Fun with Paleo Cooking!

I am finishing up week 4 of the Nutrition Challenge through 5B Crossfit. It’s been going pretty well for me considering that 2 weeks in I was moving – and that takes up a ridiculous amount of time. I went the third week without making it into the gym at all and I felt like ass. On the other hand, I was gathering Paleo recipes to try out, and I’ve had some really tasty meals.

The first dish I made was an amazing beef and vegetable chili with jalape√Īos, mushrooms, chiles, beef, tomatoes – and so much more. Top it off with coconut milk that’s hardened in the fridge a bit and you’ve got yourself an amazing dinner. I still have some in the freezer that I’m so excited to eat in the future! Last night’s meal was just as memorable as the chili. Last night, I made Greek Meatballs. The recipe calls for chopped, dried apricots, and chopped Klamata olives. This was the most scrumptious combination of food I’ve ever had! Here are some pictures of my balls.

These are still raw, about the get cooked for 20 minutes.

I had these with a kale and lettuce salad. It was a delicious dinner.

The other night I also made Egg Free/Grain Free Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins. I did forget one of the main ingredients, but my muffins were so tasty that I can’t imagine how much better they’ll be with all the proper ingredients. I will continue to experiment with Paleo cooking because during my last challenge, I didn’t, and I got sick of deli meat in a minute. Doing the Paleo challenge has really broadened my cooking experiences and tastebuds.

Here are some recipes to start experimenting!

Beef & Vege Chili

Egg:Grain Free Muff

Thai Chicken Wraps

I’ll share the Greek Meatballs next time!

*Yummy Greek Meatballs Thanks Sarah at Everyday Paleo! These are a-mazing.

Let’s Do This

Today (Sunday) is the pre-challenge day that officially starts up the challenge for tomorrow. I will be getting before and after shots taken of my current body, meeting my new teammates, and getting my baseline workout timed so I can see just how much I improved after the challenge is over.

That’s right it’s time for another 5B Body Transformation Challenge! You can click on the link to get all the information about it, but just to give you an idea of what the challenge entails, read on. This is a 60 day – read: 2 months – challenge that requires a drastic nutrition/diet adjustment, while topping it all off with some serious Crossfit WOD’s.

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(That’s me doing a WOD)

The working out part will be the easy part. Show up, warm up, sweat, pant, almost die, go home. See, easy! It’s really the diet part of the challenge (excuse me, nutrition) part of it that’s going to be the real test. We are required to eat Paleo while applying the Zone to our meals.

Let me back up. For those who haven’t heard me rave about Paleo before, I’ll give you the briefest of descriptions. No: dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol or legumes. What this leaves is meat, most vegetables, and some fruits. It sounds harder than it is. There are some really great sites and blogs that go into more detail about this philosophy, offer delicious recipes, and describe how it has changed lives for the better. *Disclaimer: I ain’t a doctor or a professional nutritionist. Do your own research and come up with your own opinions/decisions. This isn’t for everyone.*

The other part of the challenge, as I mentioned, is incorporating the Zone diet. This might sound a bit more familiar as it’s a diet that stars like Jennifer Aniston (I can’t believe her name is showing up anywhere on my blog, but whatever) have been known to do in order to slim down for all those stupid awards shows. So what is it exactly? Take a look here to get a great example. Keep reading past the shameless book promoting and you’ll find a wonderful source of knowledge and other health benefits to incorporating this diet into your life.

How does it pertain to Crossfit? Read this article that includes figuring out which block system is for you, some sample meals (unfortunately they aren’t paleo) and a great chart to determine how much of a food equals a block. One huge selling point of Zone is that it doesn’t go hand-in-hand with paleo. You could live off of fast food and still do the Zone. I don’t think you’d get all the health benefits, but probably some.

By the way, Zone-ing takes a shit ton of time to do. You will buy more groceries than you ever have before. The ‘food scale’ will become a kitchen staple. And instead of spending those extra couple of hours a night catching up on Desperate Housewives or some other crap show, you’ll be making your next day’s meals. But in the end, you’ll thank me.

Just to give an example of how well this challenge did for me in the past, go back in time to this.

Not too shabby if I say so myself! Also, I continued to work out fairly regularly and stayed healthy and hot all summer. After this next challenge, I may need a new wardrobe. ūüėČ

One more closing note; when I mention the word ‘diet’, I don’t mean it as a way to only lose weight – though you will – I mean it as a lifestyle change in your eating habits. Don’t shriek or shirk away when the word comes up. It’s just much quicker to type.

My Impending 30th Birthday – It’s Happening. Ugh.

Well, I think the title says it all. If you didn’t already know, this year is it – I am turning the big 3-0. I’ve managed to keep the fear and loathing at bay for the majority of the of the last 362 days, but I can’t fight it¬†anymore. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

 

I still can’t believe it. Rather than wallow in old maid misery though, I’ve decided to actually accomplish something on this benchmark day. I am going to – drumroll please! – climb Mt. Borah.

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Mt. Borah

‘Why are you doing this?’, you may be asking yourself. ‘Why not have a large shindig, complete with friends, family and obnoxious 30 year old decorations?’ Well, to be honest, it’s been done. Don’t misunderstand, I love me a big party complete with good food and beer, but I’ve done it before. I did it last year, the year before, and¬†the year before that. This birthday is more of a milestone to me than any others. I have friends and family who never made it to their 30th birthdays, and the fact that I did is very important to me. It’s much more important than a party.

I’ve come to realize that the closer I’ve been getting to 30, the more important it is for me to challenge myself both physically and mentally. It’s what will keep me alive and energetic. I must keep my body as active as my mind; it will be the physical version of doing Soduko.

Climbing this giant mountain is going to be grueling, I know this, but when I reach the top, it will probably be one of the most¬†exhilarating moments of my life, and I honestly can’t wait! This will be the best birthday present that I’ve given myself ever.

Getting Back on the Track…..

……the Paleo/Crossfit track, to be exact. In January, 5B Crossfit did a 2 month Paleo nutrition challenge, and I killed it. I dropped at least one dress size, my skin was glowing, and I felt awesome! I was getting compliments and sweet talk all around – and who’s going to deny that that is just what you need to hear sometimes! When the challenge was done, I stuck with the Paleo diet pretty well. I was doing at least 80/20 (80% paleo, 20% cheats) and still felt great. I was also still going to the gym 3 – 4 times a week. After a couple long weekends though, I was eating whatever I could find. My water intake went down, and I was struggling to get in my 8 hours of sleep.

Well, I just made it back to the gym today for my first time in over 2 months, and it felt great! Granted, my arms and chest are going to be so awfully sore tomorrow (thank you Jordan Baker). I’ve started a new challenge with some co-exercisers to focus in some personal goals and exceed them. That starts September 1, and I’m really looking forward to it. I need the push. I need the encouragement. I need to know that other people are out there, depending on me to help get to a goal as a team as well as an individual.

For this challenge, we each picked two personal goals for ourselves, and the rest of the group picked a goal as well. Mine are below.

1. Crossfit at least twice a week; work on my 1 mile run once a week
2. Eat Paleo 3 – 4 times a week
3. Sleep for at least 8 hours a night (thanks JZ)

I feel my biggest challenge will be goal number 2. I’ve been working in a beer bar/bike shop called Power House and everything is irresistible! That’s why I’m borrowing this little diagram from the awesome WOD Love girls.

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That ought to do it! I’ll let you know what my first Paleo meal is – I still have about 24 hours to pig out! Oink! Oink! I’ll be tracking my progress thru numbers and pictures – mostly numbers.

Good night. (This would’ve been a sleep fail for sure!)

A Success!

I know, I know. I promised live coverage on Saturday, but I was just having too much fun! I arrived at Festival Field feeling excited, nervous, jittery, but mostly happy. It was a perfect day; sunny with a slight breeze to keep the sweat from dripping. People were riding and walking up and down the bike path that runs along the field as I was walking towards all the excitement.

Let me put on the brakes real quick. I mentioned before that this event, Fight to Survive, was a charitable event, and that I would give the info about it. Well, here it is. FTS is put on by the Valley’s fire departments. They had all come together to put on amazing demonstrations ranging from showing how a victim is rescued from a car, how important a fire sprinkler is, to how to fight over a ball on a cable with the fire hoses! So, yes, it was a fun-filled day! The registration contributions from the folks that competed in the Crossfit portion of the day were donated to the Higher Ground program. This group helps rehabilitates wounded veterans in an intimate, camp-like setting. It’s such a great cause!

veterans, assistance, charity, war, soldiers

Anyways, the day was beautiful, as I mentioned, and people were in high spirits! I competed in the super scaled division which was 20 minutes AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout. It included tossing 3 twenty pound sand bags over a 7′ wall, scaling that wall, then doing as many times as possible, five 115 pound deadlifts, 10 bar jump burpees, and 15 20″ box jumps. I did 8 rounds, which is more than 2 + rounds I did in the gym a week before. I am innately slow, so for me that was a huge improvement! I can’t wait until next year to try it to scale (which will be three 40 # bags and 155 pound deadlift) and be faster! I plan on representing 5B Crossfit and making them proud!

Personal Records Make My DAY!

As I mentioned before, I’m a big fan of CrossFit*. I try to work out 3 – 5 times a week at my local affiliate, 5B CrossFit here in Blaine County. I didn’t always do this. When I started last June, I would go sporadically, 2 days here, 2 days there, with a month off in between. I was still seeing results, but not the drastic ones I wanted to have. That all changed January 2 of this year. 5B was starting their winter Paleo Nutrition Challenge, and I was ready for a lifestyle change, and a diet change. I wasn’t really overweight, but I was not in the shape I wanted to be in. I started going 3 – 5 times a week and the changes were immediate. I was sleeping better, my jeans weren’t tight, dresses that were getting a little too snug were fitting again, and my shoes weren’t as tight as I remembered. (Yes, my feet were even starting to get a little chubby.) One of the first things people around me noticed was that my skin was clearing up and looking fresher! I loved hearing the compliments! Just look at the before and after pictures to see the changes I made physically. As you can see, I looked a lot different after the challenge.

Pretty Sweet!

Another perk that I absolutely love about this activity is the¬†camaraderie¬†that comes from working out with like-minded people. You find yourself competing mentally with someone who is close to your level, but it’s not in a spitefull way at all. While you’re ‘competing’, you’re also cheering that other person on. Another reason I¬† CrossFit is because you see yourself improve in all aspects of the workouts; you’re getting faster, you’re scaling down less*, you’re lifting more weight – and this is where this post comes in.

Last weekend I had a little too much to drink at a friend’s birthday party, and it put me in a workout funk mentally and physically. I took 4 days off of CrossFit. 4 days! It felt like a month, and when I finally went in on Thursday, I didn’t want to be there. I still felt like crap, and that day’s WOD was overhead lifting, which I am pretty weak at. We had to do heavy push presses. The last time I did these, I couldn’t get more than 67 pounds over my head. The two ladies I was grouped with were stronger, I knew that, but I thought, ‘Hey, just try it. If you fail (which is actually a good thing) you can go down in weight.’ So, we started at 65 pounds, that’s only 2 pounds lighter than my 1 rep max weight. By the end of the workout, I had 90 pounds over my head. 90 pounds!!! I knew that I would be able to do that someday, but I never thought it would happen after 5 months. And as a bonus, I beat one of the ladies with lifting more weight!

And that brings me to my final, and most important, reason I joined 5B CrossFit and plan on staying with it: I feel great about myself after improving so much. I glow after those workouts. I am so happy with myself, my strength, my achievements. And to make it even better, my CrossFit comrades who were there with me that day, they felt the same. They cheered me on, they slapped my back, they high-fived me, they were just as happy for me as I was. And you can’t find that in a lot of places anymore.

So now that I’ve sold you on changing your life for the better, find a CrossFit gym near you to start. If there isn’t one in your town, start one in your garage with a friend! Either way, I promise you will look and feel 100% better.

*Qwik Lesson #1 – “CrossFit is awesome! The amazing Kyl Samway and Alex Margolin took their mutual love of physical activity and healthy lifestyles and created this literal hole-in-the-wall gym.¬†At this gym, that doesn’t look like much, I’ve undergone pretty drastic body changes in a pretty short amount of time. Check out this before and after picture.

*Qwik Lesson #2 – Every WOD (workout of the day) is the same for everybody. Depending on your level though, it can be scaled down. That can include less reps, less weight, assistance with rubber bands for things like pullups and ring dips, etc. First rule of CrossFit is to not hurt yourself, or anyone else around you.