Sunday, September 18, 2011
At the times of my life when I've had a boyfriend, I've positively lived for lazy Sundays. Sleep in, have a big brunch, get some stuff done around the house, and maybe curl up on the couch together for a good movie. And I usually enjoy these types of lazy Sunday afternoons as a single gal, too, but sometimes - usually when my hormones are all whacky because FLO is about to stop by - spending a lazy Sunday getting things done alone SUCKS.
Today was one of those days.
I mean, I accomplished a lot. My clothes are all clean, my car is all shined up, groceries have been purchased, and I now have another bison meatloaf, a few cups of mashed cauliflower, a pot of chicken coconut curry, and a pot of broccoli cheddar soup chillin' in the fridge to get me through the week. Plus I made serious progress on my grad school apps, which is friggin' awesome! My school list is set and the essays are all drafted. Things are well underway.
But you all know how hormones can be. They can make you CRAZY. And lonely. Doesn't matter how well things are going - one second I'm folding laundry, the next I'm all over some silly song playing on the radio.
It's shaping up to be a feel-good movie and a good night's sleep sort of evening. Things always seem happier in the morning. :)
Happy Sparking, folks.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
After a week of paleo/primal/clean eating and workouts, along with going public with my plans to go back to school next year, I'm starting my weekend in a nice content state of mind. There's a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to change colors...I just love this time of year!
Today's paleo adventure started off with a fantastic run. 50 degree weather FTW! I stuck to the bike path and went low tech: no podcasts, no music, no heart rate monitor. Just me in my sneakers, listening to how my body was feeling. I ran/jogged about a mile, walked a bit, did a few reps of sprints, and then walked home. There was a brief detour to stop by the pond and watch some ducks and a swan quacking at each other, and then it was back home for bacon and butternut squash soup. Could you ask for a better September morning?
Since the weather is colder I'm on a soup kick. I already mentioned the butternut squash soup, and on the way home last night I picked up the fixin's for broccoli cheddar. It's hard to find paleo friendly commercial soup stock but I found a brand ("Kitchen Basics") that's gluten free with no preservatives but not prohibitively expensive. It'll get the job done. Soup stock my be my next culinary adventure, but in the meantime I've got broccoli, cheese, chicken stock, and a shiny new immersion blender all ready to go!
Now...on to yesterday. The good news - no cavity after all! So I just had to face the standard torture of a dental cleaning. My gums are still tender 24 hours later, and my gut flora are all out of whack because I have to premedicate before dental work, but I'm eating yogurt and I survived my return to dental care relatively unscathed.
Ok, on to the bad - my tooth pain, which had actually stopped on its own (well, until the dentist found the spot and poked at it for a while - sadistic bastard!) was not from a cavity. Apparently I'm suffering from "decalcification" all over my mouth, in a distinct pattern that pops up when people have had braces in their youth. It's kind of like the first stage of a cavity but not in a way that warrants treatment. The doc recommended Sensodyne toothpaste and a daily fluoride rinse, and sent me on my merry way.
That sounded reasonable but I was curious so I looked up decalcification last night and this was the first link that popped up:
The take home point is that scientific studies done in the *1920's* proved that teeth, with cavities, are perfectly capable of healing themselves as long as you have:
1. Proper mineral intake, 'specially calcium/phosphorus
2. Plenty of fat-soluble vitamins - vitamin D in particular (most important step!)
3. Limited phytic acid, which binds up minerals and makes them unavailable, so skip the grains and beans
Basically...eat primal. Winning! I hope this means I'll be in better shape by my next cleaning, six months from now.
(Ok, angry rant time: As I was reading this I started thinking about how WRONG the government recommendations are, and how much solid science is completely ignored so that big businesses can keep us fat and unhealthy so that they can milk us as cash cows, and it just made me SO ANGRY!!! I've always been fairly apolitical but with everything I've learned about nutrition, health, and politics in the USA these past couple of months I'm hopping mad and ready to take to the streets! From the processed food and sickened meat in our grocery stores to the pill-pushing medical industry OF COURSE we have an obesity epidemic! Gah! /rant)
Aaaaand now I feel like some sort of crazy hippy-dippy conspiracy theorist. (Is it still paranoia if they really are out to take your money?)
Angry rant aside, this little n=1 primal experiment seems to be delivering serious results even just one week in. I'm down two pounds after this week of bacon, eggs, vegetables, fruits, meatloaf, steak. butter, coconut oil...and I haven't changed my calorie intake or boosted my workout routine at all. I can't wait to see what results the next week brings!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Not much of interest to blog about today, since everything I ate was leftovers (well, not the bacon, eggs, and spinach this morning, but bacon and eggs are hardly breaking news. Very nom nom nom-y, though!) I had a nice long walk to the train station this morning, saw an obnoxiously cute squirrel sitting on a picnic table eating an acorn. Winter must be coming soon! Pretty typical day. :)
I spent the evening cooking good hearty foods for the next few days. Butternut squash soup, spaghetti squash with meat sauce, baked sweet potato, and a salmon fillet. There is much work to be done on the grad school application front this weekend and I don't want to lose hours in the kitchen! Well, maybe a little time...I do still want to make shepherd's pie.... Anyway we've got the first taste of coldish weather rolling in this weekend and it's the perfect time to bust out some autumn friendly recipes. Mmm, autumn. The best season of the year!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
First, The Good: my slow cooked pulled pork made with an on-the-fly no-recipe dry rub. The rub was about 1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 homemade "seasoning mix" that contained varying amounts of cumin, paprika, black pepper, salt, cinnamon, ground ancho chilis, and ground cayenne pepper. Basically whatever I had in my spice rack that sounded good. I ended up with about a tablespoon of dry rub and used it all on my pound of pork shoulder, wrapped the whole thing up tight in foil, and threw it in the toaster oven at 250F for about four hours. It came out mouthwateringly tender and surprisingly sweet, considering there was zero sugar in the dish. I threw it over a biiiiig bowl of baby lettuce with some cheddar cheese and salsa for lunch. Delicious!
On to The Bad: I think I have a cavity. I've been extremely negligent about going to the dentist, even though I now have dental insurance, and I fear all those years of ice cream and cookies have taken their toll. My molar is NOT happy about being poked, even by the soft bristles of my toothbrush. On a positive note...at least I'm finally getting to a dentist now? AND, as if that wasn't punishment enough, my french press broke in the sink last night! So I went out for a latte this morning, which made my tummy all rumbly. And then I had more teeth brushing to look forward to. Blergh.
And now for the Oh Thank God (yadda yadda yadda): I finally told my boss that I'm applying to go back to school! I've been trying to find a good time to bring it up for months now and her not knowing was starting to get ridiculous, since I needed to ask for a recommendation, but I finally found my moment today. It feels SO GOOD to have that off my chest and out in the open. Plus she was totally supportive and said she thinks it's a really good idea for me to go back, though she didn't want to encourage it because she likes having me work for her. I lol'd. The news did work its way through the rumor mill awfully quickly, though. But I think even that is for the best. I never regret being honest. :)
Oh, and one more bit of good...it wasn't my official "weekly weigh in" but I hopped on the scale after work, just out of curiosity, and I was all the way down to 138! Whoop whoop, primal is AWESOME! Rawr.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I got some great news today! The small farm/ranch that I've been buying my meat from at the farmer's market each week had an opening for their meat CSA from December - June and I got in off of the wait list! Yay! I thought I was going to have to drive for many miles to find high quality chemical free, pastured, grass finished meat and free range chickens when the farmer's markets packed up for the season, but instead I'll just have to walk across the street and pick up my cooler full of frozen healthy deliciousness! I will need to stock up to get through October and November but my freezer has plenty of space now that I'm not stockpiling Lean Cuisines and frozen ravioli. :)
For those of you who haven't encountered a CSA (I only just learned of them last year myself), it stands for "community supported agriculture." You usually run across them as a farm crop investment. You buy in at the start of the growing season, the farmer uses the money to get his fields planted, and then every month you go and pick up your share of veggies and fruits. It's a good way to support local small farmers and make yourself eat lots of fresh, seasonal produce. The downside is that you have to plunk down a large sum of money up front (usually in the hundreds of dollars), and if you don't have a large family you end up with WAY more produce than you can possibly consume! I have colleagues that split a farm share between two or three families, which is a great option if you can convince friends to go in on a share with you.
A meat CSA is exactly what you would expect it to be - you buy in for a certain amount of meat and then show up for your share every month. The only difference is that you can make smaller payments every month rather than paying up all at once, since the animals need to be fed year round, unlike fields of crops. :) Just like a produce CSA you don't get to pick what goes into your share but it's guaranteed to cover a range of cuts (e.g. steak/ bacon/ ground beef) and some variety of animals (beef/pork/lamb/chicken), depending on who took a turn to the slaughterhouse that month.
The farm also has open house days each season so you can "meet your meat." Six months ago I would have been completely horrified at the thought but since I started the paleo thang I've developed a much healthier relationship to my food! I'm glad to know that the meat I'm eating was once a cow that had a stress-free life with plenty of grass and sunshine, or that my chicken got to nest in a converted school bus while spending its days pecking and scratching around a farm yard.
Healthy animals make healthy meat which make for healthy people! So I've never been so happy to get in off a wait list before, and this has been one hell of a good primal-experiment day.
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