Category Archives: Exercise

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!

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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!

Hunting & Gathering (or as we call it nowadays, grocery shopping)

Grocery shopping is often a source of stress for me. Usually we (my boyfriend and I) are working with a very limited budget and trying to make it stretch as long as possible. I am still in the process of learning how to budget shop on a paleo diet but it does get easier each go.

Most of the time we have about $40-50 to last a couple of weeks to feed two adults who really like to eat. We have found that a week’s worth of food has been pretty easy to come by with that amount of money, below in the slideshow is a picture of about $40 worth of groceries that lasted us about a week, and it is somewhat bare bones considering all of the delicious paleo-friendly options out there.

The items we concentrate on getting into the basket when traversing the linoleum wilds of the grocery store are meat & eggs, fats, vegetables, and fruit, mostly in that order. If we can afford some extra luxury items we go for full-fat Greek yogurt (FAGE), unsweetened frozen berries, coconut milk, cheese, nuts, seafood, and whatever else might strike our fancy that week.

The meats category mostly consists of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pork (which is usually pretty cheap), and hopefully some ground beef and/or maybe even some steaks if we get really lucky. Right now we are just shopping at the supermarket but I want to look into going to a local butcher instead. I have recently found out however that the supermarket marks down much of the meat and the seafood as well pretty drastically toward the end of the night so we will probably start taking advantage of that. Everything gets broken up into meal size portions when we get home and put in the freezer. Eggs are great for breakfast and other things, we always try to keep them in stock.

The main fats we use are unsalted butter and lard. Both are pretty inexpensive so easy for us to get a hold of and they are both also very flexible as far as what you can cook with them. I also love olive oil which we do happen to have in stock now and I hope to keep it that way!

Vegetables can be preferably fresh or frozen, but sometimes canned. We like to keep salad greens on hand and try to have enough to have at least 3 or 4 good sized salads every week. I love the bags of vegetables that you can just throw in the microwave to steam. We will throw in a couple tablespoons of butter at the end to mix up in there. It’s fast, convenient, and they are fairly inexpensive. I think we got them for around 2 or 3 for $5 last time.

We try to pick up a little bit of fruit each time we go to the store. Often it is just a bag of apples and maybe a bunch of bananas. I like to snack on both with peanut butter (one of those no-no items on the strict paleo regimen), but peanut butter is kind of a luxury item and I plan on trying to switch over to healthier nut butters. Berries are always welcome in our household and if we have enough we go for bags of unsweetened frozen berries since it is less expensive and they keep for longer than the fresh stuff.

So that is about how we grocery shop, in a nutshell. We are definitely still figuring out how to stay on top of eating healthy on a tight budget and I will definitely post any tips and/or tricks we come across.

We have talked about making grocery shopping a little more primal by bicycling to the supermarket to stock up instead of driving. That way we would be mimicking actually getting out there and moving to do the “hunting and gathering”, more similar to our paleolithic ancestors, all the way to dragging “the kill” back home.

Hey, any excuse to get that exercise is good, huh? 😉

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P.S. I am planning on taking a photo of everything I eat and posting it here at the end of the day so that anyone interested can get an idea of what sort of things you might eat on this diet. Our meals are generally pretty simple, we are both busy students so we prefer quick, inexpensive meals. There is not really a way out of cooking on this diet, but that should be seen as a good thing. Things that come prepackaged and ready to eat are pretty much awful for you, no matter what they say on the label. Just read the ingredient list and you’ll get the idea.

So for breakfast I had what is fast becoming the usual, a bowl of scrambled eggs. The idea here is to throw in whatever you’ve got and sounds good. We almost always have tomatoes and onions on hand, so those are in there, as well as some pork sausage and shredded Gouda cheese and it is all topped off with salsa. It was all cooked in about a tbsp. of unsalted butter in addition to some of the fat cooked off of the sausage.

As students our days are kind of irregular. We woke up around 11 am so “breakfast” was actually around 12:30. School until about 5 pm so our next meal was lunch/dinner which consisted of a thick, juicy pork chop pan-fried in olive oil, seasoned with dry oregano, rosemary, sea salt, and pepper, a salad of green leaf-lettuce, iceberg, tomato, and onion tossed in olive oil and red wine vinegar, and a bunch of canned green beans (technically a legume, and non-paleo, but probably the most harmless of the legumes).

For a snack, or dessert if you want to call it that we had what was left of our FAGE FF (remember, that’s full fat here, NOT fat free) Greek yogurt. I had mine with a small handful of almonds, some frozen blueberries and rasberries, and drizzled with honey. It was very yummy. 🙂