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!

Day 8 and Other Miscellaney

It’s Day 8 of the challenge, and I’m happy to say I’m down 2 pounds.  Who knows if it’s the diet or if it’s hormones.  Hormones are such a wild card.  Either way, I’m taking it!

It’s been a positive experience so far.  Using PaleoTrack has helped me become more aware of eating for nutrition instead of soley based on taste/convenience.  I’ve realized that unless I eat A LOT of greens (especially kale), it’s really hard to meet the RDA for minerals.  And unless I eat salmon regularly, my omega 6 to omega 3 ratios are waaay out of wack.  And, holy cow!  I can’t believe how many carbs are in grapes!!

Why the random grape comment, you ask?  Let me tell you.  We ran the Bix 7 (a local, hilly, 7-mile road race with about 18,000 participants) on Saturday.  This is the 3rd year we’ve done this quintessential Quad Cities event.  In the past 2 years, we’ve celebrated our efforts with beers at Great River Brewery and then pizza at Harris.  No such celebration this year!! Instead, after the race, I made my way through the throngs of people scarfing down the free Little Debbies, Twinkies, Cheetos, granola bars, and Michelob Ultra to the one tent waaaaay in the back that was handing out grapes.  I met up with the Timmy Tee there, who finished about 15 minutes before me, and had a couple of handfuls of grapes – about 1.5 cups, I think.  Guess how many carbs that is.  Guess!  You’ll never guess – it’s 41!!  When you are trying to stay below 100 for a whole day, that is troublesome!!  Oh, well, at least I did a 7 mile, SUPER HOT, super hilly, super crowded road race to compensate for the stupid sugary grapes.

After the race, we collected our phones from the car and then went back into the fray.  Since beer and pizza is off limits until August 9th, I filled my craving for something special by going to Red Band Coffee and getting a huge decaf (no heavy cream this time:().  While there we ran into a couple of friends and proceeded to chat for the next 90 minutes while Tim and our friend had a couple of beers at Great River.  In retrospect, perhaps standing for 90 minutes after running 7 miles was not a wise choice.

Oh man, I was soooo sore after that stupid run!  It took me 2 minutes longer this year than last year.  What is eerie is that Tim dropped 2 minutes from his time.  At the triathlon, I gained 8 minutes, and he lost 8 minutes.  Yin and yang, mange, yin and yang.  Anyway, all day long our knees were killing us – super achey.  I finally remembered to use the foam roller on my IT bands, and BAM, I was back in business.  They need to have stack and stacks of foam rollers at the end of these races.

Today to limber up our limbs we took what was supposed to be an easy bike ride.  However, we encountered a wiley wind that made our trip home quite the workout.  Even though it was more exercise than I wanted or needed, I’m really glad we went out. The weather today is super odd – it feels like a fall day by the ocean instead of an Iowan mid-summer Sunday.  I love it.  We have all the windows open and occasionally gusts are lifting up every sheet of paper in the house while also cooling down our hot kitchen.

Yes, it’s July, and I’ve been baking!  I have been craving a paleo treat since I’m not really supposed to have one.  🙂  Plus, I found this recipe on the CivilizedCaveman site:  Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins with Pumpkin Frosting.  Also, we are doing a wellness challenge at work, and I wanted to bring in a healthy-ish treat to encourage my team.  Well, I messed up the recipe from the get-go. I put the coconut milk in the fridge overnight as instructed, but instead of just scooping out the solidified milk, I mixed up the whole can and used some of that for the frosting.  There is no way that concoction is ever going to be frosting consistency.  But I tried a little bit of it out of curiosity.  OMG.  It tastes just like eggnog.  It’s deeeeelicious!!  Tim agrees and says it would probably be bonkers good with some rum.  Now I just need to figure out how to keep it good until I can have rum again…

And the muffins?  Well, I do believe I have underbaked them.  Tim and I just split one (watching those carbs, you know), and it is waaaay too mushy.  I’ll need to put them back in the oven and firm them up a bit.  Right now the oven is occupied with a chicken that promises (by the delightful smells wafting out of the oven) to be ultra tasty, so we’ll have to wait a bit.  Hopefully they will turn out OK.  Trying new recipes can be so frustrating!!  But how else can you find new, good stuff to make?

Oh, speaking of screwing stuff up – you remember the water kefir grains that I thought I killed?  They are alive and well!!  I took the advice of the super helpful staff at Cultures for Health and put them in spring water mixed with sucanat sugar.  The first batch was very lackluster, but they are slowing regaining their vigor.  I have two batches of the second ferment going right now.  It’s turning out fizzy and not sweet at all.  We love the flavor.  So much cheaper than buying kombucha!!  It’s helping to ease my transition into alcohol -ree evenings.  It is so boring to come home and just drink water all night!!  Drinking a cup of fizzy water kefir is an event!  Weeeeoooo!

And that’s my update for the week.  Some successes.  Some failures. Yin and yang, mange, yin and yang.

 

Primal 21-Day Challenge: A Retrospective

So, the challenge is over.  Results?

Starting weight 149.3, Chest 36, Waist 31, Hips 43

Ending weight 145.5, Chest 34.5, Waist 29, Hips 42

I would call that success.  I would have liked to end the challenge at least at 142, but I will take it.

Outside of the challenge, I’m still adhering to it.  I’ve been eating primally and trying to exercise more.  I did have a little bit of an energy crash this afternoon.  I choose to blame damn hormones.  Overall, I feel so much better and usually have so much more energy, that it’s totally worth it to stay on.  I don’t really miss rice or bread or corn chips. I do crave sugar a bit, however.  I ate a date when I got home, but I really wanted to eat a Snickers.  But, feeling my pants be a little loose is all I need to just say no.

So, now that the challenge is over, what will I write about every day?  Well, I’ve decided that writing daily is too much – it’s too much to keep up with and too much for people to read.  It gets to be overwhelming, and overwhelming gets to be daunting, and daunting gets to be Heather Doesn’t Do It Anymore.  I do enjoy writing more regularly, however, so I will try to write at least once a week, on any one of the random topics my random blog covers – makeup, painting, conversation, hiking, biking, books, movies, recipes – anything is fair game.

Thanks for following me through this “journey.”  Man, do I ever hate it when people refer to things such as this as “journeys, ” but I’m going to do it be ironic.  It’s been a good trip, and this is but the beginning.