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Day 16 & 17: Pot O Sauce

I’ve had mostly leftovers since Sunday, but I cooked up a big pot o spaghetti sauce today. I make what is pretty much my family’s recipe and dump it over some roast spaghetti squash. I don’t feel like talking about what I ate for the last two days, so here’s a recipe for spaghetti sauce instead (more or less. . .remember, I don’t really believe in measurements):

1lb ground meat (I used turkey this time, but bison is probably my favorite)
1/2 – 1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 packages of mushrooms (I used organic baby bellas)

2-3 tbsp tomato paste
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 28oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1-2 tsp basil (fresh is best)
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat with the onion and garlic and some salt and pepper. Just as you finish, mix in the tomato paste. Sautee the mushrooms in some coconut oil or ghee, then toss everything in a crock pot and cook on low all day. If you use fresh basil, wait until before you use the sauce to stir it in. Roast up a spaghetti squash. 350 degrees or so – just poke holes in it and put the whole dang thing in the oven. When a fork goes into the squash very easily, it’s done. When the squash starts to cool off, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Then scoop out the cooked “spaghetti” and plop on your sauce. DELISH.


Days 13 & 14: Mental Health Day

After a full day of working out, working, and volunteering, on Friday (Day 13) I felt like sleeping in this morning. So I did.  Then I roasted beets, started some chicken broth, and headed to brunch. The beets went in some borscht this evening. I’ve now got some nice broth and several containers of emergency borscht chillin’ in the freezer. Tomorrow I have big plans to cook three large meals and get a head start on the week. Food in the freezer means I won’t have to take another mental health day for a while.

Days 8 & 9: Butter Chicken Has No Butter. Discuss.

I’ve been a busy little bee since I got back from my brother’s place. It’s about a four hour drive, so I spent Sunday (Day 8) in pretty constant motion, running errands on my way back into town, cooking, cleaning, laundry, the usual. I don’t actually feel like typing out what I ate, but I made some halupki stir fry because it’s easy, super tasty, filling, and I can make a whole buttload of it at once.

Today (Day 9) I worked, went to Jeerleading practice, and did some gnarly Ashtanga. Good thing I had butter chicken (sub coconut milk for dairy ingredients) in the crock pot, and had yetiman make some cauliflower rice. Meal planning is essential on days like this.

Seven hours of sleep last night, but I’m about to get eight tonight. Keeping up on my fish oil so at least I don’t lose points for that. Speaking of losing points, I was sad to learn that last week’s Ashtanga fest didn’t count toward my workout points. I got in only two CrossFit workouts and three are required. I was really hoping my three yoga classes would count for one workout. Alas, my score has suffered.

Day 7: Salad Made Out of Meat

I woke up this morning and drug my sister in law to yoga at 8AM. Not only had she not been  practicing regularly, but the class ended up being more challenging than I had anticipated (oh, hey revolved side angle pose). I’m pretty sure she forgave me after I cooked breakfast and lunch.

My brother was intrigued when I said “sweet potato hash” yesterday, so that’s just what I fixed for them this morning. Here’s how you do it (all measurements are approximate because I don’t actually believe in measurements):

2 tsp dried rubbed sage
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb ground pork
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Brown the pork (or whatever ground meat you like, really) with the spices. Once the meat is done, take it out of the pan and set aside. Melt some coconut oil in the pan and toss in the garlic, onion, and sweet potato. If the potatoes start to burn or brown too fast, put in a little water. Cover the pan but stir often. Once the sweet potatoes are tender, toss in the meat and stir it all together and reheat the meat. Put in a  bowl and shove in your facehole.

I had black coffee and kombucha with my breakfast, and a date coconut ball somewhere between breakfast and lunch.

I made some Thai steak salad and coconut green beans (minus the almonds, my brother is allergic and I didn’t want him to die). My sister in law kept trying to sabotage my steak salad with things like tomatoes and lettuce. I finally had to tell her “it’s a salad made of meat!” Here’s how it goes:

1-2 lbs skirt or flank steak, marinated in coconut aminos and a little coconut oil
Thai chiles (as many as you can handle…thems spicy)
2-3 handfuls of cilantro, ripped up with your hands
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 3-4 limes

Sear the steak for 6-7 minutes on each side, then cover with foil and let it rest. After the steak has cooled off, slice it thin, like you would for fajitas. Dump everything in a bowl and combine. 

Salad made out meat was a winner, and my brother liked the spicy Thai peppers.

I don’t see my brother very often and I wanted to try this barbecue place in Urbana called the Black Dog. This meal wasn’t entirely compliant. I ordered some smoked chicken, slaw (vinegar based), and a smoked sweet potato. There was some sugar in the slaw, and I did eat a little barbecue sauce. I don’t know how, but I managed not to order a beer…they had plenty of choices and I really, really wanted one. I guess it was knowing that I’d be losing at least one point on my food for the day that forced me to stick with water.

I went to bed early last night and ended up with almost 10 hours of sleep! Definitely didn’t need an alarm to wake up at 7 and get to yoga at 8. I also got in my fish oil. If the worst thing I did today was eat some slaw and barbecue sauce, I think I did okay.

Day 6: Spreading the Paleo Love

I spent today working from my brother’s house, attempting some gnarly Ashtanga yoga in a different studio, and spreading paleo love to his household.

My first meal was a little stunted. Scrambled eggs, a couple of dates, and a cup of black coffee.

This meal was frankly disappointing. I ordered a salad that came with potatoes, which I obviously had them leave off. Unfortunately, they didn’t go ahead and fill in the rest of the salad with more greens to fill in for the potatoes. Greens, asparagus, bacon, and poached egg, with vinegar and oil. I was still hungry when I was done, so I got some carrots and almond butter, some smoked turkey, a date coconut roll, and a kombucha. Weird snack, I know.

Another paleo feast! Balsamic ribs, roast beets with orange and fennel, and collard greens with garlic and crushed red pepper sauteed in coconut oil and a little veggie broth. My brother liked the meal so much that he made nummy sounds the whole time and I almost had to punch him in the throat. I’m glad he enjoyed it, though.

This evening I completed my first ever Ashtanga practice incorporating some of the intermediate series. Holy crud was it hard. Also hard: getting eight hours of sleep per night. This morning I woke up right at seven hours without an alarm. I did take my fish oil, but I continue to lose points on the challenge for sleep. 

Day 5: Autotune Your Meats

Today was another travel day. A mere four hours in the car and now I’m sitting on my brother’s couch autotuning our voices with his very important apps. . .getting ready to rub down a rack of ribs to put in the crock pot for dinner tomorrow. That’s right, I travel with meat now. I had to pack and plan to make this happen.

On my way out the door this morning, I ate a Kit’s Organic Bar, which is a kind of Larabar knockoff by Clif Bars. I need to stop relying on sugary bars (although they are totally compliant. . . no added sugar, just smashed up dates), but I was way hungry when I woke up. When I got to the office, I had hard boiled eggs with hot sauce and smashed up avocado. My fermented food for the day was curtido – Colombian fermented cabbage and carrots with spices.

In separate little containers, I packed up my spicy beef, salad, and sunshine sauce from last night to relive the glory at lunch along with a kombucha and a Larabar. I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but packing paleo means you’ll never use a little cutesy lunchbox again. I have a giant-ass bag I pack my breakfast and lunch in.

My driving dinner consisted of turkey sammies on collard greens with green onion and avocado. I also had some freeze dried fruit, pistachios, and a kombucha.

So I’m all nestled in at my brother’s place, where I’ll be working tomorrow, and making sure he and his wife have a nice paleo feast to return home from work to!

I Am CrossFit Challenge 2013 – Day 1

I’m back, and stuff! And it’s already time for another paleo challenge. The I Am CrossFit Challenge with CrossFit Fort Wayne is an eight week nutrition and fitness challenge. You earn points for the following:

  • Body composition
    • Everyone will be measured and have his/her body fat percentage determined during the week prior to the challenge. We will be performing measurements of arms, hips, waist, and thighs which will be combined for a total measurement. Measurements and body fat percentage will be repeated at the end of the challenge and scored for percentage improvement.
  • Performance
    • Everyone will participate in the baseline workout prior to the challenge as a performance measurement. It will be repeated again at the end of the challenge and scored for percentage improvement.
  • Accountability
    • Every team member will begin each week with 4 points. You can earn a total of 8 points or lose all 4 for a total of 0. Points are earned for nutrition, workouts and sleep.

Nutrition is, of course, strict paleo, so that means I’ve got a NO list again. NO:

  • grains/starches (corn, soy products, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, etc.)
  • sugar (refined, artificial, or “natural”)
  • dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk)
  • legumes (beans, peanuts)
  • alcohol, soda, or other diet drinks

I’ll complete the baseline workout tomorrow morning. It looks like this:

500m row
40 Air squats
30 Ab-Mat Sit-Ups
20 Push-Ups
10 Pull-Ups

I think sleep is going to be the hardest part – you’re aiming for 8 hours a night. This will be particularly tricky on the days I get up at 5 to work out at 6. . .like tomorrow. On to the food!

I didn’t actually know that the challenge started today. I was out of town for the weekend, and thought that it started on Monday. So I didn’t have any food prepared to start my day, which began with about a 3.5 hour drive from Cincinnati to Fort Wayne. Needless to say, breakfast was less than ideal, and may or may not be scored as a cheat–that’s up to my coach to decide.

I had some date-coconut balls that were stashed in my car from my drive out to Cincinnati. I ate them along with a large cup of black coffee from Sidewinder Coffee in Northside (I love this place!), and half of a kombucha. Pretty sugary breakfast. I stopped for groceries when I got home, and ate some Applegate roast turkey breast.

I actually cut my visit short so I could get home and make plenty of food today. Starting with chocolate chili, which I made with ground turkey and bison (free-range/grass-fed/organic, natch). I love this chili recipe, but it’s very…meaty. I normally put it over some roast spaghetti squash, but this time I made cauliflower rice (in coconut oil with allspice and a little cumin). It was delish. 

I also roasted up a nice chicken from Creakey Acres Farm. I sort of follow this Jamie Oliver recipe, using coconut oil and  whatever herbs and veggies I happen to have around. This time it was white onion, green onion, carrot, and fresh rosemary. I didn’t have a lemon, so I used a tangerine. Holy crud did it turn out great! I think it may have been because I was cooking two meals at once, and just let the chicken rest for a really long time, probably two hours. It was herby and moist and perfectly browned. Glorious! I also roasted up some sweet potatoes. My dinner was a nice thigh chunk and half a sweet potato with coconut butter.

I will get my fish oil and sleep points for Sunday, and hopefully all of my food points as well.

Sunday Cookup!

Sunday Cookup!

Day 31: Dairy Makes Me Sneeze?

I can’t lie, I’ve been cheating on the “don’t step on the scale” thing since I started my 30. It had been a few days, and it turns out I’m down 12 pounds and about 1 inch off of my waist and hips. I even managed to put a belt on today.

Today was also dairy reintroduction day. I ate borscht for breakfast, along with a cup of Chobani yogurt. I didn’t notice much except that I sneezed a few times. But since I’ve also got a cold, I didn’t think too much of it. I ate a snack before lunch of an apple and some cheese. Again, I felt kind of snotty/sneezy, but I had been feeling that way for a few days anyway. For lunch I ate a bison patty, cauli rice, and collard greens, and noticed that I was getting gassy.

I was supposed to eat some ice cream with my dinner. I found a wee container of mint chocolate chip Edy’s (5.8 oz). It’s super cold here, so I just left it in my car all day and figured it would be fine. It melted, and I did not care. I got home from work and sucked down that ice cream. Then I took a nap (I’m still sick!). I woke up a bit bloaty and snotty, but for the most part, dairy wasn’t a huge problem. I had some balsamic braised ribs from Practical Paleo for dinner, along with some roast carrots and apple ginger sauerkraut –one of my new favorite things!

I’m back on the plan for a few days while I see what else happens (breakouts, etc.) before I move to my next reintroduction: grains with gluten.

Day 30: It’s Oveeerr!

Well. Almost. Next up is food reintroduction, and I know you want to read all about my bloat. Since I’m sick, I’m not exactly going out with a bang, although I did manage to make a nice dinner. Before I get into what I ate on my official 30th day (35 for anybody keeping track), let’s review what I have not eaten for the past month:

  • No grains
  • No dairy
  • No soy
  • No added sugar or sweeteners
  • No booze
  • No sulfites, carrageenan or MSG (preservatives)
  • No white potatoes

In case you weren’t paying attention, what have I been eating?

  • Animal protein from sustainable, ethical (and almost entirely local) sources
  • Organic, non-GMO (and, when possible, local) veggies of all shapes and sizes – 2-3 cups per meal
  • Limited amounts of fruit – 1-2 pieces per day (see slaying the friggin’ sugar dragon. . . I’m trying to run on fat instead of sugar over here)
  • Good fats such as avocado, ghee, certain tree nuts, and pretty much anything that comes out of a coconut
  • Fermented foods such as kombucha and sauerkraut (also found a local source for that)

And aside from the fact that I have  cold, I feel great. Preparing my food each day really forced me to get a lot done in a day, and because I have sustained energy throughout the day, I have been able to do that. In fact, even though I was sickly last night, I sat down and did my taxes because I felt like a freaking lout sitting around.

What did I eat on day 30? A lot of bone broth and tea because I’m sick. Since I stayed home, I made some eggs with kale and ate them with some sauerkraut for breakfast. I also sucked down some bone broth and ate some toasty coconut. I wasn’t very hungry for lunch, but I had a small piece of roast chicken and some carrots and snap peas with mayo dip, plus more tea and bone broth.

For dinner, I made some bison patties, collard greens with spicy Thai chiles and shallots, cauliflower rice with curry powder, dried apricots, and toasted pecans, and mushrooms. I cooked everything in buttery delicious ghee. A mini feast!


The Last Supper

So that’s it. Tomorrow I’ll check out my weight and measurements and see what kind of progress I made on that front. Even though this past month has been crazy with cooking and cleaning, I really think the hard part comes next. I won’t be following any plan, and will have to fight to keep sugar from becoming part of my daily routine again. Once I’m eating a regular paleo diet, I can come back and do another Whole 30 whenever I need to clean up my act, but I hope I don’t have that much cleaning up to do. I’d like to keep my momentum and stay in “gettin’ shit done” mode. It’s the only way I’ll lose some weight. And really, 30 days isn’t long enough to tell if some of my inflammatory problems are going to clear up eating paleo, so I need to keep it up. This is the end of my 30, but the beginning of what my diet and lifestyle will look like in the future.