If I could only keep one cook book–if I had to throw the rest away–it would be Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Melissa is not just a cook, she’s a chef. I haven’t made one dish from Well Fed that isn’t delicious. (And yes, there’s a Well Fed 2, and Melissa has a third cookbook coming out soon, Well Fed Weeknights) Melissa’s blog is delicious fun, too.
This spring will mark 6 years that Jay and I have been “paleo”. We haven’t been perfect, but neither of us have had a slice of bread or pizza in those six years. That would seem to both of us to cross a line. Our weight remains within 8-9 pounds of our initial weight loss figures – 60 pounds lost for Jay, and 30 pounds lost for me.
We have had some wheat, though, in the form of those dang craft beers! I myself love to dive into a glass of Vanilla Porter or Sweet Baby Jesus. So to begin the new year and get the craft beer behind me, I decided to start my first Whole30. I did do a half-hearted 30 last winter, but finally cracked under the pressure of missing half-and-half in my coffee.
I can report on Day 3 that I have a substitute that I think I can live with – coffee with coconut milk and turmeric. Our beloved Bunn coffeemaker crapped out two days ago (I read in the Amazon reviews that the heating element lasts 4-6 years — that’s about right), so while we wait for delivery on a new one, I’m french-pressing and pouring the contents into the thermal canister. A healthy dose of coconut milk and dash of turmeric, and yum!
Jay and I are still eating Paleo/Primal. I went for a check-up the other day, and the digital scale weighed me in at 125 lbs. (I have stopped weighing myself at home after 40 some years of weighing every morning). Our weight is holding steady.
We had been eating lunch out a lot lately, so a couple of weeks ago we decided to cut that back to once a week, and spend the saved money at Whole Foods on grass-fed beef, wild caught salmon, chicken, and red wine. We just polished off a leftover lunch of salmon and braised kale with carrots.
We both gained a few pounds some months ago, and attributed it to the massive amounts of heavy cream we were putting in our coffee, daily. We switched to half-and-half, and the pounds promptly dropped off.
I was happy to see Paleo Magazine for the first time at Whole Foods, yesterday, and bought a copy. It has expanded and improved since it was initially published, and it’s a lovely magazine. I hope to see it in other grocery stores at some point.
Gary Taubes has a new article in Scientific American. I will be interested to see the results of the study he discusses, although I already have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to turn out.
We were out of town before the super bowl – arriving home shortly before the kickoff – and I needed to cook some good, hot chili, fast. So I got out the pressure cooker and made this batch in less than an hour. It’s the first time I’ve made chili in a pressure cooker. The flavors were well blended and the stew beef fell apart on my fork. If I hadn’t been in such a rush, I would have cooked it down for maybe 1/2 hour more after it was done. But the juices were so good we were slurping them up with a spoon. This is pretty hot – adjust jalapenos and Tabasco to taste.
Brown sausage in pressure cooker bottom. Add stew beef and brown. Drain if you like (I didn’t). Add chopped onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with Tabasco – amount depending on how hot you like your chili.
Put the lid on the pressure cooker. Heat on high heat until pressure is reached. Cook for 25 minutes at pressure. Remove from stove and let pressure release on it’s own. Serve immediately.
If you eat dairy, sprinkle with cheddar and top with sour cream.
This is a quick update – I’ve been transitioning to a new work situation, among other things. But one constant that remains is this terrific diet. For about a month, I have not stepped on the scale, dashing past it to get to my coffee with heavy cream early in the morning and get some pre-dawn work done.
This week’s fare included eating at the Greek Festival, twice, (Moussaka with the Bechamel scraped off, stuffed grape leaves, Greek Green Beans), a feast of heavenly beef brisket with Blue Moon Belgian White Beer, dinner at Texas Roadhouse (11 oz. sirloin, green beans, salad), a Mexican meal of shrimp wrapped in bacon, plus whitefish with lime and avocado served on a tortilla (skipped the tortilla but it made a good plate), and an occasional half-can of nuts.
Exercise lately has been sporadic, but included hauling some cinderblocks for a deck, and dragging loads of heavy wet leaves across the yard.
Sunday, I thought I’d better hit the scale, fearing that I had overdone things a bit. But no, I’m still at my goal weight. How cool it is, I thought, to enjoy these wonderful meals, eat until I’m full, feel great, and not have to give a thought to how many calories I’ve consumed.
Gary Taubes has a new blog post about his recent appearance on the Dr. Oz show (I don’t know if it has aired). Taubes’ article “What if it’s All Been a Big Fat Lie” and his books “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat” are required reading if you are interested in learning how it came about that the U.S. government advocates a diet that causes metabolic syndrome and makes us sick, and why we should eschew most carbohydrates and eat a higher fat diet in order to be healthier.
“…it’s almost assuredly the case that the same foods that make us fat are the same foods that cause heart disease and diabetes and cancer, etc. — the diseases that associate with obesity. These are the foods that were absent from human diets during the 2.5 million years of evolution leading up to the agricultural era, and so we’re still poorly adapted to dealing with these foods — easily digestible starches, refined carbs and sugars. When we remove these foods from our diets, we get healthier. Insulin levels come down and with them a host of metabolic disturbances normalize.”