Monday, May 14, 2012

Challenge Eats: Days 1-10

I've somehow found myself on Day 22 of a brand new 30 Day Challenge without a single blog post! In case you forgot the rules: 
  • Each meal should consist of vegetables, meat or eggs, and healthy fats.
  • Fruits and nuts/seeds are also allowed.
  • Foods not included: all grains and dairy (sans grass fed butter), anything processed, all added sugars, legumes, starches, and alcohol.
Steve does a really nice job of simplifying the rules in his post here

This time around, I upped the ante by completely eliminating nuts and sweet potatoes, and limiting fruit intake to berries occasionally. These things are all well and good if you are happy with your body, but if you have (more than a few) pounds to lose, they aren't necessary. I also cut out coffee for no particular reason, just to prove to myself that I can get by just fine without it. 

The timing of this challenge presented itself with a few hurdles: a concert, a bridal shower, teachers' appreciation week, and Mother's Day dinner traditionally held at a Chinese restaurant.

Luckily, all my good eats over the past 22 days have not been lost -I have been logging my meals in my fancy food journal on WODify. I'd like to very briefly share my extremely repetitive meals with you... if you would like me to further elaborate on anything, please ask!

Day 1: Monday, April 23

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Snack (only on weekdays that I CrossFit: hard boiled egg, 1 Applegate naturals hot dog

Dinner: grass fed meatballs on a salad with cherry tomatoes and olive oil

Day 2: Tuesday, April 24

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Lunch: crock pot balsamic roast with brussels and bacon

Dinner: grass fed meatballs on a salad with cherry tomatoes and olive oil

Late: 2 grass fed Paleostix. These came in the mail while I was at my graduate class, and I could not help but try some when I got home around 9 - delicious!

Day 3: Wednesday, April 25

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Lunch: crock pot balsamic roast with brussels and bacon

Dinner: steamed broccoli, 1/4 avocado, 2 Applegate naturals hot dogs, and a hard boiled egg with hot sauce. Eclectic, but it was what I was in the mood for.

Day 4: Thursday, April 26

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Lunch: crock pot balsamic roast with brussels and bacon

Snack: 3 pieces of bacon

Dinner: I attempted to make a grass fed t-bone steak on the stove top, and ate it alongside roasted asparagus 

Day 5: Friday, April 27

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Lunch: crock pot balsamic roast with brussels and bacon

Snack: 2 grass fed Paleostix

Dinner: at Longhorn Steakhouse - rib eye with broccoli, squash, and green beans

Late: frozen blueberries and coconut milk... so good, I swore I'd never need ice cream again! I decided that this could be my Friday "treat" for sticking to the challenge all week long.

Day 6: Saturday, April 28

Breakfast: 1-2 egg quiche with zucchini, a little bit of sausage, and 2 slices bacon

Lunch: at a bridal shower at an Italian restaurant - I avoided all the bread, pasta, and dessert, and was able to stick with the salad and (unbreaded, plain) chicken from the chicken marsala dish

Dinner: at a diner before heading into Philly for the concert - eggs with meats (yes, it was a "Meat Lovers" omelette), and steamed broccoli on the side. I survived the concert without ridiculously expensive beer, and opted for (free!) seltzer water instead.

Day 7: Sunday, April 29

Breakfast: asparagus, 3 fried eggs, 3 slices of bacon. This meal was unbelievable - I'm pretty sure I could eat it every day of my life and die happy.

Lunch: I had a late breakfast then went to CrossFit. Afterwards, I had some blueberries and 2 grass fed Paleostix

Dinner: carnitas and peppers and onions from Chipotle. Alycia later informed me that these "fajita veggies" are cooked in vegetable oil - the only fail on the challenge thus far.

Day 8: Monday, April 30

(This was the day that was posted on CrossFit Aspire's site here)

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Lunch: crock pot chicken with Trader Joe's puttanesca sauce with roasted asparagus

Dinner: Whole Food's prime rib with brussels and bacon

Day 9: Tuesday, May 1

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Lunch: crock pot chicken with Trader Joe's puttanesca sauce with green beans

Dinner: ate at class - more quiche with brussels and bacon

Late: 1 hard boiled egg after class - so many eggs! Spoiler Alert: later on in the challenge, I see how I fare without eggs.

Day 10: Wednesday, May 2

Breakfast: 2-3 egg quiche with zucchini and sausage + a mug of bone broth

Lunch: crock pot chicken with Trader Joe's puttanesca sauce with zucchini and summer squash

Dinner: some pieces of this grass fed eye roast (a really simple recipe my mom sent me - season then stick in the oven for 22 min per pound on 325 degrees) with brussels and bacon 

During the first week or so of the challenge, I had some nasty headaches and was feeling weak. This could have been caused by multiple things, including my 2-3 cups per day caffeine withdrawal. Don't worry, things got much better by week 3.

Okay, that's all for now folks. Days 11-20 coming soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

So This is the New Year.

I shall fill you in on my winter break accomplishments via organized list (really, how else would I do it?):

  • Ran every errand ever with intentions of not having to buy anything but food in the near future. Many thanks to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Target, Pet Valu, and BJs. Many apologies to my bank account.
Eddy, affectionately known as Eddy-poopster, got the cutest haircut ever. Little does the poor guy know that we're making arrangements to get him neutered soon muahah
Guest bedrooms now with actual bed sets... visitors welcome!
  • Cleaned the house from top to bottom. Really, it doesn't get better than that. 
  • Fully utilized my Christmas gifts.  Among other things, I was lucky enough to get a docking station for my iPhone (I am now able to jam out to Jack's Mannequin and Fun while I'm cooking... did I mention Sean and I will be attending both of their concerts this year?), a new set of spices, and an iPad! I immediately downloaded the iBook versions of Everyday Paleo and Paleo Comfort Foods and got cooking.  Which leads me to...
  • Cooked many new recipes!  
Recipe #1: Coconut Macadamia Bark from my pal Mark. I added freeze dried blueberries and swirled in dark chocolate. Cannot describe how delicious this was.
Recipe #2: Apple and Apricot Pork Chops from Paleo Comfort Foods. In making this recipe, I accomplished many cooking firsts...

First time pre-measuring and preparing all ingredients. I found out that this is pretty much essential to ensure that the execution of more complicated recipes flows smoothly. 
First time cooking pork chops. Ever.
First time buying fresh herbs and using my new chef's knife skills to chop them. It made me feel inspired to grow my own herbs... one day.
Recipe #3: Pumpkin Pancakes using this recipe. Nom.  Not something to eat all the time, but it was perfect for satisfying a S.A.D. craving.
Recipe #4: "Breaded" Baked Chicken from Everyday Paleo. Also good for satisfying the once-in-a-while craving.
  •  Made a recipe that Sean enjoyed and willingly ate. Yes, this is also a first. 
Recipe #5: Everyday Meatloaf from Everyday Paleo. This. was. awesome. and so very quick and easy to prepare!
  • Went a full day with no coffee.  Coming from the 2-3 cups/day drinker, this is truly impressive. Coincidentally, it was the same day that I cleaned the whole house. My theory is that I was too focused on the cleaning to break for coffee.  I am able to accomplish such feats while I am well-rested and stress-free, but I know that once I go back to work coffee will once again be a necessity. Sad.
  • Got myself into a brand new 30-day challenge starting today.  Yes, along with the rest of the world, but ours is different and better... much like everything else us CrossFitters do. This time around it's really not so much a challenge but confirmation of a commitment to myself to remain Paleo for 2012. My plan is to have a super strict 30 days, with minimal fruit and nuts, to kick off the year. If you noticed, all but one of my recipes included said fruit and nuts. I know cutting them out (again) is something I need to do.
Check out this article from Sarah about getting "unstuck" this year. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and is ready for all of the excitement that 2012 will bring!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meat Me in the Middle

I know, I know... long time, no post. I'm sure you understand that I've been running around like a crazy person trying to prepare for the holidays, teach some math, cook and eat lots of good food, and work out hard. Let's get caught up.

Sean and decided to invest in one eighth of a grass fed cow through Philly Cowshare.
a barren freezer
after 40 lbs of grass fed deliciousness
Plus, we discovered that our freezer holds an unexpectedly ridiculous amount of frozen foods, as the meat didn't take nearly up as much space as we thought it would. Last week I made the coconut milk/curry paste crock pot meat recipe with a ginormous chuck steak, and tonight I whipped up some of the ground beef into an amazing meal (with leftovers for days).
onion, garlic, zucchini, meat, diced tomatoes, and spices simmering away...
... and eaten with some spaghetti squash

In other news, my "holiday sandwich challenge" is just about finished. I've done very well, although not perfectly on plan like I was with the last 30-day challenge. I think blogging every day of the last challenge really helped me stay on track. Plus, this challenge I was surrounded by so many holiday season temptations which made it hard to be super strict around others who have no hesitations about indulging. As much as I'd like to say that my will-power is healed and I'm 100% in control of it again, that's not the case - I still have some work to do. I do plan on treating myself on Christmas day (it would be pretty much be sacrilegious to deny my mother's traditional once-a-year french toast), but I will jump back into "Paleo + alcohol once a week" right afterward.

I have some big plans for my week off of work:
  1. Take some "me time". Aside from the "me time" I intend on spending cleaning and organizing, I need to spend time just relaxing and clearing my head. I aim to go for a 20-minute walk each day of break. If I find that it's too cold outside, maybe I'll just sit or lay down with no computer/TV... meditating maybe?
  2. No more snacks after dinner, no matter how Paleo that tempting snack is. I don't need it.
  3. Try a yoga class at CrossFit. I've been avoiding the world of yoga, but I know I need it. What's the worst that can happen? I leave feeling too stretched out and too relaxed?
  4. Since I have no obligations over break, I want to try to get my sleep cycle aligned with the sun - fall asleep with the sunset and wake up with the sunrise. Weird I know, but I feel the need to try it out.
  5. Make NONE of my usual recipes (you know, the crock pot meat, zucchini quiche, and my beloved brussels and bacon). I want to branch out and try something new - especially now that I have all these fun cuts of meat to play with. My goal is to cook at least 4 new recipes over break - perhaps from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook that's on my Christmas list ;)
At very least all of this should provide me with some fun blog material for the week ahead, so you should be hearing from me soon. I hope everyone has a fun and relaxing holiday with those you love the most!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Eats

Just a lil bit of food porn for you...

zucchini, yellow squash, sweet red pepper, white onion, and an overload of grape tomatoes

Made using this recipe from Alycia and Justin. So very easy and delicious. I even got two other people (in addition to myself) to eat it alongside our grass fed burgers - bunless for me, of course.

I added some baby carrots and zucchini to the grass fed chuck - later tonight it will be done, packed up for lunches for the week, and added to this collection in the fridge:

Zucchini quiche in the back (pre-cut into 2-egg portions) and brussels and bacon to the left. I actually made double what is pictured in the veggie picture up top so I could have plenty leftover, which explains the container on the right.

You would think with all this prep work that I'll be prepared for anything this week, but tomorrow I won't be following my usual routine. At 5AM Sean, his dad, and I will be hitting the road for the hospital at UPenn, and I'm expecting to spend the full day there. Sean's having orthognathic jaw surgery done - if you're curious, watch this pretty cool video of someone else that had it done. I'll eat a big breakfast before I go and bring a Larabar for when I get hungry, but other than that I think I'll be taking on the challenge of braving the cafeteria! I'm hoping I can escape with something other than a boring salad or more fruit. Wish me (and Sean) luck! :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday "Sandwich" Challenge

... don't worry, it has nothing to do with eating sandwiches, but I'll get to that in a minute. 

So readers, it's been a while.  I haven't been going on a crazy food bender, but I have been feeling like shit due to my cheat day, modifications, and now Thanksgiving.  Thing's I've started feeling since the 30-day challenge ended:
- my stomach has been uneasy on a regular basis
- headaches are back
- bloating is back
- back to feeling "out of it" and in sensory overload, this was normal for me pre-challenge but went away during the challenge

Towards the end of the challenge, my mind felt uncharacteristically sharp and clear. I was feeling confident, positive, energetic, a little slimmer, and like I was glowing with happiness. ALL of those feelings are now gone. Having this knowledge, it seems that it should be easy to keep making the right food decisions for me to feel good.  Apparently, I still have a "lack of willpower" problem (or perhaps a self-defeating problem), so for now I'm going back to tightening the Paleo reigns. 

Holiday "Sandwich" Challenge: From tomorrow (November 25) through Christmas Eve (December 24) I will be once again eating only meat, veggies, healthy fats, plus minimal fruit and nuts. It's a sandwich between Thanksgiving and Christmas... get it now? It just so happens to be a perfect 30 days. I've decided to indulge in one modification - alcohol (like vodka or wine, no beer) is okay once a week at maximum. 'Tis the season. Who's with me on this challenge?? Let me know, I would love to have some friends to do this with!

PS - As I type this I am watching "I, Caveman", part of the Discovery Channel's Curiosity series. The two-part special is an experiment in which ten people, including and narrated by Morgan Spurlock, attempt to survive in the wild. Oh, and Robb Wolf was a participant! 

I'm not a big Morgan Spurlock fan (watch Fat Head to find out why), but I love me some Robb Wolf, he can do no wrong. This special is intense and fascinating so far.  If you watch it, be sure to read Robb's thoughts on Episode 1 and Episode 2... good stuff!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 31 - Nov 15 - Cheat Day

I decided it was best for me to get my cravings out and over with on Day 31. I'm going to go right back to (slightly modified) Paleo on Day 32. I wasn't even THAT bad today... pretty much just ate my normal food plus some junk.

- Breakfast: Zucchini quiche, brussels and bacon, coffee.

- Lunch: Crock pot meat, carrots, zucchini (I saved some of this to eat at class). Plus a couple pieces of leftover Halloween candy (definitely a cheat).

- Snack: Coffee and a PB&J Lara Bar (This is a cheat too because I usually can't have peanuts!)

Here's where it gets a little iffy. After class, I came home and this happened:
 Baked tortilla chips, grass fed beef, and Kerrygold dubliner cheese.. eaten with salsa.
Don't worry.. Sean and I only consumed about a quarter half of this :)

Followed by a piece of pumpkin cheesecake from Whole Foods. Definitely not Paleo.

I bloated up pretty much right away. I also noticed how full/gross/headachy I felt almost immediately.  Not a pleasant feeling. I'm hoping I don't have a junk food hangover tomorrow!

I realized that eating sandwiches, pizza, cookies, and the like really just does not appeal to me anymore. On the one day that I am allowing myself to eat them, I didn't even want to eat them. I now feel confident that I will easily make Paleo choices in the future. Here's my plan for modified Paleo:
- keep current Paleo foods (meats, veggies, eggs, healthy fats)
- can drink wine or liquor once a week
- can have white rice (in sushi) occasionally
- can use raw honey as a sweetener occasionally
- maybe some greek yogurt every now and then.. because it's good and full of protein
- dairy-based desserts... only for special occasions or when out

Totally stealing this from Alycia, but it is said so well: "Gluten-containing grains (all breads, cakes, crackers, breading, pasta, processed foods, etc). Do not add in. Never." .. and thanks to the challenge I'm completely ready to do that :)

Day 30 - Nov 14 - I DID IT!

Well this is it. 30 days. To recap...

Things I did NOT eat over these 30 days:
- grains/wheat/gluten/bread
- starches or legumes
- added sweeteners of any variety (honey, splenda, sugar, stevia, agave, etc..)
- anything processed (No chemicals and/or preservatives for me!)
- dairy (With the exception of heavy cream in coffee. The only ingredient = heavy cream.)
- alcohol
- vegetable oils

Things I DID eat over these 30 days:
- (mostly grass fed) meat
- cage-free eggs
- (mostly organic and/or local) vegetables
- healthy fats in the form of coconut oil, avocado, and kerrygold butter
- some nuts
- some fruits

I've learned a TON from this challenge... I have intentions of making a formal culminating post later this week. I'll definitely be posting tomorrow night about what I did on Day 31 and what I'm planning on doing on Day 32 (and beyond).

Today's food was nothing out of the ordinary...

Breakfast: zucchini quiche, brussels and bacon, coffee.

Lunch: crockpot meat, carrots, zucchini, coffee.

Snack before heading to CrossFit: apple with melted almond butter (okay, this was kind of a treat). I cut 42 seconds off of my time for "The Garage" from pre-challenge to post-challenge :) I also had some of Shamus's Paleo ice cream after the workout .. yum!

Dinner: eggs and brussels and bacon

What a great 30 days it's been!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 29 - Nov 13

Woke up feeling abnormally great this morning. Had a breakfast of champions - sauteed spaghetti squash with  eggs, bacon, and coffee.

I finished taking care of odds and ends around the house, prepared some more coffee, then got to work on my lessons for this week. I love being productive in the morning because that's when my mind is fresh. I can get a ton of work done a lot faster than if I were doing the work at nighttime.

For lunch I heated up some of the crockpot meat/carrots/zucchini alongside a few brussels sprouts. Best. lunch. ever.

Around 2:00 I completed one subject of lessons for the week (out of three subjects :/), so I rewarded myself by taking the pups for a long walk and eating an apple.

For dinner I will be enjoying a big salad with roasted red peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, grilled chicken, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Tomorrow is the big day!  I'm hoping that I will continue to have days just as delicious as this one was after the challenge is over.