Thursday, June 21, 2012

Breakdown? Or Breakthrough?

Yummy looking Steak
I was wondering how long it would take, or if it would happen at all.  I began the most recent paleo challenge, run by Crossfit Oahu on April 1.  I didn't have any difficulty during the challenge.  I found myself not wanting grains or alcohol, which are usually the cravings that I have.  In fact, it's usually something crunchy that I miss.  Anyway, the whole 45 day challenge was no problem.  Keysa and I decided to keep it up, and start a newer challenge with three "cheats" allowed during a week.  I didn't have any for the first two weeks.  Then I did carefully select some yogurt and honey.  I totally enjoyed it.  That was fine.  I did start craving some things I haven't had in a while.  I made it through May I think, and then my thinking started to change and I could tell.  I had pizza on June 12, which is fine, except that I didn't enjoy the three slices I shoved down my throat.  I ate better the next couple of days, then that Friday I had alcohol and some of the brownies that are STILL in my fridge that I made for Nathan's co-workers a few weeks ago.  Again, not a problem normally, except that I didn't play on it.  I just mindlessly ate it and felt slightly guilty about it.  I could feel myself going more and more off track.  Finally, this past Tuesday, some of my co-workers had ordered some lunch plates and I had not prepared myself a good lunch.  I had stopped to get a salad, and put raisins on it.  I had bought an avocado to add to it, but it turned out not to be ripe enough.  I had some of their breaded, deep fried shrimp and some of the sushi.  On my way home, all I could think about was fried won tons.  I realized then that I had to do something about this.  So.  I deliberately went to get some of the food I had been craving.  I got some garlic rolls and man doo pi from Foodland, I grabbed a bottle of wine, and went home.  I told my husband that I was going to eat whatever I could think of that I had been avoiding so if he wanted to go out and get pizza or something, tonight was the night.  So we both ordered P'zolos from Pizza Hut and got their super, duper hot wings.  We got the breaded, boneless wings.  I drank my wine, and ate tons of food.  But this time I did it mindfully.  I enjoyed every bite.
Pizza Hut P'Zolo
Yesterday I gave away the rest of the rolls, because Nathan won't eat them and I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would.  I hung on to the mon doo, and ended up eating the rest of it yesterday and today.  So now my leftovers should be all gone.  Yesterday I started my day with a huge omelette.  I prepared an awesome salad for lunch.  I made a tasty paleo dinner, but added some of the won tons.  This morning I finished the won tons, but again, I made a huge omelette, and made a delicious looking lunch of chicken sausage and leftover steak and veggies from last night.  My plan is to feed myself lots of primal food, even if it seems like too much.  I will start planning ahead again.  I can already tell my thinking patterns are starting to shift again.  I feel more motivated today, and I had this awesome daydream about the retreat house I will own someday in the woods near a lake.  The last couple of days I was just tired, and didn't feel like doing anything.  Today my imagination is back.
Breakdown? Or Breakthrough?  My verdict is that it is a breakthrough.  This time around I have been keeping a simple record of what I've been eating and I was able to look back to see the patterns.  My co-workers might really appreciate the data collection.  Anyway, looking back I can see where my thinking started to change.  Partially, it had to do with Keysa being gone, apparently I do better with some accountability.  Keysa and I were talking about food a lot, and with her being gone, I wasn't as focused on nutrition.  It may just be that it wasn't a priority for me.  I noticed at the same time that some of my lazier habits tend to come back all at once.  I wasn't having as much fun preparing for and making dinner, I wasn't waking up as chipper as normal, and on days when I didn't have work, I was starting to sleep in pretty late and not shower all day.  No big deal, except that it is usually the sign of the beginning of a depressive episode for me.  We all have our signs if we pay attention.  So.  I am actually just realizing this as I type.  And I realize that I need to pull my shit together right now, cause I'd prefer not to get all moody and non-motivated.  Do we all get like this sometimes?  I don't know.  I just know what happens to me.  I can envision myself holing up in the house, not crafting, not reading, just laying around.  Awesome, right?  Not that I was falling into a depression, but that I'm able to catch it this time!
I encourage anyone who is trying to make a major life change, such as totally changing your eating habits to share it with the right friends to create some accountability.  For me, just knowing that some of my friends will read this, is what is going to get me back on track.  Even if not one of you makes it all the way through the end of this long ass blog post, there is the slight possibility that you have, and that you might wonder whether I am going to follow through on my commitment to changed behavior.  So, thankyou kind reader for keeping me healthy and sane.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Paleo Sweet Potato and Watercress Soup

Mine did not look like this.  It looked like purple porridge.  This one's much prettier. 
Just a quick post so I can share the recipe for the yummy soup I made last night.  Warning:  It comes out looking like purple porridge, but is soooo good.  I got the original recipe here.  Excellent recipe.  The directions are easy to follow.  To make it Paleo, all I did was leave out the white potato.  I bought two Okinawan sweet potatoes because that sounded super yummy to me, hence the color of the soup.  The Watercress was from my friend's aquaponic farm system, so I had a whole bunch of it.  The watercress had a strong, peppery flavor before adding it to the soup, so I didn't add very much.  I could have added much more, it ended up losing a lot of flavor in the few minutes it was in there.  Also, I added a store bought broth to it, per the suggestion of one of the commenters.  Because my vegetarian friend was joining us for this meal I used 4 cups of Organic Vegetable broth, it did have some canola oil, but, whatever.  I added two cups of water to make the six cups of liquid.  I also sprinkled on a dash of Cayenne Powder, which I think added a nice touch.  I was thinking that if I make myself another round today or tomorrow, I will probably use a chicken broth and add some of the meat I have.  The meat turned out a little tough when I made it the other day, so adding it to a slow cooking soup might be a better use.  I also was thinking that if I had remembered to bring my coconut milk to the party, I would have added a spoonful of the thicker, creamier stuff from the top of the can to the top of a bowl of soup before serving it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Treats in Moderation

Super Sweet!
Amazingly enough, I just had to go back and look to see how long it's been since the Paleo challenge ended.  Since May 15, I've been sticking to my Level 7 Paleo with the exception of being able to have 3 treats a week.  I was unsure of how this was going to go.  In my last post I mentioned that I didn't really feel like having any treats.  It's true.  The results I get from eating Paleo / primal style are insanely worthwhile.  I lost 20 pounds eating tons of good food.  I only workout twice a week most weeks.  Granted, Crossfit workouts are pretty intense, but talk about a sustainable lifestyle.  So do I really want to eat bread?  And then try to "run off all the excess calories?"  Do I really want to eat sugar?  The truth is, when I think for a second instead of just grabbing for something to eat, I really don't want or need it.  I had some dried pineapple the other day that I could have sworn had added sugar on it.  I triple checked the ingredients, it was from Whole Foods, who kindly make all of their ingredients very visible and public.  The truth was, I just have gotten used to the natural sweetness of fruit and the pineapple was very, very sweet on it's own.  (Brilliant aside, if there is ever a need for sweetening something like paleo bread or muffins or adding sweetness to a barbecue sauce, those dried pineapples are an amazing substitution, just chop into small pieces.)  I know there are people who will read this and shake their heads in sadness, because I am now "missing out" on some of the pleasures in life.  I used to be one of those people.  Amazingly, I have changed my palette to the point that some of the most simple fruits, meats, vegetables, and spices are those pleasures in life.  I get to eat amazing food all the time.  I don't have to save up my calories so that I can have a slice of cheesecake after dinner and then feel guilty about it or feel like I have to accomodate for it somehow.  I can just eat good food all day long.  Whole Foods moving in down the road has also given me a wide variety of dried fruit that doesn't have sugar added to it.  Pears, apples, pineapples, bananas, raisins, figs, dates, and my all time favorite Mexican Mango.  I could eat that all day long. (And even if I did, I wouldn't feel bad about it.)
I'm not saying that I don't have to put any effort into staying thin and in shape.  That is what the media and "the man" would tell you is your ultimate goal.  Buy this, then you don't put in any effort!  It's easy!  Not true.  It's just that I enjoy the effort now.  I have figured out some way to cut corners to make paleo simpler, with less steps to cook stuff.  I have ADHD and need things to be simple, few ingredients and with little planning involved.  I need to have several standby recipes and stuff that I can go to when I have forgotten to pull something out of the freezer.  It takes getting used to, but there are items that I always get when I'm at the grocery store.  That way, I always have a backup plan.  For example, pureed pumpkin and coconut milk.  Two items you can buy canned, that last forever.  You can combine them when you're in a jam, with whatever other ingredients you happen to have in your fridge, maybe add a little curry powder or paste and wham!  Delicious soup!  I also always have eggs.  No matter what, I can always make eggs.  And you can do so many things with them that I never get bored.  One of the other items I always have is a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  Now, I know strict paleo/organic folks will tell me that there is most likely sugar somewhere in there and it is probably not pasture raised.  I know this.  In my life right now, this works and I feel healthy.  I have started a recipe book that will share some of my easy shortcuts.  I hope it is something that will encourage people who are interested in trying out paleo/primal, but are concerned about costs and the ability to cook.  Anyone who knows me well knows that if there is a shortcut that will make my life easier, but will not noticeably decrease the ultimate goal, then I will find it.  And I've found a lot of paleo shortcuts.
Treating Myself
Actually the point of this post was going to be that last week I did treat myself.  I thought about it all day, what treat was I going to buy?  I planned and thought about it and then when I was at the grocery store I wandered around all the aisles looking for a "treat."  I ended up buying a bottle of wine and a fage 2% yogurt with the honey thing on the side.  And then I enjoyed the hell out of it.  I slowly ate the yogurt and honey and licked off every drop that was left in the container.  Then I had a glass of wine.  It was pretty darn good.  And my stomach hurt in the morning.  Go figure.  Anyway, since then, I had some wine with a good friend, which is always worth it, really.  My stomach, again, felt nasty in the morning, but that was okay.  At the store today I bought some heavy organic half and half.  I plan to make it last.  I love my coffee black, but there's something about that half and half that turns it into something delightful.  I just have to remember to only add a little bit so my stomach doesn't have problems during the work day.  To bring it back to the point I was making in the beginning is that it makes me really savor some things I was taking for granted.  I don't have to eat this way, I choose to eat this way.  I choose to evaluate what goes into my body, the same way I would never put anything other than gas in my car.  I don't do the super expensive gas, but I certainly wouldn't ever put diesel fuel or apple juice in my Civic.  Same with me.  My beef is not always grass-fed, but it's never made by McDonald's anymore.