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Today’s nutrition:

9:00 plain coffee

10:00 mixed nuts

12:00 beef fajita filling wrapped in omelet with tomato; blue berries (about 2 oz)

3:00 3 strawberries in chocolate; 1 small piece dark chocolate cake

7:30 Indian chicken curry w/ cauliflower

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Day 3 of week 4

I find it very interesting that there are different stances on the Paleo diet, even among people who acknowledge each other as being helpful resources on nutrition and respected colleagues.

For example, I read “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf and he discusses the huge merits of exercise along with eating healthy, and does not seem as stringent about the rules of eating, just as long as you don’t eat sugar, wheat-based products, dairy and legumes. He gives a few tips on things to avoid, but there’s not much outside of the original rules of the diet that he says to stay away from. I understand where he comes from. He had very negative reactions to living on a vegetarian diet and found that as soon as he stopped eating carbs altogether and gluten, sugar and legumes, and added meat, etc back into his diet he felt much better. He knows how much the diet helps for certain health issues. He is also a health-club owner and so for him it makes sense to promote exercise as just as important as the diet.

The other book I’m reading on Paleo is from Loren Cordain, called “The Paleo Diet.” He wrote his several years, maybe a decade, before Wolf’s. He really focusses on the diet itself and hardly goes into the exercise portion at all, although he does include the advice to exercise along with eating right, but in moderation.

He is much more strict on what to eat and what not to eat. Even for those things that you would think fall into the category of “paleo,” he excludes certain things, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, etc. Now, I think it’s hard to determine which oils Paleo man ate. Fish oils, likely, other oils from animals. But most likely, the only other way they ate oils was through eating nuts and things like avocado. Maybe even flax seeds if they were around. But certainly not olives or olive oils, canola or canola oils, etc. Yet Cordain says to use things like olive oil, walnut oil and canola oil and to avoid coconut oil and avocado oil. I’m not too sure why he makes that distinction. It seems contradictory to the strictness of what we’re assuming Paleo man ate. He says to eat lean meat, not fatty meat.

He says to avoid vinegar and to use lime or lemon juice instead. He says to stay away from potatoes. He says to not use salt or eat bacon.

Now, I suppose you could further restrict your intake of certain foods, but at some point you might feel so restricted that it doesn’t become practical anymore. For example, I haven’t restricted yogurt 100%, but have given it to myself as a treat once a week.

I couldn’t eat food if I didn’t add salt. I just would not enjoy it. I am using very healthy salt right now, Himalayan salt, which is pink in color and I just purchased unprocessed sea salt from the French coast. It’s gray in color and very expensive. I want my food to taste like something and it doesn’t make sense to me to deprive myself of flavor.

Perhaps salt is not the best thing in the world to have in your diet, but all animals need salt, that is what I’ve always heard. Even animals that live out in the wild look for ways to add it to their diet. As for bacon, sure, that’s likely something that Paleo man didn’t have, but they did eat wild pigs, I’m sure. It’s just that bacon has been salted quite a bit and Cordain has apparently reason to believe salt and salted products should be restricted.

Perhaps he is right, and we are consuming too much salt. It is likely a good idea for me to cut back on my salt intake, but for now, that isn’t really what I want to focus on. It is challenging enough not eating anything with sugar or wheat in it. It is difficult to not live on the beans and rice and heavy starches that I have been so used to and which I have always loved. I think we need to make the diet work for ourselves and if that means that for some ingredients you cut back but not entirely restrict intake, then I think you’re already a long way in the right direction.

I talked to some people at work about the Paleo diet, some of them call it the caveman diet. Whatever you call it, it is something people either show a genuine interest in or write it off almost right away. They could never take their kids off their milk, cereals or sweets, some say. Or they could never limit their intake of food to just 8 hours a day like I’m doing. I was interested to learn that my department’s head is on the diet and has been for over a year. She admits she cheats every now and then, but she’s super thin. Others I’ve spoken too are interested to hear how I do by the end of my eight weeks and whether I’ll keep it going. But they really don’t see themselves following it. I’m hoping to be an example for them, making a huge impression on them, even though I am only going for losing 10 pounds, which might not even be noticeable to anyone but me.

I include when talking to people that I feel so much better, less bloated, more clean inside and that the fasting portion of the diet is not as hard as they think it might be. For example, today I wasn’t able to sit down and eat until 1:45 and I was hungry, yes, but not moody or in pain from it, like I would be before if I hadn’t eaten for that long. Now it feels like my body can handle the extra time off food and I silently pat myself on the back that I am able to do so without it really affecting my mood or daily life. While I do have to be aware of what I eat and what a prepare before hand so that I don’t have to cheat out of necessity, I am not finding it a hardship.

To me it’s like a fun puzzle, figuring out how to make the most of the ingredients on the “allowed” list. As there are many types of meat, vegetable and fruits and all kinds of spices and flavors you can add to them, it’s not likely you will run out of ideas. But I copied down some of the meal ideas from the two books mentioned above, that I borrowed from the library. There are also plenty of websites and blogs out there of gluten-free recipes. So I am not too worried.

Today’s nutrition

9:30 plain tea

11:30 handful of blueberries

2:00 lunch: baked salmon with asparagus salad; leftovers from last night (beef fajita with egg) plus a tomato and guacamole from half an avocado

4:30 hard boiled egg

7:00 1 fried egg, 3 pieces bacon, 2 pieces dark chocolate, handful almonds and cashews

Today’s nutrition

11:00 coffee

12:15 salad w/ baked salmon and asparagus, lettuce, baby spinach and balsamic vinaigrette; chicken curry w/ cauliflower; handful blueberries

7:30 beef fajita filling wrapped in thin omelet w/ salsa, hot sauce and cilantro; 3 pieces dark chocolate

Sundays are when I go grocery shopping for the week. Last week I hadn’t needed to go shopping for food because I had enough left over from the previous week. So this week I went early on Sunday to the store. Before I went, I wanted some ideas for meals, so I looked on my iPad and found one I could modify from Jamie Oliver. It’s a chicken curry with rice, but instead of the rice, I did it with cauliflower (see the recipe and photos below). It took a while to prep and make, but it came out really good.

I did real good at the store, only spending $81. I think I’m getting better at choosing stuff from mostly the meat and vegetables sections.

I started cooking almost as soon as I got back home. Besides the chicken curry, I made two other meals for the week too: a salad with baked salmon and asparagus and a meal I call Beef Fajita. It’s basically what I would put in a beef fajita (beef, onion and green pepper), but minus the cheese and sour cream. It can be served with guacamole, which I make myself (see food post from January 6).

Chicken Curry with Cauliflower

This recipe from Jamie Oliver will last me two or three days. Instead of rice pilaf, which his recipe calls for, I used cauliflower. I also modified the recipe a bit to fit my taste and based on what spices I have on hand.

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Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts (enough for 2 people)
½ head of cauliflower
14 oz canned tomatoes
olive oil
small bunch of fresh cilantro (about 15 stalks)
2 teasp. ground cardamom (I used garam masala, which contains cardamom)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teasp. ground coriander
½ teasp. ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 onion (medium size)
1 ½ tablespoons almond meal
2/3 – 1 cup chicken broth, warmed up
4 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger root
1/3 cup plain yogurt
lemon juice
hot sauce or hot chili flakes
sliced toasted almonds (about 3 tablespoons)
salt

  1. Put 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 crushed or ¼ teaspoon powdered clove and 1 teaspoon cumin in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Remove the leaves from the stalks of the cilantro and put them in a small bowl with cold water. Keep the stems and cut them up very fine.
  3. Put the chopped cilantro stems, the finely cut or pressed garlic and the grated ginger root in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cut the chicken up into small, bite-size pieces. Set aside.
  5. Dice the onion very fine. Set aside.
  6. Dice the canned tomatoes and set aside.
  7. Dice the cauliflower up into bite-size or smaller pieces.
  8. In a frying pan, add oil and add the whole clove, 1 teaspoon cardamom or garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, break the cinnamon stick in half, add it and fry the spices until aromatic. Add in the cauliflower until coated with the spice/oil mixture and then add the warmed up chicken broth. Let it come to a boil then lower to simmer, put lid on and cook until cauliflower is soft (about 15 minutes).
  9. Over high heat, in a second frying pan, add oil and add the chicken to brown. Once brown, put the pieces on a plate and set aside.
  10. Lower the heat to medium. In the same frying pan, add the spices from step 1. Let them cook for about 30 seconds. Add the diced onion and let this cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and slightly golden.
  11. Add the items from step 3 plus the diced tomatoes. Add tumeric and coriander. Let this cook for about another minute. Stir through the almond meal.
  12. Add the chicken and stir until the chicken and vegetables are covered in the spices. Add salt to taste and a little bit of water or chicken broth and let this cook for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  13. When ready to eat, add 1/3 cup plain yogurt and stir thoroughly. Plate the food and add the cilantro leaves and toasted sliced almonds on top. Sprinkle with lemon juice and/or hot sauce to taste.

Beef Fajita

Ingredients:

1 lb approx. beef sirloin (steak tips) cut into small bite-size pieces
1 green pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow onion (I used Vidalia) sliced thin
Chili powder
Steak seasoning (I use Penzy’s)
Cumin
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

  1. Sprinkle the beef with olive oil, salt, pepper and the spices to taste (I use about half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of each of the spices).
  2. Brown the pieces of beef in a frying pan on high heat with olive oil.
  3. Let the beef rest on a plate. In the same pan, add the onion and pepper and cook until softened and slightly golden. Add more oil if needed.
  4. Lower the heat and add the beef back into the pan and cook for a minute or so more.
  5. Serve the mixture with guacamole. Add hot sauce or salsa if desired.

Today’s nutrition

9:00 coffee

12:00 salad (baby spinach and iceberg lettuce) with baked salmon and steamed asparagus, w/ balsamic vinaigrette; chicken curry with cauliflower

6:30 2 eggs over easy, 3 slices bacon, one tomato, peeled with basil and olive oil

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These four compositions show a little bit what has changed since 3 weeks ago:

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The newest photos are on the right side, the oldest on the left. I will try to make sure that I get the exact same angles and lighting for the subsequent photos. It’s very hard to take photos of yourself when you’re by yourself!

Today’s nutrition:

10:00 vanilla yogurt (a cheat item) with cherries and blueberries; tea (plain)

1:00 chicken curry with cauliflower (great recipe I found from Jamie Oliver, only I substituted cauliflower for the rice, and there’s a tiny bit of yogurt in this); two pieces dark chocolate

6:00 beef fajita (beef with peppers and onions fried in Mexican-style spices) and guacamole

Day 7 of week 3

So here we are at the week 3 mark. I weigh 135.0 lbs, which means I only lost half a pound since last week. A bit disappointing. However, I am not going to let it discourage me, as I am going to assume that my body’s composition is changing and perhaps I’ve gain muscle mass. Who knows, it’s hard to tell, but I’m not going to get discouraged only 3 weeks into this.

Yes, I had hoped I’d be further along as far as the weight loss. But in any case, I am happy with my body so far and I definitely am looking more toned in my abdominal area. Still more to do on my arms, but the abs are coming along. See here:

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As far as measurements, I don’t seem to have changed from last week either.

I’m still going to go for my goal of 128 lbs. There are still 5 weeks to go, so I think it’s possible.

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Countdown

Completion of 8-Week Impossible Abs programMarch 4th, 2013
8 weeks completed!

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