Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Give your body some credit...

Sure, taking in less calories than you burn will probably help you lose weight, but lets give our bodies some credit. We are much more sophisticated than that! Are we losing water weight? Muscle mass? Fat is obviously what we are hoping for and aiming for right? Problem is, your body loves to burn sugar and protein. This means (in a carbohydrate heavy diet, like the Standard American Diet) quick energy, burned very fast, and then what? It starts using up your muscles, that's what. Like I said, a complicated and sophisticated process that we need to understand in order to utilize. It's time to re-program.

Become a fat burner.

I'm a logical person. I love to know the 'whys' and 'hows' of things- especially ones to do with my health and my body. I've read a lot of "research" in the past, most of which, upon further "research" (and usually after I've argued shallowly, yet passionately on it's behalf) is thoroughly debunked. (ahem.. China Study *cough* lipid hypothesis *sneeze*)

I've come to love scientific voices that are objective, thorough, and make sense. Mark Sisson is that. He presents the science, understands the interpretations, and never dodges a tough question. His Primal Blueprint education is brilliant.
It's hard to argue with feeling better, stronger, more comfortable, and more in control than you ever have- and interacting with thousands of others on the same journey. Marks Daily Apple has an awesomely supportive community!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Finished 21 day challenge and beyond!

We finished up the 21 day challenge on Sunday. Even amidst family gatherings and carbs galore, the hubs and I stayed oh so true. It wasn't very hard.
I'm 10 lbs down and feeling strong!
We took "after" pics to compare to our before shots and I can actually see a difference! In 3 weeks! My collar bones show, my legs and butt have tightened up, my arms are smoothing out some, and my abs are on their way out to say hi! The pictures may or may not get posted as we originally intended them as personal journal keeping, and I don't relish the thought of putting bikini pics of me on my blog. Maybe if/when I get crazy amazing results and look fabulous in a bikini. :)
I keep meaning to post recipes, but there have been so many great ones that I've lost track!
I must say, there is something strangely empowering about making ones own mayonnaise. I added lemon essential oil and dill to go with my tuna and cucumbers on romaine lettuce. DELISH!
I also delved into satisfying my children's requests for primal sandwich bread and muffins. Some tweaks need to be made, but we're getting there- no cheats involved!

It is looking more and more like we are in this for the long haul. "Cheats" aren't fun and don't satisfy. I can taste chemicals in things now, and just a little wheat can cause a lot of gassy, yucky toilet time. I am enjoying the REAL food and energy that I have all the time now. I love not feeling hungry, snacky or crave-y constantly! It is majorly empowering to not revolve around eating!
Ironically, I am now going to post a link to a movie about FOOD. It is excellent. And you can watch it for free through Feb 1st.
Watch FRESH!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Primal Day 14- Results and Decompression

Two weeks down! This past week only got more dramatic, with more family crisis and people in need. The old me would have been wound up and in constant tears. Instead I found myself calm and collected, able to address problems and do what needed to be done. I've felt beautifully calm and capable despite loads of driving time, extra children in my home (distraught ones at that), lots of extra work and emotions running high all around me. I have no doubt part of that is blessings from above. I also have no doubt that the Primal lifestyle- stabilized blood sugar, plentiful fat- nourishing neural pathways and balancing hormones, has had a large part to do with it as well. Every so often, my emotions decompress and I have a grumpy bout or a good cry, but for the most part I feel amazingly stable and great.

I allowed myself to step on the scale last night for the first time this week, expecting to find that the time of the month and the stressful week would have taken effect. I have done very little purposeful exercise this week- though a lot of kid-lifting, carrying and walking have been done, so I thought that was another strike against me. Not so. I was happily shocked to find the weight still sliding off effortlessly. In two weeks I've lost eight pounds! Whilst drinking shots of heavy cream for snacks and gobbling down bacon and eggs almost every day (and plently of fresh veg with moderate fresh fruit too- let's not forget those). Fat is definitely my friend.

Today my baby brother spoke in church- a report on his LDS mission in Seattle for the past 2 years. (He was amazing!!) Afterwards, there was food to be had. I knew that sweets would abound, as would pasta salads, chips, crackers, and white rolls. I went proactive and brought trays of Primal food- bacon wrapped water chestnuts, mini caprese skewers, cucumbers with herbed cream cheese, and a giant tray of veg. There were of course loads of the other stuff, but there was also shrimp cocktail and meats, cheeses and fruits. We allowed the kids a treat or two, but refrained from all the non-primal fare ourselves. I can only speak for myself, but it was EASY! I wasn't even tempted and I didn't feel deprived in the least. My body did not care for the sugar and grain in the room. I LOVE THAT!! No mindless munching- only mindful enjoyment.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Primal Day 10- Precious Moments and Primal Pancakes

I'm going to be honest, it hasn't been an easy past few days. So much life has been happening- juicy life, the kind you remember forever- finding the deliciousness within the struggle and the trying times. Those tiny moments you reach to glean and savor so that you aren't crushed by stress, worry... pain. Just so much life- to accept, to adjust to, to truly and fully experience before it's gone.

That said, I'm an emotional eater and I always have been. I stuff people full of my most delicious adoration to show my love, and when I need a crutch myself, I savor... food.
I know it isn't the greatest crutch, but I'm working on it. I have actually been pretty darn good. A little extra dark chocolate, a drizzle of raw honey, one too many apples, but nothing that throws me off track. I've been awful at exercise the past few days. I probably need it more right now. I'll get on that today I think. I need a break from the abundant cortisol!

Okay, enough about me. You want to hear about the food I've made?? Of course you do.
I've taken up this beautiful primal habit of using food up until there's nothing left in it. Animals especially. I've been reading some great stuff over on Mark's Daily Apple (because it's chalk full of great stuff!), and I just can't throw away a carcass anymore! We've been trying to get more meats that aren't chopped, trimmed and scoured down to presentable bits. Our very first official primal day, after a nice long primal shopping trip and with no time to cook before the ravenous tiny new cave people began throwing fits, we brought home a rotisserie chicken. That night I started my first homemade stock. I stuck the carcass- bones, fat, skin and all in a pot with some celery and garlic, covered it in water and boiled it for about 4 hours. It was my first time, and it was delicious, but I could do better. Since then I've made 4 or 5 batches of good chicken and beef stock- fat and mineral rich. And it's as easy as sticking the bones or carcass in the crockpot (sometimes just back in the same crockpot it was cooked in with all the fat and drippings), covering it with water and a touch of apple cider vinegar (to leach out more minerals) and letting it cook for hours. Usually at least 10 hours, sometimes up to 24 hours. It's SO good!! I've taken to freezing some of it in muffin tins and then transferring the 1/3 cup "pucks" of stock into a gallon ziploc to keep in the freezer for future use.

This morning my oldest son asked, "Mom, when is this challenge going to be over? I miss sandwiches and treats." I told him we'd be eating this way for a long time and that treats every once in a while will be okay after our bodies have fully adjusted.
It made me realize I needed to try to make some paleo "breads" and other substitutes now and then to keep things fresh- especially for my kids. So I went upstairs and made some awesome Primal Pancakes and allowed the kids some fresh local raw honey on them.
That brought a lot of smiles!
I've talked about these before, but I feel like little changes have made a big difference!

Primal Pancakes

6 large eggs
6 heaping tablespoons almond butter (about 2.5-3 oz)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla (or scrape out a bean)
a dash of sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Preheat griddle or pan to about 350˚ melt down a pat of butter and pour your batter on in whatever shapes or circles you deem necessary. Flip once bubble surface in the center of the pancakes and cook for another minute or so. Serve with melted butter and cinnamon, apple butter, sliced pears warmed in melted butter and vanilla or yogurt with a drizzle of raw honey. They also taste pretty great on their own and the texture is awesome!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Primal Day 6 (Catch up!)

I have some catching up to do. In short, I feel awesome. No more exhausted stupor. My energy levels are pretty consistent and I rarely feel hungry. (And when I do, I eat!)
I'm progressing on my PEM #s! Yay me! I just finished a nicely active morning of lifting heavy things- unloading the Bountiful Baskets co-op truck and helping to divvy up the spoils at top speeds (since the truck was SO late), followed by an amazingly fun session of Suspend and Bend Yoga. The weather suddenly figured out what month is was sometime during the night, so swinging like a bird from the ceiling of a warm room while watching the snow fly outside the window was surreal and magical. I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud. We've upped the fat in our diets so that no one is stopped up anymore and I for one am feeling more consistently happy. I watched the documentary Fat Head the other day, so now I understand why that is! (If you haven't watched it, do- it is on Netflix for those of you that. The second half is particularly educational.
It the past few days, we've eaten like kings... or... cave-kings. Chicken Bacon Brussels Sprout Soup, beef ribs, and our Primal Celebration Feast of Chicken Vegetable Curry over cauliflower "rice", with baked Spiced Vanilla Butter Pears and whipped cream (unsweetened) for dessert. It was so fun to be with Sara and Jason and family, and while their little Hazel didn't love the curry, the other kids gobbled it up and asked for more. Lovely friends and great conversation. Mornings have been abundant with bacon, eggs, Coconut German Pancakes with Spiced Apple Butter, fried eggs over roasted asparagus with bacon, Primal Pancakes, and veggie scrambled eggs.
I don't miss sugar and grains for the most part. I do miss the occasional drizzle of raw honey, which after we finish the challenge will definitely be re-entering our house.
The other day I looked in the mirror and was pretty gobsmacked by how healthy my skin looked! I've noticed the hubs face looking healthier too. I feel strong and healthy and (slowly but steadily)increasingly trimmer. I've lost about 5 pounds in the past week and while I fluctuate often, I feel good about that.
My kids are willingly immersed in the Primal lifestyle- with awesome food, more family togetherness and more outings and play time, who wouldn't be?? I've let them use their own discretion at school regarding treats from classmates and teachers (there are so many! Gah!). And while our oldest (9 1/2) has indulged a few times, our 6 year old has refused almost all treats graciously. I've been so impressed. It has been a gradual change, but my girls are much more reasonable and less tantrum-y this week than last. I have no doubt it's due to our diet changes!
I do wish that our Grand Adventure for today hadn't been waylaid by snow, but it looks like we may just have to go out and play in it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Primal Day 3

I. am. exhausted.
Due mostly to the little one that had tummy issues last night and rolled around on my bed alternately screaming and sleeping in odd positions for 3 hours. Not fun.
I'm working on getting her more veg, and less fruit (she eats a lot!). I also gave her some kefir today to see if some probiotic love will help. Not sure if my kids just aren't used to digesting pork, but they all had a bit of tummy aches and constipation this morning. They devoured those boneless pork ribs last night! They were good!
I tackled my Full-Length PEM (Primal Essential Movements) workout for today's exercise challenge. It's a 5 minute aerobic warm up, followed by 2 maximum reps rounds of Pushups, Squats, Pullups and Forearm Abdominal Planks. Kicked. My. Butt. AND after working on negatives for the past few months, I was able to do my first real unassisted pullups in years! Woohoo! I have a problem maxing out in squats. The PEM Mastery requirements say at least 50 is great, but I stopped at 155 my first round... because I was mentally done. My legs didn't tire in the least until the end of the second round. My legs have always been my powerhouse.
My results went like this:

Push Ups Round one: 25 Round two: 30

Squats Round one: 155 Round two: 156

Pull Ups Round one: 6 (assisted with a tiny Round two: 6 (2 unassisted,
push off the floor) 4 assisted)
Plank Round one: 42 seconds Round two: 55 seconds

Need to work on those planks!!

Lunch was a giant salad- Romaine lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, celery, red peppers, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms and avocado topped with leftover rib meat, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. SO YUM!!
I'm thinking something lighter like chicken and veggie coconut soup for dinner. I need a break from heavy meats!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Primal Day 2

We had a great time adventuring out to find our primal fare and re-stock our pantry and fridge last night. Well, until the kids got too rowdy and yelled everything very excitedly in public until I snapped at them and we headed home. That wasn't fun.

It is awesome to have good food and snacks in the house and it really wasn't much more expensive than a regular shopping trip- even as we stocked up on meat!
I'm reading Mark's Daily Apple and learning so much! At first when we tried to explain what was going to happen to our 4 kids, there was a LOT of moaning and groaning. But as we emphasized what we can have rather than what we can't, they hopped on the wagon really quickly. They went back to school today- which usually results in candy and treats, so we'll see how they do with it. We are allowing them a little more leniency with carbs and calories since they are growing rapidly, but we've set the ground rules! Yesterday we started with an awesome egg, veggie and turkey frittata. We sat down to a rotisserie chicken and loads of steamed broccoli with butter last night. I then proceeded to make my own chicken stock from the carcass and some veg and spices (my first time ever doing so!). We are already seeing an effect on the "eat constantly and then eat some more" habits of my ravenous little ones. It seems like they are snacking less and feeling more satiated. Today we breakfasted on scrambled eggs and smoothies. I've adjusted our smoothies to contain less fruit and much more veg- including spinach, celery, carrot, cucumber, avocado, chia and flax seeds along with the fruit. My boys were pretty excited to have almond butter to dip their celery and bananas in for lunch at school, along with carrots, cheese sticks and turkey.

The littlest little has really gotten into her primal snacks- she loves almond butter!
I've noticed that despite chowing on broccoli last night, she didn't wake with painful gas like she usually does. She slept 'til 7:30 this morning!
I crashed early (for me) last night at 10:30. I had a rough night and didn't feel well- we've had a tummy bug going through our house, so it may have been that, but I think I also overdid it on the pistachios! With some essential oils and taking it easy on breakfast, I'm already feeling much much better. The hubs stayed up late last night (a no no), so we're going to keep our screen curfew tonight for sure!
I'm thinking some country ribs might be din tonight- with a salad and maybe some brussels sprouts or asparagus. Breakfast tomorrow I may do primal pancakes- I've got apples baking down to a sugarless sauce in the crockpot to top them with since we can't do honey or syrup.
I think maybe I'll take the kids for a walk today.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Going Primal

I have a few years worth of history (on this blog alone) concerning my semi-vegan, vegetarian experiences and learning. So it might seem slightly hypocritical to say I'm going Primal (not to be confused with the similar Paleo diet). I am a firm believer in life seasons and learning. After I had my 3rd darling little, I started my mostly-vegan journey and dropped weight like there was no tomorrow. I did P90X and got down to 155 (which at 5'8" and a rather amazonian build is a fairly big deal for me). It was at that very space in time that I was surprised with my 4th pregnancy. Since my last daughter was born, the same diet has not done the same thing. It isn't what I thrive on anymore. My body chemistry has changed. I crave sugar regularly, I'm tired almost all the time, and I can't lose a pound to save my life. My husband has never stopped having worsening allergy problems, chronic headaches and fatigue no matter what lifestyle/diet we've had, and he's a sugar addict of the monstrous sort! My children are taking after their dad in the sugar addiction field and I won't have it anymore. So we're trying something new. It's a gene-reprogramming transformation program to turn us into "fat-burning beasts"! Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint 21-day Total Body Transformation Challenge.
I can do anything for 21 days right? No sweat!... Well... there will be some sweat involved, but it won't be over missing bread. :)
I've been loving the Mark's Daily Apple Blog. There are some great explanations of the science behind the Primal/Paleo lifestyle there on the blog itself but I highly recommend Mark's books for the deep down dirty inner workings of it all. The awesome success stories of those that have gone Primal are inspiring. I want in.

So here we go! My pantry, fridge and freezer are purged of all sweeteners, processed foods, grains and legumes. They are all feeling fresh, clean and rather naked. I'm off to find some good organic veg, fruits, free-range meats and eggs, and raw, organic fat-filled dairy. Go Grok!