Monday, February 17, 2014


Prologue:  This BLOG post is crazy brain dump run on - buckle up and let her rip!

So there's been quite a bit of snowfall this Winter 2014.  As you know - I take the position that you should try to catch some JOY in this New England winter instead of being just, plain miserable about it.  I - personally - LOVE a good snowfall.

At any rate - one of the activities I like to do makes my husband happy as a clam.  When it snows, I cook.  Last week I made some new and also some old, reliable comfort food recipes.

I made:

Chicken and Tomato Soup
Sweet and Sour Chicken (somewhat Paleo style)
Chicken Pot Pie (completely NOT somewhat Paleo style)
Roast an 18 pound turkey
Unfried Rice (somewhat Paleo style)
Ck Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Paleo Granola
Shepards Pie (somewhat Paleo style)

Our fridg is quite full!  I will share some recipes later on after the messy brain dump going on here today.

So, a former client/friend - who I correspond with frequently - emailed me about something and I of course gave her my unsolicited advice.  As I wrote my opinion, I realized that my internal self talk had changed.

As a trainer for many, many years and even before that, I spent ALOTTTTT of energy not only working out and watching my diet. I spent ALOTTTTT of time mentally beating the living crap out of myself as I waited for the workouts and the nutrition to do it's thing for my body - that be - change it so I looked like my 27 year old former self.

About 10 years ago - at around 47 - I also beat myself up about why I continued to beat myself up when it wasn't working.  I wasn't looking like my 27 year old former self.  Why couldn't I just be content with what I had going on.  My 47 year old current self!!!

I mean really?  What's the definition of insanity???

Ummmmm - well, I said to myself, I'm changing it up.  That's different...I can't be insane.  

Well sometimes I sure felt like it!!!

So it's 10 years later.  I'm on the last part of my 57th year - turning 57 in June.  I think I finally did it...kinda, sorta.  

Last winter I made some big changes.  I cut my workouts in half more like in quarters, and I stopped restricting food groups.  Most importantly I stopped beating myself up when I missed a workout or I ate something I wasn't "supposed" to.  It was done deliberately with great anticipation of what I would look like in a year.  I wanted to see what would happen.  

Aghast!!!!  What was going to happen????

Wellllll - not a whole lot has changed - for the worse.  I believe I waffle up and down on the scale by about 3 pounds depending on how "badly" I eat.  

I truly know in my heart we should take in a LOT less carbs than the government/society would have you believe.  So I stayed that course 80-85% of the time.  That's easy for me.  

I never really ate processed food to begin with so that never came back into my eating habits.  I do believe grains should only be consumed in very small quantities and as much as I love rice and mashed potatoes and pasta, I rarely miss them but I did indulge in a bit of all of it this past year as opposed to NONE in the year prior.
Now sugar?  That be a problem, Jack.  You may recall I came up too high on a glucose tolerance test and an A1C test back 2 years ago.  I got that all in order in under 3 months by completely eliminating carbs and sugar except for vegies and dark chocolate and a bit of berries.  Also raised my fat intake.

I lasted about 11 months without the sugar and carbs and then the holidays came and I went crazy.  I toned it down after that Christmas (a year ago) and then I did what we are talking about here.  I stopped beating myself up.  I let myself have an apple here and there everyday, I consumed more than the required 10 grams of sugar almost daily but not like 100 grams!

So the end result is, I think I kept my shape pretty much give or take a few inches.  I think I have more fat on my body than I would have liked in a prior life but I am pretty ok with it at 56.  Sometimes I get that old anxiety, beat myself up feeling and I shoot it in the foot and carry on.

The important thing to me is I am calmer.  I am more peaceful.  I stopped looking for the magic combo to make me 27 again.  

My negative self talk is almost gone and not much has really changed all that drastically - body wise.  Would I love to be slimmer and in a size 6 again?  Ha - guess what?  Size 6 was in the good months when I was wearing Ann Taylor clothes.  I started at a size 8 last year and I am still in a size 8 most days.  

(And when I'm not - can you say pajama jeans? Haaaaaaaaaaaa!)

My arms look better than last year as I switched to lower weights and higher reps and they buffed up to an "I like the way they look" level.  I do some lower body with low or no weights sometimes and I SPIN a few times a week - walk, hike and sometimes run when I feel like it.  I practice a tad of Yoga daily.  Sometimes I do some core work.  Definitely THAT is what should get more consistent - the core work.

The point is - how JOY ful am I that I was able to economize my workouts, lighten up my 'tude about food and find my body hasn't changed drastically for the bad.

I must say one thing though.  Next week I get blood test results.  I am interested to see how they look.  I am interested to see if keeping the carbs low but still indulging in some weekly sweets has kept my A1C in a good place.  I will let you know.

As a trainer, I will tell you that if you need to lose more than 15 pounds or more, you need to change the way you eat.  I don't mean going on a restricted diet and feeling deprived but just changing the quality of the food you eat will start the weight loss.

As a trainer, I will tell you that everyone should workout.  I believe everyone needs weight workouts or Yoga or Pilates - SOMETHING that uses the muscles in your body above and beyond your everyday activity.   Do you need to go balls open 3-4 times a week with your cardio?  No, I do not believe that.  Only if you want to.  If you love to run, or love the treadmill or love bootcamps - then do it!  But don't beat yourself up because you DON'T do it.  

Do something.  That's all.  Do SOMETHING.  Something becomes more.  A 10 minute walk daily becomes a half hour daily.  10 pushups and 10 squats becomes 3 sets of 10 down the road.  Do a little.  It will become what it needs to be, for you to be proud of yourself and feel better.

ANYWAY - I promised you some recipes and here they are.  I still try to follow a Paleoish/Ketogenic(ish) type diet.  My indulgences mostly are not Paleoish/Ketogenic.  For example - the Granola recipe below does follow.  The Unfried Rice kinda sorta but maybe not.  The Shepard's Pie?  Yes mostly (corn?).   (The Chicken Pot Pie that is not being posted?  NOOOOOO - but it sure tasted good!)  Anyway - enJOY.  Cuz we did!!!

Paleo Granola


1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup coconut oil (or other oil)
½ cup raw honey
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Add all ingredients to a large bowl.
Mix well. If the honey is thick, heat up in the microwave for about 30 seconds and mix well.
Place on a baking sheet (use parchment paper for easy clean up).
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to help it not burn.
Let cool.  I eat with milk or yogurt.

Unfried Rice


2-3 cups leftover cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil (or you may use coconut oil)
2 large organic eggs, whisked in a bowl
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 of a small sweet onion, diced
3/4 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup carrots, diced into small cubes
3 scallions, chopped
2.5 Tbsp low sodium, gluten free soy/tamari sauce
3/4 Tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup cashews (optional)

In a smal
l bowl, combine the soy/tamari sauce and sesame oil and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil until rippling and add the onion. Stir constantly on medium-high for a minute or two and then add the garlic and carrots. Continue to stir for another 4-5 minutes you can turn the heat down to medium-low or medium. It's extremely important to keep that hand, or someone's hand, stirring, otherwise you risk burning the garlic.
Next add the peas, scallions (reserving some for garnish on top!) ginger and cashews and… you guessed it…. stir constantly! After a minute, add the leftover quinoa. Continue to stir until the peas and quinoa seem to be heated through. Stir in the tamari/sesame sauce until everything is well combined.
Turn the heat to low and push away the quinoa from the center of the skillet, creating a donut hole. Pour in the eggs and scramble. Once scrambled, work the quinoa back into the donut hole and toss well! Garnish with remaining scallions.

Paleoish/ketogenic(ish) Shepard's Pie


For the "potatoes":
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons arrow root
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

Cut up cauliflower.  Roast in a 400 degree oven until crispy and tender.  Throw into a food processor with the heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the filling. Place the olive oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the turkey, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the arrow root and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the turkey mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed cauliflower, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the "potatoes" begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.


1 comment:

  1. Should I feel bad that as I was ready this awesome post, about exercise and eating right, I was sticking squares of fudge in my mouth that my neighbor gave me for shoveling her driveway? Hey, no more beating up oneself. You know, 57 is the new 27.