My Paleo Push

 

Day 28

Happy February! To kick off the start of the month, I decided to get creative in the kitchen with some homemade granola this weekend. Using nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, honey and vanilla, this Paleo-approved recipe was simple and rather easy to prepare. The best part? I now have a go-to breakfast/snack ready for the upcoming week.

Ingredients pt. 1

Ingredients pt. 1

Ingredients pt. 2

Ingredients pt. 2

Using a small grinder, I was able to finely chop the nuts and coconut before adding the seeds and honey-vanilla-coconut mixture.

Using a small grinder, I was able to finely chop the nuts and coconut before adding the seeds and honey-vanilla-coconut mixture.

Spread across parchment paper, the mixture baked for about 25 minutes.

Spread across parchment paper, the mixture baked for about 25 minutes.

I sprinkled raisins on at the end and let the granola sit out for a few hours before breaking it apart.

I sprinkled raisins on at the end and let the granola sit out for a few hours before breaking it apart.

I opted for an airtight container and even stuck it in the fridge overnight to let the mixture harden a bit more.

I opted for an airtight container and even stuck it in the fridge overnight to let the mixture harden a bit more.

This Paleo granola makes for a perfect lazy Sunday morning breakfast (that's almond milk, of course!).

This Paleo granola makes for the perfect lazy Sunday morning breakfast (that’s almond milk, of course!).

What’s your favorite Paleo-granola recipe?


 

Day 25

The past 10 days have been crazy! With second-semester senior classes in full swing, visitors in Gainesville and birthday celebrations to plan for, it feels like I’ve been going a mile per minute these days. But, I’m happy to report that I’ve been Paleo strong now for 25 days! I’m also here to report that I’ve taken a step to the dark side. Yes, it’s true. I’ve become a meat eater again.

Now, before you totally gasp and shake your head at me, let me explain myself. I was absolutely LOVING the benefits that Paleo was bringing me. I’m talking more energy, clear skin and a flat belly. However, being a pescetarian and only having fish and eggs to turn to for protein was becoming problematic. I didn’t want to abandon my clean eating by resulting back to soy and processed grains, so I took a leap of faith and had my first bite of steak in 5 years! Needless to say, I was pretty surprised (as were my parents) at how quickly I was able to get back to my old ways.

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Having access to so many new sources of protein is a relief and something I should have never deprived myself of for so long. I’m happy to be back and even happier to see what new Paleo and meat friendly creations I can come up with now.

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Day 16

After a much needed weekend of family R+R, I am back at school and powering onward in my Paleo Push. Although it was a bit of a challenge sticking to it while being lured in by my grandma’s gorgeous cheese platters and late night fro-yo runs, I felt empowered to eat clean because of the wonderful physical and emotional benefits it brings me. So long to bloated bellies and glutinous food comas.

Food prep was a major downside to the Paleo diet at first. But, I’ve mastered a few tricks in maximizing my efficiency in the kitchen. The easiest way to have ready, Paleo-appropriate food at all times is by cooking in bulk. Using my newest gem, coconut-oil based teriyaki sauce, I cooked a pound of salmon early one morning before class.

IMG_0270Just 20 minutes in the oven, and I had three pieces of perfectly pink fish. Sealed away in a Tupperware container, there was a quick and easy source of protein to turn to all week. Served hot for dinner or chilled in an on-the-go salad, cooking ahead made Paleo a no-brainer this week.

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More than anything, I’ve learned that the easiest way to stick to Paleo (and any other healthy way of eating for that matter) is by having available choices 24/7. There’s nothing worse than coming home from a full day of classes or work with a growling stomach and pounding headache. In fact, that’s the easiest way for us to binge on foods we’d otherwise not be inclined to eat. I’m talking crackers, candy and anything else convenient. Having go-to wholesome foods, like hardboiled eggs and sliced fruit and vegetables, truly makes this whole shindig much easier!

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Day 7

Over the past few days I’ve discovered some great new Paleo foods and ingredients to incorporate into my daily routine. My newest purchase? Coconut Oil.

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The Paleo diet praises all things coconut derived, so I decided to see what the buzz was all about. Just a little smear on the skillet, and within minutes my eggs were sizzling and sweet. I loved this alternative to artificially produced cooking spray.

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I’m looking forward to experimenting with other coconut-oil-inspired recipes this coming week. I’m thinking sweet potato fries, hash-brown style 🙂 My other new find are Chia Pods. Thanks to my roommate Marissa’s suggestion, these little cups of heaven are made with chia seeds, coconut palm sugar, almond paste and fresh cacao powder. Talk about a great snack, packed with nutrients and all-natural products.

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A week in, and I’m loving the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle. Feeling refreshed and ready to go each morning is great motivation to keep on going each day. I feel stronger and heart-healthy. Even my eggs agree!

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Day 3

It’s been nearly three days since the start of my Paleo regimen, and I’m here to report that so far (for the most part!) things have been looking good. I started by doing a huge grocery shop at Trader Joe’s and Publix that will last me for quite some time. I purchased tons of produce (so much that my roommates and I had to rearrange the refrigerator’s shelving), fresh fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, organic dried fruit and almond milk to start me off right. I’ve even begun writing down the ingredients I’ve been consuming each day to ensure that each item is in fact Paleo. I definitely feel healthier knowing that everything going into my body is natural and clean.

But, I will admit that I’ve already observed some downfalls of such a strict diet. Firstly, time. Grocery shopping for the right ingredients took about 1.5 hours. Reorganizing the kitchen and dumping all the forbidden food took another 30 minutes. Finally, prepping last night’s dinner and today’s lunch clocked in at about another 1.5 hours. Just yesterday, I spent nearly four hours devoted to Paleo. Woof.

Additionally, I woke up nearly famished at 2 a.m. from the lack of grains at dinner or late-night dessert that I’m typically accustomed to. Though my stomach was saying, reach for the cereal!, my brain said, have a tall glass of water with lemon instead. Luckily, my brain won this battle. Although it can become discouraging to follow a plan that prohibits some of my favorite foods, I am still going to continue strong so that I can see the desired results. Below is a slideshow of some of my meals thus far. Stay tuned for more yummy concoctions that I come up with along the way!

 

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Day 1

Though I hate to admit it, the holiday season is definitely over. With Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years combined, I sure did my share of indulging from sweets like sugar cookies to the warm comforts of my mother’s baked ziti. But a new year means news resolutions, and this year I’ve made it my goal to be a better and healthier version of my self on the inside AND out. I’m already a fitness fanatic, from power yoga to spin classes, thus working out isn’t an obstacle for me. So for this year, I’m striving to adopt the Paleo diet.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Not another craze diet. But before you roll your eyes, it’s helpful to know that Paleo is less of a diet and more of a lifestyle. Eliminating all processed foods that wreak havoc on our bodies, the Paleo regimen focuses on eating how the cavemen did. This includes meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some healthy fats. Pretty easy, right?

Well, not so fast. Becoming Paleo will be a bit more challenging for me because I’m a vegetarian. Actually, Pescetarian to be exact, so my diet consists of fish, eggs, yogurt, tofu, beans, and of course, healthy grains. Except, not anymore. The Paleo diet strictly prohibits dairy, soy and grains, so long gone are my days of edamame, chickpeas and quinoa. Ouch.

Although I’m anxious and hesitant to begin this new way of eating, I’m excited to see the external and internal benefits it promises. Finding adequate sources of protein will be the most challenging, but I plan on getting creative with as much produce, fish and eggs as possible!

As I ate my final Quest Bar this morning for breakfast, I felt empowered to begin the new year with a healthier outlook on life. Stay tuned for the trials and tribulations of a Pescetarian’s Paleo Push.

 

 

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