My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

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I’m so excited to post about my recent experience Paleo Pen Pals!  They match you up with another member of the Paleo community which provides such a fun interaction with someone you don’t know!  Basically, all you have to mail each other a Paleo ingredient and make a recipe from it!  I remember having pen pals in grade school and being so giddy when I would receive a letter from them.  This giddiness was felt again when I received my Paleo ingredient from Tanya at Feed the Clan 🙂 Her recipe using the star anise that I sent her is here.

I was pretty nervous to do this because, while I love sharing recipes, I haven’t exactly really created many on my own.  Sure, I’ve deviated from other recipes by adding or changing some ingredients, but I haven’t really come up with anything from scratch.  After stressing out about this (#firstworldproblems), I realized that maybe I can still tweak something I know about.  After all, isn’t that how people come up with some recipes in the first place?

So…here is what Tanya sent me:

Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

Tanya told me the Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey was from a local source in her area, which I loved!  I was so excited to see how I could use this in a recipe!  When I tasted it, I was reminded of the red chili powder that my mom often used in her many delicious Gujarati (state in India) dishes.  I’m not sure if it’s very different from what we get at the supermarket in the states, but that was my experience with it.  So basically, this powder was infused into honey and was quite yummy 🙂

I had some home-grown cabbage at home, and my mom had brought some beautiful purple and white carrots from a farmer’s market.  So I decided to make a Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots based off a Gujarati dish I ate growing up.  Usually, my mom never added any type of sweetener or carrots, so I was curious about how this would taste. This recipe can also be made without the carrots.

Spiced Honey Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots

1.5 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup shredded carrots

3 cups shredded cabbage

2.5 tsp Hatch Red Chile Infused Honey

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp sea salt

Dry roast the mustard seeds in a pan until they pop – this increases the mustard flavor in the dish. (You can also add sesame seeds to this if you’d like).  Heat oil in another pot or wok, and add mustard seeds and turmeric. Let it sizzle for a little bit so it’s mixed in well.  Add cabbage and carrots.  Mix this thoroughly so the turmeric covers the cabbage and carrots completely.  Add the honey.  Then cover until the cabbage is cooked but still a little crisp – about 10 min.  Add salt.

Finished product!

Finished product!

And VOILA!  You are done.  At first, I didn’t feel like I tasted the chile flavor.  And it still isn’t as strong as my mom’s, but the point is that it didn’t NEED to be spicy.  What’s really cool is that the honey flavor really makes it yummy and the spicy kick comes at the end.  This can be a great side dish with any meal.  You can also add some chicken, pork, or beef to this dish as well.  I’ve never done it, but I think it would be really great!

I hope you enjoyed my first real recipe 🙂  Paleo Pen Pals was such a fun experience that pushed me to be creative.  I will definitely be doing it again!

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No, I’m not re-launching my site or anything yet, but as my thoughts and experiences with my health journey evolve through the way I eat, move, and think, my vision for “Cutting the Cheese” has evolved as well.

Initially, my thought was to create a blog name that would be refer to Paleo and also be punny.  I think I succeeded.  I do have to give credit to a close friend that helped me out, so thank you Jasmy 🙂  Cheese is something I LOVE, so I thought it was a perfect fit! However, as I learned more about Paleo, I realized that, yes, in the strictest sense, dairy isn’t “allowed”.  But, as time went on, I stopped thinking of Paleo as a diet of restriction, and I started to see it as using food for nourishment.  So, given this change, I started introducing dairy in my meals. While I do feel some effects from dairy, I am unaffected in moderation.  So, I haven’t always had to “cut the cheese” out of my diet…however, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to do it figuratively 😉

As I have I started looking at Paleo from a different perspective, I decided to re-brand my blog through a different lens.  I believe most of us know what “Cutting the Cheese” means as an idiom.  If not, feel free to find out here.  The the meaning is funny in the sophomoric sense that many hate to love.  It provokes laughter with a bit of discomfort – literally and figuratively 🙂

Recently, I started a Facebook page to go along with my blog.  I tend to post a few times a day to this page by sharing some personal experiences as well as sharing information that I find helpful from other blogs/pages.  Sometimes I share recipes or just general information about the Paleo way of eating.  However, as I have mentioned before, I do see Paleo as a lifestyle.  At the same time, I see eating processed foods and treating certain physical ailments with drugs, and not nutrition, as a lifestyle too.  Paleo aside, I feel there are  obvious sociopolitical conflicts that serve to profit companies that the modern world just accepts.  This makes me uncomfortable…very uncomfortable.  I didn’t want to believe it.  I don’t want to believe it.  But I have to believe it.  The Food Pyramid, FDA guidelines, GMO’s, yadda yadda are all politically and economically motivated and most of us either want to ignore it, minimize it, or simply believe that the government and big food companies have our best interests at heart. As an individual, I cannot solely change the current political, economic, or food systems.  However, it would be silly for me to not recognize the motivation and manipulation of these systems.  If everyone realized how they were being manipulated, they would probably be uncomfortable.

Another area I have felt passionate about is self-love when it comes to body image and what we think about ourselves.  I have definitely struggled with body image in many ways that I hope to share in future posts.  In the past couple months, I have been able to move past a lot of my insecurities and get to a point where not only do I love myself and my body more than before, but I have also realized that I was making excuses about why I didn’t think I was insecure in the first place.  Again, this was uncomfortable.  Loving who I am, as I am, is uncomfortable.  Do I have a Victoria’s Secret model body? NO.  Have I lost as much weight as I would have initially liked? NO.  A year ago, these answers would have made me very uncomfortable.  But, I’m happy to say, that I’m much more happy in my skin, as is, than before.  Does that mean I don’t want to lose weight or that I don’t think I would be as attractive if I lost more weight? No, not at all.  My priorities have just changed.  My goal is health first, and, as Jason Seib says, to look “hot by accident”.

Lastly, I have started to make some changes in my daily routine to include meditation, prayer, and asking for help when I feel I need support in my life.  Stress management is a huge part of lifestyle and if affects our bodies immensely.  Here is a great summary about stress and adrenal fatigue: The Real Deal On Adrenal Fatigue by Robb Wolf.  Making changes to daily habits is difficult.  After all the Merriam-Webster definition of a habit is “a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way”.  So making changes in our busy, stress-filled lives, especially to slow down and let go of certain outcomes through mediation, prayer, or what have you,  is hard and uncomfortable, but it is also very beneficial.  I’m not talking about being a yogi and sitting on a mountain in lotus position.  These are changes you can make throughout the day in the comfort of your home, but, to do so, priorities have to change.

I’m evolving/re-branding this blog by pushing through uncomfortable barriers and becoming more aware, accepting, and comfortable being uncomfortable!  I still do plan to post recipes, etc to have some balance and fun 🙂

Enjoy and feel free to comment about this change!


Well I did my abbreviated version of a Whole30 with success. It’s been almost a year since I did my first (and only) Whole30, and I forgot (and was reminded) of some things.

1. Eating out. One lesson I was reminded of was how hard it is to eat out! Regardless of the quality of meat restaurants use, one thing that really gets me is the oils they are probably using. I’m usually too skittish to ask, but I’m guessing most restaurants don’t use Organic Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. I guess that might seem like I am really snobby, however, I feel that I have good reason to be picky about this. Also, it is very likely that there might be hidden sugars in food. The best bet is to order a salad, dressing on the side (or request olive oil and balsamic). On many instances, I did eat prior to eating out since I knew I might be limited. I learned that even though I’m afraid, I do need to ask questions when eating out.

2. I love sugar! I really do, well maybe just my brain does (same thing?). The first couple days were pretty challenging in this regard, however, after that it wasn’t too difficult. Fruit provided a perfect sugar fix that didn’t make me feel like total crap afterwards.

3. Variety exists! When I started this journey last year, it was difficult for me to think about variety. In the past year, I have experimented with different types of meat and seasonings, and variety is much more common for me. I have experimented with vegetables like chard, bok choy, kale, etc instead of sticking to lettuce and spinach. I experimented with lamb and pork, which I was very frightened of last year.

4. I feel great. That is a given. I knew I’d feel fabulous when I did this, even though it was only 7 days. My stomach felt at ease, I slept well, my sinus problems reduced, and I didn’t wake up feeling fat 🙂 The funny thing is that even though I can afford to lose a few more pounds, it wasn’t my main goal. It was an added benefit, but I’m so glad I am less focused on this aspect. As one of my favorite podcasters Jason Seib from the Everyday Paleo Lifestyle & Fitness podcast says “Healthy by choice, hot by accident” 🙂

This goes to show that doing something like this, even for a short time, really proves that changes in diet can impact health and happiness. If I did this longer, it would have made even more of a difference!

I do want to do a Whole30 again before the end of the year. I’m thinking I will do it the month of my birthday (September), so stay tuned 🙂

 


So I have had a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter for about…oh…well awhile.  It’s pretty hardy, so it hasn’t gone bad.  What have I been waiting for?  Well, I’ve basically been pretty lazy to bake it for an hour.  Last night, I finally decided to look up a good spaghetti squash recipe.  Pinterest and Nom Nom Paleo saved the day!  I found a way to just stick it in the microwave and VOILA!  It is ready for me in 10 minutes 🙂

Right – One half untouched after microwaving
Middle – Partially scraped
Left – The final product!

This was seriously the easiest thing I could have done.  All I had to do was cut it in half, brush some oil on it, add salt and pepper, and microwave it for 8-12 minutes!  Scraping it out took a little extra time for me (it was my first time…yes, I’m a spaghetti squash virgin), but it was fun!  It’s amazing how it all comes out in these beautiful yellow strands!  I was able to put it all into a tupperware.  I added some more salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for seasoning.  I had a little taste, and it was great!  I especially loved the texture.

Ready to eat!

I’m SO excited to have this during the week!!  Easy, healthy, and delicious 🙂

 


My birthday is soon approaching, and it’s making me think about where I really want to be in my life right now in terms of my physical health.  I feel that in the past 6 months, I have made great improvements to my life including being aware and ACCEPTING my eating behaviors (sugar obsession and overeating), working out at The Dailey Method pretty regularly, and transitioning to a Paleo/Whole30 eating lifestyle.

However, in the aftermath of my first Whole30, I have gained a couple pounds back, and I have also started to reduce my workout frequency from 4 days a week minimum to 3 days a week.  Soooo back to where I want to be in my life….I really want to lose some more inches.  Working out 3 days a week, is definitely maintenance mode in my head.  Therefore, I am planning to increase the frequency of my workouts to 5 days a week.  Given my schedule, I think this is a fair and feasible schedule change.  While I don’t plan on being super strict for Whole30, I do plan on following the guidelines for the most part with the occasional indulgence.

I once read that in terms of health, food > sleep > exercise (I think it was on the Whole9 Facebook page).  I feel that sometimes I wasn’t exercising because I wasn’t sleeping as much.  So, I am going to put a change to that!  I plan to be in bed every night by 10:30pm, so I can get up and workout feeling rested.  I really think I’ll notice a difference with this subtle change.  I did a quick Google search about workout frequency (I’m so scientific!), and I came upon this site.  The picture I first saw (below) scared the crap out of me, but I liked the idea of the article.  (No, I don’t want to look like him…not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Source

Basically, it talks about the frequency of strength training you need to make different types of changes in your body.  It also emphasizes the importance of muscle recovery.  I love that The Dailey Method has a combination of isometric strength training and low-intensity cardio!  I really feel like I’m getting it all in one class 🙂

Speaking of The Dailey Method, I’m excited to announce that I will be attending a Dailey Method workshop next weekend about taking my practice to the next level!  This should be really great, and I’m looking forward to blogging about it.  Also, I have been struggling with preparing Whole30 meals ahead of time with my work and personal schedules…so I started looking into Pre-Made Paleo meals that I can heat up and eat.  I’m excited to announce that I am going to be receiving some of their meals to review on this blog!  I’m super excited about these upcoming posts, and I hope you are too 🙂

Here are a few questions for you all:

1. Have any of you noticed any changes to your body by increasing the frequency of your workouts?

2. How/when do you manage to make meals ahead of time for yourself and/or your family?

3. Do you believe in or practice “food > sleep > exercise”  in terms of order of importance?  Why or why not?


Whoops!  I know I have been a little MIA, so please do forgive me!  I’m in my last week of Whole30!  Time really has flown, but I’m excited for this post because it shows all the goodies I have been making!  As I mentioned in my last update, I wanted to try some new recipes to spice up my menu.  Sometimes it’s hard to find recipes where I can remove the butter, cheese, a soy product, dressings, or sugar, and be left with something tasty.  So where do I find recipes?  So far, I have used the following sources for finding new recipes:

1. Pinterest – If you haven’t used Pinterest, it’s time to join in on the fun 🙂  There are so many great ideas for recipes, home decoration, organization, jewelry, crafts, you name it!  It’s so fun and visual.  And of course, Pinterest has an iPhone app which I definitely use about 5 minutes before I fall asleep…which leads to an additional 30 minutes of being awake.  I have a board for Whole30 Recipes on Pinterest.  This week I’m planning to make these avocados with eggs in the middle from one of my pins:

2. It Starts with Food – This is the original Whole30 plan written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, outlining the reasons for living Whole30 lifestyle, and what you should do after 30 days.  It also has cool recipes in the back of the book!  While I haven’t made any recipes directly from the book, I have borrowed ingredients and made my own.  It does a great job explaining how to cook meats.  I grew up in a vegetarian household, so this was very helpful for me!  I made the Citrus Chicken recipe this past weekend:

3. Well Fed – This is another great book by Melissa Joulwan.  This is pretty much a straight-up recipe book.  I have made the olive oil mayo and roasted cumin carrots recipes which were both amazingly delicious!  I had no idea mayo could be made at home so simply!  I also didn’t realize the delicious flavor that cumin and cinnamon can bring out from roasted carrots 🙂  This book is really great, and it has beautiful pictures!  I made these roasted cumin carrots a couple weeks ago (yes, I used purple carrots).  This past weekend I made some more Olive Oil Mayo (it tastes like real mayo!), Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, and Nori Chips!

4.  Nom Nom Paleo app:  This is both a blog and an app!  I had “liked” them on Facebook, and saw that they had an app with lots of recipes.  It was $4.99 (I typically try not to spend too much money on apps), however, it had rave reviews!  I figured if I were to spend less than $5 on a recipe book, I would be getting a deal, so therefore I bought this app 🙂  I recently bought this, so I haven’t made anything yet, however, I can tell that it’s a winner.  It has great step-by-step instructions (with pictures!!) from making simple concoctions like bone broth to more more involved recipes like Stir-Fried Kelp Noodles.  It also has cool features including a shopping list where you can add ingredients directly from recipes and some Paleo 101 for those new to the lifestyle.  Also, the great thing about an app is that there are eventually updates!  So I’m hoping that more recipes and features will be added. After I got the app, I checked out the blog which also has great recipes (you can also read the blog directly from the app!).

5.  Whole30 / Paleo Blogs:  I have been enjoying reading other blogs from like-minded folks.  Oftentimes, they also have great recipes!  Some of the blogs I have been following are: Civilized Caveman Cooking; Smart, Sexy, Paleo; Everyday Paleo; and Mark’s Daily Apple.  This week, I’m planning to use my new slow cooker (YAY!) to make some Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers from Civilized Caveman Cooking.

So…this is how I’m venturing into a new world.  I’m 3 and a half weeks into my Whole30, and it’s been really great!  I think for my first time around, I’m doing pretty well.  However, I’m happy that I’m incorporating some more variety for this last week.  I’m looking forward to eating some of my new creations this week 🙂


So I completed my first week of Whole30 last night, and I’m really glad I didn’t just dive into it.  I had spent time preparing foods in the previous months, getting used to eating less sugar, and creating a general food routine.  That helped me SO MUCH in the past week, and it made it much easier to adapt to Whole30.  At this point, I am just following the general rules.  I have had some questions, and the Whole30 Forum has been helpful, especially for my common question “Can I eat ______?”.

I am going to admit that I have been breaking one rule.  I have been weighing myself so I can keep up with my Pounds and Inches (I will update that tomorrow to account for the last 2 weeks).  I did sneak a weigh-in yesterday, and I liked what I saw!  It’s probably the most weight I’ve lost in a week, so it looks like avoiding those small temptations has really helped!  I have also been tracking my food intake and exercise with SlimKicker on my iPhone (they don’t have it on Android yet).  This is an awesome app because it has cool challenges and you can increase levels and feel that you are being rewarded for you work!  There’s also a neat social component to it.  It’s also free!  I’m going to do a review and giveaway associated with them in the near future.

I also finally started reading “It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change your Life in Unexpected Ways” (ISWF for short).  This has been a really great read.  It is very simplified, yet informative.  It also keeps me motivated to keep going and realize that I’m making a positive impact for my body and life.

Not having coffee was hard for the first couple days, but I got used to it.  I do still miss it, but I am enjoying trying new types of teas!  I actually went to a tea tasting at Adagio Tea with a friend this past weekend.  I learned some interesting and new things about different types of tea and the importance of keeping it at specific temperatures.

I do like that I have a general routine now for my daily menu, however, I am getting a little bored with it.  I’m hoping to try some  new recipes from Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, and I will be sure to report on those soon!

Also, there’s just a day and a half left for my Door to Door Organics Giveaway, so be sure to enter if you are in their delivery area!



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