Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quick and Protein

That seems to be my theme around here lately. 

Now that I’m on a steady schedule of Crossfit, there are a number of nights during the week where I will come home, change, head to 7pm Crossfit, and then home around 8.  Luckily it’s only a 5min drive for me. 

So now it’s 8:10pm, lets say, and I need dinner and faster the better.  I’m also trying to up my protein intake, and when I can, lower some of my carbs.  If your familiar with Crossfit at all you probably know they promote a Paleo style of eating.

Basically, Paleo = eating the way our early ancestors (cavemen) ate.  Meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds…etc.  You can read the wiki page here!  Paleo also means no grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars, and processed oils.


I was pretty uninterested in this when I first started Crossfit, and I’m still not interested in following this style of eating to a T…I mean, I am just NOT going to give up certain foods I love.  I’m not talking about the processed foods here…I have no problem getting those out of my diet and already try to do that as much as possible.  But the legumes, beans, grains, and dairy???  Not so much.  Nothing makes me happier than a good cheese plate and a flaky croissant ;)

I just can’t believe that things like beans, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt are causing that much harm to my body.  I’ve read the arguments against them, I see both sides, and I know that a huge portion of the population has some sensitivity to dairy and gluten….however I really haven’t found myself to be one of them.  Or if I am, it’s not bad enough for me to notice. 

I could keep going on about this but basically what I am doing, for now anyways, is just cutting back on some of my carb intake, slightly on the dairy, and upping my protein. 

I’m paying a lot of money for my Crossfit membership.  Which in some ways is good…it makes it a LOT harder to just “skip” a workout, and I am a lot more motivated to clean up my eating so that I can experience my best possible results. 

I also stumbled across this article about the Thyroid-Gluten connection when I was searching about Paleo.  Interesting, as thyroid issues are present in my family.

Again, not planning to go gluten free at all, but I just thought it was interesting and something I’ll keep in the back of my head. 

So now that I’ve explained my current “status” if you will, I can get to the eats!


A classic Quinoa Salad.  This is not “Paleo” at all, but it is gluten free and high in protein for a “grain” salad (even though quinoa isn’t actually a grain).  

I cooked up 1 cup dry, rinsed quinoa in some chicken broth the same night I made the shrimp stir fry. 

The next night I added:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 3 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • chopped fresh dill (big handful)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2T olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Great, served with some sliced tomato.  I didn’t add tomato to the salad because I don’t like the texture of tomatoes after they are refrigerated.


Dollop of TJ’s tahini on top :)


This was packed for lunch a couple times this week. 

Turkey Burgers 
(p.s. ground turkey was on sale at Whole Foods this past Sunday…the one on River Street in Cambridge anyways)

These were also made around 8:30pm one night.  In fast by that point I think I had a protein shake plus some quinoa salad but wanted to cook these up for lunch.


For something literally thrown together, these were AWESOME!

  • 1lb ground turkey breast
  • dried Italian seasonings: basil, parsley, oregano, garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I had the ones in the bag, not in oil).
  • grated Pecorino Romano cheese, about 1/4 cup

We made 3 patties, and cooked on the stove with about 1T olive oil.  Sear each side over med/high heat, then turn heat down to med/low.  Cook until they are cooked through.  I find covering helps cook while keeping them from drying out.  

I had one the next day with some quinoa salad.   Those sun dried tomatoes added SO much flavor. 

Side note:  people balk that buying meat can be expensive, but this ground turkey cost a LOT less than turkey deli meat!  So there’s a thought, cook up some little burgers…a lot less processed and cheaper than deli meat per pound.  Granted, 1lb of deli turkey usually makes more than 3 or 4 sandwiches, but maybe that means we don’t eat enough meat on sandwiches?  Who knows.  Just wanted to share that thought. 

Chicken Sausage + Kale with a Sweet Potato


In 1T of olive oil, I sautéed:

  • 2 Italian chicken sausages, chopped/crumbled
  • 1 shallot, diced

After cooking for about 5 minutes, I added a few big handfuls of chopped kale (about 1/2 of a bunch of kale).  Stirred it around, added a splash of low-sodium chicken broth and covered.  Cook until chicken sausage is done and kale has wilted.  I stirred in some Dijon mustard at the end, about 1 tsp.

Sweet tater was cooked in the microwave.


Topped with grape tomatoes and some grated Romano cheese.  (Man it was “so paleo” until the cheese ;)

The sausage/kale mixture would of been even better on top of, say, spaghetti squash or in a tomato sauce base.  Must do that sometime. 

So there you have it.  I have no intention of giving up bread, cheese, milk, coffee…pastries!  But if I can cut back in some of my meals here and there, then why not?!  Either way, it’s still healthy food and I’m not feeling deprived…and if I do feel deprived, I’ll fix that ;) 


  1. Ooh those turkey burgers look great! And I have been on a quinoa kick.

  2. Emily @ A Cambridge StoryJanuary 12, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    I totally hear ya! I've had friends that swear by the paleo diet (for weeks/months at a time) but it's way too extreme for me. The meals that you laid out look like excellent compromises that won't leave you hungry or craving anything!

  3. I LOVE quinoa and could legit eat it every day. Feta makes it even betta :) I've also been eating tons of kale lately. I'm not into any kind of diet and prefer to just eat healthy on my own terms, but it is good to be aware and I'm always intrigued by other diets!

  4. this is really interesting, thanks for all the great info and meal ideas. your meals are looking as healthy and beautiful as ever!

  5. FunandFearlessinBeantownJanuary 13, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I'm definitely lowering my carb-intake as well just for all-around health reasons so I'm looking forward to your blog posts!

  6. Great recipes... I'm always looking for new protein rich recipes.  I LOVE quinoa too!