Paleo Day 17…Twisted Ankle, Burritos Aren't Paleo

I figured that I’d get my long swim in today so I started the day with two bananas to power up! I generally just have one, but today I doubled up in anticipation for my workout…

…but then I twisted my ankle. 🙁

I don’t even have a cool story! I decided to take a quick impromptu walk down to the post office to mail something off to my parents, and on the way back I stumbled into this weird street pothole-like dip in the sidewalk. I am accustomed to rolling my ankle here and there and bouncing back immediately without too much pain, but this time it’s sore. REALLY SORE.

I went home immediately and iced and began loading up on some anti-inflammatories, mainly green tea and dried cherries.

To keep me from walking around my apartment all day I decided to work from the kitchen. It kept me in proximity of all my food and my freezer. I’ve been icing it quite a bit as well. Oddly enough I got more done by working out of the kitchen! For a late breakfast I had an egg-white and spinach omelette.

Got a bit snacky during my design work so I popped open two things of dried seaweed. It’s roasted and seasoned very lightly with sea salt. (Indulgence…but at 30 calories a pop.)

Then got wildly hungry but was too lazy to make any real food, so I sliced open a few oranges to stave it off.

I was on my way out the door for an event and was hungry, so I stashed some nuts and dried cherries for the road. A few minutes later it was cancelled so I only ended up eating about a quarter of it.

…And then I headed over to a mexican restaurant. Not paleo by any means! I’ve really been feeling like acidic food the last few days. I’ve been mostly craving tomatoes and chilis. I originally felt like wolfing down two shrimp and cheese enchiladas and a whole plate of rice and beans! After 17 days of paleo it felt like it would hit the spot immediately! However, if I was going to cheat, I had to do it reasonably, so I limited myself to a few chips for the salsa dip.

Instead of ordering the heart attack enchiladas, I went for “the works” veggie burrito. Inside was lettuce, tomato, beans (not paleo), rice (not paleo), guacamole, and pico di gallo. The burrito itself was topped with ranchero sauce, cheeeeeeeeeese (so much cheese, not paleo) and of course was wrapped in a giant flour tortilla (not paleo).

I was a good girl and ate the burrito with my fork and knife, cutting away at the cheese and tortilla love to reveal the veggies, rice, and beans inside. I ate all of it and enjoyed every single bite. I left most of the tortilla off though since I didn’t want to fall into a deep slumber immediately after. I nibbled here and there on the tortilla and cheesy goodness, enough for me to stave off another craving for awhile.

What was most interesting about this experience was how unsettled I felt immediately after eating this and in the hours after. My stomach felt weird. I felt lethargic, like a grease-haze was being cast upon me. I could feel little pangs here and there in my stomach. Was it worth it?

All in all I’m proud of myself for not overdoing it at the mexican restaurant. I could’ve gone crazy and ordered like, fifty enchiladas and followed that with a few margaritas, but I didn’t. I made a judgement call and did my best given my cravings and the food in front of me. Sometimes it’s not about willpower but about making the right decisions in the face of uncertainty…or, in this case, enchiladas!

I’d be curious to do some research and find out if there are any other foods that are anti-inflammatory and can help with my ankle. Any ideas out there?

Paleo Day 16…Big Eats For A Big Training Day

Started my training day off with a very light snack…a banana. It never gives me a stomachache and I never feel like hurling during a workout when I eat it.

Proceeded with a strength training workout, followed by a run…I was a little bit on the tired side to start. If there was a way to complete this workout in a lazy manner I certainly achieved it.

Yup, my pace was definitely lazy. To my defense, it was a really nice day in the park!

After my workout I made some breakfast. This was more veggies than eggs this time, but very filling nonetheless. I can remember feeling my stomach grumbling by mile 3 of my run.

I’m also definitely getting the impression that I’m eating way too many nuts and dried fruits. I mean, can it really be that bad? It’s pretty much a mega meal substitution at this point. I suppose all I want is something to gnaw and crunch on. Maybe I should really look into munching on some celery or carrots instead. Another thing too — I’ve upgraded from my piddly little 40z container to a small bowl. That’s probably where my downfall is.

The other day I picked up some dried cherries and they added a little bit of zing to my mix. Loved it!

Had some leftover salmon from last night’s dinner, so I opted for the same meal again: salmon mushroom lettuce tacos.

Then, later in the evening I went bowling…so much bowling alley food: quesadillas, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers. I munched on a few carrot sticks that were served with the chicken fingers, but as soon as I went home I made some soup! Hot water + spinach + cod + bella mushrooms + lemon juice. I have to admit that I cracked some salt over it…it just wasn’t the same without it.

Kind of wishing that I picked up some tahini sauce…I think it’d make a nice addition to some of the lunches and dinners I’ve been making! And, speaking of which, I might just head over to Trader Joe’s later to pick up some of this famed almond butter…according to one of my friends Mark it’s completely out of this world. I will prepare to have my world rocked by said almond butter…if it’s within regulation, of course!

Paleo Day 15…Fish Tacos and Too Much of a Good Thing

Started off my day with a different type of scramble this time…onions, bell peppers, and roasted green peppers with a side of potatoes!

Then went to visit a friend. She was gracious enough to share her blood oranges with me. It was so sweet and tasty! I will have to hunt down the farmer’s market she bought these at to get a handful for myself.

By the time I got home that evening, I was starving…so I put together some fish tacos! Lettuce cups + sauteed mushrooms + broiled salmon = taco goodness.

There was so much leftover that I ended up having two more! They were so yummy.

Continued my work…and as I work, I always need snacks. I think I’m overdoing it a little bit on the nuts, dried fruit, and dates. I know they pack a lot of nutritional and caloric punch, but I load up on them nonetheless. I suppose I could just load up on baby carrots instead…and I have about 5 lbs of that in my fridge right now. What do you think? Is that an acceptable “creative-food” substitute?

Then I ended the day with some nori. Very yummy!

Paleo Day 14…Easter Sunday Cheats

Sunday started off without a hitch. It was a mild sunny morning and I was sitting in my boyfriend’s backyard enjoying some fresh strawberries, a crisp glass of water, and a popular book called The Primal Blueprint. Figured that it’d be nice to read a few pages from it since I’m following a very similar way of eating. The strawberries were incredibly sweet and tangy…and were on sale at the market for $1 a pound. Score!

Then came the Easter dinner preparations. We had a lot of shopping and cooking to do. I helped a little bit, but in all of the commotion I ended up forgoing any semblance of lunch…so I munched on my trusty packs that I stashed for the weekend. I ate two of them within the span of five or so hours. So hungry!

Then came a holiday tradition that involved hard-boiled eggs. I don’t know much about it except for the fact that I’ve taken part in two of these games and I managed to lose this one. Despite my loss I still gained an egg, so I ate it before dinner. (Yolk and all.)

Then came the spectacular dinner! I enjoyed some tilapia, salad, and a handsome helping of potatoes and hummus. I ended up eating twice as much of everything since it was so delicious. I also enjoyed a few glasses of wine to polish off the evening just right.

We settled in for an evening of movies and I packed away a few of those date pastries for the both of us…and we coupled it with some tea.

So, all in all, my cheats were hardly all that evil….hummus and a few pastries. It was definitely nice to indulge with a few glasses of wine though. They were badly needed after all of the stress I’ve been going through! Looking forward to a good week of clean eats and great workouts.

Paleo Chocolate Pudding And Fruit Dip

So lately, we’ve been having quite the urge for sweets. Paleo desserts are hard to come by out in the wild (heehee!) but we’ve been testing out some recipes to see if we could get something that was easy to make and tasty. We finally did!

Here, we made some tasty chocolate pudding. It was so rich that we used it as chocolate fruit dip instead.

Ingredients:

8 oz organic cacao powder
2 medium haas avocados
1/2 cup dates
8 oz amber agave nectar
4 oz hemp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of sea salt

Directions:

Throw everything into a blender and mix until a thick and creamy consistency. Enjoy as is as a chocolate pudding or use it as a fruit dip.

Here were the step-by-step ingredient add-ins, if you’re curious.

Step 1: Avocados

Step 2: Cacao powder

Step 3: Agave nectar

Step 4: Dates

Step 5: Vanilla extract and sea salt

Step 6: Hemp milk

Step 7: Enjoy/dip!

It was pretty simple to create. The mix itself is a bit thick so I recommend working in small batches at a time, rather than trying to mix it all at once. The recipe here yields about 10-12 oz or so, which will last you a while. I’m not sure how long it keeps but the only ingredient that would go bad would be the avocado, so it’s probably best to finish within a few days of making it.

Paleo Day 13…Pre-Holiday Festivities, Breaking Bread

Spending the weekend at my boyfriend’s house generally makes it a culinary challenge, since I don’t prepare all of the food I eat. However, since he’s on paleo too, it’s a smidge easier. I started the day with a huge bag of almonds, cranberries, and raisins.

We were boiling eggs for Easter and making some doughy, date-filled bready pastries. The dough smelled so good. It was my first time making pastries from scratch! Slightly torturous because of the aroma but a good day in the kitchen nonetheless.

So, apparently, even though I skipped my egg white scramble I still managed to consume 6 egg whites. The rest are below and scattered throughout the day!

So here’s one of the pastries we made. This one was pretty small, probably a little bigger than a half dollar coin. I ate a bite of it to taste it but it smelled better than it tasted. Boohoo! However, I picked at the date filling, which was pretty yummy.

Something I found very interesting about kneading the dough and bread…it reminds me of how I feel when I eat too much bread. I feel all mushy and pudgy and squishy!

Got hungry again so I grabbed a hard boiled egg and strawberry.

For dinner we cooked some sardines. I put them in lettuce cups and topped it with tahini and parsley…and I ate about seven or eight of them. Yum!

Finished the day with another egg white…

…and then brewed some tea and had some more strawberries.

Tomorrow is Easter, and since Shant’s family celebrates it, it will be interesting to see how well I can do while being tempted with all of the different types of food. I’m sure there will be photos galore! What I’m finding most interesting is how I’m not enjoying the taste of bread as much as I used to, since I’ve stopped eating it.

Also had a few temptations today that I turned down…
-Pizza
-In-N-Out
-Pastries
-Kidney beans
-Linguini
-Corn on the cob

Here’s hoping to a good, clean day of eating tomorrow. It’s probably a good idea to help out with the cooking if I want to make sure I can actually eat some of the food being made!

Paleo Day 12…Rungry, So Now We Feast!

The day started a bit later than usual. I think I was finally up and at it by 11am. Shant and I were up really late last night trying to make a paleo strawberry souffle. (We failed with flying colors.) When I was finally ready to tackle the day I decided that it was probably best to work out before too much day passed me by. I packed up my gear and headed out after I stuffed my face with dates and a glass of water.

I was finally feeling a bit more energetic after the other day’s heavy workout, so I decided to push myself in the pool. I wanted to swim at least one mile before I came back home. I didn’t care how long it took, what stroke I chose to use, so long that I finished one mile before coming home. I finished it and felt like I still had enough energy to complete my run for the day, so I headed home and had half a banana and a few handful of almonds before hitting the pavement.

…And then I got a sugar attack, so I downed a handful or so of raisins and cranberries. Yum!

Then, Shant and I headed out for some sushi. We’d done pretty well this week and we were making some compromises. Again, eating out is kind of difficult when you’re paleo so we talked it over a bit. Sake? That’s rice wine, which is technically not paleo. Soy sauce? It’s made of soybeans so it’s not paleo. Rice? Definitely not paleo. We made an agreement to cheat a bit if we wanted, but to do it within reason…so I mixed my wasabe and low-sodium soy sauce pretty much immediately!

Started off with an albacore roll. After one or two bites I was kind of tired of the rice. (Funny how that works!) I started eating just the fish and peeling the rice away.

Then moved on to the california roll. (The roll on the right we ended up scrapping since we didn’t like it.) The california roll was decent, but I kept unwrapping the rice. There was so much of it, and the flavors were overpowering the crab and avocado. It also absorbed so much soy sauce that the flavors were also overpowering. No likey!

Then I moved on to a spicy tuna roll topped with yellowtail. I ate two of these whole with no regrets!

Then I took one bite of the eel roll. We held off on the sauce.

And, since our first sushi restaurant wasn’t as good as we thought, we decided to go to a second one. That’s right — we restaurant hopped straight to another sushi restaurant. This one was on Crescent Heights and Sunset. Super delicious…I’ve gone there before so I was familiar with their quality. What was great was that the sushi chef was very understanding of our preferences (holding off on rice, no sauces, etc) and didn’t give us a hard time. Sometimes I eat at other restaurants and get scoffed at when I make special requests, but this chef was completely cool with it. We’ll definitely be back!

This time, we split one hot sake. I had one cup…and I think Shant might’ve had like, five. (I was the driver.)

Then, I had some seaweed salad. This was soooooo good. Fresh sliced seaweed with sesame oil drizzled atop, and sesame seeds sprinkled, served on a bed of radish. Very filling and flavorful.

Then I moved on to a california hand roll with no rice. Super delicious.

Then, after an evening of strolling about supermarkets (we do that from time to time), I cracked open an avocado before we made some dessert. (That’s in a later post!) Raw, plain avocado is super healthy and delicious. What a treat!

And then I ended the day with some chocolate pudding and chocolate dipped strawberries. Isn’t my boyfriend awesome?!

So yes, I was rungry and we definitely feasted. Some days are like that. I definitely don’t eat like this everyday but based on the workouts I had I think that it’s getting easier to listen to my body. While I’m resting from my two hard workouts, I need to feed it some food that will help with recovery, right? I think all of these foods does my body good. Plus, the chocolate dipped strawberries were a really good end to an already fabulous day.

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?

Getting Back Into The Swim/Bike/Run Routine

So on a whim I decided to try a swim/bike/run routine this morning. At first I thought that I’d only for a nice long swim, but figured that now was a good of time as any to take an assessment of where I’m at, physically, for the triathlon in November.

Let’s just say I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me!

I arrived at the pool at around 6:15am or so. It was so empty. The lanes were absolutely calm and there was no one in the water. I’ve historically had challenges with the pools at 24 Hour Fitness, especially in Hollywood. (I cancelled my all-club pass after I stopped working full-time, but I really enjoyed the pool in Northridge. So clean!!!) I rinsed off and hopped in. The water felt just right.

In my usual fashion I spent a good deal of my time just getting used to being in the water again. Swam mostly using the backstroke but after a short warmup I began transitioning halfway into the freestyle crawl. I really need to learn the breaststroke (who wants to teach me?!) so that I can use that stroke for resting during the triathlon. I came into a bit of trouble switching to the backstroke in open water during the LA Triathlon last September and was either kicked or swam in the wrong direction.

While swimming, I thought of the swim boot camp I had considered joining (http://www.bootcamph2o.com/) and even a masters swim program at Occidental College (http://www.catriathlon.com/swim.html). I am sure they are worth the price…and I’m sure with the right amount of scrimping and saving I can probably go for one or the other. The boot camp is much shorter commute but the cost of the masters swim program is just right. I wonder which will be a better investment based on my goals. (Hey, the program at Occidental is also through the CA Triathlon club…) On Sundays there’s an awesome meetup in the south bay for beginner ocean swimmers. I’ve attended a few of their meetups and it is really fun. Once I get some more work in maybe I can join them again!

After the short swim, I proceeded to the stationary bike. I totally felt cheated out of a cycling experience. There I was, riding a bike…going nowhere. Nothing like riding in the outdoors with the wind in your face and the sights and sounds of the city. Maybe next time I’ll just hit the road instead. It’s much, MUCH more gratifying. Anyways, it was a really boring hour unfortunately.

And, to top that off, the run wasn’t much better. Again, I should’ve just left and ran around the neighborhood. I hate treadmills and gyms but I really wanted to get everything timed on location. The run was harder than the bike ride. I was starting to huff and puff on the bike and I wasn’t even going that fast. I’ve definitely lost some conditioning in the time I’ve been gone (not to mention the slight weight gain) but I’m sure with a bit of work I’ll be back to where I was…if not, better.

I also can’t tell if my performance was lacking based on my level of deconditioning or if it was diet related. When I came back home I wasn’t even hungry for a couple of hours, but I forced some food into me. Then the fatigue set in like a brick wall. After waking up from my mid-day nap I can say that I probably need another one and will sleep quite well tonight.

All in all, I enjoyed the swim portion the most…and that’s saying something. I should hit the pool a bit more regularly and then consider joining one of the programs to keep me going. I can never tell if I should focus on one sport at a time, two, or just go nutty and do all three. I need to do some legitimate research on some half Ironman training plans or just find a reasonable coach that I can afford.

Also came across this nugget of inspiration. What an awesome guy!