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)