Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Double Almond White Chocolate Cookies

I was inspired to bake yesterday after visiting Elana’sPantry. She has several amazing gluten free recipes. Gluten free is friendly for Primal/Paleo because you use almond or coconut flour to replace white flour. Elana also avoids the refined sugars (white/brown sugar at the grocery store) and use more raw natural sugars (honey/agave nectar). So far, I have made her brownies and now her White Chocolate Chip Cookies as a base to create a new version:


2 ½ cups almond flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup agave nectar
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup sliced almonds

1.       Set the oven for 350°
2.       Combine the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl
3.       Mix the wet ingredients together in a small bowl
4.       Stir the wet ingredients into the dry
5.       Fold in the white chocolate and almonds
6.       Form ½ inch balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet
7.       Place cookie sheet on middle oven rack for 7-8 minutes
8.       Cool and store/serve

Yield: 20-24 cookies

These not only make your home smell like warm vanilla and roasted almonds, but they taste delicious too! I was surprised at the sweet and salty combination – the sweet white chocolate perfectly balances the roasted almonds and sea salt in the recipe. 

The only thing I would modify for next time is to add an egg. These cookies were a little crumbly, which may be due to my use of Bob’s Red Mill almond flour (Elana doesn’t use the brand as it can make some of her recipes runny/grainy, though I didn’t have that problem). The addition of an egg would help hold these together better.

I happily ate two of these last night and the scale read 137.6lbs this morning so they are definitely low carb! I’m just under what I weighed before the road trip to Ohio. The real challenge will be this weekend when I go to Galena with my Mom for her birthday….surrounded by delicious treats, rich food, and exotic alcohol and coffee.  Wish me luck and will power!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Primal on the Road

Early last week my husband’s Uncle suddenly passed away. Luckily, we were both able to get away from our jobs/clinic to drive to Ohio for the Funeral on Friday morning. That is a 9 hour drive from Iowa if you don’t make any stops…including for gas. Needless to say it was an easy 10-12 hour drive if you need to eat, get gas, or use the restroom. Did I mention it was all done it two days? Ugh, I’m done with cars for a while! Road trips aren’t the easiest to be primal on. Most fast food caters to ‘American comfort food’ – mostly junk. It was very difficult and I did cheat a few times, but overall not too bad:

Thursday meal plan breakdown-
Coffee with 1 egg and 2 sausages. 100% Primal
Arby’s Beef and cheddar (ate mostly the beef) and a couple drinks of Mark’s Jamocha shake. 90% Primal
Applebee’s BLT salad (had small bites of fried mozzarella on the plate – ate 2 pieces). 95% Primal
Dessert – opps!
Mark’s Dad took me to a famous place to get homemade ice cream in Ohio = AMAZING! I had 1 scoop of some peanut butter oatmeal cookie orgasm in my mouth ice cream…mmmm. The Ice Cream Queen backs down from no challenge. 0% Primal
Friday meal plan breakdown-
Coffee with fruit and a 3 egg garden omelet from a breakfast restaurant (like Perkins, but can’t remember the name). 100% Primal
1st Lunch
Frisch’s Chicken salad…and their homemade strawberry pie (soooooo good!). Shared the pie with Mark = 80% Primal
2nd Lunch? Afternoon snack?
2 small White Castle Burgers (YUM!) 0% Primal
Seafood Bouillabaisse from a delicious restaurant in the Quad Cities (The Boat House). Also, a glass of Riesling. 100% Primal :)

Did my best, but it is difficult when most places do not cater to my eating style, you are going to places you can’t eat at in the Midwest (= rare & fun),  and you are on the road all day with people that are going through a difficult time from losing a loved one. 

Saturday morning the scale read 139.8lbs -  I was up 2lbs. This did not upset me like it normally would. I knew I didn’t, and in some cases couldn’t, always make the best choice but this is a lifestyle. I knew I could easily pick right back up where I left off and I was right. This morning I’m down to 139.0lbs - almost a pound of my ‘travel weight’ gone.

EDIT: A great email update I just received from Mark Sission's Daily Apple sums up this post perfectly:

Just realize that the Primal Laws aren't enforced by pain of death or injury. They are guidelines - solid guidelines that you should follow for optimum health - but they aren't uncompromising. You aren't living in the Edenic grasslands of Eastern Africa. It's not a Primal paradise out there. You aren't actually Grok. If you mess up and eat a piece of bread or accidentally run a marathon, it's totally fine and even expected! We all make momentary compromises in life. Hell, part of being human is "messing up" and rolling with the punches. To deny that basic inherency in pursuit of absolute 100% unrealistic perfection can actually be worse than giving in occasionally.

Don't panic! Relax, and remember that an unofficial Primal precept is the 80/20 principle. 100% is great and all, but not everyone can, or even wants to, achieve it. Going 80% of the way is pretty damn good, and anything is better than 100% SAD. You might even say that compromise is part of the Primal Blueprint.

Life is good.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Our messed up system

Why is it so difficult to try to be healthy? When I was in college, and eating whatever I wanted + not exercising, I noticed that I was putting on weight. Because I was in my early 20s and 5’8, my body could handle a few extra pounds without affecting my clothing size much so people didn’t notice. I felt self-conscious in a swimsuit though and didn’t wear one much or at least without a cover up. After a couple years of not being outside enjoying the summer fun activities I decided to get into shape. I had the motivation and the willpower, but not the knowledge and I had no clue where to start looking. 

Victoria’s Secret Models – they look great and that’s how I wanted to look. I would NEVER feel self-conscious in a swimsuit if I looked like Miranda Kerr, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio or Giselle. I Googled their diets = nothing. I Googled their exercise routine = nothing. I figured they probably just ate really healthy like salad, fish, and fruit. They probably exercise everyday….I heard running is good and can make you lean. That was my plan. No junk, just raw foods and running for…well, I didn’t really have a time frame so as long as it took to look like them. I got two days into it before I called it quits, but that’s no surprise since I set myself up for failure. There’s no way that taking a 30 minute jog and eating raw fruits and veggies was going to get me as toned as those models. Hello, they were super models. They have personal trainers, chefs, and money to purchase all the fancy high end state of the art cosmetics, spa treatments, lotions, you name it….oh, and it’s their JOB to look amazing. Meanwhile, I’m a full-time college student that has a part-time job and studies in her spare time. I live with my parents (private school = $$$$ + crappy room/board) that were not eating the same way I was so there was always less healthy options in the house to tempt me and my Mom’s home cooked meals every night didn’t help = though they were delicious!

Trying to get healthy and fit fell to the back burner when I got busy with my studies, work, planning my wedding, trying to find a job after graduation, and moving to a new city with my husband. I didn’t know how and I knew that what I had tried with the VS models probably wasn’t the right thing to do anyway. I’d do more research on it later.

Fast forward a couple years and add on 15lbs and that’s where I was trying out diets with my girlfriends (see first post). I knew that when my work clothes were starting not to fit that I needed to figure it out. Thank goodness for Dorey introducing me to the Paleo/Primal diet – I’m more Primal now than Paleo (eat aged cheese, dark chocolate, heavy cream, butter, and drink red wine). From there I was able to find other blogs/websites to give me the tools I was looking for years ago when I first tried to be healthy. Conventional Wisdom (CW) was preventing me from finding these truths. The internet, libraries, and media are full of garbage weight loss tips and tricks that don’t work, or if they do it is short-term. 

Now I get my daily Primal Blueprint newsletter, check out my favorite blogs, and go to my Paleo cookbook for inspiration and motivation. By this Saturday, I will have been Paleo/Primal for one month and so far it feels great. The scale read 138.6lbs (loss of 16.4lbs) in a little over 3 weeks. My husband and I have noticed several changes in my body. Yesterday I was sitting on the couch and noticed that my thighs looked lean…….that’s insane because my thighs have never been lean (they always just touched at the top), until now. :o) I have more energy to be productive at home and at work. My face has also cleared up – there are no pimples/zits as there have been for several months (since I went off the pill and no I’m not trying to get prego, just using a different method). My acne had significantly increased since I went off the pill, but within the past week my face is completely clear. Mark, my husband who’s in medical school, says that carbs don’t affect pimples/zits/blemishes so that they aren’t related. Who knows, but I haven’t done anything else (facial cleansers, etc.) and I have been off the pill for 6+ months. Oh well, I’ll just keep on keepin’ on and see how this goes.

Any one that asks me about my diet, or compliments and questions my body, I tell about Paleo/Primal. I will not force my lifestyle on anyone, but I will tell those that I care about what options there are if they ask because I wish I had this information years ago. The proof is in the pudding (see results above). Spread the good news.


P.S. I’m starting to look like a VS model in my swimsuits (not as thin, but definitely more toned) – wahoo!! Beach fun here I come!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Primal Evening…and a great start to the morning.

Yesterday was kinda rough. Brother didn’t do as well as he would’ve liked on his ASVAB score, husband didn’t do as well as he would’ve liked on his Step 1 Med school Board score, and I was having a VERY difficult time not to eat pastries, skittles, and the ice cream in my freezer. I satisfied myself with some roasted almonds, frozen fruit, with almond milk poured over it (like a cereal dessert – yum!), gave my husband a hug and told him that Gizmo and I still love him, and told my brother that he can take it again if he isn’t happy but I think he did well and he is looking into his options.

It was such a nice evening; I decided to take Gizmo for an hour long walk….barefoot. After I read this article on Mark’s Daily Blog I decided, why not? We live in a nice suburban area with walking trails, but there is a hidden maze of trails that aren’t paved just mowed grass through an old golf course field. It’s perfect for walking barefoot and getting in my sprints on uneven soft terrain. I also found a tree that some of the neighborhood kids must climb frequently (wooden boards nailed into the trunk). I think it would be fun to climb, but maybe that’s the 7 year old in me. I used to climb trees all the time with my cats, always trying to get higher than them. Perhaps this weekend I’ll give it a go. If I don’t blog for more than a week you’ll know I’ve fallen and broken something.
After the walk I felt really great. Giz and I were full of energy and didn’t want to go home, but I had to shower and it was his bedtime. :)

When I was prepping the shower I remembered another article I read the other day on how we are pampered with hot showers and I turned the dial to cold. It felt AMAZING. I was feeling pretty warm after our long trek and a hot shower sounded gross actually so I gave it a try and highly recommend it if you haven’t. It reminded me of Mexico actually. We go to a resort that has the largest spa in the Western Hemisphere (Aventura Palace) and it has a giant Hydrotherapy spa area that you prep in before your massage/scrub/etc. There are 3 “hot” baths that are treated, scented, and they have jets so they massage you all overlooking the pool/entertainment area of the resort below so you could still see what was going on outside, not to mention the ocean. Basically, it’s HEAVEN and I can’t wait to go back this December. Anyway, there are a set of rules with the baths to be in each one like 30 minutes or something, but I ignored them and just did what I want. The 1st bath is warm and bubbly, the 2nd is cool and refreshing w/a mini waterfall, and the 3rd is hot but feels soooo good. It’s funny because I spent the most time in the cool bath. People looked at me like I was CrAzY, but it just felt really good. That was what the cold shower reminded me of. Still with me after that ridiculously long explanation? Good.

This morning I woke up, stepped on the scale and squealed. 139.6lbs. Again, I haven’t been in the 130’s since early college late high school. I did a jig and Mark came to see what was wrong with me. This is just remarkable. Down 15.4 pounds, feel great, looking better, and it’s kinda fun! What more could I ask for?? Oh, I know. Shoes:

Wish me luck on convincing Mark to get me some Vibram FiveFinger so Gizmo and I can trek further on rougher terrain. :)