Author Archives: Zach and Joelle

Phoenix Recap

Zach and I are sitting in the Phoenix airport currently, reminiscing about the weekend. We were both saying how we usually are excited to get back home and get back into our normal routine after a vacation, but this time is different. We enjoyed the awesome weather, the beautiful scenery and some good paleo food. It is making it very hard to go back to the shitty midwest. And since we lived there our entire lives we can call it shitty. Every day was sunny and perfect and who wouldn’t want to be in a place where there are over 300 days of sunshine.

Saturday we got up suppper early (hadn’t adjusted to the time difference yet) and went to the Scottsdale farmers market. We both felt like it was made for us. They had organic everything- coffee, veggies, fruits, meat, seafood. You name it, they had it. They advertised to the paleo diet. We couldn’t believe it!

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Zach and I picked up some veggies for our lunches and grass-fed bison jerky to snack on. After that, we decided to check out Cactus Crossfit and joined the local scottsdaleons in a wod. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and taking in some sun. We had dinner at Hula’s in olde town Scottsdale where they had some meals that could accommodate our diet. We were interested in the menu because they had a pacific island themed menu and it was a little different than anything we experienced before.

Sunday we got up ate breakfast and headed straight to Sedona. This was definitely the highlight of our trip. They had amazing rock formations and 360 views. Just awesome!
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We did some hiking for the majority of the day and headed back to phoenix for dinner at 1130 the restaurant in downtown. There we had steaks! Zach got a NY strip and I got a filet. They offered broccoli and asparagus as sides. We also got mussels as an appetizer. Delish!

Today Zach got up and worked out while I stayed back and relaxed by the pool. We thought we would hike up Camelback Mountain because it was only about a mile and a half trail hike and wouldn’t take too long. Little did we know that it was a very steep and a challenging trail (at least for us). We made it up about half way and it took us about an hour. It was an awesome hike, but we didn’t really have time to hike all the way up. We still wanted to explore downtown Phoenix with the time that we had left. We headed to Cartel Coffee Lab, where they roast their own coffee beans and had a cup of Joe. We also ate our paleo packed lunch there :).

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First morning on vacation

Even though we are on vacation, Joelle and I still need to have our staple breakfast. We went to the store last night to get the supplies after our awesome paleo dinner experience. We ate at a restaurant last night called “Nourish”. They labeled all of their food on the menu with a gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, egg free, corn free and paleo. It was so nice being able to order something off of a menu at a restaurant and not have to tell the waitress to keep something out of the order. We simply ordered and it was all paleo. Joelle got a raw Alfredo dish. It was spaghetti squash with a homemade Alfredo sauce (cashews, lemon juice), broccoli and she added a piece of wild caught salmon to it. I had a grass fed steak topped with mushrooms and onions. My dish also came with a sweet potato/avocado salad (the house special) and a pasta salad made from zucchini and butternut squash noodles. As a appetizer we got a butternut squash/beet salad that was topped with walnuts. This was the first time in a long time that Joelle and I went out to eat and left the restaurant satisfied. We will keep you updated on our travels each day.

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“SB&J” Burger

So Joelle and I have recently fallen in love with a new set of burger toppings. I would have to say if there is one thing that Joelle and I really appreciate during grilling season it is definitely a good burger. We recently made a new style burger and we loved it. We grilled up some lean beef patties. I like to keep the seasonings simple (salt and pepper) on a burger. I think it allows the meat to speak for itself as far as flavor. Before grilling Joelle whipped up our toppings. We would be putting homemade sun flower seed butter along with homemade strawberry Jelly on our burgers. Now I know what you are thinking, “on a burger?!” Yes! The flavors work so well together. You have the bold taste of the beef combined with the salty creamy taste of the sun flower butter and the sweetness of strawberry jelly. For the sunflower butter we bought roasted unsalted sun flower seeds. Dumped them in the food processor along with some oil and puréed it until it was smooth and creamy just like peanut butter. For the strawberry jelly all you need to do is get a sauce pan cut up your strawberries, add juice of 1/2 a lemon and some powdered ginger. You let the jelly cook down at medium/low heat for 20-25 minutes. The more you cook it the more it will thicken up. They all come together to make a memorable burger. We had them this past Sunday and we had leftovers on Monday as well. During the week I couldn’t stop thinking about this burger and neither could Joelle. So we decided to make them again on Thursday night. We did make grape jelly this time. I think it was a tie between the jellies. They were everything we remembered from Monday and Sunday.
Currently Joelle and I are on our flight to Phoenix Arizona for the weekend. Oh yea and before we left for the airport Joelle and I tagged team on a left over “SB&J” burger. It was even better the day after. We are staying in a vacation rental so we can have the use of a kitchen. For this trip we will be doing breakfast, snacks and lunches at the vacation rental. Each night we will go out for dinner. We have already done our research on some really great places to eat while in Phoenix that will take care of our paleo needs. We will be sure to keep you up to date on our food adventures in Arizona. I think it will be a much easier place to eat paleo than in the suburbs of Chicago. I feel like the west coast and the surrounding area are much more up to speed when it comes to paleo.

Oh yea and here is my afternoon snack that I packed for the plane ride. Cut up Chicken breast and a bag of banana, pineapple and walnuts. You gotta do what you gotta do.

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Whole 30- Week 1 Complete

Hello there!

Zach and I have had a good start to our morning. It has been the first time in a few weeks where we don’t have anything going on today and can actually relax… and we love it that way!

Still rocking out the Whole 30 challenge. I have been feeling really good! It took my body a few days to get used to the 3 meals/day, but I finally feel like it is adjusting. I feel like my body is also running like a machine. For example, last night, we went to my best friends gender reveal party… (IT’S A GIRL, yay!).

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Zach and I ate before we went (around 5pm) and headed to the party. I never got that feeling that I was extremely famished, but around 10 o’clock, my body was telling me it was time for bed. On the ride home, I was dozing a little and when we got home, I went straight to bed and fell asleep EASILY. Falling asleep has never been easy for me.

We got up this morning and made rutabaga skillets for breakfast. I decided to do an onion, spinach, asparagus and mushroom skillet. I sauteed the veggies first, added the rutabaga and then eggs.
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I’m weird and like my eggs over hard, so I decided to crack the eggs in the same pan as the skillet and cover it until the yolks were hard. Here is the finished product. It went really great with coffee. 😉

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Speaking of coffee- with Whole 30, they want you to cut back on your intake… which I have been doing. The other day, I had to drive 3 hours home from Indianapolis. It was around noon, and I was kind of feeling a dip in my energy level, so I decided to get a cup of coffee. I had been limiting my intake all week, but decided to enjoy just one cup of Starbucks. While drinking, it was the first time I felt negative impacts from a cup of coffee. I was feeling very anxious and I actually felt a little depressed after I finished the cup. It was so strange… I was feeling so many different (negative) emotions and I felt that I had no control over what I was feeling. I won’t be doing that again…

Tonight, Zach and I are going to be making paleo sweet potato nachos. This might be our best post yet, so stay tuned! 🙂

P.S. The cake pop in the picture, I did not eat… don’t worry. If I am cheating on this diet, it will be with something that will actually be worth it!

Spring Break…. but still Paleo

Hey there everyone. I have definitely been enjoying my spring break so far this week. Honestly, I haven’t really done anything exciting but just simply have enjoyed the little things. Instead of getting up at 5 AM every morning I have been getting up anywhere between 6 and 7 AM. I know that doesn’t seem like sleeping in to most of you but it has made a huge difference for me. One of my most enjoyable things that I have been doing is just sipping on some coffee and watching Good Morning America. I really enjoy watching the news in the morning, so that has been a plus. I have been able to get to the gym earlier in the day and then having the rest of the day to do whatever I want. I am not going to lie, I have taken a couple of power naps during this week (20-30 minutes). I have been reading the “Primal Blueprint” and if we as humans were to follow the blueprint of our ancestors, a power nap in the middle of the day is completely normal. I have also read in that book about why we are not that good at sleeping through the night. Think about this… our primal ancestors did not really have the opportunity to sleep 8 hours through the night without having to worry about predators or any other thing that could disrupt their sleep. They had to be somewhat alert just in case their life was in danger. That is why it is natural for us as humans to want to take the middle of the day power nap. You wouldn’t believe how a 20 minute nap can completely recharge your batteries for the rest of the day. It makes you start to believe in how we as humans were made to live a certain way. I would have to say currently as humans we are a long way away from that. Alright so back to business. The one thing that has not changed over this spring break for me is my Paleo lifestyle. Food still needs to be prepped. Snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner still needs to be made. The one thing that has been nice is I have plenty of time to make my food during this week. Today I still did my usual chores. I went grocery shopping, prepped food and I am going to make something new for dinner. Here is a pic of our fridge when it is fully stocked after food prep. Isn’t it beautiful?
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Before I get to talking about dinner. Just wanted to show you guys my usual lunch. I still eat the same lunch each day. It is a salad with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, avocado and chicken. I also then have an apple on the side along wit ha 1/2 cup of grapes. Two weeks ago I made a little change. I decided to throw my apple and grapes into my salad. It has surprisingly been a good change. I really like it. The fruit in the salad adds a good sweetness to it.I don’t know if I like the taste of it because I really like it or because I have been eating 100% Paleo for 3 months now and don’t mind the mixing of flavors. I have noticed lately I like eating my dinners just out of a big bowl and kind of mixing everything together. Maybe it is just a stage I am going through, lol.
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So tonight for dinner I am making grass fed burgers but I wanted something different to top it with. This is completely my idea and I don’t know how it is going to work out but I am giving it a shot. So for my topping I am taking shredded carrot (used the shredding attachment in the food processor) and going to make a hash out of it that is seasoned with onion, garlic, bell pepper, smoked paprika, chipotle powder and some salt and pepper. I guess I am going for the southwest taste tonight. I also have portabella mushroom caps that I will use as my bun. For those make sure you clean them and scrape out the meat of the mushroom. Put a little olive oil on them and grill for 1-2 minutes on each side
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Rant

Up until now I think Zach and I have been pretty encouraging and positive when we blog, but there is just some things that I want to get off my chest. I may be just a little cranky because the whole 30 started this week, but I think I’m just a little fed up with people too.

So doing the whole 30 challenge is hard enough without any pressures from your friends, peers or coworkers because you are completely eliminating all sugar, any extra snacking and portion controlling your meals. I am in Indianapolis for work this week and some of my coworkers invited me out for dinner tonight. Since I don’t get to see these people all that much and I enjoy spending time with them, I agreed to go. They know that I “diet” but don’t know anything about it, so they were trying to be nice and accommodate me. They told me about this place called season 52 which all of their meals are under 475 calories. I thought it was great that they thought about me, even though I’m never one to count calories or even think about it. I looked up their menu and it seemed to be pretty paleo friendly. So I decided we should check it out. When we got there, the 3 of them ordered drinks and then when the the bartender got to me, I ordered a water. Of course I got questions about why I wasn’t drinking and I told them that I just didn’t feel like it (not wanting to go into the details of the 30 day challenge). They kind of gave me shit for not drinking and I brushed it off… No big deal. When we finally got our table they ordered a few appetizers to share and again made comments about how I am always dieting or can’t eat bread. I told them that I didn’t eat those kind of things because thy didn’t make me feel good. They made remarks like ” that doesn’t sound like any fun” and “you can’t eat this because it has too much carbs!” It was so annoying and I really wanted to tell them off.

I am getting so frustrated when people criticize me for not eating or drinking the way they do. There is so much pressure from everyone to eat like dog shit and drink. I am not judging them for eating their fucking risotto or potatoes or making them feel bad for eating it. I think that is why it is so hard to stick to a diet or change your lifestyle, because the pressure and the guilt. I don’t care how other people eat, but don’t try and make me feel bad because you could never make the changes I have made. I will never, ever judge anyone for their eating habits, especially if they are trying to be healthier and improve their lifestyle.

I am sorry I just vented, but people shouldn’t judge the paleo diet or whole 30. I told my coworkers before we parted that the reason that I do this and eat this way is because I have never felt better than this in my life. It is hard to explain it, but don’t judge until you have tried it and you know how it feels.

I promise I won’t bitch on my next post! Tata!