Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lunchbox #165

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • A couple of pieces of bacon
  • A Clementine
  • Lacto-fermented sauerkraut (Bubbies!)
  • Organic dark chocolate with raw almonds
  • Soft cooked potatoes tossed with salt, paprika, and a tablespoon full of whole milk yoghurt


Friday, January 27, 2012

Everything But the Oink

Earlier this week we committed to join two other families in splitting up a pig raised at a Nourishing Traditions leaning farm. Great price, no soy feed, no GMO feed. How could I resist an opportunity like that? :)

Since we are blowing through the half grassfed cow that we bought last fall, we actually have enough loose freezer space for the pork. I'm geeking out at all that we're going to learn. I'm teaming up with the two other traditional foodie mamas from these families - we'll be doing our first attempt curing and slicing our own bacon and ham! Fortunately for us there are a myriad of tutorials and videos showing how to do this, and one of these mamas already has her own smoker. I'll probably be on the hunt for a value-priced meat slicer for us, which we'll be sure to use a lot anyway for slicing up roast beef and other meats.

I'm excited that we'll also be receiving some pork jowl. I need to be on the lookout for some good pork jowl recipes, so if anybody has any ideas or links to post in the comments, I'd be so grateful!

Besides meat geekery, I've gone through a "try new produce" kick lately. I've made turnips, jicama, and rutabaga lately, and I am finding myself surprised at how much I enjoy these root veggies, even more than potatoes, sometimes. Earlier this week I did up a nice midwestern red curry with rutabaga and beef that I will post, probably later tonight. Savory and very sating!

Meanwhile, I type this sipping the last bit of heavy cream from our fridge in my coffee. Our Crossfit box's challenge officially starts February 1. It's a good thing that I've been experimenting with these lower carb veggies! There are four top prizes, two per gender. Best body recomposition (fat loss/muscle gain) - Male/Female, and best WOD improvement (Male/Female). Our box has given participants three options: classic balanced diet, Zone portions, or paleo eating.

Exactly how eager am I to tackle this challenge? Well, for one example, I'm giving up my beloved dairy for the six weeks, so you might see a few more dairy free recipes around here. (My family's not giving up dairy, just me. I'm the only one doing the challenge, after all.) I'm also going to be very, very strategic about when I eat the limited amount of carbs that I consume - post workout, as a rule.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lunchbox #164

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Some preservative free salami blanketed around some hard full fat cheddar
  • 1/3 of a banana
  • Coconut flakes, raisins, and walnuts
  • Full fat plain yoghurt stirred with frozen raspberries
  • Leftover rutabagas from the Midwestern Red Beef Rutabaga Curry


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lunchbox #163

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Tostones (coconut oil fried plantains with sea salt)
  • Apple slices, with sunbutter (bottom) to dip
  • A couple of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • Some pieces of Braunschweiger liverwurst, cut with mini bento flower cutters


Lunchbox #162

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Eggs baked inside a slice of ham - think I got this idea from Paleo Comfort Foods!
  • A Clementine
  • Walnuts and organic dark chocolate chunks
  • Spaghetti squash tossed with sesame oil, sun dried tomatoes, sesame seeds, and spinach


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lunchbox #161

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Fried egg, in pieces
  • A few slices of full fat cheddar
  • Banana "pudding" with cinnamon stirred in, topped with raw walnuts and a dusting of raw organic cacao powder (believe it or not cinnamon and chocolate can be a great combo!)
  • Kale chips sprinkled with a few bacon pieces


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lunchbox #160

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Bacon sour cream and onion tuna salad: Canned light tuna, full fat sour cream (one ingredient: cream), pieces of bacon, and onion powder. Tasty!
  • A third of a banana
  • Some whole milk unsweetened yoghurt with frozen blueberries and a bit of honey stirred in
  • A few cherry tomatoes


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lunchbox #159

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Eggs scrambled with peppers and onions, and a few soft cooked carrots
  • A few cherry tomatoes
  • Some Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
  • A half banana and a piece of dark mint chocolate


Friday, January 13, 2012

Updates on Crossfitting in 2012

I am still totally honeymooning with Crossfit -- after a day of doing handstand pushups on the backs of synchronously swimming dolphins, Crossfit and I are chilling in the infinity pool of fitness, watching a beautiful sunset with a tropical drink in hand.

OK, maybe not that idyllic, but I love that for the first time in my life, I can see and document tangible results from my workouts. I'm getting stronger - two days before Christmas I did a 200 lb. x 3 reps deadlift and it was exhilarating knowing that I could stare down that 200 lb. on the bar and say, I'm going to do this! I'm going to break 200 before Christmas so I can savor that for the next week. It is so thrillingly foreign, this concept that I - lifelong poster child for participation trophies - could actually improve and reach personal fitness goals. Besides lifting records, I've scaled up in a few ways - in December I went from the thickest (black) resistance band in my pullups to the next band - the green one.

You guys, I woke up on Christmas Eve excited to go exhaust myself working out at the box. I have never before in my life conceived of working out or wanting to work out so close to a holiday - now I'm stoked that it's possible.

I just received a Buddy Lee adjustable jump rope I'd ordered, because I'm harboring hope for this year and me learning double unders, and as I understand it, having a personal high quality rope can make a huge difference in that. I'm also brazen enough to hold hope for handstand pushups - not any time soon necessarily, but the other day I did manage to push myself up into handstand position against the wall unassisted, so I know that what remains is building the strength in my arms and shoulders.

It has not by any means been effortless - I usually train 5 days a week, sometimes broken up with a rest day in the middle and a Saturday makeup WOD, sometimes Monday through Friday. I take a day's break when my body feels as though it's had enough. I've also made strict efforts with myself on average diet-wise in recent weeks. Fortunately my Crossfit box is kicking off a potentially very lucrative nutrition/fitness/body composition challenge in a couple of weeks, with some hefty prizes to the victors at the end of several weeks, so I am very, very excited to have that start soon as I think it will help to keep me on track just in time for spring weather to emerge!

And - this is so ridiculously exciting - my brother has joined his local Crossfit box and signed up for a year's membership! I am super, duper stoked. I think just from my initial conversations with him that he might find a love for the weight work and the challenges the same way that I have. We are about 45 minutes away from each other, so I can't wait until we can try to do a workout of the day together, maybe during a holiday hours WOD or a charitable cause WOD. Maybe it will even draw a few other spectators from our family who can see what a difference Crossfit makes for us. ;o)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lunchbox #158

Today, my lunchbox featured (clockwise):

  • Leftover crock pot chicken
  • Mustard, for dipping
  • Almond butter, for dipping
  • Sliced apples, to dip into the almond butter
  • Soft-cooked leftover crock pot carrots


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lunchbox #157

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Preservative-free ham
  • Frozen pineapple chunks tossed in coconut milk
  • Sliced Kerrygold Ballyshannon cheese
  • Clementines


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lunchbox #156

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • A corned beef and cheese omelette
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pistachios
  • A mint dark chocolate


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lunchbox #155

Today, my preschooler's lunchbox featured (clockwise):

  • Sliced corned beef
  • Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
  • A banana
  • Cubed baked sweet potato, sprinkled with cinnamon


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lunchbox #154

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Mozzarella, olive oil, black pepper, sea salt, and cherry tomatoes, tossed together. (I always drain the excess olive oil before capping these kinds of salads to reduce mess potential.)
  • Leftover beef roast
  • Fresh green zucchini squash slices with a sour cream and onion dip. (My preschooler reminded me afterwards that she only likes squash when it's been cooked. Oops.)
  • Fresh pineapple with toasted unsweetened coconut flakes. (You could also do this with frozen pineapple! To toast the flakes before sprinkling, put under a 450 degree broiler for about 2 minutes - but watch closely to avoid burning the flakes!)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lunchbox #153

Today, my preschooler's lunch featured (clockwise):

  • Sliced leftover steak, with mustard for dipping
  • Dried apples and cashews
  • A chocolate avocado mousse, similar to this one
  • Clementines


Monday, January 2, 2012

Favorite Challenging Paleosphere Posts from 2011

2011 featured a huge explosion of blogging in the paleosphere. There were many posts that I read that made me challenge previously dearly held notions! I think that it is good to seek and think through different takes, because it keeps us accountable and because it keeps us on our toes, prevents us from relying on half-baked justifications of nutritional concepts. Also, sometimes, reading up on ideas and evidence contrary to our own beliefs actually does change our minds on topics.

Here are just a few of the 2011 posts that I enjoyed because they took on popular ideas.

By Denise Minger of Raw Food SOS:
If you've never read Denise Minger's blog, you're missing out. This is one smart lady, and she isn't afraid to take down sacred cows, no matter their provenance. Vegan myth, paleo myth, mainstream myth - no theory is safe! She is diligent about going through data sets and presenting the statistically significant patterns, making data geeks everywhere go squeeeeeeee!

By Karen of Paleo Periodical:

Some ambitious folks manage to transition to paleo overnight. Karen says that, for the rest of us, a slow entry may be just the ticket.

By Lea of Paleo Spirit:
The paleo community has a strong emphasis on evolutionary principles, but Lea argues that you do not need to agree with some or all of those principles to benefit from a nutritious diet that doesn't rely on grains or sugar. She embraces the "as God intended us to eat" aspect. A must-read if you're a Christian who has been interested in the paleo diet but hesitant because of the evolution angle.

By Jimmy Moore (of Livin La Vida Low Carb) and contributors:

This one was convicting to me. The paleo zeitgeist in late 2011 was drifting heavily toward consumption of safe starches like peeled white potatoes and rice. While I think that the metabolically healthy (say, my husband and girls) can handle these just fine, I often strayed from my usual low carb routine, hoping that I could, too - and it seemed I was wrong! Maybe after reaching a goal weight and becoming more used to regular exercise I could indulge more, but for now, I err on the side of caution and stick to modest quantities of lower-GI carbs right around workouts.

Kresser reminds us to be diligent in sourcing our coconut milk due to concerns of bisphenol-A (BPA, an endocrine disruptor) lining canned products.

By Krista Scott-Dixon of Stumptuous:
"An irreverent, foul-mouthed, yet surprisingly useful guide to what to put in your eating hole. Guaranteed to offend, surprise, and delight."

I love the no nonsense / common sense approach in this free PDF. I also adore Krista Scott-Dixon's special compassion for the practical and social/cultural challenges that women face in fitness and healthy eating.

By Dallas and Melissa Hartwig of Whole9:
...a good reminder that, as much as I love bacon, it probably shouldn't be a core source of calories. ;-p

Err...This one had me thinking twice! I think that there are some paleo treats that are super delicious and very worthwhile in their own right, but I have also personally experienced trying to replicate non-paleo delights to end up with a C- version that's technically paleo-legal, and also leaves me only wishing for the real thing due to the paleofied version's taste inadequacy and blood-sugar-bumping honey or maple syrup content. While I don't advocate the idea of foods as inherently "good" or "bad", "sinful" or "guilt-free", I do think that in the spirit of being honest with oneself in light of personal health, weight, and fitness goals, each person has to figure out where their vulnerabilities lie and whether the paleofied version of an old favorite will only increase pining or even searching for the real version of the old favorite.

By Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make the Girl:
This classic (that I saw for the first time when reposted) explores the sometimes fraught balance between having fun (the short term) and being happy (the long term).

By Stacy of Paleo Parents:
To me, this post goes against conventional attitudes because it shows how the scale doesn't have you destroy your day, or your week, or your month. Stacy's already lost a super-wow-inspiring 135 pounds in her paleo journey, so by now she's honed a maturity and can-tackle attitude that doesn't let the tiniest uptick on a scale stop her positive outlook or momentum in the least. Check out how she, her husband, and her three young boys have done paleo in their blog!

By Amanda of A Slim Winter:
Amanda and her family are mythbusters of the canard that doing a natural, nourishing whole foods lifestyle inherently means destroying one's budget. While it may take more thoughtful budgeting, Amanda has admirably and impressively steered her family through a tough season of unemployment with many shrewd budgeting tactics, including making bone broth with low-cost chicken feet, and relying on inexpensive and natural liquid castille soap for cleaning purposes. Check out this blog to glean more tips from real-life experience.

What posts from the paleo blogosphere did you enjoy for their mythbusting or thought-provoking value?
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