Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas!

Me and my bells
Where have I been???  Well, for those who know me, know that I've been around... but not doing too much with myself.  I've been busy with culture groups, singing Christmas music and learning to play the handbells!  Though not typically a Catholic thing, our Japanese choir director loves handbells and formed an ecumenical Handbell Choir.  What fun it was!!  Hard work, too, as she put me on the bass bells... larger and heavier.  I had a great time, but must admit my wrists will love not playing anymore!



Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'd like to share an email to my sister:

Being home in the states again after being away for a year (and losing over 30 pounds since most of my family saw me last summer), has brought up many questions from relatives wanting to know what I've done and how I've done it.  I strongly suspect many in my family suffer gluten-related illnesses, too... come-on, we hear how celiac is genetic, so it makes sense that any intolerance would be, too!

So, my sister wrote to me about the Chex cereal that is now spouting "gluten-free' labels and boasting this claim via the television... Here's how our conversation went:  

Sister to Me:  
I just saw a commercial for Gluten free chex...what do you think of them??   I love my a.m. cereal, vs no breakfast....

Me to Sister:
Gluten-free just means they've used something that isn't wheat.  If that's your goal, probably OK.  However, I've stopped eating all grain (genetically modified and bad for the gut... even corn and rice), so I won't eat it.  Most likely it's just rice or corn chex.  :)  If you like it, try it.  I only eat eggs, steak or yogurt for breakfast now... oh, bacon too!!  :)  

Sister to Me:
Thanks for the info...trying I guess.  no corn??  Don't you miss corn on the cob??  lol..  that's basically the only corn I eat.  Most diets are too expensive..they need to make veggie's n fruit less expensive!!  :)

Me to Sister:
I only miss it if it's here... however, I've gotten into reading a LOT online and to see what/how HUGE companies like Monsanto are genetically altering our corn, wheat, soy, rice and canola, I'd rather not eat it.  I fear that they truly are poisoning us from the inside out.  Now, there are a LOT of low carb dieters who use corn and rice.  IF I 'cheat' on my diet, those are the two I 'cheat' with... rice first and foremost as I live in Japan.  However, looking at it for what it is:  a filler, I realize I don't eat it for nutritional content.  We've known corn is non-digestible since we were little and first spotted a kernel in our poo.  lol!  So, if I eat something these days, it's not mindless eating, I want to enjoy it and have my body benefit somehow/someway from eating it.  Far cry from the Debi who got so sick that she stopped eating anything (well, except for maybe 2 apples a day and some rice at the end nearing my gallbladder surgery).  It's only a hard lifestyle IF I dwell on the changes and what I cannot eat.  Instead, so I don't feel like I'm missing something, I dwell on what I CAN eat.  I CAN eat all the freakin' bacon I want!!  Whoo hoo!!  I can have 2-3 eggs every morning for breakfast (and still have LOW cholesterol)!!!!  I CAN eat dark chocolate!!!  I CAN eat all the meat (fish, bird, seafood, cow, pig, etc) I want without worrying about serving size!!  I CAN eat veggies... more than one serving and more than one type at any meal, AND I can put butter on them!! 

So, as you see... it's not just changing WHAT I eat, but how I think about what I eat.  It must be healthy and healthfully grown.  It must be non-GMO (genetically modified organism)... or as close to a non-GMO as I can get (in Japan, they don't allow GMO, so it's easier over there except for all the prepackaged American foods in the commissary...).  I also stay away from prepackaged foods.  I have gotten back to making supper from scratch.  I also don't succumb to cravings, except chocolate when I have my period... but, hey, that's OK... full of antioxidents!!  I also do drink wine and vodka/tequilla.  I don't drink bottled juices, alcoholic drinks (nope, no more ICE or others), etc.  Just water for me. Yeah, I do break that rule for 100% cranberry juice, lemonade (as long as it's natural and not high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)), limeade (I make a mean margarita with "Simply Lime" limeade!!), and tonic water.  Why tonic water?  Well, I do love a vodka tonic, but the truth is that I get BAD muscle cramps.  Always have and they are, at times, worse.  So, I find that if I have tonic water on hand to drink about once a week, and eat something with yellow mustard (the tumeric supposedly helps cramps) about 2 to 3 times a week, I'm fine. 

Well, this letter went on WAY longer than I anticipated, but I get wordy when I explain how and what I eat.  I get the "WHAT??!!  NO bread?  NO pasta?  NO corn/rice? NO tortillas?  NO chips?" a LOT... amazing how people focus on what they cannot eat, and forget all that I DO eat.  As a matter of fact, a family member is now trying to make me 'see' that people 'need' fillers like potatoes (I do eat sweet potatoes, but only about once a week)... whereas she, like our mother and their generation, always have some kind of 'filler' (my word) each meal.... bread on the sandwich (I eat the meat and cheese rolled and dip in the mustard), dinner must have bread or pasta or rice or potato as a side (remember?  Mom brought us up to have one 'starch' at dinner... meat, veggie, starch, drink and desert)... or, as she says, I'm too expensive to feed.  Possibly.  I get a LOT of frozen veggies every two weeks.  I usually just have double veggies for dinner and make my hubby and teen the rice/pasta/corn-on-the-cob(COTC).  Now, with that being said... I will 'cheat' and have COTC once in a blue moom, not daily, weekly or even monthly.  Rice when I go out to Japanese restaurants or have sushi... not daily.  So, I'm not missing anything :)
 
**********************************************
I'm sure some of what I've written just brings more questions or advice from many readers, but remember, I'm not trying to scare people off of Primal/Paleo, but to give a little groundwork to entice someone, especially someone who I love very much (my sister) to eat 'better'.  Yes, I could have talked more about corn being a grain and GMO'd, or the benefits of sat fat and MUFAs, or the evils of trans fats, PUFAs/omega 6s.... the list goes on.  This is just a quick groundwork email chain and I'm sure this isn't where it stops, just a point at which I'd like to share with readers.  :)  
 
Whatever your reasons for being primal... stick to your system, especially if it works.  By and large my family and friends have been supportive while here in the states for these few weeks, but I really have to use self-control.  At home, there are NO chips to tempt me... NO fresh bread just out of the over... NO potatoes... NO corn on the cob.  I can control what's in MY house, not someone else's.  Hey, perhaps that's a blog for later!!  
 
 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Being "Good" while traveling

*sigh*  For those of you who know and follow BabyPT on FaceBook, you know the last few days have been spent trying to catch a military "hop", or space-available, plane out of Japan so that my son and I can go home for a visit.  We've wait listed for WAY too many planes at this point and been disappointed.  So a wonderful friend, who is an airline pilot, offered us two of his Buddy passes so that we can have an alternate way to get home.  We have no deadline as to when to be there, but we do for coming back, so we took him up on the offer (thank you! thank you!!).  Unfortunately, the first plane was at an airport 1 hour and 15 mins from our house in southeast Tokyo… all of us, my hubby drove us, got up at 2:30am to leave the house by 3:30am and arrive no later than 5am for a 6:55am flight.  Hubby dropped us off and left, we stayed and got immediately turned away.  So, over an hour and a half to get back home had us miss the first military flight on our agenda… however, this friend would NOT give up!  He ended up finding a "wide open" flight that routes through Hawaii (OK, a few hours in the sun would be GREAT!!) and we're currently awaiting that flight.  Let's pray we get on… though our chances look good, there are NO guarantees.

Anyhow, my teen and I were dorks and took silly "touristy" style photos as we were heading down the escalator from security toward immigrations… thank God there was no one watching us running UP the escalator to switch places and get back in place for the second round of photos!!  GREAT primal exercise, by the way!!
"Are we going to make it on THIS flight??"

"OK, I'm being more positive!!"

Me after darting back up the escalator… I think I'm still walking up the down side!!"
So, the question to other Primal and Paleo friends is:  "What do you eat while traveling?"

I just had my first snack.  2 hard boiled eggs, a handful of carrots, cauliflower and orange bell pepper strips.  Prior to pulling out my stash, I had walked around and the smells of all the breaded and fried foods was smelling WAY too good (that still happens, even after almost a year!), so I quickly sat down and got out my stash.  Now, somehow this stash is going to have to last for the next full day as we're leaving at night Japan-time, getting into Hawaii in the morning (of the SAME day!!) then traveling through that day and night into the next morning.  So, the 5 hard boiled eggs are now down to 1 left (hey!  My son needs to eat, too!!).  I still have a good amount of the veggies, but made two lovely bags of nuts/dried fruits/dark chic chips and have those in my bag, too!  I also grabbed two, off the shelf beef jerkys.  Nope, can't get all the wondrous grass-fed beef and au naturale jerky you all can in the states, and I have not yet started to make my own… so, I found Oberto! brand's "natural" and it does not have soy sauce (read "gluten") in it, so it's in my bag.  Some additives as it has "flavoring" in it, but I'll sacrifice those preservative/flavorings in favor of soy sauce laden Japanese "fast food" which is sure to make me visit the restroom a LOT.

So, what do YOU eat when you travel?  Do you try to 'make do' with what's served by picking and choosing?  Or do you bring your stuff like I did?  (let's see how long it lasts… might end up picking and choosing by tomorrow!!)


Monday, July 9, 2012

7 Reasons why your diet isn't working:


One of my favorite magazines has always been Prevention.  I've read it since I was a pre-teen as my parents had a subscription, then as I moved out on my own, I got my own.  It's the one magazine that's never lapsed in my lifetime (so far).  However, the more I get into the Paleo/Primal way of thinking, some times I wanna scream!  To their credit, though, they've buddied up with William Davies, the author of Wheat Belly and come up with their own book on cutting your tummy down - "Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight".  Now, I'm not advocating this book over the other as I haven't read this one... I DO highly recommend the Wheat Belly book as I've read that and compared his report of the research with the original articles themselves and LOVE that he doesn't take information out of context.  THAT is huge in my book! (so to speak)

Anyhow, I was reading  the April issue of Prevention and came across an article titled "7 reasons why your diet isn't working".  Though it starts out strong (though with the calorie in/calorie out point of view)... it ends weakly, in my opinion.  Let's go through them all with my variation afterwards:

7 reasons why your diet isn't working

1.  You aren't eating enough.  This comes from a calorie stand point and really hits on the metabolism and all the push toward revving the metabolism.  What they don't say is that perhaps not only is the person starving themselves, but they aren't eating the 'right' foods.  I know when I was in the midst of my gallbladder/GI inflammation sickness last year, I DID lose weight on 500-700 calories a day.  Yeah... not the way to lose weight.  However, the weight really drops off eating larger amounts of the right foods... non-processed, home cooked meals.  Kicking the foods which cause inflammation (beans/legumes and grains) allowed me to eat more food, but actually a decent calorie count each day.  I stopped counting calories and no longer look at foods and mentally imagine their caloric load... don't need to as the foods are wholesome and pure.   
     1.  You aren't eating enough of the right foods.






2. You reward yourself with food after exercise.  Again, this comes from a caloric counting point of view.  The thought is that if you just worked off 300 calories, then you eat 300 calories, you won't lose weight.  I challenge you to think about WHAT you eat after a workout instead of the caloric load you're placing on your body.  If I eat a bowl of ice cream after working out, isn't that different from one of Primal Toad's Smoothies??  A smoothie full of good fats, fruits and protein?  Never mind that you'd have to eat WAY less of the smoothie to feel full versus the amount of ice cream, but you won't be eating sugar and screwing with your insulin/pancreas.  In the blogs of all my Paleo/Primal 'friends' and mentors, along with the Facebook pages, you'll see what others are eating after their workouts and they typically are foods with protein and good fats (yep, omega 3 MUFAs and SatFats), and chock full of vitamins. 

     2.  You reward yourself with junk food after exercise.  

3.  You slurp diet drinks.  This portion, I couldn't agree more in their points. Direct quote below, emphasis and parenthesizes mine. 
p. 32 Research suggests that diet drinks may backfire:  The taste of something sweet without the calories can cause your body to hold on to calories as fat.  In a 2011 study (which one??), diet-soda drinkers had a 178% greater increase in waist circumference over 10 years, compared with non-diet-drinkers.  "Artificial sweeteners can actually raise your insulin levels and lower your blood sugar, which may stimulate hunger and move existing calories into storage in your fat cells," says Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, one of the study's coauthors.
Problem?  Nope... I agree.  I see WAY too many people drinking their diet drinks instead of water.  So, I'll keep their advice:
     3.  You slurp diet drinks (instead of water).

4.  Your friends are fat.  Oh gosh, they say "your chances of being overweight or obese increase half a percent with every friend in your network who is obese" (according to some 2010 Harvard study).  That your perception of what is overweight changes with who you surround yourself.  But, they then go on to talk about how endorphins go up with social bonding and can help you lose weight if you work out together.  Once you have a friend who's losing weight, that'll spur you on toward losing yourself. 
I couldn't resist!! 

Controversial?  You bet.  However, from personal experience, I kinda concur.  Now that I hang out with people who workout and eat healthier, I am much more interested in that newer lifestyle for me.  It is depressing to be around some fat people... I include myself from last year in that group of 'fat people'.  I wasn't as much fun 'cause I hurt.  I hurt due to bad diet and being overweight.  I'm still overweight according to BMI and what a 5 foot 3 inch lady should weigh, but am surrounding myself with positivity and FEEL better for it!!  I think others around me feel better, too.  I'm no longer bringing them down with me, but inspiring them to work out more and eat right.  Win-win situation.  I never want to be that depressed fat girl again... I still have 'fat' friends, but they're working out with me!!  :)
     4.  Your friends are unhealthy.

5. You've eliminated wine.  Grey area with Paleo vs Primal.  However, this part of the article comes purely from a research point of view:  "New research from Brigham ad Women's Hospital in Boston found that women who drank one to two glasses of wine daily gained less weight over 13 years, compared with those who did not drink alcohol - 8 pounds versus 5.5 pounds, to be exact."  OK... let me read that again... is that 8 lbs over a 10 year period of time versus 5.5 lbs??  Can you say insignificant??  I'm gonna drink the wine based on heart health or some other reason to make myself feel good... but not even 1-2 glasses a DAY... my, that's a bit much for me.  I think I can figure out how to get those extra 2.5 lbs off in a different way.  Not saying it's bad to drink... I LOVE wine.  I just don't drink it daily.  Plus, those findings seem kinda insignificant to me!  I'd have to read the study myself and determine if that's a per year gain or 10 year gain... if it's per year, those gals need to be Paleo!!! 
I'm coming up with my own...  I've found it's very fun to go to different farmer's markets and to try out new and different exercise classes.  So... if you're not losing weight, you're not having fun!!
     5.  You're not having FUN!

6.  Your diet isn't digitally enhanced.  Again... count your calories.  You'll eat less if you write down everything that passes through your lips.  I tend to agree with this one, but in a different way.  If you're going Paleo and you begin to experience health symptoms such as cramps or fatigue, a great way to see where in your diet you might be missing out on critical vitamins or minerals might be to monitor the content of your food.  Also, if your cholesterol or blood sugar isn't going down, try keeping a food journal.  You may not be getting enough essential fats (wrong ratio of omega 3s to 6  1:1-2) or you may be eating more fruits that have higher glycemic index which equates to higher glycemic load and higher blood sugars.  Write it down.  Does it have to be digital?  NOPE.  BUT, that is very convenient if you are a person with iPhone, Android, etc and are "plugged in".  If you're not, there are websites on which you can input your food and get the values, then hand write into your own journal.  I was getting cramps in my lower legs for some time after going Primal, and I found I wasn't getting all my minerals via foods... changed my veggies a touch and ... no more cramps!  (cramps aren't just Potassium deficiency!!  Need sodium, calcium and magnesium, too!!) 
     6.  Keep a food journal.  

7.  You've gone no-carb or fat-free.  "The trick is a varied diet that includes healthy fats and good carbs such as fruits.  After all, the biggest reason low-carb diets backfire is that, for the vast majority of people, they aren't sustainable over the long haul. It's a rare soul who can pass up birthday cake and pasta dinners for a lifetime.""  I'm SO glad that they didn't say "You've eliminated an entire food group"... that's the one I often hear with being Primal.  Though I agree that you CAN, and will, get a lot of "good carbs" from your fruit (and veggies), I disagree that most people can't live without their pasta and birthday cake.  Well, you CAN!  OR you can adapt and change.  I eat Paleo Pasta.  No, it's not exactly like pasta from wheat or semolina, but it's PASTA.  I also exchange noodles with spaghetti squash or zucchini strips.  Yep, they taste different, but they're not enriched (read vitamins and minerals straight from the source, not added) nor are they made in a plant/factory.  There are also MANY, MANY websites dedicated to making cakes, cookies, and other baked goods without grain-based flours.  So... substitue!!!  They're good and relatively easy to make.  As Paleo/Primal becomes more popular, I expect there will emerge companies willing to ship baked goods that fit our lifestyle and dietary needs.  One company I just found is Paleo Baking Company... she takes custom orders, but I haven't used them before so cannot comment on how good the food is. 
     7.  You've gone fat-free (or think you can eat whatever you want as long as it's in moderation).  Remember to eat your fats!!  ELIMINATE trans fats and most polyunsaturated fatty acids unless they're omega 3s!!!

You may or may not agree with what I've written, but in my book, the true 7 Reasons your diet may not be working are:
1.  You aren't eating enough of the right foods.
2.  You reward yourself with junk food after you exercise.
3.  You slurp diet drinks instead of water.
4.  Your friends are unhealthy.
5. You've eliminated FUN.  
6.  You're not keeping a food journal.
7. You've gone fat-free or think you can eat whatever you want "as long as it's in moderation". 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June: Garden stories and surgeries

First Summer Squash from my garden
next harvest, bigger than the first!!




Yep... June is a failure in being "Strict" Primal!!  Oh well... not beating myself up about that 'cause I'm staying the same weight-wise.  This is "PCS season" for the military... that means many people move from this base to another.  Therefore, there are a LOT of parties.  I hold my own at those.  Never eat desert, drink alcoholic beverages only once a week, and keep strict with no grains, beans/legumes or sweet stuff.  I have to admit that I did have one cheat... the pie portion of a lemon meringue pie!!  OMG it was SO good!!  Yeah, I got a headache from the sugar, but for my one huge cheat in the past 9 months?  I don't feel guilty at ALL!! 

June is also the month to start reaping the benefits of having started my zucchini, tomatoes and summer squash from seeds back in late April!!  I have many photos to share!

June was also the time for my teen to get his nose fixed... hopefully, along with the septum straightening out, so will his migraines.  We'll see... as you can see, he's not too impressed!!

Garden in frontyard: basil and Japanese Kabucha squash

Backyard garden

baby summer squash
baby tomatoes!
Zucchini flowers (and the Japanese beetle issue....)
The kabucha in the front yard was a silly moment I had... I was cutting one up for dinner and just took the handful of seeds and stuff and just put it out in the front empty plot!  Well, they grew and are continuing to grow!  They even have little flowers starting.  I also purchased a cute, small basil plant.  I don't have a clue what kind of basil as the tag was in Japanese, but I know that leaf... it's basil.  I'm hoping sweet basil, but I think it's just "normal" basil.


Backyard garden... no digging equipment and VERY dense grass made me resort to bags of dirt, place them and open bottom and top... Voila!  Small garden plots!!  I saw my dad do this a few years ago, but never thought I'd resort to this... well, when you want to do something, you'll figure it out!  This was my solution as the seeds grew faster than I thought they would inside!!  I had to get them into the ground quickly or the little plants would die...










Summer squash and zucchini have GOT to be my two favorite garden veggies... considering I've never tried to grow either, this is a fun experiment all the way around!!  You can tell by the eaten portions of the leaves that I'm doing this organically... no sprays or pesticides.  I figure, there will be plenty of veggies, I won't sweat the hungry insects...




I did have to go out and re-stake the tomato plants as they've become enormous and were falling over into the yard!!  My surprise was waiting underneath all that growth... small flowers and baby tomatoes!  YAY!! 



My saddest part so far is that, though the zucchini plants have a LOT of flowers, none have started to elongate into baby zucchinis.  I figured they would grow as quickly as the summer squash... since my FAVORITE way to cook them is together in a stir fry, I just assumed they'd grow at the same rate... heck, the plants did.  However, those daggone beetles REALLY like the zucchini flowers!! 




The first meal made with a summer squash was stir-fry with spring peas (pods) and onions.  The photo below is hubby's dish as for some reason I tend to give more attention to plating his food than my own... so, there's some nummy fried rice, too.  Yes, organic peas and pastured eggs went into that... local rice, too.  I figure if I'm going to make something, stick to the 'rules' of Primal, even if it's pushing the boundaries (like white rice). 

Salmon and green peppers, stir fry and fried rice.
So, the teen is doing better since the surgery (15th of June) and I'm trying to make him only Primal stuff... however, he's sneaky and gets at the packaged stuff in the pantry anyways.  I'm still hoping to reduce migraines by having him go gluten-free, but that's a personal decision he has yet to make himself.  It's difficult to be gluten-free in this world!!  But, NOT impossible... just one more step closer to him becoming Primal. 







Thursday, June 7, 2012

Not giving up!

Lately I've been seeing all these posts on Facebook and blogs about support and not giving up when you stumble on your diet or fitness goals.  At times like this, I wonder, "Is the Universe trying to tell me something?" 

Made you think, too, didn't it?  I came up with "perhaps".  Why perhaps?  Because I'm being "strict" with myself and had set two goals starting on this month of no cheating...
1. blog daily (nope, not close on that one!!) and
2. exercise daily (nope, epic fail on that one, too).  So... have I 'quit' or given up?  HECK NO!! 

The old Debi might have, but not THIS gal!!  THIS gal is 42 pounds thinner and ready to be more fit and at her goal of 15 more pounds. 

Yeah, but back to the two goals...

1. been super busy this week and just haven't sat down to take the time to blog... sorry.  I had a negative comment, that I think was meant to be constructive criticism, a few months ago and that caused me to stop blogging as much.  Kinda felt like I needed to keep with the instructional blogs instead of the 'this is what I think' blogs.  Well... I figure I can, and should, do both.  This blog is a journey of what I think, feel, learn and experience in my life as I made the transition from standard American diet eating and a lifestyle of poor health to one of great food choices and good health and fitness.  So, my promise to myself is to sit down and blog more often.  Just write.  Shoot, I'm not a journalist, but a physical therapist, mom, reservist, military spouse, and American woman!  So, I'm gonna be ME and write in my poor writing style about whatever occurs to me.  Enough about that!!

2.  Been sick.  I've always heard that if your illness was only in your head (literally), then you could exercise.  But, if it's in your chest or throat and down, NO exercise.  So, I haven't run my Couch to 5K program since a week and a half ago!  But, I did go to the gym last Friday and participated in an excellent strength training class.  It kicked my butt, but since it wasn't an aerobic style class, I was OK and not coughing up a lung like I thought I might.  This week... the sore throat went up above the adam's apple as well as the coughing.  So, I'm laying low.  I've done some stairs in my house, but only 2 flights cause the coughing to start.  So, sad Debi is putting off the exercise a little longer, but trying to keep moving and not sit on the couch all day. 

2 excuses... 2 things to put a stop to the 'diet'.  Well, the old Debi might just get out the frozen yogurt and have a few bowls.  This newer version of me doesn't do that.  She figures, well... move forward and adapt.  So, I'm adapting and moving forward.  I'm being strict in the eating.  Yep, not skipping breakfast, eating lunch and having dinner.  Even doing my old smoothies for my afternoon snack. 

And you know what?  Its great. 

No, I haven't slid off the plateau I'm on, but it's coming... I can feel it.  No food cheats can work all on it's own while I'm waiting for my body to be well again. 

Just a cute cartoon... 




This is what I think my Husband thinks Paleo/Primal has done to me!!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 5:

Salmon and stir fry

Boy, do I LOVE salmon!!  Sometimes, like tonight, when I'm in a rush for something to make fast, I can take out salmon from the freezer and thaw it quickly in lukewarm water while chopping veggies for dinner.  Salmon can be cooked a myriad of ways, but my oldie, but goodie, way is to pan fry. 


Before Paleo, I used to pan fry in extra virgin olive oil.  Now,  after reading that cooking olive oil may destroy some of the vital nutrients that make olive oil so good for us, I don't fry with that, but use it in my salad dressings and eat it unheated for maximum health benefits.  So, I fry with my expeller-pressed coconut oil.  This stuff from Tropical Traditions is outstanding, and NO, I don't get money for telling you about their product, I just love it.  I greatly dislike (I'm trying NOT to use the word "hate") the taste or smell of coconuts, so when I happened upon a Civilized Caveman's Cooking Creations giveaway in which George says how great expeller-pressed coconut oil is and how it doesn't smell or taste like coconut... well, I HAD to buy some.  AND... he's right!  It has absolutely no taste and fries things very well.  My new favorite thing in the kitchen. 


Anyhow... I pan-fried salmon with just a squirt of Worcestershire Sauce and salted organic butter and made an awesome stir fry.  I bought these beautiful mushrooms from the Japanese farmer's market the other day and they were begging to be used!  Well, between those, a chopped white onion, some kabocha (Japanese pumpkin.. literally looks like our pumpkin, but green skinned with orange flesh), garlic and broccoli all ftirsried in coconut oil then topped off with salted organic butter.  YUM!!

So here's dinner:

Ingredients:
2 Salmon fillets, medium sized
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
1 bunch broccoli, chopped into smaller florets (save the stems for other meal!!)
1/2 medium white onion, sliced
4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
mushrooms of your choice, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 kabocha, chopped into squares after peeling off skin and discarding seeds
2 Tbsp butter




In medium frying pan, melt coconut oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Place salmon in pan and cook on skin side first for 2 minutes pouring the W.Sauce on the meat side.  Flip and cook 2 more minutes.  Flip one more time, lower heat and place a small patty of butter on each fillet, cover and cook another 2 to 3 minutes making sure salmon is cooked through the center. 

Meanwhile... melt coconut oil in wok or other frying pan and saute onions and bacon pieces for 2 minutes.  Add squash and garlic, and cover for 2-3 more minutes, then uncover and add broccoli and mushrooms.  Cover again, but stir every 10 to 20 seconds and cook until mushrooms release their juices.  Check to make sure squash is thoroughly cooked, but not mushy, and add butter.  Stir thoroughly as butter melts and remove from heat. 


ENJOY!!



Day 2-4: Same ole, same ole

rut (from Dictionary.com) [ruht] 

noun
1. a furrow or track in the ground, especially one made by the passage of a vehicle or vehicles.
2. any furrow, groove, etc.
3. a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising: to fall into a rut.


Gosh, it's SO easy for me to fall into a rut.  That same ole rut I got into which forced me into my plateau is staring at me ... direct in the eyes like I'M the deer in the headlights!!  

How to change.  I'm coming up with a few things:  

Well, let's start with breakfast.  For days 1-3 I had scrambled 2-3 eggs with some kind of veggie... onion, mushrooms, spinach, red or green bell peppers.  If I was a great cook, they'd have been an omelet.  I'm not a great cook, so they become scrambled eggs.  Yummy, especially when I put salsa on them.  But, same ole breakfast that I can make with my eyes closed.  Day 4 breakfast?  STEAK!!!  I finally had left over dinner from last night as BREAKFAST.  Holy crud, that goes against everything I've ever thought of doing.  Typically, I'd have the left overs as lunch.  Well, I go out to lunch a lot, so breakfast it is.  

The difference?  More energy with steak and veggies.  WOW.  So, My number 1 way to change and get out of the rut is...

1.  Consider having left overs and non-breakfast foods for breakfast.  Radical thinking on my part.      

So, if I'm not eating the leftovers for lunch, what's lunch?  Well, I just said I go out to lunch once to three times a week with various culture groups or spouses groups, so let's look at my typical fare.  We're in Japan, so I like to try different Japanese dishes.  They ALWAYS come with rice.  That became my one BIG "cheat".  I wouldn't typically finish the rice, but I'd still eat it and that's NOT Paleo/primal.  So, IF eating out... consider extra side dishes!!  Even in Japan, they have different side dishes...  So, at lunch today, I refused the bread (that's typical... I'm gluten intolerant!) but also refused the rice and soup (can't guarantee the soups don't have gluten in them) and had an extra salad.

2.  When eating out, be true to yourself and your Paleo lifestyle and don't eat the potatoes, rice, and bread.  Ask for extra side veggies or salad instead.  Yes, it WILL fill you up AND gives you extra vitamins and minerals!!

Exercise.  Man, I hate thinking about this part.  I used to exercise myself into a hole in the ground just to lose weight.  NOW, I will exercise for the strength I will gain AND for the cardio changes I experience when faced with climbing a few flights of stairs or a hillside here in Japan.  I used to act like the extra stairs and hills of Japan didn't bother me... now, I just keep on climbing and get to the top with less time needed for my heart-rate to recover.  Its great, I mean, TRULY great to be able to carry on a conversation while walking up and up and up.  My goal this summer?  Climb Mt Fuji in less than 9 hours!!  Never climbed before, but everyone seems to take about 5 hours up and 3 hours down.  I've known some who take MUCH longer than that.  Well, I don't want to just say I climbed Fuji-san, I want to say I CLIMBED him!!  There IS a difference.  In my little brain, at least...

3.  Exercise, daggone it!!  Don't kill yourself, but get stronger and get better with cardio so that you can truly enjoy LIFE!!  Do it for better function and your health will improve, too. 

 And lastly, but most important in the Paleo/Primal lifestyle:

4.  Eat your vitamins, don't swallow them!  I've always had a problem with taking vitamins... no, not the physical swallowing of the pills or capsules, but why take vitamins?  Why 'take' them, when you can EAT them.  How?  In your fruits and veggies... meat, too.  They always say that pregnant women will crave what vitamins or minerals they're missing, well we do, too.  Regardless... instead of taking a multivitamin, try a beautiful salad with multicolored veggies in it!!  I LOVE my salads with more stuff than just lettuce and tomatoes.  Gosh, they're good with carrots, celery, cucumbers, red and yellow and green bell peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash and zucchini... oh, the list goes on!!   

Well, enough preaching for now... those are just my thoughts after 5 days of being 'strict' Paleo.   

Friday, June 1, 2012

Its been a while!!

Robb Wolf
Hey there!  Even the best of us lets life get in the way of blogging, and that definitely includes me!  I think it's been 2 months since my last blog.  That is going to change as I've decided to get back on the 'strict' Paleo bandwagon for the next 30 days.  Can't really call it the Whole 30 program as I've not purchased that.  I have all the Paleo books though, and am planning to do it the way I did last Fall (2011) when I lost all that weight. 

Why?  Why go 'strict'?  That's what my friends are asking.  They've even been nice enough to hint (or say out loud) that I don't 'need' to lose any more weight.  Well, the truth is that I've been plateau'd now since February.  I know, earlier blogs say different, but when you gain and lose the same 5 pounds over a 3 month period of time, you're on a plateau. 

Mark's Daily Apple
So, being "stuck" on this plateau, I needed to take a hard look at what I'm doing... or not doing as the story goes.  I really have been fairly inactive.  Yes, I started back on the Couch to 5K (I LOVE this program!!!), but keep allowing things to get in the way of my 3-day-a-week runs, so they ended up being a once or twice a week runs, thus lengthening the program.  THEN, I caught a chest cold that is developing into bronchitis.  Well, the old saying is that when your 'cold' is below your voicebox, NO aerobics, above is OK.  So... no running. 

BUT, I promised myself I'd do this "Strict Paleo" month starting today, so how does one do that and not cough up a lung?  AH!!  Strength Training class!  30 minutes designed to kick your butt... and it DID kick mine.  BUT, I got an awesome leg and ab workout in.  Then had my friend, a respiratory therapist, come over and beat on my back and give me a breathing treatment!! 

So... why the plateau??  Well, looking back at not only the inactivity of the past 3 months, but my diet, I realized two things.  I was "cheating" more often with rice and actually (GASP!!) at some corn, AND I was not eating enough.  Yep... would skip meals again.  Old habits die hard. 

Here's my plan:  To blog daily and keep myself faithful to the Primal/Paleo lifestyle and be accountable to someone - you. 

So, with that being said... I went to an old standby, eggs for breakfast:

Breakfast:
2 eggs
1/8 cup chopped white onion
1/8 cup chopped green peppers
1/8 cup bacon bits (the real ones I make)
all scrambled together with salsa on it! 
Coffee with Vanilla Almond milk in it

Lunch: (at a function, so it was nibble food, but made it easy to count)
3 strips roast beef
2 strips turkey breast
1/2 cucumber
4 mini carrots
4 olives
bottle of water

Snack: 
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
3/4 cup frozen cherries
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Dinner:  (more nibble food at another function)
3 Huli chicken wings (not fried)
carved roast beef and horseradish
cucumbers, celery, carrots and green olives
Club soda and a twist of lime
water

Home:  chai spice tea and almond milk



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Orange Chicken!

BabyPT's Primal Orange Chicken:

Nope,  never have I made it, but saw a recipe as I was filing all my scrap of paper and printouts from recipe sharing sites and got creative to turn something typically battered and fried into a Paleo/Primal version... and, *sigh* yes, you do see white rice under the chicken lovliness in the photo.  My plating for the hubby was purtier than mine with the cauliflower 'rice', so I'm using that photo instead!!

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken (I used breast meat as that's hubby's fav)
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut oil (I use the flavorless expeller-pressed stuff from Tropical Traditions)  
  • Juice of 2-3 oranges (since blood oranges are in stock right now, I used those!)
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • zest from 2 oranges (no pith)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha HOT Chili Sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca flour (sorry, all I have for thickening that loosely fits Primal)
  • 3 green onions, sliced up into the green, but not to the ends
Instructions:
Multi-tasking!!
  1. In a Medium saucepan, add the orange juice, extract and zest, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and chili sauce.  Stir well to blend and cook over medium to medium-low heat.  Simmer to reduce and thicken while you cook the chicken.  (If it doesn't thicken enough for your liking, bring back to a bubbly simmer and add small amounts of the tapioca in water until thick enough for your liking)
  2. In medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat and add the chicken, chopped into 1/2 inch squares until cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Don't over cook!
  3. Add the orange sauce to the chicken and stir to coat.  
  4. Serve on cauliflower rice, or white rice topped with sliced green onions. 

I served with fresh green beans, steamed then buttered lightly.  DELICIOUS!!  


Yummy deliciousness!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring in Japan!

Tis the season of the Cherry Blossoms (and allergies) in Japan!!

Yeah, that's my red face after running intervals :) No, it's not a stroke!!

 


Debi as Alice in Wonderland
Along with the blossoms come music, and the singing group I'm in is doing a Disney-themed 20 minute show weekly at the schools in the area.  Our first show was last Monday and here's me ready to perform!  I surprised my neighbor and she took this lovely photo of me in her garden.  


Cool thing was... last time I wore this Alice costume was in 2008... over 42 lbs ago!!  I was trying to find the 'old' photo of me in the costume from then, but haven't quite been successful yet.  I'll post it if I can find it!


So, it's been quite a while since my last blog, so I've a LOT to share!!  


Since my last post I hit two of my goals that I set about 2 years ago.  Since they were good goals for Paleo, I saw no reason to change them once I adapted the Paleo/Primal lifestyle.  
1.  Get under 140 lbs
2.  Get under a BMI of 25 (since that's when the charts all say we're "overweight")



small portion of the bazaar
I also had the privilege of being the Asian Bazaar Chair for the third time earlier this Spring and THAT took up a LOT of my time.  Cool thing was, for that weekend, the gals who did the food were extremely thoughtful of my 'dietary needs' and kept boiled eggs, veggies and water on hand for me.  (thanks!!)  Since one of my other committee members is also following Paleo/Primal lifestyle, he made out like a bandit, too!  We both can say that even though there was no formal exercise going on that weekend, we didn't gain any weight thanks to the hard efforts (and amazing friendship) of our Vendor Lounge gals!    Besides the food issue, it was a great bazaar with enough profit to fund our scholarship and community giving programs for another year!  YAY, team!!  

Culture Groups:
 I'm in three culture groups, two of which are very active and meet almost weekly!  In one, I had the opportunity to listen to some wonderful, traditional Japanese music and then got to try the little Koto myself.  




Before and right after the bazaar, I had TWO opportunities to get dressed by Japanese ladies in my culture groups in their personal Kimono.  What a process!  However, I think they're very smart in that the Obi, or thick looking belt, sits up on the ribcage instead of the abdomen.  Therefore, it's actually quite comfortable!  

The first group, Tokyo Culture Group, was done at a member's house in Tokyo.  Here's some pictures:


The under garment...

Bunching up the waist to make it just the right length.


Tying the Obi...

Finishing touches

Me in my first Kimono!
This is Setsuko, I'm wearing her Kimono!!
After trying on Kimono, it was lunch time!!  How Primal is this??  Sushi/Sushimi!!  Yummy!






Happy Birthday, son!!















The next BIG thing that happened was my baby boy turned 19.  Gah!  I feel so old!!  However, I can truly say I'm at the healthiest point and we can actually enjoy running around Japan now (especially since he got that GoPro2!!)

My second dressing in the Kimino happened at a wonderful cottage that my other culture group rented at Tama Hills Recreation Area.  The Sakura (cherry blossoms) were just starting to bloom and it was a beautiful weekend!

Midori helping me put on the Obi

Obi tying is quite a task!

Gotta show the sexy part of the neck!!

Me, in Junko's Kimono

Back of Kimono showing Obi tie

Debi and Tamsen with Junko and wearing her Kimonos!