Friday, December 28, 2012
I couldn't believe how easy it was to slip right back into old habits. I didn't even have any side effects to speak of. No stomach aches, no foggy brain... I felt fine. For a while anyway.
Aaaaah, Dickmann's, Milka, Rittersport, Chipsfrish....
Every night there are plenty of sweets, wine, and tequila, and if it's there, well, then you eat and drink and you don't worry or care. You just enjoy.
A week into our vacation, I decided it was time to finally get moving. I desperately needed some exercise. My brother owns a rowing machine... I sat on it, starting rowing hard, and I was completely out of breath within five minutes. How was this possible? I'm a Crossfitter... I don't get out of breath after five minutes of rowing. I tried push ups, squats, walking lunges, and I did not last ten minutes before giving up. Wow! I have not felt this rusty and spongy since... since I started my paleo journey two years ago!
So this is how this feels. This is how I felt on a regular basis. I don't miss this feeling. I don't want it! And here I am, in Germany, where there is much less obesity than in the States, and I find myself gaining weight and feeling like an old woman. I made the decision to limit my grains to once a day (breakfast), and really, how can anyone resist a yummy German breakfast with crunchy rolls and Nutella? I felt an immediate improvement in my well-being. But I must admit that my hips have been quite achy in the past week.
Nevertheless, it has been easier to work out, and I will continue eating like this for the next week that we're still here. When we get back home, it's back on the bandwagon!!
I am enjoying this wonderful trip, and I have no regrets. I have no feelings of guilt. But I am also looking forward to going back to my regular ways... It's what works for me. I feel cleaner and better staying away from grains and sugar.
Everyone, have a very happy new year!!
Thursday, December 13, 2012
If I sweat, I am so uncomfortable that I wake up and have the hardest time going back to sleep. I have to splash my face with cold water and sometimes change my clothes.
I have not slept like a baby in many, many years. Now, at 38, I consider an actual good night's sleep a luxury I can rarely afford... only, I could actually afford it if I knew how to fall asleep in the first place... and then how to stay asleep.
I shouldn't say that I don't sleep at all. I go through phases when I have no trouble falling asleep. I don't ever sleep through the night, but when I do wake up, it's only to catch a glimpse of the time, then drift back into la-la-land. I feel reasonably rested during those times, so I won't complain.
But then, every few weeks, it happens. I go to bed the same way I do every night. Same routine for years. Usually within an hour of the same time. And I will not fall asleep. I read an article about the Stages of Sleep today, describing how we go to sleep, what happens during each stage and so forth.
It appears to me that during my sleepless times I am consistently stuck somewhere between stage 1 and stage 2.
Stage 1Stage 1 is the beginning of the sleep cycle, and is a relatively light stage of sleep. Stage 1 can be considered a transition period between wakefulness and sleep. In Stage 1, the brain produces high amplitude theta waves, which are very slow brain waves. This period of sleep lasts only a brief time (around 5-10 minutes). If you awaken someone during this stage, they might report that they weren't really asleep.
Stage 2Stage 2 is the second stage of sleep and lasts for approximately 20 minutes. The brain begins to produce bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity known as sleep spindles. Body temperature starts to decrease and heart rate begins to slow.
More often I think it is stage 1, that just won't end. I don't feel like I'm asleep, although I'm already starting to "see" dream like images drift by. Eventually I get so annoyed by this "transition" that I start feeling uncomfortable. Now I start tossing and turning. I'm a side sleeper, so I need a certain kind of pillow. Sometimes I use a body pillow, and I've wrapped myself around that thing in the weirdest knots, because I just couldn't get comfortable. Half the time I can't find anything to do for the arm I'm lying on. These seem like silly problems... until you actually are in that situation and find yourself going a little crazy over them.
I used to get terribly annoyed over my sleeplessness. I bitterly sat around and moped. I watched boring shows on TV and I was awake until the wee hours of the morning. I've written about this very subject right here on this blog. Of course I started doing a little bit of research on how to fall asleep. No screens, total darkness in room, same bedtime routine, no hot baths before bed, avoid certain foods and certain beverages... blah blah blah... None of these methods help. When I go through a phase of sleeplessness like right now, then I'm awake, and that is that. And I would totally leave the subject alone and just live with this peacefully if it weren't for two itty bitty little problems.
1) I need a certain amount of hours of sleep each night to make it through the next day. Yep, I'm one of those 9 hour sleepers.
2) My inner alarm clock rudely awakens me at 6am sharp every morning. Day after day after day. I don't remember the time I actually slept in. Sleeping in... I don't even know what that means! :)
So, I believe I will continue to explore the subject of why I can't sleep, without moping about it. And if any of my dear readers out there have any input, I'll take it. Any and all of it.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Now, that things are going to slow down a bit (the musical was a great success, and we only have the ballet performance coming up now), I felt a strong urge to cook (or bake). Also, we were invited to a party last night, and I couldn't come empty handed. For the first recipe you'll want to subscribe to a primal diet more than paleo, as it is made with Greek yogurt. :)
1 large container of plain greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced and chopped into small strips
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all of the ingredients and add season to taste. Served with veggies this makes for an excellent and delicious dip.
1 1/3 cup almond flour (or hazelnut if you prefer)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
a dash of ground ginger
1 cup dark chocolate chips
walnuts and raisins for decoration
Preheat oven to 320F.
Mix almond flour with honey and eggs, then add spices. If you are unsure of how much of each spice you like, I recommend taking it really easy, then adding more as you go along. You don't want to end up with cookies that taste too much of one thing.
The dough gets very sticky, so I added some more almond flour (about another 3 tbsp), and because it was still pretty sticky then, I set it in the fridge to cool off for 20 minutes. The recipe instructs to form three or four logs (about 1.5 inches in diameter). I dusted my hands with a little bit of coconut flour, grabbed a handful of dough and managed to create three nice logs.
Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes. Mine definitely needed the full 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Cut the logs into wedges about half an inch thick... or however thick you like it. You could eat them that way. They are nice and chewy. Or you could melt some dark chocolate chips, dip the cookies in the chocolate and cover with a walnut or raisins.
5 tbsp coconut oil
5 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 to 3 tbsp honey
rum or brandy to taste
2 1/2 to 3 cups of almond flour
cocoa powder or coconut flakes to roll the balls in
In a pan melt the coconut oil on medium heat, then stir in the cocoa powder. Turn heat to low and keep stirring until combined. Now add the coconut milk and honey and stir until combined. Finally add the rum or brandy. I don't use more than 2 tbsp, but this is really up to you. Have the almond flour ready in a separate bowl, pour the chocolate/coconut oil mixture into the bowl and mix well. You'll have a heavy mass at that point. Set it in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes. Then form 1 inch balls and roll them in cocoa powder or coconut flakes or even chocolate sprinkles if you don't discriminate against those. ;)
You want to keep the rum balls in the fridge, as they will eventually get soft when they're left out for too long.
And that was it for today! Hope you like some of this stuff and will give it a try.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Lately, intermittent fasting has gotten some bad rap, especially when connected to women. Train like a man, eat like a woman is only the latest in a series of posts about the dangers of intermittent fasting. Make no mistake, I am not trying to disprove any of the information you read in these excellently written articles. After all, I'm neither a nutritionist nor a physician... so really, take any information given by me as an opinion (there... did the whole legal waiver thingy).
But the fact remains, that intermittent fasting CAN be beneficial, even for a woman, if not taken to an extreme. Forgive me for saying it, but intermittent fasting done every single day, is no longer intermittent. It's daily. Yes, again, this is my opinion, and you may of course disagree with this statement. It may even be true that our ancestors did in fact fast for a good amount of hours every single day. But we live in the 21st century, and there is no way, we can replicate the life of a caveman/woman. And so, while it's quite possible, that a cavechick fasted for a certain amount of time every single day, it is also true that she did not have the kind of busy soccer mom, career woman, Crossfitter heavy lifting life. True, in the bigger picture of evolution, our bodies haven't changed much... but our lifestyles can hardly be compared!
My friend does intermittent fasting days every now and then. The latest one was after her trip to Disney... A week of cheats and indulgences left her uncomfortably bloated, and it was time to do a little cleanse. Also, she'll throw in a day of fasting occasionally just because she can. What does this look like? Well, she'll have a cup of tea with a couple of teaspoons of virgin coconut oil mixed in for breakfast. Then she'll fast for the rest of the day. She's done this 24 hours and as long as 36. She'll then start eating normally again. After a fast she feels cleansed and "reset" as she puts it. Whether it's physical or psychological, she can't really say, but really, does it matter?
Intermittent fasting used this way is (in my opinion) the right way to use it. It's not an obsession to lose just a couple more pounds. It's a way to cleanse the body.
Having said all that... I'd like to throw out there that almost all of us do some "fasting" every day. I eat dinner at approximately 6pm... breakfast is usually at 9am, on Crossfit days closer to 10:30am. I would consider this a fast. If you want to experiment with intermittent fasting, a good way to get started may just be to push your breakfast out a couple of hours, and see how that feels. But seriously, BEFORE you do this, be sure that you're fasting for the right reasons, so that becoming obsessed with it won't be an issue for you and ultimately for your health.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Well, nobody around here frowned when we cooked up these fish sticks... and this is a little miracle, considering that we have a daughter who claims to hate fish. (She didn't use to when she was little, but now she hates all kinds of foods... Maybe that happens when you're 11?)
So, how did we do it? It was super easy!
Salmon filets cut into long strips
2 parts almond flour
1 part coconut flour
coconut oil (expeller pressed as to avoid the coconut taste)
eggs (for three salmon filets we used 2 eggs)
In one bowl mix eggs, in another combine almond flour, coconut flour, salt and pepper. Bread the salmon pieces... eggs first, then flour mixture. Heat a cast iron pan until it is very hot and add PLENTY of coconut oil. This is important. Since the coconut flour in the breading soaks up the oil, the fish sticks can easily dry out, so you want to have plenty of coconut oil in your pan at all times.
Cook the fish sticks for about three minutes on medium heat on one side, flip over and cook another minute or two. Depending on how thin you cut the strips, they'll be done in as little as 5 minutes.
For the make shift tartar sauce (and yes, I know it usually requires lots more ingredients... which is why I'm calling it "Make Shift" rather than actual tartar sauce) we used:
We simply cut up the pickles into small pieces, added a bit of pickle juice to the mayo, then added the pickles. Stir it up, and done. :) While it wasn't real tartar sauce, it tasted delicious with the fish sticks.
Cucumber salad is a must have for my salmon. For that I used:
red wine vinegar
I thinly slice the cucumber, then made a salad dressing out of 1 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp oil, salt, pepper, and dill weed, added the diced onion, et voila, it was done.
This meal was quickly prepared and enjoyed by everyone! For picky eaters definitely recommended! :)