Friday, February 28, 2014

TIGER BLOOD! March: T-Minus 2 Days

Sunday is the big day, day 1 of "TIGER BLOOD! March." As such, I spent far too much time and far too much money at Whole Foods today stocking up on some essentials and getting ready.

How much money do you think is in those 3 bags? Trust me, you don't want to know. Damn you Whole Foods. 

Here's what I hauled away. Some basic staples like coconut oil, ghee, coconut milk, almond milk, etc., plus some meat options, veggies, fruits, nuts, and then some paleo-friendly bars and sauces. We get an organic veggie and fruit box delivered every week, and already have a freezer full of chicken and salmon so luckily I didn't need to go too nuts in those areas. 

I cleaned out and re-organized the pantry, and found it interesting to see how many fewer "pantry foods" we'll be eating...

The bottom two shelves are our non-paleo foods... Everything else is our paleo stuff (including a whole shelf of just teas). Interesting to just have a visual reminder that we won't be eating stuff that sits on a shelf and comes out of a box. 

So anyway, we're ready for ya, paleo! Just 48 hours of beer, pizza and cake stand between us. (Side note: after allowing myself to indulge these last weeks, I'm really ready to put an end to it. I'm feeling the junky food, and ready for TIGER BLOOD!)

Monday, February 24, 2014

TIGER BLOOD! March: T-Minus 6 Days

With 6 days left before the start of what in our house has now been deemed "TIGER BLOOD! March," I've found the process is already getting started, as far as the mental shifts related to food.  In preparation for our first venture into paleo, I've let myself indulge in many tasty, gluten-y treats.  Having just recently completed a strict 30-day gluten free experiment, it's enlightening to have the direct contrast (and will be enlightening to see the direct contrast with paleo).  In the past week or two that I've been indulging, I've noticed significant changes in the way I feel.  First off, my skin problems came back with a vengeance.  My digestion is incredibly cranky.  And I've found I end more days feeling run-down, exhausted and just yucky feeling. 

Aside from being educational (as far as highlighting the fact that, at the very least, increased gluten consumption does bad things to my body), it's also serving to motivate me and get me excited to try this paleo thing (because I don't know about you, but I don't like feeling gross).  We'll be starting on March 2nd, because we decided to try to squeeze in a cake tasting for our wedding on the 1st.   So we will have quite a send-off to deliciously processed foods by not only hitting up a cake tasting, but also indulging in what the closest thing to Chicago-style pizza we've found out here so far (and hopefully hitting some favorite beer spots).  We will have quite the detox to go through once we get going, but as food and beer-lovers, we're willing to deal with that in order to get in a few last indulgences.  

For anyone curious, so far my resources in getting ready for this process and researching have been the following:

One tip for anyone starting to research this stuff: you've got to be able to decide for yourself what you believe.  There are obviously a lot of people who believe paleo is ridiculous, or even bad for you. And even within those who are pro-paleo, there are a lot of conflicting opinions.  If you read all three books I listed above, you will get three different perspectives and opinions on what you should and should not do.  You've got to be able to read it all and decide for yourself what works best.  For example, we are going to eat unlimited eggs (something Chris Kresser says yes to, but Loren Cordain says no to) because we love eggs and know it's an easy and accessible food option for us.  We will also long-term plan to follow the 80/20 rule (something Chris Kresser and Loren Cordain both say yes to, but Hayley Mason and Bill Staley say no to), because we believe enjoying an indulgence every once in a while is important to enjoying life and maintaining sanity.  It's your life, your body, your health, your mind - you've got to just take all that info out there and find a way to make it fit for you. Because if you don't, you won't be able to maintain it anyways, so why bother?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Up until now this blog has been focused on house-related endeavors, with a few random crafty and crochet related things.  I've decided to expand out a bit, though, and use this as a forum to share my experiences with food.  Because I'm about to give something a whirl that is going to be extremely difficult and (hopefully) enlightening, and I'm sure will be fraught with "oopses" (yes, the plural of oops is oopses, obviously).

So, without further ado, I present to you my newest endeavor: paleo eating.  (I'll give you a moment to get the eye-rolls out of the way... are you good? You sure you don't want to get one more out, just for good measure? Go ahead, do it. Roll 'em. There. Now we can move on.).  For those of you who don't know, paleo eating basically means cutting out all processed foods - anything that our ancestor cavemen people wouldn't have been able to get their hands on.  So this means eating only meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and oils.  The theory, in a nutshell, is that our bodies are still genetically coded to most efficiently and effectively process these foods, and the crazy-processed-man-made foods (that really barely resemble "real food" by the time they make it to our salivating mouths) that make up the vast majority of what we eat nowadays negatively impacts our overall well-being and increase our risk for certain ailments. 

I know that this way of eating (I refuse to call it a "diet," because that insinuates that it's only about losing weight, and while that can be a nice little side effect, that is not the main purpose), is increasingly "trendy" right about now, and I promise you I am not the type to follow a trend in any regard, be it food, music, clothes, opinions, etc.  If I find something that works for me that also happens to be "in," great. If not, I couldn't care less. And I'll be the first to admit that I'm not 100% sold on the whole paleo thing, either. I have my doubts, for sure. And lord almighty do I loves me some bread, cheese and potatoes (ooh ooh, and beer! Oh, the beer)!! Hence, why I am trying it. I'm one of those people who needs to experience something directly in order to buy into it fully.

Why paleo, do you ask? Well, I have many reasons, really. I already know I have a gluten intolerance that has taught me a bit how certain kinds of processed, man-made foods can negatively effect my body.  I also struggle from some chronic skin issues that some people swear are exacerbated by processed foods, dairy, etc., and can be majorly helped by this way of eating (acne and eczema would be my skin ailments du jour).  Lastly, and more importantly, I do have a family history of cancer... seems like just about everyone in my family has had some form of cancer at some point in their lives, so I sometimes feel like a ticking time bomb.  I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle to try to reduce my risk, and figure that taking my eating habits one step further in that direction could possibly make me feel even better about what I'm doing to reduce my risk.  Many people swear that eating this way can indeed reduce many risk factors when it comes to cancer, particularly breast cancer (which my mother and grandmother have both battled), due to the way processed foods (and particularly dairy) can impact your hormones (and breast cancer is often linked to hormones and whatever it is they do in your body.  Yes my science knowledge is vast, I know).

Phil is luckily on board to try this experiment with me (thank goodness, because I think it would be extremely hard to live with somebody during this time who was helping himself to fresh-baked chocolate chips on a regular basis).  His reasoning lies behind more of a general desire to be healthier, and he's always been curious about healthier ways of eating.  He's particularly interested in the "TIGER BLOOD!!" phase, and feeling more energetic overall.  In reading up about some of the benefits of eating this way, however, I found a few chronic issues he deals with that could be helped, such as chronic sinus congestion and chronic muscle/joint inflammation/pain/tightness.

So, the plan is to embark on this experiment on March 1 and try to stick with it for the entire month (anybody got a good, catchy name for this? So far all I've come up with is "ALL OF THE MEATS March"... or how about "Masochistic March"?).  We are going to try to eat strictly "paleo" for one month, to see how it affects us, and then evaluate at the end to see what we'd like to do long term.  I know we won't be super strict about it forever, and if we do decide to eat this way long-term, we will allow ourselves a few chances to "cheat" each week (otherwise we'd go insane and probably be in the "KILL ALL OF THE THINGS!" phase forever.)

So that's that.  I'll plan to share on this blog how it's going throughout the month. In the meantime, we've got about 2 weeks left to binge on all of our favorite processed foods. If you are made in a factory and have ingredients I can't pronounce.. be afraid... be very afraid.