I promise this blog has not been abandoned, well I haven’t abandoned it…I don’t know about Pearce haha, just kidding, he’s in exams right now (it’s still abandonment though right?). Anyways, the other night I was looking to bake and I ended up stumbling on a recipe for Cupcakes. Basic, white, vanilla, paleo cupcakes. Boring right? Wrong! It’s a gold mine and you know why? Because finding a good base in baking is like winning the lottery. Once you know that base you can make any flavor or version you want. Sooo let’s just say I took a few creative liberties with this one :P

This is the recipe: http://www.thewannabechef.net/2012/01/16/paleo-vanilla-cupcakes/

Now, I’ll be upfront, I did add a dash (literally, probably less than a tbsp) of molasses to my version which makes it a questionable paleo recipe, but because most of you who read this don’t eat paleo I figured you’d it slide. I also added the zest AND juice of 1 lemon and (get ready for a classic mash up here)…blueberries! They are really lovely. It’s next to impossible to make a decent icing without dairy or sugar, so I’ve been just drizzling some honey over top of them. They taste great, I call that a baking success.

Over the past few months I’ve been in the gym a lot here at Western. Whenever I go it’s always the same: all the boys lifting, all the girls running/elliptical-ing (that’s a word right?). I posted this video on my FB yesterday that made me laugh so hard. I’m not saying that all girls/guys are like this, BUT it still rings true: http://greatist.com/fitness/men-women-switched-roles-gym-video/. 

Since starting with a personal trainer (who I saw through the summer) I learned the importance of lifting weights and more importantly I learned how to lift them AND not to be afraid of them. I was reflecting yesterday at the gym about how far I’ve come in terms of my fitness, but also my mindset. Working out is no longer a chore, it’s something I enjoy (well, most days haha) and I’m going to tell you the top 5 reasons I love a workout with lots of (heavier) lifting and lower reps:

  1. It takes less time
  2. It’s more challenging
  3. It makes me feel like a badass. Really and truly, I’ve never felt more powerful as a female as when I’m squatting weight.
  4. The whole hour is spend with me, myself and I (okay, sometimes I bring a friend!)
  5. I love all my new muscles. A lot of woman worry about getting “bulky” when they lift higher weight and it’s so silly because we don’t have the same shape as males, the same hormones, the same way of eating, etc etc. So why would our muscle look the same way as men’s? They won’t.

Well a recipe and a rant on fitness, I think I’ve covered my quota, non?

Have a happy week!

Today was a bad day. Today was a terrible day. Today I ate 2 pieces of cake, and I feel like dirt.

I have a confession: I love terrible food. I can’t resist it some days. Today was one of those days. I love things like pop tarts, KD, granola bars, those frozen cheese cakes you can buy at the grocery store, think of the worst thing to put into your body, guaranteed I want to eat it. I was that girl who used to lie to myself about what I was putting into my body, the girl who would sneak extra cookies or chocolate and that girl was always unhappy and unbalanced. But I loved (…love) it all, but you know what? It doesn’t love me. Not even a little bit.

This past month I’ve been feeling great. Heck, I made it through mounting a play without a panic attack or any more than a (minor) meltdown. It’s funny the way food can dictate the way you feel. Again, I would never say paleo is for everyone, but the way I’m feeling tonight is making me realize it’s definitely for me. I haven’t felt more shitty in the last month than I do right now. Perhaps it’s post-play depression and yes it’s a real thing just ask any actor/director/stage crew. Regardless, I should feel amazing, accomplished and absolutely bright and shiny. I do not.

So when people say you should eat what you want, they’ve never met a girl like me who could (nay, HAS) single-handedly consume an entire cake in one sitting. Food is the thing that dictates whether or not I’m mentally and emotionally balanced. It’s far more to me than just the thing I need to put into my body in order to survive. It decides my mood, my mindset and my physical ability to perform. Food is supposed to fuel my body, not make it feel like this.

Moral of this story and such a long winded post: No more cake for Meghan…well paleo cake is allowed haha!

Back to clean eating tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, I love new days. Anything can happen.

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Tell me I’m not the only gal (or guy) out there who feels like this?

Alright, so the end of the month ended yesterday and I will be the first to say I failed miserably at the end of the month. Now I’m not one to make excuses, but I really do have a good reason and that reason is a play, which I was directing. It’s important to note that when I say I failed miserably I mean that I needed coffee…almost every day of the week.

Allow me to have a moment about how much coffee saved me. I needed it, not only for my energy, but for my nerves, for my sanity and for a moment each day I got away from all the stressers I was feeling…I woke up this morning feeling panicked because I had forgotten something: “Oh crap! WAIT WAIT….*sighhhh* the show closed last night Meghan”. Now that being said I stayed fairly paleo outside of the coffee and 1 cider after opening night because I needed to celebrate. One must celebrate their directorial debut.

So back to the food talk. I’ve taken to eating spaghetti squash with a nice meat and veggie sauce on top.

I made these brownies today from OMGpaleo and I really like them. I’m going to continue eating paleo for the most part, but for the purposes of this recipe I decided to add mint chocolate chips and boy are they yummy, I had to try super hard not to eat them all! Here is the recipe, I said if I ever wanted to convert anyone to paleo this is the recipe I would use: http://paleomg.com/sweet-potato-brownies/

This week has been a whirlwind and I had an incredible experience, but I’m thankful to be back to having time to cook for myself, eat (mostly) full paleo, and work out! Back to the gym tomorrow and back to work. I’ll keep posting here despite the month being over. I think a lot of the recipes that Pearce and I have made are quite easy for those not eating paleo to do.

So I’ve discovered the paleo subreddit on http://www.reddit.com (thank you Adam Howard) and there’s been some pretty interesting conversations on there that sparked some things in my mind that I figured I should talk about a bit here.

Also I just finished reading 4 lectures of anatomy and don’t want to get back to studying just yet.

Since starting the paleo diet I’ve read blog posts and rants and raves from all kinds of people who eat paleo and its occurred to me that paleo is really more of a lifestyle rather than just a diet. Sure the diet is a big part of it, but its really just a devotion to being healthier and feeling better about yourself. The most important part about this though is that being paleo doesn’t mean you have to be paleo all the time. Sure there are die-hards who eat only organic grass-fed meats, never ever eat any grains (even gluten free ones) and never eat any dairy products. And while that was mostly me (minus the organic grass-fed meat) for the last month, that was one of the things I didn’t like so much about the challenge.

That’s where the concept of 80/20 comes in, and I think its a concept that can really be applied to a lot of different areas in peoples lives. Essentially what it says is that you should try to be paleo 80% of the time and then leave the other 20% for everything else. Now you can take that in a literal way, or in a bit of a more liberal way. It doesn’t necessarily mean that 80% of everything you eat should be paleo and that you’re allowed to have 20% that isn’t. It really just means that you should focus on making sure you’re eating healthy things and getting lots of exercise and that unhealthy things once in a while are perfectly okay. For instance I had a really shitty midterm yesterday night, so I bought a small tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (on sale, total score!). I honestly couldn’t even remember the last time I had ice cream before that. The point is that even though chocolate fudge brownie ice cream is nowhere even close to being paleo, its okay to have once in a while.

Now the diehards would say “NO! there’s high fructose corn syrup and lactose and gluten in the brownies! None of that is good for you!” Which I would agree, however I’m eating ice cream and still maintaining just as high of a level of fitness as they are, so who’s the real winner here? Side point: I am going to try and stay away from gluten as much as I can, even on my “20%” just because I really notice the effects of eating it. That ice cream just so happened to be the only one left on the shelf, so I went for it.

Another thing I wanted to talk a bit about is the subject of genetically modified foods, or GMO foods (specifically vegetables). This stems from a conversation that I had with a friend earlier, in which I had stated that GMO vegetables are bad for you, but had never actually thought of the reasons why I would think that. Here I was caught under the “natural is better” umbrella of paleo, and as a man who prides himself on researching everything, I felt pretty stupid for doing that. Sorry, more to the point: After giving it some thought and doing more research, I don’t really see a problem with GMO vegetables, in fact I actually think its a pretty amazing innovation in technology. Sure in the Western world crops are modified to grow larger and make more money, but in third world countries crops are modified to be heartier, grow in unfavorable conditions and be more nutritious than regular strains of the same crop. All of this is done through simply changing how the genes of the crop are expressed. Its basically just gene mutation, the foundation of basically all evolution. There’s no deadly chemicals involved, nothing that’s going to give you cancer or anything like that. Now I knew all of these things, and knew exactly how gene mutation and expression worked, but still had the thought that GMO was bad. Boy I feel dumb.

FYI GMO vegetables is a completely different topic from modified meats because animals are modified using hormones, not altered gene expression. I’ve blabbed on enough for one night though, time to start studying Organic Chemistry.

So this weekend officially marks the end of my 30 day challenge, and of course it happens to end off with Mac not winning the Vanier cup…what a way to end a challenge. So logically because it was the end of the challenge I ate and drank the things that I’m not supposed to, including but not limited to beer, chicken schnitzel and eggs benedict. Well I’m hear to tell you now, after a day and a half of consuming gluten again, I feel like garbage. I’m not in a huge amount of pain or anything, although my stomach does hurt a bit, but I honestly just feel gross. My head feels kinda cloudy, I haven’t got much energy, feeling pretty sluggish. But this week is back to being healthy again, I just picked up a bunch of groceries on the way back from Toronto and I figured I would share some of the things that I’m making tonight. Nothing overly fancy or anything, but its all pretty tasty so far:

-Maple roasted brussel sprouts and parsnips

-Pesto spaghetti squash with roast chicken and sauteed vegetables.

The first recipe is super easy:

-Preheat oven to 350

-Quarter brussel sprouts and peel/chop parsnips

-Toss with olive oil, S&P, minced garlic and and 2 teaspoons maple syrup (you can add more if you like)

-Roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until sprouts and parsnips start to brown a bit

-Be amazed at how you could ever not like brussel sprouts because these taste so good.

Second recipe:

-Preheat oven to 350

-Halve squash, clean the inside and roast cut side down for approx. 30 minutes depending on size

-At the same time season a chicken breast with S&P and bake for 30 minutes.

-Sautee chopped onions and mushrooms until softened.

-Toss in some cooked chopped bacon

-Add in chopped kale, cook till wilted

-Shred spaghetti squash and toss with pesto

-Slice chicken breast and serve with vegetables over squash.

Now I mention tossing in cooked bacon only because I have cooked bacon on hand. I’ve been working on reseasoning my cast iron frying pans and one of the best (and tastiest) ways of doing that is by making large batches of bacon. So I currently have a weeks worth of cooked bacon in the fridge, its great.

In other news, I reached my first term weight goal for squats last week. My goal was to be able to do 3 reps at 225 lbs and I did 6 reps on Thursday. Hoping to improve on that before I go home for the holidays. I also spent a bunch of time on Friday coming up with Crossfit workouts to do over the holidays seeing as I won’t have a gym to go to. I even scaled them all so that Meghan can do them with me (shh don’t tell her though).

Today was intersting…we’ll talk more about that in a minute. As Pearce pointed out in the last post there are a lot of pluses that we are each noticing about the way we feel and look while eating Paleo. I’m going to keep it short, but feel I have more mental clarity, I’m having less up and downs in terms of my mood and I’m also feel really good in my body.

That being said, my body and I didn’t get along today. I haven’t eaten a banana in over 10 years and like any allergy/intolerance I assumed I would eventually grow out of it. I did not. So I spent a little over 6 hours wanting to curl up into the fetal position because my stomach hurt so much. Not to worry though, because I’m feeling better (thank you Benadryl!) AND I made this awesome mug cake…I was craving chocolate.

This cake is loosely adapted from OMG Paleo: http://paleomg.com/paleo-chocolate-cake-in-a-mug/. The version I’d made is a little more brownie tasting, but still has a cake-y texture. This will definitely be my go to for a chocolate fix.

For those of you who don’t know I’m currently directing a play, so my last 2 weeks of paleo are going to be a little boring on the recipe side, but I’ll try and keep the reading interesting and if nothing else I’ll just make more cake mugs!

Mug Cake!

  • 2 teaspoons Coconut flour (plus 2 extra dashes, I didn’t measure…sorry!
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) sunflower butter (I’m sure any nut butter would work)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  1. Put all ingredients into mug
  2. Stir together and add coconut flour until you get the desired consistency (a touch thicker than pancake batter is what you’re after)
  3. Place in microwave for 2 minutes (mine only took about 1:40 sec)
  4. EAT IT! NOM NOM NOM

Image

Have a happy Tuesday everyone!

So I’m coming up on 3 weeks out of the 4 week challenge, Meg I believe is coming up on 2 weeks, so I figured maybe its time to start talking about some of the benefits that we’ve started to notice since being on the diet. Its certainly been a topic of discussion between the two of us, but we haven’t really talked about it all here, which is really what this blog is supposed to be about.

First things first: My mood and energy levels. Now its quite possible that my mood has been better because I have more energy, or I have more energy because my mood has been better but either way there has been a definite improvement in both. I’ve been sleeping better, its easier for me to get up in the morning, I don’t feel like passing out in class and I can workout and play badminton in the same day without feeling like I want to die. I have to say that this is definitely the biggest change I’ve noticed so far and I LOVE it.

Second: My focus and concentration. Both of these have shown an improvement as well. I’m finding it much easier to pay attention in class and I’m finding it easier to absorb information when I’m studying. My classes tend to be a little on the dry side so this has been a welcome change. I’ve also noticed a difference in my badminton game. Now part of that is definitely due to the mental training that I was working on in the summer, but I think part of the concentration portion is thanks to the diet.

Lastly: How I feel. Now I know that this is kind of a difficult one to measure, because I thought I felt pretty good before, but I seriously feel fantastic. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it but maybe its just all of the things that I mentioned all rolled into one. I’ve been gaining more muscle than before, I’ve been managing to keep the weight on (I’m pretty sure at least, I don’t own a scale so I just kinda go on how I look in the mirror), I look better (I am allowed to have some vanity), and I can do more of the activities that I love (like powerlifting and playing badminton) without feeling like I want to die the next day.

So those are some of the biggest things that I’ve noticed so far. I gotta say that those changes absolutely outweigh the things that I can’t eat anymore. I’ll most likely be continuing this eating pattern as my normal diet after the month is over. I will however not maintain it quite as strictly as I have been during this month. Obviously I wanted to go strictly paleo just to see what all of the fuss is about, and I definitely see it now. There are certainly things that I’m starting to miss a bit, foremost being Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. Everyone gets to indulge sometimes, its only when you indulge all the time that there’s a problem.

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