Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Been too busy... work, family, kids, CrossFit... you name it and I've been consumed. I've also been down and out this week with some minor back issues. This may be the kick in the pants that I needed to get my desk raised up so that I will have a standing workstation. We'll see. Gotta get the back healed up first.

Happy Halloween! This morning at Kitsap CrossFit, there was an appearance from Captain Paleo and Paleo Girl who reminded everyone to stay strong through Halloween! I also delivered some paleo scones which were delish! I will be posting the recipe for the scones soon.... gotta get caught up on stuff and get the kids through Halloween first! I hope you all have a fun and safe night trick-o-treating (for Paleo goodness of course!). Stay away from the candy tonight!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sugar, Insulin Resistance, and Fat Loss

I love this article by Jason Sieb on Sugar, Insulin Resistance, and Fat Loss.

Paleo Challenge

Kitsap CrossFit has launched another Paleo Challenge. This one started on Monday (10/10/11) and will go for 45 days (Yes, folks, through Halloween!), ending right before Thanksgiving. Since I'm already Paleo and have been for some time, people might not understand why I'm back in for another challenge? Because there is always room for improvement!

My goals for this challenge are to 1) cut out alcohol. 2) cut out paleo sweets and 3) increase my veggies while decreasing my fruit.

Before Paleo, I rarely, if ever, drank any alcohol. I mean none. Not a single drop. It was something that just never appealed to me. I never wanted to be drunk (I mean really, who wants to potentially lose control of their surroundings, their body, their decision making?), alcohol is expensive, and I didn't think that it tasted all that great... but when I first went paleo, I really wanted something with "taste" to drink with my dinner. I had coffee in the morning, water was fine through the day, and then I discovered that wine really tastes good with my dinner meal! So just about every night, I'd have a glass of wine with dinner. It tastes so good with a big old steak! So much so that this became habit and, well, it shouldn't be a nightly ritual.

Not every night but a lot of the time, my husband and I will partake in a post dinner paleo dessert. While paleo desserts are much better for you than the SAD (Standard American Diet) desserts, they still pack a punch with sweeteners and calories. Folks, no matter how you package it, a dessert is still a dessert. I was indulging in them a little too frequently.

I eat a lot of veggies every day but not nearly enough. I'm not sure why? Probably because fruit is just easier and tastes better (SWEET!). This is an area that I just need to work on. I think we all need to work on eating our veggies. I also find that when I'm at home (which is a lot because I work from home), I tend to "snack" through lunch (piece of fruit, slices of ham, nuts). I guess it is because I'm just here by myself and don't take the time to fix a proper lunch for just me. I'm focusing on eating a full plate of food for lunch during these next 45 days.

Over the next 45 days, I'd love to drop at least 5 lbs, feel great, and improve on WODs. Five pounds is a lot! Maybe if I lost it, my pull-ups and hand stand push-ups will improve?

My lunch yesterday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Special Occasion? Bacon Bouquet!

I've had a request to share how I make a bacon bouquet. Yes, nothing says, "You're special.",  "I love you.", or "Thanks!" like a dozen bacon flowers.

The hardest part of this is modifying a pan that will cook the bacon flowers. I had my hubby take an old muffin tin and drill holes in each cup in the tin. He used a large drill bit (I have no idea what size... it was big.) to get the job done. The holes are key as they allow the grease from the bacon to drip out of the bottom of the muffin tin so that the bacon can cook. Take a slice of bacon, roll it up, hold it together with a toothpick, and place it in the tin. Once you have a dozen raw bacon slices prepared, place the muffin on a rack which fits inside a baking sheet. The rack will allow the grease to drip out of the muffin tin and into the baking sheet which catches all the grease. Place the bacon in the oven on 350 and cook until done (~30 min? I can't remember how long it takes.). I also recommend flipping the bacon half way through so that both ends are evenly cooked. USE CAUTION when taking the bacon out of the oven. If you're not careful, the grease will spill and burn you.... or make a mess. Neither is fun.

Once the bacon has cooled, take a long wooden skewer and secure each bacon flower onto the skewer (the skewers are the stems!). Place them all together, wrap in parchment paper, and tie the paper together with a ribbon. Bam! There's your bacon bouquet!

Pan I use with drilled out holes...

I first made one of these for Dan's 39th birthday. It was a hit! Here's a happy Dan!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Paleo Junk Food

I've been thinking about a conversation that happened on Twitter this week for a few days now. It went like this:

Stacy and Matthew (Stacy and Matthew (@PaleoParents)
10/3/11 3:51 PM
It's unfortunate #Paleo(ish) brownies are assumed to make us want SAD Enough already w/ food guilt! #realworld #paleokids #SWYPO @whole9life

Whole9 (@whole9life)
10/3/11 6:34 PM
@PaleoParents A big part of the #Whole30 is eliminating cravings. How can you do that while eating brownies? We want folks to succeed. {m}

Stacy and Matthew (@PaleoParents)
10/3/11 7:04 PM
@whole9life I think working within the #whole30 framework it makes sense. Your lit spoke to that. This post tastes more of an overall tone.

Whole9 (@whole9life)
10/3/11 7:09 PM
@PaleoParents Yeah, it's overall. A "Paleo" dessert is still a dessert.

Stacy and Matthew (@PaleoParents)
10/3/11 7:23 PM
@whole9life Stating grainfree lowsugar "special treats" lead to #SWYPO is an assumption. They helped our family succeed. Worth a thought...

I think the whole thing (no pun intended) started with this post from Whole9. In a nutshell (pun intended!), it cautions against the Paleo-lithification of desserts and junk food while reminding us that a paleo-dessert is still a dessert. In my opinion, they assume that if we keep the Paleo version of our old eating habits, at some point, we will just revert back to our old eating habits (in a non-Paleo form). I disagree with them here and really believe that if I wasn't able to eat some Paleo junk food when I first went Paleo that there's NO WAY I would have stuck with it. Also, as a mother, I realize that kids are going to have some junk food. Whether it is in our house, at a friend's house, at a birthday party, or at school, they are going to leave the Paleo friendly walls of our home and they will consume junk food because it tastes good to them. I'd much rather send them into the world with a limited amount of Paleo junk food rather than to have them eat a friend's lunch that is full of sugar, gluten, grains, and all around nasty stuff. I'm assuming this is the position of PaleoParents as well.

I do appreciate Whole9's reminder though. While Paleo junk food is better than the normal junk food floating around 99% of the lunch boxes in America, it is still not nutritious. If your goal is to lean out, maximize benefits found in nutrients from food, and perform well, you just need to stay away from all junk food - Paleo junk food too! All Paleo junk  food has a sweetener, usually honey or maple syrup, which causes an undesirable insulin response in your body. They are usually full of fat too (almond flour, coconut flour, etc). While fat isn't a bad thing, too much of it isn't good. In this case, it could be what is causing you to miss your weight loss goals, your performance goals, or your health goals.

Bottom line, eat Paleo goodies if that's what you need to do to keep you Paleo but limit them. If your goal is to lean out and perform well, give them up completely. Junk food is still junk food no matter how it is packaged.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bread for Eric

I have a friend, Eric, who is in the Air Force and flies all over the world every month. He's gone (flying) more than he's here which makes eating  clean a huge challenge. Most of his time is spent in the plane (he flies the big one... not sure what it is called but it is so big that he once sent me a photo of a helicopter INSIDE his plane. He was transporting it from one continent to another which is the sort of thing he does almost every day.). We were chatting about strategies for helping him eat clean while working and one of the biggest (easiest) things he likes to eat are sandwiches. Of course this made me cringe and got me in the kitchen ASAP to see what I could come up with before he flies out on Tuesday.

I used a recipe from Elana Amsterdam's, "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook". Here is her recipe for sandwich bread:

3/4 cup creamy almond butter
4 large eggs
1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground flax meal

Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan with grapeseed oil and almond flour. In large bowl, mix almond butter and eggs until smooth. In medium bowl, combine almond flour, arrowroot, salt, baking soda, and flax meal. Blend dry ingredients together with the wet ingredients and pour into pan. Bake for 40 min, let cool for 1 hour before removing from dish.

This recipe was easy to follow without a lot of extra or unusual ingredients. I actually already had everything I needed in my kitchen. I had flax seeds which I put in my Vitamix Blender to convert them into flax meal... it worked great! Of course, the dish I used was slightly too big so my bread came out a little on the short side but it tastes pretty good! The texture is like bread and there is no smell of almond butter (I was worried about that). Hopefully this will help Eric stay on track while serving our country! The below photo is Eric hitting the Hero WOD, Schmalls, on Memorial Day 2011... of course, he did it in proper attire.

I'll be sure to post later and let you know what Eric thought of the bread.  :)

Stay Paleo, yo.