We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Whole30 Challenge: Michelle's Paleo Journal, Days 29-30 + Wrap-Up

by Michelle

   "The happiness of most people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things." ~ Ernest Dimnet

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms will fill you up without weighing you down.
Week 5

Day 29
Breakfast: Bulletproof® Coffee made with Kerrygold Grass-Fed Unsalted Butter
Lunch: Scrambled Eggs with Sausage
Dinner: Big Batch Chicken Soup

   What took me so long? I've been hearing about butter whirled with coffee for awhile now, since it's all the rage at the moment. After considering it for a couple of weeks I finally took the plunge and made Bulletproof® Coffee this morning. And, the best part, I added no sweeteners to my coffee. After four weeks of enjoying my "no-no" coffee every morning, I took steps to make a positive change. If I can keep this up, I will have altered my morning routine for the better. Blending the butter  grass-fed butter, that is  with the coffee in my Vitamix produced a foamy top layer similar to a lattemy fav!

I finally made Cantonese Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad.
One of the crave inducing salads from my days in Silicon Valley.
Day 30
Breakfast: Bulletproof® Coffee made with Kerrygold Grass-Fed Unsalted Butter
Lunch: Big Batch Chicken Soup
Dinner: Chinese Chicken Salad

   I jump on the scale this morning and discover that I've lost three pounds. Any weight loss is great, but I was secretly hoping to shed at least one pound a week. But to be fair, I only exercised once and did not get anywhere near 10,000 steps a day. Plus, I still consumed some dairy, enjoyed honey and imbibed wine every so often. Therefore, I must concede, it is great to shed a few pounds when the only change was making certain food choices.
   When I lost a significant amount of weight in 2008 I was at the gym four days a week, lifting weights with a friend. The weekly regimen included two days upper body and two days of lower body. Many Saturday mornings I was back at the gym for an hour long yoga session. And, I'd treadmill at home at least a couple of days a week. I was also a Weight Watchers fanatic, counting every last point. Since Weight Watchers celebrates and encourages the use of artificial sweeteners and low-fat foods, it really is necessary to eat every couple of hours. I didn't consume artificial sweeteners, but I did eat low-fat salad dressings and other low-fat options. And, believe me, eat a leafy green salad with a little protein and drizzled with low-fat dressing and you'll be ravenous in a couple of hours.

This time, for making a big batch of chicken broth, I added fresh ginger, anise tops and
thyme to the usual add-ins of carrots, celery, leeks, white onions, Italian parsley,
bay leaves and whole peppercorns.
Learnings for Phase 2:

1. Think globally, act locally.
   There's much to love about traditional cuisines from around the globe. Many of the favored dishes from around the world are naturally Paleo, or can be made so with some simple substitutions. The next step is to make more new dishes to keep eating interesting.

2. Do better with putting to work modern technology—crock pots and my new pressure cooker.
   Slow cooking is a good thing and I need to do more of it in my kitchen. On the other hand,  it's also great to speed things up. My new pressure cooker will prepare bone broths in a third of the time.

3. Snacks aren't hyper-critical—but still worth planning to carry along.
   I always tote along nuts when I'm about and about. A few additional options are needed. Jerky is always a favorite. Maybe I'll make kale chips. Rosemary seasoned almonds are a winner and are easy to transport.

4. Go Primal to stay in the Paleo realm.
   I'll be a happier person with some dairy in my life.  Unsalted grass-fed butter is amazingly delicious. A little grated parmesan or cheddar used as a garnish for Italian and Mexican dishes is mighty tasty. And, of course, plain yogurt is so good in so many dishes, including Chicken Tikka Masala and Greek Tzatziki.

Bullet Coffee made by blending together stove-top espresso and
Kerrygold unsalted grass-fed butter.
5. Prepare Bulletproof® Coffee or Salvation Sisters' Coconut Oil Hot Chocolate for sustenance upon waking.
   Making sure I start the day with two tablespoons of grass-fed butter or two tablespoons of coconut oil (or a combination of both) blended into my coffee will ensure that I'm getting enough healthy fats in my day. It's kind of like an exercise routine, get it done in the morning and it requires no further attention the rest of the day.

6. Continue to limit alcohol.
   Abstaining from alcohol is fairly effortless until a Friday night rolls around. Every seven days like clock work I desire a nice dinner out and two glasses of red wine. I notice a marked increase in energy after dinner on the nights I avoid alcohol. After cleaning the dinner dishes, I return to writing, reading or photo editing, quiet activities that relax me before going to bed at a reasonable time that will hopefully afford me eight hours of sound sleep.

Turkey meatloaf is lightened with coconut cream, chopped spinach and carrots.
My daughter was disappointed I served Faux-Tatoes instead of the real thing. Me too.
7. Adopt an exercise routine.
   Alleviating stress must become a priority. But even more necessary, is the urgent need to offset all the sitting in my day-to-day routine whether it's working at a laptop or driving hither and dither across Arizona. A Fitbit might be in order to encourage me to walk 10,000 steps a day, at a minimum. Hubby and I did manage to take one walk together in the greater outdoors. We should do that more often, especially when the weather is so beautiful in the desert during the winter and spring months. There will be plenty of time to walk on the treadmill once the heat descends upon us in late May.

8. Eat more probiotics.
   Thanks to my sister, Linda, I am now the proud owner of a 5-Litre fermenting crock. I have my first batch of sauerkraut fermenting, but it won't be ready until mid March. In the meantime, I need to make sure I ingest more fermented foods for a healthier lifestyle. In addition I plan to supplement with Bio-K or Jarro-Dophilus.

My husband and I watching the sun set at the glorious Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
9. Escape into the greater outdoors.
   I've been holed up in my house on weekends for the past two months. Time to plan outings for a Saturday or Sunday to visit new destinations and to return to a few of my favorite places, such as the Antiques Fair, Tohono Chul Park and The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Nearly two months have passed since my husband and I finished the Whole30 challenge. While I certainly won't be nominated poster girl for the movement, with my various missteps and stumbles along the way, I did successfully interrupt my eating patterns and became even more conscious of the food choices that I make.
  Unlike other folks I know, my first course of business after the challenge ended was not to stuff myself with pizza or snarf a bunch of donuts. And, while I am not 100% Paleo, I am continuing to be careful about what I choose to eat. Soups made of bone broths, salads drizzled with homemade dressings, and vegetable-fruit smoothies are in constant rotation. I finally stopped adding honey to my coffee, but only because I discovered Bullet coffee. A tablespoon of honey every morning adds up to just shy of 23 cups over the course of a year. That's nearly 1-1/2 gallons. Small changes yield big results over time.

After two months of patiently waiting, homemade sauerkraut is ready
to move from the fermenting crock to glass storage jars.

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