Typical Roomie Exchange

Tricia: http://www.crossfitgenius.com/challenge/2010/1/22/goin-wildcat.html
11:24 AM Meagan: They're so supportive! It's great
Tricia: I know!
this is actually way more fun than it should be
Meagan: I know :)
11:25 AM Which is perfect for us, I think. Getting jazzed is key.
Tricia: seriously
I was thinking earlier, it's not like I think "omg I'm on paleo"
it's just like, oh, don't buy that grain for food, no big deal
Meagan: I'm psyched! It's like an excuse not to cheat?
Does that even make sense?
11:26 AM Tricia: it totally does
11:27 AM This conversation should pretty much be a blog post
Meagan: Go for it.
Tricia: hahaha

Why community matters, or why I heart my roommate and CFG

While eating paleo and working out aren't exactly difficult on my own, doing this challenge with Meagan, and Tony and Karen (and soon to be everyone else) of CFG makes it a lot easier. Don't take my word for it? Research shows "the ability to resist temptation is contagious." And so is excitement. So yeah, maybe we're dorks for taking this so seriously, and maybe we're even sillier for blogging about it. But you know what? I'm not ashamed to get excited. Especially if it means you might too.

Update: We survived!

We survived a road trip to ATL staying paleo. It meant abstaining from anything in the Georgia Dome, it meant my snacking on Tricia's homemade trail mix to stave off hunger, and it meant being really really hungry once we finally sat down to a paleo friendly meal. It meant a little sadness for me, since I associate car trips with soda (think I have much of a soda problem?!), but otherwise, it was totally successful. I only once longingly looked at a woman who was eating some sort of concession stand pizza--not because it looked remotely tasty, but because it was going into her mouth and not mine, and she would no longer be hungry but I was. still. hungry.

I cannot say enough for the idea of homemade trail mix. You can eat it without utensils, it's not messy, and it can be quickly filling. I'll experiment with different kinds and post back here. Right now I'm envisioning raw almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries (can you get dry, unsweetened cranberries?), and little cut up dried apricots. Yummmmm.


If you can't read it, you shouldn't eat it

Stolen from Dad Rewrite, here's your PSA for the day.

The roomies are still hitting it hard. We're off to the ATL for the day. Will be back with tales of awesomeness.


More Science Friday

This one speaks for itself. From Yahoo News:

Argentina's president recommended pork as an alternative to Viagra Wednesday, saying she spent a satisfying weekend with her husband after eating barbecued pork.

"I've just been told something I didn't know; that eating pork improves your sex life ... I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra," President Cristina Fernandez said to leaders of the pig farming industry.

She said she recently ate pork and "things went very well that weekend, so it could well be true."

Argentines are the world's biggest per capita consumers of beef, but the government has sought to promote pork as an alternative in recent years due to rising steak prices and as a way to diversify the meat industry.

"Trying it doesn't cost anything, so let's give it a go," Fernandez said in the televised speech.
Microwaved peach and banana slices with cinnamon and pecan meal on top = heaven.

Science Friday

A few more articles on why I hate it when folks tell people not to do stuff for stupid reasons. First up, according to a study in this New York Times article, strong women are smarter women.
Older women who did an hour or two of strength training exercises each week had improved cognitive function a year later, scoring higher on tests of the brain processes responsible for planning and executing tasks, a new study has found.
Hear that? Pick up those weights and no more of this, "I don't want to bulk up" nonsense. Seriously ladies, embrace strength training. And while you're at it, get some gaming in: Research has also found that off-the-shelf video games have the potential to help seniors age more gracefully, keeping their minds sharp and responsive through game play.

I, for one, am going to be brilliant when I'm old.


Feeling Like [Yuck]

I don't feel good today. Not in a sick way, but I'm not feeling my typically RAAAAAWR self. Not even wearing the gorgeous necklace my sister got me for Christmas helps. Head hurts. Foggy brained. Tired.

Words to the wise: 1) You can't do fight gone bad and get 6 hours of sleep. At least not if you're me; and 2) If you're going to do fight gone bad and then get 6 hours of sleep, it might help if you also hadn't just given up caffeine.

Day 2 Recap

Woke up and felt like a truck hit me. Not so much that my muscles are tired or anything, I think I just needed more sleep. Both roommates still on the crossfit and paleo train. Did my first Fight Gone Bad yesterday, and as much as I hated it, I really want to do it again. This is one of those activities I know I can improve. The worst part of it was really just feeling winded. I completely gassed out.

It also brings to the surface something that's been bugging me -- namely, the fact that I've stopped trying when I'm tired. I mean, I try my best in the workout, and do what's on the board. But one of the things I loved about my boxing gym was the conditioning they made me do after the workout. After I'd been in the ring -- after I thought I was through -- that's when I had to dig deep and find something more. Because if you can do it when you're tired, you'll certainly be able to do it when your fresh.

Now that I've called myself out, I guess this means I should do something about it. I mean, if Ryan can do multiple workouts in a day (even after dry-heaving through FGB), I can certainly do some extra conditioning. Let's just hope the mirror is optional.


Victory #1

Like Tricia, I'm craving fruit.

A coworker just came to my office, offering dried fruit. I thanked her and refused (it would be rude to ask to look at the nutrition label first, me thinks), but then she couldn't open it. We joked about my crossfit grip (which is funny if you've seen me struggle with collars at all), and I offered to open the bag for her. I opened it all right, and inhaled a sweet blast of dried fruit goodness.

But I persevere. I don't think FGB would be very much fun knowing I'd cheated already.
Completely inexplicable craving for apples and strawberries.

Or cabbage rolls.

Think About It.

If you were just a Joe Schmoe, walking down the street, and someone told you about this AWESOME endeavor they were doing:
  • No eating 90% of supermarket goods
  • In fact, I really should really be joining a CSA, and find a local source of meat...
  • And no soy milk, please.
  • Nope, I don't do peanut butter, either.
  • Five days a week, I go and I lift heavy things like bags of dirt, and then I run around, carrying those piles of dirt.
  • And I play on rings and try to do pushups on them!
  • As fast as I can!

Admit it. Your eyes would widen, you would smile skeptically. And you'd run home and report that shit to this site immediately.

Things You'll Need On This Journey

Say you're joining us on this epic adventure of awesomeness. (Bit of an oversell there?) What would one need to not fuck oneself over and revert to old habits?* Off the top of my head:
  • Tupperware. Preferably glass (there are all these articles about how bad plastic is for you), but let's be honest, spending your money on containers may not be top priority. Tupperware is KEY to having portable meals, and for making sure you always have lunch at work so when your friends are like "hey, Meagan, come eat MacNCheese at this awesome southern restaurant!" you can have the (correct) excuse of already having brought your lunch.
  • Costco Membership. This is obviously not possible in certain areas of the country (NYC, Portland ME) where either you don't have the space or you don't have a Costco. But honestly, being able to stock up on LOTS of (usually organic/grass-fed) protein and veggies for less is helpful to not feel like your wallet has to get skinnier with you.
  • Cans of Coconut Milk. And I'm not talking that Lite Coconut Milk stuff. No, full fat is better. It will fill you up faster. And it's so easy. Always have a can or two on hand.
  • An Hour and a Half on Sunday. If that. This way, you always have some paleo grub on hand and never have to wait too long for things to cook. (Seriously, cutting up chicken, sauteeing it, and putting it in a container; browning ground beef and putting it in a container; and steaming greens and putting those in containers--none of these are that hard. Even if, like me two years ago, you had NO idea what you were doing in the kitchen. You can ask me questions, too. It's not hard, but advice is always available.)
  • Healthy Oils. Stick to coconut oil and olive oil. I'm not a scientist, but just trust me. Fine, don't trust me. Go here for more information.
  • Portable Snacks. This is the one that is hardest for me. I'm going to do research and report back on portable snacks that aren't super boring. But as I sit here at work waiting for the lunch hour so I can go home and chow, I wish I had listened to this piece of advice earlier.
Off the top of my head this is what I come up with. If you have suggestions, feel free to post them.

*These are the Beginners' Class Essentials. Ideally you'll join a CSA and find local meat. But I'm talking for those of you who want to catch up and join the challenge just to see.

"The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."

Day one down.

Clean eating? Check.

Crossfit? Check.

All systems go.

First Night Dreams

Dreamed I was pouring some sort of cereal into my bowl and there was sugar in it that I hadn't realized, and I was panicking that I'd broken the challenge one day in. (Never mind why the cereal wasn't paleo-chalk it up to dreams.) Guess I'm having more anxiety than I thought!


Conquering Fears

I think it is only appropriate that on the first day of our challenge, I had an "aha!" moment. The rower, it no longer scares me. 1,500 meters, I can do it. And I can do it, if not easily, then without problems.

I'll spare you the long winded story of always being the fat, unathletic kid, because, well, you've heard it all before on other blogs. But as someone who still identifies as the fattest kid in the room, as the least able to do any given sport/physical endeavor, to be able to look at a rower and say "bring it on!" is breathtaking. (Literally.)

Ahem. Enough cheesiness. Check in with me tomorrow after Fight Gone Bad and see if I'm still waxing poetic about the Concept 2.

"I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was. "

Sometimes when I'm in a foul mood, I like to pump myself up with clips of awesome athletes.

Let's get this party started

Personally, I hate New Year's resolutions. I don't understand why people wait until one random day to improve themselves. In that vein, we're not sure why we were waiting till tomorrow to start either. So we're not.

Today is officially day 1. Karen and Tony of Crossfit Genius will be joining us in our early start.

CFG folks will be starting February 6.

Bring it.


In which Meagan enters the TMI zone...

I'm taking pictures of my meals and posting them on flickr. I'm thinking I'll do a mosaic of each day's food, that way you don't have to click through a bazillion pictures of blueberries or sausages or whatever it is I eat that day.

You can find my flickr stream here.

Must Make Immediately

How perfect is this?! Egg + avocado. I kind of want to rush right home and make it. Best part? I have all the ingredients at home.
2 hard boiled eggs + 1/2 avocado + tsp. hot sauce + tsp. lime juice + salt/pepper. (Cilantro would add the perfect touch, but I don't think I have that...)

*UPDATE: this is delicious. YOU must make this immediately

On the run

I was out of apples (my preferred breakfast) and didn't have time to eat at home. Enter my favorite take-to-work breakfast staple. Whenever I eat this, one of my coworkers always asks, "Is this one of those athlete protein things?"

It's not pretty, or glamorous, but it gets the job done. Basically, take a tupperware, throw in some veggies, some meat, and crack some eggs. Stick in the microwave at work for 2 minutes, and voila!

Today's isn't exactly paleo friendly (still 2 more days!), but it's not the worst thing for you. Comprised entirely of leftovers, it has broccoli, onions, ham, cheese and 2 eggs. I'm with Melissa Urban on this one -- you can say a lot of things about Paleo, but you can't say it's hard.


Bacon and scallops defrosting in the fridge. Only good can come of this.

And While We're On the Subject of Go Big or Go Home...

Tricia's post reminded me that I've been meaning to point all of our visitors (um, hi Karen and Tony!) to this post by Melissa Urban. Really, it's worth the whole read. But for those of you looking for the cliff notes version. What does a real 7-weeks-of-awesomeness entail?

Eyes on the Prize

1. Eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, meat and olive/coconut oils.
2. No dairy whatsoever.
(For those who went to culinary school, eggs are not dairy!) I am also interpreting this to mean no goat milk products. Please excuse my whimpering as I continue with this post.
3. No grains.
What does this practically mean? No rice, pasta, bread, wheat germ... (Do people still eat wheat germ? I digress.)
4. No legumes.
What does this practically mean? No soy. No soy sauce. No tofu. No peanut butter.
5. No sugars. I am interpreting this rule in the following manner: no honey, maple sugar, real sugar, or fake sugar.
What does this practically mean? No sauces that I'd usually use that do contain a little bit of sugar, like Oyster Sauce. No diet cokes. This is where my colleagues laugh and wish me lots of luck on going for 7 weeks.
6. No processed foods.
What does this practically mean?
Beyond what it sounds like (if it comes sealed in a box it's not going down the hatch), Melissa points out that protein shakes and Zone bars are out. Ew. I hope you weren't eating those anyway. Yes, the girl who drinks ridiculous amounts of Diet Coke is casting stones.
7. No alcohol.
8. No cheating.
9. No whining.
10. No falling off the wagon.
11. Five days a week Crossfit.

Now this is only for 7 weeks. After the seven weeks, the theory goes, our bodies will be re-set, and we'll be better able to slowly incorporate things back into our diet. (Or not. I am aiming to banish soda forever.) So for those of you thinking that this is the most draconian thing ever--don't worry. You'll get your soy sauce back. I promise.

Coffee, or more on the power of eggs

Before moving to AL, I never drank coffee. I was a steadfast tea snob, loose-leaf only, with both a clay and glass pot for the appropriate types of tea. Enter stress-filled work nights and suddenly, coffee has become the preferred drink of choice.

So imagine my sadness when I realized strict paleo is going to mean no more cream in my morning cuppa. Now, I know some folks say cream isn't so bad, it's more of a fat than a carb, blah blah blah, but I know myself, and when it comes to the battle of moderation vs. abstinence, I'm an abstainer. Sometimes you have to go big or go home. I mean, really, it's only 7 weeks.

It's not so much the fact that I can't have cream as much as I just find some coffees way too acidic. I was explaining this to my dad (a strict black coffee drinker) when he reminded me of how he makes coffee -- cowboy style.

Some of you may remember your parents making coffee this way -- with eggshells mixed into the grounds. Apparently, the calcium carbonate from eggs helps neutralize the acids in coffee. Epicurious recommends using 5 eggshells, my dad uses 3. The finer you grind the shells, the less acidic your coffee will be. Also, some recommend baking the shells before use, to kill any bacteria, but if you use a french press, italian coffee maker, or a Capresso, you're probably fine with the temperature of the boiling water. (Drip coffee makers actually don't heat the water as hot as experts recommend for coffee brewing.)

More fuel for the Paleo propaganda machine

As if we needed another study to tell us protein is good for the brain. (I'm pretty sure every last-minute, late-night, cookie-fueled paper I ever wrote in college was evidence enough. )

But for all you folks who like a little science with breakfast, a new study shows that choline -- found in meats and chicken eggs -- plays a critical role in the development of fetal brains during pregnancy.

In short, paleo moms (and other women who eat meat and eggs) produce babies with better functioning memories. At least, that's how I'm going to spin it.

Exhibit 1A Why Clean Eating Is Important

This is how I feel a day after loading up on Southern food. Headache is back, urge to binge on sweet food is back (even though I'm not hungry), and I can't concentrate for shit. OK, I can't blame that last one on the bad food, though I wish I could. Time to get back on the wagon, ASAP.



Ask and ye shall receive. I'm thinking this may become a budgetary staple, maybe served up with a chicken breast (and yes, Meagan, I know I have previously harbored an illogical hatred of ratatouille, but I am somehow totally craving this.)

I want some of this immediately.

Dad's Authentic Ratatouille
Serves 2 for 4 meals

Ingredients (feel free to play with proportions as this is a more or less situation):

2 large eggplants, peeled and cubed into 1-inch cubes
6-8 zucchini, coined
3 bell peppers, roughly chopped (red are classic, but use what you have on hand)
5 cloves garlic, whole
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow onions
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs thyme (fresh thyme is the key to making this Ratatouille taste right)
1 can whole tomatoes or 4 large tomatoes that are nice and ripe
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large pot saute the onions in olive oil until brown, then add peppers and allow to soften. Stir in whole garlic cloves, tomatoes and bay leaf and turn heat down to a simmer and leave for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sautee eggplant and zucchini (they tend to get mushy if you throw them in with everything else but that can be good too and is easier than dirtying a second pan) until browned and softened.

Add the zucchini and eggplant to the simmering pot along with the sprigs of thyme and some salt and pepper (to taste) and allow to simmer at least another 20 minutes. Simmer longer if you want the flavors to really get good, or just reheat it the next day and you'll have the same effect.

Fish out the bay leaf and the whole garlic cloves and serve piping hot with crusty fresh baked bread or basmati rice. Add the minced garlic to the top of each serving.

Healthy/Fuck-off Scale

What's yours? I will come up with my own (after the seven weeks of awesomeness, of course), but for now, here is the uber-awesome Melissa's list.

This about sums it up

Badass on a Budget

For folks who don't know, I like to stretch my dollar. I'm not cheap exactly -- I'll pay for my quality goods-- but I'm a girl on a budget with some serious financial goals. In that regard, paleo is going to be a bit of a challenge for me. Produce isn't insanely expensive or anything, but figuring out how much to buy so it doesn't spoil, without wasting gas on repeated trips to the market is something I think about.

This is why I'm a fan of multi-dish meals. You know, that dish you can make in a big pot and eat over and over throughout the week. I particularly like spicy dishes that get better over time. "Better-overs" for lack of a more appropriate term.

Anyhow, I was reading this post on favorite recipes for multiple meals, when I noticed most folks really love their pasta as a one-stop multiple meal dish. This clearly will not do.

Luckily other folks have been tackling this issue, and I saw this recipe for slow cooked pork shoulder today over at The Label Says Paleo.

I'm not sure it's the quick stop multi-meal I'm looking for, but it's a start. Lately I've been eating a lot of tomato sauce over steamed broccoli or spaghetti squash, so that may do. I'm also hoping to find a beanless chili recipe. In any case, expect more updates on the paleo lifestyle for a girl on a budget. Everyone loves a deal.



5 days until our "pursuit of awesomeness" begins. Not that we aren't generally awesome, it's just time that strangers fear us upon sight. It's not easy to be a justice crusader when you're reluctant to don the tights and cape.

The solution? 7 weeks of paleo-only foodstuffs and 5 Crossfit workouts a week. We'll be tracking our highs and lows as we go along. No real format to this blog really. Some posts about foods and recipes, some posts about workouts, some posts about whatever the heck we feel like, because, hey, it's our blog.