Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bacon wrapped asparagus

As promised: BACON.

My big tip about bacon wrapped asparagus is to skip the fussiness of toothpicks and the broiler and cook in small batches on a george forman grill or pannini press (and you thought those were useless now that you're paleo and eat the fat!) 

My little tip about bacon wrapped asparagus is to serve it with fried, poached or soft-boiled eggs and use them the way you would have used toast in the past. Use them as vehicles for runny yolk.  You could do the same with plain roasted asparagus if you don't wanna go for all the bacon... but... 


Lox and schmear

This is one of my favorite snacks.  I've been making variations on it for years.   Lox freezes very well and cream cheese (especially the kind in the bar, which usually has a better ingredient list) lasts a long time, so I almost always have some version of the fixins around.    

Simply cut sliced smoked salmon (lox) into bite sized pieces and top with dollops of cream cheese.  It's lovely topped with chives or green onions or finely chopped red onion.  If you're out of all of those (like I was today) you can get a nice bit of color and tang on top by chopping a couple leaves of arugula very fine and sprinkling it over the top.  In a pinch I've used granulated onion powder.  some people like a little lemon juice too.  Who needs bagels?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Life happens

Which is why I haven't posted in a few days. However tomorrow I have BACON for you all, so come back soon!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancake day

     In several cultures, today is known as pancake day. Others call it marti gras or fat tuesday. I'm not any form of christian or catholic so the 'using up' of fatty foods before lent isn't a big deal to me. However I've never been one to pass up an excuse for pancakes!

     This was my second attempt at these almond-butter pancakes from Nourished Meadow.  The first time I melted the butter, mixed that into the egg and then added the almond butter.  I really wasn't able to get it properly mixed and ended up with eggy crepes with chunks of almond butter floating in them.  This time I mixed the butter and almond butter and then warmed them both before adding the egg.  I got a cohesive if runny batter and MUCH improved pancakes. I topped them with Kerrygold butter and really enjoyed them, The original recipe is at the link above, here's the version as I made it.  

Almond Butter Pancakes Recipe:
(makes 1 small serving)
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter/coconut oil melted
1 tablespoon Almond Butter (unsweetened)
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
Beat melted butter/oil with warmed almond butter, beat in egg and combine remaining ingredients until smooth (may take a bit of blending to get almond butter to incorporate). If the batter is too runny, add a bit more almond butter.
Pour on pre-heated, lightly buttered, non stick pan (medium to med high heat…if pancakes spread too thin, you need to turn heat up). Make smaller size pancakes in order to flip easily.
When pancake just starts to have small bubbles all the way to center, gently work spatula around all edges, flip and cook for about one minute more. Pancakes get very puffy after the flip, but they'll fall a bit when you take them off the griddle.  
Top with butter or your favorite pancake topping (berries, bananas, nuts, honey, maple syrup)


Friday, February 17, 2012

off the wagon, back on the wagon

So, the stress of the last few days drove me into the arms of my old safe place, sugar.  Mostly in the form of cheap post-valentines candy and mixed drinks.  but I'm back.  I've given up on eliminating dairy but I'm going back to logging everything so that I can keep my carbs under 50.  Seeing the numbers rack up seems to keep me out of binge-ville, and hopefully keep me from getting my blood sugar high enough to have a crash in the first place.

Monday, February 13, 2012

change is stressfull

   On the face of it, my life is good.  I have a job lined up but I don't have to start working until the state government gets off it's butt and sends me paperwork.  My mother claims to be willing to keep me as a house guest for at least the next couple of months.  But I hate not knowing what is going on.  HATE it. Cannot stand it.  I really want to be able to start work (although I'm also worried that the job won't be a good fit or they'll hate me or I'll be terrible at it).  I want to be settled.  I want to just skip forward a couple of months to when I am settled into a routine at work, have an apartment that is at least partially furnished, maybe I'll have started dating, stuff like that.  I do not like not knowing!  Where am I going to live? (this is a highly controversial subject with both of my parents right now)  How much is my take-home pay actually going to be? (I've used multiple online calculators and gotten wildly differing results)  Will I actually manage to be financially independent of my parents in time for my 30th birthday? (991 days from now but, you know, looming)  BLARG!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oh right excercise.

On reflection after the last post, I realized that, other than walking and occasionally moving boxes, I haven't been doing much excercise. I never really believed that excercise and weightloss were closely related for me, (though my fathe and our 23 and me results beg to differ) however it has been clearly linked with my mental health.

2 summers ago I tried doing simplefit, with a side of the 200 squat challenge (a spin off of the 100 pushup challenge) given that I already have/had plenty of lower body strength, I was able to acheve that goal relatively quickly. However once the challenge was met I lost interest rather quickly. Similarly, I went to a fantastic (if expensive) kettlebell class for most of the spring semester of last year, but once my schedule freed up and I no longer HAD to be at class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to get my money's worth, I got out of the habit, out of shape and stopped going.

I would really like to get into a routine I can do myself but which has more of a built-in motivator. I don't even want to attempt pull-ups or set foot in a crossfit box until I have lost AT LEAST a good 30 lbs. I'd also like to do a bunch of work with bent-over rows and bicep exercises to prep toward that first-ever pull-up. (nope, never have done one, a not-quite-good-enough flexed-arm hang for the president's physical fitness test was the closest I ever got. It kept me from earning that stupid red patch the one year I got my mile time to be good enough. My sit-and-reach was always awesome though)


     I'm maintaining about 90-95% adherence to the detox which I'm pretty happy with.  I'm not totally giving up on keeping out dairy, but I keep accidentally getting it.  At lunch today I ordered a prime rib and eggs plate but they were out.  They didn't tell me till everyone else's orders were in and we were playing a game so I rushed and chose a california omelet.  It wasn't until it arrived that I realized that it would (of course) contain cheese.  Oh well.

     Last night I had a rather upsetting dream which probably had something to do with my frustration with this detox.  In my dream I was out at a fancy meal with my extended family, and everyone was trying to get me food I could eat, but EVERYTHING had gluten.  Even a fruit salad and cottage cheese plate had a slice of toasted baguette on top!  and I kept sending things back and having people say things like "oh right! The cheese has gluten!" and trying to correct them that the cheese (or potato) was fine, it was the bread, or the crackers or whatever.  it was highly frustrating and I was really sad both that everyone was running around trying to feed me AND that I wasn't getting fed.

     I often (especially lately) have upsetting, disturbing or just unsettling dreams.  I'd like to have that change.  I've been trying to integrate "reality testing" into my day-to-day life so that I can become aware of when I'm dreaming and become a lucid dreamer.

     I think that the increase in negative dreams and anxiety in general is due to the unsettled transitional phase I'm currently in, in my life.  I'm living with my mom (we have a pretty good relationship at this point but we didn't get along in my teenage years and I worry about her judgements of me) and looking for an apartment.   I'm not working (I do have a job lined up but I can't start until my state license comes, hopefully in the next 2-3 weeks) and thus don't have a regular daily routine.

     This is also why I'm eating out and generally not cooking for myself so often.  I have been regularly eating meals at my best friend's place.  She and her boyfriend are not paleo-aligned (I'm working on it ;) ), though they are happy to accommodate my gluten-free needs.  My staying for dinner is not usually planned more than an hour in advance, if that.  So again, my routine is not a routine.  Its frustrating.  and I guess there's nothing more I can say than that.  Frustrating, but nothing I can really do till I find a place and start my job.

Friday, February 10, 2012

keep on keeping on

Not working but having a job lined up (and therefore not job searching) is kinda boring.  I'm having trouble motivating myself to get the little day-to-day things done.  Struggling to get out of bed is not something I'm new to, and I know it's worse without a routine or anybody needing me.  The good news is I have a coffee meeting with a friend tomorrow afternoon and I'll be taking care of my mom's dog over the weekend, so I'll have some reason to get up and going which will be good for me.

Sticking pretty much to the plan, yesterday I accidentally ordered tacos that had sour cream and cheese on them, so although I only ate the middles plus a couple bites of tortilla, I did eat non-butter dairy.  I'm just gonna see that as a bump in the road and keep going.  I didn't notice any symptoms that could be attributed to the dairy, so that's good.  

Considering making this recipe (minus the xylitol and using 78% dark chocolate) as a practically-on-program treat this weekend.  We shall see.

Where was I?

So, I spent the weekend on a disneyland road trip. It was a wonderful time and I was 80% on the 21dsd program the whole time. I consider that a victory.
I'm having a nice ~16 hr water fast today as I just haven't felt hungry (probably because my body is thoroughly confused by the random sleep/wake situation of the past 48 hrs. Tonight will include a sleeping pill to get back on schedule.

(oops forgot to post this on tuesday)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 2

This morning I weighed myself as my official starting weight and took some only-underwear before pictures. I'm not ready to reveal either of those but I will say I was pleasantly surprised to find my weight 6 lbs lower than my January "how bad did I do in December" weight check. (I don't own a person-sized scale and even though I'm currently staying with my mom who has 2, I try to weigh myself weekly or less). This means I am starting this a pound lighter than when I finished my last 21 day challenge, the 21 day total body transformation from Mark's Daily Apple. I highly recommend that book as both a great intro to paleo/primal life and a good transitional program. I will likely go through the challenges in that book again to help get me into good habits when I move into my new place and start my new job.

Tomorrow I call the place I REALLY want to work and ask them if they're planning to hire me or if I should take the offer at the other less-perfect place. Either way I'll be getting a job tomorrow.

Detox wise I had a little slip up in that I bought coconut water kefir because the store was out of unflavored kombucha. Turns out to be sweetened with stevia. Oh well, not the worst thing in the world and, well, it's only day 2.

I got up late (joys of temporary unemployment) had a packet of almonds and leftover gyro meat for lunch. Made the lovely chicken in the picture for dinner with some kale and beet greens braised until mushy with leeks and a mix of coconut and olive oils (splash of red wine vinegar and pinch of red pepper flakes for flavor). Didn't eat a ton of the chicken so when I was out I grabbed a packet of pumpkin seeds (the nuts at the drugstore were all in nasty oils). I ate about half of the seeds and then had coconut oil tea when I got back.

Because I ate nuts and seeds in place of meat and eggs, but drenched the chicken and greens in good oil, my calories are where they should be but I was WAY low on protein today. 36 grams is a little more than a THIRD of what I'm aiming for. Tomorrow, eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch, jerky for the car ride (note to self, stop at Trader Joe's for gluten free jerky and bottled water for the trip) and the planned lettuce-wrapped burger for dinner. May make it a double to make up for today/the lack of cheese.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

21DSD day 1

Today was actually a bit more difficult than I expected.  I had eggs and carrots for breakfast (well under a cup of grated carrots), lamb sagg at an indian place for lunch with my best friend in the whole wide world, and for dinner I got a gyro meat plate as takeout from my favorite greek place with my dad (unexpected but I went with it).

Put my dinner into my calorie counter and discovered that while I only had about 45 grams of carbs today, I also had only about 1050 calories. I generally try not to go that low but in not hungry at all, so I'm just gonna have a little coconut oil tea (just coconut oil and hot water. Tastes WAY better than you'd think) and call it a night.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Starting tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be starting the 21-day sugar detox from Balanced Bites (21DSD).  I'm gonna try for level 3 (with a couple small modifications).  Most importantly for me, this means no more "gluten-free treats" and (temporarily) no more fruit or dairy.  I don't think I'm very lactose intolerant now that I've recovered from gluten, (a glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream won't get me, but 3 or more might) however it may be causing some inflammation and stalling my weight loss because of the caloric density/ease of overeating.  The treats and sugar are my real issue.  I can and have quit them for a couple weeks at a time in the past but then I tend to binge.  I'm hoping that cutting out fruit and really resetting my sweet tooth will help me kick sugar bingeing for good.  I'm hoping that at some point I'll be able to enjoy a couple squares of dark chocolate and then move on, but that's not gonna be soon.

Here are my modifications: although the rules for level 3 call for cutting out all dairy except butter, I'm going to move heavy cream into the "limit foods" section and say no more than 1/4 cup per day and not on consecutive days (I'm aiming for it to be a once-a-week-ish thing, but I'm not gonna set that in stone).  I'm also going to plan that I'll have a single drink and one shotglass-sized creme brulee at dinner this Sunday.  It's a special occasion and I'm gonna be reasonable and be good the rest of the 21 days.  To make up for my slight naughty-nesses I'm also going to move carrots and parsnips, which I LOVE, out of the "yes foods" into the "limit foods" with beets, butternut squash and pumpkin.  I'll be allowed 1 cup a day (total) of those five sweet veggies.  I'm also gonna skip the daily apples and bananas till after Monday, to make up for the splurge on Sunday.

I'm also gonna make a goal of eating 2 servings of LEAFY veggies a day.  I really like cooked greens (HATE most salad) but I tend to eat them a for couple days and then not again for weeks.  I should be eating them daily, and more veggies in general (Even though I do take my JuicePlus daily as insurance).  Eventually I would like to get up towards the amounts of veggies recommended in this TEDx talk.

Not all of my food will be totally "clean" and home cooked during this "detox" because I will be on a roadtrip over this first weekend and because life happens.  I will however do my best to follow the rules.  I'll have a lettuce-wrapped fast-food burger with no cheese or ketchup and an unsweetened iced tea.  I'll have takeout sashimi with coconut amnios.  I'll have tandoori chicken or lamb with a side of sagg, hold the paneer.

I'll also be eating a whole lot of eggs (post on egg recipes is forthcoming), meat from my cowshare, and of course, veggies from my mom's farm box and the farmers market.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who is this?

Before I start posting about my diet, my thoughts on the world, crafts I found on pinterest, funny pictures of cats, and snarky comments about public figures, I should probably introduce myself.

I'm a 27 year old woman (it's still hard for me not to say girl even though I generally think of myself as an adult,). I am currently on the brink of staring a new career in healthcare, as soon as my paperwork for my license clears.

I've been treated for depression since I was in 3rd grade, medicated since I was 11. I was a slightly rounded kid but became a chubby teenager, likely due to the meds and self-medicating for the depression with sugar. Thanks to an off label RX from my psychiatrist I lost 30 lbs the summer before jr year of high school, and another 10 in the following months. But that same medication was killing my memory and making me forget words, so I went off of it. I gained a couple pounds in the end of high school. Managed to keep the freshman 15 to just 5, but then gained 20 in a bout of depression sophomore year of college. And from there it just creeped up a pound or two at a time. I'd go on weight watchers, lose 5 lbs in 2-3 weeks, then nothing for a month, then 1-2 lbs, then nothing till I got frustrated and quit. Then I'd regain the few pounds I lost and they'd bring a couple more along. I tried soup diets, frozen meal diets, volumetrics, Mediterranean diet, shakes, bars, cereal, websites, 1200 calories, 1000 calories. Of course none of it worked no matter how many times I called it lifestyle change instead of a diet. I was flirting with the idea of becoming vegetarian for my health when my sister mentioned this diet she heard about at her gym.

I had what doctors had written off as IBS most of my adult life, but my sister told me people were saying this diet CURED it. I was game for that. So I tried a paleo/primal blueprint diet for a few weeks. I felt amazing. Then during class one day I ate a few bites of a donut. I became terribly ill.

Long story short (ya, right you say) I discovered that my "IBS" was celiac disease and I would need to be gluten free the rest of my life, but my health started improving immediately.

Gluten free is not calorie free however and my sugar jones hasn't gone away. I haven't lost and kept off any weight since I've been flirting with paleo for the past year and a half.

On Feb 1 I will be starting a 21 day sugar detox (level 3) and recommitting to improving my health.