For the past year I’ve been eating Paleo – specifically no grains or dairy about 80% of the time. And it’s done wonders in getting rid of my “wheat belly” and in making me feel a lot more energized and healthy. But it has done nothing to help me lose weight.
With the wedding getting close, I knew I needed to step things up a bit. So I did the only thing that has ever worked in losing weight – tracking my calories. I use the Daily Plate function at Livestrong.com, recording everything I’m eating and all exercise I’ve performed to keep my calories at a certain level. At first, there was no weight loss. In fact, there was a little weight gain. And it took a bit to master the fine art of not eating over my calorie limit. But eventually, I was seeing the numbers dip lower every day as eating within my limits became effortless.
Two days ago, I reached the halfway point. Being that I only have 10 pounds to lose before I’m satisfied, it’s not like this is a huge accomplishment. But for anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, you know how hard it is to lose just 5 pounds. It can take weeks, if not longer. So seeing that number on the scale that I haven’t seen for months felt like I had managed something huge. My stomach was looking flatter, I felt leaner, it was an amazing day.
Of course, while taking weight off takes a really long time, putting it back on can happen in the matter of a weekend.
I only saw that low number one morning. The next morning I was 1.5 pounds up. Today, I’m 2 pounds up. I’ve exercised the past two days, I’ve recorded everything I ate and stayed below my calorie limits. I feel like the food I’ve been eatuing has been pretty smart choices. And yet, the scale is laughing its evil laugh and adding numbers to my weight.
I’m so frustrated.
It’s possible I might just be bloated. Or I might have recorded something I ate wrong. Whatever the issue, I will be taking a long hard look at what I’m eating and try and get that number back down.
Regardless of this setback, I know I can do it. I have 3 months till my final dress fitting for the wedding when I need to be finished with my goal, and that’s definitely doable. I’m now up to running 3 miles (at a slow pace, but running nonetheless) every other day, something I’m really proud of. And I like the way my body is changing. This goal will come too.
I’m constantly looking for ways to make eating Paleo more interesting. Dairy and grains usually make up a huge part of a regular diet, and a diet that is void of them runs the risk of being bland. So I was more than excited to find a recipe for pancakes at the Civilized Caveman (a blog dedicated to eating Paleo) that are completely grain-free (and gluten-free!). Of course, I’ve been grain-free for a long enough time to have surpassed my addictions to carbs. However, someone who is new to Paleo (or any other diet that restricts their carb/grain intake) will see this recipe as a Godsend.
Coconut Pancakes with Fresh Fruit Reduction Makes 4 servings
■8 Tbsp Coconut Flour
■6 Tbsp Coconut Milk
■3 Tsp Raw Organic Honey, melted
■1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
■Coconut Oil for pan
■12 Ounces of frozen fruit of your choice
■1/2 Cup Water
■1 Tbsp Raw organic honey (optional)
If you’re going to make syrup, I would start this first before making the pancakes so it can simmer while you cook. Civilized Caveman preferred raspberries in this syrup, but I didn’t have any on hand. But I did have a whole slew of strawberries which served as a delcious substitute. I imagine any fruit would work well, though make sure to adjust ratios accordingly (i.e. blueberries might require more water since they tend to gell up). Grind the fruit in a food processor. I like a little bit of lumpy fruit in the sauce, so I allowed a few chunks of strawberries to remain in. Put the fruit in a pot, then add the water. Let it boil about 10 minutes, or till the fruit seems cooked through. Set aside, or let it simmer on low.
For the pancakes, I found the coconut flour the most interesting. I never knew such a thing existed! But sure enough, there it was in my local Whole Foods, my go-to whenever I need an off-the-wall ingredient. It’s located by the regular flours, near all the gluten-free alternatives. While there, I also picked up some coconut butter, thinking it was just another name for coconut oil. It’s not. But it is very similar to something like peanut butter (well, more like tahini), and tastes so delicious I could eat it by the spoonful.
At any rate, add the first 5 pancake ingredients together until free of lumps. Heat a griddle or pan and melt the coconut oil in it. When good and hot, ladle the desired size pancake into the pan, letting it cook for 3-4 minutes.
Here’s where it got tricky for me.
I’d like to think I’m a pro at flipping pancakes. Heck, it was the first food I ever cooked, and the food I taught my daughter to make when she was learning to cook. I know when to flip them, turn them, let them sit, and remove from heat. I can make them a golden brown color and ensure they’ll never land on top of each other. But these ones?
First off, they don’t bubble up like regular pancakes. However, that wasn’t my main problem. My biggest problem was I had the griddle too hot, and then flipped them too soon. Then I kept them on too long. Then I didn’t keep them on long enough. Then liquid poured out each time I flipped it. It wasn’t till the last pancake when I sort of got it.
However, they still produced a pretty good looking stack of pancakes.
Once ready to serve, strain the liquid through a mesh strainer, putting the liquid back in the pot and reserving the chunks of fruit left behind. Add the honey and let it melt into the liquid. Pour over the pancakes and then add the fruit.
Confession: Being totally guilty of A.D.D. when it comes to following directions, I didn’t realize that I was supposed to strain it until I was typing this out. I actually added all the ingredients together in the beginning, and then poured it on when I was done with the pancakes. Also, I added twice the amount of honey since it still tasted somewhat sour with only 1 Tbsp.
The verdict? These were ok. Or they were great. Or they weren’t good at all. My tastebuds haven’t quite figured these out. If you eat them expecting them to taste like pancakes, you’ll be disappointed. My carb-loading fiance was not impressed with these at all. Luckily I knew that going in and had already prepared him a batch of Krustaez. My adventurous son thought they were ok, though he went for second when he was done. He was most impressed with the sauce. I found the pancakes to be a decent substitute with the consistency of bread, but not really a bread taste. However, the taste was intriguing. And filling! I ate three of them and was totally stuffed.
If you try them, let me know what you think. If you want to know how to make them without a bunch of blog chatter, or just discover some pretty creative Paleo recipes, visit civilizedcavemancooking.com.
I had a sandwich today. It was horribly amazing, possibly the best thing I’d eaten in a long time. Because I’ve been Paleo for so long, it occurred to me that I would regret this decision as soon as my protruding wheat belly caught up with me. But as the juice from the tomato dripped down my arm and the chewy sourdough of the bread flirted with my taste buds, I was perfectly content in the moment.
I regretted nothing.
Totally absorbed in the decadence of my totally carbed up sandwich, I didn’t need electronic gadgets to amuse me or even someone to keep me company. My book lay closed next to my juicy elbow, and I found solace in staring straight ahead at the waterfalling fountain in front of me. As I sat, the sun gently caressed my back, my crowded mind slowly winding down as my mouth filled with Heaven.
Eating like a normal human being is divine. And my pants already feel tighter. But it’s not like all this edible sacrifice has even touched those ten pounds I keep wishing away…. And I swear I ate less today NOT Paleo since my carb craving was finally appeased. I’m starting to wonder if it’s even worth it to limit my diet so much since all I end up doing as a result is obsess about the foods I can’t eat. I may have some thinking to do.
I dream in chocolate. It taunts me. That luscious dark brown color, the smoothness in its texture. I want to inhale its aroma and then slip it in my mouth, savoring it as it melts down my throat in a satisfactory climactic explosion of cocoa bliss. I want to bite into salted truffles, guzzle thick hot chocolate with whipped cream, lick creamy chocolate frosting, bury my face in chocolate cake, devour chocolate covered strawberries, slip into a Cadbury Egg, and sprinkle chocolate shavings on everything from pancakes to soup to toast to straight onto my waiting tongue.
But I can’t. I won’t. It’s the last of my Lenten promises that I have yet to break, and so I’m refraining from submitting to this momentary pleasure that might be worth the guilt.
Instead, I’m eating everything in sight to compensate.
I admit it. I’m in a rut. I’m so sick of eating clean. It’s not only chocolate I fantasize about, but big juicy cheeseburgers in a fluffy white bun, greasy pieces of pizza, milkshakes, buttered popcorn, moist cupcakes, melted cheese on crackers, strangely addicting red vines, sour cream….. All the stuff I can’t have. I haven’t had dairy in over a month. Besides one slip-up over the weekend, I can’t remember the last time I ate bread.
Frankly, I’m bored with Paleo.
To save my system from fully paying me back, however, I’m sticking to it. But I need to find a way to stop compensating with endless snacking to make up for the unsatisfaction left by my boring food. It does no good to eat clean if I’m snacking every time I feel anything – hungry, bored, the wind blow…. The worst is when I’m sitting at my desk and having a brain fart. Automatic reply is to reach for some nuts, or eat the part of my lunch I was saving for later, or cave and go to the vending machine and get some potato chips because, hey, they’re potatoes and not bread, right?
Rule #1 when it comes to Lent promises: DO NOT BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW.
(CLICK HERE to get a recap on the millions of things I’m supposedly giving up for Lent)
You’d think I’d know this by know, what with all the broken New Year’s Resolutions I’ve created and then conveniently forgot. As far as I can tell, those 10 pounds I’ve wished away are still there. And judging by the softness in my belly, wishing them away is not going to help them vacate.
Neither are all those Paleo friendly nuts I’ve been eating.
At any rate, I wouldn’t say the whole Lent thing has been a bust. But at least half of my promises have vacated the building. However, since I believe we’re only supposed to fast from one huge thing, I still have some extra credit on board. And a little brown on my nose as well.
First the successes.
I have stuck to my Paleo diet, with only a few cheats that included corn and a Fortune Cookie I devoured when no one was looking. But beyond that, I have managed to keep away from all dairy and bread with no looking back. I have even managed to refuse, not one, but TWO Sift cupcakes (only the best kind of cupcakes there are) two days in a row. One of the days I was practically held down and force-fed the devilish treats until I raised my Lent shield and said I was fasting for 40 days. But I was still coerced into bringing some home for my kids. You guys, I didn’t even lick my fingers when icing got on them, I was so good. And I instantly went to weight myself when I got home, knowing that this kind of willpower would result in an immediate loss of 10 pounds. Unfortunately my scale didn’t know that, and I weighed the same as I did that morning. Good news though? In the almost 2 weeks that I’ve been faithful to this way of eating, I’ve lost 3 pounds, and my pants are starting to loosen up. Who knows, I might just be a Victoria’s Secret model when this is all over.
Second success, I have finished my bridesmaid flowers!
Well, they’re almost finished. Two are done, and I have one left to wrap up. But we’re not counting that one. They are so gorgeous it’s disgusting, and I am going to have the prettiest flowers in all the land! Take that, live flowers that cost too much and start to wilt upon purchase. Now all I have left is my own bouquet, and I will officially be able to cross that off my list aaaaaaannnnndddd……
….edit my novel! (and then become rich and powerful from the royalties so I can buy my own island and crown myself queen. The end.)
I also bought a really great wedding planning book that has encouraged me to be super obsessed with all things wedding. And I am now having a hard time conversing with anyone about anything unless it has to do with my wedding. So naturally, everyone else has gotten really boring.
Now for the things I was giving up that I gave up.
My phone is super intelligent. And Facebook is still as lame as always. I know, I’ve checked it at least 10 times in the last hour. From my phone.
I may have told my son to “shove off” yesterday when I got mad at him. Except, I didn’t use the word “shove”. Strike two for using my pirate voice instead of my inside voice.
And the praying department? Not so bad. Not so good, but not so bad. But I may have been able to have a bit more success with the top things had I just prayed a little instead of giving up because it was too hard.
However, I’m learning some things through this whole process of Lent.
First, I learned just how many food addictions I have. I mean it, I’m obsessed! It’s getting better since I’ve managed to stick to this and not eat the foods that cause me to spiral downward. But if someone were to put a box of chocolates in front of me, I’d probably make out with it. I know exactly what it would taste like to devour a whole box of cookies, and my willpower is hanging by a thread. The only thing that holds me down is knowing that if I invite even one cheat into my mouth, they will invite all their friends, have an all night orgy, forget to use protection, have a million fat cell babies, end up on my thighs, and then make me blow ass the rest of the day because I’ll have gone into shock from all that sugar sex they were having.
Second, I am a rockstar at planning my wedding when it comes to folding little tiny flowers and gluing them together. The dress thing however? It’s scaring the bejeezus out of me. I mean, first I was going to go wholesale, because I can’t imagine spending so much money on one article of clothing that will only see the light of day once in its whole existence before I put it in a box for my daughter to wrinkle her nose at when I suggest it is coming back into fashion around her own wedding day. But what if wholesale means they are sending me a dress made out of bed sheets that would fit me perfectly assuming I was a fire hydrant? But then the bridal shops are about 5 times the amount of what wholesale costs. And then alterations? A friend of mine told me today that her alterations cost as much as her dress. That’s a lot of money! And what if I gain or lose weight? I have to get it altered. Again. And what if I hate the dress I picked out as the wedding date gets closer? And I haven’t even gotten to the part where I haven’t tried any dresses on because I’m scared to go in and try on dresses. Basically, I just want it to look totally perfect and cost next to nothing. Is that too much to ask?
On the other hand, I’ve been watching a lot of “Say Yes to the Dress”, so I think that counts for something.
Third, I’m using my iPhone less.
Ok, just kidding. However, telling the truth isn’t part of my Lent promises, so we’re all good here.
Giving the kids something to talk about in therapy.