Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ginger Apple Pulled Pork

For the last 5 days now (plus today), I've been eating low-carb paleo. As in, under 50g of carbs a day, and none of those are from starchy vegetables. A small amount are from fruit, but not much at all. It's part of an experiment I'm doing after I listened to a podcast by Robb Wolf. If you want to listen to some, there's a list of podcasts in my sidebar. Click on "The Paleolithic Solution w/Robb Wolf" and listen to the very first one he did. He talks about reasonable amounts of carbs and how to lose fat.

Anyway. So that's where I am right now. I've hit my ten pounds lost mark since I went Primal/Paleo at the beginning of January, but I would be much farther ahead if I'd not had a 2-week falling-off-the-wagon incident. Regardless, I am where I am and am moving forward!

So. You want the recipe for my Ginger Apple Pulled Pork, do you? Good for you. You'll love it. Feel free to adjust as you go. Mine was pretty much unsweetened, because I'm keeping that to a minimum. The original recipe from paleOMG calls for honey and garlic, which I omitted. Actually, I didn't totally omit garlic; I did use a pinch of garlic salt. It doesn't seem to affect me nearly so badly as "real" garlic. (For those reading who don't actually know me, my body can't digest garlic.)

I made enough "sauce" to cover about 9oz of pork. I had 2 pork tenderloins that I cooked in my slow cooker on the weekend. I cut off 9oz worth and threw the pork in on top of the finished sauce, heated it up, then shredded the meat with two forks. It worked perfectly. We had it with some Brussels sprouts sautéed in coconut oil. So so so awesome. <3

1 apple, peeled and cored, chopped
2 T chopped onion
1 t olive oil
1/2 c chicken stock (you could use beef stock, or water if you don't have stock)
1-2 t grated fresh ginger (use dried ground ginger if you don't have fresh - 1/2  t should be enough)
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t garlic salt
1/8 t onion powder
pinch black pepper
pinch sea salt

Heat the olive oil and onions in a small saucepan and cook until the onions start to caramelize. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the apples are soft enough to mash with a masher or fork.

Throw the meat on top and stir it around. Heat it through, then shred with a fork.

Shove it in your face.

You could totally multiply this recipe and cook an entire tenderloin in it in the slowcooker, then shred the meat at the very end. I would say to at least double the recipe if you're using a 1-lb tenderloin, and cook it for 8hrs at least on low. If you want a bit more sweetness, go ahead and add 1-2 T of honey or maple syrup when you're putting in all the ingredients.

Nutritional info for the entire meal, which counts 8oz of pork tenderloin and all of the sauce, even though I didn't actually eat all of the sauce:

537 cals
52g protein
25g carbs
27g fat

Please leave a comment if you make this!

Monday, February 27, 2012

No Wonder North Americans Are Fat.

Here's a quote that literally jumped off the page at me while I was reading the Wikipedia article on the Paleo diet:

More than 70% of the total daily energy consumed by all people in the United States comes from foods such as dairy products, cereals, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and alcohol...


Does that seem anything less than totally ridiculous to anyone other than me? I mean...ok. When I was eating crap, I ate a lot of crap. But never that much. 70 percent??? And when you figure that probably everyone who eats this way is ALSO eating far, far, far too many calories to start with, that's an enormous amount of  crap. That stuff isn't even food. This type of diet translates into obesity, heart disease, infertility, PCOS, stroke, diabetes, and cancers, and probably many other health problems. Those are just the obvious ones.

These days, I'm eating ZERO cereals, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils, and alcohol. I eat cheese (raw swiss) once in a while, and I'm not adverse to having a glass of raw milk or putting a bit of cream in my coffee. But that's really practically nothing. Not even one percent of my diet. Not even 0.10 percent!

The only sugar I'm eating now (which is extremely rare, in any case) is honey and maple syrup. And guess what? I'm not really craving it. I'm eating so low carb at the moment that I'm in ketosis as I write this. Go ahead, look it up if you want (click on the word "ketosis," I made it a hyperlink for you).

That's the point. Our bodies were MEANT to be fat burners, not sugar burners. And that's what mine is doing. It's burning the fat right off of my ass. And that's the way I like it.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday, February 24, 2012

Staying on Track

I will be the first to admit that changing your lifestyle - when you've got deeply ingrained bad habits and preferences - is difficult. Expect to have setbacks. Figure out what works best for you; some people do really well on a 80/20 primal or pale/treat or cheat foods. Some have to do 100% primal or paleo, and some fall somewhere in between.

I've tried to have cheat/treat days or even just treat meals. It doesn't work very well for me. I have found that it opens up a can of horrible cravings and failed willpower, which cycles down into eating garbage every day until I have to start all over. I've just recently experienced this. Today is my second day on track after about two weeks off the wagon. In that two weeks, I ate inordinate amounts of pizza, some ice cream, and drank beer and vodka. Although that doesn't seem like a lot compared to most people's Standard American Diet, it's not really conducive to the lifestyle I want to explore - AND it stopped my weight loss process. I actually gained a couple of pounds back from water retention (caused by grains/excess carb consumption).

So, I'm back on track. I'm seriously going to work on staying under 50g carbs on rest days and under 100g on training days. It's actually what Gemma (personal trainer) recommended, but I wasn't really being serious about it. Now I'm going to buckle down and JUST DO IT. Once I'm at my goal weight (in about 20 pounds or so), I'll obviously consider adjusting my intake and ratios, but for now, ketogenic is what's going to get me there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancake Tuesday!

Just because I eat paleo/primal doesn't mean I can't have pancakes! Today is Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday and so I made a special PWO-meal. I made two versions of pancakes, one for me and my daughter, and one for my husband (who doesn't like my version). My version is made from almond butter, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and cinnamon. I used maple syrup on top, so I didn't include the honey from the recipe. I made a half batch, which resulted in 10 2-inch pancakes.

I also enjoyed some breakfast sausages (wheat, nitrate, and sugar-free) and some frozen raspberries...and some maple syrup, as I said. Delicious! Here's a pic of what's left of my lunch (forgot about taking a pic until halfway through)...

This is a fairly high-cal meal due to the fatty sausages and the almond butter, but that's ok. It's a workout day! I'll have to make sure I get lots of protein later, since this meal was kind of low. Macros: 1090 cals, 71g fat, 70g carbs, 46g protein.

For my husband's pancakes, I used 1/4 cup almond flour, 1 tbsp coconut flour, an egg, 1 tsp vanilla, and some cinnamon. They were much more like regular pancakes. The almond butter ones are not.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Primal Macaroons

Today I made a batch of plain salted almond crackers, and figured I might as well use up some of the shredded unsweetened coconut in my cupboard. Originally I bought it to make coconut butter, but I killed the attachment on my immersion blender. :(

Not sure where I got the recipe, but here it is:
2 egg whites
1 cup coconut flakes
1/16 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (real)
pinch salt
cinnamon (optional)

Mix egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir until just combined. Stir in coconut and cinnamon. Drop onto parchment lined paper in rounded teaspoons and bake at 325F for 12-15 min. Check at 12 min, do not overbake.

Mine were a little brown when I checked at 14 minutes, hence the caveat about checking at 12 minutes. They taste fine though!

Nutritional info (for 4 macaroons if you get 28 out of the batch like I did):
100 cals
8g fat
4.8g carbs
2g protein

Monday, February 13, 2012

Omelette Muffins

I'm constantly on the lookout for easy, inexpensive yet TASTY primal/paleo snacks for me and my family. Tonight I was browsing through an ebook I got from Mark's Daily Apple - called "The Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook." It's absolutely chock-full of delicious primal recipes. I wish I had a fully-stocked kitchen and freezer right now so I could make all of the dishes!

One of the recipes that caught my eye is the "Omelet Muffins" on page 11, submitted by Amy Schoenherr. I took the basic instructions (6 eggs, filling you want, bake at 350F for 18-21 min) and created what I'm sure will be a hit. I know I find them pretty darned tasty! Now hopefully I can convince my snack-picky husband to try them!

For my muffins, I stirred in 1/4 cup of chopped roasted chicken breast; about 1/4 cup of mild chunky salsa (sugar free); and some leftover sauteed red, yellow, and orange pepper rings in to a half dozen eggs. This made 8 muffins. Here's an actual recipe for people who need that kind of thing:

6 eggs beaten
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped red/yellow/orange sweet peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup chopped chicken breast
some freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together and then spoon or ladle into lined muffin tins. Bake at 350F for 18-21 min or until knife inserted comes out almost clean (will continue to cook for another couple minutes, do not overcook). Cool slightly and enjoy! Eat while warm. Store leftovers in fridge. I assume you could freeze these, too.

I admit that I didn't wait quite long enough for them to cool down to the point where I could peel the lining paper off them without sticking, but they were awesome, nevertheless. I'll definitely be making these in the future. I'm envisioning Greek versions with chicken, feta, tomato, and kalamata olives chopped in; Western with bacon or ham, onion, and green pepper; and a deluxe version with bacon, mushrooms, and green pepper. MMMMMM!

I entered the info into Sparkpeople and figured out the nutritional info for you all in case you bother with that stuff. I used XL eggs so make sure you do, too.

Calories in each muffin: 100
7.9g fat
1.2g carbs
6.3g protein

How awesome is that!?!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Four Week Progress

Last Friday (I know, I'm a week late) was our four-week check-in to gauge our progress on the Brutal Beauty Bootcamp program. I'm not going to show all of the pictures, because I'd rather unveil the totally drastic changes at the end of 12 weeks. Instead, I'll show you a photo of what appears to be the most dramatic change that you would actually notice if you saw me on the street. And no, I'm not talking about the haircut. ;)

Taken 8Jan12

Taken 5Feb12

 I can't believe how puffy and fat my face was before! Please ignore the horrible hair, red nose and lack of makeup, too. This was taken mid-cold and my nose had been running like a faucet all day.

Tally to date
Pounds lost: 8.5
Total Inches Lost (measured at neck, bust, underbust, upper right arm, natural waist, at navel, hips, right thigh, and right calf): 9.25

It appears that the initial fat loss has occurred from around my internal organs and off my face. The rest of me looks slightly smaller but nothing so dramatic as my face. I've lost two inches off my waist, but again, more likely from the fat disappearing from my abdominal cavity, not subcutaneous fat. That's the way it works with me. In a couple weeks, once all the extra organ fat has been burned off, the more visible layer will start to go, too.

So - how do I feel? I'm kind of hungry once in a while, but that's due more to poor food choices than anything, I think. On rest days I really need to be mindful of where my calories are coming from. And I also need to stop buying pizza from the shop next door to my new work.  It's going to sabotage all the good work I've done thus far. At least I've been able to resist all those fabulous smelling bagels and donuts at the Tim Horton's that is on the other side of my branch. Sigh.