Time to Resurrect this Blog!

Wow! Hard to believe it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve posted anything to this blog. Guess you can say my life has been busy and has taken some unexpected turns. Between having a baby, and then loosing my husband to a heart attack, I haven’t been good on the weight loss journey or cooking for that matter. So now it’s time to dust off the apron and get back into cooking again. Not to mention that I’m planting in the garden, have 1/2 a hog, and 1/4 of a cow so why not use the fresh meat and produce to make some yummy meals.

So last night, my parents were in town to help me with yard work and watching Miss Ava who is not always super helpful and I tried out a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummonds. And to quote my mother “Oh my” it was superb and super simple. Below is the recipe with my changes. And although it’s not super Paleo as it does have Dr. Pepper it’s worth that cheat meal. And really, you aren’t drinking the Dr. Pepper, so the sugar is very minimal.

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

1 whole Large Onion
1 whole Pork Shoulder (“pork Butt”) – 3-4 Pounds
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 – 1/2 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce (depending on your spice preference)
1 can Dr. Pepper
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven or casserole pan with a lid.

Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.

Mix the Chipotle peppers & juice, Dr. Pepper, and Brown Sugar, then pour over the pork.

Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least 4 hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after 4 hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour. If in the midst of turning the meat you notice it’s falling apart then go ahead and remove from the oven. I ended up turning the oven off and going about my yard work for another 2-3 hours and then enjoyed it. It was still warm and super yummy!

Ree goes on to talk about straining out the fat from the liquid. I found that the meat didn’t really need the liquid and I just served on a roll with some BBQ sauce.

Hope you enjoy and I’m going to start trying to show more of my adventures in the kitchen.

Success, rewards, and the battle

So I woke up this morning and decided that I needed to weigh myself and take measurements. It’s been over 3 weeks since I started my 365 day life change. So far I have lost 14lbs and 4.5″ on my body. So then I decided to Tyron a pair of pants I ordered before Christmas that didn’t fit, but I was too lazy to send back. They fit! That was real success. Finally I can see big changes happen.

Improvements in the gym include getting my double unders, push ups, and box jumps back. I am finding that things at the gym are coming back a lot faster. It’s really picking up my mood.

Now people are usually skeptical when I talk about paleo. They want dairy, grains, peanuts, etc and question eating bacon, coconut oil, etc. I am telling you if I can eat things like this:
Bolognese sauce over zucchini noodles

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And this, coconut-ginger shrimp

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And this, banana coconut ice cream

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I mean how can you go wrong? I feel great, it tastes great, and I don’t feel like I am truly missing out on much. I know it’s only been 3 weeks and there have been temptations but I am pushing on. My overall goal is to eat healthy, workout hard, and not focus purely on the scale.

Here’s a great start to 2013!

The Mental Game

Another week down. Another week towards my overall goals. It’s not without its challenges though. First, there was national popcorn day the night I went to the movies with my friend. The good part was that I have talked to her about my goals and she’s very supportive. I feel in order to be successful you need to have support (friends & family). I am blessed with great friends both at the gym and outside it keeps me going.

And today was one of those days I needed the support. I went to the gym and we did back squats which I did well with. The coach, Arron, goes around and films you so you can see how you are doing. I love and hate it. I love to see where I need to improve but I hate it because it confirms that what I see in my mind is not what I see in the mirror. It’s frustrating. I tell myself that I didn’t make myself overweight in a night so I can’t expect to lose the weight in a night either, but it’s still hard. I know I am making small losses each day but its still hard to see myself like this. The thing that keeps me going is the support of others. The people at the gym don’t judge and encourage everyone to do well, it’s just hard being the last one done. To not be able to do things that I use to be able to do. It’s a constant battle and 3 steps forward and 1 back.

Ok enough with that, lets talk about good eats. Yesterday I had the day off so it meant another food prep day. I made Breakfast Lasagna and it was fantastic! Oh my goodness so yummy. It has sweet potatoes, sausage, mushrooms, and coconut milk, yum! I didn’t put the eggs on top and it still rocked!

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I also threw together some tomato basil soup and paleo scotch eggs. Yet another fantastic snack! I am very excited to eat them tomorrow!

I know I’ve been slack on posting but I will try to be better. Hope you are enjoying the recipes, struggles, and accomplishments.

Day 10 – recipes galore

So it’s day 10 now. Only 50 days left. Pssst that’s nothing, right? Well this week was eventful, I decided to change the way I make food by planning my “menu” ahead of time. So on Sunday I sat down with a warm mug of bone broth, my cookbooks, and iPad and began to plan. I got the inspiration from Melissa Joulwan’s book Well Fed. She talks about how she preps everything on Sunday. So I decided on a variety of meals:
Breakfast: acorn squash with sausage & breakfast lasagna.
Lunch: leftovers from the night before
Dinner: Beef fried fo-rice, smokey chicken thighs, Best Ever Chicken Wings, creamy spice market kale from Well Fed, Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, and sautéed cabbage.
Snacks: Paleo crack dip (we will get to this) and sweet potato chips, roasted red peppers, and hard boiled eggs.

Afterwards I wrote out my grocery list and off to the store in went. People ask how you shop for paleo and the best tip I have is shop the outside. When you are at the grocery store stick to the outer edge of the store (produce and meat). The only times I venture down the aisles is A) when the husband needs something non-paleo or B) I need frozen veggies, spices or coconut/olive oil. When I was done I had about $100 of groceries and it looked like this:

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From there I spent a few hours prepping the food and making food. First I had to feed my belly as it was protesting. So I threw together my tried and true quick recipe, Beef Fried-fo Rice, courtesy of my friend Sunny! Miss her!

Chicken or Beef Fried Rice
1lb beef or chicken (sliced into strips)
1 head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp (divided) coconut oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch or bag of broccoli
1 red pepper
2 eggs, scrambled
1inch of ginger, grated
3 Tbsp coconut aminos
1 Tbsp fish sauce
Salt

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the beef or chicken. While it cooks prep your veggies and “rice” the cauliflower either by pulsing in a food processor or with a cheese grater. Once the meat is done remove from the pan and set aside. Add 1 tsp of coconut oil to the pan and add the eggs. Scramble the eggs and set aside. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil and add the garlic. cook the garlic a minute, then add the veggies. Cook 5-7 min till done to your liking. Add ginger and cook another minute. Add the cauliflower and cook 3-4 min till soft but not mushy. Add the meat then add the coconut aminos and fish sauce. Add salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!

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So yummy!

The upsides of this week were the fact that my husband unhid the scale for one day and I had lost 8lbs! Yay! I have a long way to go but hey every pound is a victory! At the gym I managed to find my push ups and double unders. Not bad week so far! To be continued……

Day 3/4 – Fat Good or Bad?

Sorry for not posting yesterday, it was Day 5 of the month which means a crazy day at work. The good thing was the systems crashed so I was told to be on call till they were working correctly. Well maybe it was so good, but it meant I got to join my peeps at the gym for the noon class. Turns out a lot of the 4:30-ers had the same idea so it turned out to be a good group of people. We had to do our 2nd WOD (Workout of the Day) that will be used to measure our progress at the end of this challenge. That day’s WOD was…..ROWING!!! Yay, I’ll take rowing over running any day. It was the 2K meter row. Previously, I had been under 8 minutes, but I knew that I had to put that time behind me and just do the best I could. Best thing was Kirsten told me that she wanted to row with me so we could motivate each other. It’s always better when you have a friend to encourage and challenge you, in a fun way. I finished my row in 8:16.9, not too bad. Prior to that we had our back squat workout. Feel free to check out the daily wods ;here;. I don’t know if it was because I had bone broth and kicked my cold, if I got to sleep in, or that I was going to the noon class, but I felt great at the gym. I was happy, ready to take on the workout and had a great result.

Breakfast had been 1/2 a chicken breast with brussel sprouts, with an apple as a pre-workout snack.

Due to not going into work until 2:30p and working until 8pm my meals were thrown off. I did enjoy some of the Slow Cooker Kalua Pork that I had prepared and let cook the night before. It was fantastic, no BBQ sauce needed. I also made sure to throw in some slices of red pepper. When I showed up my boss had arrived with this glorious, dangerous treat called Scotcheroos. Definitely NOT paleo. I have attached a picture of the piece I brought home for my hubby below. I resisted. That’s pretty good since in the past I’ve always had a sweet tooth. Score one for me!
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Dinner on the other hand was a negative point. I succumbed to the desire to make some popcorn. The benefit is that it’s made with an air popper and not with all the harmful toxins in the bagged version, but still with the butter it was not on the paleo approved list. Oh well we are all human right, and it’s back on the wagon again.

Day 4: Much better day today.

Breakfast: 2 eggs with diced red peppers, salt, & pepper
Lunch: 1 cup broccoli/kohlrabi soup
Snack: some Kahlua Pork leftover from lunch as I didn’t have time to finish it. I think part of my problem is that I get distracted and don’t focus on eating. I am going to have to focus on my food more.
Dinner: Chicken, roasted green beans, guacamole and of course a cup of bone broth. I feel a little tired and wonder if I am not getting enough fats in order to sustain my work out efforts. Going to try adding more to see if it helps.

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While browsing facebook I saw this link to this article and thought I would share. It talks about how chronic inflammation, not fat is the cause of heart disease and that the doctors, himself included, have had it all wrong. Now I get in many discussions with friends and family that talk about Paleo and Fat.

“What do you mean you eat bacon/coconut oil/etc? Isn’t that bad for you?”

Now for those that don’t know me, I’m heavy right now. I’m well over 50lbs (sad to admit) heavier than I would like to be, and I’ve been eating bacon, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc and cut out the other types of oil/processed food (canola, soybean, peanut, margarine, etc). My cholesterol and BP was in the normal range, and I was told was great. Yes I’m not that old, so it helps, but still the high fat diet I eat isn’t causing my cholesterol to be high.

In the article, Dr. Lundell, states,
“Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine. What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods…..Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent.”

I strongly recommend that you read the article, linked above, and consider it. Think about how do you feel? What are you eating? What is my body telling me? Consider making some small changes to your diet to eliminate processed foods and go back to eating a more natural diet. Yes, it takes longer to prepare, and yes you have to plan, but it is doable. What is more important? Spending 30 extra minutes preparing a meal or spending 5 more years with your family/friends?

Eve of Day 1

So it’s the eve of the first day of the challenge.  Here is what has happened the last week.

1) Prior to the new year I enjoyed/gorged on food that I use to enjoy in my “old life”.  I wanted to get the cravings/desires out of my system.

2) Had my Wellness Evaluation at Crossfit North Peoria.  This meant I had my fasting cholesterol and blood pressure taken so I could see what the diet does internally.  I feel like we all focus so much on the external appearance that we don’t acknowledge the internal changes that are happening to us.  I mean that’s really what matters, right?  It isn’t our fat that’s going to kill us necessarily, it’s the cholesterol, it’s the high blood pressure, it’s the stress on our heart, etc.  Not only that, but you can still be “skinny-fat”, man I wish I had that problem.  LOL!  So the numbers weren’t bad.  I was within the normal percentiles, so at least that’s good.  I know that I’m over weight, but I’m not as internally “unhealthy” as I thought.

3) The gym decided that a good “base” workout to evaluate our progress would be Fight Gone Bad.  Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this workout it’s a BEAST!  It is a named workout.  What does that mean?!  It’s exceptionally hard and suppose to make you suffer.  (Well at least that’s my opinion of the named workouts).  Anyways, it’s 3 rounds.  Each round you complete 1 minute each of Wall Balls, Sumo-High Pulls, Box Jumps, Push Presses, and Rowing.  The reps are counted for each exercise except for rowing which is for calories.  Then you get 1 min rest and repeat for 3x total.  Your score is the total of reps/calories for all 3 rounds.  (There are a large number of videos on the internet to show Fight Gone Bad, should you want to see the pain.)  Back in my Fit days I broke 300 and was very proud of it.  I knew going into the workout that breaking 300 would be very, very challenging.  Put on top of that I had to fast prior to this workout for the cholesterol test, it was going to be extra-challenging.  Yea I could have eaten between the test and the workout but I had not desire to see my breakfast a 2nd time as it came back up.  So let the pain begin.  I started out doing well with the wall balls and High Pulls.  55# is the prescribed weight, which is really easy for me.  Enter the box jumps, ugh!!  I took off on my first one and thought OMG!  I had no strength in my legs.  I had no gas in the tank and knew I had 2 options.  Continue jumping and pray I didn’t miss the box and split open my shins, or suck it up and do step-ups. I decided to do step-ups.  I finished the workout with a score of 243.  Not bad for not eating and being out of shape, but not great either.  Well at least I knew what my starting point was.

4) I weighed and took measurements, gag me!!  Never felt so disappointed in myself when I took the measurements.  But I keep telling myself, this is the starting point and the numbers are going to go down from now on.  I took a number of measurements: neck, arms, waist, hips, thigh.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a loss, because even if the weight isn’t decreasing as much if the inches are coming off then I know fat is being replaced by muscle.  I think that’s one of my biggest struggles is getting sucked into the vortex of the scale.

5) That brings me to the next achievement  which was to make my husband hide the scale.  I promised myself I wasn’t going to weigh myself for 1 month.  This allows me to focus on my food, my body, my mind, and my workouts and not on the scale. I tend to weigh myself daily to see how food effects me and then reward or punish myself accordingly.  Time to get off that roller coaster.

Well at least now I have all my starting points and I’m ready to tackle this beast.  During the prep-week I’ve also been focusing on making healthier choices, eating breakfast, not eating when I’m not hungry just because, and pitching the crap food in the house.  I’ve received 2 new cookbooks that I’m adding to my collect (Everyday Paleo & Make It Paleo).  I have enjoyed flipping through the cookbooks and planning yummy meals to make.
Cookbooks

Oh and add to this the fact that I’ve caught the nasty cold that everyone has been getting.  So the constant sneezing, runny nose, and cough is extra fun!!! 😛  It makes my asthma flair up with the addition of the cold air outside.  Luckily it’s suppose to warm up some (~40 degrees) so hopefully it should help curb some of the coughing.  Just going to have to listen to my body, as I try to take it easy with chest colds.  Head colds are one thing, but chest colds are not fun as it takes my air away.

So enough of my ramblings.  It’s time to start the new life of 2013.  Let the games begin!! Thank you all for your encouragement!

Why I’m doing this and the rules to the game.

Let me start my biting the bullet and admitting I love food and unfortunately I love it a little too much. My weigh has been a constant struggle for me and I have tried many things to get it under control. 

A few years back I was introduced to Crossfit and began my love/hate relationship with it, as anyone who has done it would understand.  Along with crossfit came a new way of eating.  I learned about Paleo and the harmful effects of the things I was eating.  Through the last couple years I’ve slowly encorporated Paleo eating into my life, but have never fully devoted myself to it. 

Well I decided in 2013 I was going to make the move to dive fully into the Paleo lifestyle as well as to Crossfit. I have found a new gym, Crossfit North Peoria, that has a wonderful group of supportive people.  They decided to do a 60 day strict paleo challenge to kick off the new year.  I decided now was the best time as ever to start this journey. 

So here are the rules:
1. Eat real food – meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, oils (like EVOO or coconut). Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re fresh and natural.
2. Do not eat dairy. This includes butter, cheese (hard and soft), yogurt (even Greek) and milk (including cream in your coffee).
3. Do not eat grains. This includes bread, rice, pasta, corn (I count corn as a grain), oatmeal, and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains. That’s not real food, right?
4. Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, lentils, and peanuts. (No peanut butter, kids.)
5. Do not eat sugars of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Truvia, Stevia, etc.
6. Do not eat processed foods. ONLY EXCEPTION WILL BE PROTEIN SHAKES FOLLOWING A WORKOUT.mages, and other content

On top of that I’m throwing in a challenge that my friend Claudia did last year which is to run 365 days this year.  The running doesn’t have to be long (1 mile minimum) but the goal is to get off the couch and off the desk chair.  Of course the down side is that my work doesn’t have a shower, and that I now live in IL it’s cold as heck now.  Luckily we do have a treadmill in the garage which I’m hoping helps.  It is still going to be a challenge as i am not a “natural-born runner”.  I’m one of those that has to struggle through the runs, plus I’m also not known for my speed.  But your resolutions are suppose to be a challenge, right?  So that’s what this is. 

For me I think the main challenge will be the eating.  I am definitely one that knows how I am suppose to eat, it’s just implementing the change.  [standing up] Hi, my name is Kala and I’m a popcorn addict!  Goodness do I love popcorn.   I think that is one of my main downfalls, a nice big bowl of buttery popcorn.  Of course my will-power after the gym isn’t as strong either.  My husband loves chinese food and when he suggests it after a hard workout and i don’t feel like cooking, I tend to cave.  So this will be a test of my will-power.  So join me on my journey to health and fitness in 2013.  If nothing else, enjoy the recipes I post.  🙂