Paleo Challenge Update

March 07, 2014

This week has been crazy per the usual, but I've now completed my 4th day of the Paleo Challenge. And so far, so good. This week, I've loved how paleo has made me go outside of my usual cooking routine to try new and somewhat unusual recipes. With Paleo's focus on protein and natural ingredients, I have been cooking a lot of fish and meat. My favorite new discoveries have been cooking with coconut oil, a cinnamon and walnut salmon recipe, spaghetti squash, and a great way to cook chicken on the stove top. 

Until this week, I didn't really know coconut oil existed. Turns out coconut oil is pretty much a super oil with a lot of healthy benefits. Coconut oil can help our bodies resist viruses and bacteria, improve insulin levels in the body and boost metabolism, endurance and energy. I love the coconutty aroma and very subtle taste, and am definitely going to start experimenting with it in future recipes. 

This salmon, cinnamon and walnut recipe is another thing I loved this week, and also something I had never thought of before. Shockingly enough, cinnamon and salmon are quite the killer pair. Here's the recipe I followed.

Next on my never having tried list, is spaghetti squash. This one I have definitely heard of, but since I'm allergic to yellow squash I had always thought it was off the table for me. When it showed up on my menu for dinner, I looked into it and found it's more similar to winter squash like butternut and gave it a try. This stuff is amazing! And now I totally get why people have been freaking out about it. All you have to do is - cut the squash in half long ways, scoop out the seeds, rub with salt, pepper and olive oil and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes. When you take it out, you use a fork to scrap the squash, and volia - spaghetti squash.

I served the spaghetti squash with chicken that I cooked on the stove top using coconut oil. Something you might not know about me is I absolutely hate to cook chicken. I never buy it. In fact it's quite possible it had been a year since I bought chicken to cook at home until this week. This was really because I couldn't quite nail an easy recipe that didn't taste bland or too much like well, chicken. I tried out this new recipe tonight and it was super easy and really tasty. I took about a tbsp of coconut oil and heated over medium heat. I took about a 5 oz piece of chicken and rub it with a mix of spices like garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, etc. and cook it on each side for a minute each. Then I covered the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then without removing the lid, I turned the heat off and let it sit for another 10 minutes. I ended up with perfectly cooked chicken with just the right amount of juice.

Enjoy your weekend! 

You Are What You Eat

March 03, 2014

Today I started something I never do. 
A diet. 
Diets are always really hard for me to even decide to try - chalk it up to no self control and a love for Mexican food. The other day I decided to start a 30 Day Paleo Challenge on whim after finding a great blog, Robin's Sweet Confessions, with step by step guidelines to follow. I've been wanting to get back in shape for a while now and was just looking for the motivation. Unlike other diets, Paleo is packed with protein giving you the fuel you need for a worthwhile workout. What I liked about Robin's 30 day challenge was that she gives you ideas for each meal of the day including snacks and pairs them with workout videos. The meals also don't totally feel like you're dieting. You get to eat a big breakfast. 

The Paleo Diet has a reputation for being the "cave man" diet.  It mimics the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors with modern foods. And boasts improving your health, minimizing your risk of chronic disease and losing weight. It's high in protein and fiber and low in carbohydrates. 

Day 1 consisted of a big breakfast - eggs, bacon and avocado, a honestly gross lunch - tuna mixed with avocado, an apple with sunflower butter snack and a grilled chicken, spinach and onion dinner. The tuna and avocado dish is on the menu for Wednesday's lunch again, but I will definitely be trying something else. Has anyone tried Paleo, have any good recipes to share?
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