Paleo Day 11…Workout Recovery and Minor Ethnic Cheats

Thursday…it was the day after Wednesday, the day after I had pushed myself a bit farther than usual. Every few months or so I’ll get a yearning to try my hand at a solo sprint triathlon, meaning that I attempt the distances at a local gym to check out my current level of conditioning. Well, since I was off of official training for quite a bit, my personal sprint triathlon was pretty tough. I had a hard time getting through the bike and run portion! I had plenty of nutrition on hand but it was one of the more difficult workouts I’ve had in a really long time. That’s probably a good thing.

The day started off with a great egg scramble with broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers. Hey look! My reflection is in the spoon!

Then, someway mid way through the work day, I began getting massive sugar cravings. I peeled three oranges and shared them with Shant, who was working from my place for a few days.

Then, another snack attack…

…and more snack attacks…

…which then led us to dinner. We’d been eating in quite a bit lately so we were really craving something different from the norm. We’re only a few miles away from Little Ethiopia and we used to frequent this little restaurant called Merkato. I always get the veggie combo plate. It’s served on a large platter of injera, which is made out of teff flour (which is a grain and NOT paleo). We had a semi-cheat but I must’ve eaten a small bit of bread. I had some pea stews, cabbage, collard greens, and tomato salad.

Strangely enough after I had a few bites of my food with the injera and I actually preferred to eat without it. There was something incredibly satisfying about eating with your hands (no utensils allowed!!). The foods tasted so rich and pure…I didn’t want to denature the taste with the injera bread. So, I ate without it and every once in awhile, when I found it was really tough to hold the stews in my hands, I grabbed some bread for a small morsel. So delicious!

Paleo Day 10…Workout Fueling and Late Night Eats

Had a pretty awesome day in terms of energy level. Again I was reluctant to head out for my back to back to back workout with GU so I tried a little experiment and took along three bananas. I downed the first one right before swimming, the second one after my swim, and my third one after my cycling and running. It kept me going as well as the GU, although the banana is admittedly more smelly and produces more trash than the GU. Go figure. I can discretely down some GU on the bike or treadmill but it’s kind of silly looking to be chomping away at a banana during a workout. Maybe I can shatter some sort of eating-in-the-gym stereotype or something.

Then came breakfast. I wasn’t too hungry. It happens a lot when I work out. I don’t get hungry for hours but I’m usually exhausted and too tired to cook anyways. I mustered up enough willpower to put together an egg white, broccoli, bell pepper, and baby bella mushroom scramble. (Not yet getting tired of eggs for breakfast. Who doesn’t like eggs?!)

Then, as I was settling down for a good work session, hunger struck again! Thankfully I was already thawing out some salmon. This time I pan-fried it with a little olive oil and tossed some broccoli in. So good!

I started getting the munchies for something sugary, most likely because of all the energy I expended during the swim/bike/run. Put together a dried berry and date melange…super sweet. It definitely gave me the picker-upper I needed.

I had an event at UCLA I needed to attend but I didn’t want to go hungry and end up snacking on something unhealthy, so I took a bag of raw nut mix with me to eat during the car ride there. It staved off my hunger until nearly midnight, when we were all starving for a nice meal…which lead us to drive all the way to Hollywood for some awesome Thai food!

Had my usual Tom Kha soup (coconut milk, chili paste, chili peppers, lime, lemongrass, with fish). It was hot and spicy and everything I love about Thai food. My mouth is still watering thinking about the hot pot.

I also forgot to take a photo of my other dish but I got a spicy squid entree with water chestnuts, bell peppers, cashews (which I avoided since they looked funny), peas, and carrots. Yum yum. (This photo was taken off another site and wasn’t exactly what I ate.)

It’s getting easier and easier to skip the jasmine rice and Pad Thai and Thai iced tea…but I won’t lie. I really really really wanted some!!

It seems like it’s much more feasible to eat out on paleo than previously imagined. You just have to get a little creative with the restaurant. It seems like the Asian restaurants have dishes that are more easily adaptable than other cuisines. Do you guys have any recommendations on restaurants and places to eat that are paleo friendly?

Paleo Day 9…Keep It Simple, Stupid

The day started off good enough with a great 3 mile run around the neighborhood. I came across a dilemma that I’ve been battling since going paleo…what am I going to do about my energy gels? I’m so used to using them during my training and races and, for the first time ever yesterday, I checked out the list of ingredients. It’s not pretty, that’s for sure.

So, instead of reaching for some GU post-run, I went for a banana.

Then had my usual egg scramble, except this time with a green bell pepper. Yum. Even cracked some black pepper on it to make it eggstra special. (Threw that one in there for people who actually read this!!)

Trying to design without finger foods and snacks is like trying to live without air. So, I gobbled on my usual stash of dates, almonds, and raisins. I love how every snack post is pretty much identical, thanks to the large portions at Costco.

Was craving something to sink my teeth into. Also wanted something juicy, so I reached for an orange. It’s hard eating oranges without getting incredibly messy.

Then, dinner came along. I made some red curry with salmon, red bell pepper, asparagus, basil, coconut milk, and bamboo shoots. I’m sad to report that the bamboo threw it completely off and it was largely inedible. I felt guilty tossing it, but without picking at the salmon and asparagus first. If I just sauteed everything it probably would’ve tasted fine. Instead I tried to get fancy with it and it completely backfired on me. Lesson learned!

And, in frustration from a crappy dinner, I snacked on two bags of baby carrots. I just needed to physically take out my annoyance on something crunchy.

I definitely learned my lesson…don’t get fancy with it. Eat simply. That was the goal the entire time, right?

Paleo Day 8…Down 6 Pounds, Here Comes The Cravings, 100 Weeks Left

So after what turned out to be more of a cheat day than a cheat meal, I set about my Monday to go back to my usual staple of veggies and fish. Monday started harmlessly enough with leftover curries from the weekend. Most of the broth remained but the bulk of the veggies were gone, so I loaded it in with my leftover veggies from the pho restaurant on Saturday night.

Then I set about my design work as usual. When I’m getting creative, I always seem to get MORE creative if I’m snacking away. I began craving sweets so I reached for a banana. What I really wanted was hummus — loads and loads and loads of hummus made from scratch, but since chickpeas are off-paleo I had to settle for something with a similar consistency, which lead me to the banana. (Maybe I can find a recipe for banana hummus or something. It probably won’t taste nearly as good though.) I bought so many last week that they were beginning to brown, which meant they were even sweeter than before. Score!

Then, an hour later, hunger struck again. I was in the mood for finger foods but was too lazy to prepare anything so I cracked open a bag of baby carrots and hot house cucumbers. I was reminded of how much I hated cucumbers to begin with.  Not sure why I bought them in the first place. Maybe they’ll taste better when I load them in to the curry.

Then, the time came when I had to head out for class. I hadn’t even prepared a dinner to eat since I was so busy with client calls and working. I had no choice but to pack a rather large handful of dates and almonds for the road. It powered me through my 3 hour anatomy and pathology class.

This is where it got tricky. The minute I got to class, I began craving all of these foods that I hadn’t had in a long time. I started craving a ham sandwich (even though I haven’t had pork for seven years now!), and cheese enchiladas, and a grilled cheese animal style from In-n-Out. I talked it over with one of my classmates, who has been following my paleo progress, and lamented with me, which instantly took my mind off of the food. Anatomy and pathology went on and as we delved into diseases of the gastrointestinal system I was thoroughly disgusted and didn’t even want to think about eating another morsel of food.

After school, I stayed out a bit late hanging out with Shant at his office, so instead of grabbing a bite to eat I grabbed a small baggie of nut mix I had in my bag.

So, it wasn’t my best day, but it was decent. I totally skipped a major meal (probably not a good idea) but it didn’t seem to effect my energy or attention span. After weighing in, I’m happy to report that I’ve lost 6 pounds so far.

Some of it was water I’m sure, but it’s a nice first step. I put myself to the test today and went for a run around the neighborhood and already I feel a lot stronger, a little faster, and a bit lighter. To reward myself I signed up for a RunKeeper Fitness Class, the sub 2:30 half marathon. With only 100 weeks left to go before I have to achieve my Ironman goal, I can’t spare the time to stop training!!

How are you progressing on your goals? Chime in!

Paleo Day 6 and 7…Weekend Cheat Meal, Curries, Coconuts, and More

This weekend was full of fun and adventure! I started off with finally painting my apartment. It took forever to prep but post-friendship brunch, my bestie helped me paint my place. It was frustrating and tiresome but I am happy with the outcome. It’s still drying but I will post pics of it soon!

So a few days ago my bestie wanted to do a belated birthday brunch. She’s been super busy with nursing school so we don’t talk all that often, and when she asked what restaurant we were going to head to, I had a moment of pause. You see, I love food. LOVE LOVE LOVE food. I love trying new restaurants and eating out, but with this new 30 day paleo challenge I’ve limited my options. I told her about what I was doing and suggested that I cook that morning, not only to keep me in line but to keep us on budget. (We’re both students!) She did some research and came over.

She brought with her some orange juice (not paleo), half and half (not paleo) for oatmeal (not paleo), and some raw nuts from Trader Joe’s (score!). She left with another gallon of orange juice and about 20 travel cups of yogurt since I couldn’t keep it (not paleo). But, while she was at my apartment, I cooked up another one of my scrambles — egg whites, tomatoes, bella mushrooms, bell pepper, green onion, and shrimp. I sprinkled some paprika and cayenne on it and also prepared a bowl of oatmeal, soymilk, powdered sugar, and raisins for her.

Then, we set out to paint my apartment! I skipped that morning’s workout since I was so tired from the day before. Not sure how many calories we burned but we moved my furniture around and had quite an upper-body workout from all of the painting. We actually didn’t eat again until 8 hours later. (We kept snacking in between painting sessions.) For dinner we headed to one of my favorite restaurants in LA called Vegan Glory. It’s exactly what it sounds like!

Here I had some tom kha soup with veggies. No black pearl rice as usual. It was almost torturous watching her polish off her plate of rice!

She also shared with me some of her green curry with tofu and veggies. I tried it but skipped the tofu (not paleo).

Then, in the home stretch, I got frustrated while painting my ceiling and also ran out of paint. I got annoyed and irritated by everything and snapped on the phone. Later that night my boyfriend made his way over to help me finish the job and we celebrated a ceiling well painted by visiting another nice late night joint called Pho Cities in Hollywood.

It’s been difficult eating out since we have to essentially grill the waiters and be super picky with our orders. This time though, my boyfriend explained it well — he said that we were both on special restricted diets and then listed the things we couldn’t consume. The waiter was a bit puzzled but was able to help us assemble a meal that fit our ticket. Here, I had the veggie pho without the pho noodles. Just a big bowl of soup and veggies! Oddly enough I was very full and very happy, something that I previously thought was unachievable without the noodles. On the side I had steamed string beans and broccoli, which I ended up saving for later.

Then came Sunday – Songkran, otherwise known as Thai New Year! Every year in Hollywood they have a festival and this was my first year ever attending it. I generally attend Songkran at the temple but this was a nice change in atmosphere. And you know the Thais and their food. Shant and I did really well!

Our first stop was Pad Thai, obviously. Now, the rice noodles and the tofu were not paleo by any stretch of the imagination. However, we had planned on this cheat meal for almost a week so we enjoyed very single morsel. We split the bowl of Pad Thai (meaning we split the calories) and it was pretty tasty. The BBQ skewer belonged to him.

Then, we moved on to some refreshments. I had some water with me but instead, we opted for some young coconut water, right out of the coconut! It was super sweet and the meat resembled a very delicious jello like dessert. It was verrrrry yummy…so yummy, in fact, that Shant headed to the Thai market and picked up a case of 9 coconuts to take home!

Then, since I was still hungry, I opted for something paleo-friendly and got the Som Tham (aka Papaya Salad). Had it served mild but OH MY GOSH it was super delicious. Consisted of shredded papaya, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, lemon juice, Thai chili, and some dried baby shrimp. It was a tangy mix of zang and kick. Loved every single bite of it.

Then, as dessert, we shared a cup of Thai iced tea. The tea itself is naturally brewed red but then has half and half added to it (not paleo). We indulged in the sweetness and polished it off.

We then headed to Chinatown to pick up a few things, and on the way back to his house I was feeling quite ravenous, so I consumed what I normally do — dates and almonds. Lots of them! (Shant apparently wasn’t hungry since he had so much BBQ.)

Then, at his place, we had dinner. I absolutely love his parents’ hummus. It’s made from scratch and one day I’d love to learn their recipe. I had their tossed salad and many many many forkfuls of hummus. (What’s pictured here is a small fraction of what I actually consumed.)

We then enjoyed just one more fresh coconut…water, flesh, and all.

So far I’m quite proud of the progress Shant and I have made. We were able to stick to a week of pretty good eating and cheated pretty reasonably. None of the gorging stuff that is typical with most cheat meals or cheat days. So far I feel more energetic, focused, and stronger. I feel that I am balancing my energies better in how I extend myself with my work and rest cycles.

Hopefully things continue going well this coming week. I stopped by the Thai supermarket after the festival and picked up a ton of curry supplies, so this should get interesting! I read the labels and they contain some sodium (bummer) and 1 gram of sugar per serving, so I’m planning on diluting it as far as I can. (Unfortunately they are canned since buying the raw materials would’ve made the process a bit more time consuming.) The masaman curry paste contain some soybean oil, which I am not sure is paleo since soybeans are off the paleo food list. However, the red curry, green curry, and panang curry all check out. Maybe I’ll have to save the masaman for a cheat meal!

So, this week, I’m definitely looking forward to some more flavorful food as well as a good workout schedule. I’m still noticing a lot of lingering aches and soreness in my legs and ankles. I sure hope those clear themselves soon. I need to get back into my triathlon training!

Paleo Day 5…Where Are The Seasonings?

So I never disputed the fact that paleo feels pretty natural…but I think today was the day I finally stopped thinking about it. (Is it becoming a habit yet?!) I started the morning with my usual egg white scramble and fruit, but wanted to do something a little special for Shant. It was Friday, after all.

Last weekend, when we were researching paleo, we came across a really dead simple recipe book. One of the things I kept in the back of my mind were the banana pancakes. I blended 5 bananas, 2 eggs, and 10 dates and tried to cook them like regular pancakes. NO CAN DO! They were too mushy. After many frustrating failed attempts, Shant helped me out in the kitchen. I ended up cooking them one by one in the microwave (not very paleo…probably not very healthy either), and then peeling them off the plates to flip around on the pan for a bit. Then we topped them with cranberries and munched away.

I was interning all day, from 11am until about 8pm. I get mostly deep tissue clients on Fridays, so I wanted to load up and feel full throughout the day. I ate all of my citrus marinated salmon before noon and was incredibly stuffed!

Snacked on my usual berries and nuts mix in between clients. I forgot to take a photo so this old picture will have to suffice for now.

After I wrapped up for the day, I decided to use whatever energy I had left for grocery shopping. Headed to the local Costco and picked up a few items.

-Artisan lettuce
-Brussel sprouts
-Bell peppers
-Bella mushrooms
-Carrot sticks

Then for dinner, I had some sauteed asparagus, red bell pepper, and bella mushrooms, with a side of mashed potatoes.

So far everything is feeling very natural and not forced. To be honest, I am not missing the grains as much as I thought I would. I thought I would be craving tons of pasta, rice, and beans, but I am not finding that to be the case. What I actually miss the most are the seasonings and the sauces…the little things like salt, pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, etc. Sometimes its hard not to reach for them, but all I’m really trying to do is to retrain my body to appreciate the taste of food as it is. Instead of enjoying the taste of salt or pepper, I should be enjoying the taste of my veggies and fish. I don’t think I’m really going to lose or gain a whole lot of weight from salt, pepper, or soy sauce — I don’t consume enough of it — but the little I do consume I apparently appreciate so much it hurts.

Paleo Day 4…A Few Minor Slipups

What a busy day Thursday was! Had my internship so I had to pack a whole day worth of food. Wolfed down most of it before realizing that I didn’t snap any photos. For breakfast I had the egg white scramble with veggies. Packed some bananas, oranges, dates, cranberries, raisins, and almonds. Made orange marinated pacific cod and packed a large garden salad (pictured below).

For dinner we tried to eat out. Went to a local sushi joint next to the college. It was a challenge staying away from soy sauce. Here, we ate yellowtail sashimi. As a soy sauce substitute I squeezed a full lemon onto the fish. Pretty yummy!

Then went on to the Rock ‘n Roll. It was pretty good. All fresh fish with avocado and instead of seaweed it was wrapped with cucumber. We didn’t know that it was going to be served with ponzu sauce. At least it’s only partially soy sauce. (It’s a mix of soy sauce, squeezed citrus, and vinegar.)

Then had some sort of burrito. This was wrapped with soy paper. Oh well, could have been worse. It’s really hard avoiding soy at a Japanese restaurant anyways.

Ended the night with grilled yellowtail collar.

So all in all, I had two slipups today. During the dinner break, my instructor gave me some of her Iranian eggplant dinner. She gave it to me wrapped in some pita bread and I had bit into it before I realized what happened. So, I took in a small sliver of bread (nothing to lose sleep over) and some soy paper. Otherwise, I’m still sticking to it!

Paleo Day 3…Need to Hunt Down Some Recipes

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I never bother with a whole lot of preparation unless I have some company. Don’t these veggies look bright and yummy?! They were as tasty as they look.

Also cooked up some home fries. It was a nice addition to the egg white scramble. As you can tell I can never get tired of eggs for breakfast! My goal was to make the dish as colorful as possible. I think I achieved that goal.

Right before I headed in to my internship I snacked on the usual banana, orange, dates, raisins, cranberries, and almonds. It kept me going right until my last client…and then the hunger set in. I was good for about three or so hours but I didn’t have any other food with me so I had to drive home hungry, in LA rush hour traffic, nursing a water bottle.

For dinner, I quickly assembled some leftover salmon and potatoes. Decided to throw in the salad for good measure, and brewed my favorite silky green tea!

My stomach was still rumbling, so added some oranges and another mug of tea.

Pre-bowling hunger struck again. Shant gave me some snacks. Weird how a walnut looks like the lobes of a brain!

For the most part, the day went smoothly. At the end of the night, my bestie called and wanted to schedule a very belated birthday brunch. I had to gently explain to her this new strange venture…and eventually coerced her into meeting me for breakfast at my place so that I can cook! I’m also meeting some friends on Friday night…so I may have to stick to tea and water or something. I really hope this new habit is sustainable.

Skipped my personal workout this afternoon after my internship. For some reason my quads cramped up on my morning walk to the farmer’s market and then my knee started hurting after I got home. It’s been a bit uncomfortable so I think it’s best to lay off the exercise for a day. Plus, I’ll be interning tomorrow morning and going to school in the evening, so there will be plenty of opportunities to burn more calories!

Speaking of calories, is it bad that I’m already planning ahead for my cheat meal? I don’t want to do an entire cheat day — I think that’s just gross and gluttonous — but for my cheat meal I’d like to head over to Veggie Grill and grab a chick’n sandwich and a side of quinoa mac and cheese. Oh, the thought of that just makes me SMILE.

Hopefully this weekend, in between apartment painting (if I’m not too lazy) and the Songkran Festival I can pick up some ingredients to make some Thai soups and curries. This food palate is getting way too bland for my liking. I need some more variety and spice in my food!

Paleo Day 2…Still Going Strong

So far, so good! Day 2 and I haven’t gone off the deep end yet. I did, however, unload my 25-ct croissant box and my Simply Apple juice at school. SCORE! I was able to give some snacks to my classmates while getting rid of some of the foods I couldn’t eat. I feel much better about doing that than throwing perfectly good food away.

Had a relatively good day, energy-wise. I woke up with really sore legs from yesterday’s resistance training workout so today, I decided to work on my upper body instead. I am sure I will pay for it…

Anyways, here’s what I grubbed on. Doesn’t look too bad!

Breakfast – salmon and egg white scramble.

Energy drink – Green vibrance mixed with water. Tastes like dirt…

…but gave me enough energy to finish a 45-minute resistance/weight training session. OH YEAH!

Packed my food for school. I ended up eating everything except for the veggies. I think I have one more serving left for tomorrow.

Ended the day with some awesome silky green tea from Bird Pick (just bought it with my boyfriend), a handful of almonds, and some dates. Yum yum yum!

Something that is beginning to irritate me about paleo is the sheer amount of fish (meat) I’ve been consuming. I think prior to this, I probably only ate fish once or twice a week. Now I feel like I’m having it twice a day. Feels kind of gross…so I think I will continue to limit my intake of protein after I finish this batch of salmon that I precooked and load up on more leafy greens for my protein. I need to do some research and find out what I can do to mix things up a bit. I’m not a fan of monotony but my culinary laziness will definitely drive me crazy eventually.

However, I do remember a distant summer-fall-spring (probably about five or six years ago) where I subsisted primarily on Slim-Fast, sliced chicken, and spring mix…for about eight months. Hey, I also dropped a lot of weight since I was going to spin classes twice a day. I wouldn’t totally recommend that to anyone else. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I tend to take the easiest route for difficult journeys, health and fitness included. Perhaps I should shake things up a bit and get creative with my food. Otherwise I will be damned to an existence of bland food until I decide to switch from paleo to just plain old picky eating.

First Day of Paleo

My first day of paleo went pretty well! Drank a lot of water and ate to my heart’s content. I only felt hungry when I was hungry, but because I’ve been foodblogging I’ve sure noticed how many times I get up to grab a snack.

Breakfast – 6 egg white scramble

Snacks throughout the day – banana, orange, dates, raisins, cranberries, almonds

Dinner – Oregano and curry dusted salmon with 2 red potatoes, mashed (no additives)

End of the night: Green tea and an orange

I’m trying to get back into resistance training during this marathon recovery period, so I fired up my GAINfitness application and set up a 45-minute, 3-4 sessions a week plan. Here’s the circuit I completed:

  • 1 set of Jumping Jacks Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Trunk Rotations Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Seal Jumps Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Heel Walks Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Seal Jumps Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Jogging in Place Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Ankle Circles Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Trunk Rotations Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Squat Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Side Lateral Raise Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 3 sets of Squat Max reps 12, max weight 14 lbs.
  • 2 sets of Ab Twist Max reps 12, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 4 sets of Lunge Max reps 13, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 4 sets of Lunge Max reps 13, max weight 14 lbs.
  • 4 sets of Lunge Max reps 13, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 4 sets of Lunge Max reps 13, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 2 sets of Good Morning Max reps 20, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 2 sets of Lying Quad Stretch Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 2 sets of Ab Twist Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 2 sets of Standing Groin Stretch Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 2 sets of Standing Quad Stretch Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Downward Dog Pose Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.
  • 1 set of Wide-Legged Forward Bend Max reps 0, max weight 0 lbs.

So far, so good! I’m heading into a full day of design and school so I’m prepping my food now. My class was curious about Green Vibrance so I’m bringing a canister for everyone to try it out. 🙂 I plan on squeezing in another workout this morning, but my lower body is so sore…maybe I can just focus on my upper body. Hope I can stay on track!