Archive | October, 2012

Days 9-11

26 Oct

I cheated again. I couldn’t help myself, I just had to step on the scale on Day 10.  And it had good news for me – down 3 pounds! And I figured that kind of cheat is better than a food cheat (mostly because I don’t have to start over again)

So after my pinched nerve incident, I was feeling kinda lazy on Wednesday, and decided to munch on leftovers all day, egg muffins for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, and I even replaced a side dish at dinner with some probiotic packed raw fermented veggies I found at Whole Foods.

Now, if you’re wondering what probiotics are all about, check out the Whole9 site’s page dedicated to this issue: http://whole9life.com/2012/04/probiotics-101/, but in summary, Probiotics help regulate your gut bacteria and keep you balanced.  Most people get it from dairy in a conventional diet, but with no dairy, you need to supplement it.  I thought I would try this out, so I found the Fab Ferments brand at Whole Foods and thought I’d give it a try. Warning: bathroom talk is in this post.

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I should’ve read one of the last paragraphs of the above linked article:
“One last thing… you’re going to want to start slowly with this stuff.  Taking tons of probiotics or gobbling up tons of fermented foods is probably going to make you feel bad, bad, bad.” 
Now I didn’t have that much as you can see below in my photo of my curried halibut and broccoli, but seeing as I have never messed with fermented foods before, this was still too much.

ImageI felt OK after I ate it, and it was delicious, but about an hour later I had a bathroom situation, which we’ll just go ahead and call a blowout, and then the next morning I went to the gym, had a good workout, came home, and threw up everywhere.  So warning: great product, but ease into it.  Please!

Feeling a little put-off by my choice of meal the day before and its effects on me that morning, I opted for something safe for lunch: Chipotle.  I told you, I have a problem.  I am so glad this is allowed on Whole30, or I don’t know what I would do.  While out and about trying to find some accessories for my Halloween costume, I was at Marshall’s and wandered over to explore their random food selection. I was looking for macadamia nut oil, but found these gems:

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Yeah, yeah, I know, they’re white potatoes and they’re fried. Misses the point of Whole30, but none of the ingredients were off limits and I was having a rough day.  And they were delicious! So it was a pseudo-cheat.

Today was a new day, and I got back on track with a dinner that was totally experimental, and totally delicious! I had some free range turkey breast in the fridge, and was thinking about how I could use the pomegranate I bought earlier this week with it.  Now pomegranates can be a little intimidating if you have never worked with them before (which I hadn’t) so I had no idea how this was going to turn out, or if it would turn out at all.  I ended up with this delicious turkey breast with a pomegranate mint balsamic reduction:

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I had no idea what I was doing, so this was a happy surprise, but was also pretty easy (once you get past the pomegranate part). First, I preheated the oven to 350° and put my turkey breasts in there with just olive oil, salt and pepper for about 35 minutes (until the internal temp reaches 180°).  While the turkey was cooking, I cut the pomegranate in half (although apparently I should’ve done this) and put half of the arils in a saucepan and half in a bowl for garnishing later.  To the saucepan, I added 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock I made earlier this week, and about 1 1/2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar.  I put it on high heat and let it do its thing until reduced by half.  To this I added 1 Tbsp of chopped fresh mint and stirred it in while the mixture continued to reduce. When left with about 1/2 cup of liquid, I strained it so I was left with just the liquid reduction, none of the mint leaves or arils.  I drizzled this over my finished turkey breast and garnished with the arils we set aside earlier and some thinly sliced mint leaves.  SO GOOD!  I paired it with more prosciutto wrapped asparagus bunches and it was a perfect dinner.

Here’s to more happy culinary experiments in my remaining 19 days!

Day 8

24 Oct

I successfully made it through my first week on Whole30!

The key to my success definitely depends on food prep though, so I again prepped my breakfast for the entire week and some other basics last night for the rest of this week.

Mexican Egg Muffins:

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Similar to the frittata I made last week, I just switched the ingredients (and the size) of these up.

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I used 2 links of hot chorizo, which I removed from the casing and sauteed until crumbly and cooked through.  I let that cool in a mixing bowl and used the same pan to saute 2 cups of kale until tender and let that cool as well.  To the bowl of chorizo and kale I added 1 diced red pepper, 1/2 cup of scallions, and a few diced green chiles as well.  I mixed these ingredients well to combine, and once everything is cool, I added 8 eggs to the bowl and scrambled together.  It is important that you let the chorizo and kale cool before adding the eggs, otherwise when you add the eggs, they may start to cook upon contact. Grease a muffin tin well with ghee or coconut oil, and fill with 1/3 cup of mixture. Place in the oven at 350° until set throughout, typically 25-30 minutes.  If you are lucky, they will come out of the tin no problem, but if you aren’t lucky (like me), you will have to pry them out and have a mess on your hands.  Needless to say, silicone muffin liners will definitely be on my Christmas list! Once they were cooled, I divided into pairs and placed them in Ziploc bags for an easy grab and go breakfast (they’re even good cold!)

Another thing I prepped since I had the sugar-in-my-chicken-stock crisis last week was some homemade stock.  Again, way easier than it sounds.  I think people get scared off by the sound of making your own stocks at home, but this is so easy, and so much better than boxed or canned stock!

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I relied on Martha for the basis of this recipe, but made a few modifications to my taste.  I placed a whole 3 lb chicken into a stockpot, and filled it with water until it was about an inch over the chicken and put it on medium high heat to bring it to a boil.  While that was on the stove, I cut 3 celery stalks, 3 carrots, and 2 onions in 1-2 inch pieces, and then added them to the boiling pot with 3 bay leaves, 4 smashed cloves of garlic, and 1 Tbsp of whole peppercorns. All you do then is wait.  I turned the heat down and let it simmer for 2 hours, then pulled the chicken out and set it on a sheet pan (to pull later) and stained it through a colander and into a smaller stock pot to cool,  I let chill in the fridge for a few hours and then skimmed all of the solidified fats off the top and then it’s ready to use!

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I pulled the chicken and made some chicken salad with the remainder of the homemade mayo from my previous post and also added some mandarin oranges and pecans. Delicious and great for a quick lunch!

It is a good thing I did some food prep yesterday too, because while stretching at work today during a yawn, I pinched a serious nerve around my left shoulder blade that rendered me useless for nearly the rest of the day (this kind of stuff only happens to me, I swear).  So now what for dinner? Enter the hubby.  He grilled up some delicious grassfed steaks and I sliced and sauteed some zucchini and yellow squash, but the best part of dinner was definitely the prosciutto wrapped asparagus!.

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We bundled 3-4 pieces of asparagus together, added a few slices of white onion, and wrapped it all in a piece of prosciutto and placed them in the oven at 375° for about 12 minutes, or until the asparagus was tender and the prosciutto was crispy.  And they were heavenly.  Hubby did good, and we will definitely be making these again (probably too often…)

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I also had some Kombucha today, and did a little research on how to make my own (it’s so expensive!) so that could be something fun to look for in future posts…

Day 2-7 (no one said I was timely)

24 Oct

So one thing that I should point out is that I rarely have free time, as evidenced by my complete lack of posts for an entire week.  So as not to bore you with an entire week’s worth of meals, I will point out some highlights (which, if you followed me on Instagram, and you should, you would’ve already seen most of these things).

Breakfasts were pretty easy for the week, as that frittata from my Day 1 post lasted the whole week with the addition of some avocado or some carnitas on the side, so not much to discuss there. Luckily I don’t tire of food easily; however, if you do, you may want to make different breakfast options for the week and alternate between them or you’ll get really bored which may open you up to cheating.  It is fairly common while doing Paleo and Whole30 to eat your leftover dinners for breakfast too.  It’s about getting out of the mindset that breakfast has to be eggs or waffles, etc., which is why you will also see Breakfast referred to as Meal 1 in some locations.

For one of my lunches, I made some tuna salad with homemade mayo and scooped it into an avocado. super easy and fast, and very satisfying.

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Mayo is actually much easier to make than it sounds, even though most people are scared to take it on.  Take a blender or food processor and crack in an egg, 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of dry mustard, and 2 Tbsp of oil of your choice.  Now I must say here I have only ever used EVOO for this (OK, that’s a lie, I used walnut oil once, but it was so bad I’d prefer not to admit that I did…) but I have heard that macadamia nut oil and avocado oil make more neutral flavored mayos – which would be great if I had enough money to spend on fancy oils just to make them into mayonnaise, but I don’t, so EVOO it is.  Anyway, once you add all those ingredients in the blender, put the lid on (critical) and pulse until the mixture is emulsified (combined).  Now you can add the rest of the oil – most recipes call for a cup of oil, but I don’t actually measure, I just drizzle it in until it’s the right thickness.  Keyword being drizzle – if you add too fast, the mayo will break and you’ll have a mess.  So slowly add the oil in while continuously blending and after a few minutes, it will thicken and become mayo-like.  Taste and season as necessary, I typically add garlic and make a garlic mayo, but you could add basil for a pesto mayo, sundried tomatoes, black pepper – whatever you want! It keeps in the fridge for a few weeks, so don’t make a huge batch because it doesn’t last for 23 years like the stuff you buy in the stores does!

Back to the tuna salad – I took 2 cans of tuna (some people on Whole30 are anti-can, but deal with it, ok, I didn’t have any time) and added some of the mayo I had just made (however creamy you like your tuna salad), and some cayenne pepper and some more garlic powder and mixed it all together before scooping it in my pitted avocado

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Besides this, I mostly ate my leftover dinners for lunch, and also snacked from time to time on Lara Bars and baby food.  Yes, I said baby food. It’s good, and easy to grab on the go.  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

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For dinners, I tried to keep them fairly simple, and here were some of the best:

London Broil in the Crockpot with mashed cauliflower and carrots and asparagus

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I marinated the 3 lb grassfed London Broil overnight in a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, dry mustard, and a little salt (I just kinda dumped stuff in a bag until the steak was covered- nothing precise about it).  I seared it in my grill pan on each side and layered it on top of a sliced onion inside my Crockpot with 1/2 cup of water, 2 cloves of minced garlic and 2 Tbsp of coconut aminos.  I set it on low and let it go for 8 hours. Here’s the before and after:

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I paired that with smashed cauliflower and carrots (simply boil until tender, drain, and I used an emersion blender to blend with salt, pepper, and some ghee) and some roasted asparagus (toss in olive oil, put it 400° oven for 10 min, season as desired) and it was amazing, and there were plenty of leftovers!

Another great dinner, Pork Tenderloin with roasted Acorn and Red Kuri Squashes:

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I seasoned the pork tenderloin heavily with a grill seasoning blend and dehydrated garlic (yes, it was pretty potent), and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 375° (normally I would’ve gone with 350°, but I also had the squash in there that I was trying to roast). My hubby sweat his way through peeling and cubing the squash and we added in an onion cut into eighths, tossed in olive oil, and sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and threw in the oven with the pork.  After the pork was done, I turned the oven up to 400° and finished the squash in there for another 10 minutes (40 minutes total)

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Alright, that was a brief summary of my week in food, I will try to stay on top of this from now on, sorry if I disappointed anyone!

Day 1

17 Oct

Today was a much better day.  And by that I mean that I finished it without failing!

Last night I prepped my breakfast for the week (again) by making a frittata that was delicious, and again, super easy!Image

To make this, saute 2 cups of spinach in 1/2 Tbsp of EVOO and once tender, let cool.  While the spinach cools, dice 1/2 white onion, 1 red pepper, and 1 head of broccoli, and add those veggies to 12 raw scrambled eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Season the raw egg and veggie mixture with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste (or any other seasonings you would like).  At this point I added the cooled spinach and was going to add some bacon, but upon further investigation of the label, i saw that I had purchased bacon with sugar added, so I left it out to save myself from starting my Whole30 over (again).  Instead, I added a leftover chicken breast from last night that I diced up, but you could use any other protein you’d like – just make sure that they are Whole30 compliant – no carrageenan and no sugar added.

Preheat your oven to 350° and heat 1 Tbsp of coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Once hot, pour in egg mixture and DON’T TOUCH IT! Once the eggs are set around the edges, transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking (time may vary, but it took about 25 minutes for me)

Once completely set, I removed from oven and I flipped the frittata out on a cutting board to cool, and once cooled, I cut into 6 wedges for an easy grab-and-go breakfast for the rest of the week!

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Now my frittata wedge was actually more of a lunch, as I woke up a little late today (you’ll notice that will be a trend – I am NOT a morning person!), so I scarfed it down and went off to work.  I snacked on a Lara Bar and had a cup of black coffee, but the whole time I was fantasizing about the pork I had left behind in my crockpot at home…

I have several obsessions/addictions when it comes to food, but my top 2 are definitely Chipotle and Starbucks.  In an attempt to save money (and prevent the local Chipotle employees from knowing me by name), I decided to make my own carnitas at home.  I confided in one of my friends who is a former Chipotle manager for the recipe; however, was extremely disappointed to hear that they get it pre-made and simply warm it up.  So, slightly discouraged,  I went to my next best resource – Google.  I found a recipe that claimed to be “Exactly like Chipotle!” Only problem: I didn’t have all the ingredients, nor the time (or money) to go buy them.  So I did what I do best in the kitchen – made shit up.  98% of the time it works out in my favor, but the other 2% are major flops (don’t ever make Paleo waffles – it just doesn’t work).

And let’s be real, it doesn’t get much better than crockpot cooking.  It gives me, as a wife, the opportunity to momentarily know what it feels like to be a husband. You know, come home from a long day of work to dinner, ready to eat – it really is a fantastic feeling!  Plus, if you live in an apartment like I do,  you get the added bonus of making all your neighbors jealous of your dinner by making the hallway smell like deliciousness all day long.

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This was as easy as heating some olive oil in a pan and searing a 3 lb pork roast on all sides (about 2 min per side) then transferring to the crockpot.  Once in the crock, I added about 1/2 cup of water (the stock I had planned on using had evaporated cane juice in it.  Damn) and then seasoned heavily with the following: garlic powder, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, and then dropped in 2 Tbsp of juniper berries for good measure.  Set it on low for 8 hours and when you are ready to eat, shred it up, step back, and bask in its glory:

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We made carnitas salads with it, but the possibilities are endless.  I called the hubby on my way home from work and he sauteed a sliced red pepper and 1/2 a sliced white onion in ghee and then chopped some romaine and prepped our salads so that when I walked in the door all I had to do was eat.  I added 1/2 and avocado to mine and had planned on dressing it with some salsa, but (again) was discouraged by cane juice in the salsa I had purchased.  So, I added some of the carnitas juice and drizzled it with avocado oil to add some moisture. The end product was no Chipotle, but delicious nonetheless and I will definitely be making it again.

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At the end of the day, I feel satisfied with my food and my efforts, but find myself continuously disappointed in the ingredients I find in my food that shouldn’t be there to begin with.  Sugar in my salsa, bacon, and chicken stock? Seaweed in my turkey? Solution: Just Eat Real Food.

Compliancy

15 Oct

Because of my mishap this morning, I thought I would clarify for some of you who are reading this without any knowledge of the Whole30 program what I am and am not allowed to consume during the next 30 days.

Per the Whole30 website, the Whole30 Program is as follows:

Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list.

More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain! This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best to leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold and fingerling potatoes off your plate.

In addition, no Paleo-ifying dessert or junk food choices. Trying to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold will ruin your program faster than you can say, “Paleo pizza.”  This means no desserts or junk food made with “approved” ingredients—no coconut-flour pancakes, almond-flour muffins, flourless brownies, or coconut milk ice cream. Don’t try to replicate junk food during your 30 days! That misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.

One last and final rule. You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program. This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat or taking comparative measurements duringyour Whole30. (We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, however, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)”

Now, like I say in the About section, I have been Paleo since mid March 2012, so most of this is not new to me, and I cannot state enough how amazing the Paleo lifestyle was for me, which is why I wanted to get back on track.  While the 2 programs are similar, the Whole30 plan is much more strict and hence my slip up today. I can only learn from this and need to be extremely careful as I move forward.

Starting over after Day 1 isn’t a big deal, but starting over on Day 26 is not something I want to do!

Day 0

15 Oct

Today was what I will call Day 0.

I was super excited when I woke up this morning to begin my Whole30, so naturally I went straight from my bed to my kitchen and warmed up some of the egg cups I had prepped for breakfast for the week using Applegate Farms Smoked Turkey Breast and Vital Farms Pasture Raised Eggs. They were delicious, filling, and unbeknownst to me, completely non-compliant with Whole30.

For lunch, I sat down with my spaghetti squash with marinara and decided to browse the Whole30 website to see if there was any advice from others who have or are currently undergoing their Whole30.  While browsing, I saw a post referring to carrageenan, a vegetarian replacement for gelatin made out of seaweed, that is not allowed while on Whole30.  And also an ingredient in my Applegate Farms Smoked Turkey Breast.  First meal in and I had already bombed my Whole30.  Talk about putting a damper on my mood for the day.

Naturally, I did what anyone would do  – chalked it up as a loss and went to the gym to vent. After a session with my trainer that left my legs feeling like gelatin (NOT carrageenan!), I came home and made a delicious – and compliant! – dinner of Oven Roasted Free Range Chicken Breast with Zucchini Fettuccine and Grilled Artichoke Hearts.

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This recipe was easy even by just-left-the-gym-and-don’t-feel-like-standing-anymore standards:

2 boneless skinless Organic Free Range Chicken Breasts, trimmed and drizzled with EVOO, then seasoned with Mrs Dash’s Garlic and Herb blend.  Place the chicken on a foil lined pan (for easy clean-up) and place in a 350° pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear.

While the chicken is cooking, wash 2 medium zucchinis, trim the ends off and cut each zucchini in half. Take a vegetable peeler (my favorite brand is Titan, because there are 2 different kinds, one that peels, and one that juliennes!) and “peel” the zucchini to form the noodles.

Place the noodles in a large saucepan with 1/2 Tbsp of ghee or clarified butter and 1 Tbsp of EVOO over medium heat.  This is when I added ! package of grilled artichoke hearts I picked up at Whole Foods.  I seasoned the veggies with more Mrs Dash and a little sea salt.

Slice the chicken breast and serve alongside the pasta, for a delicious, quick meal.

This was enough for 2 servings.

Caved.

14 Oct

Well, I finally caved (no pun intended).  Over the last few months through my Twitter account (@lauraekron) and my Instagram account (@lauraekron) I have been logging my journey with the Paleo lifestyle, and with an overwhelming (and humbling) amount of requests for information on what I have been doing with my diet and requests for recipes from friends, family, and complete strangers, I decided it would be best to supplement those accounts with a blog!

I have been hesitating on this endeavor for a while now for multiple reasons: 1) Would people really care? 2) Do I have enough time? 3) Will I have enough content? While I still wonder about all of the above things, one thing made me commit.  I was in the shower the other day (which happens to be the only time I have to myself to think) and the name “Paleo in Porkopolis” popped into my head.  That’s normal to think about bacon in the shower, right? No? Oh… well, shit.

After I had the name I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and still fresh out of the shower in nothing but a towel, I logged onto to WordPress through my phone and created what I hope will be an informative, entertaining, and inspiring read for those of you who humored me enough to subscribe.

It was perfect timing too, because tomorrow I begin the jump-start to my diet that is Whole30.  I’ve grocery shopped and meal planned for the week, have plenty of time to prep (for this week anyway, the other 23 days TBD) and am very excited about this next month and all it will bring for me and my health and how I view food. I ask that all of you support me on this journey and back my decisions on clean eating and healthy living. I can only hope that this also inspires you all to be more healthful in your choices.

Ok, enough with the mush, let’s get down to business and EAT!