Posts Tagged ‘Paleo Diet’

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/

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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.

Yuck, Food.

October 18, 2012

Not sure what is up with my digestion lately. I’m having a lot of problems eating food right now. It started a few days ago when I would just lose my appetite in the middle of a meal, and now the thought of food is really just disgusting to me. Eating for the last couple of days has triggered a gag reflex. This is bad.

I’m hoping it’s simply the heat. I’m writing this entry on a 34C day in June. So heat could be a reason, although both my home and my office are air conditioned. Maybe its the air conditioning?

I couldn’t eat my dinner last night, but I did manage to get myself to eat a very large ripe mango, as well as lots of water.

I am hoping this is not is a slide back into anorexic ways. Can I even be anorexic at 200+ lbs? I suppose the answer is yes. Still, I am not experiencing the body dysmorphia that usually accompanies anorexia. My body is looking stronger, slimmer and yes there are still curves and roll, but I am not disgusted by them.

What’s up body?

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.

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.

Paleo Recipe Review: Budget Friendly Balsamic Mustard Chicken and Roasted Veggies

June 7, 2012

Image From EveryDayPaleo.com

I don’t hate cooking, but it’s also not something that I consider lots of fun. This means that I don’t spend hours, or even minutes, trying to come up with recipes. I depend heavily on the lovely people on the internet who have blogs with recipes for free.

The good news is that there are tonnes of paleo recipes out there. The bad news, I found, is that many of the paleo internet chefs really want to be amazing gourmet chefs. These people LOVE their food. I usually look for three things in a good recipe:

  • Simple ingredients
  • Can be made with minimal kitchen equipment
  • Limited advance prep work (I may make a recipe that requires marinating on the weekend)
  • Minimal steps in cooking. (e.g. if it’s a french cooking technique beyond sautee, I probably don’t know it)

It took me awhile to find a source of recipes I liked, but once I did I find myself sticking with it.

My recommendation for best paleo food blog is: Every Day Paleo

One of the first recipes I tried was Budget Friendly Balsamic Mustard Chicken with Roast Veggies.

It’s insanely simple to make. The sauce is really easy. I tried her baggie technique the first time I made it and used tupperware the next few times.

The prep work is minimal, I chopped up the bacon, brussel sprouts and zucchini in about 5 minutes.

Cooking is very simple: 2 pans, one in the oven (veggies) one on the stove.

And, it’s delicious. I’m not a fan of brussel sprouts but bacon grease makes a lot of things tasty. The chicken is really moist and delicious.

I did have to make a small adjustment to this recipe because of my pork allergy. I switch pork bacon for a variety of other ‘bacon’ you can get from your local butcher and sometimes the grocery. I used beef-bacon in this case since I thought it would get more fat than chicken or turkey bacon.

Food Acceptance and Food Allergies

May 10, 2012

When I first started thinking about this journey again the biggest question in my mind was what can I do differently this time that will help me succeed when I have failed so many times before. It was at this point that I came across the Fat Nutritionist. A friend of mine who also struggles with personal health and fitness issues introduced me to the blog via Facebook and I was hooked.

Instead of talking about what food you should and should not eat, she starts with going back to the basics of teaching yourself to eat again. Her main theory is that people who are over or under weight, have at some point, developed an unhealthy relationship with food. We have disconnected food from our body’s signals. We are no longer able to intuitively manage our relationship with food in a healthy way. So, instead of staring from a place of discussing what you should eat (and shouldn’t) she starts with instilling good eating habits.

The first and most important of her habits is permission. She has a few long entries on the subject of permission, I suggest you head over there to read them if you are interested. In a nutshell what it boils down to is the idea that so long as you are punishing yourself for what you are eating you are cultivating a negative relationship to food. Permission means acknowledging that you are giving yourself the permission to have the craving and satisfy the craving. You are not powerless over the chips, and you do not have to punish yourself for eating the chips.

From the concept of permission she works through a number of eating lessons that can help a develop a self-awareness of what I am eating, when I am eating it and why I am eating it.

All of this sounds really good, and I began to implement some of it. Specifically acknowledging and accepting my cravings, trying to be aware of my level of hunger or fullness and scheduling regular meal times.

I was also keenly aware that I fell into many of the traps she identified. Things like “the last supper syndrome” , blaming and shaming my food habits and more. So, I was thinking of joining one of her regular eating groups to get a handle on my eating.

There is however one complication: food allergies.

I have one anaphylaxis allergy – Pork

One long-time food allergy – Dairy

One newly diagnosed food intolerance – Gluten

Avoiding pork has never been much of an issue for me. Even once I started eating meat again after years of being vegan my meat is generally fish, chicken and sometimes beef.

Dairy has been more challenging. Because it is a non-life threatening allergy that generally just comes with a lot of discomfort and some ugly digestive side effects I sometimes allow dairy to slip into my diet. Sometimes cheesecake tastes good enough to take the pain.

A few years ago I was noticing even when I was not including dairy and was specifically avoiding it I was having similar digestive problems. At the worst a bad dairy attack can make me feel like I have a flu for up to 48 hours. And without the dairy I was still feeling the same. I eventually brought it up with my doctor who after some referrals for tests and nutrition tells me I’m also gluten intolerant. This is not good. Bread and Pasta are two of the great loves of my life.

So, I find myself in this odd space between trying to accept my food and food cravings while feeling resentful and limited in what I can actually eat and feel well. Enter the Paleo Diet.