Happy Anniversary to Us!

Sherry wrote a really good post about our one year Paleo anniversary. I think she did a much better job posting about it than I did which is why I am reblogging it.

Our Daily Bacon

Today is our 1 year anniversary of when we started our Paleo journey.  E.J. and I have been through a lot of changes this year – not just with the lifestyle changes and weight loss, but also with our careers.  I can honestly say I took some giant leaps out of my comfort zone in the last year, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the result.  I’ve managed to achieve 2 really big goals of mine all in the span of that year, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the next.

Comfort-zone-small

Here are some important life lessons I’ve learned in the last year:

  • Fat doesn’t make me fat – In fact, for me, eating foods with natural fat keep me fuller longer, and makes digestion easier
  • Sugar is not as awesome as I used to think, and I actively choose to avoid it – In the…

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One Year Ago Today…

File_000 (38)On Saturday morning, I weighed in at my new low: 180.2 lbs! This puts me just 5 lbs from my penultimate (there’s my favorite word, again!) goal, and only 15 lbs from my final goal! I’m excited to be so close.

Also, today is the one year anniversary of the start of our new lifestyle that has lead to my weight loss and improved health, and I never dreamed that I could get this far so soon. I hoped, but I didn’t really think it could be done.

Yet here I am.

When I set out to do this, I had lofty goals, but no real expectation of getting there. When I met my first goal, I was happy and surprised. When I hit my second, third, and fourth goals, it was intoxicating. I wanted to hit that next goal!

As it turned out, I missed the deadlines I had set for myself for my last two goals, but I’m okay with that. Losing over 105 lbs in the period of one year is a great accomplishment, and I’m proud of myself and of my wife on her loss. We’re both feeling great, and we’ve improved our quality of life.

You can do this, too. A year goes by quickly. I can’t believe I’ve come this far in so short time.

Ruggles Black: You had me at Paleo!

This is a restaurant review for Ruggles Black in Houston’s Upper Kirby area.


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The sign outside their front door.

On the Ruggles Black Twitter page, the following is their official description:

Ruggles Black offers a fusion pushing Indian, Asian, and American flavors to whole new boundaries in terms of taste, all in a modern and fun setting.

Sherry and I have eaten there once before, and that favorable experience with the ambiance, waitstaff, and food was enough to bring us back for a second chance. We are now certain that it won’t be our last visit.

Upon being seated, we were promptly greeted by our server who helped us choose our appetizer: Angry Shrimp. After our iced teas arrived, our Angry Shrimp was brought out: five large-sized shrimp served with a garnish of some sort of sprouts and fried sweet potato slivers. The sauce was an amazing fusion of ginger, lemon, curry, onions, and other spices we could not identify but savored. This was one of the tastiest dishes we’ve had since adopting the Paleo lifestyle, and this was just our appetizer!

For our main dishes, Sherry went with the Paleo Crab and Shrimp Pasta which was served with spaghetti squash while I opted for a special which turned out to be the Angry Shrimp on a bed of mashed cauliflower with grilled asparagus and carrots. I was ecstatic, as the appetizer just wasn’t enough of those great flavors. Sherry’s food was simply stunning both visually and flavor wise. I was happy that it turned out to be too much for her to finish as I had a chance to enjoy some it.

For a dessert, we split a cobbler which was made with blueberry, strawberry, cranberry, and blackberries and served with a Paleo vanilla ice cream. While we were both already stuffed, we were able to find room for our dessert.

We skipped lunch due to our attending a funeral service earlier in the day, and we were thankful we didn’t eat earlier: there’s no way we could have finished all the food!

We never eat appetizers and very rarely eat dessert unless it’s a special occasion, but since it’s not only Sherry’s birthday weekend but also the anniversary of our one year of going “Clean” in regards to our food, we decided to live a little. My weight reminded me this morning that we enjoyed food yesterday, but I’m certain I’ll drop it all this week and continue to make progress once again.

I would rate Ruggles Black as the very best Paleo restaurant in Houston. We’ve eaten at a few others that were good, but Ruggles Black is simply phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough!

The Slippery Slope

Adhering to a lifestyle like Paleo can be tough for people who are new to it, especially for those who have not very seriously looked at their relationship with food and how it effects the choices they make in their diet. Personally, I find the Paleo Lifestyle to be full of delicious, satisfying, and diverse foods. I no longer miss grains, dairy, or sweets. Honestly. I’ve learned to not only live without those, but to savor and enjoy the plethora of foods I am able to eat without consequence.

When Sherry and I began Paleo, we added foods to our diet that included Paleo-friendly sweeteners like honey, dates, and coconut sugar. We thought, “It’s Paleo: we can eat it!” What we found, however, was that while these were Paleo-friendly, they slowed or halted our weight loss progress. For me, I could count on at least a three day cessation in progress anytime I ate one of these Paleo-friendly “Treats.” I learned quickly that just because it’s Paleo doesn’t mean it’s okay while trying to lose weight.

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An amazing apple treat Sherry made for us a few months ago.

That brings me to something that I missed early on in my own journey that I’m hoping to clue you in on: there’s a difference between Paleo for weight loss and Paleo for health and nutrition. Technically, they involve the exact same foods and rules. However, I have modified it a bit to suit my mission.

For weight loss, I restrict the amount of foods made with any kind of sweetener at all, even if it’s Paleo-friendly. Sugar is sugar, even if it’s natural and unprocessed. In my experience, it’s hitting the same craving hot spots in my brain, and eating some of these Paleo treats makes me want more of them. Thus, I have concluded from my own experience (and Sherry has echoed this) that even the natural sugars bring about the cravings. This is bad, especially when you’re trying to lose weight and eat well. What’s worse is that my weight loss slows or stops completely when eating these Paleo-friendly treats. No thank you!

For health and nutrition, Paleo is sustainable and the Paleo-friendly treats don’t have the same effect if you’re looking to maintain your weight. I will introduce more of these muffins and treats when I’m at my goal weight, but for now, I’ve asked Sherry to avoid them for us. She’s also noticed the same thing with her weight loss, so it was an easy sell.

I will admit that we are both looking forward to hitting our goal weights so that we can start enjoying more Paleo treats. For now, however, we just have to pass.

Being a Role Model

File_000 (24)Thank you for reading this site. Seriously. All of you who read this site, comment, send me messages and emails, or talk to me in person: you’ve changed my life.

Through my posting, website, Twitter, and Facebook posts, I’ve become sort of a role model for people who are no longer content with being overweight, unhealthy, or are looking for a way to eat healthy foods without starving or sacrificing flavor and variety. It’s humbling, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time.

I make every effort to point out to people, whether in person or here online, that I’m not a nutritionist, a doctor, or medical professional and that I’m not saying that my experience and results will be the same results anyone else will get. I do say, however, that my results are pretty typical for people who are as strict about sticking to the lifestyle as I have been, and that it has worked for me and very well might work for them, too. I know that it’s not easy, and I don’t judge anyone who is unable to follow my lead. It’s okay. We’re all different, and I know first-hand it’s not easy. I will do what I can to help you if you ask.

As someone who struggled with weight for so long, I’m humbled when people congratulate me or celebrate my loss. When they tell me their stories, of how they struggle or the challenges they’ve faced, I remember my own challenges and struggles. When they tell me they look to me for inspiration and courage, I can’t help but step up to the challenge and help. Some awesome people did that for me (Matt and Sarah) and I feel it’s my responsibility to carry that torch that’s been passed to me through my success.

I do enjoy talking about the journey and the process; sometimes a little too much. It’s easy to get excited about success, especially in something that is perceived as being so difficult. I am excited when someone reaches out to me for information: it’s as if you’re seeing someone finally get the blinders lifted off their faces and they finally realize that a healthy life is not difficult at all!

There are times when it’s terrifying in ways I never would have expected. I feel the pressure to be a perfect role model, which is a good thing, but I worry a little too much about foods with ingredients that are non-Paleo or treats. I know they won’t kill me or derail me, but I worry about the slippery slope of allowing treats into my lifestyle. I am also terrified of backsliding into the life I led before. Pizza, hamburgers, and cake aren’t any less delicious today than they were for me a year ago. They are every bit as enticing now as they used to be. It’s for that reason I need to stay away from them. Thankfully, there are many Paleo analogues for these foods so I can sate my desire for them, but that fear remains. I’m also terrified of letting people down by not being understanding or patient enough. I try hard to be both.

This post may seem silly to some folks, but it’s all from the heart. I am sincerely honored to be someone people look to for inspiration in losing weight and getting healthy. I take that responsibility very seriously, and I strive to always be the example people can respect and look up to. I’m not perfect, and my way isn’t necessarily the best way for everyone, but it’s the best way for me, and I’ve been fortunate to have friends and family who have done the same and achieved the same results I have.

So, once again, I thank you.

Good old fashioned American food (in Paleo)

I was asked a question today that I hadn’t thought of:

Are there Paleo foods that are the same or close enough to the same as their original counterparts that finicky or picky family members won’t know they’re eating good food?

There is good news: the answer is YES! Here is the PaleoMarine short list of Paleo-friendly foods you can make without alerting even the pickiest family member (you know that one person who refuses to eat anything “Healthy.”)

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Bear in mind the following list assumes that there are no sugars, grains, or dairy used in their preparation.

  • Steak
  • Sausage
  • Brisket
  • Ribs
  • Pulled Pork
  • Meatloaf
  • Grilled fish
  • Grilled shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Chicken Wings
  • Barbecued Chicken
  • Bacon and Eggs

I know people who have lived their entire lives eating nothing but the above as the main portion of their meals. The list above can be coupled with any non-grain vegetable like:

  • Sweet potato
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Chayote/Merliton
  • etc

The veggies are best prepared grilled or steamed, but as long as you avoid any breading, sugar, or dairy, they are fine.

breakfast

If your kids are young, I would suggest educating them on good nutrition and explaining why you are eating the foods you eat. This will help keep them from being picky eaters when it comes to good, healthy, wholesome foods.

4 Ways with Pulled Pork

Sherry made some amazing foods with pulled pork this week.

Our Daily Bacon

When E.J. and went shopping last Sunday, we saw that pork shoulders were on a really good sale at Kroger, and were compelled to pick one up.  Smoked pulled pork is one of our favorite protein staples, but admittedly other than sandwiches (which we don’t really eat), I had a limited repertoire when it came to recipes that use pulled pork.

This week I made an effort to find new ways to used smoked pulled pork meat to keep it interesting.  Here are some of the great meals we made:

  • Pork stuffed sweet potatoes – I “baked” the sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot first, then split and topped them with pork, onions and Paleo-friendly BBQ Sauce.  This particular use is the easiest and is great for lunches too.
  • Pulled Pork & Apple Breakfast Casserole – OMG this stuff is amazing.  We liked it so much, I made a double-batch…

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