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Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

Grain Free: 15 Tips for Eating Ancestrally

    As a food lover who writes about her passion for a living, I often get asked how I manage to stay slim, given the nature of my work. Usually I just smile and shrug and tell them that I’m into running. And that seems to keep them happy. But the thing is I used to struggle with my weight, just like everybody else.

    Then late last year, I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and decided to try eating ancestrally. Even after a few weeks I felt I was heading in the right direction. While I didn’t actually lose weight, my body shape started to change. My waistline became more slender – exactly what I was hoping for.

    Paleo, primal, slow carb or ancestral eating, whatever you call it, there are many benefits of eating grain-free. From improving your blood chemistry, to losing weight, to increasing your energy levels, to improving your sleep and more. It’s almost been 9 months since I started eating grain-free. I’m finally in a place where I’m happy with my weight and I’m really enjoying what I eat. I’m running about one third of the distance I was last year. No more pounding the pavement to make up for what I ate.

    But the best thing has been discovering that it’s much easier to ditch grains than you would think. In most cases there is a vegetable which fills the place of your bread or pasta or rice. And often they taste just as good, if not better than their grain equivalent.

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    So today I wanted to share a few tips for eating ancestrally. Enjoy!

    1. Have eggs for breakfast instead of cereal.

      Eggs are a brilliant source of protein that keeps you feeling full much longer than a bowl of cereal ever will. Still concerned about cholesterol? Have a look at 7 reasons you should eat eggs for breakfast.

    2. Grate raw cauliflower instead of steamed rice.

      A recent discovery, I’m just loving my new grain-free accompaniment to curries and stir fries. Just get raw cauliflower and grate it. Instant grain-free ‘rice’. And the brilliant thing it that it’s super quick if you get your food processor to do the hard yards. No more gluggy rice to worry about.

    3. Zucchini your noodles.

      For an alternative to spaghetti or other long pasta, roast some finely sliced zucchini (courgettes). And serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

    4. Carotti your spaghetti. Shave a carrot or two into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and then simmer until tender. Presto! Orange ‘spaghetti‘.
    5. Make thin omelets instead of pizza bases.

      Pizza can be difficult to go without. Try making a thin egg omelet in your non-stick pan and topping with your favorite pizza topping and popping under an overhead grill.

    6. Or try a meatza

      Something I’m yet to make myself. Hard core paleo fans replace their pizza bases with a big flat disc of ground beef.

    7. Replace flour with almond meal (or other ground nuts).

      This only works for some situations, like using flour or breadcrumbs to coat meat. Or in baked goods.

    8. Use pureed cauliflower instead of polenta.

      Pureed cooked cauliflower is a great alternative to soft polenta or corn meal.

    9. Try lettuce wraps instead of bread.

      For those who love their sandwiches, try washed lettuce – iceberg works really well – to wrap your favorite fillings. Think sang choi bau with so many possibilities. Just remember that lettuce isn’t as satisfying as bread so you’ll need to make your fillings more substantial.

    10. Serve your burgers without the bun.

      Let’s face it. The best part of the burger is the meat and the sauce. Just increase your burger size and serve it without the bun.

    11. Or try a mushroom burger instead.

      Just roast or grill two large field or portabello mushrooms until tender. Then use these exactly like you’d use a hamburger bun.

    12. Salads or soups not sandwiches.

      If sandwiches are your default ‘healthy’ lunch, just switch to a salad or soup. If you’re used to making your own lunch, it doesn’t take any more time to make a salad. Just keep the dressing in a separate container to add just before you eat.

    13. Use chocolate for sweet treats.

      For those with a sweet tooth, I know a life without pastries and cakes can seem a little dull (see point 15). But then there’s chocolate. Start exploring the wonderful world of dark chocolates, preferably with a high (60-70%) cocoa solids content.

    14. Wine not beer.

      If you enjoy a drink or two, going grain free doesn’t mean you need to get on the wagon. Wine is not only grain free, it is lower in carbs than beer. It’s also a source of antioxidants. Cheers!

    15. 100% compliance isn’t required.

      While coeliacs are unable to tolerate even the tiniest amount of gluten, most people will still see the benefits of going grain-free even without 100% compliance. I tend to have one day a week where I’m indulging in sourdough bread and cookies which staves off any cravings the rest of the week. Later is much easier to live with than never.

      ‘Carotti’ Bolognese Recipe

      serves 2+

      This is my minimalist version of a beef ragu or bolognese sauce. The secret is in the butter. Feel free to substitute your own favorite pasta sauce.

      450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
      3 cloves garlic, chopped
      2 cans tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
      large knob butter
      2 medium carrots

      1. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and cook beef and garlic, stirring every now and then for about 5 minutes or until well browned.
      2. Add tomato and simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced and good saucy.
      3. Meanwhile bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Shave the carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
      4. Cook carrots for 3 – 5 minutes or until al dente like cooked pasta.Drain.
      5. Toss butter into the beef sauce and season.
      6. Return the carrot to the saucepan and stir in some beef sauce. Then divide between plates and top with more sauce

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      Last Updated on November 20, 2020

      Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

      Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

      Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He knew from his own experiences and watching others that the ones who got up early were healthier and more successful. That’s why a morning workout can be so important.

      One 2017 study found that:[1]

      “after controlling for such factors as age, sex, smoking habits, and others…night owls, were found to have a 10 percent greater risk of dying from any cause compared to morning types.”

      This is a great reason to tap into some morning motivation and get your morning workout done.

      Circadian Rhythm for morning workout

        As you can see in the above graph, your blood pressure begins to rise between 6 and 7 in the morning[2]. That means this is a great time to get your body moving and your heart pumping, even if it’s just for 20 minutes of exercise in the morning. 

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        Here are some tips on how to find the motivation for a morning workout.

        1. Remember Your Why

        It starts with remembering why you want to get up for a morning workout. If you don’t set a goal and establish your reasons for accomplishing a health and fitness goal, then you definitely won’t get up early.

        Getting up early isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, right? Your goal for your health and fitness must be so strong, and the WHY behind it must be so powerful, that nothing will stop you from accomplishing that goal.

        2. Go to Bed Early

        If you want to get up early for a morning workout, it’s going to be important to get to bed earlier. Falling asleep at midnight and trying to get up at six just won’t work in your favor.

        This will likely be very difficult for a few days while you adjust your sleeping habits. However, as you get into an exercise routine in the morning, this will naturally make it easier to fall asleep earlier and faster at night.

        3. Make a Commitment

        I sometimes tell my Facebook community of my plans to work out, and we all keep each other motivated by posting our runs, our workouts, etc. This is a way to develop accountability. By publicly announcing your intentions, you increase your chances of actually carrying out your plans.

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        Another way to do this is to find an accountability partner who has similar goals for morning workouts. You can check in with each other to make sure you’re sticking to your plans. If that doesn’t work, hire a personal trainer for a few weeks to get you started.  

        You can learn how to find a good accountability partner here.

        4. Find a Friend

        If you can find a friend that is motivated like you are, and you can hold each other accountable daily to working out, then you will accomplish your fitness goals. Many people prefer working out with friends to working out alone. Whether it’s a chat while hitting the treadmill at the gym, or having someone to spot you while weightlifting, working out with friends is sometimes just more enjoyable.

        Texting each other the night before with a simple statement is best. Don’t ask: “Are we still working out in the morning?” With this kind of question, if they were thinking about not working out, you just gave them an opt out.

        Make a statement instead: “Can’t wait to see you in the morning!” This implies that they will be there, and they will feel more obligated to show up.

        5. Treat Yourself

        We all have to treat ourselves every now and then. After a morning workout, plan to treat yourself with a colorful, healthy breakfast or a delicious morning smoothie. This will help you look forward to something and push through to the end of your workout.

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        You can learn more on rewards and punishments here.

        6. Change your Mindset

        Many people throw away the idea of a morning workout by simply saying, “I’m not a morning person.”  Instead of using this excuse, decide to try to become a morning person by shifting your mindset.

        When you look into the benefits of waking up early and getting some exercise in before your day starts, you’ll feel more positive about your life overall.

        7. Plan Your Day

        You know you’re going to be busy. Try time blocking to plan all the things you need to do on a given day, and make sure you add in your morning workout[3]. If you have a plan laid out, you’ll be more likely to follow it and get done everything on your list done.

        Time blocking

          8. Reflect on How You’ll Feel After

          Starting a morning workout is hard, but visualizing how you’ll feel after can help you find motivation. Think about the extra energy you’ll have and how proud you’ll feel knowing that you were already so productive. No matter what you do the rest of the day, at least you squeezed in your exercise!

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          For me, I live in an area where there are a lot of runners. When I am heading home in the evening or sitting out on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants, and I see the runners go by, it makes me feel so accomplished that I got mine in that morning and I can enjoy the evening.

          9. Lay out Your Workout Clothes

          Setting out your workout clothes the night before makes it impossible for you to start to run late because you couldn’t find something to wear. Tap into the determination you have before bed in order to convince your less-than-motivated morning self that you need to get up and get your morning workout in. When you wake up and see your outfit laid out next to you, it’ll push you to get up and get moving.

          10.  Set Multiple Alarms

          Many people miss their morning workout simply because they hit the snooze button so many times. In order to make this more difficult for yourself, set a series of alarms. That way, if you keep hitting snooze, you’ll have three or four alarms going off every ten minutes, which will be annoying enough to get you out of bed.

          Also, put one alarm at least a few feet from your bed so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off.

          Final Thoughts

          About three years ago I went from being the person that says I will never be an early riser to a person that loves to get the day started as soon as possible. Without the distractions that begin to come around 8 or 9 in the morning, you’ll find that you’re more productive and more likely to squeeze in that morning workout.

          Take some of the actions above and find the best morning workout routine to start your day and feel good.

          More Tips on Morning Exercises

          Featured photo credit: Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash.com

          Reference

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