Saturday, September 25, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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!
Monday, September 20, 2010
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!
1 Medium Sweet Potato (around 14oz worked for me)
15 Egg Whites
- Peel and dice Sweeet Potato into fairly small cubes
- 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)
- Sprinkle w/ Cinamon and Sea Salt to taste
- 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")
- Distribute SP Cubes evenly between 12 deep-ish muffin pan holes
- Beat 15 egg whites together until they are a little frothy
- Pour egg whites evenly over the SP cubes in the 12 muffin pan holes
- Place in Oven at 350 and cook about 20 minutes
- Pull out of oven and turn pan upside down onto cooling rack
- Let cool completely before placing in fridge (If you don't let them cool completely, they'll get mushy and soggy)
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).
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)
- Defrost spinach in microwave
- While Spinach is defrosting, beat your eggs well
- 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)
- Dump Spinach into a bowl and stir in minced garlic & spices/seasonings to taste**
- Add Beaten Eggs to Spinach, and mix well
- Spoon evenly into 12 muffin pan holes, and pack down a bit
- 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)
- 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
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
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
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!
Monday, September 13, 2010
- Apparently, I have NOT banished my sugar demons 100%.. . at least not in the presence of chocolate in any shape or form
- "Every now and then" turned into every single morning, and then multiple times a day . .
- "A few nibs" turned into a full serving. . . initially once a day, and then . . well . . you can guess where it went from there. . .
Long story short, after three days of fighting with myself every time I walked by the freezer, I threw that bag away and took the trash bag not only outside, but all the way to the dumpster at the curb to prevent myself from digging it back out. . lol. . yes, I love my chocolate!
Moral of the story? For me personally, it is not a good idea to add Chocolate in any shape or form back into my diet. I'm not in the slightest "blaming" the Whole30 crew for their decision to allow it - I think that there are plenty of people out there who could use it in moderation as a supplement and spice to a healthy diet (similar to how I use cinmamon, cumin, tumeric, etc). I just happen to NOT be one of those people, and can recognize it :) So no more chocolate, Cacao, Cocoa, or whatever for me. . .
Friday, September 03, 2010
This was SUPER easy, and I swear the most flavorful and satisfying meal that I've eaten in a while!
Curry Beef & Cabbage
1 lb Grass Fed Stew Meat
1 head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1/2 Vidalia (sweet) onion, coarsely chopped
1 Can Organic Coconut Milk
3 Tb + 1 tsp Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste (can be found at just about any Asian Grocer)
Black Pepper to taste
If you don't have Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste, or wanted to do this from "scratch" (why??), the ingredients on the label are: Lemon grass, garlic, shallot, salt, galanga (ginger), dried red chili, coriander seed, kaffir lime peel, cumin, cinnamon, mace, turmeric, cardamon.