Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yogurt is not my friend anymore

M&S Yogurt
One of the many positive aspects of eating Primal is the mindfulness I now have when it comes to food. Because I am eating mostly whole foods with no added ingredients, I know what agrees with me, and I know what doesn't. I now realize that wheat hurts my tummy like nothing else. But over the last few days, I've seen there's a potential new member of the Forbidden Foods club, and it makes me pretty sad.


I love dairy. Milk is tasty. I like cheese, ice cream, half and half and yogurt. In fact, Greek yogurt has helped me bridge the gap in my transition from a Standard American Diet to my new way of eating. Most mornings, I've been enjoying a cup of whole-milk yogurt, some almonds, a handful of berries and a teeny drizzle of honey.

Warning: TMI ahead!

But I've noticed over the last few days that the yogurt, um, wants to make its exit pretty quickly. Any way it can.

Hey, I warned you!

So I think it's time to leave the yogurt to my hubby and my little boy, and time to stock up on more eggs. I'll see how I do with small amounts of cheese on top of an entree or over my scrambled eggs. And I'm really, REALLY hoping I don't have to give up ice cream anytime soon. I've only been eating it about once a month recently, so I think I can keep it in my diet for now.

Image via Nightingale Design London UK/Flickr

Monday, May 21, 2012

The cake is a lie

Birthday cake
In my family, we have what we've come to call "birthday season". We celebrate six birthdays from this past weekend up to August 1, including mine and my husband's. Normally, this is lots of fun. It's a seemingly endless parade of presents, Mom's home cooking and nummy birthday cakes.

I loved birthday cakes. Emphasis on loved. Because now, after about a month of Primal living, birthday cakes have become heartless bitches who seduce me with their buttercream frosting roses and then rip my stomach to shreds.

Damn you, foul confectionery temptresses! I've become everything I hate!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Another positive (ladies-only) side effect of Paleo/Primal

pmsIf you have read any of my other posts, you'll realize I'm a woman. I'm 29, so I'm still in my reproductive years. Put two and two together, and you can guess that I have a week out of every month that I reeeeally don't look forward to. Guys (and squeamish women), you can go ahead and stop reading now.

Ladies, there's more after the jump.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Paleo Strawberry Paletas

It's the middle of spring here in NC, which means it's strawberry and blueberry season! There is seriously nothing like locally grown fruit. Growing up, I thought strawberries were meh and blueberries were gross. That's because the ones my mom bought were from California, and they'd been bred to survive the long cross-country journey. Bland, pale and boring. Yuck.

But then I moved to North Carolina. I didn't even know they grew berries here.
These local berries? Holy crap! So good!

Last Saturday, I went to the Charlotte Farmers Market, like I do most weekends. Farmers come from all over the state to sell their stuff, and I love to take advantage. I bought a gallon of strawberries for $10. That's about $2.50 a pound, which is comparable to the best deal at the supermarket. But these are no supermarket strawberries!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kitchen timers, 2-year-olds and getting stuff done

If you have (or have had) a toddler, you'll know that there are times they can be VERY demanding. These times are known as "waking hours". For example, my son will ask me to play a game with him, usually peek-a-boo or tag, and he will throw a fit if I say no. Never mind I'm probably saying no because I'm elbow-deep in dirty dishes or trying to use the bathroom.

I've worked out a great compromise with him. Like all good Flybabies, I love my timer. I don't have the officially sanctioned FlyLady timer, but I have Old Reliable.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Food for Thought: The Ethics of Eating Meat

Grazing CowsThe New York Times Magazine recently held an essay contest, asking its readers to tell them why it was ethical to eat meat. Entries were received, they were narrowed down to the six finalists, and a winner was chosen by a panel of judges, including authors Mark Bittman, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Michael Pollan.

The winning piece, entitled "Give Thanks for Meat" and written by Jay Bost, argues that when animals are raised and slaughtered humanely, our eating habits become more compatible with the natural order. It's a part of the "circle of life", to put it simply. Treat animals with as much kindness and respect as possible and you're doing OK.

I agree with that standpoint, as do many people who follow a Paleo/Primal lifestyle. I don't like how animals are treated in factory farms. Not a month goes by without reports of mad cow disease breaking out somewhere, or exposes of chickens and pigs being tortured and neglected. I get very pset when I hear these stories, and there have been times I've thought of becoming a vegetarian because of them. But I really do believe that humans are meant to be omnivores, and aside from that, I like meat A LOT.

Humane, sustainable raising of livestock works for me. If the animals are treated well throughout their life, right up until the end, it's the best practice for feeding large groups of people. It also makes sense that it would be the least damaging to our ecosystem as a whole, which we all need to be mindful of.

I read the other entries, including the cuckoo crazy-pants submission by one of the founders of PETA. She stated that she could happily eat meat again now that they can grow it in test tubes. I can't even begin to imagine what could be wrong with lab-created meat. Could it cause cancer? Would food scientists manipulate the DNA and do freaky stuff to it? That crap seems like Frankenfood at its finest, and I'm trying to avoid that like the plague.

I also read the comments. My husband says the #1 rule of the Internet is, "Don't read the comments." But to me, they're like a derailed train or a bus crash. It's terrible, I can't believe what I'm looking at and it sometimes makes me sick, but I can't look away.

Here are some of the more interesting points that struck me:

"Eating meat started from boredom and experimentation that became habit. If we eat dead flesh then we become dead flesh. It is said that humankind was immortal until it began eating the dead. Keeping the brain busy is how you feed the body. Keep it busy and only take fromt his earth what you need." (WTF. Ooookay.)

"II find it strange that in a county (not so much different to mine) where the meat industry spends millions of dollars promoting the eating of meat, and where is it hard to find restaurants that offer good non-meat options, that people still feel the need to defend meat eating, or rather, to oppose those who choose not to." (Good point. Meat eating is the norm."Defending" eating meat is like "defending" being white, in my mind. You're already the majority, let it go.)

"I'm not convinced that using animals in any kind of mass production be done ethically on a mass production scale.  And given that the current population of planet Earth just hit the 7 billion mark, mass production is a de facto requirement to avoid mass starvation." (True! How can we meet our demands for meat on a global scale? Is it possible for us all to eat humanely-raised animals? You sure as heck can't unless you've got plenty of money as it is. A family on food stamps is not going to be able to buy grass-fed beef and free-range chicken.)

"Humans are omnivores= meat and vegi eaters (look at your teeth). There is no morality linked to what one eats!!" (An old argument, but pretty valid.)

"If it is unethical to harm a sentient being then do you own and drive a car? If you do that road you travel on is a waste land and many species cannot cross it. There go an untold number of future generations of sentient beings. But just owning a car defines you as a person with little regard for other life forms anyway considering the damage to the earth that comes from manufacturing a car. Draw the line where? At cute? At furry? At green?" (Hmmmm.)

Many, many more comments, mostly from people arguing against the piece, but mostly pretty thought-provoking. I was expecting more stupidity, but it is the New York Times Magazine, so I guess that weeds out some of the more deranged commenters.

What do you think?

Image via lamcopphis/Flickr

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Low carb flu, redux

relaxing on my desk...again I already had a bout of the low carb flu when I first started nearly a month ago. But now that we're back from our vacation and I've recommitted to Paleo, it's on again. I am soooooo tired in the early afternoon and I have a hard time focusing and thinking. My sister and I took my son on a picnic at the park and I almost put my head down and dozed off on the picnic table. Getting through this sucks, but at least I have K-Cups on my side. I know from the last time that a cup of coffee will put me right, and I won't need it once I get back into the swing of things. I know not everyone thinks much of caffeine, but coffee is my dark mistress and I don't see us breaking up anytime soon. It's a dramatic improvement from this time last year, when I drank 2 cups in the morning, 2 or 3 cans of Cherry Coke during the day and sweet tea at least a few times a week.

You know what's motivating? Losing some baby weight!

As I've said before, if your baby is 2 1/2, I don't know if it can still be called baby weight. But just for the sake of argument, let's say it is. Either way, I am down under 160 lbs. for the first time in at least 3 years. I was 5'4" and 155 lbs. before I got pregnant, and the only food I could keep down in my first trimester was banana fudge milkshakes from Cook Out. So...yeah. And then after he was born, I had a pretty serious case of PPD and had to be on Zoloft for about 9 months. I might fluctuate a little here and there, but the scale never dipped below 164. So now I've lost 5 pounds! In less than a month! Including a vacation with free pina coladas! Hooray!

Image via HouseObsession/flickr

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Paleo on the Road

highway signsSo we're back from our vacation, a 14-hour drive each way. When you're on the road that long, you need to eat. I packed a few things, but I didn't anticipate 1) not having enough or 2) getting bored with the same foods. I started with a few cans of raw almonds and mixed nuts. Yummy, but high in calories, and eating the same thing gets old. I never got to the kale chips because I didn't want to stink up the car. Here are some options I found at the gas stations we hit along the way. For the most options, stop at a "higher end" convenience store like Race Way, Sheetz, Wawa or 7 Eleven. These chains carry a wider variety of snacking choices.

Hard-boiled eggs
These usually come in a 2-pack. Not necessarily as tasty as homemade, but what is at a gas station?

Seeds and nuts
You can almost always find small packages of salted cashews and sunflower seeds. I managed to find a big bag of pumpkin seeds for less than $2 at one stop. They were something different, they're full of protein, fat and essential minerals, and the bag lasted me for most of my trip. It never hurts to look and see what's there. Always check the label and make sure there's no sugar or any artificial ingredients.

Beef Jerky
This will work in a pinch. It contains sugar and (usually) soy sauce, but if you've got to eat, you've got to eat. Read the labels first. Jack Link's, which was once my favorite brand, has a lot of no-no ingredients. Oberto is made without artificial ingredients. Use your best judgment.

If you're driving this long, you're probably going to get tired. We used to grab cans of Red Bull or Rockstar, but I was much happier this trip with a nice cup of coffee and some whole milk. I still put a little sugar in it, but I am taking baby steps with this and cutting back gradually.

Fresh fruit and vegetables
Almost any better gas station will have apples, bananas and/or oranges available. In addition, I've also seen apple slices and baby carrots in the coolers.

Next time, I'm going to try to plan ahead and visit Amazon or a website like Paleo Food Mall and buy some stuff in advance. I didn't have that luxury on this trip, unfortunately.

Image via durhamskywriter/Flickr