My Full-Fat Life

By: Emma

Cooking my way through Grain Brain

fish cauliflowerEver since I read Grain Brain, I have been on such a roll cooking my way through it. A few days ago I made halibut and cauliflower.

I baked the fish in a sauce: white wine, butter, capers, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and fresh dill. The recipe said to use any white fish, so I bought halibut. It was $20 bucks at whole foods for wild caught fish, but hey cheaper and much healthier than takeout.

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients and heat in a skillet while you preheat the oven to 425. With any wine sauce, I always let it reduce by half before using it to cook out the alcohol. The fish was ready in 20 mins.

Then I got cauliflower and grated it and sauted it with olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Both recipes didn’t call for salt and pepper, but I added them to both. Not a lot, but enough for flavor. The cauliflower sort of resembled rice. I will definitely make it again, especially now that I bought a food processor. I had to buy a few household items this week now that I’m cooking more. I also had to buy new pots and pans and another cookbook (I bought Grain Brain cookbook) I can’t wait til it arrives. I haven’t run out of recipes yet, but I’m excited to get some inspiration from other recipes.

I will definitely make this dinner again. It was so easy. It only required planning. That’s what I have learned about my lifestyle changes. It’s not more difficult or more money. It just takes time to go to the store and plan a meal. It’s a lot easier now that I’m back in the habit.

Since I have been reading so much, I picked up another book, Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall, who is also the author of Born to Run. I am looking forward to reading it! I go through phases with reading, so I am excited that I’m still on a roll.

Review of “oatless” oatmeal

Today after my workout, I wanted to try oat-less oats. I read this recipe in Grain Brain.

I’ve never been a fan of oats. It’s horse food to me, and never kept me full. But I was interested in trying this it because it’s full of nuts, and full of fat, which is satiating.

oatmeal

I was looking forward to trying almond butter, and I try to use bananas whenever I can. I didn’t add pumpkin seeds or berries.

Instructions

  1. First, I blended the almonds, walnuts, and flax seeds, and allspice.
  2. In another bowl, I whisked 3 eggs with the almond milk, and a pinch of salt. The recipe doesn’t call for salt, but I like flavor.
  3. In another bowl, I mashed the banana (I used an entire banana not half) and almond butter, and then added the banana and almond butter mixture to the egg batter.
  4. Then I combined all ingredients in the saucepan.

I followed the instructions, except I cooked it on a little too high of heat. I overlooked the cook “cook on low heat” part of the recipe. I definitely will turn the heat down next time. My eggs scrambled instead of remaining an almond milk custard. It was still delicious and edible, but I will be more careful next time. I have watched enough of the Food Network to know that scrambling eggs is a common mistake. The consistency was pretty good though, and it thickened quickly, which was a surprise because the nut mixture didn’t seem to produce a ton.

I will try this recipe again. It was so easy to make I could make it when I’m strapped for time, perfect for a busy morning.

The texture of “nut-meal” was surprising; it remained pretty crunchy. The flavor was great. I think next time though, I will use cinnamon instead of allspice and I will add more almond butter. It stuck to my ribs. I wasn’t even hungry at lunch time, when in the past I would be “starving” by lunch. I will definitely cycle this through my morning recipes.

First day’s meals without gluten

Yesterday morning I was not yet done with Grain Brain, but I had already made up my mind on Saturday night to eliminate these foods for my health.

I had to think about what to eat, and cook, something I had not done in months besides breakfast. My kitchen is teeny tiny, and I have a lot of gadgets taking up space on the counter. But hey, I’m not getting rid of my espresso machine, milk frother, or toaster. I really don’t know what happened here, because 2.5 years ago I cooked dinner every single night except Fridays.

Overtime I became intolerant to the cramped quarters, got familiar with takeout, got busier and busier at work, and stopped cooking.

Well, my new diet will require a lot more cooking. Some of my pans are ruined (teflon). The coating is peeling off so it’s time to buy new ones. Too bad I can’t add these pans to a wedding registry. Being single sure is expensive!

Although new pans are expensive, I will be saving a lot of money over time. Cooking is very expensive when you first start. I remember this from when I used to cook. When you have all the essentials stocked, you can just ski to the store for your meats and veggies. But when you have nothing in the house but coffee, bananas, milk, and eggs, you need practically everything every time you want to whip up a masterpiece.

So yesterday I slept until almost 8. Lovely. 🙂 I made my coffee with my pour over Hario, and curled up with Grain Brain. I was devouring it. I started to get hungry and made a smoothie.

Meal #1- smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Coconut water
  • Frozen Acai packet
  • Strawberry protein

I blended these ingredients and drank it up. A smoothie rarely suffices for long, but it is a great way to get protein and nutrients. Acai is full of omegas and you need those. The shake has a ton of vitamins, protein, and superfood.

After I drank the shake I started to think about what I could whip up for my REAL breakfast.

Eggs are a staple for me. I love them, and Dr. Perlmutter defends eggs in the book. I decided on a veggie frittata, and realized I have very few veggies in the house. None actually, just whatever is in a bag of salad that I’m not going to eat. I had to go to the store.

Before I went I quickly read through a frittata recipe by Ina Garten, one of my favorite cooks. I didn’t need to read it word for word; I had already made up my mind. I really wanted spinach in the frittata. I contemplated sun-dried tomatoes too, because I love them. I know they have more phytonutrients or some type of healthy stuff (hey I’m no expert here) than regular tomatoes.

So I walked to the store, got in some Fitbit steps, and bought ingredients for my frittata. Anytime I can use my iron skillet I’m happy. It’s not ruined. There’s no teflon to cause trouble, and it feels so substantial. And good lord, taking that thing out of the oven is a workout. Way to remind me I need to hit the weights.

Meal #2- breakfast

Ingredients:

  • 7 eggs
  • butter
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • pepper jack cheese (tillamook)
  • milk
  • avocado

Making this was super easy, and there’s leftovers so I have breakfast ready for today! Frittatas are like a crust-less quiche.

First I put my cast iron skillet on the stove and turned it on to medium/high. After a couple minutes I added butter. I love butter and eggs. I wouldn’t use olive oil, but I am sure you could. Then I added two cups of spinach and sauted it. After the spinach wilted I added the mushrooms. I love any meal that starts with veggies and a saute.

Soon I should have more food around, and going to the store will be more habitual. Then I could add even more. A little onion and bacon would be great too. The more fat, the better. Bacon adds a lot of flavor too. I don’t usually eat it, but the fat can really flavor your meal.

Next I preheated the oven to 350. Once my veggies were sweating a bit, I cracked 7 eggs in a bowl, added about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup (I didn’t measure) of milk, about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, and cracked a bunch of pepper in and whisked with a fork. I firmly believe this is the most important step. Unless you have a medical reason, I wouldn’t skimp on the salt and pepper. It really makes all the difference.

After whisking I poured the eggs into the iron skillet on the stove. I let it cook for 3 mins and added it to the oven. I baked it for 20 mins, but before I took it out, I added pepper jack cheese.

I took it out of the oven and served it with half an avocado on top, and tapitio on the side.

I should have taken pictures. Next time I will!

For lunch we had tacos. My boyfriend made these and they were good. I did have 3 gluten-free corn tortillas.

He bought marinated meat. This recipe was pretty easy from what I saw. My kitchen is tiny and you cannot have too many (meaning 2) cooks in this kitchen.

Meal #3- lunch

tacos

Taco ingredients:

  • Tiny gluten-free corn tortillas
  • Mexican cheese
  • Avocado
  • White onion
  • Cilantro
  • Salsa verde (say better they and you’ll say it right)
  • Red cabbage (my idea)
  • Meat marinated in Mexican flavor
  • sour cream

I didn’t prepare this, but I saw he cooked the meat in a skillet. Luckily we still have a few pans we can use that aren’t destroyed. You can put the tortillas in the oven, sprinkled with cheese so it melts.

pan fry

Then slice it into little strips.

sliced up

My pieces of the meat were much more thoroughly cooked, but I forgot to take the picture until I was done eating.

He sliced the meat thin so it cooked up quickly. This is a pretty easy meal. Just grab a tortilla and pile on the ingredients.

cheeese tortillas

To assemble a taco:

  1. Grab a tortilla with cheese.
  2. Add meat. Don’t add too much, otherwise the tortilla will fall apart.
  3. Add avocado, onion, cilantro, a little salsa verde, red cabbage, and sour cream.

We both ate 3 of these. Each tortilla has 11 grams of carbs, so pretty healthy. This was a really satisfying and fresh-tasting meal, and there is quite a bit leftover. I will probably need to cook daily with my new diet, but having leftovers will make it easier.

Meal #4- dinner

When it came time for dinner around 6:30, I was not interested in cooking or doing anymore dishes. The author of the book recommends not going out to restaurants for 3 weeks, but I’m not following this advice exactly. Instead we went out to dinner but chose healthy food. And, I’m already making such significant improvements. Going out for just one meal instead of 3!

We went to my favorite, Armadillo Willy’s. I got the Chinatown chicken salad. It comes with greens, red bell pepper, BBQ chicken, peanuts, and sriracha. It had some crunchy noodles on top, which I tossed to the side. This is a very filling and satisfying salad.

I always eat a yogurt right before I go to bed, but otherwise that’s all I ate. Oh, and a kind bar. Well, they are gluten-free.

I have lots of leftovers for today, but I’m also thinking of making some turkey meatballs.

What are some of your favorite grain-free meals?

 

Grain Brain

Well, I don’t know if I had grain brain early Saturday morning. But I definitely had grain tummy, or air tummy. What should I call it? This happened a few months back and ended in misery.

Friday I was, as usual, very active of course. I walked over 8 miles according to my Fitbit and burned 2376 calories. Sounds about right. I got home from my long walk and felt a little tired. I wasn’t physically tired, but after all that walking I just didn’t feel like going to the store. I ordered from Door Dash instead. I thought hmm what do I want? I never eat pizza.

Before it was time to cuddle up with some lifetime movies, a pretty typical Friday night for me, I ordered a thin crust mushroom and pepperoni pizza and salad. It arrived sooner than Door Dash said, but I predicted it because I live only one mile from the restaurant. After inhaling 4 slices, I ate the mixed green salad. I love the mixed greens. It comes with cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots. I remember feeling like “wow, I could eat a whole pizza.” I felt like I was eating air.

I watched a lifetime movie that was a bit of a downer, but I like the realness lifetime offers.  The network doesn’t just portray happy, perfect moments in life. Instead they dramatize what you can expect to see when talking with a friend. Any issues–family and relationship, addiction, anything. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile you probably remember my two favorite lifetime shows are “My Crazy Ex,” and “I love you, but I lied.” I would argue all girls can relate.

So I watched “Pretty Little Addict,” which was about alcoholism.

After the movie, I ate a 2% fage yogurt, and went to bed.

I was sleeping like a baby when I was awoken to sudden, growling hunger. I couldn’t go back to bed. I was like an infant. I had to pour a tall glass of 2% milk and tried to go back to sleep. My stomach stopped growling but I was still hungry and couldn’t sleep. I felt like I was about to go in and out of a dream but I never really nodded off.

I was pretty tired and angry that I couldn’t stay full during the night. Constant hunger is an issue with I have struggled with before.

Saturday I attended a beer festival with my friends.

beer fest

Looks like we were photobombed.

I didn’t drink a ton but I tried probably 5 beers. My favorite was Otro Vez by Sierra Nevada. It was very lemonade-tasting. Afterwards we had a deliciously southern meal at Sauced Brewery.

When I got home I felt bloated, deliciously bloated, and with the lack of sleep the night before, I knew I had to work to get my health and stomach back on track.

After taking a shower I noticed Grain Brain sitting on my desk. I had bought it a few months ago but hadn’t cracked it open yet. I read a bunch last night and instantly felt motivated about living a healthier lifestyle and cutting out grains–for good.

Today I finished the book. I survived a day without grain. It turns out, it is possible.

Running in the heat

Running in the heat is kicking me off my feet. I love walking outside to the trail in the warmth. I really love it. I just bask in the sun, feeling the heat go through my skin. But when I pick up the pace and try to get the right mile speeds, I am ridiculously slow. I need to start running earlier in the morning again. I have been really busy so I am trying to get stuff done before I hit the trail, but I can’t do that much longer. I need to run before I do anything else. I felt really dehydrated after running today, so drinking water will be my second job.

run 510

Hey, everyday can’t be a PR. My next run is scheduled for Thursday and I plan to run nice and early, while it’s still cool.

Yesterday I did a recovery walk, and climbed one hill. Then I did single-legged squats with a 10 lb weight, and some core work. I am working on planks a lot.

Tomorrow is a walk/hike, and core work.

Some other things I’m enjoying…therapeutic coloring. It’s harder than it looks. I’ve never been a big fan of colored pencils. I’m a crayons gal, but you need a finer point for these little shapes. I feel like I really have to press hard to make the color obvious.

coloring

New running clothes

I got a cute orange tank at Target for my Giants race. Yay!

I am into longer shorts now. They are working so much better for me. I have narrow hips and my thighs rub, so the second I run one step in loose shorts they ride up and my thighs rub. I have been experimenting for awhile. I have worn capris for a few years, but I do feel my mobility is limited in them. These 7 in inseam shorts are perfect. They stay down and have pretty full coverage, which I like. I think I have found my match. I want to wear these and my orange tank for my Giants run. I prefer to have tight bottoms and loose tops. I have a few pairs of other shorts that are tight, which prevents rubbing, but they always ride up too much once I start running. These shorts are perfect.

  • What are your favorite running shorts?
  • Have you tried adult coloring books?

Focus on speed or distance?

I ran another 5 miles this morning and I feel AMAZING.

mother's day run

Running 5 miles is definitely getting easy. It doesn’t feel that far. I was just thinking of upping my long run to 6 miles when I remembered my next race is 5 miles. I think I want to practice getting a bit faster, a little closer the 8 min mile speed would be nice, before I add mileage. Or maybe I’ll work on speed during my next two 3 mile runs–Tuesday and Thursday of this week–and then run my longer run without timing it.

Warmup

Why does my warmup take so long? I’m 27 but sometimes I feel like my legs are 72. Around the 2-3 mile mark my knee gets a little stiff. I don’t know why. It’s sort of like my muscles are not firing enough and I’m still half asleep. Around 3-5 miles I feel great. I feel compact, powerful, and it gets much more effortless. I am starting to believe that I will be enjoying these longer runs more than my short runs.

Running plan this week

Tuesday

3 miles. I will jog a mile to warm up and then run at an 8 min pace.

Thursday

4 mile tempo. I would like to throw some speed work in too, so I’ll do tempo run at some point. Tempos helped me get faster last year.

Running on hot coals

I was running on some uneven ground today with a lot of rocks. I had to look down a lot to avoid tripping. The “imagine you’re running on hot coals” analogy was perfect today. There were so many rocks so I tried to not be on the ground too long. Running quickly over rocks helped me take a shorter stride and just barely touch the ground before pushing off again.

  • How was your run today?
  • Do you work on speed before you add miles?

Upcoming races

I have been so busy lately! I am between jobs, and spending a lot of time applying for jobs and interviewing. I have a couple good prospects and I’m excited for the future!

The past few days I have been thinking about finding another race to run prior to my half marathon. I just love racing. I love getting up early, and the sense of accomplishment I feel after. And that feeling of being asleep while awake about 2 hours after. I absolutely love physical exhaustion. I love being spent, like you tried your hardest and almost fell over. Naturally I do not get that red in the face. I have an olive skin tone. But when I really get my blood pumping I get red as a lobster.

The San Jose Giants run is in June and the 415 run is in July. I had so much fun running the San Jose Giants race last year I don’t think I can pass it up. The 415 run is coming up too, and it’s a 12k. One race a month is fun and gives me something to look forward to. I haven’t done a race since my run in the downpour, but hey it was a PR and it changed me.

After getting that wet and cold, weather has not phased me. I have toughened up significantly. Weather hasn’t even crossed my mind. Today I hiked 6 miles in the rain today and felt perfectly content.

So, let’s catch up on life happenings. The fuzzy little ones were born. They are out getting some exercise on the trail.

baby geese

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Their parents look at you with crazy mad eyes as you pass by. Not many things are cuter than this little one.

little one

Tuesday I did a strength workout that kicked my butt. I was sore for days. I definitely did more squats than miles this week! Wednesday I hiked 4 miles so I wouldn’t get too stiff. A slow hike, I may add. The next day I did another hike and core work–planks and 2 10 min ab videos. Those videos are harder than they look.

I tried to run yesterday but was still not all the way recovered, so I was super slow.  But miles count, even slow miles. I turned off mapmyrun when I was getting bothered by the turtle speed, but I did run a total of 3 miles.

run 56

Tomorrow I will run. Probably 3-5 miles.I am not sore anymore, so 5 miles will be doable. I like Sunday to be my long run. My PT has me a on 5% increase in mileage, so I will keep building up slowly. I have awhile until my half, but I want to do a few other races in between.

Last year I did the SJ Giants run, and got a good time. I had severe knee pain the last 2 miles of the race and just pushed through. This year I plan to run this race healthy. I bet my time will be comparable, and that’s okay. I don’t except a significant difference in speed when I ran the other race pretty fast. But, I will not run this one in pain and that’s really important to me.

  • Which races do you have coming up?
  • Anyone doing the run the bay challenge?

 

 

5 miles and half of a cup of ice cream

Yesterday I finally ran longer than 3 miles! It was really fun.

I would like to keep this pace for my half marathon. Starting out slow worked pretty well for me.

mayrun

Some people seem to think if you’re dieting to lose weight you cannot eat “unhealthy” food. A little reminder, I eat that stuff all the time. Cookies, cake, ice cream, pancakes. It’s all fuel, and you need fuel to run. In moderation.

Go ahead and eat ice cream, but remember the serving size:

half a cup

Yes, one half cup. Most people I know will fix themselves about 4x that much.

I found the best ice cream. Tillamook Frozen Custard–cheesecake with marionberry. Enjoy it. YUM. But, I still stuck with a 1/2 cup serving size. No reason to be a gluttonous!

My favorite song right now:

southern drawl

I hope I hear this while running my half. It would be perfect around mile 6-10.

There is some awesome new country talent out there right now.. Jon Langston, Kane Brown, Luke Combs.

I missed the Nashville half marathon last weekend, which I was planning on running but I wasn’t ready. A few months ago I knew my knee wouldn’t be ready, and I found out the course is hilly. I’m thinking I’ll run it next year!

A hilly half could be my goal for my 2nd or 3rd half.

  • Do you like to run hills?
  • What pace should I go for during my half?
  • Who ran the Nashville RnR?

 

A good run and smiley pancakes

My core work and strength training is paying off! I had a really good run today!

run329

Yesterday I thought about doing 5 miles but today felt more like a 3 mile day.  This is the kind of pace I hope to have for my half marathon! I would be thrilled if I run my half at an 8:30/9 min pace, especially since it’s my first.

I love finding a drinking fountain and bathroom on the running trail. I stopped 3 times for water today. It’s amazing how powerful you feel when you’re not thirsty.

Gotta love the little memo on the water fountain here in Seattle. You won’t find this in California!

freezer proof

I will do 5 miles on Sunday instead. Tomorrow will be a core/strength hill climbing day.

Yesterday I went down to the marina for some delicious seafood (clam chowder, and a cod taco) as everyone gathered and the navy sang them goodbye. They are off, with the race resuming today.

danang

A couple hours later I went walking and saw them from far away.

race aroudn the world

Yesterday I went out to breakfast at this diner I’ve been going to a lot this trip. I always smile and wave to those working in the kitchen. I ordered my pancakes and this is what I got:

happy pancake

This really warmed my heart. If I have made someone smile, I feel like I’ve done my job!

My pre-run rituals

Before I go running, I always follow these steps.

Before we begin, step 1. includes eating. I never run without food in my stomach. I have before but I am not strong enough without fuel. Today I had eggs, cheese, and potatoes. I used red potatoes.

This is how I make breakfast potatoes:

  1. Wash them and cut them into fourths.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook them in a little butter for about 20-30 mins, until they are nice and brown.
  4. Towards the end I add rosemary and garlic.

I always have two cups of coffee in the morning too, and drink water. About an hour or 2 after eating, I am ready to run.

Before I head out, I stretch my hip flexor. This is really good stretch, and works better for me than pigeon, which I do after my run. Keep your knee at 90 degrees, and keep your other leg straight. Be careful not to arch your back. You will feel a good stretch on the front on your hip flexor. I feel it to about mid-thigh when I’m super tight. Hold this for about 30 seconds.

hip flexor

Next, I activate my glutes with some squats without weights, and fire hydrants. I should be wearing a band tied around my knees but I don’t have one with me. It’s still hard without the band!

fire hydrant

You can also do this standing with hands on the couch, table, anything really.

Forward fold. My hamstrings are TIGHT… so I try to warm up slowly.

forward fold

I like to do a few sun salutations to warm up my core and breathe before heading out.

I’m reading Aim True right now, by Kathryn Budig, and I highly recommend it. You can learn a lot about yoga from her.

It’s about .7 of a mile to the trail where I’ve been running, so that’s a pretty nice warmup as well.

How do you warm up for a run?

 

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