Thursday, December 12, 2013

Required Reading - This Week's Links

Links. Lynx. Get it?
This morning I came across two articles that I think are worth sharing. In my day job, I work in marketing, branding, strategic communications, websites, and the like. In my night job(s), I work with food and in the fitness industry. It's a bizarre thing to see my day job industry doing strange things to my night (read: passion) jobs.

Gaining Ground 
As an assistant to a chef (and as an intelligent consumer of food), I really value the quality of food, the thoughtfulness by which each ingredient was raised, harvested, and chosen. Too often, we don't stop to think about how this food was made, where it came from, and what it SHOULD cost. I know I talk a hot second about making affordable meals, and I still believe it is possible with quality ingredients; but I want to be clear that there is a fine line between cheap food and affordable food. Cheap food is just that - cheap. Affordable food requires thoughtfulness on seasonality, locality, and planning. The reality is that a burger shouldn't cost a dollar. It just shouldn't.

To that end, here is an article written by Forrest Prichard called "How TV Has Made Us Stupid About Farming" which is worth a read. I mentioned Forrest's book in my gift guide for paleo lovers. I strongly recommend reading that book and seeing what it takes to have a farm...and why it's so important to continue and increase our support of local farms.

This recent article by Forrest talks about the intersection of my two worlds: marketing and food/health. My day job doesn't do very polite things to the farming industry and I'm ashamed to have fallen into the trap of making the very stupid assumption that farming is "simple." Some of my family members farm and I can assure you that it is neither simple nor easy.


On the other end of the news, CNN is reporting that FDA hopes to curb antibiotic use on farms. Reading the story made me flash back to when I wrote white papers and fact sheets for the FDA regarding contaminated lining of cow's stomachs in milk...and what percentages were acceptable (oh my god, hold me, how gross is that thought??)

Chadd teases me because I say that I won't eat eggs from birds that aren't organic, free range and all of that nonsense because I don't want the egg from a chicken that is forced to eat filth (which can include itself and other [live] chickens). If I made a loaf of bread from garbage and some random stuff I found sitting around, with a couple ounces of human flesh thrown in, would you eat it? No. Neither would I. Please apply this concept to the food you do eat.

I certainly hope the changes the FDA is enacting move toward making our food more clean...and that larger operations don't find a way to work around this.


Finally, this was passed around my office today. When a 102-Year Old Lady Talks Like This, You Can't Believe Your Ears. What a joy is she?? My own grandmother is currently very sick and it's sitting heavily on my mind. When I watched this video this morning, it made me a little teary. Her humor, excitement for life, and above all HER FITNESS LEVEL, HELLO, are inspiring. 


What did I miss in the media this week?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Weekly Menu and Grocery Haul

Chadd and I braved the snow storm on Sunday night to go to Costco and Safeway. I wish we had the receipt from Costco, but we spent about $210 and came home with:

- 2 pound of salmon ($20)
- 5 tilapia filets ($15)
- 6, 1.5-2lb bags of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (5 thighs per bag) ($22)
- 10 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($20)
- 4 pounds ground beef ($18)
- 7 1/2 dozen eggs ($8)
- Giant tub of coconut oil ($15)
- 14 Fuji apples ($8)
- 14 Gala apples ($6)
- 2 gallons milk (for Chadd only)
- Heavy cream (for Chadd)
- Large bottle of sea salt ($5)
- Toilet paper

So, if we're talking paleo, our Costco bill came out to: $190

We took everything home, divvied up the meat into meal-sized portions and put most of it in the freezer. This should last us for the next month, at least.

I'm aiming to price out each of our meals, but I failed to impart this to no receipt. I've given rough estimates of cost to the above.

For Safeway, we came home with:

Unsweetened applesauce: $2.50
Walnuts: $4
No sugar added apple juice: $1.67
Slivered almonds (to make almond flour): $6.79
8 packs of frozen veggies: $15
Bacon: $7
Duck (this was a special treat for us): $14
1.5 pounds beef for stew: $5.25
1.5 mixed ground beef, veal, and pork: $4.50
1 pound ground veal: $5
1.5 pound ground lamb: $7.60
2 pounds frozen shrimp: $17
.9 pounds asparagus: $3.50
1.25 broccoli - $1.89
2.3 pounds grapes $4.5
2 bunches parsley - $2.98
Celery - $2.38
Strawberries - $4

Total: $105

When we go to Safeway, I spend about a half hour before hand going through the Safeway app and choosing the coupons on it. I'm sure it's a total scam, trying to get info, but doing that and reading the weekly circular in that app saved us a total of: $68.46. That's a lot of money!

Tonight, I spent a lot of time cooking for the rest of the week. I made paleo tomato soup (which, honestly, isn't amazing, I need to work more on the recipe) as well as carnitas, which will probably appear in some lunches, snacks, and dinner.

My week got a little changed up with the snowstorm and our work schedules, so here is what wound up happening for our weekly meals:

Sunday night: Taj Mahal Chicken (Well Fed 2) with cauliflower
Monday lunch: Taj Mahal Chicken leftovers
Monday dinner: Hill Country (BBQ!)
Tuesday lunch: Taj Mahal leftovers
Tuesday dinner: rosemary lemon salmon and asparagus
Wednesday lunch: Tomato soup
Wednesday dinner: Carnitas (Paleo Slow Cooke)
Thursday lunch: Carnitas
Thursday dinner: Beef stew
Friday lunch: Carnitas, tomato soup, or beef stew
Friday dinner: Chicken with the leftover curry sauce from meatballs and the curry earlier in the week
Saturday: Pork tenderloin

The biggest tip for going to the store and shopping is to plan out at least 2 weeks of meals. I bought all of our protein based on about 20 meals that I looked at and would plan to make. The only thing that takes weekly trips (for us) is produce, so I probably head to the grocery at least once a week for veggies and fruit. Save money by purchasing things in season - not because you want them.

The last thing is to make sure you make enough the night before  to have leftovers. It'll save you time more than anything else.

In other news...

My workout schedule looks like this:
Monday - Off
Tuesday - Spin and Yoga
Wednesday - Track
Thursday - Swim
Friday - Swim
Saturday - 6 mile run
Sunday - 1.5 hours on the bike

This is my second week back to training, so I'm already feeling a little bit of a time crunch just having the stress of needing to make sure I get home in time to work out, or go to bed early enough to wake up to train.

Annnnnd speaking of. Time to go to bed.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gear Report - Pearl Izumi

Full Disclosure: Earlier this year, I met a Pearl Izumi rep when we were both working at an expo. After chatting, he asked if I'd be interested in joining "Team Pearl" and testing out some gear. Of course, because PI is basically the gold standard of gear, I said yes. I received a pair of trail shoes, running shorts, a team running tech shirt, and a light weight team jacket for free. They did not require or request that I blog or talk about their gear - simply wear it when I worked out and raced if I liked it. I like it. Here is my review.


Road - EM N2
I met Jesse when I went to test out a pair of the EM project shoes at the expo. After Brooks changed the top box of the Pure Project, I set out to see if I could find something to replace them. At first fit, the EM felt a tiny bit heavier, but more stable. It's still a very light shoe. Bonus points for having crazy colors. When I reorder my shoes, I'll be getting these:

They fit true to size (I wear 10.5 because of my big fit and orthopedic inserts). If you are looking for a suitable replacement for the Brooks Pure Flows, this is a pretty good alternative. 

Brooks PureFlow, 8.4 ounces for a 10.5
Pearl Izumi EM N2 Road, 9.4 ounces for a 10.5

Trail - EM N2
I am not a trail runner. I have done precisely one trail race. It took me over an hour to do a 5 mile trail race. My normal five mile pace is somewhere in the low 40s. THAT BAD. But, Jesse shipped me these shoes and the suggestion to give them a shot on some of the off road portions of Ragnar. Prior to that race, I took these bad boys out for a test run around Rock Creek:

Mine are badass green and steel. The first thing I noticed in this shoe was the gripiness. Maybe it's in my mind, but the shoe felt very stable (something I need these days for my ankle). I liked them enough on my trial 5 miles that I took them to Vegas. I wore them for the entirety of the race (30.4 miles) and really appreciated the extra cushion in the shoe, which a lot of the light weight shoes tend to not have.

Pearl Izumi EM N2, 10.2 ounces

Shorts - Y Fly Split Short
I hate wearing shorts to run. I just do. I am a capri kinda girl. But when I tried these on, I was hooked. When these are dirty, they go right back into the wash so I can wear them again. I'll be buying these in bulk. They hit right on my thigh and have a nice range of motion, so I never feel like they're pulling when I run.
I love them so much that if you drop by my house on a random night of the week, you will likely see me wearing this and a sweatshirt in the kitchen. 

Jacket - W Infinity Jacket
I seem to be a connoisseur of running jackets. I have a ton of them. This fit the bill for something between a long sleeve running shirt and a heavier, technical jacket. It's VERY light weight - think of this as the "tissue tee" of running jackets.

It was great for the bizarre weather in Vegas (hot, cold, hot cold, coldish hot). 

Shirt - I can't remember what this is, honestly. I left it at my folks' house in Atlanta since I didn't need yet another short sleeve tech shirt and I'd be back in a couple of weeks. Chadd says I look good in it, but since I prefer to work out in looser shirts, I've only taken it for a spin once. Can't give you an honest review on a product I haven't really used. 

So. There you have it. If you're in the market, check out some of the Pearl Izumi gear. They did not give me the long cycling pants, long running pants, or capri cycle pants I have from them and I have no problem telling you that I love them.

Just a reminder on the full disclosure: They gave me some of this stuff for free (shirt, jacket, shorts and trail shoes). I was never required to talk about their stuff on my blog. They did not pay me for this post. They did not pay me to be an ambassador. If I don't like a product, I will either blast it on this blog, or I won't talk about it. So. There ya go.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gift Guide: 11 Perfect Gifts for Ragnar Runners

Earlier this week, I wrote a gift guide for Paleo and Whole30 folks, so to close out the week, I figured I'd make another gift guide for Ragnar Runners. If someone in your gift giving circle has taken the plunge and signed up for Ragnar, this list encompasses at least part of what they want and need for race weekend.

  1. Wee Flasher (LED Light) ($10)- When we were at the Adirondacks race, a Scotsman was a volunteer and called our LED lights a wee flasher. The name stuck. I stayed with the Nathan brand gear here because this is the one I use (though mine is pink). So far, I've not been disappointed with them.
  2. Hand Held Water ($19.35) - Again, another Nathan item. I think they must have bought all of the space on the running stores around me, since that's where I've picked up most of this gear. I really like this specific hand held. It stores my keys easily. If you want something that also holds a phone, I recommend another one of their hand held series which has a pocket for that.
  3. Cards Against Humanity ($25) - If you've played Apples to Apples, just imagine that game with horrific cards. Definitely Rated-R and definitely a must have for those down times with your team (even better for playing around a 6 pack after the race is over).
  4. Oozeki Isostrength Lite (29.95) - I LOVE this. I cannot remember where I bought it - some expo, I know that much. This is a great tool because it is very compact, but allows for active and isolated stretching, which I really need for my ankle and IT band. Your runner will LOVE this and so will their team.
  5. Sleeping Bag ($51.22) - Do NOT grab that old sleeping bag taking up space in the closet. That will not help anyone in the van. Bulky items are to be disposed of. Instead, invest in a compact sleeping bag like the one pictured here. I've enjoyed my Lafuma and it packs down to about the size of a loaf of bread.
  6. Headlamp ($29.95) - Though Ragnar only requires 2 headlamps per van, I always encourage my teammates to have their own. It doubles wonderfully at night as a porta-potty light and is generally helpful after dark. After testing a couple, I prefer the Petzl brand lamps.
  7. Nuun ($29.95 for a pack of 4 tubes) - Nuun is critical on our team. I don't like to drink sports drinks with sugar in them - they make me phlegmy (yum!). Nuun does not add sugar (they use stevia) and it's been the best hydration resource I've found.
  8. Foam Roller ($38.95) - Most runners already have a foam roller, but if when you add travel, it's time to grab a smaller option. One of my teammates has this model and we all love it. Since it's hollow, you can stuff it with whatever clothes you bring with you to save space.
  9. BioFreeze ($14.53 for two) - Move over Icy Hot. I much prefer BioFreeze and use this as a topical pain killer right before my third leg (insert Ragnar appropriate joke here).
  10. Scott James Jewelry ($35) - Scott James created a line of jewelry for Ragnar that I absolutely love. I have the Ragnar mountain charm and the ring pictured above. For the Ragnar fanatic in your life, this gift will have a lot of meaning. The jewelry is quality, even for the low cost. You can also put together a necklace with charms for each of the locations they have run.
  11. Reflective Vest ($27)- Each runner is required to wear a vest after dark - whether you are actually running or not. Since you spend a lot of time in this (and it's pretty important), I recommend getting a comfortable one. Again, after a lot of trial and error, I've found that my go-to is a Nathan series vest.
  12. Metal Hanger ($55) - I finally caved and bought this for myself. I'm really pleased with the decision. I've raced 11 Ragnars and many of those have earned me a double metal (or two or three). It's sturdy construction and comes in silver, black, and orange.

Ragnar runners....what did I miss?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Race Report: TXU Energy Turkey Trot 10k

It's hard to believe that a week ago, I was in the middle of drinking champagne and eating pie with my family. How I wish I were back there...

In any case, to earn my turkey this year, I decided to register for the TXU Energy Turkey Trot 10k in Houston.

I was a little apprehensive about registering for a race in another city with a bunch of different schedules to contend with, but my dad and brother both promised to find a way to get me there, so, registration was a go.

Packet Pick Up
PPU makes or breaks a race. If they handle packet pick up well, then chances are that the race will be well organized. I know this from my days with Color Run. Regardless, I went over to Luke's Locker (hello awesome), got my packet in less than 5 minutes, picked up some KT tape, body glide, and the obviously necessary: 

Grade: A+

Race Day
Man, it was COLD. Granted, I am always a little grumpy on cold running mornings, so I knew I just had to suck it up. Parking looked like it could have sucked, but we grabbed a spot just on the other side of the highway (God Bless Texas for highways being on bridges so you can walk under them)

Despite the cold, it was a gorgeous day. People were drifting toward the start line. I got into the gate and had a couple of minutes to tie my shoes, chat with the other very friendly Texans (you think runners are friendly? Try Texan Runners. SUPER friendly) and when the gun went off, I had about a minute before I crossed the mats.

The Race
You could choose a few options - 10k, non competitive (not timed), 10k competitive, 5k non and competitive, and a kids' fun run, which I believe was a mile. 

I really enjoyed my run. My ankle hurt a little, but nothing that the KT tape couldn't handle. I hit my first mile somewhere in the 8:20s and felt really good. I knew that my biggest problem was going to be keeping gas in the tank. I haven't raced a lot this year and I've gotten back in the bad habit of flooring it across the mats. 

One moment that he stuck with me was around mile 4 - it was quiet, most of the supporters were closer to the start/finish line - I looked up and saw a river of runners in front of me. It was just enough people that we could all run our own course, but large enough that the chorus of footsteps sounded like rain. That is one of my favorite sounds in the world. It was just cold enough that as we all exhaled, our breath turned into small clouds. The view from my run was peaceful. I felt incredibly thankful in that moment to be among them.

Post Race
Will met me at the finish line. It made me warm and fuzzy to see my brother there waiting for me. We ran through the finish line festival so I could have a banana and get yet another free water bottle. Mom and Dad had coffee brewing and FOOD so we stopped by Grandjoy's house so I could refuel.

My grandmother's cat has a coat. No joke. We were both freezing.


If you don't want to squint, here are the stats:
  • Finish time: 51:50
  • 1st 5k Pace: 8:29
  • 2nd 5k Pace: 8:13 (NEGATIVE SPLITS!)
  • Overall Pace: 8:21

Yes. My real name is Amelia.


I like ending on a high note, so I'll list the meh stuff first:
  1. Etiquette. As is the case with most Turkey Trots, there's a little lack of etiquette. A few walkers were up front at the start line, so there was a bottleneck. Are you going to walk the first mile? Move back.
  2. Water, water everywhere...but...While there were a TON of water stations (I think 5 in total??), there were a few times where there weren't enough volunteers to actually hand out the water.
  3. Meh Finish Line Festival. The finish line festival had bananas and a bunch of other sugary snacks. I just wanted a granola bar that wasn't made of chocolate chips, but the banana was good.
    1. Just for the race directors - there wasn't much thought about having the runners actually go through the festival, so I imagine that many of the vendors and sponsors felt a little miffed. There were a bunch of activities for the kids, so if that's your speed, have at it!

  1. It was a beautiful course. Maybe it's just me, but I loved running down Post Oak and seeing the Transco (now Williams) building RIGHT THERE. I kinda wish DC had big buildings after seeing this.

2. There were a lot of water stops. I really do like having water frequently, so this was nice.
3. I liked the shirts. There's a huge movement to get away from long sleeve, cotton shirts...but I really do like them. I use them as post run, pre shower gear. 

4. The people. I am a Texan. I love my people. Being around them, chatty, friendly, happy...I was in heaven.
5. The crowd was just right. Enough people to have energy, not too many people to be crowded and irritating.

If you find yourself in Houston on Thanksgiving, give it a go. It's a great race to do before the cooking craziness starts. Even the cons weren't really cons, just preferences.

Grade: A

How was your Turkey Trot?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Life and Times of an Athlete on a Budget

Oh December. Nothing like holiday travel, parties to host, shopping, and year-end sales to make you think about money. I recently got a better handle on my budget by working with a personal financial planner at LearnVest. I felt kind of like an idiot for waiting so long to find a financial planner. Strangely, I'm really excited about everything we talked about. As I expected, I'm better off than many people who made a lot of poor financial decisions....and I could also BE a lot better. Talk about new years resolutions...

A little backstory... I didn't sign up for Ironman Florida this year because it was just too expensive (and there are too many variables in my life for 2014 to be sure that I could train appropriately) and because of my ankle issues. When Jeff looked at my spending, he said I needed to cut back on extras. You know, dinner out or "wow, x person would love that! I'll buy it!" but, when we started tallying up other areas of my life for discretionary spending, we realized that my fitness budget is outrageous.

I offered up a challenge he could "task" me with - cut out the majority of my fitness spending. No gym membership, no box membership, no regular active release therapy, no regular yoga...nothing, if it didn't fit into my weekly "discretionary spending" - which brings me to about $80 a month. I'm not including the cost of my coach in this $80, so keep that in mind - my coaching budget was something I was unwilling to budge on. I was willing to cut our cable to make that happen.

I figured that there are certainly ways to do most of my training without paying for it. This makes *me* accountable for stretching, for pacing, for pushing myself, instead of relying on something or someone else.

Here is how I intend to do it.

1) Running. This is free. Get off the treadmill and go outside.

2) Biking. With a bike (derp), this is also free. As it gets colder, instead of opting for the spin bikes at my former gym, I'll use my trainer, even if it is a demon piece of crap. If any millionaires trainer making companies out there would like to sponsor me, I will sing the praises of your bike trainer product if you give me one. I'm looking at you CycleOps. I'll shill for a product I want/need/use.

3) Swimming. Thankfully, DC has indoor, free to residents pools. Time to fall in love with my swim cap hair again.

4) Body weight exercises. I want to pick up heavy things. I want to be encouraged by my coaches. I want to be with other people who almost kind of like burpees. But I can't afford the $190/month. I just can't. At best, I can afford a drop in class here and there. For now, I'll use my trainer brain and do body exercises. I am always interested in these "30 day challenge" workouts. So, to structure my workouts, I'll be using these:
Last night, I ripped out this:
10 rounds of:
- 30 second planks
- 20 sit ups (I wound up doing variations to keep from going insane)
- 10 leg lifts
- 5 pushups (low because my shoulder is still unhappy)
- 10 lunges on either side
- 15 squats

That totals to:
- 5 minutes of planks
- 200 sit ups or variations
- 100 leg lifts
- 50 push ups
- 100 lunges on either side
- 150 squats

Honestly...not a bad workout and my cats were excited to try and screw up my workout whenever possible.

5) Yoga. Because my ankle seems to do a lot better with yoga, this is where the majority of my budget will likely go. I am going to go once a week and then practice on my own at home and really invest my time with my foam roller, the stick, and active stretching band. 

We'll see how this goes and if I can actually work out as well as I did before without a strong budget for the gym.

Anyone else scaling back on fitness expenses while ramping up on workouts? I need your tips. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gift Guide for Paleo and Whole30 Lovers

It's that time of year. Temperatures dropping. Christmas trees filling windows...bloggers shilling.

It's my first annual, Diets Are Crap gift guide! Today's gift guide is a rough iteration of my recent Whole30 resources post, but a little more paleo friendly.

Note: I'm not popular enough to even be asked to shill, so take this post for what it is worth (free and unsponsored love of products).

Gift Guide for Paleo and Whole30 Lovers

1. A Good Set of Knives ($149.95) - I have a set of J.A. Henckles that I like a lot. I don't know if they are the exact set I have here, but your paleo loved one needs a good set of knives. 

2. A Good Slow Cooker ($39.99)- My slow cooker is no where near as fancy as this one, but a slow cooker with a temperature reader and timer for under $40? Sign me up. This Hamilton Beach model is pretty solid. My brother has used it frequently with great results. 

3. MEAT. (Variable) - I'm *almost* kidding here. If you have done a Whole30, you'll know that it is nearly impossible to find bacon without sugar. US Wellness Meats answered the call for sugarless bacon and a host of other grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free, and sustainable farming practice sustained protein. I haven't tried them yet - but they are on my 2014 must-try list. I hear nothing but wonderful things about them and if Whole9's folks are good with them, they're good with me. Go with a gift card wrapped in bacon.

4. Julienne Peeler ($8.21) - I have been skittish about making any type of "noodle" out of veggies because it seemed like such a hassle. I finally picked up a julienne peeler and was fascinated and enthralled by the results. I should have taken photos. I haven't tried other models, but why bother - this one is fabulous from Zyliss

5. Cuisinart Prep Plus Food Processor - 9 Cup ($126.65) - If you do not have one of these, just go ahead and put this in your Prime, overnight shipping basket on Amazon. I use mine probably daily, if not twice daily. This is the best for making mayo, sauces, pie crusts, making almond flour (yup, you can do that), creating pestos....the list goes on. Just go get one.

6. Paleo Magazine ($29.95 for 6 issues) - This is on this list because I am dying to subscribe. That, and Melissa from Well Fed (see #7) is a guest writer. 

7. Well Fed 2 ($16.73) - If you don't have Well Fed, the original, then, add that to the list, but if your paleo loved one has been paleo for any length of time, they probably already have Well Fed. This is an excellent Whole30 and Paleo resource. Delicious, name it, it's here.

8. Gaining Ground ($12.88) - I had the opportunity to meet Forrest when I was at my farmer's market a few months back. I bought the book and let it sit on the shelf for way too long. Forrest is a local DC area farmer who believes in sustainable farmer and really lead the movement here in DC. I finished the book in a matter of hours. It's well written, incredibly passionate, and just a fantastic read for anyone who cares about where their food comes from. You can buy it on Amazon.

9. Nom Nom Paleo ($22.14) - I haven't paged through this book yet isn't released! However, Michelle is publishing this on December 17th, so just in time for those last minute gifts. If you want a sneak peak of the cookbook, check out her blog

10. Ninja Blender System ($99.9) - There are a variety of Ninja blenders with different attachments. I bought this system for my brother for his birthday at the recommendation of my chef-friend, who said this would stand up against a Vitamix for literally a third of the cost (sometimes, a 5th of the cost!). I think this was something like what I bought for Will. Just make sure it's a Ninja. You may find if you get the set that comes with a smaller bowl, you'll not need a food processor.'

11. The Stick ($27.45) - This is basically the best/worst tool for any person with any type of activity in their life. Chances are, if your gift receiver is paleo, they are also active. My crossfit box had about 5 of these laying around. I have two at home. My Ragnar team travels with several. It's worth it's weight (and more) in gold. Experience self myofascial release with this stick

I've just had a request for a Gift Guide for the Paleo, stay tuned for that later in the week!

What am I missing above? I need to fill out my own Christmas list!

Just a reminder: one one paid me or asked me to post any of the above. These are products I like, I've used, I've wanted or gifted. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Whole30 Warm Up - Week 1 Menu

Ok, I just talked about doing the Whole30 warm up as the year heads to the end. I got home a few hours ago, poured a glass of wine (haven't started the warm up yet!) and emptied the contents of my fridge and freezer. There was some stuff that REALLY needed to go in there, so out it went.

I was left with a random assortment of stuff and instead of head to the grocery, tired and hungry, I figured I may as well clean out everything we have and plan to start fresh when Chadd gets home.

A note on this week's menu. One of the things that I hear all the time is that paleo and Whole30 is expensive...and that is true, it certainly can be. After this week, I'll be creating weekly menus based on a budget and what is in season and fresh in stores and at the market. What you WILL see this week is how to reuse meals for leftovers and not have wasted food (something we have struggled with)

Here's what our menu looks like this week!

Week One: Clean out the fridge, freezer, and pantry!

Day 1:
Monday Breakfast: Pumpkin Pancakes* (Practical Paleo)
Monday Lunch: Salmon Cakes (Well Fed 2)
Monday Dinner: Pork and Veal Bolognese over spaghetti squash (modified from Practical Paleo)

Day 2:
Tuesday Breakfast: Pumpkin Pancakes
Tuesday Lunch: Salmon Cakes
Tuesday Dinner: Bolognese

Day 3:
Wednesday Breakfast: Pumpkin Pancakes or Egg Cups (Primal Cravings)
Wednesday Lunch: Bolognese
Wednesday Dinner: Lamb Meatballs (Well Fed)

Day 4:
Thursday Breakfast: Pumpkin Pancakes or Egg Cups
Thursday Lunch: Lamb meatballs
Thursday Dinner: Pork Carnitas (Paleo Slow Cooker)

Day 5:
Friday Breakfast: Pumpkin Pancakes
Friday Lunch: Carnitas
Friday Dinner: Beef Stew

Day 6:
Saturday Breakfast: Egg Cups
Saturday Lunch: Leftovers
Saturday Dinner: Pork Tenderloin

Day 7:
Sunday Breakfast: Egg Cups
Sunday Lunch: Leftovers
Sunday Dinner: Pork Ribs

2014 Whole30 Warm Up

As I drove along with my parents on day 2 of a fourteen hour road trip with delicious food stops including oysters (paleo!) and beignets (...not so much), I decided it's time to capitalize on the holiday dread of weight gain and sluggishness, missed workouts and tight pants to start a Whole30 warm up.

Whole9 themselves just posted a great blog entry on why it's not a great idea to start Whole30 during the holidays. You can read it here: Thinking about a Holiday Whole30? Think Again.

I'd like to do a blogger carnival/internet/twitter Whole30 group starting on January 2 (yes, the 2nd). Meaning, full on Whole30.

Here are my initial thoughts on the holiday Whole30 warm up and why I personally will be doing it. There's nothing worse than doing a bang up job during the year with your diet and exercise, only to let the cold and holidays throw you off track. Whole9 writes this suggestion:
Try interspersing days of Whole30 in between special holiday occasions. The more you remember how good you feel when you eat healthy, the easier it will be to pass on those things that aren’t special.
Perfect! So, I'm going to be Whole30 at home. Holiday parties, if there is something I can't pass up? Ok, I'll give it a modified shot. When my mom makes the Rommel Family Trifle for Christmas? Pass me a plate. But, with the stress and chaos of the holiday surrounding me, I'm choosing to use Whole30 as the element that centers me.

I come home tonight around 6 - if I have the energy, I'm heading out to the grocery that evening to pick up all my supplies for the week of cooking. Chadd doesn't come home until Tuesday night, so Monday is the cook-a-palooza.

Coming up shortly...Week 1's menu, recently revamped after reviewing my freezer.

Am I totally nuts for doing this during the holidays? Time will tell. If you are interested in doing the warm up or the January 2nd strict Whole30, tell me!

Paleo and Whole30 Must Haves and Resources

This Thanksgiving, I attempted to make a full day of meals for my family that were Whole30 friendly so I could demonstrate just how GOOD this food is. While I was going through my grandmother's kitchen, I suddenly realized just how many unique ingredients have become staples in our kitchen at home.

So, if you are doing the Whole30 warm up or strict Whole30 with me, or looking to grab the essentials for when you're traveling to visit and cook in new and strange kitchens, I recommend the following:

  • Almond Butter
  • Almond Flour*
  • Arrowroot Powder*
  • Canned Pineapple 
  • Cayenne*
  • Chili Powder*
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Coconut Flour
  • Coconut Milk*
  • Coconut Oil*
  • Cumin*
  • Diced Tomatos (canned)
  • Paprika*
  • Red pepper flakes*
  • Rice Wine Vinegar 
  • Sea Salt*
  • Tomato paste (canned)
  • Tomato sauce (canned)

Fresh Produce:
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Jalapenos
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Tomatos

  • Chicken Breasts (boneless skinless)
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Eggs
  • Ground Beef
  • Ground Lamb
  • Ground Pork

  • Crockpot
  • Food Processor
  • Good Knives
  • Julienne Peeler

  • Elana's Pantry
  • Every Day Paleo
  • Nom Nom Paleo**
  • Practical Paleo
  • Primal Cravings
  • Well Fed
  • Well Fed 2
* If you don't want to fill your pantry with all of these items, at least get these. 
** This isn't out yet (I am COUNTING down the days to December 17th) but I am sure it will be amazing

If you're looking to make your family's Christmas shopping easier for you - you can send them this collection. If it looks sparse now, don't worry, I add to it every day. These are books and products I use daily and am not paid or encouraged to endorse. I just like them. 

If you eat paleo or Whole30, what are your must haves?