So here we are again, on yet another Paleo challenge at CFB. However, this one is a little different, in that it’s a short, 21-day slug fest between teams of three, $20 buy-in per person, and winning team take all. As I am generally a fan of money, I am going in whole hog here. My teammates Anthony and Kevin and I comprise the Knit-Wits team; first place or bust! 🙂
Naturally, due to the normally competitive atmosphere that is CrossFit , there’s been quite a bit of mud-slinging and sneaky saboteurs trying to shove other teams off the correct path. There’ve been promises of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, threats of bringing cake and coffee to the gym and leaving it there, and even spouses who are on different teams trying to justify that one person has been working harder during a bedroom romp session, and should therefore get more of an activity point than their partner. Ahem. Like I said, competitive!
I like the idea of this challenge a lot; 21-days up, 21-days down. Because really, if you can’t do something different in your life for 3 weeks, well, maybe the word “challenge” shouldn’t even be in your vocabulary. There are three buy-in levels, so everyone can eliminate things that are hard for them, but not going overboard.
I’ve gone in at the highest level, which is full-on Paleo (including no dairy or alcohol), and while I know it’s only been a few days, I honestly feel great and like I have barely cut anything out of my diet. I was remarking with Ian about how even last fall when we did our first, true Paleo challenge it was, well, just that: a challenge! I remember it seeming so difficult to cook enough food, with enough variety to get all my micronutrients, as well as logging every single little thing, and I really missed cheese and wine.
Ok, well so I still miss wine, big surprise, but the transition this time has been much, much easier. I think I’ve found the perfect balance for Ian and myself as well in terms of making sure we have food on hand for lunch at work (which has always been our goat; we eat at our company’s café for lunch ALL the TIME), but that it’s also not the same thing over and over that I made in a giant, marathon cooking session on a Sunday and then we have to eat for six meals the next week. I have gotten in the habit of sort of cooking two meals at once; one to eat for dinner, and for lunch the next day. It sounds like a lot or work, but trust me, it’s not that bad. For example:
-Sunday I cooked a roast chicken, and then made eggs for dinner;
-Monday I had leftover chili for lunch, and made carrot soup for dinner. While the carrot soup was cooking, I picked the chicken and made chicken salad. After the chicken was picked (still in the time the carrot soup was cooking) I put the chicken carcass on the stovetop with water to make stock;
-Tuesday we’re having chicken salad and soup for lunch, we’ll have eggs and sausage and veggies for dinner, and I’ll use the stock I made yesterday to make some other kind of soup. See what I mean?
This also prompted a discussion between Ian and me about cooking, specifically the ability and willingness to do so, and the amount of time it can take. Ian remarked about how there’s all these “30-minute” type cooking shows around, and that you’d think that would make cooking less scary for people. However, we know from studies and statistics that less time than ever before is being spent every day in the kitchen preparing meals, and also as nations and people get richer, they tend to eat out more often.
Now, while I would never consider myself trained as a gourmand or anything, I certainly know my way around the kitchen. So for me, making a meal with a protein and two sides is something I can do all at once. I also know that’s not so simple for people who haven’t been cooking their whole lives, and I think the amount of cooking time and labor to make one meal makes people “think” it’s even cheaper to eat out. We know this not to be true, of course, but the convenience of ordering a pizza as well as the seemingly lower cost makes it that much easier to reach for the phone to dial Papa John’s than to buckle down and make a beef stir-fry from scratch.
Anyhoo, I’m rambling, but in short wouldn’t it be wonderful if cooking classes were still required in every middle and high school as part of a life skills class? We are in danger of raising a whole generation of people who think that cooking is “Remove from box. Put in Microwave. Nuke on high
until all the nutrients in your food are zapped and irradiated for three minutes.” I think if every child in America knew how to fry an egg, dice a carrot, and properly cook a steak, the world would be a better place.
Sorry for the stream of consciousness post! 🙂 Happy eating everyone!