Whole30, Day [something a long time ago] – Day 19

Hi. It’s day 19. I don’t remember the last time I updated, but I’m pretty sure it was somewhere around day 5. Whoops. So much for daily food logging, huh?

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been really, really enjoying not keeping track of every morsel. I’ve been doing my best to follow the Whole30 template (the trouble lies in the post-workout snack – I don’t do that. I tried, but it was a post-WO fail). The biggest success so far is that I feel as though I’m making big strides in changing my relationship with food. I don’t think I’ve lost any weight, my minor skin issues aren’t really any better, and my clothes aren’t exactly hanging off me – but I don’t really care. My body will catch up to what I’m trying to do. And, really, if a size 2/4 is the smallest I can get now, if this is the smallest my body is comfortable being, that’s perfectly fine. I don’t need to fit into my old clothes. I’ll buy new clothes!

Such healthy body positivity happening right now. Can you tell I’ve been reading all the blogs?

So anyway. Let’s talk about food. Food is important. Here are some of the most photogenic examples of my meals over the past two weeks:

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As you can see, there are a lot of sweet potatoes happening. I generally eat 1/2-1 sweet potato per day, because, according to the forums, active humans, especially those who are female, can never have enough sweet potato in their lives. There are never enough sweet potatoes. It’s imperative that I eat all the sweet potatoes. Also, they are filling and delicious. I like microwaving them and eating them with a little ghee and salt, or cutting them up and adding them to my morning breakfast hash.

There is a rogue butternut squash in there, too, and yes, I do enjoy my cruciferous veggies. Brussels sprouts are back in season! I love the fall!

I’m also a big fan of Melissa Joulwan’s cauliflower rice pilaf – I’ve made that twice in the past two weeks, and it lasts at least a few days. I usually (no surprise here) have salmon for dinner. I love a good baked salmon en papillote, but I’ve recently taking to coating my salmon in onion- and garlic-related spice mixes and a little almond flour and pan-frying it. It’s so, so good. I love cooking.

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Also, fried eggs. I just recently mastered the art of the fried egg. I like to balance a fried egg atop a breakfast hash, but I’ll also eat it separately. I started off frying them in ghee, but transitioned to coconut oil because I feel like it’s probably a little better for me than ghee (but I absolutely adore ghee). The trick to the effective fried egg is this: make sure the pan is hot enough that the oil sizzles, and crack the egg with force and confidence so as not to shake the egg and break the yolk. I still sometimes break the yolk. The egg is usually still delicious, but not as fun as one with a runny yolk.

I don’t know that I’ve had the “tiger blood” that supposedly kicks in around this time. I wouldn’t describe my energy as “boundless.” I think I’ve been sleeping better, because I know I’ve been dreaming more often than usual. I feel like I’m getting stronger – I did some of my circuits yesterday using 10-lb. weights instead of 5. Nothing extraordinary, though.

So, no huge improvements, but I really like my food – that has to count for something, right? Right.

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Blame it on the…

So, listen. Or read. Obviously I’m not verbalizing any of this and none of you know me, so listening to what’s happening around you is going to distract you from reading. And this is important.

When did our generation decide that all social endeavors would take place around alcohol?

Is it that we’re uncomfortable being ourselves if we’re not a little inebriated? Is it that we can’t be around other people without some kind of liquid courage? Is it that our lives are that hard? I mean, we’re in our 20s. This is not that hard. This is the beginning of adulthood. If we feel we need to numb ourselves now, this early in the game, I think we’re probably doing it wrong.

I’m not being judgmental (well, maybe a little). I spent my early- to mid-20s in an entry level job that I hated, going to as many happy hours as I could fit into the week, and it was mostly because that was the only thing my coworkers and I had in common. Maybe that’s why this is such a prevalent social practice in my age group. We don’t know how to make friends otherwise.

Now, that would all be well and good, and I would continue to participate in it, if I hadn’t decided three years ago that I wanted to be healthier than I was (and skinnier, and in better shape, and… well, you know). I learned too much. I learned the calorie count in a vodka tonic (my favorite drink at the time), not to mention the brutal truth that alcohol is converted to sugar and makes you retain fat. Hot, right? Oh yeah, and it’s poison. Minor detail.

And then I learned, several times, that it’s really easy for me to gain all that weight back and really hard to get it to go away again. That’s been kind of an annoying recurring lesson.

It’s frustrating, because I have a lot of fun when I drink. Barriers are down. I’m a fairly straightforward person ordinarily, but I know when not to say things – it’s fun to let go of that for a little while. It’s fun to dance and not care if I look like an idiot, and it’s fun to flirt with boys and not over-think what I’m saying. But there must be another way to do that. There must be another way to meet new people on neutral ground without having pre-defined common interests. 

I don’t want my life to be about counting calories, and I don’t want to be that girl at the bar with a sparkling water, and I really want to both meet people (in person, not on the interwebs) and fit into my skinny jeans. Is there a solution to this? Have I just been hanging out with the wrong people?

Okay, so that failed.

One day.

That’s how long I lasted before I caved to the junk food goodness.

I was doing great on Friday, I really was. I had an omelet for breakfast and then I had a salad for lunch. But then… I went to meet my friend Lillian at her co-working office and I somehow convinced her that we needed to devour massive amounts of chips. I don’t know why. That’s when I feel off the food wagon.

Yesterday was even worse. I met a new friend and some of her friends for brunch, which was fine (another salad), but then we went to the Russian Festival. A true Russian, I cannot resist doughy, bready, delicious Russian food. So I ate… and kept eating. And OMG it was delicious. I started to believe I should move to Siberia so this extra layer of fat would have some usefulness and context.

So tomorrow, my blog friends, I start my month-long Perricone feast. Yep, one month. I will chronicle it on this blog, every day, complete with what workout(s) I completed and photos of the meals that I consumed. I’ve done this before, but it was only two weeks. This time I’m serious. I turn 28 in 32 days and I will fit back into my jeans by then, dammit.

Eating cleanish, day 1.

Today’s workouts:

Walked 1.24 miles
24 minutes of No More Trouble Zones
35 minutes of Ripped in 30 – Level 1
Walked 6.31 miles

Today’s food:

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I’m referring to this current attempt to eat Perricone-ishly (I made a new word!) as “eating cleanish.” The “ish” is because I make no promises to eat perfectly “clean,” and also because definitions of “eating clean” can be variable and I really don’t know what it means aside from eating food that’s as unprocessed as you can find it. Also, I like adding “ish” to the ends of words because it makes them sound adorably ambiguous. The whole purpose of this period of time – which I anticipate to last at least until my birthday (March 28) – is to get myself away from eating “addictive foods” like popcorn and to refocus my energy on making conscious food decisions.

Anyway, overall, food today was a success! I deviated a bit by eating a Quest Bar (love these) for my afternoon snack instead of turkey slices + veggies, but as far as deviations go, I think that one is acceptable. Ate salmon at every meal today… mmm, salmon.

How I felt today:

Honestly, sleepy-tired (as opposed to tired because I work so hard… ’cause I don’t). I woke up at 7 am (two hours later than I’d wanted to) and my entire day has been lagging. I’d wanted to get serious about starting on my classwork today (it’s all due Sunday), but it didn’t happen. My major accomplishment of the day was that big walk – Bella and I walked all the way from my apartment on Nob Hill to the Presidio. It’s all downhill on the way there, but the hills really mean business on the way back, particularly the climb up Hyde that ends at Lombard (at the top of the crooked street that all the tourists like to stand in the middle of with their cameras, endangering their lives). Anyway, it was quite a walk. Dog is tired.

Tomorrow, I get my act together and get some serious schoolwork done. Tonight, I watch more episodes of Full House. Oh the shame.

Foodie returns.

Things that have happened since I last blogged:

  1. I started and finished my first semester of grad school with a 4.0 average. Go me.
  2. I got into really, really good shape.
  3. I quit my job (yay) and moved to San Francisco (double yay).
  4. I got stressed out with all the changes and the big move and stopped working out consistently and started eating everything in sight, so I gained some weight. Sad face.
  5. Probably several more insignificant things that I can’t recall at the moment.

So you see, it’s been a real rollercoaster of a time, especially the past few months (I moved in early January). I am currently unemployed (sort of – I’ve been doing some freelance work) and in grad school full time. At first I really enjoyed my faux retirement, but it started to prove difficult after a few weeks when I realized that work was the only thing that was forcing me to maintain a structure to my daily life. I then tried to start adding structure back into my day by waking up at 5:00 like I used to when I was working, but that’s been a challenge the past few days. I’ve been meeting my friend at a cafe so we can co-work, which helps a little. But if I deviate from the schedule at all, the rest of the day is shot. I woke up late yesterday and ended up not getting very much done and watching Glee for the entire afternoon and into the evening (with a brief respite to watch Tuesday night’s episode of Smash). I wonder how people are disciplined enough to make a career of freelance work. How do they stop the lazy from taking over?

Anyway, I decided to start blogging again to hold myself accountable for my eating and exercise decisions. I’m going to try to stick to Dr. Perricone’s eating guidelines, though not necessarily following his eating plan to the letter due to budget constraints and social engagements. Like tonight, since it’s technically Day 1, I’m supposed to have steamed spinach, but I have a bunch of brussels sprouts, so that will probably happen instead. Plus, I love brussels sprouts.

So, here’s to doing my best to get healthy again. I have ten pounds of smoked salmon in my freezer and I know how to use it.

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Zucchini fries? Uh, kinda.

Okay. Let me just preface this by saying that I never know what to do with zucchini. It’s plentiful every summer, but short of brushing it with olive oil and a) throwing it on the grill or b) throwing it in the oven, I’m usually at a loss. I don’t find zucchini all that inspiring. It’s too small to stuff anything in there (although I keep seeing recipes for “stuffed zucchini” that, honestly, look more like the poor squash is drowning in melty cheese), and although I like it and will eat it as enthusiastically as anything else when it’s grilled or roasted, it’s not my go-to vegetable side. I really prefer the cruciferous veggies: brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccolini, cauliflower… I also enjoy asparagus, which I realize is not cruciferous, but that’s beside the point. The point being: Zucchini. Confounding.

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Anyway. I’ve been having this recurring food daydream (why yes, I do have those) about having a barbecue with turkey burgers, those fancy sandwich thins I love so much, and breaded zucchini fries. But… I’ve never made zucchini fries. So I’ve been researching. Quite thoroughly, I might add. I decided to give it a shot tonight, because I had zucchini and felt like I should take a break from brussels sprouts and play around with this concept that’s been ruminating for the past month.

Of course, I didn’t have an egg. The yummiest looking recipes required at least one egg, but I used my three remaining eggs for my Saturday morning omelet. So I searched the Googles for something a little more adaptive to the ingredients I had on hand. Fortunately, I stumbled upon this recipe. Zucchini? Check. Panko? Check. Ingredients for pesto? Uhh, no. BUT. I have this artichoke pesto I got at World Market and for which I hadn’t yet envisaged a feasible use. So I said to myself, “Self, let’s do this.” And we (myself and I) got cracking on our eggless zucchini fries.

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Ingredients

1-2 zucchini (I used about 1.5)
1/4 cup panko crumbs
1-2 tbsp artichoke (or basil, or whatever you have) pesto
cooking oil (I used olive oil spray)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Prepare a plate or cutting board by spreading out the panko crumbs. Transfer pesto to a bowl or plate for easy zucchini rolling.
  3. Cut the zucchini into quarters length-wise, then eighths. Halve the eighths (I know, that’s a lot of math for a Monday night). If you’re not sure what I mean, because I’ve been known to get length-wise and cross-wise confused, see above for visual aid.
  4. Dip each zucchini piece in the pesto, one by one. Transfer the zucchini piece to a plate of panko and roll it around, making sure the panko sticks, then transfer the zucchini to the cookie sheet. Once you’re done with all the pieces, spray them with cooking oil (I didn’t do this and wish I had – it would’ve browned the panko more effectively).Image
  5. Put the zucchini fries in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the panko is browned and the zucchini is cooked through. Mine took about 20 minutes and didn’t brown due to lack of cooking oil, but they were tasty and effectively roasted, so 20 minutes would probably be enough if you don’t forget the spray.

ImageDinner: Salad with tomatoes, basil, and some other delicious things, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; panko-crusted cod, courtesy of Waterfront Bistro; homemade aioli for cod-dipping; and, of course, zucchini “fries.”

The end product: Basically roasted zucchini (yum) with panko (yum) and artichoke pesto (double yum). For real fries, an egg is probably necessary, but these hit the spot.

Next up: Mini pies. I may or may not be completely serious, I’ve been thinking about these all day today.