Sunday, January 25, 2015

I went Paleo...

Enough with the heavy stuff… let’s talk food.  

Last March I drastically changed my diet. I went Paleo. Well, about 90% of the time. I did it for vanity and fitness reasons (to lose weight) but found that there were a lot of other benefits. I feel better, have more energy, look better, sleep better, and lowered my cholesterol and blood pressure. I’ve also quit referring to what I eat as a diet because it’s really my lifestyle now. And I’ve found it to be quite easy. I’m going to give you an example of how I do it, but first what the heck am I talking about?

Paleo focuses on meat, veggies, and limited fruit, nuts, and seeds… essentially real, one ingredient foods that have not been processed. You cut grains, legumes, sugar, and most dairy. You can eat some dairy: butter, full fat cream, and even some say that high quality cheeses are acceptable. There are a lot of definitions of Paleo, so I approach it based on what my goals are. If I am not training for anything or am in a maintenance mode, I will be a little less strict, even adding in 1-2 cheat meals a week. If I need to drop a few because my pants are tight or I am training for a competition, then I drop the cheats, cheese, and higher fat meats and nuts.

Here are a few tips:

·       Never buy foods with a long ingredient list or ingredients that sound like chemicals. Stay on the perimeter aisles of the grocery store and when you need easy meals and snacks, I like Larabars and those small packets of almond butter. They are a great example of packaged foods with a few ingredients.

·       Plan your meals. Before you go to the store know what your lunches and dinners will be, print out the recipes, and write a list.

·       Take an hour or so on Sunday and prep as much food as you can. Chop, spiralize, and bag veggies and fruit.  Pre-make any sauces or dressings you need for the week.

My first challenge was figuring out how to do this with a husband that was not going to eat this way. And tonight’s meal is a great example of how I do it! Bear with me… the explanation is a lot more complicated than it is, I swear!

Saturday Menu:

·         Bratwurst with ketchup, mustard, and spicy pickles

·         Sweet potato fries

·        Sweet Hot Mustard Brussels Sprout and Apple Almond Salad
Mine is in the front!

He gets regular brats, Boulder Sausage brand are the best. I get chicken apple brats, Saag’s have been my favorite so far. I buy a package of each and freeze half, so we have another meal ready later in the week. His is served as you know it, on a bun. For mine, I use the “brat as a bun” technique and cut down the middle of the brat and put my condiments inside. There is even a brand of Paleo friendly ketchup, mustard, and mayo called Sir Kensington’s. Easy! We both win!

Now for the sweet potato fries. This was one that I wasn’t sure I was going to get him to be excited about, but the first time I made them he said, “These are good. We can have these anytime you want.” Trust me when I say that is a compliment! I got a vegetable spiralizer and it has been one of the best purchases ever! Paderno brand on Amazon for under $40. I take the skin off and spiralize 2 sweet potatoes, coat with coconut oil and garlic salt and bake on 400 for about an hour. Note, I only eat potatoes or sweet potatoes on days that I lift weights or have over 60 minutes of exercise. They are carbs after all.  

Last, the Brussel sprout salad. It has shallots, spiralized apples, slivered almonds, and shredded Brussel Sprouts tossed in a mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, and Siracha dressing. It makes a few servings so now I have lunch for the next few days… I just top with smoked salmon, a package of tuna, or a chicken breast. Here’s the recipe if you are interested, it’s from the best spiralized recipe creator on the planet., in my opinion. 

So, I’m Paleo. He’s not. And we get to east like THIS! Pasta? Easy. He gets noodles, I get zoodles. Burgers? Easy. I use lettuce as the bun. Tacos? Easy. Cauliflower tortillas for me and they hold up great in the freezer for a few weeks if you make a batch. Chinese? Easy. I use cauliflower rice instead. Pulled pork with Carolina mustard BBQ sauce? Easy. He eats on a bun, I eat on smashed cauliflower. Pizza? Not easy. I guess we can’t have it all…  

In Part 2 of the Paleo series I’ll give you a few examples of weekly menus that comply. Part 3 will be how to order at restaurants. What else do you want to know?

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