Monday, January 30, 2012

Ten Things I've learned from my Whole 30 Paleo experiment

Ten Things I’ve learned from doing the Whole 30 Experiment:

1.              I can drink coffee without cream.  Really. 
2.              I had no problem whatsoever giving up the cheese.  It is actually possible to eat an omelet without cheese.  Who knew?
3.              I now know what the cafeteria at work uses to coat the grill with – soy spray from a can.  It kept me away from having my daily egg white with cheese omelet.
4.              I also learned that the butter the grill cook uses is clarified.  Yay!  I had a few squirts of that on some tasteless looking broccoli one day.  Saved me from getting whiney over what was for sure to be a yucky lunch day.
5.              I can make it through the week without wine.
6.              Strangely enough I didn’t have any sugar cravings until around day 11 which came disguised as a craving for Friday night wine.  Crafty sly sugar brain…
7.              I finally realized just how much money I was spending a month eating out between work and after work.   Now I can afford Cross Fit if I can actually get there to start the On Ramp program.
8.              I learned what to do with the rest of tomato paste (freeze it in an ice cube tray).
9.              I love coconut even more than I thought.  And I love Ghee too!
10.         And most importantly, it’s not about the food after all.  It’s about learning how to be non-judgmental about myself and others.

Today is actually Day 27.  It's no problem to make it through the next three days strictly following the plan.  In addition to the above 10 items, I have learned I really enjoy eating this way.  Is it tough to stick to it?  It sure is when confronted with situations outside of my home environment.  Besides going to work, I pretty much stayed home the whole month.  I don't know how I would have fared if I had a bunch of eating out, celebration challenges.  The few events I did have to attend were tough and I wasn't 100% compliant but they were little slips and I made it through it still feeling pretty good about my choices.

End result?  I'm going to go another 30 days...  with exercise this time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 20!

OH My.  Only ten days to go.  Day 20.  Time is starting to go by faster now.  The first week crawled by.  Now the days are starting to blur together.  Missed our Saturday shopping trip because of the snow storm in CT.   I was so focused on making the Paleo coconut crepes that I forgot about meals for the rest of the day.  After spending a few hours out in the freezing cold taking photographs of snow crystals I was really hungry and did not have anything for a quick bite.  Instead I munched on one tiny piece of pineapple leftover from breakfast, guzzled some water, threw some chicken legs into the oven and went back out in the cold to continue photographing.  Hunger pangs go away pretty quickly when you fill up on water and you are busy with a project :-)

An early dinner consisted of the baked chicken legs and then I made a turkey shepard's pie.   Will post pics and recipe on that later.  That was one of the tastiest meals I've had so far.  

Today, back to the "cow store", Stew Leonard's in Newington.   Look at how beautiful the rows of nice veggies are.   Not that these are organic but I really like cucumbers for lunch.  Stew's food always looks so fresh.  And I'm getting used to the maze that takes you through the store.  It used to irritate the heck out of me walking through there but when you bypass so much of it to get to just to the fruits, veggies, seafood and meats it makes the journey through the store much quicker. It is pretty funny going through the cheese section with words "gotta have cheese" sung out of the speakers by the animatronics in the cheese section.
I look at the whole shopping trip now as an experience rather than a chore.  Just another way of thinking about food!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 19 with Paleo Crepes

Woo Hoo!  It's Saturday. Thank you GOD!  A friend was going to have a cooking class for a few friends and make ham and asparagus crepes, normal style.  I was going to attend and try to make the same Paleo style.  Alas - her event had to be cancelled so it gave me a change to try it at home.  Hubby got the benefit of this delicious feast and helped in the process.

Paleo Style Crepes:

Mix together all the following ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 eggs (cage free if you can get them)
3 Tablespoons Organic Coconut milk (in a can) full fat - without any sugar
2-1/2 Tablespoons water
pinch of salt

Use an 8" crepe pan.  I used a teflon coated one which helped the crepe to just slide off.  If anyone knows where to find a non-teflon crepe pan please let me know... I'd like to get away from teflon if possible.

Heat the pan.  Add some coconut oil.  Add 1/3 of the batter or just enough to be able to spread the batter all around the pan.  The batter should have a runny enough consistency to easily slide from side to side.  It did take me until the second batch and the fifth crepe before it came out as nice as in the picture.  

I had previously microwaved some asparagus.  I used the crepe pan to heat up some baked, low sodium ham - as Paleo/Whole 30 as I could find it... added that to the crepe rolled it up and added it to the beautiful fruit plated dishes he had ready.   The coconut flour really did the trick.  The crepes had the flexibility that would not be there is you use almond flour.  The added benefit is they are slightly sweet (probably to those who have not been eating any sugar for a while).   It was an awesome breakfast for a snowy New England morning.  Gave us the energy to go out and deal with the snow later. :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 17

Still hanging in there on Day 17.   Getting into the routine of buying, preparing, and generally keeping a steady food stock in my kitchen.  My next step is finding a local farm for my supply of grass fed beef.  I did find the list of the farms on this wonderful Eat Wild website.  Now it's just a matter of going to get the beef!   Or chicken or pork.  I am so happy to find out that I can go to a local farm for some great, grain free, sustainable food sources.  We won't have time to get to any this weekend but hoping for a food run by the end of the month.

Only had one temptation day in work so far.  We had a Department social with lots of "rewarding" sweet food.  I really would have loved to have tried the butterscotch/chocolate chip brownies because they smelled so good but it wasn't that hard to leave them alone.  My observation that day was that here I was on my "plan" and avoiding the sweets and it was somewhat of a challenge to me yet no one else in the room was eating the cake, cookies, and brownies either and it was no big deal to them at all.  It was an eye opener for me.  If I wasn't on Whole 30 I probably would have been the only one in the room eating one and the last one that should have been either if one as measuring body size... So, saved again by Whole 30 and I continue on!

Today I had leftover filet mignon from New Year's day for breakfast and blueberries.  Not grass fed but it was what I had available to eat.  Therefore my need to fill the freezer with the right kind of beef.  Lunch was a HUGE spinach salad with asparagus, tuna and sliced almonds.  Dinner, leftover pork tenderloin, broccoli, more blueberries with some coconut milk on top.

Time for some eye appealing dinners for more photos.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment

Yeah - this is a good celebrating paleo night.  Just because it's the weekend, Gridiron Greats Magazine is on its way to our subscribers, we have not eaten out since December 31, and lobster was on sale at our favorite grocery store.  All good good good!

Meal of the day:  Lobster.  Lots of it.  We cooked it ourselves on the grill outdoors in about 30 degrees F weather no less.  Since we have a flat top cook top we thought the big pan would be boil the water faster and fit the two lobsters if we cooked them on the side of the grill outside.  Still had to cook one at a time.  They were pretty big lobsters.  So happy we had some awesome Ghee to go with the lobster.  So for once, hubby got to actually have some buttery taste with his lobster.  He cannot eat dairy at all so me going Whole 30 and dropping the dairy just got us on the same page.  I discovered Ghee, and now he gets to have that taste he liked without the dairy.  The added fun part is that when I take the top off the Ghee, my cat, Angie comes running.  She LOVES the taste of the Ghee.  I'm sure it helps to keep her furs and coat nice and soft as well as helping with our own skin.

To get our fill of veggies I made a broccoli salad - cooked broccoli, fried up some non nitrite bacon, sliced up some grapes, chopped up some almonds since I had no sliced almonds in the house (ut oh) , and instead of making some paleo mayo, we decided - who needs that anyway and just squeezed some lemon over the broccoli.  It worked perfectly.

Happy eating everyone!  I know I'm enjoying this immensely.  :-)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 8

Another lovely Paleo day here in Connecticut on the Whole 30 plan.  I haven't noticed any real difference in my sleeping patterns yet.  I guess I expected that I'd be sleeping soundly ALL through the night and would wake up feeling refreshed and ready to just jump out of bed with all the energy I have stored up from eating such a marvelous diet.  Alas, that is not the case.  The only thing that has improved is that my husband commented that my snoring is not as bad as it usually is so I guess that's an improvement although not as outstanding as I expected.  I also suppose that once I get into a regular work out or exercise routine that will help too.

Here's the food primer for today.  I decided to listen to my body and my body said it wanted fruit.  I haven't been eating very much fruit for some time so it was time to try something different for a change (I usually have eggs and something).  So for a real treat since I made it to DAY 8 I had blueberries and raspberries covered with coconut milk and a liberal dosing of ground cinnamon.  OMG.  Well I found my new favorite treat.  Who needs sugar when you have something this good?  And no, the coconut milk did not have sugar it in.

As I was preparing my lunch to take to work I finally realized that the reason I had gotten so out of control with my food choices is that I wasn't preparing anything!  I was running out of the house every day without making breakfast or lunch, eating at the cafeteria at work every morning then at lunch time or I would go out.  Then once I got home I had no ideas or plans of what to make so usually it was another night out at a restaurant or bring home take out food from a good restaurant but take out nonetheless.   So that was my epiphany for the day.  I didn't have the best leftovers or lunch idea for today so it was the chicken wing leftovers with lots of organic baby spinach and cucumber.  We have a great cafeteria with a pretty varied salad bar so I added some asparagus, tuna, roasted red pepper (not out of the jar) and brussels sprouts to it.  It ended up way too much to eat it all at lunch and it was very satisfying.

Dinner started out with a plan to make some talapia with a recipe off the coconut milk can.  I got it all prepped with cut up red and green peppers, onions, garlic all ready to saute and then I took a look at the pre-frozen now thawed talapia.  One of them was GREEN! gag.  For a brief moment I thought this whoe Paleo thing was really going to my head and I was seeing things.  Not.  Ok so toss the fish and make note to myself to make sure I don't buy frozen talapia anymore.   Plan B.  Chicken sausage with red and green peppers, onion, garlic.  The sausage was from my favorite Stew Leonard's store from their fabulous "naked" food product line which meant no hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, etc. just chicken, peppers, and garlic.  Not bad.  Cooked up a batch of broccoli rabe and mixed it all together.  Perfect.  I guess if my camera is not right in front of my face I forget to take a picture.   That reminds me though I did take a picture of my lovely breakfast...  And, I was not hungry again until noon.  Now that was a surprise since it was just a small bowl of fruit.  Love that coconut milk!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paleo whole 30 experiment day 7

I'm a day late posting for day 7 but wanted to get it in anyway. Yayyy I made it through another day 100% no cheating no tastes of anything off the plan. For those of you who happened to stumble across this post, the Whole 30 is a 30 day challenge to eat healthy and to put it simply, eating the Paleo way with a diet oflean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables. See their site for more info and my post from day 1.

Ifelt much better on Monday than i did on Sunday. I Took a vigorous walk and felt off kilter after that. Could have been a blood sugar drop. Don't know but i felt great Monday.

Morning of day 8

Just had a nice egg white omelet with natural cooked sliced turkey breast and spinach and finally got to use my ghee. Wow. I love the smell of that ghee warming up in the pan.

Eye round roast has been started in the crockpot for dinner and i expect that to be a tasty event. A couple of friends are stopping over for a short visit so that will be my first situation in a week where I may be presented with the social hour challenge so to speak.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 6

Day 6.   Wonderful Sunday morning.  Church in the morning at 8AM.  What did I forget about?  The bread for communion!  First time ever that I took the rice cake and the water instead of bread and grape juice.  I know there are those who would say it's only a little piece of bread... but for this plan even one piece is not what I wanted to eat.  Thankfully there are options.  I could have made my way through the grocery store the other day just tasting all those little pieces of food samples but I didn't.  You see how this way of life eating and such is about much more than just the food.  It's about choices, and willpower, and motivation, and much much more.  It's about making food at home instead of running to a restaurant.  It's about exercising and starting to feel better.  Although I have to say, that my husband and I went for a walk this afternoon and it was a very hilly walk.  Not the best way to start out because it wiped me out instead of making me feel energized.  Just goes to show us how we need to work on that aspect more.

So, I continue on and share more great meals we've been creating and eating and photographing!

Steak Soup
grass fed eye round beef steaks chopped, browned, and coooked in the crockpot with some yellow peppers, onions, and tomato paste, and beef broth.  Wow was it tasty.

For dinner, hubby made some shrimp sauteed with olive oil, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.  Using up the rest of the veggies from last nights meal.  I wasn't in the mood for anything else fried so I boiled up some of the shrimp for myself and ate a couple of those plain with some asparagus.

On to a good week 2.  We have leftovers, plenty of fruits and veggies and planned out a few days worth of meals.  We have had our seafood weekend but I will be adding in some salmon this week.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 5

Day 5 of my dramatic lifestyle change...  Today started out well with a nice egg omelet with fresh spinach and tomatoes and a slice of deli chicken.  The deli chicken was gluten free, no antibiotics, yada yada.  Let's just say it fit the list and didn't list any strange ingredients nor did it have any sugar in it.  

I started a crock-pot of what was going to be a meat chili but turned into steak soup.  I chopped up four grass fed eye round steaks, quickly browned them and threw them in the pot.  Then I added a cut up yellow pepper, some minced shallots and garlic, and then some beef broth.  I didn't have any tomato sauce that worked for me but then I realized that tomato paste is only that - tomatoes.  Unless there is some other reason why that is not a good thing, then this is what I'll be using as a tomato base for anything that needs it.  No sodium, no sugar, no citric acid.  Works for me.

I went grocery shopping and stocked up on  some things.  Got a lot of fruits and veggies, some shrimp, scallops, and all things Paleo.  By the time I got home I was really hungry.  A couple more slices of the chicken meat with a cucumber before the shopping trip just didn't hold me too well.  Then I finally started having some pings of sugar cravings.  It doesn't help that all you smell all the way through Stew Leonard's is old fashioned donuts cooking and every section it seems someone is trying to get you to eat a sample of their food.  It's a really strange store.  You make your way through this maze so that rule of shopping on the ends for the produce and the meat doesn't hold true for Stewies :-).  More on the store on another post because I took pictures of my shopping trip.  They really have a beautiful presentation of food.

But, since I was starved when I got home and it would be a while before we ate the scallops I quickly baked up a batch of what Stew Leonard's calls "naked" for their no antibiotics, no hormone, organic chicken.  I was so hungry by the time they were finished and I didn't have any other emergency snacking food that I ate quite a few of them.

How do you like the "naked" chicken wings?  :-)  Baked with nothing more than some italian dried spices on them.

For the dinner (geez all I did was either think about food, buy food, make food and eat food today all day!) I made a 

Mediterranean Scallops

I pretty much followed a recipe off of a paleo website that is now defunct.  I used cherry tomatoes and added 1/2 a bag of fresh spinach and tossed it in the pan to wilt it down at the end and put that with the dish.  

Look at these fresh scallop beauties!  Beautiful dry packed scallops to give you that nice browned look when cooked and without the preservatives!

Voila!  The finished Mediterranean Scallps dish.  It was as yummy as it looks.

Observations from today are that first I had my first sugar cravings.  Not bad but mostly because I didn't plan correctly and eat enough for lunch.  Second, I am having no desire for alcohol at all which is the most surprising to me especially since this is day 5 and it's a weekend... Third, I'm happy that I am getting to not only eat better, but I'm finally using my camera to practice food photography, and actually posting photos every day.  All good!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 4

Day 4.   And it's a Friday too.  No problem getting through the day.  Had leftover pork and cauliflower from the other night for breakfast.  Then leftover turkey muffins with brussel sprouts for lunch.  Lots of water throughout the day helped as well.   Tonight's dinner:  julienned zuchinni, nuked for a couple of minutes and added chopped fresh garlic and some olive oil.  Not sure about the olive oil thing.  I haven't used it a lot on these meals, just a sprinkling here and there. I had heard a cooking tip where you sprinkle the olive oil on the food after cooking it, not while cooking it as it will turn the flavor so I've been following that rule for some time.  The meat was baked chicken breast with herbs.  Simple meal but yummy.   

This experiment has more benefits than getting healthier.  It's been five days since hubby and I have gone out to eat either breakfast, lunch or dinner.  That's a record in itself!  The money we will be saving from this experiment will far outweigh the cost of the organic food.   Tomorrow is a trip to Stew Leonard's, a local grocery store that has grass fed beef, lots of beautiful fruits and veggies and organic food.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

30 Day Paleo Experiment - Day 3

The biggest challenge for me so far is to cook dinner instead of finding a way to go out to dinner!  I managed to make my way to the grocery store.  I don't go that often anymore but found I really needed to get to Super Stop & Shop to get something for dinner and stock up with a few basics like the coconut milk, some grass fed beef and organic stuff.  Thank God for S&S for their Nature's Promise line.   Not everything was organic, like the brussels sprouts that I roasted.  They were the fresh ones that I had to pick off the stalk though.  Thought that was pretty fresh if not organic.  Then I decided to make a turkey meatloaf or meatballs kind of thing.  Usually I add oatmeal to my meatloaf mix but that's a no-no so what I ended up doing was making the turkey mix with about a 1/4 cup of almond flour, 2 eggs, lots of spices, and I added 3 teaspoons of Kosciusko mustard.  I thought the mustard would give it a special flavor.  I put the mix in my muffin pan.  It held together nicely and now I have some cute little meatloaf muffins leftover that I froze for when I need a quick pick me up.  Overall it was an ok recipe but I think some nice beef would be better.  I'll try this again with the ground bison that I bought.  

Still no sugar cravings and I'm kind of surprised especially since I had so much more sugar than normal in December.  But, it's only Day 3 so I'll see how tomorrow goes.  I'm not really hungry at all either so I must be making a good mix of food.  I do think I need to add more veggies to the day though.
Woo Hooo!  Made it through another day with no grains at all!  Amazing.  Till tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

30 Day Paleo Experiment - Day 2

Day 2.  Still doing fine.  Had a nice egg white omelet for breakfast this time with some leftover chicken, sliced almonds and fresh spinach.  Then I took a quick photo of tonight's dinner before turning the crock pot on to cook a nice porketta with cauliflower.  I had already put it together last night so all I had to do was turn it on.

Today one of my co-workers brought in some really delicious looking home baked cookies to share with the department.  Normally I would have been all over those but I managed to keep my hands and mind off them.  After a nice salad for lunch and some more leftover chicken I was fine for the rest of the day at work.  

Once I got home I was ready for dinner.  I had bought the porketta from the local butcher all ready put together with some spices and spinach.  The only other thing I added was some Kitchen Basics organic beef broth.  It is the only beef broth I've ever found that didn't have some hydrolized something or yeast and sugars in it.  Although it listed honey as an ingredient there were 0 grams of sugar in the ingredients.  Only problem with this roast was that it cooked longer than it should have even with the setting on low.  Was still pretty good though!

I had started this plan with little actual planning for the food though so I need to get my grocery list together and get moving otherwise I know I'm going to run into a problem.  I'm getting a little nervous about the weekend.  If I can manage to lay low, keep close to home and do some exercising I will be fine.  One day at a time!

Back to to look at some of her great recipe pics :-)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Paleo 30-Day Experiment - Day 1

Day 1 of my 30-day Paleo experiment.

I had planned to make 2012 a year of health.  2011 wasn't such a good year of eating for me and I only put on pound after pound even though I thought I wasn't eating that badly.  I had lost weight on a lo-carb diet in 2007 and pretty much stuck to a semblance of lo-carb eating for a few years.  Then in 2011 little by little I lost control.  By the last week in December I was eating sweet cakey like things that I had never even liked before.  

Along the way in the last year or so I also happened upon the Paleo Solution.  I had stumbled across the blog of Tim Ferris and his post "How to Keep Feces out of Your Bloodstream (or how to lose 10 pounds in 14 days)".  After reading that post which is a take on an excerpt from Robb Webb's book "The Paleo Solution" it sounded like that was the way to go.  It made perfect logical sense to me when I read the book and how he explains what grains are doing to our systems.   I don't need to explain it here, nor can I rework it well enough to explain it without messing something up in the translation.  If you want to Google it, just type in Paleo and there is plenty of explanations of what it is.  

I do know this though, I did feel great when I was on a lo-carb diet and eating Paleo is that but even better.  

What I do know is that I need to change what I have been doing for the last year or so, if not to get healthier, but to fit into my wardrobe at least!  The Paleo way of eating is not just so that people lose weight.   Part of the reason why I'm doing this Paleo experiment is to see how I feel overall after trying it.   Do I feel crappy from the way I eat now?  Not really except for the uncomfortable way I feel from being overweight.  I'm one of those people with an "ironcast stomach".  I can eat just about anything and I feel ok so there's no issues of food allergies or anything like that.  What I'd like to see is if I have more clarity and more energy at the end of the 30 days.  Will this way of eating really make me feel different and for the better? 

The Universe was on my side in helping me to start this test  since the thought of exercising was starting to sound good to me.  It's also helps because this is the time of year when so many people want to start a diet and exercise so the timing works for me as well.  I was thinking that I would just start walking, maybe work out a little, rejoin the gym at work, or start the Cross fit program in town.  Then when I went online to read about the Cross fit program, one thing lead to another and I was back on the Paleo track.   It really felt right and I decided to start at that moment, today, right now.  So luckily I had a good start with an eggwhite omelet so I can easily say with the food I ate today, that it fits in for a solid Day 1.  Here's what I'm NOT eating (taken from the Whole30 website,  It's Paleo to the core.

  • [No] added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in all kinds of ways.
  • Do not eat processed foods. This includes protein shakes, pre-packaged snacks/meals, protein bars, milk substitutes, etc.
  • Do not drink alcohol, in any form.
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, millet, oats, corn, rice, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. (Yes, we said corn!) This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans (black, kidney, lima, etc.), peas, lentils, and peanuts or peanut butter. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes all cow, goat or sheep’s milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, whey, ice cream, etc.
  • Do not eat white potatoes. It’s arbitrary, but they are carbohydrate-dense and nutrient poor, and also a nightshade.
  • Most importantly… do not try to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold. This means no “Paleo-fying” less-than-healthy recipes – no “Paleo” pancakes, “Paleo” pizza, “Paleo” fudge or “Paleo” ice cream. Don’t mimic poor food choices during your Whole30 program!
Whole30 does have a nice logo that I will add to my posts as soon as their website it back up.  I had learned about trying a 30-day experiment from reading so many of Steve Pavlina's blogs.  He's done some great 30day trials - but this way of eating is certainly not something that would resonate with him since he is a raw-foodist.  Raw foods are part of what's important in Paleo, but the meat part doesn't cut it for any vegetarian.  That's a debate for another day and for other bloggers to explain as well.  For me, I just want to see if I can do the 30-days :-).   Eating meat and veggies and fruit is just what I love and is the easy part.  Not eating pasta is pretty easy for me too in fact.  I haven't had bread in the house for the longest time so that shouldn't be too bad either.  It's just been lately that some Italian bread seemed to have snuck it's way back in -- hah!  

Pictures will be forthcoming.  I do like to photograph food and this is a good way to document my 30-day journey.  Thanks for reading along.