Grains. Should you or shouldn’t you?

For those of you that have followed this blog for a while, you might remember when I was a staunch paleo dieter.  No grains, no dairy and the like.  Its the popular thing to do, especially in the crossfit community.  Did I lose weight on that diet?  Yes.  Did I get lean?  Yes.  But did I get stronger and have more energy?  Was totally giving up bread and dairy sustainable for me?  I realized, after lots of consideration, that it wasn’t.  I love bread.  I want toast with my eggs and cheese.  Then came the realization…what kind of life is it to feel guilty about enjoying the things that I love?!  No kind of life I want to live, I’ll tell you that much.  So, how then, was I going to enjoy grains without gaining back the fat that I lost?  Here is what I have found to work for me.  I eat the bulk of my grains mostly in the morning, particularly right after my workouts.  A huge bowl of oatmeal or a nice big toasted tuna sandwich.  One thing I don’t do is eat grains all day long.  I usually am done with them by the early afternoon.  And just because I allow them doesn’t mean I blow it out of proportion either.  I still keep my carb intake under control.

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For instance, this sandwich is 2 slices of whole grain bread, 3 oz of tuna with 1 Tablespoon of mayo and curry.  I paired that with 1/2 cup of greek yogurt and 1/2 tablespoon of honey.  I can just hear the gasps of the paleo community now!  This satisfying meal was 372 calories, 39 G carbs, 36 G protein, 7 g of fat.  In my new diet world, that is right on par where I want to be.  I eat meals around that ratio about 5 times per day.  Given, the latter part of the day grains are not included.  And my last meal of the day usually doesn’t include more than 15 g of carbs. Eating this way has helped me burn fat and gain a lot more muscle.  It has given me more energy and most importantly, I don’t feel deprived of anything.  (keep in mind, we’re talking grains here and not sweets ;)  Those are reserved for my saturday evening meals.  However, I have found them less tempting since I brought grains back into my diet.  But, I am no dietitian. this diet works amazingly for me.  If grains don’t make you perform better, then don’t eat them.  But if you miss them and love them, stop beating yourself up over them!!  And when I’m talking about grains I mean whole grains here people.  Now go and eat and for goodness sake, stop starving yourselves!!!

Changes!!

So much has changed in the last month!

We all know how I am an avid primal eater (for the most part).  Recently I have taken it upon myself to steer a little off this strict path and do some experimenting.  Since a recent nutrition class at my gym, I was introduced to a new way of eating.  Thanks so much to Gregg, who taught that class and has been challenging me and keeping tabs on me because it has definitely spruced things up.  What am I doing, you ask??

In previous posts I have written down everything that I had eaten over a space of a day or two.  A day normally consisted of 1200 calories a day and I was primarily focused on low carbohydrates.  Well, after a month on this diet, this is how I ultimately felt…

My times at the gym were getting slower, I was tired.  SOOOO tired.  I was weak. I was scatter brained.  I was seriously thinking that there were major things wrong with me.

After talking with Gregg he basically told me that my body was starving.  I never thought that could be what it was.  I didn’t really feel a lot of hunger.  I ate plenty, or so I thought.  There was the jerky and nuts snacking and more snacking, and more snacking.  This didn’t amount up to very much.  Especially with what I needed my body to do.  I am at about 135 pounds.  My goal is to gain 5 pounds of muscle.  so I am really trying to gain it the right way and its pretty tough to do!  Who would have thought gaining weight would be hard! hahaha! In order to do this I have to test my body fat every week and make sure the weight I am gaining, is in fact muscle.

I am eating so much now.  So much that I almost want to barf.  I probably eat about 2400 calories a day.  That’s 6 meals at 400 calories.  I am eating the minute I wake up and before bed.  Basically every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  This is an insane amount when all you are eating is clean food!!  I have strayed from primal.  I am giving this new diet a month to see what changes occur.  I now eat whole, sprouted grains.  Oatmeal in the morning, bread for lunch, brown rice.  Lean proteins (not so much beef and bacon :(  and LOADS of veggies and fruit.

So far here is what has happened.  This whole week has been a week of pr’s.  For any of you who speak the crossfit lingo…I did fran in like 4:19, Helen in 9:40, fight gone bad score was 332.  My broad jump increased from 92″ to 97″. I did 69 double unders in a row.  L sit time was 1:01.  My back squat 1RM was 165 and this week I did 185 three times.  I have so much energy I can jump out of bed in the morning.

I thought for sure that eating all of this food would fatten me up, but its done the opposite.  I have gained 1 pound and lost 1% of body fat in the first 9 days!  HUGE!!!!  I can’t wait to get to the end of this month and see what happens.  I will keep you posted!

quick snack ideas!

The most important thing to keeping your diet in check is to not let yourself get too hungry!!!  I find when I forget to eat or, better yet, when I don’t really have a lot of options I don’t eat, I tend to get ravenous and go for the first thing in my pantry. (like red vines!  shhhhh!)    The best thing to do is have snacks prepared before the fact so that you don’t slip up and pig out on bread and sugar.

My favorite snacks!!

1.  1/2 cup of greek yogurt with 1/2 tablespoon of honey!  I am obsessed!

2.  beef jerky and almonds

3. celery with almond butter

4. turkey roll ups!  for these I take some really good quality deli turkey or chicken.  I put 1/2 slice of pepper jack cheese (again, good quality)  I put 1/2 teaspoon of full fat cream cheese and spread it around.  Then i slice up some green onion and smush them into the cream cheese and roll it all up!  SOOOO good! (remember that I am not on a low fat diet!!)

5.  There are these new almonds that I found!!!!

Be still my heart!!!  Like candy.  I heard you can get them at Sam’s club, but I have recently come across a way to make these at home!!!!  Here’s the recipe!  So simple and clean. I can’t wait to make these!

So there you have it.  Don’t let yourself get so hungry that you will fall off the wagon!!! But if it does happen (it happens to the best of us)  just jump right back on!!!!  Happy Snacking!

Why you and I should fast

Let me first start off by saying that fasting is NOT the same as starving yourself.  There are several reasons why people choose to fast, weight loss being at the top of that list.  So, why fast????

In a recent article from Mark’s Daily Apple, mark goes over all the in’s and out’s of fasting.  It is fascinating.  Since starting the primal diet I choose to fast every Sunday.  Usually Saturday night is my cheat meal so I always feel better starting the week fresh with a 24 hour fast.  This means that I don’t consume anything for a full 24 hours…including water.  So Saturday night I do a good carb load and then I won’t eat again until Sunday at dinner.   Some might think that this is a little too extreme.  Its really not as crazy as it seems!  I have really grown to enjoy my fasts and I always begin the week re-motivated and not feeling like I blimped out!!  I will even fast during the week if I slipped up really bad on my diet.

So, some common questions with fasting…

Is it ok to exercise while you’re fasting??  Absolutely, so long as you don’t feel light headed.  I have started working out on an empty stomach in the mornings and I find that I have had way more energy!

Will I lose weight while fasting?  Obviously you will lose some weight because you are restricting your calories.  Fasting decreases insulin levels which also decreases body fat.

How long can I fast for?  You can fast as long as you want as long as you are hydrating if you chose to go over 24 hours.  You will also need to take some vitamin supplements and really educate yourself about fasting first.

I have found fasting to be very helpful and motivational.  If you are wanting to know more about it, check out mark’s link and frequently asked questions page.  There are a ton of health benefits to fasting.  Totally worth educating yourself about it.  Especially if you have hit a plateau.  Share your thoughts!!  :)

converting your favorite recipes!

Every family has their favorite recipes.  One of my favorite things to do is take our family favorites and convert them into meals that work for our diet!

Example:  My kids love to have hamburgers and french fries.  I want to make sure they are still eating the meals they love, but tweaking them so that we don’t join in on the high carb diet trend.

Dinner on Saturday:  100% ground chuck, or we use ground venison.  I add loads of spices and make them into patties and grill em’ up.  I make sure that I add quality toppings.  Bacon, avocado, onion, tomato, spinach,.  Sometimes i will splurge and let them use a bun but most of the time we have them low-carb style.  Then instead of regular fries we have sweet potato fries and the kids love those!!

Example 2:

tacos

We love mexican food at our house!  With some tweaking we can make it totally primal!  I use any type of of meat and season it with this taco seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

I throw in onions, bell peppers, jalapenos (I take the membrane out if I’m feeding kids) tomatoes.  I let them simmer and soften.  Then instead of eating it on taco shells, we eat it as a salad.  There are extremes you can go to if you really want tortillas.  I know there is a recipe for coconut flour tortillas somewhere.  delish!

My kids love orange chicken.  Here is a sample of a recipe that has not yet been converted…

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil coconut
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed, diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar  honey

Here is a SUPER handy website for converting ingredients.

Now most parents will complain that their kids won’t eat some of these things.  Well, with my experience, if you keep putting the veggies on their plate day after day they get used to it.  Just don’t give up!  Try to enforce good eating habits now!

Make sure you avoid cream of whatever soups and fake foods that have 8 million ingredients.

Happy cooking!!

Couch to in shape in 6 weeks

We’ve all seen the couch to 5k programs.  That’s nice in all, but as you know, from reading this blog there is way more to being in shape than running (especially running at a slow pace).

First off, check your diet plan.  I’ve been following the primal blueprint and i LOVE it. It breaks it down so simply.  Eat loads of lean protein and healthy fats and only 50-75 grams of carbs per day.  A few days ago I talked about the food diary I’ve been keeping.  I can’t even express what a difference having that tool has helped me!  Stick to the diet and you are on the fast track to fat loss and health!!

Next, get yourself some new shoes or a new workout outfit.  Something to motivate you to get dressed for your workout.  Getting there is always the hardest part!

Figure your plan.  Are you going to workout at home, at a large gym, or a crossfit gym.  If the first two, then your approach will take more planning.  If a crossfit gym, talk to your trainer and they can customize a plan for you and keep you accountable!

Now, start slowly!  Especially if its been a long time since you’ve worked out.  So many people are so excited at the beginning that they get dizzy, faint, throw up etc.  This can be a huge stumbling block.  If you go for your first workout and it makes you sick, you will be less likely to continue it.  So, do some slow rowing or inclined treadmill for about a week just to get your body used to moving and your heart and blood used to pumping. If you feel good this first week, you can up your intensity on the treadmill or row machine or other type of cardio.

After this week of light cardio you will start to incorporate body weight movements. This means squats, push ups, planks, sit ups.  Get comfortable with these movements!  Try doing circuits with these movements.  Example- 4 rounds of 25 squats, 20 sit ups (not crunches!)15 push ups and 30 second plank hold.  So in case this is hard to understand…all of the above exercises would be considered 1 round.  Find other body weight movements and mix and match them all like we did above.  Lunges, assisted pull ups, hand stands, jumping squats, burpees.  There are endless combinations. You want your whole circuit workout to be about 20 minutes long and try to keep it at a good intensity.

Week three you should start incorporating light weights with your body weight movements.  Try some weighted lunges with a dumbbell in each hand.  Try stepping up onto a box about 18″ high with your dumbbells.  Find a trainer or study proper technique and do some deadlifts, back squats, bench press, shoulder press with a light-ish weight.

example of a workout for week 2 rounds of 50 weighted lunges with 10 lb dumbbells (1 lunge equals 1 rep, so 25 each leg) 150 jump rope singles and 20 push ups.

Week four continue your light weight/body weight movements but now find a day to do some interval training outside or on the tread mill.  Interval training is a more intense and specific workout than just jogging on a treadmill.  Example of interval training.  Sprint your fastest 100M then rest for 90 seconds.  repeat until you’ve completed 8 rounds.

Week five, up your weights with your bigger lifts (deadlifts, bench and shoulder press, back squats) even if its only by 10 pounds.  Pick two days (not consecutive, though) that you will do stregth training.  Do 4 rounds of 10 back squats with each round getting a little bit heavier.

Weeks six it all comes together.  Workout week should look as follows

Day 1   Body weight workout (no longer than 20 minutes) followed by and interval workout

Day 2  Heavy weight training day

Day 3 body weight workout

Day 4 Rest!!!

Day 5 Body weight workout followed by interval training

Day 6 Heavy weights day

Day 7 Rest!

None of these workouts will exceed 45 minutes.  Interval workouts are only about 15 minutes long, but keep in mind they are always at a high intensity. And make sure that you are drinking enough water and getting enough protein!

There you have it!  Be ready for that swimsuit season!!

 

Bacon wrapped chicken

Last night we had the most delicious dinner!  And it was super easy!

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts (thawed and cut into 1″ strips)

8 slices of bacon

1/2 cup of honey

1-2 teaspoons of chili powder

Here’s what i did.  I took 2 large chicken breasts and cut them into large tenders.  (1″ by 3″ or so)  I wrapped a strip of bacon around them and held it in place with a toothpick.  Then I heated up some honey and I dumped the chili powder in it.  I heated it in the microwave for about 15 seconds so it wasn’t so thick and then I dredged the chicken/bacon in it.  I placed it on an oiled broiler pan (make sure that you line the underneath pan with foil so you don’t have to do any messy cleaning) and baked it for 30 minutes at 350.  Then I broiled it for about 3 minutes to get the bacon a little crispier.  I served it with steamed asparagus. Husband loved it. Kids loved it.  Totally primal.  Totally a new staple at our house.  Sorry there is no picture.  We were soooo hungry and they looked so beautiful that we couldn’t wait.