Saturday, June 29, 2013

My week of workouts (for the week of June 23rd)

I am documenting my workouts here once a week so I can look back and see how I improve/change over time. This is just for my own information. I know most readers come here to find out what paleo babies eat, but for me this is an easy way to document my workouts (rather than using an app or pen-and-paper or even a spreadsheet)

Note: I usually do my workout recaps on Sundays, but since tomorrow is a) the last day of the blogathon and b) a blogathon theme day, I decided to jot down my workouts a day early. 

Give yourself workout credit for taking a toddler to the zoo!

Sunday, June 23rd: Sunday is almost always a rest day for me, and this week was no exception. Especially because I was still recovering from last Friday's cold. 

Monday, June 24th: Rest. Even though I was quite a bit better, I was still in no shape to workout. My philosophy is rest until you are completely over it so your body can focus it's energy on healing. I would not be doing myself or anyone else any favors by working out while I was still recuperating.

Tuesday, June 25th: Rest, and see above. Part of the reason I opted out of Tuesdays work out is I already had so much going on on this day, and working out would have probably put me over the edge. Too much too soon after being sick is not a good idea. I went to the orthodontist in the morning to get braces, I went downtown to get a haircut and then, in the evening, looked at house with our real estate agent. More than enough for one day.

Wednesday, June 26th: I finally made it back to the gym for a TRX workout. Just TRX. No kettlebells or sprinting this time.

Thursday, June 27th: So, it was one week ago today that I did my first pull-up ever. Well, I was not able to do it again. After almost a week off and a cold, I'm not surprised. I'll see what happens next week. Anyway, we worked on rope climbing again. I'm still stuck in the same spot. I can do one foot hook and that is it. For whatever reason, I lack this skill and I really cannot foresee myself figuring it out anytime soon. After rope climbing, we moved on to the workout. It was kind of a choose-your-own-adventure theme, with three levels. I choose level three: 175 body weight squats plus a four-lap run (a lap is a loop that goes of the gym, onto the sidewalk and kind of around the parking lot -- I am not sure how far it is exactly but it might be close to 200m, making a four-lap run close to a mile). I definitely felt the squats as soon as I got home.

Friday, June 28th: A trip through the zoo on a hot day with a toddler. Yep, I am sooo counting this as a workout. I did a lot of walking while pushing a very heavy stroller. Our zoo has a lot of hills. When I took her out of the stroller, I had to run around and chase her. Later, I had to wrestle her into her car seat. This is exercise.

Saturday, June 29th: The plan is yoga. I am writing this on Friday afternoon, so whether I wake up in time is TBD. Update: I did not make it to yoga. I could say I was too tired or something came up, but the truth is I was too lazy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

As the blogathon winds down ...

I just realized that we are in the final stretch of the 2013 WordCount Blogathon. Just two more posts after today. Can it really be (almost) July?

One month ago, the idea of posting every day in June seemed so daunting. I thought I was crazy to sign up, but as it turns out the month flew by and I had a great time. My only goal was to blog consistently, and I did it. It was not as hard as I thought! Once I established a rhythm, it became second nature. Now, I just have to figure out how to keep the rhythm going. It seems to me that blogging every day is a lot easier than blogging whenever I have time, so I just might have to commit myself to another month (at least).

Anyway, I'll write a more detailed post about the blogathon later. But for now, I'll just say that it was a really meaningful experience for me. Thank you, Michelle Rafter, for creating and hosting this very cool virtual writing event year after year. I'm looking forward to participating again.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hunger strike update

Earlier this month, I mentioned that my 19-month-old (20 months now, though) had gone on a hunger strike. Well, not a real hunger strike. Its just that she was suddenly eating very little, especially in comparison to what she was eating previously.

Her appetite increased again for several days early last week, but now she is back to taking teeny tiny nibbles. The only thing she seems all that interested in is her kefir (made from goat's milk). Yesterday morning, she drank two cups of kefir and then asked for more (I did not give her a third serving -- two cups is plenty)! Otherwise, she ate a couple of chunks of cheese, some blueberries, one egg, a small serving of Greek yogurt mixed with unsweetened organic applesauce and two bites of chicken. At times, she has downed twice this much food in one sitting!

This, of course, is totally normal -- appetites in growing toddlers ebb and flow. I am amazed, though, that she eats so little given her level of activity. We had a busy day yesterday with music class, visits to two playgrounds, a stop at her favorite store and some playtime with one of her babysitters (whom she really likes). One would think all this would leave her famished, but nope! Honestly, I think she is just having too much fun to stop for food. We're expecting a heat wave here in Portland this coming weekend ... I'm curious as to how the heat will affect her appetite.

As for me, I might as well be on a hunger strike of my own because my new braces are soooo painful right now. The orthodontist warned me about the pain, but wow -- I had no idea (I had braces before, but I don't remember how it felt the first few days). I was advised to stick with soft foods until the soreness subsides, so I've been living on scrambled eggs and applesauce. Twice I have had to talk myself down from an ice cream ledge (the not-so-nice little voice in my head was telling me that I deserved it) ... I even threw some in my grocery cart! I removed it, though, and went home treat-free. I did however, get a smoothie from a juice bar on Tuesday. My teeth hurt so bad, and I thought this would be a good idea given my situation.

Mistake! I mean, the smoothie (made out of nothing but fresh strawberries, peaches, apples and cinnamon) was delicious and I enjoyed every sip. But it was a good reminder as to why drinking your calories is such a bad idea (particularly when there is no protein involved). Do you remember that woozy, lightheaded feeling that you used to get when you went too long between your carb- and sugar-laden meals? That is exactly what happened. Well, duh! Meals need protein and fat! Not (just) fruit! Never again will I do this. Really, I would be better off a small serving of ice cream.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Yesterday morning I went out and did something I have been contemplating for a few years. I got braces! I'm considering it a belated 40th birthday gift to myself. Why not start off midlife with a great smile?

I had braces when I was a teenager (I got them on the very first day of high school; lovely), but it was definitely time for round two. I opted for the clear ceramic braces rather than the old-school style. Invisalign was also an option, but I don't think I would like wearing the aligners. I have a terrible habit of taking my retainer off in the night and hurling it across the room, so the idea of wearing a retainer-ish device at all times does not appeal to me.

I'm pretty happy with how my new braces look. In the after photo, I can barely see them! My teeth do feel a little funny right now, but I'll get used to it. My orthodontist said the treatment will probably take about a year. I'm excited about my forthcoming new and improved smile.

Anyway -- after the braces went on, I got to hear about all the rules. It kinda made me think that braces are more suitable for adults rather than teens because it takes so much discipline. I was a fairly disciplined teenager, but I know I did not follow the rules the way I will now. If my daughter ever needs braces, I am probably going to annoy her with my constant badgering about brushing, flossing and avoiding problematic foods (hopefully she'll choose to avoid problematic foods anyway, but you never know!).

And speaking of problematic foods, it was reassuring to discover that most of the no foods are far from paleo. Avoiding crusty bread, pizza, Doritos, popcorn, caramel candy and other junk food won't be an issue. The only change I'll really need to make is in regards to carrots -- no more crunching on whole, peeled carrots. I'll need to chop them into small pieces. Apples need to be cut into wedges, too, but that is something I already do. I'm pretty sure I did not abide by these rules last time, particularly the popcorn rule. I don't remember lots of extra trips to the orthodontist to fix broken brackets and wires because of my snacking habits, but I probably just got lucky!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Coping with a cold while taking care of a toddler

I've never had a difficult time putting life on hold to rest when I get sick. Work, play and everything can wait -- when you're sick, you need to focus on getting better. Stay home. Cancel everything. Go to bed.

Unfortunately, this philosophy does not work after you have a baby. Because your job? It never ends. You are on duty all the time. No matter how bad your head hurts or how plugged up your sinuses are, your child still needs your attention.

This was me on Friday of last week. I woke up at 3am with a sore throat and tried to convince myself that it was an allergy attack, but deep inside I knew better. It was a terrible, miserable summer cold. Ugh.

Ideally, I would be able take my daughter to her grandparent's or auntie's house on a day like this. Ideally. But our family does not live close, so this is not possible. Boo.

There is a certain threshold of sickness in which my husband would absolutely have to stay home to help me. I was that sick back in January, with something that was not the flu but sure felt like it. This time, though? It was just a cold. No fever, no aches, just the quintessential common cold. I was not sick enough to warrant a missed work day on his part, but sick enough that I wondered how I was going to face the day ahead.

This was new to me, so I had to figure it out as I went. This is how we coped ...
  • I did not cook. My daughter lived on cold turkey, olives, cucumbers and fresh fruit all day. She didn't mind (in fact, she liked it), and it was a relief that I did not have to turn the oven on. I usually like to offer her more variety, but when I'm sick ... forget it!
  • I let her watch TV. I'm not a big fan of TV for kids under the age of three (and please understand that this is not a criticism of those who let their young kids watch TV; we have just decided that for our family it is not the right choice), but sometimes you have to let things slide. I did not have the energy to play, and turning on the TV was the only way to keep her occupied while I zoned out on the couch. We watched two episodes of Sesame Street, one Veggie Tales movie and several episodes of Drop Dead Diva (this was my pick). Oh, and can I just say that I officially cannot stand Elm's World? So. Very. Annoying. Elmo is OK in other Sesame Street segments, but Elmo's World is off the charts aggravating and almost a little creepy if you ask me.
  • We both stayed in our pajamas all day. I knew we were not going anywhere, so why waste energy getting her dressed (which actually requires a lot of energy these days, because she has very strong opinions about her clothing)?
  • I took Sudafed and Advil. I know lots of paleo folks like to avoid this stuff at all costs, but I am not one of them. I do whatever I can to stay away from pharmaceuticals when I am well. When I am sick, however, I just want to feel better. Taking a decongestant helps me function, and the Advil reduces my sinus inflammation. This might not be the choice for everyone, but it works for me.
  • We soaked up some rays. On day two of the cold, it was super sunny and warm. We spent the morning in the backyard, taking in all the vitamin D we could. My daughter splashed around on her water table and moved rocks from one side of the patio to the other. I sat in a chair, sipped coffee and played games on my iPhone. I am pretty convinced that the vitamin D played a big role in keeping the cold short. Plus, it was good for her to get outdoors and stretch her legs after being cooped up inside the previous day.
  • Carl had an appointment Saturday morning, so even though it was the weekend I was still on my own until almost noon. In the afternoon, though, he cancelled his plans to go sailing and took over baby duty while I took a nap. If it weren't for his help, Saturday would have been another really, really long day. So, if possible, get your husband to cancel any non-essential plans so you can rest!
  • In terms of home remedies, I did the apple cider vinegar thing for the first time. Just a tablespoon of ACV in a mug with hot water. You know, like a cup of tea. As soon as I started sipping, my sore throat disappeared. I'm sold! I also warmed up some homemade chicken broth and forced myself to drink it. I actually really love homemade broth, but there is something about drinking it when I am sick that kinda makes me, well, sick. I don't know what it is. But, I know it has healing properties so I forced it. Just one cup though. That is all I could take.
The cold continued into Monday, but I was able to tolerate the symptoms so we could pretty much carry on as normal. I was no longer contagious or miserable, just stuffed up. Oh, and the whole ordeal taught my daughter how to blow her nose. Now she is constantly grabbing tissue, holding it up to her cute little button nose and saying "nose, nose." Hilarious!

How do you cope with colds and other illnesses while simultaneously looking after your kids?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blogathon theme day: haiku

Today is the third theme day in the 2013 WordCount Blogathon. I haven't participated in the other two, but since this is haiku day I decided to get on board. This is not the first haiku I've posted on The Paleo Baby, actually. I also wrote one early last year when I was doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox. It is a pretty ridiculous haiku, but keep in mind I had an infant at the time and had not slept in weeks. Ha!

So anyway, here is today's haiku (and please note: it might not be any better than my last attempt). I did try my best to make it a paleo poem. Enjoy ...

My baby is sweet
She likes to laugh, sing and play
She eats healthy food

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My week of workouts (for the week of June 16th)

I am documenting my workouts here once a week so I can look back and see how I improve/change over time. This is just for my own information. I know most readers come here to find out what paleo babies eat, but for me this is an easy way to document my workouts (rather than using an app or pen-and-paper or even a spreadsheet)

Monday, June 17th: Kettlebells/TRX/sprinting. Carl and I got a babysitter and had the rare opportunity to work out together. 

Tuesday, June 18th: First, front squats. I did five sets of five at 65 pounds, the same exact weight I lifted a month ago. I really don't feel ready to increase the weight at all on this particular exercise, in part because it hurts my wrists and it is very difficult for me to position my arms correctly. I think I need to get the form down before I try to lift heavier. Next, we did three sets of the following: three sets (each side) of kettlebell snatches and a team shuttle run (i.e. taking turns sprinting between cones). I used the 8kg kettlebell. I feel stuck between the 8kg and the 12kg (the 8kg feels too light, and the 12 too heavy). 

Wednesday, June 19th: Rest. My daughter kept me up most of the previous night, so working out would have been a very poor choice. I needed to relax and get to bed as early as possible. It was also my husband's birthday, but we were too tired to celebrate. We made dinner plans for Saturday instead. 

Thursday, June 20th. This is a day that goes down in history -- the day I did my first pull-up ever, in my entire life! Yay! Then, more rope climb practice (I seem to be able to do just one pull for now). The workout was 50 wall balls, 30 burpees and 20 toes-to-bar. We had the option of going through the workout once or twice. I chose twice, with a 10-pound wall ball and knee raises instead of toes-to-bar. I can do a few toes-to-bar at a time, but after the wall balls and burpees there is no way -- I felt like I was about to throw-up. 

Friday, June 21st: Rest, rest and more rest. I woke up at 3am with a terrible cold that seemed to come out of nowhere.

Saturday, June 22nd: Still sick. We had to cancel our dinner plans. So sad, because we haven't been out much without our daughter and this was our opportunity. Oh, well. I guess we know what we're doing next weekend.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

First pull-up ever!

I feel like I keep talking about this (because I mentioned it on my Facebook page and now here), but the thing is it is a really big deal for me. So, sorry about the bragging.

On Thursday, for the first time in my life, I managed to do a pull-up. It was crazy and I didn't actually think it was going to happen so soon. I just went to practice, and the next thing I knew I actually had my chin over the bar. I tried a repeat, but one was all I had in me. That's OK. Now that I know I can do it, I'm going to keep working on it.

Never in a million years did I dream I would be achieving this milestone at the age of 40. When I was 20, I couldn't even run a mile and I could not do a push-up. I got plenty of exercise at the time, but I also got very little sleep (thank you, dorm life) and my diet was a mess. It was the height of the fat-free craze, so I pretty much lived on iceberg lettuce with fat-free ranch dressing, bagels with light cream cheese and pasta with marinara sauce. Gross! No wonder all my working out didn't result in fitness. Diet matters. Age does not.

Anyway, I know a lot of women want to achieve the elusive pull-up so I thought I would just share what I did to get there. First of all, I tried. Especially over the past couple of weeks, I tried every time I walked into the gym. Practice, practice, practice.

Also, I had a good night's sleep the night before and my diet had been on track. In other words, I had had no sugar or alcohol. On Wednesday night, after a really rough day, I wanted a glass of wine but decided against it. If I had poured the wine, I am pretty sure the pull-up would still be a goal rather than a reality. Alcohol has a huge (negative) affect on how I feel and how I sleep. I truly believe that if you want to sleep well and kick butt at the gym, alcohol is best avoided and your diet needs to be clean. Not that I always avoid alcohol (I don't). And sometimes I have bad food days, too. But if you're working toward a goal or have something important coming up, maybe save the vino and sugar for another time?

Finally -- and I think this is probably the key right here -- after months of saying I wanted to do a pull-up but not even coming close, I started to believe it was possible. I started to have faith in myself. I also work out with a bunch of cool people and I have a coach who believes in me, too. They all cheered me on and they totally get why this is important to me. I mean, it is just a pull-up, right? Well, no. It is not just a pull-up. It is huge.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Joel's Paleo Cookie

Yesterday, I spotted this cookie at New Seasons Market ...

I felt like it was my duty to buy the cookie, taste it and share my thoughts here on The Paleo Baby.

The verdict: Not bad! I am usually not a big fan of paleo-ized treats, but this had decent texture and flavor. I shared it with my friend Mary and my 20-month-old, and they liked it. Mary said it was a good vehicle for getting in a chocolate fix. I would probably buy it again, for a road trip or picnic or something. I looked around online and couldn't figure out who Joel is, though. Does he/she work for New Seasons? Is Joel's Paleo Cookies an independent local cookie business? If anyone knows, please fill me in!

Oh, and can I just say that I love that New Seasons is so awesome for making paleo so easy here in Portland?! They sell paleo books, they offer classes, they have store tours and they of course sell great food. I could shop at other stores more often and save money, but the extra few bucks I spend at New Seasons is worth it because they support my lifestyle and dietary choices. If only they would stop selling vegetarian eggs and stop using so much canola oil in their prepared foods, it would be just about perfect.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sleep deprivation

For me, one of the most challenging parts of raising a baby has been the sleep deprivation. My daughter did not sleep through the night until she was about 14 months old, and even then it was sporadic. In fact, it is still sporadic. Sometimes she'll do great. Other times, not so much.

Tuesday night was a difficult night for us, and I spent all of Wednesday longing to put my head on the pillow and take a nap.

In light of this (OK, and because I am too tired to write a regular post), I wanted to share this great post from The Happiest Home.

Coping With Sleep Deprivation by Sarah Powers

Sarah lists several excellent tips for coping with sleep deprivation, and even though it is geared toward moms with new babies I think it contains some gems for all of us. My favorite is the one about avoiding screen time at night (I blogged about this topic myself last year). So, so important.

Do you have any great tips for coping with sleep deprivation?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

TMI post: Diapers, poop and white rice

In case you have ever wondered why I don't post many photos or share my daughter's name here on The Paleo Baby, this post pretty much sums it up. I'm going to talk about poop, and I don't want to embarrass her. I know she is only a baby toddler and does not know the difference, but some day she will know the difference.

So, without further adieu ...

Up until my daughter turned 18-months-old, diaper changes were mostly easy. We did have a difficult rash situation for a while, but once that cleared up it was smooth sailing. No diarrhea, no constipation, no poop concerns whatsoever. And then, all of a sudden -- bam. Ten days after we stopped breastfeeding she had her first blowout. Sticky, icky and all over the place. We both cried.

I thought it was just a bump in the road, but unfortunately her poop has been sticky and icky ever since. She does not have diarrhea, but it is gross. Diaper changes require many baby wipes and sometimes a bath. I've actually gotten pretty good at quickly changing these yucky diapers. Yay, me!

Anyway, my first thought was that the delicate balance of bacteria in her gut had changed when she stopped receiving breastmilk. I thought it would re-regulate and everything would be back to normal soon. I knew (and still know) that a bug was not to blame -- she has never expressed any discomfort or signs of illness, and there was really no other explanation. I called the doctor, and she concurred. After a couple of weeks, though, it started to get a little annoying. I started asking friends, and some definitely reported similar experiences. Others, though, said the end of breastfeeding triggered no poop changes whatsoever. Hmmmm.

I started looking around for probiotics, thinking she might need a dose or two, but I haven't been able to find one that I'm comfortable with. So, I just upped her intake of fermented foods. She eats plenty of sauerkraut, lots of pickles, as much kefir as I'll allow and even some yogurt now and then. It is not making a difference. These foods are super healthy, so I'm going to continue giving them to her. But still ... I wish they would work their magic!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was feeling somewhat desperate. I wanted to see normal poop. I wanted to just flush the poop down the toilet rather than tying the diaper up in a plastic baggie and taking it outside to to the trash can (oh, the things you long for when you are a mom). So ... I offered white rice to my paleo baby. GASP!

First things first ... she was not interested. She took a couple of bites and threw the rest on the floor. I offered it to her the next day and she did the same thing, so it became a non-issue.

I should probably say here that I am personally not a fan of the idea of eating rice and almost cringed  at the thought of giving it to my daughter. But my husband eats it, and he feels like it is pretty beneficial to him in terms of keeping his digestion in check. Also, quite a few paleo experts have deemed it a "safe starch" as of late. I'm not sure what that means exactly, and my (admittedly, minimal) research on the topic has failed to satisfy my curiosity or to justify its inclusion in a clean paleo diet. I guess to me, white rice is nothing but a highly-processed grain. It is drastically altered from its natural state and I don't see how it is paleo by any stretch of the imagination. But I was pretty much at the point with the poop situation that I didn't care all that much. White rice is void of nutrients, but I did not see the harm in giving her a small serving just to see. It is not like she is an adult with metabolic and blood sugar issues that could be aggravated by such a starchy and simple carb. Anyway, it was about as close as I was willing to get to the BRAT diet. I draw the line at toast (even though I love toast).

I suppose the point is that I never had the opportunity to find out if rice would help her because she refused to eat it. I am almost a bit relieved, but at the same time I really really want a reprieve from the icky sticky diapers! The biggest commonality I am finding between my daughter and other kids with similar issues is gender. Moms of girls are more often telling me that they had a similar experience, whereas as moms of boys are saying "nope, no poop issues after the conclusion of breastfeeding."

Not that this means a thing ... it is just what I am hearing. Am I worried? No. But I do wish there was something I could do. I am gong through wipes like crazy, and I find myself making sure that I time our outings around her poop schedule (because icky sticky diapers are a lot harder to deal with when you are not at home).

I'll try to report back if I see any changes or find a solution in case anyone else needs this information. Meanwhile, I would love to hear about your experience. Am I alone in this? Is there anything we can do? Also, what your thoughts on the whole white rice is safe starch thing? Am I just going to have to deal with this until she is potty trained? Thanks!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Don't overthink it

Whether you are a first-time mom or you are raising your fourth little one, figuring out exactly what to feed the newest mouth in your family can be really overwhelming. I know, because I have been there. It was only one year ago that I started introducing solid food to my now 20-month-old daughter. At the time, it seemed so complex. Do I make "baby food" or just give her small chunks of things that are naturally soft? How much does she need to eat? What if she doesn't like anything? What if she can't chew? Help?

I get emails almost every week from other moms asking these very questions. Sometimes it is difficult for me to answer because to be perfectly honest I do not always remember what we were doing at a particular point in time. Even though it was only one year ago, babies grow and change so rapidly that it often feels like ancient history. 

The best piece of advice I can offer to moms who are currently trying to figure out what to feed their young babies?

Don't overthink it!

I know now that it doesn't have to be complex. Listen to your motherly instincts and trust yourself. Think about what you like to eat and offer age-appropriate versions to your babies. I have seen and heard all sorts of guidelines and rules about how food should be introduced to kids, but I doubt any of those rules really necessary. Just feed them healthy food!

I think one of the problems is that our society/culture perpetuates the idea that kids need special kid food. We're taught by mainstream media and many doctors that we need to start them out on rice cereal and then move on to PB&J or macaroni and cheese. A snack is a "puff" or something else that comes in a box. So, when a family decides to take a more paleo approach to eating they wonder what the kids are going to eat. Paleo moms start to second-guess themselves because the diet we are choosing for our babies is not typical (which is sad, but that is another post altogether). We start looking for recipes, finger foods, advice, validation. But it really comes back to what I already stated: don't overthink it. Just give them real food. Meat, veggies, fruit, eggs and nuts/seeds. Real food. It really is that simple.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chickens are not vegetarians

Before I knew better, I was all into the idea of vegetarian chickens. The good eggs at the store all came in cartons that emphasized their vegetarianism (along with other desirable features, like cage-free, organic and free-range), and I just assumed this was a good thing. Little did I know that this is not a good thing at all. Chicken are not vegetarians. They are omnivores, and they love (and need) to eat bugs and worms.

I'm not sure how or why the practice of feeding chickens a vegetarian diet got started, but it seems so widespread. I actually have a really difficult time finding non-vegetarian eggs at the store. Though I do not personally agree that vegetarian or vegan diets are healthy for humans, I respect your right to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet if you so choose. However, I cannot get behind the idea of humans imposing vegetarian diets on innocent/helpless chickens (or other omnivorous or carnivorous animals). So sad.

If you are currently eating vegetarian eggs, you are missing out on all kinds of nutrients! A chicken that doesn't receive proper nutrition cannot possibly produce eggs that provide us with proper nutrition. So, I urge everyone to look for eggs from properly-fed chickens. For most of us, this means getting them directly from a farm (this is what I do -- we get six dozen per week!) or raising your own. It might require a little more effort than just tossing a carton or two into your grocery cart, but it is so worth it!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My week of workouts (for the week of June 9th)

I am documenting my workouts here once a week so I can look back and see how I improve/change over time. This is just for my own information. I know most readers come here to find out what paleo babies eat, but for me this is an easy way to document my workouts (rather than using an app or pen-and-paper or even a spreadsheet). 

Sunday, June 9th: Rest

Monday, June 10th: Yoga. My yoga instructor, Kili, recently returned from an advanced yoga training retreat, and she is incorporating some of her newly-acquired knowledge into her classes. I feel like the class is above and beyond my capability, but it is still doable. I just need to modify and rest a lot. This is some tough stuff. For me, anyway. Mobility and balance are not my strong suits right now. Monday was particularly difficult because for some reason my back was killing me. Honestly, sometimes when I am in yoga I feel like I am not really doing anything. Not because of the class, but because I feel like there is so little I actually can do.

Tuesday, June 11th: Floor press, 5x5, with max hand-release push ups and a two-minute rest between sets. I did 65 pounds, which is 10 pounds more than I did last year at this time. I started off with eight push-ups, then did 10 and by the last round I dropped back down to some other number (totally lost count). By the last round I could only do two. After floor press, we did tabata squats. I did 21 squats in the first round, 15 for the next six and 16 in the final round. I had a hard time making it up the stairs when I got home.

Wednesday, June 12th: I'm calling this the Be Careful What You Wish For Workout. Lately, I've been missing our old Friday at noon TRX class (the schedule changed and it was replaced with spinning). Usually, Wednesday evening is a TRX/kettlebell combo. Usually. This week it was all TRX, like the old Friday class. I had forgotten just how challenging 45 minutes of straight TRX can be. I love it.

Thursday, June 13th: So, I've learned that we're doing six weeks in a row of rope climb practice (starting with last week). I know I said that I don't give a hoot about climbing the rope, but I decided that if we're going to practice it for six weeks I might as well give it a whirl instead of just standing around. I'm still trying to figure out how to get my feet to hold on to the rope, though. If I can make it halfway up the rope by the end of the six-week period, it will be a miracle. The workout itself was a 10 minute AMRAP with seven/seven dumbbell snatches and seven box jumps. I was quite amazed at how light the 20-pound dumbbells felt to me. I'll probably have to try 25 next time. I did six complete rounds plus a seventh round of snatches.

Friday, June 14th: Rest. Unless you count taking a squirmy toddler to the mall, which I pretty much do. 

Saturday, June 15th: Yoga. I woke up at 6:30am and felt really well rested. I was soooo looking forward to yoga, but on the way to the gym I felt a really bad headache coming on and it didn't go away. I still did the workout, but it was difficult to concentrate. By the end of class I was on the verge of a migraine (I rarely get migraines anymore, but I used to get them all the time), so I took an Excederin. Fortunately it helped, and the day was redeemed.

I also worked on pull-ups a couple of times this week. I'm getting closer!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Toddler cuteness

Aren't toddlers adorable? My daughter is almost 20-months-old, and her cuteness is off the charts. I can hardly handle it.

Here are a few of the cute things she's been saying and doing lately ...
  • Hair accessories are called bird-de-das. What?
  • Earlier this week, she started saying no. She's says it way too often, with lots of drama. Not just "no" but "noooooooo." It is hard not to laugh.
  • Elmo this, Elmo that. I regret the day I introduced her to Elmo via YouTube, but the way she lights up when she sees an Elmo book or doll is darling.
  • She loves "jackets," a.k.a. hoodies. Right now, she wants to wear her purple Gap hoodie at all times. Today she wore it with her favorite pink dress and white leggings.
  • Speaking of the pink dress ... um, can you say OBSESSED?! If she wants to wear the dress and another outfit is removed from the drawer instead, she quickly becomes downtrodden and begins to cry. Not in a tantrum sort of way. In a genuine, "I am sad and hurt" kind of way. "Dress. Dress. Please, dress," she'll say through tears. How can I not give in?
  • I love that she is now saying "please." She's been signing it for a long time, but now she signs it and says it at the same time. With a smile. 
  • Flowers are called "flossies." 
  • I think she has her first BFF. She's met quite a few kids lately, but she seems to really like one little girl in particular. They have fun together at music class, and sometimes they even hold hands while dancing around the room. So cute! She even asks for her by name. Unfortunately we won't get to see her until August because her family went to Ireland for the summer.
  • She sings constantly. She also loves to strum Carl's guitar and dance around the room with scarves. I can't get her to sit down at the piano with me, though.
 What are some of the cute things your toddlers say and do?

Friday, June 14, 2013

On doing my best

I love this Maya Angelou quote ...

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

For years, I thought I was making the right choices for my health. I thought I knew what I needed to know, and I tried to do my best with that knowledge. But then I started to learn new things, and suddenly I knew better. I knew that there was a reason the things I was doing before weren't working, and I knew I had to do better.

I'm not done learning. I am doing the best I can with what I know now, but I am open to the possibility that I might happen upon some information that will help me improve upon what I am doing now even further. When I know better, I want to do better.

Are you doing your best with what you know?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Life without bacon

Did you eat bacon for breakfast? 

If you are into paleo, chances are pretty good the answer is "yes!" Paleo people love their bacon. And why wouldn't they? Bacon is delicious. At least that is how I remember it ... I actually haven't tasted in bacon in almost eight years. Or is it nine? I can't even remember.

Earlier this week I posted a list of the foods my paleo toddler eats, and I happened to mention that we are pork- and shellfish-free household. That sparked the question "why no pork or shellfish?" I've been contemplating writing this post for two whole years, because life without bacon is a very important part of our family's journey. I suppose it is time to finally share this information.

The story is long so I may or may not break it up into two parts. I'll just have to see where it takes me. Also, please keep in mind that this is what works for us. I am in no way suggesting that everyone give up bacon or that bacon is not paleo. Like I said yesterday, use your common sense and decide what works for you. What works for us is no bacon. Or shellfish.

So anyway, here is the story ...

My husband Carl has had some extremely significant and very scary health issues throughout his life, including ulcerative colitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis. I think we had been married less than two years when he hit a really, really bad point with the UC. Tons of weight loss, medical leave from work, hospital stays, etc. It was stressful and we often felt desperate, trying to figure out what to do. Nothing helped. At times he would sort of bounce back, but it was always lingering.

If you've had serious health issues, you'll probably relate to what I am about to say. People always want to help, so it seems like every time you turn around someone has some advice for you. Read this book, take this supplement, see this doctor. After a while, it gets tiring. Especially when you feel like you've tried everything already. We reached this point not longer after we tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (which failed to help him). We just didn't want any more advice. We were done trying everything under the sun.

That's when a friend walked up to us at church and handed us a book called The Maker's Diet. Like so many other books of this nature, it claimed to have the secret to health, longevity and relief from disease/pain. Except the diet this book recommend was supposedly the one God himself designed for us. Um, OK.

We just smiled, thanked her and took the book home. I tucked it away on a shelf to collect dust, with no intention of reading it. Ever. Except that a couple of weeks later I was bored. I saw the book on the shelf, picked it up and started reading. At first, it seemed ridiculous.

But then, I got to a section of the book that discussed clean and unclean animals. The author quoted God's dietary laws (in the book of Leviticus) and explained how He gave us a very specific list of foods we should eat and foods we should not eat. The part that explained why we aren't supposed to eat these foods. I was intrigued, and it started to make sense. Over the course of a few days, I read the entire book and told Carl about what I was learning. We believe that the Bible is God's word and true to the core, so how could we overlook this stuff? We couldn't, so we decided to eliminate pork and shellfish from our diets. Just as an experiment. Some of the other things the book recommended still seemed like a joke to me, so we tossed them aside (ironically, I know better now) but the bacon in our fridge and the shrimp in our freezer immediately went into the trash can.

Well, guess what happened? Two weeks later, Carl's UC symptoms were gone. GONE. Not even just better. Totally gone. He had a colonoscopy a few months later, and his doctor said it looked like he had never even had UC. And all of these years later, he's still doing great. He'll always have some ups and downs ... that is just the nature of a colon that has experienced years of torture. But in terms of flare-ups, they seem to be thing of the past. This one little change helped him more than anything else he has ever tried. We'll never go back to eating bacon again.

So, did we eat a ton of bacon before? Was he just suffering from bacon overload? No, not all all! We liked Hawaiian pizza, and we liked to eat crab dipped in butter. We ate bacon when we went out to breakfast and I had a thing for shrimp salad, but it was not an all-the-time thing for us. That is part of the reason it was so amazing to me ... it seems like the small amount of pork and shellfish he was consuming at the time just wrecked havoc on his system. Of course, for many years I questioned whether it was the elimination of these foods that healed him or something different altogether ... like an act of faith/obedience to God (I know this isn't going to resonate with all of you, and that is cool -- just please respect my right to state my beliefs)? Now, I know it is a bit of both.

And with that, I think I'll conclude this post. This really just scratches the surfaces of the whole bacon thing, to be honest. It started out as a way to heal Carl's health but has turned into so much more. So, I might write more about it later on. Or maybe not. Meanwhile, please let me know if you have any specific questions on the topic. I'm also curious as to whether anyone out there has had a similar experience. Anyone??!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paleo confusion

Lately I've noticed that there is so much conflicting information out there about the paleo lifestyle/diet/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. A lot of it originates with random bloggers (yes, I realize that I am a random blogger), but some of it originates with experts, too. Some are all "bone broth is a superfood!" while others say "it is just soup, people, get over it." So confusing.

I'm glad I'm not new to paleo right now. If I were, I might not know what to do! When I discovered it three years ago, there were really only a few opinions floating around out there so it wasn't all that difficult to weed through them. Now? Totally. Different. Story.

I listen to and learn from a few different podcasters, and sometimes I find myself thinking I need to do this-or-that because such-and-such expert recommended it. While some of it might be sound advice, it may or may not be sound advice for me.

Here's the thing. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to paleo, nor should there be. You have to figure what you believe is best for you. Get advice from credible sources, but take this advice with a grain of salt and weigh it against your own common sense and/or advice from people who know you and care about you. And don't worry if you decide to take an approach that doesn't totally line-up with the approach that the paleo guru du jour recommends, because that expert might not be 100% correct. If you're off track, you'll figure it out soon enough.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What does my paleo toddler eat?

I get a lot of emails with questions about what I feed my daughter (or, what I fed her at a particular age). Her diet has evolved over time, but with a couple of rare exceptions (a small piece of gluten-free cake on her first birthday, an accidental Cheerio and the random sampling of ice cream) she has been paleo (plus limited dairy) from birth. She loves meat, veggies and fruit. I find it very easy to keep her well nourished. I'm guessing it is probably challenging to transition kids to paleo if they have been eating another way, but (in my experience) starting out with and sticking to paleo is a breeze. The biggest difficulty is the amount of time spent in the kitchen. You have to cook. There is no way around it.

At almost 20-months-old, this is what she currently eats ...

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Sweet potatoes, roasted in butter and cinnamon.
  • Guacamole
  • Roasted veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts)
  • Squash (any variety)
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Steak (she's not picky about cut)
  • Ground beef (burgers and tacos are her favorites)
  • Chicken (grilled, roasted, baked, slow-cooked, sausage -- you name it, she loves it).
  • Fish (she likes cod)
  • Cucumbers
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Raisins
  • Apples
  • Bananas (although she seems to be getting tired of bananas lately)
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Kefir (Goat's milk)
  • Greek yogurt with honey (we prefer to give her homemade yogurt, but if we don't have any she'll eat Fage).
  • Fruit and veggie pouches (I'm trying to rid her diet of these, though)
  • Homemade bone broth
There might be a few other items I'm leaving out, but this is pretty much her basic menu. Though I do make chili or use tomato paste in a recipe now and then, as a general rule we stay away from nightshades in our family (we love tomatoes and peppers, but they don't love us). Nuts, for the most part, aren't a part of our world. She's had sunflower seeds and a tiny bite of something made with almond flour, but I have reservations about the healthfulness and necessity of nuts. Personally, I avoid them most of the time (not all the time, but most). I have yet to decided how/if/when to incorporate them into my daughter's diet.

In terms of beverages, the only thing she drinks (aside from the kefir) is water.

As for paleo pancakes, cookies, etc. -- we don't make stuff like that all that often. I've made pumpkin pancakes and chocolate coconut cookies for her a few times (and she likes them) but I really want to avoid turning treats into an every day thing. Paleo-ized treats are still treats, and they are usually very sweet. I personally do not believe they should be a dietary staple anymore than a regular piece of pie should be a dietary staple. In fact, I am almost more inclined to give her a "regular" treat if she's going to have a treat at all -- but that is just me. I know there are varying opinions on this topic! 

Oh, and one last thing. You may have noticed that bacon is not on the list. We are a pork- and shellfish-free household. So, no bacon for my paleo baby.

Monday, June 10, 2013

House hunting

We moved into our current home eight years and one month ago. It was never the type of place we saw ourselves living long term, but at the time it was what we needed. I will never regret buying this home (in part because some of my neighbors have become good friends) but we are so ready to move.

We have been looking for something new for almost a year now. Even though we had considered moving at various times in the past, having our daughter was the catalyst for taking action. The house and neighborhood we live in my now do not allow us to provide the lifestyle we want for her (or ourselves). We want a big yard, a quiet street, room for Carl to park his sailboat, space for a garden and possibly some chickens. A ranch-style home would be ideal, and close proximity to work is a top priority. We are also hoping to find a home that we can stay in for a long time (barring any major job changes).

Despite an exhaustive, non-stop search we are not finding anything that meets our criteria. Nothing. Unless you count one of the three homes we saw Sunday, which was almost perfect except for the fact that it was a) $50K over our limit and b) too far out in the country. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I told Carl that I regretted making the trip because living that far out is not an option and I could tell we would love the home and the property even before we walked through the front door. And we did. Sigh.

I believe in waiting on God's perfect timing, so I know we'll find the right home eventually. But I am frustrated because I also believe that if something in your life is not working for you you should change it. If you are unhappy with your job, find a new job. If your relationship with your significant other is broken, fix it. If you don't like the color of your hair, get some highlights. Etc., etc., etc. We have been trying to change something that isn't working for us for a long time now, with no luck. Does the home we're looking for even exist? I am really starting the wonder.

We could do a few things to our current home to make it more suitable, but doing these things would require spending money that we would rather put toward a new home. And then there is the whole Murphy's law thing -- as soon as we fix up our backyard, paint all the walls, put in a new kitchen island and install better lighting, we'll find our new home (just in time for our future renters to enjoy our upgrades). Not only that, some of our least-favorite things about this house are things that are unchangeable. Like the lot size, and the fact that the homes are so close together. So, what do we do?

I suppose the only answer is ... keep looking!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My week of workouts (for the week of June 2nd)

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I'm going to start documenting my workouts here once a week so I can look back and see how I improve/change over time. This is just for my own information. I find that this is an easy way to record everything (I know most readers come here to find out what paleo babies eat).

Sunday, June 2nd: Rest.

Monday, June 3rd: Yoga. Balance and mobility are big challenges for me right now, so yoga is tough. I used to be able to do a full wheel and at one point I was getting very close to doing crow pose. Now, I can barely hold a shoulder bridge. Much work ahead.

Tuesday, June 4th: One minute Airdyne challenge (21 calories). In the workout we did kettlebell front squats, toes to bar and slam ball sprints. I used the blue kettlebell, and for the first time possibly ever I did a few toes to bar (instead of just knee raises). I started out using the 30-pound slam ball but switched to 40 on the last two sprints.

Wednesday, June 5th: TRX/Kettlebells/sprinting. This is my favorite workout right now. It involves everything I love and nothing that I dread. I'm switching between the blue and the yellow kettlebells (BTW these kettlebells are not actually blue and yellow; they just have tape on them to make them easy to identify for people like me who can never remember how much they weigh), which is an improvement because not too long ago I was using the two smallest ones.

Thursday, June 6th: Three-minute rope climb challenge. I am currently unable to climb the rope, and I don't care. Sorry. Then we did an 800m sprint, followed by 3 rounds of 25 kettlebell swings (I started with yellow and moved to blue) and 50 bodyweight squats and one more 800m sprint.

Friday, June 7th: Rest.

Saturday, June 8th: Unintended rest. I planned to go to yoga. But I didn't make it. I needed sleep.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Breakfast at Compote

I love that we have so many great restaurants in Portland. One of my favorites for breakfast/brunch is Compote. I discovered it a couple of years ago while shopping for glasses next door at Blink. I always order the poached egg stack with greens. The eggs/greens are served over your choice of hash browns or polenta. I get the hash browns on the side and give them to H, along with a side order of housemade chicken sausage. Compote is super cute and friendly, and they brew a really delicious cup of pour-over coffee. With a few tweaks, you can easily find some paleo choices. They also serve a few made-without-gluten baked goods, along with toast, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, etc. (in case your dining companion prefers bread and sweets).

We stopped in Friday for a late breakfast with our friend Carla who is moving to California in a couple of weeks. After H polished off her meal, we went to Foxfire Tea (I bought green tea and some apricot yerba mate) and then on to Moon Brine Pickles. I always see Moon Brine at the grocery store, but this was my first time tasting the products. We tried two types of pickles, along with pickled carrots and cauliflower. Yum! I bought one jar of pickles and one jar of cauliflower. The owner was really nice, too. I really appreciate the opportunity to buy a jar of real pickles directly from the guy who makes them. Portland is awesome.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Keeping track of progress

Yesterday's post on the comparison trap got me thinking about my own workouts over the past few years and how/if I have actually improved my level of fitness overall. Considering I was pregnant two years ago at this time, it is really hard for me to tell. I am stronger than I was one year ago, but am I stronger than I was three years ago? I don't know. I'm not much of a record keeper, but if I had actual data I would know. So, I'm going to try keeping records for a while so I can monitor my progress. Some of my workouts (like yoga and TRX) aren't exactly set up for collecting data, but my other workouts are. I should be able to keep track of my time and my rounds (if applicable) and the amount of weight I am lifting and skills I am performing ... it is just a matter of writing things down and/or taking a photo of the white board. I'll post my workouts here once a week (probably Saturdays, since Sunday is almost always a rest day) to make it easy (I know I would not keep it up if I were using pen and paper, and I'm not much of an app user).

A year from now, I should be able to look back and see (theoretically) whether I have improved. This will go a long way toward comparing myself to myself rather than comparing myself to others. I'm also going to think about setting some measurable goals ... I've had them in the past, but I haven't been working on them lately.

The two goals I'm going to work on first: pull-ups and double-unders. I just want to do one pull-up. I'm close. I think if I work on it I can get there by sometime in July. As for double-unders, I can do them -- just not consecutively. For now, I just want to do two in a row.

Do you set specific goals and/or keep track of your workouts? How does this data help you?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The comparison trap

Do you compare yourselves to others at the gym? I sometimes do. 

Look at her. She is so much stronger than me. She runs faster than me, completes more rounds than me, lifts more weight than me. Why can't I do that? Why am I so weak and slow?

This is such a waste of my energy! The only person I should be comparing myself to is me. Who cares if I can't deadlift 150 pounds? My five rep max is 20 pounds more than it was at this time last year, and I am only 10 pounds away from deadlifting my body weight. So what if I can only burn 21 calories on the Airdyne in one minute? Last time I only got to 18. I am making progress based on my own numbers, and that is all that matters.

The comparison trap is dangerous and counterproductive. I have been making an effort lately to avoid it, and I think it really helps me get more out of my workouts. If I am paying attention to what someone else is doing, how can I focus on myself? How can I get stronger and faster? How can I learn new skills and reach my own goals? I can't, because I am making it about someone else rather than me.

Strong and fast is relative. I work out with some amazing women with some really impressive skills and athletic abilities. I cannot necessarily do the things they do, and that is OK. The goal is to find my own definition of strong and fast and to strive to do my best. Not their best.

With all of this said, I do think there is value in emulating people you admire. If someone has a skill or ability you admire and desire for yourself, ask how they acquired that skill or ability. You might not achieve exactly what she achieved, but perhaps you'll gain some knowledge that will help you achieve your personal best?

Finally, please remember that nobody is judging you because you only completed five rounds in an AMRAP while everyone else completed six. If your gym is anything like mine, people are cheering you on and encouraging you no matter what round you are on or no matter how long it takes you to get through the workout. It isn't a contest. Really, it isn't. Some people are motivated by competition, and that is fine! But if you end the workout feeling bad about yourself simply because you couldn't keep us with so-and-so, that is not motivation. That is self-deprecation.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday's workout + sleep

I am so, so thankful for my friend Mary. Mary comes over to my house twice a week and plays with H so I can go to the gym. She has helped me stay sane! Without her help, I doubt I would be able to remain so consistent with my workouts. I know there are gyms out there with childcare, but I am very loyal to my gym. I would never give up everything they offer in exchange for childcare somewhere else.

This is what we did yesterday (after a warmup of floor work, two laps around the building and some body weight drills): First, the Airdyne challenge. One minute for max calories. I made it to 21. This is three more than last time, so even though this is the lowest number in the group I am still happy with it. The workout was four rounds of seven kettlebell squats (each side), seven toes to bar, one slam ball sprint and a 30-second wall sit with two minutes of rest between each round.

Lately I've had a really hard time even making it through some of the workouts (one day last week I seriously contemplated giving up before completing all my rounds), but today was different. I managed to squat with my kettlebell swing weight (instead of one below), and I even did a few toes-to-bar (usually I just do knee raises). Also for two rounds I did the slam ball spring with a 40-pound ball instead of the 30-pounder. It didn't really feel all that difficult for at the time (well, except for the Airdyne), but an hour later my legs were shaking. Ouch.

I'm crediting my workout success to last night's great night of sleep. NINE STRAIGHT HOURS! Even when H sleeps through the night (which is off and on; lately off), I usually wake up. And sometimes I can't get back to sleep. It is rough. But last night, I went to bed at 10pm and slept all the way through till 7am. I heard the birds chirping and saw the sunlight peaking through the blinds when I woke up. I was so disoriented because I am just not used to this anymore. I even had time to get up and take a shower before H woke up ... she slept until 8am! Nice. Dear Baby: Can we repeat this please? Thank you!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Paleo grocery shopping

Monday morning was absolutely beautiful here in Portland. I wanted to spend it outdoors, but I had to go grocery shopping. We were out of everything. When you have a toddler, there is no putting it off because the opportunity to shop on any given day is limited -- it really needs to be checked off the list before naptime. For us, the nap ends right around 4:30pm. Just in time to prep dinner, play outside and (on Mondays anyway) head to the gym. So, morning shopping it is.

For a change of pace, I decided to go to different store. Actually, same store/different location. I feel like I go to the closer location all the time, and I know many of the employees by name. They know my daughter and we chat with them a lot while we peruse the aisles. I actually really like it this way, but yesterday I felt like being more anonymous.

Because people often ask me what I buy at the store and what I feed my daughter, I thought I would share a list of today's purchases. I tend to buy the same items over and over again, and I rarely make a list or plan specific meals anymore. We just shop, cook and eat.

Anyway, here is my list ...
  • Seventh generation baby wipes (two packs): 8.98
  • Sunspire chocolate chips (two bags): 10.98
  • Woodstock organic raisins (three bags): 14.97
  • Woodstock organic shredded coconut (two bags) 6.98
  • Frontera green salsa (two jars): 9.98
  • Earth's Best baby food (five packets): 7.50
  • Santa Barbara Olive Company black olives (three jars): 7.77
  • Olive oil: 9.49
  • Farmhouse Culture raw organic sauerkraut: 6.99
  • *Local whole cream: 4.39
  • *Fage yogurt (two containers): 7.98
  • Organic Valley pastured butter: 6.99
  • Organic cauliflower: 3.76
  • Organic Fuji apples (7 pounds): 16.00
  • Organic broccoli (several bunches): 8.35
  • Brussels sprouts: 4.63
  • Asparagus: 8.63
  • One yellow onion: 1.18
  • Organic red grapes: 6.70
  • Organic bananas: 2.45
  • Organic cucumbers (two): 2.98
  • Iceberg lettuce: 2.65
  • More organic cauliflower: 3.44
  • Sweet potatoes (4.5 pounds) 8.70
  • One yam: 1.11
  • One honeydew melon: 5.43
  • Two pounds of ground beef: 11.09
  • Boneless/skinless chicken thighs (three pounds): 18.15
  • Rotisserie chicken: 7.99
  • Two Tanka bars: 5.00
  • One Kits Organics Fruit/Nut bar: 1.59
  • One hot tea: 2.00
* I rarely eat dairy, but my husband likes cream in his coffee and he and our daughter love Fage yogurt, so I buy both regularly.

Grand total = $226.30

Like I mentioned in a post last month, my grocery bill often seems really high and I sometimes cringe when I swipe my debit car. Part of the reason I do this, though, is for the sake of convenience. I could save money if I shopped at multiple stores and I actually I used to make several stops before H was born. Taking an active toddler from store to store and getting her in and out of the car seat over and over again is not fun or efficient and just does not work. The less expensive stores won't work for a one-stop shopping trip, for obvious reasons. So for now, this is our reality.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How I make taco meat

I'm a big fan of Melissa Joulwan's Well Fed cookbook. Actually, it is the only paleo cookbook that I own (unless you count the imposter book on paleo desserts that I bought last fall, which I don't) and I find myself turning to it over and over again. So far, I haven't disliked any of the recipes I've tried. It was a great cookbook investment. The Chocolate Chili, the Cinnamon Beef Stew with Orange Gremolata and the Pad Thai are our favorites. 
After making some of the recipes several times, I started to experiment to give them my own flair. Somehow, this led to my discovery of the best taco meat ever (or at least the best-tasting taco meat I've ever made). 

You'll need to take a look at the recipe yourself, but here is what I did to make this taco meat. I skipped the coconut oil. I replaced the oregano with cilantro. I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder and I replaced the allspice with cinnamon times two. And after I added in the tomato paste, I stopped. Essentially, I simply left out the liquids. And there you have it. The best taco meat ever. Yum!

You know what to do with taco meat, so I'll leave out any further instructions. If you make it, let me know what you think. Oh, and I should probably mention that my 19-month-old loves it!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hunger strike

Up until a last week, my 19-month-old (who weighs in at 23 pounds) had a voracious appetite. We're talking six pieces of chicken sausage for breakfast, along with two eggs and some fruit. She would easily put away two servings of leftover meat and veggies at lunch. And at dinner time? An entire sweet potato, along with a sizeable portion of protein, was not enough to satisfy her. She ate and ate and ate. And ate. Mealtime took forever.

Now, all of a sudden, she eats like a bird. A nibble here, a nibble there. Yesterday, for example, she barely finished one egg in the morning. We went out to do some errands and shopping, and even though we were gone for about three hours she didn't ask for food the entire time. Back at home, she ate two olives, a small handful of raisins and a few bites of sauerkraut before she went down for an afternoon nap.

My daughter suddenly eats like a bird.

Our pediatrician warned me about this phase, and based on conversations with friends it seems very typical for this age group. So, even though it is a bit shocking (how could she NOT be hungry?) I am not concerned. I'm sure she'll hit another growth spurt soon.

Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy this time of bird-like eating. Less time in the kitchen! Smaller restaurant bills! No need to stop for food every time we are out and about! I am loving it. The downside: she now despises her high chair. She'll sit in it peacefully just long enough to finish her three bites of food. After that, she wants "up" and she wants up NOW. We don't usually allow her to get out of her chair right away because we are usually still eating. We expect her to learn that she needs to sit and wait until everyone is finished. She doesn't like it, and I don't like the protests. But I guess that is just too bad for both of us -- nobody said it would be easy to teach a toddler proper manners.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The 2013 WordCount Blogathon starts now!

I'm not sure what has gotten into me, but I just made a commitment to blog every single day in June as a participant in the 2013 WordCount Blogathon. Every single day. This feels overwhelming and impossible to me, especially considering that I've only managed to write nine (10 if you count this one) blog posts so far this year. But I am going to do it anyway. This year marks the sixth annual blogathon and my second time participating (I also participated the first year, back in 2007). I am nervous, but I am also excited to establish more of a writing rhythm. I miss my freelancing writing career and I miss my awesome writing colleagues, but I don't have the time or energy right now to work as a freelance writer. I'm hoping that this will give me some sort of connection the career and friends that I miss, and perhaps it will help me figure out how I can make space for writing in my life again?

So, what I am going to blog about for 30 days straight? Well, I don't know for sure. I have ideas ... topics that are on my mind and on my heart. Some are baby- and paleo-related; some are not. Some of my posts will be long; some will be short. Sometimes I might just post a photo or a quote or link. All I know is I am going to post every day, even though it will be challenging. And I'm doing this for me and me alone ... of course I want people to read my blog and to like my posts, but that isn't the main objective here. I'm just blogging because I want to write.