Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Back to Paleo

I had surgery and that knocked my world for a loop. It was supposed to be a 1-hour surgery where I was up and going the next day. Instead it was a 3 hour nightmare and will have several weeks of recovery. In the end, it's a good thing. While completing my minor surgery, they found a very dangerous condition (several organs had fused together!). I'm all fixed up, but recovery will take a while, as my insides had to be scraped clean. While I had no symptoms before, I can tell now that something was amiss, and had been for a long time.

While recovering from surgery, eating became less of a priority. I was willing to eat anything that would just. stay. down. I hate narcotics. The first week of recovery I was unable to cook for myself, so I had others preparing my meals. A good portion of what I ate was Paleo-compliant, but there were exceptions I happily made to ease the burden of my caretakers.

(Photo credit: Blog of Holding)

It's been 2 weeks and I'm now able to (mostly) care for myself. I am back to Paleo eating, for the most part, and am already feeling better. I've scoured the Internet for Paleo Thanksgiving recipes and am excited to try some of them out!

While this blog started out as a 30-day trial, I acknowledge that this is a lifestyle for me now. This is my permanent choice. I feel amazing on Paleo, and I won't be going back.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 13: Recipes and the joy of Paleo

Salty Lemonade. Eventually I will try something else for breakfast, but I love this kick this gives to my morning.

Yet another Paleo Candy Bar from Paleo Plan.

Leftover Chicken and Dumplings.

(photo credit: Pragmatic Paleo)

A throw together:
  • Chicken breast covered in Old Bay Seasoning
  • Layer on bacon
  • Layer on sweet potatoes
  • Layer on carrots
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and cinnamon
  • Bake in Corningware on 350 for 35 minutes
Served with grilled spinach.

Food used to consume my life. I thought about it all the time: What am I craving? What can I eat? When can I eat again? Can I have seconds? How big is the portion? Will there be a dessert opportunity? Now, food is a constant state of being sated. Since I started Paleo, my energy doesn't deviate, my stomach never growls. When sometimes forget that I haven't eaten in several hours. I can be too distracted to notice hunger. This is a new experience for me, and an entirely pleasant one. For example, right now, dinner is still cooking. I haven't eaten in almost 8 hours, I am able to identify that I'm hungry, but I'm not scouring the kitchen, I'm not pre-eating.

Fascinated. Thrilled. I love Paleo.

Day 12: Recipes

Salty Lemonade

Paleo Candy Bars from Paleo Plan

Steak salad from Garcia's Mexican Restaurant. I won't lie, resisting the chips and salsa was impossible, and I did eat some chips. The salad I ordered without the shell, no cheese, and no sour cream. I was pleased with my choices, although I regretted those chips later in the day.

Grilled green beans (like I said, the chips were not a wise choice)

I will need to investigate alternatives to super-crispy chips. I really miss the hearty crunch of a tortilla chip, but the price I paid for eating them was not worth it.

Not a successful day, but some days are not.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 11: Grocery stores and recipes

Salty Lemonade.

Chipotle salad - lettuce, double steak, medium salsa and pico
Apple juice

Paleo Candy Bar from Paleo Plan

Steak and chicken fajitas. By fajitas I mean thinly sliced meat tossed with onions and bell peppers and spicy seasoning.

At my local grocery store, the produce and the meat department are right next to each other on the east side of the store. I could arrange my shopping trips so that I only have to venture into the rest of the store once a month to buy household items and my collection of roasted nuts. This is a very strange adventure I've embarked on, ya'll.

I was the Kraft Mac 'n Cheese Mom. Yes, it always had mixed veggies and grilled chicken, but I was starch-as-the-staple like so many other single Mom's. I thought there was no way I could find the time to "do Paleo," but as it turns out, Paleo is easy. It's meat and veggies in a pan; it's salads and smoothies; it's apple slices and almond butter; it's Holy Grale Juice and Salty Lemonade.

This whole "Paleo thing" is really awesome.

Day 10: Recipes

Salty Lemon Water
Autumn Harvest Trail mix (almonds, papaya, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried apples, dried cranberries)

Paleo Candy Bars from Jason at Paleo Plan

These I made for my daughter to take as a snack to school. They are slightly sweet and very filling. I tripled the recipe to ensure enough for both of us for the week. I'm thrilled for such a tasty and healthy treat to send her. We used carob powder over cocoa powder and the chopped nuts we used were almonds (her preferred nut type).

Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), 1/4c blueberries, 1/3 banana

After I finish the yogurt we've got in the house, I'll be removing it from my diet altogether. This is the only diary I currently consume and I believe I can eliminate this category altogether. I was keeping the yogurt to help with some digestive difficulties I was having, but the lemon water in in the morning seems to have remedied this issue.

Raw almonds

Boulder Sausage Company brats, sweet potatoes & carrots. I put them all in a pan and cooked for 20 minutes. A family favorite.

Post-run Snack
Marinara sauce with turkey

While my meals for the day were fairly boring, my hunger for the day was almost non-existent so I wasn't motivated to do much in the way of cooking. Sweet potatoes seem to be the most requested item in my house, which I find interesting. Since they are nutrient rich, I'm fine with providing them.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Paleo: A personal experience of the benefits

Today is the tenth day of my Paleo adventure. It has gotten easier with each passing day and now I'm able to reflect on what I've gained in the first ten days.

I no longer require caffeine to make it through the day. I used to be a 6 to 8 cups a day girl, and now I drink half to one cup a day. I occasionally make a cup of black tea instead. I went through some headaches with caffeine withdrawals, but the reality is I drank coffee because my energy was depleted throughout the day, and no longer require that bump.

(photo credit: Caffine Bar)
I no longer have food cravings. I don't have deep-seeded desires for bread, sugar, rich foods, or devilish treats. I don't feel allure from pizza or cheese or alcohol. I'm able to walk paste cake, cookies, and donuts without looking twice.

(photo credit: SNS Post)

I no longer have the PM drain. I used to get tired and grumpy at about 2:00pm and I would graze the entire rest of the evening to keep my energy up. No longer. My energy level is consistent and I find myself hungry on what would be a normal schedule. If I eat 150 calories, I'm hungry 2 hours later; if I eat 500 calories, I'm hungry 4 or 5 hours later; as opposed to when I would eat a 400 calorie bagel and be hungry an hour later.

(photo credit: Cartoon Doll Emporium)

I've lost 4 pounds. I wasn't trying to lose weight, but certainly wasn't going to complain if I dropped a few pounds. But I've lost 4 pounds. I won't complain if a few more decide they don't want to stick around!

(photo credit: Project Look Good Naked

My running has improved. This is a big one for me as I'm an avid runner. I was slightly concerned that decreasing my carbs significantly might deplete my glycogen stores too early in my runs, but I've found that not to be the case. I'm incredibly excited about seeing improved recovery times in my running, and increased speed as well. **As a note, weight loss typically increases running time. I cannot say whether it is the weight loss or the Paleo intake that has resulted in an improved running time.

(photo credit: Improve Your Running)

I sleep better. Who doesn't love a restful night of sleep? I wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. Yes, I get plenty of sleep (8 hours, ya'll, every night!), but I've always guarded my sleep carefully. Now my sleep is more productive and restful. I wake up with energy and enthusiasm (not cheerfulness, but I don't want to destroy the world on waking anymore).

(photo credit: O5

I am very grateful for the chance to try this fantastic new plan, and I am excited to see how I feel after another 10 days.

Day 9: Recipes

Over-easy egg over a hamburger patty and grilled spinach.
Salty Lemon Water

Sugar-free marinara with turkey over spaghetti squash

Jolene's Chicken Bake
3 chicken breast fillets
3 slices bacon
1 sweet potato
1 zucchini
Emeril's Original Essence

Directions: Grease a small pan with coconut oil. Add chicken breast fillets. Spice with Emeril's Original Essence to taste. Layer bacon over chicken. Layer sweet potatoes over bacon. Layer zucchini over sweet potato. Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes.

Chocolate Chunk Paleo Cookies from Gina with Running to the Kitchen

This is a repeat recipe, and I cannot speak highly enough for it. They are just as good as the real thing, ya'll. Just as good.