Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Hostage Negotiation of Christmas 2010



Okay, so THIS is about what I felt like by the around 9:15pm on Christmas Evening. . . . but let me start from the begining.

Paleo Christmas Eve Feast - A Success!

Paleo Christmas Dinner - A Success!

We went over to a friend's house for Christmas Dinner - I knew that there would be tons of stuff there that wasn't "Paleo-Approved", so I took along some Waldorf Salad and some Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Icing. I figured this way, I could still have dessert along with everyone else, and not feel the least bit deprived. . . well. . . it was a good plan anyway. . . but would have been even better if I'd stuck to it!

We had a great time on Christmas evening, and I had already decided ahead of time that I would have a glass or two of red wine because it was a special occasion, but would stay otherwise Paleo-Compliant. I had about two glasses of wine before dinner, and then ate a sensible and Paleo-Compliant dinner. No Problem. I wasn't even tempted by the mashed potatoes or stuffing - really! I was quite satisfied with myself after dinner, and decided to go ahead and indulge in a third glass of wine.

About half way through that third glass, the hosts broke out the DESSERT. And yes, that is DESSERT in ALL CAPS!!! My God - I have never seen such a spread in one place at one time in my life! And it wasn't like it was store bought pies and cookies. . . oh no . . this was all home-made decadence, and gourmet cupcake shop debachery - all sitting there staring my slightly un-inhibited self in the face.



Tollhouse Cookie Pie (still warm from the oven w/ Whip Cream!), Red Velvet CHEESECAKE, Gourmet Mini Cupcakes from a local bakery (Chocolate w/ Peanut Butter Icing!!), Creamy Decadent Yule Logs, Godiva Truffles . . . . and that's just listing the highlights!

Suddenly my "Paleo Cupcakes" weren't looking quite so hot anymore!



Anyone that knows me personally knows that sugar is my weakness. When I've been strict Whole30 Compliant for a good stretch of time, my sugar demons go to sleep, but alchohol wakes them back up in a heartbeat (yes - unfortunately, even red wine).

Soooo I ate a Paleo Cupcake and sat there staring longingly at the dessert table trying to summon my willpower.

After what felt like 3 hours, but in reality was more like 3 minutes, I said to myself "Screw it - it's Christmas, and I'm having some friggin REAL dessert!" I then proceded to fill a DINNER PLATE with desserts of every shape and size, and dug in. (Reference Picture of Young Child above - yep, that's about right!) Then I went back for a second helping of Tollhouse Pie. Yes. Really.

After about 15 minutes of indulgence, I was able to turn the switch off, and publicly swore that my meltdown was over with, and that I was back on the Paleo straight and narrow as of that moment. I knew that I'd be in for some serious digestive distress, but at that moment (3 glasses of wine in), I felt that it was totally worth it but knew that I needed to get a hold of myself before I started snowboarding down that slippery slope.

As we left, the host was gracious enough to give my poor deprived hubby a big tupperware container full of "real" mashed potatoes and stuffing. They had listened to his tails of woe regarding my mashed cauliflower and stuffingless dinner table, and had pity on his poor soul.

On the drive home, my hubby reminded me that he had some cheesecake in the fridge that a friend of mine had given him (another "pity" gift!). He asked me if I needed him to "hide" it when we got home so that I wouldn't be tempted, but I ensured him that my sweet tooth was fully satisfied, and there was no need to go hiding food. I was in control again.

Around 11:30 that evening, we were laying there in bed, and my hubby got up to have a midnight snack of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cheesecake. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the NEED to have cheesecake RIGHT THAT INSTANT. It wasn't like I was sitting there and thought "hmmm. . cheesecake sure would be nice". No. This was "I. MUST. HAVE. CHEESECAKE. NOW!!"


This is where the hostage negotiation began. I walked out to the kitchen where my husband was eating cheesecake straight out of the tupperware container. I batted my eyes as softly as I could, gave him my best "come hither" look, and in my sexiest voice said "Hey Baby - I sure would like just one bite of that cheesecake. . . . " He proceeded to dutifully remind me that I had just sworn off sugar again not even 2 hours prior, and swore that he was doing me a favor by not giving me a bite. But in my cheescake craving frantic mind, I could not see reason.

All I could think about was a bite of that cheescake. So I changed the angle of my argument. I told him that my friend that had made the cheesecake would be insulted if she found out that I went off my diet for a few minutes, and didn't eat any of her cheesecake (yeah, lame excuse, I know - but I was desperate!) Well, he didn't buy that either, and slowly began a countermanuever around the kitchen island and into the living room.

As I began to follow him, he picked up the pace - before long I was literally (yes. . . this is real - you have to see this mental picture) chasing my husband around in the circle that goes through our kitchen and living room. He was holding the cheesecake out in front of him at arm's legnth, running full speed ahead, pulling every evasive manuever he could think of - and I was nipping at his heels, fury in my eyes, screaming all kinds of obscenities and threats of what I would do to him if he didn't give me a friggin bite of cheesecake. Reason had left the building!!

After about 5 or 6 laps, I had a brilliant idea. I knew that he was covetting the mashed potatoes and stuffing that he'd been sent home with, so I decided that I would take it hostage. Oh Yes I Did. On about my 7th trip through the kitchen, I ripped open the fridge door, pulled out "his precious" and strutted over to the sink with a sadistic grin on my face, ripped off the lid, and held it at a 90 degree angle to where it was just shy of dumping down the disposal. He froze opposite of me and we locked eyes. It was staredown time. He yelled "YOU WOULDN'T" and I shouted back "JUST WATCH ME!!!"

This exchange was followed by about a minute of staring each other down in silence. He was weighing his options and trying to decide if I would really dump his sacred Christmas food down the drain. I was trying to read him to see if my threat was working, and drooling over the cheescake that was still in his hands and just barely out of my reach. As he started to draw back, I tipped the container just a hair more and he yelled "Nonononononononono!!!!! Fine - You can HAVE your freaking Cheesecake! Just Don't Throw That Food Down The Drain!!" I slowly walked around the island and made a grab for the cheesecake, but he pulled it back at the last minute and made a grab for the mashed potatoes and stuffing that I was still holding hostage. Fast Forward a moment or two and we were chasing each other around in circles again (You just can't make this stuff up kids!) Right about now, the dogs come out of the bedroom and start chasing us around as we're chasing each other. So I'm screaming threats and profanities, the dogs are barking frantically and nipping at our heels, and my poor husband is simply running for his life and wondering how he ever got himself into this situation and how he can save his food.


In the long run, I was able to catch my hubby (Thank you CrossFit!!), and rip the cheesecake from his hands, simultaneously shoveling it into my mouth with my bare hands. He made the split second decision to save his mashed potatoes and stuffing, and give up on the cheescake. . .

We ended up the night on the floor rolling in laughter reflecting on what had just happened. I mean really. In what household does the wife go ballistic over cheesecake and hold mashed potatoes and stuffing hostage over the garbage disposal? I'm almost willing to bet Vegas Odds that this is a first. And part of me wishes we'd had a hidden camera somewhere because we definitely would have won an episode of America's Funniest Videos!!

So I may very well be the only person on the planet that has gone batsh*t crazy when I had a massive sugar craving - but somehow I doubt it. While most sane people out there have probably never taken the pursuit of their object of desire in a moment of weakness to such great legnths, I'm willing to bet that many have at least contemplated it! Hopefully my honest disclosure will help others to realize that they're not the only ones that have moments of "craziness" when in the grips of a sugar craving.

As for my "Recovery" . . I woke up the next morning with the worst belly-ache of my life. I asked my husband why the hell he let me eat the cheescake - and then we both laughed some more. This unfortunate incident did wake up my sugar demons with a vengance and I'm having to be very mindful of everything that I eat right now. I'm craving sugar a lot, and just having to suck it up.

I've made the decision to start a "Whole100" on January 1st, so I am being a little more "relaxed" with my diet over the next several days, but I refuse to fall of the wagon completely as I have in the past. It's so easy to say "Well, I'm starting the Whole30 (or **insert diet name here**) in a week, so I have to eat this and that and this and that and this and that and this and that BEFORE I start so that I can get it out of my system". How do I know this? Because I've Been There. Done That. I refuse to do that again. I have to remember that I want to hold on to all of the progress I've made so far in my journey to becoming a healthier person, inside and out. And a week long binge would NOT do much to set me up for success! All of my main meals and snacks have been 100% Paleo, but I did allow myself a single serving of ice cream last night. This was different though. Ice Cream is the #1 Item on my "Healthy/F-Off" scale, and I had made the concious decision a long time ago that I would have one scoop before January 1st when I will dig in for the long haul.

Also, I started a Pictoral Food Log that I plan to update with EVERY SINGLE BITE that I put in my mouth during my "Whole100" Journey. I started it this week so that I could work out all of the technical difficulties before my journey begins, and also so that I can get in the habit of snapping pics of everything before I eat it. There's a link to my pictoral food log at the top of the navigation bar on the right side of your page. If you're ever curious about what I'm eating, check it out! I hope that my log will help to show others that being "Whole30" Compliant REALLY isn't as hard as some people make it. It's basically just meat, veggies, and healthy fats - with some fancy stuff thrown in there from time to time to keep it interesting. Hey - if I can do it, ANYONE can!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Very Nice Christmas (& a touch of Naughty. . )

Christmas in the Tracy Household was AWESOME :) As promised, I prepared a Paleo Christmas Feast, and actually found that I enjoyed every minute of it! Every single item on my Christmas Menu was 100% Paleo and 100% made from scratch - the only cans/bottle I opened were the Coconut Milk and the jar of Raw Honey . . . I drew the line at cracking coconuts and extracting honey from bumblebees!!

Anyway, to say that I was proud of myself would be a massive understatement . . . I'm sure that my facebook friends are all sick of seeing pictures of my Christmas Food - but this is the first time that I have ever in my life prepared such a feast from scratch, and I really was glowing with pride! You know how they say that people who have jobs where they work with their hands and actually produce things often have a high rate of job satisfaction because they get a real sense of accomplishment from creating tangible things . . .well I can totally see that now! The sense of accomplishment while sitting down and devouring my Christmas Eve Dinner was one of the best natural "highs" I've felt in a very long time (Yes, even better than a PR on "Fran"!)

Here's a picture of the Proud Paleo Princess Herself (No Makeup, Still Sweating from working in a hot kitchen, but Glowing with Pride LOL):


My Final Christmas Menu included a Pastured Turkey (brined for 24 hours), Sweet & Salty Broccoli Salad, Southern Style Farmer's Market Green Beans, Mashed Cauliflower, Whole30 Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Apple Waldorf Salad, Sweet Potato Casserole (Ah-MA-Zing!!), Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Icing, and a Paleo Pumpkin Pie.

I also cooked a Ham for my hubby, and I saved the Ham Bone to use in my Green Beans before I glazed it (okay - to be honest - before HE glazed it . . . LOL - I couldn't bring myself to dump a sugary glaze all over that beautiful ham!)

So it looks good, right? But the real question is how did it TASTE!?! - I can honestly say that my taste buds have never been so thrilled. I couldn't have been happier with the way each one of the dishes turned out. My husband liked the Turkey, Broccoli Salad, and Green Beans. He wouldn't try the Sweet Potato Cassarole or the Waldorf Salad because he said that it just wasn't "right" to make these dishes w/o Marshmallows. As for the Mashed Cauliflower, well, he wasn't a fan - but that's okay - I thought it was awesome :) I guess if you're used to creamy mashed potatoes with gravy though the Mashed Cauliflower must have tasted a little "sad" - haha!

I prepared this meal on Christmas Eve Morning, and we our main Feast early afternoon on Christmas Eve . . and then I ate leftovers for dinner, and Breakfast and Lunch on Christmas day. We went to a friends house for Christmas Dinner, and I took some of my Waldorf Salad and Pumpkin cupcakes to share :)

My Entire Christmas Eve, and up until about 8pm on Christmas Day, I stayed 100% Paleo Compliant with no issues whatsoever. I HONESTLY didn't even want a bite of Mashed Potatoes or Gravy or Stuffing or anything else that would traditionally mark "Christmas Dinner". . . . . . that is until they broke out the desserts on Christmas Evening. . .


And then there was Naughty. . . .


But more on that in the next post - to be titled "The Hostage Negotiation of Christmas 2010"

For now, I'll leave you w/ a Pic of my sweet Buster on Christmas Evening - He wore himself out playing w/ the toy that Santa brought him!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

New "Toys"!!



Christmas came EARLY in my house this week!!

I am so excited!! I ordered an Organic Pastured Turkey, a package of GF Steaks, 3 lbs of Pastureland Organic GF Butter, some "Gold Label" Virgin Coconut Oil, and some Coconut Cream Concentrate last week, and it arrived on Friday - what a perfect start to the weekend! I've got BIG Plans for my turkey for Christmas Dinner :) And I'm going to try to make my own coconut milk using the Coconut Cream Concentrate - If it turns out well, I'll post instructions and notes.

I also finally caved and bought a Pressure Cooker this week - I've been contemplating making this purchase for a few months now, but my hubby was concerned about the safety issue. I looked into them and found that they've come a long way and now have a ton of safety features built in, so I made the purchase - and I'm SO EXCITED to play w/ my new toy! I'm going to use the heck out of it when preparing my Christmas Feast this year! I'll post back about my success, failures, and lessons learned while experimenting.

Another Fun Moment of the week was planning out my Paleo Christmas Feast, and doing all of the grocery shopping in preparation. I hit the Farmer's Market early this weekend, so I actually got there before they were picked over and MADE OUT w/ all kinds of leafy greens and root veggies: Beatiful Swiss Chard, Sweet Spinach, Sweet White Turnips, Red Rocket Radishes, Multi-colored Sweet Carrots, Onions, Apples, Kale, Peppers, and some squash. Lots of inspiration for this week's dinners. I've currently got a Garlic Beef Stew cooking in my Crock-Pot that I dumped a ton of these veggies into - I can't wait to see how it turns out - it smells AH-MAZING right now!

Speaking of my "Christmas Feast", here's what I've got on the menu:
  • Roasted Pastured Turkey - Brined in home-made Brine of Sea Salt, Cranberries, Apples, Orange Peel, Juniper Berries, Black Pepper, Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage.
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Paleo Sweet Potato Cassarole (my own recipe - I've combined different parts of a bunch of different recipes that I've found online - if it turns out good, I'll post it after the holiday!)
  • Southern-Style Farmers Market Green Beans - Slow Cooked w/ Hamhock & Sweet Onions (Another of my own recipes)
  • Mashed Cauliflower - Will be making w/ Clarified (at home), Organic GF Butter
  • Sweet & Salty Broccoli Salad
  • Cranberry Waldorf Salad
  • Pumpkin Pie
I'm really looking forward to preparing this feast and gloating as my hubby (who's been doing a bit of "griping" about Paleo-izing this year's Christmas Dinner) scarfs down every last bite!

And now for a quick update on my Whole30 Progress: So far, so good!! I'm not even quite sure what day I'm on right now - I'll have to look it up, but I think it's probably around day 20-ish. I'm past the "this is hard" part, and am cruising right along, enjoying every minute of it. Mid-week last week, I did go a bit "off the deep end" w/the Dried Mango and Dates, much to my tummy's dismay! I'll cover this "divergence" in another post though. One concession that I'm making - I plan to use a smidge of raw organic honey in the Pumpkin Pie that I'll be making for Christmas, and will also be using a bit of Clarified Organic GF Butter in my Mashed Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Cassarole - neither of these items are Whole30 approved, however I'm making the concious decision to consume these items in moderation on Christmas, thus ending my "strict Whole30" at a "Whole25". I will then jump right back on the Whole30 bandwagon on December 26th and start another 30 days. I'm making this decision for personal reasons, and I woudn't reccomend it to many others, but I know that I'm living a "Whole30 Life" and will be for as long as I'm graced w/ breath to breathe - so going slightly off the Whole30 bandwagon w/ some Clarified GF Butter and a smear of Organic Raw Honey is totally justifiable to me because I was never looking at this as a 30 day journey in the first place. Make Sense?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Spanish Chicken



It's been really cold here in South TX for the last week or so, and as a result I've found myself craving spicy food like crazy! For some reason, whenever the weather turns cold, I start craving dishes w/ HEAT!

I made this one last night, and was pretty impressed w/ the way it turned out, so I thought I'd share:

Spanish Chicken Skillet

Ingredients:
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
Sea Salt to taste
1/8 Cup Coconut Flour
4 Medium Size Chicken Breast, tenderized
2 Tb Olive Oil
1 Green Pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 Red Pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 Sweet Onion, cut into wedges
1 (14.5 oz) Can Diced Tomatoes - Undrained (I like the Organic Fire Roasted kind)
1/2 cup Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Instructions:
  1. Combine Coconut Flour, Sea Salt, and all of the Spices except Red Pepper.
  2. Use 2-3 Tb of this seasoned flour to coat both sides of chicken (I sprinkled it on, patted it a little, and rubbed it in).
  3. Heat 1 Tb Olive Oil in a large skillet. Brown both sides of chicken (about 2 min per side).
  4. Remove Chicken from Pan.
  5. Add remaining oil, onions, and peppers to the skillet and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).
  6. Stir in tomatoes, broth, remaining seasoned flour, and red pepper flakes
  7. Return chicken to skillet, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.

I served mine over a bed of fresh spinach. The warm chicken and peppers wilted the spinach just enough, and it was really good! This would also be good over some Spanish "Cauli-Rice". . . . hmmmm . . I think I have inspiration for another recipe. . . to be continued :)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Whole30 Week 1 Summary


GF Steak, Crispy Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Homemade Paleo Ketchup - YUM!
Yesterday marked the end of week 1, and so far things are going. . . okay.

I have to admit that I had some CRAZY cravings in the first week but I was able to ignore them and am still going strong. Reflecting back, I definitely ate a bit more fruit than I really should have in the first week, so I am going to be more mindful of my fruit intake this week. I didn't go hog-wild or anything but I can definitely think of 4 or 5 instances where I was craving the hell out of some sugar and reached for a piece of fruit to quiet the craving - not a good habit to get into if I want to put my Sugar Demons back to bed!

I have made some uber delicious meals this week though :)


  • Paleo Veggie stuffed Meatloaf with a Balsamic Glaze & Grilled Broccoli w/ Garlic Olive Oil
  • Nitrate/Sugar Free/Organic Chicken Sausage and Sweet Peppers and Onions over a bed of baby Spinach, topped w/ homemade guacamole
  • Grilled GF NY Strip with Crispy Roasted Brussel Sprouts & homemade Paleo Ketchup
  • Lots of salads for lunch chock full of colorful veggies, Avocados, HB Eggs, Pistachios with Wild Tuna or Sardines or Chicken
  • Delicious GF Beef Stew with Brussel Sprouts and lots of other veggies (was really good when I was sick!)
  • Curry Chicken and Cabbage
  • Breakfasts have been Poached Eggs over Broccoli Slaw w/ Avocados & Sometimes the addition of blueberries and walnuts (YUM!)

I bought a bag of bing cherries mid-week and those things were like candy! They were juicy and delicious but I don't think I'll be buying any more for a few weeks because I did tend to "crack out" on them a bit when I was craving sugar.

I also bought a few small tangerines and these were really juicy and delicious too, but I was able to "control myself" much better with these. I think I'll buy 4 this week and make them last.

Yesterday was my first day back to CrossFit after being out for vacation and then being sick as a dog for 2 weeks with the flu - I got my booty handed to me on a silver platter! I hurt EVERYWHERE today! But it's that "good hurt" that just reminds me that I'm doing something right :)

My energy levels are still way off and at this point I don't know whether to contribute it to the after-effects of the Flu, my Thyroid, or the adjustment back to Paleo. I really don't think it has so much to do w/ my adjustment back to Paleo because I only went "off-course" for about a week and a half. I've got to get back in to get my Thyroid levels measured again. The last time I had them checked right before vacation they were continuing in the wrong direction, and the doc told me that she'd have to put me on Thyroid meds if they continued that way, so I've been dragging my feet a little with the followup. . . .but I think it's time to get myself in there!

So to summarize - all in all it was an "okay" first week. I stuck to the plan 100%, and prepared lots of yummy foods, but fought my fair share of cravings and also was sick the first half of the week. I hope that next week goes a little more smoothly as a result of my returning to the gym, and no longer being sick.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I am a Food Evangalist!



The Whole9 Crew recently rolled out a few new t-shirts that I absolutely love - my favorite being the "Food Evangalist" T-shirt pictured above.

When I saw this T-shirt, it actually caused me to spend a few minutes asking myself - Am I really a food evangalist? I am proud to say that I truly am, and will be able to wear my new t-shirt with pride!

You see, I'm one of those people that can be very charasmatic, and when I find something that changes my life, I just can't stop talking about it - I want to share with the world how GREAT this new "thing" is!! I somehow find ways to bring it up in almost every conversation, without even meaning too. . .and while I know this may be annoying to some, something about my enthusiasm usually (although not always) sparks interest rather than annoyance.

Two of the things that I've found myself talking about A LOT over the last few years are Paleolithic Eating and CrossFit. These to things have together changed me forever - both physically and emotionally. I have a very different approach to food (no longer emotionally attached) and I no longer work out simply to "look good" but instead in order to become stronger and more capable in my every day life. This shift in thinking has resulted in my being a much happier person in general.

Most of the time, I have no idea whether my ramblings ever end up actually making a difference, as often the people that I'm talking to are strangers or very casual aquaintances that I don't keep in contact with. Occasionally though, someone tells me that something I said really stuck with them and as a result they have been able to change their life for the better - and I can't even begin to tell you how great this makes me feel. I've found these amazing things that have improved my quality of life 10-fold and to know that someone else is experiencing the same quality of life improvement is absolutely awesome!

I'll just share one recent example: My husband and I take a vacation every year and have found a resort in Jamaica that we love, and have returned to for several years in a row. We just recently returned from our 2010 vacation to this resort. We were boarding the bus on our last day of vacation to head to the airport when I heard someone call my name - I turned around and a girl said to me - "Are you Christie from TX"? When I said yes she said "We were on the same bus to the airport last year, and you were telling me all about the Paleo Diet and the great changes it had made in your life - I just wanted to let you know that when I got home from vacation I looked it up and started it right away. I love it and can't believe how easy it has become. And I've lost 60 lbs over the past year by just following a Paleo Diet and becoming more active".

Now I have to admit that I felt REALLY bad because I didn't remember the girl's name (I am SO bad with names!), and only vaguely remembered the bus trip from the year before, but it felt great to know that something I said had caused her to go home and re-evaluate her diet and make positive changes that improved her life! Unfortunately, the bus driver was waving us on to the bus and I didn't have time to catch up or get any details or even exchange contact information with her but the fact that she recognized me and shared her amazing accomplishments with me really made my day :)

This experience also encourages me to continue to be a "Food Evangalist" - because if I share the "good food word" with even one person that uses it to change their life for the better, and then they share it with one person and so on, maybe, just maybe one day it will help to reverse the rising obesity and unhealthy lifestyle epidemic that this country is facing.

If you think this shirt is as cool as I do and can't live without it in your wardrobe, visit the Whole9's shirt store HERE where they have several cool shirt designs :)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Don't Worry. . .Be HAPPY!















SMILE!

It really is that simple.

I'm a glass-half-full kind of girl, as anyone that knows me personally can confirm :)

I make a concious effort to go through life looking at the positive side of things. I can't control what happened in the past, so I try not to dwell on it. Don't get me wrong - I take into consideration past mistakes and learn what I can from them - but then I move on. The same goes for the future. If I policed every single move that I made because I was worried about it may affect my future, I'd be a stressed out mess! I make responsible adult decisions but I also do my best to live in the moment and enjoy the heck out of life while I can.

If you're having a particularly bad day, analyze the things that are bringing you down - see if you can find one potential positive outcome for each of those negative things. And then focus on bringing about the most positive that you can from the "bad" situations. You'd be amazed at how much smoother the ride through life is when you choose to look at it with rose-tinted glasses :)

"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things." ~Albert Einstein

“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown

“Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make changes as YOU see fit - not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” ~Stacey Charter

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~Frederick Keonig

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” ~Hough Downs

I was going through some old pictures, and noticed that I really tend to have a perpetual smile. It takes a lot to bring me down - here's a brief slideshow of me from Newborn to present - and you'll see that I have a big fat Joker-like grin in 99% of the pictures - I used to hate that grin and think that it made me look goofy - but as I've "grown up" I've learned to appreciate it as something that makes me unique :)

(Oh, and hopefully you'll get a laugh from the many different crazy hairstyles and colors that I've tried over the years as well . . . HAHA!)




Thursday, December 02, 2010

Excuses, Excuses!




Today is Day 3 of my Whole30 and I've got to say that the first three days has NOT been easy. My brain has come up with all kinds of crazy excuses to eat "just one bite of this or that". I feel like I've been one huge craving monster for 3 days straight. . .I know it gets better, and this knowledge will help pull me through to the "smooth sailing" part. . . but I have to say this is BRUTAL!


For the record - I'm still sick as a dog. I've got the flu that just will NOT GO AWAY! I have never been this sick for this long before in my entire life (well, other than when I had mono in high school . . .). The tricky thing about this particular strain of the flu is that I'll start feeling better and see a light at the end of the tunnel. . . then I'll get up and start becoming a bit more active and BOOM it comes back with a vengance.


Anyway - yesterday I woke up with horrible, horrible nausea. I couldn't even fathom eating anything. I think that it was probably my body's reaction to the Tussionex that the Dr. prescribed to help w/ my cough/chest congestion. It has some Codein in it, and since I usually won't even take IbuProfin my body tends to react a little more strongly than typical to any kind of medication. . .


After I visited the porcelain god a few times all I wanted to do was eat a nice warm bowl of Cambell's chicken noodle soup and some saltine crackers. The thought of anything else sent me running for the bathroom again, but for some reason saltine crackers just sounded sooo good to me. I started rationalizing again and saying to myself "You're sick - you have to eat something and if saltine crackers are all you can keep down, then you should eat saltine crackers". . . but I managed to talk myself down from the ledge with some frozen grapes. Frozen grapes actually worked out really well b/c I could suck on them a little bit and then they were very soothing to my sore throat :)


I love my hubby, and he's only looking out for my best interest of course, but he has said several times "You should really wait until your not sick to go back on that diet". My reply every time has been "Honey - I'm not going back on any diet. I'm just choosing to only feed my body the whole, nutritious foods that it needs to heal itself. Saltine Crackers have absolutely no nutritious value and will not do anything to help me heal any faster." And of course he supports my decision, but I still see him shaking his head every now and then as I go on another coughing jag!


I think the fact that I haven't been able to work out in nearly 2 weeks is just compounding things - you know how when you work out, it kindof makes you WANT to eat healthy because you don't want to undo all of the hard work in the gym with a Snickers Bar? Well, absent that post-workout healthy eating urge, my cravings seem to be a bit worse.


Okay, I'm done throwing my little pity party now! The good news is that I am on Day 3 and going strong. I have made up my mind that nothing is going to "throw me off the wagon", and hey, I can't stay sick forever right?!?!? The end to this funk is just around the corner, and I can only imagine how good feeling "healthy" will feel after having been in the sicko trenches for 2 weeks :)


I'll leave you with this little cartoon, which I found particularly funny given the time of year, and my current health

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Okay - Vacation's Over!

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I know I've been MIA again for a bit, but it's been for good reason this time :)

My husband and I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary a few months early with a vacation to Jamaica. I didn't post anything about it ahead of time because I try to be "smart" about the kinds of personal info that I put out there for the world to see. . .:)

Anyway, we spent an amazing 10 days in Jamaica from November 13th through the 21st. We stayed at an all inclusive resort, and I made the concious decision ahead of time that I would try to make the majority of my meals Paleo Compliant, but would allow myself a few desserts and sugary frozen drinks. I also decided that I would workout most of the days of vacation because I actually ENJOY working out, and it's not a "chore".:)

Vacation was AWESOME, and I did stick to my plan for the most part. Most of my meals were made up of only lean meats, fresh veggies, and delicious fresh fruits. I wasn't as careful about sauces and seasonings as I would typically be at home, but I did avoid any sauces/seasonings that were obviously cream or milk based or overly processed. Most everything on all of the menus was comprised of WHOLE FOODS and it was very yummy. I never had a problem asking for veggies to be subbed for starchy carb sides.:)

Where I went off-track a little bit was on the desserts. . . . yikes. I had slayed my sugar demons back in August but I woke them up with a VENGENCE on vacation! I found myself eating desserts (albeit small ones) after almost every lunch and dinner. . . so while the actual MEAL was Whole and Natural. . . the desserts were most definitely not!:)

As I said earlier, I had already planned on eating a few desserts, so I didn't beat myself up over this stuff (even though I ate considerably more desserts thant I had planned). I truly believe that you have to live your life to the fullest. I made a very personal decision to stray from my typical eating habits while on vacation, and I did this guilt-free. . . although I do have to say that my digestive track gave me a hard time over it! I had planned to do another Whole30 round starting the day that we returned from vacation in order to put a stop to the sugar cravings that I would have undoutedly re-awakened, and get myself back on the right track. (More on this in a moment!):)

As for drinks, I did drink a ton of water, but also drank my fair share of drinks with various liquors and fruit juices. . . I’ll leave it at that.:)

As for working out – I did work out the first 5 mornings of our trip and it was AWESOME! Burpees on the beach in Jamaica suck just as much as burpees in the back yard – but the scenery was a heck of a lot better! By the end of the vacation though, I found myself staying up later, drinking a bit more at night, and failing to drag my lazy butt out of bed . . .I didn’t officially “work out” the last 3 days, however I did play 3-5 agressive games of beach volleyball daily, so that’s got to count for something! :):)





The day before we left my hubby and I started feeling a little bit icky, and by the time we got home we had come down with a full fledged case of the flu. And this is the Flu that would just not die! We were sick as dogs from the 22nd through the 27th. . . we’re both just starting to feel human again today.

As I mentioned earlier, I had planned on going back to strict Paleo the day we returned home, but the Flu threw a wrench in my plans. I’m guilty of “justifying” an extra week of junk eating with “rational thoughts”. Looking back it was stupid and I probably would have recovered more quickly on a diet of whole, natural foods . . . but my “justification” was that I felt like crap and was running a 102 degree fever and couldn’t even contemplate drumming up the energy to go grocery shopping and prepping a bunch of food. So I picked up a ton of soup, a turkey, and **gulp** some ice cream (for our sore throats . . .some justification, huh?) Not exactly “Whole” foods. . .

So here I sit after 10 days in Jamaica of splurging, and then another 7 days at home eating “sick” foods that were most definitely not Paleo. . . and I feel nasty inside. And not from the flu!

Of course the fact that I’ve been entirely too sick to work out for the last week doesn’t help matters either!

But it’s time to put down my foot and say enough is enough!

I’m starting another Whole30 on Monday Morning (yes, tomorrow!) – and can’t wait! I am aware that this will take me through Christmas, but I’m A-Okay with that :) I’m actually looking forward to preparing a Whole30 compliant Christmas dinner to show my hubby that it CAN be done!

If anyone wants to start on Monday with me, let me know, and we can help keep each other accountable ;)

Oh, and here's proof of those burpees on the beach:


video

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why?



Why Do I Live the Paleo Lifestyle?

I remember when I did my first round of the Whole30 Program in July, I had a TON of people ask me why in the world I would "put myself through that".

When I say a TON of people, I'm not exaggerating in the slightest. Family, Friends, CoWorkers, Waitresses in Reastaraunts. . . . . No one could understand my motivation.

I tried explaining myself, but most people just shook their heads and said "Well you're crazy, but good luck!" (By the way - when I get called "crazy" from time to time - I take it as a compliment. . . it means I'm different - and I want to be different! Who wants to a carbon copy of everyone else?!?)

At the time, I had a ton of reasons for wanting to "Put myself through it" ranging from health issues to vanity reasons. After about two months of strict Whole30 Compliance, I sat myself back down and re-evaluated the reasons that I have chosen this way of eating. I am one of those people that won't do something unless I understand WHY it is that I'm doing it. In other words, I have to understand the Why? behind the How? before I can fully commit to a decision.

So what are my personal reasons for choosing to stay Paleo?

#1: Prevention of Autoimmune Disease


  • Autoimmune disease runs rampid in my family. It would be easier to list the autoimmune diseases that DON'T run in my family than to try to list the ones that DO. But a short list of the biggies include: Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), Interstitial Cystitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Autonomic Neuropathy, Ulcerative Colitis, and Thyroid Disease. Additionally, adult onset Diabetes and Osteoporosis are also prevalent in my immediate family.
  • I love my family dearly and I hate to see them suffer with the pain that these diseases cause. I would do anything that I could to make it go away for them. Unfortunately, I don't have the power to take their diseases away, but I am going to do everything in my power to prevent the onset of these diseases in my future.
  • The elimination of Grains, Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nightshades, Legumes, and Artificial Sweetners has been linked to the remission of many auto-immune diseases, and there are a ton of studies out there that suggest that adhering to a diet free of these inflammatory foods can prevent the onset of autoimmune diseases in people that are pre-disposed to them. THIS is the BIGGEST reason that I have chosen to follow the Paleo Diet for life! My health and quality of life is worth a little "inconvenience" when it comes to finding and preparing approved foods!
#2 - I Feel Better!
  • My personal experience has shown me that I feel like a million bucks when I adhere to a strict Paleo Diet. I have all kind of digestive problems that all but dissapear when I'm "strict". My mood in general is better, I have more energy, I sleep better. . .I just plain feel better. MUCH better. So much so that I can't imagine ever going back to feeling like I did before!
  • I honestly didn't think that I was "sick" or that I didn't feel good before. But in comparison to how I feel now, I realize that I was tired, sluggish, and drained most of the time. When you've felt like this for a really, really long time, it just becomes "normal" to you, and you forget what really and truly feeling GOOD feels like!
#3 - I'm Vain!
  • Yep - you heard that right - I'm admitting it. I'm Vain. I look and peform SO MUCH better when my diet is dialed in. . . . and I like that! And you know what? I like it when people notice it too! I love the feeling of squeezing into a pair of jeans that I couldn't get my big toe into 3 months ago. And I don't ever want to experience the feeling of having those jeans get too tight again! I like going to the beach and not worrying about taking off my shorts and exposing my cellulite! I love setting PR's in the gym and watching my strength increase. I love watching the little "turkey neck" that I had under my chin dissapear (no more gobble gobble!!), and watching my abs show up a little more each week. Lastly, I love that for the first time since I was a teenager, I'm 95% acne free.
Well, those are my PERSONAL responses to all of the "Why's". These reasons may or may not motivate you to try or stick with a Paleolithic Diet. I have found that it's not worth doing unless I want to do it and have good, solid reasons to fall back on when I have a moment of weakness and really want a DQ blizzard. . . :)
So if you're considering trying a round of the Whole30, or you're finishing it up and trying to decide if you're going to make this new way of eating a way of life - do yourself a favor and do a little self-reflection. Determine what YOUR reasons are for wanting to eat this way - write them down - and pull them out to remind yourself from time to time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paleo-ized Chicken Tikka Masala




Chicken Tikka Masala (Paleo-ized Version)

I stumbled across this creation in my kitchen earlier this week, and it turned out REALLY great, so I thought I'd share!

Ingredients:
2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb Coconut Oil
1.5 lbs Organic Free Range Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size cubes
1 Sweet Onion
2 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 (14.5 oz) can Organic Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup Coconut Milk (FULL FAT!)
1/2 Tb Arrowroot powder
Sea Salt to taste


Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken, onion, and liemon juice; cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink (about 10 minutes). Add all of the spices except red pepper and cook/stir 1 minutes

  2. Stir in tomatoes and mix well. In a small bowl, stir together coconut milk, arrowroot powder, and salt until smooth. Gradually stir coconut milk mixture into skillet. Stir in Red Pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.

This dish was slightly ethnic and spicy and just what I was craving on a crisp fall evening. . . I served mine with "Curry Fried F'rice" - an amazing cauliflower recipe by Melissa Joulwan.

Oh, and no - the serving size on the plate did not even cut it. . . I ended up going back for another generous serving of the "Fried F'rice" to sop up more of the yummy Tikka Massala sauce with!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Weekends of Fun!



The last two weekends have been full of athletic adventures - and SO much fun!

Saturday, October 9th a bunch of friends and I traveled to Houston to compete in the Oktoberfest Obliteration II CrossFit Competition - What a Blast!

Sunday, October 17th, several of us ran in the Harbor Half Marathon right here in Portland - which ended up being a lot of fun as well!

I've summarized my experiences at both events below:

Oktoberfest Obliteration II

This was CrossFit Competition at it's absolute best. The organizers of this event (CrossFit Champions) did an amazing job of putting it all together. The programming and organization of the entire event couldn't possibly have been any more perfect.

I competed in the Standard Women's Division - I won't spell out all of the details of the WODs (you can check out the link for that), but I have to say that when they were announced, I was THRILLED to find that there were no gymnastics movements! After my initial elation though, I started looking at them a little more closely, and realized that there were HEAVY squat cleans in one of the WODS - I love Oly Lifting - so I had been initially thrilled to see Squat Cleans. . . . but then I realized that they were set at 125 lbs and my current 1RM Front Squat is 130! Ruh Roh.

The good news (for me anyway) was that the heavy Squat Cleans were in the first WOD of the day, so I was able to get that one over with, and then stop worrying about it!

I did the best that I could - there was a little strategy involved with this WOD - I knocked out all of the other required movements (KB Swings and Runs) first before starting my Cleans. I started my Cleans with about 5 minutes remaining . . and tried. . . . and tried. . . . and tried some more to squat clean that weight! After a few failed attempts, I decided to Power Clean it, and then Front Squat it (also acceptable). I power cleaned it without too much trouble several times, but kept failing at the bottom of my Front Squat. When the whistle blew to signal that the allotted time was up, I hadn't completed a single full Squat Clean. And you know what? I was totally okay with it!

Was I frustrated that I had DNF'd a WOD at competition? Sure.

A little embarrassed that I hadn't gotten a single rep of the Cleans? Yep.

But did I walk away knowing that I had given everything that I possibly could have of myself during the WOD? Yes I did - and THAT is why I was A-OKAY with the DNF - there was not a single thing that I could have done differently to change the outcome - and I know with all of my heart that I left it all "on the court". . . so I had no problem walking off the blacktop with my head held high and mentally preparing myeslf for the remaining WODS of the day.

Lesson Learned: I need to continue to focus on building strength, and never, ever, ever skip a squat day! :)

The rest of the day went great - I saw some absolutely amazing performances by good friends and strangers alike and left at the end off the day feeling inspired by those performances. And also motivated to continue to work hard on my own performance!

That's the thing that I love about attending CrossFit Competitions - no matter what level I am at, I will always find inspiration in those competing around and with me. It's just so amazing to watch someone push themselves to their limit, and then keep on pushing. And the look of satisfaction on a person's face when they've finished a WOD and know beyond a doubt that they gave it their all and dug deeper than they realized that they could - that is more inspirational, uplifting, and motivational than words can describe.

Harbor Half Marathon

I found out the weekend of Oktoberfest Obliteration that a fellow CrossFitter and friend of mine was running the Harbor Half Relay marathon the following weekeend, but needed a Relay Race Partner. Let me state for the record here, that I am NOT A RUNNER!! . . however this race did sound like a lot of fun, so I told her that if she was unable to find another partner (who actually WAS a runner!), then I'd run it with her.

I'll be dead honest here - I was initially dreading it and praying that someone else would want to run it . . . but then a few days before the race when I realized that it was probably going to be me, I started to look forward to the challenge of it! I hadn't run more than 3 miles in a single session in at least 2 years (and probably double that). . . so the thought of running 6.5 miles was both terrifying and tempting at the same time. In the end, I decided to use this opportunity to prove to myself that I was capable of more than I thought I was - and that I really could push past the 3 mile mark if I put mind over matter. I didn't want to let my friend down, and I figured if nothing else, that thought would be enough to keep me moving forward.

I have several friends that are runners - and any of you reading this are probably laughing. I realize that 6.5 miles to "a runner" is nothing. It would probably be the equivalent of me squatting 90 lbs . . it takes a little effort, but it's not really "hard". To a "non-runner" though, 6.5 miles is very intimidating! Especially when you throw trekking up the Harbor Bridge into the mix!

Sunday morning 5am rolled around, and I found myself waking up to my alarm actually excited (Suprise!)

My Relay Partner and I met before the race and psyched each other up, and then it was "off to the races" . . . literally!

I ran the second leg . When she passed off to me, I just started at a nice easy pace, and did my best to maintain it. I think this must have been the trick. Before I realized it, I was coming up on the bridge and realized that I'd already covered about 4.5 out of my 6.5 miles! I guess that's when the runner's high kicked in because I just zoned back out and before I realized it was crossing the finish line . . and thinking to myself "Wow - I can't believe I just did that!"

I'll be honest - I don't think either of us gave a second thought as to our placement at the start of the race - My goal was just to run the full 6.5 without slowing to a walk. One foot in front of the other at least at a jog, and I'd be happy. Turns out that we finished in 15th place out the 100 Female Only teams that ran! I was so proud of us! And happy to have a friend that was willing to push me outside of my comfort zone :)

Lesson Learned: Sometimes, just convincing myself that I'm capable of something is enough to make it true! I think that if we could just get our heads out of the way half of the time, we'd be capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for!

Oh, and I still don't consider myself "A Runner", but I did have a heck of a good time, mostly due to great company and re-connecting with several friends that I hadn't seen in too long. And who knows? Maybe after my stregnth building cycle is over with, I'll start running just a little more often. . it was suprisingly relaxing to zone out to my I-pod and let my legs just go.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Update on my Paleo Progress



I know I've been neglecting my blog again, so it's time for another update -

I've stayed strict Paleo with very few exceptions since the end of July when I began my Whole30 journey. I found that this kind of nutrition just "works" perfectly for me, and I don't want to mess with a good thing! The only exceptions that I have made:

  • I have made an absolutely "to-die-for" marinara sauce from scratch and used a little bit of red wine in the recipe. I wanted to see if I felt any ill-effects from it, and fortunately I did not - and the sauce was AMAZING!! I served it over some calamari, steamed shrimp, broccoli, and kelp noodles. . YUM! So I'm going to allow myself to use a little wine for cooking from time to time going forward. This isn't going to be a daily thing, but more like a "once=or-twice-a-month" kind of thing. Of course this wouldn't be condoned during a Whole 30 stint, but I'm in "maintenance mode" at this point :)

  • A week or so after cooking with red wine, I decided to have one glass with dinner. I nice medium-rare grass fed steak paired perectly with a glass of Merlot. I had only one glass, and had no desire to go back for a second or third glass - it just served as a great complement to an awesome dinner. Again, I felt no ill-effects that evening or the next day, so I have decided to allow myself the occasional glass of red wine with dinner - but again, this will not be a regular thing - only once every month or so as a special treat.
  • I competed in Oktoberfest Obliteration II at CrossFit Champions this last weekend. I had been perectly strict with no cheats whatsoever other then the wine mentioned above up to this point, so I decided a few weeks ago that I would treat myself to a frozen yogurt after the competition. They have an awesome Frozen Yogurt chain called "FreshBerry" in Houston, and a girlfriend and I swung in after a grueling day of competition. I ordered a regular size yogurt w/ shredded unsweetened coconut as a topping. . . and it was just what the Dr. ordered! My tummy was admittedly a little upset for the rest of the evening - no doubt due to the re-introduction of dairy. As a result I do not plan to indulge in frozen yogurt on a regular basis - maybe just once or twice a year as a special treat. . .

  • Lastly - over the weekend, my hubby baked some sugar cookies. . . they smelled SO GOOD and I managed to resist them all weekend long. . but had a moment of weakness this morning and decided I would have just one. . . Oh My Goodness. . . NEVER AGAIN!!! Gluten is definitely something that I do not have any desire to re-introduce into my diet, even as an occasional treat. My stomach has been screaming at me ALL DAY LONG - I've literally been doubled over in agony several times. Lesson Learned though! And the good news is that I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to eat any more of those darn things, and now fully remember why I cut that stuff out of my diet in the first place!
So since I did a "Whole60" from July 29th - September 29th, with the exception of the Edamame slip-up around day 28. After 60 days of 100% compliance, I've "tested the waters" just a few times (listed above) to see what does and does not affect me negatively. I've found that I can cook with wine occasionally, or have a glass with dinner from time to time but don't plan to make a habit of it - I'll only splurge here occasionally as a special treat byt outside of this I plan to pretty much stick to Whole30 principles for my day-to-day life.


So how has the last 75-ish days of Paleolithic nutrition affected me?

Mentally, I feel clearer and more "in tune" than I have in ages. I'm leaner than I've been in a long time, and my performance has finally started to come back up in the gym. I did have the complicating factor of some thyroid issues that I'm still working to resolve, and this has affected my energy levels, stamina, and recovery ability however I feel like all of these would be even worse than they are if I hadn't jumped back on the "Paleo Wagon" when I did.


I plan to continue to work to build my strength by focusing on the Strength Programming that Coach Wilkes has provided and limiting my MetCon. Once I have built up some more strength, I'll gradually add a little more MetCon back in to my routine.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Patience is a Virtue. . .



For someone with my personality, patience is one of the things I struggle with the most. Not patience with others, but more patience when waiting for things to happen or in this case, waiting for injuries to heal. I want to get back in the game ASAP even though logic is telling me that I need to take it easy for a few days. . .

On Tuesday I was doing a WOD that involved a lot of Hang Power Snatches at 65 lbs. To me, this weight felt heavy, but definitely not unmanagable. Unfortunately though, as fatigue set in I started to let my form slip and as a result I tweaked a muscle in my back on one of the very last reps. Throughout the rest of the day my back got tighter and tigher as it continued to spasm every time I'd move a certain way, so I decided to give it a few days off. I've been keeping ice on it taking anti-inflammatories to help with the swelling. It's feeling much better, but not quite 100% just yet.

The "smart/logical" side of my brain is telling me that I need to just chill out for a few more days and let it heal completely before resuming my training. I know that if I go back too soon I will prolong the healing time and it could turn into a nagging injury that holds me back for months. Unfortunately, the "other" side of my brain is less logical and feels like I'm losing ground every single day that I don't train!

Fortunately my wonderful husband is my voice of reason, and every time I say "well maybe I'll just do something light" he threatens to chain me to the furniture and reminds me that I will make a lot more progress if I wait just another few days and go back at it when I'm 100%.

So good luck to all the CrossFitters out there doing Fight Gone Bad today! I'll be cheering you on from my couch . . . patiently!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where Does All of the TIME Go??




I recently received the following question through email, and thought that I’d answer it in a blog post because I think it involves a topic that a lot of people (myself included) struggle with!

Hi Christie, I have read your blog and what you blogged on Whole9. My goal is to get in shape before I turn 30 - the only thing I seem to be having a problem with is Time. I am currently in Chiropractic College and it takes up all of my time. Do you have any advice?

Unfortunately, I know that much of the all of us end up feeling that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. We all have different things that require our time (spouses and children, work, school, workouts, cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning, household chores, etc). . . it can be a bit intimidating to consider adding anything to our already full plates! Then we read Robb’s great new book “The Paleo Solution”, and realize that we’re “cock-blocking our fat loss efforts” (his words!) if we’re not getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night . . . REALLY Robb??? But I’m different, right? I’m fine on 6 hours, right? Apparently . . . well . . . .NO!!! I’m not. And neither are you.

So what do we do?

Do we give up on trying to eat right and hit up Mickey D’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (hey, it’s quick, cheap, and easy, right??)

Or do we take the time to cook nice healthy meals at the expense of letting our workout time slide into never-never land?

Or do we ignore our schoolwork and procrastinate constantly, stressing ourselves out of our minds at the last minute to finish assignments with all-nighters because we HAVE to fit in our workout and meal preparation at all costs?

Or maybe we call our bosses and tell them that we’ll be working 5 hour days from now on because time spent in the office has fallen below time spent in the gym and in the kitchen and catching our Zzz’s on our own personal prioritization scales.

Seriously – these are some of the options that have run through my mind, even if only in a sarcastically joking self-speak kind of way. I mean, what in the heck ARE we supposed to do when we run out of hours in the day? Where do we draw the line, and how are we expected to set priorities when EVERYTHING is a non-negotiable priority?

Here are a few things that I’ve done in the past that resulted in an epic FAIL:
  • I’ve prioritized my health (workouts and meal prep) over my schoolwork. I procrastinated to epic lengths only to find myself pulling all-nighters out of my butt in order to meet my deadlines. The result? Cortisol levels THROUGH THE ROOF due to lack of sleep, and the extreme amount of pressure resulting from the rapidly approaching deadline. I ended up turning in a poor quality paper with weak references because let’s face it – no one does their BEST work when they’re sleep deprived and stressed to the max. Then after turning the paper in, it took me at least a week to get my sleep schedule straightened back out. . .not fun at all. I was a big hot mess.

  • I’ve sacrificed “healthy eating” in order to make some extra time in my day. When I didn’t have to plan or prepare meals or go grocery shopping, it freed up an average of 1-2 hours a day and more on the weekends. For about 3 months, my diet consisted of primarily fast food. Really. It started innocently enough with a Subway salad . . . then I graduated to daily Subway Subs. Then I started adding the obligatory Cookie. Before I knew it, I was eating Big Macs, Bean Burritos and DQ Blizzards for Lunch and Dinner, and skipping breakfast most days. They’re not kidding when they say that fast food is addictive. I justified this in my mind by working out harder. I was religious about my workouts and for a little while I maintained my weight. The first thing that I noticed was that my workout performance and strength started to decrease. . then the jeans got tight. . then I couldn’t button the jeans. . . that was the last straw for me. Whole30 to the rescue and by the grace of God I was able to turn it around. But not without a lot of work and willpower!

  • I’ve sacrificed sleep so that I can fit in everything else. M – F I’d get up at 4:45am for my MetCon at the gym. Then off to work. I’d squeeze my Oly Lifting in on my lunch break, and then head back to the gym to help coach classes in the evenings. I’d walk in the door at 7pm, and cook dinner. I’d end up eating around 8pm which made going to bed before 10 or 11pm an absolute impossibility. After a few months of this the sleep deprivation really started to catch up to me.

Through trial and error, I’ve found that the only thing that really works for me is prioritization, pre-planning, and refusing to over-commit myself. I have found that when I’m able to “control” the Workout and Eating Right parts of my life, everything else kind of falls into place. When I start to lose control of my “routine and schedule” surrounding workouts and meal prep, everything else spins hopelessly out of control as well. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to happen like this Every Single Time.

So here’s some time-management steps that I have found helped me when trying to squeeze everything in. I know that these won’t apply to everyone, but hopefully they help at least one or two people de-stress their lives just a little! Life is too short not to enjoy every minute of it!
  • Put ME first, and don’t over-commit – I know this sounds selfish, but it’s got to be done if I want to maintain my sanity. I had to look at my life, evaluate which of my responsibilities/commitments I absolutely had to do, and which ones I could cut out or scale back without the world coming to an end.
  • Consider cutting back on your workouts – you may just be overtraining! If you’re always feeling tired and run-down and begin to get the point that you’re not looking forward to every single workout, it may be a good idea to cut a day or two out and see how your body reacts. This will free up more of your valuable time for other stuff too!

  • Plan Ahead – Schedule/Plan your meals and time commitments a week in advance. I sit down every Sunday Morning and figure out what I’m cooking for lunch/dinner for the entire next week (breakfasts are usually left-overs). Then, I make a grocery list from my meal plan and walk through the house to make sure I add any other things like toiletries, cleaning supplies, and dog food to the list. There is nothing that is a bigger waste of time than making multiple trips to the grocery store in a single week because you forgot “one thing” that you must have. After I’ve planned my meals and made the grocery list, I pencil out a daily schedule for the week. I write in MetCon times, Oly Lifting times, Meal Prep Times, Work hours, Coaching Hours, SLEEP HOURS, Famiy time, grocery shopping time, and any additional commitments that I have that particular week. Some weeks I have more commitments than others, and I can see from the start that I won’t be able to fit in everything. So I cut out a workout or two or maybe reduce family time by an hour one day in order to make everything fit in. By planning out my schedule at the start of the week, I don’t feel stressed mid-week when I’m trying to cram everything in and just run out of hours in a day. Missing a workout every now and then (and scheduling it that way!) is not going to be as detrimental to my health as running myself into the ground.
  • Take advantage of left-overs! I cook for 2, however most meals that I make, I scale up to serve at least 4. This way I can use leftovers for breakfasts and lunches and often only end up having to physically prepare one meal per day.
  • Make the Crock-Pot your best friend! CrockPot cooking is healthy because it slowly cooks the meat and the meat is not exposed to much air during cooking. This reduces the oxidation and the amount of free-radicals created by cooking meat! Not only is it healthy, but it’s such a big time saver. . . and most crock-pot meals are big enough to feed my husband and I at least twice! There are a million recipes out there on the internet, so just plug in a Google search for “Paleo Crock-Pot Recipe” and let the internet work it’s magic! Since I’m talking about time-saving tips – they make these things called “crock-pot liners”. They are made by Reynolds, I think. They’re great, and significantly reduce the cleanup time!
  • Dedicate a block of 2-3 hours at least once a week for “Food Prep”. My block of time is usually on Sunday night. During this time period, I make the following:

    PWO Sweet Potato/Egg White Puffs
    Spinach “Muffins”• Big Vat of Guacamole
    • Hard Boiled Omega-3 Eggs
    • I bake a pan of chicken tenders with whatever spices I’m “feeling” at the moment
    • I cook one lb of GrassFed Ground Beef
    • I Dice/Chop lots of veggies for use in meals during the week: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Jicama
    The preparation of these items sets me up for the week with:

  • • My PWO Meals (Sweet Potato Egg Puffs)
    • a handy veggie snack that I can just grab and go with or add to a breakfast/lunch/dinner that’s a little low on the green stuff (Spinach Muffins)
    • Guacamole which I use as a snack (dip carrots or Jicama in it), and on my eggs in the morning, and on salads at lunch, and sometimes I’ll even slather some on a chicken tender for an in-between-meal fix.
    • Hard Boiled Eggs (O3 Variety) which are a great protein/fat source – I’ll add them to salads or just grab one with a chicken tender and a spinach muffin or 2 for a quick meal on the go,
    • Chicken Tenders which are a great protein source that I can grab on the go or add to salads, or serve as lunch or dinner in a pinch w/ a bag of veggies steamed in the microwave.
    • GF Ground Meat – I’ll mix this with some Guac and throw it on a salad (or eat it right out of the bowl), or I’ll sauté it for a quick moment with some broccoli slaw and a poached egg for a quick and easy breakfast.
  • Take advantage of Pre-Cut Veggies – I L-O-V-E Broccoli Slaw!! It’s just fresh shredded broccoli hearts, cabbage and carrots in a bag. This stuff is SUCH a timesaver. I use it all the time to add veggies to my breakfast (just throw it in a skillet for a moment and top w/ a poached egg or two and some avocado). It also makes a really quick skillet meal or dinner – in literally less than 10 minutes. Throw it in a skillet w/ a meat and seasoning of your choice – cook until the meat is done, and that’s it!
Well, that’s all the tips I have off the top of my head, but hopefully that helps! I’m not in school any more, but I do remember how stressful things were when I was trying to juggle my coursework along with a full time job, family time, and a healthy fitness/eating plan. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to do the best that you can, and not beat yourself up if you fall a little bit short every now and then. But seriously – preparation and planning is the key! A few hours on a Sunday prepping some basic stuff saves me HOURS of work and an unlimited amount of stress and lost sleep during the week.

Good Luck!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Portable PWO Paleo Egg & Sweet Potato Puffs (& Spinach "Muffins")



Portable PWO Paleo Egg & Sweet Potato "Puffs"

Here's another "Christie Original Recipe" . . . try at your own risk! Just Kidding - this one's REALLY good! One of the only things that I have found myself "missing" since going 100% Paleo was the ease and portability of my PWO Shake. I have been making mashed sweet potatoes, and getting organic and low sodium sliced deli turkey, and taking a thick slice of turkey with about 2-3 oz of sweet potatoes as a PWO meal. (I would roll up the sweet potato in the piece of turkey and chow down!) This is pretty yummy, easy, and portable, but I wanted to get away from the processed deli meat. I liked the idea of egg whites and sweet potatoes, but wanted something a little more portable than scrambled whites. . .hence my creation!

These are soooo Good, Super Easy - a great combination for me!

Ingredients:

1 Medium Sweet Potato (around 14oz worked for me)
15 Egg Whites
Cinnamon
Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. Peel and dice Sweeet Potato into fairly small cubes
  2. Put SP in a skillet sprayed w/ a little Pam (I usually use olive oil or coconut oil to grease my pans, but want to keep my PWO meal as low in fat as possible, hence the Pam)
  3. Sprinkle w/ Cinamon and Sea Salt to taste
  4. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring a few times (just long enough to soften the potatoes up a little - you don't want them "mushy")
  5. Distribute SP Cubes evenly between 12 deep-ish muffin pan holes
  6. Beat 15 egg whites together until they are a little frothy
  7. Pour egg whites evenly over the SP cubes in the 12 muffin pan holes
  8. Place in Oven at 350 and cook about 20 minutes
  9. Pull out of oven and turn pan upside down onto cooling rack
  10. Let cool completely before placing in fridge (If you don't let them cool completely, they'll get mushy and soggy)
I store mine in a tupperware container stacked on top of each other. Each morning, I grab two "puffs" to take with me to the gym, and put them in a ziplock bag. I've found that storing all of them in a ziplock bag in the fridge makes them go soggy and mushy too.

One additional note - these will "shrink" a little once they've cooled, but if they are cooked long enough, they won't shrink too much. The combined pics at the top of the post are of a "puff" after having been refrigerated overnight.

Easy Portable Spinach "Muffins"

On to another awesome portable recipe that I stumbled across this weekend: Spinach "Muffins"!
I'm including this recipe in the same post because I found that it was easy to prepare these at the same time as my PWO Puffs, and I could even cook them together in the oven. The inspiration for these came from Melissa Joulwan's recipe here, and I just made some edits (including entire egg rather than just whites, and using some different spices, and changing quantities up a bit).

Ingredients:

4 Omega-3 Eggs (yes, yummy yolks and all!!)
4 9oz bags/boxes of frozen spinach
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1-2 Tb Italian Spice Blend (or your own blend of oregano, basil, etc)**
1 tsp Garlic Powder**
1 tsp Onion Powder**
Sea Salt to taste
Red Pepper Flakes to taste (if you like spicy stuff)

Directions:
  1. Defrost spinach in microwave
  2. While Spinach is defrosting, beat your eggs well
  3. Drain Spinach REALLY WELL!! (I like Melissa's tip of cutting a small hole in the corner of the bag, and then squeezing it like your life depends on it until you can't get any more water out)
  4. Dump Spinach into a bowl and stir in minced garlic & spices/seasonings to taste**
  5. Add Beaten Eggs to Spinach, and mix well
  6. Spoon evenly into 12 muffin pan holes, and pack down a bit
  7. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30-35 minutes. (I baked mine right alongside my PWO Puffs, and just pulled my puffs out about 10-15 minutes before my Spinach Muffins)
  8. Pull out of oven and turn pan upside down onto a cooling rack so that "muffins" can cool.

**Note - I don't really measure my spices most of the time - I just use the sprinkle - taste - sprinkle - taste method. . so the measurements above are guesstimates (although I think pretty close to what I used)- you should tailor them to your own tastes.

These will "deflate" a little as well, but not much if they are cooked well enough. The final pic is of one of my "muffins" after a night in the fridge. These are REALLY YUMMY straight out of the fridge! I had one this morning with a handful of raw almonds at 5am on my way out the door got my WOD on. I usually don't eat before my workout (it's just so dang EARLY!!), but this sat really well with me and it seemed that I had a bit more energy to get through the WOD. These definitely will be a new staple in my fridge!

And on a side note - I have NEVER been a fan of frozen spinach. I love fresh baby spinach in a salad or wilted under some meat, but I just haven't ever been able to stomach the frozen stuff. . I think it must be a consistancy thing. . but I really, really liked these, so give them a try even if you're not a fan of the frozen stuff - I think that they'll pleasantly suprise you!

Well, that's it! If you try either of these, and love (or hate) them, or have suggestions of revisions that would make them even yummier, please leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Best Thing since Sliced Bread!!



Portobella Mushroom "BUNS"!!!

I have my friend and fellow CrossFitter / Whole30 Participant Monique (AKA DLQ!!) to thank for this one. . . .

It was labor day weekend, and I was feeling sorry for myself b/c I was on quarentine while everyone else was out enjoying the beautiful weather, BBQs and Beaches. . . I couldn't work out or do anything to burn off some frustration, but I decided rather than resign myself to being in a crappy mood all day long, I'd spend my time as productively as I could around the house. I'd already cleaned the house and done the laundry, so I decided to get a little bit creative in the kitchen :)

Since all I could think about was going to a Labor Day BBQ, I figured I'd bring the LD BBQ to me! I searched the web for a good burger recipe and ended up taking a little bit from a few different recipes. I don't remember exact measurements, but my burgers were made of:

GrassFed Ground Beef
Finely Minced Scallions
Finely Minced Garlic
Shredded Carrots
An egg or two
Almond Meal (just a little to hold them together)

I combined these ingredients, formed them into patties, and grilled them to perfection . .

Then, I made the Guacamole from the recipe on the Whole9 website (OMG - SO GOOD!) and sliced up some beautiful home grown tomatoes that I'd purchased at the Farmer's Market.

Monique had mentioned earlier in the week that she'd used Portobella Mushroom Caps as "buns" for a burger, so I gave it a shot. I flash grilled them, and proceeded to create my burger by layering 1 mushroom cap, a burger patty, a HEALTHY serving of Guac, Tomatoes, and then another Mushroom Cap.

On the side, I fixed what we call "BS French Fries" at my house (Basically just roasted brussel sprouts). To make these, I needed:

1 bag of fresh brussel sprouts
Olive Oil
Sea Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to taste.

I cut the little stems off each brussel sprout, peeled off the loose leaves, and sliced each one in half (or quarters if they're the monster brussel sprouts that we sometimes get down here in TX). Then, I tossed them in a big ziplock bag w/ olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Shook them up really well to coat evenly, and the prep is done! I then put them cut side up on the top rack in my oven at 450 degrees, and cook them about 15 minutes give or take a few. I pull them out when they're just starting to brown up and get crispy around the edges.

We call them BS French Fries because they actually taste a little similar to french fries (at least in my perverted paleo-fied mind!) They are good!

This meal turned my mood right around :) There's nothing like a big fat juicy burger to put a smile on a girl's face!