Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Primal Plate 5/31/11

Welcome back fruit! Oh, how I've missed you. For the last two and a half weeks, I've been trying to eat a very low-carb "induction" menu to move the scale those last few pounds, so therefore almost no fruit. Or first few pounds, since that's all I have to lose anyway. Regardless, I'm only about 5-8 lbs from my goal weight and I wanted to ditch the tummy flab before the roadtrip tomorrow. It does seem flatter, even though the scale and tape measure haven't budged.

Roadtrip time, woohoo! Okay, I'm not really that excited about the roadtrip part, but I'm very psyched about the destinations. Family reunion and then a week visiting close friends and exploring some beautiful scenery. For the roadtrip, I'm not going to worry too much about the low-carb bit and just eat as Primally as possible. Fruit is such a great snack for the car anyway, and I don't know how much Primal food will be available; excluding fruit when it might be the healthiest snack just seems dumb. All the food for the reunion is included and I know there will be plenty of options in the meat and salad arena. Eggs, bacon, and sausage will probably be featured prominently at breakfast, and most likely still be available to me and Jeremiah on days when everyone else is adding pancakes to their plates. Nevertheless, I'm coming prepared, plus we need food for the 10 hour car ride. We're breaking it up over two days because 10 hours would be torture for my back. We're bringing fresh jerky from the butcher, deli meat and cheese roll-ups I'll make up before we leave, apple slices, apricots, grapes, blueberries, almond butter, cashews, carrots, celery, and red pepper slices, and a few Kind fruit and nut bars and Larabars. Whoa.

So I started off very well this morning, and have a very healthy, but busy, day planned.

Breakfast 11am:
1 cup coffee
1 cup Irish breakfast tea
1 fried egg
1/2 grapefruit
2 apricots
1/2 cup cottage cheese

More leftover pulled pork
Greek yogurt with honey
1/2 cup blueberries

I spent the afternoon running around doing last-minute vacation chores, so I had a key lime Larabar for a late afternoon snack. Ingredients: dates, cashews, almonds, unsweetened coconut, and lime juice concentrate.

Grilled chicken
More frozen veggie medley

Sorry for the poor picture quality. I'm still working out some of the lighting kinks and learning how to edit in Lightroom.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Primal Plate 5/30/11

Happy Memorial Day. Thank you to the veterans in my family: Dad (Vietnam), paternal grandfather (WWI), maternal grandmother (WWII), maternal great-grandfather (WWI), & maternal great-uncle (WWII).

Grilling lunch sounds like a great way to start Memorial Day (after saying a quiet thank-you to the vets in my family and everywhere else). We skipped breakfast so Jer and I fired up the grill before noon. We had some filets from Chicago Steak Company (sadly not grass-finished) that we ordered with a Groupon and threw them on the grill with some sweet potato spears, and cooked up some frozen veggie medley on the grill's side burner. The steak and veg are covered in copious amounts of butter!

Eating outside on the bistro table

Greek yogurt with honey, cinnamon, and blueberries; apple with almond butter

Dinner: Leftover pulled pork from Whole Foods; steamed broccoli; wine

Had a few small squares of chocolate in there too.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chocolate Mint Green Smoothie

Green smoothies have become an internet phenomenon. Frequently touted by raw foodists, vegans, raw vegans, and even fruititarians, they claim green smoothies are the key to healthy skin and hair, perfect digestion and elimination, and of course, weight loss. Weight loss, drinking over 500 calories of pure sugar? Right.

Even so, I find that smoothies are a great way to start my day. The only claim the raw foodists have right is the benefit to digestion. I was first turned on to smoothies as a way to heal my IBS. It didn't, but I fell in love with them anyway. The main difference between mine and one that is primarily fructose is fat. I add in as much protein as possible, sometimes including a raw egg or two, but it's the fat that really matters. Most smoothies rely on bananas for texture and body. Avocado contains healthy fat and, surprisingly, fiber. With avocado, you won't miss bananas for a second. The second source of fat has to come from an oil. Sometimes I use flax oil to increase the omega-3 content, but I just discovered the tastiest smoothie ingredient of all time: coconut cream. If you open a can of low-fat coconut milk, it will be a thin but slightly creamy white liquid. But if you open a can of regular coconut milk, the way nature intended, all the cream will coagulate at one end of the can, leaving some thinner, almost transparent coconut water swishing around. For a Thai coconut curry, you should mix this together to form a lovely thick, creamy coconut milk. But you can drain the watery liquid and just use the cream if you want. Not wanting to waste, I usually mix it up and use it all. It's as creamy as butter.

Our society is still afraid of fat, but it's essential to vital functions like keeping cell membranes functioning properly, keeping body temperature stable, and to maintain healthy skin and hair. In addition to drastically rethinking my fat intake once I started eating Primally, I've been struggling to eat enough protein. Luckily, this smoothie contains plenty of both.

  • 3 large frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 2 TBS coconut cream/very thick full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 scoops (1 serving) Trader Joe's chocolate flavored whey protein powder
  • ~ 12 oz unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves
  • 1 TBS dutched cocoa
  • stevia to taste
  • Ice (optional)

Add ingredients to blender. Pour in enough almond milk to reach about the 12 oz line in the blender. Blend. Enjoy.

Nutritional Info:
Calories: 379
Fat: 21
Protein: 23
Carbs: 32
Fiber: 9

Pictured with my afternoon snack - yum!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Primal Plate: A Healthy Start

Are you a voyeur? Do you try to sneak peeks into the neighbor's living room when you're walking past? Don't lie, we all do. But more tempting to me than peeking through your living room drapes is ogling your plate. But do you also crane your neck checking out other diners' selections as the waiter serves the table next to you? If so, then here I am, leaving my kitchen blinds up for you to peek.

Particularly interesting to observe are those who buck the system and reject the standard American diet (SAD). I have committed to eating by the principles of the Primal Blueprint: a version of the Paleo diet developed and popularized by Mark Sisson at Mark's Daily Apple. I was first introduced to this diet by the book The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, first published more than 15 years ago. My background in anthropology and curiosity first lead me to the subject, and after reading the book I found many other wonderful resources. I immediately implemented some changes in my diet, and after reading Mark Sisson's seminal book The Primal Blueprint, I knew that this could be solution I have been searching for and a fundamental change to the way I eat for a lifetime. But before I turn this into a manifesto on why I chose a Primal way of life, let's move on to the healthy start I wanted to share with you.

This morning, I decided to start documenting my meals and I'm calling it "Primal Plate." My intention is to post my meals almost every day, with as many pictures as possible. I enjoy seeing what other people eat in a day: what their routines are, how tasty their meals look, how clean their kitchen is, what they snack on, and of course, if they're a better cook. I will try to document as many days in food as I can, especially now since Jeremiah and I have decided to go 100% Primal. While it was interesting to see the before and after of my breakfast, and to take some extra time measuring the ingredients, I'm not sure I can keep up this level of detail every day, especially the photos. This is Jeremiah telling me to "hurry up and eat already" last night at dinner. He was not amused.

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with tomato, cheese, scallions, and avocado; sauteed kale with onions; bacon; cantaloup; coffee

Starting with the onions

Adding in the kale - TOO much kale

Yum! I did choke down that much kale, but next time I will only make half that.

Snack: 1 oz cheese; celery with almond butter

Dinner: salad with simple EVOO and white balsamic vinegar dressing; assorted veggies (those are radishes and tomatoes on either side of the peeled cuc); grilled chicken breast marinated in Italian dressing; sunflower seeds; wine


If you'd like to read more awesome Paleo blogs, check out Primal Cave
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Coming Soon...

After a period of self-doubt, stunning writer's block, and the death of Photoshop on my computer, I am finally working on getting The Overflowing Pantry online. I have decided to make it more of a well-rounded "lifestyle" blog instead of just a cooking blog, but with heavy emphasis on cooking (of course), gardening, the Primal/Paleo lifestyle, and healthy living.

I hope to see you very soon!