Lazy Sunday night healthy eating

I never have time during the week to make myself more then boiled eggs or something resembling that simple, so on the weekend I like to make something that takes a little more effort.  Saturday morning was an egg scramble with onion, mushroom and peppers, bacon,  sliced avocado and sauerkraut.  I’ve been trying to add in sauerkraut to my morning meal as much as possible for a good dose of probiotics without having to take probiotic supplements.


Last week I made my first ‘paleo’ dessert’,  Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake with Maple-Vanilla Frosting, from Melissa Joulwan’s website – The Clothes That Make The Girl.  It was a big hit at home as well as at the gym where I brought some sweet samples for my hardworking weightlifting family (or at least the ones that were there when I brought them in!).  These were quite worth the considerable effort it took to  make them.  I found them a little labour intensive considering the long ingredient list, trying to make sure the frosting was the right consistency and waiting forever for the cake to cool down.  I have to admit I was a little impatient making the frosting so it ended up being a little too runny and I had to cool it down in order to get it the right consistency, but again, well worth all the effort! Actually, I wish I had one now…


Sunday nights are often a crapshoot around my house as to whether or not we end up eating a healthy meal or ordering out due to laziness.  Often cooking up something wins because we’re cheap and don’t want to spend the money, and that was the case last night.  It couldn’t have been easier considering we had plenty of leftovers from the end of the week and we threw together a toss salad with balsamic dressing.


Finally, in anticipation of a cold week ahead, I roasted some butternut squash and onion to make soup.  I always find myself longing for a bowl of steaming creamy soup.  However, considering diary is a big no-no for me (even as a cheat its a no-go as I’m allergic) a nice blended butternut squash soup is perfect! I’ll share later in the week!

Here’s to a week of eating real food!

By |November 19th, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on Lazy Sunday night healthy eating

Maintaining Paleo with good food

Today I was going through my facebook account deleting old posts and looking through old pictures and came across some of my pictures from when I first started eating Paleo.  Within a year of taking the paleo bull by the horns my pictures are (to me) noticeably different, my skin was clearer, my face thinner, and my body definitely leaner.  I lost about 20 pounds with that year.  I was feeling super confident and I was on a total paleo high.

Fast forward a couple of years.  I’ve maintained about half of that original weight loss, but my weight has gone up and down.  I try not to worry about my weight when it comes to the numbers, I always know if I’ve gained or lost weight based on my clothes, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t succumb to those societal ideas once in awhile.  I will admit, I am vein, I like to know that I look good in my clothes, and most importantly, that I look good naked! But what really matters is, am I fit? Am I keeping up at the gym?

Recently I’ve been doing pretty good with my diet.  As I’ve mentioned in the last post I maintain about a 80/20 paleo diet, but I want to tighten that up and gear up to start making some more gains at the gym.

Over the last week or so I’ve made a number of really great meals.  Some of which I took pictures of and some I forgot because they were SO good I ate it all before realizing that I hadn’t gotten a shot of it!

On Friday night after the gym I was super hungry and there were no left overs to eat, so I cooked up a fall back meal – Sausage and Peppers.  I had some sauerkraut on the side with some mustard! This is one of my favourite meals because it is so fast and easy, with cutting veggies, I think that this meal was on my plate within 20 minutes.


Earlier that week I made what will become a staple in my household – balsamic marinaded chicken.  The chicken thighs were marinaded from the morning, I put it on bamboo skewers and barbecued them up when I got home from the gym.  I paired it with a green salad with yellow peppers and that Dreamy Avocado dressing from the “It Starts with Food” book.


The balsamic marinade was simple:

-equal parts Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar (I used about 1/4 cup each)

-3 or 4 cloves of chopped garlic or use a garlic press

-2 tablespoons of dijon mustard

-salt and pepper

combine all the ingredients and add the chicken, coat and let sit in the fridge for the day or overnight.  If your going to put them on skewers don’t forget to soak them or they will burn!

Finally the last thing I made that I wanted to highlight was Thai Curry burgers and a Thai salad.  A couple years ago I went to visit a good friend in Thailand and every since I have been hooked on Thai food and Thai flavours!

I got my recipes from the blog “Stuff I Make my Husband”.  When I try a new recipe, if I’m not really familiar with the ingredients (like with Thai cooking) I try to stick to the recipe as written.  The only thing I skipped in this recipe was the cilantro and the herb bed that the salad called for.  I don’t know about you, but to me, cilantro tastes like dirty feet smell.


This recipe was awesome! My BF who is normally a huge fan of my cooking was ‘really impressed’ with last-nights meal and happily ate leftovers for dinner tonight.

By |November 7th, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on Maintaining Paleo with good food

Getting back on the Paleo Bandwagon a.k.a. Paleo Faileo

Happy Halloween! The other day Ian posted a link to the “Seven Shades of Paleo” from The discussion that this article generated online between Facebook, Twitter and I’m sure many blogs was interesting. If you read that article you’ll know what I mean when I say I’m not “That Guy”! I follow a 80/20 diet. I try for 90/10 but that’s not always possible.  

After a weekend of visiting with family and eating some not-so-paleo foods, it was time to get back on that bandwagon!

Lunch was a chopped salad with chicken, bacon, a boiled egg, lettuce and yellow pepper with “dreamy avocado dressing”. I wish I had taken a shot of the salad, it was so delicious! The avocado dressing was a recipe from It Starts with Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of the “Whole 30” fame (highly recommended read by the way). I’ve been wanting to try this recipe but hadn’t had a chance until today. Let me tell you, its a great way to use failed homemade mayo!

For dinner I had some left over moose roast, brought to us by a good friend! I grilled some cauliflower on the barbecue with some olive oil, S&P, and curry powder. I also added a side of pepper with some of that Dreamy Avocado Dressing.


Some advice for getting back on track with your nutrition is to make sure you have lots of good food in the house. Typically I do all my non-paleo eating outside of the house so when I need to get back on track I don’t have those non-paleo foods staring at me. I try to make sure that I have some protein cooked at the beginning of the week so that I can at least have raw vegetables for quick, easy meals. Of course, taking a few hours on Sunday to prepare some meals for the rest of the week is super helpful too. This, as I’ve mentioned before, is a huge challenge for me!


How do you get back on the paleo bandwagon after a paleo faileo?! If you’re on twitter you can follow me @sarmcgregor and let me know!

By |October 31st, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on Getting back on the Paleo Bandwagon a.k.a. Paleo Faileo

Power Food

A couple of years ago I discovered my power food.  That thing that I eat during the day that gives me energy, the thing that makes my lifts that evening powerful, precise, quick, and right on target! I often hit my personal records or even make new ones when I eat it! 


My power food is tuna and avocado! I love it! simple yet satisfying and keeps me going all day.  I usually have some kind of salad on the side, or mix the tuna and avocado into a salad, or spread it on slices of cucumber, pepper, etc. 

I’ve even done this with it:

(Tuna and Avocado Nori Roll with cucumber, broccoli slaw, orange pepper)
It took a couple of tries to figure out how to roll this, but having worked at the Pita Pit as a poor university student helped in my understanding of constructing a tight roll! 

I know it sounds a little strange but give it a try! I swear its delicious and I’ve converted at least a couple of people to eating this instead of regular old tuna salad.


On another note, in my continuing efforts to be more prepared food-wise for the week, last night I made my go-to quick meal, sausage with whatever veggies are around (tonight was mushrooms and sauerkraut), and prepared a big pot of chili.



I didn’t use a recipe, I just kind of threw a bunch of stuff in the pot and simmered it down.  I took some inspiration from online and went for it.  This pot has the following in it:

  • 1lb of ground beef
  • 1lb of ground lamb
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup or so of chili powder
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper

Simmered down until it looked kind of thick and let it sit until it cooled down and threw in the fridge.  This will be dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.  If we’re sick of it by Wednesday night I’ll throw the rest in the freezer for another day!


I’ve gotten some really nice compliments about the blog and so I just want to thank everyone who takes the time to read this and it’s really awesome to know that a few of you get a little inspiration from what I’ve been eating! Keep coming back! I’ll try to keep it interesting!

By |October 23rd, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on Power Food

JustEat – Breakfast!

Good morning! “They” say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you eat a Paleo diet, breakfast can be the most repetitive meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be!

There are many options for your first meal of the day.  Traditional breakfast foods of eggs, bacon, etc. usual end up on my plate, but eating those leftovers from the night before doesn’t have to be relegated to the later part of the day!

My challenge in the morning is making sure that I end up with a hearty breakfast to bring me through to lunch, which means protein.  I have to say, eggs are a staple in my breakfast, I love them and try to switch it up and mix up how I make them.  Boiled eggs though, with whatever left over veggies from dinner, usually end up on the menu!

Since my work day starts at 8am in the office, I more often then not end up packing both my breakfast and lunch to bring with me.

This morning was egg salad with green onions, a cut-up tomato, and a banana with black coffee.


It has only been in the last couple of months that I took the leap to start drinking my coffee black.  Cream in my coffee has always been my last hurdle to pure paleo eating (minus an indiscretion in my weekend eating here and there). The experience of switching to black was not nearly as bad as I had thought it would be. I’ve often heard people weaning themselves off cream by switching instead to milk and then lessening the amount until it’s not there anymore. I decided to just switch to black.

My best advice: spend money on your coffee. Get GOOD coffee! It will make a world of difference! You know those descriptors they use for coffee? ‘Carmel’, ‘chocolate’, ‘fruity’, ‘nutty’, etc. You can actually taste that when you don’t have all that cream and sugar in there! Yum! I can’t imagine drinking my coffee anyway but black now.

By |October 19th, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on JustEat – Breakfast!

Pumpkins, and cabbage and more cabbage! Oh my!

Eating paleo involves A LOT of cooking, but if you single it can also mean eating a lot of the same thing over and over again! Last week my boyfriend was gone all week and I found myself eating the same thing for about five meals!  Thankfully I’m one of those people that as long as it’s good I’m quite happy to eat the same thing for multiple meals. If you’re not though freezing can be your best friend!

The meal was sausages with sautéed red cabbage, onion and cranberry from the paleo cookbook, ‘Practical Paleo’.  I also roasted some mushrooms, but those were so delicious I polished them off in my first meal!  The sautéed red cabbage was super easy, pretty quick and I even found myself eating it for breakfast on Saturday morning when I was rushing to get to the gym.  Plus it’s such a pretty purple colour!


Since it is now decidedly fall I have been craving lots of squash, cabbage and warm dishes. I love all squash and decided that I would try my hand at the Practical Paleo Pumpkin pancakes.  I had a pumpkin already roasted which made the whole thing much easier.  They were SO delicious and super easy to make! I made them before I went to work and ate them at my desk as I got ready for my day (eating breakfast at work happens a lot!)


I sometimes find myself getting overwhelmed by the amount of cooking that it takes to maintain a paleo diet. The trick to paleo is twofold, 1) keep it simple, and 2) prepare, prepare, prepare!  Being quite an unorganized person I find this incredibly difficult to do, but when I do, it is extremely satisfying. Every paleo blog and cookbook will tell you the same thing: do a big cook up on Sunday. I would recommend the same thing, however I don’t always do that myself as I’m often gone on the weekends. My trick is cooking in the morning before work!

This morning was no exception to my morning cooking ritual. I happened to have thrown some ribs in the slow cooker before I went to bed and this morning I sautéed some vegetables while I was getting ready.  When I cook in the morning it makes me feel accomplished before I even get to work, I have my lunch ready to go and don’t have to resort to scavenging for paleo friendly foods (and spending unnecessary money) at the local restaurants in the neighbourhood where I work.

By |October 12th, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on Pumpkins, and cabbage and more cabbage! Oh my!

Introducing JustLift’s Paleo Food Blog Featuring Sarah McGregor

Hi! I’m Sarah. I feel like this week is the perfect time to start this awesome food blog initiative with JustLift, just days after the Thanksgiving Weekend! How many of us are in a post-Thanksgiving food haze, unable to focus on the tasks at hand, stomachs and digestive systems in havoc, and maybe a bit of a guilty conscience? I was hoping not to have to start my first blog post with an admission of having indulged in everything that was offered at my family’s rather non-paleo friendly feast, but I am. I COULD have gotten away with eating only paleo foods. There were lots to choose from. I COULD have skipped over that stuffing that my mom and I made together, full of wonderful butter, onion, celery and whole wheat wonderbread. I COULD have skipped over the gravy that my mom and I, with the assistance of my older cousin, laboured over, fiddling with the cornstarch thickener to get it just the right consistency. And I COULD have skipped dessert: pumpkin pie and strawberry rhubarb pie made lovingly by my Great Auntie Sally, who I describe as a Master 10th Degree Black Belt baker. But I didn’t, and I refuse to feel guilty about it.

In my everyday life I eat a Paleo diet. I buy locally raised and butchered meat as much as I can (I’ve almost completely switched to local). I eat from my garden and buy from the farmers’ market in the summer. And I love to cook! The guys at JustLift and I decided that I would start blogging about how I eat and my experiences eating Paleo here in Ottawa and in my home because I have a pretty busy life, and it’s a challenge everyday to maintain good nutrition. These posts will give a glimpse into my everyday Paleo eating. I’ll try to include as much about my challenges as my successess, and I am really looking forward to sharing with you. I take lots of inspiration from Paleo eating friends, and even more from online resources and cookbooks (Paleo and non-Paleo alike).

I started my Paleo journey about three and a half years ago, but I was quite lucky in that my parents had started eating pretty similarly when I was a teenager. When I transitioned to Paleo, giving up bread was hard but I had gone through it years before, and I was lucky in the sense that I’ve been allergic to milk since I was born so I never missed it. Sometimes I have processed dairy (cheese mostly) and my milk allergy is mostly a mild reaction that just reminds me why I cannot eat it, and sometimes it rears is ugly head on me when I dare to test it.

I started eating Paleo because honestly, I was getting fat. I wasn’t fat yet, but I was getting a little chubby (“in the face” – as my Grandmother lovingly let me know one day before I started Paleo!). I was training with headcoach Pierre back in 2008/09, Crossfitting and then transitioning to weightlifting. I was getting really frustrated because despite training hard my body was not responding. This was when Pierre and I sat down and talked about Paleo, sleep, stress, cortosol levels, etc. I remember telling him that I hated lettuce, that it was rabbit food, and he basically told me to suck it up, I was an adult and my taste buds would change. After a month of eating Paleo (with “cheat days”) I felt better, I had lost a bit of weight, my performance at the gym had increased, and lo and behold, my tastebuds had changed!

So, after 3 years of working on my Paleo diet, I am so pleased to be writing for the JustLift blog about Paleo eating!

To start, I’ll share what I had for breakfast and lunch the day after the Thanksgiving weekend – the day that I get back on the Paleo bandwagon! Most of my posts will be short, just a quick look at my everyday Paleo eating, so I hope you get a little something out of it and very much look forward to any feedback and discussion these posts generate.

3 sweet potato hashbrown patties
3 over-easy eggs fried in butter
Coffee – black


5 oz of left over Turkey (I usually don’t measure my food, but this morning I wanted to make sure I had enough protein in my lunch for weightlifting tonight)
Mash of sweet potato, turnip, and carrot


Later, I’ll probably have a Lara bar and coconut water to tide me over during my workout until I get home to eat supper.

I don’t normally eat so many carb dense foods, but I also don’t tend to shy away from them. This just happens to be what was in my fridge after not being home all weekend.

By |October 11th, 2012|Blog, Nutrition|Comments Off on Introducing JustLift’s Paleo Food Blog Featuring Sarah McGregor