Positive paleo effects & recipe jackpot!September 12, 2012
It has been wonderful to get back to ‘normal’ eating after our trip to Canada. I have been on a new recipe-trying streak, so I’m really excited to post some of my favorites below. But first! In the past few months of reading about the paleo methodology and way of eating, I’ve seen countless testimonials of health-related issues that have gone away or altogether cleared up with the change in diet. Recently, I have started to notice two of my own although they are both a wee bit on the yucky side of things to talk about. But, in the interest of sharing=caring, I will swallow my pride and tell you: my funky toe is no longer funky & I’ve started to drool a LOT more in my sleep (which is a good thing!).
OK, the toe. I’ve had a weird toenail since 2001. I’ve gone to the doctor, they’ve cultured samples, given medications to me, nothing has worked to clear up whatever was growing underneath the nail for more than TEN years. It obviously wasn’t contagious or I would’ve spread it to my other toes and fingers (and the boy) so I didn’t worry about it too much. Well, just a few days ago I realized that the funky part is almost entirely grown out. There is fresh, clean, healthy nail now growing in. Given that I’ve been eating clean for just more than three months now, that’s about the right amount of time for that length of nail to grow out. Positive paleo effect? I’m thinking it may be!
Secondly, the drooling. It’s good (albeit gross) because for years I have been clenching and grinding my teeth at night. To the point where I actually had to get a night guard from the dentist to save my poor teeth from getting ground to dust. I don’t lead a super stressful life, so I’m not entirely sure why I started to clench my teeth at night. The only time I was aware of my NOT grinding/clenching was when we were out camping. Sleeping outside in a tent is a recipe for me to konk out and drool all over the place. Don’t ask me why. But, I’ve started waking up in puddles of drool at home now too. I know I have mentioned at least 643 times how eating a paleo diet has helped me find the best sleep I’ve had in years, but it may be just getting even better with the lack of clenching and grinding! I’m anxious to see how this plays out for the sake of my poor, sensitive teeth!
This Saturday marks the start of the Whole Life Challenge, which I have elected to participate in (as has the boy, who really wanted to a few days ago, but has been complaining mercilessly ever since about ‘logging’ in). The Whole Life Challenge is really a way for folks to hold themselves accountable for their food, workout and mobility choices on a daily basis. And before I go any further I have to complain about one thing myself. There are no ‘sweeteners’ allowed on Whole Life EXCEPT for stevia. Which I looked at in the store and it showed an ingredient – dextr0se – that I’m not willing to put into my body (a form of glucose that has been further processed…etc. – Google it! Point being, more processed = not happening in this body). I don’t understand why this sweetener would be allowed but RAW HONEY – which is something far more natural in my opinion (especially considering it’s not even pasteurized) is not allowed?! Now it’s not like I’m going to go balls crazy for any sweetener, but raw honey is in a BBQ/ketchup sauce I really enjoy with my meatburger, and is sometimes an ingredient for a roast in the crockpot, or something like that. So, my plan is to NOT use stevia since I don’t actually know what the hell it is technically, but will hold myself accountable for using honey and deduct a point when I do so. It’s just annoying.
To be fair, the Whole Life Challenge is not a paleo challenge, especially since it allows you to have legumes in your diet which is definitely not a paleo-friendly food. Anyways, the challenge kicks off on Saturday with a baseline workout that is a 9-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 7 KB swings at 16 KG (for girls), 7 burpees and a 50-meter shuttle run. Sounds like doing it on Saturday post-Hero WOD week at CrossFit Hyperformance will be fun. I’ve already made it through Wednesday without ripping my hands open, so I really hope I can keep the skin on my palms for two more days before our KB swings!
We will also be getting our measurements taken. The challenge is 8 weeks long, so the point of the measurements and baseline workout are to see what improvements a focus on clean eating, mobility, and conscious exercise can have over the course of 56 days. I am not expecting to see anything drastic, since I made HUGE gains (and losses fat-wise) since June 1. Now while these gains and losses have slowed, they do seem to still be happening – I really feel like I *am* getting stronger; 95-lb thrusters don’t feel as heavy as they did a few months ago. Or is that all mental? Who knows. I’m the worst at keeping track of progress with CrossFit and strength training. I think I will always remember everything, which of course I never do. Now my indoor rowing I track like a fiend and LOVE to go back to compare scores and see improvements, so I have no explanation as to why I’m so lazy with CrossFit except maybe it’s because we so rarely do the same workout twice?
Alright, let’s get to the good eats part. So after returning from Canada my sister had been planning to spend Labor Day weekend with us and I was planning a Pinterest recipe extravaganza that would get the fridge nice and re-stocked with leftovers. Unfortunately (for all of us!) she couldn’t make it, but that didn’t stop my plans to try a bunch of new things. Actually, I hope I can remember everything! Here goes:
- Paleo “Peanut” Carrot Curry Burgers – yes, they sound totally weird and you will probably seriously question the mixing of these ingredients together in a bowl with your hands but honestly, they are really good and super easy to make. I am thinking of having ground turkey as my “emergency” go-to protein just because I know these are a few minutes away at a moment’s notice when needed! Thanks to my training partner Rebeccah for the head’s up on this recipe!
- Sweet Potato Pilaf – a good veggie side (with bacon!); I just wish my food processor could “rice” cauliflower like the pictures. Also, I recommend cutting sweet potatoes very small so this doesn’t take FOREVER to cook.
- Cranberry Sweet Potato Breakfast Cakes – I made these with goji berries since I could not find any cranberries ANYWHERE without both a sweetener added and some kind of oil. I’m gonna need my sister to dehydrate some raw ones for me I think! But, I added some crumbled bacon and coconut flakes to the “cakes” and also recommend you don’t cook them with the egg for too long!
- Chocolate Waffles – need I say more? Seriously.
- Prosciutto Wrapped Fix and Onion Jam over Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin – this is actually on the docket for dinner tonight (again!). The first iteration was AMAZING. The pork was cooked to perfection (which is something we rarely seem to accomplish) and the combination of the onions, figs and prosciutto is to die for. This is a 5-star recipe for sure!
- Coconut-Lemon Meltaways – ahh, Pinterest how I love thee for helping me find RAW, vegan and yet a totally paleo-friendly recipe for such a delightful treat! These are SO good. As Rebeccah said they are “little lemon balls of heaven”! If you don’t like coconut, fear not, the flavor is far more lemon than anything. Such a refreshing and sweet bite with a wonderful consistency!
- Moroccan Meatballs with Citrus-Glazed Carrots - these are both delicious. The spices in the meatballs are so different that they are a joy to eat, and the citrus-glazed carrots I’ve been making as a separate side dish for quite a few dinners lately with the juice and zest of blood oranges, which seem to make them so perfectly yummy!
- Cauliflower Carrot Herb Mash – this is another great way to get a healthy dose of veggies. I have made this several times now for serving with different meals (including the Moroccan meatballs!) and it’s always worth the effort. Plus, it’s orange, which makes me wonder how cauliflower mashed with sweet potatoes would be? I’m guessing TASTY!
- Plantain and Mango Beef - holy hell this is so good. I have made it with both beef and chicken (at the nudging of my sister) and just the other day I made a HUGE batch just so I could eat the leftovers for lunch all week. It’s that good. (Plus, I love me some madras curry!)
- Banana Bread - I have never been a huge fan of banana bread because I hate ripe bananas. For me, a yellow banana is WAY TOO RIPE to eat. And you need OVER-ripe bananas to make banana bread which used to make me feel like I was eating spotty, black bananas as a kid. Anyways, I had some good banana bread while in Canada and found this awesome paleo recipe with no added sweetener or sugar that is actually quite good. I plan to take a couple of loaves along to the Creek for our car camping! (Also, I don’t wait until the bananas are WAY over-ripe for this recipe (note my issues with ripeness above) so, I’ve made it two times now with bananas that are yellow with a little bit of brown on them.)
- Bison Meatballs – OK, so I made them with regular ground beef, but still, the addition of sweet potato and tomato paste made these melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I will say, the addition of the red tomato paste made us keep thinking the meatballs were still raw inside for a long time, so even though they cooked probably a bit longer than necessary, they still turned out fantastic!
- Easy Breakfast Scramble – Learned the hard way that I don’t care for Herbs de Provence (I think it’s the rosemary), BUT the boy definitely enjoyed this!
- Broccoli with Toasted Garlic Olive Oil – so simple, I feel like an idiot for following a recipe, but this is really quite good. I press my garlic instead of slicing it because that’s the way I like to do it!
- Crock Pot Beef Carnitas – obviously didn’t eat these on a tortilla or with cheese, sour cream, etc. BUT this was a delicious rub for a grass-fed flank steak that came out just perfectly in the crock pot!
- Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa – I made this to go with the carnitas (above) and it was pure bliss!
OK, that list is a bit out of control, but I am a TRY-er of so many paleo recipes because I think it is so much easier to stay motivated to continue eating good food when you actually prepare and eat good-tasting (good) food!
Anyone else out there have any good recipe suggestions? I’m always game to try new things. Also, have you had any health-related positive paleo effects you are willing to share with me? Come on now, I told you about my toe ;-) actually, check out this (not paleo-related) but the after-effects of Canada on my toes! (For your reference, the funky toe that is now almost totally healed is the third toe on my left foot – aka the purple foot, not the red one!)