Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I want this - treadmill desk!

Treadmill desk from CNN article
I wonder how long it will take for more companies to try out alternative desk options?
Once I get a treadmill desk, will it be too much to ask to go barefoot too?

Oh, employment - you allow me to feed myself with delicious, nutritious foods while slowly shortening my hamstrings while sitting at this desk.

I think a standing or treadmill desk would improve my work satisfaction at least 50%, if not more.  What would improve yours?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fish Oils - we may have tried them all!

While cleaning out our desk in preparation for moving, Ryan ran across our fish oil bottle stash.  There was a time when we were planning to review the different brands by cost and content.  But I am not convinced there is much of a difference among these, at least none that I have personally noticed.  I did find this picture amusing though.  And no, the bottles are not moving with us.

We Did It! 100 Days Without Caffeine

Actually, we’re now a few days past 100, and still no caffeine.

It’s funny.  A few weeks into our challenge, I would’ve stabbed someone for a cup of coffee.  I immediately planned to drink a cup of decaf on day 101, but as time passed, so have my cravings.  Halfway through our challenge, neither of us really had any cravings.  Sure the occasional smell of coffee would elicit some desire for a cup of Joe, but I've gotten to a point where a whiff of coffee doesn't even evoke a response (not all the time, but it’s happened).  We’ve agreed that drinking caffeinated coffee is unnecessary to our lives and the benefits do not outweigh the consequences.  However, we do plan to add decaffeinated coffee back into the mix.  Sure it still has caffeine in it, but fairly small amounts and if consumed in moderation we’ll be okay.  The only question will be once we begin to drink decaf, will the coffee cravings come back?  Will I freak out and go into a crazed, coffee-seeking conniption when I catch a whiff of some deliciously strong coffee?  Will I begin to drink more and more decaf until I’m consuming several cups a day equaling the caffeine of normal coffee?

No.  Unlikely.  Since going paleo and then taking it even further by completing our 45-day challenge, I’ve noticed a change.  My willpower is much stronger than it used to be.  I can now hang out in a room full of people gorging on cake and cookies and not even take a bite.  Even more impressive, is that I’ve proven that I can have a bite (if the situation warrants it), and not take a second, or third, or hey what the heck, why not just finish the damn thing.  Yeah, that was Ryan circa 2 years ago.  Stacey’s seen it, and it aint pretty.  Today, I’m a little better.  So going forward, a little decaffeinated coffee will be a nice treat.  No need to freak out.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The MyPlate Challenge?!

If you've ever done a paleo or Whole30 challenge, you might find this interesting, and sad: the MyPlate Challenge.

Interesting because the lessons learned seem to be similar to when we completed our 45 day paleo challenge:
  • Planning makes success easy!
  • Cooking skills improve!
Sad because this person is trying to follow a plan they perceive to be healthy by ensuring each meal has all the "food groups" represented; grains for breakfast, lunch and dinner - ouch.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paleo Onion Steak Recipe

Growing up I hated onions.  I'm still not very fond of raw onions, but I've gotten to the point where I can tolerate and sometimes even enjoy onions when they're cooked.  With that said, I just paleo-adapted a recipe for Onion Steak and absolutely loved it!  The resulting onion gravy had a delicious flavor unlike anything I've ever had before.  Plus, if you're like me, you're always looking for excuses to bust out your new pressure cooker (our semi-new toy that I'm beginning to think is a must have in any kitchen).  If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can still prepare this dish in a dutch oven or large pot, but you'll want to cook/simmer this for a lot longer, and you might want to buy a more tender cut of steak.  Otherwise, here goes:

1 tbsp of olive oil
4 large onions, peeled and sliced
1.5 lbs of grass fed round steak, cut into 6 pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup of beef stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
Dash of dried red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of coconut flour

1.  Use the oil to coat the bottom of the pressure cooker.  Cover the bottom of the pressure cooker with half of the onions, then layer the meat on top, then top with the rest of the onions.  Add the spices and stock.  Lock the lid into place and heat until you create pressure, then maintain pressure for 14 minutes.
2.  Quick-release the pressure and remove the lid.  Remove the meat to a serving platter, and keep warm.  Add the coconut milk and coconut flour to the onions and broth in the pressure cooker.  Stir and simmer until the onion gravy is thickened.  Pour this over the meat, and enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Farmer's Market Haul

During the winter months I really miss saturday morning trips to our farmer's market, the Green City Market.  Living in Chicago, the first couple weeks of market season are pretty lean, spinach and rhubarb - maybe some asparagus.  All good stuff, just limited.  This weekend I could tell the tide is starting to turn, there seemed to be more variety, very exciting!

This is the first year I plan to take full advantage of all the meat available at the farmers market!  Pastured pork, I want pastured pork!  There are a lot of meat vendors, so I am taking them down one by one. 

This is our haul from Saturday:

Meats from Meadow Haven Farm
  • 2 lbs grass fed ground beef
  • 1 lb pastured ground pork
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 dozen pastured eggs
Also picked up some pastured butter (Yes!  We are trying out butter), baby turnips, kale, spinach and asparagus...

And this is the delicious breakfast we ate after our market trip

Asparagus & Spinach Scramble with Bacon

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Crossfit Games - North Central Regionals

Who knew watching people work out would be so much fun!?

Last weekend we went to watch our friend George compete in the Crossfit Games North Central Regionals, and were simply amazed.  Never have I seen that many incredibly fit people in such a small space.  It was truly surreal.  The event was held in a large conference center on Navy Pier in Chicago, and even as we walked along the pier we could tell who was there for the crossfit games and who was a tourist.  When the high socks, sharpee markings, and matching t-shirts didn't give them away the sinewy muscles did.

George powering through the overhead squats

We stayed for a few hours and were able to see George's team compete in the team competition which was to complete 250 reps of chest-to-bar pull-ups, 250 reps of kettle bell swings, 250 double-unders, and 250 over-head squats.  Even watching the last place finishers power through this workout was nothing short of inspiring.  As a spectator, I was reminded of my high school track days, and longed for a chance to compete again.  It looked like a lot of fun.  Arduous and painful, but fun.  While, I'm probably years away from even being able to qualify for a regional crossfit event, I can say this:  Stacey and I's workouts have been slightly more intense and inspired ever since then.  Thank you to all those who competed.  Your efforts were an inspiration and a marvel.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I can't believe we're gonna eat butter!


For some reason the paleo lifestyle seems to lead to a lot of self-experimentation.  We’ve done it with coffee in the past, and next up is butter!  For us, paleo has always meant removing all dairy.  Butter wasn't available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, so obviously it is something we should not eat.  But the more I read about grass-fed butter, the more I want to try adding it into our diet.  We have been happily living without butter for quite awhile now, using coconut oil or bacon fat for cooking.  But as I learn about the nutritional profile, and remind myself that this is not about reenactment but eating for how our bodies are built - butter is looking like a better option all the time.

Butter - it's got some good stuff.

When I am talking about butter, I am talking about grass-fed butter - a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), Vitamin A, Vitamin E and beta-carotene.  Yes, please.  It also has a better balance of Omega 3/6's than conventional dairy products.  The main butter drawback is the casein content, which seems to be the thing that could lead to inflammation, if we are sensitive to it. 

I found "summer butter" at our farmer's market this weekend.  It is made by the Nordic Creamery and only made from April thru October while the cows are on pasture.

So, bring on the self-experimentation.  We're going to find out just how butter makes us feel.  And if it feels good - we can continue to enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits of grass fed butter!  Although you will not find me packing sticks of butter to enjoy as an airplane snack food, I prefer to cook with my butter, not gnaw on it.