Monday, August 31, 2009

What Have You Learned?

Today is the last day of my official month long paleo experiment. I can't believe the month is over. I feel like it just started. Now the big question...what do I eat tomorrow?


The past month has taught me a lot about how and why eating clean is really a great way to look at nutrition. For the longest time I believed that what I ate didn't really matter because I was a good athlete despite loving Twizzlers and bagels. I love to play sports and be active. I am blessed with the ability to catch onto sports and athletic movements quickly. I have been active my entire life. That is not new to me. However, I was not blessed with these abilities because of my nutrition. This month, I proved to myself that my nutrition can actually enhance the abilities I already have. I can actually make myself better by eating better.


This month, despite the Oklahoma heat, I PR'ed multiple WOD's that I hadn't PR'ed in a while: Jackie, FGB, the evil SDHP/Thruster 5 rounder plus some PR's on Olympic lifts. It was awesome. Of course I don't know for sure that I hit these PR's because I was eating paleo, but I do know I felt awesome because I was eating paleo. That is enough proof for me.

Why would I want to give up on something that is making my quality of life so much better? I plan on adopting a 90/10 paleo lifestyle. I'll allow myself about two open meals a week. I look at food completely different now. I love to eat fresh, real food. I love not having packaged items in my grocery cart. It makes me feel so good.

Who would have ever thought that this girl could go to Red Robin without reaching for a fry (even though I was careful to never eat too many), eat at a Mexican restaurant without indulging in chips and salsa, or walk past a M&M bowl without snagging a couple chocolate goodies? I have made amazing progress and I don't plan to let all my hard work go to waste.

I have become a cave women for life.

Now what about you? What are your final thoughts about paleo? Were you happy with how you changed on the outside? How did it change the way you look at nutrition? Did you do this for pure vanity or to improve performance? Were you happy with your results? Are you going to indulge in a non paleo meal tomorrow?

I am going to keep this blog up. It may not be as regular, but I hope to start posting meals that I love and more paleo information. I am still not finished with The Paleo Diet for Athletes so I will continue to post about that as well. I really appreciate all of you following along. You all helped keep me accountable. Thank you!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Traveling on Paleo

The last weekend of my paleo experiment has taken me far out of my comfort zone to the land of Michigan. I say the land of Michigan because it is a 180 from my homeland of Oklahoma. The weather is nice, it feels like a great Oklahoma November day. I tried my best to prepare for my trip and stay on paleo just like I have been the last twenty nine days. I knew as long as I was prepared there would be no chance to fall of the wagon.

I started in the Tulsa airport around 9:30AM. I had breakfast at 6:30AM, so I was getting close to needing my snack. I had a big Ziploc bag full of almonds, macadamia nuts and Larabars plus a bag full of sliced zucchini. I wanted to save all my prepared snack food for the plane an my arrival in Detroit. I headed over to Camille's to check out their breakfast items. I ended up ordering a vegetarian breakfast wrap. It came with scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomato and a tomato pesto. I discarded the tortilla of course. It was the perfect snack prior to my flight. Very satisfying.

I landed at 2:25PM. This is about an hour after my normal lunch time. I don't need a watch because I can tell what time it is by when my body gets hungry. Believe me, it was hungry. My husband picked me up at the airport and we ventured to a small suburb where he is currently rotating as a medical student. I was snacking my zucchini and trail mix I picked up at the airport when I landed (dried blueberries, cranberries, almonds, sunflower added sugar, I checked the label). We made our way around the hospital talking to other medical students and residents. All the sudden it was 5PM and I had still not really had lunch. I was in desperate need of a protein fix. Protein is the single hardest thing for me to prepare when traveling. Normally I keep hard boiled eggs on hand, but only if I know I will eat it within the hour.

We headed to the hospital cafeteria where we split the meat from a turkey burger. I felt like a new person. When you are traveling, sometimes you don't have the luxury of making sure what you are eating is 100% paleo, but you do the best you can. We made it to a great restaurant about an hour and half later. I had some great gazpacho, a side salad, baked scallops and green beans. Green beans were the vegetable of the day. Again, you do the best you can. Green beans aren't technically a vegetable, they are a legume, but it is green and that works for me when I need a veggie fix and they are the only choice.

Now that we are settled eating is not a problem. Traveling always throws off your eating schedule no matter what kind of food you eat. When I was hungry I didn't go for the Auntie Anne's pretzel because I was stocked with paleo friendly snacks to keep me on track. You may have to make a few compromises here and there (green beans, semi processed turkey burger meat), but do the best you can. Hopefully over the past month you have all learned how to make the best choice possible when it comes to food. Even in the most tempting situations, what you eat is a decision. Make good ones! No excuses!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It Was Just a Dream

The past few nights I have had very strange dreams...about food.

The first night I woke up in a complete panic. I had consumed three entire pizzas during my dream. Three. First, that isn't humanly possible. Second, I woke really thinking it had happened. Third, I did not have any kind of craving for pizza before or after the dream. No, I do not believe my body was telling me it needed the pizza. It was just strange.

The next night I had a similar dream. This time, however, it involved Honey Nut Cheerios, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. Oh sugar goodness. In my dream I was visiting my in laws. I was walking around their home with a cup full of dry Honey Nut Cheerios. This happens on a regular basis when I visit them or my parents. Pre paleo Ginny loved dry cereal. OK, I probably still do, but it isn't my snack of choice anymore. Later in the dream I consumed a plate size piece of chocolate cake covered in ice cream. Seriously, what is wrong with me? Has anyone else had dreams about food for no apparent reason? I would have expected this during week one or two, but not with five days to go! The refined grain and sugar devil is playing tricks with my won't work I tell you!

I apologize for no real updates on The Paleo Diet for Athletes the past few days. I hope to have some more read for tomorrow.

I would like to send a great big congratulations to Breck and Nicole on the birth of their new baby girl! Congratulations guys! This girl is going to be one amazing CrossFitter someday, just you wait and see! She has great genes from both parents.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Food as Fuel During Exercise

Chapter 5 in The Paleo Diet for Athletes focuses on food being used as fuel during exercise. It takes a close look at how the typical American diet differs from that of the hunter-gatherer. The typical western diet varies in these seven areas:

1. Macronutrient balance (carb, protein and fat)
2. Glycemic load
3. Fatty acid balance
4. Potassium/sodium balance
5. Acid/base balance
6. Fiber intake
7. Trace nutrient density

Macronutrient Balance
Americans love their carbs. Our diets have typically been very carbohydrate heavy. Our diets have generally looked like this, protein (15.5%), carbohydrate (49%), fat (34%) and alcohol (3.1%). The hunter-gatherer diet split protein (19-35%), fat (28-47%) and carb (20%-40%). Hunter-gatherer's have a much higher intake of fat, but it was typically the more healthful omega-3 and monounsaturated fat. The types of fat most Americans eat come from fatty beef, fried foods and other junk that is unhealthy for our hearts. While the carbohydrate intake is much lower in the hunter-gatherer diet, the carbs are much higher quality than those of the diet most eat today.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load (all info taken from page 85-87 in book)
I remember the first time I heard about the glycemic index. I heard someone talking about it on a NutriSystem commercial. I thought it was just another silly gimmick to sell diet food. Over the past year, I have become a believer in the science behind the glycemic index. Basically, the quality of a carbohydrate can be determined by the glycemic index. It rates how certain foods raise blood sugar levels compared with glucose. White bread, for instance, has a glycemic index of 100. The higher the glycemic index, the faster the food is turned to sugar and the faster your blood sugar rises. Why is a fast rise in blood sugar bad? It causes your energy to spike and then you crash. It won't sustain you through a long day or a hard workout. If a food has a high GI then it digests quickly and is absorbed quickly and realeases glucose in the blood stream quickly. A low GI food is digested slower and releases glucose at a more even rate into the blood stream. This helps keeps energy levels balanced.

The original glycemic index compared equal quantities of carbs (50 grams of carbs per food item). Watermelon has a glycemic index of 72 and a chocolate bar has a glycemic index of 43. Obviously, you would think watermelon is a better choice than chocolate, but according to the glycemic index, it would wreak more havoc on your blood sugar. Why? Because this is measuring 50 grams of carbs from each product. You would have to eat only 3 oz of chocolate to reach the 50 grams of carbs and 1 1/2 pounds of watermelon to reach the 50 grams of carbs. Confusing, right?

To overcome this confusion, the glycemic load scale was developed. It is measured by taking the glycemic index and multiplying it by the carbohydrate content in a typical serving. Much better. Most all refined grains and sugars have high glycemic loads, while fruits and veggies have lower glycemic loads. Meat and seafood have very low carb content so they do not change blood sugar or insulin levels like other foods. Here are some examples of foods and their glycemic index and glycemic load:

Food / Glycemic Index / Glycemic Load
Crisped Rice Cereal /88 / 77.3
Rice Cakes / 82 / 66.9
Table sugar / 65 / 64.9
Cheerios / 74 / 53.4
Corn Chips / 73 / 46.3
Whole Wheat Bread / 69 / 31.8

Boiled Sweet Potato / 54 / 13.1
Banana /53 / 12.1
Pineapple / 66 / 8.2
Grapes / 43 / 7.7
Apple / 39 / 6.0
Peach / 28 / 3.1

Hopefully you can tell a big difference between the first six items and the last six items. Some of the GI's are still higher in the bottom six, but take notice of the glycemic load. That is where you can really tell the quality of your carbohydrate. Go here if you want to figure the index and load of your carbohydrates! GI > 70 is high, GI 56-69 is medium and GI < 55 is low. A glycemic load < 10 is also considered low.

I will talk more about the other differences in the diets of hunter-gatherer's and Americans later this week. Too much information for one post! I hope I haven't confused anyone too much.

The Dr. Oz Diet

I was watching Good Morning America as I got ready for work today. Dr. Oz was on. Dr. Oz is Oprah's go to physician on everything. No. I am not an Oprah freak. I just know that because I pay attention to what is going on in the world of media. It is my job. Anyway, Dr. Oz was talking about the four things you can do to reduce your risk of chronic illness by up to 80%.

1. No smoking.
2. BMI (body mass index) of less than 30.
3. Exercise at least three and a half hours per week.
4. Eat a healthy diet with lots of whole grains, fruits and veggies.

The last one caught my attention because Diane Sawyer and Dr. Oz had a full table decked out with what you should eat during the course of a day. First, he said to get at least seven servings of whole grains. There were bowls full of whole grain cereal, breads, popcorn, etc. Trust me, it was overwhelming even for a girl (me) that used to claim to be able to live on bread and cereal alone. Next, he recommended five servings of fruit and four servings of veggies. I can live with that recommendation. Here was the kicker, less than 2 servings of lean protein. Wow. That is about 8 oz of chicken or turkey a day. I eat that much before lunch.

How do you think you would do on that diet? After your almost full month of paleo do you think you could go back to eating seven servings of grains a day? He made no mention of dairy, which I also found interesting.

Friday, August 21, 2009


A quick word about fruit. Fruit is good. You should eat it. Starting out however, it is probably better to base most of your snacks around a protein. The first two weeks I as eating about four or so servings of fruit a day with not enough protein. When I get hungry I typically reach for fruits or nuts. I fell in love with dried mango and baked organic apples. Those were too accessible and made it very easy to eat too much fruit for me.

My percentage of calories from carbs and proteins has been a little out of whack. I want to hover around 50% fat, 30% protein and 20% carbs. I've been more around 50% fat, 30% carbs, 20% protein. For me, I decided to cut back on my fruit. and up the protein. The past few days I have only been eating about 2 1/2 servings of fruit. One with breakfast, half a serving with a mini Larabar (not the big ones) as a snack and then an apple or pear right after my workout.

This might be different for you. Remember, it will be different for everyone. If you aren't losing the body fat you want to lose then look at what you are eating. You might be eating too much fat or you might be eating too much fruit. This is why it is so important to keep some sort of food journal. Keep your lean protein intake high and eat lots of veggies. Get enough fat and eat fruit when you need something sweet and after workouts. Your body may do fine with four or five servings of fruit.

If you think you are eating too much fruit, but you don't want to cut back too much, try to incorporate some lower sugar fruits like rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, apricots, grapefruit and melons. Higher sugar fruits you may want to cut back on are pineapple, pears, mango, bananas, grapes, plums and kiwi.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Your Co-Workers Know All About Paleo When...

...They don't question the 16oz bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil or make shift cutting board sitting in plain site on your desk and the multiple avocado skins in your trash can. Thankfully I have really great co-workers who think the way I eat now is pretty cool. It makes sense to them, even though they say the wouldn't be able to resist the temptations. Yesterday we had a birthday celebration and I actually scooped the Blue Bell Birthday Cake ice cream for everyone. I didn't even lick my fingers. They all came into work this morning feeling horrible. Too much sugar.

How are those around you reacting to paleo?

If you are having trouble here is a great post that Melissa Byers wrote about negative reactions from friends and family. She know her stuff. Her thirty day challenge inspired my thirty day challenge.

More to come from The Paleo Diet for Athletes tomorrow.

I mixed some almond butter into my pumpkin last night. Now that was fantastic.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Enhanced Athletic Performance

Now well into week three, you may or may not be seeing changes in your workout performance. Hopefully you are at least feeling good! As promised, I started reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes last night. The first chapter has a section focused on why the paleo diet enhances athletic performance. Some of it gets kind of sciencey (my special word) - which I try to stay away from - I'm not a scientist. So, to preface the following, I am not a scientist. The following information is from the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes written by Loren Cordain, PhD and Joe Friel, MS who have dedicated their lives to science, nutrition and fitness. I am just the messenger.

The following can be found on pages 4-8.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
Animal protein is the richest source of BCAA. These amino acids are different from other amino acids because the help stimulate the building and repairing of muscle. That is a good thing! a 1,000 calorie serving of lean beef (yes, that is a lot) has 33.7 grams of BCAA. The same size serving of whole grains (breads, cereals, rice and potatoes) only has 6 grams. If you are consuming larger amounts of BCAA then you can recover better, repair muscle better and reverse the natural breakdown of muscle that happens following a workout. Glorious!

Trace Nutrients
Fruits and vegetables have tons of antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals when combined with lean meats they promote optimal immune-system function. If you eat a paleo diet, you may see a decrease in the frequency and duration of colds, flu and upper respiratory illnesses. If you aren't sick, you can train more. Pretty simple.

Glycogen Stores
Warning: this might get a little sciencey. Feel free to do your own research! I'm just quoting the book.
Athletes strive to keep high muscle stores of glycogen in the body. Glycogen forms an energy reserve that the body can use when needed. Starches and sugars are the body's number one source for making muscle glycogen. Protein and fat won't do it. Glycogen synthesis by muscles happens most effectively immediately after exercise. Muscles can build all the glycogen they need in a narrow time frame after exercise. There is not a need to be eating carbs (starchy ones) all day long. So what are the best carbs to eat after exercise to build muscle glycogen? Bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams.

The Paleo Diet for Athletes in a Nutshell
You can eat as much lean meat, poultry, seafood, fresh fruit and veggies as you like. There are a number of crucial exceptions to that rule. Immediately before, during and after a workout or competition certain non paleo foods can be eaten to promote recovery. During all other times your diet should reflect that of the original paleo diet.

Note: As you can tell now, in the Paleo Diet for Athletes there are minor refinements to the normal paleo diet. This is book is focused more around endurance athletes like triathletes and marathoners. Take the information and use it as you like. I am not adding grains or starches back in at this time. August is not over yet!

Personal Update
I'm still eating too much fruit. It is like crack. I can't stop. I think I am going to have to give my Larabars a rest for a while and see what happens.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I made the hummus last night. Seriously do not walk, run to your nearest grocery store to buy the ingredients and make this stuff tonight. It is amazing. I don't throw the word amazing around too often when I refer to food I have made myself at home. It is yummy with veggies.

Mark's Daily Apple had a great post today about falling off the wagon. I hope that those of you that are following these thirty days with me are still holding strong, but if not read this article and get motivated. It is never too late to recommit to doing something great for yourself!

Plans For the Future?
So we are on day eighteen. Eighteen! What are your thoughts about continuing this way of eating after the the challenge is over? Do you plan on reintroducing grains and dairy back into your diet? Do you plan on having a celebratory meal? These are things you need to start thinking about. Make sure you think about all the hard work you have put in over the last eighteen days. Think about how far you have come. Think about the time and effort you have put into retraining your brain when it comes to food.

I'm starting The Paleo Diet for Athletes tonight. I'll start posting about what I read in the next few days. Keep it up!

"The dictionary is the only place success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." - Vince Lombardi


Monday, August 17, 2009


Do you love pumpkin pie? OK I don't love pumpkin pie, but I think it is a fun treat during the fall. I have been channeling Mother Nature begging her for some brilliant fall football weather. It hasn't happened yet. Last night in a desperate last attempt to feel the fall, I pulled out a can of Libby's Pumpkin Puree and made some make shift paleo pumpkin pie.

Honestly, it was hardly pumpkin pie. I didn't chop up almonds to make a paleo crust. Now that would have been awesome. I did, however, scoop about a cup of pumpkin puree into a custard dish, sprinkled it very generously with cinnamon and nutmeg and then threw in a few walnuts. Oh my, it was a treat! It wasn't very sweet. It was actually kind of tangy and had a little bit of a bite. Pumpkin is my new after dinner snack. An added bonus is that pumpkin is super low in carbs for those of you who may be trying to cut back on fruit and carbs (4 grams per serving!). It is also high in vitamin A and fiber! YAY!

It has been a lot of fun discovering little treats like this over the lat few weeks. Have you found any? Tonight I am making paleo friendly hummus. I will report back on the outcome. I really miss my hummus. I hope this stuff can fill the void! I need something for my carrots and celery. I am admittedly becoming tired of them as a snack.

I'm also going to brag on myself a bit...

This weekend I went to lunch with my mom and I ordered fajitas minus the cheese and tortillas of course. I smothered the chicken, onions and peppers with pico and avocado. Yum oh yum. I was full for hours. I also did something during this lunch that I have Never. Done. Before. I sat with chips and salsa in front of my face and did not reach or even think about reaching for a single chip. Seriously. I am still in shock myself. You can reward me by donating to my Fight Gone Bad team.

Fight Gone Bad!!

September 26th is Fight Gone Bad day in the CrossFit world. I will be participating along with hundreds of other athletes across the country. If you feel so inclined, please donate on my sponsorship page! Every little bit will help. Go here to learn more about the fundraiser. You can donate and sponsor me by going to the link below.

Fight Gone Bad!!

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Friday, August 14, 2009


This morning I had my first real battle with temptation, at least with my mind...not with my stomach. One of my reps dropped by to see me and brought none other than freshly baked bagels. They were from Old School Bagel which is new in town. Heaven help me. I am a self proclaimed bagel-holic. The first place I went after I got my drivers license was New York Bagel Shop (RIP New York Bagels...I miss you). I drove there in my mom's sweet light blue Quest minivan. Panera has since taken the top spot in my bagel loving heart. Those french toast bagels were made specifically with me in mind. ANYWAY, I have spent the entire morning smelling fresh bagels and watching my co-workers enjoy the grainy goodness. Honestly, after the initial shock of seeing them, holding the bag in my hands and realizing I would not have one, I feel fine. I'm not craving a bagel. Sure, they smell amazing. What doesn't smell great fresh out of the over? The temptation was all in my head. My stomach felt full. I didn't need a bagel to quiet growling hunger pains. My turkey sausage, fruit and almond butter took care of that for me this morning.

It is funny because I haven't thought about having a bagel my entire time on paleo. It wasn't until I was face to face with the beast that the thought even crossed my mind. Remember, out of sight out of mind. If you don't think you are ready to be presented with the challenge of resisting some of your favorite non paleo foods then don't even try.

Turkey Sausage Update
I made the turkey sausage last night. Yum. It turned out white since it is made with super lean ground turkey, but it had all the right spices that gave it that sausage flare. I made about twelve 1.5 oz patties. They are perfect for breakfast or a protein shot in the middle of the day. They cooked up nice on the George. They may taste better from the skillet, but I try to avoid standing over a stove if I can. I get bored watching meat cook.

Good luck this weekend. You are almost half way there!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Turkey Sausage

I love turkey sausage. I have been craving it a lot the past few days...especially this morning. I have been on a mission to find a paleo friendly turkey sausage without all the nasty fillers. I found this recipe on a paleo blog and I plan on making some tonight! Check out the link below. The picture has my mouth watering already...

Oh Turkey Sausage Goodness

Exercise Makes You Fat?

A friend of mine recently emailed me this article in Time Magazine and today I saw this other article responding to the Time article on the Tulsa World website.

Read both and tell me what you think. How would you respond to the Time article?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homemade Larabars!

I found this blog today and my oh my I am so excited. If you like Larabars then this will be right up your alley! Hopefully I will get a chance to experiment in the next week or so. I will post my results.

Homemade Larabars

Mid Week Update

We are on day twelve. Twelve! Can you believe it? I honestly never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever go twelve days with out a piece of bread or a stick of string cheese. There are just a few things I want to talk about today so I will try to make it short and sweet. Good luck to me! Remember, if you have struggles post about them. It is good for others to read about what you are going through. The ten minutes after CFJ workouts have slowly turned into "paleo updates" with fellow CFJ'ers. It is great to share your experiences with others!

Are You Eating Enough Protein?
I'm not. That has been made clear to me 1. by how I feel and 2. by my FitDay journal. It is widely accepted by many in the paleo and zone world that you should be eating close to your weight in grams of protein. I have entered everything into FitDay that I will be eating until my CrossFit workout. I am only up to 70 grams of protein. Believe me, I don't weight 70 pounds. I don't weigh 100 pounds. My goal is to get up to about 120 grams of protein a day. No, I don't weight 120 pounds either, but for me I think that is a good goal. How much protein do you get a day? Are you keeping track? Do you incorporate into every meal and snack you eat? I am swapping out my afternoon snack of blueberries and walnuts for a hard boiled egg and carrots. I'm interested to see what will happen now if I decrease my fruit intake and up the protein and veggies.

Are You Getting Enough Calcium?
My mom keeps asking me this question. She is very intrigued by the paleo diet. I let her borrow my paleo book and she recently bought The Paleo Diet for Athletes which I plan on stealing from her this weekend. She has always been worried about my calcium intake. I never liked milk much as a child. She forced me to drink a glass of it every night with dinner and I always had to hold my nose. It was a battle. Anyway, according to FitDay I'm not getting the RDA % of calcium. Is this bad? I'm not sure. Here is some information Dr. Cordain has on calcium intake. I plan on increasing more leafy greens. This means at least two cups of spinach with dinner at night. I love salad, so this won't be a problem. Make sure you are incorporating some sort of leafy green into your diet every day. Cook it in with eggs in the morning, have a big green salad topped with chicken or shrimp and other veggies for lunch or dinner or steam some up with some garlic and have it as a side dish. Make sure to get your greens!

New Veggie Alert
Last night I tried eggplant for the first time. I grilled it on my George Foreman Grill with some mushrooms. I was pleasantly surprised. It has an interesting texture and nice flavor. Plus, the purple is pretty. I like pretty food. What new veggies have you tried since you started paleo?

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Do You Think So Far?

You have now been clean for about nine days. Surely by now you are getting into some sort of groove. Planning and preparing meals for the day and week should be easier, maybe your cravings for sweets, grains and dairy are fading, you're noticing some minor changes in your body composition and hopefully you flat out feel better. If this isn't the case stick with it! I have read from lots of people that they didn't start seeing/feeling the effects until week three or four. Don't be discouraged.

The beginning of last week my workouts were feeling sluggish. It was hot and I couldn't keep my breath. I admit I was a bit nervous about my new diet playing a role in this. Of course I knew it was going to take time to adjust and figure just how much I should eat and what would work best for me. Friday rolled around and we did "Jackie". My previous PR as Rx'd was 8:53 and I dropped it to 8:21 (in the heat!). My goal is still to break 8 minutes, which I will. Saturday morning was a completely brutal WOD and I managed to maintain a good pace and post a good time with minimal recovery from Friday evening. Needless to say, the end of the week restored my confidence.

How are you feeling during your workouts? Pay attention to how you feel this week. Are you feeling sluggish? Maybe you need to adjust some of what and when you are eating? Maybe you need to up your water intake? Do you have boundless amounts of energy? Good for you! How are you recovering? Quickly? Not at all? Take notes and make adjustments. I encourage everyone to keep some sort of journal so you can tell if what and when you eat correlates with how you feel. This will help you tremendously when trying to make adjustments in your diet. Getting some fruit in my system quickly after a workout makes a world of difference to me.

I had another weekend out of town which meant I had to battle the urge to reach for cornbread or biscuits at Cracker Barrel, say no to onion rings at Johnnies and once again forgo the yogurt at Orange Tree. It is getting easier. I find that if I just take a minute to think about how I feel while I am eating then the desire to reach for the bread goes away. I do feel full from protein and veggies. I don't need the biscuit.

REALLY AWESOME SHRIMP I made this up so it is not a very technical recipe!
1 TBS olive oil
minced garlic (eye ball it...I like a lot)
chopped cilantro
1 cup peeled shrimp
1/2 avocado (chopped)
Fresh lime juice
Pico de Gallo

Heat Olive oil, garlic and cilantro. Add shrimp. When fully cooked place shrimp in bowl. Add pico de gallo and chopped avocado. I bought my pico pre made. Make sure to check the label for added salt! Squeeze a fresh lime over the shrimp and eat. Oh my, so yummy. It is really good the next morning cold.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Muscle Memory and Habits

*Disclaimer: I am not a scientist or psychologist. I just know how to read and make hopefully logical connections. If anything I have written is incorrect please feel free to correct me! I claim to know nothing! :)

Why do I finish an entire bag of Twizzlers (or twizzies as they are referred to in my house) at a movie when I'm not hungry? Why do I drink Diet Dr. Pepper when I'm not thirty? What is up with my inability to stop eating chips and salsa no matter how full I am at Mexican restaurants? Two words my friends. Muscle. Memory.

"Muscle memory is fashioned over time through repetition of a given suite of motor skills and the ability through brain activity to inculcate and instill it such that they become automatic."

Basically, we have all trained ourselves to eat the way we eat. If before this month you used to grab a handful from the box of Wheat Thins every time you opened the pantry, you can bet it is going to be super hard to not grab that same box now. Your have programed your mind that way. The first day of paleo Kody and I went to lunch at McAlister's. I got a salad and he got something fairly healthy that came with Club crackers. Oh. My. I. Love. Club. Crackers. They are buttery goodness. Right? I always eat them when we are there. I steal them from whoever I am eating with. It is fun to try to sneak them away before the victim notices. Anyway, I found myself reaching for them out of habit. I remember looking at Kody saying, "I wasn't even thinking! I just reached for them!" Don't worry, I didn't even get as far as opening the package.

This is why cheat proofing your house and getting friends and family on board with what you are doing is so important. You wouldn't dangle alcohol in front of a seven day clean alcoholic would you? Well, we shouldn't subject ourselves to the temptation either. If you can't resist the bread at Zio's then don't go eat there. Don't torture yourself by watching others eat it like I did with the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster. I learned my lesson. It takes a good month to change habits. What have you noticed you do without even thinking that may jeopardize your quest of paleo perfection? What have you done to start retraining your mind?

Eating is so much more than taste. We have emotional connections with food. When we are at certain events or celebrations we eat certain things. Totally normal. Every time I am at the airport in Dallas for a lay over I always get a pretzel from Auntie Anne's. It is my tradition. Normally I am hungry, but even if I am not I get one. I need one because I am at the airport and that is what I do. I'm going to have to stay strong because day 28 will put me in that predicament.

We have built up these associations with food our whole lives. They will be hard to break and hard to resist. Maybe harder for some than others. When you are about to encounter one of these events whether it is a long car ride, a wedding celebration, or a movie have a plan about how to resist your normal reaction. Have portable paleo snacks with you, eat enough before so you aren't hungry or keep a bottle of water with you at all times so you can have something in your hands to distract you from reaching for food.

You will create new habits. You will be able to retrain your brain. You are never to old to change the way you think and react to food. Never.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

FitDay Journal

Not sure if you are eating too much protein or too much fat? Create a FitDay journal! It is super easy and calculates everything for you. Of course, it is not going to be exact, but it is a good indication of what you take in during the day. I have made mine public so you can all keep track of what I am eating.

Want to create your own? Go here to start your own free journal! I have been writing down what I eat in a notebook, but this is nice since it keeps track of the information I don't always have like calories, fat and vitamins.

By the way, BMI is stupid and means absolutely nothing to me. I just wanted to point that out in case you looked around the site and say to yourself, "Oh my goodness Ginny you are so not in shape!" :) Also, everything listed on today's date for me is everything I plan on eating so that includes dinner as well. It could change.

How Is Your Tummy?

Day six. You are probably noticing some changes at this point, especially in how you are feeling physically. This is the topic that no one wants to talk about, but I know it is probably effecting some of you out there. In all my paleo research I have seen this topic brought up a lot so I am going to go ahead and discuss.

How Is Your Tummy?
I hope that you aren't having problems! If you are eating the proper amount of proteins, carbs and fats than you should be fine with no major issues. This is when it is super important to listen to your body. If things are moving a little faster than normal too many times a day, you may want to adjust your fat intake. Keep the majority of your snacks based around lean protein and veggies and incorporate a little fat. Don't just eat handfuls of almonds. Now you need to be careful because you do not want to eliminate fat. That is not what I am saying. Fat is very important. If you aren't getting enough fat then you can start to lose muscle. Be smart. Sometimes raw veggies can mess with your system as well. Try mixing up fruits and veggies until you find a combination that agrees with your digestive system.

Now you may be having the complete opposite problem. Maybe you are feeling a little bloated and you need things to keep moving. Increase your water. Drink. Drink. Drink. Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids, which you should be doing anyway. Also, incorporate some more fiber friendly veggies into your diet like avocado, broccoli and carrots. Maybe you aren't getting enough fat. More than likely after a couple weeks your body will adjust. Remember, you are cutting a lot of things out of your diet and adding new items. Your body is not used to this. Don't freak out, just mix it up until things are working better.

Maybe you are lucky like me and are still feeling awesome. I hope this is the case for most everyone. Don't change a thing! Keep doing what you are doing! If it ain't broke don't fix it, right?

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about how much muscle memory plays into our eating habits. I know some of you have noticed this already. We are almost an entire week into our experiment. I hope you are staying positive. Are you missing anything in particular that isn't on the paleo list? Stay strong!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Couple Paleo Dishes

These look scrumptious and completely paleo friendly. If someone makes either of these before I get to please post and tell us if they are any good!

Roasted carrot and avocado salad
Cantaloupe salsa

Feeling It

Day 5. I'm still holding strong. I'm not having cravings, but I did feel more hungry this morning than I have the past four days. Tomorrow morning I will eat more. Last night was the first time in a long time that I felt close to passing out during a CrossFit workout. I was dizzy and could not for the life of me catch my breath during those box jumps. I believe most of that was due to the heat. It was horrible. Hot and humid. I do live in Oklahoma though, I shouldn't except anything else during August. I still posted a decent time, but I was significantly slower than I anticipated. Has anyone else felt a difference, good or bad, in their workouts? During the day I still have tons of energy, so I'm not worried. I do think it will take a week or two for my body to really "adjust" to this type of diet. How do your workouts feel? Do you have energy? Do you feel strong?

Craving Something Sweet?
Yesterday I made a trip to Whole Foods. Oh Paleo goodness. I found some organic mango slices (dried) that are simply heaven. No sugar added, nothing, pure mango. They are scrumptious. Almost too sweet. There are also apples and a few other dried fruits that were totally natural with nothing added. If you pick any of these up remember to eat in extreme moderation. Yum! I've been sharing with my coworkers and they are all big fans.

Nut Butters
Be sure to check the labels of your nut butters. I know a lot of you have fallen in love with almond butter and rightly so, it is divine. Make sure there are no other ingredients besides nuts. I know I said this yesterday, but check for cane sugar. It sneaks in there sometimes. I checked out a lot of the nut butters at Whole Foods and many of them had added ingredients. Be aware! I had some hazelnut butter this morning with breakfast. Tasty!

Alright, let me hear how you are doing. If you are having trouble then comment about it! Someone will be able to help. We are here to encourage each other. I'm hearing good things from everyone at the gym. Keep it up one day at a time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Your Questions

There have been a few questions posed to me on the blog and at the gym. I have tried to research as much as possible, so here is what I have come up with:

I Don't Like Meat. What Can I Do?
Unfortunately, if you don't like meat there aren't a lot of alternatives. The Paleo diet is built around lean meat. Allison posted that she normally eats meat once a week and that it has been hard for her to eat it multiple times throughout the day. This is when I would say variety is key. Do you like eggs? Those are a great source of protein that are Paleo friendly. Make sure to get Omega 3 enriched eggs. Like I have said there are differing pinons on how many eggs you should eat a week on Paleo. Some Paleo veterans say eat as many as you want, some say limit to six per week. I'm leaving this up to you. I am mixing egg whites with whole eggs. It is your call.

Try different meats. Seafood is a great way to get your protein without feeling like you are chewing on a cow. Try shrimp, fresh crab meat or salmon. Talk to your butcher and ask for suggestions. The guys at the new Reasors are awesome. They have an amazing selection of proteins. I saw ground buffalo last night which I am going to have to try just once so I can say I did. Basically, if you are going to eat Paleo you can't omit eating meat, but you can mix it up and eat lots of proteins other than beef and chicken!

What About Sea Salt?
There is not a lot of information out there on sea salt, but I have seen multiple Paleo recipes that call for sea salt. I am going to give it the OK if used in extreme moderation as any salt should be used in any type of diet. I'm sure I will get some debate here, but just be smart. A little sea salt is not going to derail your ability to lose weight. Even Paleo Kits use sea salt to marinate their beef jerky.

What About Breakfast? I Like Yogurt and Oatmeal!
I know breakfast is probably going to be a bit of a challenge for some. We are all used to eating sweeter more starchy items like cereal, oatmeal, toast with jelly, bagels, yogurt, etc. Eggs, salmon and cold chicken are great breakfast items. They are filling and don't feel too heavy. Pair that with some fresh fruit mixed with walnuts or slivered almonds and you will be good to go. This morning I had some chicken breast with tomatillo avocado salsa (heaven!) on top with a grapefruit and some almonds. I was very satisfied. It isn't going to be easy, but after a few days it will feel more normal.

Here are a few sample breakfast menus from The Paleo Diet (pages 142 to 151)
Breakfast Number 1:
Raspberries with walnuts
Scrambled eggs with a small beefsteak
Herbal Tea

Breakfast Number 2:
Blueberries and cantaloupe
Cold crab legs
Water with lemon

Breakfast Number 3:
Two egg (omega-3 enriched) omelet stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and onions sauteed in canola oil
Water with lemon

Breakfast Number 4:
Cold beef slices
Decaffeinated coffee

I Still Miss Peanut Butter.
Sunbutter, Almond Butter and any other kind of nut butter will save your life. Make sure it has no extra ingredients like cane sugar. Ick! Pair it with fruit or eat it alone.

My Friends and Co-Workers Think I'm Nuts.
I'm so proud of everyone who has told me they have talked to their family and coworkers about Paleo. Way to go! Don't let them get you down. Stick to your guns. Don't give in. Who cares if they give you a hard time? Just tell yourself they are jealous because you are making a positive change in their life and they aren't. Try to get them on board. Just like Kelsey said in the comments on yesterday's post, soon they will see your results, start asking questions and be more positive about what you are doing. Remember, only you can allow yourself to fall off the wagon. It isn't their fault if you eat a cookie they give you! You control what goes in your mouth.

My Update:
Day four. Keep it up! I have to tell you, I'm feeling great. I slept amazing last night and woke up wide awake. That never happens to me. I'm not starving in the middle of the day. I ate an apple immediately after yesterday's CFJ workout and it kept me going a good two hours until I got home and finished all my cooking for the week. Amazing!

What has been your favorite meal so far? What have you made that you will never make again? Have you noticed a change in your body yet? It is still early, but I hope you are creating good habits and staying prepared throughout the day.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend Warrior

What a weekend. We are all now on day three of this Paleo adventure. I hope everyone is holding up well! This weekend was a huge test. I spent the weekend with my family and that means we went out to eat every single meal. If you want to know how to eat Paleo while not at home I am now and expert. Here is a brief rundown:

Chicken Grill Salad
No cheese or croutons
Olive Oil
Water with lemon

Red Lobster:
Garden salad with olive oil and a teeny tiny bit of vinegar. (No croutons)
Steamed broccoli
Wood grilled salmon
Steamed crab legs
NO cheddar biscuits even though they were calling to me the entire meal

LushBerries: The "new" Orange Tree. If you are ever in Edmond you must go to Orange Tree. This would be of course for an "open" meal. :)
Cup full of kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, honeydew melon and slivered almonds. No Yogurt. :(

Walt's Champagne Chicken Salad - this salad is AWESOME.
Chicken, pineapple, strawberries, dates, sunflower seeds and olive oil. YUM.
I omitted feta cheese or croutons and added avocado.
This kept me full for hours.

Delta Cafe:
Side salad with olive oil
Grilled chicken breast
Green beans - I know green beans are not technically a veggie, but as I have read they are "more green than bean" so when you have no other choice choose green beans.

I'm snacking on almonds, walnuts, grapes, carrots and Larabars. I'm feeling full. I notice out of habit I try to reach for Kody's Diet Dr. Pepper or crackers on the table. It is automatic. I don't even think, I just reach. This will take time to get over, but so far so good! I'm feeling awesome.

What were your struggles this weekend? What foods did you discover that you keep you full? Did anything surprise you? Did anyone already fall victim the the temptation to cheat?

Try mixing blueberries and walnuts together with your breakfast. It is a great boost in the morning!