A Frustrated Rant

I am frustrated this morning. Mad, really.

Let me back up and give you some context. Hopefully you will then understand my frustration and be mad with me.

Last weekend my fiance, his mom, and I went to Sam’s Club to shop for groceries for a few weeks. We bought a lot of meat because there are a lot of people in this house, so we go through meat rather quickly. Especially now that half of us in the house can really only eat meat and veggies. None of us had been to Sam’s in quite a while, so we spent three hours going through the majority of the store, trying to figure out what we could save money on if it were purchased there rather than somewhere else. When we went through the freezer section, we saw some bags of frozen Tyson chicken that looked pretty convenient. The price didn’t seem too bad, either. The chicken has been so convenient that the bag is already empty. I had my first piece of it last night. I only ate one piece that my sister-in-law had grilled, with some zucchini and onions that I sauteed. And after I ate dinner I promptly passed out for four hours. When I woke up, I felt groggy and unfocused, and I had a hard time going back to sleep.

There is only one substance on the face of the planet that does that to me. This substance is found in pizza and pancakes, and this effect of those food products was one of the main reasons why I wanted to stop eating them.

I looked at the bag to try to figure out the mystery of my sudden need for sleep. The results are somewhat inconclusive, but the bag states that the chicken is flavored with chicken broth. The bag also does not say what the ingredients of the chicken broth are.

I have no proof that the chicken is what caused me to need sleep like nobody’s business. But I do know by the nature and quality of the sleep, the kind of dreams that I had, and the way that I felt when I woke up that there was something wrong with something that I ate. This is where a lot of people around me think that I am crazy and pick on me mercilessly, but when you cut so much crap out of your diet, you are much more aware and sensitive to the effects of that crap when it manages to sneak it’s way back in. All I have to go on in this case is a bag of frozen chicken, because it is the only food aspect of my entire day that I did not have complete control over.

While it is sad that I can’t even trust a bag of frozen chicken when it comes to this diet, I also should have known better. I was looking for convenience; what I found instead was that there is a price for convenience. No one said that this diet is convenient; I work hard every weekend to make sure that I have smart choices throughout the week, as well as variety in those choices. I cook everything. I make sure that everything I eat is as natural as I can afford for it to be. But we have come to a place in society where everyone places convenience over their health, which is what leads companies to put out products that are unhealthy and are ultimately killing us. What makes it extremely sad to me is that I look at a label of frozen chicken, assume by the label that it is fine, but ultimately pay a price for eating it. That price was time away from my kids and household responsibilities because I was so zonked out that I couldn’t even try to get out of bed when my daughter came in to tell me that she needed a fork, which she needed because dishes needed to be washed and I couldn’t do it – because I was so zonked. And it is too early to tell, but I am sure that I will spend the weekend feeling sub-par as well, until whatever nasty culprit that I consumed makes its way through my system.

But in the end, I learned a valuable lesson: convenience is not worth the price you pay. Next time, I will be sticking to the same old chicken that I always cook and has proven to not knock me out like a prize-fighter would.

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Spicy Shrimp and Scallops

I found this recipe in the Paleo Diet Cookbook  and I had to try it.

What you need:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 pound raw, peeled, deveined shrimp

1 pound scallops

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro

lime juice to taste

cayenne pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your skillet. Add the garlic and saute for one minute, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and stir, cooking for two minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turn pink. Remove from pan – put them in a bowl – and cook the scallops, about five minutes (or until they are done, whichever comes first). Add the scallops to the shrimp and tomatoes, and stir in the remaining ingredients.

This was a pretty good snack for my fiance and I. The scallops were definitely a treat, but the recipe in the book doesn’t even call for them. I added them simply because he and I both like scallops, and they worked really well. I think that as everything sets the resulting sauce may pick up the subtleties of the different flavors involved; we ate the majority of the shrimp and scallops right after they were done cooking and felt that there was too much lime juice (the recipe called for juice from half of a lime). But when I went back for more, I felt that the flavors had melded a little better.

Cooking in a Seasonal Fashion

During my weekly trip to the farmer’s market I stopped to talk to one of the vendors that I frequent. She asked me if I had tried any of the winter squash yet. “Not really,” was my reply. “But I know that I need to start trying some because you don’t have much zucchini and yellow squash left!” To which she replied, “What you see out here is the last we’ll have this season.”

So I really need to be finding some recipes quick! I have one that I am hoping to try this week for a stuffed delicata squash – something that I not only have never seen before, but never heard of, either! I bought a few acorn squashes this trip, as well as an amber something-or-other that the vendor assured me was good, but not as good as the buttercup squash that she recommended I try next time.

So since I have a bunch of squash that I have never worked with or tasted before, I will definitely have to start looking up some recipes to fix.

On another note, I caved to my teenager this weekend. My teenager has basically been on a hunger strike at my house (although I guess she’s been eating okay at her father’s). She won’t eat well over three-quarters of the meat I’ve been cooking, and none of the vegetables. While I have gotten my five-year-old to try some things, my teenager has stubbornly refused to eat. Night after night I have called her to dinner, and night after night she has stated flatly that she isn’t hungry.

So when I went to the grocery store today I bought stuff I know that she’ll eat: breaded buffalo chicken strips, hamburger helper – all stuff that I know is really bad for her. But I guess in this case I need to pick my battles; I know how picky she is because she’s been that way all of her life. Asking her to totally change her eating habits overnight just isn’t going to happen. She may not even change them in months. But I suppose that I can provide her with what I know she will eat because I really hate the thought of her going to bed hungry in the evenings, no matter how I feel about what she will eat.

So, score one for the teenager.

Paleo Stuffed Peppers

I have been working my way slowly through the book “Everyday Paleo” by Sarah Fragoso. It has some wonderful recipes in it, including the Garden Fresh Meatballs that I mentioned previously on this blog. I feel weird posting a recipe from a cookbook that someone else wrote on my blog, so I am going to just tell you to buy the book! It definitely has some wonderful recipes in it (and I haven’t even tried half of them yet).

One of the recipes that I tried this week while I was on vacation and had some extra time to cook was the Stuffed Peppers (this is the link to the recipe on the Everyday Paleo blog). I am used to having the stuffed peppers that my mom used to make when I was little: rice, ground beef, some vegetables, and whatever spices she threw in. Now, don’t get me wrong; I loved my mom’s stuffed peppers. But they couldn’t hold a candle to this recipe. These peppers were quite possibly the best stuffed peppers I have ever eaten in my life. My fiance absolutely loved them, too! Even my five-year-old, who I am trying to get to eat Paleo, tried a few bites. We have already agreed that this recipe is definitely one that we need to do again – soon.

Days 4 and 5

Day four went pretty good. This was the day that I actually stopped feeling hungry all of the time. Actually, I didn’t feel hungry at all, which worried me. I had leftover tilapia for breakfast, which took a strength of will to get over the mindset that you do NOT eat a dish like this for breakfast! I am pretty well over that mindset now, because the fish has kept me feeling more satisfied over the course of the morning than eggs have. I may be pretty well done with eggs for breakfast, except for occasions when I just want some eggs.

So I got off work early that day, something that very rarely happens, and I went to a Mexican restaurant and had fajitas, even though I didn’t feel hungry. Well, fajitas minus the tortillas, the rice, the beans, and the sour cream. I even told them not to bring out the chips! I felt silly ordering fajitas and asking them to not bring half of the stuff that makes them fajitas, but it was so worth it, with the extra side of guacamole that I ordered. Maybe it was all of that guacamole – I don’t know – but when dinner time came I still didn’t feel hungry. So I didn’t eat dinner. I did, however, go to the gym for the first time in a while with a friend of mine. We had fun working out, and then I went home, did a little homework, and went to bed.

Yesterday was flounder and sauteed vegetables for breakfast. (I am really getting used to the fish for breakfast!) I ended up going to Chick-fil-A with my daughter so that she could do homework before school started and I had no desire for anything there, except for some water. I was very proud of myself about that. Lunch was a salad with roasted turkey breast, olive oil, and some strawberries (strawberries taste really good with turkey, by the way). I’m not really a big fan of turkey, but it was a pretty good lunch.

And then, disaster struck. I was hanging pictures up in my classroom when I fell and rolled my ankle. I have been told to stay off of it all weekend. My boyfriend cooked dinner, which was really good: chicken breasts fried in olive oil with sauteed zucchini and squash.

I had been planning to go to the farmer’s market today so that I could get a lot of vegetables to work with this week, but that plan has gone out the window since I am stuck in bed and off of my ankle for the rest of the weekend. I was also planning to go to the park with a friend of mine so that I could get in some activity this weekend. No such luck. I won’t even be able to go to the grocery store, which is going to make cooking for the next week very interesting. I guess.

Things like this are what usually push me off of the wagon, but I’m liking the wagon so far, so I am going to try very hard to not fall off. Every book that I’ve read has said that when you “cheat” it is a decision – you make a decision about what foods to put into your mouth. I liked that and I try to remember that when I am planning every meal, or when I am tired in the evenings and don’t feel like cooking, or when I am sitting at a restaurant and I am tempted to order something that I don’t need to have. I have been feeling very well with this way of eating and I really want to make it part of my lifestyle, as well as part of my family’s lifestyle, so I am going to make conscious decisions to stick with it and do what it takes to do this right.

Day 3

Day three went okay. I had my huge veggie omelet which did not fill me up, so I went to the store and bought some shrimp from the meat department to munch on. I put the rest of it in my baked tilapia with mushrooms. They got a little overcooked with the tilapia, since they were already cooked, but they weren’t inedible. Lunch was another salad with chicken and olive oil.

Breakfast this morning was leftover shrimp and tilapia, with some sauteed veggies thrown in. It was kind of weird having that for breakfast, but since the eggs haven’t been cutting it I figured that I would try it and see how it goes. I wasn’t really hungry this morning, but I ate it because I really didn’t want hunger to hit in the middle of the morning and there be nothing I could do about it.

Yesterday afternoon was a little rough in that I felt so tired and worn down. I know that this is probably the carb withdrawal flu that I have heard so much about. I’ve never experienced it to this degree, which makes me wonder if there were quite a few things that I was doing wrong on those low-carb diets. I didn’t go to bed any earlier last night, but I’m thinking that I should have because I woke up tired this morning. It is going to be a long day.

Because it is going to be a long day and I’ve had a long week, I plan on treating myself to some fajitas from the Mexican restaurant for lunch – without the tortillas, beans, cheese, and rice, of course. With a side of guacamole, that should hit the spot and perhaps give me enough energy to make it through the afternoon.