Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hey, there I am!  Chillin' on the beach in Cape May where I spent the last week with the family.  Oh, and that's also me at 14 lbs lighter than I was on July 1.  Booyah Whole 30, BOO-FREAKIN'-YAH.  I do have to make two confessions, though:

1) I can't credit all of this to Whole30.  About a week into this process, I finally had an appointment (after a six month wait) with a primary physician who specializes in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a condition I've had since high school.  You can consult Dr. Google for more details but the long and short of it is that I have a hormonal imbalance that messes with my ability to process insulin which leads to all sorts of issues including weight gain and ovaries that don't work quite right.  Most physicians, even OBGYNs, are less than knowledgeable about this issue and I'd lost almost all hope that I could find someone who would really help me proactively attack this.  Imagine my surprise when this doc instantly diagnosed my insulin resistance, prescribed me the medication I KNEW would help me, and even freaked out in a good way about the fact that I was already knowledgeable about paleo.  She actually recommends this way of eating to her PCOS patients.  So I'm fairly certain that the meds are helping because now I'm processing food like a normal person, but I like to see the meds and Whole30 as a dynamic duo of healthy weight loss ass-kicking.

2) Technically, my Whole30 ended at aWhole23 or so because I had a couple treats while on vacation and the official rules say that you have to start over if you have even a morsel of no-no food.  Four alcoholic drinks and two ice creams in the entire week aren't that bad, but still, the rules are the rules.  Anyway, the Whole9 crew is having an official Whole30 starting August 1, so I'm doing my best to tow the line until it's officially business time on Wednesday.

So even though this wasn't a pristine month of eating, I have to say I've learned a lot. First, coconut milk makes everything okay. I had it in my coffee (stir often, my friends), poured it over fruit and coconut flakes on the rare occasions where I craved dessert, and made lots and lots and lots of red curries with whatever leftover protein I had on hand and bunches of chopped veggies. Secondly, almost everyone I know seems to have taken my eating changes very personally. Why?  I have no idea, but they did.  I've actually given up on explaining it to people and instead have opted to just straight up lie and say I'm doing this to fight allergies or stomach issues (a partial truth).  Whenever I try to outline it any other way, people seem to explode into these furies where the food pyramid is trotted out as if I've never seen it before and I'm told about all of the circa-1980 starvation diet plans that I should try instead.  And lastly, I really do love to cook and enjoy food, which I can still do even if I make the Whole30 into the WholeRestofMyLifeWithaFewTreatsHereandThere.  And I can finally enjoy food without feeling guilty.  As long I ignore the whole grain-loving Scarsdale diet pushers out there, of course.

No recipes of my own today, but we tonight we had a beautiful piece of sirloin topped with this roasted garlic schmear from Symon's Suppers on the Cooking Channel.  It was amazeballs.  TRY. IT.

Also, after a week at the beach, my new (or re-newed?) obsession is with sea scallops.  No fancy recipe needed for these. Just get a 1/2 lb or so, heat up some butter or oil on medium heat, lightly salt and pepper those babies, and then cook for about 7 minutes on each side.  Only buy them if you know they are super fresh because the taste will be best that way.  The key is to keep the heat at medium and take your time.

I could have totally turned that last line into some sort of cheesy metaphor for eating clean and losing weight but I'd never do that to you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Whole30 has come to roost

I totally owe you big time for reading this poor excuse for a blog considering how bad I've been about posting.  So far this summer, I've frozen or canned 20 lbs of asparagus, 8 quarts of strawberries and 12 pints of blueberries, 1/2 bushel of pickling cucumbers, and 1/2 bushel of peaches (yay, peach pickles!!!).

But the big news is that I'm on Day 6 of the Whole30 eating plan.  My grain-free wagon became seriously unhitched about a month ago when my mother-in-law passed away.  I was just trying to keep us all fed and make sure my husband could be wherever he needed to be for his family.  It meant lots of crap meals on the road, and a good deal of late night trips for ice cream as we sat on the couch and felt sad about losing her.  Whole30 is a cold turkey take-it-back-to-basics challenge that goes even further than I'd imagined I'd go - it eliminates dairy (including my beloved - cheese), all sugar, legumes, grains, and anything artificial or "unpronounceable."  It's like a huge reset button - which my bloated, crampy, unhappy gut really needed.

I already feel better, physically and mentally, even though I've suffered a bit of carb withdrawal.  I was ready to make my tasty crockpot pulled pork this evening when I learned that liquid smoke is not Whole30-compliant.  I know that this is a tragedy so don't even go there, ok?  Like, for real.  Anyway, I looked at our recently harvested herbs from the back yard garden and came up with a plan.  The recipe is below.

Oh also, we bought the piece-of-shit vacant house next door and we're going to gut it, renovate it, add a floor, move in to it, and rent our current house.  And we just found out that when we bought that house, we might have also bought the building behind it, which means I am not longer just a Kenzo Cook.  I'm also a Kenzo Land Baron.  

I'm trying to figure out if this blog is the right place to post about the house.  Should I start a new blog?  Should I reconfigure this blog to meet the needs of both projects?  Tell me, dear readers, tell me!

And for the two of you who are still reading this garbage bag of a post, here's that recipe: 

Mustard-slathered, herb-encrusted, slow-cooker pork

If you are doing this as a Whole30 meal remember to get a compassionately-raised pork shoulder or at the very least trim as much of the fat as you can off of a conventionally-raised one.  Also, make sure your chicken broth isWhole30 compliant (no sugar)!

2-3 lb pork shoulder
1/2 cup grainy mustard
1/2 cup of dijon mustard
2-3 cups of mixed FRESH herbs, finely chopped (I used basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano from our herb garden)
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

- Cut the shoulder up into 5 or 6 hunks.
- Mix the two mustards together and slather it on to all sides of each hunk.
- Press generous amounts of the herbs into all sides of each piece.  
- Salt and pepper each hunk.  As each piece is finished, place it in the crock.
- Pour in chicken broth.
- Cook for 10-12 hours on low.