I mentioned in my last post that I am working on another Whole30. Well, it is more a general paleo/primal sort of eating that I am working toward and that will last more than 30 days. I’m trying to find a sustainable balance that will result in good eating habits, overall health, renewed energy, and a positive outlook on life. Right now I’m at about 90/10, and I’d like to keep it that way.
I know that paleo works well for me from my past success almost two years ago and even from my more recent attempts. I enjoy eating savory foods, eating when I’m hungry, not counting calories, and trying new foods and ingredients. I enjoy feeling full, having more energy, and not being a slave to intense carb cravings.
Rather than finding the “diet” restrictive, I find that it is focused on the “yes” foods. Meat, eggs, nuts, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats (especially avocado and coconut). Because dairy doesn’t seem to bother me, I tend to lean toward the Primal side of things by adding in butter, aged cheeses, and Greek yogurt (and some cream cheese) here and there.
There is a wealth of paleo/primal information and recipes available online. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to sift through. I thought I’d share (again) some of my basic menus and meal ideas as well as a few links for those interested. (I know a few people emailed me or commented in response to my last post.)
It would be interesting to find a local CrossFit location (the exercise phenomenon that is closely linked with paleo eating), but I am a huge wimp. And CrossFit scares me. Not only that, but I don’t have regular child care (Russ leaves insanely early in the morning and doesn’t get home from swim practice with the boys until 7:30pm) nor is a gym membership in the budget.
SO, I have happily returned to Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred, which will more likely be a 90 Day “can do 10 girl push-ups without dying” sort of result for me. I LOVE that it combines strength training with bursts of cardio. I LOVE that there are four progressive routines. I LOVE that the routines take only 20 minutes. 20 minutes? I can find 20 minutes in a day—much easier than finding an hour and a half away from home at a gym (with travel/transition time and all that). I can also face 20 minutes of working out even if I don’t want to. An hour? Notsomuch.
:: The Whole30 Challenge at Whole Nine is an excellent place to start. Reset your system and find out what foods have been negatively impacting your body.
:: If you are a person who likes to have a book in hand, Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle is a fantabulous starting guide. I just purchased it on Amazon, and it is a weighty, gorgeous book—worth every penny. (Seriously, the day it came I couldn’t figure out what was in the box because I could only remember having ordered a book, and the package was way too heavy for that!)
The pages are thick, the charts are well-organized and visually appealing, and the photographs are works of art. The book includes guides to paleo foods, stocking a pantry, nutrition and more. It contains specific information on various health issues, as well as customized meal plans for people with specific diseases and conditions. The second half of the book is filled with over 120 recipes, all visually represented. The author has also provided tear-out versions of her guides for added convenience.
:: Everyday Paleo is an excellent resource for CrossFit fitness information and recipes.
:: For a primal lifestyle, Mark’s Daily Apple has daily inspiration.
:: Civilized Caveman cooks up some pretty spectacular food. I can’t wait to try his Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins with Honey Frosting!
:: My friend Cori at Wonder in the Woods has just started eating paleo and already has a few recipes and encouragement up on her blog.
If you have favorite paleo links, share them in the comments!
Food for Thought:
:: Drinking soda linked to depression (Not much of a surprise, though I find it fascinating that diet soda is suspect as much or more than regular soda.)
:: Alzheimer's is really just 'type-3' diabetes, new research shows (Interestingly, there is an article on the same topic in the Reader’s Digest this month.)
I almost always have scrambled eggs with either Aidell’s chicken apple sausage or Italian pork sausage fried up with kale and parmesan cheese (YUM!!).
Banana pancakes (Mash one banana, mix with two eggs—that’s it! They are one of my go-to treats when I’m feeling deprived. Still a lot of carbs, but at least there is some protein in there. They are sweet, so all I add is butter. They taste a little like banana bread French toast (not that I’ve ever had it, just as I imagine it!) and have a crepe-like texture.
I tried sweet potato latkes as a side dish for dinner a couple nights ago. They were yummy. I think they’d make a good breakfast dish, especially with added egg. Maybe with Greek yogurt and applesauce or fried apples? I want to try this recipe with parmesan cheese, too!
Greek yogurt with honey (I think this will be my “don’t have time to cook breakfast” option.)
I’m also wanting to make up a paleo granola with nuts and chopped dried fruit to be eaten with coconut milk. (I don’t care for flaked coconut or I’d add that too.)
And there are always leftovers. Who says you have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast?
Leftovers (particularly Hungarian Goulash and Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas, links below)
Taco salad (my personal favorite: lettuce, taco meat, chopped tomatoes and black olives, guacamole, and cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt when I’m eating dairy)
Tuna salad (lettuce with tuna and mayo and chopped tomatoes—also great with sunflower seeds)
Veggies (I’m going to try the cauliflower hummus recipe from Practical Paleo this week for dipping.)
Sliced cucumbers with vinegar and oil
Dried figs (I only eat one or two at the most since eating a bunch of dried fruit adds a lot of carbs, but they hit just the right spot when I am in the mood for a sweet treat and they are great for on the go. I found organic, no sugar added figs at Costco, and they are delicious! Remind me of Fig Newtons.)
Pepperoni sticks (they aren’t the clean, expensive kind, but sometimes I’m desperate for an easy, packable protein)
Salami with cream cheese (yeah, not the best choice, either, but BOY is it tasty)
Sweet potato chips (I can’t find them at Costco anymore, so I need to make a trip to Trader Joes. Not the right kind of oil, but I’m not super vigilant about that.)
Celery with almond butter
Roasted kale (surprisingly tasty)
Hungarian Goulash (I’m so glad I made a big batch. It makes a perfect leftover. Next time I’d like to try mashed cauliflower to go with it.)
Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas (another favorite for leftovers with fresh tomato and guacamole, and Greek yogurt and/or cheddar cheese if I’m splurging)
Grilled steak (I marinate with coconut aminos, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, and minced garlic) and roasted veggies (This is one of our go-to meals: grilled meat + roasted veggie such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, or yams.)
Shrimp scampi over zucchini noodles served with salad
Bun-less loaded burgers (lettuce, tomato, dijon mustard, bacon, guacamole, and sometimes cheese) with raw veggies
Chinese 5-spice turkey lettuce cups (from Practical Paleo)
Italian stuffed peppers
Tomato and meat spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
I’ve been drinking about 32 ounces of Good Earth green tea daily. I love the Lemongrass flavor because it has a naturally sweet taste.
I also enjoy drinking an ice-cold La Croix fruit-flavored soda water daily. That is what miraculously got me over my soda addiction. I love the peach-pear or cran-raspberry flavors. They taste sweeter than the citrus flavors.
Sliced apples fried in coconut oil with cinnamon and sea salt, topped with coconut milk (my favorite!!)
Sliced banana with sea salt and cinnamon, topped with coconut milk and toasted sliced almonds
Ice cream (frozen banana, coconut milk, and cocoa powder blended in the Vitamix)
Homemade chocolate larabars (I haven’t made any this time around, but they still make the list because I know I’ll have them at some point! Just pecans, dates, cocoa powder, and sea salt in the food processor. Add spices to taste—my favorite is cardamom.)
I made a pan of paleo brownies, but they weren’t very tasty. I plan to try a brownie mug the next time the craving hits.
You can find my Pinterest Paleo-ish board here for more inspiration.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten several things. I’ll add them as I think of them. Feel free to share any ideas in the comments!