Paleo(ish) Trial – Week Two Review

Well, I did it!

Today was last day of my two-week Paleo(ish) Trial. It’s been an awesome two weeks, and I am so so glad that I stopped using my lack of self-control as an excuse to avoid this. I have spent years being that person who “couldn’t”–I couldn’t possibly give up sugar because I have no will power. I couldn’t possibly stop eating processed foods because I’m so busy! I couldn’t possibly make better meals for myself because I have no time.

I’m so happy that I finally proved myself wrong. Life is so much better when you just stop believing that you can’t so something… let me be proof that you can.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I used to get insane sugar cravings. They were so bad. Once one started it was like I couldn’t focus on anything until I had satisfied it. I used to sneak down to the basement or hide in in the kitchen to eat a cookie (or four) because I didn’t want Ruby to see me eating things I knew I shouldn’t. I would hear myself telling her that she couldn’t have it because it wasn’t good for her, then I would turn my back and eat that exact thing I wouldn’t let my daughter have. I knew I wasn’t setting a good example for my family, and it took me a long time to accept it and be ready to do something about it.

This has been a big change for me. The things I’m eating aren’t really all that different from things I would normally buy, but this trial has helped me “cut out the crap” and break some really bad habits.

I think that the way I’ve approached breakfast these past two weeks has been one of the biggest changes. Instead of reaching for frozen waffles or toast, I’m beginning my day with eggs, greek yogurt, fruit or a smoothie. I find myself SO full afterward that I’ve cut out my mid-morning crash where I would begin my day’s downward spiral of poor food choices.

In fact, this trial has pretty much helped me to cut out snacking all together. The meals were simple, delicious and very filling, and I stopped having those crashes through the day where I felt like I needed to eat something, even though I wasn’t really hungry.

It has also helped make me even more aware of some pretty bad habits I have when I’m out. I somehow got in this routine of buying myself a “treat” almost every time I’m out. As I cut out sugar, processed foods and fast foods completely from day one, it took me a day or two for my mind to catch up. I ran out on an errand one evening, and as I was coming home I thought, “Oh, I’ll just swing in here and get myself a donut”. It took me a minute to remember that those are definitely not Paleo(ish) and I was still very full from dinner. Actually, I was very proficient at justifying why I “needed” or should be allowed to have something from any fast food place I passed.

And I never, ever felt good after I ate it.

Now that I’ve cut it out for two weeks, I can honestly say that I can’t remember the last time that I felt this good. I have so much more energy, my mind feels clearer, and I feel better about myself now that I’m not mindlessly snacking on garbage all day long just because it’s “there”.

I really don’t find that I’ve missed any of the foods that I’ve reduced or cut out. Seriously.

(I honestly never ever thought that I’d say that.)

(I mean, I seriously love dessert. And allll the carbs. And all kinds of things that are not good for me.)

So, this is why I’ve decided to make this a permanent change for me. I get that the Paleo(ish) diet is not for everyone, but this has been such a positive experience that I just don’t want to go back to the way I was eating before. I don’t think I’ll ever adopt a hardcore Paleo lifestyle–kudos to those that do, it’s just too much for me. But the changes I’ve made over the last two weeks have been just enough to motivate me to stay on this path. The changes to my meals weren’t really all that hard… making the decision to start was.

In short, it’s helped me understand that my body is worth “fueling” with good foods. That I am worth it.

So, that’s where I am. I think I’ll stop posting photos of every meal I make, but I would love to keep sharing photos and recipes for new things I’m trying. I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead today and buying a juicer or nutribullet is on the top of my list.

(After I buy a new vacuum. I desperately need a new vacuum.)

Thanks for following me through my trial–your encouragement, support and suggestions were SO helpful and made this so much fun for me! Please keep it coming–I love trying your recipes and ideas as I still feel so new on this healthy eating train.

So, my Paleo(ish) Trial has officially ended… but my new healthier lifestyle has only just begun. :)

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The Paleo(ish) Trial – Mid Week Update*

Well, I’m about half way through week two of my Paleo(ish) Trial, and I am happy to say that I am still really enjoying this. I still feel like I have so much energy, and one of the best bonuses so far is that the sluggish “I’m-not-ready-to-wake-up” feeling I always fought in the morning is basically gone.

Even after I’ve had a bad night with Hank, I still feel much better in the mornings. That in itself is making this worth it.

I no longer feel like I’m a slave to my cravings. I had a bad day on Tuesday, for some reason an intense craving for sugar hit me like a freight train around lunch time on Tuesday and it raged for most of the afternoon. I was able to stave it off by eating an orange, and a friend of mine suggested that I may not have had enough fruit in the previous days–and I think she was right. I upped my fruit intake a little and I haven’t felt a single craving since.

I even made regular chocolate chip cookies this morning with Ruby, and I wasn’t even tempted. Usually I eat half the dough before it makes it onto the pan, and then enjoy several cookies fresh out of the oven. I didn’t even want them today. :)

I feel like my tastes have diversified and I’m enjoying things I normally wouldn’t so much more. I’m really excited about trying new vegetables and I’m already planning out meals for week 3!

My weight loss this week hasn’t been as dramatic, but I’m still losing an average of half a pound per day. It doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up and I am so happy.

In short, I feel great. I was really worried that I would get bored of the food and revert back to my old (unhealthy) ways, but I am still really excited about this. Almost every recipe I’ve tried has been a win, and I’ve been virtually sugar and processed food free for 11 days!

I know I keep bombarding your newsfeeds with photos of my food, but it is actually really helpful for me. It keeps me so accountable knowing that people are watching, and it has helped me not cheat! So, thanks. I’m sorry if it’s driving you crazy. haha

I’m going to try and post a new recipe every day on my Facebook page, and I’ll let you know what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to give this a whirl–if you’re not ready to go full time, why not start making Paleo(ish) dinners? If they work for you, then go for lunch too. A change begins with a single step–take a leap with me!

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The Big Decision*

For the past several weeks I’ve really been wrestling with what to do with regards to work.

I finished my last LTO at the end of January last year. I debated whether or not I should supply teach a little bit in February so that I wouldn’t eat up any of my maternity leave time if the baby was late, but I was so pregnant and tired that I just wanted to be home. I ended up having four glorious weeks at home with Ruby, and it gave me some much needed time to prepare the house for baby #2.

As a result, my maternity leave is scheduled to end on January 31st. I’ve been feeling a bit anxious about it because for the longest time Hank wouldn’t take any type of bottle or cup. Since he was born, I haven’t spent more than 3 hours away from him as he just will not take a bottle.

(We finally had a minor victory yesterday when he drank 4oz of formula from a sippy cup without a fight. It was glorious.)

I also don’t have my daycare arrangements finalized yet. I have a few leads, but nothing it set in stone. I like when things are set in stone. I’m trying hard to work it out so that the kids will be with someone I know; I still feel a bit uneasy about sending them to a public daycare while Hank is so little. I want to eventually send Ruby to a preschool, but I honestly just haven’t done much research into the ones in my area just yet.

So, I’ve been wrestling with what I should do. A big part of me is so excited to get back to work. I miss teaching. I miss the hustle and bustle of life in a high school. I miss using my brain for things other than remembering that I need to buy more diapers.

At the same time, I don’t feel quite ready. It was a little easier with Ruby because she had no issues taking a bottle or soother, and she was able to stay with a friend of ours during the day. It was a perfect arrangement and I had no qualms about heading back to work when I did. But Hank is a different baby, and he has just needed me a little more than she did.

After playing out every possible scenario in my head–supply teaching part time, supply teaching full time, half day or full day LTO, or even working in intermediate so there would be less marking (but oh, so much more planning..)–I still didn’t feel quite right about any of them.

Then, late one night as I sat rocking my (not-so) small boy in his dark, quiet room, I decided to take a little more time off. I discussed it with the Hubster, and the next day I sent a request off to my supervisor and I waited (im)patiently for her response. Thankfully my request was approved, and now I don’t have to go back until March 2nd, which gives me another full month at home with my two toads. It means I’m out of the running for full-semester LTOs (and maybe LTOs entirely depending on what’s available), but I feel at peace with the decision. As soon as the idea popped into my head, I knew it was right for me.

So, that’s where I’m at. I’m not sure what I’ll be heading back to in March, but at least I have a little more time to prepare for it. :)

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Paleo(ish) Trial – Week One Review*

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I did it!! I made it to the end of my Paleo(ish) trial week.

And you know what? It was SO much easier than I expected, and I enjoyed it so much more than I ever thought I would. I’ll be honest, there were a few things I was worried about before I began–the time it would take to prepare the meals, whether or not the food would be gross, what the sugar & carb cravings / withdrawal would be like, and more than anything, whether or not I would get bored of it after two days.

Well, I can happily say that all my fears were completely unfounded. It was a fantastic week! Having all my meals planned out made a huge difference. I have always been notoriously bad at eating well throughout the day and I think that’s where my issues were. I have always been able to prepare healthy dinners when we eat as a family, but I tend to graze on crap or eat whatever is fast during the day, and often it wasn’t very healthy.

Starting each day out with a big, healthy breakfast made a huge difference. I ate eggs, or Greek yogurt with granola and berries almost every day, and even just on that first day, I felt like I had more energy. By Wednesday that constant slugglishness I’ve been feeling was gone, and I no longer had my usual 3pm crash where I felt like I needed to nap or I’d die.

I tried to keep my meal choices simple and easy, and it really paid off. I never felt like I was struggling to find the time to make separate meals for myself and the family–for the most part The Hubster and Ruby ate what I did and they didn’t even know they were being subjected to my Paleo(ish) trial too.

(I’m so sneaky.)

I want to begin by explaining why I’ve been calling this my Paleo(ish) Trial. I want to be upfront and tell you that the meals I planned were not purely Paleo. I did quite a bit of reading about the Paleo diet, and while I loved so much about it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to a hardcore Paleo meal plan right off the bat. I’m also not sure I completely support essentially eliminating two food groups from my diet, so I decided to follow a “Paleo-inspired” meal plan instead. I occasionally ate a bit of dairy, and I still included granola and some quinoa as well. I also allowed myself two “treats” if I felt like I needed something a little more exciting. I occasionally had a small bowl of Boulder chips (my fav), or some homemade air popped popcorn. Other than that, I didn’t cheat!

The secret to success for me was first: planning. Plan, plan, plan those meals. Until it becomes second nature to reach for healthy food instead of garbage, having all my meals planned out made such a difference. I never found myself standing in my kitchen wondering what I should make or eat–each morning I woke up I knew what I would be making that day and that made a big difference.

Second, I tried to plan meals I knew I would like, and that weren’t all that different from what I usually eat. I didn’t want to spend my first week forcing myself to try a bunch of new recipes that may or may not turn out, as I knew if I failed I might just give up and go with what’s easy… and I really wanted to make it through my week! So I looked around online at sample meal plans, I put one together that worked for me. I’m hoping to get a little more adventurous this week now that I’ve seen what a Paleo(ish) diet is like–cauliflower crust pizza is on the menu for tomorrow. :)

Third, I took photos of all my meals and put them online. I’m sorry if I drove you crazy with all my food pictures, but I felt like it really held me accountable for what I was eating knowing that people were watching.

So. What were my thoughts about my Paleo(ish) week? In short, I loved it. I had more energy, and I just felt so… good. It was like my body sighed and said, “ahh. Finally”. I didn’t find that I missed any foods I had cut out, and the biggest shock to me was that I had next to no cravings.

Seriously.

I used to crave sugar and carbs so badly. It got to the point where¬† I’d have a craving so intense that I would have to stop what I was doing to go find something sweet to satisfy it. It was what I was most worried about when I started this trial, but for some reason I never went through the withdrawal symptoms I had read about or expected. I think it helped that I started to ease up on sweets the week before–I cut out chocolate again a week before I started the diet so the worst was behind me. But I had virtually no cravings all week. I felt so full most of the time that my body just didn’t need it! If anything, I occasionally craved different textures that I was missing–crunchy, crispy things. But I’m working on that.

Those intense cravings were part of what motivated me to try this. I’m turning 30 this year, and one of my goals before I get there is to take better care of myself and to simply feel healthy. Now that I’m running again, I knew it was time to clean up my diet. I didn’t want to try another “fad” or restrictive diet that I couldn’t maintain long-term; I wanted to find something sustainable that I could adapt to my daily life, and this seemed like a good fit. Of course the possibility of losing weight was an attractive incentive to help motivate me, but it was not the only reason I started this trial.

That being said, I have been weighing myself throughout the week, and I can honestly say that I am shocked at the results.

(I actually made the Hubster weigh himself to make sure that my scale wasn’t broken. Seriously.)

In my seven day Paleo(ish) trial I ended up losing… 5.5lbs. (!!!) I noticed the biggest drop in the first two days I started the trial, but the number has continually moved down each day. I am beyond amazed and thrilled, and I promise I’m eating properly. The meals you saw me post were what I ate, and I was SO FULL all the time. I pretty much cut out any snacking between my meals, and I rarely felt the need to eat after dinner… and that’s where I think I dropped most of the weight.

So, in short–I’m so glad I tried this. I feel amazing, and the weight loss was such an added bonus. I can honestly say that I don’t miss the sugar or processed foods I cut out, and I’m in no rush to reintroduce them. I’m definitely ready for week two! If you are at all interested in experimenting with this, let me know! I can pass along recipes and tips that are working for me, and I am happy to test out new recipes to let you know what’s a win (and what’s gross).

Let’s do this.

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My Paleo(ish) Trial – Menu Plan*

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Happy New Year!!

I can’t even believe that December is already over–it was a whirlwind month of laughter, family, service and food… oh, the food. Unfortunately it was not a month of running, but I’m back on track now. It was so hard trying to find time to squeeze in a run in the short window of daylight I had, especially when I had so many other things demanding my time.

But, c’est la vie.

I want to get 2015 off on the right foot. I was able to get out running three times last week despite the cold and snow, and I ran my first 5km race of the year on New Years Day. It was a chilly, hilly route with crazy wind resistance, but I ran the whole thing and felt great when I finished.

(And then a bad man-voice cold set in the following day… but let’s pretend the two aren’t related.)

One of my goals for 2015 is to clean up the way that I eat. I finally feel like I’m getting this exercise thing under control, and fixing some of my bad eating habits is the next step on my road to a healthier life. I’ve been thinking and reading about Paleo diets for some time now, and I finally feel ready to put a toe in the water and see what it’s like. I know I eat way too much sugar and processed carbs and I like how the Paleo diet strips everything down–basically if you can’t hunt it or gather it, you shouldn’t eat it. It’s jokingly called the “Caveman Diet” for good reason.

A few of my friends have tried it and loved it, and after a long chat with my brother about his experience with it, I decided I was ready to try it out. After a bit of reading, I threw together a week-long meal plan to see what it’s like. I’m calling it my “Paleo-ish” trial as I’m not going hardcore with this–I still plan to include a little dairy, legumes and quinoa–but otherwise I’m cutting out the crap for the next seven days. Here’s a little glimpse of what I’ll be cooking this week:

Monday*
–Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and vegetables, with salsa. Orange
–Lunch: Cucumber & avocado salad. Handful of nuts
–Dinner:¬†BBQ Salmon, brussel sprouts & asparagus

Tuesday:*
–Breakfast:
Poached Eggs, with a baked apple
–Lunch: Tuna & lettuce wrap. Berries & greek yogurt
–Dinner: BBQ burger (no bun), roasted sweet potatoes and carrots

Wednesday*
–Breakfast:
Fruit smoothie with almond milk
–Lunch: Leftover burger & veg
–Dinner: Ground beef stir fry with vegetables. Some berries

Thursday*
–Breakfast:
Fried eggs and an orange
–Lunch: Leftover stir fry from the night before. A handful of nuts
–Dinner: BBQ chicken, with sweet potatoes and broccoli

Friday*
–Breakfast:
Fruit Smoothie with almond milk
–Lunch: Cucumber & avocado salad. Handful of nuts
–Dinner: Cauliflower soup & oven roasted carrots

Saturday*
–Breakfast:
Bacon & eggs with an orange
–Lunch: Leftover soup
–Dinner: Chili

Sunday*
–Breakfast:
Fruit Smoothie with almond milk
–Lunch: Leftover chili
–Dinner: Roasted chicken wings with vegetables

I’m nervous, but also excited. I think the meals look delicious and truthfully, they aren’t that far off what I would normally make. It’s really just a matter of adjusting how I prepare the dishes and what I serve them with.

The biggest change will be cutting out my unhealthy snacks. There will be no sweets, no chips, no juice, no handful of Ruby’s crackers, etc. My snacks for the week will include:

–Greek yogurt with granola & berries
–Banana with crunchy peanut butter
–Apple slices
–Nuts
–Cucumber slices with hummus
–Slices of cheese
–Fruit (kiwis, strawberries, blueberries, clemetines)
–Hot lemon water with honey

I’m hoping I can be disciplined enough to do this. I’m aware that some of these foods aren’t considered “Paleo”, but I just want to dip a toe in the water and see how hard this is. I really don’t want to be eating some of the foods I do, most of the time I grab junk out of habit, or because I’m bored, too tired or too lazy to make something better. I want to feel better and have more energy, and I feel like this is a good place to start.

So, there we have it. Any advice for me? Or better yet, try this with me! There’s strength in numbers… ;)

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