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Monday, October 14, 2013

Whole 30 {Week 2 & 3 Recap}

Week 3 of the Whole 30 is over and I'm sure you're wondering if the hunnie and I have given Paleo the boot yet.  We ARE still hangin' on to the Paleo plan...but we are finding out that the American lifestyle is really not built for a complete Whole 30 life. Life can be so busy, and the Whole 30 requires a level of planning that sometimes we just dont have time for.  Not to mention that often time shared with friends and family is around food and drinks...and unless everyone you know is paleo, it can be difficult to say no to non-paleo options even if you wanted to.  (Trust me, there is no way my hunnie and I could've refused Grandma Betty's green corn and cheese tamales and homemade refried beans...she would not have allowed for that). And try ordering a full paleo meal at a restaurant.  Seems like even the salads come with cheese, croutons, candied cranberries or pecans...etc!  It's a little tiring always having to ask to have these food "additives" removed (or replaced with healthier options like steamed greens or tomato slices).  But we've been navigating our way through this challenge and have found a few good/fast options for our busy weekdays.  If you don't mind being THAT pain-in-the-butt customer, most deli's will sell you a sandwich with just the fillings (no bread or rolls), and we found a place in town that will plate up the ingredients of a burrito without the tortilla, cheese or sour cream.  One of my favs is the sugar free Almond milk latte I can pick up from our local coffee shop...its no pumpkin spice latte but its a tasty, healthy alternative.  All in all we are sticking it out as much as possible and trying our best not to sweat the small stuff once in a while if it means a chance to enjoy some laughs with friends or a night off from cooking after a full days work.

{Week 2/3} Breakfasts: Banana Mocha Smoothie, Paleo Cereal, Egg scramble w/ spinach & tomato
{Week 2/3} Lunches: Salad, Sweet potatoes w/ salsa, Salad w/ shredded chicken, Sausage and sauteed peppers and onions
{Week 2/3} Snacks: Raw almonds, Apple chips, unsalted sunflower seeds, olives, sun dried (sulfer-free) tomatoes, & celary w/ a smidgen of peanut butter
{Week 2/3} Dinners: Spaghetti squash w/ itialian sausage marinara, Pulled Pork w/ salsa and guac, Grilled Chicken w/ grilled yellow squash, Steak and zucchini spears, & Spinach & arugula salad w/ chicken
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Friday, October 11, 2013

Paleo Cereal

Twelve days into the Whole 30, and I'm feeling pretty darn good.  When I was eating gluten and processed sugars, I never noticed feeling bloaty...but now that I've cleansed my body of all that, I am noticing a huge difference.  Not only do I feel like I'm carrying less water weight, I also notice that my skin is just less puffy overall.  And yet, as positive as this experience has been, can I just say, I've missed my complex carbs SO much!  One of the hardest things about this has been saying goodbye to my favorite breakfasts...cereal, oatmeal, toast.  The Paleo diet encourages doing high protein breakfasts, such as egg scrambles or even eating leftover steak and veggies.  But seriously, who wants to eat leftover sauteed okra and turkey sausage for breakfast?!  And hello, who has time to cook up a scramble at 6 AM on a Tuesday?  This is why I sought out a Paleo-approved breakfast that was not only quick, but also satisfied my craving for crunchy, fruity sweetness in the morning.  Paleo Cereal is the best discovery of my Whole 30 experience thus far.  It's fast, flavorful, you can put it together using a variety of your favorite local ingredients, and it gives you that Paleo protein to get started in the morning and keep you moving until lunch.  When you head out to buy the ingredients for this delicious breakfast, head straight for the bulk isle...not only will you save a little money, but you'll probably end up finding local ingredients too.  As a side note, almond milk is pretty good, and I totally recommend it. 
Paleo Cereal
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds + 1/4 cup
1/2 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 
ground ginger, pinch

Using a food processor, lightly pulse 1/4 cup of slivered almonds (just 2 to 4 pulses is good).  This step isn't really required but I think it gives the cereal a little more texture rather than a bunch of whole nuts.  Combine pulsed almonds with the rest of the nuts and dried fruit.  (Remember, you can use any combination of nuts and fruits you want).  Sprinkle cinnamon, allspice and ginger over nuts/fruits and stir thoroughly to combine.  Store in a quart size mason jar or Tupperware.  Serve 1/2 cup of Paleo Cereal with a heaping pile of your favorite fruits and milk*.  My Paleo milk of choice is Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze.

*To keep it truly Paleo, you should avoid using dairy, but heck, it's cereal...it'll work with just about any type of milk. Pin It

Monday, October 7, 2013

Whole 30 {Week 1} Recap

Week 1 of the Whole 30 is over, and I'd say I did pretty good.  I'll admit, I indulged a little over the weekend on a savory corn flour waffle and a bowl of pinto beans, but believe it or not I've survived a week with NO cheese or dairy of any kind, NO cookies or processed sugars, and almost no gluten (can't forget that most beers have gluten).  My hunnie also did well, though he admitted he snagged a bean and cheese burrito for lunch at work one day....definitely NOT Paleo.  To keep ourselves motivated, we drove out to the desert foothills over the weekend and visited a you-pick farm.  If your not familiar with that term, it means just what you think it means...you go to the farm and pick your own produce right out of the fields.  We snagged up everything from bell peppers, to spaghetti squash, to tomatoes.  Then we went to the apple orchard down the street and picked about 15-20 lbs of fresh apples and pears, right of the trees.  We had so much fun,and having all this fresh, delicious, local produce in the house will be a great motivator for us to stay on track with the Whole 30.   

 {Week 1} Breakfasts: Berry smoothie, Hardboiled egg, Paleo Cereal (recipe here), Green Corn Waffle with Raw Maple Syrup
{Week 1} Lunches: Soup, Tuna Salad with Paleo Pesto Dressing, Salad with a hardboiled egg, more salad, and a Hardboiled egg with fresh snap peas and sautéed apples. 
{Week 1} Snacks: Raw almonds, Bananas, Dried apricots and pears, unsalted sunflower seeds, turkey jerky, California raisins, & a smidgen of peanut butter
{Week 1} Dinners: Elk steaks and okra, Soup, Pizza Salad, Mussels in a saffron broth, Ground turkey marinara sauce over spaghetti squash, Egg and spinach scramble with salsa, & Polish sausage and pinto beans 
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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pizza Salad with Paleo Pesto Dressing

I've made it to October 5th.  Woo, one-sixth of the way through the Whole 30.  So far, Monday was the hardest day--the initial shock my body experienced not having grain or dairy.  When I did my 10 mile run on Monday, all I could think about (besides how tired I was) was cheese and bread...which eventually led to me craving pizza.  One day later, I was still craving pizza.  I'll be honest, I don't love pizza just because the zesty tomato sauce and melty mozzarella...I also love how you can pile on all the veggies you want.  That must have been why California schools used to consider pizza as a member of the Vegetable group on the food pyramid.  (Oh California, how I miss you...)  Anyways, to curb the pizza craving, I made what I'm calling Pizza Salad.  The recipe, including the pesto dressing, is totally Paleo, and ended up being amazingly delicious, even without any grain (croutons) or dairy (blue cheese).  I got lots of "Mmms" and "Yums" from the hunnie too.  I think I'll keep the pesto dressing up my sleeve for even after the Whole 30 ends.

Paleo Pesto Dressing
1 cup basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
Slivered almonds, handful (not heeping)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt, dash
Crushed red pepper flakes, dash
Blend basil, garlic, almonds and oil in blender or food processor until smooth.  Add balsamic vinegar and spices and pulse.  If dressing is too thick add a tablespoon or two of water to the blender, and blend until desired consistency.  Makes ~4oz.

Pizza Salad
Toss together your favorite veggies, either salad veggies or pizza veggies, and drizzle the Paleo Pesto dressing over top.  Here is what our salad was made up of:  baby spinach, sliced mushrooms, vine ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced green bell pepper, sliced cucumber, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis, and sliced pepperoni.
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October is...Whole 30, Half Marathon & Halloween!

October is an exciting, and busy time for me.  I've got three planned business trips in addition to a half marathon.  I'm excited to say that this October my hunnie and I are also doing the Whole 30.  You can read about Whole 30 here.

TheThe idea behind the Whole 30 is the "Paleo" or "Caveman" diet.  The science is long, but not really complicated--cavemen ate food purely for survival--they ate sugars for energy, fats for energy storage, and salts for hydration.  There was no such thing as a enjoying a s'more around the caveman campfire.  On the Whole 30 plan, you strip your diet completely of the complex foods that make up your daily sugar, fat and salt intake, and instead partake in a more wholesome, natural diet (free of beloved complex carbs, gluten, dairy and processed sugars).  While I can't say I 100% agree with ALL the science behind the Paleo diet, I do think eating processed foods (like my very favorite Mac n' Cheese, or Eggo waffles) makes the human body work incredibly hard just to obtain the BASIC nutrients it actually needs to SURVIVE.  The challenge for me with the Whole 30 is to find alternatives to meals such as Mac n' Cheese, which are full of empty calories and low in essential nutrients.  The challenge is to go back to basics--meats, vegetables, fruits--the cornerstone of early human nutrition.  Since I'm training for my half marathon, that gives me a little freedom to enjoy more carbs per day, but instead of enjoying them in the form of pasta and PB&J sannys, I'll have to find gluten-free, minimally processed foods to meet the bill.   

Today marks the first day of the challenge, but me and my hunnie were so eager to start that we unofficially began on Sunday night.  Here's a glance at what we ate for dinner: grilled elk tenderloin with braised okra and onions.  Meat and veggies, done simply, and yet really delicious.  Amazingly I was even able to motivate myself to get out and run last night--despite my legs feeling like lead and my thoughts centered on pizza and cheese, I was able to successfully complete my full 10 mile run.  Usually, I'd reward such a great run by eating a piece of cheese or a cookie, but last night I stuck to my plan and rewarded myself with a slice of salami and some nuts instead (it was totally not as satisfying as a cookie, but oh well, its only 30 days!).  

In case you need some motivation to accomplish your October goals, whatever they may be, here ya' go:


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