be interesting to find a local CrossFit location (the exercise phenomenon that is closely linked with paleo eating), but I am a huge wimp. And CrossFit scares me. Not only that, but I don’t have regular child care (Russ leaves insanely early in the morning and doesn’t get home from swim practice with the boys until 7:30pm) nor is a gym membership in the budget.

SO, I have happily returned to Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred, which will more likely be a 90 Day “can do 10 girl push-ups without dying” sort of result for me. I LOVE that it combines strength training with bursts of cardio. I LOVE that there are four progressive routines. I LOVE that the routines take only 20 minutes. 20 minutes? I can find 20 minutes in a day—much easier than finding an hour and a half away from home at a gym (with travel/transition time and all that). I can also face 20 minutes of working out even if I don’t want to. An hour? Notsomuch.

Getting started:

:: The Whole30 Challenge at Whole Nine is an excellent place to start. Reset your system and find out what foods have been negatively impacting your body.

::  If you are a person who likes to have a book in hand, Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle is a fantabulous starting guide. I just purchased it on Amazon, and it is a weighty, gorgeous book—worth every penny. (Seriously, the day it came I couldn’t figure out what was in the box because I could only remember having ordered a book, and the package was way too heavy for that!)

The pages are thick, the charts are well-organized and visually appealing, and the photographs are works of art. The book includes guides to paleo foods, stocking a pantry, nutrition and more. It contains specific information on various health issues, as well as customized meal plans for people with specific diseases and conditions. The second half of the book is filled with over 120 recipes, all visually represented. The author has also provided tear-out versions of her guides for added convenience.

Resources:

::  Everyday Paleo is an excellent resource for CrossFit fitness information and recipes.

::  For a primal lifestyle, Mark’s Daily Apple has daily inspiration.

::  Elana’s Pantry is a great place for gluten-free baking. She has a staggering array of paleo recipes, as well. I’m dying to try her Paleo Apple Tart.

::  Civilized Caveman cooks up some pretty spectacular food. I can’t wait to try his Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins with Honey Frosting!

::  My friend Cori at Wonder in the Woods has just started eating paleo and already has a few recipes and encouragement up on her blog.

If you have favorite paleo links, share them in the comments!

Food for Thought:

::  Drinking soda linked to depression (Not much of a surprise, though I find it fascinating that diet soda is suspect as much or more than regular soda.)

:: Alzheimer's is really just 'type-3' diabetes, new research shows (Interestingly, there is an article on the same topic in the Reader’s Digest this month.)

My Menu:


Breakfast:

I almost always have scrambled eggs with either Aidell’s chicken apple sausage or Italian pork sausage fried up with kale and parmesan cheese (YUM!!).

Banana pancakes (Mash one banana, mix with two eggs—that’s it! They are one of my go-to treats when I’m feeling deprived. Still a lot of carbs, but at least there is some protein in there. They are sweet, so all I add is butter. They taste a little like banana bread French toast (not that I’ve ever had it, just as I imagine it!) and have a crepe-like texture.

I tried sweet potato latkes as a side dish for dinner a couple nights ago. They were yummy. I think they’d make a good breakfast dish, especially with added egg. Maybe with Greek yogurt and applesauce or fried apples? I want to try this recipe with parmesan cheese, too!

Greek yogurt with honey (I think this will be my “don’t have time to cook breakfast” option.)

I’m also wanting to make up a paleo granola with nuts and chopped dried fruit to be eaten with coconut milk. (I don’t care for flaked coconut or I’d add that too.)

And there are always leftovers. Who says you have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast?

Lunch:

Leftovers (particularly Hungarian Goulash and Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas, links below)

Taco salad (my personal favorite: lettuce, taco meat, chopped tomatoes and black olives, guacamole, and cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt when I’m eating dairy)

Tuna salad (lettuce with tuna and mayo and chopped tomatoes—also great with sunflower seeds)

Snacks:

Pistachios

Veggies (I’m going to try the cauliflower hummus recipe from Practical Paleo this week for dipping.)

Sliced cucumbers with vinegar and oil

Dried figs (I only eat one or two at the most since eating a bunch of dried fruit adds a lot of carbs, but they hit just the right spot when I am in the mood for a sweet treat and they are great for on the go. I found organic, no sugar added figs at Costco, and they are delicious! Remind me of Fig Newtons.)

Pepperoni sticks (they aren’t the clean, expensive kind, but sometimes I’m desperate for an easy, packable protein)

Salami with cream cheese (yeah, not the best choice, either, but BOY is it tasty)

Black olives

Sweet potato chips (I can’t find them at Costco anymore, so I need to make a trip to Trader Joes. Not the right kind of oil, but I’m not super vigilant about that.)

Deviled eggs

Celery with almond butter

Roasted kale (surprisingly tasty)

Dinner:

Hungarian Goulash (I’m so glad I made a big batch. It makes a perfect leftover. Next time I’d like to try mashed cauliflower to go with it.)

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas (another favorite for leftovers with fresh tomato and guacamole, and Greek yogurt and/or cheddar cheese if I’m splurging)

Grilled steak (I marinate with coconut aminos, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, and minced garlic) and roasted veggies (This is one of our go-to meals: grilled meat + roasted veggie such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, or yams.)

Shrimp scampi over zucchini noodles served with salad

Bun-less loaded burgers (lettuce, tomato, dijon mustard, bacon, guacamole, and sometimes cheese) with raw veggies

Salmon patties

Pesto chicken

Cilantro Thai grilled chicken

Chinese 5-spice turkey lettuce cups (from Practical Paleo)

Italian stuffed peppers

Tomato and meat spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles

Drinks:

I’ve been drinking about 32 ounces of Good Earth green tea daily. I love the Lemongrass flavor because it has a naturally sweet taste.

I also enjoy drinking an ice-cold La Croix fruit-flavored soda water daily. That is what miraculously got me over my soda addiction. I love the peach-pear or cran-raspberry flavors. They taste sweeter than the citrus flavors.

Treats:

Sliced apples fried in coconut oil with cinnamon and sea salt, topped with coconut milk (my favorite!!)

Sliced banana with sea salt and cinnamon, topped with coconut milk and toasted sliced almonds

Fried plantain

Ice cream (frozen banana, coconut milk, and cocoa powder blended in the Vitamix)

Homemade chocolate larabars (I haven’t made any this time around, but they still make the list because I know I’ll have them at some point! Just pecans, dates, cocoa powder, and sea salt in the food processor. Add spices to taste—my favorite is cardamom.)

I made a pan of paleo brownies, but they weren’t very tasty. I plan to try a brownie mug the next time the craving hits.

 

You can find my Pinterest Paleo-ish board here for more inspiration.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten several things. I’ll add them as I think of them. Feel free to share any ideas in the comments!

8 comments:

Heasleye said...

Hey, I am right there with ya! :) Seth did about 6 weeks worth of very clean eating (no cheats at all) this fall as part of a challenge from the place he works out at. (He goes to a place right across the street from his work that offers CrossFit type classes as well as other things. I attend a CrossFit box just 3 minutes from home, usually 5 times a week.) All three of us have begun, just this week, a Paleo-ish plan. On Monday, I got to use the Bod Pod, a very accurate body fat/lean muscle mass assessment thingie (you sit in a space-age looking, egg-shaped pod and it figures you out), and it will be back in about 3 months to measure us again. At about that same time, I plan to participate in my first CrossFit competition being held at my box (talk about scary!), so I really want to focus on these next three months. Thus, the return to a better eating plan. We still needed to detox from the holidays anyway! At this point, our breaks from Paleo will come in the form of having rice with one meal a week, and we're not opposed to using butter either. And we had a mix of roasted sweet potatoes and regular potatoes with dinner tonight. And our chili last night did have beans in it. Things like that are making up the -ish portion, but it seems very manageable that way, especially with an 11 yr old in the house! Removing the extra sugars and most of the bread-related carbs is our main focus.
Did you read my FB post about why I CrossFit? :) If you are ever in a situation where that could be something you'd try, I think you'd like it. It can certainly be intimidating, but the rewards have far outweighed any fear I had going in. For the record, most CrossFit workouts last 10-25 minutes. Of course there are warm-ups and strength training pieces that add to your total time there, but the WOD (Workout of the Day) itself is not usually super long. And the whole experience is completely different than going to a regular "gym." It's very community oriented, and all the CrossFitters I know are very welcoming and very non-judgmental. All ages, shapes and ranges of fitness can begin to CrossFit. I was introduced to it by my 68 yr old mother-in-law! I only say this to encourage you to try it if the situation ever presents itself. :) The 30 Day Shred will certainly work you over! And good for you for doing something that fits into your life and schedule and budget!!
I might have a couple recipes to share next week...going to try a couple new things later this week.
Thanks for sharing and encouraging, Heidi!

Cara Hogervorst said...

Hello Heidi. I'm Cara and I attend the Springfield CC with my 3 boys and 1 girl (ages 5-11). Just wanted to say "Hi" and tell you I've enjoyed your blog. I've also started a primal diet in the last 3 months, with the addition of no sugars (and I was a sugar fiend!). Great food, and I really enjoy not having to count calories! If you're interested, you can also check out www.fitnessblender.com for free workout videos. They are a husband and wife team up in Bellingham...strength training, cardio, pilates. It's a good supplement to getting yelled at by Jillian, and I can do it anytime because the gym and I...well, life is too busy right now!

Cara
...I need to try some of those fried apples...they sound great!

Tsh said...

Thanks for all the links, Heidi! I tried this out a few years ago and really liked it, too, so I'm thinking I'll get back on it in a few weeks when my looming deadline passes. I appreciate it!

Kristina said...

Thanks Heidi for your Paleo posts. When you first started talking about the Whole 30 I didn't know it was paleo, and my husband was eating way. I am now starting to eat this way in baby steps. Hopefully it will stick if I go slow. As far as CrossFit goes, we have one here in town and would LOVE to go, but just can't afford it now. Maybe someday. Keep these posts coming. I really enjoy reading them.

Renee said...

I am very seriously considering the Paleo diet! I have done a lot of research and it would be such a good fit for us, as we grow our own organic chicken, eggs, and veggies and we have plenty of deer meat to last all year. A few questions: How do your kids adjust? I do not have time to have different meals for them. Also, do you take calcium or Vit. D supplements? One more thing, can you make meals ahead of time?

Heidi said...

Well, the kids have eggs and sausage with me in the morning, but they often have toast as well. Sometimes they have pancakes and I make myself banana pancakes. They eat various foods for lunch (pb&j or qyesand I have leftovers or a salad. We also eat different snacks. But dinner is when I make paleo-friendly food for everyone and they get to eat it without complaining. :) Occasionally they'll have a side dish such as tortillas or mashed potatoes and I just eat my dinner without. I'd love it if the whole family ate closer to paleo, but that just isn't workable at the moment. I don't take a calcium supplement, but I do try to remember to take Vit D. Some meals can be made ahead of time (or in the crock pot), but there is more cooking involved with this unfortunately. There are quite a few paleo slow cooker cook books: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=crock+pot+paleo

Heidi said...

Ha! I had a 2 year old helping me type my comment. That would be "pb&j or quesadillas, etc.) and"

Anonymous said...

Heidi, I am quietly working out at home with the "video of the day" and have made my list of "yes" foods...my greatest (and easiest) success was when you and Elaine were doing Whole 30 and I joined you quietly...and so I too am working towards a life long change...always thankful for you :) and for your posts...thanks! Kiddos were asking about your kiddos the other day...
Happy Day! ~Connie in Tualatin