Mother Dirt Product Review

IMG_0074

IMG_0072

 

As a huge advocate of restoring the microbiome, I was thrilled to try Mother Dirt skin products! Mother Dirt products restore and maintain good bacteria on the skin. In our culture, we are very big on sanitizing and cleanliness. However, there are beneficial bacteria in dirt that help to maintain the health of our skin! I try not to shower too frequently or use soaps that can strip away all bacteria, and leave us open to skin issues. I was thrilled to find a product that can make me feel clean, yet restore the delicate balance of flora on the skin. The packaging these products came in was very beautiful! I almost didn’t want to open them up. 🙂

 

The products we tried were the shampoo, the cleanser, and the AO Mist.

IMG_0076

 

The shampoo comes out in a foam with a pump. I have 2 little boys and I used it to wash their hair a couple times a week. They HATE having any type of soap in their hair. This product was lightweight, and had a nice clean and mild scent. The best part was that it didn’t drip all over and into their eyes. It was easy to control, and foamed up nicely. It left their hair very soft and “clean” feeling. I’m happy because of the good bacteria we are putting back onto their skin. My older son struggles with scalp issues and skin build-up on his scalp. We try to avoid most products on him. We used this in his hair several times, and it did not cause any issues for him. We are very happy with the shampoo and plan to continue to use it!

The cleanser is also foaming and mild. I liked to use it for shaving! I rarely like to use soaps of any kind. This did not feel like a soap. It was very gentle, and worked great to shave with. I was happy to not be stripping my skin of beneficial bacteria while shaving my legs. It’s always been a struggle to find something that I felt comfortable with using!

Finally the AO mist is an all-over body mist to restore microbiome on the skin. We all struggle with dry skin here in Upstate NY winters. I sprayed it on myself and the boys after our bath. It feels like a mist of water, but leaves the skin feeling very soft! As I am working to balance my hormones, I sometimes struggle with neck acne before my cycle. I am working with a Functional Medicine provider to balance my hormones. I started misting this on my face and neck and noticed a huge difference this cycle! I also CrossFit and take hot yoga. I don’t always have time to shower right after, do to hungry kids or a dog that needs walking. This mist actually kills off the bad bacteria in sweat, and replenishes good bacteria. This is great for people who struggle with sweat-induced acne!

As an advocate of primal living, and caring about our beneficial bacteria (we all should be), this is a must have product line. For me, it takes away the anxiety of what to use for both myself and my children. I’m thrilled that this product has been developed, and plan to continue to use it for my family! I give this product line 5 stars and 2 thumbs up!

IMG_0070

Five Ways to Recover Faster after CrossFit

heavinglifting

 

 

heavinglifting

 

Heavy lifting such as CrossFit can be very taxing on the entire body. Most people do not realize that physical stress, (not just mental stress) can also trigger adrenal fatigue. Not only do the muscles need to recover, but the entire body needs to heal from the stress induced by heavy lifting. Some of the most amazing athletes know that they need to rest and recover in order to maintain their strength, stamina, and ability to perform at their best. What are some things you can do now to speed the recovery process and heal faster?

 

1. Magnesium.

Magnesium plays an important role in the production of energy. Being deficient in magnesium can have a negative effect on sports performance. Magnesium is a calming mineral, and can turn the body from being in a stress-state or sympathetic state into a parasympathetic or relaxed state. According to this study, magnesium supplementation reduced the stress response in the body for the athletes. There are different many different forms of magnesium, but to help with muscle recovery and overall relaxation after a tough workout, transdermal magnesium massages and magnesium bath soaks are both great solutions! Soak for 20 minutes after a workout for best results.

 

2. Include gelatin in your diet.

All that heavy lifting can be taxing on your joints and cartilage! Although gelatin protein doesn’t necessarily support initial muscle healing (you need to include nutrient dense sources of protein, such as pasture raised meats and wild seafood which contain all essential amino acids), gelatin is great for the joints, and helps with stiffness and pain associated with heavy lifting. Gelatin contains high amounts of glycine and proline, which are both anti-inflammatory and great for joints. According to this research, gelatin was beneficial for symptom relief of osteoarthritis, and can stimulate change and enhancement of cartilage tissue. Try adding it to your morning coffee or tea, or even as part of your recovery drink.

 

3. Prioritize sleep!

In our ‘rush rush’ culture, sleep is often not a priority. Sleep is perhaps one of the most important means to recovery. When we are asleep, the body can heal and renew. Most of us are not getting enough sleep. For athletes, not getting enough sleep makes for slower healing time, increased stress, and decreased recovery. According to this research,  adapting appropriate sleep hygiene and healthy sleeping habits are important for optimal athletic performance. Sleep needs to become our number one health priority, rather than our last. A few things that can help ease into a good night’s sleep are to stay off of all screens 2 hours before bedtime, and to have a routine that includes reading, gentle stretching, a warm bath, or something you find relaxing. It’s important to keep the same routine and bedtime every night.

 

4. Take yoga.

There is no better way to stretch out those fatigued muscles and improve recovery than by taking a yoga class. Yoga enhances strength, stamina, and flexibility. According to bodybuilding.com:  

‘Yoga is the best medicine for preventing injuries and aiding muscle recovery and repair. When the muscles and surrounding tissues are lengthened and relaxed during yoga asana (Sanskrit word for postures) it creates more room for blood to flow.’

Yoga also forces you to take time to just ‘be’ without thinking. This can help significantly with emotional stress, which is also taxing on the body. Even one yoga class a week can really help athletes with recovery and performance!

 

5. Eat a sweet potato instead of an apple!

Glycogen depletion can cause fatigue for athletes. Low glycogen can be a limiting factor in both performance and recovery. It’s important to get glycogen directly to the muscle during recovery. Adequate carbohydrate during the recovery period is important in this metabolic process. However, the type of carbohydrate consumed actually makes a big difference! Fruit sources of carbs contain fructose, and fructose does not help with restoring glycogen nearly as much as glucose does. These researchers studied muscle recovery with glucose vs fructose. They found that glucose restores muscle glycogen 40% faster than fructose! They believe fructose is absorbed slower in the intestines, blood glucose is significantly higher with glucose vs fructose and therefore higher plasma insulin results in increased glucose uptake. Finally, fructose gives rise to more liver glycogen than glucose. This lowers muscle glycogen directly available for muscle glycogen synthesis. -Read more.

Fructose is found in fruit like apples, pears, peaches, oranges, etc. The better thing to reach for when recovering are starchy vegetables like tubers, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, beets, carrots and squash. These are all great ‘read food’ way to get glycogen to the muscle. Some athletes find that white rice right after a workout works great for them as well.

*Remember not to overtrain, and to listen to your body. It’s counterproductive if you are not getting adequate sleep and nutrition, yet still training.

 

The Real Heart Healthy Diet

heart image

heart image

 

This topic is particularly important to me, as I think there is so much misinformation out there regarding heart health, and an optimal diet for heart health. Heart disease is one of the most wrongly treated diseases. Outdated recommendations are still being made by “authority” organizations and medical Doctors are still advising for eating nutrient void foods, avoiding healthy fats, as well as increasing grain consumption (which actually increases inflammation and decreases mineral absorption). In the past, I worked as an exercise physiologist in a cardiac rehabilitation clinic. I talked to patients all about the importance of avoiding saturated fats and cooking with polyunsaturated fats (PUFA oils) like canola oil, as well as eating a low-fat or fat-free diet. I use to make a canola oil pie crust and bring the patients homemade apple pie with this crust. This was the nutrition paradigm I was taught in school. Sadly, even though proven to be wrong in study after study, this information is still out there, and is still being presented as a “heart healthy” diet.

So what is the real way to help your heart function optimally through diet? Heart disease is known to be caused by inflammation. To protect your heart, you want to try to keep your body in an uninflamed state.

Let’s Learn a Little About Inflammation…

The body needs to be able to be both inflamed and uniflamed and this is done through the formation of prostoglandins. Prostoglandins are hormone-like substances that are made from essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Prostoglandin formation from omega 3 fatty acids, saturated fats, and omega 6 fatty acids help to keep the inflammation in the body balanced.

The difference between good and bad fats is not what you have been taught it to be.

Saturated fats are not “bad fats” and they are not the cause of heart disease. I think I may need to repeat this…Saturated.fats.are.not.bad.fats.

shutterstock_272134073

 

This study done in 2009 pooled together data from 21 unique studies that included almost 350,000 people, about 11,000 of whom developed cardiovascular disease (CVD), tracked for an average of 14 years, and concluded that there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease or stroke.

According to Dr James J DiNicolantonio (2014),  “Not only has the condemnation of saturated fats led to an increased consumption of carbohydrates, it has also led to several dietary guidelines recommending replacement of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, without specifying which polyunsaturated fatty acid (ie, Ω-3 vs Ω-6). The recommendation for increasing polyunsaturated fat stems from pooled analyses of data looking at increasing Ω-3 and Ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials showed that replacing a combination of trans-fats and saturated fats with Ω-6 polyunsaturated fats (without simultaneously increasing Ω-3 fatty acids) leads to an increased risk of death.These results were corroborated when data were recovered from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and included in an updated meta-analysis.” Read the full piece here.

PROCESSED fats however, are bad fats.

Plastic bottle of cooking oilProcessed fats such as canola oil, shortenings, and vegetable oils are not in their inherent or natural form. They are heat and chemically treated thus destroying any “omega 3” properties that might have been in the original plant. They are unstable, and pro-inflammatory. They disrupt the prostoglandin balance in the body, and create…get ready for it… INFLAMMATION!

What is the root cause of heart disease again?

INFLAMMATION

So Why again is canola oil or vegetable oil bad for my heart?

Canola oil is a highly processed rancid oil. It is a chemically extracted oil, through the use of harsh solvents. Canola oil is genetically modified, and pesticide laden. Consuming these oils will actually contribute to inflammation, not reduce it.

According to Mark Sisson,

Once harvested and graded, seeds are heated to facilitate oil extraction. Most canola oil is chemically extracted using the harsh petroleum-derived solvent hexane. Even when expeller pressing is used, a process common to organic brands, the massive force of industrial presses still produces heat. True “cold-pressed” canola oil (extracted with millstones) does exist but can be hard to find and is more expensive.

Following extraction, canola oil must be de-gummed to remove unappealing solids that settle during storage. The process involves heat and sometimes the addition of acids. Next stop, the oil is then bleached and separated. Finally, the oil (known for its stench) must be deodorized through heating methods that use temperatures as high as 500 FahrenheitRead more here

 

What fats should I eat to keep my fatty acids balanced?

  • You want a nice mix of Omega 3’s, Omega 6’s, and saturated fats
  • Omega 6’s to omega 3’s should be 1:1.

Food Sources of Omega 3:

  • wild caught fish
  • grass-fed or pasture raised meats and eggs including beef
  • small amounts of nuts and seeds (most nuts are very high in omega 6 as well, so you do not want a staple diet of nuts, but rather in small amounts).

What about Omega 6?

Our typical diet is very high in Omega 6 fatty acids. We want to try to reduce the amount of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diet. Avoid all processed oils and try to keep nuts to small amounts.

 

Saturated Fat Sources to INCLUDE in a healthy diet:

butter1-300x180

  • Coconut oil
  • Grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Palm oil
  • Animal Fats from pasture raised animals such as: tallow and lard

What’s the deal with cholesterol?

shutterstock_273998846

  • All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
  • Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
  • Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
  • Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
  • The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
  • Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
  • Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
  • Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a  “patch” or “bandage” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.

 

What are the real underlying causes of Heart Disease?

  • inflammation
  • adrenal issues from stress
  • sugar imbalance from high carbohydrate and low fat diet
  • poor mineral intake or absorption
  • fatty acid imbalance
  • leaky gut
  • thyroid issues
  • depression/anxiety
  • obesity
  • lack of movement

 

What should my “heart healthy diet” look like?

shutterstock_273257372

It shouldn’t look like a “diet”, but rather nourishing your body with nutrient-dense real foods most of the time!

  • Try to get a good mix of healthy saturated animal fats, as well as monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, and avocado oil). Use saturated fats for high heat cooking, and pressed olive oil for light sauteeing or cold use.
  • Eat wild caught fish, like salmon and sardines, as well as oysters (oysters are an excellent source of minerals).
  • Eat pasture raised animals (animals out eating their natural diet) such as beef and pasture raised chicken, including pasture raised eggs. Animals out eating their natural diet of grass are much higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, and contain CLA, a potent cancer fighter.
  • Avoid processed foods…foods that come in a box or package and are made with canola oil, shortening, or other highly processed oils.
  • Don’t fear eggs. Don’t fear animal fats from pasture raised animals. These myths have been proven wrong.
  • Manage your stress levels through yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
  • Try to get adequate sleep.
  • Work to heal your gut through avoiding processed foods, and consuming fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots, kefir, or kombucha tea.
  • Use your body! Get up and Move.
  • Get outdoors, and connect with nature.

shutterstock_274070360

 

About Kathryn:

headshot1

 

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions.

Kathryn offers worldwide skype consultations! 

My Services

Contact Me: primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

 

Cauliflower, Golden Beet, and Leek Soup

IMG_5920

IMG_5920

 

This soup is perfect for cold Upstate NY winters, with -10 degrees the last couple of days. Creamy soup warms the bones and this creamy soup is dairy free! I found these beautiful golden beets and thought they would add a unique flavor. The taste was amazing, and beets are great for detoxing the liver and thinning the bile, so fats are better digested. Better digested fats=more nutrients=healthy hormones=happy person! Win win! This soup is also autoimmune friendly for those cutting out dairy, nightshades, nuts, and seeds.

 

Look at these beauties!

 

IMG_5911

 

 

This soup is soup-er easy to make :p

 

Ingredients:

(1) TBS solid cooking fat (ghee, coconut oil, or bacon fat)

(2)  leeks rinsed well and chopped

(3-4) cloves of garlic minced

(4) cups of chicken bone broth (chicken feet broth adds the most amazing flavor)

(1) can of full fat coconut milk. I prefer Native Forest brand as it has the thickest layer of fat on time which makes for a very creamy soup)

(1) golden beet peeled and chopped

(1) head cauliflower chopped

Pink salt and white pepper to taste (don’t use white pepper if following an Autoimmune Protocol)

 

Directions:

1. Heat cooking fat over medium high and saute the garlic and leeks until soft and fragrant.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30-45 min or until beets are tender.

3. Puree (I used my Ninja blender).

4. If you so desire, add chopped bacon to your bowl.

 

Enjoy!

IMG_5915

 

 

 

 

Grain-Free Paleo Banana Cinnamon Muffins

IMG_5559

IMG_5562

 

 

It’s a cold snowy morning here in Upstate NY. The kiddos and I were sitting by the fire in our feet pajamas, and I was craving something comforting and warm from the oven. I had some ripe bananas and decided to create a banana muffin. These make a great breakfast or snack. The kids loved them! These contain no grains or refined sweeteners!

 

Recipe:

Oven to 350 degrees

Wet Ingredients (combine in a mixing bowl):

(2) large or (3) small very ripe bananas mashed

(3) eggs

(1) tsp vanilla

(3) TBS maple syrup or raw honey melted (add a little more if bananas are not very ripe)

1/4 cup of melted ghee or coconut oil

 

Dry Ingredients (whisk together):

1/2 cup of coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

 

1. Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

 

Optional Fold-ins: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips (gluten, dairy, and soy free)

 

2. Scoop mixture into greased muffin pan (greased with ghee or coconut oil). Alternatively you can line the pan with paper muffin liners.

 

3. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees

 

Cool and enjoy!

 

IMG_5556

IMG_5552

 

 

5 Foods To Avoid Introducing to Children

shutterstock_164166470

 

shutterstock_164166470

There are many foods out there that are marketed to parents and children. Companies produce fancy packaging, loud commercials with happy kids, and buzz words for parents like:

“part of this nutritious breakfast”

“part of a balanced meal”

“18 vitamins and minerals included”

“healthy whole grains”

We are HUGE consumers here in the U.S. and we fall for much of this marketing. Foods are even packaged to appear healthier, by using colors that consumers view as a healthy color…like earthy greens and browns.

green natural and bio sign

It’s all marketing.

Here is a piece I wrote all about the marketing of food in our culture.

Many of these processed convenience foods have added vitamins and minerals. However, these vitamins are synthetic forms and therefore are not assimilated and utilized well in the body. Real vitamins and minerals come in real food (meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats) and do not need to be synthesized or added to food.

Synthetic Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

List taken from: The Global Healing Center

 

Most processed foods in general will keep your child’s blood sugar spiking and plummeting. Your child craves more sweets and sugary foods, and never feels satiated. In the primal community this is known as being “sugar adapted”. Yes, children do need carbohydrates for energy. I’m not suggesting a low-carbohydrate diet for children. There is a huge misconception that people who follow the primal lifestyle eat low-carb. That just isn’t the case. Most children consume massive amounts of processed carbohydrates on a daily basis, and this is considered the cultural norm. Therefore anything less than that is automatically viewed as low carb. It starts with parents being told by medical authorities that they should start their baby on nutrient void rice cereal to fill them up. Next it leads to drinkable sugar laden yogurts marketed to babies, then cute little plastic toddler cups filled with finger sized crackers and cookies, then it leads to big bowls of sugary cereals. Removing these processed foods from a child’s diet and offering real food to children does not make you a bad, rigid, or depriving parent. You may feel like a fish out of water at times, but you are making the right decision for the health of your children, both now and in the future. Children can get adequate nutrients from a real food diet of meats, vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of refined sugar-free treats made with natural sweeteners. Yes it might not be as convenient as we are use to in a rush rush culture, however, the future health of our children depends upon us making changes in the right direction.

 Pictured:  Burgers On A Stick with dipping sauce!

image

 

What are MY top 5 suggestions of foods to avoid giving to children?


1. Cereal

Any and all cereal. Rice cereal for babies, cold cereals, quick oats, etc… Here is a blog post I wrote about cereal. In a nutshell: Cereal is made with grains (usually with added sugar and food dyes), and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient rich sources that will not leave your child’s blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal makes the child’s pancreas work extra hard in order to process it all. It also fills them up with little nutrients or healthy fats. I also wrote a Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers which explains why rice cereal is not a good first choice of foods for infants.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*anti-nutrients that can affect digestion

*high sugar

*low in quality fat and protein

 

 2. Kid marketed crackers and cookies like those little golden fish crackers, and little bear cracker cookies, etc.

Just like the cereal above, these small toddler marketed crackers and cookies might look exciting and fun, as well as easy and quick. Kids may love the taste of them. However… for all the same reasons mentioned above regarding cereal, these crackers are full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins, food dyes, high amounts of sugar, and are very low in quality nutrient-dense fats and proteins that children need to feel satiated, happy, and stable. Again, this gets children sugar adapted and reaching for processed carbs vs real food. Did I say avoid all carbohydrates for children? Absolutely not. Here is a post I wrote all about healthy snack ideas for children.

*low nutrients

*synthetic vitamins added

*low in quality fat and protein

*high sugar

 

3. Most commercial yogurts:

chobani-yogurt_0

Commercial yogurts contain as much sugar as a bowl of ice cream or other sugary desserts. One 8-ounce serving of low-fat or fat free sweetened yogurt can contain as much as 47 grams of sugars. This amount of sugar is equivalent to almost 12 teaspoons of sugar. People think because it’s yogurt, it must be healthy. Most yogurts should really be treated as a dessert rather than a nourishing snack or meal. It is difficult to find yogurt that does not have some or all of the fat removed from it. Fats are nutrient dense sources of energy for growing brains. However, yogurt manufacturers are still removing fat from yogurt, and adding sugar and food dye. If you are going to give your child yogurt, the best option is raw (unpasteurized), unsweetened, full fat yogurt. Plain yogurt does not contain any added sugar, but still contains naturally occurring milk sugars called lactose. An 8-ounce serving of plain yogurt still contains approximately 12 grams of sugar. This amount of sugar is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Homemade plain yogurt that has fermented for 24 hours, does not contain sugar. The lactose is digested by beneficial bacteria, bringing the amount of sugar down to nothing. Raw yogurt has beneficial enzymes and probiotics to help with digestion, and can help colonize the gut with good bacteria. It can be sweetened with a little fruit or drizzle of raw honey.

*very high sugar

*food dye

*low in quality fat unless full fat

 

4. Kid Marketed “Energy” bars:

 

These “power” or “energy” bars marketed at kids contain a long list of ingredients that can be harmful on the gut, and contain a high amount of refined sugar. many contain as much sugar as candy bars, even organic ones. Please note… not everything that is labeled “organic” is necessarily good for your body. An organic pop tart is still a pop tart. It still contains high carb, low healthy fat, low protein. We want our kids to power up with nutrient rich healthy fats and proteins!

Here is an example of ingredients from a popular brand of energy bars targeted at kids:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Oat Blend (Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Oat Fiber), Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Chocolate Chips (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Fruit Paste Blend (Organic Date Paste, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Raisin Paste), Organic Cocoa, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Natural Flavors, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Baking Soda. VITAMINS & MINERALS: Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12). ALLERGEN STATEMENT: CONTAINS SOY AND TRACES OF DAIRY. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, WHEAT, AND TREE NUTS.

As you can see the bar contains mainly grains and sugar (both cane syrup and fruit sugar), soy, processed oils and synthetic vitamins and minerals.

If your child is participating in sports and needs extra boosts of carbohydrates, try making homemade energy bites or balls. You simply process nuts with dates, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Here is my recipe for Blood Orange Coconut Balls.

 5. “Whole Grain” breads:

 

The breads today are not the breads of our ancestors. Our earliest ancestors did not eat bread. Approximately 10-12 thousand years ago (note that we’ve been around for over 200,000 years in our human form) grains were introduced into our diet. Many traditional cultures did not have bread as such a huge portion of every meal. They did not eat sandwiches daily. They also knew how to properly prepare breads (soak, sprout, and ferment) so that the body can digest and assimilate nutrients from it. The issue related to bread consumption is not only just the buzz word “gluten” that we hear. Yes, gluten is a huge offender to many people. Probably more than we can begin to realize. However, there are many other components to bread that can also have an affect on our health. Breads that are not properly prepared contain phytates and lectins, also known as anti-nutrients that can bind to minerals and render them unavailable to our bodies. These anti-nutrients also contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to allergies and autoimmune conditions. There are proteins found in bread other than gluten that may also have a profound affect on many people. Just like cereal, cookies, and crackers, eating bread as a staple keeps children sugar adapted, and not feeling satiated.

So what can I give my child in place of bread?

Some suggestions: Applegate Farms (GF, dairy free, soy free, and humanely raised) deli meat roll-ups, bun-less Applegate Farms grassfed hotdogs usually cut up with toothpicks and dipping sauces, bunless burgers or lettuce for the bun. Almond or sun butter used as a dip for apples or carrots rather than on bread. On the occasions my children do have bread, I make sure it is the Sprouted grain kind. However, sprouted or not it is still digested in the body and broken down to sugar. Therefore, eating several slices a day would still have a profound affect on the sugar handling of a child.

*anti-nutrients

*low in quality fats and proteins

*high in sugar

*pro-inflammatory

In a nutshell… carbohydrate rich processed foods tend to be high in sugar and low in nutrients. It might not be easy to cut these foods out and replace them with real nourishing foods, but try in steps.

What are some tips to getting your children to enjoy real food?

 

parfait2

*Involve them in the process of cooking. If your child helped prepare the meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it.

*Children love to eat things on platters with toothpicks.

*Children love to forage for food! Take them apple picking and berry picking. We also love to collect fiddlehead ferns in the Spring.

*Explain to them the reasons behind your decisions.

*Lead by example. If those processed foods are not an option, they will start to enjoy real food more.

 

About Kathryn:

IMG_9130

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. 

 

 

I am speaking at Paleo FX! Get your tickets here to see my talk!

 

paleofx2

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

All About Grass-Fed Ghee

omghee2

What is ghee?

ghee

 

Ghee is clarified butter-the butter is heated and milk solids (proteins) have been removed. The protein casein found in dairy is difficult for many people to digest. Casein is a large foreign protein that can pass through the human gut easily, contributing to what is known as “leaky” or permeable gut. When these proteins pass through the gut, they contribute to inflammatory conditions in the body. Many people think they cannot digest the lactose in dairy, but may in fact actually be reacting to the protein casein. Because the casein is removed from ghee, ghee is much easier for many to digest than butter.

 

Ghee is a stable, healthy, saturated fat. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Contrary to what you’ve probably heard in the past, these are the most beneficial fats for our body! These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils). Saturated fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid. They can be heated to higher temperatures, unless liquid vegetable oils that have been highly processed. Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, duck fat, coconut oil, palm oil. Saturated fats are beneficial to the body. These fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help to regulate hormones for normal hormone function. Ghee contains short-chain fatty acids as well, that are easily metabolized by the body. What this means is that the body can digest and utilize these fatty acids efficiently, reaping benefits to the body.

 

Ghee contains omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids, along with Vitamins A, D, E, and K.  According to Chris Kresser, “There’s a common misconception that beta-carotene found in fruits and vegetables is the same thing as vitamin A. It’s not. Beta-carotene is the precursor (inactive form) of retinol, the active form of vitamin A. While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, only 3% gets converted in a healthy adult. And that’s assuming you’re not one of the 45% of adults that don’t convert any beta-carotene into vitamin A at all. This means that – contrary to popular wisdom – vegetables like carrots and red peppers are not adequate food sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in significant amounts only in liver and grass-fed dairy. You’d have to eat a huge amount of beta-carotene from plants to meet vitamin A requirements during pregnancy. For example, 3 ounces of beef liver contains 27,000 IU of vitamin A. To get the same amount of vitamin A from plants (assuming a 3% conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A), you’d have to eat 4.4 pounds of cooked carrots, 40 pounds of raw carrots, and 50 cups of cooked kale!” -Chris Kresser, The Healthy Baby Code.

 

Grass-fed or pastured ghee is a very high source of CLA, aka conjugated linoleic acids. CLA is  a potent cancer fighter. The digestive systems of grass-fed ruminants produce CLA. CLA is associated with superior heart health, suppression of tumors, reduced belly fat and overall increased fat loss. Pasture raised (grass-fed) cows lead to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle! Always look for grass-fed butter if you are making your own ghee, or grass-fed ghee if you are buying it.

 

Ghee is excellent for nerve conduction and insulation of the brain. Ghee is great for skin, eyes, and joints-it is rich with antioxidants and boosts the immune system. Ghee is high in butyric acid which has anti-viral properties and may inhibit tumor growth.

 

How do you use ghee? Ghee is great for all your cooking and baking needs. It adds amazing flavor to sauteed or roasted veggies! You can melt it and bake with it. You can serve it on top of potatoes just like butter. Grass-fed ghee is an all around healthy superfood that adds superior flavor and healthy benefits to all your dishes!

 

Pictured: Sweet potato crisps roasted in ghee

sweetpot

 

 

What is my favorite ghee?

 

I LOVE and highly recommend OMghee brand ghee! The taste is superior to any other brand out there, and the texture is creamy!

omghee2

 

 

 

About Kathryn:

IMG_9130

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions.

If you are interested in a free phone consultation to see how I can support your healing, contact me!

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

To The Bully Mom Who Belittled Me

bully3

I was going to just let it go. I tried so hard to let it go. I repeated to myself over and over that she is not worth the tears. I actually hate drama and usually do everything I can to avoid it. What happened hurt me. I still tried to let it go. Then I thought about all the other parents who have to deal with bully moms like this. Parent’s who just want to feed their children real food, but are constantly undermined by insecure people who can’t handle other people’s decisions. I decided that writing about this traumatizing experience will not only help me to heal from it, but will help other parents to know that they are not alone, and to stay strong in their convictions. I remember another dear blogger friend writing about his experience being bullied by another adult because he would not eat cake at an adult gathering. It’s sad to think that some adults really do sink this low. I have experienced this to a lesser degree on several occasions, but never to this extent. I remember being told by another mom that my son would go off to college and binge on junk food if I didn’t buy him a muffin at 2 years old (a muffin that he wasn’t even asking for or interested in). I remember being told by another parent that my children were at risk for rickets because I was not giving them cows milk.

 

 

bully3

 

 

The situation:

 

I met this new mom who I will call “Bully Mom” whose son is friends with my son at school. Bully Mom invited me over her house for dinner. I thought that was thoughtful as I am going through some major transitions in my life, and was having a very rough day. She had gone to my recent talk on ancestral health, and knew that I followed this lifestyle with both myself and my children. After the talk Bully Mom made sure to come up and tell me that she eats grains. Which is fine. Believe it or not, I don’t judge people for eating grains! Really, I don’t. People are welcome to take what they want from my talks, my blog, my FB posts etc, and leave the rest. I appreciated that she came, and thanked her for coming. Most of my friends do not follow this lifestyle, and are still very good friends. We laugh together, and love each other. That is really what matters.

 

Back to the situation. I too my 5 year old along with me to Bully Mom’s house for dinner, and to play with her children. Before coming over we stopped to get sushi for my son who was very hungry. He loves sushi, and I thought that would take the edge off of his hunger.

 

It started with several comments from Bully Mom while Jonah was eating his sushi about how “her children eat processed foods” and “how children can handle processed foods.” I didn’t comment. I simply nodded and changed the subject. I am use to being questioned by people for my choices and I usually just change the subject. Her son was asking about the sushi and she hushed him and said to him “no, you don’t like that.”

 

Then Bully Mom gave my son 2 slices of pizza and a plate of pasta. She did not ask me first. She asked him. Of course he said yes. I did not say anything. She was making separate meals of pizza and pasta for all the kids, and a different healthy meal for the adults. Usually in these situations I let go, and allow my children to have whatever it is. They do not have food allergies. I even let loose with them at home. I am not militant in my lifestyle, I do the best I can in the context of our culture. Even though I knew it may upset his stomach, I knew he would still be okay. I understand that he will have to learn to make these decisions and how different foods affect how he feels. I can’t control everything. I understand that. I was thankful that she was cooking a nice meal for me, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about dinner.

 

After finishing his meal some other friends arrived with Doritos, and my child started eating them. Again, I didn’t feel great about it, but I let him have some. However, as it became closer to his bedtime, I didn’t want him to wake at night with a bellyache. So I told him that was enough Doritos. He was fine with it.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She took my son by the hand and led him to her pantry. She came out with him holding a bag of cheetos. He opened it and started eating them. I felt a pit in my stomach for being undermined, but still did not speak up. I let him have a few. Then I said to him “that is enough for tonight, we can finish these later” and closed up the bag.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She yelled (yes, she spoke loudly in front of my other girlfriends and my son) “LET HIM HAVE THOSE! It’s not like he gets them all the time!”  I replied “It is my child, and my choice. He has had enough.” I had enough too. I packed up and left. As I got in the car I felt the pit in my stomach that rose up and my eyes welled with hot tears. I sobbed. I was treated like less than a person simply because of my lifestyle. I will never let someone treat me this way again.

 

 

bullypost2

 

 

The next day I found out that Bully Mom had unfriended and blocked me on facebook. Why? Well simply because she is insecure with her parenting choices, and needed someone to take it out on. I was her scapegoat. I feel for her, and after getting all of this out of my system, I will forgive her. I am letting it go.

 

However, I’m tired of pretending that it is okay to treat people this way. It’s not okay. If you disagree with someone’s lifestyle choices that much, then don’t invite them over to dinner! Do not undermine other parents by feeding their children things you know they are not comfortable with. If you are a parent trying to feed your child real food, you are not depriving neglecting, or hurting them. I’m sorry that we have to live in such an eff’d up culture that people truly believe this. Believe it or not kids can enjoy real food. You are also not alone.

 

 

 

 

Five Tips for a Happy Paleo Holiday Season

holiday4

holiday4

 

 

There are hundreds of blog posts written about “surviving the holidays.” Such advice as “avoid the snack table at all cost” “eat before the party” “it’s okay to binge during the holidays-just let go” “only eat veggies at the snack tables” and the list goes on and on. Everyone has tips that might indeed work for them. However, their suggestions may not work for you! Here are my tips that are centered around empowering you to make the best decisions for yourself!

 

1. We all have different things that work for us and things that don’t work for us. Why? because we are bio-individuals. Some of us get very sick if we eat even the smallest amount of gluten. Some just feel better without it, but can manage small amounts. Same goes for other foods. Some of us have emotional eating patterns that require a different way of processing eating. These individuals may need to let loose for their emotional well-being. There is no one approach to surviving the holidays. My advice is to listen to your body and your personal needs (both physical and emotional). Think about the decisions you are making, keeping your mental, spiritual, and physical well-being in mind. Think about what works for YOU and no one else. Don’t let people pressure you into eating something that you know will have you buckled over in pain an hour later. That is not respecting yourself. Don’t avoid eating something you want to eat if you know your body can process it. Be in tune with yourself.

 

2. If you react to a certain food and it makes you feel sick, consider avoiding it or making a substitution. If you think you can handle it, then enjoy it. If you think you will feel terrible after eating it, don’t eat it. Or eat it and take some digestive enzymes with it to help your body process it. Don’t overthink it. Either way, you will be okay. Just keep “you” in mind when making these decisions.

 

3. Remember that holidays are not only about food!  Our culture puts a very strong emphasis on food. In fact, I think we are in the midst of a national eating disorder. We just don’t know what to do. We *think* holidays are all about food, and must include gluttonous amounts of it. However, there are so many other things we can make emotional connections with over the holidays, and we CAN let go of that notion that is socially entwined in our being. That notion that there needs to massive amounts of sugar laden treats for every holiday get together. Savor the beam in your child’s eyes when they look at the ornaments on the tree, instead of savoring the plate of cookies. You might realize that you are just doing what you are accustomed to doing, and that they aren’t as joyful as some other senses you can experience over the holidays. Be in the moment. Experience the laughing and joke telling. Experience the smells of the pine. Listen to the music. Take pleasure in the sites, scents, experiences. Re-establish some of the connections in your brain that are use to old ways. This might help you to be more in tune with yourself. You will start to show yourself  some kindness, love and respect. Create one tradition that does not involve food.  Take the emphasis off of food, and enjoy some of the other aspects of the season. 

 

 

holiday3

 

 

4. Take the time to prepare dishes that you know will not make you sick. Bring these dishes to holiday get togethers. Most people just aren’t aware of the versatility of eating real food. The holidays are a great time to teach others you can survive without some of these culturally normal food items that cause more harm to the body than good. I have a client of mine who is proudly hosting her first Paleo Thanksgiving. There are so many amazing and inspirational recipes out there! People think this lifestyle is restrictive because they do not know very much about it. We are fearful of what we don’t know. We are fearful of what is different from what we’ve been taught. Once we realize that eating real food really can be amazing, bountiful, and flavorful, we settle down. So take this opportunity to teach. Not in a “preaching” way. Just bring some awesome real food and watch your family enjoy it! People learn by example.

 

 

holiday1

 

 

5. Smile more, and let it go. Enjoy this short season, and stop trying to be perfect for everyone, while being angry with yourself. Be true to yourself. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back.”-Anne Lamott 

 

 

holiday2

 

 

Perfect Paleo Pumpkin Pie

IMG_2056

IMG_2056

 

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups of almond meal

1/3 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut oil

6-8 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

Directions for the crust:

Set oven to 400 degrees.

I did not melt the coconut oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand).

crust-1-300x170

crust1_2-300x272

 

Roll out dough on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect. There will be extra dough as this recipe is originally for the type of pie with a top and bottom crust.

Having the extra helped make it easier to work with.  🙂

Bake the crust for 10 at 400 degrees.  Remove from oven, and turn oven up to 425 degrees.

IMG_2038

 

Ingredients for the filling:

1 (15 ounce) can of organic pumpkin puree

1 (13.5) oz can of Native Forest Organic coconut milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup of Grade B Maple Syrup

3 TBS coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

 

Directions:

MIX:  cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.

BEAT: eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, maple syrup, and spices. Fold in the coconut milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for an hour or until knife inserted near center comes out clean (mine took a little over an hour). You may need to gently cover the edges with foil if they start to brown too fast.

***Cool on wire rack for 2-3 hours. This step is necessary for it to firm up!

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Top with whipped coconut cream!

 

Whipped Coconut Cream:

Refrigerate 2 cans of Native Forest coconut milk (not the reduced fat kind). Open the can and take the cream off of the top and place it in a bowl.

 

 

parfait5-933x1024

 

 

*you can save the watery part for other recipes-you could even use it in place of water in dough for the pie!

 

parfait6-980x1024

 

Whip with beaters until whipped cream consistency with 3 TBS Grade B maple syrup and 1 tsp of vanilla.

 

 Enjoy!

 

IMG_2053

 

IMG_2054

 

 

 

 

 

Paleo Squash Soup with Bacon, Leeks, and Pumpkin Seeds

squash soup

squash soup

 

Ingredients:

4 cups of chopped squash.

***I strongly dislike chopping squash and have almost lost a finger a few times…so I purchased a pre-chopped mix of acorn, winter, and butternut squash. Any squash would work, even pumpkin! I like the mix because butternut alone is too sweet for my liking.
4 cups of filtered water
3-4 slices of pastured bacon
2 leeks chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
sea salt, black pepper to taste
fresh oregano-a few sprigs chopped
roasted pumpkin seeds

 

 

Directions:

Directions:

1. Crisp the bacon in a dutch oven, remove from pan and chop it up. Set bacon aside with chopped oregano and pumpkin seeds (these will top the soup at the end, and add nice taste and crunch)

2. Saute the leeks in the bacon fat until golden and crispy.

3.Add the celery and squash to the pan, top with water.

4. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste, as well as the teaspoon of thyme.

5. Bring to a boil and then simmer until squash is tender (approx 15-20 min).

6. Puree the soup! The easiest way is with a handheld immersion blender. However, mine broke so I used a regular blender.

 

 

Enjoy! 

Fall Paleo Recipe Contest! Savory Sauerkraut and Apple Slow Roasted Ribs

savorypork6

savorypork2

 

Do you like tangy sauerkraut, garlic, apples, and fall apart tender savory pork? This dish is everything fall. It is easy to make and sure to please! You can make it right in the crock pot. You can start it early, and have it ready for dinner on a cool fall night. I am planning to make it for my son’s Halloween birthday party!

 

I submitted this recipe for Paleo On The Go’s

Fall Recipe Contest

 

 

savorypork3

 

 

Get the full recipe and please vote for me

HERE! 

 

With your vote, you also get a change to win a Paleo On The Go sample pack!

If I win, Paleo On the Go will be featuring this dish on their menu!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten and Dairy Free Pumpkin Mousse

IMG_1406

IMG_1380

 

 

IMG_1406

 

Fall is all about pumpkins! Here is my quick and easy pumpkin mousse recipe 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 can of Native Forest brand Coconut Milk, refrigerated overnight

1/3 cup of Organic Pumpkin Puree

3 TBS Grade B Maple Syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon  +a little extra to sprinkle on top if so desired

 

Directions:

**Be sure to refrigerate the coconut milk over night**

1. Remove the thick cream layer from the top and place in a mixing bowl with vanilla. Whip with beaters on high speed until cream consistency.

2. Slowly drizzle in the maple syrup and continue to whip.

3. Fold in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.

4. Scoop mixture into (4) small serving dishes, or (2) large.

5. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon or pumpkin spice on top.

 

IMG_1402

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Healthy Thyroid Diet: 4 Recommendations From A Nutritional Therapist

iStock_000034083718Small (1)

thyroid diet plan

 

In past pieces I discussed Autoimmune Thyroid disease, and how your immune system is attacking your thyroid gland. Many people believe that medication is the only answer, and many more suffer in silence because they are told by their physician that their thyroid is functioning normally. Autoimmune thyroid is not black and white. It is one of the more difficult autoimmune conditions to get under control and feel good. However, there ARE changes you can make to heal leaky gut, and support the health of your thyroid. You can make changes to help slow down and in some cases stop the attack on your thyroid. With that said, you have to be willing to make big nutritional changes.

Culturally, we are accustomed to eating for comfort and we are very much attached to processed foods and grains as primary fuel for our body. However these foods keep us on the blood sugar roller coaster and also do not provide the nutrients we need to make the precursors for proper hormone formation, and to keep the body in a non-inflamed state.

Processed foods contribute to what is known as “leaky-gut” or permeable gut. What this means is that large proteins (undigested food) pass through open junctions in the small intestines and cause inflammation in the body, the root of modern disease. Some proteins like gluten are often mistaken as thyroid tissue. Chains of amino acids in gluten share the same molecular structure as thyroid tissue. So when gluten is consumed, the immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader, and attacks the thyroid tissue as well. It can take several months for the immune system to bounce back and stop attacking the thyroid. Therefore, I recommend that individuals with hashimoto’s avoid all gluten, including small amounts or occasional gluten. There may be other foods that can cause the same reaction, in some individuals. Avoiding processed foods is a huge step you can take in the right direction. 

 

leaky gut syndrome

 

 

The best way to try and stop the attack is to get to the root cause and heal it. This is where it is not all black and white. Some people may have increased cortisol from stress, affecting hormone balance. There may also be an excess of xenoestrogens (known as estrogen dominance) which also affects the thyroid, others have toxins in their body. There are many different ways the thyroid can be affected. In a previous piece I discussed the importance of finding a Doctor who will run a full-thyroid panel, which will help give a more clear answer on the etiology of how the thyroid is being affected. However, healing the gut, and getting the body to digest foods properly is HUGE in terms of halting an autoimmune attack on the thyroid. We want to fully digest our foods so that these proteins are not escaping through the lining in the gut, and attacking our immune system. 70-80% of our immunities are found in the gut. We want to keep our immune system strong (remember, autoimmune diseases are an attack on the immune system of the body, meaning the body is seeing itself as an invader and attacking). We also want to support our adrenal health through lifestyle changes and possible adrenal support supplements, as chronic stress affects our hormone formation and balance.

Below am going to suggest some dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and supplement recommendation that I support my clients with as a Nutritional Therapist. The thyroid is a very complicated endocrine organ. It is important to work in collaboration with your Doctor when making lifestyle changes. I never recommend stopping medications. I am not a Doctor. Rather, I recommend supporting the health of your thyroid through dietary and lifestyle changes, thus healing the root cause while working with your Doctor to adjust medications. With that said, I feel it is also important to be your own advocate, and research, research, research. Don’t put your Doctor on a pedestal. Work as a team. This is YOUR body.

 

Thyroid Dietary Recommendations:

  • Follow a gut-healing dietary protocol. There are a couple different ones out there. The two that I most recommend are the GAPS protocol and the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol). Both involve removing from the diet all grains (including corn), dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, eggs, legumes, and nightshades. Both involve slowly reintroducing foods with larger proteins. The GAPS protocol involves some raw dairy. However, with autoimmune thyroid I recommend avoiding all dairy. Dairy proteins are large and tend to not digest easily therefore passing through the gut. It may sound like a restricted diet when you compare it to what you are accustomed to. However, there are many many amazing cookbooks and blog recipes out there, and it is very do-able.  Some of the restrictions beyond gluten, dairy, and soy may be reintroduced after a period of time to see how your body reacts to each particular food. The key is to increase your healthy fat intake and get your body to start digesting good fats. Stick to eating well cooked meats and vegetables with stable saturated fats. Don’t be afraid of getting these fats in your diet. Fats are healthy for hormone formation and necessary for so many functions in the body.

 

Here are my book suggestions for getting started:

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD

Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Natasha Campbell-McBride

The Autoimmune-Paleo Cookbook: An Allergen Free Approach to Managing Chronic Illness, by Mickey Trescott, NTP

Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo (Autoimmune Chapter)

 

I also recommend:

  • Drink bone broth daily.
  • Include fermented foods daily such as raw sauerkraut and kombucha tea.
  • Chew food thoroughly (enzymes in saliva help to pre-digest foods).
  • Drink 1/2 body weight in ounces of water each day-sip throughout the day. Consider adding lemon to your water to support cleansing the liver.

 

Lifestyle Recommendations:

  • Keep exercise at light to moderate (walking, yoga, stretching, tai chi) while the body is healing. Over stressing the body may feel really good, but also causes an increase is cortisol output, which put extra stress on the adrenals and thyroid.
  • Try to get enough sleep for your body. I don’t like to recommend a certain number of hours. We are all different. Some people feel their best at 6 hours, others need 8. The key is to to turn off all stimulating activities and electronics in the evening (at least an hour before bed). Keep these screens and devices out of the room you will be sleeping in. Try to go to bed earlier if you can, as sleep in the early part of the night is restorative.
  • Find new activities that bring you joy and passion, but do not jeopardize the health of your body. I highly recommend yoga and meditation. I love to go fishing 🙂

 

Tyroid Supplement Recommendations:

There are also specific minerals that support the thyroid, and supplement recommendation for healing the intestines. However, many of these recommendations are dependent upon the persons bio-individual needs. I recommend working with a Nutritional Therapist to get on a protocol that meets your needs!

Here are a couple recommendations I make to most of my clients who are struggle with autoimmune thyroid and need gut healing:

Selenium and Zinc (minerals that support thyroid health)

Fermented Cod Liver Oil (contains Vit A and D)

L-Glutamine (rebuilds the mucous layer of the small intestines to help seal the gut, helps with sugar cravings)

Digestive Enzymes (helps to breakdown proteins, fats, and sugars more thoroughly, so less large proteins can pass through the gut). I highly recommend Digest Gold by Enzymedica, taken with every meal.

Probiotics (good bacteria to help with digestion). I recommend Prescript Assist brand probiotics.

*I am not affiliated or paid for any of the above brand selections.

Get a free nutritional therapy consultation

 

My hope is that this information will open your eyes to some important changes that you can make now to help support your thyroid health. If you are interested in a free phone consultation to see how I can support your healing, contact me!

 

About Kathryn:

IMG_9130

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. 

 

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bacon Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash

baconbolognese

baconbolognese

 

 

Sauce: 

3 slices of bacon
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1/2 pound ground chorizo or ground pastured pork if you don’t like the spice
1 onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (look for organic/BPA free)
2 TBS of tomato paste (look for organic/BPA free)
1 cup stock or bone broth
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
fresh or dried basil (about 1 TBS dry or a few leaves fresh-chopped)
fresh or dried parsley (about 1 TBS dry or a few sprigs fresh-chopped)
2 bay leaves

Cook the bacon in a large sauce pan until crispy, remove from pan and chop. Add onion and ground meats to the bacon fat and cook through. Add all the rest of the ingredients and simmer until thick and bubbly. *remove bay leaves prior to serving

 

For the Squash:

Oven 350. Cut in half, remove seeds, put cut side down in a baking dish with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cook for 45 minutes and scoop out with a fork. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.

 

Enjoy!

 

Interested in taking the first steps to feeling better? Contact me for a free Nutritional Therapy Consultation!

 

 

Despite What Your Doctor Says, Your Thyroid Might Not Be Functioning Normally

Throat pain

Throat pain

 

You have been experiencing thyroid symptoms, yet your Doctor told you your TSH was within a normal range.

Now what?

Now it’s time to find a Doctor who will request a FULL thyroid panel, including thyroid antibodies. This will give you and your care provider a more complete picture as to what is going on. 

Although Western medical Doctors including endocrinologists might not be educated on this (they are trained to prescribe medication rather than addressing and healing the root cause). They typically test your TSH level and it if falls within one particular range (usually 4.0 or under), they will tell you your thyroid is functioning in a normal range. However, you might still be struggling, and your thyroid might not be functioning optimally. People with TSH’s of higher than 1.5 can show symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.

What are some of the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction?

*Fatigue

*Weight gain or inability to lose weight

*Cold hands and feet (poor circulation)

*Depression

*Constipation

*Digestive problems

*Itchy dry skin

*Thinning in the outer third of the eyebrows

*Hair falls out easily

*Heart palpitations

*Inward trembling

*Insomnia

*Night sweats

*Difficulty gaining weight

There are more thorough tests besides TSH alone that can give real answers. There are lifestyle and dietary changes that you can make to help support the health of your thyroid. It is important to find a care provider who understands the affect your diet and lifestyle have on the the health of your thyroid, and are willing to work with you to make these necessary changes.

This first piece is just to describe the full-panel and what it means. In subsequent pieces, I will address some lifestyle and nutritional changes you can make to help support your thyroid. There are many factors that come into play, such as diet, health of your gut, exposure to toxins, hormones, and stress levels. There are natural ways to support thyroid function and stop further destruction of this delicate endocrine organ. It is important to work with a practitioner who understands the complexity and balancing act, and works with you and your bio-individual needs.

 

What is a full-thyroid panel?

Scientist Placing Test Tube In TraySource: Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal, Daris Kharrazian, 2010

TSH:

TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone or thyrotropin. It is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. Testing TSH levels is the standard that most endocrinologists use in determining thyroid function. However, your TSH could be considered “normal” by your Doctor, and you get told your thyroid is fine. However, you’re still experiencing thyroid symptoms, right? TSH alone does not give all the answers. This test fails to account for a host of other factors. Mine was in the “normal” range according the endocrinologist. However, it was actually in a higher range than I would have liked to see (the standard for what is considered normal at 4.0 or lower is questionable). Many people with a TSH in the higher end of that range are feeling pretty lousy, yet still told their thyroid is normal. I also had thyroid antibodies that the first Doctor did not test me for (more on antibodies below).

 

Total Thyroxine (TT4):

Measures both bound and unbound T4 levels. Thyroid hormones travel through the bloodstream bound to proteins fore they are released to enter the cells and thus becoming unbound.

 

Free Thyroxine Index (FTI):

Total T4 and T3 Uptake considered together, measures activity of free or unbound T4. Free Thyroxine Index should be within a normal range if thyroid is functioning properly.

 

Free T4 (FT4)

Measures the amount of free or active T4 in the blood. Factors that impact TT4 will NOT impact FT4. FT4 is high with hyperthyroidism and low with hypothyroidism.

 

Free T3 (FT3)

Measures free T3 hormone and is the best indicator for measuring active thyroid hormones available to receptor sites. This test is rarely requested in conventional western medicine, and gives a great deal of info as to what is going on.

 

Reverse T3 (RT3)

Measures the amount of reverse T3 produced. This test helps with determining if high cortisol/stress/adrenals are playing a role in affecting thyroid function. Increased production of T3 is due to inability to clear reverse T3 and from high cortisol.

 

Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG)

Measures the amount of proteins in the blood that carry thyroid hormones to the cells. Elevated Testosterone and Estrogen can cause a change in the TBG, thus producing hypothyroid symptoms.

 

Thyroid Antibodies:

I made this one the biggest. One thing I will never understand is WHY Doctors fail to check antibodies for the thyroid. Most people with thyroid issues have undiagnosed Hashimotos (Autoimmune Thyroid). If the TSH level is high (by western medical standards), the individual may be put on a synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (usually T4 only). If it’s not high, the person may struggle with symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, hormone issues, and mental health issues for years and never get a diagnosis. Meanwhile, their thyroid is being attacked by their own body. Thyroid antibodies means that the bodies own immune system is attacking the thyroid. This is true for both hyper and hypo autoimmune thyroid. This is an autoimmune condition, meaning the individual needs to make huge lifestyle/dietary changes in order to stop the attack on their own thyroid. Most western Medical Doctors fail to recognize this, and will wait until the thyroid stops functioning or in some cases even needs to be removed. Thyroid antibodies in the blood indicate a positive autoimmune thyroid condition. Make sure to request having your thyroid antibodies checked.

 

I was told I had thyroid antibodies by a receptionist, who said my thyroid was fine now (because my TSH was under 4.0). She said once my thyroid stopped functioning at an “ideal” (according to their standards) level, they would put me on a medication. In the meantime, it is expected that I would just struggle with weight gain, fatigue, and mood changes that go along with the swings between hypo and hyper thyroid as the body is attacking itself. Through my own intense research I was able to find answers and change the course of my life. It is my goal to help as many people as possible to stop struggling and to find the right answers. As a Nutritional Therapist, I work with my clients to heal their gut and stop the autoimmune attack on the thyroid.

 

My take-home message is to always be your own advocate. You may need to switch care providers, and do a lot of work yourself. In subsequent posts I will discuss lifestyle changes and ways to support the health of your thyroid. I will also share some good gut healing protocols that I support my clients through.

Get a free nutritional therapy consultation

 

About Me:

About Kathryn:

servicespic

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications. My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ.Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feel amazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!”

-Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn sees clients worldwide through skype and google hangouts!

Contact Kathryn to schedule a free phone consultation:

(518) 260-9749

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com 

Pork Fried Cauliflower “Rice”

cauliflower5

 

 

IMG_0165

Ingredients:

(1) head of cauliflower “riced” in a food processor

(1) pork tenderloin chopped into small pieces (about 1/4 inch)

(1) egg beaten

(1) large leek finely diced

(3) cloves of garlic minced

(1) carrot shredded

*any other veggies you find in the fridge that you want to add, chopped.

(3) scallions chopped

(2) TBS ghee or coconut oil

(3) TBS coconut aminos

(3) TBS coconut vinegar

(1-2) TBS fish sauce 

pink salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor, and steam it for a few minutes (I used a rice steamer, but a pot works as well):

 

cauliflower1

 

 

2. Saute the meat and veggies (minus the scallions) in 2 TBS ghee or coconut oil with pink salt and pepper in a large skillet until meat is browned and veggies are tender.

3. Fold in the riced cauliflower and add the coconut aminos, coconut vinegar, and fish sauce.

4. Add the beaten egg and stir until fully cooked.

5. Season with pink salt and black pepper to your liking.

6. Sprinkle with chopped scallions.

 

Enjoy!

 

cauliflower4

 

 

 

Tuna Zoodle Casserole with Smoked Paprika

zoodle9

zoodle10

 

Per reader request, I “paleo-ized” a traditional tuna noodle casserole with zoodles and a dairy free sauce. It came out thick, creamy, and flavorful!

 

I used Wild Planet brand tuna:

 

zoodle2 zoodle3

 

Ingredients:

(2) cans of Wild Planet tuna fish

(2) zucchini’s made into zoodles with a vegetable spiralizer

(1) small onion chopped

(3) cloves of garlic finely minsed

(1) celery stalk chopped

(3) TBS ghee divided

(1) TBS arrowroot powder

(1 1/2) cups of almond milk or (1) can of full-fat coconut milk

pink salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Oven to 350 degrees

(1) Make the zoodles out of the zucchini with a vegetable spiralizer:

 

zoodle1

(2) Saute onion, garlic, and celery in 1 TBS ghee, pink salt, and fresh cracked pepper until veggies are golden:

 

zoodle4

(3) Make a roux by mixing (2) TBS ghee with (1) TBS arrowroot over med low heat until thick and bubbly. Add pink salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in almond milk or coconut milk until thick and bubbly.

 

(4) Mash the tuna with a fork and mix it in with the veggies and zoodles. Put tuna mix into a casserole dish. Pour the Roux over and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

 

zoodle9

 

Enjoy!

zoodle11

 

 

 

 

Paleo Moussaka Recipe

moussakka15

Paleo Moussakka

You asked for it…

Here is my paleo version of Greek moussaka. I have to admit…I have never tried real moussaka before. I asked my readers for some of their favorite dishes they would like to see “paleo-ized” and a few requested moussaka. So I spent a couple days looking over Traditional Greek Moussaka recipes, and came up with this. I took out some ingredients and added a few. I have nothing to compare it to, but I hope you find this fills your cravings. I found it to be very creamy and bursting with flavor. I love eggplant and meat sauce. The creamy top just made it incredible. I was nervous about using almond milk for the bechamel sauce, as traditional recipes call for full fat milk. I did not want to use coconut milk as I did not think the flavor of coconut would marry well with this recipe. I was pleasantly surprised! This will be a new regular for me!

 

Ingredients for Base:

(1) large eggplant thinly sliced

(3) TBS grassfed ghee or coconut oil divided

(1) pound grassfed ground beef

(1) small onion chopped

(3) cloves garlic minsed

(3) TBS organic tomato paste (I used Muir Glenn)

3/4 cup water

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

 

Directions for Base:

oven to 350 degrees

1. Thinly slice the eggplant and sprinkle each slice with pink salt. Place them on towels and let them “sweat” out the moisture for about 30 minutes.

2. While eggplant slices are enjoying their hot yoga sweat routine, brown up the ground beef in (1) TBS ghee or coconut oil with the onion, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Once browned add the tomato paste and water. Mix well and simmer until thick and bubbly.

3. While meat is simmering, brown the eggplant on each side in (2) TBS ghee or coconut oil over med high heat.

4. Lay the eggplant covering the bottom of a casserole dish like so:

 

Paleo Moussakka Base

5.Place a layer of the meat mixture over the eggplant, then do one more layer of each:

 

Meat mixture over eggplant base - paleo moussakka

Ingredients for the creamy layer (aka bechamel sauce) :

(2) TBS ghee or coconut oil

(1) TBS arrowroot powder

1 1/2 cups of almond milk

1 pinch nutmeg

pink salt and white pepper to taste

 

Directions for Bechamel Sauce:

1.  Create a roux with the ghee and arrowroot. In a small sauce pan over med heat mix the ghee or coconut oil with the arrowroot until thickened. Pour in the almond milk and whisk until thick and bubbly. Mix in the nutmeg, pink salt, and white pepper to taste.

2. Pour sauce over the base layer:

 

bechamel sauce for paleo moussakka

 

3. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for one hour.

4. Let is set for about 20 minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy!

 

fresh from the oven - paleo moussaka

singel serving - paleo moussaka

Get a free consultation

Why Avoid Peanuts

Peanut in a shell and cleared

Peanut in a shell and cleared

 

I’ve had a couple recent clients mention that they eat a lot of peanut butter. They wanted to know if there is a reason to switch out of it if they were not allergic. There are many reasons why advocates of the paleo/primal/realfood lifestyle avoid peanuts, and I will try to cover all of them. Many people think that peanuts are nuts, however, they are actually legumes! What is a legume? legumes are seeds within a pod such as beans, chick peas, and beans.

 

What is the difference between a nut and a legume?

 

Nuts usually have one seed within a shell, legumes tend to have multiple seeds within a casing. The focus on this piece is peanuts which are legumes.

 

nuts

 

Some people in the paleo community eat small amounts of legumes, some avoid them all together. The reason why some (including myself) choose to avoid legumes is because they contain anti-nutrients (phytates and lectins) that help protect the plant from being eaten by bugs. These anti-nutrients can contribute to inflammation in the body, digestive issues, and leaky gut. You would want to avoid legumes if you have autoimmune conditions. However, when properly soaked and sprouted many of these anti-nutrients can be removed, making legumes easier on digestion. Some legumes are also high in complex carbohydrates which is not good for those struggling with balancing their blood sugar. However, they do contain fiber to slow the absorption of sugar in the system. So legumes are not the worse thing you can eat. They are not the best source of nutrients in terms of nutrient density, but in my opinion are better than many of the processed food options out there if properly prepared (soaked, sprouted).

 

Now onto peanuts…

 

Peanuts (in my opinion) might not be a good choice even if you are keeping some legumes in the diet.

 

According to Dr. Mercola:

  • Peanuts are high in omega-6 fats that distort the omega 3:6 ratio. High omega 6 consumption leads to inflammation in the body.
  • Peanuts are contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin
  • Peanuts are one of the most pesticide-contaminated crop (unless organic)

 

My take:

In our culture we eat a very high omega 6 diet, and low omega 3. Many of us are not consuming grass-fed/pasture raised meats which have a better fatty acid profile (higher in omega 3). We also consume high omega 6 vegetable oils. Here is a piece I wrote about oils (which to avoid and why). Even when you try to avoid the “bad” oils at home, you still consume them when you go out to eat. Very few restaurants cook with healthy oils. So why eat even more omega 6 fatty acids by eating peanut butter regularly? Just something to think about.

Some experts link the mold on the shell of the peanuts to peanut allergies. Some deny the link all together. Regardless of the trigger for allergies, peanuts are still very high in aflatoxin, and that is another reason to avoid them.

 

According to the FDA:

“Aflatoxins produce acute necrosis, cirrhosis, and carcinoma of the liver in a number of animal species; no animal species is resistant to the acute toxic effects of aflatoxins; hence it is logical to assume that humans may be similarly affected. A wide variation in LD50 values has been obtained in animal species tested with single doses of aflatoxins. For most species, the LD50 value ranges from 0.5 to 10 mg/kg body weight. Animal species respond differently in their susceptibility to the chronic and acute toxicity of aflatoxins. The toxicity can be influenced by environmental factors, exposure level, and duration of exposure, age, health, and nutritional status of diet. Aflatoxin B1 is a very potent carcinogen in many species, including nonhuman primates, birds, fish, and rodents. In each species, the liver is the primary target organ of acute injury. Metabolism plays a major role in determining the toxicity of aflatoxin B1; studies show that this aflatoxion requires metabolic activation to exert its carcinogenic effect, and these effects can be modified by induction or inhibition of the mixed function oxidase system.”

 

According to Mark’s Daily Apple:

“Peanuts are high in aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring fungal toxins, or mycotoxins, produced by certain members of Aspergillus, a type of fungus found pretty much everywhere throughout the world. Aspergillus tends to colonize any monosaccharide and polysaccharide it comes across, as long as the conditions are right, but peanuts are particularly susceptible. Most crops are colonized after harvest and during storage, but since Aspergillus is found in the soil (among other places) and peanuts grow underground, peanut colonization often occurs well before harvest. The result is that peanuts are among the most contaminated crops, along with corn and cottonseed.”

Read more

 

My verdict:

There are alternative nut-butters such as almond butter or nut-free seed butter like sun butter (made with sunflower seeds), I use these for dipping fruit and carrots in rather than peanut butter. I also occasionally bake with them. Remember, nuts contain anti-nutrients (phytates and lectins) as well, which is why you want raw soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds to ease digestion. However, they are not heavy on the molds like peanuts. When our ancestors started consuming nuts/seeds, they knew how to prepare them properly to ease digestion. It was harder for them to forage and shell them, so they weren’t consuming massive amounts from the food industry like we are today. If you are switching to alternative nut/seed butters do so in moderation or consider making your own with soaked nuts. If you are one of those peanut butter lovers who just cannot give it up, I suggest cutting down on the amount you are consuming, or try converting to an alternative nut/seed butter. Now that I am more in tune with my body, I notice that I get very bloated after eating almonds and almond butter. However, sunbutter doesn’t bother me. Listen to the messages your body is sending you!

Get a free nutrional therapy consultation

About Kathryn:

servicespic

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. Kathryn is a nutrition blogger over at Primal Bliss Nutrition, where she shares whole food recipes and articles pertaining to health and wellness. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications.

My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ. Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feel amazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!”

-Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn sees clients worldwide through phone, skype or google hangouts! She also sees clients locally in her Ballston Spa, NY office.

Contact Kathryn to schedule a free consultation:

(518) 260-9749

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com 

Banana Cinnamon Pecan Parfaits

parfait9

parfait9

 

The other day I was in a store that was selling these gorgeous banana cream pies. I thought…hmmm….how can I create the taste of bananas and cream without gluten or dairy. These parfaits came to mind! They are easy to make with whipped coconut cream. I love how pecans and cinnamon taste together. These were a real hit with the kids, and I felt good about them having this summertime treat!

 

I found these cool glass mugs at Target and they make great parfait dishes!

 

parfait1

 

Ingredients for 4 parfaits (use half for 2):

 

  • 2 cans of coconut milk refrigerated over night. As someone with many failed attempts at whipped coconut…see if you can find this brand:

 

parfait5

 

I like Native Forest because it has a lot of cream in it and the cream gets very firm. Other brands I have tried are more watery, and won’t whip up nice.

 

  • 4 TBS Grade B maple syrup
  • 4 bananas sliced
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBS cinnamon
  • 4 TBS chopped pecans

 

My little pecan chopper focusing:

 

parfait2

 

1. Scoop out the top fat layer of coconut cream from each can, and place it in a large mixing bowl. Do NOT include the liquid at the bottom. Just use the fat layer.

 

parfait6

 

2. Add the maple syrup and vanilla to the cream and whip it up good 🙂

 

parfait7

 

3. Layer the coconut cream and bananas in the parfait dishes. Top with cinnamon and pecans, and enjoy!

 

parfait11

 

 

 

 

About Me:

servicespic

My name is Kathryn…I am a mommy of two beautiful little people, a nutritional therapy practitioner, a lover of music, and I am passionate about using my body and staying strong. I am an avid reader/researcher about the science of nutrition, and how food affects the chemistry of our body. I also love to read about and explore spirituality. I try not to follow mainstream ideology, and I always look for more than one answer to things. I believe that it is important to take risks, and push your boundaries. We are capable of so much more than we believe. I feel it is important to reconnect with our ancestors-to get back to what makes us human, and what makes us really feel content and happy. We get so far removed from our roots at times that we seek short-term pleasure in foods and activities that give us a temporary high, yet leaves us feeling empty. Please join me on my quest to reconnect with life and each other at a deep and meaningful level. Take risks…find bliss!

 

What can a Nutritional Therapist do for you?

 

The payoff of hiring a Nutritional Therapist is that you will have the tools necessary to heal your digestion, balance your blood sugar and hormones, increase your energy, increase your self awareness, decrease inflammation, feel younger, stabilize your moods, and the list goes on and on!

Check out my Nutritional Therapy Services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paleo Herb Vinaigrette Dressings

paleodressing13

paleodressing13

 

A big pet peeve of mine is store bought salad dressings. They are full of bad oils (soy oil, canola oil, and vegetable oils) that can increase inflammation in the body. Here and Here are some pieces I wrote about why you should avoid these oils. Yes, even the organic ones have bad oils in them. It’s not too difficult to make your own dressings. If you use fresh herbs your salad will be bursting with flavor, much more so than with these store bought dressings.

 

paleodressing17

 

I wanted to show you how easy it is to create many different flavors with various herb combinations. In this piece I created four different vinaigrette dressings. Are you a big fan of creamy ranch? Here is a recipe I create last year for a creamy bacon and caramelized onion ranch dressing/dip.

 

I bought these cool little dressing bottles at AC Moore for like $1 each:

 

paleodressing1

 

For the dressing bases I used extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut vinegar (for a less acidic dressing), and apple cider vinegar for those who like more of a bite. Either will work! I tend to prefer coconut vinegar, but some people prefer apple cider vinegar.

 

paleodressing2

 

 

Ginger Lime Cilantro (and garlic of course):

FYI: This is my favorite, and also makes a great marinade for wild salmon 🙂

 

paleodressing6

 

Mix up and pour into bottle using a small funnel:

 

5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS avocado oil
5 TBS coconut vinegar or ACV
juice from one lime
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 cloves finely minced garlic
2-3 TBS fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp pink salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

 

Thyme and Sage:

This is a nice savory dressing that accompanies poultry well.

 

paleodressing10

 

5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS avocado oil
5 TBS coconut vinegar or ACV
juice from one lemon or 3 TBS filtered water for less bite
1 TBS fresh chopped thyme
1 TBS fresh chopped sage
1 tsp pink salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

 

Garlic and Chive:

This was made with fresh garlic and chives from my awesome neighbors!

 

paleodressing9

 

5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS avocado oil
5 TBS coconut vinegar or ACV
juice from one lemon or 3 TBS filtered water for less bite
2 cloves garlic finely minsed
a handful of fresh chives thinly sliced
1 tsp pink salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

 

Basil and Oregano:

Fresh parsley is good with this combo as well. This a great Italian medley 🙂

 

paleodressing11

 

 

5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS avocado oil
5 TBS coconut vinegar or ACV
juice from one lemon or 3 TBS filtered water for less bite
2 cloves garlic finely minsed
1 TBS fresh chopped basil
1 TBS fresh chopped oregano
1 TBS fresh chopped parsley (optional)

 

Refrigerate these dressings and use within a couple of weeks. Mix well before pouring! There are endless combinations you can make with all different herbs and seasonings. So play around and have fun making your own creations. Don’t bother with junkie store bought dressings, marinades, or dips. Just make your own! Amazon sells sorts of neat little dressing containers to bring your dressings to go with you.

 

Hope you found this helpful! Let me know if you try out any of the recipes.

-Enjoy!

 

Kathryn Kos, NTP

What is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner?

Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are integral members of the holistic health community. We believe a properly prepared, nutrient dense whole food diet sets the ultimate foundation for optimal health and healing. We work in concert with your other medical care providers to find areas of deficiency or imbalance in the body, and  correct them. We find these deficiencies through a thorough assessment including a functional evaluation. We address these weaknesses through a whole food nutrition and supplementation protocol. Nutritional Therapists know that there are other important factors for health outside the scope of nutrition. We are here to help you find balance as you work towards your nutritional goals. Nutritional Therapists use an approach that is science/evidence based down to the cellular level.

 Check out my Nutritional Therapy Services!

 

 

6 Paleo-isms (Things The Paleo Community Likes Alot)

HiRes

logoforservices

 

The paleo/primal community is amazing. We are changing the way people make decisions about what they are putting in their body. We are making big strides world-wide, and I am proud to be a part of this movement. However, there are some funny “paleo-isms” (things the paleo community likes to say/talk about). I’m here to explain why we say/talk about these foods all the time. There is a reason!

 

Here are 6 paleo-isms and my musings on them 🙂

 

1. “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”:

HiRes

 

I’m still an advocate of this saying even if it sounds cliche, and I’ll explain why. Some of the people who preach paleo…but don’t like to admit they preach paleo tear it apart. They don’t want to be considered “paleo” because the word it’s dogmatic to them. I disagree. I still like it. It’s the truth. No, I’m not 100% paleo, and I don’t think this saying advocates that either! What this saying means to me is that by making these changes in the foods you choose to consume, you are not going on a “diet.” It’s not like the atkins diet, or south beach, or weight watchers. We don’t want it categorized that way, because it is very different. In my professional opinion, the term paleo also encompasses thinking about your emotional and physical well-being as well. It is about making conscious lifestyle choices about what you put on and in your body most of the time, and how you treat your body. It doesn’t mean you can’t make less than desirable choices and carry on. Those other choices make up most everything around us– it’s very difficult to avoid them. In the paleolithic days these choices didn’t exist, and so yes, we were all “paleo.” Those days are gone. Far gone. Even though it is still in our genes, the other choices are everywhere and engrained in our social being. So yeah, sometimes we make them. I don’t get a dogmatic vibe from this saying at all. So for those who still like this saying, I’m on board with ya. Because yes, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s my lifestyle. And I am proud of it. I’m also proud of the word paleo and all the lovely people in our community making positive changes.

 

2. Bacon bacon bacon:

 

Prunes in bacon

 

Paleo folks talk about bacon a lot. Why? Well, for one, it’s very tasty. Pasture raised bacon is a good source of healthy fats for your body. Bacon has been demonized in Western culture the past what? 30 something years? for no good reason, and we know the truth about it! We want you to enjoy it as well. Because it tastes really good, and provides nutrients for your body, and contrary to what you may have heard, bacon does not clog your arteries or make you sick like processed grains do. It’s just the opposite. The fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), 40% saturated fats, and 10% polyunsaturated. So you don’t want to burn bacon as it does contain some PUFA’S. As long as you aren’t consuming vegetable oils, you should be fine. Why no vegetable oils?  Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases. Vegetable oils are not stable. Bacon has a small amount of PUFA’s, so again, just don’t burn it or reuse the oil over and over.

So yeah, we’re big on bacon. We’re going to wrap everything in bacon. We’re going to mix bacon with chocolate. We’re going to wear bacon t-shirts. and post bacon meme’s. and share bacon recipes. and eat bacon with every meal. Totally kidding. Just some meals.

 

3. Coconut everything:

 

coconuts

 

Coconut oil. Coconut flour. Coconut cream. Coconut milk. Coconuts. Coconut water. Coconut aminos. Coconut manna, shredded coconut. Why all the coconut? Yes we tend to be big on the coconuts. Coconuts are amazing, that’s why. Coconuts contain medium chained triglycerides which are metabolized quickly and are used as a quick source of fuel and aids in weight loss. Lauric acid in coconut kills bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is a stable saturated fat so it can withstand heat without oxidizing quickly. Coconut reduces inflammation in the body. It helps the body to absorb calcium and magnesium. It is also high in vitamin E. It is great for the skin and hair as well. You can make deodorant with it. and use it to help heal superficial cuts and burns. and use it as a sunscreen, and moisturizer, and make up remover, and hair treatment. Coconut rocks!

 

5. Saturated fats/Animal fats: 

 

butter is saturated fat

 

The paleo/primal community stresses the consumption of saturated fats because, like bacon, these fats have been wrongfully demonized as artery clogging-heart attack inducing-avoid at all cost fats. This led to the overconsumption of low-fat, high carbohydrate processed foods and increased obesity and health struggles in our culture significantly. Saturated fat is necessary for so many functions in the body!

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, saturated fats are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).
  • These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.
  • Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.
  • Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.

I wrote a blog piece on this! 🙂

 

6. Fermented Cod Liver Oil:

 Fresh atlantic cod fish

You hear a lot about Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) in the paleo/primal community. You might wonder why anyone would want to consume fermented cod livers. FCLO is a pretty amazing superfood. It contains fat soluble Vitamins A, D, and K2 necessary for maintaining a healthy gut/immune system. It aids in gut healing to help reverse autoimmune conditions. It is great for the brain, eyes and skin. Green Pastures brand is traditionally fermented cold, and not heat treated. Therefore all nutrients and vitamins are not destroyed. The cinnamon tingle is actually very palatable. My kids even take it no problem.

According to Green Pastures:

“The gold standard in pure fish fat/oil from the liver of the cod fish extracted through fermentation rather then cold/hot temps or chemical extraction as the rest of the industry uses. Deep dark rich color equals real life giving nutrients”.

I hope you found this piece helpful!

What are some of the paleo-isms you have noticed?

Get a free nutrional therapy consultation

About Kathryn:

Kathryn is a Nutritional Therapist through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego extension. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children. She sees people locally in her Ballston Spa, NY office and worldwide via phone and Skype. 

servicespic

* Please note: This is a personal blog. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

5 Things to Avoid at “Health Food” Stores

iStock_000023736335Small

Are "health food" stores selling healthy food?

I went to check out the new Fresh Market in town and I was quite disappointed. I came to the realization that these “health food” chains/stores glorify junk food and people buy it. Sure it’s a nice experience. The store is neat and clean. There is nice music playing. The displays are beautiful. The ceiling is vaulted. There are flower bouquets, and even flower bouquet holders in the shopping cart. It’s all about marketing. However…the produce was mostly conventionally grown produce, except almost double the cost. I went to the butcher and they had no grass-fed beef. Maybe they do carry it other days, but I was disappointed.

 

There were 2 HUGE candy displays like this:

"healthy" candy

“healthy” candy?

 

I could not find a salad dressing without canola oil or soy oil in it…and that is when I had my realization. I think people really do buy these organic labels or beautifully displayed foods at a “health store” and truly believe it is a more nourishing product.

The only local “Healthy” store that I enjoy is the Healthy Living Market here in Saratoga. I am not an affiliate to them.  Although they still offer a great deal of less than desirable and conventional products (they kind of have to cater to the vegetarians who eat all processed foods and believe they are healthy, the people who still believe canola oil is good for their heart, as well as the general public looking for healthier ingredients). However, they still offer a huge variety of fermented vegetables, kombucha on tap, roasted seaweed made with coconut oil and olive oil. They offer grass-fed and local pasture raised meats and eggs at a reasonable price. They have a huge selection of Applegate Farms products, including the breakfast sausage that my kiddos love. The pasture raised eggs they sell are also soy free. That is a rare find! They have the meat sticks that I love in several different flavors, as well as many kinds of grass-fed beef jerky without soy in it, and they carry my beloved wild planet sardines in a variety of flavors. They have a huge variety of local meats, and some exotic meats.  My kids call it the “paleo store.” I go there for all my special things that I know I couldn’t find a regular store. I am so happy this local gem opened up!

With that said…

I wanted to share with you my top 5 health store pet-peeve foods that you should avoid buying and consuming, and why. These products are also found in the “health food” or “natural products” aisles at conventional grocery stores. Stop buying them!

 

1. Soy Anything. 

soy beans

Soy is not a health food. I repeat. Soy.is.not.good.for.your.body.at.ALL. Sorry, but I get so frustrated at the variety of soy based products out there claiming to be a great meat alternatives. Or the amount of soy placed in items that claim to be meat-like items. Or soy oil in dressings and marinades.

Or the strange chips made out of soy like these:

 

soychips1

 

So why must you avoid soy?  I could write it all out but these awesome bloggers already did so:

Here is a well-written research based piece by The Healthy Home Economist

Here is another well-written piece by Grassfed Girl

and one more well-written piece by Food Renegade

In a nutshell:

1. Most of the soy the US is genetically modified, even some organic and “natural” brands.

2. Soy is a major hormone disruptor leading to hormonal imbalances and fertility issues. I nearly destroyed my thyroid consuming soy when I use to think it was a health food.

3. Soy contains anti-nutrients (known as phytates) which block mineral absorption. Soy proteins can be difficult to digest contributing to leaky gut, inflammation throughout the body, and autoimmune diseases.  Soybeans are very high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Consuming large amounts can lead to fatty acid imbalances.

 

Read food labels. You will be surprised at the amount of organic food-products sold that contain soy!

real food labels

 

2. Canola Oil Products.

I find it nearly impossible to find a salad dressing (sometimes I get lazy and don’t want to make my own) that does not contain canola oil! It is also in packaged products that would have otherwise been a great product if good oils were used.

 

salad dressingcanola oil

People still want to believe that canola oil is good for the heart. Canola oil is a highly processed rancid oil that causes inflammation in the body. Canola oil actually contributes to heart disease, as do vegetable oils.

Canola oil is a polyunsaturated oil:

  • Poly (many) of the bonds are unsaturated with hydrogen.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.
  • Polyunsaturated oils include: vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, such canola, corn, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are highly processed.
  • These polyunsaturated seed oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3’s.
  • Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases.
  • These oils are not stable.
  • Contrary to what you might have heard, these oils should be avoided! It is not easy to avoid them when you go out to eat, but don’t buy them! These oils are also found in packaged processed foods like potato chips-including those you buy at the “health food” store.

Here is a blog post I wrote about which oils to consume, which to avoid, and why.

Here is a video of canola oil being processed in a factory.

 

3.Glorified Candy

 

rock candy

Candy is sugar. Fancy organic candy is sugar. It will have the same response in the body as non-organic candy. It will stress the pancreas, liver, and adrenals just like regular candy. American’s consume an average of 170 pounds of sugar a year from processed foods, soda, and candy. Buying fancy organic candy is not going to take away from that.

 

4. Energy Bars

Protein bars

Most “energy” bars contain the same amount of sugar as candy bars, contain less than desirable oils, contain soy, wheat, and other less than desirable ingredients. It’s very easy to make your own energy bites with ingredients like coconut oil, shredded coconut, dates, ground soaked nuts, raw honey, flax seeds, etc. Then you know what is in it. Homemade energy bars can be great for athletes. However, steer clear of this aisle in stores that claim to be health-food stores.

 

5.  Agave Nectar

agave nectar

Same blood sugar response as high fructose corn syrup. Yet I’m still seeing it in the sweetener aisle, and in many products like this Organic dressing: It contains soy oil and agave nectar. Agave is still being touted as a healthy sweetener. Stick with molasses, raw honey, or maple syrup in small amounts.

 

french organic dressing

 

My take home message is that health claims are all about marketing. There is also a ton of bad health advice going around from biased sources with agendas. My only agenda is I want you to nourish your body with real food. Stick with real food. Eat foods that our early ancestors would have hunted and gathered. Real food has not been processed or altered. It doesn’t usually come in a box or jar. Sure we can’t all live like cave people. I get that. I love to bake. I love occasional treats like these Hail Merry tarts. Just read the ingredients and think about what you are putting into your body. Don’t believe the hype or the health claims. Some conventional grocery stores contain more real food then these health food stores.

Get a free nutrional therapy consultation

Paleo Italian Lemon Ricotta “Cheese”cake with Blueberry Sauce

226

 

paleo italian lemon ricotta 'cheese'cake

 

A reader actually e-mailed me a recipe for an Italian lemon ricotta cheesecake and asked if I could convert it to a primal recipe. I love a good challenge and actually had a lot of fun making this. The ricotta “cheese” is made with soaked macadamia nuts!

 

yes, one serving please

 

Macadamia nuts are an excellent source of Vitamin A, iron, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folates. They also contain moderate amounts of zinc, copper, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Macadamia contains antioxidants like polyphenols, Amino acids, flavones, and selenium. They are great for thyroid health!

 

macadamia nuts

 

Macadamia Nut Ricotta:

For the ricotta I mostly followed Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe, but soaked the nuts overnight and tweaked the amounts of each ingredient to make enough ricotta for the cheesecake.

 

Here is what I did:

2 1/2 cups of raw macadamia nuts, soaked over night and drained

1 teaspoon salt

juice from one lemon

3/4 – 1 cup of water

 

Process in a food processor slowly adding water and scraping down the sides until creamy and ricotta cheese consistency.

Set oven to 325 degrees.

 

Ingredients for crust:

2/3 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup OMGhee melted

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

zest from 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt

Ingredients for Filling:

All of the macadamia nut ricotta

3/4 cup of raw honey melted

2 TBS coconut flour

6 eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon

zest from a meyer lemon (or regular lemon would work)

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla

pinch of salt

 

Directions:

For crust: Combine all crust ingredients with a fork, and press onto the bottom of a greased 9 1/2 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes or until browned. Cool.

 

paleo 'cheese'cake crust

paleo 'cheese'cake crust out of the oven

 

Using a standing mixer mix macadamia nut ricotta, honey, and coconut flour until very smooth. Add eggs one at a time incorporating into mix. Add vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well and pour batter into the crust.

 

 

paleo 'cheese'cake batter

 

Turn oven down to 300 degrees. Bake in the center of the oven for approx 75-90 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. A knife should come out clean.

 

Cool cake, cover, and chill.

 

paleo 'cheese'cake right out of the ovenpaleo 'cheese'cake coolingpaleo 'cheese'cake ready to serve

 

For the Lemon Blueberry Sauce:(also makes an excellent sauce for grain-free pancakes!)

 

paleo lemon blueberry sauce

 

2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup raw honey

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 TBS arrowroot flour dissolved in 2 TBS water

1/2 tsp vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

 

Directions for sauce:

 

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, water, honey, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Mix in the arrowroot mixture and simmer over low stirring until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and lemon zest.

 

 

paleo lemon blueberry in sauce pan

 

paleo lemon blueberry sauce ready to serve

 

Pour sauce over cooled cheesecake and enjoy!!

 

paleo 'cheese'cake with lemon blueberry sauce

 

single serving

customer review while eating: one thumb up

 

non-verbal customer review

 

 

Offer someone a piece if they will clean up the mess for you! 🙂

 

 

the mess and cleanup

 

 

 

 

 

Crispy Chinese Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs

chicken11

chicken9

 

chicken10

 

I was really craving Chinese food tonight and wanted to create something similar without the bad oils, GMO soy, gluten, MSG, and sugar. These came out amazing! It was not too difficult to make, and makes for a great weekend meal. I served these with sauteed asparagus on the side. The kids loved them!

 

Ingredients:

1 dollar store rubber chicken

 

chicken1

Sorry, couldn’t resist…but yes, they still make these!

 

OK…real ingredients:

2 lbs chicken thighs

1 cup plus 2 TBS arrowroot flour

1 cup coconut oil

2 scallions thinly sliced

2 large eggs beaten

1 TBS seseme seeds

 

Marinade:

1 cup of chicken stock (homemade chicken broth)

juice from 2-3 large oranges (about 3/4 cup of juice)

1 TBS orange zest

1/4 cup raw honey melted

1/3 cup of coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup coconut aminos

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 TBS fresh ginger root minced

2 tsp sriracha sauce

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

 

Whisk all of the above ingredients together and in a large bowl marinade the (2) pounds of chicken thighs with 1 cup of the marinade for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Place remaining marinade in a medium sized saucepan on the stove.  *This will be used to form the glaze at the end.

 

chicken4

 

 

After chicken in done marinating, drain it and toss the marinade:

chicken8

 

 

heat the 1 cup of coconut oil in a large pan over med/high. Dredge the chicken first in the beaten egg, and then in the (1) cup of arrowroot flour

 

chicken7

278

 

280

 

I cooked only 2 thighs at a time because you do not want them over-crowded in the hot oil. Cook until both sides are golden brown and crispy, and chicken is no longer pink in the middle. It will take approx 5-7 min per side.

 

282

 

While chicken is cooking try to ignore the big mess in the kitchen, and focus on the glaze!

 

chicken3

 

For the glaze heat up remaining marinade over med. low until it starts to bubble. Whisk remaining 2 TBS of arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup of water and add to the marinade. This will thicken it to a nice glaze. Stir until thick and bubbly, remove from heat.

 

Now just drizzle the glaze over the fried chicken, and sprinkle with scallions and seseme seeds:

 

chicken12

 

Enjoy your chicken and THEN clean the kitchen. Or make someone else do it.

 

chicken16

 

 

296

 

 

Cilantro and Scallion Salmon Cakes with Sriracha-Lime Mayo Sauce

salmon14

salmon14

This dish was super easy and delicious! It makes for a great quick lunch or dinner, and it is extremely tasty! You can add different herbs based on your liking. I love cilantro and fresh cilantro adds great flavor!

 

For the Salmon Cakes:

2 TBS OMghee for frying

1 can of Wild Planet Brand sustainably caught wild salmon

2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

2-3 thinly sliced scallions

1 TBS coconut flour

1 egg

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

 

wildplanet

 

salmon3

 

Combine all ingredients (except for the ghee) in a bowl and mash well with a fork.

 

salmon4

 

 

Form into 4 burger-like patties. Melt the ghee over med heat and cook patties until crispy on each side (approx 5 min per side)

 

salmon6

 

 

salmon8

 

 

Sriracha-Lime Mayo Sauce:

 

I LOVE Nom Nom Paleo’s Homemade Mayonaisse. This recipe is easy to follow and yields great results for me! I used this for the base. I put about 3 TBS of this mayo in a bowl with a couple tsp of sriracha, juice from 1/2 a lime, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp white pepper, and 2 TBS chopped cilantro.

 

*If you don’t want to use commercial sriracha, Nom Nom Paleo has a paleo sriracha recipe as well!

 

salmon7

 

Mix all ingredients with a small whisk and serve with the salmon cakes! Amazing!

 

salmon13

 

 

For the flower radishes:

 

radishes

Thinly slice a radish, cooked beets, or carrots (I used radishes) cut into shapes with small cookie cutters!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

salmon11

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Tallow Fries with Sea Salt and Coconut Vinegar

033

033

 

If you are craving fries but do not want the bad oils (vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, soy oils etc as typically used in restaurant french fries) you might want to try cooking in tallow! Tallow is a stable, healthy saturated fat. It is rendered beef fat. You just want to make sure you get it from a reputable source. I tried Fatworks kettle rendered grass-fed tallow, and I am impressed with the quality of this product!

tallow1

 

 

You can saute and cook anything in tallow. It is great for roasted vegetables as well! Here are some tallow health benefits:

Tallow has a high smoke point! What this means is it won’t release damaging free radicals (that can create inflammation in the body like vegetable oils) when heated at high temps.

Grass-fed tallow is high in CLA, which is protective in the body against cancer.

Tallow is brain-food! Saturated fats help insulate the brain and protect the neurons.

Saturated fats like tallow help keep your hormones balanced, helps regulate blood, and helps keep you satiated.

 

For the sweet potato spiral fries I used my new vegetable spiralizer which I absolutely love!

 

spiralizer spiralzier2

 

My boys helped to turn the handle and we spiral cut 2 sweet potatoes!

 

tallow3

 

 

Then we heated up some tallow over med/high heat in a dutch oven. I used a good amount in order to deep fry the fries (I would say a good couple of inches deep of hot oil). I fried a small amount at a time, turning them a couple of times until crispy!

 

030

 

Joshua and his friend carefully helped monitor them 🙂

 

tallow4

 

Once done we removed the fries from the oil and sprinkled with sea salt and coconut vinegar. You can season them however you like. Next time I am going to do a bbq seasoning mix!

 

 

coconutvinegar

 

Then we placed them in these cool french fry cones and the kiddos enjoyed their fries!

 

033

 

I’m looking forward to cooking more creations with my tallow, and having more fun with my spiralizer!

 

Looking for kiddo school lunch and snack ideas? Check out my e-book Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox!

 

Paleo F(x) is Coming to Austin TX!

LiveStreaming

austin_0

Paleo f(x)™ Austin is the single largest Paleo conference in the world.  This signature event includes the following lineup for 2014:

 

  • Dozens of world-class speakers including physicians, nutritionists, research scientists, professional athletes, coaches, trainers, bloggers, podcasters, sustainability and food activists, biohackers, and more.
  • Many speakers are leaders in their fields and include New York Times best-selling authors, professional athletes, and renowned activists in diverse fields.
  • Confirmed speakers:  Robb Wolf,  Chris Kresser,  Mark SissonSarah FragosoDallas & Melissa Hartwig,  Nora Gedgaudas, Michelle TamDr. Terry Wahls,  Nate Miyaki, John Durant, Diane SanfilippoLierre Keith, Molly Galbraith, and dozens more, plus many exciting additions TBA.
  • Five stages: two premiere stages for presentations and Mastermind panels, the Strength and Conditioning stage, the Cooking Demo stage, and the Paleo On Ramp stage.
  • Something for everyone: a variety of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced sessions, including Paleo 101 talks by experts, designed to introduce beginners to Paleo.
  • The Strength and Conditioning expo floor with demos and workshops lead by master trainers and natural movement experts.
  • The Paleo f(x)™ vendor and sponsor fair — an array of health-conscious, paleo-friendly vendors and sponsors.
  • Post-event Video on Demand, so that you can catch some of the sessions you might have missed, after the event.
  • Located at the Palmer Event Center, a premier event space in downtown Austin, with close proximity to many of the city’s finest restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions.

Premiere tickets and Expo tickets are available.  Register Now

 

For press inquiries, or to request press passes, contact press@paleofx.com.

 

Can’t make it to TX this year, but don’t want to miss all the great speakers? I am personally excited to see the “Robb and Mark show!” I learned all I know about the primal lifestyle from Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf. How exciting is it to have them speak together about ancestral health. You can watch from your home via livestreaming!

“Paleo f(x) is livestreaming their event, check it out!”

 

Sweet Potato and Smoked Paprika Cottage Pies

cottagepies8

sweet potato cottage pies

easy to make sweet potato cottage pies

I wanted to make individual little meat and potato pies. I thought the kids would really enjoy these, and they did. Instead of white potatoes I used sweet potatoes. I am a huge fan of smoked paprika, and that added amazing flavor to these. These were a real hit and I will definitely be making them more often. The cool thing about these is you don’t need many ingredients, and you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. These make for an easy and tasty weekday meal!

Ingredients:

3 TBS Ghee (preferable OMghee because it’s the best ghee you can find anywhere)

1 pound of grass-fed ground beef

1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed

veggies I used: (really, you can saute any chopped veggies you have on hand in with the meat)

2 stalks of celery finely chopped

1 carrot finely chopped

3 spears of asparagus chopped

1/2 a small onion finely chopped

2 TBS smoked paprika

2 tsp onion powder

sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper to your liking

Directions:

Oven to 400 degrees

Put cubed sweet potatoes in a pan with some water, bring to a boil and turn to a low boil for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.

boil cubed sweet potatoes

Using this awesome mix n chop masher, I mashed the potatoes with a big old dollop of ghee, sea salt, pepper, and 1 TBS smoked paprika

mash the potatoes

While those potatoes were cooking, I browned the meat and vegetables in 1 TBS of ghee with some sea salt, black pepper, and 1 TBS smoked paprika (using my mix n chopper again). 🙂

browned meat and veggies

I used (4) individual ramekin bowls. These were under $2 each at Target. I’m sure you can get fancy ones too, if so inclined. I put the meat and veggie mixture in each bowl about 3/4 way full:

individual ramekin bowls

Then I topped each bowl with the mashed sweet potato:

top each bowl with sweet potatoes

Then I sprinkled on some more smoked paprika:

sprinkled on smoked paprika

I popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes, and then carefully (using oven mitt) took them out to cool slightly. I sprinkled some chives on top of each ramekin:

in the oven for about 20 minutes

Enjoy!

sweet potato cottage pies served

Beef and Broccolini Paleo “Flat Bread”

pizza4

341

pizza4

I wanted to create something that was similar to pizza in texture, but without the gluten, dairy, and marinara. I was craving something savory and garlicky with loads of veggies. I found a bag of fermented garlic from Trader Joe’s, and it all came together.

Directions:

First I made the flat bread crust.

For the crust I mostly followed the pizza crust recipe from The Preppy Paleo:

Paleo Traditional Pizza Crust
1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine.

Add eggs and almond milk to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Use a spatula to spread batter onto greased pan and bake crust in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes.
Remove crust from oven and top with sauce and desired toppings. Bake for another 10 minutes.

I wanted my crust to be less like pizza, more like a flat bread (thinner and crispier). I did not use the almond milk, I used water. I added more water so the crust was thinner and more flat. I also did not use oregano, and added some garlic powder to the crust. I still oiled the cookie sheet I cooked it on, and used a big metal spatula to un-stick it when it was done cooking. Once it has cooked, remove it from the oven, un-stick it from the pan, but leave it on the pan and set aside. Keep the oven on at 425!

It looks a little different, but the taste and texture was great!

crust

For the fermented garlic spread:

I used Trader Joe’s fermented garlic (my favorite):

garlic3

When you break it open, it is black and creamy like a thick paste:

garlic2

I poured 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive olive into a small bowl and ‘squeezed’  the garlic into the oil. For those who handle/enjoy balsamic vinegar, I added a splash (maybe 2 TBS) of that as well and whisked it all together with some sea salt and pepper to taste:

garlic1

**If you don’t have access to fermented garlic, raw garlic would work too. You would push the raw garlic through a garlic press. Fermented garlic is just milder and slightly sweet.

I whisked it all together in the bowl, and spread it on the flat bread:

crust2

Toppings:

1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef

1/4 a red onion thinly sliced

a few crowns of broccolini or broccoli rabe sliced

2 brown tomatoes thinly sliced

2-3 basil leaves thinly sliced

First I browned 1/2 a pound of grass-fed ground beef with 1/2 tsp sea salt and a sprinkle of pepper:

I crumbled the meat with my favorite meat masher (the mix and chopper)…a MUST HAVE!

groundbeef2

Then I thinly sliced a red onion (about 1/4 of it), 2 brown tomatoes, and some broccolini. Broccoli rabe or regular broccoli would be just as good.

Optional toppings: crumbled feta or goat cheese, or mozzerella if you can handle dairy.

pizzaveggies2

Finally I placed all the toppings on the flat bread (including the basil) and sprinkled some salt and pepper on top:

pizza1

I popped it in the oven and roasted it at 425 for about 10 minutes, then I broiled the top to crisp the veggies for another 5-10 minutes.

pizza3

Enjoy! 🙂

Pork, Cabbage, and Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry

porksaute4

 

porksaute1

 

 

For lunch today I made a pork tenderloin, cabbage, and broccoli slaw stir-fry!  This was extremely easy and flavorful. You could also use chicken or beef…even shrimp!

 

Ingredients/Directions:

Take a local pork tenderloin and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Sprinkle the meat with pink salt, pepper, and Trader Joe’s 21 spice mix.

Fry the pork in a large wok or frying pan over med/high with a 2 TBS of coconut oil until meat is no longer pink.

Add to the pan 2 cups of Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw and a bag of shredded cabbage. You can also shred a small head of cabbage, and add shredded carrot or any other veggies you enjoy. This filled the pan to the top. Turn the heat down to medium.

Add 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, and put a couple TBS of ghee or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of everything.

*As it cooks down stirring becomes easier.

 

Let it cook over medium heat until the slaw and cabbage are cooked down and tender.

 

At the end add  1-2 TBS fish sauce, 2-3 TBS coconut aminos, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Fold in a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro (approx 1/4 cups) and juice from 1/2 a lime.

 

porksaute3

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Crispy Italian Paleo Cauliflower Poppers!

246

paleo fried cauliflower poppers

Growing up my mom would make us fried cauliflower. She would dip it in egg, and Italian breadcrumbs…and then fry it. It was dreamy and delicious. I wanted to create a grain-free version of this with some yummy dipping sauces! These came out amazing! The kiddos devoured them as an after school snack. There are many ways they can be changed up.

I was just thinking these would be great coated in buffalo sauce, minus the Italian seasonings!  Play around with different variations. I will give you the recipe I did, but feel free to change it up to your preferences! At the end of this I will list variations.

It all starts with a big ole head of cauliflower!

cauliflower - take a bite

head of cauliflower

I chopped it up into 1-2 inch pieces:

chopped cauliflower

Then I used a pot with a steamer basket and cover. I steamed the cauliflower over med high heat until tender (approx 8-10 min)

steam the chopped cauliflower

I set the cauliflower aside to cool, and made the batter.

Ingredients for Italian fried:

2 eggs

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS dried parsley

1 TBS dried basil

1/2 cup of tapioca starch

1/2 cup of Tropical Traditions red virgin palm oil or unrefined coconut oil for frying

Directions:

Whisk the 2 eggs with some sea salt and pepper:

2 eggs, sea salt and pepper

Mix the seasoning in with the tapioca starch:

seasoning in tapioca starch

Warm the oil for frying over med-high in a frying pan (notice palm oil is red, hence giving the cauliflower a red hue):

oil for frying

Next dip the pieces of cauliflower in the egg, and then dredge them in the tapioca mix:

dip and dredge them

dip like this

dredge like this

Finally, fry the cauliflower in the oil flipping to brown on all sides:

fry that cauliflower

Finished cauliflower:

fried cauliflower fresh out of the frierfried cauliflower served

Dipping sauces:

This Paleo Ranch dressing that I created over the summer:

paleo ranch dressing

I also used marinara sauce:

marinara sauce

Happy Snacking!!!

mmm tasty

paleo fried cauliflower

Variations:

Instead of Italian, you could make Indian inspired fried cauliflower with turmeric and curry. You can also make “buffalo” style with red pepper and dip in buffalo sauce before serving! There are plenty of ways to play around with seasonings to put in the the tapioca!

 

 

try different dipping saucestry different variations

Mommy’s Club!

1057366_10100356951134355_384851900_n

For those like-minded parents who want to use toxic-free products, I had the opportunity to meet Chelsea Depot. She introduced me to the Mommy’s Club products, and I had a chance to try some of them out!

My name is Chelsea Depot I am 26 years old. Currently I am a stay at home mom to my two handsome boys Adrien (5) and Asher (1). I am a former nationally ranked gymnast (USA Gymnastics) and silver medal junior Olympic competitor (AAU Gymnastics), also ranking 3rd in the nation all around my senior year in high school (High School Gymnastics) and stay connected by coaching a tumbling class one night a week at the gym I grew up in. I hold a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. My boys are my world and I want them to have the best life possible. Our family is very tight knit and we care tremendously about the health & well-being of ourselves and others.

 

1616453_10100356951154315_687466682_n 1616506_10100356951144335_1798948222_n

With that being said, while in business school I studied green energy, self sustainability and ways to make the world a better place. One of my goals in life was to be the quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world!”. Throughout school I didn’t know how I was going to become the quote, (if you will). And a year later I now know how I am going to do so: through Mommy’s Club. Our company is an online wholesale company. We pride ourselves on our all natural certifications: our products are for the whole family and are Toxic free, organic, EcoCert, BPA free, non GMO, made in the USA, and animal cruelty free! Our top quality products are beyond what is available by being toxic free and our prices are comparable to market competitors. Our line speaks for itself. We are so excited to make the home a healthier place to raise a family. This is going to be an amazing movement to a toxic free life style. We are backed up by a stellar medical team who spent over 2 years formulating the products.

1558801_10100356951149325_734389348_n

I am so excited to be a part of such a wonderful company and more so for my little family to be safe from harmful toxic ingredients in everyday products. I’m blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with the friends I have made through the club as well, families with the same goal as ours, to live a toxic free life and to better the lives of my boys. Please watch this awesome eye opening video.

1600293_10100356951129365_1529869206_n1057366_10100356951134355_384851900_n1552899_10100356964078415_1208454658_n

(One may just want to be a member but there are also amazing financial opportunities if one chooses to be a sales representative. By being a member one can gain points and cash rewards just for using the products and referring friends and family.) Live simply, Live toxic free!

We just partnered with these companies!

My website is www.mommysclub.com/cdepot18 Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have!

We tried the baby shampoo and baby foam wash! I was impressed with how gentle/mild these products were. My kids have sensitive skin and it did not bother them at all.

babyshampoo-mainfoamwash-main

We also tried the vitamins and fish oil. I liked that the vitamins contained a probiotic as well. That is great for surviving the winter! The fish oil has a mild lemon flavor, and is very palatable.

 cherrychew-small

omegalemon-small

Overall I definitely recommend checking out Chelsea’s page and her products! Feel free to contact her with any questions you may have.

 

 

 

 

Girl Scout Cookie Remakes…The Real Food Way!

samoas

girlscoutcookies

It’s Girl Scout cookies time! I was a girl scout myself for many years. I remember going from door to door with the little slip! Oh the excitement!  Now you get mass e-mails, phone calls, and even facebook pages devoted to selling them.

 

This is me circa 1983:

 

girlscoutme

It’s too bad these delicious tasting cookies contain so many harmful ingredients such as: GMO corn and soy products, food dyes, artificial food dyes, artificial flavors, and worst of all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. The shortbread cookies do not even contain any butter!

The 2 most popular kinds that I myself enjoyed most were samoas and thin mints…so…

 

I wanted to share with you some links to recipes that real food bloggers did to re-make healthier versions of these classic cookies!

 

Make sure you drop by their blog-sites and show them some love!

The first ones are samoas that come from Rising Moon Nutrition!

 

“These are sweetened only with dates, and there is a super awesome secret ingredient: sweet potatoes! They add a wonderful texture and flavor to the cookies, and also contribute some sweetness.  The almond butter and dates create the caramel effect and flavor, and the chocolate drizzle is pure, unsweetened dark chocolate. The bitterness of the cocoa is a nice balance to the sweetness of the rest of the cookie..I, of course, enjoyed mine with a nice cup of black coffee…like any good dessert should be!”

 

samoas

 

The next recipe is from my friend over at Life Made Full!

“If you haven’t heard, Girl Scout cookies have GMOs (genetically modified organisms). These grain-free, dairy-free  Thin Mint Copycats don’t. And they’re flippin’ awesome! Seriously, it was just like biting into one of THESE grasshopper cookies, but without any of THESE nasty ingredients!”

 

 

paleothinmints

 

The next are thin mints that come from Orleatha Smith over at Level Health and Nutrition!

“Be it for yourself or for someone else, these cookies are sure to satisfy even the most loyal thin mint fan — I threw in lemon balls (which I would likely flatten next time) and shortbread. Be careful, these are all highly addictive! Enjoy!”

 

paleothinmints2

 

and Finally Raw Vegan Paleo Samoas from BettyRawker.com!

 

“I used to wear my little Brownie uniform and sash full of badges with so much pride (pictured below)! I remember slinging those not so good for you cookies with my troop in front of supermarkets too. I also remember learning how to make raw style “no-bake” cookies, but oh, looking back, they had the worst ingredients! I recall crunchy peanut butter, non fat milk powder, refined sugar…ick!”

 

paleosamoas2

 

Thanks to my friend over at Just Eat Real Food for links to the recipes 🙂

 

 

 

 

Jamaican “Brown” Stew Chicken

Stew chicken FB post photo

I would like to introduce my friends over at “Jamaicanitpaleo!”  They did a guest recipe for me and I am so excited to try this stew out. It looks amazing!

 


Jamaican It Paleo is a new website ran by a husband and father named Alex who created it along with his wife to originally chronicle their family’s recipes for their children.  When his wife had to make some dietary changes, due to her health, they decided to make the focus of his cuisine the focus of her new found paleo way of eating and living.  Originally from Kingston, Jamaica and a US transplant, he was amazed at the way of eating and living in his new country.  Jamaican It Paleo seems like a catchy phrase, but honestly, in Jamaica, they don’t do paleo…they just eat real food…and they COOK! In Jamaica, they love, they work, they cook and they eat—it’s that simple.  Jamaican It Paleo is combination of food, culture and simple living tips about family, money, wellness and organization.  It’s a “likkle-bit-of-dis-an’-a-likkle-bit-of-dat”.  Above all, Jamaican It Paleo seeks to inspire others to live a more simple and delicious life.

To learn more aboutJamaican It Paleo, visit www.jamaicanitpaleo.com or LIKE them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamaicanitpaleo.

Some of us call this stew chicken and others call it brown stew chicken.  Either way, it is chicken (usually dark meat) ‘stewed’ in a rich gravy made from its own juices and the seasonings.  Many of us use a whole chicken too and cut it into smaller pieces to cook with this recipe, but for ease of preparation, we usually will use some thighs or legs.  Us Jamaicans have to season our meat before cooking it and we won’t settle for nothing less.  My wife likes to meal plan and she helps with making sure that we know what we are cooking and defrosting so we can marinate or ‘season the meat’ at least overnight.   If you are not as organized and do not have time, you can give it at least 1 hour to season.  If you haven’t ‘stewed’ meat before, you need to try it.  Check out more information on our stewing page for that.  You can really make this dish spicy if you mince up the scotch bonnet pepper (aka-habanero pepper), but we chose to leave it whole to make it less spicy. Check it out!

For this recipe, we used our dutch oven, chef’s knife, cutting board, and silicone spatula and brush set.

Jamaican “Brown” Stew Chicken

 

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 lb of chicken thighs, legs or breast

  • 1 tsp. of salt

  • 1 tsp. of pepper

  • 2 tsp. allspice

  • 1 onion (chopped)

  • 3 scallions (chopped)

  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper/habanero pepper(whole)

  • 1 green pepper (chopped)

  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)

  • 1 tbsp. ginger (minced)

  • 2 tsp. of dried thyme

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil for frying

  • 1 cup of water

 

Instructions:

 

1. Gather the onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and scallion and get them ready to chop.

2. Chop all of the vegetables and get them ready for the marinade or to “season the meat”.

3. Season the chicken by rubbing in salt, pepper, coconut aminos, thyme, onion, scallion, peppers, garlic, and ginger and allow it to marinade for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.

4. Add the cut up vegetables to the chicken and allow it to marinade for at least 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.

5. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven on high heat and when it is ‘screaming hot’, remove only the chicken to fry in the oil and leave behind the vegetable marinade.

6.  Cover the pot and allow the chicken to brown on one side for about 5 minutes (leave covered).

7. Uncover after 5 minutes and brown on the other side, add the remaining vegetable marinade, the whole scotch bonnet pepper, cover and cook on medium high heat for 20 minutes.

8.  After 2o minutes, add the water and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the gravy thickens.

Serve with irish potato, okra, coleslaw, green banana, plantain, sweet potato or a green salad.  Enjoy!

 

For more recipes like this, visit www.jamaicanitpaleo.com and for updates, free recipes, meal plans and more, like us on FB at www.facebook.com/jamaicanitpaleo.

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Program Guide and Cookbook Review!

022

 

122

 

With the New Year approaching people start to want to make changes to feel better. I often have people ask me about specific diets and programs. I am not in support of diets, and never will be. I am in support of leading a simple, healthy, real food lifestyle. With that said, most of us are addicted to sugar. Our bodies are adjusted to using sugar for energy, and we crave a constant flow of carbohydrates. When your body adjusts to using more fat for energy and less carbohydrates, you become more satiated between meals. Overall you look and feel better. The goal is to stabilize your blood sugar and get off the blood sugar roller coaster that leaves you jittery, moody, and frequently hungry. Even though the program is 21 days, it gives you the tools to make a lifestyle change, and start eating nutrient dense, real foods.

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Program book written by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC is an amazing 21 day program that kick starts this for you. The book comes in 3 program levels with special considerations for athletes, pregnant and nursing moms, pescetarians, and autoimmunity.The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook contains over 100 recipes for any program level!

 

 

the21daysugardetoxguide

21dsd

 

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Guide is helpful in determining where you are now and which level is best for you. There is a quiz that helps you to determine which level is best for you to start with (3 levels). It gives meal plans for each level, and a list of yes and no foods for each level. This makes it easy to stick to your goal! There are tasty and delicious recipes that go along with each meal plan, and the recipes have beautiful pictures to go along with them. This guide contains complete program details, the science behind sugar detoxing, what to expect, a preparation checklist, supplement recommendations, frequently asked questions, a daily success log, a replacing food guide, a guide to sugar synonyms, a guide to fats and oils, a guide on dining out, where to find special ingredients, and much more!

I made some of the recipes from the guide.

I made these delicious bacon wrapped pork tenderloins:

bacontenderloin

and these Asian meatballs over fresh cabbage slaw…

asianmeatballs

and the leftovers made a great lunch for my son Joshua 🙂

asianmeatballs2

I also made a ginger-garlic beef and broccoli, and this herbed almond “cheese spread (I brought this to a party with cut veggies for dipping. It was a HUGE hit!

036

039

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook contains over 100 recipes that work for any of the 3 levels in the guide. It is an awesome complement to the guide and gives many more amazing recipes! I tried a few of these recipes as well.

I made these cabbage wrapped dumplings with Asian dipping sauce. These were very tasty and they were not too difficult to make.

022

029

I made this creamy cilantro garlic sauce which I drizzled over my taco salad! I looooove cilantro, and the flavor married well with coconut milk.

046

044

I also made this satiating carrot-ginger soup. Perfect for wintertime in upstate NY.

200

Now…for my favorite recipe from the Cookbook…

Caramelized brussels sprouts and onion(Aka…heaven) with bacon:

010

There are so many more awesome recipes in this cookbook…you will be amazed!

My birthday is January 6, and I have decided to join the largest group of people starting this program…on my birthday! It is a great way to kick start the year. Eating tasty, amazing, easy to make recipes while getting yourself off that crazy blood sugar roller coaster. Please join me 🙂

Who is in with me?

Link to Diane Sanfilippo’s blog: www.balancedbites.com

Link to purchase the guide and cookbook:

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Guide

The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook

 

Dark Chocolate Orange Holiday Button Cookies

cookies4

cookies4

cookies5

Nothing beats tiny bite-sized cookies that you can pop right into your mouth! I also love the taste of orange and chocolate married together. There is something very nostalgic and Christmas-y about those two flavors. I wanted to create a grain-free and refined sugar free crumbly small cookie, perfect for packaging up and giving out at Christmas time (or just keep them for yourself and avoid all the grain and rancid oil filled cookies).

I love to bake, and I love to challenge myself when it comes to baking, so I made these without referring to any recipes. My kiddos loved them, as did I! They were not too sweet and the right amount of chocolate. They are definitely going on a platter this Christmas. Santa might appreciate these too!

I was lucky to have two amazing four year old helpers! They helped measure, mix, stir, and taste test. We listened to some Christmas music, and baked away.

JandA1

Ingredients for Cookies:

1/2 cup of virgin coconut oil or ghee (not melted)

2 eggs

juice of 1 orange

1 tsp bourbon vanilla

1/4 cup of maple syrup or raw honey

1/2 cup plus 1 TBS of coconut flour

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

Ingredients for Chocolate Drizzle:

4 oz of darkest chocolate you can find (green and blacks 85% dark works great)

2 TBS raw honey

2 TBS coconut oil

1 tsp bourbon vanilla

1 tsp finely grated orange zest

Directions for Cookies:

*oven to 350 degrees*

1. In a standing mixer with cookie paddle mix together the coconut oil or ghee with the eggs, juice of (1) orange, 1 tsp bourbon vanilla, and the maple syrup or honey.

2. Slowly add in (while mixer is on low) coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Mixture will form into cookie dough.

3. line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and roll dough into 1/2 tsp sized balls.

cookies1

4. Press each ball into a flat little “button.”

cookies3

5. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.

Directions for Chocolate Drizzle:

Place dark chocolate, coconut oil, maple syrup or raw honey, bourbon vanilla, and orange zest into a small pan and heat over low heat until melted.

cookies2

Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. You can also cover each cookie completely in chocolate, if that is your preference.

cookies7

Enjoy!!

cookies8

A Week of School Lunches!

042

Here is a week of Joshua’s school lunches!

The lunchbox I use is called a Planetbox. I love this lunchbox! It is durable stainless steel and last for years and years. It makes it easy to pack real food vs processed snacks. It helps get children use to eating healthy nourishing lunches. People complain about the cost, however, you are using this same lunchbox through their entire school education!  Otherwise would be buying different plastic bags, plastic containers and lunchboxes each year, and probably spend much more in the long run!

005

Day 1: Leftover Paleo Shepherds Pie, avocado, pomegranate, peppers, carrots, and a Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient Honey Mint (dark choc liquor, honey, and peppermint oil).

I carmelized a sliced onion in OMGhee ghee until golden brown. I added 3 cloves of finely minced garlic and 1 package of chopped portobello mushrooms (chopped by the kids). Saute until the garlic is fragrant and mushrooms are tender. I added chopped rainbow swiss chard and 2 chopped brown tomatoes. Simmer while browning the meat in a separate pan with sea salt and pepper. Add meat to veggie mixture and place in a casserole dish. Cover with steamed and mashed butternut squash (I mashed it with OMGhee ghee, salt and pepper). Sprinkle with smoked paprika and bake in the oven for 30 minutes! Easy and delish! Thanks Kelly Ross for the awesome dinner suggestion!

017

Day 2: Grass-fed Burger Sliders with spicy mustard, sweet potato, pomegranate, cucumbers, peppers, and a Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient Honey Mint (dark chocolate liquor, honey, and peppermint oil).

042

Day 3: Left over Teeny Tiny Meatballs with marinara, peppers, berries, cucumbers, and a Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient Honey Mint (dark chocolate liquor, honey, and peppermint oil).

009

Day 4: Local Pasteured Pork Sausage with sauteed mushrooms and spicy mustard for dipping, cucumbers, berries, and a Hail Merry brand chocolate macaroon (GF, DF, soy free, refined sugar free).

lucnh3

Day 5: Crispy Pork Tenderloin, pounded thin and crisped in coconut oil with Trader Joe’s 21 Spice Mix, avocado with pink salt, berries, fermented ginger carrot, and a date roll with shredded coconut.

Sweet Potato Jack O’ Lantern Crisps!

049

pumpkins1

These cute little pumpkins are not difficult to make, and you can play around with your favorite spices on them!

Oven 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1 Large sweet potato sliced on the thinnest setting with a mandolin slicer, or thinly sliced by hand

3 TBS of melted ghee or melted coconut oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cinnamon *or for a more smoky taste, skip the cinnamon and use smoked paprika*

Directions:

1. Slice the sweet potato:

040

2. With a small sharp knife, carve the face into each pumpkin (this is not as difficult as it looks, I actually did it fairly quickly. Poke the faces out. I saved the pieces I cut out for another recipe (can be sauteed with other veggies, mixed with eggs, etc)

042

3. place on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and pour melted ghee over coconut oil over the pumpkins:

044

4. Roast in the oven for approx 25 minutes or until crispy (flipping them once halfway)

046

Transfer to a plate and serve! My kids devoured these as an afternoon snack. They make a great side to dinner as well 🙂

049

The Lost Art of Being Human

social life

I would like to welcome my friend Meredith from From This Day Forward Health Coaching! She wrote this blog post for me discussing human traits. As a primal blogger I feel that it is important to think about our “humanness,” and remember our roots. Often times we get caught up in the computer/phone world, and we disconnect from things that are important. We are over-stressed, over worked, and not grounded. Take the time to remember that you are a human, and you have ancestral roots. Meredith presents us with some great food for thought!

 

social life 

That banner that says “Social Life” up there is from the Smithsonian’s webpage on ‘What does is mean to be human?

Take a moment to really soak in that image… take your time. It’s worth a ponder.

What is your primal instinct telling you right now?

I’ll cut to the chase. According to the Smithsonian, there are specific traits that, over geologic time (from ~6 million years ago to the present), uniquely identify certain primates as human beings. Those traits include:

  • The ability to walk upright as a primary mode of locomotion
  • Increasing brain size through time
  • The use of tools to make other tools for hunting and cooking
  • Complex language & written history
  • Evolution of specific body morphologies
  • Complex Social Structures

It’s no secret that we have come a loooooooong way. Our human-ness today is very different from that of our early ancestors. Technically, we still fit the definition of human-hood – we should, we defined it. But on a more emotional and physical level, are we losing the art of being human? Let’s gain some perspective and review these traits.

Walking Upright – This is a very important distinction for human beings. We are the only primate that walks upright as our primary mode of locomotion.

As a result of human ingenuity, we have homes, offices, cars, electricity, we have a global transportation and e-commerce network to bring everything easily within our reach. We now have to go out of our way to NOT live sedentary lives. Fact is, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Our ancestors evolved a specialized mode of locomotion – and today, our health suffers, our muscles are atrophied, our bones weakened, our circulation sluggish – primarily because we aren’t fully utilizing those fine legs and curved spine that make us human.

Opportunity: Increase your functional movements. Use that body more often like your ancestors did.

Larger Brains – Scientists interpret from the fossil record that early humans evolved larger brains, starting around 6 million years ago. The largest relative increase in brain size occurred during a period of extreme climatic fluctuation AND during a time when our ancestors began to use fire to cook food.

I now call your attention to this article, entitled “If Modern Humans Are So Smart Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?” from Discover online. And I quote John Hawks, a University of Wisconsin Anthropologist:

“Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion.”

So what’s going on here? Popular theories for brain shrinkage include global warming selecting for smaller skeletons, malnutrition due to the advent of agriculture & the introduction of a grain-heavy diet, changes in population density, and the domestication of the human species. Whatever the actual cause, we are now seeing a dramatic shift in the long-term brain-size trend that characterizes human evolution.

Is there an opportunity here?: Maybe. Although it depends on what brain size means. Is a bigger brain evolutionarily advantageous? Does it matter what your brain size is if your neurons aren’t firing? Of the theories of brain shrinkage listed above, you have the most control over your nutrition and perhaps how ‘domesticated’ you are. Go get some fresh air, follow your primal instincts, and then donate that brain of yours to science. 🙂

Tools & Food – Early humans used hand-crafted tools to make other tools. Early humans – as early as 2.6 million years ago – made tools to hunt for and butcher animals for food.

Early tools were created & powered by early humans. Their own functional movements (running, jumping, throwing, climbing, sawing, digging…) were key to utilizing those tools. Our modern tools are still created by other tools – but are powered by clicks, swipes, switches, or even more fundamentally by electricity and gasoline. These technological advances create an entirely new set of human functional movements – capitalizing instead on our fine motor skills.

As far as our food supply – well, this is one of the main drivers of Paleo/Primal/Ancestral Health movement. The short story is that in an attempt to maintain a healthy human population, we have decreased the diversity, nutrient density, and microbiota of our food supply, all while increasing the quantities of food we ingest and our toxic load. Ironically, only the healthiest humans (who are probably the most primal of the modern humans) can withstand this burden. The increase in our overall toxic load (whether it be from processed food, pesticides, herbicides, fragrances, household & industrial chemicals) coupled with our decrease in movement has, over multiple generations, resulted in our offspring being weaker & weaker (increase in diabetes, obesity, behavioral problems, asthma, allergies, chronic illness, you name it).

Uh-oh humans…

Opportunity: There is a great opportunity to get crafty. Use your human ingenuity to solve problems. While we’re not all out hunting for food these days, we can increase our functional movements through play – and manual labor around the house. And finally, decrease your toxic load by opting for whole foods and by avoiding man-made chemicals aren’t native to our bodies.

Language & Symbols – Humans are unique among primates because we have developed so many different ways to communicate with each other. We also have the ability to write it down, to leave a written historical record.

This is one aspect of human-ness that we’ve capitalized on pretty well. According to Wikipedia, there are at least 7000 different human languages. Modern humans are now busy creating computer languages too. Our diverse physical and virtual communication skills are awesome.

That said, the bulk of our written language/history these days is in the form of data. One estimate (as of 2010) is that we create as much data every 2 days, as we did from the dawn of civilization up to the year 2003. Every minute, “YouTube users upload 48 hours of video, Facebook users share 684,478 pieces of content, Instagram users share 3,600 new photos, and Tumblr sees 27,778 new posts published (Neil Spencer, 2012).”

 If this trend continues… our personal communication skills are likely to atrophy right along with our muscles.

Opportunity: Take it offline. Bone up on your story-telling skills. Use your imagination. Create artwork to share. Exercise your verbal communication skills every now and then. Practice physically writing – perhaps a hand-written note to a friend or family member.

Evolving Bodies – Human bodies have changed in size and shape from short & wide to tall & narrow. Scientists speculate the change in morphology is based on changes in diet and/or changes in climate. Based on the short size & wide shape of their bodies as well as their skull structure, the earliest human species (around 6 million years ago) are interpreted to have had a plant-based diet. By about 1.9 million years ago – our human ancestors were taller & narrower, coincident with warming climates and a change in diet to include meat and other more quickly digestible foods. Taller, narrower bodies are thought to dissipate heat more readily, an adaptive strategy for life in warmer climates, whereas more compact human species were better suited for colder climates.

Today, we can live in all climatic conditions thanks to insulation/shelter, heat, light, and transportation. For the most part, we’ve eliminated that physical stressor. But by doing that, we’ve also eliminated a pretty major evolutionary force – our interaction with the outside world. We’re changing our relationship with the sun, with the earth, with day & night. Who knows how we’ll eventually adapt to this…

Today, humans of all sizes and shapes have vastly different dietary approaches. We have the luxury of choosing what food to eat – nevermind whether or not it’s actually fit for human consumption. When in our evolutionary past did we have this opportunity?

Opportunity: Get outside more often, spend time in nature, get some sun. Challenge yourself to be a locavore, you’ll be eating whole, seasonal foods like your ancestors did.

Social Life – While most primates have social structures, humans have developed an extreme social structure with its roots in human child rearing. Human babies take nearly twice as long to mature to independence as our closest living relatives (chimpanzees). To ensure survival of the species, humans developed communities to work together for the benefit of the group. There is evidence of campfires or early hearths beginning around 800,000 years ago. This may have been an important place for socialization.

Our ancestors may have been a part of 1-2 different groups in their lives. There were strong bonds in those groups. Their lives depended on those groups.

So, how many groups do you belong to these days? The social structure of modern humans is so incredibly complex, informed by our diversity, and it’s getting more complex every day. Our social structure now involves families, extended families, and step families, hundreds (if not thousands) of religious groups, countless local community related groups… and then we get to virtual communities… I personally belong to 26 groups on Facebook and I’d bet that’s well below average. Our expanded definition of ‘community’ today is dizzying.

Opportunity: Trim some fluff. Focus on building & maintaining meaningful relationships.

Which brings us full circle. Take another look at that image at the top of this post. From that page, you can ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ or ‘email’ to all of your peeps and their peeps about the importance of the social network of early humans from the comfort of your chair in a one-way electronic conversation. The new story telling.

We are human – and we are not exempt from the process of evolution. Our human-ness today is very different from that of early human species.

Maybe being human is not so much a lost art as a new media. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic. But let’s not forget about our uniquely human traits and consider a wider, deeper perspective to inform our lives – and our health – going forward.

 

About Meredith:

RCT_4514 (1)

 

Meredith Rhodes Carson is a geologist and a health coach who is deeply informed by ancestral health. As a result of her own wake-up call, she has developed a free 52-Week Kick-In-The-Ass email series to prove to women who are tired of their own status quo that they have more control over their health & wellness than they were taught to believe. She has also started a newsletter to give you a new, bigger picture perspective about your health called ‘The Monthly. (A Periodical)’. It’s written in a way that only a geologist turned health coach can and delivered to your inbox on the full moon. Ladies, you can join the revolution at

Pumpkin Pie Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds (4)

pumpkin seeds (4)

 

 

Pumpkin seeds are filled with lots of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper. They are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B-6, and folates), and zinc. Pumpkin seeds also provide protein and fat. One cup of pumpkin seeds provides 39 grams of protein, 63 grams of fat and only 1.8 grams of sugar. Not that you would eat a whole cup in one sitting, but this shows that pumpkin seeds are a good source of nutrients!

I grew up carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds with sea salt. I wanted to try something with a little bit of sweetness and Fall spice to it. These came out great and the kiddos loved them!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

1 pumpkin (any size)

2 TBS ghee (clarified butter) melted

1 TBS pumpkin pie spice

1 TBS of coconut sugar, date sugar, or maple syrup

Directions:

Oven 350 degrees

Carve the pumpkin and save the seeds!

My 6 year old carved this pumpkin and my 4 year old helped me separate the seeds.

pumpkin seeds (6)

Separate the seeds from the  pumpkin “guts” (as my kids like to call it):

pumpkin seeds (7)

Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet. Pour melted ghee over the seeds, and sprinkle with coconut sugar, date sugar, or maple syrup. Sprinkle on the pumpkin pie spice and stir well.

Roast in the oven stirring frequently for approx 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown and crispy)  stirring frequently.

Let them cool and enjoy!

pumpkin seeds (1)

pumpkin seeds (2)

Happy Halloween!

We Have a Winner!!!

eggsandsausage

The winner of Eric Hulse Nutrition and Primal Bliss Nutrition’s Planetbox lunch box competition is…….

Heather Stevens!

 

eggsandsausage

 

Awesome job Heather, for packing a colorful nutrient dense lunch for your son! We hope you enjoy your new Planetbox.

 

All of the top 5 candidates had lots of votes. It was a close call!

 

Thanks to all that participated, we had a great time. Eric and I will be having more giveaways soon 🙂

 

Top 5 Finalists, Planetbox School Lunch Competition!

egg rolls

As you know Eric Hulse and I are running a school lunch competition and someone is winning a free Planetbox brand lunchbox!

PlanetBox_Rover_Carry_Bag_Complete_no_Pink_or_Blue_large

Eric and I received many beautiful pictures of school lunches. I am very impressed with what I have seen. This gives me hope that people are realizing the affect processed foods have on their children. Eric and I  narrowed it down to our top 5 favorite colorful, nutrient dense, and creative lunch combinations! We are excited to share our top 5 finalists with you, and you get to pick who wins the Planetbox by voting in the comment section!

 

Please vote by tomorrow, Sunday September 15th 2013 at 9pm EST!!! Just comment on my blog or Eric’s Blog as to which lunch is your favorite. The lunch with the top votes will win the Planetbox!

 

 

1. Crystal’s Paleo Sushi Rolls:

“My daughters lunch we call it paleo “sushi” rolls it is sliced chicken breast with shredded carrots and cucumber and avocado stuffed inside. Mango on the side and raisins, cranberries and cashews mixed”

sushirolls

 

 

2. Carlene’s Eggs and Chicken
“Eggs, Brazil and macadamia nuts, broccoli, carrot, capsicum, grape tomatoes, mandarin and strawberries, grilled chicken and sweet potato”

lunch2

 

 

3. Heather’s Eggs and Sausage

“Boiled egg, fresh sausage that we processed ourselves, and red/green/yellow peppers. I also added some berries and some leftover sauteed squash. He came home asking me to pack him the same lunch tomorrow!”

eggsandsausage

4. April’s Egg Rolls

“This one is “egg rolls” omelet style egg, rolled up with nitrate free ham and organic sautéed spinach, nitrate free bacon and organic guac “bites”, organic strawberries and grapes, organic baby carrots and half a hard boiled egg per my sons request ;)”

egg rolls

5. Louise’s Mexican style egg muffins

“Mexican style egg muffin,  grass fed beef, unsweetened  apple sauce and fruit snacks.  Happy lunch.  This was at the start of school.  Figs are in season so he has been very happy this week.  Thanks for your inspiration.”

egg muffin

Please let us know in the comment section which lunch is your favorite! The winner will be announced on Monday!!! Good luck to our finalists 🙂

A Sweet Find!

image

image

What is in that ripped open bag of goodness you ask?  ^^^

When sticking to the paleo/primal lifestyle, it is important to avoid as many processed foods as possible in order to feel our best! It is also important to cut down on sugary treats and desserts. One of the biggest mistakes people can make when converting to this lifestyle is to buy all these “gluten free” processed treats and desserts. They are usually loaded with sugar and keeps people on that blood sugar roller coaster.

However, every so often it is nice to have a little something sweet, that isn’t going to take away from the nutrient dense variety of foods we are eating, and isn’t going to leave us feeling drained. I see nothing wrong with this. I found these Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient mints and wanted to share them with you. There is literally only 3 ingredients in them! However, they taste exactly like a peppermint patty or junior mints…it’s that melt in your mouth chocolate/minty taste sure to satiate that sweet urge. I store them in the freezer and at times when that need for sweetness comes along, one of these suckers does the trick!

These mints do have 17grams of sugar per 3 mints. However, the sugar comes from pure honey which is a more natural source of sugar. I limit my sugar intake, and try to stick with eating 1 (and that really does do the trick for me). I also pop one in my son’s lunchbox as an after lunch minty treat. He really enjoys them, and it is something I feel okay about giving him.

So what are the 3 ingredients?

Honey, Chocolate Liquor, and Oil of Peppermint

I like that there is no soy lecithin, no other crazy ingredients. These can probably even be recreated at home with cacao and raw honey (maybe my next endeavor?).

 

Here is what these shiny little nuggets look like on the outside:

image

 

Here is what they look like on the inside:

image

 

and they come in this adorable shimmery green wrap 🙂

image

 

Where can I find these?

These are Trader Joe’s brand and can be found at Trader Joe’s. I did check on amazon and wasn’t able to find them on there. So for those of you who do not live near a Trader Joe’s, ask a friend that does to ship you some!

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Lunch Contest and Planetbox Giveaway!

PlanetBox_Rover_Carry_Bag_Complete_no_Pink_or_Blue_large

Hey everyone! I am so excited to announce this contest I am running with my dear friend Eric over at www.erichulse.com.

 

eric

 

 

Eric is a holistic health and lifestyle coach, Author, and teacher. Eric sees first hand the affect that eating processed foods has on today’s children.  We are both passionate about nurturing today’s children with real, nutrient dense, whole foods. Eating real food nourishes your child’s body so they can not only function throughout the day but also feel good. Eating real food helps to develop their eyesight, memory, concentration, focus, and gives them energy while they go about their day.  Many children muddle through the day and get by. They get use to feeling tired, sick, or even a little off. It is our job as adults to change this, and take care of their little bodies. We want our children to feel their best. They learn through what we teach. By feeding them real foods you are NOT….I repeat you are NOT depriving them. They will learn the difference in how they feel, and will learn to enjoy a variety of healthy, real foods. I guarantee they will surprise you!

 

It is challenging because culturally we are so far removed from real food, that we truly believe packaged food is real food. We blame all these sicknesses, diseases and ailments on “aging” and “getting old” It may be convenient and less expensive to buy this stuff, but it is hurting our children and setting them up for lifelong struggles that could easily be avoided. I was saddened by the “healthy snack” list at our school, which included go-gurts and graham crackers. This might come across as bold, but I am tired of playing nice and turning the blind cheek when it comes to this. Eating foods like these just makes children feel more hungry, because they are not getting the nutrient absorption their bodies need. The blood sugar spikes and plummets leaves them feeling drained. Not to mention the toll these foods have on their gut, setting them up for future autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, celiacs, asthma, diabetes, lupus and the list goes on and on. Just because something is marketed as “whole grain” or “healthy” doesn’t mean that it is. “whole grain” is a loaded term that means nothing. Grains are digested as sugar, and also block nutrient absorption. We have been brainwashed by the media, and it’s time we stop this nonsense and nourish our children with real food. It may cost more and take more time, but overall you are avoiding years of unnecessary struggling.

 

Now that I have that off my chest, I’m going to announce our awesome school lunch contest and giveaway! We are so excited to have our readers involved with this…we hope to start a real food school lunch revolution! We can do this. YOU can do this! This is our first giveaway and we are just thrilled about it!

 

 

Eric and I will be giving away a planetbox lunchbox!

PlanetBox_Rover_Carry_Bag_Complete_no_Pink_or_Blue_large

Planetbox is stainless steel, durable, and lasts for many years. You no longer need separate containers that get lost or thrown in the trash. It comes with separate “dip” containers that are great for paleo dips and sauces to dip the meat in. Planetbox makes it easy to pack real food. Often times my son Joshua gets leftovers from dinner the night before. HERE is a link to a month of Joshua’s school lunches in the planetbox!

Eric and I will be giving away one of these amazing lunchboxes!

Here is how to enter:

1. E-mail Either Eric or I a picture and description of one of your home packed school lunches between Wed and Fri (the 11th through 13th) of this week. The deadline for entries is Friday the 13th 9pm EST.

Eric’s e-mail: erichulse.wellness@gmail.com

Primal Bliss e-mail: primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

2. Eric and I will narrow it down to our favorite 5 lunches. We will be looking for nutrient dense foods, variety, and of course fun!

3. We will then post our 5 favorite lunches on our blogs and let you vote on your favorite one in the comment section of our blogs throughout the weekend.

4. On Monday September 16th we will announce the winner that you chose, and send that individual their very own planetbox!

We also ask those that enter to “like” us on Facebook and Subscribe to our blogs!

Eric on Facebook: www.facebook.com/erichulsewellness

Primal Bliss on Facebook: www.facebook.com/primalblissnutrition

Good luck!!!

 

 

Book Review: The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking

30dayguidetopaleocooking

30dayguidetopaleocooking

It was my pleasure to review the Cookbook “The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking” written by Hayley Mason and Bill Stayley. I enjoyed reading this cookbook and making some of the recipes! I highly recommend it!

 

In the first few pages The Author’s share several Paleo success stories with pictures. Each story tells the age of the person, their favorite paleo benefit, and their favorite paleo dish. These success stories are very inspiring and motivational. They also help you to realize that everyday people are benefiting tremendously by making these lifestyle changes!

 

image

 

The book is broken down into 3 easy to read parts.

The first part of “The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking”  discusses what the paleo diet is, the difference/similarities between “primal” and “paleo” (in easy to understand terms). They describe what foods to enjoy, and what foods to avoid. They include aesthetically pleasing pictures. They also include a section on growing your own food. In the first section the author’s also list the key ingredients you would want to stock up on when eating a paleo diet. Following this are answers to many common questions.

 

Part 2 of the “The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking”  is a 30 Day meal plan that is broken down into weeks. This plan includes check lists and shopping guides. It doesn’t get any easier than this! They do all the planning for you. In the back of the cookbook are tear out guides that you can bring with you to the store!

 

Part 3 of the book is the recipes. They even include a page describing how to break down and read the recipes, and a informational “key” that lets you know the prep time and difficulty level for each recipe. I tried several recipes from this cookbook and they were all amazing. With these recipes you will feel satiated, and not deprived.

 

My favorite recipe from this cookbook was the beef and mushroom lettuce cups:

fajita wraps

 

Here is the recipe (with permission from Author’s to share)

2 lbs gr. beef

1 cup white mushrooms sliced

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 TBS BBQ Blend Spice

1 TBS salt,

1 TBS pepper

1/2 avocado

1/4 cup cilantro

1 head iceberg lettuce

 Brown beef over med-heat (in large dutch oven), toss in mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Top with BBQ spice blend, cook for 20 minutes stirring frequently. Place in individual lettuce cups and top with avocado and cilantro

BBQ spice blend: 1 tsp each of smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle powder, cinnamon, coriander, and black pepper

 

Some of the other recipes I enjoyed included;

* fajita lettuce wraps with chipotle aioli

*pressure cooker pork roast

*beef brisket.

 

All the recipes are amazing, and everything is laid out for you. If you want to try the paleo diet for 30 days, or if you are looking for new recipes to try. This is the cookbook for you!

 

 

You can order “The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Dieting” HERE

 

 

 

 

 

I was very impressed with this cookbook over all and highly recommend it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bacon, Carmelized Onion, and Chive Ranch Dip

ranch7

ranch7

My kids love the taste of ranch. However, I don’t like to purchase store bought dressings because of the use of GMO soy oil and other highly processed oils that cause inflammation in the body. This ranch flavored mayo based dressing can be used as a dip, dressing, or spread on a burger. It is very flavorful! My kids enjoyed dipping veggies in it. It can also be used as a spread for steak.

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt plus extra for taste at the end

1 tsp white pepper

1 cup of macadamia nut oil, light olive oil (not extra virgin), or avocado oil

1 TBS vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

3 strips of bacon diced

1/2 onion finely diced

2 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of chives diced

*water to thin to desired consistency

 

Directions:

Cook the diced bacon over med heat until crispy, remove from pan and set aside.

 

755757

 

 

 

Put the onions in the same pan with bacon dripping and cook over med low stirring occasionally for a good 1/2 hour until golden brown.

 

 

756

762

 

 

Finely dice the garlic (I used a mini food processor) and set aside:

 

 

760761

 

 

Finely dice the chives and set aside as well.
Pictured below is the bacon, chives, onions, and garlic:

 

 

765  

The base of this dip is mayo. You can follow any paleo mayo recipe. This is how I usually make mine:

Put the egg yolks, mustard  and 1/2 tsp of sea salt in a mixing bowl. Using a wire whisk or electric beaters mix until egg yolk begins to emulsify (thicken). Slowly add the oil a drop at time while beating-be very patient, you want it to get thick. Once you are about half way through the oil doing little drops at a time, and the mayo is thick, you can pour it in a stream and finish up.

***be patient, whisk hard, and it helps to have a partner helping to drop the oil in one drop at a time. It also helps to have a good mixer because your arm does get sore if you do it by hand. ***

Add the vinegar, white pepper, lemon juice, and more sea salt to your liking. If the mayonaisse is on the thicker side, add distilled water (a few drops at a time) until desired consistency. If you are using this to put on burgers or steaks, you would want it on the thicker side. If you plan to use it as a dip or dressing, thin it out more.

 

 

Next fold in the bacon, chives, diced garlic, and carmelized onions, and transfer to a serving dish:

769

Enjoy!!!

773

Paleo On The Go, Home Delivered Paleo Meals!

paleo-on-the-go_logovector

paleo-on-the-go_logovector

 

On a recent visit to Florida I was lucky to have the opportunity to connect with Dave, Founder of Paleo On The Go.  Paleo On the Go is a service that cooks and delivers Paleo Meals to all 50 States in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In my opinion, the prices are reasonable. The meats are grass-fed/pastured, and the ingredients are all fresh. I toured the kitchen where the food is prepared, met the cooks, and was able to taste some of the meals. I was very impressed and want to spread the word on this service!

 

image image

I taste tested the butternut squash lasagna. It was amazing! I was very impressed with both the texture and the taste. This lasagna uses a cashew basil “ricotta” and you really cannot tell a difference.

 

POTG5

The meals are delivered frozen and are easy to reheat.

 

potg6

 

My kids and I ordered some food for our hotel room so we wouldn’t be eating junk all week while on vacation. The first night on our visit my son Joshua had a fever and sore throat. Thankfully Paleo On The Go came to my rescue with their homestyle chicken soup. It was enough soup to serve both kids a big bowl! Joshua ate all of it and I felt good knowing he was getting some goodness in him while feeling so lousy!

 

POTG2

 

While on vacation, I also ordered the chili lime chicken wings. I was really surprised that when you heat them up the taste and texture is not compromised as you might expect. The kids and I devoured these :). They were delicious!

 

 

potg13

 

 

Here are some of the other meals they offer:

 

Ranch Cauliflower Dip

potg7

BBQ Beef Brisket

potg12

Autoimmune Friendly Herb Roasted Chicken

potg11

Are you drooling yet? Wait…there is more!

Mustard Bacon Chicken with Mustard Thyme (I must try this, thyme is my favorite herb)

potg10

Gyro Meatballs with zucchini noodles

potg9

 

 

Dave is generously offering a free paleo treat to my readers 🙂

 

Use coupon code PrimalBliss for free paleo cookies with your order through Aug 31st!

paleocookies

 

 

 

DaveRohdeAbout Dave Rohde: Founder/CEO at Paleo On The Go “I learned about the paleo diet in 2008 after joining a Crossfit Box. After going home and researching the paleo diet for many hours, I realized that the information made a lot of sense and might be the answer that I have been looking to help me with my health challenges and weird food allergies. A few years later, I founded Paleo On The Go to provide amazing fully prepared paleo food with unprecedented convenience and build a platform to help educate as many people as possible including people that are suffering unnecessarily with troubling conditions. In the year and a half being in business we have developed an expanding product line of paleo food that we are just thrilled about. Our newest development is a menu specific to meet the dietary needs of people with autoimmune issues. Check out our blogs, paleo tip of the week, and paleo meals and snacks at www.paleoonthego.com.

-Dave Rohde, Founder/CEO at Paleo On The Go

Connect with Dave/place an order:

Website and Blog: www.paleoonthego.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/paleoonthego

Twitter: www.twitter.com/paleoonthego

Instagram: www.instagram.com/paleoonthegodotcom

Crockpot Paleo Pork “Goulash”

image

image

 

On a recent trip to Florida I tried some authentic German goulash. It was amazing! I wanted to try and recreate some of the flavors in the dish and this is what I came up with…

 

 

Ingredients:

2 medium sized pastured pork tenderloins (or 1 large would work)

1 1/2 cups of beef broth or bone broth

1 small can of muir glen diced tomatoes

1 onion chopped

1 red bell pepper sliced

8 oz of sliced mushrooms

5 cloves of garlic-thinly sliced

3 TBS apple cider vinegar

sea salt

pepper

paprika

fresh cilantro

2-3 TBS potato starch or tapioca starch (to thicken at the end)

 

 

 

Directions: 

Cube the pork into 1-2 inch cubes:

 

 

 

image

 

 

Sprinkle pork generously with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and paprika.

 

Place all ingredients except for cilantro and potato starch in a crockpot. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix it all up.

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

Cook on low for 6-7 hours. At the end whisk in the starch to thicken the broth. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.

Enjoy!

 

 

image

 

Citrus Grilled Shrimp Over Arugula Salad, with Meyer Lemon Dressing!

image

image

I was looking for inspiration while at the grocery store today and found some Meyer lemons! Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons, but hold more tartness than an orange. The first thing that came to my mind was to marinade shrimp and make a salad dressing out of them. This was my inspirations for tonight’s dinner!

image

RECIPE:

1 pound of raw shrimp, preferably wild caught, peeled and deveined

For the the marinade:

1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

zest and juice from 1 meyer lemon (a regular lemon, lime, or orange would work too)

3 cloves of garlic finely minced

sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and pour over shrimp. Marinade for approx 30-45 minutes (while preparing the salad)

For the salad:

1 small bunch or bag of fresh arugula

1 head of chopped red leaf lettuce

1/4 of a red onion chopped

1 avocado chopped

1 tomato chopped

1 bunch of scallions thinly sliced

chopped fresh basil or thyme (about 1 TBS)

Any other fresh veggies you would like to add!

For the dressing:

1 tsp finely diced meyer lemon zest

juice from 1 meyer lemon

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 TBS finely chopped thyme or basil (I used thyme as it is my fave)

sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare salad in a salad bowl and drizzle dressing over the salad.

Grille the shrimp over medium/high approx 2 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Place shrimp on top of salad, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

image

Grass-fed Burgers on Sticks with Cheddar Curry Dip

image

image

I was trying to think of something fun to do with the grass-fed beef I had in the fridge. I love to change things up and make recipes I know the kids will find tasty and fun to eat. Burgers on sticks popped into my mind! The movie “Something About Mary” also came to mind…when they had the discussion about meat on sticks. I knew the kids would enjoy this. So I went to the local craft store and picked up some wooden popsicle sticks!

 

image

 

 

I soaked them water for about 20 minutes-Why? Well I’ve read that you should soak skewer sticks in water so I did the same. I also didn’t want them to catch fire.

 

Next I put the grass-fed burger (about the size of a regular burger) on each stick, and sprinkled the meat with Trader Joe’s 21 Spice Mix, sea salt, and pepper.

image

 

Set the grille to medium high heat until it is hot. Lay down foil under the popsicle sticks so they won’t light on fire. Turn temp down to medium and grille to your liking (approx 8 minutes per side give or take)

 

image

 

 

Now for the cheddar curry dipping sauce recipe:

 

image

 

 

1/2 cup of shredded melted grass-fed cheddar (I used Kerrygold brand)

2 TBS Homemade Mayonaisse (I love this recipe from nom nom paleo)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 tsp of curry powder

a splash of almond milk or coconut milk

 

Melt the cheese in a small pan, whisk in the mayo, dijon mustard, curry powder, and milk…serve warm!

 

I served the burgers with potato crisps cooked in coconut oil.

image

Using a mandolin slicer thinly slice potatoes, cover the bottom of a pan with about 1/2 inch of coconut oil, spread potatoes in pan and cook until crispy. Sprinkle with sea salt…drizzle with vinegar if you like that!

image

ENJOY!

 

image

 

image

 

 

 

From Farmer’s Market to Our Table-with Eric Hulse!

IMG_0125

farmtotable

 

 

It was my pleasure to have an opportunity to spend a day with Eric Hulse from Eric Hulse Wellness and his fiance Austin! We visited the Local Farmer’s Market here in Saratoga Springs NY, climbed trees, picked out fresh produce, had some wine, and cooked up a storm together. What a blast!

 

We started at the local Farmer’s Market

259 - Copy 

Eric did some tree climbing with my kids!

265 - Copy

 

263 - Copy

 

Eric tried the “Saratoga Springs” fresh mineral water

261 - Copy

and he found this awesome braided “super carrot”

267

We picked out a bounty of amazing produce including different varieties of cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, basil, turnips, and garlic scapes. We picked up some homemade sauerkraut from a local farmer, and some swiss chard. We found some local pastured sausage.

260 - Copy

 

IMG_0117

 

 

Then we came back to my place, poured some wine and started cooking…

Here we are doing some serious chopping!

 

271

 

 

 

I worked on the roasted vegetables while Eric made the cucumber, tomato, and avocado salad…with fresh basil, sea salt, and cracked pepper.

 

275

 

IMG_0148

 

 

and here is the sausage and swiss chard:

IMG_0159

 

 

We also roasted some camera shy veggies on a cookie sheet in coconut oil: carrots, garlic scapes and turnips…we added some dill seasoning!

 

 

What do I want you to take from this?

Break out of your shell.

Visit your local farms and farmer’s markets!

Open your heart.

Buy local produce, get together with friends, and bond over cooking.

Cooking is pleasurable!

Don’t follow a recipe-create from your heart.

You are capable of more than you think.

Be inspiring.

 

What did I take from this? 

I made two amazing new friends…who enjoy bonfires as much as I do. What more could I ask for? Thank you Eric and Austin for an awesome day!

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” -C.S. Lewis

 

 

Grain-Free Blueberry Lemon Pie with Whipped Coconut Cream

124

124

 

I LOVE blueberry pie! I love it with a hint of lemon and not overly sweet. I used the same crust recipe I created back in April for the strawberry rhubarb pie. I used berries that the kids and I picked last week and froze. The kids and I had half the pie eaten within an hour. It holds together best if you are patient and let it set. Otherwise you might be eating pie soup!

 

 

Here is what my kitchen looked like in the midst of pie making:

123
*Note the small purple play doh rolling pin.I somehow miss-placed and lost my full sized rolling pin…so I had to improvise!

 

Here is the recipe! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups of almond meal

1/3 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut oil

6-8 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

 

 

Ingredients for the filling:

4 cups of frozen blueberries

3 TBS coconut oil

1/2-3/4 cup of raw honey (I used 3/4 as these were tart blueberries)

zest from one lemon finely diced (about 2 TBS)

3 TBS tapioca starch

1 TBS cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. Set oven to 375 degrees

2. make crust-I did not melt the coconut oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand)

crust #1crust#1_2

3. make dough into 2 separate balls

crust#1_3

4. roll out dough from one of the balls on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect.

crust#1_5

5, Roll out the second ball of dough and cut it with cookie cutter to make shapes to go on top of the pie (I find this easier and more aesthetically pleasing than trying to do a full covered top)

 

6 Make the filling:

put the blueberries in a big pan with the honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Turn heat to med/low and cook stirring frequently until blue juice begins to form at the bottom of the pan, and blueberries start to break down some.

 

115

117

 7.  Turn off the heat and pour the blueberry mixture into a bowl. Remove about 1/4 cup of the juice and put it in a small bowl. Whisk the tapioca starch into that “blueberry juice”

116

 

8. Pour the tapioca mixture in with the blueberry mixture and stir well. Pour this mixture into the pie crust, and cover with cut out shapes.

119

120

9. Put the pie in the oven and bake for approx 45 minutes to one hour. *tent with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning of the outer crust.

10. Let the pie be!!! It needs to set. If you cut it too soon you will have blueberry pie soup! You can set it faster in the refrigerator.

 

Coconut Whipped Cream:

refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk (not the reduced fat kind). Open the can and take the cream off of the top and place it in a bowl. *you can save the watery part for other recipes-you could even use it in place of water in dough for the pies!  Add 1 TBS raw honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla and whip with beaters on high until stiff.

whipped coconut cream

*I put my whipped coconut cream in the freezer for a bit so it would be sort of “ice creamy” to have on top of the pie.

Enjoy!!!

pie2

 

 

Beef, Bacon, and Mushroom Stuffed Peppers…Grain Free!

image

image

 

I was not planning on making these into a blog post, so I apologize for the lack of step-by-step pictures. However, I had to share this recipe as it came out very tasty and was not too difficult to make. These are different from traditional stuffed peppers typically made with a tomato sauce and rice or cauliflower rice. I used cabbage and mushrooms. They were very tasty!

 

Ingredients

image

1-2 TBS coconut oil

6-8 large peppers (kiddos wanted to pick out various colors) *I use organic peppers as these are on the “dirty dozen” list

1 lb grass-fed ground beef (highest in fat you can find)

3-4 strips of pastured bacon

1/4 -1/2 a cabbage (depending on size) thinly sliced

2-3 large carrots shredded

1 package of mushrooms chopped (I used organic frozen mushrooms and did not chop them…most people prefer smaller pieces though)

1/2 a large onion or 1 whole small onion finely diced

3-4 cloves of garlic diced

2 TBS of Trader Joe’s 21 spice mix (not necessary…I just love to add this to everything)

sea salt and pepper

 

Directions

 

*PREHEAT OVEN 350 Degrees*

1. Boil a large pot of water

2. Cut the top off of each pepper, remove the seeds and membrane inside

3. Blanch the peppers in the boiling water for one minute and remove with tongues, set aside.

4. Cook the strips of bacon in a large frying pan until crispy. Remove bacon from pan, and chop it up. Set it aside

5. In that same bacon pan add 1-2 TBS coconut oil to the bacon fat, and turn heat to med high. Add the cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and seasonings.  Cook stirring frequently until veggies are tender.

6. Stir in the ground beef and the bacon.

7. Stuff the peppers with the filling and put their caps back on 🙂 Place them in baking dishes, and put a little water at the bottom of the baking dishes.

 

image

 

8. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until peppers are tender and meat is cooked through

 

Enjoy!

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Bacon Almond Butter Cups!

bacon almond butter cups

bacon almond butter cups

 

Chocolate with Bacon? Sweet and Savory. Helllooooooo!!!

 

I would like to introduce to you my dear friend Laura! Laura made these delicious Bacon Almond Butter Cups and I am thrilled to share the recipe with you all!

 

 

 

Here is a brief bio of Laura:

“I am 31-year-old a stay-at-home mom who has always had a passion for cooking and baking. After struggling with weight and food addiction my entire life, I discovered the Paleolithic lifestyle. I have been Paleo since November of 2011, and since then I have lost a total of 60 pounds and have dropped 5 dress sizes. My overall health has improved drastically as well, with increased energy, clearer skin, healthier digestion, significantly fewer headaches & sinus struggles, and better sleeping patterns. My new Paleo lifestyle and my passion for cooking are perfect companions, and I have been having a blast in my kitchen exploring all sorts of new recipes and foods! I believe whole-heartedly in a clean, natural approach to health, and that all begins from the inside. It starts not only with the quality of the food we consume, but also our relationship with food and with ourselves. I just hope that my story can help others find their path to healthy living!”

photo

Laura can be found on:

instagram: www.instagram.com/lpepps

twitter: www.twitter.com/lpepps

 

 

Bacon Almond Butter Cups:

bacon almond butter cups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bacon Almond Butter Cups (makes 6 full sized muffin cups)

 

Chocolate

 

Note: This recipe is a great base for any simple chocolate candy. I make candy bars out of this mixture & add all sorts of extras!

3/4 cup Coconut Oil

1/3 cup Raw Honey

6-8 Tbs Organic Cacao Powder (depending on richness of flavor you want)

Put coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl & just barely soften (approximately 15 secs in microwave)*. Add raw honey & cacao powder to oil & wisk together. You should have a soft icing consistency.

*If the coconut oil gets too melted, the honey will not blend with the oil. If it gets too melted allow it to cool to a thicker texture

 

 

Almond Butter Bacon Filling

4-6 slices of crispy fried bacon

1/4 cup Natural Almond Butter (made with just almonds or almonds & salt)

1 tsp Raw Honey

Mix almond butter and honey. Crumble crispy bacon & mix into the butter

To Assemble:

In a silicone muffin pan (or a metal muffin tin with foil-lined cupcake liners) drop just shy of a Tbs of chocolate into the bottom of 6 muffin cups. Add a dollop of Almond Butter Filling in each cup. Top each cup with more chocolate. Place in the freezer to harden quickly. They will only need to sit in the freezer for about 15-20 min. After that, place in the refrigerator to keep. Keep in mind, as with any coconut oil-based no-bake treat, it will soften quickly once out of the refrigerator.

 

 

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Coconut, Almond Butter and Raspberry Preserve Cups

image

I was brainstorming chocolate raspberry ideas and love the taste of almond butter and preserves together (before going paleo I would eat almond butter and jelly sandwiches. I feel much better not eating them, but I miss that combination). I picked up some low-sugar organic raspberry preserves and created these cups (inspired by peanut butter cups). They turned out fantastic! They are not too difficult to make either. These store well in the freezer.

image

 

 

 

Ingredients:

2 bars of 85% or darker dark chocolate. I used Green & Black’s organic…3.5 oz bars (2 of them)

image

 

1/2 cup of coconut oil

image

 

3/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut plus extra to sprinkle on top

image

 

Almond butter (I used Trader Joe’s crunchy unsalted)

image

 

Low sugar raspberry preserves (extra points for homemade)

image

 

 

1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of sea salt

 

 

Directions:

 

1. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners

image

 

2. In a small saucepan melt the chocolate with the coconut oil, vanilla, sea salt, and 3/4 cup of the shredded coconut.

imageimage

 

3. Using a spoon spoon a small amount of melted mixture into each of the cupcake liners (about 1/2 inch).

image

 

 

4. Put the tray into the freezer for about 15 minutes and then remove it.

 

5. Spoon about 1/2- 3/4 tsp of raspberry preserves on top of each one.

image

 

6. Spoon about 1/2 – 3/4 tsp of almond butter on top of the jelly.

image

 

7. Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture on top of each one, and sprinkle some shredded coconut on top. Immediately stick the batch back in the freezer before the coconut sinks in!

image

 

 

8. Wait about 15 more minutes and they are ready to remove from cupcake liners and place on a plate. Store in the freezer, especially in the summertime as they melt easily.

image

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

The Planetbox Shuttle!

image

Want an easier way to pack real food when you are out and about? The Planetbox Shuttle is awesome!

image

Planetbox now has a new snack tray called the “Shuttle!” I was very excited to try out this new smaller lunchbox because I love Joshua’s lunch tray from Planetbox.As many of my readers know, I share his lunches daily during the school year.

In this post I share a month of real food school lunches in his Planetbox.

Now that we are on summer vacation we are having some fun little outings and day trips. The Planetbox Shuttle is great for packing snacks and the case is adorable. It is smaller than the lunch tray and comes with this adorable carry case.

Yesterday I went to a coffeehouse to do some work on my blog.  However, all they offer for food are bagels, chips, baked goods, and breakfast sandwiches. So I packed up the shuttle with some good for myself:

image

Now we are on summer vacation and we are out and about doing fun things several day per week! I have been bringing this along with us so the kids have something to munch on in the morning. This is an example of one of the snacks…apples with almond butter for dipping, and blueberries.

image

However, it can also fit a small lunch (notice the adorable magnets that fit on the inside cover). This is grass-fed fed ground beef sauteed with garlic, portobello mushrooms, fresh basil, zucchini, and broccoli over lettuce, and strawberries.

image

What do I love about Planetbox?

I love that it is small, compact and portion controlled.

I love that I do not have to clean several different containers, and wonder where matching lids went. Yes, it is an upfront cost. However, this is stainless steel and lasts for YEARS. It is dishwasher safe and very durable. You aren’t spending money on various plastic baggies, lunch bags, plastic containers, etc throughout the years. This is it-and it never gets lost. I plan on using Joshua’s Planetbox for him throughout his school years…yes, the same one!

I love that I can pack real food-it keeps you real and honest. You can see the different colors and make sure you are getting a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Over the summer I will be sharing various lunches and snacks that we pack up in our Planetbox containers for our day excursions!

Come Fall when school starts again look for  Joshua’s daily lunches on my facebook page!

Happy Summer Everyone 🙂

Break Free from Cereal Breakfasts!

image

image

One of the most difficult things for us to do is to break free from what has been instilled in our minds. When it comes to traditions such as meals, the types of foods we associate with that meal trail all the way back to our earliest childhood memories. As adults we remember what we were taught about certain foods through family, friends and media. I still remember all the cereal commercials that say “part of a healthy breakfast” Of course this is all about marketing sales and the health claims are false. However, as a child these claims stick with us. In this blog post I discuss the marketing of food in our culture, and misplaced trust.

In my generation fat was demonized. Things like bacon and sausage were seen as heart-disease causing culprits. This was also based on faulty information and the medical community is now realizing this. However, we have a hard time letting go of what we have been taught. This blog post will help with understanding the benefits of having saturated fats in your diet. However, many of us cling to these faulty beliefs. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day-it is the time to fuel our bodies after fasting over night (break-fast=breaking the fast). So how do we sift through all this information and make the right choices each day? 

I’m going to start by discussing cereal. Cereal and breakfast go hand in hand for so many people, and I’m going to explain why cereal is not a good choice for your body. There are many reasons behind this. First of all-cereal is a grain, and grains are broken down into the body as sugar. Yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet, but there are more nutrient dense sources that will not leave your blood sugar to spike and plummet. Eating a bowl of cereal wreaks havoc on the pancreas.

SONY DSC

One of my favorite cereals as a kid was a brand called crackling oat bran (we use to call it cat food cereal because it was shaped like cat food). This cereal is marketed as a “healthy”  “whole grain” (another clever marketing scheme) cereal. One “serving” (3/4 cup, give me a break when one eats cereal, they eat at least 1 1/2 cups if not more…double the serving suggestion) has 40 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of sugar. Now lets double that because there isn’t anyone sticking to serving portions. You are actually consuming 80 grams of carbohydrates and 40 grams of sugar. Those carbohydrates break down as sugar. Holy sugar rush. What does your body do with all that extra sugar? First of all after the blood sugar spike and plummet you will crash and burn and be super hungry within an hour of eating it. Second, your pancreas gets overworked leading to insulin resistance (which can lead to type 2 diabetes, very prevalent in our culture). Third, the extra carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat.

Cereal grains are highly processed and stripped of nutrients. Then synthetic vitamins are added, and it is labeled as “nutritious”

Saturated fats such as butter, lard, coconut oil have a strong influence on metabolism! These fats help to release insulin. Fat keeps you full longer. Fats are satisfying and satiating.  When you avoid fat, you are hungry more frequently. Contrary to what you might think, humans are not designed to snack frequently. However, consuming a high fructose/refined grain and low-fat diet makes you more hungry so you tend to reach for more snacks. You consume more calories just to feel satisfied. Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbohydrates promotes fat and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight, and excess fat, particularly around your belly.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cereal. Cereal grains contain anti nutrients. Anti nutrients are the plants natural defense against bugs. It is the plants way of protecting itself from being eaten. Anti-nutrients cause inflammation in the body, inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases. This inflammation can manifest in the body in so many different ways-sore joints, headaches, depression, anxiety, autoimmune diseases, and much more. Soaking and sprouting the grains can help remove some anti-nutrients. However, conventional cereals are factory produced and there is no sprouting or soaking.

Many cereals contain wheat. The newer proteins found in wheat are difficult for our gut to handle. The wheat we are eating now is not the wheat of our ancestors! This article explains some of the newer proteins in modern wheat and the affect these modern grains have on the body. Even oatmeal is most often stored in the same silo as wheat, and therefore can be cross-contaminated with these proteins.

Many people put low-fat or fat free cows milk in their cereal. This is milk that has been stripped of it’s nutrients. Fat is brain food and needed by the body. Here is my blog post on conventional dairy and why I do not give it to my children.

Other reasons to avoid cereal? Genetically modified grains and soy (GMO’s) and food dye’s are found in most conventional cereals. GMO’s have been shown to cause health risks. See study

In a nutshell-although marketed as a healthy breakfast option, cereal is not the way to go! Some people make grain-free hot cereals out of nuts, flax seed, nut butters, other seeds, and fruits.

Another popular “breakfast food’ is eggs! Eggs are amazing nutrient dense powerhouses. Sadly, many people still believe that they must throw away the yolk. The yolk is where all the nutrients are. The yolk contains vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also contains calcium, iron, zinc, and protein. The medical community use to think that eating egg yolks raised cholesterol. We now know that our bodies make cholesterol. Cholesterol from food rarely raises overall cholesterol. We also know that cholesterol is not the culprit in heart disease.

ID-10038218

  • All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
  • Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
  • Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
  • Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
  • The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
  • Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
  • Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
  • Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a  “patch” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.

Some people are allergic to eggs (usually the proteins in the egg white) or their guts cannot handle the proteins (particularly people with autoimmune conditions). Therefore egg-free breakfast alternatives are needed.

Let’s break free from traditional breakfast ideas. Think of things you would normally eat for lunch, snacks or dinner. All of these things can be eaten for breakfast. You want to get some good energy to start your day. Fats are brain-food, carbohydrates from vegetable sources and protein will keep you going. Think “real food” ..real food does not come in a package or box.

 

Here are some non-traditional breakfast ideas (some with eggs and some are egg-free):

One of my children’s favorite breakfasts is leftovers from dinner the night before crisped up in a pan. If you can have eggs, eggs make a great addition to this. So lets say you had steak and sweet potato. Bake an extra sweet potato with dinner and pop it in the fridge with the left over steak. Cut of the steak and pan fry it with some coconut oil, tallow, or lard. Crisp up the sweet potato as well into sweet potato “pancakes”-saute some greens with garlic and you have a meal. The combinations are endless!

Spaghetti squash and meat. If you are crunched for time in the morning cook up the spaghetti squash the night before. It is super easy to bake. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, and place it in a baking dish cut side down with about an inch of water. bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the side of the squash-the squash should scrape right out of the peel into threads like spaghetti. Drizzle with some olive oil or butter and season as you like (I like onion powder). Put some cooked/seasoned grass-fed ground beef on top or leftover meat from the night before cut up and crisped in a pan. You can also put marinara sauce or bolognese sauce right on top of the spaghetti squash (bolognese is a meat sauce). You would just mix the meat into the marinara and put it on top of the spaghetti squash.

spaghettisquash1

Chicken legs with roasted root veggies(carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnip, onions)  and sauteed greens: Chicken legs/thighs/breast are easy to make and the kids love to eat them for breakfast. You can roast the root vegetables right in with the chicken legs, and serve with sauteed greens (my kids love baby broccoli, but any greens would do). For the chicken legs I like to put them in a baking dish with a small amount of water on the bottom. I season them (usually with Trader’s Joe’s 21 spice mix), and put the cut up root veggies in the pan around the legs-as well as a few cloves of chopped garlic. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350. Again, if crunched for time this can be done the night before and re-heated. The greens can be sauteed in fat and seasoned to your taste. I like mine with butter and coconut aminos.

019

Somewhat traditional breakfast: pastured sausage or bacon, but serve over a bed of greens with a side of fruit. I like to get the bulk breakfast sausage from the local Farmer’s Market. Fry it up in little slider patties for kids or bigger ones for an adult. You can also make them as breakfast sausage meatballs-roll into balls and broil on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet-kids like to eat them with toothpicks.

Breakfast meatballs (serve with sauteed greens and fruit) 1 lb grass-fed ground beef, 1 egg (or 1 TBS Flax seed ground mixed with 1 TBS water as an egg replacer) 1/2 a finely diced onion, 2-3 cloves finely diced garlic, 1TBS parsley, sea salt and pepper to taste. Optional: shredded carrots and or shredded zucchini. Mix with meat hook in standing mixer-roll into meatballs, place a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and broil on the highest shelf for 5-8 minutes or until cooked through. For sweet potatoe fries: cut a sweet potato into french fry sticks, and fry in coconut oil.

meatballs3

Make a breakfast cob salad with bacon and eggs! get a plate of greens and top with any chopped veggies you like, add chopped bacon and hardboiled eggs if you have eggs. Chopped chicken, steak, and pork from last night’s dinner works as well. Canned wild caught salmon is great on a salad with chopped bacon and veggies as well.

If you are in a crunch for time and running out the door:

nuts/seeds/berries

a coconut milk smoothie with frozen berries, almond butter, coconut milk, and a little raw honey. If you eat eggs throw a raw egg into the smoothie.

sardines over a bed of greens with a sweet potato on the side

banana dipped in almond butter

Here are the links to some great grain-free breakfast kindle cookbooks (at very reasonable prices):

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a dietitian. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

Soft Cinnamon Banana Cookies (grain-free)

208

205

These cookies were like eating warm soft banana bread! These were warm and satisfying on this cool rainy day. I used a recipe I had developed a few years back with wheat flour and oatmeal, and converted it to a grain-free recipe. Jonah helped me make them so it was a fun project for both of us!

Oven: 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1 cup of almond meal

1/2 cup of coconut flour

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup of coconut oil or butter melted

1/4 cup of raw honey melted (use a little less if your bananas are very ripe)

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

cookie sheet

parchment paper

In a mixing bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

189

Mash the bananas!

196

193

Melt the coconut oil and raw honey together and pour it over the bananas with the eggs and vanilla, mix well.

200

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Then, using a cookie scooper or melon baller, scoop the cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Flatten them…

201

202

Bake for approx 12 minutes. They will be soft and not very brown (maybe slightly on the bottom)

205

Enjoy! (my helper…who is turning 4 this week)

203

Chunky Jalepeno Guacamole

guacamolekeeper2

guacamolekeeper

Ingredients:

2 ripe (but still firm) avocados diced

1 tomato diced

1 jalepeno pepper

3 sprigs of fresh cilantro chopped

1 small onion or 1/2 a medium onion diced

 juice of 1 lime

himalayan pink sea salt

white pepper

Directions:

If you have a gas stove:

Stick the jalepenos with a fork and roast it over the gas burner (med/low) until black on all sides. Remove the skin, cut in half and remove seeds to your liking (the more seeds that remain, the hotter the guacamole).

If you do not have a gas stove:

Turn the oven to broil and move oven rack to the highest shelf. Cut the jalepeno in half and place on a baking sheet cut side down. Roast the skin until dark, remove from the oven. Peel the skin and remove seeds to your liking (the more seeds that remain, the hotter the guacamole).

Dice the jalepeno and add all ingredients to a large bowl-add sea salt and white pepper to your taste

guacamolekeeper2

Enjoy! Makes a great side to many dishes and great for scooping with vegetables as well!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Whipped Coconut Cream: 2 Variations

pie#1_done3

piewithcream

 

Strawberry rhubarb pie has always been a favorite of mine. When I saw that my neighbor’s rhubarb was ready (and she offered me some), I wanted to take on a grain and refined sugar free variations of this pie!

rhubarb

I decided to make two different kinds (one that is dairy free, and one that has butter in it).

The first pie is dairy free, and the crust was made with almond meal, coconut flour, and unrefined coconut oil. This pie has unrefined coconut oil in the filling.

pie#1_done2

The second pie has no coconut in it. It was made with an almond meal and grass-fed butter crust, and has grass-fed butter in the filling.

pie#2_done

 

okay so these pies are not beautiful… When working with alternative flours I find it difficult to make “pretty” pies. However, they were a hit with the family and the neighbors…I could not tell a difference.

 

I wanted to create these on my own so I did not follow any particular recipe. I did however look in  the “Good Housekeeping” cookbook for a basic pie recipes to give me an idea of measurements. I sweetened both pies with raw honey! They were topped with whipped coconut cream, and very delicious!

 

Pie #1: Grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

pie#1_done

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups of almond meal

1/3 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut oil

6-8 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

Ingredients for the filling:

3 cups of cut-up organic strawberries

1 cup of chopped rhubarb

3 TBS coconut oil

4 TBS raw honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

3 TBS tapioca flour

zest of one lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions for pie #1

1. Set oven to 375 degrees

2. make crust-I did not melt the coconut oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand)

crust #1crust#1_2

3. make dough into 2 separate balls

crust#1_3

4. roll out dough from one of the balls on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect.

crust#1_5

5, Roll out the second ball of dough and cut it with a pizza cutter into strips-set aside

 

6. Make the filling- chop up 3 cups of strawberries and 1 cup of rhubarb

strawberriesandrhubarbrhubarb3

7. put the filling in the pie crust, and zest the lemon over it

pie#1zest

8. in a small pan over low heat melt the coconut oil with the raw honey, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon, pour the mixture over the berries and zest

honey2

9. sprinkle the tapioca flour over this mixture

tapioca

10. arrange the strips of dough over the top-and bake for approx 45 minutes (tent foil over the top during the last 15 minutes to prevent outer crust from burning…

voila!!! Pie number one is complete…

pie#1_done2

mewithpie

I let it set for about 20 minutes so it could thicken and the juices could settle. During this time I whipped up some coconut cream!

Coconut Whipped Cream:

refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk (not the reduced fat kind). Open the can and take the cream off of the top and place it in a bowl. *you can save the watery part for other recipes-you could even use it in place of water in dough for the pies!  Add 1 TBS raw honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla and whip with beaters on high until stiff

whipped coconut cream

piewithcream

ENJOY!!!

Pie #2: Grain-free, refined sugar free Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (with grass-fed butter crust and filling)

pie#2_done

Ingredients for the crust:

3 cups of almond meal

1/2 cup of butter

6 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the filling:

3 cups of cut-up organic strawberries

1 cup of chopped rhubarb

3 TBS butter (kerry gold grass-fed)

4 TBS raw honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

3 TBS tapioca flour

zest of one lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions:

1. Set oven to 375 degress

2. make crust-I did not melt the butter oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand)

3. make dough into 2 separate balls

pie#2

4. roll out dough from one of the balls on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect.

pie#2_3

5. you can either roll out the second ball of dough and cut into strips to make a weave on top, or roll it out to cover the entire top (which is what I did with this pie)

6. Make the filling- chop up 3 cups of strawberries and 1 cup of rhubarb

strawberriesandrhubarb3

7. This time I mixed the tapioca in with the strawberries and rhubarb, and then dumped the mixture into the pie crust, and zested the lemon right on top

pie#2_2

pie#2_4

8. Melt the raw honey with the cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the berry/rhubarb mixture

9. Cut the butter into chunks and dot it all over the berry/rhubarb mixture

pie#2_5

10. Put the top pie shell on top and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork-make a few slits in the top

pie#2_6

11. bake for approx 45 minutes, covering all around the edges of the pie with foil during the last 15 minutes so the edges do not get burned. Do not cover the whole pie as you want the top to crisp up

Pie #2!

pie#2_done

*let the pie “settle” for 20 minutes or so

Follow the directions for coconut cream to top!

Enjoy!

piekids

 

Guest Post from Mom’s Who Crossfit!

Primal Bliss (4)

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the amazing Rachael over at Moms Who Crossfit! Rachael is doing a guest post for today all about Crossfit training from home. She is providing us with an overview of crossfit, some sample WOD (work-outs of the day) and the equipment that is helpful to have on hand. I am so excited to start these workouts from home. I plan to blog on my progress. I will keep you posted on my workouts, and how it works for a busy mama!

 

 

Primal Bliss (4)

It seems to me (given your interest in all things Primal), that unless you have gone waaaayyy Caveman and are currently living Flintstone Styles, that you must have heard of CrossFit. The sport of fitness that utilises constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements to achieve some fairly impressive results.

First and foremost what drew me to CrossFit and become a CrossFit L1 Trainer is that as a Health Coach, I feel CrossFit prioritises Health in a way many other fitness entities fail to (not all there are some decent ones out there if you really search). In addition WOD’s (Workout Of the Day) are entirely scale-able, meaning you can participate no matter your fitness or strength (or lack thereof), and injuries can be accommodated (don’t be letting anyone tell you a jump assisted pull-up isn’t perfectly legit’!).

However, it is as a single Momma that my full appreciation of this training methodology is realized (and is also the reason I am a remote trainer). Because I know that it is in between wiping snotty noses, cooking delish primal meals, working, and washing other peoples gruts that a girl needs to get in some exercise (apologies if you are a boy), meaning we can’t always get our backsides along to a Box (the CF equivalent of a gym).

Plus this girl does not want to take six months of working on some godawfulgymmachineycontraption (that does nothing to imitate how we move in real life) to achieve a fitness goal, when it really only need take half that, with some awesome CrossFit workouts (even if you do them at home!). And if you are of the married variety, most of the workouts can be done in the time it takes ‘him indoors’ to get the dishes squared away – BONUS!

The variation aspect of CrossFit means individual WODs may involve strength (lifting heavy stuff), fitness (doing things at varying speeds across differing time-frames to improve all metabolic pathways) and agility (think body weight exercises and gymnastics) aspects.

Don’t freak out about the gymnastic thing, I’ve often said the most ‘agility’ I did prior to CrossFit, was fighting my way back into skinny jeans too soon after baby (don’t be picturing that struggle for too long now will you!). All it takes is practicing a few things you haven’t done since you were a youngin’ and you’ll be walking hand-stand styles in no time.

Now, while I won’t bore you with the nerd-ology behind CrossFit programming, like anything worth its salt, there is solid science behind the way the elements need to be put together, for the athlete (that’s you boys and girls) to achieve best results. However, what I have done is put together a couple of WODs to get you started, that you can do anywhere and that will challenge your body in different ways.

So even if you don’t think you are fit, strong or agile, pull on your big girl knickers (even if you are a boy) and train your heart out anyway, because this isn’t about competing against others, it’s simply about bettering yourself day by day.

Warm up: (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-azpnTj5X5Y )

WOD #1:

Every minute on the minute, for a total of 20 minutes do:

15 Air Squats (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDktkAg8aEo )

10 Press Ups (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1IfJmVjKW0 )

5 Sit Ups (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhG_x1bLHwE you can use a pillow in lieu of an ab-mat)

Obviously the quicker you get through each round, the longer rest you have before each 60 second time-frame rolls around.

Scaling would be to drop the time frame back to 10 or 15 minutes depending on fitness levels, and if required dropping a couple of reps off of each element.

WOD #2:

5 rounds for time:

1 min hold at bottom point of an overhead squat (demo of full sauat – bottom position around 1.43min http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L38N3DHmlyc you can use a broom handle for the ‘bar’)

20 travelling burpees (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX60BcsO_wE

. . . instead of jumping up in the burpee as is shown in the demo, do a long jump forward)

This WOD is done with a continually running clock and you record the total time it takes you to complete the five rounds. You may only be able to hold the bottom position of the squat in good form for a count of 20 before you have to stand up and rest, simply keep continuing the squat/rest process until you have a total count of 60sec at the bottom of the squat, then move onto your first round of burpees (repeat 5 rounds then record your total time).

I have included the squat hold because it will highlight flexibility issues, strengthens the core and is good for the plumbing (especially for the ladies). If you feel five rounds is too much for you to start at, do three.

Your Warm Down should incorporate static stretching of the muscles and you can also practise a gymnastics element. Don’t worry if your handstand looks like a halfcartwheelpikeythingy to start with, you will eventually get there! (YouTube: ‘CrossFit – Handstand Progressions’ there are a few good tutorials there)

Now while these WODs are good ‘starters’, purchasing a few ‘toys’ can add significantly to the variety, as well as the fitness and strength aspects of your workouts. What is preferable to get first, depends entirely on your budget and space. So I would choose the following pieces of equipment if you want things that are

1) at the cheap end of the scale,

2) are portable

3) have multiple uses or

4) are fantastic for ‘getting the puff going’ (especially if you need to exercise at home while the kids are in bed).

Gymnastic Rings:

:musclerings

. . . can be utilized for beginner through to highly complicated movements (check out ‘Muscle Ups’ on YouTube). Looped over a beam in your garage or even a sturdy branch, the rings add ‘instability’ to exercises, forcing you to recruit lots of muscles. Ring rows are often utilized when an athlete is not strong enough for pull-ups, and are great for encouraging back musculature to work as well as shoulders, arms and core.

Kettle Bells:

crossfitrings

. . . are great for cardio, strength and flexibility elements, often all in the one movement. They are highly versatile having a whole set of exercises all of their own (eg. Russian or American KB Swings) or as added weight in exercises you may be more familiar with (eg a walking lunge or static squats).

Speed Rope:

jumprope

. . . the ultra-fast version of the skipping rope you had when you were a kid. Because it is made of cable it turns faster, allowing two passes under with each jump (when you get proficient at it). With this piece of equipment you can greatly improve both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness and stimulate your nervous system, all in a few feet of space!

www.againfaster.com can hook you up with all of this equipment as well as anything else you might want for home WODs. You are also likely to have plenty of things around the house you can utilise for equipment, and other items you can make very cheaply. Who knows eventually you may build an entire ‘garage gym’ of your very own!

These kinds of work-outs may seem difficult at first, but if you stick with them you are likely to astound yourself with the improvements you make and I’d love for y’all to keep in touch and let me know how you are progressing, and if you are really keen on slowly getting a home gym set up and want advice or programming, feel free to get in touch.

Various ways of stalking me:

www.healthcoaching.co.nz

www.facebook.com/MomswhoCrossfit

www.facebook.com/HealthyNationNZ

admin@healthcoaching.co.nz

PS – Big thanks to Kathryn (world famous Primal Bliss momma) for having me ‘at her place’ – her stuff is rock-star! And high-5s, fist bumps and joyful bootay dances to you luurvalies for being here. Love that you care enough about yourself, your family and our world to take the time.

 

Pastured Italian Sausage with Veggies and Basil

finished product

finished product

I had some sausage from the Farmer’s Market and lots of fresh veggies that I had picked up today. I decided to throw them together and it came out great. Kiddos gobbled it up (well minus the mushrooms for my 3 year old). It was satiating- who needs pasta?

Recipe:

5 links of sweet or hot Italian sausage

2 summer squash (or zucchini would work as well)

1 package of portobella mushrooms sliced

6 cloves of garlic sliced or diced

1 bunch of swiss chard…I used red swiss chard, but regular or rainbow swiss chard would work as well

1 bunch of fresh basil and or cilantro

1 cucumber

3 scallions

chopped tomatoes (optional)

chopped avocado (optional)

2-3 TBS coconut aminos

sea salt

pepper

First I put some water in the bottom of a skillet and cooked the sausages.

sausage

sausages2

Once the sausages were cooked almost through I removed them from the pan, sliced them up, and put them back in the pan to brown up some

sausages3

Next I diced up the squash and mushrooms and put it in a bowl with salt, pepper, and the sliced garlic

choppedveggies

I mixed up these veggies in the bowl and then dumped them into a pan and sauteed with some butter and coconut aminos until the veggies were tender, then turned it down to simmer

veggies

Look at this beautiful swiss chard-a favorite with my kids!

swisschard

I chopped it up

 chppedswisschard

and added it to the pan with the veggies. I also added some torn up basil-cook until the swiss chard just starts to cook-but it’s still bright (only a couple minutes). I love garlic, so I added some more at this point.

019

mix the sausage in with the swiss chard mixture-I like to drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil at this point

022

chop up some cold cucumbers, scallions, basil or cilantro (I would have added chopped tomatoes and avocado to this cold mixture if I had some).

scallions

Sprinkle the cold veggies on top, and serve!

Here is the finished dish!

026

Enjoy!!!

Teeny Tiny Meatballs, Marinara, and Spaghetti Squash

meatballs1

meatballs1

Kids love small bite sized things and they love meatballs! My kids love to eat them with toothpicks. This recipe is easy to make and it is one of their favorites!

spaghetti squash:

Start this first as it takes the longest to cook. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds,  and place it in a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with a little water in the bottom (cut side down).

spaghettisquash2

Bake squash for approx 45 min to 1 hour (depending on size) until tender. Remove the squash with a fork (it scoops right out in “spaghetti-like” strands. Place in a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

spaghettisquash1

For the mini meatballs:

1 lb of grass-fed ground beef

1 egg

1/2 small onion diced very very fine (I use a mini food processor-my kids do not like big chunks of onion. Also the smaller pieces of onion help hold more moisture in the meatballs)

2-3 cloves of garlic finely diced as well

1 TBS coconut aminos

1/4 cup dried parsley (or fresh chopped)

sea salt and pepper to taste

I used the standing mixer with the meat hook. Mix everything and then roll into tiny (1/2 – 3/4 inch in size). I like to make them small because they cook super quick under the broiler with no need to turn them! The kids love that they are bite sized. Put the meatballs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

meatballs4

Now by the time these are all mixed and rolled out the spaghetti squash should be about done cooking. Take that out of the oven and turn the oven to broil and move the oven rack to the highest level (only a couple inches from the top).

meatballs2

The meatballs cook super fast…no more than 5-8 minutes per batch and there is no need to flip them. One pound of meat filled about 3 large cookie sheets, so I did them in 3 batches (rotating 2 cookie sheets because that is all I have).

Marinara options:

sauce

jarred marinara

For down and dirty quick marinara there is a jarred sauce that I fall back on. It’s difficult to find a jarred sauce that does not contain vegetable oils, soy oil, sugar, or preservatives. You don’t want any of that in your sauce! However, my local Hannaford supermarket has an organic marinara with just tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. I fall back on that when I think of this meal last minute and don’t have time to make a sauce from scratch.

homemade marinara with cans (look for organic with BPA free cans-I use Muir Glen brand)

2 (28 ounce cans) of either whole plum tomatoes or crushed tomatoes

1 medium onion diced

3-5 cloves of garlic crushed

fresh or dried basil and parsley

2 bay leaves

1 pound of grass-fed ground beef (optional-for a bolognese sauce)

sea salt

black pepper

brown the meat (if using it) with the onions in a dutch oven over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 1-2 hours (longer for deeper flavor). I like to add a splash of extra virgin olive oil at the end, and remove the bay leaves. If using the whole tomatoes you may want to blend the sauce with a hand held immersion blender or blend in the blender to break it up (for a less chunky sauce/more smooth sauce).

***Homemade sauce from scratch-oh yeah!!! *** (best option)

Approx 12 fresh plum tomatoes

Score just the skin of each tomato with a sharp knife. Then, place scored tomatoes into a pot of boiling water and blanch the for approximately 1 minute. Remove tomatoes and immediately plunge them into cold water. Peel and dice the tomatoes.
Follow the canned sauce recipe from this point on-but use the blanched tomatoes in place of the canned tomatoes.You can serve the meatballs and sauce right over the spaghetti squash!

 

My kids like their spaghetti squash and sauce next to their meatballs. I usually serve with some kind of greens on the side. Tonight we had salad greens.

 

Enjoy!

meatballs1

Juice for Kids?

juice-450

juice-450

 

Juice and kids seem to go hand in hand in our culture. Preschool snacks are accompanied by juice. Picnics and playgroups include juice. Many families include orange juice with breakfast. Children drink juice pouches with their lunch everyday. So we buy organic, or juices that say 100% pure juice in hopes of filling our kids with nutrients and vitamins. So what is so wrong with juice? Why do I personally try to avoid giving it to my children? There are many reasons and I will try to cover them all in this post. Juice is a hot topic I am passionate about because even some of the most health conscious people I know still believe juice is okay to give children. Why not? It has vitamin C and “100% fruit” in it. Some even choose the organic juice with water. It is culturally ingrained that you have orange juice for breakfast and apple juice with lunch. Let me explain the reasons why I feel store bought juice is not necessary and can cause more harm than good.

Reason 1: fructose aka sugar: The biggest reason I feel one should avoid giving children juice is the sugar without fiber…but don’t they need sugar? Children do not need nearly as much sugar as there is in one cup of juice. One cup of apple juice has approx 22-30 grams of sugar in it. That is more than the recommended sugar for an adult to consume in an entire day-in one cup of apple juice. Here is the other thing-there is no fiber to help slow the sugar into the system. When you remove fiber, what is left is sugar. This wreaks havoc on the pancreas and an overworked pancreas leads to insulin resistence. The blood sugar spikes and plummets that accompany this are not fun to deal with, especially with toddlers. According to Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple: “Drinking pure juice has an effect that is really no different from chowing a candy bar or slamming a soda” Read more HERE. I looked up a couple of juices marketed as “healthy” and the sugar content. One small container of Odwalla orange juice has 35 grams of sugar in it-that is like 3 days worth of sugar (or more) for a child in one beverage. This is in one serving-many kids drink 2-3 servings per day. Bolthouse Farms 100% pomegranite juice has 31 grams of sugar. In Bolthouse Farms “daily greens” juice, the first ingredient is pear juice.

Paleo Diet Lifestyle listed 10 reasons why we should limit fructose consumption:

  1. “Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver and can’t be used for energy by your body’s cells. It’s therefore not only completely useless for the body, but is also a toxin in high enough amount because the job of the liver is to get rid of it, mainly by transforming it into fat and sending that fat to our fat cells.”
  2. “Excess fructose damages the liver and leads to insulin resistance in the liver as well as fatty liver disease. In fact, fructose has the same effects on the liver as alcohol (ethanol), which is already well known as a liver toxin.”
  3. “Fructose reacts with proteins and polyunsaturated fats in our bodies 7 times more than glucose. This reaction creates AGEs (Advanced glycation end-products), which are compounds that create oxidative damage in our cells and ultimately lead or contribute to inflammation and a host of chronic diseases.”
  4. “Fructose increases uric acid production, which, in excess, can cause gout, kidney stones and precipitate or aggravate hypertension.”
  5. “While most of your body’s cells can’t use fructose as a source of energy, the bacteria in your gut can and excess fructose can create gut flora imbalances, promote bacterial overgrowth and promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria.”
  6. “In part because of the damage done to the liver, chronic excess fructose causes dyslipidemia, which means that your blood lipid markers tend to shift towards numbers that indicate a risk for heart disease”.
  7. “Fructose rapidly causes leptin resistance. Leptin is an hormone that controls appetite and metabolism to maintain a normal weight. Leptin resistant people tend to gain fat and become obese really easily.”
  8. “Excess fructose alone can cause all the problems associated with the metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, …).”
  9. “Cancer cells thrive and proliferate very well with fructose as their energy source.”
  10. “Excess fructose also affects brain functioning, especially as it relates to appetite regulation. It has also been shown to impair memory in rats.” Read more here Paleo Diet Lifestyle

Reason 2: no nutrients!  What about Vitamin C? Did you know that most of the vitamins in commercial juices are destroyed during pasteurization and factory processing? So the “100%” vitamin C is usually synthetic vitamin C added to the processed juice. There are tons of other real nutrient dense sources of vitamin C including: peppers, broccoli, kale and other dark greens, oranges, strawberries, herbs, kiwi, guava and papaya. If you eat the whole fruit you are getting fiber to help with slowing the sugar into the system. If you eat vegetables sources you are getting even less sugar with your vitamins. Think local and fresh!

Reason 3: factory produced/usually old: The bottle of Tropicana that says 100% orange juice/not from concentrate etc…is not fresh like you think it is. According to THIS and THIS the orange juice is stored sometimes for over a year.

According to Food Renegade:

“Making OJ should be pretty simple. Pick oranges. Squeeze them. Put the juice in a carton and voilà! But actually, there is an important stage in between that is an open secret in the OJ industry. After the oranges are squeezed, the juice is stored in giant holding tanks and, critically, the oxygen is removed from them. That essentially allows the liquid to keep (for up to a year) without spoiling– but that liquid that we think of as orange juice tastes nothing like the Tropicana OJ that comes out of the carton. (source). In fact, it’s quite flavorless. So, the industry uses “flavor packs” to re-flavor the de-oxygenated orange juice: When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature. The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine. The formulas vary to give a brand’s trademark taste. If you’re discerning you may have noticed Minute Maid has a candy like orange flavor. That’s largely due to the flavor pack Coca-Cola has chosen for it. Some companies have even been known to request a flavor pack that mimics the taste of a popular competitor, creating a “hall of mirrors” of flavor packs. Despite the multiple interpretations of a freshly squeezed orange on the market, most flavor packs have a shared source of inspiration: a Florida Valencia orange in spring. (source) –Food Renegade

 

So what about juicing at home with a juicer?

juicingathome

Juicing at home is quite different for several reasons. You can juice both vegetables and fruits, lowering the amount of fructose in the beverage. You are juicing fresh produce that has not been processed (heat treated, factory treated, pasteurized) so the vitamins are still intact (as long as you are consuming right after juicing and not storing). I would suggest organic produce as many juicers do not require removing the skins. You do not want chemicals and pesticides in the juice. Many children are picky when it comes to eating veggies, and juicing mostly veggies with a little bit of fruit to sweeten it can help them get those nutrients quickly. Therefore, I think it can be beneficial, especially when you add superfoods like kale, parsley, etc. We juice at home on occasion, especially after traveling and eating less than desirable foods. However, keep in mind the fructose load on the body when juicing fruits-you are still removing the fiber.

 

Here are what some of the paleo experts are saying regarding juicing at home:

“When you juice at home, don’t make a large batch. Juice breaks down pretty quickly. To maximize nutrition (and taste), be sure to make it fresh daily.” Read more: Mark’s Daily Apple

According to Paleo Plan: “The juice we make at home can be from local, organic, unadulterated fruits and vegetables that don’t have any weird chemicals or extra sugars added to them. Even when store bought juices don’t have added sugar, they’re still loaded with it.  For instance, your 16 ounce Acai Naked juice (no sugar added) has about 48 grams of sugar in one bottle.  That’s more than a 12 oz can of Coke (39 grams).  Even the “veggie” Naked juice has 36 grams.  (By the way, that 16 ounce Acai Machine Naked drink contains 320 calories if you drink the whole thing.) Fresh, homemade juice is full of nutrients and enzymes that packaged juices just don’t contain.That’s why they have to ADD vitamins and other nutrients to the juices (check out your Naked juice label here for proof).  Manufacturers are required to pasteurize (heat) juices, including Naked and other similar brands.  That means you lose a lot of the beneficial enzymatic properties of the juice, and many of the other vitamins are diminished, as well.  So besides the fact that the juice is definitely NOT fresh, it’s also blasted with heat, not to mention irradiated a lot of the time if it’s not organic.”-Paleo Plan

 

All in all, I believe kids are perfectly happy quenching their thirst with water. It’s just that other beverages are always available, and they will most likely reach for the sugary options if they are available. Why not spend the money on nutrient dense whole foods that will fill them up and not mess with their blood sugar? If you feel it will be too difficult to wean your child off of juice, slowly start watering it down with more water and less juice. Eventually you can make the switch.Remember, our body is made up of mostly water, not juice milk or soda. These beverages were never necessary. We can get much more of those nutrients from our food. If you still can’t wrap your mind around the idea that children are fine drinking just water,  almond milk and coconut milk are options, just be aware many brands have cane sugar and other additives in them!

 

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a dietitian. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

My Thoughts on Practical Paleo by: Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC

practicalpaleo1

practicalpaleo3

 

Often times I get asked what books I recommend for starting someone who is just starting out on a paleo or primal journey. It can seem overwhelming to take the first few steps, and having a good guide makes all the difference in the world.

I am excited to write about Practical Paleo because this book has literally been a lifesaver for me! Practical Paleo is not only a cookbook with easy to follow recipes and beautiful pictures, it also explains the premise behind the paleo lifestyle. It is simple and easy to use.

Diane Sanfilippo starts the introduction by sharing her own personal experiences with eating the standard American diet (SAD) and the effect it had on her. She explains how grains were hurting her, and the positive changes that happened in her life after switching to the paleo lifestyle.

In the first part of Practical Paleo Diane explains what paleo is and how to make it work for you. She writes out in two columns what foods to eat, and what foods to eliminate when starting out. Following this chart are several guides;  a guide to paleo foods, what to stock your pantry with, and a guide to food quality that explains how to read labels. If you are on a budget she explains what your priorities should be! Diane also includes special notes about common food allergens throughout the book.

The section following this explains how to navigate going out to eat on a paleo diet. This is helpful because she even lists some restaurant chains  that have separate gluten free menus. Diane teaches what questions to ask at the restaurant so you can make the best possible choices but still enjoy your experience eating out! I found this section to be extremely helpful as I have celiac disease and cross contamination at restaurants can make me very sick.

The next section explains every part of the digestive system, what can go wrong, why, and how to fix it. Diane lists all the chronic inflammatory conditions that are related to poor digestive function. My favorite part of this section is  the “poop pageant!”  It’s a guide to understanding your poop with pictures. Did you ever wonder about your poop? Now you will understand what is going and some changes you can make to have normal poop…hahaha!

In the next section of Practical Paleo Diane thoroughly explains the concept of “leaky gut” and includes a guide to healing your gut. This section is important for anyone diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, or anyone dealing with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, celiacs, bowel diseases, mood disorders, lupus, heart disease…the list goes on and on.

Then there is a big section on blood sugar and carbohydrates-this section (the most helpful one in my case) includes a guide to dense sources of paleo carbohydates and a guide to sweeteners. This section helped me the most as I gained an understanding of why I would feel “shaky” between meals prior to going primal, and why I was hungry so frequently. Diane explains how to get off the “blood sugar roller coaster.” I had a bunch of “aha” moments while reading this section, and it really changed the way I viewed my own eating habits and health. I always assumed I had low blood sugar and needed to eat frequently. I now rarely feel hungry or shaky and don’t snack nearly as much. Thanks to Practical Paleo I am off the blood sugar roller coaster!

The first part of Practical Paleo ends with a bunch of frequently asked questions and the answers to these questions. Diane covers alcohol consumption, coffee, cholesterol, FODMAPS, nightshades and more.

The second part of Practical Paleo contains different 30 day meal plans. There is a meal plan tailored to support autoimmune conditions, digestive health, blood-sugar regulation, thyroid health, cancer recovery, heart health, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fat loss, athletic performance, and general health. All the recipes for the meal plans are included in the book! How awesome is that?!

Following the 30 day meal plans are the recipes. Practical Paleo is filled with grain, soy, and legume free recipes that have beautiful pictures. My kids LOVE the pumpkin pancake recipe and they are very easy to make with simple ingredients. Other favorites in our house include the spaghetti squash bolognese and the apple streusel egg muffins.

Following the recipes are tear out guides! Practical Paleo contains a guide to stocking your pantry that you can actually take to the grocery store with you. There is a guide to fats and oils, sweeteners, sources of carbohydrates, and a guide to gluten that includes the most common sources of hidden gluten! If you do not want to tear them out of your book, or purchase the kindle edition, these guides are available on-line HERE.

If you are even considering changing your lifestyle to a healthier and happier one, I cannot recommend Practical Paleo enough. It is worth every penny! It also makes a great gift 🙂 Just read through some of the reviews on amazon, and you will be sold!

practicalpaleo1

Over the next couple weeks I will review some other great books for starting out on a paleo/primal journey, the next one being  Well-Fed!

 

 

 

Kombucha Tea!

boocha6

boocha6

I’m new to the world of kombucha brewing as it all appeared too overwhelming for me…and it can be with all these flavors and techniques. However, I just followed basic directions and it came out great! Here are the steps and pictures of what I did.

I’m going to try and make this as easy as possible for you!!!

What is Kombucha tea?

Kombucha tea is simply tea that has been fermented with a culture. The culture is often called a “mushroom” or “scoby” It is made out of bacteria and yeast. S.C.O.B.Y. stands for “Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts”

here is my original scoby…be sure to wash hands thoroughly before handling…

boocha2

What are the health benefits to drinking kombucha tea? 

Kombucha tea helps to detoxify the liver, boosts the immune system, improves digestion, helps with joint pain, has compounds in it that help prevent cancer, heals the gut, clears the skin, is loaded with probiotics and enzymes…it’s alive! …and the list goes on.  I find that when I drink it have more energy, my mood feels great and my skin gets brighter!

How does one brew kombucha at home?

Here is what you need: (you do not need these crazy deluxe kits)

1  gallon glass container. I ordered this one from Amazon-I plan to order another now that I have scoby babies 🙂

a paper towel or a kitchen towel and a rubber band…I had a hard time finding a rubber band for some strange reason, but you do need one!

1 scoby in starter tea…I ordered this one from Amazon

raw apple cider vinegar (for the first batch only). I like this brand

green or black tea-ten bags for each batch. I used green tea for my first batch-here is a link  *do not use teas with added oils like Earl Grey*

cane sugar…yes sugar. The sugar is part of the fermentation process. The end product will only be slightly sweet-or not sweet all depending on how you like the taste and how long you ferment the tea. It will be less sweet and stronger tasting the longer you ferment the tea. My first batch was a bit sweeter than I would like, but my kids loved it and it was way less sweet than juice. This next batch I am going to ferment longer for my pleasure. Play around with different batches. I use this sugar (but in a smaller size)

Follow these directions:

1. Boil 1 gallon of water – add 10 green or black tea bags and let it steep to your liking. Remove tea bags and patiently let it cool to room temperature. It must be room temperature-I checked several recipes and this was the one thing that was highlighted. I say patiently because I am not patient. I was hoping it would cool faster and was bummed that it was taking hours to get to room temp. I was a bit excited about this project. So during this time put your feet up and read a book, or take a hot bath. DO NOT I repeat DO NOT fold laundry, clean the bathroom, or clean any room for that matter. Tell your significant other that it is here in the directions, and you must follow the directions if you want it to work.

2.Stir in 1 cup of cane sugar until it is dissolved. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar (only for the first batch-I read that it helps adjust the ph of the tea). Put your scoby into the tea and stir it around. Cover the tea with the towel and a rubber band. Make sure it is stored at around 68-75 degree temp. My house gets cool at night, so I put it on top of the gas stove with just the pilot lit (warm). You can store it in the oven with the oven light on. Now you have to be really patient. Depending on the climate/temp/your taste buds it can take anywhere from 5-20 days or more. During this time you still must avoid all housework. haha…maybe not, but it’s worth a try. Mine fermented for 11 days and it was slightly sweet, fizzy, and really good.

The coolest part is that a new scoby grew! It attached to the original scoby, but they pulled apart easily.  Also-I have read that the size of the scoby does not matter. It will not add or take away from the flavor.

Here is a picture of my “scoby baby” (he is starting a batch of his own now)

boocha3

Here are some things you may see happening in the jar during the process:

The scoby might sink or float on the top. Mine floated on the top.

boocha5

 

You may see live creatures swimming around. Don’t let them jump out. Hahaha….totally kidding, no live creatures but kombucha is a living food-loaded with good live bacteria and enzymes 😉

You may see dark matter floating in the tea or forming on and under the scoby. It may look gross-but don’t let it turn you off because this stuff is darn good.  It may be bubbly or fizzy.

If you want it fizzier bottle it at room temp for a couple extra days.

I bottled mine in some empty GT’s kombucha bottles and mason jars. Store in the refrigerator. The longer it is in the refrigerator the smoother the flavor becomes!

boocha1

Now-you can start a new batch with the new scoby and about 10-15% of the fermented tea from the original batch (no need to add apple cider vinegar to the next batch) Store your extra  scobies in the refrigerator covered with sweet tea-or give them to friends-or have several batches going at once-or open a kombucha shop.

The fun part is that it is like a science experiment for the kids. They loved watching it, and they love to drink it. I love the benefit for their little immune systems. The little 5 year old boy that lives next door called it “ponchuka” 🙂

ENJOY!! Have any kombucha tips or tricks? want to add on your ideas? Just reply in comments 🙂

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

What? You don’t give your kids cow’s milk?!

cow2_smaller

 

cows milk or breastfeeding

It cracks me up the, the horror on people’s faces when they hear I don’t give my kids cows milk. It has become the socially acceptable thing to do– without knowing exactly why. The Dairy Board issues “health claims” which really don’t have a strong basis. Once again it’s all marketing. Literally. I remember when I would not start weaning my 1 year old from my milk (read here the ingredients in human milk) to pasteurized cow’s milk I had a well-meaning friend warn me several times that he may be at high risk for rickets.

I’ll start by saying that I understand dairy is a complex topic. Am I opposed to all dairy? Not necessarily…not raw, from pasture raised cows (the enzymes break down the casein and it is more easily digested and handled by the gut), the milk fat is not removed, it is nutrient dense, and it is not homogenized…but good luck finding real milk. I am still learning about raw dairy, and haven’t tried it yet. If you can find it and have access to it, you can learn more about raw dairy here: This is an awesome resource.

My focus on this post is pasteurized dairy from confined grain, corn and soy fed cows, and why I do not buy into the hype or give it to my kids.

I remember when I was a child (in the 1980’s) we had several dairy farms right around the corner from our house. The cows were out grazing all day long– you could smell the cow manure but it was almost a pleasant smell of summertime in the country. One of the Farmers had an ice-cream shop and general store. We would walk there and get some fresh local grass-fed ice-cream. One of the Farms was on a hill…I remember playing in the field with my friends and getting chased by a cow down that hill and running all the way home. We use to walk around the corner of our street to a dead end street to “pet the cows” and feed them “cow flowers” out in the big pasture. It’s sad that all those farms in my hometown are gone now and that pasture is now filled with houses.

It’s funny how on many milk cartons you see pictures of cows out grazing in pastures. Last year my son’s preschool class went to visit the local dairy “farm” that supplies much of the milk to the local convenience stores here in Upstate NY. The cows were all standing in stalls in their feces. They were all 100% grain-fed (along with corn and soy) and the stench was awful. Nothing like the sweet grassy manure smell growing up. I won’t get into to many more details. I don’t want to start getting too idealistic and lose readers that way. However, my point is that the model of farming has changed drastically over the years, and this affects the final product. I’m sure much of it has to do with politics and government subsidies. Even the milk sold in glass jars locally here at the farmer’s market is from grain-fed cows, pasteurized, and homogenized. It’s just sold in fancy glasses…and they charge more for it.

Most of the milk we consume and believe is making us strong comes from confined grain-fed cows. These cows are not eating their natural diet of grass, at all…and therefore missing out on the high levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid– a potent cancer fighter) and there is an omega 6 to omega 3 imbalance. High omega 6 consumption and low omega-3  is a leading cause of inflammation in the body.

According to Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple,

Cows raised on pasture produce milk fat with an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 1. Yes, equal amounts. A balance. Grain-fed cows, on the other hand, produce a ratio tilted heavily toward omega 6.”
If you are regularly consuming cows milk each day…that is a very high omega 6 consumption!

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/grass-fed-butter/#ixzz2NdymmxKv

When cows milk is pasteurized all the beneficial gut bacteria, probiotics and live enzymes are killed off. The good saturated fats are usually removed (because of the “low fat” and “fat free” craze so it is stripped of its nutrients). Then we add “vitamins” to it and tell the public we must consume it for strong bones! However, does the public know that the calcium in cow milk is not all bioavailable? What that means is that the body does not easily absorb and assimilate it like it does the calcium from other sources. There are certain minerals (co-factors) needed for calcium to be absorbed. Therefore the “however many” milligrams of calcium it says you are ingesting, you really are not.

The casein in cows milk is a foreign protein and can be very hard on the gut. The body then tries to reject it. This can lead to many different inflammatory and immune responses including skin conditions like eczema, asthma, allergies, and autoimmune issues. The body wants to reject these proteins and this creates an immune system response.

So what about CALCIUM? 

THIS ARTICLE from Whole 9 explains calcium thoroughly (way better than I could try to take on):

“Our first mistake is thinking that bone health is all about calcium, the second is believing our intake of calcium is all that matters. If this was true, then how do you reconcile this?

The United States has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world,
despite having one of the highest calcium intakes.

It makes no sense… unless there’s more to the story than how much calcium we’re taking in. It’s also about how much we’re able to absorb, and retain. And factors like our dietary habits, our lifestyle, and the aging process all contribute to calcium absorption and retention.

  • The phytates in foods like whole grains and legumes form complexes with the calcium and other minerals in the plant. This renders the calcium virtually impossible to absorb, and limits its bioavailability (the amount that can be effectively absorbed and used by the body).
  • Whole grains may also promote a loss of vitamin D, a critical element of bone health. Low vitamin D3 levels (from diet and a lack of daily exposure to sunshine) inhibits calcium absorption.
  • Stress affects HCL production in the stomach (and impacts normal digestion), which can have a negative effect on calcium absorption.
  • Age also negatively impacts calcium absorption – on average, adults absorb about 20% less calcium than children.
  • On the other hand, adequate protein in the diet increases calcium absorption and stimulates the production of hormones that promote new bone formation. This effect is more than sufficient to counter the increased urinary excretion of calcium observed upon increased protein consumption.

Finally, one additional note: vitamin D3 and K are both fat soluble – meaning they require some fat to be absorbed in the bloodstream. So a low fat diet (like the kind we’ve all been advised to eat for the last 20 years) may impair your body’s ability to absorb these two vitamins, which can also diminish bone health.”

Read more:  http://whole9life.com/2012/02/what-about-calcium/

 

In THIS ARTICLE by Diane Sanfilippo (nutritionist, author, and blogger at Balanced Bites) Diane explains:

“We can see in a day’s worth if USDA meals that the RDA is slightly exceeded at 123%, while the Paleo diet (PD) comes a lot closer than parents might assume at 90%. Now, I wasn’t specifically searching for calcium-rich foods when I calculated this day, but you can see how a child can easily come close to the RDA for calcium without a DROP of dairy in his or her daily diet. That said, even at 90% of the RDA, the amount of calcium that’ll be absorbed by the child’s body is likely going to be much higher since the cofactors for calcium absorption are higher across the board in the PD day. Vitamin and mineral cofactors required for calcium absorption include Vitamin D (56% in Paleo vs 12% in USDA) and Magnesium (103% in Paleo vs 87% in USDA). So, by allowing a child to eat a diet that is not only fairly high in calcium from non-dairy sources but also providing balanced nutrition to allow for the absorption of calcium, it’s clear that the need for dairy in the diet as a calcium source is overstated and inaccurate. [4] Furthermore, studies show that the phytic acid in grains (specifically whole wheat products in one study) reduces the absorption of dietary calcium from milk products, which would likely then leave the USDA diet at a much lower level of bio-available calcium than the PD. [5]”

Do I think conventional dairy affects everyone? Probably not everyone.  Do I think we should consume it? Most definitely not.

So what do my kids drink? They happily drink water, occasionally homemade juice (I’ll get into conventional orange juice and fruit juices in subsequent posts), and almond milk. You know what? I am really not concerned about their mineral intake. They eat tons of fresh produce and they run and play! My kids occasionally have dairy at school functions, when we visit family, and we do occasionally get local soft serve ice-cream in the summer (and then pay the price afterward). I also buy Kerrygold 100% grass-fed cheddar and butter. So we are not completely dairy-free. However, I do my best to limit their consumption as I truly believe conventional dairy can do more harm than good, and I believe is not necessary for them to have in their diet as we have been led to believe.

Get a free consultation

Primal Babywearing!

baby10

 baby10

Most of my post focus on primal nutrition-eating like our early ancestors. I also like to shift the focus every now and then to other “primal” topics that I am passionate about. I am a Mom of 2 beautiful boys ages 6 and 3. I am also a certified breastfeeding counselor/educator. I had to overcome many breastfeeding obstacles, and love to help new mamas out. One of the things I found that made breastfeeding easier for me was “babywearing.” I was introduced to the world of babywearing (outside of the bjorn) with my second son. I wish I had discovered it sooner with my first! Babywearing literally means wearing your baby in a wrap or a sling. There is something very primal about holding your baby close to you. My hope is that you will have an open mind and possibly learn about something that may not be culturally normal, yet has been practiced for many thousands of years.

In Western culture we are taught that if we hold our babies too much we may “spoil” them. Children do not spoil. Nurturing them does not make babies turn “rotten.”Meeting their needs for proximity and touch does not make them become more “needy” children. These are all myths!  Follow your instincts. Ignore unsolicited advice. You will hear it ALL many many times. Don’t doubt yourself. Pick that baby up and love him. Another saying I hear frequently that drives me crazy is the “is she a good baby?” Because in our culture “good” babies do not cry or fuss. Think about it, does expressing your needs make you bad? Seriously? Babies should not be labeled good or bad based on their temperament. When they cry it is because they have a need-that is the only way they know how to express themselves.

014 - Copy

 

What are the benefits of wearing your baby?

*Newborn human babies are the most neurologically underdeveloped mammal. According to this: “Human babies enter the world utterly dependent on caregivers to tend to their every need. Although newborns of other primate species rely on caregivers, too, human infants are especially helpless because their brains are comparatively underdeveloped. Indeed, by one estimation a human fetus would have to undergo a gestation period of 18 to 21 months instead of the usual nine to be born at a neurological and cognitive development stage comparable to that of a chimpanzee newborn.”

*Babywearing makes a nice transition from the warm cozy womb into the loud, bright, and overstimulating world. It gives them a safe and warm place right up against your skin. Being skin to skin helps to regulate baby’s breathing and heart rate. Mom and baby can be in tune with each other, and mom can read baby’s early breastfeeding cues before he starts crying.

*Wearing your baby promotes attachment between mom and baby. Babies have needs to survive and physical touch and proximity are among these needs.  Wearing baby helps regulate her neurologically. Babies can smell mama, hear her heartbeat, hear her voice, feel her warmth. Mama can smell baby and feel baby which helps with bonding. Baby feels safe, calm, and secure. You can even nurse baby while in the sling or wraps.

According to Dr. Sears: “It’s easier to understand babywearing when you think of a baby’s gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby’s systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organization. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organizing these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb. By extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby. Picture how these regulating systems work. Mother’s rhythmic walk, for example, (which baby has been feeling for nine months) reminds baby of the womb experience. This familiar rhythm, imprinted on baby’s mind in the womb, now reappears in the “outside womb” and calms baby. As baby places her ear against her mother’s chest, mother’s heartbeat, beautifully regular and familiar, reminds baby of the sounds of the womb. As another biological regulator, baby senses mother’s rhythmic breathing while worn tummy- to-tummy, chest-to-chest. Simply stated, regular parental rhythms have a balancing effect on the infant’s irregular rhythms. Babywearing “reminds” the baby of and continues the motion and balance he enjoyed in the womb.”

002

*Babywearing makes life easier for you. Your hands are free so you can go about your day! I literally did everything with my son in the wrap or sling. I washed dishes, cooked, played with my 2 year old, went hiking and even grocery shopping. I didn’t have to carry that big car seat around like I did with my first son (before discovering the world of babywearing). I would scoop him right into the wrap and go about our day. He was safe, secure, content, happy. He nursed when he needed to, and slept when he needed to, all on mommy. He literally lived in there for months and months. I could spend my time playing with my 2 year old!  and you know what? My “baby” is now a very happy, content, and independent 3 year old. He is confident, loving, and has a wicked sense of humor. I am by no means saying that babies “must” be worn by mama, and must be worn all the time. I’m saying have an open mind and try it out! Families obviously have many different dynamics. If mom is working, having a caregiver or family member wear baby can help make the transition easier for baby, and baby can still reap the benefits of being held close. Dads can help soothe baby by babywearing as well!

Here I am snowshoeing and pulling my 2 year old in a sled while baby is sleeping on me in a carrier:

 

baby6

*When baby is sick he can be close to mommy or daddy. I found this helped make him feel better and he rarely cried even though he felt lousy. In the pictures below my baby was sick-in the second one it was summertime and he had the coxsackie virus. He didn’t eat or drink much of anything for over a week. He just nursed a tiny bit, and hung out on mama. Some babies have GERD and need to be upright or they are in pain. I was able to nurse my baby in the moby wrap while in an upright position. This made him more comfortable and made nursing in those early days much easier for both of us.

baby4 baby1

 

*Babies worn in slings are happy! They cry less!  In cultures where babywearing is the norm, babies rarely cry. Crying is exhausting for parents and babies, and floods baby with the stress hormone cortisol. Babywearing is helpful for colicky babies (both of mine were) Babywearing literally saved my sanity! I think that many of the parents who discover “babywearing” are the ones who have high need babies and are looking for ways to soothe them. 

*You can “wear” baby down at bedtime! Ever hear the term “witching hour” …those evening hours where baby cries for no apparent reason? Put baby in the sling or wrap and and they can ease into sleep for bedtime…I did this often and then would slowly slide him out of the sling and into his little basket! Here is a picture of him after being in the sling and falling asleep at night…I transferred him into his little basket. You can see the little red lines on him from being all wrapped up on me.

baby7

 

*Babywearing is fun! Not only is it easy, but it can also be enjoyable-especially for taking walks, hiking, and going places.  Toddlers enjoy being “worn” as well-it helps calm them down when they are overstimulated or tired. You can carry them on your back, hip or front depending on your preference and the type of carrier you have.

My favorite carrier by far is the moby wrap. It takes a few tries to get it down good, but that wrap was a lifesaver for me!

*regarding babywearing safety: there are some unsafe baby carriers out there. Deep pouches or bag-like slings (some even come with elastic edges) are not safe. You would never want to put a baby deep inside a deep pouch where they cannot get air. Here are some resources on safety:

http://babywearerscircle.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/the-ultimate-guide-to-babywearing-safety-unsafe-slings/

http://www.hobomama.com/2010/10/international-babywearing-week-safe.html

 

Here are some other great babywearing resources:

http://babywearinginternational.org/

http://www.thebabywearer.com/

http://www.attachmentparenting.org/parentingtopics/babywearing.php

Links to evidence based articles:

http://www.thebabywearer.com/index.php?page=bwbenefits#Benefits

A guide to help choose the best carrier for your needs: 

http://www.thebabywearer.com/index.php?page=whattype

A great book for children about babywearing around the world:

http://www.amazon.com/Ride-Mothers-Back-Carrying-around/dp/B006TR1UAM

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

Kiddo “Snack” Ideas

boyscarrots

boyscarrots

 

I frequently get asked for snack ideas so here is a list of some things I came up with.  One thing kids love is to eat their snacks with toothpicks-(once they are old enough to not stab each other). Also-if they are involved in the process of making their snacks, they find eating the snack more enjoyable!

 

Snack Ideas:

*hard boiled eggs-sliced with sea salt, quartered with sea salt, molded with egg molds (molds that shape the egg into a silly shake), sprinkled with, sea salt, pepper or different seasonings.

*”popcorn” cauliflower (a favorite with my kids)- Set oven to 400 Degrees. Cut up a head of cauliflower into small florets, spread onto a cookie sheet. Melt about 1/4 cup of coconut oil and drizzle over the cauliflower. Season with sea salt and pepper-my kids also like onion powder on it. Roast in the oven for approx 45 minutes to an hour stirring frequently-we like it golden brown all over. Put it in a big bowl and give everyone a fork or a toothpick

*Roasted Broccoli- Set oven to 375 cut up 1 or 2 heads of broccoli-spread on a cookie sheet-drizzle with 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, sea salt, and pepper. Roast stirring frequently 15-20 minutes or until it starts to brown

*Kale Chips- Oven to 350 degrees chop Kale into chip sized pieces and spread on a cookie sheet. Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil and drizzle all over kale. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven stirring frequently. These cook fast and can burn quickly. You want them crisp to touch and they just start browning.

*Apple wedges with almond butter for dipping

*avocado slices plain or sprinkled with sea salt

*Coconut flour muffins (I make these with the zest and juice of an orange added to the batter-they can be made with enjoy life chocolate chips as well)

*Chopped up veggies and fruits-my kids love sugar snap peas, cut up apples, cut up carrots etc…

*a whole carrot-sometimes they like to pretend they are a bunny and chomp on a whole big carrot.

*a bowl of berries

*crack open a fresh coconut-my 6 year old LOVES smashing the coconut (after we drain out the liquid of course)

*kerry gold grass-fed cheeses (for those who do dairy)

*applegate farms deli meats rolled up around a slice of avocado or rolled around some kerrygold cheese for those who do grass-fed dairy

*almonds or other nuts with the shells on for older kids (they enjoy sitting at the table and cracking them open)

*bacon and avocado sandwiches (bacon as the “bread” with a slice of avocado between 2 pieces of bacon)

*coconut milk smoothies

*banana “ice cream” take 1 frozen banana and put it in the blender with a tiny splash of almond milk, coconut cream, or coconut milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Blend and serve with spoons in a bowl. Or add more liquid to make a banana smoothie

*Blood Orange Coconut Balls

 

Feel free to add to this list in the comment sections, I would love to expand upon it!

 

Brownie Truffle Bites

choctrufles1

After making the blood orange snack balls I wanted to experiment with cacao and make a truffle type snack. I came up with these brownie bites. They have the texture and taste of a chocolate truffle-everyone enjoyed them!

choctrufles1

1 cup of walnuts

1 TBS coconut flour

2 TBS coconut oil

2 TBS raw creamy honey

1 tsp bourbon vanilla

2 TBS  cacao powder (I used nativas naturals brand)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teeny pinch of sea salt

optional but delicious: zest from 1 orange (if you like chocolate and orange together)

Directions:

pulse everything together in a food processor-

truffleballs3 choctrufles4

Roll into small 1 inch balls-they are oily but firm up once you refrigerate them.

*you can roll the balls in shredded coconut or in some cacao powder.

refrigerate to firm them up,

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Blood Orange Coconut Balls

walnutscoconutanddates

bloodorange7

 

I love the taste of oranges, and wanted to make an orange flavored snack with a Lara Bar (soft/chewy) kind of texture. I came up with these blood orange coconut balls! They have an orange/vanilla (creamsicle) taste.  I found them sweet and satiating. The kids really enjoyed them as well!

 

Ingredients:

zest and juice from 1 blood orange (finely dice the zest) My boys always ask me to get blood oranges (probably because of the word “blood”). I’m sure any kind of orange would taste great.

bloodorange5

1 cup of walnuts (macadamia nuts or cashews would work as well)

3-5 medjool dates (depending on your preference for sweetness)

1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for rolling the balls in

walnutscoconutanddates

1 tsp bourbon vanilla

1/2  tsp orange oil (optional-the zest and juice gave a nice orange flavor-the oil intensified the flavor)

1 TBS coconut flour

2 TBS coconut oil

choctrufles4

 

Directions:

pulse the walnuts in a food processor for about 30 seconds-add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until it forms one large ball.

roll into small balls (1 1/2 inch-ish)

bloodorange4

roll balls in unsweetened shredded coconut

*refrigerate for a firmer texture-store in airtight container in the refrigerator

bloodorangecollege2

Enjoy!

 

 

Grains are not a food group!

farmtotable

image

There is a misconception out there that by eating “primal” or “paleo” you are on this diet that cuts out a “major food group”. First of all, primal eating is lifestyle…it is not a fad diet. Grains are not a food group! Eating primal does not mean eating “low carb.” It is not the same thing as Atkins. In fact, our bodies do need carbohydrates. We just don’t need the excessive amount we consume when we eat processed foods and grains. We need way less than we are accustomed too, and the amount we need varies based on our level of physical activity. So what exactly does primal/paleo/ancestral eating mean? It simply means eating real food. We are so far removed from what real food is in our culture that some of us have no idea where to start. Real food does not come in a box/package or have a label on it. It has not been chemically processed or altered.

Before eating this way I was eating what I *thought was a healthy diet.  Almost everyday I ate almond butter and honey sandwiches on 100% sprouted grain bread, pasta, beans, legumes…I avoided most animal products. I also did not feel good. I was having gallbladder attacks. I was anxious. My hair was falling out. I was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. After a year of slowly converting to primal eating, my autoimmune “markers” are now very low, and I feel amazing!  My health has improved dramatically and I will never go back. I’ve discussed my autoimmune thyroid (which is related to grain and soy consumption) and plan to talk more on autoimmunity in subsequent posts. I’m feeling really good these days 🙂

Why do I avoid grains? On top of experiencing all I said above, I was having issues with unstable blood sugar. I was consuming most of my calories from “whole wheat” bread, and I thought I was eating healthy. However, I was having a ton of health issues that were snowballing and I was not in a good place. Something was wrong. When I cut gluten out I started to feel much better, but still dealt with blood sugar spikes and plummets, as well as hormonal issues. Now that I avoid grains, my blood sugar is stable and I feel at my best. It feels great to actually wake up every morning feeling healthy and strong. I no longer have brain fog. I feel happy. My hormones are balanced.

This link and this link were helpful in understanding some of the blood sugar/gluten issues:

“The paleo diet is not Atkins, nor is it zero-carb. The best research I can find shows that modern hunter-gatherers get perhaps 1/3 of their calories from carbohydrate, and Paleolithic hunter-gatherers somewhat less. This means vegetables, including root starches like sweet potatoes: grains were not a meaningful part of the human diet until agriculture, of which the earliest evidence is only 12,000 years ago. (This is a tautology: agriculture defines the transition from Paleolithic to Neolithic.)”

My hope is that people will do their own research and keep an open mind. I am a mom of 2 young boys, and want to feed them real food. I deal with a ton of negativity and questioning from people, but I plow on because I know I am doing what is best for us. One thing I don’t do is “preach to the choir”. I don’t judge other people for their food choices, I don’t try to change what my family or friends eat.  If someone asks me or questions me I do my best to explain my choice without being pushy. Here is an article I found helpful when dealing with family/friends who question your choices. What I have learned through the years is to limit your arguing…keep answers short and sweet, change the subject.

It makes such a difference in your life when your body just feels right. I network with many different paleo/primal people and belong to several different groups where we all learn from each other. I learn new things everyday. I’m sure some of it will change, but the basics remain the same. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge, and I really have no other motives.

So what exactly do I eat?

I eat pastured meats. Pastured simply means that the animal is out eating its natural diet. So cows eat grass. Chickens eat bugs. Not only is the animal happier, but the health benefit of pastured meats are huge. The animal is not couped or caged all the time and fed genetically modified feed (soybeans, corn, wheat to name a few).  I buy from the local Farmer’s Market. Some farmers will give discounts, and there are cheaper cuts available that are just as nutrient rich as fancy cuts, some even more so. I take my kids to visit the farms and get to know the farmers. Organ meats are very inexpensive and are extremely nutrient dense. Farmers sell all different cuts of meat-heart, liver, tongue, soup bones, you name it! You can also purchase a ¼ cow, ½ cow or a whole cow if you have a deep freezer. Sometimes friends will “split a cow”. It is cost effective and the meat can get you through several months. I also eat applegate farms deli meats, and occasionally buy meats at Trader Joe’s.

This is helpful

I eat grass-fed dairy (I am a sucker for kerrygold cheese). Dairy can be an issue for many people. The protein casein is large in molecular structure and can be hard on the gut. I react to dairy. I make the choice to occasionally eat it and pay the price.

I eat wild caught fish and seafood. I was never a fish person in the past. I actually just started eating and enjoying sardines (I am amazed at how much I enjoy the taste of real food after cleansing my body of processed foods). My kids like salmon so I try to make it for them at least once a week.

I eat pastured eggs- chickens are not vegetarians. They are omnivores-they love bugs! Pastured eggs are not the same as “cage free” or “vegetarian fed” eggs. I had a hard time finding them, and now purchase them at the farmer’s market as well.

This is helpful in understanding eggs!

I eat a ton of vegetables/fruit daily (mostly vegetables): avocados, garlic, herbs, apples, berries, carrots, greens of all sorts, bananas, parsnips, turnips, kale, beets, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, salad greens, cauliflower, oranges…it changes based on the season. I stick with “the dirty dozen” when it comes to buying organic.

I don’t fear fat at all. You shouldn’t either.

I cook with coconut oil, ghee (OMGhee is my favorite) grass-fed butter (kerrygold is a good brand), tallow, and lard.  I use olive oil for cold uses. I do not limit my fat intake. This chart is helpful in explaining which fats to use and which to avoid.

I bake with coconut flour, coconut oil, tapioca starch, arrowroot flour, and almond meal.

I also snack on nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, healthy meat sticks (not slim jims), seaweed, sardines,  lara bars, veggies

There are a bunch of fabulous blogs/FB pages that I follow. Some are educational and others share tons of awesome recipes!

Here are some of my personal favorites:

www.nomnompaleo.com

www.balancedbites.com

www.everydaypaleo.com

www.facebook.com/justeatrealfood

www.marksdailyapple.com

http://chriskresser.com/

www.robbwolf.com

www.primaltoad.com

www.paleononpaleo.com

www.againstallgrains.com

*Some of the staples I load my pantry with for baking are coconut milk, coconut flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot, coconut oil, almond meal, enjoy life (GF/DF) chocolate chips, bourbon vanilla, frozen blueberries (I go blueberry picking during the summer and freeze pounds of them).

As I’ve said in the past I am not 100% and I am far from perfect. If you try to be, you will drive yourself batty and won’t enjoy your life. We live in a culture that is very much attached to grains, and that makes this lifestyle difficult without support. It’s not impossible…just difficult. It is important to reach out for support and take baby steps. I have good days and bad days. There are days when I stare at the fridge and think “what the heck am I going to make today?” I always figure it out and I am learning how to think outside the box! Scrambled eggs mixed with ground beef and seasonings tossed over salad greens makes an excellent meal. I found that by “liking” primal/paleo FB pages your newsfeed gets filled with awesome recipes to try, tips, and helpful information.

I started out by just cutting out gluten. That to me is a huge step. Then when I noticed the amazing positive changes I slowly converted to eating less and less processed foods. I still get the occasional gluten free sugary treat. I always feel lousy afterward, but once in awhile I do it anyway. I also like to have a gluten free beer in the summertime, and enjoy drinking wine with my friends. My weakness is dark chocolate-I try to find the darkest and lowest in sugar available.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask away if you have questions and I will try to point you in the right direction!

 

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

I did it…I cooked and ate organ meat!

beefheart8

023

First let me start by saying that as a child I was adamantly opposed to eating animals. I would ask my mom if the meat came from an animal or the grocery store. She had to say the grocery store or I wouldn’t eat it. That is a perfect example of how separated from our food sources we have become, and that was in the 1980’s.  Up until a little over a year ago I barely touched meats. I am an animal lover, and also big on textures.  It wasn’t until October of 2012 when I started researching ways to heal myself from autoimmunity that I discovered paleo eating. I slowly converted myself to eating real whole foods including pasture raised meats. What a difference it has made in my life, but more on that in the next post.

Well here I am in February 2013, a little over a year later…and I am cooking a beef heart. I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would be at this point. I’m sure my close friends will find it comical. My mom will be shocked, lol. My past self would be pretty disgusted. However, I swear I am not crazy!

Organ meats are extremely nutrient dense and healthy! The lady at the Farmer’s Market explained that it is a muscle just like the other cuts of meat. Plus…it only cost $3.00 so really helps when you are on a budget yet trying to eat healthy. 

Mark Sisson describes different organ meats and the health benefits here

“Because it is a muscle meat, heart is very similar to steak, roasts and ground beef, but is typically less expensive (we blame the “ick” factor for that!) and actually has a higher protein content. In addition, heart is an excellent source of a number of nutrients, including thiamin, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10 and several of the B vitamins. In addition, beef heart contains amino acids that are thought to improve metabolism and compounds that promote the production of collagen and elastin (thin and wrinkle free? Sign us up!)”

I did not take on this endeavor on my own. I had my friend Steve (a cook) help me out with this one. He did all the cooking, I took pictures and watched/learned.

The heart was actually on the small side and my kids ended up eating almost the entire thing (I did try one bite…it tasted just like roast beef…not gamey at all and very moist). They loved it! Next time I will pick up a larger one, or 2 smaller ones to feed everyone.

Here is how we cooked it:

First I let the beef heart get to room temperature, and we patted it dry with a paper towel and added generous sea salt and pepper to both sides.

beefheart8

 

 

We diced a head of garlic, some carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and onions.

beefheart6

 

We braised the heart in a dutch oven on high heat for a few minutes to brown each side, and removed it from the pan.

beefheart10

 

We added the carrots and onions to the pan to “sweat them” with some more sea salt. Then we added the garlic and mushrooms. After that we added a couple TBS of tomato paste and mixed it up.

beefheart12

 

Next we put a hole in the center of the vegetables and added some beef broth (bone broth would work great…I just didn’t have any). We added a splash of brandy and lit it on fire to “burn” off the alcohol.

beefheart13

 

We also added some thyme and bay leaves

Then we put the heart nestled back on the vegetables, covered the pan, and put in in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

beefheart15

 

We removed it from the oven and let the flavors “marry” on the stovetop for an hour or so.

About 45 minutes before dinner-time I added some potatoes, brought it to a boil, covered and simmered until they were brown. The meat was in a foil tent during this time.

I thinly sliced the meat at an angle and served over the vegetables with the juices.

My kids devoured it. It was really delicious! So here’s to being brave and trying new things!

beefheart17