Days 13-18: Resources

Guess what? I’m roping ’em in, one at a time. There are four of us doing Whole30 at work now. I’ve won them over. And like I said, guys. I’m really not preaching this stuff. I’m not going around saying you must eat this way or else you’re killing yourself. I’m just telling people how good I feel, and they’re catching on.

I know I already went over ideas for stocking your pantry and preparing to start a paleo diet, but I thought I’d share some helpful tools and resources for those in the midst of it who may need them.

General Paleo Diet Information:

  • Whole9Life: these are the folks who started the Whole30 movement. The guidelines are on their site, along with success stories, articles, and forums to help answer any questions and concerns.
  • Mark’s Daily Apple: Mark Sisson is the author of The Primal Blueprint. His newsletter is always interesting and inspiring, so I recommend signing up!

Recipe Ideas:

  • PaleOMG: some very creative, user-friendly recipes. I’ve cooked quite a few of her recipes.
  • Eat Drink Paleo: lots of recipes, as well as links, blog posts, and an “Is It Paleo” widget.
  • Civilized Caveman: good variety, including lots of post-Whole30 treats 🙂
  • Pinterest: search and find anything you can think of!

Shopping:

  • Primal Pacs: Seattle company making some fantastic paleo beef jerky. Tender, well spiced, and very meaty. I recommend the jerky packs over the jerky/nut/fruit packs- more bang for your buck.
  • Steve’s Original: another paleo jerky company with lots of other paleo snack options such as granola, bars, and sauces. Their jerky is on the chewier and saltier side, but still good. I haven’t tried the other products yet.
  • Honeyville Grain: great prices on almond flour and coconut flour, necessary items for your paleo pantry!
  • U.S. Wellness Meats: I haven’t ordered from them yet, but if you don’t have any good local purveyors of pasture-raised meats, this is the place to order from.

I hope that helps!

In other news, here’s what I’ve been eating lately: Continue reading

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Day 4: Sophisticated Brute

The morning started off with attending the Church of Brunch with three fabulous friends. Brunch is my favorite weekend indulgence and probably the most difficult test of my restraint. What does one on a paleo diet order at a restaurant when confronted with choices like apple blintzes, corned beef hash, and huevos rancheros? Eggs are always a good start. Poached is best, since you know there’s nothing there but egg. Scrambled or fried is fine as long as you tell the server not to use any butter or milk. Now, peruse the menu for side options. Bacon is a no go (as I said before, it’s almost always made with sugar). Sausage may or may not be a good bet. If it’s cheap links, it undoubtedly has fillers or sugars, but if it’s made by a local, quality company you may be in luck. I went with chorizo to go with my eggs this morning because it was housemade and I could be sure of what was in it. Ask your server to be sure! Don’t be embarrassed. Sauteed veggies are also a good option (again, no butter), or a fruit plate. Even a burger patty goes great with fried eggs!

scrambled eggs with chorizo, fruit plate & orange juice

scrambled eggs with chorizo, fruit plate & orange juice

After brunch, we visited the local farmers market where I like to stock up on pasture-raised meats from Pine Mountain Ranch. I came home with ground beef, pork, and yak! At a neighboring booth I bought myself a fresh locally-caught Dungeness crab for dinner. I love how crab is considered such a fancy treat, but you get to be so primal and rip it apart with your hands, digging out the sweet meat and licking your fingers clean. So yummy! Especially dipped in homemade paleo curry mayo. Trust me, it’s the best.

day4dinnerday4dinner2

Day 3: Warding off the Wary

Some people are going to think you’re crazy. You’re not eating what? For how long? But wine is the nectar of the gods! Cheese is the reason for life! They’re going to throw a bit of a fit. Especially if they feel like your personal eating habits are going to affect them. You see, they’re caught up in the belief that you can’t have a good meal without, say, potatoes, pasta, and parmesan cheese. They’re worried they might go hungry with you eating this way.

When I asked my boyfriend what to call this blog, his suggestion was “Satan’s Diet”. No joke. Then I sent him a picture of the flank steak and peppers I was eating and that shut him up quickly. I have since been proving him wrong by cooking him several scrumptious paleo meals. It can be done.

Chicken Apple Sausage & Scrambled Eggs w/ onions, peppers, mushrooms & spinach

chicken apple sausage & scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, mushrooms & spinach

So be prepared for questions. Stand your ground. When they ask why, explain how you’re doing these things to make yourself healthier. Explain that this super-strict regime isn’t forever. You will have a bite of aged cheddar again, you’ll be able to make a champagne toast at another party, you will eat birthday cake…but only if you really want to. Don’t preach. Try not to get too defensive. Be strong.

Though I do give you permission to slap your boyfriend if he sticks herb-marinated mozzarella in your face and tells you how good it looks.

This is also why you should always be prepared with your own paleo-friendly snacks. That way, when temptation arises or there’s a long stretch between meals, you won’t make the wrong decision. I went on a trip to IKEA today armed with little containers of pecans and dried apricots. Next time I take a snack with me I’ll bring one of these:

paleopacs

Ordered online and received today, beef jerky without anything weird in it, from Primal Pacs! I actually used to work in the same kitchen space as these guys in Seattle. They stunk up the place with garlic powder while I was baking cupcakes and I always whined about it. Who knew it would come to this? Thanks for keeping up the good work guys! The jerky is awesome! Even the boyfriend likes it…

Day 2: Stress Eating

Two days into this challenge and I’m already seriously testing my self control. Work today was rather strange/stressful and I’ve been torn between wanting a big ol’ drink and shoving several chocolate doughnuts in my mouth. Luckily, I did neither. I know that would have just stressed me out more since I’d be feeling some serious guilt right about now. Instead I just gnawed on some beef jerky (trust me, that primal flesh-ripping action is very satisfying) and talked to my mom.

If only I had a punching bag!

This is why you clean out your kitchen before starting an eating plan. There’s no carton of ice cream or bar of chocolate beckoning you to overindulge. Instead, you’re forced to stress-eat dried mangoes (seriously, chewy things help).

At least the day started well with a delicious breakfast:

Scrambled Eggs w/ Caramelized Onions, Cremini Mushrooms, Thyme, & Spinach

Scrambled Eggs w/ Caramelized Onions, Cremini Mushrooms, Thyme, & Spinach

I also treated myself to a cup of coffee with almond milk, cinnamon and cardamom. Also, a beautiful pink Cara Cara orange at lunchtime:

Aren't they pretty?

So pretty!

The truth is, no matter how great your diet is and no matter how great your body feels because of it, life can still take you be surprise. It can still be a bitch. If this happens when you’re on a diet, take it as an opportunity to find the things that cheer you up other than a handful of candy or a bag of potato chips. Focus on what you have rather than what you’re missing out on. Call up a friend, go for a walk, cook yourself a really awesome meal. Sorry for getting cheesy, but I’m trying to give myself a pep talk here as well! Stop moping about! You can do it!

Be Prepared

I’m lucky. I’m not going into this Whole30 (or in my case Whole45) paleo challenge as a complete newbie. I’ve been dabbling with this diet for a few months now. I successfully completely the Whole30 challenge in October. I know what to expect, but that doesn’t mean this won’t be difficult at times. Remember, as I said in my introduction post, this is a strict paleo challenge. The idea is to completely cleanse your body of the things that make it less healthy. No slip ups, no tiny tastes of sweet treats or nibbles of bread. This is an all or nothing deal. Rather than go into great detail, check out the Whole9 Life website and their Whole30 challenge to see all the rules.

Here’s my first word of advice: get all of the “no” foods out of your kitchen. Get rid of the soy sauce, the jar of peanut butter, the cookies and crackers, the bar of chocolate, the pasta and rice and popcorn. Savor that last bite of cheese, pour out the milk, and dump the ice cream. Hide the corkscrew and lock the liquor cabinet.

Next, restock your pantry with lots of paleo-friendly foods. Make swaps to make your life easier. Replace that peanut butter with almond butter (I like Justin’s) and the soy sauce with coconut aminos. Buy cans of coconut milk or a carton of almond milk to add creaminess to coffee and sauces. Stock up on nuts, dried fruit, and beef jerky for on-the-go snacks. Get olive oil and coconut oil for cooking. Fill your fridge with veggies and fruits and eggs. Go to your local farmers market for quality meats and freeze individual portions for easy defrosting. Be prepared and you’ll be less likely to eat the wrong thing.

paleo pantry

Here’s one of the most important things to remember BEFORE stocking your pantry and DURING the entire Whole30 eating process. READ LABELS. You wouldn’t believe what sorts of strange, unexpected additives are lurking in seemingly benign foods. That jar of pasta sauce you see in the photo? Even at Whole Foods I had to check the labels of half a dozen brands of sauce to find one without any added sweeteners. I have yet to find bacon without sugar added, sausage often has maltodextrin, even that “plain” almond milk has evaporated can juice. So pay attention. Don’t make assumptions. Ask questions. Those are smart practices for all aspects of your life!

An Introduction

I love food. It’s my religion. I go to the Church of Brunch every Sunday. I geek out over multi-colored cauliflower at the farmers market. Yelp is the most used app on my iPhone and I take photos of almost everything I eat. I’m a pastry chef. Every day at work I craft delectable gluten-free treats and surround myself in clouds of cinnamon and cocoa powder. And I’m vowing not to so much as lick a spatula for the next 45 days.

I’ve decided to challenge myself to a strict paleo diet.

Not familiar with paleo? In a nutshell, it’s a diet, or a lifestyle really, in which you eat the foods our ancient ancestors would have eaten. Meat, seafood, nuts, veggies, fruits and seeds. Things that were foraged, hunted and found. No cultivated grasses and grains such as wheat or rice or oats. No beans. No added sugars.

My mom has been paleo for a few years now. She preached her new-found eating habits to me and I fought her tooth and nail. There’s no way you can convince me grains are bad for you, that a morning bowl of oatmeal or a side of quinoa with dinner is detrimental to my health. Humans have been consuming grains for thousands of years, certainly they’re safe to eat?

Then I started reading. The Paleo Solution, The Primal Blueprint, It Starts With Food. There’s some serious science behind this concept. But ‘m not here to convince you. The point of this blog is not to preach, but to share and inform. If you’ve done some research and you’re curious about this whole paleo thing, follow along and see how a girl who seriously loves food can go without bread and brownies and spicy black beans. I promise I won’t go hungry.