Category Archives: mindfulness

low carb paleo

I’m trying a new approach to eating well. Remember the super power diet? With super foods. Only better. No sugar, no starch. Lots of greens. Moderate protein.

This past week I felt well-nourished and satisfied. No cravings. Lots of energy. I averaged about 60 grams of carbohydrates (30 net of fibre), mostly from vegetables. I am following a recommendation for diabetics to control their blood sugar by reducing their carbohydrates. This is helping my waist-line. Stay tuned. It might just be that I’ve discovered Paleo nirvana.



are these leftovers still good?

Posted on

If you are doing a Whole30 Paleo Challenge, you are probably trying to make extra portions to save time later. You know the idea – cook once, eat twice. I try to double recipes, but often this means my teens eat larger portions. When I do have leftovers, I use these handy little labels to see at a glance how long something has been in the fridge. Since the days of the week are printed and color-coded, you can tell at a glance when the food was prepared.

Granted mine are in Dutch, but I am sure you can find some in your own language. I found them at a restaurant supply shop. They were a little pricey, but they are really easy to use. They are easier than writing out a label.


super power foods

I’m ready to get back into “lean out” mode. Reflecting on my goals for 2012, I see that I can maintain my weight with ease. And I can put the brakes on “chart creep”.

However, I’m determined to make sports – particularly running – more fun by lightening up. So today I cracked open my training logs and diet advice from a variety of sources and formulated the beginnings of a plan. I have several goals – fat loss; optimal health; super powers.

On fat loss, Robb Wolf wrote an interesting postlately in which he concluded that calories do matter. I have to agree. I’ve been most successful in shrinking my waist line when I’ve combined low carb and low cal. I figured out my BMR and maintenance intake and made several pages of notes on the various ways to calculate these numbers. I’m convinced though it’s a WAG. Pick a number, give it a try, keep good records, evaluate results.

On optimal health, I like the science behind avoiding gluten and lectins. I have been experiencing some joint pain lately, and I’d like to see whether I can reduce bodily inflammation with diet. I keep wishing that I could kick the milk habit, but I love my lattes. Or rather, the sugar in milk. I notice that when I substitute coconut milk, I still like the taste, but I don’t finish my coffee. So I’m (again) thinking about kicking the coffee (as a way to kick the dairy). I will maintain skeptical optimism as we enter the New Year.

On super powers, I have been reading about low-carb athletic performance. Again, I am intrigued, but have not “made the switch.” When I look at my training journal, I have gained between 5 and 10 lbs. during training season every year. I think that’s got to be some muscle, some bodily adaptation (blood volume etc.) and some fat stored in reaction to eating sugary foods (gatorade, gel, etc.) and eating more than I am using. I’m also intrigued by the ketogenic version of the diet recommended by Dr Wahl to ensure mitochondria are adequately nourished.

All this pondering leaves me with the question, What’s for dinner?

My plan is to build meal templates that will meet my calorie goals and stick to the plan. A lot of folks are planning a Paleo January (or a Whole 30). I am going to resist the suggestion to stay away from the scale and to refrain from weighing & measuring. I already eat really well. I have some specific goals that I think I can achieve through gathering data (through measurement and observation), not just by putting good food on my plate. I’ll share the details as I get them worked out.

holiday week – minimize the harm, spread some joy

every year I hope I prepare in advance. so far that’s a FAIL. November blows by. I’m in denial until 15 December, fretting on 20 December and shopping on 24 December. This year was no different. So I let go of perfectionism and trimmed my to-do list. I am enjoying our beautiful tree and some delicious chili I made in the Dutch oven while we were out finishing up our shopping today.

For breakfast I enjoyed some coconut soup, which I recommend for leftover meat.


1 quart (1 ltr) broth
1 1/2 c coconut milk (~350 ml)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 cups leftover meat (chicken, pork, beef, diced or shredded)
2 scallions, sliced.

pressure cooker: bring to high pressure for 5 minutes, quick release. Add raw, diced red pepper to your bowl.

stove top: simmer for 15 minutes.

(I wrote the above on Monday, but it didn’t upload. Christmas dinner is now done. Putting the turkey in brine made all the difference. coconut milk made a perfect substitute for cream in the frosting for the cake. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!)

this week -> drink more water

I got out of the habit of twice filling the water pitcher that sits on my desk. More than writing out what I eat, photographing each meal showed me just how much coffee I like to drink. I have switched to herb tea most mornings. And cut back on the coffee at work. And I’m filling up the water pitcher at least twice a day.

I noticed that sometimes I think I’m hungry, but really I’m just thirsty.

Soup for breakfast is working pretty well. (double credit. Water + vegetables). And I dug out of the basement a mini-crock pot. I put the ingredients together at night and have a nice meal ready in the morning. The mini-crock makes enough for two servings. So far, veg soup, chicken soup, pumpkin soup and beef soup.


I’ve been keeping a food journal with my camera. What an eye opener. I eat the same things repeatedly, and I drink coffee. A lot. And not as many veggies as I think I should.

The earlier-breakfast task from last week was a success most days of the week. This week – eat more greens.

I find that in cold weather I’m not as interested in eating salads with my dinner. But I love soup. This weekend I threw a bunch of stuff from the crisper drawer (carrots, onions ) into my steam pot and chopped up a cauliflower. That went into the pot too. A little coconut milk and some piri piri turned the mix into a tasty soup. I added two soft boiled eggs on top. Just right.

Below are packaged veggies from the high school vending machine, a perfect snack to enjoy while watching my sons play.



I completed a Level 1 Crossfit training certification this weekend. Now I’m apparently an ambassador. Yikes.

One of the presentations covered nutrition. Coach Denise challenged us to think about the food decisions we make every day. We’re confronted with at least 15 every day: how much P, C, or F x three meals & two snacks. Add to that a couple of opportunities to say no thanks!

My daily food choices can unravel my training efforts. Case in point: I’ve watched my weight creep up five pounds this fall as I’ve eaten more carbs. Not a lot more (denial!), just enough though. And that’s not the direction I want to go.

Coach Denise asked us to think about 23:1. We put in one hour of training every day; what are we doing with the other 23?

This week I’m focusing on changing just one thing: eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking.

I’m adding this habit to the one I started last week, which I am continuing to do: Photograph/record every bite. (I created a private blog for this record keeping since I cannot fathom anyone else besides me finding it interesting. I could be wrong though.)



A sore throat woke me several times during the night. Not a great way to start the day. I skipped breakfast, again. Ate on the fly, again. Made good choices. After “dutchfit” lifting after work, I was really hungry. Banana cooked in coconut milk was very satisfying.

Nutrition Points: lost one on a latte; WOD check. MOB: check. Oil: check.

This morning I am thinking if I always do what I’ve always done, then I will always get what I’ve always gotten.

So I made breakfast. Every day we start anew


Whole Life Challenge 4 – the dark side of a point system

I did not plan my food today, except for the 2 minutes right before I ate. Zero nutrition points today. Because you can’t get a negative value for the day, I indulged in a half pint of Ben & Jerry’s too. The first skid came on my way to give a lecture, late (since I was at the gym) and expensive (since I had to take a taxi – the tram route was closed due to Princess Day, below). I figured a nut bar was better than going hungry.

More trouble as I was rushing to another appointment, walking past a shop where I have enjoyed many latte’s. So I had one. That hit the spot. And spilled on my slacks.

A busy couple hours followed. And I didn’t get home until nearly 7pm. And I had dinner duty and hadn’t planned. I thought that I’d have left earlier and been able to shop. I made leftovers from hotdogs and spaghetti, with cheddar cheese, garlic and chopped onions, and eggs. I didn’t eat it (so as to avoid the spaghetti). Instead I had a chunk of cheddar and some olives. Third point gone. Open the flood gates. Might as well eat some of the BJ’s my son took out of the freezer.

This is a good reminder that I cannot skip planning or skip meals. That is not a healthy habit.

Nevertheless, I kept the rest of my points – oil, w.o., mob. Onward.

Whole Life Challenge 2

Points. What does it mean to earn them? How much work am I willing to do? Plan for success.

Breakfast – Spent a point for dairy at the hotel, which served yogurt and cold cuts and lots of cereal and bread. I was hungry and didn’t see the hard boiled eggs until after I had eaten the yogurt.

nothing I wanted to eat.

Snack – I chose not to get the waffle and ice cream and fruit while out hiking. It looked delicious, but I decided the fresh raspberries and plums would be plenty. Yay me.

Fresh raspberries and plums were better.

Lunch on the road – beef liver and onions and tomato soup.

Dinner – under preparation at home. Total Control.

Fish oil. Check
Mobility. Yoga – sun salutations and stretching.
Movement. 5k hike and 20 min bike ride.

So the holiday weekend in the South is over. And I’m looking forward to keeping all my points this week. You?