Friday, December 21, 2012


I’ve been really very busy.  So…

I’ve been eating shitty food and giving my conscience the middle finger.

I’ve been checked out for a little while—caught up in my head but not aware of what’s been going on in my spirit. I’ve been having fun but dealing with this lingering unease. I’ve been afraid.
I’ve been subsisting on Mumford and Sons. I’ve been dying to change bad habits.

I’ve been working full days.

I’ve been thinking of God as someone I used to know.  I’ve been longing for courage. I’ve been hating people. I’ve been eschewing thoughts of “better.”

I’ve been tired of all of this.

But…I’m on a mini vacation now. And I’m putting myself back together.  And a new year’s approaching.  And I plan on living it better.

So, I'll be back soon with relevant material :).

Just in case you were wondering where I've been...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Simple Sweet Potato Pie--Paleo and Vegan

I like to bring separate worlds together. Twilight and Harry potter? I love both! Christian and Feminist? Right here, baby. Paleo and Vegan? We can make it work!  I’m on the hunt for recipes that fit in both worlds. I’ve come up with a few simple ones myself and found a couple of others. I am excited to share them on this blog! Here is one to startJ.

Simple Paleo Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts and raw cashews
4 dates


½ can of sweet potato puree
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger


1.       To make the crust put the nuts and dates in a food processor and process until the mixture is sticky and clumps together.

2.       Press mixture into small pie pan ( I used a  2 cup circular Pyrex container  b/c I didn’t have pie pans)

3.       Whisk sweet potato pie puree with spices, scoop onto crust, and spread evenly.

4.       Bake at 350 degrees until sweet potato starts to brown (about 15 minutes?)

5.       Let cool and stick in the fridge for about half an hour so that it’ll be nice and firm.

6.       EAT IT!!


I decided to make this because I used half a can of sweet potato puree to make salmon cakes and didn’t know what to do with the remaining bit. Pie seemed like a good choice! I definitely broke a Whole30 rule—they tell you not to recreate desserts using Paleo approved ingredients—but ah well. I think this was basically a meal. It had fruit (dates), a vegetable (sweet potato), healthy fats (raw nuts), and spices!  AND it was tiny and it still took me 3 days to eat.  So even though dates are high sugar and nuts are high fat, I used small amounts and ate small servings so it was definitely healthy. Let me know if you try to make this. I’ve only attempted this once so these might not be the best instructions. But it’s so simple I really don’t think you can go wrong!

Paleo Trial: Days 16-18


Things have fallen apart. The collapse started slowly with the popcorn and Hot Tamales, peaked on Halloween when my roommates and I had a huge bucket of candy and no trick-or-treaters (you figure out what happened), and is now tapering off. Sigh. Now, I definitely don't think I'll be able to tell just how beneficial the Paleo diet was or could have been for me. I'm going to post what I ate on Days 16, 17, and 18. I'm currently on day 22. We will call days 19-21 the "lost days" and I won't talk about them. The shame is too great.  We'll see if I can at least finish strong and do Paleo really well from days 23-30. I think I am over it though. This was exciting at first but I really don't think it's something that I can do all day every day. Quality, cruelty free meat is just too much for my budget! It really stresses me out--buying pricey meat and worrying about not having enough of it when I have so many different kinds of beans sitting in my pantry (I have a post coming up about this)!! AND it's also kind of boring. Beef, chicken, fish, beef chicken fish, beefchickenfish, maybe lamb, sometimes goat, a little pork, beefchickenfish, turkey. Boiled egg, scrambled egg, poached egg, omlette. Repeat.  LOL. OK...I am being completely unfair. There are tons of ways to get creative with your meat (and I absolutely love ground beef, pork, and salmon--grass fed, wild). But I just don't like preparing meat as much as I like making plant-based meals. I think a big part of that is that I'm still battling with how I feel about eating meat regularly.  On a good note though, one of my main fears has been put to rest--eating a lot of meat will not automatically make you constipated! The fiber from the fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds has proven to be sufficient for my digestive system. Yay for being regular!

Day 16
Meal 1
I could do better
Green tea  (w/ a bit of honey and stevia!)
Almond pumpkin bars made by paleo friend at church
Meal 2

Bbq pork
Meal 3

Chicken leg and thigh
Roasted onions
Day 17
Meal 1
I often end up eating breakfast at work b/c I'm always running late!
1 serving green smoothie- 2 cups chard, ¼ raw soaked almonds, 2 tbs ground flaxseed soaked overnight, 1 apple, 1 frozen banana, ½ avocado, water to blend. Yum.
Omlette-2 eggs, onions, nutritional yeast and a bit of sea salt
1 cup grapes
Meal 2

2 cups red leaf lettuce
Roasted Chicken breast
½ avocado
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup raw cashews
Peppermint tea
1 gala apple
Post work out meal
2nd serving green smoothie
Meal 3
I loved this meal so much!
6 oz wild Alaskan salmon: broiled with an amazing honey-mustard glaze!
1 baked acorn squash with coconut butter and sea salt (so good!)
2/3 cup steamed mixed veggies
Day 18
Meal 1
Green Smoothie- 2 cups tastoi, ½ avocado, 1 gala apple, 1 banana, ¼  cup raw almonds, soaked, water to blend.
Omlette from 3 eggs and ½ a large yellow onion
½ cup grapes
¼ cup raisins and handful of raw walnuts
Meal 2
Roasted chicken
1/5 cups red leaf lettuce
½ avocado
Meal 3
Second serving  green smoothie

I love ground beef. Made some  for tomorrow’s meals and I just love that kind of still raw bloody beef taste it has. Mm.

I decided to leave my thoughts about ground beef unedited. Gross right? But so true. Yum.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quickie: Jillian Michaels Talks Paleo

Hi friends!

Just wanted to share this very quick video of Jillian Michaels (love. her.)  discussing her opinion of the Paleo diet. I really like her take on it and on different diets in general! She basically says to use common sense and eat whole real foods and not fake crap and you'll ultimately be fine! Have a looksie!

Isn't she great?!

Paleo Trial: Days 13-15


I'm just going to come right out and confess. On Saturday night (day 15) I ate popcorn and Hot Tamales (the candy)!!! My roommates and I watched The Shining, in honor of Halloween weekend and those were our movie watching snacks. The good news is that the popcorn was fairly healthy since we (well, they) popped it from the original kernel, in a pot w/ olive oil (as opposed to the not so healthy microwave variety). My body definitely reacted though. Within 5 minutes I was super bloated! The bloating lasted for hours, in fact I was still bloated when I went to sleep and felt pretty uncomfortable when I woke up the next morning.  And that morning, Sunday, I put a bit of raw honey and stevia in my tea! And after church on Sunday I had a little pumpkin ball thingy that a friend of mine made, the ingredients of which included maple syrup, rolled oats, and sugar. AND that same friend gave me a few slices of a pumpkin loaf she'd made the previous evening. The loaf was made from almond flour and thus completely grain free and "essentially" paleo-friendly but there were maple syrup and chocolate chips in it! Then I had some more Hot Tamales on Sunday night because the huge bag was in our living room and it was literally calling out to me. Ok, not literally, but still. Overall, I don't feel bad about my minor Paleo deviance. According to the Whole30 people I technically need to start the 30 day trial over because I interfered with my body's resetting process. According to Loren Cordain (author of The Paleo Diet), however, everything is alright, I've just used up my "open meals" for the week (although those things don't qualify as "meals" really) and I'll always be fine as long as the majority of the food I eat is strictly Paleo! So. I am ok. I think I am going to tack an additonal 2 days on to my trial though to make up for Saturday and Sunday.

Day 13
Meal 1
Hot water w/ lemon
Green smoothie #3 "Mangolicious Strawberry-Mint" -strawberry, mango, mizuna, mint, water, ground flax, cinnamon, soaked almonds, dash of sea salt. I'd give this one a 6. Again, just not sweet enough.
3 Salmon cakes
Jasmine green tea
Dried fig w/ a few raw macadamia nuts
 Meal 2
Chicken breast
1 cup lettuce
½ avocado
An orange
2 figs
Handful of macadamia nuts
Salmon cake
Meal 3

Garlic Shrimp  (I cooked an entire bag of frozen shrimp and ate nearly ¾ of it in one go!!)
1 cup Russian kale sautéed with olive oil and garlic
Small piece of paleo sweet potato pie
Peppermint tea
Day 14
Meal 1
Hot water w/lemon
Green tea w/ a touch of raw honey (gasp I know I cheated)
Green smoothie #6 “Vanilla Chai” smoothie- 2 cups greens (mix of kale, mizuna,and  chard), figs, soaked chia gel, soaked almond, soaked sunflower seeds, avocado, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, dash of sea salt, ice....meh. I guess i'd give it a 6.5/7. I was impressed that you couldn't taste the greens. And I suppose it did taste "chai"-ish. I just didn't like it a whole lot overall.
leftover broiled garlic shrimp
1 fuji apple
Meal 2
2 cups steamed cauliflower
1.5 Salmon cakes
2 small clementine oranges
Small piece of paleo- friendly sweet potato pie
Meal 3

Grilled chicken salad from Leonas w/ Italian dressing. I should have learned my lesson about dressings by now. I doubt it was Paleo approved. I felt very allergy-y after eating it. I need to make my own dressing
My salad came with an amazing looking loaf of bread. I nearly cried b/c I wanted to eat it so badly. I gave it to my roommate though. Sigh. The no bread thing is just getting harder and harder.
Day 15
Meal 1
Green smoothie #7 "Choc-Chai Smoothie" -2 cups mizuna, soaked sunflower seeds, soaked almonds,  water,  soaked chia gel, avocado, figs, dates, cacao powder, ccinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, dash of sea salt. Again, impressed by the no-greens taste but wasn't a big fan over all. 6.5/7.
Meal 2

Left over Leona's Salad mix
Can of sardines ( I made a sardine salad!)
Roasted red onion
Rest of paleo sweet potato pie
I roasted a whole chicken on my own! I need practice lol.

2 tiny roasted chicken wings (this was unintentional. I was cutting/tearing my roast chicken into pieces and the next thing I knew there was a tiny, crispy chicken wing in my hand and i thought to myself "I can either put this in the container or just eat this little thing right now!" I chose the latter. Same story for the 2nd wing.
Small taste bites of bbq country style pork ribs
Meal 3

Handful of grapes
slow cooked bbq country style pork ribs (my first time cooking pork. HUGE success :D)
Salad (STILL had leftover salad from Leona's)
Peppermint tea

Oemmgee- popcorn and hot tamales, my “open meal” while watching a movie with my roommates….super bloated. FOR HOURS.  Still bloated as I go to sleep typing this.

So I am behind on updating. As I type this I've just completed day 18. I'll share what I ate days 16-18 tomorrow! I must say I don't know what I'm currently making of ths diet. The novelty has worn off some and I miss being an aspiring vegan. More on that later, though. Who knows, I might feel differently in another 2 weeks!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Where to go from here: A "spiritual" update

I am notoriously late to everything— work, meetings, movie dates, appointments, casual hangouts, etc.  Considering this, I was very happy when I made it to church at a decent time this past Sunday!  Normally, when I arrive, there are only seven minutes left of the sermon or five minutes left of prayer time, which comes after the sermon. Not so last Sunday—I was there before the service even started!  I sang all of the worship songs; I read the entire liturgy; I heard every prayer request, and shared my own, during our communal prayer time; and most importantly, I listened to the sermon.

It was a really great sermon.

 Our associate pastor, Mike, spoke about the cost of discipleship. I have been preoccupied with many things these past few months and being a true disciple of Jesus has been the least of them. Jesus tells us to count the cost of being his disciple, to really consider if we are ready to love our family, friends, lovers, and lives LESS than we love him. Lately, for me, the answer has been “no, I’m not ready. No I don’t want to.” But Jesus says we can’t live the life he has for us without giving up everything. Pastor Mike reminded us of all these things but this is what he emphasized—the glory of what we receive in return far surpasses all we give up. The Kingdom of God is worth all we have and own.

 I needed to hear that.

 Having been a church attendee my entire life, literally my entire life, it’s something I have heard many, many times. It’s not something I’d really thought about lately, however. I believe that the Kingdom of God is worth everything. I do. At the same time, I don’t know if I reaaaally believe it because it’s not something my life currently reflects.  Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit—I think about them a lot, I think TO them a lot, but they are not at the center of my life.  I read a chapter in my Bible every few days or so; every once in a while I crack open my devotional; I regularly attend my biweekly women’s small group. I try to be kind, patient and not bitchy…most days. I give money to those who ask it from me….most times. I thank God for my blessings; I say prayers for other people when they text me their requests… That is all there is to my “spiritual life” right now. And y’know…those things a disciple do not make.

I’m in, but I am not all in.

I’m not all in, and I am not about to take any leaps to be all in. I am not sure what that should look like for me. I am, however, going to think about the cost again. Mike’s sermon woke me up in a way and reminded me that if I’m going to do this Christianity thing well, the goal is to be an actual disciple. So I’m going to approach Jesus again with that in mind. I’m going to observe him, learn from him, listen to his teachings about the Kingdom of God.  I am going to look at all the things going on in my life right now and see how I feel about them in light of seriously considering God’s Kingdom again.

What does that actually mean practically?  ::incoherent mumble/sound that roughly translates to “I ‘unno”:: A lot of scripture reading? A lot of meditation? I’m  really not sure. I’m going to ask God to help me with this. I know S/he will.

Paleo Trial: Days 10-12

For the past week, I've been reading The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. Apparently he was one of the first people to really publicize the Paleo diet and his books are listed in the "Resource" section of It Starts With Food. I find this listing a little funny as there are significant differences between the type of Paleo diet the Hartwigs (the ISWF authors) endorse and the type that Cordain endorses.

The Whole30 people (the Hartwigs) say that fat in your meat does not matter as long as the meat is grass fed, pastured, and organic. Cordain says ALWAYS choose the leanest cuts of meat. Always. The Hartwigs advocate cooking with ghee and coconut oil and say that eating sweet potatoes is fine. Cordain says absolutely no potatoes of any kind and that olive oil is the only oil that should be used for cooking. Cordain also says that walnuts are the best nuts to eat because of their favorable omega 6-omega 3 ratio. The Hartwigs say that walnuts are the absolute worst nut to eat. Wanna use flax oil? The Hartwigs say "NO!" Cordain says "sure!!" Wanna add a little sea salt to your food? Cordain says "NO!" The Hartwigs say, "absolutely....and while you're at it use a little table salt too so that you get enough iodine in your diet." Cordain says no more than 6-12 eggs per week. The Hartwigs say 3-5 eggs per meal baby. Wanna snack on some fruit? Cordain says "go ahead." The Hartwigs say " really shouldn't be snacking. Least of all on fruit alone. If you MUST make sure you add lots of protein and some fat to that snack!" 

Most significantly, Cordain is all about the stone age.The foundation for all of his pro-Paleo diet arguments is that early humans ate this way and thrived on this diet. As I mentioned in my initial post about deciding to start the Whole30 program, the Hartwigs hardly refer to early humans but rather cite a ton of current scientific/ medical research proving the benefits of the foods they advocate eating and the negative consequences of eating the foods they deem "less healthy."

So just like over in Vegan city,  Paleo town is filled with "experts" who don't necessarily agree with one another on the best way to live their chosen diet. I'm curious about what I'll find in the third Paleo book I pick up.

In other news, in an effort to step up my green smoothie game, I recenly purchased the ebook Green Smoothie Magic: 132+ Delicious Green Smoothie Recipes That Trim And Slim . I have decided to make each of the 132 smoothies and rate them! I have made four so far and have only really liked one. I think the main reason I haven't been blown away by any of the recipes is that the fruits that I've been using have not been that sweet and I haven't been adding any sweetener. The great thing about all the recipes though is that they each have AT LEAST 2 cups of greens in them and you really can't taste them once everything is blended. Tomorrow, I'll be making a "Vanilla Chai" smoothie and I'm excited to see how something with 2 cups of greens in it can still taste like chai!

Anywhoo here's what I ate on days 10-12 with some random notes included:

Day 10
 Meal 1
My breakfast vs. Emile's breakfast. Why does the 4 year old have more food than I do?

Green smoothie-"#1 Classic Pine-Mint Smoothie" -spinach, mint, pineapple, avocado, water—approx  3 cups. I'd rate this one a 6.5. Wasn't sweet enough for me.
2 Hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup strawberries
Small handful of raw cashews
Pre workout snack
2 dried figs
Big slice of dried mango
2 small handfuls raw cashews
Meal 2

Baked almond crusted dover sole (have I mentioned that I hate Dover Sole fish?)
1 cup spinach
½ cup green beans
 Meal 3

Stuffed bell peppers (red bell pepper w/ ground turkey, onion, garlic, zucchini, tomatoe, egg, spices)
Romaine lettuce
2 Paleo “apple muffins”
Dried mango slices

Day 11
Meal 1

Green smoothie-"#2 Cinnamango Smoothie" 2 cups chard, mango, mint, water, cinnamon, sea salt, vanilla extract. Another 6.5 for the same reason.
Half of a stuffed bell pepper w/ fried egg,
¼ avocado
Apple muffin
Meal 2
2nd serving green smoothie
Fuji apple
Half of a stuffed bell pepper
1 cup raw romaine lettuce
Meal 3

3 dried figs
1 kiwi
1 cup green beans
2 cups seasoned ground turkey (leftover bell pepper filling)
½ avocado’’
1 small sweet potato
2 apple muffins!!!
2 dried figs
A few pieces of pan cooked chicken breast that I made tonight for tomorrow

Day 12
Meal 1
Green smoothie-apple, mango, tatsoi, parsley, mint , flaxseed, water
2 fried eggs
¼ cup raw cashews

About 10 minutes after finishing everything I had the worst acid reflux every in my life. Shit burned. And I’ve been feeling “reflux-y” all day since L

Rooibos peppermint tea. Amazing.

 Meal 2

2nd serving of green smoothie
Chicken breast
2 cups romaine lettuce
½ avocado
4 oz organic unsweetened apple sauce
3 dried figs and a handful of raw macadamia nuts
Snack 2
Small handful cashews
Small bowl of fruit-frozen strawberries and pineapple
Meal 3

2 salmon cakes (recipe from It Starts With Food)
½ avocado
Green beans
Snack 3
Frozen pineapple


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paleo Trial: Days 7-9


I am a little behind on updating but don't worry, I am still going Paleo strong! The past couple of days have not been great though. I have been craving bread like a crazy person. Due to poor planning, and I think not having enough meat in my meals, I have been snacking too often. I made the mistake of buying dried mango slices from Trader Joes this weekend. They were pure mango--unsweetened, unsulfured-- but still a big problem! They were very addictive. I kept wanting (and going back for) more. I have also been eating way too many raw cashews! In It Starts With Food, the authors classify sugar, processed foods and refined foods as "food with no brakes" because they are so easy to over consume. I've realized that even though dried fruit and raw cashews are healthier than a lot of things I could be eating, they still fall into the "food with no brakes" category for me. I can never stop at one serving of these foods, so I really need to be careful with them. Another not good thing--I made muffins. Apart from having 1/2 tsp of baking soda, they were made with all "Paleo" ingredients--Almonds (ground into almond flour, eggs, coconut oil, banana, apple, cinnamon)--but they also proved addictive even though they weren't really sweet. I made them for my small group meeting but ended up having 4 left over. I ate all 4 of them today. Sigh.

But I will not dwell on that. Instead I'll focus on the fact that I haven't had any sugar, gluten, or dairy for 11 whole days. I am proud of myself. I am nearly halfway through my 30 day trial!

Here's what I ate on days 7,8, and 9. (I am just copying my food journal from MS Word into this post so it's going to include the random thoughts I had while I typed up what I ate each day)

Day 7
Meal 1
 2.5 cups Green smoothie-soaked almonds, water, kale, pear, banana, flax oil, flaxseed
2 scrambled eggs
Meal 2
4 cups chicken soup,
¼ cup cashews
5 olives
Meal-ish 3 or snack

1 large pear sautéed in ghee and cinnamon with 1 tbs raw almond butter.

 Very rough day. I waited too long to eat lunch…poor planning/ unfortunate circumstances so by the time I got home I was ravenous! And the chicken soup just didn’t cut it for me. I had 4 cups! And was hungry not too long after and I didn’t have anything paleo approved that was easily fixable (time do a little grocery shopping!) and then I just really wanted to order pizza. Ahh!

Day 8
Meal 1
2 fried eggs
1 pear
1 banana
¼ cup raw cashews
Meal 2

Lunch at Global Café -Large chopped cobb salad romaine, baby mixed greens, chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, avocado, bacon, hard cooked egg, balsamic vinaigrette. It also came with blue cheese but I asked them to leave that out. I am pretty sure the balsamic vinaigrette had some no-no ingredients in it…but oh well.

I feel a hard period coming up. Since yesterday evening I’ve really wanted bread or some kind of pastry! I would even settle for sweet potato fries! Ughh. It’s so bad that I almost cried today while having lunch (meal 2) with a friend as I explained to her how much I REALLY REALLY wanted some bread.
Another banana
Raw baby carrots

Cup of strawberries
Another ¼ cup raw cashews

Feeling a weird kind of swelling in my throat.
Meal 3

½ cup steamed mixed veggies
Curry goat w/ parsnips
1 plantain, half fried, half baked

Day 9= Disaster!!
Meal 1
Smoothie- 2 tbs soaked chia seeds, ¼ raw soaked almonds, 1.5 cups water, 2 lettuce leaves, ½ avocado, 1 frozen banana, 1 tsp green superfood powder “Amazing Grass” brand—yech.
Meal 2
Curry Goat
Raw cashews
Meal 3,
Dried mango
Dried mango
Dried mango
Macadamia nuts
Dried figs
Munch munch munch
Meal 4

Pan fried dover sole fish (never again buying this type of fish!)
1 cup spinach sautéed
½ avocado
I put waay to much salt on the spinach and fish L.
Oh and I’m eating dinner at 12:28 am this day is officially a fail for food.
The good news is I went grocery shopping all day today and am pretty prepped for the week.

There you go! I want to say that Days 10 and 11 were better but you can be the judge when I post about them tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Paleo Trial Days 4-6: My tummy's gonna s'plode.

But you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at it. Despite the fact that I've eaten a pound of ground beef, 5 whole eggs, and 2 drumsticks in 2 days, my tummy is actually smaller/leaner looking than it's been in a while.

Guys, on the one hand I am having a BLAST with this Paleo thing. On the other hand I am full of worries! Tonight marks the end of Day 6 and I have noticed a few significant changes already! I'll start with the unpleasant stuff first:
-My poop is different and not as regular as I'd like and my tummy is generally uncomfortable. Here and now at the end of Day 6, however, the discomfort is less than it has been so yay. According to the readers of It Starts Wtih Food, "digestive distress is common and may take a few months to completely resolve," pg 214.
-I'm peeing alot more! This is something I noticed right away and it wasn't associated with drinking more water because I wasn't drinking more water right away (I am trying to now though to help with my tummy discomfort). Goodbye extra water weight!
-I'm worried about the volume of meat/animal protein I'm consuming. I just can't seem to escape that. I know that I'll worry less once I know more about how this diet is affecting my body.

 Good things:
-My sugar and refined carb cravings are manageable. Much more manageable than they were when I was on a vegan diet high in flour products, beans and grains!
-I feel a lot better than I thought I would this first week. I haven't had headaches or been crankier or more fatigued than usual which is something I expected, and something that the authors of It Starts With Food, warned their readers about.
-I am pretty full most of the time! This has been strange for me. On Day 5 my breakfast and lunch were 5 hours apart and  when I had lunch I didn't actually feel like I needed to eat but I figured that it was about time that I did.  I know that in my previous post about Days 1-3 I said that I felt like I needed to have 4 meals + snacks each day but that has definitely changed.
-My energy levels are staying stable throughout the day! Normally between 12noon and 4pm I experience a severe dip in energy (this has frequently resulted in me needing to take a quick "nap" on the couch while Emile watches tv or plays with his trains) but that hasn't happened in the past 6 days! I'm definitely not bounding with energy...when I wake up in the mornings I still feel like I could use an extra hour (probably because I do actually need an extra hour) of sleep and I still feel very drained at the end of the day but my energy levels decline steadily over the course of the day instead of dipping dramatically, spiking (after snacking on something), dipping, and spiking  like they had been before I started Paleo.
-I am having an absolute blast researching and cooking new meals. I've found a ton of paleo blogs and I'm already obssessed! At first I was a little "ehhh" about the ickiness of dealing with raw meat, but it's bothering me less and less.
-And finally, I've been having spontaneous bursts of optimism and happiness. Haha. I don't know if this is solely because of the diet change but I think it's related. Maybe my moods are better regulated because I'm not eating any refined or extra/added sugar or proccessed foods.

I could say more but I think it is time to share what I've been eating!

Day 4
Hot water and lemon
Meal 1
1 serving green smoothie-2 cups red kale, 1/s avocado, 2 cups water, 1 banana, 2 tbs almond butter. 1 tbs ground flaxseeds
Omelette, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup mustard greens.
Snack- handful of raw cashews, 1 pear. Emile ate half of the pear.
Jasmine green tea
Meal 2
2nd serving of green smoothie
1 medium baked sweet potato
4 oz baked wild salmon (seasoned with lemon juice, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper)   
I couldn't finish this meal in one sitting. I ate the second half 1.5 hrs later.
Meal 3
Roasted purple cabbage and onion (fantastic!)
2 cups of raw green leaf lettuce
Day 5
Jasmine green tea
Meal 1
2 boiled eggs w/ roasted purple cabbage and onion
Pear sauteed in ghee and cinnamon
Meal 2
2 jerk drumsticks plus 1.5 cups lettuce+ handful of cashews and 1/2 avocado    
Meal 3

Ground beef cooked in ghee with a red onion and seasoned with garlic powder, seal salt, and black pepper. Because of this meal ground meat might become a new obsession. It was so good that I kept eating it out of the pan. And before I knew it I'd eaten too much to have any space left for the blended salad I'd planned on eating with it :/.
Day 6
Hot water and lemon
Meal 1
1 serving of green smoothie: 6 small-medium red kale leaves, 1/4 cup soaked raw cashews, 1 banana, 1 pear, 2 tsps flax oil, 1 tbs ground flaxseed, 2 cups water.
2 eggs, scrambled
Meal 2
2nd serving of green smoothie
seasoned ground beef and raw baby carrots
Snack (I had a meeting and needed something to eat until I could have dinner)
1 large Fuji apple and raw baby carrots
 Meal 3

1/4 cup raw cashews
2 cups chicken soup ( I see why people call it comfort food mmmm :) ).
Things I plan to do differently in Week 2
-Eat more veggies! and fruit, but most importantly veggies
-Eat less meat haha. I've had lamb, salmon, chicken legs, chicken wings, ground beef, and before the week is out goat will be on that list. I think I want to stick to two main meat sources per week.
-Eat less eggs. By the end of this week I'd have eaten about 16 eggs in one week.
-Cook with more coconut oil instead of ghee
-Make a meal plan before grocery shopping!
Ok that's all for now. Stay tuned for days 7-9!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paleo trial: Days 1-3

I am not a happy camper. Nope, nope, nope.

I would like to eat some pizza.... Yes, yes, yes.

A few minutes ago I'm pretty sure I could taste french bread on my tongue.

Strange things are happening over here: funny smelling pee on Days 1 and 2; a funky feeling tummy on Day 3; the consistent taste of, what I can only assume is, animal fat on my tongue (brushing extra hard to take care of that!).

On the bright side, I woke up yesterday and today not wanting to cry at the thought of strenuous activity. On the dark side again, my energy dipped and has not gone back up, and I am very cranky, and wanting sweet, doughy, fried food!

According to the people at Whole30, though, the first week of this program is supposed to feel pretty bad. And really what I'm feeling is not anywhere near as bad as what they said it could be. So...yay?

Anyway here is what I ate during  days 1,2, and 3:

Day 1
 Meal 1

2 boiled eggs w/ ½ cup bok choy and 1 red pepper sautéed in ghee with  a dash of seal salt and turmeric..
2 kiwis and 1 cup green tea w/ ¼ tsp honey
Half of a baked acorn squash with ghee and a bit of sea salt
 Meal 2

Green smoothie: 2 cups greens (chard and lactino kale), ½ avocado, 1 banana, handful of raw soaked almonds, 2 cups water to blend

5 kalamata olives
 Meal 3

Lamb stew (pastured lamb shoulder, yams, red onion, garlic, carrots, celery) over raw mustard greens and spring salad mix
5 dried apricots, 1 cashew cookie larabar (cashews and dates),
Chamomile tea

Day 2
Meal 1

3 fried eggs w/ boiled asparagus and a handful of olives (couldn’t eat the whole handful in one sitting b/c they were just too salty
Green tea with a ¼ tsp of raw honey
 Meal 2
1.5 cups of leftover lamb stew over 1.5 cups of spring salad greens . also some bits of a roast chicken from the church potluck
Several handfuls of raw cashews
Leftover olives from breakfast
Half of a baked acorn squash
Meal 3

Green smoothie made from:  2 big handfuls of spring salad mix, One handful mustard greens, 1 banana, about 8 red grapes, ½ an avocado, small handful of raw cashews, ¼ cup raw and soaked almonds, piece of ginger, and water to blend. This made approx. 3 cups of smoothie.
Meal 4

Spoon of coconut butter
2 "Harvest Spiced" drumsticks (I ate one straight out of the baking pan)
2 cups kale sautéed in ghee w/ garlic and sea salt 

Day 3
Warm water w/ lemon
Meal 1

3 boiled eggs
1 cup microwave-steamed bok choy
1 Fuji apple sautéed in ghee and cinnamon
Meal 2

1 banana
1.5 cups raw lettuce w/ ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
½ an avocado
2 cups leftover lamb stew
Peppermint tea (no honey L)
 Meal 3

About 4 handfuls of raw cashews (waaay too many but I was so hungry when I got home I had to throw something in my mouth asap! only about 1 handful made it on the plate )
1 cup mixed “Mediterranean” veggies, steamed
Handful olives
1 "Harvest spiced" drumstick  

And I think I'm about to have a snack--banana w/ coconut butter..

Some things:
-I should not have had the honey in my tea on those first two days. But ::shrug:: I was good about that today and I will stick to the "no added sugar in any form" rule from now on.
-Green smoothies are not "technically" Paleo I guess or Whole30 approved...but mine are pretty high in fat and protein, I'm not having them in the morning so I'm not starting my day with a big sugar burst, and they have 2 cups of raw greens in them...I think all of those facts knock out their main arguments against smoothies.
-Snacking is not optimal (especially not the dried apricots and larabar I had on day 1). They suggest 3 meals a day (as big as you need them to be and 4 if you are really active) but if you do snack then it shoudl be a balanced protein-fat-carb snack (mostly protein). Since this is the first week though I think there is room for error. I have been having 4 meals + snacking!  Maybe I need to start making my meals bigger to avoid the snack attack urge or maybe my body will adjust eventually and the snacking urge will go away. I'll let ya know.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Month of Meat (and seafood, eggs, nuts/seeds and healthy fats)


I am switching gears a bit. I have decided to try the "Paleo," short for "Paleolithic," diet for 30 days ( I am currently on Day 2). Thank my friend Janelle who lent me the book, "It Starts With Food" and also thank my inability to resist testing [seemingly sound] nutritional claims for myself! I am not going to give you an in depth explanation about the Paleo diet. I will tell you what you eat on it, but I won't go into any great detail because that would take too much time AND you have Google (or Bing if you prefer) to do that for you.

What I will be eating:
- vegetables
-sea  vegetables (kelp, arame, dulse wakame)
-meat (grass-fed, organic, pastured--not to be confused with "pasteurized," this means the animal was not raised in a factory or barn but on actual grass pastures)
- eggs (from pastured chickens),
-seafood (wild caught),
- fresh fruit
-raw nuts and seeds
-other healthy fats: coconut (meat, butter, unrefined oil); olive oil; ghee (clarified butter i.e. butter with the milk proteins removed)
- green tea, herbal teas

Ghee: clarified butter i.e butter without the inflammatory milk proteins

What I will NOT be eating:

-added sugar or artificial sweeteners in any form including maple syrup, agave, stevia or...raw honey. I am actually undecided about the raw honey because I just love honey in my green tea and I only add about 1/4 of a tsp anyway...
-grains (not even whole grains: no bread, pasta, baked goods, wheat, corn, brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth etc).
-legumes ( no lentils, beans, peanuts, soybeans or products made from soy).
-dairy (except ghee).
- processed crap i.e cheetos and pumpkin doughnuts.

In general I have heard the Paleo diet explained as healthy  because it's the way "early humans" ate.  Some proponents of the diet say that our digestive system hasn't evolved along with our agricultural practices and therefore can't handle all of the things we include in our diet in the present day. Well...I don't care all that much about how cavewomen or cavemen ate. I'm doing this because the research I've done (research that does not actually mention cavepeople) has adequately convinced me that some of the foods that I assume are good for me might actually be harming me.  Specifically, I'll be following the Whole30 program (created by the authors of It Starts With Food). Click on that link for a really great overview/ explanation of the program! (I am pretty sure any questions you might have will be answered by that link so click before you ask).

Poached eggs w/ sauteed kale, chard, garlic, and red onion

I'm still skeptical:

1. Meat all day every day?

Pastured lamb chop from the Farmer's Market!
The authors of It Starts With Food, and the research they cite, have done a good job of convincing me that my LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels will not skyrocket, my arteries won't clog, my kidneys won't give out from animal protein overload, and  I won't have a heart attack...but they have not sufficiently convinced me that I won't be constipated. After suffering from consistent constipation from ages 7 to  20 (I'm 24 now), a return to that dark time is a big concern of mine. For some reason I am not convinced that I will get enough fiber from vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. I feel like I need grains and beans to have optimal fiber intake. I did poop like a champ this morning  (after Day 1 of this plan) however, so I'm hopeful things will be OK. I hope that was not TMI. We are all grown ups and can talk about poop right?  If  you're not a grown up, I hope you're not reading my blog . ha. No really, get outta here :/.

2.  Not even whole grains?!

 I have been very waryof gluten (a protein found in wheat, spelt, barely, rye, and sometimes oats) for a while now  (and have made several unsuccesful attempts to give it up long term) but I'm having a hard time believing  that even non-gluten whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, etc) are negatively affecting me. "The research," suggests, however, that all grains can be pro-inflammatory. We will see.

3. No beans? Now you're just making stuff up!

But actually they're not making stuff up. Still I did find that their argument against beans was the weakest of all their arguments against restricted food groups. I am especially skeptical because Dr. Joel Fuhrman ,who I absolutely respect and trust after reading his incredible book Eat to Live, puts beans on a very high nutritious, cancer-fighting pedestal. Again, we will see.

After the 30 days, I will reintroduce some foods to my diet (wheat products, whole grains, and beans) one at a time to see how my body reacts to them. If a particular food group causes a bothersome reaction then I'll know that the foods in that group are a general no-no for me. I am already pretty sure that dairy has a bad effect on me so I don't plan on "reintroducing" it as a regular part of my diet.

What I'm hoping for:

1. No more chronic hives!
2. High energy levels that my body sustains for the entire day. (In a normal day I crash between 12 and 4 and by the time I get home in the evenings I feel completely drained).
3. Higher quality sleep.
4. Clearer skin.
5. No more eczema!
6. The death of my sugar addiction and food cravings.
7. Bye bye nasal allergies, nasal congestion and, persistent nasal drip (yum).
8. Mood stability.
9. No more general body stiffness or random but persistent aches and pains (mainly my knee joints and back pain).
10. Relief from my chronic upper right abdominal pain.

I am not doubtful about the healing power of the right foods. A truly healthy diet reduces systemic inflammation--which is frequently caused by poor diet, stress etc.  Systemic inflammation is a significant root cause of  a ton of common ailments like allergies, eczema, acne and joint pain, as well as of  major diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc. I don't know if this is the particular eating plan that will be best for me but I am excited about testing it.

What about being an "aspiring vegan?":

Fruits and Veggies from this morning's trip to the Farmer's Market: 1 huge bunch of Red Kale, 1 head of  purple cabbage, 1 head of green leaf lettuce, 3 parsnips, and 6 pears.

I am OK with taking a break from that goal for a while. My number one reason for attempting to go vegan was for my health. Concern for the environment was a supporting reason. Along the way, I learned just how despicable and cruel factory farming is and my conscience would not let me go back to fully supporting that. The good folks at Whole30 say that I will be healthier with high quality animal protein in my diet and they've given me enough evidence to make me want to test their claim. I also appreciate that they emphasize the importance of eating grass-fed, organic, pastured meat and meat products.
 I don't and won't preach to people about everything wrong with factory farming on a regular basis. I don't want people to be angry at me or down on themselves, and I don't want people to think that I have a superiority complex about meat eating. I don't. This is not an elitist thing. It's a personal cruelty-free, health conscious thing and this is my blog and today I will preach a bit. Factory-farmed meat is just not good for you. The grain and animal by-product diet that factory farmed animals are fed, as well as the antibiotics and hormones they're given makes their meat, especially the fatty parts (toxins are concentrated in fat cells), I respect that the authors of It Starts With Food emphasize that their health claims don't hold as strongly, if at all, in the case of eating factory farmed meat. Grass fed beef,  pastured chickens and their eggs, and wild caught seafood ARE expensive, no doubt. I can just barely afford it but the strain is worth it.
The people who make their millions from factory farming DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR HEALTH. They ONLY CARE ABOUT THEIR MONEY! Fact, fact, fact. They are unnecessarily and heartbreakingly cruel to animals (and to their factory workers btw), don't give a shit about the environment and I'll do everything I can to NOT support their ugly souls! This is a conclusion you have to come to on your own however. Nothing but doing my own research on this (or any food) issue would have convinced me to go this route.
In short,  doing the Whole30 program doesn't violate any of my beliefs/ morals about eating animals and I plan on being an "aspiring vegan," once again someday

Acorn Squash baked w/ ghee and a bit of sea salt.

Still, in support of Veganism:

A little side note. I am now more than ever convinced that people who say being vegan is more expensive than being omnivorous don't actually know what they are talking about. Beans, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables are cheaper than  meat, fish, eggs and dairy products--even the factory-farmed, non- organic kinds of these products. I challenge anyone to test me on this.

Ok, that is all for now. Stay tuned for my Paleo adventures!