Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

Greetings friends,

I have been away far too long in more ways than one. But anyone who has ever gone to college and graduate school in particular knows what the last semester can be like. In a word - stressful. And for some of us eating and comfort foods get us through the difficult periods. Such as what has happened to me for the past two months. But I have come out of that period renewed and a new commitment to Paleo and the Paleo Process.

Now that I don't spend every waking moment in hospital either from internship or employment, I can be back on track to the lifestyle and hopefully encourage others to do the same. During this period I fell back into my old habits of eating, sleeping, and exercise. All of which have confirmed that for me Paleo is the way to go.

While I did not regain the weight I had lost since beginning to follow the Paleo diet, I had to count calories to do so. I did not consume processed sugar but did hit the convenient processed foods because time was so limited. How did that make me feel you ask? Slow and sluggish at times. But then again I wasn't resting as well as before. At first I started with corn chips with my tuna salad, which led to bread and cheese my old standbys. Before the bloating was back full force along with my former gastric issues. After a full 10 days of documenting and observing, I knew I needed to climb back up that saddle of Paleo.

After literally just one week, the recent pounds were gone, my energy levels back up, and resting better than ever.  I don't know how well Paleo works for anyone else; I can only speak from my own personal experience.

Now with my renewed commitment to the lifestyle, I want to recreate my Louisiana family dishes to be Paleo versions. My newest one is Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. I make the roux with coconut flour and served with cauliflower rice. I thought it was an excellent recreation. My family loves gumbo when football season begins, and now I can enjoy the tradition as well.

What family favorites have you revised to make Paleo?

Bon Appetit!!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Importance of Reading Labels

I realize it has been a month since my last entry. Life has interfered. But I have learned some very important things in the last month.

As I initially began this process by becoming gluten/dairy/ refined sugar free, the Paleo aspects just sort of happened. So I conducted a little test to see what would happen should I reintroduce grains back into my diet. The grains selected where that of corn and rice. Because of my love for all things Mexican, corn tortillas were the food of choice. No gastric distress noted. But a shift upward the scale for sure. Rice had pretty much the same results with little difference between white or brown. Verdict: I can safely eat corn and rice, but I will probably regain my lost weight.

I moved onto the legume family. I cannot get any coconut or almond yogurt where I live. I can find fruit flavored versions of Silk Soy yogurt. They don't have any negative affects on my intestinal tract. I knew this from earlier trials. I have consumed other legumes in the forms of Amy's Kitchen products, canned and frozen. Again no gastric distress noted.

So I think I am relatively safe to occasionally eat some non-Paleo foods and not worry about pain, discomfort, or embarrassment. But beware of hidden forms of distress.

I will buy snack bars to put in my lunch pouch for quick bites during my long shifts at the hospital. I have been judicious about reading the contents for Paleo approved ingredients. I guess I missed something really important on a particular bar the other day because about an hour after consumption, I was in dire straits. I reviewed the package and noted the 3 grams of fiber. I should have realized this was not something I should consume. There is something about the "added fiber" bars that causes such gastric distress for me. My guess is because it is a manufactured fiber not natural. Needless to say, a very painful, yet valuable lesson has been learned.

Morale of the story is: that until I live in a community that caters to the Paleo lifestyle, I can eat some non-Paleo foods, but at the risk of gaining weight. I will say I don't feel as energetic or healthy when I eat those particular carbohydrates.

But as I have said before, it's a process.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Recent Developments or a Case for Badminton

I have been enjoying a long visit with my DH for the past few weeks. These long distance marriages can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. We make the most of every moment together time to say the least. And considering he does not follow the Paleo lifestyle, I tend to not stay as strict as I would otherwise.

That being said I have come to realize a couple of things over the past few meals together. Eating out can be tedious to insure there is no gluten hidden inside. I have learned that my gut will tell what my server could not confirm. You are safest with the big chains of eateries if you select the simplest foods. Fast foods should be avoided at all costs, but you can still dine without gastric distress later.

I now know I can safely eat the tacos at Moe's because there is no flour in their tortillas or taco shells. Texas Roadhouse and Chili's have a variety of entrees to choose from as well. I tend to choose grilled steaks, chicken, and chili that does not have beans. I also will have a sweet potato for dessert.

So as you can see, you can go on vacation and not sacrifice your Paleo or gluten/dairy free lifestyle. Just ask questions and read through the menu and put together what you find the most appealing.

Life with family and friends is meant to be enjoyed. Just because you have chosen to eat differently does not mean the quality of time together should be altered. Perhaps instead of family events centering around food, (which in the South what else is there?) you could find an activity to enjoy. Some families play golf or tennis. Mine does not. Mine likes watching sports such as football, soccer, rugby, and car racing. I am thinking of putting up a badminton net in the yard and teaching them to play. I have a friend who is living in Singapore and talks about playing tournaments at his local gym. When I was in college in the 70s, the PE department offered the sport as a class to meet the requirements for a degree. Hands down the most popular class. Not only did it fill up first, the instructors allowed us to play well into the afternoon, so that those who could schedule the class could still participate. Good times.

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I hope you had quality time with your family. I know I did. My time with my DH has come to an end. There is a possibility of a teaching position for the coming academic year. It was my goal to become a nursing instructor upon completion of my master's degree. Keeping positive thoughts.

In the meantime, I plan to begin a running program this week. We'll see how it goes.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Creating My Own Recipes

Been out of town lately. Spending quality time with the DH. Graduate school will be over soon and we won't have to live a part any longer. Or at least not far a part.

The other day I was in the mood for scones. I have been making a microwave mug bread to will I change of the spices depending on my mood. It makes up in absolutely no time with minimal mess. The end result is always satisfies that occasional need for "bread". This time the results were perfect especially since I now have some ghee to use, both in the recipe and to spread before eating.

Currant Scones

3 tablespoons flaxseed flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon ghee, melted in the mug (let cool a bit)
1/2 vanilla
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon dried currants

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix together the wet ingredients. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with rubber scraper until well blended. Toss in the dried currants and mix in well.
Using the scraper shape the dough into a cylinder much like the shape of your 4 ounce mug. Place in microwave and cook for 1 minute and 45 seconds. Remove the bread from the mug and slice. Serve warm with softened ghee. Serves 1. I roughly calculated the caloric value to be about 260 calories. Add some fruit and you have perfect breakfast. Or save to teatime later in the day.

I hope you enjoy my little venture into recipe creations. I continue to spread the word about Paleo trying to convert the skeptical.

But it's been six months and I am still at my high school weight.

If you try the recipe, leave me a comment and let me know how you like it.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Moving the Paleo Way

The third component of Paleo is emulating the day time hours. We assume he spent most of his time between finding food and creating living spaces. He did not go to the gym or spend time running around an oval track, swimming laps, or cycling in competitions.

I confess I do have a gym membership but only because it is really cheap and comes with my current employment. But I never have time to go with any regularity and I find most of the activities boring. But there is the social aspect and I like that even less.

So my new preferred from of exercise has become gardening and yard work. There is lots of variety of movement, bending and lifting, plus the fresh air and sunshine. I currently stay in my childhood home that has really run itself down with my mother's illness. My father loved his plants and flowerbeds. It is heartbreaking to see the weeds and vines taking over. Now is the best time because the Louisiana humidity has become too overwhelming as it will in July and August.

In the past I would have stopped after about an hour, being to tired and sore. But since beginning Paleo, I have so much energy and flexibility. I loved being in the yard today. Even if I was losing the battle. But it's early April and plenty more days to work and flex my muscles.

So get outside and play.


Monday, March 30, 2015

The Importance of Rest in the Paleo Lifestyle

I have focused all my post to date on the food and dietary aspects of the Paleo lifestyle. That the Paleo life is actually a trilogy or trinity since I consider myself a disciple and it is Holy Week for many of us.

The two other aspects that make up the Paleo lifestyle  are sleep or rest cycle and movement. I avoid the use of exercise because the cavemen did not own a gym membership or did he knowingly engage in an exercise regimen. We should follow his lead.

Today I will address the importance of rest and sleep. We humans spend a great deal of time on sensory overload. Technology has completely taken over our lives. When was the last time you did not have some sort of technology in your hands or not frantically looking for it when it wasn't. I purposely do not have my phone on me at night, meaning the ringer is turned off. I have been using it for an alarm though. I don't have a land line either. I case of an emergency they will send the police.

If you have trouble going to sleep at night I have the following suggestions:

     1.   Turn off all technology at least one hour before you want to be asleep.

     2.   Avoid caffeine after 4 pm.

     3.   Don't engage to physical activity that tends to over stimulate. A walk after dinner.

     4.  Have dinner at least 3 hours before you intend to retire for the evening.

Notice anything about the above four suggestions? You should. All require your brain and other body parts to be engaged in their natural processes to complete the tasks you have asked them to do. In other words, you want your brain to be preparing to rest itself not send messages to the stomach to digest dinner, or the skeletal muscles to tear and repair or other metabolic processes. The stimulation of the caffeine is a no brainer as is the use of technology.

I have recently taken the approach to get my 8 recommended hours of sleep by engaging the following routine:

     1.   All technology is turned off by 9 pm on days I have a 5 am wake up call.

     2.   I actually am in bed by 8 pm and reading a book. Any kind of book will due. After reading for   several minutes, I can turn off the lights and fall asleep quite easily.

     3.  Herbal tea is a nice way to end the day and induce slumber as well.

Try these and see if they don't help you sleep better and longer. Every adult needs at least 7-8 of quality sleep for good health.

I invite your comments and suggestions as well.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Spreading the News

I have started considering myself a true disciple of Paleo living. I talk about the lifestyle to just about anyone who will listen. I wish more of my Type II Diabetes patients would be interested. Some politely listen, but then comment how giving up bread would be just too difficult. I thought the same thing. My former diet consisted of what I consider the French trinity: French bread, French wine, and French cheese. Okay so I only had to let of two. I'm not grieving because I now eat like a French woman without gaining weight.

I did met a woman the other day who was wearing a Crossfit shirt and naturally assumed she too was Paleo. Turned out she struggled with the commitment with regards to bread. I spouted out my recipe for Paleo bread I make in the mug in the microwave along with the chocolate cake in the mug. She began writing down every thing I listed in the dishes I make regularly. I was so excited to find some interested. But I was on duty and couldn't spend any more time. But I did share my last piece of Banana Walnut bread. One bite and she was hooked. "That's it. I am going to do this." I was thrilled. I referred her to my blog so she could see my links to the sites I used when I got started. I have found so many more that I need to add for those who find themselves here.

I remembered to take a photo of the chocolate cake in a mug I made for dessert yesterday. Recipe included.
I guess I should name this version "Mounds Cake in a Mug" because of the coconut flakes I added. I must admit it really is delicious and so moist. Better than cake made with flour. And so quick and easy. Enjoy.

Mounds Cake in a Mug

1 banana
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon coco powder
1 tablespoon nut butter (I used sunflower)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut

I have a mini food processor that purees and mixes nicely, but a blender or electric mixer does the job as well. Puree the banana then mix in each ingredient until the result is a smooth batter. Pour into a large mug fill about 2/3. Bake in microwave oven for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Insert a knife to insure doneness. Add 30 seconds if needed. Remove from mug and  slice into 4 pieces.  Makes 2 servings. I calculated half the cake to be about 202 calories.

Now I am on a mission to keep speading the Paleo process word.