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...