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Monday, February 17, 2014

easy low carb Tom Kha soup

Easy Tom Kha Soup
This soup came together quickly. Traditional Tom Kha soup calls for lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves but I didn't have them on hand; this soup still had a nice flavor regardless. My husband was surprised I made it from scratch while he was out shoveling our sidewalks. This could easily be vegan by subbing vegetable broth and tofu.

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced
1 can coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken thigh, cooked and chopped
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
dash of powdered ginger
one green onion chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

Brown onions and mushrooms in coconut oil in bottom of soup pan. Add broth and coconut milk. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Add jalapeño and chicken. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste. Toss in green onion and cilantro just before serving. 

This made two satisfying dinner-sized portions. I would have served with lime wedges had I had any.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

one drink too many

The downside of ketogenic diets is that it just takes one drink to throw you out of ketosis and then it takes a few days to get back on track. When I was strictly on the Atkins programs in the early 2000s I had the idea in my head that one slip would end it all so I never ever ever broke the diet. Ever.

Now I am more lax, having "only" 15 lbs I'd like to lose, rather than 100, and knowing that a few days of bad eating won't land me back in Lane Bryant immediately. This is both a blessing and a curse. I think it's much healthier psychologically to not be so caught up in perfection. But every time I get off track it takes me a while to get it back together.

I am in a weightloss challenge with a bunch of local athletes and so far I don't have much to show for it. Maybe a pound or two lost? This is better than a pound or two gained, of course. But I need to get it together. I'd rather not drag extra weight around the Pittsburgh half marathon course.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

cream of cauliflower leek soup with bacon

In the winter I make a lot of soup. This might be the best one yet.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 leeks, mostly bulb section, chopped
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 slices thick-cut nitrate-free bacon, cooked and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used cayenne pepper)
In a large soup pot heat the avocado oil and brown the garlic and leeks. Add the cauliflower and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Once the cauliflower starts to brown add the broth and bring to a boil. Boil until the veggies are soft (about 20 minutes). 

Reduce heat to low. With an immersion blender completely blend the cauliflower and leeks until pureed. Stir in cream and add the bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

This soup is low carb and has plenty of fiber and fat to keep you satisfied for a long time. I will definitely consider bringing this to my next potluck. Incredibly good.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

staying on plan while traveling

Flew to Florida for the MLK weekend. Both my husband and I managed to lose weight in spite of traveling. Here are some strategies I used to survive.

• pack running clothes. Always try to walk rather than drive, even in a car-centered suburban town.

• carried macadamia nuts in case I was in a pinch with nothing to eat

• ordered breakfast a la carte at the hotel and avoided the buffet. Got three eggs over medium, berries, and coffee. Same price as the buffet, but a far greater value since I wasn't going to eat all of the crap anyway.

• had double veggies and/or salads (without croutons) at restaurants. Order a grilled protein, load up on veggies, avoid the bread. 

• Stuck to black coffee or water to drink.  Enjoyed an occasional glass of pinot guilt-free.

First stop on the way home from the airport: the produce section of the grocery store. I never get enough fresh vegetables when traveling. It's sad that vegetables are relegated to "sides" in our culture.

Friday, January 17, 2014

low carb (again)

Joined a group of local athletes in a weightloss challenge. All of us are looking to drop a few pounds before Spring racing season is upon us. Dragging an extra 10-15 lbs up hill on bike or on foot is not a lot of fun.

To speed things along I have set up my macros and started tracking in myfitnesspal again. The goal is under 50 g of carbohydrate/ day. This will put me in ketosis, just like the good ol' Atkins days (minus the bad ol' Atkins "food" products).

For 1900 calories/day it works out to 48 grams of carbs, 137 grams of fat, and 119 grams of protein. Of course no day is every perfect, but I am trying to come as close as I can to those targets.

And my husband is on board with the weightloss challenge too!

Unfortunately we are traveling to Florida over the MLK holiday weekend, which means missed workouts and greater difficulty finding decent food. I live in a bit of a bubble buying mostly organic produce, wild caught fish, and local meat and dairy. The real world is truly scary.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

winter training

Winter training is back on. This weekend I did two two-hour spin workouts (plus some bike commuting since the weather was a balmy 40º). The spin workouts are very specific. You are given a certain amount of time to spend in each heart rate zone. And my training plan is also very specific in terms of minutes/zone across the week.

Thinking back to when I started this blog last year during winter training, I was consumed with questions of what to eat while I was training. I thought I needed UCan to get through a 3-hour workout! In the NSNG facebook group one of the most common posts is "what should I eat when training?"

Here is what I have found: once you are fat-adapted (burning fat for fuel) you don't really need to eat. Your body fat is an ideal fuel, and burning it is what most of us want to do anyway! I know I can do three hours of running or swimming or biking on nothing but salt supplements and plain water. I am pretty sure I could go longer, given that I am not hungry at the three hour mark. And my energy doesn't dip.

Today for breakfast I had eggs, berries, and black coffee. At noon I had a half cup of whole fat greek yogurt with a little almond butter. Then I biked downtown (30 min), did the 2-hour endurance spin, had a salt cap near the end of class, then biked home (uphill, 45 min). Grabbed a hot shower, then had some chicken and vegetable soup I'd thrown together in the crock pot. Later I had a little more soup and some berries. And that's it.

Previously 3 hours of intense riding would have left me famished; I would have eaten everything in sight. More and more athletes who don't have any weight to lose are turning to NSNG (no sugar no grains) to be able to fuel workouts without the GI upset that a constant stream of GU or  sports drinks often brings. Steady energy with no hunger is the best side effect of this way of eating.

Friday, January 10, 2014

No Sugar No Grain No Chew

Prescribed a soft diet by my doctor. So for a little while I am going to be no sugar no grains no chew. Since I eat mostly vegetables this is going to be a challenge. My husband noted that it is a good thing we have a Vitamix. True!

I made the decision to end my Whole30 early so I could reintroduce dairy. Had my first full fat greek yogurt in weeks last night at a Pittsburgh NSNG meet up. Both the meeting and the yogurt: excellent!

Started off the day with another cup of full fat yogurt, this time with a tbsp of coconut butter stirred in. But I can't just eat yogurt, scrambled eggs, and green smoothies every day. Looking for ideas for other soft NSNG foods. Any suggestions are welcome!