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The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life

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  • The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life

    My life is very multi-dimensional. Integrating Primal living so that it occupies its proper place in my life is a constant struggle.

    I do need to lose weight; I am 5’4” and weigh 190 lbs., but the weight is not coming off, even though I’ve made big primal changes to my diet.

    I am post-menopausal, so my metabolism doesn’t respond as readily to diet changes as it once did.

    I can’t always eat completely primally. I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian and there are times when we fast from meat & dairy. (For more information see my other thread Almost-Primal Orthodox Christian Lenten Cooking and Eating).

    I cook for myself and my husband who has his own health issues concerning food.

    I am a grandmother, and I often entertain family – also we have a house big enough to host friends who need a place to live for a while, so I cook for them too - and if they aren't primal, I add non-primal foods for them - of course I have to taste what I cook to make sure its okay!

    I have never been good at menu planning. I’m a creative cook and like to cook what strikes my fancy, but then I’m usually thinking about food all day long and there are weeks I run to the grocery store every day. This has got to stop! There is more to life than food! So, as a way to help myself plan ahead, I hope to start posting weekly menus.

    Well, that’s enough to begin this journal. We’ll see how it goes!
    Last edited by Antiochia; 08-23-2013, 08:39 AM.

    See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.

  • #2
    Okay -- my first menu plan:

    Saturday - our tradition for years has been Something with Syrup on Saturdays, so I think this Saturday I'll make Coconut Swedish Pancakes with berries and a dash of maple syrup, and bacon

    Sunday - total fast before Liturgy

    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: Eggs (and maybe bacon) and grapefruit

    Wednesday and Friday are Lenten days: My choice of IF, Paleo cooked cereal (made with ground almonds, flax, coconut, spices, apple, coconut/almond milk) or Smoothie. (See my Lenten thread referenced in the post above.)

    Lunches: BAS or leftovers or a smoothie

    Thursday (today) - Either a lamb chop for me, pork chop for DH, sauerkraut, and baked sweet potato (and wine) or go out to celebrate today's feast day (Holy Dormition)

    Friday - (Lenten Day) Leftover curried sweet potato soup, raw veggies & hummus, apple salad

    Saturday - Leftover Broccoli Stir Fry with added chicken and black bean spaghetti

    Sunday - (picnic) Green Salad with cold cooked salmon, various cheeses, and wine

    Monday - Grassfed Meatballs, with mushroom gravy, mashed celeriac, and green beans

    Tuesday - Chicken (thighs) Cacciatore on cauliflower rice, tossed salad

    Wednesday - (Lenten Day) Tempeh/sauerkraut bake with root vegetables

    Thursday - Leftovers from Monday - Meatball dinner

    Well, let's see how I do sticking to a menu plan!
    Last edited by Antiochia; 08-21-2013, 06:44 PM.

    See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


    • #3
      It's Wednesday, and it's hot here in Wisconsin. We have the A/C on and I have no intention of turning on the oven. The Tempeh/sauerkraut bake will have to wait for cooler weather! We'll go out for dinner instead. So, starting today, here is my menu plan. Some days - epecially Lenten days - it helps to plan lunch as well.

      Having a published meal plan really helps. I'll try to keep this up for a while. The mashed celeriac on Monday was really good - especially good with red meat and gravy. I think it would be great with some chopped fresh rosemary leaves in it too!

      Anyway --

      Tonight (Wednesday - Lenten Day), Restaurant for Shrimp or Scallops

      Thursday - Picnic supper: Taco salad (without the beans and corn chips), avocado, Beer for DH, selzer or water for me, dessert: chocolate date balls (experimental recipe - mix unsweetened baking chocolate and dates - 4 dates per ounce of chocolate - in the food processor and make balls and roll in chopped nuts or coconut)

      Friday - (Lenten Day) Garbanzo-nut burgers (see recipe here at post #113) sauerkraut, Curried Sweet Potato Salad (new recipe I'm trying)
      Lunch: Coconut Crab Bisque - (see recipe here at post#37) hummus, veggies, and nut butter

      Saturday - Breakfast - Bacon and either eggs or primal Swedish pancakes
      Lunch - BAS with Tuna and primal mayo
      Supper after Vespers: Leftover Chicken Cacciatore (from last Tuesday) with cauliflower rice and zucchini

      Sunday - AM - Fasting before Liturgy
      Lunch - Potluck after liturgy - My day to bring food, I'll probably bring a salad - maybe a plate of some extra protein
      Dinner - Guest meal - Chicken Chop Suey with cauliflower rice, fruit salad, and baked custard for dessert. (My chop suey recipe is here, post #109 - I'll be substituting chicken for the shrimp.

      Monday - I'm sure there will be leftover bean sprouts - I'll make Egg Foo Yung (I need to look up a recipe) with ground turkey

      Tuesday - Slow cooker meal - Meatball Stew (with carrots, green beans, celeriac, onions, mushroom gravy, leftover meatballs)

      Wednesday (Lenten Day) - Shrimp Stir Fry on Cauliflower Rice with roasted cashews
      Lunch: Mushroom soup (experimental recipe), hummus, veggies, and nut butter

      Thursday (Lenten Day - "Beheading of John the Baptist") Crab Cakes, Sauteed Spinach, and Rice-a-phony.
      Lunch: Black Bean Taco salad (see recipe here at post #114)

      Friday (Lenten Day) Picnic: Garbanzo burgers, sauerkraut, Curried Sweet Potato Salad
      Lunch: shrimp salad (mashed canned shrimp, mayo substitute, pickle relish), with lettuce and tomato

      Saturday - Breakfast: Bacon, with eggs or pancakes
      Lunch: Tuna salad on tomato or avocado, pickles
      Dinner: Leftovers or Rotisserie Chicken with Caesar Salad

      Sunday - AM - Fasting before Liturgy
      Lunch: Potluck at church after Liturgy
      Dinner - Low carb pizza with egg/cheese crust, and Caprese topping, Salad

      Monday - Labor Day: Grass fed burgers, with sliced tomato, onions, lettuce, etc... Parsnip oven fries, coleslaw, pickles
      (Lunch: Tomato soup with leftover pizza, or with sliced cheese, and raw veggies, and dip)

      Well, that's my plan through Labor Day -- goodness sakes, it takes me a long time to think of this stuff - I'm hoping it saves me time in the long run!
      Last edited by Antiochia; 08-21-2013, 01:43 PM.

      See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


      • #4
        I think I need to take Primal principles in baby steps. IF for example. I've decided first I need to be able to go between meals without eating. After all, if I'm always snacking, how does my body figure out to use my own fat. If I get hungry, so what. It is my body's signal to start burning fat, not fill my stomach. If I were to stop eating today, it would be weeks before I would starve to death. So then, be it resolved -- eating ONLY at meals which come 2 or 3 times a day (depending on whether or not I'm attending a morning Liturgy). My IF's will be overnight and between meals. No snacks.

        See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


        • #5
          Swedish Pancakes (kind of like Crepes) have been a family favorite for years! Especially on Saturday mornings. At last I've found a Primal recipe -- I adapted it from:Swedish Pancakes (Thin Pancakes) | The Unrefined Kitchen | Paleo & Primal Recipes

          I think I'll put the recipe here so I can find it again!


          8 eggs
          1 1/4 cup milk or part almond milk, part coconut milk
          3 Tbsp. coconut flour
          1 teaspoon vanilla
          1/4 cup arrowroot
          1/2 teaspoon salt
          butter, bacon fat, or coconut oil

          1. Preheat griddle or skillet.
          2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or use an immersion blender
          3. Butter or grease skillet.
          4. Pour a thin layer of batter on griddle or skillet. (I use a soup ladle that holds about 1/3 cup). Tip griddle or skillet in a circular motion to spread it out. Cook until the bottom is lightly browned. Flip over and cook briefly until that side is lightly browned.
          5. Enjoy! Makes about 8 or 9 pancakes (using skillets with an 8" bottom)

          *Serve with fresh fruit, maple syrup or just eat it plain! (As a holdover from my pre-primal days, I like to use a a small amount of Lingonberry preserves.)
          Last edited by Antiochia; 08-24-2013, 06:08 AM.

          See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


          • #6
            Well, as to my resolution - i didn't do so well on Sunday. Our priest's mother was celebrating her 85th birthday, and there was a big beautiful birthday cake on the dessert table at coffee hour. I had intended to ignore the dessert table, but I couldn't refuse the birthday cake -- and then a few other offerings on the dessert table soon followed. Oh well.

            Then Monday, we went to Chicago to visit the Grandkids. I did pretty well during the day, but we didn't get home until after midnight, so I had a midnight snack before bed.

            Consequently, my excesses caused a 2 pound weight gain over last week. Funny at my age how easy it is to put on extra pounds. My body never did that when I was younger!
            Last edited by Antiochia; 08-28-2013, 03:16 PM. Reason: grammar

            See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


            • #7
              I made Chicken Chop Suey last Sunday for guests (see menu above for the link to the recipe), and at my local grocery store, you can only buy bean sprouts in 1 pound packages, so I end up with bean sprouts to use up. We like Eggs Foo Yung I decided to put my recipe here so I can find it again -- my cookbook is wearing out. It is adapted from the More-with-Less Cookbook, page 159

              EGGS FOO YUNG


              Brown in skillet:
              1/2 pound ground beef (or turkey)
              Combine in bowl:
              3/4 cup finely chopped onions or scallions
              1/4 cup finely diced celery
              2 cups fresh bean sprouts
              6 eggs, well-beaten
              1 teaspoon salt

              Add browned meat to the egg mixture.

              Heat in a skillet:
              2 tablespoons fat (I used lard)

              Fry by 1/4 cupfuls. Keep patties shaped with pancake turner by pushing egg back into the patties. When set and brown on one side, turn and brown the other side. Keep warm on a plate in a 200 oven until ready to serve. Serve hot with rice, or cauliflower rice, and sauce.


              Combine in saucepan:
              1/4 soy sauce
              2 teaspoons arrowroot flour
              2 teaspoons coconut or palm sugar
              2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
              3/4 cup water

              Cook, stirring constantly until sauce clears. Serve hot with patties and rice or cauliflower rice.

              See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


              • #8
                Here's the pizza recipe I plan to make tomorrow:

                LOW CARB PIZZA
                FOR "crust":
                4 ounces cream cheese, softened
                4 eggs
                1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
                1/4 cup grated Parmesan
                2 cups mozzarella cheese
                1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (and any other herbs/spices you like )

                On TOP:
                1/2 cup pizza sauce
                1 cup mozzarella cheese
                various pizza toppings (sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc...)

                Preheat oven 375 degrees.

                With mixer or immersion blender, blend the softened cream cheese and eggs together until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and heavy cream and continue mixing. Add spices such as garlic powder. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and evenly spread out the 2 cups of mozzarella cheese in the pan. Pour the batter evenly over the cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is brown.

                Spread your sauce and toppings and cover with the rest of the cheese. Put back in the over for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese melts.

                Caprese Pizza:
                Instead of the toppings listed above, top the crust with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella and put it back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

                Note: If you make half the recipe, bake it in a greased 10" pyrex pie pan.
                Last edited by Antiochia; 09-02-2013, 11:27 AM.

                See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                • #9
                  Well, didn't make the Caprese Pizza last night -- some old friends stopped by and we decided to go out. By chance our friends decided to go to a place that served grass-fed burgers! Yum! Topped with swiss cheese, mushrooms, and grilled onions! Double yum.

                  So, for today's lunch, I just skipped the pizza crust and made us Caprese salad. So satisfying:

                  10. Insalata Caprese

                  A refreshing salad perfect for a lazy summer evening:

                  2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
                  1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
                  1/4 cup fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed and patted dry

                  1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (only if using arugula)
                  4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                  Salt and pepper to taste

                  Arrange tomatoes, basil and mozzarella on large platter overlapping each other. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add salt, pepper and oregano (if necessary) to taste.

                  Read more: Classic Salad Recipes | Mark's Daily Apple

                  (I drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar as well. For the two of us, I only made about half this recipe.)
                  Last edited by Antiochia; 09-02-2013, 11:40 AM.

                  See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                  • #10
                    Hmmmmm - I've kind of gotten off track with making weekly menus. I need to find some time to do that, because it really helped. Maybe next week. Today I have to eat low fiber food, and tomorrow a liquid diet and laxatives in preparation for a colonoscopy -- Hope that's not TMI...

                    Anyway, last night I made a good dinner without having to run out to the grocery store:

                    Cauliflower & ham casserole 'mac & cheese' style
                    Frozen cooked spinach with lemon and bacon
                    Carrot apple salad (Dressing: mayo mixed with ACV and coconut sugar to taste with grated carrots, chopped apple, and chopped walnuts in whatever proportions you like).

                    The cauliflower casserole recipe came from:Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Casserole Recipe : : Recipes : Food Network

                    I adapted it slightly. The casserole consists of a wonderful cheese sauce recipe (that uses no starch!), and cauliflower (I added some diced ham), with cheddar cheese melted on top.

                    CHEESE SAUCE
                    1 cup heavy cream
                    2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
                    1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
                    1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar + extra grated cheddar to sprinkle on top
                    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
                    Salt to taste (optional)

                    Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, and whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in cheese, salt, pepper and garlic and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes.

                    To use in a CAULIFLOWER CHEESE CASSEROLE:

                    I found this is enough cheese sauce for a 16 oz. package of frozen cauliflower, cooked; or 1 whole cauliflower cut into small florets. Either way, cook the cauliflower in boiling water just until tender - about 5 minutes. Drain well -- you can also pat dry with paper towels. Grate some extra cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top - at least 1/2 cup. (Dice some ham, if you wish.)

                    Turn oven to 375. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish. Add the cauliflower to the cheese sauce pan and mix well. Stir in the ham if using. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake uncovered until the cheese melts and the casserole is bubbly. If the ingredients are still hot, this may only take about 15 minutes. If you made the casserole ahead of time, and put it in the fridge to bake later, it may take 30 to 40 minutes. As long as I have this recipe, I will never crave mac-and-cheese again! This is good!

                    Here's the vegetable recipe I served it with:

                    SPINACH WITH BACON AND LEMON
                    1 10-oz. box of frozen cut spinach
                    2 slices bacon, cut into pieces
                    Juice of 1/2 lemon
                    Freshly ground black pepper

                    Take the paper off the box, put it on a plate and microwave for a couple minutes to thaw. Juice the lemon and have it ready. Cut up the bacon. Saute the bacon in a saucepan until the bacon is done. Dump in the thawed spinach and stir and cook until hot. Add the lemon juice and cook and stir briefly. Remove from heat. Add freshly ground pepper to taste, and transfer to serving bowl, or to plates. Makes at least 2 servings.
                    Last edited by Antiochia; 11-05-2013, 08:15 AM.

                    See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                    • #11
                      Now this looks interesting - it is post #40 from the thread "How do you like your coffee"

                      "I put a large spoonful of coconut oil in with a cap full of pure vanilla extract, a few shakes of cinnamon and a few shakes of cacao powder, add coffee and drop in an egg. Hit it with a stick blender for about 5-7 seconds, drink. Amazing. "

                      Sounds like a good breakfast to take with you if you are in a hurry! -- that is if it tastes as good as the poster says!

                      Edit 2/25/14: I finally tried this last week. It really is very good and makes a good hot breakfast you can take with you in a commuter mug. (I get tired of sweet cold smoothies!)
                      Last edited by Antiochia; 02-25-2014, 07:54 AM. Reason: Finally tried the recipe!

                      See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                      • #12
                        Okay -- I'll be modifying this recipe for lunch:Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheese Soup – made with REAL FOOD ingredients

                        I'll use up some frozen broccoli, frozen ham stock, and frozen cheese.

                        See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                        • #13
                          Today I'm on a clear liquids diet -- so I made the following to help me pretend I was eating solid food:

                          PEACH TEA APPLE GELL-O

                          2 tablespoons granulated gelatin
                          1/2 cup cold water
                          1/2 cup apple juice concentrate*
                          3 cups boiling water
                          1 tablespoon honey
                          3 herbal peach tea bags
                          1/2 teaspoon vanilla

                          In a separate small bowl mix the gelatin and the cold water and set aside

                          In a quart-size non-metal bowl, put the apple juice concentrate, boiling water, honey, and tea bags. Let steep for at least 5 minutes or longer. Remove the tea bags. Then stir in the gelatin mixture and vanilla. Chill for several hours until solid. Quite good and no questionable ingredients!

                          *Note: I use frozen apple juice - I open a can of frozen concentrate and put the contents into a wide mouth pint-size jar in the freezer; then I scrape out what I need for recipes. If it thaws, it doesn't hurt it to re-freeze it.

                          See my journal, The Balancing Act: Integrating Primal into My Life, for menu plans, musings, and more.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Antiochia View Post
                            Today I'm on a clear liquids diet
                            Vodka? I hope this means vodka.

                            Sent via F-22 Raptor


                            • #15
                              I think your food sounds delicious Antiochia. Feel free to slap Mr. Anthony on the knuckles. Now combining vodka with gelatin would give you what? Vodka jelly? Very primal. (Raises eyebrow)
                              I'm not saying lets kill all the stupid people in the world, I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem take care of itself.