paleo diet: January 2016 Archives

Paleo For Newbies

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It's another year and the winter weight is back. Switching to paleo was as easy and trying on old clothes, and I decided to just write about how easy it was to switch.

First, some back story. I hurt my labrum in my shoulder around May. I couldn't do Crossfit Hoboken, for months, and while resting my shoulder, my feet became a problem child - similar to plantar fasciitis. My heel and under my arch on both feet were extremely sore, I could barely walk when I woke up in the morning. I didn't understand why, and frankly I was just really frustrated. I couldn't lift. I couldn't run, walk or jog.

Eventually my afternoon routine would be that I get home from work. Sleep for 2 hours from being exhausted, wake up, eat dinner or skip dinner, watch TV or play on my computer, and then go to bed around 11pm. I really wasn't drinking as much anymore, usually a bottle of wine with a cigar one day a week.

But the weight caught up to me. I gained about 25 pounds and weighing myself in November I saw the scale read 250 pounds. Now, I am 6'4, so 250 pounds on me is a bit different than someone who is 6 feet tall. It spreads out. But even with spreading out, I saw pictures of myself wearing polo shirts and couldn't believe how bad I looked.

It wasn't just a question of vanity, but also about how I felt. I was sore in my feet, and even along the sides of my body. I went to a massage therapist at Body Balance who was amazing. During the massage, she pointed out to me that the soreness I felt wasn't due to working out (note I didn't touch a weight since May 2015), but it was from inflammation from foods i'm eating.

Walking home from the massage session I was more determined than ever to STOP FEELING BAD. I was fucking tired of it. I was tired of getting home from work exhausted. I was tired of being sore. I was tired of the growing tire around my mid section.

I knew paleo worked, but like a lot of us - making the switch was always such a painful thing. I always had excuses why I couldn't switch.

"It's too hard!"
"I can't not drink alcohol!"
"I love {this food}, I can't eliminate {this food}!"
"I'll start next week. I have a party/dinner this week and I want to enjoy myself."

Each one deserves its own explanation.

Paleo is a learning process. I found that the easiest way to do Paleo is make things simple. One of those ways was making my breakfast a smoothie with a Nutribullet. I drink one every day before work. My recipe is pretty easy:
handful of spinach, carrots, apple, 1/2 banana, mango, blueberries, flax seed, chia seed, cashews, and protein powder (whey protein isolate).

PROTEIN POWDER?! Yep. Was the caveman using protein powder? No. Also technically is protein powder dairy - technically yes. It's a purified extract of a single macronutrient, not a whole food, which is what paleo purists tout on the diet. But in my humble opinion, after doing this for many years, is that we "shouldn't sweat the small things". You need protein in your diet. You are eating whole foods at every meal. Sure, I could eat a grilled chicken breast instead, but this is more convenient.

Lunches I use Kettlebell Kitchen. They prepare lunches for each day and I pick them up at Crossfit Hoboken on Monday and Wednesday nights, for 5 meals. They are healthy and just pop them in the microwave for 3-4 minutes and they taste really good.

For dinner, I just plan it out a few days in advance. Here's what I made last week:

Sunday: Paleo meatloaf. Made garlic cauliflower mashed with it and cooked up steamed broccoli.
Monday: Leftover paleo meatloaf from Sunday.
Tuesday: Paleo Italian Lamb Chops. Used spaghetti squash as my "pasta".
Wednesday: Cracklin' Chicken, with bacon brussel sprouts.
Thursday: Use a Kettlebell Kitchen entree
Friday: Honeygrow or Tony Baloney's Cobb Salad (as a reward I allow the bleu cheese on the salad).
Saturday: BBQ from House of Que - ribs, chicken, sausage, no sauce. Get collard greens for a side.

That's a week of dinners, and I normally don't try to eat out that much, last Saturday I made Jambalaya.

That's my diet. I usually plan for Sunday's dinner to cover Monday. The Cracklin' chicken is once a week. There's the Kettlebell Kitchen entree which covers another dinner. I might experiment with new dishes each week. I'm a HUGE fan of Nom Nom Paleo, and just will scan through their cookbook and pick things to try. Also some of my friends also do paleo and we share recipes, which is how I found the meatloaf dish.

Is it more work than NOT eating paleo, well sure. I certainly found it much easier to have others cook for me and eat "healthyish" from La Isla or Sushi Lounge. The problem was the times when I was eating pizza, burgers or pasta it creeps up on me. I was drinking coke daily, only 8 ounce bottles, but still was 100 empty calories.

As a checklist for a Paleo Newbie, I would keep all of the following in your fridge or cabinets:
1. Garlic
2. 1 sweet Onion
3. Fresh Eggs
4. Coconut Flour
5. Almond Flour/Meal
6. Coconut oil & olive oil
7. Coconut milk (can)
8. Chopped tomato (can)
9. Beef and Chicken stock (can)
10. 1 Cauliflower
11. Balsamic vinegar (good, aged balsamic)
12. Quality Olive Oil. I recently discovered California Olive Ranch.
13. Real, good spices: Oregano, Basil, Cumin, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Cayenne, Crushed Pepper Flakes, Sea Salt, Peppercorns (use a pepper grinder). Add new spices as needed, and buy the SMALLEST side possible from Penzeys. Spices are good for a year, next year throw them all out and buy new spices again. If you have spices in your cabinets that are years old, throw them out!
14. You must have one good 10" cast iron pan.
15. You mast have one good Chef knife.
16. One good non stick 12" skillet.

That's what I would start with, and they make a difference in my cooking life. The Emril skillet I wasn't sure about and now I love it. Having a good balanced knife makes chopping and slicing more fun. Many dishes, like Cracklin' Chicken can't be made in a non-stick pan, it just comes out better from cast iron.

I went back to the gym last week on Monday. I couldn't even do 5 pushups. I felt so weak. I hated starting over again. I started to question was it worth it. But I just took it easy. Baby steps. Rowed on a rowing machine. Stretched. Jumped rope. Waited 2 days. Did the same thing. Waited another 2 days. My pushups were a bit easier. Then Monday comes and I. FEEL. STRONG. Pushups are NO PROBLEM. I'm on the treadmill walking at a 2.0 incline and 4.2MPH. Even add in a 30 second run and feels good, feet are feeling better. Wednesday my power dipped and "Captain Sean" from Monday was gone, but could bang out 10 pushups in multiple sets, but legs felt tired.

Was it paleo helping? I don't know. But I do feel better. I'm absolutely less tired. I told people before that when you start paleo about 2 weeks in your taste buds "explode" and normally bland flavors taste much better. I'm really, really looking forward to my salad from Honeygrow tonight.

OH, here's is my homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing I use on salads:
1/2 cup of GOOD Olive oil, not shitty $9.99 olive oil.
1/4 cup of GOOD aged balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs of Dijon Mustard (grey poupon, but of course)
dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, and a pinch of thyme

Put all into a cup and whisk with a fork. Pour over salad. Thank me later.

I'll post again in a few weeks. Not sure if I will be doing before or after photos, we will see.


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This page is a archive of entries in the paleo diet category from January 2016.

paleo diet: May 2015 is the previous archive.

paleo diet: February 2016 is the next archive.

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