It is done.

The 21-Day Challenge officially ended yesterday.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I rocked the challenge up until the point I didn’t.  🙂  However, as far as I am concerned, the challenge got me to where I wanted to go, namely, I’m back down to a weight where my clothes fit me comfortably, and my faith in the value of eating clean, whole, non-dairy, non-gluten foods has been restored.  Tracking my intake for 3 weeks helped me realize how easy it is to eat too many carbs if you allow yourself to go off-plan even just once/day.  To keep myself feeling good, I’m going to have to restrict the splurges to once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day.  Tracking my intake has also made me more aware of eating for nutrition instead of convenience or tastiness.  Overall, I consider the challenge a win!  I think my coworkers would consider it a win too.  They have both lost several pounds and are jazzed that they can eat without being bloated after every single meal.

I listened to Chris Kresser’s podcast recently, and he mentioned that he is working on a 14-day reset plan.  I’m anxious to check that out.  I think next time I’m ready for a clean-up, I will do that one.  Fourteen days of perfection sounds quite a bit easier than 21!  Plus I think it’s good to mix things up a bit to keep your body surprised.

My coworker had a celebratory supper last night, to commemorate the end of the challenge.  She made 2 different kinds of brisket, stuffed mushrooms, and a  cucumber, onion, and tomato salad.  Her boyfriend made some rum punch that knocked me out after 2 small glasses.  My contribution to the party (besides my hilarious wit and insightful observations) were these two dishes:

Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies – These are SUPER tasty.  However.  Well, they turned out bright green for some reason.  Yeah.  Maybe it’s the sweet potatoes??  For the mix-ins I used 1 cup of shredded coconut, 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/2 cup raisins.  I didn’t have any pumpkin pie spice, so I mixed 1.5 t of cinnamon, .5 t of nutmeg, .25 t of cloves, and .5 t of ginger.  They definitely LOOK a little weird, but they taste really good.  Oh!  And I didn’t have any almond butter, so I used sunbutter.  You want to be careful to not overeat these, however.  I put the recipe in PaleoTrack, and one cookie (I got 18 out of my batch) is 194 calories, with 12 grams of carbs.

Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad – This recipe was very simple, and it turned out very light and tasty.  Tim suggested adding tomatoes, which I think is a great idea.

During the challenge I have been avoiding regular coffee.  There are a  few reasons for this.  Tim has stopped drinking coffee because the caffeine freaks him out, so I was the only one drinking coffee in the morning.  The coffee accouterments take up A LOT of room on the counter, which seems ridiculous for one person who drinks coffee.  Also, I’m more sensitive to caffeine than I used to be, and I wasn’t sure how the caffeine was affecting my adrenals.  So, I decided to take a break from it. I found out that while I love green tea, I really miss coffee.  When we stayed with our relatives over Christmas, they had this Aeropress, which they LOVE.  It’s very compact, easy-to-use, and it makes excellent coffee.  So I ordered one from Amazon and picked up a bag of decaf beans from our favorite coffee place, Red Band.

I have to say, I LOVE this little thing.  Tim and I have been drinking all sort of decaf and half-caf coffee all weekend.  Today I made a decaf and mixed it with about 1/4 cup of hot coconut milk to make a paleo latte.  It was incredibly delicious.

And….that’s about all my news.  I have to go blow-dry my hair while it’s the perfect level of crispiness (fellow curly-haired folk will understand what I mean).  Adios!

Paleo Cookies and Happy Chihuahuas

Tim and I have an absolutely ancient chihuahua named Lucent.  We are currently sitting in our back yard enjoying this absolutely perfect spring day, and he is slowly wandering around the yard, pausing in patches of sunshine, looking for rabbit poop which is evidently delicious.  He’s old, he is partially blind, his back bends at a right angle, but he is still a happy little dog, as long as there is sunshine and tasty poop.  Ah, to be a dog…

I haven’t written lately.  Life was out-of-control busy these past couple of weeks, but busy with fun stuff – drinks with friends, hair highlights, art classes, etc.  Yet, busy it was, and I had no time or inclination to write.  Also due to the busyness I did not cook at much as usual and tried only 1 new recipe:  The Best Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These truly are really good paleo cookies.  They taste like ALMOST normal cookies.  I followed the suggestion in the recipe and took the cookies out of the oven right when they started to brown.  They tasted great right out of the oven, but the next morning they were super limp and doughy.  I slid them back on to a cookie sheet and popped them back in the oven for maybe 5-7 minutes.  They came out PERFECT.  These are some tasty sons of bitches, so I have to be careful how often I make them.  They have 1.5 cups of almond flour in them, and I’ve read a few articles lately (like this one here) that make me question my (incorrectly prepared) nut consumption.  It would be waaay too easy to overeat nuts when they are made into cookies this tasty.

Next week is a much more sane week.  I’ve already planned out meals for the next 10 days, and I’m looking forward to cooking at home and trying some new recipes.  Besides that, we need to swing into full gear for tri-training (only about a month left – eeeeek!!).  On Saturday we are doing the Beer & Bacon Run at Sunderbruch Park to help prepare for the off-road tri run.  Pray for a sunny, 70 degree day!

Tim and I also purchased the goods to make a couple square foot gardens.  We got some compost, top soil, plants, and seeds.  This is a new venture for us, so wish us luck.  If we get $100 of produce out of these, or a least some meditative, out-doors time, I’ll be happy.

And that’s my update for the week.  Hope you are enjoying this beautiful Saturday!