Ghee-licious!

I am the absent blogger, which really I need to keep up with more for purposes of keeping my weak-willed behind on task. I’ve had some moments of almost sheer panic related to not being able to eat food that is just horrible for me anyway. I definitely have some issues with certain foods, particularly sweets it seems. I fear it may be the amount of fruit I am eating, maybe having that sugar in my system is keeping my body from truly detoxing from the stuff and eliminating those cravings. The constancy of sweet treats on the break table at work has not been helpful either. But here I still am, following my Whole30 protocol. We are over half-way through now (on day 18) and while we are looking forward to drinking some alcohol at the end of this, we are still very much enjoying the food we are eating.

One of the food items that I have been missing greatly is grass-fed butter. I like to cook most of the things we eat in it, and I just haven’t been able to get that nice crispy sear on a steak without butter. We decided early on against buying butter to make ghee (since the amount of ghee I got was much less than I started with) or buying ghee already made (expensive) but I broke down and just bought some organic pastured ghee and am pretty much in heaven now where that is concerned. The steaks are turning out great, the eggs are creamy and buttery, the veggies have become more of a delight to eat, and the sweet potatoes are phenomenal.

Last night’s dinner was ghee explosion, everything was smothered in it. The steaks had that perfect crust (I don’t know what it is technically called, and cooked rare (yum!), I sauteed the shrimp in ghee with some minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and the baby carrots were steamed, then doused in ghee.

Steak, garlic-ghee shrimp, & baby carrots

After our Whole30 is over I want to make some Shrimp Scampi, which I used to make all the time when I was on the Atkins diet in the past. I want to get some big juicy shrimp for that!

Outside of the realm of food (finally!) I have a pair of New Balance Minimus shoes on the way! I am excited to try them out and have my feet protected while getting the barefoot experience. I prefer to be barefoot and mostly always have. I have extremely flat feet and shoes with high arches (though I’ve worn them a lot in the misguided attempt to correct the problem) just make my feet hurt horribly. I have always been more comfortable wearing very flat-soled shoes (like Chuck Taylor’s and Old Navy flip flops). I have also looked at the Vibram FiveFingers which sound great and one day I will probably have a pair, but I think I am better off not having my toesies all exposed in the beginning. I was very pleased to find out that NB had come out with a minimal shoe and I think they are pretty cute too. Here is a pic of the pair I ordered (for a very reduced price on eBay):

NB Minimus Trail-Running Shoe

So school begins again tomorrow (EEK!) and I am maybe for the first time not so excited about it. I have generally always loved school, but it has been about 8 years and I think I’m ready to get out in the real world and make money and have my free-time free again.  I even have a prospect for an engineering internship with a great company for this coming summer in the works right now so am very excited. By this time next year I will be a full-fledged mechanical engineer with a degree and probably be working a full-time engineering job. Crazy stuff.

But for now the drudgery continues and I am still freaking a little bit on how this diet is going to work during school. We are both going to be very busy with school, as well as working 20-30 hours a week, and cooking every meal sounds very daunting right now. A couple things I want to try to do is cooking a big amount of meat one day so that some main courses will be essentially ready-made for really busy days, and I’m probably going to start boiling a bunch of eggs every week for quick snack/breakfast items for school days. Other than those two ideas, I am sort of at a loss. But veggie sides usually aren’t too much trouble or time-consuming so maybe it will work out well this way, if I keep up with the plan.

As far as exercise, still not really happening yet. Which is OK, we are supposed to be concentrating on what we are eating right now and making sure we don’t slip up. Today is beautiful though so we are talking about taking a bicycle ride up to the university today. I hope it happens, I miss riding my bike! I definitely need to pin down some sort of exercise routing for during school, I will be figuring this stuff out very soon so will have more on it in the near future.

This is getting long, so I will end with all the pictures I’ve taken of our food since the last time I posted🙂

Pork Ribs, Sweet Potato Chips, Salad

Ham, Broccoli, Sweet Potato Chips w/ Guac

Of course, as I mentioned in the last post I believe, the ham is not nitrate/nitrite free, which is not Whole30 approved. I have been reading a lot on this pancreatic cancer link stuff with processed meats that has been floating around recently. The study was a meta-analysis of a bunch of other studies that did not control for other factors like obesity, type II diabetes, etc., and is extremely inconclusive. Leave it to the media to start a panic. I will continue to try to avoid processed meats containing nitrates and nitrites because I don’t think that it is necessarily conclusive in the other direction either, but I’m not going to pass out a great deal to get a large amount of food just because it is cured either for the time being.

Chipotle! Salad with Carnitas and Barbacoa

We have been doing a little eating out and we tried Chipotle for the first time (which only recently showed up in Lubbock). It is pricy but very delicious! We ordered salads the first time, then bowls the second time. It seemed the bowls were much heavier in meat, so we will probably go with those in the future. Exactly the same ingredients, just more meat in the bowl. I had been seeing Chipotle mentioned in the paleo community so had to try it out. We have been ordering online then picking up, but in the future maybe we will try some of the tips on this site: How to eat wild at Chipotle

MEATZA! w/ Baked Sweet Potato and Avocado

We made meatza one other time, several months ago. Of course that one had cheese on it. I mixed up the ground beef with salt, pepper, oregano, and some minced garlic and pressed it flat into a baking pan. We sprinkled some sesame seeds on it and baked it til it was just about done. Drained off the grease that smothered it in tomato paste and topped it with diced ham and red onion slices and baked it about 15 more minutes. I think at 350F. It was very delicious!

Fajita meat & veggies from Rosa's and Guac.

Another foray into eating out, this was for my hour lunch break from work and I didn’t wanna try to cook and eat in that time. I went through the drive-thru at Rosa’s. It was pretty tasty and convenient.

Steak, Green Beans & Mushrooms, Sweet Potato, and Dessert!

This was one of our BIG A** dinners, extremely filling. This meal was the first I made after we bought the ghee, so it was also ghee-licious!🙂 Sauteed green beans and baby portabellos in ghee, steak, and these sweet potato patty things we picked up that we just threw in the microwave and then spread some ghee over and sprinkled some cinnamon on. OMG they are good and I am going to have to fight myself to not buy them anymore, surely I can do it with sweet potatoes anyway. They get really soft and tasted like some sort of pudding. Yum! And we love cantaloupe, especially filled with berries and coconut milk.

Scrambled Eggs, Pork Sausage, and Fruit Breakfast

This breakfast sausage is nitrate/nitrite free! We also got some other nitrite/nitrate free sausage we are planning on having for lunch or dinner today.

Ham & Eggs & Strawberries

Simple, quick breakfast, my favorite to make.

So as you can see, we have been eating pretty good. A banana with almond butter as become a favorite snack of mine, I try to stick to not more than one a day at the most. I’ve been getting almond butter from the grocery store where they have a machine that makes it fresh from almond pieces. The machine wouldn’t work last time we were there, which made me very sad.

I’ll sign off here. I am sure my attention to this blog will dwindle even further with school starting and all, but I will do my best!

I’m a bad blogger!

Ok, I have MIA and have been letting this blog go. I know I don’t really have many (if any) readers but keeping up with this blog is really helpful in keeping up with and on my paleo/primal path so it is important to me to blog about my experience often. Much of the focus has been on food since I started but I do hope to start branching out into other areas of the primal lifestyle that I am trying to adhere to or want to try out.

Me and the man are planning on starting to work out very soon, hopefully  this week. We have been letting that slip while just concentrating on eating well and having been working a lot. We are going to look into some different programs that are popular amongst the paleo/primal set, such as Crossfit and P90X, I am also very interested in starting out with Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint for exercise which sounds very manageable for me and definitely gets results.

I think in the end it might just come down to how do I want my body to look over time? I think sticking to bodyweight exercises such as in the Primal Blueprint Plan might be more for me than the heavy lifting involved in Crossfit might be more conducive to the results I want to see for myself. But, I don’t know a whole lot about it at this point so will be doing some research and perhaps even trying some different things out to see what I like the best.

I do know regardless I want to stick with the basic gist of Mark Sisson’s idea of getting exercise: 2 or 3 days a week of moving slowly (walking, hiking, bike-riding), a couple days of lifting heavy things (myself, or weighted objects), and about one day a week of sprinting (all out exertion on an activity in short bursts), and lots of playtime that equates as exercise. Mark offers a free e-book on his fitness plan at his site, Mark’s Daily Apple. It is really helpful and offers laid out plans, examples of body weight exercises and lots of good stuff. I believe you have to sign up for the MDA Newsletter, which is not a bad idea, I have never been disappointed.

So the Whole30 is still going well, a third of the way through now. The only non-approved item I believe has been the ham we got, which I was just so excited about the deal (it was about $12 on sale and will last us DAYS), I didn’t think about the sodium nitrite/nitrate stuff. So, we have been eating it anyway, for paleo-ers on a budget it has been a very helpful item. Of course once I realized I wanted to do some research and see just what the deal is with this stuff. Apparently sodium nitrite is theorized to possibly play a role in causing pancreatic cancer, which is definitely bad, though unproven from what I can tell. I found this post at paleodietnews.com that shines a kinder light than generally found in the paleo forum on the subject. The research done was through a food survey, maybe not the most accurate mode, but the results seemed to show no marked difference in cancer occurence between those with higher levels of nitrites and nitrates in their diets. All in all it probably is safer to err on the side of caution and avoid the stuff when possible until more solid evidence comes around, but it did make me feel a bit better about this ham in my fridge.

Orange-glazed ham, Steamed Broccoli, & Sweet Potato Chips w/ Guac

Our fruit consumption has been cut down drastically, basically by the fact that we are out of fruit and money which means no more fruit for a bit. We did have some canned pineapple yesterday (no added sweeteners) and I’ve still got some frozen blueberries. We will be re-upping on groceries soon (financial aid money from school coming in this week) so making it through the Whole30 should be easy.

Our current dilemma is figuring out how to fit in all of this cooking and food-prepping in when school starts. It will be done, but finding ways to save some time will be incredibly useful. Also I need to figure out ways to eat when not at home. I prefer not to try eating out as finding approved Whole30 dishes away from home is difficult, not to mention, expensive. I have school a couple days a week from 9:30 until about 4 in the afternoon. I have a similar dilemma with work and I’ve been just throwing some nuts, coconut flakes, and frozen blueberries or whatever in a bag and bringing it along and if I feel hunger pangs coming on I snack on this til I can get home and cook something.

Paleo Munchie Mix

I am also not opposed to doing some IF (intermittent fasting) during the times I am in school (I usually skip breakfast, but we will see how it goes), but I would like to at least bring something along just in case my brain needs a boost, which is often the case.

As far as reducing time spent cooking during the week all I have thought of so far is cooking meat in advance, so that there are basically some ready-made meals for tight spots during the week. I would prefer to have freshly cooked meat for every meal, but I know there are going to be times where I really don’t want to take the time to cook an entire meal and would rather just throw a plate in the microwave for a few minutes and eat.

Burgers, Sweet Potato & Spinach, & Green Beans

As for results of the Whole30, can’t tell you weight lost so far really but I know I have lost some. Have had some waning energy levels over the last week or so due to the metabolic changes going on which I think has had a late onset due to the amount of fruit we were consuming the first week. Feeling really good otherwise, most noticeable changes so far have been in my skin, which I personally think feels much softer and definite improvements in acne issues, and feeling and looking slimmer for sure. I also was having issues with having rheumatoid arthritis-like pain in my joints after a day of work and this seems to have greatly delineated which I am very happy about.

Pork Chop, Baby Carrots, Radishes, & Blackberries

I am also happy to report I have been Diet Coke free from the beginning of this Challenge and hope to continue being free of this addiction after the challenge has ended. I know it will be hard to not give into the temptation of having a diet soda as an occasional treat, but I am pretty sure that would just lead to me going back to my old habits of drinking nothing but, so I think I’ll try to avoid it altogether. I have also cut back a lot lately on coffee and tea as well and have mostly been drinking water, which is great!

Chicken drumsticks, asparagus, & baby carrots

Oh and I keep forgetting to mention, I have been working my way through the Robb Wolf Paleo Solution Podcasts, free on iTunes, and find listening really inspirational and entertaining. I have kind of worked my way through from both ends, listening to the first episodes and working my way through, then listening to the newer ones. I highly recommend checking them out if you are interested in learning more about the paleo lifestyle, or are already here and just haven’t checked it out yet.

I would also like to throw in here just in case somebody reads and is interested you can find me on facebook under the name “Sabreteef” and on Twitter as well, @sabreteef. Thanks for reading and if you are on a paleo/primal journey as well, good luck and enjoy the benefits! I sure am!

Still going strong on day 6!

2nd Whole30 Grocery Shopping (the meat trip)

I’ve been busy with work and cooking(!) and have been neglecting to post. The Whole30 challenge continues successfully thus far. I can’t believe it has only been 6 days. I haven’t taken pics of everything we have been eating (I get home from work so hungry I don’t even think about it) but I’ll include some highlights I did photograph.

One new dish we tried was some calf liver we picked up. It was really inexpensive and I always read about it’s nutritional value. I was scared about it but I think I really did give it an honest try and….hell no, not for me. The man liked it and finished his plate so I am guessing I didn’t cook it too badly, it just made me think of feet. I rinsed it the night before and let it soak overnight in lemon juice, which was suggested on many sites and is said to help pull toxins from the liver so yeah, I was doing that and the fact that such an action was needed was kind of scary. We went with the classic liver and onions and the onions did nothing for me. I couldn’t even really eat the rest of my meal, I tried two bites (see, took a second bite, I really tried!) and it just totally destroyed my appetite.

I would say that maybe the only fault so far is the amount of fruit we eat..though I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, I am not sure exactly how much fruit is really allowed. Probably 1 serving a day on average but there are some days like the day we had half a cantaloupe each filled with strawberry/banana/coconut milk smoothie blend. And I’ve been having maybe 1 banana a day, though there was today when I had two and a half (banana with almond butter has been my go to snack when I need something real quick). The fruit is beginning to run low though and thanks to having to pay a copay at the doctor’s office today the money is gone, so the fruit consumption should decrease drastically in the next couple of days. The almond butter is gone too, sad to say. That stuff was good.

We have also had some injuries with some of the foods we have had. I have a blood blister on my thumb from trying to get into some blue crab claws we got for a $1.00 without any tools for the job, and a we both got stab wounds in our hands from trying to pry the coconut meat out of a coconut. It has been fun, I’m sure cavemen got injuring while preparing food and eating it, right?🙂

The seafood meal was a memorable one, the claws, albeit a lot of effort for a little bit of sustenance, were damn good. We also had salmon steaks (2 for $1.00!) and my sad attempt at coconut shrimp (still tasty!). We had stuffed green peppers one night (first time), stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, onion, mushroom, and tomato and topped with some SF tomato paste mixed with some water for a sauce. We had a roast one night which I sadly let overcook, I didn’t take a picture of it I was so depressed about it.

And one of my favorite things we had were some spicy sweet potato chips with guacamole, I wasn’t sure at first how well they would go together, but we had two extremely ripe avocados that weren’t really good for anything but guacamole or maybe salad dressing, and I had been seeing sweet potato chips online. I smeared the sweet potato slices with coconut oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and baked in the oven. I mixed the avocado with tomato, cilantro, and lime juice for the guac. I think sweet potato chips with guacamole is one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. We will definitely be having that again!

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I have to get to sleep, work in the morning. Feeling pretty great so far, not too much of the transition period woes, maybe the off and on paleo dieting before this got my body ready for it. I’ve already had people tell me I look like I’ve lost weight and I can tell I look slimmer in my work uniform, so there is definitely some results going on in that department. Can’t wait to see the final (lower) number on the scale on the morning of the 31st!

Whole30 Day *Two

Still going strong on this Whole30 Challenge thing. I don’t think I have mentioned yet that we purchased some calf livers on our shopping expedition. I have never eaten livers of any sort and the more I think about it the more scared I get. I open the fridge and look at them sitting there in their liver juice, I’ve picked them up and they are squishy. Scary. I will give it a go though, not sure when, but probably soon since eating bad liver is even scarier.

Day Three went pretty good, there were actually some goodies on the break table at work that I could eat (veggie tray) so I had some baby carrots, celery sticks, and sugar snap peas (yom!). I didn’t eat breakfast which is often the case when I have to be at work before noon but I threw a small handful of almonds, same of brazil nuts, a big handful of coconut flakes, and some frozen blueberries in a bag so I would have something if I needed some energy. It was actually pretty damn good, the blueberries thawed up and the juice from them made the coconut flakes all juicy. I am somewhat off and on again obsessed with trail mix and since venturing into paleo-land have been wanting to make some paleo trail mix (I ate a lot of sugary candy-like trail mix before). This was a good start for sure so I know it can be done! I just have to try and keep myself from eating crazy amounts of nuts in a day.

I got home from work and had some of the leftover ham from Christmas (yep we still got some, not much though). I fried it up and then scrambled some eggs in coconut oil topped with some salsa. I love scrambled eggs and meat for it’s simplicity and quick cooking time. I do need to find some alternatives to eggs for breakfasts/quick meals. Probably after my Whole30 is over, I want to give Robb Wolf’s autoimmune diet tips a try. I definitely have a lot of autoimmune issues going on and am willing to try it and see if it helps enough to give up some things. Problem is there are some fairly main staples in my diet on the list, like eggs and onions in particular.

Quick & Easy-Ham & Eggs & Strawberries

Dinner was AWESOME, rivaling the rib-eye steak and mashed cauliflower from the day before. Boneless pork ribs, sweet potatoes, and salad.

The easiest, best way for us to cook the ribs was baked in the oven, though I would have loved to throw them on a grill. We threw the bunch in a casserole-like dish (?) and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and baked at 350F for nearly an hour and a half. They came out really good, tender and juicy. I nuked a couple sweet potatoes wrapped in saran wrap in the microwave to get them kind of tender then sliced them up and cooked them the rest of the way on the stove top with some coconut oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. (The man says he is getting tired of cinnamon so I supposed I’ll have to stop going there soon). The salad was just pre-mixed organic spring mix with red onion and tomato added, and tossed in salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.

That was a very delicious and satisfying meal! I was fretting about bbq sauce (I am from TX and am accustomed to bbq sauce with my meat) but I thought the ribs were juicy enough to stand on their own. I tried flitting around the internet for some Whole30 approved bbq sauce recipes, came up with a little, so maybe I’ll try some out here soon.

I am glad to make it past the third day, I find that day three of often the hardest when it comes to a lot of things I’ve experienced. Quitting smoking cigarettes and fasting are two that immediately come to mind. Day 3 for both of those things is torture for me. I wouldn’t say day 3 of strict paleo was torture, the diet coke thing is probably the hardest but it is not like I’m detoxing from caffeine, I drink plenty of coffee and tea. So I only expect it to get easier from here on out and look forward to feeling and looking a lot better!

And even toward the end of day four (where I’m at currently) I already am feeling and seeing some results. The acne I was getting from my stint of sweets and other badnesses at the end of last month has cleared up and no signs of return, I haven’t felt gross and bloated once since starting my Whole30 which is common after eating a SAD meal for me, my energy levels seem pretty good, though I won’t be surprised if they wane during the overall transition, and I just feel mentally happy with myself for really doing this and eating so healthy and knowing that I’m going to see some great results from this.

 

Whole30 Day One (aka Yesterday)

The Whole30 Challenge began yesterday but it was a a busy day and we usually have dinner kind of late so being a day behind is probably how it is gonna be.

I have not had any diet coke at all since the challenge began which I’m pretty damn proud of. I am doing good with that other than I habitually think about it all the time, like on my way to work, from work, and all of those times I usually would be picking up a soda.

As far as beverages it has been water, coffee, and trying out all the nifty teas we have around here. Coconut milk and occasionally a dash of cinnamon is how I drink all of it (except the water), and I very quickly got used to the lack of sweetness and it doesn’t bother me at all.

Another new experience was making clarified butter (ghee) with what was left of our grass-fed butter (which wasn’t much). I am not sure it was a flying success, I think I should have ended up with more clarified butter, but I apparently have not mastered the skimming of the milk solids from the top. From about a stick I ended up with maybe an ounce or two. I have not checked prices yet (haven’t been to the grocery store that carried ghee yet) but if buying it already done isn’t a whole lot more than butter I’m gonna skip all the work I think. We shall see.

We didn’t really do breakfast, I slept in LATE and the man had to be at work at 6 am. I started working on lunch when I got up though and we had chicken and butternut squash with sauteed onions. I just threw a banana on the plate because after dealing with the squash I got pretty lazy. We don’t have our own oven so I used the microwave and it was kind of a pain in the a**. Poked some holes in it and cooking it for a LONG TIME then painstakingly got the squash out of the shell. I guess I just suck at that or something.🙂 Part way through I did cut it in half and throw some salt, pepper, and coconut oil on it for the rest of heating. All in all it ended up a pretty filling and delicious meal.

Chicken Breast, Butternut Squash and Onions, and a banana!

For dinner we had a special occasion meal. Big, juicy rib-eye steaks that I bought to have for dinner on our first day of the challenge, Mashed cauliflower, and asparagus. The steaks were (of course) cooked rare, and this was my first time with mashed cauliflower as well. I think maybe it needed to be steamed a bit longer for the purpose, of course this was done in the microwave in a bowl with a little water in it. I just did 3-4 minute length times until it seemed smooshy enough then went to town on it with a potato masher (no food processor here). I wanted to get the super smooth texture but it ended up kinda chunky, which was still really delicious. I mixed in some of the clarified butter I made, some minced garlic, salt, and pepper. The asparagus was cooked in a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I think I could eat this meal every day!

Rare Rib-Eye, Mashed Cauliflower, and Asparagus

And of course, with any special occasion meal you’ve gotta have desert! I cut up some strawberry, kiwi, and banana and mixed it all up in some whole canned coconut milk and stuck it in the fridge while we ate. The coconut milk thickened up nicely and I could also eat this every day, all day long.🙂

Fruit in Coconut Milk-Chilled

So yes, a successful first day on the Whole30. I am looking forward to losing weight during this challenge, and while I’m not going to post my current stats or anything, I will definitely be posting weight/inches lost at the end. I will post my actual stats when I can be super proud of them!

Here is a pic of our Whole30 grocery run. $60.33 worth and it is probably about a week’s worth, if that. We have enough to re-up though. We will definitely have to budget a lot tighter by the end of the month but for now we have some extra cash to put into our food and make it successfully through this challenge.

$60.33 worth of Whole30 approved groceries

We are still working on dinner for today (2nd day) so I will just keep with the day behind thing for now. If you are doing a Whole30 Challenge this month (which I know many people are) have a great time, I know I am!

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012!

I am looking forward to embarking on my first Whole30 Challenge starting tomorrow. Making it through 30 days of strict paleo will be the longest I’ve gone paleo thus far altogether and I am really excited about it. And I won’t be alone, my man is planning on doing this with me and we are both eager to the see the results. I am planning on doing some weighing and measuring tomorrow in order to compare the end results, but we won’t weigh or measure over the course of the challenge per the rules.

I will post about the experience as we go. Some new ones we will be having will be making clarified butter with what is left of our grass-fed butter, but I’m thinking we will go with completely non-dairy cooking fats when that runs out, mostly coconut oil, olive oil, and lard I’m guessing.

Since we decided to start out 2012 with Whole30 we have gone a little off the deep end the past week. We do plan on continuing with our less strict version of paleo when this is all over so we have been taking the opportunity to say good-bye to some naughty favorites. These have mostly comprised of donuts, ice-cream, chocolate milk, and red wine. Tonite, to bring in the new year I’m drinking of couple of New Castles, eating a couple of tacos, and having one each of my two favorite candy bars (York Peppermint Patty & a Butterfinger).

While I am eating all of these things, I can’t really say that I’m truly enjoying it (except maybe for the beer and wine), but letting go is just kind of hard I guess. These things are addictive for me and I’m about to go off all of them cold turkey. And omfg, I didn’t even mention the worst yet. Diet Coke. I will also be giving up Diet Coke for the next 30 days, and maybe even forever if I’m lucky. I have half a 2-liter in the fridge to finish off before I get in bed for maybe just one more night of bad sleep.🙂

Soon I’ll be going on the solid Whole30 grocery shopping trip, I will post pics and a shopping list soon.

Happy new year everyone, here is to your health and mine and feeling good and fit in 2012!

Looking forward to a new year with the Whole30 challenge!

I have been rather absent from this blog but I have also been fairly absent from eating and living primally. The holidays have mostly got the best of me: endless sweet treats on the break table at work, chocolates in my stocking, and just general laziness when it comes to cooking. I would say we have maintained at least 50-75% paleo however, which is better than nothing!

Since we have been having such a hard time getting on paleo and sticking with it, it has been decided that it is time to pull out the big guns! I got the idea from Primal Toad who is planning on undergoing the Whole30 going into 2012. Whole30 is a very strict paleo regimen with not a lot of wiggle room for neolithic badness. The idea is to cleanse your system and cut out any potential trouble foods. This in turn helps you get over those gnarly cravings. It’s 30 days of strict paleo and then after that if you want to reintroduce some more neolithic stuff like butter and whole whipping cream then it is all good.

A quick synopsis of the Whole30 menu is you basically eat only whole, unprocessed, real food (paleo food!)  like meat, seafood, veggies, and fruit, and cut out all grains, dairy, legumes, as well as all added sweeteners (real and artificial, good-bye Diet Coke, wah!). The newest version does include some concessions such as clarified butter and ghee, so we might mess around with making our own clarified butter from pastured butter, and certain legumes, like green beans.

If you are interested in paleo and what it can do for you the Whole30 challenge seems like a good program for taking it all the way to really see what kind of results you can expect. What I hope to get out of the progam is to permanently be fixed on a paleo/primal eating regimen by the end of it, lose some weight, and be stronger, healthier, and leaner.

So as for how it has been going lately (the past few weeks or so)…

At least 1 or 2 meals a day have been home-cooked and basically paleo (since we only buy paleo groceries). We have had some fast food, but the positive thing about it is that we are pretty much disgusted by it every time we eat it (and yes, we eat it anyway) so it is getting easier and easier to prefer home-cooked paleo over fast convenient yuckiness.

So we haven’t made an incredibly drastic change yet, but I think we are realizing that we feel better when we eat clean paleo food compared to how we feel when we eat lots of junk/fast food. And this is a good change. Maybe only a couple of months ago I could eat fast food all week long for say every other meal. I mostly felt like crap but I was used to feeling like crap so I didn’t really think about it. Now after eating fast food a couple of times in a week and it makes me cringe to even think about eating more of it. Give me a big plate with a heaping pile of meat, a heaping pile of veggies, and fill me up on coconut oil and grass-fed butter!

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of cravings. My man is tired of hearing my yearnings for chocolate (which is on a pretty regular basis) and I did pretty much fail at just saying no to all the holiday temptations (though I did better than usual and did resist a good bit of it!). I am not all the way there but there is definitely a difference and a growing preference for clean, whole, paleo foods, that’s all I’m saying.

Lately we have also gotten to try some new recipes and some new paleo foods we hadn’t had the chance to before. Two biggies are grass-fed butter (found one store in town, Sprouts, that sells it), and coconut oil (reasonably priced at Sprouts). There are few options in my hometown as far as grocery shopping goes, no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but Sprouts has some pretty good options. The coconut oil is their store brand and is even organic and less expensive than the stuff at Market Street United. Sprouts is the only place locally that I’ve found pastured butter. They carry two brands, the Irish Kerry Gold and Humboldt’s (I went with the less expensive Humboldt’s). We also got some local raw honey from my sis and I will probably be saddest about not having that for 30 days (right after Diet Coke, of course.)

Everything I have heard and read about grass-fed butter is true. It is wonderful, and every time I take it out I slice off a little bit and eat it just as it is. I’ve tried that with non-pastured butter and it sucks by itself, but not so with grass-fed! Yum!

Coconut oil is also now a necessary staple in our kitchen, we love it, and it is great to cook with. The kale chips I made were tossed with melted coconut oil, laid out on a cookie sheet and sprinkled with sea salt. I will probably take about 5 mins off the cooking time next time (they were VERY crispy) but OMFG they are delicious. And tossing them in coconut oil resulted in them being VERY filling. So this will be an often-made treat in our home I think.

And BTW, baked sweet potatoes with grass-fed butter, raw honey, and a sprinkling of cinnamon are ridiculously delicious and I eat way too many of them (being that I want to lose weight too).

So I will close with a little slide show of a few of the  paleo meals we have had over the last few weeks. We have been having leftover Christmas ham and eggs for breakfast the past couple days. The next several posts will probably mostly pertain to our experience with the Whole30 Challenge. I have been reading up on other people’s experiences with it and have found it all pretty helpful, so maybe my experience will do the same for someone out there.🙂

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Some other topics I hope to cover in future posts as well include paleo for pets (my dog eats grain-free, as she should), paleo snack foods (a very important topic to a busy full-time student such as myself), and hopefully some more research heavy stuff eventually about various paleo nutrition topics.

Have a happy, healthy new year everyone!

Busy Bee This Week

Well it has been a crazy week and the craziness still ensues. I will probably try to pick up the posting every day when finals are over. Wanted to stop in though before I let it go too long.

Last night for dinner we had pork chops (super-thick juicy ones!) pan-fried in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper and baked sweet potatoes, oh my, those were good. I put heaps of butter on them and sprinkled them with cinnamon then drizzled them with honey. I could eat that every day, but I better make them a rare treat until I lose the pounds I’m trying to ditch.

Here is a blurry shot of that dinner:

In the near future we are going to play around with some canned wild alaskan salmon and some more canned crab meat. I’ve been looking around for recipe ideas and most of what I’ve come across are salads and cakes, so we will see what we come up with. I am excited about learning to work with the canned salmon, I have read a lot about the great Omega-3’s and it is really inexpensive and it is wild-caught rather than farm-raised. Seafood is not particularly affordable for us and this is a great alternative!

Well I’m off to pick up my man from school and I will be spending the rest of the day (and very well, the night) as well as all of tomorrow morning and afternoon working on a final report due for my design class, ugh!

I shall return with lots more work on this blog and everything related to it after finals (middle of next week).

Cashew-Encrusted Onion Rings and Curing MS

Had a pretty good day food wise, buttery eggs with onions and salsa for breakfast, a thick juicy pork chop and some more buttery eggs (for good measure) for lunch (breakfast #2?) and steak dinner thanks to my boyfriend’s mom.🙂 Steak is always a highlight but while trying to think of a good side (besides the requisite bag of veggie steamers) I came up with cashew-encrusted onion rings!

I have never made onion rings before so I think it will probably go much better next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time for onion rings!) but what we did end up with was really good!

I am sure it would work just as well with almonds or maybe even macadamia nuts, but we had cashews on hand, and hey, what’s not to like about cashews. I pulverized a bunch of them in my blender into a fairly find cashew powder and sliced up some white onion for the rings. Using an egg wash we went along I supposed to about the same way regular onion rings are made, dipping the rings in the egg and then in the cashew dust. Then we friend them in lard! (The lard aftermath/clean up part was pretty gross though.)

The cashew dust got eggy and unpowdery pretty quick so we didn’t end up with as many rings as I would have liked to, but we will be more careful next time! They were excellent, I topped mine with some reduced sugar ketchup.

There is an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown where he makes leek rings. I think that might be worth trying out sometime. I’ve only cooked leeks once and I am definitely still learning when it comes to those.

So I also wanted to pass along a video at Robb Wolf‘s request (it is posted on his Facebook page). It’s a video of a medical doctor, Dr. Terry Wahls, talking about how she cured her multiple sclerosis by following what is essentially the paleo diet and how the paleo diet can lead us all to healthier lives. It is pretty impressive, check it out.

But the great(er) thing about the paleo diet is that is not all it can do! Here is a news story about a study that involved placing type II diabetics on two different diets, paleo and the Mediterranean diet and compared the results. Care to guess which diet totally crushed its’ opponent? But isn’t the Mediterranean diet supposed to be ultra-healthy? Er, not so much. And the study showed other great benefits of the paleo diet as well.

Here for a Quickie!

Well I started working on a post about the evils of the sugar-pushers and good stuff like that, but I am getting tired and I need to do some studying and I want to be able to put some more time into it than I can at the moment. So hopefully it will be up soon in the future!

I did want to say a little something (well a little more than something, but time, eh) about this article that lists my hometown as allegedly one of 8 of the “most artery-clogging cities in America”. I’m not denying that heart disease might be rampant in this city, but…well, let me just post the comment I am referring to in particular and then I will continue:

“3. Lubbock, TX Although it’s not a big city compared to other Texas urban centers, 32% of Lubbock residents are obese, in no small part due to the preponderance of artery-clogging steakhouses and barbecue joints.”

Number 3 even! Ok, I am mostly annoyed by the “artery-clogging steakhouses and barbecue joints” part. I don’t know, maybe the author was referring to all those baked potatoes and baskets of rolls being doled out at the steakhouses, and maybe the barbecue sauce sweetened up with plenty of added sugar and those tubs of potato salad at the barbecue joints, and they completely left out the fast-food restaurant on every corner (and everywhere inbetween), and all the doughnut shops, and Starbucks Coffee shops, and on and on.

The author sure does make it sound like steak and barbecue, aka MEAT is the culprit behind Lubbock’s high incidence of obesity. I just have to say it is stuff like this that just keep all the misinformation going, that whole grains are heart healthy and that butter and bacon grease will clog up your arteries and kill you.

I don’t have time to go into it right now unfortunately,  but I will post some links with information on why FAT is good for you and DOES NOT CLOG YOUR ARTERIES, and who/what the real culprit is. This article just kind of pissed me off so I had to say something about it. The article was published by “the editors of Prevention”, you can view the entire article at http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/8-most-artery-clogging-cities-america-172200587.html.

Here are some links to some posts on Mark’s Daily Apple (MDA):

Why Fat, Not Carbs, Are the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism

The Definitive Guide to Fats

The Definitive Guide to Saturated Fat

Just to get ya started🙂

So we did have the crab alfredo with the spaghetti squash today. The squash turned our perfectly. It wasn’t a very paleo nor even a very healthy day altogether, dinner was really the only thing close. I have to work on not letting it get me down too much when I slip up on busy, stressful days like today, but I also need to work on my willpower! Here is on more link to a recent post on Robb Wolf’s blog about temptation, CRAZY Cravings: How do cookies, pizza, etc. know your name?? Maybe I should change my name ; )