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I’ve been terrible the past week with keeping up with the blog. I promise I shall fill you in on the past week and all that I didn’t have time to share up to this point.

Today I weigh 132 lbs. This means I lost 6.5 lbs since January 6th, when it was 138.5. I really think I lost more like 8 lbs., as my average weight has been 140 for the past few years.

Here are side-by-side comparison shots (the left is today, March 3rd, 2013, 132.0 lbs, the right is the day I started, January 6, 2013, 138.5 lbs):

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IMG_1353 Status photo

Quite a difference, even at just 8 lbs. My theory is that I must have gained muscle mass, because I do feel stronger and the weight loss was so gradual, that it would make sense that with dieting plus exercise, you’re gaining muscle while you’re also losing fat.

What now? I want to keep going! I want to get stronger and even leaner. Maybe another 5 lbs. to go and just keeping up the habit of daily exercise and eating right. I did it and I can keep doing it. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself.

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Broccoli-leek-potato soup

The recipe in the magazine. I made mine without the sour cream and chives.

The recipe in the magazine. I made mine without the sour cream and chives.

(Modified to be “paleo” from a recipe by Food & Wine magazine.)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and tender parts only, finely chopped
1 – 1 ½ lbs broccoli, stems peeled, and sliced/cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large or two small-to-medium boiling potatoes, cubed
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5-6 cups chicken stock/broth
Salt & pepper
Zest of one lemon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup almond milk or other non-dairy/non-soy milk
Chives or cilantro

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli, garlic and 3-4 cups of the chicken stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the broccoli is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate sauce pan, add the rest of the chicken stock and the potato, add salt and boil on medium-low until potato is soft enough to mash. The potato will soak up most of the stock. If liquid gets too low, add more. When done, add the milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cilantro or chives. Mash together.
  3. Add the mashed potato mixture to the broccoli/leek soup. Using a handheld mixer, puree the soup until the desired consistency.

Walnut shrimp salad in endive leaves

I also added red peppers, tomato and cucumbers to this for a more substantial dinner.

I also added red peppers, tomato and cucumbers to this for a more substantial dinner.

(Modified from Food & Wine magazine, the original calls for hazelnuts and hazelnut oil)

Ingredients:

3 tbsp walnuts
2 garlic cloves, smashed, plus 1/2 teasp. minced garlic
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
2 tbsp chopped celery leaves (optional)
1 scallion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
3 large Belgian endives, leaves separated

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a pie plate, toast the nuts for about 10 minutes or until they are fragrant and browned. Transfer nuts to a clean kitchen towel and rub off the skins. Let the nuts cool then coarsely chop them.
  2. Meanwhile bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil with the smashed garlic. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 2 minutes. Drain and let the shrimp cool, discard the garlic.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the minced garlic, 1/2 teasp of salt and a generous pinch of pepper until combined. Whisk in the hazelnut and olive oils until incorporated, then stir in the chopped basil and celery leaves. Stir in the scallion and 2 tbsp of the chopped nuts until mixed.
  4. Coarsely chop the cooled shrimp and add to the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss the mixture to coat the shrimp.
  5. Arrange the endive leaves on a large platter and spoon the shrimp into them. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and serve. I added tomato, cucumber and red pepper to mine so I could have it as a dinner. Otherwise, this is good as an appetizer.

Today’s nutrition:

12:00 turkey burger and salad (same as yesterday)

3:30 4 pieces dark chocolate

5:30 broccoli/leek/potato soup

 

I did my food shopping today as well: went to Whole Foods and spent about $150.

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Today’s nutrition:

10:00 hot chocolate with organic sugar and almond milk

1:30 a turkey burger with sun dried tomato, hot sauce and basil; side of salad: tomato, cucumber, avocado, yellow pepper and Boston lettuce; dressing with olive oil, lemon juice and spices.

turkey burger and salad

turkey burger and salad

6:30 (Ate out at Johnny D’s): pork ribs with sweet bbq sauce, mashed potatoes with cheese and asparagus; 4 vodka tonics

I ate out quite a lot this week, for 4 different meals. The only two meals I did pretty good with were the two lunches. The dinners were less Paleo than I would have preferred. I think it’s tough having a social life and eating with friends or family while still trying to do a Paleo diet. I suppose I could have asked the server to modify the food for me. I could say: leave off the rice or potatoes, which I didn’t do. Maybe it’s because I hate to be a bother when it comes to ordering in a restaurant, and I can easily just put those items to the side of the plate if I don’t want them. For today’s dinner I only had a few bites of the potatoes.

I figured also that this week will just be a wash, considering I did not stay 100% Paleo.

My weight this morning is 133.0. Another pound lost and down 5.5 lbs since I began the program. Here are the photos from this morning:

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Today’s nutrition:

11:30 2 eggs over easy, 2 slices ham, half a plain grapefruit, large cup tea

breakfast

breakfast

2:30 cup hot chocolate w/ almond milk

7:00 beef fajita wrapped in omelet with avocado and tomato; mixed nuts

beef fajita wrapped in omelet with side of avocado and tomato

beef fajita wrapped in omelet with side of avocado and tomato

Day 6 of week 5

This is the meal that I described earlier this week. It is a Spanish recipe from this book: “Spain Mediterranean Cuisine” by Konemann (translated from German). “Fricassee” means something like braised, meat cooked in some liquid slowly. Man, this stuff came out delicious!!

Chicken Fricassee with Walnut Sauce

Chicken Fracassee with Walnut Sauce, plus salad

Chicken Fracassee with Walnut Sauce, plus salad

IMG_1207

Same meal but with fennel and tomato

Ingredients:

1 small roasting chicken 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. (organic or free-range)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine (I used white cooking wine)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 bunch parsley
3/4 cup almond milk
4 cups chicken stock (organic)
1 – 2 garlic cloves
2 cups almond meal
(optional) 2 tablespoons regular flour
salt + pepper

  1. On a chopping board, cut the chicken into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 legs). Set the carcass aside for another purpose, such as making chicken stock. Season the pieces with salt and pepper
  2. Put about 1 1/2 – 2 cups almond meal on a plate and coat the 8 pieces completely.
  3. Fry the pieces in a large casserole pan with olive oil over very high heat, turning each piece so they are all browned evenly. Set aside. Lower heat to medium. Leave the oil and drippings from the chicken in the pan. Saute the finely chopped onion for about 5 minutes. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and pour in the white wine.
  4. In a mortar (or in a mixer or food processor) crush the garlic, walnuts and parsley. Add the milk and mix until a thick mixture forms. Add this to the pan.
  5. Add the chicken stock to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook on medium-low for approximately 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan when done. Using a hand-held mixer, mix the broth/sauce until pale brown.
  7. If the sauce needs thickening, add a slurry of water with 2 tablespoons regular flour. I tried doing this with almond meal, but there isn’t enough binding material in meal, so flour is best. Alternatively, use some other meal or flour that has gluten in it. A boiled potato or two could also work, I would expect. You can also try cooking the sauce on medium-high on its own with the lid off the pan to reduce it down.
  8. Add the chicken back into the sauce and serve. The recipe suggests sprinkling boiled eggs over the dish, but I didn’t think it needed it. Sprinkle fresh herbs over as well.

Ginger Stir-Fry with Shrimp and Snow Peas

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 teasp Chinese chile-garlic sauce
1 tbsp corn starch (optional)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger cut into fine matchsticks
1/2 lb. fresh snow peas
1 lb. medium ship, peeled and deveined
4 small scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

  1. In a small bowl whisk the chicken stock with the soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce and corn starch.
  2. In a non-stick skillet heat the vegetable oil. Add the ginger over moderately high heat until softened, about 1 minute.
  3. Add snow peas and stir-fry until crisp-tender and ginger is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and stir-fry about 1 minute.
  5. Add scallions and stir for about 30 seconds.
  6. Whisk the sauce and add it to the skillet until the shrimp are opaque and sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Serve.

Today’s nutrition:

1:00 1 large cup tea, small bowl vanilla yogurt with fresh blueberries and chopped walnuts

breakfast

breakfast

3:00 few slices ham

4:30 beef fajita filling with tomato, guacamole and wrapped in a thin omelet; 4 pieces dark chocolate

7:00 mixed nuts

Day 2 of week 5

I have been so inspired and happy about healthy cooking that I took a look at what new books the library might have on healthy cooking. They had several that I want to check out at some point:

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I was thinking about the crepe question and wondering if there’s a way to do Paleo baking. I know cavemen didn’t bake because they didn’t have flour or meal. There is also likely no gluten-free baking that doesn’t contain some kind of other ingredient (like sugar) that you can justify as Paleo. But I think strictness to a diet can go overboard. I know people who eat vegan or whatever the diet may be, and they allow themselves to cheat. I was just thinking that at some point in the future, I’m going to be wanting to bake for myself or for friends and I want it to be as healthy as it can be, and want to steer away from too many of those ingredients that make you feel heavy and bloated.

Hence the reason for looking into healthy alternatives. And there are celiac-disease sufferers who manage to eat some breads and stuff like that. I’m not celiac and I am not doing this at all because I have a disease. I just want to eat healthy, whole foods. Baking gets us into territory that the cave men didn’t know anything about. So just bringing it up as an option is a bit ridiculous. But still. Chocolate cake. Pancakes. Cookies. Those things do call to us every once in a while, and if we’re going to eat them because we absolutely can’t resist, then we must eat the most healthy version of them, in my opinion.

Today I weighed myself for my end of 4th week mark, exactly half-way through the program and I am at: 134.0 lbs.

Not bad. If I continue to lose a pound a week or so, then I will be down to 130.0 by the 8th week. Really hoping this happens.

I would be very happy with 130, although I’d still probably try to go for 128 eventually, or perhaps even 125 if that is possible. I’d like to have a very low body-fat percentage. The ideal for a woman who works out is between 12 and 17% and I remember being at 17% when I was in my twenties. I would be happy with a 17% ratio now in my forties.

Photos of me now:

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I don’t see much of a difference from last week, but then I really didn’t expect to.

Countdown

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

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