A day of Reflection/Registration

So, I have realized that I am not too good at this blogging thing. It is not because I don’t think about it, I do. It’s just that I don’t seem to be able to find the time in my daily life for another thing to manage. I recently came to the conclusion that I don’t have to be crazy about it like I thought in the beginning. Initially, I thought I need to post everyday to keep people interested. Now, I am thinking that I need to just post when something I feel is blog worthy comes about. It’s not like this is my livelihood, it’s simply about getting information out there to people who are curious about the Paleo/Crossfit lifestyle. So today, I thought, get back at it, girl. and why not…today has already been a pretty great day and it’s not even noon.

For those of you wondering…yes, I still eat Paleo (I always will!), and I am doing crossfit 5x per week now. I am addicted/obsessed. I’ve got it pretty bad, actually. Crossfit seems to occupy most of my brain, most of the time. In fact, I am currently studying for my Level 1 certification! It amazes me on a daily basis how I went from a couch-potato ball of fluff to a strong (mentally and physically), capable, active woman. I’m telling you, if I can do it…ANYONE can!

So, thinking about the 2 things I love most, I went a little registration crazy today. I registered for my very first Crossfit competition AND for the PaleoFX 2013 conference, March 28-30, in Austin! I wanted to go to Paleo FX last year, but it just didn’t work out for me, so I knew that this year was a must. I am SO excited to be going and potentially getting to rub elbows (and pick brains) with some of the greats in the Paleo community! Not to mention, all the information that will be available in the form of seminars, demonstrations, vendors, etc. I plan to update daily while I am there, so if you can’t go and are curious about what’s going on, stay tuned!

As for the crossfit competition, it is a local one that my coach participated in last year. It seems like a great place to start.  I am doing the scaled division with my 16 yo daughter who has just started crossfitting with me. I think it will be a great time for both of us! I am really looking forward to feeling the intensity of a true competition setting and to working with my daughter towards a common goal…kicking ass! She isn’t as crazy about crossfit as I am, so I am hoping to show her when you put your mind to something, you might be surprised at what you can do! I know I have been.

Anyway, thanks for hanging around even when there is nothing coming out of this blog! I will try to be better, I promise.

UPDATE: Practical Paleo: a book review & GIVEAWAY!

I came home about a week ago to find a package on my doorstep. I did not remember ordering anything, so I was curious to get it open. It was super-duper heavy and, when I opened it up, I was stoked to realize that I had just received an advanced copy of the soon-to-be-released book by Diane Sanfilippo, Practical Paleo!

Release date is August 7th!

Diane runs the immensely popular and well-respected blog and podcast, Balanced Bites, and if you have never checked her out, you should. I had responded to her call for bloggers who wanted to review an advance copy but, honestly, I really didn’t think that I would get one since my blog is still just a baby. Baby blog or not though, there it was in all it’s glory. Just for me. I felt so honored. I am so honored! I was so excited that I sat down (I may or may not have neglected my kids for a little while) and read as much of it as I could before I was forced to get up and make dinner. After dinner, I got everyone in bed, did the same with myself and read it until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

In the last week, I have been able to read it cover to cover and it is nothing short of a Paleo “bible”. It truly is a one stop shop for all your Paleo needs, from what Paleo is all about, to how your body responds to different types of food, to how to get started and what to cook. There is even a FAQ section that answers questions about things like protein powders (are they ok? I think you already know this answer) and fish oil supplements (this answer might surprise you). It’s like Robb Wolf meets Bill and Hayley of The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate (and it sorta really is because Bill did most of the photography!). It is a wealth of information AND recipes, and it’s just almost equally divided among the two. In order to contain all of this information, the book weighs in at 432 pages. That’s HUGE, folks, and it’s a lot of bang for your buck (especially if you pre-order now). Diane really did think of everything.

There are also these really cool, easy to read and understand, one page (tear-out) guides to things like gluten, sweeteners and good sources of dense carbs. If you are like I am, you might be tempted NOT to pull these out of the book for fear of losing them, but Diane thought of this, too. Fear not, Paleo people! Go ahead…tear them out! Each one just happens to be duplicated throughout the book, so you can never lose them. Genius.

See?

Did you know that your makeup could have gluten in it? I didn’t.

This book also contains lots of in-depth 30 day meal plans for all sorts of ailments, including Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes type 1&2, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Not only does she tell you exactly what to eat every day for 30 days, she goes into diet and lifestyle recommendations and what sort of nutritional supplements might help for each particular ailment. I definitely got some new ideas on how I can further help my digestive health. Fermented cod liver oil, anyone?

Now, onto the food.

It was really difficult to decide what to make first. It all looks so mouth-watering.  However, I just happened to have a pork loin thawed (which helped with the decision-making process), so I chose the cumin spiced pork tenderloin.

The photography is gorgeous!

Here is what you need:

1 T cumin

1 T coriander

1 T granulated garlic or garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

black pepper to taste

2 pork tenderloins (I had one big one)

2 T bacon fat (or other cooking fat)

2 onions, chopped into large slices

4 parsnips, peeled and chopped ~I am not particularly fond of parsnips, so I subbed in carrots and turnips~

2 fresh garlic cloves, smashed ~ I might have used 6 or 7…I love garlic!~

1 large orange, peeled and segmented

seeds of one pomegranate (approx 1/4 cup, optional)  ~ I omitted these because I didn’t have them~

Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, granulated garlic (or powder), salt and black pepper.

Using paper towels, pat the pork tenderloins dry, and apply the spice blend to the meat generously to create a crust. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and melt the bacon fat. Place the pork tenderloins in the skillet, and sear on all sides for approximately 2 minutes per side.

Place the onions, parsnips, garlic, orange segments and pomegranate seeds in a large roasting dish, topped by the pork tenderloins. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork tenderloins reaches 145 degrees F. If you need to continue roasting the vegetables until they are soft, simply remove the pork and set it aside on a cutting board to rest until the vegetables finish roasting for another 10-15 minutes.

Slice the tenderloins on the bias(diagonally) and serve over the vegetables.

So, I mentioned that I subbed in carrots and turnips for the parsnips. When it all came out of the oven, I got the idea to puree the vegetables. There are a couple of reasons I did this. First, the vegetables came out a little dry. It could have been because my meat was so lean, or that I didn’t cook them long enough. Even so, next time I would probably add a little bit of broth or toss them in coconut oil or bacon fat.  Secondly, and most importantly, I happen to love veggie purees. I always end up having leftovers when I make them, and I like to use them in my breakfast scrambles. So, it’s a two for one deal. I ended up squeezing the orange segments (once cooled a little) into a bowl, and then I dumped in all the veggies and what juice there was in the pan and used my handy immersion blender to puree it up. Seasoned with a little sea salt, it was perfect. I served all of this alongside some sautéed spinach. It was so delicious! The meat, though lean, was still very tender and juicy, and the whole house smelled amazing. The flavors were so good! If you love cumin (like I do), you are in business.

I thought about doing one other recipe that stood out to me, but changed my mind. Let me tell you why. Better yet, I will show you.

This, my friends, is what is called Nutty Bacon Bark. Yep, you heard me right. Bacon candy! This recipe stood out immediately, but I knew if I made it, I would eat it. All of it. That would be no bueno. So, here is what I am going to do. I am saving this one for Christmas. I will add it to my treats that I make for friends and then I can give it all away. Ok, well, maybe I will give away MOST of it. Doesn’t it look and sound divine?

So, get over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pre-order your copy of Practical Paleo today. It is destined to become one of the must-haves among Paleo books and, when it comes out, the price will go up and you will be kicking yourself for not taking my advice.  Really, I am just looking out for your best interest.

Oh right, you want a giveaway, huh? Well, I have pre-ordered another copy of this book to giveaway, and it should be here by August 9th or so. How do you win it, you ask? Well, it’s simple really. Leave a comment here telling me why you would love to own this valuable piece of Paleo wisdom. That’s it. Told ya, simple. I will select a winner on August 15th just to give a little leeway.

and forget about that whole 200 likes thing…it’s not really my style.

 

I’m baaaccckkk!

So, both of my cameras decided to bite the dust this summer. My nice Canon Rebel T1i AND my EVO phone camera! Needless to say, it has been very frustrating to not be able to take pics. I have relied on my friends for vacation photos and made countless meals that have gone undocumented. Well, no more! Yesterday, I figured out a way to get an early upgrade on my cell phone (it cost me a little, but it was worth it!), and now I am back in business. I also got to go back to my beloved iPhone! This makes me a very happy girl! Note: my Canon is still being repaired so the iPhone camera will be it for a while. Still, I fully anticipate things picking up around here. I am also planning a couple of giveaways in the next month or so, so be sure to stay tuned. For those of you who are curious…I have dropped you a little hint below for one of them.

 

Which one of these is not like the other

So, spread the word.

Book review to follow later today…

 

Happy hump day everyone!

 

 

 

 

Foolproof Homemade Mayo!

In my past life, you would have never caught me making homemade mayo.  The thing is…I always wanted to.  The problem was…I was a slave to convenience!  I used to have a tshirt in college that said “convenience is the enemy!”.  Oh, how true that is.  Also, I recently had a friend post about his troubles with making mayo, and it made me even more frightened of it.  I didn’t need to make my own.  I could just buy it.  So, I did.  Until I went Paleo two months ago.  Now, I have made mayo probably five times, including today.  I am no longer afraid. You know it’s funny…thinking about it, I think part of the problem was I didn’t want to waste my money screwing it up.  Olive oil is expensive.  Ok, not really in comparison to the oils I buy now, but that notion held me back.  Trying to stretch every dollar was ingrained (pun intended) in me.  It is different now, I have finally come around to spending money on quality ingredients because they are better for me and my family, and we are worth it!

So, yesterday we ran out of mayo, and it was time to make more.  When I went Paleo, the first website I browsed for recipes was The Clothes Make The Girl run by Melissa Joulwan, a former roller derby girl gone clean.  She rocks to the nth degree!  The very first recipe I made of hers was…you guessed it, her homemade mayo.  She has a literally foolproof recipe.  I have done it several times now, and it comes out perfect every time!  I am lucky enough to have two Meyer lemon trees in my backyard, and I use those lemons like crazy. 

All you need is:

~

to get this:

~Two batches~

Are you ready to make your own?  Not scared, anymore?  You shouldn’t be, I promise. Now, get your butt over to Mel’s site and get the recipe!  You will thank me.  Did I mention that this stuff doesn’t even come close to comparing to that crap you buy in the store?  No?  Well, it doesn’t!  I eat it as a sauce on the top of my chicken burgers for lunch all the time, and I would miss it if it weren’t there.  It is that good!  Get the recipe here.  Enjoy!

I am on the cusp…

There are a few things that I really look forward to on this journey of mine.  Well, actually, there are a LOT of things, but one of the big milestones is getting ready to happen!  It could happen tomorrow or two days from now, but it’s coming.  In my past life, I never would have spoken about my insecurities or my weight to anyone let alone the WWW, but here goes…I am on the cusp of breaking the 200 mark (yeah, I said it…200 lbs and, just so you know, it will be the last time I say it!).  Yippee skippee! (yeah, I said that, too) I have not weighed less than 200 lbs since about 7 years ago.  My husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last December.  I got pregnant pretty quick after we married and well, if you are female and married, or have children, you know the rest.  If you have read my first post, Whole 30 and a Life 180, then you know I have been waiting my entire life to be on the road I now find myself walking.  I knew the day would come for me and it did!  Just not the way I imagined it would.

I don’t weigh in/measure very often anymore.  I don’t need to…I have scrub pants that I have to roll up so that they don’t fall off  of me so I know, without weighing, that I am losing weight.  In the past, I would have been on the scale every day.  The thing about the Paleo lifestyle is you don’t have to count calories.  That’s kind of how it is when you are eating real food… it’s all good for you, so it doesn’t really matter.  Now, don’t get me wrong…you can’t eat a ton of fruit or “treats” and expect to lose, but if you moderate your sugar and watch how much you eat of the higher carb veggies, you will be fine.  So, I have let go of the numbers.  The scale haunts me no longer.  It has quit calling my name.  I think it might even be collecting a little dust.  Poor scale.  So lonely.

Today, though, I weighed in.  I took my measurements and wrote it all down.  In fact, I panicked because it had been so long since I last measured that I forgot where I put the notepad that I wrote them down on.  I was so upset with myself thinking I didn’t keep it the last time I measured, but then I found it.  Right where I put it.  Story of my life.

Today the scale read 200 lbs. right on the money.  That’s 24 lbs. less than I weighed just two short months ago.  I have lost 3.5 inches off my waist and 3.5 inches off my hips.  My thighs are down 2 inches and my leg (from the knee down) is down 1.5 inches.  My wrist is half an inch smaller, which means I can almost wear my nice watch again!  I have a goal, and I am now 1/3 of the way there.  How cool is that??  Seriously cool, if you ask me.  I don’t think I have ever been happier! or more energetic!

Have you ever had that feeling that everything you have done in your life has been leading up to this one certain thing/moment/place?  That is the BEST part of all of this…knowing that I am in this for life now.  It amazes me every day to know without a shadow of a doubt that I WILL reach my goal.  Having that feeling is something I have only ever dreamed of.

Oh yeah, I had din din at the computer tonight.  Inspiration (once again!) from nom nom Paleo‘s lunch today made with leftover grass fed pot roast meat from Everyday Paleo, sauteed peppers and a curry Pure Wrap.  Thanks, ladies!  I apologize for the “bite” pic, but I had almost scarfed the whole thing before I remembered to take a pic. It was delish!

Not my mom’s salmon patties

The last time I was in Whole Foods was my first time in there since going Paleo.  I might have went a little crazy.  For reals.  I bought pound after pound of grassfed beef (all types), veal, pork, chicken, and two types of fish.  I bought a few fillets of sea bass and a rather large chunk of wild caught Sockeye salmon.  We have long since gone through all of it, save the salmon.  I had popped it in the freezer to keep so, a couple of days ago, I pulled it out and set it in the fridge to thaw.  I felt pretty sure that I would bake it with herbs and lemon (from my tree) but there it was tonight, staring at me.  I had already decided that dinner would be easy…store-bought rotisserie chicken, sauteed kale and bacon (thank you, nom nom Paleo!!) and roasted carrots with cumin and cinnamon, so I was not in the mood to deal with the salmon.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a choice.  I couldn’t have it going bad. That’s crazy talk.  Knowing I wasn’t having it for dinner, though, kinda threw a monkey wrench into my plan for herbs and lemon as I am not a big fan of leftover seafood.  So, how could I prepare the salmon so that it would actually get eaten?  Mmm hmmm…salmon patties.  Grew up on them.  love them!  and leftover salmon patties?  Now, that’s a different story.  Don’t ask me what the difference is because I don’t know.  I just know that I will eat leftover salmon patties, but I won’t touch leftover baked salmon.  I’m weird, and I am fully aware.  Thanks.

The salmon patties I grew up on were made straight from a can with breadcrumbs as binder and always eaten with a lot of ketchup.  I loved them and they were delicious, but not very Paleo.  So, I wanted to update them for my new lifestyle.  Here’s how I did it…

Gather your ingredients.

Makes 6 palm size patties

1 pound wild caught salmon, skin off and chopped into chunks

1 T almond flour

1 tsp ginger, minced

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp coconut aminos

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 egg

1 T coconut oil

1 pat of pasture butter

Put all ingredients into a food processor and give it a whirl until it all comes together.  Shape into patties (this is messy) and set aside.  Add 1 T coconut oil and a pat of pasture butter to a pan over medium heat.  When the butter sizzles, place the patties in the pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side until browned, flipping once.

I can already tell you that I will be crumbling these into my breakfast scramble tomorrow morning.  They are pretty dense, but really tasty.

Not my mom's salmon patties...

Whole 30 and a life 180!

MY LIFE 180

Well, today is the day.  My Whole 30 Challenge is officially over.  For the last 30 days, I have had no added sugar, no dairy and no processed foods.  For the last 30 days, I have eaten nothing but meats, veggies (and lots of them), some nuts & seeds and a little bit of fruit.  Now, it is over.  Only it’s not.  It never will be.  Hallelujah.

Throughout the 30 days, people would ask me…well, what are you going to do after it’s over?  In the first week or so, I was like, hmmm…I am not sure.  I still think there was a part of me that couldn’t imagine never eating processed carbs or refined sugar ever again.  Or never drinking a beer, for that matter!  But by week 2, it was a done deal for me, and that is saying a LOT!!   Those that know me well, well, they know that I love my beer and my pizza.  Heck, even those that don’t know me could probably figure that one out just by looking at me.  But no more.  People who look at me might still think that I like to eat, but that will change over time.  I do still love to eat.  Do not get me wrong.  I love food.  Only now I eat whole foods…real foods.  100% of the time.

I was definitely one of those people that would give you that line as an excuse as to why I was overweight.  I LOVE food.  I have to eat. I am a foodie. In my mind, that meant not limiting myself.  It meant tasting everything.  Enjoying it all whenever it was placed in front of me.  A meal in a nice restaurant called for a decadent dessert to make sure I got the full experience.  A trip to an out-of-the-way dive meant that I would have an appetizer and the burger with the fried egg on top because I had come so far.  When heading down ocean side for a meal at a place that doesn’t allow kids, it would be OK (even expected) to enjoy 2-3 beers because we were on the deck sans kids.  Excuses. Excuses. Excuses…and good ones in my mind.  It all made perfect sense.  I was just following my heart and passion for food. I was just doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Until I wasn’t…and I had been waiting for that day literally all of my life. I had been banking on it.  I was waiting for the day when I would be OK if I didn’t have the desert or the appetizer or the beer or even if I missed a meal altogether.  I have always felt like that day would come, like the snapping of a twig, and my life would do a 180.  It came, but it wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it would be.  It was nothing like I had imagined.  I had a conversation, and it changed my life.

I remember in high school, the thought that I was overweight plagued me.  Every day.  Even though I only weighed 135 (ummm, NOT fat!), I was one of the heaviest on the drill team and though I was a great dancer, it didn’t make up for it.  Certainly, not in my mind.  I thought everyone else thought the same way (and maybe they did).  I never really fit in.  I wanted to be one of the popular girls, never really stopping to think…why?  Why couldn’t I just be me?  What was wrong with me that “me” wasn’t good enough?  So, I tried to be popular.  Oh my goodness how I tried, but it never really worked out.  At least not in my mind, and that’s where the trouble starts, right?  In your own mind.  Little did I know how deep that “trouble” had already planted it’s seed.

In college, I finally found a place where I felt accepted.  I had lots of friends. We were on the beach, and I was living my dream.  But even there, in a place where I felt safe, my weight haunted me, and this was still before my freshman fifteen.  I am going to tell you a little story here.  I am going to repeat something that was said to me that hurt me on many levels and worked to reinforce what I felt of me as a person and what I thought the world thought of me.  I have never told anyone this before because for me it goes to the core of my insecurities and those are things of which I do not speak.  That is getting ready to change.  I am in the middle of a life 180, remember?  I am fixing to come to terms with this.  Watch.

I remember being at a beach house party on the west end of the island.  I had worn my friend’s white mini skirt and a cute top.  The thing to know here is that I do not wear short skirts or dresses.  Period.  Ever.  Ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you.  On this night though, I mustered the courage.  I was having a good night I guess and took a chance.  Anyway, I was dressed, I was feeling good and I thought I was looking good (and I probably did look good).  I was walking down the stairs to get another drink as some (idiot) guy was coming up…as he passed me he said, under his breath but loud enough for me to hear it, “Nice tree trunks”….meaning my legs.  My legs are the worst part of me (in my head) but, while not terribly shapely, they were not flabby…they were muscular.  But this guy, this no name person whom I had never seen before or since, for that matter, hit the button.  Not a button, but the button.  I was mortified and, of course, I thought that everyone at the party felt the same way.  I couldn’t wait to get home that night, and I promise you I have not had on a short skirt since.  You know, I find it is amazing how three stupid words can stay with you for the rest of your life. That was 20 years ago. 20 YEARS!  Half of my life. That is insanity.  Insanity in my own mind.  Trouble brewing, taking hold and sinking it’s teeth into my psyche.

Unfortunately, by that time, it had taken a pretty good hold, and I had convinced myself that I was destined to be fat.  I do not believe it was a conscious decision (why would you consciously decide to be fat?), but somehow my mind decided.  Enter the freshman fifteen. Then marriage. and a baby. and fifty more pounds. plus twenty. OK, twenty five. Yikes!  Through it all, though, I was still convinced that my day would come.  The day when I got sick of being fat.  I was sure of it.  I would just have to wait for it…and I did.  I waited.

I waited until the day I had a conversation with Joe Farley.  He is what he calls a Paleo Evangelist.  We got to talking one Friday, and before I knew it I had cleaned out my fridge and pantry and was well on my way to my very own life 180.  It amazes me that a simple conversation has led me to this point, but it did.  The specifics of the conversation are not important and, to be honest, I don’t even remember how we got on the subject, but here I am.  I am reading everything I can get my hands on including Robb Wolf’s, The Paleo Solution (and I suggest you do, too) and I am following ten tons of Paleo blogs, which I plan to get into more later.  I am educating myself, and it has been eye-opening, to say the least.  I have a medical background being a nurse, but when I finished Robb’s book, I felt like I have been bamboozled by the system into thinking that how I was eating was healthy.  I was drinking the kool-aid and I didn’t even know it.

I realize now that I could’ve had “that day” any day.  All I had to do was put my mind to it. The problem was, I was too busy believing what I thought the world thought of me.  Not any more.  I am worth it, I deserve it and there is nothing wrong with me.  Now, when I feel hungry, I think to myself, “when did I last eat”?  “Am I really hungry or am I bored”?  If the answer is, “yes, I am really hungry”, then I THINK about what I am going to eat.  I no longer grab for something blindly or without thought.  If I put something in my mouth, it is because I have thought about it and decided that I want to eat it.  The flavors now are like none I have ever known.  I thought I was experiencing all there is to eat before, but if the goal was to be a foodie and taste it all…how is it that I had never eaten a turnip?  One of my favorite things now is pureed turnips.  I eat them with steak, in my breakfast scramble, with fish…pretty much anything.  I had no idea what all I had been missing or what I wouldn’t be missing.  In the last 30 days, I have not had dessert (not even once), I have not eaten out at a restaurant, I have skipped more than a few meals because I wasn’t hungry and I have not drank a beer!  Not even one.  and get this…I haven’t missed any of it…the restaurants, the dessert or the beer.  In our house, Friday Fun Pizza Nights have become steak nights.  The kids still eat pizza (I am working on them), but the hubs and I grill steaks and whatever veggies we have left in the fridge from the week. When you look at it like that…like, I am now having a grilled, grass-fed steak instead of pizza…it doesn’t seem like such a hard choice, does it?

In my heart of hearts, I know that food was, is and always will be my life.  It IS what I am supposed to be doing.  I am sure that there will be times when I fall off of the wagon and have a “paleo treat” or honey or dairy or maybe even a beer, but the majority of the time, the majority of my food intake will consist of whole foods.  I eat a Paleo diet now, and I am never turning back.  To those of you that have been in my shoes, you know what it feels like to make a statement like that.  To feel so convicted about something that you can make one of those ‘never say never because they will come back to haunt you’ statements.  It feels amazing.  It feels like…freedom.  To those of you that do not know what that feels like…I challenge you to try it.  Take the Whole 30 Challenge.  IT. WILL. CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.  It has changed mine and I no where near being done.  The only thing I am done with is the waiting.  I am done waiting…