Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How did THAT happen?

so we are into our third week post whole30 challenge.  i have been watching my progress on the scale, and while there have been some ups and downs, it appears i have lost another 5 lbs so far during the month of may, for a total weight loss since january 1, 2011 of 48 lbs.  HOLY MAMA!!!  i was really surprised when i stepped on the scale this morning. i have been eating plenty of food (seriously -- you can trust me on that one!).  I have eaten some sugar (72% dark chocolate, a little ketchup, a little sugar on some strawberries) and some dairy (cheddar cheese, HOT COCOA!!!!), but not every day.  i have continued to avoid wheat and grains (mostly because there hasn't been anything that i wanted to risk feeling yucky for.  when there is something that is worth it, then we will see what happens.) 

i have not been keeping track of my calories, but i have tried to keep exercising consistently.  most days i try to do both light weights and walking, but some days it is just one or the other (like today -- i just had time for a light leg workout). today i also did 30 sit ups!!! whoooo hooo!!!

the main problem i have had is with drinking water.  i don't like plain water.  this has always been an issue for me.  i don't like the texture of water.  does anyone else think water has a texture?  to me, any water won't work. different brands of bottled waters have different characteristics, and i have my preferences.  the filtered water we get from our refrigerator is pretty good.  living in the pacific northwest, we are very lucky to have high quality water to drink, so i really don't have any excuse to buy bottled water, do i?  i do keep water with me all the time, but i just don't drink it all.  i am also taking a prescribed diuretic, so if i drink too much water, well, you know what happens!

i am still eating protein at every meal.  here is what i had for dinner last night -- grass fed ground beef  seasoned with mexican seasonings, topped with mashed avocado and salsa, and accompanied by a green salad that included tomatoes and cucumbers.  it was yummy, but i ate too much too late in the evening and for the first time in a long time i had take some tums.

here is another recipe for you.  if you are like my husband and i, we like eggs, and we eat them for breakfast almost every morning, but sometimes a little variety is nice.  this recipe is for homemade breakfast sausage, and it comes from the "paleo comfort foods" cookbook, by julie and charles mayfield.  i have made this sausage and it was really good.  what i like best is that you can tailor the seasonings to suit your family's tastes.

  homemade breakfast sausage

1 lb ground pork
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped*
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped**
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped***
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Take ground pork and mix with all the ingredients.  Form into 2-inch-wide patties.  Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Place sausage patties in skillet and cook until browned, then flip over and continue cooking until sausage is fully cooked through. 

i wanted a large amount of sausage so i used 1 lb of ground pork and 2 lbs of ground turkey.  i then tripled the seasonings to accommodate the larger amount of protein.  i also browned the sausage in a little olive oil in the skillet. 

* fresh sage is great if you have it, but if not, use approximately 1 tsp dried sage.  ** again, fresh is great but if you use dried, just use half the stated amount, so 1/2 tsp of dried thyme.  ***ditto the fresh, if you use dried use 1/8 tsp of dried rosemary.

after eating this sausage, my husband suggested that i include some fennel seed in the next batch.  i haven't made it again (yet) but when i do, i will add about 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed to 3 lbs of protein. 


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy As A Clam!

last weekend we went to the coast, where we have a small house just north of long beach, washington. long beach is on a 22 mile long peninsula in southwest washington.  the peninsula is surrounded by the pacific ocean on one side and  willapa bay on the other side.  we always have a fun, relaxing time when we go.  here is the link to the long beach peninsula website.  it is full of information on all the activities you can enjoy if you go.  one of our favorite activities to do there is clamming.  when there is a minus tide (meaning an extremely low tide) we drive about 45 minutes around to the mainland side of willapa bay to our favorite clamming spot, and we get out our rakes and bags and start digging for steamer clams. 

if we pick the right spot, every draw of the rake across the sand can yield at least one clam, sometimes more.  shellfish licenses are required, and each person can keep up to 40 clams.  on this day, my husband, my son and i limited out in less than 30 minutes! here are the results of our labor:

i couldn't wait to make our favorite clam recipe for dinner.  it is chef mario batali's recipe for manila clams with pancetta, red chiles and linguine:

1 lb linguine *
1/2 medium red onion, finely minced
1/4 lb pancetta, cut into 1/8th inch dice(our local trader joe's sells packaged diced pancetta that is perfect)**
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced (i use about 2 cloves of garlic -- 4 is too much for me)
6 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp crushed red chile pepper
1 lb manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed
2 cups white wine ***
4 tblsp unsalted butter
1 bunch italian parsley, finely chopped (yield 1/4 cup) (i use dried if fresh isn't available)

bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tblsp salt.

in a large saute pan, saute red onion, pancetta and garlic over medium heat until onion is very soft and pancetta is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add hot chiles clams, white wine and butter and bring to a boil.  cook until all clams have opened, and then set aside.

boil linguine according to package instructions. while softened but still firm, drain in colander over sink and toss into pan with clams and stir gently to mix.  this should still be a little broth-like.  add chopped parsley, pour into warm serving bowls and serve.

* as we are still mostly wheat and grain free, my husband and i had our clams served over zucchini "noodles" -- zucchini that had been cut julienne style and sauteed until it was just starting to soften. 

** i didn't have pancetta available at the time, so i used a pound of bacon that had been diced and sauteed it with the onion.

*** instead of 2 cups of white wine, i used 1 cup of white wine, 1 cup of bottled clam juice and about a 1/2 cup of chicken stock.  that is just how we like it.  i have made it with only the white wine as well, and it is still delicious!

here are the clams as they are cooking:

  and the finished product . . .

i served the clams with a big bowl of roasted mixed veggies for my husband and i, and with noodles sprinkled with parmesan cheese for my son (he is not totally grain free . . . yet!)..  we all scarfed it down in no time.  it was delicious!!!

i hope you are able to try the recipe sometime.  thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

waffles and bacon -- finally!!

comfort food at last!!!  last night i decided to fix breakfast for dinner.  bacon and waffles it had to be.  here is my waffle topped with some almond butter.  i have decided i like almond butter better than peanut butter in most cases.  it seems sweeter to me, even when it has no added sugars.  this waffle tasted very good to me, even though it was not my normal recipe.  my current recipe is based on the betty crocker cookbook version, which itself is very good. for those of  you who love waffles and are not eating paleo, here is betty's recipe: it is not paleo, however, so i made some changes.  my version is really yummy, but it is not paleo either because it contains spelt flour, which is a grain.  it is higher in protein and lower in gluten than wheat, but it is still a grain product.  so this time i took away the spelt and made it with almond meal, coconut flour and quinoa flour and very little sugar.  it fell apart on the waffle iron and when i finally got one to come off whole, it looked like it was burned.  it wasn't, but it was very brown and fragile. it tasted fine, but the texture wasn't what i wanted.  so back to the drawing board i go, and when i come up with the paleo recipe that works i will post it here.

the bacon was good too, but it was actually a bit of a let down.  here i was anticipating its salty goodness, and while i enjoyed it, i felt like it wasn't necessary to my existence like it had been before the whole30 challenge.  it will be part of our diet occasionally, but i am amazed at how my outlook when it comes to eating has changed so much in such a short time.

today was a bit of a cheat day for me.  i was really hungry after work, so i had a one ounce stick of cheddar cheese.  it was sooooo good!  then it left a really bad taste my mouth that i wasn't expecting, i have eaten this brand many times before, but i will have to think about how important eating cheese is to me.  i also had 2 squares of dark chocolate.  THAT didn't leave a bad taste!! it was fantastic!! :o)

so, another day is done, on to eating healthy tomorrow!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

whole30 challenge, day 31 -- wait, what?!!!

ha ha -- fooled you! you thought the whole30 challenge was over,didn't you?  so did i.  today just didn't present much of an opportunity to eat something different.  i was very busy with my part time job, and only had the time to eat the veggies and fruit i brought -- in my car -- on my way home.  when i finally got home i was able to eat some more protein.  while helping my husband fix dinner, we talked about our experiences over the last month.  we both agreed that we like how we feel. we are amazed that our cravings have diminished so dramatically.  we both lost weight. even though eating the same thing over and over again during the month got a little monotonous, we both agreed that we do really like the food we have been eating.  we are even maybe a bit scared to reintroduce some of the food we were eating before we started the challenge.  for example, wheat will not purposely be on the menu for us anytime soon.  i won't be jumping back into dairy with both feet either.  cheese will come back occasionally, as will butter, but my daily chocolate milk probably should morph into a saturday hot cocoa treat. bacon on weekends will return (hooray!!) as will my own waffle recipe. (but i will eat only a half of a waffle, and i will eat it with almond butter, not butter and syrup.)  right now it is wheat free, but i have been using spelt flour, which has a higher protein content and is lower in gluten than wheat.  i will be working to tweak it to get rid of the spelt, and when i do i will post the recipe.

so -- about my weight loss . . . drumroll please . . . . . . . in the month of april, i lost a total of 11 lbs!!!! that is the most i have ever lost in one month!  i also lost a total of 8 inches from all over my body.  i feel like i have to put in a disclaimer though.  in november of 2011, i had reached my lowest weight to that point, for a total weight loss of 40 lbs.  then between november and the end of march, i gained 8 lbs. i was still eating lots of veggies, good fat and protein.  i had quit soda pop and most wheat products, but i had stopped counting calories, and i indulged my sugar cravings far too frequently.  so, my total weight loss between january of 2011 and may 1, 2012 is 43 lbs.

that is the reason i decided to do the challenge.  i wanted to see if i could get rid of my cravings, and i feel hopeful that i can make better choices now. i know sugar is very addictive for me, so i feel like i need to be very careful about eating it now. 

here i am in february 2011, one month after my husband and i first started our weight loss journey.

here i am a week ago, after 3 weeks on the whole30 challenge (ignore the unmade bed in the background!):

still a work in progress, but i am determined to lose the rest of the weight -- looking at at least 20 more lbs. 
i am also contemplating doing the whole30 challenge again later this year -- now that i know i can do it!

thanks for reading and commenting.  i appreciate your support!