Friday, August 31, 2012

There's No Work Like Rework

At this moment, my in-laws are on their way and I should be doing something to my house.  Anything would probably be nice.  But I'm not.  I've got a ton of things to do, as always, but here I sit.  Writing to you.

I feel like it's time to give myself a pat on the back because today, I'm pretty proud of myself.

Tomorrow is September 1, nine months since I started this journey.  And it's been a journey, for sure.  It has had its ups and downs.  Fo' sure.

Over the summer, I had been making an extremely minimal effort to eat the right way and do the things I knew I should be doing.  Minimal effort was the maximum effort.  As the summer went on, I saw my weight creeping up and creeping and creeping up.  It was coming back.  Clothes that were on their way out were beginning to fit tightly again...clothes I had rescued from the other side of the closet were betraying me. I felt like a failure and so very shamed.  I wrote about it here back in June.  Except I still wasn't making great progress.

In August, I hit bottom.  Since my post in June, I had gained another five pounds.  In fact, I had gained back half the weight I had lost.  About 12 pounds.  Inches had been put back on.

Hitting bottom meant that between Thursday and Saturday, in one weekend, I ate:

  • Pizza from Pizza Hut
  • Whopper from Burger King (complete with fries and Dr Pepper)
  • Chick-fil-A 
  • Chili's
  • ate until bursting at the local Chinese buffet
  • Hammond's BBQ...the BBQ I love. 
  • Cake for a birthday
  • Pecan pie and ice cream
In that weekend, I think we ate out every meal.  And not well.

Maybe I don't need to say it, but I was sick as a dog.  My stomach hurt so bad.  I had a terrible headache.  My guts were in a terrible uproar.  For some reason, I kept shoveling it in.  Until I was so sick and bloated and miserable that I wanted to cry.  I wanted all that crap out of my system.  

That Sunday, I passed up my favorite donut.  I couldn't eat anything.  Ugh.  I spent that Sunday on a fast because I was so miserable.  I came to the conclusion that what I was doing was literally making me sick. It was more than just the idea that it was bad for me.  It was making things painful for me.  I decided that I could not eat like that anymore.  So I stopped.

Then I started walking with the kids in the morning.    

The good news today is this:  I'm back down 25 pounds.  I had gained back 12 pounds and now I'm back down to my best weight.

Now.  Now I have room to work.  I'm not going to look back and chastise myself and shame myself and feel bad.  I'm going to look forward and continue to be successful.  So when you see my numbers on the side wall there, those are accurate.  I'm still fighting this battle.  I'm not out yet.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hide Yo' Recipes, I'm Stealin' Everything Up in Here!

Okay, new recipes! I refer to them as stolen, because I have just not had the time to be a domestic goddess this summer. I DO have that potential, though. If someone would just pay me to stay home and cook, I know I’d be just darling at it. I am including a couple of paleo/primal dessert recipes. I feel the need to post a warning with these, though. Just because they’re grain and sugar free doesn’t mean they’re the best food choice you can make. They are healthier, but still meant as an occasional treat. Moderation is your friend. Got it? Okay then, enjoy!

Pizza Frittata

12 eggs
Tomato sauce-I make my own (so easy), but if you can find some made without sugar or additives, go for it
Italian seasoning
Fresh mozzarella- buy it whole and shred it yourself. They coat that preshredded stuff with cellulose. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds nasty.
Toppings of your choice- peppers, onions, olives, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, whatever.

Frittatas are fantastic, easy meals that feed a bunch with very little work. They’re also pretty cheap, so yay for that. I’ve got six people in my house that demand weird things like meals everyday. The nerve! Anyway, you need a nonstick pan that can also go in the oven for these. Actually, you need one for a lot of recipes, so just go invest in one. You won’t be sorry.
First, heat the pan on the stove on medium heat and preheat the oven to 375F. You can add a little oil or butter if you want, but if your pan is nonstick, you don’t really need it. If you're using sausage or meat, browning it in the pan first and removing it gives you some tasty oil to use! Scramble up the eggs until frothy, and then pour into the pan. Let it sit and cook for about 4-5 minutes. If you don’t let it set up, the toppings will sink to the bottom. When it looks almost cooked through (like an omelet), turn off the stove, sprinkle the frittata with Italian seasoning, and spread the tomato sauce over the top. Add toppings and cheese, and then move it into the oven. Bake just long enough to melt the cheese and heat the toppings (about 5 minutes). Cut into wedges and enjoy. This is even good reheated, and can be frozen. You can top a frittata with just about anything, so try it with chicken and red onion with smoked cheddar. I think smoked salmon and dill with goat cheese might be fabooboo, too. If you’re dairy free, leave off the cheese. Just experiment!
I took this picture. My pan is made by Berndes, and I've had it for AGES. I think it was an incentive from work when I worked in a gourmet kitchen shop twenty years ago. Holy crap, I'm old.

Pizza Crusts

Speaking of pizza, I have two different crusts I’ve used. One is primal, and is made of cheese. It’s unbelievably good. The other is paleo, and dairy free. It’s good, too. It just depends on your personal preferences as to which you’ll like better. Both require parchment paper, and I’ve found it comes in handy for other recipes, too. So, like the pan I mentioned above, it’s worth having some in the house.

Cheese crust ingredients:
2 c shredded mozzarella
1c shredded Cheddar
3 eggs
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp Basil

Preheat the oven to 450F. Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread thinly on a 16 in. pizza pan or small rectangular cookie sheet lined with greased parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 min. Check after 10 min. If the edges start to get too dark, turn it back to 400. It needs to be golden brown and crispy. Take it out, top it, and broil for a few minutes. Done. Yummy!  I also make several individual pizza crusts with this recipe and store them until the kids want pizza for lunch. They freeze well. I get about 6 small crusts per recipe. These are really close to a thin crust pizza. It’s crunchy and sturdy enough to be held in your hand instead of having to use a fork.

Coconut Flour crust ingredients:
3 eggs
1 c water or coconut milk
½ c coconut flour
Italian seasoning
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 385F. Mix the eggs and water or milk together. Slowly pour it into the flour and mix well. Add the spices to your taste. This should form a batter a bit like pancake batter. If it's thick and sticky, add more liquid. Pour over parchment paper (A MUST!) in metal pan of your choice. Bake for 25 minutes at 385F, check. It should be getting brown, maybe even a bit scorched on edges. You may have to bake longer, depends on your oven. Remove when golden brown. Add sauce, toppings, and spices to taste. I use Italian seasoning mix, covering the top of the crust after adding about 4 oz. of tomato sauce. Then add the toppings and cheese, if you use it, baking at 375F until cheese melts or toppings are heated through. This recipe is from my friend Brian, who has been primal WAY longer than I have. He’s gotten this thing down to an art form. When he sends a recipe and says, “Try this!” I know it’s going to be good. This crust can also be topped with ham or turkey and veggies and eaten like an open-faced sandwich. A little paleo mayo and you’re gold. You’re welcome.
 This is the cheese crust. I think I need to go make some. Now. Don't you love my fine china?

Spicy Chicken Legs

6 chicken drumsticks-free range, if you can.
2 tsp Chili powder
3 Tbsp olive oil
1- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
¾ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 450F. In a medium bowl, combine 1 Tbsp of the oil with the spices, salt, and pepper. Mix them to make a paste. Add the drumsticks and rub the spice paste over them, making sure to coat them thoroughly. Set them aside. On the stove, put a large ovenproof pan over medium heat. Allow the pan to heat up for 45 seconds or so before adding the other 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Heating the pan first before adding oil helps prevent sticking. Heat the oil for about 30 seconds before adding the drumsticks. Brown both sides of the chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side. Once you are done browning the drumsticks, put a lid on the pan and put them in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

These aren’t super hot, but they’ve got a great kick to them. I got some shredded cabbage, tossed it with a little diced pineapple, olive oil, and green onion, and served the chicken with that. My girls loved this, which means it is a “make again” meal.
 Originally found on Just look at the spices on that. My mouth is watering. 

Lettuce Wraps

This is my new favorite lunch idea. Go get a package of those huge romaine lettuce leaves. Our HEB carries them already cleaned and stacked up, ready to go. Fill these with whatever your little heart desires. At the moment, I am obsessed with roast turkey, pear, walnuts, blue cheese, and dried cranberries. I’ve also used leftover pulled pork and broccoli slaw. Avocado with turkey and tomato is the bomb. Dice up chicken breast, add some matchstick carrots and sprouts, throw on some gluten free soy sauce, and add some chilies. Thai! Really, the variety is endless. It’s also a great way to use leftovers. Those chicken legs I posted above? Tear the meat off the bones and throw them in a wrap the next day with some of the pineapple cabbage salad I mentioned. Lunch in minutes, just like a sandwich but without the gut-killing grains and sugar. Woo hoo!
 Seriously, doesn't this look refreshing? It's hot outside at my house right now, y'all. If I can make something this fabooboo without turning on the stove, I'm going for it.

Paleo Brownies

1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (65% or more) or Enjoy Life Chips
1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and coconut milk to a mixing bowl, add in the eggs and mix well.  Now add in the almond flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Next, add in the shredded coconut and continue to mix. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil. Pour batter into the baking dish then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sliced almond over the top. Get a small handful of shredded coconut and sprinkle over the top, as well. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Slice them into squares, and you have brownies. You can also find a paleo frosting recipe (they are out there, and delicious) and simply ice the thing and serve it as a cake.
We’ve made these for parties and things, and nobody ever guesses they’re paleo brownies. They are ridiculously rich. Like I said, this is a fantastic occasional treat. If you’re celebrating a birthday and want to avoid the awful sugar headache that will now accompany the craptastic, sugar and grain-based cakes traditionally served, go with this instead. If you’re really craving sweets and it’s come down to these or hitting up the local bakery for a dozen cream puffs, make these. Just don’t have them for breakfast every day.
Originally found on You don't have to top it with the coconut, but don't leave it out of the batter. It helps hold it together. These are so rich, I really can only eat just one. At a time. :)

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 1/2 cups sifted blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (melted, not softened)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips, or dark chocolate (at least 73%) chips.


In a bowl, mix your almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In a separate bowl mix together your melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, room temperature maple syrup, and room temperature egg (It makes a difference, I swear). Incorporate your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, and then add your chocolate chips.
After everything is mixed, preheat your oven to 350F and refrigerate your batter for 30 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes are up and your oven is heated, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (see, I said you needed some!) and roll your dough into even balls-to whichever size you desire. I made mine pretty small, about silver dollar size.
Put them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, then take them out and slightly flatten them with the back of a spatula. Put them back in the oven for about 5 more minutes, or until they look done. Take them out RIGHT when you see just a hint of golden brown. If you do that, they won’t look done, but they are-and they’ll be soft and chewy. Even after they’ve cooled off!  Remove from the oven and set on the counter to cool.
These taste almost exactly like regular chocolate chip cookies. They have a slightly nutty texture, and would be great with chopped pecans in them. This recipe makes about a dozen cookies, depending on the size you make them. The best thing is they DO NOT trigger cravings, and you can stop with one or two without devouring the entire batch. Same with the brownies. It truly is the flour and sugar in those things that gets you, and not the chocolate. That’s the best news ever. 
Originally found on A glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk goes with these PERFECTLY. The occasional splurge doesn't have to poison you. I keep telling myself this. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mad Ramblings of an Addict

There are many places this post could start, but I feel it’s always best to “start at the beginning. And when you get to the end, stop.” There’s a little Tweedle Dum logic for you. I actually feel a certain kinship with Tweedle Dum. Poor dude’s a little whacked out, living in a crazy place, having to deal with the pressure of the Red Queen. Life’s stressful.  I feel ya, brother.

ANYWAY, I’d love to say I’m over halfway to my goal and getting fitter and stronger with each passing week. I’d love to say it, but it’s not true. I’m hanging in there. I’m battling the same six pounds I’ve been working on since May. Summer has not been my friend. At first, I couldn’t understand it. I was workin’ it! Primal eating had become second nature! Exercise wasn’t just something I watched them do on The Biggest Loser while I ate my ice cream! So what happened? Addiction. Addiction raised its big iron fist and slapped me down hard. I’m still trying to get my feet back under me.

Before you get all hopped up about drug dependency and how different it is from this, let me clarify the situation. Drugs can kill you. So can food. It’s just a slower way to go. Instead of riding the meth rocket and burning out like Lindsay Lohan, you take the Slowpoke Rodriguez route. Either way, you still die. With my way, you get to die with all your teeth. That’s about it.

The downhill slide began in June. The school year ended, and being the glutton for punishment that I am, I enrolled in graduate school. I haven’t been in school for thirteen years. I can write fiction stories all day, but organizing an analytical paper? Studying? Doing research? Um. Yeah. Not in the repertoire of mad skillz I possess. At least not at the moment. Each morning I’d log in to my online courses, get overwhelmed with the amount of work I didn’t even know how to begin, and log out. Eventually, I was wound tighter than Beyonce’s weave. This did not bode well for me. If I could be a super hero, I would be Anxiety Girl. Even every day stresses tend to set me off, but something like this felt like a truck on my chest. I had no time for food prep. I dropped exercise because I was too ‘busy’ with school. I was beginning to find it hard to breathe. I needed relief. Without even thinking about it, I turned to my old coping mechanism. I pulled into the fast food drive through, ordered, and dug into greasy, sugar and carb-loaded junk food. I felt the tension slip away as I numbed myself to the stress weighing on my shoulders. I’d gotten my fix.

The fact that I was using a substance to manipulate my emotions didn’t occur to me until later this summer. I’d feel guilty for ‘falling off the wagon’, promise myself to go strictly primal, and try to pull myself together. It would work for a little while, or at least until the next six-page paper assignment, complete with citations and footnotes, arrived in the email.  Then I’d be driving around looking for something to ease my nerves. My dealers aren’t hard to find. Most addicts have to search out a dude with saggy pants and a mouth full of gold.  I roll up looking for Sonic or Burger King. I can find them on every corner, and my fix is fast and cheap. Unfortunately, once sugar and grains are back in your system, they trigger those cravings. Before I knew it, I was well and truly hooked once again. I still didn’t understand what was going on.

Here’s where the guilt began to add to the stress I felt. I shouldn’t be eating this junk. Hadn’t I posted about the dangers of eating that crap on my blog and FaceBook page? I know what it does to my body! So why didn’t I have enough willpower to stop and get myself back on track? Feeling depressed and discouraged, I embarked on a fabulous downward spiral of blame and self-loathing. That’s definitely not a ride they offer in Disney. I don’t recommend it or the tilt-o-whirl of disappointment. I kept thinking, I should be stronger than this. I was wasting all my hard work. What kind of example was I setting for my girls, or even the people watching me as I followed this journey toward health? I just didn’t understand what was happening.

It finally clicked for me one afternoon. I had five assignments due that week, on top of the fifteen articles and three chapters I had to read. Anxiety gripped me in its jaws and shook me like a dog’s chew toy. Chest tight, blood pounding in my ears, I got in the car. Five minutes later, I sat in the front seat shoving French fries in my face, slurping on a shake, and sighing as the familiar feeling of numbness washed over me again.  I could breathe again. Then it hit me. I used food like a drug. Not good, healthy, primal food, but the addictive poisoning kind of crap nobody should be putting into her body. Thinking about it, I can see the pattern of abuse since I was sixteen years old. If I have an emotion I don’t want to feel, I bury it under a cheeseburger and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Food had become more than just nourishment for my body. It had morphed into this twisted method of stuffing my emotions down until I couldn’t feel them anymore. 

Now that I understand what I’m doing, it’s a little easier to try to control the impulse to binge on bad foods. But like any addict, I’m going to have relapses. This last week, my neighbor’s tree fell on my house. While it didn’t cause major damage, I still have to work with insurance adjusters, contractors, and tree people. The weekend contained fried chicken strips, fries, and two trips to get ice cream. Damn. But as of today, my refrigerator is stocked with primal goodness, I’ve gotten a planner to keep myself organized for school, and I’m back at CrossFit. Maybe Satan can help me work out some of this anxiety! At least that's a healthier coping mechanism. Standing still has gotten me nowhere, so I’m moving forward. Because if I keep doing what I’ve been doing, I’m not going to get better. As Tweedle Dum would say, “That’s logic.”