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. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 28 - Nov 12

Before heading over to CrossFit King of Prussia for their Barbells for Boobs fundraiser this morning, I had a yummy breakfast of eggs and bacon, plus coffee.

We all had a blast... I'm definitely looking forward to more (all-levels) competitions in the future! Amy and I breezed through Helen and Grace and felt amazing. After the workout, I ate a pecan pie Lara Bar.

The gang went to Ponzio's for a late lunch where I had more eggs and a sweet potato.

I spent the afternoon cooking my regular dishes for this week - brussels & bacon, zucchini quiche + sausage, and turned the crock pot on to cook some meat overnight in coconut milk and curry paste. In the morning, I'm going to add to the crock pot some baby carrots and zucchini to cook for 2 hours. They turn into the most. delicious. vegetables. ever.  Thanks again Jamie and Steve for introducing me to this masterpiece :)

Sean is going to grill some Whole Foods garlic, basil, and sundried tomato sausages for dinner. I'm going to eat mine on a big pile of spaghetti squash. 

An excellent food day. Only 2 more to go!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 27 - Nov 11

Breakfast: 1/2 piece zucchini quiche

After CrossFit, breakfast part 2: The other 1/2 piece zucchini quiche, plus crock pot meat and coffee

Lunch: spaghetti squash and crock pot meat. Key lime pie Lara Bar sometime afterward.

Dinner: strip steak with zucchini and yellow squash

I can't believe there are just 3 more days! I bought new pants today... it feels so good to finally have pants that fit, even if they are a size larger than I'm used to. I'm still slimming down and feeling great, I just can't keep up with my huge muscles :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 26 - Nov 10

Breakfast: zucchini quiche, brussels and bacon, coffee.

Lunch: Saladworks salad - romaine, chicken, eggs, bacon, broccoli, carrots. Coffee.

Dinner: Eggs, bacon, and brussels sprouts. I also had an apple after dinner.. I noticed that apples are starting to taste very sweet to me.

4 more days.. right around the corner!

Day 25 - Nov 9

Breakfast: zucchini quiche, brussels and bacon, coffee

Lunch: crockpot meat, brussels and bacon, coffee

After work I shoved a little piece of zucchini quiche in my mouth before heading to the first 4:30 CrossFit class.

Sean spent the day home with the pups because Bella now has a kidney infection :( We noticed that she wasn't eating, acting sorta down, and was drinking a ton of water. Luckily it's nothing like Eddy's - she just needed a trip to the vet to confirm what is was and get antibiotics plus anti-nausea meds. Bella's infection started as a UTI that we thought went away, but apparently transferred to her kidney instead. Poor pups - I swear we're not the worst owners ever.

Since Sean was home all day, we figured it would be a good night to get out for a little. We went to Longhorn Steakhouse (again) where I got the rib eye, steamed broccoli/zucchini/yellow squash/carrots, and a sweet potato. Then we hit up lululemon where I scored 2 pairs of crops, 2 tops, and a pull-over... all of which I am equally obsessed with :)

Wow, only 5 days to go!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 24 - Nov 8

Breakfast: zucchini quiche, brussels and bacon, coffee

Lunch: crock pot meat with brussels and bacon

Banana bread Lara Bar and coffee after school/before grad class

Dinner: more crock pot meat with brussels and bacon

Had a slice of paleo pumpkin pie when I got back from class. Too many nuts today - I'll make sure I don't eat any tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow... it will be my Friday :) Looking forward to a great 4-day weekend including a trip to lululemon courtesy of my new credit card ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 23 - Nov 7

One week until the final weigh-in, measurements, and post-challenge WOD! These 30 days really flew by.

Breakfast: zucchini quiche (with andouille sausage), brussels and bacon, coffee

Lunch: brussels and bacon, crock pot meat, coffee

I had a cherry pie Lara Bar and a little bit of zucchini quiche before CrossFit. Went to go visit my mom (who came home from the hospital today) and brought her crackers and such. On the way there, we picked up some Chipotle for dinner.  I had a salad with barbacoa meat, onions and peppers, and guacamole - no dressing necessary.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 22 - Nov 6

I wholeheartedly took advantage of my extra hour of sleep last night. After waking up uncharacteristically late, Sean cooked us a nice Sunday breakfast of bacon and eggs.

After CrossFit, I came home, made some coffee, and was ready to get cooking! I made a 13-egg zucchini quiche with a special addition of andouille sausage from Whole Foods. An extra large dish was used to prevent overflow:
I then made another quadruple batch of my <3brussels sprouts and bacon<3... I wonder when I'm going to get sick of this dish.  I used a chef's knife properly for the first time EVER to cut the ends off my brussels sprouts. Thank you for teaching me how, Melissa! I even managed to do it without cutting my fingers off.  Due to the NJEA convention I only have 3 days of work this week, so I got prepared by packing up some for lunches along with crock pot meat:
Poor picture quality, but it does it's job.
After this picture I packed up one more container for dinner at grad class Tuesday night. While I was cooking, I snacked on some of the sausage, brussels and bacon, and a slice of leftover pumpkin pie from last night (it tastes even better cold!). Sooo I suppose that would be my lunch.

For dinner we grilled steaks for the first time. We put (way too much of) a dry rub on grass fed rib eye steaks, grilled, and ate.  I ate mine with side of spaghetti squash and some brussels and bacon.
I have a great week coming up.  My lesson plans, cooking, and laundry are done. Mom's coming home from the hospital tomorrow.  Off of work Thursday and Friday, so I'll have plenty of time to get caught up on things, take Eddy to get his blood work redone, and potentially buy new work pants. I'm slowly realizing that even though I am slimming down, I have gained so much muscle particularly in my legs, so I'm just a larger size now. Even if I do shrink back to my old size at some point, I'm not going to make it through this winter without pants that fit. Oh well. Maybe next spring/summer I'll learn my lesson and not gain a ridiculous amount of weight.  Additionally, on Saturday I'll be participating in the Barbells for Boobs Helen Meets Grace event with Amy... can't wait!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Days 18 - 21 : Nov 2 - 5

Okay, I'm back!

Eddy update first: We picked the little man up Friday afternoon! He's currently at home, eating, drinking, playing, barking, and being a little monster as normal. It's so nice to see him happy again. We still have to get him re-tested in a week to see if his numbers continue to drop which will determine whether it was really just an acute infection or potentially renal dysplasia. Judging by the way he is behaving, I think we have a healthy pup on our hands :D

On Wednesday, however, my mother's appendix decided to rupture. Sean and I met my brother and aunt at the hospital and waited for her emergency appendectomy to be over. My dad was in South Africa at the time, and couldn't do much else than book the next flight back home. Mom made it through the surgery like a champ.  The doctor predicted 7-10 days in the hospital (the fancy new Virtua), but it looks like she'll be going home Sunday night or Monday! There's a large risk of infection and she has a huge incision to heal, so she's going to be taking it easy for a while, but all will be okay!

Despite all the stress and unpredictable situations I went through this week, I made it through without cheating on the challenge! Let's take a look:

Day 18 : Wednesday Nov 2

Breakfast: Zucchini quiche and coffee. I was out of brussels and meat, so I stopped at Wawa on the way to work to get a little more breakfast. I left with and promptly ate a banana.

Lunch: I packed up some more zucchini quiche, the only food I had left. I got the call about my mom while I was in the car on my way home from a Whole Foods trip after work. I put away my groceries, let Bella out, and headed to the hospital. I happened to get a couple Lara Bars on said Whole Foods trip, so I grabbed some and ate a lemon flavored one on the way to the hospital.

Dinner: By the time mom was moved to recovery, it was about 10:00 PM. Sean, my brother, my aunt, and I were all starving, so we made the short trip down the street to Red Stone.  I thoroughly enjoyed a salad with eggs, rotisserie chicken, bacon, walnuts, and apples with balsamic vinaigrette on the side. In my dad's absence, I stayed over with mom at the hospital.

Day 19 : Thursday Nov 3

Breakfast: In my mom's hospital room I had a cherry Lara Bar. I suppose I could have ordered eggs from the cafeteria, but I figured I could wait until lunch time because..

Lunch: We went to go visit Eddy at UPenn. They suggest that you visit before 2 because that's around when they start a lot of tests and things. We ended up taking Francine's recommendation (thank you!!) and went to White Dog Cafe where I enjoyed a salad with chicken, bacon, tomatoes, eggs, and cucumbers with oil and vinegar. It was so hard leaving Eddy again, he actually started barking when we walked away. Very sad, but hearing him bark was a sign of him feeling better.

Dinner: We went back to the hospital to visit mom. I came home and still had dinner to eat and lesson plans to do. I needed to make my brussels and bacon ASAP before the green turned to brown, so even though I was ridiculously tired, I threw that recipe together and ate some alongside 3 scrambled eggs.

Day 20 : Friday Nov 4

Breakfast: Zucchini quiche, brussels and bacon, coffee.

Lunch: Crock pot meat (ran that crock pot overnight Thursday night) with brussels and bacon.

Dinner: After picking Eddy up, Sean and I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.  We ordered delivery from Pats Pizza. Don't worry, I didn't get pizza. I enjoyed a salad with roasted red peppers, eggs, broccoli, and steak. Later that night I was still hungry so I ate (more) brussels and bacon.

Day 21 : Saturday Nov 5

Breakfast: Brussels and bacon with 3 scrambled eggs and coffee.

Lunch: Following the one of the toughest CrossFit workouts I've done yet, I enjoyed some crock pot meat and more brussels and bacon. And more coffee.

Dinner: Some of the challengers gathered at Alycia and Justin's house for a potluck and cooking demo. Thanks for the demo, Melissa, and thank you everyone for all the amazing food! I had a whole slew of real foods... ie lots of delicious meats and veggies. Plus some of Sharon's awesome homemade Lara Bar and some of my pumpkin pie.

Only 9 more days - starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 17 - Nov 1

Another traumatizing day...

Eddy's numbers got worse, so the vet wanted him moved to the emergency room at Penn's veterinary hospital where they have fancier things and can watch him 24/7.
Our brave little man hooked up to his pupper's IV at the vet. He has a similar set-up at Penn.

Sean and I just beat rush hour traffic and got him in early, but immediately after us came a swarm of sick (really sick) pets. Needless to say, we waited forever to hear from the doctors. When we did get to talk to one, she told us that he needs to stay potentially for 3-4 days (you can only imagine the bill he's wracking up over there.. though, it's worth it to get him better) because they have to determine whether it's an infection, a kidney problem from birth, or maybe kidney stones.  There's also a possibility that if it's an infection, the damage done to his kidneys could be life-long :(

So we're doing the only thing we can do - hoping for the best. This morning they are moving him to internal medicine and running an ultra sound to check for kidney stones. After that it's just a matter of time. We're hoping to flush out the infection with lots of fluids, then they have to wait until his numbers plateau before they can start taking him off the IV. We can't wait to have him well and back home!

In food news:

Breakfast: zucchini quiche and coffee
Lunch: the last of the brussels and bacon and crock pot meat
Dinner: We were starving and had lots of down time waiting for the doctor, so we wandered out. There was a little place in University City about a block away from the vet ER where I was able to get a half chicken with jerk spices with fresh grilled asparagus and pineapple.... yum. Pre-challenge this would have been a situation where I would have given myself "permission" to stress-eat whatever the hell I wanted. Honestly, it was pretty hard to not say screw it and order some nachos and a margarita. Luckily, Sean wouldn't let me :) In the end, I'm so glad I stuck to the challenge.  Only a little ways to go...

Also - I succeeded in having a candy-less Halloween and day following Halloween.. hooray!