Archive for the ‘Paleo’ Category

Recipe Review: One Pot Chicken Drumsticks

January 31, 2013

 

This recipe was posted on the main page of Everyday Paleo maybe two weeks ago and I think I have made it three times since. It’s super easy and keeps well.

Prep time is virtually nothing. I can chop the zucchini, onions, garlic and tomatoes in the time it takes to brown the chicken. I don’t have a pressure cooker so I find this recipe needs more than the recommended 15 minutes to cook, and I add the zucchini at the same time as the other veggies since I like my zucchini soft.

It makes four good sized servings, keeps well and reheats well.

Here is the link to the recipe: http://everydaypaleo.com/2012/09/13/one-pot-chicken-drumsticks-and-a-release-week-recap/

Pregnant!

December 20, 2012

Took the home pregnancy test yesterday… and another one today… and both agree – I’m pregnant!

I’m very happy about this. My partner and I struggled for a long time to try to get through the adoption system, we haven’t given up on that but we knew we needed to think about bio-babies in case adoption didn’t work out. Then when we tried for bio-babies we found out there were complications, but fortunately it seems that this has worked out.

Of course I know a lot could go wrong from now to a live birth and beyond, but this is the first big step.

I began to suspect when I had a fairly large spike in weight, followed by an even larger drop – which is usually what happens before my cycle starts, and then there was no cycle. So we waited for a week and then took the test. I still need to confirm with my doctor and get the estimated due date.

This also means big new changes for diet. I’m seeing my doctor tomorrow. I suspect because I am overweight they will see if I can gain no more than 15-20 lbs. I’ll need to know when I’m supposed to gain that weight and at what rate, and if eating the current calorie load I do now and how I do now is good for the baby.

I’ve already gained a bit of weight, but I think that’s more reflective of having a celebratory dinner last night and I think I’m safe at least for a week go to stay on the Paleo plan I was on and to try to lose those 1.2 lbs I gained.

Starting pregnancy weight: 200 lbs.

NOTE: This pregnancy unfortunately ended in a miscarriage. So, don’t get too invested in the next few posts. I figured I would leave them there since they are part of my health journey.

Happy Birthday To Me!

November 8, 2012

This past weekend was my birthday, and it had me a bit on edge. Not the actual getting older bit, I’ve had lots of practice at that now. It was the whole celebration = food thing that really had me not looking forward to it.

In my experience celebrations have always involved food, and if the birthday girl says she doesn’t want cake because she is watching what she is eating then it seems to let everyone down, which is not a great way to celebrate a birthday. Still, I’m happy, mostly with the way I am eating and I don’t want to change it. Not to mention when I do change it I feel awful and usually get sick.

I wanted to find a way to still have some of the traditional celebration = food and for birthday that means cake without giving myself bad physical side effects and feeling like I had let myself down. It took a bit of GoogleFu, but I found a cake recipe that has no grains, dairy or sugar. My awesome partner who does all of the baking in our house made his first 100% from scratch cake and it was great.

It’s not a “cake” consistency. It’s somewhere between a very rich dark creamy chocolate bar, a fudge or a solid dense brownie. But it IS delicious.

Here is the recipe: Primal dark chocolate raspberry cake.

Recipe Review: Too Easy Chicken Adobo

November 1, 2012

This was one of the easiest recipes I have come across and the pay off in terms of taste was huge. I ended up letting the chicken marinate overnight and cooked it the next day for dinner. Very fast stove top meal, preparation was minimal and the chicken kept very well for lunches during the week. The greens, don’t keep much beyond the next day though.

Too Easy Chicken Adobo by Everyday Paleo

Weight Loss vs. Baby Pressure

October 25, 2012

No. I’m not pregnant.

Yes. My partner and I are trying to get pregnant.

My partner and I started to try to get pregnant nearly a year ago and discovered some problems along the way. Without making this blog about that, one of the issues is weight. It’s not the defining issue. I’m border line PCOS which means that I have 12 follicles on each ovary. Less than 12 follicles is considered PCOS and one of the major contributing factors to PCOS is weight.

The main fertility challenge I have can supposedly be handled by fertility medications. That is what we are currently doing. PCOS can also be helped by other fertility medications, so I’m on two rounds of fertility medications just in case. My doctor did let me know that, with regards to PCOS,  in studies of women who were given the fertility medications and those who only followed a low-carb diet that those on the low-carb diet were equally as successful at conceiving as those who took the PCOS medication.

I meant to ask him if it was specifically the low-carb diet that increased their chance of conceiving or if it was the associated weight loss. My suspicion is that it was the associated weight loss in which case I don’t need to be too concerned about carving fruit out of my diet in addition to already eating a paleo diet which means I am currently not eating any grains, refined sugars or white starches.

What all this means for me is that I’m not really sure what my overall goal is.

Is it to get pregnant as fast as possible? Or, is it to lose as much weight as possible?

Time is a consideration. I’m approaching 33 (in July) which means ideally I will conceive in the next year to avoid being considered a high risk pregnancy at 35.

However, I’m still in the obese weight category according to my BMI, so should I be focusing on my weight loss and trying to lose as much weight as possible before getting pregnant so that I increase my chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy?

The reality is that I can’t make the choice. I just have to take it one day at a time. Most days I focus on weight loss. I know that losing the weight increases my chances of getting pregnant. The more weight I lose before getting pregnant will help me stay healthy through my pregnancy.

At the same time we are trying to get pregnant, so I can’t help feeling a little sad each month when it doesn’t in fact happen. Strangely though, at this time I’m also a bit relieved since it allows me more time to lose more weight.

Right now I’d like to lose at least the 40 lb goal for two reasons. First it will put me below the obesity BMI and second, if I lose the 40 lbs then that is also what I am likely to gain during a pregnancy. In theory I already know my body can carry that extra 40 lbs and I will already know that I can lose it again.

Part of me would like to double that goal so that when I get pregnant I would be in the “normal” weight BMI and the pregnancy would take me to just below the obese BMI and I wouldn’t have to worry about going into that weight category while pregnant.

This is all really just an academic debate that I cannot and should not control. The only way to guarantee weight loss before getting pregnant would be to stop trying to get pregnant and age can have the same negative effects on pregnancy chances as weight can so it’s best to just keep trying to both lose weight and get pregnant and handle the situation as it hopefully arises.

The real frustration for me is knowing that by getting pregnant I am guaranteeing that I will have to walk this weight-loss journey again. I have some hope, because now I know I can do it.

One decision that is solidifying in my mind is to keep eating paleo through my pregnancy, if it happens (knock on wood). I have not found any evidence that a pregnant woman needs grains or dairy. I do feel terrible when I eat them. The one barrier would be if I do suddenly get my appetite back and have cravings.

Anyways this is all just baby-on-the-brain. I’ve got another month ahead of me of trying to get pregnant. That is at least the fun part of all of this.

Fullness

October 4, 2012

My appetite is slowly starting to come back. For a long time this whole switch to paleo and restricted eating has been very easy because it’s been a struggle to simply get me to eat food in the first place.

I’m feeling actual hunger pangs now, and have been for a few weeks, but they are not what I remember from before my grief-imposed fast.

I am still unsure if this reduction in hunger is because of that fast, or because of eating a paleo diet now. If the hunger returns with a vengeance then I suppose I will have my answer. But, if it does not I will never really know if it was the grief that reduced my hunger or the paleo. Either way, I’m relieved that I’m not hungry all the time.

What has surprised me though is my body’s response to those times when I am hungry. Dinner is the main one. In the average workday I have a longer period between lunch and dinner than I do between breakfast and lunch. That and I bring my lunch to work so I can eat it whenever I get hungry, but I never really get my act together to pack a snack, so when I arrive home I’m quite hungry.

This has actually proved useful. I tend to take care of dinner first thing now, leave the chores for afterwards. Which means I’m eating dinner earlier and as I understand it this is healthier anyways.

I generally eat whatever I have pre-prepared and already portioned out. During the week it’s simple. I grab a tupperware container out of the fridge, stick it in the micro and voila: dinner. I cook three or four large meals during the weekends and those usually last me for dinners and lunches all week.

In case dinner isn’t enough – which I always think will be the case when I’m looking at it – I give myself permission to grab more, or a snack if I want one later. Strangely, that almost never happens.

Snacking from dinner to bed has always been a bad habit of mine. I’d get home eat a tin of vine leaves stuffed with rice to hold me over until dinner was ready, cook a fairly large dinner each night and then snack on chocolate, ice cream, chips, popcorn or whatever was handy. Sometimes I was that hungry and just couldn’t fill myself, sometimes it was mindless snacking and sometimes I would end up stuffed to the point it hurt.

What I’m consuming now is a tiny fraction of what I would normally eat in an evening. Yet, I am finding myself satisfied, full but not uncomfortable after dinner and usually if I want a snack a tea with honey is about all I want.

I’m still waiting for my body to rebel, to demand more. I suppose time will tell.

Positive vs. Negative

September 13, 2012

I work in a health-related industry. What does that mean? It means I work with a lot of information about health but I am not a health practitioner like a doctor, nurse etc… As such, I get a huge volume of information about health, and despite that I still struggle with weight. So, I’m pretty much case in point that you can have all of the information and it will not change your life.

One of the debates in health information, specifically about diet and exercise is if it should be communicated in positive or negative language. Is it more effective to warn people about the dangers of certain foods, the dangers of inactivity and tell people what not to do? Or, is it more effective to focus on positive language about what people should do, easy tips to increase activity and what foods you should eat. The reasonably simple answer here is that both types of information must be provided. If the patient / consumer doesn’t know that pop contains two cups of sugar and sugar will do all sorts of bad things to your system then they may think it is part of getting their daily intake of water. Likewise if you tell someone who has been raised on a steady diet of pop to stop drinking pop you also want to give them healthy alternatives and suggestions for how to transition off of pop.

As an individual I find that the positive vs. negative speak still merits a lot of consideration, especially as I think about food.

Common wisdom on the internet seems to lean towards the positive side. That when attempting a life style change that the direction should be to think about what foods you can have, what healthy foods you enjoy and to avoid focusing on what you cannot have and what you are not allowing yourself. Increasingly there is a push to not deny yourself foods so that you don’t end up binge eating on foods that you have denied yourself.

I believe all of this is very good advice. Especially if you have grown up on the Standard American Diet.

However, I am finding that the negative food speak is actually working better for me. It is not entirely one or the other. I still think a lot about what I do like to eat and what I do enjoy. However, to keep myself on track I am finding it easier to have a simple check list of “do not eat”. If I run down the checklist to make sure it does not have:

  • Dairy
  • Refined sugars
  • Grains
  • Legumes

Then I am all set to go. I feel confident in what I can select. I know what I’m cutting out and I don’t feel panicky about if I am going to go over my calories if I eat that piece of cake. I’m not going to eat the cake unless it’s a flourless cake. Simple.

I know this approach is not for everyone. I also realize it would be too restrictive for many and would result in a dive off the wagon and into the bag of chips. But, for me it is working so I thought I’d put it out there.

Recipe Review: Salisbury Steak

August 16, 2012

This has quickly become a household favourite. It is again from Every Day Paleo which has become my go-to blog for simple, good paleo recipes.

Prep time is under 10 minutes for me. I do a bit of additional prep for the gravy while the steaks are cooking. I find the recipe easily makes 8 servings. This one has been a big hit with my partner. It also keeps very well, re-heats easily and travels in my lunch containers well.

Eating Out

August 2, 2012

Eating out and trying to maintain a diet or food restrictions has always been a problem for me. I used to allow myself to be exempt from my diet when I ate in restaurants or at friends houses. That didn’t work. I then tried to guess calories and meticulously log everything I put in my mouth to the best of my ability. That was frustrating and also didn’t work.

I have a lot of anxiety around this week since I am rarely eating at home.

Saturday – Dinner out
Sunday – Lunch out & Dinner out
Monday – Lunch out & Dinner out
Tuesday – Dinner out
Wednesday – Lunch out
Thursday – Lunch out
Friday – Monday – All meals out (cottage)

My basic plan is to try to stick to the weird paleo restrictions when eating out. This will limit what I put in my body and will hopefully keep me to reasonable portion sizes, if I am careful.

My nemesis, especially on the cottage weekend will be too much alcohol, which can also lead to diving off the paleo diet.

The glimmer of hope is that I’m more than a month into doing paleo and so far it is working incredibly well for me. I do have more energy. I am losing weight without any other efforts like calorie counting or exercising. I am not full-full but I am content-full and not feeling hungry and jealous of other people’s food. This will, of course, be difficult on cottage weekend when I will be surrounded by tempting carbs and more carbs all weekend.

Wish me luck!

The experts are wrong?

June 28, 2012

HBO launched a series The Weight of The Nation on May 14, 2012. It has all the usual experts in disease control and anti-obesity plugging the same advice that I have heard over and over and over, and tried over and over and over which has not (yet) worked for me.

Who am I to say these experts are wrong? I’m nobody. I don’t have the credentials, the research or the practice. I am not a statistically significant group. What I can say is that I have faithfully tried the eat less, exercise more route for close to 10 years and in that time I have mostly gained weight rather than lost weight.

This is why articles like this: Why the Campaign to Stop American’s Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing by Gary Taubs keep attracting me. I highly recommend reading the article. But in case you are not up to a three page read here are the notes.

He starts out by introducing the history of obesity as a field of public health study way back in the midst of the Great Depression. Turns our a German scientist noticed that there were a large amount of fat children in the midst of extreme poverty. This ties in nicely to the idea that cheap carbohydrates make us fat.

Next he introduces the science behind how cheap sugars found in junk foods and also breads, pastas, grains etc… actually alter our insulin and fat storage systems.

Then he brings in that while the health and diet crowd was targeting fat and meats as the cause of obesity that meat intake peaked in the 1970s – before the obesity epidemic. That it was after meat became demonized that grains, breads and pastas took up a cornerstone in our food pyramid that the obesity epidemic really took off.

Then he addresses the exercise myth. That there is little supporting evidence that exercise will help to reduce or maintain weight citing several examples of active people who are obese.

For someone like me this all makes complete sense. I gained the most weight after I had an accident, moved to college, started eating mostly breads, grains and pasta – because they were cheap and easy to make. I exercised like a fiend. Often going to the gym seven times a week. I found myself completely unable to maintain a low-calorie diet on 1,200-1,500 cal/day for more than six months at a time. I found myself constantly hungry. I occasionally succeed at losing 20 lbs but it would almost always come back and then a few more. Then I would start the cycle again. Wash rinse repeat.

This is a quote from Taubs article I would like to pin up somewhere:

“as Hilde Bruch pointed out more than half a century ago, that exhorting obese people to eat less and exercise more doesn’t work, and that this shouldn’t be an indictment of their character but of the value of the advice.”

The advice that Taubs gives is to simply stop eating sugars. Eat more green leafy vegetables, lean proteins and good fats. This sounds to me a lot like the Paleo Diet. I don’t know if I’m just being led down another garden path that will lead to a cycle of failure. But, at least it is trying something different.