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Recipes: Tuna Salad – Portobella’s – Carrots

I’ve made some tasty things recently and I want to get them down before I forget them.

Tuna Salad

I was looking for an alternative to my sugar/high fructose corn syrup laden sweet relish. I grew up eating tuna with mayo and sweet relish and loving it. It was bad enough that I had to give up my Miracle Whip in favor of Helman’s (The one made with Olive Oil as well as the other crap oils, because I can’t make mayo yet.) *cry* I had that “this isn’t good for me” in the back of my head every time I made tuna salad.

So, yesterday I got brave. I wanted to add some Vidalia onions, but I have a hard time with raw onions so I decided to saute them in some bacon grease along with two or three pepperoncini’s diced up. I added that to the tuna, along with some pepper and lemon pepper, (yeah, I like pepper!) and ate it off of large slivers of red pepper. DELISH! Definitely my new favorite way to enjoy Tuna Salad and now I just have to learn how to make mayo.

Hmmm…what else did I make? Tonight I made portabella mushrooms with a side of carrots/onions and a side of green beans. The portabella’s didn’t come out as good as I’d hoped. The flavor was a little too subtle for me, almost bland. I brushed them with an olive oil that I crushed up some herbs into earlier in the day, put thick tomato slices inside, baked at 400 for a while then covered with swiss cheese and put them under the broiler for a few minutes.

We have some ideas for making them more flavorful. Add bacon. Of course, I wish I’d thought of that while I was cooking! I had bacon in the fridge! I want to try roasted red peppers instead of tomato…or in addition to. Perhaps a different, more flavorful cheese. I don’t know if we got bogus tomatoes and cheese or what but the flavor just wasn’t there. I think only the last bite that I took actually tasted like swiss cheese. The rest of it tasted like gummy chewy…something. I don’t know. Not good.

I also think that some night I’m going to make the delish pot roast that I’ve been making and serve it over the portabella’s. Usually the Man has the ones that I made tonight with a bun and mayo. He said it just wasn’t the same, so I’ve got to figure out a way to make them flavorful enough that it doesn’t matter that there’s no bun.

I did find a new way to make carrots though. I did a rough, thick julienne and steamed them for a few minutes in the microwave just to soften them up (I was just trying to save time) then I threw them in the bottom of the pan that I was cooking the mushrooms on (on a rack on top) with half a stick of butter, along with some thinly cut onions (also steamed) with a few turns of the pepper grinder. WOW. I’m so making those to bring to the next family function!

I attempted to make cheese/bacon crackers today but I failed. They’re going to end up being used as breadcrumbs for something.

We bought a grill!!! A tiny gas grill to put out on our deck. I’m already looking forward to a nice steak and I’m dying to try these. The Man doesn’t dig jalapeno’s and I never thought to make them with pepperoncini’s! They sound nomalicious.

And…after a terrible, horrible, no good afternoon yesterday involving me not being able to find the health food store (for like an hour and a half) and a blown tire…I managed to finally procure shredded coconut. So, hopefully sometime this week I’ll be making these.

I think exploring new foods and trying to be creative in order to primalize old favorites is one of the funnest aspects of this lifestyle!

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Struggling

Hrmph. I’m struggling with everything at the moment. Bottom line? I feel like crap. It’s so frustrating to feel so bad when there isn’t really anything visibly wrong with me. I constantly feel like there’s something wrong, and maybe there is…but whatever it is isn’t obvious and would require trips to the doctor and tests and since I don’t have insurance…well, that’s a daunting financial proposition.

Part of me says that this is just part of the process. That there are things going on in my body that I don’t understand, related to getting healthier but with the whole…it’s got to get worse before it gets better. Like, I’ve been wondering lately just how many toxins and whatnot get released when one starts losing weight? Considering how sick I can get after a deep tissue massage…I’m betting quite a bit.

And…it hasn’t helped that I haven’t been very aware of what I’ve been eating these last few days. I was shocked to realize that the sum total of what I ate yesterday was: berries (carbs), ice cream (yuck!) and a few ribs with carby sauce. My stomach didn’t care for either the ice cream or the ribs. I didn’t have nearly enough: water, fat, or protein. Is it really any wonder I feel like poo today? I don’t even remember what I ate the day before. Ah..paleo pizza (which didn’t taste too bad but I don’t think my stomach liked it.) and a bunless burger at VI, I think.

That’s been another challenge for me right now is my sleep schedule. When I sleep, I do not sleep well. Every little thing wakes me up. I will seriously wake up anywhere between 3 and 8 times a night and those are just the times that I wake up enough to realize that I’ve woken up. That doesn’t count the times that I semi-wake up. I’ve had a harder and harder time getting to sleep so I’ve been going to bed later and later, hoping that if I exhaust myself, I won’t lay there for ever, tossing and turning, before finally falling asleep.

This, and the fact that I was sick, has totally thrown my sleep schedule out of whack. I didn’t really have one before but it got ridiculous, with me staying up until 9, 10, 11 am and sleeping until sometime in the evening. The Primal Blueprint stresses good sleep. Even without the PB, I know that good sleep is essential for me. I’ve seen what happens when I get too sleep deprived. Having a meltdown while trying to cut up some peaches is not desirable behavior.

However, most of the time the effects of poor sleep are much more subtle and it’s easier for me to just ignore it. I can never tell if I’m tired all the time because I’m not getting the correct nutrients (I suspect I have some type of anemia, though I’m not certain whether it’s iron or B-12) or if it’s because I didn’t sleep well the night before. Even when I feel like I have slept ok, I’m tired, but then…sleep deprivation is cumulative and one night of good sleep doesn’t make up for many nights of poor sleep.

The Man functions best staying up all night and sleeping during the day. This has been my sleep schedule, to varying degrees, since he and I got together. Often, I have early classes, or want to do something with people during the day, so there are many “nights” I only end up getting anywhere between 3 and 5 hours of sleep. Occasionally, I get real insomnia and end up staying up for 24 hours or more.

One of the side effects of sleep deprivation that I never really considered is that the body produces more cortisol. Basically, sleep dep. stresses the body out. Cortisol is THE stress hormone and my arch enemy.

Having spent years in a chronically stressful situation, my adrenals are severely damaged. I don’t think I’ve reached adrenal fatigue yet, but I’m not far from it. Unfortunately, modern medicine doesn’t recognize “nearly there” when it comes to adrenal fatigue. I’ve been taking an adrenal support supplement on and off for a few years and every time I go to my kineseologist he tells me that my adrenals are out of whack, and asks me if I’ve been taking my supplements. I sigh and say that I’m still struggling with taking them on a regular basis, he fixes me, I feel better for a while and then the cycle starts over again.

This situation has obviously not been helped by my sleep issues which have been going on for the last four years. These last two days, I’ve stayed up extra late in an effort to get myself back on a somewhat normal schedule and I’ve been doing my best to get 8 full hours of sleep. Of course this morning, I woke up exhausted at 7:30am and could not go back to sleep. In addition to not being able to sleep, I was laying there having anxiety attacks over every little negative thing in my life. That’s when I know something is off chemically. I’ve begun to recognize that my anxiety issues are physical. When I’m eating well, getting some exercise, and taking my supplements, I’m happy – pretty satisfied with  life, and easily able to recognize realistically what needs to be improved upon and what is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with.

When those things are off, or I’m hormonal…nothing is ok. At the moment, I’m stressing about school but this morning, every possible little thing that my brain could come up with to freak me out was parading through my brain until I just got up, in frustration. It’s at those times that I’ll remember every single little thing that hasn’t been done, needs to be done, should have been done…on and on.

So…ok. It’s Monday and so far it’s not going so well. I’m going to drink some more water, try to get down some of my supplements (I don’t think all the fish oil is happening today, I’ll take a normal dose – I’m going to HAVE to get some liquid fish oil…all these pills are killing me) Try to eat some veggies with some butter and maybe lay down for a little while. If I start feeling better, I’m going to try and do some push-ups. I want to re-start the 100 push-up and, 200 squat challenges.  In addition, I want to start doing some negative pushups…starting in a downward dog (to stretch my calves which are making themselves known after walking around yesterday at the flea-market in my Vibrams), moving into a plank (holding it for as long as I can) and then slowly lowering myself to the ground – working towards not dropping. We’ll see how I feel later.

Health Update

We went to the clinic yesterday. She did a strep test and it was negative, so that’s good. We came to the conclusion that most likely, my lymph nodes were just overwhelmed with yuck from my sinuses due to my allergies. Surprising that allergies could make me feel so nasty, but then again, perhaps not.

I’ve had allergies since I moved here. I was pretty shocked that living in Portland, land of all that is damp and moldy, I never had problems with allergies…yet here it seems that the moment it warms up until it starts getting cooler I’m sneezing my butt off and dealing with sore and inflamed sinuses and sinus headaches.

We all just kind of assume that it goes with the territory though, don’t we? We groan when we hear on the news that the it’s going to be a harsh allergen season.

Sinus issues are one thing though that I’ve seen associated with the SAD (Standard American Diet) over and over again. I’ve heard of many people who have reduced or eliminated their allergy issues with changes in diet, supplementation and/or cleanses. Eating primally is no different.

There have been many reports over at Marks Daily Apple of individuals who have gone primal experiencing a reduction in their allergy symptoms. What is it? The elimination of grains from the diet? The increase in Omega 3’s? I think that just about any factor that reduces inflammation in the body is the key, and with this lifestyle…that’s about all of them.

I’ve already successfully cut out grains, sugar and vegetable oils. I’m working on finding a better source of meat because right now, that’s still our biggest source of Omega 6’s. I purchased Fish Oil supplements in order to mitigate what’s left and balance out what’s stored in my tissues. Whoo…let me tell you…

So, whenever someone asks…”How much Omega 3 should I take?” Within the paleo/primal communities, people are directed to Robb Wolf’s Omega 3 calculator over at Whole9. He’s highly respected within the health communities and this is what he and many others use to calculate for their clients how much fish oil to begin taking.

It is no small amount, let me tell you. The idea is that the SAD greatly increases our amounts of Omega 6. While we do need some in our diet, it’s supposed to balance with the amounts of Omega 3 that we ingest. For our ancestors, it was about 1:1. That’s the primal goal, to get to 1:1 naturally but in our modern times, that’s just about impossible so we supplement with Omega 3’s while doing what we can to reduce our Omega 6’s (which cause inflammation). Coming off the SAD we have some repair work to do, so the first few months of supplementation, we’re mega dosing because we’re also losing weight and releasing a lot of the Omega 6’s back into our blood streams that have been trapped by fat. Once we’ve dumped those, we can stop mega dosing and continue on with a more realistic dose.

I took 11 fish oil capsules this morning. >_<

I’m willing to try it though to see if it truly does reduce inflammation because you know…I love all the trees and flowers. Oak trees are some of my favorites and I adore seeing all the different colors of the decorative tress people plant around here…but I’m tired of it being a double edged sword.

Sick and ground beef recipe

That yuck that I was feeling on Monday turned into full blown sick by Monday night. Sore throat, aching joints, sensitive skin and a mild fever. I’m still not sure how I got sick, the whole thing’s just been weird. It’s also very frustrating that I’ve been doing so much for my health lately and come down with something like this because I almost never get for real sick. I had a sore throat a few weeks back, and that was weird too. Prior to that the last cold I had was around New Years and I absolutely knew where that one came from. 😉

To be fair though, there were two or three things that lined up on Sunday that may have contributed to lower immune functioning, so I just need to make sure that I’m focusing on that from now on.

I ate a lot of melon while I was sick, it made my throat feel better, and the Man brought home Chinese food which was far from primal but as comfort foods go…I ate the middles out of the crab rangoon he brought me, haha. He took me to Bob Evan’s for dinner the other night because I was starving and neither of us felt like cooking. Originally I was going to just get soup but then I had a taste for pot roast. Serious pot roast fail on their part. It wasn’t good. But, I did order it without the Texas Toast and we both managed to pass up all offers of tasty breads, crackers, and biscuits.

The Man observed that very little on their menu could even be made primal. I agreed, saying that it was a comfort food place. Comfort foods = carbs. We haven’t enjoyed the food the last few times we’ve gone anyways so Bob Evan’s is officially off our list of places to go from now on.

Last night though, I made a ground beef concoction that I came up with a few weeks ago that was tasty and primal. It’s been our cheap and easy go to meal. All ingredients are pretty much to taste as it’s just kind of thrown together.

Onions

Butter

Mushrooms (canned or fresh, I used canned)

Ground Beef

Spices (I used crushed red pepper, black pepper, sea salt, thyme)

Worcestershire sauce (not primal, at least not the brand that I’m using up the last of)

Diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)

Cheddar Cheese

Saute onions and mushrooms in butter. I added the crushed red pepper here to flavor the onions and mushrooms. Once the onions are soft, add ground beef. Cook until almost done, add rest of spices and Worcestershire sauce. Once meat is done, add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warm. Remove from heat, serve in bowl. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over it. I generally add cayenne to mine after it’s cooked as I like it spicy.

Plenty o’ protein and yummy fat! I don’t drain the meat and I thought it would be weird, the first time with that much grease in the bottom of the bowl, but the Worcestershire sauce, along with the juices from the veggies mixes nicely with it. Just mix it all up and eat!

Wagon? What wagon, all I see is dust?

Yeah, there have been a lot of “treats” over the last two weeks. Yesterday was Father’s Day and to celebrate there was…as always, lots of fantastic food. I indulged in 3/4 of a twice baked potato that was to die for! (at least I enjoyed it!) and strawberry/blueberry shortcake. I didn’t feel too bad last night after I ate it, so I thought perhaps I’d gotten away with it, but today I woke up feeling like major yuck – so…it was delayed repercussions.

I can totally get behind the 80/20 ideal that the Primal Blueprint is based on, but I find that I’m having a difficult time determining when I’ve hit that 20%. I think a re-dedication to this new lifestyle is in order. Our freezer is full of meat and veggies. I have all my supplements. I have my Vibrams and my coconut oil….no excuses. Really.

I may try to go out for a quick bike ride after I get out of school. We’ll see. I’m driving to school today because I feel a headache coming on. My sinuses are very sore and irritated today. All that sugar and starch yesterday = inflammation today! Sore everywhere today. Blegh.