Whoops…Day 10: The Power of Taking a Little Break

(Liz’s Birthday Extravaganza lasted all weekend. This photo was taken at the Brickhouse in Dover and that glow you see is George when he’s just a little drunky….)

Hello blog! Did you miss me?
I know, I already broke my own rule about blogging every single day. But I must confess: I kinda needed this week to myself.
I went into this past weekend determined to be good and keep up the blog. Turns out, my good intentions were not enough to keep me on track. I had a very full weekend planned and I did not give myself the time I needed to stay on program and write about it here.
Friday was my day off and I should have had time, plenty of time, to blog and take a picture. But, as it does, life got in the way. Running errands all day kept me pretty busy and that night, I joined a group of friends for a night in Portsmouth NH that included the first burlesque show at the Portsmouth Music Hall in over 100 years. Top that with an after party and bar hopping and yeah, I literally ran out of time in the day, crashing around 2am, happy and exhausted.
Saturday I was at work by 10am and we were off and running and busy as hell all the way til 8pm. And that night, I went straight to a birthday party til about 12. Long day and a great night.
Sunday, well…I should have had time in the morning, but instead I went to the beach, did a little run, showered and headed to work til almost 6pm, home long enough to cook some dinner and out again for an epic night of karaoke silliness. Yeah, I really didn’t get much down time.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednsday, I can’t lie…. I had the time, but just just…didn’t. Not sure what was worng with me, but I couldn’t get in front of the keyboard and explain my absence properly. The best way to describe what happened? My brain took a break. A much needed one, as it turns out. My brain has been so full lately, I needed a few days to myself to digest.
I am recommitting myself to this lifestyle starting today. And I don’t mean this as some sort of promise I’m making today just to shirk off tomorrow. I am committing myself to my new healthier choices. But one thing I cannot promise is that I will be here every single day. I am going to do my best: every day, I will have the intention to update my blog, write about a recipe and share my thoughts on this Paleo life I’m leading. But sometimes, my brain needs to shut off and go away….and I think I’m saner this way than stressing over getting a photo in on time and making it to my computer before I hit the pillow at night. 🙂

FOOD:

Seriously? I’ll catch up tomorrow and start fresh with that…

ACTIVITY:

Um, well…lots of drinking, some running and other random silliness….honestly, I’ll get back to you on this.

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Day 4: Martini Time!!!

This is me and my friend Jenn. We are martini buddies meaning we go out on the hunt for cheap awesome martini goodness every week. 🙂 When it comes to alcohol, beer is not much of an option. Sadly, rather than  take the chance, I have sworn off beer, one of the few things I will admit was a sacrifice in order to feel better. But, we are allowed gluten-free and, best of all, distilled liquor! So, even though I gave up Beer, one of all time favorite drinks, I still get to have my second favorite drink: a dirty martini. Mmmmmm……. And if Martinis are not your thing, you can always go for a cider which are almost all gluten-free! Magners, Woodchuck, Angry Orchard…there are so many varieties out there. During the Whole30 Challenge, you are not allowed alcohol at all, but since I am paste that initial 30 days, I’m allowing myself the occasional drink now and then. I wish I had more to say tonite, but really, I’m beat….

Food: I have to confess, today was a bad day for me. I went to work prepared, but I got swamped with work and barely managed to eat anything I had.

Breakfast – ummmm, I had an iced coffee with almond milk…and that was it…. (I know, bad George, bad!)

Lunch – Leftover grilled veggies and kielbasa (finally at the end of that)

Dinner – Bowl of Paleo No-Name stew (I froze a bunch of this)

What was left in my lunch box – nuts, apple, gluten free/sugar free jerky, baby carrots.

Activity:

Does barhopping count? In this heat, it was almost like a work out….. 🙂

My Eating Habits 101

I like this infographic! A simple way to explain the Paleo Lifestyle!

Khania's Journal

In the last 3 years or so my eating habits have changed dramatically. You can probably tell by the history of recipes in this blog. Little by little I began to change the way I eat as I learned about better food choices for a healthier me. I enjoy to read about food. Knowing the reason for eating it (or avoiding it) and when to eat it is critical to me. I continue this journey as it is not easy…. I choose to eat the way I do because I feel better, with more energy, lighter when exercising and it gives me great satisfaction when I eat something that I know what exactly its ingredients are and how it was cooked. Oh, and looking better helps too! 😉

To me, eating whole “real” foods is what it’s all about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m only human and have my cheats…

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Day 3 – Paleo No-Name Stew

I love to improvise. Making stew gives me a great opportunity to throw things together and see what happens. This Paleo No-Name Stew is a perfect example of what may sound like a convoluted mess but may actually proves to be delicious! You will notice that most of my recipes are a little light on the details. I have been cooking my whole life and have never been one to really write down a recipe. So there are a lot of approximations or to your own taste. So here is my first attempt at making a recipe for something that essentially had no recipe to begin with. This literally came about because I had these ingredients on hand. 🙂 Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                 Paleo No-Name Stew


1 lb pork (any cut will do, I used a small roast)
1 lb chicken sausage, gluten free (I used a “chipotle” spiced gluten free type from a local butcher)
2 large onions, cubed
8 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 bunch of kale, chopped
3 large sweet potatoes, skinned and cubed
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
6 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt
pepper
tumeric
curry
italian seasonings
cumin
hot sauce (I used  a large splash of Chef Mamou’s Hot Sauce, but feel free to use one you prefer)

In a large soup pot, combine onions and garlic. Allow them to carmelize. Add peppers, tomatoes (juice and all) and kale. Mix and allow to sweat for a few minutes. Add in remaining ingredients (leave roast and sausage links whole). Add water or low sodium chicken broth until you just cover all the ingredients. Add spices to taste and hot sauce to your own specifications. Allow to come to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for one hour. After one hour, remove roast and place in a bowl. Using two forks, pull and shred the meat and then add back into the pot. Remove sausages and slice or chop them into small bite size bites and add them back to the pot. Stir and serve.

Food For Day 3:

Breakfast – Iced coffee with almond milk, apple.
Lunch – Bowl of Paleo No-Name Stew
Snacks – Pre-cooked steak tips (6 oz) from McKinnons, cubed watermelon.
Dinner – More leftovers from the Grilled veggies and Kielbasa dinner I made the other night.

Activity:

Seriously? Did you notice it was over 95 degrees today? Yeah…I cancelled my gym trip and prayed I didn’t melt when I took a nice long walk along the beach instead. Two miles, slow walk, sweat like a friggin pig in heat…..

Day 2: Temptations….

Sometimes we are devils to ourselves,
When we will tempt the frailty of our powers,
Presuming on their changeful potency. ~ William Shakespeare.

Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. In the struggle to lose the weight, I have faced temptation at every turn. Whether it be the guy at work who wants to get pizza for lunch and offers me a slice to simply driving by a drive thru when hunger is overwhelming me, I have had to resist and struggle on as best as I can.  Over the years, my best intentions have been thwarted by the mere presence of food around me. And I would bullshit myself into believing it was alright: “Well, if I have this piece of pizza, maybe I will do extra long on the treadmill tonite. If I have that piece of cake, I won’t have anything but salad at work tomorrow.” Little compromises that, at first glance, don’t seem like much until you find yourself doing it every day. Little compromises and promises you make to yourself on a daily basis. Soon however, we forget the promise, we forget the compromise and fall right back into the same old habits. We give in to temptation completely and that’s what leads to failure and disappointment.

When I first started this adventure back in April, I didn’t know what to expect. How would I be able to handle all the food temptations? I’m a big man with a big love of food! I ran restaurants for years and I certainly know how to be a rockstar in the kitchen (see my other blog) so I have this deep rooted love affair with food. I love going out on “food adventures” where we load up the car and pick some random restaurant I have not been to yet but really want to try and go! I love that! That all changed with the Paleo Whole30 challenge. I still do food adventures, I still rock-out in the kitchen, but now, I’m making healthier choices, whole food choices and choices that keep me on the path I have set for myself.

I don’t really feel like I’m denying myself anything either. At first, as I was getting over my crazy sugars and carbs addictions (and yes, it really felt like withdrawal) I had moments of weakness. I seem to remember embarassing myself at a bakery on the second day. I was walking by and the smell of sweets and bread hit me…Next thing I knew, I had my face pressed to the front window, staring in at all the delicious pastries, baked goods and loaves of bread. The scent overwhelmed me and I found myself licking the glass and dry humping the window pane. I composed myself when I noticed the panicked faces of the people seated inside. That first week was brutal. Possibly one of the toughest things I have ever had to overcome. No wonder so many people turn back from this lifestyle. That week, I almost gave up every single time I saw a sub, a sandwich, ice cream, pizza, etc.

Then, something happened. Some switch in my head turned on and the cravings finally subsided. And I learned how to counteract any cravings that popped up by making sure I always had nuts or some other snack with me at all times. Got a sweet craving? Grab an apple. Still not going away? Munch on more nuts. Soon, my cravings started to coincide with the food I had available. I crossed a huge hurtle: teaching my body to crave things that were good for me.

Temptation may be all around me, but I think I have proven to myself and to the people in my life that I can resist and I can overcome and succeed at this weight loss game. Temptation has not and will not get the better of me. My goals are clear and the results are undeniable. Right now, I’m craving steak with grilled veggies. Who would have thought that I would choose that craving over Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk? Heehee, I mean seriously…steak and meat cravings….I think I need to go into business for myself and open a food truck that sells nothing but paleo snacks of grilled meats and various veggies. Hmmm, shall have to ponder this….

Food:

Breakfast: 1/4 lb burger topped with bacon and an egg with grilled mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes and broccoli and a side of guacamole. Served up by my friends at Betty’s Kitchen, a legendary breakfast joint, this meal proved to be too huge for simply breakfast. It was divided in half and it also became lunch.

Snack: Cup of fresh blueberries, Apple

Dinner: Leftovers from the grilled veggies and kielbasa I had last night.

Late snack: Small steak smothered in onions and mushrooms and sweet potato fries. Yeah, I know…not the wisest choice for a “snack” but I was craving some meat…..

Drinks: Water, large decaf coffee with almond milk, dirty martini.

Activity:

Ran/walked for 45 minutes. Tomorrow, I will be in the gym…..

Welcome to the Whole90 Experience! Day One.

SO what the hell is the Whole90??? Well, it’s my attempt to take a great idea and stretch it out even further. The Whole30 Challenge is a challenge put out by the website Whole9 (see my links). The basic premise behind the Whole30 is to challenge yourself to try the Paleo lifestyle for 30 days, because anybody can do 30 days. Anybody. And, as it turns out, even I can do 30 days.

The point of Paleo is not the weightloss, although you do experience that. The point of Paleo isn’t to get smaller clothes, although now I need them. The point of the Paleo lifestyle is to help you feel better. The results I got in the first few weeks were amazing. I had more energy throughout the day. No sugar crashes, no midday coma, nothing. I could sleep. And for those who don’t understand, I mean I could sleep 8 hours, uninterrupted. That was huge for me. I have had horrible insomnia and probably sleep apnea over the years. But, after only 7 days of the challenge, I was sleeping through the night. My blood pressure has dropped. I’m amazed at how I feel. Not only has my health improved, but my whole attitude has changed. I feel good. Really good…about me, about my life and about the potential ahead of me. I have never been a cheerleader for anything, but the Paleo lifestyle has really changed my little life. Being gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and soy-free is a tough nut to crack. These aspects of the American diet are deeply engrained into the traditional meal plan. Breaking out of that, overcoming these addictions was tough, but so damn rewarding.

After losing 40 lbs since I started this adventure, I decided thirty days wasn’t enough. What if I did the challenge for a full 90 days? What kind of results will I see then? And what if I combined this simple diet change with more activity? Specifically, more activity in the gym. So here we are, Day One of a whole new, slightly more intense challenge.

So the point of this blog is to track my progress, document the food I eat daily, share recipes, express my thoughts on the Paleo Lifestyle and take a picture of myself to track the physical changes I may have during this extended challenge. I have to thank my friend Katherine Moulton who really inspired me to try this and was really there for me, egging me on when I needed it most. So, here is Day One:

Food:

Breakfast- Decaf coffee with almond milk, apple

Midmorning snack – Cup of Paleo No-Name Stew (recipe coming)

Snack – Handful of almonds.

Lunch – roasted veggies with slow roasted pork with onions, peppers and apples and mesquite flavoring.

Snack – Small bowl of cubed watermelon.

Dinner – Gluten free kielbasa, pan seared with onion, mushroom, peppers and brussell sprouts with cajun spices and topped with Mrs Renfro’s Jalapeno Green Salsa.

Activity:

Ran/walked for 45 minutes around my neighborhood. Total of 3 miles. 🙂