Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 18: buzzy

I only got maybe 6.5 hours of sleep last night and I woke up a bunch of times. Strangely though I felt pretty good today. I'm not sure if it's my new supplement (the one that made me feel like crap had Rhodiola in it which is overstimulating for me. New one is just iodine, ashwaganda (a more calming adaptogenic herb, and L-tyrosine which is some how thyroid supportive but I can't remember why), the 1/2 cup of caffeinated coffee I had this morning, or I'm just finally past the initial crap detox feeling but it was a good day-- my energy was so good I was very fidgety at work and had to keep getting up to walk around the hospital so as not to keep sitting. I did have a sleepy hour between work and xfit, but felt great after I worked out.


Breakfast 1/4 lb ground beef and a sauteed mix of roasted bell peppers (frozen from TJs), and a mix of stir-fry veggies (also from TJs, not frozen) which I cooked with garlic and a little olive oil. I saved breakfast this time until I got to work, but still only felt like eating half. Also had a 1/4 of an avocado in there. Coffee had 1-2 T lite coconut milk.

Lunch: Made a huge container of 3 salmon patties from TJs (which looked absolutely disgusting when I cooked them last night but actually were yummy) which I mixed with some of the same veggie mix from breakfast and a little avocado. Only ate half of this as well.

Afternoon: got really hungry about 2:30 and finished my breakfast, but found while driving home from work was still super hungry, but got home at 5 and didn't want to eat anything heavy before xfit. Had berries and a bit of coconut cream (1/4 c?). Still kind of wanted protein but didn't eat anything else so I didn't puke!

XFit: awesome calisthenics Tabata interval workout. In tabata intervals you do 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest, over and over for 4 minutes. We did push-ups for 4 min, then sit-ups, then jumping pull-ups (that was the hardest) and then 2 min of bear crawl, which is where you walk around with your hands and feet touching the ground (I thought that was kinda fun). It was a great workout and my arms will definitely be sore tomorrow.

Dinner: due to poor planning on my part dinner wasn't until 9pm. I came home from x fit around 8 and decided I really wanted steak and brussels sprouts. The only problem is that roasting brussels sprouts takes 40 minutes and the steak was frozen. Oops. It was yummy though! Now I'm trying to stay awake until 11 so my food has time to digest but I'm getting very sleepy.

Sometime this weekend maybe I'll do a post on supplements and what I'm taking. I'm definitely encouraged by how good I felt today-- I hope it wasn't just adrenaline and cortisol from sleep deprivation!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 16 & 17: Hard Rock Sugar

Yesterday M and I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe because that's where his work event was. I ordered a cobb salad with no cheese. Unfortunately the bacon was very sweet and I ended up having sugar cravings all evening-- I gave in when I got home with half an apple with coconut cream, a tsp or so of sunflower seed butter (which unfortunately I discovered also has a bit of sugar in it) and a couple oz of pot roast. I also have had some residual digestive discomfort all day-- not sure if it was because I didn't have any digestive enzymes with me, or because of all the raw lettuce as I have been mostly (purposely) been sticking to mostly cooked veggies because I have trouble digesting a lot of raw stuff. (Hopefully this resolves by the time summer produce comes around!)

Breakfast yesterday & today: chicken thighs I cooked in the crockpot in the leftover sauce from the pot roast, with avocado and napa cabbage. A couple tablespoons of coconut cream.

Lunch: leftover pot roast, collard greens, coconut cream.

Dinner tonight: I roasted that questionable turkey, and as I feared it was not good-- sooooo dry and tough! I ate a few bites mixed with avocado and broccoli and gave up. I will try and make soup out of the rest-- hopefully that will help. I wasn't that hungry I guess because I could have gone looking for something else to eat but didn't.

Crossfit: not very intense tonight. There were only three of us in the class, as the rest of the class went yesterday instead of today. We worked on rowing (coordination is not my strong suit so this was complicated) and then deadlifts. I got the form down okay but J said my right hip (which has been tight/high for years) was noticeably doing all the work and if a max deadlift workout comes up I should stick with lower weight for now because I could hurt myself with that imbalance. We worked on foam rolling those muscles afterward-- I should really keep trying to loosen up that side as often as I can.

I think I'm O'Ding on coconut milk and I'm going to cut back on it-- those extra calories add up and I don't think I really need them. One of these days I'll get back to actually having pictures!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 15: Low carb beeotch

I'm not sure if it's the lower carbs, lower calories or what but the last few days I have had SUCH a short fuse, and I can't seem to hang on to things-- I am constantly dropping stuff which pisses me off. Listening to Robb Wolf's podcasts he says it can take 2-4 weeks to adapt to eating lower carbs. I really hope it doesn't take much longer-- I am not fun to be around just now. Strangely, Crossfit last night really helped. I left the house cranky and not in the mood and by the time our workout was over I was feeling great! So maybe it's not the carb thing, since you'd think if I didn't have enough fuel I would be even worse off. But our workout wasn't very aerobic so who knows. Crossfit: we practiced a lot of squat form, first without weight, then with a 45 pound bar. I think I did probably 75 squats during the practice. I have a hard time keeping my knees out- they really want to point in. Next we practiced doing planks which was tough! Our actual workout was 7 minutes of as many thrusters as you can do (thrusters being a squat to an overhead press). My shoulders killed on this, much more than my legs, but my legs are feeling it today. Besides the good endorphins from exercise, Crossfit helped my mood, I think because we have such a good dynamic among the girls in the class-- we tease and cheer for each other and it makes it fun. I was sad I'm not going to make it tonight, but long work day + M's evening "schmoozing" work event he's taking me to for our unofficial date night means getting home too late for class. Gives my legs some time to recover anyway. Food yesterday: B: left over ground beef, broccoli and guacamole L: a can of salmon plus sauteed greens cooked in olive oil and garlic and topped with a few chopped olives-- couple spoonfuls of coconut cream (on the side-- mixed with lemon juice it almost tastes like yogurt!). S: still pretty hungry mid afternoon and trying to get away from fruit as a snack so I had two eggs and some avocado. D: I made pot roast which turned out kind of disappointingly. It was rather dry-- the first time I made that recipe it was unbelievably good and the past few times it comes out dry-- I think it might be my new oven running hotter. Anyway, the wine sauce made it edible but it wasn't the best pot roast ever. Finally, I would like to share this post, by Amy Kubal a Registered Dietitian who is all about Paleo on not letting the number on the scale rule your life-- even though it is completely normal for me to plateau the second (and sometimes third) weeks of trying something new, I still get frustrated at not seeing the numbers move. Her post was very timely for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 14: Spring in Seattle

Last night for dinner I made the mustard pork chops from Everyday paleo. They were super yummy, even though I used regular mustard instead of dijon (1/2 a cup is a lot of freaking mustard!) It took way longer than 5-8 minutes in the oven to get them cooked through-- maybe hers were thinner than mine. M. suggested saving half the mustard mixture as a dipping sauce-- since most of it burns off onto the pan when you sear them this is a fantastic idea. Today we spent a pleasant day doing a lot of walking-- we walked all over downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market for about three hours, and I noticed my legs were just a smidge still sore from Thursday! It was one of those Spring days where the weather can't make up it's mind-- back and forth between rain and sun and back again. I felt like crap most of yesterday-- today was better though I'm still kind of dragging and I think it's because I need to eat more carbs. Food today: Breakfast: eggs with salsa and bacon, 1/2 cup or so strawberries snack: decaf coffee with light coconut milk Lunch: leftover pork chop, greens cooked in the leftover bacon fat, a few more strawberries with coconut milk snack: 1/2 apple with 1 tsp sunflower seed butter mixed with coconut cream Dinner: steak, broccoli, a few yam fries, a couple bites of strawberries This was way more carbs than I usually eat but I think I might have needed it. I am continuing to experiment with what makes me feel good. I have been feeling that dragging not enough carbs feeling I was waiting for about a week ago.

Day 13: Anxiety and Compromise

I added up the cost of all my grocery bills for the past two weeks and the weekly average was a staggering $225. That's about $75-$100 over budget each week. Ack! In this household, when you want to analyze something you make a spreadsheet (M. and I are all about the Excel spreadsheets, though he is much better at the complex ones that I am). I figured out the percentage of budget I was spending in each category (meat, fruit, veg, fat and other) and set a budget. I went to three stores and had mini-anxiety attacks in each one about meat. The problem is this: I believe in grass fed, pastured, organic etc. It's healthier for me, healthier for the environment, better for the animal-- all around a better idea, especially when you are doing Paleo and eating a ton of meat. The problem is it costs THREE TIMES more than the regular kind of meat. Which is where my grocery anxiety sets in because I usually buy 75% of our protein from relatively clean sources-- as free of hormones and antibiotics and stuff as I can get, grass fed when I can, and now and then we eat some steak that's the normal kind. I like that system, but right now, for the next month until I get caught up with the grocery budget, that is not going to happen. I felt guilty and anxious about buying so much regular meat, wondering how much exposure to antibiotics and hormones I'm going to be getting and fretting about it. But I did get my budget down. Here's what I bought: H-Mart: the local Asian grocery store. I don't normally shop there-- I find it overwhelming. It reminded me of being in Japan, except everything had a label that was something like English. The meat section I just gave up on-- none of the cuts of meat were recognizable and it didn't smell very good. I got a shocking deal on strawberries and onions: organic strawberries for 0.99 a pound and a 5 lb bag of onions for $1.89. I also bought some chard, kale, yams, and a 15 lb frozen antibiotic free "natural" turkey for $14: it looks like it's been in the freezer a while (probably since Thanksgiving) so it was a risk but it was a good deal and hopefully it's not too freezer burned! I bought a couple organic apples but they look like the might be a little old. Total: $32.62 Trader Joes: I'm mad at myself for not paying more attention here. I thought the ground beef that wasn't grass fed was $2.25/lb, but when I got home I realized that must not have applied to the extra lean which was $4.49/lb. Still $2 cheaper than the grassfed, but I might have gotten some of each if I knew the real price. Anyway I bought 3 pounds of that, antibiotic free chicken thighs, 2 giant bags of Southern Greens blend, shredded cabbage, zucchini, brussels sprouts, frozen roasted bell peppers, and a can of light coconut milk, which I don't think I'm going to like but it was half the cost of the kind I usually get so I'll try it. Total: $42.49 Fred Meyer: I really want to make pot roast this week and didn't find any at either of the other stores so I stopped in at FM and bought a 4lb one, plus 2 lbs of steak, a can of regular coconut milk (still not my fav brand, but that seems to be only at the health food store), and a jar of salsa that was on sale. Total: $36.55 Sub-total: $111.66 Yesterday I went to our local butcher, which weirdly carries antibiotic/hormone free meat but not grass-fed, and bought 1/2lb of pepper bacon and 4 pork chops for $15 Grand total: $126.66 I also still have some frozen fish, 1/2 a costco sized bag of broccoli, 3 avocados, 5 apples and a few kiwis left from last week. I'm hoping this is more than enough for the week-- I wasn't sure how far that turkey would stretch. Maybe next week there will be more wiggle room for some grass fed stuff. Hopefully we won't keel over and die from so much conventionally grown meat. *sigh* The more I learn about nutrition, the more guilt and anxiety over not eating optimally seems to weigh on me. I'm going to have to just accept that I'm doing the best I can and go from there. As for how I feel-- I started taking a couple herbal supplements to try and support my adrenal glands yesterday and I feel a little buzzy on them-- I don't think I slept very soundly-- I had a lot of strange dreams, and in the midst of my shopping I got really dizzy, which I think might be a not enough carbs with breakfast issue. I have not lost any more weight, but the scale is only one part of the equation. More to come.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Days 11 & 12: tired, hungry and too fishy

Yesterday and today I've had problems with breakfast, which have resulted in me being hungry all day.

Yesterday I ate left over cod for breakfast-- or at least I tried. Since on days I work from home I don't normally eat until 9:30, fish before 7am was not very appetizing. I ate maybe half of it and packed the rest thinking I might eat it when I got to work, but I really don't like reheating stuff, fish especially so many times-- I'm squeamish about food poisoning after a bad experience I had once with leftover salmon. Thus, I ate lunch early, which was unfortunately tuna-- I'd packed that lunch two days before so I forgot I had a fish lunch and wouldn't have chosen fish again for breakfast. I got home from work, had berries and coconut milk before Crossfit and yummy grassfed steak and zucchini for dinner.

I woke up really hungry and made two hard boiled eggs and bacon. I have some sort of psychological block against eating more than two eggs at at time-- any more than that grosses me out. Unfortunately this was just not enough food. I had lunch a couple hours later-- turkey chorizo sausage with avocado and a bit of asparagus, but by 4pm I was starving again. The berries and coconut milk didn't do anything to fix it. It's only 5pm-- early for dinner but I think I'm going to have to start making it soon.

Crossfit yesterday was fun, though chaotic. Instead of the onramp class doing something separate from the main WOD, everybody in the gym (30+ people?) did the same workout. It's hard to explain but I'll take a stab: We were in teams of 4 (except I was on the one team of 5) and we did the following circuit:

400 m row (we could have run instead but the whole team was on board with rowing)
Step-ups/box jumps
Kettlebell deadlifts
Burpees (evil!)
and our group also did ring rows since we had 5 people

Each person was at one station, and then when the rower finishes their 400m they tap out the step-up person, and the step up person moves to kettlebells etc. You keep going until you get tapped out, and everyone keeps working for 16 minutes. When you are doing burpees 16 minutes is a long freaking time. It was fun though, and a good workout.

Today I'm pretty wiped. I slept 11 hours and am still tired-- it takes me a long time to recover from commuting days, especially back to back ones with crossfit to top it off.

We are out of almost everything-- this weekend I've got to plan food for the week and try and figure out how to do this a little more cheaply. I've been taking tips from Paleo on a Budget and am going to try out some of her ideas.

I had a lovely time over tea with my friend Stevie this afternoon and it was a good test of what I've retained so far about the science of paleo as I tried to explain it to her. She and I have been friends since 7th grade and she's a secret science nerd hiding in makeup like me so it's always fun to chat with her.

One more thing and then I need to shut up and go eat something before I pass out: I haven't really lost much weight so far (maybe 2 pounds of water) but today my favorite jeans that had gotten just tight enough not to be comfortable a couple of weeks ago now fit again (not loose like they once were but they aren't cutting off the circulation) and my digestion seems to be improving everyday-- I can't remember the last time I went this long without the near chronic gas/bloating issues I had before. Good sign!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 10: rest day

With the lack of sleep and all over soreness and tiredness happening today, I decided if I went to Crossfit I'd probably be too wrecked to go Thursday, so I opted to rest today so that the workouts are a little more spread out. I've also been listening to Robb Wolf's podcasts (which are great!) and he talks a lot about how a lot of times people who do Crossfit have a tendency to overtrain and not lose fat because of high cortisol. As I have a tendency toward higher cortisol and adrenal fatigue anyway I want to be careful not to burn myself out too early in the game.

Food today was good-- I brought enough food to work for once:

Breakfast: leftover stuffed pepper from last night with avocado

mid-morning: decaf coffee with a couple tablespoons of coconut milk

Lunch: leftover shredded chicken over mixed greens cooked in bacon fat and olive oil topped with salsa, and another tablespoon or so of coconut cream/milk eaten right off the spoon.

What's funny is I didn't think I liked coconut milk, but the Thai Kitchen kind seems to be 3/4 coconut cream and that stuff is delicious.

Dinner: I kind of invented this recipe on the spot:

4 small pieces of cod, covered in olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and a smidge of sea salt*, then cover all of that in shredded napa cabbage, chopped basil and more lemon juice. Bake at 400 degrees until fish is 145 degrees internally. (The package said it would be 10-12 minutes, but it was more like 20). A little leftover broccoli on the side and a 1/2 cup of frozen berries with a dollup of coconut cream for dessert (fruit is much better tolerated with a meal than on it's own for me, no matter how much fat is on it!)

*A note on salt: this is not strictly paleo, but I don't use a lot of it and as I tend toward low blood pressure, it helps me avoid dizzy spells so I keep using it. As only about 30% of the population is salt sensitive, I don't think this is something that necessarily needs to be avoided, especially when you don't eat processed foods.

No pics today-- too tired. I really am not sleeping well after Crossfit and I think it's just too much stimulation too late in the day. Hopefully once onramp is over moving to the 5:30 class will be a sufficient fix-- I can work out in the morning, but my energy is a lot better in the evening and I like the dynamic of people in the classes better at that time of day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 9: nausea & prep work

Today I think being behind on calories kind of caught up with me. Plus I was having a frustrating day and so I decided I deserved a treat. But still paleo. So about an hour after lunch I had this:

(sorry, I took the picture with my phone)
It's 1 cup mixed berries (from frozen, I defrosted), with 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 oz unsweetened cacao. It was unbelievably delicious (note: a week ago this would not have tasted good-- it's only because my mouth is no longer used to sweet that it did). Unfortunately I should not have eaten this much-- I was too full and a half hour after I ate it I was really nauseated. That was a lot of fat all at once + a too full tummy.

Breakfast was Trader Joe's chicken sausages and I will not eat these again. I just can't digest the casing-- my tummy did not like this at all. I had them last week and noticed this as well. Had with veggies.

Lunch: the last of the ground-beef stir fry, avocado.

Dinner: Stuffed 3 bell peppers with 1 lb of ground beef (four peppers would have been better but I only had 3)-- I mixed the beef with 1 egg, garlic powder, onion and some fresh chopped basil. I baked it in 350 degree oven for about an hour (I messed up the timer on accident so I'm not sure exactly how long, but until the meat wasn't pink anymore). It was really good, though a little too packed in there-- I think next time I'll add some more veggies in it and not pack them so tight.

Crossfit: was great! I actually considered not going today because I didn't sleep very well last night and I was tired and cranky all day, but Crossfit made me feel really good and chipper again.

First we warmed up pulling the slides again. It was nice out so I was scared we would have to run, but instead we first worked on knees to elbows, which is where you hang from a bar and attempt to get your knees up to your elbows, which is super hard. We did 50 0f those, though I didn't realize we were supposed to be counting at first so I'm not sure if I did that many or not. It mainly hurt my hands to hang there. Next we did a little practice on the back extension machine which looks something like this: it feels scary because you are so far forward and hurts the tops of your quads where all the weight is (also works your lower back)-- I actually discovered later it gave me a small spot with broken blood vessels where the thing pushed into me. Anyway, we just held the position for awhile to get used to it-- no actual extensions today. Finally, we practiced jumping rope, which is something I am decent at (at least compared to running!), but we practiced double unders-- i.e. getting the rope around twice per jump and I could not get that.

Then the real workout was short but intense:
40 single jumps on the jump rope
15 jumping pull-ups

Repeat the above as many times as you can in 10 minutes: I got through 5.5 times. My buddy S was around 6 times-- she is always about 10-15% ahead of me, which is great because we are close enough that I push to catch her, without her being so far ahead I can't feel like I can catch up. She's also funny and a good cheerleader.

I spent a lot of time this afternoon prepping for the next couple of days. Usually when I have long work days they aren't in a row, but this week it's two days in a row of the exhausting 3 hour commute, so food prep was important. I made 2 days of lunches for M. and me, and set cod to defrost in the freezer. My favorite chorizo is also defrosting-- I would have preferred to make that ahead for breakfast but it's rock solid so it will have to be made in the morning.

Last night I also made probably 1.5 gallons of chicken stock by boiling what was left of the whole chicken I made last week in my giant stock pot for 6 hours with a couple tablespoons of vinegar (it helps break down the bones so you get the calcium in the stock). As I do every few months I carefully bagged it in 2 and 4 cup zip lock servings and put them in my freezer. Unfortunately one of them leaked down behind and under the freezer drawer, which does not come out easily is a mess of frozen chicken stock that I'm going to have to deal with next weekend. Not happy about that.

Tomorrow & Thursday are going to be long days, especially because I'm going to get 2-3 hours a sleep less than I need each night so hopefully my prep work will help ease the exhaustion.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 8: pushing up

Today I was so excited to get back to Crossfit! Today's workout was fun: first we worked on form in push-ups and overhead squats. Then, our workout was


350 meter row
15 pushups (the push up quantity was determined by the trainer)

We were in teams of two, so one person would wait while the other person did their set, and then start after and take turns (this forces you to hurry up since the other person is waiting).

My buddy was S, a girl I've chatted with a few times as we started the same day and are in the same age ballpark (I'm guessing she's a few years younger than me). S is in the army reserves and trying to get better conditioned to meet her PT test requirements before she goes overseas this summer. She is a LOT stronger than me (she can bust out those push-ups and situps!) but we both suck equally at running (actually I think I suck a little more). She's a fun workout buddy-- we cheer each other on and make each other laugh.

So for the pushups, since both S and I are strong enough to do some real pushups, but not the 60+ required by today's workout, our trainer had us doing these funny ones that reminded me of chataranga in yoga-- you go down the real push-up way, and then come back up with your knees down. Each push-up takes twice as long as doing them the regular way with all that leg coordination, which is I think why we were the last ones done by a long ways. By the third set of push-ups I could only get through 7 of them this funny way and then switched to straight knee pushups, and by the last set, my arms were jelly and I literally just about fell on my face a couple times.

So food: I'm still figuring out how I feel about starchy vegetables and fruit. I definitely can not eat fruit away from a meal without a blood sugar spike. A kiwi with a meal seems not to cause a problem. With dinner I had a half a sweet potato and an hour later I'm still hungry, but I'm not sure if this is a blood sugar thing, or real hunger because our workout today took over an hour! What sucks is that it's after 10pm, I've already brushed my teeth, and eating much more before bed will keep me awake. But so will being hungry.

What I ate:

Breakfast: 2 eggs overeasy in coconut oil, I tried to make bacon but I was having a computer crisis with my work computer and I got distracted and burned the hell out of it, so I only ate a couple bites of bacon, and some left over zucchini. Was still hungry after this and had coffee with coconut milk, but I think it was a little much because I had mild stomach acid-y/hard-burn sort of feeling later.

Lunch: left over ground beef and veggies from yesterday-- forgot the avocado! 1 kiwi, green tea.

Snack before crossfit: a big tablespoon of coconut cream/milk

Dinner: chicken breast, 1/2 a small avocado, 1/2 a yam (some weird kind I got at the health food store that was yellow inside instead of orange but super yummy), 1.5-2 cups broccoli with olive oil all over all of it.

Maybe I'll have another spoonful of coconut milk and see if that takes the edge off. Tomorrow I'll skip starch after xfit and see if I get hungry. I want to have enough carbs for recovery, but I also feel like this first month my body needs time to heal from all the sugar crap I've been putting in it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 7: one week in, observations

In the first week I lost two pounds, some of which was water. While I expected maybe a bit more, I'm not worried. For once, I'm in this for the long haul, not for a quick fix.

I think the reason I was waking up so shaky is because I haven't been eating enough calories and maybe need a few more carbs. I wasn't going to track my calorie intake because I have a tendency to get compulsive and crazy about that, but I decided I should just check in and assess where I was at. On Saturday when I thought I was done eating I had eaten barely over 1200 calories and 60 grams of carbs, 25 of which were fiber. That is awfully low for an active person-- on a Crossfit day eating so few calories I might keel over, and I'm definitely not going to put on any muscle with that. So last night I had an apple and sunflower seed butter in the evening, and had a half of one of those plus lots more coconut milk (more on that in a minute) today, which helped. The pros of the apple + seed butter were that they seemed to help me perk up a bit, and it is easier to get those calories in than from meat/vegetables. I surprisingly, am finding it difficult to eat much more than 1200 calories from just meat/vegetables/fat. I get full from eating my meal and I just don't want to eat anymore-- it's a liberating feeling, and if I weren't also doing Crossfit I would be thrilled that I found a way to eat so few calories and not be hungry. Eating the apple and seed butter (which is not ideal as far as strict Paleo goes due to the excess of omega 6 fats, but I think I'm not ready to obsess over that yet) does help. What I'm less excited about with the apple is it gives me a mild blood sugar spike that makes me more hungry and feel like eating even MORE fruit or whatever for a while after I eat it. It definitely goes away after maybe a half hour or so, but I kind of like the lack of cravings I get with meals. Maybe more fruit (or yams) with my meals is the way to go.

The second way I got more calories in today was coconut milk in (decaf) coffee. I normally don't really like coconut milk but mixing it with the coffee was actually kind of yummy. I ended up having a lot today-- I made a mug of french press this morning with several large tablespoons of it in my coffee, and then M and I went and hung out Barnes and Noble to have coffee and talk about a potential trip reading guidebooks, and I brought my coconut milk with me.

Unfortunately my camera batteries are dead and I haven't gotten around to charging them, so no food pics today, but here's what I ate:

B: left over tilapia, squash and avocado (when I first read Rob Wolf's book fish for breakfast sounded disgusting but it actually was really good)

S: coffee & coconut milk

L: What I call Trader-Joe's stir-fry (because almost everything comes from there already cut up so it's super easy)-- this is also really good with yams, but I didn't have any today: saute an onion, 2 cups or so sliced mushrooms and 3 cloves garlic in 2T olive oil until soft, add two pounds grass-feed beef until mostly brown, and then add tons of greens (I used a bag of trader joes stir-fry which is mostly cabbage, and 3/4 of a bag of their dark leafy greens blend). Mix in, cover and allow greens to steam, about 5 minutes. I threw in a couple tablespoons of Tamari for extra flavor. (I probably had about 1/6 of this) Tomorrow I might try baking some into bell peppers. I also had a kiwi, and probably avocado since I pretty much add that to everything. (Trying to expand into olives, but am obsessed with avocado).

S: coffee & coconut milk, 1/4 apple and ~ 1-1.5T sunflower seed butter

D: Chicken breast cooked in the crockpot with garlic powder, tamari, and turkey stock. Turned out slightly dry-- I think it works better when the cooking liquid has some fat in it. I served it with (surprise!) avocado, which helped-- I considered adding salsa, but thought that might be weird with the tamari. On the side was the ever present broccoli with olive oil and sea salt. I just finished my giant Costco sized broccoli bag-- might need to go get another one.

Today's calories were closer to 1550, which is still on the low side, but much better, and I feel better. I do not want to be tracking my daily calories-- it messes with my head, but it's good to check in now and then and get an idea of where I'm at. Tomorrow it's back to Crossfit and I have a feeling I'm going to need a yam...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 6: Sunny Day

I woke up feeling really tired and weak this morning. Not sure if that's because of the time of the month, because dinner was at 6pm last night and I got up at 9am, or because I finally hit a carb wall or what but when I got out of bed this morning I got a few steps and had to sit down on the ground for a minute-- it was kind of weird.

Breakfast today was scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil and mixed with veggies and a couple bites of steak left over from dinner last night, with Muir Glen Organic salsa, and of course avocado. (M., who is on board with eating no sugar, but still eating other carbs, had a piece of toast with sunflower seed butter as well).

Lunch: 2 Trader Joes chicken sausages, summer squash/zucchini/broccoli blend (steamed) a few broiled onions, ever-present avocado and green tea.

Dinner: will be Tilapia filets and maybe some sauteed greens with olives.

As I mentioned Crossfit for now is only Mon-Thurs but we had a spectacularly beautiful day, and I took advantage of it to do some walk/running on my favorite trail nearby for around 30 minutes. It was really nice to be outside, but my legs felt tired and it was too soon after lunch, resulting in a side cramp. As much as I dislike it, I need to keep doing that to build up some endurance because right now I have NONE.

The last couple days my back (lats?) were super sore, but I also had kind of a nerve pain down one shoulder blade I've had a couple times in the last few weeks which seems to crop up at bedtime making it hard to sleep. Maybe some time on the foam roller will help.

The chickens, at least are enjoying the sunny day to it's fullest:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring & Eggs

This is Olive-- she's really not a very good egg layer, and the ones she does lay are so delicate and small they usually get broken by the others. Fortunately she makes up for it by being pretty and sweet.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I have chickens. The ladies are about two years old now and still highly entertaining.

During the winter they don't lay many eggs-- during the darkest, coldest month they don't lay any, and then only Flea seems to power through January and February like a champ (if you want chickens to have a lot of eggs, get a Maran-- she is by far our best layer).

Suddenly it got a bit warmer, the days got a bit lighter and the chickens kicked their egg laying into gear. Unfortunately, the humans in the household are still in hibernation mode and are not in the habit of egg retrieval, so this is what I found today:

M had collected a bunch last weekend, but one side was occupied by Muffin doing her thing, so he wasn't able to get them all (we could reach underneath I suppose, but it seems so rude!).

I know many people say eggs shouldn't be washed because they have a protective outer coating and that's probably true, but would you want to put this basket full of mud and worse in your fridge without at least a wipedown? I sure don't! They aren't as dirty in the summer when it isn't as muddy, but for now, I have some egg cleaning to do.

Incidentally, I LOVE eggs, and still have to restrict myself to eating them only a few days a week. Last summer a food allergy panel came back as being really high for eggs-- it's hard to know whether that was just a reflection of the large quantities I was eating, or a true allergy, but given my propensity for food sensitivities, I cut them out entirely for 6 months (which sucked) and now just try not to have them every single day (because I gladly would!).

Day 4: I feel great! This is weird.

this is what the sleds look like being done at another Crossfit.

I keep waiting to hit some kind of low-carb wall. It's been years since I have eaten low carbs, having had grain is good overload of my master's degree years preceded by a disastrous attempt at veganism. Since I am purposely not tracking calories or carbs or anything I don't know how many I'm eating, but I do know they are almost all from vegetables (I eat fruit at dinner after Crossfit-- I'll eventually increase the fruit but I'm trying to really control all sugar for a bit first). I remember when I was in college and I tried Atkins. I don't think I really ate any vegetables and I remember going to the track and trying to run and literally feeling like I couldn't move my legs-- I had ZERO energy. I have read things that say that when your body switches from burning carbs to burning fat it can be a rough transition. I know your body can't store more than a couple days of glycogen (I am almost tempted to go look this up in my biochem book but I'll spare you for now) so I should be out by now and I. feel. AWESOME. My period is even about to start (sorry if that's TMI!) and other than some finding myself more easily irritated at things that are frustrating, I really feel good. Weird! Maybe the wall is yet to come. EXCEPT: from about 3-4:30pm I hit a low point in energy. It's not horrible, but I definitely get tired then but it goes away around 5 o'clock. I'm pretty sure that's an adrenal problem. Maybe I should trying giving into it and laying down for an hour at 3.

I have also been trying really hard to sleep as much as possible. This does not work very well on days I go to work (which lucky for me, was only once this week but usually twice). The other days since I work from home I can start whenever. M wakes up around 6 most days so instead of getting up with him, I go back to sleep, usually until 8:30 or 9. This morning I woke up at 5:45 and had to pee really bad so it took me longer to go back to sleep, but I did. I feel really good when I get 9 hours of sleep and like I got hit by a truck when I get less than 7. Between 7-9 is kind of variable depending on my overall sleep deficit. Since this schedule won't last forever, I feel lucky to cash in on it while I can. I do wish I was one of those people that feels amazing on 6 hours of sleep. Maybe once I get a little less inflammation going on I will need less.

Food today:

Breakfast: same as lunch yesterday only with broccoli, but less because it was the end of the chicken-- I didn't quite finish and then ate the last few bites a couple hours later

Lunch: Ravenous because at lunch time I went to the store before making lunch, so I didn't eat until 2. What I made was a variation on the tuna sandwiches I had been eating a lot before I changed my diet.

I mixed 1 can of wild salmon (the kind with the skins and bones-- the bones freak me out a little, but the skin is where all the good fat is, AND it's cheaper), with 2 tsp mustard, 1/2 a mashed avocado, and a couple big handfuls of crushed kale chips, which I made from purple kale.

I did not invent kale chips-- I learned to make them from a classmate at Bastyr, but they are one of my favorite ways to eat kale and I discovered they are especially delicious crushed up on tuna sandwiches-- thus my variation on that today.

Kale chips:

Wash and de-stem one head of kale (any kind of Kale works-- I used the purple kind today), cut or tear into small (1-2") pieces. Toss in olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees in the oven, stirring occasionally, until crisp.

I discovered the purple kale turns a sort of weird light brown which isn't that appetizing but it was still yummy. I took pictures of this but they all turned out weird.

Pre-crossfit snack: 1 oz (ish) nitrate free-ham with mustard, two olives and a few raw carrots** RAW CARROTS pre running are a BAD IDEA. More on this in a minute.

Dinner: I roasted a whole chicken (pros: economical, can make chicken stock! cons: messy, you have to like dark meat, lots of carving) and added asparagus on the side. I was pleased to see the asparagus now is at least from California-- I prefer locally grown stuff, but by this time of winter I'm so desperate for a new vegetable and I love asparagus SO much, that I extend the short season by buying it before it's ready in Washington-- which is still probably a month away.

Crossfit: running was bound to happen eventually. It was clear and crisp outside so I knew when our trainer mentioned the weather we were doomed to run. Our warm up was actually pretty fun: we put weight plates (70 pounds for girls, 90 for boys) on these flat metal squares that had a post in the middle to hold the weight called sleds. The sleds had long straps on them and you put the strap around your waist and then drag the weight behind you. We walked up and down the parking lot forwards, backwards and side-ways down and back twice for each direction. I liked it a lot.

The real workout was a version of Helen:

400 m run
21 kettlebell swings
12 jumping pull-ups.

The real version involves doing that for time as fast as you can with no rest (I seem to remember doing that once and it sucked). This time, the class had 4 women and 3 men, so we did "men vs. women" which wasn't very effective since we weren't really trying to beat the guys so much as just not die while doing it. The girls did the whole thing, and then got to rest while the guys did a circuit, repeat. So I am not a good runner at all, and since I haven't attempted running or any cardio beyond walking for months, I have zero endurance. So even those 1/4 mile runs sucked. Fortunately, another girl who also started the same day as I hates running too and so we kind of stuck together and walked a little in the middle as needed-- it helped not coming in dead last. After the first round of running when we stupidly tried to keep up with the one girl who clearly IS a runner, I felt those raw carrots threatening to make a come back on me. I don't digest raw stuff all that well anyway and clearly eating those an hour before crossfit was a bad move. I did not throw up, but I also held back slightly in order not to do so, which I was bummed about.

I kind of think I might need to make a point to work on running a couple days a week, whether it's part of our WOD (workout of the day) or not so that when it is, it sucks less. Glad at least Spring is almost here-- although it was a little cold, it was nice to be outside.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 3: Light and easy

I'll make this quick since I don't have a lot of interesting things to report. This morning I was still epic-sore from Monday. It didn't help I sat all day. When I got to Crossfit I saw a couple people running and was fearing the dreaded running workouts (they are inevitable) but instead it turned out to be a very light day, just practicing some of the olympic lifts with little or no weight. I chatted with some of the other ladies in our class (there were 5 men and 5 women tonight) and it helped my soreness just to move around a bit.

Food was the same as yesterday (with homemade pulled pork for dinner instead of the restaurant kind). I had a small plate before Crossfit (it's hard when you workout at dinner time) and I'm going to have another one now.

The above picture is of my lunch-- did a little better putting it in natural light-- I did eat all of that (macademia nuts on the chicken instead of avocado) but I think I ate a little too much. That said, I've been pretty hungry today-- probably my body needing fuel for recovery, plus I think I didn't eat enough yesterday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 2: Stop making me laugh!

Sorry, no pics today-- Tuesday is a long day for me as I often go to work and then hang out at my husband's office in the evening until his club basketball game is over.

I did not really sleep last night. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not used to working out so late (we finished at 7:30pm-- I usually work out mid-day or morning), or it's the adjustment to less carbs (which I vaguely remember throwing off my sleep in the past) or just being excited about the new direction I'm heading in, but I had a hard time falling asleep and I woke up well before my 6am alarm., despite being very tired when I went to bed and when I woke up. I've been trying to sleep more lately, since I realized on the weekends when I get 9 or 10 hours of sleep I feel amazing, but on days I do the dreaded commute I'm lucky if I can get 6.5 hours and then I'm wrecked for two days. The sleep dep and the after effects of Crossfit combined and I was hurting today!

As Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) doesn't usually kick in for 24-48 hours after a workout, I was not surprised to find that my soreness progressed over the course of the day. It is now exactly 24 hours after Crossfit and I hurt! What's funny is after the workout last night, while I couldn't have done much more, I wasn't completely DESTROYED like sometimes after a hard workout-- I was tired and spent. I didn't think my legs would be sore, but I was wrong-- it's hard to get up and down from my chair. My arms hurt, my back is sore, and my abs! My husband keeps trying to tickle me just to watch me wince, and he's funny so he makes me laugh which hurts. It probably would have been better if I had gone back today to work out some of that lactic acid, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

So food:

Breakfast was the same as yesterday.

For Lunch I had chicken mole, for which I adapted this recipe from 30 days of paleo.

My changes:

1. I used cashew butter instead of almond
2. I left out both kinds of peppers-- the hot ones because I don't like spicy, and both because I didn't have any
3. I used 2T of unsweetened, organic cocoa powder instead of 2 oz cacao
4. I used homemade turkey stock, but I think it may not have been 10 oz-- I boiled the ziplock bag I'd frozen the stock in and it sprung a leak into the water I boiled it into!

I would not recommend leaving out the bell pepper-- the sauce really needed that sweetness to balance some of the more bitter flavors, which probably also would have come from the almond butter had I used it. I added a couple drops of stevia to make it edible. Unfortunately it made M's tummy hurt (I think he might be allergic to one of the spices in it-- he said "Indian" type spices don't like him) so I guess I'll be eating the rest of it. Anyway, I had this with asparagus (which I sort of set on fire broiling last night! oops) and some avocado.

I had a questionable snack in the afternoon. On Tuesdays M. and I usually get dinner someplace near his office before his basketball games. I was only sort of hungry and the place we went to had mainly a happy hour type menu. I ordered shredded pork sliders and just ate the meat-- I should have gotten the burgers though because the pork definitely had some kind of sweet bbq sauce AND gluten (my lungs are a great barometer for gluten and dairy-- they get a little wheezy when I've had it), but I only had a few bites so the damage was minor. Later I had the snack I meant to eat earlier in the afternoon: two hard boiled eggs, nitrate free ham with mustard, and avocado again. (I really need to find something equivalent for the avocado so I don't get burned out on them!)

When I get home I might eat some more chicken if I'm still hungry-- I don't think I brought enough in my lunch today-- I never seem to bring the right amount of food on work days: always way too much or not nearly enough.

Another woman in my office coincidentally also started Paleo this week-- she's doing it to try and reduce inflammation. We are going to compare notes as we go. Might be nice to have a buddy! My boss is starting crossfit in a couple of weeks too-- she's an avid spinner but I'm pretty sure she doesn't do a whole lot of serious weight so I'm interested to see how she likes it.

Maybe tomorrow I will figure out how to take food pictures that are less gross looking!

Day 1: So far so good

I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my food photography. I'm working on getting a better lighting set up-- until then I hope it doesn't make you too queasy, as bad food photography often does to me!

Breakfast day one: I cooked two pounds of Sheldon's turkey chorizo (it was not in casing- just ground turkey with spices) with two pounds of frozen stir fry veggies in coconut oil. I ate maybe 1/5 of this mixture for breakfast with a cup of green tea.

Lunch: A half cup or so of the breakfast mixture, 2 hard-boiled eggs, grilled asparagus and 1/4 of a large avocado. It was delicious! I didn't think I could finish it but I was hungrier than I thought! I also had nettle infusion, which is tea made of dried nettles (they don't sting once they've been dried or cooked), and I make mine with Red Raspberry leaf (a good herb for women's health), peppermint, Rooibos tea and a smidge of licorice root and then I put it in a coffee press and let it steep overnight. Nettle is very rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron. Not sure if this is strictly paleo, but tea is allowed so I'm going with it.

Pre-Crossfit snack: a little bit of pulled pork (see below) and a few raw baby carrots.

Dinner: I made the Cook's Illustrated recipe for pulled pork, which I made once before except I didn't "crisp" it under the broiler at the end the way the recipe suggests because that made it kind of dry last time I made it. (I'd post the recipe but it is a subscription only service-- I highly recommend it, they really test all of their recipes so they are always fantastic). This I served with broccoli and more avocado and a kiwi. I also through some chicken in the crock pot for tomorrow so it was a busy cooking afternoon. Was too hungry and the kitchen was too dark to take pics so you will just have to use your imagination!

And then there was my first day back at Crossfit: first of all the gym has been remodeled since I was last there and it's double the size it used to be. I'm sure they have way more people too (there are 12 people in the newbie class this month) but since I never went to evening classes before I can't be sure how much more. Our workout was all calisthenics-- after a few practice of each and some other warm up stuff we did:

3 rounds of:
10 pull ups (which those of us not strong enough to really do them do by jumping on a box to get over the bar)
10 push ups
20 sit-ups
20 air squats

I found out if your pilates instructor is impressed at the strength of your abs this does NOT translate to 60 sit-ups-- I struggled through those. The squats weren't too bad as I have been doing squats with somewhat regularity. The pull ups were hard, and the push ups I got through the 10 in the warm up and the first set of 10 doing "real" ones and then I had to switch to my knees, which I felt pretty good about. There was a huge range of abilities-- I was probably in the bottom half to third, but definitely not the worst. One guy puked outside and then came back in to finish! Good for him.

My energy was good all day, I wasn't hungry or craving anything and I really enjoyed my workout-- it was harder than I would have pushed myself, but not so hard that I will be absolutely destroyed tomorrow.

Incidentally, my hubby started trying Crossfit on his own today and did

10 burpees
20 squats
20 situps

with almost no rest. He's in much better shape than me-- I hate burpees! He said the squats killed his quads.

Overall an excellent first day. Tomorrow's a work day-- I have my food all packed up but no crossfit again until Wednesday.

I'm back! With a new Crossfit challenge

Almost two years ago I started Crossfit and made it about two months before I gave it up, mainly due to life complications: I was starting my dietetic internship and living half the week away from home and I couldn't see how I'd have time. I also was completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally from graduate school. My adrenal glands had nothing left to give and I probably wasn't really ready for the intensity of Crossfitting.

As for blogging, I had to take a break for awhile to re-examine what I wanted to write about, if I wanted to start over with a new blog etc.

My struggles with finding a happy balance with food and exercise have been all over the place the past 6 months: for a while after we got back from Greece I had an easy time eating intuitively, not overeating sugar, and maintaining my weight. I wasn't exercising a ton, but I had an active job all summer (or at least one that required me to be on my feet all day). In the Fall I started my current job, working as a research dietitian for the Army. I love my job and am lucky enough to be able to work from home three days a week, but it is also very sedentary as I spend all day on the computer and my commute on the days I go to work is about 90 minutes each way, and slowly my weight has threatened to creep up. I spent January experimenting with Pilates, which actually was a very good, gentle reintroduction to exercise but I started to miss working out really hard. In February I started trying to get back into heavy lifting again using "The New Rules of Lifting for Women"-- which is a great book, and if you are a self-motivated person I'm sure you would have great results with it. I kind of lost interest and had trouble getting motivated to go to my much hated giant corporate gym. I had just watched my friend do Crossfit all through her pregnancy and get back into her very tiny pre-pregnancy jeans about two weeks after giving birth and was very inspired. This combined with the fact that since I do work from home most of the time I really was looking for a more social workout, I decided to get back to Crossfit-- tonight will be my first class.

Two years ago Lynnwood Crossfit hadn't quite started the beginner's OnRamp course and I just did three individual sessions with trainer before starting group classes. This time there are 12 beginner classes. I'm excited to start off with other new people, although I missed the first week of OnRamp last week because I was out of town for work so hopefully I'm not too far behind. Last time I was always a little scared before a workout, in part because I knew I'd be the worst one!

In addition to starting again with Crossfit, I'm going to do 30 days of Paleo eating. For those not familiar, the premise of Paleo is eating food that neolithic man (i.e. "cavemen") would have eaten-- in other words, no processed foods and mainly meat, vegetables and some fruit. Some of my fellow Registered Dietitians (one of my good friends included) would NOT be very supportive of this dietary choice. Paleo tends to be pretty low carb, and definitely does not include any dairy or grains. I already can not eat dairy or gluten due to known food intolerances, and honestly I don't eat more than a serving or two of grains a day anyway, so it's not that big of a stretch. What is a stretch is that lately I've been eating WAY too much sugar (capped off this weekend with my husband's birthday cake-- gluten free but definitely full of sugar!) I'm looking forward to focusing on protein and vegetables.

As a dietitian, what I do not buy into with Paleo is that EVERYONE needs to do it-- I know some people that do very well on a whole-grain based diet. I think everyone has their own level of carb tolerance and individual nutrient needs. I do believe Paleo is the healthiest lower carbohydrate diet out there-- many of the others have gotten too far off course marketing "products" full of artificial sweetners and soy protein isolates in an attempt to make money, and as a result their diets never help people overcome their food cravings. (I remember in college eating several Zone Perfect bars in a row-- protein or not they are full of sugar and basically candy). I've always done better on a lower carb diet, so I'm going to kick start this first month of Crossfitting with 30 days of perfect paleo, and I will document that here.

I also took detailed measurements of myself and some before pictures. Once I get an "after" perhaps I'll post them for comparison. For now I'm not too excited to post pictures of myself in a swim suit on the internet for the world to see, though my before is really not that bad, as I am not overweight-- just out of shape and with higher bodyfat than I'd care to have.

So let the Crossfit/Paleo challenge begin! I can't wait to see where the next 30 days takes me.