Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole


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My 30-Day Paleo Challenge – Week 1

I’ll start by saying this: living without pizza for a week wasn’t horrible.

I began my week by heading to the grocery store and spending 2/3 of my time in the produce section. Fifteen minutes in, my grocery cart looked like a farm stand.

Although my husband enjoys eating healthy, he has no plans to delete grains and dairy from his diet anytime soon, so I had to pick up some things for him too. By the time I reached the cashier I was terrified about how much it was going to cost. Quick side-note: I shop at Hannaford’s, which in New England-speak is the more expensive and organic-friendly supermarket – as opposed to Market Basket, which is cheaper but it’s a total mob-scene every minute of the day. I’ve decided the extra cost is worth my sanity. With that said, I only ended up spending about $10 more than usual.

I was happy with my grocery choices for the first week. I ate a lot of spinach, I learned how to cook kale soup (delicious, by the way – see recipe at the end of this post) and I discovered I love almond butter.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that I wasn’t hungry all week, which is something I typically expect to feel whenever I’ve started a new “diet.” For the first three days I was counting my calories on the “Lose It!” iPhone app. My runs sucked. When I complained to my buddy Christian about it, he told me to lose the calorie counting and make sure I’m eating enough to run, reasoning that along with my running schedule, I’m probably cutting out enough carbohydrates to assist weight loss anyway. My next run was much better.

In fact, my long run for the week was spectacular. For probably the first time ever, I woke up the day after my long run and didn’t have to hobble down the stairs to let the dog out. I would have even run on Sunday, if it wasn’t for the giant glass of wine I had with my cousin during lunch. Because it was such a sudden improvement, I do believe the higher quality of food has made this difference for me.

The biggest downside of Paleo so far has been breakfast and snacks. My normal diet consists of a lot of toast, peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, cereal, oatmeal and yogurt. Yeah i know, so many grains. So all last week I ate hard-boiled eggs and a banana for breakfast. And I even ate scrambled eggs for dinner one night (something I do pretty often anyway). I dont know for sure, but this may be too many eggs. I dont really want to overdose on eggs in two weeks because I’m not creative enough to think of something else to eat for breakfast.

My Crossfit-loving cousin Angela suggested a protein smoothie in the morning. I thought it was a great idea. She puts soy protein in hers, but since soy is a Paleo no-no, I found a good alternate recipe I’ll try as soon as I (finally) buy a blender for my household. It’s about time we get one, anyway, and my husband will be excited to make margaritas.

As far as weight loss, I did manage to lose 1.5 pounds this week. I have a feeling that yesterday’s lunch of miso soup and sashimi dipped in soy sauce (sorry, Paleo gods!) stepped up today’s water retention, so I may see a better number if I weigh myself in the next day or two. But either way I’m happy, and I’m feeling cleaner, more hydrated at the end of the day and there’s nothing wrong with that.

On to Week Two!

Paleo Kale and Sausage Soup Recipe

• 1 Bunch of Kale (or a medium sized bag – use any leftovers in place of spinach)
• 1-2 lbs. sausage (italian, bratwurst, whatever you like) – casings removed
• 5-6 cups chicken stock
• 1 Medium onion, chopped
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• optional: any other veggies you want (I put mushrooms in mine)
• Butter or Coconut Oil

In a large stock pot, melt butter or heat coconut oil. Add onion, garlic and any other vegetables to pan until the onion becomes slightly translucent. In a separate pan, brown the sausage (some will prefer to do this in the stock pot, but it will brown more quickly by itself). Add sausage to stock pot and begin to add chunks of kale, torn by hand. Let kale wilt a bit and then add chicken stock and seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Enjoy!

*If you want to make this non-Paleo, you can add potatoes or small pasta (it rings a bit of Italian wedding soup).


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An Ultra-Marathon and the Paleo Diet

So I’ve been having a lot of strange, crazy, ridiculous thoughts lately.

Ridiculous idea #1 is that I want to run an ultra marathon. I don’t know, maybe a 6 or 12 hour timed race, maybe a 50k…maybe the Pineland Farms 50k on May 27th (happening four days after I get back from standing for 10+ hours at a trade show in NYC – I did say it was ridiculous, didn’t I?). I want to be able to say that I’m an ultra-marathoner. Call it a bucket-list item. And for some crazy reason, a 31 mile ultra seems actually easier than running a 26 mile marathon. Maybe it’s because all the people I know who run marathons talk about how hard the 20+ mile training runs are, and my ultra friends just talk about how much beer they consume afterward. Also, many of my recently-inducted ultra runner friends only had half marathons under their belts before finishing their first ultras. But these guys are in tip-top shape and are really good at making this stuff look easy.

I don’t know though, runs as short as 6-7 miles still make my feet hurt. I’m not sure how it would be possible to succeed at this point in my training level. But, I think, perhaps if I continue training like a champ and lose the excess weight I’ve gained over the last three years, I can manage the miles a little better. And faster.

The Pineland Farms 50k is happening at the end of May, and a few of my friends will be in attendance. It’s very tempting to sign up and pay the $45 today. It would be exciting. After all, that’s how I handled the half marathon: I signed up when I was sure I had absolutely no chance of actually making it, and then I did. Many great opportunities in my life have happened by taking those kinds of big leaps. Also, I work exceptionally well under pressure, and so perhaps having a 50k over my head will help me turn my fitness level around. I don’t know. I’m going to contemplate it over a glass (i.e. bottle) of wine tonight. Actually, who am I kidding? By the time you read this I’ll probably already have signed up for the damn thing.

But, moving on.

Ridiculous idea #2: the 30-Day Paleo Diet Challenge. For those of you who have never heard of it, the Paleo diet is based on the presumption that your body is designed to eat like humans did back in the Paleolithic era (our hunter-gatherer days) – essentially what you can procure naturally from the earth. Unprocessed, whole foods. It is believed that these foods are easiest to digest, and more easily used for energy and good health.

The Paleo diet consists of (from my understanding) red meat, poultry, fish, all fruits and vegetables, nuts and eggs. It does not consist of milk, yogurt, cheese, salt, refined sugars and oils, breads, pastas, rice and any other grains, and anything else that is processed, i.e. stuff that’s not “real food.” Many also exclude beans, legumes and potatoes.

If you think about it, it makes some definite sense. Any nutritional plan out there that has its head on straight pretty much preaches a diet based on these food items, though it usually allows most grains and processed items to which, as a society, I believe we are overly addicted. Even the vegan diet, which I momentarily considered instead, allows for too much processed carbohydrates, things I’ve never attempted to cut out of my diet before. Also, I’ve never been thin. I plan to find out if there is a correlation between those two things, and that’s why Paleo is the way I’m going to go.

However, in order to bring on a realist-factor and make it easier for me to uphold for 30 days, I plan to make the following adjustments/allowances:

  • coffee (I only drink 1 cup a day anyway)
  • potatoes (mostly sweet)
  • wine (occasional, and for adding flavor to cooking)
  • simple dressings (like oil and vinegar, balsamic)
  • beans (fiber)
  • olive oil (I believe in its heart-healthy properties)
  • occasional exceptions (i.e. if eating out) when Paleo options are unavailable

So, from Monday January 23rd through Wednesday, February 22nd I will practice this way of eating. I want to free myself from my addiction to the refined sugars that settle as excess fat around my waist. I want to see if it changes my energy levels, reduces my weight, makes running easier and heck, perhaps even helps my allergies. There are a lot of claims, so it’s possible. If nothing else, it will be healthier for sure. When the month is over, I’ll figure out what to do next.

If I make it out alive, that is. I’m sure going to miss pasta and wheat cereal.


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Paleonola Giveaway Winner!

Hey everyone!

First I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the giveaway for reading my review and helping to spread the word about this tasty health food, Paleonola. I hope everyone who read this will try some.

This morning I counted up all the entries (31 total) and assigned numbers to each one, by the order they were entered. Then I employed the Random Number Generator to pick my winner for me. And that winner is:

KIRBAMBINO!

Congrats to Kirbambino! Please email me at trleigh32@gmail.com with your mailing information. I will have the peeps at Paleonola rush out your free granola this week.

Thanks again everyone, this has been a lot of fun!