Planning = Success: our weekly menu plan

I’ve been trying to plan and track our meals and cooking schedule each Sunday so we’re never at a loss for what to eat. Nothing thwarts your good intentions faster than finding yourself with an empty stomache and an empty fridge at the same time. What’s not shown on the board are the left-overs planned for post-workout meals, which I’ve been taking to the gym with me and eating right in the change room as I dry my hair and get ready to go back to work. These meals are typically 1/2 cup of yams and 4 oz of whatever protein we cooked the day before. Dave and I are a family of two, but we always cook larger portions of food because left-overs are essential to keeping us on track and minimizing kitchen time.

Tonight we put a few good hours prepping food. Dave made a dozen green salads, I made our favorite Meat-lovers Breakfast and we had some pretty tasty (albeit fatty) Dry-rubbed Beef Short Ribs from Food Lover’s Primal Palate for dinner. The spice rub is incredibly tasty, but I think next time I’ll boil the ribs first to cut down on the fat. If you’re into paleo eating, you’ll know that fat’s not a problem when you’re eating good meat. And this was – local and drug free, but it’s just not our preference.

As the week progresses, We’ll snap some photos and share more recipes. In the meantime, what’s on your menu this week?

 

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Whole 30, Days 29 & 30 – It’s a Wrap (but hardly over)

Hard to believe, but we’re at Day 30 of the Whole 30 Challenge. Was it challenging? Oh yeah. Rewarding? Absolutely. And honestly, now that it’s over not much will change. We’ll probably turn down a glass of red wine, I’m definitely having a coconut bliss bar and Dave will likely tear into a bag of rice chips, but then really, we’ll be back to Whole 30 eating.

This whole experience was really an introduction to eating primal for us – and we love it. Neither of us have any intention to reverting back to old ways of eating. We’ve learned a lot about our cravings and what they mean. We’ve organized our food shopping and prep to minimize time in the kitchen. We’ve come up with a gaggle on new most-loved recipes and we feel better than ever physically. Will we never indulge again? Of course not. We’re human and we love food. But our attitudes have definitely changed.

I knew this for certain when I moved the stove out the other day to sweep behind it. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you what I found – a Christmas cookie. And not a home-baked, so good your eyes roll back in your head, to-die-for cookie. Just some store bought processed piece of white flour and sugar junk. It made me realize that while there may be cookies in my future, they won’t be this kind. If I am going to put something in my mouth I know full well won’t support my health and fitness goals, it damn well better be the most delicious, decadent, divine version of whatever it is. It better nourish my soul and my senses if it’s not going to nourish my health. And for me, I think that’s the biggest reward of all, coming to this new place of thinking about my diet.

Now where’s my corkscrew…?

Whole 30, Days 23-25 – Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

pre workout options of muffins or chicken and avocado, and post workout options of a protein shake or beef and yams

It’s been a few days since we’ve posted. No, we haven’t been stuck at the bottom of a pint of hagan daz. Truth is, thanks to bulk cooking and a handful of reliable high-yield dishes, our daily meals are down to a sweet science – which is good since both our schedules have kicked up into the decidedly hectic range. But now that we have B, L & D under control, what about pre and post workout nutrition? Well as it turns out, this is an area where the Whole 30 approach flies in the face of conventional wisdom.

In traditional body-building circles, pre-workout meals are mainly complex carb, often from grain or fruits, plus a little protein. Think cottage cheese and fruit, a whole grain muffin or oatmeal and egg whites.

Whole 30/primal pre-workout meals on the other hands are smaller snack size combinations of protein with a little fat. Think sardines in olive oil or chicken with avocado. Choose easy digesting foods and allow enough time so you’re not working out while you’re still digesting.

Post workout, old-schoolers will tell you to get an easily absorbed protein and a quick sugar into your body after training – and most do it via a protein and fruit or juice “recovery shake”. The idea being that quick absorbing simple sugars help shuttle protein into your muscles.

The “new school” approach agrees on protein, but differs when it comes to fruit and simple sugars. Instead, the Whole 30 Success Guide recommends eating a meal size portion of easily digesting protein and a fist size portion of a carb-dense vegetable like yams within 15 – 30 minutes of training. They say relying on fruit as your primary carb source post workout is a mistake because fructose is processed exclusively in the liver, which means the  “fuel tanks” in your liver get filled before the “fuel tanks” in your hungry muscles.

I’m going to be honest, as important as Dave and I both know pre and post workout nutrition is, we sometimes find it a challenge to get these meals in. For one, I find my paleo meals fill me up and I’m not hungry for another meal before my workout. Poor excuse, but there it is. Our workouts also falls within an hour or so of a regular meal, so that last meal essentially becomes our  “pre-workout” fare. On the other side of the coin, we also sometimes launch right into another regular meal post workout and miss the benefits of getting that extra nutrition to our hungry muscles right away. To be clear, your post w/o meal is a ‘bonus’ meal. You should still be eating your next regularly scheduled meal 60 to 90 minutes afterwards.

We know it’s a challenge to schedule these meals; we struggle sometimes too, but we still can’t emphasize enough how important it it to optimize your training. If you’re working out hard, and you should be, it just makes sense to get the most out of it.

What’s your strategy for pre and post workout fueling?

Whole 30, Day 19- Linkalicious

sausages making the shape of a heart

A few days ago a friend sent a facebook message asking if we knew of any good site with good clean-eating recipes. Do we?!?!

Now while my friend is looking to clean up her diet by eliminating processed foods and white stuff – a good start to be sure, she’s still eating grains. Now that Dave and I are 100% paleo, all of our favorite sites are too, but I told her to go ahead and add in whole grains to any of the dishes she finds on these sites …unless of course she follows up on some of the other resources I suggested and realizes she might be better without them. Her call, of course. 😉

One of my FAVE sites is theclothesmakethegirl.com, the site’s  author Melissa  just come out with a cookbook, Well Fed (which I am currently coveting and will probably order) – though her site is also full of free recipes. She writes like the Dickens (pun intended) and her posts are always fun to read. I’ve made her Czech meatballs and home made mayo, which is funny because neither of us really liked mayo before but making your own makes you feel like a kitchen DIVA and allows you to make tasty sauces, cole slaw and cucumber salad etc.

I also love The Food Lovers Primal Palate, Their paleo coconut pancakes are great – though not Whole30 approved, so don’t even THINK about it if you’re following along with us on the challenge. That’s having SWYPO (Sex you’re your Pants On) and “paleofying” is strictly off-limits.

Another source I often go to is marksdailyapple.com, by Mark Sissons. He’s the author of The Primal Blueprint, the first book that turned us on to eating primal/paleo by explaining how grains block the absorption of many nutrients and cause inflammation and how the body runs better as a fat burner than a sugar burner. Type whatever you’re looking for into the search bar and tonnes of recipe options pop up. Note though that his site is Primal as opposed to Paleo so you’ll find recipes using dairy, sweetners and a few other things not allowed on the Whole30.

I also suggested she check out delightfultastebuds.com by Jos. She was actually the first person who introduced me to the paleo diet by mentioning it on the Bodyrock.tv community. She blogs about her own diet and shares easy, wholesome recipes. I mentioned to my friend her Oven Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers were to-die-for and just thinking about them made me want them so I whipped up a batch for dinner. (Side note: after devouring a nice plate-full I wondered if I’d made a slip and had “Sex With My Pants On”, but when I asked Melissa on on the Whole 30 facebook page, she said only if I had a serious KFC addiction and was filling the void. Hate KFC, so we’re clear.)

I also suggest nomnompaleo.com. The site’s author swears like a trucker, so be warned if you have virgin ears – or eyes, I guess. But she’s funny as hell and does a great job of marketing herself. Plus she has a tonne of great recipes on offer.

There’s also a couple of sites that do a round-up of healthy recipes from across the webiverse, thefoodee.com and chowstalker.com. It’s like searching dozens of sights at once, while getting a snapshot of the of the latest offerings in one place.

Since my friend was looking to reset her metabolism, I also suggested she check out The Whole30.

So yeah, we’ve got resources – and we’re happy to share! Check out these fine folks and let us know what you think or share YOUR favorite links below!

Whole 30, Day 10 – You Are What You Eat

Happy pigs laying in an outdoor pen.

"Only Happy Pigs for Brady's" (photo from Brady's Meats facebook page)

I have a confession to make. David and I have been eating “clean” for a really long time, but it’s only recently we decided to go all out and switch to grass-fed beef and naturally raised meat.  We resisted for the same reason I imagine most people do, it’s expensive and hard to find. But then one day my world changed. A colleague at work mentioned Brady’s Meat & Deli, a local butcher that specializes in hormone-free and naturally-raised meat. Not only do they have a fantastic selection, but their service is great and their prices are completely reasonable. I’m hooked. Now, each shopping trip is like a little adventure and I’m like a kid showing off their Christmas haul when I get home to show Dave all the goodies in my bag. Today’s highlight: naturally-raised ground lamb I’ll be incorporating into a sheppard’s pie tomorrow night. I’m giddy just thinking about it!

After the butchers, I went to the grocery store to stock up on veggies and a few other staples. As I made my way through the store, I was thinking that a lot of people on an eating program like this might feel a sense of deprivation, passing by all the things they can no longer have. But like I said, we’ve been steering clear of processed foods for a while, so I can pass the cookies and cereal without skipping a beat. To be honest, the main thoughts I used to think went something like this… “Look at all this CRAP that most people eat! No wonder people are fat and unhealthy…These food producers making this sh!t should be jailed. It’s criminal to call this stuff FOOD….etc etc” A little… judgmental, no?

Well, I’m happy to say today I had a completely different experience. It was more like a sense of FREEDOM. I don’t have to worry about all the boxes and labels and things that aren’t going to end up on my plate. Shopping is so much easier eating the Whole 30 way. Get in, get what you want, get out. Lickety split.

And as far as the judgement, I’m reminded of something Abraham Hicks often says – Don’t push against what you do not want,  just choose what you do want. A lesson applicable to both the food we put in our mouths and the thoughts we put in our minds. Always learning 🙂

If you’re still on the fence over your protein sources, bear in mind the advice given by Melissa and Dallas in the Whole 30 Success Guide, if you can only afford to buy the best in one area of your food budget, make it your protein source first. After all, pesticides can be washed off your veggies, but you’re not rinsing the hormones out of your meat. Check out http:www.eatwild.com/basics.html to read more about the benefits of eating good quality meat and click on their shopping guide to locate a source near you. And of course, if you’re anywhere near KW Southwestern Ontario, go visit my new BFFs at Brady’s Meats.

Whole 30, Day 7 – Super snacks & Sockeye salmon

Hi again,

I thought I’d share a snap of what’s become our go-to snack for a crunch craving: toasted hemp seeds… Ingredients: Organic Toasted Hemp Seeds, Himalayan Sea Salt. Pretty pure. Of course the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio isn’t ideal (so enjoy in moderation), but hemp IS high in amino acids, fibre and EFAs. It’s awesome sprinkled on salad or cole slaw, but we just love it right off the spoon.

Another snack we LOVE is kale chips. And so simple to make…just wash and dry your kale, cut off the ribs, rip it into bite size pieces and toss it with olive or coconut oil and sea salt. Most recipes say to bake for 7 – 10 minutes at 350, but we find a lower oven is better…they burn easily! But still, an easy, healthy, delicious green snack!

Finally, I thought I’d share a snap of the wild sockeye salmon we had for dinner. Just a little salt and pepper, a drizzle of lemon and a few minutes per side in some hot coconut oil. Delish! The sauce? Homemade baba ganoush with a dash of lemon and dill – yum!

See you tomorrow with more Whole 30 meals and a check-in on our progress. G’night!

Whole 30, Day 2 – Temptation

Whole 30, day 2. Phone rings, it’s David. He’s at the grocery store looking at all the things he can’t have. “Get out of there!” I tell him. Why torture yourself? Truth is, he’s looking for kale to make a batch of kale chips, craving the crunch he used to get from his beloved rice chips. No kale, no crunch, sad Dave.

Food wasn’t a problem for me today. Did two workouts and had plenty of good food to feed my appetite. My issue today was a sugar-detox headache that set in mid afternoon and lingered like a bad smell. Damn you sugar.

Our local butcher was closed today so I couldn’t stock up on grass fed goodness. Shame because I was planning to make Sheppard’s pie with cauliflower. Mmm, mashed cauliflower…so good it almost tastes sinful! But that will have to wait until tomorrow. Tonight, we thanked God for leftovers and made due.

We’re doing the Whole 30!

It’s the end of our first day doing the Whole 30 Challenge and overall, a success.

I spent the last few days planning and preparing menus for the next two weeks and yesterday we decided to get rid of the last vestiges of non-compliant food – through the most enjoyable portals we could think of – our mouths! It wasn’t a lot: one bag of organic rice chips, four squares of yummy madagascar dark chocolate and a bottle of chilean cabernet, but it was still enough to leave us both groaning from the effects and wondering why we so compelled.

This morning we started the day with our usual: hot water and lemon juice. Grandma swore by it and lived to 97. We normally follow that with a cappucino, but decided instead to opt for green tea. Almond milk cappucinos just aren’t as satisfying as those made with raw milk. Besides, part of this challenge is not to simply modify old eating patterns, but to change them, so green tea it is – for now. I whipped up an omelette with some organic free-range eggs, tomatoes and spinach topped with salsa. Lunch was leftover dinner from last night: wild sockeye salmon with some purple yams (yum!) and big ass green salad. We had another half portion of the salmon with a half an avocado as our pre-workout meal, as per Whole 30 guidelines. This was new – eating fat before a workout. Our post-workout meal and dinner were rolled into one and consisted of  roasted organic chicken, a side of butternut and spaghetti squash and another big salad.

At the gym, David pushed some heavy weight around.  But I have to say, my workout kinda sucked. I decided to do the Bodyrock.tv fitness test and it wasn’t pretty. The last little while of loafing about and eating with abandon have really had an impact both on my waistline and my strength. Apparently my fat cells don’t care that it was Christmas. But I know I’ll get it back, so I’m choosing not to get too emotional about it.

Well, that’s it for now. Time for some shut-eye. Will update with photos later. ‘Night!