30 Day Paleo Challenge: Day 13. It’s Just Food.

This morning, I woke up and did a St. Patrick’s Day themed 5k with some friends.

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It was nice, relaxed and fun.  At the end of the race, they passed out a bunch of snacks.  I’m not really sure what I was thinking but I grabbed a Kind bar, a Think Thin bar and a Gnu bar (all mini sample sizes), along with an apple and banana.  Those bars are totally NOT paleo.  But I figured I’d hold on to them for after the challenge.

So I came home after the race and had the usual green smoothie and paleo pancake breakfast.  That was all good and fine.  It was a cloudy day and I had no plans, so I curled up in my pajamas and watched Girls.

Around 1pm, I got hungry.  I looked in the fridge and there was a paleo meal waiting for me.

Left over pork chops and cauliflower and sweet potato fries.

I totally did NOT want to eat that.  I also didn’t want to leave the house to get a salad.  So instead, I ate the Kind bar, ThinkThin and Gnu samples. Then I had a spoonful of peanut butter with jelly.

Paleo Fail.

For a while, I felt bad about it.  But then I remembered.  It’s just food.  It’s NOT a big deal.  Some sample bars aren’t going to kill me.  Neither will some peanut butter and jelly.

For the sake of all female-kind, let’s remember, it’s just food.  No matter what our relationship to it is, it’s just food.  Eating the “wrong” thing shouldn’t make me feel bad.

So I’m over it.  I messed up.  Last night, I also had a few bites of Pad Thai.  Then I had a massive stomach ache.  Karma? No.

It’s just food. 

I probably ate the Paleo-friendly coconut soup too fast.  That’s it.

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Now I’m going to the mall to distract myself…

Do you feel guilty after a diet mess up?  Should we?  Thoughts?

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30 Day Paleo Challenge: Day 11

Two nights ago, I made a super tasty dinner.  I’ll tell you about it because it was also day 11 lunch.

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Seriously, it was ready in about 15 minutes from start to finish, and I thought it was pretty tasty.

Pork Loin and Sauteed Vegetables

Few slices of pork loinMixed vegetables of choice*
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

That’s all you need.  Season pork loin with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Heat some oil (about 1/4 a tbsp is good for 5 pieces) in a pan on medium/high heat.  Add pork.  Cook 2-3 minutes per side.  Set aside.

porkloin

Add vegetables to the same pan.  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Sautee until tender.   Serve and enjoy!

*I used the asparagus stir fry mix from Trader Joe’s, but I won’t lie, while it’s convenient, the asparagus was really tough.  A lot of it was the tough ends that I would cut off on asparagus.  Half the time I felt like I was eating twigs and branches, so maybe steer clear of that?

Quick, easy and tasty.  And I always make too much for one person, so there were plenty of leftovers.

paleodinner

Day 11 was an interesting day.  Apparently, March is the month of Karla trying new things, because  I went to Bikram Yoga for the first time.  My co-worker talked me into going with her, since they offer new students 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $20.  I figured why not?

So the studio is located in The Camp (if you’re an OC local), and it was interesting.  I’ll start by saying, the place is stinky, which is totally expected given the heat and sweat and warm bodies.  Definitively, not cute.  I had been having anxiety all day about it.  I thought for sure I would die.  But good news, guys!  I didn’t die!

In fact it was sort of fun.  I’m not sure I love it, but I’ll definitely have to give it another try, especially since I’ve got two weeks of classes.

I will say I came home with a pretty bad headache that lasted pretty much all night and an overwhelming desire to take a shower.  I don’t think I’ve ever been that sweaty in my life.  As a self-proclaimed “yoga hater,” I’ll say I definitely enjoyed it more than I disliked it.

After a much needed shower, I surprisingly wasn’t hungry!  Can you believe it?  So I decided to make a dinner that takes a while and it included sweet potato fries!

bakedsweetpotatoefries

Apparently I’m late to the game, but if you cook your sweet potato fries on a cooling rack (over a baking sheet that is) you get crispy, evenly baked fries!  Who knew?

So along with my tasty, crispy fries, I had cauliflower puree (because I’m OBSESSED) and some rotisserie chicken left over from Sunday.  Delicious.  Simple.  I swear the cauliflower puree was the tastiest thing on the plate!

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On nights like this, when I’m not starving and I have a tasty dinner, I might even like Paleo… That’s probably because it just feels like I’m eating normal food I like, not making myself eat one thing when I really want another.

Have you ever tried Bikram Yoga?  Love it? Hate it? 

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Days 9 & 10

So after my Monday freak out, I was ready to quit this challenge.  Thanks everyone for your supportive comments.  They were very encouraging and I truly appreciate it!

I decided to tough it out a little longer.  During the week, Paleo isn’t that hard.  I’m used to making my own lunch and bringing it to work, so that’s not anything new.  I used to bring salad, soups and beans a lot.  Now I’ve just replaced the beans with meat (which I’m not a huge fan of).

I think the challenge will remain the weekends.

On the hunger front, things have also been better.  This is potentially for 2 reasons:

1. I’m busy at work so I don’t think about food as much as I would on the weekends.

2. I’ve started packing enormous lunches that are guaranteed to keep me full.

Day 9 Lunch:

paleospaghettisquash

It looks small, but there is literally half of a spaghetti squash in that container, with spinach, marinara and two pieces of chicken.  Ordinarily I would consider that to be two meals, but now I eat it at once.  I’ve had this two days in a row and it has kept me pretty satisfied.

Later that night, I had dinner at my sister’s house.

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We had salad, sweet potatoes and tilapia.  I had a bit of non-paleo mayo (with the sweet potato).  Not the worst slip up on Earth.  I’ll survive.

Day 10:

I decided to switch it up.  Everyday I had been eating a Paleo Pancake with a green smoothie.  Today I had this:

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Bacon Avocado Egg Scramble

1 slice of bacon
1/4 avocado, dice
2 eggs

Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy.  Remove bacon from pan (once cooled, chop) and wipe off some of the bacon fat with a paper towel.  I think a lot of people would have kept the bacon fat but it just looked like too much to me.  In a bowl, beat 2 eggs.  Add eggs to pan with remaining bacon fat, add bacon and scramble.  Just before the eggs are done, add avocado and mix around.  Serve with coffee for a super breakfast or a great dinner.

This one is pretty easy to scale up.  You can add salt and pepper too.  I didn’t, but I won’t stop you from doing so.

baconavocadoscramble

This was pretty tasty.  It was a great manly breakfast after my manly feeling crossfit workout (clean & jerk, 15-12-9!).   I won’t lie my black coffee was a little less enjoyable without my paleo pancake.

For lunch, I packed a mighty salad of lettuce, spinach, mini bell peppers, pickles, and avocado, along with a chicken breast.

paleosaladandchicken

Again, I was full for a long time.  I’m glad the hunger levels are going down.   That makes it all a little more manageable.

Unfortunately, I am still pretty much always up for a cookie.

I’m starting to think that won’t ever change…

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Day 8, 1 Week Thoughts

It’s been one week since I started the 30 Day Paleo Challenge.

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I decided to do a weekly reflection, in case anyone else out there is doing a paleo challenge and wants to know how someone else is feeling (I know I do! So if you have a blog, share it with me!).  In case you need a recap of the week, here is:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 & 4
Day  5, 6, & 7

Before I started the challenge, I read all these blogs with people saying things like “It’s only been a week but I already feel awesome!”  “I already notice a huge difference in my complexion” “I have so much energy!”

Well guys, not to be a debbie downer…

…but I going to go against the grain and say I totally do NOT feel awesome.  So let me elaborate a little more…

  • I’m hungry all the time.   Seriously.  I’m hungry ever 2 hours and ravenous every 3 hours.  Honestly, it’s just not fun.  Not to mention, a lot of times, I’ll eat and when I’m done, I feel like I haven’t actually eaten.  I’m not sure if I haven’t been eating enough fat or sweet potatoes, but this weekend it felt like a minute didn’t go by when I couldn’t have eaten a huge plate of food.
  • Because I’m hungry all the time, I think about food all the time.  As a foodie, I think about food a lot, and I’m totally ok with that.  But this is a different type of thinking.  I feel like I spend the day obsessing about what I’m going to eat next, which makes me feel like I’m on my way to an eating disorder.  It’s pretty sad when your boyfriend has to tell you to stop thinking about food…
  • My skin is NOT clearer.  I realize it’s only been a week, but I actually feel like I have more breakouts around my mouth/chin.  This might not be tied to diet, but just pointing it out.
  • I don’t have tons of energy.  I will say, the mid-afternoon sleepies have gone away.  So that’s a plus! But this weekend, I was just exhausted all the time.  Maybe because I just didn’t sleep well this weekend?  Not sure this has anything to do with diet.  I think I was just super sore from crossfit on Friday and couldn’t find a comfortable position all night.
  • I still want sugar.  Not all the time, actually I realized that having a real, filling meal makes me less likely to want something sweet afterward.  But last night, all I wanted was a brownie covered in ice cream.
  • I lost 1 lb.  I guess I can’t complain about this, since weight loss isn’t my number 1 goal, but for the amount of time that I’ve spent being hungry, you’d think I’d at least have lost more than 1 lb.

So obviously, 1 week is not long enough to truly reflect on whether or not this is a lifestyle I like.  Right now, most of my thoughts are probably a withdrawal symptom.

Unfortunately for me, the biggest negative is that because of the above points, I’ve been in a terrible mood lately (particularly this weekend).  Honestly this has been my biggest motivation to quit.  I’m generally a happy, positive person, but apparently when I’m hungry I turn into grumpy cat.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from trying Paleo, but I want to paint a realistic picture based on my own experiences.  It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns over here.

That said, I’m not quitting yet.  Just writing down my thoughts and hoping it gets better.  How about you?  Have you tried a paleo challenge?  How’d you feel after 1 week?

Any thoughts? Please share!

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Days 3 & 4… Epic Paleo Dinner

Cauliflower is totally having a moment.

I’m obsessed.  A few years ago, Kale was all the rage.  Now it seems like Cauliflower is all over the world (and by the world I clearly mean the big world of food blogs and Pinterest).  Since I’ve been eating the same things for breakfast and lunch that past few days (Day 1 and Day 2), I decided I needed to make something awesome for dinner and cauliflower would be included, because all the cool kids are doing it.

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Jesse and I have dinner together pretty much every Wednesday night, so this seemed like a good opportunity to show off my paleo cooking skills.

Chicken and Sage Mushrooms over Cauliflower Puree

inspired sorta by Real Simple

1 head of Cauliflower, chopped
2 slices of bacon
3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs*
10 oz sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder

Put cauliflower in a pot with some water to boil.  Boil about 20 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime, in a skillet, cook 2 pieces of bacon.  Remove from pan and allow to cool once cripsy, chop then set aside.  Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  In the same skillet, cook the chicken until done (about 5-6 mins per side).

Remove chicken from pan and turn off heat.  Reserve that pan to cook the mushrooms in, but make the cauliflower puree.  Drain the cauliflower and put in the food processor with salt and garlic powder.  How much?  It depends on your palette.  I use a good amount of both (maybe 1/2 tsp? start there then taste it add more if necessary). Puree until smooth.

Next make the mushrooms, turn the heat back on to medium and throw the mushrooms in the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Add sage, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two.  Add in bacon, toss and turn off heat.

Next assemble the dish.  Lay some cauliflower puree on a plate, top with a piece of chicken, some mushrooms, then sprinkle with parsley and serve!  This will serve 2-3 people, depending how hungry they are

*I fit more pieces of chicken in the pan and made about 6 so that I had leftovers.  You can do the same.  This will make meals a lot easier for the rest of the week!  But if you want to make this for 2, you can also just make 2 pieces of chicken and it all works out fine 🙂

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I fed this to Jesse and his first question was: “This is Paleo?”

Yes.  It is.  And super tasty too.  I felt totally gluttonous while eating this!

Paleo Challenge Update:

Day 3:

Day 3 was the hardest so far, but even then, it wasn’t so bad.  I was just hungry and munchy (maybe a little stressed?).  Luckily, I’ve been overpacking when it comes to food at work.  I also took a bag of almonds to stash at my desk.  I’m glad I had them yesterday, because it was Bagel Wednesday at work…

I ate my lunch with a stack of bagels in the background.

I stayed strong though! No bagels!

Day 4:

Better than Day 3.   Breakfast and lunch were the same as above.

For dinner, I came home and had leftover cauliflower puree with some mushrooms, the remains of a week-old rotisserie chicken (I really hate throwing food away!), a banana with almond butter and some mango chunks to kill my craving for cake.

Now I need another epic dinner idea for tomorrow!  Any suggestions?

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Day 2

It’s only been two days, but I think during the week, this challenge won’t be that bad for a few reasons:

  1. I have a schedule, and I’m busy at work.  That means I’m not sitting at home boredom eating.  Most days I look at the clock around 12:30 and think How is it past noon already?  Time flies.
  2. I’m totally ok with eating the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch.

I had yogurt, banana and almond butter every single day for months.  Having a paleo pancake and a green smoothie is perfectly fine by me.  You’ll probably get tired of reading about it before I get tired of eating it.

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Day 2 lunch was pretty similar to Day 1, and Day 3 (today) will be exactly the same as Day 2.

lunch

Ground Turkey with leftover sweet potato “home fries” and cabbage with lime and salt (I love this combo! My mom made it all the time when I was little and I’ve loved it ever since).  I also packed an apple, some strawberries and some cuties.

My strategy is to overpack snacks to avoid having one of those moments where I feel like eating the world but there’s nothing healthy/paleo to eat.  So far it’s been fine, I ended up only eating one of the cuties and had the apple after dinner.

For dinner, I was at my sister’s house, because my nephew is just so stinkin’ cute it was time to pay them a visit.

After Graham had his dinner of breastmilk (or formula? I actually have no idea), we had shrimp with butternut squash.  Pretty tasty.

So that way Day 2.  Let’s hope Day 3 goes as well as the past two.  I have a potentially EPIC dinner planned tonight.  Or it might be meh.  I’ll keep you posted!

30 Day Paleo Challenge: The Countdown and a Paleo Pancake

It’s Friday!!!

The challenge officially starts on Monday

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But the last few days I’ve been easing into it.

Breakfast was full paleo this morning.

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Green Smoothie + Paleo Pancake+ Almond Butter + Coffee

Let’s talk about the Paleo Pancake.

paleopancake

I discovered this on Carrots N Cake a while back and have been eating it for a few months.  I’ve seen it around the web as well, but I finally found the combo (and method!) that I think is the tastiest.

Paleo Pancake

3/4 of a banana large banana (or 1 small)*
1 egg
splash of vanilla extract

Slice the banana and put it in the magic bullet cup.  Crack the egg in there as well.  Add the vanilla.  Blend until smooth.  Alternatively you can mash the banana and just mix it in a bowl, but I found that the magic bullet really made it smoother and tastier.

Heat a small skillet (sprayed with a bit of cooking spray) over medium heat.  Add the batter and turn the flame to low, cover with lid.  Cook about 3-4 minutes until you shake it and it no longer giggles (it takes a bit of time).  Flip and cook for an additional minute or two.  Turn onto a plate and slather with almond butter!  Delish!

*the other 1/4 of your banana can just be sliced on top or used in a green smoothie!  I found that if you put too much banana then your banana to egg ratio is off and the pancake breaks.  I’ve also tried with 2 eggs and that just tastes too eggy to me, but try it if you’d like!

I used to think my Magic Bullet was totally useless, but now I’m finding new uses for it!

Also I should note… Please please please don’t expect this to taste like a regular pancake.  That’s just impossible.  But it is tasty and definitely worth a try!  Not to mention that it kept me full for a really long time.

For lunch, I packed some spinach salad with peppers, pickles and avocado, left over rotisserie chicken, and cuties.

paleolunch

There were food trucks parked outside my office building

But I passed that up, not only in anticipation of the Paleo Challenge but because…

For dinner, I’m headed out.  I semi-feel like I’m going out of mainstream eating with a bang.  This week is OC Restaurant week.  So I’m going to dinner to celebrate some friends’ birthdays at Newport Landing.

Surprisingly the thing I’m looking forward to is NOT dessert!  This Potato Wrapped Atlantic Salmon sounds aaaa-mazing.

What’s on your agenda for the night?