Category Archives: church of paleo
Whole30: Day 13
Howdy from Saturday night, which currently consists of me watching some trashy TV (my wife is out for her once-a-month social obligation), still content from tonight’s dinner, which was leftover slow-cooker pork, curried sweet potatoes, and mashed plantains. RR was a delightful dinner companion, as she typically is, and had Spaghetti-O’s (“more meatballs, please”), watermelon, pears, and a bite of curried sweet potatoes that was chewed and then spat out. Always worth a try.
Grocery shopping this morning (duh) and we stocked up for the week AND ate lunch at the grocery store. Double win! I’m planning on taking a picture of our fridge, pantry, and counter to kind of show you what things look like here. Fair warning – there are a LOT of eggs. And some Diet Cokes hiding in the way way way back – waiting for the Whole30 to end.
Really, Saturday mornings beat the hell out of us – between music class and tackling grocery stores with the child WHO WILL NOT STAY IN A CART FOR HER LIFE, it’s exhausting. I’m surprised we don’t ALL go down for a nap when RR does. But we wind down, for sure. And a couch nap isn’t totally unheard of.
Day 13 and I think all of the bad juju from the gluten and sugar in my previous world has finally flushed itself out. I can see bones in my hands again. I feel less bloated and puffy. I’m generally less grouchy. I’m sleeping like the dead. It’s delightful.
It still hard to fake-eat the Ritz cracker that RR insists that I eat. That’s still totally hard. Cause that shit is tasty! And dude, that kid is cute. It’s like a double-whammy.
Now for more trashy TV and equally-trashy internet surfing. Lucky me!
Whole30: Day 12
Are you tired of these yet? How about now?
Today is Friday. It’s also payday. Those are both such good, good things.
This morning started like most mornings this week, which means we were cooking some combination of meals (that weren’t breakfast) before 8am. Welcome to paleo in our house! Right before my wife hopped in the shower around 6:45am, she preheated the oven so that we could bake some chicken breasts (salt, pepper, olive oil, and into the oven at 375 for 30 minutes) to have with our leftover meat sauce from last night’s spaghetti squash dinner. We had the world’s smallest spaghetti squash, so we tried to pull one over on RR and serve her egg noodles, but she spat them out and demanded squash instead. Weird kid.
So the chicken was baking, and after everyone was up, I put the pork roast (isn’t is just… gorgeous?) that had been marinating overnight in the slow-cooker. Seriously – that hunk of meat was beautiful. Here’s the marinade recipe, and it’s amazing. We leave out the cinnamon, though. And we did serve it in lettuce leaves last time, but this time, we’re serving it over a plantain mash, with a baked sweet potato side.
This, hopefully, will set us up for non-weekend failure! We should be able to have chicken salads for lunch tomorrow (either homemade, or from the grocery store’s salad bar), then leftover pork for dinner.
Time to make a menu for this next week, which might involve giving the slow-cooker a moment to sit in the cupboard before it goes on strike. Then it’s just over two weeks more of these shenanigans, which is a little light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-ish. Our anniversary is next week (married eight years!), so we’ll have to figure out a way to paleo-celebrate, whatever that will mean!
Whole30: Day 11
Standing in the kitchen at 9pm last night, my wife and I had both made it through hours 8pm-9pm, which are the hardest for me, since it’s the time where I typically go sugar-shopping in the kitchen. We had filled the slow-cooker with a whole chicken (picked free of half of its meat), carrots, celery, onions, and herbs? And water? And other things that make it turn into bone broth. We turned that sucker on to cook overnight, and then started discussions about tonight’s dinner.
We hadn’t really made a menu for the week, which would have nearly killed us last time we did Whole30, but this time, we had a paleo fridge and pantry stocked, our arsenal ready for battle. We decided to make a meat/tomato sauce in the slow cooker in the morning to cook during the day, and make with spaghetti squash tonight. It was a relatively sane conversation, considering I had just contemplated going to bed at 8:15pm earlier, since I was dying of temptation. Dying.
It must be like how chronic depression people feel. The folks who just want to sleep all day. Seriously – the consideration of sleeping as a means to keep myself from shoving myself full of crap food seems like a great and effective coping method. If you’re asleep, you can’t think about how you’re not eating a plate of brownies.
Anyhow, so this morning, we made sauce. This is the part about the Whole30 that makes you seem a little crazy. The slow-cooker usage overnight, followed by using it the next morning before it’s even cleaned. The browning of ground beef before 8am. The constant chopping of onions, garlic, and inventory and thawing of freezer meats. It does make your house smell good, though.
It also makes you wish you had, like, three slow cookers.
Oh, and speaking of bone broths, my wife’s use of it last night in making collard greens made them taste SO GOOD that RR ate two fork-fulls. Then she complained about it being too chewy. But still! Two bites is better than no bites! This was after some decent amount of convincing, some downright ignoring, and “cheers-ing” our collard forks together to make collards seem SO EXCITING. Cause really, how DO you make collards exciting? I’m all ears.
Whole30: Day 9
There’s something very primal about eating an avocado right out of the shell. I suppose it’s less primal if you use a fork? Regardless, it was a delicious accompaniment to today’s lunch. In the container is a Chicken Salad with Roasted Bell Peppers and Toasted Almonds recipe that my wife adapted to make Whole30 compliant. It was so good that last night, I nearly walked out of the kitchen with the bowl after she asked what I thought about it.
Monday’s are hard. It’s even harder when you’re sitting at a two hour meeting next to a lady delicately and slowly eating a brownie with her fingertips. I consoled myself with my black coffee. Of course, this was after stealing the garnishes (grapes and fanned-out-strawberries) which were the only approved items on the catering table. Dude, seriously – 120 people at a meeting, and you’re hopping them up with brownies and coffee, and THEN hoping they sit through your presentation? That’s wrong even before my paleo days.
Last night, we had baked “blackened” (read, seasoned) chicken with spinach, mango, and avocado. And tonight we’re having pot roast! Mmm.
Yesterday after work was, surprisingly, the first evening where I really missed having something alcoholic to drink after work. It’s been pretty easy so far, mostly because the lack of sugar has taken front and center in its obnoxiousness. I thought about having a cup of decaf coffee after dinner every night, but then decided against that, since that’s just a bourbon replacement, really. Cause who am I kidding? I guess that’s what makes the Whole30 different than just “eating paleo” – it’s trying (and mostly working) to reset my brain to not WANT something the minute I take my last bite of dinner.
This was an interesting article wherein the author talks about fasting after dinner, as a way to slow down your metabolism and get it ready for bed as well. I’ve been trying to keep this in mind. As well as, when eating in general, eating not only Whole30 foods, but eating them in concert with what my day looks like; eating more if I go to the gym versus eating less if I’m not. When, at night, my body is all, “Dude, where’s more food?!” I can be like, “Shut the fuck up. What did you do today? Sit at your desk for eight hours? Oh, that must have been SO HARD for you.”
What? You don’t have conversations like that with your body? Hmm.
Whole30: Day 8
Well, we made it through the weekend with only a few moans and groans about feeling deprived. Really, there’s nothing like sitting around your house to make you think things like, “Hmm… something’s missing. *pause* Oh that’s right! Oreos!”
So we mainly kept ourselves busy both days. Sunday, when faced with some down time, I was originally going to work on recording some more kid’s songs (side project – whole other post!), but since my throat/nose feels crappy, I went with working outside in the yard instead. It was, after all, a gorgeous Sunday weather-wise.
The dog and I worked the composters – turning one, and incorporating the other one into it. Holy earthworms, man. Anyone need some earthworms? I also tidied the deck, swept, raked, and just did some overall backyard cleaning. That kept me busy just long enough during RR’s nap, and then we headed out to shop for some new RR clothes.
While shopping, I bought a cup of coffee for myself, and RR a bag of popcorn. That kid LOVES some popcorn. Plus, we had just been in a kids store where some three year old kept getting all up in her face, which makes her sad, so popcorn to the rescue (or as a reward for not slapping the other kid silly)! Now, we’ve tried to bring RR up right. Which means she likes to share. Which means she would REALLY like us to have some popcorn with her. Which we usually, in paleo-land, would – it’s not the end of the world, popcorn. But off-limits in Whole30. So my wife and I played this game called, Let’s Fake Eat The Popcorn She Gives Us While Secretly Putting It In A Napkin. This is a much easier game to play if you don’t like popcorn. But like our kid, we love some popcorn, too. Sigh.
So home, dinner (I had salmon, my wife had steak, broccoli and some leftover sweet potatoes). We made another steak to put on salads today with some spinach leaves, a hard-boiled egg, and other veggies.
Oh! Dinner party! I almost forgot. It went really well – our friends came over, and we had Damn Fine Chicken drumsticks and thighs, after which we slow-cookered the bones and some other vegetables in the fridge overnight to make stock. RR totally sat there and ate all of the meat off of a chicken drumstick. And then some broccoli and sweet potatoes. She’s amazing… and even more amazing when not eating yogurt and drizzling most of it everywhere with her spoon.
This week’s menu is a conglomeration of chicken, pork chops, and a beef shoulder slow cooker roast, and maybe something with some ground beef. I bought some plantains to make Caramelized Mashed Plantains, which is amazing for any meal of the day. One week down, and we’re out of the headachey phase, but staring down the “Give Me A Twinkie!” phase.
Oops, fooled you there for a minute. No Day 7 update because it’s nearly 10pm, and that’s about 30 minutes past my bedtime.
I will say that the dinner party was a success, and I had salmon for dinner. Now carry on with your Sunday night business
Whole30: Day 6
Last night, we called an audible on our way home, since our original dinner suggestion (roasted chicken) sounded less appealing than, say, chicken CURRY. So we braved the grocery store, picked up chicken breasts, coconut milk, and red curry paste and there you have it. It was done before you could say, “Are you back already from walking the dog?” We ate that with broccoli, and RR and I split a sweet potato. And it was amazingly delicious.
So back to today. Day 6 is a Saturday. And Saturdays around here kind of have a routine. We all get up around 8:15am, and proceed to shower and dress before rushing out of the door at 9am on our way to RR’s music class. Music class is part music, part jumping and running around, and part convincing RR to stay within the circle of parents/kids and not run around the circle like a crazy woman, as she’d like to do.
Then we go to the grocery store. Sometimes TWO grocery stores, if we’re lucky. Then home in time for lunch and putting RR down for a nap afterwards. See? Now you can stalk me. There’s only so many grocery stores in this town.
We made it through both stores today OK, picking up some items on our list of things to make dinner tonight, for some friends who are coming over. I KNOW! Other people in your town ALSO doing the Whole30? Craziness! They are a delightful (straight) couple, and my wife works with the man in the couple. They did the Whole30 a few months ago out of .. shit, I don’t know. Curiosity? Skepticism? Anyhow – they’re doing it again, at the same time as us, so we’re cooking up some chicken, collards, and twice baked sweet potatoes for dinner tonight. They’re bringing some kind of pumpkin banana mash. Hell yes.
Luckily, since RR is such a terror in stores that require carts, we spent more time chasing after her than swooning over the Easter candy and donuts. Man, we love donuts. Damn. We bought a ton of fruits and vegetables, and picked up coconut aminos and an unusually large amount of chicken, since it was on super sale. Booyah.
We’re home, RR is napping, the groceries are put away, and I’m about to start tidying our house so that it’s appropriate for other people to be in it. We had leftover chili for lunch and are enjoying some much-needed down time after a long week of hard work both WORKING and constantly thinking about food. If I could be half as motivated to paint my bedroom as I am to eat sweet potatoes, that shit would be done by now. Alas.
24 days to go!
Whole30: Day 5
Day 5 is brought to you in part by a huge pot of paleo chili that my wife made last night. This was during and AFTER we had eaten our dinner, so technically, she made TWO dinners last night. Am I lucky, or what?
So the chili was made purely to feed us lunch today, pictured here, and tomorrow. And it’s amazing. Our steak, sweet potato fries, and green bean dinner last night was pretty fucking good, too! Well, this was before we had a family arm-wrestle to see who got the last of the sweet potato fries*. RR won, as you’d imagine. She’s way stronger than she looks.
So I think we’ve moved out of the KILL ALL THE THINGS part, and are settling into the I JUST WANT TO NAP part of the Whole30. Maybe we’re fast-tracking through, since we’ve been “mostly” paleo since the first time we did this. I think I remember wanting to kill all the things for weeks and weeks the last time. We might gloss over the napping part, although I AM tired, today I’ve had more energy than I’ve had all week.
This, despite having a sinus infection. Speaking of, I went to the doctor yesterday, and she, since I’ve been losing weight, likes to talk about my chin. First, she said that she was excited to see my chin! Then she said, she called it a tiny elven chin, which I’m not sure if it was a compliment or not. Yesterday, it was upgraded to a pixie chin. At least, I think that’s an upgrade. For a sinus infection, we talked a LOT about my chin. And then I got some antibiotics and went home, tiny elven pixie chin and all.
Speaking of chin – here is your reward for reading and following along for all five days. A before/after picture! Yay you!
So the one on the left (where RR looks terrified) is from April 2012, right after I played my last show with my band. The one on the right is from Valentine’s Day of this year. Commence chin comments. That’s about a 40 pound difference between pictures, and every time I (reluctantly) pick up the 40 pound box of cat litter to haul into my grocery cart, I’m reminded of how much 40 pounds actually is. And how much I resent my cats. Sometimes.
So, really. Besides the feeling better, the weight loss has totally been a motivator. And while I’ve stopped actively losing weight, it’s shifting and turning into muscle here and there. It’s like being pregnant. With muscles. And without all of the sugar and flour, the general buffer of bloating has gone away this week.
I snapped a picture on Day 1 and we’ll do a recap picture on Day 30 and see how we all feel about that.
Um, what else. Oh, it’s the weekend starting at 5pm today. Yay weekend! Weekends can totally suck, but we have a LOT of shit to do in our house (who wants to come help paint and/or strip the wrought iron railing of rust?), so hopefully this will keep us out of troubling spots, like places that provide ice cream or heaven-sent cream horns.
*Recipe: one sweet potato, cut into fries, tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, into the oven for 20 minutes at 425, stirring/flipping at the 10 minute mark. Try not to eat them all in one bite or hoard them onto your plate when people aren’t looking. They are amazingly good, and RR could eat a whole batch.
Whole30: Day 4
Some days just turn into chaos when you’re not looking. Hunger-induced chaos. Some days, you’re so hungry that, during that time when you get off work and when you sit down to dinner, seems like eternity, even if it’s only about an hour. Some days you snap back and forth with your wife, because IT’S THE HUNGER TALKING. When you’re not strong enough to even pull into the parking lot of the store that sells the most delicious cream horns, even if you just need to pop in for a sweet potato. When walking the dog around the block seems like a herculean task. Some days, what you thought was allergies, then a cold, then the Low Carb Flu turns into a sinus infection overnight. So you struggle to breathe while trying to sleep in between the four unreasonable times your kid decides to wake up and shout that she needs help finding something.
Eating paleo is not always an easy task, and isn’t all bacon and bun-less hamburgers all day, every day. And the Whole30 is even harder than that. I mean, it’s easy to remember what to eat and what not to eat. I guess that’s the easiest part. And this person has a great post on other pros and cons, but not nutrition-based, things about paleo.
Feelings, both physical and mental, vary by day. For instance, yesterday morning and this morning, I ate very similar breakfasts. But yesterday, I went to the gym at 12:30pm, and ate my lunch around 2pm without much grumbling. But then, was starving at 5pm. Today, I barely made it to noon before diving into my lunch (on right).
Last night, after pulling ourselves together, we sat down with a baked pork chop each, a bowl of unsweetened applesauce, and Nom Nom Paleo’s Cauliflower, Carrot, and Parsnip Puree (leftovers pictured in my lunch photo), which may have saved both of us from dying of hunger, and getting a divorce. It was THAT good.
I think it’s this combination of my body trying to figure out what on earth is going on. And WHY can’t it have one of those free cookies leftover from that meeting that I’m carrying in my arms. Why can’t it have the processed ham and turkey that was sitting on my now deconstructed chef salad, wherein I had to provide my own hard boiled egg.
Because eating that cookie might as well have been that fucking cream horn from last night. Right? Right.
Day 4 is turning out to be just fine so far, if only because I’ve found a couple of great resources regarding eating out at restaurants, which is something I have trouble avoiding during the weekends – Chipotle Whole30-a-fied, and Panera’s guide to their “hidden menu” which both seem like reasonable options for when we’re out and about.
This afternoon, I’m heading to the good doctor for some sinus help, and tonight is steak, sweet potato fries, and green beans for dinner. Tomorrow, I’ll show you a before and after picture comparison of me from this time last year to now, and you can see with me why on earth doing this is so worth it.
Whole30: Day 3
Howdy from day 3! Well, aside from the disgusting taste in my mouth, the headaches are gone and the moods are improving even more. Withdrawal-wise, the bad mouth taste and the weird hot/cold tingling around my head and face are the only remaining symptoms. I’ve got some of the Low Carb Flu symptoms, too, but nothing like when we did it the first time. And some of it, honestly, might be the result of worse-than-usual allergies, a nagging cold, and a hard week of work.
As the second time we’ve done the Whole30, I’m finding all kinds of new shit out about myself. Considering we’ve been keeping mostly paleo since July (which went from mostly strict to holiday-forgiveness to kind of strict to not very strict), things like breakfasts and lunches haven’t changed. We still eat eggs every goddamn morning. Sometimes with bacon, sometimes with fruit, sometimes with fruit AND bacon – hot damn!
I find how much I’ve relied on and enjoyed “treats” like almond flour pancakes and cream in my coffee so much that the mental game behind knowing that I’m going without makes me feel like I’m starving, when I’m actually not. My brain is hungry, but my body isn’t.
Today’s lunch is brought to you by yesterday’s dinner pictured here leftovers (baked chicken with homemade red meat sauce, made from scratch recently and frozen, and a sweet potato). Dinner tonight will be pork chops and this cauliflower, carrot, and parsnip extravaganza.
One thing we decided to do this time around (mostly due to not being able to grocery shop this past weekend), to keep ourselves out of the Cadbury Egg trap known as the Kroger, is inventory the cupboards and fridge/freezer, and order, make a menu for the week’s food (essential, we’ve found, for not only Whole30, but paleo, and our sanity), and then order any outstanding items from Relay Foods, who basically will do your shopping for you and you pick it up from them after work. It’s not as expensive as it sounds, and they provide enough discount codes and awesomeness to make it worth it. AND it keeps Cadbury Eggs from jumping in the grocery cart. They are sneaky little bastards!
It’s like a man I used to work with used to say, about working long hours: “Better here working and making money, than out there spending money!” Staying out of restaurants and grocery stores definitely takes the temptation and deprivation feelings out of the equitation.
I’m still surprised at how good I feel in the morning than I have been since.. oh, maybe Thanksgiving. Less brain fog. More energy. Sleeping HARD. No… like HARD HARD. But then waking up with a bang and a start. A nice reminder why this is all worth it. Why the seeming torture is actually doing so much good. Why feeling good is worth so much more than those Tagalongs. Really. I know! Crazy talk.