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.
Can't Stop the Signal Egg White Casserole
- 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!