Monday, February 17, 2014

Paleo, What I Wish I Knew When I Started, Crushing Myths, Necessities, Quick List of Paleo Accepted Foods and Food Prepping

Disclaimer: This is my experience with the Paleo Lifestyle from January 2013 –  Present.  If you do not agree with any of my statements, that is your right and your adaptation to the Paleo Lifestyle or your Healthy Lifestyle, this is just my experience.  This is what I found works for my household.  We are healthy; we lost the last pesty pounds we could not lose all the years of exercising and eating the previous U.S. idea of “healthy.”  My husband and I lift heavier than before, and I have muscles I never saw before.  In addition,  95% of the time I do not wake up to blood sugar in the low 50’s due to hypoglycemia.

I have had over 2 dozen people in the last couple of weeks ask me personally or refer someone to me for Paleo information.  I am going to sum it up, include things I wish I knew starting out, necessities for your kitchen, necessities in order to stick with it and kill some myths.  Also, prepping is a necessity as you will feel like you are at the store and chopping food most of your life.  Think fresh, not prepackaged with added ingredients, food in the rawest form,  trash the 100 calorie packs, Here goes:


No, it is not Atkins, it is not bad for you, you do not live on too much protein and you get plenty of fiber through vegetables, seeds and nuts to offset the lack of grains.  Also, unlike Adkins, you will not hear people running around bragging about how they are living on fried bacon, sausage links and eggs and other less than quality protein sources.  ( of course eggs are a great protein source, just not fried in vegetable oil).  You will also never hear that you can’t eat carbs or fruit.

If you are not sensitive to eating too much protein or you have two functioning kidneys you are not going to eat too much protein and make yourself sick.  Portion control people, you don’t need a 10 ounce steak, 4-6 ounces is plenty.  If you do not buy organic chicken breast, do not eat the entire breast, they are way too big.  Eat ½ or ¼ depending on the size. 

Yes it is expensive, but it is manageable, some people eat more eggs, frozen fruits and veggies and some people eat more filet, sea bass and organic fruits and veggies.  Buying dried fruit, flours and nuts in bulk is not that expensive compared to buying a pound here or there at the store.  Double a recipe so you have lunch for the week or so that you have 2 nights worth of dinner.  Most meals require more time since you are making most things from scratch, so make it last, double the recipe.  Also, if you have a little one that does not like onions, peppers and garlic and you are making burgers, sloppy joes, fajitas, whatever, separate some of the meat and make a small amount for them in a separate skillet or on the grill at the same time.  It will take you 1 extra minute.

I Wish I Knew-

I wish I knew that there were so many adaptations, and you have to find what works for you and your family.  For example, some would consider store bought organic salsa or spaghetti sauce non-paleo, I find it practical as long as it has only a few ingredients, low in sodium and sugar and it does not contain anything that I can’t pronounce.  I also will add corn to my Mexican dishes or chili because my family loves it and it goes further.  I also always use peas in my chicken pot pie and some casseroles, because my son loves peas.  Now I don’t eat corn and peas all the time, but I also know that from a budget standpoint, a frozen bag of corn, carrots, peas and green beans is cheap and it makes a lot of chicken pot pie, etc.

Always be on the lookout for all tasty Paleo treat recipes.  Keep an open mind and try several recipes until you find your new favorite treats.  Always have a treat prepared for the week and ready to grab when you want something sweet.  Only grab one a day at most though.   A few examples:  chocolate coconut haystacks, chocolate chia energy bars, trail mix, chocolate mint pudding, raspberry coconut chia popsicles.  Use Pinterest

Lara Bars are inexpensive and are basically Paleo minus the chocolate chip ones that might have like .00005 mg of dairy in it.  Again, LOL, who cares unless you are intolerant?  They make it impossible for you to be out in public without a portable snack, they last a long time and there are some great ones out there, oh and they are way less expensive than the ones labled  Paleo Friendly bars.  I love the chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate chip brownie and the pecan pie flavors.  Kroger often has them 10 for $10.

I wish I knew how horrible you might feel by week 2 and how great you feel by week 3.  The crash and then the amazing feeling of being wheat and refined sugar free is a tough ride for some people, but the result will have you feeling amazing.   You are left pretty much free of cravings.  I promise junk food still looks delicious, but you don’t feel like you “have to have it”.

I wish I knew how 1 cheat will leave you bloated with a stomach ache for days and days, and I wish I would remember that the next time I cheated.  If you have a non-Paleo treat, opt for one that is still gluten free.  We love Dippers, low sodium veggie chips.  They contain soy, but they are gluten free and very low in sodium, so if you are not sensitive to soy, it makes for a great occasional treat when you want a chip.

I wish I knew all the best places to buy the ingredients prior to paying way too much, and I wish I knew to buy in bulk.

In the summer, freeze everything from chicken bones to fruit cores, when you eat this much meat, fresh fruit and veggies, it is not something you want in your trash until trash day.

Don’t force your family, encourage them.  Don’t preach your lifestyle or judge what others are eating.  Don’t jabber on and on about it unless you are asked by someone that is truly interested. 

You must experiment and learn to make Paleo muffins, breads, casseroles, pizza, new ways to prepare veggies, new marinades,  step out of your comfort zone and use new spices.  You will never make it on grilled chicken and a dry salad meal after meal.  Learn to make your own BBQ sauce and perfect all your family favorite meals. 

Do not even waste your time or money on store bought Paleo sandwich bread.  Make your own or use bell peppers as the bread. 


Great Knives, not your everyday set, but really great chef knives, spaghetti squash will not cut with cheap knives

Cutting board with slip resistant bottom, again spaghetti squash incident or those really giant sweet potatoes

Lots of great Tupperware to store all your prepped veggies and fruits

Buy Almond and Coconut flour in bulk, people will be so jealous when they find out you eat pizza every Friday and Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins for breakfast and are still down 15 pounds and strutting some killer biceps

A Variety of unsalted nuts and unsweetened dried fruit, Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, Raw Honey, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened coconut milk, nut butters, quality unsweetened cocoa, unsalted organic butter, eggs, bacon to add to your favorite chicken dishes for variety, chia seeds , grape seed oil, coconut oil, tons of new seasonings, fresh garlic, sweet potatoes for those clean carbs, Daiya Cheese for your splurge days like pizza, lots of fresh fruit and veggies prepped, homemade guacamole  that goes on everything when you give up ranch and mayo,  hot sauce,  organic reduced sodium broths, parchment paper, silicon muffin and bread pans, a good quality low sodium veggie chip (most have soy, so keep for a treat if you have a non paleo meal)

Follow tons of FB Paleo pages and Pinterest Pins for Paleo recipes and information


Quick List of Accepted Food, Prepping, Meal Planning and Grocery List-

Commonly accepted foods:
First and foremost the foods are gluten free.  Adaptations on accepting some food or ingredients that contain soy, dairy, casein or eating legumes are usually when exceptions are made on occasion.  For example, Tamari is a gluten free Soy Sauce but it still contains soy yet a lot of people following a Paleo lifestyle use it on occasion.  Another example is the common use of organic unsalted butter. 
Meats and Eggs- Red meat, lean pork, chicken with or without skin, fish, veal, bacon and turkey bacon (debatable due to nitrates try to buy without nitrates, I have heard Trader Joes carries a good one), eggs (aim for cage free)
Fruits and Vegetables- most fruits and vegetables except peas
Snacks- unsalted nuts and seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, homemade power bars or trail mixes made with nuts, seeds and unsweetened fruit
Starch- sweet potatoes
Milk- unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
Baking and Cooking- coconut or almond flours, milled flax seed, nut butters except peanut butter, raw honey, coconut or grape seed oil, coconut palm sugar, coconut aminos, arrowroot powder

Debatable Foods: Bacon, Turkey Bacon, Tamari ( GF soy sauce), hot sauce, organic store bought sauces or ketchup

Foods Generally Avoided: gluten, soy, dairy, casein, legumes
White flour, wheat flour, bread unless made with almond or coconut flour, oats, grains, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, store bought mayo and dressings, peas, peanuts, lentils

Plan your meals for the week, then make your grocery list.  To ensure you do not miss ingredients, pull up the recipes, write down any ingredients you do not have already including all fresh produce needed.  After you have all the ingredients listed, proceed to make your grocery list.

Pick a day each week that works for you after you have meal planned and shopped.  Chop all of your veggies for each meal and put in separate containers or zip lock bags.  Items that can be cooked together at the same time in a recipe package together for example: onions, garlic, mushrooms and bell pepper for fajitas.  If the recipe has green onions only for garnish, package separately.  Cut enough fruit that you can eat before it goes bad.  Peel oranges to last a few days.  Chop a few bananas and wrap each separately in plastic wrap and freeze for milkshake like smoothies.  Pre-cook meat for the next two meals if it will not make it tough cooking it ahead of time.   Cook chicken in the crockpot with organic broth and it will shred with little effort for a variety of meals.  Also, season it and it makes for several pre-made lunches and you will not be stuck, starving and turn to lunch meat.  Chop raw meat if needed for a recipe if you are going to cook within the next day or two.  Make breakfast sweet muffins, spinach, sausage egg muffins, egg casseroles, etc. for the next couple of days for an easy breakfast that won’t have you reaching for boxed cereal in a pinch.  Make your own protein bars for a breakfast or snack you can eat in the car.

I love it, I love the creativity it has brought out in me, I love that I found that I have some pretty stellar cooking skills, and I love that I know what I am feeding the family.



Friday, February 14, 2014

Paleo Roasted Garlic and Crushed Red Pepper Broccoli

1 medium to large bag of frozen broccoli thawed or 1-2 fresh florets
1-2 Tbsp grape seed oil or melted coconut oil (make sure all the broccoli is coated, the amount will depend on your amount of broccoli
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp minced onion fresh or dried
Black pepper as much or little as you want
A few shakes of crushed red pepper, amount will depend on how spicy you want it or try it the first time with 1/4 tsp and if it is not spicy enough use 1/2 tsp the next time you cook it
Parchment Paper

Pre heat oven to 400
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Pour broccoli onto sheet
Cover the broccoli with all the ingredients starting with the oil, try to cover all of it as you pour each ingredient
Stir well, spread it out
Roast for 15-20 minutes for thawed or 20-25 for fresh or until the tips just start turning brown
Check the broccoli at 15 minutes for both thawed or fresh

Paleo Beef Stroganoff

1 large chuck roast or flank steak cut into bite size pieces, (keep the flank steak pieces a little larger so it does not dry out)
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 package mushrooms, (small or large package, it does not matter)
1 yellow onion diced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup organic reduced sodium beef broth
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (you can use full fat for a thicker sauce, but I just add arrowroot powder)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder, you can adjust this and add more to taste
1/4 tsp pepper or more to taste
Optional- Not Paleo, but it taste good in this recipe, just a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, It will still taste good if you skip this
Arrowroot powder added 1 spoonful at a time, you will most likely use 2, you can add more as it cooks until you get the consistency you desire
2-3 green onions diced

In a large skillet melt 2 Tbsp(s) of coconut oil or Organic unsalted butter
Adjust heat to medium and sauté the mushrooms, garlic and onion for about 5 minutes, stir occasionally to distribute the oil or butter
Add white wine and simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until liquid reduces
Add the broth and milk and simmer until the mixture reheats and stir
Add spices
Add the meat, stir well and push the meat down to make sure it is mostly emerged in the liquid, this will help it from drying out
Reduce heat to medium low, about a 3 out of 10 setting, cover, and stir occasionally to turn the meat and press the meat back down each time.  If it starts boiling, remove the lid for a minute or so, stir and place lid back on.  You will simmer the beef for about 15 minutes.  When the meat starts to brown, check the liquid consistency and begin adding arrowroot powder.  It clumbs easily, so be sure to stir it in well and scrape the bottom each time you return to stir.  Time will vary depending on if you use chuck roast or flank.  Do not over cook, leave the middle of the meat slightly pink, but no blood. 
Garnish with green onions
Optional- Hot sauce when serving, it goes with everything even stroganoff, but leave it out if you want more of the traditional stroganoff flavor

Tip- when cooking with arrowroot powder, I find it clumps less if I dust the meat with it instead of pouring it right into liquid, then I stir the meat well to distribute it

Serve as is, or over your gluten free choice for the sometime Paleo family like rice or a baked potato.
I like it with spaghetti squash for dinner and the leftovers by themselves for lunches.