New blender! ::Happy Dance::

September 8, 2013

Got a new blender today ūüėÄ Looking forward to a green smoothie in the morning (well later in the morning) and I’m crossing my fingers that it will be everything I want it to be! ¬†If it improves in texture, I’ll feel more comfortable tweaking the ingredients. ¬†Mostly I’ve kept to the same general guide line I posted about before. It tastes fine but what I have to power through is the texture. Not undrinkable, but as time went on less and less tolerable.

Small initial review of the blender and any noticeable changes to my green smoothie coming soon!

First Green Smoothie!

August 8, 2013

Green
First time I’ve ever made any kind of smoothie at all actually. ¬†I speak ill of my blender often, but as long as I know it’s limitations it gets the job done.

Since I didn’t know what I was doing I just winged it but it turned out well. (admittedly I seem to have a knack for winging things) There was a lack of measuring or anything like that. ¬†(I’m also good at not measuring things. I could reproduce it almost exactly by just knowing how much I used before) ¬†I just used water, as I’ve not yet attempted to make coconut milk, and my almond milk was too salty. ¬†2 bananas, some frozen spinach, organic baby kale, organic chia seeds and organic shelled hemp seeds, organic virgin coconut oil, organic coconut manna and some dates.

I added the water, 1 banana, shelled hemp, chia seeds, frozen spinach and baby kale, coconut oil and coconut manna first, then blended. ¬†It would have been fine just like that but there was too much water. ¬†So I added another banana for more thickness and some dates just because really. ¬†It’s not super smooth because of my blender, but not grossly lumpy chunky either (I’m VERY sensitive to mouth feels, there are a lot of things I just won’t eat regardless of how I think they taste because I can’t stand the way they feel in my mouth)

I’ll probably still have some left over for tomorrow since I’m not doing a juice fast or anything. ¬†Next time I think I’ll soak the chia seeds first so they gel. ¬†I’m pretty sure that as the rest of the smoothie is sitting in the fridge it’s getting thicker by the minute. I knew chia seeds gel, I just didn’t want to wait to pre soak them. Because I didn’t have the forethought to do it last night.

A few notes though. ¬†If I say something is organic I mean Certified Organic. ¬†I used frozen spinach because I already had it, in the future I plan to buy fresh spinach, organic if possible. So far I’ve only had 4-6 oz of the smoothie. Right now I’m having some water, and may have few more similar sized glasses throughout the day. Since I’ve never had kale, chia, hemp or coconut manna before I’m taking it slow just to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises. ¬†After I use some of this stuff a few times (the coconut manna, chia seeds, etc) ¬†I’ll let you know where I got them from and what I think about it. ¬†Yay for product reviews!

 

So I’ve done this the one time so far. But it was a moderate success. ¬†I’ll start at the beginning.

I used to live in San Diego. Southern California is a very good place to be if you’re wanting fresh organic anything. There are health food stores and farmers markets all over the place. Some chains like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s were no more than 10 minutes away. ¬†Where I am right now, the nearest store like that is round abouts an hour away. ¬† Wal-Mart is pretty much my only shopping option. ¬†I cannot settle for any kind of almond milk they sell. ¬†This is largely a matter of personal preference I’ll admit. ¬†I guess I was spoiled in San Diego with nice organic almond milk with no preservatives, additives or anything like that. The sweetened almond milk was even sweetened with dates instead of sugar!¬†My dairy is already pretty scaled back, but if I had some usable almond milk that would go a long way with my upcoming 30 days of Paleo. ¬†(And for future days of continued reduced dairy of course!)

So I figured if I made it myself at home, organic almonds, no random additives, dates for sweetness if I chose, it would be the next best thing.

However the next problem I ran into is that I don’t have a very powerful blender, and straining out the almond meal seems like a huge pain in the butt. ¬†Granted lots of people do it out there everyday, so it can’t be that horrible, but at this point in time I just know it’s not something I could commit to. I’ve seen some tutorials/how-to’s that say if you have a Vitamix you don’t even need to strain out the almond meal. ¬†That’s not in my budget anytime soon. Maybe in a month or two if a miracle happens. ¬†Then one day I happened to find a video of someone using almond butter to make almond milk.

I finally got around to attempting it last night. I did not splurge on super nice organic raw almond butter (sticker shock) but I got something from Wal-Mart. ¬†Also bought some Sunsweet pitted dates. ¬†It was passable! Until I accidentally added a dash too much of salt. ¬†However I think with better almond butter and dates it could actually be all the wonderfulness I want it to be. ¬†To be fair I don’t think it’s cost-effective compared to making it from whole almonds, but it’s less effort and that’s what I care about right now. If I wanted to save the bucks I would just as soon as not have it at all than put in the extra effort. ¬†It’s lazy I know. ¬†But when I’m feeling too exhausted to function 60-80 percent of the time it seems like the better option. ¬†Work smart not hard.

Basically I didn’t really do anything different from what was in the video I linked, so be sure to check that out if you’re curious. I’m just here to say it’s actually not bad. Time will tell if I ever decide it’s better than making it from whole almonds, but it’s a totally viable alternative. Next time I try it if I make any tweaks I’ll be sure to share!

Turns out there’s a countdown widget I can use here. ¬†I should have all my stuff by the end of the week, so my 30 days of Paleo should start on Friday!

Woohoo! ¬†So the countdown to the right should be saying how many days until Friday, The start date. Then after that it will be counting down how many days left of the 30 days. ¬†I only wish it could count up, like saying I’ve been Paleo for 5 days, and then 6 days, and so on. ¬†But it will do for now.

Today I’m going to try out my cheater almond milk. ¬†I didn’t splurge on super nice almond butter yet, but it is raw at least. If it turns out okay, then I will find the expense of organic raw almond butter more worth it. ¬†Just couldn’t talk my self into buying it because I wouldn’t use it for anything ¬†else and if it didn’t work well I’d be stuck with having wasted a lot of money. ¬†I’ll post about how it goes later. Yay!

This post was mostly for a test run of the widget, but I’m so excited!

In my previous post I mentioned that I have not ever eaten a good number of vegetables. Of a the few vegetables I have tried, I don’t like many of them. ¬†I like corn (which is apparently not technically a vegetable) I like carrots, and I like green beans. ¬†That’s about it. I do not like broccoli, or peas or cucumbers. (the list of ‘do not like’ is longer but I’ll keep it short) ¬†To my knowledge I have never eaten cauliflower, asparagus, beets, brussel spouts, artichoke, chickpeas, many squashes, turnips, and so on, you get the idea.

So how do I plan on being paleo for at least 30 days if I won’t have a large variety of vegetables to work with initially? ¬†Mostly I’m going to wing it. ¬†I will try new things, and can always fall back on my usual veggies if something new doesn’t work out. Since I don’t like that many different vegetables to start with, repetition is obviously not a problem for me.¬†

I also except my tastes to change. Not suddenly or even drastically. But it’s bound to happen. I don’t see my self ever changing my mind about broccoli or peas, but I could see suddenly finding my self enjoying cucumber. Or tomatoes. That’s another one I don’t like, tomatoes. waaaah!¬†

Smoothies are also probably going to be a thing. I’m going to need those plant nutrients some how, and I will blend them into a smoothie to hide their flavor behind some fruit if I have to!¬†

Paleo…Not yet.

July 15, 2013

So it’s the middle of July, when I’d hoped to be starting my 30 days, but things haven’t fallen into place quite yet. ¬†It’s looking more like it might be August 1st ish. ¬†I really want to give it my all, so I really want to be totally prepared. ¬†I need to always have the choice to eat something Paleo. I’m sure I’ll be tempted to carb up regardless of my options, but as long as I have the choice I think I’ll be okay.

Something curious I read yesterday, apparently corn is not “officially” a Paleo food. ¬†I follow a few Paleo/gluten-free pages on facebook, one of them being Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. (Holy Alliteration Batman!) ¬†In a comment on a post where a lot of people were discussing the non paleo foods they indulge themselves with from time to time, someone said their thing is corn on the cob.

My first thoughts were that corn is a vegetable, how is a vegetable not Paleo? ¬†Some research led me to the info that corn is technically a grain. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a little beep telling me that I probably had learned that before at some point. ¬†I suppose that makes it a good thing I don’t actually eat corn (as a vegetable) all that often. ¬†I actually don’t eat a lot of vegetables at all.

The idea of trying out cauliflower is growing on me. ¬†It seems like a popular “substitute” for things like rice, mashed instead of potatoes, as crusts and what not. If you use pinterest at all I’m sure you’ve come across a cauliflower something recipe. ¬†I don’t think I’ve ever even had cauliflower before. ¬† I’m in my mid 20’s and I’ve had a very toddler-like attitude towards vegetables for most of my life. Not that my parents didn’t try, I forced to eat my fair share of vegetables that I didn’t like. ¬†It didn’t stick though, haha.

I’m going to have to work in a variety some how now though. ¬†Tasting the rainbow has meaning in the world of veggies and fruits.

That’s all for today. ¬†I plan on making a post of all the things I’ve bought/am I’m going to buy to be prepped for at least a month of paleo. Things I don’t normally buy and whatnot. ¬† I’m also do for a No Poo post, I’ve been a little one track minded the past few weeks.

I’m still not fully prepared to start my month of Paleo, but the other day when I made bacon, eggs, and french toast for breakfast, I opted not to have the french toast and ate some bananas instead with the bacon and eggs.

Of course in the future I’ll probably try out some kind of paleo french toast. Just not having it wasn’t all that hard of a decision though.

Point being, I’m not waiting until some arbitrary Start day to make big sweeping changes. ¬†I’m trying to eat more fresh food, less grains/gluten, less sugar on a regular basis. ¬†Making it a normal thing to pick smart alternatives. ¬†I do not live on my own, and my husband is not likely to be so on board with this Paleo venture. ¬†He doesn’t mind that I’m going to do it of course, but I can’t make him do it too. ¬†So I’m just going to have to make it work. ¬†There’s going to be food around to tempt me.

The only way to stick with it is to want to stick with it. If I sit around thinking “I really want that french toast but I shouldn’t/can’t” then I’m setting myself up for failure. The only solution is truly not really want the french toast.

It’s a mind over matter thing. ¬†Would you just sit and eat a stick or two of butter? Butter (real butter) is delicious, but for most people just eating some butter is unthinkable. ¬†For a lot of people, having butter ever at all is unthinkable, not even counting Paleo. (I could make a whole separate post this, in fact I think I shall!) ¬†It’s a mental thing of what is and isn’t okay to eat. ¬†Making a lifestyle change means making mental shifts.

In my first post on this topic I said that I’ve been attracted to Paleo for a while. ¬†Knowing that Paleo is a good way to go is not something I suddenly decided 2 weeks ago. ¬†Even deciding to actually do it for 30 days wasn’t a sudden idea. ¬†It built up over time. ¬†It might not take everyone that long, I just let it go at its own pace.

I watched those food documentaries and I started following Paleo/gluten-free/healthy type of food blogs and Facebook pages. I really recommend following the food blogs and pages if you’re the kind of person who needs to see good food to want the food. ¬†I’ve seen so many zucchini noodle recipes, that I’m actually pretty interested in trying out the whole “mock noodle” thing. ¬†I’ve seen pictures of food that makes me think “Man, I’ve never had anything like that before, I’m going to try it and I hope I love it….I’m going to be super bummed if I don’t love it.” ¬†I’ve been following some Paleo/Gluten free cooks and bloggers on facebook, and have even share a few of their recipes that I’m looking forward to trying.

I don’t want this to be stressful. ¬†I don’t want to put off a healthier lifestyle until it’s too late. ¬†Until some doctor is telling me that I need to lose weight or I’m in danger, that I need to lower my cholesterol because I’m in danger, or that I’ve ended up with the diabetes that I’m predisposed to. ¬†Those things make lifestyle changes stressful, because you’re afraid and worried. I knew I had to make a change eventually, and I just let it simmer, always considering it. ¬†I went from this is probably way to hard, to maybe it won’t be so bad, to yeah I can totally try this. ¬†I’ll be going into this from a place of wanting to do it and knowing I can do it. That’s my recipe for success. As long as I don’t give up, I won’t fail.

It took me a while to finish this post, it was all over the place and I felt it was difficult to make it coherent. I still feel like it’s a little unorganized, but I don’t think anything I change at this point will fix it. ¬†My mind is not with it. I’m having one of those days where I feel like my brain isn’t working right. ¬†An increasingly frequent occurrence that I’m hoping a lifestyle change will make a huge difference with.¬†

That’s a general question I come across often.

Mind you, I don’t mean “health food” as in junk like microwave meals, and processed refined “diet” foods. ¬†I mean the real food, the less processed options.

Why does it taste bad? Why does it taste bland? Where is all the flavor?

Truth is, it doesn’t actually taste bad, it’s not bland, and it has lots of flavor. ¬† Have you ever been drinking a soda, or sweet tea, anything very sugary, and then tried to eat something sweet? Piece of candy, bite of ice cream? ¬†For a lot of people who frequently indulge in such things, it’s fairly common knowledge that one is going to over power the other. ¬†One of them is going to end up not tasting right, because suddenly the soda is not going to taste as sweet compared to how sweet the ice cream is. ¬†(I know a lot of people don’t go for ice cream and soda together in the first place, but it’s just an example)

In that same respect, if you’re eating a lot of fried food, or a lot of processed food with fillers, loaded with carbs and sugars, whole food is not going to taste as good to you at first. ¬†You’re going to crave those carby surgary things.

You have to give it time. ¬†It will get better, but only if you keep at it. ¬†It’s not so much that you’ll just get used to the blandness. ¬†It’s more that once you stop eating the processed foods, you’ll start noticing the flavors that were hidden before.

Now this doesn’t necessarily apply to things you just don’t like. ¬†If you’ve never even remotely enjoyed broccoli ever in your life, then I’m not suggesting you start torturing your self by choking it down anyway. ¬†Stick with things you can actually tolerate, things that are edible and just maybe don’t give you that mental enjoyment you get from more processed options.

If you’re in that boat, I would suggest a gradual shift to “clean eating.” ¬† The clean eating method has a big emphasis on just knowing where your food came from and what’s in it. ¬†It’s not so much about “hey don’t eat ice cream, hey don’t eat french fries” ¬†It’s more about “Does your ice cream really need 20 ingredients?” ¬†“Do you really need to eat crackers with high fructose corn syrup in them?” ¬†It does have a large focus on eating more fruits and veggies, but it doesn’t have as many “rules” as trying to go Paleo. ¬† It’s also something more easily eased into. ¬†It’s hard to quit a diet of carbs and sugar, if it wasn’t hard, there wouldn’t be so many methods and support groups out there. ¬†Clean eating doesn’t necessarily demand you give up those things, but it will ease you into the realm of fresher food if you feel like you might need an extra step between your current diet and your goal diet/lifestyle.

As always, you should speak with your doctor about any major diet changes you may be considering.  There may be underlying conditions that will have to be taken into consideration when altering your diet/lifestyle.

Is Paleo a fad diet?

July 3, 2013

I saw on Amazon prime instant videos last night there was a documentary called “The Perfect Human Diet” ¬†the synopsis seemed like it might be about Paleo, or something close to Paleo. ¬†I haven’t watched it yet. ¬†It only had 3 stars so I checked out the reviews and while it does seem to be at least partly about Paleo, a lot of comments said things about Paleo being a “fad diet.” ¬†Perhaps some of the comments were meant to be ironic, like one titled “the two million year old fad diet.”

It irks me though because I don’t see Paleo as a fad diet. ¬†If you look up what fad diets are, you’ll get some varied qualifiers. The main two I like to go by are:

  • It is short-term or otherwise not sustainable
  • Promises substantial and fast weight loss aka “sounds too good to be true”

Is it short-term? ¬†Are you only supposed to do it for a weekend, or a few weeks? ¬†If so then you might lose weight while you’re doing it, but as soon as you revert back to business as usual diet/lifestyle you’ll get it all back, and maybe more. ¬† Other diets are not all that sustainable. I do not mean sustainable in the terms of could YOU do it for forever, but whether anybody could or should do it for forever. ¬†There is the obvious one, starvation. ¬†I’ve also heard of only eating cabbage soup, or only eating bland boiled chicken breasts and salad. (lettuce, no dressing or anything else) ¬†Those are not nutritionally diverse and you might lose weight but that doesn’t mean you’ll be any healthier. Also, contrary to popular belief, you cannot supplement the crap out of your self to meet all your nutritional needs. ¬†You cannot try to live off of rice cakes, take a multivitamin and call it a day. ¬†Vitamins are more for going the extra mile. ¬†Maybe you get 80% of the vitamin D you need from your diet, so a vitamin will get you the rest of the way there. ¬†For a last note on vitamins go and search “multivitamin bioavailability”

I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to use this somewhere lightheartedly.

How about losing 20 lbs in 1 week? ¬†Or losing 1 lb a day for as long as you do it? ¬†Or losing weight without really doing anything? ¬† These are all the “too good to be true” diets. ¬† They promise a lot but deliver little. ¬†This includes weight loss pills and supplements.

Where do I see Paleo falling in on these points? ¬†Is it meant to be short-term? Not at all. ¬†It is sustainable, is it practical and healthy for the general human being to follow for the rest of their life? ¬†Yes, it is. ¬†Does it promise substantial weight loss or fast weight loss? ¬† Not that I’ve ever seen. ¬† Of course people who do switch to it do often lose weight, some people probably even do it for that purpose, but the main philosophy of Paleo eating seems to be about being healthier, not necessarily skinnier. ¬†The same can be said of vegetarians and vegans. ¬†People do often lose weight by switching to those diets, and that is probably the intention of some people who have done it, but the guiding principle of being vegetarian or vegan is more about what the followers find to be the healthiest.

So no, I don’t believe Paleo to be a ‘fad diet.’ ¬†I don’t even think these are new practices. ¬†I’m sure there have been people out there all over the world eating “Paleo” the whole time and there just wasn’t a fancy name for it. ¬†Or people to market the idea and make money off it. ¬†Or so many people eating crap food because it’s pushed on us as being ‘healthy’ that we ever really needed someone to point out that the majority of us are all eating horribly bad food. Paleo is long-term, sustainable, and doesn’t make any wild promises or guarantees other than that it’s truly all around a healthy diet to have.

I know, I know. ¬†Someone is going to read this and think to themselves “But I’ve done this or that fad diet or taken such and such supplement and it worked, I never gained the weight back, so it’s not bad.” ¬†Well very good for you. ¬†You are an exception, not the rule. ¬†To me this is the same as someone saying they’ve been a smoker for 40+ years and have never gotten cancer so that must mean cigarettes aren’t bad. ¬† That kind of anecdotal reasoning just doesn’t follow. ¬†There are always exceptions to the rule, and that doesn’t mean that the rules are wrong, just that some people are lucky. ¬†There are also other exceptions, like maybe you did a fad diet or took a supplement to drop some weight right as you were getting started with changing your lifestyle to be healthier. Very few people actually commit to the “changing your lifestyle” part though.

P.S.
As always, what is generally healthy for most, may not be a healthy option for YOU, so always discuss things with your doctor. ūüôā

Cutting out dairy.

July 2, 2013

About a year ago or so I cut back on my dairy. ¬†I started using almond milk more often. Sometimes in baking, mostly in my coffee. ¬†I’ve also tried hemp milk and coconut milk.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, completely dairy free. ¬†But it’s drastically reduced. I still have cheese once in a while, ice cream once in a while, and butter. ¬†I also don’t really worry about “hidden dairy” like what might be in chocolate or breads and things like that.

I did it for 2 reasons. First reason was because I’d been reading experiences of people whose allergies/sinuses cleared up after reducing or totally cutting out dairy. Second reason was seeing the experiences of people with acne that saw great results from reducing or cutting out dairy.

Now “officially” ¬†studies show that dairy doesn’t have anything to do with either one. I’m not one to argue with results though. ¬†I don’t tend to believe studies that seem to contradict the results other people see. ¬†The manufacturing world wants you to buy dairy, and if you have allergies then also allergy meds. ¬†Or if you have acne, keep drinking the milk and pay a ton of money for acne meds. ¬† There was a picture I saw a while ago, with a quote on it “If a drug company finds out that celery juice lowers blood pressure and if they tell it to people, they can’t sell their drugs. They get three bucks for a pill. Why should they tell you to use celery juice? – Jacque Fresco.” ¬†I don’t want to go on and on about the ‘evils’ of big pharma here. ¬†Or give the impression that I think all medicine is bad. ¬†I’m merely trying to point out that sometimes these “studies” aren’t accurate, because they’re often biased. ¬†It can go both ways also, sometimes they’re some spot on accurate. Research, research, research.

Benefits I saw from reducing my dairy were more easily managed allergies, and my skin cleared up. ¬†I have year round allergies, they’re bad enough that I’m supposed to use a nasal spray but I hate them. So I stuck with taking a pill every day, for years. ¬†When I cut back dairy, it was no longer was necessary to take it every day. ¬†I could get away with only taking allergy medication on particularly bad days. ¬†On occasions when I had a lot of dairy and a day or two later like clock work I’d have an allergy attack. ¬†For the acne, I’m lucky it’s always been mild but lets face it, it gets pretty annoying no matter how few or far in between. ¬†Usually it was that I’d have at least one breakout, most of the time. ¬†Maybe a few days to a week in between on healing and a new one bubbling up. ¬†Sometimes it got worse. ¬†When I’m cut back on dairy, it’s more like I go weeks and weeks without a breakout.

Those are the only changes I really noticed, and really they were the only ones I was after. I didn’t have all that much dairy in the first place. ¬†I don’t eat bowls of cereal for breakfast or have glasses of milk ¬†regularly. Most of my meals don’t involve cheese, etc. ¬†Most of the dairy I was having was with my coffee. ¬†Apparently coffee isn’t technically Paleo, and…well…I don’t care. I’ll be having it anyway, haha! ¬†I’ll give up coffee when I’m pregnant (by personal preference) and not one minute before! ¬† I am however willing to stick with nut milks and finding a non refined sugar so that I’m at least not adding anything non-paleo to it.

Oh nut milks, delicious nut milks. ¬†In Southern California there was a very nice organic brand of almond milk I could buy. ¬†The vanilla almond milk was even sweetened with dates. ¬†I have found nothing even close to comparison since we moved, not in quality OR taste. ¬† When people tell me they don’t like Almond milk, and all they have available is Silk or Pacific, I don’t blame them. ¬†I find those brands completely unpalatable. ¬†I’m going to try to make some cheater almond milk. ¬†In researching the best way to make almond milk at home, I found one method where you take almond butter and just blend that with water. Ta. Da. ¬†I figure if I go for a really good quality organic raw almond butter, it’s worth a shot. ¬†It might not be the cheapest option, but it might be the easiest. ¬†I know the whole soaking/blending/straining bit isn’t THAT hard, but it’s not something I can see myself doing on a regular basis. Some day when I can afford a vitamix or a blentec or something, maybe then. ¬†Plus I need almond butter for a really tasty sounding zucchini noodle recipe I found, more on that when I tackle it!

Lastly, I’ll mention what I think of the different kinds of non-dairy milk I’ve had. ¬†Almond milk is by far my favorite, when I could get a good brand anyway. ¬†It’s not as thick as milk. so it requires some fiddling to use it in some recipes, like adding less water to compensate for the more liquid nature of almond milk. ¬†Coconut milk is thick and creamy more like normal milk. ¬†I’d say it is definitely easier to bake with. The hemp milk I had may have been Pacific brand, I don’t recall. ¬†It tasted a LOT like diet/meal replacement shakes taste. If you don’t know what a diet shake tastes like, then take my word for it. ¬†It was the only time I’ve ever seen hemp milk, so I don’t know if that’s just how that brand was, or if it’s just the way hemp milk usually tastes. ¬†Or maybe I’m just crazy and am the only person who finds the tastes similar. ¬†As soon as I try this cheater method of making almond milk, I’ll be sure to make a post about it!