Saturday, January 4, 2014

How I eat - Prepping for the week!

Hello and Happy New Year!

January 4th, 2014 and I am trying to come to grips with the coming year and what I would like to see happen during it. That seems too overwhelming right now, so I thought I would take a little detour. Since Sept 2013 I have been working hard at eating right and taking care of myself again. For a few years now, I have been treating myself pretty poorly. I was under stress from work and had chronic pain from my scoliosis. I "self-medicated" using food and alcohol to get some respite from the pain and sometimes to just get to sleep. 
In September, after getting some disastrous blood test results and a stern lecture from my doctor, I decided to give this my attention. 
By the way, I hear all the time about how doctors will not tell patients they are overweight and need to lose weight. Really? Mine refused to discuss any symptoms I had related to joint pain, hot flashes, fatigue etc until I lost weight. She flat out said, "You are overweight and all your issues will lessen and most likely go away, when you loose the weight. She printed out the diabetic diet which has no carbohydrates or sugar whatsoever and said follow this... so I did.
After researching everything I found a great book called "Its Starts With Food" and decided to give it a try. It is a "paleo" diet which means you eat as if you were living in a pre-agricultural era. No grains of any kind, no dairy, no sugar and no alcohol. But to eat this way requires work... so here is how I manage  to keep on track with my busy schedule.
Every weekend, usually Sunday afternoon I spend a couple of hours cooking for the whole week. That way building my lunches is fast and I don't have to worry about dinner or snacks. 

Here is what I did today as an example:
1. Shop - I usually shop at the grocery store but since I am in the city this weekend, I went to the farmers market. I buy produce but also, beefalo meat and eggs too... you can get almost everything there.
They set up in an office complex parking lot in Walnut Creek. 

Not Avocados - EMU eggs! Told you - you can find everything here.

My favorite - Mushrooms!

Pretty and tasty grape tomatoes

Citrus stand - I bought a cava cava orange there and man it was awesome!


cava cava

Colorful and tasty!
Back home - eggs, almonds, beef, bacon etc

Washing up

2. Prep - here is how I take everything you see and more and make my life easy. First wash off and dry all the produce. Yep even if you aren't cooking or eating it right now, wash it and get it ready to go.

3. Cook - Fire up the oven! I put as much as I can in the oven at one time. It saves time and energy.. so I will be cooking beets, meat and other root veggies at the same time. It takes a little bit of practice with the temp and timing but it saves time. I will usually crank it up to 425 and put the root vegetables in for about 20 mins before putting in the other items like chicken when I lower the heat.

First up - 1 package of chicken breasts - 5 total that I cooked for about 40 mins at 375 degrees. I season them really well because I use these for my lunch salads during the week so i like having the flavors.
Seasoned and ready to go in the oven

Done!

When cooled off - cut them up into bite size chunks.

I put one breast into a zip bag and this will be for my lunch salad

Stack them in the freezer - grab one and it will defrost just perfectly by lunch time.
My lunch is usually a salad with lots of fixings and always protein so these work really well.

Next up - cook those vegetables that you know you should eat but you don't have time to cook during the week. Beets (for my lunch again), sweet potatoes, butternut or other squash are great for this treatment. Cook them all at one time, store them in the refrigerator for the week to use with dinner or lunch.
Beets - these scare people because they are dirty and can stain. Here is how to cook them easy!

1. Cut the greens off but leave a bit attached to the beet.
2. Soak them in water and scrub lightly with a produce brush just to get the dirt off. (Best $1.50 you will spend, you don't need anything fancy.)
3. On a baking sheet put down enough foil to form a pouch over the beets.
4. Pour on some olive oil, salt and pepper.
5. Wrap up in the foil and put them in the oven...
Beets - olive oil and seasoning on them already to make a pouch.

Acorn squash works as well this way - this is before cooking.

After they are cooked (45 -60 mins at 425 degrees, depending on the size of the beets) leave them in the pouch for a while to steam.. at least 15 mins but 30 is fine too. Then open and let them cool to where you can touch them.
All done and unwrapping to let 
 How do you peel a beet? Well you don't use a knife or a vegetable peeler, just use a paper towel.
Rub the towel over the beet and the skin just falls off!

Done - fast and sweet and super healthy!
I also cut these up and portion them into containers for lunch and dinner. Remember the goal is at 6am you can pull everything out for your lunch without thinking!

i also boil a few eggs every weekend, they are a quick bite of protein and work on salads or as a snack. You want to know the secret to "hard-boiled" eggs? You barely boil them.. really.
Put the eggs in a pot and cover with water, put on high heat uncovered and bring to a boil. Time the boil for 2 mins, remove from the heat and cover with a lid for 10 mins. Run cold water into the pan after that to continue the cooling and when cool to the touch remove from the water. Let them sit out and finish drying so about 20 mins or so.. and then peel! Peel comes off super easy.. store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Boil for 2 mins
Let stand 10 mins and then run cold water over them to stop the cooking.

After air-drying, just peel and store
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All this takes about 2-3 hours on the weekend but it saves me a ton of money since i don't have to buy lunch in San Francisco everyday. And it has really worked to keep me on track with just completing my 4 month of eating this way, guess what? I have lost enough weight to stop the joint pain, the fatigue, the hot flashes and my hair is growing back. My doctor knew what she was talking about and I want to thank her for telling me the truth and not giving me medicine for these things until I tried to fix things the right way.

Julie