Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Self Control = A+

I made it through a girls weekend with no meaningful cheats.  I say meaningful, because I did have a tiny sip of Jenn's elderflower gimlet and a tiny sip of her wine, and about 1-2oz of champagne.  Also, I was pretty limited on my food choices for lunch, and there were chickpeas in my Everything Veggie soup from Souper Jenny.  BUT, I took the bread and cheese off my turkey sandwich.  So, let's call it even.  :)  It wasn't easy, and I reeeaaaaaaaallllllllllly wanted a glass of wine (and a cookie), but I made it and I can definitely say that the accomplishment I feel now heavily outweighs the momentary high I would have gotten from the wine or cookies.  This blog may be mostly paleo talk for the next five weeks (almost done with week 1!), so you'll just have to forgive me in advance.

Some things I learned this weekend:
  • San Pellegrino with lemons and limes is the way to go when everyone else has fun cocktails.  I went out and bought a few bottles to have at home, so I can have a sparkly "fun" drink every now and then (besides plain water, black coffee, and tea).
  • Most restaurants, especially nicer ones, are more than willing to accommodate your dietary needs.  I was able to order three delicious paleo friendly small plates from one of my favorite restaurants, Ecco.  They held the cheese in one, and the others were paleo friendly on their own - braised short ribs stuffed in piquillo peppers, grilled octopus with olives, some spicy peppers and some other veggies, and sauteed broccoli with cheese sauce (but obviously, without the cheese).  Sure, the girls' fried goat cheese balls and pizzas looked divine, but whatever.
  • Choose restaurants that have these options... it makes dining out a much more pleasant experience.
  • Pretend you're pregnant when everyone else orders alcohol (save one truly pregnant friend), and it makes you feel a little better.  :)
  • It's super easy to eat breakfast out.  BLT minus the bread with 2 fried eggs and a side of fruit was a delicious breakfast out with friends yesterday morning.
  • I feel good.
I think I can safely say that I'm over my cravings (that was quick), and hopefully, it's all downhill from here.  That's not to say I might not cry if I have to go to a Mexican restaurant and abstain from chips and salsa (a weakness of mine), but otherwise, I'm loving this.

On the menu this week:
  • Finishing off the leftovers of my "spaghetti" and meatballs for lunch (recipe below).
  • Paleo pad thai
  • Pecan crusted catfish and steamed broccoli with lemon
  • Paleo potluck at the gym Friday... not sure yet what I am bringing... thinking of some sort of fish/crab cakes with paleo tartar sauce (basically, homemade mayo with herbs/spices)
Also, there are 40-someodd people participating in the lockdown, and at $20 a piece, the pot is high.  I am determined to win this thing.  Lucky for me, I sandbagged my starting stats (that's my excuse anyway), and I fully plan on getting the max points for the other areas measured (turning in food log, workouts and bloodwork).  I can already tell I've leaned out.  It's amazing what a week of no grains or sugars does to your body.  Now, I'm sure it's water/inflammation, but to see and feel results after a week is encouraging.  I am also ordering my fish oil today and am looking forward to starting that.  I'm going with a pretty high quality liquid fish oil, so it's not cheap ($60 for a month and a half supply), but I don't want to risk putting anything bad into my body and since the fish oil industry is not government regulated (not that that always matters... have you seen Food Inc?), I'm making sure what I buy has been tested against and exceeds other governments' standards.  I'm going with Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid.  I'm doing a liquid, because according to Robb Wolf's fish oil calculator, I need 6.5 grams of fish oil for my current state of health.  That's about 2 tsps versus 5 pills since this stuff is more concentrated.

Since this entry is long enough, I'll save discussions about fish oil for another day.  In the meantime, Robb Wolf's website is a great place to start learning more about this crazy, makessomuchsense lifestyle.

Paleo "spaghetti" and meatballs
Note: This is a somewhat time consuming meal (about 1.5 hours total), so either prepare it on the weekend, ahead of time, or if you're home from work earlier.  There's a good bit of handsoff time, but would still be tough to pull together during the week.  I can confirm that it reheats well, as I'm going on serving #4 for lunch today.  :)

-1-2 spaghetti squash
-1-1/2 sweet onions, diced and divided
-many cloves of garlic, minced (by hand, garlic presses take a lot of flavor from the garlic, but I'm a garlic snob)
-a few organic carrots, peeled and chopped (adds sweetness w/o using sugar)
-1 small can organic tomato paste
-2 big cans organic San Marzano tomatoes
-1 15 oz can organic tomato sauce
-herbs of choice (parsley, basil and some bouquet garni) for marinara
-about 3 oz prosciutto, diced
-2 lbs grass fed sirloin
-herbs of choice (parsley, basil, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds)
-salt and pepper
-1 egg

Preheat oven to 400.  In a nonstick pan, "saute" diced prosciutto on medium heat until somewhat crisp.  Remove from pan to cool in a mixing bowl (large enough to mix your meatballs).  Add EVOO to pan and saute about 3/4 c onions and several cloves of minced garlic until tender and add to bowl.  Meanwhile, cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds and junk, drizzle with EVOO, and place cut side down on a jelly roll pan (something with an edge so EVOO doesn't drip out).  This will cook for 40-45 minutes, so I'd put it in the oven once you get everything into your marinara.  In a large pot (enamel cast iron if you have it), saute the remaining onions and garlic and carrots in EVOO on medium heat until tender.  Add tomato paste and mix to thin, then add tomatoes (use kitchen shears to cut into pieces) and tomato sauce.  Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste.  Put squash in oven if you haven't already.  Once marinara begins to bubble, turn heat down to low and cover, stir occasionally.  By this time, your prosciutto, onions and garlic should be cool enough so add your meat, herbs (just eye ball it... I like a little fennel flavor but not a lot, so I used probably 1/2 -3/4 tsp and at least a tablespoon of parsley and basil... probably 1-2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper).  Add your egg as binder, and mix well.  Form into meatballs and place in a baking dish.  This will go in the oven for about 25-35 minutes, depending on size, with your squash.  When the squash is done, you'll use a fork to remove the innards, which will come out like noodles.  Top with your meatballs and sauce, and enjoy a grain and sugar free take on spaghetti and meatballs!


Kristin said...

Is Matt changing his diet? Wish I could have the motivation you have.

Kristin said...

Not completely, but yes. He is eating what I cook, and I've even gotten him off eating cereal for breakfast. He hard boiled a bunch of eggs, and he's bringing them to work for breakfast/snack along with fruit. Better than nothing and when the lockdown is done, I plan to allow myself a few cheat meals per week (3-4), add back in dairy (namely cheese), and clear liquors/wine. :)

Amy said...

So impressed with you and love that you're sharing the process! I really want to try this - if nothing else just to have the challenge of really thinking about what I eat and what's going into my body. Thanks for sharing the recipe - I love spaghetti squash and that sauce sounds yummy. Not sure if the yeast in this recipe fits in the paleo diet - but a friend just shared this eggplant pesto recipe with me... it would probably be good on spaghetti squash too. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2010/06/roasted-eggplant-pesto.html

Kristin said...

Thanks, Am. Not sure about the yeast, but this woman needs more fat in her diet! :) Your body needs fat and will store it if you don't get enough, especially when you add grains (which your body treats the same was a sugar)... they tell your body to store fat. Too little fat + grains = not easy to lose weight. In fact, I just read that she's "not where she wants to be" and that's because she isn't getting enough of the proper Omega 3s (from fish oil... flaxseed isn't the same thing as study after study has shown) or enough fat. I will not step off my soapbox. lol

However, that does look good but I'd get rid of the yeast, add olive oil and put it over some spaghetti squash and chicken or fish. :)