8DPIUI, and Paleo Challenge Day 2

I’m writing about food again. Perhaps it’s true that this Whole 30 challenge is taking over my brain, but what’s more – it’s pushing away the fact that I am in the second half of the TWW now…I’ll have some sort of answer to this cycle by the weekend, I would imagine. I am not feeling positive, so those feelings are being replaced by…the Paleo diet.

I am relatively new to the Paleo diet, and I’m very new to the Whole 30 challenge, so that’s why I’m still talking about it. I want to share a few of my observations, but I promise this won’t be my new blog topic. It seems like a lot of you out there have tried certain aspects of Paleo, like going gluten-free, or dairy-free, or even grain-free, and I also know some of you have sensitive stomachs. This is also me, so in documenting going Paleo for the first time, perhaps a few of you will be inspired!

Going back to the sensitive stomach thing – I have always had the weakest stomach. If I’m stressed, nervous, excited, worried, too hungry, too full, or plain-old sick, it always affects my stomach. Every time. And therefore it shouldn’t have been a big surprise to me, in college, to be diagnosed with IBS. It also wasn’t a huge deal in my mind when I learned I can’t eat an apple on an empty stomach, I can’t eat onions (especially raw), certain tomato sauces caused problems too. I couldn’t have too much dairy, such as a glass of milk and a piece of ice cream cake at the same time (I give that example because that was just BAD). I can’t have blue cheese – devastating consequences (A – you remember that time, in Florence, Italy, running through the streets trying to find a bathroom…of course you do!). Etc, etc, etc. You get the point. All of these limits on my diet were around for a very long time, many years, before my autoimmune issues showed up. The hives, that are only worse with certain foods at certain times of day. The thyroid, which, over time, has proven itself to be a hot mess, with a sky-rocketing TSH level, after I eat carbs and sweets.

For me, Paleo seems like a logical option. I believe it is. But I know thinking about it kind of overwhelms people, as it did me. It still does, once in a while. But if you have any of my stomach problems, it might just be the best thing you’ve ever done. If you aren’t ready to go cold-turkey, then take out one food group at a time. If you are ready to go the whole way, but you’re not sure how long you can do it for (that’s me), do the Whole 30 challenge! It’s only 30 days! That’s what I keep reminding myself…

The biggest obstacle holding me back, before I started the challenge, was that I was afraid I wouldn’t be eating anything but eggs, grilled chicken and salad. I’d be bored and craving my gluten-free bread. But it’s just not the case! I have only done 1 day of this challenge, plus breakfast this morning, and every meal so far has been tasty and filling. Here’s the proof:

This was yesterday’s breakfast. The eggs had red pepper and spinach in them. I also am showing my tea because I have a question for you all – this is Tazo’s passion tea. On this 30 day challenge, you can’t have any sweeteners. So I had that tea plain…and it was sour and gross. Any teas out there that you think are sweet enough that they might not have to have sugar? I’ll take recommendations.

This was lunch. I just discovered snap peas – they are amazing! Normally, you can’t have peas on the Paleo diet, which is fine by me because they are gross. But with the pod, you can have them, and the pod is sweet and crunchy. We cooked up some salmon and I thawed some shrimp, and this was totally filling.

This was dinner last night – beef kabobs on the grill, sweet potato “fries”, and a salad, complete with homemade creamy Italian dressing. Delish! In addition to those three meals, I did have a few snacks. An apple with almond butter and a little ground turkey lettuce wrap, with tiny lettuce leaves from our garden, as well as a banana, and watermelon and frozen grapes for dessert. I may have gone a little overboard on fruit yesterday, but..oh well.

Finally, this was this morning’s breakfast:

This was an omelet FAIL. I still suck at cooking. I think I put too much inside it, and it wouldn’t even fold over. Anyway, it’s got ground turkey, red peppers, a few little tomato chunks, and avocado, and it was also delicious. And filling. After one day, I have already noticed a dramatic decrease in bloating, and I have more energy and am full for many more hours, without a sugar crash.

As you can tell, I’m loving this so far. But I have to give credit where it is due, because I’ve previously browsed plenty of Paleo websites before without much inspiration. These two women have the best blogs with the best recipes. It doesn’t hurt that they are both very funny and great writers to boot.

Mel from theclothesmakethegirl has her own cookbook out, Well Fed. I got it in the mail; it is my new bible. The salad dressing and the seasonings for the meats have come from there, so far. I want to try every recipe in that book, and let’s remember – cooking is not something I do. Well, did.

Michelle from Nom Nom Paleo has the other best blog out there, in my opinion. Unfortunately, I don’t have an iPad, but if I did, I’d be getting her recipe app. I love the recipe ideas she gives, as well as the step-by-step picture instructions.

I feel like I’m trying to sell something, which is annoying, I’m sure. I guess I’m just super excited about eating healthy, as long as the food is tasty and filling. And it is. If you think I’m crazy, just pick one recipe from either of these women, try it tonight, and tell me it’s not delicious!

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – it can be just one meal a day. But if you think you might want to try it for 30 days, I have two pieces of advice that I have already learned:

1) Make extra. Cook a LOT more than you think you’d want for one meal, because having leftovers is KEY to less cooking and less stress. Those beef tips we had last night? There was enough leftover for lunch today for my husband and I. The ground turkey I threw in my omelet will also cover multiple dinners this week. I cut up enough veggies yesterday to make it through most of the week. Can’t think of what to have for breakfast or lunch? Just have leftovers.

2) Sunday prep day. I didn’t have much to do yesterday, so I took a few hours out of my day (which, hopefully as I get better at cooking, decreases in time) and did as much prep for this week’s meals as I could. Like I said, I cut up a ton of veggies to be used in meals and also in snacks. I cooked up a ton of ground turkey, and my husband grilled chicken thighs. I made 10 hard-boiled eggs. I steamed multiple vegetables and put them in the fridge to be used later this week in dinners, such as green beans, broccoli, and eggplant. I cut up a watermelon, sliced tomatoes, etc. I couldn’t do everything yesterday, such as make tonight’s spaghetti squash “noodles”, but it definitely took away hours of cooking time. And since it was the middle of the afternoon, I wasn’t dying of hunger, I took my time, and it wasn’t stressful in the slightest. My issue now is that my fridge is filled to the brim, and I’ve run out of storage containers.

Well, if you’ve made it this far, you might be intrigued! I don’t know if I’ll still feel this pumped in 29 days, but here’s hoping. I highly recommend just trying a Paleo dinner from one of those blogs, or jumping in head-first into the Whole 30 challenge, starting worldwide by its creators on August 1st.

So far, this seems totally doable.

It’s time I learned to cook.

In the past two days my mind has been on all things Paleo. I realize that my next few posts might be food-related, so feel free to just press “delete”. For one thing, thinking about this 30-day challenge is getting me through the TWW, so I consider that a success, at least. I’ve pondered whether I should start a whole new blog, dedicated to health/food, rather than just pregnancy, but I’m not confident yet that I’m actually going to stick to this, so for now, my only blog gets all the topics! I do have a tab at the top of the blog, however, for Paleo foods, and I will add the recipes and posts to that category as I go.

I’m excited. Until then, I’m eating every “not approved” food possible, which I really should stop doing. But I’m excited. 2 days to go.

I went Paleo for a few weeks, a few months ago. It didn’t last because #1 – I didn’t follow it 100%. I kept my ketchup, salad dressings, butter….I drew the line at certain things. And #2 – I got really sick of the same.damn.foods. prepared the same way every day. I think most people who are looking at trying Paleo for the first time think along those same lines. Eggs for breakfast again? Grilled chicken, grilled chicken, grilled chicken. On a salad. Occasional nuts and fruit. That’s it.

I’m a horrible cook. And a lazy one, too. When I went Paleo, I didn’t even try. I wanted the simplest recipes possible, and that meant cooking those foods the same way every day. I couldn’t handle it!

This time, I’ve found resources. Wonderful resources. I don’t know how I missed them the first time around.

Theclothesmakethegirl has an awesome Paleo blog, and she came out with her own cookbook, which looks phenomenal, and I purchased it yesterday. Her recipes look doable and delicious, and she comes up with ideas that are way past my uncreative mind. Such as this post. Or this one. Anyway, Mel’s blog is where it’s at. Along with her cookbook.

Also on the list of amazing Paleo resources is the blog Nom Nom Paleo. She has equally amazing recipes, and she has done the Whole 30 challenge twice. Even better, she posted pictures and descriptions of everything she ate every day of the challenge. I’m inspired to try this recipe, for sure.

Lastly, there’s the website The Foodee Project. It has what appears to be really tasty recipes, along with grocery lists and things like that.

My current issue is that I still suck at cooking. Like, it’s probably painful to watch me in a kitchen. I can’t find which measuring cup I need, I spill things, I certainly can’t multitask…it’s a big mess. And I want to cook these recipes. I have a feeling it’ll take me triple the time it should to make a single thing. Luckily for me, this 30 day challenge is during the summer. I’m not working. Time to learn to cook.

The other issue I have is in regards to shopping, or money. So many recipes, I notice, have these spices and oils I’ve never even heard of. My husband loves to cook, we have a lot of specialty ingredients, but even these, we don’t have. We have to go to Whole Foods to get them, which, first of all, isn’t exactly close by, and also, they cost a lot. I’m kind of cheap, by the way. Okay, really cheap. I don’t want to buy an $8 bottle of some random oily-thing, because it’s probably good only for that one recipe, and the bloggers who do this are practically professional chefs. Of course they would have this on hand. I guess what I’m saying is, we will be planning out our meals on Saturdays (did I mention my husband is doing this with me?) and heading out to the store. But every Saturday, I don’t really want to spend a ton of money, buying every single ingredient needed. I don’t know. I’m just cheap.

I guess I’ll have to get over it, because this is happening. I’m doing it. I keep repeating – I can do anything for 30 days. That’s all. I’m not committed to a day more, and the night of the 29th, my reward is my birthday treat. I’ve already been pondering what I want….I’m thinking 24 flavors soft serve ice cream, blackberry, loaded up with rainbow sprinkles. Yum. But for 30 days prior, I can go cold-turkey. Right?

I know a couple of you showed interest in joining in. I think the coolest way to put us all together is if you were able to share any recipes or tips you have found that work for you, and I will do the same. Then there are others of you out there (ahem, SS) who aren’t going to do this challenge exactly, but you want to try incorporating aspects of it, like dinner meals. Go for it – and share with us what works and what doesn’t! I sometimes forget that this isn’t completely new to me, as I’ve been gluten-free for so long I don’t miss it in the slightest.

So anyway, for those of you with no interest in any of this, I apologize, I’m straying from the given topic of the blog here. But in the TWW, it’s so nice to take my mind off of what might be and replace it with something I can actually control!

Those of you who have done Paleo, or anything like it, are there any resources that you found really helped you stay committed, as well as provided you with good recipes? What worked for you, and what didn’t?