Friday, December 17, 2010

Avocado Coupon!

There's not often coupons for any kind of healthy, paleo/primal foods but right now there's a coupon for a free Avocado! Print some out, they're good until 12/21/10.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Real Food Wednesday 12/1/10

Please head over to Kelly The Kitchen Kop's website for another round of Real Food Wednesday!
Kelly's one of the first real food bloggers that helped me out on my journey. Between her and CheeseSlave, my feet were firmly planted in the right direction!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The wheels fell off my Paleo Wagon when I got hit by the Gluten Bus.

I knew that if I went off the Paleo wagon for Thanksgiving I wasn't going to feel well at all. I had no idea that I was going to feel this bad. Planning ahead for how I was going to handle the holiday, I wasn't too worried. For me, Thanksgiving is one of the easiest holidays to accommodate a wide variety of food needs. (With the exception of v*gan, since butter seems to creep in to everything!) I was a vegetarian for years and never panicked about Thanksgiving, since there's such a variety of foods to chose from.
So, with that being said, the wide variety of food choices is only good if you have the sense to not eat the stuff that's going to make you feel like doodie. The food we ate was all super high quality, fresh, gourmet and delicious. It was also full of grains in a multitude of ways. From the cheese biscuits and gravy that I made, to the hot clam dip & crackers, to the desserts.... Oy. There was plenty for me to chose from that was "safe" but I chose not to do that.
I felt ok after I ate, no indigestion. I had a happy stomach. I didn't eat too much. I was satisfied. So far, so good.
Friday morning, the sharp hip pain that has been my enemy for many years was back with a roaring vengeance. My hands felt hot and swollen, hard to make a fist, shoulders sore, pretty intense back pain. General feeling of aching in my whole body.

I have learned my lesson. The take away from this experience is that I didn't realize how much better I felt eating Paleo. I knew it was good, but you kind of forget what the discomfort level was when it goes away gradually. I'm horrified that I used to feel like this all of the time. The big guy and I got right back on track on Friday. Lots of good healthy foods and good healthy fats. A big veggie & chicken stir fry for dinner. When we went out to the Roller Derby on Saturday, I packed a dinner of roast pork, sweet potatoes and asparagus with lemon. Sunday was our annual household "Thanksgiving, Part II, the Slaughter of the Lambs". (It's our private feast of Pommes Anna, rack of baby lamb, roasted duck, butternut squash & apples)

I can't wait to start feeling better!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Here's one of my favorite soups. It's got sort of a Thai feeling to it. It's warming from the spices and if you make up a good sized batch, you can have a few meals out of it. Varying the add-ins will keep it interesting and keep food boredom at bay. Start with the basic ingredients (coconut milk, canned pumpkin, chicken stock) and add your own favorites as you see fit. I'm not one of those people who ever makes the same thing the same way twice. But that's what keeps life interesting, isn't it?

Start with:
1 can coconut milk (the real, full fat kind)
1 can pumpkin puree (do I need to say get the kind that it JUST pumpkin, not sweetened?)
2 to 4 cups of chicken stock, depending on how thick you like your soup. (Home made is best. Just save all your chicken bones in a bag in the freezer and make a batch of stock once a month. Your stomach and taste buds will thank you.)

Bring all that to a simmer and add some or all of the following:
Fish sauce, to taste
Diced red pepper

Fresh Ginger, diced finely
Tamarind Paste (unsweetened, adds a nice tart flavour. Optional, you can use lime juice instead. Or use them both.)
Lime Juice
Curry Leaves (if you can get these, they are divine! Located in the produce section of any good Indian grocer.)
Turmeric (adds an amazing yellow colour to the soup and is an anti-inflammatory in conjunction with the ginger!)

Simmer a bit longer. Adjust seasonings. Take off of the heat and add in some:
Scallions/green onions

If I'm making a big batch to eat later, I like to leave out the cilantro, scallions and lime. After I reheat whatever portion I am eating, I'll add those in to the individual serving. This keeps the soup from tasting flat and boring. Nothing like the pop from some freshly chopped herbs to make a meal sing!

You can add some shredded, cooked chicken or other meats to make a nice quick, vegetable filled meal. Makes a great breakfast on a chilly morning. Enjoy!

My Endocrinologist is a weinie....

I just got back from a visit to my endo. He's so fracking useless.
Past conversations have gone as such: "how are you feeling?" Doc, i feel like crap, I'm exhausted, I can't lose weight, my skin is dry, my periods are crazy, I have palpitations at night, my hair is falling out, as are my eye brows. What can we do about this? "nothing, you have Hashimoto's so it's normal for you to feel like this." End of conversation.

Today's visit was pathetic. He examined my thyroid by feeling my neck like a scared little boy copping his first feel of a nipple. Barely skimming the skin. Um, Doc, my thyroid is INSIDE OF MY NECK, not on the surface. I think you need a bit more pressure to feel anything.

As useless as he is as a doctor, he is a good relay for my lab results. My numbers are great right now. I had to twist his arm to get him to write a scrip for a thyroid antibody test. He told me it was useless - "You have Hashimoto's, it's not going away. Although, your numbers were very high the last time they were tested."

He would not, or could not, answer me when I asked if I was feeling better AND the antibody numbers were lower then there might be a connection between the two things. I suppose he really doesn't know. Which is sad. As my Aunt says "well, honey, not every doctor graduated at the head of the class. Someone had to be the worst student."

He was not interested in the changes I've made, the weight that I've lost, the fish oil, the vitamin D3, the selenium, the manganese, the magnesium, eliminating gluten, paleo or anything. All he said was "your numbers are good", in a non-committal, non-enthusiastic voice. He did not say "wow, your numbers are vastly better" (TSH, 3rd generation has gone from 15.22 / in 2008 down to 6.47 in 2009 after starting the selenium/manganese down to 3.65 at this most recent blood work.)

AND, AND AND... this blood work is actually from a couple of months ago, before I went fairly strict paleo in early September 2010. (I've been putting off going to see him since he's so useless. I just get depressed when I see him) Since he wrote out a scrip for all new blood work, I'm going to go soon and see if there's an even bigger improvement.

Signing off and headed to do some work in the studio. (I took the whole day off to recoup mentally after the visit to Dr. Useless.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grocery shopping

Tonight we head off to Wegmans for our bi-monthly grocery shopping. When I started changing my diet (mainly Nourishing Traditions in 2009, mainly Paleo/Primal in mid 2010) I was worried that I couldn't do it shopping at a "traditional" grocery store. I figured I'd have to mail order all of my food, and who could afford this, so why even bother? I just had to out my thinking cap on and figure it out. It all boils down to the standard advice of shopping the "perimeter" of the store to avoid all the junk. (Although, our Wegmans has toilet paper and the bakery on the perimeter....don't worry, I'm a smart girl, I can adjust!)

Here's what I usually pick up at Wegmans. In the "nature's marketplace" section I grab coconut oil, coconut milk (regular, not 'lite') coconut cream and coconut shreds and sunbutter. In international foods, I get my olive oil, fish sauce, PG Tips tea, sardines (Goya brand, packed in olive oil) and occasionally kippers (yum!). Also, there's a good selection of bulk Indian spices, like the anti-inflammatory Turmeric and ginger, and garam masala. Somewhere in the middle aisles is the tuna and canned Alaskan salmon.
The baking aisle has all the regular spices: black pepper, sea salt, Italian seasonings, paprika, etc. Also, dried fruit like dates to make my Ayla Bars.
In frozen foods, I usually get a couple of bags of greens - turnip greens, kale, collards, okra, etc. In dairy, I pick up a couple of dozen eggs (either organic free range or omega-3). Heavy cream, though I am thinking that is bothering me also, so I'm going to try knocking that off for a while to see if I feel less congested.
The meat department...hmmm, Wegs is a bit spendy on the meat. I'll usually grab a couple of whole chickens and chicken livers there but the majority of the beef I get is picked up on sale at Pathmark. We've been stocking up on $1.99 lb London broils since the Big Guy and i both eat them. Plus I make a ton of jerky using the London broil.
Near the meat department, with the fancy cheeses is my beloved grass fed butter. It's pricey but so, so worth it. Kerrygold, I love you!
The Veggies.... Again, Wegs is expensive on the veggies. With the sheer volume of vegetables I am eating, I just can't afford to buy all my produce there. (their produce is beautiful.) There's a local Korean veggie market near our house that opened back in the summer. I usually spend anywhere from 25 to 40 bucks there every week to 10 days. Their prices are great and since I buy so much they throw me the occasional discount or if they see me buying something that's a bit sketchy, they go in the back and get me a better/fresher/bigger one! Nice! They are my source for sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, peppers, greens of all kinds, onions, fresh ginger, avocados, and amazing mangoes (which I have to really limit myself on until I lean out a bit. Wah! I could eat a couple of those babies each day.)

So, that's what's in my grocery bag. Now for my life updates. The Big Guy has been looking in horror (my perception, probably not really true) at the amount of fat that I've been eating. I kid you not, If I am feeling snacky I will go and eat some coconut oil or a slice of Kerrygold butter. I am so happy to report that with all this good fat eating and all the other changes I've made in my life, I've lost 7 lbs since early September. This is huge for me. I am so happy. Butter snacks rule!

a cool give away!

A very cool website, www.nourishingdays, is doing a very cool giveaway.

L’Equip 524 Dehydrator

Courtesy of

I could get a lot of use out of this product, now that I'm making jerky at least 2 times a month. There's some other great stuff on the pleasant hill website. Like some spiffy meat grinders. Oh, how I wish I ha one of those to make my own sausage and ground beef.
Go check out the dehydrator and good luck!

Monday, November 1, 2010

weights, meats and canine insanity

The dogs had an exhausting day barking at the trick or treaters. (there's a long rant about how out of shape we Americans are when your mom and dad have to DRIVE you from house to house...but that's another blog entry) In the middle of the night, the girlio had a nightmare or something and attacked the boy-o in her sleep. Insanity! She did no damage, in fact, I don't even think she made contact with him but the barking action was loud and fierce. After pulling her away from him, she settled down and went right to sleep. So, I really think she was dreaming.... so strange.

Beef was on a huge sale this week so I stocked up on 7 london broils, of which 6 are now in the freezer. Some will be cooked for lunches and some will be made in to jerky. It's so easy to make jerky in the oven. It's healthy, primal and delicious. I marinate it in Thai fish sauce (to avoid soy) and Sriracha hot sauce and lime juice. Yummy. Ayla likes it.
I also cooked for the week: 1 london broil, 2 meatloafs (1 is in the freezer for next week) and while not really cooking at all, I put up about 10 lbs of cabbage in my crock to make sauerkraut for the winter.

I misread my weight training log and accidentally leg pressed 948 lbs. I couldn't figure out why the lift was so hard. I still churned out a set of 15 but I was absolutely ruined for the rest of the training session. :-)
Let that be a multifaceted lesson to you -
1: be careful how you log your weights in your training log.
2: just because you wrote down the weight that you did...well, sometimes you are stronger than you think you are.

**edited to add: November 1st, 2004 I had my spleen taken out to try to put an end to the ITP. My scar still bothers me sometimes but the ITP is under control. I had to support of my friends and family and my Big Guy throughout it all. I am a lucky girl.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"eat like a caveman" article

I saw this article online today. There were some amusing statements from 2 medical doctors. I asked some questions in the comments section. I am absolutely not expecting a reply from them but hopefully people will give some thought to what these guys had to say and it'll raise some questions for them.

Article is here. Please feel free to write your own follow up questions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paleo Coconut Custard in a Pumpkin

Holy Smokes! I just baked a custard in a sugar pumpkin and it's amazing!

1 small sugar pumpkin
1 can whole coconut milk (not low fat)
4 eggs

Cut top off of pumpkin and scoop out pumpkin guts. Mix 4 eggs with coconut milk, add cinnamon & nutmeg (Ginger and other autumnal spices would be great) Pour in to pumpkin. I got lucky and picked a pumpkin that this mixture fit perfectly. Place in a pan, preheat oven to 350, bake for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, checking to see if the custard has set. It should puff up a bit in the middle and be slightly jiggly but not liquid.

Now, notice I added no sweeteners at all. When serving I drizzled a teaspoon of real maple syrup over it. And I mean a teaspoon. Measure it. That's all you need. Simple, easy, delish!


Kitchen Stewardship is doing a giveaway of fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture. It's a very generous giveaway with 20 winners. I like her website. It's not totally Paleo (nor does it claim to be!), but there are lots of great ideas here and lots to learn about. (I came to Paleo through Nourishing Traditions and still use a lot of the NT ideas and fermented foods) So, if you're brave and want to try a great way to get your fish oil on board, without taking a ton of capsules, FCLO is the way to go.
Here's the link to the contest. Good Luck!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

908, it's not just an area code!

Whoot! Leg pressed 908 today. As I was getting ready, some dude wanders by, kind of snickers and says "wow, i guess you'll do a set of 2?" He then proceeds to lean on the machine next to me to watch. I blasted out a set of 20. At some point, he exclaimed "wow, excellent!" gave a thumbs up and wandered away. heh....set of 2.

Overall, excellent training this weekend. There were no 30 lb dumbbells available while I was doing my flys so, I had to do 35 lbs. (don't you hate when that happens?) I also had a personal best on my calf raises.

The rest of the day was cooking - a chicken, a roast beast for the big guy, a pork roast (all for during the week) and then todays dinner - boneless pork braised with leeks, mushrooms, white wine, bay and Herbes de Provence. Yummy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ohhhhh! Grand Opening!

Well, this weekend was the grand opening of a gym in the old space that I used to train in. It used to be a NYSC, and considering how the different locations could vary so much, this one was a pretty hardcore gym. Much to my dismay, it closed about 2 years ago - leaving us with the option of switching to a different location (which had virtually no free weights!!!!) or changing to a different gym entirely. We ended up opting for Retro Fitness. Now, we've both been pretty happy there. The closest one to our house is REALLY small. But we work around that by going to another location on Saturdays and it all works out really well. (I actually use yet another location during the week since it's close to my job)
So, back to the grand opening of Club Metro USA. Weeks ago, we were promised 2 things by the sales staff. Bumper plates and lifting platforms. Really? When we heard that we were so happy. Bumper plates seem to be a mythical beast in the gyms around here. When we went to check out the brandy new gym did we get any of those things? Nope.
They did have a leg press machine that barely holds enough plates for me AND has the added benefit of having a start point that is too long for my legs AND is not adjustable. Nice, huh?
They're also missing a large number of plate loaded machines that we use at Retro Fitness. Large portions of my workouts would be missing. Could I work around it? Yes. If I came across this gym while on vacation or traveling, I'd be pretty happy, I guess. But for everyday? Nope. Not a good fit at all. I don't need a giant smoothie bar that takes up valuable space for equipment, I don't need a giant boxing ring (nice but not necessary.) I DEFINITELY don't need an "in the dark movie theater" cardio studio. (I friggin' hate those things. Waste of space)
Tomorrow, I will go to my local Retro Fitness, I will train my legs on machines that fit my average length body and I will not whine about the small size of the gym space because at least the have the equipment that I need/want/love.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thrifty Fish Oil

Now for a bit of thrifty hunter/gatherer fun. I take a ton of fish oil everyday, as does the Big Guy AND both of the dogs (the boy just because it's good for him and his fabulous fur, the girl because she prone to inflammation & just done with a round of chemo for Mast Cell Tumor) We've been burning through a bottle of 320 capsules in just a few weeks. That's 25 bux. That is a lot of money for someone who had her pay cut to the bones. What to do??
My hunter/gatherer nature led me to start shopping at CVS and doing some serious coupon collecting.

CVS regularly has fish oil on sale buy one, get one free. CVS also regularly sends out coupons that are get $5 off a $25.00 purchase (or $4/$20 or some other permutation) I can also always track down coupons for said fish oil. Also, CVS gives out what are called Extra Care Bucks, if you buy some product (razors, soap, make-up, etc) they give you a coupon for a certain dollar amount good for your next purchase.
Here's how I was able to get 640 fish oil capsules for $8.00
$25.00 each x2
= $50.00
-$25.00 (buy 1 get one free)
-$5.00 off a $25.00 purchase
-$2.00 in coupons
-$10.00 in Extra Care Bucks from another purchase

It doesn't always work out that well, but at the least, please shop around for your fish oil capsules. If you find a name brand that's available at a standard chain type drug store, check their website for sales. They *all* put this stuff on sale at least once a month. You should always be able to get it at least buy one get one free. Sign up for their email sales notifications and a lot of times they send you coupons etc that can really bump up your savings.

I used to use a lot of coupons for food. Now that I've changed my eating habits, there's not a lot of coupons available for carrots and fresh meat. :-) I'm one of those coupon geeks who really gets off on plunking down a whole pile of stuff and having the cashier say "59.95" and I hand over the wad of coupons and watch their face in disbelief as the total drops down to practically nothing.

So, why do I share this info? I don't want anyone to fail at changing their life because they couldn't afford a bottle of fish oil. Right now, I am broke. There will be no grass-fed meat for me, I simply can not afford it due to the pay cut. But I will find a way to make this work and I will share the info here. We can do this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Paleo Solution

Ok, so - with money being so tight lately I was very sad that I just couldn't get the cash together to buy a copy of the book, The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. Lo and Behold - the Aunt gave the Big Guy a gift card that she didn't want. Later that day I foolishly drank a glass of milk. Then was stricken with furious stomach cramps. That has never happened to me before but I haven't had a glass of milk in weeks (just a small amount in a cup of coffee) After I was done gasping, the Big Guy told me to put my shoes on, loaded me in the car and drove me to the nearest book store, handed me the gift card and said "go find that Wolf book. I don't want you getting sick like that again." Whoot! Is that a MAN or what? Love me some Big Guy!
Of course, I'm sure he's regretting it now because now I'm really chanting "Robb Wolf says..." even more than ever, in addition to wandering around with post-it notes, highlighters and index cards to take notes. :-)
Since there was mention of a Paleo Matrix for food choices/meal planning in the book but it wasn't there and doesn't seem to be on the website, I'll be putting one together myself to post here. (I'll probably call it the "what would Ayla eat Matrix" *grin*) I'm totally not trying to step on anyone's toes - It's just going to be a list of the things that I grab for when assembling meals. I can't imagine being bored eating this way, but I know that other people aren't foodies like me and need some inspiration. I'll post it soon, I promise.

OH, and by the way - I've lost a total of 2 lbs this month. Really. For little old Hashimoto's Thyroiditis me, that's HUGE!

Free Tiny Buffalo Curry

The name behind the recipe: the Big Guy loves Rock & Roll - which means he loves Ted Nugent. The Nuge, while being a phenomenal musician, is a little too conservative for my tastes so I tease the Big Guy about listening to him so much. Whenever He listens to Ted's song "Great White Buffalo", i sing "Free Tiny Buffalo"....Which is a joke from the book "Steal This Book" by Abbie Hoffman. Abby is/was about as far to the Left of Ted as possible. (while i never got to meet Abbie, i did spend a lot of time hanging out with Yippies during the early 80's.)

So, what does this have to do with food? I'm getting to that! I've been trying to eat better and one of the ways to do that is to eat grass fed/grass finished meats. Cows (and buffaloes!) are grass eaters, not grain eaters. The way we raise cattle in feed lots, eating grain, produces unhealthy animals. Eating grass, the way they were intended to, produces healthier meat with a fatty acid balance that is much better for us. So, i made a curry with my first foray in to buffalo.

Free Tiny Buffalo Curry
1 heaping tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Fish Sauce, to taste
2 Red or Yellow bell peppers, diced
2 zucchini, diced
A big handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk (not low fat, get the real kind, not sweetened.)

Melt coconut oil to pan, over medium-high heat saute the buffalo, breaking it up as it cooks. When it's about halfway cooked, add in diced onions, ginger, garlic. Keep it moving so you don't burn the garlic....After the onions become translucent, add the garam masala and the turmeric and black pepper. Stir that around and mix it in well. (Note - turmeric will stain your wooden spoons bright yellow. You are warned.) Add in the diced peppers & zucchini & tomatoes - sauté for a few more minutes then add in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Give it a taste and add fish sauce. i used about a tablespoon. Simmer for a few more minutes and get ready to feast.
You could serve this over "riced cauliflower". (I'm not putting a link for that, you can google it yourself. And for all you cauliflower haters out there - Even the Big Guy eats this and He was not a fan of the cauliflower. Give it a try!)

I made this again last night using diced boneless chicken thighs, it came out great. I'm also pretty sure if you added a squeeze of lime and a handful of cilantro and chopped scallions you'd be in for an even bigger blast of deliciousness.
So, that's my grass fed, healthy fat, lots of veggies included recipe for today.Ayla would approve!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Whoot! smashed a 858 lb leg press today, 1 set of 20 reps. So Happy! The whole training session was really intense.
Sunday is usually a massive "cooking for the week" day to get all my meals in order, but i did so much cooking last week and packaged all the meals like a good thrifty gal should so i am covered for this upcoming week. In the bag for next week is: butternut squash with apples, roasted chicken, roasted pork shoulder, sweet potatoes, cauliflower curry with coconut milk. i'll mix that up those meal potentials with a ton of fresh greens, and the only thing i'll be cooking today is a pot of vegetable soup made with a fantastic home made stock.
The big guy, who is not paleo/primal, yet - will be cooking up a pot of brown rice for his lunches at work, a london broil (also for lunch) and a pile of chicken breast tenderloins for his mid-afternoon meals.
Off to eat my steak and sweet potato post training meal and then head off to my studio to get so Art made today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Robb Wolf says.....

So, I've been driving the big guy crazy lately by starting virtually every sentence with "Robb Wolf says..." I really can't say enough about the guy.

I've subscribed to his blog for a long time but never downloaded his podcasts before. (I do most of my computing at work and my PC there is made of wood. Really. There's no sound card, videos won't play etc. It's just a block of wood that's good only for spreadsheets and hurling invectives at.) In the weeks before we left for Olympia, I downloaded ALL of the podcasts and I've been slowly making my way through them one at a time. (10 hours total on the plane to Vegas = lots of Robb Wolf/Andy Deas time)

I've been applying a lot of the suggestions that he makes and I'm starting to see results. Just before we left for Olympia, I added Vitamin D to my regiment. In the 15 days since starting that, I've lost about 3 pounds. Now, some of that is due to stepping up my workouts again. However, my workouts have been as good as possible considering how absolutely crap I feel most of the time. Since starting the Vitamin D, I've felt better than I have in a long time, hence I've been able to step it up. Losing weight has been a supreme struggle for me since the splenectomy surgery and all the prenisone I was on while I was sick. (2002 through 2004) I gained over 35 lbs while I was going through all the treatments - partially from the medications and partially from not being allowed to workout because I could have literally died from it. Plus, I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which makes weight loss a heart breaking struggle. On top of that, I suspect there's some other autoimmune thing going on or some type of "energy deficit" illness (mitochondria malfunction or some such happiness) It's like I have a very limited energy budget and I can spend it training or functioning in life, but I can not do both. (which is why when we travel, I am usually incapacitated from blowing my energy load on the actual travel and have nothing left when I get to the event! Sucks!)

The first time I put *all* my new tools in effect was in June when we traveled to Atlanta. I took along 80% of my own food, expecting to supplement it with stuff that I knew I could get in town. I took a ton of fish oil each day and creatine (Just plain, unflavored creatine monohydrate) I made sure I had a lot of healthy fats (coconut, avocado) and I came though that event like a champ. The big guy was shocked. Not only did I have energy but I didn't get all weird and emotionally withdrawn like I usually do. In other words, I was fun to be around.

I've been keeping up these original changes and have been slowly weeding any other problem areas. I've cut my milk intake down to about 1/4 of a cup or less per day. (I'm only having 1 cup of coffee per day and it's gotta be with milk. Or someone will die and it won't be me. Murder would ensue) I still have great difficulty accepting that I have to give up my home made, slow fermented sourdough bread. I've laid off of it for a few weeks though and I can't say that I *feel* better, but I'll give it some more time. Other than that, the only grains I'd been eating was rice, maybe every 2 weeks. (I laid off pasta,etc about a year ago) I do know that I usually feel ok if I have my own bread once or twice a week and NO OTHER GRAINS AT ALL. If I have my bread and some rice and a hot bog in a bun and some ice cream and....BLAM, it's a big autoimmune explosion. Sore joints, swollen knuckles, exhaustion, etc. It makes it easier to avoid all that stuff when it comes with built in aversion therapy. (Not to mention, when Robb Wolf says... "it's a gut irritant" it sounds really disgusting and so becomes even easier to avoid!)

So, It's a work in progress. I'll keep updating here as changes are made and will try to figure out what is working or not.

One more thing, I'd be remiss if I didn't add in here the other people who I quote to varying degrees. I some times have been know to say
  • "Mark Sisson says" (despite the naysayers on his 80/20 rule, if it hadn't been for him, Primal would have seemed too overwhelming and I wouldn't have started it. Once I saw that it made me feel better, I was able to put 80/20 behind and make it more like 99/1)
  • "Melicious says" (For her sheer gumption and stick-to-it-tiveness and determination and inspiration. For when I need to hear that yes, this can be hard and yes, it can be ok to whine and cry. But do it anyway. Because I am worth it. Roar!!!!) (and because we have the same taste in boots.) (And music) (and I am a goofy fan girl for Roller Derby gals!)
  • "the folks at Whole9 say" (It was the Whole9 folks who gave me the idea to bring all my own food to Atlanta and stick to my guns while doing it)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back from the Olympia

What a great freakin' trip! It was perfect in every way. The only thing that would have made it better would have been more gambling/spending money in my pocket. :-)

The people who organize the Olympia and specifically the Ladies that we dealt with in registration/check in/questions because we were confused, etc, were fantastic. The athletes were, for the most part, super gracious and patient and willing to interact. Only one of them was a bit sketchy in the friendliness aspect and even he ended up apologizing to ALL of us on Sunday morning. So, I forgive him and, in fact, I won't even tell you which on it was. :-)

I managed to stick to my meal plan pretty closely, with the exception of forgetting my faux-Lara Bars, which I am now calling "Ayla Bars". The big guy and i hit the buffet for a majority of the meals. Breakfast was pretty darn good there. Lunch ok, dinner was also pretty good. I utilized the Mongolian stir-fry stations but also pulled vegetable items off the salad bar and the Mexican food stations to give me more variety. I was pretty happy with that. I also loaded up on fruit for snacks and breakfast for the couple of days when we were pressed for time. My only serious deviation from the plan was a few sips of root beer to accompany a tasty hamburger that was on a bun, sorry - I couldn't bear to wrap that puppy up in lettuce. I wanted the whole burger/bun/toppings experience that I haven't had in months. And it was delicious! :-) I never did have the dessert I planned for. Never found one that I wanted. I think the hamburger bun took the place of it.

We managed to hit the pool area 3 days out of 5, sat in the hot tub for hours. Lounged in the sun. It was like a real vacation. Started taking Vitamin D before the trip and I think between that and some massive sun exposure it helped big time with feeling so darn good. No aches and pains, no hip torture, awake early, not cranky.... overall feeling much better. (Plus the massive doses of fish oil! Magic pills!)
More later. Lots of photos to post too!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ready to go to the O!

I am all packed. I made up a batch of jerky to take with me, a few hard boiled eggs, I'll pick up some baby carrots and maybe an apple for the flight. It's a long flight and I will not be held hostage by crappy on board food nor expensive, not-so-good-for-me food in the airport. I also made some home made Lara-bar type things. I wizzed up in a food processor a bunch of dates, toasted sesame seeds, unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla. Squashed it together on some waxed paper, flattened it out, cut in to serving sizes pieces and wrapped in waxed paper. A piece of this with some jerky = fruit, fat, protein. Just add water for a quick snack on the go.

The faux-Lara-bars are good. Not great. Which means they're perfect! It's not something that is so delicious that I feel the need to eat 4 or 5 pieces at a time. 1 piece or a half of one even is enough to quiet my stomach and keep me happy. I will probably not tinker with this recipe much.

Great news on the dog side of my life. The girl got a clean bill of health this weekend. She goes for a recheck in a few months but everything looks great right now. No re-occurrence in the lymph nodes and no other tumors. Cross your paws! Now I can go on vacation with a load off my mind.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Set your Bowel Disrupters on Stun!

Gearing up to head out to Olympia. It's been a rough, weird couple of weeks. Due to an extreme pay cut at work, I've been really depressed and angry. My nutrition has suffered, since I get paid every 2 weeks and the funds have been low, I haven't been buying enough veggies, which limits my meal choices and sets off a vicious cycle of more resentment and also feeling like crap because I'm not eating well enough. Sigh. It's hard.

I'm realizing that while it seems that I can eat homemade, slow fermented sourdough bread once or twice a week and still feel fine, if I happen to add in rice a few days on top of that and them maybe not getting enough good fats from avocados, etc.....well, then I *really* feel like crap and all the body aches come back. I wouldn't have eaten the rice if I'd had enough veggies. Again, the vicious cycle.

Sunday I ended up having a bout of really foul gastric disturbance, in addition to some flu-like-symptoms. Coincidence? Probably not. I ended up missing my favorite gym day - leg training. Slept for most of the day and generally felt awful.

I also had 2 nights of hot flashes/night terrors which I haven't had for a while. (I am going through peri-menopause) It's probably been over a year since I've had that fabulous sensation. Connected to the food debacle? Meh, maybe, maybe not. After the first night, I made sure that I had some ice packs wrapped in cloth in the freezer. As soon as I woke up in a sweaty panic, I ran to the freezer and cuddled up with my chilly friend. That was a huge help. I haven't had a flash since then so many I'm done with them for now.

In the mean time, I was able to scrape up enough cash to get beef on sale so I could make jerky. I also did a really good veggie shopping session at my favorite cheap-o veg store. Organic? Not a chance. But plentiful and cheap. 2 bunches of broccoli rabe for a dollar?? How can you pass on that. I splurged 3 bucks on a huge box of figs. Plus a ton of other good things. I feel better already. *grin*

Todays food so far: breakfast was fruit and jerky, lunch is a big salad with some mango and sautéed chicken with lemon juice and garlic and grass fed butter. This girl and her stomach are much happier.
Now I can start packing for Olympia!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What would Ayla eat in Las Vegas?

How would Ayla handle Las Vegas? OK, OK, she'd run screaming from the din and sea of humanity, the dirt, noise and pollution, the lack of wild life (by that I mean animals, not humans running wild). She'd have no appreciation for the glitz and the lights and the sheer plastic beauty that is Las Vegas.
It is possible she might like the buffets. Maybe. But she'd be very picky. A lot of the stuff they have she might not recognize as food at all. So what would she select if she decided to stick around? Let's see....

When I was there last, I was blown away by the fruit that was available. Is it seasonal and local? I am sure it is not. They're not growing raspberries there in Las Vegas, not in that heat! However, I know I'm not going there for a local harvest of seasonal produce and free-range, pastured, grass-fed meats.

My intended prey at the buffets will be:
  • Meat that still looks like meat. Which means hitting the carving stations for prime rib and perhaps turkey or other fowl if they have it. Some of the seafood choices might also be safe, if I can avoid the fried shrimp and the farm raised salmon. If it looks like a part of the original animal, I'll probably trust it as safe enough to eat for the short time I'll be in Vegas.
  • Fruit that still looks like fruit. That means a fruit pasty or Ambrosia salad is out. As I said earlier, the last time I was there, the fruit was spectacular. So, I'll eat the plain fruit salad and be very happy. Hopefully some of the fruit will fall in to a small container that I'll have in my purse and I can eat that later in the day too. *grin*
  • Vegetables.... well, I honestly am not sure what to expect. The salad bar should be good. I'm sure there will be a few good choices mixed in with a lot of really awful ones. I'll pick and choose carefully. I might bring a small bottle of my own extra virgin olive oil to make my own dressing, since the dressing/oil choices might be dubious at best. The Orleans Hotel where we are staying also has Mongolian BBQ available, which is sort of a pick-your-own-items-and-we-stir-fry-it-for-you type of thing. Usually I can make some good meals out of that and the vegetables tend to be super fresh and delicious. You can also pick your own sauces and seasonings (soy, garlic, ginger, etc) so you have some control over what goes in to your mouth. I think this will be a helpful addition to my meals.
  • Snacks: I will be making a batch of my home made beef jerky before we leave. Super lean beef, sliced thin, marinated in fish sauce (not soy sauce), hot & black pepper, a little ginger, a little lime juice....dried in the oven on low until it's, well, until it's like jerky. Delicious, compact, protein filled, portable snack food that Ayla would recognize. Can't get more primal than that! For another portable snack, I'll also probably be bringing along some "crispy nuts" ala Nourishing Traditions. I find nuts to be much more digestible if I soak and then dehydrate them. I had a LARA bar for the first time this week. I have to say, I'm not really sure if I liked it. I can see their usefulness as something I could keep in my purse to snack on. However, it was way more dried fruit than I thought it would be. It was delicious for a "bar" but still more carbs than I'd like. If I paired it with some jerky it might be ok. My idea "bar" type snack would be some pemmican from U.S. Wellness Meats. But right now, it's out of my budget to order up a batch of that, as much as I'd love to! (If U.S Wellness Meats would like to send me some, I'd be eternally grateful!)
I think if I can stick to all these things my inner Ayla will be happy and I will be happy. Can you think of anything else I can do to stick to my plans? (keeping in mind that I will not be checking luggage, so whatever I bring will have to be dry, portable and TSA approved for the flight!)


It's only 14 days until the Man & I leave for Las Vegas. We'll be enjoying our first live-and-in-person Olympia weekend. This will be the 2nd time I've been to Las Vegas. Last time was in 2002, a week after I was diagnosed with ITP, so it was kind of a weird vacation. Not knowing what the outcome of the illness would be, having a lot of activity restrictions from my hematologist. The only good thing was that I was on about a million milligrams of prednisone and Solu-Medrol... since I'd only been on it for about a week, it made me feel great - energized, no joint pain, clear skin. So, while we were in Vegas, I felt great!

Of course, after a few more weeks on it, I'd gained over 15 pound and felt like death. C'est la Vie!

Anyway, back to the trip at hand. We're both super excited to head off for Olympia. We've been saving all our change since the day after Olympia 2009 so we could afford this. We got the super duper VIP packages, 7th row seating for the contest. We cashed in our air miles that we earned from the other part of our life (the non-body building part!) It's the 45th Olympia and coincidently it's the Man's 45th birthday this month. Exciting!

Next up - a post on how I intend to stay healthy and focused while we're in the land of buffets and dessert tables. :-)

Fun and FREE!

I ordered this logo on a shirt from Vista Prints today. I had a coupon code for a free shirt, and for postage I used money I got from doing s few online surveys, so net cost to me really was free! I like freebies.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Post & Introduction

Welcome Oh Intrepid Readers! Welcome to my blog. Here I will write about lifting weights and the glories of food. I try to eat as primally as possible, with a smidgen of Nourishing Traditions thrown in. I strive really hard to eat things that my Grandmother would recognize as food - and I try to take it further than that: What would Ayla eat? W.W.A.E? Yes, I know she's fictional, but somehow asking myself that when someone is trying to present me with a bag of cheetos or a box of Dunkin' Donuts, which I call Dunkin' Death®, it helps me resist a little better. I picture Ayla wrinkling up her little primal nose and backing away, reaching for her spear so she can poke the offending, non-food item away.
With that being said - I am NOT perfect, I am not the food police, I like chocolate, I like bourbon, I like ice cream and if it's your birthday, I will most likely have a small piece of your cake. I'm also half Japanese, so I will have rice on occasion. I bake my own slow fermented sour dough bread and I am planning to build my own earth oven in the yard and I will be eating my bread, even if Ayla most likely didn't eat bread. I figure if I resist the Dunkin' Death® and the cheetos on a regular basis i can eat a moderate portion of home made, high quality, lovingly made non-primal food and it won't kill me. So, when I talk about baking bread or eating the dessert that I am probably going to have when I go to Las Vegas for Olympia weekend, please do not send me hate mail.
I'm also going to talk about my struggles with Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The Hashimoto's is really the thorn in my life. You know how some people who are overweight will whine : "But it's my thyroid!" Well, it really is my thyroid. I have the tests to prove it. That doesn't make it any easier to deal with working my butt off, lifting heavy, eating clean, getting plenty of sleep and not losing any weight at all. I am experimenting on what works for me and I am finally getting my weigh/body fat to move in the right direction. When I tell you that I've lost about 9 pounds so far this year and I am thrilled, I'm sure you'll scoff at me, unless you've danced with this illness yourself.

That's all for now. Signing off to go batten down the hatches for Hurricane Earl!
Strongest Girl