Friday Favorites

Hoooooray for Fridays! In anticipation of the weekend, I thought I’d share some bits and pieces of things in my life that I’m absolutely loving lately.  These things never fail to bring a smile to face.

Cat bearding. Seriously. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, stop whatever you’re doing and search #catbeard on Instagram.  It’s so wrong in so many ways but I just die laughing.

My failed cat beard attempt.

Failed cat beard attempt. My poor cat….

Gymboss.  I have been wanting an interval timer forever and finally have one! I especially like that it looks & feels like a ’90s pager.  Every time it vibrates and beeps I’m temped to make a huge scene in the gym like I just got an emergency page. If only I had the stones to actually do it…. Be on the lookout for a fun Gymboss giveaway I have coming your way.

Kickin' 1990s style complete with neon.

Kickin’ 1990s style complete with neon.

Vega Energizing Smoothie.  This made my favorites list for two reasons.  1.) My breakfast isn’t complete without it, and 2.) I’m lazy and this is a great way to get nutrition in a glass.  Breakfast is a meal that I really don’t like spending much time on.   With this shake (it’s not smoothie in my book) I get to start my day with two servings of veggies, protein, fiber and Omega-3.  Plus it’s gluten/dairy free.  I like a bit more protein so I still eat either eggs or turkey sausage with it.

Vega

Vega Energizing Smoothie. I’ve gone through 3 1/2 bags of this in 8 weeks…

Freshly cut grass.  Did I just admit to that? Whatever. I don’t care if you know I’m weird like that.   I love it. It instantly reminds me of summer and floods me with memories from growing up.  I don’t know why, but I have Minnesota (where I spent a lot of my childhood) attached to that smell.

The beach.  I guess because I live on the coast most summers I don’t have much of an interest in going to the beach.  I mean I run it ALL the time but never just go and hangout.  However, I’ve already enjoyed several days this year of lounging around with my Nook and I plan on enjoying several more.

Super windy trip to the beach.

Super windy trip to the beach.

Woodchuck Hard Cider.  No, this isn’t real food and yes, I realize that this is absolutely nutrient void.  I don’t drink Woodchuck Hard Cider very often but when I do, one word: YUM! This gluten free cider is the perfect compliment to my hubby’s fantabulous grilled steaks.  I recently discovered the summer version which has just a hint of blueberry.  Plus it’s paleo approved which makes me feel a bit less badly about imbibing it.

woodchuck

Question:  What are you loving lately?

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So Easy a Caveman Can Do it? Well, Kinda.

Roughly six weeks ago I posted about how I was going to fully embrace the crossfit experience which included going Paleo(ish) – my version of Paleo eating.

To say I was nervous about how restrictive Paleo is is an understatement. Since I already eat clean, I’m used to quite a restrictive diet already but Paleo was taking away some of my beloved staples like grains, dairy and legumes.

paleo

Instead of freaking out and feeling like I couldn’t eat anything, I gave myself some wiggle room. I decided that it was ok to have one serving of dairy and/or grains a day with the intent of not eating any.  Remember, I was going Paleo{ish}. This wiggle room worked out great for me and I actually only ate a total of three servings of grains (no dairy) during the first two weeks and I was able to cut it out entirely.

the-paleo-diet11The first two weeks were definitely the most challenging.  So easy a caveman can do it? Ummmm, maybe.  But this modern, clean eating girl struggled.  I knew that I relied on grains, dairy and legumes heavily in my diet but I had no idea how much I relied on them.  During those first weeks I felt drained, like someone had stolen my batteries.  I was still doing short mid-week runs and Crossfit but the first time I went on a long run (10 miles) fueled the Paleo way, I tanked.  It was terrible and I felt super sick, light headed and my vision was a bit fuzzy; I ended up calling it quits after 8.75 miles for safety reasons.  As soon as I got back to my car and ate something I felt much better.  My system was lacking carbohydrates big time and just couldn’t sustain the energy my body needed for the run.

I did some research on how to properly fuel runs with Paleo and found lots of conflicting information. Joy. But there was at least one common recommendation: sweet potatoes. All my life, I have never liked sweet potatoes. I know *gasp*. But I knew if I really wanted to take this seriously, I would have to get used to them.  So I did some searching and found a recipe for sweet potato chips. {Enter my new found love for sweet potatoes.}

Once I discovered sweet potatoes, that kind of took care of my carb issue. It didn’t fix the feeling I had of being drained though.  I decided to track my calories one day using My Fitness Pal and I was shocked to see that I was 600 calories short for the day. Unfortunately, I had been unintentionally starving myself.  Even though I was eating a ton of food each day I realized what I had done was replace my higher calorie dairy, grains and legumes with lower calories vegetables and fruits. Whoops.

After doing some adjusting with my food, by week three and four I really felt like I hit my Paleo groove.  I started to see a few changes with my body; I noticed a bit more muscle tone and didn’t feel bloated like I often had.  I have always had some problematic acne on my back (bacne – ewwwww) and that cleared up as well.  Apparently I have a slight dairy or gluten allergy.  Also during weeks 3 & 4 I stopped missing my carbs and dairy which is something I never thought would happen.

So what did I eat? Whole foods.  LOTS of whole foods.  Eggs (9 dozen of them to be precise) were my go-to protein source. I had them for breakfast and snacks.

eggs egg 4 omelette scrambled eggs

Protein (esp. chicken) in just about every form you can imagine.

chicken

And an insane amount of fruits, vegetables and nuts.  The only pre-packaged food I ate was Larabars, canned nuts, some beef jerky and Vega’s Energizing Smoothie.

larabar

Vega

Oh, and I may have snuck a bite or two of some deliciously dark chocolate. Don’t judge…

chocolate

I discovered some pretty cool Paleo sites (PaleOMG and Nom Nom Paleo are fantastic for recipes).  I did some experimenting in the kitchen, found some new recipes I love and a few I hated. {side note: If you’re a blogger, PLEASE make sure your recipe is actually tasty like you say. It’s incredibly frustrating to waste good ingredients on a bad recipe.}

When I started Paleo eating, I had fully intended on returning to clean eating after the month ended.  However, it ended two weeks ago and I’m still going strong and don’t have any plans on going back to the grains and dairy.  I still have some tweaking that needs to be done (making sure I get enough calories & that I’m properly fueled for long runs), but I’m happy with this new Paleo(ish) lifestyle.

Question: Have you ever taken a challenge only to surprise yourself by continuing it once it’s over?