Day 11 and My Secret for Amazing Hair

Good morning Day 11!!

I’m over a ¼ of the way through my W40 today and feel fantastic!

One of the things that is making me feel fantastic is my current obsession with Pork Bone Broth!  I’ve been making it for about five or six weeks now and I think I’ve officially become an addict. (and also perfected my method!)I drink 500ml of it every morning before breakfast and I’m starting to see and feel real benefits.

First off, the mental reward is very important to me.  It actually feels like a big cheat to get to drink it every day because it tastes so decadent that my mind is tricked into thinking it’s a treat.  It’s also mentally empowering to know that I’m consuming something that is so good for me and completely pure.  I use organic, pork bones from my ethical butcher, so I know I’m getting good wholesome nutrients.  When I drink it, I visualize my body’s cells celebrating and becoming stronger and healthier. That might sound stupid… but visualization is actually scientifically proven… I think… or whatever 😉

The second reward is that my hair, skin and nails are incredibly healthy right now. My nails are growing strong and like wild fire and are not splitting at the sides like they normally do.  My hair is springy and strong and also growing like wildfire and the most incredible part of all, which I am attributing to the bone broth… my hairline is changing!  I have a bit of a receding hair line shape and I’ve always hated it… Just yesterday I noticed that in the two receding parts on either side of my bangs, there’s thick new growth.  It’s about an inch long already and already thick enough to change the shape of my hairline to a more attractive (to me) shape.

Maybe my healthy hair growth can be attributed to the bone broth or maybe to my generally healthy state right now… I really want to give that point to the bones tho!

Here’s my ‘recipe’ for bone broth if you want to try it yourself!

3 pounds of high quality pork bones and one or two trotters (called ‘hoofies’ in my house)

3 carrots, roughly chopped

½ a bunch of celery, roughly chopped (I just chop the entire thing about halfway down from the top so I get the leaves and greener parts and then I compost the rest because I think celery is disgusting!)

1 med/large yellow onion, roughly chopped (skin removed)

6-8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped or smashed

2-3 bay leaves

2 dried chili peppers

1 bunch parsley. You can either chop it or just lay it in there like a nice bed for your hoofies

1 bunch thyme

Handful of peppercorns

An amount of salt… I put a generous amount in…. it’s up to you.  You can always add more when you consume it.

2-4 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (I don’t’ measure, I just dump some in).

Layer all your ingredients in a large crockpot and then fill with water* to cover.Put the lid on that puppy and set it to your low setting.  Mine is 10 hours.  I reset it a couple times and cook it for about 24 hours.

When it’s done (or you’ve reached your level of patience), strain it through a fine sieve and then place into canning jars.  If you want to freeze it, put it in 500ml mason jars with 1” of room left over.  Pop into the freezer and let it freeze before you put the lids on.  This makes six 500ml mason jars of broth which keep in the fridge for… you guessed it, six days!

*Now… If you’re going to make broth every week like I do, and you are a stingy old miser like me and also want to get the MOST nutrients out of your bones and broth, you can do what the French call Remouillage (which will replace the water for every subsequent bone broth endeavor you make) Basically Remouillage is a fancy word for ‘second batch’ and here’s how it works.

Strain out your amazingly flavorful broth as above and then instead of throwing out the cooked bones and veg, fill the crock back up with water and set to low again for 10-18 (or longer) hours.  When that’s done, strain through a fine mesh sieve, let it cool and then freeze it.  Next week when you’re ready to make another fresh batch of broth with a fresh batch of bones, defrost your Remouillage and use that liquid in place of the water.  Basically you’re going to make your bone broth with bone broth, which is much more nutrient dense (and flavorful) than water.

Remouillage makes me feel like I’ve eeked out every last bit of nutrient from those bones and am making sure the broth I spend valuable time making every week is going to be as healthy and nutrient rich as possible.  (and really, it’s no more work to run the crockpot the second time…

So there you have it… a recipe for Pork Bone Broth (which you can do with any other high quality bones as well) that will make you healthy, happy and with a beautifully shaped hairline!

Comfort Food

I’ve been quite under the weather lately… Went from running a personal best 5K with my beautiful sister to almost being unable to hold my head up all day and passing out on the bus/in meetings… I’ve not exercised in a week and a half and it’s mentally starting to get to me… I’m hoping to go for a walk after work tonight… slow and not very far is fine by me but I need some freakin’ fresh air.

The one thing that has not suffered while I’ve been feeling unwell is my appetite, thank goodness!  While my sister and I were trying to rule possible causes of this either in or out, she was asking me if I was craving shit food, salty food etc…. thankfully no, I’m quite happy with my Whole30 choices and my standard fare…but sometimes you just want some ‘comfort food’.

The two new things that I am completely obsessed with right now are what I like to call Warm Turkey Coleslaw and Deconstructed Reuben.  One is my own invention and one is a knock off from Well Fed 2’s Reuben Rollups. Both are VERY easy to make and require very little effort, which is great for me right now…

First up, let’s talk Coleslaw… it’s one of my FAVORITE salads of all time!  When I did my first Whole30 last February, I gave up ‘sauce’ and ‘dressing’ because I wasn’t very culinarily (word?) inclined and making dressings and sauces seemed out of reach… so I ate a lot of ‘dry’ food… that meant that things that were on the menu previous, such as coleslaw were disallowed because there is no commercial coleslaw dressing that doesn’t involve at least sugar and vegetable oil…

After a year of making everything I eat and becoming significantly MORE culinarily inclined, I ventured into the world of sauces and the amazingness that is Paleo Mayo!  Home made mayo… kid you not, it’s good enough to eat right out of the jar off a spoon… forget everything you THINK mayo is and go ahead and make yourself some… you won’t regret it.

So!  Now that I had Mayo back, I could have things like coleslaw, right? 

Okay well, me being me, I like to have ‘one bowl’ meals… everything in the same bowl, all mixed together, covered in ‘sauce’ and eaten with a spoon.  Yes, it’s kind of weird but to each their own.

So enter Warm Turkey Coleslaw.  Salad, protein and warm… score!

Basically, during your weekly cookup, you’re going to cook a pound or so of ground turkey… add a ton of sage and thyme and a bit of salt and cook through.  You’ll also shred a few beets and slice up some cabbage. (I cut the cabbage in half and then slice the half rounds into long ‘noodles’.  You could also shred this like real coleslaw and it would be just as good).

When you’re ready for dinner, heat some coconut oil in a pan, toss in a few handfuls of cabbage… be generous, it cooks down.  When it’s almost cooked to your liking (shiny and a nice bright green color), add in some shredded beets and mix all together.  Then throw in your serving of the precooked ground turkey and let it all warm together.

Pile in a big bowl and then put a generous scoop of home made mayo on top.  Mix it all together and put a bit of salt and pepper on top.  Warm Turkey Coleslaw.  It’s amazing… just try it!  I’ve done this with left over cooked chicken thighs and when I ran out of meat, I made an opening in the middle of the pan and cracked a couple eggs into the middle… cook until the yolk is runny and the white is done and then squash it all together with the mayo in the bowl… also amazing!

coleslaw

The other really easy, really yummy thing I’ve been having is Deconstructed Reuben Sandwiches.  Basically just pile some pastrami or corned beef (good luck finding sugar free if you’re Whole30… I waited till I was officially done W30 to eat this because my Pastrami has a touch of added dextrose) on a plate.  Beside it pile some wine-free sauerkraut and then put a big dollop of home made mayo and a big dollop of wine free/sugar free grainy mustard.  You can be fancy and put the sauerkraut and sauce on the slice of meat and then roll it up if you’re inclined… that makes it look a bit nicer but I’m a smidge lazy lately.  The Reuben Rollup from Wellfed 2, which is where I got the idea suggests that you make a Russian Dressing (basically the home made mayo mixed with Kickass Ketchup) and use that as the sauce.  I’m sure it’s amazing but I’ve not made the ketchup yet so mayo and mustard it’s been and it’s pretty dang delicious!

reuben

Delinquency is not really an option here…

Do you know what’s annoying? Making a life choice that stinks.  Oh sure, my life doesn’t stink and the choices that I’ve made probably don’t really stink either. But it’s really annoying when you put restrictions and boundaries in place for yourself and then they come back to cause you trouble.

What the heck am I talking about?  Why food, of course!

In the good old days of not caring what I put into my body, I could spend an entire Sunday laying on the sofa and not give a flying rat butt about the next day’s meal, let alone week.  I could always just run to the store and grab a bag of bagels and a hunk of cheddar cheese and that was dinner.  Breakfast wasn’t even on my radar unless it was a muffin… with chocolate in it!  And lunch could be anything or nothing… I’d eat a brownie for an afternoon snack if I was hungry…

Since I’ve put restrictions on myself that include not eating brownies and chocolate filled muffins (seriously!) and not skipping meals, it’s made my life harder.  What’s that about?  I thought we were supposed to do things in our lives that made them easier… more navigable… work smarter, not harder…

I can no longer spend an entire morning and afternoon lolling around in bed taking naps… I mean, I can, but the chicken is not going to cook itself…the salad dressing will not blend itself and the kale and eggs can’t steam/cook themselves.  And before any of that even happens, I’m required to spend a significant amount of time THINKING about food… what will I eat… How much should I cook.  I’m only one person, so cooking huge batches of anything doesn’t really work well unless I want to eat the same thing for dinner 12 days in a row.  Even cooking a pork roast… the smallest one I can find, means that I’ll be eating pork all week.  Last week I prepped/made pork roast, a chicken curry and meatza crusts for dinner.  Uh, for one person, that is a LOT of food… the crust and the curry all ended up in the freezer. I might have to consider looking up what other singles do because unless I just eat the same thing/two things in a week, which I already do for every breakfast and lunch, it’s kind of hard…

I did spend almost all of yesterday in bed.  I know when my body is tired and I am not out of the woods of this incredibly emotional time right now so I didn’t feel bad about it.  It’s just that it’s kind of stressful knowing that the freedom of eating whatever you want (or nothing) is not there… I have set up my life to force responsibility around certain things and that can’t be let to slide…

I’m very tired and I hope any of this makes any sense… In a nut shell: 

I’m tired.

I can’t eat bagels and cheddar cheese.

Food won’t cook itself.

That is sometimes stressful.

This makes me tired.

The end.

Let’s be Real

So after 2 false starts of W30, I’m now officially on my 2nd day.  I did my first day three times… the first two of those times were great, right up until the evening when I sort of fell apart and found some left over Christmas chocolate in my house.  Having done a good job of consuming all of that, and also finding the skin on my hands getting worse and worse, I buckled down yesterday and successfully put the first day in the bank.

I’ll tell you something, cleaning up your act after three weeks of silliness is not easy!  It’s incredible how quickly your body becomes dependant on those nasty little things like sugar, grains and sugar…

For almost an entire year I ate as close to W30 as possible with weekly offroading days thrown in.  There was never enough in any one off road meal per week to bounce me into a dependency… so when I went completely bananas in December and ate and drank whatever was in front of me, I naively thought that I would be fine and I could just turn off the switch and go back to my clean living with no adverse side effects.  That is certainly not how it happened and I am currently fighting the ‘are you hungry, no you’re not, you don’t need to eat’ battle.  I think that our bodies have ‘muscle memory’ as far as food goes and I don’t think I will get a very bad case of Low Carb Flu or really be in this battle for very long… the long term positives that I already know about far outweigh any short term struggle to get back on track. 

I see no reason to lie about how easy detoxing after a free for all isn’t… or hide the fact that I had to do my 1st day three times in order to be successful.  That’s real life and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying.  That said, this idea of real and honest is the driving force of a new project I am a part of. 

My sister came up with the idea that there are probably a lot of women just like us out there, struggling to maintain balance between health, fitness and real life.  She found a group of us that are all taking different journeys in order to find our balance and we will be coming to you daily to share 90 second of our Real.  90 seconds of our struggles, successes, failures, hopes and dreams.  Every weekday a new 90 second (is) vlog from one of the contributors will be posted to hopefully help motivate, inspire and encourage you.  Every day you’ll see one of us being real about life and we hope that it inspires you to be real about where you are at and where you’re going. 

Please come and visit us at www.90secondsofreal.wordpress.com.  I will be posting there on Thursdays.  We’ve got three videos up with an expected four more this week as we get into the swing of it and get back into a routine after the holidays! 

You can subscribe to us (and to this blog if you’re not already), so you get an email when a new video is posted and we hope you participate with us in the comment section!

Thanks for Nothing!

So lately I’ve been enjoying a morning iced Americano from Whole Foods.  It’s a nice ritual that I have with a friend I work with… I come to work about 90 min before her, I get my morning stuff done and then she arrives and we walk over to the café together, have a little visit and get our coffees.  The reason I started going back to coffee was because I discovered that Whole Foods has coconut milk that doesn’t have any sugar in it.  My iced coffee with coconut milk in it sometimes just made my morning!  It’s tasty and creamy and a nice distraction.

Back up about a month and a half… that’s when I started partaking in the above, which my friend and I refer to as ‘Coffee Walkies’.  It was about that time that I started wearing my jewellery again because as I’ve lost weight, some of it has started fitting again.  I used to be allergic to nickel in jewellery so the stuff I have that is starting to fit again is all either stainless steel or sterling silver.  I was so excited to be able to wear my old favorite watch and a bracelet again that I wore them every day.  Then all of a sudden I got a bit of a rash on my wrist that was reminiscent of my old allergy. Knowing that the change in my diet means I’m no longer allergic, I figured maybe I got a little sweaty under my watch and that’s what it was from… I stopped wearing my watch and bracelet but the rash stayed… got bigger and really really itchy… it’s been weeks since I’ve worn my watch and bracelet and the rash continues. 

Then when I gave blood two weeks ago my sister ripped my Band-Aid off for me and the spot where the tape was developed into a similar rash… that still hasn’t gone away.

About a week ago I noticed some weird bumps on my forearm… they were itchy but didn’t seem to grow into a rash… and then last weekend I went completely off the Paleo wagon and ate and drank some stuff that was, for lack of a better word, garbage.  My dermatitis on my hands came back, I got a huge rash on the inside of my other elbow, and the rash on my wrist and blood donation spot got worse.  Thinking it was from partaking in some questionable ‘food’ choices, I am now on day three of eating Whole30 with nothing that isn’t prepared by me, in my kitchen.  I know there’s Whole30 food out there in restaurants but I figured I should just give my body a break and not take any chances.  Well, three days in to clean eating, my rash is still all over my arms and wrist, my dermatitis on my hands is not really getting any better and then it occurred to me.

The only common denominator in the last month and a half is the coffee and coconut milk.  So I checked the ingredients on the box online this morning (with my lovely iced coffee sitting on my desk).  Contains Carrageenan.  Well eff me!  Carrageenan is one of the preservatives specifically disallowed on Whole30 because of its inflammatory properties. So I googled ‘Carrageenan’ and ‘rash’ and lo and behold, one of the side effects of an allergic reaction to Carrageenan is skin rash and hives.  

My poor body has been trying to tell me for almost two months that something I’m putting in it is not welcome.  There is no other reason why these rashes won’t get better.  I haven’t gone more than two days without putting this poison in my system in almost two months, so my wonderful coffee with coconut milk is going to have to go away.  Maybe it’s the coconut milk and it’s poisonous ingredients.  Maybe it’s the acidity of the coffee that I’m not used to.  Either way, it stands to reason that cutting out that morning ritual for a couple weeks is a good investment in hopefully helping my skin clear back up. 

In case you’re curious about Carrageenan, here’s some additional information: 

A shopping list of food products containing and then not containing Carrageenan  

Other domestic non-food uses (from Wiki)

Fire fighting foam: thickener to cause foam to become sticky

Shampoo and cosmetic creams: thickener

Air freshener gels

Marbling: the ancient art of paper and fabric marbling uses a carrageenan mixture on which to float paints or inks; the paper or fabric is then laid on it, absorbing the colours

Shoe polish: gel to increase viscosity

Biotechnology: gel to immobilize cells/enzymes

Pharmaceuticals: used as an inactive excipient in pills/tablets

Pet food

Personal lubricants

Now, why WOULDN’T you want to eat something in your food that they also use in FIRE FIGHTING FOAM!  Seriously!

Calculations

I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day during the week, so it was relatively simple to figure out how much I was spending. I’ve rounded some of the costs up so that the budget I make from this takes into account inflation over the next few months and if some things increase in price.  For instance, I think the Romaine hearts are a 6pk for $5.49 but I’ve rounded it up to $6. 

Breakfast in the weekday mornings consists of shredded sautéed Brussels sprouts and par steamed broccoli, topped with a homemade breakfast sausage and a semi fried egg, along with ¼ of an avocado. 

I’ve started using local ground game instead of the standard ground pork/turkey from Costco.  The sausages taste better (Buffalo is so good!) but it might turn out to be one of the places I can cut my spending. 

I made Buffalo Breakfast Sausage this week and my 500g of ground meat ($9) made 6 patties.

The eggs I buy are $7.99 for 18, so each egg works out to be 44cents.

5 Avocado from Costco are normally $5.99 but last week I got them for $4.99, so the ¼ I ate for breakfast weighs in at a whopping 25cents. Since they’re not normally on sale, I’ll calculate the ¼ using the regular price.

I use a half a bag of broccoli ($5/bag) and a half a bag of Brussels sprouts ($4) and divide the total of that into 5 meals.  That makes the Broccoli portion 50cents and the Brussels portion 40cents.

For Lunch every day I have one romaine heart (6pk for $6) topped with 3 baked chicken thighs, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1/5 a jar of homemade Caesar salad dressing and ¼ of an Avocado.  Sometimes I have ½ a grapefruit with it.

The chicken thighs are from Costco and come about 26 to a package for about $22.  The Caesar Salad dressing costs me $3.25 to make and it lasts for a whole week.  The tomatoes come in a small clamshell for $4.49 and the Avocado is another ¼ from the daily Avocado that comes 5 to a bag for $5.99. The grapefruit come 9 to a bag for $8.99… they’re HUGE!

Breakfast Summary:

1 Sausage $1.50

1 Egg $0.44

¼ Avocado $0.30

Broccoli Sauté $0.50

Brussels Sauté $0.40 

Total Breakfast $3.14

I think if I switched back to ground turkey or ground pork from Costco I could probably save about $0.75 per patty… I don’t know if it’s worth it to switch from grass fed organic ground game to Costco portions of ground meat for a savings of $0.75 a meal.

I don’t know what a standard Paleo Breakfast is supposed to cost though… 

Lunch Summary:

 1 romaine heart $1

3 chicken thighs $2.53

1/5 jar of Caesar Salad Dressing $0.65

1/5 Clamshell of Cherry Tomatoes $0.89

¼ Avocado $0.30

½ Grapefruit $0.50 

Total Lunch $5.87

There are a couple ways I could cut back for lunch.  I currently buy the Romaine hearts but I can buy one pound of mixed spring greens that lasts a week for about $3.49.  I could also buy less expensive cherry tomatoes (I buy the heirloom multi-colored ones) and hopefully when this produce comes into season at the local farmer market I can really save some money. I think I could also buy oranges or a different type of fruit that might come out to less than $0.50 per serving.  Again, I don’t know what a standard lunch costs.  It would be reasonable to compare this salad to the Whole Foods salad I used to buy that was essentially the same thing (although with the addition of unapproved cheese, dried cranberries and really nasty (but so tasty!) dressing.  Those calculated out to approximately $12-13 per serving and I didn’t get avocado, tomatoes or a grapefruit at that price.

My breakfast and lunch combined daily total is $9.01.  

It’ll take me a little longer to figure out the dinner calculation because I make something different each week and there’s usually enough for dinners and then some to freeze, along with a lion’s share of vegetables. I will also have to factor in the can of coconut milk I use per week which is $2.69, and then I’m not sure how I’m going to cost out tea and sparkling water.  I hope with everything included I can come in well under $100 for the full 7 days (weekends will be less expensive because I don’t seem to eat as much). 

I’d be interested in any thoughts or comments about the general cost of Paleo meals, or ways in which I can make this way of eating less expensive.  If I can’t, that’s one outcome of this exercise and I’m okay with that too!  Thoughts?

Dollars to Donuts

Well… donuts are verboten so lets talk about dollars. 

I have a rule in my house that goes like this:

We don’t throw out food.

That’s it.  There is no food throwing out… if the porkchops end up dry and over cooked, that’s too damn bad because that’s what’s for dinner… All those veg that I steam and roast in anticipation of the week?  They’re all eaten and not a single shred of Brussels Sprouts goes to waste.

This is night and day compared to the food situation I’ve been involved in, in the past.  I hate to be wasteful and I really loathe taking out the garbage and emptying the compost so it’s in my best interest to eat that which I bring into the house and that which I cook.  That being said, I feel that there is room in my cooking and feeding routine to save some money.  Lots of money is saved, comparatively speaking, from when I had less control over my food environment and things were thrown out constantly, but I believe that I can sharpen up my current feeding tactics and make it cheaper and I have a great reason to try.

I’m planning on hiring a weight lifting coach here in town.  I just sent an email to him to give him some background of my story and see if his philosophy and gym fits with what I’m looking for.  I’m hoping that he will agree to take me on as a client and give me direction and plans so I can work out myself between our sessions. The rate is reasonable but in order to make it work in the budget, I need to try and get my food purchases to be more efficient.

So for 14 days I’m going to document everything I eat.  Not in oz or grams or calories, but in dollars to see where my meals can be made more cost effective and where I am already doing well (I think breakfast is pretty good).  I will then take these two typical weeks and create from them a food budget.

And you’re in luck!  I’m going to share that information here with recipes where applicable.  I already know I have some great cost saving meals and recipes, so I’m hoping that I can tweak and adjust them to make them very valuable in the consumption department and very invaluable in the monetary department.

I’ll also post back and let you know if the weightlifting coach is going to work out and share my journey on that with you.

If you have any money saving recipes or tips/tricks that you’d like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments and feedback on the meals and expense will be appreciated too.  This will all start on Monday so I get two weeks and two weekends in the ‘study’, however since I eat a lot of the same stuff every week, I will start working on the math now.