Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paleo on 100 Dollars a Month - Drinks, odds and ends

When you get to a certain age, people quit giving you toys for Christmas and birthday.  You start to get more soaps and bath salts (the kind that actually goes in the bath..) but if they don't know you that well, you get tea.  I tend to get tea from co-workers, probably because they see me drinking tea more than they see me bathing.

It is pretty easy to get free tea, especially green tea, because it is something we are supposed to like but for most people it is awful.  I happen to love green tea but I will miss my favorite decaf variety during this challenge.  Some of my tea is actually from my husband because I asked for it.

Now that I am paleo, the next time he asks me what I want for our anniversary or something, I'll tell him I want a side of beef wrapped up in a fancy box (like a freezer).

I thought I was going to have to go without green tea altogether.  I tried a bulk brand, but it turned out to be extremely expensive.  Then I remembered that I had received a tin of green tea blossoms.  I don't use them often because they are so large, but for this challenge, I decided to go ahead and take them apart so I could have a bit of real green tea each day.  They were quite a pain to pull apart, but I am sure it will be worth it.

While rearranging all the tea in my cabinet, I discovered a whole container of protein drink mix given to me by a trading partner several years ago.  It has soy and whey in it.  Will it kill me?  Stay tuned!  Protein powder is also easy to get for free, especially if you make friends with vegans.  They try all sorts of brands, and either it tastes awful, or it is made in some sort of unsustainable way or it isn't raw.  You just might see some of this stuff on the challenge.  Yes, it probably will kill me.

Per Dr. Rosedale, I need around 50-ish grams of protein a day minimum, so that is what I am going to shoot for.  I hope I can do this without resorting to eating backyard snails.  Not sure I am up to that challenge yet, but I have been reading all about it.  I have been diligent about capturing snails this year, and I doubt I would have enough mature snails to make a meal anyway.  Right now, I am thinking soy and raw pea protein sounds more appetizing.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Paleo on 100 Dollars a Month - Seasonings

I am done with rewarding food!  New readers might not remember all the reasons I am not a fan of Guyenet's food reward hypothesis.  One of "the dominant" reasons is that I know through my past locavore food challenges that a few days without herbs and spices and you really never miss them.  Oh, except curry, and I think there must be a special curry rule.  The lack of seasoning really doesn't hold me back when my hormonal signalling says "feed me!!!!!!!"

In January when I did autoimmune paleo, I gave up all prepared herb and spice blends and sauces because they contain peppers.  This did not kill me.  I can do this again.  Its nice that I don't have to.

Actually, I have more choices than in January.  Here's what is currently in my spice rack for this challenge, and all free:

cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, dill seed, fennel seed, black pepper, chili powder, Penzey's Forward spice blend, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, summer savory, sage, lemon grass, lemon balm, mint, tarragon, shiso, lavender, za'atar, marjoram, parsley, chives, rose hips, lemon peel, orange peel, garlic, olive juice, sauerkraut juice, wine vinegar.

I grow about a dozen types of peppers, so there will be a blend for every dish if I want it, but I will miss cumin.   I checked the prices at a couple of places.  The store where I can buy in bulk has outrageous prices, and other cheap places require the purchase of very large packages.  The best price I found was 69 cents, which seemed pretty high to me.  We'll see.  Personally, if I can afford a splurge, I would prefer to do it on macadamia nuts or an avocado.

I have one more store I might check, but it is far away and I don't get there that often.  While I am there I can stop by Penzey's.  I obtained one of their paper catalogs, which is where I got the coupon for the cinnamon and the spice blend.  It wasn't a gift with purchase, just a gift to get you into the store, and it worked.  I walked out of the store with a big bag of stuff and 40 dollars less.  I split up several packages with a friend and got some of the best vanilla extract and cocoa powder around.  Maybe I shouldn't go in that store in March.....

One rule I do know, people don't give away chocolate or vanilla, except after Halloween

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Paleo on 100 Dollars a Month - Ground Rules

Ok, here's what I am doing.  Same ground rules except for the amount of money to spend per day and a couple of exceptions.  Unlike other challenges, I am not buying a bunch of food in bulk at the beginning of the month, hoping it will last to the end.  It is pretty much pay as you go, with one exception.

Even though I have a freezer full of ham fat, beef tallow and bacon grease, I felt it was important enough to have coconut oil in my diet.  My general plan for this month is to decrease protein consumption and make up for the difference either through eating fat or burning my fat stores.  One concern I have is that I don't want to increase PUFA consumption too much.  My freezer fat stores are all higher in PUFA, but I can keep the consumption down by increasing the amount of saturated fat from coconut oil without the additional PUFA.

I already purchased my container of coconut oil, refined Lou Ana.  It doesn't taste as good as other brands, but it is half the price.  It set me back $5.99.

The other exception is that I won't be replacing the food I eat from my stash with new food from the garden.  There is very little from the garden that I put by at this time of the year.  My freezer is already too full, and I don't want to waste the space with even more celery when I'll need it for the new zucchini in a few weeks.

I told one IRL friend about the challenge, and that may have been a mistake.  She insisted that I take more oranges, and now wants to set up regular delivery.  She does have several trees, and she hasn't picked last year's crop off yet.  But I am still on the lower carb side of things, and we eat only about one or two oranges a day around this paleo homestead.

Spring has sprung, and in addition to several bowls of oranges, I have a bag of rough lemons and another of kumquats.  Here's the deal about free fruit.  People hate these fruits so they are so easy to obtain.  People have tons of rough lemons.  They are quite tasty and sweet (at least to me) but there isn't much juice.  They aren't bred for the eating market, so people complain about them and think that they have some kind of disease.  People grow them because the rough lemon is a common rootstock for older orange and lemon trees.  When there is a frost, many think their trees are lost, but then they sprout back up, usually below the graft, and they don't know until years later that they have rough lemon.  This is not a dwarf variety, need I say more?

Kumquats are just weird.  They are super tart and contain lots of seeds, so people don't want to bother with them.  I might make some marmalade this week before I start the challenge if I can find an extra three hours it will take to chop and de-seed them.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hey Paleo Guy, do you think we are stupid?

Usually I like that paleo guy, but seriously, after this latest post, I think I might have to break up with him.

I haven't gotten around to writing all the planned posts of what bugs me about paleo, but this great example just dropped into my in-box today.  (I know I know, this is the international-paleo-low-carb-and-Jack-Kruse-bashing-campaign week and I still haven't read all of the posts.)

His post is another version of:

"If you don't get the "right" results, "Buttercup", then you're an idiot.  You are either doing it wrong, or lying on your food logs."

Hey Mr. Paleo Guy, here's the thing.  Some day, if you have been really good, or really evolved, you will die and come back as a woman.  If you have been really good, you as a woman will live long enough to become an old woman.  Once you are there, you will regret making bone-headed comments about "the vogue hormone of the week" in your past life.  You see, Mr. Paleo Guy, you are not a member of the vogue-hormone-of-the-week club for a reason, because you don't have complicated hormones.  And you cannot be my paleo guy if you do not respect my hormones.

I don't know how the Jack Kruse culties got dragged into TPG's discussion.  If he had read even just a little bit into the MDA monster thread, he would see immediately that the Kruse followers are not like that paleo guy's over-exerciser who was "doing it wrong".  The Kruse-culties usually aren't exercising all that much.  They have all those made-up diseases like adrenal fatigue and gut dysbiosis and safe-starch deficit disorder that keep them from all the chronic cardio.  Kruse's cold-therapy is for the folks who have tried his 8-week leptin reset and still haven't lost all the weight they want to lose.  Typically, these resetters had already been on primal/paleo for a period of time before going on the reset, and they have been unsuccessful on straight paleo.

Seriously, we don't need your thumbscrews.  We need you to respect the fact that the paleo plan does not work in the same way for all people.  Dr. Kruse is not a stupid man.  He was a fat-ass, and now he's not.  If people have a problem with his theories, they should go after them, not after his personality or his followers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Maybe I'm too Cheap for Paleo?

Paleo on 100 Dollars a Month starts in March, and I have been getting ready for my challenge, mostly by eating up a few odds and ends in the fridge and scouting around for the best local deals.

I visited a local Mexican market this afternoon, and the price hikes on the meat are almost as high as the gasoline price spikes at the station across the street.  I am not sure if I will be able to do this as well as I thought last fall when I dreamed it up.  My shopping buddy/trading partner says that sometimes they have great deals, sometimes not, so I probably won't be counting on that store.  I am not going to go all over town wasting gasoline to save a few pennies on meat.

I listened to Robb Wolf's podcast featuring Larry Istrial and his Ancestral Weight Loss Registry, and took a look at the data so far.  Wow!  Almost half of the registrants have an income over 100K dollars a year!  That's lots of grass-fed steaks for the people who for real are getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot, but certainly does not match the demographics of most communities.  Larry also talked about his project, PhotoCalorie.  It would be "free" for me as an AWLR registrant, once I purchase an iphone, bandwidth, and a long-term contract.  I guess I could buy a cheap iphone and have like no dollars left for the rest of the month, which wouldn't be so hard now that I have done the leptin reset and can go for long periods of time with no food no problem.


Is Paleo now as pretentious and elitist as being a locavore?

Meanwhile, while the rest of the leptin reset cult is modifying their fatty acid ratios in their ice-filled hibernation tubs, spring is bursting out all over around here and carbs are once again plentiful.  It has been a bumper-crop year for citrus, and my friends' and neighbors' trees are loaded and I hope to get my hands on some.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Paleo on the Cheap

I have been fascinated by the food experiments of the frugalistas.  You know, where they try to eat for 1 or 2 dollars a day.  Check out these inspiring posts here and here

Yes, people do eat for under a dollar a day, but can it only be done by eating ramen noodles and tons of brown rice?  Can it be done with a paleo diet?

This week, I wrote a list, "the things that bug me about paleo" and I plan to do a couple of blogposts about them.  Mostly statistical and research topics, but one has been really gnawing at me for awhile.

It seems like the paleosphere is populated with mostly young, hip, tech-savvy city folks who know how to buy grass-fed beef at Whole Foods or know how to pick up pastured eggs at the local farmer's market, but they couldn't grow or find a radish from the ground if their life depended on it, and would probably use their GPS to try. Not that I am against technology and all that, but c'mon!  There is this tendency to throw money at things: giant pickling crocks, fitbits, deep freezers for that side of beef, kettleballs in every size, additional gym memberships, supplements for every condition or ailment.  There is also this tendency to look down on those who do not have the means to get a thousand dollars worth of hormone testing every quarter or a brushed stainless steel beef tongue slicer.

I am not against being young either, just against people being clueless.  Is paleo just for the elite?  Do we really expect that people wondering if they can pay their basic bills in our restructured economy will pay 8 dollars a pound for hamburger flown in from New Zealand?  Can we do this another way?  A more inclusive way?  A more eco way?

I have decided that given what I now know about nutrition and my own situation, it would be foolhardy to attempt to eat paleo for under a dollar a day, so I am going to shoot for one hundred dollars for the month.  I'll be keeping track of the food I eat somewhere else, just to make sure I am getting the stuff my body needs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Escarole Soup

This time of year, I can't give away enough of my delicious escarole that comes up on its own in the garden.  Many of my friends do not like to eat it in a salad because it can be bitter.  Personally, I love the bitterness and it is the main component in my winter salads.   (And no, I don't buy that crap about not eating salads in winter because our ancestors wouldn't have access to it.  I have tons of access to it starting from the first fall rains until spring heat sends it bolting.)

Here's my super easy escarole soup recipe using mostly seasonal ingredients:

1-1/2 cup home-made chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried wakame
1 bunching onion
1 bulb fennel
several leaves escarole
sprig parsley or celery tops
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the wakame and slice.  (Complete the circle by cooling the wakame soaking water and using it to water the escarole in the garden.) Slice the tender part of the bunching onion and reserve the tops for a later batch of broth.  Trim and thinly slice the fennel, reserving the tops for later.  Wash and trim the tops off the escarole and chop the whitish bottom parts of the leaf (for about 1/2 to 1 cup).  Bring the broth to a boil, add in the wakame, fennel and onion and cook for a few minutes until tender.  Turn off the heat, add the escarole immediately.  Let sit for a couple of minutes.  Season and add in the parsley or celery tops.

This makes enough for a large bowl of soup or two mugs.  I like it because it is crunchy and chewy, but also warm.  This is also a great recipe for people who are a bit leery of home-grown escarole.  Worms, snails and slugs just LOVE escarole and call it home.  Here's hoping the crunch is due to the escarole itself, and not the squatters.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

North Carolina's Sad Nutritional Fascism Saga Continues

Wow!  Can't make up stuff as good as this.  Thank goodness we have the nutrition police keeping us safe and "hearthealthy".  (Note:  I took this post down for a time because I had read that it wasn't true.  Since then, more moms came out of the woodwork, and even produced a document about it from the school district.)
Check out this lil' news nugget:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Registered Dietitians just Jumped the Shark

It is quite a day when the nutritional fascists RD's manage to do something so completely and utterly foolish, senseless and just plain mean.  RD's have gone far beyond (and in my impression, irreversibly beyond) relevance with their attacks.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor.  Never in a gergillion years would I ever be a registered dietitian!)

If you haven't heard about it already, the current fascist regime is going after Steve Cooksey.  So it looks like once again, politics, ego and job security trump health, in this battle for who gets to talk to diabetics.

New readers to this here blog probably didn't read some of my first posts, outlining how I was chastised and nearly banished from [redacted] for outlining the common progression for that disease we call diabetes.  It seemed that just pointing out the conventional wisdom was enough to get their panties in a knot.

Here's some conventional wisdom (Please note, this is not MY wisdom, this is CW!):  When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your certified diabetes educator will put you on a new diet full of lean protein, low fat, fruits and vegetables and healthysatiatingwholegrains.  (If you are a man, this may work to reduce your weight and what they call "risk factors".  If you are a woman, it doesn't seem to work as well, especially if you choose a vegetarian plan.)

Eventually, this diet approach won't continue to work.  Despite a trying to follow a "prudent" diet, your blood sugars and HbA1c will continue to go up.  Your doctor may start prescribing drugs and eventually insulin.  The years of high blood sugar will finally accumulate, and you may find yourself without your eyesight or your feet.  You will probably die of heart or kidney failure, or maybe a skin infection.

Steve Cooksey is a diabetic.  He is not a doctor or a registered nutritional fascist.  He's just a guy who found success following a lifestyle that the fascists find dangerous.  You can visit his website to see how he has done with his alternate lifestyle.