Monday, May 06, 2013

A few paleo living tips and tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks I've come across while making the transition to paleo-ish living.  It is a little harder to eat cleaner, but these are some things I've picked up along the way. Maybe they'll help make it easier for you.

Plan ahead

I go to a 6 AM CrossFit session and I want to get as much sleep as I possibly can.  So, every night, I layout my work out clothes at the end of my bed.  I choose my work clothes and pack them in my WOD bag (hopefully I remember shoes and underwear). My kids make fun of me for being like a little school boy, but I can get out of the house and be ready for the day (lunch is also made the night before) in less than 17 minutes.

But I also make my breakfasts for the week on Sunday afternoon.  Many paleo living bloggers cook for a full week of meals and vegetables. I'm not that far along yet, but I'll grill some chicken and fry some bacon and take some avocados in to the office for the week.  I dice the chicken and bacon and warm it in the microwave and serve with diced avocados.  Even vegetarians have commented that it looks like a good breakfast!

I keep it constantly varied by changing up the spices. I can make Asian, Thai, Mexican, Italian or Greek chicken all for breakfast with different spices and marinades.  I'm not going to get bored eating paleo and I don't feel like I'm missing anything!

Be Prepared

This one goes hand in hand with Plan Ahead.  There are days when the WOD was much harder and my lunch just seems that much smaller.  But I carry what I call Emergency Food in my messenger bag.  I've got a couple of Lara Bars (almost all of them are paleo -  the ones with chocolate chips have added sugar and some have peanuts) or Goodness Knows Bars (not paleo) in there.  Sometimes they slip to the bottom of my bag and get smushed a bit, but a smushed one still fills the hole in my tummy!

My favorites are the Coconut Cream Pie and Chocolate Coconut Chew, but the Key Lime is a nice bright twist some times.  And as I was checking out their website, I noticed that there is a Cappuccino flavor that is also paleo.  Why doesn't my grocery store carry this flavor!

There is a similarity to carrying Gold Fish crackers (really not paleo) for your young children and what I'm doing, but mine isn't so crummy. And I don't whine, contrary to the ending of the previous paragraph.

Sweet Potatoes

I've recently discovered how magical Sweet Potatoes are.  The orange ones, sometimes called yams, are the ones I'm talking about. The white sweet potatoes are even more starchy and fall on the paleo to be avoided list, but the orange ones are more acceptable, especially from an athletic perspective (less so if you're paleo trying to lose weight).

Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbs for back loading and preparing for a workout.  They make great french fries (and if baked, they can be paleo).  But I knew all those things already.

What I recently discovered is that they microwave super easy and can be made into cubed or smashed sweet potatoes in my office lunch.  When topped with some bacon, dried herbs or leftover sauce from something slow-cooked they taste even better.  Once at home, I even fried some crushed sage leaves in coconut oil for pure paleo goodness on top of the sweet potatoes.

Vanilla whey protein powder

Okay, so this one isn't strict paleo but it fits in with the primal or paleo for athletes life-style.  Protein powder is an easy way to get calories and protein, especially in that critical 30 minutes post working out.  And that stuff is expensive!  Its an item on a very short list that I think that we should buy at Costco, because it doesn't spoil and its definitely a buy in bulk item.

The problem with Costco is trying something the first time. The Cytosport Vanilla Whey Protein is way too sweet, and that opinion was shared by all of my family. So, this 6 pound bag of liquid cake batter sat in the pantry for almost 6 months.  As we ran out of the Chocolate flavor and hadn't yet made the time consuming trip to Costco (there is no such thing as a quick Costco run), I started to use the cloyingly sweet Vanilla Whey protein.

I prepare my water bottle (see Plan Ahead, above) the night before. I fill it with the powder and after working out the next morning, I add the water at my CrossFit box.  I got the wild idea to put some instant coffee in with the powder, thinking it might take an edge off the sweetness.  It was a home-run! While it wasn't an excellent coffee drink, it was way better than cake batter drink. It was kind of like a frappuchino, but one that I felt better about drinking.  The slight bitterness of the instant coffee countered the overly sweet powder and made it drinkable.

Do you follow a paleo/primal lifestyle?  Share some tips that help you get by in the comments!

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