Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 8: Paleo-fying

When I tried Paleo for the first time last June I was doing the Whole 30 Challenge, which is the purest of Paleo eating for a full 30 days.  Part of the challenge is that you're not allowed to "paleo-fy" foods.  Which means no Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies, no Paleo Pizza, no Paleo Margaritas.  I'm determined to go as long and strong as I can without paleo-fying foods, but I'm also certain that I'll be baking Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies at some point throughout the holiday season, and I'm okay with that.  By the by, those cookies are delicious...expensive and delicious.

I only bring it up because I have a confession to make.  A mere seven days into the challenge, I had a Paleo-fied food.  Bread!  I had Paleo Bread!

Now, for the record, I literally had ONE bite.  And for the record, I have been eyeballing this bread online for weeks, so when I saw it staring back at me through the glass of a freezer at the Co-Op I just had to get it.  Also, for the record it was disgusting.  Apologies to the good people at Julian Bakery - thank you for trying, but you failed.  Oh - and one more for the record, I tried the one made with coconut flour.  They also make one with almond flour, which could be yummy, for all I know.  But at $8 bucks a loaf, I won't find out anytime soon. I'm still upset about the fact that I have $7.50 worth of gross bread-like product sitting in my freezer that probably won't be eaten ever.

So yeah.  Paleo-fying happens.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 7: Successful Saturdays!

Scale Related Success: 

-6.2lbs (in 6 days people!)

Non-Scale Related Success:

I feel fantastic.

My jeans are looser.

My eczema is less eczema-y.

I'm no longer... or should I say, for the moment I'm not completely obsessed with scoring a sugar fix.

I went to a bar last night, stayed Paleo and still had a great time.  

For better or for worse, I'm waking up before dawn every morning, usually around 4:30.  I don't actually get up, mind you, but still, it' worth noting.  

And last but certainly not least: I'm in control!  Hip hip hooray!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 6: Foodie Fridays!

Some friends have asked "What are you actually eating?".

Let me show you...


My favorite Paleo breakfast so far - the smoothie.  This one has berries in it, but I actually prefer it with just four ingredients: egg whites (Now Sports Pure Egg White Protein), 1c. Unsweetened Almond Milk, 1T. Cocoa and one banana.  Eventually I'm going to see if it's equally delish without the almond milk so I can skip it, since it brings nothing to the table, nutritionally speaking.

There's nothin' to see here, folks.  Lunch has been a simple salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a hardboiled egg all week.  I know there are infinite ways to make a Paleo salad...but I don't have infinite funds, so for know this will do.  Plus, when I'm at work I don't really care about what I'm eating, and I tend to have more of a 'food is fuel' attitude.  Dinner, on the other hand, is a different story.


Sunday - I made a scramble with organic chicken sausage, asparagus, kale and tomatoes.  It did the job, but it wasn't pretty, so I didn't bother taking a pic.

Monday - Chicken smothered in yellow curry with broccoli.  The broccoli was actually my favorite part of the meal, prepared with kosher salt, crushed red chili flakes, sesame oil and lots of fresh lime.  Yum!

Tuesday - I was tired and lazy and so I ran (figuratively speaking) to Whole Foods and picked up some London broil, shrimp and broccoli from their ready-made section.  The beef was gross, the shrimp was a-ight and the broccoli was bland.  The twenty bucks I spent feeding both my hubby and I could've been spent on more groceries, prepared with more flavor.  Lesson learned.
Wednesday - Having learned my lesson, Adam and I walked down to the Santa Monica Co-Op and picked up fresh protein and veggies.  This pork chop was made by sprinkling chili, salt and cumin on both sides and grilling, then I topped it with a glaze made out adobo sauce and honey (1 teaspoon each).  I sauteed the squash with green chilies and it was all fan-freggin-tastic!
Thursday - Ahi Tuna with Wasabi Mayo* and Sauteed Kale.  (*Many Paleo peops make their own Paleo Mayo to avoid run-ins with soy oil.  I'm not that strict.  I find that Spectrum's Canola Oil Mayo is clean enough for me.)  I got this recipe from The Food Lovers Kitchen, a.k.a. Primal Palate.  It's a winner!
Friday - I haven't eaten dinner yet.  You'll have to tune in next week. :)

It helps me to share pics of my dinners because, in a weird way, I get more creative knowing I'll be presenting them to my public.  Got that?  YOU'RE MY PUBLIC!  MWAHH-HA-HAAA!  And being creative on Paleo helps from being bored.  Therefore, my promise to you is to post a weeks worth of Paleo dinners using pictures whenever possible, henceforth.

And voila!  Foodie Fridays is born!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 5: Quinoa (Pronounced: Dee-lish-us)
Quinoa is, technically speaking, a seed and not a grain. It's also packed with more protein than you can shake a stick at.  So why, oh why, can't I find it on any Paleo food list?

Paleo is like the English language.  It has rules ('i' before 'e', except after 'c'), and rule breakers ('science').  Which is why sometimes Paleo drives me bat-shit crazy.  I have to remind myself that it's a template - a template, and not a list of laws.  Yes, quinoa is a seed, and still, I've never seen it on a Paleo food list. While some Paleo peops have (after eliminating quinoa) incorporated it back into there diet because they feel their bodies can handle it, many choose to view it as a cultivated, agrarian crop that has no business on a plate meant solely for veggies, fruits and meat.  Yes, it's high in protein, but it's also high in "anti-nutrients" like phytic acid, leptins and du-du-duuuuuh: saponins.  *For more, click here.  

Phytic wha-wha?  Lept-whos-its?  Saponin-a-majigy?  I can't take it.  I need a cookie.

Look, I have absolutely no idea what any of those things are.  But I looked them up, and I found out that they're no bueno for your body.  The funny thing is, you can find those "anti-nutrients" in nuts, and nuts are Paleo.  But if you're a stickler, and a true Paleo perfectionist, you'd know that some nuts come highly recommended (macadamia) and others are practically spit on in the community (walnut).  At this point in the post I'm pretty sure I've lost half of my readers.  Apologies.  

Here's why I'm choosing to forgo quinoa for the next ninety-five days: I'm obese, and I'm trying to become not obese.  Quinoa has a lot of carbs and calories and when I look at my nutrition facts for what I've eaten at the end of a day on Paleo I'm thrilled at the amount of fresh fruits and veggies I've consumed, the grams of protein I've taken in and the lack of carbs and sugar flowing through my bloodstream.  If I tossed in a half a cup of quinoa, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would fuel that little carb-lovin' fire in my belly that talks me into eating when I'm full, and encourages me to stand in front of the fridge at ten o'clock at night looking for "just a little something sweet".  

That said, I fucking love the stuff.  Have you tried it? You should!  Eat it by the boat loads.  It's made by mother nature so it can't be bad for you.  And one day, when I transition my much healthier self back to clean eating I will definitely incorporate it into my diet.

The end and good night!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 4: Top 5 Lists, Volume 1 - Groceries

Top 5 Foods I Never Ate Before Paleo (And Now I'm Glad I Do):

1. Olives
2. Hardboiled Eggs
3. Coconut Oil
4. Now Sports Pure Eggwhite Protein Powder
5. Dates

Top 5 Foods I Think Are Good For My Body That Aren't Paleo (And I Wish I Still Ate Them):

1. Nonfat Greek Yogurt
2. Hummus
3. Organic Lactose Free 2% Milk
4. Brown Rice
5. Quinoa

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 3: It Hurts

Day three was harder than day two.  Which makes me sad.

Last night my nose began to run like a faucet and a pretty mean migrain began to set in.  I normally don't like to take anything for ailments, but when I'm working with kids I don't take chances, because nobody likes the crabby teacher going through caffeine and sugar withdrawl.  (*For the record, it isn't necessary to cut caffeine from coffee while going Paleo.  Plenty of Paleo people drink coffee with coconut milk or almond milk. I've tried both, and I dislike both, so I've decided to ditch java altogether for now.  Good times.  That's sarcasm.)

My headache has persisted all day, despite taking Ibuprofen, so I'm looking forward to going to bed early and sleeping in tomorrow since I don't have to work thanks to Yom Kippur.  And I regret to inform you that my skin is breaking out with a little bit of acne.  My hope is that the runny nose and the acne has something to do with my body shedding toxins, or at least that's what I tell myself when the little devil on my shoulder whispers 'give up and have a bagel'.

On the plus side, my eczema is virtually gone.  I can't begin to describe how inflamed my skin had been up until these last few days.  A week ago I had bright pink, itchy patches on my upper lip, under my eyes and on my armpits - sexy, I know.  Today, a mere three days since ditching grains, dairy, sugar and legumes those areas are as clear as the driven snow.  My belief is that my healing skin is connected to foregoing dairy, which also makes me sad since I miss my daily lattes... and my daily super sharp cheddar cheese with fuji apple... and my daily Ben and Jerry's Milk and Cookies pint of ice cream.

You see why I had to go Paleo, right?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 2: Stalling

We, September 17, 2012.
For years I've avoided occasions because of my weight.  I ditched my ten year high school reunion because of my weight.  I skipped my college graduation because of my weight.  I've put off seeing old friends because I'm under the impression that they aren't aware of my weight gain since last we met, and I don't want them to see me this way (despite the fact that I have pics of myself on Facebook in all my full-figured glory).  The only thing that I've ever participated in, even though I was overweight, was my wedding day.  If I could have postponed the occasion six months so that I could have yet another go at getting healthy, I would have.  But because you can't push back a wedding, and because I really wanted to marry my husband, I put on my gown and a happy face.

I'm a procrastinator.  A staller.  And I finally, after thirty-two years of living, have found the one thing that has a due date I can't postpone: my fertility.

My husband and I would like to start trying to get pregnant next year, but I'm committed to being at a healthy BMI before I let another human being set up shop in my mid-section.  I'm already extremely uncomfortable in this body, and I can't imagine tacking on any more weight, which is why my stalling days are over.  It's time to get healthy so that I can do the one thing that's ever really mattered to me, which is, to be a mom.  All of that said, it's important for me to publicly recognize that I will be a mom whether or not I get pregnant or give birth to my children.  I've always planned to adopt, and if my bio-ship has sailed, figuratively speaking, I'm okay with that.  Did you hear that, universe?  It's all good.

Today I stalled in a way I never have before.  I stalled getting home.  I usually bike the short mile between my apartment and my job.  Today I walked home, bike in hand, because I knew that the sooner I got home the longer the Shakespearean drama of 'to eat or not to eat' would play out in my head.  Traditionally, I reward myself after a long day of playing with first graders with an iced latte and some sort of bread and sugar based treat.  Knowing that my afternoon ritual would not be waiting for me kept me from rushing home.  Instead, I took my time, and when I finally reached the finish line that was my front door I beelined to my bed and took a nap.  A treat, still, just a different kind of treat.  And so, my stalling takes a new and improved form...for now.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 1: Because I have to.

I'm overweight - wait, let me start over.

I'm Taylor.  I'm a writer/teacher/actor/stand-up/baker/wife/sister/daughter/friend/cat lover and usually, an all around nice gal who loves lattes, movies and long walks on the beach.  I also happen to be overweight, and I've been so, in varying degrees, for over twenty years.  Every year I go into the fall season thinking that I will lose twenty pounds.  A few weeks later I'm crossing my fingers and changing my goal to ten pounds.  By November, my hope is to "just" maintain my weight through the end of the year, and come December I have my eyes set on whatever sugar laden, starchy goodness is in front of me, and my hopes set on the salvation that is January 1st.  Not this year people. I'm on a mission to take on the holidays with energy and good choices.  I'm on a mission to be one hundred times healthier than I am today in one hundred days, and I have at least one hundred good reasons why I need to change. Who's coming with me? a moth to a flame...
Yesterday was the very first day of autumn.  I love the fall, mostly because here in Los Angeles, the weather is about as dreamy as dreamy can get this time of year.  The skies are crisp and blue in the morning.  The air is fresh and bright.  And by the time evening rolls around a few wispy clouds have painted the sky just in time to make pink and purple cotton candy-like ribbons running north and south above the ocean.  It's magical.  But the thing I love most about the fall is that everywhere you turn there's something delicious and sweet made out from pumpkin... or gingerbread... or peppermint chocolate.

Vanilla Cupcake: Not Paleo.
It's already begun.  Starbucks, Peet's and the Coffee Bean all have pumpkin lattes.  In grocery stores I'm beginning to see things like 'Spiced Biscuit' ice cream and peppermint chocolate frosted pretzels.  Thankfully, the majority of the junk that bombards us during the holidays is indeed junk.  And yet, I can't help but to pause in front of every themed treat I see and wonder if I should get it - not because I want it, but because 'tis the season.  I need a plan.  I've thought long and hard in anticipation for these coming months, and this is what I've come up with.

Coconut Curry with Shrimp and Veggies: Paleo
For the next one hundred days I will eat Paleo.  Paleo is paleolithic, pre-agricultural farming, whole, natural "caveman eating".  I've done Paleo in the past for just a few weeks at a time. Each time I lost weight, gained energy, had clearer and less itchy skin (I have eczema), and had an all around feeling of hopefulness that I can't explain.  Now, if you've ever really looked into Paleo eating you know that there are several definitive food lists out there from different doctors, scientists and health gurus that, in very small but important ways, contradict each other.  Some allow organic, raw dairy, some don't.  Some say that white potatoes are forbidden but sweet potatoes are okay, while others believe a peeled white potato has more nutritional value than a sweet potato.  Some are concerned with the amounts of saturated fats in a traditional Paleo diet, while others tout their healing qualities.  And don't even get me started on the soy thing - I'll save that for another post.  I don't get too caught up in the details. If I did, my brain would explode and I'd be forced to fix myself with the healing powers of ice cream.  Instead, I keep it simple.  If my oldest ancestors could hunt or gather it, I'm gonna eat it.  The best advice I ever read was to consider Paleo a template and not a diet.  Meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.  That is what Paleo is to me.  The four major no-no's are dairy, grains, sugar and beans.  Easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy. Lemon, for example is Paleo.

Over the next few months I'll go into all of the exciting and controversial details surrounding Paleo, like it's so-called ability to ruin mother earth and all of her inhabitants.  And over the next few days I'll cry, and bitch and moan and whine about how incredibly difficult it is to give up sugar.  I need you, dear reader, to help me through it.

Here I go!