Monday, July 23, 2012

Old habits die hard.

This last week was an extremely stressful time for me. I own a natural health retail store. We carry bulk herbs, organic skin care, eco-style gifts and more~ brick and mortar style. We have about 24 employees. We just completed inventory of our stock which was about 67,000 items. It takes about six weeks to prepare for this event. Our inventory manager did a great job and thanks to Holy Basil tea, I was the least stressed I think I have ever been for inventory. But none the less- it was inventory for gods sakes! And we counted 67,000 items!!

As I was navigating the week I found myself reviving some old habits. I would not eat breakfast, which I now realize (although I kinda already knew it) is a cardinal sin for me. Then I would drink coffee which would take the place of breakfast until about 11:30. Low and behold, hunger would hit me like a train, I would be starving. I recognized this immediately as an old problem. I used to get famished like this all the time. And years and years ago I would go and eat fast food. Now I find it trickle through my thoughts but I don't actually give fast food real consideration, thank god. It was good to remember and I am sad I had to suffer the reminder. Thankfully through all of this I have managed to stay gluten-free. That is super important for my joints. I get really sore if I eat gluten.

I also found that by not feeding myself good foods throughout the day, at night I was wanting to munch more. And when I do this I can never find the food I am searching for. So I end up eating a bunch of unsatisfying foods that are likely high calories or more importantly high in carbohydrates. It's a terrible cycle. Those foods make me more hungry and that in turn makes me eat more. And then I am more hungry. I am so glad that Paleo eating has allowed me to get out of this uncomfortable cycle. I get hungry on Paleo but I don't feel like I will eat the arm off the person next to me. I get to experience a gentle hunger that allows me time to figure out the best way to feed myself. I think part of this is the good fats I am eating. I have lost 35 lbs eating bacon and avocados. I feel so nourished eating Paleo.

I have been Paleo for about 8 months. And clearly, I love it. But it is definately a challenge. Whenever I fall off the wagon I know I want to be back in the arms of a Paleo life style. My old ways are distructive and very unsatifying. But I think I need to remind myself sometimes. I also try to remember that this is a grand experiment. I don't believe there is one way for people to feed themselves. The idea that one eating style or "diet" works for everyone is just crazy to me. So even the boxed versions a Paleo plan isn't neccassarily perfect for me. I am constantly adjusting. That is one reason I am seeing a nauturopath during this process. She guides me and helps me stay on plan. She helps me make adjustments that are both intuitive and science based. A perfect combination in my opinion. A perfect combination for me.

So let me share some things that are certain for my success:
1. I must be gluten-free at all times. My body hurts when I eat gluten. I get an immediate reminder. It is a very clear message. I also feel foggy in my mind. And no gluten-free substitutes. These options are often not Paleo. Ok I will give myself the occasional gluten free pizza with pesto of course (like once a month, tops.)
2. I must stay nightshade free. Tomatoes, Potatoes, and peppers. Those also contribute to my achy joints and sore body.
3. I must eat protein for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. And with Kale or other veggies is even better.
4. I must prepare my food for the day in advance. I must bring snacks with me in the car. Nuts, dried fruit, and beef jerky. I am happiest when I eat a sweet potato everyday for lunch or dinner. I love to bring my lunch to work everyday. I love left-overs ( I'm a weirdo, I know.)
5. I must remove sugar from my diet. No chocolate, and limit dried fruit. No cream in my coffee. Even that much sugar can throw me off track. Manage fruits carefully. And Boo, NO ICE CREAM even the homemade kind.
6. I must manage my carb intake. I can eat about 80 carbs a day, max. A min of about 40.
7. I must use a program like Sparkpeople (it's free) to record my food choices daily. I need to be able to not go unconscious about food. It is easy for me to make good choices when I have the data in front of me. I do not consider calories or fat when making food choices. Carb intake is my driver for food choices as well as a desire for high intake of vegetables and good meats and saturated fats.
8. I must consume about 120 ounces of water a day. I must consume my first 32 ounces before lunch.  Lemon water is super good for me.
9. I must exercise. I must sweat. Swimming and land workouts with my partner and trainer are essential.
10. I must be gentle with myself. I must remember I am in so much better condition than I was eight months ago. I must remember that I am doing great. I must remember that reminding myself of old ways can be good. It can solidify the new better way of living. It is not failure.

Now that being said I am up about 7lbs from my lowest weight. Which was about 3 weeks ago. Which is not the end of the world but it is frustrating because it takes a ton of more energy for me to loose 7 lbs then it does to gain it. I am sure the gluten-free coffee cake my sweet sister made for me contributed to my gain as well as numerous bad food choices. And the homemade ice cream, I have been making with my son. With whole cream of course.It's good and natural but full of carbs and sugar.

So this plan I have laid out for myself is what I have come to realize is what works for me to lose weight. Eventually I will have to change this plan to accommodate weight maintenance. But I am a ways off from that. Again I am happy to have my naturopath to help me create a healthy holistic plan.

Let me know if this entry was helpful for you. What things have you come to realize about your Paleo journey?

Paleo Chicken stuffed with Apple and Onion Greens

So As I prepared our dinner tonight I was also putting away onions that I had bought at the farmer's market. And I thought "what will I do with all these beautiful green onion tops? Then it came to me! Stuff the chicken with them! So I thought I would also put an apple that had seen better days in them as well. Just to add little extra juiciness.
Now anyone who has read this blog before would know that I feed anywhere from 5-10 people for dinner each night. And we generally eat only left overs for lunch so I almost always roast two organic chickens.

I roasted the fresh chickens on 350 degrees for about three hours. I had about 10 lbs of chicken in the oven so if you have one 5lbs chicken you could roast it for one and a half hours. I removed the fresh (not frozen) chicken from their bag and washed them with cold water. Then I put a half of an apple in each and stuffed them as full as I could with the onion tops, just the green parts. Then I covered them with foil making a tight seal to keep the steam in as much as possible. Then at about two hours I removed the foil cover and basted them in their own juices. I do not use a devise to raise my chicken up from the pan so that the juices drip away from the chicken. I want them to marinate in their own juices. I ususally end up with about an inch or two of drippings. I use that to begin my homemade chicken bone broth. I make broth with every chicken I make. Why waste such a healthy amazing resource! Especially if your chcken is organic.Let me know how this recipe works for you! Please leave a comment below.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Holy Sugar!

So I have been having trouble getting back on track with Paleo. I've been grain free but I kept dipping a little too deep into the dark chocolates, wine and honey! All super lovely yummies right?  And I was struggling with my weight loss in fact I have jumped up about 6 pounds. I was just saying to my partner that it feels like it is about 25 times easier to gain weight then loose it, so gaining 6 pounds was very discouraging.
So I decided to get off sugar. Holy crap! I had tried for about a week without success. I have been struggling and decided to enlist the help of friend who is also working on changing her health. So we made a deal that I could text her and she could text me when we struggling or felt we had made a good choice. So It took about three days of really suffering and lots of text like "I just put the bag of chocolate covered almonds back on the shelf and didn't eat one. Yeah for me!!"
It's good to have support but even better to use the support you have!! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

what's for lunch?

Ground grass-fed beef, sauteed kale and sweet potato.
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Roasted Fresh Herb Organic Chicken

What's for Dinner? Roasted Fresh Herb Organic Chicken

This is my favorite dinner to make because it feels like a twofer. We get to eat yummy homemade roasted chicken and after all the meat is off the bones then I make a healing natural chicken bone broth in my crockpot. Yum.
I started with two whole organic fyers that equaled about 7lbs total. I washed the birds in cold water and took out the organ meats. I always feel bad throwing thes away but we just don't eat them. I guess I could put them in the stock later. Maybe next time.

But before that I went to the garden and grabbed a giant handful of thyme, rosemary and chives. I figured I really couldn't put too much in my birds. Well I stuffed them full and decided to save the last bit for garnish after they were cooked.

I seasoned the birds with salt and pepper. Very simple. Nothing fancy~ well except fresh herbs from the garden!
I put them in a roasting pan with nothing under them. I didn't mind them marinating in their own juices. I know that good fats are really healthy for us. I know that low fat is a lie. I want those healthy fats in my foods.
I roasted them on 350 degrees for about 2.5 hrs.  And then I let them stand for about 20 minutes before I served them . oh I also restuffed them with a fresh round of herbs. I took my tonges and pulled out the spent herbs and refilled them with fresh plants. As you can see fresh plants look much more pretty.

This dinner plus mashed potatoes from my non-Paleo family and sweet potatoes for us Paleo eaters, broccoli and a huge fresh salad was tonight dinner!
Then the final step was putting the bones skin and whatever was left plus about a gallon of water in the crockpot for a two day slow cook. Then I stain the it and freeze for the next time I need chicken stock!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Homemade healing salves from your garden.

Calendula Flowers
Collecting the flowers that grow in and around my garden is a relaxing and soothing task for me. I also love to collect some plants that grow wild. Feeling inspired by a friend bringing St John's Wort bouquet to work~ I went looking for a few plants I like to work with.
The Calendula was easy to find. I grow it in my garden and it easily will take over an area with little coaxing. But the St John's Wort was more elusive this year.  In the past it seemed to grow on every untended neighborhood corner. This year I have had a hard time finding this wonderful plant.
After my son fell asleep in the car on the way home from the farmers market yesterday I decided to wonder the neighborhoods surrounding our house to see if I would find some obviously unintended St John Wort plants. I did this because I noticed I had none growing in my own garden. I have to say this is definitely unusual. Normally, I have it growing everywhere like a weed. Not this year.
St John's Wort
Finally after slowly driving around with my eyes peeled to the particular flower of the St John's plant, I found just a few stands of this delicate flower. Being mindful to not take every plant, leaving some to reseed themselves, I harvested a handful of young plant stems and flowers.
I collected a group of calendula flower heads today. I will let them wilt a little to ensure there is no water on the petals. Then I will submerge them in a canning jar of olive or almond oil. Calendula is known for it's skin healing properties. I will probably drop the flowers heads into the oil on July 3rd because that is a fill moon and that just seems to make sense. Begin a project at the beginning of a new cycle, right? Why not, It can't hurt. I will infuse the oil for a few weeks and then remove the plant material and store the oil until the fall or winter when I will make a salve or healing oil from the infusion.
St John's Wort-
This plant I will also submerge in oil for an oil infusion after they have dried a bit, just like the calendula. I will probably make a salve with both Calendula and St John's Wort together to create a soothing salve for my family and friends. These could be used for any reason you might want to add a little healing help to your skin. I might add some lavender or tea tree essential oil to aid the healing process of the skin. Calendula could also be used as a wonderful moisturizer. You could create an emulsion with the caledula infused oil. An emulsion is basically a homemade lotion.
Let me know what you are making this summer season. I'd love to hear your comments.