I have been the worst blogger ever…. These past 2 weeks have been so busy with work. I’m teaching a brand spankin’ new math course so I’ve been spending a lot more time prepping for it than I would for any other class. We have been cooking up a storm lately and have made a bunch of new items. For instance, we made this amazing tomato soup that tasted very similar to Panera’s creamy tomato soup. We both really enjoyed it and will be cooking it again this week. We also made an oven braised Mexican beef Friday that was to die for and I have a great story to accompany it 🙂
This is our last few days of whole 30 and I must say its one of the best things we could have done for ourselves. We literally changed everything about our diet and gave up many things that we love (oatmeal, yogurt, pizza, bisquits,…. The list could go on forever). And by reading that you probably think we weigh 300 lbs a piece (totally not the case, my husband is a stick) and can see why we needed to change up our habits. We have also had our eyes opened to the copious amounts of preservatives and sugars that are laced in everything we used to eat. I had a salad at chick fil a the other night and the dressing had tons of sugar and other junk in it as well as the walnuts they gave me and the granola (not sure why they gave me that).I wouldn’t have gone there normally, but Chris and I were meeting someone from our church and salad was our only option. What I used to think would have been a very healthy meal, I now realize can have MANY hidden Ingredients which don’t really offer much in the way of nutrients. I find that incredibly annoying and a touch depressing. I never wanted to be one of those girls that read all the food labels to check for preservatives, oils and sugars. I would like to trust the grocery store and food places that they are feeding me real food. Reality is, however, that you can’t trust ANYONE when it comes to food! Not even those high dollar organic food stores like trader joes and whole foods. Oh yeah, I’ve found plenty of items in their stores that have yuckies in them. I think the point I’m making is that you have got to be aware of what you’re putting in your body and be well educated about those chemistry sounding ingredients.
Since I’ve brought up whole foods, let’s talk about the fun experience Chris and I had there this weekend. I’ve been dying to go there because I knew they carried whole30/paleo friendly salad dressings (yay no more ranch making). They carry Tessemae dressings which are delicious and completely all natural and super expensive if you order online. Unfortunately the closest store is in Roswell, GA and we live over an hour away from there now. While my husband was in college he lived and worked in Roswell so we had actually been there a few times. We finally had an excuse to go down there, so we made a day out of it. That place is humongous, larger than Walmart and maybe even SAMs club! I was like a kid in a candy shop. There was sooooo much to see and almost all of their produce is organic. The downside to organic is that it is very costly 😦 but we did find lots of new veggies to try like Japanese sweet potatoes (yum in my tum). I also went ahead and bought vanilla extract and almond flour and the most exciting part was that they had ghee!!!! Yay finally some butter in our lives. While we had so much fun we spent almost double what we normally do and we certainly can’t maintain spending that kind of money every week. And I will never buy almond flour again. I’m already making almond milk at home and the remnants in the strainer can be baked and turned into almond flour. Hello I pay $14 for a bag of almonds and I at least get 3 batches of almond milk and flour out of it verses $11 for the smallest bag of flour I’ve ever seen.
My sweet darling grandmother has been asking me what we’re going to do when we’ve finished this fast so I imagine many of you are wondering as well. I’ve somewhat mentioned our plan but I think it needs more explanation. Before we began this fun little adventure we had already decided to research the paleo lifestyle and continue with it after this “diet.” Paleo is not much different from what we’re doing now. We will be eating only whole foods that are preservative free and minimally processed. What we can add back in is sweeteners (honey, vanilla extract, maple syrup, agave, etc), desserts and breads. There are tons of recipes out there that are paleo friendly for desserts and breads. Instead of wheat we use coconut flour and almond flour and instead of sugar we use honeys and vanilla extract. There are so many ways to substitute out oils and even eggs. I’ve made muffins before using applesauce and a banana to cut out the oil and eggs. I think it’s fascinating how yummy the product is even though it’s made with non traditional ingredients. I plan on making bread this week and will post about it later on to let everyone know how it turns out. We do plan on having a “cheat” night every now and again but we have really liked the changes our bodies are making and don’t want to get back into old habits. I think the point of all this is to realize that a biscuit every now and again is okay and that moderation is key. If you want to go out to a meal with your family and splurge a little then you should. As a matter of fact Chris and I are celebrating at one of our favorite restaurants, Chow Baby, on Wednesday. But we will continue to eat paleo for the remainder of the week.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that change takes time and while our minds desire instant gratification, our bodies do not and cannot recover instantaneously. The results are incredible and worth the hassle. I think I’ve lost nearly 15 pounds since the end of December and I feel so much lighter. I checked my blood pressure yesterday and it’s gone down considerably. My energy levels are the same from the moment I wake up until I go to bed and I sleep so incredibly well every night. My skin has cleared up a lot and I no longer have heart palpitations. Like I said, the results are worth the suffering. Speaking of suffering, I had some medical issues in December and needed a ct scan to figure out what was wrong. Holy moly at the bill I got in the mail!! The reason why I bring this up is because my darling in-loves were over for dinner tonight and my husband brought up a lovely thought: What if we took care of ourselves from the inside? What effect would that have on our health later on? He is such a brilliant man and is absolutely correct, taking care of ourselves now will lead to less medical bills and doctor visits in the future (by goly I’m NEVER going to another doctor again for the rest of my life). Just wanted to share his thoughts with you all.
Earlier I said I made this amazing Mexican beef. My father in law tried it tonight and immediately asked for the recipe. I wish I could lie and say that I came up with it myself, but I did not. Nomnom’s done it again. I have got to buy her cookbook since I’ve been borrowing all her recipes from her website. The recipe can be found here. I was very excited last week about this recipe but unfortunately did not read the full recipe and therefore did not know it would take 3 hours in the oven. So I get home Friday all excited to make this dish and realize I’m short an onion. So I called the hubby and asked him to pick one up for me and when he got home I started putting the meal together. Well…it was 6:45 when we got started and when it got to the part where it was time to put the dish in the oven I read it was going to take 3 HOURS!! Oh boy, I about passed out when I figured that out and was not a very happy camper. But we had already put it together so in the oven it went and we had an egg and sausage scramble to hold us over. I tell you, that beef was worth every minute of every hour it was in the oven!!! It was so scrumptious and would be awesome in a taco or fajitas, it was like meat candy. Haha, I hope you all enjoy my mishaps because I sure do find them funny later. We have really had some successes in the kitchen and we have had multiple failures in the kitchen. I suppose it is what makes life fun and unexpecting.
Have a wonderful evening and sorry for the lengthy nature of this post,
Ash, Chris and Alf the pup