Whew! It is Monday again my friends, which means I need to peel my butt off the couch and away from 24/7 Olympic watching. Is anyone else obsessed? This weekend was packed full of spectating (from the comfort of our couch), sprinkled with a little bit of anniversary celebrating and marathon training.
Friday started with a delicious and easy Paleo adapted Shrimp burger with a lemon Dijon aioli on top. I promise this recipe will be posted tomorrow. It was too good to not share!
Saturday was full of celebrations and Olympics watching. Since I was a volleyball player in high school, I am naturally drawn to watch the ladies play. Watching team USA not only sparked my itch to get back on the court, but also made my heart swell with Penn State Pride as #13 Christa Harmotto took to the court. She has been one of the most outspoken Penn Staters that are participating in the Olympics, and it’s great that my Alma Mater has wonderful ambassadors such as she. Aside from volleyball, I love watching swimming and field hockey (to cheer on a former high school classmate).
Saturday night we got to the celebrating portion of the weekend as the BF and I spent a lovely dinner reminiscing about our last 3 years together. Its hard to believe it’s been three years! We look forward to many more to come
Sunday wrapped up the weekend with a 7.33 mi run for marathon training. It was interesting to me that not only has my pace become faster (thank you CrossFit) but my body no longer aches the day of or after a long run like it used to. I could get used to this! I mentioned before that I plan to stay Paleo during my training. I plan to write a full post for you all on what I eat before/after a long run as this has dramatically shifted since adopting this grain free lifestyle.
Question of the day: How was your weekend?! Which Olympic sport(s) are your favorite to follow?
I have survived one week without dairy, grains, sugar or most importantly…alcohol. The Whole30 is no joke and the withdrawal symptoms are very real my friends…very real indeed. The difference between this 30 day challenge and the last (I barely completed) are a few things:
- I’m more prepared for how my body will react to the elimination of certain food groups from my diet. (aka my feelings of wanting to hurt someone for a piece of cheese are less and less)
- I am now in the midst of training for my first full marathon which means learning to eat Paleo on a training schedule. No more pizza after 8 mile runs. Although a sweet potato would be totally acceptable.
- I have embarrassingly arranged this effort around my social schedule. I will have completed my 30 days just as I head off to Boston for my first ever HLS summit! (PS friends, I will still meet you for a drink/dinner- just don’t be put off if I order a seltzer and lemon)
- I plan ahead. No meal goes un-thought-of or not-discussed. It might seem obsessive, but eating cleanly often means planning ahead since snacks are not always readily available.
Week one was hard. I’m not going to lie; it felt more like 3 weeks- especially on Friday night; (it was cold and rainy) I could have easily curled up with a glass of red wine while watching a movie. And last week’s snacks became particularly interesting as I experimented into what would fill my hunger void, and what simply was to satisfy a craving.
I find while eliminating sugar from my diet, my salt cravings become intense. (This could so be from exercising in the heat) So green olives came to the rescue!
It’s important to note that the people who primarily see me snack are my co-workers. They are both weirded out and intrigued. I mean a turkey burger with mustard and cucumber is a perfectly acceptable 2pm snack right?
And while they like to poke fun at my green olive snacking, cucumber munching self, no meat-eater can resist the snack of fresh jerky. That’s right! The BF regularly makes us jerky and while ‘cleansing,’ its even more imperative for me to have some on hand!
The best tip for snacking on Paleo I’ve heard is to keep an open mind. Unfortunately not many snacks are easily portable and Paleo friendly. However snacks like raw nuts, olives, sliced sausage (cooked of course), chopped veggies and even leftovers from dinner work perfectly.
Once the Whole30 is complete, I plan on incorporating more Paleo-ized recipes into my diet (and I promise to share the recipes!) but until then, its strict-mode in our house until August 17th.
Question of the day: For all you Paleo eaters, what is your favorite snack?
You might be thinking you’re reading a repeat post and good news-- you’re not! After enjoying myself (probably a little too much) from Memorial Day to the 4th of July, I have strayed from the Paleo lifestyle a little more than planned. Fro yo and wine have made multiple appearances into my every’day life and so it’s time for me to hit the reset button for a 30-day strict Paleo challenge.
I am careful about when I choose to do these 30 day ‘resets’ for a few reasons:
- Social Gatherings are hard!
You quickly learn who is supportive of your lifestyle choice, and who thinks Paleo is an ugly 4-letter word. You will soon
realize who is ‘in your camp’ and who is not. They will tell you it’s deprivation, they will try to derail you in the process of
completing the 30 days clean, they will food push on you. For me, it’s best if I can plow through without a wedding
to attend, a vacation planned, or major event to explain my way through. All of those things can lead to me
finding reasons to cheat and break the 30 day streak
- Eating out becomes an adventure
The BF and I have select restaurants where we know we can eat fully Paleo. Brazillian steak house? Yes! Sushi? No!
This time around, it also means getting a little friendly with the wait staff so when I drill them with 20 questions
about how the meal is prepared, the whole ordeal seems less obnoxious.
- Planning is crucial
The 30 day Paleo challenge puts will-power and inner-strength to the test. My forethought for the next 30 days will be what I’m eating next and is it truly Paleo? This also means more cooking, more passing up food and more finding other ways to cope when I want to snack on junk (aka find other ways to NOT eat out of the candy bowl at work). If my schedule becomes packed with items, my lack of attention to what I eat becomes heightened therefore detracting from the whole experience
Before starting this yourself, it’s important to realize I have baby-stepped my way into this strict 30 day journey. I have not eaten a sandwich (full of grains) in about 5 months. (The Paleo bread does not count as that does follow Paleo guidelines). This was not an overnight flip of the switch and truthfully, I’d be way crankier and stressed out if it were. Your body goes through noticeable withdrawal when you take away all of the items, and it’s important for you to recognize it, and learn how to push through it.
I suggest reading up on a true Paleo lifestyle before embarking on this lifestyle choice. Sources I turned to were Mark’s Daily Apple
, Robb Wolf’s blog
, my local CrossFit box
, and more great blogs such as Paleoista
, and The Paleo Plan
I encourage you to follow me for the next 30 days here and on twitter. Ask questions, drill me about my food choices and I promise to be completely forthcoming about the experience. The Whole30 challenge starts now!
Things that are not cool- skipping meals. Especially breakfast. Remember those commercials in the 90’s about making breakfast the most important meal of your day? It stuck with me. Let’s be honest, I make EVERY meal the most important meal of the day. I just really like food.
Lucky for the BF, I was in a mood to cook yesterday and not only did he have a delicious dinner (recipe coming later this week) but I also made a yummy and easy brunch out of the ingredients in our fridge. It’s always a fun challenge for me to come up with a recipe that doesn’t require a store trip.
Italian Egg Bake
Serves 2 large portions
Cook time: 30 minutes
2 links of Trader Joe’s Sweet Basil Chicken Sausage
1/2 red onion sliced
1/5 cups of mushrooms
4 Tbsp of julienne cut sundried tomatoes (in oil)
1/4 eggplant –diced
2 cloves of chopped garlic
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add coconut oil (or any cooking oil you prefer) to a pan. Once melted add chopped garlic and cook until it become aromatic. Add sliced onion and cook until slightly translucent. Next add sausage, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms sliced. Cook until all veggies are slightly soft.
Add all ingredients to a greased pie plate and crack 4 eggs overtop. Place the pie plate (uncovered) in the oven for 15 minutes or until eggs have set on top. Remove the dish and let it sit for 1 minute before serving.
This is a super easy and different way to serve eggs in the morning.
Question of the day: What are you having for breakfast?
There’s a fairly good reason why I’ve had the BF buy two watermelons in the span of a week.
I’ve been talking about this recipe with coworkers, the bf, friends and family for about a week because I’m addicted to the cold delicious (slightly chunky) texture of this gazpacho. I make mine chunky mostly because I chew EVERYTHING I eat. Smoothies included. Don’t Judge.
I pride myself in being able to throw together different and tasty meals for the bf and I and this one is toward the top of my list. I might just have to consume 5 more watermelons this summer to get it out of my system before fall rolls around. The best part is, this recipe goes great with a glass of crisp white wine and a side of Paleo bread… or bacon! I mean, what doesn’t go well with bacon?
Prep time: 5 min
Chill time: 30 min
In a blender (or a pot if you’re like me and obsessed with your stick blender) add 2 cups of watermelon, 2 skinned tomatoes and 1 chopped Serrano pepper. Save some of the watermelon aside to add in at the end. Blend until smooth. Then add a 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Pulse to blend. Finally add in 2 tablespoons of onion, 1/2 a cucumber and fresh dill for seasoning and blend until smooth.
Dump in the remaining watermelon and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve with feta on top for a sweet and savory combo.
What are you waiting for? Run to the farmer’s market and grab 3 watermelons! I promise you’ll want to use it all!
I’ve mentioned numerous times before that when the weather is hot, I don’t like to eat hot food. The BF might think I’m a whole new kind of crazy, but somehow consuming hot food= higher body temp for me. That being said, I’m always working to be creative with my greens. Sunday night at 94 degrees (and with a new bottle of delicious balsamic in the pantry) was reason enough to break out the salad forks and dig in.
Sweet Summer Salad
1.5 cups of baby greens (or any bitter lettuce option)
6 strawberries, sliced
1/4 c. sliced raw almonds
1/2 sliced red onion
2 T. Feta cheese
1/4 lb of raw shrimp (devined and shelled)
4 T. Black Walnut balsamic vinegar*
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Weber Grill Creations N’Orleans Cajun Seasoning
Rinse lettuce and veggies before slicing. Slice up strawberries and onions and distribute evenly over two plates. Add almonds and feta on top.
While assembling the salads, rinse shrimp and toss in a generous coating of Weber Grill Creations N’Orleans Cajun Seasoning. Toss the shrimp on the grill (on medium heat- about 400 degrees) for 15-20 mintues or until shrimp has pinked.
Add shrimp to top salad off. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil over entire salad and enjoy!
*The tip to making this salad a success is good balsamic vinegar. The more aged balsamic will be thicker and if you are able to get a flavor infused variety, be sure to substitute!
Question of the Day: How to you spice up your summer salad routine?
I have now found adding fruits, nuts and different dressings makes all the difference! Also an accompanying side (like watermelon gazpacho) can add some punch to your meal.
On Friday I arrived home to this lovely package waiting for me in my kitchen!
The wonderful team over at The Paleo Bread
had sent me samples of their Almond and Coconut (coming next week) breads to give them a try. Since going Paleo, I have on the whole not missed eating bread. The overwhelming full feeling, lethargy and dropping blood sugars (aka shaking hands and nausea upon severe hunger) are no longer part of my life. But that said, there is something about packing a sandwich for lunch (half ease and half nostalgia) that I miss and eating a hot dog on a plate, or in an egg wrap just doesn’t cut it.
Friday night, since it was about 9 million degrees (read: 90 degrees) the BF and I decided this would be the perfect time to try the Paleo bread with eggsalad sandwhiches and a fresh tomato.
The verdict? 3 cheers! Naturally, the Paleo bread lacks the fluffiness that you would expect from regular gluten and grain packed bread (uh hello they aren't baking with regular old flour). But what it lacks in fluffiness, it makes up for with density, texture and flavor. The Paleo bread is way more dense (think almost pound cake like) than regular old bread, but the flavor is virtually the same!
As you can see, the loaves are on the smaller side. Which for me is perfect since there are only 2 eaters in our house. And at $7.99 a loaf, they are perfect for a 2-3 day-a-week treat.
I realize that most people will see $7.99 and think “for a loaf of bread!? Are you crazy?” Maybe so, but I know that I will pay about $9-12 for a glass of wine while out to dinner and it will be gone in 15 minutes. The $7.99 (plus shipping) in bread will hopefully last you the week and provide greater health benefits than the drink you would purchase. Besides, there is something so cool about fresh baked bread delivered to your door.
Naturally, when eating in this lifestyle, everyone takes a different approach. The BF is more strict in what he eats/ doesn’t eat than me (I enjoy wine/cheese probably more than I should) but regardless of how strict you are to the diet, the Paleo bread is a good solution as a bread substitute in recipes.
That being said, because of the heat wave this week, our meals will probably consist of mostly light, COLD foods. I have some yummy recipes to try with our new bread solution! Stay tuned!
To order The Paleo Bread to try for yourself visit www.thepaleobread.com.
To learn more about a Paleo lifestyle visit http://robbwolf.com/blog/Blog note: I am not a paid spokesperson for The Paleo Bread. The thoughts and feelings captured above are all my own.