Now is the Winter that Never Ends

I seem to recall that the first day of spring was last Wednesday and yet, there is a winter weather advisory in effect until tomorrow night out here in Southwest, Virginia. Now, do not get me wrong, I enjoy snow and wintry mix as much as the next Colorado girl, but there is a time and a place for it, namely WINTER! Get with the program and bring me some sun! I am suffering from seasonal affectation disorder and if I do not get some serious vitamin D happening, it will not be pretty.

Crazy Spring Snow!

Crazy Spring Snow!

That being said, the combination of paleo and the weather and various unfortunate events has made me very grouchy as of late and I cannot even grab a piece of caramel salted dark chocolate to ease my sorrows. I may have to amend my previous statements in which I said that the first week of the challenge was the hardest because I am having a very rough time right now (wah, wah, wah, right? I hate being this whiny).

The thing that really put me in a bad mood was yesterday when we discovered a giant nail in our tire. We just bought new tires 7 months ago, so we took it to Walmart to get it patched and after 2 hours of staring longingly at Easter candy, they told us it could not be patched and we would have to buy a whole new tire.

In other news, we created some paleo-rific foods this week:

Almondflour crusted chicken with steamed aasparagus and rtoasted zuchinni,. it was so good, I forgot to take a picture until I had eaten half of it.

Almond flour crusted chicken with steamed asparagus and roasted zucchini. It was so good, I forgot to take a picture until I had eaten half of it.

Paleo Banana Bread. It was so good, I ate the whole loaf in one day.

Paleo Banana Bread. It was so good, I ate the whole loaf in one day.

Bacon and Egg Cups for breakfast.

Bacon and Egg Cups for breakfast.

Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Sauce.

Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Sauce.

Banana Breakfast Cookies.

Banana Breakfast Cookies.

One thing that has been getting me by is this new tea that we bought at the Whole Health Center. It is raspberry and goji berry tea from the Republic of Tea and I have been drinking it out of my penguin mug!

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With only 8 days to go in the challenge, I can feel my resolve weakening. My body just wants to give up and give into temptation and eat bread and take  rest days. I keep having the thoughts come into my head that I’m not going to win anyways, so what is the point? Here is what I say to those thoughts: NO!

I can do this! I can go completely paleo (plus more) for 30 whole days! I can lose body fat, gain body water, and make my body stronger.

Can do it

Especially when “people” is your brain. Dear brain, talk to me again in 8 days when I am stronger, fitter, more muscular, and I shatter my benchmark workout numbers.

I would like to leave you with this lovely thought,

Lying

 

 

 

The Tale of a 4-miler and a Penguin Mug

I have not felt this good in a long time! 2 weeks into the Lean, Green, and Mean Challenge, and my body is starting to feel unstoppable! A lot of that feeling came from a big test of how my training was working out.

Zach and I and many people from both our run club and our Crossfit box ran the Shamrock 4-miler, which is a 4-mile race around downtown Abingdon. This race was actually the race that inspired me to start running and was basically like my 1 year running anniversary, so I was pretty excited to see how my running had improved over the year. My goal was run the race at 32 minutes, which would be 8 minute miles, something I have been struggling to get to for a little while.

Our Crossfit box made Shamrock t-shirts so we could all match during the race and the challenge!

Our Crossfit box made Shamrock t-shirts so we could all match during the race and the challenge!

I was feeling awesome while I was running and as I approached the finish line, I saw that I was running under 31 minutes. I finished in 30:51, an all-time fastest for me! I’m not sure what it was, maybe the paleo, maybe the minimalist shoes, maybe my constant training, but I was so proud of myself! I finished 79th out of 540 people.

My sister flew in at 11:45pm after the race, so we decided to do something fun and relaxing on Saturday to recover. I started the day with some yoga to stretch my body out and then we went to go paint pottery.

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I chose to paint a penguin mug, Alie picked a mug with shoes on the bottom, Zach did a goblet, Glenn decided on a martini glass and Helen went with a wine glass. We were all in the beverage holder mood that day apparently.

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The finished products!

The finished products!

After a lovely lunch, we took our exhausted selves home for a nap and then made a delightfully paleo dinner of salmon, paleo biscuits, and broccoli.

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After that, we watched Pitch Perfect and ate some paleo soft pretzels.

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Sunday, we went to a Paleo Potluck with some other people from our Crossfit box and enjoyed a big lunch of paleo food that people had experimented with.  It was super delicious and I noticed that even though I ate until I was very full, it wasn’t a comatose full that I used to get from bread and pasta, I was full but still had energy to take on the day. Maybe there is some truth to this paleo diet thing.

We had a nice dinner of steak and sweet potato fries and went to bed early so we would be ready for 6am Spin class this morning.

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Here are some new pieces of advice for going or experimenting with paleo.

A1) If you find a recipe you love, it is okay to use it all the time. If you love something, make it as much as you want. Especially on paleo when you are cutting out so many things, let the ones you love be free and forthcoming.

B1) After today, I will be on the downhill stretch to the end and after 2 weeks, it is way easier to resist temptation and choose paleo foods. Work hard to get halfway and you will be rewarded by how good you feel after that.

C1) Remember that you are not alone. As we learned from going to our potluck, everyone was having some issues with the challenge and sharing new recipes really helped. It is nice to know that many people can empathize with you, cheer you on, and help you out, Do not be afraid to ask for help.

D1) If you live in a small town, like Abingdon, having 40 people drastically change their diet will freak out your supermarket. Our Food Cities and Krogers are having lots of issues keeping almond flour and Lara Bars on the shelves.  Be prepared and stock up at the beginning to avoid shortages.

Enjoy the last few days of Winter and look forward to Spring very soon!

 

Are we Slaves to Food?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone in which you started talking about some kind of food and pretty soon you were both naming every food that you loved to eat? How many times have you met up with someone over coffee, lunch, or dinner? Does your mood coincide with what food you have eaten? I think that almost everyone (including myself) would answer yes to one of those questions, which makes me think that as humans, we are slaves to food.

These thoughts came to me this morning as I was driving to work and the morning show I was listening to was having people call in to tell them what foods the listeners could never live without. Many people called in and said things like hot dogs, zingers, twinkies, meatloaf, and lobster. The host of the morning show then went on to say that food is not just for nutrition, it is for comfort, and bonding, and friendship. Our lives revolve around food, just as our far distant ancestors did. Although, those ancestors had to fight and hunt and gather and work very hard to get the food while we can just pop through a drive thru and have whatever we want given to us in a neat little package.

So, while pondering their question of what food could I not live without, I reflected back onto the challenge I am doing. I have given up a lot of foods that I thought I could not. I love bread and pizza and I have been able to get through without eating them. I also love dark chocolate with salted caramel and did not die when I did not get to eat it. I enjoy oatmeal and greek yogurt and my body did not shut down like I thought it might without my favorite foods. Instead, I found new ways to create delicious foods to make my body and my brain happy.

Sure, I can't have cereal for breakfast, but I can have eggs fried in coconut oil with bacon and strawberries.

Sure, I can’t have cereal for breakfast, but I can have eggs fried in coconut oil with bacon and strawberries.

Yes, i can't do convention granola right now, but I can make chocolate granola that's totally paleo!

Yes, I can’t do convention granola right now, but I can make chocolate granola that’s totally paleo!

And I do have other things to make me happy, like the fact that I finished the flower girl’s dress last night and it looks so cute!

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Some other things that make me happy are that my body fat percentage is down by 2%, I did a constant crow pose for over 30 straight seconds at yoga yesterday, that my sister is coming to visit tomorrow, that I am getting married in 58 days, that I have wonderful friends and family that support my goal to be a certified personal trainer, and I could seriously go on and on.

Maybe I am one of the lucky ones. I have so many things to be thankful for that I do not need to turn to food to fill the gaps in my life. I am lucky that I can afford to do this challenge and work out at 3 different gyms to make myself feel unstoppable. I am lucky that I have a loving family and friends always by my side, and the best fiance in the world.

I did not mean for this post to get so mushy, but I am truly grateful for what I have. I guess the moral of the story is that we do not have to be slaves to food, we can overcome anything with the right motivation and support.

Now, being slaves to time, I’m not sure how exactly we overcome that, but I will keep thinking about.

7 Days Down!

Good morning all! I hope that everyone has adjusted to Daylight Savings Time. I discovered this morning that the best way to combat the lag was to just jump right into and head to a 6AM spin class. While getting up at 5:25 this morning did not seem so fun last night, I was really glad that I did this morning. I made myself a chocolate-strawberry protein smoothie and drank a ton of water and had a great ride. By 7:15AM, I was ready to conquer the world.

I’m not sure if it is all in my head, but I think doing this paleo challenge has given me a lot more energy. Before I talk about that, however, let me update you on how I have been doing with the challenge.

Friday, I woke up feeling really great. I think it may have been a combination of the coming weekend and that the sun was finally out and the day was beautiful and the paleo, but I felt really good for the first time since the challenge started. I killed the workout at Crossfit Friday night, which was 5 rounds of 200 single jumps on jump rope, 10 dumbbell squat cleans (I used 15 lb dumbbells) and 10 dips. I really wanted to push myself and since I recently got the ability to do 3 dips in a row with only my body weight, I decided to go ahead and try to do all 50 without any assistance.

The time limit was 25 minutes, that is why some people have times and others have rounds.

The time limit was 25 minutes, that is why some people have times and others have rounds.

I successfully did all of the dips, probably without the full 90 degree angle of my arms at the bottom, but I tried my best to keep good form. I was only able to do 4 in a row before I had to drop and reset, but I still got a great time!

I have been working on my pull ups very intently lately. I can now do 2 in a row if I jump up and grab the bar. I haven’t gotten the strength to lift myself off the ground, but I know that it is coming.

I made Zach document my pull up effort.

I made Zach document my pull up effort.

Dan has a lot of trouble with jumping rope because he jumps too high and tires himself out. When he finished the workout, fell collapsed on the ground and when he got up, let left this lovely imprint on the floor.

Can you see the 7?

Can you see the 7?

Saturday morning, I experimented with banana pancakes. I love pancakes and I have substituted bananas for eggs a bunch of times, so I was pretty confident I would enjoy these paleo cakes. The recipe is literally just 2 mashed bananas, an egg, and some almond butter. So simple!

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The batter is a little heavy, so they are quite difficult to flip, but once cooked, the pancakes are moist and delicious. Here is the link to the recipe I used.

http://thebkeepsushonest.com/2013/01/paleo-banana-pancakes-3-ingredients.html

Saturday afternoon, we went to meet our run club and ran the course for the Shamrock 4 miler race that we are doing this Friday. It was 65 degrees and the sun was out and we were all so excited. When we all finished, we all agreed that we needed to re-acclimate ourselves to running in warm weather. We got so used to rocking it out in the cold, the warm weather was a little rough. I cannot wait for the race!

Sunday, Zach and I decided to take more advantage of the lovely weather and we went hiking at a local park.

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After our hike, we got down to business prepping for this week’s meals. The awesome thing about this week was that we already had a week of paleo under our belts and we were able to tweak our recipes that did not quite work out the first time and were much more confident in our results.

I finally found some natural cocoa powder and have been adding it to everything! I put some into the banana pancake recipe and the resulting cakes were heavenly!

I finally found some natural cocoa powder and have been adding it to everything! I put some into the banana pancake recipe and the resulting cakes were heavenly!

Zach found a recipe for this paleo berry crumble and it was seriously delicious! If you need a paleo pick me up, hit this recipe up. http://cakestopaleo.com/paleo-berry-crumble/

Zach found a recipe for this paleo berry crumble and it was seriously delicious! If you need a paleo pick me up, hit this recipe up. http://cakestopaleo.com/paleo-berry-crumble/

Our dinner last night was a serious paleo win! Medium rare local flank steak, steamed asparagus, and paleo garlic biscuits. The biscuits were perfect! For those needing something bread like and amazing, try these biscuits, they are super easy and so so so good! http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/253028006/paleo-garlic-bread-gluten-free/

Our dinner last night was a serious paleo win! Medium rare local flank steak, steamed asparagus, and paleo garlic biscuits. The biscuits were perfect! For those needing something bread like and amazing, try these biscuits, they are super easy and so so so good! http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/253028006/paleo-garlic-bread-gluten-free/

I am definitely a believer that the first week was and will be the hardest, especially for those, like me, who ate all forbidden foods right up until the last day. It was hard getting the hang of using paleo ingredients, getting used to new tastes and textures, and definitively exercising will power to not eat what was right in front of you many times. I think it is working, my energy is up, my body feels better, and my fitness is getting better. I think my skin might even be a little clearer too!  Here is my new advice for those doing/starting/thinking about going paleo:

A1) Always err on the side of having too much food in your kitchen. Eating completely different foods means your body has to adapt to getting its energy a different way. Your brain will think it is constantly hungry because it is not eating the foods it is used to. The first week, I was constantly hungry all the time, which made me grouchy and irritable. Keep nuts, raisins, and veggies (already cut up) handy to help ward off these thoughts. Working out also helped my body deal with its alleged hunger.

B1) Realize that your new recipes may not work out and have some reliable backups. We made the mistake of picking all new recipes the first week and we had some issues. The recipes will not always work out and will sometimes just taste yucky. Pick some things you have done before, just in case.

C1) Drink water. All the time. Always have water with you and drink some sips each time your brain rebels. Water has been my lifesaver this first week because it gave my mouth something to do to keep it from thinking it is starving.

Until next update, keep up the good work and have a steak!

How Goes the Paleo?

This morning dawned the 4th day of the Lean, Green, and Mean Challenge. My resolve is still strong and despite the dream I had last night in which I ate a lot of cake, I am doing well so far.

Tuesday night, we got our baseline numbers when we went to Crossfit. Here is how my numbers broke down:

Weight: 131.4

Body Fat %: 19.3

Body Water %: 55.9

Because my numbers were pretty good to start with, I am going to focus on getting my body fat % down and body water % up by working on building more muscle. Our Crossfit workout that day definitely helped me with my goal as we did 21-15-9 Thrusters and I went out of my comfort zone and pushed 40lbs. I also finally got the concept of keeping my abs “cobra tight” to help me lift as the next day, my abs were quite sore.

Yesterday, Zach and I decided to get up early and make some eggs for breakfast and we were greeted by this sight.

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March has, indeed, been coming in like a lion for us in Southwest Virginia, but I am trying not to let it get me down. This weekend is supposed to be in the 60s and I cannot wait! Also, Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday and I will be able to run in the morning without it being super dark outside. It is the little things in life that truly get me jazzed.

Lunch most of this week has consisted of a salad with chicken on it, but yesterday I discovered that hot sauce can be used for salad dressing when you are feeling adventurous and it made my salad quite delightful.

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I plan to be a salad connoisseur when this challenge is over. My snacks have mostly consisted of veggies like carrots and bell peppers in the morning and nuts and raisins in the afternoon to keep me awake and working.

I do LOVE raisins.

I do LOVE raisins.

Yesterday, I was all set to go to my Power Yoga class, but when I got there, I found out it was cancelled. So, I did the next best thing, I went home and did yoga in my living with Leah Kim.

yoga

This NTC yoga workout is not quite as awesome as going to Power Yoga, but it did make me sweat and work hard. I concentrated a lot of pushing my knees out as we learned in Crossfit that my knees always have a tendency to cave into each other. I will be doing a lot of hip abductor exercises to try to strengthen those muscles and break that habit.

Thus far, I have one major lesson/piece of advice for those doing the challenge or those who are thinking about going Paleo and here it is:

Do not spend your time looking at pictures of food you are not currently able to eat. Instead, focus on what you can eat and how delicious it can be!

Until next check in, keep calm and eat veggies!

Challenge Day 1

Alright ladies and gents. The 30 Day Lean, Green, and Mean Challenge has begun!  Zach and I spent the weekend prepping ourselves mentally, physically, and foodly for the next 30 days. We did the fitness part of the challenge on Friday. We had to do 3 rounds of 1 minute each of push ups, squats, abmat situps, push presses, and kettlebell swings. The prescribed weight for push press was 75 lbs for males and 55 lbs for females. For kettlebell swings it was 44lbs for males and 26lbs for females. Our trainer recorded our total reps from the 3 rounds and that number is our baseline. We will do the workout again in 30 days to see how much we improve.

I know that I will be working on push ups and push presses as those two were my weakest exercises. My maximum weight for press is 55lbs, so I was really struggling with the push presses and only got 15 in the 3 total minutes. I want to work on my form with push ups, I got a good number, but I was worming up on a lot of them. I rocked out the abmat situps, however, getting 100 in the 3 minutes.

Tomorrow, when we go to class, our trainer will take front, back, and side pictures and record our body weight, boy fat %, and body water %. I am quite interested to find out what my numbers are. I will keep you posted when I find out.

On Saturday, we went to the farmer’s market and the health food store to stock up on some paleo essentials

Local beef, olive oil from the local store, hemp protien powder, almond and coconut flower, coconut oil, local argula and cilatro, local beef,

Local beef, olive oil from the local store, hemp protein powder, almond and coconut flour, coconut oil, local arugula and cilantro, local beef,and local eggs.

We also went through our kitchen and got rid of everything that would tempt us. We donated it to one of our friends.

Goodbye pasta, Cheez-its, oats, peanut butter, Clif bars, and honey.

Goodbye pasta, Cheez-its, oats, peanut butter, Clif bars, and honey.

Sunday, we got to work making some paleo goodies for the week to keep us going.

 

Guacamole

Guacamole

Zucchini chips.

Zucchini chips.

Paleo bread.

Paleo bread.

Paleo granola.

Paleo granola.

* Not pictured: paleo salad dressing

After the cooking fiesta, we made our pre-paleo dinner. We mixed up some local ground beef with onion and bell peppers (and hot sauce for me, I was very happy to find my favorite hot sauce was paleo) and it was super delicious. I paired it with my last glass of red wine for the next 30 days (because I had to finish the bottle).

I put some guacamole on it also.

I put some guacamole on it also.

Then, this morning, we started out strong. I got up at 5:20, made myself a smoothie (unpictured) with the hemp protein powder I got at the Whole Health Center (the jury is still out on how I feel about it), and went to my 6:00am spin class.

When I got back, Zach and I made breakfast and ate together.

Zach had some of the paleo bread with sunflower seed butter.

Zach had some of the paleo bread with sunflower seed butter.

I had some paleo granola with almond milk and strawberries.

I had some paleo granola with almond milk and strawberries.

Before I (or you) get all excited, apparently the first day is the easiest. After that, the rest of the first week is ROUGH. I will have to keep you posted and let you know how I am doing on Thursday. Until them, enjoy your grains, dairy, and alcohol for me. I’m in it for the long haul!

 

 

 

Lean, Green, and Mean Challenge

Starting March 4, our CrossFit Box is having a 30-day Paleo/CrossFit/Healthy living Challenge.

With the wedding coming up, Zach and I were only too ready to sign up for the challenge. There will be a male winner and a female winner. Everyone puts money into the challenge and the winners get the pool. The winner also get an unlimited training package at our Crossfit Box. Pretty sweet!

Do crossfit

This challenge will definitely not be easy, however. There are two ways that they will be measuring our improvement. The first is through physical improvement. On the first day of the challenge, they will take front, side, and back photos of our bodies. They will measure out body weight, body fat percentage, and body water percentage. There will also be a baseline workout that we will not know until we get there. At the end of the challenge, they will take all of the measurements and pictures again and we will do the workout again to see our improvement.

The second part is through daily points. You can get a maximum of 14 points a day. Here is how they are broken down:

1 point for no grains or starchy carbs.

1 point for no sugar or sweeteners.

1 point for no dairy.

1 point for no alcohol, soda, or fruit juice.

1 point for no artificial ingredients, processed foods, or trans fats.

1 point for eating within an hour of waking up.

1 point for a workout (one day a week must be active recovery).

1 point for 10+ minutes of mobilizing each day.

1 point for taking a daily supplement, like a multivitamin or fish oil.

1 point for drinking 16-20 oz of water first thing in the morning and 1 point for 12-20 oz of water with each meal

2 points for 8+ hours of sleep a night

1 point for relaxing (non-electronic, like reading, spending time with family, meditation)

I’m pretty sure the hardest part for me is going to be cutting out diary and grains and sweeteners. I love bread and pizza and yogurt and cookies, I will just have to be creative when finding things to substitute for these foods. I have been very busy on Pinterest finding recipes for Paleo pizza crust, Paleo cookies, Paleo granola , and Paleo salad dressing. We have been prepping for the challenge all week.

I made a Challenge Wall with a calendar, our daily checklists, our goals, and some motivation. It is prominently in the kitchen.

I made a Challenge Wall with a calendar, our daily checklists, our goals, and some motivation. It is prominently in the kitchen.

We purchased a bunch of local flank steak and ground beef, bought local almond butter and sunflower seed butter. Coincidentally, the farmer’s market will be open Saturday so we can get a ton of fresh produce and local eggs and we will be visiting the local Whole Health Center to get almond and coconut flour and some other substitutes for grains and such. We will be spending a lot of Sunday prepping food for the week because the first week will probably be the hardest while our bodies adjust to using different forms of fuel.

I don’t normally post recipes and pictures of food, but through this challenge, I am going to make an exception and share some of the recipes and dishes that work really well.

I hope to check in at least 3 times a week and talk about how things are going and any new discoveries I have made throughout this challenge.

Any support and helpful ideas or recipes would be greatly appreciated.

Ready, set, Paleo!

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