Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to be paleo around here?

I am back in Poland... and it's hard to keep up with paleo lifestyle. After a few weeks of totally falling of the wagon, I am trying to get back on it. But it's not easy... Even though Poland loves its meat, and it's hard to find something that doesn't have pork in it. The problem is, I don't eat pork. I am not strict with keeping religious rules, but this is still one I try to respect. You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to find a piece of sausage that wouldn't have some pork in it. But even if I did eat pork, the sausages are horrible! Full of chemicals, preservatives, fillers (mostly gluten based) and what not... I miss my grass-fed beef franks for breakfast! Beef in general is not as popular, chickens are filled with chemicals and you can't find out their origin... I have to compromise, I can't eat 100% paleo. Adding to it that now I am on extreme budget (at least till I get proper job), and it's really difficult. The good side? The price of delicious smoked macarel, and good old herring. Butter, eggs (coming from free-range are not that more expensive than regular ones). Less obsession with so called "healthy" diet, meat is regular everywhere, no soy obsession... So there are some good sides as well :) Other bad sides, which are not directly connected with paleo: everyone seems to smoke. BLERGH. there is no coconut oil. Junk food is still not as popular as in the US, people tend to cook at home, and in every store you will find fresh meat and veggies. This is pretty chaotic, but I will try and get with my Polish paleo adventures in a more orderly way from now on... :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I've been really bad to myself over the past two months or so. Stress and anxiety are not good foundation for a healthy living. I witnessed a come back of depressive moods, which I was able to keep at bay for a long time. Now I finally now where I am going, which is back home, to Poland. The stress is not over - I have to suddenly wrap up all my life here, sell or ship all my possessions, deal with whatever has to be done. But I know where I am going. Now I have to pull myself together and get back on track. I am actually looking forward to take care for my mom, cook for her better foods so she could drop the grains. I need to cook for myself as well, as eating franks, some ready meat mixed with fruit and chocolate is not really the way to go. Oh well.
I haven't been also exercising in a very long time... Now I will have some "lift heavy things" workout ready - in a few minutes I am going to bring a few boxes with books from my work. Then there will be more boxes and my favorite VT-gym: clearing field from wood, brush, branches. That's a real workout!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Preaching veganism as a form of classism.

And here my two interest worlds collide: social justice and food politics. I disagree with veganism on many grounds, most important being health. But I don't fight, I try not to comment or preach. I keep it to myself when I deal with vegans. (especially that two of my close friends are vegans, one for ethical and health issues, the other health only, I think).

But I really get annoyed when veganism is preached as a cure-all medicine for our society. Will cure poverty, free animals, end wars and of course stop obesity (because that's the our enemy number one). Veganism is not cheap, and people who think it is, are simply ignorant and privileged middle class assholes. I found an entry on a blog not dealing with food at all, but with racism and social justice. It was a response to the following text by a vegan:

Being a vegan doesn’t discriminate, and no one/nothing has to suffer. Veganism is FREE. You can walk outside and find good food for you to eat. You can have 76 cents and get a banana and an orange from Trader Joes. How much nutrition and sustenance can you get from 76 cents of raw meat? And if you DO find meat for 76 cents, how much of that is fatty, processed crap. All struggling people can benefit from a vegan diet, maybe then poor neighborhoods wouldn’t be overrun with with McDonalds and faced with an obesity epidemic.

First - pretty obvious where this person lives, as Trader Joe's are mostly in suburban, richer areas. Second, banana is not a food, it's a snack or nice dessert. And when you are poor, crappy but still nutritious food is better than an empty dessert with some potassium in it.
The author of the blog wrote a great response:

Calories in an banana: about 105.

Calories in an orange: 62

Combined, you’ll have less than two grams of protein, and no fat.
Calories in an 89-cent (you’ll have to find the other dime somewhere, or maybe the cashier will spot you if they’re kind) Cheeseburger from BK: 300, with 16 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat.If you can afford to bump up to an entire dollar and get a Whopper Jr, you also get a slice of tomato and some lettuce, adding enough vitamin c to prevent scurvy.

If you can only have one of these meal options in your day because you are desperately poor, the latter is more nutritionally sound. Calories: They keep you alive.

From other comments it's pretty obvious - being vegetarian or a vegan is expensive, time consuming and is a choice for privileged people. Fine if you want to - but don't preach it's "Free". And don't get me started on the stupid argument that "food is everywhere for free". really? so what will you eat? Grass (well, technically grains are grasses)? Tree leaves or wild raspberries (yay! meal a few times a year!)? Because if you want a vegetable or a fruit, you have to either plant it yourself in your back yard (paying first for the seeds/samplings) or steal from someone else's garden. There are no "free" fruits or veggies out there anymore. Agriculture took care of it. And while this agriculture works for producing soy for crappy "healthy" vegan "chicken" wings, masses of animals are killed in the process - dying b/c of devastation of their natural habitats, killed by poisoning chemicals and brutally murdered through harvesting machines.

Even people in the "wild" areas, probably idealized by Westerners can't just go and eat. Because what used to be nature's garden "for free" (not really, everyone pays in some way in the cycle) is now a corporation's corn field, or tea processing plant or banana or cocoa plantation where slave workers can't even eat the fruits they work on.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I am sick.

I think it's strep, but because it's weekend I am the only one to judge. It is quite interesting that admitting to catching a cold or other infection seems to be a blasphemy in the Paleo world. You are not supposed to get sick on Paleo! But well, I am now. Yesterday I was truly miserable with temperature spiking at 102*, and I can't remember when was the last time I had such a high fever.

So even though I do not consider succumbing to bacteria as blasphemy against the Paleo god, I do wonder why my immune system cracked. And I blame stress and anxiety. We know how devastating cortisol is to our bodies, so I think I can throw my misery at this villain as well. I've been looking for a job for the past two months, being anxious, worrying and nervous all the time. I slowly get depressed and in the "whatever" mood. I feel like the great achievements of the past two years in fighting severe anxiety and depression are in danger. Chronic stress is devastating. Not knowing about the future is terrifying. I can't schedule my annual check up, because they don't allow one in less than 12 months since the last one. (Don't get me started on the idiotic health care system in the US.) I am losing my insurance in the end of June and can't afford buying one. it sucks.

oh, and I want to get the kid who spread these vicious bacteria to me ;-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

fatphobia rises its ugly head again

I can understand the desire to look athletic, slim and fit. I really do. I have nothing against looking athletic myself. I want to be fit, strong and have good stamina. But I didn't get into paleo to lose fat or in order not to gain weight. I got here, b/c after reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories" it made sense to me. It was rational, logical and I am a very rational person. After researching even more the evolutionary point of view made it even more clear. I eat paleo b/c it makes sense. If I lose some fat on the way, fine, but that's not my goal.

I am shocked with the level of fatphobia and fatism among the paleo community. Assuming that fat person cannot be athletic, healthy or fit, and obsession with losing fat, sometimes "the last x Ibs", which often is amount that is really impossible to notice and is part of natural fluctuations of our weight. Being offended by suggestion that there are fat dancers, and that being extremely thin might be unhealthy. Making fun of a fatter person (as long as that person is not on paleo trying to lose it). Being fat is allowed as long as you feel disgusted by your fat and are obsessed with losing it. By the BMI I am "overweight", which is a total bullshit. I am strong, fit and pretty healthy. My fibro is down, I can lift and carry heavy stuff, walk for hours, even run fast when needed (like recently when I had 12min to catch plane in Atlanta). I have fat around my midsection and butt. I have awesome biceps, which I love and hope to make even bigger. I am 6/8 size and I think it's healthy, good size for a woman in her mid-30s. Why would I want to obsess about losing this little bit of fat around me? Why not just live and strive to be happy and healthy?

This very often is linked to sexism as well, as both men and women feel free to judge women based on their looks, no matter age, childbaring, health history, hormone levels and what not. As usual, what is typical for male is seen as default for the whole species, and whatever is different with women, it's "wrong", is the fault of gluttony fatass bitch, who should just put down the donut. it's frustrating as hell.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Return of the Black Coffee

I was really happy after reintroducing dairy, as it seemed my body was quite happy with it. I had no stomachache, no gut issues... But after a while my lower face exploded with zits. Painful ones. :( It could still be it was the chocolate which I also have been eating now after a month of none... but I am afraid it's the dairy. And I like my coffee with cream so much! I haven't even eaten that much dairy - only heavy cream and butter, no cheese whatsoever.

I think I will completely cut on chocolate first (especially that I can't help myself and eat the whole bar at once), and see if anything clears. I really hope I can have dairy, cheese is such an easy snack for work (I can't bring meat to work), and yummy addition to eggs.

Monday, April 4, 2011

me and veggies

I have a very strange relationship with veggies. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I forget they exist. Sometimes I reach for them out of guilt or sudden caprice. Sometimes I buy them and then forget, throwing them away with pinch of remorse. I know they are important, but the same time I know they don't have to be the main part of my diet.

Yesterday I roasted some beets, sweet potato and broccoli (saved before they would completely expire). Yesterday I ate them with some left over beef, today with eggs for breakfast. Some hours later I started to have pinching pain in guts, typical of gas. I am guessing it was the broccoli, but am not sure. I feel totally free to not eat veggies for a while now ;-)

I also caved in and got dark godiva chocolate with my coffee at barnes&nobles. The ingredients weren't that bad, but still - too much sugar. It wasn't even that good... but at least wan't bad. It was around 20g for the whole thing (a small narrow bar). I did a good workout at home later, so I hope no lasting damage was done ;-) I finished with delicious chicken leg.

I tried to find some new workouts on netflix, but they have very limited collection for instant streaming. I like simple, boot camp-style routines, I can't fallow anything too complicated. I found one I liked so I tried and it kicked my butt (or rather abs!), it's called "Trainer's Edge". I can recommend for good mixture of cardio (boxing) and a lot of abs. arms and legs are working as support.
Earlier on I took "Billy's Boot camp" by Billy Blanks from my local library and I really like it. I find workouts based on martial arts perfect for me, my low coordination and difficulties with following movements. They kick butt, are simple and focus on strength and stamina. Just what I need!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

the evil soy

I've got a newsletter from Dr.Mercola in which he promotes his article on the dangers of soy formula. I was avoiding soy even before I heard about paleo, being convinced it's one of the worst plants to eat, especially in its processed form.

In this article he brings new research that links being fed soy formula in infancy to fibroid tumors in adulthood. I knew soy is really bad for hormonal balance, but I had no idea it's that bad. According to various studies babies had 13,000- 22.000 times more estrogen than when fed milk formula or breastfed. This numbers are terrifying!
It is good that some countries (like Israel) are getting in the way of big corporations to protect the little ones by banning soy-based formula.

It's really sad especially for young, health oriented, women, who have no idea why they have issues with fertility or menstruation. They are trying to it "healthy" replacing meat with soy "food", drinking soy milk instead of cow milk, and feed on highly processed "low fat" products made of petroleum-quality franken-soy products. I have a friend who, because of various serious health issues, got on vegan, low-fat diet. I was pained with her through her lack of luck to become pregnant. Both she and her husband were on vegetarian diets. I know there is no proof, but I do think that their diet was an important factor in the problems. I happy that they were able to adopt and enjoy parenthood. But I can't help but wonder if the big amounts of soy, grains and lack of fat were the culprit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Mom

I talked with my Mom today and tried a bit harder to convince her to switch to paleo. It is not easy, as first, we talk over typed chat (she's in Poland), on Sundays, sometimes once a week, sometimes we have a break for whatever reason. My Mom also has old convictions, and is not very critical towards pseudo-science articles in various magazines. Some time ago I tried to convince her to eat more beef, but she said that she can't because according to her blood type she shouldn't eat red meat. The damage that such idiots make... I am so annoyed. anyone can write whatever s/he want, and it sounds all sophisticated and academic, so people like my Mom, without strong science background, buy it. I also need to be very careful how I do suggestions, I dont' want to be disrespectful or sound patronizing, as if she was a child. She is my mother and I have to accept that she is the one with authority and honor, even if I know I might know more on that particular subject than her.

But today I was able to explain more and it looks like she is willing to give it a try. It is really hard to change decades of habit. She is used to the old, poor socialist way of eating: bread, margarine with a slice of cheese or luncheon meat. And whatever is easy to take to work (she has no way to prepare or warm up food at work).. sometimes a roll with "fruit" yogurt.
Some time ago I got her a slow cooker to help with cooking more meat.
She doesn't use extra sugar, but does eat regular ice cream or processed stuff like cookies and sweets. I might not be able to completely switch her way of eating, but I hope that at least lowering her consumption of grains and upping the meat should help. I told her how much better I feel, and she was impressed. I am planning on buying a thermos for her, so she could take warm food to work. I got one for myself and it made my life much easier.

I really care for her, and she's been having health issues all her life. Joints, bones, surgeries on spine and legs, GI, neurological issues, fighting depression, cataract operation... Name it, my Mom suffered through it :( She's had a rough childhood in orphanages, and probably has celiac (I have, she was preparing my gluten-free diet when I was a kid and there was no food in stores. She had to get corn flour from pharmacy). I wish I was living closer to her, to take better care of her.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

some thoughts after a month

More or less a month ago I started some form of Whole30. I slipped a few times and to be honest, got bored with very strict keeping with the rules. But still, I was eating much better, which really paid off. I slipped again yesterday with my typical vice: chocolate ;-) But got up again.

Today I took some measurements of my body. And even with my, non-strict, version of Whole30, I have some nice results in the field of fat reduction. I lost one inch under my breast, an inch in waist, half inch in tummy and over an inch in hips. yay! what's funny that my weight actually went slightly up ;-) go fat, come muscle!

I added heavy cream only in terms of dairy and it seems like my body is totally fine with it. I am not missing cheese that much, so I will wait with adding any of it. But I think sour cream might appear in my fridge soon... I love it!

I picked up in my local library DVD with "Billy's Boot Camp Basic Training", and my, does it kick butt :) I had to do three days off after it, my whole body was sore. In a good way! I will do it again today and see if I can actually do it properly with no breaks! I like that it's very simple, basic moves, no super coordination necessary which is a must for me :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

dealing with stress

Just a couple days ago I found out that my contract will not be renewed for the new year. The blow was hard, I was completely sure the job is secure. I am learning to deal with my severe anxiety every day and have done amazing progress over the past two years. But when something so hard hits, it's very difficult to stay calm. I was "grieving" the first day, crying and being very depressed. I was exhausted and went to sleep pretty early. The next day I was much better, looking forward to the new challenges and researching new job opportunities. But the heavy headache, squeezing my temples and punching my forehead inside, didn't let me forget how anxious and terrified I am. I am not doing well with the process of changes. The decisions, planning, details, "what ifs", calling, job interviews... organizing moving (why have I accumulated so much stuff???), paying for all of it... all of that is really scary. I know I will do fine once I move - I won't be missing my old place, I will be all directed forward, no part of me left behind. That's who I am. But the upcoming months will be very stressful.
I hope that after couple weeks I get better, calmer, as I dont' even want to think about living for months with that heaviness, dizziness and migraine-like headaches. I am planning on taking proper care of myself, eat well and sleep more than usual.

I reintroduced cream today to see how I react to dairy after about three weeks of none. I hope ok, as I really want cream in my coffee, it's an easy way to add good fat.
In other interesting stuff, I had a great conversation about evolutionary eating with my senior class. It made a lot of sense to them, and because they were boys (mostly) they were very interested in the idea of a woman eating so much meat and not being afraid of fat. I wonder where it takes them :) I also found out today that one of my colleagues is taking statins... so said, he's younger than me. I know that he is trying to eat well, but of course it means CW "well". I know also that I won't help him - he is a science teacher so he thinks he knows it all in terms of human body, he was patronizing smirking at me when I tried to explain why "calories in calories out" theory doesn't make sense. Lost case, I am afraid... :(

Sunday, March 20, 2011


It's difficult. Today is Purim, and I allowed myself a glass of wine yesterday to keep with the tradition of Purim celebration. I didn't eat too bad, strawberries and a few grapes... But I feel sugar cravings are seriously too big. Where do they come from? But I was punished on Friday - I ate a small piece of chocolate with caramel. Too sweet! YUCK. But I am dreaming (well, metaphorically speaking) of dark chocolate. I have no problems with refusing baked things (like the traditional hamantashen cookies), or obvious sugary crap like snickers. But the "in-between" things are more difficult. Like too many fruits. I will have to work on it.

I am planning to eat today's breakfast as late as possible to make it a small fast. And maybe tomorrow will skip lunch. I feel I need to get back to more strict, pure eating again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It must be fate...

What are the sweetest words one can hear from a crush? "I am so glad you eat meat!!!"

How romantic. First thing I prepared for her was a nice paleo turkey wings :D

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

restarting the machine in 3... 2...1...

I failed. And I got up :)
I had a girls night out and got myself two glasses of wine :-/ and some cream to coffee. I really tried to keep it off, but I go out so rarely (I actually can't remember the last time) that I thought i should allow it to myself. Other than that I am pretty good, eating delicious cooked beef with tomatoes (my favorite, cooking a batch right now), eggs, beef franks, kale, some other veggies... I also ate one orange and some strawberries (on sale! really cheap!), which I hope isn't too much of a "cheat". I kept on working out, and yesterday we had a field trip to DC so we walked miles and miles over the course of the day. We had meals prepared for us, but I took my own lunch. I am very proud of it :) Everyone had pasta, I had about a pound of ground beef in delicious tomato souse. I just bought a food thermos and it works great! Kept food hot from 7am to 1pm. I will be using it more often, to have proper paleo lunches for work.

I thought that maybe I should just cut off two days from the counting, but I think it will be more honest to start counting from zero. So, today is day one, the second time. I hope there won't be any need for third first day :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

almost a week

I "officially" started my Whole30 challenge on Sunday, so it's been almost a week. I am surprised how easy it's been. I was afraid I would have much stronger sugar cravings, after a period of over-the-top consumption of chocolate, fruits and other semi-Paleo food.
I am eating mainly meat (in various beef,lamb and chicken versions) with some veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. To ease my snack cravings (as I got accustomed to it), I've mixed coconut oil with a lot of shredded coconut and cooled, to make it kind of a bar. It's very lightly sweet, when cold not that oily, and I think it should help in the meantime.

I've made finally my own mayonnaise, but I am not sure it's all that great. I will have experiment... coconut oil gives too strong a flavor.
I even managed to do one 12-h fast and fasted workout! I am proud of myself :) Next day I skipped lunch as well, but had dinner earlier, so only about 9-10h fast.
I am also surprised how well I switched to a black coffee. I thought I would have to use coconut milk, but nope, all good. This is great not only for the dairy-free challenge, but for my wallet ;-)
I am working on including a workout more often and also on my sleep. For whatever reason it's been difficult for me to get up in the morning, even after almost 8h sleep, and on weekends without alarm clock I was waking up by myself only after almost 11h of sleep! That's really too much.

I took all my body measurements even though I don't really expect some significant body fat changes. Of course it would be nice to drop the muffin top, especially as it grew on the extra sugar provided by yours truly, but that's not the goal. The goal is to get back on healthy track and stay there.