Monday, March 20, 2017

I've had trouble over the past couple weeks, I'll admit. I did really bad yesterday with eating and the week leading up to it wasn't great either. I've backslid a little into my old habits but I'm determined to stick with this diet this year.

I've been questioning whether I'm eating enough. When I do Paleo/Primal very strictly, I tend to eat on the low side of my calorie goal for the day. But I tend to feel better.

The last couple of weeks I've just been eating kielbasa and sautéed zucchini for lunch, and by 6 p.m. I've been shaky and had a horrible headache. I think it was my blood sugar. So I added in rice to my meals and that helped, although then I was eating a lot more carbs every day.

And the SUGAR! Oh my goodness, I've been eating sugar non-stop. Iced tea, Smarties, and the like have been filling me up. If it's around me, I eat it.

Yesterday, we went out to lunch at Five Guys and I got a burger and fries (which was amazing!) and then we got ice cream! I didn't mind the burgers and fries, I know they're a lot of calories, but I wanted something nice and filling, even if it was cheating. But the ice cream was too much.

Today I've been eating better, which is a good sign. I hate that I keep falling off the wagon and starting up again just to stop a couple weeks later, but that's what this year is about. Figuring out what foods make me feel the best and eating those.

I know I've had a lot of false starts (and let's be honest, it'll probably keep happening) but keeping this blog up really helps. The only thing I have trouble with is coming up with ideas for these posts, but as long as I do, I'll keep writing.

Until the next post,
Sam

P.S. In May I'm going to New York for 4 days, so you can bet I'm going to be eating pizza and other unhealthy foods. But I'll try to keep that to a minimum so that I can go back to healthy eating once I get back. (Or I'll go overboard and vow never to eat pizza again. Who knows.)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Recipes

Chocolate-covered strawberries on baking sheet

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd make a post with fun Valentine's Day recipes in case y'all needed some ideas! 😉

The top picture is some chocolate-covered strawberries I made a while back. They've been on my blog before, and it's pretty easy to make them. Just get some strawberries that are nice and ripe, with no visible blemishes, and melt some chocolate. I used the microwave. Then just dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate and lay them on a baking sheet to harden. I would suggest keeping them in the fridge once you make them. That way they're nice and cold, and the chocolate doesn't melt off.

You could also make these with raspberries or blueberries, just make sure whatever fruit you use doesn't have any blemishes because the sugar in the fruit will cause the chocolate to slide off.

Here are a couple chocolatey recipes for V-Day dessert:

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles | My Whole Food Life
This looks so good, and so easy too! There are only a few steps and they involve food processing the ingredients, freezing, and melting. And that's it!

Chocolate Cashew Butter Swirled Candy Cups | Paleo Running Mama
These look really good as well. They're sort of paleo Reese's cups, but shaped into hearts! It's a little more involved than the previous recipe, but I think it's worth it. The end product looks amazing. I haven't tried it, but I have to now!

Here are a couple non-chocolatey recipes:

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
These look amazingly good. The recipe is a bit unclear on what kind of pan to bake them in, but I'm assuming just some sort of baking dish is fine.

Paleo Shrimp Scampi | the functional foodie
This looks like it'd be good! She suggests putting the shrimp scampi over spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or even wilted spinach leaves. If you're not totally committed to being Primal, you could even do it over gluten-free pasta.

And last but not least, Valentine's Day -- from the bottom of my heart stew | High Steaks
I don't really expect anyone to make this, as it's made with beef heart, but I thought I'd put it in here anyway. The pictures are gorgeous, and I remember (when I first found this recipe, nearly 4 years ago) that I really wanted to try it. But no one in my family would eat heart. I don't think I'm nearly as adventurous now. I hate wasting food and I don't think heart would taste very good to me.

But hey, if anyone is adventurous enough to try it, let me know in the comments!

Have a great Valentine's Day! 💖 💖
Sam

Sunday, February 12, 2017

(Don't) Pour Some Sugar On Me

Blueberries and a banana, sliced, in a bowl.
Bananas have a lot of sugar in them, but it's natural sugar
So today I thought I'd talk about sugar. I'm super addicted to the stuff. I have some form of added sugar (specifically) every single day. So I was thinking the other day; what if I went a whole week without added sugar? It'd certainly be difficult, but I think I could do it if I ate really good Primal that week. And hopefully it'd cut down on my sugar cravings.

But I'm still scared to do it. I know it'll be difficult and I REALLY don't want to give up sugar. I'll update y'all when I decide to do it, though. And I WILL do it. I just need to do more research about it first.

But while I'm still eating sugar, I am eating a lot less than I normally would. I'm not eating candy, like Smarties or milk chocolate, whereas I would've eaten like 10 packs of Smarties in a day. (I know, that's a lot!) And I would've gotten a really bad sugar headache and crashed halfway through the day.

While I don't really do very much to avoid sugar, here are some tips if you're looking to cut down on your sugar intake.

- Look at ingredients: Look for all different kinds of sugar: fructose, sweetener, etc. You may not realize that something has sugars in it until you check the packaging.

- Avoid canned or boxed stuff: Most of this stuff has sugar in it. Even savory foods like spaghetti sauce (sugar is added to cut down on the acidity) or ketchup (again, to cut the acidity)

- Eat naturally sweet foods: Fruits and sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, just make sure you're not eating too many of them, or the sugar WILL add up!

Also, since milk chocolate has a TON of added sugar, I've been eating 70% dark chocolate from Lindt. It's not super dark, so it's not too bitter for me, but there's WAY less sugar in it than milk chocolate. Which is good. Also it's been proven that dark chocolate is actually pretty good for you. In moderation, of course! 

Here are a couple articles I read about sugar:

5 Common Mistakes People Make When Avoiding Added Sugar
This article is about what many people do wrong when trying to quit sugar.

My Week Without Sugar, Women's Health Magazine
Pretty interesting, one woman's experience with going sugar-free for a week.

Dear Mark: Sugar Cravings
This is a good article that's Primal, centered on sugar cravings.

Anyway, that's all I've got for you guys today!
Party On! ✌
Sam

Friday, February 10, 2017

Over-eating on Carbs

Spaghetti with meat sauce

So I wrote the other day about how I'd been eating too many carbs and I wanted to stop. (Okay right now, place your bets, did I do it? 😉 ) I've been trying to be better about it, but long story short, I'm still having trouble. I am well and truly addicted to carb-y foods.

I have a theory about why I'm still having SO MUCH trouble cutting back. I think it's because if I tell myself I cannot have this thing, I listen to myself? Like, I seem to have no trouble when I completely cut something out of my diet. I did it with soda a while back, and I started the new year going gluten-free. But that's only because I set a strict standard. I can have the other stuff, but just not wheat. And that's a good enough reason to stay away from it. But if I tell myself I can have a little bit of something, then I start to over-indulge. That's what happens when I eat carbs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Baked Sweet Potato Fries, A Recipe

Baked sweet potato fries with mustard on the side, on a paper plate.

Today I woke up pretty late. It was already lunchtime and I didn't want to eat anything big right then, so I had some grapes.

We bought sweet potatoes over the weekend but we hadn't eaten them so I decided to make them today. I think a lot of people eat sweet potatoes because they have more nutrients than white potatoes.

I've been eating sweet potatoes more often, recently. I found a great recipe for baked sweet potato fries that are a little bit spicy, and they're really good with mustard! (Weird, I know, but trust me. I guess I really like mustard though.) For me, I wanted to like them but I hate how sweet they are (I know they're called sweet potatoes), so this recipe is perfect because they're pretty spicy the way I make them, plus the mustard cuts some of the sweetness.

Friday, February 3, 2017

First Month is OVER!!

Me in a purple tank top and bright pink yoga pants. The right picture is from January, and the left is from February.

Hi everyone! Okay, so I know I haven't updated in a while but I was busy! School is getting busier and busier but I'm determined to keep this blog. Also, I haven't been following my "low carbs" goal like I wanted to. I've stayed away from wheat (with the exception of a burger + bun the other night and breaded chicken yesterday and a couple days ago), but I'm starting to feel like I'm letting myself slip. I keep allowing multitudes of carbs into my meals, whether or not I realize how much I actually eat. I've stopped measuring my carbs too. Which is a step in the wrong direction. 

Above is a picture of me from January (left) and from today (right). I was going to post the first picture in January but I wanted to show some difference, so I kept it till now. I can't tell much of a difference between the two (other than the fact the January one is blurry! 😉 ) but it's not really discouraged me. I just think I need to keep watching what I eat and make sure I don't slip up as much. Besides, I'm doing this for the rest of the year (and on) so I've got time. 

So when I started I weighed 174, but I weighed myself this morning and it was 168! So about 6 lbs. lost! The most important thing to me is that I'm feeling better, but the weight-loss is also a plus.

On the left, I am standing up straight, on the right, I'm slouching like I normally do. I've also been trying to stand up straighter since I started. I took the picture on the left after seeing how much I slouched in the above picture. My spine looked super curved and that alarmed me. In the picture on the left, I'm standing up straight, whereas on the right, I am standing like I normally do: slouched over. It's amazing how much better I look when standing up straight.
 I've always had trouble with standing/sitting up straight, but I've been working on it over the past month. I've been trying to be mindful about the way I walk and sit, and trying to stretch my shoulders back and head up, too. Hopefully there's a subtle difference. It seems like it's easier to do now, whereas before it hurt when I sat up straight for too long.

So anyway, this is my way of reapplying myself to this diet. I haven't cheated too badly but since it's a new month I'm trying to be good again. I'm sticking to my guns and eating what's good for me, not just what tastes good (just because mashed potatoes taste good doesn't mean they don't have carbs). This isn't to say that primal food doesn't taste good, because it does. But what I eat ain't healthy

The blog post I had planned to write back in January was about counting calories vs. counting carbs. My stance is simple. I do track what I eat and keep track of the calories but that's only to get a rough estimate of how much food I'm eating. If I'm eating good Primal, it's kind of hard for me to get enough calories. So I make sure I'm eating enough by keeping track of that. I'm also keeping track of my macronutrients: protein, carbs, and fat. I want to make sure I stay under 100 g of carbs or make sure I eat enough protein (I've found that ~90 g protein a day is good for me). This way I can look back if I need to and see how much I was eating in terms of these macronutrients and I can adjust my current eating. If I feel sick and shaky one day, I might have eaten too much or too little protein. (Weird things happen when I eat too much protein in one sitting!). And I need to go back to when I felt good. 

I wouldn't really advise you to count calories unless you really have to. Most people tend to obsess about staying under their calorie goal. A calorie counting app should be a tool that helps you with moderation, rather than a source of stress. If you find yourself going over your allotted calories for the day, ask yourself why. Is your calorie goal too low? I find that 1200 calories is much too low for me. I'm in the 1500-1800 calorie range. Check your calorie goal and see if it's really right for a person of your age and gender. 

For me, it helps keep myself accountable for what I'm eating. I have to manually enter the amount of food I ate and I know I also have to post that on here. But I think the good thing about Primal is learning for yourself when to stop eating, because you feel satisfied. But I know that for a lot of people, myself included, it's hard to stop eating once you've started. And counting calories/macronutrients can really help. Whatever works, go with it. Don't give it up because someone on the internet told you to.

Anyway, I will talk to y'all soon,
Stay cool and be Excellent to each other!
Sam

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Carbs, Carbs, and MORE Carbs

I've been eating a lot of carbs. Not really purposely, but more or less because I'm always hungry after meals (especially dinner) and I thought it'd be better to eat a baked potato with one meal, or spaghetti with GF noodles, or tonight, Stir Fry with rice. It does make me fuller after the meal, but usually, it's too full.

When I ate the baked potato, it made me feel like I'd eaten way too much. To be fair, it was quite a large potato. But also, it made me lose the feeling of a clear mind that being only satiated can bring. It made me feel a little more sluggish and sleepy. Not a whole lot, mind you, but enough that I noticed it. And I hardly wanted to move after eating because I felt so full.

I kind of wanted to talk about carbs today. Yes, I am still eating carbs, but I am trying to keep them to a minimum. I know they make me overeat and I'm really trying to control that response. However, I've had carb-y vegetables and rice the past 3 days with at least one meal. I for one, feel like that's too often for me. I need to get back to the place I was before. When I said I would only have rice/GF pasta/ potatoes once a week, I meant it. It's hard, but in the long run, I think it'll make a world of difference.