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Crispy Spinach

We had crispy spinach at an Indian restaurant and it was delicious. Here’s a recipe that we’re going to try… I just wanted to put it up first so we’d remember it. We tried once making it at a higher temp (450F), but put too much salt by accident and couldn’t eat them. They looked pretty though:

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CRISPY BAKED SPINACH
Ingredients:

  • organic baby spinach
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • other spices, as desired/ to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place the leaves in a large bowl, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with just a little bit of salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Toss gently with tongs.
  • Spread the leaves out on a single layer on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, until the leaves are crispy. Serve immediately.
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A Great Article (Part 1) by Michael Eads, MD about transitioning to a low-carb lifestyle.

Some interesting notes:

  • If you’re a addict (i.e. carbs/ sugar) listening to your body is dangerous!  You need to detox before you can trust your body is not just trying to maintain your habit!
  • Adaptation to a low-carb lifestyle can take a few days or several weeks, and typically feels LOUSY (I KNOW!!) while you’re body is changing how it processes fuel (i.e. food). This is a terrible time to worry about exercise. Forget it – you’ll be too exhausted.
  • TO ADAPT TO A LOW-CARB LIFESTYLE MORE QUICKLY: EAT MORE FAT.

A Great Article (Part 2) by Michael Eads, MD about  low-carb eating.

Some more interesting notes:

  • Sodium is important in transitioning to low-carb eating because you’ll release a lot of retained fluid, which washes away electrolytes (also magnesium/ potassium). The best salts to use are “Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt or one of the other grayish, pinkish kind of grungy looking salts.”
  • Drinking water helps burn fat!! Really!!
  • Remineralize your water by adding a pinch of one of the above-listed salts (add just a pinch, so you can barely taste it).
  • His recommended supplements: multi-vitamin without iron, ALA (or r-ALA), CoQ10, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium (by prescription), vitamin D3 (dose recommendations in the article)
  • Tinto de Verano (drink) – “half fruity Spanish wine and half sparkling water poured over ice with a slice of orange and slice of lemon thrown in.  It’s kind of sangria lite.” Sounds yummy!

Beet greens, onions, & bacon

Yummy Paleo dinner tonight!

Steak, roasted broccoli with garlic & crushed red pepper flakes, and:

Beet greens, onions, & bacon:

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Dice 4 slices bacon & cook until crispy.
Sauté diced beet greens stalks (separated from greens) & diced onions with bacon & bacon grease until soft.
Add in chopped fresh beet greens a few at a time until they are wilted (they’ll reduce down like spinach).

Serve & enjoy!

Tonight’s dinner:

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Starting over

We pretty much have eggs and maybe some breakfast meats (sausages/ bacon – organic when possible) every morning for breakfast and leftovers for lunch, so I’m not planning to keep up the food journal this time round (unless we discover a need) but I will mention any good recipes we come across.

Today was a cooking day, so it was good fun! Both were “Everyday Paleo” recipes (from the book).

First, I made Egg Cupcakes with sausage (fully cooked gluten-free ones from Applegate- yum!!), fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, and spices. (I had some for lunch too- they were yummy!) The process was made sooooooo much easier since I now have Mom’s old vitamix! Thanks Mom!! 🙂

Then I made meatballs with ground beef, puréed yellow squash, zucchini (don’t tell D- he doesn’t like them! ;-)), and a TON of fresh parsley (to cover up the taste of the veggies), and some cumin/ black pepper. I baked them at 450 degrees for 20 minutes then put them into the Albondigas Soup (Everyday Paleo) recipe – chicken stock, water, salsa, cumin, oregano, diced tomatoes, shredded cabbage & shredded carrots. Yum! (**To clarify: Albondigas = meatballs, but the EP recipe has you cook them by boiling them in the soup. Since mine were a bit sloppy from the pureed veggies & I knew I had the time, I baked them before adding them to the soup.)

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Well, we’ve been off the wagon. (As in… can’t even FIND the wagon.)

Tomorrow is a new day though, and we have a new plan. We plan to eat strictly Paleo (but less restrictive than the challenge) 6 days a week, with Saturday as an off day. A lot of people recommend going 80% Paleo and 20% “other” food. 1 day off per week makes us 85.7% Paleo & 14.3% “other”.

We’ve noticed how a lot of the non-Paleo foods make us miserable (gluten= bloating, ice cream & fast food= depression, etc.), but it’s still hard to make the full switch. So wish us luck! 🙂

2-week Update:

We had an anniversary cheat night last night. We both had cheese fries at outback, A had half of a sweet potato (prob closer to 1/3 since Iris [our dog] had some too), and D had 3 beers.

This is after A had her own cheat (after getting sick, so she was required to be on liquids [i.e. anything that becomes liquid once it enters the body]) of ice cream. I (A) had been moaning about wanting ice cream for a while now anyway, so it wasn’t a hard sell, and I’m really glad I had it… because I felt awful the next day. I had a headache that wouldn’t go away (despite lots of advil, ice, aromatherapy, etc.), so now I at least know how my body responds to it. On top of that, it wasn’t nearly as satisfying to have the ice cream (my favorite kind: Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip) as I thought it would be. It was good, but…. So now I know. If I want to have it, I have to be prepared that the next day may completely suck for me. As a substitute, the coconut milk ice cream sweetened with sevia was fine (though it has a tiny weird aftertaste). The best option seems to be frozen fruit blended with heavy cream or coconut milk like my mom used to make in the vitamix (she used to add sugar, though not a lot, and often whole milk instead of cream). I made up some the other day, when I was dying for something and wanted to do a Paleo cheat – it was good too, though again, not as satisfying as I remembered it – though it always had sugar when she made it, and I just used coconut milk & strawberries….

Last night’s cheat was useful too. The outback cheese fries were, in a word: delicious. However, we didn’t feel great after eating them, and my weight is up this morning (it’s been mostly a steady incline down, but never yet this much up in one day…. As of Saturday morning (13 days of eating Paleo), I (A) was down 7.2 pounds. That one serving of cheese fries apparently put 2 pounds back on. Not cool, cheese fries, not cool. As of yesterday, D was down 6.6 pounds… but he didn’t have the day of not eating that I had when I got ill… Apparently, eating Paleo really does make your body burn fat in times of famine!! (When he gets up he’ll weigh in for the day, but I imagine he’ll find the cheese fries + beer were not good for his numbers either….) [He was up 2.2 lbs today.]

So we’re learning a lot. D is quite happy eating meat all the time, and I’m getting used to cooking things that I never really made before. I’m learning how my body feels about certain substances, and finding out just how satisfying a sweet potato can be (it was sooooo good!).

On the subject of sweet potatoes, we have a two-week update to the challenge. See below. I will say on the subject of how we’re feeling that A is no longer experiencing insanely crazy mood swings (hopefully her body will detox those cheats out ASAP) but that she still feels fatigued from normal activity. This still could be mental though, as she is still job hunting. D seems to be doing fine, adjusting to his new job (which started the same time as the challenge), but is definitely ready for bed between 10-11pm….

We’ll keep you updated!

——————–
From Brian at Potomac Crossfit on the Paelo Challenge Blog:

Just as a general observation, I’ve never repeat NEVER seen training long slow distance runs and/or high volume of training generally improve any facet of fitness, and most of the time I see people gain weight.

So if your goal is to lose weight, and you’re doing something (training long slow distance/high volume of training), then you’re sabotaging your goals. [This was him responding to another question, but interesting enough to leave in!]

1) If you are experiencing good results so far: you’ve lost some weight, or a better indicator, you’re dress size/pants size has gone down, and you’re feeling good energy-wise: change nothing. We’re going to ride that pony until it drops.

2) If you haven’t experienced weight loss/decreased dress size/decreased pants size, and you feel crappy, then post something or email me and Kari so we can take a hard look at what you’re doing and get you on track.

3) If you have lost weight/decreased dress or pant size, and you are bonking on WODs then we need to add some starchy veggies:

sweet potato
turnips
rutabaga
beets
carrots
parsnips
butternut squash
acorn squash
spaghetti squash

Amount should be about the size of the palm of your hand if you are still looking for weight loss. If you are lean and are mainly looking for performance, bump that amount up to the size of your fist.
This should be eaten as quickly post-WOD as is humanely possible, along with some meat.

——————–

In response to Brian’s comment about running, in “Lights Out…” she talks about this. When we run for extended periods, our hormonal control center thinks we’re running from a predator. it therefore tells our adrenals to dump a crapload (technical term) of cortisol (ie the “fight or flight” hormone) into our bloodstream. And as we know, excess cortisol makes our bodies protect the vital (abdominal) organs by encasing them in as much fat as possible.

She talks about the runners high as well and how this relates hormonally to the cortisol release, etc.. It’s a good read if you want to learn more. Basically though, she says this “high” activates an area of the brain often referred to as the “god module” which is where the brain is most active during spiritual experiences. So, if you’re running from that sabre-toothed tiger, you’ve got the “flight” support of cortisol until eventually, your body gives out, then the “runners high”/ “god module” kicks in so you’re delirious when it finally tears you apart. 🙂 Thanks, biology.

A-
11:00am: 1 egg cupcake
1230pm: 1 egg cupcake, 2 pieces sopressata, 1/2 cup chopped broccoli & cabbage salad
1:40pm: 2 slim jims (heading to baby shower… Trying to prevent hunger so I don’t eat too much of the anticipated sugar-laden bounty)

D-
11:00am: 1 egg cupcake, 5-6 pieces sopresata

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Food journal- May 21

A’s Notes post-cheat night:
My hip was sore last night, so I massaged it a bit, but it woke me in the night hurting. It’s still sore this morning, and my head hurts as well (even after breakfast). I’m not sure if either of these are related to my ice cream cheat last night (though I think the headache is probably related- not sure if it’s the sugar or dairy or combo). I just want to keep track, so I can see what the pattern is.

A-
11:15am: 2 eggs over easy, 3 pieces bacon, coffee with coconut milk
2:30pm: sausage with tomato sauce, chopped broccoli/ cabbage salad (leftovers)
5:30pm: (anniversary night out) outback cheese fries, salad (we were full, so we left the restaurant and brought our entrees home)
8:00pm: 8 oz filet mignon, 1/2 large sweet potato with butter

D-
11:15am: 3 eggs over easy, 5 pieces bacon
2:30pm: Oscar Mayer turkey sausage with mustard/ ketchup
5:30pm: (anniversary night out) outback cheese fries, salad, 22 oz Newcastle brown ale (we were full, so we left the restaurant and brought our entrees home)
8:00pm: 2 bottles of budwiser

A-
10:30am: protein shake (due to last night’s illness) – Jay Robb protein powder (whey protein, stevia, etc.) with “so delicious” unsweetened coconut milk (5g fat, 1g carb, 1g protein). I want meat. Ha! Didn’t expect that, but I’ve been craving it since last night!! I guess that’s what happens when you can’t have something…lol
12:30pm: hamburger with ketchup, mustard, & mayo (I couldn’t stomach another shake, & I figured ground beef would go down easier than anything else solid…)
2:30pm: hamburger with ketchup, mustard, & mayo
6:30pm: hamburger with ketchup, mustard, & mayo, cauliflower “rice”
7:30pm: breyers mint choc chip ice cream (cheat night!)

D-
8:30am:
lunch: lettuce-wrapped lunch meat “sandwiches”
6:30pm: 2 jalepeno hamburgers with ketchup, mustard, & mayo, cauliflower “rice”
7:30pm: 1 bottle Newcastle brown ale (cheat night!)