Sunday, June 24, 2012

June: Garden stories and surgeries

First Summer Squash from my garden
next harvest, bigger than the first!!

Yep... June is a failure in being "Strict" Primal!!  Oh well... not beating myself up about that 'cause I'm staying the same weight-wise.  This is "PCS season" for the military... that means many people move from this base to another.  Therefore, there are a LOT of parties.  I hold my own at those.  Never eat desert, drink alcoholic beverages only once a week, and keep strict with no grains, beans/legumes or sweet stuff.  I have to admit that I did have one cheat... the pie portion of a lemon meringue pie!!  OMG it was SO good!!  Yeah, I got a headache from the sugar, but for my one huge cheat in the past 9 months?  I don't feel guilty at ALL!! 

June is also the month to start reaping the benefits of having started my zucchini, tomatoes and summer squash from seeds back in late April!!  I have many photos to share!

June was also the time for my teen to get his nose fixed... hopefully, along with the septum straightening out, so will his migraines.  We'll see... as you can see, he's not too impressed!!

Garden in frontyard: basil and Japanese Kabucha squash

Backyard garden

baby summer squash
baby tomatoes!
Zucchini flowers (and the Japanese beetle issue....)
The kabucha in the front yard was a silly moment I had... I was cutting one up for dinner and just took the handful of seeds and stuff and just put it out in the front empty plot!  Well, they grew and are continuing to grow!  They even have little flowers starting.  I also purchased a cute, small basil plant.  I don't have a clue what kind of basil as the tag was in Japanese, but I know that leaf... it's basil.  I'm hoping sweet basil, but I think it's just "normal" basil.

Backyard garden... no digging equipment and VERY dense grass made me resort to bags of dirt, place them and open bottom and top... Voila!  Small garden plots!!  I saw my dad do this a few years ago, but never thought I'd resort to this... well, when you want to do something, you'll figure it out!  This was my solution as the seeds grew faster than I thought they would inside!!  I had to get them into the ground quickly or the little plants would die...

Summer squash and zucchini have GOT to be my two favorite garden veggies... considering I've never tried to grow either, this is a fun experiment all the way around!!  You can tell by the eaten portions of the leaves that I'm doing this organically... no sprays or pesticides.  I figure, there will be plenty of veggies, I won't sweat the hungry insects...

I did have to go out and re-stake the tomato plants as they've become enormous and were falling over into the yard!!  My surprise was waiting underneath all that growth... small flowers and baby tomatoes!  YAY!! 

My saddest part so far is that, though the zucchini plants have a LOT of flowers, none have started to elongate into baby zucchinis.  I figured they would grow as quickly as the summer squash... since my FAVORITE way to cook them is together in a stir fry, I just assumed they'd grow at the same rate... heck, the plants did.  However, those daggone beetles REALLY like the zucchini flowers!! 

The first meal made with a summer squash was stir-fry with spring peas (pods) and onions.  The photo below is hubby's dish as for some reason I tend to give more attention to plating his food than my own... so, there's some nummy fried rice, too.  Yes, organic peas and pastured eggs went into that... local rice, too.  I figure if I'm going to make something, stick to the 'rules' of Primal, even if it's pushing the boundaries (like white rice). 

Salmon and green peppers, stir fry and fried rice.
So, the teen is doing better since the surgery (15th of June) and I'm trying to make him only Primal stuff... however, he's sneaky and gets at the packaged stuff in the pantry anyways.  I'm still hoping to reduce migraines by having him go gluten-free, but that's a personal decision he has yet to make himself.  It's difficult to be gluten-free in this world!!  But, NOT impossible... just one more step closer to him becoming Primal. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Not giving up!

Lately I've been seeing all these posts on Facebook and blogs about support and not giving up when you stumble on your diet or fitness goals.  At times like this, I wonder, "Is the Universe trying to tell me something?" 

Made you think, too, didn't it?  I came up with "perhaps".  Why perhaps?  Because I'm being "strict" with myself and had set two goals starting on this month of no cheating...
1. blog daily (nope, not close on that one!!) and
2. exercise daily (nope, epic fail on that one, too).  So... have I 'quit' or given up?  HECK NO!! 

The old Debi might have, but not THIS gal!!  THIS gal is 42 pounds thinner and ready to be more fit and at her goal of 15 more pounds. 

Yeah, but back to the two goals...

1. been super busy this week and just haven't sat down to take the time to blog... sorry.  I had a negative comment, that I think was meant to be constructive criticism, a few months ago and that caused me to stop blogging as much.  Kinda felt like I needed to keep with the instructional blogs instead of the 'this is what I think' blogs.  Well... I figure I can, and should, do both.  This blog is a journey of what I think, feel, learn and experience in my life as I made the transition from standard American diet eating and a lifestyle of poor health to one of great food choices and good health and fitness.  So, my promise to myself is to sit down and blog more often.  Just write.  Shoot, I'm not a journalist, but a physical therapist, mom, reservist, military spouse, and American woman!  So, I'm gonna be ME and write in my poor writing style about whatever occurs to me.  Enough about that!!

2.  Been sick.  I've always heard that if your illness was only in your head (literally), then you could exercise.  But, if it's in your chest or throat and down, NO exercise.  So, I haven't run my Couch to 5K program since a week and a half ago!  But, I did go to the gym last Friday and participated in an excellent strength training class.  It kicked my butt, but since it wasn't an aerobic style class, I was OK and not coughing up a lung like I thought I might.  This week... the sore throat went up above the adam's apple as well as the coughing.  So, I'm laying low.  I've done some stairs in my house, but only 2 flights cause the coughing to start.  So, sad Debi is putting off the exercise a little longer, but trying to keep moving and not sit on the couch all day. 

2 excuses... 2 things to put a stop to the 'diet'.  Well, the old Debi might just get out the frozen yogurt and have a few bowls.  This newer version of me doesn't do that.  She figures, well... move forward and adapt.  So, I'm adapting and moving forward.  I'm being strict in the eating.  Yep, not skipping breakfast, eating lunch and having dinner.  Even doing my old smoothies for my afternoon snack. 

And you know what?  Its great. 

No, I haven't slid off the plateau I'm on, but it's coming... I can feel it.  No food cheats can work all on it's own while I'm waiting for my body to be well again. 

Just a cute cartoon... 

This is what I think my Husband thinks Paleo/Primal has done to me!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 5:

Salmon and stir fry

Boy, do I LOVE salmon!!  Sometimes, like tonight, when I'm in a rush for something to make fast, I can take out salmon from the freezer and thaw it quickly in lukewarm water while chopping veggies for dinner.  Salmon can be cooked a myriad of ways, but my oldie, but goodie, way is to pan fry. 

Before Paleo, I used to pan fry in extra virgin olive oil.  Now,  after reading that cooking olive oil may destroy some of the vital nutrients that make olive oil so good for us, I don't fry with that, but use it in my salad dressings and eat it unheated for maximum health benefits.  So, I fry with my expeller-pressed coconut oil.  This stuff from Tropical Traditions is outstanding, and NO, I don't get money for telling you about their product, I just love it.  I greatly dislike (I'm trying NOT to use the word "hate") the taste or smell of coconuts, so when I happened upon a Civilized Caveman's Cooking Creations giveaway in which George says how great expeller-pressed coconut oil is and how it doesn't smell or taste like coconut... well, I HAD to buy some.  AND... he's right!  It has absolutely no taste and fries things very well.  My new favorite thing in the kitchen. 

Anyhow... I pan-fried salmon with just a squirt of Worcestershire Sauce and salted organic butter and made an awesome stir fry.  I bought these beautiful mushrooms from the Japanese farmer's market the other day and they were begging to be used!  Well, between those, a chopped white onion, some kabocha (Japanese pumpkin.. literally looks like our pumpkin, but green skinned with orange flesh), garlic and broccoli all ftirsried in coconut oil then topped off with salted organic butter.  YUM!!

So here's dinner:

2 Salmon fillets, medium sized
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into smaller florets (save the stems for other meal!!)
1/2 medium white onion, sliced
4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
mushrooms of your choice, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 kabocha, chopped into squares after peeling off skin and discarding seeds
2 Tbsp butter

In medium frying pan, melt coconut oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Place salmon in pan and cook on skin side first for 2 minutes pouring the W.Sauce on the meat side.  Flip and cook 2 more minutes.  Flip one more time, lower heat and place a small patty of butter on each fillet, cover and cook another 2 to 3 minutes making sure salmon is cooked through the center. 

Meanwhile... melt coconut oil in wok or other frying pan and saute onions and bacon pieces for 2 minutes.  Add squash and garlic, and cover for 2-3 more minutes, then uncover and add broccoli and mushrooms.  Cover again, but stir every 10 to 20 seconds and cook until mushrooms release their juices.  Check to make sure squash is thoroughly cooked, but not mushy, and add butter.  Stir thoroughly as butter melts and remove from heat. 


Day 2-4: Same ole, same ole

rut (from [ruht] 

1. a furrow or track in the ground, especially one made by the passage of a vehicle or vehicles.
2. any furrow, groove, etc.
3. a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising: to fall into a rut.

Gosh, it's SO easy for me to fall into a rut.  That same ole rut I got into which forced me into my plateau is staring at me ... direct in the eyes like I'M the deer in the headlights!!  

How to change.  I'm coming up with a few things:  

Well, let's start with breakfast.  For days 1-3 I had scrambled 2-3 eggs with some kind of veggie... onion, mushrooms, spinach, red or green bell peppers.  If I was a great cook, they'd have been an omelet.  I'm not a great cook, so they become scrambled eggs.  Yummy, especially when I put salsa on them.  But, same ole breakfast that I can make with my eyes closed.  Day 4 breakfast?  STEAK!!!  I finally had left over dinner from last night as BREAKFAST.  Holy crud, that goes against everything I've ever thought of doing.  Typically, I'd have the left overs as lunch.  Well, I go out to lunch a lot, so breakfast it is.  

The difference?  More energy with steak and veggies.  WOW.  So, My number 1 way to change and get out of the rut is...

1.  Consider having left overs and non-breakfast foods for breakfast.  Radical thinking on my part.      

So, if I'm not eating the leftovers for lunch, what's lunch?  Well, I just said I go out to lunch once to three times a week with various culture groups or spouses groups, so let's look at my typical fare.  We're in Japan, so I like to try different Japanese dishes.  They ALWAYS come with rice.  That became my one BIG "cheat".  I wouldn't typically finish the rice, but I'd still eat it and that's NOT Paleo/primal.  So, IF eating out... consider extra side dishes!!  Even in Japan, they have different side dishes...  So, at lunch today, I refused the bread (that's typical... I'm gluten intolerant!) but also refused the rice and soup (can't guarantee the soups don't have gluten in them) and had an extra salad.

2.  When eating out, be true to yourself and your Paleo lifestyle and don't eat the potatoes, rice, and bread.  Ask for extra side veggies or salad instead.  Yes, it WILL fill you up AND gives you extra vitamins and minerals!!

Exercise.  Man, I hate thinking about this part.  I used to exercise myself into a hole in the ground just to lose weight.  NOW, I will exercise for the strength I will gain AND for the cardio changes I experience when faced with climbing a few flights of stairs or a hillside here in Japan.  I used to act like the extra stairs and hills of Japan didn't bother me... now, I just keep on climbing and get to the top with less time needed for my heart-rate to recover.  Its great, I mean, TRULY great to be able to carry on a conversation while walking up and up and up.  My goal this summer?  Climb Mt Fuji in less than 9 hours!!  Never climbed before, but everyone seems to take about 5 hours up and 3 hours down.  I've known some who take MUCH longer than that.  Well, I don't want to just say I climbed Fuji-san, I want to say I CLIMBED him!!  There IS a difference.  In my little brain, at least...

3.  Exercise, daggone it!!  Don't kill yourself, but get stronger and get better with cardio so that you can truly enjoy LIFE!!  Do it for better function and your health will improve, too. 

 And lastly, but most important in the Paleo/Primal lifestyle:

4.  Eat your vitamins, don't swallow them!  I've always had a problem with taking vitamins... no, not the physical swallowing of the pills or capsules, but why take vitamins?  Why 'take' them, when you can EAT them.  How?  In your fruits and veggies... meat, too.  They always say that pregnant women will crave what vitamins or minerals they're missing, well we do, too.  Regardless... instead of taking a multivitamin, try a beautiful salad with multicolored veggies in it!!  I LOVE my salads with more stuff than just lettuce and tomatoes.  Gosh, they're good with carrots, celery, cucumbers, red and yellow and green bell peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash and zucchini... oh, the list goes on!!   

Well, enough preaching for now... those are just my thoughts after 5 days of being 'strict' Paleo.   

Friday, June 1, 2012

Its been a while!!

Robb Wolf
Hey there!  Even the best of us lets life get in the way of blogging, and that definitely includes me!  I think it's been 2 months since my last blog.  That is going to change as I've decided to get back on the 'strict' Paleo bandwagon for the next 30 days.  Can't really call it the Whole 30 program as I've not purchased that.  I have all the Paleo books though, and am planning to do it the way I did last Fall (2011) when I lost all that weight. 

Why?  Why go 'strict'?  That's what my friends are asking.  They've even been nice enough to hint (or say out loud) that I don't 'need' to lose any more weight.  Well, the truth is that I've been plateau'd now since February.  I know, earlier blogs say different, but when you gain and lose the same 5 pounds over a 3 month period of time, you're on a plateau. 

Mark's Daily Apple
So, being "stuck" on this plateau, I needed to take a hard look at what I'm doing... or not doing as the story goes.  I really have been fairly inactive.  Yes, I started back on the Couch to 5K (I LOVE this program!!!), but keep allowing things to get in the way of my 3-day-a-week runs, so they ended up being a once or twice a week runs, thus lengthening the program.  THEN, I caught a chest cold that is developing into bronchitis.  Well, the old saying is that when your 'cold' is below your voicebox, NO aerobics, above is OK.  So... no running. 

BUT, I promised myself I'd do this "Strict Paleo" month starting today, so how does one do that and not cough up a lung?  AH!!  Strength Training class!  30 minutes designed to kick your butt... and it DID kick mine.  BUT, I got an awesome leg and ab workout in.  Then had my friend, a respiratory therapist, come over and beat on my back and give me a breathing treatment!! 

So... why the plateau??  Well, looking back at not only the inactivity of the past 3 months, but my diet, I realized two things.  I was "cheating" more often with rice and actually (GASP!!) at some corn, AND I was not eating enough.  Yep... would skip meals again.  Old habits die hard. 

Here's my plan:  To blog daily and keep myself faithful to the Primal/Paleo lifestyle and be accountable to someone - you. 

So, with that being said... I went to an old standby, eggs for breakfast:

2 eggs
1/8 cup chopped white onion
1/8 cup chopped green peppers
1/8 cup bacon bits (the real ones I make)
all scrambled together with salsa on it! 
Coffee with Vanilla Almond milk in it

Lunch: (at a function, so it was nibble food, but made it easy to count)
3 strips roast beef
2 strips turkey breast
1/2 cucumber
4 mini carrots
4 olives
bottle of water

1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
3/4 cup frozen cherries
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Dinner:  (more nibble food at another function)
3 Huli chicken wings (not fried)
carved roast beef and horseradish
cucumbers, celery, carrots and green olives
Club soda and a twist of lime

Home:  chai spice tea and almond milk