Thursday, May 9, 2013

Primal in Practice

This past weekend, I took a trip home for a family event and decided it was the perfect chance to practice getting away from my Nutrisystem food and start eating Primal for every meal I could with a few indulgences for carrot cake with white chocolate icing and candied ginger at the big event on Saturday night (SO WORTH IT!). I also had a cousin staying with us who is very knowledgeable about healthy recipes and my father who is a caterer, so I made plans to create and try some new Primal recipes with their help. Needless to say, this experience came with some ups and downs, but the important thing was that I kept going.

My only failure happened Friday. I thought I was being smart at the garage party where they were serving hotdogs and bratwurst. Obviously I couldn't eat the buns. I took the romaine they had for Caesar salad and removed the croutons and cheese. Added a spoonful of grilled chicken and cut up a hotdog and bratwurst on top, followed by a spoonful of onions and a spoonful of tomato with one packet of ketchup (I know... terrible but I needed something for dressing that wasn't the ceasar dressing). Had I known there was guacamole upstairs, that whole thing would have gone down very differently. At any rate, I tossed it, ate it (surprisingly good), and then had a chance to look up the hotdog/bratwurst on Paleo Central for stats... only to find that they are really not great options. Obviously I should have checked that before I put the food in my mouth but I was wearing a fabulous dress with no pockets and my bag was all the way upstairs. Sorry guys, I got lazy. Womp womp. It was my one of my first times at bat for the weekend and ultimately I did MUCH better as the days progressed. Baby steps! If you fail and wipe the raid, just rez and make another attempt.

As far as ordering/selecting food while out, my biggest win was ironically also on Friday. I ordered a 12 piece sashimi meal with seaweed salad and pickled ginger. I left out the soy sauce since I didn't think it was worth it to expend my Primal "20%" for the day on a condiment.

Another highlight was cooking broiled swordfish with my dad on Sunday night. He taught me that when seasoning, you should use a little oil to help "carry the flavor," but we were very stingy with the extra virgin olive oil so that we could keep it as healthy as possible- only about one tsp for enough fish to serve three people. Then we used a bit of salt and pepper on both sides and let it sit for about an hour to season (something I would have never thought to do. Most recipes I have tried just say, season it, but give no length of time). Then we popped it in the broiler for about 10 minutes or so and voila! While the seasoning/broiling went on, we sliced some cucumber very thinly and tossed it with 1 tbs vinegar. Every 10 minutes or so we'd toss it again and when we were ready to serve the fish, we plated it and mixed the cucumber with some store-bought seaweed salad. Delicious! Sadly I don't have a broiler in NYC so this isn't a meal I can take back home with me.

I also relied on a staple salad for a few meals. It included baby romaine, 2 oz of chopped up turkey breast, 1/4 orange pepper, broccoli slaw, and 2 tbs low fat raspberry vinaigrette. The second time around, I substituted home made guacamole for the vinaigrette and that was the BEST EVER!

When we ate out at the Bass Pro shop on our way up to Michigan, I ordered the maple glazed salmon with broccoli and substituted a side salad of onion, baby tomatoes, and cucumber for the wild rice listed on the menu. They had no offerings for low fat dressings, so I ordered the raspberry vinaigrette and just dipped my fork in it for every bite to minimize how much I used.

Having been thwarted by vinaigrette all weekend and feeling like the stuff we bought at the store wasn't exactly natural, Dad and I took matters into our own hands and made our own dressing from scratch. Here's the recipe for a single serving. It's super simple if you have the ingredients on hand. In his honor, I'm naming it after his first and only World of Warcraft character.
Caldephron's Raspberry Vinaigrette
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Sherry Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed Lime Juice
  • 10 raspberries mashed up into the mixture.
My favorite thing that we made all weekend was the following egg white casserole. It was completely Paleo, very filling, and the most savory of all the things that we cooked. Thanks so much to my cousin Mel for the recipe! I know it will be a staple for me moving forward. Hmm. You know, "Mel" isn't that far away from Mal, so we'll call it...

Can't Stop the Signal Egg White Casserole

Serves 4-6
  • Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees
  • Wash and chop up one sweet pepper (other options to add: mushroom, onion, tomato, etc. Get creative!).
  • Sauté pepper (and any other veggies!) in lime juice in a skillet (with a cover. This will be used later.). This should take 3-5 minutes depending on desired softness.
  • Place sautéed peppers on a plate and put to the side.
  • Add 4 cups fresh spinach. Add in more lime juice if needed.
  • Cover and let steam for 3 minutes.
  • Uncover and put on plate with peppers.
  • Fill a casserole dish with your sautéed spinach and peppers.
  • Cut up about 2-3 oz. of turkey and spread evenly on top.
  • Pour 1.5 cups of egg whites on top.
  • Add 1/2 cup of salsa on top.
  • Place in oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • Check to make sure it's not runny by giving the dish a shake. It should stand solid with very little "juice."
  • Cut into pieces and serve!
I'd say the weekend was a very successful learning tool and the biggest take away was that I can totally see myself putting this lifestyle change into practice. I do have a few more Nutrisystem meals to finish up, which I'm almost sad about since I was enjoying all the fresh real food this weekend, but I don't want to be wasteful. Once all those meals are done, it'll be Primal all the way for Project Reroll!

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