Thursday, October 31, 2013


Oy, there it is.  What I unceremoniously call my fat girl picture.  I am, by nature, a happy person.  It prolly even shows in this photo, especially since it was the day after we adopted our CappiDog in 2011,  and I was over the moon with joy to have her eleven year old self with us.  (She's actually on the end of the leash that I'm holding.)  I always made people delete photos of me when I was this heavy because I felt so ashamed at looking that way.   In fact, this one still exists only because my father-in-law snapped it when we brought the new doggie to visit him and somehow I didn't make him crop me out of it or delete like I usually did..  ( I can be such a jerk.)

As superficial as it sounds to feel bad about how I looked on the outside, I felt even worse on the inside.  I was, indeed, so very broken.  My back hurt.  Always, without ceasing, and I supposed it would be that way forever.  The harder I worked out, the worse it got.  It was stuck in my head that if I just worked out harder, I could lose weight and maybe feel better.  After all, we had been vegetarians for fourteen years; it couldn't be our diet.  True, I could lose weight if I restricted calories, but I didn't find that sustainable.  I would go back to 'three square meals' per day and the weight crept back...and then some.  

And the back pain increased as well.  Other than working out, I found that I moved very little. Now that was awful because I really do like to do stuff other than work out.

Yep.  Broken.  I don't know what else to say.  

Number Three on my list of Twenty-Five Paleo-ish things is that I now look at people who are overweight and see them as broken.  I see myself in them, not knowing any better.  I think they may be hurting inwardly and outwardly, just like I was.

But I am blessed with a spirit that is not easy to break and a husband who puts up with me.  He approached me about giving up our vegetarian ways.  I was a jerk (yep, did I say I can sure be a jerk?) about it at first because we defined ourselves as vegetarians.    In the end, I was just curious enough about foods that caused inflammation and started reading.  It made sense and everything turned around for us.  We got rid of all the stuff in our pantry and fridge and went to the grocery store with a list from Robb Wolf's Total Transformation PDF meal plan.  (This may be the best twenty-five bucks you'll ever spend, I promise.)

The rest is history.   I feel great.  Srsly.  The weight loss of sixty (yes, sixty) pounds is just a side effect of getting healthy on the inside.  I can't say that it's been hard, but I won't say it's been easy either.  

More like an exciting challenge that left me unbroken.

And that challenge is what I wish for you.

Take good care, k.   

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yummy Mummy Meatloaves

Tomorrow is Halloween and with the possibility of a Zombie WOD at our gym, Seminole Crossfit, and a trip down the sidewalk to our local German restaurant for brats and sauerkraut to celebrate, I thought I'd better come up with a little scary treat today.  We love meatloaf around here...I never add the fillers although I guess that is the point of it.  Stretching the budget is always a good idea, but I don't like the breadcrumbs and what not.  Neither did my mom and she flatly refused to make it.  My grandma, on the other hand, made lots of meatloaf in her day.  She just didn't add the fillers and I loved it!  I always knew Grandma was ahead of her time...or in the case of things that are Paleo, I guess it's good to be behind the times.

I've see a few Paleo recipes that use cauliflower, celery, carrots and onions or maybe almond flour as fillers.   Pick one of those if you like, but  I do find that this one is simple to make and holds together really well.  We also like to play with spices around here, but you can leave one or all of them out if they are not to your liking.  You can dress up any meatloaf recipe to look like mummies and I'll show you how.  All kinds of things are possible with bacon!  Even spooky stuff.

Here is my Paleo version of classic meatloaf:

2 pounds grassfed ground beef
2 eggs
2 onions, sauteed or caramelized (cooked on low for about an hour)
1 can tomato paste, 6 ounces (recommend Muir Glen)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons salt (or less, according to your taste)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and tomato paste, then add in the spices.  Mix well.  Add in the ground beef, along with the onions and mix thoroughly.  (Best tool for that  I know of for this is a pair of clean hands.)   Divide the mixture in half and place on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet; form each into an oval.

For the mummy faces:

8-10 strips of bacon
2 kalamata olive, sliced in half lengthwise
2 mushrooms, sliced in half lengthwise or 2 sliced parsnip 'coins'
6 very thin strips of yellow bell pepper for eyelashes
12 or so pieces of chopped onion
red bell pepper cut in shape of lips

Wrap the bacon around the loaf 'heads', placing one strip along each mummy face.  Arrange the eyes so that the olive pieces sit inside the mushroom or parsnip coins to resemble the pupils. (If you use mushrooms, don't cook them because they will burn.  Just add them in when meatloaves are done.)  Stick the 'eyelashes' for the girl mummy into one set of mushrooms or place them under the olives on top of the parsnip coins.  For the guy mummy, arrange the onion pieces to look like teeth. For the girl mummy, place the lips below the bacon wrap on her face.  

Here's a look at my gruesome couple before they went into the oven:

Bake for about an hour; the internal temperature should be 160 degrees.  Let the loaves rest for a few minutes and cut into slices.

If you dare!!!!  (Insert maniacal laughter here.)  

Happy Hauntings!

Take good care, k. 

PS  I am serving the mummies with roasted parsnips and carrots.  I think the orange and off white color combo will look and taste great.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Paleo is a Silly Thing to Call This

I have to laugh at this poster because I am so guilty of taking pictures of food.  I am also guilty of talking incessantly about eating Paleo.  Even though I think it is a silly thing to call a diet where one eats whole foods, carbs in moderation, high-ish dietary fat and lots of protein.  But as I said in my list of twenty-five Paleo-ish things, you gotta call it something.

There's a good bit of vitriol that comes to pass when people discuss this lifestyle.  Stuff like 'Oh yeah, those cavemen ate lots of sausage, didn't they?'  Well, no they didn't.  The foods available to them aren't around now, although some incarnations of them certainly are.  We simply aren't evolved enough to eat the processed foods that are available to us and I've wondered what we would look like if we were.

What kind of creature thrives on hydrolized soybean and  corn protein plus hydrolized corn gluten?  I guess I thought I would thrive since that is what is in one of my favorite things to eat when I was a vegetarian...a veggie chik'n patty.  

Good heavens.  That creature (me) was overweight and in a lot of pain.  So I guess that's what we evolve into by eating the wrong foods; people who are sick and obese.

I will gladly call this lifestyle Paleo until someone comes up with something better and easier to say.  And leave this short, simple post with a quote from Wm. Shakespeare himself:

What's in a name?  that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet...

Take good care, k. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Upside Down and Dancing


In my list of twenty-five Paleo-ish things I've learned in the last year, the first one I chose is a heady quote by none other than the famous Jedi Master himself, Yoda.

'You must unlearn what you have learned.  Try not...Do. Or do not.  There is no try!' 

It sounds so simple, but in reality very difficult.  But that is just because we find it hard to take a leap of faith.  We cling to what is safe and familiar.  Bread is the staff of life, right?  If you lift that barbell, you will hurt your back.  Especially if you are a girl.

Let me break Yoda's words down a bit. 

'You must unlearn what you have learned.'  

I keep discovering this over and over again...just glance at yesterday's post about the pesto sauce.  Crazy that it meant so much to rediscover one condiment, but rediscovery and re-purpose has been a recurrent theme for me this year.  It isn't really like giving up stuff when so much goodness enters your life in its place.  I can do without bread if the inflammation in my lumbar spine is gone.  On a much different note, I can do without cheese if it means fitting into size two jeans.  Yep, but more on the superficial stuff later.  (But son-of-a-gun, I wear zeros and twos!)

The heavy business of unlearning is actually quite refreshing.  Eat big food.  I mean eat food with lots of dietary fat, food that is lower in carbs and food that is satisfying and you will stop eating so much.  From everything I read it makes your brain happy and your hormones dance. Then the rest of you is happy and yep, the energy revs up.  And you want to dance.

Many of us, like Hubs, dance in different ways...but we all want to and absolutely can dance.

'Try not...Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.'

Sounds very harsh and defeating at first, but it is truth.  Truth is uplifting because it adds the fundamental element of success.  If you start out knowing what you must do, there is no room for cheating or doubt.  Many friends have asked me what kind of treats we have.  In all honesty, we don't.  It's okay.  Srsly.  There is no trying not to eat gluten.  Too many carbs will simply turn into fat and increase inflammation in your entire, yep yep yep your entire body.  That is it.  Be mindful of the fundamentals  and success will find you.

There is no try in lifting weights at the gym either.  I either get that barbell off the floor or I don't. Simple.  If the weight doesn't leave the floor, that is my limit.

Last week, my limit was a two hundred fifteen pound deadlift.  Off the floor, I lifted it.

Now that felt good.  Well, no it didn't, I just lied, it was hard and freaking heavy and my hands hurt.  But you will not find that kind of personal success by eating a cupcake.  Promise.  

Lifting weights and pushing yourself hard at exercise is the way your muscles dance.  I read over and over again that diet is most important to our overall health and well eighty percent of it.  But the twenty percent that is exercise is so much fun.  It goes together so well.  

And lifting weights is the way Hubs can truly dance.  Guy has two left feet and can't catch a beat to save his soul, but he is a bad-ass Crossfitter.  (I am working on being a baby bad-ass.)

If you are reading this and the whole Paleo lifestyle interests you for some reason, I know you will either do it or not.  There is no doing it for a have to take that leap for good.

If you take that leap, I promise I'll be here to hold your hand!

Take good care, k.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

No Parm Pesto

I spent the better part of this afternoon making sauces.  It started out with bourbon barbecue sauce, then some homemade mayo, and ending with my new re-discovered love, pesto.  We love all of these and I will share each, but here's the pesto first because I am sure happy to have some back in the fridge.

Back in our vegetarian times, which lasted fourteen years, we ate lots and lots of pasta.  Lots.  We even got the equipment to make our own and had fun entertaining friends with  pasta making shows and dinners.  I won't say that it wasn't good, but we need to put the pasta making gizmos on Craig's list because those shows are over.

I thought my love for pesto sauce was gone forever as well. Now I still make a mean marinara (with grass fed ground beef), but with no pasta to serve it on and my dairy intolerance for the cheeses that go in the classic recipe, I thought the pesto wasn't worth the effort.


As the basil plants stared out at me from our little courtyard kitchen garden last week, I decided to give cheese free pesto a whirl last week.  It is delish!  All this time I thought it was the cheese that gave it the rich yummies.
Guess it's the walnuts.  And you can't get much more Paleo!  Here's the recipe:

Fresh Paleo Pesto

2 cups fresh basil
1 cup toasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup good olive oil

Toast the whole walnuts in a small skillet set to medium heat.  You don't have to stand there with them, but pay attention so they don't burn.  As a rule, when you smell them, they are about ready.  I use a food processor  because the chopping blade comes out of the machine and I can get more of the sauce out of the container when I'm done.  A blender should work just as well, but chop up the first four ingredients a bit to give it some help. Have the oil measured in a cup with a good pouring spout.

Add the basil, toasted walnuts, garlic and salt to your machine.  Buzz it around for a minute or so; the mixture should be a little thick and well incorporated.  Pour the oil through the feeder tube or the hole in your blender's top.  The mixture will loosen and get somewhat creamy.  Scrape it into a dish that you can cover tightly in the fridge since the aroma of the garlic will get everywhere.

This makes about one cup.

Serve it over spaghetti squash, as a dip for vegetables or on eggs.  Heck, I can't think of too much not to top with it.  Yay!

Take good care, k.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Not on the List...

This little post has nothing to do with the list I made up yesterday.  I know.  But I do get side tracked.  A lot.

Woo-hoo!  Three days in a row blogging and this is getting fun.  And maybe I will let folks know that there are some more posts here when I have a few more up.  The Blogger site, which I am using since it is free and that's a good price, has this nifty counter thing where you can go and see how many hits your blog has gotten.  Now I am not a record keeper and don't really shine at adding a metric (as Hubs reminds me of on a daily basis) to anything, but this counter did show me something.   Back in August, the folks at Paleohacks shared my story and lots of people visited here.  Like over 1000.  That tells me a couple things.  1) There is a ton of interest in the Paleo life style.  2) I am a total slacker.

So, with lessons learned and opportunities lost, I start again.  We are heading down to Disney's EPCOT park for a fun day and evening at the wine festival.  I've never been to a Disney park.  True.  And we've lived in Central Florida for over three years now.  I went to the Universal Theme Park for the first time ever with Hubs and his sister's family a few weeks ago and had a swell time.  Today's adventure will also include a visit with my very great friend, Christini, and her husband who is with the band 38 Special.   (He's the cute guy with the beard...and wait 'til you see Christini!)  I know I can't wait to see her again and hear this iconic band.

It is nice not to miss  an opportunity.

More tomorrow and I will get to my list...take good care, k.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Twenty-Five Paleoish Things

Okeys, well here goes.  I am sure that there are way more than twenty-five things I could list in the Paleo World  that have changed my life and the life of Hubs and how we think, but I will most likely get stuck pretty soon after starting.  It's like trying to write your own bio.
I will elaborate on each of these things in future posts...just maybe not in the order listed since I know I'll pick the easiest ones first.

1.  'You must unlearn what you have learned.  Try not...Do. Or do not.  There is no try!'  Yoda is right about this stuff.

2.  I really think that calling this approach 'Paleo' is kinda silly because obviously the foods that Paleolithic folks ate are no longer available to us modern cave dwellers.  Besides, they ate what was regionally available to them each season.  But we gotta call it something.

3.  When I see someone who is overweight, I now think that they are sick and broken metabolically from the foods they eat and they don't even know it.  After all, we're told to stick to low fat diets, eat whole grains and drink plenty of juice.  For most folks, that'e exactly wrong.

4.  Workouts that are flexible and scale-able are pretty darned addictive.

5.  People will cling to the foods they eat like nobody's business and get really defensive about it.

6.  People will ask how I lost weight and found some muscles; then they get really defensive when I tell them. Not having time to cook and in the next breath talking about something they watched on the tele is just funny. Oh, and they could never, ever, ever in a million years do Crossfit.  That's just  BALONEY.  (And yep, this #6 on my list is a rant so that's enough about being defensive since, clearly I am a bit that way too.)

7.  One must ignore the haters and do what is best for one's self.  (And not rant.)

8.  Getting out in the sunshine is the best way to get Vitamin D.  This was a hard one for me since I have lived with a stage 3b diagnosis of metastatic recurrent melanoma since 2006.

9.  Dark chocolate and a glass of wine helped us make it through our first thirty days of eating Paleo.

10. It only takes about two weeks to start the healing process in gut flora.

11. Sugar really messes with your brain.  So does aspartame.

12.  Coffee with butter (recommend Kerrygold unsalted) is not at all bad.  It helps with intermittent fasting, if you decide to go there.

13. Even though I am terrified of pigs, bacon is delicious.  We've learned so much about whole foods and how fun it is to prepare them that it makes me sad to have waited so long to find Paleo ways.  Sheesh.  Pesto without cheese is just as good...must be the walnuts.  I still can't believe the awesome stuff we eat.

14. Reading the science-y stuff about neuro-regulation of appetite and how insulin spikes make us fat is pretty interesting stuff.  And yes, I do believe it is necessary to read just  about everything you can get your hands on in order to be successful with the Paleo approach.

15. It is said that being eighty percent Paleo compliant yields ninety-five percent of the result.  I am not sure that I agree with that.  Doesn't work for me, but I could be worse off than most folks.  (My medical history kinda sucks.)

16. It is also said that eighty percent of getting healthy is diet related and twenty percent is from exercise.  Based of personal experience, I do agree with that.

17. Finding the right coach who will tell you the truth is important.  Not getting mad at him/her is tough.  It was true that I would thank him later.  Being afraid of most things made Crossfit tough for me. (Yes, I did make excuses about my back issues and I had babied it and made it weak, but fearing 'that look' from Coach Matt more that fears of failure, I got my ass back, quit whining and learned how to squat.)

18. Passing up the bread aisle, the soup aisle, the cereal aisle, the potato chip aisle and the soft drink aisle, etc. seems really strange at first.  But it makes trips to the grocery super easy.

19. Calories do count and they are not all the same.  There are good ones and bad ones.  The good ones fill you up and teach your body to burn fat, not make it.

20. The kind of oils you use can wreak havoc on your body.  It is the number one problem with dining out.  Sad but true.

21. Getting the right amount of the right kind of sleep is crucial to being healthy.  This is an on-going struggle at our house.

22.  There is no 'getting off' this diet.  It is our commitment to our lives.  Besides, I don't wanna hurt anymore.  (I realize that's the reason Paleo seems easy to me.)

23. Reducing systemic inflammation is the big secret.  It is so secret that almost nobody talks about it.  (And I have learned that good dental health is important in this respect too.) (And I am almost as afraid of the dentist as I am of pigs...and Coach Matt.)

24. Clean out your pantry, fridge and cupboards.  No excuses.  Get rid of the rice, pasta, cereal, processed foods, sugar, beans (yep peanuts), dairy (all of it, except good butter), breads, wheat and all grain flours (especially corn or anything to do with it like in... oils), yep other oils (except for olive oil and coconut oil), starchy stuff (potatoes), alcohol (um, that is hard but I have some ideas...see # 9 above) and even that very last Cheerio.  This stuff is not good for you now, it wasn't good for you last week and it won't be good for you if you decide to start your whole new outlook when you've eaten it up.  Do it now.  Give the food to a local food bank if that makes you feel better.  (But it isn't good for them either.)

25. Doing this with your partner is pretty cool.  Doing this if you're single is pretty cool.  If you have kids, doing this for them will make you my ultimate hero.

There!  My list wasn't hard at all.

Take good care, k.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wayward Blogger

One thing I am really good at is staying busy.  One thing I am really bad at lately seems to be making it count for something.  Back in May, I started this blog in hopes of sharing ideas on the Paleo lifestyle that Hubs and have found to be so helpful; now I see the whopping two entries I've posted. At least I think I've been very busy and could prolly list a bunch of things that have happened or we/I have done, but writing has obviously not been one of them.

Now the other day, a fabulous new cookbook arrived at our door via Amazon Prime.*  The book is full of  happy hour recipes that I can't wait to try, but the thing that struck me is that the author, Kelly Milton, discusses her struggle with eating Paleo and how making a vow to write in her blog every single day for 30 days helped her stay on track.
So...many thanks to Kelly for giving me a couple of ideas on resuming this blog!  

The first one is:

I do solemnly promise to write a post in this blog every day for thirty days.  

Okay.  Now I gotta do it.  I never break a promise.  (Almost never.)

The second one is:

I started out with the intention of writing stuff to help people and I am gonna do it.

Yes, indeedy, even though we haven't really struggled around here to eat well and stick to 'primal ways', I keep hearing from friends and family who just basically fall off of the wagon.  It's a little hard for me to understand because I seem to become more enamored with it all as I feel better and (I'm told) I look better. And there's bacon involved.  Srsly. 
Both Hubs and I really and truly want to help folks with this.  He has read lots on the science behind food sensitivities, immune response, cholesterol, insulin (hormone stuff) and basically how misinformed we are about nutrition in general.  I read and re-read Robb Wolf's books, blog, and Facebook page all of the time.  I also read chapter 5 of Mark Sisson's book, The Primal Blueprint, and got the bejeebers scared right out of me. Most of us are very sick and we don't even know it.  So to continue our mission, here's my idea:

A few years ago, when blogging really took off, lots of folks started out by writing 25 things about themselves.  During my teaching days, I would have the kids in my classes write 10 things about themselves as an ice breaker.  It was usually like pulling teeth from worms on hot rocks, but what wasn't? Guessing that grown-ups need to up the ante a bit,  I've decided that is what I will do...come up with a list of 25 Paleoish things that we've done in a post (tomorrow)  and then elaborate on each one on subsequent days.  (Remember that I said I'd been so busy I could prolly write a list!)  Including this post, that should bring me up to 27 of my 30 goal of writing for 30 days.  Shazam!  So plans do come together.

And I will most likely start to squirm as if on a hot rock immediately because now I'm committed.  

Take good care, k. 

*If you haven't checked into Amazon Prime...please do.  For a small yearly fee, it's like one of those shopping clubs without having to traipse through a store that spans acres and acres to score huge amounts of paper products.  Yep, your toilet tissue comes right to your door 2 days after the order is submitted with free shipping and no sales tax**.   We're pretty sure CappiDog will stop barking at the smiley boxes that arrive; she just has to get used to stuff.