Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The primal challenge has been going eh. My digestion has never fully recovered from the Korean debacle and it's getting frustrating. Leaving tomorrow a.m. for vacation (New Mexico and then the Jersey shore) and will be gone for a few weeks. I may have internet access or I may not. Luckily for most of the vacay I will have kitchen access and won't be forced to eat out all the time. :)

When I get back I'll go back to posting recipes! It's what you're here for, right? :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Primal Challenge day 10

weight: 134.6 (-1, net -1.8)
exercise: walked 1.5 miles, did 10 minutes of bodyweight circuit (squats, lunges, assisted pullups, pushups, planks) that totally wrecked my legs

rolled omelet
leftover Korean banchan
raw tomato

smoked mackeral
salad - mixed lettuces, celery, fennel, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil
almonds and walnuts

snack: 1 oz raw cheddar and 1/4 of a granny smith apple, same as yesterday

Greek yogurt marinated chicken
spicy eggplant
raw tomato

I got a cookbook from the library called The Simpler the Better by Leslie Revsin and it is *great*. Everything in it has few ingredients and a short cooking time, but it's all real good tasting food (unlike a lot of other "5 ingredient or less" cookbooks). The chicken I made tonight was from the book and it was really yummy - just needed a little extra sauce and it would have been perfect.

dessert: hot chocolate made with coconut milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, stevia

My stomach still isn't happy about something. It hasn't been happy since I first had Korean food on Saturday. Maybe I need to do KISS for a few days to sort it out. I hate having such touchy digestion.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Primal Challenge day 9 and a sort of recipe for chicken fingers with a white wine pan sauce

weight: 135.2 (+1.6, net -1.2) Well it looks like my homemade Korean food bloated me up just as much as the restaurant food did! Oh well. Back to my regular cooking I guess. :)
exercise: Went to the high school track and "sprinted." I put it in quotes because what to me is sprinting is probably a leisurely jog to an actual runner! Haha. I felt like I was dying though. I walked 1.5 laps, jogged 2 straightaways, sprinted 2 straightaways, jogged 1 more, then walked another lap. Five laps total, which I think is 1.25 miles.

onions sauteed in butter
sliced tomato with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar
eggs fried in butter
basil on top of everything
raw walnuts
Rainier cherries

That was a lot of food! It was kind of too late to be breakfast and too early to be lunch, which was weird too.

2 oz raw cheddar cheese
1/4 of a granny smith apple
mug of earl gray tea

*chicken fingers with a pan sauce
sliced tomato with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil
escarole, frisee, radicchio salad with celery, fennel, and white wine vinegar/extra virgin olive oil dressing

bite of Dagoba 87% dark chocolate
mug of lemon ginger tea

*The chicken fingers were pretty good, so here is my hodge podge recipe/method for the curious. :) I cut a pound of chicken breasts into 10 slices (5 per breast, including the tender as 1 slice). I put 2T arrowroot powder in a brown lunch bag along with 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sea salt, and a little minced parsley. Put the chicken in and shook it up to coat. Cooked the chicken in ghee until it was brown around the edges, then kept in warm in the oven. Made a pan sauce by deglazing the pan with 1/3 cup each white wine and chicken stock. Let it cook off a little and added a handful of chopped parsley. Thickened it with a pinch of the arrowroot and then melted in some ghee.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Primal Challenge days 6, 7, and 8

Got too caught up this weekend to blog, but I took pictures of my food and stuff. :)

day 6

weight: 133.2 (-0.4, net -3.2)
exercise: none

breakfast: none

lunch: Went to a Korean buffet. Loaded up on meat that we grilled at the table plus a bunch of little veggie side dishes (banchan). We shared all the meat in the pic (pork belly is on the grill! yum) and all the veggies (plus another smaller plate) and had some orange slices for dessert. Also we had two dipping sauces for the meat that were super salty - I think one was fermented bean paste and the other was soy sauce based. I know the soy sauce probably had wheat in it, but I didn't care for today. :)

dinner: We were so full from lunch we didn't have dinner.

dessert: Strawberry ice cream (coconut milk, frozen strawberries, little spoonful of honey) - it got so thick it burned out the motor of the ice cream maker. :( No more ice cream for me! Tasted really good though.

beverages: green tea, water

**The Korean BBQ got me temporarily obsessed with Asian food. I got some cookbooks out of the library and it influenced my cooking for the next few days.


day 7

weight: 134.6 (+1.4, net -1.8) This was water weight from the extreeeemely salty Korean food.
exercise: walked 2 miles in the middle of the afternoon and got a little burnt

breakfast: none

lunch: Out at a BBQ joint. I got beef brisket with mint cucumber salad, collard greens, cole slaw, and pickles. Also had a handful of peanuts in the shell and some unsweetened iced tea. Pic from my camera phone because I forgot my camera.

1/4 cup roasted unsalted almonds
2 tiny dried peach halves

dinner: Leftovers. Hubby had leftover stew from Friday night and salad. I chopped up some veggies that were kicking around the bottom of the fridge (cabbage, bell pepper, scallions, mushrooms) and sauteed them with a little tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) and rice wine. Drizzled with sesame oil off the heat. Fried two eggs and put them on top of the veggies along with some furikake (Japanese condiment you're supposed to sprinkle on rice - this one has some freeze dried veggies and seaweed).

beverages: iced black tea, green tea, water


day 8

weight: 133.6 (-1, net -2.8) Lost most of the water weight. :)
exercise: walked 3.75 miles in the OMG HORRIBLE HEAT - it should be against the law for it to be in the 90s before noon

breakfast: none

cod fillet marinated in a splash each of tamari, mirin, and rice vinegar along with some grated ginger and 1/2 tsp miso
mixed sauteed veggies (cabbage, daikon, mushrooms, scallions) with tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, furikake

dinner: Homemade Korean BBQ spread!
daeji bulgogi (pork bulgogi) - I got the thin sliced pork from the Korean grocery store and made my own marinade
2 kinds of jarred kimchi
toasted seaweed sheets
3 kinds of homemade banchan - daikon salad, mung bean sprouts, mystery greens from the Korean store - all made with some combination of sesame oil, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, scallions, rice vinegar, and salt

also 5 cherries for dessert

beverages: green tea, rooibos tea, water

I got the recipes for the daeji bulgogi and banchan from a book I got out of the library called Eating Korean by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. I actually have a daeji bulgogi recipe I usually use, but I decided to try the one from the book today. I think I like my other daeji bulgogi recipe better, but the banchan rocked. :)

Sadly though, I am puffed up like a balloon tonight. My tummy did not like something I ate. I am suspecting either soy or sesame, since I don't normally eat either of them and I've been eating them both every day for 3 days. Bah humbug. I was enjoying my Asian food kick.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Primal Challenge day 5

weight: 133.6 lbs (-1, net -2.8)
Yay, I lost the thyroid med weight!

2 boiled eggs
hot chocolate (1/4 cup coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder, enough stevia to make it sweet)

2 fillets of Dover sole cooked in ghee with lemon juice, parsley and mint
green leaf lettuce and radicchio salad with fennel, celery, balsamic, EVOO
roasted unsalted almonds
a peach
2 mugs of iced rooibos tea

mug of earl gray tea (ok so that's not really a snack)

beef, tomato and eggplant stew with basil

Walked 3.5 miles. Made it all the way to the public library, which I usually drive to. Then I got antsy later in the day and took another walk, 1.75 miles. I was silly and did the 3.5 mile walk in flipflops and now I have a blister on the bottom of my foot.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Primal Challenge day 4

Had a nasty surprise today. Went out to the car to find the battery had died. Finally got AAA to come around and the whole thing had to be replaced. There went my morning!

weight: 134.6 lbs (-0.4, net -1.8)

2 boiled eggs
homemade beef jerky
green tea

leftover bbq chicken and sausage skillet from Tuesday
salad - green leaf lettuce, carrots, celery, fennel, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil
roasted unsalted almonds
green tea

raw cheddar cheese
homemade beef jerky
roasted buckwheat tea (soba cha - tastes like kashi - my Japanese stepgrandma turned me onto this stuf)

Man, I was hungry today. Breakfast AND a snack? Feeling overfull and bloated yet somehow still hungry. Maybe not enough fat or something.

burger patty with raw cheddar (guess it's not raw anymore!) and some tomatillo salsa from yesterday
green beans with butter
celery/fennel/green apple salad with parsley, mint, lime juice, and extra virgin olive oil

exercise: None. Stupid car battery ate my morning up.

I was out doing some errands today and I decided to stop by the outdoors store and try on those Vibram Five Finger shoes everyone's talking about. Well apparently I am in the possession of monster feet rather than human feet, because the toe sizes were just all wrong; it had too small toe pockets for the first two toes while simultaneously having too large toe pockets for the other three toes, with the poor dinky little pinky toe slipping out entirely. There's no way I can wear them. I'm a little sad. I had been planning on rewarding myself with a pair if I stuck to the challenge all month.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Primal Challenge Day 3 plus steak fajita and tomatillo salsa recipes

weight: 135 lbs (no change)

breakfast: none

*leftover beer-marinated steak
*salad - escarole, radicchio, endive, carrot, celery, cucumber, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and ground cherries - I've never had ground cherries before but I got them in my CSA and had no idea what to do with them so I threw them in the salad. They were good! Kinda tomatillo-y.
*roasted unsalted almonds
*mug of black tea

snack: none

*beef fajita strips
*avocado tossed with sea salt and lime juice
*spicy tomatillo salsa
*sliced tomato with sea salt, black pepper, and exra virgin olive oil

dessert: none

For the fajitas I mostly used this recipe for the marinade:, but I added a jalapeno and a handful of cilantro and a splash of triple sec. I marinated 1.5 lbs skirt steak in it all afternoon, then patted it dry and seared it in a cast iron skillet for 5 minutes on each side. While the meat rested, I poured the leftover marinade back into the pan and let it bubble down a little as I scraped the bottom. Then I sliced the steak and tossed it back in the pan and heated it in the reduced marinade for about 2 minutes. It was great!

I also made some spicy tomatillo salsa because I needed to use up some tomatillos that we got in our CSA. I used this recipe from Rick Bayless: It is really killer! Super spicy and a great flavor. I think I followed it exactly, for once.

I've been having tomatoes as side dishes a lot because we get them in our CSA and cooked tomatoes give me heartburn.

Went to the county parks and recreation website and found a public pool. Paid $8 and swam a few laps then soaked up some sun. Yay vitamin D! Also, I suck at swimming and found it unreasonably exhausting. I could only do 1 full lap without stopping. After that I had to stop halfway across the pool each time. Even so I only managed 4.5 laps. Well you gotta start somewhere, right?

Also I walked 1.5 miles. My butt is sore today from all the walking I did yesterday. Shrink butt, shrink!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Primal Challenge Day 2

I think I'm going to do most measurements weekly rather than daily, but I will track my weight daily.

weight: 135 lbs (-1.4)

breakfast: none

salad - escarole, radicchio, endive, carrots, celery, cucumbers, bacon, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil
topped with leftover steak from last night's dinner
roasted unsalted almonds
primal limeade - water, lime juice, stevia

chai - coconut chai teabag, heavy cream, stevia
homemade beef jerky
1 oz cheddar cheese

barbecue skillet - onions and cabbage browned in ghee, kielbasa, chicken, pinch of bbq rub, 2T of bbq sauce, topped with shredded cheddar

baked raspberries and peaches topped with grated dark chocolate and mint leaves; I used a 6oz container of raspberries and 1 peach for 2 people

4.3 miles of strenuous walking, part of it uphill. Really got my heart rate up and the sweat was pouring off me!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Primal Challenge Day 1

Age: 26
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Weight: 136.4 lbs
Waist at narrowest point: 27 in
Waist at navel: 30.5 in
Hips: 36 in


Large salad - butter lettuce, radicchio, carrot, celery, squid, bacon, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil
roasted unsalted almonds
primal lemonade - water, lemon juice, stevia

Homemade beef jerky (this batch didn't turn out very well or I'd give you the recipe)

Beer marinated flap steak
Cucumber salad with parsley, mint, extra virgin olive oil and rice vinegar
Sliced tomato with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil

87% dark chocolate
peppermint/lemongrass/ginger tea

bodyweight workout that I modified from Son of Grok that I did for 7 minutes - 5 pushups, wall sit for 10 seconds, 20 jumping jacks, 5 stand ups, rest 30 seconds
walked about 1.5 miles

So, you may have noticed that sneaky little word in my big lunch salad...squid?! Well I was at Whole Foods yesterday and as usual I walked by the seafood counter on my way to the butcher case. I usually give it a desultory glance and move on. Yesterday, I noticed a pretty little pile of meat and tentacles at a shockingly low price and I felt a kind of madness steal over me. Before I knew what was happening I found myself telling the fish guy to give me half a pound of squid. I've never bought or cooked squid before in my life. I ended up broiling it, but I think I must have cooked it too long because it got a little rubbery. It was fine tossed in my salad though since I drowned it out with bacon and balsamic vinegar. :)

The steak recipe I used for dinner is reallllllly good. The marinade does include beer though, so if wheat=death for you it might not be your cup of tea.

Overall, I think day 1 has been a success. :)

Primal Challenge! and some rambling

Ok, so I've been really slacking on my blog. Sorry guys! I've been eating not so great lately. Not terrible, just not great. Also, my doctor put me on thyroid a few weeks back and I just got retested to see if the dosage was accurate and it seems like my levels have gotten worse instead of better. Which sucks, but it at least makes me feel better about the "mysterious" 3lbs that I gained over the last month - which I can now contribute to going even more hypothyroid. Yay.

Anyway, Mark's Daily Apple is hosting a month-long Primal Challenge that starts today! What better way to take control back over my eating! And exercise has always been a weak area for me (ie, I don't exercise at all), so I'm hoping to use the challenge as an incentive to kick my own butt into gear. My short term goal is to look good in a two-piece swimsuit by the time the family vacation rolls around on August 23. I think that's better than a size or weight goal, since I've never done exercise before and I don't know what that will do to my weight (might be heavier at a smaller size, or turn into a gorilla, or something, who knows). I will be doing some traveling this month, but I've used that as an excuse to eat crap in the past and always end up feeling cruddy, so I will be making an effort to remain as Primal as possible while I am out of town. This will be hard when I'm staying in a hotel in New Mexico for a few days, but should be much easier during the family vacation which is 2 weeks at the NJ shore in a house with a fully functioning kitchen and a grocery store down the street.

So how does Primal differ from what I usually do? Well I've been thinking about it. In my head, I've always aspired to "paleo," which to me means basically what is laid out in the book Neanderthin or on the and websites. This roughly means:
No grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, processed foods.
Yes meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts.

It has never meant Loren Cordain's "The Paleo Diet" plan, which is maybe what some people think of when I use the word "paleo." Anyway, I have never achieved this ideal of mine. In reality, I think I settled on something resembling Mark Sisson's "Primal" plan before it had a name. What that means in real life is that I mostly stuck to my little list up there, but I had cheese or butter sometimes, or dark chocolate, or some beer, or ate at a restaurant a few times a week (without going overboard, but without being a stickler either). I had always referred to it as "paleo-ish," but I think from now on I will just start calling it "Primal" since it has a name now!

Anyway, it shouldn't be too hard to get back into the swing of the diet. I've had that down for years. What will be the challenging part for me is to incorporate all the other stuff. Here are the list of Primal Blueprint rules:

1. Eat lots of plants and animals
2. Avoid poisonous things
3. Move frequently at a slow pace
4. Lift heavy things
5. Sprint once in a while
6. Get adequate sleep
7. Play
8. Get adequate sunlight
9. Avoid stupid mistakes
10. Use your brain

3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 are going to be my challenge areas. I'm excited to get started though! I'm really curious to see what my body can do if I really start treating it right.

I'm going to be keeping a journal of the challenge here on the blog (at least until I go out of town). I'll weigh and measure myself and take pictures today and track those, and I also want to photograph all my food. It will help keep me honest. :) I'll probably also be tweeting, so if you want to follow me give me an add at @kallyn. If you actually read this whole thing, you are a crazy person and I salute you. Give yourself a (Primal, nut-based) cookie! And check back here later!