Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Updates, Re-dos, and a Week of Intensely Real Food

Whew! Well, I have made it to day 5 of my personal food challenge (A Journey of Healing).  Day 1 was a haze of chopping, steaming, sauteing, and eating, I ate so much that day yet felt hungry all day (funny how cravings feel like hunger).  Day 2-4 were zombie-like, sleepless, grump-fests, that I personally would not like to revisit.  However, I realistically have to examine what was, and still is going on in my body these days.  Imagine life, up till 5 days ago: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner all consist of grains, dairy, sugars, protein and veg, snacks in between consist of the same.  All the food, to my mind, was healthy (except for occasional splurges).  Fermented foods graced my plate, lots of veggies, and the grains were prepared for easy digestion.  Now, Imagine life, 5 days since: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner all consist of Protein and Vegetables.  That's it.  That's everything, 3 large meals and no snacks, Protein and Vegetables.  So what is going on in my body?  I am experiencing the "Carb Flu".  My body and brain are adjusting to not having sugars from carb dense foods like grains and legumes, no sugar from dairy, no sugar from honey or maple syrup, no sugar from booze, no sugar from sugar.  I am experiencing for the most part, sugar withdrawal.  My body is craving anything that will provide that sugar spike that it thinks it needs.  My brain exhibits that by making me feel unsatiated and unfulfilled.  All of this added together equals a grumpy human being, stay away, stay far, FAR away!

And then, day 5 happened.  I slept through the night.....mostly, the first time in days that I had more than 2 hours sleep.  I woke up before my 7:30 alarm and jumped out of bed with my mind racing towards all the projects I want to get done today.  I exuberantly  cooked breakfast for both my self and the hubinator, eggs and cheese for him and a fried egg (in coconut oil) with red flannel hash and fermented beets for me, who's sounds tastier?!? I am now banging out this much needed post for my recently neglected audience, meanwhile, my brain is planning and organizing the rest of my day.  I feel....awesome? No, I feel friggin amazeballz!

I am excitedly looking towards the weeks ahead of me.  I already see changes in my mental and physical body but I realistically know, this is just the beginning.  I am creating new habits and patterns, I am rebooting my body, and recharging my brain.  I can't wait to get to day 12, day 20, and finally day 30.  I will definitely keep you all posted along the way.

I believe so fully in the positive effects this challenge will have on my body and mind I thought I'd give you a taste of what this first week of food looks like.  If you are not ready to commit to a Whole30 but want to know what it would be like to give it a try, you can use these menus to help you along.  You will get some benefit from 2 weeks, your body will begin to heal and perhaps, you will be feeling so good, you will continue on for 2 more weeks and possibly beyond.

But first I would like to share a re-do with you.  My Bulletproof Tea didn't stand a chance on this food challenge, so I had to give it a make over. The original included milk, sugar, butter, and loads of caffeine, big no-no's.  But what to do? I looked pretty hard at what dairy like liquids are allowed (no, dairy-free creamer is not an option) and coconut milk is pretty heartily endorsed.  I then went to the speciality tea section in my local Wegman's, and found a yerba mate, with spearmint and raw cacao, to mimic the sweetness of sugar.  I then fell back on my old friend coconut oil, doubling it up.

Here's my new method:
steep tea in boiling water with 3 cardamom pods and 3 cloves.  In a small blender jar, combine 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1-2 tbsp coconut oil.  When tea is steeped, pour it into the blender jar (removing the spices) and whir it up for a creamy, latte like, energizing morning cuppa.

Breakfast Jumble
1 cup ground pork, cooked
1/2 apple, chopped
1 cup butternut, cubed and cooked
1/4 tsp ea unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, paprika
Melt 2 tsp coconut oil in a fry pan, add all ingredients and fry until warmed through and brown.  Serve with 1/4 cup fermented saurkraut.
Variation: 1 cup brussels sprouts, cooked in place of butternut

Savory and Tangy Chicken for Breakfast
1 cup ground chicken, cooked
1 cup kale, cooked
4-5 grape tomatoes, quartered
Heat 2 tsp coconut oil in pan and add tomatoes.  When the tomatoes soften add garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add kale and chicken and fry until heated through and browned. Serve with 1/4 cup fermented beets.

Egg Foo Yong
I halved the recipe and replaced the chicken with ground pork.

Red Flannel Hash
I used coconut oil instead of ghee and had fermented beets on the side instead of pickled beets cooked in.  

Begin your week by cooking up enough of the veggies and meats to make each recipe twice.  Store it all in the fridge in containers, scooping out what you need when it comes time to cook.  By cooking each recipe twice you have a great way to vary what you eat each morning and not get bored.  Each of these recipes are great for lunch too!

Killer Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
1 breast of chicken, cooked and cubed
1/2 apple,cubed
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp slivered almonds
1/8 tsp ea poppy seeds, celery seeds
2 green onions, white parts only, chopped -optional
3 tbsp Olive Oil Mayo
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, add salt and pepper to taste.  Fill butter lettuce leaves with the chicken to make a lettuce wrap.  Fill out the meal with a handful of kalamata olives and a small serving of fruit.

Kale and Sweet Potato Chicken Patties
1 lb ground chicken
1 cup sweet potato, cubed and cooked
1 cup kale, cooked
sprinkle of nutmeg and garlic powder
1 egg
coconut oil
Combine chicken, veggies, spices, and egg in a bowl.  Combine and shape into 4 oz patties.  Either cook or store in fridge, ready to cook.  Heat oil over medium high heat and fry for 4-5 minutes each side.  2per serving
These are great served with a large garden salad with lemon and olive oil.

Chopped Salad
1/2 cucumber, chopped
5 grape tomatoes, quartered
5-6 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
leftover lamb or steak, cubed
2-3 tbsp Avo-ziki
Combine everything in a large bowl.  This is a complete meal.

Scotch Eggs (from Well Fed)
2 pounds ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
pinch cloves
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon dried chives
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
8 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1 bag (2 ounces) fried pork rinds (optional)
2 large eggs, raw (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the ground pork in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, tarragon, parsley, chives, and garlic. Knead with your hands until well mixed.
Divide the pork mixture into 8 equal servings. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten it in your palm into a pancake shape. Wrap the meat around a hard-boiled egg, rolling it between your palms until the egg is evenly covered. This is much easier than it sounds. If the meat sticks to your hands, moisten them with a little water. Place the meat wrapped eggs on the baking sheet. If using the pork rinds, place them in the bowl of the food processor and process until they resemble bread crumbs; pour them onto a plate or in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, beat the raw eggs. Gently roll each meatball in pork rind crumbs; you want just a thin dusting. Then roll each meatball in the raw egg and roll a second time in the crushed pork rinds to evenly coat. Place on the baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes, then increase the temperature to 400 F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the eggs are golden brown and crisp.
*These are a Whole30 must!  Make a lot of these at the beginning of the week.  You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Delicious with a salad dressed with olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, and mustard.  

Cook up a bunch of chicken breasts seasoned with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Make a bunch of sweet potato and kale patties, make a few (sugar-free) salad dressings.  Stock the fridge with mixed salad and hearty greens, a few cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives and you are ready for a week of lunches.  These recipes can be duplicated for the 2nd week and you can mix and match with breakfast items for a wide assortment of meals.


I will be adding recipes throughout this week.  So far I have been taking it easy on myself due to the amount of cooking I am doing and accommodating the hubinator as well.  I stocked the fridge with an assortment of portioned proteins, fish, lamb, chicken, and pork and precooked veggies, lots and lots of veggies.  At dinner I cook the protein with some spices.  Then heat up 2 types and 2 cups worth of veggies and dinner is done.  Make an extra portion or protein and you have leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day.

I promise I will give you some scrumptious, mouth-watering recipes but I don't want to share them until I have tested them.  I am not holding back, dinner has been really boring, but really nourishing.  Enjoy!

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