Sunday, April 28, 2013

What works best for you?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Yesterday was my son's semi-final game for the State Cup soccer tournament.  He put up a good fight, but they lost, 3-0.  While standing on the sidelines, making small talk with the other parents, I found myself in a conversation about gluten-free/paleo/high protein diets.  Imagine that?  This mom I was talking to is hilarious, and gluten-free!  We laughed and admitted to our judgement of "those sensitive people" that can't just eat everything like we could, prior to experiencing life without grains/gluten.  And how much better we feel since removing those items ourselves. 
Paleo is everywhere, even on the soccer sidelines.
It's not like I think everyone should stop eating grains today.  I can only say how surprised I am at how much better my body feels without them.  And how easy it is to not eat any grains.  I also find that it helps curb my emotional eating.  Without the quick carbs to stuff my face with, I tend to not stuff my face with anything.  I will turn to the foods I can eat, but how much meat and veggies can one eat at a sitting.  These foods just don't have that same effect when it comes to emotional eating.

I get stuck between trying to figure out the science of why this diet might feel better, and just taking the inherent cues from my body and believing that.  There's all the paleo websites and books, there's the new Abascal Way -TQI diet (To Quiet Inflammation) that seems to be the rage on Vashon Island and beyond, the Diet Cure book I many resources out there that claim high protein/low carb diets are the way to go.  But I bet there's just as many that say eating a vegan diet or eating no meat is best, and that you need carbs to be healthy. 

That's the thing, right?  Find what works best for you.  Why not try different ways of eating to see what works best for your body and your lifestyle, so you feel your best?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paleo Cheat? Or not?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I bought a pint of Luna and Larry's Dark Chocolate Coconut Bliss Ice Cream from the co-op yesterday.  I don't even really go for ice cream usually, but I like dark chocolate, and I was feeling down.  I wanted something.  Anything.

I looked all over the internet for an idea as to whether this is "paleo" or not.  Which actually brings up a whole other part of the paleo thing for me.  I don't get paleo pancakes, paleo bread, paleo cake.  I just don't get still seems processed and even though you're using "paleo" ingredients because they're allowed (like almond flour), it doesn't fit the mold for me.  But that's just me.  If you search paleo recipes on Tastespotting, you'll see I must be in the minority on this one.

Then there I was in the co-op ready to pummel the next toddler that almost rammed into me with those tiny carts, all crabby and desperate for some food to save me and everyone else from myself, and I bought it.  Agave Syrup and all.  23 grams of carbohydrates per serving.  And I ate it.

It was satisfying and I felt a little better when I was eating it.  But I have to say, I didn't feel any better afterwards.  I didn't feel worse either, just not better.

So, paleo cheat or not, it's still just something to consume.  It's not some magical antidote for ridding yourself of emotions.  Actually, I would assert that most things we look to for that kind of relief only eventually make the problem worse.

Sometimes growing up sucks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Why am I doing this?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I said no to this twice this month.  Why?

 I had to get on the scale today.  I had a doctor's appointment because I need to get vaccinations to be in a clinic with pregnant women. (I start clinic tomorrow!!!!)  I stepped onto my scale this morning, because I didn't want to be caught off guard in public when I stepped onto the doctor's scale. 

My last weigh in for Weight Watchers was on 3/22, so nearly a month ago, and after paleo for three weeks.  I was kinda excited, for once, to step on the scale.  It felt strange to pull it off of the shelf where it had been sitting, dead silent for weeks.  Then the familiar steps of setting it down, making sure it wasn't sitting too close to the moulding between the floor and the wall so as not to mess up the reading, making sure the the towel wasn't hanging in my way form the rack above, sucking in my stomach (as if that helps) and slowly stepping on.


I lost 2 pounds since that last weigh in.  TWO POUNDS!

I don't even know what to say.  I wasn't necessarily in the paleo for weight loss.  Or was I?  Either way, I was hopeful that I had lost weight.  And I was clearly devastated by the low number I have lost. 

I wonder if it ever truly goes away?  This desire for the magic number on the scale?  Or if the time it takes to process the emotions around it just gets shorter?

I'll still do paleo, because I feel better eating this way.  And that's all that matters.  Right?

Paleo downfall

Posted by Amy Baranski

On day 11 of the Paleo diet I fell so far of the wagon that I don't know if I'll ever get back on.

Not only did I have McDonalds I ate a large bowl of spaghetti for lunch and topped off the day with a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake from Burgermaster.

The unfortunate part of the day wasn't even eating McDonald's it was the sad fact that I ordered a sausage mcgriddle not knowing what that was. Holy fucking vomit. It's a pancake thing instead of an English muffin thing. I couldn't tell from the picture on the menu. I also thought "griddle" = less fattening. It was so gross. There was syrup inside the pancake. I ate it anyway because I was starving and Babeski was asleep in the car. He had been sick the night before and was finally resting. I was so hungry. And it was so unsatisfying.

Since my downfall I stopped taking photos (shame) but can list some of the things I've consumed: spaghetti, red wine, white wine, chocolate croissant, lemon lavender coffee cake, pecan shortbread cookies, mint Milano cookies, top ramen, pizza, thai food, indian food, subway, soda, Doritos, Ruffles, peperoni sticks, cow milk, cheese, English muffin, crackers, bread, and on and on. My bloat is definitely back.

I don't even know if I have the will power to course correct this sinking ship. I feel really cranky today. Maybe it's all the disgusting food that I'm eating that's making me feel so bad. Who knows. All I can think over and over in my head is FIA (thank you Melissa!).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Paleo Thoughts for the week

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Paleo Thoughts:
A great movie, I highly recommend this!
  1. I ate 5 of those Jammers this week.  SO GOOD.
  2. I had moments of fantasy today during my cranky hour(s)...stuffing popcorn in my mouth, grabbing a slice of bread, rushing over to guzzle the soda my kids cracked open, sneaking into the van and drinking a whole bottle of wine, etc.  Happy to say, I did not act out on these fantasies.
  3. I have a new obsession in place of the scale, checking my back fat.  I don't have a hand-held mirror, so I use this fold out mirror from a free sample of make-up.  I think there's progress.
  4. After thinking I HAD to finally crack after 19 days of paleo and consume large quantities of carbs, I ate three huge meatballs and felt so, so much better.  Funny, I guess protein and fat really do work.
  5. Friday Night Pizza Night is getting easier.  Especially when I order meatballs for me.
  6. I feel best when I have at least one meal be mostly salad with some protein.
  7. I don't feel good when I only have nuts on hand because they are easy to carry around, and then that's all I eat for several hours (like at a 14 inning baseball game).  Nuts are good, but not in excess.
  8. My fingernails are way stronger, and I bite them less.
  9. After seeing a movie with my thirteen year old about the importance of girls across the globe being able to access an education and seeing how in some countries they are sold for marriage at age 11 or are working for a master from sun-up to sun-down at age 6, my struggle with whether or not to eat popcorn while watching seemed rather trivial.  Perspective.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jammer Time

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Believe it or not, worth every 275 pennies it took to buy this.

I found this at the cafeteria at my school.  It is SO FLIPPING GOOD!
(Aside from the name.  Jammers?  Come on, Jenise, you can totally do better.) 
I mean, I get it, maybe it is because I haven't had sugar in almost three weeks.  Maybe it is because there's honey and carob in it and they might not be paleo.  I don't care what it is.  It has been my treasured indulgence this week at school.  Before being paleo, I saw it sitting in it's wicker basket and always thought, "Ew."  Who knew the Jammers would make my whole week. 

I think it might have made me happier than when I first discovered Thug Kitchen.  (I'd like to add, before Gwyneth blabbed all about itWhy is she always on my tip?)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"You mean not as fat."

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
She is NOT paleo.  And keep away from her treats.

This morning I was getting ready for the day and Tallulah was sitting in the bathroom watching me.  We were both in our own worlds, within 2 feet of each other.  When I was done blow drying my hair, she started talking.
"Mama, I think you've lost weight."

"Really?  What makes you say that?"

"Well, I am sitting here looking at your tummy and it looks not as skinny as before."

"You mean not as fat."

"Yea, not as fat as before.  Can you weigh yourself to see?

"Nope, I promised myself I wasn't going to get on the scale for this whole month, until May."

"You can break your promise."

"I don't like to break promises I make to myself."

"Well, my friend breaks her promises all the time."

Even with the begging and pleading of a 7 year old, I resisted.  I just know that I will become obsessed.  I want to enjoy this month of Paleo, and continue to be satisfied and guilt free with my eating, instead of seeing that number on the scale staring up at me.  Bringing with it, either joy or defeat.

Paleo infractions

Posted by Amy Baranski

I don't know if it's because my son is teething or my husband seems to be working 100 hour weeks, or the fact that I haven't slept more than 4 hours in a row in about 18 months but this past week has been tough to resist alcohol. I've just needed a glass of wine (or 3) to unwind after what feels like long days. Last night as I was putting Babeski down for sleep my husband made dinner which was really sweet. He was a little unsure of what I'd eat since I'm on the Paleo. I got one chicken Italian sausage with marinara. It was so nice to get something made for dinner. I did have to cook the remaining two sausages that were in the package because one sausage these days doesn't even come close to cutting my hunger. For some reason I didn't get a salad (what's up with that?) and was too tired to make mine - so another day with limited greens.

Paleo granola, hamburger + bacon n greens, apple.
Not pictured: 3 chicken Italian sausages with marinara & 3 glasses of red wine.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thai Steak Salad

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Thai Steak Salad
I was inspired by Amy's Thai Steak Salad she had the other night and decided to try and make it at home.  I didn't measure, my apologies...I eyeball everything when I am cooking rogue without a recipe.  But I tried my best to explain the dressing ratio, and for everything else...just use enough for the amount of servings you want.  Or use a lot and have leftovers.  That's usually what I do.

Grass-fed beef (I used tri-tip sirloin, or something like that)

Dressing and marinade
Tamari (Wheat-free)
Toasted sesame oil
Hot red pepper sesame oil
Juice of two limes (Use 3 and skip the rice vinegar)
Brown rice vinegar (oops, guess that's not paleo, but it needed some more kick and I was out of limes)

Salad Stuff
1 head of Lettuce
1/2 Red pepper (sliced thin)
1/8 of a small Purple cabbage (Sliced thin)
1 Cucumber (sliced thin and halved)
1 Carrot (shredded)
3 Scallions (white and green chopped)
Cilantro (minced)
Mint (minced)
Thai basil (Minced)
Sesame Seeds

Mix together the marinade ingredients to your liking.  I use a little more of the acidic than the oil, and add as much tamari as you like for the salty taste. 

Marinate your meat with half of the dressing for at least half and hour.

Cut up the veggies and herbs and arrange veggies on a platter or toss in a large bowl.  Set aside avocado and herbs.

Grill or saute the beef.  Mine was thin, so I did about 3-4 minutes per side, so that it was still pink and tender inside.  Let it sit for a few minutes off the heat, and then slice thinly.

Place the meat, fresh herbs and avocado on top of the salad.  Drizzle the remainder of the dressing over and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  If you use Sriracha, I would add some of that in too.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Paleo Parfait

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #11

I didn't have much time for cooking today. Bob was gone all weekend and I juggled house work and baby, which was fun. We had a blast together. I'm really into nap time right now so I organized my Sunday around getting Babeski his three naps, or so. Last night he did not sleep well. Naps were a success with two solid 90 minute stretches plus a late afternoon cat nap. I started dinner during the first nap - rub a flank steak with spices and throw it in the crockpot. Everything else was quick and easy. I even ate the meatball cold. My son and I discovered the PURE BLISS of coconut cream together today. I had a parfait with strawberries. He had coconut cream with vanilla and blueberries. It was a delight all around. Today felt more like a snack day. I can't believe it's been 11 days already. Oh and I'm pretty sure I've lost around 5 pounds. Yay!

Paleo granola, apple and bacon, a lone turkey meatball, banana, coconut cream and strawberry parfait
and steak carnitas in lettuce wraps. Not pictured: sweet potato fries.

Carb Addiction and Adrenal Exhaustion

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
(These are suggestions from a book, I am not a doctor.  If these ideas peak your interest, get the book or see your healthcare provider.)

I had my first intentional non-Paleo bites of food yesterday.  At Cafe Flora, they were serving gluten-free sunchoke hush puppies.  Hush puppies!  I couldn't pass up trying one, and eating Tallulah's that she didn't like.  They weren't as good as a traditional hush puppy from the classy places I used to eat at as a kid, like Long John Silver's.  But still, it was deep fried.

I have been really enjoying the book that I mentioned earlier this month, The Diet Cure, by Julie Ross M.A.  The title set off my alarm bells right away.  Cure?  Yea, right.  But I have to say, something about this book makes a lot of sense to me.  There is a quiz at the beginning, after which, you will know which chapters relate most to your specific needs.  Given my scores, I am starting with Ch. 3 (Unstable Blood Sugar: Carb addiction, Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, and Adrenal Exhaustion) and Ch. 11 (Balancing Your Blood Sugar and Reviving Your Adrenals).

Ch. 3 - Unstable Blood Sugar: Carb addiction, Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, and Adrenal Exhaustion

This chapter starts out with a great analogy about sugar and carbs in the body.  "Your body and brain are built of protein, water, fat, minerals, and vitamins.  Like auto parts that must be made of specific materials such as metal and rubber - muscles, hormones, nerves, bones - must be made from water and solid nutrients like protein, minerals and fat.  Carbohydrates have a very different function.  They are the fuel that your body uses.  Yes, they are important, but you cannot build an engine or a tire out of gasoline, you cannot makes muscles and bones out of carbs."

If you find yourself eating carbs after carbs (and sugar too! or alcohol, the super-sugar), craving another dose throughout the day, then this stress moves from your pancreas, making enough insulin to keep up with the glucose in the blood, to the adrenals.  The adrenals are there for stress, and if they simultaneously have to deal with making sure your body doesn't bottom out on blood sugar, then over time you will find yourself in adrenal exhaustion. 

Once you have eaten yourself into any part of this cycle, you can be literally powerless over your food choices.  While your mind and will power say, "This isn't healthy or good for me," you're body's biochemical reactions are so powerful that you likely will find yourself picking up that croissant or glass of wine.  Through the process, your body is likely being depleted of important minerals, amino acids and nutrients. 

Ch. 11 - Balancing Your Blood Sugar and Reviving Your Adrenals

So, what to do if you it feels like you don't have a choice?  What about all those times that you do so "good" for a while, only to end up so cranky and irritated that you give up?  

You might be depleted in chromium, a mineral that the body uses to stabilize blood sugar.  The book asserts that it also directly prevents carbohydrate cravings.  I found a study that demonstrated an effect of lower cab cravings for depressed individuals after taking chromium picolinate supplementation.  The stories shared in the book are nothing short of miraculous, as far as how quickly the craving could subside.  Again, a red flag for me.  But, still, there is enough there for me to want to give it a try.

This amino acid can stop the blood sugar fro diving into the "must-eat-candy-or-have-a-beer-or-hit-someone" low blood sugar state that the brain can get into.  If the brain is low in glucose, which it needs to do anything, it can burn glutamine instead. 

Protein and Fat
High enough protein diets can help stabilize blood sugar as well.  Foods high in protein stimulate the release of glucagon, which in turn stimulates fat burning instead of fat storage, like glucose does.    What's enough protein in a meal?  3 eggs,  4-6 ounces of meat or fish, 1- 1 /2 cups of beans. (20-24 grams of protein)

Fat also helps in this process.  Your body needs fat, it you don't need a lot of it, but if you don't get any you may find yourself eating more and more carbs in it's place.  You may be eating low-fat everything, and your body is creaming for some fat, but you interpret it as you eat more of everything else.  Butter, olive oil and coconut oil are some great fats to add into your diet.

And of course, eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits.  Whole, with the fiber intact.
There are other things to offer support if you are over-stressed too.  Interestingly, do not over excerise if you are in adrenal exhaustion, as this adds more stress to the adrenals that they may not need at this time.  Find relaxing yoga classes, ways to decompose at lest twice a day, take long walks. 

Paleo - Day 10

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #10 - One of these things is not like the other.

Four egg kale scramble with avocado, banana peppers, and bacon! Birthday cake!
Cashew Chicken and Yum Nuer (beef salad) from Jamjuree.
Yesterday I got to celebrate the birthday of a good pal of mine Jennifer. Our babies are close in age and we got to be pregnant at the same time which has made for some great camaraderie! I couldn't say NO to birthday cake! But let me tell you - 7 days or so without refined sugar and I was BUZZING! That part was fun. I don't even think I crashed (I did not eat the whole piece). Interestingly after dinner at our neighborhood Thai joint I was craving grains and sugar so badly. Oh, and if you've never had beef salad, or Yum Nuer, at a Thai restaurant - I highly recommend it. It's very flavorful with mint, cilantro, and lime. MMmmmmm.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Paleo - Day 9

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #9

Paleo granola, bacon hamburger on top of mixed greens, strawberries, cashews.
Not pictured: whole pack of bacon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Look for the signs

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
First thing I saw as I walked into the coffee shop.
I have not been on the "Wow, Paleo feels like 10 cups of coffee" buzz that I started out on.  To be honest, I'm glad.  I am not inherently one of those chipper, always shining, happy I wouldn't want meat to change that.  I wouldn't feel like me if I didn't dip down into the darkness once in a while and hate everything.

Today is a new day though, and I feel a bit better.  Maybe it started when I fit into a pair of jeans I hadn't fit into for months.  Take that scale, I guess I didn't need you this month after all.  Even the fact that my eggs came with cheese on them when I asked for none (I scraped it off), and there was a HUGE side of hash browns on my plate, didn't get me hating.  I didn't eat them BTW, a major, and surprisingly easy accomplishment. 
This was on my table when I sat down.
I do appreciate, though, that even when I'm hating on life...I am still awake to the good omens all around.  I have these things, signs, that when I see them I am reminded that I am in the right place at the right time.  And even on darker days, there they are, reminding me that even this is OK.  I don't need to be anywhere but here, awake to my own feelings, no matter what they are.

A few of my recent and long term good signs:
  • Owls
  • Black Escalades (don't ask)
  • The #9
Stay awake!  Be right where you are and be your own witness to your own life, no one else can do it for you.

Paleo - day 8

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #8

Breakfast was Paleo granola, banana, shrimp for lunch, cashews for snack and turkey meatball salad for dinner.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #7

Today was great - EXCEPT that I didn't read the ingredients list of Oberto cocktail peps (peperoni sticks) that I picked up from QFC during a walk with my son. It was lunch time, I was unprepared, and there was a passing rain storm. We ducked into the store together and I pulled together a couple of apples and figured maybe jerky could be a good option. I should have gone with jerky because the Oberto cocktail peps that were screaming my name CONTAINS WHEAT. The package ingredients say so just like that in all caps. Oh well. I brought Melissa into my demise by offering her some (before I knew they were bad). Ha-ha.

From left to right: 4-egg scramble with asparagus spears, onion, garlic, banana peppers, avocado and siracha!, banana, two apples and cocktail peps, cashews, 7 turkey meatballs with shredded brussels sprouts and marinara sauce, and strawberries. Not pictured: Cara Cara orange.

Paleo and Autoimmune Disease

Posted by Amy Baranski

The secrets of the universe contained inside.
I'm curious about the autoimmune protocol offered up on the I have an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism. I'm game to try any kind of nutritional approach (in conjunction with treatment advised by my amazing endocrinologist) to help. Sadly the autoimmune protocol is seriously punitive. From
It is vitally important to adhere to a strict paleo diet with no cheating. While other people may be able to enjoy the occasional bowl of rice, if you suffer from an autoimmune condition you are not one of these people. Grains and legumes should never be consumed. Dairy of any kind (even grass-fed ghee which can still have trace lactose and dairy proteins!) should be avoided initially (most people will not be able to successfully reintroduce dairy, although some will be okay with grass-fed butter and ghee). This may be true for the rest of your life. In addition, if you have an autoimmune condition, you should completely avoid:
In other words: bye-bye Siracha and Mayo. What's left to live for?
Not to mention I'll be one sober bitch for all of eternity. NO CHEAT DAYS?!?!?! 
On the other hand, I am starting to feel pretty good as I've begun to purge dairy, gluten, and legumes from my diet. Or maybe it's that six-day feeling of freedom from my addiction to sugar. I feel more in control of my blood sugar levels. It's easier to reach for fruit or nuts instead of obsessing about a pastry. Has anyone out there gone this extreme with their diet? For how long? Did it help?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Paleo Success!

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #6

Today was a Paelo success! This morning I wasn't so sure it would be. I left the house without breakfast, which is usually a dangerous road to a slice of harvest bread or a chocolate croissant. I ended up eating a banana and picking up some blueberries, cashews, and coconut water from Safeway before heading to the Coffee shop. Aside from the coffee with half-and-half I have to say I've had a near 100% Paelo day!

I'm kind of starting to like this. It took me a few days to wean myself off refined sugar, gluten, grains, and legumes. I'm not going to lie I miss the simplicity and loveliness of a PB&J. But I'm happy to be cleaning out my gut a bit.
Banana, blueberries, cashews, smoked salmon, banana, grass-fed hamburger (with avocado, bacon, cherry tomatoes, and mixed organic greens), and sweet potato fries. The beverage is sparkly water with blueberry/thyme shrubs.
Now that I've added what feels like a sizeable amount of calories to my plate I'm actually starting to feel, dare I say, good. My energy level feels up. My mood feels even. And I was more focused working today. I got excited about coconut water (something I was addicted to during pregnancy and postpartum) and sparkly water with homemade flavoring. I think it's important to always have something interesting to drink on hand especially when you've cut alcohol out and are limited to one cup of joe a day.

That's it for now...

Paleo & Puke

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #5

I'm kind of bummed that I forgot to take a picture of dinner. My son was too busy puking on me from 7pm-9pm so I'm thankful that I even had dinner. I think it was a reaction to the banana I shared with him. He's had this reaction before, about a month ago, so I wanted to test it out again and voila! we have a food sensitivity to bananas. OR he had's hard to tell without getting an official allergy test.

In good news, my trusty friend, blog partner, and neighbor Melissa invited us down for burgers and baseball. Even one of her simple dinners is scrumptious. I literally cried when she invited us over. I needed to be saved from dinner--it just seemed like it was going to be a life-sucking act to make it. I was not feeling right yesterday.

Once we got to her house (an hour late due to a puking baby) we were met with a grass-fed hamburger patty atop a bed of mixed greens (no-bun) topped with regular hamburger fixings and sweet potato-tots on the side. Yum. Babeski only puked once while we were there. Poor little bugger.

I still did not have a lot of green yesterday (with the exception of dinner). I did have a doozy of a lunch. Short on time I went to the QFC deli--which can be kind of dicey. I landed on roast chicken (I was upsold a 4 piece pack), tuna salad, and coleslaw. The tuna sucked (it was sickly sweet) but everything else was just riiight.

No refined sugar or flour or gluten today! And the only dairy was the half-n-half in my coffee. Progress.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Strength Training

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

So, it wasn't the Cross-Fit class that seems to be the paleo-rage these days.  At least that's the impression I get.  But I did go to a Strength Training class today.  Actually, for all I know, it was like Cross-Fit.  I've never been to either before today!  I have read that if you are doing Paleo, it's important to do some kind of strength training.  It seems that the Paleo mentality believes in less cardio (or at least not extended cardio) and more short, intense workouts that leave you feeling energized and refreshed.

The Paleo mistake not to make:
I was stuffing my face 45 minutes before class.  I had skipped breakfast and was working all through the morning on school (OK, and pretending to work at the coffee shop with Amy.) so before I realized it, it was almost time for class.  I got berries, kombucha, cashews and an avocado at the grocery.  I don't know how many handfuls of nuts I ate.  And berries.  Ugh, I think I ate too much too close to class.  

The studio, STRENGTHstudio, is owned by a fellow mom at my kid's school and another mom invited me to join her.  The first class is free (Thank you, Susan!) and it came with glowing reviews from my friend.  I figured it was a win-win...a good workout and support a local mom-owned business.  I didn't think it would be that bad (hard) since I have been running for a few months now.  But, I have not done any strength training.  And boy, did it show!

We started out with a run outside, just a couple of blocks.  Cool.  I got that. 

Then we started the real work inside.  We did lots of different workout moves all for one minute each.  A minute can be a VERY long time when you're squatting and jumping with a weighted ball, swinging kettle bells around and holding plank pose while while making your feet do a running motion while each on a separate felt piece.  I know, I can barely understand what was going on and I did it.  Well, most of it.  My legs, my feet, my arms...they all barely worked by the end of class. 
Oh, and the best part...she said, "This was an easy class."  What!!!??? 

I'll be back.  I need more of that.  A good stop-whining-and-keep-moving kinda training.  Plus, I  felt a sense of community from the women present, that everyone really wanted everyone else to succeed.  I don't know why, but I didn't get that sense of "paying for torture" that I got at the Barre class, even though this class wasn't any less torturous, in my opinion.

Plus, I do feel energized and refreshed!  Enough to go for a (short) run!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Paleo progress

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #4

I started today feeling really excited about going 100% Paleo. Somewhere between 11am and 1pm I lost that enthusiasm (see cupcake and cup of coffee). Today was certainly not purely Paleo. But I hope that the rest of my meals made up for my daily transgression.

A few things I've started to notice since documenting all of my meals:
  • I need more greens
  • I need more water
  • I need to have at least 2 of my 3 main meals of the day prepared the day before
Melissa also suggested I take in more calories (especially because I'm nursing). Today I did. I had an extra helping of fruit, the cupcake, and two helpings of the stir-fry I made for dinner. I also added in a bowl of Paleo granola to close out the day. I feel a lot more satiated.

I'm also observing that I start the day off strong and then I nose dive around lunch. Nap time also happens around lunch. When I put my son down I'll often nap with him (luxury!). Other times I use the hour to tidy up or work in my office. I hardly think about making lunch--that hour is so precious. On top of that Babeski has been on fire lately with gross motor skill development. I've been helping him explore the house and his body without injury during our play times. The kid is crafty. He used an empty cooler today as a walker--pushing it in front of him...ambling from the living room to the dining room. Once he made it near the coffee table he cruised from the cooler to the coffee table and b-lined for my computer which I absentmindedly left out (the motivating force behind his entire odyssey). It's so amazing watching how he lifts each foot and leg with intention!

I digress.

Today during lunch my little family trekked to Wallingford on an errand and we found ourselves near Trophy Cupcakes. End of story.

I can fix this issue with a little planning. I need to have a quick lunch handy in the fridge--something I can eat on the go if needed. Easy things I can think of:
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Salad
  • Fruit washed, cut, and organized into serving portions
  • Paleo granola*
  • Smoked salmon
  • Leftovers
*I found some info online about making Paleo granola. At it's simplest it's an assortment of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit served in almond milk. Recipe(s) will be forthcoming.

Until then...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

75% Paleo

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #3
Again I had a hard time today going 100% Paleo. I started the day off strong with a Paleo frittata (included asparagus, spinach, and tomato topped with bacon). I had two slices (half a 12 inch skillet) and was STILL HUNGRY. I definitely need more food on hand. Sometimes it's hard to get to the store and back to stock up on provisions since I don't have a car. I can only carry a certain amount of food and my son at the same time. Yes we own a stroller but I prefer to carry him. Plus I can push a shopping cart around easier. In great news my arms are getting really strong. Anyway - I broke down and had a bowl of cereal. A HEAPING bowl. And then I totally crashed into a nap with my son. Granted it was early on a Saturday AND I'm tired because of night waking but I think this crash had something to do with the carbs. I guess I skipped lunch because I have no recollection of it. I may have had two hard-boiled eggs that I forgot to take a picture of...Dinner was roasted chorizo + asparagus. I had two chorizos. Uli's brand. SO DELICIOUS. The only thing that could have made that meal more delicious was a grill to cook it on. After dinner I fought (and I mean fought hard) my craving for sugar. I went with strawberries instead. I've decided every time I crave sugar I'm going to reward myself with fruit. Will I be able to make it through tomorrow doing complete Paleo? I'm running out of eggs...

Paleo On-the-Go!

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
It's a busy day and I won't really be home at all.  I'm a bit nervous about finding Paleo food out and about, and in a hurry.  So I packed at least one Paleo meal to-go. 
Spaghetti squash from the other night, asparagus and chorizo.  I'll bring some nuts and fruit as well.

Wish me luck on my first day totally out of the house, Paleo style.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Not Quite Paleo

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #2

We celebrated Bob's birthday today by taking a half-day off to drive up to Skagit Valley and take in the tulip fields! So amazing! I started the day off Paleo with bacon, hard boiled eggs, and blueberries. But I took a turn for the worse up in farm land. I could have ditched the bun on my hot dog but I just couldn't do it. I gave up my chips to Bob so I guess the bun was the only offense for today. I finished the day off with roasted asparagus and Italian sausage with red sauce (left overs from last night).

I'm really craving a snack right now. Cheese slices, popcorn, chocolate cake. The left-over apple piece on my son's high-chair tray that I just gobbled up isn't really cutting it. So today was not quite Paleo. However, no dairy or alcohol!

The Second Brain

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I was fully prepared for a Paleo FAIL.  I entered April with a white knuckle grip on my cynical, life is shitty attitude, and I was NOT going to let go.  Wait, have I mentioned this already?  Probably.  See, so attached that I am still romanticizing those days.

I expected to hate Paleo.  I expected to not be prepared enough to meet the demands of a non-processed food diet.  I expected to sneak bites of macaroni and cheese or pizza from the kitchen when no one was looking.
"Sorry, vegans.  I once was one of you, believe it or not"

So far, none of that has been true.  Five days in and I still love it.  I wake up refreshed, I sleep like I haven't in months, and I'm never hungry or without something on hand to eat.  And most crazy thing of all: I feel, dare I say...happy.   I still yell at my kids and get mad at my husband, I am human after all, but generally speaking, my attitude has shifted.  It's like I have new eyes and the world is brighter.

A reader and friend suggested a couple books due to my proclamation of loving the "all-the-meat-I-can-eat" Paleo diet.  The books, The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure, are on their way to my doorstep as I type.  The gist of the story seems to be this:  high protein diets can positively effect the neurotransmitters in our bodies that contribute to our outlook or mood.  I'm really excited about checking these books out to see the science behind the claim.  Although, I might assert that this month could be a good example of living proof.

I have also been thinking about something I learned in my last grad school, that the gut-brain connection is really important.  The vagus nerve carries 90% of the nerve signals from the gut to the brain, not the other way around.  The gut is giving our brain more signals and more neurotransmitters than what we usually think of as the "normal" nervous system functioning, that our brain controls everything.  Dr. Michael D. Gershon, who coined the term, "the second brain" in regards to the gut and later published a book of the same title, found in his research that 95% of the body's serotonin is produced in the gut.  Hey, isn't serotonin linked to depression and anxiety?

So, I was thinking that it makes so much sense that although in my head, I was not willing to let go of my crappy, cynical attitude, since my gut was feeling just took over.  I found this blog, The Paleo Mom, and she has an easy to read post on this phenomenon of the second brain, and some good recipes.

Now, I am going to go cook up that grass-fed steak in my fridge.  With some mushrooms and onions and kale.  Mmmmm.

(To be fair, I am eating lots of fruits and veggies too.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Almost Paleo

Posted by Amy Baranski

Paleo Pic #1

Because I suck...really, really suck at the Paleo diet I've decided to keep track of my daily meals moving forward with a daily Paleo picture. This is today's. It's missing a photo of my dinner salad and morning cup of coffee. Otherwise, you get the's almost paleo.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Paleo Problems

Posted by Amy Baranski

It's Paelo month and I've got serious problems starting this diet. On Monday things seemed promising. I decided I wouldn't give up my daily steel cut oatmeal breakfast but that I'd definitely do a Paelo lunch, dinner, and snacks. On Monday I was on track with that (sort of) but then dinner-time rolled around. I'll I had eaten that day was oatmeal and an organic apple. I was off my rocker starving. Bob and I were in the grocery store. You see where this is leading...

That box is empty.
He mentioned Stouffers Mac n' Cheese (Ohio represent!). I resisted for a total of 60 seconds. On top of that I decided that I needed a treat. Because I've been having a dairy sensitivity lately (and gorged myself into a painful tummy ache on sandwich cookies with vanilla filling the other day) I opted for ... Little Debbie SWISS ROLLS.

I miss hostess.

Where's a Ho Ho when you need one?

Swiss Rolls aren't even that good. They are too...saccharine...and yet they fulfilled some sick and cruel need I had to put them in my body. I really should have gone with the Nutty Bars.

Two days later the box of Swiss Rolls is gone. Yes I hid them in a cupboard so the babysitter wouldn't see them. (She's super healthy). I swear I normally don't eat crap like this. Just lately I've been off the deep end. I blame in on my hormonal issues post-baby. Not sure how long I can keep saying that.

Yesterday not only did I finish the Swiss Rolls I had four sandwich cookies on top of that. I had to talk myself down out of having more. Fortunately I made myself drink a lot of water instead. On the upside I had a Paelo lunch yesterday. It consisted of a healthy green salad with broiled salmon steak. Dinner, on the other hand, was a bust. We had a friend over to meet the baby and she very graciously brought us Thai food. It was sort of Paelo. But there were deep fried spring rolls, and you know I wasn't going to pass that up!

So Melissa's feeling chipper about her "clean" diet and I feel like I'm committed nutrition suicide over here. I feel like crap. Seriously. And I can't seem to stop. I keep telling myself that today's a new day and while I haven't had anything Paelo I still have two more meals ahead of me to fix that. But I'm tired, really tired. Our baby is finally teething and his neurons are on fire--the whole world is so interesting to him. So I don't totally trust myself.

At least I've come clean about the Swiss Rolls but will I relapse again?

Gotta be the Gluten?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Berries for Breakfast

Really?  Again?  I don't know what the hell to think anymore.  My dreary disposition, my FIA (f it all) attitude is lifting.  No, not really, but I sure do feel motivated like I haven't in months.  Maybe even years.  I mean, one cup of coffee never felt this good.  Ever. 

I was texting my friend about how odd it felt to feel peppy, and her response, "Gotta be the gluten."  She herself is a Paleo gal and must know how this feels.  I'm not expecting this to last all month, but I am going to enjoy it and get a shit ton of things done in the meantime.  I got pages and pages of data entry on my plate today.  Bring it.

The best part?  I ate all day yesterday.  I never felt deprived or hungry.  If I did feel hungry, I ate.  It was simple.  It was a matter of having things around that I could eat.  I loved every moment of being able to eat without guilt. 

And, the scale is showing a downward movement.  WITHOUT hunger and starvation and crankiness.  I know I decided it's not all about the number on the scale, but that still doesn't change that there is a part of me that loves to see that happen.  Actually, in addition to Paleo this month...I am going to put the scale away.

No more weigh-ins until April 30th.  It'll be hard, but I'm up for the challenge.

Anyone else joining us on our Paleo month? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Could it be the Paleo?

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

I don't know if it's the great sleep I got last night, the amazing coffee I had at Victrola with Amy, or spending money at the Co-op...but I kinda feel amazing right now.  I doubt it could already be the Paleo, right?  It must be the coffee, that shit was so good.  But could it be the Paleo?  Could 36 hours without any grains or carbs have me feeling this good in my own skin?
So far, one day and a half in, and it is the first "diet" that I don't feel restricted by.  I mean, sure, I couldn't get popcorn at the ballpark last night, but that's OK.  The 2+ sausages I had for dinner had me feeling pretty damn good, and not hungry.

I had blueberries for breakfast, nuts for a snack, and turkey meatloaf from the Co-op for lunch with a salad at home.  I guess I love meat (Hold the jokes).  It is delicious and satisfying (Seriously), so I don't feel like I am missing out or starving.  Could this be it?  Could this be the perfect food lifestyle for me?  I always do this, jump all in head first.  Let's see how I feel about it a few weeks in.

At the Co-op today I bought: Bacon, three packages of local sausages, ground turkey, chicken breast, two grass-fed beef patties, one grass fed beef steak and a pork tenderloin.  Add in some veggies and fruit, with nuts for a snack, and I should be good for the week, right?  I also bought a Paleo magazine.  The cashier must of been like, "Typical.  Primal Newbie."

As soon as I got home I whipped up some turkey balls to have on hand.
Oh, god, I hope it's not the coffee.  Fearing the crash.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Posted by Amy Baranski and Melissa Baumgart
Bring on the Meat!

 This month starts our challenge of eating a Paleolithic diet.  So far, what we are clear on is that this is what we can eat:
  • Meat
  • Veggies
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Nuts and Seeds 
  • Bacon
 The Meat is ON!
Some people do 80/20, Paleo to normal diet.  We are not set on whether we are going to be 100%, 80% or, let's face it, 0% Paleo.   
So, what we can't eat....
  • Carbs, no grains of ANY kind.
  • Dairy
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Rice, did we mention grain?
  • Potato (So, fries, chips, name it.)
  • Chocolate bunnies left over from Easter

It's about progress, not perfection

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
This weekend was a gorge-fest.  Filled with my own not so healthy version of "Let your food be your medicine" to help with some unexpected anxiety that came up and the inevitable "Oh-my-god-I-better-get-in-all-the-carbs-I-can" situation I found myself in since Paleo starts today. I had mashed potatoes, bread and butter, macaroni and cheese, a cookie, bites of pastries, cheese and crackers.  And HANDFULS of Sweet-Tart jelly beans.  Really, anything I could get my hands on. 
This weekend, Seattle. 
So, Amy and I were going to do our last weigh-in today.  But I just don't feel like it is telling of most of my month in March.  I worked really hard almost all month, and in all (aside from this psat weekend) I had lost a total of six pounds.  Eight pounds since starting Weight Watcher's the couple weeks before March.  So, in my bloated state this morning, as I type through a fog of post-carb induced coma, I don't think the two pounds I added on this weekend are real.  They are going to drop away as soon as I get moving and eat healthy.  I can gain a couple of pounds so easily.

Reading over what I have written thus far, I wonder how much of the inner chatter of self degradation I have dropped.   Why do I need to justify the number on the scale?  Why did I turn to food as a means of comfort?  Why do I look toward a new healthful way of eating and stuff my face with what I think I will miss?  This is a process and I am learning.

Maybe I am not always perfectly on my game.  Maybe I make mistakes.  The point, this time, is to not throw in the towel after one week or one weekend.  To wake up on a foggy Monday morning and start over again.  Put on my running shoes, plan out my Paleo month, and be proud of the progress I made during March as a whole.

Stay tuned for the "Rules of Paleo" for GLWT coming later today.