Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My "Paleo Lifestyle" Tips

So, it's day two.  How are some of you feeling?  Let's talk about some of the illness like qualities you might experience and some very important tips I have for you. 

         There is something called "Paleo Sickness",  and we just need to fight through it.  What that means is---your body is essentially detoxing from fake sugars, a lot of the ingredients used in processed foods to preserve it,  and heavy carbohydrates.  On days 4-5 you may begin to feel nausea, tiredness, and lack of energy.  This is due to your body adapting to your new lifestyle choice.  It will pass, I PROMISE.  If it doesn't, maybe Paleo isn't for you (it isn't for everyone).  What I have heard from other is the first week to week and a half is tough, but after that you will most likely feel the best you have ever felt in your life. I've heard complaints of fatigue and upset tummy from people who quit after week one. For people who continued past week one they felt amazing and had tons of energy.  Just wait for it.

        So, I am Italian--all of the above fit my previous diet.  If you've ever eaten dinner at an Italians house, preferably on Sunday, you would have noticed an large  variety/amount of bread served with every meal.  In my house growing up,  we ate pasta of some sort with almost every meal.  Sunday was Spaghetti and Meatballs with bread,  and throughout the week it was various meals served with some sort of noodle (I grew fond of buttered noodles as a child) and likely some kind of bread.  My dad also used to make "breakfast for dinner", which I to this day despise the idea of.  It was sauteed potatoes, spam, and scrambled eggs served with toast.   I used to have to pile it on white buttered toast to get through it.  I think this is when I began to hate eggs in almost all of their forms.  If you know me, then you know to this day I DO NOT EAT SCRAMBLED EGGS.  They could have flecks of staying young potion in it and I'd turn my nose up at them.   I will give some tips on that too...so readdd!!!

1.  Be Prepared for the necessity of having "more meals"
     Your meals at first might not seem filling, so you should pair them with a large salad.  I like my salads to have a lot of veggies (minus carrots, I hate when people serve that bagged lettuce junk that has shredded carrots in it--if that's your thing, go you).  I also like a hardboiled egg in my salad.  That is my exception to hating eggs.  So, let's say you make the cabbage rolls and have them for lunch, try pairing it with this salad--

2 cups of preferred lettuce (I'm on a baby spinach kick right now)
1 hard boiled egg, diced or sliced
1/2 cup cucumbers, sliced
1/4 cup red onion
1/2 cup assorted vegetables
Serve with: 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, add in a dash of oregano and salt and pepper (greek dressing).

     If you are really feeling hungry this lunch option plus a recipe I posted last week will really help.  If you need, add another protein to your salad. I really like adding whole albacore tuna fish to my salad (without mayonnaise!).  The vinegar and oil moisten up the tuna nicely, so there is no need for mayonnaise (I also dislike mayonnaise, can't you tell?)

     Salads will also aide in digestion.  I know NO ONE wants to talk about it--but if your constipated salads can help that (not salads with cheese--cheese is a "binder" to the belly).   Salads will keep you regular--whereas all those silly yogurts with "Pro-biotics" in it likely will not.  

2. Eat BIG During the Day
       Typically, lunch is suggested to be bigger than dinner.  For my profession I travel A LOT.  Basically all day I am driving to and fro (I am an itinerant vision specialist).   This really makes snacking (especially refrigerated snacks) hard for me.  For this reason, I like to eat a bigger lunch when I can.  This is when I would probably have a selected meal plus a large salad.   At dinner time, I probably won't eat the salad.

     When I do eat lunch, if I don't eat while in the car because of my job,  I sit in my office and usually work through lunch.  This is when I keep saying that dumb ass vending machine full of goodies.  Twice this morning I heard the crispty crunch of cheeze-itz in my head. No one was eating them, I am just crazy over cheeze-itz.   If I eat a pretty big lunch,  that vending machine doesn't bother me.   Although I purposely don't look at it, because I love cheeze-itz so much.

3. Be prepared with Snacks
      I am terrible with packing snacks.  Ask anyone,  in my office I was known to buy cheeze-itz in a fit of hunger.  Now, I know I need snacks.  Google some good paleo snacks you'd be interested in trying.  I really love ethnic food, so tonight I am making Baba Ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip, similar to hummus).    Here are some of my snack tips:

1. Fruit of any kind (I love snacking on a cup of grapes)
2.  Carrot sticks and dip (carrot sticks dipped in Baba Ghanoush or homemade salsa) 
3.  Celery sticks lined with almond butter (cup of celery sticks, 2 tbsp almond butter divided onto all of them)
4. Prosciutto Chips (preheat oven to 400 degrees, cut prosciutto into big chunks,  spread on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not season with salt because prosciutto is bacon, and it's salty enough).
5. Kale Chips--same as prosciutto chips 

4. Why does breakfast gotta be all eggs and nonsense?
        So I read a blog the other day why we as Americans specify breakfast into a classification of foods.  It literally BLEW MY MIND.  We are one of the few countries in the world  that does this.  In Italy (I've been) they serve the American breakfast along side what a typical Italian person would eat for breakfast--fruit, bread, meats, and cheeses. I loved the breakfasts in Italy because I thought--"These people are really onto something, I hate eggs too".

        Try serving something for breakfast you would not typically eat.  For instance, try a piece of grilled salmon with a Over Medium Egg or Poached Egg served on top with a dollop of Paleo Guacamole.    Or, try a piece of leftover steak sliced and served with sweet potato fries (homemade).  The protein aspect of these alone will keep you fuller longer, in turn making you less fatigued.

     What I am suggesting is you break the mold of the "typical breakfast".  You can eat whatever you want for breakfast.  And the more protein the fuller you will be (don't go all crazy, you know how much protein is too much).  

 5. Don't get caught in the Recipe Hype

         I hate the idea of any kind of paleo "pancake" made of yams. GROSS. If I want a pancake, I will damn sure eat a regular diner pancake. I am not making no pancakes out of yams.   If you like them, more power to you. 

       Paleo means no processed foods AND real whole foods without added preservatives and by-products.  It does not mean that every single recipe you find on the internet which has the word Paleo before it is gospel.  You don't like the idea of it, don't make it.  I don't like the idea of Yam Pancakes, so it's unlikely I will EVER make them.

      Don't get caught in the hype that everything you eat has to have the word "Paleo" in front of it.  Use this checkist:
1. Does what I am about to make have real, whole foods, without any processed ingredients?
2. Does it appear to be something I could have hunted and gathered for myself if I were a caveman?(ie--salmon with avocado and a poached or over medium egg or sauteed garlic chicken breast with roasted butternut squash).
3.  And check Mark's Daily Apple.  This guy knows his shit.

       What I don't want you to do is run out and buy a "Paleo Cook Book" and believe the ONLY things you can create are from that book, aka the Bible.  Just use your head when making meal decisions.  If you decide, HEY IT'S TUESDAY AND I WANT A PIECE OF PIZZA.  Okay, do it.  I do want you to analyze after though:  How long did the euphoria last?  Was it ultimately worth it?  How can I aide in not craving pizza tomorrow? ( I give the euphoria of hot pizza 30 minutes before you feel tired, was that worth it? probably not, and I can aide in not craving pizza tomorrow by keeping myself full on whole foods like nuts and protein).   One slice of pizza, go for it--one whole pizza and repeat questions from earlier---How long did the euphoria last?  Was it ultimately worth it?

6. Don't listen to other people
         Paleo get's a bad rap. People hear things like Paleo Yam Pancake and it makes sane people cringe.  Who would eat that? Why? Isn't that terrible, why punish yourself?  So, maybe some people like the yam pancake and I am giving it a terrible rap--but if you don't, don't eat it. 

        My two cousins are also doing Paleo this week, Shout out to Lisa and Melissa!,  and my aunt keeps making fun of us and ultimately suggesting what I am recommending is gross.    I suggested Baba Ghanoush as a snack and my aunt suggested Deep Fried Eggplant slices topped in Sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese. 

    Make dinner for someone, and don't tell them it's paleo.  I bet you they won't believe you. Try something like Filet Migon with Roasted Asparagus and Garlic served over sweet potato mashed potatoes.  Is this paleo?  YESSSS.  Will people tell you you are a liar?  Yes.

7.  Your body tells you that it's time to eat, not the clock
         Cavemen did not have access to food everyday, so they learned to adapt to eating when they could.  They survived,  I guarantee it (otherwise your very existence would not have happened).  They did not look at the sun and say "Oh,  it's two hours since the last time I ate, I need a snack".  Nope, didn't happen.  Cavemen sometimes went days without meals.  Am I suggesting you do the same? No.  I am suggesting you do not fall victim to the I must eat every 2 hours scheme.

         Ever get that rumble feeling in your tummy?   Sometimes it's so intense it could drive you insane--and embarrass you because your in a business meeting and your stomach sounds like a gargoyle. If you have, good.  Then we now know your stomach is capable of telling you when it needs nutrients.   I am glad we both know that now.
         My friend insisted one time I pay this woman 60 bucks to tell me what to eat and when to eat it.

1. Her recipes sucked and they were bland as all hell. 
2.  I was supposed to eat every two hours--who has time for that?
3.  I only ate every two hours. So, I'd finish a very bland meal and feel hungry an hour later and be screwed.  I'd have to say "Shut your mouth Elyse, you have a whole hour before you can even think about eating again".
4. The lack of food when I needed it made me bitchy, cranky, and a terrible person to be around (kind of like if you wake me up in the middle of the night and I don't get my 10 hours beauty sleep).

       Why do we have to eat every 2 hours?  Just eat when your hungry.  Cavemen didn't have the luxury of eating because the sun dial said so--nor should you.  I watch a lot of shows about Obesity, generally with catchy titles like "Half Ton Mom", "Super Size Dad", "Worlds Largest Man".  I really have no reason to do this, I just enjoy it because it's interesting to me.  What I've learned is the 1. America is the heaviest society on the planet and 2.  We have food available EVERYWHERE.   My point is, don't just go to the vending machine because two hours have passed and it's there.