Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Our Best Friend

It has been a long time since my last post. Our amazingly wonderful--and strict Paleo--CaveDog, Tiger, passed away just before Halloween.  She was a key member of our little family, my Sunday-cookday companion, and primary taste-tester.  Since she passed, I haven't felt much motivation to post. I've made every effort to drown out the quiet in our house on Sundays and instead catch up on reality TV. Probably not the healthiest choice (for my brain cells) but it was the best I could do.

A few days ago, one of my very best friends sent me this photo:

Tiger convinced the girls she was allowed on the futon/guest bed
and then took all the pillows and blankets

It is the background on my cell phone and a reminder of all the funny things our Tiger-dog would do. Receiving this picture made me want to come out of hiding, and re-start this blog by preserving the memory of our "best friend with fur."

Not only was Tiger a blanket hog, she was a couch hog, too. She could make her 58 pounds expand to take up any amount of space. FYI: my initial rule was "no dogs on the couch." See how long that lasted?

Tiger at our first apartment shortly after we got her.
She first came to live with us when my brother moved to a new city.
Tiger pretty much did whatever she wanted.  CaveBoy was her pack leader and, like most dogs I know, she thought she was second in command. When CaveBoy was away, Tiger took full responsibility for my safety. She listened to my commands, but I could tell she was only humoring me.

She spent most of her time on the couch, on her dog bed, or in a sunbeam on the carpet.  Tiger loved to sunbathe and we partially selected our new townhouse location because it had an East-facing balcony that she could lounge on without worrying about nosey neighbors.

Outside our last apartment. She loved to lay
in the mulch, especially after a bath.
Despite being independent, and strong, and fierce, she was also the cuddliest dog I've ever met. Tiger loved to curl up at my side with her head in my lap, or in the crook of my knee. She always wanted to be the big spoon when we watched TV, waiting for CaveBoy to get home from work. It didn't matter where in the house we were, she was always right there with us: curled up on the bath mat, asleep in the closet, squeezed under the bedside table...

Curled up on the floor with CaveBoy after a long day and night of work.

Tiger was especially attached to CaveBoy. He was her person. She would get jealous and sigh and mope until we made room for her between us on the couch. 

Tiger had a real personality. She threw a mini-celebration every day when we came home from work, bounding 5 feet in the air and sprinting around the living room.  

...I could go on for pages. I have five years of funny, silly, wonderful stories. She was a great dog, and truly one-of-a-kind. We miss her every single day. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stewed Beef and Acorn Squash

Ok, I admit. I am not a fan of the sudden cold. But I promise not to complain about the temperature in every post from now until May. Pinky promise. Besides, there is so much about Fall that I absolutely love. I love Thanksgiving, and little kids in Halloween costumes, and pumpkin flavored things. Oh how I love pumpkin flavored things! Squash, in general, is a family favorite.

I was excited to see acorn squash at the grocery store, and grabbed 5 for our lunches. The Whole Foods also had a huge stack of grass fed stew meat. But, because was making chicken noodle soup for dinner this week, I didn't want to eat beef stew for lunch. I decided to to make stewed beef, with all the flavor of beef stew, but none of the broth. It turned out delicious! AND I got to practice the reduction technique I plan to use to make Thanksgiving gravy.


4 lbs grass fed stew meat
2 yellow onions - diced
8 oz mushrooms - sliced
2 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons rosemarie
1 tablespoon garlic powder

5 large acorn squash
3 strips thick cut bacon - diced
chili powder


Combine stew meat, onion, mushrooms, stock, bay leaf, rosemarie, garlic, salt, and pepper in the slow cooker. Cover and turn on high. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender. I let mine go all day.  Once the beef is tender, scoop out all of the solids using a slotted spoon. Discard the bay leaf and set the rest aside.  Pour the broth into a large skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue boiling, stirring more frequently as it reduces, until the liquid becomes a thick sauce.  Remove from heat.  Pour over the stewed meat and veggies and stir until coated. Makes 10 servings.

While the slow cooker does its thing, cut each acorn squash in half from top to bottom. Remove seeds. Arrange acorn squash halves on a baking sheet.  Divide the diced bacon among the 10 halves, placing in the center of each squash.  Dust with chili pepper and black pepper. Place in a 400 degree oven.  Cook until the squash is tender, about one hour. Makes 10 servings.

Doesn't that look amazing?
I just realized my camera has a "cuisine" setting,
so expect high-quality photos like this one in future posts.
Nutritional Information

  Cal Fat Carb Protein
Stewed Beef 580 37 6 54
Acorn Squash 116 3 22 4
Total 696 39 28 58
Percent   0.51 0.16 0.33

Monday, October 8, 2012

Paleo Chicken "Noodle" Soup

Who approved this weather?! 

We went from summer to late-late fall in one day and I am totally unprepared. Last year at this time I weighed significantly more and wore a much larger size. So, most of my winter clothes are saggy, baggy or frumpy. Not. Cool. Luckily I had one pair of jeans and a North Face sweatshirt to get me through the weekend. 

I am holding out hope that this is a temporary cold snap and stubbornly refuse to turn on the heat. Instead, I've been hanging around the house in oversized sweat pants and the hoodie-robe CaveBoy bought me for Christmas last year. Trust me, it's super cute. CaveBoy isn't so lucky. Rain or shine, wind or rain, hot or cold, he's out in the world doing his job. So, I decided to make something for dinner this week that would warm him up.

I've been experimenting with spaghetti squash and wondered if it would make a good noodle for soup.  It does! It obviously doesn't have the same texture as egg noodles. It's more like Lipton Noodle Soup. The mild squash flavor doesn't make a big statement, allowing the chicken and herbs to shine. This soup is perfect for a cold fall day. 


1 large spaghetti squash
16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs - cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large yellow onions - diced
1 large bunch of celery - diced
7 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons herbs de provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf


In a large pot, saute diced onions and diced celery in olive oil until they start to release some of their liquid.  Add chicken chunks and mix.  Allow the chicken to start to cook on the outsides.  Add chicken stock, herbs, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer while the spaghetti squash cooks in the oven.

Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature so that it is safe to scrape.  Add the spaghetti squash "noodles" to the soup, mix completely, re-cover, and allow to simmer until the chicken and veggies are tender, about an hour. Makes 8 servings.

It looks a little like mush, but it tastes delicious!
Cooking this soup made the whole house smell amazing and CaveBoy was thankful to have something so warming for dinner when he got home.

Nutritional Information:

Cal Fat Carb Protein
Total 365 18 18 38
Percent 0.45 0.20 0.41

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lamb & Beef Kefta and "Hummus"

Starting today CaveBoy and I are fortifying ourselves against back-to-school-colds and damp-weather-ick by eliminating dairy and inflammation inducing oils, along with all processed foods with even a hint of added sugar or harmful additives. If you're interested, we are following the guidelines of the Whole30 program.

In practical terms, following this program means that we will only be eating food prepared at home for the next month. So I need to step up my game!

Over the summer our good friend made a delicious spread of paleo appetizers, including roasted cauliflower hummus, and I have been thinking about it ever since.  Because I was in the mood for raw veggies--and ranch dressing is off the menu--I decided to build our entire lunch box around this delicious dip.

I found this recipe for cauliflower hummus online, which gave me an idea of the ingredient ratios, and I based my seasoning profile for the kefta on another recipe I found after a quick google search.

Lamb & Beef Kefta

2 lbs ground lamb
2 lbs ground beef
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Large pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.  Divide into 10 equal portions, and then divide each again twice, for a total of 40 equally sized portions. Roll into elongated meatballs of equal thickness.  Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Don't you want to have this in your lunch box?

        Cal        Fat   Carb    Protein
L&B Kefta 432 30* 0 35
"Hummus" 118 10 6 4
Veggies 31 0 6 3
Total 580 40* 12 41
*The fat content of the Kefta is a little misleading.  A large portion of the fat is left in the pan after cooking, but I am not quite sure how to capture that here.

Roasted Cauliflower "Hummus" 

1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup tahini, well mixed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash and break-down cauliflower into equal sized pieces.  Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a few shakes of salt and pepper.  Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until browned (and softened).  About 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  In a food processor, puree cauliflower, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice until it has the consistency of a thick paste.  Shake in salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste, and continue mixing until completely combined.

Note: this is my first attempt at this recipe and, while it tastes amazing, I think I can do better.  I will continue my research and update this post if I decide I like different ingredient ratios.

Update: I re-worked the hummus and posted the much-improved recipe here. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Key Lime CavePie

I would love to say that I invented this amazingly delicious, paleo key lime pie, but I cannot.  I have to give credit where credit is due.  Last week, I was playing around with a gelatin-based strawberry coconut milk pie-type recipe (that I haven't quite perfected) and my good friend CB asked if I had considered key lime.  She is a genius. She also coined the CavePie term, which I have embraced despite my suspicion that she is mocking me...

I was further inspired by two genius bloggers who are much more creative than I have been, to date.  The pie crust is based on a recipe from Jan Can Cook that I found on Pinterest, and the pie filling was stolen outright from a paleomg.com lemon bar recipe.

But I was the one to assemble it all in one place. So. You're welcome.

Key Lime CavePie

Key Lime CavePie

For the Crust:


1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/4 cup coconut oil


Melt the coconut oil and honey in a skillet over medium heat. Brown the coconut, stirring continuously.  Once it has reached a uniform golden brown, transfer into a greased pie plate (I used spray coconut oil to grease the plate).  Allow the mixture to cool to a point where it is safe to touch, then press into the plate with your fingers.  Place in the refrigerator to cool while you make the filling.

For the Filling:


5 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup key lime juice
1 tablespoon honey


Whisk all ingredients together in an unheated sauce pan then place over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken.  Lift from the heat and continue whisking until the filling is thick. Transfer into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Pull out the cooled pie crust and filling and spoon the filling into the pie plate.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Makes 6 servings.

This pie has been a universal hit!  I took one to ladies movie night and it received rave reviews. CaveBoy's only suggestion for next time was to double the amount of filling.

Nutritional Information

       Cal        Fat   Carb    Protein

Total 1629.82 151.26 52.97 34.27
Serving 271.64 25.21 8.83 5.71

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Who Needs Croutons? I've Got Bacon!

CaveBoy and I have been overwhelmed lately with work and end of summer activities (those holiday weekends aren't going to celebrate themselves).  So "easy to prepare" has been the most important quality for our weekly meals.  Enter the salad.

Earlier this summer, we spent a long weekend at Club Med, Sandpiper Bay basking in the Florida sun, sailing and paddle boarding daily, and taking full advantage of the all-inclusive meal package.  This included a 3 PM chicken caesar salad snack.  While the bottled dressing was full of ingredients I normally avoid, the experience reminded me how much I love a good caesar salad. Fast-forward to the end of the summer, and voila.

Look at those chunks of bacon!

Cal       Fat       Carb       Protein
667.4     39.5      9.2        79.5 

For the dressing, I mixed one serving of Annie's Naturals Organic Caesar Dressing and one tablespoon lemon juice to make the salad easer to toss.  I then sprinkled one tablespoon parmesan cheese and salt and pepper, then topped it all off with bacon croutons.  Each salad also included one grilled chicken breast.  

For the bacon croutons, I cut Wellshire Farms thick cut bacon into small cubes and cooked them in a large skillet until they became crunchy but not burned.

Here they are, just getting started.

All finished. See how crunchy and delicious they look?
I cooked all the bacon (and grilled chicken) ahead of time so I could just rinse the lettuce and assemble each salad at meal time.  Of note: I found that this salad is also delicious dressing-free.  I needed a quick packed lunch one Saturday, so I tossed the ingredients (minus the dressing) into a container and ran out the door.  The saltiness of the bacon and parmesan made up for the lack of dressing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Feeding An Army (of 2)

CaveBoy and I are doing our best to squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of summer.  This means using the grill as much as possible to cook our weekly meals.  We have had a lot of success packing burgers in our lunch boxes because they heat up well, they taste great hot or cold, and they aren't messy to eat.  We grilled chicken breast for dinners. I chopped my chicken into ceasar salads and CaveBoy ate his with bacon roasted brussels sprouts.

We switched up our normal scrambled eggs and sausage meal, replacing it with egg salad and ham, to keep things interesting.  We've found that introducing one new flavor each week helps limit our temptation to toss out  a boring meal and run through a drive-through.  

For this week, CaveBoy's meals totaled 3100 calories per day.

        Cal        Fat   Carb    Protein
Breakfast 512.00 27.27 39.10 28.60
1 large sweet potato and 4 fried eggs
Post-WOD Snack 357.90 22.82 9.80 24.99
Chicken sausage, 2 boiled eggs, berries
Lunch #1 562.66 24.40 99.00 51.52
4-egg salad and 3 slices of ham
Lunch #2 508.43 20.62 5.44 69.94
beef+turkey burger and grilled veggies
Dinner 659.00 27.39 17.14 81.03
Chicken breast and bacon roasted brussels sprouts
Snack 520.00 32.00 56.00 12.00
Nut and berry trail mix

My meals totaled 1750 calories per day.

        Cal           Fat   Carb    Protein
Post-WOD Snack 154.00 10.60 1.10 12.50
2 boiled eggs
Breakfast 436.94 28.69 7.43 34.52
4-egg salad and 1 slice of ham
Lunch 508.43 20.62 5.44 69.94
beef+turkey burger and grilled veggies
Dinner 667.43 39.51 9.20 75.90
Chicken ceasar salad

This was an especially big shopping week for us. Not only did we need to buy groceries for five days of packed lunches and easy-to-reheat dinners, we also needed two days of packed lunches and snacks for the weekend.  So, this week we bought 3.25 lbs of ground grass-fed beef, 3.5 lbs of ground turkey breast, 16 chicken breasts, 2 lbs of bacon, 6 sweet potatoes, 2 lbs of squash, 3 packages of brussels sprouts, four packages of ham, and 9 dozen eggs, along with various snack foods, fruit and veggies.  

Our grocery cart is no joke! 
So, our Whole Foods bill was particularly high.  That has been one of the most significant hurdles to overcome as we make the transition to a primal lifestyle.  Besides getting used to the physical sensation of eating so much more food, I've also had to get used to the grocery bills.  In the end, when we avoid significant medical bills because of our focus on health and nutrition, it will be worth it. But I would be lying if I didn't tell you I sometimes feel "sticker shock" in the checkout line.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday PM Snack - The Best Paleo Cookies Ever

Ahhh Saturday.  After a long week of long hours at my desk, I love Saturday.  This morning's workout was short but crushing (kettle bell swings and rowing, after rope climbs - 6 months ago, that would have seemed impossible!).  Now after a hot shower, a left-overs lunch, and a mini nap, I am settling in to watch the Olympics.

These athletes are amazing, and confident, and young, and seem to be having a blast!  It is inspiring and humbling to watch them perform at such a high level.  I had the same feeling a few weeks back when we watched the CrossFit Games.  My coach held a little gathering at the box to watch the games projected on the whiteboard.  To show my appreciation, I whipped together a double batch of The Best Paleo Cookies Ever.  They were a huge hit!

I got the recipe off of pinterest.com.  If you are not already a member, I recommend joining.  There is a ton of information on there, dutifully categorized by the users. Sure, some people pin too hastily and you'll end up seeing a super-cute pair of pink stilettos in the "Fitness" category. But so what? Maybe those stilettos are inspiring someone to be fit!

This recipe, for The Best Paleo Cookies Ever, comes from a wonderful blog called Multiply Delicious.    The author calls them paleo-banana-chocolate-chip-cakies, but once you make them, you will understand why I changed the name, and added more chocolate chips. 

2 large ripe bananas, mashed
4 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons apple butter (I like Dutch Country Kettles sugar free)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pinches of salt
2 1/2 cups almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill. Someday I will have a food processor to make my own)
1 bag mini chocolate chips. (Multiply Delicious recommends Enjoy Life but my WholeFoods doesn't carry that brand. So I used Ghirardelli - not exactly primal, but I'm doing my best.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix first 7 ingredients until smooth. Mix in almond flour until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. How easy is that?! Spray two baking sheets with coconut oil and portion out the dough. I two teaspoons (one to scoop and one to push) like my co-worker showed me. She has past experience working in a bakery, so this advice is legit. Makes about 36 cookies.

Aren't they cute?
Bake until tops are brown.  These cookies are soft, so don't expect them to "stand up" when you poke them. But they will become firmer as they bake. The real trick is to let them get dark but not burned.  Depending on cookie size, about 10-15 min.  Let them sit on the pan for about 10 minutes then  stack them into a storage container and refrigerate.  The cold helps them firm up for easy grabbing at a party.

And here is the nutritional breakdown: 

             Cal              Fat            Carb        Protein
Two Mashed Bananas 242 0.9 62.1 3
4 Tbsp Almond Butter 360 32 12 14
2 Tbsp Apple Butter 40 0 8 0
2.5 cups Almond Meal 1600 140 60 60
1 bag mini-chocolate chips 1330 85.5 190 19
Total 3572 258.4 332.1 96

Per Cookie





Not too bad, as long as you control yourself and only eat about 4 a day. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Paleo Spaghetti

CaveBoy bought me a kindle fire!  It's OK, you can be jealous.  Between the fire, my Mac, and the TV, I won't miss a minute of Olympic coverage.  Did you know the events are streaming live?  Thank you NBC. Now I don't have to wait for prime time coverage to watch swimming and I don't have to worry about NBC cutting over to men's gymnastics in the middle of women's synchronized springboard.  Sure I'm a CrossFitter now, but my first love is the pool. I swam competitively for 10 years and even played a little water polo. So, I love the Olympics, it is the only time water sports are shown on TV.

Sometimes I wonder how much more successful I would have been as a swimmer if I had given up grains back then; how much faster I would have recovered from our 3-hour-marathon-sessions in the pool if I wasn't so chronically inflamed by by diet.  It was the 90s, so we spent a lot of time "carbo-loading" before races.  We probably would have done much better if we had eaten primal spaghetti instead.

Last week, I made a huge batch of primal spaghetti for CaveBoy and I to eat for week-night dinners.  Everyone has their favorite meat sauce, and as long as you don't add sugar (don't laugh, there is sugar in a lot of bottled sauces, so I am sure somebody makes it that way...) a nice meat sauce is primal without any modifications.  Here is the sauce I made last week:

4 lb ground grass fed meat,
1/2 lb ground turkey breast (it was left over in my refrigerator and I didn't want it to go to waste),
1 large bunch of celery, diced
2 large yellow onions, diced
1/2 cup Pesto Diavolo (to add some spice - I only had 1/2 cup left in the jar, but like to use more)
1 small can tomato paste
1 large can diced tomatoes

Brown meat in a large pot, do not drain.  Add diced veggies and cook until tender. Add tomato products. Cover with a splatter screen and simmer for at least one hour. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic, to taste. Makes 10 servings.

Here is the nutritional breakdown 

Cal Fat CarbFiber Protein
4 lb beef 3200 176 0 0 352
1/2lb turkey 240 2 0 0 56
Celery 132.6 1.43 24.7 13 5.72
2 Onions 211.8 0.52 50 6 5.2
1/2 c. Pesto 150 10 15 5 5
Tomato Paste 150 0 48 8 16
Diced Tomato 150 0 36 12 6
Total 4234.4 189.95 173.7 44 445.92







I used fitday.com to determine the nutritional values of the ground beef and turkey, celery and onions. I then added that to the information on the packages of the tomato products to determine my total. I divided the totals by ten to determine the per serving nutritional information.  This is a pretty low calorie dinner, especially for CaveBoy, who eats a lot more than me, so I had to be sure to pack him an extra-large lunch.

For the pasta, I used spaghetti squash, which is super easy to prepare.  First, halve the squash (the long way) using a serrated knife.  Be careful. Spaghetti squash can be difficult to cut - like a pumpkin.  Then clean out the seeds and place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet. Add water to the pan, to about 1/3 the height of the pan lip (so not very much water).  Bake at 400 degrees until the flesh is soft when you poke the skin.  Use a fork to scrape the insides. It looks exactly like angel hair pasta!

Here is the nutritional information for two spaghetti squash:

Cal Fat Carb Fiber Protein
2 Squash 950.9 52.1 128.1 27.5 13.1
Serving 95.09 5.21 12.81 2.75 1.31

The meal was very tasty, but we found that we're just not "spaghetti people."  We ate it for two dinners and then got bored and portioned the left-overs into freezer bags for another day.  That has been the hardest part about planning ahead for the week. You have to want to eat the food five times.  Primal spaghetti is a family favorite, but CaveBoy and I can only eat it for two meals.  So, it is something I need to make and freeze, or make as a one-time meal on the weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Is CrossFit a verb? Pre- and Post-workout nutrition

Two posts in a row!? I know what you're thinking, how did I get so lucky? Well, I took a day off from work to hang out with CaveBoy because he has a policeman-schedule and his day off is today.  So, I had an amazing workout at the CrossFit box (and made a breakthrough at toes-to-bar) and then went to the pool. My day rocks! Now CaveBoy is taking a nap and the house is blessedly quiet. 

The CrossFit Games were recently held and (spoiler alert) the 2011 men's and women's champions were both re-crowned in 2012.  How would you like to be titled the Fittest Man/Woman on Earth two years in a row?!  Watching them compete made me think. Even though they are the Fittest on Earth, they didn't win every event. They still have their "goats," as my coach would call them, events where they struggle.  (Of course, their "struggle" is my best-day-ever-at-the-box-PR-paloza, but we're not taking about me right now.)  No matter how much you achieve in CrossFit, there is still room to improve. 

People call yoga a "practice" because even the masters have their off days, and have areas that need work.  I take the same approach to CrossFit.  It is something that I work at, that I plan for, that I try to improve upon every day.  If I am out of balance, or in the wrong head-space, it shows in the WOD--in my technique, in my time, in my ability to push heavy weight over my head--but if I am centered, and focused, I can achieve almost anything I set my mind to do.  And I have found that throwing 100 lbs of iron up over your head and then chucking it at the ground will alleviate any number of stresses and frustrations (just FYI) so it pays to be focused.

I like to workout in the morning.  I have the kind of unpredictable job that keeps me on my toes. It also often keeps me at the office far longer than I plan.  On any given day, once I step into my cubicle, I cannot be sure when I will step out again.  So, I have found that taking care of myself before the workday starts is the only way to stay consistent.  CaveBoy, on the other hand, has a shift-work schedule.  He starts later in the day, but still works out before heading to work, because everything (except WalMart) is closed when his day is done.

Because I workout so early (6AM!), I drink coffee and water before heading to the box, but don't eat.  I tried eating a little bit (one egg, a few nuts, etc) before the workout, but felt like I was going to need one of those big orange buckets after a few hard WODs (if you catch my drift), and decided to stick with coffee. CaveBoy works out at noon and has enough time to eat a full breakfast before his WOD.  After the workout, we both have a snack (mine at 715AM, his around 130PM), although his is much larger.  Then I take my time getting ready for work and drive in to the office, eating a real breakfast at my desk around 9 AM. 

Here is what our pre- and post-WOD nutrition looked like last week:

CaveBoy Meals         Cal        Fat   Carb       Protein
Breakfast 512 27.27 39.1
Lg Sweet Potato 162 0.27 37.3
Four Fried Eggs 350 27 1.8
Post-WOD Snack 462.9 40.82 8.3
Italian Sausage 285 30 1.5
2 Boiled Eggs 154 10.6 1.1
1/2 cup berries 23.9 0.22 5.7

CaveBoy's post-WOD snack.
For his breakfast, I pre-bake his sweet potatoes, and then he fries up four eggs.

CaveGirl Meals         Cal        Fat   Carb
Post-WOD Snack 154 10.6 1.1
2 Boild Eggs 154 10.6 1.1 12.5
Breakfast 236.8 14.14 3.1 25.42

Turkey Breast 48 0.4 0 11.2
2 Fried Eggs 175 13.5 0.9 12.5
Spinach 13.8 0.24 2.2

My Breakfast, eaten at my desk. Two scrambled eggs, spinach, and ground turkey.
CaveBoy eats a double-sized portion of this for his first lunch.
See, he eats a lot more than I do. But it's not a competition, right?

CaveBoy vs. CaveGirl

CaveBoy and I have opposite fitness goals.  Where I am looking to banish another 10 lbs of fat from my body, CaveBoy would love nothing more than to gain 25 lbs of lean muscle.  This means we slap high-fives for different reasons after jumping on the bathroom scale, and it means we have different nutritional needs.  We both follow the same primal diet, but he eats about twice as many calories as I do, every day, and needs more carbohydrates than my body can stand.

A good rule of thumb, that we follow, is to calculate 15x(your goal weight) to see how many calories you need. My goal weight is 130 lbs, which equates to 1950 calories per day. That's a lot of food! And I had to get used to eating so much when I first started following this nutritional plan.  Before now, I was following the eat less (about 1200 calories/day) exercise more, plan, to no avail.  I honestly felt like I was force-feeding myself the first few weeks, and had to ease into eating so many calories, by adding 200 calories per day, each week, until I felt more comfortable with the portions.

CaveBoy wants to gain weight, so even though he weighs about 180 lbs (equating to about 2700 calories per day) that's not sufficient for the amount of work he does at the gym - and out in the world as a police officer.  So, he has to eat much more.

Our daily break-out looks something like this:

CaveBoy: 3000-3500 calories, 50% fat, 20% carb, 30% protein
CaveGirl: ~1800 calories, 50% fat, 10% carb, 40% protein

I cook and portion all of our food for the work-week into grab-and-go containers; this sometimes requires mental gymnastics.  I try to prepare foods that we both like, can both eat for five meals, and that fit our needs.  CaveBoy requires bigger portions, and more carbohydrates, which translates into more meals and more sweet potatoes, every day.

For example, this past week looked like this:

A week of portioned breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.  Dinner was still on the stove.
I do big work on Sundays.

CaveBoy Meals              Cal              Fat            Carb        Protein
Breakfast 512.00 27.27 39.10 28.60
Post-WOD Snack 462.90 40.82 8.30 32.49
Lunch #1 479.00 29.16 4.00 53.60
Lunch #2 675.32 27.83 22.94 79.18
Dinner 518.53 24.21 30.18 45.90
Snack 360.00 20.00 46.00 6.00
             Cal                      Fat            Carb        Protein
Total 3007.75 169.29 150.52 245.78
Percent 0.50 0.20 0.30
CaveGirl Meals              Cal                 Fat            Carb        Protein
Post-WOD Snack 154.00 10.60 1.10 12.50
Breakfast 236.80 14.14 3.10 25.42
Lunch 640.32 27.83 14.94 78.18
Dinner 518.53 24.21 30.18 45.90
Snack 219.66 17.70 13.00 7.00
                          Cal              Fat             Carb        Protein
Total 1769.31 94.48 62.32 169.01
Percent 0.48 0.14 0.38

I use fitday.com to calculate calories/fat/carb/protein and plan ahead for each week.  For example, this past week we ate spaghetti squash with meat sauce for dinner each night, so I calculated how much ground beef, ground turkey, and spaghetti squash I would need to purchase to meet our nutritional goals.  After a few weeks of using FitDay, it was easy to see that for a week of portion-controlled meals, I would need 5-6 lbs of meat for lunch and for dinner.  That translates into about a pound of meat per day, per person.  That's a lot of meat! 

I get strange looks a Whole Foods with a cart full of grassfed and free range meat, eggs, vegetables, and little else.  But, I don't care. The results speak for themselves. My weekly kombucha keeps up my cred with the raw-food/vegan crowd, and besides, I don't see them throwing heavy iron over their heads every day at the CrossFit box. So, they can judge me later.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Skinnier than Senior Year (of High School) aka My CrossFit/Paleo/Primal Story

Last October, my husband (CaveBoy) and I joined our local CrossFit gym.  We started training 5 days a week, unless work or travel got in the way.  We also started to modify our diet.  I had tried the diet in Tim Ferriss's Four Hour Body with promising results, and was intrigued by the nutritional guidance I was getting at the box.  Not wanting to drink a whole pitcher of cool-aid at once, I decided to do my homework and research the Paleo diet everyone else was following. I read Gary Taubes's Good Calories Bad Calories and it changed my life.

As I scientist, I was sickened by the shoddy research practices that led to the unsupported nutritional guidance we've been receiving from the government.  I had spent the past 10 years feeling like a total failure because my every effort to "eat less and exercise more" had been unsuccessful in generating weight loss.  I realized after reading Taubes's research that it wasn't how much I was eating, but what I was eating that prevented me from losing weight.  I had already eliminated sugar from my diet, years before, so it was clear that grains and legumes were the problem.  I stopped eating wheat, oats, corn, rice, beans etc this winter and the results have been amazing.

CaveGirl before CrossFit
This morning

Before starting CrossFit, I weighed 169.2 lbs and was about 32% body fat.  Today, I weigh 138.4 lbs, less than I weighed as a high school athlete.

I know I still have a lot to learn about CrossFit, nutrition, and feeding a family. So, I'm creating this space to share ideas, recipes, achievements and setbacks.