Sunday, January 5, 2014

Paleo Day 5 Update

Today is day 5 of my Paleo "lifestyle" (I am refraining from calling it a diet, because I believe it is anything but) and so far, so good.  I haven't cheated, for one thing.  Not that I haven't been tempted, but the important thing is that I haven't done it.

What am I struggling with?  Let's see.  First and foremost - I certainly miss carbs and sugar and dairy.  I'm not craving anything - yet.  I've been "craving", in general, something sweet.  To combat it, I eat a spoonful of almond butter.  It helps!  But I'm not "craving" anything specific.  In all fairness, I have already cut so much of these things out of my diet that I really didn't think going Paleo would be a huge leap for me - and even though I just wrapped up a December Of Gluttony, I don't think that either of these three food groups are serious trigger-type foods for me, enough so that I'm dying for them right now.  Because I'm not.

Another thing:  I was supposed to go out to lunch with my mom and my daughter today at the King of Prussia mall, which has a plethora of restaurants and eating establishments to choose from.  (The ice storm ruined our plans.)  Yesterday while trying to determine what time to meet and where, I was checking out menus of restaurants there, and man, is it HARD to find a Paleo-friendly meal in a restaurant.  I mean sure, you could go in and order something and modify it like crazy to make it Paleo, but very few dishes are Paleo-friendly as-is.  Oddly enough, the safest options appear to be steakhouses - you can't go wrong with a steak and a baked potato (without any of the good stuff).  Eating a salad would be easy enough, if I could learn to love oil and vinegar on my salad, or an italian type of dressing, but I just can't.  I've never liked oil-based dressings.  They are often too tangy for me - they make the insides of my cheeks tingle - eating salad with those types of dressings is never enjoyable for me.  I've always been a dairy-dressing girl - specifically, blue cheese dressing.  And many of my hang-ups would be solved if I could bring my own condiments.  I know people who do that, and I personally don't have any issue with it - it's not like I would be embarrassed with someone at a restaurant if they did that - I think I just feel like, I don't NEED to do that.  I don't have a dietary NEED to make my own dressings or condiments and bring them with me.  In other words, the reason I'm Paleo right now is to further my health, to push myself into other realms of cooking, to learn to like new foods and healthy foods and to continue on my healthy habit journey.  I'm not Paleo because I have issues with dairy, or soy, or grains, or nightshades, or any of the many reasons people cite the Paleo lifestyle helps to improve.  I'm just doing it because I want to.  Therefore, my feeling is, if I want to go out and have a salad with blue cheese dressing, knowing that the dairy won't send my system into some kind of shock, then I should just do it.

Is that considered cheating?  I'm not sure.  A step down from Paleo is a lifestyle called Primal, which allows dairy in moderation.  But I suppose as far as the standards I've set forth for myself - no dairy, no grains, no added sugar, no legumes - it would be considered cheating.  It's a personal wrestling match.  Plus, I've been on here spouting about how I'm going "100% Paleo!" in January, and if I fail, then oh gosh, I would just have to admit it now wouldn't I?

Perhaps a blessing in disguise, today's ice storm ruined our plans, so no blue cheese dressing on my salad today.  But next weekend will present the same dilemma - I have TWO lunches planned, so I need to do some thinking, and fast.

But I've got days for that.  At present, I'd like to share with you what I'm making this week!  I know of at least one person who's waiting for this post, so here goes.  Keep scrolling for some pictures and reviews of what I've made this week.

Breakfast:  Fried Eggs with Sweet Potato Hash
Lunch:  Skipped.  Oops.  Seriously though, we haven't even gotten off the couch today.  No calories needed.
Dinner:  Oven-Braised Mexican Beef

Breakfast:  Leftover sweet potato hash with poached eggs
Lunch:  Chicken Salad  (I got this recipe from my Well Fed 2 cookbook; I made her mayo this week, and I just adapted the recipe to use chicken instead of tuna)
Dinner:  Cilantro Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

Breakfast:  Almond Flour Pancakes (I can't find the recipe I'm using, but I'll post it later this week)
Lunch:  Leftover chicken stir fry
Dinner:  Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy

Breakfast:  Menemen
Lunch:  Leftover beef burgundy
Dinner:  Pork chops and green beans

Breakfast:  Banana Almond Pancakes
Lunch:  Buffalo Chicken Salad
Dinner:  Steak and Eggs Hash

Breakfast:  I'm not sure, I'm gonna have to figure something out because I wasn't a huge fan of the omelet muffins I made last week.  (More below.)  Maybe leftover steak & eggs hash.
Lunch:  Buffalo Chicken Salad
Dinner:  Crock Pot Turkey Chili

Breakfast:  Another meal I'll have to figure out.
Lunch:  Out to lunch with mom & Maraea.
Dinner:  Roasted Potatoes, Chicken Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

Weekly Reviews
Now, for my reviews of the recipes I've made already.

1.  Avocado Bacon Omelet
I wasn't sure how to feel about hot guacamole wrapped up in an omelet, but it actually wasn't that bad.  Omelets were never really my favorite things - I like runny yolks, not cooked yolks - but I tried something new.  This was certainly filling.

2.  Chicken Tostadas
The chicken was marinated in a citrus juice / cilantro / garlic marinade, and was very tasty.  The tostadas were made out of plantains; which smelled good, but I burned them.  They need less time in the oven next time.  The ranchero sauce was good and packed a good heat to it.  I'm making this one again, but I'm going to try and not burn the tostadas, obv.

3.  Banana Almond Pancakes
Yo.  These are NOMZY.  I really loved these.  I would have eaten two more except I wasted them on my daughter who told me, "You didn't make the pancakes good this time."  (Because it wasn't the normal mix.  In time, she will be converted.)  Only problem is that the batter wasn't as cohesive as a normal pancake batter and it was hard to tell when to flip them, and they were hard to flip.  They turned out better than my other pancakes though.  (Keep reading.)

4.  Egg Salad
This was okay.  I don't have a go-to recipe for egg salad, so I was just trying one I found that I thought looked good.  This one had green peppers and celery and scallions and parsley in it.  Next time, I will probably leave the green peppers out.  I love green peppers, but they didn't really have a place in the salad.  Otherwise it was pretty tasty.  I put it on top of lettuce and mixed it all up to make what I called an Egg Salad Salad, but I would have preferred to wrap them in lettuce leaves.  My store didn't have any that week.

5.  Omelet Muffins
Ehhh.  I wasn't a fan.  I was so hoping to love these.  But again, I don't like cooked yolks in eggs.  I like runny yolks.  When these first came out of the oven they smelled real good, but I popped them into the fridge for consumption the next day.  Cold omelet muffins?  Ick.  I nuked them, and they were just okay.  They were not good enough for me to want to blow almost an entire dozen of eggs on another recipe.  I'd rather just poach two eggs and eat them plain than make these again.  They sure looked pretty though.

6.  Chicken with Shallots and Sweet Potatoes
This dish wasn't half bad.  The shallots and rosemary are sauteed in coconut oil and then I just poured them on top of a grilled chicken breast.  Plain mashed sweet potatoes - I added some ghee while mashing to give some flavor, though it wasn't called for in the recipe.  I'd make this again, but I need to figure out what to put into mashed sweet potatoes that makes them a little tastier.

7.  Almond Flour Pancakes
These were tasty - but a little gritty.  While I was just looking for the link to post above, I came across another almond flour pancake recipe that used many of the same ingredients, that instructed you to use a hand blender to fully combine all the ingredients.  I think I will do that with this recipe next time.  As you can see, I suck at flipping pancakes.  And I also suck at determining the proper temperature to cook them on at the right speed.  I'm getting there though.  However, I'm tempted to find a Paleo waffle recipe because the work is all done for me in a waffle maker.  Mental note!

Right now, I've got oven-braised Mexican beef filling my house with a hearty, mouth-watering smell.  I can't WAIT for dinner tonight.  Which oops, reminds me, I gotta go whip up a batch of guac to slather on top.  Yum!

A couple more pictures....

Here's my bounty secured from Whole Foods yesterday.  Talk about "shopping the perimeter".  By the time I got through the meat department, my cart was nearly full, and I only needed to grab some spices and some cans of tomatoes to round out this week's meal plan.  It wasn't easy on my bank account, but I did have to stock up on a lot of meat (my freezer stash was down to almost nothing).

This is what my dog is eating this week.  I add protein to her meal, but I made a fruit-and-veggie salad to scoop from every time I feed her.  In addition to this, she sometimes gets some spoonfuls of pumpkin; leftovers of ours (roast chicken, sweet potatoes, etc); coconut oil; apple cider vinegar; and a selection of supplements that are supposed to help with her allergies.

And last, I am somewhat of a stalker, and am always interested in peoples' kitchens.  When I read food blogs, I try to imagine what their kitchens are like.  What is their setup?  So in case you might be wondering, here is where all the Paleo magic is happening in my household:

It's not usually this clean.  I'm proud of this kitchen though.  I designed the remodel from top to bottom, with the help of a kitchen designer of course, but I love this kitchen.  Love love love it.

That's all I've got for today folks.  More to come this week.  This week I go back to Weight Watchers.  I'm eager to see what my weigh-in number is on Thursday.

Have a great week!!  xoxo

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