Kale Chips, Chia Seeds and Hemp Protein: Paleo Week 1

by AliMargo on February 21, 2015

February 21, 2015: 9 Days In

Hey! There's no kale or chia seed on that plate. A decadent Valentine's Day meal of lobster tail, steak, Brussles sprouts and salad. All Paleo (minus the bottle of bubbly). Plus it was a holiday, hello ...

 

Weight: 131.2
I was really scared to get on the scale because I can tell I haven’t lost weight and I was afraid I’d maybe gained weight because I had to go out to eat twice this week and working at home, I have a hard time not snacking even if I’m not hungry (I’m pretty sure it’s an occupational hazard). I can tell my body is changing though–I’m definitely leaner and stronger (I am also working out much harder) but I’m so stocky-looking still. I can guess my weight by looking at myself in the mirror and by how my clothes fit, and I’m usually right.

I was relieved to see I’d lost a half a pound and not gained. I expect the weight will start to come off sometime in week 3 or 4 as I hit my stride and figure out what foods work best for me. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1) My skin has totally cleared up. 
I’ve battled with acne my whole adult life. I’ve been diagnosed with hybersebaceous acne which means it’s coming from beneath the surface likely due to hormone imbalances. I figure I’m either sensitive to dairy or processed sugar because my skin is clear, even toned and smooth. I love it! Crazy to think about all the creams, expensive skin treatments, painful chemical peels and irritating creams I’ve used over the years. I also wonder if the fish oil supplements have anything to do with it. My hair is looking better, too. I’m so pretty! ha ha.

2) My digestive system is normal
I won’t get into details, but my gut seems very happy.

3) No more bloating
I’ve written a lot over the years about people who mistook me for being pregnant, even when I was at my thinnest. That’s because I was toned but still had a “pooch” belly, probably because I was always distended from eating too many carbs and processed, salty foods like chips and pretzels. I’ve always been a big snacker — I’d rather sit with a bowl of salty snack mix  and nibble on that than eat proper meals. I always hated the fact that meals ended too fast. I don’t know if it’s a comfort thing or what, but I like to have something salty to snack on. That craving has diminished a little bit since I’m more satiated by the foods I’m eating.

4) Organic veggies and meats are expensive
I’m starting to realize the reason cultures around the world become so reliant on one staple (pasta for Italians, rice for most of the world, rice and beans for Central and South America, bread and potatoes in Europe) are because it’s a filler for the plate (and the belly) that’s cheap. Eating organic proteins with green veggies every night is tough on the wallet. I’m starting to realize I’m going to have to plan a few simpler meals 3-4 nights a week: big salads with romaine lettuce and chicken; egg dishes; cobb salads with sliced turkey and bacon; and shrimp louie. I was so excited to try new recipes that I was at Whole Foods every day last week. I realize there is a transition period where I have to acquire new stables, but dang … I can’t keep this up or I’ll be broke.

5) I’ve already started thinking about food in a very different way.
The simple mantra I’ve come up with is: Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat. It’s also a huge revelation to consider that even though I don’t have a “sweet tooth” my body doesn’t know the difference between a bag of pretzels and a candy bar. It processes it the same way. I’m starting to understand it not only made me fat, but it also made me bloated and not at my optimal health. I actually like eating foods I know are good for me. I think I used to rationalize my pretzel addiction by telling myself they are pretty low calorie–not when you eat a half a bag in one sitting, hello! I hope this is where I can sustain this longterm, by understanding the deeper reason behind doing it–not just so I can wear those god damned skinny jeans (that I was really hoping would go away, but clearly they’re not).

Recipes from Scott & Laurel and the Sopris Chiropractic Paleo Challenge I’ve tried so far:
Mini Breakfast Frittatas aka “Egg Muffins”

Egg Muffins: They're kinda cute, right?

These are great because they’re portable and actually test better cold. An easy way to make eggs into a snackable food that’s grab-and-go and so simple. Toss a few sauteed veggies into a muffin pan, pour your scrambled eggs in and bake for 20 mins. Make enough to have leftovers (I did 2 pans) and store in the fridge. Throw into a ziplock baggie and you’ve got the perfect mid-day ski meal.

Paleo Granola

EAT MEEEEE (the granola is on the left, one it's key ingredients, sliced almonds, on the right).


This stuff is like crack and I’m guessing it’s not low in calories. Made from nuts, seeds, vanilla, almond meal, cinnamon and honey, you wonder why anyone thought oats were necessary. I made this with honey and with maple syrup and liked the honey version much better. It carmelized beautifully and made bigger chunks. I also added Gomasio (an Asian sesame seed/sea salt mixture) that gave it a wonderful salty/sweet combo, but watch out, it is addictive. I am trying to limit myself to having it with Chia Seed pudding in the morning as a proper meal and not snacking on it. It is DANGEROUS.

Chia Seed Pudding
Who knew I would love this stuff so much after scoffing at it when I saw it in LA at all those raw foods places. It’s so easy to make– just throw Chia Seeds into some unsweetened almond milk with vanilla and maple syrup and leave in fridge overnight. The chia seeds absorb the moisture and turn the milk into a thicker consistency. Great with the granola and fresh berries. I added some unsweetened cocoa and made chocolate pudding. I’ll also throw it into my smoothie to thicken. DELISH. Love.

Laurel’s Power Smoothie

Got fiber? Laurel's Power Smoothie

 

My Cuisinart blender is not powerful enough to liquify all the fruits and veggies this recipe calls for and so I ended up with a liquid baby food consistency and it blew out my gut in a huge way. Sorry, Laurel, I think I have to work up to this one. Beets, spinach, carrots, cucumber, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, chia seeds, almonds …. it was more fiber in one serving than my gut knew what to do with. I’m going to stick with fruit only from now on and maybe one veg. I guess it’s something to work up to.

Pecan Crusted Chicken
Who needs breading to bread chicken? Crushed nuts work just great! I loved this and can’t wait to experiment with different nut-and-seasoning combinations. This is also super simple to make. Throw nuts and seasonings into food processor (oregano, paprika, cayenne, salt, parsley), pound chicken breast, dip into egg white, dip into mixture, fry in a pan and finish off in the oven at 400 degrees.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Can’t get enough of these bad boys. Toss ’em in oil, salt, pepper and roast at 425 until browned then add chopped garlic and leon juice for last 10 minutes (35-35 mins total).

Grilled Broccoli
Great technique for grilling a more delicate green veg. I did the same with asparagus and it came out great. Blanche the broc then toss into a ziplock bag with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and toss to coat then let sit for a half hour before throwing on da grill until browned. YUM. Make enough to have leftover for egg muffins, salad or snack.

Kale Chips
Not my favorite. I’m just sayin’. I did a whole bowl of the stuff, but the whole time I was just checking to make sure I really didn’t like it.

Paleo Chocolate Cake

See? It looks like chocolate cake, at least ...

 

You’re not fooling anyone with this version of cake–the coconut flour is mealy and the coffee flavor is pretty strong and it’s not that sweet. BUT it does have a flavor that reminds you of chocolate, kind of, and served with sliced strawberries and a little shredded coconut, a drizzle of honey, it’s not bad. I made cupcakes for valentines day and it was fun to pretend. After a night or two in the fridge, the consistency got a little bit better. It’s good to make these treats, I think, once and a while just because they’re fun to make and yes, fun to pretend that you’re actually eating a treat.

Paleo Mayonnaise
Has anyone else mastered this? I missed the memo about pouring the oil slowly and made a big mess and wasted some good olive oil and farm fresh eggs I bought at the yoga studio. I ended up buying the Ojai brand and I do like that, but I’d like to try this again. What’s the trick?

Caesar-Roasted Fish
This was a wonderful way to cook white fish and give it a little more substance. I loved the way the Caesar dressing/sauce came out (just a little anchovy paste, garlic parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper in the food processor with the mayo). I’ve never cooked fish this way (10 mins at 500 degrees and then let rest 10 mins). It was so delicate and perfect. I will definitely make this again. I was dying for a creamy salad dressing as I was getting sick of vinegar/olive oil so I’m really stoked to have this. I want to put it on grilled romaine.

Zucchini “Spaghetti” Bolognese (found on various Paleo blogs, this was not Laurel’s recipe)

The cheese was for my husband's plate! Okay? God! Looks pretty though.

I married an Italian so I’m practically obligated to make pasta at least once a week. What to do? Make a “veg” pasta! I bought a spiral cutter to try to turn zucchini into a pasta like consistency, but it cut it a little too thin. When I blanched it in a pot with some boiling water it shrunk a lot, got too soft and watery. My Bolognese sauce came out great, but I’d just assume pour it over arugula. It wasn’t that awesome, but I did enjoy the flavors and it made me realize that pasta noodles are totally tasteless and just something to put sauce on, so why bother? The veg substitute can work, I just need to experiment a bit to get it right. Need to try again maybe by using a julienne peeler to get the zuch to the desired thickness. Ryan thought maybe leaving it raw and then tossing it with the meat sauce so it doesn’t overcook.

Sweet Potato Chips (again, sourced from various blogs)
I realize I’m not going to lose weight by snacking on sliced sweet potatoes, but these are good. I used my mandolin but would go thinner next time to get them a little more crispy and with more of a chip-consistency. These tasted more like baked sweet potatoes. I love them in salads as kind of a crouton substitute. Super simple though, just slice thin and toss with olive oil, salt pepper and seasoning (once recipe called for Rosemary. I kinda like mine with chili flakes).

Hemp Protein Smoothie
This is my recipe. I think smoothies are a really personal thing and depend on the mood. I’m stoked there is a protein powder that is Paleo acceptable because this is my go-to recovery drink after hot yoga and before skinning or hiking Highlands Bowl. I do mine with almond milk, a few slices of frozen banana, mixed berries, coconut water, chia pudding, a dash of cinnamon and hemp protein. I could write a whole blog post on smoothie recipes.

Goals For Week 2
If I’m going to break through the 130-pound barrier, I think I’m going to have to focus on really cutting back (or cutting out) sugar. Limit the foods with maple syrup and honey additives, limit fruits to berries, no more granola and no snacking after dinner! That is a big one. I’ve been pretty good overall, but I have to watch that (damned granola!). I want to try Laurel’s artichoke hummus and make more egg muffins for snacking. Also, keep a surplus of my favorite roasted green veggies like Brussels sprouts, asparagus and broccoli on hand and maybe some sliced turkey. No more adding maple syrup to salad dressings (but it’s such a small amount, I always think). I’m also not good at eating frequently 5-times a day. And try not to go out to eat! The big dilemma here is when I want to lose weight, I start to shift into an eating program that’s not sustainable over the long term. My feeling is that 130 is where my body wants to be. But let’s see if I can change it slowly and do it in a way that will make a difference going forward.

That’s all for now, brown cow! Cave Girl (er, I mean Princess) signing off.

XOXO

 

 

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