Monday, April 29, 2013
I got married in August of 2011. It was a beautiful ceremony held on the porch of a Lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan. We all ate a picnic lunch on the beach afterwards, and we spent the remainder of the day swimming and lounging on the beach. After a slightly more formal reception a few days later, we flew to Puerto Rico for our honeymoon. We spent 7 fantastic days and nights on the beautiful, Puerto Rican island of Vieques.
As I wandered through the shops in Vieques, I saw so many simple, beautiful sundresses. I learned quickly, however, that most stores did not carry plus sizes. I started asking as soon as I walked in, "Do you have clothes in my size?" The answer was nearly always, "No." On our last day on the island, I stopped in a clothing shop to pick out a few souvenirs for close family and friends. I still asked at the door, "Do you have any clothes in my size?" This time, however, the man running the shop replied, "Yes!" He proceeded to show me the 5 items he had in size "Plus Size". I mean this literally, he had 5 items that had tags that said: "Plus size" on the tag. There was a beautiful sundress, much like the ones I had been admiring all week. It was black and purple with a faux batik pattern embellished with basic embroidery. It was just a simple sundress, really, but to me it was seemed to be the perfect memento of a wedding and honeymoon spent among the surf and sun. I tried it on. While I could put it on, I could never let myself be seen in it. It was skin tight. It squeezed my chest into one giant uni-boob. It hugged my back and belly fat. It was not flattering, it did NOT fit, but I wanted it. I wanted a sundress purchased on our honeymoon. So I bought it. I knew I would never wear it out of the house...and once I got it home, I was afraid to wear it around the house because I was afraid I would rip the dress at the seams. So the dress lived in my closet that summer, and it was stored away for the winter. The next summer, I took it out and hung in in my closet. The next winter, I folded it up and put it back into storage. Each summer, I would take it out periodically and admire it and think fondly of our wedding and honeymoon. Then I would put it back.
We have some warm weather coming this week (yeah!), so I went downstairs to pull up some warm weather clothes this morning. I pulled out the dress thinking, "I may be able to wear this around the house now." Except when I put on the dress, it fit. It fit in a "I could wear this to dinner, and I'd look fantastic" way. I bought this dress with the knowledge that I'd NEVER be able to wear it. I wasn't even sad about it. It was a basic matter of fact, "I won't be able to wear this, but I can have it as a memento." I didn't even pretend to hope that "one day" I would fit into this dress. And yet, today, I do.
Something that I couldn't even imagine happening happened to me today. That's a great way to start a week!
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Over the weekend, we took a camping trip to Hocking Hills, Ohio to hike. It was very easy to adapt our old camping food list to our new lifestyle. We should have eaten more, however, for the hiking we did. Nonetheless, I found the Primal foods easier to pack, prepare, and eat while camping. We only included two foods with cheat ingredients. Since we were hiking a lot, we included more carbohydrates than we typically eat.
Breakfasts: Hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, leftover sweet potatoes fried in coconut oil
Lunches: Canned white chicken (only ingredients: chicken, water, salt) or tuna pouches with wholly guacamole (we would have packed avocados if we could have gotten some that were ripe), apples, and any of the snacks that we wanted
Snacks: Apple Pie Larabars, walnuts and raisins, pistachios, turkey pepperoni (not paleo), squeeze pouches of peach apple sauce, Sweets & Beets Chips (not paleo due to canola oil), beef jerky
Dinners: Meat, mushrooms, red/orange peppers, onions, zuchini, and sweet potatoes We pre-sliced veggies and the sweet potatoes. Cubing the sweet potatoes and storing them (triple bagged) in cold water made cooking them over the campfire much simpler and quicker.
Despite this blog entry, the trip really wasn't about the food: it was about the beauty!
Monday, April 01, 2013
We, like many people, primarily celebrate holidays with food. For me, I most look forward to cooking with family and a house filled with the aromas of special foods that may be prepared only a few times a year. This year, however, I had to rethink how we were going to enjoy these attributes of the holiday without sabotaging our new lifestyle. This turned out to be a fairly easy task because a) we had only two guests, both of whom are healthy eaters and b) I was in charge of the food. We had a wonderful meal, we enjoyed preparing it together, and none of us to ate in excess. AND the meal adhered to our Primal pincipals.
How we pulled it off:
1) I planned the meal carefully. I resisted the urge to prepare 20 different holiday favorites, and instead I focused on putting together a meal that fit our celebration of spring. As I planned the meal, I used the recipe calculator to figure out the nutrition profile for each planned dish.
2) I planned the snacks just as carefully. Snacks on holidays are usually my downfall. I selected 3 or 4 snacks that people could munch while we waited for the main meal to cook. I actually compiled a data table that let me see a total nutrient profile (cal, carb, fat) for the meal and a serving size of every snack and dessert. I wanted to make sure that if everyone had a serving of every snack food available, a full dinner plate, and a serving of dessert, their overall intake of calories, fat, and carbohydrates would be low enough to leave room for an additional small meal and snack in addition to the food we served (i.e., their breakfasts and dinner).
3) We served the soup course when guests first arrived, while dinner still had a few hours to cook. This not only gave people a healthy, filling (and DELICIOUS) way to fill up for awhile without lots of snacking, but it also broke up the cleaning a bit since we could tidy up the kitchen and soup dishes while waiting for the entree. Cleaning and kitchen chatter are a wonderful part of the holiday!
3) When I found our fat (and cholesterol) content was going to be a bit on the higher side, I nixed deviled eggs from the snack menu and I DID NOT replace them. Deviled eggs are an Easter tradition, but it was also a high-cholesterol, high-fat item (we make them with avocado). Even though I truly agonized about "no deviled eggs on Easter!", no-one missed them.
4) Next to every snack bowl , I put a bright, spring-colored post-it note with the the nutrition information and corresponding serving size (again, we focused on the basic calories, fat, and carbohydrates). We did the same thing next to our two desserts. In addition, I listed the nutrition information for our dinner (this was also to help one of our guests, a diabetic, be aware of what the carbohydrate counts were).
5) I plated dinner. This means instead of passing dishes or eating "family style", I portioned food onto the plates and served them. Everyone was welcome to get seconds (though I only made enough for everyone to have small seconds if desired). This would be tough to do with a big crowd (it's also difficult to do with multiple hot dishes).
6) After dinner, we took a family walk. It was a way to burn off some extra calories as well as spend more time together. Hubby and I also took a bike ride later that night!
Our holiday menu was a fairly light and thoroughly delicious success:
Snacks: Hazelnuts, almonds, jello eggs (made from only 100% freshly squeezed juice and gelatin), paleo pumpkin muffins, toasted seaweed, and fresh pineapple.
Appetizer/First Course: Asparagus soup (no dairy, creams or milks; no flours of any kind)
Main Course: Turkey breast (brined and grilled; the brine allowed us to omit the addition of a fat to keep it moist), Salad (pears, walnuts, spinach, homemade dijon vinaigrette)
Dessert: Chocolate Cakes This is where most of our fat (avocados, nuts, coconut oil) and carbohydrates (dates, maple syrup) came from. We had two cakes. One was a raw food chocolate cake made from dates, walnuts, and cocoa with an avocado chocolate frosting. The other cake was a paleo chocolate cake made from coconut flour with a chocolate bacon ganache (made with coconut milk). Both cakes were served in very, very small portions. They were so rich and delicious, however, that these portions were filling.
Healthy Holiday Cooking=Conquered!!!
Monday, March 25, 2013
I thought since I plan our meals out ahead of time, I would share what our Primal meal plan for the week looks like. We are having a bit more dairy this week than we usually have because I found a recipe for pasta-free ravioli that I am dying to try. Items that are what I classify as 20% (i.e., non-Paleo) items are denoted with an asterisks (*).
We have a couple options for breakfast this week though they mostly consist of the same ingredients: 2 eggs, 1 homemade turkey sausage, spinach, onions, fresh pineapple and strawberries
Breakfast Salad: 1 cup raw, fresh spinach topped with tomato slices, a turkey sausage, and 2 over easy eggs (the yolks break to create a "dressing"); 1/2C strawberries and fresh pineapple
Breakfast Scramble: Same ingredients scrambled together with some spices and about 1/2T of cream; 1/2C strawberries and fresh pineapple
Entrees: A) Sugar-, Nitrate-, and Nitrite-Free Deli Turkey, Cucumber, Tomato, Homemade Mayo, and Brown Mustard Wrapped in Lettuce Leaves
B) 1/2 Avocado, 2.2 ounce Pouch of Tuna
Side Item Choices: Celery with homemade almond butter, hard boiled egg, dried apricots, almonds or hazelnuts, homemade kale chips, clementine
1) Roasted Chicken Thighs, Butternut Squash Fries, Steamed Broccoli
2) Pizza (tomato sauce, artichoke hearts, pineapple, orange bell pepper, spinach on a coconut flour crust, tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan*), Salad
3) Lemon Garlic Shrimp, Cauliflower Rice, Asparagus
4) Slow-Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast with mushrooms, turnips, and parsnips
5) "Ravioli"* (*because it includes marscapone), almond meal coated chicken breast, an Alfredo sauce made from cauliflower, broccoli
6) Stir-Fry with chicken and any leftover vegetables that we haven't eaten throughout the week served over Cauliflower Rice
Desserts: Fresh Fruit, 85% Cocoa Chocolate* with Dried Apples
Typing that made me hungry....better go grab some breakfast! Happy Monday, Sparkpeople!
Friday, March 22, 2013
While a bit blurry, this picture shows our darling pet ratties, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. People are usually a bit creeped out when they find out we have pet rats. Personally, I think it's the tails that do it. Rats, however, are amazingly social, intelligent animals and they make fantastic pets. Sadly, they have very short life spans. Last night, our sweet Gilda (Guildenstern) passed away. It was nearly 8 pm once we left the vet. We hadn't eaten since lunch. We were starving. And grief stricken. And NOT going to cook or do dishes. Of all the choices available to this, I'd say we did okay with a trip to Subway. Our meal was certainly chock-full of perservatives, chemicals, and what I'm sure were copious amounts of sodium, but it wasn't fried and the fat and calorie content were reasonable. Since I'd not eaten much earlier in the day, I still managed to come in at my calorie, fat, and even carbohydrate goals.
Today, I am craving comfort food. Our favorite comfort food is Mexican food. A tortilla filled with white rice, black beans, cheese....basically a big plate of stuff we don't eat anymore. We can omit the rice and beans...we CAN still have the beef seasoned with homemade salsa and cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, guacamole...but what about the tortilla? I must have a tortilla. MUST. I've tried at least a half dozen "Paleo Tortilla" recipes. Thus far, all I have encountered are egg dense recipes that taste like an omelette, are too thin, and fall apart as soon as you glance in their general direction. And then I found this recipe: askgeorgie.com/coconut-flour-tortill
It's wonderful. It does not taste like a tortilla, but it holds together, is flexible, has Mexican seasoning, cooks up beautifully, does not taste like egg, and I had all the ingredients for a double batch on hand. This seems like a small miracle to me today, and I really needed a small miracle today.
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