Another must read – Paleo Women are Phat

I have been MIA lately and for that, I apologize. However, I’m working on some upcoming posts and thoughts for you. In the meantime, I wanted to share an amazing read I had this morning.

http://ancestralizeme.com/2012/03/27/paleo-women-are-phat/

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Who says you can’t have dessert?

So I know with our commitment to Whole 30, we have given up sweets. If you’re like me, this can sometimes be a real drag. As many of you know, I have a wedding coming up in a few weeks and what is a wedding without wedding cake? Add to that a separate party the following night which calls for a dessert spread and you can see why I’m stressing this particular part of the whole event.

So what’s a Paleo gal to do? Hire a Paleo bake, of course! I have found absolute heaven in a small operation out of Arlington called Out of the Box Bakery (http://www.outoftheboxbakery.com/)

The business was started by a lovely woman named Jennifer Lassiter and her husband Shawn and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have this gem of a baker playing for our team! You can place an order by COB Friday and come Monday evening, her delicious treats are ready for you at one of 4 area CF boxes. She also specializes in wholesale and special events. My favorite go-to treats are the cocoa bliss balls (NO added sugar! Yay!!) and her chocolate macaroons. Her cupcakes are also heavenly as are her fresh baked gluten free breads.

So when you’re feeling like you need a little sweet treat, stick with your Paleo plan and give OOTB a try!

p.s. – I will be posting photos of the spread post-wedding!

Carb Depletion Training

There’s been some chitty chat about a new phenomenon known as carb depletion training. Essentially you starve your body of carbs during training and then add them in prior to race day. See (http://runningtimes.com/Print.aspx?articleID=19425)

I’m intrigued by this for two reasons. One, I’m a firm believer in training harder than you need for race day. If you train for the worst, you’ll be ready for anything including a bonked out body carb bank. The science makes sense – teach your body to run off of little carbs so it’s forced to use its own fat as energy. As a result, it will get used to this and then do it in the future. Makes sense, sort of. Two, this tactic of deprivation is heavily used in the ultra community for caffeine consumption. Some of the better ultra runners (NOTE: I didn’t say “faster” I said “better”) will stop all caffeine products a month or so before a 100 miler, then start consuming it again the day of the race. Their rationale is that the body “reacts” better to it and its stimulating abilities are far better when one has not had it in a while.

While this all makes sense, the thinking seems flawed in my opinion. First, ultras are not speed races. So trying to compare the notion of deprivation with regards to caffeine is not the same as comparing it to carbs. Caffeine is a stimulant designed to do just that. Carbs on the other hand, are energy sources. Holding back energy sources and then trying to persuade ones body to find a different source isn’t like mining for gold. Your body needs what it needs. In a long distance event, your body needs carbs. Period. During racing, during training, during recovery.

The second big flaw here is that you will fight like you train and as such, if you’ve trained in a starved state, your body may not know how to fight in a non-starved state. Imagine not eating a certain food for weeks, months, years and then suddenly adding it in, the night before a race. Let’s say it’s pasta with meat sauce. The amount of work your body now has to do to try to process that meal is a shock to your normal system. It probably will react, and my guess is in a way that isn’t conducive to a peaceful pre-race night’s sleep. Do you really want to be running to the toilet every 30 minutes with your pre-existing race jitters? Didn’t think so.

Finally, training is tough. It is placing a certain amount of stress on your body, and then withdrawing that stress in order to recover. This happens over and over again. When a significant amount of stress is placed on the body without adequate fuel, the body will do what it needs to – it will essentially cannibalize itself. By that I mean, it will use whatever it can find to make its energy. Some of us have lots of fat to use up and our body will use that where it can. But others, well, not so much. As a result, with less “fuel”, comes more fatigue. With more fatigue comes more injury. Virtually every injury I have sustained over the years (and trust me, I’m well into double digits) has come from over-training and under-nourishment. Nourishment in the form of rest, stretching and you guessed it, enough fuel.

So while I see some merits in this approach, especially for those looking for shorter races or better performance in the gym, this is not for my long distance friends. My feelings are to go with what makes you feel good. You should have enough energy to get out there, and perform to your very best. To do that, you need carbs, period. I’m not saying to shove a bunch of GU in your body an hour before the gun goes off. No, you can find plenty of good carb sources, naturally and sometimes maybe not so naturally (hey, we all cheat occasionally). We’re going to continue to explore those here but for now, peace out, run strong and go on, eat a bowl of GF granola from time to time.

The finish line

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. We’ve all heard that before but today is the day when the BC challenge officially ends and you are free to go back to where you came from. The question is, do you?

For those who want to return to the previous life, here are some tips – reintroduce those things you cut out, slowly. Add only one per day or two. So if you cut out soda, sugar, dairy and refined carbs, add them back in, slowly, one at a time. Notice how you feel and then decide if you want to keep them. Nothing says you can reintroduce them and banish them at once. I promise you that you won’t feel nearly as good as you think you will and my guess is, most of you will continue on this path.

My apologies for being light on the postings of late. I am 5 weeks from my wedding and I have been tied up at work with a large project. But I’ve been on this journey with you and I think I’d like to stay right here for a while.

I’m going to continue to post when I can with a greater emphasis on endurance sports and Whole 30/Paleo. I wish you all success in your endeavors and I hope that life find you well. Remember to eat well to live well.

The results are in…

Two months on Paleo. My body fat percentage is 13.4%. My cholesterol is 160, HDL is 100 and my non-fasting glucose is 112. I also crushed my 5 – 1 mile repeats this morning with a consistent 6:48ish time.

So don’t tell me eating fat makes you fat. And that fat raises cholesterol. And that food doesn’t have an amazing effect on our bodies.

Each of you on this plan has already shared your success story so far. We’re coming to the end of our current journey and are gearing up to start a new one. You can decide what you want to do next but I think I know where most of your heads are at and I’m excited!

Keep it up. We’re in the home stretch and you’ve made it through the hardest part. Congratulations. You all are amazing.

Just read this

Article 1

And after you’ve got that down

Article 2

How about them apples?

Comfort foods

One of my besties and I were chatting over email today. Over the weekend, she had decided to fix her husband “paleo spaghetti” (if you don’t know what it is, well, it’s not spaghetti) Anyway, he was rather disappointed because the “noodles” were not real noodles. They were spaghetti squash.

At the same time, on the other side of the beltway, I was attempting to convince my fiancee that the paleo cupcakes he was tasting from our potential wedding baker were just as delicious as traditional, gluten filled ones. He too, refused to agree.

So this got me thinking about Whole 30 and what it’s all about. Whole 30 (and Paleo, in general) isn’t about taking bad things out of your diet and switching them for less bad things. It’s not swapping white sugar for honey in your tea, or buying gluten free cookies instead of traditional ones. It’s bigger than that. It’s about changing your behavior.

Since we were young, we have become conditioned to want things and often, that “want” is confused with “need”. My friend’s hubby didn’t want the substitution, just like my fiancee didn’t want the “fake cake” but we all have food needs. So what we are learning to do, as I’ve already said, is give our bodies what they need. Part of learning to do this is to overcome cravings for things we don’t need. Pasta and cakes are toxic. They’re filled with stuff that makes us crave them and for this reason, when we attempt to substitute something else, our minds are smart enough to call “bullshit”. Craving spaghetti won’t be sated with a plate of squash covered in meaty sauce, just like craving a golden baked fat bomb won’t be placated with almond flour and agave.

So what to do? The best way to get around this is to learn to eat things that aren’t attempts at replacing other things. Yes, spaghetti squash and meat sauce are good but only when you don’t have Muellers on the mind. So my suggestion is to learn to cook and eat new foods. Tonight, I’m trying a dish called Machaca con Huevos. It’s pulled Mexican beef with jalapeño and scrambled eggs mixed in. It has a little spice and it’s served over ground cauliflower. Notice, I didn’t say “cauliflower rice” which is what it’s called. I’m tring to work on disassociating the comfort food with paleo food. I want paleo food to become my new comfort food and by trying new things that I’ve never had, this happens all by itself.

So I invite you to explore totally new dishes, keep cooking from Well Fed and explore some of the many online recipe sites.

Oh and if you still want something to put some nice beefy dishes over, I definitely invite you try ground cauliflower. It’s outstanding.

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/1626071845/another-simpler-version-of-cauliflower-rice

Mirror, mirror on the wall

So I was talking with a co-worker yesterday about his budding interest in yoga. He’s never taken a class but he wants to get into better shape. I suggested he start with my own yoga studio, Unity Woods. I started to explain the virtues of this studio, one of which is that it has no mirrors. Of course, he immediately asked “Well, how do you know if you’re doing the pose right if you can’t see yourself?” And hence started a reflective process that, if you bear with me, will tie into what we are doing here.

As a little back story, Unity Woods is one of the few Iyengar studios on the East coast. Without taking up too much space here, Iyengar is a type of yoga that is less about flipping oneself into a fast flow-y pose and more about experiencing each pose. To that end, each class consists of a very well trained instructor (the minimum instructor training period is 10 years, I’m told) who takes time to explain and demonstrate each pose, before we put ourselves into that pose. Because there are no mirrors, you are required to learn to “feel” the pose. To experience the pose and to listen to the little clues your body gives you to let you know that it’s happy in the pose. To tune out the distractions like “Am I doing it right? Oh god, my butt looks huge. She looks perfect in her pose” In short, you really do have to channel that inner zen. Practice, practice, and more practice will eventually have you doing it perfectly, on your own, but it takes time and patience, patience, patience.

Now, let’s talk about boot camp. The same holds true here, right? You all show up wearing whatever clothes you don’t mind mucking up, just having gotten out of bed. You have no earthly idea what you look like to others as you’re doing the exercises and as an instructor, I don’t want you to care. I want you to focus and to work on your form and to experience the process, without seeing whether or not you need to suck in your belly (sometimes you do) or need to push out your booty (and other times you should) In short, you’re learning to listen to what you can do and what I’m telling you, and going off of that. With time and practice, you get better and more efficient at the movements.

So, to bring this back to the original purpose, when we learn to eat clean, we’re doing the same thing. You’re learning to listen to what your body wants (not your head) and to live in that moment. You’re learning to make selections that will put all your parts into their happy places. You’re working on slowing down and relishing your eating experience. You’re learning that over time, you’ll get better at this and it will come easier. At which point, like yoga or boot camp, you’ll be doing it perfectly, without thinking.

So next time you want to learn to become one with food, put down that external distraction (scale, mirror and body weight recommendations) and live in the moment. In short, find your inner eating zen.

FOOD!

This recipe site is mouth-watering to say the least: http://punchfork.com/from/Nom-Nom-Paleo

I also have a few recipes from you guys to share! Happy and healthy eating…

Mardi Gras Jambalaya (from Fringe Eating)
INGREDIENTS
6 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
4 links sausage, sliced (I used Italian, but Andouille will work well too)
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you really like spice)
1.5 TB chili powder
2 TB Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (or 1 3/4 cups fresh)
1 cup stock (chicken or beef)
1 lb shrimp (I used baby shrimp)

In a dutch oven or large pot, fry the bacon and remove it from the pot and set aside. Using the bacon grease, cook the sausage, onion and red pepper. Add the spices, tomatoes and stock and simmer for about 30 minutes until it reduces slightly. Add the shrimp & crumbled bacon and continue to simmer until shrimp is pink/opaque.

Greens Fritatta (from Slate)
Yield: 2 or 3 main-course servings
Time: 45 minutes

1 1/2 pounds collard greens or kale
Salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Black pepper
6 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
Feel free to throw in any additional veggies – carrots, frozen squash pieces, sweet potato, etc

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Remove the thick stems and ribs from the greens and discard them; roughly chop the leaves and put them in a large heatproof bowl. Sprinkle the leaves generously with salt, then pour the boiling water over them and let them sit for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain the greens well and add them to the skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re very tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, feta, and dill, along with some salt and pepper. Turn off the heat under the skillet, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, and stir very gently just to distribute all the ingredients evenly in the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top of the frittata is firm and the edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (Store leftover frittata wrapped in foil or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to a few days.)

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