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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Jess Tries Paleo(ish)


So, I've become a little obsessed with going to the gym recently. For instance, last week I did three 3+ hour sessions (as well as normal length sessions on the other days) and I'm trying to take strength training a little more seriously (mainly because my knee hurt too much to run, it's feeling better now so I'll see how things pan out but I'm kind of enjoying improving my strength a lot more right now). I won't post about my training because I am utterly clueless. Maybe someday, I'll post one of those amazing before and after photos with a slightly chubby version of me on the left and me with my six pack on the right, but Tom will have to stop making me cupcakes before this is achieved.

Anyway, in an attempt to start seeing real results in the gym, I have to clean up my diet. So after a lot of research, I'm going to give a paleo diet a bit of a go (sorry vegans). I don't know if I'll ever be able to do it 100% and I certainly can't afford to keep up with the organic side of it right now, but I'm going to try to cut grains from my diet as much as possible (saying goodbye to my morning porridge is going to be the hardest thing I ever do food wise, even harder than giving up chocolate for lent has been). I'm not keen on eggs, but I'm going to attempt to make them work for me. Already being gluten free will make the transition a lot easier though, as I don't eat that many carbs anyway and sweet potato is already my favourite. Also, a lot of paleo recipes use bacon. And it's a long time since I allowed myself bacon, so this could be good.

Before you do anything else, have a look at some of the recipes on these two blogs and then you will realise why I want to try this diet. I want to try every recipe these guys have come up with. And maybe I will someday - pineapple stuffed chorizo burgers sound too amazing for words. But right now, I'm trying to come up with ways to replace porridge in the mornings and relatively cheap meals that don't require too much hassle because I don't have much time for cooking when I'm in the lab for hours on end and working out for the remainder of my waking hours.

My first consciously paleo meal today:

Baked Turkey with Roasted Pepper, Mushroom and Garlic Spinach

Now, when I made this, it didn't occur to me that agave nectar might not be paleo since it's vegan friendly. But apparently honey is more paleo friendly than agave. But anyway, I baked my turkey in agave and it was yummy.

Serves 2
2 turkey breasts
(optional - 2 tsp honey or agave nectar)
1 bell pepper
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 cup spinach

Quite simply, coat the turkey in whatever you choose (1 tsp agave nectar per turkey breast worked great for me) and bake in the oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes (until its not pink inside but do not overcook).  Cut a bell pepper (I went for orange) in half and roast for about 15 minutes, until it is softened and starting to brown slightly. Then fry the roasted pepper, mushrooms and garlic in a little  oil (use coconut if you have it, I didn't) until softened. Then add the spinach and fry until wilted, this took me just 1-2 minutes.

 I added a bit of lemon, as I do to most things

Sweet and Salty Carrot Chips

I can't take credit for these, I found them on Gabby's G Free blog and they are a great little snack or meal addition. Just take as many carrots as you want to use, cut them how you want to eat them (I went for a mixture of rounds and batons) coat in cinnamon, salt and oil (I omitted the oil and added a tablespoon of tamari instead) and bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes (depending how crispy you want them). And there you have it, sweet and salty carrot chips. I served these, with mangetout, alongside my turkey and spinach and it was amazing.

This meal came to 280 calories, with approximately 40g protein. So a great post workout meal (and yes, I have saved the other half for tomorrow night after the gym).

I can't promise to stick entirely to paleo meals, because I will just end up giving in and gorging on grains. But I am going to try to phase them out gradually, and with meals like this maybe it won't be so hard. Let me know if you have any good paleo blogs or recipes! Hopefully Tom and I will find a way to combine vegan and paleo cooking somehow...wish us luck!

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