Monday, December 28, 2009

paleo, now with workouts!

well, we haven't done anything dramatically different lately, except for the breaking of our paleo vows for Christmas. Even though we weren't too too crazy, we still feel rotten - i drove home from my sister's beautiful Christmas two day party with a stomach like a lead balloon, but we are getting back to paleo foods (lunch was leftover chicken in tomato sauce with mozza melted on top - yummy!) and back to exercise.

My two (younger) sisters are both very beautiful and every time around this year i vow to get a new hair cut, buy some clothes (done!) and in every respect, be a worthy sister in the trio :) - so today starts our "at least try a little, Stephanie" regime...

Hair cut booked (by sweet T) for tomorrow, new clothes bought, paleo foods consumed, and exercises will forthwith be blogged here (instead of my homeschooling mom blog, which i'm sure might be a relief for some of my friends there)...

I'm behind by quite a few workouts - the month of December didn't leave a ton of room for blogging - as Yoda would say "Blog or workout. There is no both" (or something like that, maybe a little less dorky)

Today's workout:

(consisting of 20 seconds of full out exercise, then 10 seconds of rest - for eight minutes. We use a premixed tabata mix that has heavy metal/prog interspersed with beautiful classical or acoustic guitar so we don't have to check our watches)

These were the exercises today:

rows (i use the chin/dip station)

at some point, babe Meow decided she needed some mama love, so partway through my form got sloppy and i did one round of rows with her clinging to my neck and balancing on my chest (and almost puked then)...

I'm working in lightshop with all of our Christmas pictures (well, most of them) and i would like to get out of the house and enjoy a little more winter wonderland this week before T goes back to work, but there's a game today (football? hockey?) and it's his vacation after all, so we will veg in front of flickering boxes, and let the children run wild and forage for food amid the chocolate/cookie detritus...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Update on half hearted paleo...

I am not a very faithful paleo girl, but dinners have been paleo pretty regularly around here, and often the two other meals are too (at least for me)...

and i'm down to the lowest weight i've been since having baby #7! So excited about that - i'm sure it has to do with a little more frequent workouts lately, too, but it's nice to see *results* when you are wanting to lose weight. I don't have a ton to lose (twelve pounds would be fine), but I remember what it felt like getting down there again after baby #6 and fitting into the clothes i bought and feeling more like me, less weighed down and self conscious...

I am also feeling more clear headed this time around. I think going 100% right at the beginning was maybe a little much for my system (although it's how it works with both dh and i - we'd rather jump right in than go halfsies at first - we're wholehearted :)...) - It's worked great for dh, but my not quite as committed version is working too... We are feeling healthy and happy, and full, and eating foods we like...

Not bad!

Monday, November 23, 2009


OH, i do have pictures of food :)

but first, workouts:

Sunday - dumbbell complex - 20 minutes of 5 deadlifts, 5 cleans, and 5 thrusters every minute (i did seven and then nursed the baby before heading out to choir... )

Monday - "Fran" but modified ( - 21 thrusters with 15 lb dumbbells, 21 rows, 15 db thrusters, 15 rows, 9 db thrusters, 9 rows. Quick and effective!

As for food, we are getting to a good place.

We are still subbing in chocolate flavoured protein powder as i can stand that in warm water (hot chocolate!) - and it makes a great meal replacement...

But dinners are getting easier as i just let go of a lot of baked side dishes, and just enjoy meat and veggies...

The other night T made chicken breasts on the bone with roasted root veggies:

Chicken - he sprinkled seasoning salt on the breast portions, then baked them.

Root veggies - sliced in thick rounds, rubbed with canola oil, sprinkled with seasoning salt, baked in the oven

Mustard sauce - 1/4 c. grainy mustard with a teaspoon of honey, and a half cup of heavy cream,heated through - Season with salt and pepper.

Delicious! The meat was juicy and delicious, and the sauce was excellent...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Am I good at workouting?" asks Lulu as we walk down the stairs to meet Daddy, beaming in front of a white board.

"I love workouting with you and Haven. Cause Haven an' me hold hands an' kiss in between our situps. We're best friends" he says matter of factly about his big sister.

We were down to only five children tonight - our littlest and our biggest girls were just wiped out today, and went to bed early.

Our workout was a little late, too, as i prepped for the school week, pulling books on the ancient Americas, photocopied worksheets, maps, coloring pages, wrote out my plan for the week, and organized everyone's day for tomorrow...

But finally we are down there and this is the workout:

"Race to One Hundred!"

Pick any exercise you like. You will do one hundred of that exercise. If you can do all one hundred in a big long stretch, bully for you! You will be done soon! If not, every time you take a break, you have to pay for your break before you restart the count, by doing ten burpees.

Burpees aren't my favourite.

I chose squats (body weight) and i got to 50 before my quads were burning (they've been the stars in our workouts lately so there's always a little stiffness the last few days) - and i did two sets of 50, with my ten burpees in the middle...

T is still working out, although the children have all run upstairs for a banana before bed, and i am not hearing any noise at all. We're all pretty tired i guess. Hopefully a good sleep will set us all right for a fun week!

Paleo is still going okay. I'm not as good as T at avoiding carby snacks. Especially when there are treats in the house for coffee, but the majority of what i eat is caveman, and during the week there is less temptation.

Tonight's dinner was delicious -

Travis' Awesome Indian lemon chicken

Chicken breasts on the bone

separate skin from the meat.

finely chopped jalapeno, ginger, and garlic

salt, pepper, curry powder, turmeric

a little olive oil

Mix all but the chicken together. Push the mixture under the skin of the chickens.

Salt and pepper the top.

Bake at 350. Squirt lemon juice over them two or three times during the cooking.

These were delicious, yellow, lemony and a hit with everyone at the table. Wy said it was his new favourite chicken dish...

T made basmati for the children to go along, but we cavepeople ate meat and savoured every bite...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Finding faithfulness, one day at a time...

I'm finding this second try at paleo is a little easier.

For one, i'm finding the balance between all those mental notes i had when we were eating Zone (portion control/ balancing carbs/protein etc)...

I'm not doing any strict measuring, but i am trying to be reasonable in portion control - for awhile just knowing that i didn't get any carby side dishes made me panic and take too much of everything else. Turns out, i don't need a whole lot of extras...

Also, i don't necessarily have to have protein at every meal. I still out of habit think "what's the protein?" - but i'm realizing that it's okay to just have an apple for a snack, or a few almonds or whatever.

Even with one cheat day a week, I am finding that sweet spot of paleo and if i weigh myself, i'm guessing i'm on my way back down. We are also working out pretty faithfully now that T has instituted a post dinner workout with all the children. I haven't been a fan of family workouts (that's a lot of little people popping up and down!) - but T loves it and so do they, so i find a corner to do my pushups in and try to discourage the tiny ones from climbing on me ("Daddy loves that!" hee hee!)...

The cooking is coming a little easier, too - actually, eating this way is very easy on the family cook - pop something in the crockpot or oven in the morning, and don't think about it much except to make a sauce (or a marinade) and get some veggies ready closer to dinner time...

I am still pretty good at baking for littles and not eating any - it helps that there are a lot of littles, but i am also doing things like only making two dozen cookies at a time - with seven children those go pretty quick, are appreciated by the littles, but there aren't a ton left over for me to "clean up"...

I think i can do this!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tentative Paleo solutions...

Well, here i am again. I know this blog hasn't been regularly updated, which is kind of indicative of my commitment to the paleo diet :)

While i do think the foods list help to make me feel better, healthier, less bloated - i have problems with the whole "caveman" concept - It says in the Bible that Cain (Adam's son) brought grain to offer to God (and it wasn't good enough, so maybe there is the backup for paleo right there in the Bible!) - so i guess they had grain from the beginning...

Anyway, T is still really loving this way of eating - he's lost 25 lbs since the summer and is pretty ripped... And i want to help him and make him happy...

so finally i had some time to write out seven paleo breakfasts, lunches and dinners - and an accompanying grocery list. That way, when i go grocery shopping, i will have everything i need to make paleo foods all week long...

T's come up with some delicious paleo meals, too - and we are loving the cookies we found a recipe for on Paleo Mama's blog - they are so rich and delicious - they aren't really like cookies at all, something better and dark and full of texture and mmmmm mouth feel...

Anyway, I thought i'd post my list here, and if anyone has substitutions, other ideas, variations - i'd love to hear them!

Paleo Breakfasts:

scrambled eggs and salsa
hard boiled eggs and fruit
fried ham and eggs/fruit
protein shake (this isn't really paleo, but T does it. It means i get hot chocolate for breakfast!)
breakfast fruit salad and eggs or meat
breakfast veggie salad and eggs or meat (recipes to follow)
eggs benny sans muffin...

Paleo lunches:

*tuna, apple, and celery salad (with raisins) (dressing : sunflower oil and red wine vinegar) - T also added macadamia nuts and jalapenos and cilantro
*leftover beef and guacamole (this idea was from Son of Grok's website, and i didn't know how good it would be as leftovers - but it is DELICIOUS!) I used the guacamole recipe i usually use, from the Moosewood cookbook
*chicken soup
*bacon brocolli soup (thicken with potato?)
*leftover meat and fruit
*..... this was tuna melts until T pointed out, no cheese... so i only have six ideas... help!

Paleo dinners:

*beef and guacamole grande:)
*chimichurri pork and mashed cauliflower (T added coconut oil, saffron, and salt - it was delicious)
*dry rubbed roast beef and spaghetti squash
*baked chicken quarters and rutabaga
*jerk pork and roasted parsnips with lime mayo
*bacon broccoli soup
*chicken soup with veggies and salad

Paleo extras:

*homemade halvah balls (from the same book)
*paleo cookies (mmmm)

The problem is, T isn't partial to soups or salads. And my children are huge dairy fans. And i like using baking to fill them up (bread, muffins, dutch babies, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, etc...). I've always thought a good mom knows how to make cookies!

So that's my problem i guess...

I'm cooking for eight or nine people, three times a day, and trying to keep it as paleo as possible. Usually, if i can't keep us all paleo, the children will have something carby, and i will eat leftovers or protein shake... We'll see if a little organization can help me do it this time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


5 km run today through the woods.
Green leaves scattered thickly on the ground.
Dodging other people's dogs (why do they run *around* T but try to climb up my legs? Can they sense a klutz coming up and want some fun?)
The smell in the air is something i thought we had missed out on - the day after the first leaves started to fall, we had snow for 9 days solid, sleds, snow pants, mittens, the whole nine yards.
So it felt like a gift to be out running in the autumn.
Crisp air, and mittens, but i probably could have gone in my t shirt and stayed warm enough (but why risk it?)
It was one of those days where it is utterly painless to run, and you could just go and go and go. I still walked up the stairs at the end (boo!)- but i ran nonstop the rest of the way, and we beat our time record by 2 minutes!

Food - T made his famous bouillabaisse again,and it was so delicious. We've had it twice in the past couple of days, and if all my meals could taste like that, paleo would be no problem at all. I'm still eating a little bit of carbs, but i'm ramping back down, and maybe this week i'll be back on the wagon.

I do find we run out of veggies/fruit a lot faster this way, and my outdoor fridge will soon be out of commission (unless i can convince T to move it indoors) - last week i went out to get a melon and it had already frozen. I just sliced it up that way and we ate icy cold frozen melon. Yummy...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Unfaithful woman, faithful man

So, T has been sweet to me, even taking me out to Marble Slab for ice cream (and he didn't have even a lick...)... But he's still on the paleo wagon, and i'm feeling like i'm almost ready for another try. He thinks there is a point at which your body gives up and just starts using what you're giving it, and if i try again, maybe i will break past that point.
I do know that while i was eating paleo, i didn't lose any weight on the scale, BUT i did feel good inside, and i think i lost fat (because none of my dresses fit anymore, and some of my pants are too big, too. Plus my tummy is flatter...)

ANYWAY... this blog isn't quite dead.

One of my friends asked "What did you eat, anyway?"
Well, i think maybe we were a little unprepared, because while we can eat all meat, veggies, fruits and nuts and seeds, (well, almost all) - we didn't plan very well in terms of combining those things. So i'd cook a turkey and we'd have turkey meat, with a side of veggies.

I've been reading at Son of Grok and realizing that there are a lot more creative ways to eat your food than a few ounce of this, and a few ounces of that. One weird meal that appealed to me from his website was ground beef (spiced, with veggies), mixed with guacamole.

I think the hardest part of paleo for me was feeling like i was missing out. We'd make roast beef dinner, but i couldn't have mashed potatoes or yorkshire pudding (and i love yorkshires!). We'd have meat, au jus, and vegetables and/or salad. And i felt like i was missing something.

I think i need to find some new "favourite" meals that aren't an "old favourite minus"...

So, more research coming up, and hopefully some pictures and recipes... T is still doing a lot of cooking. Tonight we had jerk pork - the children and I had white buns from the bakery :) - but T just had meat. I'm not that hardcore. But i do have avocados, and they go a long way toward staving off the "i'm missing out" feeling...

OH, and T is looking great - he didn't have much fat to lose, but his midsection is looking very nice :) and he's still feeling great eating this way...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Metabolic typing?

Dr. Mercola offers metabolic typing and i'm interested to do it, just to prove that T and me are just two completely different species.

The whole times i've been doing paleo, i've been hungry, confused, angry, and dizzy. T, on the other hand, feels awesome, feels great in his tummy, strong, alert...

So i gave up and had a piece of pizza last night for a snack, a slice of whole wheat and flax bread for breakfast with all my protein ;0 and a cookie in the afternoon that Haven made...

I did eat paleo for lunch and dinner... but i'm hungry again an hour later.

So, not working so great for me. working awesome for T.

Not sure what the compromise will be - most likely i will be Zone during the day and we'll have a paleo dinner (which can be zone, too) and on weekends... i feel bad failing T, but this is just not a good option for me.

On the exercise frontier, tonight was tabatas... 16 minutes of sweat - hopefully it will help me overcome my "bad" carbs. Although i lost a few pounds at the beginning, i haven't budged one number since then, which makes it less a motivation to be a crabby half starved mother all day long...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

cheat day!

Pizza for dinner :)
T is big on having a cheat day... i think if it were *really* cheat day, i would get marble slab ice cream :) LOL! But i'm feeling blessed with a tummy full of forbidden carbs and dairy and my "back to paleo" snack...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Last day of a long weekend... feeling melancholy

We're also not sleeping much, due to baby's getting four new teeth at a time. She's up to nurse a few times a night, and we are both feeling a little giddy from lack of sleep.

This weekend has been a Godsend, though - having T home means more exercise, and less cooking, as he tends to take over the kitchen when he's home.

We had a delicious leftovers meal for lunch (from our paleo Thanksgiving) , and he's making something paleo for dinner in a casserole dish - it it's awesome, i'll post the recipe later :)

Anyway, we went for another run this afternoon - it was snowing a little more heavily, and we stayed on the pavement as i was a little scared of running up and down the steep hills when they are hard and icy - but the pavement ended up being more than my knees were used to, and we ended up walking a bit, too.

So there's my workout for the day - a 5k run. It's snowing outside, and the little boys keep running in and out of the house to use the little plastic sleds on the slope in our backyard and play with the cat who is no longer afraid of every snowflake, but pounces on them. If i didn't mind missing out on this lazy day, i would go have a nap while the snow covers us up...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Paleo - But What About the Children?

I've been asked about our plans for the children's menu - are they eating Paleo, as well?

Short answer, no!

I've posted below one of the questions from Loren Cordain's excellent website, the Paleo Diet in which he explains why Paleo eating maybe isn't the best idea for children.

A few things that i think might mitigate our experience in particular is that we do tend to breastfeed for a "long time" (as our culture considers it) - weaning at 13 months at the earliest, to 45 months at the latest). We also use a baby food grinder (Happy Baby! Well worth the small price) to grind up "big people food" to feed little ones at the table as soon as they show an interest in eating (and can sit up in a high chair and are not satisfied with holding a spoon anymore...)

We also tend to give fruits and vegetables as snacks for children who need something to get them through to meals, but from what we've read, children do have a higher need for carbs (and a calorie overload) than adults do - at least until they've stopped growing. So i will continue baking bread and cooking rice for them at dinner, and i will give our dehydrated buckwheat energy bread for snacks, and granola, and other things that i am "not allowed" to eat on this diet.

Would you recommend the paleo diet also for small children? Any concerns or modifications needed? What about pregnancy?

Little has been written about the dietary differences between adult and child hunter-gatherers. Also, very little is known about how a modern diet based upon "Paleo" food groups would influence growth and development in fully westernized children. Let me give you some key points which may be of use to you.

1. Hunter-gatherer children typically had a much longer age at weaning than what is considered normal in the western world. Studies of five hunter-gatherer societies (!Kung, Ache, Inuit, Australian Aborigines, and Hadza) reveal the average age of weaning to be 2.9 years (Eaton SB et al. Women's reproductive cancers in evolutionary context. Quart Rev Biol 1994;69:353-67.). Hence, a hunter-gatherers early nutrition (birth -- 3 years of age) is highly dependent upon mother's milk. Because hunter-gatherers typically consumed a diet higher in n-3 fatty acids than westerners, mother's milk likely would also have been higher in n-3 fatty acids than milk from the typical nursing western mother. Numerous studies show that fetal and infant cognitive development requires sufficient n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and the suckling period. For the western mother, weaning at age 3 is impractical, but should be carried out as long as possible (say maybe 1- 1.5 years). Following weaning, I recommend that infants be given a formula that is enriched with both DHA and AA. Infants should not be given EPA in the form of fish oil because it competes with AA metabolism and can result in impaired motor development as well as growth.

2. Mother's milk contains very little iron, however infants are born with sufficient iron stores to last about 9-12 months before being depleted. In the western world, pediatricians typically recommend that infants receive their first solid foods as iron fortified cereals. An alternative is macerated meat (beef, pork, chicken) that is available in commercial baby foods. Hunter-gatherer mothers introduced first foods to their infants by thoroughly masticating meat, marrow, nuts, seeds, fruits etc in their mouth, mixing it with saliva into a bolus and then giving their child this bolus. If you do give cereal to your infant, I would only recommend rice and do not recommend either wheat or oats.

3. Virtually all pediatricians recommend that cow's milk and dairy products (yogurt, cheese etc) should be excluded from the infant's diet during the first year of life. Early exposure to milk and dairy products have been implicated with an increased risk of a number of autoimmune diseases -- particularly type 1 diabetes. I recommend that dairy products not be introduced until later -- at least until age 2.

4. Once solid foods are introduced, I recommend focusing upon the basic types of foods that I recommend for adults (fresh fruits and veggies, fresh meats and seafood). There is some evidence that the liver of growing children is less able to deal with high levels of protein (~30-40 % total energy), so fattier meats and fish should not necessarily be restricted. Omega 3 enriched eggs should be the egg of choice and are a wonderful source of DHA. Infants and young children usually have no problem with scrambled eggs. Also, fattier plant foods (nuts, avocados) and healthful oils are useful, although sometimes nut allergies present themselves.

5. I do not advocate completely restricting processed food from children because eating involves behavioral issues that transcend the pure nutritional issues. We do not live as hunter-gatherers but rather as westerners in an industrialized world, and it is important to make children aware of good and bad food choices. The best way to get your child to eat junk food is to completely restrict it. In our household, we serve typical Paleo foods (fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats and seafood) at every meal and encourage our children to eat these foods. We stock very little processed food in the house, so if your children are hungry their choices are primarily healthy nutritious foods. We do not allow unlimited access to either TV or computers or electronic games, but rather encourage our children to be active in outdoor games and play. I believe that for active children certain high glycemic load foods, particularly during growth and development, may not be harmful. We do not restrict dried fruit (raisins, dates, etc), potatoes, and encourage consumption of bananas, yams and sweet potatoes.

6. Because of metabolic changes that occur in the liver during pregnancy, women cannot tolerate as high protein levels as they normally could. This issue has been documented in both the anthropological and clinical literature. Hence fattier meats, and higher fat vegetable foods and more carbs are required.

7. A final point that is somewhat of a double edged sword. In the western world, a tall child is considered a healthy child, and tall children frequently grow into tall adults. Most societies view being tall a very positive attribute in both children and adults. However, being tall has it's downside and increases the adult risk for a number of cancers, particularly breast cancer in women. Until recently the nature of this relationship has remained obscure. Our research group believes that the relationship between stature and cancer risk involves the consumption of high glycemic load carbohydrates during childhood along with an otherwise healthy diet, high in protein. If you download this paper from the Research Articles page (Cordain L, Eades MR, Eades MD. Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just syndrome X. Comp Biochem Physiol Part A 2003;136:95-112), I fully explain how high glycemic load carbohydrates both increase adult height and also increase the risk for numerous chronic diseases.

Paleo Thanksgiving, Canadian Style!

It's Thanksgiving here in Canada, heralded by snow and sub zero temperatures! We've already had our piggy Thanksgiving ahead of time, meeting my sisters and their families last weekend for a free for all with caution thrown to the wind (well, kind of)...

So this Thanksgiving was pretty laid back - some children were in their pjs all day, and after my run, i just stayed in my sweats. I put the turkey in at 10 a.m. - using the extremely most easy method - peel the plastic off the frozen bird, put in a big roaster, pour a cup of water over top (makes a ton of gravy this way!) and dust liberally with poultry seasoning. By 4 p.m. the smell had overtaken most of the house, and it was ready to dismember and eat.

Meanwhile, T slaved away in the kitchen most of the day, while lazy children played wii, watched TV, made beaded "amulet pouches", drew strange two headed monsters and sent me cryptic notes reading "pls hlp! p.s. this is Silas"...

I checked on T a few times but he took no notice of my interfering - and above is the result! A delicious, paleo-friendly Thanksgiving, complete with dessert (picture to follow!)

First, the turkey, which i already described - then, a side dish of cranberry sauce made thusly - he bought a bag of fresh cranberries (hardly ever available!) - and boiled them with a cup of water for about an hour, turning it down to simmer after it reached a boil. No added sugar, no added anything - just cranberries - so delicious! Not as sweet as the canned stuff (which i never eat anyway), and far more flavourful.

Then, he boiled some fresh brussels sprouts and tossed with a little butter in the pot - the only non-Paleo addition.

And last, he made a stuffing that was the most delicious stuffing i've ever tasted - rich and flavourful and filling...

Travis' Paleo Stuffing

2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 c. walnuts, chopped
poultry seasoning

Saute them all in a big pan with some olive oil.

Sounds pretty easy! But doesn't taste easy!
5 big portobello mushrooms, chopped

Then, a pot of rooibos tea, and some dessert...
While T waited for his pumpkin "pie" to be ready, the littles had some "chocolate" and halvah balls and some nuts, and then finally he took his dessert out of the oven.

He got the recipe from Crossfit Vancouver's website (thanks, guys!) and it turned out just like pumpkin pie, only without the crust. Very nice and you could taste the pumpkin, sweet and fluffy, but not overly sweet.

here is the recipe!

Adding in the other piece of the puzzle

I always have a hard time deciding what to include on a blog - it seems like i go off on bunny trails of fitness, nutrition, birth, natural living, homeschool - and it's rarely the same thing twice.

So this blog i am dedicating to my husband's favourite hobby - fitness and nutrition!

We've already posted quite a few posts about going paleo, but i think it's time to add in the workouts - i already post them at my other blog, as part of a "moms of many exercise challenge", but i'll post them too, because it gives a better view of what we are doing as a couple - and fitness has a lot to do with how well you do on different diets.

We do have a weight loss emphasis here, too - i had 17 lbs to lose - and i lost three in the first four days of being paleo (and since then have been on a plateau, but i've got my eyes on the last 14 lbs) - Because i have a large brood of children, i feel i need to put the effort into not just spiritual health, but physical and emotional health for their sake.

More on those maybe later...

For now, while T puts the finishing touches on our Canadian Thanksgiving paleo feast upstairs and i hear the footfalls of my big girls setting the table, i'll post our workout of the day, and then go have a delicious paleo Thanksgiving (it sure smells good!)

Today's workout - one run, cross country, in the snow (while it snowed!) - about 5 km - i think it's longer, but T insists it's only 5 k. I am a little afraid of running in the snow but right now the ground isn't totally frozen, and it's not slippery at all, so we had a great time, came home totally bushed, and had a fruit to replace glycogen stores (If i understood what he told me, i would write more coherently)...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Paleo cookies!

I am seriously feeling way too deprived. And grumpy. The grumpy i think comes from ketosis, since it is abated if i eat a lot of fruit/veggies - but it seems like i'm always on the verge - but the deprivation... not much i can do about that. On the paleo way of eating, my "treats" have been fruits (which i am allowed to eat as much as i want now, as opposed to the Zone's miserly doling out) - and nuts (which i don't eat too many of since they are expensive :)...)

But today after running some errands, i had a brain wave. I had been oh so deeply desiring a coffee crisp chocolate bar with 70% cocoa chocolate - and been a good girl and even said no to my uxorious husband's offer of lunch at McDonald's...

I went to my recipe book cupboard and pulled out Serene Allison's cookbook, Rejuvenate Your Life, and double checked the ingredients for her "chocolate". It's a raw foods cookbook, and for awhile i was making a lot of things out of it - super healthy, really yummy - but a little time consuming, especially before we moved here where there is pretty much no moisture in the air and the dehydrator works like a dream (as opposed to several days to dry out flatbread in our last place)...

Anyway, not only was that recipe pretty kosher, but i decided to make halvah balls. Now i have, in the freezer of my fridge, delectable little balls of deliciousness that don't break the rules and that will give a little variety.

Here are the recipes i used:

Serene Allison's Chocolate

2 cups raw almonds, ground into almond butter in my vitamix
1/2 c. tahini
1/3 c. cocoa (i put a little less than she originally called for, which was 1/2 c.)
pinch sea salt
1/2 c. raw honey (again, i put a little less as i didn't have much and wanted some for halvah, too)

I mixed it all by hand in a bowl with a silicon spatula, oiled my hands with a little olive oil, and rolled them into balls, and put the plate into the freezer for an hour or so. Then i picked them off the plate and put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer, ready to eat...

Serene Allison's Heavenly Halvah

I ground 4 c. raw hulled sesame seeds (i bought a big bag of these through our natural foods coop and this is mostly what i use it for!) - i really made homemade tahini, since i ground them up into a paste
added in a little olive oil
a little raw honey

Mixed well together in a plastic bowl with a silicon spatula. Then, as it was really too soft, i chilled it in the fridge for awhile before i oiled my hands and rolled them into balls, put them on a plate in the freezer, till i can put them in their own ziplock bag. These are delicious little nougat-y balls, full of energy, and not too sweet (i didn't have a LOT of honey, and i prefer a little less over a little too much)

I asked T about the paleo acceptance of cocoa, since it is a bean, but he assured me that a lot of paleo people use cocoa, for whatever reason - if i knew why it's excepted from the beans restriction, i'd feel a little less like a cheater, but for now, these are a nice paleo alternative to the things i'd rather be eating (like fried cheese with mayonnaise and a side of fries... LOL!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

End of second week....

So, it's been a crazy week - we celebrated Thanksgiving early with my sisters, brothers in law, and my children and their twelve (soon to be thirteen) cousins... so much fun!

And i fell off the paleo wagon, but not too bad - one cookie, a serving of stuffing, a little potato casserole (to die for!)... and then back up...

Since then, we've been pretty good at paleo eating - i had one piece of toast, and one piece of pizza at a meeting in the next town over... So all in all i'm finding that this is a potentially possible way to eat.

What i've found so far:

1. my digestion is much better eating paleo than Zone - i respond quickly to flour/sugar/grains/potatos when i do fall off the wagon - but when i am good - less bloating, less tummy upsets..

2. oh, i still very much crave grains. I worked for months perfecting my flax seed bread recipe! With the exact mix of freshly ground hard red wheat, freshly ground flax, whole flax, and gluten... and now i bake it, slice it, and toast it and then butter it and cut it in little pieces for little people to eat - even holding it up to my tiny birdie's mouth to let her take a bite of the most delectable inside heart.

3. i have WAY more willpower in my 30s than i did in my 20s or my teens! It's not FUN to have to use it, but i can see this as a spiritual discipline, too...

4. I will do pretty much anything to please my husband! LOL!

5. Eating paleo does make you feel full on much smaller portions.

6. I have to eat a lot more fruit/veggies than i did when eating Zone to avoid ketosis - if i hit ketosis, i am just not a friendly mama anymore, and with seven little children 13 and under, i need all the help i can get to stay sweet :)...

7. I am still not sure about the healthfulness of this way of eating, due to my single, horseshoe, medullary sponge kidney - not sure if this is putting a strain on it. It seems to me that if i am feeling more awake, and having less digestive troubles, it shouldn't be too much of a hardship - but i will be talking to my doctor soon about this (i have an appointment - but it's a small town, and appointments have to be made two weeks in advance - very helpful. not.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day Five... i was barely alive - but saved by gourmet cooking!

In Canada, Thanksgiving happens a little earlier than in the States. I'm blessed to have two sisters and their husbands and thirteen (between them) little nieces and nephews (actually, one is a teenager, so maybe i should quit calling them little, but anyway...) - And our plan is to get together for Thanksgiving. This is the default plan. If my mom and dad come, we are happy and blessed - but we live within 3 hours of each other (my parents live much farther away), and we *can* do this right now in this season of life, so we are.

And i'm in charge of..... cookies.


I thought the other day was hard. Today i started by making muffins, only to realize we were *all* out of milk - so i left the half made muffins, grabbed all the children, making sure we all had shoes and jackets and took off in the frosty air to the nearest Tim Horton's - but not before downing two fried eggs.

So virtuous me watched the children eat bagels with cream cheese and doughnuts and hot chocolate, and didn't even so much as lick off my fingers after i dipped in the hot chocolate to make sure Uly wouldn't burn his mouth (again) and after someone smeared glaze on my hand...

Then, errands and groceries for my big cook.

I actually really like it when i have an excuse to stay in the kitchen all day. But man, it is hard making all verboten items.

I have two big boxes upstairs filled with rice krispie treats, brownies, snickerdoodles and monster cookies and i'm done cooking - My plan was to sew half the day too (new ergo for my sister who is expecting) but i will have to finish that project later, as we won't have time to finish it before we go - i don't think).

anyway, thoughts on paleo...

I do feel that it's getting easier and easier for me to say no - but part of that is that i'm just feeling really really wiped. And dozy. And lightheaded. I forgot to go to my fiddle club meeting last night (and i love playing with other people!) - i felt like passing out all the time yesterday and today i just felt like a dead person. No emotions, no desires, no energy. Going to bed was my big fantasy all day long.

T came home and was going to swoop down and take me out for dinner, but we couldn't find a place that wasn't crowded or expensive or too carb oriented, so we went by the grocery store and bought some frozen pizza for the littles, and shrimp and cauliflower for us.

And T made a masterpiece!

So just to recap - breakfast - two fried eggs
lunch - one piece of cold KFC, no skin, a pear, some hazelnuts
snack - a pear


T will write out the recipe for me here, since i didn't make this.


Blenderize a can of diced tomatoes with a four cloves of garlic, oregano and thyme. Add a bag of shrimp, shells on - a can of clams and a can of smoked oysters.

Reserve half the liquid from the clams to add to the bouillabaisse. Salt and pepper to taste. Slow cook on a simmer till you're ready to eat...

Cook cauliflower as usual and serve as a "pasta" with the sauce and seafood...

And then for dessert - frozen raspberries, chopped almonds, drizzled with honey...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day Four...

It's Wednesday, and it's working...

First off, this picture has nothing whatsoever to do with what i'm writing - it's just a cute one of my two littlest boys and i had to share :)...

SO - T has me on the paleo diet and i've lost three pounds in 4 days but i was so irritable yesterday and today i just about passed out several times, and then my breath was so bad... i used the ketostix and i'm in ketosis - which wasn't a goal, but T seems to think it's a good thing...

and a good time for a workout!

Apparently my body is eating up my fat stores (T assures me i'm only eating my fat, nothing else - like bones or the minimal muscle i have holding my skeleton together)... so time to pour it on!

So - tonight's workout was


I'm seriously really in love with the mix we use when we do tabatas - the songs always equal endorphins and relief (respectively) in their 10 and 20 second long snips...

And it felt so good to stop!

Oh =- and the self discipline thing? Here it is - this paleo diet means NO grains, no flour, no sugar, no peas, sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, rice, bread, cookies etc...

Today i took the littles out to KFC for lunch before starting on a long list of errands (after school!) - and i sat down and looked at my options - i could have diet pop - AND chicken - if i took the skin off. I love KFC chicken skin! LOVE IT! When Oprah confessed her love for chicken skin sandwiches i TOTALLY got it! And here's the truth - i skinned my chicken pieces and gave the skin to my skinny little children who can easily burn off the calories...

I have CHANGED.....

There are probably some deep spiritual truths here - i'd like to believe that self denial is finally becoming part of who i am... but it was probably just the fog from being on the weird diet in the first place. Anyway, i'm feeling no pain, no desires, no hunger, and that's got to be good news!

So - other meals today -

breakfast was two eggs (and i made perfect fluffy pancakes for the children and didn't eat even one, even without syrup... i am getting to be such a good girl!) - also tea with no milk or sweetener

lunch - KFC chicken - 2 pieces without the skin, and diet coke

dinner - chicken wings, raw carrots and celery sticks and a diet coke...

too much diet coke, probably... but a girl's gotta have a few vices...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day Three...

I was doing some reading at tonight, in his FAQ section...
So confusing!

I've read a lot of things that sounded just as convincing - i.e. that canola is bad for you (i know it's almost all genetically modified, and i have a caution about using it just because of that) - that coconut oil is a miracle oil (Cordain doesn't agree) - and i just wonder about all the anti-grain stuff - as a little girl visiting my grandparent's place on the Prairies, i remember grabbing a handful of grain from an empty train car, and grinding it into gum with my teeth... Surely children have done that forever?

Anyway, it's hard to follow this diet because i don't agree with its primary assertion which is that the world is a zillion billion years old and evolution will teach us all :) - the timeline on my kitchen wall this year starts at the year 4004BC :)... but so far i am being good...

What i ate today:

breakfast - two eggs, with a little salsa on the side, tea with milk and stevia
lunch - a little leftover roast beef, some grapes, some hazelnuts
dinner - delicious fatty shoulder blade steak, roasted carrots and leeks and garlic (yummy!) and a diet coke...
snack - an apple, half a turkey sausage, some hazelnuts and aNOTHER diet coke! I want to break the habit, but.....

Third Day - Monday

Yesterday was Monday - not my favourite day, but especially when T is getting us on a new food kick - i don't feel particularly gifted in nutritional analysis, and i've still got meals to get for seven littles all day long...

But i did a great job!

two eggs with a slice of ham, in an omelette, with tea (stevia and a little milk, which i know is verboten, but tea is always too hot for me, and by the time it cools down, i've got to be clearing the table for homeschool and getting on to the next chore...)

half a turkey sausage, some grapes, some hazelnuts

I made chicken thighs and T steamed some broccoli and boiled some brussels sprouts - the only bad thing about eating this way seems to be that there are no leftovers...

at bedtime - a diet coke :) and some pepitas and almonds, some grapes, and a few oysters (thanks, T!)

No workout, since i'm having trouble with iliotibial band stuff? T knows a stretch, and when he gets home he'll help me get rid of it and hopefully we can go for a run. I've got to wear a tuque now when we run - the air is lovely and crisp, but when we run, it's too cold for my little ears!

I do have a specific goal in mind - i'd like to lose seventeen pounds - and as of the morning of day Four, i've lost two :) So i'm happy!

We are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, though - it comes earlier in Canada, and then we are celebrating a week early since my sister and i are both travelling to our middle sister's vicinity for the Walk to Remember at the Alberta Legislature - if you've ever lost a little one - this is something worth marking on your calendar. There is such comfort in being around people who know how tender your heart is. Like the Bible says:

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

I would like to give back next year by organizing a Walk in my own town, but this year again i will travel 3 hours and walk in the silence and autumn leaves, remembering the little one who would have made our family so happy, and who does fill me with joy still, knowing that she was a gift, even if only given for a little while...

Anyway, i'm in charge of bringing a ton of cookies and caesar salad :) and i am thinking we'll bring some paleo options with us, too - we don't mind celebrating, but there are plenty of yummy things to eat that do fit the paleo way of eating and it's hard to set a habit in just ten days...

We'll see. It's not a huge stressor :) -

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day Two...

I'm fighting something off - headachy and feeling weak... But i felt like this before we started, so i'm not blaming the paleo diet... it's just making me glad i have a husband who can and will cook! Hooray for the weekend!

So this is what we did today - meal by meal :) - we'll see how far we can push this...


omelette with leek, and a little ham. No cheese - so it didn't hold all the ingredients in, but mmmmm it was delicious anyway!
and tea - brown rice gen mai... i'm not sure if it's paleo :) but i'm assuming it is - and i sweetened it with stevia - again, not sure of it's paleo-ness, but it's an herb...


Beef curry - left over roast beef with ground almonds, indian spices, olive oil, garlic. The little ones had Mr. Noodles :) but that's all we ate and it was delicious...


Beef heart - we'd never bought it before, or prepared it before, but to our surprise, all the children ate it up and asked for more. T just sauteed it in olive oil with seasoning salt. For sides, he had canned corn for the littles (not paleo) - and a big bowl of delicious cherry tomatos, plus beets he had sauteed with a little garlic salt and left in the warm oven to rest, and carrots he had boiled, and then left to absorb some butter in a pot...

I'm feeling really nice eating this way - but i am a little worried about this week - cooking for eight or nine three times a day, AND keeping it all paleo? Not sure how it will work out... I do miss the little amount of white bread i was "allowed" on the Zone (as "unfavourable carbs") - and i miss dairy... Especially cheese and sour cream! But T says we will have one cheat day a week, and i'll just have to make it a dilly :) - Perogies with sour cream and bacon and Hagen-Dasz for dinner? We'll see!

Meanwhile, i'm off to prep school work for the week and make a menu for tomorrow. I usually like to have weekly menu, but i think just going one day at a time until we get the hang of this way of eating will be less overwhelming...

T has a coworker with celiac disease - and he has to eat this way all the time - it makes me realize how simple food can be, and at the same time, what a huge amount of "convenience" food is eliminated this way, as well... What we are eating is healthy, but it does take time to prepare, more so than our "quick meal" days where T picks up frozen pizza :) or i bake three loaves of bread for lunch (french boules) and give it to the children along with fruit and cheese and a lot of butter...

Quick paleo lunches? Maybe i will stick to paleo for me and eat eggs for lunch, too... We'll see...

First day...

After T brought me the article on Paleo eating,

we did a quick search of the house for the book we knew we owned, but realized we must have taken it down to the book swap.

We'll have to go see if we can swap for it back. But meanwhile, we decided to head out and fill up the fridge for the week, with healthy paleo food.

We have been getting used to shopping for the Zone, and even before that, we weren't big fans of packaged foods or store bought baked goods (we both like to bake - this might be hard!), but shopping for a Paleo diet was even more restrictive. We do acknowledge that because of our children's rapid growth, they will likely not follow a strict Paleo diet. Milk has been a big, snack/protein, especially for our oldest son who is now 5'8" and 140lbs and we will likely make sure he has access to as much dairy as he needs. They do tend to be big carboholics (especially when mama makes french bread) - and we will still feed them food and lots of it, but our thoughts this week is to make sure we have what we need to go paleo and just see how it works.

We loaded our cart up with fresh veggies and fruits and i thought maybe we should try a few new things, or even things that we haven't eaten a lot before, so in addition to grapes, apples, carrots, garlic, etc, we also put in a big fat rutabaga, and beets with long greens.

Then through the bulk foods aisle, and had to forgo all the trail mix (all of them had either peanuts or cashew), but got almonds and hazelnuts (we have a lot of walnuts already from our food coop).

Then to the meat section, where pork is on for a dollar a pound. Even here we were adventurous, buying a lot of pork (easy crockpot meals for the school week), but also beef liver and beef heart.

We did buy a little more butter, but no milk, and we forgot to get more eggs so we're down to about three dozen (we usually buy six dozen a week for our family of nine people). Frozen berries were the last thing in our cart and then we headed home.

Our first paleo meal:

crockpot roast beef - seasoned with red wine (BAD) onions, paprika, pepper, salt
boiled rutabaga
beet greens - sauteed in olive oil and garlic

We didn't announce anything to the children, just set out the meal and it wasn't that different from a regular meal, except that there were no yorkshire puddings or gravy (but there was the jus from the roast, which was delicious poured over the meat). Turned out, no one even mentioned the lack of yorkshires, and the children ate up all the rutabagas, asking for seconds and thirds, and they even gobbled down the beet greens! I should have known they would like rutabaga, as they used to love to eat kohlrabi, raw, fresh from our neighbour Erna's garden... But it was a nice start to a new way of eating.

We're used to having snacks in the Zone, and i wasn't sure how that would work - but i did have homemade halvah balls (cookies! made from sesame seeds, a little olive oil and a little honey) - and we had fruit and nuts, so we actually had a very satisfactory (albeit protein poor) bedtime snack...

Tomorrow will be our first full day of paleo! The article we read suggested changing one meal a day to paleo, beginning with breakfast, but we'll take it meal by meal i think...

A new blog, a new way of eating...

This blog is a new one for me. I'm used to blogging about silly stuff my children do, about homeschooling, about having babies. These are the things i'm an expert at :).

Food and nutrition - not so much.

But i'm married to a man who has made fitness and nutrition a hobby for our family, and who makes it fun, and i decided to take the time to document our latest odyssey - going Paleo.

To introduce us, we are a traditional family - a dad, a mom, high school sweethearts, married for 15 years. And we've got a family - a nice BIG family. On our first anniversary, i was 8 months pregnant, and we've had a baby every other year since. So now we've got, as of this writing, an almost 14 year old boy, 11 yo girl, 9 yo boy, 7 yo boy, 5 yo girl, 3 yo boy, and 1 yo baby girl (actually, she's 18 months now).

We are Christians (but not Mormons or Catholics, which are the two things people ask us all the time) who believe that children are a blessing and we love our big family.

We are pretty active and take our children out to hike in the Rocky mountains, where we live, almost every weekend. We love cross country skiing, the children love biking and swimming, and my husband has set up a home gym in our basement with all the equipment we'll need for a long time, and helps the children (and mama) set fitness goals.

After having my sixth child, i had gained 3 lbs with every baby, and although 18 lbs is not a tremendous amount of weight, it was too much for me and my smaller frame, at 5'2. I asked my husband to help me lose the weight, and this he did with a vengeance. We went on the Zone together, and started working out using - T could do all the exercises, having previously played college football, rugby, wrestling, hockey, and basically being ultra fit and athletic. I, on the other hand, have never been very coordinated, athletic or interested. He adjusted the exercises to my ability level, and started me running for the first time in my life.

And all the weight came off. I was thrilled!

Then we found we were pregnant again, and we were going to be so healthy for that pregnancy, but we ended up losing that little one. And getting pregnant again right away. So all told, i was pregnant for a whole year, and a little paranoid of "being healthy" (the babies conceived on Mcdonalds and homemade cinnamon buns had been fine!)...

So here we are, with an 18 month old, a house full of energy, and a plan to go a little harder and get back in shape, again. I'm not as heavy as i was after #6, but i'm ready to lose a little weight, and we're eager to see if we can get good/better results eating Paleo than we did Zone!