Sunday, August 21, 2011
It's of interest here because it occurred to me that the food I brought was all reasonably primal (home-made grass-fed beef jerky, grass-fed butter, dried fruits, hazelnuts, and dried vegetables), the shoes I wore were basically prehistoric barefoot shoes (a single layer of leather between you and the Earth and totally non-confining), and hiking with a load is a very "ancestral" workout!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Beverages: Electrolyte replacement powder, green tea
Meat: Prosciutto, roast beef, leftover pork loin (not pictured)
Note sad lack of vegetables! Primal fail!
Fruits and nuts: Cherries, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts
Assorted snacks and other: Larabars, pasture butter, two yogurts (normally a month's ration of yogurt; we'll see how this goes for me), Tanka bites, and two absurd raw vegan desserts from Whole Foods that happened to be basically primal (a mint chocolate "tart" and coconut "macaroons" -- I picked both of these items up off the shelf to show them to Better Half and mock them, then read the ingredients and ended up buying them; screw you, Whole Foods)
Not pictured: I caved and bought a jar of all-natural peanut butter. It's a legume! It's full of aflatoxins! I am probably developing a peanut allergy! But I haven't had the stuff in months, and sometimes when I walk past it on the shelf, I just can't stand it any longer: I have to have some. I'm hoping that the "allergy" is a product of my overactive imagination, as I'm afraid of what life would be like if I really were allergic to peanuts.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Step 2: Cook several slices of bacon to desired crispness. Remove from pan.
Step 3: Wash asparagus well and dry with a tea towel. Break spears in half and fry exuberantly in the bacon fat.
Step 4: Put the asparagus on a plate and salt them (optional). Eat bacon and asparagus with hands.
Step 5: Gloat on the internet. This was delicious. Also, as of yesterday morning, I've lost a grand total of 60 pounds. Hooray for me!
Saturday, May 14, 2011
A ridiculously yummy and simple weeknight dinner, or easy to make at home and take to work for lunch. Serves two.
1 previously frozen mahi mahi fillet (thawed)
1-2 tsp "tequila lime" spice blend from Whole Foods, or other spice mix of your choice
1 tsp fat of choice (melted coconut oil is ideal)
3-4 small radishes
Handfull cilantro leaves
Half a tiny red onion
Mango salsa (homemade or purchased)
3 lettuce leaves per person (okay, okay, Better Half ate corn tortillas; she thinks this paleo business is crazy)
Optional: sour cream for serving
Note: this would have been even better with some avocado, but we didn't have any.
Coat fish with spice mix and fat and grill (we use one of those countertop panini-press type grills) for about 4 minutes per side, or until it flakes easily. Wash and chop radishes, cilantro, and onions. Wash and dry lettuce leaves and arrange on plate. Put fish, salsa, and chopped veggies, avocado, and optional sour cream onto each leaf and serve with lime wedges. If you like salt, add a little salt to each taco before serving.
Nutritional breakdown for half of a recipe: 248 calories, 9 grams of fat (includes 1 tbsp sour cream but not avocado), 15 grams carbohydrate, and 20 grams of protein. Easily doubled.
Well, now I can, and two things stood out right away: carbs and protein. I'm actually doing fine on the carbs, which is really heartening. I'm even able to stay on target (under 80g per day) and still have moderate amounts of fruit, and occasional drizzles of honey. This is a good thing. The protein story is not as good. I was really feeling hungry when I was strictly tracking with WW and keeping within my daily points, so I knew something had to be amiss; sure enough, I have not been getting enough protein. Now it's really nice for me to be able to log on and track and see, yeah, I'm still hungry because I'm 10-20 grams short on protein. Let's go have a Tanka bar (by the way, why, why, WHY do these have sugar in the cranberries??? I love these stupid things and I don't have time to go back to making my own pemmican, but it annoys me that they have added sugar; I digress) or some steak or something.
One issue I'm having with all of this is it's been a looonnnng time (and almost 60 pounds :D) since having my body fat tested, so I'm winging it a little on the LBM calculation. Better Half and I have actually been talking about buying a better scale anyway, so I may do some research and see if any of the ones that measure %fat are remotely accurate.
Things are looking up. The scale has already budged down a bit this week, which is awesome, and I'm not seeing as much day-to-day fluctuation as I had been. My calorie percentage breakdown seems to be around 55-60% fat, 15-20% carbs, and 20-25% protein. I did go ahead and have a "cheat" meal last night, enjoyed the hell out of it without going overboard, and am back on track this morning.
Monday, May 09, 2011
I'm still struggling with sticking with it. I'll go for a week and do just fine, then have some big stupid carbfest meal. Change is hard.
On the other hand, I am really falling into a routine, which is good. Breakfast is boiled eggs (I sprang for one of those countertop egg cooker dealies, and it is AWESOME) with pasture butter, lunch is protein + vegetables (I've been taking the lazy way and eating additive-free rotisserie chicken plus frozen organic vegetables fairly often), I sometimes have a fatty snack in the afternoon (I often just "freebase" the pasture butter), and then dinner is a fancier variant of protein + vegetables. Better Half is liking the dinners, at least, even if I haven't persuaded her to come over to the fat side at lunch or breakfast.
In the past month, I have lost zero pounds, and I know why: I haven't been very serious about it. I haven't been tracking, I've had quite a few "effit" days ("I could make good choices... or... ahh, eff it"). I think the lack of tracking is really killing me. I'm so fed up with the WW tracking system, as they don't show you the macronutrient breakdown. I think I need to go back to using Daily Plate, or maybe switch over to fit tracker. Also, I have not upped my activity level. I'm still doing low intensity daily (walking DogMonster); I really need to add more high intensity workouts. I'm not sure when I'll be able to do that, though, as, through no fault of my own, I pretty seriously bruised my tailbone last week and I'm still in beaucoups pain.
Actually, to be fair, I gained 5 pounds in the week after getting my wisdom teeth out, and I have lost that and a little more; but all that means is I still weigh what I did before the tooth surgery.
I have, however, noticed that my clothes fit differently. My pants are getting looser. So it's possible that I am losing fat / putting on some muscle. This would be a really good thing, I've been really worried that following CW means I'm ditching both fat and muscle, which I'd rather not do. I really need to get my body fat % tested, speaking of.
I still want to do a 30 day challenge, but I'm afraid I have to wait until the school year ends before I start one.
In the next 7 days, I challenge myself to:
-Try tracking on Daily Plate and see how it goes
-See what kind of activity I can handle with the injured butt bone
-Find ways to feel like I'm "splurging" without going off-plan
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Running as a fun thing to do is completely novel to me. Even as a kid, I didn't run around much. I was no good at games, so I spent my time doing activities that involved sitting. Lots of sitting. Since losing weight and becoming more active, I've discovered that running is actually a lot of fun. So on Saturday when I came to a big open clearing, I ran around. I was wearing medieval garb at the time, making it extra silly, but it was seriously awesome.
I wish I lived closer to woods. I need more places to play.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Core and chop 3 apples (I chopped them into approximately 3/4" cubes) and put into a 9" square baking dish. Helpful hint: apple dishes are tastiest with a mix of apple varieties. I had a few to use up from the produce box, so I used a granny smith, a braeburn, and... something yellow with no tag. Chop an onion coarsely and a few sage leaves finely and add to the apples. Mix with hands. Cut 8 strips of bacon in half lengthwise, and weave into a lattice on top of the filling. (Weaving a lattice top is not as hard as it seems -- start in the middle and work out.) Bake at 400°F for 35-45 minutes, until bacon reaches desired crispness.
This would be more fitting in the fall; it would make a great stuffing alternative, I think.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
1/2 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, or less)
1/2 teaspoon honey (or more, or less)
Put the yolk, salt, honey, and lemon juice into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Mix briefly. With the mixer on high, add the oils (I measured them both into a Pyrex container and poured from the spout) a few drops at a time until it starts to look lighter. Switch to a steady but very small stream of oil until you've used all of the oil and you have miraculously ended up with mayonnaise!
I tried to make stick blender mayonnaise and failed. I'm going to stick with using the Kitchen Aid as long as I'm using the expensive oils (which make failure scary).
I blanched some to serve tonight with pasture butter as a side dish for our (scary stuff free) corned beef, and as promised I'm going to dry the rest for tea and trekking.
At the end of the meal, I opened my fortune cookie (although I didn't actually eat it) and the fortune inside was:
"Be good to yourself. Dessert three times per week is OK."
WHAT? WHAT? I laughed so hard. 1) Way to contradict yourself, fortune cookie. Eating crap food is not being good to myself. 2) Way to try to sell more dessert, PF Chang's, you classy bastards. 3) SCREW YOU, FORTUNE COOKIE! I have made a commitment to living better and you undermine me like that? Damn, that's harsh!
Better Half's fortune was that she will get an unexpected inheritance this year, which is basically like saying "Someone you love will die." We decided to write off whole business of listening to cookies.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
I'm going to cook some as a side dish with our corned beef brisket tonight and dry some as rations for my primitive trek this summer.
Ah yes, the primitive trek: the greatest plan ever conceived! So Viking Food Guy and I are totally going to do a "Viking trek" this August, where we wear historical clothes, eat historical food, and use historical gear on a magical backpacking adventure! What could be more primal???? Even my Iron Age style shoes are basically barefoot shoes: a thin layer of leather between me and the earth. I of course do not do Viking, so I will be Celtic trekking. (Hmm, can I find a source on woad online?) Anyway, how this relates to food is that I've been doing a lot of dehydrating in preparation. I made some oatcakes before taking the plunge into primal, and I dried one to see how long it would keep. Last fall I made salted beef, which I will most likely make again as it seems to lend itself to cooking more than my standard jerky. My mom gave me a bunch of dried food from her garden for Christmas, including carrots and cabbage strips. I've dried turnips (and it turns out that dried turnips are pretty good!), too. Nettles are very nutritious and delicious and people dry them for tea all the time, so I think they would make for great trekking provisions.
We're also planning to fish and forage on our adventure. Seriously, this is going to be the most fun thing EVER. Our respective spouses are coming with us to keep us from dying in the woods and to photodocument the trip.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Better Half really, really, REALLY hates mushrooms. She goes mushroom hunting with me, points at them, and yells "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, KILL IT!" She will not eat them. She once proposed that I get separate pans for mushrooms, that none of her food would ever touch. So the mushrooms, when they come, are all for me.
This tends to mean that I get to experiment more with mushrooms than with other food -- if I only have myself to please, I don't really care if I produce something odd.
Tonight I had a delicious lamb shoulder with greens and foraged field mustard florets and mushrooms cooked in butter:
The foraging was great. I took the dog for a walk and we climbed up an embankment after the mustard. I couldn't reach the biggest plant, but I definitely got a good workout hiking up and down the hill. I also picked some miner's lettuce, but decided it was probably dog-peed-on so I ended up tossing it.
While I was cooking dinner, I decided I would do something odd with the rest of the mushrooms. We had some bacon already (alderwood smoked no preservatives no nitrates and so forth), and we got TWO leeks in the box this week meaning last week's leek has no room. Leeks and mushrooms and bacon are always a winning combination. But what to do? Inspired by a memory of a fantastic 18th century British recipe once featured on Two Fat Ladies for a Mitton of Pork, I decided to layer the mushrooms and leeks, sprinkle them with mace, and enclose them, pie-like, in bacon, then bake.
Step one: line tiny deep-dish pie dish with bacon:
Step two: slice mushrooms and leeks and layer them in the dish, sprinkling each layer with a little mace. (Note: I used too much mace. 1/8 tsp is plenty. I shouldn't have eyeballed it.)
Step 3: Top with bacon, tucking in ends of other pieces to make a little parcel:
(Note: You can see that, like an idiot, I put still MORE mace on it at this point. I don't know what my plan was, honestly.)
Step 4: Bake at 400 degrees until bacon is crispy and vegetables are soft, about 30 to 40 minutes:
So, other than HOLY CRAP WHY DID I PUT SO MUCH MACE IN THIS (I really like mace, but I got a little carried away), this was pretty good! It was easy, the flavors blended well... yeah, good stuff! Better Half suggested trying the same technique with apples and onions instead, which just sounds awesome and I can't wait to try it.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Seasoned grass-fed beef patty (I added ground up thyme, sage, and garlic, plus salt, formed the beef into patties and cooked them under the broiler) with a salad of romaine lettuce, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, pasture eggs, and home-made honey mustard dressing (which wasn't strictly primal).
Totally delicious and Better Half loved the salad. She didn't like the meat, which meant I ate two! :D Hee hee!
We bought some frozen tofu-equivalent (a term we use for meats that are easy to prepare/non-scary/uniform -- Better Half and I were both vegetarians for a long period of time so cooking meat was scary to us for a while) mahi mahi fillets. I thawed one and baked it in a mixture of coconut milk (light, which I know is not really primal but since I've been so carby lately I'm afraid to go back to megafat right away), curry powder, fish sauce, lime juice, and Sriracha hot sauce. All told I think I baked it a little over 30 minutes (Better Half always wants the fish overdone, and I find I kind of lean that way too). About 15 minutes before it was done, I quartered some tomatoes and put them on top.
We got a beautiful head of orange cauliflower, so to go with this I decided to try my hand at cauliflower "rice". I split the head into florets, steamed them, and grated them in the food processor. The color was incredible! I'm afraid now I've spoiled myself for this dish, I don't think I would have enjoyed it even half as much without the wild color.
This was fantastic and I will totally make it again.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I think I must be feeling better.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I also made, on a whim, "primal cake." Here's the recipe:
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut milk
About 1/2 cup of a mix of frozen blueberries and cranberries
Beat all ingredients together in stand mixer. I baked it in a miniature baking pan made for my toaster oven for 20 minutes. The result is remarkably yummy and moist, and surprisingly cake-like. I cut it into very small pieces, about 1" by 2". It would be better with a little bit of cinnamon or maybe ginger, but it's a good start for a simple, healthy baked treat.
Lunch -- not sure if I'll have any
Dinner -- hoping to do beef stir fry with broccoli and bok choy
Exercise: I will walk the dog today, damn it! Maybe a little core work with the ball?
ETA: Successful "hunt" at Whole Paycheck (ugh), acquired grass fed meat for myself and the dog. Also, marrow bones! Will be experimenting with marrow one night this week.
I walked the dog for 20 minutes in the cold and wet before I wussed out. I'll try to run around with him more tonight and do some core work as a break.
I have a ton to do to get ready for work tomorrow, and this week is going to be somewhat hellish as we have conferences two nights so I'll be stuck at work for a good 13 hours on each of those days. This means that dinners this week might be dicey... I suppose I can always get a salad at the barbecue place, or maybe see what options the Mexican restaurant has (fajitas without the tortillas?).
Goal for tomorrow: make a real breakfast (eggs with broccoli rabe is the plan), find time to exercise between the end of school and the start of conferences. Maybe go for a walk in the park?
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The fruit thing... man. I really like fruit. I understand the reasoning behind fruit playing a minor roll in a modern paleo diet, but damn, I really like fruit. I've decided for now for me fruit is okay.
So far I feel good. The food I'm eating is yummy and satisfying and I feel energetic. I'm still really struggling to be as active as I want to be, though. I'm also down 3 pounds since Wednesday morning -- on the scale today I am officially down 55 pounds since January 2010. No doubt I'll undo that with my planned cheat day today for bread baking, but I'm not too worried. I've reached this place with my weight loss where I know I can do it and I know that I can take breaks and get back on the horse, and if taking breaks is what allows me to do this then I'm fine with that. I feel like I've taken a break after basically each 10 pound milestone; sometimes long breaks, sometimes short breaks. I haven't gained back any weight on those breaks (okay, except over Christmas, but the net gain was 4 pounds and I lost that and more in one week of getting back on track) and they allow me to not get that crazy deprived feeling. I've been itching for a break since hitting 50 pounds.
Actually, that's part of why I've been eating the way I've been eating: I planned to take a 2-3 week hiatus from tracking with Weight Watchers because I've been feeling kind of burned out and I have upcoming wisdom tooth surgery -- I have pretty much decided that after I get my wisdom teeth out I will eat whatever foods don't make me miserable and I won't beat myself up about it. If eating primally works well for me, I will continue. If not, I will go back to tracking with Weight Watchers (and eating how I was eating, which was very, very limited processed junk and sugar and a moderate but not necessarily restricted amount of carbs -- my typical day was yogurt or cottage cheese in the morning, fruit mid-morning, meat and vegetables and fruit for lunch, then for dinner we'd often do pasta, or meat and vegetables, or meat and vegetables and grain-product of some kind).
I think I'm going to start setting daily goals. Today's goal: 20 minutes of yoga or core work with the bouncy ball before I go to bread baking.
If you are reading this and thinking the kinds of things that most people think about fat people ("You are lazy and not serious and you are obese because you can't stick with anything etc etc etc") I disagree with you. Keep in mind that this same basic approach of punctuated equilibrium (NOT yo-yoing: my weight has not gone UP in all this time) has brought me here, which is 50 pounds smaller than I was before.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I had an apple mid morning.
Lunch: Chicken caesar salad, no croutons and no cheese. Dressing I'm sure has non-primal stuff in it but for going out to the barbecue place that slathers everything in sauce and has only battered / deep fried sides, I felt like I did okay.
When I got home from work, knowing dinner will take a while, I had a slice of bacon and a tiny tangerine.
Dinner will be pot roast (beef with onions and herbs) with baked acorn squash (with pasture butter and sage) on the side. I might make baconnaise slaw, too. More veggies are definitely needed.
Tomorrow I'm planning a "cheat" day to bake bread with a friend.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Here's what I ate today:
- Breakfast: eggs with cream and butter, two kiwis
- Mid-morning: apple, sunflower seeds
- Lunch: beets (cooked), carrots (raw), ground grass-fed beef patty (seasoned with garlic, sage, and thyme and cooked like a gigantic meatball)
- Afternoon: an orange, some coconut milk, and a "primal bite"
- Dinner: Broccoli salad with bacon, pecans, and raisins (recipe out of the PB cookbook) with dressing made with freshly made baconnaise. Yes, that's mayonnaise made with bacon fat. Dear sweet Jesus, I know. I actually used half bacon fat and half walnut oil, and it was OMG INCREDIBLE.
- Dessert: Frozen blueberries
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Okay, so shrimp aren't fish. Whatever. But behold the glory of the mackerel, stuffed with shallots, sage, and little bittie shrimpies.
Pretty yummy! I liked the shrimp the best. The fish was too scary for Better Half, so next time I think fish-that-doesn't-look-like-fish is how we'll roll. Not gonna lie, the fish was actually a little much for me, too. I've never really been that into fish, and sometimes fish makes me want to barf, so this dinner was a big step for me.
I'm thinking a couple of things: I need to do more planning, and I need to purchase foods that are VERY quick to prepare. Better Half ordered a fancy counter-top grill thingy, so I'm thinking the way to make this work for me is to some combination of grilled meat plus speedy veggie for dinner, salads or leftovers for lunch, and... still not sure about breakfast. I'm thinking what I really want for breakfast is home made pemmican and some fruit, but that would require me to make more pemmican, which is kind of a project.
So, I guess I am still stumbling. I'm also looking ahead to getting my wisdom teeth out next week (ARGH), and I'm seriously thinking I'll just cut myself some slack and eat nothing but pudding and mac'n'cheese for a week, otherwise that time (which is spring break) would perfectly coincide with the best time to undergo a serious dietary change.
next post: pictures of the fish!
Sunday, March 06, 2011
I don't want to declare that I AM DOING THIS AND IT IS FOREVER AND I HAVE FOUND A WHOLE NEW WAY OF EATING ETC, but it does interest me and I'd like to document how it goes, so I'm reviving this blog.
Since the last time I posted here, I have lost 50 pounds. I started by doing Daily Plate, lost just over 30 lbs, then hit a plateau. Then I joined Weight Watchers (I can do it for free through work), and have lost just under 20 lbs on that. Through all of this, I find that my diet has been slowly working its way toward paleo. I've been drawn to a paleo diet for... gosh, years, but always afraid of failure. Yesterday I decided I'm not afraid of "failure" anymore because in this instance there's no such thing as failure. I don't have to commit to never eating dairy or carbs or processed food again. I will still lead a normal life and if I really want to indulge, I will. What I am going to commit to is ramping up what I'm already doing, which is limiting processed food, limiting carbs, and limiting dairy (I am mildly lactarded, after all). Oh, and exercising more/differently, but that's outside the scope of this blog. I'm also finding that I'm drawn more to Sisson's primal model rather than other versions of paleo as his seems a lot more flexible and realistic rather than being about crazy restriction. I am still going to track points through Weight Watchers, although since it is impossible to track macronutrients I might have to do something else in addition / instead.
Now I will babble about food!
At the grocery store, I bought:
- Grass fed beef for pot roast
- Grass fed beef for jerky for my dad
- Grass fed ground beef (plan to make meatballs to facilitate quick and easy bento-type lunches)
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Wild-caught mackerel
- Little bitty shrimpies
- Pasture butter (this was my splurge of the week)
- Coconut milk (light and regular)
We get a produce box every other week, so my produce purchases are usually minimal.
Things I'm planning to make this week:
- Mackerel stuffed with shrimp, shallots, and sage, with creamed greens soup on the side (at Better Half's request, this will be with heavy cream instead of coconut milk)
- Pot roast, with mashed squash and parsnips on the side
- Coconut-blueberry "ice cream" (either unsweetened or honey sweetened) as a treat, possibly with pecans!
- Mahi mahi (we have some frozen) in some kind of coconut-curry with bok choi, haven't hammered out the details yet
For breakfast I had pasture eggs, pasture butter, melon, and kiwi (very carby fruits, but I've decided at least for now not to care about this). For lunch I'm planning a salad with lettuce, beets, goat cheese, grapefruit, and honey mustard dressing (which is not paleo at all, but again, I'm focusing on the bigger picture right now.
I'm planning to take pictures of the fish tonight and post them.