Back to it

Well, it’s been almost 8 months since my last post, and I’m back where I began. Well, actually, I’m in worse shape. Not for lack of knowledge of how to feel better and eat right for my body. But personal trials (especially the illness and death of my mother) put me in a tailspin of self-destruction like I’ve never had.

But enough about that. I’m back to it. And with a vengeance! I’m going full primal/paleo starting today. And I’m going to get back to doing physical activity that I enjoy. Today, I’m actually trying out my first Zumba class!

And to kick it off (which is a great phrase considering my Super Bowl binge last night), I made some Bison Chili. YUM! I love meals that are all-in-one, and this one is packed with veggies! (I saved half for myself, and then added in some beans and corn for my non-primal family.)

Bison Chili
Serves 4

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
1 t. oregano
1 T. cumin
1-2 T. chili powder
1 t. paprkia
2 T. red pepper flakes (adjust for how hot you like it)
1 lb ground bison
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

Brown onion and garlic in olive oil. Add peppers and spices and sautee for a couple minutes. Add bison and brown. Then add tomatoes and let simmer until cooked through. Like all chili, I think it tastes better after it’s settled a bit and the flavors have melded. YUM!!

Food today:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs in butter with 1 sausage patty, double espresso over ice with heavy whipping cream
Lunch: 4 leftover ribs (no sauce), 1/4 red pepper
Dinner: Bison chili
Activity: 7500 steps

Continuing on

CRAZY WEEK!  My whole team is in from all over the world, so I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  The good news is, however, I’m still totally following my self-imposed “rules,” and am getting my 10K+ steps everyday. So far, I’m at 9 days in a row!!!

Food yesterday:
Breakfast: omelet with spinach, mushroom, and bacon; iced coffee (black)
Lunch: grilled flank steak, broccoli
Dinner (restaurant): hamburger with bacon and a bit of soft cheese, arugula and cherry tomatoes with olive oil and lemon juice; a few fried mini veal meatballs with artichoke puree
Steps: 10,912

Food today:
Breakfast: iced double espresso (black)
Lunch: Chipotle salad with 1/2 carnitas and 1/2 chicken, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, guacamole
Snack: handful almonds & pistachios, iced double espresso (black)
Dinner: “The Wreck” salad (no cheese, with hot peppers and vinegar) from Potbelly
Steps: 10,000 (exactly!)

Non-Primal Hangover

So yesterday I celebrated.  I was actually completely Whole30/paleo until the evening, when I went out with a friend and my sister.  My brother and I had spent all day putting together my new king size bed and putting up two huge full-wall curtain rods (although he really did the bulk of the work, I must say – but I was a great assistant!). So when I finally got out, I was really craving a good Belgian ale.  It was a perfect summer day, and we went to a beer hall in the neighborhood. Three ales down, plus a (paleo-friendly) bratwurst and sauerkraut, and I headed home with a very happy buzz.  But we were also still hungry, so we followed that with sushi, sake, and Japanese beer.

Needless to say, I was not feeling my best this morning.  Now, that said, in retrospect, the food portion of yesterday wasn’t horrific – I had coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and didn’t have any gluten.  But I did have some sushi rice, and obviously the beer was not “on program.”  The good news, though, is that I have no desire to go do that again!  Today, I was right back to being Primal.

AND I GOT MY 10K STEPS FOR A WEEK!!  WOOHOO!  I also hit my 35 mile goal for the week. Feeling pretty awesome about that, and definitely shooting to do it again next week!

Brunch: Kale & Avocado salad with red onions, lime juice, olive oil and 2 poached eggs; double espresso; iced coffee

Dinner: Sage-Rosemary Pork Roast sauteed in coconut oil with Rhubarb Chutney, roasted beets

Reflections on my Whole30 & Going Primal

Would I do it again?  ABSOLUTELY.

The last thirty days have been challenging at times, especially social occasions where I wanted to have a drink or being out to eat and not wondering what mysterious stuff was in the entrees. But I have to say that overall it has been an amazing experience.  I feel better, look better, and have found new levels of willpower I didn’t know I had.  It’s amazing when you just say, “OK, this is it.  No slips.  No excuses.”  It certainly worked for me!

And the bottom-line weight-wise?  I’m down almost 18 pounds.  Wow.  Want to know what that is the equivalent of? (Warning: Here comes the data geek in me.)

Slide172 sticks of butter


For me, it’s a great kick-start for a much larger health goal, which will take many months and a lifetime of more conscious living.  But hey, I’d rather be moving forward from this point!

So here is my plan for moving forward:

  • I am going to continue to primarily eat more “clean” paleo/primal (no dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc.), but will allow myself 2-3 meals every week where I will have those special treats.
  • I am going to continue to eats nuts, but need to make sure that they are more the exception than the rule (based on my tracking over the 4 weeks, the times when I was relying heavily on nuts to get by, especially during travel, are times when I didn’t lose any weight).
  • I am going to focus more now on amping up my movement and improving my lean body mass.  I just finished 5 days in a row of 10K+ steps, and I’m going to shoot for a full week, and then keep going.  If I can get in over 70K steps a week (which is about 35 miles), that should definitely be a great step in the right direction (pun intended!).  I’m also going to start adding in more interval training and “lifting heavy things” (ala the Primal Blueprint), and working back in more DDP Yoga (BANG!!).
  • I am going to more consciously follow a Primal lifestyle. (I am PrimeAli, aren’t I?!?) That means getting a good night’s sleep, playing more (and playing actively), getting sunlight, etc.
  • I am going to continue this blog to document my journey, keep track of new recipes I create, and just generally share what I am experience on my adventures.

Notice that I didn’t say that I’m going to “try” to do any of that.  I AM going to do it. And I’m looking forward to feeling even better.  Grok on!

Day 30! (and purposeful wandering)

TheToday is my final day of my Whole30!!  What an awesome experience.  And definitely a life changer for me on many levels.  Tomorrow I’ll do the full recap and check in with the other metrics.

But in the meantime, let me share my new favorite thing: wandering meetings.  Basically, I spend crazy amounts of time on the phone in the office every day. I mean CRAZY!  So now for any meeting that I don’t need to be glued to my computer typing, I’m getting up and moving!  Luckily we have a couple larger meeting rooms, and almost 4000 sq. ft. of space.  During my 1 hour meeting this morning, I got in an extra 3000 steps – that’s almost 1.5 miles!  And I hit my 10K steps before bed.

Today’s food:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with beets greens in coconut oil, double espresso

Lunch: Mongolian bar (cabbage, bean sprouts, mushrooms, asparagus, green onion, and a little each of shrimp, beef, and pork all cooked with hot sauce and a bit of sesame oil)

Snack: handful of pistachios

Dinner: (sadly, I was too stressed out to eat, so I just went to bed….)

10K Steps

For the fourth day in a row, I’ve met my 10,000 step goal! I seriously do love my Fitbit.

My steps so far this week have been:
Monday – 10,013
Tuesday – 12,369
Wednesday – 13,025
Thursday – 10,352

I was really hoping today to beat yesterday’s number and get near 15,000 but I ended up at work until after 8pm and it was raining when I left. Oh well, I suppose 10k will have to do! Now, I’m shooting to do a whole work week in a row (and maybe even the full seven days!). What a perfect way to bookend my Whole30 experience!

Today’s food:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with beet greens and coconut oil, 10 almonds

Lunch: salad nicoise (mixed greens, tuna, olives, green beans, olive oil, red wine vinegar)

Dinner: beet greens and broth, coconut butter

NOTE: I was a bit light on the protein for the day.  I was planning on having a nice portion with dinner, but got some upsetting news and just wasn’t really wanting anything much. And yes, I swear that I was actually craving beet greens in broth and coconut butter as comfort food.  Wow.

Let us sing the praises of lettuce!

I think I’m becoming a salad-holic.  I’ve had 2 salads a day for the past couple of days (3 yesterday, if you include the mound of arugla that came with my omelet at breakfast).  I mean, I’ve always like salads a lot.  But now I’m kind of addicted to them.  Yeah, that sounds nuts.  But there are just so many options, and I don’t feel run-down and tired after eating them!

In fact, I’m so in love with them (and the chopped variant, in particular) that I just ordered my very own salad chopper and bowl:

I can’t wait to make chopped salads at home!

And speaking of home, I’m on a train on my way back to NYC now.  And I just realized that 48 hours from now will be the end of my Whole30.  WOW!  And the best thing is that I’m not really looking to “celebrate” finishing with food or drink.  (Now, that’s not to say I won’t have a drink this weekend, for the record….)  I think that I am going to stick with eating this “cleaner” way most of the time.  I’m going to try adding back in foods to see if there is anything that I react really negatively to, but for me if I could add back in a bit of cheese/full-fat cream for special occasions and a drink or two once a week or so, I really think I’d be fine. And I’m planning to start doing some Whole15s every month or so, when my travel and work life permit it.  Maybe every quarter I’ll do a Whole15, just to jump start things again.

Today’s food:

Breakfast (Kramer’s): Spinach and mushroom omelet, berries and fruit, 2 double espressos (YIKES!)

Lunch (DSG Deli): Cobb salad with corned beef, avocado, and veggies (no cheese), olive oil and vinegar; double espresso

Dinner (Chipotle): Romaine salad with carnitas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and salsa

The life of a (Primal) road warrior

Today is one of those typical days on the road.  And yet, in some ways it’s also so different because I’m doing my Whole30.

I woke up starved because my dinner last night had not agreed with me so (TMI warning!), there was nothing left in my body by the time I went to bed last night.  I knew that the breakfast food at the conference would be pastries and other wheat/carb-laden foods, so I decided to order room service.  There wasn’t really anything on the menu that was Whole30-approved, so I asked them to whip me up an omelet with spinach and mushrooms, and then put a side of arugula salad, with olive oil and vinegar on the side.  I then called back to make sure that they only used olive oil to cook my omelet, if anything (yeah, I was THAT person).  Here’s what I got:

BIG kudos to the kitchen for the massive amount of arugula on the plate.  (After the recent NYTimes article, “Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food,” I’ve been kind of obsessed with adding more arugula in my diet, since it is one of the few foods that has retained some semblance of it’s original nutritional profile.) Not so great was the ramekin of au gratin potatoes, after I had explicitly said I just wanted the omelet and arugula and NO toast; and the vinegar, which turned out to actually be a vinaigrette that clearly had sweetener in it (which I luckily checked beforehand because it looked suspicious!). So I just had the olive oil on the arugula, which was actually just fine since it has so much “bite” to it anyway!

And it’s a really good thing that I had such a filling breakfast because, per usual, the conference lunch was a choice of boxed lunches that all had wraps, corn salad, and pasta salad.  Needless to say, I didn’t even pick one up.  [NOTE for all you conference organizers out there, please have a salad or something for all of the people who can’t eat sandwiches, or who are wanting something a bit more healthy!]  So, I skipped lunch, and luckily the conference ended by 1:30.  I walked back up to my hotel (I had walked the 2 miles down there too – see, my Fitbit really inspired me last night!) and went back to the Chop’t in Dupont Circle, my new fave place because: a) I can see exactly what they are putting into my salad and the have awesome options, and b) it just tasted delicious.

That said, I didn’t get to eat lunch until 3pm.  Now, normally, I would have been ready to gnaw my own arm off, but because of being Whole30 for over 3 weeks now, I really am OK for going 8 hours between meals.  I was definitely hungry, mind you; but I wasn’t cranky, didn’t have really low blood sugar, etc. For someone who travels and is at the whims of other people’s food so often, that is a lifesaver! (Oh, and if I’d remembered to bring my bag of nuts and coconut flakes with me today, that would have helped too. I’m kind of glad I didn’t, though, because it forced me to realize that I really only need that in emergencies.)

Today’s food:

Breakfast: Omelet with spinach and mushroom, arugula with olive oil, coffee

Lunch: Chop’t salad (1/2 romaine & 1/2 kale, steak, hearts of palm, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, jalapenos, olive oil and balsamic vinegar)

Dinner: arugula and fennel salad with ruby grapefruit, grilled shrimp, and lemon olive oil

The power of (Fitbit) persuasion

I have a Fitbit, and I LOVE it!  It really does keep my motivated to take the extra staircase, the extra 1/2 mile, etc.  For example, tonight I got back to my hotel room in D.C. and wasn’t really feeling great.  Then I got a text from my Fitbit telling me that I only had 543 steps more to make it to 10,000 for the day. What did I do?  Hopped out of bed (in my PJs) and walked back and forth across the room (luckily it’s a nice size one) until I surpassed my goal.  Now, sure, that probably was like an extra 10 calories. But you know what?  It made me motivated to do even better tomorrow!

Today’s food:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with beet greens and coconut oil, large iced coffee

Lunch: Chop’t salad (1/2 romaine, 1/2 kale; chicken; avocado; cucumber; tomatoes; peppers; jalapenos; olive oil and vinegar); coconut flakes

Dinner (Boquieria): about a dozen pieces cured ham, 6-7 olives, 1/2 scallop, 4 pieces lamb (and I’m sure LOTS of olive oil)

I’m in love…

…with my Foodsaver.  Yeah, anti-climactic, I know.  But honestly, it has changed my culinary life.  Well, that and the crazy number of wide-mouth Ball jars (both smaller and larger) I’ve bought in the past month. And this wide-mouth jar attachment that helps me seal things. (Interestingly, I also bought a few of the plastic rolls as well, but I haven’t really used them.  I think that for me I would probably use those more with putting meat into smaller portions to freeze or something.) The machine just makes saving food SO much easier.  And the food lasts forever!  (Hyperbolic, I know, but it feels like it compared to before!) Plus, it helps me with my crazy travel and work schedule, since I can bulk prepare vegetables, especially salad, and meals and then just grab them and go.

Today I was inspired by reading through Melissa Joulwan‘s Well Fed, which has probably the best simple primer on how to do a Weekly Cookup to set yourself up for the week, to take all the produce I bought yesterday and clean and prep it for the rest of the week.  I’m actually gone the next three days (shocker!), so this will make sure that I can have fresh, local, organic veggies waiting for me when I get back.  In fact, last time I pre-washed, chopped, and vacuum-sealed romaine lettuce, it lasted about 10 days before even starting to wilt!   Talk about being a life-saver for the single girl!image

So today I vacuum-packed a bunch of beet greens, wild arugula, and green onion tops. I also roasted and packed my beets, and then packed up my leftover riced cauliflower and sauteed greens, which I’d made for dinner.  I’ll have a fridge full of food to return to on Wednesday night!

Today’s food:

Breakfast: 1/4 frittata made with Farmer John’s eggs (he’s our local provider in NC, and I brought back 2 dozen eggs from my last trip down, because they are always the BEST!), leftover Sage-Rosemary Pork Roast, red onion, and swiss chard, cooked with ghee.
[NOTE: this was my cat Magpie’s fave, apparently.  I was going back for a second piece and realized that she had taken an entire slice, drug it onto the floor, and was proceeding to eat it all.  Luckily, my sister had already gotten her second piece in!]

Lunch: more leftover Sage-Rosemary Pork Roast with Rhubarb Chutney, 5 macadamia nuts

Dinner: leftover “Lemony Lobster” over cauliflower rice, sauteed mixed greens (beet, chard, sorrel) with red onion in chicken broth and coconut oil, and an itty bitty beet