Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DAY 30 of forever

Oh my goodness! I can't think of a intelligent or clever way to start this post because I am kind of crazy excited about finally being 30...of the rest of our lives.

Just a quick recap if you haven't read the posts from the beginning....For the last 30 days my family and I have been eating only whole foods, grass-fed meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, even bacon fat. We have not eaten any processed foods, grains, legumes, soy, dairy, or seed oils. We jumped into this diet change with an all or nothing approach based on a program called Whole30. (I want to say real quickly that this is not the approach that is best for everyone. Some people really rebel against such a structured set of rules. If that is you I encourage you to take baby steps to meeting your nutrition goals. I'll post more on this concept soon.)

Levi and I have had several discussions about what this post should cover so this is a combination of his and my experiences along with what we observed through our kids. I am working on getting Levi to post on here soon to give a man's perspective. Make sure you catch that post because it is sure to be entertaining.

So here we go...

What were our expectations were before we began?

My biggest expectation was to gain some weight. I honestly expected Levi to push back and cheat a bit (with food...just to clarify). I thought the food was going to suck. I have never been a meat lover. I am a protein shake kind of girl and had a hard time wrapping my mind around eating so much food.

Levi expected to lose a lot of weight just from cutting out the gallons of Monster drinks, sugar-filled coffee, and Dr. Peppers. I think he also expected the food to suck mainly because of all the weird veggies on the menu. And he was very unhappy about having to give up peanut butter.

What things have changed?

Let's start with weight because it is the easiest to measure. I was very surprised by losing weight despite increasing calories, fat and protein by a TON. I need to sit down and find out exactly how much I have increased these things but I am sure I have more than doubled my intake of each. My daily eating regiment consisted of a protein/wheat grass shake for breakfast, Greek yogurt and almonds or triscuits and hummus for lunch and a normal American dinner ranging from the lean tilapia and veggies to pizza.

I feel a little nervous about posting about my weight because everyone hates the skinny girl, especially the skinny girl who just got lucky genes. But I know there are others that might be in the same boat so here we go. I started out weighing 115 lbs. I am 5'7'' so that is already technically underweight. I wanted to gain a few pounds because I felt puny and weak plus bony isn't exactly attactive. You are not supposed to weigh yourself throughout the Whole30 but after a customer asked me if I had been sick because I looked like I had lost a ton of weight I went home and stepped on the scale to find that I now weighed 110! Yikes. That really scared me and I considered right there and then stopping this crazy way of eating. Instead I increased my fats...a lot. I started eating 2 avocados a day, doubled up on my coconut oil, ate almond butter and Sunbutter often, added coconut cream to my coffee, snacked on nuts and coconut flakes, and added sweet potatoes into meals often. My weight started to go back up. I'm at 113 right now but I don't feel puny and even though I'm still underweight I don't feel like I look bony. I need to also note that I haven't worked out at all in the last 30 days and I am confident that once I start some muscle building exercises my weight will improve even more. If you are naturally thin I really suggest paying attention to that scale and mirror. I am usually the biggest proponent of judging your weight based on how you feel and look but I am really glad I saw those shocking numbers that spurred me to take action.

Levi's weight loss has been the most dramatic. I'm not going to reveal his numbers...I'll let him do that if he chooses to. But his weight loss is definitely obvious. His pants do not fit him any more and his belts aren't helping much at all. The majority of his weight loss happened in the first 2 weeks and then seemed to slow down drastically. I think he is disappointed in the decreased weight loss lately but I am a little relieved because healthy weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds a week. Recently he actually has cut out all nuts and nut butters (which are his favorite snack) to see if that jump starts the weight loss again. We will see.

We never weighed the kids. It is hard to judge kid's weights because they are always growing and changing. But just to be safe I increased their fats when I increased my own.

One of the biggest changes has been our energy levels.. Most days, before paleo, I would hit a brick wall around 2pm. Now I go go go all day long and never even really think about my energy levels. I love that! I feel more productive and focused. I am really excited to start working out again and feel confident in my energy levels keeping up.

Once again Levi's results were more drastic. I cannot stress enough how much he lived off of pure sugar and caffeine before paleo. It was how he survived the sometimes 20 hour work days. He just looked tired all the time. Even I would offer to bring him a Dr. Pepper or coffee regularly if I knew he was going to be working late. But now 30 days later he is completely caffeine free and has more energy and focus than he did after a day of 2 Starbucks Trenta (that is the super huge one) iced coffees sweetened and with half n half, several refills of Dr. Pepper, those "healthy" energy shots, and sugary Monster drinks.

We have also made sleep a bigger priority in our family. I think it was a Chris Kresser podcast where I heard that if you miss one hour of sleep 4 or 5 days in a row your body will respond as if you missed an entire night of sleep. This affects everything, our adrenals, immune system, energy level, even cravings. So we are committed to 8 hours of sleep as often as possible. This means turning off the TV and going to bed even when the show is really good.

I'm not sure the kids have any energy level differences. But I have noticed they have a much better level of focus. Jack has always been in his own little world but lately I feel like he hears me and follows through with instruction sooooo much better. This really is a huge noticeable difference. Even when doing homework I have noticed he is more willing to take the time to do it right instead of just doing it fast. Addie's life consists of tea parties and dress up so I haven't really noticed a change in focus or drive but then she has always thrown the best tea parties so there was never much room for improvment.

We are all just generally feeling better too. My constant headaches are completely gone. That in itself is worth going paleo. I lived off of BC Powder and aspirin just to function and even then the headache was still pushed back but not gone. Constipation is no longer a problem in this family either. It isn't a pretty subject matter but man is it important! If you don't poop you feel like poop. Jack used to take Miralax every day just to keep things moving and we haven't used it once in the last 30 days! All of our tummies are feeling so good. We don't have puffy, upset, crampy, nauseous bellies after eating any more. These are all things we just lived with and considered normal. It is very exciting to know that it is no longer our norm

JOY! LOTS AND LOTS OF JOY! This aspect really came out of left field. I would never say we were unhappy. But I cannot express how much more absolute joy I find in all things. I find myself smiling a lot. I feel like I find delight in my kids more than ever before. And even though I am busier than ever before I don't feel like the busyness is a burden. This is true for Levi too. I don't want to share too much but he was not in a great place just a month ago. I could notice it but I chalked it up to work stress....which much of it was but it was affecting his outlook on everything. He told me last night as we were reviewing the last 30 days that all of that feeling or actually lack of feeling has just seemed to go away. I knew this. He walks differently...kind of bouncier, but in a manly way of course.

The kiddos are once again harder to judge on the joy issue. I wouldn't say they have more joy necessarily but they do seem more content. Both of our kids usually have to be made to play outside but lately they have both enjoyed hours of running around getting all gross and smelling like little wet puppies. They haven't been so whiny lately either. Their little moods seem more even and not so up and down with the exception of when they get a treat and then their behavior change is very noticeable.

I don't want to give all the credit for this joy to food. To be honest I really feel like the majority of this happy/satisfied feeling comes from changing our focus to choosing what is REAL. To us REAL is God our King, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our guide. REAL is our family. REAL is our relationships with others. REAL is our health. REAL is our purpose. By cutting out all the notREAL (this has included excessive shopping, reliance on quick fixes, unhealthy goals) we have made more time and energy for the REAL. I'm am not a preacher and I'm a lousy disciple most of the time but I will not fail in giving the glory for all my successes, happiness, diet or otherwise to my God who I desire to please with my life.

In what ways has paleo sucked?

There is definitely a learning curve when making such a big change to your diet. We had to change our focus and understanding of foods and this was not easy. It took quite a bit of time for me to wrap my mind around no longer eating grains. Then once I had it all "figured out" (as if that ever happens) I was missing a few important details. I had the food figured out but was missing making it work in our schedule, our small town, and within our budget.

Who in the world has all this time to be cooking??? I don't. I nearly made myself miserable during the first two weeks by constantly cooking. Levi and I were just baffled at how a family with both parents working full-time (I don't really fit in this category because I work mostly from home) could do this? Where would they find the time to prep, cook, and eat these meals when they are gone the majority of the day and tired when they get home? This conundrum gave me a mission to lay out a quick meal guide to be able to share with others. I won't give all the details now but hopefully it will be available soon.  Working on this has helped me so much with our family's time management and meal planning around our crazy schedule. I am still cooking but at least not living in the kitchen. (I'm not dead in there either...just for clarification.) For those times I am in the kitchen I like to utilize that time by learning and feeding my spirit. I really encourage you to not give in to turning on the TV but to find a good podcast or praise music to listen to. There are many church's out there, including my own, that upload the weekly sermons. Or listen to a paleo podcast, or turn on some awesome music and move. When I made cooking not just about cooking I started to love it and look forward to it.

It took about 2 and half weeks before I realized that we couldn't keep driving to Whole Foods all the time. First of all, I want my money to go to my community. I'm pretty sure Fairveiw and Rockwall can take care of themselves so I'd rather help Greenville prosper. This is a big deal for me considering I own a business in Greenville and would like others to have the same focus. My goal now is to spend 90%  or more of my grocery budget in Greenville...more specifically between the Sunshine Shoppe, Brookshires, the Mexican market downtown or the Farmer's Market.

Unfortunately, our sweet town just doesn't have everything I want. My biggest example of this right now is organic greens. I can't find them anywhere in Greenville. I am trying to overcome these challenges by stocking what I can in my shop but we are oh so small and running out of space. I dream of expanding and doing a whole foods market...ahhh someday. Put that in your prayers.

We are now officially broke. Maybe not broke but we have a whole lot less money than we used to. I don't even want to tell you how much I have spent on groceries this month but I will say that it is way over $1000, probably over $1500. AUGHHHHHH! This cannot and will not happen again. We are a family of 4!!!! How did we eat that much money? Well, I'll tell you. I was not paying attention to the prices. I was just overwhelmed by cutting out all the foods we were so addicted to. I spent way too much money initially on buying organic produce that is not on the Dirty Dozen list. I was also so excited about learning how to cook meats that I planned all these extravagant meals of lamb, $20 steaks, fancy fish that I had never heard of but the dude behind the counter swore it was exactly what I wanted. But no more! We are all about the ground beef, roast, sausage, and chicken now. Maybe I'll throw in something special if there is room in the budget. I'll post very soon on what our budget is going to look like and what that means in terms of meals and groceries.

One very important way that Paleo has not sucked at all is in the deliciousness of the wonderful food! Maybe we have been lucky but we have only had a couple of meals that weren't awesome but still edible and enjoyable. I have been amazed at how much I enjoy the taste of grass fed meats. Like I said earlier, I have never been much of a meat eater. I even thought that it is what caused much of my tummy trouble. But I love meats now! And what is even crazier is Levi loves vegetables! He used to hate sweet potatoes but now he eats them almost every day!

What do we miss the most?

I'm a little embarrassed to admit what I miss the most because I don't want you to think I have a problem. But quite honestly I have missed wine the most! Paleo allows for wine...Whole30 does not. I love to drink a glass of wine while cooking or after the kids are in bed and Levi and I are just hanging out and talking about our day. So I am thrilled to add that little treat back into my life.

Levi misses Dr. Peppers the most. This is not surprising in the least.

We all miss pizza like crazzzzzzy!!! I will be experimenting very soon with paleo pizza. I hear it is very messy but in my experience I have learned that messy just means more fun.

This was a massive post and I appreciate you sticking with me on it if you made it to the end. I also want you all to know how much your sweet comments, messages, and facebook "likes" mean to me. I'm thrilled my little blog is an encouragement. You are all an encouragement to me. It is a lovely thing to be a part of a community of people that care about what is REAL.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Terrible Tuesdays

Our family is busy just like every other family in America. We always seem to have one day of the week that is the absolute worst. Last year Thursdays really stunk. Think year it is Tuesdays. Here is what I mean:

Get up. Make coffee. Make breakfast. Gather Jack's backpack, water bottle, lunch, and coat. Tie shoes...double knots. Kiss my boys goodbye and send them off to work and school. Clean up kitchen. Pick up coffee cup and realize it is cold. Microwave coffee. Get ready and choose the outfit that doesn't require ironing because we should have left 10 minutes ago and Addie is still in jammies. Get Addie ready. Gather up Addie's backpack, lunch box, folder, Cuddles, ladybug pillow, my work bag, and my lunch. Realize we can't find Cuddles. Look for Cuddles for 15 minutes until finding her in a spot that I looked at three times already. Load everything in the car. Buckle seat belts. Realize purse and keys are still in the house. Get keys and purse and almost forget to put up the garage door before backing up because I was so frustrated. Drop Addie off at school. Go to work. Pick Addie up. Run home. Eat snack. Start laundry. Pick up Jack. Run home. Change out laundry and add the dry load to the giant mountain of clothes I have piled up in my room. Get Addie ready for ballet and Jack ready for basketball practice. Look through Jack's Tuesday folder. Go to ballet. Go to basketball practice. Get home at 6:45 STARVING.
And that is why, ladies and gentlemen, that Tuesday are for slow cookers.

Today I ordered Chrissy Gower's Paleo Slow Cooking recipe book. I am really looking forward to getting some variety in my slow cooker recipes. Today I threw a pork roast in the crock pot with some canned roasted tomatoes, onions, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder. It smelled soooo good all day. We made some sweet potato chips...ahhhhh, guacamole and salsa and served the shredded pork in a paleo taco shell...aka lettuce.

 I'm going to be really honest. This meat was lacking something. It wasn't bad just kind of bland. Next time I'm going to add green chilies and taco seasoning, and maybe some enchilada sauce?

This salsa was really yummy and not very spicy. I added to the food processor the following:
1 can of roasted tomatoes, 1 can chopped green chilies, 1 tsp. minced garlic, small handful of cilantro, chopped onion, salt and pepper. I have always added a tsp of sugar to my homemade salsa to help with the acidity of the tomatoes. This time I caramelized the chopped onions first to make them sweeter and I really liked the added flavor. If you like your salsa spicier throw in some jalapeno.

I never would have imagined I would have a Fry Daddy in my house. The fried food idea just has always seemed unhealthy. I have made baked sweet potato chips before but you can only fit about 20 or so on the cookie sheet at a time and it takes 20 minutes to cook. The Fry Daddy heats up completely in one minute. We used 2 jars of coconut oil but don't freak can reuse coconut oil up to five times which is still expensive but a little better. We had a huge bowl of chips crispy and on the table in about 10 minutes.


This made a LOT of meat. We still had half the crockpot leftover. I plan to add some chicken broth, cilantro, taco seasoning, zucchini, green chilies, and avocado to make a Mexican soup for dinner tomorrow.

Speaking of is the last day of our Whole30!!!!!! I am looking forward to finally posting about what and how things have changed for the Popes. Find out what we struggled with, what we didn't even miss, how we feel physically and mentally, and how we are going to celebrate 30 days of whole living.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What works for us

We are coming up on the end of our Whole30 with only 3 more days to go. We didn't really have any plans after that so Levi and I started to discuss how paleo was going to fit into our lives permanently. You see, we are normal...okay normalish. We don't want to be the weirdos that bring almond flour cupcakes to another kid's birthday party or the friends you used to have but now never see because we can't ever have dinner together. (Not that there is anything wrong with being one of those will probably live longer than us.) Plus there are things that are not paleo that we don't want to say no to for forever. So here are the guidelines we came up with:

  • Our house will always be 100% paleo...sorta kinda. For the majority of our shopping lists they will consist of paleo friendly foods with the exception of parties or events thrown in our home. But we will not keep nonpaleo foods after the event. For instance, I'm hosting a shower next month in my house and there will be that super amazing budnt cake from Nothin Bundt Cakes in Rockwall. But the leftovers will go home with the soon-to-be parents.

  • Saturdays are going to be our margin for error days. I hate the cheat day idea. I think it makes making a poor or unhealthy choice seem naughty and that could go one of two ways...either you are left with guilt afterward or you get more of a thrill from it than you should have because you are just that kind of person. I know which one I am so we are going to just allow for error on Saturdays. I expect that to look like splitting a gelato after a movie or having a piece of cake at our friend's wedding. I don't expect us to spend the day binging on donuts, sodas, pizza, pasta, etc.

  • The kids will not miss out on fun kid stuff. Jack still gets to have hot lunch at school once a week and gets to get a treat from the bake sale. He gets to drink the Gatorade and eat the animal cracker snack after his basketball games. Addie can eat whatever snack is provided by her school. Both kids get to eat whatever junk their grandparents choose to lure them with. But packed lunches sent to school will be paleo approved.
I do want to make the point real quckly that we make great effort to explain to our kids why we are making healthy food choices by explaining what health benefits our foods are providing us while we eat. I tell them what vitamins and minerals are found in their meal and how those nutrients help their bodies grow big and strong and their hair and skin beautiful and healthy. I've noticed they are making smart choices even when Mommy and Daddy aren't around.

  • We are going to eat some raw dairy. We will slowly add some cheeses back in and see how we feel. If we don't feel good then it will go but we miss our Saturday night pizzas. Our pizza will now be on a cauliflower crust (who knew cauliflower was so multi-puposeful) but who cares as long as there is cheese! 

  • We will enjoy special treats only when it is special...not because a coworker brought donuts that day. Just because a special treat is available doesn't mean we have to eat it. But at the same time we aren't going to be rude and hurt a friend's feeling by not eating a cookie they baked for us. People come first...we will live and enjoy the opportunity to enjoy a truly special treat.
These are our guidelines based on our family. We don't have any allergies to wheat, dairy, soy. We just choose not to eat them based on our understanding of how they affect our health. If we did have an allergy or allergies we would probably live stricter and would suck it up and be the weirdos with the gluten-free cupcakes.

I'm pretty sure there isn't a paleo police so I encourage you to create guidelines that work best for you and your family...not sticking strictly to some set of rules based on a caveman's life. Those hairy dudes did not have the option of cappucchino chuncky chocolate frozen yogurt but I bet if they did they would give in and enjoy too.

We snapped this picture this weekend. We had a special family day and took the kid's to see their Uncle Elias' new restaurant HG (I'll post more on that later) and treated them to an ice cream brownie just because they are awesome. We don't ever do desert. Even before paleo desert wasn't ever offered so we thought it would be fun to give them a treat just because. Of course Levi and I just sat there salivating because our Whole30 still isn't up so absolutely no error allowed but we had enjoyed some great Saltgrass steaks so at least our tummies weren't growling.

Recipe time!!!
I'm really excited to share these next two recipes because they were huge hits!!!

The first one is Sun Dried Tomato Meatballs with Creamy Pesto from Everyday Paleo. You can click the link to see the recipe. I made it exactly as the recipe stated. The only thing I wish I had done differently was I should have doubled it. There were lots of yummy noises coming from all of us at the dinner table. The kids have asked for it several times since.

The second recipe came from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Because it came from her published recipe book I'm not totally sure if I'm allowed to post the recipe???? Let me know if I'm going to be in trouble for this please. I will say that this book totally rocks and you should buy it not only for the awesome recipes but also because it has a lot of information on personalizing paleo to your specific health needs.
It is recipes like this that make us realize we don't even miss pasta. Spaghetti squash is much more yummy than pasta and so good for you!

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
1 Spaghetti Squash
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP of fav fat...we used bacon fat
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced...we used about 15 baby carrots
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic...we did a LOT more, probably about 5 cloves
1/2 lb ground veal or beef
1/2 lb ground pork...we just used 1 lb total of ground beef. What are you supposed to do with that other half lb? It just seemed like too much trouble to to do two different types of meats.
4 slices of bacon chopped
1/2 full-fat coconut milk
3 oz. tomato can freeze the rest in an ice cube tray
1/2 cup dry white wine...we didn't add this because all alcohol is restricted on Whole30

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out all the stringy stuff and seeds. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place squash face down. Roast for 35-45 minutes.

While squash bakes prepare the awesome meaty sauce. Melt fav fat in iron skillet or any skillet and saute veggies. Add garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Add ground meat and cook until browned through. Add coconut milk, tomato paste, and wine. Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

After squash is cooled, use a spoon to scoop out the "noodles." I just put them directly into the pasta bowls to keep from adding another dish to the sink. Pour sauce over the top. Enjoy eating in silence because your kids will be too busy stuffing their sweet faces to say a word...except maybe a thank you. The only thing that would have made this meal any better would have been a glass of red wine. Darn Whole30.

    Friday, January 25, 2013

    The facts about grain

    I have kind of stressed over this post for a couple of days now because it is very important for me to clearly express the very scary facts about wheat and I know that some of you are going to be immediately turned off because taking wheat out of your dining equation is just NOT AN OPTION. And there is actually a scientific reason behind your very attached feelings to wheat and I'll get to that in a second. So please read on and don't fall into the 'ignorance is bliss' state of thinking...or not thinking.

    Because of my health food store I come into contact with a lot of people who are looking for answers for their health problems. I have been absolutely amazed at how many of my customers have become "gluten-free" and many of their health issues, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, sleeplessness, inability to lose weight, lack of focus, acne, low energy, went away or decreased significantly. I tell you this because I want you to understand that I feel confident in what I'm doing and hopefully teaching through this blog because I have not only read the science behind it but I have observed it for several years. Anybody can pretty much prove whatever they set out to prove with data by only publishing those studies that prove their agenda. This really does happen and I have found that the majority of the studies published are by the very companies that benefit financially from a really big way.

    So lets start at the beginning...
    Quite literally in the beginning God created EVERYTHING and that included grain...and it was good. But about 50 years ago man (with the best of intentions) messed it all up. Through hybridization we were now able to yield more for less cost. Sounds good right? Except for the fact that our health is what pays the price. Wheat gluten proteins have undergone significant structural changes including additional proteins that did not exist in the parent wheat plants. And now we have wheat that has a higher number of genes for gluten proteins that are associated with celiac. Okay, I know what you are thinking..."I don't have celiac." Read on. The evils of wheat don't stop here.

    Now this part is a bit sciencey so hang on. Wheat breaks down like this:
    70% carbohydrate
    10-15% protein
    10-15% indigestible fiber
    remaining% fat
    The complex carbohydrate in wheat breaks down like this:
    75% amylopectin that is converted to glucose and absorbed in to the blood stream rapidly causing blood-sugar to increase
    25% amylose that is less efficiently digested therefore less of it enters the blood stream
    The study that launched the concept of the glycemic index(GI) found the following:
     The GI of table sugar or sucrose was 59
    The GI of white bread was 69
    The GI of whole grain bread was a whopping 72
    All this means is wheat bread increases blood sugar more than table sugar when compared gram for gram. Here is a crazy quote from the book, Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, "The GI of a Snickers bar is 41-far better than whole grain bread." YIKES!
    Why is this a big deal? Your pancreas produces a little hormone called insulin. Insulin is good because it allows glucose into the cells of the body which provide your body energy. Insulin is triggered when blood-sugar levels increase and therefore the higher the blood-sugar levels the more need for insulin. Now here is where the problem lies...your body can only store so much in your cells. In fact, it takes 45 minutes of very rigorous exercise to expend your glucose energy sources. But then you eat and replenish. The key is to not eat more carbs than our body can store because when that happens we get fat. It has to go somewhere and that special place is usually around our tummies. But we have been told to eat more whole grains so we keep increasing those blood-sugar levels and adding inches to our middle and we don't understand why we can't lose the weight. And then it gets worse because weight gain turns into decreased insulin sensitivity and therefore we are facing the ugliness of dealing with diabetes.
    Wheat also effects your bones. This may not concern you immediately but I guarantee you that when you are looking at 60 or 70 you are going to want those bones strong and healthy and the best time to start working on that is now. Wheat messes with your pH balance in your body. It is a huge source of sulphuric acid. That's right, the same stuff found in car batteries. Small amounts of sulphuric acid are not going to kill you but from the amount of wheat we eat our bodies are very acidic which can then pull calcium from our bones to try to correct our pH balance. (Which by the way I think is pretty incredible that God made our bodies in such a way that it naturally tries to balance itself.) And we all know our bones need calcium. It is interesting that despite all the "calcium rich" milk, cereals, and supplements there is still a huge general deficiency in this important mineral. 
    And the last thing I want to touch on is the very addictive nature of wheat/grain. It has been found that the polypetides from digested gluten have the odd ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and then bind to the brain's morphine receptor. This induces a mild feeling of euphoria. You've been getting high and not even known it! But this is one of the very big reasons why we crave grains in a very unhealthy way. You have to admit that the idea of cutting out all grains scares the snot out of you and that is a natural reaction for an addict. And let me be the first to say I was the biggest addict out there. I thought my choice of whole grains was healthy and smart when really it was a need for a fix. And boy did I have withdrawals. In fact our whole family did. But we survived and are much better for it and you will be too.
    So this was a lot of information but I basically summed up much of what I have learned about the dangers of grains. I really encourage you to pick up the book Wheat Belly. I've got a few ordered for the shop and you can get a copy there sometime next week. I am not a doctor or licensed anything. Please understand that this is my truth based on my observation of myself and others and based on my efforts to continually educate myself with various materials. I encourage you to do the same.

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    I love soup!

    I think it might be a girl thing to love soups? I've noticed not many men order a soup and side salad at lunch...not that I eat lunch with many men or any men aside from my husband who I don't even get to eat lunch with. Anyways....I made Addie and myself such a lovely soup today I just had to share. I made the Silky Gingered Soup from The Clothes Make the Girl blog by Melissa Joulwan. So far every recipe I have made from her blog has been fantastic. I've got her book, Well Fed, ordered and cannot wait for it to arrive!!!

    I'm not going to retype the recipe since I pretty much did exactly how she instructed. But I learned one very important lesson in the process...

    Don't overfill your food processor with hot soup. It will explode EVERYWHERE. I actually already knew that. I had read that warning in several recipes but I like to experince these lessons for myself apparently.

    This soup is mainly zucchini, onions and ginger and therefore pretty inexpensive. I paired it with some sausage and it made a delightful little but very filling lunch.

    (Isn't that little cup so cute? My mother-in-law made those for her in-laws when she was younger and after those sweet and very missed loved ones passed away our little family was fortunate to end up with them.)
    I love anything that has ginger because I find that it has so many health benefits.
    • It is very effective in treating nausea. This soup would be great for breakfast in the morning for all you pregnant little mommas out there who are dealing with that yucky morning sickness.
    • It is an anti-inflammatory.
    • It is a natural treatment and preventative for the cold and flu viruses.
    • It is useful for menstrual cramps.
    • It is a natural heartburn remedy.
    • Some studies have shown it to slow down the growth of colorectal cancer cells and actually kill ovarian cancer cells.
    I hope you try this soup out. Next time I plan to double the recipe and freeze what we don't eat...if there is any left.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    The Very Basics

    We got our Steve's Original order in yesterday! It was pretty exciting and I had a lot of fun unpacking it and going through all the neat informational brochures. It even came with a couple flossers which was pretty cute. Levi took the original PaleoKit to work today and was surprised by how much he enjoyed this snack. If fact, he said it filled him up completely and was more like a meal than a snack. Which is really great because we are a little concerned about what Levi is going to eat when he is traveling and stuck on military bases. These are great because they travel well and don't require any heating.
    Addie snacked on the Paleo Krunch today and LOVED it. Poor baby. She is really missing her cereals and crackers and this was a great substitute.
    I haven't tried any of it yet because it was kind of expensive, $30 for all you see pictured, and I'm going to wait until a day when I can't throw something together real quick. But if Levi and Addie loved it then it is a winner and we will be ordering more in the future.

    Lately I've had several people say, "Hey. I'm reading your blog, but what's paleo?" Please forgive me for just assuming (we all know what assuming does) that everyone is uber obsessed with nutrition the way I am. It is my job but also a true passion and I really do spend a lot of time researching and learning. So I wanted to take the next few blog posts and kind of condense all the books, blogs, research papers, potcasts, articles, and documentaries into simple basic info on the whats and whys of paleo.

    Paleo is short for Paleolithic which is an era where humans lived on meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fats...whole foods. So those are the kinds of foods our family is eating now.

    It isn't a diet diet. If that makes any sense. It isn't geared toward weight loss although that does happen. It is centered around health, increased energy, improved digestion, normalized blood sugar levels, decreased inflammation and feeling REALLY GREAT. For me personally it is about being at my best physically and mentally so I can serve whatever purpose God's put before me. I want to have the energy to play chase with my kids and I want that energy to last until my favorite guy comes home and I get to hang out with him. I don't want to live with a constant headache that makes me snappy and unapproachable. I want my mind to focus on the task in front of me so that I am not wasting time running in a million directions at once. I want to feel young for another 80 years. That's right, I'm shooting for 110. I want to never have to worry about diabetes or arthritis or cholesterol or blood pressure and I want these same things for my loved ones.

    So what can't you eat? Everyone really gets hung up on this one. We don't eat anything processed including but not limited to:
    pasteurized dairy (anyone know of anybody locally that wants to sell me some raw milk?)
    artificial and refined sugars and sweeteners
    industrial seed oils such as corn, canola, soybean
    legumes (beans)

    I know it seems like we eat a limited diet but we have been eating more variety lately then ever before. We actually had Swiss chard tonight and it was sooooo good. Even the kids cleaned it up without me having to push it. We learned how to cook lamb and osso bucco. Liver pate is on the menu in the near future. And we tried roasted beats the other day and...well we ate them. But the point is that we are trying new things and we don't feel as limited as it seems.

    Here is a list of what we CAN eat from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo (which is awesome and you should totally purchase it for yourself if you are at all interested in paleo.)

    Beef, bison, boar, buffalo, chicken, duck, eggs, game meats, goat, goose, lamb, mutton, ostrich, port, quail, rabbit, squab (I'm going to have to google that one later), turkey, veal, venison, catfish, carp, clams, grouper, halibut, herring, lobster, mackerel, mahi mahi, mussels, oysters, salmon, sardines, scallops, shrimp, prawns, snails, snapper, swordfish, trout, tuna, avocado oil, bacon fat, ghee, coconut milk, coconut oil, duck fat, macadamia oil, cold-pressed olive oil, palm oil, schmaltz (another google quest), cold-pressed sesame oil, suet, tallow, walnut oil, almonds, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, fresh almond milk, coconut water, herbal tea, mineral water, water, liver, kidneys heart, bone broths, dulse, kelp, seaweed, herbs, spices, sauerkraut, artichokes, asparagus, arugula, bamboo shoots, beets, bok choy broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, Cassava, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, cucumbers, daikon, dandelion greens, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, green beans, green onions, jicama, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, lotus roots, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, parsnips, peppers, purslane, radicchio, radishes, rapini, rutabagas, shallots, snap peas, spinach, squash, sugar snaps, sunchokes, sweet potatoes, taro, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnip greens, turnips, watercress, yams, yuccas, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guavas, kiwis, lemons, limes, lynchees, mangoes, melons, nectarines, oranges, papayas, passionfruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, plantains, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, rhubarb, star fruit, strawberries, tangerines, watermelon. Whew!

    I took the time to type all that up because I wanted you to see how very unlimited paleo is. Not unlimited just in food variety but also in life. Not being limited by pain, exhaustion, mood swings, weakness, unhealthy cravings, stomach upset, headaches, obesity, etc. Obviously eating whole foods is not going to be the cure-all that everyone wants but I really do believe is a good start.

    I'll cover why each of the kinds of foods we shouldn't eat are on the bad list in posts soon to come.

    And real quick here is what we had for dinner tonight. It was quick and simple but soooo very yummy.

    Cilantro Tilapia over Cilantro CauliRice with a side of Swiss Chard and Baby Portobellos


    For the tilapia:
    Tilapia fillets
    4 to 5 TBSP cilantro
    lime or lemon
    2 tsp of minced garlic
    4 TBSP olive oil
    salt and pepper

    Dry fillets and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stick in a shallow bowl and cover with cilantro, garlic and olive oil. Don't add the lime or lemon yet. Let it sit while you make the CauliRice and Swiss chard.

    Once your sides are complete and line a cookie sheet with foil and place tilapia fillet onto said cookie sheet. Move the rack in your oven to the highest notch and broil tilapia for 3 minutes on each side. Place on top of CauliRice and squirt with lemon or lime.

    For the CauliRice:
    Head of cauliflower
    3 TBSP cilantro chopped
    2 TBSP coconut oil
    lemon or lime
    salt and pepper

    Chop up the head of cauliflower into smallish pieces. Use your handy-dandy food processor and process away. The cauliflower should resemble rice not mush. I had to do 3 separate batches because it wouldn't all fit at once.

    Melt coconut oil in a large skillet and add the cauliflower. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add cilantro, salt, pepper, and lemon or lime and mix well.

    For the Swiss Chard:
    6 or 7 leaves of Organic Swiss Chard (so far I have not found an organic Swiss Chard in Greenville)
    1/2 cup Baby Portobello mushrooms
    2 TBSP olive oil
    lemon or lime
    salt and pepper

    Cut the Swiss chard into bite-size strips. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add Swiss chard and mushrooms. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until soft and the chard is bright green. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

    This meal was pretty inexpensive and was ready in about 20 minutes and that includes the time it took to wash the veggies. It was filling but not heavy. And most importantly it was full of nutrients! Just the Swiss chard alone has potassium, magnesium, calcium, K2 (all super important for bone health), iron, Vitamins A, several Bs and C, and a great source of fiber!


    Monday, January 21, 2013

    The Paleo Honeymoon

    Switching over to paleo was not a gradual thing for our family. Levi and I spent our last non-paleo date night cramming as much PF Changs into our mouths before heading to Whole Foods to start our Whole30/Paleo journey well stocked. Afterwards we cleaned our kitchen out. We threw away the healthy Cheerios, Triscuts, Greek yogurt, skim milk cheese, whole wheat bread, low carb tortillas, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, high fructose corn syrup free ketchup, olive oil mayo, low sodium turkey bacon, turkey franks, soy sauce, flavored coffee (oh the flavored coffee...that one still kind of hurts) and even boxed almond know, all those things that you are proud to put on the conveyor belt at Wal-Mart.
    The first few days we were a paleo honeymoon.It was fun and new. Levi was home because of the holidays so we enjoyed making huge messes in the kitchen trying to figure out how to make cauliflower rice and took turns doing the dishes after all these elaborate meals. Then Levi went back to work, school started, I kind of went back to work, and the honeymoon was definitely over. We learned some hard lessons very quickly.
    Lesson 1: Don't talk to Levi if he doesn't have an IV drip of caffeine and sugar while at work. Don't look at him, breath near him or think about him. Fortunately this moodiness only lasted four incredibly long days and we all survived. But then there was the issue of what was he going to drink? He was getting sick of just water so we started to experiment. I sent him a few different types of unsweetened tea to work. Never before did he like tea, sweetened or unsweetened but all of a sudden it was his new best friend.
    I know coffee isn't black-listed on paleo. Levi just refuses to drink it without cream and sugar. I on the other hand will suck on coffee grinds if I have to. Whatever it takes to get the caffeine. Fortunately that hasn't been necessary. I found that Green Mountain Coffee makes a clean, no added flavors K-cup called Nantucket Blend that is actually really good black. You can find it at Wal-Mart, Brookshires, I've even seen it at Staples.

    Another drink we keep around is a pitcher of water with lemon and lime slices. The kids don't get juice any more so this has been a great option instead of just water. Thursday I am going to pick up some carbonated water and try adding different fruit to it for a more soda-like drink. I'll keep you posted on that outcome.

    Lesson 2: The world will be a safer place if you just pack your lunch. Undoubtedly you will get busy at work and a coworker will order a pizza and offer you some of its cheesy carby goodness. This will then cause your eyeballs to start sweating and your toes to curl as you consider all the different ways you can kill him, inhale the entire pizza and destroy all evidence This feeling is a lot more subtle if you already have food in your belly.

    We have learned to be creative with packing lunches. Leftovers are always good options for Levi's lunch because he can heat them up at work. I keep a list of cold lunch ideas for those times I look in the fridge and feel like we have nothing for the next day.
    Sugar free turkey rollups
    Cucumber slices
    Celery Sticks
    Black Olives
    Boiled Eggs
    Chicken Salad
    Tuna Salad
    Cold soups
    Apple slices
    Pecans, pistachios, almonds, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts
    Coconut flakes
    Cherry tomatoes
    Fried plantain slices
    Baked or fried sweet potato slices
    Apple sauce
    Sugar free ham
    Chopped salad
    Dried fruit

    Lesson 3: When you cook lots of meals you clean lots of dishes. Initially we were careless with how many dishes we used but now we are figuring out ways to keep the dishwasher from running nonstop. The large mixing bowls get rinsed immediately after use. We do our best to use our giant iron skillet for everything and it gets washed immediatley too. We cover cookie sheets or roasting pans with foil to keep the pan from getting yucky. But in the end there are just always going to be dishes. It is a fact that has to just be accepted I'm afraid.'s not the worst thing in the world. Turn on a Chris Kresser podcast and learn something while you are filling up your dishwasher.

    Now for the latest successful recipe that only used one bowl and one cutting board. Love quick clean up!

    We made some yummy sliders minus the bun the other other day. I saw a recipe for Krefta Kabobs from She cooks...he cleans and kind of made it my own. The recipe called for a Moroccan spice mixture called Ras-El-Hanout. I didn't have this exact mixture on hand but I looked up a recipe for it and I just mixed the spices I did have. These were great and will be repeated. Here is what I did:

    2 lbs grass-fed 75% lean ground beef
    Large onion chopped small
    1 Large egg, lightly beaten
    4 tsp minced garlic (We really LOVE garlic so you might want to scale back to 2 tsp...totally up to you!)
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    1/4 cup chopped parsley
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp cardamom (I bought this for another recipe that apparently I never made because it was unopened in my pantry. This spice is amazing! Why isn't it in more recipes? It smells so good I wanted to wear it...maybe I will.)
    1/2 cinnamon
    1/4 nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ginger
    1/4 coriander powder
    1/4 tsp allspice
    1/4 tsp ginger

    1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Get your kids in the kitchen with you and let them go to town squishing and mixing with their cute little hands.

    2. Form into small slider sized patties.

    2. Stick in fridge for about 20 minutes to help them keep their shape.

    3. Throw patties on the grill or even bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I might be the only person in the world still using a George Foreman Grill but it was cold outside and I feel more confident in my grilling skills when it doesn't require fire. When I try to grill outside it is either undercooked or burnt to a crisp. I plan to tackle the art of grilling this summer. Stay posted.

    4. Serve your bunless sliders with a mixture of 1 part homeade mayo/2 parts dijon mustard. Add your favorite veggies to fill the rest of your plate. These were great cold packed in lunches the next day too.

    Soapbox moment: Use a fruit and veggie wash people. Water is not enough. I sell the one pictured at the shop but you can find fruit and veggie wash at any grocery store.

    We roasted Brussels sprouts, zucchini, and apples tossed with coconut oil, salt and pepper. Yummm. I'm not really sure why Brussels sprouts get such a bad rap. They are one of our family's favs and the kids do a happy dance when they know they are being served. Yeah...they are wierd. But they are mine and they are healthy. That makes me happy.

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    It's All About the Guacamole

    I am a bit of a grocery store snob. I soak up every second I get of roaming the aisles of Whole Foods. Everything is so pretty and clean. The carts roll smoothly, there are food samples everywhere, their employees are friendly, and most importantly I feel cool just being there. But this is an expensive and time consuming luxury that happens to be causing quite the dent in our wallets. So I am now making an effort to be budget conscience about our paleo menu.
    One item on our grocery list every week is avocados. We buy and eat about 12 to 15 a week. Whole foods had avocados for 5 for $5. Ouch! But because avocados are relatively free of pesticides and not on the dirty dozen list we can buy these anywhere!
    I had noticed in the Sav-a-lot ad they had avocados 5 for $1 this week. I am not going to lie, I really dislike this store but I couldn't pass up a good deal like this. I walked out with 15 avocados for $3!!! Of course I had to brag to Levi later that I made $12 today. I am really good at making money by shopping.
    For those of you who are thinking, "why do they eat that many high in fat avocados?!?" here is a short incomplete list of avocado's goodness:
    Avocado is rich in folate which prevents birth defects.
    Avocados are good sources of potassium...great for muscle cramps and blood pressure issues.
    Avocados contain polyphenols that are anti-inflammatory.
    Avocados contain glutathione which is great for the immune system, kills those nasty free radicals, and is anti-aging.
    The fat from avocados aids in the absorption of nutrients and keeps us from getting too scrawny.

    So grab a few bucks and stock up on some healthy fatty goodness so you can "make" some money too.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Love the words FREE SHIPPING

    One of my favorite blogs is Everyday Paleo. I suggest you check it out. Sarah's podcasts are really good too and cleaner than some other paelo podcasts I listen to. Earlier this week Sarah posted that Steve's Original was offering free shipping (I'm pretty sure I hear angels singing when I read those words) until Sunday the 19th. Our family hasn't tried any of Steve's Original products yet but I have heard and read wonderful reviews so I jumped on this opportunity. I am the self-proclaimed queen of online shopping. I live at least 30 minutes from decent shopping and an hour from great shopping so I have learned to save the gas and just order online. Plus it is this really exciting moment when the UPS or FEDEX truck turns down my driveway. So now I get to bask in the anticipation for my Steve's Club Sampler to arrive. I'll let you know later whether or not Steve's Original is hit in the Pope family.
    If you too want to feel the thrill of food arriving on your doorstep for no shipping costs just enter "everydaypaleoJan" when ordering. I would love for you to share your family's reviews or any other favorite jerky product suggestions.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Why Paleo

    I know it may seem like I have jumped on the latest diet trend with the Paleo thing but I want to explain my reasons. First of all I don't do diet trends. I actually really despise diet trends because in one way or another they lack in actual nutrition. I'm not a part of weight loss challenge. I am not all fact, I'm not fitty at all. I have always considered myself and my family to be healthy. I mean we own a HEALTH FOOD store right? But despite our "healthy" diet of yogurt, whole grains, legumes, lots of cheese, lots fruit, some veggies, and some meats, we weren't exactly the ideal image of health. I had been getting lots of headaches, sometimes migraines and my tummy has always been crazy sensitive and most the time felt yuck, but I thought it was normal because I had lived with it for so long. Levi had somehow found a way to survive on Monster energy drinks, Starbucks, Dr. Pepper and one "healthy" dinner a day. Jack has always had tummy issues ever since he was a baby and had to have surgery on his colon. And Addie would wake up regularly sick to her tummy. I knew we were doing something wrong but I just didn't know what exactly.
    To be perfectly honest I had an inkling it was related to wheat but I was not impressed with the ingredient labels on these wheat free/gluten free products. It seemed to me that we would be giving up wheat but replacing it with extra sodium, sugar, and ingredients that I couldn't pronounce. I started reading the book, It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and all of a sudden I had this amazing epiphany that I'm sure you figured out already...We could just not eat those snacky wheat free/gluten free foods such as crackers, waffles, breads, etc. Well, that was simple.

    One key idea from the book that struck me was the role that systemic inflammation plays in our health and the foods that cause it such as wheat, legumes, sugar, and fats high in Omega-6. Through all the research I do for my business regarding different health issues (allergies, IBS, arthritis, asthma, weight gain, cholesterol etc.) it seemed that they all linked back to this term systemic inflammation. So it makes sense that a diet lacking in these foods would be beneficial to our bodies. We decided to give this a shot for 30 days...a program Dallas and Melissa have called Whole30. We are halfway there and after we have completed all 30 days I will post about all the new super powers we have developed.
    I will say that we are feeling good...really good. I have realized just how nutritionally poor our SAD (Standard American Diet) was and when your body is fed real foods (meat, veggies, fruit, good fats) it is able to actually absorb and utilize the nutrients in them. So yeah, I'm totally on board with this trendy nutrient rich Paleo thing.
    Now onto the pictures of food.Mmmmmm. I am trying hard to remember to be a good blogger and take pictures of stuff that might be useful to this blog. Sorry for the very unprofessional, can't be good at everything.

    Yesterday we snacked on organic apple slices and almond butter. Apples are numero uno on the Dirty Dozen list and should really really be organic. Brookshires usually keeps a good supply of organic Galas. I actually have a call in to our produce supplier to see about carrying some different varieties at the shop.
    Also, a quick note about nut butters...they are really easy to overdo. I can seriously eat half a jar in one sitting. (I know, I'm a fatty deep down...I'll post more on that later too.) To keep myself from overindulging I spread a small amount on each slice and then put the almond butter back in the safe and lock securely. Not really but that is a thought. Aside from the extra calories, nut butters need to be eaten cautiously because they are very high in Omega 6. This is where I encourage you to stop by the Sunshine Shoppe and pick up a bottle of Omega 3 to correct the Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratio.

    This is what the butcher at Whole Foods gave me when I requested a London broil. I mistakenly thought that a London broil is a specific cut but according to Wikipedia it is actually a "North American beef dish made by broiling or grilling marinated flank steak, then cutting it across the grain into thin strips. The origin of the name is obscure; ironically, the dish is unknown in the British city of London." You learn something new every day. And what is cool is you can get this same "cut" by special order at the Sunshine Shoppe or even Brookshires.

    I was really hesitant about dinner last night. I had the meat finally thawed and it was time to make the Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Steak and Pasta by PaleoOMG. My hesitation came from the weird ingredients in the sauce. I like bell peppers. I like coconut milk. I really like almond butter. But would I, better yet my kids, like it all pureed together? But I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised. In fact, this meal made it to the top of our list of our Paleo-friendly menu. But even if you aren't eating Paleo this recipe is worth adding to your meal rotation.

    All the ingredients you see here can be found at the Sunshine Shoppe and Brookshires, with the exception of the Organic Roasted Red Peppers. Brookshires does carry jarred roasted red peppers but they are not organic. Unfortunately red bells are on the Dirty Dozen list and really should be organic but you do what you gotta do.
    I didn't have enough zucchini or any squash so I had to improvise by settling with one little zuchinni, red onion sliced thin, and mushrooms. We loved this combination with the sauce and will probably do it next time too.
    So lessons learned today:
    1. Systemic Inflammation is BAD
    2. A London broil is not a cut of meat but a way of cooking the meat.
    3. Almond butter and roasted red peppers taste like heaven when pureed together.
    4.  If you don't have every item on the ingredient list just wing it with what you've got.

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    It begins here

    When I first started researching Paleo I was excited about the absolute logic, science, and amazing testimonies that I was finding. Of course I was going to do this! Why wouldn't I? Oh yeah, that's right. I live in a small town where we have a Wal-Mart and Brookshires. No Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Central Market. And to go to any of theses wonder stores I have to drive an hour there and an hour back with kids in the car. And to make matters worse, I am BUSY! Too busy to be cooking elaborate meals three times a day. But I had a secret weapon...well actually two secret weapons.

    Weapon #1: I'm neurotic. That's right. It's a good thing...sometimes. I researched the snot out of books, blogs and podcasts. I made notes, compiled lists, saved every Paleo approved recipe I came across and categorized them, and then made a meal plan that included three meals a day plus snacks.

    Weapon #2: I actually own a health food store. I can carry these elusive foods and make them available to the rest of my small town community. But it isn't a perfect weapon. My store is small and I don't have room for produce. But I have been able to bring in quite a few new items such as coconut aminos, Sunbutter, nitrate-free deli meat, Wild Planet tuna, Kelapo coconut spray and grass-fed meats! Yay Sunshine Shoppe!

    All of this is a learning to shop, cook, eat. I thought I would make the learning painful and blog about it. So here it is. This is how a small town family eats Paleo. It starts here:

    I woke up this morning so excited about BACON!!! Because I grew up in the health food store I always considered bacon bad. Grease bad. Fat bad. I know better now. Bacon good! We have been without bacon for awhile now because it is not easy to find sugar free bacon. But guess who carries it now??? You guessed it! The Sunshine Shoppe has a freezer full of this wonderful goodness. We cooked up an entire package and saved the fat to use later. We shredded up some sweet potatoes and fried them in a skillet and served with a fried egg on top with a side of bacon. Seriously Best Breakfast Ever!

    We were pretty full from the huge breakfast but I made a small snacky lunch of sausage links, avocado slices, and cherry tomatoes.

    Dinner was not what I had on my very cool, not geeky printed meal plan calender. We were supposed to have Paleo Creamy Red Pepper Steak and Pasta from PaleoOMG but I forgot to thaw the London broil in time. (Sidenote: before Paleo I had never even heard of London broil and now I have it in my fridge thawing. I feel so adventurous.) So change of plans...Crabby Patties. I call it that because my kids think food must taste good if it is named after an annoying cartoon or has a picture of an annoying cartoon on the label. So thank you Mr. SquarePants for encouraging my kids to eat wild caught crab, zucchini, carrots, onions, and celery. They loved it and I loved that I had a Paleo friendly backup meal.

    Crabby Patties

    6 oz. Wild Caught Lump Crap
    Half Red Onion
    Celery Stalk
    4 TBSP Homemade Mayo
    4 TBSP Favorite cooking fat
    Free-Range Egg, lightly beaten
    Cayenne Pepper
    Old Bay Seasoning
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    Fresh Parsley (I wash my parsley immediately after shopping. Fill a jar with water and add parsley stems down, of course. Then I take a baggie and cover and seal with rubber band. It keeps my parsley really fresh for much longer. I bought the one pictured below 12 days ago and it was still crisp. I also do this with cilantro too.)

    1. Heat iron skillet (or any skillet but iron skillets are awesome) and add 1 TBSP favorite cooking fat...ghee, bacon fat, olive oil, or coconut oil.

    2. Chop all veggies small and add to skillet to saute. I cooked my veggies down for about 15 minutes because we like them soft and sweet. Set aside to cool.

    3. In medium sized bowl break apart crab meat with fork. Add mayo, seasonings, egg and veggies.

    4. Form mixture into patties and stick in fridge to firm up for about 20 minutes. Take this time to change out the laundry, play a quick game of Guess Who with your kids, or check out awesome Paleo blogs such as Nom Nom Paleo and Everyday Paleo.

    5. Heat skillet to medium high and add 3 or more TBSP of cooking fat. Once it is nice and hot add your patties. Let them get crispy before flipping over, about 5 to 6 minutes. The first batch I cooked came out beautiful and stayed together but the second batch to go into the skillet fell apart easily. This would have been resolved if I had let the second batch stay in the fridge instead of sitting out warming by the stove top. I may experiment with adding almond meal or coconut flour to the mixture next time to help with the consistency...mainly just for looks.

    Serve with veggies of choice. We had steamable Green Giant green beans and I just melted a bit of Ghee on top and we were good to go. I also added juice from half a lime, tsp of Old Bay, dash of cayenne, salt, and pepper to about 1/4 cup of mayo. I added a dollop of this mixture to the Crabby Patties and it was yum.

    What is really cool is this entire day's meals were brought to you by the small town of Greenville, Texas. So there it is folks, the daunting task of eating Paleo in a small town is possible. I'm sure I will make tons of mistakes along the way but what fun would a blog be if it was perfect!

    Lessons of the day:

    1. Thaw your meat dummy...especially if you took all the time to make a meal plan calender and you know what meal is coming up on the schedule.

    2. Have a back up meal. Keep extra frozen veggies and meats that don't require thawing such as canned salmon, tuna or crab.

    3. Food doesn't have to be pretty. It's all going to the same place the same way.